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Death Comes Swiftly On Ebon Wings

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Without much memory of what happened after that first sip, Dwight pushed himself up and started to walk back the way they had come. He should have known better. He wanted so badly to be part of the group, even in high school, and that never happened. Maybe it was time for another job change. Sighing heavily, he trudged on through the woods. He didn’t remember it being this deep in the forest. Perhaps they had walked more after drinking? Yeah, he would go with that. Removing his glasses, he rubbed his eyes. Within seconds, he tripped over a root. He was very blind without his glasses. Pushing himself up again, he grabbed his glasses. Brushing off his now dirty collared white, he loosened the tie a little. Why he cared about how he looked right now was beyond him, so he just stopped.

The more he walked, the more he was confused. This really was too far into the forest, but he couldn’t seem to get out of it either. Was he lost? That would just be perfect. If he wasn’t already laughed at, he would be now! Sitting down on a fallen tree for a moment, the man took a chance to breathe. As he did, a fog rolled in over him, blocking out everything else. Standing quickly, Dwight hurried off into the fog. He knew it had to be this way… right? Now he wasn’t so sure however in the distance he did see a building. It was more of a shadow in the fog, but it was something more than the hours of trees, roots, bushes, and other things he had been seeing.

There was a loud slamming behind him which made him jump. What was going on? What was this place? Swallowing past the lump of fear in his throat, he pushed on. There was still some trees and tall grass, but the area felt different. Like he shouldn’t be there. As he looked around, he tripped and fell. Rolling to the side to look at what he tripped on, he saw some twisted remains of a bed. In front of him was a cabinet he hadn’t noticed either. A few inches closer and he would have sliced open his head on an open, rusted drawer. He moved back a little to his knees and got up. The fog continued to clear as he looked around. There was clearly a building some distance off though it wasn’t whole anymore. Probably hadn’t been for years.

The outside had a dome in the upper middle, with what looked like a covered sunroom off to one side. He couldn’t clearly see the rest of it. He would have to get closer. Did he want to? Of course not, however he had little choice in the matter. All around the area he was standing was tall grass, some trees in various states of decay, twisted pieces of metal and what could have been furniture. There were some filing cabinets, beds, maybe a cabinet. Dwight lifted his eyes to the building once more. Was this a hospital? It seemed small for one. Perhaps a private one. As he debated what the decaying building could have been in its glory days, a shrill scream echoed around the seemingly open, and otherwise quiet area.

Time slowed as he looked to his right. There was someone running at him. A person he didn’t know and what looked like a ghost behind her. She dashed past him, fear on her face. The white shape holding out a hand and blurring to gain distance. Another shriek and Dwight’s eyes followed a blurred line of motion coming straight at him. The whiteness fazed through him, stealing his breath away and filling him with sorrow, dread, and fear. Turning towards the left, there was a sickening cry of pain from the woman who had just passed him. She was bleeding from a cut on her upper back, the white figure hanging there. The figure turned. Her white dress was in tatters at the bottom, and she had a bag over her head, tied at the throat. The man’s eyes dropped to the weapon in her hand. It was perhaps a saw at one point, an instrument used to heal, now used to murder. A single drop of blood dripped from the tip, falling to the ground. Time sped up once more and Dwight took off running.

Whatever that woman was in white didn’t seem to take interest in Dwight and disappeared off towards the other woman who was still running. Dwight was not a great runner. Unless one counted running from social groups. He was good at that. With no direction in sight and little cover, Dwight just ran. He finally stopped near a pile of what could have been a bed, cabinets, and other twisted pieces of metal. The hammering of his heart in his chest was drowning out most everything else around him. There was a slight sound of birds nearby and every now and then the shriek in the distance. Crouching down, he put his head in his hands for a moment, trying to rationalize what he saw moments ago.

“Saw the nurse, did you?” The voice to his left startled the man. He looked up sharply. Next to him was an older man sitting with his back against a cabinet. He wore a baseball cap, sunglasses, a brown jacket with a collared shirt under, jeans and boots. There was an air of cockiness around him with that little smile on his face. The 5 o’clock shadow didn’t help to hide the worry on his face though.

“That’s a nurse?” Dwight asked, his voice a little shaky. “How could you tell?”

“It’s just a lucky guess.” The man said with a little more a smile. “That building there looks like a hospital inside.” He brushed off his hands on his dirty jeans. There were some cuts in the fabric, meaning he had run into a little trouble himself. “Who are you?”

“Dwight, Dwight Fairfield.” Dwight pushed his glasses up his nose a little and tried to calm down.

“Ace Visconti. Pleasure.” There was another shrill cry in the distance and then silence. Both men waited patiently for anything more. Nothing came. Ace pushed himself up into a crouch. “Best thing I can figure out is our odds are better together than apart.” Dwight looked at him like he was crazy.

“We have to get out here Ace.” Dwight was not looking forward to wandering around with whatever that nurse was. Was she even alive? She was floating off the ground. Ghost seemed more appropriate at this point.

“Look kid. We do need to get out but where is out? I’ve wandered around enough to find what looks like a door, but it won’t open. No power. There was no generator nearby so what’s your plan?” Ace didn’t sound annoyed but Dwight wonder if he was. Looking around over the debris they were hiding behind, Dwight was no leader. He didn’t want to be, but he was good at something. Hiding. He had done is most of his life.

“What did you find in the building?”

“I didn’t get too far. That nurse found me, and I had to leave. The ground level is a mess. There were holes in the ceiling, but I couldn’t make it to the second floor.” Dwight’s mind raced with the odds of getting to that second floor. Was there salvation to be found? Did that ghost want to protect something up there?

“Tell me about the door you found.” Why would it matter? Did it matter? It had to in some way.

“It was large man. Metal, looking like it could be powered. I followed the brick wall around and came back to the same thing. I felt like I walked in a circle, but the wall was straight. And before you ask, I did try to climb it. There is no chance of getting a grip on that metal or the brick. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Ace sounded frustrated that he couldn’t have puzzled that out himself. There weren’t leaving through any easy means it seemed. Another shriek in the distance. Dwight ducked his head down.

“I’m going to try to get to that second floor.” The tiny bit of bravery had had summoned up almost vanished with Ace let out a chuckle.

“Really kid? Knock yourself out. I wouldn’t bet odds you’ll make it back. She guards that area.” Ace pointed over the debris towards the big building in the middle. Dwight followed his pointing. Sure enough, that woman was floating around the building. It did appear like she was guarding that area for some reason.

“Who was that woman I saw? Not the dead looking one.” Dwight asked. He was stalling for time.

“No clue. She didn’t want to talk when I ran into her. She just kept running scared.”

“Alright.” Dwight couldn’t stall anymore. Wiping his sweaty hands off on his slacks, he got up. “I will come back.” Ace didn’t make a comment this time. The smile never left his lips, but the man looked worried.

“Good luck kid.” Dwight nodded and started towards the building. The piles of debris were few and far between. If he was caught out here in the open, he would be in real trouble. A few birds flew up and away off to his left. Dwight paused to see what was going on. In the distance, he could see Ace running from the nurse. With her distracted, Dwight could enter the building much easier. He just hoped Ace would be alright. Taking risks was not always going to end in his favor.

Coming up on the closed sunroom looking side of the building, Dwight wondered if he could climb in through a broken-out window. He didn’t really want to try going in a door. The metal structure groaned a little as if it had a life of its own. The groans and the shrieks went well together, Dwight thought for a morbid moment. The window he could reach was still above his head. Looking around, he pulled over a cabinet. At least, it was what was left of one. Leaning it against the building, Dwight tested his weight. The cabinet wouldn’t hold long but maybe it would be enough. Backing up, the man took a little bit of a running start. He wasn’t even sure this would work. Somehow, it did though. Sort of. He managed to get into the window but the cabinet caved in. His stomach dropped onto the windowsill, causing him to cough. Pulling and wiggling, he managed to get into the window, falling to the ground in a heap of dust and gasping for air. Not graceful but it worked.

Recovering as quickly as he could, Dwight looked around. The small area was littered with broken tables, chairs, and a few carts. Looking out the windows once he stood up, the view might have been lovely but now it looked like the place time forgot about. Turning away, he crept towards a doorway. There was plenty of debris littered around the hallway. Broken bottles, glass, and other things cluttered the floor. The sound might attract her, so Dwight made a note to be careful walking over them. He moved slowly at first, feeling the pressure of being here mounting by the second. This building was actually a good deal larger than he thought from the outside.

It was circular in design with rooms on both sides of the hallway. Some looked like closets more than rooms. Maybe it was storage. A lot of the furniture had been destroyed with time, though some of the cabinets looked like they survived alright. Holes in the walls, and celling above told a story of decay and disrepair. Without knowing what this was actually, Dwight continued with the theory it was a hospital at one point. Stepping over a fallen cart, the man stopped. He heard some heavy, raspy breathing nearby. Was that ghost nurse back? A hole in the wall made his best option as he climbed over the bricks. He crouched down, making sure to avoid the edge he climbed over. The breathing got louder and louder. Dwight chanced a look. The ghostly nurse was floating by on the ground level. Ace clearly lost her attention and she was back to guard her prize.

When she passed, Dwight climbed back over the wall. Every instinct was telling him to leave, run and never look back, but Ace had said there was no escape. Maybe this building held a key. The hallway seemed to go on forever as Dwight looked for stairs. Finally, he found some. Treading carefully, he went up the concrete stairs. The upstairs was no better than the ground level. Broken, abandoned, and left to die alone. Shaking his head, he saw a lot more holes in the floor than he was comfortable with. The main hallway seemed intact, which was a good sign. The breathing was back causing Dwight to panic. He moved closer to the top of the stairs and ducked down behind what was left of a gurney. It wasn’t really a hiding place and the broken piece of metal really wasn’t a weapon either. Holding his breath and the metal tightly, the raspy sounds got closer. He could have reached out and touched the ghost she was so close when she stopped moving. She hovered there, not moving or looking around. Did she somehow know Dwight was close? Then something caught her attention and she was gone in a blur of white, her cries echoing around the building.

Dwight’s heart was not going to make it through this at all. His breathing was shaky as he took in air again. Getting up, he walked around the hallway. It was circular, like the ground level. A few small side rooms held little within them that was useable. There were several holes to the outside. Dwight looked over one of them. He knew he would break something if he jumped out of this. Backing up, he went towards the main room. There were no doors, which was good and bad. Tall piles of debris littered this room. There was one half of the room that had a functional curtain. Lifting a shaky hand, Dwight pulled it back. He sucked in his breath and turned away, nearly being sick. There were two gurneys behind the curtain, both holding several bodies. They weren’t years old either. Some looked days old.

When he turned away, Dwight noticed a rusted sign on the wall. Gate access. Puzzled, he moved closer to it. There was an arrow pointing to the right. Following the actions, Dwight uncovered a generator under some debris. Was the ghost hiding this or was it just unlucky placement? Either way, Dwight hoped this would give power to the door. Searching around the generator, Dwight thought he could make out an outlet it plugged into it. Setting down the piece of metal, he looked around the machine more closely. Hopefully it would work. Trying to start it didn’t do anything. It was dead. Wiping his hands off again, he pried open the gas cap. There was gas in the machine still. Everything looked rusted and unusable. Still, he had to try. He was no mechanic. He had taken shop in school though. Might be like hot wiring a car?

After several attempts to find wires, Dwight was successful. His fingers hurt, and he had some fresh cuts on his hands. He wasn’t the best to do this. There was no sound or sight of the ghost, so he felt like whatever caught her attention still had it. his mind wandered to Ace. Would he know how to do this? Shaking his head, Dwight figured he knew his way around the ladies and smooth talking more than machines. There were several colors of wires to choose from. How would he even know? He tried putting them all together and it blew up loudly in his face. It also gave his hand a nasty shock. Shaking off his hand, Dwight felt like this was hopeless.

“Brown and yellow first.” A whispered voice came at his side. Dwight was startled. Where has she come from? She was the woman from before. “Then put the red on it by tapping it. You might also need to clean out the gears.” Dwight just starred at her. She was so calm about this. “Look just do it.” He nodded dumbly and went back to work. There was some dust and dirt in the gears, so he brushed that out as much as he could. It took time. During that time, the breathing came back. The woman disappeared, and Dwight followed suit. He took cover in a nearby cabinet while the woman hid behind some debris. It felt like hours before the nurse showed up to scout the area. She glided out as smoothly as she did in. Dwight couldn’t move yet. His heart was still pounding.

The woman went back to the generator to work on it. She was crouched with her back to Dwight. She was twisting the wires together. Closing his eyes, Dwight steeled himself. There was hope. If this didn’t work, he would have to look around again. Just before he opened the cabinet he was hiding in; the shriek was back. The woman was ripped off the generator and tossed to the ground. She was stunned for a moment, before she started to crawl away. The nurse allowed it for a moment, it seemed, before her hand extended. The woman flipped over and the nurse darted towards her. Dwight covered his mouth and nose with his hand as he watched.

The nurse’s hands rest around the woman’s neck. As she struggled to get the ghost off her, the life faded from her eyes. The nurse then caressed the woman’s face tenderly. It was almost like the ghost felt this was the right thing to do. The woman’s head lulled to the side, facing Dwight. Her dead eyes seemed to be looking right at the man. He had limited view of the area but seeing her corpse was right there in the slats of the cabinet. He averted his eyes, trying to block out the image now burned into his eyes. Her body was picked up and placed with the others. Dwight didn’t want to even consider how a ghost did that. This was too much. The generator, which had been showing a little life, was dead silent.

