Chapter 17

The blurry vision made it seem like there was five times as many stars in the sky. His right hand ache and tingled. He tried clenching his fist, hoping to pump blood through, to see if the tingling sensation would go away. He glanced over and saw his hand remaining stationary, yet it felt clenched tightly into a fist. His eyes traced down the arm for a bit and finally spotted what was wrong. His arm was no longer attached to his body.

“Man, that’ll just about do it,” Tony thought and laughed at the ridiculousness of this whole situation. The laughing morphed into a bloody coughing fit, and Tony clutched his belly for fear of his guts falling out. He raised his left hand and watched the blood slowly work its way down his fingers, dripping onto the tattered remains of his shirt.

Tony looked up at the stars again, his fuzzy vision enhancing the already beautiful night sky. A weird bubble passed overhead distorting the image of the stars, almost imperceptible. Tony recalled all the UFO sightings in those bullshit newspapers at the grocery store. After witnessing the portal, Tony could believe almost anything.

His thoughts returned to the last few minutes, which began to feel like hours. He remembered seeing Duece push Mandy out of the way; the way his arm tumbled through the air once it had been severed; the sudden rush of adrenaline and rage as Zwain yelled and charged forward with Tony two steps behind, joining in the war cry.

Then a sharp pain on his back as claws dug right into his shoulder blades, pinning him face first to the ground. Tony scrambled to roll and face the creature. He managed to knock the creature back, but lost his grip on his guitar neck causing it to land a few feet from him. The blood and drool dripped from the hound’s snarling maw as it lunged for Tony’s throat. Tony managed to get his right arm up in time, catching the beast’s jaws with his forearm, only to have the jaws crush his bones into hundreds of pieces. Tony cried out in pain.

With lightning quick reflexes, the beast shot its front paws forward catching Tony up by his collar bone. With a sharp pull, it dragged its steak knife claws down his entire torso before digging in just below his belly button. One its paws were planted, the beast gave one quick tug with its head and immediately tore Tony’s arm free from his body, causing a torrent of blood to rain down on his burning chest wounds.

Tony let loose a loud high pitched shriek of pain, startling the beast enough for him to instinctively grab the neck of his guitar and drive it up into the belly of the hound, making sure to twist as it pierced the thing’s flesh. It slumped over dead and Tony rolled fully on his back; blood running from his wounds, struggling to remain conscious.

“At least I got the fucker…” Tony said to himself as he continued to star up at the stars, hoping to see the bubble again.

A shadow blocked his view of the heavens. Tony’s vision cleared enough to see a white mane of hair and those shitty visor sunglasses. “I thought I told you those look like shit, man, ” Tony chuckled out loud, his mouth filling with blood.

“Shut up, dude,” said Zwain as he used his own guitar strap to slow the bleeding from Tony’s arm.  “Shut up and hold still. I’ll save you.”

“Man, those fuckers sure have some bite. Took my arm clean off.”

Mandy approached to two of them, holding her guitar and watching for other potential attackers. Not that she’d be able to see them that well with her makeup in her eyes. She frantically wiped the tears hoping to clear her vision of its current red hue.

“How is he?” she asked Zwain.

“Not good. That thing shredded him down his entire front. He’s losing a lot of blood.”

Tony’s head swayed back and forth as he lifted it from the ground, his speech slurring like he was drugged up. “Dude, Zwain, man? I saw something… way up, man… Way up in the stars, dude–”

“Shhh, conserve your energy. We’re getting you out of here.”

“It was, man… It.. was a UFO. Mind blowing, dude…,” laughed Tony, more blooding spewing from his lips.

“Now you’re the one freaking, man. You should’ve taken your own advice about the acid,” Zwain chuckled, surprised he made a joke at a time like this. Tony laughed even harder, then winced in pain.

“Nah, man… I’d never touch that shit… Hey… Zwain, man? It… has been… an honour, dude… You… are the best… man…” He raised his trembling left hand and attempted to form it into a set of horns. “Keep… on… rock…” The hand flopped onto his chest as it sucked in one last breath and stopped. A downpour of tears dribbled onto his unmoving face from Zwain’s cheeks.

“no… No…. NO!!” cried Zwain as he leaned forward onto the lifeless body of his best friend and gave in to huge sobs of sorrow. Mandy fell to her knees and started bawling. She had known Tony her whole life, his summer barbeques being her earliest and fondest memories about the neighbourhood.

Zwain continued to lay there in the patch of moonlight that Tony died in, not giving a fuck about anything anymore. The screams that surrounded him had started to dwindle either because of people escaping, or being killed. Their lives no longer mattered to Zwain. The lives of his friends were in danger or lost or whatever. Zwain knew he had opened the portal. He had killed Tony and now he just wanted to die right there so that no more horror can even happen to those that he loved.

Mandy let out a terrified scream. Zwain lifted his head, expecting one of the huge green beasts to be standing over them, poised to strike. Instead he saw a spaceship; shaped a bit like a bird’s head, only flatter in the face. A big giant windshield took up almost the entire front of the ship with the call letters CST4-L3G written just below it. Tony was right, after all.

