Day 200: 17 Feb 2011
The rumbling continued as Ronan finally let out his laugh, a long, sick, almost soundless chortling. But when he stopped laughing, the rumbling stopped as well.
"Wait. . . that's it?" I heard Cassie mutter from right beside me.
I turned to look at her, Jason Black and Jared just behind her, all of them looking confused and not insubstantially underwhelmed. I admit, it did seem a bit anticlimactic -- but it wasn't over yet. I turned back to Ronan just in time to see him start twitching. His body jerked spasmodically, as if he was having a seizure while standing up. Then, slowly at first, I saw movement from his head.
Where his right eye had been, something was. . . twisting. Writhing. Just as I figured out what it was, it dropped out of his eye. When it hit the pavement, it started slithering right towards us.
It was a worm. A child of the God of the Land. It wasn't alone.
Ronan stopped twitching, and more worms started pouring out of his wrecked eye socket, out of his open mouth, out of his ears. There must have been hundreds of them, and they were all slithering along the street towards us and the people all around us.
And that's when the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road exploded.
Purely on instinct, I dove hard to my left. A huge chunk of pavement smashed into the sidewalk right where I'd been standing. I checked on Cassie and Jared and Black -- all OK. The pavement had missed them, landing inches from Jared's wheelchair.
Then I saw him. He was kind of hard to miss, though. Taller than any building in sight, the God of the Land was halfway out of the crater in what used to be the center of The Strip. And from the roar that issued from the three mouths on his head, he was fucking angry.
I could hear Jason Black on his radio. He was calling his chopper, having them come in for a strafing run, but I knew it wouldn't have any effect. Normal bullets? Please. They'd feel like snowflakes to the God of the Land.
"Black! Skip the gun run! Have your chopper land on the top of The Mirage!"
Black looked at me, thought for a second, and nodded. He relayed the order through his radio, and we were on the run. Well, Jared was wheeling, technically. But he was faster than any of us.
We could hear the havoc behind us -- buildings smashed. People screaming. Fires, gunshots. But we kept running.
The power was still on in the Mirage, so we took the elevator all the way. The Black Hawk was on the roof, and we piled in, Cassie and I easily lifting Jared in his wheelchair. The chopper spun up quickly. We were airborne in seconds.
"So what do we do here?" Cassie asked as we climbed.
We could see everything from the air. The Bellagio and about half of Caesar's Palace were rubble. The God of the Land was steamrolling his way up The Strip, headed North. My guess was Area 51.
"I can call in a nuclear strike," Black said. "That'll stop him."
"What about evacuating everyone?" Cassie said.
"Look outside, kid. Does it look like that's going to be a problem?"
Black was right on that end, it seemed. Everyone who could move on the ground was headed away from the God of the Land. Not that it mattered -- he was killing thousands. "It won't work," Jared said. "He can withstand heat and pressure inside molten rock. A nuke won't kill him."
"So what do we do?" It was me who asked that one.
"We run," Jared said. "We get someplace where I can figure this out."
"And what about Vegas? Nevada? The rest of it?" Cassie asked.
"Nothing we can do, except maybe quarantine," Black said. "I'll make some calls."
As Black headed to the front of the chopper, I looked outside again. Most of The Strip was unrecognizable already -- he worked fast. We kept right on going past Area 51, out to. . . I don't know where we're headed.
You know what my fortune cookie said today? Today is going to be a perfect day.
Fucking fortune cookies.