Tornado Trailer Park (part 4)
Groll wondered vaguely why this human was still alive. The great ape, a proud member of The Obsidian Brigade, had been watching the bearded man rummage through the remains of the trailer home that had come crashing down from Great Wall a few hours ago. From the way he carried himself, Groll figured that this man must be a newcomer to The Eye. He was focused only on scavenging as much as he could from his shattered domicile and was ignoring the gathering of raccoons that was taking place all around him. Groll wondered if he would live long enough to learn from his mistake.
The great ape wedged his bulk between the twisted remains of a dishwasher and the wing of an old airplane and examined the wound on his leg. Twin fang marks, the punctures separated by three inches of swollen flesh, marred his calf. Groll could already feel the poison seeping into his system, coursing through his veins and making his reactions sluggish, and he knew he didn't have much longer to live. His only consolations were that he had killed the Reptilian who had attacked him and that he may still have time to warn the others that the Slithering Host had finally awakened.
That is, if the human who now stood pissing into the cracked remnants of a toilet wasn't consumed by a horde of raccoons first.
Groll readied his weapons--a large golden hammer and a glittering, silver battleaxe--and prepared to charge the gathering horde. If he was lucky they would scatter at the sight of him and, hopefully, the hapless human wouldn't do anything stupid in the meantime. Testing his weight on his wounded leg and preparing to spring, Groll didn't hear the cloaked figure slide up and uncoil behind him.
A thick, scaled arm closed around Groll's throat, wrapping bonelessly around his neck and pulling him backwards with alarming strength. The ape couldn't make a sound as he felt cold steel slide into his left side, serrated teeth biting into his ribcage. The blade sawed back out of his flesh and was immediately plunged back in, its tip entering his heart and stopping it immediately. The silver-backed warrior's last thoughts were of his own dishonorable failure and that the human who was now casually flipping through a magazine would be lucky if the raccoons arrayed around him bit him to death.
Then he would be spared the fate that was about fall upon The Eye.
“Is it dead?”
Vipis turned at the susurration of voices that came from behind him, wiping the blood of the ape off his blade with his cloak. Below him, nestled on a writhing throne of snakes, lounged Melissent. The assassin didn't care for the shaman, but she did serve her purpose.
“Of course,” he hissed at her, his tongue darting out and tasting his victims blood that still hung in the air. “Did you doubt me?”
“He seemed more than a match for your assistant,” came her cool reply. With a wave of her hand the writhing throne dissipated, the thousands of snakes that had formed it disappearing into a multitude of cracks and crannies, until it was just the two of them. She slithered up until she was swaying gently next to Vipis, the top of her diamond pattern head a full foot above his own, and looked down on the corpse of the armored ape.
“Fissig was a fool. He should never have partaken of that potion you gave him. It made him overconfident.”
“The brew I gave him was only to give him a clarity of vision,” Melissent folded over to better examine the corpse. Vipis observed that she had added a few more golden rings to her long tapering tail. It seemed that Melissent's star was on the rise.
“There is a human nearby,” she said, her gaze not moving from sightless eyes of the ape. Her bejeweled hand caressed its slack face. “My thousand eyes can see him. He is in danger.”
“Yes. Those raccoons are going to eat well today. I may gather a few up to bring back to the nest. They taste better when they've recently fed on flesh.”
“They will not be feasting on this one,” the shaman said vaguely. One of the things Vipis hated most about shamans were the constant tone they had that made it seem as if they knew more than anyone else. He had long suspected that it was all for show. “My eyes see an aura around this one. He is an agent of change, though we can not see if it is for good or ill.”
“Then best to kill him now,” Vipis hated change. He was already moving, his knife gripped in his hand, when he felt Melissent's hand grip his shoulder.
“Oh no. This one must live. Agents of change, no matter what the end result of their actions, always bring chaos. And right now, chaos is exactly what The Host needs.”
Clem hated raccoons more than anything. Terrible little bastards with greedy little hands and vicious, mean little eyes. And bold, too. The one standing in front of him, almost seeming to glare at him, was about to get a boot in the face if it didn't mosey on along in a minute and Clem was in a kicking mood.