The last of their footsteps faded and Tam felt her throat seize up. For a moment, she was frozen where she stood, unable to move. It was quite. Sickeningly so. She slowly looked behind her and saw only darkness, but she had the unmistakable sensation of not being alone. Something was there, just past the places she could see. It only took a small noise to send her fleeing again. Now there was only the sound of her own footfalls pounding the ground, and the labored breathes coming from her mouth. 

The alley felt unending. Every turn seemed like it should be the last, and the alley should again open into a street, but that opening never came. The blood trail was getting larger, too, as if Patterson was losing all the fluid in his body. Her feet were soaked in it now. So thick had it become, that her heel slipped and she fell backwards, smacking her head on the concrete. Then a deafening noise came from behind her as the world shook and the alley was suddenly covered in flames. Her head throbbing, Tam looked back to see the buildings behind her collapsed in a devastating explosion. On either side, entire sections of wall had crumbled down and completely blocked the way she came. 

She was back on her feet and she could feel the heat of the flames even at a distance, being funneled through the small space. She turned to keep running when a door burst open in front of her and a freakishly tall man in tattered clothes stepped out. He walked with the same elongated gate as the monster in the house, except his limbs were even more impossible. His arms stretched so low, they actually hovered inches from the ground, and his legs must have been four feet long. A gray, sunken face turned to her and its dark eyes lit up with fury.

"THERE SHE IS!" The words were barely coherent, but that's what it said. A lanky arm pointed to her as the monster hobbled forward. Tam swung the straight sword savagely and  doubled back, only to fall over again. 

"YOU'RE NOT RIGHT! YOU'RE NOT RIGHT!" The monster seemed to have great difficulty forming the words, but it towered over her with its arms raised high. One of the mutant limbs crashed down, only missing its target because the girl rolled out of the way. It hit the concrete with a squishy THWOP and Tam was sure it had broken its own arm. The other hand was already racing for her, and long, slimy fingers wrapped around her neck, nearly clamping over the entire width of it. She felt the life literally being choked from her. The monster was insanely strong, and she felt as if her neck might snap before she suffocated. It's face looked almost relieved as she lay there dying, with the mouth hanging loosely open, revealing a series of jagged teeth. 

Her action was born out of madness. It wasn't really her conscious mind that told her to swing the sword at its forearm, hacking the hand and wrist from the rest of the body. The monster reeled back, howling like an animal. Tam stood, gasping for air and stumbled forward. The blade pierced its chest and she let go of it. The howl rose to ear-splitting decibels and the humanoid grabbed at the sword with its remaining hand. It fell to its knees moments later and was soon dead. 

The girl was still hyperventilating when she looked at the fallen, deformed body of the monster. A police siren could be heard in the distance. There was a mans voice, too, calling out Molly's name from above. Tam looked up just in time to see what might have been the arm of a person flash into view over the rooftop's edge.

Molly, let him go!” she thought he might have said.

She didn't know why, but she felt she should run; to be as far from the area as possible. Ripping the sword from the monster's chest, she continued down the alley. Like a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, the alley ended and Tam burst out into a vacant parking lot. Molly was already there, standing out in the open. The man once known as Patterson was there, as well, though he looked different now. 

His posture was hunched and he stood like something feral. He was nearly paper white, and nothing about him felt human. Molly stomped her foot to the ground.

"Tell me what's going on, Patterson!" 

He looked at her and his head twitched. "THE BLOOOOOD! THEE BLOOOOOOOOD!" he said, his voice raspy and low. 

"Where are the others?!" She held the sword above her head. She was ready to kill.

Molly, get away from him!”

There was someone else. Atop the building behind Tam stood a man in a leather jacket. He had something in his hands that might have been a grenade launcher, but the girl couldn't tell from her vantage. Molly turned and her eyes widened.



Molly leaped away towards Tam and tackled them both to the ground as a grenade flew through the air, landing at Patterson's feet. He eyed it curiously, then a booming THUD emanated and the monster was lost in a ball of fire. Molly felt the flames licking her back as the shock wave passed over them.

Take that, you freak!” yelled Stev. His voice broke a little towards the end. Molly raised herself to a knee and looked towards the settling debris. She instantly knew it wasn't over. A twisted shape rippled, and a stretched, cracked face, once Patterson's, now beyond human, sat on an elongated body. It stood on all fours, like an animal, and drool fell from its piranha-like mouth. The mans eyes widened, as if he'd just thought of something profound. Then he keeled over and begun screaming mindlessly. Tam winced, it was so terrible. He thrashed around on the ground and clawed at the concrete below him, his fingers actually tearing up the parking lot.

Nothing could have survived that!” said Molly.

Stev saw it, too. He was already loading his last grenade into the 40mm. He looked down the iron, positioning the monster just below the barrel to account for the grenade's curve. Molly shouted to him, “Don't fire again!”, but it was too late. The second grenade hurtled downwards. The Patterson monster bellowed at the coming attack, but before it could move out of the way, the parking lot was engulfed in flames.

Everything shook again and an otherworldly bellow filled the air, shaking the windows above them. Tam felt like she were in a sound chamber and giant speakers were blasting all around. It might have been the loudest thing she ever heard. 

From the explosion rose a giant, clawed hand, reaching up to the sky and spreading its fingers.  The rest of the arm followed and it became apparent that whatever the man transformed into was beyond anything they'd seen before. There was a pause as the giant arm held in the sky, then came flailing down. A huge shake followed as the palm smacked the concrete, then a mountain rose up. It didn't look so different from the other monsters, but this one was gargantuan. Its head nearly surpassed the three story apartments around it.

Stev lost his footing and plummeted to the ground. He landed on his back and bounced to the side, then lay curled in a ball.

You idiot!” Molly rushed to his side and started dragging him away towards the alley. 

The End

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