The pistols of the Tomb Raider Lara Croft cut down the guard before he could take two steps toward her. The bullets impact flung him backwards against the dry wall of the dark temple and crumpled to the floor. Lara pressed on. Further into the corridors of the formerly-lost Temple of Nehista, Dark Goddess of the Desert. The exertions of the quest thus far - the traps, the guards, and the fiendish locks - made Lara pant as she ran. Though deep underground the oppressive heat of the Syrian Desert above made itself felt in the dry air.
The guard seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He whipped out his sword and with a look of determination and hatred in his eyes sprung towards the Tomb Raider.
The man's sword and his frail body were no match for a hail of 9mm bullets.
'Advantage Croft I'd say!' thought Lara as she leapt over the corpse.
The guards of the Temple were men from the local villages who had been captured and enslaved by followers of Nehista. Their minds were wholly bound to the Dark Goddess they now served. They were put into Ancient Assyrian outfits and given swords, now existing only to guard her temple. Reasoning with them was pointless. Lara pitied them as she blew them away.
But only a bit.
And not enough to try for a wounding shot.
"Outsider!" screamed the guard at the door that Lara presumed led to the Dark Chamber.
'Makes a change from 'Defiler!' I suppose, ' thought Lara.
"Here's a change for you!" she yelled producing a shot-gun from her knap-sack and firing.
The blast drove the guard back against the door with a gasp. Somehow he managed to stay standing. A second blast sent him down. Lara stepped over him, heading for the door.
'Yuck!' thought Lara catching a whiff of the freshly-killed man.
The body was already starting to decay, doubtless caused by the deathly atmosphere of the place.
"That's life... ," Lara shrugged, "and death."
Lara used the key she had retrieved earlier to open the door. She entered the room, gun ready...
It wasn't the Dark Chamber - that lay beyond the door on the far side of the room. In front of the door were two dogs - large, dark, monsters each with a drooling mouth and eyes of pure evil red. Slowly and with menace the beasts advanced on Lara, carefully getting ready for a pounce...
Dog plus M-16 equals dead dog.
'Oh c'mon!' thought Lara with a hint of irritation, 'make it a challenge!'
Lara reached for the handle of the final door. Movement off to her left caught her eye.
It was one of the dogs, whining in its death throes.
'Poor pooch!' thought Lara idly speculating what breed it was, wolf and Rhodesian Ridgeback crossbreed perhaps?
A bullet ended it's suffering.
Lara opened the final door and entered. She was in a dingy room. There was no way of telling just how big it was. Stale air filled Lara's nose. Carefully she lit a flare and held it up to the wall.
"Good Gracious!" Lara gasped as the pictures there assailed her sensibilities.
The walls were decorated with ghastly pictures of death.
People dying in a myriad of color (predominantly red) adorned the entire wall.
"Do you approve of my art, Lara?"
The voice came from a corner of the room. As Lara peered closer candles ignited, filling the room with their flickering flame.
Nehista, Dark Goddess, sat serenely on a throne atop a raised dais twenty feet from where Lara was standing. Between them was a table splattered with dark patches - the blood of sacrificial victims.
Slowly Lara eased her guns out of their holsters and moved closer. She studied the woman smiling in the chair closely. Short black hair topped a face that was paler then the average Arab - the price of necromancy perhaps?
Minimal jewellery and minimal clothing. Assyrian style.
Long slim arms. Nice legs.
'What the hell made me think that?' thought Lara.
"Not really my style," she got round to saying, "I prefer something with more ... life."
"You noticed that most of the figures are naked," purred Nehista with a smile, "Do you like that? The sight of naked flesh..."
"I didn't come here for art classes," said Lara grimly, levelling her guns at Nehista's head, "your reign of terror is about to end!"
"Reign of terror!" snorted Nehista, "all I did was reunite grandparents with their children."
"You raised people from the dead and sent their soulless bodies to attack the local villages!"
"Both our interpretations are valid," smirked Nehista with a glint in her eye.
"Now then," continued the Dark Goddess in a friendly fashion, "lets talk about you. So far I'm very impressed."
