I have been silent for a long while, so here is a big chapter to make up. Dunno if it's any good. It's hard keeping up with work and still have time to write fun stuff....
'Yes, Kate. Semi-transparent. Oh and glowing.'
'Aha…and uhm… what colour was it you say?'
'More or less white-ish and the glow was more purple-like colour I guess.
'You are pulling my leg on this one, aren't you Red?'
A small smile crept over Hellboy's face: 'Wouldn't dream of it Professor! Though, it did pull my leg. Oh, by the way, it also had six clawed arms and it turned into white stone after I crushed it skull, if that helps... And uhm…Its head looked like some sort of mix between a dragon and a toad...or a snake mixed with a sloth…I hate sloths…with their freaky slow movements and long arms-'
'Red…' Kate slowly said trough the increasing static.
'I was just contemplating, I mean- You don't have to crazy to have this job right?'
His smile turned into a wide grin: 'Classic, hehe…Nope, but it sure does help Kate. Tell me if you find anything about mister glowy.'
'Will do…I can hardly hear trough all this white noise...Just find those guards- hopefully alive- see if there are any other threats in the premises and then get out of there. Take care of yourself, Hellboy and give my regards to Liz and Abe -over and out.'
Hellboy put the walky-talky back in its holder and turned to were his team-mates were standing close to each other. While Abe was hovering his hand in the air, trying to apparently 'sense' something in the nearby region, Liz made some effort checking his wounds. Hellboy tried not to think about what happened under water just a moment ago, with more important things to be done, but... stupidly enough his thoughts seemed to stray to it every time he looked at the merman. It was just so....weird. He was off course grateful for what Abe had done for him, but... Abe didn't seem to think any of it...why was he having such trouble with it then?
A frustrated Liz pulled him out of his reverie with a snap.
'-Abraham, stand still!'
She tried to sound as calmly as possible, but her vexation combined with a hint of concern was written all over her face. The cuts on Abe's face and torso were not too deep -and he constantly told her not to worry- but he did seem an awfully pale blue. It was certainly making Abe extremely uneasy when Liz glided her hands over his skin in such a mild way, but apparently she couldn't care less.
'Can't we do this later Liz, I am trying too concentrate. It is hard enough without you –hey- ouch!'
'Sorry-...you wuss. 'She added in a very audible whisper'-You know Abe…maybe you should probably go back, let Red and me handle this, you don't look too-'She raised her hands in defence and stepped back, when Abe again gave her a very harsh and cold look as an effective response.
Liz pouted slightly at this, but acknowledged the situation as a loss cause: 'Suit yourself then! Let's just keep moving.' Liz started cracking more glow sticks to light up the place. 'Prick. Abe certainly inherited the Hellboy knack of being stubborn…'
The black fog was less thick on the first floor, but the museum halls were still unusually dark, silent and abnormally damp. They had looked around several rooms already, but apart from more puddles of stinky water, they had found nothing out of the ordinary...which was quite strange on its own. Their voices echoed trough the entire museum, so Liz lowered her voice too barely a whisper, secretly afraid of being heard by whatever was lurking in the darkness as she followed Hellboy in his pace, Abe somewhere ahead of them both. 'Red, what did Manning and Kate say?'
Hellboy apparently didn't mind the eerie echoes and spoke with his average gruff voice, while trying to light a wet cigar without success: 'Manning yelled and stuff, wasn't really listening to tell ya the truth. From what I understood, Kate personally doesn't know the creature. She is looking it up... Liz- 'He wanted to speak to her about his confused state but mid-sentence he knew that was a dumb thing to do.'- about your collection of Dynamite, isn't it-'
'Liz, Red- I found somethi-, uhm, someone...'
Abe was already in the next room -a bigger marble hall with in the middle a sleek wooden boat- standing perfectly still, waiting for the other two too arrive. Only one of the barely surviving ceiling light was still flickering, making the room look like a cheap, but effective horror scene. He pointed silently with his flashlight at the floor ahead, where a huddled shape was scrawled onto the floor, in a puddle of dark liquid. As they slowly and cautiously stepped closer, Hellboy first in line and all three cocking their guns, they saw it was a motionless body in a black uniform.
'Geez… Something yanked it right off…'
The guard was clearly missing its head.
Liz stepped back several feet and turned her head away from the ugly sight. A horrible odour, something similar like the smell of the water, only ten times worse, hung around the corpse and her eyes begun to tear up. All three of them already had a continuously nagging hunch all night long that the guards were dead, but it didn't make the sight any less worse. Hellboy made radio contact again as Abe hesitatingly kneeled by the headless corpse and lingered his hand above it. It took only two seconds before Abe quickly retreated his hand with a silent gasp, blue eyes wide open and took several unsteady paces back.
'It was killed by one of those creatures alright. This guard shot one of them in the chest, but got ambushed by another from behind. Strange…' He tilted his head slightly, looking with a distant interest at the sight before him: 'Why would they only take his head?'
'Humph, probably to make sure he wouldn't be any trouble -Wait a minute-' Liz lowered her voice again-' There are more!? ' She sighed deeply and a stern frown crossed her face. 'Ugh, crap!'
Hellboy cursed loudly, making them turn their gaze towards him.
'The goddamn radio is dead again. Stupid low-budget machines.'
Liz tried her own walky-talky with no luck and gave a nervous laugh, frown disappearing: 'Give it credit though; it did survive an underwater explosion…'
Just as Hellboy wanted to crush the radio with his huge right hand, a noise much similar to glass being broken was heard not far from where they were standing. It was quickly followed by a muffled scream. Responding first, Hellboy ran without thinking towards the designated direction, engulfed by the very dense black fog and disappeared out of sight. Liz wanted to follow straightaway, but a cold hand belonging to Abe held her back firmly. She shook loose and turned to him with a surprised expression-
'What's the matter? Didn't you hear that?'
He growled slightly in response. 'Off course I did, but the fog- it's not right. We should call him back immediately.'
Liz desired to just forcedly drag Abe with her, but seeing the concerned look on his face, she knew he was being serious. Besides that, he appeared to be so worn and pale at the moment, Liz was wondering if he was about to pass out. On the exact moment she wanted to interrogate him further on the subject (or preferably hit him) and at least call Hellboy back as he suggested, she noticed a familiar looking shape lurking in the threshold behind Abe.
Liz pulled a very surprised Abe to the side, making them both fall sideways on the floor, as the discovered shape, seeing it was another one of those transparent creatures, came at them with a blasting snarl. The damp monster missed them barely, glided over the smooth floor and collided against a wall with a loud crash, giving a shocked- but prepared looking Liz and Abe the time to get up again. The creature recovered quickly from its dizziness and succeeded to dodge their bullets as they fired away at it. With abnormal speed and agility it rapidly found shelter behind the big boat in the centre of the hall.
'Come here, you stinking slime ball!' Liz yelled, firing another round of bullets, with chipping only the wood as a result. Abe gripped her arm with annoyance, staring with an almost horrified look seemingly at the now damaged thousand year old boat. 'Stop it!'
'For hells sake Abe, it's only an old piece of wo-'
The monster took the opportunity of truce, jumped in a fury over the boat and bumped headfirst against Abe, knocking him hard against the wall- and then it immediately spun around, lashing out at Liz. Her gun flew out of her hands as she hit the floor, blood gushing from her damaged arm. The gun skidded over the floor, landing several feet away and Liz rushed at it in a controlled panic state to retrieve it, while barely dodging a snap of the creature's jaw. The monster struggled on the polished surface, but managed to launch after her. As Liz was less then an inch away from her gun, she yelled out as she felt a razor sharp sensation in her ankle and got dragged backwards over the floor.
'-Oh shit, o shit, oh shit- the fire is my friend, the fire is not my enemy- oh shit, oh shit- I need my head!!'
The creature pulled her nearer, claw jammed in her leg and Liz started kicking at its face in panic. It hardly seemed to budge as it opened its jaw and glared at her neck with glassy but very greedy eyes.
Hellboy ran trough several dark hallways, hoping to reach the source of the sound they had heard. Only when reaching a place with thick black carpet and several glass showcases, he noticed Liz and Abe weren't even following his trail.
'Oh that just peachy. Once again I can only rely on myself…'
Hellboy grudgingly decided to wait several seconds and he took the moment too examine the place he found himself in. There was no black fog in here for a change and no damp atmosphere like in the rest of the museum, so he could easily see the variety of precious stones exhibited in the cases. Temporarily distracted by the items his thoughts drifted to his late father. Professor Bruttenholm used to love museums and spoke about his favourite ones on many occasions, only having Abe and Kate as eager listeners. Hellboy wasn't jealous or anything- He never understood the attraction of museums anyway. People coming in and out, staring at things in glass boxes-
He looked down, seeing several pieces of glass shards and a trace of dark liquid scattered on the carpet.
'Ah, that solves that mystery.'
One of the showcases was smashed to pieces and no gems were to be found inside, but Hellboy noticed a small discarded white card lying between the shards with an inscription on it.
'Gold? All this fuss for a simple robbery? Well…if you call malicious glowing monsters simple, then yeah, maybe…and why the hell not go for the diamonds?'
This was really getting stranger and stranger...With a suppressed exultation of shock, he heard shots being fired in the distance. An even greater shock had to be suppressed when he turned around, planning to head for the door and his eyes fell on a slim stark white figure of a woman with flowing violet hair standing in the threshold…and she was naked. Now, he had the pleasure of meeting a lot of beautiful women in his life, most of the time they turned out to be ancient and/or murderess creatures, so he was cautious enough when she started speaking with a smooth and extremely enchanting voice.
'Hello Anung Un Rama …' Her unnatural movements were like a wisp of smoke, twirling around in the air, inducing her mysterious and beautiful appearance. Hellboy stepped back a few paces, tried not to look in her eyes (suddenly remembering that great tip Kate once mentioned when beautiful monsters were concerned) and pulled his revolver on her.
'Lady, let me pass and no one gets hurt, okay?' He searched as inconspicuously as possible in his pockets for a Hebrew amulet that would protect him against evil spirits, but she interrupted his search almost immediately.
'Looking for this?' Her smile became more dazzling as well as more unnerving and her eyes started to glow a deeper purple, as she held up a silvery crescent moon amulet attached to a leather cord;
'If you want it back you need to come closer…'
'Lady, I am telling you-' Several more gunshots were heard and Hellboy lost his patience right there and then. He planned to just push her out of the way, hoping for the best, but off course things turned out quite differently. Her eyes widened to an unnatural size and her mouth broadened, revealing sharp crooked teeth and her surprisingly strong hands got hold of his right arm in an instant. When he struggled to pull free from her tight grip her fingers- which suddenly transformed into long claws- dug deep into his skin, ripping the flesh.
'Let go you crazy bi-!' He couldn't think of another way out of this, so with the bud of his revolver he hit her hard against the face. Her head snapped back, but her grip didn't loosen.
'You stay here!' She hissed as her eyes quickly focused on him again. Dense fog swirled into the room, darkening Hellboy's entire surroundings and he strangely felt himself loosing focus.
'What the hell is going on?'
'Just relax, sleep for awhile. You don't have to go anywhere…'
'This is not happening-' His consciousness was slipping away and the smile on the woman's face broadened even more.
'Are you alright under there?'
'Get that smile of your face Abraham and get this thing of me!'
Liz was trapped under the dead creature and it was slowly turning into grey stone, crushing her with its slowly gaining weight. Abe wobbled on his feet, but without a surprisingly lot of effort, he succeeded to lift the stone figure slightly to the side so Liz could roll away from it. He looked with intense concern at her bleeding limbs, but when she stood up without effort, he relaxed his posture a bit. Liz kicked the stone figure with an exclamation of rage and held a reassuring hand on her neck, happy to still have her head on her the right place. Just a few seconds ago two very accurate shots into the neck and skull of the beast killed it in an instant.
'I just couldn't...the fire I mean...I...Panic and stuff...'
She swallowed hard, finding it awfully difficult to explain her failure in producing fire.
'I think-Ugh...Thanx Abe.'
She jokingly patted him on the shoulder, quickly changing the subject-'Awesome shot…But how did you know how to kill it straight away?'
A feeble smile crept on his face as he examined her bleeding arm. 'I just remembered that I saw Hellboy cracking the skull of the first one, so I thoug-' Abe suddenly gasped mid-sentence, staggered for a moment and then fell dizzily to his knees, clutching his throat. He forced himself to breathe and stay focused but the whole world seemed to turn.
'Abe?! What's going on?! Are you okay?'
