Chapter 70 - Death & Anger
Ezekiel had fought many fights over the course of his life as a Guardian. Both physical and mental. Some long, some short. Some meaningful, some prideful.
And as the youngest boy in a family full of male siblings he had engaged in various battles for dominance ranging from playful to downright bloody....but he could only remember fighting for his life a hand full of times in his history.
That split second to avoid tragedy. The rage, the blood lust.....the focus.
He felt all of that in the few minutes that had passed since the moose killers, the olive skinned monsters, had appeared in all their horrible glory and began attacking him and his brothers in their own home.
The beasts stunk of rancid meat and vicious black fluids ran from their jewels.....The scent of them was enough to turn Ezekiels stomach. It wafted off of them like perfume and for a moment Ezekiel realized that this smell was what had allowed the beasts to hide away from them so effectively. They stunk of rot and death....and Ezekiel and his brothers had been searching for the scent of something that smelled alive.
Looking like twisted half formed Shifters, with the hyper elongated shapes of men and the appendages of beasts they were hard to look at strait on without feeling disquiet rising in your thoughts.
With long snouts, fangs and talons for shredding meant, large pupil-less black eyes and a body that seemed driven by pure instinct...and rage. Not eye sight or even thought processes.
The beasts moved like the wind. Their steps fleeting and hard to follow with mortal eyes, their attacks hard to predict because they were mostly savage and unthinking....seeming to use nothing but a combination of brute force and weight to their every advantage. They put all of their bodies into each move, so that every hit was like a slab of concrete to the arms as Ezekiel blocked and deflected one ravenous swipe of talons and teeth after another. The vile scent of bile floated all about the creatures....and Ezekiel suspected that the smell emanated from the black, silky, slimy fluid that dribbled down the jowls and chests of the beasts.
The two monsters’ kept up a salvo of attack and movement. They divided their attack on him and his brothers, so that Ezekiel was left to fight one, while his elder brothers were left to fight the other larger beast. They all struggled, even the beasts, who seemed unfamiliar with the confines of the room that they had just crawled into. They shot about, attacking, smashing their bodies and claws into the walls and furniture and cackling out into the air. A sound like none other than Ezekiel could remember hearing, the sounds of their cackles seemed like madness.
It was like the insane laughter of a man, turned brittle and pitched at a high key that scrapped at the inner ear. It was annoying...and a tad disturbing. But even more of a problem was their frantic movement.....it remained Ezekiel of something.
It’s like....like they are searching for something...
He realized in the back of his head as he ducked a heavy claw to his temple that would have severely injured him.
But he soon stopped thinking. The blood roared in his ears. It was all Ezekiel could do to step into the beasts’ space to land two or three blows of his own. But the kicks and cuts that he managed to land with his own claws barely seemed to faze the monster. The olive colored flesh was hard, taunt and nearly as thick as leather. Ezekiel tried to focus all of his attention on the beast’s throat and body, but his claws never seemed to come into contact with any deep tissue. Every killing blow eluded him....and nothing he did to the Beast made it back off. It was quickly become a battle of desperation and endurance...and then everything turned. Lander went down as a heavy fist slammed into his right shoulder. Something shifted beneath Landers skin and he roared in agony as he went down to his knees.
Then with a roar....Walter went flying into a wall, before collapsing on top of a coffee table, splintering it apart as his large body made contact. He didn’t get back up.
With a hyper cackle that sounded far too much like a laugh the beast crouched down on its hands and feet, and sniffed at the air, and with a chill Ezekiel watched its jowls open and its lips pull back over its snout. With a grimace of sharp, long canines and saliva it turned its ears, then its head in the direction of the one person in that room that wasn’t a threat.
Ezekiel actually felt his heart skip a beat. A sharp prick of shock hit him.
Until that moment....he hadn’t been aware of Brandon’s existence in the room....hadn’t considered the danger....
He also hadn’t considered that Brandon would not only rush over to Walter and try to pull him out of the room, but that he would see the beast coming for him and instead of running or even being afraid....he would stare at the beast and make no move to retreat. No fear. No anger. Just this black slate almost like he wasn’t there in that moment....about to be accosted.
