* * *
Auggie barreled out of the car, phasing through more of it than he bothered actually avoiding. If The Emissary had returned, that meant Velt and Topher would be charging in without waiting for them. She might be okay, but Topher was almost certain to end up in dire straits. Against a few spirits perhaps they’d have stood a better chance, and Auggie was going to do his damndest to thin that horde.
He grabbed one of the jugs of gas and slapped it into place, mounting it on the Charger’s exterior so that it would spill and spread on impact.
“Aren’t you supposed to be rigging the pedal-holder-downer-thingie?” Kay asked, putting her own gas jug in place.
“No time. Just get the car prepped.” Auggie grabbed a bottle of liquor and popped the cork, gently dousing the top of the vehicle in trails of booze. They’d stowed a few explosives, items Auggie had pointedly resisted asking Velt why she kept on hand, in the car’s frame, but it wouldn’t hurt to make extra sure that everything flammable was given proper ignition. The plan was to light the top of the car on fire just before sending it over.
“Do you have some shitheaded way of getting it off the cliff?”
“Of course,” Auggie assured her.
“Then why didn’t you use it in the first place?” Kay crossed her arms and halted work, staring at Auggie with the sort of defiance he’d been around her long enough to recognize as non-negotiable.
“Because it’s dangerous,” Auggie said, continuing to do his own work. “And there wasn’t a need to take an unnecessary risk before.”
Kay opened her mouth to object, but before she could they both heard The Emissary screaming at his troops, demanding Velt’s blood. Her own words withered under the harsh reality of their situation. Velt and Topher needed their help, and needed it soon enough to still matter. A risky delivery method was better than sitting on the sidelines, watching their friend get massacred and the world end.
“Throw me some tape,” Kay requested, getting back to work even faster than she’d been going before. She only hoped the two of them would be fast enough.
* * *
Velt took down the first wave of spirits with a squirt of the mixture in her bottle, something she mentally referred to as bang-juice, and a few sparks from the flare feebly clutched in her shattered arm. Her right hand couldn’t do much, but it could fling sputtering flames about willy-nilly, which happening to be exactly what she needed it to do.
The fire and liquid combined in air, torching three of the weakly formed attackers and causing them to dissipate within moments. Others were singed, but not outright destroyed. Unfortunately, the horde showed signs of intelligence, since instead of them continuing to rush forward and be burned away, they instead spread out, encircling her.
By her count, she had one more good gush of bang-juice left in this bottle, and maybe a minute remaining on the road flare. She had more of both, but with only a single arm it would be nearly impossible to pull them out and still defend herself. So, one more fire-attack, and then it was down to hand-to-hand. That suited Velt just fine, she was far more comfortable using her own strength than she was with tricks and tools. They were useful, there was no denying it, but at the end of the day she never trusted anything the way she trusted her own fists.
As the spirits tried to form a perfect ring around her, one taking a spot directly at her back felt a blast of heat, then light, then horrible pain. Topher emerged from the shadows, makeshift flamethrower at the ready, and took a spot defending Velt’s rear.
“I thought I told you to stay put unless I needed you.”
“Being surrounded on all sides seemed a lot like you needing me,” Topher snapped, flicking his lighter and staring down a spirit that had been looking aggressive.
“Not sure if you’re overestimating them or underestimating me, but either way I’m a little offended.”
The spirits finished spreading out, the only hole in their circle the one that Topher was nervously yet relentlessly defending. Though they had no muscles to tense, each member of the horde appeared to be doing just that, flexing their internal might as they prepared to charge.
Velt glanced away from them for only a second, locking eyes with Topher and flashing a weary smirk. “Five bucks say I take out double what you do.”
There were no more words, no more time for banter, as the spirits raced forward, coming at Velt from nearly every angle. She put the flare next to the tip of the bottle and whipped both through the air, creating a thin but steady arc of bang-juice that caught fire as soon as it left the container. Within seconds she was out of fuel, but two of the ghosts were burning. The bottle, already warps from the heat, hit the ground as she slammed a fist into the nearest spirit’s face. Clearly, it hadn’t been expecting a bare-handed offense, let alone an effective one. What had it expected made no difference as Velt’s attack carried through, lifting it off the ground and sending it sprawling through the air.
She swept her leg, wincing at the pain as she took down two attackers from her left. Admittedly, it didn’t exactly knock them over since they were playing fast and loose with gravity, but it still sent them sprawling through the air, which gave her time to deal with the next spirit stupid enough to get within her striking distance.
Topher was behind her, doing a surprisingly good job of holding own against the various sprits that decided he was impediment enough to warrant some attention. His mini-flamethrower wasn’t potent enough to take out a spirit unless he caught them by surprise, like he had the first one, but it was capable of keeping the spectral attackers at bay. The only downside was that he could already feel the can getting light as the fluid ran low. He had three more cans stuffed in his waistband, as well as a small bottle of Velt’s bang-juice, but he was hesitant to grab another until the one he used was completely empty. After all, once he ran out of fire, he was going to be pretty much helpless.
As Topher battled, one spirit hung to the sidelines, concealed by the other’s formation. Irwin watched as the big man sprayed and swept his flame, noticing the way he would periodically shake the can. It wouldn’t be a large window, but if he was quick, it would be enough. Irwin knew he could never take down Velt himself, the growing count of beaten or fully-destroyed warriors proved that point throughly. What he could do was the same thing he’d always done: hide behind someone bigger and strong.
All-too-soon, Topher’s can of spray refused to cough up more than a few droplets. He let the can fall from his hadn and reached into his belt for another. Just as his hand closed around the surpringly cool metal surface, Irwin barreled forward from his hiding spot, sinking a heft shoulder into Topher’s injured rib. It knocked him off balance, but still Irwin pushed. He put every bit of concentration he had into shoving the muscular man along. He managed to move him less than ten feet, but unfortunately for Topher, Velt was only nine feet away.
She was fending off an attack from a trio of spirits, and by the time she noticed his flailing form it was too late. Topher smacked into her and both of them toppled over, falling to the ground. Neither was actually injured in the collapse, but unfortunately they were both left prone, without weapons or defenses. The spirits needed no more invitation to seize the opportunity, and as Irwin quickly retreated from the impending fray, the others charged, ready to end this scuffle with a blow of deadly finality.
* * *
Across the island, the bulk of the spirits still lingered around The Emissary, providing a protective buffer in case one of the humans got free. He stood over the red circle in the ground, countless magical runes all piled atop one another. How many had died to provide the energy and power needed to fulfill this ritual? How much time had been sacrificed, all leading to this moment? All of it leading to this moment, to when their efforts would at long last bear fruit.
The Emissary raised the hands of this pilfered body and began to recite the rites of the final ceremony. Final not just for his goals, but for the world of the living. With the first word he could feel the power on the other side of the portal trembling, the undead god scratching at the steadily weakening barrier. Only a little longer now, and that barrier would be torn asunder.
Only a little more, and the world would be changed forever.
-Finish this chapter with the next scene jumping to Auggie and Kay. Close out with a bang.
-Next chapter should probably be the final chapter of the conflict. Once chaos reins, Velt and Topher have the advantage.
-Try and leave a little room in the wordcount for a decent Epilogue.
Daily WordCount: 1,528 Total WordCount: 45,032