Continued from [link]

The acrid smell of smoke and burning flesh brought a slight smile to her pretty little face. The rising black spires of the rising gothic and church like monolithic buildings where once a quaint and beautiful village once stood filled her with both wonder and joy. The sleek black dogs, eyes smoldering luminescent pus, feeding on the dead villagers , circling and running nightmares doing what came naturally. Isn't nature wonderful she thought to herself as she casually strolled down the main street.

Bodies hung from windows, heads impaled on spikes , body parts eaten and whole strewn chaotically in puddles and dripping strands of congealing blood along the cobblestones and the transformed buildings. The creatures eyed her warily, some even dared a snarl, but most just gave her a respectful wide birth.

" Good doggies." She smiled directly at one and it whimpered and ran. A vibration and grumble came from her left shoulder and she giggled. " Not this time Santiago." She said to the large rat hungrily eyeing off the meat and wetworks currently being devoured by the beasts. " These beauties don't look the sharing type and I'd hate to have to kill them when they've obviously worked so hard for their rewards. Anyways..remember what I said about these worlds, they're physical and you can certainly live or die here, but they are a different existence to ours and can't exist outside their own planes.You eat here hon all you'll end up with is a bad tummy ache." The rat snorted and snuggled back into the crook of her left shoulder, disappointed, yet still hungrily eyed off the carcasses from under her beautiful soft long blond locks.

A young boy fell at her feet with a sickening thud and crack of bones. About thirteen years old he looked up at her and in his shock she saw his mindset turn from fear to that of a brave young protector seeing her in her current form as a small six year old girl.

" Run..get out of here..I'll hold them off.." He gasped in pain.

" sweet." She reached down and wiped the blood from his brow then kissed it. She looked up at the smashed fourth level window and saw a black dog staring down at her. " What are you waiting for ? " The creature winced and tilted it's head to one side. " Get down here and finish him off right now mister! A brave soul like this deserves better and I hate sloppy workmanship! Now puppy..don't make me come up there !" She smiled down at the boy , licked his blood off her fingers, turned and as she strolled on down the street smiled as she heard him scream in pain as the creature ripped his stomach open. " Much better.." she said under her breath.

After a few minutes she reached the village square and a scene that nearly made her sick. A cowering , crying, man on his knees in front of an offal strewn ornate crucifix statue weakly waving a blazing torch to keep the circling dogs at bay whilst praying. Beseeching his lord " Why?..Why?" . A more sickening and pathetic sight she had never seen. Even the boy had a bigger set than this cry baby..if they didn't need him she'd let the dogs have him. Second thoughts..that would be cruel to the dogs.

She shook herself and calmed her thoughts pushing all personal feelings of revulsion aside. Composed, focused, she winked at Santiago who took his cue to create a diversion to lure the dogs attention away making it believable to this cockroach's pathetic mind that a six year old girl could slip past these hell hounds. Oh well..lights hills are alive and all that drivel. Showtime.

The dogs chased after Santiago, blessed stupid creatures, and she skipped through the blood and offal lifting her pretty white dress so as not to get it dirty..blood being so hard to get out and all...and soon stood behind the weeping man. He was wearing normal priest attire..though he was higher stationed than that in reality. Suppose the worm couldn't handle reality it shouldn't surprise her the cowardly fucker couldn't face it here. Oh well..he will soon enough.

" Father..??" She tapped him on the shoulder and he jumped nearly out of his skin. Unnecessary, a bit cruel, but a girl's allowed a little fun isn't she ? " have to come with me."

"" Tears streaming down his distraught face he looked upon her with disbelief then joy. She swallowed hard to keep down the rising bile. " Child...where did you come from ? " He looked nervously around watching those hounds perched around the square on ledges , windows, statues of the towering buildings and slowly stalking around the footpaths . " You aren't from the village..I know everyone here. How did you get past these beasts..through all this hell ?"

" This isn't from Hell Father..nor are there any other places here besides this village. This village that you created. I'm from beyond this sanctuary of are you. A sanctuary that is now unraveling before our very eyes..not being destroyed by demon dogs and dark forces as you envision to try and hang on to the haven and ideal place you've created..but by the very reality you sought so vainly to escape. You can only deny reality for so long before it bitch slaps you and forces you to face the truth. Something you've had to do once before..though didn't handle very well otherwise I wouldn't be here now."

