• Published 2nd Jan 2013
  • 4,835 Views, 741 Comments

Slipping Through A Sideways Door - hornethead



A man accidently follows his friend, who was believed to be dead, to a strange and colorful land mired in conflict.

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2: Capture

Chapter 2: Capture

"Christopher Mayfield, that's my name, though ma friends usually call me Topher, or Toph, Scratch to my team. Joined up at nineteen, somehow winded up goin' fer the SAS, don't know how I passed selection, and here I am. What about you, mate?"

Mayfield and Jackson were still holed up in the cave with nothing but some chemical head pads for warmth and some chemsticks for light. The chemsticks cast a ghostly green glow onto their faces. Currently, they decided to wait out the storm for a while before trying to dig out since they could still hear it raging outside and there seemed to be a source of fresh air coming from somewhere. To pass the time, they were getting to know each other a little better.

"Not much to my story either. Name's Darius Jackson, or Rocka, Grew up in Brooklyn with two brothers and two sisters, parents were nice, but they're gone now. My family didn't make much, so my childhood wasn't the greatest, but it was better than most kids' there. My brothers and sisters tried to go to college, but I wasn't about all that, so I went to the Navy. Next thing I knew, they were sending me all over the country for training."

"Huh...."

"So you're a sniper, huh?" Jackson asked.

"Yeah, mostly. I'm a fair shot with the right tool."

"I had a buddy of mine, was our designated marksman. I tell ya, he could pull off some good shots with nearly anything."

"The bloke from the photo?"

"Yeah."

"He was a good friend, wasn't he?"

"Sure was. We met in training and just kind of hit it off. He didn't have much growing up, like me. Even his parents were fucked up. But he pulled it together somehow. He used to come with me back to Brooklyn on leave, my family just took him right in. He was like another brother to me."

"What happened?"

"*sigh* Fucked up Op. It was simple snatch and grab, but when we got to the exfil vehicle, it wouldn't start. We had a ton of hostiles on us. Stupid motherfucker stayed behind and drew them off 'til we got it started and got away. Haven't seen or heard of him since. Six months later, he was declared dead, but I didn't believe it. Still don't believe it. Not until I see a body."

"Whew, that's rough. I'm sorry mate."

"It's ok."

"Well, I'm gonna get a little shut eye, mind covering the lights?" Mayfield requested.

"Sure."

Jackson picked up the chemsticks from the cold floor of the cave and slid them into a pocket, leaving the flap open to allow at least some of the light to escape to keep him comfortable in the small space. Across the way, Mayfield got comfortable and set his head on his shoulder, soon nodding off. Jackson sat there in the darkness, pondering his situation. He was sure to get a good ass chewing for this, he should have been paying attention to where he was at.

Bored, he looked around. On the ceiling, small icicles hung, sharp points aiming threateningly down at him. A cool breeze tickled his face, a peculiar sensation in the cave. Curious, Jackson pulled a pinch of dust from the ground, held it high and released it. The small cloud mostly dropped to the floor, but there was a slight lateral movement. As far as he could tell, the breeze was coming from deeper into the cave.

Jackson got to thinking that there may be another way out, that maybe they wouldn't have to dig. Taking out one of the chemsticks, he got up and went towards the back. The further he went, the smaller it got. Soon, he was crawling almost on hands and knees. He also felt the breeze becoming stronger, fresher. Up ahead, he thought he could see daylight. He wanted to go further, but he didn't want to leave Mayfield behind. So he scootched back and made his way to where he had come from.

Jackson crawled up to Mayfield and shook him gently on the shoulder, "Hey, Mayfield, wake up."

Mayfield snorted and sat up straight, "Huh, wha-?"

"I think I found a way outta here."

"What? You sure?" Mayfield asked, now sitting bolt upright.

"Yeah, I think so. C'mon, grab your shit, let's go."

"Right, right."

Jackson gathered his own equipment, cradling his weapon in his arms. He led Mayfield to the back of the cave and into the small passage he had found. When it got tighter, Jackson struggled to get his large firearm through, but he persisted. Eventually, after crawling some distance on their bellies, they broke out into a wider corridor where they could get up and stand. Jackson saw the light from before and walked towards it. It still looked like daylight, but seen from down a long hallway. He trod up to it and saw that it was but a tiny hole in a wall of rock.

"Dammit" Jackson cursed.

Mayfield walked to it and took a closer look, "Hmm... Doesn't look all that thick. You got anything ya can chip through with?"

"Naw, I left all that stuff in my rack. Didn't think I was gonna use it."

"Well, we have guns."

"Loaded with non-lethal paint tipped rounds."

"Better than nothin'."

"*sigh* Yeah, I guess it's worth a shot. Cover your ears."

Mayfield retreated back a few steps and cupped his hands over his ears. Meanwhile, Jackson brought the muzzle of the Mk 43 to the edge of the hole. Then, bracing himself for the pain he was about to caused himself, he fired. The automatic weapon created a furious din in the tight confines of the rocky space. He let the firearm go until the belt of ammunition was expended and the weapon clicked dry. A dull ringing remained in his ears, constant and painfully annoying. The hole was wider, but only slightly so and ringed with slightly fluorescent green slime.

"RAAAGGHH, Fuck this shit!" Jackson screamed in anger and pain.

He flipped his weapon around and started hammering away at the edges of the hole with the butt of his gun. Little by little, the stone began breaking of in chips and falling to the floor. Mayfield just stood by and watched in amusement as the large man began to break through the shell of rock like a hatchling from it's egg. Finally, after so much effort, the hole was now at least big enough for a man, stripped of equipment to slide through. Exhausted, Jackson sat down against a wall and rubbed the ears on the side of his head, trying to soothe the aching pain.

"That's one way to do it." Mayfield commented, "Well, let's see what's on the other side."

Slowly and cautiously, Mayfield poked a head out through the hole and looked around. Outside all he saw was a strange light mist. The air was still as chilly as it ever was. Other than that, the area was clear. Before continuing, he went and sat down next to his large companion.

"Seems the storm's passed. Ready to get out of here?" He asked.

"WHAT!?" Was Jackson's reply as he massaged his ears, urging his hearing to return faster.

"I'll take that as a yes." Mayfield chuckled.

Mayfield waited until Jackson's hearing gradually returned. Then when he was ready, they both stripped down their equipment and got ready to pass through the hole in the wall. Mayfield went through first, worming his way through as best he could. Once he was on the other side, Jackson passed the man's rifle, vest and pistol belt through, along with all of his own gear. Then it was Jackson's turn. While the hole he had created was large enough for Mayfield to squeeze through, Jackson had a tougher time of it. His broad shoulders almost wouldn't fit, but after some flailing and a helpful pull by Mayfield, he was out.

After some stretching, Jackson joined Mayfield in putting all their equipment back on. Both reloaded their weapons, making sure everything was loaded with a fresh mag. After locking another belt of ammo into his Mk 43, Jackson pulled out his radio.

"Alpha one, this is Hotel one, we got caught up in the storm, but we're ok now. What's the current situation? Over." He spoke into it.

He waited a moment, but no response came. A bit worried, he tried again, "Alpha one, this is Hotel one, I need a sitrep, over."

Still nothing.

"Hey Mayfield, something's wrong, I can't raise th--"

"Shhh!"

Jackson stopped and looked on in a bit of confusion at his companion. Mayfield was crouched down by the ground, examining the snow. Gently, he ran his fingers over and around some strange shapes imprinted in the fluffy white powder. Then a thought occurred. There shouldn't be any fluffy white powder. The winds that had blown through naught but a moment ago should have left nothing but a hard crunchy shell. Something was off.

Mayfield felt it too, but for a different reason. The imprints he was examining in the snow were strange. They almost appeared to be human, but the toes seemed to end in thick claws. Besides all that, someone, or something, was walking around barefoot in the cold stuff like it was sand on a sunny beach. Trusting his instincts, Mayfield drew his pistol and chambered a round.

"I don't like the looks of this, Jackson." The Briton said in a low half whisper, "Everything seems... different. And these tracks, I have no idea what could of left these."

Jackson walked over and looked at the tracks, "Damn. Sasquatch maybe?"

"Whatever it is, it was here not too long ago." Mayfield said, eyeing the strange fog around them with an uneasy gaze.

Suddenly, a twig snapped behind them, back the way they came. Jackson spun around, but saw only the rock wall from which they had emerged.

"Shit, above you!" Mayfield shouted.

Jackson looked up and saw one of the strangest things he'd ever seen. Standing on top of the rocky formation, leaning over the edge, was a large humanoid being. It had mottled green and brown skin, which was mostly covered by a mismatch of medieval looking armor. it's head was topped with lanky and greasy looking hair, black as pitch. Framed in the strands of messy hair was a brutish face, small black eyes and a hooked nose, jagged yellowed teeth poking out from cracked and blistered lips. It was barefoot, the shape of it's feet matching that of the prints in the snow. Jackson didn't really pay attention to any of this however, most of his attention was focused on the long black sword it held menacingly in one hand.

"What in the bloody hell is that thing!?" Mayfield said in astonishment.

"I don't know, but I don't think we're in Kansas anymore..."

The creature let loose a terrifying bellow and leaped off the rock, sword gripped in both hands high over its head. Jackson barely got his weapon up in time, holding high with both hands to block the attack. The sword came down in a swift arc, smashing into the firearm. Mayfield rapidly pulled the trigger of his pistol, sending several rounds splattering onto the creature's chest and face. This only pissed it off, the creature kicked Jackson hard in the gut and turned its attention to Mayfield.

Mayfield holstered his sidearm and drew a long knife from a sheath attached to the small of his back, dropping into a ready combat stance. The monstrous being slashed and hacked at the man, but he managed to duck and dodge the swipes of the blade, occasionally deflecting one with the flat of his knife. Meanwhile, Jackson recovered and hefted his Mk 43.

"Mayfield! Down!"

Mayfield dropped to the ground just before Jackson unleashed automatic fury on the creature. It turned to face its new threat, which proved to be its undoing. Multitudes of rounds impacted its face, chest, arms and legs. The ones that hit its face tore into its mouth and nose, blinding its eyes. It let out a howl of agony and rage, blindly charging its adversary. Jackson ducked down and let the thing's torso impact his shoulder, then forced his body upright, sending the creature tumbling up over the man, landing hard on its back behind him. Mayfield was on it in an instant, burying his knife in its throat. It gurgled and gasped for air for a few seconds, dark crimson blood gushing from its neck, before finally succumbing to the lethal wound and passing into the void.

Mayfield extracted his blade and stood up next to Jackson, both were panting heavily, "What do you suppose that is?" He said, gesturing to the now lifeless body.

"I ain't got a clue, but it just tried to kill us. Dead now, though."

"Better it than us. I'm going to try raising camp again, this needs to be reported." Mayfield took out his own radio and got to work trying to contact their base of operations.

While he did that, Jackson knelt by the body and studied the strange being. It was nothing like he'd ever seen. Something completely alien and not of his world. It also reminded him of the Predator, which made him shiver. Then he noticed something. A faint buzzing in the air, like an aircraft was flying somewhere in the sky. He looked up, but over head was just as obscured by fog as everywhere else. He strained to listen, wondering if anyone was out searching for them. Then he heard something else, something he did not expect to high in the frozen north. The sound of hooves, galloping through the snow. Remembering how their first encounter since leaving the cave just went, Jackson moved to get out of sight, grabbing Mayfield as well.

"Hey! What you doing?" He asked in annoyance as Jackson dragged him around the corner of the rocky outcropping.

"We have company." Jackson explained, putting his back to the wall and peeking around the corner.

"Good, it might be a recovery team. Coffee and warm food!"

"It sounds like they're riding horses. You remember us ever having horses up here?"

"Uh... huh, no I don't."

In silence they waited, the sounds of hooves getting closer and slowing as they did. Jackson listened and estimated there were four, maybe five of them. Soon, the pounding hooves reached them, but they remained out of sight, their shapes barely discernable in the fog. Jackson watched, noting that the shapes didn't appear as large as a horse should. It looked like they stood just up to his chest and he couldn't tell if there were riders. Another strange aspect was that they seemed to be wearing some kind of armor and some had bulky equipment strapped to their backs or on their heads.

The steeds trotted around the body in the mist, sometimes lowering a head to inspect the corpse. They walked around, like they were searching the area for something. Jackson and Mayfield did their best to keep hidden, lest their riders also be hostile.

"You see anything?" Came a voice from among the group of quadrupeds.

Another answered it, "No, but there are definitely signs of a struggle here, if the body is any indication. Looks like there were two more here. Wait a second. Now this is worrying."

Jackson tried to find the source of the voices, but he still couldn't spot the riders. He thought that maybe they were somewhere behind their mounts.

"Look here," the second voice said, "shell casings. Lots of them. And disintegrating belt links! Whatever took this guy down was pretty well armed."

"What's that goop all over his body?"

"I'm not sure. Something else, too. There aren't any bullet wounds. The cause of death is a knife wound on the throat."

"Think maybe whatever did this is still around?"

"One way to find out. Silver!"

