Archives

A Grimm Stroll in the Dark

A Grimm Stroll in the Dark:

The wind howled like the souls of the tormented dead, whipping the snow into a blinding frenzy just outside the stone archway. Grimm watched the weather from inside the small and decrepit structure that Lady Wessex had found to shield them from the blizzard. Warmth began to thaw out his limbs as the small coal stove contraption the Lady had brought kindled to life. Grimm looked at it dubiously as he judged the amount of coal in it to the weather outside. Grimm had never been an optimist; life in the slums of a major city beat that kind of mindset out of him early on. Besides, it was hard to keep a positive outlook on life when you couldn’t feel your toes. Shivering, Grimm huddled into the musky fur he wore and moved away from the open door. He knew that the skin would start smelling soon as they had not had time to properly cure the hide of the Wolfe, but at least it was something to battle the wind until then.

Lady Wessex sat across the coal stove from the entrance with her back against the wall of the building and studied their surroundings. The place made her feel nervous, a large stone warehouse in the middle of a primeval forest filled with decaying wooden crates, their contents gone or rotted way. Something just didn’t feel right about it all, but she hoped it was just a lost way station for travelers.  Then there was the large machine in the corner that looked like nothing so much as a steel cage. Strange or not, the building would keep them alive until the weather passed at least. She watched as Grimm moved to the fire and hunched into the hide that she had stripped from the Wolfe. A slightly evil smile spread her lips as she luxuriated in the warm winter clothes and boots she had taken to deal with the weather. No reason to tell her companion that a heating augmentation had been built into the expensive winter gear.

“Will this little stove be enough to outlast the storm?” Grimm asked, his doubt dripping from his tone.

“There is dry wood here if the coal runs out hunter, the stove will be sufficient unless the storm is a true monster. Anyways, I have read that death from the cold is rather pleasant. At some point, you just go to sleep and never wake up.” The Lady advised.

“Wonderfully comforting thought, thank you for that,” Grimm mumbled as he hunched as close to the stove as he could without lighting his tattered clothes on fire. Between the fight with the aberrant in town and the tussle with the primordial wolf the night before, they had left his long coat and fine clothes in a state of shredded rags. Grimm continued to mumble to himself as he settled and drew out a large curved dagger and began to clean it. The methodical practice began to calm his mind and body as his habits took over. Once the knife was in proper order, he withdrew his augmented shotgun and started the process on it as well. He had been lucky that he hadn’t lost the small tool kit he kept to work on the firearm in either of the battles. Finding another would be hard enough in a city much less the woods.

Lady Wessex watched with interest as Grimm began going over the shotgun with a set of fine tools, cleaning any dirt, blood, and gore from the large hooks that allowed it to lock into an opponent’s flesh. The pistons and gears that drove the hooks came next as Grimm went over them making sure the actions were clean and in good repair and that the connection points where secure and undamaged. The actually machinery that drove the pistons was next in line to be taken care of and Lady Wessex had to fight her growing weariness as she watched the aberrant hunter work. His motions were sure and practiced and he was meditative as he took care of his weapons.

Sleep snuck up on the Lady as she watched Grimm work on his weapons. When he came out of the calming state that the work dropped him into, he found her curled up with her large cloak used as a blanket and her pack as a pillow. The expensive clothing still looked incredibly good even with the dirt and grime it had accumulated in the past day. Grimm silently wished he had a set of clothing like that, doubtless it would be better in this blizzard than the scraps that he still wore. Maybe he could bully her into buying him some in the next town they reached.

Satisfied that his weapons were in good repair and convincing himself that he would wake up if they fell asleep, Grimm found the most comfortable position he could on the cold stone floor and pulled the skin tighter around him. The musky scent of the great predator actually worked to calm the hunter’s mind and he allowed his lids to fall closed and drifted into an exhausted sleep.

 

Sunday Story Time – A Grim Night in the Forest part 4

An enormous shadow moved through the dark trees on the far side of a clearing a mile or more from the site of the forester’s death. Hardly a leaf was disturbed as it slowly stalked through the forest.

“You have got to be joking.” Grimm hissed, keeping his voice low so that the thing would not notice the two humans lying under some underbrush. “Let me get this straight, you want me to wonder out there and get that things attention, that beast that happens to be as large as a house, and then when it comes to tear my head off I am supposed to entertain it for a little bit while you line a shot up?”

“That is essentially the plan, yes. Why?” Lady Wessex replied, her eyes large and round is fascination as she watched the shape across the clearing.

“You are insane lady.” Grimm quietly rebuked.

