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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-11, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Default The Twisted

Chaos bombs the planet and with it releases a mutation virus. The survivors are left to cope with the destruction and two men find their purpose in the heat of battle. This story was a blast to write. This story is violent, bloody and will truly scare you... I hope.

The Twisted


And the King said unto her, ‘What ails you?’ She answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give me your son so we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, “Give your son so we may eat him.” But she had hidden her son.’ 2 Kings 6: 28-29
Chapter 1

The twisted gnarled bones of the city stood defiant against the nuclear winds that had hammered them not so long ago. This city once flowed with life and hope. It was like an underground river that provided the life giving nutrients to a land that could not sustain it on its own.

The Habs, both highland and lowland, had been filled with people who had gone on about their business with no thought about the distant wars that were being waged upon other worlds. Their thoughts were consumed with what they had to do for the day, the week and the next few years.

Some people made plans for when they were old enough to retire while others made plans for their families in the event of their deaths or for when they grew too old to provide for their families any longer.

Some of the cities inhabitants shopped at grocery stores picking out the abundant food-stuffs they and their families would need in the next week, while others shopped for extravagant items of merit such as rugs, tables, chairs, dish-ware, cabinets and so forth. Some looked for off world items that were worth untold fortunes to the right buyer.

Some of the people went about shopping for clothes, toys, books and bedding for their homes at the used-stores, looking for that rare item they could never afford to buy when it was new; looking to find a good deal that they could boast about to their neighbors and friends.

The women would boast saying, ‘Look at this dress that I found.’ Or ‘Look at this dish set that I just got; it only cost two thrones.’

The men would boast about the deals they found at the charity stores in the lower habs, saying ‘Hey check this out. I found the tool set that I couldn’t afford last year. It’s old but, hey, it still works and it only cost me thirty thrones and a crown.’

Sanual Tinnison had been one of these people. He was twenty-two, tall and as fit as a man could be who ran four miles a day and participated in self defense classes three times a week. He loved to think that he could handle anything that came at him, as most men that are physically fit and strong tend to think.

Sanual Tinnison loved to find things of value and buy it for cheap. He had been a deal finder. If there was a deal that could be found he could find it, buy it, fix it and turn it around to make a profit. Most deals were able to be found in the Downs at the charity stores. He had loved going to the Downs, in the daylight of course.

People who wanted to get rid of their old stuff that still had a little value would donate it to the charity stores when they got new stuff to replace the old stuff. The poor would come in and find the old stuff and buy it for just a fraction of the price it would have cost at new.

There were stores that sold things for half price and places in the shadows that dealt with stolen or smuggled items. They were always ready to deal, trade or barter for them.

Sanual Tinnison smiled as he held up a rare lamp that bore the seal of Lusterna Prime. ‘Why did they ever get rid of this?’ he said to himself. It would have been worth a fortune to the right people.

The Downs, during the day had been full of life, the flow and ebb of traffic had moved like controlled rivers, crisscrossing at varied intervals to stop congestion. Transports had hovered above the ground moving silently while they carried hundreds of people at a time.

There had been personal craft that were made to be able to attend the needs of the basic family, utility vehicles that were managed by computer and work-servitors who saw to the basic needs of water, electric and traffic signals.

In the day the Downs had looked like the basic, family oriented city-state that it was supposed to be. But at night things had been radically different. Sanual Tinnison had not wanted to be caught in the Downs at night… nobody did.

At night the gangers and thugs ran the streets and did what they wanted to do with whomever they wanted to. Their lawless ways were brutal and uncontrollable and even the public safety patrols would refuse to go into those neighborhoods during the long dark hours before sunrise.

Back then that was the worst thing Sanual Tinnison had to worry about… the Downs.

Now, he stood in the charity store holding a rare lamp and wondered how much he could have got for it back then. He set it back down on the dust and ash covered table and moved on down the row.

There were books. There were always books. He loved to read them in his hab, back at the refuge at night when they were about.

At night they roamed the street, businesses and empty buildings in their search of something to eat. At night they sought to find the weak and feast upon them. The gangers were still around, the ones who survived the “Attack”. But they were as afraid as the rest of the survivors.

In truth Sanual Tinnison did not know what had happened. The thousands that had survived the “Attack” said the “Attack” had come from the eye of terror… from the great enemy himself… from the unnamed. Sanual did not know what had happened for sure.
All he knew is everything had been normal. Everything was as it should be. Everyone was going about their business, eating, drinking and making marry, working hard at their jobs to provide for their families and the lifestyles they chose to live in.

He knew where he could go to get the best grox-burger in the lower levels of the city or the best drink and imported stag in the Ups. He knew where in the city he could go to find a beautiful woman for the night or the best regicide games in the hide houses. He knew where the soldiers hung out and what black market things they were looking to buy before they left off world to fight and die for an Emperor they had never met.

Back before “it” happened his life was real good. He had not been wealthy, but he was making a living working in the transport business delivering restaurant supplies. He lived with his parents in an apartment on the thirteenth floor of the Flats and saved the money he made for a rainy day.

The funny thing about that is the rainy day came. It rained in a torrential downpour and the money he had saved for that day was now as useless as the lamp he had just put down.

