Intermission – Sphinx 2: The Revenge!

“Watch out!”

A cry rang out across the dunes, hundreds of voices screaming in fear as the sandy monstrosity approached the mighty pyramids. It was hard to comprehend what had caused such a being to come into existence, yet there it was.

The creature had begun its ascension three days prior, but it had taken this long to finally shake its way free of the sandstone prison that was to be its tomb. After the last rampage measures were taken to immure it permanently, securing the beast deep within the desert. Apparently these measures were insignificant.

The front echelons fired off their weapons at the hulking creature, round after round embedding in its sand-ridden torso. If the creature was hurt it showed little sign of such. A massive appendage was brought down with venomous speed, swiping at the front lines, sending them hurtling through the air to their deaths.

The creature let out a terrifying roar, like a million lions in the grips of a primal rage, and shook free the remaining sand. It was then that the soldiers saw the true spectacle of the beast. They had heard tales from the previous ascension, yet tales rarely do justice.

The creature was huge, perhaps 60 feet tall, and both terrible and beautiful to behold. Indeed, like its roar attested, the creature closely resembled a lion for the most part, with claws larger than a man and a deep, golden fur. Unlike lions, however, the creature had what seemed to be the vestiges of wings, stubby little protrusions just above the shoulder blades. They appeared greatly atrophied and rotten, oozing sores bigger than a man’s head covering what was left of the flesh. The most unnerving and part of the creature, however, was its head. A human head.

The giant, emerald eyes of the beast darted wildly as it took note of the ant-like soldiers fleeing before it. They were captivating, beautiful, compassionate eyes that seemed deeply wrong when placed into such a violent beast. There was love in those eyes, a deep sorrow at what the creature was doing, the havoc it was wreaking, yet the face itself did not echo these sentiments.

The face of the creature was almost demonic in its enjoyment, a foul grin crumpling the smooth skin into a variety of evil canyons. Fanged teeth protruded from the creature’s mouth as it smiled, dripping sticky saliva in globules sufficient to drown even the tallest of men and potentially crush those of smaller stature.

A diminished squadron of fighters partook in a few strafing runs at the beast, each time losing one or two aircraft to a swing of its agile tail. One aircraft managed to escape immediate destruction, pinwheeling through the air and embedding itself in a sand dune. The creature tore into it like a child would tear into a gift, great fountains of blood replacing the more pleasant plumes of wrapping paper, the screams of the pilot replacing the giggling of a happy child.

Somewhere in the newly appointed front line the order was given, quite foolishly, to open fire once more. A cacophony of gunshots rang out into the desert, closely followed by hundreds of wet smacks, like the sound made when beating a wet sack, as the projectiles struck the creature. This time the creature seemed a little pained and brought its vile gaze to bear on the soldiers that had fired. With unrivaled speed, the creature charged the men. Though they were 300 metres away, perhaps more, the creature was on them in less than a second, perhaps owing to its large stride. It tore them to shreds and consumed them, all the while being barraged by tanks as effective as an infants toy.

The army were in full retreat by this point. They had no tactics left open to them, no weapons of any use, and as a result their morale was in tatters. The creature was not, however, of a mind to allow those that had wronged it the chance to escape. It began to torment the soldiers, running rings around those in retreat, forcing them back and forth in a perverse little dance. Occasionally it would take a swipe at them playfully, never intending to catch them. It was reminiscent of a school yard bully or perhaps, more correctly, a giant-sized cat and mouse.

The soldiers began to drop one by one, each being devoured as they fell, until one man remained. From a distance he looked insignificant, a black dot in a vast ocean of golden sand, but up close he seemed powerful. He had a grim look of determination on his face as he invited the creature to take him. He stood proud and strong in the centre of the vast circle the creature had worn into the desert and began to announce himself, loudly.

“Beast!” he cried, “I shall not play your game any more! If you intend on killing me then make haste and do so, for I shall not be your plaything any more!”

For a moment the creature seemed confused, as if it had understood the man’s words and was upset at being denied its toy. It paced around in front of him, considering its options. Gently, it approached the soldier and lowered its giant head, its alluring eyes fixated on the lone soldier. They stared at one another for the longest of times before the creature roared louder than it had previously. The proximity of the beast to the man resulted in him being carried away by the sheer power of the sound, slamming him into the remnants of an armoured vehicle. Something within him cracked noisily and he fell limp, the intermittent dripping of blood from his mouth being the last sound he would make.

The creature, victorious, turned its gaze on the great pyramid and began to approach it. It nimbly climbed its way to the very top and perched itself upon the point. Like a giant king it surveyed its lands from its new throne, picking out which settlement would be its next meal.

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