Dark Soul

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CHAPTER NINETEEN

The severed head of John Williams slowly tumbled to an undignified stop just before Greg and Emma making a slight wet squelching sound as it came to its final resting spot on the floor in front of them. The unseeing eyes of Chief Inspector John Williams stared up at them their fate perhaps reflected in his eyes. Slowly they edged back but every inch they took towards the door behind them the wolf pack took a step towards them and it was only a matter of time before they finished playing cat and mouse with their food and attacked.

Emma gripped Greg’s arm and leaned in close to whisper in his ear as they moved slowly backwards.

“The lamps!” She said and cast a glance at the flickering objects hanging from the walls.

Greg glanced at the old fashioned oil burning lamps hung on the walls and nodded to Emma as he realized what she had in mind. The werewolf from the centre alcove appeared to be the dominant one of the group; it stopped and let out a low guttural growl as it looked at its siblings. They in turn both curled their lips back displaying their razor sharp teeth as they dropped lower into an attack stance akin to a wolf pack stalking its prey would do naturally in the wild. The flanking werewolves suddenly lunged forward from either side while the dominant male remained standing a few feet behind them observing its siblings rushing in to make the kill.

“Now!” screamed Emma as she grabbed the base of the lamp from the wall and hurled it as hard as she could at the werewolf bearing down upon her.

The lamp struck the beast and the glass casing shattered. As the lamp tipped up the oil within spilled out over the beast and flowed around the flickering flame causing the oil to ignite as it did so which created a fountain of flame covering the werewolf; within moments it became immolated in fire. The creature howled in agony as it began to reel back; its arms flailing wildly as it fought in vain to free itself from its fiery hell. The creature stumbled, blinded by pain and the all consuming flames, and slammed into one of the walls knocking free another lamp which exploded. The larger dominant male that had been watching and waiting in anticipation of the easy kill before its siblings began to retreat to the rear of the room as its sibling writhed in burning agony in front of it.

The small enclosed room was soon filling with the acrid smell of burning flesh and fur and Emma started to choke on the smoke that had already begun to fill the room.

At the same time as she had cast her fiery weapon at one of the beasts Greg had scooped the opposite lamp from the other wall and hurled it into the face of the other werewolf that had been advancing upon them. In much the same way it too shattered creating a similar fireball erupting over the creature and it too now writhed in burning agony next to its sibling. The writhing wolves had unintentionally created a wall of flame between Emma and Greg and the final werewolf. It was this creature, the more dominant of the three, who had dealt the death blow to John Williams and had been the one to toss his severed head across the room. It was however at least temporarily trapped at the rear of the room by the blazing inferno that had been created by the deaths of its kindred.

Slightly stunned by what they were seeing Greg and Emma stood gazing on in awe and disbelief. Through the flaming wall they could see the largest of the three werewolves shielding itself with its arms from the intense heat unwilling to approach the flames.

“Let’s go!” shouted Greg as he grabbed Emma by the hand and led her back towards the door behind them.

They raced through the doorway gasping for air as the room they left behind filled with toxic fumes slamming the door firmly shut behind them in their escape.

Looking through the wall of flames ahead of it the werewolf let out an angry howl as it saw its prey escaping from its lair. Enraged and emboldened by its fury it snarled as it flung itself through the burning wall to the other side rolling along the floor to smother the flames once it had passed through. Once more rising to its feet with its skin tingling from the many exposed wounds seared upon its body from the flames the beast steadied itself as it prepared to give pursuit to its prey.

As Emma and Greg began to stagger on unsteady legs towards the stairway leading back up to the house the door leading to the werewolves’ lair was struck by tremendous force and it shuddered under the impact causing the latch to almost fly loose.

Greg stopped and turned back to the door as he shouted to Emma “Keep going I will try and hold the door.”

“Don’t be a fool if that thing breaks down the door it will kill you!” she screamed back at him her face contorted in anguish.

“If I don’t we both die! Better you live than we both die now get the hell out of here.” Greg turned from Emma as he finished his words and braced himself against the door.

