Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 118,221,339 Issue: 237 | 2nd day of Hunting, Y8
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Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part Two

by numbertwelve


Havering realized he had been moving even before the trap was sent into motion, a sixth sense willing him into motion. He collided with the Kacheek with such force that he thought he might have knocked the poor creature into unconsciousness. As he heard the spikes slam together behind him, he realized that even if the Kacheek were unconscious that it was a far better fate than the razor sharp spikes would have held for tiny creature. Havering was jarred from his contemplation as he hit the floor on the far side of the spike trap and rolled several times before coming to a halt against the wall at the end of the tunnel. The Kacheek had dropped his torch when Havering had barrelled into him and now they were both enveloped, once more, in the impenetrable darkness.

     He could hear the Kacheek whimpering, could feel the tiny Neopian’s fear as if it were a tangible thing. He put a reassuring hand on the Kacheek shoulder and felt a shudder of terror rack its tiny form. “Calmly now,” he bid the little Kacheek, “tell me what had you so frightened...”

     He was surprised by his own kindness, he found, for the first time in as long as he could remember, he was actually concerned for another being’s welfare. He nearly laughed aloud at the ridiculousness of it all. He didn’t even know the Kacheek. He had almost been impaled by a dozen razor sharp spikes in his attempt to save the tiny Neopian... and now he cared whether or not the Kacheek was all right! He realized suddenly that the Kacheek was answering him, stammering over the words as if they were unfamiliar to him, as if it were the first time the little creature had spoken in many years and, for some reason, Havering didn’t doubt that that were true.

     “ faceless... dark... don’t make me go... no! So many... so many... so many...”

     Havering felt a surge of excitement that he knew was not his own. The sword was speaking into his mind again, urgently this time, trying desperately to express something. He couldn’t understand the sword, it didn’t speak in words, only a vague images and emotions. He turned his attention back to the Kacheek and held the little Neopian firmly by the shoulders, trying to stop the tremors of terror the continued to assail the child’s tiny frame. “Monsters?” he inquired calmly, once the Kacheek had ceased its shaking. However, the mention of monsters renewed the tremors and many long moments past before the Kacheek spoke again. Despite being more calm, she was still nearly incapable of speaking coherently.

     “Yes!... monsters... faceless monster... down... down in the darkness... don’t make me go!”

     Havering paused for many moments, thinking over the words the Kacheek had uttered. He knew by the terror oozing from the child that it was not lying. The Kacheek had seen, or believe it had seen, monsters in the darkness. The reference to a “faceless monster” was also quite terrifying to the Buzz. After all, he had come all this way after speaking to a faceless strange. He shuddered, begin to understand what had compelled him all the way across the Neopian Ocean to this nameless isle. There was a dark magic at work here. A magic he intended to put a stop to. “If you are too afraid to come with me,” he began, gently holding the Kacheek out at arms length, “you can wait here while I go on ahead.”

     “No!” The word was not spoken, it was screamed, an ear-splitting scream that had Havering reeling away from the Kacheek and covering his ears. He could barely see the Kacheek from only a few paces away, but he did not miss the look of panic that washed over the child’s face. The suddenly, almost too suddenly, the Kacheek was deathly calm. “I... I... will go with you.” The the Kacheek scuffled quickly off into the gloom, emerging a few moments later with the torch that it had dropped.

     “I have no way to light--” The words caught in Havering’s throat as the Kacheek raised its free hand, holding it a few inches from the torch which immediately burst into flame. Havering was speechless. A thousand questions whirled about in his mind and he found himself understanding less and less of what was happening the further into this nameless isle he travelled. So instead of asking questions he simply smiled at the tiny Kacheek, who was clearly gifted with some sort of magic, and turned down the tunnel that lead deeper into the temple.