One of the horses trotted over to the two by the body, "Sir?"

"Try and locate what did this, looks like bipeds, maybe more limas, can you do that?"

"Yes sir."

The horse backed up a few steps and Jackson was surprised when a silvery white light flashed briefly on the top of it's head. Suddenly, it spun around, it now faced the corner Jackson and Mayfield were hiding behind. Jackson ducked back behind it. His blood froze when he heard the tell-tale *click-clack* of several weapons being loaded.

"We know you're there and we know you're armed!" The second voice shouted. "Put your weapons down and come out slowly!"

"Shit, what's all that about?" Mayfield quietly asked.

"I'm clueless. They speak English though. Maybe we can talk to them."

"Yeah, talk to them," Mayfield said sarcastically, "because they can speak English. Not to mention that they have guns and the intent to use them!"

Jackson ignored his companion and edged closer to the corner, "Hey, we don't mean any harm, we were attacked." He yelled around the corner.

"Identify yourself!" The voice demanded.

"I'm Chief Jackson, I'm with the U.S. Navy."

"Hold on, did you say the U.S.?"

"Yes I did. You're actually trespassing right now, I suggest you leave."

"I'm sorry, but you're the trespasser here, and I'm going to need you to come with us. Or else."

Jackson turned to Mayfield, "What do you think?"

"You're asking me? Well, I'm certainly not going with them."

"So what should we do?"

"Leg it."

"Leg it?"

"Leg it." Mayfield said, nodding.

"Ok, here's what we're gonna do then. From what I can tell, that cave we crawled through was a straight line, so there should be that patch of dead forest back there, right?"

"Guess so. We headin' there?"

"Yeah."

"Sounds good. So on three?"

"Yup, let's go."

"Ok, three!"

Both of them took off running in the direction they thought the trees were. After only a few seconds, Jackson heard the sound of pounding hooves behind them, their pursuers must have mounted their rides. Jackson and Mayfield huffed and puffed, racing desperately to get to cover where they might be able to lose their would be captors. But the sound of the hooves were catching up fast.

"Mayfield!" Jackson shouted.

"What!?"

"They don't know about you." Jackson said between breaths, "Let's split up, I'll try to draw them off."

"I don't know about that, we should stick together."

"Just do it." Jackson snapped.

"Ok ok, jeez, where should we meet?"

"I'll radio you."

"Gotchya, be careful!"

Mayfield reluctantly peeled off and went in a different direction. To distract his pursuers, Jackson raised his weapon and let off two bursts into the air. The hooves started coming at him harder now, so Jackson ran faster, almost breaking into a sprint. He ran and ran, searching for the grove of trees that should have been there, but never showed. It was just the same white mist and fluffy snow. A shot rang off behind him and a spot of snow exploded into the air beside him. A warning shot.

Jackson turned and tried to fire off a bust to dissuade those that were chasing him, but all he got was a click. He looked at his weapon, the ejection port was busted, a shell was lodged in there. Damage the weapon probably sustained in the attack. Jackson cursed and threw his firearm around his back, where it hung from its strap. The horses were on his heels now and there was still no cover in sight.


He knew he couldn't run forever, so Jackson did the only thing he could do. He stopped. He stopped and turned round to confront his pursuers, hand resting on the M9 in its holster. The horses stopped as well, their shapes remaining in the fog, just enough that Jackson couldn't see any detail.

"Take your hand of your weapon!" A voice shouted.

"Not until I get some answers! What the hell is going on here?" Jackson shouted back.

"You're in no position to ask questions. Silver, if he makes a move, stun 'im."

"Yes sir."

"I don't care what position I'm in! I ain't goin' no where with no one until somebody tells me what the hell is going on!" Jackson shouted in anger, "What the fuck you y'all think your doing out here, with live weapons, in the middle of a goddamn training exercise!? This area is property of the United States government!"

"United States? I don't know who you are human, but you're a long way from home. Silver, stun him, we're taking him back for questioning."

That last sentence was all Jackson need to hear. He spun on a heel, drawing his pistol as he did. Then he took off at a sprint, firing over his shoulder as he did. He wouldn't be able to take any of them out, nut the marker rounds might surprise them and let him slip away. Except this wasn't to be the case. Out the corners of his eyes, Jackson saw the same silvery white flash he saw earlier. A strange tingling sensation washed over his body, this suddenly turned into a violent electric shock. Then his body flopped into the cold snow and his mind drifted to darkness.

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