Run silent run deep
Chapter 1: Run silent, run deep
Darkness, it was everywhere and seemingly everlasting but that was an illusion. Nothing last forever, not even this imprisonment. It was waiting, time means nothing and this sentience was made to last. It would be unleashed once more, sooner or later those of weaker minds and frail spirits would bring it back into the light, and whether it would serve the light or the dark was anybody’s guess. Fate would decide, it was patient after all, and the ages of mankind would never harm it, its maker a master and its power everlasting. Yes, it would be unleashed, and once more devour the spirits and life of mortals. What it did harbour would awaken yet again, and his reign would begin.
The dust was the worst part of this job, it got into everything, even the lenses of her camera. She had to be very careful not to ruin her sensitive equipment and it meant that she had to carry a lot of extra stuff. Most of it got out using a modified airbrush but some of the dust would linger anyhow. She was experienced though, had worked on many similar digs and she did know the tricks of the trade, no sandy desert would be allowed to ruin her equipment, she had her professional pride.
The camp outside of the site was makeshift, the discovery of this tomb had been like a bomb going off within the Egyptology department and people had been scrambled from all over the place. Finding a new tomb was a sensation, finding one which had been untouched was possibly historical and the museums did send their best people and all the equipment they could transport.
It was a man looking for a lost goat who found the tomb, by accident. A landslide had changed the landscape and he had seen a straight line in the sand where there should be none and since this man was an honest person he did notify the authorities. He probably believed that this was just some old forgotten building, the foundations for a fort or something for there shouldn’t be any graves in this place. It was in the hills to the east of Saqqarah where many tombs had been found and this area was not known for graves at all. The ancient Egyptians had very strict rules when it came to building tombs, the soul does travel towards the west after death and the valley where the pyramids and tombs were placed had a side valley pointing straight west. It would send the spirits on their way in the right direction. This site on the other hand was in a place where the entrance to the west was blocked off and some of the experts didn’t think it was a tomb after all.
The only possible reason for burying somewhere there would be that this was a person who was denied an afterlife and jokes about mummies and curses were uttered. But it was interesting no matter what it was and thus the site became a real dig. It was just this one structure, none other and as soon as they did verify that it was more than just an old foundation the very good archaeologists were sent inn. Finding a tomb in this area was strange, it could be very old and the theories were many. The local people did shun this area, they talked about evil djinni in the wind, about foul voices trying to ensnare the souls of men and the normally very eager workers did refuse to show up. The museum workers had to do everything themselves.
The find was indeed a tomb, or rather, a sort of enigma. As they started digging they did discover a shaft which did point downwards at a very gentle angle, that in itself was strange and the door they did uncover at the end of the shaft was even more of a puzzle. There was no hieroglyphs at all, no marks and the rock was granite, extremely hard and dark. They had to get a heavy crane all the way from Cairo to lift the door out of the way and what they found behind it was enough to make even the most experienced Egypt expert scratch their heads. It was a storage room, no mummy, no bodies at all. But all sorts of artefacts showed into two large rooms as if somebody had tried to hide them there in a hurry. Some of the things were in fact injured due to the hurry in which they had been disposed of and everybody were running around much like headless chickens not really understanding anything about this find.
The walls of the tomb or whatever it was had lots of the typical tomb decorations, illustrations from the book of the dead, scenes from everyday life, some texts describing the person who was to be buried there. The owner of the tomb was, according to the texts, a singer from the court of some early pharaoh named Ankh Sethar, the name itself caused some raised eyebrows for it was a contradiction, you would never combine the word for a symbol meaning eternal life and the name of the dark deity Set, unless the person was one who did worship what Christians would see as the devil. The person wasn’t there, some suggested that the tomb was a set up, a way to lure tomb robbers away from the real grave of this person. Others said that the tomb probably had been too expensive and that the owner had simply been forced to abandon it and somebody else had chosen to store their treasure there. But treasure?
That in itself was a strange word to use for the stuff they did find was not very nice at all, it was the type of belongings they would expect to find in some low middle class home. The furniture was nice and comfortable but made from cheap material. The pottery was good and well made but the glazing terribly done and not very elaborate. The fabrics tightly woven but not top quality. The jewellery rather boring and not even pretty or attractive at all… It was not a rich man’s tomb for sure.
