Spook Family: Part 1

Drawing by Caio Corsini of the Spook Family. At the back, the Golem, at the centre, from left to right. Claudia McGrath, Jack and Maksera. Bottom, from left to right, the Medusa and Vincent Cushing.

Throughout our history there have been many heroes and influential figures who have come from somewhat humble beginnings, only to defy all expectations and achieve a greatness few can ever dream of.

Perhaps no group of people embody this idea better than the somewhat unconventional band of heroes operating in the late 20th century, known as the Spook Family. Strictly speaking however it would be wrong to call them people.

In fact many of their members belonged to races who were devoted to the destruction of humanity and all life on this planet, nay universe! Nevertheless through somewhat unusual circumstances they were able to harness the darkness within them for the greater good.

The spook family consisted of the monster, Claudia McGrath, the vampire hybrid Vincent Cushing, the zombie Jack, the legendary creatures Medusa and the Golem and finally the renegade alien, Maksera, who brought them all together to stop an invasion from his own people.

Whilst they would go on to achieve their greatest victories together, prior to forming the Spook Family. They were all already established heroes in their own cities and in some cases other worlds too.

This is the story of their first adventure, though before we start it is important to know the full histories of each member of this band of unnatural creatures and beasts.

Claudia McGrath was a member of a race of creatures known simply as monsters. Whilst it is true that the word monster has come to refer to any unnatural creature or abomination, or even an evil human in our time. The word was in fact originally created to refer to a specific order or beings, far more terrible than even demons.

No one really knows where monsters come from. It is known that they exist outside of not just this universe, but our entire plane of existence. Our universe exists in a multiverse, known as the natural realm. All the universes within the natural realm follow the natural laws of cause and effect, entropy and decay, whilst all of the creatures that exist within the natural realm from human beings to Dinosaurs are also known collectively as naturals. Magic also exists within the natural realm however and can rewrite its laws based on the users will. (Though even magic itself still follows certain laws.) Natural creatures entire nature and biology can even be rewritten by magic to the point where they become magical creatures.

Outside of the natural realm however there are many other realms with their own very different set of laws. These include the hellish realm, a collection of universes that by our standards are dark, hostile places, where there are different natural laws. All of the life forms that originate from within the hellish realm are known collectively as demons. The heavenly realm meanwhile is another collection of universes with different laws, whose natives are referred to collectively as angels. There are many hundreds of other different types of realms, including a realm of magic beyond both the heavenly and hellish realm.

Whilst all of these realms may be different, they are still all connected to each other and form one gigantic Omniverse, which is referred to at least by those who are aware of it on earth, as the Omega Multiverse. Beyond the Omega Multiverse meanwhile is what is known as the void. A vast emptiness where anything can happen. Gods and realities and worlds literally pop up out of nothingness and sometimes vanish back into it again. Very few life forms however have ever dared venture from their own realities into the void. It’s one thing to travel in between the universes within your own multiverse or Omniverse, but in the void where there is no up or down, or laws of any kind and where an infinite number of realities are popping in and out of existence. Travel is almost impossible.

In spite of this however, the monsters were somehow able to break into our Omniverse from the void. There have been many legends about where they came from. Some state that they were the last survivors of another Omniverse that collapsed into nothing, others state that they were the creation of a rival being to the creator of our Omniverse, designed to destroy his creations.

Either way the monsters have been devoted to destroying all life in the Omega Omniverse ever since their arrival and have inflicted devastation across all realms.

There are literally thousands of different monster species, all with their own unique powers and abilities, and whilst their forces have become scattered throughout the entire Omniverse. They have all still remained single minded in their goal to claim our reality as their own. That is except for Claudia.

She was part of an invasion force of monsters that attacked our earth in the 1970s. Their invasion took place in the remote mountain of Kerquelen. This particular faction of monsters had become engaged in a mutually destructive war with a race of highly advanced aliens in our galaxy. The last surviving monsters from the battle hoped to cast a devastating spell in this remote area that would destroy all life on earth after which they could make it a new base of operations.

Their experiments with dark magics however drew the attention of several powerful witches who gathered an army to defeat the monsters. (The army included not just witches, but also hunters, vampires, demons, werewolves, even vandals, all willing to put their differences aside to stop a monster invasion. )

In the huge battle that erupted in the Kerquelen islands, the monster forces were crushed. Near the end of the battle however one child would be discovered near the side of its dying mother, by a human hunter named Celeste Sande, one of the most prolific vampire killers of her era. She is believed to have amassed over 300 vampire kills to her name prior to this battle. Sadly however in spite of this she had been unable to protect her family from the bloodsuckers, having lost both her son and husband to a vengeful vampire attack.

As insane as it may have sounded, she could relate to the monster child when watching it stand by its mother in her final moments. Moreover she was actually moved that even among these creatures, there was still at least a grain of genuine affection and empathy. It actually changed her outlook somewhat as in that moment, Celeste came to believe that perhaps it was possible for any life form to change. If even a monster could show genuine care to others. (Which she had always been told was impossible.) Perhaps other positive emotions and feelings could be cultivated in this creature.

Sande not only spared the monster child, but took it away from the warzone, which was easy enough, as in taking down the monsters, most of the witches, vampires, demons and hunters had been slaughtered too.

The child was naturally reluctant at first, but Celeste knew that she couldn’t leave it no matter what. Either the child would starve to death on the mountain, or if it did escape it would either follow its natural instincts and become a killer, or be hunted down like an animal.

Celeste would take good care of the monster, showing her a kindness that even its own mother never had. From a young age monsters are naturally groomed to not only be great warriors, but to see their own lives as expendable for the greater monster cause. Celeste convinced the young child that her life was actually more important than a pointless war and convinced her to choose her own path, which it eventually did.

