THE TEA STREET MASSACRE (PART ONE)1.
Yakov, Boris and Typemetal all gazed from their squatting positions behind the automota up into the twinklingly mad eyes of Beslo Bub. There was a kind of anticipatory joy dancing there within those green irises, which the men contributed silently to not only the martyrdom happening all around them, but the satisfaction of having them on the spot.
He would now see how true their purported "faith" really was.
"We'll be slaughtered!" Boris Utkin gasped, no longer caring for the charade.
Bub reached down with his mechanical arm, and ran an artificial finger down the Russian's cheek. "Fear nothing, my child. For if you should fall, our cause only becomes stronger."
Yakov watched this, and glanced back out at the chaos abounding on the street. Cultists were dropping like flies out there, and Beslo Bub was actually happy about it. The former Soviet Captain wondered if Bub realized he was on the verge of no longer having a throng of devoted followers.
"You must tell your people to retreat," he nearly whispered.
Beslo simply smiled at him, those eyes still twinkling in the gaslights of the street. "It's too late for that. They will now be as one with the After."
Typemetal had finally had enough. He stood, and looked at the cult leader sternly. "We're not going out there. Not unless we get our weapons back."
Bub just smiled and shook his head. "You must fight with your faith, my child." He nodded in the direction of the battle. "You see how bravely my children fight? How bravely they sacrifice themselves?"
Typemetal and the others glanced over there, to see a cultist woman standing with her arms splayed outward to her sides. Her ragged robe had been slashed away, and it left her topless, the torn fabric hanging down around her slender waist. Her head was tilted backward slightly, waiting for a killing blow to come from the CRAP officer that stood before her. The cop grabbed her by the back of the head, gnarling her hair in his gloved fist, and buried a Steampunk City-issue dagger deep into the young girl's carotid artery. A strong jet of blood rocketed from the wound, and she fell limp as he roughly tossed her to the ground, making his way to the next cultist. Everywhere, there was carnage, mostly one-sided. There were a scant few Shining Chrome followers that had managed to swarm a single cop, tearing at them with their fingernails and bashing them with whatever objects could be plucked from their environs. But, overall, CRAP was cleaning the street.
Typemetal turned back around to protest again, but this time found the vice-like grip of Bub's golden arm waiting to clench his throat. The former Steampunk City Captain clutched with both hands at the arm, and Yakov and Boris grabbed Bub by the arms. The cultist's face was no longer of cheer and love, but determined grit.
"You...will...have...faith!!" he yelled, even as the two Russians pulled him away from their ally. Typemetal staggered back, gasping for breath, finally free of the mechanical fingers. His neck was left marked, deeply. He fell backwards over the automota, and a CRAP cop standing a few dozen feet away noticed him.
The cop pointed and called to his partner, who was invested in turning the head of one unfortunate Shining Chrome follower to bloody waste on the hard cobblestone. "Hey, there's one over there!"
Typemetal stood, and Yakov and Boris saw the cops advancing toward them now, but dared not release their hold on Beslo Bub. This was solved soon enough, however, when the Shining Chrome leader, with a feat of strength that perhaps came from faith, swung back his arms, throwing both Russians off him and to the ground behind him.
A few feet away, Typemetal's eyes grew behind his goggles as the cops aimed their steampistols, intent on taking this somewhat tougher-looking cult nutjob out at a safe distance. He ducked, and they fired. Behind him, Beslo Bub walked toward them, bringing up his metallic arm, and the bullets bounced off and ricocheted away. The cops needed to reload then, as steampistols could fire no more than three shots at a time, and they'd apparently used their first two sometime before. Bub used the opportunity to advance. The panicked cops fumbled with their guns as the cultist's arm swung in a great arc, knocking the city-issued goggles from the foremost cop's face, taking half the man's cheek off in the process. Blood struck the pavement with a sickening splat, and Typemetal saw a blood-flesh mixture smear along the arm. The cop dropped, knocked cold with that blow.
The other cop just barely dodged that same powerful fist as Bub charged and swung, his green and gold cape swaying with his movement like a ballet. Bub staggered forward and almost went down to one knee, so forceful was the punch that came up dry, but sprung back up quickly and sent a hard boot into the genitals of the CRAP man, dropping him to his knees. The cop groaned in shock and pain as Bub brought his golden arm down in a bionic elbow, splitting the cop's head almost into halves. Brain jumped out to meet the stale night air of Steampunk City, and oozed into the man's hair. Bub palmed the back of the man's head like a twenty-first century basketball player, and shoved the man face-first to the ground as the Shining Chrome leader headed off to join the slaughter of his people.
Typemetal, still only half-able to breathe after being squeezed with that menacing fist, held his throat and watched all of this from a one-knee kneel. Yakov and Boris came rushing up and hoisted their friend up by his arms, their eyes also on Beslo Bub's slaughter of the two CRAP officers.
"We should kill him!" Alexandrov cried, his face a statement of humiliation and rage shaken together like an emotional cocktail.
Typemetal shook his head as his friends supported him. "No...Not now. Not without our weapons."
"He is right," Boris said. "We need to get ze hell away from here. Only death remains if we stay."
