I didn’t know why. Everyone else’s face were filled with dedication and resolve just as much as me. I had to make it downstairs, it was just that weird pull that I couldn’t get out of from the back of my head, telling me, no, forcing me to move towards a specific location like an annoying fly, flying in front of my face.
“You guys ready?” Marcus asked. Out of the whole group, he had less of a glazed look. His body tensed while he gazed at the door. Slowly, his hand creeped up to turn the doorknob, while in his other hand he gripped the golfing stick tightly.
“Ready when you are.” Jones replied. He had his metal bat up in the air ready to swing any minute now like Babe Ruth. He took a couple of swings, letting the whooshing of air to thump out loudly in front of him, before he was satisfied.
The others nodded their head in unison, unable to say anything. The majority of them had a strange resolve on their face to get out of this out alive that they didn’t show as much as a while ago. Even Brian who was scared initially was a lot more confident than before. In every single one of us, there was a force of will that we will get out of this place alive. We had to, no we would.
Marcus pulled opened the door, Timothy who was the closest one to the door swung.
“Heave… Ho!” He cried out, his body did a perfect swing, whacking a good number of rat’s back.
A loud squeak and thunk could be heard, while they were smooshed against the wall like pancakes. Even still, quite a few rats still spilled in, even one the size of a dog. The dog sized rat squealed loudly, and ran straight to Crystal. Jones stepped in and swung, causing a loud sound of metal hitting on body as bone, blood, and hair flew around in midair.
Twang! Squeak! Splat!
The rat flew towards the opposite wall, Crystal pull up her rifle, aimed and fired. The sound of the gunshots rung out loudly as she killed the rats that was a good distance away from us. A puff of evil green that seem to mushroom out slowly but surely fill up the room.
“We need to get out now!” I shouted in a hurry. “The room is being filled up with toxin!”
“Shit.” Timothy cursed. “Glad to know, our lives are going to go down the drain here and now in this room.”
“Just shut your mouth and keep swinging!” Jones growled. “We don’t have time for your sarcasm.”
“Yes we do, especially in a time like this.” Timothy was able to clear a path for at least three people to filter out into the hallway. Marcus was already out of the door, clearing out a path. There were more sounds of squeaking, splatting, and even angry grunts, coming from Marcus’s mouth followed by Jones and Timothy, who was just as annoyed at the swarms of rats that scurried beneath their feet.
I stepped out with Crystal, covering her back. Both hands were gripped tightly on the sheath, swinging it and whacking away at the rats before me away from us. It wasn’t a great weapon to use to whack away at the rats, compare to the golfing sticks the other had, so I mostly used my feet to give them a good punt towards the opposite side of the hallway from the direction where we were going. Every time, one of us got a giant rat kicked or hit away a good distance away, Crystal would shoot them down mercilessly.
The small ones weren’t as much trouble, but the big ones gave us more of a scare. Their feral teeth and looks made it that much more difficult to not get stabbed by it. They were our priority targets, and we knew that we didn’t want to get bitten by their ugly teeth. Having those teeth clamp on his body made me shudder just thinking about it.
Brian, the girls, and a couple of the guys followed after us. They were too focused on what was around them that they didn’t get to say much about anything. Instead, they looked more like zombies with their glazed eyes than any of the five of us. I could tell that they were hit the strongest from the dense light blue energy that still lingered in the air. Compared to Jones, Crystal, Timothy, and Marcus, who seemed a lot better, the others were still kind of strange. Even though I had the urge, I didn’t feel as zoned out as the others.
“Keep moving,” grunted Marcus. He stormed forward, past the five doors down and took a sharp left. We all followed with hurried steps, right behind him. Not wanting to get let behind. The door to the emergency exit was flung opened, and the descent downwards begun.
“Move. Move. Move!” Crystal held the door, her hands on the trigger as she fired at the dog sized rats that scampered towards us. The others bolted through the door, while Jones and I stay behind to help her if necessary.
