The Hour Book2 Chapter 19

“That was a quick hour.”

Glyph heard the words as the light dimmed and his new surroundings took hold. It was Zarabish!

“What the…?” Glyph gasped and swiftly turned his head.

Suddenly Bogg started to scream out in terror. Glyph’s eyes began to focus in on the female demon, who was seated a few yards away. Her shadowy outline was barely visible in the forested twilight.

He glanced over at Bogg, who was lunging for the guns that hung around Glyph’s neck.

“Bogg! It’s OK!” Glyph shouted at him, as he dodged the detective’s second attempt to get his hands on the weapons.

Amos Bogg continued to rant hysterically about the demon he knew was about to slay them both.

“Amos! Relax!” Glyph shouted.

Instantly Bogg began to relax. “What is going on?” He asked calmly. “Why am I no longer terrified? I don’t understand.”

Without realizing, Glyph had used a Word of Command on him. “Bogg, this is Zarabish. She is my demon. She will not harm you.” Glyph stared hard at Zarabish. “Understood?”

“Son of a bitch.” Bogg said, as Zarabish slowly got to her feet. “I don’t see you for 23 hours, and you already got yourself a demon. You do move fast.”

‘That sounds like the Bogg I know.’ Glyph thought, and smiled.

Glyph then turned his attention to Zarabish. “How did you get here?” He demanded.

“You tell me. One minute you were giving your pathetic goodbyes and the next moment I was here.” Zarabish stated, and chuckled over his ignorance.

“Oh damn! Dammit! The Blood Oath, you gave a blood oath to a cursed man, now you have it too. Fucking transference! Lobrein warned me to be more careful. Fuck it all!” Glyph swore.

“Well Glyph, this looks like an interesting world; perhaps I could be useful.” Zarabish teased, as she glanced about at her surroundings.

“Perhaps you could get me killed too.” Glyph shot back at her.

“Mind filling me in on what the hell is going on here?” Bogg interrupted. “Is that…?” Bogg choked, pointing repeatedly at Zarabish, as if struggling to find the right word.

“Demon?” Glyph suggested, uncertain if that was what Bogg was trying to say.

“Is that demon on our side?” He finally blurted out.

“As a matter of fact, she is.” Glyph stated as he scanned the darkening sky for helicopters. “Look, right now we need to get as far away from here as we can. Those special ops guys are still around, it’ll only be a matter of minutes before they realize we’re here and try to burn us hard.” Glyph explained.

“Where do we go then?” Bogg asked.

Glyph glanced around a moment. “That way.” He replied, pointing up river.

“What’s there?” Bogg demanded, never taking his eyes off Zarabish, and keeping his distance.

“Two mountains, separated by a river. I’m pretty certain it’s that way.” Glyph replied. He wasn’t sure why, but he knew there was something there, something he had seen in a dream.

“Let me guess, this is another one of your fantastic plans right? Glyph, the mountains are a ways off, and it ain’t like we can drive there.” Bogg said sarcastically eyeing up Zarabish. “How do you propose we get there, or anywhere, without being spotted?”

“We go fast. Faster than a human can move anyway.” Glyph turned back to Zarabish, and eyed her speculatively. “How fast can you run?”

“What are you thinking?” Zarabish retorted.

“Can you carry me and Bogg?”

“Not while running, that is for certain.”

“What if it was just Bogg?”

“Perhaps. It would depend on how far I would have to run.”

“Okay, take Bogg and head up the river until you come to a gap between two mountains.”

“I am not going anywhere near that river!” Zarabish shouted.

“Keep it down, there are people hunting us remember? Just follow the river, you don’t have to be in the water.”

“Will you tell me what this is all about already!” Bogg interrupted.

“It’s a long story, Bogg. All you need to know is that she is on our side and she can’t do magic.” Glyph quipped, and turned back to Zarabish. “Are you ready?”

“I suppose.” Zarabish replied. “You. Bogg. I will sit down and you will climb onto my back.”

“Call me Amos.” The detective informed her as she sat down in front of him. “That goes for you too, Glyph.”

“Whatever you say, Amos.” Glyph said and gave Amos a mock salute. “You’ll need these.” Glyph said as he slid the machine gun straps onto his arm, and tossed them to Amos. Amos deftly caught the guns and slung them over each shoulder, then he took extra ammo out of the bag that Glyph dropped at his feet and started shoveling it into his pockets.

