A massive explosion rocked the North - Eastern side of the city. People ran screaming and the air was filled with the acrid stench of burning flesh, leaden with the heaviness of crumbling buildings as it exploded outward in a hail of smoke and fire. Debris cascaded down in a rainstorm of pain, blurry feeling and chaos. Through it all the reaper walked, not among the living; or the wounded; not among the chaos and vitality of life but rather as something other and separate. He sent those who had immediately died in the explosion on to the next stage where they would wait until God came back to collect them.
Sirens screamed and blared, while the sky turned a murky grey orange color and the rest of the building collapsed on itself. The police had arrived on scene and began setting up a perimeter with a safe zone outside of the blast radius. A crew of firemen and ambulance personnel pulled in a few moments later and began helping the wounded.
A second explosion sounded further into the city, echoing weirdly around the chaos of the first explosion. A radio crackled requesting backup, more souls joined the first five; the reaper laughed a darkly, mirthless sound. He reveled in the destruction and chaos, the death and carnage around him.
He let his powers flow like the river of life, covering the city – calling the souls that had passed on. It was going to get a lot worse within the next few hours.
“I need all open units to help with the evacuation of the city. The city is under attack. I repeat all open units to help with the evacuation of the city. I also need back up units to fourth and Cedric Avenue.”
Jayson’s voice crackled over the radio going through all the channels for police, ambulance, and the firefighting service. He commed his men who were already en-route to the outer sections.
His lieutenants; Scotty, Bryan, Larry, and Kevin had been with him since the beginning. They had stayed out of loyalty and friendship, and now they were as tight knit as rope.
“This is Chief Halston; General Storm is that you?”
“Yea, it’s me Chief, I need all open units to evacuate the city.”
“General; I’m doing the best I can with what I have, I’m also trying to get people out of the blast zone and organize an evacuation. I’m a little tied up now!”
The chief barked into the radio before clicking off. Jayson growled with frustrated annoyance as static over the radio cutting out all channels. The battle bus rolled over a deep pothole and everything inside jolted; Jayson’s chair lurched sideways away from the computer.
“Scotty, can’t you keep this damn thing stable?”
The battle bus was a veritable fortress on wheels. A feat of engineering and military design; the inside was a jumble of high tech computers, scanners, and a variety of other equipment that allowed Jayson to observe his environment in detail. The outside was a work of industrial grade steel shutters housing a variety of missiles, machine guns, spikes, and an interesting assortment of other weapons.
The entire thing was virtually indestructible. Jayson commed the military commanders while the rest of the vampires in the battle bus stormed out to help with the evacuation of the blast zone. A slew of reports flew across his heads up display momentarily disorienting him and he swiped his hand across his vision sending the reports to the main screen.
“My God, the entire city is under fire.”
“Yea, it looks like the Blades have stopped hiding. Time to get this shit show going.”
Jayson growled gleefully jumping out of the battle bus to join his men. Scotty joined them a moment later after putting the battle bus on lockdown. The armies of the night began setting up a perimeter, getting all the people, wounded and able – bodied out of the blast zone and into the safety of the emergency personnel.
It was a symphony of chaos; an orchestrated collision of screaming, pain, death and destruction all throughout the city. Even though the city was burning down around him, he reveled in the beautiful destruction of it all. He was a guardian of death and it was a glorious day for dying.
“General; we have to evacuate the city, now!”
“I’m on it chief. Boy’s get these people to safety now. I need all units to evacuate the city. Repeat all units evacuate the city.”
Everyone began to leave, some in cars, most walking out of town to the safe area Eryn and JB had set up when they had first moved into the city. The armies of the night vampires and human workers alike all making sure the citizens got out safely, while more explosions rocked the city to its core.
Armies or the night vampires engaged The Blade vampires in combat throughout the city.
The air became thick with the stench and thickness of smoke, burning buildings and filled with the sounds of unrelenting battles. Screeching, the ringing of metal and the staccato burst of automatic gunfire filled the air; a terrifying cacophony of horror and nightmares brought forth by 500 years of hatred and greed for power.
Jayson’s radio crackled to life, the Blade he was engaged in battle with swiped a sword at his face and he ducked back bringing his blade up to parry off the attackers blow with his right hand. His computer beeped with an incoming message and while he parried with the vampire who was becoming more and more frustrated with Jayson’s lack of attention.
“Give me a minute to answer this, won’t you?”
The vampire stopped, momentarily stunned with the shock blast Jayson sent down through his sword and along the other vampire’s sword into his body.
“This is General storm, go ahead, over.”
“Hey General, this is Michael. Did you request the help of Project Slayer? Over.”
The Blade started laughing and Jayson glared at him. “I didn’t ask the military for help from Project Slayer. Why do you ask?”
“I’m in the west-side quadrant finishing up with the evacuation and I’ve picked up three signatures on my end. There could be more in different areas of the city as well. Michael over and out.”
The radio turned to silence once more and still the Blade laughed. Dread settled in the pit of Jayson’s stomach. He growled baring his fangs fully and grabbed the Blades collar bringing him mere inches from Jayson’s face. “What is the meaning of this?”
“You didn’t know? The great general Jayson Storm; who thinks he’s all that because he has eyes and ears everywhere? Who’s become the strongest being alive on Earth; looks like you just met your maker. Ace hypnotized the leading General in the military to send in Project Slayer as an aid to take care of the Armies of the night.” The vampire laughed before spitting on Jayson’s cheek.
Jayson snapped the vampire’s neck in a fit of fury; his eyes blazing anger and distaste.
“Michael, keep an eye on them, I’ll alert the others. Storm over and out.”
The Reaper watched the events unfold from the shadows; neither curious nor interested really, but he had a sneaking suspicion something bad was going to happen but currently he couldn’t do anything about it. He was just glad Eryn was off-world somewhere.
She was swimming around corners and through tunnels, fighting underwater monsters in a world of glowing runes and darkness. The dark water was oppressing and she was beginning to get tired. Fatigue dragged at her muscles and she felt like a lead weight. The otter led her through a tunnel of pitch black water and when she emerged on the other side, everything was blindingly bright, but she was on solid ground again and could breathe fresh air.
She squinted against the harsh light, letting her eyes adjust momentarily before continuing forward. Her armour and gun appeared on her body once again. There was a mouse waiting at the base of the mountain and it motioned for her to follow; she moved towards it. Something shifted in her peripheral vision and she shot it without a second glance, she was done playing games.
The mountain was windingly long with seemingly natural hardships to overcome: large boulders in the pathway, a thick tree literally growing out the side of the mountain, the path forking into several smaller paths. Further up the mountain, the path split into two; one leading further up the mountain and under the blindingly hot sun and the other leading through the mountain into darkness.
The mouse waited patiently for her to decide which path she would take. She chose the path leading into the tunnel, preferring the darkness to the harshness of the light and the scorching heat. She scrambled over rocks and up ledges and for the first time in a long time she thought about the first missions with JB when he had been alive and human.
They had been sneaking through a tunnel like this one and she had slipped off a ledge; she remembered the feel of the harness tightening around her chest and pelvis, the flashlight in her hand spun wildly creating a kaleidoscope of blurry shadows and sparkles. After that the memory became distorted and fragmented; piecing back together when she was outside watching JB from across the fire.
“Oh JB, I miss who you used to be. I miss the partnership we had and how you always had my back.”
Her whispers echoed eerily up and down the tunnel; the darkness took them and turned them into the light wispy fluttering of bat’s wings. Water dripped in steady streams, running in rivulets across the floor and draining into a large, deep, underground lake. The water was pure and clean, wonderfully refreshing.
“Alright, time to finish this.”
She shouldered the small backpack again and continued through the darkness. Once she had reached the other side of the lake, she climbed up through the roof coming out onto the other side. The top of the mountain was scorching and bright. The surface was pock-marketed and riddled with holes and craters as if a massive fight had broken out. The portal was shimmering in the center, and the timer ticked down 00:59… 00:58… she began running. A bullet whizzed past her head and lodged itself in the rock behind her, causing it to explode.
Screeching, she dived behind a rock as another bullet whizzed by on her right and she ducked to her left, nearly kissing a skeleton picked clean of flesh. Its bones had been baked to white while its empty eye sockets stared blankly forward.
“I will not panic. I will not panic. I will not panic!”
The rock exploded as it took a direct hit and that was all the motivation and distraction she needed. Bolting forward, she zigzagged half-hazardly across the surface; firing back with an animalistic roar of fury. The shots became intermittent and sporadic. She kept firing. The shots echoed off and around the mountain while the portal shimmered and glowed with an ethereal light.
Panting heavily and bleeding from cuts along her arms and legs and torso, she made a mad dash for the portal, diving through it while shooting behind her at her attacker. The portal swallowed her whole and ripped her across space and time. Everything became a distortion of color, light, pain and sound; everything blurring together into a maelstrom of disjointed panic and terror.