The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
Sena opened his eyes with a grimace on his face.
The back of his head throbbed painfully, and there was a hardness on his nape that spoke of dried blood. A splitting headache made him clench his teeth as his fury against the man who had struck him came to mind.
He tried moving his hands and feet and realized that he had been tied up with strong cords. His hands were tied up behind him, and ankles were expertly tied too. He was lying on his back on a hard surface and a light brighter than the sun was piercing his eyes.
Sena moaned and struggled until he was lying on his side and that bright orb was no longer burning into his eyes. There was no shade anywhere, only a vast stretch of hard, brown rock-like formation he was lying on.
He saw the people!
They were many, more than a hundred, both men and women. They looked tired, hungry, thirsty and violent.
Most of them were standing holding their crude weapons and looking into the horizon. Sena saw sheer desperation and fear on many of the faces.
There was a group of about ten people near where he was lying. Sena guessed it was a sort of meeting. The group consisted of six women and ten men. The men had covered their nakedness with leather-like material around their loins. The women had similar covering around their waists in short skirts and over their breasts.
The huge, muscular man who had hit Sena with the club was furious and he spoke with animation. The others appeared to be in agreement with him as he gestured towards the face of an old man in front of him.
The man was short and squat with a powerful body, but he was an old man with a shock of hair so grey that they appeared like fine, woolly clouds. He was holding a huge, thick club swung across his shoulder as he listened to the younger, masculine man.
The younger man had the heavy club leaning as he leaned forward and jabbed a stiff finger viciously into the chest of the old man.
“He is the sacrifice, Jabo! Whether you like it or not, we’re going to put him on the spot for Balu! Why are you being such a sissy over this! You remember who designed this system! You made new Travellors face Balu to save our community. Why then are you fighting this?”
The old man called Jabo glanced at Sena with a face filled with compassion.
“I know I supported this in the past, that I instituted it, my dear Zico. But there comes a time we need to sit in retrospect and consider our actions. We don’t know who this Traveller is, or where he came from. The least we can do is try to give him a chance to survive too!”
“Stop the crap, Jabo!” Zico cried and stretched a hand across the plains. “All those here are our brothers and sisters! We’ve been running from Balu ever since we got here, and now it is a dead end! Look at how the land is melting down there, Jabo! We can’t retreat again! We have to go back up otherwise we’ll all die. If we sacrifice this stranger, Balu will feast on him, and we can take the opportunity to flee in the opposite direction to safety!”
Jabo looked around at the stony faces of his comrades as they looked at him with fury and hatred.
“Think about the futility, my brothers!” he said, keeping his voice earnest and compassionate. “Balu appears, finds this young man tied and helpless, and begins to eat him. So, we take the chance to flee in the opposite direction. Then what? All we would have would be a short span, then that demon would come back looking for us, to terrify us again, to take one to eat! Travellers pass through occasionally, so no matter how many we sacrifice, Balu would eventually kill all of us! So, please, let’s be kind to the Travellers. This one, to me, looks different! There’s something about him that I can’t place!’
“It doesn’t matter if he’s the Creator himself!” Zico cried coldly. “We will sacrifice him to Balu to gain an edge and beat it back the way we came. Hopefully, something might change, and we would find somewhere safe to hide from that monster forever!”
Jabu began to speak again, but he sighed and kept quiet. He sighed and looked at Sena, then he nodded and turned around to survey the harsh horizon.
The cords tying Sena were too tight, and already his arms and legs were going numb due to the denial of proper flow of blood.
“Jabu would come any time now,” Zico said. “Our only hope would be to wait behind the boy, and when Jabu starts feeding, we would race past him and head out. Bring the Traveller and put him on the path!”
Four huge men with grim faces approached Sena and lifted him. Sena did not struggle but his eyes burned with fury as they took him to a spot where there was a raised rock table on the formation. They put him on it and withdrew.
Lying on the rock bed, Sena turned his head and looked to one side. Just an expanse of harsh brown rocky plate! He turned his head and looked in the opposite direction.
He gasped with horror!
The land beyond seemed to be melting and boiling!
It was a simmering, hissing, boiling mass that was climbing slowly towards them! There was absolutely no escape there, and that was why Zico was prepared to sacrifice him to allow the others to flee.
A young, beautiful, brown-skinned woman walked slowly towards the bed and looked at Sena with troubled eyes.
“What’s your name, Traveller?” she asked.
Sena appraised her.
She was young, just around his age or just a little bit older.
“Senanu Kukah,” he said, and she smiled sadly.
“It is a beautiful name,” she said. “My name is Gazel. But I’m mighty sorry to see you in this situation. I wish I could help you, but Zico!”
And right on cue, Zico’s furious scream filled the air.
“Gazel! Stay away from him!”
The girl gasped and beat a hasty retreat.
Just then another scream rent the hot environment, and another, and another!
“Baluuuuuuu!” they screamed with horror.
Sena turned and looked up the land.
He saw the creature then.
It made his blood ran cold as he stared with horror!
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