It is time for my Terror Tuesday in the mists. I believe Ed could use a cold beer. Read on to see if he finds one.
THE MISTS OF PAPOOSE POND
Chapter Twenty Seven
There is no escaping the heat. As more fissures open, it intensifies, almost building to where blisters form on my body, my sweat poring down, probably stopping the burning before it does happen. Louise cries out in pain, not taking this new change of events well at all. Even without my mind reading, one look at her tortured face tells the story: she is in the beginning stages of heat exhaustion.
My webbed friends surround me, knowing what has to be done, and they do it quickly, opening up an entrance in to the tunnels. I carry her in my arms, moving as fast as I can behind them as they lead the way . . . the way to comfort for her and ease of mind for me. I don't know how they know so much about the frailties of human physicality, but they do, and within short order, we slide her into a cool pool in the center of a huge cavern.
This is exactly what she needs, and it creates a settling of her nerves, a tonic of immense proportions. Louise is a strong woman, but strength can be whittled down by intense circumstances, and we're certainly in the midst of that.
"Oh, sweetie," she says, "this feels so good. Thank you so much. I'm sorry I let you down up there. The heat . . .the heat is so bad. I just couldn't handle it any longer."
I make my way next to her in the pool so I can comfort her. Sliding my arm around her, I pull her head on to my chest and kiss her gently. "Well, if I remember, my love, I would not have been around to help you had it not been for your machete yielding skills and bravado. Remember that. I owe you big time. This is a mere smidgeon of a payment."
She snuggles in to me, content for a moment in a world gone bonkers where supposedly all happiness should be gone, and survival should be the only thing on anyone's mind. But then again, have not the creatures of this planet been playing that game since the beginning of time, and yet they still manage to enjoy their lives, even while constantly looking around to make sure that those higher up on the food chain aren't ready to come down and tear them apart?
I kiss her once more. "Besides, I love you."
She smiles at me. "That's what I wanted to hear, big guy."
As good as this feels, and God knows I want to stay here, I have to return to the war. My lady is healing and is doing well. I know she's in safe hands here. I have a plan, and it needs to go in to effect soon while the time is ripe.
"You're getting ready to leave me, aren't you, big guy?'
"I have to, sweetie. You know why."
"Yes, I understand. You're the general in all of this mess. I don't understand that part of you most of the time, but it's a part I have to accept. It's who you are and what the world needs. Devil may care as you seem, I know that your mind is always focused and never wavers from what must be done."
Staring in to her eyes makes it so hard for me to leave, but my giant friends will watch her as I do what I must. "I'll be back, my lovely doctor, and we'll have gained some ground. Believe me."
"I want you back in one piece, lover boy."
"Are you dangling a golden carrot in front of my eyes?"
"Not exactly a carrot, but you will like your reward."
"I like the sound of that. You heal well so you can handle me."
She gives me a huge .hug and kiss. "You better believe it. I know what kind of man you are. Now get to work and save the world."
"If you insist."
One last kiss and I bolt topside and rejoin the battle. It's still asses and elbows, both sides trying to attack and destroy each other, while at the same time doing all they can to not become a casualty to the spreading encroachment of the fissures and accompanying heat. Now . . .now I understand the heat for what it really is.
The Molotov cocktail guys are doing a great job, and they appear to be well stocked with their explosive bottles, but as we learned before with the flame throwers and Black Hawk weaponry, the army of Satan is huge and supplies are quickly exhausted.
Maybe God didn't personally swoop down and start Plan B himself, not seemingly anyway, but he stuck it right under our noses and we were just too blind to see. The Creator's plan is simple really: use the weaponry of the Earth to defeat the Evil One. The fissures; the heat; those are our weapons. They are there in abundance.
There is no time for words to explain what needs to be done. A little on the job training is needed. I'll show. They'll watch and do. Hopefully, I show them the right way and we all don't become toast. The Zombies are the ones we need to incinerate.
