In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Eighty Four
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday, December 4th 1996
There was a rending, ear-splitting crash and Laurel House caved in upon itself. Glass shattered, furniture and food rotted away, long lost volumes of forgotten lore burst into flames. At any moment imprisoned spirits would rise up from the ruins in a shadowy plume.
This was the moment Galen had waited for. The Monarchs would be fascinated and confused by the magic and minds hemorrhaging out through the layers of reality. He bolted out of the wreckage, running all out. He had kept his human shape but his senses were sharp and ready, he heard the donnrup flitting over head and the Drones marching in the snow. Somewhere close by Sig was begging for death. Galen wished him luck.
I’m sorry Isobel. Galen thought suddenly, You should never have stopped for me, I should never have let you fall in love with me.
The worst part was that he had let himself be swept up in her romance. He had taken pleasure in her simple human dreams. He was a fool.
There was a drone nearby, it realized Galen was coming a fraction to late. The High-Born Vlodek caught it by the neck and brought it down. He used his strength and weight to snap the bio-mechanical spine. The automated locus lost contact with the protocol skein leaving the drone useless and still.
Another drone appeared, it raised its pistol to fire but Galen was back on his feet, he threw the limp Drone at the other. An old move but an effective one.
He felt a kind of shame at facing battle this way but he had to think ahead. What was he going to do after the fight was over? Wander ass-naked into town? Better this way, better to try and pass undetected as one of the teeming and faithless ignorant humans he had once hunted for pleasure and sport.
But something was wrong. Where was the cloud of howling spirits? Where was Dameia’s terrified and captive presence? The dark god should have been struggling to escape or fight but it was silent. Had it given up? Was it already gone?
It didn’t matter. All that did matter was that Galen was exposed.
A bullet caught him in the leg sending him sprawling. The pain that bloomed there screamed through his mind, dulling his senses and pushing the Metastasis out of reach.
Silver. The bastards were using silver. They weren’t taking chances this time. Galen turned back to see Mr. Sauno running at him. The look on his face was a perfect imitation of the predator’s ecstasy.
Galen tried to stand again. He’d been hurt worse. It was just his leg. It was just pain.
The next bullet caught him in the shoulder. Galen blacked out for a moment and when he opened his eyes again Mr. Sauno was standing over him.
“It’s over,” he said, “no more running.”
And to Galen’s horror he almost felt a kind of relief.