Now he carried a shotgun with auto fire and extra clips, seven shots a piece. He moved about in the day if at all; he never moved about at night. At night he barely made a sound. They were out there and they would hear him.

Chapter 2
The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they were their meat in the destruction of Judah. Lamentations 4: 10

There came a flash in the night and an earthquake. Sanual Tinnison falls out of his bed and hits his head upon the carpeted floor causing him to see stars and become disorientated. He tries to stand but falls down again as his world collapses under him.

People are screaming in the halls and from other apartments above and below him and from his window he can see that the world outside is on fire.

His mother is screaming from the next room, his father is out cold; blood is pouring from his head from where a shelf had hit him as it fell. His mother is weeping as she tries to make since of her husband’s lack of movement; outside the world is burning around them.

Sanual knows his father will not move again because he is dead. He tries to hold back the flow of tears as he realizes this fact but the pain of his father’s death is too much to bear. Through his pain he still hears the shouts of confusion and fear from the hall outside the apartment door. He knows that outside the world is on fire and he struggles to hold down his panic.

‘Mother we have to get out of here.’ he says as gently as he can. She does not seem to hear him so he grabs her shoulder. Tears of blood are running down her face as she focuses on him. She screams and sinks her teeth into the man she had loved and been faithful to for forty-one years, her husband who now is dead in her arms.

‘Mother!’ he screams in shock. She doesn’t even seem to notice that he is in the room. Blood is everywhere in an instant as she tears open her husband’s jugular vein. It covers both his mother and his father in a moment’s time and sprays the wall next to them as the pressure from the artery releases. ‘Mother!’ he screams again.

Caught in the power of his shock he could not move or even think. His mother looks up and screams again, blood and flesh flecking from her open mouth. Her eyes have cataracts and are glazed over, blood has caked her face and her teeth have grown long and sharp, like sharks teeth. He jumps in terror and falls backward over the couch, falling hard onto his back.

From the other side of the couch he hears his mother growling as she rips another piece of flesh from his father’s face. Without thinking, terror in his mind and gripping his heart he runs from the apartment and out into the hall.

The lights are out and people are stumbling around screaming and shouting in terror for lost loved ones or in predatory growls of insane ramblings. Some are wailing as brother or sister, mother or father succumbed to; it.

A body slams into Sanual from behind and knocks him face first into the wall. His nose breaks and he can taste blood and feel it as it runs down his face and neck. Tears of pain, fear and loss pour from his eyes.

It is pitch black in the hall so he cannot see those around him fighting for their lives as they are ripped apart, disemboweled and consumed by those who had once been closest to them. All he knows is that the world is going crazy and he has got to escape from it.

In the inky blackness someone else screams from right beside him. It is a woman, of that he is sure, but he cannot tell who it is or used to be. She does not scream because of fear or because she is in need of help but she screamed from hunger as if she has been starving for a month. Her breath stinks of blood and torn flesh and she flails with her arms in the darkness seeking for someone on which to feast.

Sanual Tinnison pushes hard in the direction of the bad breath and the woman’s scream and connects with her large frame with all of his might. She falls in the darkness and breaks her neck on an open hallway door. Sanual does not know about it because of the blinding negritude. Terror is all around him.

From the end of the hall someone turns on a flashlight and directs it into the corridor’s gloominess. Torn bodies; intestines, blood and excrement pouring from their lifeless frames line the floor between the walls. Lost souls are crawling through it longing to escape the madness or seeking to find another body to sink their shark-like teeth into.

Sanual retches and vomits as he takes it all in. The man at the end of the hall is shadowed and cannot be seen because the light does not reveal him; it is revealing the dead, the dying and the damned. From the shadows beyond the light a shot bangs out and the man falls to the hallway floor along with the flashlight; its glow beaming through the repugnant, feculent macabre before it.

Now that there is enough light for Sanual to know where he is he runs quickly to the flashlight and grabs it along with the man’s gun. In a panic he runs through the open door and heads down the stairs. From the thirteenth floor it would take him almost ten minutes to exit the building. ‘Emperor, help me!’ he screams.

The stairs wind down and around. Six stairs, a flat, another six stairs, another flat, round and round, six stairs, a flat, six stairs, another flat, round and round. He can hear the sounds of screaming and horror from other floors as he passes them by in his descent.

A person rounds the corner in front of him and he fires the gun into her face. Blood sprays the wall as she flips head over heels and crumples in the corner of the stairwell. He does not know if she is like the others, terror has him, shock torments him and death is chasing him. Sanual Tinnison runs for his life.

Chapter 3
And in those days people will seek death and will not find it; and they will yearn to die, but death evades and flees from them. Revelation 9: 6

The stairway is pitch-black except for where the light from the flashlight beams. It bobs up and down as Sanual Tinnison runs down the stairs. They have heard the sound of the gun going off and are now flooding the stairwell above him. He can hear them running down the stairs above him. Their screams of desire and hunger crashing before them into Sanual’s nerves like the waves of the sea.

He is down to the third floor and moving as fast as his burning legs can carry him, but they are closing in on him, their longing for his flesh and blood echoing down the confines of the stairwell.

