More and more loud clicking like sound with odd grunts bursted through the forest floor. Kiyro took a glimpse back and noticed that there were three more that followed pursuit behind both Kiyro and Will. They both frantically ran for their lives.
They did not roar and instead clicked their tongues as if they were communicating with one another. Each one splitted apart and surrounded them from different angles. Will fell onto the ground, scraping his arms and legs.
“Kiyro!” Will called out in fear. He tried his best to get back up, and instead slipped once again face forward onto the ground.
Kiyro stopped and turned around to see Will face forward onto the ground. His instincts were on overdrive screaming to run away, but he could not leave behind Will. Already he saw Will as part of his family that he needed to protect. Diana’s word that she spoke of to protect her new family rung loudly in his head.
Turning towards the first creature that aimed towards Kiyro, he grabbed his spare arrow from behind and quickly let it fly straight towards the creatures body. With a disgusting squish like sound the arrow embedded itself on the front of its soft belly. Luckily for Kiyro, he was able to target one of the three spots that were considered vulnerable to the creature. They were the eyes, the armpit, and a small portion of its stomach near the belly button. Loud clicking like sounds erupted from the creature’s mouth as it fell forward. It rolled on the ground, trying to get back up.
Kiyro did not have time to see everything that had happened to the down creature, instead another one took its place as it scrambled over the down creature. He could hear the sound of bones breaking from the mad scramble towards him. From the heavy body and the sharp claws the creature died from being trampled over.
With a gulp, his eyes glazed over with more dedication to hinder the progress of the creature that came towards. Another arrow flew towards the head of the creature. With a clink from the sound of metal against hard stone skin, the arrow skid off the body.
“Wha-?” Kiyro gasped in fright. He forgot that the skin of these monsters were not normal.
With a powerful leap, the creature jumped towards Kiyro with gaping jaws. Kiyro could not move but stare in fright. His mind went blank for that split moment as death flashed before his eyes. He fell backward on his hands.
“Kiyro!” Diana voice called out. The creature’s head was cut off in one overarching swing. “Take Will and run!”
Snapping out of stupor, Kiyro crawled towards Will who was huddled into a ball. Diana swung in a wide arch around herself keeping the creatures at bay. Each swing of her energy sword that seem to buzz to life, cut off pieces of the creatures. More and more of the creatures appeared from the forest floor. Their clicking like sound that seem to get louder and louder.
Zing. Zing. Zing. The sound of the energy sword moved quickly from side-to-side slicing up opponents as if they were swiss cheese.
“Will!” Kiyro shook and dragged Will quickly away from the scene. It took a moment before Will could once again move towards the direction of safety. With heavy breathing, both ran as fast as they could. Not once did they look back, for fear of being caught in the jaws of the creatures.
Branches slapped them hard against their skin, their heavy beating heart outpaced their heavy breathing. It wasn’t long until both Kiyro and Will made it up towards the base of the treehouse.
“Go. Go. Go.” Kiyro rushed Will to go up the winding stairs of the treehouse. A couple of times, Will missed his steps stumbling forward.
“Wah!” Will cried out in fear.
“Move!” Kiyro chastised Will from behind, quickly helping him up. They were halfway up the tree, when one of the creature burst through from the bushes. It heard the sound of Will’s wail and saw them climbing up towards the treehouse.
With a click of its tongue, it loudly called for more of its kind. Five more appeared out of the thick trees and surrounded the tree house. One-by-one they climbed after Will and Kiyro.
“Move it faster Will! They are right behind us!” Kiyro yelled in a hurry. He looked behind him and saw that they were getting closer behind them. He glanced up towards the second lever on the top and knew what he had to do. It seemed to Kiyro it was a long way to go before he could reach it.
Desperately climbing up towards the long spiraling staircase Will finally made it into the tree house. He bolted into the room hiding underneath the bed. Kiyro followed after closely behind Will, but instead of running into the room and closing the door, he reached for the second lever that were located on the side. One lever was to release the lift and the second lever was to collapse the stairs allowing no one to climb up.
Kiyro pulled down the second lever, the stairway leading up towards the entrance of the treehouse folded onto its side hugging the tree as if it were a part of its own. With a loud thud, the three that were running up the stairs tumbled down onto the ground. He could hear the snapping of bones from the fall, and he winced from each sound.
Slumping down onto the floor, Kiyro sighed with relief. All the pent up energy that he had from the fear was released in one go. Even though he was still on edge worried that they might be able to jump, he was not as scared as before. He was high above the creatures on the ground. Now he could gather back his sense and think.
The creatures on the floor got up as if nothing was wrong with them. A couple of them hobbled from a broken leg but did not seem to phase it. Kiyro watched the five strange creatures that prowled around the base of the treehouse. He noticed that two out of the five creatures were slightly different from each other.
Even though both of them were ashen colored skin with snake scales, he could tell that one was faster and possibly smarter than the other. Out of the five only one were smaller in size. The random clicking of its tongue seemed to direct the other four underneath the tree. The smaller sized creature had four eyes instead of two and stood more upright in position, while the other four hunched over.
