James Rada, Jr.
6: The Angry God
One by one, the soldiers stopped firing their rifles. They ran toward the exit from the excavated chamber beneath Raven Rock Mountain. It led to a half-mile-long tunnel that led to the surface.
When all his men were gone, Maj. Henry Owens took a hand grenade from his belt. He pulled the pin and let the handle fly. Then he lobbed the grenade, so it landed in front of the fence and monstrous creature, and he ran.
He counted as he ran, and right before the explosion, he flattened himself on the ground to avoid any shrapnel. The explosion deafened him, and he felt a pressure wave sweep over him.
He rolled over and looked back. He couldn’t see anything through all of the dust. However, he heard an angry growl and more metal snapping.
Owens pushed himself to his feet and ran for the entrance. He could see his men parking trucks and Jeeps in front of the entrance to create a barrier. Machine guns were set up facing down the tunnel.
The men shouted and pointed. Owens glanced over his shoulder and saw a boulder flying out of the darkness.
He dove to the side as a rock the size of a footlocker hit the ground. It was heavy enough that Owens felt the ground tremble.
Owens made it to the parked vehicles as the creature appeared from the shadows. The soldiers fired at the creature. It stopped moving forward and roared. The bullets could stop its advance, but they weren’t killing the thing.
As Owens made it to the other side of the barricade, a private ran up to him and saluted. “Sir, two men are at the main gate. They insist on speaking with you. One of them said he was a worker here. He says he has information about the box.”
Anyone who knew the metal casket was in the cavern must have been down there.
“I’ll meet them. I want you to call up to Ritchie and get more ammunition sent down here. Also, have them send half a dozen men with grenade launchers,” Owens told the private. Maybe the grenade launchers would be more effective at stopping whatever was trying to get out of the cavern.
The private saluted and ran off. Owens jogged down the road to the front gate, where MPs kept all of the non-military people out. He saw two Indians standing with the MPs.
“Which one of you has information you think I need?” Owens asked.
The younger of the two men raised his hand. “I’m Jack Standing Bear. I was on the crew that unearthed the metal box. I recognized the inscription on the box and went to get this man. He is John Tamanend, an elder of the Susquehannock. They are the people who used to live in this area.”
“If you saw the box, then you know it is not Indian.”
Jack nodded. “The box is not, but the inscription was.”
“What did it say?”
“It was a warning saying the demon inside had been cast from the gods, and that the Old Ones, the people who lived in this land before the Susquehannock, managed to imprison it only at great cost. It should never be opened or the demon would be released.”
Owens could see calling the creature a demon. It fit the bill.
“Well, it’s too late for that,” Owens said.
The older man spoke, and Jack translated. “He says there is a story told among his people of a god who fell to earth in a ball of fire. The god was angry and demanded the Old Ones worship him. Most did, but some did not want to worship an angry god. They didn’t and they vanished, but their numbers increased as more people resisted the angry god.”
“How did they kill it?” Owens asked, looking over his shoulder back toward the entrance to the tunnel.
Jack translated and listed to the Tamanend’s answer. “They didn’t kill the god. You can’t kill a god.”
“Then how did they get it sealed in the box?”
“The warriors who fought the angry god tried many things. Arrows and spears could not kill it, no matter how many times they hit it. Many warriors attacked with knives only to vanish. In desperation, they ambushed the angry god, throwing oil on him and setting him on fire. This worked. Then the warriors took the bones and placed them in the metal box, in which he fell from the sky. They buried him as a god should be. He was placed in a deep chasm, where he could rest peacefully and not be so angry.”
Owens rubbed his chin. The firing started again. He knew it was only holding the creature at bay, but if the Old Ones could defeat it, so could the U.S. Army. He walked to the nearest soldier.
“Go to the camp. I need flamethrowers and cans of gasoline, as much as you can get a hold of quickly. Then get back here.”
The soldier saluted and ran off. Owens turned to a corporal. “I need cans of gasoline and empty bottles. Meet me at the tunnel entrance.”
Owens returned to the tunnel entrance as the firing slacked off. Then a boulder came flying out of the tunnel entrance. Then men scattered. The creature hid in the darkness and roared.
As the corporal and privates brought the cans of gasoline to Owens, he assessed his resources. He had 30 gallons of gasoline and a dozen empty pop bottles. The gasoline might be enough, but he needed more bottles. It would be at least an hour before he could expect the Jeep back.
He had the bottles filled with gasoline. Men tore strips from their undershirts, soaked them in gasoline, and stuffed the mouths of the bottles. He had six soldiers take a pair of bottles and wait.
When the creature pressed again for the entrance, the soldiers lit their Molotov cocktails, ran forward, and threw them at the creature. Half of the bottles missed. Of the six that did hit the creature, two hit too early. The creature knocked them away before they exploded. The four that hit the creature exploded and lit it on fire.
It roared in pain and thrashed around, rolling on the ground to put out the flames. When it finally lay still, one of the soldiers slowly approached it.
“Get back here, private. We don’t know if it’s dead yet,” Owens ordered.
The man didn’t stop. Owens pointed to another private.
“Go bring him back.”
The private ran out and started tugging on the other soldier’s arm, but he wouldn’t stop walking toward the creature. Then the creature glowed blue.
“Get away!” Owens yelled.
The second private started to turn back. He stopped as his skin split and vanished. Then both of the privates faded away.
On the ground, the creature stirred.
And Owens was out of firebombs.
The creature pushed itself to its hands and knees, lifted its head and roared. It looked barely affected by the fire. It hadn’t been large enough, plus the two soldiers had aided its recovery.
He had to do something. It couldn’t be allowed to escape the tunnel. No telling what damage it could do before they stopped it.