Liz kneeled beside him, eyes wide in shock, holding a reassuring hand on his shoulder and keeping him steady, while all colour seemed to disappear from his face. It took a lot of effort not to say:' I told you so.'
But Abe read her mind anyway, it being no effort with her being so nearby.
'Great *gasp* -bloody *gasp* –timing…'
'Yeah, sorry, sorry- please stay awake, okay? I will get Hellboy as quick as I can.'
'…Liz-' His voice was feeble, but his clear eyes were looking at something behind her with an intense concern.
'I will be right back okay? I knew there was something in that water! Manning is gonna pay big time!'
She got up, planning to get her gun first. 'Don't worry Abe-'
'Liz, behind you…'
There was no time to react to his warning. Liz felt a hard knock on the back of her head and the world turned black before her eyes.
'Stupid bitch…uch my head…'
A stench filled his nostrils and awoke his senses. He was laying on a hard and damp surface. The darkness in which he revolved was swaying and it caused his head to experience a sort of sea-sickness.
'Why can't I move?'
Hellboy snapped open his eyes. It took a few seconds to focus on the room around him and looking down, he saw large iron shackles were the cause of his immobile state. Liz was nowhere to be seen, but the real worrying thing was what he saw in front of him.
They were defiantly still situated in the museum, but in another large room and instead of the dark fog, an unknown pale cold light lit up the place. The atmosphere seemed to change ever so slightly, in and out of focus, causing the surroundings to look like an eerie dream sequence. Two off the white transparent creatures they met earlier were lurking in the corner, far away from the light, stoic but containing a fierce alertness.
In the centre, laying on his back in the midst of a perfect circle drawn with blood, was his best friend Abe, with blue eyes slightly open, pale and not moving a muscle and towering over him stood a tall pale man with extremely untidy hair.
The grey eyes of the man didn't glance up, when had Hellboy awakened. Apparently ignoring him, the man continued with what he doing. In his hands he held two very peculiar items. In his left a head held by its hair and in his right he clutched a large natural shaped lump of gold, all while he was chanting in a language Hellboy didn't recognize. The incantation he was performing was calm and musical, but the vibe it produced send chills all over Hellboy's body.
'Hey! Hey you! What the hell is going on?! What are you doing?!'
The cold light increased and his vision started to get hazier the longer the guy chanted and from the person's body emitted a unnatural glow, just like those of the monsters in the corner. All this time Abe didn't move a muscle, like he was paralyzed and even the breathing started to become more and more shallow...until his chest didn't move at all and his eyes closed.
Hellboy struggled against his chains and as he did, the chains started to tighten around his body, cutting into his skin and pressing together his torso and arms. He stopped his movements in an instant and so did the chains, leaving him catching for air.
'Crap, what can I do??'
Slowly, like a movie projection, a blurry, but large figure appeared above the chanting man's head. All the light in the room dimmed. His eyes moved slowly upwards into his skull and as he stopped mid-chant, the form above him became brighter.
At first sight the extremely vague image was that of a beautiful colourless woman, but it looked like an artist made her look too perfect. Her entire vision was unnatural in every way and the longer you looked, the more you saw how scary she actually was. Through her long sleek hair, that covered her body like a cloth, her skin was glowing and moderately transparent, showing signs of her skeleton underneath. Her glazy violet eyes had no pupils or irises and they were like glass orbs staring into nothingness.
When her white lips formed a smile, all became silent.
She raised her hands, smiling more brightly at the man with wild hair beneath her, who was now facing her, gazing with a savage excitement at the beautiful deity.
All this time Hellboy stared at the astounding scene as the two seemed to have a silent conversation and the deity's mouth stretched even further into a horrendous grin. The man wasn't afraid at all, but only stared, still clutching the head and the gold in his hands.
An ever increasing tremor engulfed the room and had reached Hellboy. As it did, he heard the voices of several women, saying the same things synchronized.
'~and you get your reward off course for freeing me, faithful human. Now step aside and let me first take my beautiful gift. I am ready to walk the earth again and swim the oceans...Give me a moment to collect all off myself, I am still scattered...'
'But- I' the mental voice of the pale man was harsh and hungry, but respectful.
'Tsk, tsk. Control yourself.' The deity grins widened again, revealing several sharp teeth. The voices became sweeter, but her eyes sharpened.