Jones did a splendid job of keeping the medium sized one back, while I kicked away as many as the small ones as possible. The others filtered past us, Jones nodded at me, telling me to go. I nodded and went down the stairs as Crystal fired off a couple more rounds and let the door close with a shut. All eleven of us made it safely through. The long spiral downwards from the thirty-third floor was a long way down, we heard doors opening, and the sound of Marcus shouting.
“Sam?” Marcus called out. His voice trailing upwards for us to hear.
“Marcus? What the hell man? What are you doing here?”
Leaning over the side, I saw Marcus shaking hands with person I didn’t know, but I could tell that whoever it was wasn’t our enemy.
“Same thing as you are.”
“You going downstairs?” An young man with a bandana over his head asked.
“Yea,” Marcus replied.
“Good to see that you’re here with us, though what’s with the weapons?”
“You serious? I thought it was the normal drills that we were having.”
“Not this time. I’ll tell you as we get going.”
“That would be fine. I got Cherry, Sylvia, Jacob, and Terry here with me as well.”
“Let’s get going.”
I heard the sound of movement below, the others that was held up for a moment, creating a line, started to move again.
“So, what’s exactly going on?” Sam asked. “I got this strange urge to go downstairs, and I’m not sure why.”
“Me too!” A girl’s voice called out. “I thought I went crazy.”
Marcus was silent. He didn’t say anything for awhile. “I got the same pull, I’m not hundred percent sure either, but we need to get downstairs to the basement. The answer to your question lies there.” He said cryptically. I had to wonder how much Marcus really knew about this whole situation, he was just a bit strange the whole time. I had a nagging feeling that Marcus knew more about what was going on than Crystal herself.
I couldn’t help but glanced over my shoulder, and look up at Crystal. She gave me back a questioning look and turned away like she didn’t want to answer. All I could do was sigh, and shook my head in defeat. They were no point in asking if she wasn’t even going to explain.
“You okay?” Jones asked from behind me.
“I get the feeling you got the same thought as I do. No, the better answer would be all of us.”
“That would be?”
“Just like the others, why are we going downstairs.”
“Apparently, Crystal here doesn’t want to talk.” I put on her the spotlight, hoping that she would at least give us something about this whole ordeal. Marcus wasn’t the type to give out answers from how closed lips he seemed about the whole thing.
“I have my reasons.”
“I think this would be a good time to explain to us, why we all have the urge to go downstairs. It’s weird, I tell you. The air is thick with light blue energy and my guess is that half of what’s causing this strange phenomenon.”
“Light blue energy?” Crystal asked, her interest piqued.
“Yea, the moment when Timothy started up Animus the whole thing started. The unnatural pull and the glazed zombie eye look that you all seem to partially have. It’s not bad with the five of you guys, but the others.” I turned my gaze towards them as we were going down the stairs a lot more quicker than I had imagined. “It hit them pretty hard. Brian who was afraid of the demon rats completely changed 180 and was smacking away at the demons as if it wasn’t a big deal.”
“Isn’t that good thing?” Crystal asked.
“I’m not so sure.” I replied. “Possibly.”
“Don’t worry too much about it. We’re almost downstairs to the first floor.”
I sighed, not pleased with Crystal’s answer. She was right, we were passing the third floor. We eventually made it down to the first floor. My legs were slightly tired from going down quite a number of stairs, but I felt fine. We passed the large number one sign, indicating that we made it to the first floor, but we still continued downwards.
Another five minutes went by until I heard the door opening downstairs, telling our descent was finally over. I was getting tired of continually going the down the stairs, although strangely I didn’t hear a single complaint from the others.
When I made it to the bottom steps, I walked out through the door and came out into a long dimly lit hallway. We continued forward, and what welcomed us wasn’t a normal underground passage. A couple of the guys stopped, blocking the path, until eventually they moved, allowing me to see what the hold up was about.
When I took that step through the end of the passageway, I came out into a very large open space. I walked over towards the rail, and looked down.
“Woah.” Jones spoke in complete disbelief.
“Woah is right.” I replied. What was before me was extraordinarily strange.
