It was late. Almost midnight in fact, but Grace knew that she couldn’t put it off any longer. She had wanted to split up with her boyfriend, Richard for a few months now and had intended to meet him earlier that night but she had been delayed for several hours at her job. She was a nurse.
Richard had become too overbearing, needy and possessive. He had always suffered from low self esteem. At first she thought his shy awkwardness was somewhat cute but it had become too much now. He was always scared she would leave him, and she just couldn’t take it anymore.
Deep down she did still love him, but he had really more been staying with him out of pity for the past few months. Grace dreaded telling Richard that she didn’t want to see him anymore, btoth because what it would do to him, and the scene he would undoubtedly make. Richard was never violent, or even aggressive, but he did love to make a scene to show how upset he was with something. It was a form of emotional blackmail he often used against her. Nevertheless she knew it was for the best and was resolved that by the end of tonight she would be free of this toxic relationship.
However as Grace neared his house. Her attention was suddenly diverted to what looked like two figures, one huddled over the other in the middle of the road.
She could barely make them out in the pitch black of the night but she could hear a crunching sound. Suddenly a car stopped right in front of them. A large, burly man stepped out of the vehicle and began to berate the two figures in the middle of the road. As Grace tried to get a better view of all three of them, the figure that was standing over the man in the road suddenly grabbed the burly man.
Grace heard another crunch followed by a screaming sound. She then saw the burly man crawling along the floor, bleeding from his neck. She foolishly ran out of her car to try help him, but within seconds he was gone.
The figure that had been in the road suddenly turned around. His skin was bright green. It looked like it was sagging, whilst one of his eyes was missing. His mouth was also dripping with blood and he appeared to be chewing something!
Grace was literally frozen with fear. She knew that it had to be a monster of some kind, but she wasn’t sure which. She had heard about the Guardians breakdown in public as well as the warnings about a Witch, but she had not taken them seriously. She thought it was just another Demon attack that the Guardians could deal with. This mistake was about to cost her dearly.
Grace backed away slowly so as not to startle the abomination. The driver the beast had grappled was already dead. The monster had ripped his throat clean out!
Clearly whatever this thing was, it was constantly after fresh meat. It had instantly abandoned its previous kill for the live driver and now that he was dead it was going after Grace. Grace wasn’t sure what it was exactly. A Vampire? A Zombie? Some kind of Demon? She had never really paid that much attention to learning about the occult in school. Now she wished she had!
What terrified her was the way despite the fact that it looked human. It seemed like little more than an animal. Snarling, hissing, it looked as though there was nothing going on underneath. Other than sheer, insatiable hunger!
As Grace was backing away slowly she failed to notice the burly man who had now risen behind her, having transformed into the very monster that killed him.
Grace suddenly heard the monster behind her hissing but just as she turned around it grabbed her and sunk its teeth into her throat. She let out a scream, but it was no use.
The two Zombies pinned her to the ground and started biting at her legs, her arms and ripped chunks out of her stomach. The last thing she saw just before she faded into unconsciousness was her own intestines in the monsters hands as it was chewing on them!
Richard had heard her screaming and quickly ran outside. His mind as it often did had instantly jumped to the worst conclusion, but tragically in this instance he would be proven right.
He saw the two monstrosities hunched over a mass of torn, mangled flesh and broken bones. All that was left of Grace. He was sick immediately on the pavement. The creatures hearing him instantly turned their attention towards Richard, the latest piece of fresh meat.
Richard wisely turned and ran back to his house, managing to shut the door behind him. The monsters strength however proved to be so great that they tore his front door down in a few seconds. Each and every house in Hallet had its own defence system, which was made up of various spells to stop intruders. None of them even slowed the creature down.
Fortunately for Richard whilst he wasn’t sure exactly what these things were either he managed to get to his gun from his weapons chest (that all of the townsfolk had) and he fired several rounds into the two beasts. He did suspect they were Zombies and so his first few shots went into their heads. Nothing!
One of them managed to grab Richard’s arm and sunk its teeth into it. He screamed and tried to pull away but the brutes strength was overwhelming. As the other monster came closer behind it, Richard realising that he had no choice pulled his arm out of the monsters grip, ripping off massive chunks of flesh in the process.
