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Into the cauldron

15 October

A chamber, in the side of the volcano. A bubble in the cooled lava, an obsidian globe, and in the centre a giant stone sarcophagus covered in runes. The side has a piece broken from it and it looks pretty much the same shape as the slab we found in the church in Pripyat. The lid has been removed and inside is a skeleton that is the size of the sarcophagus – fucking huge! It is dressed in rusting scale mail and on its massive skull is a Viking ocular helmet, the sort with eyeholes. Its hand bones have been broken and scattered around the tomb obviously to get something out of them. But I get ahead of myself…

JudyZ alerted us as the guard changed and we opened the black hole and then fired salvo after salvo of steel bars from The Monkey’s coil gun through the hole. That ruined quite a few people’s day. Then we went through and ran straight at what was left of the northern guard post. We shot the shit out of everything that moved and when we got there, we found four, still serviceable, snowmobiles. We had spotted these on the sat photographs, hidden just behind a ridge. We took three and blew up the fourth, then we twinned up and headed at full tilt towards the volcano.

As we blasted across the snowfield with the girls once again providing voodoo fog, there was a trumpeting from behind us and The Monkey shouted that the shaman was there blowing on some sort of horn thing. Out of the snow in front of us rose up the undead soldiers and our pillion passengers opened up on them with automatic fire. We burst through their lines and hit the ridgeline and then raced down towards the boulder strewn edge of the lava field with the zombies in pursuit.

The sat phone was open and JudyZ, in the freaky sat nav style voice she has appropriated, was warning me that the choppers were airborne, and we had only minutes to get under cover. We headed towards the location she had pinpointed for us and as we bounced over another ridge, we saw a large dome tent with work lights blazing around it. Living soldiers came running out alerted by the gunfire. We slammed on the brakes and skidded to a halt, but The Monkey was already off the back and dealing death. We fought our way into the tent and there in front of us was the entrance to the underground chamber.

We could hear the choppers closing in so we dropped into the entrance – that’s when one of the girls got stabbed in the back. We heard a howl and turned to see a length of burning steel coming out of her chest and on the other end of the sword was the shaman. He pulled the sword out and it wasn’t difficult to see that it was a magical weapon. Before he could strike again, I swung round the spear and charged but he laughed, a truly crazy laugh, and then he ran out of the tent and we heard the mini guns on the choppers whirring just before they began tearing the tent to ribbons so we dived into the cover of the chamber entrance.

Once again, we found ourselves trapped in a cavern with bad guys shooting at us. The uninjured Monster High cradled her sister, talking to her in a language we couldn’t understand. Then she began to scream, a long, terrible, lonely scream and we saw that her sister was dead – properly dead. I looked at the Nerds and they looked back wide eyed as bullets continued to ping around the walls of the entrance. Suddenly the Monster High stopped screaming and looked straight at The Monkey, ‘The cauldron,’ she said, and began to pick up the body. Then The Monkey looked at me and asked, ‘Can you take out the choppers with the spear from here?’ I nodded, as long as I could throw the spear out of the entrance it would find stuff to kill and then return. ‘Do it,’ he said and then to the Monster High, ‘I will come with you.’ Then he looked at me and said, ‘We will be back.’ I began to protest but he shook his head and as I watched he burst into blue flames and seemed to become huge then he roared ‘THROW THE SPEAR!’

The whole entrance glowed orange as the spear tore through the helicopters circling the shredded tent. Everything shook as the choppers exploded and crashed into the ground above us. After what seemed an age the spear came shrieking back into my hand and with one last look The Monkey stalked out of the opening with the Monster High behind, her sister’s body over her shoulder.

The Nerds looked on the verge of panic, so I dragged them further into the cavern until we reached a massive iron door which hung open. We went inside and pulled the door shut behind us.