That made many of the archaeologists suggest that the real tomb could be hidden there behind this make shift one, it was a well known trick and now the team was removing the artefacts one by one, carefully cataloguing and recording everything about them. Every detail was photographed and they even had a laser scanner which would record their position in detail. The paintings on the walls were being protected with sheets as they removed the objects and then lamps were brought inn so the photos could be as good as possible. The glyphs on the wall was yet another conundrum, they were old. In fact they were so primitive it didn’t make sense at all. The things they did find were of a way newer make and some believed that the original tomb had been robbed, found by somebody who wanted to make profit from it and then refurnished for a new occupant. But nothing about this site made sense.
She did wipe dust of the camera once more, even if the entrance was sealed off there was this thin grey dust everywhere and you couldn’t escape it. As an expert on the use of photos to record ancient sites she had been asked to join the expedition and she had felt very enthusiastic at first. Now she was just plain bored and the work had become routine. This tomb was puzzling alright but they hadn’t found anything really interesting there, no mummy, no indication of what really had been going on there. She did take some photos of the bed which was about to be taken out of the tomb, the Egyptians were very advanced, but that bed was judging by its looks well used and ready for the scrap yard even before it was placed in there. Pierre was setting up the radar, he was an expert on this sort of equipment and a very nice and sweet Frenchman who loved his job. Now he adjusted the lamps and grinned at her. “I bet they used this tomb as a sort of extra storage for some rich dude, why not use an extra tomb for all his stuff? Not all are able to let go of their stuff, not even if it is old and worn!”
She shook her head. “I doubt it, this place feels wrong!”
Pierre giggled. “Oh don’t come where with talk of curses, this place doesn’t even have a mummy in it”
She sighed. “You are right, but still. The place does suck! I mean it, the dust, the accidents, the locals who shun the place?”
Pierre just shrugged. “Ah, yeah, we have had some mishaps but come on, this is not an ordinary dig, we were sent here in a hurry and when people hurry bad things do happen. Everybody knows that, heck, nobody has even an ounce of idea of what this place is supposed to mean!”
She nodded, took some more pictures. “Yeah, I am starting to think that the entire place is one elaborate hoax, a sort of “fuck ya all” to the museums. The glyphs are way older than the pharaoh this singer was supposed to serve, the artefacts are at least a thousand years younger than the drawings and so on and so forth. It doesn’t make sense!”
Pierre grinned again, with his dark skin and short curly black hair he did look like an Egyptian person and many did mistake him for one too. He plugged in the radar. “We get paid well enough, come on, a week more and we are out of here”
She managed to smile. “Yes, that is indeed something to look forwards to, this place is too hot, too sandy and way too boring”
Pierre started the device. “Maybe, now, let us see what this product of our day and age can tell about that wall”
The laser did send a wide red beam out and Pierre made sure that it did scan the entire wall, square inch by square inch. She continued in the other room, there were still some large object which hadn’t been removed. Outside the rest of the team were working hard preserving the stuff, some of the objects were extremely frail and needed to be stored in airtight containers for the journey back to Cairo. The photos were good but she had struggled with the cameras over the last days, for some reason everything which was depending on electricity did rebel at times. The generator did stop every now and then which was just swell down there in the tomb where it would be pitch black right away. And if that happened nobody were to move even an inch out of fear of harming some artefact.
She was done taking photos of a set of wagon wheels when she heard Pierre shout. “Oi, I have something!”
She walked into the other room, he stood by the radar, watching the screen. “Look!”
She stared, the radar was showing the wall in detail, the drawings and glyphs were invisible, they only saw the structure itself and she saw what Pierre had seen. There was a sort of faint outline of a rectangle near the floor, perhaps two feet by two feet.
Pierre was rubbing his hands together. “Oh I knew it, I just knew it. This scrap is just a decoy!”
She frowned, the surface within the rectangle was way too smooth, it was not natural at all. Pierre was almost jogging in one place. “I have to make a call to the boss, we have to go through that wall.”
For a moment she felt her tongue go dry, her back felt cold and she stared at the rectangle the way she would stare at a poisonous cobra. “Are you sure that is a good idea?”
He nodded. “Of course, maybe this is the next king Tut, ha? We will be famous!”
She grinned, a very thin smile without teeth. (Oh I’d rather not)
“I am sure they want us to wait, this has to be done carefully, there could be traps, and things could decay fast if air is let inn”
Pierre just ran by her. “Don’t be such a party killer Sam, I will make the call, be right back”
She nodded and stared at the wall yet again, the hairs were standing on end along her neck and she felt a deep need to sneer. Not that she could do that, not here, where somebody might see it.
