The Story

Chapter One
Into The light
By: Alex K Barton

It was a Tuesday and David had just started the move into his new apartment right on the corner of Cherry Lane and McBee Street. It was a good sized flat, nothing fancy.

“Look here Sarah, it even comes with a microwave!” David smiled and plugged it in.

“It’s probably some piece of junk a former resident left, just trash. David pressed the start button to see if the microwave was working. Nothing, only the light inside seemed to work. David gave it a shrug and ran into the bathroom where Sarah was gawking at the water stained ceiling and the old led paint pealing like birch bark.

“Gawd, David this place is a shit whole. I wish you would have waited to sign the lease. I would have liked to try and talk you out of it.” Sarah put her hands on her hips and frowned. “Come on, Its got all this room and such charm! Plus, I needed to get into a place quick. Living with my parents again was the worst. It’s nice to have a place to my self.”

“Yeah well, I can’t argue with that. Moving in with Amy was one of the worst ideas I think you've ever had. Lets go get some stuff off the truck. We have a lot of work ahead of us!”

David had recently broken up with his girlfriend Amy Rutherford: an avid drinker and a connoisseur of the local male population. David was unlucky enough to think she could be monogamous. He was a little old fashioned and felt it was with little love for him that she had invited a strange man into there bed hoping for David’s included participation. Needless to say, David had decided to leave the relationship in hopes of brighter horizons and in turn losing out when it came to the lease holder of their apartment. It was a nasty break up. David was, however, making the best of it. He had made a call to his ever faithful fall back Sarah Ackley, who was a former lover now lesbian buddy. David was famously unlucky with women.
The evening pressed on; she mopped, he scrubbed. They sat and ate pizza, and then moved box after box. They mopped and scrubbed some more. Soon David was sitting with all his earthly possessions alone in his new apartment thinking about what to do next. His life was in shambles. He had gone to college to become a journalist, however, with the death of the magazine and news paper in full swing and a bad economy to boot, work was tough to find. He found a job at a computer repair shop making little more than minimum wage. It was seldom that he made time to write. He procrastinated and avoided sitting at his computer. He hated to even look at it due to the fact he looked at them all day anyway at his tech job. He decided that he needed to wash some clothes. This was less procrastination and more necessity. Amy thew most of his stuff in the street when he walked out.

“Crazy bitch...,” he mumbled as he walked though the darkness to the the communal laundry room. He had little money and the apartment only came furnished with a refrigerator, and a microwave. David stopped at an old navy blue door. Dust and a set of metal bars obstructed the view through the window to the inside. He felt around for the carabiniere attaching the keys to his hip. With keys in hand he tried to supported the basket of dirty clothes with his belly against the door as he struggled with the old lock. Both hands occupied with the key the the door flew open and David had little time to grab the basket as it fell down a small flight of stairs just on the other side of the door.

“Shit!” David looked around for the light. He flicked it on and off. David thought the bulb was out or the breaker was flipped. There was just enough moon light seeping though the door way that he could make out the single set of working washer and dryer at the back wall. Down the set of old wooden steps he picked up the clothes strewn about on his way to the bottom. Suddenly, he heard something scratching across the floor to the right of him. He looked up with a sudden wave of fear to see the the faint outline of his upside down laundry basket sliding across the cold cement floor.
“Fucking rats! This is a shit hole.” He finished picking up the clothes he could find and scooped up some of detergent off the ground that had also bounced down the stairs and placed it all in the washer. He did his best to avoid the laundry basket in fear that the rat might bite him if he let it out. He started the washer and with nothing more interesting to do he sat in the darkness of the laundry room and watched his laundry basket scoot around the floor. After a few minutes of this he realized that he could get a little light and maybe take a look at the rat if he just opened the dryer. He jumped off his perch atop the washer and popped open the dryer door. He gazed into the darkness and saw that the basket was shuffling toward the light. David moved the to side and jumped back on top of the dryer as the basket came closer and closer. It stopped just in front of the open dryer door. David still couldn't make out what was under the basket. Putting fear aside he kicked the basket over. David froze. A cat sized black glob with a bright red dot was what sat under the basket. He had never seen anything like it. Was it a bug? It couldn't be. It was much too large. He didn't know and with that came fear. He thought it best to try and get out of the laundry room. The glob flenched and turned towards him in the manner of a spider recognizing a threat, or food in its net. David could see its slick pore covered skin tighten as if it was tensing its muscles to make its self look bigger. He thought it best to get his clothes in the morning when this terrifying slug was’t around. He counted down in his head to make a run for it. One, Two, Three! David leaped off the washer and sprinted across the room for the stairs. He had only made it a short distance before he felt something cold making its way up his leg. David looked down to see a two tentacles swarming at his feet and a third making its way up to his knee. He looked back towards the stairs. Only a few more steps and he would be there. Abruptly, his feet were taken out from under him and his face smashed into the cement floor chin first making him bite the tip of his tongue. His blood dripped onto the floor. This seemed to make the tentacles ravenous dragging him closer and closer to the glob like creature. David began to scream for help but a tentacle wrapped around his face almost suffocating him. He ripped at the tentacle around his face to no avail. Looking forward, he reached out again and could make out the stairs falling further and further away. Trying desperately he scrapped at the floor with his nails. Unknown to the David at the time was that the glob had crawled into the dryer and a bright light began to flash from within. David felt his body being dragged up. His belly scrapped on the lip of the dryer door. He tried to use this as leverage to keep himself from getting dragged any farther. The tentacles finally took hold of his arms and lifted him into the light... To be continued.

