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Disclaimer: Chapter 1
Additional disclaimer: Paris’s quote is from The Iliad of Homer, translation by Richmond Lattimore.
Rating: R

Monsters In The Night

by

Lattelady

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Ch 5 - The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death



The group moved like an asthmatic neon spider across the desert, with Riddick ten paces in the lead. He wasn’t sure whether it was the low oxygen content in the air; his shined purple tinged view of the creatures, which waited for a wrong move on his part; or some combination of both, that added a surreal quality to all he was seeing and feeling. But whatever it was, it was intensified by the echo of Carolyn’s name in his head.

Trudging on with determination, he refused to listen to the words that clawed at him to be heard. For a small space of time she had made him feel things that he had thought were long dead. She had given him hope that he could become human again, and had breathed life into his soul. It was too easy to see the passion that existed between FRY and Johns. In public it showed itself as antagonism, but in private, what form did it take? The question ate at him, even as he did her bidding, and led the group back to the skiff.

Was this what she had wanted all along? Had this all been part of a plan? Was Johns right? Fuck! Had he let himself be used? It would explain why she hadn’t been afraid of him in the skiff. Why she had given herself to him so easily, and hadn’t even tried to fight when his lovemaking had turned crude. Had he been wrong; was she like all the woman in he had known? Had she been willing to trade her life for a fuck, even one that was degrading? If that were the case, she would find that it was a short-lived trade.

He took a deep breath and tried to fight off the feelings that argued with his twisted logic. Gritting his teeth he pushed aside the gentle times between them and called them manipulation. It was easier to imagine that the reason she had been so afraid for him, when she had watched Shazza die, had been because she had known all along that he was the only one who could get them back to the skiff in the dark. And the passion? Well women could always fake that. Cold rage whispered in his ear and fought to win back parts of him that had begun to change by wiping away the memories of things she couldn’t have faked.

It was more comfortable to fall back on the old familiar patterns, than the new ones Fry had brought out in him. It was like slipping on an old damaged coat; one that knew the contours of his soul and was a sure protection against anyone getting close enough to hurt him. She had let him believe in her, and given him a moment of hope; for that alone, she would pay dearly.

Carolyn’s eyes were trained on Riddick as he led them through the dark. She knew something was terribly wrong. What had happened to the man who had made love to her in the skiff, exciting her body even when he was trying to drive her away? The cold distant man, who was their eyes in the night, couldn’t possibly be the same one who had seen her fears at the pod, and had been gentle enough to offer a piece of his strength before the terror began again. She was a woman who stood alone. Who had never let herself depend on anyone, but over the last hours she had begun to depend on him. It surprised her the pain it was causing to realize that she had probably been used.

Was Johns right, was she just a puppet, and a convenient body, until they had enough power to launch the skiff. She hated to believe anything the spike junkie had said, though ever since they loaded the cells for the return trip, Richard had looked right through her. His odd shined eyes cold, and his face hard. Was she just another transport pilot to be killed, when it was time for him to make his get-away? If that were true, she knew that when he finally drove his shiv into her, it would be less painful than having him rip out her emotions as he was doing now. He had made her feel like a woman and she had acted like one, for the first time in a long time. Now she was paying for it with a woman’s feelings.

As she forced her thoughts back to the present, she realized she had begun to shiver. The sand beneath her feet still held some warmth, but since the suns went behind the planet, a chilly wind began to blow. The dropping temperatures would keep them going faster than the earlier heat had, and that was all that was important. Fuck the self-torturing doubts, they would get her nowhere. It was the future that was important, and there would be no future to worry about, if they didn’t keep going.

Paris gasped for breath as he moved along with the group. He had never been a brave man. All his life he had hidden in his antiquities, satisfied that he was safe as long as he kept himself surrounded by art and beauty. Even after they crashed, he had convinced himself that his only worry was too much sun and the inconvenience of a delay. That fiction had lasted until the Settler woman had been torn to bits in front of his eyes an hour ago.

As they wandered in the dark following the bouncing light a few feet in front of them, he was proud of the battle he was waging, to keep the fear that was licking at his soul from consuming him. He knew he was walking a thin line between madness and sanity. If his cowardice was let lose, he would very likely run screaming into the night, and the demons that had followed him all of his life would win. If that happened, what would have been the use of art and beauty in the first place.

