Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another story for the Wicked out there...

This one was done in a night for yet another contest, took third, but didn't get anything for it. It's kinda cheesy and Lovecraft inspired. And can you tell I had a certain drink on my mind?

The Desert
He had walked out of the sands of Iraq a different man. He had been lost for over a month and somehow managed to find his way back to the base. His face was covered by a checkered white and black ghoutra that he had found in his wanderings. He still had on his desert fatigues but these were torn all over the legs and knees. Scratches covered his forearms. In his hands, clutched tightly to his chest, was a worn leather book. The MPs and medics swarmed him as he shuffled into the base’s makeshift gates.
Several hours later the soldier found himself attached to a saline drip and lying in a cot in the infirmary. Sitting beside him was a man with familiar stripes on his uniform. The sewn-on name patch said Morgan.
“How you doin’ soldier? You’ve been a very wanted man. The Iraqis have been trying to find you, and we’ve had the Rangers out scouring that damned sand for a long time now,” said Morgan.
“Captain? Captain Morgan, right, sir?” said the man in the cot.
“Yes, and no, I don’t have a pirate’s hat or a parrot, but I am your captain son,” said Morgan.
“Son, you wanna let that there book go so the medics can take a look at ya properly? They’ve been awful patient with you all night. And between that gibbering you were doing and the screaming about the black orbs, you’ve scared the hell out of the medical staff,” Morgan said.
“I can’t let the book go sir, if I do they’ll find me and rip me to shreds just like they did to Powell sir,” said the man.
The captain looked at the man’s dog-tags and read Winters.
“Well Winters, whoever they are, they won’t be getting in here. There’s eight men posted outside. Two for each exit and we have the entire battalion at this little outpost. No one was behind you either son. You walked right to the gates before you keeled over,” Morgan said.
“So how about that book son, I promise I won’t put it down,” Captain Morgan said. He held out his right hand to take the book.
“As long as you promise not to put the book down sir, I’ll do it,” Winters said.
“I promise soldier,” Morgan said. He took the book from Winters’ hands and held it.
Captain Morgan sat beside Winters and opened the book with his left hand. His right hand grasped Winters’ right hand tightly. He had remembered making this same gestures dozens of times to his dying friends and fellow soldiers in the jungles of Vietnam. All they wanted was some comfort and the knowledge that they didn’t die alone. He looked onto the first page and had to clamp his hand over his mouth to stifle a scream.
The first page of the book had a black pyramid drawn on it. There were two creatures with the bodies of men and the heads of jackals carrying a soldier up the steps. Morgan could see that the drawing was moving and the two figures carried the soldier to the apex of the obsidian structure. The captain could hear the soldier’s screams and begging as the creatures hefted him up the carved stone steps. Then he saw that one of them carried a small handheld scythe. They carried the soldier to the top and chained his ankles and wrists to the smooth stone. Beneath him was a large circular groove that flowed in the four directions. Then the jackal-headed creature with the scythe swung its hand past the soldier’s face. Blood spurted out of the man’s body and his remains slumped onto the groove.
The blood flowed freely, filling the groove and then cascading down the four sides of the pyramid. All over the obsidian face of the structure hieroglyphics began to light up and burn with the strength of a thousand suns. Across the horizon Morgan watched as an immense black ship came into view. Then he heard buzzing sounds. He slammed the book shut. Perspiration, cold and clammy, was on his forehead. He wiped at it, took a deep breath and reopened the book. The jackal-headed creatures pointed at him. Their eyes glowed deep emerald.
He turned the page and saw intricate scrollwork in Arabic. Then the lines and curves formed into familiar words he had been used to. He began to read.
“…Within these pages are the ways in which They can be stopped. They are bound to this planet so long as They do not lay Their hands upon this sacred tome. I was a humble servant of Allah who came upon their great sky ships and wandered the desert trying to find someone who could help me fight them. But sadly this is my last entry. The ones that are like spheres are here. I can hear their buzzing teeth as they carve into the door behind me. Their infidel tongues spoke of heaven and the wonders that awaited there. But they lied. They had not traveled off this world in millennia. My last words to you who find this are these. Fight. For your family’s sake, fight…”
