Dead Time

The town of Little Hallington was once a quiet, peaceful country village, but now the haven in which it's citizens live is about to be shattered forever.
People are being brutally murdered, others have disappeared, and a strange prescence seems to surround the local woodland, Johnson's wood. An army is coming, an army of creatures from beyond anyone's worst nightmare, creatures from another world.
As the storm clouds gather,

It was a cold, wet evening in early January. Raindrops danced menacingly on the flooded streets of Little Hallington, and the sound of thunder could be heard on the horizon, echoing over the grey storm-clouds that shuddered over the black sky. Through the rain, which got heavier and more furious as the minutes crept by, Brendon Adams could just recognise the outline of his pit-bull terrier Roger running two and fro across the deserted road. Adams was not surprised by the emptiness of the street, the storm was building, and the rain and fog made it impossible to see more than an arm’s length ahead, being outside in it was beyond unpleasant, and driving would be almost unsafe. He stared at the houses on either side of him, a warm, orange glow just recognisable behind the drawn curtains, which seemed to him like barriers, leaving him stranded outside in this merciless weather.

Adams sighed, as soon as he got hold of Roger he’d be home, he hoped Susan had thought to have the kettle ready. He tucked his long overcoat around him and shouted out for his dog “Roger, come here now boy”.

The shape of the dog ahead of him disagreed, and Adams let out a huge sigh as he saw it clamber up on what appeared to be a wall, and then disappear over the edge into whatever lay beyond. Adams knew where Roger had gone, Johnson Woods, his favourite place for walks. The woodland was nice enough on a good day, but in these conditions it was the last place Adams wanted to be. Roger didn’t even seem to notice they were in the middle of the worst storm the country had known in years, he hardly seemed to care that both pet and owner were soaked to the bone. He had vanished over the edge of the wall and appeared to have no intention of coming back.

Adams crossed the road and entered the woods over a style that lay along the wall, entering the nature reserve his foot crashed into a huge, soggy puddle of mud. Retrieving it from inside, he swore loudly, and yelled out for Roger, receiving no response from the rouge animal.

As he made his way through the trees, Adams became aware that something was wrong. He had been in the woods before at night, not on such a terrible night, but even so, he felt a feeling of unease such as he thought should be unnatural. The fog was building as he got deeper in, and he yelled once again for his pet, surprised at how much his voice echoed throughout the woodland, it seemed to carry on for miles.

That was when he realised what was making him so scared, the sound. There was nothing. No birds flying past trying to find shelter, no scurrying squirrels running into the undergrowth. He appreciated that the woods where unlikely to be buzzing at this hour, but he found it unusual that there should be no noise whatsoever. The woods where, in a word, dead.

When he reached Taylor’s bridge, still with no sign of his pet, his uneasiness turned to terror. Taylor’s bridge was in very deep wood, and he found it unlikely that Roger had run this far on his own. Roger was usually vey obedient, he had never strayed as far from Adams or his family as this before. At first Adams had assumed that the terrier had simply been spooked by the weather, but now he began to fear there was something more going on here. Taylor’s bridge and the pass that it lay within, was very silent and still indeed, direct contrast to the rain of terror that fell beyond the woods.

Taylor’s pass ran alongside the river Hallington, which ran through both Greater and Little Hallington, the two towns that Johnson’s wood connected. In the 1800s, Adams knew, there had been a railway line where the river now lay, but after the track had been torn up in the early 1900s, a river had formed there in its place. Taylor’s bridge ran across the river, joining the path’s left and right of it, beyond Taylor’s bridge lay two very shadowy tunnels, one containing path, the other river. The river tunnel had been boarded up for as long as anyone could remember, and several unusual and supernatural tales where often told about it in Greater Hallington’s Primary school. Anyone over the age of fifteen knew that these stories where just to frighten the kids, Johnson’s wood was a popular hangout for teenagers with something to hide, and that the stories had been created to discourage children about the woods from an early age, in an attempt to make reluctant to spend long hours there in later life. Even though Adams, who had not been brought up around Hallington, knew that there was no truth in these tales, he had to admit, even as a thirty-three year old, that the tunnels, particularly the river tunnel, presented a certain amount of foreboding.