“Not so. You are uniquely suited to performing this task with a higher then normal likely hood that you will come out alive.”

“Wonderful, so you are pitting my aberration against a god of the forest then?”

“Don’t be silly, there are no gods in the world. I am pitting your aberration against a large predatory animal, nothing more.”

“Let me guess, if I don’t do this you are going to keep dragging me through this forest and farther away from the nice fire we had going until you come up with another plan aren’t you?”

“You are the one that chose to come along, now shut up and be useful.” Mrs. Wessex snapped, a hint of nervousness in her voice.

Shrugging, Grimm stealthily moved away from where Lady Wessex was hiding, the long rifle primed and ready. Once he had moved a good hundred feet or so away, he stood up and strode into the clearing, making no pretense to hide his movement. In fact, a faint whistled tune drifted on the slight breeze back to Lady Wessex.

The shadow stopped and turned towards that lone man standing in the clearing nearby. A howl of bestial rage shook the trees of the forest as the creature bounded our of the covering foliage and into the moon light. Pitch black fur with streaks of silver in it covered the a towering frame packed with muscle and power. The creature resembled a wolf except that is was at least ten feet tall at the shoulder and the jaws that snapped were filled with wickedly sharp curved teeth. The eyes of the beast sent a chill down Grimm’s spine. They were brilliant, glowing green and shed a sickly light on the clearing as the beast looked around. A sense of eternal hatred, malice and sorrow filled Grimm as those shining eyes finally bore down on him.

The clearing erupted into frantic motion as the beast sprang at Grimm, saliva dripping from its distended jaws. With the speed of much battle experience, Grimm dove to the side rolling and coming to his feet. The beast was just as fast as it landed and skidded in the snow, its claws digging furrows in the soil and sending the covering of snow up in a shower of white. Again it sprang at Grimm, its jaws snapping and its front paws sweeping out to the sides to hem the hunter in.

Seeing the beast’s tactic, Grimm threw himself forward on his stomach and let the slick snow take him under the pouncing creature. Landing and spinning the beast eyed Grimm with a base cunning. Instead of leaping at the nimble opponent, the beast moved forward slowly, its head near the ground and watching as Grimm moved first this way and then that to try and find a path away from the stalking beast. When at last the creature was within striking distance of Grimm, it lunged forwards hoping to take Grimm in its jaws. With a bestial howl of his own, Grimm jumped as high into the air as he could and propelled himself forward, managing to land in the thick fur of the creatures back and grabbing up large handfuls of fur to keep himself there.

A snarl of rage tore out of the creatures mouth and it tried to snap at Grimm over its own shoulder. The first snap almost dislodged the scrambling hunter before he had gotten himself well seated behind the beast’s head and sparks flew as the creature’s tooth slid down Grimm’s leg tearing his pants but finding no purchase on his metal infused skin. With a grunt of pain, Grimm wrapped his legs around the giant wolf’s neck and dug his hands into its fur as well as he could.

With predictable ire, the wolf began to jump, dance and dart around in an effort to dislodge the clinging opponent.

“Though this may look like fun, I assure you that it is less than entertaining.” Grimm yelled as the beast continued to jump and caper around the clearing, twisting and turning in its efforts to dislodge the offending party.

A sound like a pressure tank breaching filled the clearing and was quickly followed by the sound of a massive detonation. The force of the blast flung Grimm through the air to crash his way down through the branches of a tree near the edge of the clearing. Pain erupted in his body as he hit the ground, muscles and bones bruised from the swift stop at the end of his flight. Shaking himself, Grimm pushed his way to his feet and looked around trying to find the clearing. Smoke filled the empty area between the trees and scorch marks could be seen prominently on the trunks of the trees near to Grimm. In the clearing stood the monstrous wolf, a gaping hole where the thing’s chest should have been. It stood there in the clearing, its head raised to the full moon and the light in its eyes dimming slowly. From the looks of things, Grimm thought it strange that there was no sound in the clearing at all, not the howling of the great beast, or even the soft shuffle of leaves in the slight wind. Shrugging in confusion, Grimm started moving into the clearing. As he walked towards the creature it slumped to its knees, the sapping of its strength pulling its head towards the charred grass at its feet. The glowing light from its eyes pulsed erratically now as Grimm stood in front of it and watched as its life faded away. The silence of the scene felt eerie to Grimm, but also oddly appropriate as the magnificent creature finally fell on its side and the last of its hot breath escaped into the world.

Grimm stood over the dead creature and felt a melancholy that shocked him. Something so proud and primordial had been taken down with a single shot from a man made monstrosity. The thought was startling to the callous hunter, but not half as startling as the hand on his shoulder.