By the time the nurse left, Dwight was drained. He all but fell out of the cabinet he had been hiding in. Staggering on solid ground, he forgot about the holes. Gripping the edge of the hole only slowed the fall. He landed hard on his back, knocking the wind out of him and his glasses off his face. Without them, he was a sitting duck. Feeling around for them, they were discovered in pieces. The lens was still together which was a nice find at least. Disheartened, Dwight looked around. It was very blurry for him. He could make out large objects but overall, it looked like a mess. He had to get out of this building. He couldn’t work on anything like this. He had already ruined it while being able to see. Maybe Ace would have a solution.

Putting the pieces of his glasses in his pocket, Dwight looked down the hallway. If he squinted, he could just make out enough to know it wasn’t the nurse standing there. He made his way back towards the sunroom. He never made it there. He had heard the wails of the nurse but didn’t know where she was coming from. A hand on his arm caught him off guard. Said hand pulled him back into a darker room.

“Are you stupid?” A hissed voice said in his ear. Dwight couldn’t make out the figure next to him, but the voice was female.

“I can’t see.” He whispered back. The hand tightened for a moment and then a body brushed past him. He waited, being able to make out more of the person in front of him now. She wore a tank top and black pants. He thought he saw a glint of a chain from her pocket. He couldn’t make out much else. They waited for a time before the woman pulled Dwight after her.

“We need to leave. Now.” She didn’t leave him any room for argument. Dwight was lost just following after her. He did his best not to be a burden. This room was different than where they had been first. Dwight was pushed into a closet and the woman followed him. She shut the door quietly.

“Where are we?”

“The chapel.” She answered without missing a beat. “Give me your glasses.” Dwight fumbled for them and handed her the pieces. He had no idea what she was going to do but they were already broken. The dim light didn’t help but Dwight didn’t want to move closer to the doors to see just what she was doing. He thought he heard some tape, but he could have been wrong. Leaning back against the wall, he just waited. Eventually, the glasses were shoved back into his hands.

“Stop being stupid and pay attention. I won’t be there to help you in the future. You need to rely on yourself.” She sounded angry. Annoyed might be more like it.

“T-thanks. I’m Dwight, by the way.”

“Nea. Now let’s get out of here. Ace was worried about you.” Ace? He was worried? That meant he was alright at least. Dwight put on his glasses. He blinked and could see once more. He assumed she had taped them together somehow. He was ok with that. When Nea opened the door, Dwight saw more in the room they were in. They had been in a confessional and much to his horror, there was still a body slumped in the corner. It looked like it had been a priest one point. Shaking it off, they left the area.

Finding Ace was no easy task. They were slow moving around the area. They didn’t want to get caught. Eventually though, they did find Ace. Or rather, he found them. He looked a little roughed up and a fresh cut on his upper left thigh.

“Found your friend.” Nea murmured.

“Thanks, Nea. You didn’t have to go after him though. I told you that.” Dwight was a bit confused. Had Ace not cared or just didn’t want to endanger someone else? Nea waved it off.

“You told me the odds were good I would find him. I trusted you, gambler.”

“Hey, relax. You did find him. What did you find up there Dwight? Assuming, you made it to the second floor.” Dwight snapped out of it and looked to Ace.

“I-I did get up there. I found a generator. A sign for gate access lead me to it.” And then that woman died because he blew up the generator.

“And?” Now he had Ace and Nea’s attention.

“W-well, I found that woman from before. She told me the wires to put together but… I…” He stopped a moment, that horrible instance in time coming to mind.

“Pull it together. I want to get out of here. What happened?’ Nea said impatiently.

“I blew up the generator. We hide, she went to fix it and the nurse got her. Killed her right in front of me.” There was silence for a few moments before Ace spoke up.

“What color were the wires?”

“I don’t remember.” Dwight mumbled.

“Don’t give me that. What were the colors!” Nea was upset, though Dwight would bet it was more because she was scared.

“Brown, yellow and red. She s-said two of them first and then other. I already cleaned out the gears.” Ace nodded, considering their odds most likely.

“I’ll be a distraction. You need to get back up there and finish that generator Dwight.” Nea said, pointing an accusing finger at the man with glasses.

“I don’t think I – “

“Get up there and do it.”

“You have seen it and know where it is Dwight. Nea’s right. You have to do it. We’ll try and keep the nurse busy, so you can do what you need to do.” Ace’s calmer tone was welcome in that moment. Dwight looked at the man. “Come on. Lady Luck is on our side, right?” Dwight wasn’t so sure, but he nodded anyway. They had to depend on themselves and yet at the same time, work together.

“Alright. Nea keep her busy. I don’t know what is going to happen when that generator powers up but maybe you should wait by the door Ace. You know, just in case it actually works.” The other two nodded. It was the best plan they had so far. Would it work? That was just left up to luck.

Dwight went back towards the central building. He really didn’t want to go back in there for any reason, but it was true he was the one with the knowledge to do what needed to be done. Now if only his hands would stop shaking. Getting back to the generator was far easier than finding it the first time. Nea was doing her job well. Dwight could hear the shrill cries of the nurse as she tried to hunt down the woman. Dwight had no idea where the door was, but he could figure that out later. Maybe he would see a sign as it were once the generator was done. Steeling his nerves, he went back to the second-floor generator. The bodies behind the curtain were ignored as much as they could be.

Dwight tried to remember the rushed words that he had been told about the wires. There was no movement on the generator’s gears or pistons, so he had to start over. Making sure it was all cleaned out still, the man went to work. He pulled the wires into the light as much as he could that came in from the single pendent light in the hallway. He located the colors and twisted them together. Again, he tapped the odd one out to the pair of wires. The generator sputtered a little. A good sign. He continued this to get each piece of the machine running again. It took time and he wasn’t perfect. He did have to start over a few times and just prayed that the nurse wouldn’t come over here.

He could still hear all the shrieks in the distance as the generator finally roared to full life. That had taken a long damn time. Nea had to be tired. Then, as Dwight stood and walked towards the stairs, he could see a red light in the distance and Ace standing there. Perfect. There was the door. A cry, unlike the others, filled the area. Nea! Dwight ran from the area, stumbling a little as he came down the stairs. He ran into a wall and that slowed his momentum. Turning the corner, he vaulted out the window in the sunroom. He forgot all about the cabinet down there. The cabinet didn’t forget. His leg caught in it and he fell to the ground. Crying out, he pulled himself up and away from the pieces of wood. He had a good slice to his leg, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Tearing off a piece of his shirt, he wrapped it around his leg. He had to keep moving. Pushing past the pain he felt with each step, he had to find Nea. She was running towards the door.

Ace was holding down the handle it looked like. There were two lights and a third one lighting up as Dwight came close. The nurse, Nea and Ace all were at a standstill. The metal door groaned and opened slowly. Ace turned and ran, calling for Nea to do the same. She had a slice across her shoulder, like the other woman. The nurse moved, intent to cut her off from the door in a blur of motion. Dwight ran in the middle of both of them. He yelped in pain as the ragged edge of the blade sliced into his arm. He staggered past the nurse and into Ace. Nea took this chance to run. The nurse was quicker. She cut down the woman with a swift strike across the back. Nea cried out, slamming into the ground. Dwight pulled away from Ace and grabbed a piece of metal sticking out of the ground.

With some bravado he didn’t know he had, he attacked the nurse. He swung the weapon at the ghost. She wheezed, moving to the side with the impact. Dwight felt a little better knowing she was a physical body at least. The nurse turned her attention to Dwight now, leaving Ace the chance to get Nea back on her feet. Dwight’s metal piece sparked when the nurse slashed at him with her saw. He jerked backwards, trying to keep her attention. He was terrified, but he couldn’t just stand around and do nothing. Nea and Ace were moving back towards the door as the nurse made her next move. Holding out her hand, she tilted her head at Dwight. He felt a powerful strike from something he couldn’t see send him backwards. He slammed into Ace and both went down. Nea moved backwards and unintentionally left an opening for the nurse. The nurse snatched up Nea once more.

Throwing her to the ground, the nurse pounced on her prey. She choked the life out of the woman, even as Nea fought back as much as she could. It took too long for Ace and Dwight to get it together and get up to prevent Nea’s death. The woman died fighting for her life. Her head lulled to the side as Ace yanked on Dwight’s arm.

“We have to leave. We can’t let her death be in vain.” Dwight knew he was right, but he couldn’t get it out of his head again. The nurse, her actions almost the same as before, rose up once more. Her bagged head cocked to the side, sizing up the other pair that was still present. Ace yanked on Dwight a second time, who stumbled before moving. Both men fled the area, shaken and wounded. Dwight chanced one look back. The nurse was tenderly picking up Nea’s lifeless body and gliding back towards her building.

Chapter Text

Dwight was in shock. There was no way he had just seen what was really going on. Right? Even as Ce made sure he was still moving, Dwight hoped this was just a dream. He wanted to be able to wake up in his head and not have to deal with this being his reality now. Eventually they stopped to rest. Dwight then felt the full weight of his wounds. He ached all over and his leg was pulsing pain through his body. The adrenaline had worn off for now. Sitting down on a tree stump, the men took a moment to catch their breath. Dwight looked to Ace and then focused his attention on his wounds. He unwrapped his leg wound. It ached and stung so much. At least it wasn’t bleeding fast anymore. It was more sluggish. He needed to clean it before it got infected but out here? Ha! His arm hurt too but not as bad. That was more superficial it seemed in the end. That was helpful. Wrapping up his leg once more, Dwight got up.

Ace and Dwight continued, walking as best as they could through the increasingly slick ground. Over time the area changed and without noticing it, they passed yet another gate. It slammed closed behind them causing both to turn around. Ace looked nervous for the first time since Dwight has met him.

“What’s wrong?”

“We can’t be here Dwight. I heard about a place like this. Didn’t think it was true.” Ace was noticeably disturbed as the reeds and swamp-like area came into more of a view. There were some remains of boats and what could have been a dock around. In the far distance, there were two buildings. One looked more like a house with a basement area and the other more of a shack. Dwight studied the area, waiting on Ace to continue his words but he didn’t.

“What’s wrong? What is this place Ace? You need to tell me if we want to get out of here.” Dwight felt his own nervousness building. This wasn’t going to be a good thing for either of them. Dwight’s leg was a dull ache now as he panicked internally. Ace moved to crouch behind what was left of a rowboat. The air in this place was stall and felt like death was around any structure left in this area. Dwight dropped to the ground next to him.

“Look Dwight. This is a bad place to be. I’m a gambler. I’m a lucky man, but even I wouldn’t bet on this place. While earning some money back, I heard of this place. I was told that some horrible things went down in a building just like that one.” He pointed to the larger building in the distance. “A woman was taken there. She knew some sort of voodoo magic or something. The people who had her were cannibals. They ate people and she was included but she didn’t die from them. They never found her body, only some bloody symbols.” The longer Ace talked, the more his expression changed to panic and worry. Dwight understood that feeling. Looking around himself, the man pushed his glasses up his nose. It reminded him of Nea. She had fixed his glasses. His fingers lingered on the tape there a moment.

“If this place is as bad as you say, we are in trouble. But, think about it. That was years ago. There can’t be anyone, here right? It’s just a story to scare people away from a place.” Dwight managed a shaky smile, not sure who he was trying to convince that this place wasn’t going to have some horrible beast here that wanted to kill them both and eat their organs for lunch. “Besides, I know we can work together to find a way out of here.” Ace’s face clouded over for a moment. Perhaps he was thinking of Nea as well.

As silence fell over the pair for the time being, there was a sense of being watched, hunted. Dwight looked around carefully, not getting up to look over the rowboat they were hiding behind. Ace seemed to feel the same as he crouched a little lower. Heavy breathing was heard far too close to their hiding place. Ace lifted his head a little to look over the barrel on his left. The figure he saw was not, could not, be human. Limping, or perhaps just crouched while running, was a sickly, skeletal frame of something. Mud, decayed flesh, and what might have been clothing clung to the bones that were not at all hidden by flesh. In fact, Ace was almost sure there was no flesh. It was all gone by this point. Ace blindly reached to his right and grabbed Dwight’s shoulder. The man went to ask what was going on, but Ace just pulled him up. Struggling to get up on his knees, Dwight followed the other’s gaze. A cold sweat broke out immediately.

“She’s real.” He whispered, watching her kneel to draw in the mud and dirt. Whatever she placed there was not something anyone wanted to look at. Ace’s hand, which had stayed on Dwight’s shoulder, tightened to almost painful. One thing that caught Dwight’s eye was the oversized right arm and hand the creature had. The fingers looked like claws and he shuddered at the thought of their strike. Hopefully, they wouldn’t have to compare notes. Now that legend had become reality, they had to be even more careful. The men looked at each other before they moved away in the other direction. They didn’t want to head in the way she did.

“Maybe that building has one of those generators in it.” Dwight said quietly. Ace muttered something under his breath.

“Maybe kid. You wanna check it out?” He asked, not sounding like he was going to follow along. Dwight nodded, pausing behind some tall reeds. Ace settled next to him. They couldn’t see the creature anymore and had no idea if she had left them gifts anywhere else. Moving towards the building, it began to feel more and more like death. Dwight could just make out cages hanging from something when Ace cried out in pain behind him. The stacked crates beside them offering a painful thing to run into as Dwight panicked. He felt a hand on his arm yank him backwards without warning. Ace had turned and run off, the creature having snuck up behind them somehow.

Looking to the side where he was grabbed from, a woman was there. She stood a little shorter than Dwight himself. She opened her mouth to say something but stopped. Her eyes looked past Dwight before she grabbed his wrist and turned. Running under the deck of the building, the woman crouched down, not giving Dwight a choice. He hissed in pain and the woman’s hand clasped over his mouth. She was pressed close at his side as they disappeared into the tall reeds. There was a broken container in front of them, glowing candles providing minimal light for the area. The heavy breathing came back as well as growling. Dwight couldn’t be sure and the woman at his side wouldn’t let him go.

The creature crept by, looking around and searching for her victims. Had she lost Ace that quickly? The man was lucky indeed. Dwight took the chance to study the woman next to him. She was African American with her hair under a hat. She had a button-down shirt on and jeans with boots. She also had glasses on. As the creature left, the woman dropped her hand. Dwight was able to move then and straightened out his legs. His injured one burned a bit and he bit back a groan. He really did need to take care of that, but he never had the chance. Would he ever? He moved to look at his wound once more.

“I can help with that. Hold still.” The woman said, moving to crouch next to his legs. Dwight nodded dumbly, not sure what to make of her wanting to help so quickly. She had also saved him from whatever that creature was.

“Thanks. I’m Dwight Fairfield.”

“Claudette Morel.” She looked up with a smile and went back to looking at his cut. “I know my way around herbs. I have a tincture I can use to stop the bleeding and it will heal faster.” She didn’t look up while she was talking. She was focused on her task at hand. Dwight let her do what she needed. Whatever she put on his wound hurt but it also soothed it.

“Thanks. I owe you one.” Claudette nodded and backed up from. Dwight moved to get up to a crouch, so they could move on. “Have you figured out how to get out of here?” Claudette shook her head.

“I’ve been looking for anything to help but I don’t know what I’m looking for either.”

“Ace and I found a generator and it opened the door. Maybe it’s the same here. Is there anyone else around?”

“I’ve only seen you and the other man. Ace you said?” Dwight nodded. “I haven’t really wanted to explore so I don’t know if anyone else is here. Maybe.” Claudette didn’t sound positive about anything. She was also struggling at times to make eye contact with Dwight.

“Well, we should look. This building looks important.” He didn’t like the looks of it, but he didn’t have a choice to be there. He could help and find something, or he could continue to disappear and hide which wouldn’t help anyone. It would be possible no one would escape if that was the case. Was there even hope to get out? Dwight crept forward first, keeping as silent as possible in the tall grass and mud. The solid walls that were still intact were stained with blood and gore. The cages Dwight had seen earlier held skeletons, the remains of someone who had once been alive. Likely left here to die a horrible way slowly and painfully. The air was musty, and Dwight really did wonder if this was the place Ace had heard about. So far, it seemed like it.

Claudette was right behind Dwight as they moved towards the stairs. Neither saw the symbols that had been drawn on the ground until it was too late. Claudette gasped, and Dwight forgot how to breathe as the creature rose up from the symbols on the ground. The creature swung at Dwight, who backed up and slipped in the mud. He managed to just duck under the swipe at him. Claudette took off somewhere and Dwight lunged under the arm and ran up the stairs. As he came around the corner, he saw Ace standing there a piece of wood in his hands. As the creature came up, Ace slammed the wood into it. The creature staggered, allowing Dwight and Ace to leave. Ace continued to run, and Dwight slipped into a cabinet that was still functional. As he tried to slow his racing heart, he noticed Claudette. She looked panicked. Was the creature on its way back?

Opening the door, he reached out and grabbed her arm. Claudette gasped, and Dwight urged her over. He moved over in the cabinet and she slipped inside next to him. Both of them shared a glance but said nothing. This was not where they wanted to be. As they waited for some time to pass, Dwight looked around through the slats in the cabinet. There was a power cable going somewhere he hoped that it would be what they needed. Still, they also needed to find a door.

“Look for the door when we leave this cabinet.” Dwight whispered. Claudette nodded.

“What are you going to do?”

“Try and fix a generator, if there is one.” He hoped there was and that the cable wasn’t a lie. The few light sources that had been seen were lanterns with a flame. Would this place even have power? Dwight had to try. “If you find Ace, I think he is still hurt. Another nod was the woman at his side. The pair finally left the cabinet when all seemed quiet. Claudette squeezed Dwight’s wrist lightly before she went about her mission. She had to find the door and maybe Ace if she could. Dwight watched her leave before he followed the cable. It was hard to follow it as any little sound caused Dwight to pause. There was thankfully a generator at the end of it. Where the door was, was still unknown to him.

Kneeling by the generator, he looked for a panel to remove like the last one. His hands were shaky, though not nearly as bad as when he did this the first time. As he worked on it, the man looked around to make sure no one else was coming up on him or anything. Pulling the wires free, Dwight looked to see if he had to clear out the gears and such. He did. he reached into the machine and pulled out a handful of mud. Tossing it to the side, he reached back in. one of the bracelets he had on his wrist got stuck in the machine. As he tried to pull it free, the generator tilted just a little. Looking up, there was clawed fingers curling over the top. He held his breath. The creature was crouched on the top of the generator. Closing his eyes, Dwight waited. He couldn’t be spotted here. He would be dead if he was. Pressing against the generator as much as he could, the man just had to wait. The seconds ticked by so slowly that Dwight thought he was going to die.

“Hey!” Yelled a voice. “Over here!” It was Ace. This caught the creature’s attention and it was off instantly. As the creature dove off the generator, it tilted more, and Dwight’s wrist came free. Wrist red and a little scratched, the man breathed a sigh of relief. In the distance, he heard a female voice yelling too. It could have been Claudette, but it was too far to tell for sure. Returning to the generator, Dwight kept working. This one was full of mud and one questionable handful. Dwight didn’t want to know what it could have been. The machine was as cleaned as it was going to be, and Dwight started back on the wires again. Brown, yellow and red. He repeated those colors in his head over and over again. His thoughts drifted to the woman he had learned this from. Fingers slipped, and the generator popped loudly.

Jerking back, Dwight was startled. He looked around quickly to see if he had attracted unwanted attention. Of course, he had! The creature was coming up the ramp that was nearby. Dwight couldn’t be caught here again. He ran off, taking another ramp down to get away from the creature. As he did, he went sliding into the mud and reeds. Clothing covered in mud, Dwight had to stop as the creature was right on him. The creature stopped, slouched and hunched it was, to look around for Dwight. Moving back slowly, Dwight disappeared back into the reeds and grass behind him. The creature never saw him. The creature took off, the sounds and growls sounding annoyed. As he stood to get back to where he was, Dwight heard a loud cry. Ace was found. From the sound of it, Ace took a bad hit on that one. Dwight hoped Claudette had been able to help patch him up before that. Maybe that would help. Moving back to the main building, Dwight saw Ace and the creature. Ace was struggling while the creature carried him somewhere. The very thin, skeletal frame holding some strength if it could support holding Ace who was struggling. Both were coming this way. Claudette was running behind them trying to catch up. Dwight wasn’t sure if she had a plan or not, but the woman looked determined. Running towards the building, Dwight had to get that generator done. He made it back upstairs and rushed to the generator. Hands back to shaky now as he could hear Ace struggling to get away.

The man made a grunting sound as he hit the ground. Dwight wondered what was going on, but he focused on the generator. Within moments, the machine came to life finally. The victory was short lived. Dwight went to see how he could help Ace. Claudette was standing at the top of the stairs to the basement. Dwight went to her and turned to follow her gaze. Ace was crawling on the ground to get away from the creature hovering nearby. It lunged at Ace, the man turning to fend off the attack. He stood no chance. The creature’s mouth latched onto his throat and violently ripped it out, leaving Ace to gasp and choke for air. The creature, holding the man down, pierced his stomach with the sturdy hand and ripped out his organs. Choking himself, Dwight looked away. Claudette shielded her eyes with her hands. The creature consumed the liver in hand happily, almost seemingly calmed by the meat in hand. Dwight and Claudette fled the area and the building.

When they stopped moving, both were out of breath. Claudette pointed to their left and Dwight looked over. Sure, enough there was a door there. That was something at least. Nodding, both took a moment to calm down. Ace was gone. He had been brutally killed by the creature that called this place home. Ace’s fears, in every sense of the words, had killed him. Trying to shake it off, both were surprised when a figure crept out of the reeds.

“Oh, thank god. I thought I was the only one here.” The woman had shoulder length blond hair, a sleeve tattoo on her left arm, and a thigh tattoo on her right leg. She sported shorts, brown cowboy boots, and a black slip shirt with a mandala pattern on it. She looked nervous about this place and for good reason. Dwight and Claudette said nothing for a long moment before Dwight spoke up.

“I think it’s just us. Can’t be sure.” He shifted a little uncomfortably and continued. “I’m Dwight, this is Claudette.”

“I’m Kate.” She said with a small smile on her face. She brushed her hair from her face. “What is going on here?”

“We don’t know, but I know how to get out. That door is our escape.” Dwight pointed towards it.” It should be open now. Well, it needs to be opened but it should be powered.” The trio made their way over to the door. Kate whispered quietly to Claudette while they walked since Dwight was in the lead. Once reaching the door, Dwight lifted his hand to pulled down the leaver. It did nothing. He lifted it and lowered it once more. Still nothing. Was there something wrong?

“What’s wrong?” Claudette asked.”

“It’s not working. There must be another one.” Dwight looked around, spying the second building. Maybe there was one hidden in there. “I’m going to check out that building.” Claudette looked nervous and Kate was just unsure. There was a chance she hadn’t even yet seen the creature. Maybe Claudette would explain it once Dwight was gone. Kate should know. “I’ll be back soon. Try and wait here.” Kate looked even more confused and was going to ask but Claudette cut in.

“Be careful Dwight.” The man nodded with a shaky smile before he left. The symbols on the ground would be near impossible to see in the mud and grass. They could have been written anywhere. Dwight cleaned off his glasses on one little area of his shirt that wasn’t touched by mud. This could go two ways, and he hoped he wouldn’t end up dead. He had known two people who died to this in horrible ways. Well, three if he counted that woman he met first, whose name he never knew. Taking a deep breath, he moved on towards the building. He found a ramp leading up. Moving slowly up just to be careful, he wasn’t sure what he was going to find. There might not even be a second generator. Reaching the top, he was surprised to see a generator there. It was good and bad in his opinion.

Dwight moved closer to the generator. So far so good. He didn’t feel like there was a symbol around. Still, he was on guard. That creature could pop up at any moment. Dwight didn’t want to deal with that. Cleaning out a generator was becoming second nature to Dwight by this time. He just did it automatically without even bothering to check if it needed to be done. The wires came free easy this time and there was less junk in the generator than the last one. This one seemed to be better taken care of. He hadn’t heard anything in some time around the area he was in. Maybe they were safe. Then he heard the sound of running feet. He left the generator for a moment to look over the side of the building. Kate was running in the middle of the area. She was doing very well. She jumped over a crate, narrowing missing being hit by the creature behind her. Claudette was no where to be seen. As Kate ran around the creature, she jumped over a window and ducked down out of sight. Dwight could just see her from where he was. The creature missed her entirely.

That was a good thing. Dwight went back to working on the generator. When he turned around, Claudette was crouched there. Dwight choked on his breath for a moment then smiled. Claudette smiled back at him.

“I didn’t want to let you work alone on this.” Dwight nodded to her.

“Thanks. Let’s get this done.” Dwight said, moving back over. He quickly explained to Claudette how this worked and what had to be done. She was an adept student, listening to each word and following directions well. This was something else for her to learn and she took to it immediately. It honestly made things easier for Dwight. The generator came to life under Claudette’s skilled hands. Dwight and Claudette smiled and then ran off towards the door. They had to get there and get it open. Also, Kate had been silent for far too long. Dwight and Claudette approached the door from the right side of it and saw that Kate was there. She was already getting the door open. She was a bit dirty, but she didn’t look hurt. Claudette ran ahead of Dwight, as his leg was bothering him once more. As she ran by, the creature rose up from the ground between them. Dwight came up short and the women froze.

“Hey! Just go!” Dwight yelled, throwing a rock at the creature. The being turned, growling and ran after Dwight who ran away. Kate was back on that door and trying to get it open. Both watched as Dwight took off into the tall grass and reeds. When the door creaked open, Kate started to leave. Claudette was torn. She didn’t want to leave Dwight, but he had said to just go. Kate waited, watching Claudette.
“Come on. He said to just go. Maybe he’ll make it. Meet up with us ya know?” She was trying to stay positive. Claudette looked at the woman behind her and then back out into the area. She really hoped that Dwight would be able to make it out. She turned away and ran after Kate. With the ladies gone, there was another escape path opened.

Dwight was tired of running away. He could hear the growls of the creature behind him. It was getting closer and closer. He knocked over some wooden planks. There was a horrible sound behind him as the creature broke through the wood. It delayed the creature long enough to at least give Dwight a chance. He slipped a few times in the mud. To his surprise, he found himself back at the first generator he did. As he came around the bottom towards the stairs, he heard a whistling sound. Looking around, he saw a strange hatch on the ground. It was open, and the whistling was coming from there. The growling got louder in his ears. He ducked, narrowly missing a hit from those claws of the creature. Taking a risk, Dwight dropped into the hatch.

The darkness of this area was oppressive. It felt like it was alive. The longest Dwight was in this space the more lost he felt. Finally, he reached another opening. Pushing it up, Dwight crawled out into another area. As soon as he was free of the hatch, it slammed shut and disappeared into the ground. The man lay on the ground for a moment, breathing in the fresh air. Metal creaking and groaning around him brought him back to reality.

“Where am I now?” He murmured, not sure what to make of this area. As he stood, he was thankful for the stacked cars on his left side. Was this a junk yard? It didn’t completely seem accurate.

Chapter Text

Dwight was not at all sure what was going on. There were crushed cars everywhere. Crushed and cubed into stacks that looked almost like a wall. It was eerie being so close to them. Of course, seeing crushed cars meant a junk yard but Dwight was sure there was a faint outline of a building in the distance. Taking his time, the man crept around cautiously. Would he end up finding someone else in this area or would he be blessedly alone. That would be nothing short of a miracle if that was the case. He just hoped that Claudette and Kate made it out and were safe. Whatever that witch was that they faced before was horrifying. Trying to shake it off, Dwight continued to explore carefully. Whatever the case, he needed to be as careful as possible in order to see if he could find friends in this place. Maybe he would even find Claudette and Kate again. Did all these places link together or was there a middle zone? It was hard to say as Dwight had been on the move since this whole gauntlet started.

The stacked tires and twisted metal didn’t help to calm his nerves at all. Dwight counted at least 4 trucks that were left to decay in this area. One of them even had a tarp over it. They probably hadn’t been run in years by the looks for it. Probably didn’t run anymore anyway. No escape that way. The tall grass blended well with the remains of the cars. It was like nature was trying to take it back but wasn’t having enough luck doing so. The more Dwight crept around, the more a strong smell was coming from some of the cars. Was there a dead body in one of those cars? That made it even more creepy to think about. At least the tires would make a good place to hide if he could manage to get into a stack of them. He laughed a little to himself. Claudette would probably laugh at him for trying. Nea would have called him stupid.

Passing around a pile of metal barrels, wood pallets, sheet metal, and other pieces of possible metal, Dwight moved closer to the house in the distance. It was a tall building. He could see it was made out of wood, so perhaps a lodge was a better description. Some tarps had been thrown over the stacks of cubed cars nearby. He could see a front bumper was intact, though he wondered how. Or was that placed there on purpose? Curiosity got the better of him as he reached out and lifted a tarp. It was immediate regret. There was bloody remains concealed under the tarp. Backing up, Dwight ran into something solid. Turning around, he couldn’t see anything he would have run into. A faint growl was heard and then, a bell. It was loud and ominous. From the ground up, a figure was coming into existence.

It almost appeared like the creature, man?, was on fire. Bare feet came into existence, legs and lower body wrapped in bandages perhaps, and there appeared to be a cape of some kind around the shoulders, covering the chest and arms to the elbow. In one hand was a massive metal bell, Dwight thought it might have been iron, and the other was a weapon. It appeared to be a spine and skull combined with a vicious-looking metal piece. Dwight was unable to see the face of this being before him as a beam of light came quickly over his shoulder. The creature howled in anger, crouching partially to protect itself.

“Run you fool!” Hissed a male voice before a hand grabbed his arm. Dwight turned and ran, following this man away from where they were. As they ran away, Dwight looked back. The loud bell was sounded once more, and the creature disappeared. How was that possible? They passed a destroyed truck, running through what could have been the trailer part of it before ducking behind a car on the other side. They waited patiently, trying not to make too much noise. Dwight looked at the man next to him. He was wearing a green jacket, a scarf, brown pants, gloves, and boots. He looked like he was a man who would survive. Or at least one who knew how to survive.

“What were you thinking just standing there?” He asked quietly.

“I didn’t know he was there. What is that thing?”

“I don’t know. I found a flashlight and shined it at him. It seemed to stun him for a moment. I’m Jake.”

“Dwight.” There was silence then. Jake tucked the flashlight into his pocket.

“I’ve seen a few other people since this started. I don’t even know how long I’ve been here.” Dwight couldn’t answer that and so stayed quiet.

“Do you know how to get out of here?” Dwight asked, looking around, not sure if he could even spot the creature before it attacked again.

“I found two different generators. I started to repair one of them. They have been left to rot, just like this place.” Jake did seem to understand what was going on at least. Dwight nodded.

“Find a door anywhere?”

“I didn’t look. Those generators looked important.” Another nod from the man with glasses. “One is at that lodge building, and the other is by some cars and a broken-down truck.” That sounded miserable to Dwight.

“I’ll look for a door, but we should get that generator done at that building. Maybe we’ll find someone else too.” Together, the pair started for the building. It was slow going, as they could never be sure if the being was nearby or not. Making it to the lodge, they went up the once staircase. It was more of a slant now. Jake worked on a side of the generator and Dwight took the other. This one was pretty rough, though Dwight knew how to clean it out at least. As they worked on it, Dwight grew more uneasy. Was that thing around? Looking off the porch to the right, Dwight thought he saw a shimmer of something. He wasn’t sure though. He went back to work on the generator. It was starting to come to life. Jake was working just as hard as Dwight was to get the machine in front of them working. Dwight should have gone with his gut instinct of he did see something. The bell tolled, and the creature came into view. Jake and Dwight jerked backward form the generator. The creature swung at them and hit the generator. Dwight tumbled off the porch to the side and Jake ran around the creature.

The creature chased down Jake, leaving Dwight alone. He had ungracefully fallen off the porch. With Jake and the creature gone, Dwight pulled himself together and got up. He went around the building. There was a staircase heading down towards a basement. As he passed by the entrance, he thought he heard a whimper. Turning around, Dwight crept towards the basement. He heard it again. Everything about this was telling him to leave and not go down there. Steeling himself, he went down the stairs. As he went down the stairs, he could hear the whimpering getting louder.
As he passed the small landing there, he entered hell. The smell was horrible, and it was clear that many people had died in this area. There were hooks along the wall and chains all around. The floor wasn’t really a floor anymore. It appeared to look like blood and human remains. Dwight didn’t want to walk down there, feeling like he was stepping on someone’s grave. Someone clearly did die down there at some point. As Dwight looked around, he was uneasy. This place, this basement, had an air of death. Along the back wall, there was a single table. Dwight refused to go over there, however there was a chance this was the place that the creature used to work on its weapon. From what Dwight could tell, it looked like part human bone and part leather, wood, and metal. It had to be created somewhere right?

Among the death, there was two people still alive. Both were hooked through the shoulder, and it looked very painful. A female and a male. Moving over to them, Dwight debated on how to help them. He didn’t know how to heal anyone like Claudette did. If only she was here to help. Reaching up, he helped the male off the hook. His white tank top was very bloodied. He groaned as his feet touched the ground solidly once more. The bell sounded above their heads. Dwight moved to a darker corner, the man sinking to the ground. He was too weak too do much of anything. The creature came down. As it stood before the man, the head tilted to the side. It was a strange looking head. No hair, but perhaps pieces of bone sticking up. There were no human-like features to be seen at all. Grabbing the man’s foot, the creature pulled him a short distance away and raised the weapon in hand, brutally beating the man to death. The man cried out and then there was silence. The woman whimpered, trying to avoid looking at the creature and the now dead body nearby.

When the creature left, Dwight came out of his hiding place. He didn’t even want to think about what he was covered in. It just added to the grim he was already covered in. Pulling the woman off the hook, he tried to stop the bleeding with some cloth from nearby. As she gained her senses once more, Dwight search around the basement for anything that could help. He managed to find some remains of a first aid kit. It was better than nothing. It helped somewhat and stopped the bleeding. She looked grateful for even that much care. There was nothing left in the med kit to help so it was left behind.
“We have to finish the generator upstairs.” The woman nodded to this. As they left the basement, the woman screamed. There was a shimmering figure standing at the top of the stairs. Maybe this creature wasn’t as stupid as it seemed. Both panicked and ran. The bell sounded loudly in their ears. Dwight and the woman chose different methods to leave. Dwight went for the window and the woman ran upstairs. The generator was being worked on. Maybe Jake was back. Dwight came around the building once more, seeing the creature and the woman running away from the house. Jake was indeed working on the generator.

“Having fun in the basement?”

“Shut up.” Dwight murmured, getting back to work. He wondered then if Jake had been down there himself at one point. He suspected that was the case. “I tried to help. That creature murdered a man in the basement. He was keeping them on hooks.” Jake’s hands stopped moving for a moment.

“Then we need to get out of here as quick as we can.” The generator didn’t need much more care to get it working.

“Why didn’t you warn me?”

“You didn’t ask. I also didn’t think you would live through the fall off the porch.” So, he noticed.

“Well I did.” Dwight said defensively. He wanted to tell Jake that he had done this twice already, but he didn’t. It wasn’t in his nature to stand up to someone else really. Jake seemed like the kind of guy who didn’t need, or want maybe, someone else to worry about.

When it roared to life, the men took off. Dwight had a general idea of where the other one was, so he would work his way over there. Jake had disappeared into the area quickly. Dwight was surprised, not even the birds had flown away. The man was truly one with nature. Dwight was not to graceful. He caused the birds to fly away even before he was upon them. Some of the area was like a maze with how many twists and turns someone could take. The crushed cars made walls it seemed, a path designed by someone. Maybe even the creature that was chasing them. Dwight stopped to consider the creature. Did this creature just haunt this area or was there a reason? All the bodies he had seen so far seemed like it was too much for one person to gather. Dwight thought maybe he had read in the paper about a junkyard that had been shut down years ago. He didn’t remember the details though. He wished he had paid more attention to that. It seemed to unimportant at that time.

The trees that remained were tall and twisted, just like everything else in this area. None of the lower branches were in existence anymore. Like they had been cut off to prevent someone from climbing the trees. Dwight considered what he could use as a weapon if needed. There was a lot of metal around, though he didn’t know if he could pry it free of the mess it was attached to. Maybe one of the debris piles littered around. Walking around, Dwight saw a faint shimmer. The creature was back! Looking around, the only thing he could hide behind or in was a stack of tires. Using the stacked metal cubes nearby as leverage, he climbed into the stack of 6 tires. Holding his breathe, the man waited. There was a hole in a tire which gave him a view of what was outside. He didn’t want to run into the creature that called this area home. The shimmer passed by several times, the growling sounding annoyed or frustrated. The tires rocked violently without warning. Dwight kept quiet. The being must have hit them, even though Dwight couldn’t see it. He did hear the rubber and the metal connect. The growling faded away overtime and Dwight let out a sigh of relief.

Climbing out of the tires was harder than he thought. Tipping the stack over, Dwight tumbled to the ground. Getting up, he pressed on. This wasn’t going to be easy. The woman was still running around somewhere. Hopefully, he would run into her again and they could all get out. First though, he had to find that second generator. He also didn’t know where the door was. Maybe that was something he should look for first. Looking around the area, there was plenty of hiding places around. The broken-down trucks would provide some cover, though he could see some dead ends as well. That wasn’t helpful the creature boxed him in. Moving around slowly, he couldn’t fully see through the foggy area. There was plenty of stacked crushed cars as well which didn’t help his vision.

Keeping the lodge in his view as a reference point, Dwight continued to look for that door. There was a small hill in the center of the map. That could be helpful in seeing more of the area but also being spotted. He decided to risk it. Moving up to the hill, he looked around. There was more of an area than he thought honestly. Several piles of debris were littering the area, the lodge and the stacks of cars. Next to some of the debris, was a curious structure. It looked like some skulls tied together on bones standing up. He would look at that in a moment. The man continued to look around and he thought he saw a faint outline of a door in the distance. That he would look at. First, that skull art. Dropping off the hill, Dwight went over to the item. Looking at it, he considered untying it but, in the end, he just kicked it over. It crumbled quickly.

Getting his barring, he started for the door. Or at least he though it was a door. He would need to find Jake as well, unless the man finished the generator. Dwight was almost sure he would hear it though. Hearing a cry in the area, Dwight crouched down behind a truck. The sound of running feet was heard soon after and the growling returned. Pressing himself against the truck, he waited. Another scream echoed, and Dwight closed his eyes. The woman had been hit it seemed, stumbling to the ground in shock. Peeking around the front bumper of the truck, he could see the being and the woman. He grabbed her foot and pulled her back as she tried to get her feet under her. Lifting her up onto his shoulder, the woman was struggling. She was fighting with all her might. Dwight wasn’t going to let her suffer. He ran after them, trying to catch up. The being was much faster. With her wiggling to get away, it caused the path the creature was taking to weave. Dwight cut them off, causing the creature to swing at him.

Dwight barely moved out of the way of the hit. He felt the air brush over him. The creature dropped the woman from his shoulder, making the air leave her lungs harshly. She coughed, trying to get her breath back. Dwight took off running. He knocked over some wooden pallets along the way, stalling the being behind him for only a few moments in general. Avoiding the swings behind him was growing harder and harder as Dwight was growing tired. He wouldn’t be able to keep up running too much longer. Running between the stacks of crushed cars, Dwight jumped over a small space left in between the cars. It could have been called a window if it had been in a house. The weapon hit the metal next to Dwight’s hand as he let go. Turning to look back at the creature, its dimly glowing eyes stared back at him. Head tilted slightly to the side before the creature stepped over the space between them. Dwight turned and booked it.

