Hecate is not a Mexican Beer
So here I am one of the great heroes of this brave new world. Doing what I do, writing in a my diary, ready to put my life on the line again for something I’ll probably never understand and sulking on top of some building in the middle of the night, clutching a silver blade in one hand a TEC-9 in the other. I never asked for this damn job. Just like everything else in life I just fell into it. I hate my life.
A little background the world I live in and me is in order before we go in. the world I live in is just one big mess. Something happened about 20 years ago that I really don’t understand, and I really don’t want to. Apparently, after about two thousand years away, the gods came back to earth. They brought back with them all their pettiness, in fighting and cruelty. Gods doing that, go figure. That’s where I step in. I’m a hunter, we’re also known as the Godkillers.
Shortly after the gods came back, I was taken from my mother and father, Joseph and Nodoka to train as a godkiller. I haven’t killed one yet, but I have killed one of the higher-ranking oni in Japan, this thing called an Onihappomaru. My last partner David almost died that night and he still hasn’t recovered. He wandered out of his hospital bed one day and no one has seen him since. The docs thought that it must have been the head blow that did it to him. I hope he’s all right.
Anyway I got a little off track. So these gods come back and mess up everything that was built in the last one thousand years. You got the Greek gods fighting the Norse, the Persian fighting the Babylonians, blah, blah, blah, blah. Basically mass hysteria. That’s why they have to die. Problem is that as soon as they came back there were converts as soon as the nutbags saw them and the few levelheaded people left decided that enough was enough. I mean for god’s sake, you’ve got this warrior princess named Sophitia Electra killing men all over Eurasia in the name of Diana, cults all over saying that they’re the one true way. That’s where we come in, the Godkillers. Tonight I’m alone against this cult of Hecate; they use magic so I hope I get out of here alive, and if I don’t, I hope somebody can learn from this silly little journal project I’ve left behind. -From the personal journals of Isamu Hunter
As Isamu jumped from the rooftop that he was observing, he felt a chill. October in Tokyo was warm but that was changing. Bright neon lights cast a cry for daylight to the heavens, while the packed streets downtown were dominated by a cup of ramen so large it could fill the belly of a giant. People packed tight as they walked the late night streets, so close to each other that it seemed that they were almost vacuum-sealed together. Tokyo was always going to be Tokyo; the Japanese will never change, even in spite of the way the world has changed, everything will remain orderly on that island.
Isamu saw a flash of light. The ceremony was beginning.
“Might get lucky and kill Hecate tonight” Isamu thought as he ran down flight after flight of stairs of the second building.
This was his first operation without David to back him up. Down through the hall he ran. As Isamu ran faster around the halls and corners, the doors melted together in his vision. The chants were growing louder. As he came to the door an intense heat slammed into his face. His resolve was firm; he leaned back with one foot in the air as he bashed the door down with a swift kick. The smash of the door and the subsequent splintering of the lock caused heads turned as women who called themselves witches jumped from their prone positions to confront the lone godkiller.
“KEEP GOING!” the sacrifice screamed.
He wasn’t sure how to take this one. He’d never heard or seen someone happy about being killed. As soon as the sacrifice ordered them back they went right back into the ritual. Isamu thought about calling in for back up, but it was way to late for that. With the smell of exhumed corpses hanging like a convicted murderer in the air, he ran toward the altar and cut it in half with his razor sharp murasame blade. As the alter dropped in half, a figure materialized in the center of the circle. She wore hideous armor made of dead flesh and bone. She scowled at him, and then smirked.
“So this is a godkiller,” the monster hissed. It was Hecate herself.
Isamu flashed out some of paper banishment wards he kept to give himself some time. They never worked but he needed a diversion and he was severely outnumbered.
“A fucking trap, hope one of the guys will be around!” Isamu thought as he hacked, slashed and fired those who would kill him.
It spoke again. Isamu thought it was just guttural muttering. Witches and followers were all around, now brandishing knives because their goddess had shown up and they were going to show their faith in person, something very rare indeed.
He was grabbed from behind and held down. His entire line of vision was filled with murderous acolytes. They pulled the TEC-9 and the blade from his hands. Isamu thought about his mistake of taking this one alone. It was a bad one, really bad. He has a goddess of magic and her followers ready to kill him. One was pulling at his long raven black hair with all her might, as if trying to get a gruesome trophy of a godkiller. Isamu was ready to say his last words.
Suddenly out of the darkness of the hallway the thunder of automatic weapons fire filled all of their worlds. Isamu saw the yellow headband first illuminated by the fire of the familiar AK-47.
Isamu shouted at the top of his lungs “David!!” By then the congregation had scattered, the sacrifice began screaming in ancient Greek, as David ran to help his best friend.
“Wormwood slugs, that always works against that type of goddess,” David said as he helped his partner and best friend up to his feet.
While Isamu regained his composure David surveyed the scene. “That was stupid of you Isamu, you could have been killed.”
“I know.” Isamu replied. “Probably would have too if you didn’t show Captain Duex Ex Machina.”
