Beast by the Railroad
A train stormed through a thick pine forest. Its engine was blue, and the cars behind it had a gold color with black tops. Not the prettiest thing to look at, but it did its job well. Though, one certain passenger didn’t care, or even know, about the colors of the speeding machine. Yes, Dai Crolot was a man with no eye for design, or even a preference. Except of course, for silence.
Dai sat in the third car from the rear, and simply basked in the silence. No emotion, not even a sign of relaxation. He just sat there, eyes closed, and simply being in the calming silence. Then, the door opened.
“Hello!!” A young female voice called. At this, Dai cringed.
‘Damn.’ He thought. Dai looked over to the window, and saw a girl around Stephanie’s age with long blonde hair that ended at her shoulder blades, and deep blue eyes.
The girl wore a white sundress that ended just below her knees. From the waist, several lines of frills covered it all the way to the end. Over her chest a black ribbon crossed over five time, to be tied around her collar in a ribbon tie. Around her wrists she had several silver bangles that made a loud clinging sound whenever she moved. And, she wore white sandals.
Behind her was a tall man, with short cut blonde hair, and the same blue eyes as the girl. He wore a three piece black suit, with a red tie with a white stripe pattern. And, he wore a black top-hat.
“So, sorry.” The man said with an apologetic tone. “My daughter is excited. This is her first train ride.” Dai waved the apology away.
“Do not apologize. I understand how children can act.” The man tilted his head.
“You seem too young to have a child.” Dai cackled at this.
“Hah! No...God no. I deal with a........best described nuisance.” The top-hat man was bewildered, but let it go. He sat down and let his daughter put away her bags above them. Dai noticed she was about to open the small cupboard.
“Wait...” He tried to say, but he was too late. The girl opened it, and a sleeping Stephanie tumbled out and landed on top of the girl. The girl squealed and fell to the ground with Stephanie resting quietly on top of her.
The man looked for a moment at the two girls on the ground, and looked up at Dai, who was sitting there calmly with his legs crossed.
“This is my nuisance.” Dai said.
Trees by the Railroad:
An evil pair of yellow eyes looked intently at the tower of smoke that was quickly approaching.
“Yummy snacks come to me.” A deep graveled voice said.
Dai sat with Stephanie at his side rubbing her eyes, and the man sat with his daughter, who was rubbing the bruise on her head.
“Now that you are awake, what do you say?” Dai said to Stephanie. Stephanie growled lowly just for Dai to hear.
“I’m sorry you didn’t know I was sleeping there.” Stephanie said.
“Say it right.” Dai commented, with aggression.
“I’m sorry I fell on you!” Stephanie said, with forced meaning.
“It’s okay.” The girl said with a whimpering tone. Stephanie looked at her with irritation and a tick.
‘What is with her?’ She thought to herself.
“Well, where are my manners?” The top-hat man said. “I need to introduce myself. I am Vrecho Worth.” Then, he motioned to his daughter. “This is my daughter, Bresh.”
“Nice to meet you!” The girl exclaimed as if the bruise on her head just disappeared. This again irritated Stephanie.
‘She’s insane.’ She thought.
“My name is Dai Crolot.” Dai said. Then, he nudged Stephanie to reply with her name.
“I’m Stephanie Trilor.” Vrecho nodded at both of them.
“It is nice to meet both of you. Are you stopping at Far Horn like us?” He asked. Dai shook his head.
“No, we are going two more stops over to Main Cannon.” Dai replied. Vrecho’s eyes grew large.
“Main Cannon? I didn’t know for sure, but with that destination and that white trench. You must be a Paladin.” Vrecho said with great surprise.
“A Paladin, Papa?” Bresh said as she looked up to her father.
“This is a brave man, sweetie.” Vrecho answered. Dai said nothing. He did not like to be honored for his work. He much preferred to never talk about his missions. Especially to civilians.
“But,” Vrecho asked with bewilderment. “Why is a child like Stephanie with you?” Dai looked at her for a moment, and said.
