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Boyd was known for being cool in a crisis but that was about to be supremely tested as the cabin finally came into view. Just a few yards from the front entrance was what appeared to be Dean’s bloody remains although it was hard to say for sure, such was their complete annihilation. Tania was completely inconsolable and Boyd knew that he had to take charge as her legs had given away beneath her and he was left shouldering the dead weight. Choking back the tears, he began to try and fathom a next move, and the first to spring to mind was the phone inside the cabin. As far as he was aware, it was in working condition, and he had to try and get an outside line to alert the authorities fast before whatever was responsible for this atrocity decided to come back.
Getting any kind of response from her was going to prove difficult as she was beyond grief-stricken.
“We’ve got to call for help Tan. Can you hear me?”
Still nothing apart from frantic wails. There simply wasn’t time right now for transporting passengers so he set her down, perhaps a dash thoughtlessly barely inches from the carnage, and turned to go make the call. Naturally, this provoked a reaction from Tania, although it was barely legible due to all the excess mucus.
“Don’t leave me”
“Fine but I need you to walk alright?”
Once again, he took on the burden, and began ushering her inside the cabin.
“I don’t wanna go in there”
“Jesus Tan. It’s not safe out here. I’ll be one minute okay?”
Perching her against the glaring space where the front door used to be, he dashed into the kitchen, snatched the phone from its wall bracket, and checked for a dialing tone. His relief was monumental as he discovered it was operational and tapped in 911, casting his eye back anxiously every few moments just to ensure that Tania was still in the game. Barely wasn’t the answer he was searching for as she had now spotted A.J.’s broken corpse on the stairwell and slumped into fetal position against the splintered door frame with her head in her hands. The call took no time at all and units were dispatched accordingly, although he was fully aware that it would take at least fifteen minutes before cavalry arrived, given their remote location. Next on his agenda was defence and the kitchen drawers were chock full of potential weapons. Rifling through the junk, he acquired himself a six-inch kitchen knife and a cleaver, before dashing back to Tania. Before he could get there, something caught his attention to his left and he almost jumped straight through his skin.
“Tamara. Jesus Christ”
It had been so long now that she had completely forgotten she was completely naked although Boyd picked up on it the very second his eyes focused. Ordinarily he would have savored the moment but this evidently wasn’t that moment.
“Help is coming. Where are the others?”
“I don’t know. I think they’re dead”
Tamara barely finished her sentence before bursting into tears and this was the last thing Boyd needed right now, given that his girlfriend had regressed back to a fetus.
“Tam. TAM! I need you to grab something to defend yourself with”
“What are we gonna do?”
“We’ve just got to wait it out. Just a few minutes. Where’s Holden? Do you have the keys to his van?”
“Great. Look I need you to grab a weapon or something. We’re gonna have to hold out here ’til they come”
Again there was movement, this time from the clearing at the front of the cabin. It was Edith and she already appeared more than privy to the dire situation, although decidedly quick thinking had seen her good thus far. She barely even registered the slop of entrails to her left as she sprinted across to join them.
Boyd was growing used to not getting any kind of response right now although admittedly she had fairly good reason, given the ground she’d just covered in record time. He considered all personnel present and it didn’t make for particularly encouraging intelligence. One distraught girlfriend, one hyperventilating fresh arrival, and one butt naked and confused human cum dumpster – hardly the best line in defense. Then there were the others as not everyone was accounted for, although he was way beyond fearing the worst by this point.
Jack was still completely oblivious to any of the night’s events and his stroll back to the cabin had been decidedly leisurely. His main priority was feeling wretched for leading Edith on and a clear head had helped him see that he’d been asking for trouble for letting things go as far as they did. It wasn’t that he didn’t find her attractive and, under different circumstances, he wouldn’t have been so quick to knock back her advances. But Deryn had been brilliant in light of everything that had happened over the past twelve months and they’d already planned to attend the same university the following fall. Nevertheless, Jack prided himself on being an upstanding guy and accepted his part in the whole misunderstanding. This was the height of his concerns right now but that was about to change in a heartbeat.
