Most of the dig site had been filled in with sand by use of explosives. The bodies of the Professor and students were buried with callous disregard. The extremists were still there; most in their tents. On the border of the dig site, two men stood watch and laughed about what they had done.
“These infidels got what they deserved, eh?” said a man with a greasy beard and smile of rotting teeth.
“Oh yes.” the bald one answered. He picked at his fingernails with a knife. “Now they get to stay with their precious dig forever.”
“Say! What is that? Out in the desert!” greasy pointed.
Something was approaching fast. The two men strained their eyes to see in the afternoon sunlight. In moments they were shrouded with dust and sand, choking and coughing. They waved their arms as if that would help get the sandy cloud away from them. As their vision returned and the dust settled, both men stared, drop jawed at the sight of Anubis.
“N-n-not possible,” the bald one stammered.
“What? You don’t think your worst nightmare can come to life?” Anubis said. He now considered himself to be Anubis, no longer meant to be Hakim. Anubis jammed his lance into the sand as he approached the men.
Greasy fired his weapon and Baldy followed suit. Rounds of AK-47 ammunition battered Anubis’s body and fell away uselessly.
“Uh-oh, looks like I’m bullet proof.” Anubis snarled as he grabbed Baldy by his shirt and raised him into the air. “I wonder...” and he threw the man as high and far as he could over the dig site and into the distance. He put a hand over his eyes as to watch how far. Greasy stared in shock as his friend’s body grew smaller and smaller in the distance.
“Wow, he went really far!” Anubis relished in his new power and took his attention to Greasy. “Now, I want to know who killed her.” He lifted the man up and brought him close only for a moment. “Ugh, your breath could kill on its own.”
“Killed who? I do not know of what you speak.” Greasy dangled at arm’s length from Anubis. “We thought we would please you, Lord.”
“You shoot at me and then call me your Lord? You guys are really confusing! In any case, you thought you would please me with acts of murder? Is that how you claim to worship Anubis?”
“Yes, my Lord, only to please you!”
“Well you botched it, Mister; I’m not pleased at all!” At this point Anubis noticed that several gunmen had moved in and were watching in shock.
“Oh look, your friends are here,” Anubis grabbed the top of the man’s head and turned it sharply to face the other men. The man’s neck broke with a loud snap. Anubis tossed the body aside, “Now who killed her!” His voice echoed throughout the dig site.
“Cowards!” One extremist yelled to the others, “He cannot be real! He would not kill us! Fire! Fire! Kill him!”
|Anubis wrecks a tank|
The air came to life with bullets and Anubis ignored them as he walked up to the closest extremist and grabbed him by the neck. His demand to know who killed Ella was met with screaming. Anubis roared with rage and flung that man’s body into the side of a military truck. The impact bent the truck into a boomerang shape and shattered every bone in the zealot’s body.
Anubis knew now that he could not find the one killer he sought, but if he killed them all, he would surely have the one he wanted either way. So he flew into a rage and struck with fists that landed like meteorites. No one moved fast enough to escape him. He punched them, he broke them, and finally crushed them. A man came forward with a rocket launcher and fired. As the smoke cleared Anubis was upon him. Not only unharmed, but even angrier than before. He grabbed the man’s other rocket and stuffed it in his pants. Then he swung the man around by a leg and threw him at another group. The explosion threw body parts in all directions. None of it mattered. The intensity of Hakim’s grief and rage blinded him to the bloodshed. Then, suddenly, all became quiet. Hakim was the only one left standing.
