I thought I'd do something special for the vengeance project and wrote a short story based on a setting I'd been working on. It's the first time I do so on the blog and in zee Englisch, so please be gentle ... OR I'LL TAKE MY BLOODY REVENGE ON THEE. Ahem. But let's be civil about this, dear readers. No one has to die today. Although it's the
|Click the picture and follow the trail of blood to|
EVEN MORE BLOODY VENGEANCE!!
WARNING: This is not for the weak of heart, strong language is used and
the violence is excessive. There is an abundance of sex, though (sorry, guys).
“Anyway, it hadn’t been long after they’d discovered those portals that people went and found out what lay beyond them. Believe the news on this one, pal. Fairies, centaurs, that whole elves and dwarfs bullshit. The shit the kids like to play on computers these days. I couldn’t care less. So what, it’s fuckin’ Disneyland, I’d say. But it wasn’t long after that and the rumors about gold started making the rounds. Now, that’s where it got interesting, I tell you.
Well, after some tours in Afghanistan I’ve earned my fair share as a gun for hire in the last years. Believe me, there’s more than enough work for guys like me. Ask no questions, do what you are paid for. Simple as that. Makes a living, as they say. But that new deal was almost too good to be true. I’d only heard stories about the first wave. Shit, who hasn’t! You switch on a TV and you’ll see stupid smiling assholes with hands full of gold and jewels. Oh yeah, those goblins got teeth and knifes and whatnot, but the fuckers had yet to learn what a machine gun was. Easy pickin’s, they’d tell you, and I wanted in on that action.
When I arrived at the site in Czechia it was almost as big a town as it is now. I’ve never seen anything like it. A genuine fuckin’ boom town, like you’d see in the movies, growing every day. Freelancers, corporate, military, you name it, they all wanted a piece of the cake. Man, believe it or not, there even were people ready to settle on the other side. Whole families, waiting their turn to herd their fuckin’ cattle through the portal.
It was a mess. Still is, I suppose. An ill mix of people getting rich fast and even faster poor again, with no law to speak of, I might add. Gambling, cheap drugs and even cheaper whores did their best to keep it that way. Shit, so many stupid assholes … breaking bones almost kept me from getting a real job, it was that crazy. Anyway, the first gig I could get my hands on had been a rescue mission. Nothing fancy, but good for the contacts and the first legal permission to go to the other side.
Let me tell you this much, that first tour into the new frontier had been something else. Beautiful country. Pictures just won’t do it justice.
Well, it’s not important. By then I was in with a good crowd. Mostly ex-soldiers. My kind of people, you know. One of them, Dominguez, had been with the Navy Seals before, clever bastard, too, and an artist with the knife, but his real talent had been with the ladies. He’d smile and they’d get their panties all twisted. You’d know the type, I guess.
So one day he’d tell us about this chick from some university or another. Totally in over her head, but well funded. Can’t right remember what she was supposed to do there … learning their language or some such horseshit. Back then it was very difficult to get through the portal without an official contract. They’d just take what you got before they allowed you back in. So you’d either pay horrendous bribes to some glasses wearing monkey in a suit or you’d get ripped off on your way back. Sometimes they’d rip you off anyway. You see now, going legal with a controllable contractor was a hell of a sweet deal and she was more than ready to make it happen.
Didn’t take Dominguez long to convince her that she needed all the artillery she could get if she wanted to go beyond, the new frontier being fucking dangerous and all that. Shit, for all we knew he didn’t even lie about it, too. Almost ironic that it turned out to be much worse. We had scared that poor girl shitless to get our ticket and now I’m sitting here, drinking one shot after another, still trembling from what went down all those months ago. We just couldn’t have known …
Yeah, I’d have another … ah, that’s better. Now, where was I. Yes. It was just the opportunity we had been waiting for, since we already had some solid intel where we could make our first big claim. A treasure map, if you can believe that, but from a reliable source. From a first wave veteran, if you wanna know. All we had to do now was pushing that geek squad in the right directions and we’d get our chance.
I won’t bore you with details of the travel, since that’s not what you’re buying the drinks for. It’s the dragon’s hoard you want to know about. So yes, that’s where the map was supposed to lead us to. There had been a small village near the location and the eggheads had been more than happy to start there whatever they’d come for. Once we got rid of them, we headed straight for the nearby mountains.
If you’ve seen one military operation, you’ve seen them all. We were careful and professional about it, did our recon and all that, you know. We went through the motions. The target location had been the ruins of a castle of sorts, some fifty miles away from that village we’d dumped the geeks in. We found it easy enough and made camp at the foot of the mountain. We took our time, almost two days, to get a clear picture of the structure, the best ways to get in and out, stuff like that. When we made our move, we came prepared. But there had been no resistance at all. No signs of life, really.