The child soon assumed a human form to blend in with its surroundings. It took on the identity of Claudia, Celeste’s best friend who had ironically died in the battle against the monster invasion forces. Initially it hoped that this would be a touching tribute to its adopted mothers friend, but Celeste begged the monster to assume a different form, and she modified it slightly to look different, whilst still keeping the name Claudia in tribute.

Claudia would at first attempt to integrate herself into the human world. She took up a keen interest in history, though it was more because of how fabricated “official” human history was to cover up the presence of the paranormal. Often Claudia would look at what an official history text said and then go and research the actual truth in any way she could.

Eventually however this would lead to Claudia discovering the truth behind the purpose of Stone Henge. It was built during a previous monster invasion of earth, not by the monsters, but by humans who worshipped them. It was designed using magic to transform humans into monsters and had since been used to create many, grotesque caricatures of their kind on earth.

Using her knowledge, Claudia was able to permanently shut down the power of Stone Henge in a way no one had before. The success of this mission would inspire Claudia to look for other threats to humanity and in time she slowly became a great warrior for good. Celebrated in her home city of Carsano as both a hero and a strange urban myth. “Lady Squid” soon became her nickname among the people and the media, as Claudia’s true form which she always assumed at least partially when fighting, was that of an Octopus creature. She later gained more skill in shape shifting and was also able to morph certain body parts at a time between her old and new forms, including her arms and legs into tentacles.

Unfortunately however those who were aware of the supernatural soon began to recognise that Lady Squid was a monster and several hunters and vampires and demons, including ironically several of those who had fought alongside Celeste would try and slay Claudia and even Celeste herself for being a traitor. Fortunately however Claudia was always able to overcome whatever challenges and threats she and her mother faced and became a true hero long before she was ever a part of the Spook Family.

Medusa meanwhile belonged to a totally different order of creatures. Beasts. Much like monster, the word beast has come to refer to any vicious creature in our language, but originally it was the collective name to any creature that came from another realm, known as the savage realm. All of the life forms in this realm were predators, though they were not like demons who are compelled to kill and torture for their own enjoyment. Beasts at the very least only kill to feed and their powers are considerably different to demons. Creatures like centaurs, krakens, manticores, hydras, minotaurs and cyclops are members of the beast family. Throughout the history of the Omniverse many of the weaker breeds of beast have travelled to other realms to find easier prey and before recorded history began a large invasion of beasts of different kind arrived on earth in the hopes of making it a new hunting ground.

Unfortunately for the beasts however at that point in earth’s history the Gods had settled on our world. God is the collective name given to any creature that originates from within the Godly realm, a multiverse of tremendous power even greater than magic.

Contrary to what many legends say, the Gods did not create our world, let alone the entire Omniverse. Many legends and experts do agree that the Omega Omniverse was created by a powerful being who originated within the void, though why he created our Omniverse, no one knows for sure exactly. Still this Creator is not a God. He is something far beyond that, or our indeed our understanding.

Before recorded history began a large group of Gods had come to settle on our earth after defeating the evil Set, a renegade God who had absorbed the powers of billions of others of his kind and hoped to destroy the entire Omniverse. Many of the Gods who had finally defeated Set had settled on earth, simply because it was the place of his defeat and their own home planets had been destroyed. Whilst the Gods did not create our world, they did in a way rebuild it after Set had devastated its surface. Originally the Gods hoped to live in peace with humanity, but sadly it didn’t take long for the Gods, who settled in different groups around the earth to take advantage of the primitive creatures who worshipped them and become drunk with power.

Medusa would sadly be arguably the most tragic example of the folly and cruelty of the Gods. Originally she was a human and a loyal priestess of Athena, among the most noble and wise of all the Gods who had settled on earth. Medusa and Athena always had a strained relationship however as Medusa questioned the Goddess wisdom more than any of her other followers. At first Athena appreciated Medusa’s independence and in some instances even followed her advice. Eventually however Medusa and Athena would come to blows. Metaphorically speaking of course, and Medusa was banished from Athena’s service. During her last night in her former masters temple however where Medusa attempted to run away with a former soldier of Athena, who had also lost faith in the Goddess. She was attacked and raped by Athena’s most loyal soldier called Iscera, who also killed Medusa’s lover and framed her for the killing.

Naturally Athena believed Iscera who aside from being her favourite, was also seen as a great hero in Greece and decided to punish Medusa for desecrating her temple and killing what she thought was a loyal soldier.

She cursed Medusa and turned her into the most hideous of all beasts. A Gorgon. Not all of the beasts had been slaughtered by the Gods during their invasion. Many had been kept alive as pets or servants or foot soldiers. The Gorgons however were the most repulsive and feared, even by other beasts due to their ability to turn people to stone with their eyes. Medusa therefore was shunned to the island of Sepredita away from any other human. The only people that Medusa would encounter for the next several decades were either great warriors wanting to kill her or people sent to her island to die.

Eventually however after 100 years Medusa would be slain by the Greek hero Perseus, who used her head to slay the Kraken.

After this her body would be left to rot, and following Ragnarok, the Gods war, the surviving Gods, including Athena left the earth, believing their presence had hindered humanity.

From this point on recorded human history begins, with the Gods stay on the earth being incorporated in the mythologies of various cultures around the world.

