At Least He's Not On Fire: A Tour of the Things That Escape My Head

Free At Least He's Not On Fire: A Tour of the Things That Escape My Head by Chris Philbrook

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Authors: Chris Philbrook
that large with the weapons they had. It would need airstrikes, and maybe a priest. Definitely a priest.
    The worm swayed its building-thick body back and forth like a swollen tendril of evil, smashing down the trees around the temple, flattening anything that it came into contact with. It wriggled and ruptured the earth, causing destruction on a bomb like scale. Anton had run with all the might his heat depleted body could muster, and he was still almost crushed by falling and flung trees. His Captain narrowly escaped as well, both men cut and punctured by shards of wood. The two men converged hundreds of meters later as the worm retreated down into the gaping hole it had created under the temple. The ground shuddered.
    "What the fuck was that?" Anton had asked, hands on knees, bile in his throat.
    "One of those worm things from the temple carvings. Sweet Jesus. We need to get word to…" The Captain's voice trailed off, and he looked to the hole in the ground. It was easy to see the site of the former temple. The worm had cleared the entire hillside. Anton turned and watched as a black tide of winged monsters vomited forth, streaming into the sky like the a fecal burst of the most evil beast imaginable. Hundreds, then thousands, then more came out. A flowing nightmare spread out into the sky. The men ran again.
    It took mere hours for the second hole to open up that day, that time in China. The Chinese weren't prepared, and thousands died by the hour. The third hole appeared in Africa, near the coast in Liberia. The entire nation was wiped off the Earth by sundown, leaving no more than bloody streaks on the ground behind. More holes appeared in South America, then Louisiana and Florida, then Spain and Russia. By week's end there were nearly three dozen of the holes. Hell Holes the media called them. The name stuck.
    It took that much time and more for people to realize the greatest weapon against the creatures was fire. That was why the tracer rounds worked so well. White phosphorous burns awfully hot, and works immediately on the winged ones. They were easy, the fliers. They weren't smart, feral and bloodthirsty to a fault, and even though there had been tens of millions of them, they were fragile. Glass cannons. Small arms tracer fire or a flaming arrow proved to be enough to take them down. A few well timed thermite grenades could take out a worm, but you needed to get real close for that to work. Regular bombs were hit or miss literally. Sometimes you could drop napalm on the massive creatures, when they weren’t swimming through the cities, toppling buildings from underneath, killing men and women by the thousand. Nowhere was safe.
    Against all odds the humans were winning. Surviving. Coming even against the things from below. Some of the holes had been plugged. Nukes dropped down them, and the tops sealed with mountains of blessed concrete. Turns out having a priest nearby wasn’t the worst idea. There was some hope returning. Just a little, but it was something.
    Anton's Captain was gone. He'd met his end when a flock of the gargoyles attacked their refuge in the outskirts of Brisbane. Through a wall of gunfire in the sky the Captain had been carried up into the clouds and torn in half. His guts had fallen like a knot of bloody string.  
    Even still, his friends all dead, Anton kept in the fight. He sat in the back of a Blackhawk chopper as it circled a run down neighborhood of Sydney. Beautiful Sydney, ruined by the demons. One of the giant worms was below, a small one by all accounts, only a hundred feet or so long, slithering its massive girth down a neighborhood street, smashing down house after house, trying to find the soft, juicy human morsels inside.  
    Anton had a team of men with him, and the plan was the same as it always was; to put down near the worm, and kill it before it ran the entire neighborhood into the ground. Some of his men were experienced, with grim faces set to the task they might not

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