Now everyone is staring at me, questioningly, as if a creature just walked up to them and they are not sure if it is a wolf or a dog. I hope they will stop glaring, but I also hope I can avoid being filled with pointy ice, which are two options of equal probability.

I keep the smile on my face, as something tells me it is the only reason I am still alive. Moving my head around slowly, making sure to avoid sudden movements, I survey the current surroundings and situation.

One cultist is dead, taken out by the gun. The icy one, whose name I swear I knew a moment ago, is wounded in both arms and partially disabled. The other three are just standing at their points on the giant ritualistic blood star. Each about ten to fifteen meters apart; they have not made any moves to stop me yet. Thinking about it they did not make any attempt to stop the gunman either. Possibly they cannot attack at that range.

The captives, now numbering three, are likewise staring. Two woman who have finally been shocked enough to stop pounding on the barrier, and a man who is frantically waving his arms at me with some sort of meaning. Probably to run away or get help.

I focus on the circle now containing the dead gunman. Slowly, take one step then another, building up momentum to a walking pace.

Keep smiling, be confident, show no fear.

Halfway to the corpse, the damaged ice thrower finally gets his head together. Lifting his arm up, albeit slowly due to the injuries. Time to see if this will work. I raise my arm quickly in a similar fashion.

“Ice Spike!” I shout out and the wounded iceman gives up on trying to point at me and crosses his arm in front of him, releasing a cry of pain from the sudden effort on his wounded limb. And as he waits for a never coming impact, I make a run for the gun.

I manage to get into the circle before the cultist realizes he has been tricked, my momentum causing me to slam into the inner walls of the cage. Quickly I grab the gun and we both raise our arms simultaneously.

“ICE SPIK-ARRG!” My silent bullet impacts his chest. Not a lethal hit, but his arm does swing wide. Which is good as, apparently, he was close enough on the yell and the frozen projectile launched at me, but his off aim caused the crystal to simply bury itself into my left shoulder.

Ignoring the pain, I finish the ice cultist in one carefully aimed shot at the head. Whipping around I face the other cultists, not being able to afford the time to glory in my kill.

“You Fuck!” The angry, short, sweary one finally moves from his position. Running around his captive, he starts charging at me. As he passes the captive man he was holding, an arm grabs the charging cultist.

“What the fuck!” The momentary confusion allows my fellow captive to pull the cultist’s forearm into his ring. I manage to get three shots, missing once, off before the angry shorty manages to tug his limb free. The shots had hit his torso but this does not stop him. He continues to run at me. He is absurdly fast, but luckily he is moving in a straight line. Lining up my shot quickly, when he is within three meters I fire a bullet into his face. This stops him, but contrary to my expectations, does not kill him.

“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” He really needs to learn a new swear. He stands there clutching his face with both hands; screaming like a eight year old who just learned a naughty word. I step out of the ring and move around to get a clean shot at the back of his head.

Bang! It is the first shot I fired off outside the silencing circle. This floors him, knocking him down, but I think the pottymouth might still be alive. He has proven resilient. After putting two more bullets into the skull, I am finally satisfied he is dead when I can see brain matter.

I look up, my fellow former captives are standing about five meters away. Staring at me. The man is just looking at the bodies, clutching his own arm that he had used to pierce the barrier. His face one of forced neutrality. One of the two girls is trying to look away from the sight of blood and brains, but just cannot seem to accomplish this. Constantly turning back and having to stifle a gag each time. The other woman is covering her mouth, looking quickly from me to the dead at my feet. Darting back and forth; never resting as if she is afraid one will move when she is looking at the other.

The other two cultists are no longer in the area. Probably fled when Shorty was attacking. The ice spike is still in my shoulder so I will need help. I am going to have to break this stalemate we have found ourselves in. Why are we in a stalemate anyway? Sure, I have a gun and some blood splattered on me, but these are all resulting from saving them.

“Hello, I’m Eric. Don’t suppose you could help me with my shoulder, please?” I give them a particularly wide smile. Hoping to alleviate some of the tension.

One of the girls took a step back. The one with the darting eyes, which were no longer darting and devoted solely to staring at me. The other girl was also now staring at me. And the man was staring at me.

“Um, this is kind of nerve-racking to have you all staring at me. Can you please help?” I implored once again.

“Y-yeah, let’s... get away from the blood first.” The man visibly shook himself out of his stupor with a soft clap to his face.

“Okay, but please hurry. This doesn’t hurt much now, but that just might be the cold numbing it. I don’t want to know what happens when it melts.” I start to walk towards him, keeping a casual smile up. The pain and light-headedness starting to set in as a drop an arm around the man for support.


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