(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)
“That wasn’t as bad as I expected,” Lloyd groans before getting pushed off the guard he used to break his fall. Backing away from the man, he looks at the small opening to what he assumes is an underground parking garage. “The construction looks new. Are we supposed to die of starvation?”
“They mentioned someone named Glut,” Cassidy replies, letting go of the female guard. She wanders over to a pillar and pulls out the remains of a tent. “Some of the coastal groups made underground bunkers after the collapse. They feared bombings, so they united into these large colonies that hid for about two years. Most of them ventured out after nothing happened, but it looks like this one kept the fear going until recently. Unless we’re looking at squatters, which I doubt because it doesn’t look like anyone has lived down here for a while.”
“Oh, how I wish that was true.”
“What are you . . . Oh, boy.”
Lumbering out of the shadows on the far side of the pit is a man who is just under six feet tall and as wide as a small car. His clothes are a patchwork of fabrics, revealing that Glut has made them himself. Even though he is massive, the man has no problem walking thanks to his legs being thick and muscular. A large tank on his back slows him down, especially when he comes close to tripping over the hose that runs to a gun-like device in his hand. He still has trouble climbing over the some of the rubble, which continues to collect as the levels above slowly erode. The smaller pieces are kicked aside, every blow leaving a bleeding welt on his callused feet. Stopping in the sunlight, Glut’s black hair takes on a red sheen due to the blood he uses as a gel. The man takes a bite of a human arm that he is carrying while he cautiously eyes the four potential meals and scratches his head. He moves his weapon from one pair to the other, but does not talk until he has devoured his snack to the bone.
“This isn’t good,” Glut states with a belch. Taking a pocket handkerchief out, he wipes at his blood-covered face in the hopes of looking more presentable. “I was told that a man and woman would be thrown down here. There were the two guards, who I ate because they were making fun of me. I still have room for the ones I’m supposed to eat, but I don’t know who it’s supposed to be. Not a good idea to fill up before the real meal. This should be easy since you two are dressed as guards, but I don’t-”
“They stole our uniforms and tried to escape, so we tackled them into the pit,” Lloyd quickly says before the guards can speak. He smiles and waves at Glut, the large man’s hungry stare making him sweat. “What if we promised to drop some brownies to you? Doesn’t look like you get a lot of sweets down here. I’d offer fruit and vegetables, but that’s entirely up to you. Not judging you at all. Pretty impressive figure you have there.”
“Stop listening to that maniac and eat him, you house-sized troll!” the female guard screams.
“Yeah, how stupid can you be, you fat fuck?” the male guards asks.
With a growl, Glut fires his flamethrower at the man and woman, who shriek in agony for a full minute. Putting the large weapon down, he walks over to the burning bodies and starts pulling dried herbs out of his pockets. It takes him some time to put the flames out and use a large knife to get the ruined clothes off the bodies. After removing the pieces that have been made inedible by melted plastic, Glut goes about sprinkling the seasoning on the corpses. With a tired sigh, he takes a seat and picks up a torso to start on the ribs. He stops with the body nearly in his mouth, his eyes locking on Cassidy and Lloyd who are still staring at him in horror and disgust.
“Go ahead and say what’s on your mind,” Glut snaps, putting down his food. Realizing he is missing a drink, he walks over to a metal box that turns out to be filled with wine. “I’ve heard it all since I was put down here. Monster, beast, freak, fatso, ugly, and the one-word insults get old fast. People seem to use bridges in their insults too. Maybe something about me makes them think of trolls. This one guard named Reuben loves to stand up there and yell at me, but it’s always the same insults in the same order. Anyway, get it out of your system. It isn’t like you can get out or have any weapons on you. By the way, I’m guessing I cooked the wrong pair. Lucky for you, my flamethrower needs more fuel.”
“Yeah, so we owe you for that,” Cassidy replies, scanning the area for anything that she can attack with. Spotting various blunt weapons, the mercenary doubts they would do much good against the cannibal. “I’ll admit your appearance caught us by surprise, but Lloyd and I have seen our share of unusual people. The stories we could tell you. Not to mention we’ve been to Wyoming twice, so cannibalism doesn’t shock us as much as it used to. Do you mind if I ask why you’re eating people?”
“Also, is it really a good idea to go with white wine?” Lloyd asks, walking toward the large man. Taking a look inside the cabinet, he pulls out a bottle of red and holds it out. “I don’t know the lingo, but I’ve found this kind goes better with stuff that has a . . . gamey and smoky taste. It appears those two will fit the bill there. Still, this is your lunch, so you don’t have to listen to my suggestion. Although, I do request that you eat me with that box wine. I’m not what you would consider fine dining.”
Chuckling at the friendly psychopath, Glut takes the bottle and returns to his meal with a slight hop in his step. “Been a while since anybody spoke nicely to me. To answer your question, it’s because that’s what they feed me. I used to be in charge of the colony here before Johnathan Custer arrived. I promised Max that he could bring him here and plan the conquest. Just like those four, I was here from the beginning and got cast aside when Grymer and Elaine decided they wanted to run things. Not together since they hate each other. Anyway, we wanted back in and I came up with the idea to make a base for Custer here. The others tossed me in here once we were finished and promised that I could come out after I ate one-hundred people. It was disgusting at first, but the colony had a garden that I revived.”
“I hate to ask how many people you’ve eaten already,” Cassidy mutters, cringing at the sound of ribs breaking. Trying to ignore the noise, she stares at the sky that is becoming clogged with grey clouds. “Why do you guys want to get back in? Sorry if this angers you, but Johnathan Custer doesn’t sound very loyal.”