Spinning and crouching at the same time, Grimm’s hand went to the dagger he carried at his back before he realized that it was Lady Wessex, the augmented rifle casually resting on her shoulder. A smile of triumph and something akin to ecstasy filled her face as she took in her kill. Her lips began to move in the actions of forming words, but Grimm still heard nothing except a high pitched whine that had just started. Tapping his hand against his head, Grimm realized that the concussion of the blast had knocked his senses from his head and that was the reason he hadn’t heard the creature howling to the moon. Pointing at his ears, he informed Mrs. Wessex that he couldn’t hear anything and instead stood at the head of the Wolfe, its life blood mingling with the moisture of the snow in the muddy ground.

A few minutes passed before Grimm was sure that he would be able to hear again. When he was, he turned to the still beaming girl at his side.

“Took you long enough to get that shot off.” He growled.

“Sorry about that, when I saw the actuality of the creature, I was shocked, honestly unsure it could be killed. It wasn’t until you called that I came back to my sense. A momentary lapse, it won’t happen again.” She replied, contrition only barely smudging the pride and joy that filled her voice, husky from her emotions.

“Spirit, beast or god, everything in this world can be killed, remember that next time you hesitate.” Grimm replied before turning his back on the carcass and heading back towards where he hoped the camp was.

 

Sunday Storytime – A Grimm night in the Forest part 3

The forester was propped against a tree where he had obviously dragged himself after being attacked. Long gashes made from tremendously large claws had torn valleys into his flesh and his blood flowed like rivers down the valleys. Pain and fear clouded his eyes and his breathing came in shallow gasps as Grimm knelt before him Making  a point to not look at the man’s wounds, Lady Wessex stood with her back turned, scanning the forest.

“What did this to you man” asked Grimm, though his hope for an answer was slim considering the circle of blood that soaked the snow beneath the dying man. His lips tried to move and his chest heaved with the effort of drawing enough breath to speak. The last spark of life left the man’s eyes as he uttered a single word into the quite night, the white snowfall turning crimson as it landed on his wounds.

“Wolves?” Grimm muttered. “Can’t imagine a wolf large enough to make these kinds of wounds.”

“Wolfe hunter, not wolves. He said Wolfe.” Lady Wessex replied, her gaze still searching the edge of the clearing for any signs of movement.

“Wolfe … wolves, what does it matter?” Grimm growled.

“Simple, wolves are beast that live and run in our realm of reality, in our vision of the world. Wolfe is the name that the foresters and lumberjacks that work this forest give to a spirit of this forest. A primordial incarnation of hate and malice that the forest has unleashed to protect itself.”

“So in his dying moments, engulfed by pain and fear, he mumbles something about a myth. Wonderful. Can we go back to the camp now? It happens to be cold out here.”

Eyes still glued to the forest around them, Mrs. Wessex pulled the package from her shoulder and undid the twine holding the oiled leather in place. As the leather of the covering fell away a machine of exquisite death was revealed. The entire contraption from the stock to the tip of the barrel was around four feet long. Metal mesh hoses ran from compartments near the breach to small machines on the top of the stock. Along the top of the barrel ran a item that consisted of polished glass and mirrors encased in gleaming brass. Mobile lenses connected to the hind portion of the scope and looked like they could be placed in front of the eye piece to change its magnification. The quality of the weapon and the modifications on it were nothing short of a work of art and Grimm could tell from experience that the additions protruding from the barrel and breach would turn the long rifle into something more akin to a siege weapon then something for hunting game.

“You are more than welcome to go back to the camp Grimm, I am going hunting.”

“That thing looks a little extreme for simply hunting a deer for dinner.” Grimm commented, watching the way that Lady Wessex held the gun. With rock steady hands, she pulled back her cloak to reveal an ammunition belt synched tight around her waist. The ammunition in the belt surprised Grimm. Expecting large caliber rounds for the gun, he was shocked to see glass tubes filled with liquid at the tip of each round. As the lady pulled one from the belt, Grimm saw that the tip was actually bifurcated with a different colored liquid in each half and with a start he realized that this ammunition would likely explode on contact with its target.

“Do I look like the type of person that would hunt deer?” Lady Wessex asked as she pulled the bolt action on the rifle back and slipped the shell she had retrieved into it.

“With that weapon, I guess not. What is it that you do hunt?”

“Myths and legends Mr. Grimm. There are things in this world that defy logic and sanity, I have hunted every predatory beast this world has to offer and some that scientist say don’t exist. Now I plan on hunting a myth … coming?”

