EscapeMature

Six officers stood at Frederick's door, five holding a dark black discus in their hands as the white runes etched in the material glowed faintly. Their capes were dripping with rain, their black kepis glistening.

The one in the center took the lead, his blue eyes narrow and his bushy blonde moustache hiding his upper lip.

"This is Constable Jenkins! Open up!"

He banged his fist against the door, rainwater sprinkling onto the floor.

"We have a warrant for your arrest!"

He was returned with silence. He backed away, motioning for his officers to ram the door. After four hard swings with their shoulders, the elegantly carved wooden door swung open, the doorknob hanging on frail bronze hinges. The five officers filed in, Jenkins bringing up the rear as he stepped over the ruins.

"Sir!" One called from the far left of the apartment, "Something's been emptied!"

Jenkins strode over to the bedroom, a noticeable limp in his step as the other officer pointed to the chest. He bent over, squinting as he searched for any clues before a far off voice shouted.

"OI! Stop right there!" The sound of gunfire forced Jenkins and the other four officers to abandon the bedroom, rushing by out towards the foyer and taking the spiral staircase up to the balcony.

Frederick was weaving around fire escape ladders, narrowly dodging bullets as he zipped down the wet iron bars. He pressed his feet against the sides of the ladder, sliding down rapidly and slamming into the next level.

Jenkins stood at the top of the balcony, shouting above the rain at his officers.

"You two, go to the lower levels and cut him off. You, wait at the end of the ladders. We'll catch him at the bottom!"

The officers left, Jenkins compensating his bad leg with a leaping stride.

The officers banged on the doors of the lower level, rushing into the apartments unwelcomed as they could see Frederick narrowly escape their capture. He got to the final level, looking over the edge as another bullet grazed his arm. He cried out, gripping his arm as an officer stood underneath the grate, firearm aimed at him.

"Sir, you're under arrest!"

Frederick looked over the edge of the railing, trying to figure out his next move.

With a feral roar, something shot out of the dark, tackling the officer. They crashed into a pile of metal garbage pails, lids rolling away as four paws now rested on the ground. Kelstrin turned his horned feline head up, bright green eyes flaring in the darkness as he growled and rose his withers. A bullet ricocheted off the railing, narrowly missing Frederick's right hand. He judged the distance and raced down to the end of the grate, gripping the bars as he hurled himself over the side.

Kelstrin began to canter, catching Frederick just in time as he went into a mad sprint. The other officers gathered in the narrow passage, firearms aimed at the two.

"Halt!"

Kelstrin snarled and charged, using the natural plating on his head to plow through their flimsy human barricade.

Jenkins and the lackey sprang out from the front door, firing at the two. A bullet caught Kelstrin in the shoulder, crimson spiraling out into the rain. He roared, his stride faltering slightly as he barreled into a police trolley that blocked the road. The machine was hurled high into the air, smashing into the side of the building and spraying parts and hot water in all directions. Jenkins and the officer ducked, one splashed in hot water as Jenkins narrowly avoided a spinning cog.

Kelstrin's blood was staining his white fur, his fangs bared as they continued to charge down streets.

"{I told you to leave!}"

"{And let them skin you alive!?}" Kestrin hissed, his eyes glaring an emerald green.

"{You don't know that!}"

"{Want to take that chance?!}"

Frederick was about to argue when Kelstrin gracefully leapt over an abandoned carriage, landing hard in the dark rainwater and stumbling and scraping his chin against the ground. He maintained his stride, picking up speed again.

"{Which way is fastest?}" Kelstrin snarled, his left forearm faltering in some of the canters.

"{Left!}" Frederick shouted, gripping the shortest part of Kelstrin's scruff.

He was nearly flung off as Kelstrin made the turn, paws skidding in the rain as he soared over an deserted automotive. He continued to jump empty cars, skidding short when a looming shadow wheeled around.

"GIVE...MEEEEEEE!!!!"

Kelstrin spun around and darted back down the road, Frederick's lower jaw banging into his skull with each bound.

"{Do you know the Williamsburg Bride!?}" Frederick hollered over the rain, trying to lean into Kelstrin's long, tufted ear.

Kelstrin grunted and bowed his horned head down as he began to gallop through the streets. The sudden howl of shattered brick caught Frederick's attention, whipping his head back to see the Shadowbrood crawling over the corner of an eight story building.

