The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Al Bruno III
Four Spirits of Serendipity.
Four Demons of If.
But still somehow there is only one.
It/They watches Jack Diamond and Lorelei carry out another battle in their never ending feud. They/It hear Mustard’s unspoken vows and curses. It/They shiver with anticipation as Magwier uses the Devil’s Pocketwatch to be in the right place at the right sin.
Almost time now. One last piece of the puzzle begins to fall into place...
It was a little after eleven and the streets of Route d’abbaye had gone dark and quiet. There was no street traffic and only a single figure made his way along the sidewalk. Dr. Flesh slowed his pace as he reached the Sallow Sultan, “You made it.”
“I was just going to say the same thing,” Zeth nodded. He was sitting on the front steps of the brothel, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer lying across his knees, “You don’t have to do this you know.”
“I was just going to say the same thing,” the tall blonde haired man replied, “I hope Magwier doesn’t think sentimentality is going to keep me from getting past you.”
“Magwier doesn’t know about what happened between us,” Zeth set the hammer aside and pulled the automatic from his jacket. Gunfire was sure to draw the constabulary but what choice did he have? What other way could he slow the man down?
“Just because you told him doesn’t mean he doesn’t know. He’s annoying like that.” Dr. Flesh looked up and down the street, “What the Hell is all this about anyway? What is his stake in this?”
“He wants Jack Diamond alive,” Zeth took aim at the other man, “he think’s it’s part of the greater good. The long game.”
Dr. Flesh lowered his voice to a conspiratorial tone, he leaned forward,“It’s something more than that, can’t you feel it?”
“You’ll feel something if you take one more step.”
“And then what? I’ll put you down like a dog. I’ll put you to sleep. I’ll send you to... Golden Slumbers.” Dr. Flesh choked on the words, “There it is again! Why do I keep saying things like that?”
“It’s that kind of a night,” Zeth stood, “now step back.”
The pistol flared with light. Zeth shouted and dropped the smoldering, suddenly hot metal. Five men approached from across the street. Four carried Ak-47s, their faces were intricately tattooed and they wore dull metal armor. The man that led them was tall, pudgy and dressed in the uniform of a Constable. His waxed mustache was perfect, his gloved hands shimmered with the afterglow of an incantation.
“Allow me to introduce Supervising Constable Loundsberry,” Dr. Flesh said, “He and I go back a ways.”
“You were right,” Loundsberry spoke in clipped tones, “this place is a hotbed of anarchist activity.”
“You don’t know the half of it.”
Zeth hissed with pain and disbelief, “You called in the Constabulary?”
“Strange bedfellows,” Dr. Flesh said, “something we both know a bit about.”
The Sentries drew closer. The supervising constable spoke again, “Zeth, aka Myron Jules-”
“Myron?” Dr. Flesh snorted with disbelief.
Zeth frowned, “Shut up.”
Loundsberry continued, “-I am placing you under arrest for crimes of a violent and subversive nature. You will be taken from this place and conscripted into the ranks of the Sentries. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
“I should have brought more guns.”
Dr. Flesh shrugged, “He always says that.”
The Sentries moved forward again. Zeth grabbed the silver hammer and retreated up the steps to the Sallow Sultan until his back was pressed against the front door. His wounded hand was aching but he held on tight to the only weapon he had left. Then he whispered a prayer to the saints of gunpowder and the firing pin.
Loundsberry’s mustache twitched worriedly at that. He gave the order to open fire.
The AK-47’s clicked hollowly, miss-firing then jamming. Zeth gave them a smile, the saints rarely failed him at times like this.
Then he was moving, charging back down the steps swinging Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. There was a wet crack and he brought one of the sentries down.
The other Sentries crowded in. Zeth jammed the handle into an armored gut, then jabbed forward dislocating an adversary's shoulder.
Now the hammer began to glow as Loundsberry began another incantation. There was a flash, and Zeth’s hand began to sizzle wherever they touched metal.
It hurt like Hell but he was ready for it this time. Zeth rolled under the legs of the one Sentry that was still standing. The armored man hit the ground as Zeth brought the mystically heated weapon up and across the Supervising Constable’s jaw. Bone shattered, flesh burned.
Then Zeth was back on his feet. Dr. Flesh was standing in the middle of a pile of unconscious and wounded men. He looked equal parts annoyed and impressed.
“Right.” Dr. Flesh dove at him.
Zeth dodged the man’s grasping hands, moving back up the stairs.
One touch. One touch from Dr. Flesh would be the end of him. Two years ago that had been part of the thrill but right now the thought terrified Zeth. If he died here who would protect Jason Magwier? The girl? Not bloody likely.
Dr. Flesh grabbed at him again. Zeth used the length of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer to keep his attacker at bay.
The sound of gunfire startled both men. Zeth knew the sound of a Desert Eagle .50 caliber when he heard it.
More shit hitting a completely different fan.
Dr. Flesh caught hold of him, his fingertips grasping cloth instead of skin. Zeth tore out of his jacket and threw himself against the Sallow Sultan’s front door bringing it crashing down.