Disclaimer: Nothing is mine except the OCs and the plot. Everything else belongs to spaceman and whoever owns BtVS, Devil May Cry and Soul Eater.
As he stuffed a handful of shotgun shells (the blessed iron fillings variety) into his already bulging pockets, Kieran briefly wondered how any attacker had even managed to make it past the Hedge From Hell. He got his answer when a dark shape swooped down and snatched up one of the people running from their rather flimsy shelters to the safer-looking farm buildings. The screaming victim was carried off out of sight before Kieran could even take aim at the attacking monster. Next to him, Molly swore under her breath and adjusted her grip on her crossbow.
The fact that the monsters were airborne changed things. His initial plan of grabbing his shotgun and running to help now seemed like a very bad idea since once he was out in the open he’d be a target (and, thanks to his hair, a highly visible one at that). Crouching just inside the back doors of the van, he settled for taking pot shots at anything that came into range.
A round of lead pellets hit a monster that had its eye on a girl a few years younger than Kieran. The creature shrieked in pain as the lead peppered its flesh, the distraction giving its quarry time to get away, but to Kieran’s disappointment the damage started to heal up before his eyes. Cursing fluently, he cracked open the gun and switched ammo, noting as he did so that Molly’s crossbow bolts had a slightly more lasting effect, when they hit somewhere that the creature couldn’t reach anyway.
Silver ammo had even less effect then the lead, but the damage caused by the iron rounds seemed to take longer to heal. The flechette cartridges proved to be the best, since like the crossbow bolts the spikes had to be removed before healing could occur. The only problem was that there weren’t many of them and his supply was dwindling fast, a fact that wasn’t helped by the inherent difficulty of actually hitting a fast moving, flying target in the first place. Too many off his rounds ended up heading skywards or studding the sides of the surrounding vehicles. Just as he was about to give the bolo rounds a try despite the considerable potential for hitting someone on the ground, one of the vaguely humanoid feathered fiends swooped down to claim a small boy who’d somehow got separated from his carers. Kieran raised his gun to fire, but before he could do so a blue and white blur came barrelling out from between a pair of metal covered coaches and nailed the monster with a flying kick. A man darted out from one of the coaches and retrieved the intended victim, who was now bawling his head off, as the rescuer continued to do his best to kick the living tar out of the monster. Now that he was no longer running, the blur turned out to be Damon, who wasn’t letting the fact that he was unarmed get in the way of doing some damage. Kieran was torn between being impressed and thinking that the younger boy had some serious issues. Either way, he seemed to be winning until a second creature appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Damon by his shoulders.
Luck however was on the boy’s side and the creature’s grip was mostly on his clothing rather than him. As Kieran tried to take aim, Damon thrashed around, apparently attempting to flip upside down and kick his attacker in the abdomen, and succeeded in wrenching himself free just as a round from Kieran connected with the creature’s shoulder. As it screamed in pain, Damon landed with a roll and dove for the nearest cover – the underneath of a Land Rover. The creature however wasn’t going to give up that easily and managed to grab one of his legs. Damon wasn’t going down without a fight though, and by the looks of things was hanging onto the underside of the Land Rover for dear life while using his free leg to kick at the monster that had him in its grip. To Kieran’s frustration, he found that he couldn’t take aim from his current position inside the van. Making a snap decision, he slipped out of the door and round the side of the van. Taking aim, he fired two barrels worth of iron filings at the creature’s head. To his relief, the headshot turned out to have the usual effect and the monster dropped to the ground. Reloading his gun, he didn’t see the monster swooping down on him until it was too late. Sharp talons clawed his back and he felt himself being lifted off his feet, but before he could react or the creature could carry him off, there was a flash of something black and he was released. Well, sort of. The creature’s taloned feet were still clutching his coat but they were no longer attached to the rest of it, which was shrieking at the top of its lungs and flying erratically as it bled all over the place.
Yanking off the grisly items, he looked to see what he’d seen out of the corner of his eye and saw Spirit with at least half of his right arm replaced by a wicked looking black blade. Judging by the state of his clothes and the scratch just above his eye he’d been fighting for a while, although Kieran hadn’t seen him. The two redheads exchanged a look, before the older man dashed off to rescue Damon, using his unaltered arm to drag the battered, limping, and very pissed off boy back to the lorry, while Kieran bolted for the relative safety of the inside of the van.
The monsters retreated some time later, although Kieran wasn’t sure when. No one was; it takes a while to realize that you’re no longer under attack, particularly when you’ve got several pints of adrenaline flooding your system. A few moments after the lack of monsters had finally sunk in, a slingless and worried Nero appeared, Red Queen still in his hand.
