Consciousness left Draxle for a few seconds and when it regained he was facing the crowd with his cheek on the wooden floor. Sharp pains spiked through his head and face. The last thing he saw before the end took him away was the Torrent sisters lying on the ground about twenty feet from the foot of the stage. They rolled back and forth on the hard pan, screaming and sobbing as blood poured from debilitating cuts. Piamaa Torrent’s left leg looked as though it had been twisted backwards and pulled up towards her head. She clawed at the bicilite with gnashed teeth and tight lips. Martian Torrent was missing her right leg from just below the knee, down. The missing part of her appendage was nowhere to be seen. Fatal amounts of blood continued to jet from the jagged, ripped flesh and bone. From the look of her slack facial features Draxle believed she had the look of someone on the edge of avoiding something much worse. Much worse began with the oldest and most desired member of the Torrent family. Sidam Torrent howled as she lay on her belly. Her hips were twisted in the other direction and the tendon at the back of her left foot had a split in it so deep her heal could bend all the way to ball of her foot with very little pressure. One of the naked Bicilite’s began to spray liquid from a hose attached to a tank on his back. His face had the look of severe concentration and little sympathy. Two other nude Bicilites stepped from the thick clouds of growing smoke, bearing torches. Sidam was set afire. She blazed hot and bright. Draxle stared at this horror with disbelief. Sidam screamed through the hot yellow flames that quickly began to melt her lips. It only took seconds for the flesh to leave her face. Even though there were no lungs left to emit the screams, Draxle could still hear them. The other two sisters were also lit on fire and left to the same end. As Draxle suspected, Martian had avoiding the terrible fate of burning to death as she had passed on due to blood loss from her leg wound. The smell of burning flesh invaded Draxle’s nostrils and stung his eyes. He blinked away the wetness. Tears streaked down his dirty face. His ears filled with a new sound and it grated his nerves in its joy. Okmar continued to laugh like some demented child. It increased in hilarity, reaching a level of audible insanity that carried Draxle into his eternal sleep. Okmar lifted his foot and crushed Draxle’s skull with one firm stomp. Okmar’s laughter halted abruptly as he examined his accomplishment with a curiously cocked head. He was trying to decide just how satisfied he was with this climax of sorts. Solith entered his head with a single phrase that haunted him to present day. “I’m so sorry for you my son.” Okmar turned his gaze away from Draxle’s mangled head and spat in the direction of the boy who continued to cradle his mother’s severed head. Darkness crept into Okmar’s eyes and slowly spread through him like unnatural energy. Lightning bolts of excitement pumped through his fingers. He looked up and regarded the field of burning Bicilite’s. There were enough screams remaining for him to be satisfied with the success of his directive. Many in fact smelled each other burn. Enough to appease his wants. He surveyed the area with a turned up corner of his mouth. Something bloomed like a flower in his belly and warmed the rest of his body. The entire area was bright with flame and blanketed in thick, swirling smoke. The screams began to slowly taper off. “Dance!” Okmar hollered at no one in particular and then executed his own directive, twirling and leaping his way to the steps leading from the stage to celebrate with the rest of his men. The rest of the Universe carried on, oblivious.
Okmar’s corneal extension tossed Jimini’s head aside indifferently and shook the blood from its slick surface. The head bounced off the bottom corner of the podium, and rolled into the foot of Draxle’s shocked son, who maintained his position, white wristed, on his rear end where Okmar had tossed him moments before. Jake stared into his mother’s crooked gaze and grew slack jawed. A cloud seemed to pass behind his corneas. He was lost in a memory of his mother teaching him the Strugbone. She taught him to use his lungs and how to control his breathing for the long drawl portions of the pieces he learned studied and perfected. There were many other memories to be lost in; many of them deserving of remembrance to a higher degree, possibly, yet this was the memory he was lost in while he stared into the dead eyes of his mothers decapitated head. Within Jake’s peripheral yet outside his regard, Okmar’s optical annex directed its attention to Draxle, whose eyes began to flutter, much as his wife’s had. His cheeks had gone an alarming shade of purple. Okmars eye snake slapped Draxle across the face and the grip of his hand loosened Draxle’s windpipe enough for him to choke and spit desperate pulls of oxygen. He regarded his son, holding his wife’s head from his knees to which he fell as though his bones had all turned to jelly. Shaky arms were the only defense from the gravity asking for his face to meet the floor. The sounds of screams filled his ears like some demonic orchestra reaching its crescendo. There never came any intention of looking out into the crowd where these torturous screams emitted. The torchlight bounced off his shining, dazed eyes and sweaty forehead. Okmar kicked him in the face hard enough to knock out four teeth and bloody his lower lip.