Around and around he goes, he is dizzy and winded but keeps running until he missteps and tumbles forward, flailing onto the landing of the second floor stairway. He tries to recover quickly but struggles to regain his breath. The smell coming from the hall entrance is overpowering as the breeze from the open doorway blasts him in the face. He vomits even as he tries to move past it.

He can hear them only a flight above him now. Rasping, burning breaths ebb from his aching lungs and up his torn throat and out of his puke smelling mouth as he begins to run once more. His nose has swelled and he cannot breathe through it. Every breath from his open mouth is grasping and tight, but he continues to move.

The four miles he ran every day is helping him now, but they are upon him and he cannot escape. He turns as he reaches the first floor and points the flashlight up into the stairwell, its blue-white cone illuminating them even as he begins to fire the pistol.

The fiery energy from the gun’s release illuminates his surroundings like lightning on a stormy sea and the shots echo unbelievably loud in the confines of the breezeway. The projectiles slam into the torso of the first man-thing and explode out of its back. It falls and rolls down three stairs and lands right in front of Sanual even as he fires again and again until finally the gun is empty and useless in the face of them.

The smell of death, blood and loosened bowels slams into Sanual Tinnison once more but he is already running toward the building’s entrance, nothing guiding his steps but raw panic and confusion.

A hand grabs him by the collar and seeks to pull him back. He can taste the breath of the foul thing and lashes out with an elbow catching the thing in the face. It screams and falls to the ground. Turning he sees that the once person used to be his neighbor from the floor directly below him; Mr. Goodman.

Sanual Tinnison exits the building and runs into the open courtyard. The openness is an area of blacktop and rock-crete where game-courts and children’s playground equipment stretch between the buildings.

Flames have completely engulfed the apartment building to the north and someone falls from the building to the east. Screaming, the woman plummets until breaking apart like a blood filled balloon upon the ground. Bones erupt from her shattered flesh but she cannot feel it anymore.

It only takes a few seconds before they are upon her; feeding and fighting over her bloodied corpse like starving wolves over a fresh kill.

Someone shouts over to Sanual’s right. He looks and sees that it is a man in his thirties, six foot tall and muscled, fighting for his life. ‘Help me!’ he shouts. He does not sound afraid but angry. In the blackness of the cold night the fires from the surrounding buildings silhouette the teeming masses as they scream and tear at each other in their effort to reach the cornered man.

Now they are pouring out of the building behind Sanual Tinnison and he fights the animal erg to abandon this man.

Sanual watches as the man is pushed against the hab wall, punching and kicking and cursing while still calling out for help.

From somewhere in the distance the sounds of sirens are going off, a building collapses and a refinery melts down; its nuclear power generators overheat and vaporize the eastern quarter of the dying city.

From the building to the west another person falls, his motions in the darkness look like a terrified runner on his way to hell.

Looking around Sanual grabs a piece of re-bar and hefts it above his head and runs directly at the mob that has the man cornered. The fire creates a sickly glow and the ashes of what were the belongings of others mingle with the ashes of burned bodies that rain down and are tossed in the wind like snowflakes in a storm.

The man against the wall kicks a woman in the gut as she lunges for him. She flies back and slams into another behind her and they fall together to the ground.

The mob advances screaming and feral but the man keeps fighting. He is like a machine, though pressed he keeps performing.

Sanual Tinnison slams the re-bar onto the head of a once-man and cracks the skull. Blood sprays out as the man collapses to the ground. Sanual kicks out and strikes again with the re-bar, spearing another once-man through the chest. He screams and falls to the ground in a fit of shock and pain. A few of those nearby tear those who have fallen apart, their teeth tearing into their prone tortured forms.

Now that the mob is aware of him, they turn and with screams of starved desire, attack. From the hab that Sanual had just come from, they outpour like a surging demented river of ghastly visions. They fight among themselves bringing down the weak, stabbing them with elongated nails and teeth, drinking their blood and devouring their flesh.

From the fire lane between the high-rise tenements the children pull down a fleeing, screaming woman and tear into her until she is brought down kicking and fighting to the ground. Her screams subside quickly as they rip her to shreds with bloodied teeth.

A building two blocks over finally collapses as the fire eats away its foundation and bracings. Smoke, ash and dust billows in a fog-like plume that quickly covers all those within its grasp.

As the mob loses its grip on the fighting man he breaks free. ‘Come on! Move! Move! Move!’ he shouts at Sanual. Sanual was not about to argue.

Together they run past the bloodied children as they continue to scream, fight among themselves and consume what is left of the woman’s motionless corpse.

The mob is chasing them, running as fast as they can, hunger consumes them, the taste of blood is driving them, the flight of the week is guiding them.

Sanual Tinnison and the other man are gasping as their lungs struggle to take in another breath; the muscles in their legs are beginning to cramp and fatigue is threatening to give way to total melt down. The winds have changed and is blowing the burning smoke and dusty debris along the streets, each breath taken is to taste the death of thousands.

The thirsty mobs are closing the distance between them and they know there is little hope of escape. Despair is just a thought away, but they are too scared and adrenalized to consider it even for a moment.

There are no words shared between them as they run but they each know what the other is thinking… what is happening? This cannot be real.

From around the corner of a burning grocery store a man and his wife are taken by the damned. Their screams will forever be branded into the mind of Sanual for as long as he lives. There is no honour in running, but how can a person stand against this?

