11:26am (10,854 notes)
11:22am (214 notes)
I just rode 28.1 miles! Check it out on #strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/47402530
Ghosts and Scouts. Chapter #117.
“What are they yelling about mother?” asked a younger cub to his Wolf mother.
“They are speaking in the old tongue of man”, she replied to her child. “They are disagreeing, and they will soon fight.”
“Good”, declared the cub. “Then one will die, and they’ll shut up!” He was proud of himself. The cub looked to his Wolf mother for approval, but what he found on her long face was the look of old death. Wolf mother was transfixed and fighting the urge to bare her teeth in the direction of the three men below in the old cement building. The cub could only stare as he saw his Wolf mother transform from loving caring mother that she was into the one who hunts and kills. She was going to protect them, but from what? “Mother!” barked the young cub, “what’s wrong?” The cub was terrified now.
“Get behind me!” She barked quickly at her cub. “They are going to fight…”
The cub looked around in fright, and saw that all the others from the beast court were assuming their haunches and baring tooth and claw. The cub was vibrating with fear. This was not like hunting, or danger from the Bear clan, nor the Gators. This was wholly something different. The air was hot and angry all-of-a-sudden. Gators, Ape House, and the Bear clan all etched a pattern of tactical retreat and defense, though still many leaps from the three feeble men in the center of the old stone building. The cub could not understand, and before his thoughts undid him, he called to his mother again.
“Mother!” stammered the cub through tears. The roar rising from the center of the building was becoming deafening now, when there was only silence and muffled human murmurings a moment ago. “You said Man had no teeth! You said they were too soft!” cried the cub seeking validation and affirmation.
“ That was a long time ago son…”
Norwalk looked intently at Peter from across what looked like an ocean of cement. They had not stood on such a broken but yet even plane in quite a while. They were still too close. Peter’s gaze was equally fixed and determined. He could move and manipulate his environment just fine from where he was and not need take his eye off Norwalk.
“Name one redeeming quality!” Shouted Peter across the open courtyard. Neither of the three men seemed to care that they were surrounded at all points of the spectrum, by hairy and teeth-gnashing over-lords of this domain.
“Our children!” called Norwalk without hesitating. Peter scoffed.
“We know very many things!” Called Tandor like an objection. Tandor was tall and wrapped in cord-like muscle. The hair on his face was sparse and very black. Norwalk was broad and wore a beard like the mane of a lion. Norwalk’s hair was brown with flecks of silver streaking him evenly from head to chest. When he moved, his hair appeared to catch lightning from all angles of the court.
“It was children that brought us to his very moment… what they learned from man!” Called Peter from across the court. All three men stood wrapped in their trappings. Peter, across the hall had his hair coiffed up in a sharp blade-of-a Mohawk. His chest was bare and riddled with scar tissue. There were marks on his shoulders where the beasts made known their slave. Peter was strong and the grouping of muscles all about him was going to prove a difficult thing for any creature. He was not very tall, but made up for lack of height in the girth of his frame and monster-like gesturing. He had be raised and taught by them, taught to hate man. He himself being a man, loathing every moment of his existence. The irony being that in comparison to others of Peter’s species, he was considered very handsome. Dark of skin, muscular and fast. Lords he was fast.
“Until the very last drop of blood is squeezed from my vein Peter, I won’t stop pushing!” bellowed Norwalk, spittle flying and icing in the air.
The ground began to vibrate, then quake as all bore witness to the three men. Beasts from all side retracted as Tandor drew his large straight knife. They were born down with weapons, and it was hot. Peter reacted to the threat-insult and began ripping back on his bow, loosing arrow after arrow at the two men before him. Norwalk and Tandor advanced barely missing each arrow by shear will. Norwalk was hacking at his pistol’s hammer as bits of cement flung in all directions, and beasts alike were scattering, and the air screaming. Tandor slapped down two of the arrows and was on the ground avoiding the rest, knife-in-mouth.
Peter had whirled around the back side of a cement column and cackled like those of Ape House. Beast were howling and scattering, cutting and biting each other to get away from the three men in whirl.
“Fuck them!” Exclaimed Ba-sha of Bear clan. “Bears to mother, and knock down those who impede our passing!” he commanded.
“Hold!” Wolf Arzh, challenged. He broke Ba-sha’s path, but would not have held him if not for the great gorilla of Ape House astride the Rhinoceros Ex-che. The Silverback stood before Ba-sha and rang his brutish fist high above Ba-sha.
“We must see it through Ba-sha! They held the atom! They broke our ground! They enslaved all of creation!” The Ape was mighty and could make his thunderous voice carry even amidst the cracking of the earth below them. Ba-sha shrunk back, but only to stand taller with plenty of room.
“Look around you Rah-zill, all the beasts are done with it!” Growled Ba-sha, but the bullet that struck him made those his last words. Rah-zill hugged the dead bear lord and dragged him backward covering his front. Wolf Arzh and Rah-zill backed to a safer distance.
Peter was out in the open again taunting the two brothers. Tandor and Norwalk each behind their own column, reloading and refitting. Adjustments at the given moment made them gods among scouts and ghosts. Tandor’s knife was no longer convenient to carry on his right, he tied it over his left shoulder while unstrapping his rifle, loading it and nudging a longer flap of jacket over his newly naked skin. Norwalk signaled Tandor not move. Norwalk saw Tandor’s rifle and complimented with his hard yewn-bow. His arrow was knocked and ready to explode, as his pistol was reloaded, knife wet, and hatchet-in-mouth. Peter let loose a barrage of biting bullets from an automatic pistol neither Tandor or Norwalk had seen before. Each bullet bit into the cement around the two brothers as the earth quaked.
