Entry 50 – Endgame
The wraith clearly meant Murdoch despite the strange pronunciation of his name.
Be honest, what would you have done in my position? Out of options, nearly out of your mind, with your troops around you readying for combat, with someone you learned to care about deeply being tortured a few miles from your position and her fate hanging on your next words?
I am sure someone smarter than me would be able to craft an elaborate ruse to keep the dragon at bay, save the girl, get her hand and half the kingdom, happily ever after and all that. I’m not a terribly smart man. So I said the only thing I could have.
“Alright. We’re both special and Murdoch clearly needs us for something, both of us. A trade then. Me for her. Let her go, torturing the girl does you no good. I’ll contact Murdoch, tell him about the situation and then I’ll drive down there where she is now and we wait. How about that?”
By the end, I was almost pleading. The wraith, strangely enough, seemed to consider my offer despite holding all the cards. It could’ve just rejected it outright, disappeared, killed me, killed everyone... all these things, and yet here it was, making deals. The response was a single word.
Its silhouette flickered slightly and, out of thin air, Gail was lying next to me, naked, panting and shivering. I immediately brought a blanket out of a nearby car and covered her body. A medic reached us soon after. Gail was severely dehydrated and in shock. She was incapable of speech and we all agreed the best thing for her was to let her rest. We brought more blankets and placed her in the back of one of the IFVs.
“Now what,” Jim asked rather reasonably.
“Let’s call Murdoch. If we can’t get help or get him here, well... we’re dead either way.”
Behind us, Gail stirred and moaned. The medic was still tending to her but she was in a sorry state. Seeing her like that made me angry again. Very angry.
We managed to raise Murdoch almost immediately, as if he had been waiting. He stared at me intently as I quickly described the situation all the while trying to keep my emotions in check. I wanted to rage, I wanted to scream at him, I wanted to punch him and rip his head off, wipe off that smug, cold expression from his face. And yet I did none of those things, hoping for a miracle instead.
As I was finishing my ‘report’, Murdoch nodded at someone off-screen and issued a few quick orders. Then he turned back to me, his eyes burning with previously unseen intensity. He leaned forward towards the camera.
“Samuel, you will listen to me. We do have a way of disrupting this... thing, but only for a short time. You must follow my direction to the letter, do you understand? If you do not, neither you nor anyone else will live to see another day. Their lives, Gail’s life especially, are now in your hands. Am I making myself clear?!”
I just nodded.
“Good,” he continued. “You will see a flash of light that will make your tormentor coalesce and become susceptible to the laws of physics of this world. It will temporarily not be able to use its powers and will assume a shape of a physical object. I do not know what, it could be anything. If you destroy that object, it’ll very likely be forced to retreat wherever it came from for a very long time. Again, do you understand?”
“I understand... Marduk,” I carefully pronounced his name the same way as the wraith previously had. He recoiled as if he had just received a slap and gave me a very strange look.
“If you survive, we’ll talk.”
With that, he broke the connection. The fact I just made him feel uncomfortable lifted my spirits ever so slightly and I gathered all the troop commanders around me for a briefing in which I explained the plan. I left out much of what I knew and instead spun a story about Murdoch being ready to drop an EMP on the enemy’s ass. I thought about including some bullshit about drugs or poison being responsible for the visions but in the end, it felt unnecessary and they wouldn’t have believed me anyway.
And so, here I am, sitting with Gail while everyone else prepares for the signal that should come any minute now. Streams of lightning are running down the pyramid now. This is it.
Wish me luck.