“Fuck you, cockknocker.” David said, as he loaded a fresh clip, just in case.
Around the room were scattered bodies bleeding their last. David noticed that the evil goddess that he concentrated his fire on was not among them.
“She got away,” David muttered under his breath.
Isamu heard then replied, “She’ll be back”.
They then turned their attention to the lone survivor. They duct taped her mouth shut to keep her quiet. Then took her in for deprogramming.
At the deprogramming center, a tiny little hole in the wall place that if you didn’t look closely enough at, you’d miss. It was mostly a waypoint for pick up. Inside the front room, an attendant sat in a chair at an unremarkable desk holding a limp remote control while staring blankly at the screen. As they dropped off their living cargo and picked up their money, the attendant seemed annoyed at the distraction from his daily dose of boredom.
“Ieasu is such a bore to work with.” The voice from the door behind the desk said. From it, emerged a regal beauty, in a red Chinese tai chi shirt, her hair worked into a bun with dark eyes that glistened in the florescent light of the room.
“Just give us our money, Aeika.” Isamu said.
Aeika and Isamu had some history together, most of it bad, and now he knew better than to date someone he has to work with.
“She’s a pretty one. You didn’t ask her out before you taped her did you Dave?”
“Shut up Aeika. You know how much you annoy me.”
There was even more history between David and Aeika, but it was a history of a less than romantic nature. Aeika was his sister.
“Well, well, well. Isn’t my little brother touchy tonight, I’ll have this one taken care of. Let’s have lunch later Dave, it’s been awhile since we’ve talked.”
“Ok, but you’re buying this time, you bottomless pit. Do I look like I’m made of money?”
“What can I say? I like food.” She produced two wads of bills and gave them to David and Isamu. “See you guys later.”
As they walked out onto the street, Isamu counted his money stopped to look at the lightening sky and looked over at David.
“Your sister is such a bitch.”
“She didn’t break my heart, Isamu and she didn’t break yours either, you did it yourself, Mr. Last Action Hero.”
“Yeah, your right, I do get too far into this job sometimes. Let’s get something to eat, I’m hungry.”
After dropping off the girl, they got on a train and rode home in silence. It would have been pointless to speak anyway; the car was completely packed with a mass of humanity.
It was morning in the Nerima district by the time they got home and their mission was complete, time for the boys to clock out for the night; most of the elements that they were after usually come out at night anyway. At a local restaurant David told Isamu what had happened after the fight against Onihappomaru, and Isamu didn’t seem very pleased that his friend had a curse put on him.
“So you see,” David said while stuffing his mouth with okonomiaki (Japanese pizza) “this curse that oni put on me made me lose my sense of direction. Now I can’t find my way out of a closet. You were VERY lucky Isamu.”
“That has to be the stupidest curse I’ve ever heard of David.”
“Hey, it could have been worse.”
Isamu sat opposite David with his head tilted down and his arms crossed, silently acknowledging his friend.
“Its been a rough night,” Isamu said as he got up to walk back to his apartment “see ya tonight.” he said as he walked away.
Isamu opened the door of his and slipped into an easy chair, which sat directly in front of his entertainment center in his small apartment in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. It had been a long train ride alone back from the Nerima district, but to the Japanese, train rides to anywhere are an everyday occurrence.
“What the hell is this all about?” He thought.
He sipped at his oolong tea as the light of day slipped away and sleep overcame him.
He awoke with a startle. It was Onihappomaru, the demon that had cursed his friend and partner
David just a month before sitting on the couch to Isamu’s left the sun’s rays pouring in behind it, tapping a glass it found against the window.
“My boy, I’m pretty sure that you think that I’m some sort of monster or mythological being. The truth is that I’m not. I’m just a man like you or anyone walking down the street right now.” The old man intoned.
Isamu slowly edged toward the TEC-9 that was conveniently hidden next to the chair that he had fallen asleep in. “Why should I believe you? You cursed my partner, and on top of that, we had a bounty on you.”
Onihappomaru leaned back, with all the confidence of a lion eyeing wounded prey. “My boy, I saw this whole thing coming down right from the start. I trained your father, Joseph in the martial arts. Why do you think I’m taking such an interest in you?”
At this point Isamu had his weapon squarely pointed at the small-framed man. He couldn’t think of what to make of him. Isamu had never met his father, or his mother for that matter. They had given him up, as an infant to fight against the tide of chaos that had just begun vacuum the world into it’s void.
Isamu spoke. “I don’t care what you did with my father. Never met the man, and I don’t care to meet anyone who’s associated with him. As far as I’m concerned the only thing my mom and dad ever did right was drop me off at the Godkiller’s doorstep. At least I have a reason to keep on living. I’m going to make the world right again. What are you going to do? Fuck up the world’s economy by finding some sort of spell or whatever that turns lead to gold? Your wondering why we have bounties on you types. Isn’t it obvious? The world was running just fine without alchemists, gods, witches and whatever the hell you call yourselves. Isamu inched closer to the old martial arts master. “That’s why people like me exist. We want the good old days of the twentieth century AD, not BC. Fuck you and all the old gods.”