Medusa meanwhile would be allowed to rest until the late 19th century. Ironically it would be Athena that would revive her. After thousands of years. Athena would later learn the truth. Iscera had been made into a minor deity by Athena for his bravery against the vampire horde during her time on earth, and had later left with the Gods when they returned to the Godly realm where he continued to serve Athena for centuries afterwards. Eventually however he was mortally wounded by a demon using dark magics that even Athena couldn’t cure. On his deathbed he admitted to Athena what had really happened with Medusa. No one knows why. Perhaps in his final moments he was terrified of being judged for his sins by a power above the Gods? Perhaps it was to gloat over Athena as there was nothing she could do to punish him now? Much like Medusa herself, ironically over the centuries his loyalty to Athena had wavered somewhat. Alternatively perhaps it was out of love for Athena so she could make up for a past mistake?

Either way Athena instantly travelled back to earth. She could only remain a short time, due to Zeus’ ban on other Gods travelling back there. In the limited space she had however, Athena brought Medusa back from the grave. Unfortunately even Athena could not undo her past curse and make Medusa back into a human. She was however able to overrun Medusa’s new killer instinct, though in some ways that was worse as it allowed Medusa to feel the guilt for all the men she had slaughtered in her time on the island.

Athena also placed a special kind of magical barrier around Medusa’s eyes which would prevent her from turning anyone who looked at her to stone. Medusa could however still turn people to stone by firing green energy beams from her eyes, though the effect would only be temporary.

Athena begged for Medusa’s forgiveness and told her that Medusa could use her powers to help others, and redeem both their souls, but understandably Medusa refused to listen to the Goddess and went into hiding for the next 40 years until the 1920s. By that time Medusa had come to settle in New York, living on the streets until she became friends with a young woman named Maisa and her brother Matt who soon took her in, and convinced the Gorgon that at least some of humanity were worth saving.

With Maisa and Matt by her side, Medusa would go on to battle the gangsters and demonic creatures that stalked the streets of 1920s New York. She would also take part in the Second World War, with her adventures later taking her all over the world. Sadly however the reputation of Medusa would never improve. Thanks to the early myths and humanity’s reluctance to accept what was really out there in the 20th and 21st centuries, the name Medusa would always be associated with a hideous beast to the majority of people.

Still at the very least to those of us who knew the truth about what was really out there, Medusa would become known as one of the greatest heroes of them all.

Vincent Cushing meanwhile was part of a great lineage of demon fighters, though sadly and ironically he would scrubbed from their history, not because of who he was, but what he was, or rather what he became.

The Cushings were a family of vampire hunters whose history stretched back through the centuries to at least the Roman empire. At the beginning of the 20th century however they’d suffer a crushing defeat, when an attack led by a powerful vampire king destroyed the Cushing’s base of operations and slaughtered most of their family. Those who survived fled across the world, with some continuing to hunt vampires, and others trying to put their old life behind them.

Vincent’s grandparents meanwhile tried to rebuild their family’s former power in the most unlikely of places, the city of Marsters, a hotspot for vampiric activity as it was built not only over the cave where Khastran, the demon who created vampires, made the book which spawned all vampire breeds. It was also built over a portal to the afterlife for vampires.

When creating his children, the vampires. Khastran, the most evil and powerful of all demons also created a small pocket dimension where the souls of any vampire, or indeed any other demonic creation of his would go when it dies, such as the Turok Han and Zoltans. The souls of demons who were loyal to him would be sent there when they died, including the Lycans and their descendants, werewolves.

Certain vampire species even had the power to send their victims into the pocket dimension too when they killed them.

The pocket dimension itself was nothing more than a large wasteland with some bodies of water, caves and a few crumbling temples and villages. (It was based on the earth as it was when Khastran last walked it.)

Any life form that died in the pocket dimension would instantly be brought back within the dimension, meaning the vampires and other creatures hunted each other and their victims in there for all eternity.

Naturally this dimension made Marsters a target for vampires as it was the easiest place to bring vampires back from the dead and vampires who were turned here would be stronger and more formidable.

Vincent’s grandparents were able to make quite a profit in this town, as their knowledge of vampires, which had been built up centuries before the city of Marsters had even been founded, truly eclipsed everyone else’s. In addition to this Vincent’s grandparents had also managed to steal rare magics and enchantments that the Cushing family had built up for centuries, just before their stronghold in Europe had been slaughtered. Sadly however for the people of Marsters, this help didn’t come free. The Cushings felt terrible at having to charge people for their services, but it was the only way they could regain a footing and re-establish themselves as a major power. In the long run however the Cushings presence in Marsters did do a lot of good for the town, at least for a few decades.

Not only was the vampire population of the town depleted, but knowledge on how to kill them was spread out among the towns folk to a greater extent than ever before.

Sadly however the vampires and other supernatural creatures of the town who wished to harvest the power of Khastran’s dimension for themselves would ultimately clamp down harder on the Cushings. Whilst Vincent’s grandparents were always able to overcome whatever threat came their way, his parents would not be so lucky. Vincent’s father, who came from the Cushing side of the family was always reluctant in following in his fathers footsteps and even tried to quit being a vampire killer several times. He simply did not have the heart or skills for it and his incompetence would lead to both his and his wife’s deaths when their only son Vincent, born in the year 1965 was just 10 years old.

Following their deaths, Vincent would vow to never follow in his predecessors foot steps so as to avoid a similar fate. His grandparents by then were too old to keep fighting the vampires and the demons who were returning to the town in greater numbers. (The vampires that killed his parents, made a public spectacle of it, stringing their mutilated corpses up in public which naturally made the rest of the vampire population more bold.) The elder Cushings desperately tried to force the young Vincent to carry on their legacy, but this just made him more determined not to.