The pain was unlike any he had felt in his life before and he almost passed out, but his fear kept the pain from overwhelming him. He knew that if he passed out now he was dead. Richard managed to scramble his way up the stairs and into his bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
Once again the monsters tore the door down like it was nothing, but Richard managed to scramble out of the window in his room in time.
He hid the ground so hard that he broke his arm. Fortunately for him it was the arm the creatures had already tore chunks out of! As he got to his feet he saw another one of the monsters standing there. The monsters original victim that had stopped Grace and the other driver had now risen as one of the monsters. At that point Richard finally gave up. The pain from his broken and mangled arm was too much and he didn’t even know why he was bothering anymore
Grace was gone. The woman he loved, torn to pieces in front of him on the pavement! He put his head in his knees, not wanting to face the monster coming towards him.
Just then he heard several shots. Richard looked up and saw the monster now attacking two heavily armed men who were firing constant rounds into the creatures face. Once again it was doing nothing to deter it and it managed to grab one of the men and sink its teeth into his neck.
Just then Richard heard a thud behind him and turned around to see Grace’s two killers, having jumped from the window behind him. Though he no longer cared about living anymore his instinct drove him to run towards the other man with the gun. His partner was already dead. Lying on the floor with his throat torn out, his carcass being chewed on by the monster.
Richard and the heavily armed man whose name was Stephen both quickly ran to Stephen’s vehicle. Stephen didn’t really have time to see Richard’s wound. He had been ordered to slay these monsters and rescue any civilians and right now that was all he cared about. And saving himself of course!
Unfortunately as Stephen attempted to drive away the two monsters quickly jumped in front of the car and managed to actually stop it in its tracks. They tore the bonnet of the car off and started ripping into the engine.
Paniced Stephen instantly reversed, losing chunks from the front of the vehicle the monsters were holding on to along the way.
Whilst the car was damaged it was still able to function to some extent and Stephen quickly drove past the monsters and down the street away from them.
Stephen was new to the job. He was only in his early twenties, but had spent his entire life looking forward to the day when he could become a monster hunter and protect his home town. He couldn’t believe that on practically his first mission he was fleeing from the monsters, but he wasn’t ashamed. He knew that he stood no chance against them. There were attacks like this going on across the entire town. The creatures had literally sprung up out of nowhere and were now multiplying, the more people they killed, the larger their numbers grew.
Normally they wouldn’t send such a young novice on a dangerous mission like this, but the Guardians were obviously desperate. By facing these creatures in the first place Stephen was doing more than most others his age! That plus the fact that he had already pulled a civilian from the monsters clutches meant that he felt no guilt over fleeing the scene of the crime.
Richard meanwhile couldn’t hold on any longer. The physical and the emotional shock of everything that had happened to him in the last few minutes finally overwhelmed him and he passed out in Stephen’s car.
Stephen turned around and saw his wounds. He contemplated just shooting Richard right now. He knew that these Zombie bites were infectious and thus Richard was dead anyway. However he decided to spare Richard as he believed that he could be useful in finding out more about these creatures.
These Zombies were unlike any the town had ever encountered before. There were many different types of Zombies, but these were virtually indestructable. If not held in check they could destroy the town in one night!
Stephen hoped that if he could get Richard back to the base, and they could restrain him before her turned, then they could use him as a test subject. They could find out what, if any weaknesses these monsters had. It would be far easier than trying to capture one of these monsters in the wild, and so Stephen hurried back to the base, keeping his eye on Richard in case he turned.
Fortunately for Stephen he managed to make it back in time. He dragged Richard, bleeding from his car and through the doors of the entrance to the Guardians base . Richard began to wake up. Dazed, confused and in tremendous pain, he wondered where he was for a few moments before the nightmarish memories returned.
He didn’t have the strength to escape Stephen, but at this point he didn’t want to. He foolishly thought the Guardians would try and help him at this stage.
Stephen simply threw him in a cell and locked the door. Richard had no idea what was going on, but he still clung onto the idea that Stephen was going to get help for him and he waited patiently in his cold little cell, completely unaware that the Guardians he had looked up to his entire life were merely watching him die.