As he ran, he could see Jake in the distance. He was helping the woman back onto her feet. She looked like she was having trouble breathing still. The drop looked like it had hurt. Hearing the bell behind him, the growling disappeared. Dwight slowed down and stopped running. Without knowing where he was now, the man had to be hopeful and patient. Choosing to look for the door and then the generator, he tried to remember where Jake had said the machine would be. Looking around, there was two different trucks. One hadn’t had anything but the shell remaining. Now, he went for the other one. As he got closer, he could hear the generator running. Moving closer, he came around the truck. Kneeling, he looked over the generator. It was almost running from the sound of it.

“It’s almost done.” Jake said out of nowhere. Dwight jumped, looking around. Jake was hiding in the truck. Dwight only saw him because the man was looking out through a window in the shell of the truck. Jake walked out of the truck, limping a little. Maybe he had found the creature or twisted something while running. The men got back to working on the generator. it took no time at all to get the generator working. The machine sputtered for a moment and then came to life. Jake and Dwight took off towards the door. There had been four of them alive in here. One for sure was dead. The woman was still around, possibly. Approaching the door, the woman was there. She had her hand on the handle. Little by little, the power was redirecting to the door. The red lights were flickering to life.
Dwight and Jake approached the door quietly. This creature was invisible unless moving and that was only if the person was paying attention to the movement. The woman looked over at them, her eyes wide with fear. As the door opened, Dwight’s eyes widened. The creature’s bell was heard right in front of them. Reaching out, Dwight pulled her backwards as Jake fumbled with the flashlight in his pocket. He turned the flashlight on and the creature yelled out. Pushing the woman forward, Dwight ran after her. Jake was behind them. Dwight turned make sure Jake was right there. The creature swung, striking Jake across the back. The man never made a sound. A flicker of pain crossed his face as he ran on. The three of them escaped the area, racing off into the unknown.

Chapter Text

Without knowing where they were headed, it was just a gamble on if they were really safe or not. Either way, they were away from whatever that creature was. As they moved on, the trio paused a moment to lick their wounds and rest. Would they friends in this place? It was possible. Dwight’s thoughts still drifted to Kate and Claudette on occasion, hoping that they were safe. He wasn’t sure he would listen to the sound of a bell the same way again. Trying to shake it off, the group started to move once more. They hadn’t said a word to each other. Each one dealing with this in their own way.
The area was relaxing as much as it could be. In the distance, there was some buildings. Dwight was sure he could see a barn and a house for sure. Maybe this was their way out. The farm was creepy, though Dwight passed it off as just the mist that was hanging over the area. As they approached the corn field, there was a familiar sound of a metal door closing behind them. Jake and Dwight whirled around. They had passed into another area it seemed and the gate was closed behind them. Both men moved to the gate to try and open it. No amount of pulling or kicking helped.

“Maybe there is another way out.” The nervous woman said, standing some distance from them. “You know, like the machines in the last place.” Dwight sighed, crossing his arms.

“It is possible. What’s your name? I’m Dwight and that’s Jake.” The woman smiled a little and opened her mouth to answer.

“I’m W- “She never finished. In the span of a matter of seconds, there was a chainsaw getting louder and the woman was cut in half in front of them. Both Jake and Dwight were splashed with her blood. The chainsaw wielder stood as upright as it appeared he could. The man before them was disfigured, skin stretched over the body in areas that made it look like the man was a victim of a fire, or some other cruelty, though at least understood the idea of being normal. The blood-stained shirt he wore was in pieces almost, impressive it remained on the body. Black pants did little to hide the blood stains. Thick boots looked like they had traveled some distance. The glowing eyes turned on the man as the chainsaw was gripped in the left hand and a menacing looking hammer in the right.

“Run!” Dwight yelled, and the men took off. Jake in one direction and Dwight in the other. The man with the chainsaw would have to pick one to chase down. Running through the corn, Dwight had no idea if he was going to get out of this one. This man was a seasoned killer, if his clothing told any story. The corn wasn’t an easy thing to run through and Dwight had to stop before he got totally lost. The chainsaw was revving up in the distance. Crouching down between the stalks of corn, he waited. The man seemed to be able to use that tool in order to gain some speed. As he waited, the horror got closer. The chainsaw and man nearly flew past as he hid. The man stopped, looking around and adjusting the hold on his weapons. He limped as he moved. Unable to find his prey, the man left the area. Dwight let out a shuddering breath.

In the middle of the corn field was row upon row of corn and on the outskirts of the field were two combine harvesters. They looked like they hadn’t been run in years. The machines were tall enough that maybe he would be able to get a better lay of the area if he could get up there. Walking up to one of them, Dwight climbed up on it. it was very tall, and he was able to see a good amount of the area. This was a massive space. A white, run-down house stood in the distance, a red broken-down barn further out, and even what looked like a building that had fallen over. There was no way of telling what it was for Dwight. The man was in pizza delivery, not farming. Cleaning his glasses, there was one more building to make out. Before he could, Dwight nearly had a heart attack. A hand grabbed his wrist just above his watch.
“Dwight!”

“Kate?!” The pair seemed equally surprised to see one another. Dwight crouched down with the woman, her hold on his arm not letting go. Dwight placed his hand over hers. “Are you alright? What happened? Where’s Claudette?” Kate looked shaken.

“We ended up in like a town, or a neighborhood or something. There was a lot of houses, some we could hide in and others were all boarded up, abandoned. It felt so real, like we were almost home. Claudette and I were careful. We met a woman there. I didn’t catch her name. Laura, Lauren, Lyn. I don’t know. She warned us about the man in the area and that he would kill us all if we didn’t stay hidden. She wasn’t as scared as we were. It felt like she had done this before. Anyway, we used what you told us about the generators and found some to fix. I never saw the man that we were warned about. I felt like we were being watched though. It was creepy.” Kate shivered a little as she was recounting the story.

“What else happened Kate?” Dwight pressed, wanting to know what was going on. There was a sound of the chainsaw in the distance, the far, far distance.

“We repaired three generators, one took longer than the others and we needed to find a part for it. The woman opened the door and we were told to leave. She then told us that we had been followed the whole time, but it was ok. She would make it right. Claudette and I didn’t understand what she meant. As we started to leave, the woman was grabbed by the man she had been worried about. He lifted her up by her neck and… and… Oh Dwight, he just stabbed her in the heart. She struggled but there was no way. He was holding her at least a foot off the ground.” It must have been terrible. Dwight’s hand tightened on hers gently.

“I don’t know if we will make it out Kate. I don’t know if there is an out. All I can say is that I will try to keep you safe.” Kate nodded.

“Claudette is here somewhere. That man with the chainsaw found us and we ran away. I don’t know where she is.” At least she had been alive was Dwight’s thought process.

“Alright. I came here with a man named Jake. He’s somewhere out there as well. The woman we had with us was… killed.” It was not something he wanted to think about, no matter how many times he had seen someone die. Kate frowned but nodded.

“What should we do?”

“Let’s try to get to that house. Maybe there is something there we can use.” Dwight also wondered if they would find out where they were. That might be helpful. Another nod from Kate. Both stood and started to go towards the house. It was long since forgotten it looked like, though there were some parts of the house that looked lived in. The stairs going into the house looked like they could have been nice at one point in time. Now they looked ominous and daunting. Like they lead towards death. Kate was right behind Dwight as they entered. The crates scattered about would make good cover if they needed to hide behind it. Choosing whether to go up or leave the house, the chainsaw sound came back. There was a yell of pain and then silence. Kate and Dwight shared a look. Heavy steps came up the stairs out front.

“We need to hide!” Kate said, and Dwight took her hand as they quickly went into the basement. They had been the closest to that. Nearly slipping in the several pools of blood as they went downstairs, the basement had the remains of something there. Much of it looked like animal but there were human remains mingled in there. Kate slipped in the blood. Dwight pulled her to her feet before they ducked around a partial wall. It was hard not to try to think about what they were hiding in. Kate looked around and some light came in around them, showing her the body next to her of a what was a woman. Her sharp intake of air was cut off as Dwight covered her mouth. He looked at her, lifting his other hand to place a finger in front of his lips. They had to be silent.

The heavy boots made noise on the stairs and the limping walk didn’t help. The wet sound following a thump didn’t help either person hiding. The man was coming down the stairs, dragging something. At the bottom stairs, the steps turned wet. The man tossed the body on a pile without care and turned to leave. Perhaps random, perhaps he had something in his head but as Dwight looked through a small hole in the wall, he could see the man stand straight and tall, kick over a pallet, which shattered into pieces, and limp up the stairs. This murderer was unexpected. When the steps faded away and the chainsaw was a distant memory, Dwight and Kate quickly left the area. Both needed some fresh air.

Once they had caught their breath, and their courage, they went upstairs to see what they could find. There was plenty of cabinets in which to use if they needed. Kate went through one doorway and Dwight picked the other. They headed towards the deck that they could see. Dwight glanced towards the window on his left and was hit with a piece of wood. He stumbled backwards into the wall.
“Oh my god! I’m so sorry Dwight.” Claudette dropped the wood and went to see if he was ok. The man shook it off, though he had to admit his chest and right arm were hurting a little.

“I’m just glad you are ok Claudette.” Dwight said with a little smile as Kate came around the corner. It was a bittersweet reunion. At least they were together again. “Kate told me about what happened. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.” Claudette shook her head.

“We will make it out of here somehow. All of us.” There was hope in her voice. Maybe they would. Maybe they would all die. Luck might save them all or doom them.

“I came here with a man named Jake. He is out there. He also knows about the generators.” The ladies nodded. Now they just needed to see if there was one and get out of there when they could. There was one in the upper floor like Dwight had hoped. The three got to work, cleaning it out. This machine was in pretty good condition. The house did have some power. Maybe that was a promising sign that the generator would be enough. Once the machine was cleaned out, Dwight went to work on getting things functional. The ladies watched and learned as much as they could. The woman in the last area had helped as well but it had been a lot slower and much tenser. Dwight seemed to know what he was doing. As he worked on the generator, Kate inched away to what could have been a railing on the deck. She looked down and could see Jake making his way away from a machine. So, there was other generators around. He wasn’t close enough to call to, nor would she want to. The chainsaw man was there as well, looking around. He seemed like he knew Jake was there. As Kate watched, Jake carefully evaded the murderer with stealth and silence. The red, green, and blue barrels helped as well.

The man with the chainsaw kicked the generator in annoyance and left the area finally. Jake crept back over to the machine to try and fix it. some damage was done this time and Kate could see Jake pulling a few pieces out of it. At that, she looked around where she was in order to see if she could find something. Spotting a box nearby, she went to search through it. Claudette came over to see what she was doing. Dwight had paused a moment to look at them as well. Kate motioned off to the side and both others looked. Dwight stood and shook his head.

“I knew Jake would be fine. He’s skilled in staying silent and hidden.” He looked over to Claudette. “I also was able to tend to his wounds because of your insight. Thanks.” Claudette smiled, despite the tense area they were in.

“I’m glad.” She had helped Kate learn as well on a few injuries she had had as well, though they weren’t deadly. Kate finished looking in the box and managed to find some tools and a few parts. She didn’t know what they were.

“I’m going to try and help Jake.” She announced, creeping away from the area. Claudette and Dwight returned to the generator. The chainsaw was a distant memory almost and then it was far too close. Dwight’s hands slipped, and the generator let out a pop. Claudette grabbed his arm and pulled him back. She dragged Dwight towards one of the cabinets. She motioned to the crates in the corner, creating a little blocked off area. She opened the cabinet door and slammed it shut. Both went to the hidden area and crouched down. It was tight with them both, but they made it work.

When the man did come upstairs to the generator, he kicked it without even looking around. Both Dwight and Claudette held their breath and waited. The limped steps were loud on the wooden planks under his boots. He passed right by their hiding place. As tense as they were, neither moved or even made a sound. The loud steps passed by a few times before it disappeared. Eventually, Dwight and Claudette go out of their hiding place. As they started to pick up the pieces of their generator, one came to life in the cornfield. Both looked at each other and then doubled their effort to finish. Jake and Kate must have been successful with a generator.

Their generator came to life a few minutes later and both took off running. Claudette tripped on the stairs but didn’t fall. They raced out of the house as the chainsaw sound came closer. It was entirely possible that they were going to die right there. Leaving the house, they disappeared into the cornfield. Keeping as calm as they could, Claudette lead them out towards a far part of the area. This farm was huge, and it seemed to be growing the more they walked around. The chainsaw revved up nearby and they watched, from behind some stacked hay bales, the man race past them, looking for another victim. As the man left the area, they ran off towards the building. It was an old shed, or barn of some kind.

The large red building looked like it once held animals. It would make sense because as they came this direction, they passed a tree with the bodies of pigs hanging from the limbs. They were all arranged like it was some twisted art installation. It was unpleasant to look at. They had moved away hastily from that area which had lead them to the barn they were now standing in. The windows offered a way out and a way in, if they weren’t careful. The many stacks of hay around would offer some coverage. If they were caught between them, it wouldn’t be good. There was power out there as well, which was a good sign. Maybe there was a generator nearby then. Claudette went inside, leaving Dwight to linger outside. He looked around the area. The stacks of hay, old animal trailers, and what could have been water containers littered the area. Trees created places to hide along with the other items in the area. Still, he didn’t feel safe.