'I will keep my promise, mortal servant- you have waited this long and so off course you can wait a bit longer...Now step aside, or it will be to late...'
The man hesitated, but after another long stare into her empty eyes, he bowed firmly. He laid down his sacrificial 'items' next to Abe and stepped away.
The tremors stopped and the light dimmed even more as the deity slowly descended in a blur, until her feet touched the floor. With her harsh cold eyes she seemed to scrutinize every inch of the still merman, but her mouth twisted in excitement. As the seconds passed, her form became more and more stable, until there was hardly any blur at all.
She then kneeled beside Abe, looking at his face with a powerful craving expression and caressed his face with a stark white slender hand.
'Don't you goddamn touch him!'
Hellboy yelled furiously. Not being able to control his anxieties any longer, he struggled without results as the chains around tightened once more.
The deity seemed to be surprised by the loud unknown voice, but as her eyes flickered at the red demon, a magical tremor in the air temporarily obliterated the ability to use his voice.
'Quiet Demon! You have no saying over me! You are chained with mere iron and worthless magic. You are weak and pitiful...For so long I have been trapped in limbo! I didn't deserve that cruel punishment! Body and spirit ripped into pieces and no hope for a normal live ever again...I used to be beautiful and immortal, roaming seas...generations of mortal beings loving me and bringing me gifts...'
Her face changed momentarily into that of a beautiful sympathetic young girl, on the verge of tears, but as her anger returned, to did her monstrous appearance.
'But lucky me, there are always faithful humans- still looking for their lost goddess and bringing me new bodies to take! All I had to do is make a promise....hehehehe....'
Feeling absolutely powerless, Hellboy watched as she pressed her other hand on Abe's chest and like with a ghost it went straight trough. Abe gasped with shock and his normally tranquil face contorted in pain, but he continuously seemed unable to move. The pale man in the corner twisted with exhilaration and even the two monsters in the shadows were becoming more and more restless.
'Yes, yes!' The varieties of the deity's voices became stronger and more cohesive,shrieking with excitement. 'It's working! Well done mortal!!'
The glowing deity pushed herself further in trough his chest, now mentally laughing hysterically and a loud thumping heartbeat could be heard coming from their direction. Hellboy tried with all his might to destroy his shackles, confused and scared for his friend's life when he heard the heartbeat quickening abnormally fast, but his vision started to deteriorate as the chains were slowly suffocating him.
But then suddenly the deity face writhed into an ugly grimace.
Her glowing dimmed and deep wrinkles appeared on her face as she stared in confusion at the merman's face. Hellboy couldn't think of what was wrong, but soon he noticed Abe's blue eyes were wide open and a different, tepid vibe had engulfed the room in just mere seconds. The deity quickly retreated her arm from his chest as if burned and her face seemed livid. Even the man and two monsters were ostensibly dumbfounded and didn't move a muscle as the deity started to tremble in fury.
'What...-what is this?! What is this?! Why can't- why does it hurt?! Who-WHO ARE YOU!?'
Her voices were suddenly strained with fear, her body was starting to blur again uncontrollably and her eyes widened with absolute shock. She tried with immense effort to change her features again to one of a beautiful sad girl, but fear overwhelmed her.
'Who-It can't be...please...Oannes I am sorry...I...please...' As like an answer she was suddenly surrounded by a brilliant white painful light and she shrieked in anguish, pulling her hair. Hellboy saw her body become a complete blur again, violet eyes wide with fright, before he shut his own eyes as the blaze burned his vision.
'NO! GET AWAY FROM ME! DON'T PUT ME BACK THERE! PLEASE!'
'No! My goddess!?' The pale man shouted and Hellboy heard him move towards the light. The two monsters were now shrieking in panic as well and audible tried to retreat.
'NO! COME BACK!' The man's rough voice cracked into a cry as the light disappeared and all other noise stopped.
A gentle hand was placed on his shoulder and a voice called his name with hesitation. Opening his eyes, Hellboy saw the wild looking man crumbled, crying hysterically and pulling his hair, not far away from where a very pale Abe was still unconscious, eyes closed again. The deity was nowhere to be seen- and neither were the monsters, only two piles of smouldering ash in the far corner. There was no fog, no earie lights, only mere darkness and one flickering lamp in the far corner...Shifting his position so he could see whose hand it was that touched him, he was extremely relieved to see Elizabeth Sherman, gun in her other hand, giving him a small genuine smile.