Luckily for Kiyro, the one that followed after them were the slower ones. He recalled the time when Diana and Steve was momentarily talking about these creatures in their small cabin. His memory resurfaced of the past.
“What the hell were the Federation thinking about sending us to the frontline to fight against the Deviants? They should of gave us better equipment.” Steve angrily retorted while he was sitting in front of the fireplace.
Diana walked up next to Steve and placed her hand on his shoulder. Kiyro was listening in intently on their conversation in his bed. He was not sleepy at that time and luckily enough, heard their conversation.
“I believe the correct term is Deviant Metamorphosis or DM. Calling them Deviants can get confusing.”
“DM, Deviant Metamorphosis, or even Deviants. They all have the same meaning. Their all monsters. The number of soldiers that died from these DM continued to increase day-by-day. Our communication with Ken’s team were disconnected on the last month we stayed on Earth. I heard he died from some kind of evolved DM. At this rate I don’t know how long we have until these monsters keep evolving into hideous creatures and infect more dead. Already a Deviant Type 2 appeared through the eight months we were down there. Their faster, powerful and unusually smaller than the rest of the regular ones. We couldn’t even salvage his body because it already turned into a Deviant Type 2. I-I had to kill him with my own hand. That was his last life. He could not even be Rebirthed.” Steve hands covered his face and he silently sobbed. “I told him to get out before it was too late, but he did not listen.”
“I know sweetheart. It’s alright.” Diana came over and hugged him.
“Mom. What is a Deviant Metamorphosis?” Kiyro turned around curious about what they were talking about.
“Don’t worry about them Kiyro. There is no such thing as DMs here sweetheart. Go to sleep.”
Steve quickly wiped away his tears and Diana walked over towards Kiyro’s bed. She sat down next to him and gently pushed back his black hair.
“But mom. I want to know what those gray skinned humans are. I remember them. I seriously do.”
Both Steve and Diana became quite surprised about hearing their son remember the horrendous nightmare of war between the undead and the living.
“Their dead humans that had come back to life.” Steve replied.
“Steve.” Diana said with disappointment in her voice.
“What do you mean dead humans that come back to life? Do they get Rebirthed like us?” Kiyro curiously asked. He pulled down the covers and wiggled his way up into a seating position.
“They’re different from us. They cannot be born again. Think of it like this. They have no souls while we do.”
“I see.” Kiyro was deep in thought. “Then how does these Deviants come back to life?” Already he took after his father simplified version of the name of Deviants which slurred through tongue more fluently than DM.
“They are infected by the U.R.D virus. Once dead, this virus invades into the dead body and brings them back to life. That is why it’s imperative that one must burn the dead before they come back alive in less than thirty minutes or more will be born.”
“What’s an U.R.D virus and why is it called like that?”
“Unusual Rebirth Deviants. The reason is because its an opposite of the usual Rebirth of humans. It completely diverges away from the normal Rebirth process. It is the body that is brought back from the dead without the soul.”
Kiyro mind was slowly taking in the information. He still did not fully understand how the U.R.D virus worked.
“Go to sleep sweetheart. It’s already late.” Diana cooed softly with a smile. Kiyro snuggled back down and Diana pulled back the covers back up towards his chin. She lightly kissed him on the cheeks. “Goodnight.”
The sound of loud clicking like noise brought him back to reality. Deviants roamed around the ground like a pack of hyena.
“I’m guessing the smaller one is a tier one Deviant.” Kiyro scrunched up his face with worry. He was not liking the idea that the one on the ground was even stronger and faster than the regular ones that walked around the floor.
“What are those?” Jack appeared from behind him and peeked in-between the railings. His voice shook from watching the creepy Deviants roams around them.
“Their Deviant Metamorphosis or you can call them DM or Deviants. They’re the walking undead.”
“Walking undead?” Jack asked confused. “I thought the dead cannot walk.”
“Just think of it like this. They’re monsters.” Kiyro replied as best and simple as he could. He knew even though the Jack was an intelligent child like all the other kids born from paired existence, he did not compare to Kiyro. Will came in second to Kiyro in intelligence level, but their vocabulary and understanding were still shy from Kiyro. He knew one day he had to properly explain them to his new family.
“Oh.” Jack quietly mouthed. He was not happy to see monsters crawling on the ground waiting for them to come down.
“See that smaller one.”
“Yea. What about it?”
“Their stronger and faster than the larger ones.”
“Really?” Jack asked worriedly. “Are they going to jump up here?”
“I don’t know, but the looks of it I don’t think they can jump.” Kiyro replied. He hoped that he was right.
“Look they’re doing something strange.” Jack replied with worry.
The Deviants stopped pacing around the trees. One after the other, the Deviants scaled one another to create a pyramid like ladder. With the four one in place on top of the three, they had reached a not even a fifth of the way up towards the tree.
Jack balled in laughter. “Are they really trying to climb like that?” He rolled around laughing.
