For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that – All There in the (Monster) Manual. Hope you enjoy!
This Week’s Inspiration: Nalfeshnee
Half-orc Hack doesn’t know where he fits in the world but desperately wants to prove himself tough enough to join the fully blooded orcs of the Greenskins MC. But when a delivery to a rival motorcycle club led by a hulking kamapua’a known as ‘The Pig’ goes disastrously wrong, the young half-orc might wind up fully dead.
Trigger Warning: Attempted Sexual Assault, Gore
Hack stood in front of the mirror, practising his sneer. He pulled his upper lip away from his stubby tusks, jutting from his upper jaw in place of his canines. Much as he tried, the expression looked unnatural. Hack’s tusks barely protruded past his lip. Seventeen-years-old, they’d only just started growing in.
The young halforc couldn’t spend any more time sneering, he was going to be late. Hack turned away in disgust and returned to his end of his mother’s doublewide trailer to grab his vest. Actually, it had been his father’s vest before he split, the only thing of any value he’d left them. An old jacket with the arms ripped off, the black leather badly scuffed and plastered with patches. It draped off Hack’s shoulders to expose his ropey arms.
There was little privacy in the trailer. Hack’s mother looked up from her TV as he started toward the door in boots, jeans, a t-shirt, and his father’s vest.
“Where are you going?”
“Out,” Hack replied sulkily.
“Out where? With who?”
“Just out with some friends, what does it matter?”
“I just don’t want you getting into trouble.”
Hack’s mom was pure orc, her grey-green bulk filling their tiny couch. Hack’s father had provided the human half of his genetics. Full, curving tusks bristled from the sides of her mouth.
“Mom, what trouble? You’re talking crazy,” Hack said.
“You think I don’t know who you’ve been talking to? What you’ve been doing?” Her naturally coarse voice became thick with tears. “You don’t have anything to prove to those orcs, you know that don’t you? You’ve got nothing to prove!”
Hack rolled his eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve got to go, I’ll be late.”
Hack threw himself through the door and slammed it behind him. He hurried to his bike before his mom could follow. The bike wasn’t a lot, an old 200cc Manticore he’d stripped to bare essentials. Hack threw on his helmet and tore out of the trailer park.
Nothing to prove, that was easy for her to say. As a full-blooded orc, Hack’s mom was over seven foot tall with the kind of natural musculature a human body builder would have to spend eight hours a day in the gym maintaining. Hack’s fully orc friends all teased him for having a hot mom. She was the one who’d decided to have a halforc kid with some human deadbeat.
But Hack’s mom was right, he wasn’t meeting with friends. He felt guilty that he couldn’t lie more convincingly. She knew what he was getting up to and it would worry her until he got back home. Hack only rode for a few minutes before pulling up in front of a massive mechanic’s garage. Despite how late it was, the garage was filled with light and movement. Thrash music poured out of the open doorway.
Keeping his head high, Hack marched into the garage like he belonged there. Mostly orcs filled the building, working on cars and motorcycles, or just standing around drinking and talking. On the backs of their jackets and vests were patches with tusked skulls and the words ‘GREENSKINS MC’. Hack tried a half-sneer, and ignored the few bikers he saw elbowing one another and snickering as he walked past.
Odin Protsent was everything Hack admired or wanted to be. Closer to eight foot tall than seven, enormously strong. His pebbled grey-green skin was covered in tattoos. Hack met him in the garage’s back office, surrounded by filing cabinets and boxes. Odin passed a tightly wrapped package across his desk.
“Simple, kid, take the package to the club ‘Paralyze’. Out back there’s a kamapua’a they call ‘The Pig’, he’s head of The Fiends MC.”
“A kamapua’a?” Hack repeated.
“Yeah, you know what they look like, right?”
“Yeah, I just don’t think I’ve ever met one in real life.”
“Well then it’s your lucky day. Give the package to him, no one but him, and bring the money back here. You have any trouble, you tell them Odin sent you. You got a piece?”
Hack took the package and stuffed it into an inside pocket of his father’s vest. “A piece?”
“A gun, kid, a weapon.”
“Uh, no, no I don’t.”
Odin looked hesitant but he turned and reached into one of his filing cabinets. He returned with a stubby, five shot revolver, an old .40 Widower. In Odin’s massive paw it looked like less than a toy, it looked like a full miniature, like something that belonged in a dollhouse.
