Razor sharp black talons punched their way through the door next to Kennedy’s head.
“Aaagh!” she screamed and ducked away from the door, there was an incredibly loud boom as Belinda fired her sawn-off.
A hole the size of a dinner plate appeared in the door where Kennedy’s head had been seconds before. Belinda’s shotgun boomed again and enlarged the hole. Everything went quiet, the only sound being Belinda reloading her gun. Dumping the spare ammo and the pistol Kennedy went for the Lewis gun.
“Watch the corners!” she ordered as she put the Lewis’ carrying strap over her left shoulder and tucked the butt under her right arm.
The three women formed themselves into a loose triangle facing outwards.
“Don’t forget,” Kennedy hauled back on the cocking handle readying her weapon for action, “long, uncontrolled bursts.”
“Shouldn’t that be ‘short, controlled bursts’?” Belinda asked over her shoulder.
“You play your game,” Kennedy scanned the room for monsters, “I’ll play mine.”
!” Jackie called and fired at the same time; her first shot shredded an arm chair while her second broke the glass doors of a bookcase several feet from where the hound appeared from out of the corner by the ceiling.
Kennedy spun around and fired the Lewis at the materialising creature. Plaster fell from the walls and ceiling and the lights went out, hot brass tinkled onto the floor. Releasing the trigger Kennedy looked for the hound, it had gone.
!” cried Belinda firing twice in rapid succession.
The double blast of buck shot hit the emerging hound in the shoulder and it staggered to one side. Kennedy fired a long burst into the beast. The muzzle flash from the Lewis’ barrel lighting up the room like a strobe in a disco, while empty cases piled up around her feet. The hound slumped to the floor and lay still, Jackie moved forward and fired, point-blank, at the creature’s head. She succeeded in blowing a gaping hole in the carpet.
“Umm, Jackie,” Kennedy spoke into the sudden silence, “I think you should quit shooting, for real…please?”
“But…but I want to help,” Jackie looked miserable in the flickering fire light; she held her shotgun dejectedly in one hand as she swung it back and forth by her leg.
“You can,” Kennedy reached forward and took the gun from Jackie’s hand, “you can be my ammo carrier.” Jackie looked at her puzzled, “What you do is load the mags and hand me fresh ones when I yell…it’s really important…okay?”
“Okay,” Jackie slumped down onto the coffee table in the middle of the room and started to feed loose rounds into an empty magazine; she’d so wanted to prove to Kennedy that she wasn’t helpless. Now here she was sitting at the back again doing the monster killing equivalent of making the tea and sandwiches.
While this had been going on Belinda had walked over to the hound and kicked it. Thinking that it had been an incredibly stupid thing to do she decided that the ‘thing’ was probably dead.
“I think its dead,” she called across the room, Kennedy came over to look.
“That’s what we said about the last one,” she pointed out.
“Spoil sport,” muttered Belinda, “shouldn’t we get the lights back on?”
“You want to go down stairs to get a new bulb?” Kennedy asked.
“Wouldn’t be my first choice, Kenny…do you mind if I call you Kenny?” Belinda started to babble a little, “I mean Kennedy sounds so formal what with us having shot monsters together.”
Jackie cast Belinda a jealous look, no one called Kennedy ‘Kenny’ except her.
“Yeah that’s fine,” agreed Kennedy.
Jackie frowned and muttered ‘Bitch’ under her breath.
“I’m Bee as in Buzz-Buzz.” Belinda informed the room, “It’s a childhood thing.”
“Nice to meet you, Bee, I won’t shake hands if you don’t mind,” Kennedy shifted the weight of the Lewis Gun in her hands.
“Bitch,” repeated Jackie quietly as she fed cartridges angrily into the magazine on her lap, “she’s my girlfriend, get y’own.”
“What’s that, Jackie?” Kennedy turned to look at her girlfriend while Belinda went to look out the window.
“Snow’s stopped and the sky’s cleared,” Belinda let the curtain fall back into place, “It’ll be a hard frost tonight, by morning the…it’s gone
“What?” Kennedy turned bringing the Lewis to bear on the spot where the hound had been, Jackie jumped up and grabbed hold of Kennedy’s arm.
“Where?” she asked.
Smoke poured from the corner of the room by the TV. Belinda turned and fired in one easy movement. The TV tube exploded with a bang and the tinkle of breaking glass, shot from her second cartridge hit the expanding hound in the side of the head but didn’t seem to slow it down. Kennedy pointed the Lewis and fired.