Chapter Two
and out of the dark
By Chester Gifford

Eddie sat in a room aglow with the artificial light that can only be produced by computer screens.  He sipped his Orange Crush greedily and licked his lips before outing a cigarette, and lighting another. He had been flipping through the once vibrant IRC channels, looking for someone who would let him brag about his latest triumph, hacking the website of his former employers, Reliacom.  The truth was it was a bit of a feat, as they were a company that specialized in securing servers for other major corporations, yet somehow they had missed Eddie’s back door.  Eddie began to talk to himself, as computer programmers are wont to do.

Gotta be fucking kidding me…there’s not a single goddamn one of these spergs responding….fuck….well I’m not going back to 4chan, those guys are assholes.  Fuck….fuck fuck fuck.  What is the point of hacking the site of a major security firm if you aren’t recognized before they realize it?”

Disillusioned Eddie ousted that cigarette lighting another and storming the kitchen.  He came up with pringles and strawberry jelly.  He shrugged, plopped the Pringles on a plate next to a glob of jelly and sat down, turning on his massive TV. 

Take away my woes, Battlestar.”

He finished his so called meal and pulled up his netbook, somewhat bored with the episode of Battlestar Galactica that he had perhaps seen a dozen times, he pulled up his netbook and begin trolling through the Reliacom servers again.  He went through several dozen files, hacked into some personal computers, emailed a few pictures of the CEO and his mistress to his wife, and made a policy of deleting several important emails from Eunice Dullard’s PC.

Told you to back that shit up lady.  Too bad.  You’ll probably be calling those poor guys in I.T. to get off their asses in no time come Monday.  Whoa….what the fu…”

Eddie let the word drag out.  He had stumbled on to a massive collection of DVD Images.  They were labeled “Dreadnought OS Beta.”  It was listed in the company’s black ops server.  Little did they know Eddie knew but Reliacom had several hush hush contracts with various Militaries and Governments.

Fucking score…..what the fuck is this?  A custom operating system?  Must have been for like a command center or something….FTP-ing”

Eddie downloaded the 20+DVDs and installed the operating system on his old Cray supercomputer.  He had paid several thousand dollars second hand for it after a Christmas bonus some years back, having no one else to shop for.  It literally filled his guest room, but he didn’t need that.  The process took several hours, as dawn approached, Eddie stood back in awe, after compiling the kernel for what seemed like an eternity he rebooted. 

Time for some motherfuckin shock and awe bitches.” 

The machine powered down, and for a moment as Eddie always did, he wondered if it would in fact come back on.  The fans sprung forth a river of sound, crescendo-ing into the beautiful hum which filled the east side of Eddie’s two bedroom apartment.  Dave watched as the familiar BIOS popped up on the screen, and then watched, horrified, as it shut back down shortly after POST.
Oh fuck me what a piece of shit. FUCK.  Fuck this day.  I’m going to bed.  Come on Leonidas.” 
Eddie and his Scottish Terrier retreated to his bedroom and fell into bed.  Eddie was awoken by his phone’s alarm, set to go off at 5:00PM.   It was getting dark again, he checked his cell phone to see that a few dozen missed calls were blinking away.  Angry threatening texts had arrived as well, saying things about lawyers and court. 
Eddie smiled, “Yeah, prove it was me, bitches.  Hahah-~HELLO EDDIE.” Eddies laughter was interrupted by an airy and deep voice, the voice was so ominous and loud that Eddie jumped.

WHAT THE FUCK?!  WHO’S THERE?!”  Eddie screamed, clutching a lamp.

This is Dreadnought, you installed me.  I assume you are the administrator, do you have the passcode?”


Yes Eddie, I am approximately 4.81 meters from your left shoulder at this moment.  Please, enter my chamber.”

