They pelted around the corner, stumbling slightly at the necessarily abrupt change of direction, guns at the ready as they swept the area, looking for their quarry and coming up blank. Staggering to a halt, breathing hard, they looked around themselves. The alley was a dead end, it couldn’t have got away, so where was it?
“Where did it go?” Jack asked Ianto; he sounded peeved. Bad enough that yet another date night had been interrupted by the Rift dropping the latest in a long line of unwanted aliens on poor, long-suffering Cardiff, but they’d been chasing it through the streets for nearly twenty minutes; they couldn’t have lost it after all that!
“Search me,” Ianto said, turning a slow circle. “We weren’t that far behind.”
They knew it had come this way; they’d been trailing by no more than a dozen metres when they’d seen the creature make the turn into this alley. It had taken them maybe eight strides, a matter of seconds, to reach the gap between the buildings.
“It can’t just have vanished, and it’s too big to be able to hide under the trash.” Jack gestured at the scattered detritus, frustrated; he was completely baffled.
The only things of any size in the alley were a couple of broken down cardboard boxes, one wooden pallet and a single, battered dustbin with no lid, which was too small for the alien to squeeze into anyway. There wasn’t even a dumpster to explain the disappearance of a creature the size of a Shetland pony, but with six scuttling legs and pair of wicked looking pincers. Jack had said it was a Grebeelian, a very aggressive predator from a planet which humans had dubbed Hades on account of the native fauna and flora all being highly toxic; hence their determination to stop it fast and with finality before it could attack anyone. Some creatures were simply too dangerous to even consider trying to take them alive.
“The only place it could’ve gone…” Ianto trailed off, gaze moving slowly upwards as a horrible suspicion dawned on him. “Oh shit! You didn’t tell me it could climb!”
Jack looked up too. The creature was clinging to the side of the building on their left, about five metres off the ground, facing down towards them, its fangs leaking venom.
“I didn’t know! This is the first one I’ve ever seen!”
“Now you tell me.”
They were standing far enough apart that for a few seconds, the Grebeelian didn’t seem to know which of them it should go after first. Then it seemed to come to a decision, leaping towards Jack, presumably deciding he was the greater threat.
Ianto’s brain, short-circuited briefly by the sight of the alien apparently defying gravity, poised above them on a completely smooth, vertical concrete wall as if it were just standing on level ground, snapped back into focus. His training kicked in and he brought his gun up, pumping four bullets into the beast in quick succession. Its tough, leathery, greenish-grey hide was no defence against a semi-automatic pistol with the stopping power that a Torchwood Special had. With an eerie screech, the Grebeelian flopped to the ground, twitched briefly, and went still.
“Thanks.” Jack let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding.
“You’re welcome. Is it dead?”
“You blew its head off, so yeah, I don’t think it could get much deader than that.”
“Good.” Legs gone suddenly weak, Ianto sat down on the dirty alley floor. “Why don’t you go get the SUV? I’ll just wait here for you. My legs seem to have forgotten how to walk.”
“Whatever you say.” Chuckling, Jack left the alley. He’d thank Ianto properly later.