War of the Blood Gods #8
Written by Grim, Edited
WAR OF THE BLOOD GODS
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Trooper Van Eric woke in the hospital room with a start. He
looked around nervously for a second then seemed to relax a little, but the edge
of wildness never left his eyes. The nurse opened the door and looked in, then
closed the door again. Then, his Supervisor, Captain Timinoz entered the room
and sat down. “How are you doing, Mike”, she asked him with concern in her
“Anne; Mike, I’m off duty, now.”
“Anne… I’m not sure how I’m doing. What
“What do you remember, Mike?”
“There was… something… in the woods. I remember…
firing… and driving in reverse… then I woke up here. Is everyone…? I
remember a… battle… I think.”
“Just rest, Mike. We need your help… When you feel up
“I’ll be glad to help. Everything just seems so…
fuzzy now. How is everyone…? I mean… Did anyone else… live?”
“No, Mike. You’re the only one. Do you remember who
“It was… It was… No, I can’t remember exactly. Who
ever it was, I just knew I had to get out of there…”
“You just rest for now. We’ve notified the National
Guard. Who ever did this disappeared before the sun came up. We have troopers
from other counties coming in to help.”
“It wasn’t human.”
“It wasn’t human. Or a group of humans. It was like
a… wild animal… only larger… and more bloodthirsty… It’s coming for
us! I saw it! I remember now! IT LOOKED ME IN THE EYE AND TOLD ME IT WAS GONNA
EAT MY SOUL!” The nurse slid the needle into Trooper Van Eric’s arm and he
dropped of into a restless sleep.
The Nurse looked at the Captain and asked her: “What do
you think happened to him out there?”
“The official position is that an unnamed terrorist group
had hooked up with some militia members. I
personally think that’s crap, myself. I‘ve worked with Mike for 8 years,
now. He wouldn’t crack unless there was something inhuman out there. I just
hope the National Guard can handle it when if it shows up again.”
Captain Bergenstein of the Pennsylvania National Guard had
set up a perimeter that enclosed all the burnt houses and the location of the
‘conflict’ with the state troopers last night. Whatever had caused the
debacle last night had gone to ground somewhere inside his perimeter.
Helicopters were scanning the ground looking for tracks. “I want to put a
squad of troopers on each of these bridges,” he said, indicating points on his
map. “I want to concentrate the bulk of the men here on the left side of this
hill. Whoever did this was following roughly an eastern path and if they pick up
where they left off…”
“Why would they do that, Captain?" one of the
“I donno. But for some reason I have a… hunch… that
they’ll be back. I want all men, even command, in full Guard armor.”
“It won’t stop armor-piercing rounds, Sir.”
“I know. But I hope that it won’t come to that.
Harrisburg’s official position is that whoever did this, split up afterward
and is planning on regrouping later. We’re supposed to make sure that nothing
gets out of the established perimeter. ‘Cept for the people living inside, of
course! heh heh. I want all of them searched for ANY weapons. Anyone with so
much as a pocketknife is to be questioned in detail.”
“Captain, Eagle-three has reported in, sir. The say that
there’s almost a straight path through the forest, sir… And it looks like it
was made by mechanized armor, sir.”
“Armor? Did you say armor? That can’t be! Where did the
armor disappear? OK, get the coordinates from Eagle-three and have the men
search in the area where the path ends… Armor!? I should go up and take a look
myself, if these new recruits don’t know one track from another.”
“I can arrange it, if you want, sir.”
“No thanks! I’ll keep my feet firmly on the ground,
private! Oh, I want the ambulances searched every time they make a ‘pickup’.
I don’t want any terrorists escaping that way.”
“It’s gonna be dark in about 3 hours. I want IR goggles
distributed to every available trooper. And keep up the aerial reconnaissance as
long as available. I’m betting that if something is gonna happen; it’ll
happen after dark. And I want everyone to be ready for the worst. If someone is
caught nodding off, I want him or her driven down to the scene… Let them see
where 14 state troopers got gunned down. That will wake them up!”
Larissa, Greece. Georges Kostokas stood by the track
catching his breath. Of course, he had just won the 100 and 200-meter races.
Soon he would anchor the 400m relay, if the impending storm didn’t cancel the
meet. Then, later tonight, he would score with that girl sitting in the front
row of the bleachers, whatever her name was. Didn’t matter. He was the best
athlete in school. All the girls wanted him. “Ouch!
