The Assignment

Captain Von Delgo is a man who is lost. He is known as a turncoat, a hero and a mass-murderer. He has no beginning, and as far as he can see he has no end. Which makes him just about the most dangerous man alive. After the completion of his last job Captain is on his way out to receive his payment and rest up. His plans are delayed when a religious sect known as the Ravens pull him in with an offer. Captain faces a dilemma, he has never once failed in his assignments. But accepting this one and succeeding would change the way of the world, change everything that everyone has ever known, plunge it into chaos. But he has also never once turned down a job, and with his life quickly descending into a chaos of its own despair, he can see no reason why not to accept. After all, how hard can it be to kill an immortal?


15. Chapter 15

They searched the immediate area fruitlessly for any sign that the temple had moved to another area, but there was nowhere big enough for it to land. They had left the Captain and the remaining survivors to die. While Kion, the first Raven the Captain had stopped to help, organised a rest for the other wounded, the Captain wandered over to a body that lay half under a fallen car. As each step took him closer and closer to the body, his mind rang with warning bells. It was a foolish idea that stirred within him, but some part of his brain told him that it was also a good one.

The body was that of a Gháuld, trapped unable to move. The Captain would be able to talk without fear of being pounced on. At least from him, anyway. How many Gháulds were creeping about in the ruins watching them there was no way of knowing. Not until they pounced, anyway.

‘I know that you can speak my language so don’t pretend that you can’t. Where is the temple?’ the Captain asked, crouching down beside the body as it squirmed and tried to pull itself loose. It would only pull free by splitting its own body in half. At the sound of the Captain’s voice its arm not caught under the car shot out, fingers splayed, nails broken and chipped, reaching for the Captain. It stopped five inches from the Captain’s face, the smell of dirt, faeces and blood wafted to him from the hand.

The hand strained to reach him as the Gháuld looked at him, its glowing eyes dimming quickly with each passing second. The hand dropped to the ground and the creature began to laugh coarsely.

‘Temple is not here,’ he told the Captain.

‘Where did it go? I’ve got wounded here whose home is that temple.’

The Gháuld laughed again, and continued trying to pull free. The Captain felt absolute disgust at as he watched it. He didn’t feel pity like he occasionally felt towards dying animals. It wasn’t deserving of it. He felt like pulling his gun out and threatening it for information, but it was dying already. There was no point. The Captain tried again.

‘Do you know where it went?’

The Gháuld shook his head. Then it lunged. Its right arm, caught under the car tore at the shoulder, dislocating with a sickening crunch and tearing of flesh. The face snarled, bearing its sharpened teeth, saliva dripping as madness and pain took it. Its left arm thrashed, trying to reach out and grab the Captain, who, after the initial shock, had settled down and was watching the animal calmly. The dislocating of the shoulder had allowed it to close a couple more inches of space between them. With its fingers straight out it could have touched the Captain on the nose.

It continued to snarl and strain until the Captain sighed, rose to his feet and pointed the barrel of his gun at its head. In the split instant before the Captain pulled the trigger the Gháuld looked up and locked eyes with him, a vast expanse of nothing staring before behind the eyes. The body relaxed and the Captain squeezed gently.

Smoke from the powder within the gun floated lazily from the nozzle as the sound died down. The Captain turned from the mutilated body before him and strolled back to the group. They were watching fearfully as he entered camp. Bodies paused in the act of springing to their feet, pulses rushing, blood pumping, fingers encased tightly around makeshift weapons. Kion caught the Captain’s eyes and the Captain bore the gaze.

‘We have to move. We’re heading to the beach,’ the Captain ordered.

‘Not all of us are going to make it to the beach.’

The Captain heard the voice just as he turned to head back the way he had come.

‘Who isn’t going to make it?’ snapped the Captain as he spun round to face them, anger clearly written on his face as he glared at them. ‘Speak up! You spoke before so speak now. I want to know who isn’t going to make it. If they don’t try then they’ll never know! I do know that if you stay here,’ at this he pointed back to where the dead Gháuld lay, ‘you’ll end up like him! If you don’t get to the beach you will die, that I am sure of.’

The Captain turned, his anger still burning brightly inside as he strode towards the sea. It shimmered in the distant, an expanse of blue. Unbroken by the tidal wave of blood and death on the island. A calm and reassuring sight in a world of broken views.

It took a while to reach the ports, which were half sunk by the wars. The cities were large, built to hold millions, and were far too dangerous to go through the middle of. Instead, the Captain and the Ravens, who had decided to follow, made their way along the line of fence. It was a slow process. Whoever had spoken up earlier had been right. Some of the wounds were severe, in a fight they would fall down like a card left to stand on its own. Walking was barely manageable. Once wounded there was no way for a Raven to shift into a bird, the body parts change and shift and the excess goes someplace else until they form back into a man. What parts were wounded would never fully shift into a part of a raven.

