Carrion Part Two: Opportunity is Always Close By

Kane went against the doctor’s orders. He decided to get going after only an hour of rest.The only medicine he needs is the revenge against those who left him near death, Caleb and John. He also needs a new arm. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s acquired mechanical enhancements. His enhanced hearing had already proved useful. A robot arm should be an improvement. Acquiring one with no money would prove to be more difficult, but opportunity is always close by.

He sees said opportunity when he spots two cars and three people. One of them is a scrawny woman trying to get away from two men dressed in rags. She has messy red hair and wears torn clothes that are not far from being rags themselves. Kane pulls his car over and thinks about his next move.

Mary Beth frantically waves her hands, screaming “Help” from the top of her lungs. Whoever this stranger is, they’re surely less cruel than these savage cultists. Kane steps out of the car. One of the men says “You do not belong stranger.”

Using the car door to conceal the unholstering of his pistol, Kane says “Let the woman go.”

“We are here to liberate her from her mortal vessel.” The other fanatic states.

Kane realizes he’s not talking to logical people. The only thing they’ll understand is a .45 slug, so he flicks the safety off, and holds the gun by his side, still concealed by the door. He then says “She’s with me now.”

“No brother. She is a child of transcendence.”

Both cultist approach Kane. One trains his Uzi submachine gun on Kane. He knows he’ll have to be fast if he wants to survive. As both men approach, one of them says “We’d hate to break your vessel stranger.”

The two hostiles are now within ten yards. Kane steps out and fires at the man with the Uzi first, striking him twice in the chest. He then shifts his aim to the other cultist who he also double-taps. The second cultist doesn’t immediately hit the ground so Kane shoots him in the head.

The other cultist lays on the ground, but Kane isn’t one for taking chances. Religious lunatics deluded by fate can be surprisingly enduring. The cultist looks up to his angel of death, who fires the last two rounds of his 1911.

Now Kane realizes how much he desperately needs a mechanical arm. His gun’s empty and all he can do is hope there are now more cultists around. After hitting the magazine release, he tucks his pistol between his legs and reaches for a spare magazine. Once his gun has ammo inside of it, he puts it back in his hand and presses the slide catch, sending the slide home and chambering a round. He knows he’ll have to be more economical in the next gunfight, as he only has two more spare magazines.

Mary Beth shouts “You okay?”

Kane turns to her, and says “As good as I’m gonna get.”

Now focusing on his burnt face, Mary Beth gawks at her savior. She manages to stammer “I can see that.”

“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Well, I guess a thank you is in order.”

“So who the hell are those guys?”

“They’re part of a cult. The Children of Transcendence. They’ve, they’ve got a church down the road.”

“A church?”

“Yeah, they’ve got other prisoners there. Could you help them?”

“How many are there?”

“Quite a few, but I know a way to sneak to the cellar, where the prisoners are kept. All I need is someone to watch my back. There’s a doctor there that might be able to help you. Hell, they might even have another arm.”

“Guess I can help them.”

“Thank you, stranger.”

“Name’s Kane.”

“Kane, okay. I’m Mary Beth.”

“So, shall you lead the way?”

“Yeah, of course.” She pries the Uzi from the mechanical hand of the dead cultist. Kane asks her “You know how to use that?”

“Yeah, I’ve shot a gun before.” Mary Beth proceeds to rifle the pockets of the dead man. Better than nothing Kane figures. If he’s going into the lion’s den, he’ll have to settle for what poor back up he can get. Still, maybe Mary Beth knows what she’s doing, and if she’s telling the truth he’ll get something out of it too.

Both of them get into Kane’s car. Mary Beth notices all the blood on the front seat, so she asks “Jeez, what happened to the former driver?”

“He’s dead.”

“You kill him?”

“No. He was a friend.”

“Oh. Sorry to hear it.”

“Nothing you could’ve done. So how are we approaching the church?”

“Pull up right by the cellar’s trap door. It’ll be on the right side of the building.”

“Understood.”

“I’ve got keys for the door and the cages. All I need you to do is watch out for other cultists.”

“What if there’s other fanatics in the cellar?”

“We’ll just have to kill them.”

