Hellgate: New Light
I looked out the window of the car, into the forest at the side of the road, wondering if we were on safe ground yet. I took a look at the pistol in my hand for the tenth time in the last 5 minutes. It was a Beretta 92FS that I had taken from a dead cop the day before. It was the first time I had held a real gun, but since then, I must have fired around a hundred rounds or so. I sure wished I had a little more firepower, though. Dad was driving our car, a blue Nissan Tiida hatchback, with his Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver on his lap. Mom, on the rear passenger seat, was nervously looking around. She didn't had any kind of weapon and, even if she did, she was too scared to fight. I turned around towards her, trying my best not to show her that I, too, was scared.
- Try to calm down, mom, it's not good for your health. -
- I can't calm down. - She answered, almost crying. - Not until we find your sister. -
- She's at the capital, they haven't gotten there yet. -
Mom sniffed then started praying in a hushed voice. I tried to smile then sat straight again. The road through the mountains was very twisty, so dad couldn't go as fast as he really wanted to, but he sure was trying. After a few more curves, he had to release the gas, because there was a military checkpoint ahead. Mom let out a very notorious sigh of relief, almost as if she had been holding her breath for a very long time. Dad stopped next to a soldier asking him to stop and rolled down the window. The soldier moved his rifle to his back so he could look into the car.
- Morning. Where are you headed? -
- To the capital, sir. - Dad answered while putting the parking brake. He didn't make any effort to hide his gun and neither did I. The soldier noticed them, then looked at mom in the back seat.
- Seen any of them on the way here? -
- No, but we found the remains of a police patrol about 30 kilometers ago. -
- Crap... well, if you need anything you can talk to the guy with the white cap over there. You better get moving, though. -
- We need food and water, dad. - I said, remembering we hadn't had anything to eat since the day before, and it was almost noon.
- Go right ahead, then. - The soldier moved away from the car without waiting for dad to answer.
Dad moved the car right next to where the soldier had pointed to. A truck was parked at the side of the road and a man with a white cap on his head was supervising the unloading of boxes from it. I jumped out of the car, put the pistol on my waist and walked up to the man.
- Excuse me, mister, that soldier over there told us you could help us get food and water. -
The man turned around and examined me before answering. He looked at the car behind me, dad was standing next to the driver's seat while mom stayed in the back seat, still looking a little scared. The man then took three bags from an open box and handed them to me.
- Rations for a day for each of you. That enough? -
- I think so, yeah. Thanks. - I turned around and started to walk towards the car when I heard the man talking again.
- Hey, wait a sec. - I looked back at him, wondering if he was talking to me. He was holding a couple of boxes of 9 mm ammo and four magazines for my pistol. - Need more ammo? -
- One can never have enough ammo. - I said as I took the boxes and magazines. - Do you have .357 Magnum rounds? Dad has one of those revolvers... -
- I should have them, yeah. Give me a minute. - He rummaged through the boxes until he found what he was looking for. Four boxes of .357 Magnum rounds. He gave me two of them and put the other two back on the box. - Can only give you that much. The rest is for the captain, he has one of those revolvers as well. -
- This is plenty, thanks again. - I walked back to the car, giving the boxes to dad and handing a bag of rations to mom.
A few hours after noon, we had to stop again. This time, however, the reason wasn't a military checkpoint. Right ahead was a line of stopped cars and dad decided to stop away from them, just in case. I looked at the cars ahead and saw people jumping off their vehicles and walking ahead. I looked at dad, then at mom.
- What do you think? - I asked, while taking out the pistol. Dad closed his eyes and rubbed them with his left hand, as he used to do when he was thinking.
- I don't know. We can't go back, but going on foot is suicide... -
- Well, we can't stay here forever. I mean, if people are continuing on foot... -
Dad sighed and looked at mom.
- What do you want to do? -
- ... We should go. There's no telling what will happen if we stay and those cars don’t look like they are going anywhere anytime soon. -
I looked at dad, then ahead again.
- Let's go, then. -
I packed my backpack with all the ammo I had left, which wasn't much, the rest of the rations and a small machete, then jumped off the car. Mom and dad were already a few meters ahead so I hurried to catch up with them. Dad kept looking at the sides of the road with his gun at the ready. The vegetation there was too deep to see anything, though. A few minutes later, we had caught up with the people ahead. There was a big group of people ahead, not moving, as if watching something in the road. Once we got to the wall of people I made my way through the crowd, to see what the problem was. What I saw left me frozen where I stood. About 15 meters ahead in the middle of the road was a car and on top of it, one of them. It was looking towards the low side of the forest and, apparently, had climbed the car to get a better view. I leaned towards the person next to me and whispered to him, trying not to make much noise.
- What is he doing? -
- I don't know... but it's been like that for almost half an hour now. He hasn't even noticed us, it seems. -
- Shouldn't we... you know... - I made a “shooting pistol” sign with my hand.
- Wouldn't that attract the rest of them? -
- The rest? -
- Yeah, have you ever seen one of them roam alone? -
- Yeah, right... we passed a military checkpoint on our way here, why don't we call them, then? -
- One of us left around 15 minutes ago to get help from them, actually. -
I looked down, thinking about it. We hadn't seen any cars going the opposite way ever since late the night before so either the one who was supposed to go get the military didn't go, or... I looked at the car in the middle of the road again. There was plenty of space and the one over the car was the only of them around I could see.
- Hmm... how far are we from the capital? -
- 2, 3 hours, tops. Why? -
- I say we make a run for it. -
- What? -
- We should just shoot it then make a run for the capital. The military must have a checkpoint near the capital, so we should be OK until we get there. -
- Oh, yeah, somebody already proposed that. They are by that silver pickup back there planning the whole thing. -
I moved to the back of the crowd and met with mom and dad again. It seemed as if they had also seen what was keeping everyone here. Dad had a troubled look on his face and mom seemed, like most other people around, to be losing hope.
- How does it look? - Asked dad once he saw me.
- Well, it's just up there doing... nothing at all. Pretty weird, if you ask me. -
- Any way of going around it? - Mom asked without looking at me. Or at dad. She was just staring at the crowd.
- I doubt it would be safer than just shooting it and running for it. We are pretty close to the capital already. - Dad first looked at me as if I were crazy, then sighed and rubbed his eyes with his left hand, again.
- Yes, you are right. -
- There seems to be a group of people already planning the deed... - I looked around, searching for the silver pickup, and spotted it next to the curb, some 20 meters away. - ... that way. -
We walked up to the pickup, a double cabin Toyota Hilux, where around 10 people were reunited. Dad made me a sign to wait so I stayed behind him with mom. He talked with them for a minute or so then came back to us. The rest of the group dispersed, going towards some of the cars in the front of the road.
- So? – I asked, getting impatient.
- You and I will be on the rear of the group, in case anything tries to follows us. –
I nodded in agreement and looked at mom. She was still looking at the crowd, but I could see a glint of hope on her eyes now.
I leaned against a side of the pickup’s cargo area while reloading my pistol. I looked up at dad who finished emptying his revolver into one of them. As it fell to the road, dad leaned to the other side of the cargo area to reload his gun. I tried to prop myself up to cover him, but the truck hit something ahead, throwing me off balance. I fell from the pickup and rolled into the road on my side. Experience told me you couldn’t stay still when fighting them. I got up as fast as I could and, as I looked up, I saw one of them standing in front of me, ready to attack. Mom yelled something at me, but I couldn’t hear her. There was a deafening roar that made me cover my ears and, instinctively, close my eyes. And then, silence. I opened my eyes, wondering if I was still alive and saw how in front of me laid the one that was about to attack me, almost chopped in half and, behind it, a tall, slim humanoid monster. That’s the only way I can define it. Its skin was like that of a crocodile and in its right hand it held a sword that looked like an oversized meat cleaver. It wasn’t like anything I had seen before but I wasn’t scared. For some reason, maybe because it saved me, I looked around me to see if there were any more of them instead of focusing on the monster in front of me. Suddenly the monster dashed to a side of the road, just in time to clash with another of them. I heard the voice of a girl not so far away from me and turned towards her.
- Mist! Help Karen! –
The monster reacted to the black haired girl’s voice and hurried over to where she pointed after giving his opponent the finishing blow. I stood there dumbfounded. Just who was she to be able to control that monster like that? I looked back at the pickup where mom and dad where staring at the girl with the same look of surprise and confusion on their faces. However she was doing it, that monster was taking care of all of the attackers. I gripped the pistol on my hand and decided to help. Even if the monster was getting rid of them all on his own, it was still my family that was in danger.
- Get the car moving again! I’ll go help! –
I ran down the road towards the center of the stopped caravan, where the fight was still going strong. The monster was in the middle of the action, while the rest of the people were just concerned with protecting themselves or their families. I looked around and saw the girl from before kneeling behind an empty car and next to a person lying in the ground. I ran up to them, imagining the worst, and found a barely conscious white haired girl drenched in blood. She had a nasty wound on her abdomen but kept holding strongly to the girl’s hand and to a Japanese-style sword on her other hand. I got next to the girl, who looked at me scared. I ignored that and tried to think on what to do.
- ... We need to get her out of here. - I said while looking around for a way to get her out.
- Who are you? - The girl asked me in a low voice.
- Introductions later, we need to get her to a hospital soon. - I looked into the car and noticed the keys were still in the ignition. Owners must have left them there and ran for it. Well, better for us, I thought as I opened the back door and tried to lift the white haired girl into the back seat.
- Come on, help me! – I yelled to the black haired girl. She jumped back startled but came back to help me almost instantly. As soon as we got her in the car, I ran to the driver’s seat. I looked ahead for a second and noticed the fight had ended. The monster stood in the middle of the road, breathing heavily. As I jumped in, the black haired girl took something shiny from her pocket and pointed it at the monster.
- Mist, come back here! – The monster turned towards her and disappeared in a blue flash. I could have stayed frozen for a while thinking about what I had just seen, but a groan by the girl in the back seat made me hurry.
- Get in! We are leaving! –
I started the car and drove off past the caravan as fast as I could. The other people did the same in the cars that could still move, I guess they wanted to get as far away as possible from the attack site. I looked in the rearview mirror and noticed the pickup mom and dad were in, then looked at the black haired girl next to me, who was leaning towards the back seat trying to stop the bleeding on the white haired girl. An hour later we had made it to the capital. The white haired girl was immediately taken to an army field hospital. The black haired girl tried to go with her into the operation room but the medics didn’t let her. She stood in front of the door for several minutes, waiting. I was behind her, regaining my breath and trying to stop trembling after the adrenaline rush had passed. After a while, I noticed she was looking at her hands, stained with the other girl’s blood. I went up to her and, still trying to calm down, decided to talk to her.
- Come on, let’s get your hands washed. -
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