Friday, October 2, 2009

Assignment: Witches

The next themed issue of the Piker Press will be a Witch themed issue on the 19th. It has been a while since I finished anything - my muse seems to have gone on another of her extended vacations and refuses to inspire me with anything to write at all. However, I try to never miss an assignment. So, turning once again to my substitute muse over at the Seventh Sanctum for a random story plot, by serendipitous coincidence I got the following as the first of five I generated:

The story is about a pessimistic witch-hunter who is obsessed with a religious musician. It starts in a world-spanning nation on a prairie planet. The critical element of the story is the revealing of an impostor. The fallout from the cold war plays a major role in this story.

Bring on the Witches!

Nathaniel Roman examined the blade of his sabre grimly and shook his head. "Well Sammy, ready to die?" Sammy grinned and with a bloodcurdling screech turned and kicked down the door of the darkened building. Immediately they were bathed in a sickly green glow as the spells of protection cast upon the door were banished by the pair's counter-curse. Ignoring the swirling clouds of dispelled magic they rushed into the room, each immediately hitting the floor and rolling in opposite directions. Bolts of green lightning seared the air where they had been only seconds before, digging jagged smoking holes in the walls behind them.
"Up the stairs! On the landing..." Sammy called out, and Nathaniel stopped moving long enough to point the device in his hand at the flicker of movement on the landing midway to the top of the grand staircase that dominated the entire room. Yellow light erupted from the device and Nathaniel was up and running for cover as the landing disintegrated with a deafening explosion. Sammy followed up with a shot from his own caster that destroyed what was left of the support structure for the staircase. Bolts of green lightning continued to streak across the room at the two hunters as the staircase collapsed entirely. Coughing through the dust and smoke, they grimly pressed their attack.
Pausing for a moment behind a marble column, Nathaniel tried to locate their target by watching for the source of the green lightning attacks. He groaned inwardly when he realized that there were multiple sources, and that he and Sammy were about to be cut off from retreat.
"Sammy! It's not just one... We've got a coven! Let's get out of here!" He pulled a grenade from his belt and threw it in an arch up and over the railing on to the balcony where he thought several of the witches were located.
"Grenade!" He screamed at the top of his lungs and turning ran towards the door, firing his caster wildly behind him. The whump of the explosion pushed him the last few feet through the door and across the broad porch. He attempted to leap to his feet, but still fuzzy from the explosion he fell down the stairs cursing each time he hit the ground. When his face finally plowed into the gravel driveway at the bottom of the stairs, he finally regained his footing and looked around.
"Sammy! Where are you?" he yelled, watching with dismay the smoke pouring out the doorway. Sammy had not made it out before the grenade went off!
Nathaniel ran back up the steps and back into the door, all attempts at caution now abandoned. The grenade had blown a hole through the high arched ceiling, and moonlight was now freely streaming through illuminating the grand foyer of the decrepit old mansion.
"Sammy! If you're dead I'm gonna kill you!" Nathaniel yelled, frantically kicking aside the rubble as he searched for his companion. Then, a voice from overhead startled him, and it was with great effort that he prevented himself from pulling the trigger on his caster in its direction.
"Hey! A little more warning next time Tater-head!" Sammy was trying hard to be angry, but Nathaniel could still hear the omnipresent grin through the sternness. He looked up to the balcony, and saw Sammy standing there with his sword dripping blood. In his other hand, he held three severed heads, the green skin and warty noses evidence enough of their crimes.
"How did you get up there?" Nathaniel yelled, relief washing over him. Sammy gestured with the severed heads, "I took the back stairs. Got to the top just in time for your little fireworks show. Next time, why don't you warn me BEFORE you throw the grenade!" Nathaniel grinned for an instant, then his pessimism returned. "Did we get them all? How do you know we are clear? What if there are more? You only have three! There are ten more..." Sammy interrupted. "We got all thirteen Nate, I just haven't headed 'em all yet. Get up here and help. You know how I hate this part." Nathaniel nodded and ran quickly to help.

As they drove back towards town Sammy kept up a running dialogue that Nathaniel mostly ignored. Instead he fiddled with the dial on the radio, looking for some music to listen to. Unfortunately, as was the case since the United Nations took control of the world's governments, there was nothing more than propaganda thinly veiled as news. Finally he punched the power button a bit harder than was actually necessary to turn it off and turned to Sammy. He tried for a few minutes to capture the thread of his conversation, but quickly gave it up as a bad enterprise. Sammy rambled far and wide, especially when he was talking to himself. Nathaniel decided to try and turn the conversation somewhere he could follow.
"Why do you figure that Intel told us that there was a lone witch, and we found a complete coven?" His question caught Sammy by surprise, and he halted his rambling diatribe for a few seconds to consider the ramifications of the question before answering.
"You know Nate, it ain't healthy to be questioning the folks at HQ. I'm sure they just got their wires crossed somewheres, or the witches found out somehow and called in reinforcements. That's all. You think too much Nater-Potater..." Sammy said, his broad grin covering for his nervousness. Nathaniel pondered this for a few seconds, and Sammy actually remained silent for once.
"But see, I would be able to dismiss it easier if it was an isolated incident. But remember last week? We get sent out to arrest a suspected sympathizer, and find ourselves in between two third-degree priestesses! It was a lucky thing that I was expecting the worst that day! Where would we have been if we had followed protocol for a non-magic arrest and left our casters back?" Sammy's grin was thinning, and Nathaniel could tell he was getting his point across. He pressed on, "And then we get paired up with them chuckle-heads last week that left us in the lurch. I know they said that HQ called them back at the last minute, but why didn't they call of the whole mission, 'stead of just pulling our backup as soon as we go hot?" Sammy's grin was gone now, and in its place a scowl of suspicion. "So what Nate - you going to go revo on me now? Gonna ditch this sweet gig and go underground with the rebs and insist that freedom is better than security? Maybe even join a coven and become a witch yourself?" Nathaniel recoiled from the sudden hatred in his friend's voice, "What's the matter Sammy? I didn't say none of that. I was just wonderin' why Intel is so bad lately, and why HQ seems to be settin' us up every time! Sheesh! There ain't no call to go..."
"Then drop it! Hear?" Sammy snapped, his eyes focused on the road and his fists clenched tightly to the wheel. Nathaniel just stared for a few seconds, his mind working methodically through the possibilities. He had not yet reached a conclusion when the radio on the dash squawked and came to life.
"Para12 this is Command. Respond." Sammy grabbed the mike with one hand and answered sharply, "Command this is Para12, go ahead." He looked sideways at Nathaniel as he spoke, the unexplained anger still plain on his face. "Para12 this is Command. Proceed to the coordinates on your nav immediately for a code 249." The color drained from Sammy's face and he turned to Nathaniel, all traces of anger gone. "Roger command, two-four-niner. Any further sitrep for us?" The silence as they both waited for a response was strained; finally the radio came back to life. "No intel at this time. Just go in hot. Command out."

(To be continued...)

© 2009 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved


  1. Not sure what to think of this... Interesting came close. I curious about what a 249 is, besides a SAW. :)

  2. I'll take interesting. You'll find out what a 249 is in Part 2. (No, it's not a SAW...) I only just found out today. :-)