“It might not look like much but it’s loaded with .40 calibre orgrecutters,” Odin said. “Don’t go waving it around for nothing but don’t-, don’t let The Pig give you no shit, okay? You’re representing the Greenskins, remember that. No one fucks with orcs.”
Nervous but trying not to show it, Hack accepted the gun. It was small but fit his hand just fine. He stuffed it, too, into an inside pocket of his vest.
Hack returned to his bike out the front. Cops were always staking out known members of the Greenskins MC, since they were considered a criminal outfit. Junior prospects were needed for day to day tasks, even better if they were minors. Hack was alert to the thought of being watched as he kicked his Manticore into gear and pulled out.
Paralyze, the club home to The Fiends MC, was across town near the warehouse district. Several other clubs, a couple of tattoo parlours, and a fae brothel occupied the same block. People lined up outside. Hack pulled around and parked beside the club, next to a row of much larger motorcycles that he imagined belonged to The Fiends.
Hack didn’t bother with the line stretching down the sidewalk. He marched to the front where a hulking minotaur, with black fur and a ring through his nostrils, guarded the door. He looked unimpressed and moved to block Hack from entering.
“Odin sent me, from the Greenskins,” Hack said.
The minotaur looked him up and down, and stepped aside. Hack sneered, pretending not to even see the line. He was very conscious of the weight of the package in one pocket and gun in the other, and resisted the urge to touch them.
Proto-thrash music hammered Hack’s eardrums as soon as he stepped inside. Sweeping spotlights dazzled his eyes in the main body of the club. Hack clocked more club security lurking against the walls. Glowing pixies shot across the tables, collecting bottles and glasses and leaving sizzling trails behind them. The throbbing crowd filling the dancefloor was a diverse one. Orcs and humans, and other races. Hack spotted a bunch of Zavalans wearing long spikes on their shoulders and elbows so they wouldn’t get crushed if any of the bigger races failed to notice them thanks to their diminutive size.
Hack wandered around, trying not to look clueless. He spotted a daiju, four arms folded across his chest, guarding what looked like a backroom door. He slipped around the dancefloor to the daiju.
“I’m here to see The Pig!” Hack shouted over the music. “Odin sent me!”
Daiju had long and powerful serpentine lower bodies and humanoid torsos, like naga, but with four arms instead of two, and were covered entirely in scales. This one was a reddish-orange colour. The daiju’s reptilian face, with its big eyes and blunt snout, was unreadable. A forked tongue flicked out, tasting the air, and then he moved aside to open the doorway.
Hack slipped inside and the daiju followed. Down a corridor crowded with band posters they entered a large backroom. Music from the club muffled by the walls, the room was a lot quieter. Half a dozen members of The Fiends MC lounged around, drinking, a couple of them playing pool. They all looked up as Hack was escorted in by the daiju.
Unlike the Greenskins MC, which was all orcs and halforcs, the Fiends were scattered across racial boundaries. A couple of minotaurs and a minocapra sat in one corner. One of the minotaurs made a show of cleaning his nails with the edge of an enormous steel throwing axe. A single, tall but lean, dog-headed tharl played pool with a burly human. And coming over like he owned the place, a drake. Built like a humanoid dragon, the drake was covered in dark red scales. A thick tail swished behind the drake’s legs, and a pair of wings rose over his shoulders. All of them, including the daiju, wore Fiends MC jackets or vests.
“What do we have here?” Heat radiated from the drake’s mouth as he spoke.
“I’m here to see The Pig,” Hack said.
The drake laughed. “Oh, yeah, I’m sure he’ll be very happy to see you.”
“I’ve got a package for him, from Odin at the Greenskins.”
“Yeah? Maybe you want to give that to me.”
Standing in front of the drake was like standing uncomfortably close to a hot oven. Around the base of the drake’s throat, tied to a leather string, was an actual grenade worn like an amulet. The drake’s vest barely hid a large gun tucked into a shoulder holster at his side. They were all armed, guns and knives. Combined with the heat, Hack started to feel like the room didn’t have enough air. Like The Fiends and the walls were closing in around him. Aware that it was just fear and panic trying to get the best of him, Hack struggled to keep it off his face and resisted the urge to take some big, gulping breaths.