Concentrating on the light from his welding torch, he murmured one of his favorite lines from Homer’s Iliad. ‘So they spoke, and tall Hektor of the shining helm shook the lots, looking backward, and at once Paris’ lot was outshaken.’ It always gave him false courage to imagine himself as the warrior Paris from that epic poem. But it didn’t work this time, because the torch suddenly gave a gasp of brightness then died. He tossed it aside in a show of bravado, and reached for the box of lights on the sled beside him. But his nerves were shot, and he fumbled the flashlight as his hand closed around it. The sound of its metal casing bouncing off into the dark made him freeze, as panic won out. Everything else seemed to happen in slow motion.

Jack moved to retrieve the fallen light. Fry screamed out Jack’s name; and Imam took a flying leap, to cover the teenager’s body with his own. As the first monster attacked from the sky, the sounds that filled the air were a combination of shouting voices, shotgun blasts, and the alien’s clicks and pops as it swooped and swirled over its prey.

It was too much for the terror filled antique dealer to take. He knew he had to get away from the source of his fear, but it was all around him. His actions made no sense, but at least he was doing something. With his eyes closed, he crawled as fast as he could away from the chaos. He didn’t hear the others shouting his name, calling him back. He didn’t realize he had shorted out the lighting structure they had created. Death was very near, but even that was better than the unending terror.

In his mind he had became the Paris in The Iliad. As he crouched a distance away from the group he took a swig from the bottle he was holding, as he waited for the daughter of Zeus to find him. He knew the lines, what was taking her so long? ‘But Aphrodite caught up Paris easily, since she was divine, and wrapped him in a thick mist and set him down again in his own perfumed bedchamber.’ The flame from his lighter exploded as he exhaled 45 proof breath. Then he knew the truth! There was no goddess, only monsters and death!

Riddick had stood and watched as Paris lost his battle and it killed him. The monsters tore the little man apart as savagely as they had Shazza. In that moment the convict knew he was NOT going to die running from those things. If it came to a showdown, he would face them with his shiv in hand and he would not die alone!

“Do I even want to know?” Carolyn moved close behind him, staring where Paris had been seen last. She needed Richard’s nearness, since she couldn’t have his touch, but she would be damned if she would admit it. In the background she heard Imam consoling Jack, and knew he could probably take better care of the boy than she could.

“It all depends on what you’re askin’ ‘bout.” He turned toward her for a moment, his face unreadable, then walked away, leaving her staring at his back.

Johns smirked as he watched Riddick ignore Fry; it made him want to laugh out loud. The expression on her face was almost as good as the look of fear that had crossed it earlier, when she had rushed to get to the kid, and had momentarily stood in front of his smoking shotgun. He had been taking out aliens, and had almost taken her out, as well. It had been a close call. He had had to force his finger away from the trigger, but in that moment of seeing her caught between the cross hairs, a better idea had formed. It would be payback for the both of them in one stroke, and if it worked, he would chain Riddick back up and collect the double reward for bringing him in alive!

The little interchange between the two also proved the big man had moved back into self-preservation mode. Without his help, it would be easy to topple Fry and take control of the group. All Johns had to do was wait for the right moment. Lights were being lit all around him so he reached for a torch to help.

That’s when they found it, the markings in the sand from the sled. They had been over this ground before and didn’t even know it.

“Are we lost?” Imam looked up with his light.”

“Listen…” Riddick called out.

“Do you even know where we are?” The Holyman shouted, his anger clear in his voice.

“LISTEN!” Riddick shouted again. This time they did, and could hear the voices of the creatures around them growing louder and louder. “The canyon ahead, I circled it once to buy some time to think.”

“I think we should go now.” Imam had seen the expressions of terror on Jack’s and Rashad’s faces. If they waited much longer the children would be frozen with fear.

“I don’t know about that.” He nodded his head toward the area in front of them. “That’s death row up there.” Then he waited a beat, knowing exactly the damage his next statement would do. “Especially with the girl bleeding.”

“What the fuck you talkin about, she’s not bleeding.” Johns looked at Carolyn as if he would know.

“Not her.” Riddick’s whisper carried menace with it. The spiker had better not know that for sure! “Her,” he turned his head toward Jack, then gave Fry a half smile.