Have to watch that,” he thought, “Can’t get a leg cramp now. Still
have races to win and girls to impress. Ouch! OUCH!” Now his whole right side
cramped up. “Maybe if I do some stretches”, he thought. He bent from the
waist to touch his toes, after making sure that girl would have a good view of
his backside, and pulled his head down to his knees. “I hope you’re that
flexible, tonight… OUCH! DAMMIT! OUCH!” Now his whole body felt like it was
cramping up. He sat down and looked at his legs, where it hurt the worst. He
could see the muscles moving under the skin… And they seemed to be growing…
His leg muscles were getting larger! “What the hell?” It HURTS! Maybe it was
something I ate… Ahhhhhhh” He curled up in a ball, grabbing at his legs,
Some of the Track team were gathering around, wondering
what was happening. The coaches hadn’t noticed, yet. The girl from the
bleachers made her way down onto the field to see how her ‘boyfriend’ was.
Everyone started backing up, as Georges started writhing and thrashing about.
They could see the muscles moving inside his skin… And he seemed to be
growing. Then rain began to fall. A LOT of rain. Everyone ran for shelter under
the bleachers, Georges forgotten. Lightning struck, impossibly close. Everyone
covered his or her ears. School kids huddled together; class division forgotten
in the wrath of Mother Nature. The rain began to die off. As soon as it had
begun, the rain was over. The whole storm had lasted five minutes, but it had
been pouring too hard to even see out from the makeshift shelter. Dampened team
members and spectators started wandering out from under the bleachers, looking
around. Whenever anyone looked where Georges had been lying, they stopped and
stared. Others crowded around to trying to see. Soon a complete circle had
formed around ‘Georges’. Except it wasn’t Georges anymore. The being stood
9 feet tall and was clad in armor reminiscent of the ancient Romans. The being
took two steps and picked up a discarded javelin. In his hand the javelin
sizzled and then resembled a lightning bolt made solid. The being opened his
mouth and spoke.
“I am Mars. Jupiter has commanded that I come to earth
and make war with the Enemy.” The ninth-grader, Dmitri, the one that everyone
picked on because he talked to himself, walked up to Mars and offered him
another javelin. Mars took the javelin, smiled at the boy, and then tossed him a
gold Drachma. “Have no fear, lad. I am here. And Jupiter does hear your pleas.
He told me to tell you that the strength you seek is inside you. In your
heart.” It began to rain again. As hard as before if not harder. No one moved
for shelter this time. Mars stood there looking at the school kids and, as the
rain fell harder than ever, faded from view in the downpour. Later, as they
talked about it, some of the school kids swore they heard horses’ hooves and
the sound of a chariot’s wheels before Mars disappeared.
The Sphinx rolled underneath the waves, letting the fleas
think that he had been killed in battle. Better to save his energy for the Enemy
ahead. A soon as he was out of sight of the fleas, he would take to the skies
“Strangest goddam thing I ever laid eyes on! Honey!
C’mere! Youse gotta see this!” Lucinda came running in from the kitchen and
stood next to her husband’s recliner. “SEE! I always said they was real!
Didn’t I? HUH, Didn’t I?”
“Those what I think they are?” Lucinda asked her
husband, staring at the news display.
“They sure is. They’s Bigfoots! Running like all getout,
too. Newsman says that every time the po-lice get in their way, they just go
into the woods and disappear… Then they’s ten miles further down the road.
Tain’t stopping for nothin’ and no one!”
“While, I’ll be dipped in batter.”
“You seen enough, now woman, get back in that there
kitchen and microwave me some dinner. I’ll tell you if’n anything else you
needs to know comes on. And bring me another beer, too.”
Deep in the base of Ramses Pyramid, far from any chamber
that had been touched by looters and thieves, a mummy stirred. An arm lifted as
if in summoning… A snake dropped into the room through a cleverly concealed
vent-hole. Another. And another. Soon, the chamber was crawling with
serpents. One of them tipped over a jar on a shelf above the entombed body. The
liquid splashed on the ancient wrappings. Smoke started rising from the body.
Another clay jar burst as a snake coiled tightly around it. The liquid from that
jar splashed on the mummy, also. It did nothing to quench the smoke, instead, it
added to the roiling mass. Soon, the whole chamber was filled with the dense,
oily smoke that made no effort to leave through the vent hole. If the snakes
could talk, they would have told how the smoke was sucked into the mummy. How
the wrapping stretched and swelled and burst. How another mythic being walked
the earth again.
Seth, Egyptian God of War, slowly got off the burial
platform. He walked over to the wall and pushed in the trip stone that caused a
tunnel to open, connecting the tomb to the excavated base inside the Pyramid.
Three tourists were killed and fifteen were injured in the cave in. Seth could
hear their screams and knew that the trespassers got what they deserved.
