Monday, July 28, 2014

Into a Corner

Writing Prompt: You have, with actual paint, painted yourself into an actual corner. But the paint and the corner are in a world in which there is magic, and "you painted yourself into a corner" may very well be some sort of a spell. (Prompt was a bit different on the 'cast but I wrote this before I heard the verbal version.)

I sent out a message again. "Alert, alert, Code 82.  Officer requesting assistance."  My location could be determined from the sending.  I released the waves in my hand into the aether.  Why hadn't they responded yet?

I pulled out my nozzle again and sprayed more bright red paint in front of the door.  It would only work until it was dry, so I had maybe five minutes.  As I was pulling into the room to slam the door shut, I saw one of them dart past in the background.  I'd trained against them for years, but I still couldn't suppress a shiver.  One was bad enough, but I knew there was a pack of them following me.

I could hear them just outside the door, howling in pain with their three-toned voices as they kept checking the paint to see if they could cross.  I wished again that I could actually spray them, but the spell didn't work that way.  It was protection, not offense.  And all my offensive spells were gone halfway through the day.

I knew the paint would be drying soon, so I laid down a wide swath of fresh paint in front of the door, backing towards the far end of the room.  My paint supply bottle sloshed dishearteningly - it was nearly out.  Howls of triumph echoed through the door, followed quickly by the sound of claws and clubs bashing at the door.  It was never built to stand up to that sort of abuse and was splinters inside of a minute.

I stepped back again and put down another paint strip across the room.  They slithered through the door.  Ten claws each, long black bodies, teeth that could give a Great Worvan nightmares.  Not to mention their tails.  We called them clubs, but they were worse than just bludgeoning instruments.  They glowed with the sickly purple-green light of a burning lust for savagery.

Another swatch of fresh paint on the floor.  A few steps closer to the wall.  Another advance by the menaces across the room.  We still didn't know where they came from, just that they cropped up about ten years back and started laying waste to everything.  Cities like this one, de-peopled in months from their sheer brutality and the flight of some few lucky emigrants.

I laid down paint again, and felt my back bump against the wall.  I sprayed more paint, walking sideways to the corner.  This stuff was only meant to corral them just long enough for the hunter mages to take care of them, not for a long stand like this.

I refreshed the paint before it could dry.  My tank had, what, four more applications left?  If I was lucky.  I used my few minutes of break to send another emergency signal.  Another spray.  Another signal.  Another spray.  That one was close - one had tried to put one of his front feet over my line before I could spray.

I heard a sound in the distance, a sort of thrumming whoosh.  There were two possibilities - it might be help on the way, or it could be the howlers starting their death chant.  Or, as a third choice, I was going crazy.  I let out a desperate laugh as I sprayed another layer.  I wished this paint came in some color other than blood red.  The thrum was drawing closer, but so was the pack.  I pulled out my nozzle again.  They growled at me.  I pulled the trigger.  It gave out a dying fizzle and the flow of paint stopped.

The pack let out a rumbling noise that sounded like a chuckle.  I gave an involuntary step back, but the corner behind me stopped me going anywhere.  The thrum grew louder and I heard a ripping sound as the roof of the building was wrested from its place.  The Officer Corps' carrier daemon hovered into view in the sky above me right as...

I jumped for the ladder as the pack pounced.

You can imagine the end either way you please.

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