“The twentieth century eh? That’s what you guys want? That was just one big mess of a century if you ask me. Those Americans dropped the biggest bombs in history on us here in Japan. Not once, but twice. When we followed Bushido codes and asked the conquering general to be our emperor, he rebuffed us and said, no. So to hell I say with the twentieth century, nothing but mistakes from everyone involved if you ask me. I’m happy the kami came back to try to cleanse the world. Too bad it isn’t working as well as they had planned. The Americans are screwing everything up again.”
Onihappomaru leaned back on Isamu’s couch. “You know, for being called Godkillers, you guys have never been able to do just that. I’ve looked into it. Not one god killed; not even a little tiny fairy or imp. HA! You can’t kill a helpless unicorn? Shall I go through the list of major ones that you killed? Let’s see, let me think, oh I know! NONE!”
“Fuck you old man. I don’t need you or anyone outside the organization to tell me our track record. We will take one of them out one day, on that that day the rest of you fuckers will tremble. You know why? I’ll tell you why. That’ll mean that we all have their fucking number, and the next one could be them.” Isamu said with the fury of the great Chicago fire.
Isamu shot Onihappomaru seven times in the chest before the old goat could reply; he fell over, blood pouring out of the wounds, ruining the carpet and couch.
The creed of the Godkillers is literally this: Nobody FUCKS WITH US, they act as a modern La Costa Nostra or Yakuza; the difference lies in the fact that the governments usually turn a blind eye to their activities. Simply stated; Onihappomaru, though a human mistaken for a creature of legend, messed with a fellow brother. Therefore, he had to be dealt with. Isamu had dealt with Onihappomaru. The hand: Aces and Eights.
Onihappomaru twitched, and groaned. It bothered Isamu that the old man hadn’t died yet. He soon will; wounds like that are the fatal kind. Isamu walked out of his place to find a pay phone. His way of thinking is that you can never be too careful, so he went out to find a random payphone to call for a clean up squad to come and get the mess that he had left sprawled out on his sofa and later more money; today was shaping up to be a money day for Isamu.
“Isamu!” David shouted as he saw his partner roaming around the square looking for something.
Daytime in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo is just as packed as the nighttime. During the day business rules the district, but it’s never completely empty; even lat at night when hot dance clubs that replace the days let out and have been closed for hours, there are still people out going about their business. David had been wandering here ever since Isamu had left him at the Hikaru-chan’s, the restaurant stand that they had had breakfast at, and once again got lucky in finding Isamu.
“This damn curse is fucking with my head,” David complained to himself “I can’t even remember where I live.”
“David, what the hell are you doing? I don’t want to have you lost again for another month.” Isamu said approaching David. “I’m surprised that the curse didn’t wear off. I killed that oni that smacked you with it.”
“You killed it? I thought that if you killed a spell caster, that anything he cast didn’t work anymore.” The lost godkiller repeated from the text.
“Your right.” Isamu began to panic a bit. “I nearly unloaded an half a clip into him just a few minutes ago. Maybe we should wait awhile. They never said if the spell would immediately break.”
“Follow me!” Isamu barked as they ran back to Isamu’s apartment, unprepared.
The blood was still fresh on the couch and the slugs that Isamu had pumped into the evil old man were punctured into the cushion of the couch. The old man, however, was nowhere to be found. David surveyed the scene and started to look out the open window, searching for some place that the old goat could have drug himself. He found nothing.
Isamu walked to the closet and opened it, finding nothing. He wondered what happened. The television came on of it’s own volition. It startled both of the hunters. Isamu jumped toward the gun that he had left when he’d left the apartment. Rolling onto the floor as he grabbed the weapon, he found the screen as his target. David pounced into a martial arts kata as he prepared to defend himself. It was the weatherman doing what weathermen have done for time in memorial: the weather.
They both wiped their brows and sighed once the tension was gone. Isamu told his partner that it came on like that every morning because of the alarm that he had set.
Seeing that a hunter has to watch his back, it’s not surprising that as long as Isamu is in his home, the TV automatically turns on once an hour. He sees it as a safety feature. If he’s asleep and something or someone is crawling in his place, the TV might just kick on. The idea is that if it works out, he’ll have the element of surprise. It’s not really that likely, but in the world Isamu and David lives in, a small chance for a hunter is better than no chance at all.
A smoky apparition swirled around in the living room. It spoke. “Boys, have it got something for you!” It was the supposed demon, Onihappomaru. “You think you can kill me? Not very likely, I think. I have the kami on my side! You’ll never kill–” He didn’t get to finish. David had plunged his family’s ceremonial tanto into the back of the old man’s neck.
Onihappomaru slid off the short blade and slumped off onto the hardwood floor. Onihappomaru bled once again. The hunters, who had just recently became the prey, stood above the body and inspected it. They argued over who was going to call headquarters for the clean up crew and get the bounty on its head.