Stopping to pick up a spear and shield wrought in solid gold; Seth outfitted
himself for the battle ahead. Before he left the tomb, he opened more jars and
poured pungent liquids on all the attendants that had been buried with him.
Soon, 10 of the strongest men to have ever walked the planet were ready to help
transport the God of War to his next battle. The war party started the long
journey to the surface and the even longer journey to fight alongside the Sphinx
against the ancient Enemy.
Xien Ng Shan stared at the computer screen again. “Stupid
Sweepminer game! I’ll never beat it. Oh, well. Beats work”, he thought as he
clicked to start another game. If that penny-pinching boss would get me a better
computer, I would be able to plan more travels. This is what he gets for being
Shan was startled out of his game to hear someone at the
counter say, “Excuse me.” He hadn’t heard the door chimes, or the squeaky
board in the floor that needed to be replaced. Shan jumped from the computer
thinking it was his skinflint boss. What he saw surprised him even more. A
short, very old monk stood at the counter with four other monks. “How did you
get in here? I didn’t hear the door open.”
“We need to go to United States”, the oldest of the
monks, obviously the leader, spoke up.
“This is a place to purchase travel arrangement, is it
“We need to travel to United States.”
“It is very important that we get there, immediately.”
“Things like that take time… And a lot of money.” One
of the other monks stepped to the counter and put a small leather sack on it.
“That will cover the cost of our journey.” Shan picked
up the sack and opened it on the counter expecting a few America pennies to roll
out. The shock jumped onto his face as twenty diamonds, all between two and five
carats, glistened in the morning sunlight.
“Uhmm, Uhmm I, Uhmm…” Shan looked from the gems to
the monks and back again. I will… I need to… Let me call my boss! He’ll
know what to do. Shan picked up two of the diamonds, made a show of examining
one of them, and putting that one back. The other he palmed and tried to put
inside his coat pocket. Before he noticed, one of the monks was beside him, on
HIS side of the counter, holding his wrist. Try as he might, he couldn’t keep
the wrist from being twisted up and the palm opened to reveal the diamond.
“I was going to see if it was real or not. I’m sorry.
Won’t happen again.” Shan ran across the small office and telephoned his
boss. Seeing the game still on the computer, he darted back and closed the
program, then darted back to the phone.
15 minutes after Shan’s frantic phone call, the owner of
the travel agency walked in. He glanced at the monks and looked at Shan. Shan
nodded enthusiastically, that yes, those were the same monks that wanted to go
the United States. And had the diamonds. The owner walked behind the counter and
looked from the gems to the monks and back again. He picked up the smallest gem
and put it on the counter on front of Shan. He picked up two medium sized gems
and put them in front of himself. He picked up four larger gems and put them by
the computer. The rest he put back in the bag and handed back to the monks. The
monk in charge bowed his head in acquiesce.
The owner sat in front of the computer and began to type.
He had Shan make phone calls and various people stopped by the agency and left
again. After four hours, the owner stood back at the counter. To each of the
monks he handed a fake passport and tickets for a trip to the United States, via
Katmandu, New Delhi, Ankara, London, and then Philadelphia. Then he bowed until
it seemed like he would topple onto his head. Shan bowed deeply, too. After a
short time, the owner looked up again. The front of the store was empty. The
Dalai Lama and his group had left the store as soundlessly as they had entered.
The owner looked from Shan to the door, and then noticed that another diamond
sat on the counter, glistening in the afternoon sun.
Awaking in darkness, Peter shook his head from side to
side, then tried to sense if he was injured. “Ankle hurt. Back sore. Tired.
Real tired. Not too bad, considering… Considering what? Where was
he?” Opening his eyes, Peter
looked around, expecting to be inside a jail cell. He sat up and searched his
surrounding, with a look of bafflement on his face. The walls seemed very far
away, but he had the impression that if he took a few steps, he could touch
them. Standing Wolf lay nearby, his eyes closed. Peter scrambled over to where
he lay and gently shook him. “Uncle! Uncle, wake up! Are you OK, Uncle? Wake
up. Standing Wolf’s eyes fluttered open and he looked at Peter quizzically.
“Where are we, Peter Walkingsparrow? Are we not in
“I don’t know where we are… It’s like we’re in a
dream or something… C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
voice seemed to resonate with the wind.
“What the hell was that”, Peter asked quietly, looking
around for the speaker.
“I think… I think… We have found the Caves of
“WHAT? You’re crazy. We fell in that pile of rocks and
you knocked your head a good one. I’m going to find a way out of here.”
