Glyph took in a deep lungful of air to try and shake the bright flash from his vision, and the lethargy from his mind. Immediately he fell into a fighting stance in preparation for the attack; it was the instinct of the hunted, of the prey. He had been so conditioned to being accosted during his hour on earth, that it had in many ways became a part of him. Apparently, even his years of captivity could not break him of the habit. Glyph spun around, surveying the area at a glance. It was dark, but quiet. He quickly took to the shadows of the alley. Checking his watch, he noted the exact time and set the alarm. It was much more important to know the exact moment of his departure now, and he didn’t want to have to second-guess his timing at a critical moment. Glyph knew what he wanted to do; it was now just a matter of making it happen.
Picking a direction, Glyph set off in search of some businesses; there was one in particular he wanted to find as soon as possible. Without the red magic, he wouldn’t stand a chance against Cruix, and he so wanted to make her pay, especially for what she had done to Ishea. The solution to his problem was here, in the city, if he could find it.
It was near midnight as he moved down the streets, making sure to avoid any people who might be out at this time of night. He was fairly certain a rational, thinking human being would be much more of a threat than the brain dead zombies he was used to, if it came to a fight. He rubbed the holster of his gun as he walked, trying to make educated guesses as to where he might find what he was searching for.
After ten blocks, his hopes began to rise. He could see a porn shop on the next corner, and Glyph knew that where there was porn, there would be liquor, and where there was liquor, there were guns. When he got to the end of the block, he peered down the intersecting street and saw a sign for Von’s Liquors, and made his way there. Passing the liquor store, he went to the end of the next block, scanning for what he knew must be nearby. Then his eyes found their mark, a gun shop. Glyph checked his watch, sixteen minutes gone. Forty-four minutes were left. It wasn’t much, but he had done more in less time than that.
The store was closed, and thick iron bars covered the doors and windows. He needed to get in; obviously this wasn’t the way. Thinking there may be a back entrance or a way onto the roof, he walked around the block, until he found a back-alley. It was dark, and he felt his way along the back wall until he managed to get close to the back door that should belong to the gun shop. There was a tiny light next to the door, barely illuminating a crumbling cement stoop with three steps and the door itself, which he could now see was steel plated.
As he approached through the shadows, he noticed that several cars lined the back street, completely blocking the way for any other car that might come this way. First in line was a black SUV, followed by a Cadillac, and a Mercedes. They were all decked to the hilt, with tinted windows and chrome wheels.
“That’s a lot of money sitting back here in a dark alley.” Glyph whispered to himself. Crouching in the shadows, he pulled out the gun, and tried to figure out his next move. Someone must be in there, several someones by the look of it, but he couldn’t be certain.
Before he could think any further, the door opened and three men, all laughing and talking loudly, came out. Glyph let himself slide onto his side, as the men turned around to talk to someone still inside the building. He pressed himself into the cement drainage ditch that ran the length of the alley, and pulled some trash and cardboard up onto his body as best he could while they were distracted. A few moments later, the men turned and got into the SUV. As it drove past, Glyph waited motionlessly in ambush, poised to jump and shoot, dreading that he might be exposed. The vehicle turned out onto the street as Glyph exhaled the breath he realized he had been holding. Sweat began to trickle down his back. There was an unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach, and a raw apprehension that still lingered, growing stronger as he waited. At first he thought it was nerves, but now he began to recognize it, the urge to kill.
“C’mon, people, party’s over.” He mumbled to himself as he lurked. Glyph lay still a few minutes more. Just then the door opened again, and two more men came out. They were talking with heavy Spanish accents, as they descended the few steps to their Cadillac. Glyph resisted the urge to jump up shooting. He wanted them dead, but he didn’t know why. He just knew he had to get inside, and soon, if he were going to get the guns he needed. Without warning his hand jumped, lining his gun up with the nearest target. Fighting the urge to pull the trigger, he bit into his cheek, hard. The car started, and moved on down the alleyway.
Without hesitation, Glyph leapt forward and ran to the door, rapping the handle of his gun on it several times loudly. With any luck, he hoped whoever was left inside would think it was the two men returning for some reason. As the door opened, Glyph’s vision changed instantly, giving everything a red cast.