     It was slow going yet again, but the light from the torch did provide at least a small area of visibility. Though the tunnel seemed perfectly straight, Havering was vaguely aware that he was slowly moving deeper and deeper into the Neopian underworld. The dust was unbearable, probably stirred up by the young Kacheek’s flight through the tunnel only a short while before. They moved in silence, neither having much to say. Havering noted that the Kacheek no longer appeared afraid. Quite the opposite, it appeared stoic, almost... emotionless. The abrupt change was unwelcome, he preferred that the child looked at least somewhat frightened. For Fyora’s sake he was even a little scared. Why did the Kacheek appear so calm? And all the while, playing in the background of his own emotional turmoil, his sentient weapon continued to assail him mentally with substance-less images and unclear thoughts and feelings.

     The tunnel stretched on just as the first had, an endless vein of blackness running deep within Neopia’s core. The silence was palpable, crowding in around the pair like some great oppressive force, threatening to crush the life from their insignificant forms. They had been walking for many hours and Havering found that he was beginning to question whether or not the tunnel would ever end. All at once the walls on either side of him gave way and he realized he had entered a massive chamber. The torch light travelled but a few feet into the gloom before it was swallowed up entirely the impenetrable gloom. The silence grew even more overwhelming.

     And then he saw the eyes.

     A single pair of blood red orbs stared out at him from the darkness. The room was cold as death and Havering found himself struggling to draw breath. His sentient blade was literally humming with magical energy at his side and he instinctively drew it from the scabbard, holding it up defensively between himself and the eyes. The torch light began dancing strangely in the darkness and Havering turned to regard the young Kacheek only to find the child sitting down at the edge of the tunnel, trembling uncontrollably once more.

     When he turned his attention back to the massive chamber, he noticed that a second set of eyes had joined the first, blood red, promising nothing but death to the intruders. Behind him he could hear the tiny Kacheek murmuring. “Monsters... faceless... don’t make me go.” At the sound of the child’s voice, more eyes began to appear in the darkness, countless eyes, hundreds of pairs of terrifying eyes. His sentient blade was humming so violently it was all he could do to hold the weapon in place before him.

     Then, without warning, there was a massive flash of light that blinded Havering. He reeled backwards, swinging his sword instinctively before himself, desperate to fend of the attacks he thought would be coming at him. He was surprised when he opened his eyes and saw that none of the creatures who had hidden in the darkness had even begun to move towards him. He was even more surprised by the horror of their twisted forms. They were Neopian’s, but they were indescribably hideous. Their bodies appeared tainted, racked by pain as if their very existence was a struggle and, looking upon the creatures, Havering did not doubt that it was. He knew what they were, his sword told him what had happened to them, a myriad of images assailing him more clearly than any had before, and he knew at once that these creatures were mutants.

     Behind him, he could hear the Kacheek child crying, sobbing loudly at the horrible sight of the twisted and deformed Neopians. Try as he might, Havering could not tear his gaze away from the horde of abominations that stood before him. His eyes scanned their ranks for what he knew he would find amongst them. But he did not have to look for long. From the midst of the mutant minions strode a figure that was all too familiar. A cloak was pulled up tight around the creature’s face, but the shambling way with which the figure moved told Havering immediately whom he was facing.

     And then the creature spoke, a low moan that was both horrifying and filled with desperation. “You... you have come to us! Though you said you would not... you are here... you are as close to the center of Neopia as any non-mutant has ever been... we have gathered here awaiting you... needing you... we are the faceless Neopians of the nameless isle. This place that you have come to... this is the Temple of Horrors. A suitable name... just look at us!”

     Havering’s insect-like body was tensed like a coiled snake, ready to burst into motion at the first sign of trouble. And despite the fact that the mutants stood motionless at the other side of the great chamber, Havering did not relax his stance in the slightest. His breath came in measured gasps fuelling his lean, sinewy muscles should he need use of them. The single faceless mutant moved toward him with such frightening speed that Havering hadn’t even the chance to move his weapon before the figure stood before him, only inches from his own face.

     The faceless mutant’s hands moved quickly to either side of his hood pulling the covering back and revealing the horror hidden beneath...

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part One
» Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part Three

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