As she looked back at him her face was a tortured picture of pain and remorse; she didn’t want to leave him and her legs refused to move. Her mind was awash with conflicting thoughts and emotions; part of her simply wanted to deny this was all happening and another part wanted to run screaming from the house but despite all her conflicting emotions the urge to stay won through and she turned back towards him once more. Greg shouted at her again to go and the realization struck her like a bolt of clarity that he would not leave with her not matter what she did or said. With tears cresting on her eyes Emma looked one final time at Greg before she staggered on towards the staircase and began her climb up them one step at a time just as she heard the door behind her begin to splinter. Bracing his weight against the door Greg winced as the last remaining werewolf thundered against it again with its full force; glancing to his right he could see Emma finally disappearing up the stairs. The door shook again and the frame began to splinter as the creature howled in frustration as once more the door failed to yield to its assault. He knew the door would not hold for much longer and he could feel the heat from the room on the other side; the entire place must be ablaze by now he reasoned. The door shuddered again and he was almost flung back from it that time; the force of the blow knocked loose his baton and it clattered to the floor. Staring down at it he suddenly had an idea and quickly scooping it up he slipped it into the handle of the door; wedging it into the frame and jamming the handle in place before turning and running as fast as he could towards the stairs. Almost immediately the door juddered again and the lock once more tried to spring free but was held in place by the police issue baton wedged upon it. Reaching the bottom of the stairs Greg gasped in the fresh air that was filtering down from the floor above.

Emma stopped and slumped against the basement door as she breathed in deep lungfuls of air having finally herself reached the top of the stairs. Taking a moment to recover she peered down into the gloomy basement once more as her hands curled around the handle of the basement door she was leaning against. Just then from out of the darkness she saw Greg appear at the bottom of the stairs.

“Quickly Greg Run!” she cried out in hope but as he put his foot on the foot of the stairs they heard the door behind him explode and slam against the wall and Greg felt the heat from the room wash into the corridor. With a bestial roar the remaining werewolf picked itself up from the floor and turned to look at Greg its feral eyes filled with hatred and blood lust. It splayed its arms back extending its claws and howling in triumph as its prey was once more within reach; revealing row upon row of razor sharp pointed teeth as its muzzle drew back into a cruel snarl before lurching forward after him. Greg climbed the stairs two at a time as his body was pumped full of adrenalin and willed on by the fear in his mind from what pursued him. As he neared the top he kept his gaze fixed firmly on Emma whose face turned to terror as she gazed once more at the creature that now began to climb swiftly after Greg up the stairs. She moved from the top of the stairs into the corridor leading from the basement turning as she did so; reaching out her hand as she saw Greg reach the top of the steps.

Nearing the top of the stairs Greg could see Emma standing just inside the hallway with her hand outstretched towards him; taking hold of it he felt a surge of hope and elation that they might both yet survive this horror.

The beast however was too quick and it was climbing the stairs faster than any mere man could ever hope to and before she could pull him from the stairs and into the corridor the claws of the werewolf raked down his back digging into his clothing and shredding it apart leaving deep gouge marks all along his back.

“No!” Emma screamed out as she saw the beast sink its claws into his back.

Having already taken hold of his hand she had begun to pull him through to the corridor when the unexpected blow from the werewolf propelled Greg into Emma knocking them both flying to the floor. Greg landed on the corridor floor with an unceremonious bang knocking the wind out of him in the process. Slamming against one of the walls in the corridor Emma slowly slid down it; staring at his lifeless body a feeling of utter sadness washing over her.

The beast was filled with burning rage and the attack had been unbalanced and reckless. While it had struck the intended blow the momentum required to do so propelled the werewolf into the wall at the top of stairs. The impact stunned it momentarily long enough to lose its footing and the sound of claws scraping and squealing along concrete walls filled the air as it tried to stop itself tumbling back down the stairs to the fiery oblivion below.

Emma blinked as she heard Greg groan and watched as he slowly pushed himself to his feet. Standing he reached down to offer Emma his hand which she quickly took as he pulled her to her feet.

“How? I thought” she asked with a very puzzled look upon her face.

