SOME GATES SHOULD NOT BE OPENED!
EDITOR’S NOTE: While this series by Dr. Thomas and Nita Horn is fictional, the technology and prophetic speculations presented over the next couple months in this narrative describe factual advancing sciences and future possibilities as foretold in the Bible for the Last Days.
SUMMARY: Joe Ryback, a twenty-six year old marine whose Lieutenant Colonel father was murdered under mysterious circumstances, stumbles upon a cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of US government and military agencies. Suddenly too deep to turn back, he struggles to contain the nightmarish forces closing around him and his family. As a mind-boggling phantasm brings him face to face with genetically modified creatures and spiritual-alien forces, a sinister plan unfolds at Montero—a government funded research laboratory—which could usher in the coming of Antichrist and the end of the world. With dynamic plot twists, mesmerizing ideas, and unchained high-tech weaponry, THE AHRIMAN GATE moves the reader feverishly toward disclosure of shadow governments involved with transgenic research, Extra Terrestrial Vehicles, crypto-archaeology, and ghastly genetic research, convening in a nightmare scenario that takes the breath away
“Starts fast, then rockets your emotions into pure adrenaline overload that makes you truly appreciate it when God enters the scene!” ~Dr. Donald C. Jones, Historian of the Year.
“Dr. & Mrs. Horn are obviously conversant with ancient Biblical sources, and make good use of it in their novel, THE AHRIMAN GATE!” ~Legendary Ufologist Dr. I.D.E. Thomas
Darkness enveloped the treetops as the dreadful scent of the predator closed in on the herd of elk. The approaching creature was unidentifiable and menacing, a strange presence unlike the animals had sensed before. A blood rush moved through the bull elk’s limbs as it froze to survey the murky shadows descending through the trees. Its alert brown eyes gradually settled on the pathway where the pursuer’s steps, heavy and temblorous, bent the brush along the edge of the clearing.
As the stalker drew near, it hissed deeply and stepped from around the back side of a large Douglas fir, its eyes smoldering red, its arms grotesque and contorted, its open jaws stretching torturously around its black and oily fangs. The bull, nearly incapacitated by instinct and by the foul scent of the colossal creature filling the woods on every side, snorted and lowered its head at the entity.
The nefarious hunter flared its apelike snout and relished the air, as if amused by the eight hundred-pound bull’s defensive posture, the sound of its heartbeat slamming uncontrollably in its chest.
Then, with a throaty, muffled roar, it attacked.
“Human skulls with horns have been found in a burial mound at Sayre, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.… Except for the horny projections two inches above the eyebrows, the men to whom the skeletons belonged were anatomically normal, though seven feet tall…”
Pursuit, 6:69–70, July 1973
On this damp early-evening in July, when Joe’s life became even more complicated, it was exasperating to struggle over branches and flora, to tear his arms on berry vines, to avoid cursing as he traversed fallen trees and dangerously random hollows, to run for his life.
A vague malaise argued it couldn’t get any worse, as a new ambush concealed beneath the vines tripped him, and he fell headlong into a dump. Round, black objects, wet from an early rain, glistened in the starlight beneath the leafy growth: Michelins, Firestones, and other tire brands; they’d been there long enough to be entombed inside the prickly Oregon blackberry.
Now the smell of rotting flesh was heavy all around him. The source of the odor stared at him forebodingly from on top the rubber heap. A bull elk’s decapitated head, putrefied and bloated, appealing for him to hurry. Get up! the dead beast’s eyes screamed. Keep running! Brutal creatures roam these woods!
He measured his breathing and glared over the animal carcass, behind him through the drapes of forested earth, where weak scalpels of twilight and a reflective reddish moon softly illuminated the angry men and their excited dogs uphill. Sliding quietly on his belly against the foul-smelling garbage, he found a good location and looked deeper into the grove. A security truck’s spotlight pierced the foggy shelf like a single strand of aurora borealis, while a cool breeze, chilled by nearby water, carried the unguarded voices and muffled barking down the slope toward him. The light cast eerie illuminations on the bloodhound pack as they continued their relentless pursuit. The canines sniffed the ground, pulling against the guard’s ropes as they struggled down the hill. Nearby, he thought he saw something else, lumbering off to one side, tall and indefinable.
Joe lowered his head and wondered how it had come to this.
He was only twenty-six, chestnut brown hair to his shoulders, hazel green eyes, and, thanks to his Lieutenant Colonel father, in excellent physical condition, not that poor dexterity was ever an option in the Ryback household.
Enrolled in the Yuma Young Marines at only nine years of age, he had stayed in the program through high school. Later, at the behest of his father, he attended Parris Island where he concluded his marine training at the top of his recruit battalion. After eighteen months in Fox Company’s Second Platoon, Third Marine Regiment, Hawaii and six months at Twentynine Palms in California, he received an honorable discharge when his esteemed father, Clarence Ryback, was mysteriously and famously murdered. This was the trigger that brought him back to Yuma, to his own nightmare and to that of his mother alone.
Ten months later, when he felt he could, he’d moved to Portland, Oregon, to work on the docks with Garth, his old high school buddy. He’d told himself that the Northwest was calling him to watch over his adopted younger sister, but he knew better. It was a ploy to get away from home. There were simply too many ghosts in Yuma…although looking back, they didn’t seem as threatening as the ones in this grove.
AHRIMAN GATE NARRATIVE CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO
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Now something warm oozed along his midsection through his ragged blue jeans. He pushed into a crouch. At once the stench of rotting flesh blossomed even stronger. A maggot cluster, like squirming rice, clung to his belly. He scraped the wiggling larvae off with the palm of his hand and quietly shook it clean.
Inching forward to ease out of the rot, he cracked a branch beneath his foot.
The snap of the twig had been so loud it seemed to be amplified over a speaker.
Somebody shouted, “Point the light over there, and release the beast!”
Had he heard that right? A beast?
He clutched the fanny pack containing the graven image, the one his dad had hidden a few years back, and charged over the rubbish into a small opening in the trees, black and cavernous, possibly a deer trail leading deeper into the woods.
Moving as fast as he could beneath the desultory light, he ducked and jumped like a crazed gazelle over decaying trees that had fallen years before.
Though the unfamiliar course was dangerous and challenging, marine training enhanced his natural athleticism. His breathing synchronized perfectly with the liquid motions of his feet. He slipped, slid, palmed mossy limbs, avoided stone projections, and prayed for protection against a broken arm or leg.
Except for the howling of the dogs behind him, the woods were ghostly quiet, making stealth nearly impossible at the speed he was travelling. He kept the pace anyway, sensing the trail would continue due north toward the Columbia River, and when he finally arrived at an area where low hanging limbs encased the crooked pathway, the vague light faded beneath them.
Thirty feet further the thicket boxed him in.
He considered turning back, decided against it, and dropped beneath the brambles onto his belly. Crawling forward, he struggled to find space until soon he came into what felt like an oversized briar hole. Now his shoulders became guides, probing both sides of the burrow’s claustrophobic walls, testing the area for concealed branches and thorny vines. He explored the darkness with his hands to block the hidden dangers. No matter how he wanted to hurry, he couldn’t afford a jagged branch in the eye.
He slid around a rough curve in the passage and smelled what he thought to be an animal nest. He studied the musky void as far as he could reach, feeling with his fingers, searching the swarthy space where he thought he needed to go, inspecting it for hazards.
That’s when something inspected him.
Wet fur brushed against his hand, bit him, and scrambled onto his arm.
He shouted, shook the bristly creature into the briars, and clambered desperately forward, telling himself not to panic. He would be okay if he only remained calm.
Well, you finally got what you wanted, his alter ego complained as he shuffled along the ground. You just couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?
An equal part of him silently argued: Oh yes I could have, if that big shot hadn’t pushed me.
Uh-huh. Ever since Dad’s death you’ve been looking for a fight, and you know it.
Bull. I was trying to return the item.
And to kick butt, he rebutted himself as he pushed feverishly ahead.
But I ran, didn’t I?
Not until you analyzed the situation and determined you were outnumbered, only then.
What was I supposed to do, stick around to see what would happen? They knew about Dad’s death, for Pete’s sake. Something was wrong.
Drudging forward…fussing with himself…controlling his breathing…searching for an escape, he thought, Even so, you should have given them the image. You need to back off and let it go!
You heard what the man said.
What? That enough people had died already? So what. Whatever this thing is…it isn’t worth getting killed over.
Dad must have thought it was. So did those who tortured and murdered him.
If you die, it won’t bring him back, you know. Let it go.
It’s too late for that. First blood has been drawn.
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Suddenly what sounded like the trickling of a stream caught his attention. He knew from the area that the water would be moving toward the Columbia River. He spotted the moon peering through an opening in the brush, headed for it, and heard something else. Uncertain at first, he recognized the baying sound of the well-trained hounds. Montero’s thugs were closing.
For a split second it grew quiet, as if the dogs were afraid of something, then a loud crunch echoed behind him. He propelled himself toward the opening with frantic abandonment, no longer concerned with protecting his face.
Reaching the end of the lair and dragging himself outside, he heard the frenzied sound of the canines closing on the stretch where he’d first entered the crawl space. Something was with them, bigger, much bigger.
He stood and gazed ahead. The area looked odd, dark blue, expansive. When he realized what it was, it was too late. The ground gave way, plummeting him on his heels, arms flailing wildly, until finally he caught a tree limb and jerked to a painful stop.
He was sixty feet above the Columbia, standing on a steep and slippery embankment. A few feet ahead of him was a sheer canyon wall.
It wasn’t the trickling of a stream he’d heard, but the weak echo of the river far below.
Of all the luck.
Now a huge presence was plowing through the thicket toward him, the thud of heavy footsteps on dry leaf mold and the hard crack of breaking branches snapping terrifyingly loud. He remembered the top-secret project his father told him about. Biometric chips implanted in soldiers…secret military experiments on unconsenting guinea pigs…“Rambo Chips” he called them…. Somehow the technology increased adrenaline flow and made experimental soldiers temporarily stronger.
