RETURN TO THE GUARDIANS / Chapter 1: Just Another Mission / (Warning: Violence)
Posted July 28th, 2017 by Codename-X12
in a secret bunker finishing the Guardians
Just Another Mission
I could tell something was wrong, and it gnawed in the pit of my stomach like a noxious parasite. Maybe it was the night around me, a night quieter than it usually was. So still. Not a thing moved in the shadows, like the darkness numbed it. Paralyzed it. As if it deadened twisted its mind, to the point that nothing could move, not even if it had wanted to. Not even if had tried.
I shook off the grim thoughts that clouded around my head like suffocating smoke. It required me to physically shake my head to clear the toxic thoughts. But I still couldn't remove the sense of dread burrowed deep within me.
"You okay, Dark?" asked the girl who stood beside me on the windowsill thirty feet up in the air. Her shiny red hair shimmered slightly in the eerie glimmer of moonlight.
"You know what my name is," I replied, feeling my mouth speak the words without my mind forming them. Why did the sense of dread seem to bubble more ominously as I involuntarily spoke those words? "That's not it."
"Always so serious, Necrosis," she said. A pause. "Should be an easy one, right? Just in and out, shouldn't take more than a few minutes." I nodded wordlessly. Why did everything seem familiar, like I had been here before? I had heard these exact same words spoken before, heard myself reply the same, and felt the same emotion of pent-up fear.
Suddenly a jolt of realization flared through me that almost made my heart stop. This was not a killer case of déjà vu. I had seen this before. Everything was the same. The girl with the red hair and the black leather jacket. The warehouse where I now stood, surrounded by the dark, hulking shapes of other factories in the industrial district. The report that dozens of hostages were being held there by a militant crime gang. It was all the same as what had happened several years ago. What I was experiencing now was just a nightmare.
But I knew how this horrid dream ended. I had freaking lived it.
"No!" I tried to cry, tried to force myself to warn the girl. But my mouth wouldn't open and my throat refused to speak the words. My own body refused to listen to me. "Don't go in there!" I could hear my words in my panic-stricken brain, but what my body seemed not to belong to me. Instead, my body opened its mouth and spoke,
"Let's give 'em pain." I remembered speaking those same words years ago on that fateful night. I couldn't change the past now. My subconscious forced me to watch.
The girl beside me grinned at the words and I felt my heart throb inside me with wrenching sadness. "Don't do it, don't do it!" I exclaimed again, as uselessly as before. No. I didn't want to watch. "Just let me go," I whispered to no one in particular. I couldn't even close my eyes. They stayed rigidly open, bringing in every excruciating detail from five years ago.
I watched as the girl raised a combat boot and smashed it through one of the old warehouse's dirty windows. Glass sprayed through the air, glimmering in the cold white moonlight. The broken shards disappeared into the yawning mouth of darkness that was the inside of the warehouse.
The girl and I stared into the blackness, eyes straining in a futile attempt to pierce that unknowable darkness. How odd. No screams of the hostages. Not even muffled grunts and cries. But of course I, my future self, knew why that was.
"Want to take the lead, Dark?" the girl asked after a moment.
"After you, my lady," I felt myself respond, choosing to ignore the nickname.
“You and your chivalry," she replied sarcastically. But she turned to face the darkness and crouched down to leap into through the jagged remains of the window. Once again I found the energy to scream, even though I knew I was utterly helpless at what I knew was coming.
"NO! DON'T DO IT!" Tears would have run streaming from my eyes if only I could control my past self. I would turn away from the window and lead the girl as far away from the warehouse as I possibly could. But I couldn't.
Then, as silently as a snake, the girl slipped through the window and dropped into the darkness. I felt myself following, crawling through the gap in the window and letting myself fall into the unknown.
For a terrifying second I couldn't feel anything beneath my feet and couldn't tell how far down the floor was. Then, with a pang of sharp pain that tingled up my leg, I felt cold cement underneath my boots.
All around me was pitch darkness, so thick and choking I could almost feel it pressing against my skin. A second later I felt a hand briefly touch mine and, reassured, I knew the girl was standing beside me in the blackness. Now all we had to do was find the hostages and get them out.
