Blood Binds Us
a piece of Horror-Fantasy Fiction written by Tyr Kieran
(created via a social media book project)
and titled by Elizabeth Hisaw
All Content Copyright © 2009-2010 Tyr Kieran
They finish discussing their plan and move into position just as the werewolves arrive. Even after hours of exposure to these beasts, their lupine stench still grinds on the women’s sinuses. Not unlike the rank odors, their panting precedes them; doubling as a cadence in raspy grunts. But their shortness of breath is not of fatigue—they breathe with excited determination. Their leader has entrusted them with an important task: kill the vampire minder… the scared female vamp and her little helper. The Lycan hunting party is riding on large doses of confidence. Kira can sense these primal emotions as she watches their approach. Her father’s voice—a memory from one of his many battle inspired lessons—speaks in a stern, yet warm manner. “Sureness in complete control only offers you ensured collapse.”
They come staggered and Kira sees the truth in her father’s words. ‘Their arrogance creates opportunity; attacking simultaneously would’ve been lethal. Now we have a chance!’ Raven stands a few paces in front of her, starring at the onslaught. She waits, despite her doubt, her fear, the visual torrent of talons and teeth bearing down on her with nothing between them but Lycan stench and panic’s perspiration. Raven’s life is seconds from agonizing extinction. But, she holds her position. Kira lowers her head, closes her eyes, and works fast. A gust of wind blows past Raven like an invisible metro car, swirling her long black hair in whimsical tangles. Then, suddenly, the first werewolf lurches forward and hits the ground.
The beast slides along the concrete floor with a wet scraping sound. Raven had felt the breeze, the signal, and started to run at them. She repeats Kira’s instructions in her head like a mantra, praying to her Mother Earth and Father Sun that she’ll be able to keep up. ‘Go fast and don’t stop. Go fast and don’t stop.’ Before the werewolf could get up, Raven runs by and touches its shoulder. Within that moment of contact she was subjected to the beast’s short-term memories, at which point she reordered them to indicate the Lycan leader’s most recent order as “Stand back and be still; these vampires are mine!” An instant later the second werewolf staggers and tastes concrete.
The Lycan hunting party falls like dominoes, one by one. All tripped up by the unseen force that is Kira’s momentary control. Then, in sequence, Raven swoops in to create their untouchable status. The plan was working and their execution was dead-on, that is until the trailing werewolf. He’s a bit slower in lope than his brethren and fell several paces behind. Being the last, seeing the others fall, this werewolf had a few seconds to react. He slows his pace just as Kira’s ethereal presence moves in. She tweaks his motor functions enough to make him stumble, before returning to her corporeal shell as planned, but he doesn’t go down. The Lycan works to gain his balance, and finds it in a locked grip on Raven’s forearm.
The sudden force wrenches Raven’s arm beyond the snapping point. The ulna bone fractures under the pressure and rips through the skin near the elbow. The surprise and surging pain blinds Raven from understanding anything but dread. Her chest tightens nearly to the point of suffocation, like her lungs were constricted under the cold steel of an industrial vice. The beast in front of her seethes with deep exaggerated grunts. He rises to his hind legs; towering over the petrified vampire. With a snarled twist in his lip, the Lycan swings an arm back above his head—preparing to strike hard with a bladed hand. Raven winces and turns her head. A breeze flows past her, surely, in announcement of the descending strike… of death’s arrival.
But nothing comes; no crushing force, no slashes of precise agony… no reaper. After a couple seconds, Raven releases her captive breath and opens her eyes. At first, the sight seems blurred, but she quickly realizes the illusion lies in confused depth. She forces her eyes to refocus with a series of blinks as she steps back. Raven detains another breath with a swift inhale. Her attacker stands motionless, as if the windup key on his back stopped turning while his striking hand was in motion. The immense werewolf paw had stopped within an inch of where her face had been. The Lycan may be paralyzed, but it’s certainly not dead. Frustrated growls mingling with fear induced whimpers escape its motionless mouth. “Raven! Do it; finish the plan!” Kira’s ethereal shout catches her by surprise.
Raven wakes from her shock with a physical jolt. She starts to realize what happened—Kira had come back for her, saving her from certain death. Disbelief and fear are quickly replaced with anger. Her stunned expression turns sour, tightening into a burning glare. The throbbing pain in her arm and her bruised will to live, fuels Raven’s retribution. “Kira, get ready to jump ship. I’m going in with a broad brush.” Raven steps past the outstretched arm and waltzes up to the Lycan’s quivering face. They lock eyes. Orange flecks swarm the lupine iris and the beast’s growls intensify in his unwavering throat. The petite vampire—a mere fraction of the werewolf’s size—stands content for a few moments, watching the bottled rage with a slightly cocked head.
