Discussion in 'Archive' started by A.M.P., Nov 14, 2013.
~ Into The Light ~
"Larry, you getting this?" Desirée Lemieux walked backwards as she spoke to Larry the cameraman. "Poor bastard is just ripped to shreds."
"I think I'm going to gag, Desirée," he said with a squeamish look painted on his face. "What did that to him?"
The corpse, assuming a man by bits of shredded clothes, was torn and painted across the pavement. Guts and blood lacquered the grey cement and still ran in streams. It was a fresh death and one of many nearby.
"I don't know," Desirée said as she stepped over the blood. Even in the thrall of major news she minded keeping blood off her expensive shoes. "Could be some sort of bio weapon."
"No, I've seen these guys running from something. Screaming for everyone to run too." Larry took a quick shot of the bodies ahead of them. They were endless, it seemed, as every step revealed more bodies strewn across.
"A weaponized virus could have made them delusional."
"I don't know man..." he shuddered as stepped over the body. "Why are we alive?"
"Larry, this is our chance for the big leagues." Desirée brushed imaginary dust off her jacket. "This is for the take."
"This is Desirée Lemieux in the center of our town, Petit Bordeaux." Her face became a mask of seriousness. "Reports of gruesome and sudden deaths have been reported since early this afternoon and now the phenomenon seems to have become widespread as bodies line our very streets. No information is available as to what is causing them but it seems to be targeting only those unlucky. Fortunately for this reporter, the effects are but frightening."
"Desirée..." Larry spoke out.
"Larry, we're live," she said between clenched teeth. If Desirée had her way, her boss would not fire her for going on live air without sanction. The chance to report this tragic news was too good and fresh to give someone else the chance to do it first. "Hey, watch it!" A sudden bump against her caused her to veer around but she saw no one. "Larry, did something just hit me?"
"I tried to warn you." Larry pointed beside her. There, a large non-human footprint had appeared in the pavement. "It just popped out of nowhere."
"The hell..." Desirée leaned down to inspect it. She had no breath left to scream with as she turned into red shreds of skin and muscle.
"Holy fuck!" Larry dropped the camera and made a few hesitant steps, his eyes unable to leave Desirée's remains before he made a full run away from the scene.
The camera continued to roll, fallen to the ground and angled a good view of Desirée bottom half. Normally, men would have paid to get such a good view of her but the flowing blood and spilled guts were a sure marker of future nightmares.
A footstep appeared in the pavement, followed by another. They continued to come closer. A low rumble was heard before the camera lens was crushed under an unknown weight and the live feed turned to static.
After a few seconds of grey storm, the face of Jean Jacques, anchorman of PTN, appeared in a transfixed state of shock and terror.
"Jean, revéille-toi" A hushed voice coaxed some life back to the anchorman and a fake smile suddenly painted itself on Jean's face as it snapped to attention at the camera.
"Good citizens of Petit Bordeaux, what you have just witnessed, live here on PTN, is..." A sudden uncharacteristic loss of words, a nervous shaking of the head, and a terror filled expression turned beloved Jean Jacques into a downright mess. "Screw this, Phillip. I can't do this. I gotta get my family out." Jean Jacques left quickly and the channel turned on their 'experiencing difficulties' sign.
This signal was the last news thousands of citizens received in their car TVs as they waited for the road congestion on their way out of town.
The string of colored cars stretched from the every nook and cranny of town as they made way to the open road of the highway. However, it was slow going, with abandoned and damaged cars littering the way.
More every minute, families made their way toward their exit out of town on foot rather than on car. The deaths seemed less frequent far from the center of Petit Bordeaux and that gave them hope. If they could breach the town's perimeter, they fancies a sudden safety and hoped an easy way to friends and relatives would offer themselves to bring them far from this sudden city of horrors.
The city center, however, was increasing its body count and the police were helping those they could evacuate as best they could. The swarm of people was too much for them to handle and those who didn't run were as useful as a trashcan as they pointed people to the direction they were already running in.
The army was making its way forward, a reserve of American soldiers from the south of Maine and with a detachment of Canadian soldiers from the north-west. Borders were set up but did nothing to stop the fleeing citizens and what they needed tanks and guns for was unknown. Perhaps it made some feel safer, maybe it was more for themselves than anything, but no soldier really knew what they were getting themselves into.
Guns, after all, needed a target. They had nothing to shoot at.
Jack of Hearts, however, knew exactly where to point those guns and was thankful for the connections and strings that were pulled to bring the firepower to Petit Bordeaux. He stood out like a sore thumb in red and black motley that seemed to belong to a specialist force. His vantage point at the top of an office building gave him good view and privacy to supervise the unfolding events.
It had been a surprise attack of an unprecedented volume but it took only seconds for him to be issued a private jet to bring him to America.
The situation was far from controlled and most likely anyone remaining in the city in the next hour would die, but it was a necessary sacrifice. Jack tried not to think of it as he waited for further orders. He watched grey tanks line up and men in green camouflage unifrom place artillery that had no target.
The Reflected had attacked Petit Bordeaux and the only ones who could save them could do nothing to stop it.
Nathan Ingram sat at his desk blotting out the pandemonium going on around him. A couple of his colleagues were gathered round a computer watching news footage off of a website. The image of a woman been shredded to pieces seemingly by nothing. He covered his nose trying to reduce the odour of vomit as a woman across from him continued to dry heave after vomiting at the sight of the news footage. It wasn't something you saw everyday and if you did that was the kind of thing reserved for the movies, not for live news.
If he was still at his old job he might be over there with someone, checking they were ok, trying to reassure them. But as it was he was new here, approaching about a month in the job, another nameless face working payroll at a successful accounting firm. His relationship with the employees consisted of knowing their social security number and who still hadn't got round to fully paying off their student loan despite been past 40. Maybe it was the fact he was so much younger than everyone else around here that he hadn't related to them or maybe it was his lack of motivation at the moment, either way it was a mute point at the moment.
He turned his attention back to the computer screen and scrolled through the various news reports he had up.
"Widespread congestion across all roads, people have taken to abandoning their cars."
"Police struggle to regulate the mass evacuation as looting starts to break out."
"Citizens are urged to keep their fire arms holstered after police have shot three civilians."
The local tv news channels may have stopped broadcasting but that didn't seem to stop bloggers from adding their two cents or news websites providing the odd bit of information. There were a lot of strange reports and conspiracy theories but he'd decided to avoid those. It wasn't clear what was going on, only that they were under attack and that threat didn't seem to be passing. He wasn't sure whether the situation was getting worse or whether it was just getting more attention now but either way the idea of getting out of the city seemed warranted. He pulled his pad of paper over and began to scribble notes.
Avoid the roads, waste of time.
Possible Escape: Helicopter (unlikely), Motorbike (don't know how to hotwire, won't resort to mugging), Bicycle, roller skates (join looters? travel via parks where possible?)
People are desperate, avoid crowded areas, maybe safer to travel with larger group?
May need weapon to defend self if order is breaking down.
Staying in building is not safe, no escape, people may become irrational and a threat.
Several employees had already left work fleeing to get their children from school or to check on their elderly relatives. Nathan didn't have any family here to concern himself with, he didn't have anyone to worry about within a 500 mile radius so that at least made his escape plan simpler. He looked out the skyscraper window and tried to survey the area. He was to high up to make out any clear details but from what he could see all roads were gridlocked and a fire seemed to have broken out somewhere near the area where he lived. He'd read something about those events on a site as well. The last police evacuation notice had urged those fleeing to ensure they had turned off anything they were cooking before departing, in the pandemonium a couple of gas fires had sparked off and the fire service were struggling to respond since the city was gridlocked resulting in minor fires getting out of hand.
A quick google search bought up the nearest outdoor recreation shop 4 blocks down from his work. That would be his best bet to find a bicycle and he might be able to get some other useful supplies in the process. He was slightly impressed with his methodical process on identifying what to do especially since so many around him seemed clueless. He rose up and shut down his work laptop slipping it into his rucksack if he could find wi fi around the city it might prove useful if he needed any more information.
Now came the uncertain part of his plan, the unpredictable element that could prove useful or could be highly detrimental. The office didn't have it's usual air of working silence with quiet chatter and the hum of a printer, just panicked conversation and raised voices. He stood up on his desk and addressed those remaining "If anyone else wants to leave I'm going now. I won't stop anywhere for you but I think we might be better off as a group. If you can't cycle or don't have any cardio you won't be able to keep up. I'm heading to Karver Sports Warehouse first."
