Author's Note: Acciaccato Hymn is a fanfiction about a fanfiction. Based off of Disrupted Original's Two Step this piece serves as a Point of View change of Chapter 23. I did not create the original characters in this piece of fiction nor did I come up with the idea. They belong to Disrupted Original.
Nick and the L4D universe belong to Valve.
Also it goes without saying that if you haven't read Disrupted Original's story then don't read this. It contains spoilers from a certain chapter.
Warning: This story contains scenes of violence and swear words. I'd rate this a solid M.
Acciaccato (Italy): (in music) Broken down, crushed. The sound of the notes of a chord played not quite simultaneously, from the bottom to the top. (in writing) Adj. Something that is feeble, see also; weak, bruised.
"What if that's the self-destruct button?" Isaac giggled. Sean and Terrence joined along. Sean shrugged, "Better not press it then." Terry, who Isaac was seated on, reached around him with an outstretched hand. "I'm going to press it!" Before his hand could reach it Izzy leaned forward, his small hand pressing the button.
A deafening noise broke the silence that previously surrounded the train. A loud hooooooooonk filled their ears as the train hummed in vibration. It was followed by a surprised look from each of the boys and a loud "Fuck!" from where Nick once lay sleeping.
"What the hell was that?" The boys burst out laughing which only seemed to aggravate the older man more. Isaac's tiny voice reached out to Nick, informing him of their game. His death glare made Terrence feel guilty for waking the older man and was quickly forgotten by the younger boy seated in his lap by yelling, "Coming into Philadelphia, woo-woo!"
Terry immediately grinned, playing along he responded, "Oh no! There's zombies on the tracks! Aaaaah!" For added effort he flailed his arms in the air. Sean snickered as Izzy added, "That's okay, we'll just plow into them! Blam, blam, blam!"
A foreign noise came from outside. Terrence instantly stilled, it wasn't any of them. Terry looked over to Nick, he'd know what to do. He was stuck staring out the window and the teenager wondered what it was the older man saw. Part of him was scared to know. The land was barren, frozen. Even the zombies were frozen. Nothing was coming— right?
Isaac however continued to play, "Vroom! Bullet train!" Sean broke in, "Isaac, I'm pretty sure this is a—" But Terry would never know what Sean was going to say as Nick shushed them.
"Shut up for a second." He hissed. Terrence's ears strained to hear whatever it was Nick heard. "You guys hear that?" He asked. Terrence was about to answer, to make a joke about Nick's lapsing age, when he finally heard it.
Ba-bam, ba-bam, ba-bam.
Terrence could feel his stomach drop. He hoped it wasn't what he thought it was. The large optimistic part of him said it couldn't be and then he saw it. It was huge. The Tank had just climbed over a low hill and was moving towards them at a panic-inducing speed. Terrence cried out as he tried to scramble away. Nick was already there ushering them close to him, he had already grabbed Isaac.
The older man tried his best to sooth them as each of them began to become hysterical. Terry breathed in short shuddering gasps as his mind worked around Nick's words. Nick always knew what to do. He'd gotten them out of D.C after all.
"Don't try to run." He said. Terrence could feel the tears leaking from his eyes, his heart beat fast and his mouth tasted like pennies. His hands were clutched into trembling fists. Isaac's sobs weren't helping and the growls that rumbled from Rob were almost scarier than the Tank charging towards them. His mind churned over and over, don't run but he wanted too; his legs twitched as if to say take flight, run. Eyes screwed shut as more tears leaked down his face. Don't run. If Nick says don't run, don't run.
The tank was closer; Terrence could hear it as it approached the train. A loud crack from outside and then Terry couldn't take it anymore. He clutched Nick's arm tightly as the sound rang out like gunfire. If it could produce a sound like that, if it could dent a fucking train, what would happen if it got him? What if it got Izzy or worse, Sean?