" What are you talking about child ? I did not create this village..I did not create this world..God did. Has Hell's horror twisted your poor mind to madness ?" He looked at her with honest care and dismay in his eyes. She nearly decked him where he stood patronizing old twat.

" Yeah and denial is a river in Egypt..or was I should say." She shook her head.

" What..??" He stood there totally confused.

" Sorry..nothing..just a bad but apt pre-cataclysm joke. Never mind ." She sighed. " Look..we seriously do not have time to stand here and argue. Whether you believe it's the work of Hell..though you of all people should know the absurdity of that being Mr Epiphany and all..or you believe me and that the lies you hide behind here can no longer protect you from the truth..I truly don't fucking care.What you can't deny is that this place is lost and you cannot save it."

" However..and you really don't have a choice in this..come with me, tell us what you saw and heard not just the image you left behind in your mind, and redeem yourself by helping us prepare for the coming evil and fight with us to defeat them." She grabbed his arm startling him with her incredible strength.

" Let go of me this instant ! " He struggled to pry her hand off but couldn't. " What are you ? You aren't're.."

" If you say I'm a demon so help me I'll feed you to the doggies piece by piece alive ! If it makes you feel better knowing..I'm half Human mother was Human my father a soldier of God." Though not your fictional God she thought to herself." An Angel you'd call him. Believe me or not..I truly don't care. What I want you to do is snap out of this "Little House On The Prairie" nightmare you've got going on here and remember these words.." Today I had an Epiphany" .. Remember that day back in 5155 when all your hopes and dreams were smashed, your Faith revealed to be nothing but a fairy tale and the Truth a horror far to much for a mere man to deal with. The day you showed cowardice instead of unwavering conviction in the face of adversity..the day you ran away. Remember and redeem yourself..Arch-Bishop Kyuss..for your sheep still need you and we need what you know to prevent the coming apocalypse. Other wise.."

She stopped as the hounds that were feasting at the end of the village where she first appeared came running full speed along the walls, street, and jumping from ledges and a windows to escape what appeared to be a shimmering wall of watery light inching along slowly towards them. Santiago came from the other direction, covered in blood, and stopped at her feet with a worried look on his face.

" Don't think you're riding on me mister with all that blood on you you'll stain my dress ! " She wagged her left index finger down at him. " I told you to let them chase you not to fight and kill them. Don't give me the big eyes're walking's your own fault." He eyed Kyuss then looked back at her. " No might still be a carrier don't wanna give him the plague..he is only Human after all. We don't want to wake up and find you drooling on his up till now healthy body back in reality.Even if you aren't still a carrier who knows what other disease you have the things you eat , kill and screw.You'll just have to keep up."

" That thing is yours..and what's this about a plague ?" Kyuss backed away from them.

" I wouldn't move too far away Kyuss otherwise those pooches over there might choose their bellies over their own safety. We are the only things keeping you safe." He looked and saw the creatures then moved closer to her.

" To answer your question, if only to speed things up, yes he is with me and his name is Santiago not "thing". He has been with me since the day I was born and Father came to take us away. He loved my Mother, don't get me wrong, but she was only Human and could not travel where we were going unlike Santiago..apparently Rats are blessed cats and bats and owls..which is why they are featured in lore so much . It was January 15 , 1349 on a then putrid London morning. Mother had met Father the night before when she collapsed in a filthy alley dying alone of the plague..The Black Death..or Bubonic Plague medically speaking."

" Father found her, cured her, and then made love to her . She woke the next morning ..apparently from the action of giving birth which is supposed to be quite painful..and was in shock when Father reappeared .He told her he was a soldier of God and she had been blessed to bring a very special child to the world, me, and that she was rewarded with good health and wealth that would see her removed from the putrid life and her needing to prostitute herself to survive. Whilst he was talking to her he noticed one rat protecting my still slimy butt from two other nasty disease riddled vermin and chose him to be my protector. Then we left and mother all cleaned up and healthy walked out onto the filthy street and never looked back."

" So..though it's unlikely and Father would most surely cure you with's best we keep you two apart. Now can we..what ?''

