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Avenger Assembled

Vibora Bay: Even The Mere Reports Of Such (IC)

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November 28, 2019 

 

The voice on the municipal defender line is short, to the point, and familiar. 

 

"This is Woodsman. I need a municipal defender in Cluet Farms at 304 Polk Boulevard. Come quickly. Do not bring first responders. Not safe.

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It would have taken Speed-Demon longer to respond than arrive. It took him mere seconds to find Woodsman in the area. He didn't know what was needed, but he was there to be of service.

 

"Speed-Demon here." He said as he popped up.

Edited by Thunder King

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Persephone

 

Persephone had, by far, the slowest available transportation of any of the Vibora Bay Defenders. She could use her powers to force the local flora to pass her around town between them like the baton in a relay race, or she could simply drive her car, and she usually did both, but compared to the speed by which Torque or Speed-Demon could move about, Persephone was, in her own words, "As slow as molasses going uphill in January."

 

Fortunately, she happened to be in the Cluet Farms neighborhood already, celebrating Thanksgiving with her family at her parents' mansion. Camellia's niece and nephew, neither one yet old enough for school, had already been put to bed with a story from their "favorite" (and only) aunt. Her brother sat on the front porch with her father, the two of them sipping aged cognac while her father smoked his pipe and periodically lamented having lost "the privilege of doing so in my own home". Camellia was inside, chatting with her mother and sister-in-law while servants cleared the table, when the call came in on her "work phone". Her family believed the cover story about a "patient emergency", though they made no effort to conceal their disdain for anyone who would interrupt a family holiday with "personal problems", and, never passing up an opening when it presented itself, they reminded her that she wouldn't have to put up with this sort of thing if she'd reconsider moving her practice to Easton and taking on a "more selective clientele", and also she'd get to see her family more often if she didn't have to commute all the way across town, "it must be such an ordeal", and they'd worry about her less if she lived and worked in a safer neighborhood, and so on. Lacking both the time and the inclination to argue, Camellia instead deflected, placated, and apologized on her way out the door.

 

The Woodsman? This MUST be serious if HE'S the one who called it in. I can't imagine that man asking for a sip of water if he were wandering through a desert dying of thirst.

 

The green woman arrived on the scene several minutes after having confirmed with the dispatcher that she was en route. If she wasn't the last Defender to arrive, then she was close to it. "Howdy, Y'all! Feels like I haven't seen you fellas in a month of Sundays! Hope you were all having a happy Thanksgiving before this ruckus. So sorry for the wait. Honestly, it would've been even longer, but whoever today's problem child is, they just happened to have twisted their knickers into a knot right near my old stompin' grounds."

 

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CHEVAL

 

"You should probably listen to that." Francis didn't even bother to look up from his plate, slowly and carefully cutting his turkey. Marcus sighed and put down his utensils, because of course, Francis was right. Just once it would be nice to have a meal in peace, even on Thanksgiving. John was with his girlfriend, so Francis had invited Marcus to join his family, after all, the former boxer was almost part of the family. Standing up, Marcus had listened to the message. The Woodsman was as short and to the point as ever, but then again, Marcus doubted he would reach out if it wasn't necessary. Putting the phone down, Marcus apologized to Francis and his family. At least Francis usually kept a spare uniform around.

 

---

 

Of course he wasn't nearly as fast as the Speed Demon, but still, Cheval was far from slow, as he jumped through the city. He quickly picked up the Speed Demon's fiery trail, which at least helped him find the others. Landing heavily a short distance away, shortly after Persephone arrived, his shining metal form quickly shrunk into regular old Marcus Dumont as he approached, his arms stretched out to his sides, his face split into a giant smile. "Greetings, my friends. It is good to see you all again!" He was sure that someone else had to have asked about the issue already, so instead, he just waited for the Woodsman to explain himself.

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Speed-Demon and the others arrived to find what looked like the immediate aftermath of - something. 


They were near the edge of Cluet Farms proper, the part of the community damaged by last year's hurricane that still hadn't quite recovered. The address given by Woodsman put them at a big old rambling house, the sort of mansion that wealthy aristocrats had built a century earlier when they were trying to copy the antebellum plantations of their grandfathers. Something was amiss here, though, beyond the obvious. Signs for a local construction company and boarded up windows told them this was an empty mansion in the midst of renovations, but there was the lingering scent of something amiss here - a promise of something predatory in the closed mouth of the locked front door and the leering eyes of the upper stories. 

 

There was absolutely no sign of the Woodsman - not even when allowance for a momentary pause that seemed to fit his style was granted. The only vehicle on the scene was a Hummer, parked over by the edge of the dry dirt lot the construction crew must be using during renovations - its sides hanging open in the gloom, a promise, a temptation. 

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Persephone

 

"I'll see if the plants have anything to say." The green woman slowly meandered across browning grass over to a tree stump, all that remained of a mighty old oak which had once loomed over the front yard. The stump wasn't dead, but it was dying. The cut was clean, definitely made by human hands, but the wood inside had withered. The hurricane had probably snapped the trunk in half, or at least damaged it to the point where it was going to fall if it wasn't cut down instead. Landscapers were probably already scheduled to uproot the stump any day now, so a new, young, whole tree could be planted in its place, a situation more than one resident of this neighborhood could probably sympathize with. Persephone knelt down beside the stump and rested a hand atop it, rubbing it in a circular motion along its rings. "Hey there, Sweetie. Poor thing, you've seen some hard times, haven't you? Got anything to show me?" Using the stump as a focal point to keep herself centered, and as a springboard from which to jump, she pushed outward in all directions with her mind, sifting through the memories of the local flora, searching for anything relevant to the current circumstances.

 

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A series of vivid images came to Persephone, trees that must be as ancient as the stump itself.  

 

A woman is whipped, the men laughing as they do it. 

 

A man is hung, then mutilated as he strangles, then burned - the crowd cackling as they do it like so many crows. 

 

All of it laced in a feeling of a dark, red rain that filled the land, deeply and powerfully - 

 

Then came the cutting - a memory for the tree like the memory of a sighted man going blind. Things are dark after that - and the red rain stops. 

 

But then the red rain starts again, recently. The tree likes it. New buds are growing in the stump. 

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Persephone

 

"Oh no."

 

The green woman shuddered at the montage of horrors embedded in the tree's memory. God forgive us.

 

"Someone died here." Persephone rose to her feet and turned back to the other Defenders. No, don't say it like that. Don't dance around it. It didn't just happen to them. Someone DID IT to them. She rubbed her eyes and temples, as though the mental images were a spot of grime she could wipe off with her fingers. "Someone was...KILLED here. Recently. And, I think...painfully. We should all be careful. None of us should go anywhere by ourselves. Everyone should stay in sight of at least one other teammate at all times until we get a handle on this. Seems like we have one missing person already. No sense in adding more."

 

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CHEVAL

 

Marcus waited, letting Persephone do her thing. He crossed his arms as he looked around the area. It all felt wrong. He wouldn't say that the Woodsman was one of the heroes of Vibora that he trusted the most, but he was still a hero, and he had proven himself one against the Beast. He should be here. Even with how he normally acted, it was not like him to stay away completely like this.

 

He had started moving closer to the tree and Persephone when she spoke up. Something was very wrong here, it seemed. Someone had died in pain. He placed a hand on Persephone's shoulder, gently squeezing her before letting go. "I agree. No running off." He grinned over at Speed Demon, just to be sure, then moved closer to the tree. "Let me try something."

 

A deep breath, and he opened himself to the spirits.

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The spirits were screaming. 

 

There was around this place the stink of ancient evil, of a long, deep rot that had sunk so far into the ground as to make the rot indistinguishable from the dirt that surrounded them. Human carnage and unholy suffering had happened again, and again, and again...And the evil had recently been freshly watered by a new infusion of spiritual horror - but then something had come along, something had come along and was still here, and the foul cannibal spirits that had been summoned by whatever unholy rites took place here were fleeing in terror into the darkness. Something unholy had happened here, and had happened here for a long time before. 

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CHEVAL

 

A right choice could be wrong. Marcus reeled back as he was hit face first with the scream of the spirits around him, it was almost overwhelming. He muttered the prayer to Ogoun, and his body shifted once more, giving him the resilience he needed to stay steady. The cannibal spirits were fleeing in pure terror, beings that should not be able to do so. Was this like what had happened to the man that brought first the Beast, at their first meeting? The one that had murdered a soul? Or another horror, as bad as the others.

 

He stood tall, shaking off the horror that had washed over him. He would not let horror alone humble him. He had to be the rock the others could rely on. Despite his best efforts, his tone was grim. "This ground is stained by horror. Humans have been killed and mutilated here for longer than I care to know. Cannibal spirits, horror, it is all around us. This entire place reeks of evil." A pause. How should he explain it? "But it is worse than that. The dark spirits have been driven away by something so unholy that even they flee in fear. We should all proceed with caution."

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There was a thrum of a powerful engine as the sleek black sports car with yellow running lights pulled up next to the other Defenders, shifting and shrinking with a series of whirs and clanks into the slender form of Torque, wearing heavy boots, a dark green set of coveralls, and pair of welding goggles perched on her forehead.

 

"My apologies for my late arrival; my family would not allow me slip away from Thanksgiving dinner so easily."

 

It was actually a huge relief; the first Thanksgiving since her transformation had been awkward and painful in the extreme, and she was happy to be away from it. Noticing the discomfort and wariness of her teammates, she shifted to IR and scanned her surroundings as well.

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Torque spotted something hissing in the grass like a discarded firecracker - but when she approached, it suddenly exploded with a distinct and fiery bang! The blast wasn't strong enough to hurt the robotic shifter but she could feel the heat from what must have been a powerful chemical reaction, and watch the flame as it began to lick across the dry, half-dead grass of the lawn. 

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Persephone

 

Quote

Cheval placed a hand on Persephone's shoulder, gently squeezing her before letting go.

 

When she felt Cheval's hand on her, Persephone reached up without looking. His hand was just starting to leave her skin before her hand grabbed it and forced it back down. She looked up at him and smiled warmly as her hand squeezed his hand around her shoulder. But the smile fell from her face when she glanced back down at the tree stump and the horrors it had shown her flooded back into her thoughts.

 

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Marcus reeled back as he was hit face first with the scream of the spirits around him.

 

Now it was the green woman's turn to place her hands on Cheval's arm and back, doing her best to steady him despite the extra thirty pounds he had on her. "Whoa there, Cowboy! Are you alright?"

 

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"This ground is stained by horror. Humans have been killed and mutilated here for longer than I care to know. Cannibal spirits, horror, it is all around us. This entire place reeks of evil....But it is worse than that. The dark spirits have been driven away by something so unholy that even they flee in fear."

 

"I remember you mentioning some ruckus with the spirit world on Croczilla Night. Was this anything like that?"

 

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"We should all proceed with caution."

 

"You don't need to tell ME twice, Sugar. This whole setup ALREADY has me more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room fulla rockin' chairs."

 

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"My apologies for my late arrival; my family would not allow me slip away from Thanksgiving dinner so easily."

 

The green woman waved and smiled weakly at the robot girl. "Hey there, Sweetie! Don't worry, nobody's been waitin' long. Except Speed-Demon, he probably ran a few hundred laps around the place before any of us showed up." She turned the same weak smile at the young man and winked, but as soon as she looked away, the smile crumbled. Persephone couldn't help but try to keep everyone's spirits up in the face of whatever bloody tragedy awaited them, but she knew before she started how futile it would be. "Somethin' mighty awful happened here. We're just trying to figure out what."

 

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The only vehicle on the scene was a Hummer, parked over by the edge of the dry dirt lot the construction crew must be using during renovations - its sides hanging open in the gloom, a promise, a temptation.

 

Persephone let her glance drift slowly and nervously back to the abandoned vehicle. She took a deep breath and then crept toward it. "I don't think this belonged to anyone on the renovation crew. I don't know much about construction workers, but my Momma's done some remodeling here and there, and I don't remember ever seeing one of those boys roll up in something like this. This looks more like something the owner of the house would drive..." She gulped, reached out to pull the already open door wider, and leaned her head in to have a look.

 

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Torque spotted something hissing in the grass like a discarded firecracker - but when she approached, it suddenly exploded with a distinct and fiery bang! The blast wasn't strong enough to hurt the robotic shifter but she could feel the heat from what must have been a powerful chemical reaction, and watch the flame as it began to lick across the dry, half-dead grass of the lawn.

 

The green woman, already tense, screamed and nearly jumped out of her skin when the explosion went off on the lawn behind her. "AHHH! WHAT IN TARNATION...?"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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CHEVAL

 

Marcus was thankful for Persephone's own reassurance, and like her response, he placed his hand on top of hers, before separating from her when Torque showed up. He raised his hand in a friendly greeting, but remained silent. This was all very wrong

 

He was so far gone in his own head that he reacted by pure instinct when the device exploded in front of Torque, rushing in and placing himself between his ally and the explosion, harmless as it might have been. Was this it, then? Would the one that had created all of this horror simply goad them, try to scare them? No. He would not have it. He would not let it happen.

 

"Enough!" With his back to the others, he clapped his hands together with enough force to create a thunderclap, both to announce his presence here and to put out the flames, if the air pressure would do the trick. "Whoever did this, show yourself! We are not mere sheep that you can frighten with atrocity! We are heroes!"

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The inside of the Hummer was full of blood. And other things. 

 

There were, Persephone judged, two bodies. One was almost discreet in its own way. She could make out a collared shirt, open at the neck, and a gold chain hanging down between muscular pectorals, what had once been fine jewelry on his hands, fine pants and polished leather shoes. She couldn't make out anything in great detail, though, because this man's head was gone, gore from the red ruin of his neck having spilled out everywhere. 

 

The other body wasn't so discreet. The young woman had been a partygoer perhaps, though the cool weather of a Vibora November meant she was wearing a jacket over her shirt and pants. If a head had been removed from the other, other things entirely had been removed from this one - there was little left between the ribs and the pelvis. Brown eyes frozen stared at Persephone, and freshly dried blood glistened everywhere. 

 

There was no answer to Cheval's call but the silence of the night. 

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Persephone

 

The green woman took a deep breath and shook her head. Whatever that explosion was, it looks like the others have it handled. Now, where were we...

 

Persephone turned back toward the Hummer, let the horror fill her eyes for a moment, and then turned away again. She raised a hand to cover her mouth, then let it slowly drift down to rest against her chest. "Oh Dear Lord have mercy." She closed the driver-side door and hurried around to the other side of the vehicle. On the passenger side, she took a moment to reach out and gently close the dead woman's eyes with the tips of her fingers before closing the passenger door. No one else needs to see this. At least not right now.

 

Persephone had a far-away look in her eye when she walked back toward the other Defenders, and her skin was a noticeably more pale shade of green than usual. "There are two bodies in the Hummer," she said to no one in particular, barely above a whisper. "Y'all can go take a look if you really want to, but I wouldn't if I were you, and I sure wish I hadn't. I suspect I'll go to my grave still wishing I could forget what I just saw in there. When your Momma says that things are going to Hell in a hand-basket?" She glanced back at the Hummer. "That right there, that's the hand-basket." She wrapped her arms tightly around her own chest and looked down at the ground for a few moments, before taking a deep breath. "None of us ran into The Woodsman or the killer on our way here, and trust me, we would've known them if we saw them, the...mess they made. Way I see it, that means either they both took off in such a hurry that we'll never catch up anyway, or..." Her gaze slowly lifted toward the mansion. "...The Woodsman went inside the house looking for the killer. And since someone went and locked up behind him, that probably didn't work out too well for him. Speed-Demon, Torque, I know we said we should all stick together, but y'all are both pretty darn mobile, so if one of y'all wants to go lookin' for the mysterious firebug who just scared a year off my life, or for tracks from The Woodsman's bike, then I understand. But I'm fixin' to go inside and see what there is to see, and all y'all are welcome to come with." She cocked her head toward the locked front door. "Cheval, Dear, if you'd be so kind...?"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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CHEVAL

 

Marcus' gaze hardened as he heard Persephone's exclamation. The fire was gone, no one responded to him. Not that he had expected a response in the first place. He scoffed and turned to face Persephone and the vehicle once more... and there was a trail of gore leading from the car to the house. From Persephone's reaction, he could only guess at the state of the persons inside the car. On one hand, he wanted to see it. Wanted to be prepared for the horror they would face inside. On the other, the atrocities that had taking place here was already making him angry. Not even violence for the sake of getting something, just violence for its own sake. Sadism. 

 

"Look." He pointed to the trail of gore that led to the house. The others had to see it too. They had to know about this. "Whatever they took from the people in the car, they took it into the house."

 

He paused for a moment, looking at the others. He could guess what they would do, but he would not force anyone else to confront this horror, but Persephone already put it better than him. Looking down at the trail of gore with a look of disgust, he pulled his hand back. He would not be deterred by horror. "I'll go first. If you follow, stay close." He was Cheval. He was chosen by Ogoun. This was what he was supposed to fight. He would not let the horror stop him.

 

Anyone inside would probably already had heard him, and even if they hadn't, he had no reason to be subtle. He put as much force as he could into the blow, doing his best to smash the door with a single punch.

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Cheval broke down the door - and immediately discovered a body. The corpse was male, this one dressed in a chef's whites, and stabbed through the back. No, _shot_ - the jagged-tipped bolt that protruded from the center of the man's chest had gone so far through his back that the bulk of it was coming out the front. Turning around, there was an extra body part here. The body part that Cheval had nearly stumbled over coming in was a head - a man's head, that had been placed directly in front of the door when he entered. It looked as if the head had been chopped free with a hatchet. 

 

Of course, now that he was spending so much time looking at the heads, Cheval could spot there was something peculiar here. Both the dead chef and the bodiless head had decidedly inhuman features - long bat ears and rat-like teeth, and bulging, staring eyes frozen in an instant of pain. 

 

He was standing in the foyer of the half-reconstructed house, plastic sheets and stripped paneling everywhere - and the spirits for a moment showed him the house alive, unholy symbols on the walls as pale, decadent guests in the fashion of decades long past danced as sinisterly off-key music played - and then it was gone, and all was still again. Except for somewhere in the house, the distant sounds of wet, slippery movement (which seemed to come from above) and a slow, methodical chink-chink of metal from somewhere lower down in the body of the house. 

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Persephone

 

Persephone, having entered close behind Cheval, raised her hand to shield her eyes as she turned away from the carnage inside the house. That hand fell to cover her mouth, while her other hand reached up to grab Cheval's shoulder, steadying herself against him. "Oh my stars in Heaven, it's more of the same in here. I don't think I'll eat for a week. This house could scare the beard off of Jesus."

 

The green woman's violet eyes darted around the room for a few moments. When she found the nearest plastic sheet with the least secure anchoring, she tore it free, dragged it back to the greater-than-one-but-less-than-two corpses on the ground, and laid it over them. It was the same effort as the one she'd made outside, a tiny gesture toward both preserving whatever shreds of dignity remained for the deceased, and sparing the living from the worst of the sight.

 

Persephone scowled, raised her hands into the air, and clenched her fists. Her eyes and hair glowed with a soft purple light, and bark sprouted from her skin, covering every inch of it in small overlapping plates like a snake's scales. "I don't care who they were or what they did, nobody deserves to die like this. And I'm gonna make sure nobody else does, even if I hafta jerk a knot in somebody's tail to do it." Glaring up at the ceiling, she stormed off toward the nearest staircase.

 

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CHEVAL

 

Marcus kept steady. He had to keep steady. His eyes open, he glared at the sight that the spirits showed him, unholy symbols on the walls, pale guests in some old timey clothes, dancing to sinister music. Then it was gone, the sight the spirits granted him replaced by the carnage in front of him. A severed head, chopped off with an axe, from the looks of it. A chef, killed by a bolt through the body. It seemed familiar. He could only come to one conclusion.

 

"The Woodsman killed these men."

 

Of course, they didn't exactly look like men, did they? Bat-like features. Weird teeth. Maybe Persephone missed it, maybe not. As she stormed by, he grabbed her by the wrist. Not roughly, not hard. As gently as this form allowed. "I don't think these are men. The spirits showed me something, pale men and women dancing, wearing old clothes. And those bat-like features... do you believe in vampires?" He paused slightly, hesitating before he continued. Maybe she would take offense to his next words, but it didn't matter. He was not about to her go first. "I go first, cheri. If anything is lurking, I will stop it." Then he stormed up the staircase.

Edited by RocketLord

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The upstairs looked like a bomb had gone off in the half-rebuilt grand hallway - and come to think of it, from the damage and distinctly crimson splatter on the walls, one probably had. There were parts of what might have been something up here - bloody bones and tattered flesh,  the epicenter somewhere near the top of the once-ornate stairs. There was an open window here, the chill wind the only thing that cut the distinct scent of gore and rotting flesh. The couple of upstairs bedrooms were empty and in fact completely unfurnished, but the bathrooms had a distinct slaughterhouse smell about them. But they were nothing before what had once been the master bedroom, its door hanging loosely on its hinges, and the distinct sound of wet, sinuous movement inside. 

 

There was a single bloody handprint on the doorknob. 

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Persephone

 

Persephone didn't resist when Cheval grabbed her wrist and pulled her back from the stairs. In fact, she smiled, weakly. Worth a try, but I guess it would've been out of character if he had let me go in first...

 

"Funny you should mention that. I didn't believe in vampires, no, until one night a whole gang of them tried to turn me into dinner." She tapped her own chest. "That's how I picked her up in the first place. And when she was done with 'em, there wasn't anything left but big ol' pile of ashes, like someone knocked over their Daddy's grill after the barbecue. It didn't look anything like..." She waved her hand around. "...This."

 

The green woman raised her hand to cup Cheval's cheek and gently turn his face down so that she could look him directly in the eye. "Sugar Plum, I don't believe for a second that The Woodsman had anything to do with these bodies, and neither should you. I know we don't know much about him, but that man fought alongside us. And sure, if I'd had my druthers, he would've been a smidge less ruthless about it. But he was also brave, and self-sacrificing." She lowered her hand to stick a pointing finger in the middle of his chest. "Just like you. You wouldn't do something like this, and he wouldn't either. Especially not..." She sighed and looked away. "In the car. There was a girl. Whoever did this...they didn't take her head, but they took just about everything else. And what was left of her looked perfectly normal." She shuddered. "The night we all met, I saw him get hurt. And it didn't take much. Whatever his special gifts are, being darn near indestructible like you and me isn't one of 'em. He jumped smack dab in the belly of the beast that night, knowing that if he was so much as a hair off in either direction, he'd be buzzard bait. He kept mum about it, ever the stoic. Wouldn't even let me heal him after. And I would've taken it to my grave, but I reckon his pride isn't as important as you knowing what kind of man he is. He's earned the benefit of the doubt as much as any of us. So let's not go pickin' our peaches before they're fuzzed up."

 

Persephone let Cheval lead the way upstairs, but she stayed close behind. She surveyed the blood and gore covering the hallway like cake frosting with the same wide-eyed open-mouthed revulsion and bewilderment as the similar scenes downstairs. And the cherry on top of this Devil's sundae? All this carnage may be tearin' my nerves up somethin' fierce, but I don't feel queasy at all. I feel...Lord forgive me, I feel hungry. It's a tragedy. But it's also fertilizer. And it smells delicious. She shook her head, shivered, rubbed her arms, and glanced over at the open window. "Colder than a cast-iron commode in here," she muttered.

 

As they reached the threshold of the master bedroom, Persephone grabbed Cheval's arm and held up her hand, signaling him to stop. She called out over his shoulder, forsaking the element of surprise in favor of diplomacy. "Hello? Everybody can just settle down now. We're not here to hurt anyone. Whatever your side of the story is, we'll make sure you get your chance to tell it. There's been too much violence here already. We're not lookin' to add any more. We're comin' in now, nice and slow." She glanced up at Cheval again and nodded.

 

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CHEVAL

 

Marcus paused at Persephone's words as she placed the hand on his chest. He could only feel the slightest hint of the touch. She had met vampires, but they hadn't turned out like this when killed. Fine, he only knew vampires from movies, anyway, but she was right, he had perhaps been too quick to judge.

 

"No, I do not believe he would have done something like this. Not to people, at least, but..." he gestured with his right hand towards the bat-like men, "against something that might be monsters? I don't know. I don't believe he killed the ones in the car, but the one with the bolt could have been him. But, I trust you, and your judgement, so I will wait with passing my own until we figure out what's going on." It was the best he could do right now, at least.

 

Stepping up first, he moved with purpose. Not too fast or too slow. The whole situation was already throwing him off, so he let Persephone guide them. 

 

The hallway was a mess. It was disgusting, to put it mildly. Flesh, bones, blood, everywhere. And sounds from the bedroom. Moving to the door, he placed a hand on it the door itself, deciding not to touch the bloody doorknob. Once Persephone nodded at him, he spoke up. "I'm opening the door and coming inside now." Let them know that Persephone wasn't alone. Then, he slowly pushed the door open and got ready to step inside.

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Cheval opened the door to what had been the master bedroom. 

 

To a scene of writhing. 

 

There'd been a battle here too, or maybe a massacre - char marks on the floor from multiple explosions, showers of gore and organic things, broken litter from beds and debris, but the organic things were writhing together in a slow, sickening motion like pieces of red quicksilver slowly merging together. But it was clear no single body was reforming, multiple smashed forms were rebuilding themselves into one single, writhing mass. 

 

As the heroes looked on, the mass seemed to sense their presence, rising organic tentacles 'sniffing the air' as they wriggled their way towards the broken door with a wet, unholy sound. 

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