Winter Rain, part 25


A police car siren blares somewhere just south on Taylee, and everything changes. The sniper reacts instantly, pulling back from the edge, and I grab the conduit and dive back down over the side to avoid being seen.

I pull up short against the wall and peek back over. He kneels down and quickly pulls his gun apart in a few easy movements, then stuffs them in a duffle bag. The precision of it all chills me to the bone. Two seconds to turn and fire. Two seconds! And I thought I’d had a chance. Fuck. I am so lucky. He’d have killed me for sure.

Yeah, like I’m out of danger: he rises partially and starts backing toward me.

I’m such an idiot! It’s a flat roof of a one-story building, and I’m hanging onto the only way up or down! And it’s too late to drop now—he’ll hear me for sure.

I duck down beneath the edge.

So? What are you going to do, Tiergan?

The question seems so open. But there’s only one answer, and I know it.

Deal with it. You came here to kill him. That’s just what you’re going to have to do. Head in the game. Now.

He approaches. I can hear his footsteps in the gravel. Maybe ten more feet. I quickly shift my feet further up the wall, closer to my hands, and crouch in. I’m going to need all the spring I can get. I just hope he doesn’t look down before he steps over. Things are going to get a lot more difficult if he sees me while he still has his centre.

The image of Tara flashes before me again, lying on the ground, her blood pooling around her. But this time I cling to it.

He did that. And he enjoyed it.

He, doesn’t! get! to leave!

But what if he has another weapon?

I reach over and drive my fingernails into the damage on my right arm, and the pain erupts from dull ache to blazing fire. I grind my teeth as it races up my arm and into my skull, a brilliant white light that burns everything else away.

He killed Tara. Maybe Faolan. Maybe your whole family.

Kill him.

Rip his fucking throat out.

Two more steps.

One more.

He looks down and I laugh at the look of shock on his face as I launch upwards. I want to change, but I haven’t quite enough time.

I grab him around the waist instead, pinning the slow arm to his side as we fall backwards onto the roof. His quicker hand scrabbles for something behind him, but too late. He hits hard and his right hand is trapped beneath him. But that won’t last for long. The muscles under his clothes feel large, much larger than I had expected.

There’s no time to think. There’s no time to change. If he has a weapon, he’ll have it in the second it will take. If I lose the surprise, I lose my life.

I plant my feet and leap forward. With all my weight, I drive my left hand towards his nose, hoping to drive it into his brain, but he sees what’s coming and jerks his head back. I land the heel of my palm on his chin instead, driving it back, fully exposing his neck. I land my knees on his right shoulder and chest, and land my jaws around his trachea.

My human stomach rebels as it realizes what I’m doing, but it can’t be helped. I bite down and tear.

His blood rushes into my mouth, hot and metallic. The taste is disgusting to this form. My stomach heaves and I manage to spit out his throat just in time. The contents of my stomach follows, down and into the jagged hole in his neck.

He hasn’t even had time to scream. Air rushes ineffectually out the hole instead. He sucks in his own blood and my vomit on the return gasp, writhing in agony and sputtering horribly as the acidic mixture tears at his lungs. He grabs at me with his now free hand, but it’s no longer an attack. It’s a plea for mercy. And God! I would give it to him.

But there’s nothing I can do.

I pull away from him and my stomach heaves again. With my weight off of him, his back arches up from the ground, and he scrapes at the gravel with his hands. He must be trying to cough stuff out, but all he can manage is a sickening gurgle.

And all I want to do is run away.

It’s such a brave idea, this killing people. You’d think it would be just like killing a deer.

What a fucking lie.

The metallic taste of blood and the rotten butter taste of vomit linger stubbornly in my mouth. I heave again, but there’s nothing left. Tears burn my eyes, but I refuse to wipe them away.

I force myself still.

You did this, Tiergan! You did it because you had to. And you did it because you wanted to.

You will watch until it is over.

For both our sakes, I pray it won’t take long.

14 Responses to “Winter Rain, part 25”

  1. Vercin says:

    ^^ What she said.

    Bravo, well done. I’ll admit it—you’ve hooked me now, if you hadn’t already.

    Write at whatever pace works for you. Naturally, we’ll all lobby for more, but I’d rather you maintain the quality you’ve been putting out.

    Looking forward to your next ep or 10.

