With the Holy Lance, safely sealed within the bone box and strapped across my back, I set out, deciding I would walk the mile and a half journey to the meeting point.
They offered me a lift, in one of their vehicles, I wasn’t getting in a car with these suicide fuckers.
No, I walked while they drove behind me, slowly.
I had arrived at the rendezvous exactly eighteen minutes late. They looked a little pissed off when they finally saw me. In fact, the truth is I wasn’t late at all, I had just decided to watch them, congregated on the steps of the Court house, looking more and more anxious by the minute. I even stopped for a milkshake, chocolate flavour, before I crossed the rows of passive aggressive taxi ranks, all simmering and smoking in the heat of the day. Wearing gloves, as a safety measure, meant I could carry the drink without getting cold fingertips, God forbid…
The Tyrant was careful, I’ll give him that.
So I walked, they followed, as I already told you, our destination was a newly built luxury Villa, on the outskirts of Baghdad, as it were. I knew the place pretty well, even considered buying one actually. It was popular, especially among wealthy Brits, likewise those who had invested interests in the price of oil, or herione, whichever, both pretty much the same thing anyway. Only difference between them is herione singularly cripples a person while oil cripples the whole fucking world, should it be suddenly snatched away, as it often is, and held to ransom.
As I arrived at the complex I was immediately stopped at gun point by a bunch of hard looking mercenaries. They weren’t local boys, I can tell you that much. I continued to slurp my milkshake, loudly.
Eventually they let me in, the car continuing to creep along behind me.
I could hear music, it was playing from somewhere within the Villa, it was pop music! Something wasn’t sitting right with me. The Tyrant seemed awfully westernised. Did I mention, I had never, well, not up until that point, actually met or laid eyes on the Tyrant before? No? Probably should have mentioned it…
With a name like “The Tyrant”, involved in oil, drugs and tyranny, I assumed he was a he, and I assumed he was an Iraqi. O’ how assumptions can be presumptuous. Huh.
Someone was splashing around in the swimming pool ahead of me, I approached but was again stopped and searched by a well dressed thug, he examined the bone box before handing it back to me, unopened, silently stepping aside.
I walked out onto the tiled patio of the swimming pool, sunbeds and cocktails on standby.
A waiter approached me and offered me refreshments.
I ignored his offer by continuing to slurp. He gave up and retreated back to wherever he cometh from.
Pink skin flashed from within the water. Blood pumping I unlatched the bone box and begun drawing the spear when suddenly the Tyrant addressed me, back still not facing me.
‘Lord Game, by your definitions, well played’, smiled the Tyrant, turning around, skimpy bikini and all.
I was lost for words, truly. The Tyrant was a women, a bloody ugly women at that, but, still better looking than a man. She had tits and to top it all off, she was a God damn American!
My mouth flapped, wordlessly, spear still a quarter drawn as The Tyrant climbed out of the swimming pool, her stretch marks blazing lines across my soul.
She was powerful. I could feel it. I already admired and hated her. Both are accolades in their own rights.
She held out a hand as she started go approach. ‘I think I will take that, thank you very much’
I bristled, my surprise melting away as I continued to draw the weapon in response. Death was in my eye but to give her her due, the bitch kept on coming.
‘You will take this down your fucking throat!’ I roared, advancing with real purpose.
She stopped, signalling by raising a hand up high above her head.
I had no mind for silly little games, spear fully weaponised I was ready to take a bitch down.
Her hand made a fist. I stopped.
Shockwaves, thudding through my steel resolution as I watched, from out of an open balcony behind her, a large man drop, hanging from a rope. I immediately recognised him as Grim, and thankfully his neck was not broken as he continued to thrash around like a fish on a hook, his arms and legs bound fast against his lump of a body.
‘So, now I have your attention? Give it to me and I will see that he is cut free.’
Bitch was good, I’ll give her that. This was sure to be a wrench in the works. No wonder they called her The fucking Tyrant.
Milliseconds passed as I weighed up my remaining options, running scenarios over in my mind, people dying, especially her, yet each time Grim died too. She was dead no matter what. There really was no way to save him other than to trust her.
‘Give me a reason to trust that you will let him live.’ I urged, still advancing, still in kill mode.
She held her hands out defensively, I suppose it was a gesture of honesty.
‘I, Helen Gurbestine, give you my word. Know my name and hunt me down should I break it.’
