Rising Tide: CATU Book 3 Ch. 08byJoeBarnosky©
The Blue Leviathan, South China Sea
Flames lick at Sam's naked body, the heat is so intense she feels like her skin is on fire.
Where are my clothes? Where am I at?
She feels lost and abandoned. Hopelessness engulfs her, helplessness smothers her.
Do not be afraid child.
That voice. Who are you? Where are you?
I am near and soon I will hold you close.
The flames roar as they rise higher into the air. Sam flinches, drawing her legs in closer trying to escape the heat pouring from the flames. She shakes from fear. Fear was nothing more than an emotion, a useless emotion but she can't shake it off. She looks around trying to fight the fear that holds her.
There! A man! Oh my God it's Spencer!
He lies on a small island surrounded by hot liquid magma. He is in the same situation as she is. The flames threatens to swallow him as they creep closer and closer until pulling back just mere inches from his face.
Hang on Spence!
Her mind screams. She tries to open her mouth, her lips form the words but no sound escapes.
Help me God. Please help me.
You are far out of His reach. You have me now. Forget those of your miserable past.
The entire place shakes violently. She braces herself, grabbing hold of the ground by digging her fingers in as deep into the soil as she can. When the shaking finally subsides, Sam looks around noticing for the first time she is in some kind of cavern space. Little islands dot the entire area, all surrounded by magma.
Her eyes settle to the tiny island that held Spencer. He is no longer laying on it and he is nowhere in sight.
Her mind once again screams but no words escape her mouth.
Relax my child. I am here and I will care for you.
What about Spence?
He is of no consequence anymore. Your destiny lies within you here and now. You must grab hold of it and rise to your true self!
Who are you?
My name is Typheryian. Now, rise my child, rise!
Sam feels tightness in her shoulders. Her skin starts to tear sending pain searing through her. The sound of bones crunching echoes through her ears. Her breathing becomes labored, the pain leaving her head feeling like it is about to explode.
In one final moment wings shoot out from her back, her blood sprays out in every direction. The pain in her head increases leaving her feeling like she is starring into the sun. She screams as horns burst outward from her skull. Blood pours down her face, some into her eyes stinging them and adding to the pain.
No! I cannot! I won't!
I just spoke with the captain. We should reach Hong Kong just before midnight," Julie Branon says to Spencer.
For nearly the last two days they had been aboard the 65 foot Deep Sea Trawler, Julie had refrained herself to only speaking to Spencer. Sam on many attempts tried to talk to her, but Julie just gave Sam the cold shoulder, ignoring her. After several attempts, Sam decided to give up and stay at the opposite side of the boat leaving Spencer as the middle man relaying information between the two.
"How long is he going to wait for us?" he asks. "I really don't want to be stuck in China, especially when we're not supposed to be there."
Julie laughs which is the first time Spencer had seen her doing anything other keep a permanent grin on her face. "You worry too much."
"If you had my job, you'd worry too," he counters.
"I don't so let's keep it that way," she says smiling. "He's giving us twelve hours which should be more than enough time."
"It's the should part that I don't like."
He looks out at the vast sea. The ship's captain charted a route that would take them directly to Hong Kong, more or less. In theory they should avoid any ships or Chinese patrol boats. So far everything was going as planned.
"Are we expecting a storm?" he asks pointing to the north-east.
"Not that I'm aware of," Julie says calmly. "I'll go see what the captain has on the radar."
Julie disappears as she headed to the bridge.
"No! I cannot! I won't!" Sam suddenly screams.
"Sam!" Spencer yells as he runs to her side. She slept out on the bow not really felling comfortable alone in the cabin below deck. She is now sitting up, her face and hair drenched in sweat. "Sam? Are you alright?" he asks soothingly.
"Yes. Yes, I am now," she says shaking. "Oh, Spence it was horrible and it felt so real. So very real."
"It's okay now Sam. It was only a dream," he says trying to comfort her.
"It, it felt so real. I was turning into a demon Spence," she says trembling. "I was becoming one of those things we kill."
"Don't worry Sam, you won't become one of them," he assures her.