Another high-rise topples over onto another building to the west even as secondary explosions break into the maelstrom in the east.

Sanual looks back only to find that the mob is no longer chasing them but has landed upon the married couple and their assailants. They are butchering each other, the weaker giving place to the stronger. They growl like dogs or lions and snap at each other with their teeth. They are no longer people but animals that seek the flesh of man.

‘This way.’ Sanual says. The other man brooks no argument as he turns to fallow. All around them the city burn and the inhabitants consume themselves. What has happened? There is no longer any peace in the world around them.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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Last edited by Adrian; 03-22-11 at 05:26 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-11, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Chapter 4
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go your ways and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. Revelation 16: 1

The sun cannot break through the clouds or the smoke from the world’s death for three weeks. For three weeks the Twisted hunt each other and consume all those who are weaker or sick or lame.

In the shadows the Twisted prey upon each other. They are not like zombies. They do not only seek to consume the living, they are not mindless masses plaguing the streets, clawing their way from graves or decomposing as they move among the land of the living.

No. They are alive. They think. They hunt, they track, and they hunger and thirst. They are wary of each other and territorial, the weaker giving place to the stronger.

Their screams and mindless ravings can be heard echoing through the ashen streets. There is no unity among them. With watchful eyes they look for any sign of movement and with attentive ears they listen for even the softest of sounds.

The unchanged have hidden themselves in basements, cellars and sewers in hopes of finding refuge from the roving packs.

Sanual Tinnison is among them. The man whose life he had saved is nearby. His name is Marcano Koley. He had once been a guardsman and had fought against the forces of Chaos in the Quadrious System. That explained how he knew how to fight so well and keep his head when the changing happened.

He knew that without Sanual Tinnison, he would be dead and he swore he would return the favor. Rarely did he leave Sanual’s side. They had become close friends that could not be separated.

Marcano Koley had broken into a weapons store in the Downs that harbored black market items and weaponry for leaving solders. He secured a shotgun and extra clips for Sanual and a las-carbine with extra power cells for himself as well as a long knife and chain fist that he kept in his back pouch.

‘Watch yourself and don’t leave you back undefended. Society has collapsed and the unchanged can be even crueler than the Twisted. Some would kill you and take your gear if they have a chance.’ He said. ‘Keep the gun close to you and a knife within easy reach. The most trusted can be your worst enemy.’

‘What happened? I mean, what happened? No matter what’ I just can’t understand. It’s like a bad dream that just won’t go away.’ Sanual had asked Koley.

‘We were attacked by the haters of life, the forces of Chaos. I’ve heard of things like this happening in the warp, or the eye, but never upon the soil of one of the Emperor’s own. We were virus-bombed.’ Koley had said wearily.

There was a great sadness in his voice as he spoke. It was understandable because Sanual felt it too. Despair had set in. this was no longer the same world that he had grown up on.

‘Virus-bombed?’ Sanual asked.

‘Yes, first the destruction of the warhead comes, after that the virus is released into the atmosphere and all who are susceptible, succumb to it. Koley answered.

‘Emperor damn the great enemy!’ Sanual exclaimed.

‘Yes, may the Emperor damn them to the Eye forever.’ Koley agreed.

Chapter 5
All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. Lamentations 3: 46 - 50

In the beginning of the fourth week the sky cleared enough for periodic rays and glimpses of sunshine to come through. As the sunlight washed the city in its warmth and chased the darkness away, the Twisted retreated from it as well.

By late afternoon the clouds were all but a memory, but the smoke from the smoldering structures still rose into the sky in inky-black ropes that twisted and spread like oil slicks in water that dissipated as the winds intervened and carried it away into the stratosphere.

As the hours passed and the sunlight shown down in its full force the survivors emerged from their hiding places. They flooded the streets and plazas and moved about in a daze. They were dirty and hungry and thirsty, many so overcome by malnutrition their faces had become sunk in and their bones could be seen.

Hunger drove the survivors into the grocery stores and granaries, into the markets where goods had been sold. The gathered masses moved as the dead. They were emotionless and empty, survival the only thing that drove them on.

They were so broken and worn down that they did not even look for loved ones that had been lost or killed. They looked around at each other with hallow eyes and gaping mouths. Nobody spoke; terror still bore its hold upon them.

Sanual Tinnison and Marcano Koley walked side by side through the streets. They were as hungry and warn out as the others but Koley had stressed the importance of discipline and brotherhood to Sanual. They would have to stick together and be wary of those who had survived the last few weeks.

Marcano Koley knew that for now the fact that there were survivors would hold most people together in unity, but after a few days time, the people would grow to be as dangerous as the Twisted if help did not come to them.

What cohesion of society that still remained would break down as desperation drove them into raving mobs. Hunger, thirst and hopelessness would destroy them as much as the forces of Chaos ever could.

The city streets were lined with broken buildings that had fallen into the thoroughfares, burnt out structures that displayed the skeletons of construction that remained, blackened and broken from the shadows beyond.

Decomposing corpses half eaten, bodies torn limb from limb, skeletons bearing only scraps of flesh, brown flaky dried out pools and lakes of blood lay in the streets, alleys and parks of the city.

