Angelo didn’t bother worrying about how much noise his rifle made as he raced through the trees. The forests were a blur to him, running as fast as his legs would allow. He gasped as his heart attempted to leap out of his chest.
A high-panicked scream echoed down over the hollow of the forest.
With reckless abandon, he sprinted up the hill at a frantic pace. Angelo’s eyes darted from upcoming tree to bush, to another tree hoping that he didn’t miss something. Her face flashed in his mind and he let out an angry growl.
Not like like this. Move your legs faster, man!
He heard muttering over his own labored breathing and pounding heart. With a little more force than intended Angelo slammed into a tree. With keen senses he listened and inhaled deeply, taking in the information gathered. His eyes slid shut as he counted 5 men, a typical squad size of these cultists. A pair of two men flanked the single leader armed with the standard flintlock rifle and side pistol. Angelo took in a deep breath and steeled himself.
“Let my aim be on to make this evil gone.” he whispered to himself.
Another scream pierced the calm forest.
A fear and determination washed over Angelo as he turned from behind cover to take aim. A white cloud burst out of the rifle with a loud crack. He didn’t bother to watch the result of his shot. He heard the familiar sound of the back of a skull popping. With perfect grace and speed, he loaded powder and bullet in seconds. The trees were a blur again as he sprinted to the next tree for cover. The remaining cultists yelled and opened fire in the area he had just been.
Don’t hesitate. Don’t hesitate.
Angelo slid behind and passed a tree parallel the cover the first pair of men took cover; they were looking in the wrong direction. Sliding, he took aim and another thunderous crack followed. The cultists’ heads snapped sideways one right after the other as the same bullet ruptured brains. Angelo grunted as he lunged forward to a sprint again, fluidly slinging his rifle over his back.
There was shouting from the last two but it shook with terror. He drew his two pistols, each slung in a leg holster. He took a deep steadying breath and white smoke erupted from the pistols. Another scream overtook the crack of the shots. A mess of red exploded from skulls at the same time.
“Please! No!” she cried in an absolutely horrified scare.
As he finally reached the top of the hill and his body went dead. She laid motionless a bare patch of dirt, a hooded figure glanced up at Angelo. The figure grinned in evil satisfaction as Angelo started loading his rifle with panicked fury. The hooded cultist snapped his fingers and a black cloud of smoke flashed into existence. It expanded to be much larger seconds later.
“Kill me, ronin, it makes no difference,” the cultist’s shout made Angelo’s hairs stand, “they already have her!”
The rifle thundered once more as Angelo fired. The force of his shot blowing the hooded man off his feet. He gasped at her as she stirred, Angelo’s heart leaped. Her eyes opened and found him immediately. She smiled at him.
Something like a hand made of jet black smoke flew from the black cloud above her, wrapping around her waist. She screamed as she was ripped upward into the Darkness and the cloud vanished.
“NO!” his voice cracked as he fell to his knees.
I’m sorry. After everything, I failed you at the end.
Angelo clenched his fists as a tear trickled from his eye.
The topic for this post’s flash fiction is actually an insight into a character I’ve had bouncing around in my head for some time. I hope you enjoyed the action and felt the heartbreak at the end.
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