Ch7: Ghosted

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
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No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Seven: Ghosted 
Arius took a step back. A shelf full of canned goods was to his right, and blocked his view of the staircase. A stone wall was to his left, and the room was no more than twelve square yards. The unknown being made its way down the stairs, and stepped into view. The small basement window cast light upon the being’s face revealing a trail of dust before it. A leather mask covered the face, two holes were cut into it where the eyes were, and leather layered body armor clad the being’s form.
A snarl came from within the mask which had four buckles running down its front side. It turned toward Arius’ position; a fully automated firearm was clutched within its hands, and wavered around his position.
The being clicked on a light mounted upon the rifle to pierce the darkness which loomed at the back of the room. Arius faltered, and the light caught upon his face exposing him to the being. His shadow was cast against the back wall which he used to teleport himself away from the weapon’s fire which left a deafening ring in the room.
Arius hit the back wall and stepped to the side where the shelf covered him. The hostile turned to cut him off on the other side, but he swept around the shelf to catch the being from the back side. The muzzle of Arius’ double barreled gun aimed low, and blew through the hostile’s back. The being slammed into the wall where it fell lifeless to the floor, and Arius dropped his now empty gun for the automated rifle.
He felt something else coming down the steps behind him, and spun around to find another leather clad warrior storming down. Squeezing the trigger, Arius loaded several rounds into the figures chest. The armor held strong, but the shock would do enough damage to keep it down. The figure slid down the steps with several thuds before rolling off the side and hitting the floor. Already, Arius was cloaked within the shadows, and he hurried up the stairs to enter the hall.
“Engage!” Thorim had ordered through stealth speak.
Another leather warrior was coming down the hall toward Arius, but was brought to a halt as an invisible force plunged a dagger into its gut under the armor. The light through the window revealed it to be Dueson as he removed the knife and quickly took a kill strike at the being’s neck.
Gunfire sounded elsewhere in the building though it was probably due to panic as the leather warriors were being taken out by ghosts. Arius followed Dueson down the hall before they made it back to the main lobby where a warrior already lay dead. Something moved at the top of the stairs as a hostile backed away from the upper hall. It waved its rifle back and forth as if to guard itself from the invisible assailants, but Jayvolni moved past its defense, plunging a dagger into its gut. Within seconds the figure was disarmed and Jayvolni continued to assail it with his dagger before tipping it over the rail where it fell to the bottom floor behind the counter.
The building fell silent as only the shadowed ghosts stirred. Arius glanced out the front window where he found a cruiser parked outside. It was the only one around the premise as far as he could tell so that was all they had to deal with for now. The others came into the lobby where they exchanged curious glances.
“What happened?” asked Thorim, looking across all his men.
“One of them caught me with its light, sir,” Arius said. “I had no choice but to take him out.”
“Very well,” Thorim replied with a nod. “But now they’re going to know we’re here. Let’s figure out what we’re dealing with.”
“Do you think they were looking for us?” Grem asked, as Thorim turned the leather clad body before him onto its back.
“Probably,” Thorim replied. “I’m not sure what else would bring them to this island unless they picked up our ship on sensors.”
The group stared down at the body. The mask continued to cover its face and they did not know what lay behind it.
“Let’s take a look shall we,” Thorim said, before undoing the mask.
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