“Figures I would end up with an insane noble. This beast practically rips a full grown man in two and you want to go play with it on its home turf. Brilliant.” Grimm sneered, a glint of malice and blood lust filling his own eyes. “Well then, lead on my Lady.”

 

Sunday Storytime – A Grimm night in the Forest part 2

The lingering light of the day fled from the sky as a rabbit from a wolf as the two of them made their way further into the woods. The unusual circumstances surrounding Lady Wessex’s company on this trip necessitated that the pair leave the main roads and strike out on their own.

“This would be a good time and place to make camp Mr. Grimm.” Lady Wessex noted as she came on a slight clearing in the brush. Grunting, Grimm made his way over to a nearby tree and hunched underneath its shelter, clapping his hands on his arms in an attempt to warm them. Watching, a slight smile crept over Lady Wessex’s face.

“It might be a good idea to start a fire, Mr. Grimm, I don’t think the night would be very kind to you if we did not. In fact, I would be surprised if you saw the morning dressed the way you are.”

“Right, get to it then.” Grimm grumbled, looking more and more like a church gargoyle with every passing moment. Chuckling to herself and shaking her head, Lady Wessex dropped the pack she had been carrying on the ground and began to rummage through it. First from the pack came a small package encased in a bronze and steel case. At the push of a small button on the side of the case, the holding clasps released and a small coal fireplace sprang into existence supported on thin legs. At the twist of a knob on the side of the small fireplace, a spark lit the oil soaked hunk of coal that sat in the center and a fan of buffering metal around the coal began to compound the heat of the small fire into a large area of warmth. As the fire began to warm Lady Wessex, she continued to pull contraptions out of her pack. Another small metal bundle unfurled itself into a tent that was just large enough to fit the lady, the fireplace, and a cot that was the third folded metal contraption to come from the pack. Once her small camp had been set up, the lady pulled a blanket from the bottom of the pack and settled onto the cot, her eyes roaming the woods around the clearing.

The snow-muffled silence of the night was shattered with a cry of intense pain torn from a human throat. Grim started from a slight doze he had fallen into as the heat from the small fire started to chase the chill from his bones. Looking around for any threat that might come out of the darkness, Grimm let his senses wander out into the night. Several moments passed as he kept vigil around the camp. Finally, with a shrug, Grimm fell back against the tree he had been leaning on and let his eyes slide shut again.

“Really? A scream like that and you’re going to go back to sleep? Perhaps I chose the wrong companion?” Lady Wessex sneered. “Or perhaps you’re just too afraid of the dark forest night to go and investigate?”

“A death in the forest is none of my concern Lady. I am not getting paid to make this matter my business, therefore it is of no interest to me.” Grimm replied evenly, his eyes opening slightly to look at his companion. She stood between him and the fire, her gaze locked onto the night in the direction the scream had come from. Her tense muscles and the clenching of her hand showed her fear … or was it excitement?

“If that is the excuse that soothes your soul then so be it. I am going to investigate.” With that remark, she moved to her pack and took off the long package on the side. Slinging it over her shoulder with its own strap, she stood with her back to the fire for a few moments to let her eyes adjust before heading out into the night.

Shaking his head, Grimm slowly got to his feet and stretched. With one last longing look back at the warm fire, he departed in Mrs. Wessex’s footsteps.

 

Sunday Story Time – A Grimm Night in the Forest Part 1

image courtesy of: http://www.spyderonlines.com/

image courtesy of: http://www.spyderonlines.com/

A Grimm Night in the Forest

By Ming Drake

 

The snow fell with massive force outside the burning coal clouds of the city as Grimm stood huddled against a large tree. The lights of the town he had just left burned below in the gloom of the evening, their brilliance lighting up the underside of the great clouds of ash that perpetually hung in the skies above. The blackened snow that he had found on the city streets had turned to an off white as he made his way away from the city.

Grimm watched, feeling wretched in the cold, as a lone figure made its way towards him along the path from the city, the deep green of the figures cloak being slowly obscured by the snow as it fell.

How did I find myself in this?’ Grimm thought as the figure of Lady Wessex drew closer with every passing minute. ‘When have I ever let someone live after they have seen me for who I am, I must be going soft of late. And what is with her enthusiasm for leaving the city? Daddy’s money can’t be that much of a burden’ he grumbled to himself as he took stock of his new traveling companion. She was a figure of indulgent beauty, her clock blowing back to reveal a well-toned figure in a fitted jacket and flowing skirts, all of a golden hue. A bejewel breathing mask sat on her face and her piercing green eyes studied Grimm as she approached. Leather holsters draped from her hips and held highly augmented pistols, pistols that Grimm had seen her use to good effect when they faced the deranged Aberrent only an hour before. That job had gone bad for Grimm the moment Lady Wessex had shown up. Now he was stuck with her if he didn’t want to kill her and that meant fleeing the city that he had lived in for all his life, hunting the same Aberrents that came from the slums that he himself did.