The knock on the door was flat and resolute. It couldn’t be anyone else but the landlord. Isamu knew it from the first of every month, and today just happened to be that day. The corpse was still on the floor, still bleeding and twitching. Blood was still soaking into the carpet and David looked like he was ready to panic at any moment.
“What’s going on in there?” The voice from the door inquired.
“Just playing a video game with my new sound system. I’ll turn it down. Sorry.” Isamu lied to the door.
“Thank you.” The voice said.
Isamu listened as closely as he could. He heard the footsteps move slowly away from his door. He couldn’t wait till the cleanup team got there. Things could never have gotten worse. Guys on the teams figure that, yeah, it’s not a problem to take out some followers; it comes with the job. But now he has a dead guy in his apartment. Things like this don’t happen very often. As a matter of fact, they don’t happen ever.
David yawned as they waited for the clean up crew to show up. He looked around the apartment. There were no posters, pictures, or other adornments on the wall, just the plain white paint that every place has when one moves in. He saw the entertainment center, which housed the television, gaming consoles, and DVD player that Isamu had picked up over the past few months since they had become active freelancers, actually making money for once. He glanced over to the couch, which was stained with blood from the old man that they had just dispatched. It sat by a window, and he thought that if someone saw what had gone on just fifteen minutes prior, they could be in some deep, deep shit.
Isamu lit a cigarette. It’s one of the few luxuries left in the world that everyone can enjoy without some religious nut bashing it and saying how it’s the wrong thing to do. Like he or anyone in the organization cared what they think anyway. But cultural problems can arise if you do the wrong thing in places all around the world. For instance, try saying that the pharaoh is not the ruler of the world in Egypt, or that Baba Yaga won’t get your children in Russia. The Baba Yaga thing is probably true. At any rate, anyone around the world can enjoy a smoke and that little bit of unity is what makes the world go around.
“Hey Isamu, remember that girl you were seeing a few months back?” David asked, looking for the remote.
“You mean the older woman?”
“No, the one before that.”
“Which one do you mean?” Isamu asked he walked from around the corner rubbing his head with a towel in vain attempt to get some of the blood splatter out. “Do you mean that one chickie I wanted to get serious with? The one with the eye patch?”
“Yeah.” David said patting around the sides of the chair looking for the remote control to the TV.
“Oh, her, she dumped me for some loser raver boy moron. All the people I’ve talked to who know him, say that they can’t stand him for more than fifteen minutes. I really can’t see what she sees in him. I hope he falls for a cult.” Isamu ghosted an assault rifle in his arms.
“Balm! Brains painting’ the wall!” Isamu said as he dropped his stance.
“You really don’t mean that? Do you?” David said, worried about his friend. “We’re supposed to be killing the gods, not people. Even if he did join a cult and attack us, it’s still not right, in a way.”
Isamu walked over to the kitchenette. He knelled out of his friend’s site and produced a bottle of Knob Creek whiskey along with two highball glasses. Pouring a quarter of the way through to both he remained silent. The look in his eyes was obvious. It was a malaise that captures even the most lighthearted of souls when it has the chance. Isamu grabbed the first glass and drank it all down.
“Yeah, I fucked up again. Story of my life.” Isamu was letting the whiskey get to him.
“It’s all one fuck up after another. Sorry man, but your going down with me too.” Isamu said peering down into his glass.
Refreshing his drink, he asked David, “What do you think they’ll make of this? We got the guy, and he had supernatural powers. But how the hell are we going to prove that? Good faith? Nobody takes anything on good faith anymore. They’re gonna be all over us soon. How does it feel David? We’re three-dollar whores. We’re fucked.”
David walked up to the kitchenette and took the second glass of whiskey; he passed Isamu up and opened up the refrigerator, took out a can of soda and poured it into the highball glass. He waited for the fizz to subside and took a massive gulp, then held up the glass at eye level and said,
“We’ve got our problems here Isamu, but thank your lucky stars that we’re not in the Americas. We get our share of gaijin gods here because of western influence, but over there, it’s a battlefield.”
Walk like an Egyptian
What I don’t get is why they aren’t bothering us, and to a lesser extent the Japanese. If they aren’t bothering us, then should we even care? —US Senate Majority Leader
“What the fuck? I still don’t see the palace. We’ve been walking over these sand dunes for at least twelve hours and we still don’t see the palace that the fucker is supposed to come from. The briefing said that were going to see the palace in the background from the precession. It’s fucking cold, and it’s the godforsaken desert. How the hell are we going to do this mission? We don’t have enough firepower to get past his guard if they catch us, and to top that off, every one of these fuckers in this place is worshipping the guy like he’s a fucking God.” Alex said.
“Because, to them, he is.” Ali said, trying to keep his cool.
“It’d be easier to nuke the bastards.”
“And make us look like the bad men? Pig dog, we are not here to precipitate things.”
“Still, I’m not too sure why we haven’t used ‘em yet. I mean, we got ‘em, why not?”
”Probably because we don’t know if that’s even going to work, and there’s also that little problem of them winking out before any one of us can drive home a killing blow. I see that as a problem.”
