Joshua woke up wincing at the pounding sensation he was having from his head. Although he was never one to drink heavily, he had found his self on the wrong side of a hangover before. The current feeling he was having as he pulled himself up from the floor was similar if you added someone clanging pots together right next to your ears. He fumbled his way to his feet as he had to grab on to the nearest isle rack to pull himself up. He took a few moments to gather himself as the searing pain cooled itself down to an annoying throbbing sensation.
As Joshua finally had his wits together he noticed the absolute silence surrounding him. The gentle hum from the refrigerators was gone along with all the noises from the other electronics in the store. The eerie silence was only made worse by the heavy purple haze that surrounded everything he could see. Although it looked as thick as a light mist in the morning when he moved his hands through it he felt no resistance. It was as if the mist wasn't even there and it was all in his head, but his gut feeling was telling him otherwise.
After he finished thinking about the situation Joshua remembered the clerk and rushed over to the counter to check on him. When he looked over to the other side of the counter there was nothing there. No man, no clothes, not even a single hair as if the old man had just vanished into thin air. 'What is going on?' Joshua thought before turning towards the screened door. Looking outside he wanted to see if anyone else was around, but the mist kept his vision just within the range of the gas station. He couldn't see much further than where his truck was located at the gas pump. He walked outside and headed towards his truck to check if everything was still there.
With a quick twist to the ignition Joshua tried to start his truck up, but nothing happened. The only noise came from the clanging of his keys as he twisted them repeatedly trying to see if any part of the truck was functioning. Giving up on any hope of being able to drive his truck out of there Joshua went to get his stuff from the bed of the truck. As he was moving stuff out of the way he suddenly heard a shout come from the haze on the other side of the gas station. "HELP, PLEASE HELP!"
Joshua turned to see what was happening when he saw a middle aged man running towards the gas station screaming and crying. The man had the most desperate look as tears streamed down his face and a cold sweat poured from his drenched hair. When he saw Joshua he changed directions rushing towards him as if he hand found his savior, but before he could ask for help again a fiendish hand gripped his shoulder. The hand was shriveled with wrinkles and scars covering every inch of it. It was a pale grayish white color and even with its unhealthy look it was strong enough to pull the man to a halt. The most eye catching thing was the long grisly claws that looked like hooked knives as they punctured into the man's shoulder.
"Ahhhh!" The middle aged man screamed in pain and fear as he tried to pull the hand off his shoulder. In his panic he didn't notice another hand wrapping around him preparing to dig into his rib cage. Before Joshua could warn him the second pair of grotesque claws plunged into the man's side and pulled on him. After a sound that almost sounded like a squealing pig came out of his mouth he fell to his knees giving Joshua a good look at what had attacked him.
A head came into view as it hovered near the struggling man's neck. It was a hideous bundle of graying dried skin, wart filled craters, and scars that scabbed over in disastrous patterns. The eyes of the creature were surrounded with veins and the grayed out pupils showed signs that it might be blind. It had greasy long locks of black hair that tried to hide parts of its face, along with weirdly large ears that fanned back and forth. Its nose was scrunched into its face barely more than two holes on a small bump that constantly flared in and out smelling its prey.
The most defining thing about it was its lipless mouth that stretched into a wide grin across its entire face. The jagged multiple rows of teeth that hooked inward to make sure it could latch on and tear off a huge portion of flesh, and that's exactly what they did. "Gaahhh!" The poor man screamed as the creature bit into his neck with an expression of glee. It used this chance to force the man completely to the ground as it tore off some flesh from his neck and let out a screeching sound. Then two more of the things came from behind and latched on to his legs, tearing into what looked like their latest meal.
'What the hell are those things?' Joshua thought in a state of shock. He couldn't take his eyes away from the horrible scene as he feared they might turn towards him if he made any sudden movements. 'This isn't good. I need to find something to protect myself with. Those claws and teeth are made for keeping hold of their prey so hand to hand isn't a good idea.'
Joshua frantically looked through the bed of his truck for a few moments before finding a couple of metal baseball bats that he kept for whenever they went to the batting cages. He picked one up and looked through his tool kit and found the combat knife that his friend Aito gave him from his military training. Outside of that there wasn't much he could use.
