The Master Race [What Doesn’t Make You Stronger, Will Kill You]
To digress … Killer tongue … A tongue which is a bloodlusting, self-sustaining organ.
To digress … Klaw, of course, is when the hands are claw-like, in appearance and grasp, like the taloned feet of a bird of prey. It’s an eerie effect, indeed, with decidedly freakish overtones.
She rises up from her coffin in a single graceful movement and leers at Hawk and Fisher with her empty yellow eyes. Hawk looks away despite himself, and his gaze falls on the shuttered window. No light shows around the shutters’ edges.
Hawk thinks: We left too late! The sun’s gone down …
The Master steps elegantly out of her coffin. Her dirty bare feet make no sound on the wooden floor.
“Foolish mortals. Soon you will be mine, forever. You will replace those that you have taken from me. The woman shall sleep with me as my new concubine,” hisses The Master, looking straight at Fisher, as if Hawk isn’t there. The creature’s breath is foul.
Fisher wrinkles her nose at the smell. “Dirty stinking rotten bitch. Lying down or standing up, it makes no difference. Let’s do it, Hawk.”
Hawk nods slowly, and then springs forward, swinging his axe double-handed at The Master’s neck. The creature puts a spindly arm to block the blow, and the axe bounces off, vibrating as though it struck an iron bar. Hawk’s hand goes numb from the impact, and it is all he can do to hang onto the axe. Fisher thrusts at The Master with her stake, using it like a dagger. The Master avoids the blow easily, and knocks Fisher sprawling with a single backhanded blow. She lies where she falls, her head swimming madly. There is an inhuman power in The Master’s slender frame. Fisher clutches desperately at the wooden stake, and struggles weakly to get her feet under her. The Master looks down at her and chuckles suddenly—a low, filthy sound.
There is a blur of movement. The creature lashes out, racking the leftside of Fisher’s neck with her long, sharp, dirty fingernails. Fisher’s throat feels like it is on fire, and she hears a voice, the creature’s voice, in her head … You are mine, now!
There are other voices in her head … Many voices, countless voices, all screaming, all at once … You are ours, now!
Fisher’s mind is going numb. She feels somehow … not there … Paradoxically, on the animal side, so to speak … Her nipples get hard. She feels that moistness of her loins. That game smell. She feels that special pleasure, the delicious pleasure that she feels when she’s with Hawk and they make love, and she climaxes—only much more intense. Orgasm. It’s as if she is a bitch dog in heat. Her hands klaw!
Hoping that The Master is detracted enough, Hawk swings his axe at the creature again. He voices a silent prayer.
As if she has eyes in the back of her head, The Master raises her head, reaches out with her other hand, and catches the heavy blade in mid-swing, wrenching the weapon from Hawk’s hand. She throws the axe away, and reaches for Hawk with both of her bony hands. He darts back out of range and looks desperately about him for another weapon. The Master laughs again, and bends over Fisher, who much to her delight is already changing.
The Master grabs Fisher by the shoulder who moans aloud as the nails and claw-like fingers of The Master sink into her flesh. Blood runs down her arm in a steady stream. Blood already paints her savaged neck. Besides the obvious physical damage … Fisher is fighting for her own sense of self as well, and she’s loosing. Nevertheless, Fisher tries to break free of The Master, but she can’t.
The Master draws Fisher closer, grinning widely to show her long pointed teeth. Fisher tries to stab The Master with the stake. The Master grabs her wrist and squeezes hard. The feeling goes out of her fingers and she drops the stake. It rolls away and disappears into the shadows. A knobb sprouts from the rightside of her neck.
To digress … Knobb … That creepy black mole [creepy, as in, makes your skin crawl]… A small, black, star-shaped “mole”.
Hawk watches helplessly. In the meantime, he has found his axe again, but he dares not attack The Master. Cold steel is of no use against the creature, unless he can behead her. He needs a wooden stake …
He glares widely about him, and his gaze falls on the coffin. The Master must always return to its coffin before break of day … Hawk grins savagely as the answer comes to him. He steps forward, lifts his axe, and brings it swinging down onto the side of the coffin. The heavy wood splits and splinters under the blow. Hawk jerks the blade free and strikes again. The side sags inwards, and splinters fly on the air. The Master, who has affixed its mouth to the leftside of Fisher neck and is greedily feeding, throws Fisher aside like a ragdoll and darts forward. Hawk drops his axe, grabs the heaviest splinter from the coffin and buries it in The Master’s chest as the creature reaches for him. For a moment they stand facing each other, the yellow eyes and grinning mouth mere inches away from Hawk’s face, and then The Master suddenly collapses and falls limp to the floor. She makes surprised mewling sounds, and clutches at the thick wooden splinter protruding from her chest.
Hawk throws himself down beside The Master, snatches up his axe, and uses the flat of the blade to hammer the splinter again and again into The Master’s heart. She screams and tears at him with her clawed hands, but he doesn’t care.
He hits the wooden splinter again and again, driving it deep into The Master’s chest, and with every blow he strikes he sees the dead girl’s face as she hung from the butcher’s hook. After a while he realizes that The Master is no longer struggling and that Fisher is kneeling beside him.
Fisher’s knobb and klaw are gone. The voices are silent in Fisher’s head. With The Master dead, her transformation has reversed itself and she’s free of The Master’s powerful glamor.
“It’s all right, Hawk. It’s over.”
He looks down at The Master. The dirty yellow eyes stare sightlessly at the ceiling, and the clawed hands lie still at her sides. He raises his axe one last time, and cuts savagely at the creature’s neck. The steel blade slices clean through and sinks into the wooden floor beneath. The Master seems to collapse and fall in upon itself and in a few seconds there is nothing left but dust. Hawk sighs slowly, pulls his axe out of the floor, and then sits back on his hunches. Some of the tension begins to drain out of him. He looks wearily at Fisher, who’s still kneeling beside him. She looks gaunt, battered, and completely spent – bruised and bloodied. She also no longer looks cursed.
“You all right, lass?”
Hawk smiles slightly. “Well, we got The Master. Not exactly according to the book but what the hell. You can’t have everything.”
He and Fisher rise painfully to their feet, Fisher dripping blood from her wounds, and they lean on each other awhile until they feel strong enough to make their way back down the stairs. Fisher leaves a blood trail, right through The Master’s dust. Uncharacteristically careless of her.
They leave Trask and his daughter where they are. Burning the bodies can wait. Let the backup unit earn its pay for a change. Hawk and Fisher slowly make their way through the empty house and out into Chandler Lane. It is still hot and muggy, and the air stinks of smoke and tannin, but after the house and what they found in it, the lane looks pretty good to them.
“You know,” says Hawk reflectively, “there has to be an easier way to make a living.”
For the briefest of moments, all of the emotion drains from Fisher’s face. She has a flash, a fleeting vision of something, and then … Her mind goes completely blank. Worry paints Hawk’s face upon seeing Fisher’s relapse. Then, she just snaps back. She smiles. Her face flushes with emotion, again.
“You sure you’re okay?”
“Must have really got my bell rung, back there. I’ll be fit as a fiddle after I get some fixing from a healer.”