A barely audible whisper from Nick, "It's going to pass us by. It doesn't know we're here. It's going to pass us." And Terrence felt his heart stop as the Tank passed the front of the train. The noises it was making, its growls and huffing did nothing to assure Terry it would pass them by. It reminded him of whenever Rob caught an interesting scent in the snow. He'd sniff around until he was satisfied he found its source. Was the Tank doing the same? Was it hunting them?
The smell of urine filled the air and he wondered if it was Izzy. He couldn't begin to wonder who it was as the Tank roared loudly. It bellowed and then attacked the train's engine car, rocking the entire train. The scent was forgotten as a brand new wave of terror washed over Terrence as Isaac let forth another wail. He was quickly shushed.
After a time it seemed the Tank slowly began to leave but Terry couldn't make himself relax. His muscles were still stiff and he felt frozen in place. "Did it…leave?" Sean sobbed from Nick's jacket. Nick instantly was in motion. He settled Isaac down, "Stay on the floor." And with a smooth motion he freed himself from Terrence and Sean. "Shh." He said as he raised a finger to his mouth. As he headed towards the window a deep sinking feeling hit Terrence, something was wrong.
What if this was the movie theater all over again. He was about to speak up, warning Nick of his fear when he heard the Tank picking up speed again.
Blam, blam, blam. A fresh wave of tears flooded Terrence's eyes as his face froze in terror. It hit the train. The noise was louder than anything Terry had ever heard, even louder than when it hit the engine car. And then his world flipped upside down. The Tank flipped the train, it flipped a fucking train!
They were rolling down an incline towards the frozen lake and Terry screamed. His voice mixing harshly with Sean and Izzy's screams. Would the train hit the lake and they'd all drown? Could the train hitting the ice even crack it?
Faster than he could focus the train flipped, over and over. The ceiling became the floor and the floor became the ceiling. And then everything was okay again. Something shattered and the train stopped. Dazed, Terry tried to focus on his surroundings as he sobbed uncontrollably.
And then something creaked. It was the lake. They would freeze in the water, if they didn't drown first.
The sunset bled through an open crack in the metal. It looked to Terry like blood. Like the sky was bleeding. Nick screamed, "Run!" and Terry scrambled to his feet following the closest person to him. It was Sean, who was dragging Rob. They were running towards the back of the train.
He isn't sure how they got outside but Terry barely feels the bite of the cold as they do so. The Tank is on them faster than Terry's eyes can adjust. Sean fires his pistol and the Tank is on him faster than Sean can scream. It can't hurt Sean. They need him. Terry needs him.
His gut wrenches as Rob, still growling, lunges for the Tank right before it strikes Sean. The Tanks swats the large dog to the side like you would a fly. The yelp that rings in the air causes Terry to sob. Not Rob, he. What would Nick do? Nick would save them. He would distract the Tank somehow. In that moment Terry knows what he needs to do.
"Hey you, Incredible Hulk on steroids!" Terrence cries as his shotgun is raised. He shoots once and then again and again, pumping it in rapid succession. He shoots a total of four more times until the Tank finally whirls around. The rage on its ridiculously teeny head normally would be comical but something tells Terry he won't live to tell anyone about it. The Tank roars and rushes Terry faster than he thought it ever could.
It comes at him like a bull, bellowing loudly. He raises his shotgun to shoot again but before he can pump it the Tank grabs him squeezing with tremendous force. Something cracks and hurts and he wonders if a rib or three has been broken. The Tank breathes in deep huffs as it flails Terry in the air; it swings him into the underside of train once, and then does it again, and again.
On the Tank's fourth swing Terry hits something sharp. Seething hot white pain blinds him as he screams his voice twisted and high. His stomach feels warm and his jacket feels really, really wet, almost like he took a dip into the lake.
The Tank bashes him into the underside of the train one more time and Terry's closes his eyes succumbing to unconsciousness. He doesn't even feel when the Tank carelessly throws him into the snow. He doesn't feel his teeth bite down onto his tongue, doesn't taste the metallic blood. He doesn't feel the snow's cold embrace on his face.