“Fuck no!” Fry moved closer to the young girl with her light held high. Her eyes darted between the teen and Riddick. He had known Jack was a girl all along and hadn’t told her! Why? She thought she could trust him. What else had he been keeping from her and why had he chosen now to go public with his knowledge?

“I just thought it would be better if people took me for a guy.” Jack looked around at the shocked and panicked faces that were staring at her as if she had sprouted two heads. And to her horror she felt her eyes begin to tear up. “I thought they might leave me along. Someone is always messin with me.” She bent down and cried, for herself and for the people who had put their trust in her.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Fry knelt and put her arm around the child wanting desperately to pull back her harsh words, as the implications of what the girl was saying hit home. If the situations were reversed she probably would have done the same thing, so how could she blame her? “Shhh, its okay.” Her anger boiled close to the surface. How could Riddick have used Jack as a pawn to further enflame the group? He couldn’t have chosen a worse time to expose the teenager.

“They been after her from the minute we left the ship. In case you haven’t noticed they’re drawn to blood.” Carolyn heard Riddick talking while she tried to comfort the girl. It infuriated her that he had kept this information from her, when she had been making decisions that affected all of them. It was too late to second-guess herself, but she wasn’t sure she would have made the same choices if she had known.

Carolyn surged to her feet, fighting self-doubt for the first time in her life. It had been one thing to attempt this dangerous venture when she had thought she had Richard’s support. Without it she felt empty and lost. Damn him for fucking with my mind!

“This is not going to work!” She whispered as she walked toward the men. Her eyes shooting angry bullets at the man who had shaken her world, then walked away as if nothing had happened. “We have to go back. I was wrong, I admit it.”

“You’re the one who pushed to get us out here in the first place.” Johns smelled weakness and was moving in for the kill. “I was just starting to enjoy all the fresh air and wide open spaces!”

“What are you, high again?” This was the last thing she needed, a power struggle out in the open, in the dark. “Just listen to yourself, Johns!”

Riddick stood back and watched. He had felt the anger Carolyn had turned toward him, but sloughed it off. After all it wasn’t his responsibility. But deep inside it hurt to watch Johns go after her with ammunition he had provided.

Imam sighed in disappointment at Riddick’s actions. Was the man learning nothing from this experience? Didn’t he see that the small blonde woman he had just thrown to the wolves had the power to lead him to salvation? He waited as long as he could for God to show the other man the way, but when it appeared that the convict was refusing to see the chance that stood before him, he stepped in. “She is the Captain, we should listen to her.”

“Listen to her? When she was so ready to sacrifice us all?” It gave the merc a heady feeling to be able to bring Fry down in public. “During the crash she tried to blow the whole passenger cabin. Tried to kill us all in our sleep.”

“Shut your mouth!” She lost control as he jeered at her. Her shameful deed was out in the open for all to see and it broke her heart that Richard just stood there and watched with a cool detached expression.

Johns’s eyes were cold as he drove the verbal shiv home. “We’re just fuckin disposable, we’re just walking ghosts to you.”

She looked around frantically, knowing that she had to make him be quiet. “Just shut your fucking blow hole,” she screamed as her eyes fell on a twisted piece of long dead bone. She reached for it and threw herself at the grinning man. The bone aimed for his head with all of her might, but at the last moment, she pulled back, unable to do what she wanted so badly to do. She didn’t know which was worse; the desperate need to smash his face in, or the sure knowledge that she didn’t have it in her to kill him.

Johns grabbed her wrists as the bone whizzed past his face. Her actions couldn’t have been more perfect if he had written a script for her. “Now, Carolyn, wouldn’t that be a bit more public than you like it?” He ground out, as he squeezed her hand so tightly that the bone fell from her grip. “I think you just lost this round!” His voice dripped with contempt as he threw her to the ground and knelt to grasp her by the front of the shirt.

“Let me go you shit!” Her nails dug into his hands.

“Is that the worst you can do?” He shook her once before he let her go, and stood tall over her. “I seem to remember you sayin you’d kill me if I ever laid my hands on you again. You’re really a pitiful site Carolyn, all threats and no guts.”

Riddick’s head came up like a shot. What was this? She has threatened to kill him if he touched her again? Was this more of the game she was playing, or had Johns been manipulating them both? He couldn’t take he eyes off of her, as she lay there broken, on the ground. He had been partly responsible for it, but it surprised him that he would give it another thought. And what was causing him to hurt so badly as he watched her cry?

