You're sitting on your sofa. The black leather has molded to the shape of your rear, perfectly encapsulating you in a warm pool of comfort. You've been watching The Walking Dead for 3 hours now, in the vain hope of catching up with your friends. But it's getting late, and you're tired. You were going to head off to bed when the current episode finished, but by that time you reached that strange state where you're so tired you couldn't possibly fall asleep. Your mind just doesn't even have the energy to shut down. So here you sit, barely even taking in the episode you're watching. Just wishing something interesting would happen, but nobody's home, and it's far too late for someone to come knocking at the door.
Get up. Yes, you heard me. Get up off of that sofa. Turn off the TV. That's it. Now get your coat and put on your shoes. Don't bother getting dressed out of your pajamas, nobody is going to see you tonight. You're clearly very bored, so you should head off on an adventure. Yes, I know how late it is, but there's no better time for the adventure I have planned for you.
Unlock the door and leave the keys in the house. I know, someone could come rob your house but trust me, if you make it back from this you are not gonna want to go fumbling around with keys. Yeah, it'll be dangerous, but that's all part of the fun.
Close the door and step off the patio. Now, head down the road east. What, you don't know which way is east? Haven't you ever seen where the sun rises and sets? You remember the way to the river right? Down by the park? Yeah, you go down there to hang out with your friends along the west bank. Well that's where you're going. Gosh, what are they teaching you kids these days? You don't even know which direction you're going.
Your footsteps echo off the asphalt, like the houses around you make up the walls of a dark cavern, with stalactites of streetlight dripping down from above. Without them, the darkness would be suffocating.
You take shelter in the silky golden light, making sure not to let your body fall outside of it for more than a moment before moving to the next zone of illumination. The houses are all dark, as if abandoned. Or perhaps those within use the darkness to hide and observe, amused at your futile efforts to evade the detection of the horrors that lurk where the light dare not touch.
Here you are. A break in the warm glow of the roads; the park.
It is an immense field of inky blackness. Not even the moon shines upon it on this night. Isn't it just picturesque?
Now go on. Just cut straight across the field to the river. Past the playground. Continue down to the bank.
Now that you're at the bank, you'll want to head nor-... I mean left. There it is, see? That big old sewage pipe. You've seen it before, and its rusty grate always seemed easy enough to pull off. You and your friends have never been foolish enough to try it though. A smart move on your part.
Well now's your chance to see what's in there. Just pull that dirty thing off. You were right about how easy it was. It just falls right off with just a little effort. Now toss it aside and climb into the pipe. Someone else will come and replace it. Don't worry, no sewage has flown down here in a decade or two, but your footsteps might stir up a bit of a stench.
It's dark in the pipe. You can't even see the nose on your face. Like your eyes have been covered by a thick dark veil. You can feel your way around, but it isn't pleasant. The sides of the pipe are completely rusted and crumble at your touch.
Now, you'll need to listen to me and move quickly. You're not alone in there. You're looking for an opening in the ceiling. A hole torn through the floor and into the pipes. By who, you ask? Well, by the one in there with you now. He can't hear, and sight is useless in a place like this, but he can smell. In fact, he can smell just about as good as a bloodhound. He sniffs around in those pipes, searching for another lost soul to wander into them. But none have been down there in a while and he's getting very, very hungry.
Right, sorry, I should hurry you along. So, follow my directions and turn exactly when I tell you to turn. No later, no earlier. Failing to obey me will result in you smacking into a wall and cutting this whole adventure short. Now run! I know it's cramped, but run as fast as you can! Don't bother feeling around, it'll only slow you down. Keep going straight. A little to the left, you're meandering.
You can hear him now, can't you? The heavy panting, the relentless stomping of feet. The footfalls are too quick to be from someone else running through the pipes, but too heavy to be a dog as the panting implies. It's as if they're running on all fours. But only animals do that, right?
Now left! Right! Forward a bit... right! Left! Left! Straight ahead! Now jump!
Without hesitating, you leap, and are surprised to find yourself ascending beyond the pipe's ceiling and landing on your chest upon a hard concrete floor. You quickly scramble up, scratching your legs on the many jutting spikes of metal that bridge the gap between this floor and the pipe. Once your feet have landed on solid ground, you turn around and look back down the hole in the floor. It's too dark to make out any details, but you see a pair of bright green eyes staring at you from below, before quickly darting away back into the pipe. A faint whimpering sound echoes through it.
Fantastic! You made it out of there, alive and everything! That's no small feat, you know.
Now, you need to feel around for a doorway. Just drag your hands along the rough walls until they give way. There it is! Just go through there and you'll be out in the hallway. Feel your way through until you find the staircase, then you'll need to go up two flights.
That's it. Just slowly feel your way along the walls. Oh? You seem to have kicked something. It was soft and it made a solid "thump" when your foot struck it. I wouldn't worry about it. Just step over it. Keep going, I think you're almost there.
The wall disappears as you run your hand along it, giving way to another pitch black corridor. Suddenly, your hand touches something. You pause for a moment, slightly frightened, but assuming it's just a wall. You feel it a little more and quickly realize the gravity of your mistake.
The object is soft and warm. In the moment that your hand passes over it, it seems to rise slightly, emitting a raspy breath. Before you can study the object any longer, you find your legs carrying you down the hallway at speeds you never thought possible by you. Your footsteps are too heavy to hear any following you, but you run nevertheless. You run for what felt like an hour, your heart pounding almost as fast as your feet pounded the floor. Suddenly, your chin shatters and your brain is rocked by a hard smack into the wall. You collapse on the floor and your mind becomes hazy.
No! No! Don't pass out now! I NEED you to stay with me! Ok, your chin is busted, and you've probably got some serious brain damage, but it won't matter if you just keep moving! The hallway continues right. I'll be able to warn you when you reach the stairs. Go! Go! Go!
You continue running down the corridor. You're not sure if you're even being followed anymore, but you feel it's best not to take any chances.
You're not running as fast this time. Your mind is too hazy to concentrate on moving your legs properly. You stumble every few steps, and your vision is fuzzy. Your chin is dripping blood. You try to feel it as you run to assess the damage, but the moment you touch it your hand jolts back from the sharp pain it sends through your face. You decide to ignore it and keep going.
Slow down now! You're almost at the stairs. In fact, you can just take a breather at the first step. You're quite the runner when you want to be.
Now, you just need to go up two floors. The stairs go up half a floor at a time. So the fourth time you come across a gap in the stairs, you'll have made it.
Take it slowly now. You don't want to startle her. Right, I should mention what you're up against right now. All you need to know is that she's easily startled. She luckily didn't spot you on your way here. Maybe she doesn't have good hearing. But what she does have is sight. If you start to run and panic, she'll panic too. And trust me, you don't want that.
Just take it one step at a time. She is watching you. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Scratch that, the smell is terrible in here. Just breathe slowly. Focus on it and don't let her distract you.
You've made it to the quarter-way mark. Good job. She was waiting for you up here. She'll now be following you up the rest of the stairs. You hear her? Her shuffling footsteps on the stairs. The rustling of her clothes. Her heavy breathing on your back. She's interested in you. She hasn't seen another like you in a long time.
You've made it to the first floor. Halfway there. She's starting to become a little... touchy. A little brush with your hand. Peeking around your side to get a look at your face. Do not react. Any reaction is guaranteed to startle her. Let her touch you and look at you as she wants.
Third quarter. You're doing really well. She's trying to get ahead of you now. She wants you to look at her. If she gets in front of you, make sure to move around. She will not like it if you bump into her. She's reaching over your shoulder now and trying to touch your chin. I know, it'll hurt, but let her. Your life depends on it.
Her fingers pinch gently around where your chin has been mangled. A shock of pain shoots through your face. You manage to contain your recoil in a short gasp. It feels as though she moves a few shards of bone with her caress. Her finger is long. In fact, you swear you can feel a thin digit going across your shoulder and brushing past your neck, all in the same movement. As if all by one finger. She suddenly draws her finger away, and you release your breath in a loud sigh, thankful that she can't hear.
Here you are. Floor number two. That wasn't so bad was it? You did superbly. Not long to go now. Just walk straight ahead.
You walk, but soon enough you find yourself kicking another object. You lean down this time, determined to work out what it is you keep bumping into.
Your hands feel around the object. It consists of one large part, five long protrusions and a bulb on top. It's a human, in hard, blood-caked clothing. What's more is the chest cavity seems to be, well, a cavity. There's no skin, no ribs, no flesh. Not even organs. Same with the skull. The face is all there, but the top has been torn off and the brain removed. It all seems to have been cleaned out, but your hands are dry. Whatever happened to this person must have happened a long time ago. Your hands start to shake, but you take a deep breath and compose yourself. You continue down the corridor.
Keep going, you're almost there. It'll all be worth it, I promise.
A few more steps and you bump into another body. Feeling around it reveals that this one suffered the same fate.
Don't worry, it's ok. It'll all be ok.
You almost trip over another corpse. And another. And another. They seem to litter the ground like a swarm of flies after being hit by bug spray.
You're almost there. Keep going.
You start to realise just how quiet it is here. As if there's not a single living soul around. Just you and your footsteps upon the cold cement ground.
Where are you anyway?
Don't worry about that. Come here. Come here.
You slow down a little, eventually coming to a stop as the pain in your head rises. You press your fingers on your temples and wince. Was that there before? You suppose it was, but you just never thought about it. You often get a headache from staring at screens for too long, but it doesn't usually last for such an extended period of time. And it's never this searing.
But keep going. You're almost there. I can smell you.