Jumping from the bed of the truck he was going to rush over to help when two of the creatures looked up and started heading his direction. At first he was worried they'd rush him down, but they moved towards his direction in a slow shambling motion. It was about the pace of a limping person as they struggled to hold up their heads and arms as they swayed back and forth.
Trying to test something out Joshua picked up one of the small wrenches from his tool box before chunking it into a metal trash bin a ways away from him. The two shambling monsters turned as their ears flapped a bit as though they were locking on to the sound. They started to shamble in that direction which Joshua used as a chance to slowly creep up on the one creature that decided to stick to the dying man. The entire time he made sure that the other two were still distracted and that no others came from out of the haze that surrounded the area.
When Joshua got close enough to where he could swing his bat and hit the head directly the creatures ears started flapping as though it became alert, but before it could turn around he swung the bat as hard as he could. A loud crunching sound occurred as the top half of the things head splattered like a watermelon. Purple fluids and pulp spread all over the ground as the creature fell over without making a sound. Its claws were still latched onto its meal even in death.
'They seem rather brittle.' Joshua thought as it felt like the crunch you would hear from stepping on a cockroach or some other insect. 'But if that's the case they shouldn't be too hard for me to deal with in small numbers.' Before he could continue his thoughts the other two shambling monstrosities were already heading back towards him. Luckily there didn't seem to be any more coming from out of his visibility range. Moving quietly to the side so he could take at least one down by surprise he waited for them to get close enough before taking another large swing. The closes one's head busted open sending bits and pieces everywhere.
As soon as he finished his swinging motion he dodged to the side as the other creature lunged towards the spot he was in. Letting out a short breath of air Joshua quickly followed with a bash to the back of its head as it laid sprawled out on the ground after its failed attack. Looking at the spot the creature jumped from he could see small cracks on the ground from the abnormal strength it used to lunge so quickly. The distance it moved wasn't very far, but the explosive way it did was impressive. Looking at the now dead creatures legs he could see veins bulging all the way up its leg as if it used all the force in its body for that one move.
'They seem to be all or nothing in their movements. Too many of them around and I'd have a hard time dodging them all lunging at me.' Joshua thought before moving back over to the dead man. He closed his eyes and left a silent prayer before looking for anything on the man that could identify him. In his wallet from his back pocket he found an ID and a family picture of the same man with a smiling wife and a happy little girl. It seemed more recent since the man had looked almost the same even now.
After taking a moment to calm himself down from the situation he checked to make sure the bat he had was alright before heading back over towards his truck to gather his things. He was already right on the edge of town and wanted to head out to see how far the haze spread. Just as he reached to open the door he heard another scream nearby. From the direction the sound came from it was probably someone from the store across the street that he had seen people enter before. It sounded like that of a woman and soon after he started to hear more yelling from the same direction.
Joshua hurried across the street as quickly as possible without making too much noise. Soon he could no longer see the gas station behind him anymore and could only see far enough to see the blacked out street light. The closer he got towards the noise the more stuff he could hear. There were crashing noises as he got in range to see the front of the store. Outside the door two more creatures were pushing on the door trying to enter as they could hear the sounds inside.
Joshua quickly snuck up behind them and smashed through both of them. One's head exploded while the other was knocked away with the left over force of the blow. Not wanting the person inside to get killed before he could help, he left the knocked down and confused creature for later and made his way inside. The first thing he saw was a woman desperately trying to run towards a counter at the back of the small store. One of the creatures seemed to have missed a lunge and crashed into a row of shelves knocking everything to the floor.
The woman fumbled her way over the counter and the sound of whispers could be heard. One clearly sounded angry while the other was more subdued with fear. Joshua quickly ran over to the fumbling creature that was trying to get back up and took one good swing destroying the head like all the others. Then he rushed back to the door and shoved it open knocking over the bumbling creature from before that was about to start trying to get in. He quickly rushed up and finished it off as well before it could get back up and create more noise to attract others.
Joshua held in an audible sigh before looking around wearily making sure no other creatures were attracted to the noise from earlier. After giving it a few moments to make sure everything was clear he turned back around to enter the store and make sure everyone inside was alright. "What the hell were you doing?" An angry man's shouts could be heard as Joshua walked inside.