“She’s my nuisance. I told you this.” Stephanie’s eye twitched in response. She raised her fist and punched Dai on his knee cap. Dai grunted in pain and held it. “Stupid brat!”
“Don’t call me a nuisance!” Stephanie retorted. Dai put her into a choke hold, while not actually choking her, and rubbed her head hard with his knuckles.
“I’ll call you whatever I want, because you act like that!” Dai exclaimed.
“Ow, ow, ow! Stop it~!” Stephanie whined. Dai gave it a couple more seconds, then let her go. Stephanie slid away from Dai and rubbed her head. Dai looked back toward Vrecho in his usual demeanor. As if nothing had occurred.
“To give an actual answer, I suppose you could call Stephanie my assistant.” Dai said. Vrecho responded to this in confusion.
“Assistant, but she’s so young.” He said.
“And, you’re so...mmph!” Dai had covered Stephanie’s mouth with his hand before she could continue. Stephanie cut her eyes sharply at Dai, but retracted her look and crossed her arms.
That was when Bresh turned to her father and pulled on his sleeve.
“Papa, I’m hungry.” She said. Vrecho smiled and rubbed her head. He then pulled out his wallet and taken out red notes with the image of a mountain on it.
“Here sweetheart, take these Ambers and get lunch in the dining car.” He said. Bresh took the notes and exited the room. That was when Stephanie started to stare really close at Dai. Her face had serious intent on it. It was silence for almost three minutes, but eventually Dai dug into his coat and pulled out some crumbled Ambers.
“It better shut you...” Before he could finish, Stephanie snatched the notes and ran out. “Little brat.”
A nice elegant car, with draped tables and floral centers.
Bresh and Stephanie sat at the table on the center left of the car in front of a window. Bresh looked up from the menu with a smile and said,
“What are you getting?” Stephanie looked up from her menu with a severe eye twitch.
“Anything with bacon.” She replied. Bresh let a sweat drop and went back to her menu.
The engineer was working all the intricate levers of the steamer, then there was thump as if something had climbed on. He turned around, but there was nothing. Then, the head of a Ghoul looked down and spotted him. The Ghoul howled and crawled over the ceiling to attack the engineer.
Dai’s mind was off to farther fields as Vrecho told him exciting tales of being a banker. As he looked outside, he could see something keep up with the train. He then turned to Vrecho.
“I’m going to pull out my knife.” He said. That phrase made Vrecho swallow his last word. “Don’t take it personally.” Dai then quickly got up and pulled his knife out at the same time as a ghoul crashed into the window.
In one move the knife buried itself into the ghoul’s skull. Dai then kicked him off his knife and off the train. As it’s body hit was hit by the sun, it disappeared into dust.
“Wha..wha…” Vrecho stammered.
“Ghouls. Probably storming the train. I should go get Stephanie.” Dai said as he left, but Vrecho grabbed his coat, before he could.
“My daughter….” He said.
“If she’s alive I’ll keep her safe.”
“If!?” He exclaimed with anger. “There is no…”
“There is always an ‘if’. Do not expect me to make a promise I cannot keep. IF she is alive, I will keep her safe. If not, I will say a prayer. As should you.” Dai said, knocked him away, and then ran towards the dining car.
Everyone was frantic as ghouls tried to enter the car from both sides. Stephanie and Bresh were under their table. Stephanie kept looking to the door they entered from, waiting for Dai to come through it. Bresh on the other hand was terrified.
“What do these monsters want!?” She cried.
“To eat us. Now…” Stephanie said, but was cut off by Bresh crying into her.
“Why!? I didn’t do anything wrong!?” Besh exclaimed. Stephanie did not know how to react. She had been in this type of situation before, but never with a blubbering girl like Bresh. Stephanie awkwardly patted her back.
That was when a ghoul burst through the door leading to the engine. Horrified screams could be heard as three ghouls slughter everyone in their path. Bresh was about to scream even louder, but Stephanie held her mouth. They couldn’t be seen by the ghouls where they were.
