39 Chapter 38: First Conflict with the Big Bad Boss Part 3
Natalie stood to the side of the road behind a make shift barricade that they had put together before Joshua and the others headed into the haze. She was in the perfect spot to aim at the traps that stood in between them and the town along the road. With a bucket full of gasoline beside her and arrows ready to be set on fire after a quick dip she was just waiting for hell to break lose. Up to this point the first phase seemed to enjoy throwing surprises at them so they had prepared just in case something drastic would happen, but Natalie hoped that they would be able to scout and come back in one piece without too much trouble.
Dave and his two brothers on the other hand were joining them for the first time on a big operation and Natalie was surprised at how calm the three of them seemed. Dave was as stoic as always as he just stood there with his arms crossed and eyes closed. It was like watching a tree with the only movement that could be seen was caused by his deep breathing.
Devin on the other hand wasn't trying to portray any sense of calmness. He didn't stand there like his brother, but instead decided to lean against the barricade and hunch down a bit. At first Natalie thought he was attempting to just look cool in some kind of weird pose, but the occasional snore coming from his direction quickly destroyed that idea.
Dillon was the exact opposite of his two brothers. Where they were still and waiting patiently Dillon couldn't stay in one spot. He would constantly move back in forth as he happily inspected the barricade or pretended to look interested in some random flower he would find on the side of the road. Honestly of the three brothers Natalie felt like he was the strangest of the group.
After another half an hour of nothing happening, Dave finally opened his eyes and turned towards Natalie. "Is this how it usually goes? Seems like a lot of waiting around to me." He asked Natalie.
"For the most part whenever we're dealing with an unknown we usually proceed this way. We have to be careful sense we don't know what are target is capable of." Natalie responded. "Back at the factory things nearly went bad because we were surprised at how sturdy the creature was. Even after burning it for a while inside a locked building it didn't die the first time around. If Joshua hadn't kept its attention while we figured out another way to kill it then we might have all died."
"That bad huh, is there anything we should watch out for in particular?" Devin asked as he joined the conversation and surprised the two of them.
"Sense we don't know its specific abilities I can't say for sure, but one thing I am certain of is that its blood lust will shock you to the core. Outside of Joshua all of us froze up back at the factory after its first roar. If he hadn't snapped us out of it while holding it off, I don't think we would be talking right now." Natalie replied as she tensed up a bit at the memory.
"That sounds problematic." Devin simply replied before shrugging his shoulders and going back to leaning against the barricade.
"That's putting it mildly. If we were to freeze up like that while having to deal with its minions then we might as well stretch our necks out now." Dave grumbled out while scratching his beard agitatedly.
In that moment Natalie turned to see Dillon just happily looking on at everyone as he watched them converse. It was weird to her so she decided to bring him into the conversation to get rid of that feeling. "What do you think Dillon?"
"On nothing much, I'm just happy to be here." He replied with his constant uplifting smile. The others looked at him strangely, but before they could make anything of it there was a large explosion sound coming from town.
"What the hell was that? I thought they were supposed to be going in quietly." Dave said in shock.
"They were…" Natalie said before listening in on the mental link for a moment. "…but it seems like there were too many creatures in the area for them to proceed silently. So they just gathered them up and blew up the building they were in before moving on. It should work as a good distraction as well."
"I guess, but I hope they don't end up alerting the thing before they even get to it." Dave said as the group once again settled back in to silence. It didn't take too long before another large explosion occurred. This time they were able to see the flames rise high above the purple haze even from their position. The flames went on for a while before they died down to being more smoke than fire.
"Well it seems like they've done the first probing attack." Natalie said as she continued to watch the smoke. Just as she was about to ask how things looked through the mental link the air around them seemed to cause everyone to shudder and a feeling she hoped she wouldn't have to deal with again washed over her. It was similar to back at the factory, but not quite as bad sense they were so far away, but that wouldn't be the case for her friends who were now face to face with the monstrosity.
Soon after the feeling crept over the entire group they were able to watch as an enormous figure stood up and towered over the haze below. More of the mist seemed to shroud its body a bit as it raised up, but they could still clearly make out its figure. The only word that came to Natalie's mind to describe it was demonic. The sense of dread seemed to grow as the creature let out an infuriated roar before looking back down towards the people who tried to hurt it.
Natalie watched as the giant seemed to just blink out of existence before reappearing in another spot and swinging its arm down into a thunderous collision with a building. She could hear Joshua screaming at his partners to keep going through the mental link and was worried for his life. Sadly she wouldn't have much time to worry as the giant turned to look in their direction and seemed to glare specifically at her. It bent backwards for a moment letting its giant belly point towards the sky before its grotesque mouth shot out several large orbs of purple gas that soared towards their direction.
They all got prepared as Natalie knocked an arrow and set it on fire waiting for the right time to shoot. It didn't take long for several of the orbs of gas to crash into the ground just outside of town. Luckily for them they didn't land ahead of the traps otherwise a lot of their work would have been wasted. When the haze dissipated a bit, several enraged creatures ran out towards them. Unlike the creatures from before that would only shamble forward and lunge at you when they got close enough these ones ran on all fours like animals with their mouths wide open preparing to bite at any moment. They were able to survive being outside the purple haze sense their bodies were still covered in a small shroud of mist from the balls of gas they came out of. Natalie, wasn't sure if they would be able to stay outside of the haze for long, but she didn't have the time to wait and find out.
"You three protect the front of the barricade, I'll take out as many as I can with the traps while they make their way here." Natalie said before aiming at the first set up they had made. The small hoard approached the tightly packed together bunch of cars and started to trample over them. Natalie waited a moment for enough of the hoard to get within range before firing the flaming arrow directly into one of the leaking gas lines of the cars. The entire area lit up in a big ball of fire as pieces of the now destroyed cars soared through the air while several of the obsessed creatures were torn apart from the explosion, or caught on fire and slowly dying.
Natalie took out some of her normal arrows and proceeded to kill any of the creatures that had made it far ahead of the rest of the surviving pack. By the time the rest of the surviving hoard had made it to the next trap she was already prepared. Soon another explosion shook the area as more of the creatures died painfully. They repeated the process three more times before they had run out of traps, but by that point they had greatly thinned down the amount of creatures left to charge at them. There may have only been twenty or so left from the former mass of over five hundred creatures.
When the first few made it to the barricade the three brothers took action by slowly and carefully holding them off while one of them would kill the most threatening creature of the group. Natalie stood at the back and took out creatures further off in the distance so that they wouldn't be able to pile up on the barricade too much. As everything seemed to be going smoothly Natalie took notice of the giant boss itself looking in her direction once again. Its eyes seemed to squint together in an odd look of delight before it teleported away once again as it supposedly chased her friends towards the edge of town.
She found it odd that the monster seemed happy when looking towards her, but then she suddenly heard something tearing through the air above them. The three Carsen brothers were too focused on holding off the creatures at the barricade to notice, but Natalie turned to look up only to see another smaller ball of purple gas fall over their heads and crash directly behind them. Natalie tensed up and turned her focus to fending off whatever might have gotten behind them, but after a few moments of waiting for the haze to clear only one shadowed figure could be seen. It slowly shuffled out of the haze and into view. When Natalie was able to make out its face her entire body froze.
The thing coming out of the haze wasn't one of those creatures, but was a zombified human instead. Several tendrils coursed throughout its skin as its eyes glowed a deep purple. Its face looked lost until it locked on to Natalie's presence, then it let out a loud scream before rushing towards her. If it was any other zombie Natalie would have killed it in a heartbeat, but instead the person rushing towards her was an old friend. David frantically made his way over with nothing but thoughts of tearing into Natalie's neck.
Natalie looked on it shock as she released the arrow from her hands as it fell to the ground. Her mind was running through several thoughts at the moment, but the main ones were all about David. A man she had known most of her life as they had grown up together in a town nearby. They had been friends for so long and had even decided to join the police force together all these years later. David didn't know it at the time, but Natalie had fallen in love with him years ago and now the man she cared most about in the world had turned into this mindless creature. This wasn't something she would wish on anyone, but no matter how much she told herself this she couldn't bring herself to shoot him down.
"Natalie what are you doing?" Dave's voice could be heard shouting from behind her. The man was still struggling to fend off a couple of the creatures that had made their way over the barricade. His brothers were also busy holding up the rest of the creatures that had tried to sneak around them. In their position there was no way for them to help her.
"I…I can't do it." Natalie said as tears started fall from her eyes. "I can't kill him." Natalie dropped her bow with a saddened smile as she knew her decision would probably cause her to die, but if she could restrain him long enough for her partners behind her to finish off the rest of the stragglers then she wouldn't have to make the choice in the end. Thoughts of the possibility that maybe if they were able to finish the first phase then she could still bring him back kept floating through her mind even though deep down she knew he was dead. 'But this is all like a game right? Maybe there is a way…' Natalie thought.
Just as the zombie was about to crash into her and rip into her neck something shoved her out of the way. Natalie rolled across the ground from the harsh shove, but quickly got to her feet to see what happened, but the sight before her caused her heart to break. Thomas had been the one to push her out of the way and her old mentor was now standing in her previous spot with a zombie biting into his shoulder. The man gave her a pained smile before pulling out a knife and smashing it through David's temple. The zombie slumped over and fell to the ground while Thomas collapsed to one knee. The scene was so stunning for Natalie that she lost control over her mental link, leaving everyone else clueless on what was wrong.