Tears streamed from his eyes and he couldn’t unclench his fists. The metallic clanking of the tank shook him out of his stalled state. He stared at it, feeling a little surprised that they owned a tank. He felt emotionally numb as the barrel of the tank turned toward him. It fired with a shout of thunder and a quake to the ground. The projectile caught Anubis in the stomach and smashed him into the dig site, burying him under a ton of rock. The three men in the tank cheered. Under the rocks Anubis planted his feet on the ground and extended his legs to force his way to standing upright. The debris tumbled away and his eyes glowed red with rage as the tears still came. He stepped into view, but the men were too busy congratulating each other. Anubis took up his lance, gripping it tightly. He flew to the tank and jammed the bladed end under the swivel section of the turret. He pressed against leverage hard and fast. The tank turret popped off and flew high into the air. The machine exploded into a ball of fire from its own ammunition. All three men died instantly. Anubis swung his lance at the burning tank in rage, again and again. Each hit crumpled it more and more. Then he stopped and stepped away, lost in grief as he surveyed the scene around him.
Dead enemies lay everywhere. Hakim didn’t feel any better for their deaths. None of it brought back Ella. None of it would bring peace to all the families who lost loved ones here. Hakim looked at his bloody hands and almost dropped to his knees if he weren’t interrupted.
“You killed all my men!” shouted a voice behind him.
This man considered himself a General, as extremist leaders in the region were well known for giving themselves lofty ranks. He stuck out his chest in a uniform with a great deal of decoration he never earned.
“Yes.” Anubis gripped his lance. “I killed them all.”
“We served you! We worshipped you! We did this for you!”
“NO!” Anubis found the power to change the shape of his head and face back to its human form. “You did not! You did this only to murder!”
The leader looked surprised. “Who are you?”
“I am Hakim. I fled this place when you attacked and killed the woman I loved.”
“So you came for revenge.”
“No. I was chosen by a power beyond what you know to come and punish you!” Hakim turned back to Anubis. “And that is just what I will do.”
He swung his lance through the air and the entire dig burst into flames. The extremist leader ignited as well. Anubis rose into the air with only Ella’s face in his mind. This was done but now he had no idea what he was supposed to do. Perhaps if he flew back to the temple there would be answers there. So Anubis flew high over the desert dunes with his armor shining in the sun. Tears still glistened on the face of the jackal, pushed back by the wind. It didn’t take long to see the temple was still there. Anubis could see something else was there too. It was the shape of a person standing in the sand at the temple’s base. Anubis flew toward the person to investigate. As Anubis hovered in closer he could see a small, bent old man in a gray holocaust robe, leaning on a cudgel stick. The old man was bald except for a white halo of hair and his bright blue eyes had a strange glow.
“Well, come down here, Hakim. Don’t make an old man stare into the sun.” The voice was ancient and behind it there was a commanding power that Anubis could sense.
Anubis landed a few feet away, “Who are you?”
“I am Destiny and I have come for you. But first, clean your hands, Hakim. Concentrate and clean them.”
Anubis looked at his hands and the blood that was still there. He wished it gone, concentrated on it being gone. To his own amazement, the blood dissolved away.
“You are capable of many things now that you represent Anubis. You were right that you were chosen, but it wasn’t to take revenge for murder.”
“Then I have done wrong?”
“No, it was their destiny to meet you today. Your grief was their undoing. You were brought back from the dead, filled with grief and rage and given great powers. What else should one expect under the circumstances? In any case, now you must embrace your new destiny. The world will see the destruction of that site and eventually consider you dead along with them.”
“Because they will discover I’m missing and find out that I went with them.”
“Precisely. Now it’s time for your new fate. It will test you even more. You now must protect the Balance of good and evil. The Balance will soon be under attack, Anubis and it will be your test to defend it.”
“How? Where? And how do I use my powers?”
“You have a built in sense of what you can do. When the time is right for each portion of your abilities, you will use them and learn. I cannot give you all the information, but you must go to New York City to learn the rest of what you must do. It will come to you, Anubis and you will find the way. After that, you will be a Herald of Destiny.”
“This is so much to take in.”
“For now, just go to New York. One thing at a time, Anubis,” and the old man faded away like a distant mirage, “One thing at a time.”
As Anubis looked around, the temple also faded away, leaving him alone out in the desert. Anubis took a deep breath, lifted himself into the air and flew away.
(Note: you can click on images for larger view)
What's next? What's going to happen in New York? Stay tuned to find out!
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