I didn't know how I ended up here in this room. The pitch black walls were covered with numbers, scribbled in a hand that made me think of a child taking chalk to those black surfaces. Even a door was drawn out to my right, a strange eye directly in front of me between the two rows of numbers. The riddle I had read on the paper echoed in my mind, haunting my thoughts. A code of ten numbers
Is it worth it? Was this another nightmare, or something more, something worse? I gripped my shotgun, the feel of cold steel against the tips of my fingers telling me it wasn't just some dream. I wished it was, though.
F 26 O 16 R 4 G 27 I 49 V 2 E 32 - 45 M 12 E 23
Numbers and letters drifted through my mind, numbers and letters that I knew the order of but didn't know the source. They were just there. My fingers brushed the icy walls, the numbers pressing in with the slightest touch. Each number flashed in my head, and I pressed them in that order. What would come out of doing this? I had faced those hordes of monsters through a hospital, city, forest, and abandoned mansion. I knew how to kill them, which lessened my fear just slightly. But I still didn't know where they had come from, why they had suddenly invaded, and why they looked so much like the people who had once lived in Markland. How had everyone turned into these monsters and not me? I had seen a few poor, unfortunate souls who had been mangled and devoured by the creatures, but not one single living person had come across my sight.
A click caught my attention after I pressed the tenth and final number, and I spun to face the drawn door as it swung inwards, revealing darkness beyond. Cautiously I edged forward, ready in case something charged out from the doorway at me. My black fingerless gloves lessened the chill from the weapon I carried and prevented my sweaty palms from sliding the metal. No monsters waited on the other side, but there was a hole in the ground with concrete raised edges. Pausing now, I weighed the options in my head. I could jump down the hole to see what was down there or walk back to the wooden corridors with walls that had blood trickling down them endlessly.
Yeah, the option without blood was much more appealing.
I held on to my weapon with one hand, my other gripping the edge that reached up to my waist as I pulled myself over and dropped down into the pit. Landing in a crouch after a short drop, I took up my flashlight from my pocket and shined the beam around quickly. A hospital room? How did I get back here? Markland Hospital had been where my nightmare had begun, and now I was back at the beginning. As I stepped out into the brightly lit hallway, only one door was opened, which led to another long corridor. Having no need for my light now, I put it away and cautiously edged forward through the open doorway. Everything was clean and orderly, a far cry from that nightmarish place I had escaped from after I passed out.
As soon as I had stepped through the doorway the whole entire hallway began to rotate clockwise, causing me to recoil sharply. "Now I know I have really gone crazy," I muttered dryly and wearily. I now had to traverse a spinning corridor? Well, at least I had experience in this from having to run through one and jump to a ladder a while back in that strange labyrinth
My stomach churned as I used the strap on the shotgun to sling it across my back. If any of those zombie-things came after me, I still had a handgun I could draw easily to defend myself with. And if that failed, a swift kick to the skull would work.
Traversing the hallway took every bit of balance and agility I had to keep myself from falling right over painfully. When I reached the doorway at the end, I was too intent on getting into a non-spinning section to realize that the whole room was rotated to make a straight drop down. "Gaaah!" I yelped, my gloved hands snatching onto the edge of a bench that seemed to be bolted to the floor. Hanging there with my shoulders starting to ache, I looked down and gulped upon seeing just how far of a drop it was. If I hadn't managed to catch the bench, I'd be a broken mess at the bottom of the corridor
Checking the locations of other objects in the hallway, I swung myself over to a fire extinguisher sign. Somehow, it was able to hold me and didn't break apart as soon as I grabbed it. Leave it to a nightmarish place to twist the natural laws of the world in weird ways, yet in ways that were currently saving my life. Dropping down to other objects, each one elicited a grunt of pain before I reached a doorway into another messed-up hall. As I kept moving on, I was faced with a climb up a completely vertical hallway and a drop down a counterclockwise rotating corridor. By the time I dropped down into an upside-down L-shaped corridor, I was extremely sore and bore a few more bruises. What the heck was with this place and crazy obstacles like that?