“What ‘chu want man? Forget sometheeng?” The man said, opening the door. As he lifted his head to look at Glyph, he realized something was wrong.
Glyph grabbed him by the shirt with his free hand, and blasted two rounds into the man’s stomach, spraying blood and muscle onto the wall behind him. Before the guy’s body had started to go limp, Glyph leaned in, lifted the body in front of him as a shield, and started to move forward into the hallway.
Everything he saw was now in negative, the lights were dark, and the dark was light. All color had turned to varying shades of gray, and a red filter covered everything. Glyph also realized he was no longer in control of his own actions.
Hearing shouts from the door on his left, he kicked it open, pushing the half-dead man into the room. The man actually managed a few steps before a steady spray of automatic weapons fire riddled the corpse as it fell to the middle of the floor. Glyph stepped in quickly, popping off rounds towards where he had heard the gunfire. The two men in the corner understood too late that they were shooting their dead friend instead of the maniac who had just entered the room. Glyph watched in horror as his body marched across the room unloading the gun as he went, killing the men before they could re-aim their weapons at him.
By the time their bodies had dropped to the floor, Glyph was on top of them. He scooped up a Mac-10 from one of the dead men, and whirled around as a bald man darted from a back room toward the door Glyph had just stormed through. The man squeezed off one round that whizzed past Glyph’s head as he ran across the room. Glyph returned fire, peppering the fleeing man’s body, causing him to crash into a card table near the back of the room.
Blood was everywhere, and Glyph found himself entering the room the bald man had come from. With every person’s death came a flush of power, and immense gratification. There were two scantily clad women hiding in the corner behind a couch. As Glyph came closer, they began to beg him not to kill them, but their fate had already been sealed. Raising the machine gun, Glyph mowed them down, laughing gleefully at the pattern of blood splatter that now decorated the wall paneling behind them.
Then just as suddenly as it had changed, his vision snapped back to normal, and his breathing became labored.
“What… the fuck… was that!” Glyph managed to rasp out in between breaths, not knowing what to think of what had just happened to him. It was surreal, like an out-of-body experience, where he could only see what he was doing, but had no control of his actions.
He wiped a chunk of brain matter off his watch face; twenty-six minutes left. He did a quick once-over of the room. There was a bag of white powder on the coffee table in front of the couch. Beside it lay a mirror and some cut up straws. Glyph pocketed the bag and went back into the first room.
Blood dripped from the ceiling and walls as he checked the room, and searched the bodies. He found an extra clip of ammo for his MAC-10 and a ring of keys in the pocket of the bald man sprawled across the collapsed table. There was an open safe full of money there as well; several hundred thousand dollars by the looks of it, but it wasn’t what he needed, so he left it.
Walking back out into the hall, he turned left hoping to find more powerful guns. There was another door to his left, and one in front of him. Kicking the left door in, he reached in and hit the light on the wall, waving his machinegun in an arc across the room making sure the way was clear. His eyes bugged out as he focused on the crates that lined the walls. They were stamped with Russian letters, and had a distinct military look about them. Finding a pry bar behind the door, he started opening one of the wood boxes.
“Jackpot!” Glyph cried, as the lid finally popped off and he stared inside.
He picked up an AK-47 machine gun out of the box, and continued rooting around in the crate. ‘This is too good to be true!’ he thought, digging out a hundred-round drum magazine, and attaching it to the weapon. He loosened the sling strap, and slung the AK across his back. The rest of the boxes contained more of the same, except for a smaller crate that contained hand grenades. After lugging that box next to the back door, he went back down the hall and kicked open the last door.
He entered the room cautiously and fumbled for the light switch; it was the sales floor. Flinging the AK up onto the counter, he found several boxes of armor-piercing ammo that fit the machine gun, popped open the drum magazine, and loaded it to capacity. Then he searched about for ammo for the MAC-10. He found them as well and stacked several boxes and extra clips on the counter, reminding himself to save enough of the 9mm ammo to reload his Barretta.
Glyph surveyed the rest of the shop like a kid in a candy store. He found a sturdy duffle bag, and loaded the ammo into it along with a sling that might fit the Mac. Next he tossed in a cleaning kit, several small hand tools, a high-powered scope with a universal mount, and a couple of shoulder holsters for the two Glock pistols he plucked from a selection in the front display case. Fifteen minutes had gone by, when he found a bulletproof vest hanging in a cabinet. He shrugged it on, and prepared to leave the shop. As he walked into the hall, he turned out the light, and saw flashing blue and red lights through the shades on the front window.
