Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #86
His life probably depended on it. His bare feet hitting the ground hard, propelling him jauntily forward. He had memorized the way back on the way here. He could hear them screaming… Calls from somewhere far up there. Battle cries. When he had left the garden that thing started climbing down. It wasn’t like a yarl he had seen before. It wasn’t some kind of animal, it looked like it was made up of half melted bodies, fused together to make an abomination. Its bones were sticking out, sharp and broken. It used those to pierce into the wall. Despite its many exposed tendons and muscles it moved quickly. He could hear it now, a gurgling, bubbling shriek pushing splinters through his mind as it echoed after him
He burst out of the double doors into the town square, or what was left of it. Fires burned haphazardly on rooftops as people screamed in the face of their inevitable doom. Creatures that by all means shouldn’t have existed were causing a massacre. Blood stained the walls like spilled paint, intestines thrown like party streamers as a spider that was made up completely of black tendrils ripped into a person unlucky enough to slip on the slick stone.
Alleyways and shops which once housed hags and bartering men blurred past him as he pelted across the cobbled streets. They were gone now, stone cats left tied to poles, squarish purple fruits squashed and worthless on the floor. He heard a rumbling grinding sound and as he looked up he saw one of the goliaths fall, crushing many buildings in its journey down to the ground. It had been swarmed by things that were almost birds, but they had the heads of mosquitos. Piercing stone and breaking joints and limbs with their serrated proboscises. Its eyes dimmed as it crashed into the floor with a resounding crack. Ground splitting and parting, the Climber ducked, dodging flying rubble. He could hear the sounds of other falling golems in the distance, far-off whoomps that sent tremors through the haze of dust. He slid over the roughly carved head of the Goliath, almost tripping as he did so. He could still smell that thing coming after him. It had the odour of rank decay, sweet and suffocating. There, in the distance, he saw it. The carved sign of the Visitos Cente. He was just about to get in the doorway when his path was blocked with a spindly leg, bone protruding like sharp barbs. The face of the first creature he had seen leered at him, grotesque smile twisting as it opened its maw wider then was natural. He heard a sickening click as a deformed jaw unhinged and dislocated. The Climber froze completely, body refusing to budge, so when the hammer pummeled into the creature’s head and crushed it into a wall, he was surprised to say the least. It did not break the skull, but it did pulverise the wall. It turned its head slowly and emitted a reptilian hiss, deep set eyes burning with hatred. Again, the hammer was swung. Again, again, again. The creature finally gave way with a sound similar to that of of drawing nails across a chalkboard, as its skull crumpled in on itself. Brown, viscous liquid splattered across the rubble with a sickening squelch. Krane panted, using the hammer to support himself as sweat ran down his forehead and into his fiery red beard.
“By the father, I put you to rest you forsaken abomination.” He spat. Finally he rested his eyes on the Climber, his green eyes widening in recognition.
“What the hell happened to you, you’re covered with blood lad!” It was obvious that Krane was being strained. His wooden peg leg had blood running between the grain. His panting was deep, breaths wild and quick.
“I’ve had to dispatch 7 of these, these creatures. I haven’t moved like this in years!” He tried to play it off as a joke. It didn’t work.
“We…We need to get Daniel… the smith.” He wheezed. The Climber tried to support him but he simply batted him away. He probably couldn’t have carried him anyway. They managed to get to the smiths’ workshop. The piles of junk had been tipped. No small golems were seen. Krane ran headfirst through the entrance shouting Daniel’s name, only to come stumbling out with no less than four golems tugging at his beard and oversized silver hammer. They soon realized he was friend, not foe, and dropped off, pointing in unison inside to where their master lay. There were three people in the shack, two who seemed to be a young brother and sister, who appeared in their early twenties. Same blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, they were reed thin and shaking like leaves, huddling in a corner while covered in blood. They seemed an unlikely pair to have survived the horrors that were transpiring outside. The last was still tinkering on a bench. There lay 7 yarl corpses on the floor. Embedded in them were shards of crystal and stone. On the floor there were small unmoving bodies of golems, lights gone out. Standing right beside the man was a special golem, taller than he remembered, with green glowing crystal eyes. As it saw him it lit up, rushing over to check if he was ok. Before it was up to his knees, now it was up to his waist. It tugged at his arms and checked for breakages. Meanwhile the tinkerer ignored all of this, goggles smeared with yarl blood and bits of skin. He looked up.
“My god! Krane!” He rushed right past the Climber, leaving him standing there expecting even a small welcome. He sat Krane down in one of the less sharp piles of disorganized mess. The golems that remained guarded the door.
“You won’t believe it, the insides of these things are just remarkable! So many experiments to be had, it’s just-” That was the moment the brother of the two fair haired kids decided to speak up.
“We should be going now sir, no?” He whirled around, almost as if to locate the source of disturbing unwanted noise.
“Oh yes, yes of course. Krane, these two are from a couple doors down, and I have decided that we’re going to go further up the mountain! How exciting. I think it has something to do with the sudden infestation of indescribable horrors but I can’t be sure. We’re going to meet uncle Torin again! I cannot wait! Now, I was just preparing some helpful weapons…” He spoke with such sincerity. It was almost as if those goggles of his provided a filtered version of the world. Cleansed of cruelty and wrongdoing. It was of course a false world, but a nice fantasy nonetheless. From the table he picked up a knife gilded with crystal. It glowed softly as he twirled it through the air. Its blade was black horn, but with sharp orange gem inlaid into it. He could never make something that was not both in equal parts beautiful and deadly. He lay this weapon into the Climber’s hands. He was in shock. To be completely honest he hadn’t even properly processed the events that had happened in the past half an hour. While he was staring numbly into space, his green eyed golem gently placed his old rucksack across his shoulders, the familiar weight of which snapped him back to reality. His grip briefly tightened around the hilt of the knife. It glowed as he set it into his hand. It felt like it was made for his calloused palms. He was not even given a chance to say attempt a word of thanks before being whisked off by the others. An unusual fellowship exited the smithy; a quiet and apprehensive brother and sister, a confident but wounded man the size of a bear with a thick scottish accent, a queer goggled man with more fingers than sense but less fingers then was appropriate, and the scraggly, blood covered Climber himself, that simply tagged along as Daniel led the way. All the while a small crowd of about twenty stone men quietly shuffled after them. As they ran through the now decrepit streets, the brother and sister introduced themselves. The brother’s name was Sam, and the sister’s name was Liz. they had both gotten here only a couple of weeks ago, and when they started seeing things descending from the ceiling they ran away, bumping into the man who they now knew was named Daniel, who protected them until they met the Climber. Krane had managed to stifle his pain and was keeping up with all of them, occasionally wincing as he put weight through his wounded leg. Then they reached it- an expanse of grey cave wall no different to any other. Daniel turned around,
“Now, this is super duper secret so please don’t tell anyone. I found this by accident when I was searching for rarer materials here in town. I kinda opened it by complete chance when I tripped and one of my golems bumped into the wall. Turns out it’s some kind of maintenance tunnel or something?
I don’t know. It leads to the surface though! And since I am certain that the other exit to the next Plateau is completely destroyed by the invading hordes, I’ve ascertained this is the only way up! Onwards now younglings!” He announced this with a grin as he pressed one of his golem’s hands against the wall, which split into two and ground open, solid granite blocks turning on unseen hinges. Daniel began his trek up the staircase that wound and wound its way up, out of sight. The brother and sister went after him with no hesitation. Krane looked back on his home, burning and in ruins. He took the first step. The Climber? Well, he did what he did best. He began a new journey.
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #86
End of chapter Four.