That was good enough, empty words from a walking corpse. I shrugged, dropping the Holy Lance on the tiled floor, the sound making a tinny clatter.
The Tyrant smiled as she held her hand back in the air and gestured like scissors cutting. The rope hanging Grim frayed with a loud snap as his body smashed through a sun bed lounger below.
Mercenaries flooded the area as Helen dived for the spear, tucking it inside her bathing robe, her hired bodyguards forming protective circles around the Tyrant, I saw no reason to hurt her now, besides the damage was done, bitch will be dead by this time tomorrow. Yet still I had given my enemies a tool to be used against me. Grim was more Important. I carefully pulled off my protective gloves, tossing them into the water, inside out, as I gathered up Grim, easily breaking the rope around his neck. He was breathing, barely. I smiled. The poison on the spear would have been transfered all over the skin on her stomach and arms by now. Shit, it couldn’t have possibly gone any better.
And to think, I was willing to play the long game…I honestly believed that the Tyrant was Saddam Hussein! Fucking shows what I know, doesn’t it?
Job was completed as far as I were concerned. It was time to leave the desert behind me.
With the Holy Lance, safely sealed within the bone box and strapped across my back, I set out, deciding I would walk the mile and a half journey to the meeting point.
I closed my eyes to sleep, but instead I lay in a state of unrest. It had taken me most of the evening to make sure I wasn’t being followed. The sky a moody grey when I finally decided to turn in.
Why couldn’t I sleep?
Good question. A lot of shit has happened to me over the last six hundred years. A lot of people killed, friends included…even a loved one, but I’m not ready to tell you about her.
The point is that any one of several hundred reasons, could be at fault for my uncharacteristic restlessness. Usually I sleep like a rock, that’s the truth, but the mystery behind my nights lack of sleep can be summed up by one word. The word is excitement.
Every time my eye lids blinked shut I saw it. This was the mother of all schemes, and right now the Twat was sleeping happily, believing he was bringing his boss the fucking spear of Destiny. Twat.
Nobody gets to try and fuck me without getting fucked back, ten times fucking harder. And the Tyrant tried to fuck me, naturally he thinks he’s the exception to the rule, naturally.
Have I ever told you that I have a serious problem with Royalty? Come to think of it, I pretty much despise all forms of feudalism.
No one person is born above another. We grow and fight and cheat our way up. We end up above others, sure, but we all start at the bottom. Life is the wall. We spend all our lives climbing it, struggling like bastards to get up, but when we do finally reach the top, we fall off. That is the beauty of it: there will always be room at the top.
The Tyrant was about to understand this sentiment better than anyone. Henry Game doesn’t make threats, he makes promises.
And I made a promise, mainly to myself when I was eating salt, running naked through the desert whilst being chased by a killer stripper. The promise is between me and the Tyrant. Well, I guess you’ll find out soon enough. The spear will be the Trojan horse that gets me through the gates of Troy.
I gave the signal then stood back to watch the magic happen.
Yusuf Khan, AKA “The Twat”, as I liked to call him, stepped out of the exclusive ‘massage parlour’ without a care in the world. The Twat was his number two, he literally had the freedom of the country. He could, and often did, strike with impunity. His lack of conscience was intriguing. Genuine psychopaths are rarer than you might think. I’ve always seen them as the next step, evolutionary speaking of course. I disliked this man with a passion, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find him interesting.
He was about to make a humongous mistake, hopefully – you see, Mr Khan, it was rumoured, was the only person in the entire country who knew the exact whereabouts of the Tyrant. Half of the Tyrants you saw on Television were doubles, surgically altered and the such – they literally lived and died at his discretion, sometimes they were murdered…mistaken identity was a risk for these men. They knew it, they didn’t have a choice – Khan was my only hope. This had to work.
The Ifrit, wearing the skin of a young boy, nodded back to me from across the promenade, stepping out of the doorway of a shuttered coffee house.
I couldn’t look away, the suspense was really drawing me in. Reality drama at its best.
The Twat pulled a cigarette from the inside of his military jacket and set off walking toward the innocuous little boy, devilishly grinning, suspiciously even.
I tried to signal the Ifrit, tried telling him to stop it before-
It didn’t matter, too late. The Twat must have got spooked by the child, freakishly drooling, not breaking eye contact, not even blinking, walking like a fucking demented chicken, towards him.
