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Count to thirty, no peeking!

28 October

Using the energy of the storm the girls channelled massive amounts of force through the black hole and caused an insane icestorm on the other side. The Nerds reckon that the temperature must have gone down to minus thirty out on the icefield. Even our satellite feed can’t see through the mayhem – there were a couple of choppers on the ground at the north east edge of the icefield and they have totally disappeared. We are going to let it play out and freeze the fuck out of everything left out there. They don’t have the cauldron anymore so there can’t be many more new undead soldiers, so we will deal with them if they turn up, and with the shaman dead we are pretty certain they won’t have a clue what to do with their black hole.

29 October

Everything was frozen. There was a thin coating of ice over everything. Even the snow was frozen.

Twisted shapes lay where they had fallen like Iceland Frozen Foods recreating the last days of Pompeii. The vehicles that lay dotted about had an ice glaze over them and there was no way they were going to work. That was fine because we weren’t going far, we just needed to get to the remains of the yurt and the other black hole that was somewhere on the far side of it. We were fully tooled up and fully on edge – anything that moved was going to get fucked up big time. But nothing moved, it was all flash frozen – Birds Eye petits pois the lot of them…

The Monkey seemed huge and he took point with the girls and they swept across the icefield like death incarnate. Me and the Nerds followed behind guns ready, but we made it to the yurt without incident. I asked JudyZ for an update via the sat phone and confirmed that nothing was moving except us and there were definitely no choppers in the air. With nothing to distract us we circled around it and the conjoined Monster Highs quickly identified the position of our enemy’s doorway.

We had one last weapon check while the girls set up their fog again in case there was anyone observing on the other side. I readied the spear and watched as The Monkey swung his war hammer in a few practice arcs. No one spoke. We had decided a plan of action before we passed through our black hole and now there was nothing left to say. When the fog was dense enough, we stood before the vortex – The Monkey and the girls would go through first and then we would follow after a 30 count.

And through they went, and we began the count…

30 October

…30…

In we went and split left and right as we had practiced. We were in the middle of a large room, sort of like a warehouse, and over to one side were a couple of tables with computers and monitors. Two bodies lay in ruin on the grey concrete floor and The Monkey was gazing behind us while the girls had gone over to secure the door. We turned round to see what The Monkey was looking at and saw the walls, floor and roof were covered in writhing glyphs and runes, some drawn in black paint and the others drawn in what could only have been blood. It was oddly like the stuff The Monkey had scrawled on the wall of the spare room when he had created our black hole except he had used a Sharpie and his contained a lot more stick figures having sex…

We stripped out of our cold weather gear and left it in a pile against the back wall which had large observation windows with a table and chairs in the room on the other side but was otherwise empty. The girls signalled us over to the door and we slipped through into the corridor beyond. We could hear sounds coming from behind large double doors at the end of the corridor and as we advanced towards them three uniformed guards came out of a side passage. They stood there with mouths gaping in surprise but to their credit it only lasted a second and then their sidearms were taking aim. Tony opened up first with his XM8 and the spray arced across the corridor and caught two of them across the legs as the third dived back into cover. I threw the spear and it tore into the bodies and then disappeared around the corner as Kev’s AA-12 blew the remains to a pink mist. There was a gurgled scream that was cut short and then the burning, gore covered spear hurtled back into my hand.

The jig was up, no more stealth after that. The double doors burst open and bullets ripped past us as we sprinted to the side passage and skidded in the guts of the eviscerated guard. The girls rapidly summoned the fog and it began to swirl thickly in the corridor as The Monkey pulled a white phosphorus grenade off his tactical vest and threw it around the corner. We ducked back and the flash lit up the walls and fog with searing white heat. Screams and sporadic firing and then The Monkey threw a second grenade, and after it went bang, we charged out through the fog towards the doors.

I felt a hot sting as a bullet creased my cheek, but the last guard fell quickly and then we were across the threshold and into a vast room of lunacy. Mad scientists ran amongst glass tanks filled with bluish fluid and sickening hybrid figures. A few human looking forms, all of which had oddly familiar, smooth featured faces, floated in what looked like giant test tubes along the side wall. The central floor space was taken up by operating tables on which were strapped convulsing creatures. And there above everything, hands white knuckled on the railing of the observation floor, stood Arno Whitaker that fucking grin plastered on his dead face as his eyes stared straight down at us with a hatred that was physical. Someone behind him shouted something unintelligible and then a siren sounded throughout the building – now it was going to get busy. I pulled back my arm to throw the spear at Whitaker but was forced to change it into a stab as one of the scientist types in a respirator and leather apron, looking like something from a butcher’s nightmare wet dream, came at me with an electric saw. I thrust it through his mask and the spear gave a groan and shiver of pleasure as it took another soul. I looked back at the observation floor and Whitaker was still there but now he was flanked by two huge black clad muthas and the one on the left was carrying the sword…

*

The Monkey quickly climbed one of the frames surrounding a tank full of mutant horror and leapt across the gap separating it from observation floor. He crouched on the handrail and blue flames burst in a nimbus around his body and at that moment he looked like a god.