Eventually his grandparents disowned Vincent and would leave Marsters to try and make contact with other scattered members of the family throughout Europe. Vincent meanwhile would continue to enjoy his family’s wealth and live a lazy life of hedonism throughout his teens and twenties whilst the the city of Marsters was slowly overtaken and became worse than ever before as the vampires and demons became more numerous and confident, having seemingly defeated the Cushings. It wouldn’t be until the early 1990s when sadly Vincent’s family’s past would catch up with him.

In many ways it was inevitable. Even though the name Cushing had become a joke in Marsters thanks to their defeat and Vincent’s antics. Many vampires and demons across Europe still wanted revenge on the family. The survivors of the family for the most part knew this and kept hidden. Vincent’s grandparents were the exception as they wanted to draw the vampires out. Sadly however Vincent foolishly thought that if he didn’t bother the vampires and the demons then they wouldn’t track him down. He even had a few demon girls and strippers at his infamous parties in a pathetic attempt to show solidarity with them.

Not surprisingly this did nothing to deter a powerful, former vampire king named Daniel Zimbalast who had a centuries old grudge with the Cushing family. Ironically many centuries ago, he and the Cushings had worked very closely together in taking down the vandals, the soul devouring demonic rivals to the vampires main power base in Europe. Zimbalast was betrayed by the very same Cushings he had worked with soon after, and was driven out of Germany and forced to live life on the road for centuries. Whilst he was able to gather together several more packs of vampires, he never became a major vampire king again and always blamed the Cushings for it. Ultimately however it was his own fault that he had never been able to rebuild his status. He was powerful, belonging to a rare breed of vampire, but his hatred of the Cushings often caused him to make rash and foolish decisions. Where as with the vandals Daniel had been able to keep a more level head, with the Cushings his impatience at seeing them ruined clouded his better judgement. Ironically however, Daniel had absolutely nothing to do with the Cushing’s downfall as again he was a non entity at the time. The vampire was in fact devastated at the news as he believed he had finally been robbed of his revenge and nearly killed himself in grief. The rumours that there were just a few survivors of the family is all that kept Daniel alive.

When he finally learned of the existence of Vincent, Daniel was disappointed at first, as Vincent, seemingly the last of the Cushings as far as he was aware, was a truly wretched end for the once great family. Killing Vincent would if anything spare the Cushings of greater embarrassment. It was then however that Daniel got a better idea. He would turn the last of the Cushings into a vampire and mentor him into being one of the cruellest, most evil vampires. Daniel hoped that the horrors Vincent could carry out as a vampire, under his guidance would be so great, they would eclipse all of the good the family had ever done. The more Daniel studied Vincent, the more he felt he would make an effective vampire, given his hatred for his family and his already hedonistic life.

When Daniel and his vampires attacked Vincent’s mansion during the middle of one of his parties, they slaughtered everyone there except for Vincent who was turned by Daniel himself. Had Daniel not been so consumed by hatred his plan to tarnish the Cushings would have most likely succeeded, but sadly once again he let his hatred cloud his judgement. As a sign of his triumph. Daniel burned Vincent’s mansion to the ground, destroying many of the Cushing’s records and the knowledge they had gathered over the centuries.

Unfortunately however, the mansion also contained many enchantments and dangerous forms of black magic that the Cushing family had contained over the centuries too. Vincent’s grand parents had made sure to preserve them after the family’s main base of operations was ripped apart.

As soon as they were unleashed thanks to Daniel’s carelessness, they spread out over Marsters and distorted and mutated many humans, demons, beasts, monsters and vampires alike. One entire region of the town, which had ironically always been where the rich people had lived was twisted into a nightmarish hellish place.

Daniel himself was hit with a blast of dark magic which contained the remains of a very powerful demon named Hazzekia the Cushings had slain during Roman times. Hazzekia like many demons had the power to live again, provided a certain ritual was performed. The Cushing’s spell however made sure it would remain dead, by preventing any other magics from influencing its remains. Daniel’s actions however not only caused the Cushing’s spell to collapse, but the remains of the demon to be swept up in the subsequent magical storm, which would then be fused to Daniel himself, transforming him into a freakish hybrid of himself and the demon. He had complete control of his body for the most part, but Hazzekia could still influence his mind to some extent and gradually over time, the two beings merged mentally into one monstrous creature.

Another spell meanwhile latched itself onto Vincent’s body after the house’s destruction, just as his transformation into a vampire was taking place.

This spell had been used by the Cushings to heal their wounds and therefore it was naturally drawn to Vincent. It tried to revive him at first, and purge the curse of vampirism from his body, but sadly it couldn’t. No force on this earth could cure vampirism, but the spell fought hard to try and revive its host and even drew several other stray magics from the area into itself to accomplish its task.

In the end whilst it still wasn’t able to cure Vincent, it did tamper with his transformation. It allowed him to retain a small aspect of his humanity, namely his conscience and morals, such as they were. Sadly the spell could never be replicated as it had been the result of not only a rare healing spell, but the combination of several other magics that fused themselves to his body, all of which had been gathered by the Cushings over hundreds of years.

Still when Vincent rose from the make shift grave Daniel had made for him outside of the now burnt out ruins of the mansion, he wasn’t just any regular vampire. He could think beyond his bloodlust and sadism. At first Vincent was terrified of what he had become and fled into the city of Marsters. He didn’t even know where he was running too, but drawn by the dark magics within him, he fled to the section of Marsters that had been overrun by the monsters. There he rescued his only true friend, Alan Stanner from being devoured by his own son, that had transformed into a twisted magical creature.

Alan had been like a father to Vincent. Encouraging him to live life the way he wanted too, rather than always doing what his grandparents wanted. However even Alan had grown tired of Vincent’s reckless behaviour recently though unlike his grandparents he never abandoned him.