“Walter! Get out of there!” Ezekiel shouted, hoping to rouse one of them into action. But Walter was out cold. A slow growl traveled up the beast long throat and to the determent of Ezekiels nerves Brandon laughed. Something cold and hard.....and dark and empty of anything except a challenge.
“Fuck you...” He said. Holding Walter close...as though he could protect him.
And Ezekiel sensed more than knew that the beast was about to launch
“Oh no you don’t!” Lander roared jumping to the defense and racked his talons down the shoulder and oily back of the beast, eliciting a howl of agony as flesh and muscle spit open gushing blood.
And like a flash the beast turned and centered all of its rage on Lander, pushing him back, bearing down. Trying to kill him.
Ezekiel wanted to rush over, but he barely avoided a slash meant for his heart, and as he circled his own beast, he watched Lander form the side of his vision, begin to grapple with the one that had knocked Walter down. Then there was Brandon; who had rushed over to the spot where Walter had fallen and was just crouching down beside him and the shattered wooden table.
And it was at that exact moment that Lander and the beast slammed into the carpet. Growling, snarling, roaring and the ripping of flesh and cloth was all he could hear ad his Brother struggled to subdue the intruder. Landers eyes were glowing with rage and blood lust, thick canines shown out as he snarled in the beasts snapping face. It was apparent that he was struggling....and that the fangs of the beast....were only moving closer.
“Lander!” Ezekiel hissed, shoving his own claws into the hip of the beast before him, it howled as his claws sunk into soft flesh and struck the joint beneath. The agony that that blow must have caused, brought Ezekiel a few moments “Get out of there”
“I....cant! My fucking shoulder is broken!” Lander roared, the struggle and the rage in his voice sounding strained. “I’m pinned down...!”
And like lightening Ezekiel found himself once more grappling with his own problems. The beast suddenly slammed into him. Its large, lean body like a train of warm metal. Its entire body rocked him, throwing him to the far right of the room and leaving his wheezing for air. Stumbling even further from his brothers, and with renewed vigor and speed the beast tried everything in its power to remove Ezekiel’s head from his body.
“Shit...!” Lander growled and Ezekiel knew he only had seconds to intervene.
Ezekiel couldn’t get to him. He couldn’t...
But....suddenly Ezkeiel realized that HE didn’t have too. All Lander needed was a distraction....a split second to turn the tables....Someone to intervene.
“Brandon...!” Ezekiel barked, shoving the beast to the left, and ducking a swipe that it sent back at him in retaliation. “Help Lander!”
Brandon looked at him, his green eyes looking dull and flat like a blanket had fallen over his thoughts. It was dangerous. And he instantly felt a pressure in his chest after even saying it. But....he couldn’t pull it back in...and Brandon seemed to instantly focus on him.
“I don’t know if I can stop that thing....” Brandon began the words were empty of anything. Cold. But they were not an excuse, just a simple fact. He fingered his right hand, tracing the leather glove over his palm, as he moved to his feet as though the answer laid beneath the material. He looked far too lost.....too mindless. His words made no sense. It was as though he were in shock....but as much as Ezekiel hated himself he had to push him....or people were going to die.
“Brandon help Lander! Now! Find a weapon!!” Ezekiel yelled over to Brandon, before he was once again assaulted by his own relentless beast.
“Alright...” Ezekiel heard Brandon say. Then without another word he snapped into action. Ezekiel saw him turn and rummaged around Walters landing place. And the next thing he knew Ezekiel saw Brandon hefting one of the broken legs of the table. The wood was as long and as wide as his forearm and splintered on the edge in such a fashion that it had the tip of a spike or a spear.
With the same skill and precision that had allowed him to elude Ezekiel in the past, Brandon sprinted over to the tumbling, grappling mass that was Lander and the beast. At first he tried to slam the wood over the back of the beasts head, but the beast mostly ignored him. So with a curse Brandon backed up, and then with a small running start, Brandon slanted the wood down and rammed it up into the beasts lower back.