What happened next happened so fast that the majority of onlookers required over half a minute to process and react to it and by that time it was too late for everyone. Okmar’s orbital extension spiked forward and wrapped around Jimini’s, (Draxle’s most loved creature next to his son, who continued to regard Okmar’s deformity with open mouthed, wide eyed horror), throat and tightened fast enough to stop her scream. Okmars left hand swung out and knocked the boy out of the way. The boy stumbled backward a couple steps, pinwheeling his arms like a crazed Ostrich and then fell to his bottom producing a loud thump through the speakers. Some in the crowd actually laughed. Okmar’s other hand found its way around the throat of the Bicilite mostly responsible for the out of control hatred Okmar felt for his entire race. Draxle made a choking sound and reached up, desperately trying to fit his fingers inside Okmar’s grip. His eyes bulged and colour spread on his cheeks like pebbles in a pond. Impossibly, Okmar’s winning smile grew at the look of absolute terror in Draxle’s eyes. Okmar turned Draxle’s head to look into his wife’s equal terror. Her face began to turn a light shade of purple. Her eyes flickered as she battled with consciousness. Okmar’s extension tightened even more. There was a ripping sound that the microphone picked up as well. Okmar greedily took in Draxle’s expression as his wife’s body crumpled to the floor like a Raggedy Ann doll. A few gasps escaped the lips of the Bicilite’s in the front row. A mess of blood pooled beneath Okmar’s protrusion’s prize as it held it out to Draxle like a bouquet of flowers. Her eye’s fluttered once more and then became still and lifeless, one eye lid half closed, the other wide and unfocused; both looking in different directions. Her face was then pressed into Draxle’s. This horrible act was accompanied by smooching sounds and an overjoyed Okmar, in a child’s voice, “kissy kissy kissy.” Someone in the front row screamed as Jimini’s blood began to pour over the lip of the stage. Fear travelled fast. While still maintaining a paralyzing grip on Draxle’s throat, Okmar turned to the microphone and while regarding the crowd with an excited, insane eye and while his protrusion rose into the air maintaining the display of Jimini's severed head, he uttered, “Wound them all. I want them to smell each other burn.”
Five nude Bicilite’s, hoisted a familiar looking Bicilitey from the dusty Bicilite and onto the stage. The Bicilitey wobbled on one foot for a moment in a joking way to which some drunken laughter encouraged. This Bicilitey did not have the look of one who required any kind encouragement. His shadow was long and ghastly as it dangled and waved. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to assume that somewhere in the universe there would be beings that likened this Bicilitey’s shadow to a demonic Whacky Wild Inflatable Tube Man. A stunned silence washed away the rustling of questioning whispers. Draxle’s son stood fast, but stared intensely at the protrusion extending rudely from the strange, terrifying Bicilitey’s eye. Draxle slowly set a sweaty left palm on his son’s shoulder. His wife moved into his offered embrace. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Was this Solith, back from the dead? Had Solith not died in the blast over a dec ago? What in god’s name is that coming out of his face? Why are there naked Bicilites everywhere? Dear Salgophgis, please help me to understand what it is I am experiencing right now. “Never took you for a Cathochik mate. Always thought you to be a little more south than that. Hello Draxle,” Okmar said through the most winning smile he had ever displayed in his entire existence. Draxle did not reply. He continued to stare into Okmar’s one good eye with pinched lips and flushed cheeks. Okmar’s good eye seemed in flame. A fire burned somewhere deep inside. “I am not Solith the wanderer! I am not Solith the wise! I am NOT Solith the Insane!” Okmar shouted in mocking fashion as he danced his way towards Draxle and his family. The crowd continued to watch in awe. Many still could not be swayed from the thought that this was part of the opening ceremonies. Okmar knew this. He could read every single thought going on in the entire area right now. As he danced and played his way towards Draxle and his family Okmar organized and categorized and set aside for later easy referencing, materials concerning possible issues that may require extra attention sometime in the near future with particular, problematic Bicilites. Thus far his theatrics provided enough distracting entertainment for him to walk right up to Draxle and his family unobstructed.
