Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The King's Challenge #41

TKC 41

We run to get away from the rain of mud, and Damin starts screaming, “Get out! Leave Normur now!”

People are soon in the streets despite the weather, too many of them. They impede our progress and swiftly drown out Damin’s continuous warning shouts.

Finally I pull him to a halt in a recessed doorway. “What?” I demand of him.

Heaving, he says, “Underground water is pushing up and it will explode from every hole it can find to do so.” He draws repeated breaths. “It must have poured down in the countryside and all that is now coming this way. Last time this happened, centuries ago, a large part of the plateau collapsed.”

Dread overcomes me. The entire city could tumble into the marshes. “And that thing under the bridge?”

“What thing?”

Damin did not see it. He merely followed my instincts, for it was my instinct that saw danger as something manifest. I am not certain whether to be relieved or horrified. Never do I want to see such a creature again.

“Never mind,” I mutter. “We need a high place, somewhere to shout warning from.”

Damin nods jerkily. “I know where. Come.”

We run. Damin has my hand and pulls me in his wake, shouldering people out the way. As we go, we give warning, but it is doubtful many hear it.

The clock tower comes into view. Damin kicks the door in and we hurtle up countless stone stairs.

“There’s a gong for alarm,” Damin gasps.

“Go!” I heave. “I will follow. Go!”

He releases my hand and sprints up. Desperation creates adrenaline, but I cannot keep up with him. My chest is on fire and my legs are dead under me.

Moments later a mighty clashing sound reverberates into the city. I cover my ears.

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