Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 50

After searching around the bloodied control room for a few minutes, I decided on ripping a thick, heavy duty chain from around a bunch of crates before jumping back down into the burning metal room I was trapped in. Glancing around, I was satisfied to find that only a puddle of blood and a few chips of bone were all that remained of Colonel Rooks. 'Good riddance.' I thought with a grunt before approaching the scarred Alpha again, aware of how the others backed away from me and gave me space.

Snapping my fingers, the Alpha approached me obediently before lowering its head as it waited for me to give it a command. Taking an end of the thick chain, I looped it through the gaps in the burned biomass in the back of the Hunter's glowing mouth behind its broken and stained teeth. Tossing that end over its large, muscular shoulders, I did the same thing with the other end until the chain looped through its mouth and rested on its back.

Looking into the Hunter's black and red eye, I walked over to its side and climbed up on its back, holding onto its shoulders as it gave a surprised snarl and shook itself. Changing my arms into the Musclemass, I grabbed hold of the heavy silver chain tightly and used it to turn the Hunter's head towards the exit door the soldiers came through. Summoning a tendril, I used it to pick up an infected's decapitated head and threw it at the door, hitting a red button on the wall and opened the door to freedom.

Giving the Hunter a slight nudge with the heels of my boots, I commanded it to walk forward and over to the door: the smaller Hunters following behind as I discovered riding a Hunter was like riding a horse: which I had vague memories of. With a slight tug of the chain, I directed the Hunter through another industrial door and out into the open air: where I discovered myself to be in a seemingly-abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Denver.

"Well shit. Looks like this is going to take a while." I said to myself as the Hunter huffed before shifting its weight as it waited for me to give it a command. Using my navigation instinct, I turned the Hunter in the direction of South Park and nudged it into a walk again: amazed beyond words at not only the different shades of green and white of the scenery, but also at the lack of cars and people travelling along the road. "Heh, I wonder how that would go, people seeing a nine year old riding a Hunter down the street." I said to myself with a giggle as I glanced to the sides and found I had two Hunters flanking each of my sides.

Giving the Alpha a pat on its neck, I listened to the clanking of its broken ankle shackles lightly brushing the asphalt with each step it took before looking ahead at the empty road that was empty of cars and seemed to stretch on forever. Staring at the open road, I suddenly had an idea: one that would not only get me home faster, but would also satisfy my craving for freedom, one that I knew I shared with the monster beneath me. 'Alright, let's see how this goes.' I thought before I slightly tightened my grip on the makeshift reigns and gave the Hunter another nudge, making it toss its head up in the air and quicken its pace into a trot.

Even though it was only trotting, I still cringed at the thought of being thrown off as my light body was being shaken and thrown around on the Hunter's back. Regaining control of myself, I moved with the massive creature instead of against it: resulting in a much easier ride as I discovered the other Hunters easily keeping up with the change of speed.

'Even though this is fun, who knows what Gentek and Blackwatch have done to my friends while I was away.' I thought nervously as I once again gave the Alpha another nudge: this one slightly harsher as the beast snorted before picking up the pace into a canter, making the frigid wind whistle through my hood and blow my burgundy hair around. Listening to the other Hunters growl and snort, I wondered what they were saying to each other as we stormed down the empty road and headed in the direction of home. It wasn't until the Alpha snarled under me did I snap out of my daze: only to almost-instantly pick up the smell of smoke and burning flesh.

Fearing the worst, I held on tightly to the chain and gave the Hunter a hard kick in the ribs with a shout: enraging the creature to the point where it bolted forward in a full-blown gallop with a mighty roar. Leaning forward on the monster, I felt the howling wind blow my hood back, allowing my hair to fly behind me like a cape as the smaller Hunters panted and snapped their jaws as they put in the extra effort to keep up with their larger companion.

Riding like a jockey, I continuously urged and demanded the Hunter run faster as multiple images and thoughts of 'what-ifs' plagued my mind as I imagined what those heartless bastards could've done to my friends and town. With another snarl of rage, the Hunter strained its limbs to obey my commands to the point where large chunks of asphalt started flying behind us like dust as the creature's massive bladed claws ripped through the ground.

As we passed a sign that said that South Park was only two miles away, I mumbled an apology to the beast before I used the end of the chain like a whip: making the monster whine before charging as fast as it could run, easily barreling past cars driving seventy miles an hour. Glancing ahead, I started to see the destruction left behind by the people who didn't give two shits about the world they lived in or anyone who lived in it as the Hunter slowed down to catch its breath: making large clouds of steam float up in the air from its bear-trap jaws. Staring down at the town in a mixture of shock and horror, I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing.

The once-quiet mountain town was now hardly anything more than a warzone: buildings and homes were on fire and falling apart, cars and trucks were flipped over as abandoned Military vehicles dominated the streets, crows were happily feasting on the dead as Nazi zombies roamed the abandoned streets. Looking up, I watched as multiple Blackwatch choppers circled the destruction as Marines shot at and were devoured by the German zombies.

As I stared at the dying town, my heart felt like it turned into a rock and dropped to my feet as tears poured from my eyes as I let out uncontrollable sobs of rage and despair as I subconsciously hugged the Hunter's thick, muscular neck. This was all my fault! I caused this! If I had just listened to my father's orders, this wouldn't have happened: nobody would've known what I was and everything would've been normal. But no, I was so obsessed with the idea of freedom that I had completely ignored everything I was told and now: Gentek and Blackwatch have destroyed the town. And my friends…my friends are most-likely either dead, or suffering a fate much worse just because they came into contact with me.

Sinking deeper into depression at the thought, I was brought out of my misery as I was literally almost shoved from the Alpha Hunter's back. Glancing through my hair, I came face-to-teeth with one of the smaller Hunters on my left as it bumped my side with its massive head as it let out a slight growl. Letting go of the Hunter's neck, I sat up and wiped my eyes with my gloved hands with a sniff. Composing myself, I looked around me to find the other four Hunters all staring at me with their black and glowing red eyes before the Alpha shifted its weight and stamped its front feet on the snowy ground.

Glancing down at it, I clenched my jaw before giving a sharp nod as I changed my arms back into the Musclemass before taking hold of the makeshift reigns again. "If you hurt any of my friends Blackwatch, for so help me: you are all going to BEG me to kill you by the time I have finished with you bastards." I snarled to myself before giving the Alpha one good kick to its sides: making it lunge forward and over the edge of the small cliff with a single powerful leap. With a solid landing, I guided the Hunter down the cracked, broken, and flaming streets of the marketplace until I came across the street that led to the park.

Slowing the massive beast to a stop, I combed my windswept hair back out of my face and pulled my hood up so that only my mouth could be seen. Watching as the world around me once again changed to a blend of orange and red, I was able to spot a small group of living people gathering at the large grassy field. Upon closer inspection, I was relieved beyond words to discover the group consisted of my friends: but I would never admit that to them with someone like Eric around, I'd never hear the end of it. Wiping the tears away, I leapt down from the Hunter and walked in front of the pack before turning to them.

"Stay hidden until I order otherwise." I said to the Alpha: who snorted and shook its massive head before it and the rest of them split off in different directions in search of hiding places. Once I was satisfied that they were out of sight of anyone else nearby, I pulled my hood down lower over my face and opened the flaps of my jacket so the grey undershirt and glowing of the jacket's interior could be seen. 'Now, if only a radio was playing Bad to the Bone.' I thought with a smirk as I adjusted my gloves before leaping to the roof of a nearby house and jumped from house to house until I was crouched on a branch in the tree closest to the boys: who were ALL still in costume.

Staring down at them with my glowing orange eyes, I calmly listened in on their conversation as I waited for the perfect time to show myself. "I just don't get it you guys, why would the Military do this?!" Stan said as he nursed a bandage on his arm. "Looks like what Saphira said was true, I feel horrible for not warning people like she warned us. What do you think they did to her after they took her away?" Kyle asked as Eric let out an angry scoff as he played with his staff with bandaged hands. "Probably killed her. They sure as hell didn't have a problem with killing anyone else." he said in an emotion I couldn't place as Kenny turned his back on all of them and appeared to wipe his eyes.

"But why?! Saphira was sweet! She never hurt anybody besides Trent, but that's beside the point! He was going to kill us and that just gives them a reason to…off her?! Just like that?!" Kenny raged with tears in his eyes as he picked up a rock and threw it as hard as he could into the frozen wall that surrounded the park: shattering the ice in a loud, echoing explosion. Even though I wanted to jump out of the tree and give him a hug, I held myself back and continued to watch as both the human and elf armies sluggishly prepared themselves for a war: probably against Clyde.

"If it's one person I feel the worst for: it's Alex. That little kid will probably never see his sister again, and their dad had the NERVE to say that the world would be much better off without a monster like her and that he should get over something that was never meant to exist in the first place!" Kyle shouted in a watery voice as he pulled off his hat and jammed it into his eyes, making a low growl rumble in the center of my chest. 'He WHAT?!' I thought in outrage at the thought of my heartbroken baby brother being told such cruel things instead of being comforted like he should have been.

"Even though I will burn my tongue for this later: I agree with the Jew. That was some pretty fucked up shit, and this is coming from me." Eric said, making me almost fall out of the tree: those two actually agreed on something! It was such a shock to me that I actually looked up through the snowy branches of the tree and made sure the sky wasn't falling, which honestly wouldn't surprise me at this point as I decided I had enough hiding, only question was: how to not scare them all to death before the real fun began.

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