A large mechanical dome shaped contraption was present below us. Futuristic machines that I had never seen before was present, moving and cranking to life like a clockwork. Actual light blue lights were present inside the machine, illuminating the interior through the thick black walls. I thought I saw some kind of bed like pods inside the room, but I couldn’t quite tell.
In the very center of the dome was a strange spiral like contraption, where the majority of the blue lights were present. It flickered from light blue to dark blue and the energy followed along with the machine. They were people already present on the bottom floor, where they congregated in one spot, just standing there a confused.
“Is that the Animus Progressium?” I couldn’t help but ask Crystal.
“That is the Garden. We need to go.” Crystal walked past me, she started to descend down more stairs. I was getting tired of going down more stairs. I thought the one we came down was enough, but it didn’t seem like it either.
“What kind of messed up place did you bring us to? I gaped in complete disbelief.
“It’s not messed up. It’s our salvation.”
“You heard the lady.” Jones pushed away from the rail and followed after her.
I sighed, and did the same. The closer we got the the dome shaped machine, the more powerful the energy felt around it. The urge to get closer was a lot stronger, making the pull a bit mind numbing.
We made it downstairs, Marcus and Crystal pushed through the large dense crowds. My guess was that they were at least over fifty people, possibly even more, here in this large room. They were all waiting for something, I just didn’t know what. Even I stood in the back, searching around for any possible solutions, but so far nothing came to me. I gave up and went back towards the group.
Crystal made her way towards the computer with large numbers of monitors that was in front of the the dome, she sat on the chair, and went straight to work. Marcus went over towards the dome, his hand reached up and pulled down a lever to side, causing the dome to spin into life.
An electric sound of power surged through, while white electricity sparked around, the floor under our feet started to hum and light up with white. People jumped backwards in surprise, completely confused in what was going on.
The black dome started to have a strange humming sound, I thought I could even hear words. I tilted my head, trying to see if I was right, and the sound actually started to form into foreign words I didn’t understand.
“Is that latin?” A girl’s voice called out in the group of people that was present.
“Are you sure?” One of her friends asked.
“I think so.”
“What do you hear?”
“I’m not quite sure….it’s garbled up, but….it sounds close to a scripture?”
People started to mumble with each other, their voices was filled with confusion and worry.
What happened next made most of us stare at the dome with even more interest. Strange symbols and words started to appear in white, all around the dome. A door cranked open, gust of wind pushed outwards with smoke following close behind.
Suddenly, the dome formed a number in bold letters on its wall. The number one, followed by a full name, Terran Carte and his picture. It was an older man, in his forties, that reminded me of a gentleman. His curly mustache and clean face stared out into the crowds.
People stepped away from Terran, his eyes was glazed over, he then started to walk forward towards the door without stopping. The moment he entered through the door, the second number and picture appeared.
Numbers went upwards in a numerical order, but they were times when a few numbers were jumped over and went towards the next. I got the feeling that the numbers were only counting the people that were actually present here at the moment. I wasn’t sure how it was doing that, my best guess was possibly we were chipped or something. That was the only answer that came to my mind.
Marcus, Jones, and Timothy surrounded Crystal. Their voices became loud as they talked among themselves in a serious conversation.
“I kept you guys near the end of the countdown.” Crystal replied. “We’re all going in last.”
“Wait, why?” Jones replied, not liking the thought of going last. “What do you mean going in last?” He wasn’t to thrilled in what he heard.
“We’ll be protecting them.” Marcus replied. “We’re the only one’s with weapons as of this moment, and until all ninety-nine of the other’s are here, we’re back up.”
“Are you serious?” Timothy frowned. I could tell from his voice the thought of being last didn’t sit to well with him just like with Jones.
Even I didn’t like the thought of going last, but the way things were, we were the rare few that was still sane of mind. The closer that people got towards the Garden, the stronger the pull was, and Sam who was talking with Marcus was already zoned out like the rest.
“How many of us are even down here?” Timothy asked.
“Seventy-five,” said Crystal.
“We’re twenty four short. Where the rest of them?”
“Four is coming through the door now. Three are on the fifty-fifth floor, a large group of fifteen is on the eighteenth floor, one is on the fifteenth floor, three are on seventh floor, and another three are the third floor.”