“Was the trip worth it Lady Wessex?” Grimm asked with a sneer that barely covered his shiver as the Lady came to stand just outside the covering shelter of the tree Grimm stood under.

“Most certainly Mr. Grimm. As I told you when I decided to go back, the necessities that I had left at home would be invaluable as we made our way through the wilderness.” She replied, her tone and stance showing a strength that was only barely marred by her continual glances towards Grimm’s chest where his shirt hung in tatters and the fading light of the day glinted off his skin beneath, skin that seemed infused with the sheen of metal. “Shall we be on our way then?” she asked, tearing her eyes away and moving quickly off the road and into the trackless forest that surrounded the city.

As the lady moved past Grimm, he noticed a large pack strapped to her back and a long package attached to the side of the pack. From the looks of the item, Grimm surmised that the Lady Wessex had taken another toy with her as she left her family estates.

 

Grimm the Final chapter of this Story.

Image courtesy of:  http://paper4pc.com/

Image courtesy of:
http://paper4pc.com/

Finally, the creature came to a standstill facing Grimm. With a grin, Grimm began to move towards it, his hand slipping to his back beneath his coat. As Grimm came close, the Aberrent hunched itself up and with a howl of pure hatred flexed all its muscles. The sound of snapping metal sent chills down Grimm’s spine as the sword shattered and the monstrosity launched itself at him with all its fury. The wickedly sharp blades of the creature’s hand tore through the stylish red shirt that Grimm wore and cut across his stomach as he tried to turn out of the way of the attack.

Miss Wessex gasped as she saw the blow take Grimm in the stomach, but what she saw next shocked her even more. As the blades tore across Grimm’s flesh, sparks flew from the impact and the blades failed to open gashes in him. A dull metallic sheen glinted from the very flesh of Grimm’s torso as if his skin itself was imbued with an alloy. The blades had torn away his shirt leaving him panting in the snow, his jacket still draped around him and steam rising from his body in the chill. With a feral grin that exposed his canines, his respirator dangling from the newly broken strap that should have held it in place, Grimm launched himself at the charging Aberrent. As the thing swung, Grimm took the full blunt of the blow and wrapped his arms and legs around the things arm. The monster began to flail in an attempt to fling the clinging man off. With determination, Grim held on and managed to free a hand to pull an ugly looking gun from his back, beneath his jacket. The weapon looked like a high-powered shotgun akin to the augmented derringers that Lady Wessex used, but there were three curved blades protruding from the barrel that were attached to pistons.

The reason for the blades became known as Grimm hopped off the creature’s arm, timing it so that he landed directly in front of the brute with a moment to spare to make his attack. He shoved the barrel of the gun into the monster’s chest and hit a button on the back of the stock. The pistons drove the blades deep into the Aberrent’s torso, locking the gun against its body. With a malicious howl that reminded the Lady of the Aberrent’s own screams, Grimm pulled the trigger. A blast like the epicenter of a lightning strike tore through the streets as the gun went off. The power augmentation used on Grimm’s gun must have been much stronger than the ones on Lady Wessex’s pistols. The force of the blast tore a hole completely through the monster, spewing blood, sinew and mechanical parts all over the street. The blades that had locked into the monster tore great a chunk of flesh out as the blast hurled Grimm and the gun, like a rag doll, a hundred meters down the street away from the creature to tumble and skid in the dirty snow. The Aberrent staggered a few steps as oil and gore poured out of it before it finally collapsed, an expression of peace and well-being replacing the pained madness on its face, its eyes fading from a tinted red to their normal brown in death.

Shaking heavily from the shock and sweet adrenalin of the fight, Miss Wessex moved towards the still form of Grimm, her eyes glancing over her shoulder to the dead monster every few steps. Pity surged in her as she took in the pathetic, twisted form of the Aberrent. As she got a closer look the metallic sheen to Grimm’s skin was very pronounced with it being slicked by the wetness he had tumbled in. With fear beating in her heart she leaned over the still form before her. She couldn’t tell if she was more afraid that he was dead or that he wasn’t.

