Tales of a Blood Earth is a serial flash fiction series that chronicles tales of the new world. While these pieces are set in the “Blood Skies” universe, they won’t actually have any direct connection to the novels. (Or will they…?)
Get get caught up on previous installments here.
Rooke stood up.
“Kill it!” Frost shouted.
“No!” Gath screamed. He positioned himself between Frost and the girl, the dead girl, who was covered in frost crystals as well as her own blood. Her eyes had become vacant ice pools. The blood that ran from her open wounds congealed and thickened even before it left her body, so that it stuck to her bluish skin like black syrup.
“God damn it, Gath, move!”
“Wynd!” Gath shouted. “Don’t shoot!”
Everyone stopped. It was as if they were all frozen in a photograph.
Gath’s skin was ice cold even though he was covered in sweat. His arms trembled with fear and rage. His spirit hung barely tethered to the edge of his consciousness, ready to push away and attack anyone, everyone, at a moment’s notice.
Rooke, the dead girl, just stood there and watched them.
Once Gath was sure that neither Frost nor Wynd was going to open fire, he turned around. He slowly and steadily walked towards the girl.
She has what we need. If I can get it out of her, it will all be over. The Revengers, Black Scar…all of it.
“Please,” he said in a near whisper to the girl, the avatar, whatever she was now. “Please, I need your help…”
She didn’t move. Her expression remained blank.
Gath walked up to her, his hands unsteady, his feet turned to the side so he could launch into a run if he had to. She was so cold..he felt the heat escaping her body even from a few feet away, an intense chill so heavy that approaching her was like passing through a physical barrier. His spirit tensed, coiled, readied herself to strike at the first sign of danger.
He reached out his hand. The girl, Rooke, quietly walked up to him. She stood close by, as if ready to follow. Gath looked at Frost expectantly. Frost, for his part, looked completely baffled.
“Wynd,” he said. “Take the point.”
Wynd backed away cautiously from Gath and Rooke. She kept her HK94 trained on the dead girl even as she moved backwards up the tunnel. Her dark eyes were filled with terror, and the moment she moved next to Frost Wynd turned and headed up the ice tunnel, back the way they’d came.
“Rooke,” Gath said cautiously.
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Crezlock.”
“Shut up, Frost!” Gath barked.
Funny how people change in a crisis, he thought. Frost’s very presence had scared the hell out of Gath just an hour earlier. Now Frost would be lucky if Gath’s spirit didn’t eviscerate him before the night was done.
“Rooke,” he repeated, speaking as if to a young child. “Listen, dear, if you can understand me, I need you to do something for me. There’s something I need to get from you so that you can rest, okay? But in order for us to do that…you have to come with us. I just need you to follow me.”
Her expression didn’t change. Her behavior was like that of a zombie, but Gath had never heard of nor seen a zombie that wasn’t hostile.
What she was now — what those memories of the White Mother’s old life had done to Rooke — was a mystery to Gath.
She followed him. Gath wasn’t sure what actually compelled her, and he was still suspicious that she intended to do them harm, but as the warlock slowly made his way back up the ice corridor she followed him. Each step was agonizingly slow as they walked up the sloped passage.
“Holy shit,” was all Frost could add. Gath didn’t comment, but ushered Frost to move on ahead.
They re-entered the vampire hall, that stretch of tunnel lined with undead frozen in brutal poses on the other side of the ice. Wynd waited for them where the corridor sloped up again and led back to the surface, where Korva and the other Revengers waited.
Gath walked, and Rooke followed. Frost and Wynd started towards the surface.
Something was wrong. Gath couldn’t put his finger on exactly what it was. He wiped sweat from his brow. More sweat dripped down his wrist, and he realized his shirt was pasted to his chest. He also could no longer see his breath in the air.
The air had grown hot. Water rolled down the thinning ice walls in rapid streams. Gath heard dripping, and he tasted glacial salt on the subterranean breeze.
Oh, God, no.
Behind the melting ice, wide-fanged mouths slowly started to move. Massive talons shifted and flexed. Undead muscles pushed against the weakened slush in which they’d been encased. Cracks appeared in the ice walls in the form of jagged lines.
The ice was melting, and the vampires were waking up.
And Rooke was laughing.
(to be continued…)
Copyright © 2011 Steven Montano