"How can you be so sure?"
"Trust me. I will do everything I can to stop it from happening."
"How about when this is over we set a date," she states looking up at him, a smile creasing her face.
"Are you asking me to marry you?" he asks with a chuckle.
Hitting him playfully she says, "I'm serious here Spence."
"I know," he says squeezing her tightly close to him. "You pick to day and we'll do it. I'd love to marry you."
"Good. I'm going to hold you to it."
"So no escaping?" he asks smiling.
"Well you can try, but I'll just have to hunt you down."
They both laugh at the remark.
"Please don't tell Julie what happened," Sam says taking on a more serious tone.
"I won't," he says kissing her forehead.
"I know this ain't the time to bring it up, but I'm not sure we can trust her. At least not to help me if I fall into trouble."
Spencer grabs her and pulls her in close, wrapping his arms around her. "Since when are you afraid of a little trouble?" he teases.
"Since we've had too many close encounters. We're not invincible Spence and I need to make sure I can turn my back and not worry if it's a mistake to do so."
"You won't have to worry about that, if the time comes I will have your back," Julie says as she approaches them silently.
"Were you spying on us?" Sam asks. The accusation laces the words as they came out.
"I've no need to spy on you," she says smirking. "And regardless of if I like you or not, I don't turn on my allies."
"That's a bit comforting," Sam says sarcastically.
"What did the captain have to say?" Spencer asks trying to change the subject and diffuse the argument that is bound to erupt.
Julie stares down Sam a few more seconds before finally turning her attention to Spencer. "The captain says there is nothing on the radar and the forecast calls for clear weather."
"It's too far out to sense anything," Spencer remarks looking out toward the impending threat.
"And it's moving in fast," Sam adds.
"Can the captain angle away from it or get more speed out of this thing?" Spencer asks turning back to Julie.
"I already thought of that. If we angle off our course we won't make it to our destination," she says frowning. "We can't outrun it unless we turn back."
"Which may just be their intent," Spencer perceives.
"I'll go make the captain aware we may have trouble," Julie says running back to the bridge.
Thirty minutes is all it takes for hell to break loose. The sudden storm causes hurricane strength winds that batter the boat threatening to snap the boat in two like a toothpick. Waves tear at the Blue Leviathan, beating at the hull. Against the captain's orders to get below deck the three stay on the deck waiting for the attack they know is coming.
The boat takes a the beating for fifteen long minutes; it's captain holds it steady and manages to keep it on course the entire time. Suddenly without notice the boat is in control of the sea. The storm looms over boat and it's passengers like a hungry beast ready to devour them.
"We need to find out if the captain is alright?" Spencer yells over the roaring waves.
"I'll go see what's going on!" Julie yells back volunteering to be the one for the task.
"Be careful!" he yells at Julie's back. "Get ready for anything Sam!"
Julie carefully makes her way toward the bridge using anything solid she can to keep steady and aboard the boat. She nearly loses her footing a couple times when the waves slam into her body.
If I survive this, I'm never going boating again.
The door to the bridge is flung wide open by the time she reaches it. It is odd the captain would have it open in the middle of a storm, but she figures it may have just not been closed right. When she steps into the doorframe she never knew she could be so wrong.
The captain's gut is sliced open; his intestines are splayed all across the watery deck. Holding his lifeless body is the demon Gravlis. She is too focused on getting to the bridge safely she isn't even aware of her senses warning her of the danger ahead. Gravlis tears the captain's throat out. Pieces of flesh and blood drip from the demon's mouth falling to the floor. You're just in time. I like having my meal serve to me. The demon smiles a toothy grin. The sight of it makes Julie's stomach turn in revulsion.
"Over your dead body!" she yells as she reaches for her Smith & Wesson 40mm Luger.
The Gravlis doesn't waste any time. Dropping the lifeless body to the floor, the demon launches himself through the air and slams into Julie. She has just gotten a grip on her gun when the force of the impact pins her and her hand against the railing of the boat.
Pain shoots through her hand causing her to lose grip of the gun. It falls into the water. The noise of the splash is lost in the roar of the waves and growl of the demon.
