Chapter 5

Blaze and shadow watched in morbid fascination at the screen in the centre of the room in the Learjet at the sight of the two gods, Hades and Zeus now hanging in midair over New York City from the view of a cameraman for CNN. The footage showed people abandoning all reason and looting houses as most of them thought it was the end of the world, from Shadow's viewpoint, he couldn't see the point in looting if they thought the world was going to end, but oh well. The news reporter was yelling something inaudible over the crazed yelling of the masses of people fleeing the sight of the giant behemoths.

Zeus lowered himself until he was directly above the statue of liberty, he then began chanting, just as he had at the Eiffel tower, Hades, flanking him, also began chanting, but something other than what Zeus was saying. He called and called until a single lightning bolt erupted through his chest, to the ground just next to the Brooklyn Bridge. The water erupted and bubbled, a boiling mass of water that surged onto the shore and began to take shape. First the legs, four of them, then the head, or should I say heads emerged, the whole body then shook, like a dog after a bath, and the water fell away, revealing… a dog! A three headed dog.

'Cerberus.' Blaze said, glancing at the piece of paper Charlie had given him.

'Woah! That's one mother fucking big dog!' exclaimed Big Sam. He was right, standing at thirty feet at the shoulder, forty to the top of his head, he was a very big dog. Shadow just sat there, pondering what to do, his mind whizzing at a mile a minute, he tried to focus on defeating the gods but an afterthought kept creeping in. Bethany's down there! I've gotta save her! Bethany was and almost always had been Shadows sweetheart, but she moved to New York with her parents and they lost contact, but that didn't stop Shadow caring for her. And now she was down there, lost amongst the hysteric masses of people, his mind was put into overdrive, as he saw, on the screen, the image of Bethany pop up in front of the camera and disappear again.

'Hey!' Blaze exclaimed, 'wasn't that Bethany?' Blaze looked at shadow and saw what he was thinking, 'we'll be there soon buddy, we'll get her out.' His voice was reassuring but his eyes, those cold steel blue eyes, told a different story.

'I know we will.' Shadows face was set in determination, he got up and started loading his weapons and Blaze followed suit and started. About two minutes later they were ready, they had X361 attack parachutes on their backs and had the hawk-beak style high altitude breathing mask on, together with their full load out of weapons, they looked extremely menacing.

'ETA to drop, fifteen seconds!' the pilot yelled, Blaze gave the thumbs up sign and yanked open the lever on the door, the inrush of air almost mad the boys fall over, but they recovered. The pilot pointed to them, marking the time to jump, without another thought, the boys jumped out in quick succession.

Again the fall wasn't that bad, a bit bumpier than last time, but as they descended underneath their canopies, Hades eyed them like a hawk eyeing a mouse. He left Zeus' side and headed toward the buildings where the boys disappeared, bloodlust running through his veins. The boys edged forth, covering each other, scanning the area for enemies, moving in a leapfrog formation, one after another down the streets. Just as they neared the end of the block they heard a low rumbling growl, then another, then another, all of them joining to make a roaring, rumbling sound. The boys gulped and turned to find themselves nose to nose with Cerberus, the guard dog of the underworld. Hades watched as his pet closed in for the kill, when suddenly the smaller one did something strange, he reached for his back and then almost fell over.

Shadow had made his choice, he rolled, John Woo style, bringing out the titanium, acid-etched sword and swinging it toward one of the big creature's necks. The sword hit home, slicing through the big dog's carteriod, also slashing its windpipe, Cerberus rolled back, gasping through the gaping hole in its throat. Hades didn't look phased and watched as Cerberus detached the damaged head and skin covered the hole, now it only had two heads, but was still fighting fit. Shadow was impressed with his sword fighting capabilities, but was extremely phased to see the reaction from Cerberus. Fucking hell, why don't you just die like a good doggy? Shadow thought in frustration. Cerberus came at shadow again, this time with more gusto, Shadow dodged the creature's teeth and swung downwards on the creature's neck, but this time Cerberus was ready and caught the blade with its other mouth. Damn Shadow thought, Cerberus raised its head and crunched down on the sword, it snapped like a toothpick. Cerberus' head swung down towards Shadow, jaws agape, Shadow had judged the chances of him being able to reach another one of his weapons in time, slim, as Cerberus' jaws closed around Shadow, it made a big crunch! As bone was shattered by the sheer force. Shadow opened his eyes to find the strangest sight, he was inside Cerberus' mouth! That still didn't explain the crunch though, so he checked he had all of his arms and legs and stepped out of the huge jaws. To find a street sign, with the concrete still on it, embedded in Cerberus' head! And, standing on the other end, stood Blaze, in the fray he had been around the corner when Cerberus had attacked and then had been caught up in a stampede of people. So unable to help his friend he pushed through the crowd, trying to get back. Finally he got there to see Cerberus close its jaws around Shadow, he got so mad he ripped a street sign out of the ground and slammed it into its head, crushing its skull. Next to him stood a disheveled young girl, who looked up and met eyes with Shadow, Shadow would know those eyes anywhere.

'Bethany!' they embraced each other and stayed there, just hugging, until Shadow spoke, 'I missed you.' He was on the verge of tears.

'I missed you too.' Bethany smiled and Shadow got lost in her eyes, but his reverie was broken by Blaze who cleared his throat pointedly and pointed. To the now one headed Cerberus, its nose a few meters from Shadow and Bethany, Shadow pushed Bethany out of the way just before Cerberus shut its jaws right where they were standing! Cerberus began to turn its head, but was stopped as Blaze drew his .50 cal desert eagles and emptied sixteen rounds into the beast's head! Blaze calmly popped the clips on both guns and slid in new ones.

