The water rushed passed below us with the sound of steam craft firing up, the water was a murky brown that seemed to whisper to you as you stood on either of the ledges that rose far above; ‘Go on jump, I’ll catch you." The river is so polluted if you do enter it it will infect your ears and eyes if your dumb enough to have them open, and if you swallow any of it’s water without boiling for an hour beforehand? well, it was nice knowing you.
The light from the city painted the fading night an almost welcoming orange, it was a full moon so the lurkers wouldn’t be out tonight, although if anyone didn’t have to worry about them Adrian and I here certainly counted.
Adrian and I have known each other since we where kids, our Dad’s where friends and used to tell stories from before the big changes. This is our spot, sitting on the banks of the river, sharing cigarettes and telling stories from the eradicator squads, he’s also a musician and a bit of a writer, so he’s alike me in alot of ways except for his fiery personality.
“So me and the rest of the Ember Squad where up in the Blue Sky Ranges trying to burn out this Lurker nest, it’s pitch black and the skies have fucking opened, the wind is pushing the rain sideways and we can barely see enough to not set each other on fire, we’re following this one lurker which we’ve wounded and we suddenly come to this seemingly endless void.” He recalls, his pale blue eyes shining excitedly. “The fuckers have embedded their nest in the side of this cliff, we’re about to call it quits and come back the next day when its not so wet and we don’t have to climb down the sheer cliff face to burn them out of it, when the lighting starts, my god, every time a bolt flew it lit up the whole valley electric blue, we managed to guide one of the bolts into the nest, electrocuted half of them and the trash the collect caught fire and burnt out the rest of them.”I could picture the sheer drop into a yawning drop, the kind that made you think I wish I could fly.
“Shit man, sounds intense.” The Ember Squad are renowned for apparently not caring if they live or not, really it’s more of a belief that if they’re going to die they’re going to die, nothing is going to change that, so fear it all you want but do whatever you have to, to get whatever it is your doing done, they’re the ones you call when no other eradicator squad will take the job.
“How’s life with the Wildmen?” He drags deep on his cigarette, it burns in a perfect circle at the end, I guess that would be a pro of being able to control fire, it would do exactly what you wanted it to. I snort.
“Boring, Jade’s on heat so Thor has to stay at home with her and look after her, because she’ll go into mate sickness if he isn’t there at certain points. So we can’t take any jobs without a leading Alpha to co-ordinate us.” The wildmen are all shaman and green witches, we’re all also infected with the big cat strain of Lycanthropy.
“What about Tyr?” Adrian asks, mildly interested.
“He’s having a really bad time of the month, he can’t stay human enough in his mind to think strategically.”
“What about you?” I look down at my hands.
“I’m too old now to be a leading Alpha without a mate unless we only take out a skirmishing team, and we usually hunt as a whole pack” He sucks on the orange but of his cigarette thoughtfully.
“Surely you can meet all the Were girls in the city. I’m sure they’d snap up the chance to go on a blind date with you. See who’s the right one.” I smile and shake my head.
“I’ve seen all of them, none of them have any compatibility with me.”
“What about the boys?”
“I’m not gay.” he shrugs, his hands up saying Just asking
“Looks like your doomed to mediocracy for the rest of your life then.”
“Thanks for the confidence boost.” I say sarcasm dripping off my voice like sweat of an exercising fat man.
“I’m sure she’s out there somewhere man, your only problem is, all the people out there are either miles away behind reinforced walls or psychotic flesh eaters.” I roll my eyes, rocks slide behind us, I flinch, there’s the sound of four feet scuffling across rock. It’s okay, probably just a dog or a deer, it’s a full moon, too bright for any lurkers.
I look at the ground, ten feet in front of me the shadow the cliffs from above us throw end. I spin and hurl a throwing knife at the sound of air whistling past the pointed ears of a lurker. The knife sinks up to the hilt into the fatty tissue above the heart, it’s a fatal wound, once you pull the knife out, Adrian throws his cigarette butt at the ground and amplifies the heat into a roaring fire, pushing it out in a wave and wrapping my in a protective bubble. The heat blast catches the hunched over figure on the front arm/front leg, I launch a hard, high round house kick and catch the misshapen creature in the side of the head, the steel toe and tongue of my combat boot crushing, the side of the volatile animal’s skull. it wheezes through broken and bloody teeth, i pull the the razor sharp knife out of it’s chest, it’s life’s blood flowing out into the parched earth. I wipe it clean on the tatters of it’s shredded clothes.
“let’s head back, they’re taking risks tonight.’ Adrian nods and picks up his pack, shouldering a .22 rifle. I pick up my gear and slide the foot long hunting knife into my it’s leg sheath, glad I hadn’t stripped off my harness that holds my darts and throwing knives across my chest and the wicked, curved, three foot long ghurkas on my back.
We enter through an exterminator tunnel entrance not thirty feet away after knocking a specific code into the fake rock, the hatch slams shut as the first howls of the night chorus rise up from the shadow of the canyon.
This is perhaps my return to writing urban fantasy.
Zombies, mages and werecats in a post apocalyptic world…yeah I’m kind of happy with the idea