Spencer and Sam have their guns drawn and have just loaded them with their special clips with hollow point rounds containing holy light, as the Black List called it. The rounds contain ultra violet light, a weakness to demons once introduced within their bodies.
Without warning Spencer is hit from behind and lifted into the air. Before he has a chance to realize he had been lifted up, he is thrown across the deck. He impacts against the deck and slides, stopping once he hits the railing.
Natalya hovers gracefully fifteen feet above the boat. Her wings flap smoothly while the rain and winds seem to not touch her, much like some kind of field is surrounding her.
"Is that that the only way you can fight bitch?" Sam yells. She takes aim and unleashes on the flying demon. The bullets soar past Natalya as she easily dodges each round.
Natalya laughes a ghastly laugh as soon as Sam's gun runs dry. It isn't me you should be concerned with.
Shock strikes Sam as she realizes the demon isn't alone. She turns to intercept an attack from behind but is too late. The gun is knocked aside and then a well executed two-handed strike strikes her chest.
Sam stumbles backward and despite being off balance along with the rocking of the boat, she manages to keep her balance. She rubs where her chest burned then looks up deplored by who stood before her. "Can't you leave my sister alone?" she implores. "What has she done to deserve this hideous fate?"
To suffer is the only things you humans need to do. And suffer you shall!
The doppelganger of Sam's sister leaps at her. Two blades appear from nowhere as it lands and catches Sam with two quick slashes. She moves barely out of the way, the blades only slicing through her shirt shredding it instead of her flesh.
A bullet rips through the air, the sound of gunfire disguised by the sound of the storm, pierces Natalya's wing. A shriek erupts from her mouth as she spins to face her attacker.
By then Spencer has already fired two more rounds, both catching her midsection. The impact from the rounds throw her back into the cabin, shattering the wall as her body passes through it. Splinters of wood fly in all directions. What the wind doesn't carry off rains down on the occupants of the boat.
Spencer instantly focuses his attention on the doppelganger and is ready to open fire when the sound of thunder cracks. The sound erupts forth causes Spencer to drop his gun and cover his ears. Before he has a chance to recover a body slams into his and both fly overboard.
Julie throws an elbow into the bottom of Gravlis' jaw. The demon lurches back briefly before coming back down and biting full force into her right shoulder. Julie screams in pain.
Gravlis releases his hold of her shoulder then grabs her by the throat he lifts her into the air. Scream. Scream. Scream for me some more. I want to hear more before I slaughter you. He throws her into the bridge where she lands into the remains of the captain. Blood spatters all over her and the walls.
Gravlis slowly stalks into the cabin. Julie scrambles to find something, anything to use as a weapon. Her hand crosses over a piece of glass just as the demon launches himself at her.
She waits until the last possible second and rolls out from underneath him. Gravlis comes down hard causing the boards underneath to crack from the combination of his weight and force of the landing.
Julie grips the glass tight. Blood slowly begins to seep from her hand as the glass cuts deep into her flesh. She fights through the pain and braces herself for her attack. As Gravlis spins to turn toward her, she launches herself at him, the piece of glass piercing the demon's throat, digging in deep. Julie, ready to cause as much damage as she can, grips the piece of glass with both hands and begins to drag it across Gravlis' throat.
Gravlis is quick to respond. He grabs her hand and lets out a devious laugh. As she realizes her attempt has failed, he backhands her. She spins as she is lifted into the air then falls to the deck with a whimper.
Foolish human. It takes more than the likes of you to kill me. He looms over her, a smile spreading across his face. Play time is over bitch. Which piece of you would you like me to rip from your body first?
The doppelganger of Jennifer rushes Sam. Sam feigns a dodge, twisting her body as it slides by and counters with an elbow to the back of the doppelganger's head.
