The Nick Of Time (and other abrasions)
Bedknobs And Boomsticks
Al Bruno III
Rue d'Auseil had been the most quaint and mundane street in Olathoe but that was before riots and reprisals had left it a maze of shattered buildings and broken streets.
Much like Nature, the citizens of Olathoe abhor a vacuum so they began using the lifeless street as a place to dispose of their garbage and junk. Now the street was an alien landscape sculpted out of refuse.
And in time Rue d'Auseil became the perfect place to search for recyclable treasures and spell components.
But it was also the perfect place for an ambush.
A volley of shotgun blasts sent the three young women diving for cover behind a hill of garbage topped by a metal four-poster bed. They were Apprentice Mystagogues. The oldest, Lorelei, spat out a mouthful of pebbles and grime before she spoke, “Now who the Hell is that?” Her eyes were candy green and her mop of unruly hair had been dyed a bright shade of red. She wore torn bluejeans, a ratty looking blouse and clunky boots. There was a slingshot in her left hand.
Judy Bauer groaned, “I’m lying in something... Moist.” Of the three of them Judy Bauer was the one least dressed for an excursion to Rue d'Auseil; she was beautiful, rich and believed in high profile, high fashion at all times.
Audra DiMico risked a look around the side of the bed, another trio of shotgun blasts sent the dark haired girl scrambling back to safety. She was the most beautiful of the three and she worked very hard to hide it, “They look like mimes,” Audra said, “I swear they look like mimes.”
“I don’t think mimes would scream ‘Die Bitches’ before opening fire,” Lorelei fumbled in her pockets until she found a handful of ball bearings.
Another shotgun blast, more garbage spilled down on them. “This is disgusting,” Judy snarled, “they’ll pay for my dry cleaning with their lives.”
Lorelei held one of the ball bearings up to her left eye and started to chant. It began to glow gently.
“What are you doing?” Judy interrupted.
“I am trying to save us,” Lorelei said, “unless you happen to have a better idea.”
“My better idea was not coming here. Remember that idea?”
Another trio of shotgun blasts, closer this time and from widening angles. They were being flanked, but Audra was suddenly more concerned with what Lorelei had in her right hand, “What’s with the slingshot?”
Stopped in mid-incantation again Lorelei said, “It was a gift.”
“Who else?” Judy flicked wet garbage from her blouse, “From her stalker.”
“Oh Lorelei you didn’t...”
“He said I might need it,” Lorelei explained, “and he isn’t so bad-”
Judy snorted, “For a stalker.”
“He taught me a few new tricks-”
Judy snorted again, “Please don’t say it like that.”
Another three shotgun blasts, more flying garbage. Lorelei waved one of the ball bearings in front of her friends, “I can charge these ball bearings with a spark of starlight, then I shoot them via the slingshot and POW! No more mimes.”
“See!” Audra shouted, “I told you they were mimes.”
“Is that the best you can do?” Judy said, “Magic spitballs?”
“Do you have a better idea?” Audra crawled over to the right and saw one of the gunmen drawing closer.
“The Phacton Detonation.”
Now it was Lorelei’s turn to snort, “Oh right, if you want to cast the Phacton Detonation you either need to have a fourth level daemon familiar or be a virgin. We’re fresh outta both.”
Judy sighed with resignation, “OK you got me there.”
“Good. Now shut up! Both of you!”
Once the first incantation was cast Lorelei jumped to her feet and launched a ball bearing from the slingshot. It caught the gunman aporaching from the left in the head, shearing off the side of his face and skull with a shower of sparks. He died so suddenly he didn’t even have time to scream.
“Wow.” Audra and Judy said in unison.
Lorelei turned on her heel. Another incantation, another ball bearing glowed with pale light. The second gunman stepped into view.
She loosed the slingshot. At the same moment the gunman fired. The metal sphere caught the gunman in the chest sending him tumbling backwards.
The shotgun blast barely missed Lorelei. Audra pulled her back down, “Are you crazy? You nearly got yourself killed.”
“Just nearly,” Lorelei breathed. She was terrified and thrilled at the same time. It was a familiar feeling, a feeling that had been with her since her first kill almost seven years ago now.
The remaining gunman stopped shooting. “Did he run?” Audra asked.
“Hang on,” Judy crawled back up the pile of garbage until she was behind the ruined bed. She started fiddling with the headboard, “He’s still there and I gotta say he sure does look like a mime.”
Lorelei readied another ball bearing, “He’s waiting for me to make a move. You two get ready to make a run for it.”
“Hang on there, I got a better idea.” Judy slid back down the trash mound and put a metal bedknob into Lorelei’s hand, “Bigger ball bigger boom am I right?”
Lorelei’s smile was wicked, “I love it!”
This version of the incantation took longer and casting it left Lorelei pale and shaky. When the bedknob was glowing with the color of moonlight she handed it off to her best friend.
Audra didn’t have to be told what to do, she scrambled up the trash mound and threw the bedknob with all her strength.
It struck the ground less than a foot from the face-painted gunman.
Then it detonated blowing the gunman out of his boots.
The three girls cheered and high fived...
...or at least they did until their attacker’s remains began to rain down on them.