“Lord Rinsen will appreciate your efforts moving arms to his front lines.”
“I just would love to see Duke Wells’ face when he sees artillery pummel his murderous infantry ranks. Wish I could be there.”
“No, you don’t.”
“You’re right. I am a little squeamish when he comes to open warfare. A little cut and a few dead bodies sure, but battle, I could die.”
The two conspirators laughed quietly together in the dark alley. They had planned this meeting for months. They were out to make a fortune and alter the wars of the continent, possibly for years. However, neither were interested in fame, just gold.
Darren had heard enough. He leaped out from a collection of broken crates. He threw a knife that struck one of the conspirators in the popliteal. He fell and smashed his knee caps onto the cobblestone street. He howled in agony and sprawled onto the street.
“Darren!” The other shouted drawing a weapon and a shield.
Darren was too slow on his recovery and the second conspirator blocked his knife attack.
“You could have gotten in on this deal,” the conspirator growled.
Darren shrugged with a smile. “Nah, I mean it was convincing, but I’m not really into trading one tyrant for another.”
“You could have just let it go. It was none of your business.”
“Jacob,” Darren said, pointing another knife at the conspirator. “I enjoy ruining your life. Remember, when you ruined mine? When I sleep, I still hear my kid sister’s screams.”
Jacob licked his lips and smiled ear to ear. “Her screams added to my enjoyment. Are her breasts still perky or did I scar them too much?”
Darren shook his head. “You mother—”
A gut-wrenching scream poured out of the wooden building next to them. It was muffled by the thick walls, but it sounded like a woman.
Darren sighed. “Your handiwork again?”
“I had nothing to do with that.”
Heavy footsteps, irregular footsteps, fell, vibrating the building’s lower floor windows.
“What the hell?” Jacob said.
The window blew out. The wreckage of a wooden rocking chair flew into the alley. A calico cat, bloodied and frantic, followed right after.
“Nicode-muth!” A garbled, female voice shouted from within the building.
A tentacle of flesh and toothy maws caught the cat in mid-air. The tentacle swung to the ground, crushing the cat on the street.
Darren stared wide-eyed. “What fresh hell is this?”
The wooden wall groaned outward as a wave of flesh flowed from the window. Eyes and mouths were visible all over the fleshy mass. The wall’s thick planks splintered outward under the stress of the flesh’s weight. It flowed along the ground, a hungry river of water, with chittering teeth and frightened, white eyes. Then, it retracted, like a building wave and morphed into the form of an attractive, dark-haired woman. She was wearing a thin brown robe tied with a simple gold cord on her hips. The dead cat was clenched in her heads with a death grip.
Darren squinted. No, the cat’s head and upper legs stuck out her open palm while the tail and black legs broke through her elbow. She paid no mind, but it must have hurt.
Darren nodded. “Yep, definitely a new hell.”
Jacob started to walk back toward Darren. “We need to run.”
The wounded conspirator, squirmed on the ground. Kicking his legs frantically, he tried to crawl away.
The women’s face contorted. She bared her teeth, her eyes squinted. She let out an ear-shattering screech. Her arms clutched her chest.
“Pain, Hungry!” She said. Her voice was less garbled.
The wounded conspirator shouted at the top of his lungs, “There’s a tavern down the street!”
The woman made a step forward and extended an open palm toward the wounded man. Flesh and teeth hit the man like a geyser of hot water. He was engulfed. His muffled scream was quickly silenced. The woman threw her head back, opened her mouth, and let out a moan of pleasure and relief.
Her attention turned to Darren and Jacob. “More!” She smirked, but her upturned lip drooped below her chin, like an oil painting sprinkled with turpentine.
“Nope!” shouted Jacob. He turned to run.
He slammed into Darren.
Darren smiled. “I only have to run faster than you.”
“What about my sister?”
Jacob stumbled back, Darren stabbed under Jacob’s ribcage with a curved dagger. He then twisted and yanked it out. Jacob, barely felt any pain until he watched the blood pour through his hands and flow through the rivets of the cobblestone street.
Darren broke into a sprint and ducked out of the alley.
“Hungry!” was the last word Jacob ever heard.
© 2017 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.