By the time he noticed Olaf approaching from the rear, there was no time to react before being soundly bowled over. He managed to scramble to his feet before being set upon for a second time and this time evaded the mountain man’s barge. Olaf then lunged forward and grabbed his right foot before he could take off, but wasn’t banking on the leg it was attached to being prosthetic. This bought Jack the time to flee, albeit with only one stick to getaway with. He made it no more than five yards before losing balance and clattered through the foliage into the clearing directly before the cabin. Boyd spotted this instantly and ran straight out to assist his best friend, unaware of what was hot on his one remaining heel. Before he could reach him, Olaf burst through the shrubbery, and locked him straight into his crosshairs.
The forward momentum alone made stopping dead in his tracks impossible and Boyd reached his felled buddy at precisely the same time as his assailant. Jack managed to roll out of the way as the two collided and attempted to influence things from the ground by grabbing both of Olaf’s abnormally oversized calves. Boyd launched into an attack of his own, burrowing the cleaver into his foe’s shoulder, then the blade deep into his upper thigh. Olaf stumbled back, growling in pain, but his retreat couldn’t have been any less momentary. In one giant stride, he stamped down on Jack’s skull, compacting it instantly into a bloody mass beneath his foot and took another back into Boyd’s personal space before he could perform a pivot. Unwittingly Boyd had provided his opponent with the ideal weapon to even things up and the cleaver was bought back into play with hardly a flinch as he wrenched it free from its current resting spot.
Edith had now procured the wall mounted woodsman’s ax that Boyd had completely missed on his way to and from the kitchen and, while running into the fray may not have been her smartest move, she’d surprised even herself with the pluck she’d shown this evening. Screwing her eyes shut as she swung the ax wildly towards Olaf, there was a mixture of sickness and satisfaction as the blade made decisive contact. However, as she opened wide to reveal contact coordinates, sickness soon won out. Given that he had already been challenged on numerous occasions, Olaf’s reflexes certainly weren’t in question. Indeed, there’d been just enough time to grab Boyd’s horrified face by both temples, reposition it in the firing line, and let out a rare grunt of delight as he watched it cleaved down the middle like a honeydew melon.
Through a dense fountain of gushing grue and dislodged cerebral crust, Edith was granted a closer look at what she was facing and any remaining vigor dissipated instantaneously. Spinning on the spot, she dashed back for the open doorway, while Olaf nonchalantly disposed of Boyd’s limber shell and picked up the pace once more, now armed with a bloody cleaver to further compound Edith’s agony. Tania wasn’t doing a great deal better either, having just witnessed her boyfriend being slaughtered, but had managed to summon sufficient strength to drag herself out of the firing line. Meanwhile, Tamara had already seen quite enough and vacated through the rear entrance once again to embark on another naked mile.
Olaf swung his blade twice in Edith’s slipstream and narrowly missed her pretty little head on both occasions. As she made it back inside the cabin by the skin of her teeth, fast thinking became absolutely imperative, as heading upstairs would invariably only leave her cornered. Dashing to the very couch that Tania was cowering behind, she bundled herself over, evading a third strike from his cleaver as it embedded itself in the shabby fabric. Both girls were now animate although Edith had momentum on her side and rolled out of his reach, while Tania found herself behind a rock and a very hard place indeed. Before she could turn and flee, Olaf lunged forward again, managing to claim a handful of hair which he proceeded to yank straight out of its follicles. If she could count herself lucky, then it was only to three, by which time the blade was delivered again. This time the contact was more decisive, sinking two-inches into her spine and causing her to pirouette in a manner some way from graceful.
Tania landed on the hardwood floor with an almighty thump but, before she could so much as register the searing pain, he strode forward to retrieve his weapon. However, as he prised it free from its freshly formed cavity, ingenuity once again played its harsh hand. Her spinal cord was now visible through the weeping tissue and he decided to provide it with the freedom it appeared to crave. Gripping the cartilage tight, he applied any necessary pressure to extract it from the convulsing girl’s gaping wound and continue his offensive. Pounding Tania to the back of her skull cap until which time as any movement had ceased, he then returned his attention to his other priority but Edith hadn’t witnessed this abomination as she had followed Tamara’s lead and exited through the building’s rear entrance.