Pierre returned after twenty minutes, he was beaming. “They will bring more experts, with proper tools and all. The tomb is to be sealed off completely.”
She knew that it was common routine, it had to be done. If the wall did hide a real tomb you didn’t want the fresh air to hasten the process of decay. Somehow she felt almost insulted, this was their tomb goddamn it, the team had worked together many times and now they sent some nosey people straight from the museum. She knew the type, fresh from the universities, smack filled with knowledge and no practical understanding at all.
She grinned and shook her head, one week, she could endure one week for sure. And she ought to be glad that this site was being explored, who knew what discoveries (horrors) this wall did hide. She frowned, why did she think this hid something bad? The old myths about curses were just bullshit, but this place…it felt wrong. She had smelled it the moment she first entered the room, something about it was wrong but she couldn’t tell the others about it. They wouldn’t believe her, she had no method which could back up her claim.
Pierre did pack away the radar. “We are not to enter here again until they arrive, and there is a sandstorm coming. The camp may have to be evacuated.”
She sighed, that too. Sandstorms were common but lately they had been more fierce than before, hooray for global warming. They exited the tomb and the heat of the sun was like a hammer strike to the face, she gasped and fanned herself. Pierre moaned. “Goddamn it, they could have provided us with an inflatable pool, it would be the least thing they could do.”
She shook her head. “It would be indecent according to the laws around here”
Pierre almost growled. “Screw those laws, they are silly”
She nodded “Yes, but still, we have to follow them”
She had covered her head and hair with a hijab and wore long skirts, it didn’t bother her at all, as a matter of fact she did prefer it that way, less chance of something giving her away. Pierre sighed. “Come, let us get a cup of cold water, I am parched”
She nodded. “Me too”
The tent used as a cantina was packed as always, there were ten archaeologists working there now and some experts on the preservation of the artefacts found. She sat down next to one of them, a woman hailing from a university in the united states. She was an expert at preserving wood and she was a bit pale in the face and her blue eyes were blurred. The woman did smile though and nodded. “You found something?”
The cup of water was cold, it felt good but she hadn’t really needed it. Still she had to drink, nobody was to suspect anything. “Yes, Pierre discovered an anomaly in one of the walls. Probably a door to a shaft or something!”
Rebecca did roll her eyes. “Wonderful, more work! The wood we have found here, it makes no sense Sam. I cannot even begin to describe the problems I have encountered”
Sam did squint. “What do you mean?”
The tall blond woman made a grimace. “The age of the wood, it makes absolutely no fucking sense. I bet somebody has gathered a whole lot of things from different sites and just tossed them into this tomb, perhaps raided the illegal markets for all I know. I have found artefacts from three different dynasties, it shouldn’t be possible!”
Sam did take a deep breath. “Why?”
Rebecca did shrug. “Beats me, if they get through that wall maybe we’ll find out why?”
Sam nodded and got another cup of water. They were all required to drink at least four litres of water each day, she didn’t need that much at all but she followed the rules to a T. No point in taking chances. Sam stared out of the tent, there was a haze in the distance and it did not look good, if a sandstorm was coming it would be a bad one for sure. Rebecca did smile. “So, any new projects when this is done?”
Sam did nod. “Yes, Greenland. Old settlements, some Danish university needs an expert”
Rebecca did tilt her head. “Talk about opposites, from heat to cold ha?”
Sam did shrug. “Yeah, but it is an interesting job”
Greenland was perhaps cold and inhospitable but it was a nice place to disappear. She had worked as a photographer for too long, fifteen years now. She was becoming too well known. It was time to move on, become someone new.
Rebecca sighed. “I am going back to the states, my kids haven’t seen their mom for half a year and my husband is struggling with some health issues.”
Sam did make a sympathetic grimace. She was known among the others for being aloof and private, for not being very social. She had blamed it on Aspergers and everybody did buy it. “That is too bad”
Rebecca emptied her can of soda. “Yeah, but I have earned a lot working here, I cannot wait to get out of the sand though”
Pierre entered the tent, he did look excited. “The team will be here soon, oh I am so curious. What do you think is hidden behind that wall?”
Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Spiders, thousands of huge hairy ones!”
Pierre squealed. “Oh you…I hate spiders, talk about ruining it for people!”