They stank like old meat left in an unplugged freezer for weeks, maggots and flies along with dung beetles and worms crawled throughout their bloated, decaying matter.

‘We have got to find fresh water before we find food.’ Koley said quietly.

‘I think I may know where to find some.’ Sanual said as he motioned for Koley to fallow.

Most of the survivors were headed into what remained of the Ups. They were so used to going into the better parts of the city to get their needs met most of them did not think of another solution. It was as if humanity had just gone into auto-pilot. One person moved in the lead and the others fallowed without thought or question.

The shock of what they saw around them was totally overwhelming. Hunger, loss and sadness had taken their toll. The world they had known would never be the same.

The Downs were flooded from burst water mains and the overflow of sewers clogged by the corpses of those who had hid there from the Twisted. Gasses from burst pipes had killed most everyone below the streets in minutes and the draining of the city’s water washed them into the smaller openings of the sewer’s tight tunnels.

With no way for the water to exit the tunnels it rose up and out and overflowed the downs until even the basements of businesses and living habs were filled. The Downs smelled worse that anything Sanual Tinnison could ever have imagined.

The sun bore down upon the world with unrelenting force. It reflected off of the copper and glass facing of banks and businesses and revealed floating corpses that lay in temporary lakes at the bottom of the hills, valleys and dips. They floated like drift wood and bobbed back and forth with the winds movements.

Sanual tried not to look at it but he could not help it. Death held a morbid curiosity that could not be ignored. He led Marcano Koley through the debris strewn streets, taking as many of the higher streets as he could.

As a delivery man he had passed by the docks of warehouses and factories that bottled water and boxed grains and canned goods for distribution to other cities across the continents of Florenz.

‘If we can get to these warehouses by nightfall we might be able to find enough for us to gain our strength again. I’m feeling pretty wiped out at the moment.’ Koley said through raged breaths. His long sandy blond hair was drenched in sweat and his blue eyes had sunk in more than should be possible.

Sanual knew he must look much the same way. They were dehydrated and starving and scared. Whatever had happened to the world he knew was more that a person should have to take in in a lifetime.

‘I agree. I hope the gangers haven’t found them. That would not be good.’ Sanual said tiredly.

‘If they have found the reserves, maybe given the circumstances they will be in a generous mood.’ Koley mumbled. He knew they would not be. He was aware of the violent nature of the gangers that infested the Downs, but he had known a lot of them in the Guard that were pretty selfless when they knew the only way to live was to help the guy next to him.

Sometimes violence was the only thing they understood, but he hoped they could be open to reason.

The sun was getting lower and darkness was close on its heels. It was an angry shroud that threatened all the life that still remained. The meandering crowds shambled from place to place and house to house breaking in doors and windows in an effort to find food.

Some people found fresh water stored in bottles or jugs and snatched them up quickly and drank them down. Others found rotten food-goods in the markets covered in mould and shriveled up and black with age. The meat sections were sour smelling and pasty, rotten with maggots and flies and worms.

No one touched the old fruit or decomposing meat. The canned goods and grains were plucked up by the first comers and fought over in the streets. Nothing worked anymore. All electricity and power had faded from the city within days and radiation from the power-plant meltdown was burning the skin and causing excessive skin cancer in all those who drew to closely or got caught in the wind’s ever changing currents.

The sun was setting but most of the survivors did not think about it. Their hunger and thirst was driving them on.

Sanual and Marcano moved quickly through a trash filled alley. The buildings on both sides of them were marked with gang sings and fire damage. Smoke still rose in silent curls and twisted ropes through the broken windows.

The shadows were getting deeper. They were aware of the fact they were being watched and stalked so they quickened their pace. They knew they had to find a safe place before nightfall, but they also understood that they had to find food and water just as quickly. They could not afford to wait another couple of days without it.

‘Two more blocks and we are there.’ Sanual said. He felt like he could not take another step but he plodded along doggedly, the comradeship of his friend helping him along.

From inside the building beside them they heard the shuffling of feet and the scratching upon the walls. A scream and whoop echoed through the broken windows and down the alley. It was really starting to get dark and the adrenaline started to pump.

The thought of hunger and thirst went to the back of their minds as they both pulled their guns from their holsters. Sanual racked his shotgun and the sound of it echoed through the street as they exited the alley.

The street was not so dark yet but the shadows were lengthening. From the inside of the nearby buildings the forms and figures of the Twisted could be seen pacing back and forth, peering out of darkened windows, watching from basement doors and lingering in darkened habs crouched down ready to pounce.

‘We’ve got to move, now!’ Koley said. He began to run as fast as he could, his breath struggling from his malnutritioned chest.

There were other survivors along the street fighting over food-stuff and bottled water. They were not paying any attention to the whoops and cries of the Twisted. They were oblivious of the fact the sun was setting. They were so racked by hunger and thirst and greed, shouting and scrambling for their own little piece of survival that they were unaware of their impending danger.

The warehouse was up ahead. Sanual’s heart sank when he saw the crowds of people gathered on the dock ripping apart boxes and taking the only water left.

‘Frat!’ he spat. He was so tired and scared that he almost collapsed on the ash covered ground.

He heard a shot ring out and some people scream. The shot came from the docking area and was followed by Koley’s wild voice.

