*Several thousand years later, idk*614Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡIZ2sLrScO8
“What is the situation sergeant?” Atis asked as she walked up to the portly man in the grey uniform and an atrocious moustache.
“Five men and three women. They’re all armed and wearing masks,” sergeant Onalaf answered.
It was a hot summer morning. Atis pulled at her collar, exposing her sweaty neck to the air. She sighed in relief as she felt coolness wash over her damp neck as a gentle breeze blew over it.
“Where’s Lord Mar?” she asked the sergeant.
“We telegrammed him a few minutes ago. He should be on his way given that he’s at home,” Onalaf replied. “He should be home though. He never goes anywhere on a Saturday.”
Atis nodded. It was good that Mar was their town Lord. Unlike his cocky brother, Mar was more composed. Perfect for dealing with a hostage situation.
“Have they demanded anything?” she asked.
“They threw a rock outside wrapped in a note a while back. They say they want ten thousand seepur divided equally into eight cloth bags. And they want it as soon as possible. They stated they’ll kill a hostage per hour, the longer we delay.”
Gritting her teeth, she asked, “How many hostages?”
“Well, it’s an inn and it’s the traveller season. So, anywhere from fifteen to ten people, not counting Elasap and his family who run it.”
“So, a maximum of twenty people.”
“Onalaf, prepare a strike team to rush the building with Lord Mar once he arrives.”
Onalaf walked away briskly, shouting orders at a group of policemen nearby. Atis stood staring at the inn, a tight grip around the leather handle of the gun in its holster at her waist. She was about to walk away to discuss matters with the deputy when she saw Onalaf running to her.
“Ma’am!” he was shouting. Atis froze in place, afraid of the message Onalaf must have. “Ma’am! We just got a telegram from the Lord’s manor. He left town last night!”
Atis’ stomach dropped at the news. “What?” she screamed, unable to control herself. This was bad. Mar, out of town? He hadn’t told her. He had told no one. And now, they had a situation they couldn’t resolve. Not without casualty. Not without Mar.
She took in a long breath and straightened her back. Composed, she looked at Onalaf in his eyes. She was in charge. She could not let the situation go out of control. She would not let the situation out of control.
“If Lord Mar isn’t present then we will have to do this without him,” she said. Silently, she thanked the police academy’s training that had taught her to be calm when faced with a dangerous and tricky situation. “Prepare the strike team regardless. I will give further orders when they’re ready.” She could think and come up with a plan while Onalaf assembled a team.
“Yes Ma’am!” Onalaf said, and then saluted her. He turned and walked back to the group of policemen.
Atis felt herself stiffen. They had always had had Mar to help them with cases like these. Dangerous cases that could–
There was a crash, followed by a scream, and finished by a sickening crunch as a body of a man that had been flung out the second story window hit the gravel at an angle that broke his neck on impact.
Everyone on the ground, including Atis and Onalaf, stared at the dead body, stunned and unable to move.
Shouts. From the inn. Screams. And another body flew out of another window. It was a woman. She was missing an arm and a leg but not bleeding. The flesh seemed to have been cauterized at the site of the wound. The smell that emanated from her smelled of barbecue.
“Onalaf! Take four! With me!” Atis yelled. Drawing her gun, she ran past the two dead bodies towards the inn, her boots crunching the gravel beneath her.
Screams and shouts continued from inside the inn. There was a crash and the sound of breaking wood. Another crash. More sound of wood splintering.
Two bodies broke out of the wooden walls on the first story in rapid succession, leaving behind a gaping hole. For a brief moment, Atish thought she saw a man standing in the room from where the two bodies, both men, had been flung out. He held something long in his hand that appeared to glow orange. Before she could react, he had disappeared.
Atis braced herself against the wall besides the front door of the inn. Onalaf caught up to her, leaning on the wall opposite her, his gun drawn and ready in his hand. With him came four constables, two lining behind Onalaf and the other two, a man and a woman, behind Atis.
“On my mark!” Atis said. Onalaf nodded. “Ready? … Now!”
