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Bell nodded. Somewhere they could lay low sounded good. He really did not want to drive any more; he was tired and everything hurt, and all he wanted to do was lie down and sleep forever. But they did have to get out of the immediate area, at least. It'd be game over if they ran into the cops, in more ways than one.
They got back into their cars. Sam took the lead, for which Bell was grateful. He didn't feel up to leading right now. Too much effort. At least following Sam was mostly brainless, muscle memory navigating the car after her. Without driving to distract himself, though, everything started to hurt worse than before. He reached for the radio and turned it up, listening to the songs in an attempt to distract himself.
Daniel spoke up. Bell turned, then jumped. Holy shit, Daniel was bleeding out over there! It didn't hurt? That probably wasn't a good thing. "Going to get you fixed up," Bell mumbled to himself. He gestured to get Sam's attention, then pulled over onto the exit ramp. Sam jerked to follow, barely getting her car on the ramp in time.
"I'd worry about yourself, right now," Bell said. He knew he was worried about Daniel. Was there goat-stuff in there, or was it just a bleeder? He needed to take a look.
Off the exit, he found a small, secluded empty lot and pulled over into it. Sam joined him a moment later, a confused look on her face; Bell ignored her and climbed out of the car, then crossed over to Daniel. "Hey, sit up. Let me take a look," he ordered. "Do you think it needs stitches?"
He took the first aid kit from Daniel and undid his sloppy work to get a look at the wound. Wiping the blood away with one of the pads, he got a good look. It looked healthy, not goat infected, but it just...wouldn't stop bleeding. "Won't the goatling heal you?" he asked quietly. Why was it just letting Daniel bleed out like this?
It wasn't a big wound, though. Not big enough for stitches. He grabbed a new pad and pressed it up tight against the wound, then nudged Daniel to sit up and wrapped him up nice and tight to try and stop the bleeding, the same as Daniel had done to him. His left arm ached every time he lifted it, but he pressed on through the pain. It was more important that he kept Daniel alive.
"Is he okay?" Sam asked, hovering over his shoulder.
"I don't know. We need to...to find a place to rest," he managed. He and Daniel both.
"We went that way," Daniel pointed down at the street. Apparently Cat and Sam had figured it out for themselves, because there they were. So probably the latter. Neither Cat nor Sam were in a position where charging in was a good idea.
Sam's question came out of the blue, but before Daniel could make sense of it, Bell-boy was already answering.
"Hey sweet-cheeks," Daniel greeted with a loopy smile. "He's still got prettier eyes," he muttered, pointing lamely at Bell.
Sam's face was one of confusion, but she turned her focus on Bell when he explained what'd happened and what they should do.
"You're injured, both of you are," she expressed her concerns regarding that idea.
The division of cars would have to change around, but Sam didn't like her chances sitting next to Bellwether in a car and Daniel seemed to be thoroughly confused on matters.
"Okay..." Sam agreed in the end. "We'll find something, just...let's try to find something that's not too far," she tried. In the distance, the whine of police could already be heard. She hoped there wouldn't be a barricade or search.
They needed somewhere they could lay low. And fast.
Daniel found a first-aid kit resting in between the chairs and picked it up, searching through the contents. His clothes were getting cold because of the blood. The tremble in his hands -it was because of the cold, wasn't it?
Daniel unwrapped some pads and looked down at himself, then pressed the pads where it bled the heaviest. Still no pain.
He peeked underneath the pad, which was rapidly soaking up excess blood. Wasn't too big an injury. The goatling must've healed it. Daniel snapped to long enough to apply a second pad and start taping them down to his skin. Hopefully it'd help stop the bleeding.
He snapped to again with a hand covering the bandages. They were starting to soak through. Oh.
"Hey Bell-boy, there's blood," Daniel offered up sluggishly. His hand was stained too. "It doesn't hurt...hey, where're we going?"
Sam's smaller car was ahead of them for once. Daniel couldn't focus on the cars for long and instead got distracted by their surroundings and at last, Bell. The man didn't look so good.
"We should pull over, get some rest, huh? I worry about you, you know?" he said, then grew a little confused. Why was he saying it like that? In the end he shrugged -it was what he meant, so the words didn't need correcting.