‘Back the feck off and get down on the ground!’ he shouted. A man ran at him from the left and fell backwards as Marcano kicked him in the chest.

‘I don’t want to hurt any of you. All I want is a few cans of food and some water and then we will go our way.’ He aimed his Las-carbine mincingly at the crowds of people. They stared at him contemptuously but backed off.

‘Sanual, grab the stuff and let’s go.’

At first Sanual just stood there unbelieving of what he saw. His friend was robbing these people. They were not doing anything wrong and had not done anything to deserve getting a gun aimed at them, but he understood the urgency of the man’s actions when he heard the hunger screams from the edges of the growing darkness.

As fast as he could he ran up the short stairway and grabbed six bottles of water and a large bag of canned goods.

The crowds of angry survivors just stood there watching as the two gunmen backed off and jumped from the dock and rounded the corner.

‘I didn’t want to have to do that, but we gotta move. We can’t afford to take the time to be kind, you understand?’ Koley asked. He sounded tired and worn out.
‘Yea, I understand. It was the right thing to do.’ Sanual said as he ran. He was tired too, but the shadows were falling now and the sun was setting.

The survivors were beginning to understand the danger they were in as well, but they were still too focused on their own need of food and drink to realize they would not live long enough to consume it.

As the last of the sun’s rays withered into the shadows the Twisted emerged.

Chapter 6
‘And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.’ Joel 2: 30-31

Sanual and Marcano ran through the streets of the Downs in desperate fear and anxiety. The moon looked like blood because of the smoke that filled the air and the remaining fires that still burned in the city created an orange-black haze in the distance.

Those who had survived the initial attack and mutation of their families and the weeks of food depredation and consumption of bad water and liquids now suffered for their lack of discipline as the Twisted ran, jumped and slammed into the screaming hopeless masses.

The thought of food and drink was lost to them as the Twisted screamed in the darkness and tore into them with their teeth and claws.

Blood and flesh fell into the open mouths of the Twisted as they gnawed upon their still screaming victims. Some of the survivors tried to fight back but did not stand a chance. The Twisted were much faster and stronger than them and overcame them as a lion would overtake a wounded lamb.

While the city’s residents fought, ran and hid for their lives, Sanual Tinnison and Marcano Koley escaped through a hole in the side of a burnt out hab-building. The halls were nearly pitch black and the wind blew through the broken walls and windows swirling ash and debris around into a constant haze.

The reddened moonlight showed through the broken windows of the habs on the east side of the building; the moon casting its rays through open doorways into the darkened halls. Shambling figures were moving in and out of the moonlight.

They were drugged out people with nothing more on their minds than forgetting the horrors they had seen. None tried to stop the two men as they made their way ever higher into the upper levels of the hab-building, but Koley kept his gun at the ready all the same.

The screaming of the inflicted could be heard outside as the streets became a slaughtering zone. From the seventeenth floor Sanual looked out of the window and could see the Ups were alight again with a lifelike fire that would only die when there was nothing more for it to consume.

Koley handed him a water bottle and a canned fruit pack. ‘We need to eat and get our strength up.’ He said.

Sanual nodded and pulled the tab from the fruit pack. It smelled and tasted like the best meal he had ever had. He drank the fresh water and it tasted sweeter to him than the sweetest wine. But he had mixed feelings.

While they were in this hab eating and drinking, the city was being besieged by the Twisted. Chaos had completely overrun the city and did not even have to invade. The forces of Chaos were most likely watching and laughing from their warships in low orbit, waiting for the destruction of the Emperor’s faithful to waist away and die.

The Twisted chased those who fled and ripped them apart. They pulled the lungs from their bodies while they still struggled to flee. The guts of children, mothers and fathers fell to the ground and were consumed by the Twisted.

The weaker had to settle for the scraps while the stronger tore into the torn, bleeding flesh of the fallen. Sanual and Koley both wept as they ate. Their tears mingled with their pain. The loss of their families and friends coupled with the horrors they had seen, too much to bare.

As the sun came up and its light revealed the atrocities that had befallen the cities inhabitants, the Twisted fled away into the darkness of the sewers, basements, storefronts, refineries, schools and hab-buildings.

From the floors below, Sanual could hear the screams of the druggies and gangers as they were set upon by the Twisted. In the darkened structure there was no escape.

The twisted tore into them without mercy and killed for the sake of killing. Their hunger and thirst had been sated, but they killed anyway. They fought amongst each other too.

Koley and Sanual knew they could not fight their way out of the building. But they also knew that staying here would be their death.

‘Quickly, out the window.’ Koley said.

Sanual looked out of the window and wanted nothing more that to stay where he was. The fear of the Twisted battled with his fear of heights. ‘I can’t go out there!’ Sanual said.

Koley grabbed him by the back of the shirt and nearly threw him out onto the ledge. He did not wait to see if Sanual was okay but jumped out onto the ledge after him as quickly as he could.

An arm; ripped and bloodied and clawed whipped out after him but grabbed only sunlight as Koley moved out of its reach.

The once-man screamed as the sunlight burnt its flesh. From inside the hab the two men on the ledge could hear the frustrated screams of the Twisted as they slammed furniture around the rooms and doors off the hinges and walls from their bracings.