High velocity rounds struck all around the monster and drilled into its flesh but still it pulled itself from whatever dimension it inhabited into the lounge. After about a dozen rounds the Lewis stopped.
!” screamed Kennedy as she twisted the empty magazine free and let it fall onto the floor.
Belinda searched her pockets for spare shells, she found none! Diving for the opened box of cartridges on the table she sent it flying across the floor spilling cartridges as it spun through the air. The hound was almost completely in the room by now.
Helplessly Jackie crouched on the floor and watched as Kennedy struggled to fit the new magazine, it didn’t seem to want to fit, had she done something to break it? The hound gathered itself ready to attack as Jackie’s eyes fell on the discarded pistol. Grabbing for the heavy weapon she held it in both hands and jerked the trigger. Each time the revolver fired the flash from its muzzle lit up the room. The heavy lead slugs hit the hound with a wet ‘thwack!’ making the beast stagger at each impact. The pistol clicked on empty just as Kennedy opened up with the Lewis.
Once again the room was full of the noise and flame of the machine gun as it threw back the hound to whence it had come, leaving only a smear of red blood and blue pus on the bullet pocked walls to mark its passing. Kennedy stopped firing and slumped onto the floor next to Jackie.
“That’s my girl,” she gasped breathing heavily from exertion and excitement.
She twisted off the used magazine and passed it to Jackie as she offered Kennedy a fully loaded one.
“Thank you, sweet-heart,” Kennedy leant over and kissed Jackie on the check, “you alright, Bee?”
“Yeah…sure,” Belinda crawled about on the floor picking up loose shells and stuffing them into her pockets.
“I hate to say this guys,” Kennedy rested her head wearily on Jackie’s shoulder and drew a little courage from her girlfriend’s presence, “but I think the time has come to leave.”
“Why?” asked Belinda still picking up the last of the spilt cartridges.
“That book said something about ‘corners of structures’?” Jackie nodded her head in agreement, Kennedy continued, “I think we might be safer outside…less corners you see?”
Belinda checked down the barrels of her shotgun before reloading, “Sounds fair enough to me,” she admitted snapping the gun closed.
“But what shall I tell my parents about the mess?” wailed Jackie as she collected the full magazines together and put them into the bag.
“Tell them the butler did it,” suggested Kennedy with a wry chuckle.
“Yeah,” agreed Belinda picking up spare boxes of shotgun shells. “in the conservatory with the Lewis Gun!” She laughed at the look on Jackie’s face, “Don’t worry we’ll think of something.”
“Okay,” said Jackie as they clustered together in the hall, “where do we go?”
They were all dressed in their warmest clothes and armed to the teeth, but had no idea where they would be safe.
“I’ve got a Landrover parked up in the woods,” announced Belinda suddenly becoming the centre of attention, “If it still works we might be able to drive down into Ripon or somewhere.”
“Sounds good to me,” Kennedy waited for any counter argument; Jackie nodded her head, “Okay then, Bee, lead on.”
Without a backward glance the three opened the front door and headed out into the starlit night.
The snow squeaked under foot; they gasped as they laboured across the snow covered fields. A bright moon shone down making the snow sparkle with thousands of ice crystals that made it look as if they were walking on diamonds. Their breath rose in great swirls of mist as they struggled through the deep snow. At the rear of the little column Kennedy glanced back towards the house.
“Darn,” she breathed quietly.
She stopped to study the ground behind her, she was sure she had seen something big and powerful move between The Grange and the servant’s quarters at the rear of the house. Squinting down at the house she caught sight of it as it sniffed the air searching for their trail, it wouldn’t be long before it found them, unless…
“Wait up, guys,” Kennedy called quietly, Jackie and Belinda turned to face her, “it’s going to be coming after us.”
“We’ll have to fight it again.” More of a statement than a question came from Jackie’s lips as she stumbled through the snow towards Kennedy.
“Half right,” Kennedy admitted, she looked at Belinda, “Bee? Get Jackie away from here then get yourselves to safety. Jackie, leave me the ammo and go with Bee.”
“No!” Jackie stood defiantly in the snow, “I won’t leave...who’ll reload for you? Who’ll…”
“I’ll manage,” Kennedy walked forward and took the bag from Jackie.
“You sure?” asked Belinda, “Can’t we outrun that thing, and then when we’re in the Rover we’ll be able to…” The older woman looked into the teenager’s eyes and saw the answer there for herself, they said; ‘We can’t be sure’.
“Look,” Kennedy dropped the bag into the snow and tried to smile at her friend reassuringly, “Me and old Lewis,” she patted the gun, “will deal, then I’ll be along and we’ll party…so get goin’.”