The...hallucination? Bell frowned at Daniel. But she was real. He could see her body right over there. Was--was Daniel backsliding again? He remembered last time, when Landon had thought he'd been cured, only for it to turn out to just be a deluded man deluding himself that he was well. Surely that wasn't the case this time, though. The goat had cured him. "What...what does that mean?" he asked, unable to process this information through the pain.
"Gotta be," he gritted out. Daniel was in no shape to drive. Putting aside his gut wound, he was high as hell. And no chance Spot was going to be helpful. Which meant it was all on Bell to get them to safety.
"I don't know! We'll find them," Bell said. It was good that the poison wasn't hurting Daniel, but he was super obnoxious, and Bell did not feel able-bodied enough to deal with it. He gritted his teeth and focused on driving, trying not to let himself get distracted. He had no idea how they'd find the girls, though. He headed back the way they'd came, figuring they'd probably run into the girls eventually if they retraced their steps.
For a little while, Daniel zoned out, and they drove in silence. Bell checked on him, anger boiling away to concern, but Daniel was fine, just high and out of it. When the man suddenly spoke again, Bell jumped, startled, then winced as the various bruises and bumps ached. He was right, though: there were the girls.
Bell pulled over. "Probably arguing over which way we went. Or whether they care if we survived, one of the two," he muttered to Daniel, then rolled down the window and gave them a nod. "Hey," he said.
"What--what happened?" Sam stammered, taken aback by their appearance. Was Daniel bleeding? And Bell--it looked like someone had beat him to hell and back.
"Hunters," Bell sighed. He gestured vaguely at her, then winced; right, shouldn't move that arm. "Probably come to get you. They always come when a goat comes out. Fucked us up good, though." He tilted his head, then sighed again. "We should probably get a move on so they don't get the jump on us again." .
Not badly, huh? Bell-boy laughed at least, so it couldn't be too serious then. There was pain there too though, Daniel could tell. Ripples in that perfect expression.
High? Who, him?
Daniel shrugged, giving Bell-boy a faded smile, "maybe," he admitted.
"She's...she's that woman I saw...the hallucination," Daniel slurred sluggishly. His hand slipped from Bell-boy's cheek when the man moved to raid the hunters' van. Numb fingers toyed with the rifle, put the safety on, just in case. Everything went a little slowly, he seemed to lose focus a fair deal, but all in all, he'd had worse drugs to deal with.
Bell-boy's arm was bad. Probably because of the muscle-head guy. Screw that guy. And then some time was lost. Bell-boy came up near him; loot?
"What loot?" Before he could make sense of the things Bell-boy carried, the man was already goading him to go. Daniel followed, for lack of better options. It'd been a while since he had been confused last.
Not like this anyway.
They were both limping. Noticing that fact made Daniel more than a little giddy.
"Hey, wait, you okay to drive?" Daniel pondered put loud. He was sat in the passenger's chair, vying with Spot over space. Spot's fur felt so soft, so good.
They were already driving, slowly, back on the road.
"Wait, wait, what...what about Sam? And Cat?" he started. How were they going to find the two now? Daniel rubbed at his face, then glanced down and pulled his shirt up. Was the injury still bleeding?
The blood failed to alarm him. Wasn't bleeding fast or anything. His foot hurt worse, but in the grand scheme of things, he felt good. Spot tried to sniff at the wound, and Daniel chuckled, nudging the mutt away.
"Don't lick that..."
It felt like only a second before he spotted Sam's yellow car.
Cat was stood outside, arms folded, though at the sight of the white van she stiffened. And then she saw familiar faces and visibly relaxed.
"...there she is...the banana mobile," Daniel said with a smile. Sam got out as well, surprised more than anything and then guilty.
"They been fighting," he snorted. Over them? Whether or not to help or what?
THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen
/ 10d 10h 40m 2s
Daniel caught up to him eventually, staggering a bit in a way that seriously worried Bell. Supplies? Oh-oh, right, yeah. Should grab those on their way out. "Not badly," he said. He was more worried about the bloody spot on Daniel's stomach. He got jabbed in the gut, and Bell knew how shitty that could be. What was it with hybrids and gut-jabbing lately, anyways?
A hand to his cheek surprised him, and then Bell laughed, too tired to process this. "You're high as shit," he told Daniel, then gave him a kiss. "What'd that lady do to you? Slip you that good stuff?"