Someone or something is calling his name. His eyes struggle to open and when they do all he sees are incomprehensible blurs so he shuts them again. His name is called again and his eyes open once more. Nick. He is alive, which must mean the Tank is dead.
He feels so cold. Something is broken, something is terribly wrong. He doesn't worry so much about himself; he worries more about Isaac and Sean, and Rob. His body shivers the action hurting more than it should.
He wonders if this is what it's like to die. All of his senses are muddled, weak as if a film was placed over them. The smell of blood is sharp in the air. What he can't see is it is his own, staining the snow pink. The sun is almost fully down now, its rays a rich deep purple. Terry doesn't like the dark, he never really has. But being afraid of the dark is a kid thing to do so he always pretended he wasn't. Now he is far too tired to pretend.
Pain hits him in another unfamiliar way as Nick gently turns him over. He lets out a scream that comes out more like a gurgle. The blood on his chest bubbles as he struggles to breath. His chest rises and falls, his mind panicking. He can't get enough air, he's suffocating. Help I'm suffocating!
"Did you get it? …the zombie?" He struggles to say, the action leaves him breathless, he wonders if a rib as punctured his lungs. How much air is left? But none of that mattered, what matted was everyone else's safety. It was all that mattered. If the Tank was gone and everyone else was safe Terrence would be happy.
"Yeah. Yeah, I killed it." He manages a smile; normally something easy to do Terrence found it harder to do this time. His mouth felt tight and heavy.
"I knew—knew you would." And he did. He truly believed Nick would find a way to kill the Tank. "Hey Nick?"
"I'm here." In that instant Terry's vision gives out. Everything is black but the image of Nick's face is burned into his mind so he doesn't notice.
"Am I all right?" It seemed to take Nick forever to answer; his whisper was far from reassuring.
"Yeah, you're just fine."
"I can't feel my legs." He couldn't feel much of anything really except for pain.
"That's okay." Nick says. "It's just cold." Terrence licked his mouth, it was so dry, and blood spilled from his tongue, dribbling down to his chin.
"Where's Izzy—where's Sean?" Are they okay? God let them be okay. He tries desperately to focus his vision, to look at Nick for visible reassurance. He still sees nothing as he ends up looking at Nick's shoulder. Why can't he see?
"They're fine. They're both fine, Terry." His fingers clutch at Nick's arms, tighter than before inside the train. He tried to sit up, to confirm he was well enough to get up but nothing happened. His mouth filled with blood and Terry forced himself to swallow it, the action causing a horrifying squelching noise in his throat.
"Hey…Nick?" It was getting harder to talk, harder to formulate words.
"I'm not going anywhere, Terry…I'm right here." He wasn't going to make it. He'd known all along he wasn't going to make it.
"I'm not going to make it…am I?" He asks. He thought saying this would hurt but a pressure he didn't know he felt lifted from his chest. Everything felt—right.
"No. No, you aren't." That was okay, Terrence thought. Izzy and Sean were okay.
"That's all right. I…" His body trembled. What was he trying to say again? Trying to focus, he had something important to tell Nick. What was it?
"Well. I'm…happy you…I…" He was dying. He was actually dying. The pressure returned to his chest and he grew panicked. "I'm…I'm scared. Nick, I'm scared." Images swim in his vision. Was his life actually flashing before his eyes? "I don't want to—don't want—"
He is back in DC with Sean. They're searching for supplies when they see a patrol of military men. They managed to scramble away but Terry got shot. The pain was the worse he ever felt.
"It hurts. Sean, it hurts. It hurts." He cries as his voice rises to a soft hiss. "Help me, Sean. Help me, please, help –" His voice is cut off. The blood caked on his lips bubble and froth. He seizes and then—stills.
He had found him wandering the DC streets, running from the military. Nick was hurt and he had honestly wanted to help.
"I want to help you. Let me help you." He'd said.