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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 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.