Thursday, December 31, 2015

Flash Fiction #179 --Escaping Somewhere Else, Part 14: Night

The creature dashed towards us, a dark shape darting past walls and moving so quickly I couldn't get a clear look at him.  I heard shouts of shock and dismay from the others.  Worse, Edmond suddenly tore himself free of my arms and ran straight towards it, brave little guy!  I shouted in fear and leapt forward to try and stop him, but he slid away from me.                                                                                                                                       
And then the gigantic cat came fully into view.
"Lord Snow!"
"Mark!  Praise the Goddess!  And Edmond!"
The huge snow leopard skidded to a stop, head-butted with the tiny Edmond, and even purred.  He looked like he'd seen some hard times.  His fur was covered in mud and dirt, and maybe some blood.  He had lost a lot of weight, too.  He panted a bit, even though he hadn't run far.
I crossed to them, mostly to show the others that he was safe.  I was glad to see him.
"We didn't think you had made it this way," I said, putting a hand on his shoulder.  The others were still keeping back.  I didn't blame them. "We looked when we first came through, but you were no where around."
"There was some sort of time dilation, I guess. We tried to wait to see if any of you would come through, but we were attacked within a few moments.  Lord Cayman was captured.  I tried to follow them, but they were rather too intent on killing me.   I wandered around, looking for help for a while.  There are a lot of unfriendly creatures in this reality!  Then I sensed that you were near and came looking, but you disappeared, too."
"Sorry.  We were underground."
"In an over sized mouse hole," Edmond said with a snarl of disgust.  "And then they blew part of it up!  These people are crazy - but they are friends.  Have you seen Maggie and Davis?"
"No, though I think they might be near," he said, lifting his head to look around again.  "I had a feel for them right before the rest of you popped up.  I don't think they're very far away.  I don't like that someone has taken Lord Cayman, though.  And Darman has come through, too, with dozens of his cursed were-creatures."
I looked around at the others who were politely and quietly listening.  I could see the worry in Beth's face.   They'd abandoned and even partially destroyed their only shelter.  The enemy had found it and there was no going back.  If I didn't help them. . . .
"Lord Snow, this is Beth.  She helped me and I promised to do my best to see her to safety."
"Ah," the cat said with a barely concealed little growl.  "That does complicate matters.  If only Darman hadn't put a guard on the door back to Elsewhere --"
"There's a door back?" I said, startled and hopeful.
"Yes."  Lord Snow glanced around, his head up and his nose sniffing.  "But even going close to it is dangerous.  Darman is in the area and he expects you to go there.  You didn't sense it?  You've been heading in the wrong direction, I think."
"I had no idea."  I lifted my hand and tried to feel out something -- but I still didn't sense anything.  "I think I'm too new to the magic stuff."
"I hadn't considered that possiblity," he said.  He sat down and looked like he really wanted to rest but knew  he was going to move soon.
"Some of the locals were leading us to another door.  Why didn't they know about this one?"
"It's new.  Darman created it," Lord Snow said.  "We have to get to Lord Cayman.  I am obliged to see him to safety, you know.  And I would think you --"  But he stopped there.
I gave a nod.  "I'll help you.  But I also have to help these others.  And the ones with Maggie and Davis.  I cannot just abandon them."
"Oh, of course not," he said and seemed to understand suddenly.  "So we see them to safety first and then find a way to rescue Lord Cayman."
That would suit me.  "We need to move quickly, then, and find the others."
I sounded as though I knew what was doing.  Amazing.
Lord Snow had an idea of which way to go.  Beth looked at me, looked at the two cats walking away, and back at me again.  "You have odd friends," she said.  I looked over at Harvey and then back at her, one eyebrow raised. She sighed.  "Well, okay, maybe not that strange."
I noticed that Harvey was keeping an eye on Lord Snow.  I guessed maybe giant rabbits and big cats didn't get along so well, but so far everything seemed calm enough. 
"Do you know where my -- where Lord Cayman is?" I asked as we started to walk away.
"They took him up to that damned floating city," the cat growled.  "We're going to have a hard time getting there, but I know we'll figure something out."
"We've been living like mice," Edmond said with a sigh as he looked upwards.  "I suppose we're going to take up living like birds next."
"If I could grow wings, I'd already have flown up there," Lord Snow said.  "He saved my life when we came through.    And he's my link back to my true place.  I have my honor and my duty, just like you, Mark."
Since I was still having trouble with the idea of my honor and duty, I just nodded and glanced up at the sky.
Bad timing.  That was when the werewolves attacked.  They howled, cats yowled and the overgrown rabbit -- well he hopped up and down a lot.  This, I thought, was not going to go well.

To Be continued. . . .