“Wolf! Panther, they sit rotting! What was I promised!?” Peter called into the loud and reverberating sky. At his command, a pack hurled in the direction of the two brothers flanking them on one side, big black cats on the other. Tandor began reporting his rifle to the beasts, while Norwalk promised his arrow in Peter’s direction. Peter covered, though the arrow never reached him; it broke up the cement next to him shooting the bits into his flesh, and he howled.
Peter fired at Norwalk, but he was no longer there. The wave of beasts had taken his attention already. Peter searched, but Norwalk and Tandor were low to the ground making their killing. The bodies of the beast were piled already. Peter panicked and leaped to the column, then to the other for vantage. Peter fired twice, hitting ground and a large black cat with dead yellow eyes. He was going to lose them, he thought.
Just then, Tandor’s rifle swung and rubbed Peter’s back but causing little hurt. Norwalk was also on him now, hatchet in hand and slashing in an “S” pattern from head to hip, but being met with Peter’s quick knife and spent automatic pistol. He was working hard to keep up with both Tandor and Norwalk, but he’d done it before. Sparks cascaded from between the men, and the wave of wolf and cat changed direction to intercept the men. It seemed that the beasts did not mind that Peter was among the men in their impending attack. As Norwalk hacked, Tandor slashed, but Peter reciprocated in equal fashion. The plates of the columns began to separate from their host and rain down killing two wolves and shattering into fragments. The beasts pressed on, this was war after-all. There was not a jab, a kick, a punch or rake of knife that drew blood or bruise. Though each man tasted the other’s sweat, they could not press on each other. Peter was laughing now, but careful not to relent. Tandor, always the first to anger, yelled loudly and intensified his attacks concentrating fiercely on striking in erratic patters to no avail; Peter was God damned fast.
The roof of old building heaved and let loose some of its weight on the combatants below. Curt-Za-har, or Wolf mother shielded her cub from flying debris and the cub shook feverishly. She was about to begin chastising herself for being so fool-hearty and dragging her cub to his doom. She knew better. She had known what man was, and hoped to cut fear of them into her cub, and it worked. Curt-Za-har searched the others for signs of retreat with hackles exploding and teeth wet with anticipation of a fight, if called to do so. The other wolves held and anxiously looked for the same sign. The human’s anger was too much and in too small a space. Other beasts fled, but they could not, not yet.
More shots rang out, and more quaking occurred for what passed for a lifetime to many of the creatures in the court that day. Finally, Wolf Arzh was seen running back to where Curt-Za-har and the others were. They stood century illuminated by a shard of red sunlight that bore through the ruins unashamed. “Go, mothers and sweepers first. First line biters remain with me, and assist Rah-zill as needed and until we go. This place will bury all who remain, and not too soon if you ask me. Now fucking move!” Howled Wolf Arzh, the beast lord to his pack nation. He saw Curt-Za-har breathe a sigh of relief, and knew he’d made the right call. He turned and motioned to the First line to make a parameter that would close in like a lasso. Curt-Za-har did not hesitate long, she bit up her cub in her strong jaws and carried him like lightning from the court-now-arena; she broke her run for a moment to steal a glance back at Wolf Arzh, he was so strong and lived through so much, but knew this could be her last time seeing him. She bounded out of the building avoiding the jam caused by those escaping behind her.
Norwalk’s hatchet missed for a breath, but that was all Peter needed. As the blade bit the column, Peter dropped and drove his elbow into Norwalk’s exposed rib and sent him whirling and tumbling backwards. Tandor swept, was blocked, stabbed, was deflected, kicked. Punched at, driven, wracked and finally was able to catch Peter with an upward guided elbow, and a bashing back of Peter’s knee. Peter withdrew, and so had Tandor but to aid Norwalk who had been set about by a dozen or more wolves. Peter reloaded the fading automatic pistol. Tandor couldn’t make out what was happening to Norwalk as he made his way to him, but could tell he was still fighting. Norwalk had become tortious-like as he rang kicks and hatchet blows at any wolves making contact. The bodies were beginning to pile around him, but he was tiring quickly as well. Tandor cut two of the wolves’ throats in one arcing motion with his large straight knife, and shot a hole directly through another clearing an opening for Norwalk to sit up, tighten, and roll out of the chaos. Both men backed away from the wolves showering arrows and rifle bullets into the quickly growing mass of wolf carcass. They heard Peter’s scream, and turned their attention to him again. Behind them, Wolf Arzh lay on top of his soldiers, last to die of his First line attackers. His tongue hung slack out of his mouth as the blood pooled and joined his brothers’.
Peter leapt back hard and fast as Norwalk and Tandor slammed forward. Two savagely large silverbacks dropped between the brothers and Peter. The gorillas’ harsh teeth were spraying saliva and blood. They stood arms raised and pounding the ground murderously, and screaming in the loudest voices any man had ever heard and lived to speak of. Tandor was on one silverback, driving his blade over and over into the ape’s chest and face. Norwalk unloaded his six-shooter into the face of the other guard from Ape House. Brain matter, and blood soaked everything within the immediate line of sight. As the two brothers searched with tendons coiled like primed springs through the slathering of wet muscle and strewn sinew, they made the decision to break. Peter had gone, and that was clear to both. The building was going to come down within moments, and there was not a friend among them. Something from deep below the old building exploded, and caused the center of the court to dent inward. The two brothers sprinted out of the hall through shattered walls, maiming and rending any creature under the sun that stood in their path. The valley was not quiet for weeks after the incident. Scavengers from all points of the pike made their way toward the site for weeks. For weeks, there was a cub who would not leave his cave, nor take his mother’s milk. For weeks, there was a Wolf who howled in anger, howled in pain and shame, and howled deeply out of sadness for the one she knew did his duty before being here with her and his son.
-Rob Perez 3/26/2013
1:04pm (3,560 notes)