Friday Flash Fiction: Vorpal

February 15, 2008

I wanted to flex my action muscles with this one.   I might end up revisiting this character in another triple F.

Patselonkaloman counted on his fingers going through them a second time.

“…Eleven was from Venice…twelve Tokyo…thirteen also Tokyo…fourteen Paris, heh heh heh, ahh the Louvre.” He smiled at that memory. That one was hard to get.

“Fifteen Boston…Sixteen Vancouver. Seventeen Los AANNNGGGELEEEEEEES!”

He sang the second half of the city’s name at the top of his lungs. It no longer mattered if he was quiet, they had his scent, they would be here shortly. They were patient, knowing that in the end they would kill him and feast on his bones, the last of his kind.

He looked down at the seventeenth, sitting in his lap. None of the previous blades had been effective against the implacable golem that tracked him. He brought his counting fingers down to caress the sword that lay across his lap.

It wasn’t the prettiest thing. The grip looked in need of a complete refurbishment. The crossguard as simple as they come.

But ooh how it felt when wielded. The balance was like a new finger with which to point. The blade had an edge like a razor and yet held it like new even when Patselonkaloman had struck it against rock.

[Maybe this one?]

The first Katana from Tokyo he had stolen had felt almost as good, but none of the others had come close. And that katana couldn’t hold its edge, not like this blade.

That battle in the alleys of Tokyo had been as quick as they all were.

Patselonkaloman would stride in amongst the golem and engage them furiously, he with his stolen sword, they with their fists. He was the match of any of them, even three or four couldn’t best him, but they were impervious to weapons.

That katana had bit a couple of them, giving him hope. But in the end it was not up to the task and he ran away again, like he always did.

He hated running.

He had tried guns; useless. Explosions; inconclusive. Now he was trying swords and they seemed to be a bust as well.

But this one…

The collector from whom he had stolen it had paid a cool million for it. Claimed it was THE Vorpal! Patselonkaloman didn’t believe that for a minute…but the weapon was superb.

[The best yet!]

The golem were patient, but so was he. He swore again that he would destroy them and find their master. Their master would not enjoy that meeting.

He slowed his breathing and went into his Kata. It was more dance than war, smooth and artful and deadly. His patience was motion.


He always chose the field of battle. They always consented.

He was on a moonlit hill as they approached. There were five of them this time dressed as normal civilians, jeans and t-shirts and sneakers. They held no weapons, being tools themselves, why use a weapon if you are impervious to pain and damage. It made them invisible in society.

“We come to kill you Patselonkaloman, it is our purpose. Give yourself to us, fulfill us.” Said their leader.

“Come and get me! HA HA HA HA HA HA!” He threw his head back and laughed at the sky.

He knew it had no affect on the golem grouped below him, but his nature called out for bravado. Laughing at death when it confronted him was the way of his people. It didn’t matter if death feared him or understood him or ignored his laughter.

He was laughing at the world. Telling it to fuck off!

The golem came forward smoothly, trained or programmed to work in unison. Striking a pose together like Maori, but with no challenging call, no kiai, they were silent. Strong as oxen, lithe as foxes, alive as stone with skin to match, they came.

And Patselonkaloman leapt, laughing. Drawing his sword in the same motion, spinning, twisting and slicing the first of the five across the stomach.

The golem he had named “1” fell, hewn in two like clay.

Patselonkaloman screamed in joy “AAAEEIIEE! HA HA HA HA.”

[This is the One!]

His strength redoubled as the other four surrounded him, unconcerned at their fallen partner. The dance truly began then.

Patselonkaloman weaved among them. Golem hands grasped where he had just been, swiping legs found air as he dove. His mind saw the patterns of their fighting. He had been fighting them for years and could see what they were doing almost before they did.

He waited while the dance progressed. Spinning now across the back of one then flipping over another. Waiting and watching. They fought and danced with him, but he led, they followed just behind, never cornering, never connecting.

He was patient and his patience was motion.

He felt more than saw the moves line up. He knew how he had to work them. A twist here, a slight dodge there. One foot touch the ground, shift it back, dance sideways. And still he hadn’t struck a second of their number.

When they were in position, the actions he took he had already seen.

He took the first ones head and followed it with a spin and a vertical chop down through the second, splitting it from head to halfway down its chest. Patselonkaloman pulled the sword free and just as he’d foreseen the third had his back turned.

Patselonkaloman crouched spun and cut the third in two like he had done with the leader at the start. He leapt and brought the blade down one final time, slicing the last from left shoulder to right hip. It fell intact and upon hitting the ground the top and the bottom halves separated.

“Like a candle! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.” He held the sword up and laughed at the world. “los ANGELEEEEEES.” He sang again for no apparent reason other than jubilation.

[Now finally I can make someone pay for all they’ve done to me!]


One comment

  1. “He was patient and his patience was motion.” – what a great line!

    Your opening comment gave away the fact that he was to survive though. Maybe you should move that to the end?

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