Thursday, January 13, 2011




He didn’t even stand up, only pivoted around on the balls of his feet and sprang forward, his fists out ready to wrap around the distance between him and that murderer’s neck. Like a summer cyclone, he burst through the wall of the restaurant, shaking what was left the ramshackle building into ruin. His eyes only wavered from the orange haired man an instant, long enough to carry Harris and Elsie out of harm’s way, out of his way.

In the acrid smoke and burning chaos, Pec crossed the street in three leaps, darting between the buildings, making for Hogie’s back wall. Wrapping one hand on the back corner of the shop, he swung around hard, almost crashing into his quarry.

The orange headed man knew time was short and was already making his getaway. He climbed down a ladder leaned against the far side of the roof, the back of the shop that bordered Farnum’s Woods on the outskirts of town. His rifle was slung over his back now, a leather strap crossing the gray shirt on his chest from right to left. He had one leg on the ground when Peculiar Oddfellow erupted from the side of the building. Both of them hesitated, Pec out of the sheer weight of frenzy, the assassin because he clearly relished the futility of the moment.

The killer attempted to jump to the ground and make for the woods, but Pec snatched him from mid air like a frog catches a fly. Pec wrapped his iron grip around the man’s throat. His features were rugged, scarred with hard living and age. The wretched smile of perverted pleasure from his actions remained, even under Pec’s crushing grasp.
"Why did you kill her? Why??"

"Because......the...Crimson Man.......made die." The thick Russian accent combined with his struggling for air made the killer sound demonically ominous as he rasped, "Follow...the Priest... Lay...aside....all other gods...and kneel before...the Priest... or... die... like... all... others."

Pec felt something slap onto his chest, something heavy. The red haired man laughed as Pec looked down and saw a small black box, about three by six inches, stuck just over his heart. And ticking.

The maniac’s laughing grew louder as Pec let him go and tried to pull the box off. It would not move. With both hands, he grabbed it, turned, wrestled, twisted it, as the killer cackled on and scurried into the woods. Pec shouted as he fought with the tiny box, still unable to tear it from his body. Knowing what the ticking meant, Pec dug his fingers into his shirt and ripped it from his body, the black box hanging on like a spider to its web. Pec ran for the shelter of trees as well, hoping he knew Farnum's Woods well enough. Heading away from where the orange haired man had fled, Pec swung the shirt high above his head and flung it into the air to his left, his ragged shirt flapping in the wind like a tail to a cloth comet. Pec sprang forward as hard as his finely tuned, well trained legs would carry him, but it wasn't far or fast enough. The bomb exploded only a few yards from him. Peculiar Oddfellow roared and dropped hard to the ground as unconsciousness wrapped dark, cold fingers around him.Pec cradled Nell Blaine in one arm, closing her eyes with his free hand. Setting her down gently, he shouted out a thunderous rage. Death everywhere. Confusion dragging him down. Senselessness ripping the world, his world to shreds. Then he turned, looking over his shoulder out the window, the tiny hole seared in it still smoking. And he saw him. On top of Hogie’s Barber Shop. Kneeling, a long silver rifle out of some Saturday afternoon space serial on his shoulder. A man, average build and height, angry, gleefully evil face. And long hair, the color of fire itself, dancing wildly in the April breeze.

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