Peter stood up and started to walk… After three steps he turned around to look
at Standing Wolf. There were no directions here. It was obvious that they were
‘inside’ but he had no idea of finding a way ‘outside’. The sound of
something large could be heard approaching. Peter scrambled back and sat down by
his uncle. Standing Wolf got to his knees. Peter felt at his belt for the pistol
that he had taken from the policeman, but it was gone. The sound got louder and
seemed to echo all around them. A brilliant point of light appeared in the
distance. Slowly, it got nearer. The closer it got, the louder the noise became
until it sounded like continual thunder. Peter,
in a near panic now, looked around wildly for something to hide behind. Standing
Wolf, guessing at the truth, closed his eyes and waited. The sound got so loud
that Peter, covering behind Standing Wolf, covered his ears with his hands and
begged for it to stop. And stop it did, but not because of Peter’s wishes.
Peter lifted his head slowly and looked around. A grizzly bear stood there
looking at him. A golden grizzly bear.
“Peter… Peter, I know where we are… Peter, are you
“Is it gonna eat us?”
“No, Peter. I think that is the Great Spirit…”
“The what?” asked Peter, having a hard time
comprehending what was happening.
“We ended up in the Caves of Enlightenment and the Great
Spirit is here to tell us how to defeat the Enemy.”
The golden bear snorted loudly and reared up on his back legs. Peter cowered behind his uncle again. After a while of waiting to die, Peter looked again at the Bear. It still stood on his hind legs, looking at him.
“Peter, you are supposed to talk to the Great Spirit.
Find out how you are to defeat the Enemy.”
“I don’t wanna talk to any bear! And I don’t wanna be
eaten, either. I just want to get out of here.”
“Peter, the power is inside of you. Trust in yourself.
Ask the Great Spirit.”
Shaking, Peter got to his feet. The Bear towered loftily
over him, seeming 20 stories high. “Am I the ‘chosen one’?”
The bear closed it’s eye’s and opened them again. Peter
knew that the Great Spirit had answered in the affirmative.
“And I have to fight the Enemy?” Again, the eye’s
closed and opened, but this time a snarl left the bear’s mouth.
“How am I supposed to fight him? The Enemy, I mean.”
The bear dropped to his forelegs and pulled his claws across the floor of the
cave. 5 large grooves were left behind. The bear then held one paw above the
grooves and raked the back of it with his other paw. The avatar of the Great
Spirit howled, sounding like thunder, as the blood ran from the wounds. The
blood collected in the grooves and solidified. The bear placed his uninjured paw
over the grooves filled with blood. Smoke rolled out from under his paw. After a
second, he lifted his paw to reveal that the blood in one of the grooves had
been transformed into a golden shaft. Peter, curiosity getting the better of
him, scrambled from around Standing Wolf and looked closely at the shaft.
“It looks like… An arrow… Is it an arrow?”
The golden bear nodded affirmatively again.
“I’m supposed to shoot an arrow at the enemy?”
“I only get one shot? And I don’t even get a bow.”
The bear pulled his good paw against his side, as if
scratching. He scratched and scratched, pulling at his side. Soon, there was a
pile of golden fur on the floor. The bear put his paw on the hair and rubbed it
back and forth. A string could be seen twisting under the edges of his paw, and
then smoke again obscured the view. Then the bear lifted his paw to reveal a
golden bowstring. Peter picked it up and before he could ask about the bow, the
bear reared up to his full height and dashed the edge of his paw on the floor of
the cave. One of his claws was snapped off and it tumbled over to where Standing
Wolf still lay. He pushed it back at the bear. The bear put his good paw on the
broken claw and the smoke rolled again. When
he lifted his paw, a simple recurve bow was revealed, made from the obsidian
material of the bear’s claw.
Peter hefted the bow and strung it with a grace that showed
great familiarity with archery. Lightweight and flexible, the bow felt like an
extension of his own hand. He fitted the arrow to the string and drew back the
shaft. “I think I can do this… This feels like it’s a part of me. But, I
donno.” He released the tension on the bow and sat back down. “I don’t
know if I can go through with it. That ‘thing’ said it was going to eat my
soul. I’m still scared.”
The bear, on all fours, walked over to where Peter sat, the
bottom of his jaw six feet above Peter’s head. Peter looked up, now in fear of
the bear that had provided the weapons. The bear lifted a paw and placed it
against Peter’s chest and pushed him back onto the floor. Peter tried to moved
out from under the paw, but it held him firmly to the floor. The smoke started
to roll out from under the paw and Peter screamed.
Continued in War of the Blood Gods #9
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