“They’re all alive? I’m surprised half of them didn’t get tangled up with that crazy demon.”
“Yea. All vital signs are green, though…”
“You’re worried about the three on the fifty-fifth floor, aren’t you.” Marcus replied.
I saw her pull up the screen with the three on the fifty-fifth floor, and the screens to the others floor. The number 24, 77, and 35 was present with their profile pictures. They were two young girls and a young man. The number 77 was the young man who look to be in his teens.
“We got the crazy girl and the boy Myth type demons in between them.” Crystal bit her lips, not liking where this was going.
“Yes, but it seems Simon is with the group of fifteen people. I’ll meet up with him and grab the three.” Marcus rummaged through drawers of the desk, he pulled out a walkie talkie and handed it to her. “Do you think you can patch me up to Simon?”
“Move woman. That’s my area of expertise.” Timothy stated with a snort.
Crystal glared, but she didn’t say anything. Timothy hopped over onto her seat, cracked his knuckles and went straight to work. His fingers blazed through the computer like one of the master musicians.
“Don’t mess with the Animus project or I’m going to drive my fist into your face.”
Timothy stopped for a moment, he glared at her not liking how she just threaten him. “Pft, like hell I would.”
“Lies.” Jones curtly replied right behind Crystal’s words. Timothy rolled his eyes, annoyed at Jones interjection. He dived back into what he was he was doing. A blaze of blue energy condensed around him, this time it was a lot stronger than I have ever seen before. I’m not sure if it was the machine that was powering him up or they were just too many circulating energy, but he look like he was literally on fire.
“Done.” Timothy replied not even twenty seconds later. All of us had different expression as they stared at him. One was in amazement, the other in disbelief, or another in another in a knowing nod at the how easily he just infiltrated into the system. “I got the coms working on the twenty floor where Simon is. Do you have something you want to say?”
“Yea, tell him it’s me. I want him to stay there and wait for me.”
“Got it.” Timothy typed up a command, and a mechanical voice spoke through the com, causing Simon to stop.
Simon was a man that look to be around in his twenties. He had long silver hair, quite lean and had a model-like face. I could tell from the cameras that the people that followed him did it out of respect, even though he look quite young.
“Tell him to let the others go, I only need him to stay.”
“Marcus, take these with you.” Crystal called out. She came over and handed him a couple of guns and more ammunition.
“Thanks.” He pocket them away. Marcus pushed away, he then started to go back towards the same way that we came from.
“Are you going to climb up the stairs?”
“No, are you kidding me? I’m taking the elevator, so far the crazy little demon girl isn’t on it so we’re fine.” Marcus waved his hand behind him. “Just give me the location of other demons through the radio.”
Marcus disappeared quickly, leaving us behind. The number of people that went into the dome shaped room was already past twenty. They were still quite a few left, making me feel a bit antsy on how slow this was going. .
“Is this a good idea to let him go alone?” I asked, a bit worried that he might not be able to handle it by himself.
“Don’t worry about him,” replied Timothy. He waved his hand in front of him with an indifferent tone. “He likes terminator, he doesn’t go down easy.”
“You got that right.” Jones nodded his head. These were a rare few times that Marcus ever agreed with Timothy, meaning that what Timothy said had some merit behind it. “I’ve seen Marcus fight and it’s not pretty.” He whistled.
“I see.” I said, thinking about what he had said. For one thing, I knew I wasn’t going to be much of a help with anything if I went with him, he was a pro, while I wasn’t.
Another group of four came through just like Crystal had said, the group of fifteen, now down to fourteen was making their way downwards. Time went by slowly, with all of us watching the monitors, occasionally checking to see what floors were infested with monsters and where Marcus, Simon, and the ones they were going to help were.
I specifically watched for the the boy and girl demon. They were each walking through each door, killing anyone in sight. She somehow got her toys to unlock the doors, and come in without much trouble. The majority of them were scientist that were hidden away behind locked doors.