A couple of heads turned but more went back to their pandemonium, he heard a couple of people whispering about who he thought he was. Still when he reached the elevator he had three other staff with him and as they descended to the streets he informed them on the basics of his plan.
Kylee Nostra huddled in a corner, back against the cold cement wall that ringed the top of the building. The tips of her pen made satisfying scratches against the paper on her notebook, and as she continued drawing she would pause once in a while to eye her work, then put the point to another area that needed some improvement.
The head of a hellish creature took shape, long, irregular fangs jabbing up past its jawline. Some sort of sticky fluid dribbled down from its chin and neck, then from there to the ground. The animal was built similar to that of the common white-tailed deer, but that was where all resemblance ended. It's head was reptilian, connected to the body by means of a serpentine neck. Instead of eyes, it had a mane of writhing antenna. Ribs poked painfully out from beneath leathery black hide, and its legs looked almost too long for it's body, ending in three-toed hooves with a hooked claw in the inside of each fore-hoof. A long, whip-like tail coiled on the ground behind it, and Kylee paused for a moment, considering the benefits, before she added six long spikes to its rump.
There. If he's attacked from behind, he won't exactly be very vulnerable. She mused, as if the creature was even alive. Kylee always took in anatomy and what benefits nature may have given her beasts had they been in reality, and she wasn't too far off the bat as far as she was concerned.
Flipping through her notebook, Kylee examined several other drawings on the fly. A winged creature that resembled a wyvern. A tall, skinny-looking man that anyone else may have immediately called "slenderman", and the plain black silhouette of a girl all flashed past among many others. But though each were similar to something in legend or reality, they were far, far from it. And only Kylee knew their secrets.
The iron door several meters away opened with a creak, and Kylee's eyes widened in alarm. Snatching up her notebook and pocketing it under her jacket, she swung over the edge of the wall and dangled from it by her fingertips. Hopefully they hadn't noticed her -this was the only way she could hide in such an open space. The office building wasn't exactly her favorite hideout, but no one ever came up here, so it was one of the better ones.
Looking down, Kylee' eyebrows drew together in confusion when the noise finally registered. People ran screaming from nearby buildings. Cars jammed the street and the odd window was being shattered as looters broke into stores, chased by beleaguered policeman.
"What on earth...?" she muttered, then pulled herself up and assessed the damage. What could possibly have driven everyone to this insanity?
Even as she watched, the army appeared, driving tanks through and driving over cars, crushing all in their path as they headed toward the epicenter of the city. Something really big was up if even the army was getting involved, and Kylee didn't like it one bit.
I better get out of here before- The ominous click of the safety on a gun being turned off had every hair on Kylee's body standing on end in an instant. Oooohhhh crap. Body coiled and ready to spring, Kylee slowly turned her head just enough to peer out of the corner of her eye at a strange man in red and black. Army -that much she could tell. What division, however, remained to be seen. Her best bet would be to assume he was highly trained and avoid getting in a scuffle.
It would also be to hope that he wasn't about to use her as a practice dummy. Otherwise, she was so dead.
The outside of the financial firm Johnson & Richard was littered with bodies from those that had tried to flee first. The building, was unluckily, in downtown Petit Bordeaux where the danger was at its highest.
However, it hadn't looked so bad, just a moment ago. The elevator ride and walk outside couldn't have been more than two minutes but already the world seemed grimmer than it had just moments ago through the windows of the lofty office room.
The parking lots emptier than they seemed but smashed and abandoned cars blocked the exit. The only other way out of the parking lot was through a steep grassy hill with a lovely wire fence at its peak. The only cars that seemed operable might not make it past that obstacle.
Up the street, a few raging cars revved down the street, heedless of other cars or those on foot. Accidents could be heard in the distance and the honking of horns. These would quickly join in on the ruckus. On the other side of the street, men in army motley were seen erecting barricades and yelling orders. It seemed they had a handle on things and were letting people pass without any hassle.
Scampering shadows jumped from one man to next, doing no visible injury, but no one seemed aware of the creatures amongst them, their guns trained up the street, waiting for the enemy to appear.
Jack of Hearts, pulled pointed his gun toward a young girl that he had not noticed before. For a moment, he gave her a queer look before lowering the barrel.
"Sorry, little lady." He put on a smile, though gun still ready in hand. "I guess we both thought of this as a good spot to hide. You better scamper off, it won't be safe here much longer. If you go down the street, some the little army men will guide you out of the city." He pointed toward the small blockade builders down below.
Helicopters were heard over head, their blades revving through the air, but Jack's eyes turned to the black jet that was making its way toward an hospital landing not far from where they stood. Only a flew blocks down, Marie-Danielle's Hospital had finished evacuating all patients through the air only to be filled by more men in red and grey motley.
"Spotted the weapon, ma'am" Jack put a finger to his ear, the little communique radio whispering back to him. "I've yet to receive a report. I'll be in touch soon," he finished and peered back at the little girl. "Go on, quickly, now."
Fiona Prince stood with her dog's leash wrapped tightly around her hand on the right side of the street, letting the humans barrel past her without consequence. Smoke, the cattle-dog of sorts at the end of the leash, barked worriedly at passerby and at his friend. She surveyed the area in silence, devising a plan that would work for him.
He's too slow to get away by running, she thought, watching as the people stampeded each other in order to move ahead. The police jumped on top of cars to be easily seen, and were shouting orders through bullhorns. One of them, a woman with an obvious Canadian accent, handed the bullhorn to someone else and began firing into the crowd, seemingly at random. Some people were hit, some people stopped moving, but the chaos didn't pause. Fiona looked to her left.
Haaniggan's Bookstore is down there, she thought. We could hide there. Or, there's always that sports equipment store, right? But will Smoke make it there?
She began moving against the crowd, doing her best to not get knocked over. The sounds of panic grew louder as she neared the center-most part of the city, but a new noise came into her earshot as well. Smashing, like that of glass. Fiona pushed people out of her way and began searching for whatever was making that sound. Tanks moved like fat green slugs, first trying to weave in between cars and people, but then deciding to take the car-top approach. The sound of the windows and mirrors smashing were almost inaudible because the sound of metal being crushed took precident.
That's not the sound, though.
There - Haaniggan's Bookstore came into view, but so did a large beast of terrifying size. Its head was large and smokey, almost ghost-y, and swiveled every-which-way, knocking people over. Its teeth tore into the slow ones. Fiona swallowed hard and looked behind her, where the crowd seemed to be going.
I could always go with them, she thought. Smoke barked and began straining at the leash in the direction of the store. Fiona looked back to where the bookstore was and noticed how only a few of the cat-sized creatures stood between her and the shop. And, of course, a few dead bodies. Where did the big thing go?
As if to answer her question, she heard an increase in screams from the right, and she looked across the pandemonium-covered street to see it attacking a tank, along with a few other large beasts. The army-dressed men fired, the bullets hitting one of the creatures but more of the civilians. They could use my help, Fiona thought as she stepped around the tiny creatures. However, they were no longer harmless. They snapped blindly in her direction, a kind of violence she had never seen in them before.
They're changing, she thought with horror.
A loud smash came from beside her, and she turned to see men in red and gray army-like uniforms swinging bats into the first window of the bookstore.
"What are you doing?" Fiona asked, fighting through the crowd to get nearer before they moved on.
However, the men appeared to not hear her question, so they moved onto the glass door, then the other window. Fiona watched in confusion as the men went inside the shop and began smashing all reflective surfaces. Then, a small group of police officers walked into the store from the back room with a trail of supposed tenants who lived in the apartments above. They did their best to walk in a calm line, though she could see how frantic they were. Who wouldn't be?
She fought against the crowd again, moving even farther past the bookstore, until she was sure enough that the men would not come back and force her to evacuate. Here she looked up and thought she saw, for the briefest moment, someone on the rooftop opposite the building she stood by now.
Her head was now spinning with every new thought. Should she help them? Should she hide? Should she follow the people and hope they go somewhere worthwhile? The chaos was wrecking everything she knew about the creatures and had prepared for in case of this very attack. Fiona squinted her eyes at the building's roof and wondered if she could get her bearings up there.
Higher ground looks pretty safe, she thought. And maybe those people up there will be smart enough to help make a plan that works.
She ran into the chaos, blindly, foolishly, but hopefully.
