Throwing the branches and brush he’d used to disguise his bike to the side, Vincent Tassin unscrewed the top of the gas can and filled his tank. He cursed the time it was taking, but held his hands steady. The gasoline was precious, and he couldn’t afford to waste it.
That done, he dug into his saddlebags and refilled his bandolier, and reloaded the magazine he’d used on the orcs last night. He pushed the bike onto the road, stomped the kick start lever, the engine roared to life, and he sped down the road.
He didn’t bother with his helmet, there wasn’t time at this stage. The wind roared in his ears as he pushed the engine as fast as it would go, getting well over one hundred miles per hour. At this speed he might catch them before they got to the town. What he’d do if he caught them before he had the town guards to help, he had no idea. There was a bit of dynamite in his saddlebags, but that would be scant help against a horde so large. At this speed he couldn’t take the risk of digging in his pack for it anyway.
Vincent didn’t manage to catch them before they got to town. As he approached he saw that the gate was blown open, rammed through with some huge war wagon, and there was a collection of vehicles around the gate, abandoned as their occupants ran in to ravage the town. He spied one in particular that had a ramp going up over the cab. The ramp was down, touching the ground, and the top was pointed to the clear, blue sky.
Kicking himself for how insane this plan was, he maintained speed and hit the ramp, almost tipping with the impact. Up he traveled, and launched off the top, flying wholesale over the wall into the town proper. As he flew he saw an orc fighting atop the wall with a guard, and drew his scattergun. He fired, peppering the thing with buckshot, giving the guard the opportunity he needed to strike out with his sword and separate the beast’s head from its shoulders.
It was at this point Vincent realized he was not, in fact, going to stick his landing.
The ground rose up to meet him, the tires connected, and the bike slipped from under him, sending him flying. He tucked into a ball to protect his head, and went skidding across the pavement. By some miracle he didn’t hit a tree or building, and got to his feet, shaking the dizziness from his head. He looked for his bike, and saw the machine in a mangled heap further on up the road.
There was no time to mourn his beloved bike, as an orc saw him rise and ran at him, a war cry on its green, monstrous lips. Tusks flashed along with steel in the midday sun, and Vincent again found himself on the ground as he dropped to dodge the swipe aimed to cut him in half. As he landed, he struck with his foot, catching the creature in the knee and snapping it backward into an unnatural angle. As it fell he found his feet again, drew his machete, and split the thing’s skull with arm numbing force.
The machete stuck fast, and Vincent abandoned it. No other orcs had seen him yet, so he broke his scattergun and reloaded it. He pulled his sidearm as well, this battle was engulfing the entire town. Several buildings were on fire, and as he came back to reality from the tightened focus of battle he could hear screams.
A woman’s screams.
He snapped his head around, got his bearings, and ran off towards Dee’s General Store. If there was one person in this godforsaken hole he wanted to save, it was her. As he rounded the corner he heard what sounded like a canon go off, and saw two orcs go flying from the porch of Dee’s. As he approached he checked to make sure they wouldn’t be getting up again, and turned to see a vision that made his heart clench.
It was Dee, her fiery hair loose and disheveled, holding an elephant gun that was almost as big as she was. She was breathing heavy, bosom heaving under her modest blouse, and her eyes lit up as she recognized him.
“Vincent!” she cried, as a shadow loomed up behind her.
“Down!” he screamed in reply, and she didn’t question him. She dropped to the floor, and he raised his sidearm, letting off two quick shots. The shadow jerked with the impact, and fell over. His aim had been true, and he sighed in relief. Dee scrambled to her feet and reloaded, almost dropping the shells from her shaking hands.
Vincent ran inside, taking her by the shoulders. “Are you okay?” he asked, eyes scanning her for cuts or broken bones.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded, saying, “I’m fine. You came back…”
“I saw this mob coming. Couldn’t let you all handle it alone.”
“We have to get to the guardhouse. That’s where they’ll have the children and elders.”
She nodded again, taking a firmer grip on her gun. “This way,” she said, and ran off out the back door of the store. She led him down several alleys, and he dispatched the orcs they met along the way.
They came to a miniature fortress in the town, with concrete walls and barbed wire festooned across every available surface. There were concrete barriers set up so that war wagons couldn’t break down the front of the building. Not to be deterred by this, the orcs had massed in front of it, holding a stripped tree trunk they were using as a battering ram. The door was steel, but it wouldn’t hold forever. Vincent could already see the cracks in the concrete wall around the hinges. They’d be through any minute.
