It's time to vote on CCC #54! This time around, it had to be an original horror monster suitable for Halloween! You folks did not disappoint with eight entries to read this month!
Note to the contestants: I had to make up titles for a few of the stories. If you want them changed, please let me know.
|Voting rules are simple:|
|Batkevin74 - The Census Taker|
April 1st 1960, Camp Forest Green, New Jersey
“This is the story of The Census Taker. Back in 1940, the Department of Commerce, I think its Commerce, did their decadally…”
“Decadally isn’t a word, Kevin.”
“Well what’s it called when something happens once every ten years huh, Chris? It’s not annually!”
“Just tell your boring story so I can tell mine!” Chris sneered as he stoked the fire where the six kids were camped by the shore of the lake as their parents played bridge and drank in the cabin up the hill.
“It’s not boring, it’s all true!” Kevin protested. “My dad told me about it.”
“Your dad’s a mailman, what would he know?” Beth added.
“He’s bigger than your dad!” Kevin barked, jumping to his feet.
The camp went quiet as Mr Vine poked his head out the cabin’s back door. “If you kids don’t keep it down…!”
“Sorry Mr Vine,” came the communal apology.
“Your dad’s mean,” Kevin whispered to Josh.
“Yeah,” Josh replied glumly as he threw some twigs onto the fire. “So keep it down.”
The sextet sat quietly for a few seconds as the fire crackled when Tommy farted, bringing peals of laughter from the all.
“You stink!” Beth shrieked.
“I know,” Tommy giggling fanning the smell in her direction. “Want some more?”
“NO!” they yelled as they covered their mouths with shirts and hands to stifle the smell and their laughter.
“Okay, The Census Taker…”
“Heard it!” Chris cried. “Now there was this old ma…”
“Just let Kevin tell his story,” Jenny piped up. She was often forgotten about because she was younger and quieter than the others, and her brother Chris was so loud and boisterous.
“Thank you Jenny,” Kevin winked. “So shut up Chris okay?”
Chris rolled his eyes and scowled at his little sister who promptly stuck her tongue out.
“The Census Taker. So every ten years, the government counts everyone. They send out these guys to knock on your door and ask you questions. Then they take all that back to this big room in Washington and find out the answers.”
“Answers to what?” Josh asked.
“How old you are, how many cats you have, did you go to school…”
“Why would the government want to know how many cats I have?” Beth questioned. “That’s silly.”
Kevin shrugged. “I dunno but that’s what adults do, ask dumb questions. But this time one of their guys had a metal break down.”
“You mean mental break down.” Chris corrected.
“I said mental!”
“Keep it down!” Josh warned. “Just tell the story Kevin.”
“So one of the census guys…”
“What was his name?” Chris interrupted.
“I don’t know.”
Chris rolled his thirteen-year old eyes. Kevin shook his head, pushed his glasses up his nose and continued. “He’d gone crazy from looking at all the questions. So they locked him up.”
“And he escaped and killed everyone. The end!” Chris stated. “Dumb!”
“Just shut up Chris!” Jenny snapped. “Stop being such a jerk!”
“Yeah shut up Chris!” Kevin added and was soon joined by the others. In a huff Chris kicked dirt on the fire and stomped off back to the cabin.
“Baby!” Beth yelled after him.
Tommy and Josh rekindled the fire as Kevin gave Jenny a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. He’s in the asylum. Ten years he’s been there losing his mind, talking to the walls when he manages to escape. And guess what he does? He goes right back to his old job?”
“Why?” Beth scratched her head.
“Because he’s crazy! He goes back to work like nothing is wrong. And nobody even notices because he looks different.”
“Different? Like a monster?” Tommy asked.
Kevin stood up, acting out his words. “No, he’s got a shaved head and he’s all skinny because they only feed you soup in the mental house. And these scars on his wrists where he tried to write the answers to all the questions with his fingers because they don’t give crazy people pencils. So every day for ten years, he’d carved up his arms like carved turkey meat.”
“GROSS!” Tommy gasped.
“So this guy gets his census stuff and gets in his car. Starts driving from town to…”
“Did they have cars in the forties?” Josh asked.
“A few.” Kevin said moving on. “So he drove around, listening to the voices in his head and he’d pull up at a house at night and go ask them questions.”
“That’s not scary,” Beth said.
“But when he asked them questions if you got one wrong…HE’D KILL YOU AND EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE!”
They all looked at Kevin and his attempt to scare them. Jemmy, his ardent supporter, looked at him. “Is that it?”
“Um, yeah.” Kevin said sheepishly.
“BOO!” They all jumped as Chris leapt from the darkness. Beth screamed, Jenny screamed, Tommy farted and Chris burst into laughter. “Ha ha ha you were all so scared.”
“Jerk!” Josh muttered.
“Told you Kevin’s story was dumb!” Chris remarked. “Now who’s ready for a real story.”
“I gonna thump you!” Kevin stated.
“Oh yeah! Try it four eyes!”
Kevin and Chris squared off, circling almost comically around the fire.
“DAD! DAD!” Josh bellowed. Quickly Kevin and Chris stopped.
“What’d you do that for?” Chris said.
“I just want to tell some ghost stories and have fun but every time, you two just start acting like jerks! I’d rather go inside.”
The kids looked up at the cabin awaiting the roaring behemoth known as Josh’s dad to thunder out and give them what for. Seconds ticked by. It turned into a minute and nothing.
“Somethings not right,” Beth said.
“I don’t like this,” Jenny echoed as she sidled up next to Beth.
“Maybe the Census Taker got them,” Kevin blurted out.
“In a holiday cabin in the woods?” Chris scoffed.
“He’s crazy y’know.”
“Let’s just go see,” Tommy said. Quietly and as a bunch they moved up the hill to the cabin. Every step made a sound that put the hairs on the back of their necks up, every awkward out of sync breath made their imaginations run wild.
“Maybe they’re asleep?” Beth suggested.
“Maybe a bear ate them,” Chris taunted. “Rowr!”
“Hope a bear eats you,” Josh mumbled.
“Did you see that!?” Tommy yelped at pointed at some shadows dancing in the window.
“Oh my god its ghosts!” Kevin whimpered.
“D…” Chris clamped his hand over Josh’s mouth.
“If there IS a bear in there eating them, don’t go yelling, it’ll come after us.”
Josh forced the hand away. “It’s not a bear.”
Again they stalked up to the cabin. The wooden steps creaked under their combined weight. Slowly they crept up and over to the window and peered in.
There lying on the floor were their parents; naked and united in a group. Mr. Vine was pushing Mrs. Bishop across the floor from behind, whilst Mr. Barker and Mr. Bishop were building a human bridge with Mrs. Black. Mrs Vine and Mrs Smith were on their knees praying as Mr Goldberg held their heads. And Mr Black was pushing Mrs Goldberg over the breakfast bench.
“What are they doing?” Beth asked.
“Chris? Why is mom bouncing up and down on Kevin’s dad?” Jenny whispered.
Tommy watched as Mr Vine grabbed his mother’s hair and pulled her head back as he pushed her across the floor. “Nobody hurts my mom!” he vowed and turned, smack bang into a man standing behind them.
“Hello there,” said the rakishly thin man in a black suit with dark sunken eyes.
“W-who are you?” Kevin blurted out as the kids caught site of the man holding a briefcase who'd crept on them.
“I’m Ted.” He smiled raising his hand to tip his hat, revealing some nasty scars on his wrist. “I’m here to ask your parents some questions.”
|Waezi2 - Die Toten Braut: Alles Ist Hin|
This was suppose to be the happiest day of my life, Victoria though for herself.
And now all she could do was watch as her body just lied in a hole in the dirt.
She had been so pretty. Her mother's old wedding-dress had fitted like a glove. She had been ready for the wedding of her dreams.
She should have listened to papa. Franz was nothing but a sweet talker.
... Actually, no. If only he had been nothing but that... he was a murderer as well.
Victoria should know. After all, she watched, as Franz buried her dead body in the middle of Krüegerwald, some god forsaken fores where no one would ever find her corpse.
