It's Terror Tuesday once more, and Ed is making merry with the End Days. Okay: not so merry. See what our hero is up to this week.
The Mists Of Papoose Pond
Chapter Twenty Six
As his teeth rip deeper in to my skull, a shrill yell permeates the air surrounding the two of us, causing the Nephilim to turn ever so slightly in its direction. A machete takes his head off cleanly, and he slides down the rock towards the crevice, his hands searching for what no longer sits on the top of his head. A few contorted moves later and he falls in to the abyss to greet his heinous partners.
"Damn it, Ed!" Louise shouts, "You can't stay out of trouble can you?"
I try to smile and say something witty, but I've lost too much blood, my strength is gone, and I'm slipping off the fucking rock myself. Through the haze before me, I see Louise reaching down from her perch above the rock, straddling it on both sides, her hands grabbing my left wrist, holding me tightly, and preventing me from sliding down.
"Thanks, sweetie . . ."
* * * *
The throbbing in my head is intensified by the voice transferences coming from everywhere again. Shit! Not what I need. I'm a piece of raw meat, wrapped in bandages like a fucking mummy, blood still oozing through the gauze creating a horrendous splatter effect. I look like one of those blot tests the shrinks use. "Tell us what this looks like, Ed. Does this bring back some bad memories?" Okay, so I don't like the psycho docs. Shoot me!
"Take it easy, Ed," Louise's calm voice speaks to me. "You're in a safe place. Relax. You're in no shape to do anything for a while."
I'll have to take her word for it. I can't see anything much what with my visual perceptions reduced to a background of black, with blue and yellow spots chasing each other around. "Where are we, sweetie? I think I know, but I'm not quite right in the noggin yet. My mind is still a big blur."
"I'm not touching that one, lover boy."
"Okay. Okay. So I maybe rush in to things at times."
I try to laugh, but it hurts too much. "You saved me back there, young lady. I was as good as gone. That big bastard was getting ready to make a meal of my head."
"I swear, Ed, he would have only gotten a snack from the size of your brain at times. Had he tried to eat your balls, he would have choked on them."
"The silver lining."
"In case you haven't noticed, the clouds are extremely dark."
"Yes, I've noticed."
A little is coming to me now: some of what happened after my lady saved my ass. But it still hurts to think. "So, fill me in on some details, please."
"Okay, sweetie. You are below ground in a huge underground cave complete with an intricate network of tunnels leading everywhere. This is where our webbed friends live: most of them, anyway. Some actually live topside in places like Papoose Pond, but that will change soon as the war intensifies."
"And this place . . .this place is?"
"It is beautiful, sweetheart. Absolutely beautiful."
I'm remembering now, picking up memories of falling off the cliff and being pulled into a cave by one of my friends. I had some questions then, but things are rounding out in my mind now. My buddies have many of these caves, connected by spacious tunnels and leading virtually everywhere.
Shit! Their forces are many! We stupid humans with our pious, holier than thou attitudes think WE are the chosen people. Are we ever mistaken. These patient, nature loving beings must be what the Bible referred to as the "meek." If that is indeed the case, they deserve to inherit the Earth.
"Louise to Ed. Are you still with me, or has your mind wandered off someplace again?"
I laugh: there's some pain involved but I manage to get it out. "I'm still here, sweetie. The kinks are working out in the gray matter is all."
"Those kinks will never completely vanish, lover boy. That's why I love you, I guess. That must make me the idiot. I'm hopelessly in love with you."
"You better take a closer look at me. I appear to be damaged goods at the moment. You're in love with a package of raw hamburger, I'm afraid."
She laughs. "I love hamburger. You're more like a prime steak, though."
"Does that mean you're going to eat me?"
"Later. You have to heal first."
No more talking. I'm totally spent from this little exchange of words. Louise lies down next to me, careful not to rub up against my wounds, merely wanting to be near me. She is exhausted , too. I can read it on her mind. In a way, my powers might be construed as being too thought intrusive, making people around me who know I have the gift back off, afraid of divulging their thoughts to me. But Louise is not like that. Her thoughts are pure: full of love.
Sweet innocence . . .
* * * *
Louise has done a good job: I am healing fast. My body still lags behind my mind, but before long they will be in synch.
I itch to return to battle. My brain says I have been a slacker, that I have not done my share in the war, but deep inside, my soul knows the truth, as difficult as it might be for that truth to implant into my conscience.
The time spent healing has not been a complete waste as far as the end days is concerned, though. Even buried far below the field of battle, I can read the minds of the participants in this Holy duel. My friends have been able to hide my presence from Satan, giving me a precious gift: the ability to absorb more knowledge and more power from the minds of my adversaries.
And now the time has come to kick some demon ass!
Louise stares at me, knowing what I have in mind, almost as if she is blessed with the gift
I possess. "My dad waits for you, Ed. He wants to be here when you're ready to make an ass of yourself again. His words, not mine."
"You silly goose," I say. "Those are your words, too."
"So they are. Oh well, It appears we have a consensus."
"Well, I don't agree with that consensus, Doctor. I believe my motives are pure and well grounded in common sense and purity."
"I might go along with the purity, but . . .'
"Okay, say no more."
Following my senses, I guide Louise to an opening topside, not having seen any of the architects of this splendor beneath the surface, but being aware of their presense. I understand the need for them to maintain some sort of mind control force to hide the world of the underground. Shit, 'til recently I thought the underground would be inhabited by the forces of evil and not that of the most worthy of heaven.
What the fuck did I know? I know now!
We slide through an opening in the side of a hill, concealed by brush, and almost run smack into Tom who is rooting around trying to find us.
"Looking for someone, Tom?" I ask.