Amos stepped up apprehensively behind Zarabish. “You sure about this?” He asked Glyph as he cast a wary eye at the female demon. Glyph nodded yes, and Amos threw his arms around her neck and wrapped his legs around her torso. Zarabish stood slowly, but with ease of motion, and turned to face Glyph.

“I’m serious, man. No more Bogg. I was Bogg in a previous life.” Amos said to him, smiling over the demons shoulder.

“Oh, I almost forgot. Here take this too.” Glyph said and handed Zarabish the parchment that Greem had given him, and she in turn handed it back to Amos. “It’s for Grot.”

Amos nodded his thanks at Glyph who then gave Zarabish the thumbs up, and signaled her to move out. “And Amos, if she gives you any trouble, don’t hesitate to shoot her.” Glyph added, and smiled at the look on both of their faces.

“And what about you?  How will you keep up?” Zarabish questioned.

“I’ll find a way.” Glyph said winking at her.

“Don’t you think we should stick together? Whatever you’re going to do, just do it, and then we’ll head out.” Amos stated.

“Amos is correct, if we are confronted, we may need your power to overcome such a circumstance. Especially since I am unable to perform magic.” Zarabish commented.

Glyph thought about it for a moment, and had to admit they did have a point. He agreed and immediately set his mind to figuring out the best way for him to follow them. “Alright, my first thought was to teleport along from point to point behind you, but teleportation requires line of sight or memory to work, and the sun has already set, so I have neither.”

“Can you change shape?” Zarabish asked.

“Well, the idea occurred to me, but I have never tried it, so I don’t know how to change, or how to change back. It’s probably my best bet though.” Glyph reasoned. All Glyph knew for certain was that he had to do something, and quick.

“Maybe you could change into a deer or bird or something.” Amos suggested.

“The ‘or something’ has a nice ring to it. Alright, I’ll give it a go.” Glyph decided.

Closing his eyes, Glyph concentrated on an image of Greem. ‘If Lobrein can change into a gargoyle than so can I’. He thought. ‘It should be like creating something, only I need to place it in the same space that I occupy, and instead of creating all of the material, I can use most of what’s already there. I just need to change it, and tweak it a bit to make it perfect.’ Glyph struggled with his first attempt, and began to make progress, until his mind became jumbled with too many details. “I don’t think I can do it, there are too many factors to consider.” Glyph said. His flesh had turned lumpy and parts of his body were growing while the rest of him remained the same.

“You do not need to know the mechanics of how the animal works, you just have to recreate the shape, its musculature, and appendages.” Zarabish offered as she and Amos watched with rapt fascination. “The rest will follow.”

Glyph took the idea and ran with it. “So, I must concentrate on the image… and mold myself into it.” Suddenly Glyph felt a strange surge of heat pass through him, and opened his eyes. Something was different, he was taller, he was…a gargoyle! Glyph stared at his arms, the stony flesh, the wings! “That’s the secret, dammit! If I believe it, I can do it!” He nearly shouted. Glyph turned in a circle trying to admire his newly formed body from every angle, flexing his wings, and feeling the texture of his skin. ‘That’s why I can do things the others can’t.’ Glyph thought to himself. ‘Because I have no preconceived notions as to what can and can’t be done.’

Amos’s eyes bulged as he stared at Glyph. “That was damned incredible!” He stated, and snapped Glyph out of his shape-shifting reverie.

“Okay, we can discuss it later, right now it’s time to go.” Glyph said aloud and crouched down to spring into the air, when a bright flash of light cut through the darkness behind him.

“Leaving so soon Hexzu?” A deep raspy voice spoke.

Glyph spun around to see a demon standing in the tree line.

“Shit.” Amos said, and sounded as if he actually had.

“So, which of you is the Great One?” It demanded. “Perhaps you could enlighten me Zarabish.”

“Krodich.” Zarabish spoke spitefully.

Krodich chuckled evilly. “I recognized your musk as soon as I appeared. Though I am surprised to find you here, and in the company of wizards at that. Tsach will be so disappointed when I inform him.” Krodich gloated.