Unfortunately there was nothing Vincent could do to help his old friend’s son, but he was able at least to get him to safety, after which, Alan would use his vast wealth to construct a new base of operations for Vincent to operate from, under the surface of the city. Unlike the other members of his family, Vincent didn’t view being a vampire as a curse, as he was after all able to control his thirst thanks to his morality. In addition to this his breed could also exist in the sun too. If anything he embraced it for a short while. Though he did use his powers to help people from the start, initially it was really more about Vincent wanting to play the hero for his own ego, and simply being more willing to now that he had vampire powers and abilities. He was arrogant, cocky and reckless, and not above boasting to those he saved. He even came up with a nickname for himself. “The guardian of the night!” For a while he was even a celebrated hero, until it was discovered that he was a vampire. The reality of what he had become soon began to set in, when even those he had rescued would shun him for his nature. Vincent came to realise that he would never have a family, that he would outlive all of his friends, that he would always be hunted both by his own kind as a freak, and even by the people he helped. Even his own family if they ever found out what became of him. He soon became so depressed he even tried to kill himself, until Stanner talked him out of it. (Though it was only because he still hoped Vincent could help find his son. The two’s relationship despite Vincent saving him had soured, not because Vincent was a vampire, but because Stanner blamed him and the Cushings for what had happened to his son.)

Ironically it would only be after his failure to save a young girl from a particularly brutal vandal that Vincent would soon begin to become more of a genuine hero than a braggard. For the first time Vincent saw what his reckless and foolish actions had caused when the vandal literally tore her in two in front of him. Determined to never let this happen again. Vincent became a more serious, thoughtful and genuinely noble, as well as quiet hero. In time he would ironically genuinely win round the people of Marsters acceptance and gratitude despite his vampiric nature.

Aside from Stanner, Vincent would also work with a number of others in his war against vampires and supernatural creatures in Marsters. Among these included Sarah Brook, a young beast woman who enjoyed hunting paranormal creatures to satisfy her blood lust, former zombie master Leon Morrell, who had come from a long line of zombie masters in Tahiti, and had moved to Marsters when he was 20. At first he created zombies as slaves to battle the vampires around the city. (He only used the bodies of criminals and murderers to accomplish this.) Unfortunately however some of the zombies were soon able to break free from his control leading to a massive zombie population in Marsters which served as a rival faction to the vampires. Morrell was desperate to make amends for what he had unleashed and would become one of Vincent’s closest allies. Finally the vampires main sidekick was the kind hearted former librarian named Laura Delussey who had also been given magical powers from the wave of magics created from the destruction of the Cushings mansion, though her powers were only minimal. She soon became Vincent’s closest friend.

Much like Claudia, Vincent also built up a large rogues gallery in the city too, though his archenemy would be Daniel who in his new identity would go under the name of Deviant.

The Golem meanwhile was the last of its kind. Golems are magical creatures. They created when a soul, formed from raw magic is then fused to a body made of clay and earth. Creating a Golem however is a very delicate process and any mistake can result in a Golem being simple minded, or even psychotic.

For centuries the Jewish people had created Golems as great warriors to battle against the forces of darkness, but sadly the ritual to create these beasts had been lost as the numerous groups and communities who held onto the knowledge for their own sake were wiped out, or forsook the old magics as either superstition or evil.

In the year 1940 however the first and only Golem in at least 500 years would be created, when a young Jewish girl named Rosa, terrified of the Nazis marching on her city, searched through her grandfather Raymond Meyer’s old attic for anything that could combat them. Magic had been in her family for hundreds of years, but again like the majority of people in the modern world, most of her family had dismissed it as hokum. Rosa’s grandfather however did have an interest in the paranormal, even if he had never really bothered to learn magic. Still at the very least he knew it was real, and when his granddaughter began to riffle through his collection he tried to put a stop to it, but as the Nazi forces spread through Europe like the bubonic plague. Rosa refused to back down and eventually her grandfather agreed to help her. He had always been tempted to create his own Golem, but the fear of it going wrong put him off. The Nazis however, scared him far more.

The process went well to some extent, thanks to the Meyers ancestors writing the details of the spell down so meticulously. The Golem Rosa created was intelligent and articulate, though it did have an explosive temper. It nevertheless had tremendous affection for Raymond and Rosa viewing them as its family, though even they found it hard to calm the beast down if it was angered. When the Nazis invaded, the Golem slaughtered their entire battalion. None of their weapons were able to even pierce its skin! At first Raymond and Rosa were hailed as heroes, but unfortunately the Nazis would next turn to the paranormal for help. The Nazis had allied themselves very closely with the vampires of Germany, who had long hoped to build an empire like their rivals the vandals had done and they were attracted to the Nazi’s ideas of racial superiority. They hoped that the Nazis could create a race of supermen for them to turn into vampires, combining the greatest of humanity and demon kind alike. Naturally both the Nazis and the vampires had every intention of betraying one another once the war was over, but for now they were close allies.

This platoon of vampires, though still no match for the Golem physically, were better equipped in the black arts than the Nazis. Their leader had actually been around when the last Golem walked this earth and knew exactly what their weaknesses were. A special kind of magical tar, named Deslak, that hardened the Golem’s skin until it shattered to dust.

Rosa’s Golem was overpowered using the Deslak before he could even raise his fists and the vampires subsequently took the town for their even more vile human allies. Rosa was however able to get the Golem to safety, after her parents were taken by the vampires. With his last act, Raymond used a cheap magic trick to distract the vampires long enough for Rosa to get away. Before she fled he gave her the necessary magics to heal the Golem, which the vampires had abandoned to slowly die.

