An excerpt from my upcoming horror novel, 'Berserkers'is the first in a series. An alien presence, a glowing yellow liquid, comes down to earth, making contact with a boy in Iceland (by going into a cut in his hand) and turning him into a Berserker, which attacks people by scratching wounds on them and causing the liquid to go into the victims' blood. Those who accept the yellow become Berserkers and attack other people, causing a global epidemic. Those who don't accept die.
John and Kay were walking together in a park in Hamilton, Ontario, one night. They were in their mid-twenties, and in love…or at least she thought she was in love with him.
It was a beautiful night in May, around 9:30 or so, and a gentle breeze caressed their bodies as they, arm in arm, slowly approached a playground. They sat side by side on the swings.
Behind them was a forest, shadowy as death, though they ignored it. They didn’t even notice rustling noises back there, the sound of feet quickly shuffling in the grass and bushes.
“I have good news, Kay,” John said softly.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“I got a promotion at the office,” he said. ”I’m in management now, and I’m getting a big raise.”
“That’s great!” she said, grinning and kissing him on the lips.
“No more eating in cheap restaurants together. We’ll be dining in style. Also, I have something here.”
“Oh?” She was feeling a mix of delighted anticipation and worry: if this was an engagement ring, it would thrill her, but also pressure her into a level of commitment she wasn’t sure she was ready for.
There was more rustling of the leaves that the couple ignored, rustling that was coming closer and closer to them.
John fumbled through his jacket. ”Where is it? Where the hell did I…?” he said angrily. ”I didn’t drop it, did I? Oh, dammit, this is ruining what I…fuck!”
Uneasy with another of his frequent fits of temper, she said, “Oh, don’t worry, we’ll find it. Let’s not spoil the mood.”
“Finding it in this fuckin’ darkness? Not likely.”
“Oh, come on.”
Suddenly, a hand scratched John’s face, giving him a glowing yellow scar, three golden jagged lines on his right cheek.
Kay shrieked, looking over at his attacker. A woman with glowing golden eyes and shiny yellow skin was grinning malicious glee as she and Kay watched John screaming in pain.
“Join the commune, or die!” the bestial woman said in a growling vocal fry.
Kay, screaming, had no idea what her boyfriend’s attacker meant by that, though he instinctively did. He would never want to be a part of such rampaging chaos, and his body rejected the yellow substance that had entered his body through the scratch wound and informed his instincts of his attacker’s revolutionary mission. Therefore, death was his only choice.
And what an excruciating death it was.
His skin began melting off his body, revealing his whole eyeballs, his teeth, and the muscle fibres underneath where his skin had been. His hair fell out, his ears and nose shrivelled up, and soon his muscle fibres were melting off, revealing his skeleton. All he could do was scream, until his vocal chords had melted away.
Even his bones flaked, crumpled, and became as ashes, blown away by the breeze; and all that was left of him was his evaporating blood, mixed with the oozing yellow of the substance his killer had put into his now-annihilated body. His clothes and shoes just lay on the grass in a clump, soaked in the pool of yellow.
Had his attacker noticed any skills of value to her cause, she would have put her hand on his head and absorbed them before he melted away; but there were no such useful abilities. She now set her fiery eyes on Kay.
“Y-you’re one o-of those ‘Berserkers’ I heard about o-on the TV, aren’t you?” Kay said in almost unintelligible sobs.
“Join the commune, or die,” the Berserker repeated.
Kay ran towards a baseball diamond, screaming hysterically. At first the Berserker, knowing she could easily catch up to Kay in no time, just stood for a moment and, amused, watched the girl run in terror. Then she went after Kay like a lightning bolt.
Still running towards the baseball diamond, Kay got to home plate. The berserker was right behind her, though she didn’t want to scratch her just yet. She had Kay cornered, with a backstop behind her. The Berserker made Kay back up into it, then she stopped advancing, toying with Kay, to give her a seeming chance to run away and escape.
Kay, shaking and sobbing with fear, stood there at first, confused and not knowing what to do. She tried running to the left, but the Berserker stopped her; then she tried going to the right, and was stopped again.
Now the Berserker, grinning and slowly approaching, made Kay back further into the backstop. Kay just trembled helplessly.
“No, no!” she sobbed.
The Berserker got closer.
“No, please, no!”
Her attacker continued closing in on her, step by gradual step.
“What do you want?”
“Join the commune, or die!” the Berserker hissed.
“What are you–?!” Kay screamed. ”Help me!”
Suddenly, the Berserker’s long fingernails scratched Kay’s face in a long, yellow slash. She fell to the ground, shaking, groaning and writhing in unendurable pain.
But she wasn’t melting.
She was turning yellow, glowing more and more. She looked up at her attacker with the same fiery, golden eyes.
Kay now understood. She knew what had to be done.
Kay the Berserker stood up and smiled at her liberator, who grinned back at her.
“Thank you,” she grunted with the Berserker vocal fry.
The two ran out of the park together, in search of more prey.