move." A harsh grate from the lips of a carcass pierced the air. The
beady eyes of the man that faced him scared the life out of him; like burning
coals left on a fire. Perched in his long, stick like fingers was a
Magnum-Shotgun. The thick three barrels of the deadly power rifle didn't waver
as they faced directly at the thief. He stood on a short staircase, leading to
an unknown area of the immense house. Xander's movement was a blur of motion
as he tucked himself into a ball and rolled away. Gunfire from the stairs told
him that the man had fired, but the burst of explosion that hit the wall and
sent Xander flying confirmed it.
He scraped the floor of the basement still
sliding from the explosion. "Stop!" The man shouted, throwing
himself down the staircase and sending another tri-versi power bullet pack
into the floor behind Xander.
Again Xander was rocked to his heels, this
time feeling a pierce inside his suit and past the skin of his back. He
grunted and started to run as another pack was fired into the wall in front of
The heat of the explosion from this shot
threw him backwards, scalding his face and the exposed fingers of his
finger-cutoff gloves. He bared his teeth and threw himself closer to the maze
of computers in the room. The man with the Magnum-Shotgun let out another
burst, this one pushing the large computer cabinet behind Xander to topple
over, forcing him to get to his feet and run. Unfortunately, the computers in
front of him were only close to three-quarters of his height.
A fury of tri-versi bullets layered his path
in front and behind him.
From the corner of the thief's eye, he could
see the man running across the walls, putting himself in position where he
faced Xander's back as the boy ran. The computers running in the row on both
sides of him acted like a barrier, smoking from the fire of the shotgun blasts
and burning with the other computers around.
Soon the man was directly behind Xander
putting the gun to his eye for a clear shot. The thief took one last glance
over his shoulder as he was running directly into the small area of one of the
walls that didn't have a computer or generator facing it.
A gunshot echoed right behind him, and, as he
felt the bullets almost touch him, Xander pulled his body and threw himself
over the counter of the computer on his left side. The rounds of the tri-versi
power pack demolished the walls, sending it to crack and spill outwards into
the chill night.
Moonlight suddenly spilled throughout the
room. It flooded the small basement like rushing water suddenly spilled
inside; consuming electronics and the two people.
The man with the gun doubled over and dropped
to the ground clutching his guts and screaming in pain as he rolled over.
Xander peeked over the computer and watched the man toss and roll, squirming
across the floor as he screamed over and over again.
"A Rad-Freak!" Xander gasped,
recalling the term from a barroom brawl some months past. Radiation of the
Xenon bombs had affected every life on the planet Earth, but some more than
others. The air had been contaminated, as well as water and other life
supporting substances, but light that entered the atmosphere had been
abnormally disfigured. People who had changed from the radiation sometimes
received chemical burns from sunlight, and especially reflected sunlight from
the moon. They developed tumors on sight, cells in their body doubling in the
space of seconds. Xander gasped at the man gurgling on the metal floor of the
The dark man suddenly crawled to his knees
and let out a howl like a scared animal. His eyes were shut, but the red
illumination spilling from the eyelids held no human resemblance. His body
seemed to thicken and grow substantially, tearing his clothes as sharp muscles
and tendons outlined against his pale skin. Then thick bushels of fur broke
across his body, covering him in brown wool like Xander's coat.
"You.... son of a bitch..." the
humanoid growled, its eyes opening and mouth facing Xander. Its face was
covered with the fur, lining the red eyes and bending at the sharp breath from
the shiny black nose. Long, sharp teeth dripped green saliva as it screamed,
"I'll.... kill you!"
It leapt to its feet and started across the
floor. The speed of the former man had almost tripled, its entire body
bursting across the room at a speed an Olympic runner would have been proud
Xander could barely blink as his own body
responded to natural instincts. He took off, running and tumbling over
electronic computers, his arms bumping and bruising themselves against the
computers. He screamed when he felt a sharp rip across his skin as the
deformed animal sent sharp claws to rake against the skin of Xander's back.
Then the claws dug into his waist, tearing
long gashes on both sides. "I'll kill you!" it repeated, throwing
Xander's body across the room. He smashed into the wall of the computers
almost eight meters from the hairy beast. His hands groped around the floor
involuntarily from fear, to find rags of clothing which he clutched wildly
when he heard the rough thumps of the beast running from the other side of the
room. "KILL you!" it shouted, closing in and sending a claw straight
into the computer where Xander's head had been. The scared boy rolled to the
side as the beast jumped back from the electricity jumping through its system
after it had put its claw into the computer.
Quickly, a claw closed over Xander's chest
tight enough that he was pinned straight down. He screamed when the claw
tightened and cut through the flesh, forcing his hands to scratch across the
ground in pain. Little specks of spittle hit his clothes as his hand suddenly
caught hold of something that fit so perfectly inside. He raised the large
object, smashing it into the beast's chest, and squeezed all his fingers
He turned his face away forcibly when the gun
in his hands literally exploded into fire and light. The torso of the beast
exploded outwards, sending black ichor to spread away from Xander and into the
computers, gushing over them and slithering down the front in a formless mass.