Captain Morgan ran out of the infirmary and headed to his tent. He put the book under his arm and began loading his weapons. He took off the safety from his pistols and assault rifle. He put on a flack jacket and placed the book inside and zipped it up. He could feel the weight of the worn leather book beside his heart. He pulled the slide on his pistol and chambered a round. He did the same for the other pistol. His left deltoid was sliced as the black sphere hovered to his left. He turned and aimed his pistol at the creature. He finally saw the creature that the Arab had written of.
The creature was at least three feet high had it legs to stand on. The body of the creature was an orb of obsidian, slick and covered with veins. There were four deep crimson eyes that were trained on him, waiting for the moment when he dropped the book. The eyes blinked at different intervals. Surrounding the creature were three rows of teeth, some serrated like a shark’s, others broken and jagged; they spun eternally around the creature. The teeth were the cause of the buzzing sound Morgan heard. There was a rushing sound as the teethed stopped suddenly. It spoke to Captain Morgan, its voice burrowing deep into his head.
What Morgan heard sounded like two different voices, one male the other female and a third that echoed after it.
“We want the book Captain Morgan. We have come across the stars to have that great talisman,” the creature said.
Captain Morgan raised his hands to his ears as if that could stop the high and low voices speaking at once. His pistols thumped on the desert sand in his tent.
“We need that book to rid the world of our mortal enemies, the Ghanen. You’ve seen them, the jackal-headed ones. We know you’ve seen them because we know you opened the book and seen their ship. We are called the Tondak. We come in peace. They do not. They are the ancient ancestors of your Egyptians and Aztecs. They have wandered the universe collecting specimens of races and then destroying those worlds,” the Tondak said
The Tondak hovered inches closer to Morgan. He lifted a pistol off the sand and pulled back the hammer. He aimed the weapon at the star traveler.
“Don’t be a fool Captain Morgan, you can’t stop us and we will have that book,” said the Tondak. Drool dripped in a long string onto the sand.
Morgan felt the barrel of a gun pressed firmly at the base of his neck. Then he heard a voice he recognized. It was Winters. He told Captain Morgan to stand down, drop to his knees and let the weapons fall to the sand.
“Sorry Winters, you told me not to put the book down. So I won’t. I promised,” Morgan said.
“Winters didn’t know what he was saying. He was a fool that ran from the wisdom of the desert. I won’t make that mistake though,” Winters said. He walked in front of Captain Morgan and Morgan saw that Winters’ eyes were rolled back into his head.
“You’re not Winters. It’s his body, but you’re not him are you?” Morgan said.
Winter’s body slumped into the sand face first. From the back of his skull a Tondak burrowed through the soldier’s skull. It burst out with a spray of brains and fluid. Morgan grabbed a pistol, shot it three times and then aimed at the larger Tondak that hovered a half meter away. He heard the buzzing teeth start up again, this time faster than before. He yelled as the Tondak attacked.
Four bullets shot out of the Tondak’s back. The eyes burped blood and brain tissue. The teeth spun wildly for several revolutions then stopped. It hit the sand with a deep thud that Captain Morgan felt beneath his feet. He shot it twice more. Its globe-like body twitched momentarily and then stopped. The captain walked to it and kicked its rows of teeth in. He reached into his flak jacket, pulled the book out and walked out of the tent.
Bodies lay strewn on the sand as dawn crept up on the horizon. All around Captain Morgan was the sound of the buzzing chainsaw teeth. There were millions of them waiting for him. They had completely destroyed the base and had been waiting for him to exit the tent. On the horizon he saw two figures with heads like jackals. One held a scythe and the other put a horn to its mouth and blew. The sky was blotted out by the mass of sharp toothed creatures and the buzzing sound they made silenced Captain Morgan’s cries.


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