© 2014 Rogue
With the crash of masonry and steel pounding in his ears, Brian stumbled through the streets as frightened and bewildered as the thousands around him. Some instinct, or perhaps just dumb luck, made him push his way to the sidewalk to his left just as a mangled car came hurtling over the rooftops and slammed down to the pavement right where he had been a second before. The others who had been standing there were not as lucky. Shaken, Brian fumbled with his phone but found that he still had no signal. Someone close by cried out, "Where is it now?"
"I don't know!" someone else shouted back.
But a moment later they all knew. From around the corner ahead came racing a terrified mob who met headlong with those fleeing forward. Bodies bounced off of one another and toppled like bowling pins, turning the intersection into a wriggling mass of limbs that were suddenly darkened by an immense shadow.
Then it appeared, emerging from behind the Federated Tower and peering coldly around. Brian froze while the screams around him grew wild and shrill. Scales reflecting the sun like black mirrors, forked tongue tasting the air, a hood that flared like the headdress of a pharaoh as the titan lowered its gaze to the people below. Like a disdainful homeowner bent on wiping out a swarm of roaches it lifted a mighty foot over them.
The carnage was indescribable.
The crowd began to surge backward, sweeping Brian along with it, while behind them countless human lives were methodically obliterated. He was only dimly aware of being carried past the entrance to the Science Center and managed to reach out to catch one of the door-handles in one hand. It took all of his strength to keep from being ripped away from the mooring by the human tide, but somehow he managed to force the door open wide enough to wiggle through into the lobby. No one followed him, perhaps too terrified to consider a hiding place, or perhaps having seen for themselves that even the most stout building offered no refuge.
He pulled his phone from his pocket and was astonished that it had found a single, feeble bar of signal. It was enough. Desperately he keyed in Greg's number.
Was all this his fault? Arguably, yes. But how could he have known? How could anyone have known? It would not matter, of course. History would probably lay the blame upon him, provided anyone survived to write it down. He, after all, had been the first to slither down into the ice cave, and the first modern man to lay eyes on that which would change history, although Brian had no idea at the time just how drastically. The ice had offered no traction and he had fallen, landing unhurt upon what it took him several breathless moments to realize was a hand, one in whose palm a dozen grown men could have comfortably stood. It was the same hand that he had been staring at during the unveiling ceremony, certain that his eyes were playing tricks on him when he saw the massive fingers twitch, and certain that his eyes were not playing tricks on him when the whole colossal body began to move. And then he had been the only one to start running when the thing turned its slitted eyes upon the others standing petrified on the platform, and been the only one to survive.
The voice that answered was sleepy. "Yo, Dude, what's up?"
"What's up?" Brian shouted. "You don't know? How could you not know?"
"Who, slow down. Are you in trouble or something?"
Brian ran his fingers through his hair and took a deep, long breath. "Greg," he said with forced patience, "Go to your television right now. Turn it on. Tell me what you see."
Greg's reply of "Whatever" was muffled as he set the phone down. Brian paced anxiously until he heard the phone being fumbled by excited hands. "What the fuck? Dude, is this for real?"
"Of course it's for real! I'm standing here watching it! Listen, I need to know if you've come up with anything out of those runes. Maybe there's some clue there that can help us fight this thing."
"The ones in the cave! Jesus Christ, Man, are you high?"
"No. Well, maybe a little. Oh, wait, yeah! Sorry, I wasn't thinking."
"So what have you come up with?"
"Well...to tell you the truth, I haven't looked at them."
Brian balled up his fist and punched at the outline of Greg's face that he imagined before him. "For crying out loud, you stupid ass, this is important! People are dying here! We've got to do something and those old carvings might be the only thing we have to go on!"
"All right, all right! Quit yelling. You're making me nervous. OK, I've got them here. Let's see. Yeah, this one means 'light'."
"You told me that before. What about the rest of it?"
"Um...hang on. Let me look up...no. Maybe. No.....Mmmmaybe."
"Greg, quit screwing around already. What does it say?"
"This isn't so easy, Man. These things are older than most of the texts we've seen. I know that one is 'light.' Maybe he's afraid of the light."