“Tsach, sent you here?” Zarabish growled. “How did you find us?”

Krodich ignored her however and took a few steps closer to them, eyeing Amos and Glyph shrewdly. “The one you carry on your back loosely fits the description.” The demon said looking at Amos. “But there is something different about you gargoyle.” Krodich said turning towards Glyph. “For one, you haven’t tried to fly away.”

“What difference would it make?” Glyph answered, trying to stall. Why, and how did this demon get here? Glyph stood his ground as Krodich took another several steps closer.

“That is a fancy little sword you have there.” The demon commented, snapping a small tree branch off and picking his long pointy teeth with it.

‘The sword!’ Glyph thought as he glanced down at it. Glyph forgot he was wearing it when he came to Earth. That would explain how the demon found them, it was the same way Simeon had done it; they both followed the magic in the sword. Glyph looked up from the scabbard to the demon, its penetrating eyes stared at him.

“Shield!” Glyph called out just as lightning flew from the demon’s hands. Glyph quickly pushed his arms out and a force-wave of unseen power blasted the demon back into the trees some thirty feet.

“Shit! We don’t have time for this!” Glyph yelled.

“How did he get here?” Amos blurted out, as he threw the bolt on the AK.

“It’s the sword, they can follow the magic in the sword!” Glyph replied excitedly.

“Glyph, you must kill him. If he returns and tells Tsach about Amos and me, he may be able to use us to get at you!” Zarabish hissed at him.

“I’ll handle it, take Amos and go!” Glyph ordered. Just as Zarabish turned to go, a flat red burst of energy shot out of the trees in a wide path, just missing Zarabish’s head. A moment later trees began to topple all around them. Glyph leapt toward Zarabish and Amos, encompassing them within the dome of his energy shield, just as a massive tree trunk slammed into it and slid off to one side.

Amos released his grip on Zarabish and slid down her back to the ground, looking about nervously. “Where is it? Where is it?” He kept asking repeatedly.

With a guttural howl Glyph let loose an explosive ring of energy that violently ripped the tree away from his shield in a fury of splintering wood and shredded leaves. Glyph dropped the shield and quickly drew his sword on instinct. It was smaller now in his claw-like hand. Without even thinking, he willed the sword larger to be more proportionate to his Hexzu body. The blazing white color of its blade lit up the surrounding area, but Glyph could not see the demon anywhere.

He stole a glance at Zarabish, who seemed to be terrified. He hoped this meant that she wasn’t suddenly going to try and turn on him. Without warning, Amos let loose with the machine gun; Glyph side-stepped in time to see Amos thrown off into the darkness by an unseen force. “Light!” Glyph said as an orb of white light shot into the air and hovered above them. Krodich came over the fallen trees in one leap and shot lightning at Glyph before it landed in the small clearing that surrounded them.

Glyph caught the lightning with his sword, and spun the blade, re-directing the bolt back into the surprised demon’s shoulder knocking him to his knees. Zarabish jumped backward, as if she didn’t know what to do without her magic, or possibly to avoid being hit in the crossfire, Glyph didn’t know which.

As Glyph charged forward, the demon vanished! “What the hell? Is it invisible? Or did it just teleport away?” Glyph asked himself.

“He has shape-shifted!” Zarabish shouted as she clambered into the tangled mess of cut trees behind him.

‘That was it! Just like Cruix and the mouse, only… how small did he go, and into what?’ Glyph wondered, as he kept turning left then right, waving his sword back and forth in front of him. “I don’t have time for this, Krodich!” He shouted. Glyph called forth his shield and ignited the air, as a blast furnace of flames surrounded him in a twenty-foot radius. As soon as the air was consumed the fire extinguished itself, except for a few tree limbs and some scrub. Within seconds the demon reappeared, now singed black in areas, and gasping for breath.

Glyph lunged at the demon, the larger bulk of his Hexzu frame knocking the demon off balance onto its back. With one gliding leap, Glyph landed next to the demon’s head and brought the bright white blade of his sword toward Krodich’s throat. Krodich swung his arm upward at the same time, and swept Glyph’s legs out from under him. Glyph pressed the sword down, but the demon had turned its head, and as Glyph fell, the flat of the blade slid across the side of the creature’s neck and lifted away.

