Callsign: King II- Underworld

BOOK: Callsign: King II- Underworld
11.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

CALLSIGN: KING

Book 2

UNDERWORLD

 

By Jeremy Robinson
and Sean Ellis

 

© 2011 Jeremy Robinson. All rights reserved.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and should not be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For more information e-mail all inquiries to: [email protected]

 

Visit Jeremy Robinson on the World Wide Web at:

 
www.jeremyrobinsononline.com

 

Visit Sean Ellis on the World Wide Web at:

seanellisthrillers.webs.com

 

 

 

FICTION by JEREMY ROBINSON

(click to view on Amazon and buy)

The Antarktos Saga

The Last Hunter - Pursuit

The Last Hunter - Descent

 

The Jack Sigler Thrillers

Threshold

Instinct

Pulse
Callsign: King - Book 1

Callsign: Queen - Book 1

Callsign: Rook - Book 1

Callsign: King - Book 2 - Underworld

 

Origins Editions (first five novels)

Kronos

Antarktos Rising

Beneath

Raising the Past

The Didymus Contingency

 

Short Stories

Insomnia

 

Humor

The Zombie's Way (Ike Onsoomyu)

The Ninja’s Path (Kutyuso Deep)

 

 

 

FICTION by SEAN ELLIS

Callsign: King - Book 1
Callsign: King - Book 2 - Underworld

The Nick Kismet adventures
The Shroud of Heaven
Into the Black
The Devil You Know

The Adventures of Dodge Dalton
In the Shadow of Falcon’s Wings
At the Outpost of Fate
On the High Road to Oblivion (forthcoming)

Dark Trinity: Ascendant

Magic Mirror

Secret Agent X
The Sea Wraiths
Masterpiece of Vengeance
The Scar

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Prologue

Chapter 01

Chapter 02

Chapter 03

Chapter 04

Chapter 05

Chapter 06

Chapter 07

Chapter 08

Chapter 09

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Epilogue

About the Authors

Sample: THE LAST HUNTER by Jeremy Robinso
n
Sample: DODGE DALTON AT THE OUTPOST OF FATE by Sean Ellis
Sample: THE SENTINEL by Jeremy Bishop

Help Spread the Word!

 

 

CALLSIGN: KING - UNDERWORLD

 

 

 

 

1049 UTC

 

Status report requested.

 

>>>It’s over. King is dead.

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

An unknown land — c. 400 BCE

 

The man paused at the mouth of cave and peered into its shadowy depths. A foul odor wafted up from hole in the world, riding on wisps of gray steam. He knew the common people living nearby believed the steam to be the mephitic vapors, rising from the decaying corpse of
Typhoeus
, the dragon slain by Zeus in his war with the Titans and buried in the heart of the Earth. They were the same vapors that supposedly gave the sibylline oracles the gift of prophecy. But he knew better. The gods, the stories surrounding them and the tales of his own heroic quests were primarily fictions created to misdirect the populace from the truth.

Granted, there were many strange things in the world, but with the proper amount of study, the secrets of nature could be revealed, and used to boost physical strength, extend life, heal the body and he believed, travel great distances in the blink of an eye. To the undisciplined mind, these secrets were magical. Godlike even. Which led to his current status as the bastard son of Zeus. The title afforded him access to every possible resource he needed, including a long voyage he took with the crew of the Argo around the world and back.

But the real benefit of his demigod status was that every strange encounter or event was quickly reported to him. Man’s fear of the unknown sent them racing to the man-god so that he might continue his “labors” and expunge the evil, which frequently turned out to be a harmless, previously unknown animal species or atmospheric event. But everywhere he went, people came to him with pleas for help. His height, muscular body and curly brown hair made him easily identifiable and would eventually become a problem. His need for secrecy meant he’d eventually have to disappear and let future generations believe him a myth, but for now he would use his position to find the answers he sought.

He rooted in his pack for a torch. The oil soaked brand took the spark from his flint, and he waved it over the mouth of the cave experimentally. Sometimes, vapors like these had a way of igniting so that the air itself burned; this time, it did not. Satisfied with the precaution, he began his descent into the pit.

This most recent “labor” had been brought to his attention just days ago. He’d nearly ignored the story, but curiosity got the better of him. His own imagination was the source for many of the current religious beliefs, spread dutifully by his band of followers who knew only half the truth. He’d conjured stories of the Underworld, driving a fear of the subterranean world into the hearts of men, because that’s where he conducted his work and hid his secrets. But if the story of missing children and cave dwelling creatures was to be believed, his fictions had stumbled upon a grain of truth.

