Babylon Rising, Chapter 58
We cut forward a minute or two, and know that Murphy and Isis have a plan. We don’t know what that plan is, but they have it.
Murphy grips Isis by the shoulders, “almost shaking her,” to make sure she is ready. He’s a Manly Man, that Murph.
Isis stays put at the entrance while Murphy crawls into the room.
He blamed himself for leaving his competition bow back at the hotel. Who knew he’d find himself interrupting a human sacrifice in a medieval sewer, but by now he should have learned to expect the unexpected.
Okay, I hate to belabor this point, but there’s not too much chance that a competition bow would help one guy win against three guys with long knives. Especially since it has been established that Murphy is a target-shooter, and rarely even hunts. I also question whether Murphy would be able to shoot anyone with his bow, given the moral/psychological implications. Heck, I played a contact sport, too, but I have no illusions that my training would enable me to kill someone. Even in a medieval sewer.
Moreover, Murph was in the Army. Shouldn’t he be wishing for a gun, not a bow?
To Murphy’s credit (at least for the moment) the thought of the girl gives him the courage to keep going. Of course, he then negates that by wondering if Isis would be able to follow through. … having been catapulted out of her academic cocoon, he was afraid she was on the edge of a total emotional collapse.
Murphy pauses to ruminate upon the plan (we still don’t really know what it is), and just as he seems to be considering moving the timetable forward without telling Isis, Isis has her Awesome Moment of Awesomeness:
Framed in the hole in the tunnel wall where he had last seen Isis, a ghastly apparition now appeared, as if the heathen chanting had summoned up a demoness. Lit from below by the flashlight, her corpse-white face seemed to be emitting an unnatural glow of its own as it floated unsupported in the darkness.
As he’d hoped, the three men were now on their feet, gesturing toward Isis in horrified silence. They didn’t seem to notice as he stumbled past them and toward the pole and the glowing Serpent, but who knew how long they’d buy Isis’s circus act?
Okay, so Murphy gets points deducted for thinking of the Serpent before the girl, but the points are reinstated when he attends to the girl first…sorta.
He shakes the little girl awake (she is not restrained, just unconscious), then immediately turns his attention to the Serpent. He just leaves her there. I guess rousing her was enough, eh, Murph?
He reached up and with trembling fingers began untying the hemp cords securing the bronze segment to the pole. Murphy held it in his hands and marveled at the weight of it, which seemed to perfectly match the feel of the tail.
Um, Murph? Little girl lying on the slab there? Human sacrifice? Oh, and your colleague acting as a distraction? WAKE UP, ASSHAT!
Fortunately, the girl’s self-preservation instincts are stronger than Murphy’s empathy or common sense. The kid makes a break for it, distracting the men from Isis, but then their attention is re-distracted by Murphy holding the Serpent.
Well, that’s what you get, Murph.
They advanced on Murphy, grunting with rage, knife blades raised…
Murphy was out of ideas.
So, what do we do if the knife-wielding Serpent-worshippers see you?
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN OR NOT, IDIOT??
So, Murph stands there like a doofus, preparing himself to see Laura again, hoping Isis will run away, and then…
ISIS SAVES THE DAY!!!!
Yeah, you knew it was bound to happen:
He was shaken out of his reverie as the chanting started again. But it was different now. Higher-pitched. A woman’s voice. He looked over the shoulders of his attackers and realized it was Isis. She was pointing an imperious hand in his direction and pouring out a stream of gibberish in a strangely commanding voice. At least it souded like gibberish to him. The three men had stopped in their tracks and were looking back in her direction, mouths gaping, as if they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.
Murph tries to run away, but doesn’t give himself enough space and is stabbed in his side. So Isis saves his ass again, revving it up now, barking furiously and waving her thin arms in wide circles.
The men have fallen to the ground in fear, and Murphy and Isis make their getaway.
Okay, this is the coolest thing ever. Check it out: Isis figured out the language the men were chanting, “A dialect of Terammasic. Dead for a thousand years supposedly.”
Isis learned the language at university. For fun. She thought someone ought to keep it alive.
You know, there is no second-place for the prize of Best Character Ever in a LaHaye Novel. There is only Isis Proserpina McDonald.
Oh, and Isis made the men leave Murphy alone by informing them that she was their creation goddess, and that he was her “familiar dog-spirit.”
Oh, Isis. You are just too good for him.
As they leave the sewers, Isis brings up the little girl. (Oh yeah! Her!)
Murph doesn’t really give a crap: “It looks like she made it out. This is a bit of the dress she was wearing that was caught on a jagged edge of the handholds.”
Meh, yanno, the child is probably safe.
Okay, so the little girl, not older than ten, navigated the sewers and climbed up the one hundred foot hole by herself, after being kidnapped as a sacrifice. That is fortunate for Murphy, I guess. Glad he made it all the way out without sparing a single thought for the well-being of the kidnapped child.
But then Murphy faints from his wound.
This we should care about. Not the innocent little girl who pretty much saved her own ass from being a human sacrifice.
Gee, I really wonder if Murphy will be okay. I do.