“Not at sea, nor at bay will I sleep again,” Matt howled as he ran up the stairs, plowing ahead with his head down and the bag tucked under his arm. Another bang followed by a shower of debris shielded Matt from view as he slipped behind the Captain’s quarters, taking up a random wrench laying on top of a nearby barrel…then a gadget.
Another bang from the deck shook the ship followed by a shrieking howl.
“Captain!” Caius called over the bang. One by one Angela, Cindy, Chess, Stanushka, Jay, Adam, and the Professor, spilled on deck, joining the hoard of vampires all taking turns ripping the deck apart with a series of punches.
“My ship!” Angela screamed as Caius’s hoard of minions took turns punching through the walls of the gunwale and kicking holes in the deck.
Stanushka raised the armed the bazooka, Cindy withdrew her daggers, and Chess cocked her guns and took aim.
“Captain!” Caius grinned.
“Caius,” Angela answered. “Get off my ship before I feed your heart to the Weeches.”
“Tsk tsk,” Caius poured. “Such hatred.”
“You have something of mine that I want, Captain. Give me back the girl…and my Doctor and we’ll call things even, and I and my kin will walk away leaving your vessel intact.”
“You’ll walk away leaving the vessel unscathed no matter,” Cindy threatened.
Caius replied with a wider grin.
Caius flinched and Stanushka unleashed the bazooka, missing Caius altogether as he sped across the deck toward the Captain. Caius reached for Angela’s neck as she turned, sword in hand, to behead the first of Caius’ minions. As the first of heads fell to the deck, a small burst released in Caius’ face who snarled at the stench of beets.
Two more heads fell as Cindy slashed with her daggers, turned, and crossed the blades across another throat. Beside her, Chess fired her flintlocks into the faces of oncoming vampires lunging first with fingers as long as talons reaching to shred their prey. Bodies dropped to the deck as Jay took up his great sword and severed the heads of vampires hissing up at him.
Recovered from the blast and stench of beets, Caius caught sight of Aria. Within a breath, Caius was on her from behind, his talons grazing her neck with a hungry grin.
“Your blood flows with venom, Aria. It’s only a matter of time…”
“You touch her and your head will be next to fall,” Angela said, her sword poised to Caius’ throat.
“Don’t wait, Captain. Kill him and be rid of him,” Stanushka said. “Here. Let me help you.” With her bazooka settled upon her shoulder, Stani peered down the scope at Caius.
“You know so little beyond your own eyes,” Caius said.
“Hey, Caius!” Adam called from across the ship’s deck. In his hand, he held something that resembled a child’s top.
“Go to hell.”
Before he could release the top, a barrel of gunpowder exploded behind him, throwing Adam, his top, the crew, Caius, and his minions across the deck and into the St. Lawrence.
The top spun across the deck.
“No!” Adam screamed, but, too late it spun madly, releasing a cloud that smelled strongly of beets.
“Run,” Adam said and picking himself off the deck, led the Captain and the crew overboard and into the river. Pushing his face off the deck, Caius watched the cloud mingle with the flames and burst into a chain of explosions that enveloped the ship in flames. Already, Caius and his minions were gone.
“My ship!” Angela screamed from the water as pieces of the Slush Brain burst into shards and splinters of kindling. In silence, the crew and Aria gazed upon the wreckage, the last of their sanctuary consumed by fire and flame.
“Hey!” A voice called from behind.
The crew turned to the voice of Mad Matt. Still dressed in the scarf, the black bag of random hodgepodge beside him, Matt waved from inside a row boat signaling to the crew.
“Ahoy!” He shouted. “Welcome aboard!”
One by one, the crew swam toward Matt’s boat.
“Cin. Help Aria,” Angela said.
At once, Cin swam to Aria’s side and lifted her into the boat.
“There you go, love,” Matt said pulling Aria out of the water.
“Here,” Cindy said, bracing herself to pull herself in behind Aria. Already Stanushka was in the boat, helping Chess into the vessel when something closed around Cindy’s ankle and pulled her back into the water.
“Hel-!” Cin gulped in a mouthful of water.
“Cinders?” Stanushka asked, turning about to where Cindy had been a moment ago. Bubbles covered the surface.
“Cinders!” Stanushka screamed.
Taking a deep breath, Angela dove under water. From the bottom of the river, Weeches had spotted The crew and now one had tangled itself around Cinder’s leg, pulling her deeper into the river. More Weeches swam toward Cindy who managed to pull a dagger from her boot. But too late. a Weech grabbed the wrist holding the dagger. Withdrawing her sword, Angela thrust the blade, piercing the Weech holding Cindy’s ankle through the chest, but already the wound was healing around Angela’s blade.
Angela withdrew the blade, reopening the wound and spilling Weech entrails into the water.
An arrow with a modified head sailed through the water, severing the hand holding Cin’s ankle. A second arrow severed the hand at Cin’s wrist buying her enough time to surface. Pieces of Weech spilled into the St. Lawrence.
Standing up in the boat, Jay held a crossbow loaded with a third shot. Beside him, Stanushka loaded the next crossbow.
The third arrow sailed into the chest of the nearest Weech who reached for Angela buying her enough time to swim to the surface behind Cinders. While the impact delayed the Weech’s start, too quickly it recovered and swam after Angela.
Cindy pulled herself into the boat as Chess and Adam pulled Angela into the boat. Jay dropped to his knees, the crossbow abandoned, and punched the Weech in the face.
“Easy now,” Adam soothed patting Angela’s back as Cindy and she coughed oxygen back into their lungs. Once more, the St. Lawrence settled as the Weech’s withdrew back to the floor of the river.
Air came back to Angela and slowly, she glared up at Matt still wrapped in her vintage collector’s edition scarf.
Standing upright, Angela walked across the boat and punched Matt in the nose releasing a gush of blood.
“Captain!” Adam called.
“Angela!” Chess cried.
“You blew up my ship!” Angela screamed as Matt held his bleeding nose. “Our home! Our weapons! All the supplies! Gone!”
“Angela,” Cindy eased. “How do you know he blew up the ship?”
“He was the only one missing on deck!” Angela screamed.
Silence followed as they all turned to Matt for an answer.
“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” he muttered.
“Give me that,” Angela said taking back her scarf from Matt.
“So now what do we do?” Chess asked averting the crew’s attention to the dingy and few supplies surrounding them.
In the distance, the Slush Brain burned, lighting up the night with flame.
“Abandon ship,” Angela said. “Those flames will draw in every Weech for miles. The sooner we get away, the greater our chances of slipping past the Weeches coming our way.”
“We need a place to stay,” Cin said.
“We need to conduct an inventory,” Adam said. “See what supplies we have.”
“We need food,” Stan said.
“I know where we can go,” Aria said.
Last edited and updated 15 August 2016
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