Oooo, a dark night, a bloody piece of wood, two bodies.... And so begins the blood banquet that will end with the ultimate hunter slaying his helpless prey. And no one will survive.
It was a dark night in Forget-Me-Not Valley. The stars in the black sky above glittered like diamonds on black cloth. The full moon tucked behind a passing cloud, shrouding the municipal in darkness.
In a slight wind, the branches of the trees swayed. The street lights blinked on and off.
Besides the hissing of the trees and the howl of a lonely coyote somewhere in the mountains, the valley was silent. No one walked the streets.
Except for someone.
Marlin shifted in his jacket and trudged down the path back home. Something crashed in a bush behind him, and he jumped like a cat.
He saw a rabbit come running from the bush, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
Sure, Marlin was known for his guts, but being outside in the dark still made him feel a little scared.
He ran a hand through his oily black hair and continued home.
Something else crashed behind him and he jumped again. His heart was beating like a bird trapped in a cage.
"Stop it!" he told himself. He continued walking, resisting the urge to freak out at the slightest noise.
When he reached it, he tried to open the door to the small wooden house. The door was locked.
He fumbled for the set of keys in his pocket. Suddenly, something behind him crashed again.
Marlin's heart caught in his throat. That was no rabbit.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small flashlight. He shined the beam across a few wooden boxes and the run-down shed, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
That was the last thought that ran through his mind before he went face-down in the dirt.
Celia jerked up from a sound sleep. A book fell off her lap. She'd fallen asleep in a chair, reading a book.
She could've sworn she heard something outside.
She kicked her shoes back on and tiptoed to the door.
She heard something smash against the side of the house. She yanked open the door, but it was locked.
She unhooked the deadbolt and stared around in the darkness. Then, flipping on the outside light, she stepped outside into the cold, autumn air.
Marlin spit out a mouthful of dirt. The sickeningly sweet taste of blood filled his mouth.
Something delivered a hard kick to his side as he sprawled on the ground.
He spun off and crashed into a pile of wooden boxes. He threw a wild punch at the whatever it was, but missed and reeled back as the creature delivered one of his own.
In the darkness, he couldn't see what was attacking him.
He grabbed a wooden box and swung it in front of him. He missed again, and was knocked to the ground .
In the complete darkness, he stared around, wide eyed, breathing hard.
The attacker was gone, splintered wood lay everywhere on the ground.
For a while, Marlin sat still. His eyes became accustomed to the dark.
He wished they didn't.
Behind him, the assailant stood as still as a statue.
The person had nothing to identify gender, race, or anything else. All they wore was a black cloak and mask. He tried to move away from the dark figure, but got a sharp pain shooting up his side as a kick was delivered to his rib cage.
He jumped back up and tried to strong-arm the man, but he was too slow and soon found himself struggling as the dark figure battered him with his fists.
Marlin took another swing and felt his jaw dislocate as the figure smashed his head against the shed wall.
He clawed desperately at the earth to get back up, and succeeded. He heard a ripping noise behind him.
Marlin flew backwards as a piece of splintered wood hit him in the head.
He put a hand to his throbbing skull. His hand came away bloody. There'd been a nail in the board.
He tried to get up again, but couldn't as the figure smashed his face in with the board over and over again.
With the last of his strength, Marlin let out a yell.
Celia whirled around at the sound of a scream. Her heart jumped into her throat and froze.
She ran back inside and threw the door closed. She slid down to the floor, chewing her fingernails.
She knew that yell.
Her heart beat like a drum in her chest. She wanted to get up and help, but her fear of what was happening kept her feet grounded to the uneven wooden boards that made up the floor.
She breathed heavily, listening to a battering noise outside, something being thrown, a crash.
She gave a final sniff, and opened the door again, adrenaline rushing through her body.
The figure stepped back over his kill. The board he'd been using dripped with blood.
Marlin twitched, and tried to see through the fog that surrounded him. The world spun wildly, and he dropped his head back into the grass. Fireworks exploded in his head.
He dragged his limp body away in a vain attempt to save himself.
The figure wouldn't let him escape, but stayed in the darkness watching him try to pull himself to safety. As he neared the street, the dark form yanked him up by the neck and tightened a grip around Marlin's throat.
Marlin gagged and choked, clawing at the hands around his neck.
Suddenly, the figure let go.
Marlin limply fell to the ground, but lifted his head to hear Celia's voice near them.
He looked at the man, who was staring intently in the direction of the soft voice who called for a reply. Marlin read the man's thoughts, through the mask.
"Don't.. don't you dare.." he managed to choke out. The figure smiled a toothy grin down at Marlin and took off silently in the direction of Celia's faltering voice.
Marlin tried to pull himself up again, but the figure stopped, smirked evily, and kicked Marlin square in the face.
"M..m..Marlin?" Celia called faltingly. She looked desperately for any sign of anything in the darkness, but saw nothing. The young girl stepped quietly back toward the door backwards, feeling for the door knob.
She backed into something, and turned slowly, her gray eyes wide with fear.
The figure smiled with an evil grin, simply staring at her.
Celia stopped breathing. Her heart stopped. The world around her froze.
She heard a groan in the distance, and through the weak light of the street light saw a battered body dragging itself on the ground. She gasped without making any noise.
She looked up at the assailant. He sighed, and walked back toward the battered almost-corpse.
He kicked Marlin back in the face and Marlin dropped to the ground, a tiny groan escaping the limp body.
Celia stood unable to move as the killer, as he surely was, stepped menacingly toward her.
She backed up, and kept going until she couldn't anymore.
Marlin picked up his head from the dirt. He couldn't see out of one eye, and the other was clouded.
His head dropped back into a puddle of blood. His face was riddled with splinters from the board he'd been beat with, a hole in the side of his head.
He still struggled up, reaching desperately for something, anything.
The end was near, but he wouldn't let this man take another life, he thought amongst the buzzing pain.
His head rung as he tried to pull himself up. He finally got himself off the ground, beyond agony.
He choked and gagged, standing halfway up, blood staining his white shirt. He looked up in time to see the figure notice him.
The creature walked heavily, his steps ringing in Marlin's battered head.
He threw a look at Celia, who's grey eyes desperately reached out for him.
The creature grabbed Marlin by his ripped shirt and dragged him off into the shadows.
Marlin took a sharp breath. He was ready to die, but he hated himself for it.
The killer raised his foot above Marlin's head for a final blow.
Suddenly, with a warrior like cry, Celia came flying in and smashed into the figure.
She crouched down over the battered mass that had once been Marlin as the creature untangled himself from the mass of lumber he'd landed in. Marlins face was barely recognizable, blood dripping slowly to the ground in a puddle by his head.
She took what was left of his hand in hers, willing him to stay alive.
He turned his head, breathing heavily and looked at her through the ever-coming fog around him, his black eyes saying all that his mouth wanted to.
He tried to take a deep breath, but the air bit at his lungs. His head slumped to the other side.
Celia shook his arm, but his eyes stared into the oblivion that was death.
She bowed her head, her eyes filling with tears at the horror before her.
Celia never saw the killer pull out a knife and raise it high above her.
A split second later, she slumped over into death, her hand still in Marlin's.
The figure smiled at the sight, and melted back into the shadows.
Vesta placed a hand on her brother's headstone, her shoes making deep prints in the freshly-dug earth.
She would never forget the terrible sight of walking outside, two bloody corpses that were once her family. She closed her eyes at the thought of the two young victims, for she was sure it was murder.
Pictures of the mangled bodies buzzed through Vesta's head.
She walked toward home, her heart heavy with sorrow.
Tears teetered on her eyelashes, but would not give her the relief of falling. She felt a weathered hand on her shoulder and turned to face the person.
"I just heard..." Doctor Hardy said, one eye cast down at the ground, the other cybernetic one in an icy stare forward. "...I'm sorry....." he said, his voice trailing off.
Vesta simply kept walking.
Doctor Hardy stared at the ground for a few seconds, then continued walking.
He was a doctor, and part of being one was separating yourself from the pain around you.
So why couldn't he?
Chapter 2: Angel of Death
Nami walked carefully down the stairs in the darkness. Since the news of the murder, everyone was too frightened to leave their houses. She tiptoed down the stairs to the kitchen for a glass of water. She looked in every direction before turning on the tap.
She chugged down the water so fast she nearly choked, and was up the stairs before the faucet turned off. Once back in her room, she locked the door and cuddled a pillow to her chest. She wished she had someone to hold her an tell her everything was alright.
She buried her face into the pillow. She'd never felt so alone.
The darkness outside seemed like it was crawling into her room, strangling her.
The wind outside had picked up, and the trees scraped against the window casting eerie shadows against the wall. In the room over, she heard a crash.
Her heart froze. She got carefully up, tiptoed across the room, opened the door, and looked out. The light in Rock's room was on. He was probably as freaked out as she was.
Another crash from his room. Nami scowled, and stalked to Rock's door.
"Rock!" she said as fiercely as she could muster into a whisper.
From inside the room, someone noticed Nami's voice at the door.
"ROCK!" she said louder, knocking quietly.
She heard footsteps coming toward the door. They stopped short of the door.
"ROCK! THIS IS SERIOUS!" she whispered, whacking the door harder.
Suddenly, the door opened. Something flew out the door and landed on Nami.
Across Nami lay a cold corpse. She desperately tried to climb out from under the body.
She managed to, her heart pounding like an animal in a cage.
Cold sweat broke out on her head. Rock's neck was covered in tiny, finger-shaped bruises. His eyes stared into oblivion.
Nami backed away, sure the murderer was hiding behind the door.
She rushed across the cold wooden floor in her bare feet, down the stairs, and into the dark lobby. She banged furiously on the door of Ruby and Tim's room.
"TIM!!! RUBYYY!!!!!" she screamed, an unknown terror gripped her, shook her like a rag doll. She heard a noise, and opened the door to their room.
She wished she hadn't.
The door swung open to reveal Tim, a noose tied tight around his neck as he hung limply from the ceiling.
Ruby's battered body lay on the ground near him, in her cold hand a revolver, her fingers still clasped around the trigger in an attempt to save herself and her husband.
Nami's heart froze in her throat. She felt faint, her head spinning from the realization.
She turned as she heard heavy breathing.
Hard steps from steel-toed workboots thundered down the stairs.
The figure had a long black cloak on, the shredded tendrils streaming to his ankles.
A mask of the shadow of the robe over his head hid his face from Nami's identification.
Nami slid slowly across the wall away from the killer who stood tall, his gaunt face and sharply pointed chin showing through the mask.
She bolted out the door as fast as she could, running, running. She felt like she'd run forever, to escape the images that played in her head.
She pounded on the door of the Blue Bar with all the power in her body.
Like the grim reaper, the dark figure walked slowly down the street.
Griffin opened the door to see the hysterical Nami. Assesing the situation, he pulled Nami into the bar and sat her down, locking the door and closing the window shades.
Nami sat watching the images of the dead race through her head like a wild horse.
Griffin pulled out a glass of water and handed it to Nami. She couldn't bring her hand to reach the glass, yet she did, trembling like a leaf in a rain storm.
Griffin put a weathered hand under Nami's trembling chin and turned her face to his.
"What happened?" he asked quietly, knowing something was horribly wrong.
The door to the back room opened.
"Griffin?" Muffy asked, wiping the sleep from her eyes. "What's going on?"
Before Griffin could answer, the door burst open. The killer stood in the doorway.
Muffy gasped. Griffin's tiny eyes widened in terror.
The cloaked figure walked slowly up to the three.
His cold, white hands locked into hard fists as he swung out and knocked Griffin against the shelf behind him, shot glasses and bottles crashing to the floor. Muffy screamed, frozen in place like a chicken going to the slaughterhouse.
The killer pulled a bottle from the shelf and broke it in half. With the broken end of the glass, he raised it over his head.
Nami shoved Muffy away as the figure beat Griffin with the broken glass.
He finally dropped the now-red glass to the ground, where it shattered. He gave Griffin's body a kick to the side, and the corpse rolled behind the counter.
He turned slowly to face the two girls, who sat frozen by the carnage before them.
Nami thought back to the murdered bodies she'd seen. It was horrible. She never wanted to see the light of day again. Life was horrible, and she'd forever live the horror of seeing the dead. Her decision was made.
She stepped forward to the clearly surprised murderer.
"Take me now, Angel of Death." she said quietly.
The murderer pulled a knife from the deep folds of his robe, raised it high over Nami's head. Nami closed her eyes, preparing for the massive blow.
In a second, she fell forward to the ground, never to see another day again.
Muffy stared in horror as the killer yanked the knife from Nami's head, and stepped over the girl's lifeless body.
He wiped the knife on his mantle, and stepped forward towards her.
Chapter 3: Shattered Wings
Gustafa almost skipped down the street. It was gonna be a wonderful day, he thought to himself. He walked up to the bar's door and opened it. He walked in and stopped.
Something wasn't right.
The bar was dark, several shelves smashed in half, bottles and glasses littered everywhere.
And what was the red stuff that splattered across his shoes as he walked?
He gasped when he saw Griffin's mutilated body behind the counter. Muffy's corpse lay across the counter, her long hair spread across the weathered counter.
Her body was slashed to pieces, butchered. The counter was stained red.
Gustafa placed his hand over his mouth, but couldn't stop what was coming. He leaned forward and emptied his stomach onto the floor. He stood with a hand on his stomach, heaving and gasping for breath at the bloodied masses before him.
He walked backwards, until he touched the wall. He sunk down and sat on the ten floorboards that weren't soaked in red.
The horror was too much for him. He sat for what felt like hours, but could only have been minutes. He finally stood up, his stomach churning like a ship in a storm.
He turned around and saw a trail of something on the floor.
He followed the dark oozing trail. It made his stomach churn and made him feel light headed as the smell crept up into his face. He looked at it turn and slither around on the floor like a giant snake. What he didn't want to know was if it had venomous fangs of horror at the end.
He almost screamed.
The trail led to a bloody mass who's red hair was streaked with a deeper red.
He trembled and shook like a frightened dog as he placed a hand on Nami's body. She was more intact than Griffin or Muffy. He turned her face to his and stared into her lifeless eyes. He put his head in his hands, scared stiff by the carnage around him.
He sobbed quietly, tears mixing with the blood that stained the front of his shirt.
He looked up again and saw the horror around him.
What kind of monster would do this?
Gustafa let out a final sob, before he got up and walked out of the bar. He ran outside and to an old metal statue, rusted by time and the corrosive weather. Thoughts spun in his head like leaves in a storm. The wind pushed him backwards, making his clothes feel like metal ribbons that slashed at his skin.
Cody, the town artist, leaned around as he saw Gustafa come walking by.
"Hello Gustafa!" he bellowed over the howling winds.
Gustafa was silent as he yanked a piece of scrap metal from the pile that lay outside the door.
"What are you doing?!" Cody bellowed again, and came up to Gustafa.
Gustafa yanked the neck of his turtleneck down and held the sharp metal inches from his throat.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!" Cody yelled and tried to grab the metal from him.
Gustafa said coldly, cryptically, his eyes with no emotion,
"Look at what is all around us."
And with that, slid the metal across his throat. His dead body fell to the saw grass below him. His slit throat stained the grass a deep red.
The burly black man stood frozen in place by the sight before him. His mouth fell open. He couldn't believe this was happening. He slapped his own face, hoping this was a nightmare that he would wake from.
But as he looked down at the corpse below him, he knew it wasn't.
The man broke down in heart-shattering sobs over the body of his friend.
The winds around him whipped at the turf, sending saw grass slashing against his legs.
He didn't care. He simply laid a hand on his fallen friend, and the other across his eyes.
In the trees behind him, someone watched. He raised a silver gun to his eye level, took aim and carefully, pulled the trigger.
Cody's massive body fell over Gustafa's, a bullet in the back of his head.
The gunman smiled to himself, and melted back into the shadows.
Chapter 4: Death comes Softly
Wally hugged his son to him as he glanced out the window shades. Hugh whimpered.
Chris came up next to her husband and put an arm around him.
Wally closed the shades, happy at least his family was safe. But for how long?
The world outside seemed as barren and cold as a picture of the surface of the moon.
He let out a heavy sigh, and went up the stairs. He sat down quietly, staring at his shoes.
In a moment, he yanked on a pair of boots and slammed a coat over his shoulders.
He grabbed a flashlight and walked outside, Chris barricading the door behind him.
Wally hiked up the hill to Romana's house and knocked.
Lumina stared through the peep hole and opened the door. Wally stepped in.
Romana sat quietly, staring ahead at something that wasn't there.
Wally sighed, and went to leave again, when suddenly the window behind them broke.
A black caped figure burst through, his cloak billowing like a sheet in the wind.
Wally dove and shoved Lumina out of the way as the figure swung a scythe at the girl.
The scythe nicked him in the back, but he ignored it. Sebastian swung a large stick at the assassin, but was too slow, and slumped over into death as the scythe slit him in half.
Romana's corpse flopped against the wall, staining the wall paper red as the scythe sliced through her old body.
The figure stood, savoring the smell of fresh flesh.
Wally grabbed Lumina and dragged her away from Romana's body. He threw open the door and dragged her out onto the street, past the flickering street lights.
He dragged her until he reached his home, where he banged on the door rapidly.
Suddenly, he noticed a small pair of bloody handprints against the door.
Wally broke down in sorrow, knowing his wife and son were surely butchered and lay dead somewhere. Lumina stood blankly ahead, alive but not betraying she was still here.
He sobbed and shook with grief, tears streaming down his long face.
"He got me pretty good." Hugh said as Chris wiped her son's hands with a paper towel.
"It's OK, now." Chris said, trembling. The killer had tried to get in, but Chris had driven him away, throwing a knife at the dark figure. But he'd sliced Hugh across the hands as he retreated out the door.
"Mom?" Hugh asked, hugging her legs.
"What, Hugh?" Chris said, wrapping her arms around the young boy.
"Daddy's dead, isn't he?" Hugh said, tightening his grip around his mother.
Chris didn't respond, only a lone tear streaked down her face, past the open slash where the shadow creature ripped his scythe across her face.
Wally wiped his swollen eyes to glance at Lumina. Lumina still stood, frozen in place.
Wally heard a wild crashing of water as he sobbed. It took him a while to realize the crashing noise was inside his head.
He opened the door to the inside and pulled Lumina in.
He sat her down and shoved the table in front of the door. Lumina sat still, not crying, not yelling, just sitting in place like her spirit wasn't there but her body was.
Wally looked around. The house was ransacked, shelves broken and plants lay on their side. The light bulb above was cracked in half, not even flickering.
He stepped outside again, and the door closed silently behind him.
Chris brushed her hand across Hugh's red hair. He'd fallen asleep in her arms.
She put him down and sat against the wall. What was she going to do?
Thoughts swam like water bugs in her head. She looked down the stairs.
Did a murderer hide at the bottom of the steps? A dead body?
She took a chance and stepped down to the living room. She looked around and noticed Lumina, scrunched in the corner, shaking and whimpering like a puppy.
Chris rushed over and tried to pull Lumina off the ground. The girl was as limp as a rag doll, and flopped in Chris's arms. Lumina began crying hysterically into Chris's blood-stained clothes. She pulled Lumina up the stairs and sat her next to Hugh.
She hugged Hugh's sleeping body to her as if she could tear the horror from her mind.
Chris sat down and held the girl in her arms as she sobbed.
Finally, Lumina's crying stopped and she sat as if she weren't there again.
Chris let her go and walked down the stairs again.
Wally spun on his heels and glanced around him. Kassey and Patrick lay scattered across the street, innards and limbs strewn like trash across the street.
Nausea swept across Wally, but he resisted regurgitating at the sight. He instead turned his face to face the night sky, a sky once so full of promise and hope.
"WHERE ARE YOU!?!?!" he shouted into the darkness.
A swift rustle behind him told him he was right behind him.
Chris stuck her head out the door. Nothing brushed the still night air.
She stepped cautiously out the door. The Blue Bar's sign hung loosely from one hinge.
She stood awed by the stillness of the night. Dozens of stars in a band lay scattered across the black night sky. She took a breath of the sweet Fall air, the breath soothing her burning lungs. Suddenly, a scream ripped from the upstairs window.
Chris yelled and rushed back into the house, her moment of peace over.
Chapter 5: The End
By the next morning, they were all dead. As the first bands of colors stretched across the morning sky, the last victim gasped his last.
The murderer held his scythe in one hand, and breathed in the sweet smell of freshly cut human flesh as it lay in a shredded heap at his feet.
He opened his mouth in a sinister laugh, one that rumbled across the trembling valley that stood in his wake. He ripped the mask from his face and let the rising sun play across his face. He yanked off the shredded cloak and stuffed it into his pocket and slipped the mask into the folds of his shirt. His long brown hair streamed down his back in a ponytail.
He lifted his eyes to the west, towards his next destination.
And he quietly began walking over the hill that led to the next blood banquet for his Satan-ridden soul, for only then would he know peace.
The End (for now)