Rosa would find the beast, revive it and then flee into the wilderness with her new friend. Unfortunately however the vampires would not only slaughter Rosa’s family. They would destroy all of the Meyer families spells, which contained the last known ritual for creating a Golem. (The vampires didn’t want the Nazis to get their hands on the formula as an army of Golems would have made the vampires redundant.)

Rosa and the Golem would remain on the run for many months before joining the allies side. They would then both aid the allies battle against the Nazis, joining an elite group of supernatural experts and creatures which also included, the Mummy Anck Su Namun, the original Frankenstein’s Monster, Lorrimor Van Helsing, Countess Marya (Dracula’s daughter) and King Arthur himself, whose resurrection in Britain’s time of need had been botched by Nazi demon agents, rendering him mostly powerless. This team known as the magic gang, would prove to be among the greatest heroes of the war, and would continue to operate for many decades afterwards hunting Nazi and vampire war criminals. Their most important mission however would be on night of Hitler’s death. Knowing that he was defeated. Hitler intended to have his allies unleash the dark fog, a weapon created by Set. The dark fog was capable of erasing everything in its path. People, animals, demons, monsters, beasts, magical creatures, buildings, cities, continents, eventually it would consume the entire planet earth itself. It would also consume a life forms soul too, destroying them in such a way that they could never be reborn. It was the greatest weapon ever devised by any life form and after Set’s defeat it lay in Egypt for many centuries until the Roman’s conquered it. Augustus himself discovered the black fog and very nearly unleashed it by mistake after which he made sure it remained buried at the heart of the new Roman Empire. Centuries later it would be discovered by the vandals during their rule over Europe. The vandals however much like the Romans before them never even threatened to use the weapon as they knew that such a threat would be meaningless as everyone would die if it was unleashed.

The Nazis had discovered the fog when they raided the vandals old base of operations and much like their predecessors they were unable to use it for their own ends as it was too destructive.

Hitler however now convinced that his days were numbered and not wanting either his enemies to triumph, or Germany to go on without him, allowed a secret group of demons access to the black fog. The demons in question known simply as the shadow demons had been among the most destructive and evil species on earth. They were absolutely dedicated to destroying all life on our planet as they believed it was the only way they could resurrect the father and creator of their race. (He was also one of Khastran’s greatest rivals.)

Most of the shadow demons had been exterminated by the vandals. (Whose creator was also a great rival of theirs.) However a few had survived and were later captured by the Nazi’s vampire allies for experimentation.

Whilst the vampires strongly advised destroying them, Hitler was fascinated by the creatures loyalty to their father to the point where they had no objectives of their own. Unlike vampires who only sought to resurrect Khastran because they believed he would deliver them to glory, (and even then most of them had drifted from their fathers cause.) The shadow demons would happily die with the rest of the world if it meant their fathers return. Hitler secretly admired them more than even his own troops. He hoped to find a way to harness their power and loyalty and kept them alive for years until his last day, when he had them released and gave them the location of the black fog.

Fortunately however the magic gang were able to foil the shadow demons plan, but one of the shadow demons would still escape and proceed to torment the magic gang for decades afterwards, becoming their worst and most dangerous foe. By the 1960s the gang would break up and with Rosa later settling down and having a family, the Golem would strike out on its own, though the magic gang would reunite near the end of the 1970s. It would only be for a short while and the Golem would return to travelling Europe on its own for the next decade.

Jack was born in the year 1960 in London to a working class family. His life was fairly unremarkable until his second year as a student at Manchester University. He was “studying” English and creative writing, though he barely showed up to any classes, spending more time with his punk band than on his studies. He only barely scraped by at the end of his first year on the second attempt. He wasn’t the best student or flatmate either, though to be fair the three other students he lived with in run down, grubby little flat weren’t the easiest company either. At the start of their second year however, one of their group named Liam whose parents were wealthy bought them all a house, just outside the city in a small mostly run down village named Alcos. It might not have been as near as their old flat, but it was still only a 30 minute train ride away.

Unfortunately however the new house that Liam’s parents had bought, contained a terrible secret. Centuries ago it had been the hideout of a necromancer named Daskerath. He had attempted to find a way to perfect resurrection spells, after the great plague, genuinely hoping he could restore the lost generation. All other forms of resurrection spell were either crude or contained some kind of price.

Daskerath hoped to create the perfect spell, but sadly his attempts resulted not only in more zombies and undead creatures, but the level of concentrated magic began to rewrite the natural laws near the house, turning Alcos into a hellish place where all kinds of abominations and distortions existed. Daskerath aided by witches from all over Albion later found a way to fuse the unstable magics into the cellar below the house. Sadly however they were unable to destroy the concentrated magic, as the locals having already suffered enough thanks to Daskerath’s mistakes, did not want him carrying out more experiments in the house and drove him and the rest of the coven out. For hundreds of years afterwards the house remained abandoned, with its reputation as a house of evil living on. Liam’s parents meanwhile did not pay any attention to what they viewed as the infantile superstitions surrounding it and hoped that they could perhaps turn it into a tourist spot. Ultimately however it didn’t work as there was so little history about the house known outside of Alcos (whose inhabitants still shunned it.) There was also nothing particularly special about it otherwise (on the surface) so it just became more property to rent.

Unfortunately however unknown to Jack and the others, the magics that were buried below, had developed a degree of sentience havig morphed into a new magical creature and slowly influenced Liam to release them. They’d take control of him for a short period of time, without his knowledge and every day, they’d have him perform rituals that slowly broke Daskerath and the witches magical lock.

