Chapter 38 Golden Seeds

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Dahl —Wednesday, 5:01 AM

Snug roots launch me through the cylindrical hole like a bungee cord. I spring over the hole's lip, clinging to the ground on my elbows. A discarded revolver glints in moonlight just within reach.  That magic song summons me forward while its volume eats the screams of someone dancing in its arms above.  Red drops and .44 magnum bullets rain around me.  

"Load it." A female voice commands me.

Was that Belle? 

I see myself kneel and snap the cylinder out, point the gun upwards so the spent casings fall to the red-stained grass.  It's like watching myself through a window.  Belles hands on my shoulders guide my aim towards a thrashing shadow assaulting the singing woman exotically dancing upon the lily.  I shut an eye to focus my aim as he chops a knife towards her hand.  Belle's guiding hands are ripped back as I squeeze the trigger and my shots fly high.  

"DAHL!!!"

It sounds like Nightmare, the way he'd sound if someone stepped on his nuts.

"DAHL!!!"

Yeah, it's Nightmare, for sure! I keep my eyes on the prize but step backwards to his call—almost inaudible under the screaming song that marches me and eight others towards the pond. The water warms my feet once again. Fingers snare my flannel, pulling on my wrist. Looking down, I see Javier, wrapped in green like a mummy, just his head, feet and hands pop out. He's shouting something, pointing at my side. His eyes close, like he's given up. His fingers wag, beckoning me closer. I can't follow the vowel sounds his mouth makes until I press my ear next to his head.

"PUT THE FUCKING FLAMETHROWER IN MY HANDS!"

"Oh! Okay, sure thing, bro." I press the stock and trigger into his hands.

Fire shoots from the barrel, melting the hairs on my wrists. A stream reaches from the nozzle straight into her. Her song and dance end but he doesn't stop until the propane depletes.

"It's meant to ignite in short bursts, Nightmare..."

I look at him—then lunge to rip the vines entangling him. What the fuck is happening?

His green wicker cage unweaves and slips into the ground. The white bioluminescence fades like headlights driving into underground parking hidden by solid earth. I'm back to blinking in darkness —trying to see as my eyes adjust to the moonlight. I'm waking up from a bad dream. As I take stock of the four strangers mixed in between us, they also take stock of us. The baldy closest to me cracks his knuckles while his beady eyes get beadier.

"Weird flex, but okay..." I respond.

Nightmares coughs, "Bravo! One-eighty-seven!"

He blinks... "RIGHT... I forgot about Mayhem..."

"Bank Street..." his knuckle cracking ends with a snarl.

Ti Guy slobberknocks him before he can land a swing at me. Everyone squares off. Nightmare crumples over. Bravo circles a mean-looking old timer sporting a purple bandana while Ti Guy bulls over another. Belle's eyes narrow on the leader. The moment he springs into her range a  she delivers a three-sixty axe kick to his head. His initial charge carries him forward. Her palm-sized knife shivs him twice in the liver. His scream ends when she aims her glock and thunders two shots, point blank, into the stem of his neck.

I head to join Bravo. He rotates towards his power hand. His legs pivot as he raises a knee. The bandana-bearing bruiser doesn't spot the feint as Bravo instead changes his stance and shoots a double jab to his throat. The Mayhem thug's defense fades into a neck grabbing reaction as the haymaker lands for the K.O. The nine millimetre in Bravo's hand aims and echoes a piercing shot.

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