The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
Balu was a hideous creature, a terrifying evil straight from hell!
It was huge, well above fifteen feet. Its body was red, scaly and covered with tufts of green hair. It had had three thick legs which were jointed at four places. Its arms were four. Perhaps, the most horrible thing about Balu was its head. It looked like the head of an anaconda, complete with a flicking tongue that was split into three forks above the base.
On each side of its snake-like head were three red eyes which were now fixed balefully on the group.
Then it began to move!
It moved like a crab, emitting an unpleasant and ear-splitting sizzling noise as it bore down towards them at great speed, its multi-forked tongue beating angrily, and when its mouth opened, Sena shuddered at the four wicked-looking curved fangs on its upper jaw.
The people were terrified, and Sena noticed that there was horror on Zico’s face even though he was trying desperately to remain level-headed and in charge.
Most of the women and some of the men were whimpering and shaking visibly.
“Keep calm, everybody!” Zico said tightly as he glared at them. “Remember, Balu needs just one prey to keep it happy for a few turns of the orb. And it always picks the weak one. We have the Traveller tied up, so do not panic!”
His words brought hope to the group, and they moved closer in a huddle. Jabo and Gazel still stole glances at Sena as he lay on the hard rock and glared at Zico with sheer wrath.
“It has settled on the Traveller!” Zico cried, his voice filled with tension. “See? It is moving in his trajectory! Now, carefully, let’s head to the side and separate ourselves from the Traveller! As soon as Balu begins to feed on him, we’ll move up again!”
“Rock’s melting faster!” someone cried, and they all turned their heads and looked behind them.
Sena also turned his head and noticed that the thick melting mass was indeed coming towards them at increased speed! It was like molten lava; a mixture of crimson, amber and deadly burning heat! Sparks of fire shot into the air and steam spiralled upwards ominously.
“Do not panic!” Zico said sharply. “I have seen it before! The lava will never move past Balu. The elements here protect each other. Our prime concern now is this monster! Move away to the left! Fast, fast and steady!”
They moved cautiously at first, but when they noticed that Balu kept its focus on the tied man on the ground, their movements quickened and they moved faster without much caution.
“You bastards!” Sena hissed as he strained at the cords binding him.
Jabo, the last in the line, heard him and stopped.
He turned around.
The beast was in a frenzy now as it bore down on the helpless Sena.
Jabo sighed softly and narrowed his eyes.
“Jabo!” Zico’s shout echoed around them. “What do you think you’re doing? Gazel, move!”
There was horror on Gazel’s face as he looked at the old man.
“No, Jabo, please, don’t do it, please!”
The old man looked at her with tears suddenly shimmering in his eyes.
“Go on, Gazel,” he said gently, but his voice was not steady. “Go on, girl. go with them. I have to help this young man. Can’t leave him like this, and frankly, I’m tired of running.”
“Jabo, no!” Gazel shouted: she was highly traumatized. “Please, come with us! If you stay Balu will kill you both!”
Jabo smiled sadly with tears in his eyes.
“I’m done running, my dear kind Gazel. Let us meet at a better place!”
And with that Jabo turned around and sped towards Sena as the beast bore down at them.
“Jaboooo!” Gazel screamed in anguish.
Zico had retraced his steps quickly when he saw what was happening, and he took Gazel’s arm.
“Come on, Gazel! Jabo chose his path, and wants to follow his non-existent dreams. Let’s go before you also fall victim!”
Gazel shook her head, still shocked.
“No, not Jabo!” she cried desperately as Zico tried to drag her up the incline.
“Gazel, get away from here!” Jabo screamed as he dropped to one knee beside Sena.
Balu was now almost on top of them!
“Let me be!” Gazel shouted and slipped out of Zico’s arms.
“Noooo!” Zico screamed with horror. “Gazel! You fool! You’re going to die!”
He watched, sick to his stomach, as Gazel used her sword to cut through the cords biding Sena’s feet.
Zico began to race up the incline to safety.
Sena was on his feet instantly.
“I thank you,” he said grimly. “Now, stay back, please. Leave this to me!”
The monster straightened to its full height and its snake-like eyes glared down at Sena with evil and baleful intensity!
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