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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 157: Brown 53
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 156: Hastings 94
Derek saw Lauren collapse. His instinct was to rush to her, but he had to stifle that. The battle was far from over, and clearly she was not dead–and she would be if one of those things reached her before she could defend herself. Changing his empty power pack for another of hers (he still had several full of his own) he whirled around to see what was happening behind him. There was now approaching them the largest of these beasts he had yet seen. Its body was almost three feet in diameter, its tail curled behind it. Derek suspected that if it opened its mouth fully, it could take his full height and crush him like a cardboard match.
He shot it.
Joe had already put a couple of bullets into it, but it was not the only beast still alive, and he was trying to keep the others at bay. This one looked like it might spring at any moment, and the thirty foot distance was probably not more than a hop for its powerful legs.
He shot it again.
It flinched, and stepped back, off balance. I'd have thought a shot like that would have killed most creatures, Derek thought, but this one was barely slowed. If it can take that kind of punishment, we're not going to beat it.
He shot it again; this time he aimed for an eye, but only hit the cheek.
It opened its mouth. For an instant, Derek wondered whether it breathed fire or spit poison or something like that, but a grinding rumble emanated from its throat which Derek took for a threatening hiss made large.
He shot it again, inside the mouth this time.
Its jaw snapped shut with a force and speed which reminded Derek that it was probably kin to an alligator. It would not be an easy thing to dodge such a strike, if it came to it. He had to prevent that situation.
He shot it again.
Joe fired twice more in its direction. One of the shots merely grazed a skin flap, but the other sank into its flesh. We're not stopping it, Derek thought as he changed clips, and it's still not alone. Even as he thought this, he heard Joe shooting at some other beast, and knew that this one was going to be mainly his problem.
He shot it again, and again. At least he was keeping it from springing.
A moment of fear swept through him. The long, coiled tail behind it began to uncoil, and to sweep around its right side. Could it swing that tail out in front of itself, and sweep them all off their feet? What could he do to stop that?
Two more shots rang out; they were not Joe's. Lauren had found her revolvers. The beast flinched, and Derek smiled. Lauren’s back in the game, he thought; we'll make it now. He shot it again.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #148: Characters Succeed. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: