Of the half dozen gargoyles that were now climbing on the speeding train, only one of them had gotten inside. But one was all it took. Although slow and heavy, gargoyles were practically invincible targets.
“Aim for the neck!” Max shouted, as he teamed up with Kat to fight the creature.
“It’s not doing anything!” she insisted, still swinging her blade.
Max slashed at the gargoyle’s thick exterior, chipping away small chunks of rock. The creature wasn’t affected at all. If anything, all the feeble attacks did was anger it. Reaching down, the gargoyle grabbed Max’s ankle fiercely.
Seconds later, Max was soaring through the air, weightless and swift. His body became a wrecking ball for the metal poles standing in the way of his flight, before he touched down on the opposite side of the train car and slid into the far door with a heavy clank. Kat continued to swing her blade at the oncoming gargoyle, as it swiped at her legs. It wasn’t until the gargoyle nearly stumbled backward that she made any advances on it. From the rocking and trembling of the steel around them, the gargoyle lost his footing and fell back. Acting on instinct, Kat raised her foot and planted it squarely into the gargoyle’s chest.
It dropped onto its back. Hard.
“Cut its head off!” yelled Max, from the back of the train, regaining stability.
She raised the sword over her head and brought it down into the gargoyle’s throat with incredible accuracy. The blade impaled the creature’s throat, cracking its stony surface across the neck and ultimately beheading it. What was left in its wake were hundreds of tiny crumpled rocks, which eventually disintegrated.
But even as Max stood and joined Kat, he knew: This fight is far from over. Looking outside of the train car’s windows, they watched a half dozen more gargoyles flying circles around the locomotive.
“They’re all over us,” said Kat.
“Back-to-back formation,” commanded Max, still watching the gargoyles.
Kat did as he said, before asking, “What‘d you say these things were?”
“Gargoyles,” Max said, “They must have joined with the Bay Lozen army.”
Suddenly, there was an explosive crash, as one of the flying gargoyles came hurtling through the subway car. His stone mass worked as an oversized cannonball and tore right through the steel walls, before exiting the other side. A large part of the cab was ripped into tiny shreds of metal. Unfortunately for the gargoyle, he collided with the subway tunnel during his exit and shattered into a dusty cloud of stone.
When the planet was civilized, the road through the desert outside of LA had carried a fairly heavy amount of traffic. Now it was just another way of transport for a lone, rusted car.
At least, Max thought, as his eyes scanned the pavement and sand, traffic isn’t going to be a problem today.
A glance at the passenger seat revealed that Kat was now asleep. He did not think of her differently. To let down her guard with slumber wasn’t necessarily a bad trait. Of all people to come across, Max was glad to have met somebody with experience- even if it wasn’t from academy training. Still, not bad.
With the exception of the gargoyle attack in the subway tunnels earlier, the girl hadn’t done anything but sleep, since they first met in Death Valley.
Except for the low grumble of the car, the old desert highway was completely silent. Very eerie. The fact that this desert plain had survived more exhausting conflicts than the burning skyline of LA, up ahead in the distance, was also a wonder to Max.
As he drove, something dark and winged flew overhead, drawing his gaze upward. They traveled together; an instinct that often led to their downfall, as Max had come to experience. However, he was not at all surprised that among the surviving birds on Earth, krulls seemed to be doing particularly well.
His mind wandered. Before Max knew it, his weather-beaten car was coming up on a small nearby building. He reached over and shook Kat awake.
If the gas station that faded into view was some sort of mirage, it was a pleasingly realistic one. Though for what remained of it, it may as well have been vapor. The windows of the tiny store were shattered, the insides removed with the exception of an empty safe, and the building itself was only a few months away from being a pile of twisted scrap metal. It looked as though it was hit by a warhead. And perhaps it had been.
Max initially expected survivors or some sort of life form to be hiding out in the small convenient store near the gas tanks. But later remembered they were in the desert, miles outside of the city of LA. Only an idiot would hide out here.
Once Max had convinced himself that only the most idiotic of stupid people would reside there, a stranger revealed themselves and came out of hiding…
Book Size: 366 pages
Category/Subject: FICTION / General
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