There was still no sign of Roger, and Adams was reluctant to call out again, the echoing that resulted from the silence causing him to shiver every time. Still, he wanted to find his pet and leave these woods, particularly this part of the woods, behind him. He opened his mouth to shout the animal’s name once more, but something caught his eye before he could proceed.

He could see something lying in the centre of Taylor’s bridge, in this light he couldn’t make it out completely; it lay static, blowing slightly in the breeze. Adam’s thought for a moment that it was a discarded bin bag, but suddenly a horrible thought struck him. His heart beating three-times a second, he hurried to the bridge, and dropped to his knees when he recognised the body.

Roger lay there, on his side, making no movement at all. Adams crawled over to the animal and stroked him, praying that he would move. But Roger remained still, and his owner was unable to find a heartbeat.

It was whilst looking for one, that Adams’ hand began to bleed. He pulled it from the dog and looked confused, wondering what had cut it. He then realised, with horror, that it was not his own blood, but Roger’s. He had been unable to notice it in the weak light of the deep wood, but now that he looked, he saw what had killed Roger. The animal’s side was ripped open, brutally, and Adams averted his gaze with horror as he saw the creature’s skeleton ripping through the massacred flesh.

Adams leapt to his feet, whatever had done this to Roger could still be around, and he didn’t want to take any chances, he just wanted to get home, maybe he’d discover this was all some sort of nightmare, a silly fantasy, maybe he’d wake up soon, the warm sun shining in through the windows, the warm breath of his wife on his shoulder...

                    ...it was not to be. Before he had even stood up, Adams discovered what had killed Roger. He found himself face to face with it, its squid-like tentacles squirming in his face, a roar that sounded more like a screech flooding the valley, causing Adams’ ear drums to vibrate mercilessly. The creature’s tentacle hands moved towards him, but Adams realised the tentacles where not it’s hands, they came from its mouth. Two jagged claws rose above the creature’s head, it screamed again, and before Adams could call out, plunged the dagger like limbs into his heart.

He cried out, loudly, but it was too late. He lost sight of everything as the creature wrapped its tentacle teeth around his face, blinding him. He cried again as the jagged legs sliced into him again, he had a moment of unbearable pain, and he remembered no more...

 

It had made two killings. They lay just in front of it; in fact, it was still feeding from the human kill as its commander approached it.

The commander was more hominid than the creature it commanded, but looked hardly human. It was clad in hard, white armour from neck to feet, made of some unidentifiable material that looked almost unpenetratable. Its mouth was the only piece of flesh that could be seen, and even that sported sharp, purple teeth. On its head it wore a helmet of similar material to its body, which looked almost like a horse’s skull. However, the right eye sported some kind of built in telescope, which the wearer could control with its mind. By focusing in on the bodies that lay at the killer’s feet, the mask’s wearer could identify the bodies, the animal was an American Pit Bull Terrier, and the human was Brendan Henry Adams, of Little Hallington. A shame, the deaths of these organisms were, yet necessary for the children to live and to grow. The commander looked upon these bodies, and felt none of the limited emotions it was able to feel. These bodies would be the first of many, the world would have to get used to it. The commander knew what was to come, it had seen it, and knew that, compared to what the children would achieve by the will of destiny, these deaths meant nothing.

The commander approached the killer, a long, bone-like staff clutched in its armoured hand. This it banged upon the floor three times, and the killer turned, reared up on its four dagger-like legs, and scuttled into the undergrowth.

“Is all proceeding as planned Slizor?” a voice said, echoing across the pass.

The commander, Slizor, turned to a human walking from the dark trees onto the path, a human who was known to the Slizor. The Slizor had much to thank this man for, but it felt that his inability to accept the authority of the Slizor would eventually cost him dearly. For the moment, however, the Slizor had no choice but to accept authority.

“The children are almost ready to begin,” the Slizor spoke, in a menacing, hissing voice “the first attack shall be next sun; the human race shall get its first glimpse of its successors. The place has been decided”

“Perfect,” the man nodded, as if he was in charge here “the plan is then to proceed as before?”

“Precisely,” the Slizor replied “you know what to do, we have discussed this”

The man nodded “It shall be”, he said, and he left for the town, letting his purple trench coat swish around his feet as he left.

The Slizor took one last look at the bodies, and descended into the darkness of the woods.

 

The End

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