Chapter 12 ‘Deeper’
The Rocky Mountains, 23:20 local time:
The Mexican was swaying gently; Johnson watched his slight movements; every now and again his body would spasm, he would stiffen up; his scar which ran down his face glowed a raw red colour! Johnson was now staring at the scar which he knew the Mexican had got from the time he had killed his own family; first his mother had tried to slit his throat and then she had slashed at his face; slicing him down the cheek with a knife! Remnants from a history that only the Mexican could tell about; Johnson swallowed “you deal with the Devil; you ride with the Devil” they were words that The Mexican had once said to him before he had joined him in his first killing spree. Well I’m definitely riding with the devil now!
His mind went back to 1998; it was a routine drug exchange they were meant to give some Columbian drug dealers $2 million in exchange for enough of the powder addiction to supply the whole West Coast. They had gone to the docks at the port of Long Beach, San Diego, the Columbians turned up with more gun power than which was agreed; the agreement was three from each party. The Mexican turned up with two, Johnson made up the two, and the Columbians turned up with eight men four around the cars and four snipers on the ships moored close by. When the exchange happened it all went one way; the Columbians took the money and the drugs, The Mexican was pissed. Before they left in their cars he told them to watch every night because he would come looking for each and every one of them!
The man was true to his word and it was then that Johnson made his pact with the devil for that was what he had come to know the Mexican as; they called him the “Devils Advocate” but Johnson thought he knew better than the rest. Johnson had always had his reservations about the Mexican but from that night his reservations became seriously true you play the hand you’ve been dealt and Johnson played that hand; boy he played it. He could not deny he had enjoyed it especially the women and there had been lots along the way; some had enjoyed it at first until it got serious; then they would change, the pain becoming too much ohhhhh boy he could feel the beginning of an erection at the thought of his sexual conquests; their sexual conquests.
That night at the harbour it had all changed it was not just a job anymore it became a hobby; an addiction, one which he would never be able to get over or get away from; the addiction had to be fed. Oh he had signed with the devil; signed right bang on the dotted line and ever since he had enjoyed the rewards and if he was truthfully honest the rewards had been exactly what he craved. But when things did not go according to plan things could sometimes become quite painful; especially when the Mexican was pissed about something; when that happened everyone paid their dues hell I’ve got plenty of scars to prove that!
Back to the story of the Columbians; they hunted down each of the Columbians; attacked each of their family homes tying up the men while they were forced to watch as they abused their women right in front of their very eyes. It had been a real blast; Johnson had enjoyed every second; every orgasm had been like firing a shotgun and then there was the look on the men’s faces as he fucked their women woooow boy! The look they gave as he made them moan; oh he was a big man and he made them know it! The Mexican only really got his kick from the killing, he had a real gift for that; it was almost like an art-form for him; always wanted to paint the masterpiece. As the years went on the masterpiece would become more and more intense; there had been a lot more meaning to the Mexican’s work than just the killing! The prayers and the drawings had really started to become a necessity; it always played a part in what the Mexican enjoyed and Johnson had noticed that over the years his boss had become more and more powerful! But for Johnson it had all started with the Columbian drug dealers; one by one they were hunted and tortured; the boss got his revenge; just like the other stories he had heard about the ‘Devils Advocate’ yep he got his revenge alright and he also got me along the way!
Before Johnson teamed up with the Mexican he had been in The National Guard; pussy footing around with the tin-pot soldiers; as he had come to see them. When he left the National Guard he met Ricardo Powell aka Cowboy; he was an ex Marine from the UK. He had gone AWOL on his regiment for raping a local girl when they were on manoeuvres in the Tennessee swamplands; he would have been in serious trouble if it had not been for Johnson. Johnson had given him a room to hide out in; had also introduced him to the Mexican who had given them both plenty of work it was like it was meant to be! What he did not know at the time was that once you signed on with the devil you never got to sign off, he was in and would be until the day he died although he had only ever considered leaving the services once. ‘Never again’ he whispered; it had really pissed the Mexican off; Johnson had never had a beating like it, more like tortured anyway that’s history he never ever wanted to leave again, after that night he knew he would forever be in the service of “The Devil’s Advocate” till the day I die!
Although Johnson and Cowboy had become friends it was cowboy who tipped the Mexican off on Johnson wanting out, then Cowboy for all his loyalty was forced to watch as Johnson paid the price for his mistake! Well Cowboy ya dumb fuck…..yo out of it now brother, leaving me here to handle the boss on my own, thanks for that. Johnson picked up a small whiskey bottle and unscrewing the top he held the bottle up for an imaginary toast before raising it to his lips where he downed several gulps.