Guns ready, Atis and Onalaf burst inside the inn, the four constables directly behind them. The reception was empty. The chairs in the room had been tossed about, no doubt by the attackers.
A scream emanated from upstairs. It was cut off abruptly. Atis could guess what had happened.
“Upstairs!” Atis said in a low voice. The five of them headed to the stairs, their leather boots masking their footsteps. “Don’t shoot anyone unless they try to attack you,” she said in a hushed tone. “You might end up injuring a guest.”
They climbed up the stairs slowly and quietly. Atis could feel the bead of perspiration on her forehead. She was trained to stay calm but training could only do so much.
At the top of the stairs, they came across the corpse of a woman lying face up on the wooden floor. The expression on her face was that of horror – whatever or whoever it was that had killed her, she had been very afraid of it. There was a large, charred gash on her chest, as if she had been cut by a sword and then her wound seared shut immediately by fire.
“What in space happened here?” the male constable whispered.
There was another dead body a few paces away. It was a man. Both of his legs had been cut off – they lay on the floor just a few paces away. Like the wound on the woman, the flesh had been cauterized on the stumps that now remained. Curiously, the flesh on the legs that had been cut off was cauterized as well.
Jerad, a constable, walked to the corpse and turned it over. He grimaced at the sight. Looking over his shoulder, Atis understood why. The dead man’s face had been crushed in completely, beyond recognition.
“Who did this?” Renee, the only woman constable present, asked.
Atis walked over to an open window at the end of the corridor. “We need a few more constables!” she shouted to the police outside. Then, she turned to her group. “You! Two of you stay here! Onalaf, Majir, and Jerad, with me. Upstairs.”
Nodding, Onalaf motioned for the two constables to move ahead, leaving behind Renee and
Walking past the rooms, Atis could see one with a giant hole in the wall. No doubt, the two dead men down below had been thrown from that room, straight through the wooden walls. She led the group of four up the stairs slowly, not daring to make a noise.
They came across another dead body, this time slumped over the wooden stair railing. It was another woman. Her arm had been sliced off and it lay next to her, the charred flesh smoking. Not bothering to turn over the corpse, they continued over to the second floor, guns ready in their hands.
“This is the police!” Atis shouted. Below, she could hear footsteps as the constables she’d asked for flooded the inn. “We are armed with guns and will not hesitate to use it!”
Silence. Except for the sound of whimpering coming from the room at the far end of the corridor.
Atis motioned for Majir and Jered to stand guard by first two rooms on either side of the corridor while she tiptoed with Onalaf to the room from where the whimpers came. Standing outside the closed door, she looked at the sergeant who nodded. Undoing the latch on the outside of the door as quietly as possible, the two burst into the room in sync, their guns pointed out and ready for whomever was inside.
Sixteen pairs of terrified eyes stared back at them, the pupils focused on the barrel of their guns. It took a moment to register that Atis was staring at the hostages of the inn before her. They were bound together tightly with rope and their mouths had been gagged using dirty cloths.
“Space! You’re alright!” Onalaf exclaimed.
Atis rushed forward, immediately working on the ropes with her pocket knife while Onalaf stood guard at the door. She untied Elasap and his son who immediately started helping her with the bounds of the other hostages.
Ten minutes later, the inn was full of police. They had found another dead body inside the room that Majir had stood guard against. Unlike the others, it had been decapitated. Like the others, the flesh at the site of the wound was charred.
“That’s all eight bodies accounted for,” Onalaf said, walking up to Atis. He was returning from upstairs to join the Elasap family and Atis in the reception room.
“Eight attackers, all of them dead,” Atis commented thoughtfully.
“I’m sorry ma’am, did you say eight?” Elasap asked, having overheard her.
“Yes. Five men and three women. They took you hostage, yes?”
“Nah ma’am. There were nine. Six men and three women.”
Atis raised an eyebrow. “Six men? Are you sure?”
“Well, I and my family are five. And we had a total of twenty one guests this morning. Only the twelve of them were taken hostage along with us so I thought there were nine attackers.”