“If that’s going to happen, the why the hell are we even here?”
“Did you even bother to study your manual? The Pharaoh is human, but a bit of a god, if we kill here, we call forth one of the Gods and get a prime opportunity. Not to mention the public relations impact that this would have in the holy land. The fact that we could repel the ancient invaders tells my heart that Allah approves of our actions. We shall be safe.”
“How much longer till Memphis?” Alex asked.
“It shouldn’t be too long. We have the topical maps and the route that the pretender is going to take. This should be pretty standard.”
They silently moved over a sand dune. A deep wind covered their tracks. They walked over two more ridges of near featureless desert and saw the holy city of Memphis. Ali was the first to see it through his binoculars on the top of sand dune.
“What the hell do you mean pretender? For all intents and purposes this guy is the leader of Egypt. What we’re doing here is just an assassination.” Alex said.
“What is your point, infidel?” Ali retorted.
“My point is that this is pretty cool. And you are as much as an infidel as I am, depending on who you ask.”
Ali kept walking down the sand dunes. He didn’t pay any attention to the last remark. The ocean of sand dunes in the Sahara and the holy path to the city of Memphis are all he focused on. Americans talked too much in his opinion. Action is what mattered to him. The action of killing a pharoh is supposed to be profound, but it is being made light of.
Ali thought to him self, “It is Americans fault you know. If they wouldn’t have instituted the law of religious freedom, I wouldn’t be here right now. I would be with my parents, serving Allah. (Peace be upon him) It grew, and soon there were wiccans. Disenfranchised little children who did not know where to turn. The worship from them brought this about.” Ali sighed, “Allah calls us in many ways.”
Alex interrupted Ali’s thought process.
“It’s not our fault you know. It was bound to happen sooner or later. We just didn’t know and we weren’t ready for it. Now the world is paying, and guess what, once again the big boy on the block has to use his club.”
“You disgust me Yankee. How do you always know what I am thinking? Does you ego know no bounds? America will not save the world, only the perfect love of Allah can do that.”
“We’ve been training together since we were in diapers dipshit, we’re almost as close as brothers, besides, I don’t get it. You’re half American, just like me or anyone else on the teams. Hell, the last time I checked, you love your mommy, who, might I remind you is an Arab but your father is as American as apple pie.”
The bickering stopped at this point. The grape jelly night was giving way to the honeyed dawn. A subdued beeping came out of Ali’s wrist. The GPS let them know they were in place. The godkillers dug out a small pit just big enough for themselves and their equipment to set up the .50 caliber sniper rifle, which Ali laid next to, nuzzling it like a girlfriend while adjusting the scope. The trap was almost set.
Alex worked quickly on the covering. The tarp was set over them fast and now was ready. The viewing hole was in place. He crawled around the small space that they had dug to give himself some space away from Ali, and then he pulled the pins that held back the ancient ocean floor. Sand rushed over their hiding place making it even more claustrophobic than before. They blended perfectly into the nearly featureless surroundings. Animals scurried around attempting to escape the heat of the day. An asp, rode it’s belly up to the makeshift snipers nest, only to be sprayed in the face with repellant by Alex, which caused more than the intended eyes to water.
“You are a fucking idiot!” Ali shouted.
‘Shhh!” Alex admonished. After the effects of the spray wore off, he looked through the binoculars and then he caught sight of the prey. “The precession. Get ready to take your shot.”
Ali didn’t say anything. Most snipers work alone, but the teams have a bear of a task. Gods tend to have this power that allows them to materialize wherever they want. Mostly it’s just in their particular sphere of influence, or to where ever the are called to, but some have been noted to show up just about anywhere. The day that Jupiter appeared out of nowhere on the floor of congress in Washington, D.C., demanding that the US abdicate to Roman rule is a prime example. The vote to have him removed from the floor didn’t make it though; he killed every representative there that day for ‘insolence.’
A line of ants that grew into men as they approached closer to Ali and Alex, marched their way in the distance from the vanishing point. It was the pharaoh. Both Godkillers focused in on the group, waiting to kill the ruler of upper and Lower Egypt. Time stretched out like salt water taffy and eventually they were in range. Ali moved his finger into the trigger guard, when all of a sudden; something fell like a stone from heaven in front of them.
The sound startled them, but before Ali and Alex could figure out what it was, four men had shot them with darts through the tiny viewing holes. They were good shots too, hitting both of the godkillers twice in the neck, one on each side. The world and the mission became less important to them, and sleep more a priority. Neither of them could think nor respond after the darts struck them, the poison moved that quickly through their bodies.
The vitals flat lined; it was time for her to work. The modified high altitude plane had been circling the area since the night before. The pilot flipped the switch that moved the plane into autopilot, which would send it home. She checked her equipment, three handguns, piano wire, two knives, a whet stone, thirty clips in tight pouches around her left calf, extra ammo in her belt, ten grenades in her makeshift Alice Pack, half a kilo of C-4, two spare detonators, a wrist GPS locator, and a stick of gum. The canopy blew back and disappeared into the sky, the flyer broke the safety bonds that held her. She was now a bird. HALO jumps (High altitude, low opening) were nothing to this veteran jumper. She rode the winds as the faceless desert was running as fast as it could to stop her. At the very last moment, less than two hundred feet, the chute opened. At thirty feet, the chute detached after she cut the cords with her knife and she landed in the sand. There was work to do, bodies to recover, how to get those bodies home was a bridge she was going to have to cross when she gets to it.
