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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 27

Eva signaled Bartley to hold up and he reared back on the reins, stopping the stage. She had been riding ahead, ensuring the trail remained clear for the stage when she saw them. More of the creatures, creatures like what Evan had turned into. There was at least 4 of them, huddled around....something, rending pieces of flesh from the carcass of whatever it had been and devouring the guts and brains of the poor dead thing. Eva wasn't sure what to do. There was no way around the monsters if they had any hopes of getting the stage into town they would have to go through the monsters. Rex simply didn't have the time to go around and neither he nor her father could take cutting cross country in their condition.

She looked back at Bartley who was holding up his battered old rifle. He mostly shot the old thing to start the herd moving, she wasn't sure if he had even fired it at another person since that Indian raid all those years ago. Still, he had used the weapon in self-defense at least, she was less sure about Moore. That dandy was the biggest fraud she had ever seen. He may be a financial wiz, but killing a man was another thing entirely. She rested her hand on her own revolver, wondering if she had the stones to kill again. In the moment her instincts had kicked in against Evan. Cold blooded killing though was another thing. Then again, could you really kill something that had already died?

She crept back to the rest of the men at the stage, a few hundred yards away. They had moved as slowly and as quitely as close as they could, but now they had to decide on what to do next. Eva knew what the answer was, even if she didn't like it very much. She looked up at Bartley and nodded, understanding what she was going to say without needing words. Bartley and her had worked together a long time, he'd been around her almost her whole life, sometimes they didn't even need to speak to know what they were thinking. What her father and Thomas would say, well that may be a different story.

Moore was talking to her father in hushed tones, the door to the cab open. Her father was seated across from Rex, who still tossed and turned feverishly, moaning in pain and discomfort. Moore leaned into the cab, but cut short his conversation as Eva drew closer and instead leaned back, an ill smile hitting teh corners of his mouth.

"Dad... Thomas, there's no way around the four... things... on the road ahead."

She cast a glance at Rex, still writhing in fevered pain.

"Let's be honest here, Rex look's worse than he did ten minutes ago. We don't got the time to cut around them and frankly we are equipped to travel with his cross country."

Eva pointed left out mentioning her father's infirmary, but it hung in the air unspoken. Her dad tugged in the corners of his bushy mustache, his mind a whirl in thought as Thomas spoke.

" Eva, what you're suggesting then is that we.... ATTACK these creatures? How do we know that they even mean us harm? Surely we can just ride by them or ignore them or something."

Caleb cut short the pointed response that had been on the tip of Eva's tongue.

"Thomas, I appreciate what you're thoughts, but I think my daughter is right here. Four of those monsters are ahead of us on the road. We don't know where they come from, or what they are, but based on what we have seen we don't want to take the chance of getting exposed to them, or even exposing our horses to them. It's obvious they have some kind of infection, based on what we are seeing happen to Rex. Plus we know hey are eating something that use to be alive. I think... God help me, that we are better suited to put them down, like we would a rabid animal."

Caleb had said that speech with a heavy heart, tugging forlornly at the bushy end of his mustache. Moore simply scowled and stalked away, drawing his gun and muttering curses. Caleb would stay with Rex and the stage, while Bartley, Eva, and Moore would take care of the creatures ahead. Bartley gingerly got down from the drivers seat of the stage while Eva pulled her rifle from her saddle holster. She checked the ammunition for at least the third time today and walked up with Bartley. Moore was waiting for the two of them, his pistol drawn and the three of them stalked closer to the creatures. They were still tearing at the carcass of what they killed, but with less fervor. There was a good 30 yards between them and the creatures with no cover so they left the safety of the underbrush. They stalked closer and Eva nodded at each, all three pulling back the hammer on their respective weapons with an audible click.

The creatures turned at the sound of the click their faces covered in gore and spittle, black fangs gleaming in the sun. It was then that the three saw what the monster's had been eating. Or what was left of it anyway. It was covered in bits of entrails and blood. The stomach had been ripped open and the skull cracked wide as the monster devoured their contents. The simple dress she had worn was torn and ripped, but the young girls dead eyes stared straight into the soul of Eva. All three of them fired.

End of Line.

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