That was midday and we are still waiting for The Monkey to return. No one has tried to get into us as yet so I think he is keeping them occupied. We explored the cavern and the giant’s tomb, and our best guess is that the giant skeleton was holding the sword that the shaman used. The sat phone still works, but JudyZ says that the sky has gone black and she can’t see what is happening. The Nerds have been talking; they are truly freaked out by what has happened to the girls and they think that if The Monkey doesn’t return by morning we should just go out and do a Butch and Sundance. Bless ‘em…

16 October

The shaman came back – well at least his head did, in The Monkey’s paw.

He returned around one in the morning, bloody from head to foot, and threw the head across the chamber. We wanted to know where the girls were and he told us how they had found one of the snowmobiles that was still okay and then they had raced back across the icefield towards the location of the shaman’s yurt. The zombies had followed but they had managed to outrun them, and the Monster High had made the fog again but this time she set it on fire and everything around them burned. At the yurt they had burst in and there was the cauldron and without a second thought the Monster High dropped her sister in. The Monkey said that the cauldron wasn’t very big, but her body had disappeared into it as if it had been a bottomless ocean. There had been a commotion outside the yurt and then the shaman had appeared in the entrance brandishing the sword. The Monkey attacked and drove the shaman back out of the yurt, and he said he looked back at the Monster High and she was lowering herself into the cauldron after her sister and then she disappeared.

The Monkey and the shaman fought out across the ice and snow amongst the burning fog for what seemed like hours. The magic sword gave the shaman superhuman powers and they were evenly matched but in the end The Monkey’s ferocity and combat experience tipped the balance and he crushed the shaman’s chest with his war hammer. But as he died the shaman threw the sword into the air behind the yurt and it disappeared. The Monkey took his head with his combat knife and went back to check the cauldron – nothing, just dark swirling liquid.

He made his way back to us against very little opposition. The burning fog had incinerated everything on the icefield, the dead and the living. One or two zombie soldiers had avoided the fire and they tried to stop him, but he had crushed them.

We got to the yurt and between us we lifted the cauldron and staggered back to the black hole with it. There was so much chaos and destruction. The ground was black ice where the snow had melted in the firestorm and then frozen hard again mixed with the ash of our enemies. Now, back in the spare room we have the cauldron safe but there are only four of us left, unless the girls can get out of the pot. JudyZ is not happy, she is picking up loads of comms chatter from other satellites, but we can’t make sense out of any of it. What happened to the sword you might ask? Best guess is that the shaman managed to throw it through their black hole but whatever happened we have lost it again.

The Nerds locked down the black hole and now we need food and sleep. Everyone is sort of numb. We don’t know whether to mourn the girls or not – what happens in the cauldron? Will they come back? And if they do what will they be?…

18 October

Was woken at 4am. I had fallen asleep on the sofa and JudyZ’s laptop screen was flashing like crazy and the weird sat nav voice was calling in a sort of Warning Will Robinson sort of way. It took me a few seconds to realise that I wasn’t still dreaming, and then it dawned on me that the voice was saying that we were under attack. I scrambled over to the screen and it stopped flashing. The image stabilised on a close-up satellite picture, enhanced for night vision, of several armed figures approaching a house – our house.

I bolted up the stairs, The Monkey has been sleeping in the spare room next to the cauldron, he was awake by the time I reached him and as I filled him in, he collected his H&K from the corner of the room and we went to wake the Nerds, taking their weapons with us. It took a lot longer to rouse them and as they pulled on clothes I locked and loaded for them. The Monkey headed up to the loft so that he could get out onto the roof and as I was going back downstairs, I caught a vague silhouette through the glass of the front door. I braced myself on the stairs and aimed from the hip with my AA-12. The door burst in and I saw a figure in black tactical gear about to throw a stun grenade. I opened up with the AA-12 and the blast hit everything in the doorway including the grenade and it exploded just outside the house.