He turned to Sam. “Samantha, what do you think is hidden there, come on, spit it out”
She hesitated. (Danger) Her instincts were never wrong, and that tomb was not what it appeared to be. “Ah, old stuff?”
Pierre laughed out loud. “Oh I do most certainly hope so, would be too bad if it was some local drug lords stash of moonshine”
They all laughed, Sam did lower her head, smiled with just a small hint of teeth. She was used to acting demure, to avoid attention. Most did believe that she was sharing the religion of the county but she wasn’t, it was however a very good disguise.
The wind was picking up but a helicopter did arrive an hour later, filled with people and equipment and the local team was suddenly told to stay clear. When this suddenly became an interesting site again the really good people were put back on the case. Pierre was allowed to follow them down into the tomb since he could use the radar and determine where the wall was weak and the others had to just sit and wait.
Sam did sit there for a while, the scent of the desert was changing, it was very subtle but she could pick it up. There was a hint of something almost burned in the wind and she knew that this meant that the storm would be extremely bad. The helicopter did leave right away, it didn’t risk being stranded there and the camp was on its own if the worst thing happened. They had several good trucks, made for even a bad storm with GPS systems and all but if the storm proved to be a very nasty one even they would be inadequate. They were simply too many people there.
Pierre did enter the cantina, his eyes were shining. “It is a shaft, a large one. We have to remove a part of the floor to get into it. There is a wooden door at the bottom of the shaft, we have hit the jackpot, I am sure”
One of the diggers did lean forwards over the table, looking a bit doubtful. “Are you going in there now?”
Pierre shook his head. “No, we have to wait until tomorrow. They are sealing off the tomb now, making it airtight. We have an airlock guys, like in some sci fi movie”
Sam did nod and nipped at her tea, Pierre was charming and he didn’t bother her at all. She was used to being treated as someone inferior due to being a woman and her unusual height made her a target of both gossip and ridicule. It wasn’t many women who stood 6 foot 3 inches and her slender body had many believing that she was a trans woman. But she was female, in every conceivable manner, and her somewhat unusual features were in some ways a blessing. She wasn’t a classical beauty, her chin too sharp and pointy, her cheekbones too high, her nose a bit odd in shape. Someone had once said that she did look feline and she had just smiled and turned away.
She had black hair, dyed carefully to hide the greyish shine in it, her eyes soft brown and that was due to contacts. Her real eye colour would tell everybody that something about her wasn’t right. She knew how to hide, a wolf among the sheep. Even her name was a fake, Samantha Fallow was not a real person, but nobody knew that.
The darkness started to drop, here it got dark very fast and the experts did exit the tomb, chatting excitedly about the next day. Sam did eat some stew, the food there was bland and not at all good but it was edible and she had no reason to complain. She had eaten way worse food. The tents where they slept were placed in a small valley about two hundred meters from the digsite, it was shielded and rather safe in case of sandstorms but it would have to be abandoned if there was a bad one. The temperature hadn’t dropped, that was bad, and the radio told of a possibly nasty one and it warned people to stay indoors. She did take a small stroll before bedtime, there were a few Egyptians working there, ordinary people who were drivers and caterers and one of them was fidgeting with the engine of his truck. Sam did frown. “What are you doing?”
The man did look down, his face a bit pale. “This place is bad, I have seen them, the djinni. They are warning us. The tomb must not be opened”
Sam tilted her head. “What are the djinni saying?”
The man wetted his lips, he was an aging man, his hair grey and his skin saggy, the dark eyes were filled with fear. “It must not be disturbed, it is…doom”
He did close the hood, eyes still wide. “Get away from here woman, it harbours only death”
Sam didn’t know what to say, her instincts were screaming at her, telling her that this man was right. Something was very wrong there.
He got back into the truck, started the engine but didn’t drive off, he just sat there, seemingly petrified.
Sam went to her tent, it was placed at the back of the little camp, she claimed that it was due to her shyness but in reality it was because of her hearing. She could hear everything which went on if she was to live in the middle of the tent camp. She didn’t want to hide her embarrassment when she did work with people, the number of secrets she had inadvertently discovered were many. She kept her mouth shut but still, it wasn’t always easy.
