Norah wiped the bile from her lips and onto her lap coat. She struggled as she rose from the dirt floor. Shaking before this monstrosity, she watched it extend it’s shiny branch-like limbs. It cocked it’s head closing and reopening it’s jagged mandibles. With Vera still unconscious, she was facing this hell spawn creature alone. Her eyes took a quick glance at the mess of gore below her trunk. “Christ..”, she thought. Still locked in a stare-off, she slowly slid her hand into her right jacket pocket. She had just got a firm grasp on the 9 mm when the beast raised it’s jaw and arms towards the sky. Suddenly, she felt a pull at her chest. The same pull she felt just before her husband passed. She closed her eyes and reopened them to the jade cosmos. Looking below her to an endless abyss of stars, she struggled to find foundation. Helplessly hurling through space, she saw that same black door in her sights. She was headed straight for it.
With no control over the rate she was traveling, her chest and arms crashed against the charcoal, wooden door. A thud sounded on impact. She reached down to turn the steel nob. As it opened, she fell into a small, softly lit gold room. She looked up from the floor to find Xora standing in the center. He looked down at her and raised a brow. She went to speak only to feel herself jerked violently back into her physical form. The feeling was met with a deep gasp.
Norah froze as she watched an iridescent ring encircle the behemoth’s form. Slowly, the monster’s protruding mouth faded from sight. As the ring reached the over-sized, glazed sable eyes, human flesh took it’s place. The formation of a man was taking place before her.
Adorned in a black suit, no less.
It was when the mucousy limbs were replaced with that of human arms, that she realized it was Xora. She took another deep breath as her hand released it’s grip from the gun. The light faded as the night once again took over. Xora lowered his chin from the sky to look at Norah. As she swallowed hard, he broke the silence, “I told you not to look upon me. ..You did.” Norah closed her eyes tight and pulled her lips in. She prepped herself to respond only for Xora to interrupt, “You disobeyed.” He looked down to Vera who’s hair was tossed over her face; her body positioned like a rag doll who’d been tossed. He looked back to a Norah who was swallowing hard in silence. “Fetch her.”, he said point-blank. She shook her head and narrowed her eyes in confused silence. Xora took a couple steps towards her. He looked stern into her softly vibrating face, “Go-fetch-her.”
Norah turned slowly to her sister’s unconscious body. A few moments passed before Vera’s body suddenly wrenched. Still on the ground, she opened her eyes and coughed violently. She rolled to her left to look at Norah. Her torso sprang up at the sight of Xora’s face. She was thrown into a state of panic, “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?! WHAT WAS THAT THING?!”-“Shh shhh..”, Norah interrupted raising a hand. Xora bent his knees to meet Vera’s shock, “You’re safe now. ..But the next time I tell you something, you must listen. My words bear purpose.” Worried at Vera’s blank stare, Norah spoke calmly, “Listen, I’m sorry for all of this. That was General Brand in the trunk. He was a..” Norah struggled to find the words. She was in disbelief that this was all happening (let alone that she now had to explain it.) “OK, so we were developing this drug. James and I.”, she began. “Long story short, we injected each other and unfortunately, he experienced fatal side effects.” Vera looked to the ground, drew a breath, then looked up to her sister,
Norah crossed her arms and pinched the bridge of her nose, “Look, we-” -“Enough.”, he interrupted. “The situation calls for an explanation on a grander scale; the story in it’s entirety.” Norah took a seat next to Vera. She wrapped an arm around her as they prepared to hear a well-defined tale. Xora backed away a few paces as he placed his elbows to his sides and reached out his arms. He looked as if he were pantomiming holding a board at both ends. As the girls huddled closer, a large wall of light projected from his palms. It was damn near blinding. Just then, Norah had a flashback. “The visions from the report.”, she whispered to herself.
Sure enough, dancing images materialized via the projected light. As a scene of an endless orange desert appeared, Xora spoke, “In the present year, the Zatuhn Empire has taken hold of countless colonies throughout galaxies beyond this one. Taking hold by force, Lord Zatuhn uses torture and genocide as a means to recruit for the cause of his worship.” The hilly orange dunes faded into walls of black, volcanic boulders. The scene quickly panned over the rocks to a large circular pit. The pit housed a large chair of jagged iron, reaching approximately 10 feet. With the scene zeroing in on the empty iron throne, the girls leaned forward. As they shifted, an abrupt vision appeared of a 7 ft tall mantis squealing like a demon atop the throne. The sudden terror prompted them to scream. “That..”, Xora began, “Is Lord Zatuhn.”
He went on as one scene faded into another. The horrific sight of Zatuhn was now an equally horrific sight of enormous ants with their limbs being ripped from the bodies by giant, ghastly mantises. Smaller ants roared as they watched the leaders of their colony ripped apart alive. Flames licked the vision as Zatuhn reappeared to toss his head back and shrill as if he were in ecstasy. Xora hung his head, “We refused to submit to his worship. The colony is strong. The colony is strong and steadfast in our beliefs.” A dense black smoke took over the scene that faded into a hulking ant crawling towards another sitting atop a mammoth boulder. Vera looked sympathetic, “That’s you..isn’t it?” Xora nodded as the scene continued to play. With that, he went on, “I was called upon by the last of our elders before he too was thrown from power and killed. He told of a prophecy. He told of my purpose. He told of our last hope.” The scene zoomed in on the elder and backed out to reveal dimly lit inscriptions on a wall of limestone. The inscriptions, although primitive, were of two human beings: One of solid locks and one of hollow before a large, cowering beast. Xora went on, “Speculations were passed down from generation to generation of this picture. However, it has always been called The Females Onyx and Ivory. It was never clear to me until now. It was never clear because my species does not interpret color. Thus, I’ve always referenced these descriptions for their literal meaning.” Xora looked to Vera, “That is why I inquired about your tusks, Vera.” The girls looked to each other. Recalling their attention, Xora proceeded with the prophecy, “Nearly 300 years of peace housed itself among my species. Never could we have imagined a foul being in our presence, such as the one you see here. However, a new dawn has risen over my home and hell has followed with it. It is our strong belief that this picture has turned prophecy. Or yet, has always been prophecy. A mysterious mark of my species’ history has now been realized. A realized mark that must be fulfilled. The females are clearly that of Earth’s humans.”
The girl’s stared in awe as they took in the weight of Xora’s words. “You might ask how you are seeing me as you are.”, he continued. “The beings such as mine, that are alien to you, possess alternate makeup different from that of normal insects. Not just alternate in size, but in overall genetic makeup and brain activity. We are, for lack of a better term, Warlock-like. “Magic”, as your species would say. No magic, however. Just powerful in psychic activity. Psychic activity that can bring about camouflage if needed. However, Zatuhn’s army possesses the power ten-fold that of ours. So strong it pins us into submission, making it impossible to induce any possibility of defense besides that of primal reaction.” As those last words escaped his lips, monstrous mandibles were seen snapping at the monstrosity of the mantis army.
Xora dropped his hands and the projected light instantly dropped from sight. He looked to the girls who now looked like mannequins. A few moments of silence were placed between all of them. Xora pointed to Norah, “Your husband left you with a gift. A gift you must learn to house and control at will.” He then looked to Vera, “I’ll need her psyche and your brute strength to help defeat Lord Zatuhn and keep him from executing a mass genocide of your people.” Vera shook her head, “I..I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Just then, Norah slowly withdrew a glowing violet vile from her left pocket. She danced it between her fingers as she analyzed the contents.
“You will.”, she whispered.Share This Post:by