Magma, Chapter 2 – A Sunday Story

Image credit: juuli.s / Twenty20

Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

In the last days, the penultimate warning sign of the World’s pending doom, according to the Scriptures, will be the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It has been said that the steeds dispensed for the horsemen’s earthly sojourn will be: one white horse, one red horse, one dark horse, and the fourth horse⁠—a stallion with Death as its “pale rider.”

***

Venomiss dashed away from the serving cart. Its back wheels spun dancing with Earth’s trajectory while the startled cart tried to right itself. All the while, its front-wheel brakes dug like thundering hooves into the hotel hallway’s plush imported Tunisian carpet. The result was that cart keeled over in a cataclysmic crash as Venomiss closed the door behind it.

She tapped her right temple. Her communication implant came back online.

At the other end, Lady Cat spoke,

“Any news? Who was at the door?”

“Someone left a cleverly disguised note in the only cipher I know by heart.”

“You sound…spooked. That is unlike you, old friend. What did the note say, do tell?”

Holding her breath and speaking in its exhale, Venomiss replied,

“It’s a meeting in twenty minutes, back of the hotel.”

“I assume you will attend? We have no real leads as to who made the attempt on your life, save for the scant clue, possibly disguised as a trap, at the warehouse near where the drone landed after the attack.”

“Can you check satellite overwatch to see if you have eyes in the sky here at the back of this hotel? I suspect it is a blind spot.”

After a short pause…Lady Cat replied. “Yep, you are right. No cameras, and no satellite in range for another hour— at least satellites that we have authority to access.”

“That’s what I thought. It’s a kill box.” Venomiss replied.

“Yep…So my friend, when were you going to tell me that the note also mentioned the one mission that did not go well in your checkered double-agent past?”

“How did you know?”

“Because we know each other well, my friend. Only one thing causes that telltale tone in your voice—the mention of your last deep cover assignment⁠ code-named: “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

Venomiss took another long labored breath, “Sorry old friend, you are right. There was a mention of that mission in the note. It implied that they were already here!”

“Blimey… If that is true. Then, I fear…it has begun!”

The cold chill of the depths of human wickedness registered in Lady Cat’s voice as she continued:

“I remember growing up in the nineties and hearing of the excitement of magma harvesting for energy production. And then I was recruited into the service and realized that four powerful unknown men have had a long game in mind for harvesting the Earth’s magma which began in the nineties.

“Their plan: annihilate a third of the planet’s buildings, buy the resulting barren land, use that land for harvesting the earth’s magma, and sell magma production as the only “renewable” energy source.”

Venomiss chimed in, “And give themselves, thereby, a permanent monopoly on dictating the terms of human life on this planet.”

“That event, in a remote part of Norway, then was no accident,” said Lady Cat. “It was them, the four-person conglomerate so secretive they are known only as “The Pale Rider” testing their annihilation device.”

“If they are here in Malta,” Lady Cat my old friend, “They may be planning, their phase II—a test in a populated area. But, why Malta?”

“Because here in the Mediterranean we are far enough away from “The ring of fire” in the Pacific Ocean. Tinkering with the Earth, exploding an implosion device near “The ring of fire” could trigger: tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. “The Pale Rider” would probably consider those events bad for business —at this time, anyways.”

“We must stop this, old friend!”

“Yes, my friend…And, we will need help…lots of it.”

****

A few short minutes later, dressed in a soft-armor laden dark jacket and jumpsuit, Venomiss stepped over the only remaining evidence of the toppled serving cart outside her firm’s hotel suite.

Apparently, the fastidious hotel cleaning staff had sniffed out the cart catastrophe and had cleaned the area thoroughly. The only evidence of the fracas was a carefully shampooed damp spot. Avoiding the damp spot, Venomiss, against her own better judgment, headed for the private elevator from her hotel suite.

Lady Cat spoke in Venomiss’ earpiece.
“You are sure you want to do this! You will be out of range of surveillance and support. Mr. Zero and his advance team will not get to the hotel for another hour. They have been sequestered on the other side of Malta keeping a lookout at the warehouse.”

“I know. But, I have to know what this is about. If indeed they are here in Malta, this may be my one chance to…”

“Redeem yourself?”

“…Something like that, yes. I have to Lady Cat. I have to finish this once and for all.”

“Yes, old friend. I know. I know.”

“Just a heads up Lady Cat, I plan to scout the area for the meeting via a detour through the underground tunnel near the hotel’s back exit. You probably won’t pick up my signal in the tunnels; nonetheless, I will keep my communication implant on mute throughout.”

Venomiss in a somber tone continued,

“To be honest…I have a really bad feeling about this. Send whatever help you can find in the vicinity to keep an ear out for anything suspicious in or around this hotel…anything at all.”

“Will do. And my friend, please…watch your six.”

Entering the hotel suite’s private elevator, Venomiss turned and held the special handle that looked like the phone of an elevator emergency call box. Turning this ‘handle” while holding down the “basement” button was the only way to urge the elevator to the subterranean level. The elevator responded with a graceful descent that skipped the ground floor and stopped twenty meters below sea level.

Then, the doors opened with a gentle hiss at the secret entrance to the tunnels under the hotel. Venomiss surveyed her surroundings with growing apprehension.

Built during the second world war, the tunnels had been used to shuttle messages and to conduct “business” away from prying eyes under Malta’s old capital city. Only a few people knew of the tunnel’s existence, all of them, present or former espionage agents and their assets (information gathering allies).

Cautiously Venomiss, looked both ways as she crept into the muted darkness of the entrance to the tunnels. The sparse lighting came courtesy of a narrow band of iron-caged fluorescent tubes, fed no doubt, by the hotel’s generators.

