The Showdown


7/9/20234 min read

The ominous quietude of the hallway was punctuated by the distant, raucous laughter emanating from behind the grand wooden doors at the end. The disembodied merriment was a stark contrast to the high-tension silence between us.

"Ready?" Fitt's voice was barely a whisper, a ghost of sound that barely registered above the subtle hum of the distant chaos.

I mirrored his tone, the words slipping past my lips with a mixture of determination and dread, "As I'll ever be."

Behind us, Chef clutched his makeshift weapon, a bastardized blend of butcher's scrap and desperation. His hands, which were always so steady when he tinkered, trembled slightly. The shadow of fear in his gaze was a reflection of our own. We were three men, stepping willingly into a den of wolves.

The grandiose tavern doors, looming like gargoyles at the end of the hall, became our judgment gates. With a single shared nod, Fitt and I pushed them open. The doors groaned in protest, revealing the seething madness within. The cacophony of the crowd was a physical assault, a tidal wave of sound and malintent that left us momentarily rooted to the spot.

However, paralysis was a luxury we could not afford. The moment we stepped into the light, chaos erupted. Our entrance was met with a sea of grotesque faces, twisted with anticipation and perverse excitement. But in this den of madness, there was no room for revulsion, no time for fear. It was kill or be killed.

Fitt was poetry in motion, his movements a lethal dance that belied the danger surrounding us. His knife found its mark time and again, each strike a testament to his will to survive. At one point, a monstrous, beefy cannibal lunged at him. Fitt sidestepped the charge, and the cannibal howled as the blade split open his side.

Chef, for his part, was a whirlwind of activity. His chainsaw, scaring off the crowd looked like it was now our best chance for survival.

The cannibals were relentless. Their savagery was unmatched, their thirst for our blood an unending torrent. Every swing of my weapon, every dodge and pivot, was a battle of attrition against their ceaseless onslaught. The fight was a test of not only our physical capabilities, but our mental fortitude as well.

Suddenly, over the din of the madness, Chef's shout echoed, "Get down!" With an unceremonious grunt, he hurled a makeshift grenade into the mass of bodies. The ensuing explosion was a symphony of destruction that sent bodies flying and bought us precious time.

We capitalized on the chaos, cutting a path towards the back of the tavern. The kitchen door loomed like salvation in the distance. We threw ourselves through the door just as the first wave of cannibals regained their footing. Once through, Fitt and I pressed against the door, holding back the ravenous mob.

The wood groaned ominously under the weight of the mob outside, their combined strength threatening to send the old barricade crashing down. We were sitting ducks, cornered with nowhere to run. Panic bubbled in my chest as I frantically scanned the room, looking for anything that might give us an edge.

As Chef rummaged through the kitchen, an idea sparked in his frantic eyes. "The stove!" He cried out, moving swiftly towards the antiquated beast of metal and fire. His hands moved with a newfound purpose, pulling and twisting at knobs and dials.

Fitt and I exchanged a glance, our brows furrowed in confusion and desperation. "What's the plan?" I yelled, my voice nearly drowned out by the roar of the mob outside.

"We're gonna blow a hole in the wall!" Chef shouted back, his focus never wavering from the old stove. The absurdity of his statement hung in the air between us. Yet, the insanity of our situation rendered his plan as reasonable as any.

Fitt nodded, his jaw set in a grim line. "Keep them off him," he ordered, his voice steady despite the chaos erupting just outside our barrier. I nodded, readying my makeshift weapon as Fitt braced himself against the door, his body straining against the onslaught.

Minutes ticked by like hours as Chef worked furiously at the stove, muttering under his breath. Despite our efforts, the door was beginning to give, splinters of wood falling away with each assault from the cannibals. Sweat dripped into my eyes, the salt stinging but I didn’t dare release my grip to wipe it away.

And then, in the midst of the pandemonium, Chef’s frantic movements ceased. His shoulders slumped, and he shook his head, muttering a soft, "No... no, no, no..."

Fitt and I exchanged a terrified glance. "What do you mean, 'no'?" Fitt demanded, his voice hoarse from strain and fear.

Chef just shook his head again, his hands falling away from the stove. "I can't... I can't get it to ignite. It's... it's not gonna work," he confessed, his voice barely above a whisper.

The realization was a punch to the gut, leaving us winded and desperate. We were out of time, out of options. The door shuddered ominously, a reminder of the imminent doom that awaited us.

We prepared ourselves for the worst, the taste of defeat bitter in our mouths. We would stand our ground here, we decided. If we were to go down, we would do so fighting, our defiance a testament to our will to survive.

The door creaked and groaned, the mob’s roars growing louder, their excitement palpable. As I tightened my grip on my knife, Fitt turned to me, his eyes hard but determined.

"This isn't over," he growled, defiance simmering in his tone. With that, we turned to face the impending storm, our bodies tense, ready for the fight of our lives. We were down, but we weren't out. Not yet.