This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Chapter 5: Goddess of the Dead
One of the soldiers shouted as he unloaded an entire clip of bullets from his assault rifle.
Moving his hands back and forth horizontally in a frenzied rage, he tried to hit as many of the incoming
vampires as he could. His wild discharge did little to stall their movement, and within seconds they
were upon him. He screamed in terror as several vampires pounced on him, digging their claws and
fangs into his flesh.
Shetani watched as the soldier was torn apart by the vampires. Gritting his teeth, he reached for
an incendiary grenade on his belt. Tearing the red grenade off the hook and pulling the pin with his
teeth, he then tossed it to where the vampires had congregated. One of them growled at the grenade as
it landed, before becoming enveloped in flames. The whole group of vampires evaporated after taking
brutal damage from the incendiary attack.
As fifteen more vampires leaped to take their place, Shetani beckoned his men.
“Fall back! Fall back! Back to the tank!”
The soldiers at his side began slowly walking backwards while sustaining their fire. The
vampires pounced over the wrecked cars on the street, with one stopping on top of a car to roar. Seeing
the opportunity, Shetani aimed his rifle and placed the vampire's face in his iron sights. Squeezing the
trigger to release a burst of three shots, they struck and blew apart the vampire's head.
Twenty metres behind the line of soldiers was a grey tank, smattered with sand and dust.
Rolling forward, the machine gun turret on the front began firing, right over the heads of the soldiers
and into the vampire's ranks. Vaporizing three vampires in a row, the rest began to flee laterally, off the
street and into the alleys between the houses. Another wave ran forward down the street, but were
annihilated by a shell blast from the tank's main cannon.
Holding her beret in place atop her head, one of the soldiers pointed out a vampire on a nearby
“They're going up the walls!” she yelled.
Reaching the tank, the soldiers began spreading out, shooting at the vampires who were
climbing or already on the roofs. Throwing his arms forward, a vampire lunged from the roof and tried
to grasp the female soldier. As he did, she thrust her rifle forward, impaling the vampire in the chest.
She then fired several shots, which caused the gun to violently shake his innards, ripping him apart.
Another soldier tried to ward off vampires from another alley with his shotgun, but he missed
the last shot and a vampire slashed him across the throat with its claws. Seeing this, Shetani ran
forward and kicked the vampire in the chest, knocking it against the wall. While it was stunned, he
grabbed the shotgun off the ground and fired, vaporizing it.
Tossing the shotgun to one of the nearby soldiers, Shetani picked his assault rifle back up and
retreated to behind the tank, where he took a firing position behind the left tread. The tank's main
cannon pivoted to look up at vampires running on a nearby roof. Firing another shell, it blew apart the
entire house, taking the vampires with it.
As another full wave of vampires ran down the street towards the tank, the remaining soldiers
widened their eyes. A booming voice was then heard from behind them.
“Power of the winds, I command you; banish these demons of blood-thirst!”
The vampires were then blown backwards by a large gust of wind, sweeping them off their
heels and into the air. They then were sent flying, landing dozens of metres away. Shetani turned
around to see Ororo floating behind him. Her long, white hair flowed around her, and she was wearing
her white and black bodysuit. The bodysuit itself had a cape, attached to it by the wrists.
“Ororo!” called Shetani. “Can you not lift this weather? Rid us of these nightmarish creatures?”
“I cannot, uncle,” replied Ororo, “and I know not why. My powers have been impeded
somehow . . . . I can only affect the winds. I suspect that the dark cloud hanging above us has the same
origin as the vampires; black magic. Only if it were unnatural would I be unable to manipulate it.”
One of the nearby soldiers pointed at the remaining vampires in the distance.
“Look! They're moving back!”
Still levitating, Ororo squinted at the hill near the edge of the town. As the vampires fell back to
it, the black mist construct fell to the top and hovered. It then transformed into a human woman, with
ghostly white skin. Thick, black hair sloped down the her neck and back. She was garbed in a leather,
ebony leotard, with matching long gloves, heeled boots, and a cape. A spiked collar was wrapped
around her neck. Her face was accentuated by brown eyes and glistening, sable-coloured lips.
