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2020 Halloween: Resident Poni

By BlondieAnon
Created: 31st October 2020 01:34:01 PM

  1. >You were never that great a runner
  2. >You always blamed your boots, or that you just weren't feeling up to it
  3. >Running through the forest didn't help
  4. >Or the fact that an unknown number of mangy, severely-damaged looking dogs were chasing you
  5. >"Into that house there!"
  6. >Your squad leader barks out
  7. >You don't really know where he is in relation to you
  8. >Or where anyone else is, for that matter
  9. >This was fucked
  10. >You were told to come in on short notice
  11. >Over the last two weeks there have been multiple victims found in rural townships and hiking routes
  12. >What made them unique was that while the occasional Les Stroud would end up wounded or killed by wildlife, these people were partially devoured
  13. >With human bite marks
  14. >Blue Team was sent out to investigate at around 1300 hours, no doubt after a long and lax lunch
  15. >They've been silent for eight hours
  16. >Definitely a communication no-no
  17. >Red Team, your team, was sent in
  18. >Officially speaking, this was just a basic search and rescue
  19. >Unofficially, there were a few concerns that they might've come across something like a cult, or the madmen that have been doing this
  20. >Outside of yourself, Red Team consisted of Jaime Taylor, a unicorn named Hot Shot, a pegasus named Jetstream, and the team flyboy, Richard Dack
  21. "WHERE THE FUCK IS DICK GOING?!"
  22. >Or as you prefer to call him: Rich Bitch
  23. >You had set down in a clearing closest to Blue Team's last coordinates
  24. >Due to the season you had plenty of light but it needed to be quick
  25. >You found Blue Team's helicopter
  26. >It was totaled but it looked like it was as controlled a landing as possible
  27. >The pilot in it, the venerable John Slide, was dead and still strapped in
  28. >Their communication gear and ammo boxes were all gone
  29. >Which meant that they had reason to take a half dozen boxes, full of ammunition, with them
  30. >Or someone picked the bird clean
  31. >Jetstream had found something else
  32. >A handgun: A G48, with the slide cerakoted to be some outlandish banana yellow
  33. >Adam's gun
  34. >And Adam's hand was still on the gun
  35. >Only Jaime managed to see proof of that before something pinned down Jetstream
  36. >Multiple somethings
  37. >By the first scream we regrouped and were frankly
  38. >Frozen
  39. >Two of the gnarliest looking wolves or dogs or whatever canines you had ever seen swarmed the pony
  40. >In seconds, she was either dead or so thoroughly damaged that
  41. >It wasn't much but you swore you saw the remains of Adam just beyond them, half-obscured by some fallen tree
  42. >You don't think anyone was thinking, the three of you opened fire at once
  43. >The two dogs were filled with so much lead and you could've sworn that they were just deranged changlings on account of the new holes
  44. >You tried to help
  45. >You really did try
  46. >Until more of those feral creatures appeared
  47. >The three of you decided you had to run
  48. >You didn't know what the hell these things were
  49. >You certainly didn't have the firepower for it
  50. >It was only when you got back to the clearing did you realize that Richard was already a foot off the air
  51. >there was some sort of animal clinging to skid
  52. >You may have made the same choice
  53. >But in the then and there, it was a death warrant
  54. >So you ran, blindly popping off shots behind you
  55. >What came into view, what Jaime saw first, was some massive house
  56. >Without time to think or assess the situation, the three of you piled in
  57. >You were the last in, skidding on the polished marble floor like a Hannah Barbara character
  58. >The animals were right outside
  59. >You threw yourself against the ornate oak door, slamming it shut
  60. >You fell to your ass against both doors, listening to gnarly gasping for air and scratching that made you double down on your theory that these were some sort of rabid wild animal
  61. >It was only now that you realized that you were still holding your gun with the coldest death grip imaginable
  62. >You finally let go of it, bringing your hand up to your face
  63. >When did you start sweating so much?
  64. >"What the fuck was that?! What happened to Jetstream!?"
  65. >Hot Shot, the unicorn, looked like she was on the verge of a heart attack
  66. >"Jesus Christ almighty... Anon, tell me you have that door secured."
  67. >You need only a second to look up and behind you
  68. >The fancy, expensive-looking door handles seem pretty reliably closed
  69. >You hear some noises behind you but no more scratching
  70. >Unable to find any words, you just give a thumbs up
  71. >Hot Shot was the second newest to the team
  72. >Jetstream was the team baby
  73. >Which meant we made fun of her all the time
  74. >It also meant that we were all inclined to impart wisdom and strong opinion toward her conduct
  75. >It also meant that we were all duty-bound to protect her from anything bad
  76. "Ah shit... someone tell me they grabbed their radio..."
  77. >For some reason that's the first coherent thought you had
  78. >Hot Shot checked her saddlebags and her vest
  79. >A shake of the head from her
  80. >Jaime just gave you a grimace
  81. "Fuck...alright then."
  82. >Of course you didn't, either
  83. >None of you grabbed your rifles either
  84. >Why would you, right?