THIS was what happened when a foolish girl, barely a woman, wouldn't listen to her parents. This was what happened when said girl allowed a handsome young man talk her into running away with him and get married in secret. This was what happened when one was foolish enough to arrive to the middle of a forest where one had agreed to meet this man. And she had been daft enough to bring gold and jewels as well on the request of her lover.
All of this had resulted in her getting her throat sliced open.
Next thing she knew, she opened her eyes to see her body, dead as dust, while Hans robbed her corpse. As a ghost, Victoria could do nothing but curse this man she had practically worshiped not long ago as he took off his bloodstained jacket and burned it. He cleansed the bloody dagger, tied the sack with gold and the other one with the family jewels to his horse's saddle, and then he rode away.
And now she was alone in Krüegerwald.
Victoria wanted nothing but to strangle the life out of that weasel.
THAT CAN BE ARRANGED.
Victoria realized that she was not the only spirit in the area, as a tall man dressed in a red jacket appeared. Or she would have assumed that he was a man, if it wasn't for the fact that where a man's head should have been was instead the golden cranium of a ox.
Victoria was not frightened. Maybe fear was only for the living? "Are you... death?" She asked.
The spirit creature said with a voice as deep and dark as eternity.
THE REAPER HAVE GIVEN ME PERMISSION TO GIVE YOU A PROPOSAL BEFORE HE COMES FOR YOU.
"Proposal? What do you have to offer?"
JUSTICE. BY YOUR HANDS:
"... Are you... Satan?"
"Then... who are you?"
MY NAME IS OF NO IMPORTANCE. KNOW ONLY THAT I AM A SPIRIT. WHAT MATERS IS THAT I WILL REVIVE YOU SO THAT YOU CAN AVENGE YOURSELF.
"... What do you want in exchange?"
THE DEATH OF A SINNER. NOTHING MORE. I WILL REVIVE YOUR DEAD BODY SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE YOUR MURDERER BLEED FOR ME. THEN, RETURN TO THIS FOREST AND YOU CAN MOVE ON TO THE AFTERLIFE.
"I would be more than happy to oblige... But how do I find him?"
IN THE LOCAL CHURCH. HE IS GOING TO BE MARRIED TOMORROW.
Victoria thought it impossible that she could hate Franz more than when she watched him bury her. But now she loathed him even more. She was angry and vengeful before, but now she was furious to the point of insanity.
And then, everything went dark.
It took a moment for Victoria to realize that she was buried.
She could feel her fingers, her arms, as she began to dig herself free. Franz hadn't buried her that well. She could feel her entire body as she struggled to get free from the dirt that kept her from freedom. She stood up from the hole, feeling triumphant.
She couldn't feel her hearth beating. She couldn't feel the cold air. All she felt was the intense burning hatred that fueled her dead body and was the reason for her reincarnation.
Max, Jacob and Wilhelm were a lot like other men. They made ends meet by working with their hands.
But they weren't good men. Not at all. They were highwaymen. Huge, strong, unshaved men. Brutal and merciless men.
They had set camp at the outskirt of Krüegerwald. They sat around the campfire, having finished heir meal and now smoke pipes.
But they had a problem. They were restless. Bored. And since they weren't much for conversations, they had to think of another way to entertain themselves.
But it seemed like they wouldn't have to worry their not too bright heads about that, as a woman could be seen coming from behind the trees and toward them. She was alone, seemed like she couldn't be a day over 18 and was dressed in a white wedding gown.
Max, Jacob and Wilhelm stood up to "greet" her. When she came close enough, the three men surrounded her.
"Hello, poppet." Jacob chuckled as he forced the young woman up a tree with one of his massive hands around her neck, and the other firmly laced at her chest. "You lost? Haven't your mom taught you that walking about on your own is risky."
"She did." The girl answered as she, to Jacob's surprise, smiled back. She placed her hands around his wrists... and squeezed. Cracks could be heard from the big man as well as his scream.
"Blasted wench!" Max was about to smack the girl, setting her back in her place, only to have his arm as big as a ham getting caught by he bride who then pulled it right out of the socket. Max fell like a tree as he cried out in agony.
"My, how peculiar." The bride began to laugh as if she had heard a joke. "It seems that I'm stronger than full-grown men. Fancy that."
Wilhelm realized that there was something wicked about this wench. And as he finally realized that er throat had a riff on it, he now understood that this... thing wasn't human. So he ran toward the campfire where he and his friends had left their weapons, grabbed a pistol, and shot the bride in the chest.
She fell to the ground backward from the impact of the bullet... But that didn't stop her.
"Were you aiming for my heart? Bad luck." The bride laughed even harder than before as she stood up seemingly unaffected by the gunshot. "Someone already shattered it! HAHAHA!"
Wilhelm had no intention of staying any longer and share the fate of his friends, so he fled.
"Brave friend you have." Victoria kicked the two wimping men who lied at her feet, then stepped over them to study their bags, see if there was anything of use for her.
Food and money could no longer do her any good. But their weapons on the other hand could be quite useful.
"Yes, this will do." Victoria studied the pistols as well as the sword that had once belonged to a soldier. "This will do just nicely."
Hans stood by the alter with Adele. He was so happy that he could swear that he would burst.
The church was decorated with flowers, and most of Adele's family, as well as Hans' few relatives, had showed up to attend the ceremony. He felt a bit of guilt over what he had... done to Victoria, but he knew that it had to be done. Now he could truly treat his beloved Adele like royalty, as he had promised her family to get her hand in marriage. He had told her parents that he had inherited a great deal of money from a distant uncle, not that he had tricked a poor, naive girl into giving him a great amount of money with the promise of marriage. The poor thing had no chance.
But Hans was about to learn that what he had considered a necessary evil would become his demise.
As he was about to exchange vows with Adele, someone kicked the door to the church open.
"I found you Franz!" Someone said, then laughed hysterically. "Or is Hans the name you go by today? Must be confusing for you! HAHAHA!"
Another bride stepped inside the church hall.
"Her?!" The bride laughed, as she pointed at Adele. Her face was covered by a veil, but Hans could recognize the voice. "You murdered ME so that you could marry HER?! That cow with the face of a jew?!" Her laughter grew louder, and the others in the church gasped as they realized that the woman held a pistol in each hand and had an officer's sword in a scabbard attached to a belt around her waist as well as two more pistols "What does that cow have that I do not have in spades? Well... A pulse, perhaps. HAHAHA!"
"... Hans?" Adele looked at her future husband with a frightened and puzzled look. "Who is this woman?"
"I... I don't..." Han looked at the bride and gulped. His blood froze to ice. It couldn't be. "V-v-v-...Victoria? Is that you?"
The bride removed her veil to reveal a beautiful face.
"But..." Hans couldn't comprehend what he saw. It really was the woman whom he had fooled into falling for him. She even had the slice-mark on her throat that he himself gave her."But that's impossible! I left you!"
"For dead!" She replied. "You broke my heart and took my life! So I will ruin thi-"
One of Adele's uncles had gathered his courage and grabbed one of the candlestick and stroke Victoria right in the head. She fell to the floor, dropped her pistols and her neck was twisted by the impact. But she kept smiling and stood up, screwing her head back with a loud crack. Then, she took a candlestick as well and slammed it into the uncle's head. The result was messy.
Now, everyone in the church truly panicked. The priest had gotten down on his knees, praying for some sort of miracle. Most of the attenders ran toward the door, while few stayed as they attempted to stop the bride. They were shot dead. Victoria laughed as she threw away her empty pistol and grabbed new ones from her belt and went on with her attack, cheerfully singing;
"Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin!"
As she ran out of loaded pistols, she grabbed her sword and slashed and hacked and buried her blade into the chest of whoever was in her way between her and vengeance. One of the men managed to grab the blade and pull it out of her hand, then used it to stab her right through the stomach. But it didn't affect her, and she cheerfully strangled the life out of the man.
"Stop, Victoria! STOP, I beg of you!" Hans' face had lost all color as he was witness to this bloodbath. The woman who would now never become his wife was paralyzed with fear. "It's me you want, stop!"
"Oh, it will be your turn, Hans, that I assure you!" Victoria broke the neck on Adele's father. "But not before your oh so lovely bride!" When there was no one left in the church but Hans, Adele and the vengeful bride(even the priest had ran away), Victoria got the sword out of herself and pointed the bloody blade at his bride. "Tell me something, Hans... Are you marrying her for her fortune? Is she a victim like me?"
