As the sun began to rise over the horizon, the team worked quickly to set up a temporary camp on the shores of Antarctica. Tents were pitched, equipment was organized, and supplies were distributed. The cold air hit their faces, making them shiver, but they knew they had to endure, this was only the beginning of the long expedition towards Vinson Massif, the highest peak of Antarctica where Marcus was sure the next clue was or the location of Samael itself.
Max took charge of the expedition the team following his lead, trudging through the icy landscape with heavy backpacks and white winter equipment.
The journey would be long and arduous, and the team moved slowly, taking breaks to catch their breath and rest. The harsh conditions of the Antarctic environment were unforgiving, with biting winds and temperatures that dropped below freezing. The team had to be careful not to get lost in the endless expanse of ice and snow that surrounded them, luckily for them, they had an expert navigator and tracker Sarah who found the easiest path and reassured them they were still on it. They used drones to scan ahead to make sure there were no unpassable obstacles.
Despite the harsh environment, Marcus and his team pushed on, driven by their determination to uncover the truth about the angels, while Max’s team pushed through for the huge paycheck that waited for them as soon as they finished the mission.
As they continued their journey, the landscape around them began to change. The ice gave way to rocky outcroppings and steep cliffs. The team had to be more careful as they navigated this treacherous terrain, one wrong step and it could be the end.
As they moved closer to their destination, Marcus felt a strange sensation that he couldn’t shake off. It was like someone or something was watching them, following their every move. The feeling made him uneasy, and he couldn’t help but constantly look over his shoulder.
It wasn’t just him who felt it either. He noticed that Alex and Olivia were also on edge, scanning their surroundings with alertness. Martin seemed to be lost in thought, lost in his own world, while Abigal appeared to be humming a soft tune, almost as if to calm her nerves.
Despite their progress, the unease only grew stronger as they higher the steep ice mountain. The wind was picking up, and the snow was falling thicker, making it hard to see far ahead. They had to slow their pace, barely moving in Marcus’s eyes.
Max had noticed the weird and paranoid behavior of Marcus and his team and decided to approach Marcus and ask him about it.
“Is everything okay, Marcus?” Max asked, yelling so Marcus could hear him through the heavy winds.
Marcus hesitated for a moment before answering. “I don’t know, Max. It feels like someone is watching us or following us,” he said, trying to hide his fear.
Max nodded, understanding the feeling all too well. “I’ve had that feeling before, too. But don’t worry it’s just the winds playing tricks on you,” he said. “Antarctica is a scary and desolate place but the wind and the harsh weather are the only things you should be afraid of. We are nearing the location you provided for us, just some thirty minutes walk from here.
Max was right with his estimate, thirty minutes later they reached their destination. Marcus had no idea what they would find there, and a sight of a small cave hidden in the rocky cliffs felt like a huge relief, he had not brought all these people for nothing. There had to be something inside, something important to be hidden this far away from the civilization.
“Is this it?” Max asked him and Marcus just nodded. Max quickly reorganized his team, Sarah’s job as a navigator was done for now, but Robert, ex-marine, was just starting. Max appointed him at the point right next to himself.
Max carefully led them inside. The air inside the cave was cold and damp, and the cave walls glistened with ice. As they began their walk deep into the cave Marcus’s feeling of unease grew stronger with each step. A short walk later Marcus started to notice that the icy walls of the cave were decorated with symbols and writing similar to the one on their foreheads and the ancient language they found at the ruins.
Max also seemed to notice that as he stopped the group and pulled Marcus to the side.
“This looks awfully similar to the symbol on our forehead,” Max said as vapor escaped his mouth. “What are we exactly doing here?“
“I thought you said you did not care about it, and only wanted a big payday as always.“ Marcus said and Max pierced him with his eyes not muttering a word. “I will explain everything once we are back safely on our boat,” Marcus, let’s finish this.
Max nodded and gave a chilling look to Marcus. “I know that Mr. White is obsessed with Angels,” He continued. “I’ve done countless missions for him, rarely asking any questions, but the signs were there, too obvious.” He said and rejoined the group.