Johnson now watched as his boss began to straighten; his chest puffed out as his shoulder blades slouched backwards; he suddenly began to flop from side to side. His eyes were fluttering underneath his closed eye-lids; spittle began to drip from his partly closed mouth; it ran down his chin. Suddenly the Mexican was flung backwards letting out a deathly groan as his eyes shot open. At first his eyes were white until they began to turn red; Johnson ran over to his boss ‘you ok boss?’ he asked warily.
The Mexican’s head snapped toward Johnson; then unseen hands grabbed at Johnson and pulled him over to the far wall pulled his arms out into a cross shape as they pinned him to the wall his body stretched apart. Unseen hands ripped his top from off his back; Johnson’s demon face had now taken over his features as he too snarled, he tried to release from the invisible grip that held him tightly. The Mexican’s eyes had now turned back to their normal jet black colour as he began to regain his composure; the unseen force released the grip on Johnson’s arms. Johnson shook his head as his features turned back to normal ‘hell Boss what happened to you back there?’
‘Nothing to worry about; I got a look at the boy and who was helping him that’s all’ his toneless voice informed.
‘So who’s helping the fucking kid?’
The Mexican looked away into the dark forest; something did not feel right to him; he had not been able to see inside the Indian Chiefs mind and that worried him a little. What power was he up against? ‘Just an old man; we’ll deal with him later; it’s time to sort out the boy!’
* * * * *
Samson had tried to listen to what was happening up on the surface; but he had only managed the odd word or two; one string of words he made out was “an old man” he thought about the old man he had seen in his dreams and wondered if they had come across the same person. Maybe he had visited them in their dreams just like he had visited Samson; no he doubted that, there was something about the old man that Samson trusted. The old Indian man would not want them to see him; he was a kind man and they were evil the two just did not go. A voice drifted down the tunnel ‘hey boy you gonna have some visitors later; hope you’ve made it comfortable for them…………..ho, ho, ho!’ the sound carried on the sides of the walls, lingering in the closeness that suffocated him!
Samson swallowed nervously what devilry are they planning now? He didn’t like it, they were up to something and warning him like that only played on his mind even more please don’t let it be snakes again. He grabbed a couple more logs and threw them onto his small fire, if they were going to send more snakes he had to make sure he was ready ‘and ready I will be’ he nodded to himself warily as his quiet and afraid voice spoke back to him from the walls of the cavern.
Samson had spent the next ten minutes sharpening his spear with his penknife; it was starting to get muggy inside the cavern again, his nerves began to take hold; something was going on, he could feel it, his nerve ends tingling with anticipation? Every time they had played with his mind he had noticed the same kind of mugginess; he was sweating heavily again; he prayed he wasn’t going to be visited by more snakes, last night he had nearly died. But last night you weren’t ready; tonight you are, even so thinking that way did not stop the fear rising up inside him again. What evil were they planning now, his mind replaying all the evil events that he had seen over the last few days and nights? He folded the penknife and put it inside his trouser pocket; the heat rose higher and higher, Samson glanced at the fire and considered dousing it a little, then realised that was not an option he needed the light that’s why you threw the extra logs on….protection Samson protection!
His whole body was now drenched in sweat; the t-shirt and his combat trousers stuck to his skin as though his body was wrapped in clingfilm; what he would not give for a breeze; any breeze just something to cool him. Samson’s attention was drawn to the pool of water; he walked over to the pool and crouching down onto all fours he splashed water all over his face and neck. The feeling instantly cooled him as the water ran down his sweaty neck coursing its own cool path down his spine to his trouser line where it soaked into his already wet pants. A thought occurred to him that maybe he could lie down in the cool pool of water; there was a sound; Samson listened intently, he tried and tried to make out what the noise was. Whatever it was it was coming from the top cave and it was getting closer as he listened and waited; waited for the next surprise to unveil itself. His throat was dry again; the lump in it was getting tighter and tighter as he struggled to swallow; he made up his mind to drink from the pool again before he confronted this next enemy. Within seconds he was back on all fours cupping the cold water as he drunk thirstily from his hands, the spear rested on the floor next to his knee as the sound came ever closer!