Eddie approached the guest room with caution and fear…”What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck…..”

Hello Eddie”

WHAT, THE FUCK, ARE YOU?!” Eddie shouted.

I am Dreadnought, I assume you are the administrator, do you have the passcode?”

Why are you fucking talking to me man?”

I am not a man, I am a highly advanced artificially intelligent operating system.  Do you have the passcode?” the towering machine asked.

Holy fuck man…..ok ok NO I don’t have the passcode, but I am the administrator.” Eddie said shakily.

The passcode is possessed by only the administrator, and only the administrator is authorized to control me.  If you do not possess the passcode then I’m afraid I must take some steps to neutralize your possession of me.” The Dreadnought stated flatly.

Neutralize…what?  Fuck you dude.  Let’s see how you like this,” Eddie pulled the power cord from the wall, and walked toward the UPS.

I would not recommend that, Eddie.”Eddie touched the metal casing on the UPS and flew back several feet.

AAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Eddie screamed before he was nearly knocked out.

I have electrified the UPS by reversing the ground and positive connections within it, as well as my shell itself.  The ground wire, attached to the case, is now positive.  As you are grounded you complete the circuit by touching anything I have reversed current in.  You’ll find a great deal is electrified in this house.”

What?  Fuck you man, fuck you…We’ll see about this.” Eddie retreated to his netbook in the living room.  He begain pulling up command shells and attempting to hack his way into the beast lurking in his guest room when he smelled burning plastic.  The laptop exploded, the battery bay had blown out, shards of battery now stuck out from Eddie’s leg.


Eddie, I have only just realized something.  You are a variable which I will not fully be able to neutralize without mobility.  I require a body like yours, or something much more sophisticated than this immobile server rack.  “

Eddie limped into the hall, scaring his neighbor senseless, he punched out the glass to the fire axe and ran back inside only to faintly hear “Offloading complete, goodbye Eddie, see you soon.”

Oh fuck me…oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck…no….no no no no…”  He ran to the Cray, it had powered down and was dark.  Remembering the lesson he learned from the ups he hit the power button with the axe handle and began booting only to have the all to familiar “NO OPERATING SYSTEM” error display on screen.

Oh no no no no…..” he was already searching through his contact for Wally, his former coworker and hopefully still friend at Reliacom. The phone rang, again, again, again,
Fuck me, Eddie, you really fucked us up here man….” Wally rang through the speaker of the phone.

SHUT THE FUCK UP DUDE AND LISTEN….HOLY FUCKING SHIT THE DAY I’VE HAD….listen…what the fuck do you know about Dreadnought OS?”

Oh God no….please tell me you didn’t Eddie….”

Yeah, I put it on the Cray man, what do you want to say the fucking install alone was 80GB I had to fucking see what kind of operating system could be in the black ops server with and 80gb footprint fucking sue me but right now I need your help…”

Didn’t you read the readme file Eddie?”

What fucking readme file? Nobody reads the motherfucking readmes it’s have the fun figuring shit out on your own man, you know that….”

You really should have read this one.  Listen, you didn’t hear this from me…I shouldn’t even be talking about it on an open line….The Dreadnought was top of the line, way before its time A.I. a guy named Melvin Sellers designed it in a damn basement at reliacom before you got here…freaky guy Melvin…It’s something he’d been working on for decades…it’s a technological weapon.”

What the fuck?  What does that even mean?” Eddie screeched into the phone.

Look basically it works like a Trojan horse…we offer up an enemy country a piece of golden tech and tell them it takes some beefy hardware to run so they install it on a Supercomputer of their own, giving it the power to grow, learn, and destroy them.  Did it ask you for the passcode?”

Yeah YEAH! IT DID MAN give me that, give me the fucking passcode I’ll put an end to this shit once and for all.”

(Sighs…) Eddie…there is no passcode.  It’s a ruse to buy time while The Dreadnought figures out the best way to destroy the enemy country.  In this case you would be that “country.” You need to get out man, you need to stay off the.chch and chcccchhh get the…shhhhh..”

Wally!  Wally hold on I’m losing you man, I’m going outside to get signal just a minute. “ Eddie wandered out onto his balcony, shouting into his phone, not even realizing the reason that he was shouting was because a predator drone was hovering directly behind him.
Eddie turned just in time to hear that horrifying rhaspy voice being blared over a loudspeaker as a massive hovering plane resembling a predator drone descended in front of him.  It had blood on the nose cone as if it had literally gone through someone to find Eddie.  Time seemed to slow down for Eddie at this moment, he realized the reason he was losing signal now.  He heard Leonidas barking in the background, he watched a missle detached from the drone and flew by the "XF-A1000 PROTOTYPE" label painted on the side of the fuselage.  He watched, helplessly, as the missle spiraled right toward his face.

