Shadows In Darknes

Shadows In Darkness is the second book in the series with Dynamic Skull.
Bert now has an assistant who isn't quite normal...

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12. Killing Ex

     Bert and Marlena made their way down to the Dungeons.  This area of the Academy was extremely white.  There were white walls, white doors, and white prison cells.  They ambled through a door marked ‘High Security’, where they found Tipstaff, Shudder and Birch waiting for them.

     “We haven’t got anything out of him, so far.” Shudder said.

     “And you never will.” Silicome growled from behind the stark white bars.

     “Well,” said Bert, ignoring Silicome. “Let’s try.”

     He walked up to the bars and stopped in front of them. “Hello, Baron.” He said. “I've had a few unexpected run-ins, lately.  But this, this is by far the best.”

     “What the hell do you want, Mensoray?” Silicome said.

     “I want to know why and what you came for.” Bert said, stepping into the cell. “And I want to know now.”

     “Oh I’ll tell you, Bert.” Silicome said. “Why did I come? I came to get into that new entrance.  What for?  Well, I came to kill you.”

 

***

 

     Kieran Ex crept along the path, sticking to the shadows.  A rustling of trees to the left of him caught his attention.  He spotted a dark figure and fired an arrow out of his bow.  A high-pitched scream and then sudden silence confirmed Ex that the target was dead.  He walked over to the body, leaning down to pick up the arrow which had impaled the mortal against the tree.  Arrows were scarce these days.

     A small, beady-eyed man snuck up behind Ex.  Ex spun round and drove the arrow into his eye.  The man howled and fell onto his knees.

     “Veronica… Shadows sent… me… to tell you…” He couldn’t finish his sentence.

     Ex shook him by the shoulders and demanded impatiently, “Tell me what?  What did Veronica want to tell me?”

     “You… will die at… sixteen hundred… today.” And he died in Ex’s arms.

     Ex looked up, and down again at the man he just killed.  He glanced at his watch.  Fifteen: fifty-two.  There were two plans.  He had seven minutes to get out of there completely, or he’d start building a trap.  The second option sounded best to him.  So he’d better get going.

     Ex grabbed the head of the man and twisted.  The muscles and cartilage making up the corpses neck soon tore away from his shoulders.  He found a stick and placed the head on the top of it.  He then drove the stick deep into the ground.

     Six minutes.

     Ex found a discarded fishnet, not too deep in the wood.  He hung it up on a tree, with a wire running from it to the head on a stick.

     Five minutes.

     When whoever was coming to kill him got distracted by the head, they would fall straight into his trap.  They would walk carefully over to it, and as soon as they touch it… BAM!  The net falls.

     Four minutes.

     Ex climbed the nearest tree to the tree bearing the net, getting into a position to strike.  He got out his bow and nocked his best arrow into place.

     Three minutes.

     The stick fell onto its side.  Ex cursed and sprang down from the tree.  He walked over to the stick, picked it up and slotted it back into the Earth.

     Two minutes.

     Suddenly, a blast of air hit him from behind like a wall.  He flew forwards and cracked his knee against a huge oak.  He got up onto his knees, but an energy stream caught him in the leg and burned straight through it.  Ex let out a strangled cry.  He turned.  A man he knew stood in front of him.  He had a long, wispy beard, and a stocky body.  That was Merlin Strain.  And who was that standing behind him?  It was a fit man, sleepy, but strong.  He was Waur Menacing.  There was one more man, taking the rear.  Muscly, and always spinning round, checking that no-one was on their tail.  Why, that was Atlas Fearful.  The Manic Gang weren’t back together were they?  No, they couldn’t be.

     Ex’s thoughts were interrupted by another Energy stream fired by Waur Menacing.  This one sizzled through his shoulder, pain searing down his body.  As he fell, he saw his watch.  Ten seconds.

     He started to cry.  He actually started to cry.  He sobbed for five seconds, until he realised that there were three people watching.

     “Oh, and, yes.  I know what you were thinking a few seconds ago.  Is the Manic Gang back together?  Well yes, we are.”  Merlin Strain said.

     One second.

     An energy stream burned Ex’s brain inside his skull.

    “Let’s go.” Fearful said. “Touch my arms.”

     And they teleported.

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