II, Issue #7 Tick Tick Boom

The door, having looked like an impregnable force only a short time ago, was now being ripped down the center. The visceral black mass looked as though it had formed an efficient saw and was now slicing through the door.

Mick looked up from the overturned table to see what the new, twisting sound was that was retching in their ears had been. he ducked back down, looking to Edgar, “it’s turning its hands into steel cutters. I’m starting to get the impression that our creator doesn’t like us very much.”

Edgar, still ducking, looked over to Mick with a savvy kind of grin on his face. “It’s all good,” he said showing the tripwire, “we have something better.”

One final shredding sound and the door ceased it’s strain. The mass crept into the room at an idle pace. Edgar peaked just above the table and sank back down. “We got this,” Edgar said confidently, that same grin upon his face like a magician with all the right cards up his sleeve (“…an for my final trick ladies and gentlemen…”).

Crouched behind the table, Mick held his ears while Edgar held the wire tight. Having wrapped it around his hand and looking as though he was shouldering the neck of a garbage bag, he pivoted his hips, giving a hard jerk.

They heard a precise, metal on metal pop, but nothing happened.  Edgar’s grin faded fast.

There was no delayed reaction; there was only the moment of silence, like being in front of an authoritarian figure when you’re a child after you ran out of excuses and people to blame. You know you messed up, but you won’t have time to explain yourself before they start drilling into you with lectures. Only this time, words were the least of their issues.

“The creator is testing us, right?” Mick asked.

Edgar glanced over to Mick, who looked as though he wanted nothing more than affirmation. “Yeah, that’s what Herald told us,” Edgar said.

Mick pondered a moment, “well, if we’re gonna die, might as well do it in style.” Edgar looked indifferent to such a suggestion, but having considered all the other crazy things that have happened in the past, whatever gears had been turning in Mick’s head may not have been so awful.

The elephant in the room could be felt, lumbering over to the corner where it had heard the pull pin making contact with the bullet (“…Sorry, folks. Show’s over…”).

While the black mass lumbered to the corner, investigating the noise, Mick vaulted over the table, making several bounding paces forward, and yelled, “Hey, Norman!”

The black mass shifted around as fast as it had moved down the hallway, moving as quick as a muscle spasm. Mick had palmed one of the devices and shoved it into what he thought was the creature’s stomach.

“RUN,” he yelled, dodging an unfocused swing from one of the creature’s arms while the other, more focused arm was trying to sort out what had been placed in its tar-like gut.

Edgar vaulted over the table as well, ripped his own device from the wall, and was lashed up along with Mick when trying to get through the serrated door. The creature, its twin pupils glistening, turned back to the door and began pushing back through.

Mick and Edgar saw no reason to continue down the darkened hallway. One sensory-heightened look into the darkness with nothing more than their penlights and other inanimate shadows could be seen. Mick’s worried mind had thought there were more creatures of Norman’s type, stalking all along the hallways and awaiting a meal or two; Edgar however, had realize that the hallway had simply collapsed in on itself.

With little time to think, much less scan any of the other rooms for things of use, the two young men scrambled back down the hallway, hoping that Norman, the black mass, was the only thing to be fearful of.

As they made it to the end, they heard another loud thump, followed by a low grumbling noise. They turned to see Norman, fumbling out of the serrated door, apparently giving him more trouble than the boy had planned.

Mick elbowed Edgar, “Let’s hope he’s the big dumb monster we think he is, or else my plan may not work. Edgar looked confused, “What plan?”

Mick was preoccupied with watching the dark hallway; he signaled Edgar to pay attention with a point of his finger. Edgar saw the black mass yanking at something. No sooner than Edgar had shined his light, seeing a thin, silvery line running back into the room . . .

 

 

A thunderous shock wave erupted in Mick and Edgar’s eardrums, knocking them to their backs as a blast momentarily illuminated the length of the hallway. Although it was  brief, it quickly covered everything in a cloud of dust.

Edgar, hesitant at first to even try and move, rose to his elbows. His back was damp from the thin sheet of water that had coated the hallway floor. He looked over to Mick, who only turned his head wincing his eyes; his nose had a single stream of blood coming from it and another stream was running from each ear. Edgar assumed he looked about the same.

Mick lifted just his head from the floor, seeing twigs of blown door frames and wall panels that housed small flames from where the device had went off. “That —-plan,” he said, coughing to catch his breath and letting his head fall back into the water.

The black mass seemed to have vanished out of thin air. “He’s gone,” Edgar said unbelieving that the bombs had even worked. Any faith he had had before was extinguished once the first device had been a misfire.

“Woohoo,” Mick said, twirling his finger about on a whim. His enthusiasm matched that of a bored child.

Edgar noticed something else moving down the hallway. He sat up as swift as his body would allow after such a shockwave, shining his penlight; it flickered after having been dropped in on the watery floor, blinking like a strobe.

What it illuminated looked like a white ball that was stricken with irritated scarlet veins. Edgar looked closer as it rolled nearer, veering slightly until it gently struck a wall, spinning round to reveal two dagger shaped pupils inside a single, acid-green iris.

It seemed Norman’s eye was the only thing that survived the explosion.

“Great plan,” Edgar said, letting his own head drop into the water. The two young men laid silent for a moment, reveling in the small victory before one of them spoke up again.

“Maybe next time,” Edgar suggested, pausing for breaths, “try and warn someone–before setting off a bomb—in a hospital.”

Mick gave a chuckle. “I’ll do my best,” he said, popping Edgar on the shoulder. “Promise.”

Although the two young men were bleeding, covered in dust on their front sides, dampened with water on their backs,  and still had a droning ring in their ears, they were both smiling.

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