  2. srsuleski says:

    Okay, now that I’ve overcome my speechlessness. . . .  I thought this was brilliant.  You never read about what it would really be like to bite a person’s neck, how disgusting it would feel to do that.  You only ever read about characters who enjoy doing it, who think it’s tasty.

    At first I was thinking, “He did NOT just puke into that guy’s neck!!!” but you kept it from just being a gratuitous gross moment by being in Tiergan’s head and showing how the whole episode affects him emotionally and mentally as well as the physical.

    Oh, and Tara. :(

  3. Vercin, Sarah — thanks so much for your comments.  I was really afraid that I’d jumped the shark with the last two installments.  I’m thrilled to know it worked for you.

    As to the schedule, I’d rather actually make my schedule on a regular basis and maybe post an extra installment from time to time than be constantly apologizing for not getting to it.  Additionally, the first draft of this installment . . . sucked.  I’m glad I was able to sleep on it instead of rushing to post it.

    BTW Sarah — Tiergan doesn’t actually know who got shot.  He’s assuming the worst, but it may not be the case.  ;-)

  4. Vercin says:

    Rereading the last 2 with a critical eye, the things that bug me most:

    1. He does a flying leap through the air to grab (in my mind) a fairly thin conduit . . . I’m picturing maybe an inch outside diameter, no more than 2. He hauls himself up to the roof, then . . . 
      —holds himself there comfortably for a while, pondering stuff
      —ducks down below it, out of sight—I’m presuming his fingertips wouldn’t be visible over the top of the roof
      —before the other guy can say “crap . . . I’ma stomp your fingers and watch you fall” Tiergan’s vaulted clean onto the roof and grabbed him around the waist. I’ll give some leeway for the guy being totally off-guard, and Tiergan may just be crazy athletic . . . but it still seems a stretch to me.

    Other than that, action-wise . . . well, getting your teeth really into someone’s trachea is probably pretty tough, but I’m willing to allow it—he’s half-animal, and thinks of “go for the throat” more than a human would. Nothing else is particularly shark-jumpy. We’re learning more about the whole werewolf-change thing, but there were no big revelations here. OK, maybe the ‘change in midair’ was a bit much . . . is the change sort of a morphing? A quick blink? There was plenty of action, sure, but a large-scale mix of action and calmer bits is good. I did notice that Tara is only shot in his head and I enjoy the way his fears are controlling his consciousness right now.

    Oh, and I’ll point out that I have crap-all for qualifications as a writer, and this is just what I noticed. No malice intended, even when I’m blunt. Take it or leave it :)

  5. Hey Vercin — actually, I appreciate the detailed feedback.  Helps me get a better handle on what worked and what didn’t.  :-)

    In terms of the conduit, I’m thinking of the metal standard on the side of the building to which an overhead power line or telephone line comes in.  In my experience, it’s about 2.5 inches in diameter, generally galvanized steel, attached directly to the wall with a couple of u-bolts, and extending three or four feet above.  So, he would have been able to drop entirely below the top of the wall — no fingers showing. 

    In any event, you are the person to judge whether or not I wrote it well, but I’ve actually done everything up to the tackle.  Seven feet is actually a pretty easy catch.  The time I did it, it was closer to ten, and I had to use some ledges in the brickwork to climb high enough to grab the bottom of the conduit.  Things got a lot easier after that.  A wide pipe is surprisingly easy to hold onto.  I’m not entirely sure the tackle would work, though.  You’d have to hold on to the pipe while pushing off with your legs, in order to direct your momentum upwards (and not out).  It would also take a while.  You’d have to hold even longer to direct your momentum inwards again, in order for the tackle to take the guy backwards onto the roof.  So, not sure the physics actually work in that part.  But, hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good tackle, right? 

    In terms of the shapeshifting, I didn’t want it to take long or be all that angsty painful stuff you get in movies.  Tiergan’s got enough to angst about.  ;-)  And I’m quite a bit less concerned with the physics of something impossible.  So, let’s just say it takes about a second.  :-)

    Again, thanks for the detailed feedback.

  6. It worked for me.  It was visceral and real.  The puking into his throat seemed incredibly realistic.  Reading the comments, it brought a smile to my face, but at the time of the reading, I was so enmeshed it just seemed natural.

  7. Cool — thanks!  Rereading this and the other fight scene, just now, it’s kind of cool to realize I wrote them.  I mean, I like the writing — I don’t think I’d change them.  And that is really a new thing for me. 

    Anyway, thanks for the comments today.

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