A silent agreement fell over them like the shadows of the riot fires that danced around. They helped Typemetal, who finally started walking on his own, coughing and rubbing the marks on his neck that would remain for the rest of his days.
"The fuck do you suppose he's got...(Cough!) in that arm?" the former Steampunk City Police Captain asked no one in particular.
Alexandrov shrugged and shook his head. "A hell of a lot of steam, comrade."
Enter the Vonfreymann
A block up the street, Beslo Bub walked casually through the melee, slamming his golden fist against the heads of CRAP officers, ducking baton swings from others, and saving a few of his beaten-down followers from certain death in the process. It took not at all long for the cops to wade through the sudden confusion of a new threat emerging on the scene, and they began to regroup and head toward the man in the green robe.
Beslo stopped, turned and smiled upon them as they slowly advanced, a few drawing their steampistols and loading them. One of them called out. He was clearly the leader of the patrol.
"All right, you namby-pamby shitwad," the goggled cop said from behind his breathmask. "I dunno what kind of fucked-up tinfoil glove your mommy dressed your ass in, but it sure as fuck isn't gonna do much good against my double barrels." The cop raised his rifle, and pointed it directly at the smiling cult leader. "Now, bend over and kiss your fucking balls bye-bye, 'cause I'm about to blow them over to fucking Cog Street."
Beslo's smile faded, a little. His eyes remained on Chuck Florida like a lion daring prey to come forth. But a sudden ruckus, like the ground itself being shaken apart, turned all heads in the very direction the CRAP Commander had indicated Beslo's nether regions would be blown.
Several cops turned and ran, as well as whatever Shining Chrome cultists remained. On one side of the street, Florida's head turned to see the oncoming threat just as Beslo's head did on the opposite side.
Vonfreymann stood, with arms crossed over his broad chest, atop a tall, wooden-wheeled chariot, his Rusted Rexes' second-in-command, King One, standing beside him. These men were hardly the reason all those on the street ahead were fleeing in panic, however. Rather, it was the giant creature that pulled the chariot along that turned brave hearts to self-preserving ones.
And behind the chariot, running along to keep up with the heavy chains that pulled them, were two more of the dreaded avanaxes.
"Holy mother-fucking shitfaced God!" Florida exclaimed, his rifle still pointed across the street at Beslo Bub.
The huge avanax pulling Vonfreymann's cart along roared an ungodly roar, its voice almost human. It seemed like there was more than the primal instinct to attack driving it along. Its monstrous face spoke of hatred.
Florida brought up his rifle. "Fuck this shit," he said, and darted down an alleyway. Bub watched the cop vanish in a wall of shadows, then turned and raced down a short side street.
Up on the chariot, as it passed by, Vonfreymann raised a gloved hand. "Let us give our friends the run of the neighborhood," the former SS Captain said, very host-like. King One stepped to the rear of the cart and released the chains, and the two trailing creatures roared in delight and broke off, one heading down the alleyway that Chuck Florida had headed down, one taking the street that Bub had taken.
Vonfreymann smiled. "And now," he said, as if simply concluding the final part of a day's work, "Time for a bit of street cleaning."
The giant creature he had lovingly named Adolf roared a thunderous roar, as its massive knuckles pounded the pavement, its rear legs pushing it forward. The twelve-foot beast that was nearly as wide of muscle had little trouble catching up with the CRAP officers and cultists that screamed and fled in a mass hysteria. Beige uniforms and white-and-blue robes darted about beneath the gaslights like crazed moths, as Adolf finally caught up with them. Like a couple weeks prior, the monster laid waste to every life that got in its way. Bodies flew fifteen feet into the air as the beast swung its tree trunk-sized fists, bashing left and right, its gargling voice carrying through the neighborhood like a calling of doom.
The chariot trailed behind, Vonfreymann standing with arms behind his back, his chin raised up---just a general observing the battle whose tactics he had pre-planned. He turned to King One, smiled, and nodded, appeased, then back at the carnage happening over the shoulders of his beloved pet ahead.
Chuck Florida's heavy boots beat on the pavement, and his breath vented heavily through his breathmask. Too proud a man to admit to himself he'd damn near shit a kitten back there, he grunted to himself that his soldiers were fucking cowardly cocksuckers for running like that. Yellow fuckers.
Of course, he was running, himself, and even more so now that he heard the heavy, rumbling footfalls of one of those goddamned fucked-up whatever-the-fuck-they-were starting to slam down this alley. He spared a glance behind, and turned, hauling ass all the harder. Florida wasn't the sharpest tack on the map, but he had a pretty strong gut feeling that the bullets from his Steamington rifle would impress that fucking thing about as much as a bagtag.
"Ffffuckk...me..." He panted as he booked it along. The fucking beast was after him, no doubt about that. Because he heard its feet start speeding up, too.
Finally, his eyes peered through his goggles at a way out---he hoped. A fire escape ladder, hanging down from a second-floor apartment, shined to him in the darkness like the light at the end of the tunnel to fucking Heaven. He pushed the goggles off his face up to his forehead as he ran, and his mind counted the seconds until he made it to that ladder.
