They came up behind us on the left, eyes black as tar. Three of them in a car, a convertible, speeding up and staring at us, even the driver, not paying any attention to the road.
“Say the 4 phrases,” called out the driver, a terrible anger in his voice.
“What the hell is he talking about,” said Phil as he glanced over at me, keeping a quick glance at the road every couple of seconds.
“How the fuck should I know?” I said and turned away from our unwanted guests.
Just then, they smashed into our car and sent us careening off the road, skidding to a stop, almost making us smash into the guard rail. Phil’s dirty mouth would embarrass his grandmother, I’m sure, but in this case I’ll let it slide.
They were already getting out of their car and coming towards us, gruff and stalwart, bold and determined. Phil and I managed to get out of the car but Jesse was still dazed from the impact and stayed in the car.
They pulled him out and pushed him to the ground. The driver motioned and his henchmen pinned Jesse to the ground.
“SAY THE FOUR PHRASES,” the leader’s spittle sprayed in Jesse’s face even as he attempted to turn away.
“I don’t… I don’t know what you’re talking ab–”
Henchman #1 slammed his fist into Jesse’s face and we heard the knock of bone on bone; the swelling was immediate.
We were standing, stunned, at about 20 feet, hearts pounding and sweat drenching our shirt collars.
“Multi sumus…” said Henchmen #2 as he reached into his jacket pocket and produced a small blade that seemed like it had a faint blue glow to it. He stabbed Jesse in the neck.
“Holy shiiii-” we turned and began to run; discretion is the better part of valor, indeed.
From behind us we could hear a chant begin with the three black-eyed aggressors. We paused behind a large tree to listen.
Nos unum sumus
Nos vires colligat”
“What the fuck are they saying,” Phil was so scared that he didn’t even look at me when he spoke.
“How the fuck should I know?” I glanced at Phil briefly, then back at the murderous, chanting horde that just killed Jesse. “What do we do now? We’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s nothing for miles. I don’t think we’ve got a chance.”
“We fight.” Phil said to himself, barely aloud.
“FIGHT?” Maybe Phil forgot that we’re middle-aged white dudes with wives and mortgages and beer guts; we’re just some guys heading out for a weekend where we pretend we’re 20 again. Now Jesse’s dead. How do we explain THAT to Kelly?
Shit! Kelly! I glanced at my watch – we were supposed to check in an hour ago. Wait – “Hey – our wives will be worried when we haven’t called to check in…”
“What? Are you high? They’re boozin’ it up and talkin’ us down to each other,” Phil was, as usual, right on the money. Our break was their break and they weren’t going to miss us.
A gunshot ricocheted through the trees. We both turned to look and we only saw the henchmen; the leader was gone. Shit, shit, shit!
We turned to run deeper into the woods – so much for fighting. About 50 feet in and I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye… I grabbed at Phil’s shirt and motioned for him to stop, then put two fingers up to my eyes and pointed them at our 2 o’clock; watching Predator 100 times had come in handy.
We ducked down and watched him searching for us, his black eyes gave no hint of his intentions.
Then, a twig cracked behind us; the henchmen were on us before we knew what happened.
“SPEAK THE FOUR PHRASES!”
Phil, ever so brave, began, “multi sumus,” and glowing blue tracers started to swirl around the body of Henchman #1. “Nos unum… uh, um,” Phil stammered and closed his eyes to concentrate.
“Sumus,” I added, and Henchman #1 exploded in a blue glow and was gone. I could swear that Phil was glowing faintly blue, but maybe it was just residual from the henchman.
Henchman #2 wrapped his arm around my neck. “FINISH,” he said, his black eyes seemed intent on Phil.
“Uh… uh… a tenebris,” Phil continued and Henchman #2 began to laugh as the glowing tracers surrounded him.
“Nos viris…” Phil put his hand up to his eyes as the henchman gave in to the same fate at his brethren. Phil’s eyes were dark – or was it the dark of the woods? Or that glow coming from his skin now…
“FINISH IT,” came the deep baritone from behind us. Phil obliged.
“…colligat…” and with that, the leader dropped to his knees and was gone in a blue flash.
Wide eyed and hooting, I turned to Phil, but it wasn’t Phil, it was a person with black eyes on Phil’s face, staring (I presumed) right at me, faintly glowing blue.