Part 2: The Dueanian Cycle #6
Post date: Apr 9, 2017 3:28:56 PM
Part 2: The Dueanian Cycle
The man advanced on the small group. The sides of his long coat, a duster Fisher thought, flapped in the wind with each long stride.
Baylee took a step closer to Lark. “No, Darek.” Then she moved forward, putting herself in the man’s direct path.
He sidestepped her and raised his right arm to reveal the shotgun that had been hidden behind his coat.
He levelled the weapon at Lark and Fisher screamed as he fired. The man pumped the shotgun hard, fired again, and then reloaded. When he’d readied the weapon to fire once more, he pulled the trigger.
Fisher screamed again and again as the shotgun’s booming blasts shook the ground beneath her. The air became thick with gun smoke and Fisher coughed as she was splattered in a shower of orange goo as Lark’s replica was shattered.
The man was undeterred. He still kept coming. Turning the weapon around and gripping the barrel as if he was holding a baseball bat, he swung the butt of the shotgun at the few remaining clumps of orange that persisted in hovering over Lark.
Those clumps crumbled but the man wasn’t finished. He kicked the rocks surrounding the fire pit to the side and stomped repeatedly on the burning coals.
Smoke billowed upward.
Fisher began to choke.
The man flung his weapon to the side and dropped to a crouch beside her. He reached out a gloved hand and placed it tenderly against Lark’s withered cheek.
“Oh, Gramps, you are going to be the death of me.”
The hint of a smile graced Lark’s cracked lips and after another few moments he opened his eyes.
Fisher gasped and started choking again. The colour of Lark’s eyes were a bright green when she knew for a fact that they’d been blue only minutes before.
“She needs something to drink.”
The man’s words were a command but Baylee stood rooted to where he had stepped around her.
“You should not have interfered,” Baylee stated coldly.
The glare the stranger sent Baylee was rancorous. “And you should drop dead.”
“Foul mouth.” He uttered contemptuously and turned to appraise Fisher. “Are you alright?”
Fisher sucked in a breath and nodded, then coughed twice and swallowed. “I think so,” she croaked.
“Glad to hear that,” he said, turning his attention back to Lark. “Okay, Gramps, you know the drill.”
Lark let out a sigh, defeat in his still green eyes. Then he nodded.
Fisher couldn’t hold back the gasp as the man shoved the tail of his long coat away from his hip to reveal another dangerous looking weapon. It was bulky and heavy and gleamed with a mixture of polished steel and well oiled wood.
But the man ignored the weapon and reached into an inside pocket of his coat to extract a silver flask. Baylee rushed forward. She stopped shy of snatching the flask from him. “What are you doing? You know not to give him alcohol?”
“Yes,” he snarled at Baylee. “Precisely why I’m going too.”
Fisher found her voice. “But he’s already dehydrated enough.”
The man nodded sadly. “I know that, but he needs to be rid of the last of that life-sucking Dueanian.”
Baylee made a grab for the flask before it could be opened. Her efforts received a sharp swat on the back of her hand.
Baylee changed tactics. “Darek, please. Dewey needs to stay connected to Lark.”
“No,” he growled. “How many times have I told you not to involve my brother in your schemes? How many times have I warned you not to let that Dueanian merge with him?”
“But we need Dewey.”
The man turned on Baylee. “We?” he shouted. “No it’s you and this latest reckless action just proves my point. That concoction you cooked up is too powerful. You almost killed Lark and I wouldn’t allow you to continue. He’s all the family I have left and I wouldn’t let you take him away from me.”
“Self serving bastard.”
“You’re the one who’s self serving. I’m only protecting my family. And as for being a bastard, I had parents just-like-you.”
Baylee’s next words were cut off by a harsh coughing sound coming from Lark.
“Please…stop,” he rasped between deep breaths.
Fisher reached out and took the flask. She opened it and held it to Lark’s parched lips.
“This still doesn’t mean I trust you.” She whispered while holding the back of his head.
Lark gave her a wry smile. He took a sip. “Thank you.”
“More,” Darek commanded. “He needs to drink at least half that flask.”
Fisher looked at the other man with concern. “That much alcohol will make him sick. Especially dehydrated as he is.”
“That’s the point. Vomiting is the fastest way to purge the body of Dewey’s effects.”
Fisher nodded. She remembered throwing up the previous night after she and Baylee had almost crashed. She’d been covered in the same gooey mass as she was now, and she remembered how good it had felt to rid her stomach of its contents.
“Why am I not throwing up right now? I’m covered in Dewey goo.”
“Dewey didn’t invade you.”
Fisher glanced briefly at Baylee. “But he did last night, Bay, didn’t he?”
Baylee nodded. “He had to in order to save us from crashing.”
“And how I felt last night. Is that how Lark feels right now?”
Guilt spread across Baylee’s features. “Marginally.”
Fisher paled at the realization. Her head had felt like it had been about to explode and her stomach had felt like it was being shredded when she’d exited the trike. And Baylee was telling her that last night she had only felt a smidgen of what Lark was experiencing now.
Fisher gripped Lark’s head tighter. She pressed the flask to his lips again. “Gulp this as fast as you can. As much as you can.”
Lark obeyed and within seconds he was retching violently.
Fisher cringed at the pain Lark was going through. She looked up at Baylee, tears swimming in her eyes. “How could you do this? I thought you were compassionate.”
“I am. Why do you think I’ve been working so hard with Dewey for a solution?”
Fisher shook her head. “No, Bay. There has to be another way.”
“There isn’t,” Baylee countered. She threw Darek a heated glare when he snorted. “We either make the Dueanian cycle a reality or the human race dies, Fishy. It’s that simple.”
Fisher continued shaking her head as she pulled Lark’s now shivering body close to hers.
Tears streamed down Fisher’s face as she wrapped her arms around him. “At what cost, Bay? The death of this man? Me?”
©Human in Inhuman Worlds by Janet Merritt