The Ifrit had fucking blown it! I stepped out from my cover, pissed, as The Twat turned away from the Freak and headed towards me, that was when I realised he wasn’t alone. Two ‘regular’ looking men, a little on the ragged side if I’m honest, mirrored the Twat’s change in direction, they were watching him too, guarding him actually. They were also watching the Ifrit, in fact, a lot of attention was being drawn toward the Ifrit. The situation really was getting out of control. I noticed weapons were now drawn. There was a lot more than two on his protective detail. They were everywhere. These fucking Arabs weren’t half a bunch of paranoid fuckers! But what do they say? It’s not being paranoid if the whole world is out to get you.
I suppose in this instance, it was partly true. Again, I found myself tipping my metaphorical hat to the Twat.
The Ifrit had been made, he had suddenly gone from being an asset to a liability. He knew everything: the safehouse, my plan (sort of), my arsenal. I made the choice that needed to be made and let the Twat brush past me, unharmed, whilst I drew the holy lance.
The Ifrit goggled onward, oblivious to the attention he was making, oblivious to the spear in my hand.
Like a flash of black lightning and I had jabbed the spear head through the Ifrit, the young boy, several times in quick succession.
A scream broke through the air and before I knew it the whole promenade was looking at me, horrified, me holding the smoking head of a child, his body likewise smoking on the ground.
I was surrounded, fat pistols aimed at my face. I smiled as I registered that the Twat had returned. Still the corpse of the dead Ifrit smoked. Still I held the blackening head.
Suddenly it appeared as though black wings had sprouted from the boy’s back. I was no longer holding a child’s head, I was holding the head of a horned demon. It’s skin jet-black with razor sharp teeth protruding at varying angles, like a Bat fucked a Mako shark and had babies.
The smoke had finally cleared as I let the head drop with a squelch.
Guns hesitantly lowered as the Twat stepped into the circle of death, his eyes fixed on the Spear of Destiny.
I sheathed it in to the bone-lined scabbard across my lower back, safely beneath my black robe.
‘Don’t mention it, anyone would have done the same…’ I trailed as I wiped my hand on my robe and turned to leave.
‘Mr Game, the lance-‘ hissed the Twat.
I smiled. Killing the Ifrit wasn’t my initial plan but still, it lead me here. I had just won favour with the only man who knows where he is.
Killing only leads to more death. Time for a new approach, I decided, ‘aye, it is. Come to think of it, your boss is after something like this…hmmm, maybe you should give him a call? We could go and see him together, what do you say?’
Image courtesy of: http://kellyoshi.deviantart.com/art/Spear-of-Destiny-368344846
‘Ifrit, please, for crying out loud, in English! I’m tired of constantly having to contextualise your sentences’. I growled whilst continuing to examine the blade. This Ifrit sure was a chatter-box!
‘Is this what you wished for?’ Repeated the Ifrit, still currently wearing a skin.
‘It seems to be,’ I pondered, distracted in deep thought. ‘But I suppose there’s only one way to really authen…’ I trailed, pulling my glove off and tentatively placing my naked finger to the tip of it. My skin burned and spat, like hot metal when you piss on it. I smiled, this was the real thing, my finger burned like fuck – but still, I smiled, I had finally found it, kind of. And I knew that the Tyrant wanted it, more than wanted it, he fucking massacred entire villages searching for it…a plan was beginning to formulate.
‘It will destroy the blood of El, like us. Why would you choose to keep it close?’
The Ifrit was nervous, she backed away from me as I put my glove back on and dropped the blade into a white bone container – another wish granted. I loved cheating.
‘I keep it because my enemy wants it. I keep it because then there is one less thing out there that can kill me. I keep it because I mean to use it’.
‘The spear of Destiny should be destroyed, not kept as an object of fancy’. Objected the Ifrit, venomously. She was afraid, she had every right to be. This could kill her, would kill her, does kill her.
Smoke had begun to wisp off of her, her skin, it was fucking burning out. She would have to kill again, or, she would have to remain hidden. And hiding was not apart of my plan.
The Ifrit paced back and forth, snake like, naked feet slapping on the tiled floor.
‘You go and find a new skin. Come back by dawn.’ I muttered, and with a pop she was gone.
That just left me alone with the power of Destiny in my lap.