The smallest Deviant out of the five started clicking loudly with its tongue. In between each click, a loud long grunt followed after. Curiously Kiyro peered over. Jack stopped laughing and also took a look at the strange odd call. More sounds of twigs and branches snapping could be heard from the direction of where Diana was at.
Swarms of Deviants appeared before the base of the tree numbering over fifty. Kiyro gulped in fear. Jack squeaked in horror at the large number of Deviants at the base of the tree. They both understood what the smaller Deviant was trying to do. It became clear when the four Deviants were already creating a pyramid like ladder, but the Deviants did not have enough to even reach up towards them. Now fifty more could possibly reach up towards the treehouse and create an even worse problem.
“Kiyro.” Jack replied shakily.
“I know.” Kiyro bite the side of his lips trying to find a solution to the problem. “Go and quickly get Will. We are going to need his help now.”
Jack darted off towards the room without questioning. Kiyro knew that there were no more escape after this. They were all stuck up in the trees with nowhere to run. It was impossible to run with the others. He might be able to run for himself possibly not getting caught, but he could not leave his family behind. The only family that he had got after Steve and Diana had left to protect them.
His mind raced with different ideas, but each and every one of them ended in failure. He knew that the others could barely help out. They were kids with nothing but a wooden bow. All he knew at this moment was the need to keep the Deviants at bay until Diana came back. He did not know if Diana was still alive.
“Kiyro! Will is-” Jack was having a difficult time pulling out Will from the room. He was holding on with his dear life onto the edge refusing to budge. “not letting go!”
“I’m not going!” screamed Will. Already fear set in his heart when he heard that the Deviants were climbing below them. Jack fell backwards from pulling to hard, while Will tumbled forward.
Kiyro walked up towards dazed Will and smacked him hard once on his face.
“Are you going to let your sister die! Do you want to see Isabel eaten alive? Do you want your family to all disappear?” Kiyro angrily retorted and stomped his feet in outrage.
Isabel peeked out the partial closed door wondering what the ruckus was about. Will made eye contact with Isabel at that moment.
Will eyes had begun to tear up from the hit, but quickly pulled in his tears. His face hardened and he yelled “No!” Will was the one that cried out for his mother and father the most, but when it came to his younger sister he showed a complete different side to her.
“Then pick up your bow and help me.” Kiyro lend out his hand for Will to grab a hold of.
“Stay inside Isabel. I’ll be back.” Will puffed up his chest to make him seem stronger and larger than he should be. Kiyro grinned at Will’s sudden change of behavior. He walked over towards Isabel.
“Go back to sleep. We’ll be right back okay?” Kiyro held Isabel’s hand and put her back in bed.
Isabel nodded and smiled at both Kiyro and Will. Kiyro left the room and closed the door tightly behind him. His mind resolved they all walk towards the rail where the Deviant’s were creating a bridge.
“What are we going to do Kiyro?” Jack whispered worriedly. He was not pleased to see the Deviant ladder growing taller and taller by the second. Already they were halfway up towards the treehouse.
“We are going to play a game,” Kiyro replied. He pulled out his bow and nocked an arrow. Even though his bow were not as strong as a normal size bow, it still was strong enough to kill small games.
“A game?” Both Will and Jack looked upon Kiyro with interest.
“Yes. To see how many Deviants we can knock down.”
“Deviants?” Will asked confused.
“Those,” Jack replied pointing down towards the Deviants on the forest ground.
“Okay.” Will replied. He was starting to get excited in the game they were going to play.
“The winner that knocks the most Deviants wins a week of honey bread!”
“Deal!” Both Will and Jack excitedly replied.
At times they are so simple minded. Kiyro sighed. “Ready?”
“Yes!” Jack and Will sung with enthusiasm.
Arrows pelted down onto the the climbing Deviants. Each one skimmed off the edge of their skin. Kiyro eyes furrowed with worry. They were still young and were not able to perfectly land a hit in the small soft target. Each arrow bounced off or broke against the skin as if it was nothing.
“Its not working,” Jack replied worriedly.
“Aim for their eyes!” Kiyro was carefully taking his time to lock on to the top Deviant. Letting it go, the arrow flew towards the Deviant’s eye.
Fwwmph! Thud! Crunch!
Grunting with pain, the Deviant fell backwards arms flailing. The Deviant ruthlessly grabbed onto the other’s trying to steady itself but failed. Three tumbled down with it onto the ground.
“I got four,” Kiyro proudly stated. Will snorted and rolled his eyes.
“I can do better.”
Fwwmph! Thud! Crash!
Six more crumpled onto the ground from the middle of the Deviant Pyramid. The perpetrator for the perfect landing of the shot was Jack himself. He was able to get a lucky shot that threw the head backwards causing the Deviant to misjudge its steps.
“Six!” Jack happily replied. Jack was getting antsy from hitting his target, but he was not as good with bows like Kiyro or Jack. .
“We’re going to win this,” Jack happily replied.
“I’m not so sure about that.” Will pointed towards the smaller Deviant.
The smaller Deviant had begun to climb up towards them in a flurry. Kiyro eyes widen with fright at the unnatural speed the Deviant was climbing up towards them