Fire and Ice

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Summary

A cry for help. Something moving through the darkness and a deadly tribe of flesh eating savages. Can the survivors of a rescue party survive before the Gods of fire and ice wake and destroy all life A lost colony and a call for help has brought a military rescue ship to search for the missing colonists. But, when they arrive they are in more danger than the missing colonists they have come to save. Why is the jungle attacking and coming to life? What is the hungry voice hidden in the forest? What do the villagers want? What secrets do the colony hide? Who is the mysterious figure in the wood? And what is the secret of Fire and Ice? How can they save the colony, when they can't save themselves?

Genre:
Scifi / Adventure
Author:
AndrewMc
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
29
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
16+

The Screaming Jungle

The jungle exploded around him as the lone figure burst through the dense undergrowth, his head turning on a pivot as the sound of the forest attacked his senses and threatened to overcome his dwindling courage. He glanced furtively around him as branches and vines whipped his hands and face cutting and marking his soft skin as he ran through the darkness as the canopy blotted out any signs of the sun overhead. He could see no-one following, but the distant sounds of ensuing calls alerted him to the fact that he was still being chased by…he had no idea, but he knew something was there. His ears could pick up the sounds of a distant crash as branches were broken in a throng of limbs and savagery he had never experienced and through it all the sound of his own heartbeat resounded harder than ever, deafening his senses as his fear rose through his body. The sound of the jungle surrounded him, pressing ever closer and confining him to a claustrophobic fear as his emotions invaded his consciousness forcing fear to cast aside reason and thrust his body deeper into the bush. He stumbled blindly as he ran, relying on instinct to keep him alive and crashed to the floor as his legs gave way beneath his bulky frame, disturbing a flurry of leaves and spilling the rotting vegetation into the humid air around his body. He knelt for a moment as his lungs gulped gratefully at vast amounts of air, drawing it into his body and giving him precious oxygen needed to continue. He looked at his hands and frowned through the sweat and examined the cracked, bloody palms, marked by the flight through the jungle. His dark skin was scarred and blistered and wounded from his recent exertion as small rivers of blood snaked over his palms, but anytime to reflect was brought to an abrupt end as a deep resounding voice echoed through the jungle.

“Feed me” it bellowed deeply, bouncing off the trees and wrapping itself around the bushes, sneaking through the jungle until caressing his ears and teasing him with its menacing words. The man sighed heavily and forced his body up from the forest floor, pushing his legs forward and groaning as the effort to move once again pulled at his tiring muscles, then thrusting a path through the overhanging foliage he forged his way through the never ending greenery with the whisper of the voice ever present in his head. His path through the jungle was once again fraught with engulfing vegetation as he pushed desperately through the undergrowth, thorns biting into his flesh and ripping at his skin, exposing and staining the greenery with his blood. The noise of the forest battered against his ears and constrained his senses as he looked around him, confused for a moment. Everything looked the same in every direction he peered…green…all around…which way had he come he pondered briefly, was he running straight into their hands or further away from them? His hands strayed to his head as sudden confusion pounded his skull and the surrounding area spun in a symphony of green.

He couldn’t afford to stop, he knew this in his heart and a tiny voice in his head told him to press further forward into the jungle…don’t stop it whispered, don’t look back. He pushed further and further into the woodland until…he crashed through a thorny bush and landed on the floor in the middle of a small clearing. He lay face down for a moment, blowing at the soil beneath him as his chest heaved desperately beneath his heavy dirty clothes and rolled onto his back laughing at the over-hanging canopy. He snatched at his ribs as they ached beneath his thick brown robes and he struggled under the relief of his release from the jungle’s grip, relishing the sudden open space. His white smile flashed across the darkness of the forest and lit like a beacon as he moved onto his knees and stared at the sight before him rising before him like a phoenix in the trees.

Hanging limply from the branches of the jungle, suspended like a fly caught in a velvet web sat a large metallic monolith. Its wings curled and folded as it hung limply from the branches of the canopy, large dents ran down the side of the vehicle and at the front of the vessel cracks ran across the thick heavy windows which stretched around the exterior of the craft. A large hole betrayed the damage inflicted to the ship as the metal was gorged and torn along the expanse of one side, and thick limbs of a nearby tree probed and examined the hole as the interplanetary craft hung suspended above the ground. The man forced himself to his feet and took an involuntary step toward the suspended vehicle, glancing briefly back into the forest as he walked toward the craft. Toward the rear of the vessel a gaping wound in the fabric of the outer shell offered little resistance to the invading forest as vines and creepers forced their way through into the bowels of the craft as though feeling for something hidden within. He took a final glance around him at the invisible eyes of the jungle and his constant pursuers beyond the treeline and saw nothing. A look of concern flirted across his features and his eyes darted across the edge of the forest as though searching for signs of his discovery and he felt a twinge of fear creep over him as uncertainty tainted his feelings. His ears strained to the distant sound of the pursuit and eventually satisfied he was alone, he slowly moved beneath the craft and hauled himself up into the trees. His lungs exploded under the weight of his body and his muscles strained from the sudden questions placed upon them as he pulled himself into the thick expanse of branches, swinging his body carefully through the leaf lined vegetation until finally completing his journey.

He sat for a moment on a branch and stared balefully at the darkness which swamped the open doorway of the craft. Visions swam into his head of invisible monsters within, claws and teeth ripping and shredding at his flesh and he was forced to shake the images from his mind before allowing his legs to carry him inside the sanctuary of the ship.