“Mostly. I think my back’s a bit scratched up. What kept you?”
“I was trying to get back but a bunch of normals got caught out in the open and I had to go save their asses. How’d you hurt your back?”
Kieran told him, and Nero promptly gave him a very John-esque earful about him being an idiot and putting his life at risk. Kieran managed to refrain from rolling his eyes, and, wincing at the pain in his back, went in search of the first aid kit.
Several minutes later, a patched up but still sore Kieran trooped off, bucket in hand, towards the well he’d been told was in the farmyard. Nero had gone off to make sure that there wasn’t anything still hanging around and Molly had gone to see if she could help with the post-attack clean-up, and since Kieran had used up a fair bit of their water in the process of cleaning himself up it was up to him to replace it (never mind that Molly had also taken the opportunity to get rid of some of the layer of grime that covered her hands and face). So, he’d locked up the van, asked Steve where the refuge’s water supply was, and headed in the direction indicated.
As described, the well was located off to one side of the farmyard and was easily spotted, both because of the line of people patiently, if rather nervously awaiting their turn, and because of the large number of brightly coloured rags and other offerings tied, nailed or otherwise arranged on and around the well and its cover. Kieran wasn’t sure if that meant that a spirit of some sort had moved in since things had got weird, or if the people using the well were just being on the safe side. Shrugging, he joined the queue.
He’d been waiting a few minutes when something bumped the back of his legs.
Looking over his shoulder, he saw a girl aged about eleven or so with brown hair and hazel eyes holding a blue plastic bucket. Although he knew that he’d never seen her before she looked vaguely familiar. He smiled.
“Eh, it’s okay.”
There was a pause.
“You live next door don’t you?”
“I don’t know. Do I?”
The girl nodded.
“I saw you on the van roof before those things showed up. I live in the lorry next to you.”
Kieran couldn’t help but be amused by the way that she described a very temporary arrangement in a decidedly permanent way. However, Steve’s mention of Spirit having multiple kids in tow resurfaced from his memory and he realised why the girl looked familiar. She was basically a younger, female and prettier version of Damon the Angry. Still, no harm in checking.
“You’re Damon’s sister right?”
The girl nodded.
“My name’s Hannah. I used to be his big sister. Now…”
Hannah made a ‘you know how it is’ gesture. Kieran nodded. The changes to the world had complicated a lot of things, family being near the top of the list.
The line moved forwards a bit and they moved with it. Nothing more was said until they finally got to the well and Kieran hauled up the bucket. Said bucket proved to be heavier than expected, which explained why they’d been waiting for so long. Being a gentleman (well, sort of), Kieran filled Hannah’s bucket before his own.
Walking back to their ‘homes’, Kieran noticed that the girl was struggling with the heavy bucket.
“You want a hand with that?”
Hannah shook her head.
“No, I can manage.”
Kieran looked doubtful but shrugged.
Arriving back at their destination, they went their own ways. As Kieran was unlocking the van, he heard an over emotional and slightly incoherent outburst from what he guessed to be Spirit that started out on the subject of what a good, helpful girl Hannah was, then moved on to someone called Maka, before being interrupted by the thwack of something hitting what may-or-may not have been Spirit’s head.
“Shut up you idiot,” shouted Damon, sounding pained and thoroughly annoyed.
As Spirit got started on a tearful sounding ramble about not getting any respect (the mysterious Maka being mentioned several times), Kieran snorted and climbed into the van, doing his best to tune his neighbours out. After filling up the collection of water bottles, he climbed onto the roof to see what was going on in the camp.
Everything was about what he’d expect. Most people were staying under cover, while those that weren’t were either running errands or helping with the post attack clean up. Spotting Molly some distance away, Kieran considered whether or not to get her attention. He was about to do so when it happened. Someone was trying to secure what looked to be a heavy piece of furniture to the roof of a minibus when the ropes gave way and the heavy item in question fell off, just as Molly stepped right under it. Someone shouted a too-late warning. A moment later though, instead of being pinned under the furniture, which had to weigh more then she did, Molly had somehow caught it and was holding it up. Kieran blinked.
“I wasn’t expecting that.”
Author's note: Sorry that the quality wasn't great. I've had this chapter on my computer for a while and I decided that I may as well post it even though I couldn't manage to improve it. No further chapters will be fortcoming in the immediate future as story decay seems to have set in and I wish to spare you from any further decreases in writing quality. If I manage to sort things out, then I'll add more but at the moment it seems unlikely.