Atis looked at Onalaf and motioned him to take notes. “I know that you are traumatized but it’d be great if you could tell me what happened while the event is still fresh in your mind.”
Elasap was a hardy old man and had seen a fair share of bloodshed in his youth, having been an army veteran. Thus, he was unfazed by that day’s events, having been worried about the lives of his family and the fellow guests over his own life. He began relaying the events as clearly as he could remember it.
“Well, it was around eight in the morning. I was preparing breakfast for the guests. Like I said, we’d taken in twenty one guests last night so there was a lot I had to cook. When it was almost done, I asked my lad to set the table while I went upstairs to make sure everyone had woken up for breakfast. I woke those three up no problem,” he pointed to three merchants sitting in the corner, rubbing their wrists where they had been bound, “but when I moved on to wake up the couple that had been staying in room 104, I got jumped from behind by one of them attackers.”
Onalaf scribbled furiously, trying to keep up with the man’s story.
“They led me to the room you found me in and soon, my wife and my children joined me. After that, the other twelve guests started trickling in, led by the same man who had first attacked me. So, there they were, the twelve guests locked with my family and me in the room, tied and bound and gagged. And there were twenty one guests last night so there must definitely have been nine attackers.”
“What happened after you were locked in the room?”
“How should I know? I was in there the whole time.”
“I mean, what did you hear?” Irritation flashed across Atis’ face.
“Oh that. Well, it was quiet for a while. I could hear them talking in the corridor outside but didn’t know what they were discussing. The sound was all muffled. I don’t know how much time elapsed but suddenly there were shouts and I heard my windows breaking. After that, it was chaotic really. Nothing but shouts and screams, and the sound of wood and glass breaking. Until it all suddenly grew quiet with a final scream. And then, after a while, you two appeared to free us from our bonds.”
“How good is your memory?” Atis asked, once Elasap had finished.
“I’d reckon it’s alright. Why?”
“Can you recall the faces of all the guests you had here last night?”
“I suppose so. Of course, there are my children too who can help. Arahap is very good with faces.”
Atis nodded. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to rely on you and perhaps your wife. We can’t allow those children to see the corpses.”
“Pardon me, corpses?”
“Well, yes. We are going to show you the eight dead bodies that we stumbled across. Then, maybe you can help us come up with a sketch of the ninth man.”
“Of course ma’am. By the way, will the state reimburse me?”
“For the damages. I mean, you and your police did good, saving all of us.” Elasap then pointed up. “But you did wreck my place. I expect some compensation to repair the damage.”
“Of course,” Atis replied. “I will put in a word to Lord Mar and see that your damages are covered.”
Satisfied, Elasap nodded and rejoined his family who sat huddled together on the sofa. Atis watched them for a moment before turning around and leaving the room. She exited the inn and winced at the glare of the afternoon sun. The heat hit her as she rushed towards the carriage waiting for her. Around her, local people crowded the area, held back by a rope that created a boundary ten feet from the inn’s walls. A policewoman, her back drenched from sweat, was shouting at a couple of kids to not dare enter the area inside the rope boundary.
Atis couldn’t wait to get back to the station and be rid of this hot air inside her relatively cool little office. She hurriedly climbed into the carriage, the humid interior not doing anything to help with the heat.
The driver lightly whipped the horse which immediately started trotting ahead. Atis leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes, thinking about the events that had taken place that morning.
The man she had seen from the hole in the wall must have been the ninth attacker Elasap had spoken about. But she doubted if the man had been a part of the eight who had taken the innkeeper’s family and the other guests’ hostage.
Elasap thought that the damage had been from the police fighting with the attackers. Atis new differently. She wasn’t sure how it could be possible but it must have been that man who had killed those eight attackers. There was no other explanation. And those charred wounds.
She would have to discuss everything with Mar.
Kinda just wrote this chapter when I was bored. I have a skeleton-ish of a story in mind. Let's see how it turns out.614Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡniRjICZX7Y