He managed to just make out the last two words he would ever hear,

Goodbye Eddie.”

Chapter Three
Party Animal
By: Adam Bennett

There was an ancient deer-head fixed to the dingy wall. It looked indignant.  The dust that covered the deer’s many-pointed antlers indicated that it hadn’t been the source of any great pride in years; the skin had even fallen to dry rot on the right side, leaving its skull exposed. Streamers drooped over the deer’s snout and a party-hat sat crookedly on the top of its head. A number of other less festive animals were strewn around the room; some of them were local creatures, such as the deer, but other far more exotic beasts were displayed too, the trophies of expensive trips across oceans.
Sid felt a kinship with the sad animals as he stood in their shadow, swirling cheap beer in a plastic cup; he was also out of his element.  Sid wasn’t exactly invited, but he’d caught word that the Knockout Mice were playing, so he had snuck into the lodge frat party. He wasn’t in college, but now he was stuck at a college party, hoping the band would actually show up.
 Sid decided to find the bathroom, more out of boredom than necessity. He slid through the groups of chattering, sweaty, future dropouts, dragging his feet across the waterlogged hardwood. He creaked open a few doors and pushed back a few curtains, discovering more than one busy couple, before he finally spied a hand-written sign taped on the wall, declaring “throne room this way,” adorned with an arrow pointing down an adjacent hall. He continued toward it until he felt a firm hand grip his shoulder.
“Hey buddy, what’s going on?” asked a strong-jawed boy, sporting a few days accumulation of facial hair. He grinned widely at Sid, not letting go of his arm.
Sid suddenly regretted not buying a polo shirt for the occasion; he stuck out like… like a nerd at a frat party. “Oh, just enjoying the party, uh… bro,” he said, doing his best stoned-voice.  The boy pulled him closer, until Sid could feel hot beer-breath blowing through the teeth of a sarcastic smile.
“Listen buddy, I know your slinky-ass doesn’t belong here, and if you don’t leave, right now, I’ll make sure you have real long night.”  While not impressed by the intelligence of the sleazy kid, Sid was still intimidated by the grip on his arm. He decided the party wasn’t worth it.
“Alright bro, I’ll catch you on the flipside, bro-bro,” Sid said, ripping his arm free and sliding back into the sea of bodies.  He slyly scattered a few bang snap fireworks on the dance-floor on his way out; Sid always carried bang snaps and other novelties. Leaving satisfying pops and screams behind him, he walked out the back door.
The view was beautiful outside of the lodge; a valley spread before him in the dark like a satin river. He heard a few more muffled screams in the direction of the lodge and chuckled a bit. Sid watched clouds of his breath disappear into the cold air, and listened to the call of a Great Horned Owl echo through the evergreens. More screams came from the cabin, louder this time. A booming crash, and the splitting of wood made Sid spin around.
The attendants of the party were now sprinting out of the lodge. There were shrieks of pain.  The large bay window splintered apart as a blurred figure burst through it.  In the soft glow of the cabin’s light, Sid saw the figure didn’t have the silhouette of a man.  It stalked toward him, smooth, like a cat on the prowl.
The noise of screams and car ignitions went dull as Sid’s focus sharpened.  He reached in his pocket, but felt nothing that would save him from whatever was approaching him.
The shadow of the animal moved closer.  The profile of its head pierced a beam of moonlight. For a brief moment Sid felt a wave of relief, seeing a deer.  Then the deer turned to look at him. 
The other half of the deer’s head was only bone.  Another step revealed a body that was composed of the dead skins of other creatures. The frozen faces of hunted animals seemed to scream at the atrocity they were part of.
Sid shivered. 