“But Kenny…” Jackie tried to run to Kennedy but Belinda held her back.
“Go on,” Kennedy ordered quietly, “get going…I’ll see you later.”
She turned her back on her comrades and walked a little way back down the slope before sitting down in the snow. She could hear Jackie crying and complaining as Belinda dragged her away. She wiped the tears from her own eyes and started to dig herself a shallow hole in the snow so she could lie down.
“So this is what it’s like to be The Slayer,” she said with a bitter laugh, “even have to dig your own grave.”
The hound was sniffing around their tracks down by the house as Kennedy settled herself into her ‘scrape’. She flicked down the Lewis gun’s bipod and dragged the spare magazines closer to hand. The hound found their trail and had started to trot up the slope towards where Kennedy hid. She raised the back-sight and adjusted it for three-hundred yards. Snuggling up to the weapon’s butt she sighted on the creature, cocked the Lewis and after a pause to control her breathing, she fired.
Plumes of snow fountained up behind the hound as it ran across the slope zigzagging its way towards her.
“Not leading it by enough,” Kennedy shifted her aim and fired again.
This time the hound was the centre of a whirlwind of snow and lead as the rounds impacted the snow around it. For a moment the beast was knocked off its feet as several rounds slammed into its side. For an instant Kennedy almost cheered thinking she had killed or stopped it, the cry died in her throat as the monster picked itself up and continued to advance.
Farmer Hepplethwaite stood in his yard and listened to the sound of steady machine gun fire that came to him over the frozen fields. Down by his Wellington booted feet Shep stood and growled deep down in his throat.
“Get down, Shep,” the farmer said comfortingly to his dog.
Shifting his shotgun under his arm Obadiah tried to puzzle out what was going on. The cold and the machine gun fire reminded him of the Falklands when he had been one of the Marines retaking the islands from the Argies. The gunfire stopped for a moment before picking up again, this time it was a long slow burst of fire that stopped suddenly after thirty seconds or so.
“What’s going on, Obadiah?” called his wife from the back door.
“It’s nothing, luv,” he called back, “I expect its t’army doin’ an’ exercise or out… go back inside.” Obadiah checked the breach of his shotgun for shells and started to walk towards the sound of the gun. “Just going to check on t’sheep, you go back inside, I won’t be long…come on, Shep.”
Kennedy fumbled with the new magazine, so far she’d been unable to stop the creature, but at least it was coming after her instead of chasing Jackie and Bee. It was less than fifty yards away and coming on fast when Kennedy finally got the new drum seated properly. Getting up on her knees she aimed at the hound as it flew across the snow towards her, jaws agape and teeth glinting in the moonlight.
Shooting from the hip Kennedy fired as the hound leapt at her. The flame from the Lewis’ barrel seemed to hold the hound suspended in midair for a second as it reached for her with its wicked claws. Empty cases hissed into the snow as the magazine rapidly emptied itself and Kennedy screamed in a mixture of fear, anger and frustration.
“Screw you!” she shrieked and lashed out with the empty gun as the monster fell on top of her, crushing her into the snow.
Jackie buried her face in Belinda’s jacket when she heard the machine gun fire stop and the silence drag on and on. Gently pushing Jackie away Belinda tried to start the Landrover’s engine again.
Obadiah ran across the snow with Shep bounding after him. As he got closer to the ominous dark mound in the snow he slowed to a walk and brought his shotgun up to the ready. Shep lay down in the snow and glanced over at the farmer waiting for instructions.
As he got closer Obadiah could see it was some sort of animal lying dead in the snow, they were muffled cries coming from underneath it. Standing over the carcass he could see a hand and part of an arm sticking out from under the creature. Putting a booted foot on the creatures back he gave a mighty push and rolled the thing over onto its side.
“Stupid, freaking, stinking, pukesome bastard!” yelled Kennedy as she crawled from underneath the creature.
Staggering to her feet she aimed a kick at the hound’s head, her foot connected with a resounding ‘thud’.
“How you like those freaking apples, asshole
!?” she kicked the corpse again. “Think you could get the better of Kennedy the Freaking Monster Slayer? Huh!? Punk!” again she kicked the prostrate monster.
“Excuse me, Miss,” the farmer’s voice seemed to calm Kennedy and she stopped attacking the ex-monster; Shep stood by his master and regarded the blood and gunk splattered woman with his head tilted to one side.
“Hmm? Yes?” Kennedy straightened herself up and pulled some of her snow and goo covered hair from her face. “Can I help you?” she asked, once more being the well brought up young woman she tried to be when she wasn’t machine gunning trans-dimensional monsters.