"{Lose it!}" Frederick said, his fingers clinging Kelstrin's fur like a lifeline.

Kelstrin growled back, tucking his head in as his paws beat into the paved road, the black spires of Williamsburg bride beginning to surface over the lip of darkened buildings.

Frederick reached for his firearm, lying on his belly to stay on Kelstrin's back while trying to aim in the torrential downpour of inky rain. He closed his left eye, trying to find an adequate place to fire when a thought occurred to him- there was still a human being inside of there. What if it was a child?

He shoved his firearm back into his holster, leaning up as he turned his head to look at the Shadowbrood. The creature moaned, loping on all fours like an enraged gorilla as it flung automotives into the air like leaves.

"{Quickly, my shoulder!}" Kelstrin squalled, losing speed.

"{You can't! You'll bleed to death!}"

"{We'll die sooner if you don't move it!}" Kelstrin panted, his tongue hanging to the side of his mouth as the road began to rise to lead to the bridge.

Williamsburg Bridge was a feat of engineering, a prideful behemoth of bronze and steel cables. Ornamental pillars supported the drawbridge, great wars in Elbanian history embossed into its metal. On either side of the platform, ornate towers braved the elements, bronze flying buttresses attached to the highest point of the framework to support its weight.

At the toll line, a row of officers had barricaded the bridge, two more squads in either tower with a hand on a radio receiver for further orders. Cameron headed the small platoon, squinting in the dark rain despite his black eye.

Approaching the bridge, Frederick had reached over Kelstrin's shoulder, leaning down and pressing his hand into Kelstrin's wound. He yowled, his stride faltering slightly before he hissed and shook his head, horn narrowly missing Frederick's. He pulled back his hand to see the warm crimson trickle down his palm, smearing the color on top of Kelstrin's plated head.

"{Hold tight to me!}" Kelstrin's eyes began to glow an unnatural green, his pupils vanishing.

Cameron borrowed an eyeglass from one of the guards, putting it up to his good eye and peering in. Through the sheets of rain, he could make out a faint glow. The sky overhead grew darker, a horrible grumbling sound echoing through the eerily quiet city. The light began to shine more clearly, and Cameron could make it out to be the shape of eyes.

Kelstrin's muscles screamed for mercy, but adrenaline now commanded his system as the light traveled from his eyes up to his horns. A current began to grow between them before he suddenly reared up, releasing a howling roar as a bolt of green lightening shot from his horns to the sky and rebounded on the stomping Shadowbrood.

The creature slammed into a nearby apartment, the sound of petrified screams ringing out in the darkness. Frederick seized up, half of him beginning to let go of Kelstrin.

"{No! They are not your responsibility!"} Kelstrin's horns now had the verdant electricity circling down his muzzle.

Metal plating began to grow out of his fur, spreading out over his feline body in segments. Frederick tried to protest, but a series of metal sheets grew around him, encasing him in a protective coating as Kelstrin hurtled into the blockade. Frederick could hear the sound of gunfire, but rather than hearing the expected flesh ripping sound, the ting of bouncing bullets greeted his ears.

No matter how many rounds they unloaded, it didn't stop this massive metallic creature as it shredded through bronze and fabric. Officers dove out of the way as two police automotives spiraled over the edge of the bridge and plummeted into the Bane River. Cameron scuttled to his feet, uneven eyes wide.

"It can't be...The Helgabon!?"

Cameron raced to the side of the bridge, yanking open a communication box mounted on the side and pulling out the receiver. He frantically cranked the handle, looking up at the towers.

"Raise the bridge! NOW!"

The platform shuddered and began to rise, clockwork wheels and pistons pulling steadily at the cables as steam hissed from the vents built into the middle of the buttresses.

Kelstrin's claws jutted out from his paws, hooking into the platform as he began to rise with the bridge. His hind legs pounded into the metal, making it to the edge of the platform as it approached an angle. Crouching into the momentum, Kelstrin soared over the widening gap just as the Shadowbrood began its assault on the police barricade.

Sparks flew from his paws as he crashed into the platform on the other side, gathering speed before he dashed past the other toll line. As the city began to shrink behind them, the metal plating on his body melted away, Frederick's senses deafened by the shroud of rain clouds.

Within a matter of minutes, the clouds pulled back, revealing a clear, star-lit sky.

The End

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