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The Solution Man

Dae walks through the empty moonlit streets of Atlas Park, his every footstep a resounding thunderclap in the silence. He is dressed in a trenchcoat, the color of sand, and a fedora to match. A cigarette on its last legs hangs low from his mouth, its ashes a grey and black nub that threatens to depart at the slightest blow of wind.

SNAP! Tk-tk-tk-tk...

A twig breaks and a scuttling noise follows, cancelling the silence.

Dae stops in his tracks, directly under the glow of a buzzing streetlamp, and dips his hand into his coat. He has nearly convinced himself that the noise is his own paranoid mind playing tricks on him, that it is merely the product of an overactive imagination, when-

Tk-tk-tk-tk...

Dae pulls out a silouetted object from the confines of his jacket and lifts it to the moonlight, where it catches the platinum rays and gleams a brilliant silver. His .44 magnum always does.

A screech like that of a banshee crushes the dead air like glass under an anvil and a horrifying beast lunges forth.

Three shots.

A wrinkled, green corpse slides on the cold cobblestone path and halts at his foot, unmoving. Dead.

"That's the third troll this week. Where are the Mods when you need 'em?" Dae tucks his revolver back into his coat and tosses his discarded cigarette butt onto the troll's carcass.

Its bubbling, black blood starts to pool, forcing him to take a step back.

"Two in the stomach, one in the heart. You're losing your aim." Blebbeh struts out of the darkness with a knowing smirk on her face.

"Well, good to know you always have my back in that case."

"You had it handled. You're a regular problem solver."

"Solution man by trade."

"Like I said, 'handled.'"

"You've got apathetic down pat."

"I'm trying."

"I couldn't tell."

"That's the point."

SKREEE!!!

A blood-curdling shriek interrupts their chat originating from the Park's wild forest. Without hesitation, Dae sprints headlong towards it. Blebbeh, demonstrating her unique powers, transmutes her normal human form and takes flight as her alter self. A raven.

When Dae reaches the scene of the commotion, a wood clearing the size of a ballroom, with a roof of leaves and arches of oak, his eyes turn white at what could only be called a massacre. A veritable legion of horrifying trolls are tearing into their victims, innocent Parkgoers from miles around, with relentless aggression, led by the one and only Loki. Loki the Bash troll.

Dae is outnumbered from the start, but it is his foolish selflessness that gets him overwhelmed. It is only when he opens fire, burying bullet after bullet into the unceasing swarm of trolls that he earns their attention.

He fires anyways.

He fires until the bangs turn into clicks.

And he fires some more.

It occurs within the borders of a moment. The horde rushes forth towards their new prey, piling on until he is indistiguishable through the mass of malevolent creatures. 

But the clicks continue.

The horrid growls fill the atmosphere, only surpassed in foulness by the heavy laughter of Loki the Bash Troll himself.

Finally, the clicks stop. Dae never screams, possibly because he is sure-certain-that he is dead.

He expects to die at least. He expects for his vision to fade to darkness and never return. He expects for his agony to at least end. But it doesn't.

BOOM!!!

An explosion of volcanic proportions rattles the earth. The demonic entities that survive it scatter from his body and try to ascertain the source of the disruption.

Dae is a bleeding mess of gore on the crimson ground.

Blebbeh is a raven, high in the sky, witnessing the whole event.

To be continued...

(Next Issue)

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