They’re dead. I found Jessie first. Oh god how do I write of such things. Jessie…poor Jessie. Who or what could do such a thing.
He was laid a few hundred metres away from the rope. I can’t bring myself to describe the state his body was in. Suffice it to say no human hand could be responsible for such destruction.
Martyn was further into the cavern. His skull had been crushed. It looked as if he’d been struck from behind with a rock or boulder. The whistle was still in his hand. I could find no sign of Funsani. I called. I pleaded. I cried. Nothing. Silence. Black. I must have passed out.
I don’t know how long I was out for but as I came to I was aware of a fearful presence around me. I peered into the black. The torch was dead. I hesitantly whispered, “Professor. Is that you?” A low rumble in reply. “Funsani. Tariq.” I pleaded.
He spoke. “Olivia my pretty protégé. How nice of you to come to me.” The voice was the Professor’s but not. It held a menace that filled my stomach with bile.
“Professor. What’s happened? I found the others. They’re…” I couldn’t speak the words as if not mentioning their fate would bring them back to life.
“Demons. Devils. Hellspawn.” The voice spat. He continued but in a tongue I did not understand. It was the cruel voice from the dark I’d heard days before. The words twisted and gnawed and ripped and shredded the very air of that evil place. I strained for meaning in vain.
I began to edge backwards towards the ropes but he was instantly aware of my intentions and moved to block me. I could barely make out his form. Funsani was tall. At least six foot. This…this…creature was stooped and twisted like a mockery of humanity. The eyes shone in the gloom. A sickly yellow nicotine glare of pure malice.
“They tried to take it from me. I couldn’t let them. I had to stop them. They taunted my dreams, flew across my visions.
“He sent them. He sent them to stop me. To defy me. But I’m cleverer than he thinks. His minions were powerless to stop me gaining what is rightfully mine. Azrael, Osiris, Rahab, Sammael. Do you hear? You can’t stop me!” The rest of his diatribe dissolved into vile tongues.
“Who is he?” What was I thinking trying to converse with this.
“He was the first and he shall be the last. He was the first and he shall be the last” He repeated it over and over like a malevolent mantra. Again I made to move. This time he seemed more preoccupied with his ravings. I managed to slide under his arm and scramble towards the rope. I didn’t look back. I heard rocks and boulders crashing around me. Felt his breathe close behind as I ricocheted from wall to wall in flight. I couldn’t let him catch me and do to me what he’d done to Jessie and Martyn. I felt the rope in my hand and instantly jumped and began pulling myself up. A hand grasped my ankle, trying to pull me back. I kicked. I screamed. I kicked again. I felt the grip loosen and climbed as fast as I was able. He did not follow but again I felt small rocks and boulders smash around me and on my wounded back. In what seemed like moments I reached the top. I could hear his cries from below.
I cut the rope and watched it snake into the blackness.