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Flash Fiction – Blood Curse December 4, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a weekly series, updated every friday. Click Here to read from the beginning.

Loki dropped down through the portal and landed in a crouch, his fiery saber extended before him at the ready.   The tunnel was pitch black beyond its flickering light, and there was no sound other than an intermittent sizzle as drops of water hit the blade.   He dimmed the flames to allow him to see any heat signatures in the gloom, but there was nothing.  “Sorry, it’s too damp down here, Grimm. I hope you can track her.” 

Grimm landed silently next to him, nothing more than a vague, hound-shaped shadow.  He lifted his muzzle to the air, then sneezed and shook his head.  “Chloroform.  No blood though, which is good and bad. She’s here somewhere, and unharmed, but I had hoped their casualties would slow them down.”

Loki cursed beneath his breath.  “It’s a two-stage portal.  The cutters are probably miles from here. If we hadn’t dropped down the same hole as Nox we’d probably have a welcoming party waiting for us.”

“We may still get one.”  Grimm put his nose to the ground and cast about for a minute before pointing to the right.  “This way.  We need to move fast, these are the storm drains below the city proper. Any traces they left won’t last long.”

They headed down the stone tunnels at a run, Grimm only pausing briefly at each intersection to check for tracks.  It was like a waking nightmare for Loki, the close, damp tunnels and steady drip of water brought back memories he had long been trying to forget.   He clenched his fist around the hilt of his saber until his knuckles turned white.

Grimm’s rumbling voice echoed in the back of his mind. “Ah, now I know why you seemed so familiar.  You’re the boy we found in the cistern.  Been trying to figure that out all week.  You were so waterlogged when I pulled you out I barely got a scent off you.”

“I remember Lucien pulling me out, I think I’d have recalled seeing you.”

“Who do you think dragged you up high enough for him to reach you?” Grimm said.  “You were pretty far gone after treading water for a whole day, I’m not surprised you don’t remember clearly.  I am sorry about your family, we got there too late.  All I could do was to ease their spirits down the long road.”

“Let’s just focus on finding Nox.”  Loki said, his voice strained.  “We should have run into them by now, they didn’t have more than a few minutes head start.”  He put a hand on the slimy wall.  “Can you feel that?  It’s like a freight train going past. “

“That’s not a train!” Grimm turned into a gargoyle and flattened Loki against the wall.  “Take a deep breath and hang on!” 

Loki only had time for one deep breath before the wall of water hit them.

Nox awoke to the familiar thrum of the river beneath her parents’ mansion.  She tried to sit up and clear the cobwebs from her head, but she couldn’t move. That’s when reality hit her – she wasn’t home, she was a prisoner of the cutters that had been after Loki.   Nox managed to sit upright by pushing with her feet against the floor and twisting to brace her back on the wall.   The room was dim, only lit by a few emergency lights in the hallway outside.   She sat, panting to catch her breath after her efforts and waited for her eyes to adjust.

Footsteps echoed down the hall, and a blocky figure entered the room, silhouetted by the light.  “Take it easy, girl.  If we wanted you dead we wouldn’t have wasted the binding spell on you.”  The man sounded like a chain-smoker, but there was no smell of nicotine around him.  “Hope your friends can swim. “  He let out a gravelly laugh.   

Nox squinted at him. “Wait a minute, I know you!  My father hired you once, you’re that mercenary.  What was it, Hawk, Raptor? ”

“Shrike.  I liked working for Lucien.  Paid well, and on time.  But business is business, you do understand? This is nothing personal.” 

“I understand, but I don’t think Grimm will be as forgiving.”  Nox said.

He laughed again.  “That’s why we didn’t harm so much as a hair on your pretty little head.  Wouldn’t want to go bringing the blood-curse down on us.” He waved at the wall.  “I think you can hear the water. Even he can’t track you without a scent.  The young duelist isn’t going to fare too well either, I imagine.”

Another mercenary came into the room and whispered a message to him.  “Ah, looks like our clients have arrived.” Shrike said. He stepped into the hallway and waved.  “Right this way. She’s alive, and completely unharmed. I’ll expect payment in full, now, if you don’t mind.”

“After we inspect the merchandise.”  Three members of the New Dawn cult entered the room, dressed in long, crimson robes.  The one who had spoken pushed back his hood.  “We need to make sure this is the abomination, and not some fake created as a decoy.”