"No!" Hans stood in front of his bride, trying to protect her. "It's not like that. I do love her!"
"Then I will enjoy this even MORE!" Victoria pushed Hans aside with her thin but strong arm, and sliced the bride's throat open.
Hans screamed. Whether it was out of horror, devastation or rage, Victoria couldn't tell. But she was sure that pain of some sort was involved, which was what she wanted.
"I would actually let you live, I really would. Death is mercy at this point for you." Victoria placed her cold dead fingers around Hans' neck. "But unfortunately, I have a contract."
And then she mashed his neck as if it had been a hot potato. Triumphant, she left, leaving a pile of dead bodies in the church.
"I have returned!" Victoria announced loudly, as she found herself near the hole where she had been buried.
The creature that was responsible for Victoria's revival appeared once more and pointed at her bloody dress.
"The deed has been done." Victoria sounded very satisfied. "I had my revenge. The world is one sinner poorer. I am ready for the afterlife."
But the spirit said nothing. It just stared at her with it's eyeless skull.
Victoria scratched her still broken neck. "Spirit, you do not seem to understand. I did it! I killed him, I-"
I PROMISED YOU THAT YOU COULD MOVE ON TO THE AFTERLIFE IF YOU MADE THE SINNER PAY. I WANTED A SINNER DEAD, NOTHING MORE. BUT YOU SLAUGHTERED INNOCENTS AS WELL. FOR THAT, YOU MUST BE PUNISHED.
"But I did it to hurt him!" Victoria argued. In her sick, rage-filled mind, it made perfect sense, and was the only defense she needed. "They were in my way! I had to-"
AND HIS BRIDE?
"... He broke my heart, so I broke his! Killing him wasn't punishment enough! Don't you see?!"
The spirit apparently ignored her "rationalization" and went on;
YOU WILL FROM NOW ON BE MY INSTRUMENT OF PUNISHMENT. YOUR BODY WILL LIVE THROUGH ANYTHING, MAY IT BE FIRE, BULLETS OR BLADES. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, YOU WILL FEEL NO PAIN. BUT YOU WON'T HEAL UNTIL MIDNIGHT. AND YOU WILL STAY IN KRÜEGERWALD FOR ALL ETERNITY.
"Blast you! Damn you!" Victoria yelled. "I do not recognize you to have such power over me! Only god and devil should, and you are neither! Curse you, I say, curse you!"
But the creature apparently did not give a damn, and left her in a flash of red light.
Refusing to accept her punishment, Victoria decided to leave the woods. But as she did so, a giant root came up from the hole that was her grave and wrapped itself around her left leg. Victoria tried to get free, but the root was too strong. So she tore off her own leg, and humped as fast as she could. Same root now wrapped itself around her other leg. So Victoria got herself free by making herself legless, then dragged herself through the forest by the use of her hands. But the root wouldn't let her go.
As the root dragged her back to her grave, she realized that she was going to be trapped in this damned forest for the rest of her afterlife. Victoria sank down into the dirt she was originally buried in. While her head was still free, she sang;
"Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin..."
|Stumpy49er - Tim Drake- Teen Detective in A Halloween Mystery|
Tim Drake ditched his last class at Gotham High. He was already acing all his classes and he had to follow up on a police report he heard on his scanner last night. A girl had gone missing. Jamie Lloyd, who attended Gotham Junior High. She was only three years younger than him.
He went to Gotham PD and talked to Detective Gordon. She had always allowed him to help work on her cases, since they both had a mutual acquaitance in Bruce Wayne.
"I'm busy right now, Tim." Barbara said. "What do you want?"
"What's going on with the Jamie Lloyd case?" he asked.
"Tim, jeez, just because we both have a Robin Grant from the Prince of Gotham.." Barbara started.
"It's more than just a grant, Barbara. Bruce only gives that out to people who earn it." he responded.
"Ha. Yeah, like the movie star?" she chided.
"Dick Grayson is a hero to a lot of people," Tim said. "He was an orphaned as a teenager, became a blue collar stunt man, until he got his big break in the film Star Spangled. Since then he's done a lot of work for orphans and at risk youth."
"Okay, okay. I forgot I was talking to his biggest fan," Barbara said. "Listen kid, I know you'll be a hell of a detective when you're old enough but right now I need to focus. Jamie's been missing for over twelve hours now. I've been up all night. My dad keeps telling me to go home but I can't.."
"I've talked to her friends. I can help you," Tim said. "Do you have any suspects?"
"Everyone's focused on her estranged dad." she replied. "It doesn't seem right though. She has a psychotic uncle but he's in Arkham.."
"Didn't Arkham just have a breakout?" Tim asked.
"Yeah, I looked into that." she said. "But her uncle Michael is still in Arkham. He never talked to the other inmates either; as far as his psychiatrist told me, he's mute." She pulled out a file and put it on the desk. "As for the inmates, there's Edward Nigma, doesn't quite fit his profile but I'm not ruling any of these men out; Abner Krill, the polka dot bandit, he was already caught this morning; Julian Day, he's probably planning something for Halloween; and then there's Arnold Etchinson, also known as Abattoir. He's the one I'm most worried about."
Tim picked up Abattoir's profile and began reading it.
Psychiatrist: Professor Hugo Strange.
Known associates: Kai aka Hellhound, Preston Payne, Sondra Fuller.
All known relatives deceased.
Barbara grabbed this profile away from Tim.
"Damn it, Drake." she scolded. "I don't want you getting involved in this. It's too dangerous. Go dress up for Halloween. Go be a kid. I don't need you getting hurt trying to help us."
"I'm trying to help Jamie." Tim said. "You can use my help. How does Etchinson know Kai? I already know his connection to famous actors Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller. It was all over the news when Abattoir kidnapped their baby. I doubt they'll aid him more. What's his connection to Hellhound?"
Barbara sighed. "Listen. We've been grilling Abner Krill all day about the other escapees. We'll find Etchinson. I'm still not sure if it was him who took Jamie. Maybe it was her dad."
"Her friends told me Jamie thinks her dad died a while ago." he replied. Barbara lifted her eyebrow. Tim continued, "Her best friend Rachel told me she thinks it was her uncle."
Barbara shook her head. "Well, if Rachel says so.." she looked at Tim, who was dead serious. "Like I say, her uncle's still in Arkham. According to his doctor, he had no contact with the other inmates, plus he's mute."
"Who's his doctor?" Tim asked.
"I can't tell you that." she replied.
"Is it Hugo Strange?" he asked.
Barbara sighed. "You're good."
"That's the same doctor as Arnold Etchinson's." Tim said.
"I've already talked to Strange." Barbara said. "He told me the two never had any contact."
"Do you trust him?" he asked.
She laughed. "Hugo Strange? No. Something strange about him and it's not just that name."
"There is a connection." he said. "What do you know about Hellhound? It's the only known associate of Abattoir who might be willing to aid him."
"I already told you.." Barbara started.
"I won't look into it alone. I promise you. I have backup." he replied.
"I don't know why I bother." she said, reaching into her desk and retrieving a folder. "You're not going to like it kid."
Tim looked at Hellhound's profile.
..sold Abattoir pit bulls, which were used to eat his victims alive..
Tim felt sick.
"Told you, you weren't going to like it." Barbara said. "Listen kid. I want to find her too but I don't want you getting killed. These are bad men. I don't know who your backup is, I don't care. Leave this to the authorities."
Tim waited for his back up. He wore a black, hooded sweater and carried his retractable bo staff. He scoped out the junkyard as he waited.
"Yo brat. You waiting on me?" came a brash voice from behind him.
Tim spun around, wielding his bo staff as his friend came up from behind him, wearing a red ski mask.
"Damn, Jason, you scared me." he replied. Jason stood a foot taller than Tim and was about four years older.
Jason had lived a rough life, yet somehow had been one of the few people alive to receive the Robin Grant from Bruce Wayne. Jason was also unique in that he's the only person to tear up the grant and throw it in Bruce's face, claiming the wealthy elite are the real problems with the world.
Tim didn't agree with Jason's views but he always respected him.