“Oh, shit.” Jones cried out in a gasp, while he was looking at the same thing I was. We both gasped from shock at the sheer power the little boy and girl had. Their attacks were merciless, killing their opponents as if they were nothing. Bullet holes, large gaping wounds, flesh blown up or even shredded by dogs were happening quite often. On one of the screens was the boy. He had one of the scientists up in the air, dangling with nothing supporting him, and gasping for a breath.
The boy raised his hand, and slowly made it into a fist, causing the energy that only I could see tighten around the neck. A silent scream came out of the scientist mouth and he went completely limp. What I saw next terrified me, we all saw it, the energy around the scientist actually seem to come into physical form and his soul was ripped out of his body and flew towards the boy’s face, disappeared through the rucksack, leaving nothing behind. It was like watching a horror film live in front of our eyes.
My heart was nervously palpitating in horror at what was happening through the screen, It just felt to surreal, almost fake, but I knew that wasn’t the case.
“Oh shit is right.” I replied. The screen flickered and went black. “Tim, you think you can pull up another camera where that kid is?”
“Looking into it now.” Timothy flip through the channels and found another.
The boy was walking out in the hallway on the forty-fourth floor. Every time we got a visual on him, the camera’s would temporarily flicker and go into static. Not even a minute later, the camera would go black, making it unable to function any more.
“This is not good.” Timothy replied, his fingers typing fast.
“I’m not sure, but the camera’s on the forty-fourth floor are going out one-by-one. We won’t have any visuals at this rate.”
“He made contact with Simon.”
“And the three that they are looking for?”
“They made their way towards the Forty-sixth floor.”
“You need to warn them to stop moving and wait for Marcus on the fourth-fifth floor.”
“I’m already ahead of you.”
Crystal quickly raised up her walkie talkie and radio in.“Come in Marcus, we got trouble.”
“On Forty-fourth floor we have one of the Mythical type demons roaming around on the floor, taking out the cameras. We won’t be able to track him for too long. You need to get to the Forty-fifth floor fast.”
“I’m on it.”
We watched as Marcus and Simon made their way towards the elevator. They disappeared into it, and clicked the button to the forty-fifth floor. The three Ouroboros made their way down to the fifty-fourth floor on the elevator, stepped out, and waited for Marcus and Simon. Eventually, they met up without much problem, and the breath that I was unconsciously was holding in was let out in relief.
“Cueball made contact.” Timothy smiled and snapped his finger. He leaned back onto the chair.
“It seems three more people arrived safely.” Jones replied, giving us a heads up of the Ouroboros who had made it here. “The other three will be here shortly, while the large group might take some time. A good half of them are coming down from the elevators, and the others are taking the stairs.”
“Good. How many went inside the Garden.”
“It’s forty-seven now, becoming forty-eight,” said Jones, “though why is it only allowing one at a time?”
“That’s because it’s getting the pod ready. Each one of you guys have your own pods that it needs to pull out and get ready.”
“Get ready for what?”
“To protect you guys.”
“Protect us? I think getting out of this place should be our number one priority, but I don’t know why I have the urge to stay here?” Jones answered completely confused.
“That’s because we need stay here. This place is special.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
“You don’t need to understand completely, but the Garden is our temporary haven from the demon’s attack. Right now, leaving this building would kill all of us. The Garden is our last line of defense of our sanctuary against the demons, and right now, it’s our last ray of hope.”
“I don’t know about this…”
“Trust me. This project was way ahead of its time.”
Jones was suddenly cut off by Timothy’s voice. “Guys. We got trouble.”
We all turned towards the direction towards where Timothy was pointing. The girl demon that we had a short tango with was looking directly at us through one of the camera on the fifteenth floor. I don’t know when she got there, but her head tilted back and forth, giving me a very creepy vibe.
“Which floor is Marcus and the rest?” Crystal quickly asked.
“They’re on the thirty floor, making their way down.”
“And the boy?”
“Following closely behind.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s taking the other other elevator and it’s pressed to number one. Everywhere he goes, the camera goes out.”
We all tensed, knowing full well that was a bad sign.
“Shit.” Jones spoke in a half whisper. Shit was right, something bad was happening and it was gunning after them quickly.