6.4 Under the Moonless Night

by Matt P.

The expansive main rooms of the Border Police Department were old, airy, and filled with little pockets of violence as men and women did their best to try to fight off…whoever it was that was attacking them. There didn’t seem to be a lot of them, but it was hard for Walter to see them as he came in to the room with Leah.

Not because of the darkness, which was hardly a factor given the large number of windows in the entry way and the floor where the detectives and officers had their desks and professional lives. It wasn’t even Hollywood dark, and Walter would have expected to be able to clearly see the foes.

Except they moved so damnably fast, he thought. They all moved like his old friend Ninja grandfather, and wherever their sudden movements ended a man cried out and fell to the ground. Some of them stirred with the slow breathing of the unconsciousness, but some of them did not.

“Pick a target, Major.” Leah said as she brought her shotgun up, and Walter nodded curtly. Bracing themselves, all loins properly girded, they stepped out into the combat zone carefully. He looked through the sight of the rifle and waited until one of the…speed things stopped for a half second to bring an archaic looking knife around. Walter didn’t hesitate, his finger pulling the trigger. A single shot rang out and took the man in the hand. He cried out in pain and dropped the knife, but turned in a blur without apparent effect besides that. Walter thumbed the rifle from single fire to three round burst, and the next three shots should have taken him squarely between the eyes—but the bastard moved, and they ended up with solid center mass shots. He cried out in pain and fell to the ground in agony, but he didn’t die. He stayed down, but it was clear from his writhing that he would survive.

“Damn it, how do we kill these people!” Walter cursed to his partner as she pointed out another target. Another three round burst cracked through the already near cacophonous room, and took one of the other assailants in the chest and neck. He started gasping and guttering as he tried to draw in breath. The man staggered back against a desk, clawing at his neck as bright blood flowed out across his chest and splattered to the floor in a thickening pool. Even as Walter watched in horror the man’s neck began to slowly heal, the flesh knitting like a time-lapse hospital recording set to fast-forward. But it stopped when the man’s movements stopped, the crimson stained hands dropping away as the man fell back against the desk finally and streaked it with the last trail of his life.

“Kill shots.” Leah answered grimly. The smaller woman tracked her shotgun quickly to one side and fired, absorbing the recoil with a practiced ease as it barked out a deadly spray. It caught one of the attackers messily between the eyes and he fell to the floor without so much as a gurgle or a scream. “If it would kill us in one shot, it will kill them.” Her shotgun was already moving again as she spoke, her voice cool and composed despite the carnage. Walter didn’t even spare her a glance as the two of them advanced towards a group of police firing on an advancing enemy.

“How do you know this shit?” He asked as he fired again at a man who jerked away with a speed and grace he could only mostly follow, and who began backing away to the exit. Walter moved his rifle to track another one and fired, this time the shots taking the assailant in the heart and sending him sprawling through a plastic table that had held–ironically–donuts, sending the sugary treats flying along with the papers proclaiming it to be someone’s very unlucky birthday.

“Later!” She said, her voice tight. She turned to fire but then saw her target had backed away toward the exits as well, and her eyebrows raised. “Uh…Walt?”

“I know.” Walter said, watching them. As they backed away it seemed like the light from outside grew dimmer and dimmer, the room inside growing darker and darker to match it. With the instincts born of watching films and playing video games he turned, keeping his rifle up, to see what would be approaching him from behind.

Ninja Grandpa stood there, his pale skin almost glowing in the growing dark of night, his eyes wide and luminous bright. “The troublesome mortal, and more than enough time to flay you like a beast.” He smiled, and it was a terrible smile that should have been filled with fangs and was filled with the promise of a painful demise. “Do you feel it, boy?” He asked as he stepped forward, drawing not just a single blade like last time but a pair of slender knives of some gleaming metal. “The fear of the elk when it knows the hunt is at an end? The deer’s terror when the wolves circle? Do you taste eternity?”

“Do you ever stop talking?” Walter challenged. His finger itched on the trigger of the rifle, but then he looked back to Leah and saw the look in her eyes. He shook his head and slung the rifle back over his shoulder. Instead his hands moved to his belt and drew out both railroad knives. They felt warm in his hands, from the heat of his body where they had been against him; and they felt right in his hands. Ninja Grandpa’s steps faltered a bit and while he covered it smoothly, Walter saw it. He took the knife in his right hand and held it in a forward grip, his thumb on the spine of the blade. The other knife he moved to a reverse grip, the blade down and the edge toward the other man. His stance was light and slightly forward, his chin tucked down, and every movement spoke of a man who was not a stranger to what was about to happen. Despite the fear, despite the tension, and despite the obvious cheating bullshit he knew his opponent had, Walter smirked ever so slightly.

“Alright, boss fight, let’s do this.”