You continue, still grimacing from the pain. You come across another corpse. You tentatively step over it, but find yourself stepping inside the open chest of another dead body. You almost wretch at the sound of the flesh squishing under your shoe, but you let your foot rest inside it and step over it with your other foot. Only to find yourself stepping into yet another body. You groan, trying to contain your dinner. Another step and you're finally clear of the dead. You find it odd though, how many there are in one spot. But you're here now. I can see you.
Just to your right is an open doorway. Go there and search the ground for the body of the warden. You found him? Good. Now feel around his belt and unhook the flashlight. There, now flick it on and have a look around.
You push the switch on the side of the torch. The light is blinding for a few moments, but your eyes soon adjust and you look around.
The corridor you came from has bodies scattered across the ground, all with their organs removed and the inside of their chest and cranium on display. There's a girl at the end of the hallway. Her fingers are long and curl up on the ground. They're tentacles, you realise. Then you remember who she is, and your heart skips a beat. But she just stands there. She has no hair, and her skin has a grey, cracked texture. She stares directly at you from her sunken eyes. They look so sad. In fact, there were small tears rolling down her face. She just stood there, arms by her side, crying quietly, with her tentacled fingers limp on the floor.
Along the walls were doors and long windows. The doors were solid and metal, with a faint turquoise paint and nameplates near the top. Alicia Brown, Harry Dunlop, Simon Mattias and many other names too far away to read. Below each one was a strip of colour with black bold writing on them. They ranged from SAFE, to DANGEROUS, upon green and yellow respectively.
You turn to the door you were standing beside. As you turn, you see the large amount of bodies gathered around it, all with their delicious organs scooped out. Some even piled on top of others to save space. The door is open, held there by the corpse of the warden that first made the mistake of opening my door. His body was in the same state as all the others. Written on the door was my name, Jack Sampson. The strip at the bottom a bright shade of red, with the word "LETHAL" written on there in the same bold letters. A title I wear like a badge of honour.
Come inside now, don't be shy. You step over the body and into my cell. You find it surprising how clean it was of victims, save for the dried blood that almost coats all the surfaces in an ugly shade of dark red. I try to keep a clean home, but there are some stains that you just can't get out. You know how it is. Now turn. Look at me.
You turn to your left to see me in the corner of the room. The first thing that sticks out to you is my massive forelimbs. They are elongated and muscular, with spikes of keratin running along the underside. These limbs are attached to my grossly extended torso, clothed with a specially sewn orange jumpsuit to accompany my extra limbs and body. Dangling from my body are my old, weak human arms and legs. Unused for decades since my modification. I have four large insectoid legs on the lower parts of my abdomen that I use instead of my human ones. But the most striking feature of me is my massive cranium. It is many times the size of a human's. I have open orifices where my temples should be. Two fleshy mandibles flip out from my disjointed jaw.
I start to move towards you, my four legs carrying me across the room. I rise up and bare the spikes on my arms. You do not move, but stare unflinchingly at my large compound eyes. The pain in your head is at an unbearable level. Like your brain is screeching in abject terror and frustration at its inability to control you. It wants to leave. It wants to leave and never come back. But I don't let it. You're mine now. You did a great job delivering yourself to me. Now stand still.
I tilt my body and reach out with my forelimbs, the spikes driving into your back and your front. I lift you up to my face and begin to tear apart your chest with my mandibles. They drive into you, crushing bone and ripping it out. Finally, your succulent organs are exposed. I dig into them ravenously. You are forced to look on as your body is devoured. Your brain is screeching for help, but no others will come, for I am the only one that can hear it. The sound is satisfying. The sound of a job well done, and a prey well captured.
I suck up the last of your intestines. You feel the tug on your throat before it finally tears and you are left hollow, yet still alive. I turn you over so we are face-to-face. Your expression is blank, but your mind is in a constant agonized scream. Blood and drool is pouring down my chin and dripping onto the floor, landing in sickening heavy drips. My mandibles are tipped with huge, sharp, blood soaked teeth. The openings in my temples quiver as I speak, each word amplifying the pain in your head. My blue compound eyes are bulbous and go all the way up my head, getting larger at the top. The dark pupils stare at you with a hungry glare. I'm excited for the last course. I drag my tongue around my lips and over my mandibles, savoring the last scraps of your internal organs.
My mouth yawns open, letting out a breath that washes the stench of death over your face. My mandibles penetrate your temples, driving straight into your brain. It lets out one last piercing shriek before suddenly going silent, and your body goes limp in my arms.
I lap up last delicious pool of blood from the inside of their skull. My body is wracked with waves of pleasure from the taste. I try to suck on the flesh to get a little more of the fluid out, but it seems to have gone dry, so I lick my lips and lower the body from my face. I step outside, my heavy footsteps echoing through the corridor. Toward the end of it, Alicia is on her knees with her tentacles covering her face. She is sobbing audibly, tears dropping to the floor. I toss the body onto the pile and turn to face her. I try to make her stop crying, but she just continues despite my attempts. Her brain is silent and deaf, as always. Annoyed, I return to my room and shut the door.