"Are you two okay?" Tiffany called from the library, checking before she dared look round the door frame.
"We're good." Terri reassured her. "A bit singed. Todd's...."
"Yeah. I can see." There was the sound of a clip being rammed into a gun and a round being chambered. Tiffany's head appeared in the library doorway. "MP5?" she asked.
"Gimme." Crystal held out her hands and Tiffany tossed the gun to her. Crystal rolled and let off a short burst at where they had seen the figures. Then she braced herself against the door frame and began scanning to see where they had moved to.
Tiffany tossed the second MP5 to Terri, then appeared with a folding stock automatic shotgun in one hand, a bandoleer of shells across her chest and the bag with the rest of the weapons in it in her other hand. She low walked to the door and put the bag down behind Crystal. "Spare mags are in the bags. And I found this." she pulled a nickel plated Colt 1911 from the bag and handed it to Crystal. "It was under the table. Did you see how many there were?"
"Maybe five." Crystal guessed. "Probably more."
The flames from the Fort made it hard to see anything in the darkness beyond the wreck. The slasher gang probably weren't where they were looking anyway. They'd likely have split up to flank the house and look for entries through windows and secondary doors. Though the last one to try that was now perforated in the basement.
"That was a LAWS rocket." Terri said, "That's military equipment."
"Or the sort of thing we carry." Crystal added.
"Slashers in a gang, with guns? And hunter guns at that." Tiffany shivered at the possible conclusion.
"Hunters don't hunt hunters." Terri said, as much to reassure herself as the others. "There's no need. There's plenty of slashers to go round."
"Let's worry less about who's trying to kill us and more about how we're going to kill them." Crystal suggested.
"Higher ground?" Tiffany offered.
"One of the bedrooms. But we'll have to worry about the house slasher as well as long as we're in here." Terri said.
"And they could put grenades through any of the windows. All the ones on the front must have been smashed by that blast." Crystal added.
"I'm the one playing the Goth. I'm supposed to do the doom and gloom."
There was a splash outside. Crystal turned toward the sound and let off two three shot bursts. Terri followed up with two of her own. Terri nodded to Tiffany, who sprinted up the nearest wing of the stairs. She crouched on the landing, guarding Loomis' body and attentive for any sound.
Crystal went up the stairs next. She joined Tiffany in guarding the landing.
Terri wanted to close the doors, but the hinges had been wrenched and twisted by the explosion and they weren't going to move. She raised to a crouch and walked backwards toward the stairs. She wasn't ready for the body which came through one of the smashed windows and landed just behind her.
Crystal let out a cry of warning as Terri started to turn. The ice axe sliced across the back of her right hand and the pain spasm threw the MP5 from her grasp. She dodged away from the figure in black, tripped and rolled. The ice axe swung down again, destroying her gun.
"Shoot the bastard!" Terri called out to her comrades.
Crystal was leaning over the bannister, trying to get a clear shot. A three shot burst dug up splinters from the floor where the figure had been a moment before.
Terri was struggling to pull out the pistol from her waistband. The slasher stood over her and swung the ice axe. Only a reflexive shuffle backwards and the splits saved Terri from being impaled. The ice axe dug into the floor inches from her crotch.
The slasher tugged at the ice axe, which was jammed in place. Terri aimed a kick at his head, but missed. She struggled to her feet instead and went back to pulling the pistol from her waistband.
The ice axe wasn't coming free, but neither was Terri's gun. The slasher drew the stiletto he had pulled from his shoulder earlier and took a step back ready to attack.
His foot touched down and slid across the floor. He tried to right himself, only to bring his other foot into the pool of Todd's slippery vomit as well. He ran on the spot, it seemed, for a moment, then his legs went out from under him and he fell over backwards. Crystal leant further over the bannister and fired another three shot burst right into his chest. When the body hit the floor with a hefty crack she put another burst into his head.
Terri finally had her pistol free. She pointed it at the body on the floor, but didn't bother firing. It was obviously no longer needed. "Thanks."
Crystal stood up to wave over the balcony, "Not a problem."