He almost collapsed as he fell through the open doorway and coughed violently as he stumbled through the darkness of the vessel, spitting out globules and blood and phlegm caused from his recent exertion as his lungs were exploding, then carefully began picking his way through the fallen debris caused by the crash…the crash…his mind strayed back to that eventful day. How long ago was it now? Two months? Two weeks? Two days? He couldn’t be sure, it just seemed like a blur now, the rushing of colours, the noise of failing engines, the screams of... His hand strayed to his forehead and he gingerly fingered a deep scar which thrust its way across his skin and pulled his hand away and stared in morbid fascination at the deep crimson which covered his fingers and frowned as he realised small tendrils of blood were crossing the ravines of lines running across his forehead. He coughed again, feeling the swell of blood thrust up from his lungs and through his throat and swallowed the tang of iron as his body sagged under the dank atmosphere of the interior of the ship. His eyes scanned the vessel as they slowly became adjusted to the darkness and he searched the mess for…he couldn’t remember. He knew he had to come here, but why? He collapsed to the floor in a crumpled heap and allowed a sob to erupt from his mouth as he struggled to remember, his hands pressing against the side of his head as his frustration threatened to overwhelm his senses. He clenched his hands into fists and hammered them against his temples, pounding against the banging in his skull, and the sobs which echoed against the walls of the ship. He had to come here, he knew that…he knew it was important, but why? Something in his mind told him he must return here…return here?

He leant on the back of the main chair in the cockpit of the vehicle and stared at the small metal plaque which sat on the rear of the seat. It’s cold hard surface stared back at him, reflecting his image and copying it with its own. On the plaque his face stared out at him and he leant forward inspecting the words on the metal surface, touching the plaque and running his fingers gently over the dull brass surface, smearing it with his blood. “Reverend Dominica Brown…representative of H.O.S.T; the Holy Order of Spiritual Tribute” he whispered in the darkness. The words seemed familiar, but their meaning seemed lost on him as he stared out of the metal at a shell of his former shelf. He glanced down at his ripped and dirty clothing and frowned for a moment as recent recollections struggled to compete with age old memories. The heavy-set brown habit he wore betrayed his position within the Holy Order and he looked blankly at the thick fabric as he struggled to remember…

A fleeting image caught his eye and his mind was betrayed by the sudden expanse of white material in the seat of the parallel chair. He slowly pulled himself across the floor of the craft and turned the seat deliberately toward him, watching with a growing sense of unease at the pile of clothing resting in the chair. He recoiled in horror at the half-eaten body slumped back in the seat, still wearing the safety harness which crossed the skeletal remains of the white material, it’s face twisted in a facsimile of a grin as the flesh was stripped from the bone revealing a macabre smile. Small maggots played in the empty accusing eye sockets and slithers of flesh hung from the corpses cheeks while vines from the jungle outside thrust their way through a half open mouth. Skeletal fingers fell away from the white gown of the body’s cowl and hung limply, pointing toward the floor. Guilt gnawed at his body and bit at his mind as a name swam into his memory…Sister Marie Santana. He remembered her auburn hair as it fell beneath her white hood, he smiled as he remembered her smile…her radiant smile. It seemed to light up a room, just by its very presence. His smile slowly faded as he remembered…the crash...her fear.

The power shortage…system failure…everything in the ship was shutting down…the panic…confusion…darkness…waking in a haze…

Recollections wandered into his memory as he stared at the figure of his companion. The reason for the mission. He remembered the call…part of the adjudicator mission with Sister Santana; to assist the local populace against…he struggled to maintain his composure as the memories disappeared once again. His body tensed as sudden memories faded as a sharp noise from outside the craft alerted him and reminded him to his current situation. Had they found him he wondered briefly and he froze, holding his breath as he strained his ears to any signs of life. He could hear movement against the edge of the metal as wood moved along the expanse of the vessel. He held his breath and pushed down into the darkness as something moved outside…something large pressing its body against the hull of the ship. He strained his hearing against the darkness then relaxed as the noises faded, then stopped. He smiled at the sudden relief he could feel in his soul, then at the corner of his eyesight he saw it…the reason for his return…the recall button. Sitting just out of sight beneath the main control panel sat a large red button, hidden beneath a jumble of wiring and cables. He strained his arm and stretched his fingers out, and curling them around the button; warm in the safety of its release. Just one push and this nightmare would be over, just one push and a rescue ship would be dispatched, he smiled through the darkness and sighed as he pushed down hard and watched as a warm red glow emanated from the device and bathed his face in the subdued lighting. He smiled and sat back, pulling his legs into his chest and blew air out of his lungs, allowing his cheeks to inflate as swathes of air flowed past his lips. He rocked to the sound of his heartbeat, safe in the knowledge that help was coming. He closed his eyes and spoke quietly to himself in an almost silent reverence, “Holy Father…hear thy son and deliver me from evil”

Fire and Ice…

The words popped into his head like a beacon; fire and ice, that was the message…the reason for coming. He still didn’t know what they meant…fire and ice. He wondered what the meaning was as he listened to his heartbeat pounding against his chest…thump...thump...thump...fire and ice...thump...thump...thump...he paused…his heartbeat? It pounded against the side of his head…thump…thump…thump, his heartbeat? No…not his…not his heartbeat. He turned and stared up…

“Feed me” the voice sparked through the darkness and pierced his mind. “Feed me…hungry” came the almost pleading voice, “feed me!”

The right Reverend Dominica Brown’s last thought as he heard his screams echo through the jungle were…fire and ice…

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