“Odin told me to give it to The Pig, and no one else,” Hack said.
The drake laughed again, and some of the others seemed to share in his cruel sense of amusement. “Okay, halforc, that’s on you, but don’t say I didn’t offer.”
Stepping aside, the winged reptilian ushered Hack to another door. His grenade bounced against his scaly chest. Hack kept sneering, pretending not to be intimidated.
“Hey, boss, visitor for you! He’s got a package from the Greenskins,” the drake shouted.
“Send them in,” rumbled a monstrously deep voice, muffled by the door.
The drake opened the door for Hack and guided him inside. Swallowing his fear, Hack felt for the package and entered. The door clicked shut behind him.
“Joy, what has Odin sent me?”
A huge, dark shape rose from behind a desk at the far end of the room. Even in a room sized for larger individuals, The Pig’s head almost brushed the ceiling. Trashed, the office stank of old food. A soiled bed, sized for the kamapua’a, had been shoved into one corner. Hack’s heart rate thundered in his chest.
“I’ve got a package from Odin,” Hack said.
“That’s not what I was referring to,” The Pig said.
The kamapua’a was built like an ogre, around ten foot tall with broad shoulders and an immensely powerful chest and set of arms, as well as a protruding stomach. Thick, coarse hair covered his body. His head looked like the head of a massive warthog, a bristly mane of black hair, small, protruding ears and piggish eyes. Twin pairs of curving tusks jutted from the sides of The Pig’s broad snout.
Trying to keep his hands from shaking, Hack pulled the package out of his jacket’s pocket. He held it up for The Pig’s inspection as the leader of The Fiends loomed over him like a stone wall about to give way. The Pig plucked it out of Hack’s grasp, looked at it, and tossed it aside. Hack remembered Odin’s advice, ‘don’t let The Pig give you no shit’. Hack tried and failed to keep the fear off his face.
“Odin said you had money for him,” Hack said.
“Yeah, I’ve got your money.” The Pig half-turned and gestured at a thick envelope on his desk. “But the question is, what are you going to do to earn it?”
“All Odin told me was to deliver the package. You don’t want to mess with the Greenskins.”
“I thought the Greenskins only took orcs. Ain’t no way you’re a full orc.” The Pig must have weighed at least five times as much as Hack.
“Yeah? Which half?”
The half that counts.” Hack gave The Pig his most vicious sneer, ropey muscles quivering.
The Pig laughed and then reached for Hack’s face. His hands were no different to a human or an orc’s hands but they were so big they could have wrapped around Hack’s entire skull. His thumb grazed one of Hack’s tusks, and he nearly cupped the side of Hack’s face before Hack jerked back.
“You got real cute little tusks,” The Pig said.
“Keep your fucking hands off of me!” Hack said.
Hack’s heart raced. In the distance, he could hear the muffled proto-thrash out in the club. Immediately outside the office was the laughter of the rest of The Pig’s gang. They weren’t going to help Hack, and no one else could hear him. He was alone with the giant kamapua’a, and his perverse, lecherous grin.
The Pig started forward, hand raised toward Hack’s face. Hack was forced backward or he’d be stepped on. He backed all the way into one of the crusty walls, old takeout containers crackling underfoot.
“Back up!” Hack said.
“You know, there is nothing, nothing, sweeter in the world to me than popping an orc’s cherry.” The Pig manhandled the crotch of his enormous jeans. “You do a good job, you walk out of here with the money. You can tell Odin any kind of story you want to. But you do this the hard way and I’ll break your fucking neck.”
Hack fumbled for his vest pocket and grabbed for the old .40 Widower. He ripped it free before The Pig could react. Hack pointed the gun at The Pig’s fridge-sized chest and The Pig automatically backed up, hands on show.
“Back up! Just back the fuck up, you sick fuck!” Hack said.
“Whoa, hey, chill out, little halforc.”
“Back off or I’m going to shoot you!”
“You’re going to shoot me with that little thing?” The Pig scoffed but he was no fool, he kept his eyes on the gun.
“The gun may be little but the ammo is no joke!”
Hack kept his eyes on The Pig, even as someone knocked on the door of the office. He couldn’t say how quickly the kamapua’a might move. A single blow from one of The Pig’s sledgehammer fists would be enough to incapacitate Hack, gun or no gun, if Hack let his guard drop.