Off to the right a fire escape weaved its way down the side of the building. ‘We have to get over to that fire escape, Sanual.’ Koley said intensely.

Sanual did not react or answer. He was stuck against the wall of the building and as pail as a milk-white sheet.

‘Sanual! You have to move now, or do you want me to throw you off of this building because of your cowardice?’ Koley shouted at him.

‘I am not a coward.’ Sanual stammered. ‘But I am scared.’

‘I’m scared too, brother, but if we stay here we die. I do not want to die, Sanual. Do you hear me, brother?’ Koley’s voice was almost pleading. He was as terror stricken as Sanual but he had his training and discipline to fall back on. Sanual did not.

Slowly Sanual shuffled his feet and began to edge his way over to the fire escape. The screams of the Twisted tore at his nerves but the sun’s light kept them at bay. Sanual edged his way over a little more.

‘That’s it, Sanual. You’re doing a great job.’ Koley said encouragingly. ‘I’m right behind you.

Sanual reached out slowly and grabbed the outer bracing of the fire escape then pulled himself over the ironworks and crumbled onto the flat of it.

Koley jumped past the window and fired a burst of shots from his las-carbine into the darkness beyond.

The screams of the twisted stopped for a moment and Koley dived to the ledge on the other side of the window as a chair flew out and past him with enough force to break a few bricks and knock them out of place. The chair rolled slowly as it fell from the seventeenth floor of the building, before breaking into fragmented broken pieces once it hit the ground.

The sound of it hitting the street below echoed between the buildings for almost a minute. Koley laughed. ‘I got one.’ He said. Smiling, he got up and made his way over to the fire escape to join Sanual.

Sanual looked up into an open doorway. From inside the darkened corridor a figure paced back and forth. It growled and screamed and raged from the frustration of not being able to get to its prey. Slowly it moved into the shadows, closer to the door frame. It knelt down until it was almost crawling. It moved forward until it was within six inches of Sanual.

Its eyes were blood-filled and cataracts covered the irises. Its teeth were filled with raw, decomposed flesh and most of the clothes that were once upon it, now were torn almost entirely from its body.

Sanual could not move. He was held in the grip of the vampire-zombie’s mesmerizing stare. Slowly it reached out and took the sun’s full force upon its arm. It growled as its arm began to burn but it continued to reach out. Sanual was held in its power like a frightened bird is held by a snake’s stare.

Its cold eyes bore into him and very nearly stole his soul.

One shot tore the creatures head from its shoulders as Marcano Koley fired his las-carbine from point blank. ‘Sanual?’ Sanual!’

Sanual blinked and set up. Tears were running down his face. The feeling of helplessness was overwhelming. He was tired and overcome with hopelessness.

‘I do not want to die, Koley.’ Sanual said.

‘If we stay together then you won’t die. Come on we have to go now.’ Koley said.

Together they made their way down the fire escape. From inside of the hab-building a thousand terrors raged, their screams and growls blending in with the howling, whipping wind.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-11, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Default the part after that

[
Chapter 7
And when they brought them forth, they said ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you or stop anywhere in the whole valley; escape to the mountains lest you be consumed.’ Genesis 19: 17

Sanual and Koley made their way back to the packaging warehouse where they had forcefully taken the food from the starving survivors. Sanual still felt ashamed for the way they had treated those people, but he understood that their own survival was all that mattered.

Was it really? Was their survival the only thing that mattered? The thought of that did not sit well with him. ‘I don’t feel right about the way we treated those people last evening. I feel sickened over it.’ Sanual said.

‘Yea. I’ve been thinking about that too. But we have to survive for as long as we can. Help may still come and we have to be fit enough to escape when the time comes.’ Koley answered.

‘What good is it if we live but lose our own souls? I don’t want to become an animal in the effort of rescuing my humanity. Sanual expressed. ‘I want to be a hero, not the villain. I don’t want to contribute to the forces of Chaos by hurting the survivors of this; I don’t even know what this is.

‘Brother, I do hear that, but if push comes to shove, it’s them or me. And I am not going to become a meal for anyone, especially when I know most of them don’t have the salt to stand and fight for me if the tables were turned.’ Koley said angrily.

Sanual stopped and just stared at the destruction. He didn’t say anything more about it because he knew that Koley was right. The problem wasn’t that he was right. It was not right. It was not right to let others die if they were week and could not defend themselves.

‘Someone has to stand up for the week.’ He said after a while.

‘Yea, someone has to do that, but it is not going to be me. The only reason I stay with you is because you saved my life and I owe you. Look, Sanual, you are a good person and I know what you mean, but we cannot save the world. We are all dead; some of us just don’t know it yet.’

The warehouse was awash with blood and torn bodies, food-goods mingled with human waste and bodily organs. There were bottles of water smeared with blood and grain bags drenched with dead humanity. The corpses lay twisted and mangled and most of their flesh had been stripped from their gnawed, broken bones.

‘Grab what you can and place it in the canvas bags. If we can escape the city, maybe we can escape into the mountains to the north. There we can find clean streams of water and maybe a place to hide until help arrives.’ Koley said.

He started packing up all the goods he could carry and placing them into the bag.

