Part II of the thrilling story Liz and I wrote together! Read Part I here, and find out what happened in Liz's version here!
Now that the Carrier’s attention was elsewhere, the ringing in Tricia’s ears dulled. She saw Dominique, the Carrier leaning down over her, its putrid breath poisoning the air around her. Dominique was staring up into the monster’s face, frozen.
Tricia growled. She didn’t particularly like Dominique, but they had an arrangement, and Tricia would be damned if she saw anyone get dragged away by a filthy Carrier. Hell, she was already damned. Might as well do something about it.
Tricia reached deep within herself and pulled up the curse, urging the transformation. She felt her hair growing, her muscles expanding. Her clothing split at the seams. I just bought that shirt, she thought, before she leaped forward toward the Carrier.
Dominique’s vision cleared as the Carrier was yanked backward. She gasped, unaware she had been holding her breath. A huge ape-like creature was clinging to the Carrier’s head, furiously tearing at its cloak.
Dominique stared. She had never seen Tricia’s full transformation before. If she hadn’t known her cursed form, she wouldn’t even be sure it was Tricia. But she could still see the remnants of Tricia’s clothing clinging to her limbs, ripped apart at the seams.
The Carrier was trying to get Tricia off its head, but it couldn’t quite whip the chain around to catch her. But she wouldn’t last long like that. Dominique frantically scanned the chapel, desperate for anything that could serve as a weapon. She grunted in frustration. There wasn’t even an ornamental sword she could tear from a wall.
She looked toward the front of the chapel and saw the tall candelabra illuminating the altar. She ran towards it, calculating the risk. Dowsing the flames would give the Carrier strength; they thrived in darkness. But she had little else to use against it, and she hoped she could enchant it with a strong enough spell to at least discourage it from taking them.
Tricia clawed and bit at the Carrier’s hood, aware she was likely causing little damage. She was just hoping to give Dominique enough time to do something, anything. But she felt her grip failing, and even as she shifted to gain a better grasp, the Carrier grabbed her leg and flung her across the pews.
Dominique heard the crash and turned, catching a glimpse of Tricia as she fell. Cursing, she mounted the steps and snagged her bag, rummaging through it. She pulled out a bag of salt, blessed and intended for another ritual. But she had no other choice.
Grabbing the candelabra, she whipped it forward, the candle’s flames extinguishing as they flew across the room. Dominique whispered, feeling the metal warming beneath her hand as she imbued it with the most powerful spell she knew. Sealing the spell with salt, she lifted her head just as the Carrier’s chain wrapped around her midsection.
Tricia rose, pain throbbing in her ribs, just in time to see Dominique get pulled down the altar steps, the chain around her middle. She fell and was dragged backward, but she held fast to a heavy metal candelabra, and Tricia understood. She braced herself for a moment, catching her breath, then sped forward.
The pressure against Dominique’s stomach lifted as Tricia sprang up from the pews and leapt to tackle the Carrier. Her momentum was enough that the Carrier stumbled, and, using the candelabra for support, Dominique pulled herself upright.
With the Carrier momentarily distracted, its chain lay limp on the stone floor. Dominique lifted the candelabra, and whispering a few more words for strength, brought the heavy fixture down on the chain.
There was a terrible clang and light burst into the room. Dominique squinted against the light, but raised the candelabra and brought it down again and again, until with a tremendous noise the chain broke. There was a great rush of air and with a deafening screech the Carrier disappeared. Dominique fell to the ground, spent.
Breaking a Carrier’s chain wouldn’t kill it, but it would slow it down for a time. Carriers forged their own chains, and while one that powerful would be able to regain its strength quickly, Dominique knew she and Tricia had enough time to get to safety.
“Tricia,” Dominique said through a cough. Her limbs weak, Dominique dragged herself up but sat immediately in a pew, her muscles shaking with exhaustion.
There was a rustling across the aisle and Dominique saw Tricia stand, clutching her side. What remained of her clothing draped immodestly across too little skin. She blushed, looked away.
Tricia grinned, her teeth smaller but still deathly sharp. The curse fading, the hair that just moments ago covered her body was falling off in clumps, and her muscles shrunk, weak and ineffective. She too sat in a pew, grinning across the dark aisle at Dominique.
“Nice work,” she said, then winced. Speaking was painful. She might have broken a rib.
“But now I have to start over,” Dominique said quietly, and Tricia shrugged.
“You didn’t get swallowed by a Carrier. And a great one, at that. You should be grateful.”
Dominique’s eyes flashed, but she didn’t reply. She sighed, heaved herself up and made her way slowly to the front of the chapel, intent on collecting her things. She kneeled slowly, gathering the candles and sage she had set out so carefully before. To her dismay, most of the salt had spilled from the bag, but she gathered what she could and stored it carefully away.
She jumped when Tricia spoke at her shoulder.
“We’ll find another church,” Tricia said quietly, wiping a bit of her own blood from the corner of her mouth.
“I’m surprised you would offer,” Dominique said, tying her satchel closed. Tricia shrugged.
“We had an arrangement,” she said, smirking, and Dominique felt marginally better.
“We’ll have to find someplace to stay,” she replied. “The Carrier will come back.”
“I know a place,” Tricia said, wandering off, arranging the rags of her clothing into an outfit that covered her more vulnerable body parts. Dominique sighed and followed the older woman out into the night.
I write for fun and to make sure my sister doesn't beat me in our blog challenge.