03 January 2009

Fatal Cure - Chapter 81

...Owww, shit, my foot hurts! And my head's pounding. A lot! What the fuck’s going on! Damn it. Can’t move and I’m sagging all over the place. What’s holding me up? Everything hurts.
I’d like it to stop now, please.
It’s dark, but only because I’m too afraid to open my eyes. They are positive nothing good is gained from seeing, as well as feeling, my injuries.
Someone has clamped iron manacles around biceps and thighs. I try to understand the constant rubbing and jostling. And what's that sound of crunching at the end of each jolt that causes me to sway and jar?
Something brushes my face. Eyelids jerk open in alarm at this tickling sensation.
I see long grass. I’m moving through it, face down.
This is wrong.
Possibly dreadfully wrong.
I’m being carried. I very much doubt the destination is Nymphomania Island, where the sun and sea are warm, and the women don't wear much.
Dawning reality knifes deep into my guts.
I remember passing out.
Passing out while fighting Parasite hosts.
The hosts have me.
God, if you are real, kill me now.
I’m begging you. God?
A bullet from heaven hits me in the back of the head with a wet smack. For a micro-second I’m busy repenting sins. Other bullets fall and I’m disappointed to recognise them as raindrops.
I knew He wasn’t real.
Secretively, I ease my head up. No sense in giving the game away. There could be an advantage to be gained.
There’s no advantage in viewing the ground. It moves dizzyingly beneath me. My hosts maintain a monotonous pace, crunching gravel under dirty boots. Four burly Creeps hold me suspended in a superman pose as they tramp along well worn tracks either side of my head.
I’ve seen these victim transports. Now I know how bloody uncomfortable it is. Limbs flap around at their sockets extremities, pulling tendons and stretching muscles. I grip my wrists together and pull heels up to butt, crossing the ankles to immobilise them. The place my toes used to be screams when bashed in white-hot agony against the other boot.
I scream with them and writhe. The firm grips of strong, unyielding fingers I’d earlier mistaken for manacles, clench harder into bruised flesh.
The pain reconfirms this really is happening. It is exponentially more frightening to be reawakened to this fact over and over.
You’ve been caught.
Surely not. Really?
You’ve been caught.
Other people disappear in the clutches of these terrifying monsters, not me.
I resent any humans who watch me from safety right now, without offering assistance. I spit on their fleeting pity and underlying satisfaction that they aren’t the ones being taken home for dinner.
The same way I’d felt.
More than once.
My body is every shade of aches and pains. I badly want to clutch and coo over missing toes. Questions come up as time and distance passes. How far have we come? How far are we going?
I grow irritable about my method of transport. Surely they could work out a better way of carrying people. This is so labour intensive. And painful. Is the simple concept of a wheelbarrow beyond them?
I should glean a sliver of superiority at this insight, but I’m feeling a bit down.
My neck burns from hanging unnaturally. Tensing to stop it bobbling around like a nodding dog on a car’s dashboard probably gives my state of consciousness away. The porters don't stop or enquire about my welfare.
I’m morbidly curious to know where we are going. There are no landmarks to recognise. We move from overgrown paddock to sealed road, and then cut through a park. Grass once more caresses my face and brushes my underside.
The off-road sections widen at each intersection. Soil is stripped to rocky outcrops, or churned to muddy holes by many feet. Obviously road-maintenance is not a priority.
Alarm spikes at the appearance of another Creep, yet he passes without pause. Our track merges with a thoroughfare, an area of high activity with increasing numbers of Creeps marching in the opposite direction. A thousand boots, shoes and even bare feet stamp by.
My host’s lock-step never misses a beat. I commend them, for I am no lightweight and have no wish to be slammed face first into the ground if they stumble.
By our shadows consistent cast to the left, I deduce we head efficiently in a northerly direction.
Calculations and suppositions are interrupted by a keening sound of unhappiness. The wailing doesn’t come from me or my carriers. Stretching an already pained neck to its maximum, I duck my head for an upside down, backwards viewpoint. The legs of another four Creeps carrying another offering pace behind. I risk a call to their prisoner.
“Hey! Hey! You! Dude!”
I cringe, expecting an unpleasant punishment. I assume the guy behind waits for the same thing. Nothing worse beyond the persistent tugging at inflamed joints happens to me.
“Hey! Stop crying and talk to me!”
“I’m not crying. Why don't you go fuck yourself?”
Not a very good start but then I never was a people person.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. Maybe we can help each other out. Two against eight is better than one against four.”
Especially if I scarper, leaving him to take all of them on.
“What you thinking?”
“Look at my legs.”
“I had a knife strapped on. Can you see it or not.”
“What are you yelling that out for? They’ll take it off you.”
“No they won’t. They’re too dumb to think of stuff like that. They’re reactive, not proactive. Don’t concentrate on it too much though. They can pick it out.”
“Yeah, it’s there.”
“Great, umm, look, can you tell me how much blood I’m losing?”
“From where?”
“From my foot, you spastic. Can’t you see I shot my foot off?”
“Did ya? How come? Hang on, lift it up again. No you didn’t. There’s a bit of leather torn off. I can see the metal cap, no blood but.”
Of course! Hooray for steel caps. It must be dented down to press onto my toes. That explains the pain. If they aren’t too mashed up I might still be able to run. Something I intend doing at the first opportunity.
“That’s good news. Thanks. It’s starting to rain and I’m wearing leathers right? As soon as they get wet, these fuckers will have one hell of a job holding onto me. You gotta be ready to help when I give ‘em the slip.”
“I dunno. I don't want to cause any trouble.”
For fuck’s sake. Of all the sidekicks I could be lumbered with, I get a pacifist.

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