Thinking fast, he grabbed Dee and dragged her back into the alley before they were seen. She looked confused, and was about to speak, but he put a finger to her mouth before she could.
“Shh…” he whispered. “Here’s the plan.” He passed her his bandolier of shotgun shells. “Take this. Give me covering fire. I’m going to try and clear them out. There aren’t more than ten or fifteen. We can handle them, but I need you to focus, and we need to hit them hard. You understand?”
Dee wavered for a moment, but took the bandolier. She put it on across her chest, as he’d been wearing it, and nodded at him. She wasn’t shaking anymore.
“Good,” he said. “Now, let’s go. You hit them first, and I’ll distract them while you reload. But take out as many as you can, okay?”
She nodded again, and he turned and crept to the opening of the alley. Looking around, he saw that they hadn’t been noticed, and he turned to Dee and nodded, then ran off to the right, out of her line of fire, staying low. She came around the corner, aimed, and unloaded both barrels into the backs of the massed orcs. One fell, a fist sized hole opening in his torso, spraying blood and meat as it gurgled its last.
Vincent popped up from behind the concrete barrier he’d slid behind and took aim. His .45 thundered as he dropped two more and fell back behind the barricade. By now the orcs had realized they were under attack, and were trying to find them. Vincent crept to another barrier, Dee reloaded, and came around the corner to fire again.
This time she pulled one trigger at a time, and managed to get two of them in their confusion. As she reloaded, Vincent rose again and fired twice, taking two more. The orcs scattered, and Vincent reloaded.
When he arose a third time, he walked with measured steps out of cover. Like a scion of justice he strode towards them, his giant handgun crashing like the hammer of the gods upon the anvil of judgment. Wherever he pointed, an orc fell, blood and viscera spraying from the exit wounds. There was a look on his face like that of the demons from hell themselves, and Dee froze as she watched him go about his murderous work.
To her he looked like an avenging angel, come to reap bloody vengeance for the lives these creatures had taken today. He stood tall, walking with purpose, lightning flashing from his hand like Zeus himself. The orcs were routed, but none escaped. His righteous anger was all encompassing, and he slew without mercy.
At last all the orcs were lying in pools of their own blood, dead or dying, and Vincent realized he’d been screaming his wife’s name, over and over again. He stopped himself, standing in the road, gasping like he’d just run a marathon. The door to the guardhouse creaked open, and he turned on his heel, pointing his .45 at it without a waver. When he saw the face of the guard who’d welcomed him into town, he started and lowered his gun, seeming almost ashamed.
The hard face in the door melted into joy, tinged with a bit of horror. The guard watched Dee run over with wonder, not believing that these two alone had come to their rescue. Vincent looked over the lone defender’s shoulder and saw that the room behind was filled with children and the elderly, and cursed himself for being a damned fool.
Coming back here was a bad idea, and I knew it, he thought.
The guard left the doorway and asked, “Just the two of you?”
“Yes, Jeffrey,” Dee responded, reloading her gun. “How’s everybody in there?”
“They’re fine. Scared to death, but not hurt,” Jeffrey replied.
“Good,” Vincent grunted. “Can we get them out of there to someplace safe?”
Jeffrey barked a short laugh. “Brother, this is safe. Safest place in town. If they’re not safe here then they’re not safe anywhere.”
“Then they’re not safe anywhere,” Vincent hissed at him. “We have to get these people out of here. This town is done.” He motioned behind him to the town proper, where screams, harsh laughs, and gunfire could still be heard. “We can’t defeat a horde this big. We have to run. Now where can we go?”
Jeffrey looked down, thinking. His brows knit, and he came up at last, saying, “Nowhere they can’t follow us, especially as slow as we’ll be traveling. We stand here or…”
Vincent nodded. “’Or,’” he said, mocking the guard. His eyes widened and he hissed with a sharp intake of breath as he remembered. “I’ve got some dynamite in my saddlebags. We might be able to do something if I can get to it.” He turned to Dee. “Dee, you stay here and help them guard this building. I’ll need my bandolier back.”
She passed him the bandolier, and looked about to protest, but he ran off before she could get a word in. She and Jeffrey watched him go, and shook their heads. An explosion rocked the evening air, and they ran inside, barring and bolting the door.
If you enjoyed this story, you can find more of my work in the DimensionBucket Media anthology, Darkest of Dreams:
(Part 1 here: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/fire-on-the-bayou-part-1)
(Part 2 here: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/fire-on-the-bayou-part-2)
(Part 3 here: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/fire-on-the-bayou-part-3)
(Part 4 here: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/fire-on-the-bayou-part-4)