by Matt Dixon
An excerpt from a chapter of a novel I am writing. Too much or can I get even more bloody?
|Rain began to fall. The smell of rotten food seeped out of the garbage containers at the back of the Chinese restaurant in the narrow alleyway. At the very end of the alley, three girls sat huddled together in the darkest corner, their shirts dirty and torn and their shorts stained with grease and mud. They had no shoes and their hair was a raggedy mess covering their dirty faces. The blonde in the centre comforted the other two. In her hands, she clutched a metal bar for protection.
"Don't worry," the blonde whispered. "Just stay quiet."
The roar of a giant engine echoed through the night. In reaction, the wavy-haired girl to the blonde's right let out a squeal. Immediately the blonde slapped her hand over the girl's mouth and waited, feeling the warmth of the girl's lips on her palm. Her heart was racing. She looked down and saw the terror in the eyes of the girl. Like a predatory monster, the machine roared closer and closer to them. The engine echoed a deafening roar through the streets like some kind of dinosaur climbing through the jungle of tall buildings searching for its prey. Then came the light.
The giant tank squealed to a stop at the entrance to the alleyway. Somebody on the street was talking to the commander in the gun turret and pointing down the alleyway. All of a sudden, its massive spotlight swung around with a rusty creak of metal on metal and shone straight down the alley. The commander in the gun turret shouted an order and the tank roared again, spinning on its axis to face down the alleyway. The spotlight adjusted with a creak to shine down the alley again. With a hiss, the tank revealed two mechanical arms attached one on either side, rising from behind. They swung slowly up over the tank's body to its front. Attached between the arms was a massive, heavy black metal roller. It slammed down onto the ground with such force that the girls felt the ground shake. The windows of the surrounding buildings rattled.
There was no escape. The spotlight revealed all three of them huddled together at the dead end of the alleyway. Defiantly, the blonde stood up straight and tall, holding the pipe tightly in both hands. The other two slowly rose and stood behind her. Her skin glistened in the spotlight and her penetrating blue eyes remained firmly fixed on the tank.
"What are you waiting for?" she yelled.
Immediately the tank began to roar down the alleyway, its sides scraping the walls as it navigated the narrow lane. The massive roller shook the earth and crushed the metal garbage bins like tiny tin cans.
"The fire stairs!" the wavy-haired girl squealed, pointing at a set of rickety rusted old fire stairs between them and the tank.
"Wait, No!" The blonde screamed and reached out to grab the girl but missed.
The girl ran as fast as her legs to take her towards the stairs which hung just out of reach. She was terrified. One wrong move and she would be crushed under the roller that was rapidly approaching. As with every other cull, it all came down to a combination of skill and luck. Faced with certain death or a chance at survival, she chose survival. Her instincts had seen her come this far. Five years on the streets. She had seen many friends die at the hands of these sanctioned killers. Five years. She could remember the day her parents had been taken by the secret police and publicly executed for crimes she never understood. She had been evicted onto the streets and moved from group to group, fearing the culling and always managing to find a strong protector to care for her.
The tank was grinding against the brick walls of the alley. Its horrible black roller bearing down on her with incredible speed. She judged the distance, took a deep breath and jumped, reaching her arms up for the bottom rung of the rusty fire stairs.
She felt the tips of her fingers clip the ladder and then slip away. Terror overwhelmed her. She squealed and hit the ground with a groan. The roller was almost upon her. The girl rolled onto her tummy, feeling the cold, wet ground on her bare midriff as she desperately tried to climb to her feet. Her wide eyes met the blonde girl's and saw the horror. She had been foolish. It was too late. She felt the cold metal of the roller press against the upturned soles of her feet, trapping her. Letting out a horrible cry, she arched her back and tried to wriggle free.
It all happened so quickly. Her death was horrible yet swift. Her squeal echoed through the darkness before being quickly cut short. Her smooth young body disappeared under the roller, pressed flat like dough under a rolling pin. Her young bones cracked and crunched. She was mercilessly squished into the road. It was only a matter of seconds. One moment she was a pretty young girl, the next gone beneath the heavy roller. Feet, long legs, thighs, hips, butt, belly, ribs, breasts, shoulders, pretty face, arms and hands pressed flat with a horrible crunch and squelch. Her blood soaked the roller, mixing with the rain.
The tank belched out black exhaust from its engine as it continued its advance. The blonde girl could hear the diabolical laughter of the commander. He has taken sadistic pleasure in seeing the cute girl flattened. That enraged the blonde.
It was a flash at first. Then came the crack. The tank's roller flew into the air, cartwheeling from the force of the explosion. It seemed to hover spinning in the air for a moment before falling back down. The commander of the tank let out a horrible death scream. He knew what was coming. The roller crashed back down squarely right onto the barrel of the tank, crushing the commander into the twisted metal of the tank. The smell of fuel and smoke filled the alleyway. The tank was no longer roaring. It was a wounded predator leaking oil and fuel.
There was a spark from some electrical units inside. Moments later the tank exploded in a bright flash. The blonde girl cried out in defiance and her cheers were joined by those of more people who now came out of the darkness, guns in hand. She looked up above her to see a young man leaning out of a window holding a portable missile launcher. Too late for the girl but thankfully not too late for her and her other companion.
"Son of a bitch!" Lieutenant Marcus Batton cursed as he ran his fingers through his short curly brown hair. He was sitting at a bar just two blocks from the explosion and had seen the whole disaster on the televised broadcast of the culling. "That was my team!"
"Hey, at least they got three before they were taken out," the bar tender shrugged.
"Screw this. I'm not going to sit here and let those NC brats take down hard working citizens doing their jobs." He threw down the remainder of his beer, slammed the glass down on the counter, wiped his mouth with his arm and stepped outside into the rain. The smell of burning fuel filled the air and the echo of gunfire crackled like fireworks on new year's day.