The screams, sounds of biting, the wails of the ghouls, and blood splatters continue for five minutes. The entire time, Bresh covers her ears and burys her face in Stephanie’s lap. Stephanie herself waited until the horrific sounds ended. She watch the shadows of the ghouls move about. Then, she heard all three ghouls move to the other end of the car.
“Don’t open your eyes.” Stephanie said as she pulled herself and Bresh out and ran away from the ghouls. Stephanie was met with the sight of a car filled with blood and dead bodies. The ghouls behind her gave chase, but they were stopped by the sound of ghouls from the car behind making battle cries. They turned and ran to aid them.
Dai was fighting seven ghouls with just his knife. A female ghoul, with patchy long hair, charged head first. Dai grabbed it by the hair, and decapitated it. Two ghouls tackled him as he turned around. Dai landed on his back, rolled a bit, and tossed both of them of with his legs. He got back up to his feet in time to stab another ghoul in the heart and throw it at the ghouls that just tackled him.
As he threw them, a ghoul bit his right shoulder. Dai cried out in pain, then grabbed the ghoul by its head and threw it to the ground, with a horrid tearing sound as it released its bite. Dai then crushed its head with a hard stomp. Another ghoul that had climbed on the ceiling dropped down on him. The ghoul tried furiously to bite at his face like a wolf finishing its prey. Dai gave a sudden head butt and knocked it off. He stabbed straight through its head.
Dai then pulled his blade out, turned around, and cut the throats of the two ghouls that had tackled him. As their black blood spewed out, Dai gave a follow through slash to their guts. They dropped to the ground as Dai turned to the last ghoul in the car. Dai was beaten and bitten and this ghoul looked tough.
“Almost a chimera, aren’t you?” He asked. The ghoul hissed at this. “Sorry to take away that little piece of fun.” Then they charged at each other. Dai then jumped over the chairs to the left before they collided, dropped down, stabbed the top of the ghouls head, and pushed the blade forward. Splitting the back of its skull.
Dai looked back at his work and moved forward to the dining car.
Stephanie opened the door to the car filled with crates and pushed Bresh in. The young girl hid in between two crates as Stephanie closed the door. She looked out the small window in the door to see if any ghouls had followed. When she saw none had come near, she turned back around to Bresh, who was crying in her hands.
Stephanie walked over to her and sat down. She then awkwardly put her hand on Bresh’s shoulder.
“It’s going to be……okay…” Stephanie said, contrary to what she actually believed.
“When is it going to be over?” Bresh asked through sobs.
“Soon. Dai will…..” Before Stephanie could finish, she heard huge thumps from outside the car. Something large and fast was running along the train. There was one last thump, then something landed ontop of the car. The landing shook the entire car, which made Bresh cry out again. As she screamed large clawed fingers.
With one motion, the entire roof of the car was torn off. The light from the sun reach every corner and the girls eyes had to take a moment to adjust. When they did, the girls saw the beast that had caused this whole ordeal.
It was a pale behemoth. Muscular body, with goat legs covered in black fur. Its eyes were completely yellow, and they glowed through the long thick black hair that grew from its head and neck. Two sets of ram horn grew from it. On was larger and grew from the forehead and smaller pair grew from its temple. It had a snout and its rugged teeth were visible, because it had no lips.
“Well, well.” The chimera said in a deep voice and licked its chops. “Two little morsels before me.” It reached with its huge hands and grabbed the girls. Stephanie grunted as Bresh screamed bloody murder. Stephanie bite down hard on the chimera’s hand and it let her go. She fell back down to the car, but Bresh was still in his hands.
“You’ll pay for that, food!” It exclaimed, then looked at Bresh. “But first….” It then opened is mouth wide to devour hear, but at the last minute a small crate was thrown at its head. The chimera shook it off and looked to see who had thrown it. IT was Dai and he looked pissed.
“More food! Yay!” The chimera cheered.