A grunt and a deep inhalation from Grimm sent her scuttling back away from him guns half rising. With a moan, he began to push himself to his feet, a quiet, somewhat maniacal chuckling escaping his lips. As he rose he replaced the gore coated gun back in its harness and pulled a wickedly curved dagger from a sheath at his hip. He eyes blazed with an intensity that terrified Miss Wessex as he locked gazes with her, the wetness plastering his curly black hair to his forehead.  

“I do so hope you enjoy this work Lady Wessex. Now that you know my little secret, I am giving you only one choice. I think you can guess what it is.” he whispered, his voice carrying with uncanny force through the silence of the snowfall.

“I suppose I do, death or compliance. In that case, where do we find our next job?” She asked, settling her derringers into the holsters at her shapely hips and trying to appear calm in the face of his metallic sheen.

With a cackling laugh, Grimm stooped and picked up his hat which had fallen off in his tumble and moved past the lady and down the street. With a sigh of resignation and a shiver of growing excitement, she turned and followed the Aberrent hunter.

 

END

A Grimm Day in the City – Part 5

Image courtesy of:http://www.scaryforkids.com/

Image courtesy of:http://www.scaryforkids.com/

There, standing in the gloom cast by the dingy streetlamps was a monstrous shape, its thick frame hunched over and it right arm horribly distended and dragging on the ground. The snow falling from the sky increased in intensity and worked to hide the figure’s face, but the pipes extending towards the sky from the thing’s back and belching a combination of black smoke and steam told Grim that he had found his mark. The chemicals that had been injected into the poor man’s body had swollen his muscles, making him a hulking caricature.

The unbroken tirade from Miss Wessex cut off abruptly as the Aberrent moved towards the two, the sound of metal scraping on cobblestones coming from the things altered arm as it was dragged behind. Grimm glanced away from the beast long enough to assure himself that the girl had started to run away, but to his surprise, she had done nothing of the sort. With a speed that could only come from experience, she pulled two highly decorative and modified derringers from the depths of her cloak and fired at the advancing Aberrent.

Grimm watched as the precision strikes from the super-charged pistols tore into the meaty throat and chest of the creature, causing it to stagger. With a shudder the creature began to move forward again, seeming to ignore the large holes the little weapons had created, holes that were oozing a sickly dark fluid.

Shaking his head at the incongruity of it all, Grimm pulled the heirloom short sword from its scabbard and moved to place himself in the way of the coming creature. With a howl of murderous rage, the beast threw itself at Grimm, a face filled with terror, pain, insanity and grief emerging from the cover of the falling snow as it came close. A fast twist of its body sent the bulging, modified arm towards Grimm and he found out the cause of the victims wounds. Three metal blades had been affixed to the bones of the arm, a deadly parody of the fingers that should have been there, pistons driven by the power plant incased within the monster’s torso added power and speed to its attack.

Turning his body into the attack, Grimm brought his sword up to block the claws and braced his back leg to absorb the shock. The precautions proved almost useless as the power of the blow picked him up and threw him, with bone breaking force, into the facade of a nearby building, brick shattering under Grimm’s body as he hit. With a grunt of surprise and pain, he dropped to his knees, his head bowed.

Twin cracks of thunder told the dazed Grimm that the girl had still not run, but had reloaded her pistols and continued the fight. Shaking his head in disbelief as much as to clear the daze, he pushed himself to his feet unsteadily and threw himself into melee with the demon. The thing’s attention had been pulled to the pistol wielding girl and Grimm took the opportunity to land a brutal blow with his short sword on the brute’s back. Sparks flew as his sword rode down one of the exhaust pipes and sunk into the fiend’s flesh, a flesh that felt somehow unusually spongy and resilient. A long gash opened up where the sword bit in and the same dark ooze poured out of it as had dripped from the earlier bullet wounds. Hopping back from the attack, Grimm narrowly dodged getting backhanded by the Aberrent’s arm, the thing moving with a speed that seemed unnatural in something so large and lumbering.

Grimm began to dance with the beast in the snow slicked street as the Lady Wessex moved to the mouth of the alley and continued to reload her weapons with an eerie calm that was only countered by the excited glint in her eyes. Only Grimm’s fast footwork and long years of fighting experience kept him outside the creature’s attacks, the speed and ferocity of the onslaught pushing Grimm to his limits. As the fight began to draw out, the demon began to emit a whine of rage that soon became a howling barrage of madness. The sounds of pistons churning and the gears that made up the joints of the Freak’s right arm added to the cacophony that it was creating.

