Legend has it, that when the Babylonian king Nabopolassar came through the area of Tikrit thousands of years ago, slaughtering the Assyrians, his men rounded up local women for the pleasure of his officers and generals. The women were never heard of again. Tales about one of these women, a young mother whose name was Awiya, who was beaten terribly and left to die in the desert have been passed on for generations. Most outsiders dismiss these stories about this woman as the myths of an undereducated rural folk, who live just outside of the city. But locals know of the strange things that occur in the area. One of the stories about Awiya, was that after she was left to die, lying in the dirt covered in blood, a dark spirit came upon her. This spirit listened to Awiya's thoughts, and felt moved by her anger and desire for revenge, and so he possessed her and turned her into a giant beast, so that she could have her vengeance. After she killed the men who had ravaged her and left her to die, Awiya the beast died on the spot. Sometimes, the myth goes, when war and violence returns to where she lived her life, when blood is spilled on the spot where she died, her spirit will awaken to take revenge once more...
The sound of a rifle firing echoed through the dirt covered alley. Private First Class O'Neill, a rifle carrying infantry man slammed the pack he carried against the standstone wall, taking cover.
"Doggonit, I knew this was going to happen today." He shouted out. His squad leader caught up to him. The rest of the squad followed and quickly ducked down. The squad leader, Corporal White looked at O'Neill.
"You're pointman, I need you to keep your eyes open. Did you see where the shot came from?"
"No Corporal." O'Neill shook his head. "I bet if Ski opened up his Golf on that Haji, he'll run away and we'll get outta this ok."
"First we'll have to know where to shoot at, eh." Wakowski, called 'Ski' by everyone who knew him, carried the squad's M240 Golf, a medium sized machine gun.
The men lay in cover, waiting for the enemy, a group of terrorist guerrillas, to come in sight. "Dang, where the heck are they?" Ski said angrily. As if in answer to his question, a round of M-16 shots were heard, and one of the soldiers grunted and lay still, blood oozing from a wound on his back. "Frickin' guerrillas!"
The Americans returned fire in the general eastern direction the shots had come from. Suddenly, another round came from the north. "They've split up!" shouted the corporal. "Dang them! Come on, men, we've got to form a circle. That's the only way to get these bastards!"
Unbeknownst to any of them, a set of eyes was eying the whole chain of events from a rocky outcropping. A horrible stench issued from the crevice in which the demonic presence hid, and a wave of fear suddenly spread throughout the retinue. "That's strange," said Ski nervously. "All of a sudden the air's chilly. I guess it's this bizarre Iraqi weather."
O'Neill wasn't sure. "There's something around," he said. "Even those guerrillas have stopped firing!" They looked up at the sky. The sun was setting. "We'd better get back to the camp," he said anxiously. "I don't want to spend too much more time here." The rest of the soldiers seemed to readily agree. "Fall back!" said Ski.
The troops immediately began to run back in the direction of the camp. "Hurry!" shouted O'Neill, growing more uneasy by the minute. As they ran across the sand, Seargent Andrews suddenly saw something up ahead. He ran ahead to see what it was. "There's a bare skeleton up here!" he shouted. Ski knelt beside him and examined the bones.
"These are barely a day old!" he exclaimed. "They're still wet. But it's been picked clean!"
"Vultures, probably," said O'Neill.
"No way," said Ski. "They should stil be feasting on him right now if that were the case."
O'Neill looked at the bare skeleton again. "They haven't even been bleached yet. What could have done this?"
Suddenly, there was a croak from nearby. A man had been lying on the ground unnoticed, covered by a large brown cloak that was virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding sand. His face was covered in coarse whiskers, and white with sand. "I know," he said hoarsely.
O'Neill ran over to him. "What was it? What do you know of it? You look like one of those terrorists!"
"There's no time for you now," said the Iraqi. "It has come back."
"What has?" asked Ski incredulously. "What are you talking about?"
The man did not answer, and he didn't have to. The ground began shaking violently, and the Marines fought to keep their footing. "IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE!" yelled O'Neill.
"It's no earthquake", said the unidentified man in a calm tone. The world seemed to be falling apart, but he didn't seem to care. Some Iraqi's ran out of a nearby house, the roof of which seemed to be coming down as cracks ran up the side of its walls. The shaking became more fierce and the ground began to open, giving way to growing crevice.
The marines saw the growing hole, the bottom of which they could not see, looked at each other, and began running.
They never did see what came out of the hole.
Night had fallen. Darkness covered the desert, and clouds obscured the light of the moon. The American camp was silent and still, save for Corporal White and O'Neill. "I don't know what in the blazes was happenin'," said O'Neill, "And I don't want to find out."