" You're truly insane..." Kyuss shook his head and collapsed to his knees. " I'm in Hell..and this..this is my torment "

" Oh for fucks sake..what now? I don't fucking need this shit." She picked him up by his collar and stared him straight in the eyes, her eyes burning a bright blue yet emotionally black as night and totally pissed. " If it's the age thing..yes I'm older than I look..older than you. I just choose this form sometimes cause some people react better to children. You yourself are nearly half a millennium old. You collapsed 5155 at the age of 45, catatonic yet considered both a valuable resource and a danger because of what was in your head you were put on ice. When we return it will be the year 10039. " She looked back over her shoulder and saw the dimensional wall beginning to falter and swore to herself.

" We're out of more arguments, no more stories, all the answers you'll need you'll remember when you wake up back in the real world." He went to speak and she slapped him. " Shut up and listen. That is the gateway back to the world you left behind. When you ran like a coward slamming doors to stop reality from finding your psyche in your mind you ran so hard and fast you didn't pay attention to where exactly you were running. Even when you built your Haven here you were so caught up in your own fear, guilt, despair and cowardly insanity you blocked out all else.If you had bothered to think clearly for a second, to look around, you would have realized just what your blind running had led you too."

" You ran so hard and fast, in fear and guilt and despair, that you crossed over to the darkest of the spiritual dimensions created by the lost souls of both the dead and the living. The suicidal, the tormented, the sick and twisted, the heart broken and the cold. The darkest places and emotions of the Human heart and Soul given life and a place to call home..for all eternity..or as you would put're own personal Hell. Yet here..unless like you so fucking totally self pitying and self absorbed..your personal Hell is the house next door or across the street where everyone knows each other and can see, feel, and interact with you and your pain say you were lucky to be left alone this long is an understatement. I'd doubt you would've survived."

" The reason I'm telling you this is because now you self absorbed delusional Disneyland has bought the farm you'll be able to see, hear, and vice verse , your neighbours who've been waiting to meet you properly for a very long time. The reason I'm telling you this is that when we go through the gateway I want you to squeeze your eyes shut so tight and bury your fingers so deep in your ears, block as much out as possible and deny the rest exists until we are back on Earth and I'm pulling your sorry ass out of that cryo-tube. Wouldn't do for you to go insane after all this effort."

" do it and hang on for dear life. After you Santiago." The rat launched itself and literally flew into the gateway. She followed him after a quick look around and a giggle at the confused and frantic behaviour of the hounds. " See ya doggies" she said and was gone.

" OK padre..wakey wakey hands off snakey we've arrived and got's to get going again before people or worse come." She reached down and shook him and when that didn't work slapped him hard across the face. His eyes opened. " That's better, now upsy daisy old fella we've gotta go."

" Who are you ?" Kyuss asked.

" Oh you've gotta be fucking kidding me ! " She flopped against a computer station in sheer exasperation .

" I know who you are, even though you look older now,18 or 19. I mean your never told me your name. " Kyuss said sounding groggy and tired.

" Oh..phew..thought of going through all that explaining and convincing again..seriously was considering just stealing you brain then." She laughed, though he believed she was serious just a little bit. " I didn't introduce myself did I ? How rude of me I'm sorry. My name is Lecretia, Santiago you already properly met. So..welcome home to the land of the living and the year 10039. This is the Templar Historical Society Center, located about halfway down the north wall of old Sydney Harbour..or Harbour Town as it's known, where it acts as a museum, a university, and a research center and archive for all things religious, mythological, or pretty much just damn old."