Emma’s voice trailed off as Greg removed his tattered jacket to reveal a police bullet proof vest that had borne the brunt of the attack but was still only slightly less shredded than his jacket with deep gouge marks running along it.

The impact into the wall had momentarily dazed the werewolf long enough for Greg and Emma to get to their feet but it left them time enough to do little else as the creature roared its way into the corridor between them. With a vicious snarl it struck Emma with the back of its clawed hand sending her flying along the corridor crashing into the coat stand that stood next to the entrance door. Greg ducked under its next swing as he saw Emma being struck and sent hurtling down the corridor; rolling under another clawed assault he found himself in the nearby room opposite the stairwell.

As Greg stood he saw the beast begin to start to move towards Emma and he hollered out to the creature to gain its attention away from her. Upon hearing this it turned and once more howled in anger as its gaze fixed upon the man before it. His mind raced as he scanned the room for anything that could possibly help him in the desperate struggle that was about to ensue. His gaze settled upon a mounted spear and shield that appeared old and native to the African sub-continent. Tearing them from the wall mounting he slipped his right hand tightly around the spear, probably once wielded by a Zulu warrior, and his left gripped the shield as the werewolf advanced upon him. Swinging its powerful arms the beast connected with his shield almost shredding it in one blow sending Greg reeling into a study desk that sat neatly under the bay windows. Thrusting with his spear he pierced the monsters side causing it to stagger back and lash out wildly knocking the spear from his hand. Throwing his shield at the creature Greg rolled past it, as it swung wildly with its claws at him, coming to a halt next to the spear that was laying on the floor. The creature turned and once more bellowed out a bestial roar as it hurtled towards him; determined to end his life once and for all.

Cassiel, the chaplain’s cat who had taken a ride with Greg and Emma, glided slowly down the stairs with a grace only born to a creature of the night; each padded footfall hitting the carpeted steps like a feather drifting slowly to earth. She came to halt at the bottom of the stairs and wrinkled her nose slightly at the acrid smell she could detect emanating from the stairwell along the corridor. The sound of a crashing noise coming from along the corridor caused further irritation to her as her tail began to sway slightly before her attention fell upon the scene of destruction before her.

Emma lay unconscious almost covered under several coats; she groaned as slowly her senses returned to her. She could still smell the acrid stench wafting up from the basement below and the floor her cheek rested upon felt warm. Sounds, confusing sounds, could be heard coming from along the corridor and something rough and wet was licking her cheek. As she opened her eyes her head throbbed painfully and if it hadn’t been for the almost insistent course wet rasping tongue licking her face she would have gladly slipped unconscious again. Slowly her eyes began to focus on two then four black fur covered small legs that were before her. Eventually her eyes came fully into focus and she found herself staring at the face of a cat; its large green eyes regarding her with indifference.

“Mr. Whiskers” Emma said weakly as she tried to raise herself up from the floor.

