Ketta Terace: Chapter 2

 

The prisoner moved quickly to her right into the darkness, away from the floodlights of the landing pad. Her bare feet thwapped against the mud, but the noise could not overcome the sound of the impacting rain. Another flash of light from above and an earth-splitting shock of thunder showed that her eyes had not betrayed her. There was indeed something moving up the hill towards the tower. It was large and oddly shaped. Her legs propelled her into a sprint across the grassy plain, and she watched the silhouette cross the light beneath the platform. It was one of the four-armed Bolmorreans. Massive beings, but at least sentient.

She continued in a wide arc, getting behind its position before she hunkered down. Its hulking figure lazily trudged towards the landing pad tower. It moved with a lurching gait and stumbled, one of its left arms clutched at its side while the other left arm reached out for support on the landing pad tower. The remaining arms hung low and swayed with the motions of its body. She watched a moment longer as the alien being appeared to crouch and enter the tower, planting itself down just within the threshold. Its body heaved with labored breath.

In the rain the prisoner reached back, drew her pistol and primed it. There was a comforting whirr as she walked towards the light of the towers once more. She remained at the edge of the darkness a few meters away and, leveling her pistol at the Bolmorrean’s heaving back, she let out a clear “Hey!”

The being’s bulbous head turned to her and she caught a glint of an eye in the floodlight. Despite his large frame, the Bolmorrean looked gaunt. He was injured. The lower arm that clutched at his side was stemming small rivers of thick blood which stained the remains of his ripped shirt. The Bolmorrean’s glinting eye glanced down at the primed pistol in her hand. The small blue light bathed her forearm, but from her vantage, the prisoner’s face was still darkened.

The Bolmorrean let out a ragged laugh, more like escaping air.

“You can put that toy down humin. I’m as good as dead anyway.”

It shifted its weight, and, sitting in the water at the base of the tower, leaned against the threshold of the entryway. As it turned, she continued to train her sights on it.

“Why’s that?” she said.

The Bolmorrean moved the massive palm from its side to show the festering and gangrenous wound that seeped blood through swelling sores and glossy green skin.

“Some spiky leaf. Brushed up against me. ‘Bout a week ago...It’s a shameful way to die.”

“Uh-huh.” The prisoner did not move any closer. No telling what kind of criminal she could be dealing with. Maybe it was the kind who was good at heart and just on the wrong side of the law, or the kind that wanted to get one more kick before it was sent to Skivrend’s eternity.

“So why come here?” She said.

“Figured-” the Bolmorrean coughed, shuddering and sliding back under the shelter. It grabbed its head. “Forgive me, my thoughts. They are getting weak. I-I wanted to see if a drop ship could give me some fix-it-up aid.”

The prisoner only slightly lowered her pistol and shifted in her stance.

“They would probably just kill you on sight before they gave you aid.”

“Yeah...but maybe that wouldn't have been so-” A coughing fit erupted once again in the massive being. “-maybe It wouldn’t have been so bad compared to this. I could have taken a few of them down with me. At least one or two of the skivers.” Its eyes glossed over. “In a hail of gunfire, cut down by greater numbers. That would let me reach the realm of Bolmorro’s warriors. Not- not like this though.” A trail of saliva began to drip from the Bolmorrean’s mouth. A great jerking shiver sprang through its muscles.

The prisoner checked to see that her pistol was still primed.

“Do you want me to-” she began. She was still a few meters away, not optimal for the tough Bolmorrean skull plate.

“NO-” the Bolmorrean shook, grasped the sides of its head again “No- I - just stay for a moment. Just so I can-” it shivered and twitched again, spittle from its mouth mingling with blood. “My head.”

The prisoner edged closer to get a clean shot but stopped as she saw a change run over the being.

The Bolmorrean stopped twitching, stopped coughing, stopped gripping its head and its side. It just hung, slackened. its eyes went wide with enlarged blood vessels bulging deep red around pinprick irises.

“I think I’ll go for a walk,” it said looking up to her and beginning to rise. Its arms hung low at its sides and swayed with its motions. Dragging its feet out from the threshold, it did not care about its festering wound. She glanced down. Before her eyes the wound seemed to be generating more green translucent skin. The layer stemmed the bleeding and the creeping infection moved, replacing the Bolmorrean’s natural skin. As though the infection was a creature itself occupying more area around the wound. Its motions were lazy, almost unintended, its eyes did not leave the prisoner.

It shuffled closer and then simply stood, watching her.

She squeezed the trigger.

With a thwack, a bolt of blue thrummed between them and impacted the Bolmorrean’s eye.

It didn’t flinch, even as its eye socket smoldered.

She reeled back and ran, trying to gain some distance. She could feel the earth tremble as the hulking being built momentum across the muddy hillside behind her. The silty mud smacked under her bare feet as she went into a dead sprint, coat flying behind her in the continuing rain. She loosed another shot behind her. The bolt squiggled through the air and landed off her mark, the shot glancing the side of the Bolmorrean’s bulbous head. She could only catch a brief silhouette as a chunk of flesh was thrown off of the charging hulk.

With a burst of energy, the Bolmorrean poised to overtake her. She tried to change direction but skidded, falling sidelong into the thick mousse. Mud caked on her face. Her eyes darted up into the light at the bounding shape that approached. The creature heaved itself into the air. Four fists raised.

If only she had her blade.

 

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com