'Can you move?'
Hellboy was surprised to find out that the chains weren't trying to kill him anymore, but were hanging loosely around him. Within seconds he freed himself and stood up, grudgingly rubbing his bruises.
'Are ya alright there Liz?' Her hair was somewhat ruffled and her arm and leg were covered with dried blood, but she seemed to be in no severe pain at the moment.
'Yeah, I am okay. I have a huge lump on the back of my head and some large gashes, but nothing that can't be cured by several days of bed rest. You, on the other hand may have broken some ribs...' Liz, after giving him a brief check-up as well and finding her assumption luckily incorrect, seemed to be uncertain whether to move nearer to Abe and the other man.
'Uhm...Red...What the hell happened? Two monsters were running towards me and I burned them to ashes, but they seemed to running away from that immense light...' She explained, hardly audible over the sobbing.
Hellboy gave the area a quick glance, but he sadly enough he couldn't find his revolver anywhere. 'Couldn't say really...but that is not important right now. You keep that gun pointed at cry baby of there and I check on Abe.'
The walk over to the centre of the room seemed to take ages as his anxiety increased with every step. 'Please don't let him be dead...please don't...'
Liz didn't seem to worry as much, since they were used to seeing one of their number unconscious once in awhile and she kept her gun fixed on the hysterical man as Hellboy kneeled beside the limp merman. He pulled off his leather gloves and quietly laid two fingers on Abe's throat, carefully avoiding the delicate looking gills. Hellboy's heart skipped a beat when at the same time he felt an extremely slow pulse- Abe started coughing harshly and an amount blood dripped out of the corner of his mouth. Relieved as hell that he was alive and mixed with a new dose of concern, Hellboy took hold of Abe's shoulder, shaking him softly.
'Hey!? Are you alright? Speak to me man!'
Abe whispered something, his voice feeble and Hellboy quickly leaned forward.
'I said- stop screaming in my ear you dumbass-' His enthralling tired blue eyes opened slightly and he even cracked a wry smile.
'Geez man- you gonna give me a heart attack one of these days!'
'Where is Liz? How is she doing?' Abe's voice cracked, but it was a tad stronger this time.
Hellboy felt strangely hurt by this question, but kept his face straight: 'She is alright mate, don't worry, she- Hey?!'
Abe rolled over to his side and covered his mouth with his hand, his frame suddenly shivering ferociously. He started coughing up blood again and this time it didn't stop.
-'Red! It's the water!' Liz yelled from a distant, struggling not to come running towards them-' It made him sick. We should get him to our medics! And this guy here must be taken into custody. He has some explaining to do-'
Loud footsteps were heard from a distant and they were quickly explained by the sight of a distressed looking Kate, Doctor Grime and several serious looking medics and agents. One of them was soaking wet, though still wearing his sunglasses with pride. 'Red! Why- the hell- aren't you answering my call??!'Kate directed her fury at Hellboy, hair dishevelled, as several medics claimed there space, by immediately shooing Hellboy away from Abe.
'Excuse me, princess, but we had a tad more pressing situation going on! And that bloody walky-talky didn't work properly anyway!'
'Humph. The force field at the entrance lifted. Maybe that's what caused the white noise-' Kate placed her hands on her hips, scowling at him: 'and Grime found out something about the water. You see-' Kate suddenly noticed Abe coughing, his hands covered in blood, but she knew better then to interrupt the medics. Her fury disappeared at the sight though and it apparently corresponded with what Grime found out, since she suddenly remained silent. The sobbing man didn't cause any trouble and was dragged away between two scuff looking agents.
'It's poisoned.' A grim looking Doctor Grime explained to Hellboy, because Kate quickly ran after the medics who carried Abe outside.' Not sure what kind of alien substance it is yet, but don't worry- we will find out...' Grime didn't look so sure about this herself and her ass was on the line here, 'cause she was the so-called big-shot poison expert of the B.P.R.D.
'You'd better. We had a hell off night...and I still don't have a clue about what happened...'
Yeah, Grime is a woman. I will write about her a bit more next time :P.