Joe had gone to school, as usual, very early in the morning, before any students had even woken up. He did this to avoid his father at all costs, he didn't care that he got up at four AM and left at five every morning, after a quick breakfast, brushing his teeth, showering, getting dressed, and quickly doing his hair. He got onto his bike, it was pretty old and worn down, he barely managed to afford it a few years back. He arrived at school and pulled out a mystery novel and read outside, waiting for the school to open. Once it was he merely went directly to his homeroom and sat in his normal place in the front.
As the day went on he used his normal routine, take notes, do assignments as they're assigned, and swallow his anger when listening to the vicious lies that had become like his shadow, always following him around, no matter what he does.
Joe saw a bunch of students sitting around a computer watching a video. "Hmph... idiots... what the hell are they watching this time?" He thought, he let his curiosity get the best of him and looked over their shoulders. He watched as a news reporter, the name slipped his mind, was suddenly just... ripped to shreds, the students looked at each other worried, soon I heard everyone beginning to chatter incessantly, buses gathered outside, students calling their parents, parents calling their children, panic ensuing as people began shoving each other out of the way to get to their parents or get on the buses.
But Joe? Joe was completely calm, his phone remained perfectly silent, he didn't have anyone to worry about and he didn't care about his life, so what's a little death to him? "Alright, grab my bike, head home, grab anything I need or I can sell, get the hell out of town, start a new life away from that man." He thought, a simple plan, but that's all he needed.
Joe exited out of one of the side exits and ran to the bike racks, he saw that his bike was the only one left, but he couldn't blame anyone, it was rusty, the paint chipping, the bike's chain looking like even a speck of dust getting stuck in between it would cause it to break, the tires old and worn with a few patches on it to stop the air from escaping, he had dubbed it 'Old Reliable' due to still being able to get him to and from school.
Joe got on the bike and quickly began pedaling toward his home, a few blocks away from the school, it was only five minutes away on bike if he took the main roads, he took the back streets home though, it would add on about ten more minutes, but he knew it would be faster than the main roads at this time, everyone would be trying to get out of town as soon as possible.
She was waiting for this
She hoped for this
If the idea of some magical being or wish granting god were to be real it could even be said that she created this.
While many run away in fear or even in derangement, deep inside her she felt excitement. This apocalyptic like event brought a big change to what until now was a monotone and boring life.
But this wasn’t enough for her, even if she desired for something like this to happen, to die wasn’t a part of her ideas and thus she was also escaping by herself, running through small passages between buildings purposely avoiding big streets as the density of these were something she didn’t want to encounter with.
She also traced her escape route carefully; the idea to take the normal exits of the city was out of question, the clog of these points in the city were practically a death sentence. People were probably all squeezed between the buildings waiting only to serve as food for the “Shredder”. That was the name she used to label this phenomenon and even if it was based only on her conjectures or more precisely a hunch, she firmly grasped to the idea that the Shredder phenomenon would rather target a big mass of people than a single woman running through infrequent routes.
On her back she carried a bag; despite being a girl running away from her city she made sure to carry light weight. The bag contained hermetic sealed food, some light clothing, important documents and money she stole from her home as soon as she understood the situation; it wasn’t a hard task, a dysfunctional family leaded by a retarded family man was easy to fool and this wasn’t the first time she had stolen money from them, neither the first one she run away from home; though this time there was a notorious difference as she stole the most she could; the idea of coming back didn’t exist and all. Instead what predominated was the fantasy of that family being victims of the Shredder phenomenon; this idea brought a light smile to her face and chilling feeling traveled through her body a mix of anxiety, despair and overall excitement.
The girl named Joanne run and run following the route inside her mind, always making sure to avoid crowds, sometimes she even heard gunfire what frightened her, however after studying the situation she realized that she wasn’t precisely close to the gunfire and continued running. She was already reaching one of the entrances to the Sewer Treatment Plant, her escape route, that was close to the hospital near to a crowd in another avenue, after that she would had just to figure the underground route, but she would had her escape assured. Her legs were already tired however she didn’t paid attention to them, the influx of adrenaline and her own excitement drove her, her escape route was only a few more squares ahead, yet still she stopped. Why did Joanne stopped running when she was close to her objective? That could not be described on a different way than another hunch, an ominous foreshadowing, something that made no sense on logic yet only on the consciousness…. And she wasn’t wrong.
Born from nothing suddenly a hole appeared in the pavement in front of her, not a big hole but easily covering a diameter of 50 cm, still the true bizarreness of the hole resided on its nature. It wasn’t empty, it was filled with debris of pavement and ground and still it appeared in just an instant defying any common sense that the mind of Joanne obeyed. Time seemed to froze for an instant, just seconds that felt eternal for the girl, and in those eternal seconds her brain made the connection. Joanne Bernardus encountered the Shredder phenomenon…. Her conjectures were wrong, all her escape was wrong… and her feelings were wrong too. The excitement, the unnatural joy were quickly torn into pieces and being replaced by a fear, a more horrific fear than anything she had felt before, it wasn’t only the fear to the death, but also the fear to the unknown, to the bizarre. Her muscles tensed while she cried a silent scream that her body didn’t allow to exist. Two options were born in the span of seconds, to stay quiet and to run away and luckily her body obeyed the second one.
Joanne sprinted as hard as she could once again ignoring the pain of her legs that cried for a rest, she sprinted, even without knowing if something was actually pursuing her or not. Where shall she run to? Where could she hid? All these thoughts appeared on her mind but were discarded in favor of a basic instinct, as thus she run to the close avenue filled with the crowd of people trying to escape from the city. She forced herself into the crowd crashing against the scared and stressed people that spat curses at her; she immersed within the crowd trying to use it as a wall and only when she thought she was safe she stopped and hung to her knees desperately trying to recover he breath. On that moment all the pain that she forced onto her legs was repaid to him and she almost fell but managed to remain her stance, letting herself to fall to the ground was asking for all the crowd to stomp over her.
The girl for a moment felt relieved as she was “safe”, however fate was willing to destroy that relief. A sudden scream called her sense and what she saw was the terrified people on the periphery of the crowd. Something fell to the floor, a shredded body, this translated into the derangement of the crowd more people screamed, something cried and many run away mobilizing the group in a very disordered way trying to get away from the spot as soon as possible. For the girl it was the same, she understood it, the Shredder phenomenon followed her and choose another person as its victim, she had to run away but her legs this time refused to obey hear and once again Joanne faced fear.
"Silence that damned woman," Lenora shouted from atop an army tank she commandeered. A breath later, through the noise of her gunshots, the Canadian policewoman dropped dead. "Report on Fingerknives." She put a finger to her earpiece.
"It's Scissorhand, ma'am. Like Edward Scissorhands," the officer buzzed back into her ear.
"Alright, have you a twenty on Sharp McPointyhands?" she asked once more but with a zest of anger.
"Affirmative, near the landing site at the hospital. Shall we move to intercept?"
"Negative, let the tardy clean him up. Reflections?"
"All neutralized as fast as possible. The problem has not reached the far ends of the city, we're having some resistance."
"Continue as ordered, Saint-Therese will take care of that."
"Affirmative." The voice cut communications.
"You," she pointed to the solider at her back, not one of hers but of the American army. "What is an Edward Scissorhands?"
"It's a movie, ma'am. Quite popular," he replied, never taking his eyes off the road even though he saw nothing.
"Oh." Lenora observed the Reflected scurrying on the streets, sides of buildings, and some even in the air, but they were normal. Feeding frenziedly, but not violent. They didn't bear the mark.
"Entire street has been cleared, ma'am. We're moving deeper." She nodded her approval and her regiment of red and grey army men moved out at full speed to take care of the next street. God, why is everything these days so damned reflective. It's like a sick joke. Or a conspiracy. She didn't let her mind wonder further than that. She had work to do.
"That building, it's practically all glass," she yelled down the hatch. Blow it up!"
Without pause, the tank's cannon veered 90 degrees and for two heartbeats did nothing. Then, the fire bellowed out the nuzzle. Glass was heard shattering and walls rumbled down. Besides the civilians and the American army men, no one even bothered to look.
Dammit, this is too slow. We're maybe a bit over a thousand but to safeguard an entire city, we just don't have the manpower.
"You bitch!" a man's voice broke out in her ear. "I was up there!"
"Have you located him?" she didn't have time to play with Jack.
"There's something wrong," Jack grunted, as if he hit something hard. "I can't see any clear leader. The big guys are smack in the middle of the city, not far from the hospital."
"Where all the banks are."
"Yeah, the junction right there is the perfect center. But, no big mean daddy that I can see. All branded too."