As far as hybrid poisons went, this one was relatively harmless. He was relieved, honestly. It would've been horrible to see him get poisoned again, right after getting the goat-stuff out. Bell crossed to the hunters' van and opened the door--unlocked. He reached in, then stalled out as his left arm protested and retried with his right arm only. This van wasn't separated like theirs was; all the gear was reachable from the front. Butt hanging out of the front seat, Bell leaned in and rifled through their stuff. A first aid kit, fully stocked, score. A second transceiver--that'd be good to give to Sam and Cat. There was some food, too, some energy bars. He grabbed those, then backed out, injured shoulder already protesting carrying this much.
"Got the loot," he said. "You can take a look, but I think that's all." So saying, he limped his way back to the van, going in the front door this time, so to speak. He threw the gear in between the front seats, then climbed slowly into the driver's seat.
"C'mon, let's go," he said, getting situated. They really couldn't afford to stick around here any longer.
The engine roared into life. As though summoned by the very sound, Spot appeared, racing at top speed to jump into the car just before Bell shut the door. He shooed the dog off his lap, and the animal jumped awkwardly onto the new gear they'd acquired, not quite sure where to put his paws. Using mostly his right arm, Bell navigated them slowly out of the building and back onto the road. Time to be gone.
The hybrid went down. Slowly but surely. Not for lack of effort on their part either. Daniel tried to catch his breath, the air on the periphery of his vision sparking with interesting blotches of light. His focus was everywhere and nowhere. Bell-boy's face was drawn -pain, the toxin-lady's writhing had stopped, face contorted into a gruesome mess, as ugly as the goat's essence inside of her. Meat-head was still struggling, part of him trying to rise, only to collapse in on itself. Bell's hand went to his side, nursing pain?
Probably broken ribs.
And then Bell-boy leapt at him, pushing him to the ground. The sky did a spin, gunshots echoed between the buildings.
"What? Hey, nice you meeting you here," Daniel slurred. He rather like Bell-boy squirming up to him like this. Nice and cozy. A loopy grin marred his face, though it wasn't long before confusion shimmered through. No, no, gunshots were bad.
Dart-gun? Daniel looked in the general direction of the female hybrid. Had to be-
Bell-boy was already gone.
Daniel pushed himself up on his elbows, watching where Bell-boy went, but the man went too fast to follow. He was bleeding. Huh. Hadn't Bell-boy mentioned that too? Daniel fingered the hole in his clothes, curious and more than a little confused.
It didn't really hurt, but it did all at the same time.
Going? Yeah, okay, yeah, they had to get going.
Daniel pushed himself up further, shaking his head as if to clear it. He didn't prove to be very successful at it either.
"Were're we going?" Daniel pitched. The van. Right, their van.
"Wait...their van, might have supplies," he managed to articulate, though his tongue felt thick. Daniel caught up to where Bell-boy was, fighting the confusion. The hunters- there'd been...oh. Daniel looked at the dead man at his feet. Okay, that one was dead. He reached down and picked up the rifle.
"You hurt?" Daniel started, watching Bell. He looked hurt. Bruised. From the big guy. "You're hurt," he muttered, softly, then reached for a red spot with his free hand. It'd bruise soon. Mesmerized, Daniel traced down Bell-boy's cheek.
"...y're so pretty, you know that?"
Daniel was there suddenly. He missed, but his blow distracted the hybrid, and that was all they needed. Bell smashed the pipe down on the back of the hybrid's head even as Daniel laid into the man's front. The hybrid fought. One hand raised to catch Bell's pipe, but the pipe cleaved right through it instead, hybrid's wrist snapping like a dry branch. Then there was just red, and him beating until the hybrids, smacking it over and over and over again until he stopped moving.
Bell stepped back and gasped for air, feeling lost and a little high. He hurt all over. His head in particular was staring to ache, building up to what'd be a truly massive headache. And his ribs. He could still feel where the hybrid's foot had impacted his side. He reached over to feel it and immediately grimaced as his left shoulder protested. Damn meathead, slamming him into walls like that!
Shots rang out, loud in the sudden silence. Bell leaped to cover Daniel instinctively, pushing the other man to the ground. His shoulder hit hard; he winced and gritted his teeth. Better than getting shot, it was better than getting shot!
He caught sight of the shooter then, running towards the hunters' van with his gun drawn. Making a break for it? Shit! If he got away, there'd only be more hunters on their asses!
