9.6 Yet Another Hospital Fight Club

by Matt P.

Siobhan Richards was not a young woman prone to idle threats. She didn’t start fights when she didn’t intend to finish them. But she was forced to admit, as she threw herself at the next soldier who was raising his gun, she didn’t exactly have an exit strategy for this one. Her father wouldn’t have been thrilled at that, she knew; he was a firm believer in the Powell Doctrine, at least as far as it came to always having an exit strategy from any scrape she got in to. Far too often recently she had been thrown in to these fights without any kind of idea what the victory conditions were or how to get out safely—the only rule she had to live by before and now was to get her sister out alive, followed by herself. In that order, always in that order.

The next man was a little bit slow on the uptake, so Siobhan was on him in between the beats of a heart—even one racing as much a hers. His rifle came up, but it was easy to reach out and tap it aside with her sword. The blade was feather-light and eager, seeming to glow in the reflected crimson of the emergency lights. Since Morgan had said it was a part of her, Siobhan had a split second to idly wonder if that meant she too was eager. After that split second, her blade lashed forward to bury itself in the throat of the gunman, a crimson spray bursting from his neck that looked like black ichor in the lighting.

One woman did not beat four men, especially with a weight and apparent training disparity as it existed between them. But two men, as one was dead and one was bleeding to death from a hand that could now be cast in a Star Wars movie, was doable. And perhaps one Faerie blooded woman could take on four men and live. Perhaps one Faerie blooded woman who was the daughter of Walter Richards could have taken on more—she didn’t want to find out.

The other two were faster and further back, and both got their rifles up in time to fire off a three round burst at Siobhan. She knew in her mind that she wasn’t fast enough to dodge bullets, but someone had forgotten to tell her body that. She threw herself forward in to a roll which took her under the spray, and came up next to the third man in the group. He was on the ball, however, and spun to use his rifle as a club. It cracked her across the face and a lance of pain burst through her skull, drawing a gasp of pain from her. She spun to absorb some of the blow, although not neary as much as she would have liked, and whipped around to find him jumping at her with a knife in his left hand and his rifle in his right.

Somehow she knew the knife was iron. It was almost laughable that they would be kitted out for hunting an actual Faerie, not just someone with some tricks, but she also knew it wouldn’t exactly feel good even if she wasn’t Morgan or Tania. Deep in her bones she knew that iron would hurt more while her sword was out, would hurt more while using any powers connected to Faerie, and worse it could shatter her sword. Also worse, she thought wryly as the man advanced,It’s still a freaking knife!

He had it in an ice-pick grip, blade toward the floor, and she knew he would either have to bring it up high to stab down at her or he would have to slash in an almost punching motion. She was ready for either, but as he started to move number 4 raised his rifle again.

“Shit!” Siobhan snarled, starting to try to move again and somehow avoid both gun and knife. But in their desire to kill her, the active threat, they had forgotten the other threat of the large and terrifying dog. Siobhan stopped having to worry about man number four as the Eisenhund lunged for his throat and he was forced to step back and deal with it. Of course, that meant Annie hadn’t run like a smart girl, which meant Siobhan needed to finish this quickly.

The man didn’t raise the knife to stab but did start forward with a punching move designed to slash. It was fast—maybe slightly more than humanly fast—but he wasn’t faster than a Faerie Queen, and Siobhan had once kind of gotten the drop on one of them. Siobhan’s blade lashed out as she stabbed him in the hand between the middle and ring fingers, and he screamed. He also dropped the knife, which let her leap forward and punch him in the throat with her left hand. Now screaming and gagging simultaneously he stumbled back a step, only to gape in horror as Siobhan pulled her sword free and spun. His throat too opened in a blackened maw, blood spraying across the hallway and the wall he had been backing toward. He fell, silently except for the clatter of the rifle still wrapped around his body on a sling, and was dead before he hit the floor.

Fire ran through her body as Siobhan turned to see all of her friends still there, not just Annie. Electricity tickled her fingertips and her scalp as the adrenaline burned through her slender frame, muscles whipcord tight with tension. Maybe there’s a little more than adrenaline there, she thought; her fingertips and the tip of the sword were lightly coated in frost.

“Jesus Christ,” Scotty gasped, gagging at the sight of the carnage in the hallway. Monica and Lacey looked pale as ghosts, but they had seen her messy work before. Now I am Shiva, Siobhan thought, Destroyer of worlds. Did Oppenheimer’s friends look at him like this afterwords?

“I know these guys,” Sally breathed. “They’re all mercenaries hired by the vampires with the promise of getting turned eventually. That means those two—” She trailed off, her eyes going wide in horror as she looked over Siobhan’s shoulder. Shocked, Siobhan started to turn until she felt a frozen cold hand close around her throat and her whole body was lifted off the ground.