“Then the rest of them will come down, won’t they?”

“Yes, but they’ll have to come down a staircase.”

“A fatal funnel. Listen, how about you cover as I unlock the cages. That Uzi oughta hold over twice the ammo my gun does.”

“Okay. That makes sense.”

“You sure you know how to use that thing?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.” He says as he sees the church. The years out in the elements have not been kind, but somehow it still stands. Like she had instructed, Kane parks right by the trap door on the right side of the building. He gets out as she does. Hopefully, the cultists haven’t heard their approach.

Mary Beth unlocks the padlock and then passes the keys to Kane who pockets them. Next, she proceeds down the stairs, back down into her nightmare. She can still smell the burnt electronics and dry blood. If she hadn’t already spent a day down here she’d be gagging.

Both her and Kane arrive in the cellar, where a bed lies in the middle, covered in blood. Next to it is a table that holds the equipment used in the ungodly surgeries. At the end of the room is the staircase that leads from the church down the cellar. Mary Beth trains her Uzi on it as Kane starts unlocking the cages with the keys he’d been given.

The prisoner is older and gives Kane a thousand yard stare that told him he should be glad that he never witnessed what happened here. After finding the right key on the ring, he unlocks the door. The prisoner says to him “Who are you?”

“I’m not a fanatic if that’s what you’re asking.” Kane continues to the next cage. He knows that he doesn’t have time for idle chatter. If they get discovered they could potentially be swarmed by the lunatics above them.

Kane glances into the second cage, which holds a man who was huddled in a corner. Kane notices that one of his legs is mechanical. As he unlocks the door, he witnesses the man attempt to stand up. Although he looks twenty, he struggles to get on his feet, his leg barely willing to move. Something else to slow them down when speed is of the essence.

The next cage holds a woman who’s missing both her arms. As he unlocks the door, a cultist arrives at the bottom of the stairs. Mary Beth levels the Uzi at him and pulls the trigger. Click is the only sound that rings out.

The cultist cries “What are you all doing?”

Without thinking Kane draws his pistol and puts a bullet in his chest. The starting gun to the race of their lives. The fanatic stumbles as Kane barks “Someone grab the keys.”

The first prisoner Kane had released heads over to the cage to retrieve the key, still hanging from the lock. Kane then shouts “What’s wrong with your gun Mary?”

She looks at the gun, seeing the selector is on safe. She flicks it over to fully automatic, and says “I’ve got it.”

“Okay, cover the doorway we came from.”

“On it.”

Every second counts. Kane will have to find somewhere else to plunder. He waits for the prisoner to unlock the door. As he does the lunatics from above start charging down the stairs. He exchanges fire but he knows he’s outgunned. It’s too late. No need to attempt a last stand. That’ll only lead to one more dead person. He fires off the rest of his magazine to hopefully keep the cultists from following him up the stairs to his escape.

At the top of the stairs, Kane shouts “Get in the car.”

“Where’re the others?” Mary asks.

“Dead. Let’s go.” Kane holsters his pistol and heads to the driver’s seat. Once in he puts the keys in and starts the engine before putting the car into drive and slamming down on the accelerator. The car speeds off as Mary Beth sighs “Holy shit.”

“Are they pursuing us?” The armless woman asks.

“I can’t see them.”

“So who the hell is the burned man?” The young man asks.

“Hey, show some respect.” Mary Beth says. “He saved your ass back there.”

“It’s okay, I’ve suffered worse injustices.” Kane states.

“So who are you?” The young man asks.

“I’m a gun for hire. That’s all you need to know.”

“Guess you were looking for an arm. That’s only way Mary Beth could pay you.”

“You’re right.”

“Well, there’s a reason they kidnapped me. I work for a hospital in Jackson. I was out here to see family when those fanatics took me.”

“I’d appreciate that.”

“Just get us to the next town. It’s down the road.”

“What’s it called?”

“Noname?”

“That’s not much of a name is it?”

“They didn’t have one so they just called the place Noname.”

Kane shrugs his shoulders. Who cares what the place is called? He can get a new arm and rest up. Maybe he can find information on Caleb and John whilst he’s there. Money might prove to be a problem, but opportunity is always close by.

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