“Everything okay in there, boss?” The drake’s voice floated through the wood.
“Tell them it’s fine,” Hack hissed.
“It’s fine, nothing, just a little negotiating going on in here,” The Pig said.
“You didn’t have to be an asshole about it,” Hack said, his voice breaking for a second. “You didn’t have to be some raping piece of shit. You got the package, give-, give me the money and we both walk out of here!”
“Yeah, yeah, the money, here.”
The Pig lumbered backward to his desk. He kept facing Hack and the gun, a cocky smile coming back to his snout. Reaching back, he took the envelope of money without looking and tossed it to Hack. Too hard, he hurled the envelope at Hack’s face. Hack jerked backward, surprised.
The Pig charged, crossing the office in just a couple of strides. Hack was too fast for him, and fired. The young halforc kept moving, and firing, as The Pig cratered the wall. Four rounds punched through The Pig’s jacket and hit him in the chest. They didn’t have much stopping power on their own but a half-second after each shot landed there was a loud, secondary bang, as loud as the gunshots themselves. The orgecutters exploded after nestling themselves deep in The Pig’s ribs. Shrapnel drove itself deep into his organs.
“Ah, shit, you little shit.” The Pig fell to his knees. “You little fuck.”
Reaching for his chest, The Pig found his hands wet with his own blood. He sank slowly in on himself. Something in his chest haemorrhaged, pumping blood down the front of his torso.
Hack breathed hard, and spotted the money lying on the stained carpet. One round loaded, Hack kept the gun raised as he ducked to retrieve the envelope. He stuffed it into his vest. The Pig collapsed in on himself, falling onto his side. There was a tumult at the door, however, as the rest of The Pig’s gang ran toward the office.
The door crashed open. The tall, lean frame of the goat-headed minocapra filled the doorway. Curving horns sprouted from the sides of their head.
“He’s killed the boss!” The minocapra bleated.
Hack raised the gun at the doorway without thinking and fired. The bullet smacked the minocapra between the eyes, with their square, sheeplike pupils. His head rocked backward. Half a second later, the round exploded and the minocapra’s head blew to pieces. Blood and bits of brain, skull, showered the other Fiend bikers behind him.
The mostly headless body was thrown aside. The Pig’s gang crowded the doorway, starting with the drake and one of the minotaurs. There was no way out except for a small window above the bed in the corner of the office and Hack didn’t have time to reach it and escape.
The gun was empty and Hack almost dropped it. But although Hack knew he’d used up all his bullets, The Fiends didn’t. He steadied his aim on the door again as the bikers shoved inside.
“Back up! Back the fuck up!” Hack yelled.
The drake and others standing in the doorway hesitated. Hack started forward, faking a confidence he didn’t feel. He pointed his gun at the drake’s face and he reversed, predatory eyes fixed on Hack.
Hack pushed his way into the larger room, keeping them at bay with the empty gun. He forced The Fiends back against the walls as he headed toward the corridor again. All of them were armed, but none of them reached for their guns. The daiju balanced on his thick tail. One of the minotaurs toyed with his throwing axe, as if looking for an opening to use it.
“You don’t have enough rounds for all of us,” the drake said, unaware Hack had no rounds at all.
“Yeah, but the first one to come for me gets another between the eyes!” Hack lied.
“You’re dead, halforc, you’re fucking dead!” The drake said.
Hack slipped into the corridor, trying not to show how afraid he was. Soon as he was out of sight, he broke into a run. The club’s nonstop music got louder and louder. Hack slammed back past the door the daiju had let him through earlier.
The club continued dancing and moving, unaware of what had gone on in the back rooms. Hack hid the empty gun in his father’s vest and hurried through the crowd. As he reached the entryway, Hack glanced back and saw the drake and others shoving through the crowd on the other side of the room.
Blowing past the minotaur on the door, Hack sprinted to his bike. Bikes belonging to The Friends were arrayed next to his much smaller 200cc Manticore. Hack launched himself at the first bike and kicked it but it barely shifted. He hit it again, putting all his weight into it, and managed to knock it over. It crashed into a second bike like a domino, bringing it down as well, but the others remained standing. With no more time to waste, Hack returned to his own bike. His hands shook so badly he dropped his helmet as he tried to put it on and it spilled across the asphalt. Leaving it, Hack jumped on the bike and booted the starter. The empty gun was back in his pocket, along with the envelope full of cash. He peeled into the street and shot away like a missile with no sense of direction. As he did, the drake and other bikers poured from the front door of the club.