They had met after Tim had received the Robin Grant. Jason contacted him trying to convince Tim that Wayne Enterprises had shady business dealings and that the Robin Grant was merely Bruce Wayne's way of saving face to the public.
Tim disagreed with Jason. He had done his own research on Bruce and believed him to be an upstanding person who cared for the less fortunate.
Not only had Bruce lost his parents at a young age but in his early adulthood, he had lost is father figure when The Clown murdered his butler Alfred.
Tim felt a great deal of empathy for Bruce.
Tim retracted his bo staff as Jason walked up to him.
"That all you brought, kid?" Jason asked, then he reached in his leather jacket with both hands and pulled out two semi automatic pistols. "You come to this part of the neighborhood and plan on breaking into a place like that, you better come packing."
"I don't like guns." he replied. "Thanks for the help. We need to break in there and find out what Kai knows about Abattoir."
"Yeah, no problem. I'm doing this for the girl," he said. "Also, to find out what's going on with Arkham. I've had my eye on the Professor Strange for awhile now."
The two vigilante's jumped the fence. As soon as Tim landed on the ground he heard dogs barking. Big ones.
Tim ran as fast as he could toward the nearest car pile. He unsheathed his bo staff to full length and used it to pole vault his way onto it. He looked back and saw several pit bulls running toward him, while more ran towards Jason, who stood out in the open, pulled out his pistols and began shooting the junkyard dogs.
Hellhound came running out of the main building, carrying a shotgun, followed by three other armed men. "My dogs are hungry, boys. Let's give them something to eat." he yelled.
'This is not good.' Tim thought, as he watched Jason gun down all the dogs in the yard, then began replacing his bullets, while behind Tim, the four armed men walked straight towards Jason.
As soon as Hellhound and his goons were in view of Jason and began to point their guns at him, Tim pole vaulted himself right towards them, landing on top of Hellhound, he swung his bo staff at the nearest thug, breaking his nose. Then Tim smacked the gun out of another man's hand while simultaneously hitting another thug in the groin. The unarmed thug tackled Tim to the ground. The other two thugs grabbed their guns and pointed it at Tim.
Two shots fired. The two armed thugs hit the ground.
The thug sitting on top of Tim looked back at his two dead friends, then over at Jason, who pointed pistol at him.
The other thug hit the ground.
Tim stood up. "What the heck? Why did you kill them?" he yelled at Jason.
"They would have killed you, kid." he replied. "Don't act surprised. You know my reputation."
Hellhound stood up silently as the two yelled at each other. Grabbing his knife he slid behind Tim, grabbed him and held the knife to his throat.
"You killed my dogs, Red Hood." he yelled at Jason. "You'll pay for that."
Jason pointed his guns at Hellhounds head. "Try me."
"Don't kill him." Tim demanded. "We need information."
"Information? You want information from me?" Hellhound asked. "All I know is I'm sitting in my office counting my money, when all of a sudden two punk kids come into my back yard and start shooting up my merchandise."
"We need to know who you last sold your merchandise too." Tim asked.
"Why should I tell you?" Hellhound asked. "I keep my clients a secret."
"That's not what I heard." Jason replied.
"We know you've sold to Abattoir before." Tim asked. "Did you sell any dogs to him recently?"
"Recently? I don't know. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't." Hellhound replied. "What's in it for me? You already owe me for those dogs you killed."
"Abattoir kidnapped a young girl." Tim said. "If he bought dogs from you, he'll use them on her. We need to know where she is."
Hellhound gripped Tim harder with the blade, blood trickled down his neck. "Like I said, boy, what's in it for me?"
"I have money." Tim said.
"It'll take about five hundred grand to pay me what you owe me." Hellhound replied.
"I don't have that." Tim replied. "I can give you twenty grand. That's it."
"Not enough." Hellhound said.
"What do you think will happen if you kill me? Maybe you'll get away from my friend? He's a good shot." Tim said. Hellhound looked at Jason and smiled. Tim continued, "Even if you get away from us, what do you think will happen if your dogs kill the girl? If that happens, The Bat will come after you."
Hellhounds confidence waned. "Heh, The Bat? He ain't real."
"Yes. He is. I know how to contact him." Tim replied. "I sent him what I already know about this case. If he finds out you helped Abattoir kill some girl, he will come after you with everything he's got."
Jason spoke up. "Did you ever hear what happened to The Clown? Some say he's hanging upside down in The Bat's cave. Still alive, barely, getting his blood sucked out everyday."
Hellhound weakened his grip.
Tim Drake grabbed Hellhounds hand and pulled, while sweeping his leg under, flipping the larger man to the ground.
Hellhound bounced back up, knife still in his hand.
Jason shot Hellhounds hand, the knife flew to the ground.
"Tell us what you know." Jason demanded.
"This is it." Tim said. "The Hotel Langstrom. The last owner of the hotel, Kirk Langstrom, went on a rampage and killed his family. Detective James Gordon said in his report that Kirk heard bats screeching in the attic. He claimed in his journal he was The Bat and the bats in the attic had told him to kill his family before he jumped off the roof, thinking he could fly. Scary part of the story is that apparently Kirk was completely deaf. So what did he hear that drove him insane?"
Jason looked at Tim and shook his head. "Too much information."
Tim shrugged. "What? I thought it was worth noting."
The two heroes walked cautiously into the hotel lobby. Jason had both guns loaded and in each hand. Tim gripped his bo staff.
As they walked towards the lobby desk, something began waling towards them.
It was a gigantic pit bull.
"Damn!" Jason said as he pointed his pistol at the dog. "Didn't want to start this right away."
Tim grabbed Jason's arm. "Wait!"
The pit bull walked right up to Tim. It had a passive look on its face.
Tim held out his hand. The pit bull licked it.
"I don't get it?" Jason said. "Hellhound said these things were bred and trained for murder. Why is it so.. nice?"
"I don't know." Tim said as he walked towards the stairwell. "Let's find out. Abattoir should be in the basement. Based on his profile, that's where he takes his victims."
The stairwell was shut tight. Blocked from the other side.
"We're going to have to take the elevator." Tim said.
"Great!" Jason sighed. "Guess we're announcing ourselves after all."
The two rode the elevator down to the basement. The music played a scratchy Fur Elise by Beethoven.
"Power still works for this? There is a lot wrong going on here." Jason pointed out.
As the elevator came to a stop it gave a very loud "DING!"
The doors opened.
Arnold Etchison stood before them with a big grin. His long red hair draped over his white suit.
"Welcome to the Hotel Langstrom!" he said.
Jason Todd pointed both pistols right at Abattoir's head. "Where is she?" he yelled. "Where is the girl, you fracking monster."
Abattoir smiled wide. "Oh fret not, my dear boys. She's right this way."
Tim Drake had a bad feeling in his stomach. The restrained pit bull upstairs. Had they already eaten? Why was Abattoir greeting them? Did he kill Jamie Lloyd? He looked at Jason Todd and could tell his friend was thinking the same dark thoughts.
Abattoir led them to boiler room.
He opened the door and sitting, tied to a chair was the girl.
Relief flooded over Tim as he saw her smile at them.
She was still alive.
Surrounded by large pit bulls.
Fear came back to Tim as one of the pit bulls walked towards Jamie. It licked her hand, then put it's head on her lap.
"I wish I could pet you, sweet Carol. It's too bad Mr. Etchison has my hands tied up." Jamie said to the pit bull.
"Oh my, I forgot to untie you." Abattoir began, before walking over to Jamie with with a long, sharp blade.
Jason Todd shot Abattoir in the head. Blood splattered all over the pit bulls and Jamie Lloyd. Neither of whom twitched in the slightest at the action.
Tim Drake fell back in shock.
"What? What did you?" Tim started.
Jason looked back at Tim. "He moved towards her with that knife. I had too."
"Poor Mr. Etchison." Jamie said. "He thought killing his family would cure the evil in the world. My poor uncle Michael is the same way. Mr. Etchison wanted the doggies to eat me." Jamie giggled. "I showed them a better way. Violence isn't the answer. They wanted to eat me, at first. Now they just want to be my friends."
"What happened, Jamie?" Tim asked.