With split-second reasoning, he decided to jump into the river. Looping the fanny pack tightly behind his belt, he whispered a quick prayer, drew his breath in, and thrust his body toward the rim.
Just then a creature bolted from the brush, low to the soil, unnerving and rabid, growling as his feet left the ground, its hot breath snapping ferociously for his legs.
And then it was gone.
If the animal had been some kind of dog, it seemed much bigger and unlike any he had seen before. And that smell!
His stomach was in his throat now, his eyes bulging widely, plunging down, down, until a tree limb protruding from the crag came out of the mist and smacked him across the brow, twisting him violently into a reverse somersault.
He hit the deafening river like a solid block wall, crushing his tongue and filling his mouth with blood. The bitter substance gagged him as the Columbia’s swirls clutched his arms and legs. His forehead was on fire. His thoughts were spinning too, yet he had the presence of mind to listen for the splash of the huge creature.
Whatever it was hadn’t followed him over the ledge.
Dazed and descending into the water’s ominous throat, his last breath had been shallow; it wouldn’t sustain him long.
He knew the augmented muscular movements would likewise diminish as he vanished beneath the waves.
He, like other Marines, had been trained in escape and evasion, jungle survival, water aircraft ditching, and sea survival techniques. Although he didn’t have an EPIRB emergency radio beacon and he wasn’t wearing an immersion suit, he did have the initiative and determination to survive. He focused his energy and fought the would-be grave, scissor-kicking the liquid enemy down in powerful desperate strokes.
With his heart pounding like a hammer for several fear-inspiring moments, his head finally bolted from the water, coughing and sucking in a lungful of the river’s misty air. His ribcage felt like a mule had kicked him, his vision was blurred, and he was spitting out drool and blood. The icy current would be impossible to withstand very long; he knew that. He only had minutes until hypothermia overcame him. Delirium and death would quickly follow. This was no ordinary river. It was frigid, powerful, and carrying him out to sea.
“Y-y-you…can…b-beat…this…” he chattered in the freezing water, “and…Montero’s…d-devils…”
With the feeble attempt at self-encouragement in play, he noted the soft expanse of the heavens—God’s eternal night-light—illuminating random blotches of glittery waterscape in each direction. As the swells lifted him, he pushed up and peered at the images passing by. A canyon was thirty yards south and fading. The water was churning there anyway; it might have pulled him under. The faint silhouette of what looked like a beach flashed to the right. He could try for that. Then something closer caught his attention. It bobbed on the current, matching his drift. What was it? A large log, or was the growing numbness in his arms and neck causing delirium?
He was fainting away, wasn’t he…getting dizzy…losing consciousness…hallucinating…dying.
The commanding voice of Gunnery Sergeant Hubert Franklin screamed from out of the past.
“A MARINE DOES NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD QUIT, DOES HE, MAGGOT!?”
Joe heard himself, slightly younger, reply, “NO, SIR!”
“A MARINE DOES NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD FEAR, DOES HE, MAGGOT!?”
“A MARINE WOULD NOT STOP UNTIL HE CONQUERED THIS OBSTACLE, WOULD HE, MAGGOT!?”
“NO, GUNNERY SERGEANT, SIR!”
“THEN OFF YOUR SISSY BUTT, BOY, AND SHOW ME WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF!”
“YES, SIR, GUNNERY SERGEANT, SIR!”
He shook his head and snapped from the memory, focusing on the log. He started toward it, swimming as strong and as fast as he could, fighting back the blackness that clawed at his vision. The pain was in his chest now, worsening, constricting his upper body strength. He could feel his legs slowing too, and his arms, like a mouse that consumes poison and gradually dies away.
Drawing on inner strength, he thought of his father.
Others might die the death of a dirty rat, Dad, but not me, not today.
Fighting desperately, his chest heaving forcefully for another needed breath, he reached the mammoth log and with some effort pulled himself onto its crumbling bark. He rolled onto his back, feeling the movement of the tree as it lilted to and fro, while from above, the moonlit sky became a swirling, churning fog, quickly filling the vortex of his unconsciousness.
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“There he is!” a voice on the ridge shouted.
“There! In the water! Somebody put a light on him!”
“Is he dead, sir?”
“How should I know!? Do you see the item!?”
The marksman stared through the night vision scope. “It’s tied to his waist!”
“Good. Secure the body. Have river patrol pick him up and take him back to the lab. And private, be sure I get that package!”
As the dogs broke free of the brush overhead, blue flame flashed twice from the tip of the soldier’s rifle.
Behind the canines, a large, menacing shadow drew back into the trees.
Sixty feet below, the undaunted Columbia seemed to come alive, its ancient waters ascending like Kraken from the sea, gluttonous, slavering, lapping hungrily for the blood.
UP NEXT: ENTER BUCK AND TATER