Skip to main content

Chapter XLVII

The trio of agents quickly discerned that they were not be leaving the way they had come in. The Cryptozoologicals had turned the outer rim of the station into a slaughter house. Armed soldiers carrying rifles, machine guns, and the occasional heavy ordinance prowled the intersections. Whether AC or Red Brigade, no one seemed to be much in the mood for asking questions. Shooting was the order of the day.

The agents snuck down the ring corridor for nearly an hour, but found no way outwards not blocked by paramilitaries or worse. D announced she would cast a ritual to find a way forward. Frankie and Shield lurked close by, hoping to get a warning shot off at least, if something discovered them.

D withdrew from her bag a number of brass beads, a length of twined leather cord and copious amounts of red and ochre sand which she heaped in intricate kabbalistic patterns on the deck. She spoke in an indistinct voice, occasionally repeating the same word, mukthir. Pronouncing this word seemed to have the same effect as a match on a fuse, the sand sparkling and casting glowing hot scintilla up and down the hallway. One by one, D pitched the brass beads into the magical pyre. This would cause a geyser of fireworks to spout from the Mandala as the beads dissolved.

Frankie watched this in frustration. “You know, if you had done this at the beginning, we’d already be on our way.”

D barely gave him a glance. “There are drawbacks to this ritual,” she said. “The spirits I’m enlisting tend to be a gossipy lot. We will be attracting attention.

Shield noticed Frankie peering into the gloom they had just traveled down. He was working his jaw in a way that suggested either physical discomfort or anxiety.

“What do you see?”

“Same thing you see, probably, just more of it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

A slim smile dented his weather beaten features. “I don’t see anything, Shield, and that’s what’s got me worried. I heard some gun fire from that last barricade we skirted. A few minutes ago.”

“I heard it too.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t hear it any more.”

“They probably shot up what they set to kill and are waiting in ambush for the next creepy monster that wanders by.”

“That could be.”

Frankie continued to stare into the shadows.

“But you don’t think so.”

“No, I don’t,” said Frankie. “That was a big emplacement and they let loose with everything. Only, it didn’t taper off, like you think if they brought something down.”

Shield suppressed a shiver. “What did it sound like?”

“Like the guns were switched all off at the same instant,” Frankie shook his head and looked back at the mission leader. “That wasn’t all that far away. Now, I am as much a fan of finding out where we should be heading as the next person, but I don’t think this is the best place for us to stop.”

“Do you want to set up some barriers?”

“Don’t think it did them much good.”

There was a dull flash far down the hall and for a moment, the lights overhead sparked into life again. Far, far down the hallway they could see something coming their way. Too distant to make out what it was, but too close to ignore.

Shield turned around. “D, not to rush you, but we need to rush.”

“I know,” she nodded enthusiastically, but took luxurious care in plucking one of the brass beads from the mandala. “I’ve almost got it.”

“D, we’ve got to go.”

“This isn’t an easy spell, one second too long in the fire and the charm will be useless.”

There was another flash, but this one was closely followed by a crack of thunder. Again, Frankie reported seeing something but could give no description of it. Shield began to wonder if he was sparing them details.

“Got it,” D shouted. She strung each of the brass beads on the leather cord, tied the ends together and slipped the bracelet onto her wrist. The charm evidently worked as D’s head immediately whipped around to face to her left. “That’s the way.”

The corridor suddenly filled with a pale white light. Shield had to cover his eyes. There was another peal of thunder and the sharp trace of ozone. Frankie yelled hoarsely and brought himself into motion. Another crack, this time the echoing report of his service revolver. Shield searched past the glare.

The thing traveled impossibly fast, hurling itself above the floor. Fat electric arcs traveled from its body, to ground themselves against the bulk heads and nearby furniture. Frankie had fired point blank, each shot found its mark, but with no effect. The monster glided forward, careening from one wall to other.

The creature was an eyeball, about the size of VW Bug, rippling with lighting and static discharges. The shape of its iris was a very inhuman shade of green, but it was possible to see red blood pulsing through the many capillaries branching across the cornea. The eye swiveled from one agent to the other, its pupil quickly focusing on each of them in turn, appraising them, evaluating them for threat. Shield didn’t give the monster time to decide one way or the other.

