Not normal? I kept asking myself what “not normal” meant. I couldn’t come up with any idea. So somehow I had to put this evil trinket into his clothes or gear. I rubbed my throbbing head. Think Chewie, think.
Should I find this Harbinger or Kat? How would I know which one the Harbinger was? An image of him filled my mind. It came unbidden and filled my mind so completely I knew it had to be Mara.
The mental picture receded into my background thoughts and I could function again. I moved through the caverns that I had traveled so many times before. I climbed over the slick rocks, broken rocks, and crumbly ones until I found them. Far below me I watched the crew of monster hunters picking their way up a rough section of the cave.
The lead one was this Harbinger man. He stopped and raised a hand. His fellow hunters stopped. They whispered a few things to each other, boom sticks were pointed at the shadows where I hid. Bright lights danced around trying to banish the darkness around me.
Kat was at the back of the group.
“What’s up there Earl?” A large man asked.
“I’m not sure yet but it’s not human. Careful it could be another Wight.”
I took a deep breath and called out. “Kat no shoots, me Chewie.”
“Chewie?” She asked pushing past her companions.
“Yes!” I called back
She turned to the other hunters. “Lower your guns guys, he’s okay.”
“What? You know that thing?” The big one asked her.
“Yes we bumped into him earlier. We were separated when the Wights took Marty.”
The hunters seemed to reluctantly lower their weapons, I moved slowly from my hiding place, down to a ledge closer to them. My leg still hurt but it was more of a gnawing pain now and less of a sharp stabbing one.
“What is it?” One of them asked.
“I Gob inn.” I tried to explain.
They started asking me questions about Scarlet Mara, the caves, and Marty. I tried to answer them the best I could. When they asked where she was I found I couldn’t remember. My mind was clouded to anything related to Her.
They started moving through the caverns, I clung to Kat’s back again, if they did somehow survive this place I knew that I wanted to stay with her. She was nice.
I had to place the ancient Egyptian artifact on the Harbinger man, I had a hunger, a need to do it. I didn’t know what would happen when I did but it would make me feel better. I couldn’t do it without the others seeing; Kat was too far back from him.
“Movement!” One of the men yelled he pulled something on his bang stick and pointed it up at the ceiling.
I clung to the handle loop trying to keep from getting tossed to the ground, as the hunters jostled each other to position themselves to shoot.
A wight leapt from the darkness, the boom sticks fired the caves echoed with the noises of destruction.
“Now you fool!” Mara yelled in my brain.
I dropped off of Kat’s back and tumbled like I had fallen. I landed inches from the Harbinger man. He had some pouches on his belt. I dropped the evil bug inside.
“Excellent my pet.”
The Harbinger man yelled and fell to his knees like he had just been struck in the stomach by a giant.
“Are you hit?” One of the men asked him.
All he could do was scream. What had I done?
“Chewie!” Kat yelled.
I turned to see a wight grab me. My skin turned cold where his dead fingers touched.
The Sarge swung his weapon to shoot the Wight, Kat blocked him. “You might hit Chewie!”
Then he leapt to a ledge too high for a human to reach. It scrambled up and away out of sight of the hunters. Was Mara angry? I’d never been touched by one of those evil dead things before.
Had I killed the Harbinger? What did that scarab do to him? I asked myself as I tried to ignore the spreading icy feeling in my chest and arm.
A few minutes later it unceremoniously dropped me on the ground and ran off. I lay on the cold hard rock waiting for the paralysis to go away. A while later I became aware of voices talking. It was Marty and Scarlet Mara. She would kill him soon.
“A simple death is too good for you though. I will turn you into one of us and make you serve me in darkness for all eternity”
I limped forward my hand closed around a long piece of wood.
“Where is my former brother?” Marty asked
She replied, “Tracking down your foolish friends.”
I made it close enough to see the man standing in front of her. He glanced at me; I waved the thing in my hands careful to not think about it.
“Well boy, it’s no fun to kill a man in his sleep. I will enjoy watching you die as I lick the blood from your throat.”
This was going to be it; she would pounce, spill his blood like she had done with countless others. I was sad; the hunters were going to die after all.
He looked at me and nodded, “Well bitch come and get it!”
Mara grabbed him by the throat and tossed him like a child playing with a toy. He bounced off the stone floor; she jumped on top of him. Her illusion of beauty evaporated as the beast came out to feed. Her fangs shined in the darkness, going for his throat. I threw the stake in my hands it bounced just short of his reach.