I sucked the raw wound on the tip of my finger and plotted my next move. With a pop the Ifrit had returned. It had only been two minutes. I smiled in approval as I looked over the new skin. The little boy, seven maybe eight years of age, smiled back. This would work perfectly. The Ifrit slunk away, all crab-like, into the darkest corner of the room. He was still watching me, smiling at me. I turned away. Why did I have to get lumbered with the fucking clingy djinn?
I continued to suckle, knowing that if I turned over, the freak would be watching me. The spear of Destiny never left my side that night.
Delirious, largely attributed to the copious amounts of salt ingested, and positively crispy, everywhere, I spied shelter from the whipping sand and ruthless sun, needless to say I invaded it. I’d like to say I conquered it at full gallop, striding in, chest puffed out in defiance all righteous and just – but the truth is a little less…epic. In reality I whimpered through the askew mouth, suspiciously accessible, on the lowest outcrop of viscous desert crag.
From this position I could see everything…miles and miles of endless sand, maybe something else, I couldn’t be certain- no, just more sand.
I had no idea how far I had travelled, or, from which direction. I could have been running in circles, probably was, she could have already passed me by now.
If Gift three was still out there – still alive, still hunting me – then she’s madder than a chicken in Kiev.
At the time I just assumed she had given up, or died, either one was more preferable than the truth. The truth, huh! What the fuck does that even mean?
The skin pulled across my back painfully, perfectly insinc with the shrinkage of my scrotum. (Did you forget I was naked?)
The cave was growing colder the further I explored it. Fortunately, large splits in the roof of the tunnel allowed shafts of light to cut across the darkness, ripping through the fabric of timeless rest, making it possible to see reasonably well. If I hadn’t been so wearisome, so naked, maybe I would have been alarmed by the fact no animals, or even the evidence of animals, dwelled within this serendipitous respite, as it were though, I continued, ignorant, into the cold depths.
Beams like sheets of golden shine sliced through, intermittently, perhaps even more frequent but still the tunnel grew darker and colder.
A squelching sound penetrated through the stillness deep within the shadow. I stopped, reacting mainly to the hairs on my arms and neck hackling. Suddenly the shadow shifted and a pale foot appeared on the dust coated rock. That was when I realised that the shadow wasn’t a shadow. My heart thumped painfully as I scrambled backwards, upwards, in the direction I had just come, never daring to take my eyes from the huge blackness that was unfurling before me.
It appeared to have been crouching over something, a body, a women. She wasn’t wearing much and a bloodied blade lay helpless besides her.
Smoke filled my mouth. It was fuming, like fire, and it had unfolded to its potential. I expected it to come at me but it didn’t. Instead something else happened, it spoke to me in a language forgotten by men, in letters that do not exist today.
In the interest of clarity I will translate, as literally as possible.
It said, ‘spawn of Shaitan. Given you come to punish, or live on me reward?’
I struggled to fully understand what had just happened. He used the name of my father, the true name, which cannot ever truly be translated, as with all things of that nature. I noticed now that it was afraid of me. I smiled, relaxing a little.
‘I need clothes.’ It was the first thing that came to mind, more of a thought really but before I could say another word the black monster had ripped open the space between us.
My breath caught in my throat as the air sucked through the tear like a vacuum. Then, suddenly as it happened, it stopped, and before me was a neatly folded pile of clothes. Exactly as I had imagined in fact. I picked up the white shirt and tried it on for size, the fit was perfect, of course it was! What else do you expect from a Genie, or at least that was what I figured.
The black monster’s ripped wings wrapped around itself for a moment before shaking, violently, then dissipating in wisps of smoke, revealing a perfectly healthy looking, Gift three.
She cocked her head to one side.
I laughed, maybe the drugs hadn’t worn off after all!
‘You need clothes too.’
To be continued…
What you don’t know about me, is, that under the sun, I burn easily. Factor fifty regularly and thoroughly applied, combined with also trying not to stay in direct sunlight for longer than an hour or so at a time is usually the prescribed method applied when one finds oneself in a country that is not as cold as dead men’s spit.
So, running for my life naked across the blistering sands of Iraq’s answer to the Badlands, was not going to end pretty, either way, for anyone involved.
Why was I naked, you ask?
Well, that was my first mistake, and by God it was a big one.
