Love on Gaia: Note - Bodies Found Surrounded By 15 Dead Werewolves

Note - Bodies Found Surrounded By 15 Dead Werewolves

The wooden door of the farmhouse surrendered to Tak’s well-placed kick, the snap of wood too loud in the dead of night. Pain jolted through his leg despite the armored boots. Heart pounding so hard it felt like it would jump out his throat, Tak adjusted his hold on Robert and dragged him into the room.

It was a sparsely appointed den, floors covered in moth-eaten carpets and bare wires stapled to exposed wooden beams: a threadbare hovel like every other home they’d quartered at in Transylvania. The brick chimney was the least weak part of the structure, so he squatted down and set Robert against the wall as gently as he could. Robert’s eyes gleamed in the near-darkness, the stark moonlight from the window the only source of illumination. Tak studiously ignored the wet stains soaking his armor.

“Kobayashi?” Robert asked.

Tak shook his head. “Didn’t make it.”

An eerie howl, deeper and more feral than any wolf’s, crawled across the gloom.

Tak bolted to the broken door and slammed it shut, casting about for something to make a barricade. One bright spot in this fiasco, the furniture in the town was solid hand-carved wood. None of that Scandinavian sawdust and cardboard bullshit. He dragged a dresser and table and wedged them against the door. Maybe they could hole up long enough to get reinforcements. The forest was supposed to be crawling with research and survey teams.

Back at the chimney, Robert strained against his rifle, trying to lift it into his lap.

“Lemme help with that, sarge,” Tak said, squatting down next to the injured man.

He could feel the heat of unspoken gratitude from Robert’s eyes as Tak swapped the empty magazine and placed the gun with the muzzle pointed towards the door.

“Now that we’re all settled, mind if I borrow your radio? Gotta order a pizza from the Orochi basecamp.” Forced levity was better than none.

Robert coughed, and more blood seeped out of his once-white armor. “No point. Already tried. They’re silent.”

Another howl split the night, close enough to rattle the window panes. An answering cry came from behind the farmhouse.

“Well, isn’t that wonderful,” Tak said. “Just like HQ to drop us into an occult warzone without backup.”

There was a painful squeeze on his arm. He turned and Robert’s stare was burning holes in him. “Tak. Get out. You can still make it. Leave me.”

“Are you kidding? After I went through all that trouble to drag your ass in here?” Tak said with a laugh.

“Damnit, Tak! Go!” Robert abruptly turned away. “After Tunis, after Shanghai…we survived so much. Don’t want to see you die here.”

Bleeding to death, and the man was hiding his face so Tak wouldn’t see him cry.

“Hey, Sarge. I ever tell you about my family?” Tak said, as he loaded his shotgun. “Researchers at Orochi. Always at the head office. Always busy. They never had time for me.”

He racked the shotgun. Lock and load. “But you had time for me. Saved the squad’s bacon in Tunis. Saved me in Shanghai.”

Robert turned back, eyes full of tears and gratitude.

“Besides,” Tak continued, “if I don’t fight now, who’s gonna get revenge for Kobayashi and the others? Your aim is shit, you’re the worst shot in the unit.”

“Better hope you can back up that bluster, soldier,” Robert said, his attempt at gruffness marred somewhat by his tear-streaked face.

There was a crash at the door, showing the room with splinters. The makeshift barricade buckled and groaned, but held just barely.

“It’s been an honor to fight with you,” Tak said.

“Save your goodbyes, Tak. You’re buying the first round when we’re back at base.”

Claws ripped through the door. Werewolves poured into the room. Tak greeted them with a hail of gunfire. Robert let loose a hoarse battlecry. The muzzles of their guns glowed cherry red in the darkness, the werewolf bodies piling on top of one another, but it wasn’t enough. When one died, another crawled through.

Then Tak’s gun clicked empty. So did Robert’s.

Tak took a good look at his sergeant, memorized the crow’s feet that adorned those strict but kind eyes. Then Tak squeezed his eyes shut so Robert’s face would be the last thing he’d see.

Thanks for reading!
Theme: Storge.
Character: Heather “Goonshine” Ramis