“Put her down, now.” Dai said. The chimera blinked, then looked at Bresh, who was complete terror.
“Okay, food.” The chimera said, the squeezed Bresh. She cried in pain and then there a sudden snap. The chimera then threw Bresh, who Dai caught. “You’re a bigger meal anyway.” Dai bared his teeth, but check on Bresh. She was alive, but the pain must have knocked her out. He put her down behind him and cracked his knuckles.
“You ready, Stephanie?” Dai asked as Stephanie stood in front of him.
“Just get to it already.” She said. At that moment, Dai slammed his fists into either side of her head. Immediately, Stephanie became pure light. Her body dispersed and was absorbed into his rings. Dai stretched out his arms and his rings became the finger blades.
“Paladin! Really good food!” The chimera exclaimed as it beat its chest.
“Time to die, ugly. Weapons set B, Gryphon Talons!” In a flash, Dai’s finger blades were transformed. They took on the appearance of the tree large versions of his blades. One on his thumb, and one blade to two fingers. The typical strings were replaced by slightly large chains and it was attached on the fore arm instead of the wrist.
Dai jumped and stabbed all the blades into the chimera’s chest. The monster screamed in pain. It grabbed Dai’s back and threw him to the car just before the engine. Dai quickly picked himself up as the chimera jumped in front of him. It slammed its left fist down, but Dai quickly dodged and slashed its arm.
Dai then jumped off the injured arm, and launched his left Talon. It latched onto the right arm, and Dai pulled as the chain retracted. It pulled the arm with great forced, and made the chimera hit itself. Dai landed behind the beast as it stumbled to the ground. The chimera quickly got back up, but before it could make its next move, Dai ran under its legs and cut and both hamstrings.
The chimera was quickly brought to its knees with a howl.
“Why don’t you die, food!?” It roared.
“Because, I have to kill abominations like you.” Then he released both Talons and latched deep into its shoulders. It gave one last roar as it tried to crawl away. “All you have ever deserved is death.” Dai said as he backed up to the edge of the car. “Now, you’ll get it.” Then, Dai pulled back as the chains retracted.
The force pulled the chimera back with force. Just before the chimera crashed into Dai, Dai stepped out of the way and released. The chimera was then sent flying far in front of the train. The monster screamed in pain as it crashed to the ground. It rolled and slide from the momentum, before it stopped a mile ahead of the train. It was bruised and bleeding with its arms and legs spread out. It huffed and groaned, with pained breaths.
“Food…..didn’t……ki….” Before the chimera could finish, the train rammed into its head, which was lying on the train tracks. The massive splatter drenched the engine and even got on Dai’s coat. As its death came, the chimaera, and all its blood, faded away. As Dai’s coat returned to pure white, he walked over to check on Bresh.
He looked down from the roof of the car and saw Vrecho holding his daughter.
“Bresh! Bresh! Speak to me!” He said. Slowly she opened her eyes.
“Father?” Bresh said. Vrecho smiled with tears in his eyes and hugged her. “Father…..I……can’t feel my legs….” In that moment, Vrecho’s tears of joy turned to tears of sorrow.
Doctors and militia were tending to the wounded as Dai and Stephanie were leaving through town and continuing their journey on foot. Just before the left the station, Vrecho stopped them.
“You could have kept her safe!” He exclaimed. Dai stopped and looked back, while Stephanie kept walking.
“I said there are always ifs.” Dai replied.
“What happened to the stories of powerful Paladins who slew ghouls and saved all those who are threatened?” Vrecho asked in anger.
“I find it surprising that a grown man would believe fairy tales.” Dai said. This shocked Vrecho. “We are people. We could be elves, orcs, naiads, dryads, harpies, or even vampires, but were are still just people. Just because we are trained to kill ghouls, doesn’t mean everyone lives.” Vrecho looked down. The expression of a defeated man on his face. “Go back to your daughter and be glad she’s alive.” Dai said, then left.
All Vrecho did, was turn and walked away.