Boxworth almost fell in the fire but somehow managed to control his fall in his drunken state. Cheers greeted his rough, but injury free landing in the dry bicilite. The fire snapped and popped shooting a couple of hot coals into his clothing. He struggled his way into a kneeling position before he started to feel the heat of the coals caught in the material of his clothing. Just as he reached to bat them away his hood and the bottom lining of his cloak burst into flames. He screamed and ran around in circles before pealing the flaming clothing from his body. This was greeted by a fresh eruption of cheers. Several of the older men held their spirits in the air and mumbled laughter filled recounts of what had just occurred. Over by the food tents a band played classic songs, entertaining the lineups to each vendor. Large torches had been ignited and placed around the entire area of the party. Bicilites clapped and sang as the stars shined down on their dying planet. Children ran around, drooling and shouting, immersed in a game of Smacktab. Rodents crept into the light of the party and extracted scraps tossed aside. Most got away with their prize. Someone told a joke and a loud burst of group laughter met the punch line. Amidst the celebration of Crogden, a day in celebration of the reanimation of Huget the great, (a being supposedly responsible for releasing consciousness by battling and perishing in a forty day and forty night battle with a Stumpleganger), Draxle, the Minister strode confidently to the stage with his wife and son in tow. Not a terrible amount of attention was paid to this until he spoke into the microphone attached to the podium in the centre of the stage. Slowly the laughter and conversation abated. Some of the Bicilites that had been waiting in line for one of the vendors grew impatient and curious enough to leave their place in line for a better spot to watch the ceremonies. The children were the only ones to display complete ignorance towards the opening ceremonies and no one seemed to mind this all that much. As the crowd began to find their places and get comfortable, Draxle began the opening ceremonies. “Welcome thee Bicilite’s of futures past! Welcome to the annual rebirth of Huget the Great!” Applause met this accompanied by the odd hoot and holler. The children finally took notice and separated in search of their parents. “We join as one on this night of celebration in joyous recounting of the day Huget sacrificed himself for the birth of consciousness in those to come. Let us all hang our heads in one minute of silence in honor of this monumental feat. “ The minute of silence began. Near the rear of the crowd encircling the stage containing the Minister and his small humble family a commotion began. The distance was great enough from the front of the crowd and those occupying the stage to not notice the entire minute. By the time the minute ended and Draxle’s opening ceremony speech had recommenced the commotion had reached the halfway point from the stage and the rear of the crowd. A bustling scrape and chew of voices began to overthrow Draxle’s words, yet even when he noticed the parting of the crowd and the hum and haw of all that encountered this disturbance, his words carried on. Only when he saw the face of what parted the crowd did his words catch in his throat.
Andelad Mott pulled his friend up over the edge of the balcony and watched as the pale face of the Man in Suit shrunk with distance. The beacon would pulse and you could see his suit. Then it would darken and you could only see his face. He made no sound. Andelad Mott caught one more distant white impression on the third flash of the beacon and then saw no more of the suited man. Bohspox huffed and puffed as he sat safely away from the edge of the balcony. “What happened to the other? Are there more?” he asked and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of a hand. “I don’t know. I was chasing him around the bend there and he just stopped and stared at the wall. I just walked up and injected him with Pasley 12 in the back of the neck. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. And I don’t feel neither good nor bad about it.” Andelad Mott reached out for Bohspox’s hand again, this time not in such a life saving fashion and helped Bohspox to his feet. “Let’s get this music on.” They ran around the bend, (Bohspox regarded the fallen Man in Suit Andelad Mott had dispatched of passingly), through a door way and into the control room. It only took Andelad Mott seconds to locate the disc drive for the intercom. Bohspox passed the mini disc Kevin had provided over to Andelad Mott. Andelad Mott placed the disc into the slot and pushed the drive closed. Four intense seconds occurred where there was absolutely no sound. Both of them weren’t even breathing. And then there came the opening drone of, It Could Always Be Worse over the two speakers in the room. Andelad Mott looked down, found the volume slider and pushed it to max with one finger.