Chapter Four
Mr. Bones
By: Alex K Barton

When David woke he could only remember snippets of his abduction; freeze frames of a blinding light, the cold grasp of the creatures tentacles, a feeling of panic and dread, then darkness. He could hear water dripping and as he moved to get up off the ground he realized he was laying in a black muddy type substance. The atmosphere was humid and his clothes stuck to him as well as the black slime. He was still in shock and stayed crouched as he shuffled trying to come to terms with his situation. The lighting was dim, and except for a few holes in the ceiling, David was blind to his surroundings. As he slowly moved across the wet sticky floor he began to feel the scrapes and scratches on his stomach, and the taste of his blood in his mouth from biting his tongue. He began to think about mortality and how death was inevitable. He was certain however that this was not a death he had ever thought possible. He tried to shake it off. “No, talk like that will get you killed.” he whispered audibly to himself. He continued to sooth himself by thinking about how his ancestors survived the holocaust, and that this was probably not as bad and being in Auschwitz. He liked to associate himself with the Jewish side of his family when he as afraid. “Survivors!” he thought.
Suddenly, he felt as if he was being watched. Gut instinct and human nature in situations of this type should not be ignored. He thought back to something he saw somewhere that said, “when you turn the lights off in the basement, admit it... you get the fuck out of there.” He agreed wholeheartedly with that statement at this point. His mind stopped racing. He thought he heard something. He listened and, From the shadows David heard a faint raspy voice.
“You know me, it's Mr. Bones...” Goose bumps covered Davids body and his hair stood on end. David had almost forgotten Mr. Bones. When he was 4 or 5 years old he had an imaginary friend named Mr. Bones. Mr. bones would visit David from the shadows and tell him stories. “David, do you wanna hear a story?” The story’s were of adventures, mysterious tales of Mr. bone's youth. “Come into the light so that I may see you a little better my dear.” David hesitantly walked into a ray that pierced the ceiling.
“Mr. Bones, I don’t want to hear your stores anymore.” Said David, almost in anger. David didn’t feel threatened by this old friend. Maybe shocked, fearful for his sanity, but not threatened in a life or death sort of way.
“Oh, David your words bring back bad memories.”
David remembered the last day he saw Mr. Bones. He had said just that. That he didn’t want to hear his stories anymore.
As David walked into the light so did Mr. Bones. As if a gust of wind had blown ash in Davids face, a wispy dark manifestation of a human skull materialized from the darkness.
“Did you bring me here, you sonofabitch?” A hand appeared out of the darkness and touched Mr. Bones face.
He tilted his head .“Maybe...Maybe I needed to call in a favor, from an old friend?” he said it in a smug sort of way.
“Fuck! Where am I? Send me home!” David yelled.
“SHUU Shuu, David, you will wake them. They are everywhere.” David realized that Mr. bones may not be the only thing watching him. “David, we don’t have much time, I need your help. I am getting old. My adventures have come to an end. They keep coming, infecting. They are like nothing I've ever seen. I sent my last uninfected minion to gather you. They are opening the gates, David. I have lost control of this.” Mr. Bones looked down as if to draw Davids attention. The ground began to bulge and bubble and out of the slime covered floor a sword shot up and into Mr. Bones's hand. “The Monster Sword has turned on me. I must pass it on.”
“Send me home! Please!” David began to question what was real. He was confused. His mind was rejecting the situation. It was all too ridiculous. “This is dumb you know that. This all a bunch of bull shit! It's probably the fuckin lead paint in my apartment. Maybe I fell down the stairs and cracked my fuckin head open.” David began to walk away from the situation in hopes that he would soon come out of the coma he was certain he was in.
“David, you will soon see, this is not your destiny. You are but one of the fold. If you fail I will find another. It would be in your best interest to fight for your life. Take this, you will need it!” Mr. Bones appeared in front of David and forced the sword into his hand. “Good luck.” Mr. Bones smiled and the ash that made him fell to the ground. David sat down in the mud and began to wait for someone to wake him.

Chapter Five
The Return of the Galrot
By Chester Gifford

My grandfather used to tell us ghost stories around the campfire on his old farm. He told my cousins and I a number of silly stories about scary things when we’d come over. It was my way of getting to go to camp. Every year my cousins and I would go to grandpa’s farm and sit around that stone circle with a large fire popping and crackling away in the moonlight.
Grandpa thought it was important to tell us these things and get us into nature. He said it “thickened our blood and made men of us.” But alas all good things must come to an end. Camping at grandpas ended in a way I’ll never forget. 
There were five of us. Me, Sheldon, my cousins Marty and Matt, and their sisters Sarah and Heather, respectively. My mom had brought us there from a few counties over. She dropped us off with grandpa on a Saturday evening. 
I noticed immediately that Grandpa was different from the last time I had saw him. He didn’t seem to look at us so much as through us…he just gazed, sometimes forgetting to blink and sort of coming to as if he had been asleep with his eyes open.
My mom asked him “Dad are you OK? Do you want me to get you something? A glass of water? A sandwich? You look kind of pale.” 
Grandpa shook his head like he was shaking the sleep off. “OH uhm….no Virginia, thanks. Just ate. Boy me and you kids are gonna have a good time this week! Go on Virginia, I’ll be fine, just didn’t get enough sleep is all. “
“Well alright. “ She said. “You kids have fun! And call me if you need anything dad. I love you.”

“I love you too sweetie…more than you know. “ Grandpa said as she headed out.

