Leviathan

The Lost Journal: An Ending, Of Sorts…

From the moment the arrow tore into my leg, the poison attacked my system. The adrenaline of the immediate attack held it at bay for a minute or so, but even as Mason leapt to my rescue I was fading and by the time he’d dragged me to the detonating plunger I had all but passed out.

I recall nothing of the minutes between when he rescued me (for the second time) and when he pushed me into the portal created by the Elemental, but in my stupor I knew enough to realise he’d been tricked. I grabbed him, tried my damndest to pull him through, but the portal closed and I fell backwards through it. I hit a wooden floor hard, in my hand I held Jeremiah’s own, sliced neatly off mid-forearm by the closing portal. It twitched briefly, then turned white before disintegrating, tiny red stars breaking free from it and twisting upwards like fire motes rising in the heat until nothing was left.

As it vanished my eyes began to close.

Somewhere I heard voices. I didn’t care anymore. Nothing mattered. They could have me. To hell with them all. The void closed around me and I knew no more.

The end for now, but to be continued…

The Lost Journal: The End Of the Line, Part 2

He sat the rapidly fading gazelle on the ground and began to remove his backpack. To his credit, although virtually unconscious, Antfarm fought against it but the outcome was inevitable and soon Mason was holding the brown leather pack. He could feel its power, an energy running through it he recognised but couldn’t place. As he opened it, he half expected to see something looking back at him, but instead he was faced with a small gathering of rather mundane contents. He waited. Nothing. He waited some more. Nothing. A playful edge thrilled through him and it took him a second to realise the emotion was not his own.

*Hello* he thought.

*Hello* came the reply inside his mind.

*I want to ask a great deal of questions, but we don’t have the time* thought Mason

*You don’t*. Mason was sure he detected a small giggle.

*Please, I – we – need your help*

*You do*

*If you care anything for the man you have attached yourself too, please open a way. We need to get far away before the missile hits*

*Not long now*. Another small giggle.

*Then for pity’s sake, open a way!*

*There will be a price*

*I know. I will pay it*

Silence. The feeling that he was alone for a second. Then.

*It’s coming. Bye bye*

And it was gone.

“Dammit all to Hell,” muttered Mason as his mind moved back to the world around him. A small, high pitched whine could be heard from the sky above the temple. In the trees he could hear the natives circling, unsure and watching. He waited. No sign of a portal. He had no options left. This was the end of the line. He grabbed the plunger and shoved down with all his might.

Milliseconds felt like an eternity. Then the Temple erupted like a volcano.
The Lost Journal - The Temple Destroyed

A sound louder than then the end of time threw him to the ground and the air grew furnace hot.
The Lost Journal - The Leviathan is consumed by fire

All around him foliage browned and withered in the heat as a fireball consumed the stone structure, lumps of which tore through the jungle like cannonballs.
The Lost Journal - The Temple in Ruins

The Leviathan roared with impotent fury as the structure beneath it was sucked back into the vortex created by the binding spell. As it the great mass began to be pulled down, slowly at first but with an increasing force, Mason threw the scroll into the dread hole to complete the seal and the Leviathan sank beneath the ground with a scream he would never forget.

And then the jungle was silent, with just the ringing in his ears to remind him he wasn’t dead yet. He sat up and looked at the destruction he’d wrought. Any minute now the natives would reach him, he thought. Not that they’d have long for their fun. He almost smiled.

He became aware of an eerie light creeping across him from behind. He turned his head and found himself staring directly into a portal! He leapt to his feet with a yell of triumph.

*Me first, then the gazelle-man, if you please. That is the price*

Mason was astounded! He’d expected worse! *Of course* he stammered and threw the backpack through the portal. He turned and grabbed the barely conscious figure on the floor, “Come here, my friend. It’s time to go home!” he said and pushed him into the portal.

Antfarm suddenly opened his fiery red eyes, they were wide with terror as he croaked “No!” and grabbed Mason’s hand, pulling him into the portal. Mason had a brief second to register surprise before the portal closed with a snap, sending both men tumbling backwards, Antfarm into thirdspace and Mason back onto the jungle floor.

Mason blinked and looked at the hand with which the gazelle had tried to pull him into the portal. It was missing.

Behind him, on top of the still burning temple and as dozens of natives emerged from the undergrowth around him, a cone of metal fell from the sky and slammed into the ground. Inside it, a small amount deuterium fuel heated to incredible temperatures and several kilograms of enriched uranium began to compress and go supercritical. When it exploded, it did so with the force and fury of fifty million tons of TNT that obliterated the world around it.
The Lost Journal - Ground Zero 1

The Lost Journal - Ground Zero 2

The Lost Journal - Ground Zero 3

To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
Darien’s ship detects the explosion here.