“Well actually, lass,” Obadiah took a step back from the brittle voiced young woman, “I were goin’ t’ask thee if th’needed help.”
“No thank-you,” Kennedy smiled politely, “I’m fine thank-you…now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find my friends.” She turned away from the farmer and fell flat on her face in the snow.
Linton Park Academy
Jackie sat astride Kennedy’s tummy, it was a bit of a tight squeeze but the two girls somehow managed to get into one bed.
“I don’t think Mr Doyle was too pleased having to drive all the way up to Yorkshire to get us,” Jackie took off her glasses and put them on the bed side table, “Darn,” she complained, “now you’re just a big pink blur!”
“Watch who you’re calling ‘big’ four eyes!” Kennedy jerked up with her hips nearly dislodging Jackie from her comfy seat, “Anyway it was Christmas Day,” Kennedy settled back on the bed again, she didn’t really want to dislodge Jackie. “The roads were clear; he made it in record time; and I think he secretly enjoyed it, reminded him of his spy days…made him look all macho in front of Bridget. I bet they’re shagging like a couple of geriatric bunnies right now!”
“What, down a deep dark hole, hanging on to their Zimmer frames?” Jackie giggled and bent down to kiss Kennedy on the lips.
For a minute…well, for several minutes the girls kissed passionately, coming up for air Jackie looked closely at the big flesh coloured blob that was her girlfriend.
“You’re definitely rubbing off on me,” Jackie wriggled into a more comfortable position, “A few months ago I’d never have dreamt of saying anything like that about teachers.”
“No,” Kennedy replied in mock solemnity, “I think in this position you’re definitely rubbing off one me!”
Clip’d Thorn Farm, North Yorkshire
Every time Farmer Hepplethwaite drove past the patch of scorched earth and soot stained snow he couldn’t help but think about what had happened the previous week - the man who’d driven all the way from London on Christmas Day to pick up the two teenagers and talk to him and that young posh woman.
Obadiah had seen his sort before when he’d been a marine, the men with the hard eyes who didn’t say much to people outside their tight cycle of friends. The London man was definitely ex-Special Forces, as were the four guys who had come early on Boxing Day to burn the body of the beast that had attacked the dark haired American girl. They had cleaned the area of discarded weapons and even cleared up all the expended cases from the snow.
He had watched from the woods as they had moved down to the Grange and removed several boxes from the old manor and put them into the back of a non-descript van. Towards evening there had been a small fire at the Grange that went out before the fire brigade could get there, what with the roads being blocked by snow and all. Just after he had got home that evening a man in a suit arrived on his doorstep, the ‘suit’ made Obadiah and his wife sign several official looking forms stating they would say nothing to anyone about anything unusual that might, or might not have happened over the last few days. When the ‘suit’ left he handed Obadiah an envelope containing £5000 in used notes, thanking the couple for their co-operation he got into a car and drove off into the night.
Returning from their Christmas break in the south of France, Mr and Mrs Carter-Brown were surprised to find Mrs Wetherby had called in the builders. It appeared that their butler, Smithers, instead of looking after the house over the holiday period had gone mad and shot up the house and then tried to burn it down. Luckily most of the damage was confined to the lounge, down stairs bathroom and kitchen. He had also cut strange symbols into the rear lawn which would need replacing come spring.
Smithers’ body had been found a couple of miles away in the woods; he seemed to have been wandering aimlessly and died of exposure. The Carter-Brown’s thanked Mrs Wetherby for her display of initiative and started looking for a replacement butler. While they were doing this, they never once wondered where their only child, Jackie, had been over the Christmas holiday.THE END
Ray Doyle belongs to whoever owns the rights for ‘The Professionals’ TV show.
The Hound of Tindalos was taken from Chaosium Inc’s book ‘S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters’. Additional information was taken from the ‘Call of Cthulhu’ rule book by the same company. Both works are based on the writings of H.P.Lovecraft.
The original idea for ‘Kennedy’ belongs to Joss Whedon.
All other characters are of my own invention and do not represent any person living, dead or undead.
The author’s low opinion of all things ‘Northern’ are due to childhood issues and should not put people off visiting Northern England.
Land Rover: Spelling; this seems a bit odd, I’ve always thought it was spelt ‘Landrover’, but I have also seen it spelt Land Rover and even Land-rover. When I was in the army they were always referred to as Landrovers (one word) which is the spelling I’ve gone with. However I think it is more fashionable nowadays to spell it Land Rover. You pays your money and you take your choice.