Twilight RunnersMature

Footsteps pounded against the rain sodden ground. His heart pounded against his blood sodden chest. The blood wasn’t his, but if he didn’t move, things were about to get ugly.

He glanced down at a palm sized black box in his hand. The radar on its interface was quiet. He knew that wouldn’t last long.

Surely enough a green blip appeared on the radar quickly zoning in on his position. Then another, and another.

This was bad. He glanced at the roof tops. They were out there somewhere and he couldn’t let himself get surrounded. Devourers were pack animals and particularly vicious ones at that, and they wouldn’t be happy that he’d just cost them a meal by saving their prey. This particular brand of demon fed on adrenaline. This made anyone a hearty meal and even more so if they were pressured or afraid. He wasn’t scared, but at the same time he knew he was number one choice on the menu right now.

Spencer pressed a finger against the com on his neck, the vibrations from his throat relaying the sound as he whispered his message.

“Maxi you'd better be in position. There’s a swarm of the little bastards and they’re coming right in your direction. Keep your eyes on the roofs and don’t light me up like a fucking Christmas tree this time or I’ll be some demon’s lunch ya hear me!”

A gentle, almost bored sounding female voice crackled back into his ear piece.

“Yeah yeah quit your whining. I got it covered. Just keep ‘em coming and I’ll do the rest.”

He grunted some inaudible expletive as red eyes began emerging from the blackness around him. They were accompanied by a high pitched twittering sound. It was getting louder.

Spencer took one last look at the radar. The once black screen was now a sea of green specks, all of which where moving rapidly towards him. Stuffing the device in a pouch at his belt he placed his hands over the metal armlets he wore. The tarnished, blood soaked, steel covering the entirety of his forearms had saved his life on many an occasion. Fingers pressed two hidden buttons and the devices sprung into life.

The sound of steel sliding over steel could be heard as metal plates re-arranged themselves. A faint wurring as compartments opened and pieces locked into place. The lower part of the left armlet dropped out revealing at least two dozen wicked looking, solid metal, bolts. One of which was dispensed into his hand. He loaded his wrist bow and putting his head down pushed aching muscles to work harder. The woman’s voice crackled over his headset.

“C’mon Spence I’ve got multiple bogies heading in on your position.”

He gritted his teeth loosing the bolt behind him. There was a squeal as little sets of feet could be heard hitting the ground. The twittering sound was getting more intense by the moment.

“Really? I never realised! Now shut up and get ready I’m not far now.”

He cut off the main street into and alley, the buildings created a bottle neck, slowing the swarm slightly but not enough to give any kind of a tactical advantage.

Spencer barrelled round a corner into a small square created by the rear of several buildings. Spinning round he ground to a halt, his back against rough stone. Dropping to a knee he levelled his bow cocking another bolt.

“Now Maxi!”


Black shapes began to materialise out of the night. The creatures looked like eyeless orbs of mottled green flesh sitting atop four arachnid legs. He let the bolt fly. It hit its mark perfectly. The target made a sickly popping sound as it exploded in a shower of green goo.

More of the fiends lined up as he re-loaded. The twittering was deafening. There was a seconds pause then a wave of them erupted towards him.

“Now Maxi!”

This time there was a response as the beam of a floodlight hit the square from a roof above, illuminating it completely.

The twittering turned to shrieking as every demon in the area exploded at the same time, splattering Spencer in foul smelling ooze. The rest of the swarm scattered back into the blackness of the alley, their outlines becoming hazy before vanishing all together.

Breathing a heavy sigh Spencer stood up wiping puss from his eyes with the back of a gloved hand. Turning he looked to the roof of the building behind him. A head peered over the ledge at the top. The face, lit up by the glow of the spot light was beautiful. Maxi pushed long black hair behind an ear before giving her friend a thumbs up with a grin.

His tone was at best sarcastic.

“Perfect timing honey … what happened to the first command? Or were you waiting to see how long it would take for me to get chewed on?”

She giggled before shinnying down a fire escape, dropping to the ground next to him.

“Not at all I just wanted to give you good reason to take a bath. Man you smell even worse than usual if that’s possible, and as usual not a mark on me. Perfect eh?”

“Yeah wonderful. Now call this back to base before I decide to give you a hug.”

She went wide eyed before grabbing a radio from her belt. She raised it to her mouth clicking a button on the side.

“Parker come in.”

A middle aged male voice came in answer.

“Go ahead Maxi. What’s your status?”

“Mission complete Parker. Threat neutralised.”

“Good to hear. How’s Spencer?”

She looked at him, doing her best to stifle another giggle. “Grungy, smelly and covered in muck, but alive.”

“Good to hear. Now get back to base we’ll debrief when you arrive.”

“Understood. Maxi out.”