Everything went black and then shortly afterwards cartoon stars started circling around me. Fortunately, the Nerds were still on the landing and the concussion from the blast missed them. They dragged me back up the stairs then I heard Kev’s AA-12 thumping away as he fired on the open doorway. Then there was a series of explosions around the house and quite a bit of screaming. I scrambled back down the stairs and dived through the living room door and grabbed the laptop from the table and dropped behind the sofa. I shouted for Tony to check the back of the house and I heard him clatter past, banging into walls as he went. There were single shots outside, but I was surprised nothing was coming into the house. I looked at Judy’s screen and the image now showed scattered bodies around the house and a lone figure running towards the trees over the road. It still took me a moment to work out what had happened but then I laughed as I realised The Monkey had set off the IEDs he had planted around the house months ago. I had forgotten all about them.

As I watched the image on the laptop, I saw a small figure drop from the roof and head through the front garden and across the road towards the trees. The Monkey was following the fleeing attacker. I got up to join him and shouted to the Nerds to check for survivors and to secure the house. I reached the trees and stopped to listen. Silence, and then a muffled curse and the sound of branches breaking followed by a groan. I made my way to the location of the sounds and found The Monkey sitting on the back of an unconscious black clad figure. We dragged him back to the house and threw him into the living room and then bound his hands and feet with gaffa tape.

We went outside and scoured the garden. It’s amazing what you can get used to. We picked up the bodies and the bits of bodies and carried them up to the spare room, then we threw them through the black hole and closed it up again.

The Nerds set about boarding up the front door with left over lengths of decking and while they did that me and The Monkey went to have a word with our captive. We rolled him onto his back and ripped off his helmet and tactical hood. It was Johno. We looked at each other and then back at Johno. The Monkey slapped him across the face to wake him up, but his mouth dropped open and a whitish froth dribbled out. The Monkey knelt down next to him and sniffed the froth then he sat back on his heels and said ‘FUCK!’ It was cyanide, a poison capsule. We searched the body and then dragged it upstairs and just as we were about to send it through the black hole The Monkey gave me an evil grin and pushed him into the cauldron.

The tragedy continues – we have run out of Jack…

19 October

Johno crawled out of the cauldron around mid-day. He doesn’t look that much different – a bit greyer, a lot less cocky, but not that different. The Monkey began asking him questions and we got some grunted answers in response. Not a great conversationalist but it seems that our latest attackers weren’t Illuminati but a merc contract team employed by a mysterious group from the Far East – the breakaways from the Green and Red Society?! Zombie Johno couldn’t tell us much more other than he had been contracted to lead the team in and secure the black hole and if possible, capture The Monkey. Johno should have known better, those vampires in town must have sucked whatever sense he had left out of him. The Monkey has sent him outside to guard the house – I hope it fucking rains on him.

Still no sign of the girls. Obviously, it doesn’t work on a first in-first out basis. We will just have to wait…

We have been expecting police, army, girl guides, who knows what to turn up after the gunfight and explosions – nothing. Don’t know if that’s more worrying than an armed police unit rocking up and surrounding the house. We have JudyZ scanning the security comms links to see if we can get a heads up on what the fuck is happening…

20 October

JudyZ has intercepted coded communications regarding a state of national emergency. It seems that the powers that be believe we are in the early stages of a potential zombie apocalypse. Apparently, some of the walking dead soldiers from our Scotland adventure have been found wandering around the highlands – they must have been the trial ones. Also there have been more arrests in the East Midlands related to grave robbing and the eating of the dead. It would appear that the goth party ghouls have been biting other people. The upshot is that we are on the verge of the government declaring martial law as word spreads and panic sets in.

When we were having our little gunfight it all kicked off on the outskirts of Plymouth as some of the locals thought that some of the other locals had become the living dead – probably a dodgy batch of crystal meth. Shooting, petrol bombs, and looting ensued which kept the police fully occupied and when The Monkey asked next door’s dog if he knew why the neighbours hadn’t reported our little event he shrugged and said that we just seemed to be a weird dream as far as the locals were concerned. This could be the Monster Highs’ voodoo or possibly the long-term side effects of living in close proximity to the black hole.

The black hole is still pointing at Iceland. Do we have to go back through? Is there still unfinished business there? Don’t know and still waiting for the Green and Red to get back to us with some possible answers. It rained big time on Johno – get in…

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