"I don't go by Jamie Lloyd anymore." she said. "I go by the name Hallow! I bring delight into this world. Peace is my gift."
Jason put his gun away, then asked. "What happened to Abattoir?"
"He was an evil man, before he met me." Hallow said. "He wanted to kill me and many more. Then he sat down with me and I blew softly in his face, as I did with the doggies. All the violence and hatred in his heart left at that moment. He was a good man, before you killed him. He would have untied me, had he not heard the elevator. He was so excited to greet people with his new perspective on life, he simply forgot to untie me. Speaking of which, would one of you please do me the honors?"
The pit bulls reared their heads at the two heroes after she said this.
"Of course, I'll hel.." Tim started.
"Don't bother." Jason said. "I got this."
Jason grabbed Abattoir's knife, bent down and began cutting Hallow's ropes.
She looked in Jason's face as he finished cutting the ropes.
She spoke, "You also have violence in your heart."
She blew an orange mist into Jason's face.
Jason stood up immediately, holding up the knife, "What the hell did you do?"
Hallow smiled as she stood up. "I gave you a gift."
Jason lowered the knife. Looking at Tim he spoke, "Red Robin."
It was their secret word to each other if something went wrong. It meant 'Run'.
Tim Drake turned and ran towards the elevator. Hallow let out an inhuman wail as Jason slammed the boiler room door shut, blocking Hallow and her doggies from following his friend.
Tim jumped in the elevator and pressed the Lobby button. The door slowly closed as the pit bulls began howling. They came running out of the boiler room at top speed, straight for Tim, teeth gnashing.
The door closed just in time. The pit bulls crashed against the door. He heard gun shots fire.
The elevator slowly rose to the lobby. He sprang out of the elevator and ran through the lobby. The remaining pit bull in the lobby ran straight towards him. Tim used his bo staff to pole vault over the pit bull. Explosions rang out from underneath them. The pit bull looked confused, Tim ran as fast as he could for the entrance door.
Tim ran out of the Hotel Langstrom, slamming the entrance door behind him.
The Hotel Langtsrom burned to the ground.
Detective Barbara Gordon interviewed Tim.
"Damn it, Tim. I told you not to get involved in this."
Tim clutched his bo staff. Barbara gave him a mug of hot cocoa.
"Drink this. It'll make you feel better." she said as she patted his shoulder. "The fire chief told me, there was only one human body. A few pit bulls but that's it. I'm betting the burned body is that of Arnold Etchison." Barbara explained. "Don't know what happened to Jamie or your friend."
Tim looked up into the night sky.
The Bat signal floated in the air.
|IfDCRuledTheWorld - Gaia|
Location: Fancy vacation home in the mountains of Alaska. Night time.
Bzzz.... (Door Bell)
"Come on in." says Mr. Ma-Ti. (President of Geo Inc.)
"Thank you for inviting all of us, sir. We really appreciate it." replies Mr. Kwame. (Vice-President of Geo Inc.)
"No problem. No problem. Let me show you around." says Mr. Ma-Ti.
The house was gorgeous. Built right in the middle of the forest, and it even had a live tree in the middle of the house. Over 5000 sq. ft. of exquisite living. Probably the most beautiful house in Alaska. The best money can buy. And the money will continue to come in now that the court has sided with their company. In the last 100 years, the NaKota tribe has never lost their land a court battle. But this time was different. A different generation of judges that don't mind loosening their morality if it meant their bank accounts get larger.
"A very beautiful house you have here, sir." says Ms. Linka (Chief Legal Advisor)
"I know right, you're gonna have to let me borrow it later." says Mr. Wheeler (Chief Financial Officer)
"Not too shabby. Are you not worried about being so close to the protestors? They did say that the court wasn't their only way of protecting their land." say Ms. Gi (Chief Research Officer)
"Those guys, no. What can a bunch of villagers do? You don't really believe all that mumbo jumbo about their ancestral mother protector. Or whatever. " Mr. Ma-Ti exclaimed.
"Gaia" Ms. Gi answered.
"Never mind that and never mind them. Let me show you the rest of the house."
Mr. Ma-Ti wasted no time giving his board of directors the tour of the place. Safe to say they were all impressed. And that's just the reaction he was going for. Mr. Ma-Ti was going to take his company to the top. His new oil pipeline was going to make him one of the richest men, if not influential, in the whole world. And Mr. Ma-Ti liked that the thought of that.
"Everyone get yourself settled. And let's meet in the grand dining room in an hour for dinner."
Ma-Ti settled himself in the library. Kwame made his way to the kitchen. Ms. Gi and Mr. Wheeler took a walk outside together. And Ms. Linka took her leave in her upstairs bedroom.
Kwame likes to snack before dinner. So it was no surprise that the kitchen would be the first place he'd go after getting settled. "Hmm....what to eat? What to eat? Why is there no junk food in this million dollar kitchen. Well, I guess I'll have to get my stash from my car." Kwame made his way outside to where he parked his car and started fumbling for his keys when he thought he heard a whisper in his ear. It said to him, "Earth" ( in a woman's voice).
"Who said that?" as he turned around. No one was there though. "Earth." the voice whispered to again."
"I must be hearing things." Kwame said. He found his keys and popped the trunk. Suddenly, he felt a violent tug on his feet. Looking down, he found himself being dragged into the earth. "Somebody help me. Help." His struggle became fruitless though. There was no help coming. Kwame was swallowed up.
"You hear that?" Gi asked.
"I didn't hear anything." Wheeler replied. "If you wanna go check it out, go right ahead. I'll stay here, warm, in front of the fire pit."
"Fine. Be back in a bit." Gi replied.
"Women!" Wheeler exclaimed. "Get spooked over something like that. Just when we were about to get things heated up too. Her loss then."
"Fire." a voice whispered.
"Fire." the voice whispered again.
"Who's there?" asked Wheeler. Looking around Wheeler couldn't find who or where the voice was coming from. When he turned back around he found that the fire had died down. "Great." Wheeler started stoking the fire back to life when suddenly the fire leaped from its pit and enveloped Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler didn't even have time to scream before the flames took him.
"Such a lovely view." Linka said to herself. And it was. Standing up on her balcony over looking the Alaskan skyline, what else could anyone think.
"Wind." the voice softly spoke.
"Wind." the voice spoke again.
Suddenly Linka's room became the what could only be described ground zero of a tornado. Anything that wasn't bolted down became a projectile being flung towards her. The gusts of wind became so powerful that it picked her up and threw her off the balcony. "Somebody help!!" she cried. Her cries for help never made it to her companions. It was lost in the wind.
"Now I know I heard that." Gi said to herself. The first noise turned out to be nothing. This noise sent a chill down to her very bones. She returned to the fire pit only to find the crisp remains of Wheeler. Screaming in horror she made her way back to the house. Unfortunately, she never made it.
"Water." the voice spoke to her.
"Water." the voice said again.
The voice spooked her and caused her to trip and fall into the pool. Frantically trying to swim up to the surface, she felt a two hands grab her and pull her back down. Struggle as she might, the water was not forgiving. Gi was claimed by the water.
Mr. Ma-Ti was sitting in his library listening to his music and relaxing in his favorite chair when his record player suddenly went silent. The record was spinning but no music was coming out.
"Heart." the record player said.
"Heart." the player said again.
All of a sudden the room grew dark and the lights died. Jumping out of his seat, Ma-Ti ran for the door but it wouldn't open. He ran for the window but no luck there either. It wouldn't open. A black shadow slowly grew out of the wall. It came to stand in front of Ma-Ti and took the form of a tall lady in a black dress. Her dress was as dark as the night and she had eyes as bright as the moon. "What do you want from me?" he cried.
With an expression as dead as the night, the lady reached out with her hand.
"Heart." the lady asked with a smile.
Fade to Black.
|LeeM724 - Weepin' Joe|
Blood seeped from his tear ducts, he could not make it stop.
"Why? me, why? me." he thought aloud as he gazed at the monstrosity which lay before him in the mirror.
He could barely recognise himself, he was but a shell of his former self. The once handsome face which stared back had transformed into a pool of vile ugliness.
He could not sleep, he could not eat. The ocean of blood leaking from his eyes kept his attention, reminding him of his sin.