"Can we take them out?" A hint of worry escaped her.
"The weapon couldn't take them out if he wanted too." He sighed. "I saw no sins but the biggest and baddest are all there. They must be controlling the smaller ones."
"Sorry to interrupt, sir, ma'am." another voice broke in. "We tried to secure the south as ordered but..."
"Therese is on it," Lenora growled.
"No, that's not it, ma'am." He hesitated a moment. "The Reflected, they're collecting the glass."
"What?" Jack breathed out. "Picking it up, and taking it with them?"
"Yes, sir. We try to stop them but they're endless."
"Slow them down, soldier." Jack said and the comuniquee died.
"Shit." Lenora cursed. "Full steam ahead, boys, brass will want all the fire power we can give them."
"What about the reflections?"
"Fuck it! We got bigger issues now."
"Citizens of Petit Bordeaux," a voice with a french accent burst into the air. It was terse and emotionless. Overhead, Lenora caught a blimp airing the message she had been expecting. "I am General Saint Thérèse-Marie and I implore you to follow any requests given by my men in the red and grey uniforms. Your safety is our primary concern. However, we need your help. We ask every citizen still at home or anywhere near a reflective surface to smash it. If it's water, spill paint, oil, anything that will stop it from reflecting. Mirrors, silverware, plastics, are all things cause reflections. If you do this, you will be helping to stop the massacre that is happening in your own home."
I bet she hates being on live news right now. Hopefully the techs can keep any of this from going on the internet, Lenora thought.
"Ma'am, we're here," her driver shouted.
Alongside her, she saw bank after bank. This was where Jack had told her the town center was and for a moment, she said her farewell to the world knowing there was no chance of this having a happy ending for her. She was a soldier, and she did her duty to the end.
"Citizens of Petit Bordeaux," the message replayed in the air, on TV, and the radio which Joe Bergin Sr. promptly turned off. He wasn't about to stop and smash because some woman on the radio told him to.
The first reports appeared a bit before noon and his office had been abuzz with the news. It only took him a moment of reading the article, and seeing the videos caught on a camera phone, that this was no prank. He finished up his business immediately and left for home. The streets had been still clear then and packing his belongings, valuables, and papers, took no more than an hour and a fraction to pack for his son.
On the move once more, it was a slightly past noon, and the streets that had been empty moments before were jam packed and gunshots, yells, and growls permuted the air. He had the jump on things and a sense of self-satisfaction washed over him.
Taking the smaller roads in the back of alleys and homes, he found the way clear enough to make a haphazard route through the town. His son's school wasn't far but the route he was taking easily added time to the usual trip.
If he continued north-west, he would hit the school and drive just shy of the city center. The events had first started there and he expected everyone to have already fled. It was the far side of town that would be an issue. He didn't plan to drive all the way out, the exits were most likely blocked, and the suitcases were light and packed smartly, if it came down it he and Joe Jr. would walk.
Up ahead, he saw something thin approaching him, quickly. The road was long and narrow, too narrow for either to give way.
Fuck it. He sped up a little, now seeing it was a biker and giving him a chance to flee before he ran him over. Piece of shit bike too... shit! Joe Sr. slowed down as he realized it was his son, most likely running back home to safety.
A small glimmer of pride welled within him, something he rarely felt for his useless son. Perhaps he had acquired some of his smarts after all.
"Joe," he called out when he pulled to a stop. "Get in, I packed our things. Quick, dammit."
His son seemed to hesitate a moment but eventually left his bike and hopped into the front seat.
"Where are we going, dad?"
"South-east, toward the farmlands. Those roads lead to shit-nowhere so they're most likely wide open. It's a narrow path to get there, though, we'll have to be careful not to get caught in this mess on our way." He put some speed into the car, heedlessly running over his son's bike.
The houses grew as they rode from street to street, but Joe Sr. knew the area well. Three streets down was the hospital and he had to avoid that all- OH, SHIT!
Joe Sr. veered in the one direction he did not want to head toward. Men in the red and grey uniformed the woman on the radio had mentioned were shooting wildly into houses and thin air. They had tanks, mortars, and were quickly making their way up north from the south.
"Fucking, lying, terrorist bitch!" He flipped the radio on.
" -General Saint Thérèse-Marie and I implore you to follow any requests given by my men in the red and grey uniforms." He switched it off again. "You hear that woman? She's a liar! Fuck!"
The hospital came into full view and so did a huge crowd of people as they ran in every direction. This area was supposed to be mostly cleared, what's with the crowd? Joe Sr. had not expected this. He also did not expect the sudden spray of blood splatter his windshield.
"The hell?" He opened the door and peered out. Men and women were being torn apart, a young woman trembling and transfixed toward something invisible. Somehow, the crowd seemed to be being torn apart in a bee line toward her. "We gotta go on foot, go through the crowd, stay away from the bodies. Grab two suitcases." Joe Sr. ordered as he made his way out of the car, two suitcases in hand.
He made sure he stayed well clear from the path of blood leading toward that girl. He didn't know what the hell was happening but he knew to stay the hell away.
Jostling through the crowd, he heard screams, but they were different. They were angry and he doubted any human could have made those. The crowd moved back, slowly, as if unsure of what to do next.
"What is that thing?" someone called out.
"It's not human, holy shit!" another, younger, voice shouted.
Through the opening in the crowd, a wide berth was given to where the frightened girl had stood. She was splattered in blood, a corpse at her feet, but that was not what had shocked the crowd from panic to unease.
In front of the girl, something resembling a man, strained to keep an invisible weight from crushing him two arms raised. The face was human but the eyes were smoke. Brown hair, pierced ears, a bare muscled chest, arms covered in a thick purple plate that seemed to grow out of his skin. His legs were the same, only a red cloth covering where his groin should be.
"Demon!" Another shout.
"It's the devil come to claim us!" a hysterical woman joined in.
With a powerful scream, the demon man seemingly pushed back whatever he was struggling against him and jumped away from the girl, his eyes seemingly fixed on whatever he saw.
"Get out of here, girl." His voice was like a boom box. "Or I'll kill you next." This followed a series of maniacal laughs as he exchanged blows with his claw like fingers and whatever it was that he was fighting.
"Joe," Joe Jr. grabbed his arm. "Let's the fuck out of here." He proceeded through through the watching crowd, knowing this was his best chance to get him and his son out.
Nathan stepped out of the elevator and gritted his teeth at the sight in front of him. 10 seconds into his plan and already it was coming unhinged. Outside several employees lay shredded outside their blood splattered across the revolving doors windows. Something had been waiting for them to leave. That route was out of the question. He exited the elevator and walked over to the concierge desk and clambered over the top of it and found the CCTV feed. He couldn't see anything lethal outside but then none of the official reports had identified what was doing this.
He turned his attention to the feeds focusing on the underground parking lot and found what he wanted. He couldn't spot any bodies there but the quality was grainy and it didn't explain why cars blocked the entrance, still that was an obstacle that could be bypassed he thought. He heard the ding of an elevator and turned to see a group from another floor exit and start running to the exit heedless of the bodies. He watched silently as they barreled through the revolving doors and sprinted down the pavement. The woman at the back tripped and fell then seemed to slide backwards across the floor about five metres before their torso was lacerated.
One of Nathan's group decided to speak up "Fuck this I'm not going out there, your on your own. Your not honestly going to go out there after that are you Steph?" The woman shook her head and edged back into the elevator followed by the rest of the group he had led down with him. So much for an entourage. They didn't wait for him the lift doors slid shut again and he was left alone. There wasn't much left of the woman that had been attacked outside and he didn't fancy finding out whether whatever the threat was could get into the building.
He sprinted to the stairs and took them three at a time as he descended and paused at the bottom edging the fire door open peering outside. The first exit ramp had two cars that had smashed into each other seemingly in their rush to escape. He took a deep breath and began to sprint again barely breaking pace as he jumped onto the bonnet of the car blocking the exiting and then jumping off the other side and coming out into the open. He kept his eyes forward as he sped down the pavement, he had a couple of seconds notice as he heard a car screeching behind him, the horn blaring. The road was blocked so that meant... he shot a glance behind and then threw himself into the road as a smart car shot along the pavement he had been on only two seconds ago. This was not going to be an easy four blocks. He cursed his decision to wear his favourite black polo shirt this morning as he rubbed his grazed arms that had been torn up by rolling across the road. Still better that than roadkill.