The Man in Suit from the right took a step back from the edge but he was still wearing the Noculars and misplaced a step, losing his balance. In slow motion, he pin wheeled his arms desperately. His fingers found a support wire for the balcony just as he went over. He swung out and hit his knee hard on the bottom edge of the balcony knocking his grip loose of the support. He caught the edge of the bottom of the balcony, swung out one handed for a moment before his momentum carried him back enough to grab the lip of the balcony with both hands. He craned his neck to regard the intruders. The one with the capsule was feet from him and continued to hold the small pill like object out like some talisman. He turned with one hand held tight to the bottom of the balcony and swung his free hand at the object. The other Man in Suit took one tentative step forward and reached inside his jacket. Andelad Mott did not hesitate. He leapt from the Projection Ball platform. The Man in Suit did not hesitate either. He turned and ran. Andelad Mott followed. Bohspox managed to pull back his object in time to avoid the Man in Suit’s swinging hand but the object shook loose of his hand and toppled over the edge. He reached out and bounced it upwards with a palm and stepped out into nothing. Gravity took him immediately. He fell forward, caught the object in mid air with his left hand and found the left pant leg of the Man in Suit on his way down with the other. A shocked look of panic spread across the Man in Suits face as he reached up and white knuckled the edge of the balcony. In one smooth motion Bohspox swung the hand with the object up and smacked it into an exposed area of the Man in Suits flesh just beneath the rib cage. The loose clothing flapped loudly in the strengthening breeze. His momentum carried him in a similar one handed swing the Man in Suit had just experienced. He looked down at that point and swallowed a terrified gulp of cold air. The beacon flashed bright, but not bright enough to illuminate the unknown below. The Man in Suit gnashed his teeth as the bottoms of his fingers slid back ever so slightly, but enough for him to know he was seconds from the end. Bohspox swung back, grabbed the flapping portion of the suit in a tight fist and began a fast climb. He got far enough to leap for the lip of the balcony when the drug patch Bohspox had stuck to the Man in Suits skin reacted. His eyes went blank and his fingers loosened. Bohspox caught enough of the belt with his left foot to catch the reaching hand that appeared. It was a good thing the hand was there. He wouldn’t have made the lip of the balcony otherwise.
“Where did they go?” the creepy Man in suit to the left of the window asked. If I had have been there I’d have shivered for sure. But I wasn’t there right now. I was somewhere else. I don’t know?” the other replied and peaked around the edge of the window. The bright orange beacon hauntingly flashed sepia like tones around the darkness of the tower itself, toying with shadows. The far north to south areas of Bochetz was visible, miles into the distance from this vantage point. With a high end pair of noculars one might be able to see the Bicarbonite pools on the eastern edge. They had been watching the two renegades approach along the tops of the buildings and discussing the lack of direction and protection they had in this circumstance. All communication had ceased with Okmar for some time now. No one knew where he was. This created an undercurrent of uncertainty throughout the ranks of the remaining seventy-two Men in Suits, Okmar had spent the majority of his adult life fathering. Thirty were sent through the pass with twenty dogs and they were followed by twenty more dogs and thirty more Men in Suits. “When did you last see them?” the left man asked. “Over the seventh flat top? Do you think they climbed down?” “I’m not sure? They were there a minute ago?” The Man in Suit on the right stepped forward and pressed a series of buttons on a control panel, mounted on the wall next to the window. The invisible shield evaporated, allowing the breeze that pushed east to find its way into the clothing of the Men in Suits. There was an odd moment of hesitation from the Man in Suit on the right. His eyes went vacant for about seven seconds and his head tilted to one side. The other Man in Suit regarded this with indifference. This had been happening more and more frequently over the past few months. They would randomly fall into states of loss as though they were buffering or something. The periods of loss sometimes lasted fifteen seconds. Following the Suited man on the rights seven seconds of buffer, his head leveled back out, a small sigh escaped his lips and his eyes cleared. The drop was a mortal one but the Man in Suit was not interested in such things at that particular moment. He removed a set of Noculars from his left breast pocket and clipped them to his nose. Distance closed drastically and focused on the areas of his particular interest. He could see nothing. Nothing at all. The breeze had even been unsuccessful in pushing a loose piece of trash around. He took a step out beyond the window frame, onto the tiny balcony section and looked left and right with the same result. He turned with a sigh and was just about to tell the Man in Suit on the left to send out more dogs and three men to find and kill them when the air shimmered behind him. The Man in Suit on the left’s eyes widened and then his brow creased in both confusion and alarm. With his words stuck in his throat The Man in Suit on the right slowly turned in time to see Andelad Mott and Bohspox materialize out of thin air, four feet from the edge of the balcony and seeming to stand on thin air. Andelad Mott’s sweaty bangs shivered in the breeze. Bohspox held a small capsule out in the palm of his right hand and his eyes were dark with malice.
