It was the best he could muster for a battlecry, and it came out sounding more like a croak of a dying man than the roar of a warrior, but it was enough. He whirled around the train car, feeling the crushing weight of his exposure. With a shriek, he pulled the trigger, and with a moan of despair, he heard not a deafening bang, but rather an impotent click.
He stared dumbly at the revolver, half expecting to see something else in his hand. It was empty, and he imagined the throaty laughter of the dark man. Trusted me, but not enough to keep the shells in the chambers, Shadrach thought darkly, and he screamed furiously.
His rage was cut off by the sudden, sharp, burping roar of automatic fire. The ground came alight with thick bursts from the ricochets, and he dove feebly behind the safety of the train car. He crouched, fetal, hands covering his ears. He felt the thuds of the bullets striking the broadside of the car, and wondered if they could tear through the metal. His eyes caught the pouch, and he reached quickly for it, spilling its contents on the ground between his feet. Six shells, bright and coppery, rolled about in the dirt.
Thunder boomed, drowning out the roar of the engines and the staccato of gunfire. A shroud of dust kicked along the sides of the car, and Shadrach scrabbled in the dirt as he thumbed bullets into the chambers of his gun. The heavy raindrops fell steady, and the very air suffocated around him. I am going to die in the middle of a monsoon, killed by barbarians on motorbikes.
There was a sudden, sharp blast to his left, and a shriek that clearly came from someone other than Indigo. The dark man was surely enjoying himself, in the midst of slaughter and storm, all the while able to pull his twisted version of a practical joke by keeping the gun empty. Shadrach cursed him and prayed for him silently, and rushed around the side of the car again, this time fully prepared, and raised to aim.
The motorcycles were whirling in the direction of where Indigo hid, and one of the sidecar riders was sitting limply, his machine gun aimed skyward and useless. Indigo wasn’t in sight, and Shadrach took the opportunity and fired as the riders were turned from him.
The crack of his pistol seemed huge and loud in his ears. A bullet whined as it crashed against the side of the still dangerous motorcycle. He thumbed it back again, firing, hitting the living rider in the sidecar, and bringing a cry from him. The machine gun thrummed to life, firing at nothing at all, and Shadrach felt a swell of elation. But the driver of the motorcycle turned, firing a gun of his own, and Shadrach fell to his stomach, covering his head and screaming. From the corner of his eye he saw a glimmer of movement from the middle of a tree, and a flash that coincided with another crash of gunfire. The rider was thrown from his motorcycle and fell roughly to the ground. The wounded rider in his sidecar shrieked again as the motorcycle crashed into a tree.
“One down,” Shadrach mouthed, and turned his aim toward the other bike.
The rider turned wide, firing wildly in Indigo’s direction. Shadrach thumbed back the hammer again and again, firing and shouting, and missing wide each time. He did enough to attract attention, and gaped as the rider aimed at him with a sinister grin.
It was then that Indigo burst from the trees in an explosion of leaves and ferocity, nearly ten feet from the ground, his wicked pale blade seeming to glimmer in the despite the lack of sun. His amber eyes flashed in the sheets of now driving rain, and the thunder boomed an announcement of his presence. He seemed to float through the air, and even the last of the enemy was enraptured by his sudden appearance, and his awe slowed his draw. Indigo slashed, his blade rushing forward in a deadly bladed gale, drawing blood and screams. The bike crashed into the stone pillar unceremoniously. Indigo landed on his feet like a cat, pale blade suddenly dark with blood. His face was a rage, his body tensed.
Shadrach covered his nose and mouth with his hands and took deep breaths. His face was flushed, and his heart raced. The battle came and went so quickly, but it replayed in his mind as if it had lasted hours.