“Grab him you stupid Chin’ee!” Krodich raged at Zarabish, who was scrambling to get away from both of them. Rolling to his feet, Glyph again stood opposite the demon, their eyes locked. Glyph found himself out of breath; all this magic use was wearing him out.

With blinding speed the demon pushed its fists toward Glyph, and before he could raise his shield the wall of invisible force blasted Glyph backward into the air. He tried to compensate with his wings, but slammed into the limbs of a tree before fully recovering. Glyph began to untangle himself from the branches, and just as he was crawling out, Krodich blasted the bottom of the tree sending it and Glyph crashing to the ground. Glyph tried to roll over in the mess of branches and leaves and found his wing pinned under the weight of the trunk. He thought of using his sword to cut himself free, but it was nowhere around. Glyph could hear the demon moving closer now, as it ripped limbs off the tree in an effort to get at him. Channeling power into his fist, Glyph punched the trunk where his wing was pinned and cracked the tree in half. He worked feverishly to free his wing and just as he pulled it loose, he was kicked onto his back. Glyph looked up to see Krodich towering over him.

“Is that all you have Great One?” The demon sneered at him, and placed his massive foot onto Glyph’s chest. “I expected a challenge, but I have chin’ee that would make a worthier opponent.”

“Don’t you realize when you’re beat Krodich?” Glyph wheezed back as he struggled under the demon’s weight.

Without warning Krodich cried out and fell backward. Glyph wasn’t sure what had happened, but quickly jumped to his feet, as a new idea suddenly sprang to mind. ‘Use it as a tool.’ He said to himself, and leapt forward toward the toppling demon. Glyph concentrated hard as he pounced onto the demon’s chest. Moving his open hand in a circle, he thrust it down toward Krodich’s head at lightning speed, as water began to spray from his palm like a power washer into the demon’s face.

Krodich let loose a blood curdling scream that raised the hairs on the back of Glyph’s neck. Its body and limbs quivered uncontrollably as the water ate through the demon’s flesh and muscle like industrial acid. The creature jerked violently several times, and finally fell silent. Glyph closed his hand and the water stopped. He quickly jumped back to avoid the acrid black and yellow smoke pouring from the devil’s face. Its skull had been stripped bare to the bone.

Glyph looked up and saw Zarabish standing there with the King’s sword held firmly in her grasp, black demon blood dripping from the blade. She waved the putrid smoke away from her face with her free hand, and stared at Glyph intently. For a moment Glyph thought she was going to attack, but then she flipped the sword around and offered him the handle.

“Sharp blade.” She commented.

Glyph reached forward slowly and took the sword, and looking down at Krodich’s lifeless body. He realized that its one leg had nearly been severed in two. That was what had made the demon fall; Zarabish had saved him.

“Thanks.” Glyph replied. “Where’s Amos?”

“He is over there.” She said, and then added. “He is injured, but still breathing.”

Glyph made his way over to Amos. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

“Ribs.” Amos said softly.

Glyph placed his hand over Amos’s ribs and healed them, then helped him to his feet.

“Is it dead?” Amos asked.

“Yes. Now let’s get out of here, all this magical fighting is bound to have attracted attention.” Glyph replied. Amos climbed up onto Zarabish’s back, and the female demon turned quickly and started off through the woods at a run. Glyph crouched down and sprang into the air, willing his new wings to flap. At first he strained with the effort, but as he gained altitude he began to relax, and found that it became easier to do.

Sailing the winds, Glyph covered a mile in less than a minute. Staying close to the river, he picked up Zarabish’s trail shortly thereafter. Following the swath of broken trees and stomped underbrush, Glyph flew over their heads for another mile or two. Angling his body and pumping his wings harder, he ascended higher. There was a clear sky and Glyph wanted to see how far they had to go. He could see the mountains in the distance, and guessed they were some fifteen miles away. Pulling his wings close to his body, as he had seen Greem and Grot do, Glyph dropped into a dive, and spiraled downward, locating Zarabish and Amos’s position once again.

Repeating the way the Hexzu landed from memory wasn’t easy. Glyph tried his best, but ended up pulling his wings in too soon, and dropped like a rock about six feet onto the ground. Glyph caught himself with his knees and arms, and pushed himself back to his feet.