Lady Wessex opened the breach of her first pistol as she watched the hunter and hunted fight, the smoking cartridge of the spent round hissing as it jumped from the gun and fell onto the wet street. Her heart racing with an insane fervor since the combat’s had started and she could feel the beginnings of a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, protected below her respirator. The thrill that was sending tingles through her frame was a hundred times more intense than the ones she felt when she trained with the pistols she had one of her father’s scientists custom make for her. This was real and awakening, nothing like the charade of balls and high society she found herself trapped in day after day.

Out of the corner of his eye, Grim saw Lady Wessex finish loading her guns and take aim. Just as she began to pull the trigger, Grimm made a feint towards the monster’s left side. As the beast whirled to attack with its right arm, Grimm ducked under the attacking arm as the crash of the girl’s gunfire slammed into it. The mutant paused from the pain long enough for Grimm to come out behind its right side and with all his strength he drove the point of his blade into the gear mechanisms in its altered shoulder, jamming the gears.

The creature began to flail, its right arm not responding. With even louder howls of fear and rage. it began to throw itself around on the cobblestones of the street. Grimm jumped back away from the maddened Horror and watched. He was certain that the jam would cause something in the beast to break and give him the edge he needed to finish it off. It just didn’t seem to be taking any real damage from his sword slashes or the lady’s bullets.

 

A Grimm Day in the City Part 4

The filthy snow continued to fall all that night and for the next few days as Grim began to move through the slums of the city in hunt of his prey. As he had told the rich fool, the quarry was much harder to pin down than it would have been if it had been a half-crazed Aberrent native to the slums. This one was leaving a gruesome trail of mutilated bodies in its wake and moving on mere minutes before Grim arrived upon the scene. As such Grimm had been witness to the dying breaths of a dozen victims in the past three days as the last of their ruby blood flowed out from their torn and sundered bodies into the already filthy snow and ash they lay in.

Each time the murder would happen in the depths of a dark alley and Grim was coming to the determination that the beast held the view that what he was doing was not for the public eye, be it for shame of its acts, fear of open reprisal, or just a dislike of being seen in the form that he had been forced into. All the murders had been committed on the outskirts of the city as well, within viewing distance of the dense, foreboding forest that surrounded the town.

The most recent murder had happened in the early predawn light of the fourth day since Grim had taken the job, a time longer than most of his previous hunts, the slight change in light almost unnoticeable in the gray miasma of fog, snow, and ash that covered Grimm’s world. The corpse was that of a young girl, maybe seventeen years old. Yet she was drastically aged due to a hard life she lived in the choking, twisting confines of the poor sectors. Hard lines etched into the stone that her countenance had been forced to become. The body still twitched on occasion as Grim came upon the seen, the splattering of blood that covered the wall the girl had collapsed against glinting wet and viscous against the foul moisture the snow had left behind. Droplets of the crimson fluid would find crevices in the worn brick and drip back down the wall towards the torn corpse. Three huge gashes crossed her body from the left shoulder to her right hip, delivered so deep and with such force that the sternum and ribs had been shattered and the lungs turned into grisly tatters. The look of horror and pain locked into the girls face bespoke of the appearance of the Aberrent, a beast that had developed a fierce reputation among the poor that it preyed on.

A muffled scream tore from the mouth of the alley, setting Grim’s world on edge and throwing him into a spin that saw his blade half drawn from its scabbard, the ornate handle glinting in the feeble light shed by the streetlamp just outside the alley. There, in the mouth of the alley, looking in on the scene torn from brimstone scriptures,  was a pretty woman draped in a deep green cloak with less than pristine white fox fur trimming that covered a neat, if overly ostentatious, fitted jacket and skirt of gold fabric. The tip of the bejeweled breathing apparatus she wore quivering, a delicate, white doeskin gloved hand held to it in shock and revulsion. Her bright green eyes stood open wide in terror, tears moving to the corners, but Grim could see a deep seated wonder hidden behind her reactions to the scene in the alley.

“What in the name of all the demons of hell are you doing here, Miss Wessex?” Grim hissed, the anger rolling out from behind his sturdy leather breathing mask.

“I… I…“ She stammered, the words getting caught in her throat along with the bile rising from her stomach. With an effort of will, she pulled her eyes from the disemboweled girl and looked directly into Grim’s dark eyes. Pulling an ethereal covering of haughty nonchalance around her she answered Grimm’s question. “It has been several days and you haven’t completed your end of the bargain. My father loses business partners daily due to this scandal. He sent me to remind you of your duty and to see that it gets done.”