The burst of gunfire came from the dark beyond the burning SUV. It raked along the landing just above the height of the railing atop the bannister. Where Tiffany was crouching it passed right over her head, but two bullets hit Crystal in the chest. She fell backwards, dead before she hit the floor. Her MP5 clattered over the edge of the bannister and landed on the dead slasher's chest.
Tiffany rolled away from the bannister. "Terri!" she hollered.
"Get out while you can!"
"I'll be fine. Go!"
"Get to somewhere defensible! I'll be back!" Terri fired a few wild shots in the general direction of the muzzle flashes she'd seen, then ran into the dining room.
The windows on the rear face of the house were still mostly intact. Terri picked up a pool cue, swung it and put the heavy end through a pane of cracked glass. She dived through the gap, and spent horrible weightless seconds hoping there was nothing dangerous to land on. She hit grass, rolled, did a quick survey of the darkness around her, then took off for safety.
* * *
This was not right. Not right at all. First the children, now this new lot. His house had holes in it. The explosion had loosened joints and seriously damaged the structure. And there was blood and vomit all over it.
Admittedly, most of the blood was his own fault, but they wouldn't go away and let him tidy it up.
Two of the bullets that had been fired into the house from outside had punched through the wall of his current hiding space. Too high to hit him where he was sat thinking, but still unpleasantly close.
He heard scuffling on the landing, then a door being opened and hastily closed. The little one who wore dark clothes, he reckoned. She had taken refuge in the main bedroom.
That was not a good idea, if he had read the sounds of movement outside the window correctly.
He would watch, and then go and clean up after whatever happened next.
* * *
Tiffany closed the door quietly. She looked around the darkened room. There was a desk to the side of the door. She laid her shotgun on it and started dragging it across to block the door. The desk was just as heavy as it looked, but she was stronger than she appeared and moved it easily enough.
With the desk blocking the door Tiffany snatched her shotgun back up, holding it close for comfort. After all the chaos the house was suddenly very quiet. But not silent. There was a click of shifting wood, the creak of planking under an increased load. Now Tiffany remembered the secret passageways and the rooms behind the walls.
If the house slasher could pop out from behind a panel at any moment she couldn't possibly be safe. If she went outside it would be no better.
She felt a chill, and it took a moment too long to realise it was because the window was open. She saw the figure rising from behind the bed as she turned and raised the shotgun. The figure had reflective eyes- night sight goggles she thought- and raised a strange, boxy weapon.
They both pulled their triggers at the same time. The shotgun kicked in Tiffany's hands and the figure flinched backwards as the pellets hit it. The twin prongs of the taser dug into Tiffany's shoulder. She convulsed as current flowed through the wires trailing back to the taser. With her finger frozen on the trigger the automatic shotgun kept firing. The figure staggered back as the second shot hit them and then fell out of the window with the third. The wires from the taser went taut and tugged the prongs out of Tiffany's shoulder.
There were noises from downstairs, lots of boots started running up the stairs. Tiffany dropped the shotgun and staggered back until she hit the desk. She put a hand out to support herself, but couldn't find anything to rest it on and fell to the floor. She tried to move. She willed her muscles to work, but all she could manage was a few twitches.
There were voices outside the bedroom door. Tiffany couldn't make out what they were saying. The door was pushed from the other side. It hardly moved before it hit the desk, which didn't budge.
More voices from outside. This time Tiffany could make out at least one word, "Harder". Maybe, when her muscles started working again, she could crawl over to the window and climb out. The door banged against the desk, the desk pushed gently against her back.
Now she was seeing things, because the wall started to move. A section of it swung out and then she spotted a pair of boots where the skirting had been. The boots were connected to dark trouser legs, but that was all she could make out. The boots and trousers started striding toward her.
As the boots stopped in front of Tiffany's face she realised who they belonged to. She told her arms to reach out for the shotgun, insisted her legs kick out and carry her away, but they didn't do as she asked. Hands grabbed her upper arms and she was lifted up. The door crashed against the table again, but she didn't care. She was beyond caring and, as she was carried roughly away, her world went black as she passed out.