Friday, June 27, 2008

Cheap Tricks (9)

[still need to edit but posting now for sleep]

His pounding feet were the flattest beat ever and it seemed as if his thundering footfalls would splinter his shins asunder. Of course he was no longer a physical being and this was the last thing on his mind.

It was desperation that had taken him and had he been in a calmer state of mind, Cheap may have realized it was this girl's resemblance to Jel that had him following her.

Damn damn damn damn shit they had nearly cut him off. No sign now looking back, but what happened? were they still stalking or were they done with this? It seemed like they'd been really intent upon this quarry, made sure nothing would be noticed till the last minute.

They'd been so focussed the usually-observant harpy-bitches had failed to notice the inconspicuous ex-still-junkie on the street corner.

Who paid attention to human refuse better than they?

Salvagers of the lingering ever-presence that seemed to be the afterlife, their ways of valuing people were different from those of most of the living--and dead. To these creatures, you were a piece of meat. You were juicy and delicious food or you were dried up and unappetizing. Cheap must have been the latter.

Accosting the unwitting net-carriers who were also the victims of the succubi, he'd nearly gotten himself ensnared. One was either living or a goner, the others had responded to him in unexpected ways.

The lady had attacked rather than flee; the man had come to help, and the two in concert had chased him off, hurling curses. Despite the many things he'd seen during and after his life, Cheap felt it all to be too surreal. Like something out of an unusual and even poorly done movie.

It was of these two and their aggressive pursuit that had nearly been curtains for him--surprising from a slightly older woman and a business-looking-man. They had allowed the narc-succubus to track and head off Cheap, and it was only her counterpart's distraction with the girl that had allowed him to escape with his soul.

The touch of that creature had been cold and black, but Cheap had hit back without trying. He imagined the feelings that his touch conveyed must have been desperate and longing, entirely unappetizing and even harmful to a leach-like being. He was far too poisoned by addiction for even a twisted nightmare to feed off of, but Cheap was happier to be free and not overly concerned with analyzing the state of his apparently immortal soul..

The woman, if she could be called that, had become so nightmarish in her rage that it was not
possible for him to forget the image of her snarling, predatory face and eyes practically glowing with rage. They burned themselves into his vision.

But Cheap's mind was saying things like: just run, forget the girl, they probly already got her, the other one's out there. Reluctantly his feet changed direction of their own volition, ignoring his thoughts entirely and overriding his natural flight response for reasons he couldn't have given.

The part of his thoughts he didn't hear was: oh god, it's just like Jel and I won't let that happen again. This thought was lurking somewhere in his psyche; it had been waiting for a moment to act, and a girl with a superficial resemblance to his longtime girlfriend triggered it. She looked like Jel from behind, but he didn't realize this is why he was so concerned.

Cheap, you're getting too gold-hearted for your own good, he told himself.

Next block...she was headed for the school. If he could catch up, lure her away...

And suddenly;y, before he could formulate a plan or thing anything through rationally, he could feel her confusion, plain as day. He was halfway to the campus and she was ahead still, in sight, the succubus seeming to lag behind, but something she was doping was even affecting cheap.

Perimeter: stay away circle around yell for her.

As that vicious thing neared her, he screamed "No!" and this got the attention of both. It wasn't enough: he charged it. This was the last thing it'd expected: like a cougar, an thing acting nothing like prey could confuse and even frighten it simply by doing something stupid.

It was stupid, as she eventually brought her claws to bear. They weren't things you could see, they were things you could feel: hear them emerging from their sheaths, slicing the air.

Being poisoned wasn't going to help him with the huntress.

New plan: charge the girl! The huntress was again taken aback by this changed of tactic, almost amused by its new quarry's quirks.

It looked dismayed, however, when the man chased the girl away, and it followed, screeching loudly.

"RUN!" he yelled at the dazed and suddenly startled girl.

Cheap didn't look back until he saw the campus police headquarters far ahead--the police being a sight that he never welcome. Instinctively, he began acting more casually and trying not to look like a criminal.

She was screaming for help as she passed the living, but they didn't or wouldn't hear. Cheap hoped the girl would keep running, but she fell.

Not good. They couldn't have run far enough yet, and there was nothing else they could do.

"Let me help you up" as he approached.

"Someone is after me!"

"I know." Then, "Relax, aight?"

"Let me go."

"Keep moving, we can talk about what just happened."

"You mean the part where you chased me like a psycho?!"

"That ain't it. I'm saving your ass. You don't got a reason to, you gotta trust me."

"Why don't I just go to the police?"

"Hey, maybe you didn't notice that nobody else is helping you. You think it's any different with the police?"

"Well--" and Cheap knew he'd won the argument.

"Look, we're both in deep shit if we don't run now."

That horrific screech sounded again.

"What the hell is that?" the girl asked.

"Something bad that wants to eat us, so run!"

They ran like hell.

1 comment:

Paul Bernard said...

I'm sorry to say I have not read the earlier parts to this story but I am intrigued.
I'm guessing it's vampire fiction but interestingly the style of writing is quite Cyberpunk.
I will endeavour to read the whole story...