He grew tired. Was it his soul leaking out? After all they say the eyes are the window to the soul.
"I can help you." whispered a voice.
"I can help you."
If he had not heard it twice he would've sworn it was the wind.
Was he going insane?
"What do I do?" he asked as desperation crept into his voice like an unwelcome guest.
"Hurt him, he did this." it answered.
"Who?" He was anxious, who did this to him?
"You know who." It replied. "Hurt him, make him weep as he makes you."
He clenched his fists and he felt his sin consume him. Fury melted through the fear he had felt for the past week as the blood poured out of his eyes. He knew who did this.
"How do I hurt him?"
"By hurting them, all of them."
The voice was louder, he could hear it much more clearly.
He knew what he had to do, he had been shaken free from his trance by his mysterious saviour. For the first time in a week he looked away from his reflection.
What a mess.
He reached for his revolver, his only friend. With it he would make them hurt.
With it he would make Him hurt.
|ImpurestCheese - Mountain Shadows|
The man dressed in hiking gear looked over the side of the mountain down at the layer of clouds stretched out like an ocean of white around a sentinel island of brown and green. There stretched out before him was an otherworldly shape, something that was man shaped but stretched into almost painful dimensions, a gleaming halo of light around was looked like a head. Nervously the hiker turned to look up the path to the team leader, a rough and ready looking man that had the stereotypical Indiana Jones look.
“Uh Doctor Wilson, what exactly is that?” The man asked, as he pointed to the shadowy figure imprinted on the clouds, its body spasming and shifting, seemingly at its existence being pointed out.
“James right?” Wilson asked in a voice that sounded slightly amused but also one that was willing to educate and explain. “This is your first time in the field up in the mountains isn’t it?”
“Yes and yes.” James answered as he kept shooting nervous looks at the figure out in the clouds.
“Well don’t worry about that, it’s just a natural phenomenon called a Broken spectre. What we are seeing is a warping effect of your cast shadow by the sun and clouds.” Wilson explained, as another one of the team took a photograph of the shadow. “While seemingly sinister it is as harmless as any other kind of shadow, although old European folklore associates seeing a Brocken spectre with bad luck.”
“Good thing we’re not in Europe then.” A woman’s voice explained.
“Quite Lisa.” Wilson added, as he looked the young woman up and down, before stopping on the Clovis spear-point stringed around her neck on a leather chain. “According to the men who found the remains of the structure we shouldn’t be too far from the summit.” He added, as the team continued to head upwards to the weathered flat top of the mountain and the charismatic six sticking out spires that gave it the name Six-Spire peak. Reaching the top, the researchers unpacked tents and wind breaks, before sitting down for an early afternoon snack.
“I can’t believe with all the satellite mapping that this place was only discovered when two local climbing enthusiasts decided to get a picture of the spires.” One of the researchers stated as he bit into an energy bar. The entirety of the ten man team had been surprised when the Chicago Field Museum had called them in to investigate what they suspected was a pre-Clovis site. Even in the wilds of Wyoming it was unprecedented for something so ancient had survived unnoticed by both the First People and the waves of colonists.
“We only have a few details to work on Martin.” Lisa replied as she checked the reception of her satellite phone. “And I doubt its pre-Clovis, the people back then didn’t have the resources or knowledge to build lasting structures.”
“Well let’s find out.” Wilson suggested, as he got to his feet and looked over to the small cave like opening that lead into the peak of the mountain. “Martin you and Janine stay here, I want the satellite images and geological survey data before we do anything other than look at what we have.” He added, as the two team members he had named got up and walked to one of the tents, a hardened field laptop under the arm of the later.
“Are you sure it’s okay to enter?” James stammered, as Lisa, Wilson and another man headed for the hole. “It’s not owned by a tribe or sacred or anything like that?”
“If anyone in North America claims to have heritage back to the Clovis people or beyond, I’d suspect that they were trying to con us.” Lisa told him. “That said this may be post-Clovis Native American work, in which case we need to figure out which tribe built it, before seeking permission to investigate further from any living descendants.” She added, her words causing James to gulp, just as Wilson took a glow stick, snapped it and through it into the hole.
“Yeah but to figure that out we need to look inside.” Wilson explained, as he slipped under the cave opening before vanishing into the cave interior. Seconds later Lisa and the third man joined him, leaving James standing out in the open, the rest of the team watching him expectantly. As a grad student of archaeology he had always dreamed of finding a lost tomb or ancient boat burial ground, but something about Six Spires Peak and the earlier sighting of the Brocken spectre made him feel uneasy. Taking a deep breath he ducked inside and gasped at what he saw, while the exterior was plane and could have been blamed on erosion, the inside had defiantly been shaped by human hands.
Speaking of human hands, the walls were painted in ochre with generations of hand prints from the people who had used the site. Something was wrong with them however, surrounding the prints were elongated smudges that looked as if the hands that had made the art had been twisted and deformed as they had pressed their palms against the stone.
“It’s like the Cave of Beasts in Egypt.” Lisa stated, as she swung her head around, the head torch illuminating a thin beam of light around the walls. “Except their they pressed the hands of monitor lizards inside the human hand prints, this appears to have had some large creatures hand or foot traced around the hands here.”
“We have something else as well.” Wilson added as he shone his light up to reveal dozens of human skulls fused into the roof. “This is fascinating indeed. Miguel, you have some knowledge of aboriginal symbology, what can you tell us about the way the bones are arranged?”
“It is not good, the symbol is similar to markers that I documented in an Ojibwa graveyard.” Miguel stated, his voice grim as he talked. “They represent dead people.”
“Wyoming was never Ojibwa territory though.” Wilson replied. “Unless they moved East towards Michigan and Minnesota in the genesis of their culture.”
“Where are the rest of the bones?” James whispered as he shone his light down, the tiled floor glinting as he looked down. “It’s some kind of glass or crystal!” He yelled, his voice echoing around the structure. Bending down the four archaeologists ran their hands along the surface before looking at each other in confusion. Even James knew that the working of the crystal was as sophisticated as anything modern humans could make, maybe even more so.” At that point the light of the glow stick began to flicker, and to avoid potentially getting trapped the four scientists climbed out and headed back to camp, unable to hide their excitement.
That excitement only grew when Janice handed the satellite pictures to Miguel, his eyes going wide as he looked towards the charismatic spires and then back to the picture. “The spires are shaped and arranged like the Cherokee symbol for warding evil spirits away, but like the Ojibwa, that tribe were never recorded being in Wyoming. We may have found the original Native American settlement, the location of the first post-Clovis tribe.”
Excitement spread quickly, and although nobody had gone into the cave, there was much preparation for tomorrow’s documentation. Going to bed, all but one of team dreamed of the accolades they would get for the discovery. Despite his earlier excitement, the imagery relating to evil and death woke Miguel from a fitful sleep. Dressing warmly he awoke Simon, his buddy and quietly whispered ‘toilet’. Shaking himself, Simon got up, dressed and picked up a torch, the pair of them heading out onto the mountain top and towards the cave.
“Give me a second.” Miguel stated, as he illuminated his head torch and dropped into the cave. After a minute he hadn’t returned, and Simon reluctantly headed inside.
A new day dawned, and Wilson rallied the team over breakfast and after a rushed meal of porridge and fruit, the team headed inside the cave, the walls and floors pristine save for a torch and two piles of modern clothing, intact but totally abandoned.
“Everyone out.” Wilson ordered softly. A minute and a half later he was on the satellite phone trying to contact the police, trying being the operative word. A bank of cloud had rolled in and had seemingly cut connection with the outside world, if only temporarily. Looking out over the edge of the cliff, James looked down at the Brocken spectre, its shadowy form printed over the cloud bank. Last night he’d googled the phenomena, and come to turns with how cool it actually was, despite its scary appearance. Watching the shadow he blinked, and swore he saw the dark shape flit to one side, turn its head and hold out a hand, its fingers elongated as it moved.
“Okay people, two of us need to go down the mountain for help.” Wilson called, his voice snapping James out of his study of the strange shadow. “Roland, Martin you are the best climbers, do you think you can get to the ranger’s station at the base of the hill before nightfall?”
“Probably if we leave now.” Roland, a well-built man who looked more like a pugilist than a climber grunted.
