The Rugged Explorer
“STAY,” von Wartenburg spoke the word in that strange, elder language. Jack found himself unable to move from his spot on the edge of the roof. The Amazon was also rooted in place by the mystical command, and though they pulled at their legs with all their strength, it was as if their feet had been bolted to the masonry.
Infuriated that he should compelled to obey like a dog, attempted to gun down the commandant.
“RELINQUISH,” von Wartenburg said, and before Jack could pull the trigger he found his fingers opening and the machinegun slipping from his grasp.
“How—how do you do that?” Jack asked.
Von Wartenburg’s only answer was to allow his lips pulled up in a brief, mirthless smirk. He then raised up what appeared to be the likeness of a human skull carved from some dark, glassy material.
Jack found that his eyes were rooted on the deep, shadowy pools of the skull’s empty eye sockets. As he gazed, the world seemed to dim, and the sounds of the battle raging around the ancient city seemed to slip into the distance until all he could hear was his own heartbeat. A sinking, freezing feeling crept into him, beginning with his fingers and toes and creeping its way through his veins towards his heart. He felt as if he were being drawn forth into the skull, as if his living essence were nothing more than water circling a drain.
His only external sensation seemed to be a pulsation in his feet, which he might have dismissed as his own heartbeat except that it grew louder, until the pulsing resolved itself into a tremor which he could feel in his stomach, and then became a rapid series of booms which almost knocked him off his feet. With a sudden snap, the spell of the skull was broken. Air rushed back into his lungs as awareness flooded back into Jack’s mind, and the world was suddenly alive again with colors and turmoil.
The series of booms, he realized with a jolt of fear, had been the approaching footfall of the tyrannosaurus.