Super-spy Gertrude Eisenstein in...

The City of Ul Chalan

A 10-Chapter Adventure in exotic Tibet!

by Richard K. Lyon
About the author

Previously: Many have gone to Ul Chalan, but none have returned. To investigate a mysterious disaster CIA masterspy Gertrude Eisenstein, Jar Quinan, a Buddhist monk and Tibetan freedom fighter, and Red Chinese Army Major Tong go to Ul Chalan.  On entering they see a shining city of unreal beauty in the distance and are attack by a black demonic creature.



Chapter Seven - Battling the Demon Horde

TONG'S MACHINE GUN BARKED in its staccato voice. The thing's body was torn full of holes but it did not appear significantly harmed.

The monk drew his knife and grappled with the monster. Though its tentacles enwrapped him, he managed to cut several tentacles including the one which held Gertrude's gun hand. She raised her hand toward the thing's head. It opened its loathsome mouth and swallowed Gertrude's hand, gun and all. Now, thought Gertrude, we'll see how this thing likes contact wounds.

The forty-five in her hand bucked again and again. In addition to a steel slug each shot sent a blazing jet of incandescent gas blasting through the monster. The demon's neck and the back of its head exploded. With a violent spasm it threw Jar and Gertrude from itself.

The monster stood for a moment, sunlight streaming through numerous bullet holes in its body, its head was hanging by shreds of a neck and several of its tentacles were lying on the ground wiggling like headless snakes. The eyes blazed with hatred and it charged at the adventurers.

Tong heaved up one of the stone cubes. Even in this low gravity it was a great weight and its inertia was not unchanged. Nevertheless Tong raised the block above his head and with all the power of his mighty body slammed the block down into the monster. Most of its body was crushed to a pulp.

As they watched in horrified fascination, the monster began to wiggle, not out from under the block, but out through it. Although it had the power to penetrate solid matter, its wounds were mortal. It gave no death cry, no sound of any sort. Instead Gertrude felt a sudden wave of fear and anguish wash over her mind, and the monster was motionless and limp.

It had died halfway in and halfway out of the granite block.

Whatever power allowed the thing to penetrate the block did not end suddenly with its death. Instead the thing's body was slowly squeezed out and the block returned to its normal condition. Tong's face showed a fear he could never acknowledge to others or to himself. Instead he forced himself into rage, bellowing, "What was that cursed thing?"

Gertrude pointed to the sky. "The question is what are they?"

Above them black shapes flashed across the sky. It appeared the demon's death had attracted others of its kind. "As I said," replied the monk. "They are demons. I have seen them several times before."

"When, where?"

"When I fast, in my visions. I must prepare for them." With that the monk sat down and spoke no more. His eyes were glazed and focused straight ahead at infinity.

The black forms overhead were flying much lower now. Tong emptied the machine gun at them with no effect. The cat and mouse game continued for a moment before the black monsters dropped on the adventurers. Three grabbed Gertrude. She was wrapped helpless in their tentacles, jolted back and forth as the monsters fought among themselves for the right to eat her.

Tong's bull strength allowed him to twist and turn in the monsters' grasp, tearing dreadful wounds in their bodies with his knife but never striking a vital spot. Jar Quinan sat motionless while all this occurred, his eyes blank. The black demons crowded around him but did not touch him. Now his eyes focused -- and he rose.

His mouth opened and he spoke in a dreadful language which human ears were never meant to hear. His voice was an echo of madness, to hear was to stand on the edge of insanity. Wave after wave of fear swept over Gertrude, a pounding storm of terror. The next thing Gertrude realized she was lying on the ground Jar bending solicitously over her.

"Are you all right?" he queried, more than a little fear in his voice. "Oh yes, but what happened? Where are those monsters?"

"I told you, they were demons. I performed an exorcism and they departed."

Hearing this Tong moaned, "Better you had let them eat me. As an enemy you were very dangerous, Jar Quinan, but as a friend you are a disaster"

"How so?"

"If we live I shall have to write a report, including such details as a member of my command accurately scouted the area by fasting til he had hunger visions, and that he saved us from mythological demons with his magic. In the Chinese People's Army such a report is good for a firing squad."

Jar smiled. "Worry about your report after we investigate yon city."

The three adventurers are about to explore a city filled with alien beauty and dangerous wonders. Learn what they find in the Next Thrilling Episode:
The Silent City!

Previous episode: Eaten by a Demon
Next episode: The Silent City

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The City of Ul Chalan was originally published in Analog Magazine, July 1973, copyright Richard K. Lyon.  It is reprinted here with the author's permission.