He pushed himself back to his feet and kept to the road side of the pavement banking on the fact that the occasional tree and bin positioned along it would act as a deterrent for any other cars that tried to take the pavement and get to close to him.
"Run along? Little army men? Listen bub, I'm not-" Kylee's words cut short when a resounding bang shook the building. Glass shattered, and the girl lurched back, clinging to the wall for dear life as she dangled over the edge and watched as cement cracked, steel groaned, and the whole framework began to give way.
Oh fuck me! I'm outta here! Face white as marble, she swung back onto the roof and bolted for the other side of the building, spying a fire escape on the next apartment complex. Well, it was either do or die, right?
Before she could think twice, Kylee bunched up her legs beneath her and sprang like a cat for the iron rails of the fire escape. Her hands grasped the topmost rail, and she sighed in relief.
But then she slipped.
Kylee would have fallen all the way to the ground had her leg not snagged on another rung. She screamed in pain as her knee was jerked out of it's socket and her back slammed against metal, and she looked down, stunned for a brief moment to comprehend that she was hanging a good thirty stories above the ground. Panic filled her, and her heart thumped a rapid staccato in her throat.
No! Don't look down, just get up! Get up! Mom chose to let you live, so don't you dare die! Biting her lower lip against tears, Kylee grasped the railing and pulled herself up, un-jamming her injured leg just in time to see the guy in red and black jump for the fire escape as well before the remains of the office building crumbled. He had more luck, however, and crashed chest-first into the side railing, grappling for the bars. Kylee yanked him over as a plume of grey dust shot up into the air and a resounding boom shook the ground again. But this time it was just the front of the office building collapsing -not another tank being fired thank God.
Panting, Kylee tumbled to the floor, the man follwing suit. She didn't even pay attention much to what the guy was saying into his little walkee-talkee thing, except for the fact that he was royally pissed.
"You bitch!" he yelled into the comm. "I was up there!"
"There's something wrong," Jack grunted. "I can't see any clear leader. The big guys are smack in the middle of the city, not far from the hospital."
"Yeah, the junction right there is the perfect center. But, no big mean daddy that I can see. All branded too."
"The weapon couldn't take them out if he wanted too." He sighed. "I saw no sins but the biggest and baddest are all there. They must be controlling the smaller ones."
"What mojo are you taking?" Kylee stammered, giving the guy a wide-eyed look just as he shut the comm off. Then she forced herself to calm down, "Is this some kind of terrorist attack or something? What do you mean by 'big ones' and 'small ones'? Is that some kind of code? Cuz at this rate, terrorists must be getting stupider by the day. An open attack? Come on even i could think of something better than that if you wanted to kill people!" Her knee decided to twinge then and Kylee winced, clutching at the injured joint. Her leg was bent at a wrong angle, and was already swelling. If she didn't get it fixed soon, she was so screwed.
Owen sauntered through the mud. Thunder rolled over the hills that separated Petit Bordeaux from the rural areas. Urban folks rarely payed heed to Petit Bordeaux Dernier, and he liked it that way. If the mud and shit didn’t gross them out, the two bulls they had on stable would certainly turn their tails back to their Chevrolets and Bugatis. City folk were all pompous within the comfort of their cushioned lives.
Still, he was unsettled by the thunder. He gazed up every so often. The sky was nearly cloudless. Puzzled, Owen stepped through the door of their large, two-floor house. He scraped of his boots with his heels and entered the kitchen, hardly noticing the mess his dad was making.
“I’ve fed the piglets and-“
“Owen!” Papa came storming towards him. Martín Costa was a small Hispanic, more broad than tall and his tanned skin gleamed with sweat, either from hard work or the hot chili sauce he put on every dish. But this time it was different. His father wasn't smiling, or joking, or even crying over mum. Whats going on?
Owen grunted when his papa embraced him. “Chico! There you are!”
“You won the lottery?”
The fearful expression on Martín’s face objected. Owen untangled himself from his father’s embrace, “what’s wrong?”
“There’s no time, it’s all over the news. We must go, now!”
“Go? Whereto? What’s going on?” Fear began to seep into his bones, he’d never seen his father so worried before.
“I’ll explain later. We need to leave chico. Pack one bag of clothes and get ‘rusty’ from the attic.”
The Mexican-Spaniard danced around the kitchen, stuffing cans of food and bottles of water in a bulky backpack. What had been an unsuspecting afternoon turned into a fearful frenzy. “Santa María, ten piedad de nosotros,” Owen heard his father mutter as he rushed towards his room. He mirrored the prayer in silence.
He kicked the door open and began digging through the messy pile of his belongings. One minute passed, he was still short on t-shirts. The second minute went by, Papa was still scurrying through the kitchen. With his heart tick-tocking twice as fast as the clock on the wall, Owen tossed his two best pants, some shirts, sweaters and a few pair of socks in his schoolbag.
Math homework was replaced by some undies and his notes on history had to make way for hisfavourite book: Magic for Dummies.
After seven minutes he hurried downstairs, skipped the last six steps, nearly crushed his kneecaps on the tiled floor below and rushed into the kitchen.
“When will we be back?”
Martín swatted the question away with his hand, “I don’t know.” He turned towards his son, eyes wild, as if some creature had taken him over. “Where's rusty?”
Owen cursed under his breath, stormed up the stairs again and soon return with a sawed-off shotgun and a package of rounds to match. “Here,” he breathed as he put the gun on the kitchen table.
“Get all of this into the car, I just need a few more things…Quickly!”
Perhaps his father hadn't payed his bills and an army of bulldozers was about to bring the place down, or perhaps he'd gotten into trouble with some locals, or perhaps Pedro had gambled all his money away again or....
Owen cut off his thoughts, jumped into his boots and ran three times to the car, and back to the house again. Throwing all the hastily packed bags into the trunk. He watched in amazement as his father came running from the barn, axe, pitchfork and other blunt tools in hand. Before he could ask what it all was for, Martín had thossed them into the trunk. "Get in."
The engine of their rusty, chipped, family car came to live with a coughing fit. The second-hand car slipped through the mud, across their lawn and towards the fence that shielded their land.
“Jimmy! We forgot Jimmy!” Owen cried. He swung the door open, forcing Martín to a hold, and jumped out.
“Owen!” Martín hurried after the black-haired teen. He knew how important the dog was to his son, but they couldn’t permit themselves to be delayed.
With a barrage of barks, Owen’s only friend came rushing towards him and nearly knocked him over. The brown-and-black sheep dog wagged his tail excitedly.
“Owen! We need to leave! Now!”
Then it happened. A low, thunderous boom swept over the land, like a gust of wind. There no visible source, but it definitely came from the city, as if something very big had set foot in its center. Earthquake, Owen thought. Seconds later, the air was rented by a set of city-bound helicopters. Military helicopters.
With Jimmy close behind, Owen jumped into the car and let the dog take his seat in the back, atop the two-handed axe Papa had put there.
He brushed the sweat of his brow, his red, woolen jumper was much too hot, and he pulled it over his head.
“What’s going on?”
Martín steered the car onto the road and put on the brakes. His fiery haste was replaced by a tired look, as if he didn’t quite know whether to turn left or right.
“There’s been a terrorist attack. Chingao!” He slammed the horn with his fists. Owen retreated deeper into his seat, eyes wide with fear. Papa was never like this.
“What terrorists? Where? Here? In the city?”
“People have died, chico. The army is moving in, which means we need to get out,” Papa said as he steered the car around a set of trees, onto the main road.
“But- when will we be back? What’ll become of the cows and the chickens and the pigs and the-,“ Owen’s voice broke as the turn in the road revealed the towers of smoke that rose from Petit Bordeaux. He pressed his nose against the glass. There was no sign of understanding in his glazy, dreamy eyes which he kept trained on the smoldering city.
“We should help,” Owen muttered.
The concept of time which was key in the escape plan was now an irrelevant idea.
The act of scream in fear felt ridiculous and an impossibility
The natural breathing of the body was no possible; the lungs were refusing to act
Covered by blood the girl was witness of the true nature of the bizarre Shredder Phenomenon right in from of her, what she saw couldn’t be comprehend by the common human understanding, she would had run if her mind were to be able to process that order, she would had screamed if her breathing weren’t to had suddenly stopped out of the shock. Just an instant, yet it was enough for all the logic she always obeyed to broke into pieces and fall apart.
Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? Thought the girl while unconsciously scratching her left eye as a gush of air pressed it, yet these eyes didn’t blinked at all, her focus on the event was absolute. This because of what materialized in front of her.