The Lost Journal: The End Of the Line, Part 1

With almost inhuman wail of pain, Jeremiah tore himself free from the binding spell and leapt down towards Antfarm; the wounded man had downed two of the accursed natives, but the third was almost upon him. Behind him the binding field quivered but held; he had left enough of himself to ensure it would but he knew full well he’d pay for it later.

Without fully knowing how it got there, Mason felt his blade in his hand and smiled to himself as the blade sprang into life. With a final burst of speed, he threw himself shoulder first at the native and sent the cur rolling away towards the temple. The dog was up on his feet quick enough, but not as quick as Mason who, with practiced ease and incredible speed, drove his sword through the very heart of the man. For long seconds both men stood, locked in a grotesque embrace, until the dead native slipped backwards off the blade and to the ground, his torso smoking and ruined. As Mason turned and walked over to Antfarm, the dead body began to slide backwards, drawn by the vortex into the heart of the temple.

“Quick man, we haven’t much time,” Mason said as he sliced the arrow shaft off and pulled the limping gazelle to his feet.

“We. We need to get back,” Antfarm replied through gritted teeth, “This. This going. Going to be. Big bang.”

Mason half supported, half pulled the gazelle over to the plunger. Something was wrong with him, he was too heavy, too slow. “You alright there?”

“Sgruna b bg gruna bg,” came the reply.

Mason ran his finger through the blood oozing from Antfarm’s leg and sniffed. Poison! The foul locals had poisoned the arrows! There was no way that Antfarm would be able to teleport away now, meaning that he’d have to leave him to a certain death at the hands of either a nuclear explosion or the cruel and terrible natives.

Unless…

A plan formed in Mason’s mind. A dangerous plan. A plan with costs.

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: The Return of Old Friends

In silence we busied ourselves laying out the charges and wiring them together. It was hot, sweaty work and under the oppressive gaze of the slowly turning Leviathan it was a gruelling task. I caught Mason eyeing my backpack as I pulled bundle after bundle of dynamite from it; curiosity was written across his face but he was good as his word and asked nothing. Clambering about the ruined temple it was easy to see the hole dug by the archaeological team all those years ago; stone had been laid across and then the temple built on top around the Leviathan. I placed extra bundles around the base to make sure we opened the hole nice and wide.
The Lost Journal - The dynamite in place

It took nearly twenty minutes but eventually all the explosives were placed and I only had the plunger to wire up. Mason was unravelling the scroll he had brought, “I’ll need to read this first, then you blow the charges and when it’s clear I’ll toss the scroll on top to seal the site.”

“And then we teleport the hell out of this jungle before Sally nukes it,” I added.

“I would suggest that to be a wise course of action,” he beamed me his wolfish grin. I got to work on the detonator as he began to read. Strange words tumbled and fell from his mouth, words that felt thick and wriggled in my ears, words that moved inside my mind as if burrowing around. The Leviathan reacted immediately; it shuddered to a halt, bolts of green lightning crackled from its surface. The air around us thickened and began to vibrate. I looked up nervously, glancing across at Mason and gasped at the sight; his eyes had rolled back into their sockets and his lips moved in a strangely fluid manner that suggested he was not in full control. The words kept coming and, with a slow long screech like steel sheets being torn in half, the Leviathan began to turn backwards. The air began to move past me as if a wind were blowing towards the dread gateway and I realised that the hole was sucking it in, that somewhere below it a vacuum had opened and was beginning to pull everything it could in.

As if in a trace, Mason turned his head towards me and with a voice that was not entirely his said “Now man, do it now.”

I pushed down hard on the plunger.

Nothing.

“Now!” he cried.

I tried again and still nothing. I looked back along the wires and saw that the vortex had dragged a branch down and it had pulled a connection free. “I need to fix the wire!” I bellowed over the rising tempest and leapt over the plunger. I wrenched the branch free and it skittered off towards the ever-strengthening draw of the temple. A quick twist repair and I was all set; I stood and was giving a thumbs up to Mason when a blow to my leg felled me. From my thigh jutted the shaft of a crude looking arrow, blood welling up where it had penetrated.
The Lost Journal - I'm Hit

Through the tress I saw three natives charging towards me and before I knew it I had my webley in my hand. The first shot was wild, but the second and third found their target and the nearest native tumbled to the floor, dead before he hit. Arrows thumped down into the ground around me as I took aim on the next chap, my fourth shot only winged him but the fifth and sixth dropped him like a stone.
The Lost Journal - Down But Not Out

There was no chance to reload so I prepared to fight off the last native with the empty gun and my bare hands. He came running at me like a bull, his axe raised high and face spitting hatred as he leapt at me like a wild animal…

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: A Tough Nut To Crack

The silt and ink slowly settled in the small cave, the octopus was still and content with its victory. A stillness lay on all and even the blinking red ‘LAUNCH’ button seemed to blink less fiercely.

