Footsteps – Chapter 5 Battling Blind

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Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Battling Blind

My pack was distributed all over the floor and as I scrabbled in the dark, I managed to pick up various items. Finding a pistol and a spare magazine, I was able to fire off rounds for about fifteen seconds which kept whatever was out there from me. Warren’s face was imprinted on my mind but the infra-red goggles meant I had some idea where the attacks were coming from. At this time they were tentacles that whipped towards me from the dark and I rolled and fired with moderate success.

Then I was struck behind the head which pitched me forward but also knocked my goggles from my face. I heard them hit the floor in a despairing crunch and was completely blind. Fortunately, I was able to find a knife on the floor and began wildly slashing all around me. Austerley’s screams could still be heard, bizarre chants and wails interspersing full-on shrieks.

The next few moments were a mad slash and hack for survival. Several times I was caught on my torso by a whipping action, I assumed a tentacle, and was hurtled across the open space. Thankfully I never collided with the wall. Thoughts of Austerley were gone as I couldn’t locate him and I was wondering how I would get out of this hell-hole. Suffice to say, I was purely on time until I was hit by something massive.

I was tense when it hit me from scouring the dark for the next attack but I wasn’t expecting to be gorged on my back. I don’t know what it was but it felt like an articulated, sorry you’re American, a juggernaut smashed into my back. Sailing through the air I thought I was a goner. My right ankle collided with the wall first and I reckon I pivoted it slightly so that my elbow connected hardest. It was smashed, as you can see here, and my ankle broke too. I had good quality boots on which probably saved my ankle to a degree.

Normally I would react by getting clear in any direction but I now knew the wall was near me and it was my only escape route. With my right hand I searched the floor around me and found a flash-bang. The pin wasn’t easy to pull but a combination of my knees and and right hand extracted it. I quickly tossed the device into the dark, shutting my eyes.

Howls, wild howls in voices I have never heard before, followed its detonation. I’ve been in many bad situations and seen some horrors but I have never felt like I did then yet it was only an audible terror. Getting to my feet I tested my ankle which screamed at me. Dropping down again, I felt for my laces, pulling them clear down to the ankle before wrapping them tightly around it. Standing again, it was still painful, but usable.

I leant against the wall and began to half-run, half-stagger along it hoping to avoid the creatures, praying they wouldn’t react from the blinding light of the flash-bang before I was able to put some distance between us. But there was something on the floor, I don’t know what, which I tripped over. I was able to break my fall with my right arm and a half-roll. Reaching down with my good hand to stand again, it happened upon a small device. A quick feel alerted me to the fact it was the activation device for the beacons I had dropped.

There were scraping sounds in the dark and howls and grunts but I ignored them and pressed the beacons into life. Surprised to see only some eighty percent of the beacons ahead, I glanced back to find the rest behind me. In their light I could see Austerley being held by a creature. It seemed bulky, even in the poor light and possibly had others congregated around it. Austerley was in pain but was making no sound. His eyes were wide open and showed such a profound horror. There was no need for a cry to express it.

I should have left him. Yes Officer, I repeat that a lot. Trust me, I think it often. They seemed more interested in him anyway. Nothing was chasing me at that point, as far as I could tell. I could have sneaked away, just left the insane fool to a well deserved fate. But like I said before, I’m a professional like yourself Officer. I might not have a badge but there’s an internal code.

Searching the floor, I recognised the shape of my grenades despite the poor light. There was the shape of a gun close by as well, I prayed with a clip that wasn’t empty. I’d say there was a plan forming but really, it was a gung-ho moment. Three grenades. One after another. In a direction that was away from the wall and would cause most damage I hoped to the creatures holding Austerley. I turned my head from each blast, shielding my eyes.

Following the last explosion, I ran towards where Austerley had been and found him lying on his back. His eyes were wide open, the whites reflecting the beacon’s light but there was no motion in them. I slapped him hard and he responded. Grabbing his hair, I pulled him up and told him to run. But he shrieked in one of those languages and so I pointed him and booted him in the arse. What? Yes, ass as you say. It was then I threw up. Man, the stink. I realised I was treading on the insides of creatures and was thankful of the poor light. But we couldn’t wait so I drove myself after Austerley.

A good job that I did for I heard other creatures stirring and coming after us. Whenever I saw shadows behind us I fired into the dark. As we reached the last beacon, I dove to the ground seeking the twine. My fingers found the blessed cord and shouting at Austerley to follow I started along the string’s path. But the stupid fool didn’t follow. He was wild and hysterical. I hadn’t got this far to leave him behind. So, in the little light the beacons gave at this distance, I managed to run around Austerley, catching him in a loop of twine, and began the string’s path again, pulling the crazed professor behind me.

Hanging by a thread! Will our heroes emerge from the depths? Join us in two days time, or if you can’t wait, read it all on Wattpad now.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

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