8 Chapter 7: One Hell of a Hoard for One Little Office
Joshua had a sense of déjà vu as he stood on top of the roof of the police station with a slowly gathering group of creatures trying to force their way through the barricade down below. There were only two or three creatures trying to rip their way through the barricade, but the noise would eventually attract more. Knowing this Joshua decided to hurry and avoid the worst outcome of the rest of his group having to fight their way through a hoard without him.
He looked in the direction where the purple haze was so dense that it looked more like a cloud had fallen to the ground rather than the mist like haze everywhere else. That was the center of town and he could see one building sticking out just above said cloud. Even on top of the police office's two story building he was just barely above the haze, getting a good view of his surroundings in the process. He took his cell phone out of his pocket and noticed it light back up with one push of a button. It confirmed his suspicions that the haze was what was preventing what seemed like all forms of modern equipment from working. It couldn't have been just electronics sense when that poor police officer from earlier died trying to shoot his way out of that horrible situation nothing came of it.
'I hope this works out.' Joshua thought before taking a deep breath of the fresh air and heading towards the escape ladder on the side of the building. The second he climbed down he calmly scanned his surroundings before taking out his combat knife and hammer preparing for a more silent operation than his last waltz through the creature filled streets. He quietly made his way towards the denser hazed area while carefully making sure to avoid any rocks or cans at his feet.
Along the way he started to run into more and more creatures. Some would slowly shuffle towards him until a sound from elsewhere would grab their attention and they'd shuffle away. The further he got into the dense haze the more sounds of clicking claws against the pavement along with the occasional shriek of the creatures reacting to something could be heard all around him. He was starting to feel like he was in some old school horror game with the poor vision and terrifying ambiance. A scream for help came from far off in the distance which caused him to freeze up and turned to look back in the direction, but it was too far away for him to help. The only thing he could do was finish his plan as fast as possible.
As he got close enough to the center of town where he could vaguely make out the mayor's office building he could start to make out the state of the place. There were several of the creatures fumbling around the area, it was almost as if the place was a nest for the things. The next thing he noticed was how horrible the state of the area was. There were several broken windows in the building that were covered with both purple and red blood. Outside the building there were a couple of dead bodies of people who must have tried to get away from the place. From what he could make out there were at least three dead bodies and that was just on the outside of the building.
While he hid slightly out of sight behind an abandoned car something else caught his eye that was surprising to see. Just as he was figuring out how to go about getting inside the building without attracting too much attention to his efforts a small disturbance in the air started to form not too far away from the entrance. A small dense ball of gas started to pull in the purple haze around it and slowly grew in size. After a minute or so it became large enough to see a shape starting to form from it. A humanoid shape with elongated arms and clawed hands started to mold its self out of the solidifying gas. Soon another one of the creatures formed from the gas and let out a loud shriek welcoming itself into the world.
The entire scene sent a chill down Joshua's spine as the implications as what that could mean started to fill his head. The fact that these things could literally pop in and form themselves in a matter of seconds from anywhere was an enormous problem. He couldn't be as sure of himself inside confined spaces if one of these bastards could just form itself inside a closet and jump out at him. He watched as the new creature's shrieks attracted its fellow allies attention as most of them in the area looked over to see what was going on. Soon they all went back to shambling around with only a few of them heading over towards the front of the building.
Joshua thought for a moment on how he should proceed on getting into the third floor of the building, he was sure that going in swinging like back at the police station was a horrible choice. Taking a deep breath he took one last look around for anything that could be of use before deciding on a plan. He picked up the largest rock he could find nearby and tossed it as hard as he could into the window of a car further down the street. The loud crashing sound quickly grabbed the attention of all the creatures in the area. Most of them started moving in the direction of the noise only leaving two or three of them behind wandering around the entrance.
Joshua waited to make sure that his distraction worked well enough before making any moves. Just as he was about to get ready to move in he could hear the clicking sound of one of the creatures just next to the car he was hiding behind. He held his breath as he could see in the reflection of the car's side mirror one of the creatures start to climb over the top of the car. Its claws made slight screeching sounds as they raked against the metal under its feet.
He held his breath waiting for the oblivious creature to pass as it jumped over him from atop the car and landed not more than a few feet in front of him. It regained its bearing from the landing before proceeding to move in the direction of the others. Each one of its steps becoming quieter than the last as it slowly moved away. Joshua finally released the tension in his body as he looked around to make sure there were no more threats preparing to walk right by him.
As he started to plot out a path to take to get into the building while making the least amount of noise possible he noticed how much shattered glass was on the ground. If he just walked over with his large boots on and expected to not make any noise then he would be swarmed in a matter of seconds, so instead he took the boots off and tied them to his belt. He made sure they were tied on tight enough so they wouldn't flop about and make noise while he moved around.
Now set he stood on his toes and made sure to place his feet in between the shards of glass on the street as he slowly made his way towards the nearest straggler. He silently snuck behind the creature and plunged his knife in to the back of its head. Before it could fall to the ground and bring attention to him Joshua caught it and quietly laid it on the pavement before moving to the next one. He followed this pattern for the other two stragglers that stayed behind before making his way to the entrance of the building.
