PART ELEVEN: THE SHTRIGU
Emre and Avery immediately left their home, asking Alyona and Arken to watch over their son as they went to report the possibility of another shtriga in their world. It was a relief that the Director took Avery’s claims seriously despite them not having evidence other than Avery’s own claim that she could feel him.
A list of all agents and researchers that had lost their lives during the expeditions to the Alternate Reality who had had to be cremated to prevent the Lemurians from learning any more about them was compiled while surviving members were immediately investigated for drastic changes in personality since returning to their Present Reality.
Several hours later, the results of their investigation proved inconclusive until Avery, who had fallen asleep at the Psychologist’s office, began to chant in an unrecognizable tongue and suddenly, everyone in the room with her was suddenly frozen, unable to move a muscle and yet still retaining all their senses.
No known magic or science was able to break anyone in the room out of their frozen stupor and the Director simply stared horrified at Avery whose body had began to jerk violently before abruptly stopping and her rousing from her slumber in a cold sweat and subsequently releasing all frozen persons in the room from their stupor.
“It was Montgomery, Director. He was the one compromised. The team you sent- they- they are all dead,” she stated hurriedly.
“How do you know all this?”
“I can- I can see into his mind- I can feel his emotions. He is hungry- starving for life-force. He has gotten stronger since draining the team but he wants more. I can feel it,”
“And just how are you able to perceive this? Weren’t you cured of the curse?”
“I don’t know how but I can somehow perceive him. He killed Montgomery’s wife too but their children were with their grandmother thankfully. He is headed there right now,”
The Director immediately had an extraction team head towards the residence of researcher Richard Montgomery’s mother-in-law where the elderly woman and three of her grandchildren currently were situated saving them from certain death.
Avery suddenly sighed worriedly and shivered involuntarily.
“My love, what is it?” asked Emre worriedly.
“He got to his mother-in-law’s and discovered that they were gone. He is furious. He- he has a very strong urge to kill everyone in that cul-de-sac. Director- we may need to evacuate everyone in the area,”
“There is no time. We will send a team to apprehend it. If we can capture it alive, we could gain a better understanding of it and how it operates,”
“Is- is capture a valid option at this point, Director? The creature is too difficult to contain,” Avery stated.
“We know its weakness thanks to you and Emre. We can capture it and hopefully prevent a repeat of this,”
In the next few hours, the creature was apprehended and brought to Headquarters where it was kept under lock and key behind a Sacred Circle and ring of salt. It hissed furiously at its captors and tried to escape from the Sacred Circle in vain.
The Director and the linguistics team tried to communicate with the creature which thankfully, could understand English very well. However, it was not forthcoming on communication until it tried to negotiate its way out of containment.
“I will tell you everything there is to know about my kind if you let me go,” it claimed.
“You are in no position to bargain,” the Director rebuked it sternly.
“You and I both know that is not true Director Shaw,”
“If you do not talk of your own volition then we shall simply find a means to make you talk. The Department is very inventive, after all,”
“Torture? How very cliched and human of you. Nothing can loosen my tongue if not for the price of my freedom,” it claimed.
The Director was infuriated but the creature’s words rung true because nothing they did to it seemed to make it talk including torture. The Shtrigu stubbornly held to its resolve and the Department was no closer to getting the answers it required.
“I think the only thing left is to kill it and hope to get a sample,” the Director stated nonchalantly.
“You have another option, Director. Let me talk to it,” Avery offered.
“I have a connection to it somehow. I think that it will speak to me,”
“And put you at great risk of incurring the curse again? No way,”
“Isn’t that a risk worth taking if it will help us understand it better?”
“No,” the Director stated.
“Avery, I mean it. Do not go rogue and question the Creature anyway,”
Avery shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the office. She waved to her colleagues on her way back to the Training Simulations block where she was meant to report when she received yet another vision of the Shtrigu. It had been trying to use its telekinetic abilities to seek a means of escaping when it suddenly learned of Avery.
The creature was stunned and confused before thinking that Avery was a Shtriga herself or at the very least, transitioning into being one. It focused all its might on controlling her mind, directing her to come to its aid and help it escape.
Avery was unable to resist its lull as the creature took advantage of their connection to steer her towards it. She tried calling out for help but under the creature’s compulsion, she was unable to so much as utter a peep. She only hoped that the Director would try and stop her.
Avery was met with resistance when she attempted to enter the room but was able to easily incapacitate her colleagues with the creatures help. However, it did draw attention to herself which was exactly what Avery needed at that time.
Containing her took the efforts of several well trained protectors and by the time she was succumbing to the effects of the sedative administered, the Shtrigu was already plotting its revenge. Her actions had provided the distraction the creature needed to use its telekinetic abilities to mentally compel the entire block responsible for its imprisonment, unwittingly turning them into mindless slaves for its cause.
Avery witnessed what could only be described as the bloodiest chapter of an internal attack on the Department of Defense she had ever seen. The entire block attempted to release the Shtrigu at all costs, turning violent and destroying whatever obstacles came in the path of freeing the monster and a bloody war ensued leading to the loss of countless resources.
Eventually, the Director issued a kill order for the Shtrigu by using the pre-installed sprinklers in the room to shower the creature with spirit waters. The Shtrigu wailed in agony as it melted and eventually expired, turning into a pool of indistinguishable putty which soon burst into flames in spite of the uninterrupted shower of spirit waters and completely disappeared.
Avery had felt every last bit of pain the creature endured until its subsequent expiry and had felt its desperate attempt for life by trying to embed its psyche into Avery’s claiming her as its mate. It begged her to let it share her mind so that it could survive despite its physical body being destroyed and nothing Avery had done had been sufficient to banish it from her mind until she recalled the incantation Plast Syri Keq. The incantation banished the creature out indefinitely and it was left to suffer its own fate.
As the Department counted its losses and tried to recuperate following the disastrous attempt to contain the creature, Avery was rightfully put on further sick leave to recover whilst still going to Therapy to try and make sense of it all.
She was glad to have the house to herself as she processed everything she had been through leading to that point in her life. Avery was suddenly consumed with thoughts of the Shtrigu and lost track of time entirely. As she finally caught herself a break after striving to make up for lost time, an Ancient Tome suddenly fell onto her lap from thin air.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What does the Ancient Tome that fell on Avery’s lap contain? Stay tuned to find out. Previous parts in this fascinating series are listed below. Enjoy!