“Get your wheels! I’ll track him from the air!” The drake said.
The others ran for the parking lot beside the club. Frustrated but undeterred, the minotaurs easily righted the two bikes that Hack had knocked over. All of them, including the serpentine daiju, piled onto bikes fitted to their frames. Meanwhile, the drake unfurled his leathery wings and with a powerful gust he took to the air. Those waiting in line for the club watched in astonishment as it all unfolded.
Hack sped away blindly, without an intended direction. Steering one handed, he fumbled with his jeans and pulled out his cellphone. In his contacts, he found the number for Odin’s garage hidden under the name ‘Bike Shop’.
“Yeah, hello?” Odin answered.
“It’s me! It’s me, Hack! I’ve got the money but I killed him! I killed The Pig!” Hack yelled over the wind.
“I killed The Pig! He didn’t give me a choice!”
“You’re telling me this over a fucking phoneline, kid?” Odin’s voice rose in anger.
“The others are coming after me, I’m in the warehouse district near the club! Near Paralyze!”
“Okay, shut up, kid, don’t say another word. Just keep them off your tail, we’re coming, okay?”
Odin hung up. Hack stared at the phone for a second and then shoved it into his vest. The bike wobbled and Hack seized it with both hands. Running a red light at a quiet intersection, he pulled around hard to the right.
Sounds of snarling engines carried on the wind. Bike headlamps appeared behind Hack. He tried to lose them and headed deeper into an industrial estate where, at that time of night, little else was happening.
Sensing movement above, Hack glanced up and over his shoulder. A monstrous winged shape drifted overhead. The drake, following him from the air. Hack screamed around another corner but the drake barely adjusted course to stay on top of him. The only way to lose him was to get under cover. Big, boxy warehouses crowded around him. Few lights occupied the street, and even fewer were switched on in the buildings themselves.
The drake swooped, missiling down on Hack. He came below the streetlamps, close enough that Hack could see the details of his jacket and sinews of his enormous wings. The grenade dangled on its leather string around the drake’s neck.
“I’ll get you, you little fuck!”
Heat washed out of the drake’s throat. A jet of flame scorched across Hack’s back and then off to the side. Hack’s vest protected him from the worst of it but he slapped the back of his neck and the bike swerved violently. Flapping his wings, the drake drew off but then swung in again with his clawed feet. His tail clipped Hack across the shoulder.
“Shit, shit!” Hack yelled.
Hack circled randomly through the industrial estate. The other bikers had split up, and over his own bike Hack could hear the roar of their engines. Headlamps flashed at cross streets as they closed in on him like a net. The drake pulled back then fell on him again. Clawed feet crashed into Hack’s side and he spilled sideways.
Falling, Hack’s Manticore hit the asphalt and went shrieking and spinning across the road, throwing up a shower of sparks. Hack was lucky not to get his leg caught under it. He hit the road as well and rolled, flipping over and over. Pain shot through his body, his joints and ribs jarred in the fall. The vest kept his back from getting a case of road rash.
Hack lay there for a second, groaning, after he and his bike scraped to a stop. Leathery wings flapped overhead. Hack shot back into action in spite of his protesting bruises and sprains, and went for his vest pocket. He pulled out the empty gun Odin had given him again and waved it around.
“Back the fuck up!” Hack yelled.
The drake ascended, flapping his powerful wings, but a peal of laughter came from overhead. An engine grumbled and Hack saw a bike at the far end of the block. He scrambled across the sidewalk. There was a gap between the gates in the nearest driveway. Hack slid through easily and ran for the shelter of the factory at the end of the drive. Dark blood leaked from his left arm, where he’d cut it going down. He was lucky he wasn’t hurt worse.
The sides of the warehouse-sized building were dark. Hack caught sight of a yellow sign on the roof reading ‘Barakor Industries’. He circled the building looking for an entrance. Multiple engines snarled to a stop out the front. Shouted voices carried across the lot.
