From Hell Hounds
(It's like Jaws set in hell - only with more blood and teeth)
“Come then, Satan, and face us,” the First called into the night, “bring your harbingers and show us your quality . . . if you dare?”
The Seven waited.
A resounding silence was the only answer to their challenge.
Stamping forward, the First of the Seven reversed his blade and stabbed its tip into the ground. Splinters radiated away from him across the tarmac like fingers of asphalt lightning. Lengthening, they spawned a series of fissures that rent the earth in one place after another, spilling conveyances and smaller buildings alike into widening chasms. The primary archway leading onto the bridge shuddered as bricks—stressed by unexpected shearing—exploded, showering fleeing denizens in a volley of lethal shrapnel. Small craft moored along nearby havens smashed together in freak swells, and damned souls cried their last as each hungry abyss silenced their protests in a final crushing embrace.
In that brief opening gambit, more than a thousand of the unworthy perished without recourse. Burst pipes spewed water and effluent onto sidewalks already slick with rain. Snapped cables lashed out blindly, spitting sparks and flames onto those too slow or injured to care. Nodding in apparent satisfaction, the First resumed his place.
The Second now strode forward to circle his brothers. Surveying the carnage about them, he cast his refulgent gaze upon those fools in the distance who thought they were safe. His eyes crackled with energy and suddenly, fleeing wretches were encompassed within a skein of electrified intent. Spinning like marionettes, they were helpless to resist the charged commands of their puppet-master and danced and jerked, coiled and writhed, until eventually they blackened and fell, gums bared in a rictus of death.
Erra noticed the moment his second cut the strings, for scores of spent bodies flopped limply to the ground; their final expirations marked only by wisps of oily gray smoke curling idly from lips crisped to ash.
Clutching his sword to his chest, the Third of the Seven stepped back into the center of the ring. He took a deep breath and exhaled a freezing haar high into the sky. The rain was instantly transformed; each drop becoming an icy splinter of death, cruel and sharp. Shards heavy enough to puncture steel and pierce flesh hammered down onto the arrested flow of traffic. Muted cries echoed out from those still trapped in their vehicles as each was impaled, again and again, by a verglas fusillade that gave no quarter. The Third breathed once more, and those wails cut off as shocked casualties were coated in a rime that frosted their blood lilac, then blue, and finally, unsullied white.
In conclusion, the Third waved his dazzling sword in an arc through the air. Even the river succumbed to his might as a glaze of ice clenched its way from one bank of the river to the other. Without waiting for the transformation to run its course, the Third turned on his heel and nodded to the next enforcer in line.
The Fourth didn’t even bother to lower his blade. Instead, he merely pointed with one finger toward those hiding in doorways or cowering within the ruined shells of the nearest buildings. Where his hand passed, boils broke forth, covering faces and exposed skin in a sea of blisters that swelled and popped as if the flesh on which they festered were melting. People fell to their knees, gagging and retching, helpless to prevent congealing fluids drowning them from the inside out. Eventually, they weakened, only to expire in a pool of their own filth.
His work done, the Fourth smiled, lowered his weapon to the ground, and ran that same finger of destruction across the pommel of his weapon with loving care.
So great was the press of those clamoring to get free across the bridge that people were hard-pressed to make headway. Tight packed, they pushed and they shoved and they jostled—falling more often than not—only to be trampled into a bloody pulp by those in too much of a panic to care about anyone but themselves.
Spotting their dilemma, the Fifth of Seven broke into a run. As he moved, his cloak fell away, revealing a churning, tumbling matrix of flickering death. Honed and needle sharp, he tore into the milling throng like a razor-edged tornado, lopping limbs and shredding sinews left, right and center. Having cut a swath through the main body of the crush, he whirled in a haphazard fashion from side to side, spilling guts and opening throats, and putting those who still possessed legs to rout.
As abruptly as it began, the whirling dervish stopped and a glowing Titan stood forth; sword shining, knee deep in severed heads, torn torsos and the spilth of intestines.
“It is fitting,” he declared, though to whom, Erra could not discern.
Now the Sixth moved forward to face the River Tombs directly. Taking position, the enforcer thrust his blade toward the heavens. The falling torrents turned into a deluge of biblical proportions, its leaden weight flattening anything that moved and knocking breath from the lungs of victims desperate to cling to whatever measure of unlife they had left.
When it came, respite was as sudden as it was unexpected, for a squall blew in from the west that swept all signs of the storm away and out toward the sea. Even from his position high in the cloud mass, Erra could hear the cries of release from those who thought the nightmare was over.
Their relief was short-lived.
Down below, the ground began to tremble and a distant growl lifted itself above the background din of a city under siege. A dark mass appeared on the horizon, roaring closer and higher with every passing second. In less than a minute it had clarified into a foaming frothing wave-cap of malevolence. Amazingly, the towering cliff seemed content to restrict itself to the confines of the frosted Tombs. But there was a reason for that. The Sixth reached out with one hand as if inviting an embrace from a long lost friend. Then he clenched his fist and the crest broke like an avalanche, thundering down out of the night sky to smash the ice apart and scour the banks clean of any sign of life. Jetties, docks, wharfs and quays; waterside developments, walkways and ornamental gardens. Anything and everything that once identified the river’s course as part of a throbbing metropolis disappeared amid turgid currents that scourged one of Olde London Town’s greatest landmarks raw.
And still it came.
The weight of a mountain struck Black Tower Bridge square on. Ancient stones thrummed and metal girders squealed. And as the ninety-foot high wall of glacial water sped by, the one thousand ton leaves of the center span went with it, tumbling over and over in an aquatic blender that gradually pulverized the tempered steel into scrap.
Only then did the breaker begin to subside.
Taking his time, the Seventh marked those that yet remained alive and shrugged his mantle free. Heroic in form, he looked magnificent as he hefted his sword in blazing arcs that fried the air and blistered concrete. Feral glee scarred his countenance and an abrupt concentration of incendiary focus caused all those within his sight to howl in pain. Some dived for cover behind walls and ramparts. Others threw themselves into exposed sewers or the river itself. Regardless, no matter where they stood or cowered, stragglers recoiled in panic as embers kindled deep inside their bodies.
That heat grew exponentially, sparking an expanding eruption that rushed through organs and airways alike until it burst from every orifice and exploded from every extremity.
Denizens ignited, careering hither and thither like phosphorous flares until they could stand no more. Flesh seared and cracked. Ululating screams choked off. Carbonized bones crumbled and fell.
And suddenly, all was still.
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Hell Hounds is now available to buy
Hell Hounds is now available to buy