Attack on an Evil God
by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson
Maggi, a university student, accepts an offer to join the Lookout Beaver Club for something to do in his spare time. The club is dedicated to thaumaturgical research, which Maggi views with skepticism. He soon finds himself threatened by supernatural creatures, magical robots, and malicious goons working for a high government official who has ties to other entities not of this universe.
Chapter 14: Goat Boy Goes to a Conference
The conference was about to start. There had been some mild worry about security, because a weird unknown killer had been on a rampage three nights before. But that had now been stopped, although with so many police casualties that manpower had to be diverted into security from the traffic department.
But such constraints were of little concern for the foreign officials, since they all had their own bodyguards, who had body armour good for anything up to a .357 magnum. They had earpieces for whatever chatter deemed important — except one who had decided to listen covertly to Celine Dion instead — and they had the tried and true MP-5K slung over their shoulder, completely unconcealed.
They fanned out, surrounding the Pearl. They were on the parking lot, peering between the parked cars. They were inside, looking about suspiciously. They were on the top of the tanks leering over the edge. They had everything covered.
The important emissaries arived, and they all handed over their phones to a smiling person collecting them in a basket. The idea was that it would be a diplomatic faux pas to have their phone ring while the conference was going.
In reality, Dora just wanted their anti-thaumatic fields someplace outside while they were having their minds invaded by an entity from a parallel dimension.
The seats had already been lined up and fitted just right. Those snowflake logos weren’t there just for show.
* * *
Goat Boy ran into the trees, his rifle in both hands and held firmly against his chest. He very much looked like an eight-year old in a good costume. He stopped at a footpath to orient himself. There he spotted some joggers, and they spotted him. They stopped. He waved at them. They looked at each other. He ran into the trees again, up the hill and disappeared. The joggers shrugged and continued jogging.
Goat Boy slowed down as he approached the Pearl and halted as he spotted the first enemy combatant. He looked ominous, but Goat Boy figured he had him outgunned. He skulked about behind the Pearl, looking at the guards. He saw four of them on the ground and four on the top. That meant there had to be more than a dozen out front and another dozen inside, at least.
To a human attacker. this would have been disconcerting, but Goat Boy was no human. Goat Boy knew no fear. Goat Boy could not even be killed by conventional methods. Goat Boy calmly kept in the shadows trying to calculate the path of least resistance.
And then he went for it.
* * *
Hansi didn’t wait to see them drive away. He closed the door, got a sports bag and carried it down into the garage. There he got all the C4 charges he had also smuggled in the car but not bothered telling anyone about. He stuffed them in with his thermos filled with coffee and a few bars of Prince Polo.
He went to get the shotgun. Franchi, very nice-looking, 26-inch barrel, full choke, walnut stock. It held only five cartridges, but if one cannot get at least one bird with that, one should consider just buying one that’s frozen.
He loaded the shotgun with some Number-1 goose shot, and put on his bandolier, which held 50 shots. He hoped they would be enough. He had the phone with him. It was wrapped in copper netting so as not to interrupt the thaumatic activity he was about to start.
He had the portal ready. It had taken him a couple of days to construct it by trial and error. Mostly it involved figuring out which signs had to be where but, once that was established, the wiring around the portal took only an evening and a cup of coffee to finish with the help of Freyja.
Hansi plugged the thing in, and it hummed. There was a mild din from beyond, which now looked like a blank white wall in a garage.
He had tied a rope to a tyre and coiled it around the circumference, fastening the other end to the foot of a table on which was all sorts of accumulated junk.
He walked toward the wall, touching it with his fingers, but met nothing. He rolled the tyre through, and it disappeared as though through a shadow, not even rippling.
Satisfied with the result, he walked in. It was dark and slimy. It had a kind of wormy feeling, but it was warm. And he was through. He was wiping the slime off when he noticed that there was no actual slime on him; it had just been some anomaly of the portal.
He found himself in some other garage or warehouse, or so it appeared. There were some large crates stacked up beside him. He looked around. It was dim twilight outside. There was also a din he had heard from outside. He walked to a large door. Like a hangar door it was, huge. And it was open, just enough to let in two men abreast.
There was a city outside of the cargo port. There was a strange din from ahead, like volcanic activity, but none of the red light or smell accompanying such a thing was to be perceived. He unwrapped his phone and turned it on. He had rigged it to be a thaumatic detector — it was a simple app he had downloaded — not really intended for the purpose he was using it, but it worked quite well.
There were thaumatic emanations ahead, in the direction of the noise. Hansi put the phone back in his pocket and went to explore.
The city was designed radically different from every other city he had been to or seen on TV. It was all weird, sort of modern art, just block upon block placed indiscriminately one on top of each other at right angles, ends out or in or flush with whatever any which way. In many places, there were walkways across streets and over roofs between higher points. All seemingly random. But from a distance it looked like a proper city.
Hansi walked into the city. It was empty; the only sign of life was that din, and it seemed stationary. He looked around, seeing footpaths and gardens a bit overgrown with weeds. The houses looked empty also, unlit as they were. Some of the doors were even open. He decided to have a look in one.
It was a fairly normal-looking apartment: foyer, living room, what looked like a kitchen. The door was open into a bedroom, but another one was closed; he guessed it was a toilet. He went out and decided to look at the upper levels to see if they had something there and to see if he could find a place with a view. He wanted to see what was causing the noise before he waltzed straight into it. He figured it was either the evil god, its minions, or some automated machinery.
He was on tier three overlooking a grass yard between complexes when he spotted a couple of robots come rolling from behind a corner. They looked to be about man-height, but rolled along on three wheels, each rotating independently on its own leg. They had a head shaped like a box, and two arms, one with manipulators of some sort, the other with some device he could not identify. He guessed it might be a gun of some sort.
He ducked behind a railing, peering discreetly over it at the robots. They slowly rolled along, looking around as they went. He spotted an open door and crawled inside to hide.
Therein he saw some of the former inhabitants. They were quite dead, just sitting on a sofa in the living room, completely desiccated. There were three of them: two on the sofa, sitting as if they had frozen there. The third was lying on the floor. Looking closer, they had all been stabbed to death with a wide blade through the chest.
There were signs on the floor. They seemed familiar to him, but he could not recollect what they were. They were similar to some of the many signs used to control the mara. They were writ large within a boundary made of iron wire, as if denoting the directions of the compass. And then it came to him: it was the ritual of soul transfer.
“Somebody has been absorbing souls,” he said to himself, fingering the signs. He looked back at the creatures.
The creatures were basically humanoid in shape. It was hard to tell exactly how similar their skin had been on account of their mummified state, but it had been skin, not scales. They were dressed in colourful knitted wool sweaters and simple pants of varying colours. One had on socks; the other two not, revealing their four toes. They also had four fingers: two opposable thumbs and two regular digits.
Hansi sneaked out again, intending to check out the noise he had been meaning to explore. He had stealthily sneaked about five meters when he heard a most alarming noise: something rolled from around a corner behind him, and there was a hum of electricity.
* * *
Mjöll, Fönn, Fannar and Snær casually sneaked around Hansi’s house, looking through all the windows, hoping to spot him. They did, and surmised that he had gone downstairs. There weren’t any windows on the garage; they figured they needed to get in and have a look. First they tried the doors. The front door was locked, but the back door was not. They opened it and sneaked in, careful to not alert anyone who might be inside.
They made their way down the stairs, and came to the garage. It was empty.
“I could swear I saw him go down here,” said Snær.
“Yeah, well, keep up the noise and he will come and meet us,” said Fannar.
“Or hide,” said Mjöll.
“Yeah, he gonna hide, we gonna beat him up,” said Fönn.
“Look at this setup,” said Snær, pointing at the far wall.
“Christmas ornaments gone wrong?” said Mjöll.
“No, look at those symbols.” Snær moved closer, motioning toward the symbols, one after another. “It is as if he was trying to make a doorway to somewhere.”
“To where? Akureyri?” asked Fönn.
“We could go in and find out.”
“Yeah sure, that works,” said Fönn, rolling her yes.
“Hey, you already know this stuff works.”
“With that monster, you mean? That’s different.”
“What’s with that rope?” asked Fannar. He had been eyeing the thing, wondering how come it led straight into the concrete.
They looked. Fannar picked up the rope, and it seemed to hover in the air up against the wall, almost as if held to it by a magnet.
“That’s weird,” said Snær, reaching out to touch the wall, but he found nothing other than his fingers disappeared into the concrete. “What do you know?”
They all gathered around Snær, in awe of this new discovery. Snær pointed them in: “who’s going first?”
They went in, one after the other, all emerging in the other dimension, trying to wipe of slime that was not there.
“That was icky,” Fönn noted.
“Okay, genius, where are we now?” asked Fannar.
Snær looked around, went outside and looked into the skies and said, “You all have to see this.”
Proceed to Chapter 15...
Copyright © 2017 by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson