Curse of the Anak! Chapter 4

Wednesday, June 1, 3542

Camphor Valley, Sacred Mountains, Planet Anton

Nodric stared at the flames unable to comprehend the events. He had never seen death so close. He could still feel the warmth of Ahmed’s blood which splattered on his face when he exploded mid-air.

He took few more minutes before he composed himself, “Tele-transmitter! Where is my fucking transmitter?”. He looked around, “My bag! Where is my bag?” and realized that it was kept near the rock that he and Ahmed were sitting on a few minutes back. He stood up to walk toward it but sat down immediately in reflex as an acute pain ran through his legs. He realized that he had injured his right leg in the explosion.

He crawled using his hands and reached the bag and took the transmitter out. “Hello! Can anyone hear me?” he hoped his team stationed in the valley to respond. “Anyone? Is anyone there?” No response, he was greeted with static. Hopeless he reclined on the rock. He was at a loss, the thought of a similar tragedy striking his team frightened him. He was thirsty, his throat was parched, as dry as hardened dust on the rock. The rock looked different from last time he examined it.

He could see a symbol raising its head hidden under a thick layer of dust. The impact of the blast had created cracks in the dust. He brushed off the loose dust from over it. He kicked all rules of archaeology out and used his bare hands to peel off the plaster of dust. After what seemed like hours, he could finally see what the rock was hiding in it.

symbol

With Fire Shall Rise With Fire Shall Die

 

City Hall, Skeleton City, Planet Anton

Mr. Crete was on a call when Victor came in the room. “I assume, you heard the news”, asked Victor.

“Yes! I should not have let you handle the situation”, Mr. Crete kept his phone down.

“He is dead” Victor didn’t quite understand why he was being lashed at.

“Yes, of course, he is dead. But you killed the wrong person”, Mr. Crete walked toward Victor.

Victor was confused, “What do you mean? I made sure the situation was dealt with”.

A towering Mr. Crete looked deep into his eyes, “I mean, you have failed again. You have failed to stop him. My resource in the Valley confirmed he has found the rock”.

Victor stood motionless wondering how to hide his face, “But…”

Mr. Crete did not let him speak further, “There should have been no scope for a ‘but’ Victor. I will take on the operations from here”.

 

Camphor Valley, Sacred Mountains,Planet Anton

Nodric recognized the script immediately. It was widely used on Anton during the Monolithic era. But disappeared after the advent of the modern languages.

“This is huge” Nodric thought, “A stone with an inscription from an era long forgotten”. Tears rolled down his eyes, there was no one around to celebrate the discovery with.

He translated the inscription, “With Fire Shall Rise, With Fire Shall Die”

“Great! Anton” He couldn’t believe his eyes. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand, “It’s a curse”. Ahmed’s death flashed in front of his eyes again.

“What have I done!” He grasped his face in horror. His nails bore into his cheeks. “I killed him. I unleashed an ancient curse”.

The tele-transmitter sprang to life, “Hello! Nodric, Are you there?”

Nodric sprang on his legs and caught hold of the tele-transmitter, “Yes! I am here”.

“We are sending a team down to your location. Please stay put” replied the voice.

“No! No! don’t…” before Nodric could finish his sentence, the transmitter went silent, “What? No! Don’t come. It will kill you”.

He turned back to look at the rock. He looked down at the base of the rock. And that’s is when he noticed it. The rock seemed to have shifted from its place. Perhaps the explosion knocked it from its place.

“What is it?” he leaned down to look closer, “looks like a cave”.

 

City Hall, Skeleton City, Planet Anton

Victor sat at his desk tightly clenching the crystal orb encrusted on his walking stick. His family was one of the founding families of PHS and he carried a lot of pride for it. Unfortunately, PHS did not support nepotism. He enrolled himself in the volunteer program of the State Police while boys of his age played busy flirting and impregnating girls. After the untimely death of his father Vissac, he had to work really hard to work his way up from the volunteer program to the sheriff department.

Vissac and his friends founded the Puritan House of Synods. He paid a huge price for it. He had to kill his father Godric, to prove his worth. Vissac died in an accident. Conspirers say that it was murder. He was a revered figure within PHS and his story is still cited as an epitome of loyalty and devotion to PHS.

Victor’s credibility was at stake. He couldn’t let the situation slip out of his hands. Mr. Crete was beginning to irritate him. He did not appreciate his intrusions. He always found him suspicious. In a swift motion, he picked his tele-transmitter and dialled a number.

“Yes Sir” answered the receiver.

“I want you to run a background check for Mr. Crete”, Victor was crystal clear.

“Yes Sir” the urgency and clarity of message were clearly understood by the receiver.

“Also, speak nothing about it”, Victor disconnected the transmitter and went back to clenching the crystal orb.

 

Camphor Valley, Sacred Mountains, Planet Anton

Nodric was still figuring a way into the cave when he heard the sound of approaching vehicles. He could see three jeeps coming his way.

“Finally! Help has arrived”, he thought and was thrilled to see them.

“What is that?”, he looked worried. He could hear motorized blades, “Where is that coming from?” He looked up and saw a helicopter flying towards him. He was confused, “Why to send a helicopter?”

He turned to look at the jeeps again. To his surprise, there were four jeeps now. The last one was following the first three from a distance. “I don’t understand this. Why send four jeeps and a helicopter?”, his heart began racing already.

