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Chapter Thirty Six, Tentacles

Brandyn punched Danny in the arm as he walked over to their table.

"Hey bro, enjoy yourself?" he asked.

"I guess so," Danny responded.

The music was off and the people were gone but the smoke still floated through the empty place and created the illusion of fog.

His sister said nothing, only looked up at him. He knew that look well. When someone she wasn't close to got on her nerves she'd give them the look and say nothing, until they would start with her again and she would beat the shit out of them.

"You ok?" Danny asked.

He offered his hand to help her up from the chair but she swatted it away.

"I'm fine," Dakota muttered.

Danny just thought she was cranky from her lack of sleep.

The small group of friends left the hotel and drove off in Sean's Eldorado. Of course people would find it weird if they knew he lived in a trailer and drove a powerful vintage car, it was just some of the quirks of being a demon hunter. If he killed an eight legged monster in some rich folks back yard that wasn't an insect, even a snob wouldn't be greedy with his wealth.

At a four way intersection, Sean steered the car in a different direction than they had come before.

"This a shortcut?" Danny inquired from the leather decorated back seat.

"Nope. We're gonna have some fun tonight boys, and girl," Sean was sure to add.

"I don't know guys. It's been a long day," Danny hesitated.

"C'mon Danny, don't be a pussy. It'll be fun," Richard assured them. He sat sandwiched between the two siblings in the back.

"What did you have in mind?" Dakota asked.

"We'll be entering the forest soon. There's supposed to be caves filled with maghives and viemeds. It'll probably be easy but we should have a fucking good time killing them all," Sean answered with a grin.

"We don't have our weapons," Dakota said plainly.

"You can borrow ours," Sean said.

"Besides, didn't you ever twist a maghives neck off with your bare hands?" he asked.

"Yea, but some of that shit burns," Dakota retorted. She especially hated demons that were filled with acid instead of regular blood.

The rubber wheels of the automobile rolled over a gravel road. A neon yellow gate was spread wide open as the car drove through. On all sides, the group was surrounded by needles and pines. When they got deeper into the forest, Sean turned the ignition off and the car came to a halt.

"Turn off the beams, you'll wake them up," Brandyn said quietly.

Sean flicked a switch as Brandyn grabbed several flashlights from the glove compartment. He gave one to the driver, three to the hunters in the back, and kept one for himself. They stayed quiet. The loudest noise came from the car doors closing. They weren't able to prevent the leaves that crunched beneath their boots.

While he held his flashlight to the keyhole, Brandyn opened the trunk and lifted up the lid. The others crowded around him. Weapons of all sorts were categorized in the trunk.

"Eh, let's keep it an old fashioned slaughter night. Save the guns and explosives for a real challenge," Sean said.

The rest of them agreed. Danny shined his torch at the century old cave. The cave looked big enough to be a three story house in the countryside. He focused his attention back to the trunk. He saw that Sean already picked out his long swords and thought maybe it was a self esteem issue. Dakota had a pair of sai's that looked similar to her own, except that those sai's had snakes designed on them. Brandyn was armed with two fully assembled daqtagh's. Richard carried a pack full of ninja stars. The only thing left that seemed right for Danny to choose were the brass knuckles. He put one on each hand.

"Show off," Richard joked, or at least Danny thought it was a joke.

"Alright, c'mon." Sean closed the trunk and they all trailed off into the woods.

The caves rigid surface had several large holes in it. They walked in the doorless opening and the temperature suddenly dropped ten degrees. Goose pimples formed on all their arms and the hairs on the back of their necks stood straight up.

After two hours of searching the whole cave, twice, their hopes dropped.

"Dammit, they got away," Brandyn complained.

"What made you think they'd be here?" Dakota asked.

"Someone gave us a tip at the meeting," Richard answered for him.

"Maybe they were lying," Danny said, exasperated.

"Alright, let's go," Branydn said, disapointed.

Oustide, the temperature rose to forty degrees and the cave looked like an endless tunnel. Dakota's sai slipped out of her hand and with luck, she catched it before it stabbed her foot. The others were ahead of her. She slipped the sai's back in their holsters and took the flashlight off from around her neck. A sound of congestion came from the cave.

"Wait!" she called. Her heart started to beat faster.

The boys turned to face her.

"What?" Danny called.

"I heard really heavy breathing. Maybe there is something in-" Dakota was cut off as something long and slimy wrapped around her legs and dragged her back into the hollow body of the cave. She yelped as her clipped down fingernails scraped against the stone floor.

Even in shock, Danny was the first to run after her.

She was dragged a long way, down steep surfaces and across flat rocks. At first she tried to wiggle free which didn't work. She grabbed her sai's and secured her flashlight back on. She thrust a sai into whatever dragged her; either a tentacle or a vine. The long slithery thing shook and then became paralyzed.

