Chapter 23: Charging in Foolishly

Stephen started by following the bloody tracks left behind by Dick and his subhuman pack of killers. The residual blood on their feet was not enough to create a long trail, but soon, be was able to pick up on the beastial sounds of their celebration of a kill. Lorelei kept calling his name mournfully. Stephen recognized her voice, but it grew weaker as he pursued the group through the halls.

Coming around a corner in the corporate egshell and ivory colored halls, the beige, industrial carpeting was stained with the blood of another group of passives. Strangely, there was no sign they even attempted to defend themselves. There had been no screams echoing down the halls. If anything, the bodies were more grotesquely mangled than the passives that he and Lorelei had been trying to protect. Maybe they are getting worse following Dick.

Continuing the chase, he came to the West staircase. Listening carefully, he didn’t hear the ruckus that Dick and his heard would have made. Taking the stairs two at a time, Stephen reached the next floor in quick order.

The second floor hallway was deserted when he checked through the window in the door, but he could hear Dick’s raiders. Turning to the next flight of stairs, Stephen headed upward again. Once he reached the fourth floor, Stephen moved into the hall. Checking the south west stairwell, he squirted some of the glue he had left into the workings of the doorknob. Moving quickly, he did the same to the other seven stairwell doors on the floor. When Dick and his crew tried to move up from the third floor to this one, they would make a lot of noise breaking through. Now, he just had to find weapons…

Some office furniture yielded some mean looking fragments when he smashed them against the large table in one of the conference rooms. Hefting a chair leg with a sharp looking chunk of wood connected to one end, he waited for the sound that would alert him to his prey. Not long after, a pounding noise began from the far side of the floor. They were battering at the South West stairwell door. He could hear a couple of Dick’s guys roar in alternating pain and rage as they pounded their bodies into the door. At least one of them must have been extremely strong, because the door was beginning to bow out into the hall from the impacts. Dick could be heard screaming his hate and rage from behind the living battering rams. After another bout of yelling in Dick’s strident voice, Something shook the door frame and it detached from the wall. The first thing through the breach was the mangled head of one of the men. It looked like Dick had rammed the man’s head into the door frame until they both gave. Stephen swung and connected with Dick’s head when he looked into the hall.

Three more battered men rushed into the hall and imposed their distorted bodies between Stephen and Dick. It was strange to see the alterations that had come over the different aged versions of Dick’s anatomy. They all had multiple injuries and were only partially still wearing the remains of standard office work suits. Each had tears in their clothing where joints and muscles had swollen and grown beyond what the cloth would stretch to cover safely. Placing themselves protectively in the way of any attack, they allowed Dick to recover. In his grip was Lorelei, bound and gagged, her eyes were closed and expression blank. Dick grinned and scuttled down the hall to the South stairwell. As Stephen took out the knee of his first opponent and slammed the handle of his improvised club into the top of the second ones head, Dick could be heard kicking open the door. By the time the last man fell to a backswing that crushed what remained of his skull, Dick was gone with his helpless prisoner. Another strike to the head with the club handle took out the first man.

Running to the stairwell, Stephen noticed the door, knocked off of it’s hinges and laying on the landing. Jumping over it, he began taking the stairs two at a time, desperate to catch up and rescue the helpless victim.

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