On the beach, they surveyed the mess. Warehouses lay abandoned and some had collapsed fully while others were half standing. Forklifts lay on their either sides or right way up in the middle of the paths, or halfway through walls. Boxes and crates also lay in masses and messes. The Captain walked over to the first warehouse that wasn’t completely destroyed, and one that had a door which could close, and looked inside. It was empty.

‘Hide in here,’ he said, calling over his group. Once they were inside, he closed the door and crept quietly through the pathways between buildings towards the docks. The sun was almost up and purple smoke could still be seen rising in the distant. The Captain wondered how long it would take the fires to extinguish themselves.

The Captain reasoned as he pushed at the heavy doors of one of the smaller boathouses. The doors creaked open and he entered the gloom. There were, to his surprise, a couple of dinghy’s, and something else. The Captain almost gagged at the stench. It was worse than the first warehouse. The bodies inside could still be identified as to who they were. The Gháulds had obviously dragged the bodies inside the drain before digging into them.

Stepping back into the morning air, the Captain breathed in hungry gulps. After he had washed out the stench from his lungs, he headed back in, this time holding his breath. Hurrying because he couldn’t hold his breath forever, he checked each dinghy to see whether they could be moved and if, when put into water, they would float. After he had searched the last boat he headed back outside and returned to where he had hidden the Ravens.

‘I’ve found a boat that won’t sink straight away,’ he told them, and ignored their sudden complaints that it wasn’t sea worthy. ‘Apart from a couple of holes, which we can patch on the way out, there is only one other problem. It’s inside a building where the Gháuld’s have piled their dead and ours. It’s not fresh, and it’s not nice. We’ll need to go inside to pull the boat out.’

Faint murmurs came from the crew as they glanced at each other and tried to decide whether it was worth it. The sight of Kion tearing his sleeve off and wrapping it around his mouth and nose made up their decision and they followed suit. The more healthier ones helping the ones who only had the use of one arm. Once bound, they left the warehouse and followed the Captain down to the dock and inside the boathouse. One of the younger ones couldn't take the sight and threw up right then and there.

Someone helped him out while the rest found the boat and worked on manoeuvring it out through the doors and into the water. They left one of the wounded that was having trouble walking to stay beside it and make sure it didn’t float away while they headed back inside to look for the oars and possible sail that wasn’t inside the boat.

A fruitless search ten minutes later came up with no sails or oars. If they had been kept inside the boat house then they had rotted away long ago, it was a miracle that the boat that they had found still floated.

A sharp whistle from the guard outside pierced the air and everyone froze in their searching. The Captain crept quickly to the door, pushed his head through the gap, and looked up and down the streets between the buildings.

‘Stay here,’ he whispered to the crew before slipping through the gap and running to where they had placed the boat.

When he reached the Raven, he found the man pointing silently up at the rise that led towards to giant gates into the city. The Captain turned, a small group of people stood silently watching them. They hardly moved, except for the occasional shift as they switched their weight from one leg to another.

Slowly, the Captain reached out behind him and grabbed the guard’s arm. ‘To the boathouse,’ he said. ‘And don’t rush. They’ve seen us, but if we move slowly they might move slowly as well.’

Keeping one eye on the group on the hill, the Captain led the guard back towards the boathouse, pushed him in first, and then followed. He shut the door and then slid down the walls and sat crouched with his knees against his chest staring blankly at the group around them.

‘Lock the door,’ he said. The Ravens looked at each other silently, hesitating, wondering what was going on. The one that had been on guard hastily explained when he had seen and then there was a rush towards the door to lock and bar it.

The Captain stood up suddenly, a black cloud filled his vision and he staggered as the blood rushed to his head, or left it, whichever way he was standing. He looked around at the bleak inside of the boathouse. It was a horrible place to be stuck in, but it was what life had chosen for them.

‘Is there some way I could reach that little window up there to look out of?’ he asked, turning and pointing to a window above the door. The Ravens followed the line of his finger and then looked at each other.

‘If we pull one of the boats from the water and stack it sideways with two of us to keep it steady, you could climb aboard and look out,’ said a short Raven standing in the back.

The Captain looked around from the voice and eventually found he had to look down to see the man. He had blond hair instead of the usual dark blue of the others of his kind.

The Captain nodded in reply to the suggestion. ‘We’ll stack the boat.’

They pulled one of the boats out of the water and stacked it against the door like suggested. Two Ravens held the boat at each end while another helped the Captain up onto it. Using the sill of the window to steady himself, the Captain used his other hand to wipe clean a patch of the glass to look through. It smeared more than cleaned it, obstructing the view more than before. After only a moment’s hesitation while he thought it through, the Captain punched the glass. It tinkled to the floor in a shower.

