Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Albrecht Fell and The Empire of the Hydra

Albrecht Fell clung to the top of the speeding car as it careened down the mountainside.  The roads cut into the mountain had neither lines nor guard rails, simple lines of pavement navigated by the native inhabitants with ease.  They were not made for the speed at which the car travelled, and the precipice below yawned wide and hungry with every switchback turn. 
   
Fell’s grip on the car was improvised; one hand held the edge atop the windscreen, while the other kept a white knuckled grip on the dagger driven into the roof.  While his grip was secure, Fell was forced to move his weight with every turn, ever mindful that the men inside were no friends of his, but agents of The Leviathan.  The cultists had emptied their guns of bullets some time back, most pointlessly peppering the car’s roof with holes.  Only a few deadly slugs had found Fell’s flesh, but were stopped by his heavy great coat and inhumanly hearty skin.  Now they were trying to shake him off.
   
Fell knew that soon he would have to make his move.  There was no way this car would survive to the bottom of the mountain, no future which held anything less than a long fall to certain death on the rocks and switchback roads below.  But Fell could not allow the men inside the car to escape; they knew too much about The Leviathan’s operations…too much about Fell himself.  That two-fold knowledge was too important for Fell to allow to escape.
   
“He is still hanging to the roof!” one cultist shouted to another.  He was a stocky man, dressed as the others were in slacks and high necked sweaters.  In his hands was a shotgun, long ago emptied into the roof to little effect.  His nose was broken, dried blood crusting his face from a punch Fell had thrown at him hours earlier.  It was a testament to the insane devotion of The Leviathan’s agents that he was still active, let alone willing to talk.  The pain was incredible.
   
“We must break his hold upon the roof!” the driver replied, swerving the car back and forth on the thin road.  There were no other automobiles out at this time of night, as the mountain road was deemed virtually impassable in the dark.  It was only by the heightened senses of The Leviathan that he could see…but even those had their limits.  But his resolve to shake Albrecht Fell from his car, push the ageless warrior to certain doom, made up for his sensory failings.  He drove by will alone.
   
The broken nosed man unbuckled his seat belt and held his shotgun tightly in one hand.  He had a single shell left, but it was difficult to load the weapon in the speeding car.  Curling his body he slowly opened the weapon’s breach and loaded in the shell.  He knew that he would have to climb from the car in order to get a good shot at Fell, but to do so would open himself to the pale man’s counter-attack.
   
Fell was not idle while this was occurring.  He knew that the car must be stopped before they were all thrown to a plummeting demise.  Bringing up one leg, Fell drove his knee into the car’s roof with preternatural strength.  The vehicle shuddered, the impact driving its body down closer to the road for a moment before springing up again on its suspension.  The driver fought for control and for a moment, Fell feared that his actions had sealed his fate.  But the car stayed far enough away from the cliff to ensure survival, just enough to cheat grim Death for another time.
   
The blow dented the roof near the gunman’s head, and but for sharpened reflexes he nearly dropped the shell as it was loaded into the firearm.  Closing the weapon he used its butt to break the window, locking one arm around its frame as they came upon another switchback curve. 
   
Seizing his chance, fell released his grip on the windscreen ledge and reared back over the car, balanced only by his dagger and his planted knee.  He drew back a single great fist, his black great coat flapping in the speeding air.  Fell knew that his attack had to be perfectly timed, a miscalculation would mean death.  Just as he did so, the gunman slid from the window and reared up against the darkness of the precipice.  His grip was unsteady, one hand braced inside the vehicle while he held the shotgun one handed.  Such was the fervor The Leviathan had instilled within him that he cared not if this action meant his own end; anything to lay the final blow of death upon Albrecht Fell.
   
Fell reacted on instinct.  As he brought down his fist with preternatural strength he dropped his body flat on the car.  The fist punctured through the roof, coming down beside the driver’s head as the man prepared to turn the car into the switchback.
   
The shotgun’s blast went wide, much of its buckshot tearing into Fell’s coat and ripping through it, the rest flying overtop of him and impacting harmlessly with the rushing rock wall on the car’s opposite side.  The gunman was not as lucky as Fell, however, for the weapon’s recoil blew it from his hands and loosened his grip on the car, leaving him unsteady.
   
Hands gripped tight to the wheel, the driver found himself at a loss as the great grasping limb beside him reached down and took the wheel.  He fought against Fell’s strength, screaming, “Release the wheel, you fool, or you will kill yourself as well as us!”  Fell only smiled, a lips pulling back in a terrible grimace of macabre joy.  He laughed, but the wind tore the sound away into the night; it never reached the other men’s ears.
   
The two fought over the wheel while the third tried to keep his balance, tried to prevent himself from meeting death moments before the others.  But Fell was the stronger of the two, and even with two hands the driver knew he had met his match.  The wheel was torn from his hands and Fell pulled it to the side, sending the car skidding towards the rock wall of the switchback.  It tipped, going up on two axles, throwing the gunman back into the car and roughly against the window behind the driver.
   
Fell pulled his arm back and released his hold on the dagger, legs pumping to throw himself from the car as it began to tip over on its side.  Mighty reflexes, honed by centuries of practice, worked together with his inhuman strength to propel the pale man over the car and onto the mountain road.  He rolled over his shoulder in the Japanese fashion, great coat expanding around him, shedding his speed as the car went into a roll, finally slamming against the switchback wall with jarring force. 

The sound it made was the long screech and tortured metal rending of vicious jaws finally clamping down upon their prey.  Smoke billowed from its engine block as Fell picked himself up off the ground and walked towards it.  Reaching into his coat, the pale man removed a hatchet and prepared to close with the cultists, should they still have fight left in him.  The grin had not left his face.  These were the moments he lived for.

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