Bell looked at Daniel. "Dart gun, where's the dart gun?" He'd had one, hadn't he? Shot the meathead with it, too. Where was it? Where'd it gone?
There wasn't time. He shoved up with his good arm and ran towards the shooter, drawing on the goat's speed in spurts to make it harder for the guy to track him. The shooter sped up, shooting wildly, but he couldn't keep up with the goat's speed. Bell caught up and slammed the pipe into the man's head, and he went down, no more than another bloody mess on the floor. Human.
Bell looked at Daniel, panting to catch his breath. "Let's--get going," he said, nodding back towards their van. If they stuck around here any longer, they'd have to explain this mess to the police, and he'd rather not. Didn't think the officers would be quite sympathetic.
Blood? Daniel's hand still rested on Bell-boy, but his eyes travelled down, even in the face of the obvious threat looming in front and above them. Oh, blood.
"It's fine, I think the goatling healed it," he soothed, patting Bell-boy's chest. "Probably."
Why were his thoughts so slow? Bell-boy was moving before Daniel could force himself to wake up. Where'd all the adrenalin from before gone to? Daniel shook his head, trying to focus on the here and now.
Fighting. Bell-boy was fighting springer-boy.
He had to- had to help.
Daniel had just started to push himself up his feet from where he'd fallen to his knees, when the hybrid landed right next to him. His response was sluggish at best. He could see the kick coming. Couldn't evade it though. Daniel only just managed to bring up his arms to protect his face and torso, his vulnerable stomach, and was sent back flying at the sheer force of the kick.
He landed on his back, the black dot that was the hybrid a sharp contrast with the light of the sun. Daniel coughed out some air.
Whatever the woman hybrid had done, he felt proper drugged.
Must've been something he inhaled. She was still screaming, though they were more like long-stretched moans now. As time wore on, the screams and moans took on increasing inhuman tones.
Daniel rolled over, then pushed himself up on all fours.
His stomach hurt. For a second Daniel hung his head and just focussed on breathing. Everything was blurry, like he'd drunk too much. But he hadn't. It was just the stupid toxin or whatever. Daniel forced himself to stand, teetering on his feet precariously when he finally did manage. He was just in time to see Bell-boy bring down the pipe on the hybrid's leg.
Pain rippled across the hybrid's face, contorting the lanky man's expression into a snarl. Daniel didn't waste any time. He dashed in as fast he could with a bum leg and before the hybrid could fall back, swung his bat with everything he had at the man's head. His swing was sluggish.
The hybrid dodged the blow, but the bat still grazed the man's head and what was more important: it deprived their opponent of the opportunity to jump away again.
Their eyes met. Daniel grinned.
He brought up the bat for seconds.
Bell woke up on the floor, dazed and more than a little lost. He struggled to a half-sit, body protesting his every move, and blinked at the world, as though that would make it resolve into something recognizable. Felt like he'd been run over by a truck, and then it'd backed up over him and done it again. The world danced in front of his eyes, sliding into focus one second just to slide out of it the next. Daniel was there. Oh. "Blood," he mumbled, hesitating half an inch from touching the wound. Daniel was hurt. Who'd hurt him?
His eyes settled on the meat-head. The guy seemed more preoccupied with the blackness that was even now enveloping his body. Not him? There was another shape past him. A woman. Her? Her hand was red. Bloody. Bell found himself standing before he even knew what he was doing. He was going to end her. He stepped forward, jerky, legs protesting having to carry his weight, joints displeased by him resting his weight on them.
Then, suddenly, someone was standing in front of him. He blinked, raised his pipe--and felt the blow resonate through the pipe and down his arms through his whole body. He staggered back, still too dazed to fully process what was happening. The man disappeared, and then he was staggering forward as a kick caught him low in his back, muscles pulled tight, spine aching. He spun and swung, but he was too slow. The hybrids was gone. A kick to his shoulder sent him stumbling to the side, and he turned just in time to watch the hybrid land and jump, disappearing over him.
Jumping. He was jumping around, the little shit! Bell raised his pipe, but the hybrid didn't land by him this time. Instead, it landed beside Daniel and kicked. Bell screamed and ran over to Daniel. The hybrid took off again, disappearing into the sky again. Bell stared up, straining against the sun, and waited. What went up, had to come down. Any second now.
