Red Handed Part Three [Three Word Wednesday, Week 317]

This week for 3 Word Wednesday we have been given the words Tangy, Unhinged and Vapid to use in a piece of fiction. Today we're picking up where we left off with Bernitte with Part Three of the irregular series 'Red Handed.

A voormi warrior screamed as they whirled back and around revealing a doll clutching and gnashing and pulling a bloody elastic loop of intestine out through the wound. Another warrior skewered the nasty doll with their spear and lobbed it over the edge of the roof with a quick thrust of their spear.

"None of us can run away now. Will you help us fight these things?"
Previously in  Part Two

Bernitte turned to look behind her. Down the side of the building. Dozens of filthy, toothsome, evil little dolls were clambering and climbing their way up the fire escape. Where there were too many dolls for the railings or ladders the hateful gnashing things were scaling the rough walls of the building. each doll that slipped and fell was replaced by another and another as the horde of wicked toys vomited forth from the broken window below.

Clouds obscured the thin sliver of moon overhead. The distant rumble of thunder worried Bernitte. Her crew were still down in an alley waiting for her signal. At least they might still be--all the commotion with the horde of biting dolls could have sent them scurrying off for some safer vantage point. She knew that given half a chance Varak would abandon her as soon as follow her lead, he was as vapid as he was vain and prone to self aggrandizing exaggeration, but the other two were too hungry to just leave her behind. They wanted whatever they thought was inside this building that wasn't really a warehouse. They knew damn well this building wasn't what they had told her. She was sure of it now. They were after something that they did not want her to know about until it was too late...or else they intended for her to meet a grisly end courtesy of the biting dolls while they used her as a distraction. She was always chided for not being paranoid enough as a child. She had been too trusting. Again.

All along the roof-top voormis were prowling with their bone spears even as others from the camp came running up with various implements and tools. Once a few voormis began poking downwards with long-handled rakes and make-shift pitchforks the others ran back into the camp to pick up similar tools. All the while the Eldress stared at Bernitte. "Will you help us?"

There wasn't any good option for running away. Not now. She might find someplace to hide, to wait for the dolls to overrun the roof then return to their lair...but she knew that would be almost certain death if the tiny automatons caught her. She'd already seen first-hand how quickly the unhinged little monsters could devour a victim once before and she had no interest in seeing it ever again.

"I'm not a warrior, but I will do what I can to help you fight these...things."

The Eldress nodded once then pointed to a yurt-like mass of cardboard and carpet; "Take up one of the long-reach weapons you'll find in there and start brushing the dolls off of the wall or the rails or anywhere else you spot them. Don't waste time trying to destroy them or stabbing them or any of that foolishness. For every one of them that you get stuck fighting, two or three or more of the things will sneak their way around to get you from your blindside. Don't look at them, don't look at their eyes, just brush them off and send them crashing down to the pavement below."

Somewhere to the left of them a voormis yelled hoarsely as they were dragged over the edge of the wall by a mass of dolls clustered on the end of their rake.

"And don't let the things cling to your weapon--if they do then toss it and them over and get another implement."

Bernitte nodded her understanding and set off towards the weapons cache to get herself a proper tool for the task. Inside the yurt were stacks of brooms, rakes, forks, shovels, a few scythes, a bundle of walking sticks and crutches, even a few fishing poles. She grabbed a rake then set it back down, preferring to try out a push-broom instead. Just to be sure, she took up the rake as well, as a back-up.

Another voormis screamed then fell over the edge of the rooftop with three dolls crawling over their head and shoulders after raising their shovel too high while attempting to shake the dolls loose. One of the nasty little dolls clutched onto the very edge of the roof and had to be struck multiple times before it snapped off at the wrists and fell leaving its tiny hands firmly clamped to the raised section of tiles that formed a slight parapet around the roof.

Defending themselves with janitor supplies wasn't quite what Bernitte had expected when she agreed to help the voormis fight the dolls, but it did make sense. Once she reached the edge of the rooftop and started sweeping and pushing and swatting dolls off of the wall of the building it made more than just sense, it worked.

Long minutes passed in rigorous, vigorous bashing, smashing and dashing until finally the majority of the doll horde was cleared away from the walls and the vicious little things retreated back into their lair below.

It wasn't a victory. It was more like a stalemate. A temporary detente. The voormis had lost six of their people to the dolls and at least as many implements. Perhaps their encampment had been a reasonably decent location, it was certainly defensible, but only for so long as they could continue to drive off the dolls every time something or someone stirred them up.

Bernitte dragged her broom back to the storage yurt. Her shoulder ached and she was soaked in sweat. Someone had re-started a fire and was warming up stew of some sort. It had an appealing, tangy aroma that she did not recognize. She really didn't much care what the stew was made from, so long as it was hot and they had enough to share.


Berniite felt her guts sink with the realization that Varak and the others were down there after all and the idiots were using fire-arms against the dolls.

The voormis Eldress handed Bernitte a bowl fashioned from some sort of gourd full of savory stew.

"Your associates are not clever enough to be scavenging in this area. The dolls will pick the meat form their bones before any of us could attempt to assist them...though if you insist, you can certainly try to do what you can for them, so long as you do not lead them back towards us and never return."

Bernitte considered her options. Certain death or uncertain hospitality. It wasn't a hard choice...

Previously                                                                   ...To Be Continued


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