Tiffany managed to cover her eyes as the light dazzled everyone else on the landing. She slipped the knife from its sheath.
The whole building flexed as the Fort hit. Tiffany opened her eyes, and the light was less intense. Jason was staring at the carnage below. One of the team on the balcony had been knocked off her feet, the other two were rubbing their eyes. Tiffany saw one of them jerk and go limp, held up only by the knife in his back. The slasher was back.
There was gunfire from the foyer. The slasher charged forwards with the impaled hunter, then threw him at the remaining one standing, sending them both over the balcony railing. The girl on the floor was quick enough to do a spinning kick and take his feet out from under him.
Jason was frozen, overloaded by the action all around him. Tiffany rolled and jammed her knife into his thigh. He hardly even noticed at first, slowly turning from the fight between the slasher and his hunter to the hilt sticking out of his leg. "You little bitch." he pointed the pistol at her again.
The slasher and the girl hunter were grappling over her gun. He managed to use it as a lever to lift her and carry her across the balcony. The pair crashed into Jason and the three of them tumbled down the stairs.
Tiffany rolled to her feet, wobbled on them and fell on her ass again. It had been a long night, and she didn't have much energy left. She struggled up and looked around. There was an MP5 on the floor. She grabbed it and staggered to the far staircase. Two hunters at the foot of the stairs were firing at the side of the Fort, trying to break down the armour. She slumped against the wall to steady her aim, and emptied a full clip into and around them.
* * *
Terri looked at the bodies on the bonnet. Neither of them moved. The one on the bottom of the pair had landed hard on his head and the other had a large knife sticking out of his back. However, beyond them a hunter stood by the kitchen door.
Swinging the door open and using it as a shield, Terri aimed through the gun slot and fired. The first two shots missed, it was hard to aim through the door, but the third, fourth and fifth were on target- two in the armoured chest and one in the head. The hunter staggered sideways and fell through the door to the kitchen.
At the top of the stairs nearest her three figures crashed together. They started tumbling down the stairs. Confident none of them was Tiffany, Terri fired on the bundle of arms and legs as they came toward her. None of the three made it to the bottom of the stairs, ending up sprawled together three quarters of the way down.
There were others, Terri was sure. But just for a moment she couldn't properly work out where. She was answered by a series of crashes against the passenger side of the Fort. The last two hunters were firing at the side of the vehicle, breaking down the bulletproof glass.
Terri had no easy way out. If she stayed in the vehicle the glass would eventually give way and they'd fire in. If she got out she'd be an easier target.
Before she could make her choice she saw the two hunters cut down by gunfire from the top of the opposite stairs. She looked up and saw Tiffany at the top of the stairs, tossing an empty MP5 aside.
Terri tried to make a smooth exit from the Fort. But she slipped and fell to the floor. When she had pulled herself back to her feet she turned to Tiffany, who was coming down the stairs holding tight to the bannister. "You okay?"
"I've got bruises on my bruises." Tiffany reached the bottom of the stairs and leant against the side of the SUV. "Can we get this thing out of here, or do we have to walk?"
"Body bags." There was a clatter from the stairs behind Terri, as the bodies of the female hunter and 1392 tumbled limply down the steps. Jason stood against the wall, the silver pistol levelled at Terri. He flicked it in Tiffany's direction, indicating that he had them both covered. Stiffly, he started walking down the stairs. "What? You thought I was dead?"
"Well I did shoot you."
"You did?" Jason looked down and spotted blood glistening on his left thigh. "Well, that's just another reason to kill you."
The black figure of the slasher popped up from the floor, placing himself between Terri and Jason, staring at Jason. They both jumped and cried out. The only one who wasn't really surprised was Tiffany.
Terri looked the back of the slasher up and down and couldn't tell if there were any bullet holes in him. "I must be losing my touch." she sighed.
"Still alive?" Jason almost laughed. He pointed the gun at 1392's forehead. The slasher cocked his head to one side and simply stared. "Fine! See if you can survive this!" Jason pulled the trigger.
The gun exploded in his hand, shards of metal slicing through his fingers and hitting him in the face. One big piece of glinting metal lodged in his eye. Despite the injuries, Jason still stood, supported by the wall behind him. "Fuck." he muttered.
1392 stepped forward and pulled the remnants of the gun from Jason's hand. When he had taken it earlier he had plugged the barrel so that the gun would explode just like this when fired. It had worked better than he had hoped.
Jason was beginning to slide down the wall. 1392 grabbed him by the throat and held him up. With his free hand he waved the girls away.
"Seriously?" Terri had her pistol aimed at 1392's back, but couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger. She was sure she had one last bullet if she really wanted to use it. The slasher waved her away again. "I've got the gun." she reminded him. He turned to look at her.
"Give him the gun." Tiffany suggested.
"What? How many times have you been hit on the head today?"
Tiffany gave that a moment's thought. "I've lost count. But...." She dipped down and reappeared with an MP5, "I've got this." She shared a look with the slasher, who gave a slow nod. "Give him the gun. He's not going to use it on us."
Terri put the safety on and gingerly put the gun into the slasher's open hand. Now she noticed blood dripping from his sleeve. She had hit him at least once. She considered grabbing the gun back, but his hand closed around the grip before she could do anything. He brought it round to point at the side of Jason's head.
"This Fort's going nowhere." Tiffany announced, "But the keys are in the SUV outside. Let's get the fuck out of here." She kept the machine gun up as she and Terri walked backwards out of the building. They clambered over what was left of the veranda and climbed into the last, surprisingly unscathed, SUV.
Terri swung the SUV around in a reverse J-turn and headed down the track more sedately than she'd arrived.
Jason watched the SUV pull away. He had a mad grin. He'd lost, and the slasher was waving a gun in his face. The best he could hope for was a witty last line. He searched for the right phrase, but something was bugging him. He sniffed, "Do you smell gas?"
The slasher pulled the trigger.
* * *
Tiffany cleared the MP5 and tossed it onto the back seat. "How do we write this one up?" She had the manic grin of tiredness.
Behind them a fireball rolled out of all the ground floor windows of the mansion. The structure sagged and started to burn.
"I don't think we write this one up at all."
"Do you think he's the surviving a fireball kind?" Tiffany asked as they both watched the fire behind them.
"Let's never come back to find out."