Johns grabbed a flare and popped it against his knee to light it. God he felt good, bringing the bitch down had been almost as exhilarating as a spike. “The verdict’s in, the light moves forward.” He couldn’t have said it any clearer if he had shouted it, the power had just been passed.

Imam and Jack rushed to the woman who was trying to pull herself to her feet. “We’ve all been scared,” Imam muttered as the two of them pulled her up, and each kept an arm around her for support. “There was nothing you could have done to save us during the crash, but you have done much for us since we arrived here.” Now the Holyman understood the demons that had been barking at the woman’s heels since the ordeal began. She had truly been forced to look into the face of God and she felt that she had failed. She didn’t understand that He never asked more than a person could give and all was done as He had planned it. The ending had yet to be written. So we will see, we will see.

“But..” Fry looked into his comforting chocolate eyes and drew strength from his serenity.

“Shhhh, there will be time for talk later. We must first make it to the skiff.” Imam smiled reassuringly and Jack gave her another squeeze.

Riddick and Johns had moved ahead. The others could hear them deep in conversation but couldn’t make out what was being said. Watching them from a distance made Fry’s skin crawled. Had Richard changed sides? Had he been just watching to see who won the struggle, then would support the winner.

Johns held the light high in a gesture to make the convict think he was being considerate of his light sensitive eyes. “If we could make it through the canyon and lose just one it’d be quite a feat.”

“Not if I’m the one.” Riddick watched the other man out of the corner of his eye. What was he planning?

“What if you’re one of five?” The cool way Johns talked it sounded as if he was choosing a sacrificial goat.

“You got someone picked out?” Riddick fought to keep from looking back at the group. He hoped that Carolyn was smart enough to pull them back. Johns was out of control and it was going to get very ugly.

“Well the way I see it we’ve got a few choices. The Holyman’s a pain in the ass, but we need him to help pull the sled. The kid with him is almost useless, but he’s strong and we’ve still got a way to go before we’re at the ship. That only leaves the girl and Carolyn.” He had worked this all out. It was necessary that Riddick make the choice on his own, it would add a sense of irony to the situation.

“Won’t you need Fry to pilot?” Riddick was getting a bad feeling where this was leading.

“I’ve got you, what do I need her for?” He tried to look sincere. Yes the convict would get them off this rock, but once in the shipping lanes and on autopilot, he figured he could take over. Then it was back in cold sleep for you Mr. Richard B. Riddick. “The advantage of using the little girl would be that they already have her scent and Fry has other more pleasurable uses than piloting.” He grinned man-to-man.

“There is that.” The deep rumble to Riddick’s voice should have been a warning to the other man, but it wasn’t.

“But she’s an argumentative bitch that always wants her own way. Besides she isn’t that good a fuck. And I don’t want to get into it with Imam if we use the child. So all you got to do is take Fry out. That’s not too big a job for ya, is it?” He smirked. Once he had Riddick back in custody, he would take great pleasure in telling him that Carolyn’s death had been planned all along. It had been obvious that the convict had cared about her. What fun to tell him that he was the main reason she had been chosen!

“I don’t know, as you said, she has other uses, and good or not, a fuck’s a fuck.” Riddick pushed, he was going to find out the truth here and now.

“Come on man, she’s not that good, besides you gotta dodge those flying fists first.” Johns could feel the need of a spike creeping along his nervous system. He didn’t want to argue this any longer, take the bitch out and be done with it. “Frankly I like a woman who fights back, but she’s nothin now. Broke her damn spirit. I could go back there and she’d give me head in front of the whole group just to be allowed to live. What’s the fun in that?” Too bad he wouldn’t get to do just what he was saying. But if he wanted Riddick to be cut with the same double-edged sword, it would have to be done differently.

“She did like to fight,” Riddick grinned in pleasure as he remembered the gentle lovemaking that was nothing like what Johns was describing. The fucker had to be lying!

“She sure did!” Johns rubbed his sore jaw. “She took a good swing at me before I subdued her. Ya got to admire a woman who can take it like that. Most of them crumple at the first sign of pain, but not her!” In his imagination he was letting his temper lose to get both sexual pleasure and revenge on the woman who had ignored him.