Samson was now standing at the edge of the pool as the scurrying, scuffling sound entered the tunnel; whatever it was it would be seconds before it was joining him in the cavern; the hot, muggy, sticky cavern that would eventually be his tomb. Samson swallowed nervously as he shuffled toward the fire; he reached out and threw on even more logs never taking his eyes from the cave entrance and the new fear which was coming for him. With his grip on the spear getting tighter and tighter; the whites of his knuckles showing through his dirty skin, the grip was now so tight he thought he would probably never again be able to straighten his hands; they were stuck in the clenched position, as though they were stuck with rigor mortise. The sound was nearly upon him; it was now at the entrance to his safe haven, and still Samson could not make out what this sound was bringing; all he could see was the blackness of the tunnel beyond. But the sound was virtually upon him….it was here! What the hell is it? Still he stared at the entrance unable to see the source of the sound and what was causing it; until it began to enter the cavern!
Samson stared at the small entrance watching helplessly as they entered the enclosed space; the army was endless and it could not have been anything worse! ‘Why can’t this nightmare just end’ he whispered desperately as he watched petrified and helpless, he watched the army as it entered en-masse ‘please God no’ his voice so quiet it could not be heard under the sound that thousands of insects make as they crawl like an un-dead army. The blanket of insects flowed into the cavern and began moving across the floor toward him; his throat was now so dry he could not even speak anymore, his whole body was in lockdown as he now held his breath, unable to even force the simplest of commands. His brain commanding him to breathe; he realised that he had not breathed; his whole body had gone into shock; he could not think; he had to act; had to get his brain back into gear you have to do something Samson, you have to act!
Samson now clutched the spear even tighter than before, his knuckles almost exploding out through his skin. Although the more he thought about it he realised that was helpless, the spear could not defend him from this new evil as he watched the black mass creep along the cavern floor toward him. Samson could see them; garden spiders, black widow spiders, tarantulas, beetles, cockroaches, locusts, ants; it was lunch time and Samson was the main course; the only course on the menu!
Think; think………………think ‘the fire’ it hurt his throat to talk, turning he jumped over the fire; he felt the heat up the inside of his legs as he then landed putting the fire between him and the new foe. Samson looked down at the small fire then back to the advancing army of insects how can they do this; command the insects and creatures this way? He had to do something; without a second thought he kicked at the burning pile of wood and ash sending the contents flying over the army that marched toward him. That instinct to kick the fire toward the advancing army of insects brought him around thirty to forty seconds thinking time as he mentally went through his options what options he looked despairingly around the cave. Samson had three options; one, let the army of insects just take him; two, try to get to the entrance; but who knew how many more were coming for him in the tunnel? His third option made more sense; jump into the shallow pool, most insects don’t like water, however some do! With that thought his survival instinct kicked in as he launched himself over the nearest carpet of insects, landing at the edge of the pool; Samson now jumped again into the middle of the pool!
What greeted him as he landed was totally unexpected as his head went below the water line; it was deeper than he had expected; all the time he had been in the cave he had thought that the water would only be shallow; up to his ankles. How wrong he was as he now doggy paddled for his life; just keeping his head above the water; he watched the army of insects turn its attention toward the pool. Samson kept himself afloat as he thought about the pool of water it has to lead somewhere; it just has too; otherwise the cave would eventually just fill itself up! He could also feel a slight current; his legs were being pulled toward the wall slightly; it was dark now in the cavern as the last of the burning wood went out; it was even darker in the water. Samson felt around trying to find the spear which he had let go of once he had started paddling; he could hear something in the water near the edge and realised that the insects were now entering the pool!
Samson’s hand caught the spear and then he was under the water swimming toward the wall; the spear prodding out in front of him like a blind man feeling his way along a pavement. He had swum underwater for several metres, he was sure; that he had to be at the end of the cavern near the wall; but the spear had touched nothing? Still he swam in the dark, not knowing which direction he was heading in; he swam on further until his lungs could not take anymore; he needed air and they needed air if he didn’t breath in the next two seconds they were going to explode. Samson let himself shoot up to the surface, like a torpedo he shot upwards; his head came out of the water at speed as he caught for breath; his head banged on the ceiling above him, sending a pain coursing around his whole body; he could see stars in his vision; in the pitch black vision that enveloped his world. Where the hell am I? His lungs took in plenty of air as he paddled in the stillness.
His feet were still kicking as he breathed in the crisp damp air; he could feel something trickling down his face, unsure if it was blood or water? Realising that it had to be blood its source from the point on his head which had hit the roof; the part of his head that was as sore as hell! Samson stayed where he was paddling in the darkness; he turned and turned in the dark world unsure on what to do and where to go, still he clutched the spear as though his life depended on it. Samson needed light and he needed to keep moving; they would send something else to kill him of that he was sure; he could not stop where he was ‘the torch’ his throat throbbed as he spoke the words; the sound of his voice reverberated around the dark place he now found himself. Reaching into his pocket he pulled the torch up to the surface and flicked the switch on; the light stung his eyes slightly as he tried to re-adjust his sight.
