Chapter 4 - The Culling and the Calling
The soldiers of the beast were not staying still. They were moving faster at the beast's urging since he knew that sooner or latter the heroes would gather and its flow of energy would slow. To this end the hunters were getting less than picky and taking whatever targets they could get.
One such target was Charlie Laoga. He was walking through an alley, taking a shortcut when he felt eyes watching him. He couldn't have known that it was the hunters coming to claim his soul and feed what life he had let to the beast. Still nervous but sure enough that no one was watching him, he continued until two hunters appeared out of the shadows in front of him. Charlie owed money to the wrong people, so he assumed that these were some freaky debt collectors and he turned around only to see about thirty people shuffling toward him led by another hunter.
"Okay look, I know Little Joey wants his money but I don't have it right now." He said with a twinge of nervousness, "I just need a little more time. Come on guys, give me a break."
The hunters grimly kept walking as another twenty appeared behind those in front of him. The zombies had no idea what was going on save for the nurse, Bettie, and even then it was vague. Charlie was corned and tried to get to a fire escape but was cut off by a fourth hunter. Silently the hunter cocked his head to the side and nearly grinned. This was more than he bargained for and he tried to escape through the smaller mass in front of him. The hunters parted letting the panicked man get in to the mass causing the zombies to move with a burst of speed and swarm him. Charlie couldn't escape as they carried him to the hunters who cast their magic on him. He was crying and begging for more time as the life force, little as it was, left his body and reached the beast who groaned at how little was gained. Still he knew that now he couldn't be choosy.
Another victim was Amber Traplit. She was naturally fearful and never left the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend if she could help it. On this day, she decided to go out and meet one of her few friends in the parking lot unaware of the agents that had just invaded her apartment. Her friend was running late so she went back up the stairs to her apartment. The phobic woman froze when she saw two hunters doing something to her boyfriend who fell and a moment latter rose to walk towards her. What scared her more was up for grabs. It could have been the blank look in his eyes or the hunter that seemed to appear from out of nowhere behind her, either way she passed out and never woke up.
There seemed to be blitz of kills in the last hours before that fateful moment. When Dria sang the song that flowed from inside her very soul their job would get much harder and their master would be angered. The beast was unhappy with the small bites of life energy, it was receiving but knew that soon it slow even more.
"Well my captive, seems that my work is gaining notice. I can feel the waking of one. Soon though she will die and that will end things before they even start. This time I will win and your plane will fall to my rule."
"No," the captive said calmly. "You will be stopped. The dark one will protect her and the heroes will come for you."
"Heh,heh, heh. If he was going to act he would have by now. The arrogance of that one rivals my own but this time he is at the disadvantage. If they wake it will be weakened form one thousand years of silence. The 'heroes will fall to my army of their own."
"He has changed from the one you faced so long ago creature. When he is at full power not even you can stop him or his companions."
"That's what was said before but the one that I was able to tempt will fall again. I know them too well."
"We shall see creature. Your pride will kill you yet." The captive said with that calm still present.
"Yes we shall. Just know that when they fall, I will have your power and then I will rule with none to oppose me."
With that the creature left the cell holding the young boy. The captive had been there for nearly one hundred years. Time passed differently in the beasts realm. For every hundred years that passed in the plane of the heroes only ten passed there. Despite the captives control and confidence it was waning. His father had prepared him well for possibility of his current situation happening but after so long it was getting harder and harder to keep the power, the beast desired within himself. It wouldn't be long though till it was decided one way or the other.
"Hurry dark one, you must win this time." The captive though before sleeping.
The dark rider was soon following Dria to the studio that she volunteered in. It was a good way to help the college, she went to and get cheap demos recorded. The students got experience engineering her CD's and she got them made for the cost of the discs. Sure it was kinda cheating but it also got her air play on the college radio station. Her best shows were on the campus at the parties.
Today though something felt different. Maybe it was that strange visit from her 'guide' or that tune she kept humming when it felt like she was being watched. The tune worked in keeping the unwanted eyes off her. It also annoyed the hunters since every time she used it they were chased away and it upset their control over the zombies.
The rider noticed this as well. He wanted to take the monsters serving the beast down right then and there but he still hadn't been allowed to do so.
When Dria entered the studio she just felt the need to do the music that she had written the night of the visit. The college musicians went with it and started playing. When she started singing it felt as if a spell came over her. The voice was hers but something was odd. It was singing but not just that, it felt like more. The rider felt it as did the beast who frantically sent his hunters and the zombies to the epicenter of the mystical force that flowed from the sirens voice.
Outside the studio the rider was in the shadows as the sky darkened with the beasts power.
"You are now free to act dark one." The child's voice echoed in his head, "Earn your redemption and they will come soon."
The rider just smiled evilly as he reached in to his coat and pulled out a couple shot guns.
"Time to party." He thought as the bike rode of its own accord in to the oncoming horde.
Chapter 5 - United
The heroes finally come together.
The would-be heroes were separated by distance and even continents but the spiritual energy that Dria was using knew no such limits. As she sang and the dark rider rode in to the horde doorways were opening.
Lisa was sleeping and having the dream again. This time it was holding a dying comrade who was saying something that she couldn't quite make out. Somehow the name Kalama came to her though who it was wouldn't come to her. Whoever it was died in her arms causing an overwhelming sense of sadness to come over her. The voice he was speaking in died with him, so anything said was lost to her. This only led to the feeling that she missed information that would be important at some point.
Once again she woke in a cold sweat but this time she still thought she was dreaming. An arch way had appeared in her room half made of fire and the other half wind. There was faint singing coming from it. Her husband was sleeping beside her unaware of it and not waking when she tried to get him up. Much like the dreams it called to her...
Steve Mendoza had reached the bay and found the waves to be weak. He would have to do something about that. Dozer closed his eyes and concentrated. Normally the waves would come but this time something else did. The dreams kept him in and out of sleep. He had a similar dream to Lisa but the name he got was Arthmel and like her he had no idea what it meant. Though this time the person dying seemed to fear him whereas, in her dream it was a feeling being connected. Dozer woke screaming, just gave up and decided to watch the rising sun. Feeling the need to surf got him to the moment he was presently in. He saw an archway as well, his however was made of sand and water.
"Dude you really need to sleep dreams be dammed." He said to himself. As he started to walk away a sirens call of music that came from the arch way got his attention. Steve shook his head but still began walking to the doorway.....
It was the early evening where Chang Ming was. He was doing his usual, training with the next thing on the schedule studying for his latest round of classes. His dreams had advanced to ones where he was fighting back-to-back with the black knight. His blade was swinging and slicing down demons while Chang's fists glowed with a light brighter than any he had ever witnessed. The demons were keeping their distance but blocking them from a target that they couldn't see but the feeling was of a strong energy. It was like nothing that he ever felt before, something that defied categorizing. It was both dark and light, hot and cold, strong and weak all at the same time but still separate and individual. Nothing he had ever felt compared to it even remotely. He reacted the same way he had ever done, research it. No answers were forthcoming in his studies but one seemed to drop in to his lap.
An archway framed by the light he saw in his dreams formed in the dojo that only he appeared to see. Somehow he knew that answers lay behind it though he had no idea why. Then he heard the song...
Adrienne LeVeque was playing with her new 'toys'. She had come in to possession of the latest, most up-to-date computer money could buy just unpacked and was online bragging about it. Her friends were jealous and she liked it since she used daddy's connections to get it before they could. She also managed to get it for free due to her ability to manipulate people.
("Maybe in about a month you can have one but I got it first, as usual. That's right hate me but you know you want to be me.") *She typed with a smug smile on her face. Being superior made her happy and right about now she was ecstatic. That was until she saw her own archway. This one was formed by multicolored beams of light that put off a familiar aura though she couldn't place it. Her dreams like the others had gotten stronger. She was seeing the arch way in her dreams and the hands reaching out of the darkness were stronger. Every time she dodged them it only pushed her closer to the same archway. It seemed like they wanted her to cross the threshold to whatever lay on the other side. Fear was tightening the icy grip it had on her holding her in place till the song of the siren called to her...
Victor was doing what he normally did when not working, fighting or going to the gym. He was watching TV and half asleep. The dreams showed him fighting some sort of creatures he had never seen before. It felt as if he had to reach someone or some thing. He couldn't place any of it even with context but he felt it was the calling he was meant for. When the archway appeared he thought it was a new part of his dream but a punch to his own arm proved that he was wide awake. This archway was made of iron braided with steel and stone.
The big man sat up in his bed causing some of the springs on the cheap bed to groan in pain while others seemed to sigh with relief. Was this what he was meant for. Even if he wasn't all that bright some things suddenly became crystal clear. Victor didn't even need the song...
*(Translated from French)
The rider was already on top of the zombies trying to get to the hunters that were commanding them. He felt a brief ripple in the spiritual spectrum as the various archways opened behind him. The figures rippled as well when they stepped through.
"Good your here." The rider yelled to them, "Pick a target and let loose. The targets are the dead eyed ones and the goth freaks behind them." He then let loose with the shot guns. They fired something akin to a round but it wasn't a physical one. They were as black as the rider and seemed to hurt the zombies who were falling at his feet but still getting back up.
All that had stepped through their respective portals had changed and slipped in to their past incarnations before reverting back to their current bodies. Steve's fists held stone in one and water in the other while Lisa had the same but it held fire and a wind storm contained in her hands. Chang's hands glowed with light. Victors body was even more hardened and Adrianna could feel the force of the arcane flowing through her. All were confused save the rider who pulled back and stood about three steps in front of them.
"Give them something Damm it!" He yelled to the heavens.
Dria's arch way opened but she felt no compulsion to walk through it. She did however feel the need to keep singing. The spiritual energies flowed again and another ripple hit the new arrivals. This time it woke up some memories of what they could do and what they faced.
Chang was the first to get in to the fray followed by the rider and Victor. Then all the heroes joined in.
In the beast's realm the captive could hear a scream of agony and smiled.
On a personal note I would like to thank those of you that are reading my little labor of love here. I would also like to thank those that read at the suggestion of Danielle Fuller, another writer here. I would suggest highly reading her work. "I know you but how?" And "Unknown bloodlines" are stories that she is writing. Also if you wish, please leave comments, so I can get a feel for how you like the way the story is going as well as ways to improve it for your reading pleasure.