“Ya think she’s like that?” Riddick fingered his shiv as he decided where he would make the fist cut. The man was dead and didn’t know it.

“Oh yeah!” His feelings of power increased as he pictured the bitch tied spread-eagle for his personal use. If it had worked out that way it would have taken her a long time to die. In his drug deprived mind he wondered for a moment if there wasn’t a way that he could to that with Riddick chained as a witness. It would drive the man insane!

“Ya know what I think?” Riddick whispered and drew his shiv. “You’re a lying fuck and we need a much larger bait to keep those monsters distracted.”

From the distance Fry could see the light from shotgun blasts and hear the noises of a fight mixed in with the singing of the monsters. It made her blood turn cold and would have frozen her in place if she hadn’t seen the frighten looks on the faces of the others. “Back, we gotta move back.” She cried out even as her eyes were glued to the confrontation it was too dark for her to see. “Leave the sled, lets get outta here!”

The men tumbled and fought. Each knew that only one of them would walk away. Riddick gasped as his arm was dislocated, but he pulled free and wrenched his joints back into place. His shined eyes glowed in the night and he circled Johns, jockeying for the better position.

“You’re going to die,” Johns cried out as his shotgun was pulled from his hands and he pulled his knife.

“Only one rule,” Riddick panted. “We stay in the light.” He could see the creatures around them that Johns couldn’t. Whoever went down and couldn’t get back up was going to be dinner. He had no plans on it being him. For some reason he wasn’t getting the pleasure out of the idea of killing the bounty hunter that he had imagined he would. Though his shiv strokes were as sure as ever, something was missing. As he closed in for what would usually be the kill, he realized that he couldn’t face Carolyn with blood from a fresh kill on his hands. He didn’t know why, but it had something to do with her fight with the man, some new information. It confused him enough that Johns almost got a knife stroke past him. Shit, I’ll figure it out later or this bastard is going to kill me!

The clang of the knife against his shiv told him that he had successfully parried the incoming blade. He shifted tactics and circled until he was able to catch Johns by the back of the neck and pull him close. “You lying sack of shit! I hope they kill you real slow!” Then his shiv sliced along the other man’s side. Blood gushed as Riddick stepped back, giving the remaining flare a swift kick. It sent creatures scurrying as it bounced off into the distance, leaving Johns along in a circle of darkness as the hungry monsters closed in for the kill.

They were so attracted by the scent of bleeding that they didn’t notice Riddick slip past them, or stand and watch as they circled the panicked man. The two large males that had been fighting for the alpha spot in this flock, since the eclipse had begun, sliced at the injured human. Their claws met as they ripped off an arm, and the sounds of the man’s screaming filled the air. The battle began in earnest over the largest piece of meat they had found so far. As they pecked and tore at Johns, the two males took time out to lunge at each other. He had become the battleground to prove supremacy of the flock.

Each time Johns tried to crawl away, one of them would drive him back, until he finally gave in to shock and loss of blood. Sitting in a stupor unable to comprehend what was happening to him, the junkie waited for the end wishing he had one last spike to make it all disappear. When one of the males finally defeated the other, he celebrated his victory by giving a huge roar and filling his mouth with the head of the prize that was bleeding at his feet.

The sound of a bloodcurdling scream filled the air and made Fry stumble. She righted herself and listened. Shadows from the whiskey bottle lantern she was carrying, danced across her face as she prayed it wasn’t Richard that had cried out like that. Shivering as Imam and Jack looked to her for guidance, she turned to keep on running.

Riddick stepped out of nowhere and she ran straight into his bulk. For a moment she let her fingers dig into his sides as she was assailed with his familiar scent and the secure feel of his body under her hands. Then she remembered he was no longer the man she had thought him to be and pulled away.

Carolyn’s touch brought back all the feelings he had thought he had managed to free himself of. He wanted to stand there and let her small hands wander all over him, but her sudden withdrawal reminding him of the truths he had learned tonight. Johns may have lied about her being his lover, but it was so much easier to live in a world without trust. As he stepped back he realized that he felt safer keeping her at a distance.

“Run back to the ship huh?” He was calling her a coward and he knew it. An angry Carolyn was much easier to deal with than a caring one. “Just huddle together until the lights go out?”

