Slayers | Flash Fiction
Chick Wendig at terribleminds.com issued one of his Flash Fiction challenges last week, and as I want to make 2017 a year of reading and writing, I decided to participate. The rules of this challenge was to write about something that scares you, with a word limit of 1000. Unfortunately, I think I got carried away and went slightly over the limit, oops!
Regardless, I would appreciate any and all feedback on this so that I can improve.
I received many stares as I entered the slayers camp. “We got nuffink for a filthy beggar like you,” I heard a drunken man yell. I ignored the stares and verbal abuse. Instead I set my sights on the largest tent in the camp. I was sure Mendaius would be inside. Mendaius was the leader of the Slayers Guild, and the first man to slay a Daemon. Fourteen years ago, in 2024 the Daemon outbreak began. Mendaius struck the giant catfish with the Sword of Attila after the soldiers had weakened it with their missiles. Since that day Mendaius has lead what we call the Slayers Guild.
As I approached the front of the tent, I came face to face with two guards. “Where are you going boy? Do you have any ammo to be coughing up for you to be in here?”
I was annoyed at being called boy. This was a common occurrence, regardless of how I carried myself. I chose not to argue as I desperately sought the help of the guild. Ammunition was now the nation’s only currency. In a world infested with Daemons, I guess it made sense. “I have no ammo, but I wish to enquire about a hunt,” I said.
The same guard examined me closely. “Well if you have no ammo then ye sword will do.” He reached behind me.
Instinctively, I knocked his hand away. His partner roared with laughter. “A fiery one this one, aint he?” The man chuckled. “Ah, let him through Arn, go on.” The man continued. The man called Arn tilted his head, signalling me to enter. “I’ve got me eye on you boy,” he said. I had the urge to warn him against calling me boy, but I decided it best to go about my business.
As I walked in, I heard Mendaius mouthing off about the Army. Since the infestation of the Daemons, the government had tried its best to retain the previous economic structure. But with Daemons on the loose – showing up wherever and whenever they wanted – it was too difficult to maintain any sort of unified government. Mendaius had clashed with the Army on many occasions, mainly down to his lack of following their rules.
“And who do we have here?” Mandaius yelled, spotting me.
“I have come in the hopes that I may join the Slayers.”
“You know the rules. Present me a carcass from an outstanding hunt.”
“I have already slayed the eagle that destroyed the Lewisham settlement,” I said with little confidence. The truth of it was that I don’t even know how I did it. On any normal day I struggle to raise the sword.
“Can you prove this, young man?” He asked.
“I have the blood on my sword,” I said. I bent my arms around my back and pulled the strings to release the sword. It fell to the ground with a clank.
“Blimey,” he said.
“You know this sword?” I asked.
“Boy, what is it you want for joining us?” he asked.
“There is a Daemon that I believe is following me, I wish to slay it. But I require a long distance weapon.” I told him as he examined the sword without touching it.
“I’m under the firm belief that the worst of the Daemons should be slain up close. It sends a message that man should be revered.” He explained. “What sort of Daemon is this, that you need long-ranged weaponry?”
“It’s a creature that I fear the most.” I said. The dozen men began roaring with laughter.
“Look here boy, you will leave here and slay this Daemon that you speak of with no weapon of ours. I will keep this sword until you do so.” He said. And then the ground vibrated, that meant only one thing. A Daemon was approaching. I was sure which Daemon it was, because it had been haunting me for some time. All of the Slayers in the tent had grabbed a weapon. I looked down at the sword; it was no use trying to wield it.
“Please, can I have a weapon? I would prefer a firearm, or a bow,” I pleaded.
“You will remain here,” he said while loading a sawed-off shotgun. He then picked up an assault rifle from a table and pocketed some throwing knives. “Slayers, Move!” Came his signature chant. The pack of Slayers in the tent marched out to face the Daemon. Mendaius eyed me on his way out. “I will know if you have taken anything,” he said. Then I heard shouts and cries. I felt the vibrations as the Daemon’s many legs slammed into the ground, no doubt pinning down Slayers. Fear overcame me as I thought of its dark and piercing eyes. I was terrified of how it looked right into my soul as it destroyed everything in its path with little apathy. I decided in that moment that I must face it. There was no better time than now. I picked up a crossbow, for I knew exactly where I wanted to aim it.
I left the tent and froze as I witnessed its towering frame standing on four of its legs and knocking over a watchtower with the remaining four. The balance of this arachnid was impressive. I saw Mendaius signalling his men to attack its hind legs, but it was too late. He Daemon had all of its eight legs back on the ground as the watchtower tumbled, bringing a soul wrenching crash. My eyes burned with fear as I witnessed the Daemon flip backwards and disperse web fluid all over the Slayers in its path who had been spraying it with bullets. The arachnid’s exterior seemed to deflect projectiles, and the thing moved quick for its size. I caught myself in my fear and decided I should act.
I readied the crossbow and looked for opportunity. Mendaius looked frustrated that his numbers were diminishing. He had tossed his assault rifle and was now throwing knives, aiming for the Daemon’s eyes. The Daemon – as if it was privy to Mendaius’ strategy – was deflecting each one with its two front legs. Then, as Mendaius got closer I saw its mandibles twitch. I knew what was coming and started to panic.
“Run!” I yelled. Mendaius looked back at me but was then immediately pinched between the Daemon’s mandibles. As the Daemon held Mendaius, I saw my moment of opportunity open up. I ran forth a few meters and then took aim.
I pulled the trigger and the bolt hit its mark right in its top left eye. It made no sound to indicate pain, as I was sure it was incapable of such. It did however, release Mendaius and spin around in a weird fashion. Its movements made me cringe. I saw Mendaius rise from the ground and look in my direction.
“Bring the sword,” he cried. I looked back at the tent from which we came and realised he was speaking to another slayer and not I. But then he pierced me with his gaze. “You must finish him,” he yelled. I pointed back at myself, unsure if he was really talking to me. “Yes, the sword will answer to you now.”
“But how can you know this?” I asked.
“The Excalibur is the sword of King Arthur. It seems his spirit has chosen you as its champion. You have gained the right to wield it by overcoming your fear.” As he said the words, I panted in disbelief. The Slayer returned with the sword between his two palms, unable to wield it himself. He held it out for me. I reached for it reluctantly, but as I felt it in my hands there was a glow of power within me. Just then, the arachnid continued its assault on some reinforcements that were lurking nearby. It was positioned close to the tower it had destroyed. I saw that among the towers wreckage was a slanted piece of the towers frame that would allow me to run up it and strike the Daemon.
“Mendaius,” I called. “Can you take it off of its legs?”
“I was just thinking to do so,” he smiled. As I got myself in position, I watched Mendaius cup what looked like a grenade in his palm. He threw the grenade by the Daemon’s closest set of legs. Seconds later, the grenade let off and the arachnid leaned to one side as its legs gave way. Mendaius followed up with a barrage of shotgun blasts, but I ran forth towards the tower ruins and ascended up the slanted structure. Then, I leapt off the end and began to descend right towards the face of the Daemon. Its eyes still haunted me as I fell towards them. I focused my fear into my attack and let the sword sink right into the top of its head. The last thing I remember before passing out was the Daemon collapsing and sending me to the floor with a crash.