The Tyrant had sent down a Gift. Fortunately for Grim he had just stepped out to drop anchor. Lucky bastard.
Meanwhile the ‘Gifts’ waited at my door, tits winking at me unashamedly.
I felt the blood rush as I ushered them in and they proceeded to take off what little strips of silk they still possessed.
Grim literally couldn’t have picked a better time to go curl one out and my smile stretched from my mouth to my…ahhh, yeah, I was very excited.
The three Gifts went to work and after a tantric couple of seconds I was totally naked. Scars and dints bared for the whole world to see, or they soon would be.
‘Drink, for you Mister Game’ Gift one insisted in perfect broken English, whilst she began the finger walk up my bared leg.
I virtually gulped it down. The second my throat closed around the clear liquid was the exact moment I knew that the Tyrant had finally had enough of my insubordination.
I needed to act fast, I had just swallowed some pretty serious tranqs, probably overdosed in all honesty.
The Gifts had quickly dropped the act the minute my glass fell from my hand.
I spotted the silver salt shaker on the table between the second and third Gift. This was it, the heel of my hand drove down on top of the first Gift’s elbow and with a smile I heard her shriek as her arm bent the wrong way.
One down. The next two were ready for me.
Suddenly they both had small knives, probably very sharp too. God knows where they kept them hidden.
I knew I should try to avoid them at all costs but they seemed to be moving super fast or maybe I was slowing down. I think I started to dribble, as I had a sudden on rush of saliva. Only one thing for it, I decided as I spat at Gift number two. Good shot too as I took out her eyes. Then, snatching the salt up I turned tail and legged it, clumsily out of a series of suspiciously unlocked doors.
Next thing I knew my mouth was filled with salt and I was thoroughly retching up, still sprinting at full speed of course, naked – across an empty car park and off into the darkened desert beyond.
Gift three hot in pursuit.
To be continued…
You know, I never did learn how to move with the times, as they say. I suppose I will forever be a swashbuckler at heart, but I wasn’t really in the regaling mood, not at that exact moment.
The Arabs before me howled, unashamedly with laughter.
I knew that they were the lucky ones, they didn’t. And given the opportunity to ask them if they agreed with my conclusion, I’d say, they would definitely disagree. However, they were one of the few people condemned yo history, to die whilst actually laughing their cocks off.
My long dagger swashed above their loose clothing, neatly removing their laughing heads in one, fluid, stroke.
Two shots thudded with the ring of finality, jolting painfully at my teeth. Surprised, I looked down and fingered at the blooded holes in my chest and gut. Suddenly it wasn’t quite so easy to breathe.
I heard a scuffle and muted cracking going on behind me, sluggish I swaggered round, dagger at the ready. It was Grim, the dead Arab unceremoniously being dropped like a sack of dead cats, head facing the wrong way, hence the crunching.
‘Why did you have to go and get shot, again?’
Grim was mad, I could tell because he wouldn’t look at me. ‘Well, you know? What doesn’t kill you…’
‘How many times do you think you can disappoint the Tyrant and get away with it?’
I think the question was rhetorical, I shrugged and answered anyway, ‘well this makes four, so, ahhh, another five or six I reckon. Yeah…ahhh, something like that.’
‘I’m being serious Game! This isn’t England, unless you haven’t noticed? They might not know how to kill you but they will dig a big fucking hole and bury you alive. Trust me for once in your life, before we both end up regretting it.’
Grim wasn’t a man of many words and this, by his standards, was about as good as it gets. I knew he was right, of course he was, always fucking is.
The Tyrant was paying good money for the results we weren’t delivering, instead I just kept killing everybody. Dead men tell no secrets and secrets is what we were being paid to extract.
I lay down on the cluttered table, on top of the tattered Qu’rans, my blood infusing them, or so I like to believe, as Grim withdrew the nasty metal bullets with as much force as he could manage whilst still refusing to meet my eye. It was like the game Operation, except the aim was to make the light buzz as much as possible.
‘Don’t worry,’ I grunted through the pain, ‘the next one we find I will, ahhh! – thanks – I will let you do your thing before we kill them.’
Finally he looked me in the eye. ‘You fucking better. I like you Game, but I won’t die for you out here.’
The second bullet dropped to the tiled floor with a harsh clatter as he stood, wiped his hand on my leg and walked out of the room.