Silence.

Stillness.

A tiny tremor in the water, a small movement in the sinking silt.

Stillness again.

With an eruption of violence, the octopus burst into motion, its eyes wide with fear and agony. Beneath its bulk its cruelly sharp beak was opened as if in a stuttering scream. Inside the darkness of its all conquering maw, Sally forced the beasts mouth open and slowly, slowly crawled her way out. The mouth snapped shut behind her and she scuttled as fast as her legs would manage up and around the octopus’ head where she sunk her powerful claw deep into the creature’s eye. There was a wet pop and the water filled with blood and ink as the octopus all but went insane.
The Lost Journal - Sally shows who the boss is

A furious tentacle snaked its way around her and flung her with all its might away from the beast. As she skimmed past the missile, she lashed out with a perfectly timed swipe of her ichor covered claw and slapped the blinking button down hard.
The Lost Journal - Sally Flies Free

As she span away into the dark of the ocean, a smile crossed her mouth parts as she saw the missile ignite and fill the entire cave with boiling flames before streaking through the sea and into the sky.
The Lost Journal - Sally Launches the missile

The last thing she thought as she sailed over the edge of the bottomless ridge was that she hoped the furry man with the horns wasn’t under wherever that missile was heading…

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: The Only Option Left

I had a second, maybe less. I took the only option I had left and pushed up hard with my still-bound legs. My right horn tore into the leering native’s throat and in a jet of crimson deposited a quivering mass of ripped windpipe onto the jungle floor. He staggered backwards, gurgling and clutching his ruined neck.

I was up and my captors surprised, but I was far from out of danger. The leader sliced at me and caught me across my chest. The pain was terrible and despite my best efforts, I tumbled back to the ground. I used my heels to squirm away as fast as I could, but I knew it would be but moments before the leader came to finish me off. I readied myself to kick out, anything to buy more time.

Blood from the native I had killed was blinding me and it was almost impossible to see properly, but I made out the leader as he leapt at me, his knife glinting in a wide, high arc towards my chest.

A sudden movement to my left and a bright white light sliced through the air and filled my vision. When it cleared I found the leader’s knife embedded in the soil a hair’s breadth away from my face with his hand, neatly severed at the wrist, still gripping it.

I looked up, along my prone body and there stood Jeremiah with a sword in his hand, the glowing blade of which jutting through the body of the leader, a burning hole slowly widening around it. With a flourish, the most welcome of rescuers pulled his blade out and the leader’s lifeless corpse crumpled to the floor. Jeremiah swung the blade down and sliced through the rope at my ankles before bending and holding my elbow as I began to struggle back to my feet.

“Look out!” I cried. Another native burst through the trees and charged at Mason’s defenceless back with a crude axe held high. Mason didn’t even blink, but let go of my elbow, span round on his heel, sliced the man in two at the waist and caught my elbow again before I had chance to fall. The obviously surprised and very dead man stumbled to the floor, his separate halves cauterised and smoking.

“Thank you, old chap,” he smiled.

“Thank me? Hell no!” I coughed, “Thank you! I thought I was a goner there for sure.”

“Got here just in time,” he said releasing my hands, I rubbed them at the same time as holding my arms to my bleeding chest, “Bad?” he asked.

I shook my head, “Bastard only nicked me,” I nodded to body of the dead leader at our feet and launched a vicious kick at his lifeless head “but what I want to know is how they came to have me anyway. Last thing I remember is going to sleep last night.”

“The night before,” he corrected.

“What?” I was stunned, my mind racing, working out how long I’d been in this jungle.

“They have had you for well over twenty four hours. They shot you with a dart, some sort of drug that knocked you flat out before they took you off into the jungle. I was away from camp, but they didn’t seem the slightest bit interested in me, only you and your backpack…” he turned to eye the pack. “Is there something special in there?”

I stepped over the body and quickly gathered up my pack, wincing as I clutched it to my bleeding chest, “Nope,” I replied, “nothing but the dynamite.”

Mason’s sharp eyes bored into me for what seemed like an age. “Hmmm,” he said eventually, “very well, but I think we may need to discuss the matter again in the future. For now, given the time, a far more pressing matter is at hand.”