It stumbled forward into a roll coming up to its feet. Sam takes the opportunity to rush the doppelganger while its back is to her. She fails in her attempt as the doppelganger simply drops to one knee and throws her elbow into Sam's stomach. She clutches her stomach and doubles over. The doppelganger's elbow comes up and connects with Sam's jaw. Her jaw slams shut jarring her teeth and causing her head to snap back. Sam flies backward landing hard and flat on her back. Blackness engulfs her briefly before the pain sets in. She opens her eyes and for a moment sees stars.
The doppelganger stands over Sam with a smile spread across her face. Clinching through the pain set in her jaw, Sam smiles back. Bewilderment crosses the doppelganger's face allowing Sam the moment of opportunity she needs to sweep the feet out from underneath it.
As the doppelganger falls, it is able to twist its body around in midair to land on its stomach. Sam curses as she fights through the ache throughout her body. She gets to her feet enough to leap on top of the doppelganger. Quickly she slips her arm around its neck and with a swift movement snaps the spinal cord of it. Instantly, the doppelganger's body goes limp and falls to the deck.
Gravlis lifts Julie up as she thrashes trying to pry his strong, clawed fingers off her neck. With a hearty laugh he throws her into the wall. Julie forces her body to go limp as she impacts the wooden wall. The wood cracks and splinters as her body slams into it. Gravlis picks her up by the neck again as soon as she hit the floor. You can let this all end now if you beg for me to kill you now.
Julie grunts in response. Gravlis sneers and slams her into the wall a few times. Each hit causes the wooden wall to crack and splinter more. Julie grimaces in pain as pieces of the wood stab into her back leaving splinters.
Let me help you beg. Ask for your miserable life to end quickly. He holds her inches from his face. His putrid breath smothers and overwhelms her senses. She remains silent for several moments as Gravlis chuckles. You think you can stand a little pain? You humans always seem to think you know what pain is.
Julie's eyes match his and defiance burns in those eyes. "Fuck you," she says with a wide smile.
The next thing to go through his head is a spear from the spear gun she held in her hand. The light shines brightly off the metal of the spear now stained with Gravlis' blood. The grip around her neck slackens and she falls to the ground. As soon as her feet touch the ground she is jumping away to avoid Gravlis' hulk as it comes crashing down where she was just at.
Spencer coughs as he tries to keep the roaring water from entering his lungs. He has hold of the railing of the boat as the waves constantly batter him, trying to force him to let go and be carried down to the depths. His strength is ready to give out when a hand reaches over and grabs his. Looking up he sees Sam's face smiling at him. She says something he can't quite make out over the crashing sound of the water.
It doesn't matter. He is happy to get the chance to get out of the water. The only thing better would be for him to be dry. With Sam's help he manages to get back onto the rocking boat. The storm continues to hammer at them, but for the moment they are relatively safe.
Sam holds Spencer in her lap as they both try to catch their breath, but the fight isn't over yet. Natalya bursts out of the water, soaring high into the air with a shriek. Water shoots up from the sea below her and begins twirling. Her lips are moving but neither Sam nor Spencer can tell what she is saying.
Her eyes are pure white as she looks at the two as if looking right through them. The water begins to form a sphere and Natalya's intent begins to make sense. If she can't kill them with the storm then she'd sink the entire boat. Gathering of the water for the sphere is complete. Natalya begins to rear back to launch the sphere when suddenly a spear shoots through the air to pierces her abdomen.
"Go back to Hades where you belong bitch!" Julie yells.
Natalya screams as she falls from the air to drop into the sea. The sphere of water instantly dissipates along with the storm. Instant calm comes to the sea as if there was never any sign of a storm.
Sam and Spencer glance back to the source of the attack. Julie nods to them both. "I told you when the time came; I'd have your back."
Sam throws her a smile then follows Spencer to the side of the boat. "I get the feeling that isn't the last of that one," he says sarcastically.
"I get the feeling you're right," Sam says grinning.
The Blue Leviathan is still several hours from its intended destination. The night sky is filled with stars casting their light down to glisten over the ocean. The group waits for nearly an hour before deciding another attack wasn't going to take place.
"We can't steer the boat, the entire control panel and bridge for that matter in beyond fixing," Julie says wiping her hands with a towel as she exits the bridge. "At least by us out here."