I ran for the metal stairs that descended beneath the observation floor and the guards that were coming down them. The spear shrieked with glee as I scythed it back and forth through the useless layers of bulletproof vests and tactical kit through to the soft flesh beneath. Guns were raised but they were packed too tightly to aim, and they fell over each other as they tried to flee from the spear. I glanced back at the main floor and saw the Nerds shooting down the mad scientists with desperate determination painted on their faces. I had a moment of intense pride and then the bloodlust of the spear took me, and I roared with joy as I cut my way up the stairs.

When I reached the top, I was greeted by the sight of the conjoined Monster Highs crouching over the body of one of the huge guards like a giant spider and tearing it to pieces. The girls were sporting several bullet wounds but seemed totally oblivious to any pain. Beyond them The Monkey waged war against the other giant and the sword. Arcs of plasma cut through the air around them and the air crackled. Everything smelled of blood and iron and a sort of electrical battery smell that mingled with the gun smoke.

The giant wouldn’t have been a match for The Monkey but like the shaman he was lent power by the sword, and this bastard could fight. I took aim on the big fucker with the spear, but the girls raised their twin heads and screamed ‘NO!’ I stared at them, this was the first word they had uttered since their return and my lack of comprehension mixed with surprise must have been obvious because then they simply said, ‘The spear and sword must not touch – it would be the end.’ I was still going to throw but there was a certainty in their eyes that stopped me. So, I turned my attention on Arno Whitaker…

…Just in time to see his shiny shoes disappearing through a door behind some more incoming guards. Side by side with the girls, and careful not to get the spear head near them, we charged the door and hit the fresh meat. A grenade exploded and knocked me through the doorway and onto my ass. The girls followed but with a lot more style. Whitaker was rapidly approaching a turn at the end of the passage and I scrambled to my feet with the girls’ help and started after him. Suddenly the large glass windows along the observation floor side of the passage burst in and The Monkey and sword wielding giant smashed through in a tangle of limbs and flailing weapons. They blocked the passage completely like some sort of demon threshing machine. I looked at the girls and they motioned towards the windows indicating that we could bypass them by getting back onto the observation floor. Through the smashed glass we went, and I could feel the slices from the jagged edges. On the floor we could hear shouted commands from below and looking over the railing we saw that reinforcements were streaming though the double doors and the Nerds had fought themselves into a corner. ‘Go!’ said the girls and without another glance leapt over the edge. I turned and ran further along the floor until I was past the war going on in the passage and then shot out another window with my pistol before diving through and running for my life from the battle royal that was raging in that confined space.

Then I sprinted after the grinning scumbag…

*

Something strange happened as I skidded round the corner. It was suddenly as if I was running in slow motion and for a moment the walls seemed to stretch and blur. Then it all snapped back and I bounced off the wall and kept going. A door with what I took to be a retinal scanner stood at the end. I jammed the spear into the scanner glass, and it sparked and flared. I guess I had expected the door to open but it didn’t. Shit. I stood back gasping for breath. I decided to just trust to the spear and so I threw it. It didn’t hit the door, instead it smashed into the wall below the scanner and there was a massive flash and the door slid open.

The spear came back to me as I ran to the door. Bullets smashed into the wall around the opening and I ducked down and threw the spear again. It was shrieking bloodlust as it tore through the guards and I rolled across the threshold and grabbed a dropped MP5 and blasted away. When the spear returned I scrambled up and looked around.

At the far end of this new room was a group of people. Arno Whitaker was in the centre and around him… the Mao Shan sorcerers…

*

It brought me up short. What the fuck was going on?

The sorcerers spread out in a line and Whitaker disappeared behind them. Dark robes fluttered as arms were raised and a chanting began. I felt the air thicken around me and it was as if I was being held by invisible hands – not enough to stop me but enough to slow me down. Then the air began to bite as if it had grown barbs and I could feel myself being squeezed. I slashed around with the spear as best I could, but it made no difference. In the end I pointed the spear and let it go. There was a grinding, tearing sound and the spear halted in mid-air and hung there pushing against nothing, screaming in frustration. The squeezing turned into a crushing, like being dragged down to the bottom of the ocean, and I began to black out…

*

Something grabbed me by the shoulder, and I felt a rush of energy that pulled me back from the darkness. I looked up and there was The Monkey, the blue fire spilling over from him to me as he still fought against the sword wielding giant. The giant had a large wound in his side and was staggering as he fought but the sword kept him going and he flailed it down onto The Monkey’s blocking war hammer time and time again.