He hefted his club onto one shoulder and patted the wineskin tied to his waist. The fluid it contained would give him the strength to overcome any obstacle he came across. Satisfied that he was prepared, he moved onward.

How far down he went into the eternal darkness, he could not say. To his tired feet, which rolled and slipped as his sandals trod the irregular surface, it felt as if he had walked perhaps three or four
schoinos
—a journey that might take an ordinary man a full day. But he had only burned through two of his torches, which meant that he had been in the cave perhaps only an hour or two. In that time, he saw no other living creatures, but he sensed their presence often, and he knew that they had seen him. Further on, he found their spoor—not only their excrement, but also castoff bits of wood and metal, even scraps of cloth, which had somehow found their way down from the surface. It was not long before he began to recognize the detritus for what it was: the trappings of a funeral. This was indeed, the land of the dead.

He soon came to an underground river. One of the three children who wandered into this cave had managed to escape. He told a story of a river and of horrible monsters that had taken his two sisters.

The child’s story proved accurate. One of the denizens of the Underworld, which did not flee at the first glimmer of torchlight, stood before him. The creature he now beheld looked like nothing like nothing he’d encountered before.

It might have once been human. The hairless body had the shape of a man—two arms, two legs, one head with the right number of eyes and other orifices, no tail—but that by itself meant little. If it—he—had been a man, perhaps driven into the heart of the Earth by madness, then somewhere along the way he had suffered grievous injury; the gaunt body was misshapen and twisted, as if every one of its extremities had been broken and then allowed to heal improperly.

The creature sat on its haunches, bent over and engaged in some task that completely held its attention. It raised its head, gazing at the strange shadows cast by the flickering flame of the warrior’s torch, but then immediately went back to what it was doing.

The man advanced, curious about the creature’s activity. He saw a foot, then its match…legs, small and pale…a supine child. One of the two missing girls. Was the creature feasting on the girl? While others would feel revolt and rage, the man felt only curiosity.

He stepped closer and drew back his club, in case the creature attacked, but the motion startled the creature. It scampered away, and before the man could catch it, the beast was hopping across the river. Its feet made hardly a splash, as if it was walking on the surface of the water, and a moment later, it stood on the far bank, hissing angrily at the trespasser.

The man inspected the child and saw right away that his assumption was incorrect. The child’s body hadn’t been gnawed on, but she
had
been killed and.... He stepped closer, looking at her head. The girl’s hair—all of it—was missing. She’d been scalped. But not recently. He could see by the condition of her body that she’d been dead for some time. The creature had not been eating her flesh, but rather had been tending to the remains. He saw now that the girl’s body rested on a bier of wood, as if in preparation for an offering…no, it was a raft.

Inspiration struck.
I’ll call him the ferryman, and this will be the river, Styx—the path to Hades
. He’d conjured tales of Hades long ago, basing the hellish place on stories from older religions. But details like this, based on fact, would help reinforce mankind’s fear of the Underworld.

The man relaxed, letting his club fall back against his shoulder. He moved away from the child and walked to the edge of the river. The creature hunched its shoulders angrily, glowering at him, but it left off its keening wail.

The river was deeper than he expected. He could see the water, a few cubits below, along the almost vertical stone bank, but the bed was hidden from his eyes. A few rocks protruded from the surface, some barely rising above the flow, others stabbing up as high as he was tall.

That was how the creature had crossed the river; stepping stones formed a path across, a secret way known only to the ferryman.

The man knelt at the edge and cautiously touched the surface of the water with a fingertip. He could feel the gentle tug of the current, but after a moment, something else.
Burning
. It was not heat, as from a fire, but the sting of a laundryman’s lye. He drew his finger back quickly, and saw the calloused skin already starting to peel away.

Not even he could swim across the Styx.

The man stood, contemplating the river and his destination, which lay on the other side, across the secret path known only to ferryman. He waved the torch over the water, studying the way the water rippled around the stones hidden just out of view. Perhaps through trial and error, he could find the correct path, but one slip…

BOOK: Callsign: King II- Underworld
11.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O'Brien
Aneka Jansen 3: Steel Heart by Niall Teasdale
Sing Fox to Me by Sarak Kanake
A Dark Redemption by Stav Sherez
The Haunting by E.M. MacCallum
I don't Wear Sunscreen by Kavipriya Moorthy
The Tudor Vendetta by C. W. Gortner
Constable on the Hill by Nicholas Rhea