I fished in my pack and grabbed the second stake. She turned and looked at me, her eyes boring a hole in the back of my brain, her lips covered in blood. She hissed, I was frozen.
Marty pulled a small knife from his pocket and thrust it into her throat. It wouldn’t be enough to harm her but it broke her concentration on me long enough I could throw the stake. It landed inches from his outstretched hand; he somehow managed to snatch it.
He thrust the simple wooden weapon with all his might piercing her heart. For the space of a breath she couldn’t move, giving Marty enough time to slide out from under her.
She screamed, a horrible inhuman noise echoed through her chamber. She grabbed the stake and tried to pull it out of her chest.
Marty ran to where his weapons lay. He grabbed his large boom stick and pulled at the handle with blood slick hands. He fired the weapon into her, a lesser vampire might have succumbed but she shrugged off the shots. She had the stake halfway out when his boom stick clicked empty. She charged Marty as he tried to put another box into the boom stick; she slapped it out of his hands.
“Ma Tee stake!” I yelled.
I found the last stake in my bag, and tossed it to him he caught it in mid air and brought it down in her chest above the first one. She howled and clawed at him, he stumbled back. Blood pumping from his neck, he’d bleed to death soon.
“Run!” I said as I threw a rock at her head.
Marty got on his feet, he scrambled toward me. We ran from her chambers. She followed, slowed down by the stakes in her chest. She tried to remove them, if she got them out we’d be dead.
The hunter stumbled he was getting weak. “Chewie, I… I’m not going to make it.”
“Gets up!” I yelled as I pulled on his arm, “Move! No wet her win!”
Mara was getting closer, she had one of the stakes most of the way out. We made it a few more paces before he collapsed.
I put my hands over the gash in his neck. “Ma Tee!”
He couldn’t say anything, he was dying. She was almost on top of us, her usual grace was replaced with stumbling steps. She dropped a gore covered stake to the ground and continued toward us.
I should have run, I should have abandoned the soon to be dead man. He chose to come here. She kicked me, I fell away pain shooting through my head. “No!” I squealed.
“No? When I’m done turning him, I’ll enjoy killing you. Ungrateful whelp.” She said as she wrenched the second stake out of her chest. Her skin began knitting back together where his boom stick hand punched holes in her. Bones twisted and cracked with a sickening crunch.
She reversed the grip on the black gore covered stake. She was going to use it to finish Marty.
“Don’t touch him!” A voice echoed from the darkness. Michael appeared a large rock in his hand.
“Pitiful child, obey your master.”
He stepped forward despite her commands, “Die!”
He cracked her in the head with the rock, a normal human would have died from the impact, but she shrugged it off. Mara grabbed him by the face, threw him to the ground and thrust the stake into his chest. Would she kill her own creation?
She strode over to where Marty lay, he had no fear in his eyes, death had been accepted.
“I shall enjoy snuffing out your family bloodline.” She said as she crouched down to draw the last of his blood.
I hurt all over; I had no weapons, no chance to save the man. Soon he’d be a vampire, and I’d be dead. I huddled down and waited to die.
As she reared back to strike, a deafening blast filled the air. Half a second later the word exploded into a deafening cacophony of noise. I looked up, the hunters were here! Bullets struck Mara in the head and neck, she fell back hissing. A large man pulled an unconscious Marty by a loop on his clothing and they continued a withering hail of fire knocking her down.
Michael pulled the stake from his chest; she must have missed his heart. He scrambled away, the hunters didn’t shoot him, they were too busy keeping Mara down, he managed to disappear down a side passage.
They pressed her back against a wall with boom sticks shooting, she struggled to rise but too much of her body was pulverized, her bones and flesh weren’t stitching themselves back together fast enough. Two hunters ran toward her, the Sarge staked her while the big man swung a wicked curved blade cleaving Mara’s head from her shoulders. A shock filled my soul as she died, her entanglements into my head vanished.
An eerie silence filled the cavern. I could hear ringing in my ears, the bang sticks were loud.
The Harbinger walked up to me a while later holding the scarab in his hands. “This is a nasty little bugger that you stuck on me.”
“Sorrys, me no want to.”
“We’ll talk about this later; right now we’ve got to get Marty out of here.”
Kat bent down, I curled up in her arms. All was right with the world.