Alex woke up first. A man with no shirt on and a short kilt was in front of him. The man was smiling. He had a knife and he was gently running up and down Alex’s cheek. Alex had no clue what to do. He had been through the torture training. He knew what should have been coming next, but the anxiety was still welling up inside him. Ali was beside him. They were both in a dark stone walled room, devoid of anything that could make it stand out, except for a large black metal door, hanging by their arms, much like medieval dungeon inmates, with a pervert jailor holding a knife, standing under the single light bulb which hung from the ceiling on a thin wire.
“My god want you. He heard of you. Know you, he do. Want me to not hurt you.” The jailor said. He walked up to Alex and began running the edge of the knife up and down Alex’s face.
Alex did a cursory check of what he had. The heart monitor was gone. No weapons. Ali was still out. He knew a recovery team was on the way to, at the very least, pick up his body and hopefully finish the failed mission.
“If my god let me, I’ll make you my enouch, cause you pretty one.” The jailor said, “ pretty, pretty one.”
The smell of the rotten food, sulfur and shit were clinging to jailor. His natty hair stretched out like a wild tree in a field. He got close to Alex’s face; close enough for the hot stinking breath to breeze into his nose. The breath was bad enough to make Alex puke.
The jailor began running his hand up and down Alex’s stomach. The people who had captured the two had stripped them down to nearly nothing and the mound of inhumanity was getting closer, dangerously close to his crotch.
Ali woke up and assessed his situation in the same way Alex did. He saw what was happening to his partner. Noticing that his legs weren’t ironed to the wall like his arms were, he considered getting a scissor lock on the jailors neck and break it, but changed his mind. Getting the keys and escaping was the priority, not killing the jailor.
Light poured into the room as the door loudly slid open on hinges that desperately needed oiled. The backlight made the man who opened it into a silhouette. Standing motionlessly in the doorway. The jailor noticed him, and stepped away. Nothing was said between them. Ali was trying to generate enough saliva to spit in the man’s face, but the drugs had made him a cottonmouth king. He glanced over at Alex, who looked absolutely livid after having his manhood threatened.
“These are the men who were going to kill us. Amusing. No more than boys. What is it that they wish to accomplish by killing their God?” it was the pharaoh.
The jailor had begun to slowly inch his way to the door. The pharaoh came closer to Alex and Ali.
“The smell of my valued subject leaves much to be desired, although he does do good work. He is mentally ill, but We cannot bear to see an ill man left idle, without help. What is the reasoning behind your attempt to kill me? Have we not made our homeland fat with grain provided by mother Isis and her control of the flow and ebb of the River Nile? Is it something that I personally have done wrong? We will freely share the fruits of the all Egypt, with any of those who are in need. In time of surplus, it is best to share with those less fortunate, for that is how one makes a lifelong friend.” The pharaoh said.
“Fuck you,” Alex said sarcastically “your bread and beer is for shit, so we’re going to kill you.”
The pharaoh stepped back, bumping into the jailor who was startled at the contact. The ruler then allowed him to slip clumsily out of the room.
“Sarcasm is not lost on us my friend. Set is the father of it all, but We must ask again, why have you tried to kill us? We have done nothing but make peace with Egypt’s neighbors, filled our people’s bellies and bring about a new glorious age built on our illustrious past.”
It was true, all of it. Egypt was in the midst of a new golden age and was one of the richest countries in the entire world. When the first of the new pyramids were being erected, the pharaoh contracted out by offering work, food and shelter to refugees from all over Africa. When the Arabic writing system was dropped in favor of traditional hieroglyphics, everyone had the chance to learn them for free. To everyone outside of the Nile basin, it was too good to be true.
Israel, smelling a rat, sent a spy to the court. The spy inched his way in over months and months, moving his way to the top, eventually scoring a position as a scribe. Toiling for more months, the spy tried everything to find a dark underbelly to the new dynasty ruling the valley of the kings. He could turn up nothing of any importance. The closest thing the spy found to a lie was a donation of grain was ten and a half kilos under the promised weight. This was brought up in court, and when the pharaoh heard of the news, ordered a thousand times that mistake be sent to the recipient as an apology. Still, something smelled rotten in the State of Denmark to the Israelis.
Reams of intelligence-starved reports were sent to Israel. The spy diligently went about his work trying to find something, anything that could be used against Egypt. It was always the same statement in the reports. It got to the point where Jerusalem knew more about the inner workings of the dynasty than the scribes.