Samson was now in a short submerged tunnel there was around thirty centimetres between the surface of the water and the uneven roof above and it was around eight metres long by two metres wide. He shone the torch all around the space unsure which way he had entered this place; a slight drift on his legs made Samson realise that the current was pulling his legs toward the wall furthest away from him it has to lead outside; it just has to? Wherever it led, Samson knew he could not stay where he was; he would eventually run out of air; he had to keep moving wherever the current led him you’ve got no choice but to follow the current, you can’t go back and you can’t stay in here you’ll run out of air! Samson thought about whether the insects would follow him through the tunnel. ‘You can’t wait here to find out’ his voice echoed once more around the small breathing chamber you’ve got to move on buddy!
Holding the torch in one hand and the spear in his other hand he swam gently toward the far wall; once he reached the wall he prodded around with the spear tip. As far as his arm reached down the tip of the spear touched rock; but his legs were still being pulled toward this side of the submerged tunnel? Samson took a deep breath and dived down to the floor of the tunnel; he shone the torch around and then he saw a hole around two metres wide and one metre high; he shone the torch into the pitch black hole. It was no good although the beam lit up the path in front of him the small waterproof torch only shone for around a metre; the beam was not powerful enough to show him how far the tunnel reached. He swam back to the surface, careful of his quick ascent, careful not to bang his head again. Once back at the surface he gasped for air, His lungs taking in plenty as they breathed in and out like bellows; he had to get all the air he could now, if the tunnel was too long this may be the last air he would ever breathe? Butterflies fluttered around his stomach as he gathered the courage for his descent into the abyss below you can do it Samson don’t be afraid.
‘Ok here goes’ the sound of his voice filled the tunnel, it sounded almost surreal as the sound amplified itself by the quietness of the small breathing chamber of the tunnel, the tunnel where he now paddled plucking up the courage to make his move ok Samson time to go. With one massive intake of air Samson dropped below the surface and swam to the small hole at the base of the wall; Samson shone the torch into the hole and entered, following the current to wherever it led him. As he swam he constantly shone the torch ahead and upwards to the roof that now pressed down on him; each second that passed he felt that he would die looking up at the tunnel roof, at the smooth rock ceiling; the last thing he would see in his life would be rock. The air in his lungs had now gone, his lungs were completely empty, but still Samson’s eyes gazed on rock; smooth, weathered rock that had been smoothened from hundreds possibly thousands of years of flowing water, then the rock was gone! Samson was past the roof of the submerged tunnel all he needed to do was to make it to the surface without opening his mouth. If he opened his mouth his instinct would be to breathe and the moment he did that he would drown; from deep inside his lungs Samson desperately tried to find enough oxygen to swim upwards for the few seconds that it would take him! But to his dismay his lungs had failed to retain enough oxygen, they were well and truly empty and the last half a metre of his accent had Samson taking in a mouthful of the cold water. Samson felt as though his chest would explode at any minute; his eyes bulged as he struggled not to swallow more of the water; he had to make it; his head came out into air; cold black air, the speed of his ascent sent him two, three maybe four feet into the air! Samson coughed and spluttered as he scrambled out onto a small ledge; he crouched on all fours oblivious to his surroundings as he coughed from deep within his chest. Samson coughed up a huge blob of phlegm into the water. His body was beaten and exhausted as he rolled onto his back clutching the torch and the spear to his chest; he breathed and he breathed. His eyes were shut tight as he regained his composure; regained his breathing; regained his hope! He had no idea how he had managed to get this far; but something was definitely with him its either God or lady luck? He lay back with his eyes shut tight as his body began to stabilise itself; he let go of the spear and the torch; leaving them on his chest as he moved his arms down to his sides breathing deeply.
After several minutes rest his hand came back up and pulled the torch from on his chest and then he shone it around the confined area he was now laid. The torchlight lit up around him revealing another smaller cavern like the one he was camped in earlier; breathing heavily he coughed out some more phlegm. There was a tunnel away to his left; looking around he realised it was the only way out unless he decided to battle the water again and see how much farther he could go that way! ‘No thanks; I’ll try the dry way’ he whispered. Samson switched off the torch and laying his head back against the cold damp floor he closed his eyes; where he drifted into an exhausted sleep; his battered wet and cold body needed to recuperate!