Suddenly the trees parted and Zarabish came sliding to a stop in front of him.

“What is it?” She asked.

“The place we need to be is about fifteen miles away; do you think you can make that in…” Glyph glanced at his Hexzu wrist. “Amos, how long have we been here?” Glyph asked.

“I’m guessing about twenty minutes or so.” Amos replied.

“… Forty more minutes?” Glyph continued.

“If I understand your mile, then I think it could be done.” Zarabish replied.

“Glyph, why are these mountains so important? What’s up there?” Amos questioned him.

“I’m not sure exactly. I’ll explain later. Zarabish, don’t stop until you get there. Climb the mountain to the right of the river, I’ll scout ahead and find the right place.”

“How will I get across the river?” Zarabish asked.

Glyph reached over and touched his hand to her hip; an instant later they all appeared on the other side of the river.

Stepping back, Glyph looked upward at an opening in the tree canopy, then over at Amos and Zarabish. “If I find this place fast, I can come back and try teleporting us there, but you’ll have to be a lot closer, so let’s get going.”

“Glyph, free me from these silver shackles and I can get us there in half the time!” Zarabish argued.

“No, not yet. I appreciate what you did back there with Krodich, but the shackles stay, and we don’t have time to argue, so go! Quickly!” Glyph said to her, and in one swift leap, took to the air and sped up the river.

About fifteen minutes later, Glyph spied a small clearing about halfway up the mountain, he wasn’t sure why, but knew this was the place, and quickly doubled back.

‘I’ve got to get back to Zarabish and Amos fast.’ He thought, but as he flew in their direction, he could hear the sounds of helicopters in the distance.

Glyph strained to peer through the darkness, and could see about a half-dozen choppers headed up the river and moving fast. “Great. Fucking great.” Glyph mumbled, and flew off to find his companions.

‘I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to outrun them.’ He thought. ‘It all depends on how close Zarabish has gotten to the Gap. Those black ops guys are most likely coming to investigate whatever the hell is going on out here, and It won’t be long before they find Zarabish’s trail, or catch my scent.’

Glyph doubled his speed, and flew down near the tops of the trees in hopes of finding them in the darkness; he found his Hexzu vision was far superior to his own, especially at night. Swooping across the river, Glyph picked up their trail fairly easily. He was flying incredibly fast now as he followed their pathway back toward the mountains. Zarabish and Amos must be making good time, or he had been gone longer than he suspected.

A few minutes later, and about ten miles from where they had crossed the river, Glyph spied them trudging along through the underbrush. He touched down fairly smoothly on an exposed outcropping of rock in their path, and waited for Zarabish and Amos to reach him. Glyph called out to them as the pair came within shouting distance, stopping Zarabish short.

“It took you long enough.” Zarabish complained. “My back is killing me you know.”

Glyph scowled a grin. “It’s not far now, maybe five miles. We only have about twenty minutes before we get pulled back to M’atra, and we need to make it there without being detected; those special ops guys are on our tail again.”

“Not again!” Amos exclaimed, sounding pissed off. “And this ain’t no joy ride for me either.” He directed at Zarabish. “Where the hell are we going anyway?”

“We can talk about it when we get there, right now we have to go.” Glyph answered.

“I too would like to know where you are making me go.” Zarabish commented, half waiting for Glyph’s order.

Glyph shuddered in exasperation. “There! Okay?” Glyph said, pointing to the shadowy mountains silhouetted by the night sky. “Right there! The mountain on our side of the river about half way up, and don’t ask me why! Can we go now?”

“Why not just order me to do so?” Zarabish asked, a confused look on her face.

“Because I don’t want to have to order you.” Glyph paused, shaking his fist in frustration. “Just do it.”

Zarabish nodded, hoisted Amos a bit higher on her back, and resumed her course through the trees. Glyph spread his wings and took to the sky.

As soon as he was above the trees he could see six choppers circling the area where Glyph had teleported Zarabish and Amos to this side of the river. He had only watched for a few seconds before one of the helicopters broke formation and headed straight for him. Seconds later another followed. Of the four left behind, two began to weave and fly erratically, then suddenly straightened and also came at Glyph. One of the remaining two began to spin in place, and without warning crashed into another and exploded into a giant ball of flames.

