|"Having been schooled badly several times in a row, I learn that I like to win more than I like to lose."|
|Journey, part 6: The Invader|
|Date: ||05/26/02 09:05|
|Game Type: ||Other|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 1, Max: 9, Min: 9|
Lifetime Rating for citizenKane: 8.2143
The proverbial cat is out of the bag.
Two weeks ago, I told you that I am involved in this story. I regret saying that, now; but now you know that this is fact and not fiction. But since you know this, I believe there will be no harm in telling you something of the greatest importance:
The future has an end. I can see the future; I told you that. But there is a place where my vision of the future stops. It draws closer now, much closer. I fear that within several months, this story will end, because that is where my vision of the future stops. That is the critical point. I know not what will happen there, but here’s hoping I survive.
The journey continues...
Solid, unrelenting, powerful. Regular, like a metronome, or a ritual drumbeat. With every blow, the grounded ship shook. In between blows, all was silent save for the distant sound of the dust storm outside.
Haman the Magician held a light in his left hand, like a bright, tamed firefly. It illuminated half of Haman’s face. Gerard stood behind the Magician, light glinting off his sunglasses. Greg stood half-shadowed in the corner, sweating and shaking. Barnes sat in a chair far behind, barely visible in the dark. Jon lay unconcious on the floor.
They all eyed the door. Some— thing— was outside, pounding to get in.
“How long will this door hold?” whispered Gerard.
Haman mouthed silently.
“What is it?” Gerard asked.
Haman responded quitely, “I thought you’d know.”
“Well, I don’t.”
“It’s something evil,” Haman whispered. “I can sense that.”
“Is it very powerful?” Haman asked
“Can’t possibly know.”
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Haman continued, “it exudes an aura of— supression. Like it’s hiding something.”
“Hiding its power?” Gerard asked.
There was a rattling, almost a buzz. The noise of wind outside blew softer now.
“Did you hear that?” Gerard said.
The rattling again.
“It came from the door,” Gerard said.
Haman stepped closer to the door. Barnes watched, eyes wide.
“I saw it!” whispered the Magician softly.
“Its hinges are shaking.”
The thud was less solid— it sounded muffled, but the rattling was easily audible now.
“Does that mean we have much time?” Gerard whispered.
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, should we suprise it? Ambush it?”
“We need to be ready.”
Behind them, far to the right, his face hidden in shadow, Barnes opened his mouth as if to speak.
Barnes gulped. “Hear how the thud sounds muffled?”
“That means the door is absorbing more energy from the blows... We don’t have much time until this thing breaks through.”
Haman and Gerard looked at each other. Greg, in the corner, shook visibly.
The rattling was strong, now.
“Great,” Gerard said. “I’ll get the gun.”
Jon, the silly-looking wild-haired man in the overalls, lay unconcious on the floor, his double-barreled rifle next to him. Gerard grabbed it and opened it, checking for ammo.
“We should probably put this man somewhere.”
“The cargo bay?” Barnes suggested.
The door to the cargo bay opened upward, and the Magician stood in the door. The light in his hand lit his face and cast a faint light over the cargo bay.
It wasn’t very large, about the size of a small garage. Crates and boxes lay stacked on the floor. Near the entrance, all was clear except for three steps leading down.
The Magician stepped down the three stairs and moved aside, taking the light with him. Gerard dragged Jon’s body into the cargo bay. He stopped, went backwards down the steps, then grabbed Jon’s legs and dragged him down the steps. His head bounced off each one— thunk-thunk-thunk. This caused Jon to wake up, but neither Haman nor Gerard noticed.
Haman pondered the man laying on the cargo bay floor.
“Think he’ll be safe here?” Gerard asked.
Gerard heard it too. It was the sound of silence.
“That thing at the door.”
Without another word, the two hurried out of the cargo bay, closing the door behind them. Jon opened his eyes and moaned feebly, groping outwards with his hands.
Haman crouched directly in front of the entrance, light held in his hand. Gerard was directly behind him.
“Can you use magic?” Haman asked.
Gerard nodded. “Yeah. Don’t know how powerful I am, though.”
“Can you harden reality?”
“Nevermind. What can you do?”
“Just do what you can.”
“Okay. Where’s Greg?”
Greg was huddled in a dark corner. Gerard went over, hauled him up by the arm (Greg moaned) and shoved Jon’s shotgun into his hands.
“You use this to protect yourself. Okay?”
They all jumped.
“It’s coming faster.”
The door was blown off its hinges. It narrowly missed hitting Haman. Light flooded in, blinding them all.
It was a black sillouhette. Against the light it had no discernable features. Roughly human shaped but rough, blocky and pointy, like someone had attempted to carve a man out of wood but didn’t know how. Sharp spikes stuck out everywhere. It was as if it had strapped long blades to all its finger, arm, leg and shoulder bones, so that every joint had a long, thin spike sticking out obtrusively as an extension of the bone.
In an flash, Haman hurled out bolts of brilliant blue light with his hands at the thing— but it simply smacked them away with its wrist spikes, as easily as a tennis player hitting a backhand. The blue bolts lit up his face, though: Long, slick hair, and a rough leathery black face and glinting red eyes.
It strode into the ship. Gerard stepped in front of it and moved his hands in some bizzare effecting, but the thing grabbed Gerard and hurled him against the wall, knocking his sunglasses askew.
It stopped in front of Greg, who was standing in the corner and trembling like the devil. He clutched the shotgun close to his body. It extended an ugly hand— its nails were several inches long.
“Come with me!” it roared.
Greg screwed his courage. He quickly raised the shotgun and blasted its arm. The arm flew off and landed in the ships light-flooded doorway. The thing looked at it, lying on the floor. It was not bleeding at all. It was now trembling furiously and whipped its head toward Greg, glaring at him with his angry red eyes.
Greg pumped the shotgun and blew its head into several pieces. The headless corpse fell sideways, slumped against the wall, and slid to the floor.
Haman hesitated for only an instant, then fled from the ship. Gerard and Ben followed, leaving the thing’s unbleeding decapitated body on the floor.
Outside, the wheat field was completely flattened. Straw and grain lay everywhere, crosshatching the ground.
They ran to Gerard’s tiny car, which was unlocked. Gerard quickly sat himself in the drivers seat and Greg got in the passengers.
“Haman.” Gerard leaned out the window. “Can you keep up with us?”
“Can that vehicle break the sound barrier?”
He turned to Greg. “Now, where to go...”
Then he saw the shotgun in Greg’s lap. Something clicked in his head.
“That guy! Jon!”
His heart froze.
They had left Jon in the ship’s cargo bay.
* * *
“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t allow you to get on this plane unless you have a boarding pass. But, if there was a mistake made, we’ll bump you to a later flight at no additional cost. We’re terribly sorry.” She smiled.
Travesdain smiled back at the United Airlines employee, contorting the painted lines on the face. They looked like thunderbolts. Banon-christened-Argusdain stood behind him, watching. And from a distance, Joni also watched, hidden in the passing crowd. The United Airlines employee stood behind a counter. Above her was a scrolling LED, the United Airlines logo, and in large text, GATE 11. Behind the counter was the actual gate, with a crowd gathered round.
“That’s okay.” Travesdain lifted his hands, displaying his flowing robes like a bird showing off its wings. He then flipped his hands— once— twice— and by some sleight of hand, he now had a gun in either hand. Two guns. He flicked the safeties, and there were two clicks.
The lady at the counter gasped, and a few people in the crowd pointed and screamed. “How— wha— how did you get that past security?”
“Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head about that. Now, get me on that plane.” The crowd started babbling, pointing at Travesdain, indicating the guns. Screams punctuated the rising chatter and one man fainted.
“I’m sorry! Really, I am! But I can’t do a thing.” She gasped again. “Please, believe me!”
Travesdain smiled again. “I believe you.”
Then he fired two shots into the air, one with each pistol. The crowd gasped. Shouts rose and screams rang. Behind him, a security agent drew his gun.
“Attention, people!” Travesdain shouted. “I am hijacking this plane. Anyone who tries to get in my way, I will kill.”
A laughter echoed in Banon’s head.
The security agent raised the gun, but Travesdain turned around and easily planted a bullet between his eyes. The security officer fell over backwards with a stunned expression.
“See? That’s what will happen!”
Then Travesdain walked through the doors of gate 11, firing shots into the air as he walked. Banon-christined-Argusdain followed, and Joni followed too.
* * *
Gerard ran through the remains of the wheat feild to the ship. But when he got to the cargo bay door, it was already open.
He entered the cargo bay. Down the steps, alert, scanning the cargo bay.
Then he saw it. The dark thing, or rather, its headless, one-armed corpse. Kneeling over Jon’s body.
The headless, armless corpse got up, back facing Gerard. He saw that it now had two arms and two hands, matching exactly, as if it had never lost an arm at all. One of the hands held something round.
It was Jon’s severed head, a glazed expression on its face, blood dripping from the neck.
It lifted the head up by the hair and held it over its truncated neck. Then it turned the head around slowly lowered the head onto its shoulders. It seemed unaware of Gerard’s presence.
Gerard watched, horror-struck. The skin of Jon’s head fused with the skin of the dark figure. The skin changed texture, the hair grew longer. The skin melded, squirmed, until it hardened into a leathery black hide. Then it turned around.
Gerard gasped. The thing had replaced its own head. Those red eyes glared, and that thin lipless mouth curved into a smile.
The one-armed creature advanced. Gerard backed into the wall. When he hit the wall, he knew he had to fight.
The journey continues June 2, 2002.