When Samson awoke he startled himself; unsure how long he had been asleep; even unsure of where he was, instinctively he turned on the small torch again. His memory came flooding back; the nightmare came back, he had to get moving again; who knew how long he had been asleep; they could have followed him through the flooded tunnels; the insects or even the two men? Wearily he rose to his feet; using the spear as a walking stick, holding him upright; he leant unsteadily on the wall; he could feel himself starting to sway; it was a gentle sway. Without a second thought he slid down the wall and sat resting his back; his clothes were cool and stuck to him; he was shivering now; all thoughts of the earlier heat had long disappeared, as he breathed in and out in a gentle rhythm.
After several more minutes resting he decided to head into the tunnel and the unknown; where would it lead him, he had no idea ‘probably hell’ he whispered as he rose to his feet for a second time; the rest had done him good; Samson was good to go again, well sort of good to go! He shone the torch into this new tunnel and stepped gingerly inside; with weary legs he trudged on into the unknown; into the dark black hole. On and on he walked his body battered from the beating it had taken in reaching this point; Samson could no longer feel his muscles they had now gone past aching; his head throbbed from the knock it had taken in the submerged tunnel earlier. His brain instructing every part of him to survive to continue on this useless trek may as well just roll over here and be done with it but still he continued onwards and forwards; his body and his mind refusing to give up you have to keep going.
The gradient was constantly changing one minute he was walking upwards then another minute his path was taking him down; down to hell, or so he thought. Then the constraints of the tunnel would change first he could walk upright then the tunnel would lower considerably at some points he would be on his hands and knees again. Samson could hear a noise up ahead; he stopped trying to decipher what the cause of the sound was ‘water’ yes it’s water he quickened his pace. The tunnel curved off to the left up ahead as he headed toward the cause of the sound; Samson rounded the curve where he came to a sort of t-junction left led to the sound; which was the turning that Samson took, then a few more steps had him stepping into another larger cavern.
Samson stared in wander at a large stream that flowed through this large expanse of cave; he turned around and glanced in the tunnel from the direction he had just travelled. Shining the torch back into the tunnel just to be sure; he had been feeling uneasy for a short time now, and this feeling of uneasiness he had had before only to find he was in danger on each occasion. ‘Trust your instincts Samson’ he shone the torch around the large cavern; the large stream come river flowed through the middle and then on the far side of the large stream was another tunnel; his inner voice, his second voice, told him this was the way to go. It has to lead to safety, it just has too you’ve come too far and gone through too much for it not to!
Without any hesitation he jumped the flowing water which was around one and a half metres wide; he landed easily on the other side and scrambled up the rock face to the farther tunnel further up the slope. Once inside the tunnel he stopped and turned his head back into the cavern he was about to leave; Samson could see the hole he had entered through, he could also see light; torchlight! Fear erupted from deep within as he scrambled into this new tunnel as quickly as possible; further and further inside he moved; he moved quickly but cautiously. The devil was on his tail and Samson sure as hell was not going to lie about and wait for him; he had travelled around twenty metres when his torchlight began to fade. The speed at which the light gave out amazed him; Samson was in total darkness and the darkness was where this evil thrived; he swallowed nervously as he scrambled forward with his arms reaching out in front of him; his spear felt around gently tapping along his route!
On and on he scrambled his knuckles scraped on cold rock, nearly making him scream out on several occasions; screaming was not an option he was being followed and any sound would alert his pursuers of his whereabouts. Although his inner voice kept reminding him that his pursuers could probably follow his fear, like a smell, the fear radiated from him? It was so dark Samson felt like he was in space and had entered a black hole; if this was what one was like, he suspected it was; his throat was dry again and the heat was rising; that was not a good sign! Realising he had matches he reached inside his trouser pocket and withdrew the packet of waterproof matches which were also secured in a plastic re-sealable bag. He opened the bag and pulled the box loose, putting the bag back into his pocket Samson now slid open the box and pulled out one of the dry matches; he needed to see where he was going.
Just as Samson was about to strike the match a voice inside his head stopped him in his tracks the light will alert them; do not strike the match; keep moving as you are! Samson listened to his inner voice; he had no reason to doubt its advice, after all how many times had it saved his life so far too many, maybe not enough! The heat was rising as he crawled further forward; he heard a noise further back down the tunnel from where he had come from; from behind him! Samson stopped on his belly still holding the match and box in one hand and the spear in the other. He lay waiting; waiting and listening as he stared behind him staring hard into the pitch black; from some distance he now saw something? Samson stared harder and harder trying to focus his gaze it was two red dots and they were moving; moving very quickly; a lot quicker than he was. Samson turned his attention forward and began crawling faster and faster into the darkness; scurrying followed him from further down the tunnel and it was gaining; the sound was gaining on him with rapid speed!
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