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Dr Archeville

Unbalanced: Midnight's Oct 2010 Vignette

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October 31st, 2001 (Sunday)


As the black spots of the teleport faded, Trevor found himself in a small oasis among the chaos the dead rising vengefully against the living. The stink of death was heavy in the air even through the filter built into his featureless black mask, mixed with the acrid scent of an exploding gas main and the palpable stench of fear. For a moment, the black clad figure hesitated, distracted by a turmoil of emotions that had no place on the battlefield. Self doubt and bitter reproach whispered in his ears, made the escrima sticks feel heavy in his hands. The one of the shambling corpses turned its milky white eye to look at him, and the world through his lenses crystallised into a darker shade of red.


His body sprang into action, guided by muscle memory and powered by a cold, articulate rage as he leapt through flame and ash a bring a matte black stick crashing across a brittle skull with devastating effect. A treaded boot forced a second zombie back for the instant it took the dual weapons to come down again with a crack. A handful of small spheres whipped out in a broad arc, igniting with explosive force as they connected with the undead mob as its members toppled in sickening, flaming heaps.


Midnight was only peripherally aware of his teammates’ assaults nearby, his attention focused with pinpoint fervour on the next target, when a plaintive cry reached his ears. On the other side of the thickest mass of monsters, a small child huddled against a brick wall, cut off from the rest of the fleeing civilians, eyes wide with terror. The sound drew the zombie’s attention as well, and they began to advance on easy prey.


A pressure stud released a three inch long blade from the tip of one escrima stick even as Midnight’s arm whipped forward, sending the spear hurtling through the air to skewer the back of a desiccated, exposed brain. Sprinting forward, he cleared a path with his remaining stick, abandoning it as it stuck in the tar-like visage of a moaning horror. Another handful of incendiary pellets cleared another foot of distance, even as a fallen but still moving creature ripped at the bottom of his jacket with boney digits. Ignoring it, Midnight pressed on through the throng, increasingly aware of his deadly race with each step. Obsidian and blood red eyes narrowed as a flick of his wrists extended short, steel points from the fingers of his gloves. Grasping hands pulled at his side, and he responded by raking talons through a rotting throat, ripping off a chunk of flesh before a second brutal strike with the butt of his other palm knocked the rest of the zombie’s head clean off its shoulders.


In the visceral melee, his tattered jacket was pulled open, ragged edges flaring of behind him as he moved until he stood towering above the cowering child, a dark, indistinct figure of shadow. It took the space of several heavy breaths for Midnight to realise that the zombies in the immediate are had been irradiated, as his friends covered his flank and blind spots. Even so, the small boy recoiled from the inky wraith looming over him, terrified.


Stepping back, Midnight turned away, pausing as he did. He considered telling the child not to be afraid, as a nearly hysterical woman ran through the street to retrieve her son, but decided to remain silent, stalking back toward his teammates. After all, it was only natural. Deep down, everyone was afraid of the dark.

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