Writing Prompt: Fanfic
If an arrow thunking into a man wasn’t a good reason to dive into stinking mud, the torrent of gunfire the man’s friends then unleashed absolutely was. Drake scrambled beneath their rented jeep as gunfire cut trees and another man dropped, an arrow protruding from his throat.
Not the worst handoff meeting Drake had ever been involved in, but certainly way up there.
As Victor Sullivan scrambled under the other side of the jeep, Drake’s mentor fixed him with a raised eyebrow and a lopsided frown. The accusation was clear, the implication obvious. It wasn’t remotely fair.
“I swear, Sully!” Drake shouted. “This one really isn’t my fault!”
“Didn’t say a thing, kid.” Sully squinted at the man clutching the arrow and his throat. “Who the hell uses a bow and arrow?”
“Indians?” Drake flinched as a stray bullet shattered the jeep’s mirror.
“In the middle of the Valdivian rainforest?”
Another arrow whistled from the thicket, and another thug fell. The remaining men took cover behind the big truck in which they’d arrived.
“Argentinian Indians?” Drake suggested.
A flaming arrow hit the bright red barrel of gas in the back of the mercenario truck. It exploded, sending mercenarios flying and knocking the jeep up in the air. Shrills screams rose and ended.
“Sully, look out!” Drake shoved the old man aside and then barely avoided jeep tires that dropped like a guillotine. Then Sully pulled Drake up by the back of his gunbelt, grunting with effort. They were still a team.
They sprinted for the tree line covered in mud. Choking black smoke filled the forest clearing, providing cover. Drake preferred running, actually. Facing whoever had just killed six Argentinian mercenaries with a bow and arrow was not on his to-do list.
They knocked aside branches and scrambled through mud as they put distance between themselves and the ruthless archer. They needed ground that wasn’t surrounded by cover and walls at their backs. Fortunately, Drake always mapped the meeting place in his head, and moss-covered cliffs peeked through the trees.
“That way, kid!” Sully shouted. “The rocks!”
“Way ahead of you!” As Drake turned he checked to make sure his trusty 9mm remained in its holster, and the golden urn he’d pulled out of that spider-filled tomb remained in his satchel. Losing either would make this already bad day markedly worse.
Finally, with a cliff to their backs and a ridge to their front, Drake breathed and scanned the steaming jungle. Sully huffed hard against the ridge. There was no sign of pursuit, but they didn’t celebrate. If whoever had killed those mercenarios wanted this urn, they’d be coming for it soon enough.
“Plan?” Drake drew his 9mm.
“Call for backup?” Sully suggested.
“Sure.” Drake nodded. “Toss me the radio.”
“What do you mean, toss you the radio?”
“Like that’s not self-explanatory?”
“You’ve got the radio, kid.”
“No,” Drake said, as new dread opened in his stomach. “You’ve got the–”
Another arrow whistled over Drake’s head.
“Shit!” Drake ducked and blind-fired over the ridge, toward the shooter. “The Indian!”
“I told you, kid,” Sully shouted, “there aren’t any Indians in the–”
The next arrow slammed into the tree behind them with a small radio attached to it. That would have been great, since they needed a radio, but this radio was also attached to a–
“Bomb!” Drake threw himself into Sully. They rolled off the ridge just before a deafening explosion rained bits of rocky shrapnel.
“Who shoots a bomb arrow?” Sully shouted, as they scrambled through reeds and mud. “Haven’t they heard of a grenade launcher?”
“Stop giving them ideas!” Drake sighted a narrow black opening nearby. “Rock chimney. Go!”
It was a tight squeeze, but Drake managed, mainly because he didn’t want an exploding arrow in his skull. He took a moment to contemplate the stupidity of dropping into utter darkness before doing it, landing on slick rock and not breaking his neck. Sully landed behind him with a grunt.
“Light,” Drake flailed for Sully. “Give me some light!”
“Dammit, Nate,” Sully said, “you had the lights.”
“Seriously?” Drake almost screamed at him.
With a snap-hiss, a glowstick illuminated the narrow tunnel. “Naw, kid.” It lit Victor Sullivan’s smirking face. “I’m just screwin’ with you.”
Drake huffed. “Not the time!” They scrambled down the tunnel, fast and quiet. When it narrowed, Drake motioned a halt.
“Take the urn and scout ahead,” Drake said.
“Not a chance.” Sully backed closer, glowstick raised. “You don’t get to be the hero.”
“I don’t want to be a hero! I just don’t like getting shot in the ass!”
Sully snickered. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Just look for an exit, all right? I’ll follow once I’m sure that Indian isn’t after us.”
