I woke to my mom yelling my name and it's time to get up, not that this was different from any other morning. I muster the strength to snail out of bed, finding clothes that in the end are just like every other kids just some color scheme changes. Figuring I had to eat so I could push starvation away, I poured a bowl of those lovely bran flakes. I could have fruit loops or something more colorful I suppose, but really it's all the same crap just different amounts of sugar. Sipping my orange juice I contemplate on what school holds today, the same math problems just a few letters instead of numbers again, getting to learn more about the language I already speak, or maybe if I'm lucky I'll get to do experiments just to ultimately prove the universe means to kill us all even at a molecular level. I noticed the time and decide to place my dishes in the sink and go since I have only an hour till school. Walking down our pathway I see our messed up flamingo in the yard that's become more white than it ever was pink. Why haven't we just thrown that junk away and got something new. You see to me life seemed pretty repetitive and redundant. You wake up and do your daily pattern, go to school, go to work, come home and get some rest so you can do it all again. Sure I loved our vacations just as much as any other person, but what was the point of adventures that ultimately lead back to the same pattern. I thought maybe today I'll make a change and walk instead of take the bus to school.
While I walk I wonder why I don't just end it, but I always remember that life is a game and Death is losing and I'm not about to lose the game of life. For as long as I can recall life has always been a game to me. I'm sure Death has been trying to win for a long time now, not my whole life, but quite some years. I can recall moments in my life when I almost died and the unique experience I have with them. I had gone hiking with my parents once and I stumbled off a cliff, then all I could see was black. In the black I heard a sound though. One step, two step, clank, one step, two step, clank, one step, two step, clank was the sound. As I was waking in the hospital a black figure appeared across the room and I could still here it whisper "Games not over yet". I know people would think I'm crazy so I never said much of it to anyone, though I know the game is being played.
As my eyes wander I see the same long stretched cracks in the roads that have always been, sure the city "seals" them up but what's the point if you can still see and feel them. Here comes that same old bridge that's suppose to be some huge historical thing for our town, but really it's nothing more than your regular old concrete with rusty rails. I'm pretty ahead of schedule so I figure I'll throw some big rocks off the bridge just to see the splash they make, it has to be at least a two story drop. I begin to notice a change in patterns, the bus should have been by here already about five minutes ago. The bus must be running late, I guess I'll take whatever change in routine I can get. Arriving at the schools doors I'm still confused where the bus is, even if it was running late it should still have beat me to the school, oh well I suppose.
As I mozy my way through the hallways I see the student of the month award, Artemidorus it reads, we're pretty great friends but I think we all know it's just who sucks up the most award. In passing I see the same people I always pass wearing their usually accessories, Greg always with his cap on backwards, Nicky with the same glitter hair ties and highlighted hair, even Paul with his black clothes and chains. I finally arrive to my homeroom, which to my surprise is empty, Ms. Albert's with a gloomy look about her. She seemed pale and shaken, but like she couldn't move. I proceeded to ask if she's ok, to which she replied " The bus... it ran late unexpectedly an...and...it drove off the bridge, all the students died..." as she sobbed she continued " You are allowed the day if you like... should you choose to stay... please allot me ten minutes to collect myself and we will continue with an easy day."
I nodded and assured her to take whatever time she needed but that I had no need to go home because I would like to attend my other classes. What she didn't know is I just wasn't as shaken since I didn't really talk to anyone on my bus or in my homeroom, plus there wasn’t going to be anything to do at home and I might as well be at school since I made the walk.
Eventually first period had ended, then an announcement over head , "Students please gather in the lunch room as we debate to close school the rest of the day". I put my headphones on and hit shuffle on some metal station and walked like a zombie to the lunchroom. Looking out the windows I could see some fierce thunderstorm going on, I wonder when that started, maybe that's the main reason to close school for the rest of the day. If the storm was the main reason it could make sense we hardly ever get them and it feels like it's shaking the whole building. I thought the bus crash wouldn't cause it because not everyone knew them or was affected by it. I guess I'll focus on just finding Artemidorus, everyone calls him Artie though, and Specs my two and probably only friends. Of course Specs is just a nickname we gave her since she seems to just always know everything, sometimes to the point of what you're even going to do next...creepy. Turning the corner to the lunchroom I can see down the long hallway students running towards me. As a student is getting within arms length I reach to my ear and remove a headphone to hear him screaming, "Run! You have to Run!". All the students are running every direction, I can't make out what's going on. I stretch out to grab hold of someone running by to ask what's going on. Right as they open their mouth to tell me I heard the loudest screeching I have ever heard, windows burst and we fell to the ground clenching our ears. I look up at him about to ask if he's ok, but as I do I see a giant red hand grasp his head. This hand had to be the size of large textbook, with long sharp yellow rotten fingernails, the muscles in the hand prominently bulging with visible veins. Before I knew what was happening the hand turned to a fist, a warm mist covered me. I looked down at the blood on my shirt and back at this thing thinking "Death has won today, but he had to take away all routine and the mundane first to beat me". The beasts eyes turned to me, with a malicious smile upon it's face.
Staring into those piercing yellow cat eyes, I couldn't help but think of ways out of this. I wanted to move so bad, even blink if I could, but the fear struck me and my body froze. When I started to move it wasn't of my own accord, the thing had grabbed me by the leg holding me upside down as I dangle already lifeless but still moments from death. My face just about to the jaws and I could see the jagged sharp teeth layered as if it was a sharks mouth one after another ready to slice me up. I had to do something, muster some sort of strength. I wondered if I could even scream would it matter? In the distance I could already see the painted red lunch room from all my fellow students and teachers alike. The bodies were scattered everywhere with limbs missing surrounded by more of these things. With my head now in this things mouth everything is going black, I can already feel life leaving my body. The things breathe was putrid as if I could smell all the others it had devoured, but somewhere in there a smell hit my nose and I could feel life come back to me. My muscles were working again, so I did all I could in that moment and stretched out my arm. As I was about to put my palm on what I believe was it's forehead, a bright light so blinding everything went white coming through the window nearby. I had to force my eyes shut and just hope for the best.
I attempted opening my eyes, but I felt weak and like my body was drained of energy. I managed to lift one eyelid open to a squint. What I saw seemed odd, the thing appeared to be turning to black ash with out any sign of fire around it. As the blackness consumed the thing I could see it reaching the hand holding me. The hand turned to ash and slowly fell to the ground, however I was lucky enough to just fall full force. In the distance I could see a figure coming towards me, it was just black and white. The black and white figure appeared to be killing those things, maybe that's what saved me I thought. I wanted to get up and run, but I felt as if every ounce of energy I had was gone. Who could kill these things? They were so huge and powerful. I had first hand seen one crush a human skull with nothing but its hand. Could this black and white figure be who summoned that light? I started to feel like I'm falling asleep, everything was limp and my consciousness fading. I still didn't know if I was safe or what this black and white figure was, how do I even know if I'm saved? I must get up and ru....
When I first awoke all I could see was three blurry blobs, one of which was the black and white figure carrying me. I still felt drained, I tried moving but the most I could muster was some grunts and a wiggle of my finger. In a deep and raspy voice I heard “ Ah I see you're coming too, that was fairly quick.” from the black and white figure. As my vision became clearer I could see that this figure was actually priest Rhys, also known to be a drunk oddly enough.
You could always catch priest Rhys with a flask and he appeared quite unapproachable for being a priest. There was some kind of feeling of darkness or sadness that surrounded him and you could see it on his face. I wondered why in the world he was carrying and if that figure was him the whole time how did he fend off such creatures!? Not only was he so unapproachable, but he was hardly ever in the town to approach even if you wanted to. Rhys always claimed to the town the church had to send him on some sort of mission, really I thought he was just a fake.
Looking at my surroundings I began to notice the other figures are actually my friends Specs and Artie following close behind us. I could begin to feel energy coming back to me, not much but enough to move on my own. Squirming to be let down I started to tell Rhys to put me down, which was met with a sharp response. “Hush down, I’m glad to see you feeling better but unless you want us all dead be quiet.” I looked back to my friends and got a confirming nod, but still their worried expressions concerned me.
Once on the ground I began to assess my surroundings. We were definitely still in my home town, but there were fires everywhere. Peering over the bush we hid behind I could see the streets were filled with people running crazy and those monsters chasing after them. One woman ran across the street followed by one of those monsters that had to be the size of a combine used for crops. The monster took a final leap closing the close to the quarter mile gap. Grasping her body in one hand the monster lifted her and then the woman became two. Specs was holding her mouth shut but still I could hear a small muffled shriek. Rhys eyes switched quickly to concern when he heard her muffled scream. The monster turned our direction and we dove to the ground trying to use the bush as cover. Under me I could feel the ground shake and rumble, every moment the shakes becoming stronger. In the distance we heard a man yelling, “Come at me you big red bastards!”, then the shaking started to become lighter. Rhys looked to us and whispered, “We must move fast and quiet to capitalize on this moment, but remain as quiet as possible.”
We had managed to make it quickly and quietly enough to the next block. I looked back in the distance to the bush we were at to see the monster ripping it apart. Rhys stopped and looked around then held his fist up as a signal to stop. Looking at me Rhys spoke, “ Look we have a ways to go yet and it might be challenging to do this, but I need you to follow everything I say. I am taking us to the church were we should be safe long enough to devise our next plan. I will explain everything I can once we are there.” I simply nodded in response, I didn’t have any idea what was going on this was all some crazy nightmare, I must be asleep in class or something.
Stopping constantly to check our surroundings we pushed forward to the church. At almost every turn we were witnessing somebody being brutally murdered with sounds that I could only guess were laughter from these monsters. Looking back at Specs I could see her silently crying as the tears rolled down her face heavily. Artie appeared to be just as confused and in shock as I was myself with everything taking place. Rhys must have already had a conversation with them, while I was passed out, about staying quiet or dying. I made sure at almost every stop we made to give Specs a thumbs up with a smile to give her some hope that we would be fine. Of course we would be fine, because either this is just a dream or it’s not in which case I’m not about to die or lose my friends. I’m not sure my attempts ever made her feel much better or if she just started to become numb to all the senseless killing, but eventually the tears stopped.
Rhys looked back to us raising one finger, signaling that we had one block left. I could easily see the church in the distance and was eager for some answers. Rhys abruptly threw is fist in the air and we all came to an immediate halt. I could see no large monsters around or anything other than buildings ablaze and the streets littered with bodies. Rhys pointed ahead to the building across from the street from the church. There was a person standing so calm as if nothing was going on around him. The man was dressed oddly, wearing what I could only guess was some sort of knights armor. Holding a large axe in his hand and a shield in the other, the man yelled out in some unknown language to me. Soon after two monsters appeared, I thought this man was surely about to die despite his antique battle ready outfit. Instead the monsters appeared to stand and converse with him and then took flight as if he told them to leave. I thought for sure this man could help us maybe even save what might be left of this burnt up town. Rhys turned and whispered even quieter than before “ That is the demons captain, he knows we are alive and trying to seek safety in the church.”
Chuckling I said “ A demon Rhys? Really? Even a drunk as yourself can’t be serious?”
Instantly I received a smack on the back of my head followed by Specs voice “ Get it through your head, do you not see the town? Our fellow classmates? The demons themselves? Can you come up with something better? If not I suggest you listen, he has got us this far and we might..we.. might be the only survivors.”
I apologized and awaited whatever command might come next, this was ridiculous what would demons want with our town? Signaling us to get down lower behind the bush Rhys spoke, “ It might be best for us to wait here and se---” He was then cut off by a loud and low sounding laugh.
“ Hahahaha you can’t hide them forever priest! I can hear you’re bickering from miles away. Why don’t you come out and play!?” the voice shouted.
Rhys looked to us “ You guys stay put no matter what you hear or see, if I do not live I need you three to do your best to make it to the church and pray for a new guide.” Putting a finger to his lips letting us know to be quiet before we had a chance to speak up, he took a swig from his flask and headed to the man. All the sudden I felt tremendous pressure on my arm and I looked down to see Specs grasping me with a terrified look. Peering over to Artie who didn’t seem in much better shape as the stick in his hand snapped and his eyes became wet and red. I looked back to Rhys and could see him pull out a cross about as long as his arm. Turning to my friends I spoke confidently, “ See guys he’s a priest I’m sure he will excise this demon thing no problem.” Specs grip became more intense, so I looked back to see how Rhys was doing. The demon raised his axe to swing, but Rhys moved swiftly under and to the side. I was caught so off guard, who knew the drunk priest could move in such a manner.
Laughing the demon yelled “ You think you stand a chance to a dem---" and just then Rhys had popped a blade through the tip of the cross and jabbed it straight up into the demons jaw closing his mouth. The next thing we all saw was the demon turn to a fireless pile of ash and float away in the wind.
Once Rhys made his way back to us he smirked and wiped some blood from his face, “Guess he wasn’t as tough as I expected, sorry to scare you kids. Lets move to the church while out path is clear.”
I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed, the drunk priest could hold his own in combat against these demons. Honestly I couldn’t believe any of what I had seen that day. So much blood shed, so many bodies and pieces, other worldly creatures who laughed at every persons fear and suffering. What in the world was going on in our town, why would demons want anything to do with any of us here. I had so many questions, why did the priest only save us? What more of him do we not know, can he even be trusted? Once we make it to the church Rhys had better have some answers and tell me he managed to save all our parents as well. As we ran to the church I looked around seeing the buildings burning and the town covered in black, I wondered what happened to the storms clouds. There were people I could see bloody laying in their organs whose just spoke fear and desperation. Just as we were about to the church property I saw a black shadowy figure ahead holding something long in it’s hand. I shouted “ Rhys! Look out for that thing ahead!”. Everyone stopped and looked at me very puzzling and Artie placed his hand on my shoulder telling me “ There’s nothing ahead but the church, don’t worry my mind is going crazy too, but we can rest up at the church Rhys said”. Shaking my head and rubbing my eyes the figure disappeared and I nodded for us to continue forward. Deciding to usher in Specs and Artie as I closed the door behind us the shadowy figured appeared again not far from the door and I heard a whisper “ Let the game begin”