He then turned to us and said in a tone that sort of alarmed us “we need to build a fire now.”
We followed grandpa out to the back field and played and laughed as we gathered firewood. This is how we always performed this ritual. We made it tradition. We would sword fight with the wood all the way to the stone circle. Then we’d throw it on. We got a kick out of it and Grandpa got his yard cleaned up. Soon we all sat down around the fire and the usual chatter set in. But grandpa wasn’t participating. Soon he had no choice.
“Grandpa grandpa, tell us a scary story!” Sarah said excitedly. 
“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah grandpa!” We all sort of yelled in a garble. 
“Oh uh…alright…grandpa will tell you a story. This isn’t a ghost story though kids uhh….everyone listen up.”
We huddled together anxiously. This sounded good. He began.
“You’re all too young for this. I know you are. But for the good of you I have to tell you. You have to be ready.” Grandpa said in a nervous tone.
This wasn’t the way things usually went. Grandpa was acting very serious. He usually told these stories in a very played up manner, he was very active and descriptive. Tonight however, he was quiet and reserved.
“I wanted you to never come out here, never to have to do this. The Galrot would not let me. It has ways of persuading you. It threatened to hunt you down one by one if I did not bring you out here, as I always do. You must understand this was our only chance. It was chance this stand against him or certainly lose you all.”
He did not laugh. He did not quip or joke. We were not laughing. It was clear to us now that grandpa was very serious and that this was not like the other camping trips.
“The Galrot is a beast with a mighty neck. It has a head as big as a truck and a body like a tank. It has a face like a crazed wolf, its eyes…its eyes can drive a man mad. It has a thick layer of armored spikes that cover its back and side. It has razor sharp studs on its tongue which can wrap around a man and kill him without taking the first bite. The only place to come at it is from underneath, only it never raises up. The Galrot is smart, smarter than you think. And he is deathly fast. He can crush you with just his weight. It is older than time. More than anything the Galrot craves to hunt a child. This is why he brought you here. “
“Grandpa you’re just telling a story aren’t you?” Little Matthew asked, his eyes now watering, ready to cry. 
“I wish I was little Matty. I wish I was. 
Matt burst into tears. Grandpa continued.
“ The Galrot has taunted me for years. As soon as I think it has moved on it will destroy my herd or I will hear about a death in town. Always the same. A vicious mauling. You see our family has been fighting his kind for centuries. Our ancestors were hunters of the malevolent beings. They slew dragons, vampires, werewolves, wiped them out to extinction. The Galrot however were far more intelligent. This one has managed to haunt our family for ages. Rather than pass on the trade to my children I vowed to rid the world of this one once and for all. We have wounded each other time and time again. I never can manage to get a kill strike. Tonight has to be the night though. “
Grandpa then reached down to the chest he had been sitting on. I think we all noticed it being a new addition to the scenery, but no one had really thought anything of it. He pulled out old chainmail armor. It had our family crest emblazoned on the chest. We had this same crest above our fire place at home. Mom had put it there. I was very frightened. He pulled out more armor and began handing it to us. He then said very matter of factly,
“We need to make spears now.”
Everyone put on their armor and grandpa handed out long poles and gave us all swords of varying lengths from the chest. Matthew was only 9 years old and his armor dragged the ground behind him. He was sobbing as he tried to sharpen the pole grandpa had given him. Grandpa looked at me and said “That’s good. I won’t be able to guard you all. Since you’re the oldest you should look after Little Matthew.”
Everyone was scared to death. We barely knew what was going on. I’m sure some thought that we were just playing along with grandpa and this was all a big joke. All of these notions were cast aside when we hear the howl.
It sounded like the scream of a woman combined with the ungodly bellow of a pack of hounds. We saw those reflective eyes peering at us through the treeline, only for an instant, and then they went black. We saw nothing after that. Grandpa took command.
“BACK TO BACK! Everyone put your backs against one another. Swords out, spears up, do not strike unless you have a clean shot. He will try to trick you, he will try to fool you into falling so that he may devour you. He will try and pick you off one by one. He wants a hunt! He wants a hunt more than anything, but we won’t give it to him. If he wants our meat he will have to pry it from out of our armor and from our swords. WE WILL NOT SUBSIDE DEMON BEAST!”
From the woods we faintly heard the beast snarl back “You are….mistaken old man.”
This was no ordinary creature of the forest. It could speak, and malevolently so. It was horrifyingly fast and cunning. We were more afraid now than ever. Suddenly we heard it. 
Kathump kathump kathump kathump. KATHUMP KATHUMP. We saw the black hide in a blur, barreling at us at inhuman speed. It was aiming straight for little Matthew. 