996 Words

Friday, December 25, 2015

Flash Fiction #178 --Escaping Somewhere Else, Part 13: Night

Happy Holidays from Edmond

The rock around me groaned and I held my breath, waiting for everything to fall apart.  I couldn't breathe for the fear of it.  I watched for cracks while the sound echoed around us, a deep throbbing that faded slowly.
I looked at Beth. She smiled.
"Well good. That worked."
"Worked?" I repeated.  I feared to move still.
"The explosives sealing off parts of the passages - ah.  I suppose I should have warned you about that first?"
"Might have been a good idea," Edmond said.  His ears were still back and his fur and tail fluffed out a bit more than usual.  "Can we leave this overgrown mouse hole now?  Before you do anything else crazy?"
"Yeah, time to go," she agreed.  Beth looked around the area with a shake of her head, though.  "This has been my home for a long time, you know.  I want something better -- but what if we can't find it? What if his was the best place?"
"I can't answer that for you," I said and stood.  "All I can say is that I know there are better places out there  and I'm going to get myself back to them.  You and your friends can come along."
She blinked and then smiled again.  "Yes, I think that would be nice."
They had no trouble getting out of the 'mouse hole' as Harvey lead the way.  They came out in the shadow of a building, the sun just starting to go down.  That gave us a wide view through and nothing seemed to be moving.  My heart dropped a little. I had wanted to find Maggie, Davis and the others the moment we appeared.  I wanted to believe that the others were all right.
"Quiet night," Beth said and looked around with some worry.  "I don't know if that's good, or if it's just that everyone smart has taken to cover."
"I have never been accused of smart.  I suppose you better know that now."  I found myself stretching as though I had been cramped in the caves.  Edmond did the same and his tail was up and his ears forward.  He was a much happier cat now that we were out in the open.  I didn't say anything about the others, but I hoped Edmond could find them -- and without going off on his own, either.  They couldn't be too far, could they?"
"What now?" Beth asked.  She looked nervously around.
I guess that mean I was now in charge. 
"Edmond?  Any idea of where the others might be?" I finally asked.
"Not far," he said and seemed to mean those words.   "This way."
Edmond started away.  I watched him for a moment while wondering how I could put so much trust into a cat.  I glanced at Beth and she looked at me, one eyebrow raised.  The others were gathered behind us, waiting.
"Sometimes you just have to trust the cat," I said with a sigh.
So we followed him.
The shadows were already darker.  I listened for the sound of biters and wondered what we'd do if they attacked again.  There was my ability to send them flying if it got dangerous, but I didn't like to rely on that too much.  I didn't understand it, and I had seen how it could fail.
Edmond was not going very fast.   I took that as a good sign and hoped it didn't mean that he really didn't know where to go.  I scanned the horizon a head of him and once I saw something move, but it wasn't large enough to be the group we wanted to find.  I watched it though.  Whatever the creature was, it moved from shadow to shadow, slinking closer to us.  Not exactly hiding, but not out in the open, either.
"There's something --" Beth began.
"I've been watching.  It hasn't leapt to attack us, yet, so I'm not going to go look for trouble."
"Yeah.  Good idea," she said.  She sounded nervous.
"You've been out here before and especially at night," I said.  "Is there something I should know about this time?"
"No, no.  Just -- I always stayed close to home, you know.  It was scary enough to find myself here, but going out there and seeing all the bad things happening -- I made my safe place and I brought in anyone who helped me."  She looked back and shook her head.  "But I had never meant to live there forever.  Thank you."
"I wish I could say we are safe, that I can protect you and everyone --"
"We have a problem," Edmond said, right on cue.  "We have a big problem.  I can't find any hint of the others at all.  Nothing.  They can't be so far away that I can't find Maggie, you know.  Even if . . . Even if something happened to her, I could still find her!"
Edmond sounded panicked.  I picked him up, trying to calm my own fear.  "We got blown quite a ways, Edmond.  And who knows that that wind did out here.  It might still be interfering with what you normally sense.
"Maybe," he admitted, his voice muffled as he buried his head in my jacket.  "I want to go home."
The poor guy had never sounded so forlorn before.  "I'll get us there,"I said and made it as much a promise as I could.  "We'll find the door --"
"Not without Maggie!" he said.  He pulled his head out so fast that he hit my chin before I could pull back.  "We aren't going without Maggie and Davis!"
"No, we aren't," I said and that was a better promise.  I looked at Beth and smiled.  "That doesn't mean I won't send you and your people through first chance we get, though."
"Thank you," she said.  I could tell she wasn't certain what she wanted though.
And the creature was coming closer.  Of course it was.  I wasn't even surprised when it gave a loud roar and rushed at us.

To Be Continued. . .

999 Words