"Damn you, Ed! Don't go scaring me like that!"
I laugh. "Grow a pair, buddy. You have to be alert anyway. In case you didn't know it, there are some rather nasty groadies running around loose trying to eat us."
"Fuck you, slacker! Let's get back to the battle.'
"What have I missed?"
"The armaments are gone. We were keeping even for a while, but we no longer have a way to toast these bastards and make ash out of them."
"And do we have any more human recruits?"
"No. Every time we reach what was once civilization, we find no living bodies, merely corpses of what once were people, rotting like garbage."
Damn! "And they're not moving?"
"No, of course not. Why?"
"Don't you see it, Tom? They're not Zombies, not like the ones we're fighting anyway."
"You mean they could be Zombies . . .Zombies for the side of God?" Louise asks. "I don't understand."
"Yeah," Tom says. "I thought the righteous went to Heaven when Rapture came."
"Only the staunchest believers went. Others will go later. The dead bodies are proof of that. The evil ones would have become Zombies already."
"So what good does that do?" Tom asks. "All we have is a bunch of lifeless, rotting, stinking dead people. How does that change anything?"
"Reanimation, my good man. If Satan can create his Zombies, God can create his."
Tom does his little dog and pony dance again, spinning around like a Whirling Dervish. "Why hasn't he done so then?"
"Geez, Tom, it wasn't part of the original plan for the end days. Satan fucked everything up."
"So God doesn't have a plan now?" Tom asks. "That doesn't make any sense. He created everything. Surely He can control what happens."
"Satan got one up on Him, and since the Dark Angel was made to be immortal, God has His hands tied. He goofed at the beginning with the bastard. Sorry to say, he should have put a little more thought into creating the Angels. Too late now. Plan B for God."
Louise shakes her head." So we're the ones who get screwed?"
I nod. "Pretty much. At least 'til Plan B becomes a reality."
Not to be a pessimist or anything, but I'm hoping God comes up with a plan real soon. Our odds suck.
"Let's go back down in to the tunnels and see if we can access the battlefield better that way," I say. "We'll find alternate routes of attack and retreat if we do."
After a mile or so, I sense the main thrust of the battle is close: real close. We move through the cavern towards the surface, but we have to watch our steps when more tremors hit us, the luminescent rocks lighting our way, shaking to the rhythm of the song sung by the quake. But their light never flickers: not once. This simple system my friends set up is seemingly impervious to any natuaral calamaty as long as the powers behind the engineering brilliance are around with their mind control.
But they're not here now! I don't sense a single one. They're off fighting the war. That means they are able to allow the power system to run even in their absense. We reach the opening on top and I look back down the tunnel walls and turn the lights off with a simple wishing that they do so. Elated by what I have discovered, I point my powers of concentration at the entrance itself, causing some sort of rock to roll across the entry. Bingo! Everything is sealed and secured.
"Shit!" Tom says. "Do I even want to know what just happened?"
Crap! Tom thinks I have an answer to all of this? "I almost feel as if I'm some sort of blood brother to them now, Tom. Ever since they gave me these powers, I feel more and more like one of them. It amazes me when I find out things I didn't know from day to day. This shit comes in handy, though."
"You were still left dangling on a rock with a Nephilim wanting you for dinner, powers or not, buddy," Louise says.
"That's true, sweetie, but that's what I have you for: you're my super card in the hole."
"I'd rather have you be a little less daring and perhaps not need any last minute reprieves."
Tremor after tremor rocks the ground as we come up on our army, battling the Zombie forces for all they're worth. More humans have joined up with us now, but we are still sadly outnumbered. In place of the flame throwers, they are using more conventional weapons: regular rifles and pistols to slow them down and kerosene and gasoline filled bottle rockets to burn their worthless hides. In a way, I suppose this is a viable weapon since we should always be able to find some source of fuel for these Molotov cocktails.
How far have these new recruits come to bolster our forces? How far have the armies of Satan advanced against manknind?
The new additions to our army all appear to be loyal to the cause. I'm not certain how long I've been out of the loop, but my monstrous friends made certain they are on our side. No turncoats here.
It feels good to be back in action again, my hormones swinging in to gear as more and more of the bastards attack us. The Molotovs are doing their work, keeping the area immediately around us safe for the time being at least. The demons chained to the wall are still with us, knowing they must fight with us, hoping that against all odds we are victorious. If we lose, they lose: big time.
Through the night the battle wages, brilliant strikes of blue lightning flashing across the sky, getting closer and closer to the field of battle, telling me that things will change in a hurry. And change they do.
Once more the ground shakes and splits open, sending deep chasms everywhere, splitting the forces on both sides, everyone and thing scrambling to gain some kind of advantage, but advantages are difficult to obtain within the constraints of the war we battle in. One second you're ahead, and the next: you're as good as last weeks garbage, waiting to be carried out and hauled away.
A huge rendering starts deep within the ground beneath us, working its way to the surface, tearing enormous chunks out of the Maine landscape. Enemy and friends alike are swallowed whole, gobbled up as if the land doing the deed is a living, breathing, non-caring entity of its own, not affiliated with either side of the war. The screaming of fallen warriors fills the night air.
"My God, Ed!" Louise shouts, hanging on to me. "Is this the end!"
Still battling the monsters around me, determined not to be tricked like I was on the climbing rock when the Nephilim almost made a meal out of me, I shout back, "No, sweetie, this is a new beginning. The war is taking a big turn!"
Heat! Awesome heat comes out from the fissures surrounding us, enough to singe the hair on my head, as well as my body hair.
I pull Louise in to me as the escalation in temperature becomes an insufferable blast . . .