“He’s not,” the cannibal admits while cleaning his mouth. Seeing that it might rain, he hurries to get a metal basin and puts it out to gather water. “The man will toss people aside that he has no use for. Even those that are helpful can be kicked out of his favor if somebody he trusts more suggests getting rid of them. Still, I believe in him. Nobody else is trying to unite this broken country. If I can be by his side again then maybe I can steer him in the right direction instead of where Grymer and Elaine are going.”
Lloyd snaps his fingers and rapidly interjects, “I have an idea that benefits all of us. We don’t get eaten and you get out of here. What if we were to get rid of those four? Then, you can take over and turn this into the base for Custer. It’s obvious you care about him more than your former friends. They fear your ideas.”
“I’m not sure about being a traitor to them.”
“Yet, you would be acting in Johnathan’s best interest.”
“True, but he could see me as untrustworthy.”
“We have to take such risks for the people we care about.”
“I do miss being respected and in charge.”
“You won’t have to eat people any more too.”
“Exactly. I would only eat people when I want to.”
“Sure, we’ll go with that.”
Cassidy and Lloyd shrug at each other while Glut goes back to his meal, the cannibal not wanting the meat to get too cold. Minutes pass as he gorges himself, the man making sure every bone is picked clean. Pulling wet wipes out from under his jacket, he cleans his hands and face after every three pieces. Watching the display out of morbid shock and curiosity, Cassidy and Lloyd feel an urge to eat a salad. They remain unsure if Glut will help them or make them dessert, neither of them enjoying the constant thought of being devoured. A brief search for weapons helps them ignore the disgusting sight, but it is a depressing hunt since they find nothing more than rebar and a few batons. Cassidy whistles when she finds a small crossbow, the archaic weapon looking beaten up and having only one bolt. She loads it and tries to put what she thinks is a safety on, but the metal clip breaks off in her hand. With a shrug, the mercenary uses her finger to keep the bolt in place and picks up a baton since she knows a single shot will not end the possible fight.
“Guess I’ll call the boys,” Glut states while cleaning his fingers. Walking over to the far wall, he presses a hidden intercom button and waits until he hears Esposito grunt from the other side. “You said you wanted the heads for Johnathan, but I can’t toss them up there or fit them in the dumbwaiter. Honestly, I’m thinking of giving them to the two guards who fell in and having them bring the prizes to Vegas. You know, I do all of the work, so I should take the credit. If you guys can come down here in the next five minutes then I’ll hand them over. Don’t say that you can’t because I know there’s a working elevator behind the third column to my right.”
“Looks like the blob grew a spine,” Esposito says over the intercom. Hissing whispers can be heard, Max’s voice just loud enough to pick out the swear words. “Fine, but this means you have to eat another hundred before we let you out. You were so close, Glut. Just ten more and you would have been free. Hope you have enough pizza sauce or whatever it is you put on the corpses.”
“Rosemary, parsley, and oregano mostly,” the cannibal replies, receiving a screech of static in return. Lumbering over to his flamethrower, he puts it on his back and starts heading for his lair. “I’m going to reload in case you get killed. Those four don’t look very appetizing, but you two would be tasty. Sorry for not helping with the fight, but I think I’ve been disloyal enough for one day. Good luck and I’ll be watching from over here.”
Not wasting any time arguing, Lloyd hurries to get the heads of the dead guards and places them on a chunk of stone. Making sure they can be seen from the elevator, he ducks behind the rock and grips his piece of rusty rebar. Wanting to get their enemies from behind, Cassidy slips into a crevice a few feet away from the entrance. It is not long before the elevator dings and the four leaders try to exit at the same time, Kappa finally squeezing through. They are armed with shotguns and cautiously look around for Glut, who they barely see on the far side of the pit. Max begins creeping toward the cannibal while the others go for the heads, none of them aware that they are being watched. Earl holds up his head and picks up a baseball bat to poke at the trophies, the man fearing that they have been rigged to explode. When the body parts topple over, he breathes a sigh of relief and waves for Kappa and Esposito to get them.
The fight starts when Cassidy tries to shoot Earl in the head with her crossbow, the bolt going low and hitting him in the lower back. As the man goes down, Lloyd jumps out to drive his rebar into Esposito’s face. The bare-chested screamer manages to lift his shotgun and fire, but the metal bearings hit Earl’s legs. With a savage yank, the serial killer frees his weapon and follows up with a swing to the throat that puts the injured man down. Remembering Kappa, Lloyd whirls around and prepares to leap away from a shotgun blast. Instead, he finds the leader still fumbling with the head and his own weapon. The gun goes off and pulverizes Earl’s left arm, stopping him from crawling away. A quick whack to the top of the head causes Kappa to drop his shotgun, but he is about to throw a punch in a desperate attempt to fight back. He misses Lloyd and stumbles forward, leaving him open to a stab through the back that continues going until the rebar impales Earl as well. Wiping the rust from his hands, the serial killer looks up in time to see Cassidy pounce on Max and taking the man’s shotgun. He chuckles at her refusal to waste ammunition, the mercenary settling for bashing the smuggler in the face until he stops twitching.
“You know, I think I’m going to give them a taste anyway,” Glut states as he walks out of his lair. Wearing a large bib that is made out of several smaller ones sewn together, he licks his lips and cracks his knuckles. “Thanks for everything and I hope that you don’t tell Johnathan about all of this. Not sure what you have to do with him, but you seem like good people. By the way, I can’t fit in the elevator or the stairs. So, could you think of a way to get me out of here while I have a snack?”
Cassidy and Lloyd can only nod and back away, the pair dropping their weapons while they watch another horrifying display. Even closing their eyes, the noise burns itself into their memories and reminds them of some of their past encounters with cannibals. Once they are in the elevator, they both pound on the button that will take them to the balcony. The violent shudder that shakes the car before moving is enough to put them over the edge. Each taking a corner, they vomit and rant about never looking at a barbecue the same way again.