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Simpkins: Ain Hith?

Wallace: I didn’t expect there to be such a vast cave system right in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Ain Hith is the name of the largest entrance to the caves. It lies south of Riyadh just off the road to Al Kharj. It’s an amazing site, these huge cliffs that just rise up out of the dunes of the desert. People go there to climb them, but very few go there to go cave exploring. A few people have died in an attempt to explore the caves adding even more to an aura of uneasiness about the caves. Brecklin was convinced that in some bygone geological age, that part of the Arabian Peninsula was hit by a meteor and created the terrain features that morphed over the eons into the mountains of today. He believed that Ain Hith was the nest of the vampires.

Simpkins: Nest?

Wallace: That’s right. He had collected enough information that he was sure that remnants of the meteor were affecting people – drawing them to the source. He was sure that we could wipe out the vampires and get a sample of the metal.

Simpkins: Did you?

Wallace: Me and the twins arrived in Riyadh and were met by another group hired by Brecklin. Roger St. Pierre was their leader. Ever heard of him?

Simpkins: Sorry, No.

Wallace: Famous cave explorer and cave diver. He discovered and mapped caves in Mexico that are among the most extensive in the world. Anyway, it was him and a group of his cave explorers. There was also a meeting with a Saudi Arabian official named Khalid al Fasid and several of what appeared to be his bodyguards; also present at the meeting was Devon Schattenreich, although they all didn’t actually go down in Ain Hith.

Simpkins: Now, him I’ve heard of. Very mysterious occult figure who has a large following. He’s believed to be a magician or wizard or something.

Wallace: You might want to add him to your list of people to find out a lot more about if you’re going to understand Brecklin. Cthulhu should top that list, by the way. Anyway, Schattenreich is a huge deal in magical circles. He is also like a walking encyclopedia of occult and magical knowledge. He was there to get us all up to speed on how to deal with vampires.

Simpkins: Garlic, silver bullets, stakes through the heart?

Wallace: Ha ha, very funny. I told you that all of that is just myth and pop culture. Although vampires do have an insatiable appetite and a blood lust to match, they aren’t immortal. They can be killed with normal weapons, but they do keep coming at you even after a normal person would’ve been dropped dead. There are other certain things that slow them down.

Simpkins: Like what?

Wallace: Like magic.

Simpkins: Seriously?

Wallace: Oh, I’m dead serious, Lady. After meeting with Schattenreich we were ready to go. The twins went with us to the caves but they only went as far as the underground lake. Not really a lake, but more like a pool. See, Ain Hith descends for quite some ways underground until it ends at a pool of water. From there, you have to don SCUBA gear and proceed to another network of caves. We were leaving a guideline to help us ensure we found our way back out. The twins stayed there.

Simpkins: How did the vampires get in and out? Through the water?

Wallace: No. There was another entrance but we didn’t know where it was. Hell, it could’ve been anywhere in those canyons and mountains. By going in through the main cave entrance of Ain Hith we were hoping to come at them through a side tunnel and hopefully surprise them. But it didn’t work out that way. No, we came out of the water and no sooner got our SCUBA gear off than they were upon us. Brecklin was right, they were vile creatures that no man would choose to be. They were small, pale and hunched over – crawling like rats over each other. They were degenerate little monsters who had become accustomed to the depths of the dank, dark cave. They reeked of rotten meat or sour blood and were covered in filth. It was all we could do to hold them back as we fired round after round into the swarm of them. We just barely survived that initial onslaught and there were numerous times I thought for sure we were goners. There was a break in the attack and we realized that they had retreated. Probably a hundred bodies lay strewn about the cavern and the blood was thick and fetid in the still air. There were ten of us initially and we lost one during that fight.

Simpkins: Did you leave?

Wallace: Leave? We had just begun.

Simpkins: You mean, you kept going into their nest?

Wallace: I know it sounds like madness but St. Pierre rallied us. We took inventory of our ammo and he made me formulate an attack plan while one of his other men, Fowler, I believe, began conducting a bunch of magical chants from that damn book Schattenreich had brought us. I didn’t know it then, but now I can tell you that is was the infamous Al Azif – the Necronomicon. I thought it was idiotic at the time and so distracting. I mean, I was trying to get everyone to move in a close formation and here’s this guy chanting a bunch of mumbo jumbo magical baloney! But I’ll be damned if it didn’t work better than any gun ever invented by man! We groped along prepared for another stand and he kept that singsong chant echoing ahead of us. The vampires were terrified of it! They shrunk away from us but you could see that they were struggling between wanting to rip at our flesh and the terror of the meaning of those chants. It was hypnotic, suggestive, repetitive and pretty soon we were all singing it – The Hymn of Doomed Carcosa. It was sheer lunacy going deeper into their hive; there were so many of them. If something broke the spell of the chant then there was no way we had enough ammunition to fight our way out. We went on like that for some time. Finally, we arrived at the heart of the nest. And there we beheld a sight so incredibly monstrous that everyone fell silent except for Fowler, who was literally in his own world with the chanting from the Necronomicon. It was their queen.

Simpkins: Their queen? Like an insect? An anthill?

Wallace: Sort of. She was humanoid – had once been a human, I suppose. Vast, though. Fat, bloated, corpulent and oozing some viscous liquid like blood from her body. She was foul and grotesque. We opened fire out of a primal urge to destroy that which should not be on this Earth. Hatred, repulsion, fear, I don’t know the words for it. Our faltering of the chant, the eruption of the gunfire, and an instinct to protect their queen was all enough to break the spell over the vampires. They surged and St. Pierre was there screaming orders at us to stop firing and renew our efforts at the chant. The queen was writhing in great spasms and a couple of the men had lost it – one wept like a small child on the ground and another had broken and ran only to be engulfed by a swarm of vampires. The rest of us took up the chant and St. Pierre began to dispense the charges. We blew the queen up until she was nothing but charred goo. With their queen gone, the rest of them were confused, lost, disoriented. We continued to assault them even as they scurried off into the dark depths of the desert.

Simpkins: What about the metal? Was the meteor there?

Wallace: Oh, yes. It was right there where the queen had been. She reposed upon it like a giant, fat spider on a large egg. It was no larger than a basketball and quite light for all of its appearance. It contained so many colors – the strangest metal I’d ever beheld. We retreated back the way we had come, continuing the chant the whole way. I don’t think we even needed to, though. The vampires were almost indifferent to us now.

Simpkins: Was the queen breeding? Was she like an ant queen?

Wallace: No, it wasn’t quite like that. I’m not completely sure just what power she exerted over the vampires in the nest, but apparently they brought her food – victims. There were corpses strewn all about the central chamber.

Simpkins: So, did you get the meteor back to Brecklin?

Wallace: Actually, no. We returned with it to the hotel and were due to return the next morning back to the States. That night, we were awoken at gunpoint and Khalid al Fasid and his men took the meteor. We went through all of that for nothing. We were pissed but Brecklin was beside himself with rage. He vowed revenge but that’s a story for another day.

Simpkins: Which is a good thing because my time for today is up . . .

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