Carla was among the Guardians at the base. She strongly protested against Stephen’s decision. She couldn’t believe that Stephen and indeed the other Guardians who had all without exception agreed, would be so callous as to allow someone to slowly die and become a monster. She argued that if they couldn’t help him they should at least let him die as a man rather than a thing.
The others did not agree however. They argued that it was the only way they could discover any weaknesses in this unknown breed of Zombie.
Deep down Carla knew they were right. As much as she couldn’t bring herself to admit it, she knew they had to leave Richard to die. In this case there were no easy answers, but this just reminded her of why she had always wanted to leave this godforsaken town.
The other Guardians though remaining respectful on the surface. (The situation was too serious to have any kind of divisions now.) Had begun to have doubts about Carla. Her breakdown the previous night in public, and the fact that she had waited for hours before warning the others that a new and dangerous Spectre was on the loose. Since she had warned the Guardians, 4 men had been sent to the Church to exorcise the monster but none had made it back.
Whilst the Ghost was clearly beyond anything the town had faced for quite a while, the Guardians couldn’t help but be angry at Carla for wasting precious hours. A Guardian even in the direst circumstances should still serve as an example to the rest of the town and never put it in danger. Carla not only had by not telling them in time, but now she was threatening to again by wanting to deprive them of possibly their only chance to find out any weaknesses about the monsters that threatened Hallet.
After this horrible mess was over the other Guardians were going to have a chat with Carla about her performance.
As time past, Richard began to panic.The pain began to go away, but he knew that wasn’t a good sign. His body was slowly changing into that of a Zombie which was why he couldn’t feel anything.
He began to thump against the walls and door. He could feel himself getting stronger as his hits clearly made more of an impact. It still was not enough to even dent the wall however.
Carla couldn’t bare to hear his screams for a second longer. The Guardians were monitoring Richard via a camera in his cell. They were taking a huge risk. For all they knew this new breed of Zombie was even strong enough to break free from its cell. They had to be ready if that happened.
Richard screamed and cried. He begged the Guardians to help him but his screams fell on deaf ears.
After what felt like forever for the screams suddenly stopped. Carla looked up at the screen and saw Richard standing there. She couldn’t believe how he looked the same yet completely different. His body had not gone through that many physical changes. His skin was slightly paler, his eyes had also become snow white too with no iris or pupil. Nevertheless what really shocked Carla was how there was nothing of the man left. She didn’t even know Richard but even she could tell that what was standing in the cell was simply an empty shell.
This had been Carla’s first time watching a man actually transform into a Monster. Before she had only ever encountered Zombies after they had changed, but seeing it up close and personal was new. She was witnessing for the first time how the supernatural were able to hollow a person out and replace everything they were with nothing but darkness and hunger.
Suddenly Richard began to scream and froth at the mouth like an animal. He banged against the walls harder than before. He even began to make small dents in the surface which paniced the Guardians. They instantly put up the defences. Each cell had built into it various weapons that prevented the monsters from ever escaping.
They all opened fire on the monster at once. Some of the weapons did manage to cut through the monsters flesh, whilst others were completely ineffective. Still none of them were able to bring the monster down or do lasting damage. The Zombie was able to heal from all of its wounds in no time.
Fire, bullets, magical enchantments, they all failed to fell the beast who continued to pound on the walls and door of his cell. The monster began to make serious dents in the door. The Guardians knew it would only be a matter of time before the beast broke its way through. They kept throwing everything they had at the monster, but at most they only managed to slow it down for a few seconds. The monster managed to smash the door down with the weapons still firing on it.
Now free from its cage the Zombie began to search for fresh meat. With no humans around it instead ripped the door off of the cell next to it. In there if found a Scerlox Demon. Scerlox’s were low level Demons who generally tended to feed on animals, though they were known occasionally to snatch children. This particular specimen had been caught feeding on a small family who were merely passing by Hallet.
One of the beasts victims had been an infant child. The Guardians as a result would often take a particular pleasure in torturing him. The Scerlox could never hope to stand against the Zombie, but it was weak from its latest torture session and severe malnutrition anyway and thus it was an easy meal for the Zombie. The Demon was as helpless as its previous victims in the face of a greater evil that tore it screaming limb from limb.