“Shit!” Glyph hissed through his teeth and bolted for the back door.
Kneeling beside the crate of grenades, he emptied them into his bag, about two dozen in total. He zipped up the bag and heaved it up onto his shoulder; it weighed a good eighty pounds. Glancing at his watch, he realized he only had seven minutes left.
There were cops out front, and if they had noticed the light go out in the shop, they knew someone was inside. The question was whether they were out in the alley yet, and should he try to run, or wait out the seven minutes here.
Unable to resist the urge, Glyph grabbed the handle of the back door and yanked it open. There were no flashing lights in the back street, and he trudged out toward the Mercedes. He thought about using it to escape, but decided against it. As he pushed past the car, he saw headlights enter the narrow street at the far end; the flashing red and blue told him all he needed to know. He turned and ran heavily in the opposite direction back toward the Mercedes, knowing the police cruiser couldn’t make it past the car. As soon as its headlights shone on him, the sirens came on, and the cruiser accelerated towards him as he shimmied past the parked car.
Glyph was breathing hard, and his palms were wet with sweat, as he heard the car screech to a halt. Redoubling his efforts, he made for the far end of the alley, the eighty-pound bag’s strap cutting into his shoulder as he fled.
“Freeze or I’ll shoot!” one of the cops yelled as they leapt from their car in pursuit.
Just then, another police car pulled into the alley in front of Glyph. He hesitated for a moment, unsure of what to do next. He knew as long as he stayed alive he would blink out of this world, but he wasn’t about to leave his weapons and ammo; he needed them, and he for damn sure didn’t want to have to do this all over again the next time.
Before he could think his next thought his vision flickered, flashes of negative filled his sight, and he found himself charging full force at the car coming at him.
Raising the MAC-10, he unleashed a hail of bullets at the oncoming car as he advanced. The windshield crackled under the barrage of bullets, and the car swerved to the left, scraping the side of the building and sending sparks flying off in every direction as it skidded towards him. Gunshots rang out from behind him as he continued toward the police car, which was only now beginning to slow. Half turning, Glyph cranked out another hailstorm of shots at the two officers behind him.
Glyph turned back and leapt into the air as high as he could as the police cruiser, now going about fifteen miles an hour, reached him. His feet barely cleared the bumper of the car as the hood and windshield plowed into him, pushing his body like a scoop into the air over the top of the vehicle, onto the trunk, and back to the ground with a sickening crunch. The pain of the impact reverberated through his body and his vision cleared instantly. It hurt everywhere as he lay on the ground, listening to the shouts of the pursuing cops as they reversed direction and retreated from the police car still coasting towards them. Glyph let go of his MAC, and found the zipper of the duffle bag that was pinned beneath him. He unzipped it part way and jammed his hand inside. He immediately grasped a hand grenade. Forcing himself to shift to one side, Glyph slid off the bag, brought the grenade to his mouth, and pulled the pin with his teeth. He was having problems breathing, time seemed to slow, his left arm lay limp at his side, and he was sure something was wrong with his hip and legs. With extreme effort, Glyph flung the grenade back down the alley, and watched it bounce underneath the back of the cruiser that had now drifted to a stop.
Just as the two cops came clambering over the top of the vehicle, the bomb exploded, blowing open the gas tank and sending up a mushroom cloud of flames. The momentum of the two pursuing officers carried their burning bodies onto the pavement behind what was left of the now-burning car.
Glyph could hear their screams as he reached over and picked up the machine gun. ‘Just a few more minutes’ he thought, and began to drag himself on his stomach up the alley. The pain was excruciating, but he managed to keep from passing out as he crawled toward one side of the street. When he reached the drainage ditch he stopped. He wrapped his good arm around the duffle bag and held it close.
The alarm on his watch began to beep, and Glyph choked out a shallow laugh, as the wind began to howl down the back street. He could hear sirens, and the shouts of other people as the air was stripped from his lungs. The light from the burning car faded away as he felt himself drifting deep into the darkness, then everything was gone.