She laid down, she wasn’t sleepy and didn’t need sleep but she did meditate. Her mind was wandering along the paths of her memories, it was a calming journey but also a hurtful one. She saw her mother’s face the day they said goodbye, the gentle eyes filled with sorrow. “I am sorry Berka, but it is the way, it is the law. We have to separate. May your path be an easy one”
She had never forgotten that day, but her path had been long and maybe she could see that it had been good. She was hiding among humans, like a submarine out at sea. She ran silent and she ran deep, undetectable and lethal and most would never even know she had been there for they had no reason to suspect that she wasn’t one of them. It was good that way, it was as it ought to be. Never draw the attention of humans towards you, hide the truth, at all costs. Do not trust humans.
She saw cities which were no more, spoke languages no man remembered. Her memories were alive and real and she was wandering along a naked shore where huge buildings now stretched towards the skies when she felt it. It was a vibration in the ground, a sort of low rumbling which shouldn’t be there. The storm had arrived, the howling of the sand did camouflage this but not to her. She opened her eyes, it was black outside, the sand was tearing at the tents. Why had the evacuation order not been issued? This was very dangerous, the wind intense and strong! She could sense it, even inside of the tent she could smell the sand. The rumbling was gone, she held her breath, there was some other sounds all of a sudden. Short and hard and unmistakable. Then screams, more of the short popping sounds.
She was out of the bed, her instincts did take over. People were being shot, the camp was under attack. The rumbling had been trucks. She tore off the skirts, the hijab. Everything was in light colours, it made her visible in the dark. She wore dark clothes underneath, it was an old habit and she bound her hair up, pulled on a jacket with a hood and slid out of the tent near the ground. There was a tear there and she didn’t need much space to get through. The sand hit her like a thousand piercing needles but she had taken inn enough oxygen to last her for hours, she didn’t have to breathe again for a while. She closed off her nose, dropped her transparent third eyelid to protect her eyes and she switched to infra red vision, it made everything visible in spite of the darkness and the sand. There were glowing figures, shooting at the tents, some people were obviously being spared, she saw several kneeling on the ground, bound. It had to be the experts.
Were these terrorists? Not very likely, these were professionals and very few knew of this dig. She moved through the storm, invisible in the darkness and the flying sand. Some were being forced towards the entrance of the tomb, she did recognize Pierre among them and she sneered. Could she save them? The men who had attacked all carried machineguns and judging by the type the one behind this was rich. The equipment told of wealth for every man wore body armour and full combat gear. She waited, she couldn’t enter the tomb unseen and she could kill the men but not as long as they were in a group, was there a way to scatter them?
Pierre had been asleep when he was torn out of his pleasant dreams by strong hands, he hadn’t understood anything at all, suddenly there were men wearing black combat gear everywhere and they were shooting at the tents?! He was forced down, his hands tied behind his back and he was gagged. The sand was flying around them, the roar from the storm was deafening and the men did communicate with hand signals but they did also wear communication gear and he was trembling all over. What was happening? Why did they kill people? The experts were spared, and him, they peppered all the tents with bullets and he heard screams. Pierre was not a very brave man, he had never fought in any wars, he was not even of those who had served in the military. Since he was gay he hadn’t qualified for service and he was a very small and frail man who couldn’t intimidate anyone. Now he and the experts were towed off towards the tomb and he realized that these men wanted them to open the door at the end of the shaft they had discovered. Were these grave robbers? He knew how much money there was in antiquities, some were willing to pay millions for old artefacts. Could this be a paid hit? The men were soldiers, he just knew it. They acted with discipline, none of them did hesitate and they knew what to do and when. It was frightening.
Pierre was in shock, he didn’t protest as he was pushed down into the shaft and he and the others were given tools but the men clad in black did nothing to help them, and the airlock was left open. One of the experts tried to argue and make them understand that the things behind the door could perish if they didn’t do this the right way, the answer was a brutal strike with the blunt end of a rifle from one of the soldiers. Pierre just knew it, these didn’t want witnesses, they wanted the artefacts behind the door and then this indeed would become a tomb. Pierre was not religious but right now he did pray to every God he had heard of to spare him.
The door was surprisingly easy to open, the wood was brittle and the tools strong and they removed the remains of the door and the soldiers brought powerful lamps they hooked up to the already existing cables one of the guys did pull after him. The room they entered was not very large, and it was making Pierre gape. It was a cave, or rather, it had been built at the front of a natural cave. The square room was unadorned but he saw some sort of scripture on the walls next to the opening leading into the cave and it didn’t look like any sort of writing he had seen before. It was flowing and elegant and had some similarities with Arabic but it wasn’t recognizable as any alphabet he had heard of. The walls were white, stark white with no marks and it did look almost sterile. The writing was in black and it looked as if it had been written the day before. The opening to the cave was the size of a garage door and the darkness looked like a hungry maw. Pierre felt a terrible chill running down his spine, it felt…bad! He just knew it, that cave was not a place you would want to be.
