Become a Fan
Gatekeeper Chapter 2
By Richard Raab
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
I approached the door, looking at the dark blue metal that it was constructed of. There were no handles.. but it looked like it sung inward. With much effort, I pushed the massive door open. Beyond lay a dark passage. I stepped through, making my way down the passageway. It turned, leading downward. I followed it for several yards before it finally opened up into a huge room. A raised platform stood in the center, with a huge console and a slab-like table upon it.
My father stood at the table, his back to me. He seemed to be working on something. I glanced around. There was blood on the floor.
"Dad?" I whispered.
He slowly turned his head. His mouth worked silently.
"What?" I hissed.
He turned to face me a little more. He mouthed something. Run. He was telling me to run.
"Ah.. do we have a visitor?" A deep voice asked in very articulate English.
A cloaked figure stepped out of the darkness. The being was easily eight feet tall, probably a little taller. He was thin, almost spidery, swathed in a long black cloak. The hood over his head enshrouded his face in shadows, but in the dim light I could make out basic features. His face looked human. Some of the features were a bit distorted, but the basic shape and look of the face was human.
I felt a shiver in my spine. What the hell was going on here? First the grunts who looked like a stronger, less intelligent version of a human.. now this guy, who looked like some weird insect-like human.
Without letting another moment pass, I walked up to the table. "Let my father go or I will kill you."
He laughed. "No. I don't think I will. Your father still has some work to do for me. You had better run you fool. Do you want to end up like him?" He kicked at a body I had not seen.
It was Waylon Deitric. His corpse was horribly mutilated. As the being set his hand on the console, near the tablet, I could see the claws that tipped each finger. They were hooked at the end. They looked like they were perfectly capable of causing the mutilation that had been done to Waylon.
"I'm not leaving without him." I growled.
"Then I will kill you." The creature started towards me.
Dad jumped out from behind the table, onto the monster's back. He wrapped his arms around the monster's throat. "Run Jeremy! Run now!!"
"No!" I yelled, pulling the rifle from its place on my back. I shot the monster once in the leg and it howled in pain. Dad fell off it's back onto the floor.
The creature stared at me and at the rifle. Suddenly, in a blast of light, a gate spawned next to him. Before I could get off another shot, the monster snarled at me and grabbed my father. They disappeared into the gate.
I yelled out in frustration. So close. Who knew where that gate led to.
Finally, I walked toward the gate to follow, but something caught my eye. The artifact lay on the table, it's alien metal glinting in the dim light from the gate. Strangely, I felt myself drawn to it. I approached the table, looking down at the artifact. Something in my gut just pulled me to it. The object reminded me of a rune. The purplish tinted metal seemed to glow with power. It wasn’t any rune that I recognized.
The strange beast had been forcing my father to do something with it before I had burst into the room. I picked it up, instantly feeling a shock as I picked it up. An image flashed in my head. I saw a strange, spindly, insect-like being. It towered over me, many arms reaching for me. A long skeletal finger tapped my forehead and the vision faded.
I found my self standing there, still clutching the rune. The metal of the artifact sent shivers up my arms. A new energy flowed into my veins and wicked knowledge flooded my brain. How this was happening, I did not know. Strangely though, I did know one thing.. I pressed the rune against my chest and it melded into my armor, becoming only a raised spot on the armor in the shape of the rune.
I felt energized, filled with a dark new power that I had never known before.
I stepped toward the gate, my head swimming with strange thoughts. Who knew where the gate led.. but I knew that the monster had gone through with my father. After a moment of hesitation, I stepped through.
I fell endlessly through darkness, seeing Shaggoth far ahead of me with my dad in his arms. After what seemed like an eternity, the darkness ended and I found my eyes pained by sudden brightness. I landed with a splash, sinking quite deep before I realized I was actually in water.. or as close to water as I had seen since stepping through the gate back at the base. I could just barely make out Shaggoth ahead, but he moved quickly through the water, disappearing from site after only moments.
I tried to swim toward him, but my lungs needed air. The armor did not seem to weigh me down or impede me as I swam towards the surface of the water. As I surfaced, I was surprised to find daylight almost like that back on Earth. The sky was a bright blue, not a cloud in sight. I looked around, treading water. There was a platform next to me, slowly moving across the surface of the water.
I swam to it, climbing onto the corrugated metal of the platform. It continued to move slowly across the water, only inches above the surface of the water. It moved seemingly of its own volition. I looked underneath, everywhere, but could not find anything compelling it to move.
Finally I gave up, sitting cross-legged on the platform. I sniffed the air. Other than the scent of salty water, the air smelled clean.
Suddenly the platform stopped. I blinked. It had arrived at the edge of the lake. Strange that I had not seen the shores before this moment.. After a moment of hesitation, I stepped off the platform. Raising a brow, I looked down at the ‘ground.’ It was covered with steel plating that stretched off into the distance. No telling what the true surface of this planet looked like.
I walked along, finding no hint of civilization, seeing nothing in the distance other than the steel plated ground continuing off into infinity. It was disorienting, giving me the feeling that I wasn’t really moving at all but rather the ground was moving under my feet, carrying me back to the same point time and again.
It seemed as though this world was deserted. Just a lake and miles of steel plating. Pretty soon I could no longer see the lake. Strange, I thought to myself, this steel doesn't reflect any sunlight. I looked up into the sky... just where was the sun?
My vision doubled as dizziness swept over me. The sense of foreboding became thick enough to slice with a knife, twisting my stomach with wild imaginings of horror. I fell to the ground, clutching my abdomen. Pain like nails being shoved into my stomach shuddered throughout me. The taste of vomit was in my mouth. I cried out weakly, but then the pain passed.
When I opened my eyes it was noticeable darker. I looked up to the sky only to see black smoke billowing across the sky, quickly obscuring the blight blue. My eyes scanned the horizon. Strange, I didn't notice that building before...
A few hundred yards to my left stood a huge black tower. Smoke belched out of it's gigantic chimney. Turning, I began to run towards it. It was probably going to be my best lead, and besides, it wasn't there before. It must have appeared for a reason.
As I approached, I felt a wave of heat wash over me. Apparently the tower was some sort of gigantic furnace or something. The sky around it was almost black as pitch, and if there had been anything in my path, I wouldn't have seen it. All I could see was the very dim light from the sky and the dull yellow light of the furnace's windows.
Well, finally a lead. With nowhere else to go, I started toward the furnace.
More coming soon..
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|Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione
|The creativity to this one is solid, I want to see how much further you can take this one. I could see a little bit of a Ray Bradbury influence going here.|