“Stay away from us.” She yelled at him hating the things he was implying.

“Until you can’t see what’s eating you is that the big plan?” He had made them mad, he only hoped it was mad enough to save their own lives.

“What about Johns,” Imam held up his torch trying to look into the distance.

“He died a better death than he deserved.” Riddick turned away, but was stopped when Carolyn ran her hand down his arm to his hand and pulled it close to her. He could see a worry burning in her eyes and he wanted to push it away, but couldn’t, even if he knew how.

“You didn’t..?” She hated the thought that he might have killed because of what the man had done to her. There had been too much hatred and death in his life. She didn’t want to cause him any more grief.

“Naw, but he might have been better off if I had.” He brushed his other hand lightly against her cheek as her eyes closed with relief. The emotion that washed across her face was completely foreign to him. If he didn’t know better he would think she was relieved that he hadn’t taken the man’s life. Dead was dead, no matter what the cause, why should it matter to her. Then he remembered his own doubts about killing Johns. Ahh Carolyn you’ve got my head spinnin, he sighed. He got them all moving forward before he could give it anymore thought.

When they got to the mouth of the canyon, Riddick called a halt to check things out. He examined the body of a dead alien and to his delight found a blind spot. “Fuckers got a weakness.” He grinned then looked up at Carolyn. “Always know your enemy.” Was he talking about her, or the creature, a little voice whispered in his head?

Imam approached the man who had become their leader. He had much to say and little time to do it. “Should we pray together? I’ve already prayed with the others. It is painless you know.”

“Pointless!” Riddick spit out as he kept a watch on the canyon entrance.

“Just because you don’t believe in God, doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in you.” There was much work for him to do if he was to make the man understand. It was the only way both he and the woman would be able to find peace. One was the key to the other.

“You think someone can spend their life the way I have and not believe? Got it all wrong Holyman. I absolutely believe in God and I absolutely hate Him!” The anger and loss were clear in the convict’s voice.

“He is with us none the less.” So that was the problem, the man was in despair. Salvation was within his grasp, if he would only look up and take it.

“Two of your boys are already dead. How much faith do you have left, Father?” What he had meant as an insult came out as a question.

“As much as it takes to get the job done.” Imam looked the man in the eyes willing him to listen to him. “I asked you once before, what do you think a Holyman is before he looked into the face of God. You never gave me an answer.”

“I never gave it much thought.” Riddick shrugged the question off as he did the last time.

“It is time you did, because God is staring you in the face and you are refusing to look back!”

“You think I’m goin’ to be a Holyman?” He laughed at the notion. It was the most absurd thing he had ever listened to.

“No, Mr. Riddick.” Imam laughed as he pictured the rough looking man in turban and robes. “I doubt that is what God has in mind for you. I’m just saying that not all of us are what we seem. I know a man who was a murderer. But he wasn’t brave enough to kill as you did. He did his killing from behind the locked doors of an office. He gave the orders for others to die and never gave it a second thought. He sent men such as yourself out to do his dark deeds. He was a truly evil man, until one day he was forced to see God. Surely if a man such as he could learn to believe, then so could you.”

“What if I don’t want to!” Riddick was tired of the questions and the odd feeling that there was something very important about what Imam was saying to him.

“It would be truly unfortunate, because you hold the key to another’s peace of mind.”

“Enough!” Riddick couldn’t fight his inner voices and Imam’s too. “We can sit here discussing religion until those fuckers come for us, or we can get moving. I for one, choose to move on!” He stood tall over the Holyman, refusing to hear more. “Only see one way, that way.” He pointed toward the narrow opening to the canyon of bones that they had driven through that afternoon. They all knew it was only slightly wider than the Sandcat had been. There was almost no margin for error.

“What about the cells?” Imam patted Rashad to give him reassurance and smiled at Jack.

“I’ll take them.” Riddick looked Carolyn full in the face. He wanted to promise her that the cells were for all of them, but he wasn’t a lier, and he knew that the truth still hung in the balance. So he reached out and gave her hand a squeeze hoping she realized that he would do his best.

“Are you sure you can keep up?” She whispered as she clung to the hand that still held hers.