It wasn't a vine. The thing dropped to the ground with a thud. Once she waited to make sure it didn't move again, Dakota lifted it up and examined it. It was heavy, slimy, scaly, and cold. Dakota concluded it must have come out of the pond. Without water, it surely wouldn't have survived. She dropped the still tentacle and followed its length. The slithery arm that grabbed her went through two more passageways, then ended. The dead limb had itself crammed into a wall of big, jagged, rocks. She shined her flashlight elsewhere and looked for more and surely enough, right in front of her was a group of them, huddled together, some attached to the ceiling, all of them asleep. In ways they looked like bats, but she knew better, knew that they were Vampris. The size of an adult Vampris would be as big as a full grown
Labrador Retriever. The group of them before her were only babies, the size of watermelons. They were ugly and brown with burnt, crusted wings tucked in. Their feet were nearly pegs, their bodies scabbed all over.

Dakota slowly extended her hand out and gently took a Vampris off the cave wall. It had the weight of a watermelon too. The flashlight woke it up. It's eyelids fluttered wildly. A sleepy groan escaped from it's throat. The Vampris saw the human who held it and screamed. The sai went through it's throat and broke the voice box, as well as ended it's life. It went limp in Dakota's arms and fell to the dirty ground once it slid off the sai. That was enough to wake up the rest.

Hundreds of screams that resembled a little girl's shriek and a little mutt's yap, made Dakota want to kill them even more. They all came at her at once, a gang attack. Numerous rows of teeth bit into her arms, her neck. Shit infested mouths tugged roughly at her hair. She stabbed, penetrated, and sliced at the demons. She twirled the sais with her wrists and pierced every living thing that flew in circles around her. It resulted in the Vampris being nothing more than dead hunks of meat.

"You can go annoy the devil now," she said.

Dakota took a few steps back and stepped on the tentacle that dragged her in the cave. She spotted a second mud brown tentacle in the corner that slowly slithered inside the barrier of boulders. A rock rolled down the wall and crashed on the hard floor. The rock broke in half and a series of groans erupted from the cave. She didn't know if it was the demon or the beginning of a cave in. After one stone fell, the rest began to tumble down as dust tarnished her senses.

Dakota made a run for it and jumped out one of the holes. With a seat in the wet grass, she had a front row view of the cave as she watched the ceiling collapse. The cave transformed into a worthless pile. Underneath the pile of rocks, the original demon that attacked her sprouted up in rage. Tentacle after tentacle tried to squish Dakota like a fly. The demon's menacing slit of an eye followed her. To make the demon look away, Dakota threw her flashlight to the side. With the first glance away from her, she hid behind a trunk and began to climb. She balanced herself on a sturdy enough branch and once the demon smelled her the space between them closed. The demons back was turned as Dakota leaped on it's shoulders. With the blades of the sai's pointing down, the weapons went straight in the demons shoulders. The demon roared and swung it's neck back and forth, attempting to throw her off. Dakota pulled the sai's out and prepared to plunge both into the demon's neck crisscrossed.

Unexpectedly, a tentacle swatted her off and left her free fall to the ground. She landed on her side. Dakota hissed at the pain from the drop, a fifteen foot fall. By the time she got up, tentacles swung at her again and pushed her into the pond. She choked on the dirty pond water that flooded her every airway. She was pinned to the bottom of the twenty one foot deep pond. Her hands grasped seaweed. Dirt went in her eyes and she was forced to shut them. Her blocked out yell bubbled up to the surface. Her eardrums popped.

Would that really be the death of her? A giant fucking octopus? She wasn't even smart enough to remember the name of the breed, how could she be witty enough to out fight it?

She dreamed, unaware of anything outside her soggy prison.

The demon leaned over the pond. It's tentacle checked for movement as it tapped Dakota's back. Her motionless body bounced in the water.

Danny crept up behind the demon and activated the foot long spikes in his brass knuckles. The noise got the demon's attention as it faced ten long spikes in a flash. The first time Danny striked, the demon's eye was punctured and disgusting juice squirted on him. The second attack, spikes stabbed the demons earless eardrum and went through it's brain. The demon collasped and lost it's motor skills.

"Dakota!" he screamed and got no reply.

Scared he was too late, Danny dived in the pond of ice water. The pond was freezing at first but within seconds he began to warm up. He searched frantically, arms outstretched as he felt everywhere. He kept his eyes open and swam down deeper. Almost at the bottom, he spotted his sister, pale and still, the tentacle weighed her down. He took her out from underneath the monster and her prison. Danny took full breaths once he made it to the surface with his sister.

He laid her down on the grass and began a set of compressions.

Thirty seconds later she spit up water in his face.

"Sorry," she whispered and coughed.

He sat her up against his chest. He didn't want her to see his face. Nevertheless, she turned around in his arms and saw him cry.

"Don't cry Danny." Dakota's fingertips touched his cheek. She talked slow and soft.

"You've outdone me. Besides, you don't want your friends to see you like this."


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