The atmosphere was tense as they moved slowly, step by step, deeper into the cave. Every sound they made echoed off the walls, adding to the eerie feeling that crept up their spines. Winds played an inhumane symphony of sounds this deep into the cave and most of the crew kept looking around them.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of claws scratching against the rocks. It was a low, guttural sound that sent chills down their spines. They knew it was coming from somewhere nearby, and they all froze, holding their breath as they listened intently.
Seconds passed and a scream echoed through the cave followed by the burst fire of bullets that clipped the top of the cave. Marcus could only see shadows and ex-marine Roger dragged away deep into the cave. Chaos ensued as Max shouted orders on top of his lounge, but the biggest part of the team had no combat experience and started running straight towards the exit.
Marcus stood frozen for a second not knowing whether to follow Max’s orders or run away. His heart began to race climbing straight into his throat. Finally, when he decided to run back, screams started echoing from the read as well and a massive creature emerged from the shadows, its fur as black as night, and its eyes glowed with a fierce intensity. It was a hellhound, a beast that guarded the hearth of the cave. The creature was a sight to behold, its muscles rippled under its fur, and its claws were like razor blades. The creature was towering over humans and holding something in its mouth.
Marcus’ legs gave up as he realized it was a member of Max’s team, Stephen, his body disfigured as a beast held him in his jaws. The hellhound let out a deafening roar that echoed throughout the cave, and the body dropped to the floor, blood dripping from the creature’s mouth.
“What the fuck is this,” Max yelled and ran towards the creature armed with his M16 riffle and started shooting straight at it. The creature did not even flinch and let another roar so powerful that Marcus’s ears started to ring.
The hellhound charged toward the team, its eyes glowing red with fury. The team fired their weapons, hoping to hit it, but the bullets bounced off its thick hide as if they were pebbles. It was as if the creature was made of steel.
Martin swung his machete, hoping to cut the beast down, but the blade only nicked its skin. The hellhound responded by swinging its massive paw, sending Martin flying across the cave. Olivia tried to help, but the creature was too fast, too strong, and bounced her right next to Martin.
Abigail pulled out a flare gun and fired, hoping to scare the creature away, but it had no effect. The hellhound continued to charge towards them, its teeth bared, saliva mixed with blood dripping from its jaws.
It charged toward Max, knocking him to the ground and he dropped his rifle. Some of the crew started running in the other direction but the best from earlier that carried Roger away appeared on the other side.
They were pinned, their weapons useless against the beasts as they closed in on them. Marcus was still frozen in place, as people fought he didn’t move. As the new arriving beast let a deafening road Marcus finally snapped, images of his family being carried away by the Angels, the ones that probably planted these creatures here, filled his mind. He found the strength and reached for his weapon, but then he remembered some of the text they translated and saw the same marking on the wall of the cave.
Time seemed to slow down as he reached deep into his mind for the phrases they translate and started yelling in an ancient language.
“Nol-riin salasar, talaq zazh!i” (I serve Angels, and only them!) he yelled on top of his lungs and the phrase echoed through the cave.
“Zazhuran velimirel nuriel, venqirir shaz’akira i-niyaqur!” (I call upon the angels of God to protect us and vanquish our foes!) the beasts stopped charging and let another deafening roar.
“Belkara i’rahim, vilaqesh kafar shemshirir shak’aqir!” (In the name of the Almighty, let us pass), and the beasts slowly retreated and disappeared into the darkness, leaving the team stunned and panting. Marcus slumped to the ground, shaking his head in disbelief. The others stood around him, equally surprised and relieved. They stood for only seconds before rushing toward the injured people to help them.
Max’s eyes were filled with anger and pain as he stared at Marcus. He had just witnessed his friends, Stephen and Roger, being brutally torn apart by the hellhound. Max couldn’t help but feel a sense of betrayal towards Marcus as if it was somehow his fault for leading them into this deadly situation.
“Did you know this was going to happen?” Max asked, his voice shaking with emotion.
Marcus shook his head, his own eyes filled with shock from the encounter. “I had no idea, Max. You have to believe me!”
“You better explain everything now or you will not leave this cave alive,” Max said picking up his rifle from the ground and raising it straight at Marcus.