Whipping her hair as she straightened her neck, she then grinned with malevolent glee.
Ororo furrowed her brow.
As the crouching vampires huddled around her, one of them wobbled up to her side, and began
stroking her leg. She then reached down with her gloved hand and started to click her fingernails
against his forehead, causing him to moan with pleasure.
Hamilton snarled and frothed at his mouth before responding.
“Goddess, there is . . . . nyagh, another . . . . another one of the, errrrgh . . . . witch-breed
amongst the villagers. The rest . . . . blarrrygh, of the, graaaaaagh, soldiers . . . . will not last long.”
Selene placed her thumb and index finger on Hamilton's chin, massaging it. He giggled in
“You've done well, Hamilton,” said Selene. “I know of this fellow mutant . . . . bring her to me.
She will make a fine disciple in my new nation.”
“Yes, yes, of course, Goddess, of course.”
“Kill or convert the rest; I don't care which. But the mutant is to be unharmed. Is that
Selene glared at Hamilton, and he withdrew from her, nodding.
Selene then pointed forward at the village.
“Now, my fellow warriors of death, venture forth! Show the world your power by crushing the
people of this town, and delivering it to your Goddess, I, Selene Gallio, mistress of the dead! I have
given you new life with my mastery of the dark arts, and so shall I deliver upon you my promise of a
utopian country for you under my just rule; the nation of Necrosha!”
The vampires roared and cheered, throwing their arms in the air. They then began chanting her
name repeatedly. Hamilton, rubbing his hands together, hurriedly nodded, with a snivelling grin on his
“Selene! Selene! Selene!”
“Go! And take what is ours!”
The nearly hundred vampires turned back to the village and roared, charging towards the village
in a large clump. The soldiers standing at the tank gulped. One of them checked the inside of his clip to
see how many bullets he had left, frowning upon seeing the result. Another soldier looked at Shetani.
“Colonel . . . . how many soldiers are left?”
“It appears to be just us,” replied Shetani. “There's no backup.”
Ororo then heard a noise behind her, and turned her head to see a modified SR-71 Blackbird jet
flying towards them.
“Maybe not,” said Ororo.
The soldiers turned around to see the X-Jet fly overhead.
“What is that?”
Hank opened the back hatch of the jet, keeping it still in the air as he did so.
“X-Men!” called Xavier. “Go down there and assist in any way you can! Please, do not let those
monsters hurt any more innocents today!”
Hank put up a finger.
“And I would advise that you would not let them bite you, but that's neither here nor there.”
Scott stood up and looked at Xavier.
“Aye aye, Professor.”
Xavier looked at Hank.
“Keep us in the air. Use the jet's weapons to help in any way you can.”
Hank nodded. Scott, Jean, Bobby and Piotr jumped out of the back of the jet. Jean used her
telekinesis to slowly bring herself and Scott to the ground. Bobby skated down along an ice path, and
Piotr crashed against the ground, landing on one foot and one knee. Hank closed the back ramp and
turned the jet around so that it was hovering perpendicular to the main road. Lowering the twin laser
cannons, Hank began firing into the crowd of vampires, vaporizing several. The rest ran for cover from
The team stood between Shetani's line of soldiers and the vampire ranks. Scott trained his visor
forward, while Bobby and Piotr braced themselves. Jean turned to face Shetani and Ororo.
“Did Professor Xavier send you?” asked Ororo.
“Yes,” replied Jean. “We're the X-Men. We're going to get you lot out of this.”
Scott held his hand out to his side.
The vampires then began to press forward, using cover to dodge the jet's laser attacks. As they
got closer, Scott tapped his hand against his visor.
Scott fired an optical blast at one of the vampires, instantaneously reducing it to ash. Bobby
aimed both of his arms forward, emitting a mist of frigid air which repelled the vampires. Piotr charged
forward, punching the closest vampire into the ground.
“Mutant or demon, whatever you be, I, Colossus, will still break you!”
Another vampire leaped at him and chomped down on his arm, causing a loud cracking noise.
The vampire squealed in pain as it held on to Piotr's metallic flesh with its mouth.
“Break all your teeth, did you?” asked Piotr.
The vampire moaned an 'uh huh' in response before Piotr smashed it against the closest wall.
Jean floated into the air and lifted her arms slowly upward, causing a telekinetic field to pick up the
cars and debris on the streets. She then quickly opened her palms, and the assorted objects went flying
in all directions, striking several more vampires.
Selene growled under her breath. Hamilton raised an eyebrow.
“Who . . . . blegh, who, are they, Goddess? M-more . . . . nyaaaaaagh, witch-breed?”
“I believe so. It seems that I will have to take a more personal approach.”
Ororo floated up to Jean, levitating at her side.
“You have the power of flight as well?”
“What? Oh, yeah, yeah.”
Ororo and Jean attacked a group of six vampires at the same time; Ororo with her wind blast
and Jean with a kinetic barrier. They knocked down the whole group, and smiled at each other.
“Affirmative, but only my uncle refers to me by my birth name. All others use my moniker.
“Uh huh. Storm. Right. Lemme guess, weather powers?”
“You are correct in that assertion, miss . . . .?”
“Assertion? Affirmative? Moniker? We, uh, definitely need to work on your speech when we
hang out. And the name's Jean.”
“Hang out? What do you mean?”
After roundhouse kicking a vampire in the face, Scott looked back at Jean and Storm.
“Can you two save the girl talk until after we're done fighting the horde of supernatural
monsters?! And Iceman, get those soldiers out of here!”
Scott fired a sustained optical blast while pivoting his neck, wiping out a whole line of
vampires. Shetani and the other soldiers tried to fire on the enemy, but Bobby put up a wall of ice in
front of them.
“What is this?” asked Shetani.
“Trust me, it's for your safety,” said Bobby. “We're the big damn heroes. Let us save the day,
Shetani and his soldiers then looked up as the jet flew past them and landed behind the tank.
The ramp lowered, and Bobby motioned towards it.
“Go on! We've got this!”
Shetani reluctantly nodded and gestured for his remaining soldiers to follow him as they ran
towards the jet. Bobby then skated back over his ice wall and began firing a wide ice beam at a nearby
vampire. After he did so, he looked forward and saw a cloud of dark mist approaching. It floated over
the wreckage of cars on the street and stopped in front of the team.
As it did so, a civilian woman crashed through the window of a nearby house, chased by a
vampire. Fleeing and screaming, the woman was then stunned by the black mist transforming into
Selene. She yelled as Selene reached out and grabbed her face. Clutching it with her fingers, several
thin streams of dark energy emanated from the face and wrapped around Selene's hand before entering
her skin. After a few seconds, the woman's body became a lifeless husk which crumbled to dust, and
Selene radiated with rejuvenating energy before reverting to normal.
The remaining vampires retreated, collecting themselves behind Selene. Hamilton stood with
them. Jean and Storm landed on the ground, and the team stared at her. Selene put her hand out,
motioning for the vampires to stay.
“Let me handle this, my children,” commanded Selene.
“Selene Gallio,” said Storm.
“Hello again, youngling. I see that you've been developing your powers since last we met. Still
not quite enough to stop me, however. Poor, little darling.”
“You know this woman?” asked Scott.
“Yes. She is both a mutant and a master of black magic. It is her foul incantation which inhibits
my natural gift to affect the weather.”
“So, what do we have here?” asked Selene. “A band of merry young mutants, come to save the
innocent people of Kilifi. How touching.”
“You're a murderer,” said Scott.
“And you're not? You have killed many vampires today.”
“That's different. They're . . . .”
Selene raised an eyebrow.
“Monsters? Demons? Is that not what so many humans refer to our kind as? Are we really so
Scott felt the blood drain from his face. Selene chuckled.
“I am a mutant too,” said Selene. “I know what you're going through. In fact, I'm pretty sure
that I know better than anyone, given my . . . . life experience.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Bobby.
Selene ignored the question and looked at Jean.
“And you . . . . I sense a psychic presence coming from you. You are gifted with both telepathy
“Fascinating. I have never come across such a combination before. Perhaps I will take you and
Miss Munroe as my disciples.”
Piotr stood forward.
“I doubt it,” said Piotr.
“You're not taking anyone,” said Scott. “These people here? They're my team. My friends . . . .
my family. And you're not going to hurt any one of them.”
“Brave words . . . . for a child.”
The team looked up in response to the dark cloud in the sky sounding off a thunder crack. It
started spinning faster, and a tornado of black mist came down from it. Selene put her arms in the air
and began absorbing the mystical mist. Selene's body became energized, with visibly darkened skin.
When she next spoke, her voice was a booming echo.
“But a child is nothing . . . . before a goddess!”
Selene roared and fired two beams of dark force energy from her palms. Scott leaped to his side,
pushing Jean out of the way of one of the beams, while Bobby and Piotr jumped the opposite way to
dodge the other. Selene then spiralled her body upwards, becoming a torso with a black vapour trail as
a body. Cackling loudly with wild abandon, she fired off dozens of dark force energy daggers, which
rained down on the team.
Bobby jumped forward.
Firing off a wide spread of ice, he quickly created a large ice shield which protected the whole
team from the hail fire of energy daggers. However, he was not fast enough to stop one from slicing
through his abdomen. Groaning in pain, he collapsed onto one knee as he fought with all his strength to
maintain the ice shield.
“Iceman!” shouted Piotr.
Selene continued to maniacally laugh as she then boosted forward in her mist form, turning
herself into a high velocity missile. Upon colliding with the ice shield, it shattered, and the force of the
impact blew Bobby away, sending him crashing into the tank. The sound of crunching bones was heard
as he fell to the floor.
Selene then rushed over to Piotr as he stood up. She pressed her hand against his chest.
“Now, your life force . . . . is mine!”
After a second, nothing happened. Selene raised an eyebrow and looked at her palm.
Piotr placed his fist on his chest, sounding off a metallic thud.
Piotr then threw a heavy uppercut, smashing his knuckles against Selene's chin. The brutal
attack launched her into the air before she smashed into the ground. Hamilton's eyes widened.
“Stay back!” shouted Selene. “I can handle these petty children!”
Scott pointed at her.
“Phoenix, now! While she's down! Attack her on the astral plane!”
Jean closed her eyes and placed her fingers against her forehead. Her astral signature then left
her body. The astral signature was a glowing, white outline of herself, which was mostly transparent.
She then lunged through Selene's body, tearing her astral signature out of her. Scott looked at Storm.
“Storm! See if you can help Iceman. Get him back to the jet.”
Storm nodded and ran for Bobby, picking him up off the ground. He groaned in response, but
she ignored it and floated away from the battle area.
“Colossus, you're with me,” ordered Scott. “We've got to give Phoenix time to harm her
psychically. Keep wailing on her physical form!”
“Colossus can do this!”
Piotr ran forward and shoulder charged Selene, who dodged out of the way. Scott fired an
optical blast at her feet, knocking her off balance. She quickly recovered and reverted to her half mist
form, causing two more of Scott's blasts to phase right through her. She then rushed for him. Piotr's
Scott began flipping backwards, until he landed his feet on a wall behind him. He then tried to
spin kick Selene off the wall, but fell through her. As he landed on the floor, she tried to slash down at
him with a dark force energy blade, but Piotr slammed his hands together, blasting her mist form away
On the astral plane, Jean's astral form stared at Selene's. Selene chuckled as she leered at her
“You are a magnificent specimen,” said Selene. “And I mean that in the most sincere way.”
Jean narrowed her eyes.
“I could teach you how to truly become a master of your powers, youngling. I have lived for
over seventeen thousand years.”
“Then you must also know that I've made a habit of . . . . teaching . . . . young girls. It's a . . . .
hobby of mine.”