Hack found a couple of sliding doors by the loading dock. They were locked with a length of chain but with all the muscle he could manage, Hack shoved the doors apart just far enough for him to wriggle through. Lights in the factory were set to a minimal setting. Thick webs of shadow covered strange machinery and towering shelves. Still carrying the empty .40 Widower, Hack probed deeper into the empty factory. Suddenly, he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket.
“Yeah?” Hack answered, although he didn’t know the number.
“Kid, it’s Odin, where the fuck are you?”
“I’m in a factory, in the warehouse district! I saw a sign that said Barakor Industries!”
Odin had to shout over roaring engines in the background. “Hold tight, we’re on our way.”
“Thank you! Thank you!”
“Not about you, kid, it’s about the Greenskins’ rep. Fuck with one, you fuck with all of us. You don’t fuck with orcs!”
Odin hung up and Hack stuffed the phone back in his pocket. He just had to hide until the Greenskins got there. He sprinted into the factory, looking for somewhere to take cover.
The Fiends gathered outside, finding the door Hack had forced open. The minotaur with the throwing axe wrapped it in the chains and yanked it down, breaking them. They pushed the doors open and poured fearlessly into the factory.
“Where are you? Come out here, asshole!” The drake yelled.
Tilting his head back, the drake vomited a stream of fire toward the ceiling. Flames illuminated the shadowy interior for several seconds. Splitting up, the bikers circled around the outskirts of the factory floor and started to comb through the machinery and shelves.
Heart in his throat, Hack kept moving, running and slipping around corners as silently as he could. If he could just stay out of the way until Odin and the Greenskins arrived then he might be alright. It was the only way he’d survive this. Hack kept the gun out in front of him as he moved, empty as it was he could maybe use it to scare them off again.
Something crashed into the shelving above Hack’s head. The roof and rafters were high enough that the drake had been able to take flight and hunt him from the air. Hack looked up. The drake leered down at him with his pointed fangs.
“I see you,” the drake mocked.
The drake’s head jerked forward, and he spewed flame into the corridor where Hack was hiding. Hack turned and sprinted, heading for the centre of the factory. The drake’s wings unfurled.
“Over here! He’s over here!”
Hack ran to an open patch in the centre of the factory, between towers of machinery and metal. He moved toward a second corridor but the daiju snaked out of the darkness and blocked him. The daiju carried a shotgun in its two lower arms, and a handgun in its upper right hand. His forked tongue flickered. Hack turned and went to run in another direction but the human biker was there, already training a shotgun on him. Spinning, he saw a huge rack of horns, one of the minotaurs, coming up behind him.
Hack whipped his gun up and around. “Back off! Back off! First one to come near me gets a bullet in the face!”
The Fiends surrounded Hack on all sides. All of them were armed but none of them used their weapons. The drake landed heavily, tail swishing and wings folding behind him.
“You ain’t going to shoot shit, you ain’t got shit,” the drake said. “You’re out, ain’t you?”
The drake stomped closer. All the bikers crowded around Hack, laughing. In desperation, in case he’d miscounted, in case he was somehow wrong, Hack pointed the Widower at the drake’s chest and pulled the trigger. The cylinder revolved and the hammer landed with a dry snap. The drake didn’t even flinch. Hack pulled the trigger twice more, for nothing. The drake’s clawed hand swept around and caught the side of Hack’s gun, ripping it out of his hand and sending it spinning into the dark.
“Pathetic,” the drake said.
“The-, the Greenskins will be here soon! They’ll kill you!” Hack said.
“We’d better make this fast then,” the human said.
“Not too fast.”
Heat radiated from the back of the drake’s throat. Bikers pressed in around Hack, helpless, weaponless. Their guns all pointed inward, trained on Hack, although if they weren’t careful they would catch one another in the crossfire. Around the drake’s neck was the grenade on its leather string, like a pendant. Maybe it would be enough, at least as a distraction.
“Just how fireproof are you?” Hack said.
“What?” The drake replied.
Hack suddenly shoved one hand into the grenade, pushing it against the drake’s collar. With his other hand, he snatched and ripped out the grenade’s pin. The pin and spoon came free but the grenade remained dangling around the drake’s throat. None of the others reacted. Hack ducked, and dived, rolling right between the drake’s legs and avoiding his tail.
“Fuck? No!” The drake said.