" This part however was a private section, unlisted and not on the building plans, and offered cryogenic services to the very rich for reasons varying from old chestnuts like dying of diseases that can't yet be cured to I'm bored wake me up when the world has become interesting again, or like in your case, to hide away. Your buddies in the Vatican didn't want you hurt or kidnapped, didn't want others prying in your mind and finding out what you know before they could, and didn't want whatever you knew being discovered than made public knowledge. You know they squashed and banned all access to what the psychic scan picked up from your last thoughts you kindly left behind.They even released a statement saying you suffered a nervous breakdown, had a secret drug addiction, and secretly lost your faith. They froze you once they realized the couldn't break your barriers, that you were too far gone, and after several attempts to steal your body they began moving you in secret periodically so nobody knew where you were and released a statement saying you were dead in 5156 and had a lovely mock funeral for you. You've traveled the world ever since and have called this place home since 10037. Father and I have been searching for you on and off over the centuries but it was only sheer luck that this cute security guard I picked up from a bar a week ago worked here and whilst he was trying to please me, not too successfully, I scanned his mind and lo and behold finally found ya. So I faked it to reward him..and now finally here we are. "

" we are." Kyuss looked around the cryogenic chamber..or what was left of it. Machines, computers, wiring, cryo-tubes, were lying smashed or damaged, or twisted into weird and impossible shapes. Some of the patients in the other 35 tubes were now literally part of the chamber or their tubes. One poor soul was stretched from his tube at the top of the giant wheel like array to the door to the chamber..his head inside the warped door. He gasped in disgust as he looked at another only to find Santiago eating the patient's intestines that had somehow ended up on the outside of the patient.

" Oh..I'm sorry Arch-Bishop..Santiago stop that right now!" The rat looked at Lecretia pleadingly. " I don't care..we've a guest and he doesn't want to endure your appalling taste or table manners for that matter." Santiago looked at her with a hurt look. " Oh alright.." she giggled. " You big lug you. As long as you find a dark corner and chew quietly..and only the small intestine're starting to give me a crook shoulder. Now scoot and remember we leave in a few minutes so don't play with it just eat it."

" Where are we going ?" Kyuss asked.

" To be with Father. I take it you remember everything now? Your life, your Epiphany..the truth ?" Lecretia asked seriously.

" Yes..sadly..yes it's all come back to me." He sighed. " I'm ashamed of my actions..but..honestly I have to say I wish I wasn't back. People then wouldn't have believed me and though I see technology has grown I doubt the people have. I seriously doubt what I know will change the path we are on now anymore than it would have then."

" Ahh..c'mon Arch-Bishop don't be like that..have a little faith." Lecretia said with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. She turned from him quickly so he did see her grin..she cracked herself up sometimes. She continued ." Besides this time you won't be dealing with mere Humans , their hypocrisy and stupidity and egos. You'll be speaking to the wise and Father..and this time you'll truly be able to serve in the light of God."

" God ?" Kyuss laughed a laugh of disbelief. " You speak of God to me one minute..then deride and ridicule me the next when I mention Him..remind me that I know the Truth, that I'm Mr Epiphany, and that I of all people should know there is no God. Are you trying to confuse me , conflict me so that I will not think straight and thus be easier for you to manipulate..or are you just as crazy as you tell me the Vatican accused me of being? "

" Arch-Bishop..I'm not crazy..nor am I trying to manipulate you. When I refer to God I mean God, the one and the true...not yours who you know never ever existed."

" Do I Lecretia..?" Kyuss eyed her with a alertness and intelligence she had not seen from him till now." can you be so sure when nobody but me knows exactly what I saw ? "

She looked at him for a moment a little thrown by his quick wit and then smiled. " Touche Arch-Bishop..touche. Yet now is not the time to get into this as I sense the time has come for us to leave."

" Convenient.." Kyuss spoke softly and sarcastically. Lecretia was beginning to like this new side of Kyuss. " Where is your Father again ?"

" A short dimensional jump away..which I sense will be happening in a few short soon as the Humans are returned." She replied in a matter of fact manner.

" As soon as the Humans are returned ? " Kyuss stood up slowly no longer groggy. " What do you mean by that ?"

" Father transported all the Humans that were here to a pocket dimension so I could bring you back without interruption and without any harm coming to those who may try and stop me." She said matter of fact." No harm was intended and they won't even know they were gone from here or that anything out of the ordinary occurred, well at least not till they see this place. Dimensional energy and it's effect on surroundings is beyond our control I'm afraid. It was done to protect them, you know how curious your people are and also how they react to things they don't understand..and with armed security here..well I'm sure you could imagine. As it is we'll only have a minute at the most to jump out of here before those security men raise an alarm and come in here triggers half squeezed."