She replaced the radio nodding to Spencer. The two collected their gear before making their way to a black transit van parked a block away. Loading the high powered lamp and a bag full of cables into the back they sped off out of the metropolis towards the suburbs.

Spencer was quiet for the most part of the journey, just gazing out of the van’s black tinted windows. Taking her eyes of the road for a second Maxi shot him a concerned look.

“I don’t like it when you go quiet, it means something’s bothering you, and that isn’t usually a good sign for any of us that might want to stay healthy.”

Her voice broke his reverie and he sighed scratching his chin.

“A swarm of devourer demons that big right in the centre of the city? Those things might be nasty in a pack but they’re too stupid to form any kind of an offensive. The most I’ve ever seen was a group of six, and they were disorganised. Something called them there. That girl I saved was just unlucky enough to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She wasn’t the target…”

“You think we’ve come across something big don’t you?”

“Yep, and I’m pretty sure we haven’t even scratched the surface yet, the sooner we get back to Parker the better.”

“Right. Not far now. We’ll be in Eastfield within the next fifteen minutes.”

Surely enough less than a quarter of an hour later the van pulled up in the graveyard of an old church. It veered off the main drag heading down a rough, tire worn, path between the headstones before coming to one of the larger crypts.

Maxi grabbed the radio again speaking two words into it.

Empty Grave.

The door of the crypt slid open with a dull grating sound and the team drove inside. The heavy stone slab sliding closed behind them. The van stopped and a few seconds later the clank of cogs turning broke the silence and the makeshift floor of the crypt began to descend. When it hit the bottom of the shaft there was a slight mechanical shudder. The van drove into the vehicle bay of a subterranean base before finally coming to a halt.

As the elevator began its ascent to surface level a heavy set man emerged from a set of double doors on the far side of the bay. He was about thirty five wearing a perfectly tailored black suit. Moving within a few feet of the van he folded his arms, waiting for Spencer and Maxi to get out and meet him.

The two friends promptly did so greeting Parker with a salute.

“At ease you two. Drop your gear off and we’ll head to my office. I want a full report on the Devourer situation. Actually come to think of it. Maxi you follow me. Spencer get a bath. You stink.”

A small, slim, young woman in oil stained dungarees headed out of a cubicle in the corner of the bay. She smiled to Parker before looking over Maxi’s shoulder at the van. An expression of pleasant surprise and relief crossed her face.

“I’m impressed. You managed to make it through a mission without giving me hours of repair work to do afterwards.” She wrinkled her nose. “What’s that horrendous stench?”

Spencer sighed heavily dropping his belt and flack vest in a heap on the ground.

Okay I’m going.”

As he walked towards the bay’s exit he took one final respectful glance at Parker.

“Give me half an hour and I’ll be with you.”

With that he marched past the man and off into the underground complex, leaving a trail of slimy footprints in his wake.

Parker allowed himself a smile before motioning to Maxi to follow him. Dropping her gear on a metal table she did as instructed and the two left the vehicle bay and headed towards the heart of the complex.

The War Room was large, circular in shape, and the nerve centre of the demon hunter’s operation. At the centre of the room was a large oval, heavy wooden table big enough to fit many agents. Maxi felt out of place sitting alone at its end in a large red leather chair. The décor of the room seemed to be an odd juxtaposition of high technology and early 20th century pomp. High bookshelves stacked with all sorts of knowledge lined the walls, the carpet was plush, more like a gentleman’s study than a meeting place for modern tacticians. A large fire roared in an elaborately carved hearth in the background, casting a warm glow across an otherwise dimly lit room.

Parker took his place at the other end of the table and folding his arms gazed silently at the door for a several long moments before turning to Maxi.

“You know, I’m not happy with the amount of operatives in your squad, the missions are becoming far too dangerous for just two of you. Genna and Myself can only supply support. I’m seriously concerned for your safety.”

Maxi nodded tying her hair back into a tight ponytail.

“I understand that you’re worried, and demon attacks are on the rise but what can we do? The other squads have their own problems and we have an awfully big area to cover. They won’t be able to spare anyone. Besides Spencer and I have always managed well enough. As long as you can be our eyes and Genna makes sure we are well kitted out we’ll be fine.”

A voice broke in behind Maxi.

“Who’ll be fine?”

Spencer took his place next to his friend, out of his combat gear now, he relaxed back into his chair wearing a loose fitting pair of trousers and a tight fitting black shirt. He shifted his gaze from his partner back to Parker.

“Are we talking about the manning situation again? I don’t think that’s ever going to get any better. Compared to other sectors we’re in a relatively low risk zone here. Would the council ever really allocate more operatives to us when the demons are building larger enclaves all over the region?”

Parker nodded understanding the dilemma the cell was in all too well.

“Let me deal with the council. I’m sure I can get us some more help if necessary. Now debrief me on the Devourer situation. I want to know why there was a swarm that big right in the middle of the city.”


The End

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