Luckily the front door was wide open so he wouldn't have to try to climb through the widows and over all the shattered glass around them. He slipped inside the open door into the entrance way. The atmosphere of the area was extremely tense as he inspected the place. There was a desk not too far from him with a dead man's body hanging over it. His body had multiple bite marks on it and seemed to have these weird tendrils spreading from where the bites took place. The rest of the room was rather empty with a few knocked over plants around the area. One thing that he did notice was a trailing path of blood smeared across the floor. The path lead to an open swinging door at the back of the entrance way.
The doorway had this heavy purple fog seeping out in to the room along the ground that covered the rest of the tracks. Even with the purple haze all around the fog was so dense that it bellowed out in slow rhythmic waves from inside. Along with these waves you could hear what sounded like a loud slow heartbeat fill up the entire area. Joshua looked around one last time seeing no stairwell and no other way forward before taking a breath and stepping forward into the room.
'What the hell is this?' Joshua thought as he took in the alarming site in front of him. The room was a large open meeting Hall with a broken stage at the back. There was a stairwell to the side of the stage that led up to the second floor, but there were a couple of the creatures wondering around the stage and near the stairwell. The elephant in the room was the enormous spherical purple egg looking thing in the center of the room. It towered over Joshua and stretched up so high it punctured through the ceiling causing it to cave in and fall apart.
The egg spread out far enough to push into the stage at the back of the room while also knocking all of the chairs and tables in the room to the side. It was also apparently extremely heavy sense the floor underneath it caved in completely falling towards the basement below. The entire room felt like it could collapse on its self if the egg continued to spread out.
There were several pulsing tendrils growing out along the surface of the thing as it rhythmically contracted and expanded at a slow rate. What was surprising was the fact that with each pulse more of the purple gas was being pushed out of little holes at the base of the egg and spreading throughout the room. Each time the purple haze in the area would become thicker before being forced out of the room and towards the town outside. This was clearly the source of everything happening in town.
Joshua started to think whether he should try to destroy the thing, but judging by how its expanding easily pushed the ceiling's metal studs and twisted them out of the way of its path of growth there was no way he would be able to break it with anything he had. Even worse was the fact that he could see some of the creatures crawling around as if to protect the thing, some were even hanging from the ceiling in lunging positions ready to jump at anything.
There were some of the things walking around the room, but most seemed to be either sleeping while hanging on to the egg or staying alert to anything that approached it. Joshua had actually brought something along to help him distract the things, but he only had time to make either a move on the egg or a run for the stairwell. He pulled a small glass ball with a bell inside of it from out of the pouch on his tool belt. It was something he found back at the police office on one of the left over desk from making the barricade. With a strong shake it would start making ringing sounds loud enough to attract everything in the room towards it, but the second he started moving the creaking floor boards would probably bring all the attention right back to him.
He steadied himself and prepared for the sprint towards the stairwell before tossing the glass ball all the way at the other end of the room. The clanging sound followed by the ringing of the bell immediately drew the attention of all the creatures in the room. Their ears flapped in surprise before a wave of screeching filled the room. It was like watching a bunch of bats fluttering around for a moment with all the active creatures moving crazily before they started heading towards that side of the room.
When they were far enough away from the stairwell for Joshua to make his move he instantly sprinted with large strides towards his goal. Each step caused the floorboards beneath his feet to let out loud creeks, but he ignored that and pressed forward being prepared for the situation. All of the creatures turned back towards him and let out a choir's worth of shrieks before shambling towards him or clawing their way across the broken ceiling.
Before any of them could reach him he was already at the door to the stairwell. When he opened the door he was happy to see the stairs were still intact, but was frustrated at the couple of creatures that decided to jump him the moment he opened the door. He completely avoided the first ones attempt by stepping to the side and letting it fly by into the growing hoard trying to follow him. The second one he simply smashed in the face with an elbow sending it tumbling backwards before picking it up and tossing it behind him through the door.
He slammed the door shut before rushing up the stairs three at a time. Before he could even reach the second floor he could hear one of the creatures below bust through the door. He could see a couple of them start climbing up the wall in a much faster pace than they walked on the ground.
Just as he was passing the entrance to the second floor something broke through the door in front knocking into him before falling over the railing down into the hoard that was pushing itself in to the stairwell below. Joshua quickly grabbed the railing to keep his balance before pulling himself forward and up the stairs. He continued to rush as fast as he could before anything else on the second floor could make its mad attempt at catching him. When he was just about to make the final pass into reach of the third floor stairway he lunged forward to dodge one of the creatures that had made a mad leap for him from the wall across from him. He was barely able to avoid it before moving out of the purple haze and in to the clear space of the third floor.
As he took a breath and was reaching for the door he heard a loud thump as one of the creatures dived out of the purple haze into the clear portion of the stairwell just behind him. He turned to see the creature shriek in pain as it body seemed to boil and let out steam at the contact to fresh air. It only took a few seconds for the thing to go silent as its body started to evaporate right before his eyes. None of the other creatures were willing to take the chance as they stared at him from just within the haze.
Joshua took one more deep breath before turning back around and opening the door. He could only hope that everything he would need was still working.