I rolled across the floor to give him some room and pulled myself up against the wall. The spell was broken and the spear that had hung in the air went for the sorcerers like an unleashed attack dog. How the bastards scrambled to get out of the way! I don’t care what mumbo jumbo you can spout, when a possessed, self-propelling spear comes hunting for you, you get the fuck out of the way. But not quickly enough. The spear made kebabs out of the first couple and tore itself free to go after the rest. I recognised some of the black robed Orientals from when we were in Cambodia and I looked for the sorcerer who had been our contact and supposed friend, but he was not there. It had been him who had told us of the rift in the Green and Red Society so maybe these other sorcerers had gone over as well, the supposed last bastions of an ancient dream. Anyway – they were dying now, violently…

Getting to my feet I pulled my Glock and fired into the thrashing mass of bodies. That was when I saw Whitaker’s head bobbing down way behind the others. I glanced quickly across at The Monkey and could see he was wearing down the giant who was losing blood at a shocking rate so I ran past the slaughter, kicking one sorcerer in the head for good measure, and went for Whitaker. I could see his grinning face leering at me from floor level and for a moment I thought he had been decapitated but then I realised he was disappearing down through a hatch in the floor. No! I wasn’t going to let him get away again. I shot at the head as I ran towards it but that sort of thing only works in John Woo movies and the bullets pinged off the metal grating way wide of the mark. I dived and threw out my arm in an attempt to grab his hair and missed that as well, so I scrambled to the edge of the hatch and looked down. There was Whitaker part way down a service ladder. I wondered why he had stopped and then I realised that below him the many armed goddess which is the Monster Highs was climbing up towards him. He looked from them to me and the twisted grin made strange writhing motions as fear gripped his fucked-up face.

That was when the giant landed on top of me and I fell though the hatch…

*

I could see Whitaker’s startled face getting closer as I slipped downwards. I thrashed out and grabbed the ladder with my left hand, but the giant was tangled around me and I thought that my arm would dislocate as his weight pulled down on me. The sword waved around, and I realised that the giant was dead but that made the blade no less dangerous. Out of the corner of my eye I saw The Monkey dropping over the edge of the hatch and then from over his shoulder the spear came roaring, looking for me.

My grip gave on the ladder and I fell with the giant’s body now beneath me. We hit Whitaker and the sword chopped into his shoulder and he gave out a long howl as it began to split him open. Then the spear was with me and before I could stop it, it plunged into Whitaker and touched the sword. A vortex began to form where they met and as I fell towards it I saw Whitaker more or less turn inside out as he was drawn into it like water being sucked down the plug hole. The giant followed and I knew I was fucked but The Monkey grabbed the back of my tactical vest and swung me back onto the ladder.

The vortex began to drag in everything around it and The Monkey looked at me with an expression that said – ‘Hey, we’ve had a good run!’ I clung to the ladder and pulled my feet up away from the sucking void, but it was only going to be a temporary reprieve. Then something came from behind the vortex, something that enveloped the blackness and closed around it. And there were the girls, their multiple arms encompassing the void and dragging it into themselves. We saw the look in their eyes and The Monkey shouted out, ‘No! Fuck no!’ But it was too late. They gave us a smile from their beautiful twin heads and then they sort of imploded in golden fire…

*

There was no time to mourn. Shots still rang out below and the startled faces of the Nerds glanced up at us as they fired back at whoever was shooting at them. I could see the shock and loss in their faces, and they screamed out their sorrow and anger as they emptied the clips in their automatics and reloaded.

The Monkey swung past me and jumped to the next unwarped section of ladder below. I followed him, with a lot less panache. We hit the floor next to the Nerds and joined in the shooting. Our enemy was advancing relentlessly from the double doors and the corridor beyond. The floor was swimming in chemicals from the shattered tanks and mutant things flopped around on the floor as black uniformed security splashed towards us. ‘Come on!’ shouted The Monkey and we began to retreat towards the back of the room and a wide shutter door. At The Monkey’s direction Kev put his last two AA-12 shells into the door and blew a massive fucking hole in it and we ran to the gaping rent and dived through.

Cold air greeted us, and we looked out over a darkened industrial estate and in the distance a 24-hour Tesco’s…

*

As I turned back towards the shutter, I spotted the name above it, Connect Biomedical. We threw our last grenades back through the wrecked door and then legged it into the night as the doorway lit up behind us, the sign crashing down onto the concrete. It took us a minute to find a vehicle that we could hot wire and then we drove it through the chain link fence gates and out into the black industrial estate.

