Chapter 6 - Face Me!
The wet grass underfoot, thick, long and slippery and trickling snowflakes spread in all directions. There was no carpark any more, no burger place. The evening was now midnight in this open field with the Aroura burning overhead, bright reds, greens, yellows and oranges like veins squirming in the sky. In all directions the lumpy uneven field was enclosed by dense woodland.
Aiden had no idea what strange reality he had fallen into. In the centre of the circular field was another altar, almost identical to the one in the basement save for two great fire pits either side, the only light save the aroura on this dark battleground. That book was there, presiding over the Altar, of course it was.
Before the altar stood the two cops, one screaming as the other found himself impaled on Fritjof’s greatsword. Blood poured out over the handle, over Fritjof’s forearms and soaked the already sodden ground as the cop was lifted into the air. With a sickening squelch and tearing sound Fritjof dropped the cop’s corpse onto the ground, wrenching the sword from his torso. He looked to Aiden and smilled. Aiden simply raised his gun and fired to no effect.
The other cop turned to look at the sound of the gun shot, then staggered into a run from Fritjof. Firing another shot at the viking, Aiden ran to join him. Fritjof, unfased, took calm stides after them.
As Aiden caught up to the cop, both running awkwardly on the uneven ground, the cop was already shouting into his radio. He turned, face gaunt with shock as Aiden approached. He almost moved to aim his own gun at Aiden before Aiden threw his hands up infront of him into a friendly surrender.
The cop just nodded and went back to his radio, seemingly getting no response. He tried again as Aiden looked to Fritjof’s casual approach. The cop still got no response from the silent radio.
“Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to work,” Aiden interrupted at last, “We’re just going to have to deal with him.”
The cop, fat and ruddy faced, gave a nervous look to the equally unsettled Aiden, then raised his trembling gun to Fritjof.
“Sir! Put the sword on the ground and stand with your hands behind your head!”
Fritjof didn’t answer, but something else did. Those horns sounded out again, almost as if the trees themselves were blowing them.
Aiden joined the cop in aiming at the advancing Fritjof.
“In the name of Erad, lay down your sword!” Aiden shouted in as authoritive a tone as he could. Fritjof seemingly smiled.
The cop gave Aiden a bewildered sideways glance. Aiden met his gaze and simply shrugged.
Fritjof didn’t break stride, why waste energy running? There was nowhere for Aiden and the cop to flee to. Figuring this, Aiden fired. The bullets did nothing.
The cop nearly leapt from Aiden’s side at the gunshots, before turning and shouting about how ‘against procedure’ it was. As well as thinking he would love to know what procedure the cops had for this, Aiden found his mind filling with all sorts of madness.
Was Fritjof still a ‘ghost’ here? Is that why the bullets aren’t hitting him?
Fritjof was getting close. Aiden turned and sprinted to the side. He had an idea, turned out he was right. Fritjof ignored the cop and continued just walking towards Aiden as he ran. It seemd Fritjof was keen to let Aiden exhaust himself.
Aiden ran around him and toward the Altar in the middle of the field. In the distance behind, just above the horns, he could hear the cop attempting to arrest Fritjof at gunpoint, only to be completely ignored. The cop stepped to Fritjof, still yelling. The ancient man, with one quick swing, lashed out, the steel of his mammoth sword glinting in the light, slashing clean across the cop’s wound, trying to hold the huge gash closed, trying to hold pressure on it. Meanwhile Aiden reached the Altar.
It was set up almost exactly like the one in the cannibal’s basement, only on solid stone with a stone circle dotting the field around. Aiden looked underneath but found no ‘White Sage’ box, of couse there wasn’t. Looking around the field, there were several plants, but Aiden wouldn’t know ‘White Sage’ if he fell over it. Standing back over the altar, Aiden grabbed the book. It was no use. It was all in Futhark, he couldn’t read a word. Running out of options Aiden tossed the book back onto its stone plinth where it closed itself.
Raising his gun to it, Aiden fired. Three rounds went screaming straight into the cover of the book, only to disappear in silence, doing nothing. Aiden turned to check on Fritjof, who had now turned to a sprint. Maybe there was something Aiden could do here. He only had one more idea.
His lighter was still in his pocket. Aiden took it out, again grabbing the book, and tried to set it alight. The flame licked the pages, fully engulfed the tip of the corner, but did not catch. The pages weren’t even touched.
Fritjof was too close now. Aiden threw the book onto the stone, plunged his lighter into his pocked and again fired on Fritjof. He didn’t even know where the bullets were going but they didn’t touch him. As Fritjof raised and brought down that terrible sword again Aiden leapt behind the stone Altar, dropping his gun. With a loud clang and small sparks the sword glanced off.
Aiden crawled, as swiftly as his frantic arms and legs could, around the back of the altar climbing it slightly to get to his feet before turning to see Fritjof swiging his sword, horizontally, straight for Aiden’s head. He ducked, staggering and almost falling backwards, and narrowly avoided Fritjof’s sword which sailed over the altar, wind whistling behind it, its immense weight taking Fritjof’s balance with it.
In the moment Fritjof took to recover Aiden leapt forwards. His meagre frame practically bounced off Fritjof but he grabbed Fritjof all the same. He couldn’t push him to the ground but, with all his might, Aiden plunged his thumbs into Fritjof’s eyes. He felt the eyeballs squash slightly as his thumbs slid into Fritjof’s eye sockets. Fritjof’s rotten teeth let out a roar, dropping his sword as he grabbed Aiden’s sides with both hands, pulling him off, holding him in the air and slamming him agains the stone altar in one movement. The wind slammed from Aiden’s lungs and back now aching, paralysing Aiden with pain, he half wheezed, half screamed as Fritjof staggered away, hands to his face, similarly moaning.
Aiden grabbed his gun and tried to drag his limp, wheezing frame across the ground when a metallic scrape froze him in defeat. Looking above him, he saw the blooded countenance of Fritjov raging fire. He let out a bezerk roar echoing over the field as the stone altar itself seemed to tremble and he raised his sword high above his head.
In the moment before he brought it down, a daggar appeared from behind. An arm reached over Fritjof’s giant shoulder and dragged the blade deep across his throat. As blood squirted over the altar, Fritjof turned, limply lowering the sword to the ground as the new attacker dodged backwards, only to pounce forwards again and in a feral screaming and howling, drive that daggar into Fritjof’s chest and face again and again.
Aching and holding his chest, Aiden climbed to his feet to view the frenzy. Fritjof lay defeated on the ground, his chest cavity open and his face unrecognisable. Drops of blood poured from the daggar as the attacker stood. The field behind the attacker had gone, behind Aiden it remained.
Behind the attacker was, of all things, that cursed basement! Complete with Altar mimicking the one to Aiden’s left. The attacker turned to Aiden and smiled. That smile, that evil thing, sent ice through Aiden’s heart and soul, only to then disappear from sight, the basement with him, leaving Aiden in this Scandinavian aroura lit field. Aiden turned his head to look over the field, seeing cars. Looking around more, he was back outside the burger place!
The cop, seriously injured, was lying on the ground some distance away, yet he was surrounded by a crowd already tending to him. Knowing that the cop was getting help Aiden sprinted back to his car.