By the time the Guardians made their way to Richards cell he had already eaten three Demon captives!
They instantly opened fire on the monster as it charged towards them but once again it did little to deter him.
The Guardians next tried to use their swords against the monster. They attacked it at once, hacking and slashing away. The beasts limbs went flying through the air, but once they had been sliced off, they instantly regrew. The Zombies head was parted from its shoulders during the fight but it made no difference. A new head actually began to emerge between its shoulders, roaring, hissing and biting.
Just when it seemed like nothing could kill the monster then suddenly it froze. It had been the work of Boone the oldest Guardian there following Alistair’s death. He had used a freezing spell on the Zombie. The Guardians had not used a freezing spell for many years. It was an often unpredictable spell which had to be performed very delicately or else it may end up freezing the person who performed it as well. Thus it was often useless in a close combat situation. A freeze spell when performed on any non Demon or Supernatural life form would be instantly fatal.
Boone however had enough experience of magics that he was just about able to perform it without any consequences. Even then though he took a huge risk not only to himself but to everyone else in the room as well.
Many of the younger Guardians such as Carla had never even seen a freezing spell before so they were quite taken aback at the sight of it. Just then however the frozen Zombie began to twitch and shake. It was actually managing to break free from the spell! Fortunately however before it could Carla struck the frozen monster with her sword shattering it into a thousand pieces on the floor.
Carla was shocked that it actually worked whilst Boone said in a dry and sarcastic tone to the others “Well that’s a weakness.”
Of course despite his little joke he knew that this was not an ideal weapon to use against the Zombies. It was deeply unstable and would probably end up killing someone.
However they were running out of time. The Zombies were growing in number. Within a couple of hours they would have completely ravaged Hallet. Boone was racking his brains trying to figure out how to harness the spell in a safe way. He needed time to try and work something out, but that was something they didn’t have.
Once again Boone had to make a hard decision for the good of the town. He asked the Guardians to hold off the Zombies whilst he tried to work on the spell. In fact he had to work on two spells. The Ghost had proven to be immune all of Carla’s weapons, and so Boone would have to conjor up the strongest possible exorcism spell against it.
Carla had learned key details about Cassek’s life when it shared its pain with her. The Guardians had a few files on her. Whilst knowledge of this Ghost had been deleted from the official records, the Guardians whose authority went above and beyond the Mayor had kept information about her initial rampage and feud with the town’s founder. Sadly however over the two centuries since the Ghost’s entrapment many of these files had been lost too. Indeed many of the Guardians didn’t even know where the amulet that contained her soul was.
Still fortunately there was still some information on Cassek’s magics and powers.
In the centuries since Hallet and Cassek’s war with one another the town of Hallet’s knowledge of magics had increased. Boone felt it may be possible to devise a spell that could finally destroy Cassek’s spirit once and for all. However devising it alongside one to freeze all the Zombies in the short time they had left seemed like a near impossible task for Boone.
The Guardians were well aware that the only possible chance Boone could have to create both spells would be if they tried to hold the Zombies off for long enough, though they also knew that not all of them would survive this night, it was a sacrifice that they were all prepared to make.
Boone’s son Jake was among the Guardians he was sending on essentially a suicide mission to face the Zombies. Boone had already lost two children in previous supernatural incursions into Hallet. Now he was facing the prospect of losing his third, but he had no choice. He couldn’t exactly send the others out to face the Zombies but keep Jake in the base with him (a few of the Guardians remained behind to help protect Boone in case any of the Zombies made their way here). Also the base wouldn’t necessarily be safer anyway not just because of the Zombies, but also due to the unstable spells he was attempting to create. The whole base could go up in smoke!
Truth be told there was nowhere that was safe in Hallet anymore.
As Carla left with the other Guardians a part of her was scared whilst another part of her hoped that she would be one of the “unlucky ones” not to live through the night (assuming any of them would actually survive.) A part of her was always hoping that she would be free of her life in Hallet through any means necessary. Deep down a part of her even wished that they would all fail and the entire town would be swept away. She’d never admit it to herself but still as this town was all that was left of a poisonous man’s legacy she couldn’t help but think the world would be a better place if it was gone.