The Ravens below held their breath as something outside cried out. They knew where they were. Pulling out his nocular the Captain focused it upon the group on the hill. They hadn’t moved, but there seemed to be more of them.

The nocular changed focus and the group on the hill turned into a large smear. The Captain swore and he quickly turned the glass at the front of the instrument to focus it. A white face covered in black tattoo's filled his vision and screamed madly. The Captain cried out in reply and fell backwards onto the wooden floor. With a groan, he rose to his feet helped by one of the Ravens.

‘What’s happening outside?’ the short one that had suggested standing on the boat asked. Outside creatures screamed in a language unknown to the Captain.

‘Gháulds. We’re surrounded. Hopelessly.’

There were sharp intakes of breathe. After having survived for so long, managing the track from the cities to the docks without meeting any other Gháulds they had thought that they were lucky and wouldn’t meet any more.’

'What do we do?' one of them asked. 'We can't fight them, they'd wipe us out! We are in no fit way to fight them.'

The Captain sighed as he knew it was true. He didn’t want to be where he was, but he couldn’t help it. He had told the group that he wouldn’t abandon them, and he refused to go back on his word. Even though, as he thought about it, it would be simpler. It would have been better if he had never helped them. Half of them were dying anyway, and they knew it. But something inside told them that they could put off death if they lived longer. They didn’t want to die, and so were fighting to live.

Around him the Ravens exploded into panicked chatter as they discussed how they were going to escape. The Captain listened quietly, aware that they were probably all going to die, end up like the bodies lying on the floor around them. Or else they could take the cowards road and drown themselves in the water that lapped at their feet.

'Do we have any matches?' He suddenly asked. Their panicked conversations ended and they all turned to look at him again.

'You want to have a smoke while those devils are hammering at the door trying to get in to kill us?!' one of them demanded.

'No,' the Captain shot back angrily. 'I want to set fire to the building so that the Gháulds leave it alone while it burns. While it is burning we make our escape in the boat.'

'How do you think we could do that if we are stuck inside this burning place?' the Raven demanded as he stepped back away from the Captain as if he didn’t want to be touched by the madness that seemed to cover the Captain. ‘If we light the place up all we’ll be doing is saving the Gháulds the trouble of killing us!’ The other Ravens nodded their heads in agreement.

'We are inside a boat house,' the Captain remind them, a faint grin on his soot-covered face. He pointed to the water and contained his laugh. 'The boat is right outside tied to part of the building. What I propose is that we set the place on fire, and then we swim out using the water as an escape route. Once out of the building we untie the boat and still holding our breath we hold onto the bottom of the boat and swim away. I don't think the Gháuld’s are going to bother am empty floating boat. Once we are out of sight we climb on board and row to another shore. Or we row until we are picked up by another boat.' The Captain finished and waited expectantly to hear what the crew thought of the plan. He didn’t think they would appreciate the other one he had in mind. And thinking further on it, he didn’t like it either.

The hammering on the doors behind them solidly grew louder as the silence inside spread and covered the group as they thought through the plan and their chances of surviving it.

'Let’s do it!' one of them yelled, fist pumping the air like an excited child. In a manner of speaking, they were excited. Excited between living and dying. The rest joined in.

'Matches?' the Captain repeated, hand out. One of them fished inside his clothes and pulled out a packet.

'There are a couple in here,' he said.

Closing his hand around the packet, the Captain pointed to the bodies. Pile those up in that boat. If we can’t bury them we’ll burn ‘em.’

As they piled the bodies between the door and the water that lapped up against the side of the boat, the Captain counted the matches. There were enough for four goes if the first didn’t ignite. If none of them did, they would have to try swimming away without the distraction of the fire to hold the Gháulds attentions.

‘Right, everybody in the water!’ the Captain ordered as the doors started to buckle beneath he hammering from outside. On the roof, he could hear Gháulds scuttling around, trying to find a way in through the roof. As he pushed the Ravens into the water, he hoped the Gháulds didn’t think of trying to enter through the water. They only hope they had was that the creatures didn’t remember that half the floor was under water.

As the last Raven dived into the salty water, the Captain lit a match and chucked it into the body piled boat. The flame withered and died out. The Captain lit the next match and chucked it onto a different area. It lasted a little bit longer, but the dried blood on the clothes prevented it from catching alight. He cursed. Glancing up at the door he saw a board had broken loose and dirty, bloody hands were reaching through it. He lit the third match, noticing how his hands were steady under the stress around him. He carefully placed the match on a section of clothes that was dry of everything and stepped into the water. The flame caught the cloth and fluttered. He thought for a moment that it might go out and he lit the final match and chucked it onto the heap.

Turning, he dived into the water, forcing his eyes open even though the salt stung them. There was no point waiting above to see whether the bodies caught fire or not, if they didn’t make their escape soon then they never would.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...