Charging the closest bunch of Zombies with my machete, I slash and cut my way through the mob, shoving the guts and splatter to the sides with my feet, driving them toward the fissure where the drop into the chasm and extreme heat await them: enough heat to burn them to ash the same as we have been doing with our other weapons. It's not an easy task, as I'm constantly grabbed at by regenerative Zombie bits, chunks bitten out of me, and dragged to the edge myself.
Half my body hangs over the precipice and I watch below at those who have fallen already. Pieces of flesh slide down their carcasses, dragging along rivulets of blood, all of which pool together and drop at their feet, turning to a molten mass before catching fire and disintegrating to ash.
Shit! I've seen enough. This is the fate that awaits any of us who fall or are pushed over the edge. The harshness of defeat will not care which side the fallen is on. It matters not.
I fight my way back away from the edge, shoving the bastards to the side as I rear up, roar, and charge at them again from an elevated position of strength. The mindless scum aren't exactly frightened by my loud exhortations, but what the fuck: it makes me feel better.
The Nephilim, crazed giants that they are, come right to the front line, not afraid of anyone or thing in their path, even pushing their smaller brethren off to the sides to reach us.
"Attack these big boys in teams, guys!" I holler out. "No way will one of you take one down. Believe me: I know!"
Our new recruits are getting in to the rhythm of this war. Knowing it's kill or be killed, and if something bad does happen, it's a trip to Heaven, no questions asked. In my way of thinking, that gives us an advantage with not only the loyalty of our soldiers , but how ferociously they fight. There is no doubt in their minds that they are the "Soldiers of God."
The Nephilim are both shocked and overwhelmed by the relentlessness of our army, and we tear into them, mowing them down, chopping at them even as they fall so the regenerated pieces will not be as large. It is only when they are all removed from harms way that some fire bombs are tossed. Scorched earth policy, only in Zombie form.
More fissures open, causing apprehension about the stability of the battle field. Damn that! Everything . . .everything is here for a reason. I understand that now. Besides being a warrior, my job is to grasp what God is doing, what he really wants done. The tools to win, the weaponry are here. It's a matter of grabbing the brass ring dangling in front of us. My webbed buddies know this, and even though they fight ferociously, they are super-confident in the knowledge we will win this war. Nothing else is acceptable to them.
I guess I'm committed to the same way of thinking. Had I not been, I would have taken advantage of the Rapture. For me that would have been akin to my view of suicide: it's taking the easy way out. Sure, this is the tough way, and I have no idea how long I'll have to wait to knock on those Pearly Gates, but I'm doing what I have to do. To me, that means everything.
We hold back all of them that come at us, even though it is a seemingly non-stop attack. Yes, we suffer losses, but what else are we to expect? The man battling next to me is grabbed by one of the Nephilim, slammed down to the ground, and viciously stomped on before I have time to react. Blood pours out of his mouth, accompanied by pieces of his intestines. His entire body goes in to massive spasms before he moves no more. I go into a mad frenzy, my machete hacking away without abandon, rendering his sneering face to a a lattice work of pouring blood and chunks of loose flesh.
Over and over again, I vent at his now prone remains, refusing to stop my attack. "Damn it, mother fucker!" I shout, roast in Hell, you bastard!"
"Stop it!" Tom shouts. "He's finished. There are more of them to stop!"
He's right, of course, and I try to channel my anger against the rest of the beasts demanding retaliation for their attacks on us. Tom and I and the others around us attack without mercy, sending many of the behemoths and their smaller kin into the fissures opening everywhere. The more we fight, the greater our skills become at dodging the awkward movements of the mindless ones, as well as the vehement onslaughts of the giants. Confidence is growing from our success.
The mists . . .the mists return, covering us up to our chests. In the distance I hear them coming, their baying tearing the air apart. Son of a bitch! The Hell Hounds are back and they're closing in fast.
Too fucking fast . . .