A giant creature was of a pitch-black with a very unorthodox form composed of a cylindrical body; from the center potion four ethereal like appendage protruded and ended in what resembled big feet on its lower part and on its upper on what was clearly a hand designed solely to shred as it was composed by giant and sharp claws. Yet what terrified Joanne more was the bizarre head of the creature, it was junction to the cylinder via big nodes or balls and it was shaped like a very deformed skull, something straight taken out of a horror novel, or perhaps from a cemetery of mythical creatures. In the instant that Joanne’s body was completely stopped from the fear, its mind quickly gave a nickname to the physical maniphestation of what she called the Shredder Phenomenon and she appropriately called it the Shredder Devil.
And against the “Shredder devil”, a tall and demon like figure stood, a big man with an outstanding physique that caught the “hands” of the Shredder Devil. Even if what the man was doing was no more than an incredible physical feat, Joanne caught a feeling of pressure, something that was frightening her deeply being emanated just by the contact of the shredder devil with the demon man.
And she would had stay focused in shock like that if it weren’t by the words of the demon man
"Get out of here, girl." His voice was like a boom box. "Or I'll kill you next."
These words brought Joanne to the reality of her unnatural situation, she was in the line to be killed, no more likely she was what the Shredder Devil wanted to kill. The man fiercely begun to fight against the devil in such a way that could only be pictured in fiction. Joanne tried to stood up yet her tired legs refused to obey her and at most she could crawl backwards; only in that moment she noticed her body covered in crimson fluid…. A reddish wine, a mix of the blood of all the citizens that were shredded due to her foolish idea, and once again she fell into the bizarre fear, however this time her lungs decided to obey her…
“A..aha..AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Screamed the girl finally, the stress generated by her cry triggered a command to release a new influx of adrenaline into her body allowing her to stand up again and run as hard as she could.
Her only thought in minds were a desperate attempt to find a logic explanation for the event and the idea to run away from it as far as she could, and this last one was superior.
"Smart girl." Jack flashed her a smile before turning to watch the ruined building that had nearly buried them. "Lenora is a real bitch, redundant I know, but it needs saying."
His vantage point lost, he tapped his ear.
"How's he doing?" he asked.
"Scissorhands has been engaged," Marie-Therese answered. "Lenora has engaged at the epicenter, we are to relieve her immediately. The city is lost, our priority is to learn why this happened and to find out what the white sun is about."
"Yes, general." Jack ended the conversation. "Nice jumping skills, even I barely made it," he gestured toward the girl. Looking down under the fire escape, the street was littered with bodies but the crowds had dissipated and the army moved on aside from those American soldiers manning the barricades. "I'm sure you can get down yourself, girl, but where to? Too smart to run, I bet, or you would have run by now. Look, if you follow me, try to stay within arm's reach and not skulk, alright? It'll be easier to save you."
He came close to the girl, "Oh, one more thing." He placed his thumb and forefinger on her chin and blew hard into her eye. "Quick now, to your left." Without waiting for the girl, Jack began to climb down the iron stairs back to the ground, heading toward center of town.
Overhead, so far it scraped the clouds, a twinkling of small lights began to float upward and upward until it joined together. It was small thing but when the sun hit it just right, it sparkled like a star. A pretty sight, but went unnoticed by most, their eyes on the ground as they ran or fought the Reflected.
General Saint Marie-Therese had her sword drawn, the edge carefully resting against the Adam's apple of a young girl that had burst into the hospital.
"General, please, she is just a girl trying to escape." Joy begged as she moved to comfort the girl.
"My priestess, please do not approach those we do not know," the general replied, her sword remaining steadily against the girl's neck. "Any of them could be a danger."
"You're no danger to me, are you?" the priestess asked, a soft smile on her lips.
Unbeknownst to them, the city was clearing of citizens who still could run. Those who had remained near the center finally cleared from the central area of the city and now covered the farther reaches, and clogging the exits even more than they had before. A few stragglers remained, the American and Canadian army, and the red and grey men as well.
All the while, pretty glints of light continued to gather over the center of town.
She should have known luck would turn against her - a supposed duo of people smart enough to think of high ground? Only in Fiona's dreams.
Halfway through the swarm of bodies and demons the building began to shake with terribly forceful tremors. Holy shit, she thought, or said out loud, though it was hard for even her to know in the ruckus that had become of her city. The crowd's screams grew more and more shrill as they noticed the inevitable collapse. It's gonna fall.
She turned around and pushed against the people, trying to get behind one of the cars nearest the other side of the street before it blew. Apparently, a few had the same idea, and so she had to squeeze in between them, shouting about how everyone should stay down. Fiona tried pulling the dog closer, so he, too, would be safe, but he managed to wriggle out of his collar. She watched in horror as he bolted away without looking back, disappearing almost instantly from view as he entered the sea.
"Smoke!" she screamed, but her screams blended with those of the crowd, making her look quite comical.
In one quick shatter, the building and its structure fell - she knew that much. Her heart soared in her ribcage as the ground shook with shattering motions that scared her half to death - in fact, for a brief second before the ringing, she heard nothing and feared her life had ended. Tinnitus, she thought wearily, falling forward from the pressure. Fiona put her hands out to protect her face, but they scraped too far in front of her and the glass that littered the streets cut her all the way up her arm. She bit her lip in pain and let a few tears fall before pushing herself up. I have to keep going. I'm not gonna let those things kill me. I have to find Smoke, too.
Upon standing upright, she turned around and saw a thing like that of the beast which had attacked the tank. Its eyes glowed and its head looked even larger than her dog's, something she had begun to think as impossible. The creature began making its way over to her, jumping and attacking people in the process. Fiona tore her eyes away from it and tried to run away, but the crowd knocked her over many times due to her newly ruined sense of balance. Don't look back. It'll know.
As she stumbled over some bodies, her brain began to freeze. It was a feeling she knew quite well, a feeling of shock and anger, like that of when she first saw the horrific beasts. In fact, their mere image had made her hair go white, something she hoped would not happen again. She did not need white eyelashes, thank you very much.
The countless number of bodies and ghost-y creatures made her dizzy. No, she thought vehemently. I'm not going to die, dammit. Just a little more.
A snapping of sorts came from behind her, like jaws being opened and closed at a very quick rate. She heard gunfire and words - die, fuckers - but they were wrapped in a haze that circled around her head, echoing. Suddenly, everything seemed to move in slow motion, from her own movements to those of the people around her. She tasted dirt and clay on her tongue, along with a metallic-like thing. Probably blood, though she had no way of knowing.
Get up, she thought she heard someone say. She felt hands on her arms, then a certain airiness, like she was being lifted. Just as her vision began to fade, she also felt a sharp slap on her cheek.
"The hell?" she shouted, waving her arms about, hands balled into fists. "You're so freaking dead!"
"We have to run," the man who picked her up said. "There's a hospital just around the corner."
"I know that. Get off me."
"You need help to walk."
"I don't need help."
The man, a middle-aged farmer by the looks of his beard and choice of clothes, let go of her and shrugged. The crowd did not wait for the two, though, and she was soon shoved to the ground. A hand reached down, probably from the farmer guy, but Fiona did not accept it. Instead, she began screaming at herself internally - I have to do this! I have to do this! I have to get out of here and find a way home! - and forced another shot of adrenaline through her veins.
Her legs moved like those of a jaguar did, carrying her out of the street and back on top of the cars, now all covered in glass. She could hear the snapping behind her and knew if she didn't find a place to hide, or someone who could see them - that's likely - she would die. Smoke would die, too, if he's not already dead.
What do I really have to live for, anyway? I have this shitty ability. Might as well use it.
She turned abruptly, too abruptly for the things, and kicked at them. However, her foot went through them, and she fell, as though caught in a bear trap. The creatures soon formed a kind of blanket over her as they began scratching and ripping.
No. I can't be going out like this. Not like this. Smoke's gone. He's probably dead. But he might not be, right? Maybe I'm not so alone. I should hope. Yeah, he's too smart to have died!
Her heart swelled with the thought of the one thing that had ever listened to her was, truly, alive. There was always the possibility, she figured, and swung at the things again, filled with a sense of purpose: if she could save her only friend, she could at least save something from dying. This time, she managed to hit the beast, knocking it over, and she fought back, torn and bloody and maybe even half-dead.