Selene jutted out her hip and placed one hand on it.
“There are many benefits to becoming my disciple.”
“Your heart already belongs to another, doesn't it?” asked Selene. “I can sense it now. The one
called Cyclops. He is the one who plucked you.”
Jean didn't respond.
“Young love is so delicious . . . . especially when I can corrupt it.”
Selene licked her lips before reaching out a hand.
“Join with me, Jean Grey. I promise that you won't regret it.”
Scoffing, bladed tonfa materialized on Jean's arms. She then got into a battle ready pose. Selene
withdrew her hand, before a kusarigama materialized in her hands.
“Come, youngling, and see how outmatched you are.”
Jean shook her head.
“Shut up, bitch.”
Selene laughed and began spinning the weight section of her weapon's chain. Jean lunged
forward, swinging both of her tonfas at Selene, who blocked her attack with the sickle section of her
weapon. Selene then spun around tried to slash at Jean with the sickle, but she rolled under the attack
and whacked one of her tonfas against the back of Selene's left knee.
Selene grunted before sidestepping and kicking Jean in the face. Jean scraped her tonfas against
the ground to regain her footing before charging at Selene again. Selene then threw the weight, latching
it between the two tonfa sticks. Temporarily unable to attack, Jean broke her tonfas out of the weight's
grasp as Selene rushed around her, wrapping the chain around her neck. Selene cackled again as she
tugged on the chain, strangling Jean and forcing her to her knees.
In the physical battle, Scott fired a blast at Selene's back, stunning her. Piotr rushed at her from
the front, and tried to lower both of his hammerfists on her, but she threw up a dark force barrier that
absorbed the attack. She then fired two magical energy blasts, one from each hand. Her right hand
attacked Scott, and her left hand attacked Piotr. Both X-Men were blasted away from her, crumpling on
Landing on his back, Scott fired another quick optical blast at Selene, burning her hand. She
turned into mist form and rushed for him, materializing on top of him and pinning him to the ground.
She then opened her palm and reached for his face.
“Your friend may be made of metal, but you're good, old-fashioned flesh. Give me your
“You need to hurt her . . . . now!”
“She has me beat . . . . can feel my psyche collapsing . . . .”
“You have to do something, Jean. Do you hear me? If you don't, we won't make it out of this
alive. I love you. Jean, I need you!”
“Scott, I . . . .”
“Now, Jean! NOW!”
On the astral plane, Jean opened her eyes and jutted her tonfa up into the chain around her neck.
With all her psychic strength, she ripped through the chain, shattering Selene's weapon. With her love
of Scott at the forefront of her mind, and yelling as she did so, Jean raced towards a stunned Selene and
slashed at her belly with both of her tonfas, splitting her astral form in half. She emitted a high-pitched
scream as her astral form shattered and exploded.
In the physical world, Selene stood up and shrieked. She grabbed at her head as if she was
experiencing a severe migraine, thrashing her neck back and forth. Jean opened her eyes and ran to
Scott's side, helping him up off the ground. Selene yelled again as a large, magical energy vortex
emerged from her body, disintegrating the dark cloud overhead.
The dark energy evaporated, giving way to the midday sun, and all of the vampires shrieked as
they were roasted and incinerated by the sun's rays. Selene stumbled around, dazed by the shattering of
her astral form. Scott then stood up and fired an energy blast right at her face.
The energy blast struck Selene's cheek, causing her to rapidly spin in the air before crashing
against the dirt. As she did, a natural thunder cloud formed above her. The team looked up to see Storm
floating above them. Her eyes were orbs of ivory.
“Forces of the elements, I command you! Now that you have been released from her curse,
strike down this perilous witch with cleansing lightning!”
The thunder cloud crackled, and a bolt of lightning fell down from it, directly striking Selene. It
lit up her body as she squealed in agony, electricity arcing all across her skin. After holding the attack
for six seconds, Storm relented, and Selene's charred, disabled form collapsed in a smoking heap.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.