As I finally caught my breath, I peered through the doorway ahead of me. The next room was a slowly rotating hospital room with the open doorway revealing pitch black and more of those large red dots like what I had encountered a few other times in this horrible night. When would this ever stop?
Well, guess it's time to follow the red, I thought, waiting outside of the room for it to turn into an upright position before I entered. Sprinting for the door, I leapt out into that dark abyss and landed rather awkwardly. I at least managed to avoid tripping and falling flat on my face, though, my eyes drifting to those floating red dots that led me along like some twisted Pac-Man trail. Had I not already encountered such insane, impossible things like this, I probably wouldn't have followed the trail. But there was nowhere else to go. I followed until the dots abruptly ended, leaving me only in darkness, my heart racing a mile a minute.
Suddenly, street lights snapped on, illuminating a paved city road with an abandoned eighteen-wheeler and a single lit building up ahead. I had never seen this place before, and yet for some reason it felt familiar. Heart still thudding hard, I cautiously approached with my weapon now in hand. Using the barrel to push open the door, I aimed around quickly to make sure the coast was clear. The balcony overhead held no malformed fiend, and for once I was able to relax and breathe a sigh of relief. It wasn't often that I could walk into a room and not be ambushed. Considering the lack of blood here, maybe this was a temporary safe haven
or I could be completely wrong. Trying a few of the doors, I found that the double-doors leading deeper into the building were locked, as were one or two others. The only unlocked door led me into a small kitchen area. A sheet of unlined notebook paper rested on the floor in the corner, a single circular table beneath an odd painting on the wall. It was a painting of the room, but a strange, completely black figure stood there with a hand pointing towards the ceiling. Feeling a little unnerved by how quiet it was in here, I gripped the shotgun tighter and instead crouched down and checked over the piece of paper, mumbling the words written on it with a hasty scrawl aloud to myself.
"'My mother used to point at things she wanted me to destroy.' Huh? What kind of crazy mumbo-jumbo is this?" I muttered, turning it over to check the back for any more writing. The back was blank. Turning my gaze once more to that painting, I frowned and wracked my brain over what this meant.
In the hospital, I saw that
for just a second. It was pointing at a door, and then it vanished. But
I thought I was losing it.
Blinking rapidly, I noticed something my gaze had missed before
a slight discoloration to the ceiling above, right where the figure in the painting was pointing to. Could this section be weaker than the rest of the ceiling? Clambering up onto the table, I grasped the shotgun tightly and slammed the stock of it into the discolored wood. A large chunk gave way and collapsed, revealing a hole into what appeared to be an attic. Taking a deep breath, I tossed the shotgun up first before jumping and grabbing onto the edge with a grunt, pulling myself up. I was sore as heck from my journey that night, and it was finally catching up with me. But despite my weariness, I had my weapon up and aiming around the small space in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, it was clear. Strange. Usually I would have at least seen three or four of those things by now, but this entire place had been clear. I was in a derelict building without even one of those creepy human skulls with little tentacles coming out of the mouth jumping at my throat. Suspicious was the understatement of the year for me.
