Vincent ran through alleys, trying to remember the way back to his bike. He came back to Dee’s store, but avoided it. He could hear piggish grunts from inside, and snuck off down another alley. He reached a street he recognized, and finally found his bike. There were no orcs around, so he opened his saddlebags and fished out the dynamite. Going back past Dee’s, he made one ready with a long fuse, sure to last as long as he needed it. He lit it, and tossed it in a garbage can by the back door, putting the lid back on firm.
He ran back to the guardhouse and got inside, then made his way passed the huddled masses of humanity to where Jeffrey and Dee were talking. “There a way to get on the roof?”
Jeffrey nodded, and showed him up. They clomped up the stairwell and exited the door, able to see the entire town. By this time the orcs had finished their sport with the rest of the civilians, and were gathering around the guardhouse. There were perhaps fifty of them left.
Fewer than the initial war band, more than enough to make mincemeat of the frightened people trapped inside.
Looking down on the horde, Jeffrey shook his head, and said, “I hope you’ve got a plan, stranger.”
“Oh, I do,” Vincent replied. “Let’s just hope it works.”
One orc, bigger than all the rest, shoved his way to the front of the gathering, and looked up at the three humans on the roof. He laughed, a harsh, grating sound, and shouted up at them, “Just give yourselves up now! I promise we’ll make it quick! Open the door, and we’ll be gentle.” Its eyes glinted with malice. “But not too gentle.”
Vincent held up a stick of dynamite, making sure that Warlord Buramog got an eyeful. “You know what this is?”
“We’re not scared of your stick, human!”
“Maybe you should be,” Vincent said as he lit the short fuse and hurled the stick of dynamite into the air. It sailed out over the crowd, exploded, and the orcs hit the dirt.
When the sound faded, Buramog got back to his feet and shouted, “Well so what? You ain’t got enough to kill us all. I’ll feast on your bones, human!”
“This entire town is wired to blow,” Vincent said, pulling a vial of salt from his jacket and concealing it with his fist. “I pull this trigger, and a chain reaction starts. We all go boom.”
“You wouldn’t,” Buramog growled up at him.
“We’ve got nothing to lose, do we? Might as well take you with us. Try me.”
One of the orcs tapped Buramog on the shoulder and said, “Maybe we should listen to him, boss.”
Vincent had been counting down in his head, and the dynamite he’d lain was about to go off. He decided to ramp up the deception. “Then we all go!” he screamed at the orc warlord. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six…”
Warlord Buramog started to look nervous. He’d never been taken like this before, and if this human was right not only would he lose all of his boys, he’d die as well. They’d already had their fun, he figured. They could stand to let these humans go. They could always come back for them.
“Fine, we’ll go…” he started, but he was interrupted.
“One, time’s up!” Vincent shouted, eyes flashing, and acted like he was pressing a button. The dynamite in the trashcan behind Dee’s went off, a raucous explosion.
The orcs reacted with a swiftness Vincent didn’t know they had. They ran for their vehicles, making for the gate they’d so recently bashed open. At this point the gas stores in Dee’s shop went off, adding weight to Vincent’s empty threat that the entire town was wired to blow. They ran faster, and the three on the roof heard the revving of engines and the screams as the orcs fled what they thought was the exploding town.
The three defenders watched them go, and as the last of the orcs tore off into the distance Dee broke down in laughter. Vincent dropped to his knees, exhausted. Jeffrey spat, and walked over to slap Vincent on the shoulder.
“You’re crazy, man. But you saved our lives. We owe you for that. You’re welcome in St. Michael’s anytime.”
Vincent looked up at him and said, “You can’t stay here. They’ll realize they’ve been tricked soon enough. I’ve bought you a day, maybe two. If you’ve got any war wagons, you need to get these people out of here and to the next town.”
“Either way, you saved our skins. We all owe you our lives. How can we pay you back?”
“Let me come with you, for now. My bike’s trashed. I need time and parts to repair it. Help me load it on one of those wagons, and I’ll help you get to safety.”
“Say no more, we’ve got you covered.”
Dee dropped her shotgun, and it clattered to the concrete of the roof. She ran over and dove at Vincent, tackling him to the ground in a hug. While he was trying to get his wind back, she pressed her lips to his.
At that moment, thoughts of his wife, his loneliness, his despair melted away, and he kissed her back, wrapping his arms around her. And he thought, for the first time in years, that he might have found people he could make another home with.
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)
(Part 5 here: https://steemit.com/fiction/@jimfear138/fire-on-the-bayou-part-5)