“Your father is a fool who brought this on himself, and you are more so one for coming out into this death trap.” Grimm hissed, his words quite and vehement, but his mind was not on the conversation any longer. The sound of wet gears and the hissing of steam escaping from a pressure tank had caught his ears, sounds that stood out against the sudden lack of the normal sounds of life in the slums. With careful steps, Grim began to move out of the alley and towards the odd noises, noises that came closer with every heartbeat. The girl launched into a tirade about calling her a fool and was paying no attention to anything but Grimm, as he brushed past her and into the broken cobblestones of the main street.

 

A Grimm Day in the City – part 2

Lights glittered like fallen stars from the windows of the uptown mansion that dwelled, safe and isolated from the rest of the city, behind a wrought iron gate and a duo of heavily armed guardsman. The contraptions the guards held menacingly in their hands might once have resembled a simple musket, but the clockwork additions on the stock and the pistons that drove the cogs made them look far more lethal than the original design they had been modified from. A rubber hose snaked from the largest of the pistons to a small steal backpack that the guards wore. The side of the pack that was touching them was heavily insulated so that the smoldering coal fire contained within, evidenced by the smokestacks belching fumes above, wouldn’t burn them. Even still, sweat beaded on the guards’ foreheads in the cold air and snow that swirled around them while they waited with Grimm for word to come back from the mansion. The breathing units the guard wore had been designed and created to match their uniforms, a sure indication of the money that the family owning the mansion possessed.

Finally, a heavily cloaked and muffled figure moved quickly from the massive front doors of the estate towards the gate. Expensive white fur-lined the dark green cloak that the figure had pulled tight around themselves and just the tip of a jeweled breathing unit could be seen to stick out of the hood, the light glinting off the decorations each time they turned their head to look back at the main house, nervousness evident in their manner.

One of the guards moved back away from the waiting guest towards the iron gate and listened to the cloaked figure. Nodding his head slowly the guard motioned the guest forward and pulled a large key from below the collar of the shirt of his uniform, the dark blue having long since been stained grey by the frequent ash falls he had to work through. Fitting the ornate bronze key, attached by a chain around his neck, into the centerpiece of the gate, he turned it and an audible click followed. Putting his weight into it, the heavy gun he bore held in one hand with help of a hook bearing most of its weight on his belt, he opened the gate just enough to allow the guest to slip through. The cloaked figure backed up a couple steps as the guest entered through the opening. A slender gloved hand escaped the confines of the cloak and beckoned him to follow it.

The two made their way to the front door of the house as the guards watched from their post at the now relocked gate. Shrugging to each other they moved back to their positions on either side of the gate and watched a hunched old man maneuver a shovel on the walkways outside the great mansion, clearing the snow from the ground. No breather adorned the poor old man’s face and the guards chuckled to themselves at the pathetic lives of the underclass, those that had to take any job to make ends meet, even the filthy work of clearing away the drifts of ash fall that would otherwise clog the streets of the affluent quarter.

A Grimm Day in the City – part 1

http://wallpapercave.com

http://wallpapercave.com

A Grimm Day in the City

By Ming Drake

 

The dingy light emanating from the streetlamp did little to break through the ash falling from the darkened sky and illuminate the dirty streets. His knee high black leather boots made firm imprints in the drifts that the ash created. He remembers a time when the lamps did not have to be lit during the day, much less at high noon as they were today. The clouds that belched forth from the countless coal burning steam powered plants and the smaller, personal steam powered mansions in the rich area of the city, an area that he was moving slowly towards, blotted out the sun. The weak light spilling from the lamps in the poorer section of the city slowly brightened as he made his way uptown.

With a start, he noticed that his boots had become wet and dripping, cold seeping in to reach his flesh. Gingerly peeking out from his wide brimmed hat and holding the breathing unit he wore firmly to his face, he studied the blackened sky. Holding out his other hand he caught one of the flakes drifting out from the gloomy sky. He watched with firmly concealed wonder as the flake melted into a tiny pool of water in the leather of his glove, its collection of rivets and bronze plates glinting dully with the reflected light from the lamps.  

By the creator! It’s snow, not ash. I haven’t seen snow since I was a young boy in the slums. I remember the cold that seeped into your bones as the drifts of off white stuff built up in the streets, the shabby rags I wore much too thin to keep any warmth in. That was before the perpetual clouds of coal smoke covered the city. Snow hasn’t fallen since then that I know of. This storm must be an amazingly intense one to have punched through the burning sky.” Shaking his head at his own thoughts, he wiped the dark, gritty water, polluted by the smog the flake had drifted down through, on his black, stylish pants that were tucked into his tall, knee high, boots before resuming his journey uptown through the drifts of snow, ebony as the ash that gorged the sky.