The Nerds kept asking where we were and what the fuck was going on. Neither of us had an answer so we told them to just keep the guns low but be ready to fuck up anything that decided to follow us. It wasn’t until we got level with the Tesco’s that The Monkey pointed out the road signs. For a couple of seconds we stared blankly at them and then Kev said, ‘It’s Welsh, we’re in Wales!’ Yep, Wales…

We hit the M4 out of Cardiff heading East. Nothing was following us and our borrowed Land Cruiser had a full tank of fuel so we didn’t have to make any stops before we reached the M5 South of Taunton – not that we really wanted to stop while we were covered in drying blood and gore – but sometimes you just have to. The car park of Taunton Services was dark enough at its far side that we could park up without any undue attention. The Monkey stripped out of his tactical vest and then helped us to get out of the kit we were wearing and the black boiler suits over our other clothes. We went en masse to the toilets and cleaned up as best we could. I grabbed some coffees and bottles of water along with as many Yorkie bars as I could carry and then we climbed back in the Cruiser and just sort of sat there for a bit as the caffeine and sugar did its magic…

31 October

I tried to get JudyZ on the sat phone but there was nothing but static. Tony and Kev both thought it quite possible that my proximity to the tear in space had cooked the phone, so we finished our coffee and got back on the road. I asked why it would be different to the black holes we had travelled through and they said that it seemed to be like matter and anti-matter colliding when the spear and sword touched. Then we all went quiet for quite some time and after a while I heard Tony sobbing…

When we drove up the road towards the house, The Monkey suddenly leaned over and switched off the lights while telling me to kill the engine. I did so and let the Land Cruiser drift over to the side of the road. He pointed up to the house and we could see what was obviously torchlight on the walls of the front bedroom. I looked around at the Nerds and they looked totally beaten, so with a nod from The Monkey I told them that we would take care of it. We slipped out of the vehicle and made our way around to the passageway at the back of the houses, then we climbed the fence and crouched amongst the shrubs at the back of the garden. The Monkey opened the shed quietly and after a few minutes came back with two silencers and a box of ammo. We screwed on the silencers and loaded up our weapons plus a couple of extra clips each. He had also brought the night vision goggles.

The back doors had been forced so it was easy enough to follow that route. In the living room one dark figure knelt by the window keeping watch. The Monkey put a bullet through the base of his skull. We started up the stairs, The Monkey bounded silently ahead and pulled himself up over the banister to keep me covered. I crossed the landing and we scanned the open doorways. There was movement in the darkness and a hissed question from one of the figures – we opened up and the question died with him, as did his companion. There was a noise in the spare room, and we opened the door a crack to find half a dozen men securing a line through the black hole. More men began to come through and The Monkey looked at me with resignation and whispered that we should grab what we could and get out of it. He gently closed the door and then wedged the blade of his knife into the locking mechanism we had installed to prevent them getting out without blowing the door.

We took it in turns to keep watch while the other grabbed what they needed and then we went back downstairs and took the laptop from the table and headed out to the back garden again. The Monkey ran back to the shed and came out with the can of two stroke for the brush cutter and our last claymore mines, then he signalled me to stay put and sneaked back into the house. He was back quickly, and we ran along the passageway and back to the Cruiser. We quickly filled the Nerds in and told them that if they wanted anything from their rented house, they had better go get it. They scurried off quickly and we watched the front of the house in anticipation. As the Nerds got back with a couple of large zip up bags we heard two loud bangs from the house, the sort of sound a shot gun makes when it is being used to blow the hinges off a door. I started the engine and we watched in sick fascination as the top floor blew out in a ball of flame. There was a second and third explosion and then the whole house seemed to implode.

We headed back through the woods and The Monkey opened his bag and produced first his battered teddy and then a bottle of Jack. We are passing it between us as we drive into the darkness…

1 November

We are back at Falmouth docks and in the care of our Russian friends. They are not asking questions but look concerned as they feed us, patch wounds and open more vodka…

2 November

We couldn’t find JudyZ in the laptop and it wasn’t until the Nerds were able to do some proper searching that we found out that she had made a jump and is actually inhabiting one of the satellites she had worked her way into. She is very sad about the Monster Highs but seems happy to be free of the laptop and says she can use the cameras on the satellite more or less like eyes. There is a strange euphoria about her that is slightly unnerving…

I looked up Connect Biomedical and they are a subsidiary company of Brightstorm. A fire has apparently gutted their UK distribution facility but there was no reported loss of life and only some old stock was destroyed – yeah right.   

3 November

The Russians are getting us out of the country. They are heading across the channel anyway, so it seems as good a place as any to start.

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