‘You can go without me.’ Sanual said.

‘What was that?’ Koley questioned.

‘I said that you could go without me, Marcano. Someone has to protect the people from these things.’ Sanual reasoned.

‘You are crazy!’ Koley yelled. The sound of his voice echoed up and down the street. ‘I know you don’t want to die here. I don’t ether. But if we stay here, we die.’

‘In the last day when I stand before the Emperor of mankind, I want to be able to say I did my best to protect his people. I want Him to tell me that he is proud of me and welcome me into his presence. I don’t want to die a coward.’ Sanual Tinnison said.

Marcano Koley just stood there. His face was red and he was angry. But he understood and knew that Sanual could not be swayed.

‘I have to go. I can’t stay here. Your life is your own and you can spend it the way you want and I will respect you for that. But I have to get out of this place.’ Koley’s face was pleading and there were tears in his eyes.

Sanual understood. Slowly he gathered water and canned goods into his canvas bag and walked away.

Chapter 8

Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 7-8

Night fell upon the city of the Emperor’s Grace. What a strange name that was. At this moment Sanual Tinnison huddled down in the living room of a hab in the far west side of the city. He had considered going to the east side, but the closer he got to the Ups, the more his skin burned.

Radiation from the nuclear power plant had saturated the whole of the east side and was falling more and more to the north as the wind took it in its powerful gusts.

It turned out that there were far more of the Twisted than the survivors and as each night ended, there were less than before. The smell of death and corruption was not as overwhelming as before, not because it had lessoned but because Sanual’s senses had become dull to it.

In the closet Sanual had found a clean pair of pants and a button-up shirt that fit him reasonably well. The clothes were a little big, but that was fine with him.

The residence had been forsaken in a hurry. The plates were still filled with moldy crusted food and still sat on the kitchen table along with the cups that still held traces of whatever liquid had been in them.

Evaporation had nearly emptied the glasses. Liquid line marks could be seen from where the fluid had set until evaporation had taken another sip.

In the back room, the children’s toys still lay upon the child’s bed and the rocking chair set motionless in the corner.

Sanual had only gone in there once. He wished that he had not. When he had first entered the hab, he moved room by room slowly and methodically. He had opened the master bedroom door and moved around it checking the closet and under the bed.

When he opened the door to the child’s room he had very nearly died. From the shadows lunged what must have once been the father. It was covered in other people’s blood and the smell of the room was horrendous.

As it charged forth through the darkened hallway, Sanual shot it once in the chest and another time in the midsection. The force of the shotgun’s load nearly cut the man-thing in half. Its mouth opened and closed as it tried to take in air, but it was dying.

Its shark-like teeth were covered in gore and flesh and Sanual could smell its breath from the end of the hallway. As it took in its final breath Sanual had moved past it and entered the back bedroom from where the Twisted had come.

The remains of the wife and child were there; nothing more than bone, maggots and flies.

Sanual had vomited uncontrollably right onto the body of the Twisted.

‘If you are able to hear me and if you care, would you please help me to overcome? I would give my life to save them but the only ones that are left are the Twisted and the insane. There is nobody here for me to protect.’ He prayed. ‘I am so tired.’

As the next day’s sun revealed the skeleton of the decomposed city, Sanual moved from the hab he had stayed in and found a charity-store. Curiosity got the better of him and he went inside.

Before all of this had unfolded he had been able to find the things that were of value and refurbish them and sell them again. People were normal and times were good. Children played in the streets and families planned for the future. Now the Twisted roamed the streets and the dead lay in the summer sun.

He liked books. He always had. He found three of the ones that most appealed to him and stuffed them into his bag. He found a lamp and said to himself as he lifted it up to inspect it. ‘What a man would give for this if it was cleaned up a little.’

As he set it down on the dust and ash covered table tears fell from his sunken eyes and formed trails down his grime-covered face. He was alone among the dead and the Twisted.

He knew there was nothing more for him to do now but to go back to the hab, eat his food and read his books… and pray for help to come.

Epilogue

In the mountains off to the north a man is running for his life. He is being chased and he will not escape. Tears stream down his face and shame covers him like a shroud. Marcano Koley knows that he has become a coward and has fallen from the Emperor’s grace.

As the Twisted close in upon him he bows his head to pray. He asks forgiveness for his sins and asks the Emperor of mankind to help his friend.

As the sun’s light reveals the mountains beauty, it also reveals the remains of a man who sought only to save himself.


If you liked the story or hated it, I would like to know, so leave a brief message. Thanks. I know I broke the taboo about religion in the Warhammer 40k universe with the use of Bible verses. I chose to take Author's liberties with the story. I hope I did not offend anyone by including them.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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Last edited by Adrian; 09-04-11 at 01:32 AM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-27-11, 05:10 PM
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Great story bud! You've really improved from your first works. There are still a few points here and there (mostly spelling but no one's perfect! ) but overall your writing skills are developing quite nicely. Keep up the good works!

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-04-11, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Default This is a shameless bump from pg. 3

This is a story that scared me while I was writing it. In the beginning our hero was caught in an apartment building/ skyscraper and had to fight his way out. I took the dimensions of the building from the projects in Chicago IL. Called the Rober Taylor Projects. And yes, they were scary too...

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