“Time?” I asked, still trying to get a handle on what had happened.

“Your atomic weapon. Unless I’m mistaken, it will be on its way here any time now. Let’s get this Gods forsaken thing blown up and sealed once and for all before your helpful wee crab rips open the fabric of this universe and we are eaten alive from the inside of our skulls, eh?”

I stood tall and faced the terrible Leviathan. It seemed to pulse in defiance as I stared at it, willing us to try our best, knowing we would fail and it would open. I reached into the pack and pulled out the first of the bundles of dynamite, “Get your seal, Mason. I’ll set the charges and let’s blow this bastard back down to the hell it crawled up from,” I growled.

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: Sally’s Orders

The sun was dipping again and the night time shrimp were coming out, but Sally ignored them and slowly made her way to the cave of the octopus.
The Lost Journal - Sally returns to the cave

To say she was nervous was an understatement and she hoped, as she popped her eyestalks around the cave mouth, that the eight-legged beast was asleep again.She was in luck! The blubbery mass dozed away atop its rocky throne, the stupid creature’s prized but useless treasure chest (and the remains of the last person foolish enough to try and take it) half buried in the silt before it.
The Lost Journal - The beast sleeps

As quiet as a mouse she crept into the cave and up on to the missile the horned man has stashed down here. How he got it and why, she had no idea; he was always up to something and it was probably best not to know all the sorry details.
The Lost Journal - Sally preps the nuke

Once on top, she flipped open the control panel and began to tap in the launch codes and target coordinates as he had told her. The number strings were long and she had to go slowly to make sure she got them just right – she didn’t want to take out The Great Wall or Moth Temple by mistake.

The codes entered, her claw hovered above the big red ‘LAUNCH’ button as she considered what she was doing. The furry man had told her to launch the missile after two days whether he had returned or not, and he most certainly had not returned. But to launch a nuclear missile with no more information than that seemed a little outside her sphere of responsibility and comfort. But then there had been talk of stopping a great evil; what if not launching allowed a more terrible fate to befall wherever the missile was set to, well, befall?

Oh what was a crab to do?

Her claw quivered, uncertainty paralysing her. Guaranteed nuclear destruction or some crazy half-tale about some form of hokum-sounding evil schmevil. Put like that, the decision was obvious. She moved to hit the ‘CANCEL’ button.
The Lost Journal - The Octopus makes its move

The tentacle that had silently snaked towards her took her totally by surprise and the speed with which she was pulled backwards off the missile towards the octopus’ waiting maw stunned her. The last thing she saw as she was swallowed into a mass of writing flesh and ink was the red ‘LAUNCH’ button winking away to itself…
The Lost Journal - The end of Sally

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: For A Leviathan’s Light

The branches snapped and slashed at me as the natives dragged me through the jungle. I still had no idea how I had been captured by them or where Mason was. I hoped to whatever God I could think of they hadn’t killed him as without him there was little hope of destroying the temple and stopping the Leviathan from opening a dimensional gateway to who knew what horrors.

My head was slowly clearing but I soon found that asking questions of my captors merely lead to a sharp punch and so after a few attempts I didn’t bother trying again. Instead I took to straining against my restraints but they were too tight and strong to escape. I had no option but to go with the natives and I had a sick feeling in my gut about where they were taking me.

Walking for what I guessed was a couple of hours, the sun was slowly breaking through the jungle canopy and mist when the leader stopped and barked an order to the ones behind me. We all stopped and he turned to face me – behind the mask I could see his broken yellowed teeth as his lips curled into an evil smile. He shouted into my face, slapping and hitting me as he did so. Whatever his message, I knew enough to realise I was in serious trouble.

The men behind me pushed me hard and I cannoned through the undergrowth and into a clearing where I tumbled to the ground and rolled painfully to a stop with my face close to a large stone block. Looking slowly up, my heart sank as I saw the slowly spinning form of the Leviathan above me. I began to push myself away with my feet, but hands grabbed me and pulled me to my feet before a solid kick into the back of my legs dropped me to my knees.

My tormentor appeared again, grinning at me, gesticulating at first me and then the slowly turning portal me with his cruel-looking blade. He may have been shouting in a language I didn’t understand, but I knew what he meant all too well. I was going to be sacrificed to the Leviathan, here and now.

From somewhere behind me my backpack was thrown to the ground. For a wild second or two I wondered if all this was about simply robbing me. Then a sickening realisation settled upon me – the pack was a dimensional gate! They must need it to kick-start their own. I looked up at the Leviathan and saw with horror that its spinning had increased in speed and a greenish glow was filling the air around it.