Part of the wall to Nehista's right rotated to reveal a mirror. It shimmered to reveal pictures of Lara as she had moved through the Temple.
"Assyrian CCTV!" thought Lara.
"Running, jumping, fighting ... you stay fit don't you?" murmured Nehista gazing at the screen.
A sequence where Lara leapt up, gunned down two giant scorpions, spun in the air and landed on her feet was shown.
"Powerful legs ... tight butt ... and those fantastic breasts... ," Nehista licked her lips and turned to Lara, "do you ever knock yourself out?"
"Now look here!" shouted an indignant Tomb Raider, "I don't know what perverse game you're playing..."
"Yes, yes!" interrupted Nehista waving her hand airily, "enough of the British stiff upper lip..."
She stood up, unclipped he bra and revealed her own ample bosom.
"C'mon Lara," she smiled, "lets get it on! Don't you want to know what the pussy of a goddess tastes like?"
Ever since Nehista's first words Lara had been somewhat phased by the track the conversation had taken. Usually when she confronted her ultimate opponent they spat defiance, transformed into a monster and tried killing her. Never before had one given her the lesbian come-on.
"I don't know what school you went to... ," she screamed, " ... but at Cheltenham Ladies College your kind knew their place!"
Lara cocked her guns.
"Save it for the shower after gym class!"
Ratta-tat-tat! Ratta-tat-tat! Ratta-tat-tat!
The bullets hit Nehista in the chest (biggest target) and spun her round. She fell off her raised dais and slammed into the floor. Spluttering she raised herself on her arms and pushed herself onto her back. Breathing heavily her eyes fixed upon Lara as the Tomb Raider advanced.
"You're a dull girl Lara," she wheezed, "I see you need to be shown how to enjoy yourself..."
With that Nehista smiled, died and fell back.
'Strange woman!' thought Lara, 'total lack of social graces!'
She looked at the body of Nehista. A crucifix around her neck arrested Lara's attention.
"The symbol of Christianity!" said Lara, "on someone who was born thousands of years before Jesus?!"
It was a shame she would be unable to solve that question. Nehista clearly wouldn't be supplying answers.
Something else caught Lara's eye. A simple red ring on Nehista's left fore finger.
Put me on!
The voice was heard by Lara and instantly forgotten. Without a thought in her head Lara bent down, took the ring off Nehista's finger and put it on her left forefinger...
"Time to get going!" said Lara breezily.
She glanced back at the corpse of Nehista as she left the room.
'I wonder what she would've tasted like?' was the thought that popped into her head.
"What the hell made me think that?" said Lara shaking her head.
This puzzled Lara so much that as she made her way out she didn't notice that one of the dogs wasn't where it had fallen...
As Lara went round a corner path her progress was arrested by the sight of one of the guards shambling towards her
"I admire your determination," said Lara noticing the bullet wound in his belly, "but you would have been better advised to stay down."
She whipped out one of her revolvers, took careful aim and fired a bullet into the guard's chest. Down he went. Lara moved on, but then something made her turn to look back at the
... who was getting to his feet!
"That doesn't happen too often!" thought Lara producing both her pistols.
The word was softly spoken and seemed to be carried on the air. Lara gave it no thought and concentrated on her shooting.
The hail of lead hit the target and sent him staggering back.
But not down!
With a grin the bullet-ridden guard lurched forward once more.
"Goodness!" gasped Lara, "he's some sort of animated corpse!"
A knot of fear formed in the pit of the Tomb Raider's belly.
"She who fights and runs away..." said Lara spinning on her heel and running off.
'How can I kill something that's already dead!' she thought, 'and who is animating that corpse? Nehista is dead ... isn't she?'
From a corridor to her left she caught sight of movement. Another zombie! Instinctively Lara stuck out her arm and fired. Though the bullet hit him the zombie barely paused in his lurch towards her.
'At least I can out-run them!' thought Lara trying to remain upbeat as she jogged along. She could hear the zombies following her, but falling behind.
But you killed dozens ... they block your exit...
'That voice again, ' thought Lara, "who is it? Where is it coming from?'
"It seems to be inside my head!"
.... There is more of this story ...