“The rest of us will stay here just in case Simon and Miguel return.” Lisa explained as she handed Martin a spare satellite phone. “We’ll keep checking for transmission and call you if anything develops.”
“Likewise.” Martin replied, as he and Roland prepared for the hike down off of the mountain.
Roland turned the corner to the top of a scree slope that plunged forty meters down to an outcropping of rock below. It was almost an hour since they had departed the campsite, and now he and Martin were ensconced in the cloud, dampness and cold chills gripping their body as they headed down.
“What’s that?” Martin asked as he pointed to a figure on the cliff path ahead of them. “Simon, Miguel is that you?” He asked, as Roland shone the light at the figure, the cloud sucking up the light of the torch. Cautiously Roland and Martin approached the figure, but every time he got closer it seemed to back off. Cursing to themselves, they quickened their pace before with a sudden realisation of absolute horror the rock under their feet disappeared and the pair plunged off the mountain into the cloud, their screams echoing round the mountainside.
“It’s been too long.” Lisa stated as she entered the tent she shared with Janine, the bespectacled young woman jabbing at the laptop she had brought, the screen showing nothing but dancing shadows and static. “The cloud should have cleared up by now.”
“We have a bigger problem.” Janine told her. “Before the computer was…” She paused to think her words over, “…attacked, I was tracking a massive storm front coming in from the north. It will hit the mountain just before midnight.”
“We don’t have enough time to get off the mountain before nightfall.” Lisa sighed. “I’ll tell Wilson.” She added, as she left the tent and headed to where two of the expedition members were taking photographs of the spires. “Chris, you seen Wilson, we have another problem.”
“He and Nate went into the cave.” James stated, his words causing Lisa to grab a glow stick and then storm over to the hole and drop in. Cracking the chemical tube, she saw the two men shining their torches at the crystal floor. “I thought you said not to come down here?!” She spat, as Wilson turned to look at her.
“I needed to…” He stopped and screamed as both he and Nate were gripped by something terrible, their bodies twisting as they collapsed onto the wall, their hand prints staining the wall as their fingers elongated to resemble the prints left by the people who had dwelled there in antiquity. Screaming herself Lisa, bolted to the door as her teammates finished contorting into spindly too-tall man shaped blots of shadow. She had crawled half way out of the cave mouth, before a tentacle of shadow wrapped round her neck and dragged her into the structure screaming and thrashing.
Racing over, torch in hand Chris dropped down into the tomb only to find two more piles of clothes on the crystal floor. Looking up he saw the roof of skulls had been joined by Lisa’s severed head and ran for the exit screaming. Despite Janine’s warning about the weather closing in, it hadn’t taken much to convince the three remaining archaeologists to leave Six Spires Peak. Packing only what was needed, the survivors headed for the path down, the ever present Brocken spectre standing on the cloud aping and exaggerating their movements.
“Maybe those Europeans had the right idea.” James stated, as Chris led them down the path, his eyes fixed on the path. “What do you think Janine?” He asked, as he turned round to where she was walking behind them.
“Perhaps.” She replied, as the four figures continued their descent down the hill. Four? James stopped and looked back again, this time to see Janine’s body convulsing as a shadowy hand wrapped itself around her waist.
“Chris!!” James yelled, as he dared to look away for a second, only to see another hand wrapped round Chris, his body mirroring Janine’s spasms as they were warped into twisting humanoid blots of shadow. “Oh c**p, oh c**p!” James screamed, as his former friends flowed towards him like liquid blackness, whilst the Brocken spectre let out a laugh that couldn’t be made by any animal’s throat, let alone a human one. Not daring to hesitate, James took the easiest path available to him and jumped off the mountain. As he did, shadowy hands grabbed him and burning pain rushed through his body as his limbs twisted and elongated, his screams of pain transforming alongside his body into the horrible sound he had just heard.
|Wildvine - The Zombie in the Cornfield|
Dead rotting feet shuffled ever onward, ceaselessly in search for living flesh. Pushed on by mysterious forces either viral, demonic or something stranger yet. Not that it mattered now in a dead world. Those who had known the secret had met their end by their own hands in bunkers deep beneath the Earth.
What unholy plague called forth the dead is ultimately unimportant to what living there may be and just as unimportant to those infected. Whatever mind they had once possessed has long since decayed away. Ruined, broken teeth mesh together as blind eyes scan the land before them. Medically speaking the creature's senses should have ceased any proper function, yet still it is drawn towards humanity. Or the vestiges of humanity.
The zombie wanders towards the old farm house accompanied by a few others of its kind, but walking alone nonetheless. Zombies do not congregate intentionally, nor do they seek out the company of their own kind. It is random chance and a compulsion towards similar places of interest that make them seem to act as a unit. Were there any to see them move and speculate on such things that is.
Onward the soulless creature walked, coming to a tired cornfield standing between it and an old farm. If it a thinking creature it would walk around. But indeed its days of thinking are long behind it. And perhaps if it could think or feel unease it may have paused or even turned back here. The cornfield is not unlike the wandering zombie. It is forlorn, depressing and more rotten than not. Generations of corn have apparently grown, fallen to the ground, and sprouted new plants creating a moldering overgrown field of chaos.
The zombie however is incapable of fear or hesitation and trudges into the fragrant mass of forgotten corn, shouldering its way through the stalks. It's science-defying senses somehow detect movement near by. Movement means flesh. Warm, wet flesh to be torn away and shoveled down it’s slimy craw. The movement happens again and something falls to the ground. The zombie moves quickly (or quickly for a zombie) towards the fallen thing and sinking its broken teeth into the meat before reacting as strongly as it’s kind is capable of-- pulling back and letting the meat fall from its open mouth. It has bitten one of the other zombies. Its flesh is beyond putrid to a zombie. Again, a strange thing for a creature that should not have a sense of taste.
There are footsteps behind the zombie then, but before it can react a long, corroded blade stabs through its rotten back and out its chest. Maybe the zombie would register some problem if its dead brain had a few minutes. Or maybe it would never even notice the blade protruding from its body. It has no moment for introspection, theoretical or otherwise, however as the blade is ripped upward, shearing the zombie nearly in two.
The now twice-dead zombie falls to the ground, adding to the black mass of decaying bio matter that fertilizes the diseased crops, its seemingly endless journey finally meeting a most unexpected end.
The wielder of the scythe returned to its post, Its burlap and cloth form almost as rotten as the zombie had been. And like the zombie it was driven by an unknowable force, and was equally unthinking-- but instead of searching the land for humans and crows, it remained here in the cornfield. Protecting the crops and awaiting the return of the farmer.
|Cbishop - Monsters|
Rick Grimes sat in his patrol car parked next to the curb where the best food truck in town parked, polishing off a huge slice of pizza, and starting in on some fries. He was a couple of bites in when his partner, Shane Walsh, got in on the passenger side with his lunch order. "Man, I don't understand why it takes them so much longer to make the pizza pie compared to the regular pizza slice. It's just more dough on top, right?"
"I feel your pain, brother," said Rick around a mouthful of fries.
Shane looked at him and laughed. "Yeah, I can see how it's hindering you. That pain might just be indigestion."
Rick laughed after he swallowed. "Why don't you just order two single slice combos and sandwich it together yourself?"
"And do what with the extra fries?" asked Shane. "I hate to waste food."
"Feed it to the birds?" Rick asked in a tone that said it was a no-brainer.
"What?" balked Shane. "Attract those little beggars every time they see the sheriff's star? No thanks!"
"Yeah, you're right," Rick said with a hint of sarcasm. "Feed creatures that are only looking for a way to survive? What was I thinking?"
Shane punched him in the shoulder, and they both laughed.
"Dispatch to Deputies Grimes and Walsh," crackled the radio. "Holdup suspects are approaching your area. Head them off on the 85."
Shane grabbed the radio mic and responded, "10-4. Deputies Walsh and Grimes responding."
Rick hit the lights and sirens, and said, "Guess you need a faster order, partner."
As he tossed his lunch out the window, Shane griped, "Yeah, danged birds get my lunch after all."
"Monsters," laughed Rick.