The hybrid reappeared, aiming a kick directly for the top of his head. Bell jumped back. The kick narrowly missed, but it didn't faze the hybrid; he spun on that foot to deliver a backhanded blow with his heel.
Bell took the blow, ribs screaming, body straining to hold his feelings here, and brought his pipe down on the hybrid's leg with all the goat's strength.
She pressed a hand to his cheek. The woman's eyes were a vivid blue, almost as blue a...Bell's? Bell? Where was Bell-boy? Daniel's dazed eyes started searching his surroundings, but the woman quickly stifled his panic.
"Shh," she cooed, then slowly slipped the dart gun from his hands. It landed on the ground with a dull thud.
Where was her other hand? His stomach?
Daniel looked down, escaping those icy blue eyes. Blackness.
For some reason it just made Daniel chuckle. Even as it penetrated his skin. "What're you doing?" he asked and for some reason, even though there was pain, it was increasingly funny to watch as blood welled up from inside of him.
And then there was black alongside his blood.
This time, it was the woman's turn to look confused. Daniel's eyes lost their hazel, drowsy tones and were exchanged by weeping black instead.
His hand shot out to revolve around her neck, squeezing the air from her with considerable force. The goatling had no expression. Its nails delved deep into this shell, searched out the imperfections and with only little effort on its part, helped the hybrid inside this one unravel further.
The chaos that ensued was predictable. The goatling let go.
Loudly. The marks on her neck were replaced by threads of black that crept along her skin, her eyes were weeping blood and as she writhed on the floor, the goatling watched, observed.
It wouldn't take long for the corrupted part of her to be victorious and self-destruct. Even now what black showed evaporated from her skin into the atmosphere, same as it did on the muscle-head's skull.
It spotted Bellwether easily, but the goatling's focus was on Bell's opponent. One step forward and the goatling looked down. Blood still? This shell wouldn't last if that kept up.
It focussed on closing the injury to a more satisfactory result, then, rather than be distracted by the hybrid's tendency to jump and prance around, merely displaced itself and caught the hybrid mid-air with Daniel's bat. Surprised at the sudden presence of another, the hybrid barely reacted and plummeted to the ground.
Another displacement and the goatling landed next to its origin.
It was tired now.
Slowly, the black receded to leave Daniel in control.
The woman's screams could still be heard; more black had tangled across her otherwise immaculate skin to suffocate her. Daniel sank through his knees next to Bell as the goatling relinquished control back to him.
He still felt giddy.
"Bell-boy? C'mon, your eyes're prettier," he slurred, shaking the man. The hybrid he'd beaten down was getting back up. "Uh-oh," Daniel muttered.
He heard Daniel call out and growled in response. He wasn't this weak, was he? He could use the goat. He was strong now. Bell gritted his teeth and fought through it, kicking at the man and yanking at his hand just as the man looked up, distracted by Daniel's shot. It wasn't much, but the moment of weakness caused by the surprise was just enough for Bell to kick the man in the solar plexus. The man gruffed out a cough, and Bell drew on the goat's strength and yanked the hand that held his neck away from him. The man's grip relented. Bell wriggled free, stumbling away from the wall and into the yard.
Daniel. How was Daniel? He turned towards Daniel again, but this time creaking metal and heavy footsteps warned him of the meathead's approach. He threw himself out of the way of the man's charge and jumped back up, swinging his pipe experimentally as he did. His left shoulder wouldn't move more than a few degrees either way without hurting, but his right was fine. He'd be okay for now.
The meathead turned and came at him again. He was stained with black; his hand and the leg where Bell had hit him were both black. Bell frowned. They'd never seen that before. Or rather, never seen it happen so... quickly. This hybrid seemed a little less stable than the others.
And then the hybrid was upon him. He swung wildly, surprised by the man's speed, but the big hand all but swallowed up his pipe. It was all he could do to sidestep, but the blow clipped him anyways and sent him spinning, left arm aching from being jostled. The man came to a halt and started to turn, but this time, Bell didn't let him take his time. He charged, drawing on the goat's speed, and laid into the man, dealing blow after blow on his head and neck with all the strength he could muster, goatly or no. The man got his arms up to protect his head, but Bell beat those down, laying into whatever he could reach. The black arm held steady, but the human arm splintered. Bell pressed the opening. The man's skull cracked, a nice, comforting sound after all the dull, empty thumps.
And then someone grabbed him from behind and threw him, and he watched the sky pass by as he flew. He got a glimpse of the man; looked like the one who'd jumped into the roofs earlier. Then he hit the ground, and for a moment, everything went black.
Reality warped in and out of focus. Sharp as a razor one second, thick as syrup the next. Clarity hit him like a truck when Bell-boy came running up at him, and only then, only then did Daniel start from where he was stood. The goatling retreated, leaving him behind with a drained sensation and a harsh reality.
"Bell...? Look out!" he managed to choke, but it was already too late. The muscle-head was like a tank, barrelling straight into Bell-boy to snatch him up by the neck and press Bell down against the concrete. The shooting had stopped. Roofs were not the answer when cranes toppled into them, apparently, so Daniel figured they wouldn't have to worry about their gunner for at least another few minutes.
A few spare minutes they desperately needed.
"Bell!" Daniel cried out. It earned him a glare from the muscle-head, but there was too much distance between them for the burly fellow to care -unless... Shit. Someone else had their sights on him, didn't they?
Not the gunner. So either mystery hunter number one or bird-guy.
Daniel pulled his dart-gun and fired at the muscle-head. He was a big target. The guy looked up at the shot, mildly surprised, but the hand that caught the dart was black and the man's merely contorted to display a toothy grin.
"Bell-boy get the fuck up!" Daniel shouted. He reloaded, contemplating using the goatling, but it'd mess with Bell-goat.
If Bell couldn't use the goat, he was royally fucked.
Just as he was lining up another shot, Daniel saw something flutter in the corner of his eye. He smelled something too. It smelled nice, a bit sweet, but refreshing at the same time. Confusion nipped at the back of his awareness.
It was a scent he recognized and yet...not.
Wasn't Sam or Cat. Cat didn't use a scent, Sam seemed to have resorted to a deodorant at best. Nothing this -fancy.
Daniel's eyes narrowed, brows furrowed.
The woman standing in front of him looked exactly like the one he'd chased down in his hallucination.
"You...? How're you...here?"
But she wasn't just an hallucination. A hand touched his chest, played with the scruff of his coat, twisted a finger around the lace of his hoodie.
"I've been looking all over for you," she whispered coyly. A smile played across her lips, a seductive smile.
"You're not real," Daniel muttered, more than a little dazed. The weapon he'd fired at the muscle-head was now slack in his hands. That- no. This wasn't right. He'd been cured. How was she still here?
Daniel didn't materialize behind him. Worried, Bell peeked out, but Daniel wasn't lying in the yard either, so he was probably okay. Had to be.
A bullet hammered through the wall inches from his head, and Bell jumped and retreated deeper into the building, only just ducking the next few bullets; one he felt skim through his hair, burning hot as it passed by. So he was trapped in here, until the shooter was taken care of, and Daniel was out there, somewhere, maybe in the line of fire. Hopefully not dead. Shit!
Something creaked outside. He heard metal shriek, screaming as it was tortured; then a shadow passed over the doorway, and something landed with an earth-shaking crash, metal crunching on metal as it hit home. Holes opened up in the front of the building he was hiding in almost simultaneously, bits from the crash flying by; he felt something rush by his body, close enough he felt the wind against his skin.
Daniel. Daniel was out there. What if he'd been hit? Before he even knew what he was doing, Bell was already moving. He threw himself around the corner of the door, heedless of the danger, and rushed towards the site of the crash. A twisted lump of metal was all that was left, still half-propped on one of the buildings; a crane, maybe? But it didn't matter. He could see Daniel standing there at the base and ran to him. Some part of him registered that it was odd that he hadn't been shot at, but the rest of him didn't care.
Then, suddenly, he was flying sideways, through the building he'd just ran out of, corrugated metal tearing apart as he was tackled to the floor. The world went fuzzy, everything swimming past, disorganized; he started to push himself up, but the hybrid who'd tackled him--the ugly one--had a tight grip. Meaty hands held him down, a muscular body that weighed several times what he did pressing him to the floor. Bell hesitated, woozy from the impact, trying to catch his breath.
A huge hand closed around his neck and slammed him back into the concrete floor. Bell tried to cry out, but there was no air to breathe. He struggled, gripping at the hand even as his face was forced down--into gravel--no! He pulled harder, trying to shake off the memories and the hybrid at once. Not--not that! He wasn't--shit! Had to...get free...!
Bell was right in front of him. There wasn't much he could do, without also hitting Bell-boy. Just when Daniel thought Bell and the muscle-head would collide, Bell-boy sidestepped, ducked low and swung low. With Bell-goat's strength, the man's shin shattered, one of the legs bent at an unnatural angle. Daniel brought up his bat to join in and corner the hybrid, but a shadow from above forced him to step back. With a loud metallic crash, the barrel thumped to the ground.
And a second time. This one wasn't aimed any better.
Before any more barrels could drop, Daniel dashed after Bell-boy, out of the alley. He huffed at the sprint; a yard? Gunfire. Dull pops made the grass spring up with dirt. Bell-boy didn't wait and dashed across at a speed Daniel couldn't hope to achieve.
"Shit, fucker!" Daniel cursed, then weaved sideways, behind some scraps to prevent getting shot in the legs. They weren't aiming to kill -or maybe they were being cautious about bringing out a goat.
As they ought to be. Daniel looked around the corner of the scrap, could hear the static of comms. Meat-boy was probably being briefed on their position by fly-boy up above and little mister sharp-shooter.
That meant he had to go.
Daniel glanced up, then decided he didn't have much of a choice. Unlike Bell-boy, he didn't have speed. But he did have something else. He dashed across, weaving across the yard in hopes of evading being clipped by any of the bullets. Daniel could practically feel the bullets zip by, rip at his jeans.
He skid to a halt near the base of the crane, the sting of a burn running down his pants and his foot throbbing furiously. Shit. got caught after all. Just a graze. So close.
The crane was rusted; a heavy, elaborate arm tucked away with little counter-weights to keep it balanced. It was partially resting against a structure by then, unstable and unused. Daniel knew exactly where he wanted the crane to buckle.
Focussing proved harder; focussing the goatling's efforts where it needed to go even more so. It was as if the goatling had retreated even further after their last little encounter with hunters.
Daniel couldn't even count the number of injuries it'd had to heal over time.
When the goatling did finally respond, the effects were immediate. Daniel could see how the fabric of reality became unraffeled, could see the imperfections and where they were, as their presence rippled a dimension Daniel failed to understand and name. The crane groaned and started to topple. The metal at its base had been undone; the crane quickly gained momentum and started to fall towards their shooter.
The hunters noticed them, one fleeing to the skies, and other turning to face them with a face that looked like it'd been jackhammered out of concrete and enough muscle to make bodybuilders feel inadequate. Bell snorted. Hybrids, was it? He hadn't noticed, nope. Guyleaping tall buildings in a single bound hadn't made it obvious at all.
The muscled monstrosity before them squared his shoulders and effectively blocked off the whole alleyway, then charged. Bell didn't want to meet that head on, but Daniel was behind him. If he didn't do something, the man would get hit. For a second, he just stood there, paralyzed, trying to think of something. The man was almost upon them. At the very last second, Bell sidestepped and ducked, aiming low at the man's shins with a heavy blow; he gritted his teeth and drew on the goat's strength, aiming to splinter the man's shins.
The pipe made contact, and the man fell, one of his legs broken and hanging at an odd angle. Bell turned, pipe already raised to deal a follow-up blow, but before he could, something blocked out the light from the sun. He looked up just in time to find a barrel tumbling down on him from the roof, and threw himself out of the way. The barrel struck the hybrid on the ground, but he barely seemed to notice. In fact, he was already climbing back to his feet. His leg wasn't healed, but he didn't seem to feel it, and the wound was slowly closing up.
Another barrel blocked out the sun. Bell ran for the end of the alley, gesturing for Daniel to follow him. At the end, he burst out into the yard, only to be met with the sound of gunfire. Bullets kicked up the dust around his feet; he ducked his head, drew on the goat's speed, and crossed the gap, smashing through a licked door into the dark space of another building in the abandoned factory.
For a second, he couldn't see anything, vision still sun-dazzled. He glanced back to see if Daniel had followed him in, then looked around. He got the impression of big machines crowding a large, open space, and he smirked. No chance they'd have any industrial-strength magnets lying around, was there?
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