The drake clawed at his chest, grabbing for the grenade. A couple of the other bikers scattered but most were too slow. One of the minotaurs looked like he was trying to help. Hack half-rose but stayed close to the drake’s back, hoping his powerfully built body would be enough to absorb the blast.
A flat, heavy boom thundered through the factory. The drake staggered into Hack and two other Fiends were tossed aside. Smokehaze filled the air. Hot blood literally rained from the sky. When Hack looked up he saw, even though he was still on his feet, the drake’s head and neck had been completely blown off. His chest was mutilated open. Wings furling and unfurling, the dead drake sank and collapsed right at Hack’s feet. One of the minotaurs and the bearded human had been cut down by shrapnel in the explosion. They lay dead on the factory floor.
Hack hesitated, standing over the dead. The second minotaur, the one with the throwing axe, and the tharl were both picking themselves back up. Meanwhile, the daiju thrashed his powerful tail and shrieked. Boiling gore splattered the daiju across the face, blinding him. The gore must have come from the drake’s throat, part of his fire breathing system. With his free hand, still holding two guns, the daiju raked at his face. His eyes were burnt and skin blistered.
With a burst of inspiration, Hack leapt over the dead drake. He circled the daiju, looking over his shoulder to line himself up across from the minotaur. As Hack had noted before, if they weren’t careful the bikers could hit each other while aiming at him. Hack lunged, shoving the daiju, and then he let himself fall to the floor. Blinded, panicked, the daiju thrust his handgun out in front of him and started yanking the trigger. The shots hit the minotaur, knocking him backward.
Dazed, the minotaur staggered. Without thinking, he whipped around with his throwing axe. It fanned through the air, flying over Hack’s head, and impaled the blinded daiju. The blade split the daiju’s chest open. The daiju screamed and rose higher on his tail, teetering, and then collapsed. The minotaur fell over almost in the same moment, dead.
The tharl was the only biker left. He stared at Hack in disbelief, holding a large handgun. On his knees, Hack scrambled toward the fallen daiju. The daiju still held a shotgun in his taloned hands. Hack ratcheted the pump action and spun, but didn’t pull the trigger. He and the tharl just regarded one another.
Something in the tharl seemed to break, and he turned and ran. He didn’t get far, however. The tharl’s equilibrium was off following the explosion. Half a dozen strides away, the tharl tripped and fell forward. The hand holding his gun got twisted under his chest, and forced the gun upward and into his jaw. There was another flat, wet bang, and the top of the tharl’s head erupted, spewing gore across the floor. The tharl almost seemed to deflate, and the factory was silent.
Hack stood unsteadily, smoke hanging in the air. He kept a hold of the shotgun but there was nobody left to shoot, he was surrounded by nothing but dead bodies. Unsure of how long he took it all in, distantly he was aware of rumbling engines. The factory doors squealed, forced open, and a horde of almost a dozen Greenskins piled into the centre of the building where Hack waited. Odin, at the head of the pack, stared in disbelief.
“What the fuck happened here, kid?”
Hack met Odin’s disbelieving gaze. “You don’t fuck with orcs, right?”
Sean: You can probably expect to see more from this setting over the course of the year, as it is heavily populated with races inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, or at least traditional fantasy crossed with races inspired by various world myths. I was writing a book set in it, although this story is set in a more ‘modern’ part of the timeline while the book is set in its further flung future. Good chance I’ll jump around the timeline a lot as well.
The Pig was inspired by the Nalfeshnee featured in the Monster Manual although it’s not directly featured. I was flicking through the book as I do, looking for inspiration, and the sheer aggression in the depiction of the Nalfeshnee really jumped off the page, and really inspired the whole impetus of this story. But demons don’t play a part in that aforementioned setting, (although they do exist – it’s complicated). The main distinction over other fantasy settings I might use though is that it does have lots and lots and lots of races, so I invented one based on Kamapua’a the Hawaiian mythological figure. That he represents “pig nature that is dormant in most people… Treacherous and tender, he thirsts after the good things in life—adventure, love, and sensual pleasure…” seemed appropriate for the direction I wanted to take the story.
There’s a lot more I could gush about when it comes to this setting and how parts of this story relate into it but I’m already going on too long so I should leave it there! Thanks for reading!
Keep your eyes on my website for more in this series, and for more updates you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.
Next Week’s Inspiration: Kraken
Pingback: Once Orcs Were Warriors | Sean E. Britten