The ship lowered to the ground as Zwain grabbed his guitar and stood up to face the machine. Mandy’s scream trailed off into silence. Standing in the middle of the windshield, with his hand pressed up against it, was the man who helped cause all of this terror.

Christopher Leg.

Zwain felt an immediate twinge of hatred at this man who showed him how to open this portal of death. He flashed back to that day in the park, the sincerity in Chris’s eyes as Zwain handed him the guitar. The feeble way he limped after showing Zwain the missing piece of his song puzzle. Was that man capable of dooming all of us?

Chris was pointing rapidly at the portal behind him. Zwain turned and looked, the portal seemed to stare back at him, one big open eye. Monsters were no longer seemed to be piling through, but who knows what else could be on its way.

Zwain turned back to Chris. Chris was repeatedly saying something over and over. Zwain couldn’t hear him, but Chris contorted his mouth in over exaggerated shapes to form the words, making them easy to read.

“Go.”

“Though.”

“The.”

“Portal.”

In a bright flash, Zwain’s memory snapped into place. Chris had mentioned this exact thing back in the park. Zwain was so caught up in what Chris did during the guitar solo that he wasn’t paying full attention when Chris was mentioning that passing through the portal would make it close faster.

He grabbed Mandy by her wrist and ran for the portal, almost yanking her arm out of the socket in the process. She glanced back at the spaceship and Tony’s lifeless body. Then her gaze lifted slightly to see the shed where she hid Duece, she prayed that he would be safe from any more harm.

Zwain continued towards the portal as quickly as he could run. His left arm pumping though the air with the guitar clenched in his fist. Mandy’s wrist was still locked in his right hand, she had now turned forward to help keep pace with his speed.

A bright blue flash fired past with a quick TWANG tearing through the air. What followed was the sound of a giant bubble popping in slow motion, and gooey splatter raining onto the ground. Zwain turned an saw the cloud of red and green particles that used to be one of the monsters.

The shock wave of the blast caused Zwain to lose his grip on Mandy. She lost her footing and tumbled into the dirt. Zwain took a couple of more steps before realizing she had even tripped. He was turning to go help her when one of the hounds pounced on her back. Mandy cried out in pain. Zwain’s vision turned red with blind rage.

“Fuck!” he yelled as he ran back towards her. He swung his guitar hitting the beast square in the side. It flew off Mandy shredding the back of her leather jacket in the process. Not satisfied with just getting the beast off of her, Zwain lept over Mandy and proceed to repeatedly pound the monster dog with his guitar, rendering it unrecognizable.

Blood dripped down his face as he rose up from his brutal assault. Zwain removed his shades, tossing them off to the side, so that he could get a better look at the field. The remaining survivors were now entering the forests on the perimeter, with the huge hulking green beasts hot on their tails.

Another of the monsters exploded into a mist of blood. Zwain looked up to see where the shot came from and let out a cry of surprise. Hundreds of space ships were scattering all over night sky, each one looking similar to Chris’s ship. These ships were taking pot shots at both the green monsters and the helpless survivors. This was an invasion. Chris, the son of a bitch, must have done this on purpose. In all his fury, Zwain didn’t notice the Chief of the green monster approaching from behind.

It was Mandy’s yell that snapped Zwain out of it. He turned and saw the huge, hulking monster stomp its way over to them. Mandy attacked first swinging her guitar at its shins. The guitar shattered into hundreds of pieces, but barely managed to make the creature stumble. It caught its balance then reached out and grabbed Mandy by the neck. She kicked and punched in a desperate attempt to get away.

Zwain charged forward refusing to let another of his friends die this evening. Everything slowed down as he leapt into the air ready to smash The Axe into the face of this fucker. With his heightened adrenaline Zwain was able to perceive all that was around him: People on the field frozen mid run; blue balls of energy slowly streaking across the night; two of the ships caught in an aerial dogfight ballet; Mandy’s eyes widening in terror as she struggled to get air into her lungs; the constricting of the monster’s pupils as he eyed up Zwain.

“Ooomph!” Air exploded out of Zwain’s lungs as the Chief backhanded him in the gut, sending him flying. The Chief dropped Mandy to the ground and turned to give Zwain chase. Mandy landed on the ground, gasping for air.

Zwain continued tumbling through the air, watching the invading spaceships fly across the–bright noon sun. His pupils constricted so fast, you could almost hear them.

He hit the dusty, brown dirt with a thud and rolled to a stop. Zwain gasped and coughed as air finally rushed back into his lung. He rose up to his hands and knees, letting the coughing fit run its course. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the blue light of the portal shrivel up and blink out of existence.

Mandy, Duece and Tony all remained on the other side. Along with whatever remained of the green monsters and their dogs, plus the new threat of… aliens? Only Chris seemed so human, so Zwain didn’t want think so.

After the coughing had subsided, Zwain slowly rose to his feet with his guitar in his hand. A slow, raspy breathing was coming from where the portal used to be. Zwain turned and was met with the snarling mouth and flaring nostrils of the big green Chief.

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