We already started doubting our source, but then we’d entered what was left of the main building and saw a pile of gold and jewelry bigger than any of us had brains enough to dream up: the fucking hoard of a dragon. And what a damn magnificent sight it had been! Jefferson was the first to break formation and made a dive for it. He was the first to go, too. Didn’t even have time to scream. One moment he was up to his ass in treasure, hiding his erection, the next he was gone and the gold started turning red where his stupid face had been seconds ago.
That kind of killed the good mood right there. I believe it had been Alvarez who started shooting at the heap of gold, but it wasn’t a heartbeat after that and we all screamed metal into it. But this was a cunning son of a bitch, waited till we ceased fire, waited even for the last piece of gold to settle. Then he came over us, in an explosion of coins and claws.
See that scar? Yes, it ain’t pretty. Almost lost my eye, too. The fucking claws of that beast. But the fire was the worst. I know, it’s all in the fairy tales and shit, but let me tell you, once you’ve seen the fucker do his thing, you’ll take the image to the grave. If you’re not toast right then and there. You know, that’s how Dominguez bought his ticket. Nasty way to go if I’ve ever seen one. That fire seemed to keep the guy alive while burning his flesh of. He had already been screaming for what must have been 20 minutes when I got my chance to beat it. For all I know, he might still do so right now.
How I got away, you ask? I’d like to think that it’s a soldier’s instincts that keep him alive and I just know when I have to take my leave. But who am I kidding? Fucking luck, that’s what it was. Somehow I managed to get out of that main building and went hiding behind the walls of what must have been, I don’t know, stables or whatever. Mostly it had been just walls. There was still some gunfire and screams from back where I came from, but that went silent fast and only the screams were left. I know, it doesn’t sound like the brave thing to do, but half my face was in bloody ruins and I couldn’t adjust my one eye right. I was out of that fight, if I wanted to or not.
I kept my good eye on the entrance and switched from ak to shotgun. Don’t know why I waited. Maybe I’d hoped that the guys catch a lucky break and we’d have a happy end after all. Yeah, right. What I got instead was a good look at that dragon. Long as a school bus, but slender and moving like a panther. That was a mean looking bastard, I can tell you that. All teeth and scales and claws and wings. Couldn’t make out any bullet holes, though. No sir, that son of a bitch was uninjured, pissed and looking for me. I was sure of it.
I shouldn’t have gotten out of there alive, but in the end the stupid fucker fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book. While he was out in the open, looking for me, I took a stone from the ground and threw it some twenty feet away from me. He went for the noise, even went right over my head. But damn, was that creature fast! Anyway, I took my chances and gave him one with the shotgun. And a good one, too, at that. Next thing I know is that the beast screams in pain and crashes into the ruins out of sight.
If I know where I got him? Well, of course, but telling stories is such thirsty work … yes, please … much obliged. Yeah, that was a strange one. Although I couldn’t get another good look at the beast, I had two of its claws lying right in front of me. Must have shot them clean off of his right paw. Anyway, I had overstayed my welcome, so I got out of there without learning anything else.
If I got one of those claws with me to proof it? Yes, as a matter of fact, I have. And yes, I’ll show you, my friend. Soon. Anyway, I made my way back to camp. No one else had made it. I took what I needed, left camp and tended to my wounds as good as I could in the middle of nowhere. Sure enough, that dragon came looking for me.
Taking the car back hadn’t been an option, even if the dragon had left anything of it to work with. So I kept a low profile and walked as much off track as I could. When I reached the village, it was already burnt to the grounds. No sign of life, just corpses. The geek squad didn’t make it, too. All in all it took me short of three weeks to get back to the checkpoint. That stubborn fucker almost got me two times. Even attacked the checkpoint, if you can believe that.
So I got out alive. The only thing I got to show for is that stupid claw I took with me. Well, I guess that’s alright, as long as it keeps filling the glasses. If I believe in magic, you say? No. Let me tell you something. I know the stories. Dragons can talk and change into humans and whatever other stupid bullshit people can come up with. But when all is said and done, it was just a dumb animal. Cunning, yes, and fast, but a stupid fucking animal nonetheless. Nothing more.
Anyway, I won’t go back there and find out. I’m done. Come again? Really? No, I don’t think so. Nothing gets from there to our side. Have you seen one of those checkpoints? They got the heavy guns there. Don’t give it another thought. Those creatures will stay where they belong to or they get shot to pieces. Nothing to worry about. Well, that’s my cue. The story is told. You wanna see the claw now? Here you go. ... Sure, you can hold it, if you want. That’s something, right? The bill’s on you, I hope? Thanks. ... You’re welcome. And now I’d like to have that claw back. ... Well, that's it, then. Take care, my friend.”
As the scarred ex-soldier made his way towards the door, the young man that had listened to his stories signaled the barkeep that he’d like to pay now and left shortly after. The barkeep didn’t spend a second thought on his casual observation that the young man indeed had two fingers missing on his right hand.