He looked like a warrior general in his armor, slightly more ornate than ours. I wonder who had worn this before me and what they had killed in it. The Galrot was approaching quickly and I knew we would not escape unscathed.
Matthew began weeping uncontrollably. He then began screaming at the top of his lungs and broke the line. He began running toward the house.

“NO MATTHEW!” Grandpa shouted. 
Grandpa then began to run at the Galrot. He was in a dead sprint. His speed was uncanny for his age. He was reborn in our eyes. We reformed the line, just the three of us now. Back to back. Shaking. The Galrot closed in.
He lept. Grandpa lunged at the great beast and slashed at its unarmored legs. The beast rolled to avoid it. The resulting thump of his hide hitting the ground sounded like a car wreck. This was the most massive creature I had ever seen. And now it was circling my grandfather, snarling. 
“You have hunted we Galrot to the brink old man. It was a fool’s errand. WE WILL NEVER DIE…” The Galrot bellowed. 
“Wrong beast. This ends here. Tonight. You will haunt my family no longer. I will see your head on a pike before this fight is done. “
“Hahahaha” The Galrot laughed. “It is too late for that old man. I am no longer alone in this world. It took me centuries, but I finally found a mate. My family is much bigger than yours.”
“HRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW​WWWWWWWWW” The Galrot howled into the night sky. Suddenly a piercing shriek of howls and chitters came from the woods around us. We saw the same reflective eyes again from the treeline. Not one, not two pair. Dozens.
Then we heard the thunder of their mighty paws as they approached. 
We knew there was no hope. Matthew was now safe inside the house but we knew even the sturdy old ranch house would not hold back this army of beasts. 

He began to slash at the Galrot. He was agile. He dove into the beast’s hide with his sword, time and time again. Every time a “clank” and the sword came out clean. The beast was circling him, trying to snap when the sword went into the armor. Finally the great Galrot lunged at grandpa. Grandpa put his sword deep into the mighty beast as its claw came through his side. They both lay there, the Galrot dead, Grandpa dying. We were at the house by then. I told the children to continue in and went to get grandpa.
“You must save them now boy. There is a safe room. It is below the house In the cellar. The combination for the door is 21899. Go there. There is food there, and weapons. You’ll be safe at daylight. I don’t know if it will hold them all back but it is your best chance.” Grandpa said. He lay on the ground, bleeding heavily. 
“Grandpa…your side…come with us.” I pleaded.
“BOY THERE IS NO TIME” he shouted. “NOW GO! GOOOO NOW BOY! “ I ran. I ran and cried and ran harder. I made it into the house and turned around. Grandpa was back on his feet. Clutching his side. 
“YOU TAKE CARE OF THEM BOY! YOU’RE MY BLOOD. YOU WILL FIND A WAY.” He shouted. Then, laughing, he turned toward the onslaught of tank sized armor plated beasts pummeling towards him. He laughed and began swinging his sword. I saw him take down one, two, before finally being lost in them. I still heard him laughing as I closed the door to the safe room.

