Into The Jaws
By Casey Douglass
as part of #fridayflash
The heavy metal boots squelched through the row of corpses, a particularly bloated body rupturing pleasingly to Moranth’s satisfaction. He didn’t let it show.
‘The death you have caused!’ the gaunt elderly man hissed through yellow teeth as he floated a few paces to the left.
Not for the first time, Moranth looked to both sides, the seemingly unending road of bodies buffered by darkness on both sides as it stretched into the hazy distance. He shrugged his left shoulder, the vein that ran down the bicep a snake weaving and winding its way towards some unknown prey. The metal of his chest plate was torn and stained with his life’s juices, the jagged edge rubbing into his skin. He marvelled that he no longer felt the pain; that had faded once his mind had awoken after the brief period of darkness.
‘Look Moranth!’ the floating man in his dark robe was pointing now, his knobbly finger pointing into the distance.
Moranth breathed in deeply, or at least what passed for breathing in this place. He stopped walking and turned to the old man. ‘I see what I have achieved.’
The man wafted closer until his nose was almost touching Moranth’s. ‘Achieved? Achieved?’ he shrieked. ‘Even in death you show not a sign of contrition?’
Moranth’s mouth drew back revealing the rows of broken teeth that still clung to his gums. He lunged forward and grabbed the old man’s face with his massive gauntleted hand, the clinking of the metal competing with the slight crunching of bone.
‘Yes achieved!’ Moranth snarled, ‘Why you play this game Death I know not, but if you expect me to fall to my knees and weep you are sorely mistaken. You take on the guise of this old pauper, the first I killed on my path to glory and you have simply given me the satisfaction of doing it again. You know so much of my life yet you seem not to know the one important thing, the thing that drove my violent path. You think me a monster yet I vowed years ago to right the greatest injustice of life. You and the beings of your ilk, lording over us mere mortals, offering solace one moment and agony the next.’
He squeezed his fingers more tightly and felt the skull give with a loud crack. Death cried out and mumbled into the hand that covered his mottled face.
‘Do not try your tricks on me!’ Moranth bellowed. ‘Can I kill such as you? I have no idea. I am here and from what you have told me, headed for the inferno. I say good! My one fear in life was that there was nothing after death and you have taken that fear from me. Now you have unleashed the mightiest warrior the world has ever known and he has no fear, no pain and no body to hold him back!’
Moranth pulled the shrieking Death closer and whispered in his ear, ‘Who do gods pray to when they fall?’
Death struggled and wriggled as he clawed at the dented metal, his eyes beginning to fill with blood. Moranth lifted him away and lofted him higher, until his arm was at full stretch. With a grunt he clenched his fist tightly, the already damaged head imploding in a wet bubble of boney shrapnel and pulp. The body fell, fell down past the morbid pathway and down, down into the abyss below. The atmosphere began to rumble and vibrate as the Death vanished from sight. Small sparks of faery fire danced along Moranth’s armour as he grunted in approval. He looked around him and noticed that the scene was growing dim, a red hue beginning to suffuse everything.
With one long ululation of intent, Moranth threw himself from the pathway and plummeted into the depths, sulphur and brimstone tickling at his nostrils. The wind howled through his armour and scoured his skin with a hot ferocity that only served to heat his intent further. With a last yell of defiance he vanished from sight, a deafening boom splintering the now empty space that he left behind.