  85. >Your breathing slowing down, if only barely, you bring yourself to your feet
  86. >Immediately you do a mag check
  87. >The other two follow
  88. >Current mag has three rounds in it
  89. >Plus one in the pipe
  90. >Plus four mags on your vest, three mags in pouches hanging off of the belt on your left side
  91. >It wasn't a hand cannon, but your 92G Brigadier Tac was your baby
  92. >You had ammo
  93. >But you really weren't sure of how much of it was going to be enough
  94. "I'm..."
  95. >You give a hard inhale and exhale, steadying your nerves
  96. "Four plus my seven mags."
  97. >"One in the pipe... and now five mags."
  98. >Jaime, ejected his spent mag and swapped it out with another
  99. >He was proud of how expensive those were, there was no way he'd ever let them hit the floor, even in a real scenario
  100. >He had a P320-M18
  101. >A callback to his enlisted days, he claimed
  102. >"I, uh... yeah. Three total, ten mags remaining."
  103. >Hot Shot insisted on her M&P M2.0
  104. >She didn't really mind the 'grip' or the 'recoil', since her using magic gave her quite the advantage to aiming
  105. >She was kind of a magical gimp, on account of her growing up around humans
  106. >You've seen a few that are pretty amazing but you respect a pony that can shoot a lot more than one that can spontaneously summon napalm or lightning
  107. >But man would that sort of shit help now
  108. "Fucking saddlebags... you pack your lunch too?"
  109. >"Hey, fuck you anon. Jetstream just fucking died out there and we watched and did nothing."
  110. >"We didn't do nothing, Shot."
  111. >There was no escaping what happened
  112. >Or how fast it happened
  113. >It only hit you then that you were in the house
  114. >More so, in a foyer that was so lavish you felt like you'd be sent a cleaning bill just by breathing in the warm... almost stale air
  115. "What is this place?"
  116. >There were doors everywhere, a custom-tailored carpet that covered significant portions of brown and white marble tiles, and a staircase wide enough for three burly men to walk up, leading to a second floor
  117. >"My home, what else did you think I did with my money?"
  118. "Yeah, you mean your falsified disability checks..."
  119. >You chuckle, trying to wrap your head around the area
  120. >You've seen McMansions but this had to be the real deal
  121. >You look over the first floor, at man and pony
  122. "So... at least we know we're here."
  123. >Except for the obvious missing one
  124. >"Where did Richard go?"
  125. >"That pussy..."
  126. >Jaime wasn't all too happy with his exit either
  127. "Knowing him... home. But this is good. If he makes it to the station, he can send the cavalry. APCs, swat, fucking national guard."
  128. >"If we last that long."
  129. >Jaime looked at me with a dark gleam in his eye
  130. >"We can't go back outside, I hope you know that."
  131. >You step away from the doors, freshly reminded of how close you were to being their next meal
  132. "Yeah? No shit... those things were-"
  133. >All three of you assume a shooting stance and aim at the door left of the entrance
  134. >Two shots
  135. "I heard two."
  136. >"Same."
  137. >"Sounded like a revolver."
  138. "Hot, you're with me. Jay, lock down this room."
  139. >"Got it."
  140. >"Sure, I'll get that door stuck good."
  141. >You push through the heavy wood door
  142. >These felt like they were as solid as could be, which was a huge difference from all of those plywood and hollow metal doors
  143. >Hot Shot is your shadow, standing behind and off to the side of you
  144. >The door closes behind you, revealing...
  145. "A dining room..."
  146. >And what a dining room
  147. >The table itself looks like it could fit at least thirty well-spaced people
  148. >A roaring fireplace is on the far end, with a chandelier gently swinging in the center
  149. >There's no signs of a fight anywhere
  150. >More importantly, no shooter
  151. >You inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth
  152. >You aren't willing to relax, but whatever happened wasn't in this room
  153. >"How much do you think all of this cost...?"
  154. "Enough to almost make me jealous."
  155. >You take to the right side of the table, avoiding the windows that were thankfully closed
  156. >It wasn't that dark out but you couldn't see anything from your position
  157. >You certainly didn't want to test your luck either
  158. >Upon reaching the fireplace, you freeze
  159. >Blood
  160. >Thick blood
  161. >On the tile floor
  162. "Shit..."
  163. >"Who's is that?"
  164. "I don't know but whoever it is, they need severe help. You got your kit on you?"
  165. >"Of course."
  166. >Outside of being an ammo hog, the team decided to make use of her capacity and shoved in a trauma kit and a half into her bags
  167. >None of you were medically certified to perform surgery but you strongly recall sleeping through CPR class so you could handle a little internal spillage
  168. >To your right was another door
  169. "I'm sure we're close... keep at the ready, ok?"
  170. >"Yup."
  171. >You reached for the door knob with a trembling hand and grasped it
  172. >It felt warm
  173. >Like someone had touched or held onto it not that long ago
  174. >You opened it and both slid through with as little noise as possible
  175. >Into a narrow hallway
  176. >Compared to the opulence of the first two areas, this felt like it came from some bad late 60s catalog
  177. >The wallpaper was peeling in various spots, and it was just thin, cheap wallpaper
  178. >And something reeked to high hells
  179. >"You hear that?"
  180. >Hot Shot whispered to you
  181. >It did sound like something was clacking
  182. >Or gnawing
  183. >You switched to inhaling and exhaling through your mouth, sidearm at the ready
  184. >You stalked forward, moving from heel to toe
  185. >You could feel your left eyelid twitch
  186. >The end of the hallway opened up into something that looked wide, but that was all you could tell
  187. >You started veering to the left, to give you a quicker look to the right
  188. >After a few more steps you saw...
  189. >You don't know what you see
  190. >You see what looks like someone from Blue Team, sitting with their back to the wall
  191. >On their lap is presumably a male, going off of the nondescript jean and shirt combo
  192. >Except the clothing looks old and filthy
  193. >The back of the man's head looks grimy to say the very least
  194. >And his head is jerking from side to side in short, sudden bursts of movements
  195. >You can see the revolver
  196. >A blued S&W 627
  197. >That's Tommy's sidearm
  198. >Neither you nor Hot Shot say anything, but the man on Tommy slowly turns his head to the right
  199. >You see it
  200. >The face of Death
  201. >Wide, blank eyes
  202. >Once brown but now look grey
  203. >Missing a nose
  204. >Missing lips
  205. >Broken teeth
  206. >Pieces of something organic and flesh-colored hanging between those teeth
  207. >He, it, looked like Death
  208. >It let out a slow rasp, its torso sinking slightly
  209. >It started to get up, never once blinking
  210. >"GET OFF HIM AND PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!"
  211. >Hot Shot screamed, bringing you back to reality
  212. >You did the same, pointing it at its, his, sternum
  213. "FUCKING FREEZE OR I WILL END YOU."
  214. >It didn't heed either warnings
  215. >It stood up, and let out a long, whisper of a wheeze
  216. >Bloody, half-skeletal fingers reached out with blood-painted pale arms
  217. "ONE STEP AND YOU'RE DOG MEAT."
  218. >"DO NOT TEST ME!"
  219. >Both of you shout at once at it, but it doesn't seem to care
  220. >It takes a grand total of one step
  221. "FUCK YOU TOO!"
  222. >You open fire
  223. >Hot Shot does as well
  224. >Seven 9mm Luger rounds pop off in the span of less than two seconds total
  225. >The body lets out an elongated wheeze and falls over
  226. >You stumble to the left, into a corner while Hot Shot jumps back to the right, more into the hallway
  227. >Your breathing forgotten, you drop your mag and reach for one in your belt
  228. >Slide release is flicked and you're back in the game and the business is pointed at the back right shoulder of the freak
  229. >You hear some fumbling from Hot Shot, but hear her release her slide
  230. >The thing is less than two feet away from the tip of your boots
  231. >Its hand is maybe a foot from said boots
  232. >You're paralyzed
  233. >You fucking unloaded on this guy like he was Murphy from the beginning of Robocop
  234. >"...is he gone?"
  235. "Fucker better be... I gotta che-"
  236. >As soon as you shift to move, the bastard's hand snakes up, grabbing onto your boot!
  237. >It brings its head up, letting out a gurgling groan, like it doesn't even mind that it's gargling blood
  238. "FUCKING SHIT YOU-"
  239. >You magdump into it's back, your aim slowly going up until you're pumping round after round into it's head
  240. >All fifteen rounds go, six of them in the fucker's skull, which now appropriately looks like salsa with just a little too much head cheese
  241. >You look at Hot Shot
  242. >She looks at you
  243. >The look on her face is indescribable
  244. >You expected her to freak out about your reaction
  245. >"D... did that thing really just move after seven shots?"
  246. >Staggered, quieted breathing and shaking aside, you nod with 110% confidence
  247. >You slide against it, your back to another window, until you're clear of any possible revival
  248. >You focus as calmly as you can on reloading
  249. >Your ears fucking hurt
  250. >You've gotten used to firing without your ears on but it makes thinking all that much more difficult
  251. "Pi... ah... pick up that mag I dropped, will you?"
  252. >You reload, putting your spent mag in one of your vest pockets, and putting the full mags onto your belt
  253. >A green-tinted mag floats up, blissfully clean
  254. >You snatch it out of the air and put it into your vest
  255. "Thanks."
  256. >Confident that you've neutralized the entity, you focus on Tommy
  257. >He looks like he's been put through the ringer
  258. >He has multiple bites on his arms, including what looks like a nasty gash that trailed down from his left elbow down to his wrist
  259. "Jesus Christ, Tommy..."
  260. >His eyes are focused on the door to his right, wide and desperate
  261. >You kneel down, watching the pony take the opposite side
  262. "These bites..."
  263. >"They match the autopsies."
  264. "More... more or less, sure."
  265. >You reach for his revolver
  266. >357 magnum, eight shot revolver
  267. "Who the fuck has ever heard of an eight shot revolver... fucking weirdo, man."
  268. >There was some blood on the grips
  269. >A little on the side of the barrel too
  270. >And on the cylinder
  271. >All on the same side
  272. >You pop the cylinder to the side
  273. >All of his shots were spent
  274. "Fucking cowboy..."
  275. >You look at him again
  276. >"Check... uh, check his pockets. And his belt. He might have some of those moon clips. And a radio. Or something."
  277. >You take out the cartridges, all of them held in place by a full moon clip
  278. >You flick out the spent brass, one by one, trying to stick to shallow breathing
  279. >The entire area smells like blood and decay
  280. >"No radio... but here."
  281. >She holds up a single full moon clip
  282. "That it, huh..."
  283. >"His knife is missing too."
  284. >Of course it is
  285. "Crazy fucker probably carved up another one of these things... no way our culprit is that new batch of man pudding."
  286. >You pluck the clip out from the magical ether and push the cylinder back in with both thumbs
  287. >He always liked to snap it back into place with a flick of the wrist
  288. >You wipe it as much as you can against his lower pant leg, below the knee
  289. "Shit man... sorry we were late to the party. But I'll take care of your girl for you. Little dirty but I know you like her that way."
  290. >If now wasn't the best time for joking around, you wouldn't know what else to do
  291. >"You know him well?"
  292. "Sure. Used to make fun of each other. He had a tiny dick, he claimed I only knew because I watched him when he peed. But it was because of this."
  293. >You slip your Brigadier into it's holster and take hold of the revolver
  294. "Let's... let's let's let's... Jaime probably has that entrance scouted out. Gotta report."
  295. >You shake your head and stand up
  296. >You've only been giving passing attention to the unicorn, who's been sniffing around the room
  297. >There was a neat little corner table, chair, and lamp nearby that gave the room a gloomy sense of class
  298. >Not it was just background image to something that probably looked like it would be at home in a mystery adventure game
  299. >Newly armed, you lead the way back into the foyer
  300. >Except when you two enter, Jaime is nowhere to be found
  301. "Ah shit... Jay! HEY JAY!"
  302. >While you're more than fine with shouting, Hot Shot seems more quiet and hesitant to speak
  303. "Check this first floor. I'm going upstairs. Don't leave this room."
  304. >"Yup."
  305. >You jog up the stairs
  306. >It splits to the left and right, with a large, thick tapestry hanging off the wall in front
  307. >It almost looks like it blends into the sectioned carpet, it's so similar
  308. >You jog up the left set of stairs, which takes you to the same H-shamed section of second floor
  309. >Two doors on either side
  310. >No real sign of anything or anyone
  311. "God damn it Jay..."
  312. >You whisper under your breath, licking your lower lip
  313. >"Anon! He left a note!"
  314. >Thank God for that
  315. >You rush downstairs and look at the blue unicorn
  316. >"It says 'Heard gunfire, probably yours. Room is secured, some doors locked. Looking for a phone.'... but that's kinda it."
  317. "Kinda it, or that's it for sure?"
  318. >"Sorry, that's it for sure."
  319. "Great... leave it to him to go looking for crayons to snack on at a time like this. At least he's looking for a landline. That's the most obvious answer."
  320. >"What do we do now?"
  321. >She looks up at you
  322. >She looks like she's out of her depth
  323. >And she is
  324. >You are too
  325. "For now... I don't know. But we aren't splitting up."
  326. >"Wouldn't we cover more ground that way?"
  327. "Maybe but buddy system is safer. Jay probably thinks he'll be fine if he goes out alone so he split off into his own."
  328. >"How will we find him again?"
  329. "Well... he has a notepad and pencil, evidently. You got anything like that? We know this room is secure and safe. We can communicate through notes. If we're on the west side and see that our note has been displaced, chances are he came through and read it. Which means we could come across each other. Right?"
  330. >"Yeah... yeah, I got you, hold on."
  331. >You watch her fumble around her bags without even looking into them
  332. >You feel so light-headed
  333. >If this was a dream, you'd be happy with never sleeping again
  334. >But it probably isn't one
  335. >"Alright, note's ready. What do you want to say?"
  336. "Tell him that we found a hostile and Tommy. Tommy didn't make it. We're going to investigate the west wing, first floor first. We're going to look for a phone too, as well as any clues about where the rest of Blue Team is. And hopefully supplies."
  337. >She scribbles it down with a mechanical pencil until it's done
  338. >She holds it up to you
  339. >The paper is imbued with the odd shimmering of magic but it looks serviceable
  340. "Nice penmanship... yeah, that'll work. Where did you find his note?"
  341. >You walk behind her as she leads you to a small end table near the mouth of the stairs
  342. >"He put it in the one drawer here."
  343. "Alright... good to know."
  344. >You fold his note in half and put it in the drawer
  345. >Your note is placed on top of it, not folded
  346. "I guess it'll work as well as anything else. Keep it open, in case."
  347. >You look around the foyer again
  348. >It looks like he had a few door spikes on him since two are put into the entrance doors
  349. >Unless they're torn from their hinges, they'll hold now
  350. >"What do we do now? Do we really go back to the west wing?"
  351. "Yeah... yeah, let's go."
  352. >This is going to be a long night
  353.  
  354. >You've been sitting on the stairs for a few moments, to catch your breath and to plan your next move
  355. >Hot Shot has been sitting on the carpet, sheepishly checking over her bags, pistol, and self
  356. >At least five times now
  357. >"How long has it been?"
  358. >You shrug and check your watch
  359. "It is... nine twenty-one."
  360. >It had been less than a half hour
  361. >Less than thirty minutes, that you landed and everything went to hell
  362. >"How long have we been waiting?"
  363. "Maybe five minutes, I guess."
  364. >"Are we going to keep waiting?"
  365. >You sigh and stand yourself up
  366. >You cock the hammer on the revolver, well aware of the hair trigger it has
  367. "Nope. Let's go."
  368. >"Roger that."
  369. >After one last chamber check, she nods and goes behind you
  370. >While it wouldn't be a bad idea to have her in front since you could shoot over her, you'd rather have
  371. >With a deep inhale and exhale, you open the door and go through, into the dining room
  372. >It's the same room as it was before
  373. >Fire crackling
  374. >Chandelier swinging just enough to give a slight creak every now and again
  375. >Which is odd because you don't feel any sort of wind
  376. "Alright... we went down one way for the hallway. Let's go the other way this time."
  377. >"Sure."
  378. >The dining arena lasted a lot less longer than you wanted
  379. >You grabbed at the door knob and...
  380. >Hesitated
  381. "Ready?"
  382. >"...yeah."
  383. >You pulled the door open and stepped through, the clopping of hooves following your boots
  384. >At the end of the hallway was the monster you turned to partial jelly
  385. >You couldn't help but feel some relief at that
  386. "So that's to the left..."
  387. >Almost immediately in front of you is one door
  388. >Then another, much further down the hallway, on the left-hand side
  389. >Further still, what looked like a left turn
  390. "Guess we know where to start, huh?"
  391. >You approach the closest door and turn
  392. >Try to turn the knob
  393. >Locked...
  394. "Well, points for security I guess."
  395. >"No good?"
  396. "Nope. I'd lock up too if I had a giant mansion, I suppose."
  397. >"Would you keep weird monsters around?"
  398. >You look down at her
  399. >She flinches like it's a bad time to joke
  400. >You smirk
  401. "And death traps. Let's hope this place doesn't have my name on it, huh?"
  402. >Keeping your index finger away from the trigger, you tentatively sneak down the hallway
  403. >For all you know, there may actually be some sort of Saw-esque traps around
  404. >When you reach the further door and test the knob, it yields
  405. "Alright."
  406. >"Yup."
  407. >You push it open and quickly turn the corner
  408. >You didn't expect this
  409. >It's a bar room
  410. >Like an old-fashioned whiskey barrel sort of bar room
  411. >Though the scent of pine and liquor calls out, you remain focused
  412. >You enter and she follows, both guns sweeping the area
  413. >No signs of anyone
  414. "If you're here, save us the trouble of finding you. RPD SCU!"
  415. >Racoon Police Department Special Crimes Unit
  416. >Decades ago, when you were a kid, it was called something like S.T.A.R.S.
  417. >They were a lot more creative back in the day
  418. >Nothing moves at your words
  419. "Check behind the bar."
  420. >Both of you approach a dusty, expensive-looking piano
  421. >She branches off to the left, and you continue around to the right
  422. >All you find are a few shelves, chairs, and a ripped up book
  423. >A quick flip through shows that it is a set of musical sheets
  424. "I'm no ivory tickler..."
  425. >It doesn't mean much to you
  426. "Alright, I'm clear."
  427. >"Yeah! Clear here too... you know, they got a lot of booze here."
  428. >You scoff and nod
  429. "Yeah, I bet."
  430. >You can see her weird magical layer going over various bottles
  431. >"...mind if I swipe one?"
  432. "You know what? Go for it. We're gonna need one once we get picked up."
  433. >Because that is going to happen
  434. >It has to
  435. >"Any preferences?"
  436. "Anything but rum. Now pick your poison, we need to keep moving."
  437. >"Roger that."
  438. >You watch her pluck a bottle from the collection after a thorough magical dusting
  439. >It looks expensive to say the least
  440. >She trots back to you, smiling, her saddlebags just a little more filled
  441. "Remind me to watch you next time you come over."
  442. >Both of you leave the warm, almost familiar bar for the hallway again
  443. >A quick glance to the right and you can still see pudding-for-brains
  444. >Good
  445. >You turn to the left and follow the wall
  446. >When you turn left, you stop
  447. "Huh... nice."
  448. >An old elevator is sitting there, empty and as clean as could be expected
  449. >Just for kicks, you press the up button
  450. >Nothing
  451. "So much for that."
  452. >"It has a down button too... what's below?"
  453. >Her attention to detail leaves you looking ahead
  454. >The wall turns to the left once more
  455. >You follow and immediately get a chill up your spine
  456. >It's a long set of stairs down
  457. >The tacky wallpaper ends halfway, degrading until it looks like the iron door and the walls nearby are rusty red
  458. "Let's..."
  459. >"...not..."
  460. >You watch the door for a few seconds, as if something was waiting to pop out behind it
  461. >Most likely a chainsaw wielding maniac with a Texan accent
  462. >Thankfully the door doesn't move
  463. "Let's go back to the other end of the hallway. I think there was a door around there."
  464. >"Was there?"
  465. "I think. If nothing else, we can re-examine things. See if we missed anything."
  466. >"Sure."
  467. With a bit of a more casual step, you both make it back to the scene of the murder
  468. >And the scene of vengeance
  469. >Looking at Tommy's body puts you in a weird sense of deja vu
  470. Or an out of body experience
  471. >You turn to focus on the corpse that dared to touch you
  472. >The clothing isn't just dated, but it looks old
  473. >Like it's old and worn
  474. "Who is this guy? Do we have any missing persons reports from the last year?"
  475. >"A few fillies that ran away from an adoption agency, maybe. But no humans. No adults."
  476. "Guess we can't ID you without a face, huh... as if it would've helped."
  477. >It can help to say things out loud
  478. >If only because it helps remind you that you aren't going nutty over nothing
  479. >Finally taking your eyes away from the situation, you see that there is a door in the corner, though it's far enough away from any sources of light that only the knob is visible
  480. "Alright. Let's go."
  481. >You step over the bodies, doing your best to avoid breathing in
  482. >"Sorry..."
  483. >Shot hops over Tommy's legs one at a time, extra careful to avoid touching him
  484. >You turn the knob and pull open the door, showing only a dark, barely lit hallway that eventually curved to the right
  485. "We'll get him a proper burial..."
  486. >If you don't end up dead here, yourself
  487. >You both creep, down the new hallway, barely taking note of the dozens of portraits and pictures that line the walls
  488. >When it turns right, you follow
  489. >It opens up into a wide, tall stairwell
  490. "I guess we're going up then."
  491. >Outside of dozens of more pictures, an open window on the left rattles open and closed
  492. "I hope those things don't know how to climb..."
  493. >Thankfully it seems like it's between the second and first levels
  494. >You creep up the stairs first while Hot Shot looks over the pictures
  495. >You lose the fight to resist looking outside and give a peek
  496. "What the hell..."
  497. >"What's wrong?"
  498. "It's pitch black out there. Or getting close to it. Doesn't the town stay a bit better lit for a while still at this time?"
  499. >"Maybe. But if we're really in the middle of nowhere, we might not have any lights to look at."
  500. "Good point..."
  501. >You reach the second floor and immediately see something worth investigation
  502. >Spent brass
  503. "Hey hey, up here."
  504. >You kneel down, examining the casings
  505. >357 mag
  506. "Tommy was up here. This is probably his ammo here."
  507. >"How many rounds?"
  508. "Eight. Full cylinder it looks."
  509. >When she meets you at the top of the stairs she looks around
  510. >"Wherever he shot them, it wasn't over here."
  511. "No kidding... but what he shot is probably beyond that door there."
  512. >"Hey Anon... you haven't heard Jaime's gun in a while, have you?"
  513. "No ma'am, I haven't..."
  514. >That's either good
  515. >Or bad
  516. "Stack up."
  517. >"Yup."
  518. >You steel yourself with another full breath and open the door
  519. >Immediately you see another corpse
  520. "Fuck..."
  521. >You step through and Hot Shot follows
  522. >It looks like another one of those psychos
  523. >But there's a big pool of blood around him
  524. >And a few particularly dark spots on his back
  525. "Ventilated good, huh... only got yourself to blame."
  526. >You didn't mind saying that under your breath but you weren't going to kick him
  527. >Just in case
  528. >This one looked different though
  529. >Maybe just a different race because this guy's skin was pretty red
  530. >The fingers looked particularly vile, since the tips of the fingers were destroyed enough to show bone
  531. >This wasn't damage that happened out of nowhere
  532. "Who are these guys..."
  533. >"Psst! PSST!"
  534. >Hot Shot tries to get your attention, her ears flickering
  535. >"I hear another one of those guys... to my right, down this way."
  536. >You back up a few steps until you're near her again
  537. >After another moment, you hear it too
  538. >A raspy moan
  539. >It sounds almost exactly the same as the salsa head down stairs
  540. "If he doesn't see reason... take out his legs."
  541. >"Is that ethical?"
  542. "I've seen what they've done, you could gut them for fun and I wouldn't care."
  543. >The two of you enter an L-intersection
  544. >Another door in front of you, but a route that goes down to the left
  545. >The noises are also on the left
  546. "Let's just clean up..."
  547. >The hallway is rather plain, outside of the hard wood floors and red carpet in the center
  548. >At the end of the hallway is a long, narrow mirror
  549. >And in the reflection, a third psycho
  550. "...what's it doing?"
  551. >Both of you sneak up to the mirror, stopping halfway down the corridor
  552. >"Maybe he doesn't notice us?"
  553. "I call bullshit... hey buddy! Come here, I got something to talk to you about."
  554. >Your voice triggers something in the guy
  555. >He turns around, revealing that the entire front of his face has sheered off
  556. >"That's... what is this?"
  557. >The mutilated man brings up his arms, walking toward the reflection of you in the mirror
  558. >Were these people predators or merely victims?
  559. >As soon as his face was visible you shifted into a firing stance
  560. >This shit is going to hurt your ears
  561. "Alright, I'm obliged to tell you to get on the ground but I personally hope you don't. Just a heads up."
  562. >As you expected, the faceless freak doesn't heed your words
  563. >"Should we really be shooting these people?"
  564. "If he takes two more steps, I'm going to do it."
  565. >"Hey, stop! He ain't kidding, you know!"
  566. >It stumbled forward, jaw extending more than enough to give Steven Tyler a run for his money
  567. "Right..."
  568. >You fire once
  569. >The magnum revolver barks, spitting lead right into his chest
  570. >Where his heart would be, actually
  571. >That didn't drop him
  572. "I hit him right in the heart, Shot."
  573. >"What?! You're kidding!"
  574. "I got him in the heart and he's still coming!"
  575. >Whatever it is, it takes another step before you squeeze off another shot
  576. >This time in it's head, right above where the right eyebrow would've been
  577. >Part of it's skull from behind bursts out
  578. >The heartless, brainless creature collapses, stopping a body's length away
  579. >You don't stop out of your stance, despite the fact that you killed it twice now, by normal standards
  580. >"Jesus Anon..."
  581. "Get back up from that, fucker."
  582. >Nothing moves
  583. >There's no second grumbling
  584. >No twitching
  585. >The blood that comes out looks... off, somehow
  586. >"This blood looks wrong."
  587. "I guess so..."
  588. >You finally relax
  589. >This is insane
  590. >More so, it's insane that you aren't really bothered that you killed an unarmed man
  591. >A man that could shrug off a heart shot like it was nothing
  592. "Let's move on."
  593. >"...roger."
  594. >You push the thoughts regarding the matter out of your head
  595. >You can go crazy later
  596. >Stepping past the corpse, and past the mirror, you turn left to see two doors
  597. >One in front of you, and one to the right
  598. "This place just keeps going on..."
  599. >You test the one to your right
  600. >It's unlocked
  601. >Keeping your hand on the knob, you motion to the Hot Shot
  602. "That one unlocked?"
  603. >The door knob glows blue and rattles
  604. >"Yup."
  605. "Alright... the choice is made for us."
  606. >"...yup..."
  607. >You both step through, into...
  608. >The dining room?
  609. >You're on a set of walkways above the dining room
  610. >The chandelier keeps creaking
  611. >Except this time you can see why
  612. >It's off-balanced with a little bag that's caught on one of the upward hooks
  613. >Are those hooks?
  614. "Hey, we got a bag here."
  615. >"Got it."
  616. >The bag saturates into a mystical blue and lifts up
  617. >You grab it out of the air
  618. >It's a pouch
  619. >You slip the revolver into your pants pocket and open the pouch
  620. >It's velcro
  621. >Certainly not anything from this decade
  622. >Inside is a radio
  623. >The antenna is stuck to it
  624. "Finally, some good luck."
  625. >"Where did this come from?"
  626. "Not sure. Maybe Blue Team?"
  627. >You screw on the antenna and fiddle with the settings
  628. >The batteries aren't dead so that has to be a good thing
  629. "Anonymous of RPD SCU. I repeat, this is Anonymous of RPD SCU."
  630. >You let go of the transmit button, looking down at Hot Shot
  631. >You don't really know how ponies age but she looks tired
  632. >You transmit again, looking down at the pool of blood near the fireplace
  633. "Anonymous of RPD SCU, we have officer casualties. Four confirmed, need evac."
  634. >As soon as you let go of the transmit button, it sparks to life
  635. >"ANON, THAT YOU? THOSE THINGS ALMOST GOT ME MAN!"
  636. >Rich the Bitch
  637. "Fuck you Dick, you almost got the rest of us killed."
  638. >"LISTEN MAN I CAN'T COME BACK."
  639. "What do you mean you can't come back?"
  640. >"HQ CALLED, THEY NEED ALL PILOTS AVAILABLE."
  641. "What? Why?"
  642. >"WE GOT ONE OF THOSE CULT GUYS THAT WANDERED INTO TOWN, GUY LOOKED FUCKED RIGHT UP. FEW BEAT COPS TOOK HIM TO THE STATION. GUY GNAWED OFF A GUY'S HAND AND BIT A PONY."
  643. >You look down at the unicorn
  644. >She looks up at you
  645. "Rich, you gotta kill that guy. I shot one in the heart and it didn't even pause. We pumped one full of seven shots and he didn't stay down."
  646. >The pilot shouting every word is grating, but at least you have his attention
  647. >"YOU WHAT? NAH MAN, IT'S BAD. THERE ARE REPORTS OF MORE OF THOSE GUYS COMING OUT OF THE WOODS. THOSE DOGS TOO, MAN. I SAW YOU GUYS RUN INTO THAT HOUSE, YOU GUYS CAN HOLE UP FOR A BIT, RIGHT?"
  648. "What?! Negative, we can't just sit and help ourselves, we got at least three of those psychos in here. Whatever they're on, they're fucked up good and can shrug off a blasted heart! We need to get out of here, and now!"
  649. >"YEAH MAN I KNOW. LISTEN, LET ME HELP OUT THERE, FUEL UP, I'LL BE RIGHT THERE. IT CAN BE SOME INDIANA JONES SHIT MAN."
  650. >He just isn't listening to you
  651. >You bang your wrist on the railing
  652. >What could be happening that requires all pilots to come back?
  653. "Listen... Adam's dead. Jetstream's dead. We found one of those things devouring Tommy. You leave us out here for long enough, we're dead. You understand that, right?"
  654. >No reply
  655. >This can't be out of range
  656. >Not yet anyway
  657. "Dick, I said you leave us out here, and the three of us are dead."
  658. >Nothing
  659. >You're about to pitch the radio until it crackles back to life
  660. >"LISTEN, WE GOT THREE DEAD AT THE STATION NOW, THEY NEED EVAC. AND WE GOT SOCCER MOMS REPORTING RABID ANIMALS EATING THEIR PETS. I'LL COME BACK BUT SOMETHING BIG'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. YOU TWO NEED TO HOLE UP, SECURE A SPOT. I AIN'T FORGETTING ABOUT YOU. I REPEAT, YOU GUYS AREN'T GONNA BE STUCK THERE. HOLE UP, BE CAREFUL."
  661. >The look on Hot Shot's face shows that this is plummeting her morale
  662. "...yeah, alright. You watch yourself out there, ok?"
  663. >"OH I'M AS SAFE AS CAN BE BROTHER. DON'T LET THOSE THINGS BITE YOU, ALRIGHT? I REPEAT. HQ SAYS GETTING BITTEN IS FATAL. YOU WATCH YOURSELF. RICHARD OUT."
  664. >You watch the radio
  665. >You lean on the railing, looking out out one of the multiple tall windows
  666. >It really is starting to get dark out
  667. >"...what do we do, Anon?"
  668. "We... we gotta find Jaime. This is the dining room."
  669. >You point down to the far wall
  670. >There is a single door there, same placement as the one on the first floor
  671. "We basically just made a big circle. Come on."
  672. >"Yeah."
  673. >You pay no mind to the shelves or baubles on the wall
  674. >Unless there was a set of car keys around, it wasn't going to help you any
  675. >You didn't see any roads from the sky either
  676. >There's probably a few dirt roads that you could maybe take into the city
  677. >But you don't know what those roads are
  678. >You don't know where you could even find a vehicle
  679. >And you certainly don't know what's even out there
  680. >The door's locked but on your side is a little latch
  681. "...huh. Weird way to secure a place."
  682. >You unlock the door and pass through it
  683. >And you're back in the foyer
  684. "Jaime, you in here?"
  685. >You raised your voice but you hardly had the strength to do so
  686. >"Jaime, we found a radio!"
  687. >Nothing
  688. "Shit..."
  689. >Sighing with the weight of a city on your shoulders, you step down the steps and sit down on the bottom three
  690. >Hot Shot trots down to the first floor, toward the little end table
  691. >"Anon, the drawer's closed! Jaime might've stopped by!"
  692. "Cool. What's it say?"
  693. >You hear the drawer slide open
  694. >"Oh no..."
  695. >She brings the note nearby for you to see
  696. >It's half blood-stained
  697. >It goes back to her face
  698. >"No luck on finding a phone. Fucking crazy old house, am I right? Tried to apprehend a cripple, he bit me. So I put a canoe through his head. Will return soon, need to patch myself up."
  699. "Oh... no."
  700. >You bring your hands up to your head
  701. >What did it mean, to not get bitten?
  702. >Obviously it would lead to some severe infection if not handled properly
  703. >Was there something more to it?
  704. >"Anon..."
  705. >It's Hot Shot
  706. >"Anon. What do we do?"
  707. >You check your watch
  708. "It is... nine forty."
  709. >You shrug, throwing up your hands
  710. "I don't know. Dick's out doing his thing. If what he said is right, well, you heard him. Jaime got bit and Dick said to not get bit. So I don't know. I guess we just sit it out for a bit. This room is safe. We know where that bar is, too."
  711. >She flashes a smile for a second
  712. >"Yeah... oh! Oh yeah."
  713. >She brings out that bottle
  714. >It's not just a decanter
  715. >It's a really nice type of bourbon
  716. >You think
  717. >You're not rich enough to care about higher tiers of booze
  718. "At least we have something to drink..."
  719. >You take a short swig
  720. >You're tempted to drink far more but you just need enough of it to coat your tongue
  721. >You didn't realize it before but you're completely parched
  722. >You forgot how live-fire situations can affect someone
  723. >You hold out the bottle until she embraces it with her magic
  724. >She tips it over, measuring out a precise amount
  725. >The alcohol becomes a floating sphere that she pops into her mouth
  726. "That's a neat trick."
  727. >"Thanks."
  728. >She squeezes the cork and glass cap back onto it
  729. >Sit sits where the stairs and floor meets, between your legs
  730. >"We're stuck here."
  731. "Yeah..."
  732. >You don't dare say it
  733. >But maybe you're safer in here than you are out there
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