In Curved Air

Tam smelled the rain and sea. The man stepped in, long, skinny legs climbing easily over the sill. He was unbelievably tall, maybe seven feet, but he hunched over, crestfallen. Dark eyes drew up to them. He pointed with a long, twisted arm and shouted something the girl couldn't understand, but it was unmistakably hostile, then he stumbled towards them, nearly tripping over his own long legs. Tam took the woman by the shoulders and started to drag her from the kitchen, back into the anteroom. The sword was all she could think of. It had killed one before, when this all first started; it could do it again. By the time she reached the backpack, the man was past the island and coming through the doorway, taking long, almost inhuman strides.

Tam fell to her knees and, still holding the woman up, searched furiously with one hand for the blade. Her fingers grasped over the sheath and she began to pull, but the sword was stuck. She shook it desperately, trying to free it. The man yelled another indiscernible threat and took a step forward. They were going to die. She couldn't believe it. They were going to die, because the sword was stuck. It was almost comical. She pushed up against the front door as she felt another hand enter the pack.

The woman grabbed the sword's hilt and pulled with fell strength. It tore from the sheath and slashed the material around it as it came out. The man descended upon them with his long arms held wide, as if he were embracing them. A lightening bolt flashed, and Tam could see his, pale, enraged face clearly for a second. It was an awful sight. He looked dead. Wrinkles covered his skin, and in some places it was rotten. His mouth hung wide as he moaned and his black eyes looked like they would pop from the skull.

Gripping firmly the handle, and placing a palm over the pummel for extra force, the woman plunged the blade into his stomach. The arms about to crush them flew outward, whipping at the air, and he took a few exaggerated steps back. His whole torso lunged from side to side. The woman was already standing, moving towards him. She seemed just as mindless as the monster, without so much as twitch on her face. The tall man took a long swing at her, moving his arm more like a crab claw than a human arm would look when punching, as if he were trying to knock her away, but she was faster. She swung the straight sword down and left a deep slash across his chest. His attack was canceled, but it only stunned him a second. The other arm came crashing over her. She half-stepped, half jumped to avoid it. Tam couldn't believe her agility. The fight moved into the room opposite the kitchen, where a long, ornate dining table sat.

The lanky man roared and gave chase, his arms swinging cartoonishly as he ran. The blade slashed away, and now the creature was unable to swing its arms past the sharp metal dancing before him. Tam scrambled to her feet as the sounds of battle drifted from the dining room. Watching from the safety of the kitchen doorway, she saw the amazing woman in control. The sword slashed in ways Tam never thought possible of a straight sword. Indeed, the wetsuit-wearing woman's stance betrayed the weapon. She must have been accustomed to curved swords or katanas, because her form was all wrong. After every attack, she held the sword high above her with the blade pointing down and her knees crouched, a common form for an eastern blade. Tam was no expert, herself, having only used the sword a scarce few times before intending it as a true weapon, but she was still perplexed by the odd choice of swordplay.

Using his own weight like a battering ram, the man opened his arms wide and fell down towards her. Of course, she was out of the way long before he smashed through the heavy table. The monster thrashed furiously amid the splinters and gargled a primal outburst of rage in his throat. As soon as he was up, the woman shoved the point through his chest, and the monster fell back with an anguished grown. It choked for a moment before becoming still, its empty eyes becoming a little dimmer as they stared up at the ceiling. The woman stood over the dead body, breathing hard, before the sword fell from her grasp with a clank and she, too, collapsed to the ground. Everything was silent again, save the pounding rain. 

The End

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