“They want to kill me too!” he was sweating profusely now, “I cannot let them catch me. Why did I even enter this wretched State? I should have listened to my colleagues back at the university”. He began packing his stuff, whatever he could find. Meanwhile, the helicopter had begun flying in a circle above him.

He looked at the jeeps in despair not knowing what to do. He couldn’t figure out who was here to help him and who not? The jeeps were almost 500 meters away and he still had not figured out whose side should he take, not that he knew which side was which. A second later the jeep at the front exploded, lifted into the air. Dirt and metallic debris flew like shrapnel.

“Oh! Crap. Kill me!”, he started running towards the camphor trees thinking they might provide adequate camouflage. The helicopter fired another shot. The jeep driver took a sharp turn and began driving through the Camphor valley. The missile missed but a bunch trees shot through the air like arrows.

“Oh! No… No…why is this happening”, he ran like a bull that charges toward the rodeo who tries to tame it. He limped but he ran crazy. He held the bag over his head as the trees around him exploded.

He could not see the helicopter anymore. He was too scared to look up, all he could hear was the hovering sound of the motorized blades. He could hear gunshots too. The men in the jeeps were firing. At who? He didn’t know. He hoped he wasn’t at the receiving end.

He saw a jeep charging toward him. He stopped in his track. “Oh! Shit…” he was about to turn when the jeep turned into a ball of fire. The ground trembled when it exploded and the carcass landed on the ground.

“The cave!” thought Nodric, “It is the safest. I am not dying today. Not without knowing the reason”, Nodric was about to turn when he saw it. The camphor trees were on fire. The flames were as high as a multi-storeyed building. He saw it (or at least he thought he saw it). He saw the demon raising its head.

“With Fire Shall Rise, With Fire Shall Die”

“This isn’t real”, he slapped himself. He composed himself and began running back to the cave. He could still hear gunshot being fired and men yelling or crying, he couldn’t make out the difference right now.

 

Order of the Red Fire, Sacred Mountains, Planet Anton

The tele-transmitter buzzed frantically for the fifth time. Drake picked it up, “Hello! Drake”

“Whose arse were you hiding in? What took so long. It is Code Red. Get Ready”, shouted Mr. Crete.

“Sir! Yes Sir” replied Drake.

 

City Hall, Skeleton City, Planet Anton

“Sir, Mr. Crete’s records are exemplary”, spoke the agent whom Victor asked to run a background check.

“Don’t waste my time. I am sure you had not called me to tell me this”, Victor was in no mood to chat.

“I had to dig really hard for this. This wasn’t easy. The information is worth a lot”, the agent was not a rookie either. He had been doing it for a living and he knew his game.

“Quote your price!”, Victor had no choice but to accept whatever he had to offer.

Usually, the agent would prefer talking about the price face-to-face but given the condition, he didn’t want to irk the Sheriff’s fury, “5 billion worth gold bars would be sufficient”.

“What? Shut your hell hole. Not information is worth this much”, Victor was disgruntled and was regretting his decision now.

The agent kept his calm as he knew his next words will do the trick, “It is if it has to do with your father’s murder!”

Victor’s voice turned soft, “Alright. I will arrange the transfer”.

“Mr. Crete killed your father, Vissac”, reciprocated the agent.

 

Camphor Valley, Sacred Mountains, Planet Anton

As he inched closer, he saw a jeep riding towards the rock. He immediately hid behind one of the last few camphor trees left. There were four men in the jeep. They parked it near the rock. The men got down and started inspecting the site. Clearly, they found the cave and were leaning to look closely at it when the helicopter returned for its turn. The evening sky was lit in flames as the shell hit the jeep.

“No! No! The rock”, Nodric shouted and ran towards it. He couldn’t bear the damage to the rock that held historical importance till a few seconds ago. The ground was burnt, it appeared dark and red. The opening of the cave laid naked for all now.

Nodric wasted no time and began climbing down the cave. He could still hear the helicopter flying above. The entrance to the cave had steep staircase cut into the rock bed. He began descending on them in frenzy. He looked up and the opening on the ground seemed far now. He continued his journey downwards.

He reached the end of the staircase after what seemed like quite a lot of time. He took a torch out of his sling bag and switched it on. The torch lit up the place, “Oh! It’s definitely a temple”, he was amazed by the vastness of the place. The cave was humongous and was majorly made of limestone. The stalactites from the ceiling were almost touching their corresponding stalagmites on the floor. The cave looked like part of a larger and interconnected cave system. He could see a faint light, he trod carefully towards it. As he inched closer, he realized the light was coming from a room inside the cave. The room’s entrance had the same three triangles engraved around it.

symbol

“Three triangles lying on top of each other. An ancient symbol for holy fire. This must have been a temple to something really sacred or the symbol was engraved on the wall to keep something in”, his throat ran dry.

He walked towards the gate and was shocked to see that it wasn’t locked, “Hmm! Strange”. He pushed and the doors opened after letting a squeak out. He noticed that the inside of the room was clean. The floor looked as freshly mopped. The walls were damp but visibly smooth as compared to the exterior of the cave. In the center of the room was a platform almost similar to a pedestal and on it was a sarcophagus.

“Great Anton! I hope I haven’t walked into a satanic chamber”, he lifted the lid of the sarcophagus. He was so immersed in the beauty of the cave that he did not notice the footsteps approaching him.

A swift move. He was hit hard on his head. He fell unconscious on the floor. The men carried Nodric out of the TEMPLE of the ANAK.

 

Last Chapter Out Soon. Stay Tuned

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