The scream that emerged from my mouth echoed briefly. Kurtis lay on the floor, writhing uncontrollably. I sat on my knees, and gently caressed his face. He was ice cold to the touch, and my fingers quickly recoiled. I was helpless. All I could do was try and find an antidote.
I scrambled around, looking at countless bottles and phials, but nothing seemed to be labelled. I continued these mad efforts until I became very aware of the lab's silence.
Kurtis had stopped spasming. I quickly dashed over to see what was happening. He lay in what appeared to be a blissful sleep, curled into a tight fetal position. His stillness worried me. He wasn't breathing!
Karel had killed him, and he had suffered hard. I cradled Kurtis' limp body in my arms, kissing his forehead. My hatred for Karel seared through me.
He was going to pay. I rose from the floor, my fists clenching, teeth gritting.
As if rehearsed, Karel entered at that very moment. A smile graced his face.
"What's wrong, dear Lara?"
"Don't you patronise me, Karel. You've killed Kurtis, and now you're going to pay!"
I went to throw a surgical instrument, but I felt my hand forced to the bench. Karel had me in a sick embrace.
"Don't do anything stupid, Lara. You see you're dear friend is not dead at all. He's returning to his normal state. "
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Oh, didn't you know? This creature you know as Kurtis is not the infamous Lux Veritatis warrior. He is something far greater than that. He is my son."
"Oh no, it's all true. Kurtis Trent died years ago; we ensured that Boaz finished him off whilst she was useful."
This couldn't physically be true, not possibly. My husband, my love, my Kurtis:
Was a Nephilim?
No, it wasn't possible. Thor released him from Avalon! These were lies, a huge hoax!
Karel read my thoughts.
"Stupid mortal, all those in supernatural circles mix now and again. I had never stopped watching you, Lara. I heard you were returning to Avalon, and I took my chance. I created this 'copy' of Kurtis, and filled him with the persona we extracted from the real Mr Trent's body. It was all to bring you back, so we could ensure that you were taken care of. But being the famous Lara Croft, you went in too deep. You married this fake Kurtis, and for what? Now he is the tool for the rebirth of the universe, ruled by the supreme Nephilim!"
These words caused the room to shake. Karel's eyes were a brilliant blue.
"Awake son, awake!"
A huge beam of light shot down through the ceiling, and I was temporarily blinded. There, in tall glory, was an angel-like creature. I didn't want to admit it, but he was beautiful. His features were almost alien: the large, feline eyes. Pointed ears. Accentuated muscles, and so huge! Karel withdrew the tablets.
I was too late.
In utter shock, I collapsed. Countless images came to mind in quick succession. The Scion, the Dagger of Xi'an. Excalibur. Natla, Mother, Father. Then Kurtis, wielding the Chirugai.
My eyes snapped open, and the slightly nauseating feeling of realisation dawned upon me. Karel must be lying - only Kurtis could control his weapon, so why should the copy be able to use it?
That was the answer. Suddenly I was thrown backwards by an invisible force.
"Lara, can you hear me? It's Kurtis." He had entered my thoughts.
"Yes, I can."
"I want you to be brave for me, Lara. Just remember that Karel is lying, and then imagine the Chirugai to be the truth. Envisage it in your grasp!"
Sure enough, I felt cold metal in my clenched fist.
"Good, you're doing great Lara! Now just throw it at Karel, try and behead him. Then his alchemic trance will wear off, and I will return to you. Trust me, Lara."
I hurtled the imaginary Chirugai, and it sliced just at the nape of Karel's neck. He screeched and moaned - it was stuck in his flesh!
He was knocked backwards, and lay struggling on the floor.
Throwing myself with a great somersault, I landed straddling his writhing body.
"You can never pay for all the lives you stole, not even with your own. But you can be a small penance. A small, meaningless offering to the world, to try and begin to counter the sheer evil you have ministered. Any last words?" I said, patronising.
He gasped, only short, sharp pants emerging from his mouth. I grabbed to blades of the Chirugai, both far enough apart to seem like bike handles. It was like riding the Ducati all over again. I stared into Karel's eyes one final time, before applying pressure to the blades. It was a horrible feeling, like cutting old cheese.
After one final push, the blades met the floor. I grasped the few tufts of hair on Karel's head, raising it like a prize similar to that of Medusa. I then flung it to the floor, and the room shook. I was thrown back, my head cracking against a cabinet door.
I had no time to react before I blacked out.