365 Writing · Stories

In the Company of the Damned (Part 2)

Entry 3 (Contd.)

As I stepped into the darkness below the ice, an uncontrollable shiver went down my spine. The inky black below reached out to me as I repelled downward. As the line continued to lower me down, I felt like I was descending through a void. Looking up briefly I could see the opening through which we slid but beyond it, nothing. The light from that space barely penetrated down here.

Fumbling on my utility belt, I produced another grow rod and lit it. Much like the Commander’s before it, the rod only illuminated me at first. I was tempted to drop it to see if it could show me the ground but I knew the Commander’s would be visible before I would do that, or assumed as much and held onto it for comfort instead.

After what seemed to be an eternity my feet touched something. At first, I recoiled in shock and stopped my descent. Waving above to the rest of the squad to stop I reached out tentatively with my feet… it was a hard surface. Slowly I put my weight on it. It felt like stone or some kind of stable solid mass but slightly concave, and I reached down and shone my glow rod across it. There were etchings and groves of some type in the surface. Whatever this was I was standing on was definitely man-made. The ever so slightly curving shape of it led me to believe that was why the Commander’s glow rod was no longer visible… it had rolled off, whatever this thing was.

Taking a few careful steps forward I met with no resistance and motioned with my glow rod for the others to descend. Llyod who was behind me turned on a high powered torch he had with him, to illuminate the surface of the object I was standing on. Indeed it still barely could penetrate the darkness but was able to reveal what I had already ascertained. A large, slightly curved, stone surface with what I could see now was intricate patterns etched into the surface.

Slowly and without a word, the squad followed with the Commander and leading scientists at the rear. We established a parameter around them and tried to provide as much light as our glow rods and flashlights could. Slowly the surface was more and more evident. It felt like we were standing on another planet or moon by the size of the object and with darkness hanging all around us it didn’t help the illusion.

One of the scientists began speaking something in a language I couldn’t understand, which was no small feat because I could speak a great many. From what I could make out it sounded closer to Arabic or Farsi but was neither. I tried to focus on scanning the darkness for movement as I assumed was our task. The question remained, why would they need trained mercenaries? What were they expecting deep within the ice at the bottom of the world?

Suddenly and without warning, the grove like markings across the surface began to glow, and a distant hum filled the empty air. The thing, whatever it was, was massive, almost as far as I could see until it disappeared again into the darkness far off. I looked back at the scientists. They were intensely focused on conversing among themselves at this point and a book one held in his hands. It seemed to be something hundreds of years old. He looked to the Commander and motioned in the direction I was in, to which he motioned for me to proceed forward.

Advancing while holding my G36 at the ready I moved carefully across the surface. After a minute, I was instructed to stop and adjust course slightly to the left. Where were we going? I saw that the scientists to my relief had been marking our route in chalk on the surface… otherwise good luck getting back.

Finally, they called us to a halt once again. I had forgotten about the cold until another shiver crawled its way down my spine. There was something terribly off about this place. The scientist group made their way up toward me and farther to my left. I could see the markings were different here. They spiraled out in concentric patterns. All three of the scientists began to take places around it at regular intervals, and again the Commander signaled for us to join them. This part of the object the curved surface was a bit steeper so I had to move carefully so as I wouldn’t slip.

The words began again. This time they sounded more like chants for lack of a better description. The more I heard it, the closer it seemed like Farsi or an older dialect of it, but so much of it was changed and disjointed. Whatever it was, it filled me ever more with dread as we stood at the ready. Oh to be guarding a cargo transport in the congo, or fighting off drug lords… hell, even fighting FOR the drug lords sounded preferable to whatever it was that was happening now, and we hadn’t even fired a shot.

The slightly humming that was in the air grew louder and all of a sudden the object we stood on began vibrating ever so slightly, not even to make me or my squad lose balance, but enough that it was indeed noticeable. Again the chanting stopped, and I looked back at the circle. There now was an empty space across the floor where the rings had been. Instead of darkness though, a faint light flickered inside.

Once again, the Commander motioned for us to move closer and I saw steps were leading into whatever this thing was. The Commander motioned me to take point, again. Going first into new territory was beging to be a bad trend today I thought as I stepped inside.