And here is the climax! The story should finish up tomorrow with a nice denouement, tying everything up.
I hope you've enjoyed the ride so far. I know I loved writing it and especially researching it. I know a lot of the stuff I learned is likely to go unnoticed within the text, but that's part of being a writer. As long as my audience enjoys it, it's all worth it.
Well, let's do this. Let's launch into the thrilling climax of Wolves and Wild Roses!
With only a few men following behind, the pair stepped into the ever brightening forest, weapons at the ready. Sonia swung out her chain, pulling it back into a loop, eyes scanning the darkness. "They're coming," she said coldly.
In just moments the sounds of rustling foliage and pattering feet echoed around them. From the flames leapt creature after creature, fangs bared and claws at the ready. Sonia launched the ball of her chain out, striking one in the face and tugging quickly to sink the barbs in before tearing it loose. In one fluid motion the hunter swung the chain wide, striking another attacking from the rear, the silver piercing it's heart as it ripped through.
More and more wolves bore down on her, but Sonia was unshakeable. Her chain wrapped around one creature's throat, pulling it from mid-air and crashing it into two other wolves. Before the group could right themselves, her pistols were brandished and ringing out in the night. Three shots, three deaths.
Claws swiped from behind, but the hunter ducked and rolled, firing another shot into the attack. Before she could turn again, yet another creature was on her, slashing across her back. Blood stained the forest floor as Sonia stumbled forward from the blow, turning to fire into the darkness. She looked, but her foe was already retreating into the flames, leaving her open and confused. Before she could find her target, two new wolves came from either side, fangs and claws aimed for her supple flesh. Ducking to one side, she threw an arm around one of the charging beasts and swung behind it, pressing her gun directly to the base of it's skull and firing, sending it tumbling into the second wolf. Another shot rang out from her other pistol and the second wolf went limp.
Again, claws from the darkness slashed into her, this time across the backs of her thighs, dropping the hunter to her knees. She twisted and fell to her back, guns up, but there was still no target. Panting and stifling the screams of pain that were building inside her, she scanned the flaming trees surrounding her for her adversary. Three more presented themselves. Squeezing off three rounds, Sonia attempted to beat them back, but her shots went astray as the wolves dodged and encircled her. As one, they bore down on the prone hunter, but steeled nerved and hardened reflexes, the Sonia quickly emptied the last of her ammunition into them, causing them to collapse on top of her.
Pinned under the weight of three wolves and with her pistol now useless, Sonia strained to dislodge herself. Nearly free, a low, bestial growl halted her. She looked up to see a tall, lithe, werewolf, it's claws stained in her blood. Any shred of humanity this creature might have once possessed had long disappeared. With a roar the creature leapt, pinning her anew and driving it's wicked claws into her shoulders. It's fangs bared, it made for her neck and face, but halted at a metallic ring.
Sonia, grunting, cursing, had buried her pistol in the creature's jaws, and was doing everything in her power to hold back those deadly teeth. Inch by inch, the creature pushed closer, its hot, stinking breath burning her eyes. She couldn't hold back against the creature's strength. She couldn't keep it at bay forever. And so, with a roar of her own, Sonia slammed her head forward, crashing her forehead into the beast's muzzle.
With a whine and cry of surprise, the creature pulled back, grabbing it's injured face and casting aside the pistol within its maw. With a howl it turned back and dove once more at Sonia, jaws wide. A moment later, the creature fell limp to one side of the hunter, her silver blade extruding from the back of it's skull.
Only a few yards away, a large, older man with a pince nez and spruce mustache fired wildly into the night, with two piles, one of bullet casings and one of wolves, growing at his feet. He roared as he turned, his blade intercepting the jaws of an oncoming beast, allowing him to jam the muzzle of his weapon into the wolf's chest. Shots rang out until the creature fell still at his feet, Roosevelt taking not a moment of rest before engaging the next monster.
Fangs from the right. Teeth from the left. The bullets kept flying and blood continued splattering across his clothing. When one body fell, his sights immediately moved to the next. Moving forward, walking through the flames, he drew the beasts’ attention, luring them further and further from the camp. For each one that passed him up, he turned his full attention and sights, not only felling the creatures, but following up with his blade for good measure.
After several minutes, the telltale clicking of his weapon told the former president that he had spent his supply of ammunition. Pulling loose the strap from his neck and shoulder, he began swinging the gun like club, bashing it into oncoming creatures as he dared them approach. Claws pierced his chest. Blood spilled from his back and arms. Still, Roosevelt refused to fall. His blade slashed through the flames, spilling wolf blood, but they seemed to recover before he could swing a second time.
Forced to his knees, Roosevelt held back the oncoming fangs with the flat of his blade, both arms buckling under the pressure. One swing of the claws and his weapon flew into the night. The beast roared. Roosevelt bared his own teeth. "Take me then, foul beast! Take me if you can!"
The grim fangs lunged forward, only to halt inches from the roaring Roosevelt. He looked down to its neck to see the glint of metal chain. The creature stumbled back, the chain now sliding and sawing its flesh, the silver barb cutting a clean line as Sonia wrenched the beast's head from it's shoulders.
Sonia lashed out her chain once more, the coils wrapping around the arm of a werewolf behind Roosevelt. It tugged instinctively and Sonia leapt into the air with it, letting its strength guide her kick, dropping the beast as she hit square in its chest. In an instant her blade was out and buried in its chest.
Roosevelt turned slowly to look at the bloodied and bruised hunter as she rose to her feet. He forced himself up, weakly, and tried to speak. Before he could utter a word, her blade was loosed again and flying through the air. Nearly grazing Roosevelt's cheek, he followed the path of the blade as it sunk deep into the chest of one final wolf.
Roosevelt watched as the creature whimpered and expired, then looked around. The few men that had followed them were still standing, a few wolves at their feet. He scanned the forest. Nothing. He turned back to the camp. Clear. Smiling, the former president began to roar with laughter.
"Not the reaction I expected," Sonia remarked as she limped over to recover her blade.
"Bully!" he shouted, clapping her on the back.
She winced in pain, straightening up. Nodding, she turned. "Okay. That seems more like it."
A cautious, but growing roar went up from the men as Sonia and Roosevelt limped back toward the camp. Trucks were pulled up to the tents and several injured were already loaded. A bloody but joyous Jesse rushed to meet the pair. "I think that's all of them, sir!"
"It better well be!" Sonia spat, holding her side in pain.
"This went better than I expected," Roosevelt laughed.
"Better?" she asked, eyes wide.
"Oh yes. So many of the vile creatures gone in just one night. This is fantastic! Jesse, put in orders for more of that Wolfs Bait. We'll need hundreds of drums."
"Yes sir!" the young man replied.
"You're insane," Sonia repeated.
"We're going to need it for the next mission. And the one after that! Why, I suspect we can rid the nation of these beasts with no more than a dozen, no... a score of these missions. I trust I'll have you at my side, Mrs. Trevor?"
As the fired blazed around them and men groaned in pain, Sonia shook her head. Letting her head fall back for a moment, she turned and walked toward the nearest truck.
"Mrs. Trevor? Where are you going?"
"I'm done here, Mr. Roosevelt. I have things worth living for."
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.