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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 85: Hastings 30
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 84: Kondor 28
Don't appear to be afraid, Lauren thought. If they think you're afraid, they'll use that against you.
"Bethany," she said, "I don't believe you've met Horta?"
Apparently this was a lesson she had taught Bethany as well. "Oh, so this is Horta," the young sorceress said. "Somehow I expected someone different, you know--someone dangerous."
The boy in the army uniform started to laugh. But Horta wasn't laughing. With a wave of his arm, he knocked Bethany flat against a chimney. The soldier, startled, started to ready his weapon, but another flash of Horta's hand stunned him, and he collapsed on the ground, the rifle beside him.
"It is appointed to men once to die," Lauren began. Horta also began, a stream of vulgar obscene filth strung together in the vilest of curses which sent a shock of pain through Lauren's body, and broke her thought.
He reached for her throat; instinctively her martial arts training took over, as her arm knocked his away, and she spun around drawing her kau sin ke to strike him with it. She connected, and her mind found another verse. "He raised Him from the dead," she shouted, ducking his other arm, "and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places," and her kau sin ke struck at his legs, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion," and she collapsed into a forward roll back up to her feet on his flank, "and every name that is named, not only in this age," as she drew the psionic blaster with her left hand and focused on it, "but also in the one to come." The weapon impacted solidly on the vampire, and the words were weakening him as well. "And he put all things under his feet," but that was as far as she got. Horta was again spewing forth unspeakable foulness, and she found the breath being pulled from her lungs.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," she gasped, and drew her breath back in.
But Horta was far from defeated. He hit her chest with his hand; and although the armor deflected and spread the impact, it still knocked her off her feet backwards. She rolled backward to absorb the landing, and tried to roll onto her feet, but didn't make it. The creature dove on top of her, finally getting his hand on her throat. She tried to speak, and couldn't.
"Use the acorn," Bethany shouted.
"Here, use this," Lauren Meyers yelled, and shoved the rifle within her grasp. She grabbed it, but before she could turn it to good use, Horta struck it with his free hand, bending the barrel.
She was running out of options. She tried to lift him with her mind, and he started rising up into the air; but he held firmly to her neck, squeezing it right through the chain cowl. Still his grip shifted, and she was able to gasp out a few words.
"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
With a scream, Horta burst into flame. Still he held on to Lauren, even as the fire consumed him. There was a huge flash, and she felt the flame pass through her, and knew no more.
She awoke still holding the bent rifle, wondering where she was.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #55: Stories Winding Down. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: