Glyph could see the tiny dark spot growing in the blinding light. It felt like forever, but in a matter of seconds the dark spot engulfed him. He opened his eyes and was back on Earth, at the bridge where he had fought Srokus. As he looked down he realized he was still on top of the hood of the car, and that Amos Bogg was there as well.
“Shit.” Glyph exhaled as he locked eyes with detective Bogg, who was lying there beneath him.
“You!” Bogg shouted, once again wrapping his hands around Glyph’s throat. His eyes were wild, and Glyph could tell it was going to be a long hour.
They rolled off the car onto the road, which was illuminated under bright lights that Glyph could see were set up the length of the bridge. ‘It’s a crime scene; the whole damn bridge.’ He thought as stars began to fill his vision.
Glyph punched Bogg swiftly in the Solar Plexus, then pulled Bogg’s hands from around his neck.
As Bogg struggled for breath, Glyph sat up and rubbed his neck. “Look, I don’t know why you came back, I don’t know for how long. But as much as you’re going through denial right now; you have to believe me when I tell you, this is real.” Glyph glanced anxiously around and continued in a hoarse whisper. “There are probably cops all over this place, so we’re going to have to work together to get through this.”
“What the fuck!” Bogg finally groaned. “What the hell are you doing to me mother fucker?” He screeched, crawling onto his knees.
“I’m not doing anything. I don’t know why you’re here, but I’m guessing in an hour we’ll be back on Degruthras.” Glyph shot back. “Look, this is important. Lobrein said my hour would change, so be prepared for anything.”
“You’re a fucking lunatic!” Bogg shouted.
“Keep it down!” Glyph scolded. “Call me what you will, but we’ll know for sure in fifty-six minutes.”
“Ahhgghh!” Bogg shouted, grabbing his head with both hands. “I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
Just then, shots rang out, and bullet holes riddled the fender of the car Glyph was leaning against. In a cat-like spring, Glyph lunged onto Bogg, flattening him to the ground as a hail of bullets whizzed over their heads. Glyph low-crawled toward the back of the car dragging Bogg beside him.
“Shield!” Glyph called out, as another onslaught of bullets bounced off the white translucent energy dome now surrounding him and Bogg.
“Holy shit this is real!” Bogg shouted, his eyes bulging out of his skull as he stared at Glyph.
“Snap out of it!” Glyph yelled clapping his hands loudly. “These guys are S.W.A.T. or something. Those are automatic machine guns, and they’re shooting at us!” Glyph slipped his MAC-10 off his shoulder and pushed it into Bogg’s hands. “Take it.” Glyph ordered, and winced as more bullets bounced off the shield. “If you have any doubts about reality, take a look at the clothes you’re wearing.”
Bogg glanced at his leather tunic and linen pants, grabbed the gun with shaky hands, and quickly put the strap over his head. “What are we gonna do?” Bogg stammered.
“This.” Glyph replied and brought his hands together next to the center of his chest. Lowering his hands down to his waist he turned and stomped his foot. A ring of white energy blew out around them blasting everything to the ground in a fifty foot radius. The shooters were instantly silenced as they were thrown or crushed by the wave.
“Damn.” Bogg said, and whistled.
Glyph took a few deep breaths. “we need to get out of here.” He said, getting to his feet.
Bogg was shaking. “How is this possible?”
“I don’t know Bogg, I don’t know.” Glyph glanced around; he could hear shouting in the distance. “Come on.” He said, tugging on Bogg’s sleeve. Glyph knew the glowing shield made them sitting ducks, but he didn’t want to risk getting shot. Bogg’s state of mind wasn’t helping the situation any.
Making their way west, they headed for the Pennsylvania side of the river. Soon Glyph and Bogg found themselves under heavy weapons fire. Men in black fatigues shot at them with assault rifles from every angle. As they neared the end of the bridge several of them threw themselves at the shield, hoping it would only keep out bullets.
When the third one hit the shield in front of Glyph, he knew instantly what the change in his curse had been. The man’s eyes were black as coal, and that meant they were after him again. The only difference was that these bastards were obviously trained for combat.
“Fuck me.” Glyph grumbled at the thought. Turning he grabbed Bogg. “Hold up a second.” He said and looked out at the farthest light he could see down the highway. Placing his hands on Bogg’s shoulders, Glyph closed his eyes and concentrated on the stretch of highway illuminated by the lamppost. As he looked closer and closer in his mind, he could feel the teleportation begin. Bogg’s scream cinched it, and in the next instant they were both standing under the lamppost some five hundred yards away. Glyph cleared the shield the instant they rematerialized so it wouldn’t draw attention to them now.
Quickly clamping his hand over Bogg’s mouth to stifle the rest of his scream, Glyph pulled them both to the ground.
“Shut up!” Glyph whispered hoarsely. When he saw that Bogg was listening to him, he withdrew his hand, and coaxed Bogg underneath the guardrail and into the tree line. He knew this wouldn’t keep them safe for very long; they had to keep moving, or risk having one of those freaks sniff them out. It was a long shot, but he hoped he could lose them in the mountains, or at least minimize the number of pursuers.
They scrambled up a scrub-covered embankment and stumbled into the undergrowth of the tree line.
“Where are we going?” Bogg finally asked.
“Away from here.” Glyph answered as he slowly moved in the total darkness of the dense tree canopy.
“I thought you had a plan.” Bogg commented, sounding more like his ‘old’ self.
“I do, it just happens to be ‘away from here’ at the moment.”
“That doesn’t sound like a plan.”
“Look Bogg, I hate sounding like a broken record here, but I don’t know the future, or why you’re here. I’m kinda used to doing this shit by myself, and contrary to what you might think, I do have quite a bit of experience dealing with this type of situation.”
“And what exactly is our situation?” Bogg said gruffly.
“It’s the damn curse, Bogg! I’m cursed, remember? Cruix held part of it; when she died something changed. I’m guessing it’s Tsach; he’s manipulating the people around us to try and kill me, just like Drathus did. This curse somehow lights me up like a beacon, and allows every Tsach, Dick and Harry to latch on and throw their two cents worth at me. This is my life Bogg, if I had known you would get caught up in my whole hour thing I would have let you bleed out on the bridge. It would have been a lot more humane.”
“Tsach? Cruix? Man I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about from one minute to the next.” Bogg replied, and was about to continue when they heard the helicopter coming over the top of the hill.
A bright spotlight lit up the sky, and was moving right for them.
“Fuck! They’re on us again.”
“Just duck and cover, they haven’t spotted us yet.” Bogg said.
“Yes they have Bogg, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. They don’t have to see me to know where I am!” Glyph shouted back at him.
“Dude, you are paranoid.”
“That’s what happens when people try to kill me; it happened this way before, and it looks like it’s happening again.”
As the words left Glyph’s mouth the helicopter swooped in and the spotlight fell right on them as they tried to make their way up the hill through the overgrown patch of woods.
Glyph sidestepped toward Bogg and called forth a shield just as the helicopters gun ports opened fire. White sparks flew everywhere, tree branches and leaves fell like rain, and littered the ground around them, shredded by the hailstorm of bullets. The sound was deafening.
“Do you believe me now?!” Glyph screamed over the din.
“Fuck! What the fuck? Why is everyone trying to kill you?”
Smiling, Glyph turned and looked upward. Aiming for the spotlight Glyph pulled up the energy through his body, thrust his arm toward the light, and opened his hand. A blast of lightning burst forth, ripping the air as it went, striking the helicopter. Glyph held the force a bit longer just to make sure, watching as tiny electric bolts surrounded the whole chopper.
The spot light burst, Glyph released the spell, and everything fell into darkness.
“Fuck!” Bogg screamed.
“Bounce!” Glyph yelled out a moment later, realizing the helicopter was plunging down right on top of them.
Suddenly the shield shook violently; Glyph and Bogg were thrown to the ground, which heaved up slightly like a hiccup. Again there was silence. “What just happened?” Bogg blurted out.
Glyph held up his hand just as the helicopter impacted the ground some fifty yards away through the trees. Seconds later, it blew into a small mushroom cloud of flame.
“Light.” Glyph called out, as a ball of white light jumped from his hand and hovered overtop his head. “Come on, let’s head to the top of this hill.” Dropping the shield he started picking his way through the underbrush.
“So I guess that’s the plan now huh? Head for the hilltop.” Bogg grumbled as he started to follow Glyph. “You know, I don’t even know why I’m following you, especially if they’re trying to kill you, and not me. Not a bad idea really.”
“What if they’re after both of us? Then what are you gonna do?” Glyph asked.
“Hey I can take care of myself, besides I’m a cop, they’ll listen to me.” Bogg shot back.
Glyph shook his head. “Were a cop. After you lost me at the bar the other night, and now you’ve been missing for twenty-three hours, you really think they’re going to listen to your ass?” Glyph said. A few moments of silence followed, and Glyph spoke up again. “We’re heading toward higher ground so I can see further away. I might be able to teleport our asses away from these pukes, and not have them be able to follow us. So can we be quiet for a few minutes and make it up there before more of them come?”
Bogg looked like he might say something, then stopped as if he decided to save it for another time. Within a few minutes they could hear dogs barking; following them up from the road below.
As they came upon the top of the hill, the trees gave way to a parking lot and they found themselves behind a strip mall. Another helicopter could be heard circling in the distance, and Glyph extinguished his light. He ran for a clear spot among the scrub and looked down at the river.
“Hurry up!” Bogg barked in a hoarse whisper. “They’re getting closer.”
“I know. I hear them too.” Glyph said straining to see in all directions. “Damn it, it’s to damn populated!” Frustration began to mount inside of Glyph. The only thing he could see clear enough was the bridge they had just escaped from, and the blocks of city lights stretching up and down both sides of the river. “Son of a bitch!”
“What? What is it?” Bogg asked hurriedly.
“I think we may have to fight our way through this one–.” Then he spied a small marina just up-river a few miles. It was a long shot, but there wasn’t time for a second chance. “Get over here, quick!” Glyph shouted
As Bogg ran up next to him, he could hear the sound of dogs and men racing through the wood toward the clearing. Glyph closed his eyes after staring at the tiny lights of the marina for as long as he dared. He tried hard to block out the sounds of the approaching hunters, as he felt the energy gathering throughout his body.
“Anytime now.” Bogg said in a slightly higher pitch than usual.
As the shouts went out from the men, flashlight beams began to fly in all directions, then fell on Glyph and Bogg as the dogs pulled and barked in their direction.
The tunnel began to form in Glyph’s mind but it was long and he could barely place the lights at the end. There was no more time; Glyph entered the tunnel in his thoughts, dragging Bogg behind him.
The effect was lasting a long time; this was further than he had ever tried to jump before. Everything was dark and Glyph continued to concentrate on the lights, pushing doubt from his mind. Just as Glyph thought he might be lost, and wasn’t going to make it, he saw the lit lampposts appear in his mind like a tiny ember in the darkness. Latching on with all his concentration he willed himself closer, and closer.
“Fuck me.” Bogg whispered as Glyph opened his eyes and looked around. “You have got to stop doing that man, it ain’t natural.”
“No, but it does the trick.” Glyph commented.
They found themselves on a parking lot next to several piers with expensive looking boats lining each side. Glyph pointed toward them and started to run out onto the wooden walkway, with Bogg reluctantly following. Glyph jumped onto a fast looking boat, and grabbed the mooring line, tugging the boat closer to the pier.
“Untie us and get on!” Glyph instructed.
Bogg hesitated. “We can’t just steal a boat.”
“I know you’re not used to this so I’ll cover it one more time. They’ll be after us any minute now; there’s no time to waste.” Glyph said in exasperation.
“Dude, they’re a few miles back, they won’t find us that soon.”
“God dammit Bogg! Get it through your thick skull, it’s not just them, it’s everybody! Now untie the fucking rope and let’s go!” Glyph found himself yelling.
Bogg paused again. “No.”
Glyph stared at him open mouthed. “No?”
“No. I ain’t following you anymore, this is it. I’m going back, they’ll listen to me, I’ll tell my boss you drugged me or something. I don’t want any part of you and your freaky magic bullshit!”
“For crying out loud! You’re just going to pretend like all this never happened, is that it? Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Untie the damn rope.” Glyph said gruffly, and jumped into the driver’s seat. Touching the control panel he whispered “start” and the engines roared to life.
As he looked back to see if Bogg had at least untied him from the dock, he saw three people running onto the pier. “They’re coming Bogg, last chance.”
Glyph saw Bogg throw the bolt on the Mac-10, as he dropped the mooring line into the water and turned to look.