Gently, she places her hand against the Lycan’s head just above his left temple. Without breaking their gaze, Raven rolls her head to the other side and leans toward his ear. Whispering, she speaks to the captive werewolf. “You got too close. Never again.” The Lycan’s growling ceases. Only faint whimpering sounds remain; a response from the Aconitum’s sting and his helplessness to react. Opening her mind and allowing the beast’s memories to flow before her, Raven begins. Vivid scenes of the battle play in reverse. As each memory surfaces she adds it to the others—weaving them into a complex nest like cotton candy—collecting them within her mind. Raven digs deep, her hand tightening against the werewolf’s fur while she reaches for the oldest memories. “Time to go, Kira.”
Kira’s presence floats past her in a gentle gust. Its warmth projects like the comfort of an embrace. Raven, now knowing that Kira wouldn’t be trapped within the beast’s mind, clamps down on the chosen memory. The others, in their interlaced bundle begin to rotate; spinning faster and faster as the visions contract. Everything this Lycan has ever known—with one exception—is imploding, compacting and disintegrating into flashes of brilliant light; light too strong to contain. Kira wasn’t watching Raven as she swam back to reconnect with her corporeal self, but she did notice a sudden brightness reflecting off the piles of glass fragments at the nearest lab. Looking over her ethereal shoulder, Kira gasps in silent awe. Raven’s eyes were illuminated, ejecting light like tractor-trailer headlights on a choppy road.
The memory orb, shining like a miniature sun, shrinks to nothing and the light beaming from her eyes fades. The memories are gone forever; deleted and discarded at the vampire’s command. Raven returns the remaining memory to the werewolf shell. She watches for a few moments to ensure the vision plays over and over in an unending loop, before pulling her hand away. A litter of pups, hours old, lay nursing. One crawled in late, trying to reach the only available nipple, but was attacked by the closest brother—the past version of this current Lycan—whom had claimed two for himself. The struggle didn’t last long. The quivering pup had suffered too many wounds too quickly. The mother turned to investigate the yelps, but it was already dead. She nudged the silent child, with no response. A deep, vicious growl rolled from her throat. The winner had already turned to continue feeding, but she swiped him up and hurled him against the rugged cave wall. He hit hard and landed in a small alcove, where he laid alone, whimpering in pain and fear; emotions this Lycan will now relive perpetually.
Raven walks back to Kira, passing between the massive mounds of fur without even the slightest glance of concern. Four Lycans sit submissively like lost children who’ve given up hope of finding their parents. Twitching, they occasionally jerk their heads to look around. In whining misery, they await new orders and their inevitable punishment for disobedience. The moment Raven arrives she wraps her arm around Kira for a tight embrace. “Thank you!” Kira responds with a chuckle in that ‘you don’t need to thank me’ kind of way. After a moment she pulls away, saying “Hey, I had to keep you safe; I couldn’t break a deal with Zune. He’d probably sic Loki or some water serpent on me.”
Raven gives a meek smile. “Yeah, it’s cute the way he still hangs on to that mythos.” Almost before she finishes her statement, Raven’s expression drains away in a sudden wave of panic. She takes a quick breath and blurts out a hasty jumble of concern. “Zune! The others! Hope they’re ok. Need to go help them!” Kira, looking down at Raven’s exposed bone fracture, starts to rip fabric from the bottom edge of her gray tank top. “Agreed, but first we need to address that. Let’s wrap it till Rell can fix you up.” Kira reaches out to begin binding the wounded arm, but hesitates, then looks up with a raised eyebrow. “Ready?” Raven bites her lip as she nods. After a few restrained yelps, they tie off her make-shift bandage. Kira brushes a lock of hair from Raven’s flushed face. “You did great! Now let’s go end this.”
Meanwhile, under the constricting power of the Lycan’s grip, Rell is forced to swallow his outcry. The razor sharp nails puncture his chest and back—fingers dug deep, nearly to the point of meeting on the inside. Trapped like cubed meat on a shish kabob. Captured, yes, but now within reach! By subjecting his body to extensive injury, Rell has just made himself a viable weapon. Pointing a flat hand against the massive wrist in front of him, Rell goes to work. That’s when Zune arrives. The werewolf elder responds with a stabbing, stiff-armed motion intent on impaling the Nordic Vampire with his own momentum. But Zune was ready, spinning around the attack and embedding the enamel blade into the beast’s tricep.
