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 16: Attack on an Evil God
Mjöll, Fönn and Fannar went to Snær and had a look. They saw the strangest city.
“We seem to have gone out of the country,” said Fannar.
“We’re not even on planet Earth anymore,” said Snær.
“Where are we then?” asked Mjöll.
“The hell I know,” said Snær, “but wherever we are, so is that bastard Hansi.”
They exited the warehouse and walked out of the lot. After several minutes, they happened upon some train tracks, which they started following until they spotted a train car. There were some figures about it.
“There are some natives,” said Mjöll. “Let’s talk to them.”
The rest of them saw nothing wrong with that, and moved in closer. They soon saw that the natives were different from humans in many ways. They were busy loading some crates into the train car, a singular, very normal-looking electric tram, of the sort you would see in any European city.
“They look like robots,” said Fannar.
“Maybe they can take us to their leader if we ask them,” said Snær.
The robots noticed them, and stopped loading crates. They watched them come closer, standing absolutely still. Mjöll, Fönn and Fannar stopped about fifty meters from the tram. Snær walked in closer to greet the robots.
“Hey! We are travellers from afar, and we are looking for someone. I was wondering if you could help us.”
The robots were silent. Snær stopped, smiled at the robots and waited for a reply. He turned to his friends and shrugged. “Maybe they don’t understand.”
“Try English,” said Mjöll.
Snær turned back to the robots. There was a low but ominous hum, as one of them pointed its arm cannon at him. Snær could see glimpses of the laser in the air. The lightning followed the laser quite accurately, forming a nearly straight line, and it hit Snær dead center, frying him. Fire erupted from his ears, then from his eye sockets, and could be seen inside his mouth as he fell down. The thunder was earsplitting.
Mjöll, Fönn and Fannar ran away as fast as they could, screaming. Two of the robots rolled after them.
They ran into the city, up the nearest stairs, and onto the roof. From there, they ran from rooftop to rooftop, between building complexes via ramps and along the many balconies and ramparts there were. The place was a maze with no dead-ends.
Eventually they found an open door. They entered the room, closed the door and hid from sight of the window.
“What was that about?” asked Fannar.
“I don’t know!” said Fönn.
“Maybe they are like border patrol,” said Mjöll.
“What do you mean?” asked Fönn.
“Well... we are obviously not from around here. Maybe they thought we’re foreign?”
“Bloody racist robots!” said Fannar.
They lay there for a while before they dared to move. They figured they must have lain there for over an hour when they dared to stand up and peek out the window. Seeing nothing, they started to look around the apartment they were in. It looked almost too normal, with a living room, kitchen and bathroom.
“Oh, I found the inhabitants,” said Fönn, looking inside the bedroom.
The bed had been lifted up against the wall to make room for the ceremonial circle with the signs all correctly placed, if a bit obscured by dried-up blood. The bodies of what appeared to be two adults and two children had been propped up against the wall in a sitting position and were completely desiccated.
“Look, those signs are just like the ones in that book Fura and Runni showed us,” she pointed.
“I know those,” said Mjöll. “Something about soul relocation.”
“So they didn’t actually die here, just had their souls relocated?” said Fannar.
“I guess. Maybe,” said Mjöll.
“To where?” asked Fönn.
“What do you mean?” asked Fannar.
“I mean where did the souls then go? They must have gone someplace. That’s the idea with soul relocation, isn’t it?”
Fannar gave it a thought. “Maybe to the robots.”
“Then there must be more of them, hundreds of them, rolling around somewhere.”
“I think we need to get out of here.”
They sneaked outside, carefully looking out for robots. They found themselves lost, unable to orient themselves. The sun was no help; it seemed not to rise nor fall in this place, just casually rotate at about the same angle.
They tried climbing up on the roof to have a look around. That worked. In the distance, they saw the warehouses where they had arrived, the train tracks were to be seen here and there, and a strange clearing not far away, where something was happening. And making noises while happening. They saw something moving there, something big. A creature. It seemed to look at them from time to time, and they didn’t like it.
And then they saw someone else on another roof, and it looked like Hansi. It could hardly be anyone else. And he was moving toward the creature.
“That’s him!” said Fannar.
“I think we ought to go back,” said Mjöll. “Let him get into his own trouble here.”
“No, this is what we came here for! What if he succeeds?”
“Succeeds? How? He’s alone, against that thing and those robots.”
“We must try. Remember what we’re fighting for!”
They agreed to go after Hansi. Luckily for them, Hansi was going very slowly. He had an eye out for robots and would check down every roof and around every corner before proceeding, listening carefully before he moved. They just hurried along, trying not to make much sound.
* * *
Hansi was not heading straight at the weird thing, the evil god itself, but to the nearest train track. He had spotted a train picking something up. When he came closer some minutes later, it arrived again to pick up more stuff. It appeared to be coils of wire, as Hansi was closer to see it. And when the train left with that batch, what was left looked like a bunch of welding equipment. Of course they’d need that to weld together all of that wire. And whatever else was there at the end.
Hansi figured it was a portal, like the one he had walked through, but one that only let through souls. That weird big thing he had seen over there would not be travelling through just yet, knowing it would probably get caught and put in formaline, if not blown up by some army. Most likely the Americans.
Hansi knew he was just a stone’s throw away as he looked around the next corner. He got out of sight as a couple of robots rolled into view. Nothing for it now: he was in a hurry. He waited until he could hear the things, guessed they’d be passing him soon, and looked. They were actually turning in the other direction, to patrol the long way around the neighborhood.
He stepped from behind his corner, raised the gun and blasted the things. He hit one twice, and the other one was turning around when he shot it, too. The last shot got it in the head, scattering it all over.
Hansi started reloading, looking around as he did. He saw a couple of robots appear, and he hurried back into hiding just before they fired. They fired again and again. The noise was amazing. Some lightning missed, some hit the corner, burning and breaking bits of it.
Hansi believed they weren’t really shooting at him, just making sure he didn’t come around the corner. Expecting a couple more of those things to appear from the other side soon, he turned around and ran up the ramp to the next level. From there he made his way through an apartment and looked outside the bedroom window at the two things, firing from around a corner at where he had just been.
Just further was the train, and the two robots that should be loading stuff on board were nowhere to be seen. Now he had to wait for these two bots, and shoot them.
* * *
“Looks like he’s in a huge shootout,” said Mjöll as they closed in.
“That should make it easier for us. We just wait for the robots to kill him,” said Fannar.
“Why can’t we just leave?”
“We have to confirm he is dead, otherwise we have to fight him.”
“I didn’t sign up for fighting robots in another dimension,” said Mjöll. She saw the sneer on Fannar’s face and added, “Just sayin’.”
They saw the light show coming from around the corner. A couple of robots were lying on the ground, one stirring. The other looked to be on fire. But Hansi was nowhere to be seen.
“Okay, I can see the thunder and lightning, but where is Hansi?” asked Fönn, rather perturbed.
Fannar was going to say something, but the scene looked odd to him too. They all knew there was just that one corner, then the train, and no cover between. They were royally confused when the two robots appeared from the other side. The robots looked at them, and they looked at the bots and managed to jump in the air before the shooting started.
Both robots shot Fönn, burning her to a crisp. Mjöll and Fannar ran away, the robots rolling after them, firing away, apparently to scare them.
Mjöll and Fannar had not run long when they happened upon two other robots, and they, too, fired, one merely singeing Fannar, the other scoring a direct hit on Mjöll’s head, exploding it.
And Fannar ran faster than he’d ever run before, around the building and back in the direction of the train.
Proceed to Chapter 17...
Copyright © 2017 by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson