“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
“Sergeant?” a voice croaks over the radio. “Have you visual confirmation of the target?”
“Do not pursue until you’ve confirmation.”
“Roger that.” I scoff after I release the radio’s trigger, the suits are nervous, they’re always
nervous whenever we take one of these bastards on. They know they’ve got no control over the situation and they hate to lose people they’ve invested so much money in.
“Sergeant.” The voice comes from behind me; I barely turn my head in acknowledgement. “Permission to move ahead and locate the enemy.”
“No.” I say it bluntly, it was a stupid question and he deserves to know it. “No one goes in there alone, we have a suspected ridden and I won’t be responsible for any lost lives.” A mumbled “yes sir” is the only response I get. “Ready up men, don’t fire until we’ve confirmed a target. Sears, Jackson.” I point at two men standing across from me pressed against the wall in a vain attempt to get some sort of cover from the rain. “You two take the right flank. Daniels, Enid.” A woman behind me raises her head and the young man who had spoken up looks to me. “You two take left flank; I’ll take point down the middle.” I reach down and press a button on my radio, switching it into an on position for easy communication.
“Base, we’re moving in.”
“You have confirmation?” the reply is hopeful, but I suspect they already know the answer.
“Then stand down.”
“Damn it Sergeant!” the man on the other end is removed and one of my supposed superiors who isn’t pleased with me countermanding his orders has decided to try his hand at convincing me not to go. “You were ordered to stand down until we have received confirmation of a target.”
“Negative sir,” I sneer as I say the last word. “The ridden may shake us if we don’t pursue now, a lot of people live in this area and I don’t want to have to explain to the survivors why we let this guy get away.” Silence is my only answer.
“You are free to pursue.” A different voice finally speaks over the radio, another suit, sounds like the big guy himself.
“…That you Mr. Orion?”
“Don’t ask questions.” Comes the gruff voice again, whoever gave me the okay had apparently handed the radio back. “You heard the man, get going.”
“Roger that, moving out.” I raise my hand and point forward, my men move quickly and as silently as they can in the semi flooded alley. It’s a pointless gesture and I know it, they thing we’re chasing could hear a fly’s heartbeat over the sound of the rain, they all know it too, but we were trained to fight people, not these things, and I let them have their illusions.
The alley grows dimmer the farther we head away from the street, again I hold my hand in the air, clenching it into a tight fist and my men stop. I look to each of them, pointing at the darkened alley then to my goggles, and then to my eyes. They respond as I expect them to, one by one I see the dim green light of their night vision goggles flicker over their eyes. A second later and my world is defined in monochrome green, shadows standing out starkly against the florescent landscape.
Clearly visible now, the alley way loses some of the terror it once held on us and again I give the signal to move in. We move together, with a practiced precision that becomes individuals with our prestigious military background. Every corner we cross, every garbage pile, every darkened shadow, is met with suspicions that would seem unreasonable in a sane world.
The alley begins to open up and we find ourselves staring at a chain link fence topped with barb wire. On the other side a fortified steel door lays ripped off its hinges nearly ten feet from the frame, the rain smacking loudly against it. My men spread out against the fence; to our left we can see the dim glow of streetlamps further down an intersecting alley, to our right cold and unrelenting stone.
“Base we may have that confirmation you were hoping for.”
“You’ve sighted the target?”
“Negative, we’ve come across a fenced off area in need of a new door.”
“Their old one was ripped from the frame and tossed away like a piece of paper.” I hear some movement over the radio and the sounds of some one rapidly pounding keys on a keyboard.
“Hold you position for a moment I’ll pull the specs for that building.” Sears turns and looks at me, giving a jerk of his head in the direction of the fence. I nod and he pulls a small aerosol can from his belt.
“Take your time base.” I say as I take a step away from the fence. Sears shakes the can briefly and aims the nozzle, with a press of his finger a stream of supercooled liquid sprays out of the can and coats a circular area of the fence. I grit my teeth as the metal freezes, shrilling loudly in complaint as the fence links become brittle enough for Sears to snap off with a kick. He turns and looks at me and I give a nod of my head giving him the okay to move ahead. I look to my sides and point towards the building, my men quickly move through the hole as Sears stands crouched near the door, his Steyr AUG pointed down the hall.
I give the area one last look and move through the hole and then to the doorway. “How’s it going base?” I ask as I step through the door my weapon held at the ready.
“Almost have a working map for you Sarge; it’s going to be just a few more seconds.”
“Not to worry.” I say as my men enter the hallway behind me. Ahead we can make out the shimmering green gleam of light bouncing of a pair of metal doors. I pause at the doors; a slight brush of my fingers is enough to swing the door open ever so slightly. A ray of florescent light spills through the crack and my eyes are flooded with searing green. I turn my head quickly and pull my goggles up over my forehead indicating that my men should do the same. Circles dance before my eyes forcing me to shake my head as I blink my eyes rapidly, after a moment I turn and look through the door again.
The sterile steel layout of some kind of lab greats me and I push the door open wider to get a better view. “Sarge I’ve got the specs for you, the building you’re in… it seems to be…”
“It’s a morgue.” I say finishing his sentence, the mist from my breath curls up and around my face as I stare into the room. Lined neatly throughout the room I see nearly two dozen bodies laid carefully only cold steel tables, their bodies draped in white sheets leaving only their heads exposed, the cold scent of sterilization rising up from each one. Behind me I hear Daniels mutter a complaint as he and the others come through the door.
“What now Sarge?” Sears asks as he comes and stands beside me. I turn and look to Enid. She looks at me for a second the returns her gaze to the room; I see the mist of her breath begin to come in short, controlled burst as she closes her eyes and raises an opened hand in the direction of the corpses. She holds the position for a moment, and then she slowly lowers her hand and look to me.
“Nothing Sarge, if he’s here he’s masking himself.” Another mumbled complaint from Daniels.
“Do you hear that base?” I ask.
“What now boss?” Jackson asks from his place near the door. I step into the room and walk to the first body.
“The eyes are the window to the soul Jackson.” I say simply as I force open the closed eyelids of the man on the table, a cold, dead, stare is my reward. One by one my men fan out, each moves from corpse to corpse peering into their eyes. I come to the corpse at the end of my row, a young teen with curly red hair and freckles under his eyes. I reach my hand down and begin to open his eye when a shout draws my attention.
“Hey!” Daniels exclaims suddenly. “I think I used to date this chick.” My men all laugh and I chuckle.
“Don’t get any ideas.” Jackson says from across the room. More laughter from me and my men, and rude gesture from Daniels and the conversation ends. Grinning I turn and look to the boy at my table… and I see the one opened eye glaring back at me, an inky black swirl dancing around the edges of the iris.
“Oh no.” I whisper, the body at my hand jumping to life. A blow to my chest knocks me from my feet and sends my toppling over a nearby table, its occupant falling down on top of me. I can’t see, the sheet’s covering my face and the wind has been knocked from me, making it difficult for me to push the corpse away and rise to my feet. I can hear gunfire, the sound of bullets striking flesh, the sound of running feet, a scream… the white sheet is splashed with crimson, the scream is cut off in a wretched gurgle and I hear a slump and the sound of a gun slamming against the tile floor.
“Daniels!” I hear Jackson cry out over the gun fire. “You son of a bitch!” Two pairs of feet begin to move, one the heavy sound of combat boots, the other the slap of naked flesh. I push my way out from under the corpse and sheet and see Daniels’ body lying on the floor just two tables away from me, his arms are missing, lying somewhere near his feet, his throat torn out, the jagged tears off teeth plainly visible amongst the gore.
I pull myself to my feet in time to see Jackson swing the butt of his gun at the bullet riddled body of the ridden. The boy moves quickly, ignoring the figure of Sears as he approaches swiftly from behind, a glimmer of silver in his hands. He parries Jackson’s first blow easily, and strikes out fiercely in return, even from where I am across the room I can see Jackson’s eyes bulge as the boy drives his hand straight into his chest.
Jackson pitches backward, his body spasms and writhes on the floor; the boy turns to face Sears, making a quick movement in my direction as he does. Something warm and wet slaps against my face, I feel it land on my shoe. Numbly I look down and see the pulverized mush that was once Jackson’s heart. I scream in rage and lift my gun, I fire three shots directly into the ridden’s chest and it shrugs them off like they were bee stings.
Sears closes the distance between himself and the fiend, striking out skillfully with his knife, slicing the boy across the arm. The boy hisses and takes a step away from Sears, steam rising from the cut on his arm. Sears is a professional, I’ve seen him fight before; take out men twice his size in no time. The boy lunges forward and stretches his arms towards Sears.
Calmly Sears strikes out twice, slashing the boys face and then driving the dagger into his chest, it doesn’t stop him though, I see his hands wrap around sears skull, I hear Sears give a strangle groan as the boy jumps into the air, twisting his body at the apex of his jump and spinning Sears head around to face the opposite direction. The boy lands crouched, Sears’ body falls to the side, landing with a slam against a table, for a moment I think he’s still alive, still trying to stand. The rational voce in my head tells me otherwise, the body stays that way though, half standing, leaning against the table.
I fire at the crouching boy, six bullets, all hitting him squarely in the back. He stands up, turns to look at me; with a growl that now human throat should be capable of producing he takes a step toward me when one of the steel tables hits him against the side of the face, knocking him from his feet. I turn and see Enid, standing near the side of the room; her brow is drenched with sweat despite the chill in the room, her hands held in front of her, her breath coming in ragged gasps.
The ridden starts to get up, its movements are getting slower, its body starting to take more damage then it can bear. Out of the corner of my eye I see Enid make a wild gesture with her hands and a table near her seems to lift into the air of its own accord, flying across the room. I fire again, six more shots into the fiend, trying to distract it as the table soars to strike him. He’s not fazed, he ducks under the table and with a wrench pulls Sears’ dagger from his chest and throws it across the room.
Enid raises her hand towards the dagger to knock from the air but she’s too slow, too exhausted from the efforts of levitating the tables. The dagger strikes true, driving into her throat, and out the other side, she gurgles for a second and falls to the floor, silent. Again the fiend turns to face me, the side of his face is torn open from the table blow, flesh peeled back from muscle and bone revealing more then half his bloodstained teeth in a rictus grin.
I fire the remainder of my clip into hid body, and he stumbles back as the bullets tear into his chest. There’re holes in his chest I could fit my arm through, but he shambles toward me regardless, I drop my UMP and pull my side arm, quickly unloading it, firing six bullets into his forehead. His head flies back, and for a moment his body seems to go limp. I stand, afraid to move, afraid to breath, as the head slowly raises back to face me, half his head and one of his eyes are missing, but still he comes forward.
“You fought with ferocity befitting of one about to die...” He gurgles, blood and bits of gore fall from his mouth as he forces his ruined lungs to push air through his throat so he can speak.
“Go to hell.” I say in disgust. The ridden pauses and its one remaining eye fixes on me.
“I’ve been.” It says softly. “I don’t recommend the place.” With a growl he lunges forward his hand clutching around my throat. “I figure you’ll know what it’s like soon enough.” I fight back the urge to pry his hand away, and pull a dagger from my belt. Repeatedly I drive it into his side, until I’m too weak to hold it any longer. It falls to the ground with a clang and I shutter slightly.
“Give my regards to my brethren still in that pit.” The fiend sneers into my ear as my world begins to fade.
“Sergeant!” I hear someone shout across the radio as I fall to the floor. “Sergeant, do you read me!?” I want to tell them I do, I want to lash out at the fading sounds of footsteps but I can’t.
I can’t do anything now that I’m dead.