Once the magic was released it instantly consumed their house, and the four students soon found themselves fighting for survival. Zombie like creatures, made from the corpses of Daskerath’s other old experiments emerged from the floor boards, statues outside came to life, paintings became portals to other worlds, Jack’s pet dog, already an aggressive pitbull, grew to over 20 feet long and tried to eat them, whilst a Dinosaur, specifically an Allosaurus, that Daskerath had attempted to bring back as one of his experiments, thinking it was a dragon, returned in the garden. The Allosaurus however was not how it had been in life thanks to Daskerath’s magics. It was much larger, stood upright and was a lot more aggressive.

The four boys would soon be aided by a mysterious stranger, called Leanne who had apparently been stalking their house for days before hand. Leanne was in fact Daskerath’s greatest experiment. She had been brought back almost exactly as she had been before the plague had killed her, though sadly she would later discover that she was also rendered immortal too.

She had a connection to the magics that had been entombed and could sense when they had influenced Liam to some extent. Unfortunately her previous attempts to investigate the house had been hindered by Jack and the others before hand.

Sadly whilst Leanne was able to barely rescue the others, Jack was mauled to death by his own dog. In that house however he wouldn’t stay dead for long and the magics soon revived him as a zombie like creature. His skin was distorted until it was turned green by the magics, whilst half of his face and even a part of his skull was missing. Despite this however his body was significantly stronger than before, with the magics also protecting his exposed brain. Unlike most other zombies he retained both his intelligence and his free will, though he would still be overcome by a desire to eat flesh, which he had to constantly fight against. The other three boys meanwhile were also distorted and mutated by the magics and along with their zombified friend, were forced to take up residence in their old student flat. Using glamour magics provided by Leanne which made them appear human, they all attempted to return to their old lives, whilst helping Leanne battle against the magics that had been unleashed.

Their main enemy was the new magical creature that had been entombed for all those years, which attempted to carry on Daskerath’s work and created several new, horrific zombie and magical abominations throughout the town. Unfortunately however the magics that formed this creature also soon began to break apart, resulting in stray spells all over the town leading to worse horrors.

Arguably the two biggest calamities to befall the town as a result of the stray spells were the undead Dinosaurs and the great flood. The former, saw a stray spell revive more Dinosaurs buried beneath the earth, in a similar fashion to the Allosaurus. The latter meanwhile was the result of an infamous enchantment that would cause magic rain to pour on a town for two weeks non stop until it was flooded. The enchantment also prevented anyone from escaping during that time. Finally the magical water would also be filled with hostile sea creatures, conjured by the spell itself.

Daskerath had been experimenting with the spell due to its ability to create life, but he quickly and wisely abandoned it.

The four students with Leanne’s help were able to undo the effects of the flood spell and save their city, which for a short while would cause them to be viewed as local heroes.

Sadly however, when they finally defeated the monstrous entity created by Daskerath’s magics, their true nature as magical creatures was exposed to the town at large and they would soon be forced out of the town, despite Leanne’s efforts to help them.

On the road, the foursome would eventually split up after a vicious fight, and Jack would go on alone, never bothering to use the glamour to cover his appearance again. For the next ten years he travelled the world, staying in cheap motels, living off of the animals he would hunt on the road. He would still occasionally as ridiculous as it may have sounded, play gigs with bands, where his monstrous appearance would simply be explained away as make up. Still compared to the other members of the Spook Family, whilst he had done many great things in the early years of his transformation. By the mid 90s he was a mere shell of his former self in more ways than one.

Finally Maksera much like the Golem was the last natural member of his race known as the Raxians. Whilst many civilised worlds would rightfully come to view the Raxians as monsters, Maksera would always serve as a reminder to the fact that not only were they once creatures capable of choosing between right and wrong, but that their fate could easily befall any civilised species in the galaxy.

The Raxians were once a highly advanced race who believed in science rather than the black arts. They had progressed beyond a level one civilisation, in that they were able to harness all of the energy from their world, and had even set up a thriving colony on a nearby planet. Unfortunately however their golden age was not to last. An attempt to harness the power from their sun instead created a series of solar waves that devastated the surface of their planet. With the colony cut off from the main world, it too began to die.

All their technology and resources were sadly unable to save them as the Raxians sun continued to spiral out of control and bombard their planet. The radiation levels built up, more mutations were born, animal and planet life began to wither and die, nights and days became erratic and their population dwindled from almost 100 billion to only a couple of hundred in less than a century.

It was at this point when the last Raxians were living a pitiful, nomadic existence that a demon named Iskelios visited their world. This demon was known and despised on many civilised worlds throughout the galaxy, including our own. Though he had the power of a God, he preferred manipulation and getting species and creatures to willingly chose damnation. He would appeal to species and people when they were at their most desperate, promising them power and salvation by transforming them into demons. He corrupted thousands of worlds over the course of his immortal life this way, but the Raxians would prove to be his greatest masterpiece.

The surviving Raxian leaders, and the majority of their people agreed to the demons terms. Even though he made it very clear that they would become creatures of evil like he was, they still accepted. It is easy for us in hindsight to judge the Raxians for this, but again who is to say that we or indeed any other sentient race would not do the same if faced with our own end? None of us are really prepared for our mortality as individuals, never mind the mortality of our species.

Imagine knowing that your generation was to be the final generation? That your ancestors centuries of struggling would be for nothing? That you had failed where all others before had thrived? Every single sentient species in the universe would do whatever it could to avoid that fate. Most simply haven’t had the opportunity that the Raxians had, and were forced to go quietly into the night.

Still having said that, not all of the Raxians agreed to become demons. A small handful, led by Maksera actively attempted to stop the demon from tempting the rest of their kind. Of course their attempts failed and they would be imprisoned by their new demonic bretheran and subject to horrific torture for decades for their perceived treachery.

After becoming demonic, the Raxians would use the black arts to travel to other planets across the galaxy. They destroyed countless worlds and races all to satisfy their new bloodlust and sadism, all the while forcing the last surviving members of what they used to be to watch.

All of the survivors were driven insane except for Maksera who just became determined to ensure that his ancestors struggles and accomplishments would not only lead to the bloodshed and horrors his fellow kind were now committing. Maksera escaped after the first 100 or so years of his people’s conquest and would aid numerous other species in battling them. Ironically the magics they had used to keep him alive for decades of torture, ended up granting him immortality. Maksera would draw on the magics of his people’s planet, which he was able to more than any of the Raxians other enemies due to having been born there. Sadly however though he did save many worlds from their evil, in the long run, Maksera wasn’t able to make any kind of major dent in their power, and the Raxians became one of the most feared races in the galaxy. Unlike other intergalactic conquerors however such as the Hylexans, the Raxians never gave the races they invaded the option of surrender. They also never harvested the supplies and resources of the worlds they conquered. Instead using the blackest magics to completely destroy all life from each planet. They also never forgot a defeat. One world known as Dascania, resisted an invasion from these demonic conquerors ten times over the course of 1000 years. It was able to do so, due to the fact that the planet’s distinct magic was toxic to the Raxians. Eventually however, with the aid of a double agent the Raxians finally prevailed, and made sure that the Dascanians destruction was far more prolonged and horrific than those of the other races they wiped out in the process. The entire planet was reduced to dust afterwards to prevent anyone from ever using its magic again.

In spite of their power however the demonic invaders would later be pushed back by an alliance of many different species, but towards the end of this galactic war, the Raxians would soon turn their attention towards a small world that existed far beyond their or their enemies influence. Earth.

The earth had a unique combination of different magics from planets all over the universe. Each planet in the natural realm had its own distinct magic, though there was also a universal magic that ran through the entire universe. Almost no life forms were powerful enough to harness universal magic however. It was even believed that there was a form of magic that ran throughout the entire natural realm, and above that one which ran through the omniverse, but no proof has ever been given for this.

Earth however, aside from its native magic also has the magic of several worlds fused into its being, thanks to the Gods who were forced to use magic from all over the universe and even beyond to do rebuild the planet after Set’s invasion.

Over the millenia the magics from different worlds would in some cases fuse together, giving earth a much wider and completely unique set of enchantments and spells.

This among other reasons is why the earth has been such a hotspot for supernatural activity throughout its history.

Maksera meanwhile had first discovered our planet sometime in the 19th century, when he was searching for planets with unusual magical structures to harness their power against the Raxians. The earth interested Maksera, not just because of its unusual combination of magics, but also because it contained the magic from Dascania, which the gods had used when helping to rebuild the earth. Dascania’s magic was among the most potent and unusual in the entire galaxy.

With this new supply of Dascanian magic, Maksera was able to achieve one of his greatest victories against his people, but the rest of the Raxians were eventually able to discover its location, after capturing a small sample of the magic from the corpses of one of their soldiers. After investigating the planet, the Raxians would discover its unique structure and begin attempting to harness its power from a secret underwater lair for many decades. As the war however heated up, pressure was put on the Raxians from earth to find something that could help them win and to destroy the planet to prevent more Dascanian magic from being used.

When Maksera found out about the plan in the final days of the war which he cleaned from a captured Raxian base, he instantly headed for the earth. He had not let anyone else know about the planet as he did no want to alert any other aliens to or demons to its unique magical structure for its sake, and destroyed the information in the Raxian base. He also did not trust either the government of any nation, or even any of the organisations that had been set up to combat the supernatural. Fact is very few of even the most skilled witches and sorcerers had even scratched the surface of the extent of the wide array of magics beneath the earth and Maksera didn’t want to introduce humanity to this strange new force before it could handle it.

Instead Maksera would seek out the planets most noteworthy heroes and distinctive magical creatures. Even then however he was limited in the time he had, with his people now finally putting their plan into action. The Maksera’s plan was to drain magic from the points of the earth where the different magics had been fused together by the Gods when rebuilding the planet. Not only would they be able to gain access to some of the most powerful and unique magics buried deep in the planet, but as these spells had literally held the planet together ever since then the aliens actions would literally rip the earth apart at the seams.

In the few days he had to scour our entire world in his vessel, Maksera, based on stories he had heard on his previous visits to earth and other small bits of information he could glean was able to track down, Vincent, the Medusa, Claudia, Jack and the Golem, one after another.

Of all of them Vincent took the most persuasion as he did not like leaving Marsters for too long. The Medusa and the Golem were both only too happy to join the mission, as at that point they were both in something of a rut. Their companions had long since moved on or died, and they were all alone and somewhat aimless, merely travelling from town to town fighting random monsters without any plan or goal. Claudia meanwhile was also happy to get out of her home town for a while as more and more attention was being drawn to Lady Squid than she would have liked. Jack on the other hand was also somewhat reluctant like Vincent, though more due to his own apathy at life than anything else. He was only won round when Maksera told him how dangerous it would be, and how none of them would likely be returning. Jack didn’t feel there was much left in his life, but the thought of being a hero again and going out with a bang intrigued him. Ironically however this very mission and the family he would make during it, would give him a reason to go on.

Each of the group was selected, not just for their history and skills, but also because they all bar Claudia, represented a unique combination of magics that couldn’t be found anywhere else on the planet which could potentially come in useful against the Raxians. Claudia meanwhile was also chosen because the Raxians had a fear of monsters, as they were among the few species more evil and destructive than they were.

Almost as soon as the team was put together, the Raxian invaders put their plan into action, forcing the Spook Family as they would become known to act.

To Be Continued.

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