“It’s Okay! Everything’s Okay, I’m a police officer.” Bogg started saying.
Glyph turned and crawled back out of the seat and pulled the slack rope into the boat. He could see a man and two women racing towards them as Bogg tried his best to orally dissuade them.
“Their eyes Bogg! Look at their eyes!” He yelled urgently. Glyph secretly wanted Bogg to get a good look, and maybe even a little taste of what it was like to be in his shoes for once.
“Stop!” Bogg commanded.
“They won’t stop till they’re dead Bogg!” Glyph said. “Get in the boat.”
“No!” Bogg shouted at Glyph. Stepping forward, Bogg slammed the MAC into the side of the man’s face, knocking him into the water. The first woman latched onto Bogg’s arm and sunk her teeth into his forearm.
Bogg howled as the woman pulled him off balance, and the second woman leaped onto his back. Flipping the woman off his back, Bogg punched the evil bitch biting his arm in the face repeatedly, until she was half conscious, before she finally released her hold on him.
Glyph stood, and watched silently in the back of the boat. ‘Maybe they’re only after Bogg.’ He thought. A second later the man popped up out of the water and clung to the side of the boat, grasping for Glyph’s leg. Before Glyph could move, it caught his leg and Glyph found himself falling to the deck, the side of his skull slamming into the top of the seat. Stars lit up his vision as his hand clasped around a plastic lunch-sized cooler behind the captains chair.
In one swift swing Glyph mashed the possessed man’s skull knocking him unconscious. Swiftly regaining his footing, he continued to wail on his attackers head with the cooler, until the hardened plastic shattered and splintered off into the man’s left eye and cheek. Glyph stood up, his head still a bit woozy, and kicked the bloody mangled face hard enough to send the body back into the water.
Glyph spun to look at Bogg just as he wrapped his arm around the last women’s head and jerked it to the ground; the sound of her snapping neck punctured the air.
Scratches and bleeding bite marks riddled Bogg’s arms and face. Glyph was tempted to rant off some sarcastic remark, but he could sense Bogg’s pain over having to kill the two girls. Glyph was pretty certain he’d thrown up the first few times, and the memory of it was enough to make him keep his mouth shut.
He glanced down at his watch, and rubbed his swelling face; thirty-seven minutes. “Get in the boat Bogg.” Glyph spoke calmly. The swelling in his face began to subside, and the pain started to fade away as he waved a healing hand over his wound. Magic sure had its advantages.
Bogg stood there, unwilling to move.
“Bogg.” Glyph said. “Bogg!”
Finally lifting his gaze up, Amos Bogg appeared on the verge of a breakdown. “Their eyes…they were black. There was no color.” He stared at Glyph, his eyes wide and bulging. “They, they wouldn’t stop.”
“Get in the boat Amos.” Glyph said flatly.
At the sound of his first name, Bogg stepped down onto the back of the boat. Glyph smiled and jumped into the driver’s seat. Bogg barely got seated before Glyph hit the throttle and pulled out from the slip. Pushing it wide open, Glyph turned north just as another helicopter swooped down on them.
“Here we go again.” Glyph said, barely audible over the roar of the twin engines. Glyph pulled forth the shield of energy, and covered the whole boat like a dome. He could hardly see where he was going, and could only judge the sides of the river by the lights of the city on each side.
“Can I shoot through this thing?” Bogg yelled.
“Sure, go ahead.” Glyph shouted back, as Bogg let rip several bursts off the MAC 10. Now the helicopter swerved back and forth above them, as he zigged and zagged below.
“Bogg! take the wheel!” Glyph cried as he started to climb over his seat. Bogg grabbed for the wheel, as Glyph braced himself on the back deck. Concentrating, he began to pull up columns of water behind the boat, to the height of the helicopter. The copter narrowly averted the first set, and as Glyph raised another five columns upward, the helicopter pulled up, and hung back out of range.
“We’ve got to take them out! It’s best they don’t know where we are when we go back!” Glyph called to Bogg.
Cutting the throttle, Bogg turned the wheel hard to the left, then turned right again cutting their speed in half. The armed chopper came to a hover, and maneuvered for a place to unleash more machinegun fire. Glyph swung his hands low and brought them up again, pushing a blast of air into the underside of the helicopter, sending it careening off to the left. Barely regaining control, the chopper spun and unleashed a volley of four rockets.