The things soon split into two groups: 'unharmed' and 'harmed'; the 'unharmed' moved like smoke around her and jumped onto her back as she tried to stand while the others laid limp on the roof of the car. Fiona's arms burned with the scratches and her stomach ached with the same kinds of wounds but she did not hesitate to reach down, pick up multiple shards of glass, and fall backwards on the things, crushing them enough to keep them down, then twisting, slicing where a human's jugular would be. Die! she thought, as her voice was too busy screaming off insanities and curses. I'm not gonna let another die because of me!
The few she had managed to harm were soon falling on top of her, crying out in wails that made her head hurt. The ringing got louder as their mouths neared her throat, but with a stubborn shout she punched where their stomachs would be.
"I'm alive!" she screamed, with a bit of hope for herself, the people around.
Fiona's struggle had given her a few more bruises, though they did not hurt as much as the cuts did, which wound up her stomach, around her sides, the backs of her legs, the fronts of her legs. Her fight also earned her a small area of breathing room, as the crowd must have noticed her fighting something, visible or not. She stood up and held her arms out in front of her, eying the wounds on her forearms and wrists, shock refusing to help numb the sting. While the glass hadn't punctured any veins, it had made her bleed quite a bit, which was now evident as it glowed in red smears all along her arms.
Infected? she questioned herself, trying to brush as much rubble and dirt from the scratches as possible. She winced as her fingers made contact with her flesh. I wonder. I should try to find first-aid. I don't have any at home.
Then, as if another Fiona Prince was thinking for her, You should worry about the dog first. You're so selfish. First you don't tell the cops you can see the things, now you're letting your only friend die? Alone?
No, Fiona thought in reply. He's smart enough to remember the training.
Or, at least, she hoped he was, because this time, she had to fix herself up. She looked down at the bodies of the things she killed and then at the now very scarce crowd of humans. Larger versions were still killing the slow ones off, and she pictured herself becoming one of those slow-pokes. She looked back to the building that was almost too far to see in full, and began laughing manically.
It wasn't out of happiness, though, but more or less realizing that she is now completely alone unless she did something to find her dog. She had never had another thing's life depending on hers quite as much as now.
Fiona turned away from the building and headed back into the flock of people, running and acting like frightened children. I dropped his leash. He's not good without it.
A howling started up somewhere, almost as quiet as her footsteps, but she heard it, and knew it well.
He's moving with the crowd. A smile formed on her lips. Looks I will be, too.
A long blade was being aimed to Joanna's neck who foolishly thought that the hospital was the best place to hid from the Shredder Devil and the demon man.
From the frying pan into the fire?..... thought the girl for an instant yet strangely what she felt was relief, the fact that a person was aiming a blade to her neck relieved her... No more likely from the fire I jumped into the frying pan.
Any other person would had freak out at this situation, desperately screaming for help, yet for Joanne the only thing that mattered it was that she could comprehend this event with the normal human logic, this could be defined by her standards. A militar woman with a stern look on her face was threatening her with a blade.... A sword? thought Joanna, how old fashioned... even archaic....
But this wasn't a time to be thinking into how weird is for a person to wield a sword on this era. Even if not the Shredder Devil, her life was still in danger, luckily for her, the woman was something she could try to reason with.
"D...don't cut me please..." mumbled with a nervous tone.... "I..I just want to hid from that thing...." continued trying to fix her eyes into the woman's eyes and not the large metallic object... "I saw.. I saw the Shredder... that thing... it made no sense... I had... never seen something like that before.... I know it sounds ridiculous but I saw that thing, it was big and bl..black and had giant claws and something like an skull over its neck!!" said quickly describing the nature of the Shredder Devil, only then she realized that tears were welling up her eyes. After all the fear hadn't disappeared not a single bit.
"You're no danger to me, are you?"
What kind of question was that?, was this person conscious of the armaggedon that's going on the city?
"H..how can I be a danger?... There are big monster out there shredding people and you ask me if I'm a danger?...!!" replied Joanne, all her composture already lost.
.... And to think that I thought this was the exciting unexpected event I was hoping for....
Joe had been staring at the ground throughout most of the car ride there, feeling an overwhelming sense of despair. His chance to escape and start somewhere new... gone, in the matter of a few minutes... "Dammit, I should have known the bastard would run home the second he smelled some kind of trouble." Joe thought, he had began thinking about smashing his head in with something or maybe stabbing him with something sharp... he was pulled out of his thoughts when the car suddenly veered off to the side. "Well maybe she knows what she's talking about." Joe mumbled under his breath, his eyes widened slightly when he saw the blood splattering against the window. "...Damn, those invisible things..." He mumbled under his breath, he remembered the video, the footprints left on the pavement from nothing, eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth, a pathogen or a bio weapon wouldn't be able to do something like this, it wouldn't center itself at one place, with the evidence of the footprints appearing from nowhere and people being torn to shreds left one answer, something invisible must be attacking everyone.
Joe turned around and grabbed two suitcases. "If only I had gotten home before he did... I could have my things, the valuables, protection, and would have already have been halfway out of the city by now..." Joe thought, he remembered something that his grandfather had left him, a very valuable katana, at that time, his grandfather had began losing touch with reality, though he probably just remembered that Joe had an interest with swords and anime at the time, so he took it as a gift idea. Joe's mother was against the idea completely, since he was just a little boy back then, she took it and put it away until he was older. Joe's grandfather died later that month, it was the only thing that he had from him besides some birthday cards that he had thrown out after reading them and taking the usual cash that was inside. Joe's mother never gave him that katana back, she had also met her untimely death later that year, but Joe eventually found it hidden in an old chest filled with his mother's things down in the basement. After a hard day, which had been most if not all days, he'd go down to the basement and practice using it on old empty cardboard boxes, pretending them to be people he hated. Having a weapon at that point would've probably have been a good idea, either to deal with possible assailants or whatever those things were...
Joe chased after his father, doing his best to avoid panicking people. "These idiots are going to slow me down and end up killing me." Joe thought annoyed as he kept maneuvering through the crowd, trying to keep up with his father... he barely registered the demonic looking man as he continued.
"Oh, one more thing." He placed his thumb and forefinger on her chin and blew hard into her eye. "Quick now, to your left."
Kylee struggled not to flinch when he touched her, but did as she was told. Then stiffened in shock.
"Oh. My. God." Now she knew what that guy had been talking about.
A small creature with transparent pink skin clung to the railing no three feet from her, starting at Kylee with bulbous yellow eyes. Black smoke swirled about inside it, and the creature let out an odd squeak before jumping to the floor and scurrying towards her on four awkward legs.
Anyone else would have run screaming, but Kylee just stared at it and, rather than flinch away, held out one hand toward it. The creature paused, realizing that she could see it, and hesitated, squeaking in distress.
"Come here. I won't hurt you." she cooed, and it took several knick-knocking steps before plastering it's mouth around her fingers like a newborn calf. The thing didn't even have teeth, and instead of feeling warm, Kylee felt a mild chill set into her hand. What was this thing? Were these what the army were so hyped up about? It didn't even look dangerous -more like a human infant crossed with a frog if anything.
At that, Kylee laughed and scooped the odd little creature up, then tried to stand. Her knee caved back in with an audible pop, and she cursed heartily, squeezing her eyes closed against tears while her leg went back into it's proper alignment. That seemed to excite the odd little lump of misshapen skin and smoke in her arms, and it squeaked repeatedly while still clinging to her hand.
Well, if that guy had intended to freak her out, he was gonna get a big surprise.
"Hey! Wait up!" she yelled as she ran after Jack.
"Priestess," Marie-Therese pleaded once more, "you can't get so close to unknowns, we have a mission here."
"Yes, I suppose so," Joy replied with a sigh. "Odd that she can see the Reflected."
"Dumb luck, nothing odd." Therese lowered her sword and sheathed it. She wore light plate armor and Kevlar underneath. Her red cape bellowed as she positioned herself closer to the priestess.
"We can't leave her here, General." Joy winked at the girl. "The hospital is deserted and she might hurt herself if she sees any more Reflected."
"I hardly see what this has to do with us," the general sneered.
"I'd feel much better having her with us. She can stay behind, out of danger and our way, but close enough to be well protected."
"Priestess, we cannot take in every little-"
"I'd feel so distraught over imagining what could happen to her." The priestess voice was a sad whisper.
A pause. The general's brow furrowed as she thought it over. "Girl, you will stay in front of us, not beside or behind, but in front. You will stay alive for the sake of the priestess, understood?"
"Jack, what is your position?" Therese spoke into her earpiece.
"I got a surprise!" the reply came.