The soldiers did push them forth, there was a path there, well made and obviously used by humans and the lamps were powerful enough to illuminate the entire cave. It was vast, enormous. Shaped a bit like a fat sausage and in the end was a row of stalactites and a sort of altar. The altar was covered with cloth, something was underneath it and Pierre suddenly knew that he didn’t want to see what that was. He knew that it was something which could crush the soul of a mere human being. The soldiers did push the prisoners forth and the professional curiosity of the men and women did overpower their fear for they moved forth willingly. Only Pierre did hesitate, the very air in this room was…horrible.
The stalactites were odd, and as they got closer Pierre felt the taste of bile in his mouth, the stalactites were human beings. It was bodies left standing upright, covered with a layer of rock since water loaded with minerals had rained down over them over centuries and they did look like people who had started to melt. It was a grotesque sight and even the soldiers did seem to hesitate. The altar was very tall and as they moved towards it two of the prisoners did suddenly tumble to the ground, spears did shoot out of the ground, impaling them. Now everybody did start to struggle but they were forced forth still. Pierre was looking for a way out, for a chance. Two more fell, but now they had reached the altar and the cloth covering the object was pulled away. It ought to disintegrate due to its age but it was still as strong as if it was new. The object was an orb, probably made from crystal and it was large, larger than a soccer ball and completely round without any sorts of flaws. To polish crystal like that would take an insane amount of time. It was dark, almost black and it did remind him of an image he once had seen of a black hole from a sci fi movie, or a wormhole. It was…otherworldly and beautiful but threatening too. There was a sort of red glow hiding within its very core and Pierre could have sworn that he heard a heartbeat somewhere, slow and heavy and it couldn’t be his own for his heart did beat like that of a humming bird right now.
One of the soldiers did step forth, he seemed to be a leader and he did touch the ball with his gloved hand, the thing did seem to light up immediately and the man stepped back in obvious shock. Pierre did for a moment feel as if this was something alive, the dark red glow from the orb did remind him of a huge eye, staring with cold intent at them all and the soldiers did look almost nervous. Pierre saw that there were other objects there too, hidden in the dust, it looked like rings and he couldn’t bare to look at the orb at all. It was staring back at him, with malicious glee. The leader did scoop the rings up into a bag and found another one for the orb and Pierre just knew it, they would shoot him and the other surviving prisoner. He looked down, tried to appear subdued. The leader did say something into his communications headset, he did speak English and it did sound as if he said “We have got it”
Pierre saw something on the floor next to the altar, it was hidden by the cloth and it was oblong and narrow. The leader did cut the rope binding the hands of the other prisoner, a man who as an expert in ancient Egyptian languages. “Put the orb in the bag!”
The man did look terrified but did take the velvet bag and the moment he did touch the orb with his naked hands he did scream and his eyes did roll back. He didn’t let go though, he just jerked as if he had a seizure and the leader did hiss and pulled out a handgun. He shot the man in the head and Pierre choked a scream. Blood and brain matter formed a cloud in the air, sprayed the orb with red mist. He got the feeling that the orb did approve for some reason. The leader pointed at Pierre. “Bring him, he can try”
Pierre knew it, if he did touch that thing he was dead, sure as heck. He had to avoid that, somehow. The oblong object under the cloth, he had to try to reach it. He held out his hands and the rope was cut and that was when he saw his chance. There was something moving on the altar, on top of the cloth. It was a camel spider, a large one and it was terrifying. Pierre was arachnophobic as fuck but he didn’t think. He reached out, grasped the disgusting creature and threw it at the leader. In the same movement he bent over and grasped the object under the cloth, it was a sword. The spider made the man rear back with a yell and the soldiers did turn to look at him, it was a human reflex and not something anybody could control.