Bogg threw the throttle wide open, as Glyph pushed all the power he could into his shield as reinforcement.
Glyph’s arms began to glow white as he poured himself into the shield. The rockets exploded on impact, the force driving the boat down into the water several feet, but not enough to take on water. Swerving wildly, Bogg barely maintained control, and the engines sputtered several times before roaring back to life.
The helicopter moved right above them now, but Glyph had had enough of this game. Reaching up, he shot a bolt of electricity into the main body of the machine. A few moments later the chopper dropped like a rock from the sky into the river, as Glyph and Bogg sped away.
Glyph dropped his energy dome and everything plunged into darkness; only the roar of the engines could be heard as the lights on the banks of the river became fewer and fewer. Sliding into the passenger seat, Glyph could tell Bogg was having a hard time seeing anything.
After a few minutes Glyph checked his watch again; Forty-eight minutes. He could begin to see searchlights combing the river some distance behind them.
“We should ditch the boat.” Glyph said to Bogg.
“We need to get rid of the boat.”
“Why the hell would we do that?” Bogg asked him.
“Because they’re going to figure it out.”
“Figure what out?”
“That we reappear exactly where we disappeared twenty-three hours before. If you could figure that out Bogg, they will too. We only have about ten minutes left.” Glyph replied.
Bogg sat there shaking his head. “How do you know we’ll both go back, what if it’s just you?”
“That’s the way it works. You saw them back at the dock, they weren’t just after me, they were after you as well. I go back, I’m pretty certain you will too.”
They drove on for a few more minutes in silence before Glyph touched the console and turned off the engines. The boat began to drift back downstream, as Glyph scanned the shoreline. Ahead was a bright sandy spot that was visible by the starlight.
“I hear them coming.” Bogg said, hands still on the steering wheel.
Glyph strained to listen, but heard nothing. “Are you ready?”
Bogg nodded and Glyph reached over, placed his hand on Bogg’s shoulder, closed his eyes, and an instant later they were both on the side of the river sitting in the sand.
Glyph stood and helped Bogg to his feet, and they walked some distance into the tree line. “Stay here. I’m going to sink the boat.” He said to Bogg. Just as he turned around the sounds of whirring helicopter blades filled his ears. Spotlights lit up the river. There were at least three choppers, and the roar of boat engines rolling up from downstream. “Damn it!” Glyph barked. “Who are these guys? They act like special ops or something.”
He checked his watch, four minutes left. “We have to keep moving.”
Bogg was having trouble breathing.
“You Okay?” Glyph asked.
Bogg nodded and Glyph started to navigate the patch of woods toward what looked to be a road with street lamps making small points of light along a straight line. Glyph knew that at anytime they would be sniffed out and he would be forced to teleport again. He wasn’t sure how long he could keep doing it, and these fuckers were like bloodhounds. All this magic use was taking its toll on him, and he felt exhausted.
“As long as they don’t find us before we go back, we might have a chance the next time.” Glyph explained as he stepped over some fallen trees.
Just then Bogg collapsed onto some nearby logs. Glyph turned and walked over to where Bogg lay, and instinctually knelt down, as if that would help hide him from those possessed killers.
Bogg looked ashen, just like he had when Srokus sliced him wide open. “What’s wrong?” Glyph demanded.
“My heart, my heart is all over the place…I’m skipping beats.” He breathed heavily, and was sweating profusely. “Shooting pains, left arm…Fuck!” He gasped, doubled over, and hurled his dinner into the dirt.
“Mother fucker.” Glyph said in an eerily calm sort of way. He checked his watch; one and a half minutes. “Now, of all times, is not a good time to have a heart attack.” He quickly placed his hand to Bogg’s chest. “I’m going to try and give you a normal beat.” Glyph closed his eyes and desperately envisioned Bogg’s heart beating normally. “Get ready, first all the air is sucked out around you, try to get in a good sized breath. As soon as we’re back in Degruthras, we’ll come for you, just hold on, sit tight and try to relax. Do not die.”
Bogg’s rhythm became normal just as everything slowed, and the air drained away from them. In a flash of white light, Glyph drifted through space at light speed, and in the darkness lost his hold on Amos Bogg.