The creature was gaining, faster than shit falling from a lakesweeper. Florida gave a loud grunt as he lunged, and his arms went over the bottom rung, his Steamington rifle bouncing hard against his sweat-soaked back. He drew deep from the bottoms of his balls and heaved himself upward, his hands grasping three rungs higher. He heaved again, foregoing the traditional climb. His heart pounded as he heard the beast give a mighty roar, close enough now to tickle his eardrums.
He pulled himself up again, making it to the window above. It was slightly ajar in deference to the humid night air, and he saw a light on. Chuck Florida had experienced the human emotion of gratitude only once or twice in his life, and this was one of those times to be marked on the fucking calendar, for sure.
He heaved himself up with one arm, using the other to grasp the window and shove it upwards. Just as he was doing this, the monster roared in rage and slammed its fist against the ladder, knocking it clean off the building and sending it clanging against the next one.
Florida rolled into the apartment and stood up immediately, his rumpled uniform and goggles askew. His eyes widened at what he saw before him. He was standing in a bedroom, and two lovely young women were in a deep embrace, their frightened eyes glaring back at him. They were nude, and in bed, their bare breasts pressed together, arms wrapped around one another.
Florida straightened his uniform, pulled down his goggles, and brought his rifle around from his back, all in seemingly one fluid motion. He pointed the weapon at the two terrifed lovers.
"All right, that'll be quite fucking enough of that," he barked. "There ain't no dams or dykes nearby, and this ain't Dyke Street, last time I looked at the fucking sign, so no dykin' it up. Now get them fucking hands where I can see 'em!"
Some way away, over on Gear Street, Beslo Bub did some running of his own, his green robe flying behind him like the cape of some super-villain. The beast was chasing him, and catching up fast. Bub closed his eyes for a moment and gave a silent prayer, not just for himself, but for his loyal followers back on Tea Street. Surely, none had survived. He didn't know who the man was who'd been standing in that beast-drawn chariot, but he would pay dearly, were Beslo Bub to have anything to say about it.
In the more immediate, however, he had a larger problem, and its breathy growls and grunts coincided with its hard, slamming footfalls behind him. Beslo halted, and turned around. The creature's face almost took on a look of surprise, then its monstrous visage quickly split into a sick grin, as if it were excited at this now-easy kill. It occured to Beslo that the beast might possess some sort of rudimentary intelligence, as he'd heard these things sometimes did.
As their eyes locked, Bub's shifted to a side alley, one he hoped the monster was too broad of girth to fit through. He darted that way, and the beast scrambled clumsily as it turned to follow, grunting in frustration. Beslo ran down that alleyway, but his heart sank into the pit of his gut as he saw that it was a dead end. He reached the end---a huge brick wall---turned, and waited.
The avanax stopped at the far end of the alley, and growled angrily. Beslo thought it might give up the pursuit, then, but his hopes were dashed when it began punching out chunks of wood from the walls of the two buildings that created the alley, planks of busted support beams and wall flying here and there. Beslo waited, his heart beating faster than the slamming of steam engine pistons. The creature made its way closer, closer...
Finally, it was ten feet from him. It brushed aside the last of the debris in front of it, and slowly moved toward him, confident in the certainty of its kill.
It lumbered up to him. Beslo lowered his arms, feeling the acrid breath on his chest and face. The monster's huge mouth spread into an avaricious smile, and then...
"YAAAAARRRGHHH!!!" Beslo brought his metallic fist up, and it connected with the beast's chin. He'd never punched anything so hard in his life, and the abomination screeched out a cry of agony as its jaw fractured. Its three eyes closed as it staggered backward on its shorter rear legs, and as it started to howl out its rage some more, Beslo reared back and drove his fist into the center of the monster's face, sending its large nasal bone into its brain.
It dropped, there in front of him.
He panted, looking down at the dead avanax. Its rear legs kicked a bit, then were still.
The leader of the Children of the Shining Chrome climbed up onto the massive bulk of the creature, then walked back down it like a large rock on a beach, and headed back down the alley.
A few blocks away, Yakov Alexandrov, Typemetal, and Boris Utkin watched from behind a large dumpster as Tea Street turned to an open-air slaughterhouse. The magnificently large avanax, now free of its bindings, tore through the CRAP officers and Shining Chrome cultists like human pinatas.
"Zis...I haven't words for zis," Yakov said, his eyes filled with incredulity. He turned to Typemetal beside him, who was seemingly trying to chew his thumbnail down to the quick. "What do we do? After ze creature finishes the cops and cult people off, it will surely smell us out."
Typemetal closed his eyes, and massaged the bridge of his nose. He was developing a pretty fucked headache. "I..." He looked at Yakov. "I say, we grab some guns off those dead cops, and we fight that fucking thing."
Yakov looked out at Adolf once again. His eyes widened. He turned back to his companion. "You're mad as a hatter! It's so...so big! We can't fight that!"
Typemetal lowered his goggles, and looked at Yakov, as Boris shook his head in doomed dismay.
"Yakov," he said, with half a forced grin, "How else is this day ever going to end?"
(To Be Continued...Hopefully by Bernie)