"Dare I ask?"
"You'll see soon." He ended the conversation and looked over at the girl. "Name's Jack, Jack of Hearts."
The light pink Reflected clung to the girl's arm gave him pause, but he only smiled. It didn't have the mark, so it was safe.
"I've never heard of a Reflected taking a liking to a human but then again, nothing is normal about this situation. I'd keep it close if you don't want it whacked."
It was something worth investigating. Reflected of such low rank never had color much less an ability to attach themselves to others. Somehow, he knew, it was all connected to the sudden attack on Petit Bordeaux.
Kylee grinned. "Well it looks a lot like some of the creatures i draw, that's why I didn't freak out when i first saw it...him? These Reflected are really odd." she said, trying to figure out the strange little creature, but it had suddenly decided to curl up in a ball to take a nap.
"My name's Kylee Nostra by the way. And before you ask no, i don't have any parents or siblings. In fact I've actually been on the run for three weeks from the police because apparently, sixteen is too young to become a legal adult and go on your own. Like i care about a little rule like that!" Kylee snorted and rolled her eyes in exasperation. Then her attention went to the Reflected in her arms again, and she looked around occasionally to spot others that looked similar to it, but none actually had color. Any that did were too different in size and shape, so she decided that her little Reflected was just different.
"Hmm... what should i call you?" she muttered.
"We should help," Owen muttered.
Martín followed Owen's gaze, specks were filing out of the city. People, cars maybe. The road was flooded with traffic. The procession of cars, bicycles, quads, caravans, and pedestrians faltered momentarily when one of the taller buildings in the distance toppled over and crashed down. Father and son watched in silent amazement. Slowly, they began to understand what they were seeing.
"We can only help ourselves now," Martín murmured. He turned left on the road, away from the city. Luckily, they were still ahead of the thick of traffic.
"Wait!" Owen cried out.
Martín kept accelerating forward, and Jimmy whined sorrowfully in the back. The engine sputtered and coughed until steam began to rise from under the hood, like a boiling kettle. Owen didn't see it at first, he tried to keep an eye on the farm. His home was fading away into the horizon. It was just like on holidays, except, they hadn't locked the doors or secured the cattle. He could almost hear the house whisper its goodbye on the wind. Already he longed to return.
With a bang, their car came to a sudden halt. The air became foul with the smell of burnt rubber, but even fouler with Martín's symphony of Spanish curses. Owen smiled. He understood now. Papa never cursed. Soon he would wake up and smell breakfast, fresh eggs and bacon. Yes, this was all a bad dream.
Grinning sheepishly, he pinched himself.
Alarmed, he pinched himself again. Ice settled in his stomach. He was awake. The city he went to school in was burning, people were dying, their car had broken down, and he was awake.
"What now?" He asked desperately.
Jimmy barked once.
"I wasn't asking you," Owen sneered as he got out of his seat to help his father with the engine.
Nathan began to slow his pace down as the stitch set in to his left side. He'd sprinted the last three blocks and was beginning to feel it. Normally it wouldn't be to much of an issue but combined with the stress and the horrors of the run it had royally messed up his usually regimented breathing which probably explained the stitch. The run itself wasn't so bad but it was the fact he was doing it in work shoes. He'd already nearly rolled his ankle on a raised paving slab and could feel the shoes chaffing his heels. The sports shop was inside now and with any luck he could find himself some solid walking boots or something.
It was no surprise to find the large windows had been smashed in he hadn't seen a building in the last two blocks with a single bit of glass intact. Apparently this was some kind of military response to the situation but he couldn't quite fathom why. He'd passed a couple of people on his run here, he seemed to be the only one heading into the centre opposed to out, still he thought the risk was worthwhile. If these 3 blocks were anything to go by a change of clothes were highly justified if he wanted to keep his body happy to keep going on. He'd got two helpful bits of advice from people going by even if neither he or the other party paused to converse. Firstly there was something going down at the hospital and secondly to watch the glass apparently people had spotted the broken shards splintering on the floor or moving of their own will, his mind cut back to the footprint that had appeared in the pavement on the news feed. He had to be careful of something invisible but whatever it was still left signs. It was a useful bit of information to have.
He didn't bother running further down the block to the door of Karver Sports Warehouse instead he just climbed through one of the broken windows cautiously avoiding the shards of glass still clinging to the sides. It seemed that a couple of other people had had a similar idea to him as he noted boxes scattered about the floor and clothes thrown to the ground as people frantically tore off items for themselves.
First he found himself a large hiking rucksack and then slipped a survival bag and sleeping bag inside it before grabbing a couple of thermal clothes and other items, he took a little more care choosing and trying on some trainers and walking boots before abandoning his shoes donning the trainers along with some tracksuit bottoms and slipping the boots into the bag as well. Finally he grabbed some ice axes from the climbing aisle and attached them to the outside loops of the bag and threw in a line of rope before shouldering the bag and grabbing himself a rather expensive looking mountain bike along with a puncture repair kit given the state of the roads. He lifted the bike up and carried it out, it wasn't practical to cycle on the pavement as he'd planned given the broken glass he'd have to risk the road. Five minutes later he found himself at the hospital and cycled on inside, it's not like the rules applied anymore. He'd seen a couple of helicoptors on his way here but it looked like the evacuation process from here was over, still it didn't hurt to double check. If nothing else he might be able to get some useful medical supplies.
The terrible pain in her arms blurred out the stinging from her other wounds with the sheer extremeness of it, but she didn't stop moving. Fiona swam with the crowd, hands clenched tightly in fists, her eyes glued to the body of blue-gray color galumphing to and fro just a few yards ahead. He looks happy, she thought, to keep her mind off of the wounds. She bit her lip to dull the pain as it screamed from the sudden breeze that passed by. I need to get into the hospital. If my memory serves correctly, it should be coming up here.
"Smoke," she called out, her feet dragging on broken glass and other debris. "Smoke!"
The cattle-dog stopped moving and looked back, his ears perked. He let out a low and long howl-bark which made the people beside him move away quickly. He didn't mind, though, and once he caught sight of his friend, ran over to her with a hopeful expression.
"Hey, boy," Fiona said through clenched teeth. Her arm had begun to throb and she knew if she didn't receive medical attention soon, she'd be dead. "We're going to the hospital."
She walked briskly with the dog leaning on her legs almost the entire time. However, the crowd began to thin out, seeming to move toward the area known as the Bank Corner, as did the number of creatures they saw. Sure, she stayed far away from them for fear of being killed, but they didn't see them - most of the glass had been removed from the ground. Fiona and Smoke kept going until the hospital came into view, though it was window-less and vacated. I'll have to stitch up myself, she thought with annoyance. Dammit.
Fiona walked up to the building, teeth clenching tighter with each step. Those things better not attack me now, or I'll kill something.
"I don't think they'll hurt us," she told the dog anyway.
Soon they came to the doors, already thrown wide open, and they saw a human, back turned to them. He looked to be male, and he had a bike and a thick bag, which meant he had come from somewhere else. Shit, Fiona thought. He doesn't look too stupid. Does he have weapons inside of that bag?
Smoke began to growl and his tail dropped, his nose twitching like rapidfire. He bared his teeth, like that of dingoes, and parted his mouth slightly, so they appeared longer.
I can't run. I can't hide. Shit.
Smoke let out a loud, ominous bark, which gave away their position.
Nathan dismounted off the bike, a bit less gracefully than he would have liked with the rucksack, normally he would of had an issue getting through the hospital with all the locker doors requiring cards or pass keys but the same group seemed to have smashed the windows inside. He was trying to decide where best to leave the bike while he explored when he heard a low growl behind him. He tensed up his mind immediately jumping to the worst conclusion, oh god it's whatevers responsible for today but then there was a bark. It was threatening but that meant...
He turned around dropping the bag off his shoulder and was relieved to be greeted by the sight of another person with a dog. Still the dog wasn't on a lead and didn't seem best pleased with him. He'd already moved a bit to quickly dropping his bag but he made sure to not do anything else. He'd been around protective dogs before and knew it was best not to startle them. He looked at the girls arms and knew exactly what had bought her here.
"You look like you came off even worse than me" He lifted his grazed arm up slowly in front of her and tried to smile.
"I've only just got here but I think they've already evacuated the staff. I don't work here but I can help you if you want, think it would be best if we got those cuts cleaned up and covered." He glanced down nervously at the dog again who didn't seem convinced by his friendly demeanor. Fingers crossed she was friendly and could control it.
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