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Flash Fiction – Raise the Dead, Part 5 August 25, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction, WeSeWriMo.
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WeSeWriMo is coming to a close, and I’ll be wrapping up the min-series this week.

If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.


There was no trace of Grimmalkyn left in the creature that faced off against Lucien.  It barely looked like a hound anymore – mad, glowing red eyes hovered over a gaping maw, and tendrils of an oily black substance dripped down its sides and oozed across the floor.

The ground was littered with dead and dying Chimaera.  Behind him, Lucien could hear the moans of wounded men, and the calm voice of the medic, Jens, as he worked to get them back on the line before the next attack.

“What are you waiting for?” Lucien thought, as he studied the battlefield.  The key to winning any battle was to understand your opponents’ strategy.  No more Chimaera had been called though, and the nightmarish beast stayed just out of arrow range. Which, Lucien had to admit, was a smart move on its part.  If he could close with the creature, he could destroy it.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw something move on the floor, but the only things there were corpses.  He thought it was just a trick of the light until something else moved.  First one corpse, then another started to jerk and twitch, and he realized each one had a black tendril plunged into its guts.   “Ready the line!” he shouted, and the men tightened up ranks.   A wave of animated corpses attacked, their eyes glowing red like the beast’s.

From there on out the battle was utter chaos.  The Chimaera were already dead – the only way to stop them was to chop off every limb, and render them immobile.  As soon as one went down, the oily tendril would pull back to burrow into another corpse, and send it shambling at the defenders.  It was not so much a battle as it was butchery, with each side trying to do as much damage as possible before they fell.

Lucien drew in energy and sent razor sharp spikes of ice shooting up from floor to ceiling. Each spike impaled a Chimaera and left it hanging above the floor.  The attack bought him a few moments to bring in the reserve troops, but no more than that.  The creatures simply ripped themselves off the spikes, and returned to the fight despite the gaping holes in their bodies.  Lucien called out new orders to his men, and pulled in energy for another assault.

Nox chanted the last of the names she had gotten from the Shadowkin, and fired her last arrow.   “Damn.  I hate leaving a job unfinished.”

Grimm let out a tired laugh, and his armor creaked as he tried to gain some traction to keep them from sliding.  “That was some fine shooting, short-stuff.”   His sword was still planted in the ground by his foot, but the ground itself had started to wash away.

Nox leaned out to the side to look around Grimm’s broad shoulders.  She chewed on the corner of her lip, thinking hard. “Why not.  What have I got to lose?  HEY! YOU AT THE END OF THE ROAD!”

Grimm pulled her back in front of him. “Nox, do not play games with Death!”

“Why not? I dance with him every time I try a new experiment.”  She leaned back out to look down the Road.  “HEY, YOU!  YES, I CAN SEE YOU.  I WANT TO MAKE A DEAL,” she yelled.

“I am getting too old for this.  Do you see all these grey hairs?  My hair was black before we were soul-bound.”

“GIVE ME THE REST OF THEIR NAMES, AND I’LL HELP GRIMM TAKE OUT YOUR TRASH.”

A sound rolled out from the end of the road, so deep she could feel it in her bones.  Nox looked up at Grimm, wide-eyed and shaking.  “I honestly didn’t think he’d respond,” she said, in a small voice.

“He always does.”

“I don’t understand though.  All he said was ‘To each his own time.’”

Grimm sighed.  “I think that means no, little one.”

Another bone-rattling sound shook them, and Nox’s face fell.  “He said you have to sheath your sword now.”

“Yes, I heard.”

Grimm looked down at her, familiar grey eyes in a craggy, unfamiliar face.  There was a world of sadness in them, and Nox knew it was all for her.  She gave him a crooked smile.  “Well, what are you waiting for?  You know I hate to be late for a dance.”

He squeezed her shoulder, and then wrenched the sword out of the ground and sheathed it in one smooth motion.  The invisible tide slammed into them, pulling them in opposite directions.

Nox reached out and snagged one of his armor straps.  “Grimm!”  The tide spun them around till she was completely lost.  She had no idea where the Road was, or if they were already on it.  His hand gripped hers as a bright light raced up to meet them.  She tried to hang on, but the tide was too strong. “Don’t let go!” she cried. There was a sharp pain in her head, and then everything went white, and fell silent.

