Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo '09, Chapter Twenty-Seven: More Than a Clever Nickname

The below is a section of the novel that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month. It isn't a stand-alone story, and it's probably not worth your time to read. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month so wordcount is valued above quality. This is a good thing, as it encourages people to actually finish a project. Nobody expects that the result will be ready for public consumption without heavy editing. If you want to read it for some reason you can view the whole thing in one place HERE although that's still totally unedited and terrible. You have been warned.

I know they call me Crazy Ike, but I'm not crazy. I wouldn't ever cause trouble for my pals when everything we have is at stake, right?

I guess that maybe, just maybe, it was a little bit my fault. Just partly, you know? I was in a hurry to get to Disneyland, there was no way I was going to get left out when it was my brilliant plan to begin with, and with the lights out it was a little hard to see. I could have turned on the headlights, yeah. Fair point. At the time I thought that would draw attention to me, because I thought that with the curfew and everything the streets would be clear. See, it seemed like I would be able to drive as fast as I wanted and nobody would see me. Headlights would just get in the way.

So, yes, I ran over some soldiers.

Just a few of them.

I might have swerved towards them a little, but I'm pretty sure they had already seen me at that point anyway. So that part was just reasonable more than anything. What else was I supposed to do?

Anyway, after that it devolved into a kind of chase. The problem was that the helicopter was black and way quieter than anything like that has a right to be and so I had to keep looking out the window and upwards to see it. It's hard to steer that way, you know? So... okay, yes, I hit some more stuff. At that point it didn't really make things worse. Well, it made the truck worse. You know, just enough so that I couldn't drive it. I got out and took the assault rifle from the seat next to me - which incidentally hadn't been on the seat when I started driving - and I headed out on foot. Figured I would lead the helicopter astray or something, right?

I don't know how I ended up in Disneyland.

I wouldn't have done it, really. I knew what that would risk, there was no way that I would ever do that to my friends. I just got turned around somehow. See, there was a vehicle coming and I stepped out to flag it down so I could steal it. Of course, it turned out to be a big army humvee. That maybe should have been something I expected because of the lockdown. Still, easy mistake. I'm only human, right? So they start shooting and I start shooting and I'm clearly outgunned. I'd love to open a can of whup-ass on them, but I don't have a power source so I have to stick to bullets.

It was a total overreaction of them to fire that thing at me, you know? It was some sort of anti-tank weapon, when I'm pretty sure a good old fashioned bullet would have done the trick fine if those guys had been able to hit the broad side of a barn. They took out a wall, and there was a lot of crap on fire and I thought, hey, I could use that. So I headed over to the hole and pulled in the flames and sent it all back at the soldiers as a big axe-thing. It was a beauty, you know? Took them out no problem but the helicopter was shooting at me, something high caliber too - no way I'm going to let myself get hit by one of those things.

So I duck through the hole, right, and already I can hear more vehicles pulling up. They must have been in the area. Is that my fault? No. I mean, I'm not the guy who told them where to do their stupid patrol. So I head away and I guess it's about then that I realize I'm in Disney. That's what the wall was. I felt like an ass, I promise, but I was even going to turn myself in to make them think it was all over so they would leave. I was ready to do that for my friends, you know? That's when someone deeper in the park takes a shot at the helicopter. Damn good shot, too, some sort of beam of energy that knocks it right out of the air.

Smooth move, right? So then they need to go in. Not my fault, at all. Mostly.

After that the shooting started for real, and more of them started coming.

I'm holed up pretty good in the upper floor of some shop, hosing down the troops as they run past. I can hear sounds of fighting everywhere around me. Bullets start ripping through the wall next to me, so I decide it's maybe time for a new spot. I climb up onto the roof, where there's a lot of stage lights and shit. I run back and drop off the far side into... Adventure land, I think. Hell, it's been twenty years since I've been to this place and it looked a little different, you know? I tackle some schmuck that was dumb enough to forget the buddy system and take his gun. He tries to grab it back but just snags the barrel, which doesn't work well for him since it just makes me point it straight at him. Pop pop, problem solved.

I head a little further in to where there's some sort of temple thing off to my left. Looks like a good strong position for a siege, but that's not my style. I'm more into hunting, you know? Like I called them or something more pile around the corner, and from the other side come a bunch of freaks. I don't know most of them but it's not hard to tell that they aren't with the army, right? Someone starts slinging fire and I grab her.
"Pump that shit into me. Now." She doesn't even argue - must know who I am. Full of juice, I start tearing the place apart. I love that part.

The flames curl around me for a second as the girl falls with a pretty bad bullet wound. Shit, back to the gun. I hate not being able to use my mojo. Someone is throwing the army guys around like rag dolls, and so I circle around behind and start shooting from the other side. Let's see how they like being surrounded. Of course, the problem with surrounding a whole big group with two guys is that as soon as one of them falls down it's over. A grenade lands behind me, and I've got nowhere to go - not in the time I've got, you know?

The shrapnel does a number on me but the heat just turns into spikes that I send into the crowd. I do a little damage, anyway. Someone is standing over me, trying to help me up. I didn't even know that I had fallen down in the first place. He drags me off to the side and down a slope into a ravine with some old steam-boat looking things.
"Grenade, huh Ike? That's what got Walter, too."
It's the bouncer from the Spider. Francis. "Hey. Yeah. It's cheating, if you ask me. Hey, you can't, like, make fire or anything, can you?" he shakes his head. Right, he... vibrates shit. Ugh. I'm sitting here bleeding to death and nobody can toss me any fuel. Stupid. Francis brightens up all of a sudden, and runs off towards the fighting. What, abandoning me? Shit.

I prop myself up and army crawl up to where I can see some, and start squeezing off shots. Not doing a lot of good, you know? Still, it's better than nothing. I see a few more freaks get taken down. They aren't equipped for this. They aren't trained, and half of them have powers that aren't meant for combat. Francis reappears out of nowhere, hands me a coffee can with a fuse.
"What the fuck is this?"
He says it's thermite, home-made. Burns hotter than lava, he says. Hotter than anything on earth. Sounds lovely. I pull out my lighter and ignite the fuse, then crouch down and hold the coffee can close to my chest and thighs. I hope this works.

Oh, yeah. Fuck yeah.

I'm in a ball around that blazing heart of fire, it's beating in rhythm with mine and feeding me the sweetest fuel ever. It's nearly liquid but I don't need to stand. I march forward on legs of black energy, looking like a spider, and tear into them. They're shooting back but they keep hitting the arms or legs or whatever they are instead of firing at my actual body. Okay, yes, a few hit. But none in the head. That's all that matters for now, you know? They fall back and I speed up to overtake them, I pile right into a squad of them as they turn the corner and tear them apart.

I don't know for how long. A second, a minute, a lifetime. It feels so good. I'm a force of nature. When it burns out finally I'm alone in a wide plaza. There are bodies everywhere, some soldiers and some freaks. I'm the only one standing. Okay, yes, I'm actually laying down. I'll probably be dead in a minute, sure. But he who laughs last, you know?