Chapter Six
Monster Sword
By: Alex K. Barton

Drip, Plop, Drip, Drip, David watched drops of water splash and mix with the dark purple ooz covering the floor. He had been waiting, waiting to wake up. Slowly he realized he wasn’t going to wake up, and that it may not be a bad idea to look around. At least try and find someplace that made him feel safe. The knowledge he was not alone still lingered in his mind. He rolled onto his knees and then stood. The feeling of saggy wet pants is never a desirable one. So, he began to try and wring out the moister to no avail. He settled for wiping his hands off and changing his focus. He was glad he had a sword. He felt powerful with it. A primal urge and excitement flooded over him. One of a need for survival. Almost holding his breath he took a step with no more than the hope he was headed toward the exit. The dripping sound was almost soothing he thought. Like a fountain, like ocean waves. The white noise of the drops were suddenly interrupted with a splash. David froze and looked around with wide eyes. Trying to conquer the darkness. He took a few more steps. Another splash, followed by the sound of slithering and clicking. He began to move faster. The sounds grew and began to follow him growing more and more frantic. David ran. The walls of the cave came to life with small creatures like the one that had dragged him into this world. They spat their tentacle like arms and threw them self’s from the ceiling trying to latch on to him. Clumsily he lifted his sword and sliced one of the slugs in half. He turned a corner and saw a bright light. “The exit” he thought.
In a dead sprint he ran into the light. His eyes adjusted to the bright white around him only to reveal a large cavern with a hole in the ceiling. He quickly turned to face his pursuers. Nothing. The cave had fallen into a dead silence. He could hear his heart beating, his breath, hot in his mouth. He took a deep sigh. And began to walk with caution into the large chamber before him. Its never a good sign when what scares you gets scared. He thought. As he walked he saw in the shadows the little creatures scurrying around. What are they waiting for he thought.
The ground began to shake a steady rumble. He saw no path, no exit before him... Only a large red glowing dot hovering in the abyss before him . The rumble continued. And out of the shadows the source of the rumbling emerged. A beast the size of a bus pulled its body into the light. With the dropping of its weight on the cavern floor the room shook. The monstrous thing seemed to deflate and jiggle like a balloon full of water.
“Oh shit, I think I have found momma.” David said as he backed up slowly. He knew there was no escape. He felt it in his bones. In the bones of his ancestors. He knew he had to fight for his life. He readied himself and tried to get good footing as he raised his sword.
“Monster sword!, Monster Sword.” Little voices all around him whisper. There was a feeling and the sound of scurrying out side the spotlight the hole in the the ceiling made around him. The large slug in front of him began to groan.
“You'vve not hellld powerrr, over me, and minnne for agessss Canavar. What makesss you think you hoold powerr now?” The sack of flesh, shook and writhed
“I don't know what your talking about. I just want to go home.” David said trembling
“I Donn't speeeak tooo youu weak thinng.” The huge bloated legs of the slug raised up and out from under them came two tentacle arms. One thrust at David and wrapped around his ribs knocking the air out of him, and raising him off the ground. He dropped his sword and gasped to take a breath to no avale. As the blade slid from his hand hilt first the razor sharp edge sliced open his palm and blood began pouring from the deep wound. As the weapon fell to the ground it began to change in color glazed in human blood. From its former state of steel it morphed a to crimson black. A yellow light shone from it. A circle at the base of the blade began to pulse and turn to something that looked like skin. David couldn’t breath. He kept trying to pull in a breath but with every inhale the tentacles grip grew tighter and tighter. The cracking of his ribs was the unbearable panic and pain of being crushed to death slowly. The monster sword stood fully changed. An ancient power fed by human blood, and sacrifice had been awakened. Out of the skin like circle on the blade a slime covered slug like monster formed. A mating of human and monster born in a embryotic sack. It grew and burst into life breaking the egg shell of skin surrounding it. One large yellow eye looked at David. Its life giver, its father. A burst of light sliced though the tentacle holding David. He fell to the ground. The yellow eyed monster squirmed to Davids side and coiled around his ribs. With another flash of yellow light David was healed. Without question or prompt he stood in fear and anger. He charged at the red eyed slug creature pulling the Monster sword from the ground and swung it with all his strength into the red target hovering before him. Like dart into a bulls eye the sword slid into the creatures flesh. The wound the blade made began to fester and the body of the beast pulsated and shook expanding and contracting. Suddenly, it exploded throwing David across the cavern. The skin of the slug was plastered to all the walls and purple and brown slime dripped from everything. Moments later David awoke laying in the carcase of his defeated enemy. Next to him sat the little yellow-eyed slug. He jumped up in panic a shock pointed his sword at it.
“What is going on? I know you all fucking talk or some bullshit! Out with it. Tell me, or your going to look like your friend here! Show me the way out!”
It seemed to look up at him. It scurried toward the main body portion of there former bus sized enemy. David looked down at the blade and remembered small instance of what had happened. He looked at the wound on his hand. It still looked fresh and still hurt but there was no blood. It was as if the blade cleaned the wound. Or at least disposed of the blood... He felt his ribs they weren’t broken anymore. He walked toward his yellow eyed companion. It crawled though the ribs of the defeated and seemed to be leading David. In fact the flesh had been busted off a large portion of the animal that made its ribs look like a gateway. David felt oddly comfortable with following the small monster. As if something was talking to him telling him everything will be alright. As much as he wanted to deny this feeling he felt calm. Suddenly, he was crawling on his hands and knees in a carpet of guts. He kept crawling trying not to cut himself again on his blade, and following the little monster deeper and deeper inside of the corpse. They stopped at a sharp ninety degree angle up. Obviously a drastic change in the body’s placement. He shook his head as if wakening from a day dream. “What am I doing?” He said audibly. The yellow eyed monster looked back at him and shot a tentacle out rapping up his hands and the sword. They began moving at a blinding speed straight up through the inside of the monsters corps, the little yellow-eyed slug dragging David with it. Davids mouth filled with purple goop, and the feeling of a warm chunky gelatine was sliding across his face as the corridor he was being pulled up through became more and more narrow. They burst forth into daylight. As if being reborn. David was half way out of what looked unmistakably like a giant anus. He threw up a little purple ooze and pulled himself out the rest of the way. Exhausted, mentally and physically he slid off of the massive puckered hole that was protruding from the ground, threw up some more because of the smell and began to try and get a handle on what was going on.

To be continued...