Merle sat back on his dealer's couch, taking a long drag off of the bong they were sharing. Then he passed it to his right, and said a little too loudly, "Here, little brother! Put some hair on your--"
"Damn, Merle!" Daryl shouted back. "Why you gotta be so damned loud? I'm still feeling that moonshine from last night."
"Aw, what's the matter, bro'? Can't take the hangover?" Merle laughed. "Maybe you need more hair of the dog than the hair this'll give ya," he said, quickly snatching the bong back from his brother.
"Hey! Give that back!" yelled Daryl, his hand shooting out and grabbing the bong again. They pulled between them briefly, and it snapped in their hands, cutting Merle and spinning out of Daryl's hands, crashing to the floor in the pieces.
"Heyyy, man! That bong was handmade," protested the dealer.
Merle wiped the blood from his hand on his shirt, then sucked on the cut before saying, "What the hell are you complainin' about? It was made from a damned vase!"
"It was the only thing I got when my mom passed," the dealer whined.
"You drilled a hole in it dipsh*t," said Daryl.
Merle laughed, and tossed the other half of the vase-bong into the floor, watching it break to pieces also.
The dealer just looked at the pieces forlornly through his drugged stupor, and said, "Dude. You guys are monsters."
Just then, the doorbell rang. "Hey, hey!" Merle shouted happily. "Pizza guy's here! About damned time!" Opening the door, he said, "Damn, Kato, I think you got the wrong house. We ordered pizza, not Chinese."
"Hilarious," Glenn deadpanned. "And I'm Korean, not Chinese."
"Whatever, Kato!" said Merle as he jerked the pizza box out of his hand and threw some crumpled bills at him.
Glenn had to chase some of the wadded bills down the steps, and Merle laughed before slamming the door. Glenn looked at the wadded up cash in his hands, sighed, and shoved them into his pocket. Wasn't enough there for a tip. "Thanks, douchebags," he said as he headed for his car.
All it took was for Ed to come in the back door and see the empty kitchen table. "How many times do I have to tell you to have my dinner ready when I come home, woman?" he raged.
"I-I'm sorry, baby," said Carol. "It's in the oven. It's almost ready."
Ed gritted his teeth, his jaw jutting back-and-forth a few times, before he seethed, "So what are we having?"
"Corn's on the counter," Carol said nervously, "and green beans are sitting in the microwave. I'm just waiting on the fish sticks to--"
"FISH STICKS?" boomed Ed. "I COME HOME FROM A HARD DAY'S WORK, AND YOU CAN'T EVEN HAVE FISH STICKS READY ON TIME? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?" he shouted. "COME HERE!" he said, grabbing for her.
Carol instinctively jerked away, and shouted, "No!" only succeeding in making Ed angrier. "I mean, I-I'm sor--"
SLAP! sounded loudly through the kitchen, bringing a dark welt up over Carol's right eye. "I don't want to hear your 'sorry's!' Just get my damned dinner on the table, woman! If you burn those fish sticks, there's going to be hell to pay!"
Carol didn't move right away as she was feeling around her eye, and Ed shouted, "NOW!" She whimpered and moved to the oven, quickly reaching in for the pan, and burning her hand as she forgot a pot holder in her haste, the pan and fish sticks clattering to the floor. She screamed and ran for the sink, running cold water over her hand. Between the pain in her eye, the pain in her hand, her husband's lack of care that she burned herself, embarrassment over her vulnerability, and panic over the dropped fish sticks, she started crying.
Ed just looked at her, angrier than ever. He reached in the fridge for a beer, twisted the cap off, threw it at her head, and stalked out to the living room, muttering, "Stupid cow can't even get damned fish sticks done right. What the hell did I do to deserve this?"
As he disappeared around the corner, Carol continued to hold her hand under the cold water, and whispered to herself, "What did I do to deserve such a monster?"
Glenn Rhee was just coming in from his latest delivery when the boss called out, "Hey, Glenn! Got another one for you! Just came in a few minutes ago, but the lady promised a twenty dollar tip if she could get it quick. Her husband started shouting in the background about wasting money just after that though."
"Was it the Peletiers again," asked Glenn?
"Who else?" asked the boss dismissively. "I heard him screaming something about 'fish sticks' as she hung up. She sounded like she was crying."
"Damn," said Glenn. "Let me jump on that. By the way, those stoner A-holes you sent me to didn't even tip!"
"The monsters," the boss said in mock horror.
"What's monstrous is the minimum wage for food service, boss!"
For the first time, the boss looked up from the pizza dough he was kneading, and looked completely unamused.
Glenn just rolled his eyes as he grabbed the next pizza, and shouted, "I love my job, boss!" as he ran out the door.
The boss shook his head, then punched the pizza dough on the table. "Smart ass," he said.
"Mm!" said the blonde reporter. "Mister Atsan, this pizza is delicious! Great recommendation!"
"You think?" he asked. "It seems to be...missing something," he said with uncertainty.
"Well, if you know a better pizza place, I'd love to know about it!" she said enthusiastically. "This is great."
"Glad you like it," he chuckled, "but please, just call me Atsan; no 'Mister.'"
"Oh! Okay," said the reporter, pushing a dangling piece of cheese into her mouth. "Then your last name is...?"
"Just 'Atsan' will do, Miss Hunch," he said pleasantly.
"Oh, well then," she said with a small laugh, "Call me Iva then."
"Iva it is then," replied Atsan. "A lovely name you don't hear often anymore."
"You say that like you're some old fogie, Atsan, but I doubt we're that far apart in age," she teased.
"You might be surprised," Atsan teased back with a charming smile.
"Mm-hmm," said Iva. "I think I know being buttered up when I see it. So let's get to it. What brings you to Atlanta, Atsan?"
"The large homeless population," he said without hesitation. "As you know, the Atsan Association has been asked to expand beyond our orphanages into other areas where people need help, and we've gladly agreed to do so. I've come to sample the homeless population here, to see how we might best serve them."
"'Sample?'" Iva asked.
"Well, assess might be a more acceptable word," Atsan corrected himself.
The two laughed amiably, and the interview continued over their pizza lunch for another forty-five minutes.
"Well, I really have to get back to the office if I'm going to get this story in early enough for the evening edition," said Iva.
"Perhaps once you're done, I could see you this evening at my hotel? I'm staying at the Four Seasons in the penthouse. I'd love to have you for dinner."
"Something besides pizza?" Iva said, her eyebrow raised.
Atsan smiled back. "Oh, I can't imagine the two could compare."
Seven hours later, Miss Hunch stepped off the penthouse elevator, and was greeted by an empty foyer. Slightly confused, she stepped around the corner to see Atsan standing in the middle of the living room area, watching the news on a big screen television mounted to the south wall. The sound was muted. There were people running in the streets, chased by what looked like other people who were disfigured somehow. There were cars clogging the out-of-town lanes over the bridge, and then there was an explosion- one which she heard outside of the penthouse in the distance.
"What the hell is going on out there?" asked Iva. "I was so into my own story today, and in such a rush to get here, I hadn't checked the wires."
Atsan sighed. "It's what happens when my sampling sessions get interrupted."
Taken aback, Iva said, "Excuse me?"
"I told you I was here to sample the homeless population," answered Atsan. "Usually, that can be done without interference, but someone saw me, yelled for the police, and chased me off. The result is these... monsters," he said with some disgust. "Not quite windigo- just someone infected by a windigo bite, infecting others with their bite, and next thing you know," he sighed, "it's on the news. Damn."
"I-I don't understand," said Iva. "What do you mean 'someone saw you? Yelled for the police? Chased you off?' What do you have to do with-- gasp!" she stopped when Atsan turned around.
Blood ringed Atsan's mouth, and ran down his chin and onto the coat and shirt of his formerly impeccable white suit. "I mean I was in the middle of eating a real meal after that horrid pizza," he said. "Unfortunately, that was interrupted by those who really didn't know better. But then I should have known better really. Never let yourself get too hungry when making important decisions," he said calmly as he walked towards Iva, who was frozen in fear.
"Fortunately, I planned ahead," said Atsan, "and as I said earlier today, I can have you for dinner."
Iva started to scream, but was cut short by Atsan biting into her neck.
|Remember: Votes due by November 20th @11:59pm New York time.|
Thanks for reading! -cb :^D