It didn’t take long for her to catch the naked girl up and the pair obscured themselves behind shrubbery, casting a vigilant eye over Olaf’s expected exit point. There were no words shared in this moment, just an unspoken understanding that survival was all that mattered now. Edith sweated bullets as her eyes remained fixed intently on the cabin’s rear but Tamara had long since surrendered any feeling whatsoever thanks to the biting Fall chill in the air. The fact that no intelligence was forthcoming at this time was of scant consolation as it was fully expected at any given moment and Olaf had proved himself as something of a dog with a bone already. Edith used this uncomfortable interim to suss out a next move but inspiration was at a distinct premium right now and running for her life had worked this far so she just remained set to scamper and pleaded for divine intervention.
Her spirits received a lift a few seconds later as the rasping wail of approaching sirens suddenly bled into earshot. Given that nearby woodland had played host to a bloodbath months previous, local law enforcement were taking absolutely no chances and had dedicated all available units to investigating the current disturbance. Three vehicles emerged from the trail in a dense blanket of dust and, no sooner had they ground to a halt, than six lawmen took up their positions with flashlights and firearms armed and savvy. They would unquestionably have happened across Dean’s cleaved open carcass by the front porch first as that baleful beacon was downright impossible to miss. The girls held each other tight but Edith wasn’t ready to give the command just yet as this was surely the calm before the storm.
It would take more than half a dozen flatfoots, four of whom had never previously released the safety on their weapons, to convince Edith to commit and she was under no illusion as to Olaf’s inability to take anything lying down. The wait was excruciating and her only consolation was the disciplined dialogue between sheriff and deputy as they ventured inside assiduously. Where was the gunfight at the O.K. Corral? Why were no bullets being discharged? When would panic stations be facilitated again? Most dishearteningly, how hard could it be locating a sub-humanoid almost as wide as he was towering? Something didn’t feel right and Edith had been no stranger to that feeling of consternation this evening. Eventually, after what felt like an eternity plus change, her pupils dilated to take in movement at the rear entrance.
Mercifully, it was Deputy Quinn, although this still left the ever-burgeoning question of where the fuck danger would spring from next. That said, he was holding a fully loaded GLOCK and she was currently clutching a butt naked sixteen-year-old bubble head in the midst of fighting off hypothermia, so common sense prevailed in no time.
It had been six weeks since Jimmy Quinn had last seen his own wife naked so, despite his very best attempts not to home in on the elephant in the room, he couldn’t resist copping one eyeful of Tamara’s wares while the other remained attentive.
“Okay I want you to make your way over to me”
“There’s nobody there. We’ve checked the entire building”
“It’s okay. You’re safe now. Let’s get you out of here”
Reluctantly, Edith accepted and ushered Tamara forward as the pair returned to the very last building they ever dreamed of stepping foot in again. Neither of them dared take in their surroundings this time as the entire cabin had been redecorated with human surplus and the stench of death alone provided all the reminder they hadn’t wished for. However, if Olaf was present, then he was certainly playing it cool when blowing hot had been far more customary up until now.
“O’Leary. Get them out of here and wait for further instructions”
Sheriff Colton gave the orders while his deputy escorted them to the vehicle, and his associate grabbed a blanket from the trunk to restore Tamara’s dignity. This couldn’t have been farther from her thoughts presently as warmth was the sole bargaining tool and the relief was just too immense to concern herself with something so trivial. Meanwhile, Edith was far more pensive as she took her seat in the Chevrolet Suburban, opting against fastening her seat belt on this occasion. This evening she had been made privy to sights that no young lady should ever be forced to endure and one particular visual would stay with her until her dying day. She had gazed directly into those dead eyes and seen nothing staring back at her other than focused fury. Olaf Lund hadn’t quite managed to successfully snag this prey but he was still out there, and victory didn’t come any more minor than that.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2016