The force bubble snapped into place just a millimeter above the surface of the eye, completely encasing it in a violet-hued capsule. Eye and bubble dropped to the floor with a loud thud and then began rolled back down the slight decline of the corridor. Lighting pulsed behind the barrier in increasingly savage waves.

“That worked like a charm,” Frankie said.

“It won’t last,” D said, already rushing away from them.

Shield felt genuinely hurt. “How do you know?”

“It just won’t, we need to get out of here.”

“Getting out of here is as good idea now as it was ten minutes ago,” said Shield, “but I should tell you that my force bubbles can theoretically contain an H-bomb explosion. I think I bought us a little time.”

The hall suddenly tilted violently forward and all three agents went sprawling. Rush of heated air blew past them, along with a sound like someone tearing a pick-up truck in half. A swirl of dust blocked out the overhead lights. Shield got back to his feet, helped the other two and began to run. The corridor was shaking relentlessly now and Shield could feel hair beginning to stand on end.

He didn’t want to look, but he had to. The eye had shrugged off Shield’s force bubble and was now speeding towards them, Tesla Coil discharges searing afterimages into his retinas. But what really began to unmoor Shield’s brain was the thing’s pupil, narrowed to a single pin prick of black, the eye fixed on him. Shield’s fillings ached and he could feel the creature’s magnetic field pulling at his watch and belt buckle. He threw another shield around himself and the others but had no illusions now of its impregnability.

The eye scoured the force bubble with lightning storms. The surface of the shield deflected the initial assault but the creature did not relent. Shield could feel the bubble beginning to heat up as the monster rained lightning upon them. The bulkheads went molten, sagging outwards. Worse, he could feel the force bubble begin to stretch and thin as more and more of it bled away into mathematical abstractions.

Link to Next Chapter

Link to First Chapter


Popular posts from this blog

Chapter I

When the light came back on, the room was empty save for a corpse and two baffled agents of Section Starfire, the premier Anarchist Spy Agency employed by the United States government. Two trained pairs of eyes quickly scanned the room and found it devoid of anything worth mentioning besides an old battle-scarred table along one wall and a book shelf against the other and, of course, the body of the man Spaceman had just shot. For his part, Marcus Delacroix, Agent Shield, stood across the room from him, blinking in the sudden light, unable to focus. On the table by his right hand was a squat metal object about the same color and shape as a wheel of cheddar cheese. Instantly recognizing this object, Spaceman allowed himself a rare moment of panic. Pushing past Marcus, Space dashed to the door and tried the handle. Inevitably, it was locked. “Do you know what this is?” said Marcus, slowly regaining his faculties. “Yes,” said Spaceman as he darted

Chapter LXII

It took only thirty-six hours for a Section Sanitation Team to arrive at Santa Rosa. Leaving the town a smoking ruin was a non-option, especially with half the world on the look out for the Anti-Cerebrists. It did surprise Shield to see The Chief leading the Sanitation Team. In the year or so he’d been an active field agent, he’d never heard of The Chief traveling more than five miles outside of D.C. The expression on his face suggested travel did not agree with him. “We would have, of course, preferred if you had taken him alive.” Shield looked around the remains of the town. Which him was he referring to? “Sir, Spaceman resisted D with the apparently preternatural assistance of The Master. It was all D could do to put him down.” “I wasn’t referring to Spaceman, I meant the Master.” Ah, Shield thought, well that was a bit more awkward. “Actually, sir, he simply died. By the time Agent Two-Eyes and myself had come down from the bluff, he was already in cardiac arrest. Believe me when I


Imagine a space of incredible volume. Now place within its center an enormous ball of hydrogen and helium, collapsing against its own fiery detonation. Imagine a fireball so big that the force of its own illumination prevents light from its center from escaping for millions of years. Now picture the left-over bits from the star’s ignition spinning around in orbit, slowly accreting together over a staggering length of time. This is the stage. This where all of the acts appear, lit from this ancient fiery torch. This where all of the tragedies and comedies that have ever happened and will ever happen, happen. Are you getting the hang of it? Can you see this place, this domain? For as long as there are people and intelligences able to record impressions and ideas, this will be the only home of anyone who reads these words. But don’t feel so bad. The solar system is a big place and perhaps bigger than most might know. For within this enormous system, the