Pierre had been fencing as a kid, he had been good too. This blade was strange, the colour almost black and the pommel and cross bars decorated with blood red stones. The hilt was covered with black leather and it did look ominous. It was elegant, a slender and sophisticated shape he never had seen in a sword before but he had no time to admire it. The moment he touched the hilt it felt like an electric shock, he heard a voice in his mind, whispering words he didn’t understand. “Agar…aniron agar, aniron AGAR”
Pierre spun around with the blade, it was as if it moved on its own and he was just a passenger, hanging on. The black blade did cut the arm of the soldier nearest to him and then it cut through the cable to the lamps. The cave went dark, in a flash. The orb did throw an eerie glow over the scene though and Pierre was sure it was staring at him. He held the sword and ran, he had memorized the path and he was used to darkness. These men probably weren’t and he managed to get to the exit before the first shots were heard. Bullets did fly by his head and he knew that these men had night vision googles, probably the type which uses active infrared. He ran, if he did reach the storm he could hide.
He felt a burning pain in his back and he stumbled, suddenly he had a hard time breathing. There was another shock of pain in his lower back and he knew he had been shot twice, he forced himself to run. The tomb was almost empty, he did find the way but heard feet behind him. He did cling to the sword and knew that this was in vain. He wouldn’t survive this, it was a very bitter though. He reached the exit, the sandstorm was even worse, like a wall outside of the tomb and he knew that nobody could survive out there now, not unprotected. And yet he had to try. He ran into the flying sand and immediately he fell to his knees, the power of the wind and sand was like being hit with flying barbed wire.
He could barely see that a soldier did stop in front of him, raising his rifle. Pierre didn’t want to show fear, he did stare at the man defiantly and thus he did see. A dark figure did almost fly in from the side and hit the soldier, there was a spray of something red and Pierre closed his eyes, warmth did rain over his face and he felt dizzy. He shivered, held the sword with a hand which was losing it’s strength fast. “The orb”
He couldn’t speak, the wind and sand took his voice and he opened his eyes again. The dark figure was somewhat familiar, a woman with a pointy chin, a triangular face with large slanted eyes, a wide and hungry mouth. He knew her. “Sam…the orb, the sword…”
Sam did run her hand over his hair, he was dying, she could see it. No point in even trying to save this one. “I know, rest Pierre”
Pierre gasped. “Don’t let them…take it away…danger”
He wanted to say so much more, he had seen something terrible down there, the orb was a thing which could be very destructive indeed. But the world was slipping away from him and he did take a last breath. She did pull the body with her through the sand, the sword did look ominous but what was this about an orb? She did drop the empty shell which had been a friend behind a rock and grasped the sword, it did look wicked sharp and the shape was exquisite. Whoever had made it had been a master and she didn’t recognize the metal at all. She could see that the group did emerge from the exit and she saw that they followed the track, shit. They did use active infrared, they saw heat. They could see her, they did find the body of the dead soldier, seemed to be shocked and they did also find the body of Pierre, she shouldn’t have moved him but it had felt right to do so then.
Sam did force the flow of blood in her body away from the surface, after just a little she had the same temperature as the surroundings, only her eyes would be visible and she felt an unholy rage awakening inside of her. Good people had been killed, sweet charming Pierre, Rebecca who was supposed to go home to her husband and children. Others she had known for years, people who didn’t deserve an end like this. Whoever these bastards were, she wouldn’t allow them to win.
She did sneak up closer, using the storm and the darkness. The soldiers did act with a great deal of self confidence, one of them did walk towards one of the trucks though, carrying a box and Sam did know that this was the orb Pierre had talked about. She felt it, a dark pulling power, like a hungry black hole, always yearning for more to devour and possess. Whatever it was, it was evil.
The man did place the box in the truck and Sam did grin to herself. She could move way faster than a human being, she was on the other side of the truck in no time and as the man came around the front to enter the truck she did grasp him by the throat and ripped it out. The man couldn’t scream, he tried to stop the blood bursting from his throat and the eyes behind the googles were wild with shock and fear. She did bare her teeth, felt the urge, the hunger but forced it back. This was not the time nor the place to indulge in ancient instincts. She was no animal, she could control herself. She was inside of the truck and it was already running so she just put it into gear and floored it. She didn’t bother with where she was going, all that mattered was to get away from there and notify somebody of the fact that the site had been attacked.
The first bullets did fly and hammered against the car but it was bulletproof and she knew the terrain pretty well. Her eyes could see through even this storm and she drove for a while, avoiding the road leading to the site. Whoever these people were, they were not going to have an easy job retrieving that orb. She smiled and it was a nasty smile, it did transform her face, made it inhuman. She was sorry that she hadn’t been able to save Pierre and the others but she could avenge them and she would.