‘They turned on each other’ Glyph decided ‘They turned evil, and the good ones fought back. The other four aircraft aren’t even following the path Zarabish left. Those are the black-eyed evil sons of bitches that are coming to kill me.’ Glyph thought as he hovered above the trees watching the helicopters approach.

Glyph concentrated, and channeling power into his arms he lifted them swiftly above his head. An enormous cracking noise filled the air, almost like popping bubble wrap, as a dozen trees along both sides of the river shot into the air like missiles.

The first helicopter was pierced through the bottom, branches splintered off in every direction as the main trunk blew through the top and snapped the blades of the propeller. It dropped from the sky, and was followed shortly by the second one.

The third copter veered off ninety degrees, and the fourth followed suit in the opposite direction, barely dodging the barrage of tree-spears.

Glyph turned back towards the gap and began to fly away as fast as he could. Just as he had caught up to Zarabish, he could hear the last two helicopters closing in. ‘They never stop coming until they’re dead.’ He reminded himself. Glyph had become accustomed to being the one who did the attacking during his hour, now it was back to the way things used to be, and he had to make that adjustment.

He spun around to face them and saw two flashes of light burst from the front of the pursuing aircraft; Glyph instantly realized they were missiles. Arching his back, Glyph shot straight up as fast as he could will his wings to carry him. Calling forth his shield, a faint white sphere surrounded him. He knew it would make him more of a target, but it would also make Zarabish and Amos less of one, and he hoped it would be enough to keep them from being discovered.

The missiles snaked through the air, then shot upward after Glyph. ‘Heat-seeking’ Glyph thought, and angled left in a descending arch toward the side of the mountain. As the missiles closed in, Glyph ignited the air behind him, shut off his shield, and quickly arced to the right. Seconds later they exploded on impact with the side of the cliff, sending large chunks of rock and trees careening toward the river below.

As Glyph veered around the side of an escarpment, he stole a quick glance, and could see both helicopters moving to intercept him. He was running out of time, and if he didn’t destroy them soon, they would know exactly where he disappeared, and that meant they would be waiting when he returned. ‘They really need to die now.’ Glyph decided.

Suddenly reversing course, Glyph showered the chopper closest to him in a blanket of thick ice, and sustained it until the second copter came into weapons range. The second craft immediately fired two rockets at him, and Glyph returned fire with a volley of fireballs as he flew in close and latched onto the ice covered helicopter, and rode it down as it dropped silently out of the sky.

The fireballs acted just like flares, and drew the missiles off in the opposite direction. Glyph let go of the helicopter shortly before it slammed into the ground and glided off just above the trees in a wide loop across the river. He looked back for the other chopper, but couldn’t find it. A few seconds later, as Glyph ascended toward the mountain once more he heard the distinct sound of gunfire. Fearing that the last copter had discovered Amos and Zarabish, he sped in their direction when a barrage of bullets ripped through his right wing.

Glyph shrieked on the next flap of his wings, as the thin membrane tore. He tried to compensate, but instead began to tumble in a spiraling free fall toward the valley beneath him. Glyph desperately tried to create some air or wind to cushion his impact, but found it hard to direct his thoughts at the ground while spinning end over end. A few seconds later Glyph tried again, but the wind merely brought him in at a softer trajectory, slowing him a bit before he slammed into a small clearing.

He opened his eyes, and couldn’t see anything. Lifting his head, Glyph realized he was laying face down in the dirt. His right side hurt, but he wasn’t sure if it was from the bullets or the fall. Glyph pushed himself up from the depression he had left in the soft detritus; damn, gargoyles are tough!

Glyph was feeling drained as he attempted to heal his wing. He had barely gotten started when the helicopter came over the treetops, its machineguns blazing. Closing his eyes he thought of the last place he had glimpsed Zarabish and Amos; when Glyph opened his eyes he was there. They were about a mile up the mountainside ahead of him. “We’re running out of time!” Glyph said through gritted teeth as he resumed the healing of his wing. He sealed the tear, and made the bullet holes whole again. He felt drained, but pure adrenaline forced him to act.