Rell watches as his hand begins to disappear into the lupine flesh, simultaneously slicing and tearing like a dull knife under pressure. The Lycanthrope leader roars sharply—a cry of pain and frustration and… something else; could it be the seeds of fear? Did we, somehow, get ahead of the curve? Didn’t he foresee these events? Right on cue, I sense the werewolf consulting the path. After which, he immediately responds by tossing Rell aside and focusing on Zune. Zune was in the midst of pivoting for the next strike—dislodging the lupine tooth and twisting toward the beast’s torso to sink it in again. But the blade only pierces air. Old Gray got back on track. Leaning to his right, the Lycan thrusts out a knee; striking Zune between the shoulder blades.
The Leader has regained control. Even with his apparent limited range, the path provides an advantage of foresight over my brethren. His use of the path is indicated by the distortion of the fringe echoes. Distortion = adjustments; changing plans. Whatever fear or doubt that derailed his power, allowing Zune and Rell to get close and inflict injury, is, for the moment at least, resolved. We need that back! I continue to step toward him while I try to analyze his prescient limitation; that’s where I’ll find the key to his downfall. Old Gray turns his eye to me, locking his hard gaze with mine. Without turning away, the werewolf steps back, placing a weighted foot on top of Zune and pinning him to the floor. Zune is trapped, Rell is hurt, and Kira and Raven may be dead. It’s down to the clairvoyants—seer versus seer.
Trails of probable action flow from everything, like flip-book movies playing silently, fading into the distant unknown. Vivid, yet completely transparent, echoes show the future—“a” future. With me and Old Gray, two battling clairvoyants, nothing is inevitable. Knowing is in itself an element of change. So, would the one who knows more come out on top even if what’s known is destined to change? My view of the paths seems to be larger, but why? Is it my increased clarity? No, that doesn’t feel right—it doesn’t seem to be the true reason. Then what? What else changed over the course of the… his eyes. The Lycan lost an eye to Zune’s attacks. The ability to see the paths must reside in the eyes, not the mind! That’s our key to survival; take out his other eye!
Victory is quite literally in the eye of the beholder, which at this moment is glaring its singular beam of playful malevolence into my own. I bring myself to a stop a few paces away. Drool oozes from between the layered teeth of his exaggerated grin. A gurgling chuckle vibrates in his throat, tossing heavy tones in the air that beat against my chest. But my calm is steady. I breathe big and smooth to ensure my voice rings clear over his thick laughter. “Aim for his other eye, boys!” It was obviously directed at the Lycan leader himself and its meaning was not lost. His laugh dies instantly in a guillotine strike of fear—play time chopped short. The ends of his grin fall away, leaving a rancid expression of hate and welling panic.
The next three minutes are an intense flurry of emotion, energy, and pain. Our battle begins with a lycanthropic howl and an ethereal tug-o-war. Tossing back his head, the werewolf elder releases the surging anger in a cataclysmic roar. He rises up, straightening as his lungs expel the audible power. The beast’s shifting posture places a crushing increase of weight onto Zune’s back. Muffled crunching sounds—like someone biting down on hard pretzels—frame the Nordic vampire’s screams of agony. Old Gray drops back down to all fours and we reach for the paths at the same time. Grasping for the same echo, we both adjust our plans instantly; decisions that send tangible shock waves, not only through the paths, but into our minds as well.
Sharp pain hits with a quick flash of bright light. I grimace, sucking air at the sensation of sizzling brain cells. The pain ebbs. Then, a heartbeat later, I lock onto the next path segment. It just settled into focus after accounting for our adjustments. The lupine eye follows suite. Our thoughts shift simultaneously and another shock wave lashes out, rippling unborn time and stabbing though our skulls like lightening. A few seconds later we meet on another solidifying echo, causing the next wave of change and pain. We continue to stretch our ethereal personae in hopes of getting “there” first—to get an advantage… a chance at seeing the killing stroke. All the while our corporeal bodies step closer and closer.
Wave after wave, we fight through the pain, clashing in the realm of possible realities. A small run of blood trickles from my nose. I seem to be reaching the echoes a littler faster each time, slowly building an advantage over my Lycan adversary. Swelling panic surfaces in his erratic breathing and fidgeting mannerisms. The next wave hits Old Gray harder. He staggers backward and clutches his head. Some blood seeps from under his palms, beginning to mat the fur below his ears. When the pain subsides, the paths’ segments begin to settle down and clarify again. My advantage offers me a second to prepare for his sudden change of plans. The panicky werewolf howls, crying out to his eager horde. The paths translate his orders visually. ‘Move in, now! Kill the Vampires!’
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