Damn those blue eyes that worried FOR him. It twisted his soul and made him want to do things to her body that would knock that trusting look off her face. Instead he shook his hand free of hers and pulled his goggles over his eyes. “MOVE!” He shouted. “Just keep the girl between you!” His body ached for Carolyn, but he had to get her away from him. Put some distance between them, before he rolled her beneath him, and proved once and for all what an animal he was.

The ropes around the cells dug into his hands as he pulled them along. If he concentrated on the pain they were causing, maybe he could keep his mind off the woman in front of him. This can’t be, he shouted to himself. She can’t do this to me. I refuse to feel anything, again! The hurt had been too great when he had believed Johns. It had almost cost all their lives. He couldn’t let it happen again.

They ran the maze of bones in the canyon, making good time, until suddenly a huge flock of the monsters came swooping around the next bend. The group scattered as far as the steep walls would allow, but there was almost no place to hide from the screaming diving things above them.

“Do not look up!” Riddick shouted as he kept running.

“They’re killing each other.” Fry gasped as it began to rain blue glop. To her horror, she watched as a swarm of them clustered around Richard, but to her relief, he refused to give into them and kept moving.

“Wait,” Jack called out as she saw the man pull ahead of the group. He had out run the monsters, now he was out running them.

Riddick refused to listen to the voices behind him. He would be home free if he could make it a bit further. What did he need them for? But something in him hurt as if he was bleeding. He couldn’t stop himself from looking back over his shoulder and what he saw made his blood run cold.

Jack had fallen and was huddling under a small arch of bone as Carolyn tried to fight off two monsters with only a whiskey bottle lantern. In that moment he knew he could never stand to watch her die. Pulling his shiv he turned and attacked!

Moments later the warm innards of the monster were laying at his feet. “It did not know who it was fuckin with!”

As Carolyn pulled Jack up, they were attacked from behind, and Rashad was pulled into the darkness, never to be seen again. In that second Imam felt his faith waver, but he looked toward Riddick who was grabbing the cells and moving forward. “I believe, I truly believe,” the Holyman whispered as they moved on.

They hadn’t gone twenty paces when the first raindrops began to fall. At first Carolyn thought it was more of the blue glop, but they weren’t that lucky. She heard a laugh that sent a chill up her spine and realized it was Richard.

“So where the hell’s your God now?” He looked at Imam as they huddled by the canyon wall trying to keep the lights burning.

“All around us, my friend. It is our choice if we see Him or not.” He whispered.

They didn’t see the tentacle that was slowly moving above Jack. Didn’t know that they were in danger until they heard her scream as its knife-edge sliced her shoulder and arm as it tried to pull her up. But Riddick saw and he acted.

In one breath his shiv was in his hand and he lunged, cutting the slimy extension that would have taken the teen to her death. “Take care of her.” He shouted to Imam as he climbed the rocks to try and get a better idea of how far they had to go.

The teenager was almost paralyzed with fear. She could smell her own blood and feel it wet on her hand and arm where she had been cut.

“It’s alright Child, I’ll take care of you.” Imam pulled off his turban and unwound it to bandage the girl.

“Richard, are we close? Just tell me that the settlement is right there.” The panic in Carolyn’s voice made him lose hope. He had let her down. He had let them all down.

“We can’t make it.” He whispered as he turned to her. There was no ‘we’. That had been the problem all alone. For the first time in his life he had been thinking in terms of ‘we.’ Deep inside Riddick had known that he could never be anything but alone. Now all that was left was to prove it to the woman beside him.

His eyes raked the side of the canyon. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but when he found it, he would know. There it was, a space darker than all the rest.

“Here, in here.” He pulled aside a rock and motioned for the others to get in out of the rain and hide. “We go in here.” He could see Carolyn shivering as she pushed Imam, who was carrying Jack into the small space.

She stood in front of him, her hair plastered to her face and her teeth chattering. For one last time he leaned down and kissed her, before he shoved her toward the other two and rolled the rock back in place.

The pain that hit him was so intense that he doubled over, fighting to catch his breath. There, he had pushed her out of his life. Now he wouldn’t have to see her die. Why did it hurt so much? He fought his way to the cells and grabbed the ropes and began to run. Maybe if he ran fast enough he could keep ahead of the feel of her lips on his and the trusting look on her face, that was wiped away to be replaced with horror when she realized that he was leaving them behind.

Chapter 6 - Inner Truths, Outer Lies

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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