One by one, the Chimaera’s eyes flashed electric blue before collapsing in heap.  There was no mistaking Nox’s aura signature, and the men let out a ragged cheer.   Lucien yelled out a command, and every man left standing charged.  Lucien threw up his arm as the beast leapt at him, and jammed his forearm between its teeth.   The creature clawed at Lucien’s sword, but the Ice Lord merely let it drop and slapped his armored hand against beast’s head.  A glyph etched in the palm of his gauntlet glowed, and the beast shrieked with all the voices of the Shadowkin at once.

It let go of Lucien and thrashed wildly as its body slowly turned to ice.  Lucien reached down to pick up his sword, and raised it for the killing blow.

Afterwards, Lucien was never exactly sure what happened.  A sound hit him, so deep and profound it left him stunned.  The black aura around the beast turned a brilliant gold, and for an instant, like an after image from looking at a bright light, the silhouette of a large man in armor stood in its place.  The last of the Chimaera fell, and as the light faded, a big, furry hound materialized.

Grimm shook himself from head to foot, and looked around in dismay.  “Where is Nox?” He lifted his nose to the wind to catch her scent, and ran out towards the city walls.

Grimm found Loki in what had been a guard tower on the outer defenses, sitting with his back to a marble tomb.  His head was bowed, and he had Nox cradled against his chest.  Everything for a quarter mile around them had been burned to the ground, the stone melted into puddles like wax.  The only things intact were the tomb, and one scared, exhausted horse.

“I used a spell capsule heal her wounds, but she won’t wake up,” Loki said, his voice thick with emotion.  “It only took a second that time she used one on me. It has been an hour now.”  He turned his burning gaze on Grimm.  “How could you leave her?  How could you choose to defend men who are already dead, when she needed you?  You are the only reason she came out here!”

Grimm’s ears flattened.  “She was not in danger when I left, and had allies close by.  What would you have me do?”

“ow,” Nox whispered, but they did not hear her.

“What you swore to do! You are her guardian!”

“seriously. ow.”   She reached up and placed her fingers over Loki’s lips.  “Can you argue more quietly, please? My head hurts.”

Loki’s eyes widened, and his shoulders slumped in relief.  He let out a broken laugh. “Hello, blue-eyes.”

She smiled up at him.  “There’s so much…thought I wouldn’t get to tell you…”

He bent down and kissed her. “Some things do not need words.”

Grimm rolled his eyes and muttered “I am drowning in sugar,” but he was grinning as he said it.

Nox laughed and held a hand out to him.  “I had been hoping to see you with a different face, furball.”

The hound ducked his head down and nudged her hand with a cold, damp nose.  “You heard what He said – to each his own time.  Mine will come, some day.”

Nox gave him a wistful smile. “Still, I wish I could have done more.”

“We are alive. For now, that is more than enough for me.”




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Comments»

1. lauraeno - August 25, 2010

Yay! Grimm is back and alive! Now, there is the interrupted business of going back with her father…will Angie make her go or will she tell him no? And how will that block inside Nox be broken? Or did her near-death experience break it? So many questions… LOL!

techtigger - August 26, 2010

yes, I have a whole list of unfinished threads to play with 🙂 story fodder for months and months!

2. Mari Juniper - August 25, 2010

Ohhh, what a terrific way out of the road! Glad they’re ok, and I loved the oily beast, reminds me of Myazaki, whose work I drool very seriously over. heh

techtigger - August 26, 2010

I always see the episodes in my head, and they are decidedly anime 🙂 I really need to look into script writing, would love to see these as an animates series!

3. Gracie - August 25, 2010

Yay! Magnificent! Whoo-hoo!

All right, I’ll stop jumping up and down now. 🙂

Just awesome. I love everything about it. And congratulations on the 50th episode!

techtigger - August 26, 2010

thank you! It was so funny, I had no idea it was the 50th until I posted the link in my flash fiction section last night. Was so busy writing, I lost track *lol* Worked out well though, ending the mini-series up with a bang 🙂


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