In the dim lighting, Venomiss heard someone exhale. And next came a puff of smoke.

The distinctive aroma of a carefully lit Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Cuban cigar perfumed the air with vanilla and tropical spices. The aromatics filled the tenuous shadows of the tunnels like a womb about to give birth.

Speaking into the tempered darkness addressing the smoke-shrowded shadowy figure, Venomiss said,

“Hello, Mr. Goldman, fancy meeting you here.”

“Ah Lady Atherton, you caught me taking a smoke break. We are a non-smoking hotel these days.”

“Oh come, come, Mr. Goldman, don’t think I haven’t known for years that you are Mossad. Let’s not count cards in a game in which we are both old hands. Why did you send me the note? Why intercept me in this the only passage you knew I would take to the meeting you had arranged?”

“So sorry for the subterfuge Lady Atherton.” He chuckled nervously.

Looking around, as if expecting unwanted company, Mr. Goldman whispered, his voice trembled:

“They found me out! I would have been a dead man if I had shown up at that meeting with you at the back of the hotel. I hoped I could intercept you here instead. It is a matter of some urgency…to…”

Suddenly a shot rang out. Both Venomiss and Mr. Goldman responded instinctively. They dove to the cold damp bedrock floor of the secret tunnels’ entrance, landing on their bellies. Then, a spray of machine-gun fire echoed and ricocheted off the stone walls.

Without speaking Venomiss and Mr. Goldman flung their bodies around on the cold bedrock floor of the tunnel entrance. Silently, and in unison, they crawled hastily towards the elevator. Meanwhile, a hail of gunfire twanged with vengeance above their heads.

They had almost made it to the elevator when its doors opened—on their own! No one was inside. A shadowy figure seemed to hover in the dim lighting about seven meters behind Venomiss and Mr. Goldman.

He spoke with clipped military precision in a Cockney twang,

“Light it up! Don’t let them escape, mates!”

Then, from somewhere in the smokey grey shadows, Venomiss heard the distinctive click of a hand grenade’s pin and lever release.

Helplessly, and in deathly silence—the hand grenade hurdled, somersaulting in the air—barely missing Venomiss and Mr. Goldman’s heads. In an instant, the lethal projectile landed with a rolling thud in the open elevator.

Venomiss shouted, “Grenade! Take cover…”

****To be continued Next Sunday****

Published by Suzette Benjamin

Positive thinker, inspirational, writer, faith

45 thoughts on “Magma, Chapter 2 – A Sunday Story

  1. I didn’t know you wrote futuristic stories Suzette. Nicely done. Very entertaining. I particularly liked this description:

    “The distinctive aroma of a carefully lit Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Cuban cigar perfumed the air with vanilla and tropical spices. The aromatics filled the tenuous shadows of the tunnels like a womb about to give birth.”

    Wow, you surprised me with this. Great action writing. I am just trying to learn how to write a good story. I have a lot to learn but a great mentor. Blessings my sweet friend. Love and hugs, Joni 🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thrilled to hear that you are learning to write stories. Your poems are often wonderfully cameos…it would be awesome to expand them as you feel so inclined or led.
      P.S. That paragraph just came alive on its own from the keyboard to the screen. I like it too! Thank you for your gracious comments of appreciation, Joni.
      May your writing fill you with joy and peace.
      Thank you for your blessings And more of the same to you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow I was blown away by your story. You really are very gifted Suzette? Do you ever publish your work. I am a regular writer at MasticadoresIndia. Terveen is a wonderful story teller too. She is always looking for good stories or poems. I bet she would love one of your stories. You should submit something sometime. Thank you for all your kind words. Blessings to you and lots of love and blessings to you and your family. ❤️🤗🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am humbled by your kind words of support. I am still polishing the craft of writing stories, in my mind anyways. Thank you for the publishing suggestion! A great idea.
        You are most welcome, Joni. Love and hugs to you. Stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Your work is every bit as good as mine or better and your stories are amazing. You can really write. I think some people have no interest in publishing but your talent is a gift. I don’t think you would have any trouble getting published. It took someone encouraging me to get my first publication and I will always be grateful to her. Your work is amazing. Have a great day hopefully writing. Big hugs Suzette. ❤️🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah I am so glad to hear it. If I can get published you can too. Please be sure to tag me on your first publication so I don’t miss it. I promise not to bug you again about this but I know a good story when I read one. I am blessed to have someone willing to help me get better with my stories. Yours are amazing. That is it. I was thirteen when I was sending out poems in the mail waiting months to hear back. I am giving back. I believe that supporting each other is not only a gift to me but my finally being published by The Finest Example, encouraged by their editor, Akanksha Singh, I felt validated somehow. I feel happy every time my work is published. No need to respond I just want you to know how beautiful your writing is to me. Have a blessed day and love to you and your family. ❤️🤗🦋🌹🌺🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      5. How can I not respond to so deeply felt a comment, on my part in reading it; and from yours part is in replying so graciously, Joni.
        Thank you for your sincere words of support. I admire your skill and I appreciate your encouragement. Like iron sharpening iron indeed your words strengthen me this day. We never know what a kind word can do. Joni, your comment today have been a deep source of encouragement to me. I cannot thank you enough.

        Thanks again dear friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Well thank you dear Suzette. I love Proverbs 27:17. “ Iron sharpeners iron so a man sharpeners the countenance of his friend.” King James
        Well now you have literally made my day with such a wonderfully gracious comment. You are so welcome Suzette. Blessings to you!! 🦋🦋

        Liked by 1 person

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