Immediately Glyph took to the sky. His right wing still hurt, but it at least kept him airborne. Gaining altitude, Glyph spied a large hollow in the rock several hundred feet in front of Zarabish and Amos, and instantly teleported there. Glyph collapsed on the rock, and tried to catch his breath. He was exhausted now, and began to realize the huge amounts of energy he had been expending just holding the form of the Hexzu. He hadn’t heard the helicopter yet, but knew it was only a matter of time before it found him again.

Glyph began to tick off seconds in his head; they had to be down to the last several minutes, it could happen anytime now. A minute later Zarabish and Amos came upon the hollow; the demon almost stepped on Glyph as she went by.

“Stop.” Glyph called out.

Zarabish turned and saw Glyph lying there. “What are you doing?”

“Resting.” Glyph replied. “My reserves are tapped, I don’t know how much longer I can hold up. Luckily we’re almost out of time.”

“Is this the spot you wanted?” Amos asked him.

“Close enough. It’s around here somewhere.”

“There is nothing here but trees and rock. What did you expect to find?” Zarabish asked bending down to allow Amos to slide off her back.

Glyph sat up, and held himself upright with his arms braced against the rock. “I’m not sure but–.” He began to reply, but was cut off by the sounds of the helicopter blades, now whirling overhead. “Amos! Take it down!” Glyph shouted.

Amos, startled at first, whipped off the AK-47, pulled the bolt, and started blanketing the airship in lead.

Glyph called for a shield, which popped up for a second than fizzled. “I’m too damn tired.” He said to no one in particular. “We have to take cover!” Glyph yelled at Zarabish, who appeared momentarily stunned by the flying vessel and its weapons. “Over there!” Glyph screamed with the little bit of breath he could muster. He pointed toward the rocky mountainside, where he saw a fissure in the cliff that might be large enough to hide Zarabish.

The female demon looked as if she might make a break for it, but at the last second turned and scooped Glyph off the rock, tossed his Hexzu sized body over her shoulder and started to run.

“Amos!” Glyph wailed over the gunfire that Amos was spraying at the helicopter, which was now spinning around to face them above the trees. Zarabish sprinted past Amos, and Glyph screamed again, just as Amos’s ammo clip ran dry. “Amos! Take cover!”

Amos locked eyes with Glyph for a short moment as he rode by on Zarabish’s shoulder, then took off after them. Within seconds Zarabish was at the opening.

“I do not think I will fit!” Zarabish shouted as she dropped Glyph to the ground in front of the opening like a sack of potatoes.

“If you don’t” Glyph wheezed. “We’re as good as dead.”

Zarabish turned sideways and pushed herself into the fissure, which widened considerably on the inside, but had only a small ledge to stand on before the crevice dropped into darkness.  She took a moment to brace herself before she reached out, grabbed Glyph by the ankle, and started dragging him in behind her.

Glyph looked back and saw Amos racing towards him. The helicopter behind them had a distinctive wobble to it, and only one machinegun opened fire on them as Amos dove over top of Glyph into the cave. The last thing Glyph saw before his head was pulled inside were the telltale flashes of light that he knew were missiles. “Fuck me.”

Zarabish blocked Amos from the hole at her back with her leg, but his momentum knocked her foot from the narrow ledge. She scrambled to regain her balance but slipped and swung her elbow into Amos, who grabbed hold of Glyph, and all three of them tumbled over the edge into the darkness. Glyph impacted the side of the fissure several times before they all slammed unceremoniously to the rocky cave floor. Glyph could hear rocks falling all around them, and then the explosion of the two missiles could be heard above them. Glyph opened his eyes and could see the flash of flames some forty feet above them through the small shaft they had fallen down.

The noise was deafening, and seemed to last forever. Then there was another explosion, but this time Glyph decided it had to have been outside as it sounded like a muffled pop noise. Falling rock pelted him from above, and the inside of his skull was pounding. He could barely lift his head, but even in the pitch darkness his Hexzu eyes could see Zarabish beginning to stir. Glyph forced his head to the right and could see Amos laying a few feet away. He tried to speak but nothing came out.

Before Glyph could even think his next thought, a gasp escaped his lungs as the air was siphoned off around him. Within moments there was a familiar white flash, and all went dark once more, a distant voice could be heard mumbling, “You’re early”, as time, and his hour, came grinding to a halt.

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