Penumbra: Dragon (part three of four)

 The illuminated face looked like a cat’s face. The eye itself was as big as her head and seemed to glow a bright yellow. The face turned and let out a roar. The sound was like a lion and as the mouth opened Cindy saw the teeth. They stretched like sabers and glowed an eerie white. Before Cindy could react Julia shot. A green blast exited the end of the weapon and blew a window out. The next five shots slammed into the face and it let out a hiss.  “LET THERE BE LIGHT!” Clark shouted and a blast of white light made Cindy cover her eyes. Julia pulled her up as a massive man flew out the shattered window. Julia flipped the lock and pulled the door open. The two came out of the house as a shockwave blew out the windows. Glass fell all around and Cindy felt her breath leave her chest. The sound like a person hitting a trampoline followed and then the man arced over the house and into the ground. The man rose from the three foot deep depression and brushed the dirt off. His chiseled face turned up as the beast came over the house.

 The creature had black leathery wings that were as long as school busses. Each wing ended in bony claws the length of a human fore arm. The body was like a lizard, the underside scaly and glistened in the streetlight. The legs looked like a lion’s legs but with black fur. The beast had six tails that were like snakes but had a rat like head on the end. The heads were the size of human heads and snapped unendingly. The beast landed on all fours and let loose a lion roar from the face. The tails whipped up and the rat heads cackled down at them.

Julia swung around and yanked down the gawking Cindy. Her gun let loose another six rounds and each rat head exploded in sequence. The man charged forward and slammed the beast’s head down and cracked the pavement. The beast tossed it’s head and flung him skyward. He steadied himself mid air and Cindy saw the man hover. His white uniform and silver candle began to show red splotches as his wounds reopened. 

 “Begone abomination!” He cried out with a booming voice.

 “Pitiful creatures.” Hummed the beast. “A crippled meta human and a weak pup? Do you even imagine you can protect that girl? I will tear her apart, I will devour her, and then I’ll eat the family. After I have done all that while you are helpless, I will kill you.” The rat heads regenerated from the bloody stumps, double the amount as before. They began to chant: “Bite them! Grind them! Rip them! Eat them!” They hissed aloud. 

 “Cindy.” Purred the beast. “Do you know what I am?” Cindy shook her head no as the color drained. “I am your nightmares!” The rat heads sent lightning into the skies and the blue bolts came down all around them. Skeletons of blue lightning began to stumble towards the two girls, as the beast began to shout. “I was born from your mother’s ugliness. I drank as she drained her finance into cosmetics. I instilled insecurity in your father. I make each morning hell for him. I am the beast of your fear. I am the reason you dread texting. I am your shame. I am the beast in your brother’s nightmares. I am the shadow. I am your terror!” The beast let loose a roar. Cindy stared up at the beast. Her heart raced and she fell straight on her rear end as the beast howled. She looked up at Julia who yawned in boredom. 

 “Is he done?” Julia said and re-examined her gun. “Fear is powerful, but perfect love casts out fear. We showed up not because of our job but for our friend.” Julia looked down at Cindy and lifted her to her feet. 

 “Begone to the pit beast! Spare yourself the pain!” The Night Light hollered. He turned and beams of white light shot from his eyes. The lights blasted the skeletons, causing them to dissipate. The beast went into the air and tried to swallow the Night Light. The tails whipped down at the girls and Julia fired on them. 

 “Ok this is a bigger one than I thought.” Julia muttered. The Night Light held the mouth open against what seemed to be tons of bite force. His eyes lit up and tore into the roof of the creature’s mouth. There was a howl of pain and the beast released. The Night Light slammed his fists into it’s face. The beast wheeled away and it began to speak. 

 “I am Azarogg! I am the annihilation of this family and this town!” 

 “Clark send him to orbit!” Julia screamed. The Night Light snagged a tail as the beast came by. He smashed the head and then swung the whole beast. The two became a blur of black and silver and then the monster was gone. It flew off like a rocket into the night. The Night Light dropped down. “It had a name Clark. This isn’t like anything I’ve met before.” 

 “Y’all have seen this stuff?!” Cindy shrieked. 

 “That creature is far more articulate than any class two I’ve faced. In addition this beast is far more resilient. Even with my injured physique I should have beaten any class two monster to dust in the elapsed time.” The Night Light pressed on his chest. The red marks were slowly growing as he wheezed. Julia inhaled and exhaled deeply. 

 “Y’all aren’t freaking out?” The question ought to have been a shriek of terror, but honestly Cindy was just confused. 

 “No, this is our job Cindy. The monsters under beds, in closets, and anywhere else are our job to eliminate.” Julia cracked a smile. “Or so my boss says.” 

 “So this ain’t a nightmare?” Cindy asked slowly rising to her feet. 

 “Not in the connotation you would use the word.” The Night Light replied. 

 “You aren’t asleep and that thing can kill you.” Julia added coldly. 

 “Y’all ain’t scared?” Cindy asked. Julia was a stringy girl. Sure she had a tough face, and the martial arts training to stop a fight before it began, but this wasn’t some thug. This wasn’t a fight that a hundred pound girl could stare down fearlessly. No one looked at a six ton dragon and didn’t flinch. Unless they knew something. Julia smacked herself on the head. She had forgotten how to do her job. 

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Penumbra Dragon part two of four

“I got your text.” Julia said lamely. Cindy looked at her two drenched friends and saw Clark had an arm in a sling. 

“It happened that Julia and I were in the neighborhood. She believed, and I concurred, that it would be a profitable use of our time to respond to aforementioned message.” 

“We wanted to hang out.” Julia pushed Clark, who winced in pain. “Sorry Clark.” 

“My injuries are still bothersome.” He said stretching out a little.

“Cindy, can we come in? It’s kinda cold out.” Cindy waved her friends in. Julia and Clark had dark coats that stretched down near their knees and they hung them up. Julia pulled a DVD out of one of the deep pockets. It was some corny b-movie super hero flick. 

“Clark, ain’t’cha a bit old for super hero stuff?” Cindy remarked. 

“It is a guilty pleasure of mine.” He shrugged. Julia put on the movie and dropped on the coach. Clark slowly sat down by her. It was as if his every movement was a strain on his body. Cindy plopped down next to Julia. 

“Y’all didn’t hafta come.” She muttered throwing a glance at Julia and Clark who raised and lowered their shoulders. “I don’t like third wheelin’.” 

“We are not a couple, and this was not a romantic excursion.” Clark blurted out. Julia just shook her head and mouthed “not yet.” The girls laughed. Clark raised an eyebrow suspiciously before the movie started. A few minutes in and the lights flickered. Then darkness filled the room as the power exited. 

“Clark.” Julia said calmly. “My light is in my coat, can you grab it?” The sound of Clark rising was followed by him shuffling to the door way. The sound of a roar rattled Cindy. It wasn’t the howl of the wind but a sound like a lion. As soon as Cindy was sure she’d imagined the sound there was another blast. A flash of lightning showed Clark had returned. He passed Julia a silver device that looked like a pistol. Julia pressed her thumb to the back and then spun it on her forefinger. Six lights turned green in sequence from back to front. She gripped the weapon and pointed it outwards. Cindy looked up as the lightning illuminated a face in the window by the TV. It wasn’t a human face, it was the wrong shape and far too large. It was, quite unmistakably, the face of a monster.

Penumbra: Dragon part 1 of 4

Perhaps it was the thunder and lightning that kept Cindy Sinclair’s eyes open. The incessant rain drummed upon the roof like an endless march. It was barely past nine, but fighting her brother into bed had been more than enough to tire her out. She glanced at her phone hoping that someone would invite her out. The black screen simply stared back, unresponsive. Cindy let out a groan, no one wanted to hang out with her anyways.

The sound of pacing feet above her head made Cindy tense. Cindy listened as her father’s steps went back and forth like a patrolling soldier. She could only imagine him walking back and forth above her. His measured steps seemed rehearsed. The rhythm sounded ingrained. Cindy had never seen him pace, but his pacing footsteps had become a constant sound in the night. 

Cindy reached for her phone again and unlocked it. She went through her contacts. One after another she decided not text anyone. She hesitated at Clark’s number then shook her head. She certainly wasn’t going to have anyone thinking she was easy. That and Julia probably wouldn’t speak to her again, at least. She kept scrolling until she reached Julia’s number and opened a text. The full crowd of letters and an empty row stared back at her. Her thumb hit the “H” and then the “E”. She tapped the “Y”. Hey. She stared at the single word and sighed. She didn’t want to bother, or worry her friend. Nothing was wrong. No, even while no one slept in the house, nothing was wrong. No, even with a silent plea for help sitting on the phone, nothing was wrong. 

The windows rattled as thunder split the atmosphere. A flash of lightning made Cindy flinch as the objects outside threw horrible shadows on her wall. Another blast of thunder rocked the house as Cindy chided herself for being startled by a storm. Perhaps it had been when the lightning had startled her. Perhaps it had been a simple slip of her finger.  Perhaps it had been her subconscious mind acting through her hand. Whatever the reason Cindy had let out a desperate cry for help. A single syllable sent swiftly to her best friend. 

Ding dong. 

Cindy was out of bed and through the door in a heartbeat. Any excuse, any reason, any thing, to get her out of that room was acceptable. Her heart hammered as her feet threw her down the hall like a rocket. She threw open the door and found Clark and Julia there in the rain. 

Penumbra: Team Mates (part 3 of 3)

The sound of help was the crunch of the concrete and steel roof. A blast of dust and debris blew the doors off their hinges, rocketing them past λ. A cloud of brown billowed past him into the corridor, and he ran into it. Screams of terror filled the air as he charged towards Ron. 

“Terrence?” Ron coughed. 

“I summoned our proverbial cavalry.” 

“So not complaining.” Ron glanced into the reflection of his blade. “That black gas leak doesn’t look good.” λ glanced into the reflection, blackish blue smog poured from shattered vats. The soldiers and workers screamed warnings and ran the opposite way. 

“Allow me friend.” λ spoke extending a hand at the black gas. He closed his eyes and then the gas flickered and vanished. 

“Nice.” Ron nodded. “Never gets old.” Terrence swung tirelessly, his metal fists slaying soldiers left and right. Bullets bounced harmlessly off him as he howled and swung his fists. His body glowed red as the enemy retreated. He charged the line of fleeing soldiers, and blasted one up in the air. The main sailed into a glass vat that stood at least twenty feet high. It contained a purple black liquid that evaporated as the soldier shattered the glass. 

The smog drew back within the glass and began to boil. The soldier hacked and coughed in the cloud of black air. He batted it away from his face, desperately trying to escape the vat, before collapsing to the ground. Behind him the gas condensed into the form of an old woman. Her skin, pale and shriveled hung to her bones. She had on a white dress that hung to her ankles. Her hair was a grey bun pulled neat and orderly. Her hands gripped a gnarled cane, and she smashed the soldier with it. The cloud continued to pour into her, and she grew larger and larger. 

“Mummy is very angry with you boy. You need to be disciplined!” The creature screeched. The man was crawling away backwards, his every breath a cry for mercy. She stood ten feet tall and brought the cane down on the man with a sickening crack. She examined her bloody pole and shook her head. She prodded the limp body with her foot and scoffed. “Pah. Useless boy, you’re better off dead.” She surveyed the battle. Soldiers fled as Ron and λ struck at them with blades. Terrence smashed soldiers left and right, as the ranks broke. 

“Well would yuh look’t that.” Terrence looked up at the giant woman as she towered over the battle field. Her cane swinging down at the soldiers, whose helmets hardly reached her knees. “Ron, λ. Get the soldiers. Grandma is mine.” His fists smashed together rattling the room. He took two steps towards the giant and leapt. He was up higher than a basketball hoop in an instant, and sailed from where a three point line would have been before striking the granny giant. His blow hit her in the stomach and doubled her over. Her cane the size of a telephone pole hit the ground with a slam. Terrence grunted and hefted it up in both hands. The sound of servos and human straining as he smashed the giant behind the neck. The sound was like a thunderclap and the giant bellowed in rage. It gripped the cane and flipped Terrence over. He smashed into the ground with a clang, his breath coming out in an “oof” noise.

“This will teach you to respect your elders!” The granny giant smashed the cane on him again and again. Terence crossed his arms and bore each blow, a shockwave rattling the entire building. The solid concrete cracked beneath him as he grunted under the blows. The granny giant stood as tall as a house and Terrence looked up at her. 

“Respect?!” He shouted. He pushed forward and charged straight at her. “Respect you?” He grabbed her ankle and slammed her to the ground. “I respect my elders enough to be my own man! I respect them cause they loved me. You?! You just hate.” He pressed his finger tips to the giant. λ shouted and grabbed Ron. The two shimmered in the air, then with a gut wrenching shock, they vanished. The two appeared on top of the compound. Shimmer, shock, vanish. They appeared on a hill outside the compound. Then Terrence closed his fist, the servos in his arm crushing the atoms of the air the fingers grabbed. His fist struck and all the energy bloomed from it. 

Ron and λ felt the heat of the blast on their backs. They threw themselves into the earth. The roar of the wind blasted in their ears. The thud of something landing in front of them made them look up. Before them were the silver feet of Terrence.

“That’s how you use a big stick.”
T minus 62 days

Corrected: T minus 82 days
By TKH Hamilton