“For the last time, Nate!” Sully snatched the urn from Drake’s satchel and shoved an unlit glowstick in his pocket. “It’s not a goddamned Indian.” He squeezed by. “Be careful. I’m not telling Elena you died in a South American rock chimney.” Sully’s footfalls and glowstick soon vanished down the tunnel.
Drake waited in darkness and breathed, listened. Nothing. Then a patter of pebbles and footsteps, barely audible. Padded shoes. Closer. Closer. Now!
Drake launched himself with speed honed from years dodging gunmen and ambushes, hitting his assailant hard. A pained grunt rewarded him, definitely female. A sharp knee snapped into his side hard enough to make him gasp.
He ignored the pain and blocked the next knee with an open palm, grappling with an assailant he now knew was much smaller than he was. That worked for him. He took a punch to the cheek but managed to land a good solid elbow to her solar plexus, eliciting a pained urk.
They rolled apart as Drake drew his gun and cracked his glowstick, flooding the tunnel with light. That’s when he saw the young pony-tailed woman glaring at him, glaring at the shiny pistol Drake had pointed at her face. Glaring as she pointed her own shiny pistol right back.
“Truce?” Drake asked, because his nose hurt and his gut did too.
“Dammit, Drake!” The woman didn’t shoot him, yet. “I’m not here for you! The urn! Where’s the urn?”
His attacker’s voice held all the charm of London, posh and dignified despite the situation. She had a compound bow and quiver strapped across her back, which explained a lot. Not much use in a tunnel.
“You know me,” Drake said, “which makes sense, I guess.” He was pretty popular, with Elena’s documentary and all. “So who are you?”
“Tell me where the urn is, now,” the woman said, her dignified desperation all too compelling. “You have no idea what it can do if Trinity-”
“Wait,” Drake said. “Trinity? Those guys back in the jungle?”
“The men who hired you,” the woman said, enunciating every word, “also hired those mercenaries. Your employers are called Trinity, and that urn cannot fall into their hands.”
“Why not?” Drake asked, but then he waved her off. “No, don’t tell me. It’s cursed, isn’t it?”
The woman lowered her gun. “You believe me?”
“Lady, I’ve dealt with enough cursed relics to know I don’t want anything to do with another one.”
“Good,” she said, “Hand it to me and I’ll get rid of it.”
As her eyes widened Drake realized she was actually pretty cute, if a bit young for him.
“Why not?” she demanded.
“Um,” Drake rubbed the back of his head. “Because I gave it to Sully?”
From up the tunnel, Victor Sullivan cursed at the top of his lungs.
The woman grabbed Drake’s collar. “Did he open it?”
“What?” Drake pushed at her.
“Did he open it!” the woman demanded, eyes wide. “The golden urn!”
“I opened it!” Sully shouted. “Spiders, Nate! Whole lot of freakin’ spiders!”
“Blast!” The woman turned heel and ran. “Run!” She certainly wasn’t hesitating.
Drake scrambled after her, making sure he heard Sully’s footfalls pounding behind him. They ran right into a dead end as Sully huffed over, carrying the open urn.
The woman grappled with him. “Give me that, now!”
“Give it to her!” Drake agreed.
“Not the worst plan I’ve heard!” Sully passed her the open urn as they turned toward the sound of thousands of tiny legs rushing up the tunnel.
The woman held the urn high as she sprinkled some sort of glowing green dust into the interior and shouted. “Be gone!” There was a flash, a roar, and a very silent cave.
Someone cracked a glowstick. Sully. There were no spiders and no urn. Just Nathan Drake, Victor Sullivan, and the woman who’d shot arrows at them. And then stopped spiders from eating them.
“Lady,” Sully said, hands on hips, “who the hell are you?”
The woman adjusted her ponytail, shuddering in reaction to all those crawling legs. “Lara,” she said, with a nod. “Lara Croft.”
“Oh.” Drake nodded back. “I have heard of you.”
After one calming breath, Lara halfway smiled. “Yes, I’d imagine you have.”
About the Story:
For the “Fanfic” theme, our prompt was to take characters from one or more books we’d enjoyed and have them get in a fight. Technically, I cheated a bit in that I ended up using two of my favorite videogame characters instead, though, to be fair, both of those games *have* had books written in their universes. So it was within the rules!
Both Uncharted and Tomb Raider have globe-trotting characters delving into exotic locales and underground ruins, fighting off bad guys over the course of cinematic stories, and both games even include a touch of the supernatural. So it is not a stretch by any means to imagine that Lara Croft and Nathan Drake exist in the same universe. I loved this idea.
Once I knew what I was doing, I wrote the story in an hour and proofed in the hour after that. It was fun imagining how the mechanics of each game, and the strengths and weaknesses of each character, might come into play if they ever came into conflict.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/66284747@N00/14430115156″>Warrior Woman</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>