Still, the spy worked on and on. Egypt, one of the few countries not in turmoil, but with a dark history with those of Jewish ancestry, was Teflon. There was nothing. Anything that seemed like a lead led up to be legit. There wasn’t even one slave in the entire kingdom. Every subject was happy with the rule of the dynasty.
In the spy’s eleventh year of deep cover, he was caught. He was brought before the pharaoh on his knees. Expecting to be executed, the pharaoh stepped down from his dais, stood him up before the court and praised the years of service that the spy had rendered for Egypt. Waiting for the other foot to fall, the spy kept his head down. The ruler went on to make a speech about how both of their countries have had bad blood and how he was unsure of approaching the subject until that moment.
The pharaoh sent the spy and two of his best architects to Jerusalem to help the newly revitalized House of David rebuild the East temple. Initially, the men sent by the Egyptian king were seen as spies themselves, but were eventually accepted for what they were. Ever since, Egypt and Israel have been stanch allies, even though they have religious differences.
The pharaoh stepped back out of the room, returning moments later with a simple wooden chair. Two other large muscular men were with him when he returned. He turned the chair backwards and mounted it, arms crossed and resting on the back. He rested his head on his arms. The two muscular men unchained Ali and Alex one at a time, zip-tying their wrists and ankles so that they could sit against the wall, but could not run away or make any serious attempt at harming the ruler. After hog-tying them, the muscular men left the room, leaving the three alone.
“We would like a straight answer. Why did you try to kill us? What have we done to you? If your country needed aid, we would be the first to offer.”
Ali glared at the king. Alex began to chuckle. The pharaoh cracked a smile after hearing Alex. Aside from the buzz of the light bulb, there was absolute silence after. Nobody spoke a word in the room. The humming of the light was eventually dominated by the rhythmic sounds of breathing. Alex broke the silence.
“We wanted to meet you. That’s all. We know that you command the loyalty of the finest people and that they would do anything for you.” Alex, the silver tongued bastard, said, playing his part.
“And so you have met us. This does not explain the weapons that you have, or the jet that had been circling our skies yesterday.”
“We do not know of any jet in the sky, like my companion said your god ship, we only wanted to meet you.”
“If we could only believe you,” the ruler of Egypt paused, “you were, as the cliché goes, ‘loaded for bear.’ If you would have ambushed our procession with empty handguns we would have reason to believe you, but because of your heavily armed nature, we may have to execute you, though it does break our hearts. We do not enjoy sending anyone to journey to Osiris until that person’s predetermined time.”
Carefully placed shots killed each palace guard who was armed only with a sword. One shot, one kill. One bullet square in the head. People like her have problems with anyone who can’t get that right. It’s a waste of ammunition to do otherwise. She was a machine, a killing machine. She would recover the bodies of her fallen comrades no matter the cost. The halls she strode down like a model on a runway. The hallway was lined on both sides for the length of one kilometer with fat columns, each with it’s own unique hieroglyphics carved into them. Sunlight, gunfire and bone were the only things breaking into the hall as she strode down the hall, walking through so easily. Five more guards attempted to stop her, rounding the columns from both sides, trying to rush her. Each guard got less than thirty feet before a single bullet from her dual handguns sent each guard to his final reward.
A group from behind her had formed and attempted yet another rush. She spun around, pivoted, dropped her guns, and pulled out her knives. As each of the back party got within arms reach of her, she gutted each one. She picked up the guns and looked around, with no enemies left, she followed the GPS signal on her wrist.
The crackle of gunfire alerted the king. It wasn’t far away. It was something that hadn’t been heard in his country for nearly two decades, but he knew what it was. He turned to Alex and Ali and said, “Are you revolutionaries?! Don’t you know the Gods are here?! They are everywhere! And you come to take that peace away from us!”
The room went dark fast. The power had gone out just as a rumble shook the room. A gurgle marred the silence. Power was restored in less than a minute. When the power returned, a woman covered in a close fitting black uniform was strangling the king of all Egypt with piano wire. From head to toe, she was covered in black material, which was broken up by lumps, which were outlines of weapons or belts or packs. Even her face and eyes were covered. The only way anyone could tell that it was a woman was by the curves, and the whole ‘she has breasts’ chestnut.
She cut the plastic bonds with one of her knives and she remained silent. The grenades on her Alice pack made quiet clanging against each other as she quickly cut both of the captured godkillers free.
“Who the living fuck are you?” Alex said in the obvious voice of surprise.
She remained silent.
“Thank you, little sister.” Ali said, fanning his fingers out.
She pointed the knife close to Ali’s nose, almost touching it in a manner that told him not to call her that again.
“I don’t think she likes being called that.” Alex was a master of the obvious.
The pharaoh lay dead on the floor of the small cell, blood oozing from his neck where the piano wire had cut him. He was blue. They were looking down at his body, when the woman in black handed Ali and Alex each a handgun.
“HK Socom, nice.” Alex balanced the weapon. “We can never get a hold of one these sweet babies.” Alex held the weapon straight out like he was going fire, arms still sore from hanging on the wall. “Wild thing, I think I love you.”