The beast was thrown backwards, splashing against his own blood and falling to
the ground in a clump of fur. Black ichor poured from every orifice of its
body, including the one in its chest the size of Xander's head.
Xander sat up and moaned. The.... thing was
lolled over, drooping on the ground with its tongue out. The red light in its
eyes had faded to a dull sheen and Xander's heart was starting to slow. He
stumbled to his feet, using the support of a nearby computer, and looked all
The room was a mess of flames and smoke.
Computers lay tossed across the ground, smoke billowing from them and escaping
through the wall that let moonlight filter through. The fire from the
destroyed computers twinkled in omnipotent masses, slowly growing larger as
fuel was found in the heaps of now scrap metal.
Xander looked at the beast lying on the
ground, holding the sides of his waist where the thing had cut into him.
"One last thing to do," he whispered, opening the belt buckle on his
front side. Although he had been on the verge of not completing this task set
upon him, the drooling creature had shown him the error of his ways.
Xander pulled out four timed mini-mines,
clicking the passwords into the correct slot. He set the time for thirty
seconds and threw all of them into the mass of fire, looking back and heading
for the open hole in the wall.
And stopped. One look back at the beast and
he took off at a run of his fastest pace. Or at least, one look back at the
place the beast had been in; for the vast outline was there, as well as the
moist ichor, but the hairy monster's actual body had disappeared and Xander
wasn't about to find out where it had gone.
Abruptly, something grabbed his arm and
tossed him forwards, almost yanking the limb from its socket. He grunted and
slid across the ground when he touched down. His body twitched with the
momentary pain of exhaustion and his eyes flickered open and closed.
"Twenty Five seconds
remaining....." the detonation timer attached to his waistband bleated,
silencing itself a second afterwards. Xander rolled to his feet and ran, not
bothering to look back at the disfigured monster behind him.
Both took off at the fastest run their bodies
could handle. The monster, the hole in its chest momentarily greased over by a
green mucous, limped as it ran, still faster than Xander and catching up to
him quickly. Xander was too close to the hole plunging the room in light,
though, and hurled himself into the snow as he ran, pushing ahead only by
putting every effort to throw himself forward. With every moment he was
getting closer to the shield.
The beast leapt before it reached the snow,
throwing itself eight feet in the air with its legs tucked underneath. A roar
of victory rushed from its throat when it slammed into Xander, crushing the
boy into the ground. Xander rolled and tried to run, but a claw raked across
his arm, forcing the young thief to shout and drop with his back to the
ground, staining the white powder with red blood pouring from his body.
The creature raised its claw into the air,
preparing itself for the sharp talons on the end of each finger to penetrate
through flesh; preparing for it to rip Xander's heart from his chest.
"Fifteen seconds remaining....."
The young thief knew he would hate himself if
he survived, but steeled his heart as he raised his hand and shoved it into
the gaping hole in the beast's chest. The nails of the fingers scraped at the
internal organs it touched, opening them to the air and letting the black
ichor inside spill all over Xander. The beast reared back, whining and
screeching deafeningly. It gasped for air, the water molecules of its breath
condensing and pouring out like smoke. Xander floundered to his feet,
wrestling with the psi-generator clutched in his blood soaked hands. The beast
let out a final roar and fell upon Xander, yet again throwing the boy to the
"Eight seconds remaining....."
The generator popped out of the small thief's
hand, spilling onto the snow and sending tiny drops of the white powder onto
it. Xander's eyes widened.
"Five seconds remaining....."
He struggled out of the weight of the
monster, crushing and holding him to the ground. "Get..... off of
me!" he yelled bursting loose and grabbing for the psi-generator. He
clicked a button and threw the metal box forward past the energy shield as it
"Two seconds remaining....."
Xander dived forward, almost reaching the
outside of the energy shield, but was yanked backwards as something wrapped
around his ankle.
"One second remai---" The detonator
squealed with a vengeance as Xander smashed the wretched device into the
beast's claw tightly wrapped around his ankle. The claw came off as Xander
beat it, turning the fingers into pulpy masses of black ooze.
Xander reached out and clicked the psi-generator
when he hit the snow from his dive. The shield sprang to life not a
millisecond earlier than the bright plumes of fire which burst the house in
two, sending waves of light and heat whipping into the shield. Flames burst
across the top and sides, fanning out when they slammed into the cover of
A lifeless body was thrown into the barrier,
slowly being picked apart by the intensity of the flames. Sharp, tiny pieces
floated off from the main carcass until all that was left was the black ooze
dripping across the shield and molten snow.
Xander lay back and thanked his God that he
hadn't felt the heat that time. He breathed life back into him, feeling the
pain of his cuts and bruises.
He lay back. "A fuckin' hundred thousand