'Why am I always the one who has to save your ass?' Shadow shot him a glare, but was startled as a huge thundering NOOOOO! Resounded around them, they looked up to see Hades reaching towards the sky, small lights were appearing to form in his hands, and they grew larger and larger, forever growing in size.

'Fire ball!' Blaze yelled and yanked the two off the ground and started running, Shadow was amazed at Blazes strength increase as he held him in one hand and Bethany in the other whilst running down the road. Blaze reached a housing unit, and was about to pass by when some one called out.

'Over here! We have a bomb shelter!' Blaze stopped, kicked open the door, flew past the woman and headed towards he sign saying, BOMB SHELTER, when he reached it, he threw the two down the stars and was about to follow. When a Minotaur that had been hiding in the shadows crept out and crash tackled him to the floor. In a last ditch effort to save his friend, Blaze lashed out with his foot and it connected with the 300-kilo blast door, sending it whizzing into place and slamming the lock into place, trapping him outside, but saving Shadow and anybody else down there.

Outside the store, Hades' fireball was now as large as Manhattan Island itself, with a last glance at the tiny Human province that had been known the world over. He threw the ball with tremendous force; it collided with the ground at 600 kilometers a minute, and decimated the entirety of New York City.

Up in the Learjet, Sam squared and Charlie looked on in horror as they saw one of the most prosperous cities of the world, wiped off the map, along with it, Shadow and Blaze.

'Oh fuck!' exclaimed Little Sam.

'Quite.' Said Charlie, he seemed again unfazed, his face, a mask of stone.

Underground, the Bomb shelter shook with the impact of the ball, rattling and sending dust falling from the ceiling, coating everything in a beige mist, people turned on their torches and Shadow took in his surroundings. He recalled the last few minutes, being thrown down the stairs, the rumbling of the fireball hitting the ground, but something was missing in this quiet surround. Blaze! Where the fuck is Blaze?

'Blaze?' he called croakily, 'Blaze!' his voice grew in fear. He searched himself looking for… Ah! The torch shone through the grim darkness, glancing over all of the faces in the room, hoping to find Blaze, no luck, he called again and again, with no answer, finally he slumped to the floor next to Bethany, and he shook her, waking her from her daze.

'Waaa? Who? When?' Bethany said dazedly.

'We're in the bomb shelter Beth.' Shadow was deadpan.

'Where's Blaze?' Bethany asked searching for him.

'I think he was out side when the fireball struck.'

'You mean he's…' Bethany looked into Shadows eyes and saw that cold sadness that comes with the loss of a friend, and she knew. She threw her arms around Shadow, comforting him, until Shadow stood up. Taking the affirmative he walked over to the blast door and unlocked it, it issued a loud hiss! And opened, to reveal scorching wind that nearly blew Shadow off his feet, regaining his balance and squinting into the heat, he emerged into the pile of rubble that used t be a building twenty stories high. He surveyed the landscape, what was once a hustling, bustling city, was now a barren, hot wasteland. The buildings decimated, flattened, any living thing was vaporized, and even the river had dried up around the area.

From the Learjet, Sam squared looked down at the scape below, staring in morbid fascination at the anarchy that insued after the ball had struck earth. Buildings fell, people ran for their lives, crashing into one another before being incinerated, Mayhem, total mayhem.

'Sir!' one of the flight attendants addressed Charlie.

'What is it?' Charlie asked, seeing and hearing excitement radiate from the young man.

'Sir we've picked up a transponder signal, it appears to be Shadow sir, we checked it with the satellite, he's got a friend.'

'By Jove! He made it! Tell the pilot to land, we must pick him up!' the young flight attendant rushed away to pass on the order.

'That means that Blaze is dead,' said Big Sam solemnly.

'Not quite.' A voice came over the PA system.

'Blaze? How is it possible?' Charlie asked, for the first time in his life he was truly astonished.

'Well… your boys at the lab did a great job with these suits Charles, the moment the ball came within twenty meters of the ground, my suit made a weird noise and ping! It enveloped me, completely, protected me.'

'Ah! Yes! I remember now! I had that design put in! if the temperature gets above a certain degree, the suit puts a layer of anti thermal matter around the wearer, protecting them from heats up to the equivalent of lava. Patent pending.' He added as a bit of humor.

'Yeah yeah, ha ha, now if you please, I would like to get off this… Whoa!'

'What is it Blaze?'

'Well, I dunno about you but I think the statue of liberty's goin' bye-bye.' Charlie and Sam squared jumped to the left of the plane, just in time to see the statue of liberty disappear into the ground, and yet again, another spirit rose in its place, female this time.

'Oh dear god! It's Hera!'

Zeus smiled to himself and opened is eyes to see New York decimated.

'Hades! Did you do that?'

'Yes brother, I did!'

'Did I give permission to destroy anything yet?'

'No brother' Hades bowed his head.

'Do not do it again!'

'Don't be so hard on him husband' Hera's voice emanated around Zeus.

'Yes, dear, now, on to Russia, we have many more to awaken.' And with that the three disappeared into the clouds.

On the ground, the Learjet parked promptly onto the tarmac at the Kennedy airport, to be greeted by three bedraggled persons. The door opened and the hopped in.

'How was your trip boys?' Charlie asked airily.

'Rite shit Charlie, thank you very much.' Blaze cracked open a can of coke and sculled it.

'Quite, that aside I think we need to get a move on because we have to get to Russia.'

'How the hell are we gonna do that exactly?' this time it was Little Sam who spoke up.

'Like this.' Charlie, removed an audio device from his pocket, 'max, mach seven please'

'Ok now this I have to see, a Learjet doing mach seven HA!' Shadow laughed derisively. At that very moment, the wings on the Learjet folded in onto itself, making it appear like a rocket, then, as if by some miracle, the jets afterburners lit up like the fourth of July and the jet shot off into the distance toward Russia.