The sound of hands slowly clapping forced all three heads and all three weapon-hands to turn in unison and point at the door.
“The king is dead, long live the king.” The person in the door said.
He was a young boy, looking just shy of puberty. He wore a blue and gold-stripped headdress with a headband made of gold, which twisted around his head, the snake rose in the middle of his forehead, as if ready to strike. Dressed in a white kilt and sandals, he also had mascara on his eyes to help stop the glare of the sun.
“Let me introduce myself. I am the former prince and the new pharaoh. You may call me Ramsey the Younger, but my friends call me Set. Now on to the new business I-”
Gunfire cut the god of darkness off. He stood fast, round after round bored holes deep inside him, but he would not budge. The dark lady pounced forward, which surprisingly knocked the god in a boy’s body down. She took a knife out of its sheath and quickly slashed his throat; cutting so deep it was like she was almost trying to take his head off. She stood up and gestured for the two to follow her they ran out of the room, jumping over two bodies and the silent ninja-like female.
She gestured again, this time it was for them to run. Ali and Alex ran straight down through a mall of columns, dead bodies were everywhere, all shot between the eyes by an expert marksman. The dark woman caught up with them. The two guys didn’t notice the rest of the handiwork left by their mysterious stranger; they were too busy getting away.
The woman in black pulled her wrist up to her eyelevel and pressed a button. An explosion rocked the building when she did.
They rose from the ground, hovered and then disappeared, and reappeared in the throne room. The three godkillers dropped to the ground. Set was on the throne, head barely hanging by burnt skin. He was missing an arm and most of his torso. He stood up and the left leg cracked and broke off. With his remaining arm he pulled his head off. A rightly frightened servant walked up to him with a platter, which he placed his head on.
The head on the platter spoke. “It would seem that you killed me; a pity, because Ra has tried so many times before. But I appreciate the effort. I know of your little club and what you want to do; we all do, you know. Two decades is long enough for word to get around to the select community that I am a part of. Perhaps you should drop your weapons. I would like to speak with you.”
The sound of metal hitting stone floor echoed in the near empty room.
“Thank you. Now I know what you are interested in, and that is killing me. You came close, very close to killing this body, but alas, I hold powers that you could not comprehend. I can keep this body indefinitely in any state. I should kill all three of you right now. I will not though. I have use for you, and your little club. I will be kind enough to give you information on how to, shall we say, remove my competition.”
Alex and Ali stared down at the ground, the girl in black stood motionlessly; then she crossed her arms. It seemed that today was international Murphy’s Law day for them. The woman in black extended her hand out in front of her, and began to peel off her glove. A pentagram was tattooed onto her palm. It glowed yellow and began to burn, flames licking off her fingertips. A circle of fire quickly extended out from her feet, just large enough to encompass the three companions. She made a motion that caused the fire to rise into a shell of heatless flame. Ali and Alex huddled closer to their savior as fiery shell closed in on them. It took them a minute to realize that there was no heat to it.
Suddenly, the flame turned from yellow to blue, and then disappeared. They were in the desert again, but couldn’t find any landmarks. The dark lady took her other glove off, reached into a pouch and put a new pair on.
“We’re screwed man, how are we going to get home now?” Alex whined.
The woman in black opened the face of the instrument on her wrist. A sound came from it.
She started to dig in the sand. It was still daylight and they had no shelter at all. She started to bury herself in sand, which the other two did as well. Several hours passed, a caravan of what looked like Bedouin passed by and nobody said a damn thing, least of all the woman in black. Ali considered jumping up and waving to them, but the risk was too large. The day had enough excitement to fill a week anyway.
After nightfall, a chopper landed near them, kicking up sand and nearly uncovering the three godkillers. Three men in combat gear came over to them and looked down at where the three had buried themselves.
“Ready to leave ma’am?” the first of the first of the combat boys said.
The woman rose up, followed by Alex and Ali, and they followed the other three to the chopper, bound for home.
In the chopper, two of the men manned the door guns on both sides, the third started to talk at the top of his voice.
“Operation: Three Card Monte was a success. The entire pantheon is in Memphis and they’re fighting each other pretty damn hard. We have confirmation from our people in the town that Set is most likely a casualty. There’s going to be a debriefing at the Vatican. We finally got one.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” Ali thought to himself.
Ali didn’t want to go to the Vatican; it was a place that’s very existence was an insult to his very religion, the place that authorized the crusades against his people. But it was one of the last safe houses in Europe, and was heavily and fanatically defended by the few remaining Catholics left in Italy. The New Roman Empire decided to leave it alone, for now at least, because they aren’t the military power that they are aspiring to be.
There was also the conundrum of the girl who came to save them. He knew about the recovery teams, but teams have more than one person on them. That bit of hocus pocus in the throne room added to the mystery. How did she do that? Not many of members of the organization looked favorably on the use of magic as it edges too closely to what they are up against. Does she even talk? The only way she communicated was through hand gestures. He’d have to look into this; everything went against the standard operating procedure with her. He decided to do a little independent investigating on her as soon as he made it to the Vatican.