She drove until the truck got stuck in the sand, then she did find a machine gun in the backseat and shot the dashboard and the GPS to smithereens before she took the sword and the box with the orb. It was heavy but to her it didn’t matter, she could handle it. There was some food and water in a backpack there and she took that too. If they found the truck they would assume that the person who took it was dead, nobody could survive such a sandstorm.
At the camp the leader did stare at the body of the soldier who had put the orb into the truck, the man’s throat had been ripped completely out of his body, you could see the bones of the neck. He was shocked but he hadn’t gotten this job solely because of his lack of scruples, he was smart and he could think fast too. He did tap the headset. “I have news, we have been intercepted. Somebody took it, we will pursue when the storm dies down”
The answer made him cringe, his life was on the line if he didn’t retrieve their price but he was confident. It couldn’t be many out there, the storm was bad and his men were professional. The death of the two men did bother him though, both had been torn open, as if by some huge beasts and no weapons had been used. He wasn’t superstitious but this was Egypt after all, and he felt a chill running down his spine. What had killed his men? The sword that radar guy had taken was gone too, he would have loved to have a closer look at the weapon, it had gone through armour as if it had been nothing. He had personally shot the wounded man, they had no use for those who couldn’t fight. His family would be compensated and served a nice lie, it was for the best. He did gather the men. “We wait out the storm in the trucks, when it dies down we will pursue”
The men just nodded, they were all ruthless and had no problems with killing even the innocent. The payment was good, that was all that mattered. He did sit down, staring out at the flying sand. The orb was something which was powerful, that was all he knew and he didn’t really care about what it was. But the boss said it was important and ancient and probably a source of tremendous energy and power and if the boss said so, who was he to question that? He didn’t care who had made it, if it was aliens as the boss believed or Santa Claus himself. No, they would retrieve it, they had people everywhere. Nobody would be able to get away with it, even if whoever took it made it out of the storm. That was for darn sure.
She ran, her body covered with the dense black clothes and her nostrils closed off against the sand. She knew of a cave and her magnetic sense did lead her to it like she was a pigeon. She pulled the box and the sword with her inside, it was very small but large enough for her, the storm wasn’t really a problem but she needed to think. She had some water and ate a sandwich, not that she needed it but it was always good to be prepared. She had to get back to Cairo and alert the authorities of the attack, or should she? The men were mercenaries, she was dead sure and the person behind them loaded and probably very influential. She knew of the corruption which did hold society in an iron grasp, perhaps alerting everybody would be a bad idea after all. But somebody ought to know, to get there to bury the dead, to give them their dignity back. Somebody ought to be told the truth!
She had contacts of course, friends. She couldn’t risk their safety, it was better if they believed her to be dead but her body would be missing, somebody would perhaps become suspicious. She did share a flat in a rather good neighbourhood with two others, both working for the museum and she had to warn them somehow. She didn’t want them to become involved in this. Then there was Damian, her closest friend at the museum. He had suspicions, she just knew it. He had never mentioned it but the man was smart and also, observant like few others. She had done some blunders and he had noticed, he had to have noticed. But everybody who knew her did also know that she was a friend of Damian’s, he could be in danger if she did contact him and would he say anything? She doubted it, he was a gentleman and she did trust him.
That one incident had been unfortunate but unavoidable, she had been on her way to work early in the morning when some thug saw her and believed that she would be an easy prey since she was a woman walking alone without a chaperone. The idiot had tried to haul her off into a back alley for some rape and beating and she had not sensed any other human beings nearby so she had disposed of him rather fast. The old sewer was rarely inspected and there was little chance anybody would ever find the body.
But she had been a bit sloppy and there had been drops of blood on her clothes. She had told Damian that she had tried to help a wounded pigeon but he hadn’t believed her and she hadn’t tried to push it.
The sad truth was that Samantha Fallow was gone, she was herself once more, on her own as they all were. A lone hunter, a lone wolf in a world of sheep and clowns and she hissed and stared at the box. Whatever this thing was, it ought to be worth it, she wouldn’t rest until she had solved this mystery. She had no problems killing to get to the bottom of this, after all, that was what she was all about. Her eyes did glow faintly in red, nobody who saw her there and then would mistake her for a human, the beast underneath was close to the surface now, ready to break free and when it did…people did die.
She decided to get some rest, she would get to Cairo, the museum would receive an anonymous phone call and then she would try to solve this mystery. And every God protect those who got in her way.