Somewhere behind her, Capon Frank lay in hiding. The urge to turn and find him was hen-pecking her, but she had to put it out of her mind. She had to focus.
The troops assembled. Their position was fortuitous; a niche in the Black Hills protected their flanks. Her radar showed the Porks' approach: imminent.
Her breath shortened and she broke into a sweat. This would be it. A resolution would come one way or another. It was too much suspense. She jumped off Mongoose and took a few steps forward. Any action was better than waiting for the onslaught.
Then she saw them: a swarm of black flecks like a million lentils dotted the horizon. The dots grew to pinto beans, then limas and then green beans. They stopped. Legumes were never the best side dish for poultry. She'd have recourse.
Something silver glinted among the Porks. Her heart leapt, and she turned. "Sautee them boys!" she roared. The first wave of D.C.D.A.'s rushed towards her, and she took to Mongoose. She'd be the first to tenderize pork, the first to make a scaloppini.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Emeril would be proud. Perhaps even Bobby Flay, she thought as she hammered through the front line. Haskins and Robie Ae reached her sides, hacking easily like a Scot through haggis. Crispy followed closely behind, sprinkling paprika onto the flattened hams. It occurred to her that he had found true love.
"He shall live to see his love!" she grunted to herself as she smashed, leaving prime chops in her wake. She would not rush ahead, despite the silver ATV trailing off in the distance. Bauer was circling the outcrop of rock. She would not leave Crispy again.
Her tenderizer met its mark each time. More of her precinct bolstered her sides. These Porks were no Death Chickens. They were much shorter, and had no feathers. Their numbers were greater, but they fell below the pummeling of skilled poultry harvesters.
Bam, bam bam! Their numbers were endless. Bauer had long disappeared.
A rain of teriyaki flattened the Porks before her. Brilliant! She chanced a glance back to view the baster. It was Three! His pecks gleamed in newly-waxed goodness as he pointed a fifty-gauge baster from each hand. He caught her eye and yelled, "Get Snake!" She watched him cock and reload.
Crispy rolled past her. "Go girlie!" he croaked. His wink said, "Get thine arse in gear.
That was all she needed. She revved Mongoose and spun out in the direction of Bauer's path.
* * * * * * * * *
The Porks fell in her path like falafel onto a plate. Though tough and stringy, they softened with a few blows. Bauer's ATV left clear tracks, and she was soon behind the line of Porks and heading toward retribution.
A narrow cave loomed ahead. Had Bauer discovered a back door to the Death Chickens? Had he already found Frank? She shifted and ran full-out. The smell of Asian spices followed her. Three was okay! She briefly thought of fried rice.
The pass through the rock was dark. She ducked against booby-traps, but found none. Bauer was running fast after Frank.
The tunnel opened into a hidden valley among the hills. She saw Bauer ahead, battling Death Chickens. They were mad with pullet fury and pecked viciously. He'd slayed several with ranch dressing, but his limbs ran red from their relentless pecking.
She couldn't get a clear shot at him, and had precious little marinade to spare. She ran Mongoose in closer.
Poultreus was not near; no doubt he was guarding Frank as a last line of defense to his father's legacy.
"Bauer!" she bellowed at full volume. He hesitated enough for a Death Chicken to knock him several feet from his ATV. The Death Chickens closed in, but he pulled out an automatic baster and fired at his perimeter.
Fifty yards: he was losing and she was smiling. She grabbed her back-up baster, and the ground shook. Clouds of smoke obscured everything: cloves. Yucky. The Death Chickens fell back, gagging.
Grimironie didn't stop. He was closing the distance to his ATV. As he mounted, she crashed into it (on purpose, for the record). He lay prone, flat on his back. She basted him with a basting fury she had never known before. It was Handy Manly's special recipe: beetroot. She used it all. Her baster clicked several times as she pulled the trigger after her ammo had been spent. Bauer rose.
"You think marinade will stop me, wattle-head?"
"Wattle-head? That's lame."
He hitched and coughed. If he got closer, she'd cold-cock him with her weapon. Bauer shook, yet moved forward. He turned red and broke out into boils. "W.T.F.?" he squealed.
"I have no use for acronyms," she spat. The bulbous protrusions from his body slowed his approach.
"What ...marinade?" he gasped, grabbing his throat.
"Beet-root, baby. Beet-root all the way."
"I'm allergic!" he coughed.
Grimironie grabbed a shish-kabob skewer from her backpack and burst one of Bauer's boils. It splattered on her shoe. Gross. She tossed the skewer aside. Within minutes he convulsed on the ground. The Death Chickens had disaappeared. She watched Bauer's agony in morbid fascination. It was like being sucked into an episode of the Tellytubbies, but far more disgusting. She lost all thought and watched in mindless enthrallment.
The roar of an engine broke her stupor.