I noticed another sheet of paper lying in the back corner, taking out my flashlight now to illuminate the crumpled sheet and the words written on it. "'Now she is pointing at your enemy,'" I read aloud, taking a small bit of comfort in hearing the sound of my own voice in this silent place. My enemy? What the heck was it-
Wood splintered behind me, and with reflexes honed after hours of fighting for my life I spun around, firing a single blast at the twitching, bloodied "zombie" that charged at me. Its head had been twitching rapidly as it reached out with mangled claws for me before wet droplets splattered against my face, the walking corpse getting blasted backwards to the floor. My stomach churned as I wiped my face on the sleeve of my sweatshirt, glancing at the thing to make sure it was dead. I couldn't help but recall the first time I had run into one of these monstrosities, wondering how an innocent person had been twisted into such a horrifying thing that hungered for human flesh
"Get a grip, David. Now's not the time," I growled to myself, stepping down the hallway that the zombie had broken through the wall from. Taking care not to step on the corpse, I cautiously edged by way around the corner, aiming my shotgun down the dimly lit hall quickly. Bare bulbs on the ceiling illuminated the dark brown wood of the narrow passage that ended in a single tall mirror. Yet another note laid there on the floor ahead of me. This was just a dead end? But how had that zombie gotten back here if there was no other way out? Heart pounding, I slowly approached the note, lowering the shotgun just slightly. Crouching down by the paper, I lifted it up to read it in the dim light. The words caused the blood to run cold in my body, my heart skipping a beat. "'No, not the innocent. The enemy!'" I let the paper fall, mind churning over the words. If that zombie was called the "innocent", then that would mean
It was only then that I realized what was wrong with the mirror in front of me. I had ignored it in favor of the note, and only after reading those cryptic words did I become aware of the fact that my reflection wasn't in the mirror. I dropped the note and shot up to my feet, noticing a person in the mirror's reflection turning a corner down the mirrored hallway. I looked over my shoulder but spotted nothing there. Was this all a hallucination? My gaze shifted once more to the mirror, taking in the appearance of the figure that was walking down the hallway. The black sweatpants with a solid white line and black hooded sweatshirt were exactly like mine
until I noticed the gaping, bloody hole in the reflection's chest and pale, dead skin. The sockets were empty of its eyes, specks of blood on the face. I stood there in numb shock as the "reflection" reached the mirror and actually passed through the glass. There it was standing there right in front of me, pausing only a second before walking slowly towards me. That was when my body finally snapped out of its shock, my weapon snapping up as I fired a single blast.
That had been a mistake.
I screamed as pain ripped through my body, as if my own shotgun blast had suddenly reversed itself. No blood dripped from my body, but the pain was sharp and intense as if I had been the one who was shot. That thing didn't even falter, still approaching me with its arms crossed over its chest and gloved hands grasping its shoulders. The bullets hadn't hurt it, and apparently attacking it dealt the damage back to me. I had to run.
Dashing back ground the corner and leaping over the zombie corpse on the ground like a runner leaping an obstacle, I rushed for the hole that I had come up through before. Much to my surprise, it no longer opened into the kitchen, but a darkened area that I couldn't make out from here. I grabbed my flashlight in my left hand, my right holding onto the shotgun by the middle as I jumped down and landed in a crouch. Shining the light around quickly, I began to panic. The walls glistened with the blood that steadily trickled down them, and I knew immediately that I was back in that hellish place I thought I had escaped from. To make matters worse, the only exit out of the room place was sealed by thick, iron bars. Life really hated me today.
Something broke through the wall behind me, and fear clutched my heart tightly in its icy grip as I looked over my shoulder and saw that demonic copy of myself walking through a gaping hole in the wood. "Oh shooooot! Open up already!" I shouted, slamming my shoulder slightly against the bars even though I knew it would do no good. Much to my surprise, the bars slid upwards, but I wasted no time in marveling at this as I ran down the short hall to a concrete pipe through the floor. I could see water far down below, but there was no telling just what I would encounter when I jumped down.
Well, there was only one way to find out. I didn't want to just stand here and wait for that monster to get to me.
Pocketing the flashlight, I leapt down the hole, my heart thudding as I fell through the dark for a few seconds that felt like eternity before hitting the lukewarm water below. I kicked my legs as fast as I could and clutched at the concrete edge of the top to pull myself up, tossing the probably-waterlogged shotgun up onto what sounded like metal grating. With two hands I pulled myself from the water, shaking my head a bit before looking around the chamber. Four wall torches, one in each corner, illuminated the room and revealed gunmetal gray steel walls and rusted grating for the floor. There were only two actual lights: one above a mirror, and the other directly across from the mirror over some kind of stone altar. Dripping wet, I rose to my feet in time to see the monster walk through the mirror in front of me, pausing for just a second as it stared at me with those empty eye sockets. I stepped back as it now slowly walked towards me. I was trapped, and bullets did nothing against this thing.
Frantically I looked around for something I could use, my gaze finding a spear resting atop that strange stone altar. Could this be what I needed? It was a crazy and farfetched idea, but it was worth a shot. I dropped the shotgun with a loud clang, turning to instead dash for the altar and snatch up the spear. It was oddly cold, but I grasped it nonetheless and turned to face that twisted copy. Firearms were hardly my forte, let alone fighting with melee weapons. Would this even work?
hah!" I lunged forward, thrusting the spear at it and bracing myself for the same burst of pain I had felt before. But instead of that pain, the copy stumbled back, blood dripping from its new wound. "It worked
it actually worked? Whoa!" I yelped, jumping back as electricity shot down from the ceiling and very nearly zapped me. The demonic copy of me apparently was going to actually fight me.
Okay, so I had its one weakness, and it had supernatural powers.
Someone really hated me.
I made another stab at it, twisting the shaft hard as the spearhead pierced decaying flesh. This time the beast stretched out its arms, hands painfully latching onto my own arms. Pain ripped through my body, and I twisted the spear even harder before planting a solid kick to the monster's gut and ripping out the spear. As it stumbled back, I struck quickly while circling it, never letting up while it slowly marched about and tried to grab me, dodging lightning bolts that came from the ceiling. This seemed to last forever until it finally decided to switch to a new trick. The sickening smell of burning flesh assaulted my nostrils, and at the same time a burning sensation shot along my body. The stunned shock lasted only a split-second as I realized that my clothes were on fire just like the monster's were.
Water! Where was that pipe full of water I had landed in?
I tried not to scream in agony or terror, although a strangled cry did escape my lips as I leapt for the water as fast as I could while holding onto that spear like my life depended on it, which was probably the case. The water against my slight burns stung like no tomorrow, but it sure beat burning to death. Trying to hold my breath as long as I could, I could catch glimpses of the flames that rose from the creature's body as it circled the hole, apparently not feeling the pain that I was. Once I could no longer see the flickering flames, and when my lungs began to burn from holding my breath, I poked my head above water and took a deep gasp of air, nearly gagging in the process at the horrible stench in the air.
Pulling myself up from the water once more, I grasped the spear and rushed around to the monster's back. With a jab I stuck it, pulling hard to the right to hurt it even worse as dark blood flowed down. As it slowly turned to face me while I stepped back with the bloodstained spear, it raised its right arm and plunged its gloved hand into its own chest with a sickening crunch. I couldn't help but gag slightly again and stumble back while it pulled out a bloody fire axe from the gaping wound in its chest.
It hefted the axe so that it rested on the abomination's shoulder before approaching me once more. Great, now the thing was armed with a physical weapon along with all of its freaky powers. Now I stood my ground, its head twitching rapidly like one of those other monstrosities as it raised the axe, bringing the bloody weapon down at me. The blow was easy enough to dodge due to its slow, twitching movements, and this allowed me to pierce its wounded chest with the spear. Suddenly, I felt a burst of pain rip through me, and the next thing I knew I was on my back with that monster standing over me. Pain spread like wildfire through my body, and I was dimly aware of the fact I had been electrocuted and blasted back to the floor. That creature slowly crouched over me, one dead hand reaching out to press against my chest. Its rotting face was inches from mine, my expression one of dazed pain as those empty eyes hovered just above mine. Now its gloved hand covered my mouth as the axe slowly lifted into the air to finish me off.
I didn't want to die, not here in this crazy place at the hands of a monster.
Numb fingers wrapping around the shaft of the spear, I brought up the weapon in one last desperate strike. A sickening crunch filled the air, dark blood dripping onto my hands and face from where the spear had pierced its chin straight up into its skull. It had never seen my final desperate attack coming, and it slumped over to the grating with a twitching body. Ringing filled my ears, white slowly filling my vision.
Was my nightmare over? Had it finally ended?
Voices whispering at the edges of my mind, a deep, long beeping noise like a flat line
I closed my eyes now, consciousness beginning to escape me as a series of beeps could be faintly heard.
It was finally over