Suddenly my horns were yanked backwards and my throat exposed. I struggled as best I could, but the native behind me leered down at me, spittle running from his mouth into my face. In the bottom of my field of vision I could see their leader moving towards me past my prone backpack, his knife held out sharp and ready…

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: A Spanner in the Works

The ringing woke me. I tried to turn over and slap the alarm clock into silence but I must have slept on my arm as it would not move. I mumbled an obscenity at the clock, willing it with my fuzzy, sleep-addled head to stop its infernal ringing – it was making the dull throbbing pain behind my eyes angry. I tried to lift my other hand to rub it across my temple but it refused to cooperate as well. The voices on the radio were odd and incomprehensible.

Except I had no radio.

My eyes snapped open and immediately I knew I was in serious trouble. For one thing the world was upside down and strange, half naked, half human figures swam sickeningly into view dancing on the floor which was where the sky should have been. I couldn’t move my arms and legs and every attempt just sent the crazy upside down world swaying and swinging about my head.

“Whazrapnn?” I slurred.

One of the half human things turned to face me, if the wild shaggy blur in front of me was a face, and said something in a language I didn’t understand. The others howled as he finished and he reached down into the sky and came back with a fearsome looking knife.

“Wzzyrgndo?” I said, my mouth full of cotton wool.

He came towards me. I lost sight of the knife. My nose was full of the stink of sweat and blood and fear. I struggled and thrashed around as he closed in on me. There was a terrible slicing sound and I felt myself go limp.

Nothing for the longest while.

Then a gasp. Soil and dirt was in my mouth and eyes. I spluttered and coughed. A foot cannoned into my unsuspecting guts and I retched hard. Hand grabbed at my arms locked behind me and pulled me to my feet. A bucket of cold, stinking water was thrown into my face and I retched more as I fought for air. My eyes opened and I could see the world was the right way up. My feet and hands couldn’t move and I realised they were bound. Hands behind me held my arms tightly, holding me upright.

Above me swing a rope with its end sliced through, I guessed I have been tied there and cut down. The world was dark; night time. Last thing I remembered was going to sleep after talking to Jeremiah. Jeremiah! I looked around as best I could but couldn’t see him. I appeared to be in a small clearing lit by a flickering. Apart from whoever was holding me from behind, one of my captors was stood in front of me, small and stocky with nothing on bar a loin cloth and grass fright mask fashioned in such a way as to resemble an octopus with an ape’s snarling face.

“Oo ar yu? Wa d yu wan?” I managed to say, my voice thick and far away.

The creature in front of my said nothing, only stared at me for the longest time before slowly moving towards me, pushing his hideous mask into my face. He barked and shouted at me and pushed me backwards. The hand holding me dragged me back up and my assailant span on his heel and set off into the darkness. A sharp poke from behind told me to follow him and I was half-marched, half-dragged into the jungle and, I feared, to my fate.

To be continued…

The Lost Journal: Sally and The Bomb

The shrimp darted and evaded with practice ease. Sally snipped her claws this way and that in frustration, her legs carrying her further out, deeper and deeper towards the trench and the cave of the much feared octopus.
The Lost Journal - Sally at the cave

With a sudden burst of speed, she leapt us and caught a fat wriggling shrimp in her claw, but her momentary joy was cut short when her legs failed to touchdown again and she realised she was falling. In a panic, her tangled form hit the sea bed, rolled through kelp and into the entrance to the cave. The eight-legged monster dozed lightly and showed no signs of having seen or heard her.
The Lost Journal - Sally sees the octopus

The Lost Journal - Sally tries to back out of the cave

Quietly, slowly she began to back out of the cave when she stopped dead. Something hard and metallic preacssed into her from behind and she gingerly turned an eye stalk to see what it was. There, in the mouth of the cave, propped on wooden stilts lay a long, white, pointed cylinder with a yellow & black symbol emblazed on its side.
The Lost Journal - Sally and the Nuke 1

The Lost Journal - Sally and the Nuke 2

The Lost Journal - Sally and the Nuke 3

The Lost Journal - Sally and the Nuke 4

The Lost Journal - Sally and the Nuke 5

Sally gulped hard. The nuclear warhead the tall furry man with the horns had told her to launch! Two days he had said, but how long ago was that? She began to mentally count back all the shrimp she’d eaten and calculated she still had a day left as she crept out of the cave dreading her impending return.

Behind her, in the gloom of the cave, the octopus silently opened an eye and watched her leave…
The Lost Journal --  The Octopus waches Sally leave

To be continued…