Shrike narrowed his eyes.  “That bloody hound of hers killed ten of my men.  She’s real enough.”

The cultist crouched down beside Nox, and grabbed her chin in a gloved hand.  She smirked at him. “You don’t need the gloves, nimrod.  Humanity isn’t contagious.”

“If you are, indeed a demi-human, and not some blasphemous construct like that creature you command.”  A cruel smile crossed his lips.  “We have a whole series of experiments planned to determine just that.”

Nox spit in his face. “Get bent, you sawed off, mouth-breathing, ass..”

The cultist backhanded her so hard her head bounced off the wall.  “Silence!” He pulled his arm back for another swing, but Shrike stopped him. 

“You idiot, you’ve just killed us all!”

Nox spit blood out of her mouth, and smiled.  “I’d run, if I were you.”

Outside, an unearthly howl echoed down the corridors…

(to be concluded…)

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1. Sam - December 4, 2009

Love it! This is the second installment I’ve read – guess my weekend’s now going to be filled reading back over all the installments I’ve missed. I would pay money to read these stories! 🙂

2. Marisa Birns - December 4, 2009

I began reading this with the idea that I should look for places where I could advise you to “tighten here” or “fix this” or anything else that would show me in Serious Critique form.

But, this installment continues the wonderful storyline with the same engaging storytelling!

I am such a fangirl of Nox and Loki… 🙂

techtigger - December 4, 2009

I’ll be going into serious edit mode with the earlier installments – lots of boo-boos back there, I wasn’t editing as carefully when I stared this. But they’ll be fixed this weekend.

Glad you’re enjoying them so much! 🙂

(and next week, Grimm gets to open a can of whoop-ass…*heh*)

3. Laura Eno - December 4, 2009

Ohh..you gave out a hint of next week. 🙂 I LOVE this series. I do hope that you will be putting this all together in book form – please!

Sam – yes you have to go back and read all of them. These characters are charming and captivating.

4. Jared - December 4, 2009

Originally I had thought I was going to have to wade through another mindless science fiction story but found something incredibly engaging and well-written. I, too, now have plans for the weekend. 🙂

5. soesposito - December 4, 2009

Now there’s a girl who can think under pressure. 🙂 Go get ’em, Grimm! (fangirl, too!)

6. Julie (Okami) - December 4, 2009

I can’t wait to read more!! I absolutely love it. But I’m very partially to large dogs, ghostly or otherwise 🙂

7. Sarah - December 4, 2009

Ooo I’m going to have to back and read the rest later 🙂

I really liked this.

Only thing is too me spit should be spat.

Thanks and I look forward to next week’s!

8. michelledevans - December 5, 2009

Mee too Sarah, I’m going to have to read the ones I’ve missed.

9. Laurita - December 5, 2009

Another stellar job. I’m looking forward to the opening of the whoop-ass can. 🙂

10. Olivia Tejeda - December 5, 2009

Angie, This was intense and fast-paced. Your writing really shines. Thanks for sharing it. ~ Olivia

11. David Shrock - December 5, 2009

Good stuff happening here. I mentioned this series on Ben White’s (@midnightstories) blog (www.benwhite.com/writing/19-years-young-and-other-tidbits/) as a good example of a weekly series. White asked if serializing works in this period of “instant gratification.”

This Nox and Grimm serial works well on its own and as a launch for your larger WIP. Reach your audience, polish. Much potential.

12. BurningChrome99 - December 7, 2009

Great – got action – intrigue – and a little magic to boot, can’t wait for next week.

13. Chance - December 7, 2009

Great pace and was really drawn in , what a cliff hanger ending!

Good stuff

14. Magenta Monster » Blog Archive » Other Flasher’s Stories - December 7, 2009

[…] Blood Curse – I really liked this one and it turns out to be part of a bigger story which I am going to have to go and read! […]

15. jmstrother - December 9, 2009

Solid writing and great storyline going on here. Nice.

16. Walt - August 4, 2010

She drew him right into that one. All that effort not to spill a drop of blood and he had to go and mess it all up.

17. Xanto - September 2, 2010

She knows how to play the game, that Nox! I’m hoping Grimm gets to kick more ass in the next one!

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