The wood hit a sweet spot just blow the ribs and above the hip. It slid up into the beast’s body with a sucking thunk and schleck of meat, accompanied by the howl of agony form the beast. The howl was so high pitched and resounding that Ezekiel flinched as the sound tore at his sensitive ear and sensed everyone else on the room do the same. Then releasing Lander....only to grab his right wrists....and fling him over the couch....the wounded and aggravated beast turned on Brandon.
With a wooden back step Brandon and the beast did a slow dance. Until they stopped and simply stood looking at each other. The beast out stood and outweighed him by a mile...but Ezekiel didn’t see anything on Brandon’s face that was even close to fear. His eyes were cold and focused. He took one last step back and the beast followed....slowly it began to raise its claws. Like a scythe the beast poised for the final blow....and Brandon weaponless and unflinching glared back.
Ezekiel knew that the beast was going to kill him. Brandon was going to die.
It was a resounding denial of what was to happen....what could only be the outcome. He felt it all the way down to his core. He didn’t have a second...he didn’t have time to deal with the beast before him.....
Ezekiel heard something inside of him demand.
So Ezekiel didn’t think....he let the instincts take him. He let the indescribable rage in his blood, leak out, just for a moment. Like a high that burned far worse then fire, he felt the energy of his inner beast filling him... the Reaver boiling in his heart.
With very little hesitation he leaned into the next hit with his fangs and teeth. And with a crushing pressure he snarled as he latched on. Savegly he sunk his canines deep into the forearm of the beast and used his claws to shred flesh.
Then Ezekiel laughed as he stepped in and tore into the beasts soft stomach. The rotten smell of the beast’s blood choked him as his teeth and claws tore into it and in the back of his mind Ezekiel heard the distinct and unsettling feeling of bone and cartilage ripping, separating.... The feeling of an arm being pulled apart.
He ran his claws up and into the beasts face as it tried to snap at him....without any remorse or care and with a pitiful growl the beast stumbled back and pulled away from him....The movement of its head and body as it retreated, flinging fresh unpleasant smelling blood across Ezekiel’s face, joining the curtain of blood drenching his lips and throat..
He only had a moment to glimpse a popped eyeball spurting blood....and a long olive colored arm, hanging nearly detached from its elbow....
Then Ezekiel didn’t have to hear its feet on the wood and glass to know that the beast was fleeing, running back into the night.
And he didn’t care....he simply sprinted to the monster that had hurt his brother’s.....that was trying to hurt someone he felt compelled to protect at all costs
In seconds Ezekiels was on the beast. He slammed into it from the side, forcing it away from Brandon even as it tried to bring its claws down on him.
In the back of his mind Ezekiel heard Brandon calling his name, but the sound of his voice was nothing more than an echo next to the roar of rage now. The rage was endless. An ocean. It was so easy to swim in the red haze. So easy to feel the Reaver boil him alive. So easy to drown in it. It felt good. It was warm and perfect.
There was fire in Ezekiels lungs and blood in his stomach. There was nothing better. He liked it....and that was the sin. The Shame.....the danger.
Ezekiel swarmed the beast until it had no choice but to retreat.
He grabbed the wood sticking out of its side and with little ceremony or precision he plunged it out of the beasts thick back, feeling the warm gush as red fluid began to flow.
There was blood, and rage, and nothing else.
Until suddenly Ezekiel felt something clamp around his throat and toss him back. With a grunt he rammed back into Brandon who had somehow came up behind him, and the next thing Ezekiel heard and saw was the pitiful whimper of the beast as it scuttled like a spider across the room, and disappeared out into the darkness. Smearing blood all about the frame.
“Ezekiel! Ezekiel stop! Control yourself!” Came the snarling command from his brother. Walters voice hard and as commanding as steel.
Ezekiel pivoted and hissed back. He roared in defiance at the loss of his kill and his muscles coiled with the threat of violence on those that remained. His mind swimming in death..and anger.
And yet it was the sight of Brandon, walking towards his brothers, and looking at him...his eyes lost and his face cut up...And Ezkeiel made himself turn away. Close his eyes and cover the hideous and ferocious visage of his too large gnashing fangs and slit blazing eyes.