But I knew in my mind exactly what was going to happen next and I couldn't even close my eyes to block out the memories.
All of a sudden a blinding brightness glared down on us from above like someone had turned the sun back on after an eclipse. A patch of white lights sputtered and crackled uncertainly a few times before strengthening. Then, more lights burned into existence along the ceiling, one after the other in a row.
They were traveling outward from us with each new light illuminated, like they wanted to gradually reveal something dramatic. As my eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness, I realized the lights were dimmer than I had thought due to me being in the darkness so long.
A powerful smell of mothballs and dust assaulted my nose as I looked around. The entire warehouse was almost completely empty. The interior of the massive room looked nearly as long as a football field. The ceiling appeared almost forty feet up, ending in a tangle of catwalks across the ceiling. The industrial steel walls surrounding us appeared almost to be made of the smooth side of a cold, grey mountain. A thin blanket of fuzzy dust coated everything, and dirt and grime layered the floor.
Why did a warehouse smack in the industrial district in Washington, D.C. seem so abandoned? The whole place looked condemned, like a wrecking ball would crash through the wall at any moment to put the place out of its misery. The moonlight glimmered through jagged breaches that were slashed into the ceiling like gaping scars.
But what I noticed first were the men in black with the assault rifles.
The metal weapons glittered wickedly in the lights as their wielders stood silently in place, not making a single move to attack us. Could they really be human behind their masks and hoods? At the time they had seemed more like demons to me.
Then I saw the pile of dead bodies, and I felt my face contort in shock and putrid disgust. What had once been several dozen living, breathing human beings was now a bloody heap of shredded, lifeless forms, lying broken on the cold, hard floor. Their eyes stared sightlessly. Their blood-stained hands extended limply, as if they had been trying to claw their way out of the mound of flesh in their final moments. The hostages couldn't be rescued now.
"They're dead. All of them," the girl breathed slowly, stunned. I knew she could sense when death had occurred near her. Even I could tell that none of them could have possibly survived the heartless massacre.
I stared in blind hatred toward the half-dozen black-clothed monsters. They still stood there ghoulishly like they were waiting for us to admire their handiwork. I nodded silently to the girl, whose face was also ablaze with unrestrained fury.
"It's time for you to die," she snarled, raising her hand unwaveringly and directing it toward the mound of the dead. I knew what would happen next.
The pile began to stir as if someone in there had survived and was trying to crawl free of the remains. Then a pale, bloody hand burst forth from the heap, clawing at the air at the same moment a guttural, withered snarl echoed across the warehouse. I smiled ghoulishly. Those murders would soon have their lives taken scarcely ten feet from their victims.
A screaming head burst from the pile along with a pale, dripping body. Staggering limply to its feet, bullet holes scattered across his chest, the grotesque reanimated man turned to glare at the terrorists with glazed-over, unseeing eyes.
The rest of the pile began to twitch and stumble to its feet like ghastly puppets reconnected with their strings. They shuffled silently to their feet, some dragging broken legs behind them or letting shattered arms swing at their sides, bullet holes through their vital organs. The silent horde of staring reanimated turned to stare at the murders with their dead, empty eyes. Then they began shambling listlessly toward the terrorists with jerking, thrashing movements, leaving bloody footprints behind.
But I was shocked to see that the black-robed terrorists betrayed no trace of terror at the sight of the civilians they had shot to death standing back up and lurching toward them. I mean, I'd be pretty freaked out if I was them. Instead, they raised their lethal-looking assault rifles.
And opened fire. I sprang back instinctively as their rifles crackled angrily, spraying rapid gunshots into the crowd of stumbling reanimated. The flickering gun flashes left dancing spots on my vision while the roar thundered in my eardrums.
To my stunned surprise, the reanimated victims began buckling and collapsing under the rain of steel. They were not plodding on unfeelingly despite the bullets slashing and piercing them.
In a second I knew why. The only way to destroy the girl's reanimated was to disable the brain, even though I did not know why. Somehow these terrorists had known that. Never before had someone we faced eliminated her reanimated with such a coldly efficient, informed strategy.
It was then I realized that they were no common criminals.
Stay tuned for the second part, coming soon
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