" What about these poor people..those in stasis ? " Kyuss waved his hand over the mangled remains. " Why weren't they removed to safety ? "

" Father could not remove them without disrupting their life support and the shock of being awoken like that would surely have killed them. The same reason why he didn't just remove you from here. It's unfortunate , we truly hoped the energy wouldn't react this was beyond our control. I'm just thankful it didn't happen to you as well...oh no.."

" What..??" Kyuss became nervous as he saw a flicker of fear cross her face. " What is it ?"

" Something is wrong.." Lecretia waved Santiago who had just scurried out from his dark corner sensing what she was. " Arch- Bishop..get behind me now ! "

" But.."

" Just do it ! Now ! " She yelled as suddenly a loud static sound filled the chamber and the air felt charged. " Father !! I need your help..return the Humans now.."

" What is going on child..tell me.." Kyuss yelled over the rising noise.

" A portal is opening right now in this room..and it's not my Father's doing." Lecretia yelled back. " I'm afraid though I know whose doing it is..and if I'm right..we are in some serious shit padre. "

The room began to warp, the already twisted started to transform again, and black hole appeared about ten feet across the room from them followed by a shock wave that pushed them against the wall five feet behind them hard. A second later the room plunged into darkness, pure and impenetrable with the naked eye, and the temperature dropped till they felt like they were freezing.

" Father..please hurry.." Lecretia whispered as she felt a presence of such darkness. Then suddenly as sound like a sonic boom came from outside the chamber and she could see again as bright light flashed and shone through the chambers observation window. Fear was replaced with relief as another light engulfed them as the wall seemingly disappeared behind them and they fell through it.

A barely audible " No.." came from within the darkness and suddenly the screeching of security alarms and the sounds of people bustling and running came from outside. The giant security door rumbled back on its tracks slowly and light from the room outside and the sweeping of torches mounted on fully automatic assault rifles flooded in and exposed a horrible scene of mangled machines and bodies still moving and changing. However the light did not penetrate all the room, though it had retreated somewhat ..become smaller..the darkness still remained and it's portal still open.

The security team felt simultaneously a chill and fear run through them as they heard voices, female voices, barely audible yet sounding as only could be imagined as originating from the pit of Hell.

" Should we not follow them Sister ?" A young sounding voice, like a teen or the equivalent thereof.

The security commander..Jenkins..didn't know why it mattered, the sex and age of the voices, probably didn't but it made him feel better to at this moment focus on even the most tiniest details. Took his mind off the irrational fear that he was feeling.

" Silence child the Humans can hear us." An older voice spoke..a woman possibly mid twenties.

" It's of no consequence..they matter not. " A much older voice..barely a whisper..yet so cold and frightening. " To answer your question shall not pursue them. Our time has passed and that holy quest befalls now upon our dark sister. May she succeed where we have failed."

" What then are we to do now Sister ? " The young voice asked.

" Listen to that which surrounds you..see and feel..touch them..and you shall know young one." The old voice sighed.

" We are to save the lost." The young one spoke with a hesitant excitement.

" Exactly..." The old whispered and the darkness seemed to begin to withdraw and slowly one by one they were revealed.....

10.00 am January 26 10039 AC

"Residents of Harbour Town were rudely awoken by a large mobilization of Dimensional Marine Corps Rapid Response Unit , local Police, and Emergency services this morning around 3.00 AM as they descended upon the Templar Historical Society Center located on the lower north side. It's believed a major dimensional incident occurred involving multiple portal activity of unknown origin resulting in massive structural damage and loss of life. Preliminary reports suggest of the 750 people that would normally be in attendance at this time of night 450 are deceased, 100 are missing or mutated, 175 are injured. Of the remaining 25 that would normally be here 10 were sick, 5 were running errands, and the final 10 are being treated for shock but suffered no injury."

" No official statement has been released by authorities and the media has not been alowed inside. A survivor being placed into an ambulance said when asked what happened " We were judged.." . Paramedics took them away before any further questions could be asked and we were escorted from the premises by Marines. I asked one of the Marines what it was like in the building and he replied " A slaughterhouse ."

" As I said no official comment has been forthcoming but as the investigation continues throughout the day we'll keep you updated. This is Hal Cooper for Channel 21 Sydney Independent News."

Dedicated to