The act of which caused her head to pound even more and she almost passed out again but managing to grab hold of the side table next to her she thankfully prevented this. Steadying herself she slowly stood and leant on the wall next to her; as her mind suddenly focused she remembered Greg and began to walk slowly towards the sounds coming from the room along the corridor which lay opposite the basement but every step caused her head to pound in agony. As she neared the room she gasped at the stuffed bear in the alcove opposite and glanced down as Cassiel rubbed herself up against her leg purring loudly. Emma watched the cat trot casually across the corridor to the bear and sit down near to it. Rubbing her eyes to try and focus she could see Mr. Whiskers sitting next to the stuffed bear and next to the cat was what appeared to be a snub nosed revolver. It was in fact the very spot that John Williams had dropped his gun earlier that evening when he had been apprehended by Cain and it had lain there undiscovered by all until now. Staggering across the corridor Emma knelt slightly as she picked up the gun and absently stroked Mr. Whiskers. Pushing herself up she staggering along the wall towards the room whilst clutching the revolver in her hand. The werewolf bellowed once more as Greg thrust his spear into its belly but it would never be enough to kill it and the creature struck Greg with the back of its clawed fist sending him crashing into a wall on the opposite side of the room. Advancing quickly upon him it reached down and curled its clawed right hand around his neck lifting him up from the floor and pinning him to the wall. Still dazed he was unable to do anything as the beast slowly tilted Greg’s head to the right exposing his neck before moving its jaws in for the killing blow that would end his life. At first a single shot rang out echoing through the carnage that had become Cain’s house; it struck the werewolf squarely in its left shoulder spinning it around and causing it to drop Greg to the floor. Grabbing its shoulder and bellowing in pain the beast turned its attention on Emma who hovered in the doorway of the room, barely capable of standing, her hand shaking as she squeezed the trigger once more on the revolver. From only a few feet away it was almost impossible to miss such a large target and the second bullet hit the beast in its chest. With a howl of defiance the creature flexed its arms out wide and offered up its chest almost taunting Emma while baring its teeth as its muzzle drew back in snarling contempt. She fired three more shots in quick succession two of which struck the beast squarely in its chest with sickening thuds but the third hit the ground in front of it as the gun slipped from her trembling hands. Her head pounded so much now and her vision started to blur once more as the werewolf advanced upon her. The creature roared in triumph as it looked around itself surveying its field of victory. Greg lay unconscious behind the creature and Emma was slumped in the doorway in a semi-conscious state. With renewed vigour it slammed its foot down in front of itself as it began its advance on Emma but before it could reach her the floor beneath it began to crack. The fire that had been raging beneath the house had been eating away at the support beams that held the floors above in place and the culmination of the weight of the monstrous beast and the bullet that had gone astray tearing through the floor had been enough to break the ancient support beam holding up the floor to the room and as the floor collapsed it plunged the werewolf howling into the flames below. With collapse of the floor a gigantic rush of flames leapt from below like a blazing hand reaching up to drag one its children back to hell engulfing the creature and dragging it to its fiery death below. Emma screamed out loud and the pain brought her senses flooding back to her as she felt her conciousness return. Sharp claws were stabbing into her ankle as flames began to reach up for her. The mighty beast had reached out in one final desperate act as it fell and had managed to grab her foot before being plunged into the flames. Emma grabbed the door frame and screamed in pain as the creatures claws dug desperately into her leg as it tried to save itself from the fires below. The sheer weight of the beast was more than Emma could bear and her grip on the door frame began to slip as she was slowly beginning to be dragged along with the werewolf to a fiery death. She glanced over at Greg, a look of desperation etched upon her face, but he lay unconscious and unaware of what was occurring only a few feet away from him. Below her the creature cried out in agony as the flames consumed it but it would not relinquish its final prey in an act of defiance and all seemed lost for Emma could not hold on for much longer and she would surely be dragged to her death along with the creature.

With a final howl of anger, agony and frustration the werewolf let go its grip on Emma’s leg as tiny teeth and claws sank into the beast’s clawed fingers causing the werewolf to instinctively withdraw its hand from its unknown assailant above. Unable to stop itself before its instinctive mistake the beast released its grip upon Emma and plunged into the flames below being finally consumed along with its siblings. Cassiel, the chaplains cat, leapt back from the edge as the werewolf released its grip and landed near to Emma. With a seemingly casual interest the black cat sat and stared for a while at the flames coming from beneath. The last thing the creature had seen as it plunged into the fires below were the flames reflected in a pair of large green eyes staring down upon it.

Greg shook his head as he pushed himself onto his hands and knees and almost immediately began to cough; he could see the room was beginning to fill with dark smoke. Staggering to his feet he looked across the hole that had appeared next to him and could see Emma slumped in the doorway with what appeared to be Mr. Whiskers hunched next to her its green eyes slowly blinking as it watched his every move. Carefully hedging his way around the hole he wrapped his arms around Emma and hoisted her upon his shoulder picking her up and carrying her along the corridor to the entrance way they had come in earlier; with a powerful kick the door shattered outwards and Greg carried Emma from the burning building before dropping to his knees on the road outside the house. Just before he passed out the last thing he saw were two bright green orbs staring back at him from underneath his car. ‘Mr. Whiskers?’ he thought then passed out.

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