Foo was the first to go. One of the dogs was sniffing its way into eye line with him at the base of the tree they were in. The dog saw him just before he landed on its face. It opened its mouth and a single bark reported before mewling and howling began. Foo got one of his clawed paws into the dog’s right eye and the other just underneath its left ear. The eye ball popped grotesquely. He held tight, extended his rear pawed claws and ripped the dog’s throat open with three hard pushes with his hind legs. Blood flew. Rags of flesh hung grotesquely. It began to rain cats. The three feathers landed two feet from the front of the group of Men in Suits. The Men in Suits halted. All the other dogs perked, looked and attacked. Four cats fell on each of the three dogs that raced for Foo’s blood. One of them got hit in the head so hard it went face first into the dirt. Its eyes were torn out before it even knew what hit it. Mucassy goo ran down Stinky’s paws. Nobody really liked Stinky, but he was one mean mother fucker so everyone tolerated him for his usefulness in moments like these. He was the perfect kind of crazy for a task like mass murder. He licked the goo from his paws and stared down two more approaching dogs. The yelping and howling echoed in the dark trees. As Bor made his final decent which was a leap from about ten feet, Stinky managed to dodge the first dog and then rip one side of the other dogs face off with one clawed swing. It ran head first into a tree and began to kick out its paws in random fashion. The other dog skidded and turned but Irvatt, (the newest and least appreciated member of the Kwalee) managed to land on its back and hold tight. The dog yelped, tried to turn and bite but Irvatt remained just out reach with his claws dug deep into the dogs back. This afforded Stinky the moment he needed. He bolted for the dog’s throat and, with his teeth this time, ripped open the soft, vulnerable flesh. A loose flap of skin swung up and smacked the dog in the cheek. Blood rocketed out of the wound. “Yeah!,” Irvatt cheered and then he was in the teeth of one of the dogs and being thrashed around crazily. Stinky raced forward but he knew he was too late. The dog tossed his lifeless, broken body aside and ran at Stinky. Stinky ducked just in time and slid under the dog on his belly. He quickly got up and turned around but the dog was already on him. Stinky swung claws and dug impressions in the dog’s cheek. It lunged for Stinky’s throat and then its head was gone. Blood splashed out and over his fur in a hot splatter. The headless body tottered for a moment and then fell over revealing Foo standing just behind, holding a tiny katana. Stinky winked thank you. The carnage was in full swing now. More than half of the dogs had already fallen and it didn’t look to have taken too much of a toll on them. Bor landed just before the group of men in suits and smiled darkly. And then there was music.
Bor found his balance on the limb and just as the object was about to leave his hand a blue and orange ball of fur flew from a somewhere deep in the shadows and provided such a showing of instant death Bor couldn’t help but facially appreciate it. The crow was mid squawk when it all occurred. His rude report was cut off so suddenly the silence seemed intense. The sudden change in concentration left his senses lost to the dogs long enough for them to have crept up. Bor quickly put his finger to his mouth and remained very still as about twenty Sickruman Dobers loudly entered the clearing below. Their fur was matted in places and their legs looked warn as though they had been chewing on them. Tongues flopped from the corners of their mouths and sharp teeth gleamed in the pitch darkness. Bor noticed how much Foo’s hair was sticking up. “You okay?” he asked with a right corner smile perched on his face. Foo stared at him darkly for a moment before looking back down at the passing pack of dogs. Bor looked up just in time to see a few feathers tumble from the limb across the way. He jerked into a panic position and held his hands up. There was a lot of sniffing going on down there right now. Bor watched in horror as three small black feathers sea sawed their way down to where the dogs vigorously sniffed. He turned to the new sound his ears invited and watched as at least twenty or thirty, Men in Suits exited the darkness of the tree’s as though the darkness birthed them. They all wore exactly the same expression and attire. They seemed wholly disinterested in what the dogs seemed to have discovered. Bor experienced a moment of indecision. The three feathers were just over half way to the ground now. At their current rate of fall they would most likely land right at the feet of the lead suited men. Foo turned to look at Bor. His eyes glowed fiercely and Bor was quite sure they could not open any wider. He looked beyond Foo’s head and into the tree’s beyond where a couple hundred set’s of glowing eyes regarded him similarly. His indecision ended. It was time to go to war, music or no music. He nodded and pointed down.