Tricks and Traps – Part 5
Everything went badly very quickly after I found Polly. Normally these things are easy enough question a few reliable informants, follow the trail of clues or bodies, and then you just have to kill the filthy Kine before it kills you. But tonight everything just went wrong from the get go.
Polly was completely strung out she’d been flying with blue birds all night and was barely coherent. She was still wearing her skin tight leopard print outfit and her bleach blond hair was thick, dirty, and matted. The empty smile on her face and blank eyes made it clear she didn’t really know where she was or who she was talking to which made it even more frustrated. It wasn’t the first time I’d had to deal with Polly in this state, in fact this was generally par for the course for Polly. Not that it made it any easier.
It took almost an hour for me to drag the information I wanted out of Polly. It was hard work just to keep her focused as all Polly wanted was to sigh and giggle. The corpse had been left in a dead alley. A gap between buildings that was simply unused space and was never meant to be anything. When the collapse happened walls had shifted and cracked and it was possible to access that simple gap were one building ended another began. It was filled with trash and waste and there were signs that scavenger Kine had already devoured whatever was worth eating. But at the top of the mound was the dried husk that had once been some poor unfortunate guy. The flesh dancer clawed their way into their victims and wearing their bodies like a skin suit while they slowly drained every drop of blood and fluid that remained in the corpse until it was time to body jump into a new host.
This one was already long gone, hiding out in plain sight as its skin suit slowly withered away. Not that it needed one. They were far more deadly in their natural form but generally too stupid to realize it. Most flesh dancers only shed their skin in desperation and to feed and this one was no exception. It had probably dumped the old one down here in hopes it would never be discovered and from the signs and state of the corpse it had been abandoned days ago which meant the flesh dancer were soon be looking for a new host.
I knew I had to work quickly to find this bastard before it got away. It had to be somewhere in the Hive and every fibre in my body said it was hunting even now. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up and I could feel my skin crawl as if something was dragging its greasy claws down my back. Every sense in my body could feel the heavy predator instinct emanating for all around. There was something big nasty and hungry out there preparing to sink its teeth into some unsuspecting victim.
I splashed through a puddle of stagnant water as I ran down the dark narrow lane. The grey concrete walls hid the sky but not the light from the city above. Thin beads of sweat were already running down my back as I sprinted through yet another catacomb like passageway. Occasionally a desperate soul would wander passed but none bore the tell signs that I was looking for and all the while the hunger grew stronger as I circled ever closer to my prey.
At last I turned a corner and came face to face with an ashen skin girl with pale blue eyes that glowed bright in the darkness. Her skin was cracked and that same pale blue light was shining through the gaps. There was as a sadness to the girl she seemed so helpless and alone. She reached out her hand almost shaking.
With cold detached hatred I smiled and stabbed the white hot beam from the EL Blade into the girl’s side. The flesh dancer roared in anger and leapt back. It bellowed an inhuman scream that shattered a nearby window sending out a rain of the broken glass. Shifting the dial on the handle of the EL Blade the beam cooled and a series of rings descended forming a long whip that crackled with electricity.
The beast leapt forward arms flailing madly and I lashed out with the whip striking it repeatedly causing the Kine to convulse in pain as electricity coursed through. In this form the EL Blade unleashed enough volts to fry a normal person and yet the flesh dancer merely reeled in pain. Again and again I lashed out as the beast staggered struggling to cross the gap and scratch my throat out. Its leg buckled cracking and shattering into dust as it fell to the ground.
Seizing the momentum I flicked a switch on the EL Blade causing the rings to recede and the energy whip to fade away. It sparked a few times and then nothing. A brief shadow of panic crossed my face as I struck the side of the tarnished cylinder hoping for it to spark to life but it just hummed ominously. Twisting and shaking it I tried to get the white hot blade to engage but it stubbornly refused.
“Not now. This is not the time to start acting up on me.” I yelled at the malfunction EL Blade. Then the alley became filled with the sound of tearing skin and falling lumps of flesh as the flesh dancer tore its way out of its skin suit. It unfolded its narrow body stretched its longs bone like arms and razor sharp talons. Its vestigial wings hung loosely from its back and pale blue veins pumped fluid rapidly to its heaving chest as the beast let out another ear piercing scream. The flesh dancer charged, springing across the gap with talons outstretched and jaws open. Bits of broken glass fell from above slowing as they descended. The Kine seemed to be moving through molasses as the world slowed for all but me. A green light blinked on my fugit belt stretching a single moment into the three long seconds. Just enough time to turn a desperate situation into an advantageous one.
Striking the EL Blade one last time it finally sparked to life and the white hot scalp erupted to life. Spinning to the side I imbedded the blade into the flesh dancer’s skull just as the light on fugit belt went out and time returned to normal. The air was filled with the stench of burning meat and the sound flesh being rending from the bone as the Kine continued its leap and the EL Blade burnt its way along the creatures back. The flesh dancer collapsed to the ground in a pile of guts and pale blue blood.
My breathing was ragged and sweat beaded across my face leaving a trail down to my smiling lips. It was done the Kine was a pile of garbage now and there was nothing left to do but harvest its valuable organs to sell on the black market. It was still young for a flesh dancer but its parts would fetch a high price. Even still I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something dangerous still lurking in the darkness, a distant predator drawing closer to its unsuspecting prey.