"It's daylight, Greg. He's not having any trouble with it."
"Oh, right. OK. Let me see. This one is, like, 'carry.' The way I read it, it's talking about our bad boy carrying a light somewhere. That's pretty much it."
"There's nothing more than that?"
"Whoa, Dude, this is fucked up. Do you see what he's doing to people now?"
"Focus, Greg, focus! Is there anything more?"
"No, I just told you. It's like "This guy is carrying the light."
Brian felt his stomach knot quite suddenly. "Greg," he said, "Are you sure that's 'carry'? Can it be anything else?"
"To carry. To present. To bring..."
Brian's knees gave out and he fell against the wall. "Oh, son of a bitch. The light-bringer."
"Yeah, that could be one way to translate it."
"Greg, don't you get it? Oh, fuck, I can't believe it."
"What do you mean, Man?"
"The light-bringer, Greg! The light-bringer...Lucifer."
"Whoa. Dude, are you saying that you woke up the fucking devil?"
Brian swallowed and stared at the enormous figure in the distance. "Yeah," he said quietly. "Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying."
"So how come he's killing people and not, you know, possessing them or something?"
"It's not like that. Son of a bitch. He's the Serpent. The one from the Garden of Eden. He was jealous of Man."
"So we can, like, feed him an apple or something?"
"Don't be stupid! The apple was an allegory. It was knowledge. He hated Man so he...he gave him knowledge..."
"Doesn't sound like something you'd give to someone you hate."
Brian swallowed. "And their eyes were opened, and they saw that they were naked...Greg, I've got an idea. If I can get this guy's attention I might be able to get through to him."
"What the hell? Dude, you sound like you're high, now."
Brian shuddered. "Greg, it's been nice knowing you," he said, and thrust the phone back into his pocket. "They ate of the fruit, and their eyes were opened."
Brian stuffed the phone into his pocket and raced for the stairs, mounting them three at a time. It was eight flights to the top floor and then another to the roof, but Brian paused midway up that final set and then headed back down to the chemistry wing to fetch the only thing that he could think of that might help him get the giant's attention.
He was out of breath and his heart was threatening to pound its way out of his chest when he finally pushed through the door and staggered onto the rooftop where the chemistry students often retreated to partake of their private experiments. The monster was still a block away. There were people in its hand, screeching, kicking. Brian watched as it squeezed them into nothing, and with his stomach lurching he threw the contents of a large bottle onto the rooftop beside him, then doused it with an oily liquid and scrambled backward.
It worked. The air hissed and churned over a sea of liquid fire that sent sparks gushing skyward in a fountain taller than the roof antenna. The blaze was blinding for only the few seconds it took for the mixture to melt its way through the roof and drop out of sight, but it had the desired effect.
The giant's curiosity was piqued and he approached, stepping callously on those too slow to avoid his tread. Brian swallowed, tilting his head further and further back as the monster stood over him, glaring down with those frightful, frigid eyes. For a brief moment he stood petrified; it took a great effort of will to begin tugging at his shirt, ripping it in his haste to pull it over his head. His shoes followed, then his trousers and beneath, until he stood naked in the giant's shadow. Shivering, he fell to his knees and spread his arms in supplication.
Brian closed his eyes, fully expecting to be swatted like a mosquito, but when the blow came he nervously opened first one, and then the other. The giant stood motionless, watching him. Agitated, Brian tried lowering his body forward, groveling with his forehead on the rooftop before rising to his knees again and stretching his arms wide.
The giant's hood flared wider and it stepped forward. Both of its thighs impacted the building's façade, shaking it to its very foundation. The same hand that Brian had first encountered deep in the ice now reached down and hefted a penis the size of a pickup truck, holding it aloft for a brief moment before releasing the flaccid organ to slam down in front of the cowering man, the impact cracking the rooftop and leaving Brian's ears ringing.
It stood still, peering at him, waiting. With trembling knees Brian climbed to his feet, and reluctantly he shuffled forward to begin the appalling task. With luck, he would only need to keep the monster satisfied until someone else managed to dig up God.
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