“Dwight come on.” Claudette said loud enough to be heard. Dwight hurried into the barn then. Instead, it was just one would expect it to be. Stacks of hay everywhere. The windows were helpful, and it was open at the back as well. One of those strange skull things was nearby and Dwight took the time to kick it over. He didn’t know what it did, if anything, but it was creepy enough it needed to go immediately. There was a generator in the middle of the barn. Claudette was working on cleaning it out as Dwight explored the area a little. The building creaked and groaned around them. There was nothing of note in the area, which was nice to find. Returning to Claudette, Dwight started to help. This generator was in worse condition with the one in the house, but it wasn’t as bad as the ones in the swamp. As they worked on the generator, they were so focused on the machine under their hands, they didn’t hear the chainsaw until he was right there outside the building. Both Claudette and Dwight scrambled for a window. Dwight’s foot caught on the frame as he jumped out of it. Landing on his back, he bit back a groan as he landed on uneven wooden boards. Claudette faired no better in her haste as she landed on Dwight. They were going to move but the footsteps got closer. The pair stopped moving.

They listened as the man inside the barn kicked the generator. They couldn’t tell what he was exactly doing but it sounded like he was upset. As they were about to move, a booted foot and leg came out the window. Dwight moved his leg up and to the side to avoid it being stepped on, which caused Claudette to awkwardly get pushed up on Dwight’s body, so they were practically face to face. Neither said anything as the man stepped out and limped away. He didn’t see nor hear them, which was fortunate for the pair lying there. Once their hearts stopped racing, Claudette pushed herself off Dwight. He sat up as she sat back on her heels. Neither said a word.

They moved back through the window to see the damage done to the generator. It was now missing a few pieces. Now they needed tools for sure. This was disheartening. Shaking it off as much as they could, the pair cleaned up the generator as much as possible. Dwight wondered where Kate was. She had taken some tools with her when she left. Hearing the chainsaw, both tensed up. It wasn’t coming this way but that meant the man was prowling around. Then they heard running feet. It was Kate and Jake. They both ran into the barn. Kate looked like she had been running a while and Jake was holding his arm to his chest. Claudette went to see what she could do with Jake’s arm and Kate crouched by the generator. It took no time at all for the generator to come to life. Kate’s tools were useless by the end. Maybe they wouldn’t need them anymore. Jake never made a sound of pain as Claudette reset his arm.

“That man hit me with his hammer when I jumped through a window.” Jake murmured quietly as Claudette had worked. It had to have hurt.

“He never made a sound. I wish I was that resilient.” Kate mentioned as she stood nearby with Dwight. The man would be coming this way with his chainsaw they were sure of it. Jake felt better and was ready to move on.

“We need to move on. I haven’t found a door yet. I’m going to look for it.” There was no way of knowing if the door was powered now or not. They had powered three generators. Would there be more? The small group decided to break up into two and keep looking around. This area was huge, but they could meet by the house if they found something out the others needed to know. As they left the building, a voice called out from a nearby hill.

“Look out!” It was a female voice. There was a woman crouched at the top of the hill, looking down at them. She pointed to the side, however it was too late. The murderer raced into the area without hardly any warning. He missed everyone with the chainsaw but didn’t miss with the hammer in hand. He slammed it down into Jake once more, before the man could get around the trailer in his way. He staggered into the trailer, tripped over the hitch and crashed into the ground. The man crawled away, trying to get under the trailer but he didn’t make it. A heavy boot came down on his lower back and the chainsaw sliced through his spine. There was a moment no one moved, like time had stopped. Kate, Claudette and Dwight then took off running. They could hear the other woman running after them.

Chapter Text

Dwight’s mind was racing. They had just been talking to Jake! It was like with that woman when they first came here all over again. This was one never-ending nightmare. There had to be an ending, even if it was death. Dwight shook it off. They had to focus and work together to get out of this. With the four of them together, they created a bigger target. This wouldn’t end well for any of them.

“We need to split up. Meet back by that building. “Dwight said, pointing towards the building in the distance. He went to the left then. He wasn’t sure if anyone would come with him or if they would all end up on their own but that chainsaw revving was enough to spur on his running. As he ducked behind a trailer and some multi-colored barrels, he heard some breathing next to him. He looked to his right and saw the woman who had been on the hill warning them. She looked back at him and shook her head. They waited. When the sounds of the heavy breathing and chainsaw was gone, they moved from their hiding place. Moving towards the building, there was an unmistakable stench coming from the building. The woman gagged a little and Dwight did cover his nose with the back of his hand for a moment. It didn’t help at all.

“This is gross.” The woman said, looking around as they edged closer to the building. “My name is Meg, by the way.”

“I’m Dwight. The blond with the sleeve tattoo is Kate and the brunette with glasses is Claudette.” Meg nodded. Dwight wondered if she used to run. She looked fit enough and her clothing resembled jogging clothes. Her hair was tied back in pigtails to keep it from her face. Turning his attention to the building, they entered what appeared to be a slaughterhouse. There were dead animal bodies hanging from the ceiling. Dwight figured they were pig bodies. At least, it’s what it looked like.

The pair walked through the metal fences for animals. The chutes looked like they had seen a lot of use. The floor, the ceiling, the walls… they all told the story of this place. There was no telling how many animals had been killed here or how many people. There was a blocked off window they could see through the maze of metal. One was open, which would be helpful if they could reach it. Coming up on a generator, the pair knelt.

“Do you know how to fix one of these?” Meg asked. Dwight nodded.

“We need to see if there is something in it. We might need a new part. The one in the house needed one.” The man pushed his glasses up his nose. This was going to be interesting. Eventually, they would have to break off and look for a door. Jake was going to do that, but he was killed before he got the chance. For now, this generator was the plan. Dwight reached into the machine as much as he could to clean it out. Thankfully, there wasn’t much in there, however, the glob of blackish goo was something else. Meg gagged, and Dwight was almost sick. Brushing his hand off on his pants, he wished for nothing more than water, or even bleach, to wash all this off.

Meg and Dwight shook it off and did what they could to clear out the generator. After a quick explanation of how to fix the generator, Dwight crept away. Meg watched him closely, not sure if he would be coming back or not like he said he would be. Dwight went to the doorway, looking around for anything that could be helpful. He could see that other building in the distance. There was no wall that he could see other than the walls of the buildings. This wasn’t looking good. Walking back to Meg, Dwight started to help her. The generator was coming along nicely and quicker than expected. As it roared to life, so did a chainsaw. Both looked up in fear. The man with the chainsaw was there at the end of the generator.

“RUN!” Meg yelled as she climbed over the metal fencing. Dwight turned and ran out the door. The chainsaw revved and the sound of it ricocheting off the metal was heard. Meg vaulted the window and was gone into the corn fields. Dwight took a sharp left just outside the building and kept running. He ducked behind some hanging cows in the building and pressed himself against the wall. His heart was pounding as he waited. He could hear the heavy steps coming around the building and then, into it. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to even out his breathing. He could see the man limping by, chainsaw and hammer in hand as he looked around. He stepped through a window and was off on the hunt again.

Dwight moved around the hanging pig body. Exiting the building, Dwight felt good knowing there was three generators completed. Did that mean there was a door ready to be opened? He wasn’t sure, but he would need to find out. Meg took off and he had no idea where Claudette or Kate were at the moment. Slowly, Dwight crept out into the rest of the area. He could hear the chainsaw in the distance. This was a large area for that man to patrol and look for them. For all Dwight knew, the ladies had double backed and were hidden right now. He just hoped they all made it out of here.
Walking behind some stacked bales of hay, Dwight paused. He leaned back against the hay. This was incredibly stressful. Life had been hard before this. Now, this was worse than anything. Dwight wasn’t even sure he would wish this fate on someone he hated. This was just hell. As he tried to calm down, he heard the chainsaw rev right behind him. He dropped to a crouch and crawled under the trailer in front of him. The man with the chainsaw, keeping it revved, walked around the hay bales. His heavy boots came to a stop next to were Dwight was hiding under the trailer. He held his breath, watching those boots. The chainsaw stopped, and it lowered. Dwight just barely see it from where he was hiding. The man turned, his boots pointed at Dwight. The man under the trailer inched away but he couldn’t risk making a noise. He was trapped down there if he was caught. Without warning, the hammer slammed into the trailer. Dwight covered his ears, the ringing very loud. He winced, trying to not make a sound as the metal hammer caused the metal trailer to echo around him.

“Hey! Over here!” Kate’s voice rang out. Dwight looked around, trying to find the source.

“Ugly!” Claudette’s voice also was heard. The chainsaw came to life and the man was off to find his target. Dwight crawled out from under the trailer as quick as he could. Shaking it off, he hoped his ears stopped ringing sooner rather than later. As he shook it off, a hand came down heavy on his shoulder. He jumped, looking to his right. The man standing there was not someone Dwight expected to see. He had a hard look about his face. His collar turned up and the white shirt under, collar also turned up, lead Dwight to believe this man was used to money.

“That was snide.” The man said, leaving Dwight to wonder what he had just said. His words were accented and a little nasally honestly.

“What?” Dwight said, looking confused. The other man considered his words for a moment.

“That was tight.” It clearly took effort for him to explain what he said.

“Where are you from?” This was hardly the time to be asking all these questions.

“Manchester.” Came the response. Then things made more sense to Dwight.

“Oh. Right. Okay. I’m Dwight.”

“David.” With that settled, the men stood awkwardly for a moment.

“Come on. We have to find a door.”

“Already did. Couldn’t open it.” David said, crossing his arms over his chest. Dwight frowned, looking around.

“Which way did you find the door?” David stuck a thumb out over his shoulder. Dwight looked that direction. It was in the direction of the fallen building. Being closer now, Dwight could see it was a silo. Taking his glasses off, the man pinched his nose for a moment before passing his hand over his face.

“You alright?” David asked, arms dropping to his side. Dwight replaced his glasses and nodded.

“Yes. It’s just… what is this place? Why is this even happening to us? What did we do to deserve this?” Dwight sighed.

“Who knows? Do you ‘ave any idea on ‘ow to get out of ‘ere?” David said, not all for the moment of bonding. Dwight nodded.

“We have completed three generators.”

“We?”

“Meg, Claudette and Kate. We have wo- “

“Kate? She’s ‘ere?!” There was alarm in his voice. Dwight looked surprised.

“Yes? Do you know her?”

“She’s my girlfriend.” Dwight tilted his head a little, trying to figure this out.

“Blond, sleeve tattoo?” David nodded. “Oh. Well, she’s here somewhere. She was just yelling at the man with the chainsaw. Claudette too.”

“ ‘ope she is alright.” David was clearly worried about her. Dwight smiled a little.

“She’s a smart woman. She’ll be alright. David, did you ever find a generator while you were exploring?”

“Yes. In the silo.” Dwight looked back over to the building once more. “I ‘ave to find ‘er. I’ll meet you there.” Dwight nodded.

“Take care of your- DAVID!” Dwight called out. The man with the chainsaw was behind them. He sung, missing at first then came at Dwight with a second swing as the men separated. David blocked the hit, taking it for Dwight.

“Go!” David said, arm cradled against himself as he ran. Dwight took off in the other direction. The chainsaw sound become louder and then faded off into the distance. Had the man gone after David?
Dwight took off towards the silo. As he reached the generator, he very quickly found out he would need tools or parts. Maybe both. Cleaning it out, Dwight went to look for something. He wasn’t even sure where to look. Creeping around, he wondered if anyone was even still alive. This area was huge, so it was impossible to know if he could hear anyone die or not. Walking around some hay bales, he spotted a box. It looked intact, which was hopeful. He pushed open the lid and crouched down to see what he could find. There was some cloth inside the box and various things. Most of the tools inside were broken and pointless. In the bottom of the box under some broken tools and a broken key, he found a dull key. It was bent but there was something about it. Dwight lifted the key, feeling it was important. Maybe it would open another exit?

Pocketing the key, he left the area. He didn’t find what he needed to fix the generator. Perhaps he wouldn’t need it. Dwight headed back towards the generator he had left in the silo. Crouching down as he heard the chainsaw, he waited. Meg was running by, the man on her heels. She knocked over a pallet, which hit the man. He groaned, stunned for a moment, before kicking it to break the piece of wood. Meg was already long gone, leaving the area and hiding behind a tree. Dwight watched her, their eyes meeting as she looked over at him. Neither said anything. The man was upset about losing his prey and used his chainsaw to gain speed to leave the area.

“Are you alright?” Dwight asked as Meg walked over to him.

“Yeah. I found some tools in a box.” Dwight looked delighted as Meg removed the tools from a pocket.

“Perfect. Come on. We need to finish that generator. There is a door nearby.” The pair jogged back to the silo and the generator. In no time, the generator was coming to life under their hands. The machine roared to life. It was a beautiful sound, instantly tainted by the sound of a chainsaw.

“We need to hide.” Meg hissed, crouching down. Dwight nodded. The pair took off into the trees. Dwight had yet to find the door to be honest. He wasn’t even sure if that was enough power. Hopefully it was. Dwight hide behind some red and blue barrels while Meg took cover behind some circular hay bales. The man searched around the generator, looking for those that finished it no doubt. Dwight pressed against the barrels, wishing he was anywhere but here. His heartbeat was pounding in his ears almost as loudly as the metal on metal had been when he was under the trailer. The man came around, not even looking in Dwight’s direction and continued on. He spotted Meg though. She took off running.

Dwight took off in the other direction. Through the trees, he could see the door. There seemed to be power. Heading over there, Dwight ran into Claudette and Kate. At least they seemed to be alright. Reaching for the handle, Dwight pulled it down. He had it held for barely five seconds before he was dodging out of the way. The chainsaw wielder came flying towards them and narrowly missed all of them. He slammed into the door. The ladies yelped as they backed up to get away from the man. The three of them disappeared into the trees and hay bales. They needed to stay by the door to get out. David was still missing and so was Meg. This area was huge. Moving towards the corn, Dwight had to keep moving.

Creeping around was slow but it was safer than running around. As Dwight moved, he felt a vibration in his pocket. It was startling. Dwight fumbled for the key in his pocket. As he pulled it out, the vibration was stronger in one direction. Dwight looked around in the corn and spotted the hatch. It was how he had escaped before. He could leave. It would mean leaving everyone else behind. The chainsaw in the distance sent a chill down his spine. The pounding of feet drew his attention. Claudette was running towards him.

“We have to go.”

“Wait. We can leave using this.” Dwight showed her the key. She looked down to the hatch nearby.

“Are you sure?”

“No, but I got out before using it. It was open at that time, but the key is vibrating.” Claudette looked as nervous as Dwight did. He could see the same thought process go through her mind. Do they stay, or do they go? Kate came running over, nearly tripping over Claudette in the process. She stopped, looking at them puzzled. She then followed their line of sight to the hatch.
“There are two people still here that I know of. I don’t know if they are alive.” Dwight said, fingers curling around the key in his hand.

“We can’t just leave them.” Claudette said. Dwight nodded, Kate mimicking the action. The silence stretched on for what felt like ages. Their pondering was broken by the sound of running feet. They looked up, all tense. Meg came running by, the man with the chainsaw on her heels. He missed swinging his chainsaw. He straightened and tried a second time. Meg dodged again and on her second turn, she noticed the others. Dwight then started to fumble with the key. He had no idea how to open the lock but now he had to try.

“Come on Dwight!” Claudette said, trying to help him look for a lock to open. Kate was doing the same. Meg turned to run back in their direction, that the only way available to her. She never made it. She was knocked down, feet from the hatch. The man raised his chainsaw, ready to kill the woman at his feet. Dwight dropped the key. Without warning, David launched himself at the man with the weapon. It knocked them both off balance. Claudette grabbed Meg’s hand and yanked her to her feet. Kate grabbed the key and shoved it into Dwight’s hand.

“ ‘urry up Dwight!” David’s voice snapped him out it as he continued to run, having the man’s attention. Dwight tightened his grip in the key and forced it into the lock. He turned the key. It dissolved into nothing and the hatch unlocked. Popping open, Dwight smiled.

“Go!” Kate dropped into it, followed by Claudette and Meg. David had kept the chainsaw wielder busy enough that everyone was out, but Dwight and David.

“David! It’s open!” Dwight called, not sure where the man was now. David came into sight, running right at him. The door on the hatch was between them. Would David make it? The chainsaw sounded right behind him and the man was coming. Dwight felt panic coming on as he could almost see death coming for them both. At the last second David veered out of the way, causing the chainsaw man to fly past him. Dwight dropped into the hatch, feeling the gush of air go past him. It was dark all around him, but he was able to hear David jump down after him. A second later, the hatch slammed shut.

Chapter Text

There was no telling where they could come out when they did eventually get to come out. Any place had to be better than with a man who had a chainsaw ready to murder them all. The hatch pushed open under Claudette’s hand. She shoved it open and climbed out. She didn’t care where she was to be honest. Kate and Meg followed without question. The hill they were on seemed to be in a forest of sorts. There was the soft sound of rain coming down. Claudette looked up, letting the rain wash away some of the dirt and grim that had started to cake on them. The ladies did much the same. It took a little time before Dwight and David crawled out of the hole as well. When they were outside of the hatch, it slammed shut and melted into the ground.

This area was certainly a forest. Two large buildings could be seen from the area they were at currently. Dwight knelt near the edge. Claudette came over to his side. She placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled a little. He returned the gesture. David and Kate took this moment to reunite. They were both happy to have found each other once more. Meg stood nearby, stretching her legs and looking around. The relative peace of the moment was shattered as a hatchet, arching through the air, embedded itself into the tree near David and Kate. Everyone froze. Eyes wide, the group of five took off running. Dwight and Claudette all but fell off the side of the hill. Kate and David darted down the pathway and Meg, she jumped off the hill and hit the ground running. No one knew where the hatchet had come from, but they all knew they didn’t want to stay there and find out any more about the person who threw it.

David and Kate moved into the small building. They crept up the ramp in the area to the second floor. A window was at the end of the pathway. It looked like there was at least one more level at some point but now it was collapsed. Kate looked around the building, once her heart calmed a little. There was plenty of death in the area. Bodies of animals, likely pig or cow, hung from hooks at various levels. A full steer body was freshly killed and hanging from one of the hooks via a rope around its neck. Kate swallowed back the lump in her throat.

“It’s ok Kate.” David said, trying to reassure his girlfriend. “We ‘ave ta make it outta ‘ere. All of us.” Kate nodded. She was tougher than this. However, like anything stressful, it wears a person down.

“I believe you. We have to look for generators.” The tattooed blond was finding that inner courage. She had seen the others, Claudette and Dwight really, be as strong as they could be in these situations. Kate could handle this. They would all be fine. Looking out the window, David watched for any movement. He could barely see all that far in the distance and the rain wasn’t helping much. The man backed up, letting Kate take a moment to look around. She reached a hand out and grabbed David’s arm.

“What?”

“The hatchet is gone.” She said, pointing at the tree. Sure enough, the hatchet that had been in the tree, was no longer in the tree. Without another word, the pair took off into the forest, being as careful as they could be to hide. Whoever threw that hatchet had a good arm and precise aim.

Dwight and Claudette took up hiding in the grass they could find and behind tall trees and some rock formations. This place was quiet. Much too quiet. The main house was a place Dwight figured might be a generator. However, going over there really wasn’t on the list of things to do. The pair stayed low and crouched by the rocks. They could hear some kind of humming. It sounded like a lullaby of some kind. Honestly, it sounded like a trap to Claudette. Neither one of them wanted to fall for it. Maybe it was something the person who threw the hatchet did as a habit. One thing was sure to them though; this killer was a woman. Briefly Dwight recalled the Nurse and how she had murdered the women in front of him. Shaking it off, he pointed towards the house and Claudette nodded.

Meg had taken off into the forest as quickly as she could. She disappeared behind some fallen trees and bushes. There were some walls built with logs and frames. It was rather intricate to be honest. Torches were burning brightly on some of the walls, somehow kept burning and safe from the rain that was coming down. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but Meg figured it should have at least threatened the dancing flames. Creeping around carefully, the woman was looking for any place to hide, as well as looking for generators. Those were just as important at this point.

Moving towards the big house, Meg stayed low. She looked towards the window and vaulted it silently. She took a moment to look around. There were two doorways that connected the house on either side. An armoire-looking cabinet on the ground level before a table with a portrait on the wall. Meg looked up at the picture. The family looked so normal, so loving. This had to have been their home. The deer horns on the mantle and the lights were scary. How long had the person who lived there been hunting? This house felt oppressive. The woman continued to creep around, exploring the area. She went upstairs, the wood under her feet creaking as she moved. The second floor held more escape routes and a way out to the deck area. Meg headed that direction, getting delayed as she looked at a picture sitting on a waist-high cabinet. The candles made the area eerie. The wallpaper was old and had some design on it she couldn’t place. A distant humming was heard, which was almost soothing. The house in the picture looked inviting.

As Meg looked at the picture, there was a feeling of dread mounting. She turned, looking behind her. A woman was standing there. She was quite tall, wearing a mask in the shape of bunny with a veil falling around her shoulders. The shirt she wore was once white, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, suspenders attached to a belt around her waist with blue pants under. She didn’t wear shoes. In her hands was an axe. On her belt were pouches and pockets for things. She had that hatchet there as well on her left side. What remained of a skirt was worn around her waist on her right side, covering her leg in the front and the back. Meg was frozen in place. The woman with the axe swung the weapon, imbedding it into the wall and grabbing Meg with her own hands. A yelp echoed as the startled young woman was grabbed. With little effort on the woman with the mask’s part, she shouldered the struggling woman and removed the axe from the wall before marching downstairs.

Dwight and Claudette heard the humming as they reached the house. They thought they heard other noises as well but couldn’t be sure. Was someone else around? Anything was possible. Creeping up on a window, the pair stayed low and out of sight. The inside of the house was eerie. It was homey and yet horrifying. From the window, Claudette could see a table, a hatchet imbedded on the top of it, blood everywhere in the room and hooks hanging from the ceiling. Claudette couldn’t see anything else from that point of view and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. Dwight, on the other hand, was listening for any foreign sounds other than the humming. It was loud, almost like it was right behind them. the sound increased, and the pair moved to the sides of the windows. The one who was humming came out of the basement, which had been blocked by stacked wood. The pair looked at each other, staying pressed against the wall of the building. The person who was humming walked past the window, looked outside, and then stepped clear out of the window. Dwight didn’t move, and Claudette drew her legs up to her chest narrowing missing the person’s feet with they walked away. That allowed the hidden pair to take in the moment. Neither wanted to be there.

David and Kate had found a generator behind a tree. It seemed to be in decent working order. The rain hadn’t ruined it, which was a good sign. The couple took their time to clean it out and get it working. While the piece of machinery was in decent working order, it was still stubborn. Kate continued to dig out mud and leaves while David scanned the area. They were working as a team. David planned to protect her should that hatchet throwing person come around. This forest was quiet, soothing almost, however, the pair knew better. Kate brushed her hair back as she looked around the generator.

“Ok. It’s all cleaned out. Help me find the wires.” She said, causing David to come to her side. They worked on two different sides to get the machine up and running as quickly as possible. There was a chance everyone could survive this. They had made it last time. Most of them anyway. Trying not to think about it, Kate and David worked on the generator in relative silence. When the machine came to life, David smiled, and Kate gave a little quiet cheer. It ended just as fast as the hatchet from before went flying past David’s shoulder. Kate yelped, turning and running off, followed closely by David. As they ran, the one who threw it followed. David looked back at the person, taking in the fact it was a woman and her clothing. Kate vaulted over waist-high logs and kept running, only the slightest misstep in her footing.

“Come after me!” David hollered, running in another direction. The woman stopped only the briefest of moments, before following after David.

“What are you doing David?!” Kate cried, keeping behind a tree.

“Find the others!” He called back, disappearing out of sight a brief time later, the humming woman on his heels. Kate looked around and ran back towards the house. Maybe someone was there. Kate came upon the house and raced into the main portion of it. She tripped over something in the dimly lit area. Grunting as she got up, she looked to her right. In the small space by the door, there was what looked like some books, a rope with a noose on the end, a low chair, and some other things Kate didn’t want to think about. What got her the most were the bones and the body that was still there. It looked like a woman’s body or was at some point. Kate shivered and went upstairs to where she could hear the generator being worked on. When she got upstairs, she followed the sound outside and found Dwight and Claudette working on the generator that was outside.

“Kate! Are you ok? Have you seen anyone else?” Claudette asked, leaving Dwight to work on the generator while she spoke to Kate. Kate nodded.

“I was with David. He got that woman’s attention and I ran. I haven’t seen Meg.”

“We haven’t either.” Claudette said, glancing at Dwight who nodded from the generator.

“David and I worked on a generator. Its out in the forest somewhere.” Kate said, listening to the generator next to her slowly come to life. Just as it did come to life, there was a moment of calm before the storm. A hatchet ricocheted off the generator. Dwight was startled, stepping away from the machine and fell off the second story. He was stunned when he hit the ground and then took off running. Claudette and Kate crouched instantly, seeing the woman below. She stopped and looked at them on the second story, tilting her head to the side as she hummed then went after Dwight. The ladies were confused for a moment. Why would she choose him over the pair? Maybe it was because he was already on the ground. Whatever the reason, both women ran downstairs. As they started past the basement, Claudette heard a whimper. She stopped and looked down the stairs.

“Kate… Do you hear that?” She asked, looking to the blond. Kate came back and listened. Nodding, she frowned.

“I don’t want to go down there Claudette.”

“I know but I want to see who is down there. It could be someone we know.” Claudette didn’t want to do this either but there was some small measure of hope. Slowly, they made their way down into the basement. It was oppressive, and they felt like they couldn’t breathe. Creeping down the steps, Claudette rounded the corner first. There was some leftover furniture, broken and destroyed, along with blood, chains, and rope. The whimpering was coming from behind the pallet-walls. Kate looked around the edge and gasped.

“Meg!” Kate raced over to her to get the rope off from around her neck. The woman blinked, clearly dazed from whatever happened to her. Kate set her free as Claudette came over.

“What happened?” Claudette asked. Meg shook her head. Clearly, she didn’t want to talk about it. Getting Meg on her took a little effort. Once she was on her feet, however, it was going to be easy. Until the humming was right behind them. The women stopped moving and looked up. Dwight was slung over her shoulder, wiggling as much as he could to get away from her. The moment of hesitation helped Dwight as he was able to get away from the woman. His feet hit the ground and he was off running. Claudette, Kate, and Meg took off running.

Everyone escaped the basement, but Meg. She was caught by the axe in the woman’s hand as she reached the top of the stairs. Claudette turned to see the event. Meg crashed into the stairs and was dragged backwards. She yelped, her nails clinging to the ground as much as possible, though it was of no help. Claudette didn’t hear Meg anymore after a echoing sound of the woman with the axe slamming it into something that was decidedly, not wood or metal. The nightmares of this place were only getting worse as they time continued to pass. It was horrible.

Kate and Claudette ducked behind some wooden half walls and settled for a moment. They needed a plan. Dwight was gone. David was gone. Probably not dead yet, though that wasn’t even for sure. Meg was in the basement, though Claudette had a promising idea she was dead. There were at least two generators done. Claudette didn’t know where the door was. Kate didn’t either. The ladies sat there, looking at one another for the time being. This was very much wearing on their nerves and sanity. The humming drew closer to where they were hiding. Holding their breath, the women pressed against the wooden beams as much as they could in the shadow that was available. The woman who was humming stopped and turned around. Kate peered around the wall, watching the woman take off. She lifted her hatchet, the light reflecting off the razor-sharp edge. Stopping, she threw it. There was a cry in the distance.

“Dwight…” Claudette said, appearing at Kate’s shoulder. “We have to see if we can help.” Another loud roar happened in the distance.

“Could that have been a third generator?” Kate asked, as the pair moved from their hiding spot to head towards were Dwight’s cry had been heard.

“It’s possible. We should look for a door like before. I don’t think we will get lucky enough to find a key. Should we check the house?” The African American woman questioned as they moved. Kate frowned.

“I’m not sure. Dwight said he found one in a box before. I haven’t even seen one.” Claudette had to agree. She hadn’t seen one either. “I’m going to check the house. Go after Dwight.” Claudette nodded, running off towards the sound. If anyone could help someone who was injured, it would be her.

Kate returned to the house. She checked upstairs and downstairs. There was nothing to be found. She was getting frustrated. She really didn’t want to go back into the basement. Steeling her nerves, she went into the basement. She could see fresh blood on the steps as she crept down there. spying a box in a corner, she approached it. After searching it, which yielded only some very worn tools, she turned to leave. Her eyes went wide, and she couldn’t control the scream that left her.

Claudette managed to find Dwight after some looking. The man had been wounded by the flying hatchet, though it could have been much worse. His shoulder had a cut across it, however it wasn’t as deep as it could have been. Claudette patched him up without much issue. Dwight was getting tired of the pain that was coming with all these new areas. He wasn’t just thinking about the physical pain either.

“Where’s Kate?”

“She’s searching the house. Have you seen David?” Claudette asked, tying off the end of Dwight’s bandages. The bespectacled man nodded.

“We were working on a generator. David said he saw a door, but I didn’t hear where it was. That woman showed up and I ran as a distraction for David. The man wasn’t happy.” Dwight smiled a little. He wasn’t the bravest of the bunch by any means. He was just trying to be helpful.

“That man seems like he is a scrapper.”

“He was. Or at least, he mentioned he got into fights a lot. I see him a boxer or something.” Dwight commented, leaving their little area. “Have you run into Meg?” Claudette got quiet.

“I don’t think she made it. Kate and I heard sounds in the basement and checked it out. Meg was there. It looked like she was being held there but wasn’t going to be killed. We escaped the basement, but that woman caught Meg. She was dragged back down there. The sounds I heard… I don’t think it was wood she was hitting with her axe.” Dwight frowned. Another one dead to whatever sick game this was.

“We will get out of here. We should look for the door.” Dwight was trying to be encouraging. The woman with him nodded and followed after him.

“You’re right. We will be ok. Maybe Meg is ok after all.” It was anyone’s guess unless someone went to check the basement. The pair wandered around, keeping to the shadows and trees. Every once in a while, they would hear the humming of the woman they were avoiding. Several times they were almost spotted in their hiding place, but something always caught the woman’s attention seconds before they were found.

“There is it!” Claudette said, pointing towards a door. It was hidden almost, behind some constructed wall, a large rock, and a tree. The woman hobbled over to the handle and pulled it down. At first, it seemed like it wasn’t going to work, then the power connected, and the door started to power-up. Hope was restored, even if it was brief. Dwight crouched near the rock, using it as a barrier as he looked around. There was no sign of Kate or David. When the door groaned open, Claudette came to join him. They looked around the rock, not sure where to start looking for the others.

“Run!” David yelled, seeing Claudette and Dwight around the rock. Kate was running just in front of the man. David was following her very closely, keeping her shielded as they ran. Claudette and Dwight moved to the doorway, waiting impatiently. The hatchet that was thrown narrowly missed taking Claudette’s head off. She ducked at just the right moment. Kate was startled when the humming woman swung her axe and David staggered to the side to avoid it. Kate slipped and fell. David looked back at her as the humming woman loomed over his girlfriend. Her bunny mask cloaked all her features as she tilted her head to the side. She was waiting.

“Leave ‘er alone!” David growled, staring the woman down. Her song continued, as they were all at a stand-still. She then made a choice and swung at David. The man dodged it, lunging for the woman. He knocked them both off balance. Dwight and Claudette rushed forward to get Kate. Keeping himself between the fight and the women behind him, Dwight was trying to be a protector.

David and the woman traded blows. The woman was knocked into the rock, causing her to make a sound similar to a growl as she regained herself. She swung at David once more. The man grabbed it, locking the two into a fight over the weapon in question. The woman was far stronger than expected, which allowed her to win the fight for the weapon. She brought it down on David before he could recover. Crying out, he landed in the dirt on his back. The humming stopped as she looked at the remaining three. Head tilted down to David and she lifted the axe above her head. It was brought down repeatedly on the man’s head and chest. Kate flinched away, clinging to the back of Dwight’s shirt. Stumbling, Dwight backed up, taking Kate and Claudette with him.

“We have to go.” He said, his voice cracking. Claudette dragged Kate off Dwight as they fled the area. Dwight glanced back, the woman who was humming standing there, her head tilted to the side. Blood dripped off the axe in her hand. They were certainly in hell.

Chapter Text

The trio ran. There was no reason or direction. They just kept moving. When they finally stopped near some trees, Kate dropped to her knees. David was gone. He was dead because he saved her. Saved them. Dwight and Claudette didn’t know what to say. They had seen death come and go. Without any real direction, there was only one way to go and that was forward. Eventually, this would have to come to an end, right? Maybe they were naïve in thinking that there was an end. Was this all one sick joke that had no end? Dwight didn’t want to think that this might, in fact, be an endless loop of hell that they somehow were sucked into. Each person that they met had their own story, their own life prior to this nightmare. When they died… did they get returned to their reality or was this a true and final death?

Claudette got Kate back on her feet just as Dwight noticed something in the distance. It looked like brightly colored lights that were inviting.

“Is that a carnival?” Claudette asked as she came to stand by Dwight.

“Looks like it. Come on.” He looked to Kate. She just nodded and said nothing. Dwight and Claudette could understand her silence. They were worried about her, however, maybe this was a sign they were back in reality. Hopefully, this was the end of all this pain and sacrifice. The trip walked towards the sounds of the carnival. It was somehow joyous, despite what they had been through.

“Maybe we are out of there?” Claudette asked, looking at the pair at her side. Dwight shrugged, and Kate said nothing. There were booths set up, each one the bright red and white striped tarps. The bright lights welcomed visitors young and old into the area. Several trailers were littered around, giving the impression the acts lived there as well as worked there. Claudette and Kate took the time to explore the fortune telling machine as Dwight followed the sound of a horse. As he walked towards the trailer, he looked at a large wheel that had knives stuck in it, as well as cut-out that had a space for two heads to show through. It looked like it could have been a fun place, if the area wasn’t so creepy feeling. There was plenty of junk stacked up around the trailers. Dwight passed through one of the trailers, though stopped when he noticed bottles on the wall. As he looked at the vials and bottles, an odor came up. It smelled like death and poison. He quickly backed out of the trailer. The sound of the horse drew his attention.

“We have to get out of here. This isn’t reality.” He said, spying the three-eyed horse laying there. It was still alive but as Dwight watched, the mouth opened, and black ooze just ran from the mouth. Feeling sick, Dwight turned to leave and ran into a firm but soft object. He looked up and backed up hastily. Standing before him was a clown. It wasn’t the typical party clown, however. He had a white face, red lips with a blue circle around it. His hair looked like he was balding or a bad wig. His outfit was barely able to fit the man’s large belly. The large buttons strained to keep the striped vest closed over what was once a white shirt. The large flower on his lapel jacket might have been real or fake, it was hard to tell. The jacket itself ended at the waist, though had a tail at the back and was yellows and red and white checkered. The suspenders held up his striped pants and ended in black boots. Dwight’s eyes locked on a single item at the man’s hip. A large ring, as if for keys. Keys did not adorn the ring however but severed human fingers.

“Oh sh- “Dwight back peddled, tripping over the horse’s legs as the clown swung the knife in hand. The horse made a sad whinny sound, continuing to vomit up black ooze. Missing, the clown started after Dwight. The man recovered and raced away. As he ran towards the ladies, who had moved on to look at the archway with the lights, Dwight called to them in a panic.

“Run! We are still trapped.” As he finished his last sentence, a cloud of pink gas fell around him. He started to cough, trying to wave away the gas. He felt his vision blurring and the coughing was only getting worse. Dwight, unable to see where he was going, slowed down, even though he knew the clown was right behind him. The sound of running feet caught his attention briefly, though he couldn’t say where it was coming from. He just hoped that Kate and Claudette did run away. A blade caught Dwight in the shoulder as he ran. The hacking cough of the clown behind him let Dwight know his pain was at least a small victory that it could have been worse. Taking shelter in a tent, Dwight stifled his cries of pain. This wound he wouldn’t be able to tend himself since he couldn’t see it.

Claudette and Kate had run away, trying to avoid the killer. They were worried about Dwight. The man had taken a killer off the ladies as the clown had chased him instead of them. In their running, they found a generator. As their hearts calmed, they got to work on the machine in front of them. Claudette was more focused on the machine than Kate was. Her fingers slipped multiple times, as if she wasn’t even trying to focus on the task.

“Are you ok?” Claudette asked, pausing in her work to check on the blond woman with her. Kate shook her head. Her hands were still shaking, and, in her mind, she was unable to shake the image of David dying for her. For them, in reality. David is always risked his life for others and now, he had given it willingly to save others. Kate tried to get herself back on course to work on the generator. It was harder than she thought it would be. She was hurting and while she had hated to see the others die as well, this one was personal. There was no way she could get the killer back for killing her boyfriend. They weren’t even in the same area anymore. But maybe…

“Keep working Claudette.” Kate said, feeling confident in her actions and thoughts. Claudette looked at her friend as she walked away from the machine. Not sure if she should go after Kate, call after her, or remain, she ended up staying right where she was. Sighing, she got back to work on the generator. Maybe Kate would be able to find Dwight in this horror funhouse.

Dwight recovered enough that he wouldn’t be too loud with his sound. Looking out the tent flaps, he was surprised by a hand grabbing the edge of the tent itself. He looked up, surprised to see an Asian young woman crouched there. He backed up. She followed. When the tent flap closed, she spoke up.

“Who are you?”

“D-dwight. Who are you?”

“Feng Min.” Her clothing looked strange at first and then Dwight remembered who she was.

“You’re that gamer girl, right? Really famous with that e-sports team.” Feng smirked with a nod.

“Yes.” Her ego got a little boost with that one. Her clothing, which was her uniform, only helped Dwight to really solidify that she was in front of him.

“I’m here with two others. Claudette and Kate.”

“You mean if they are still alive. I almost got out of whatever this place was with someone. Right as we escaped, he was chainsawed down.” Dwight looked confused. Has she fun into the killer with the chainsaw?

“Did he have a chainsaw and a hammer?”

“Yes.” She responded, fingers drumming on her bare leg. “He also wore other people’s faces.”

“What do you mean Feng?” Dwight asked, gingerly touching his wounded shoulder. Feng glanced at it.

“He wore other’s faces. Like a mask. It was really creepy.” She sighed. “This is just like any other video game. There is a way to win and I will do it, with or without help.” Dwight felt like she was basically writing him off already as any level of help.

“I’m sure we’ll make it.” As they spoke, the familiar roar of the generator in the distance echoed. Now Dwight smiled. “Seems like someone is getting things done even as we are talking. I should go help them.” Dwight moved past Feng to leave the area they were hiding in. Looking around, Dwight took off, cradling his arm against his body. Feng hadn’t offered to help, nor seemed to want to, so Dwight wasn’t going to worry about it. There was a killer clown out there and he wasn’t going to be found a second time. Keeping to the grass and piles of junk and trash, Dwight saw Kate in the distance. He wasn’t sure what she was up to until he saw her look behind her, then turn and run. One thing he noticed though; Kate did not look scared at all. She looked like she was resolved to do something.

“Dwight.” The man startled, looking to his left. Feng was there, looking unamused by this.

“What?” He said, keeping his voice down.

“Stop staring at your girlfriend. Let me handle this.” Feng pushed past him and ran off towards Kate.

“She’s not my girlfriend and get back here!” Dwight said in a near hiss after she was gone. Feng either didn’t him or didn’t care. Dwight suspected she didn’t care. She was cocky and eager to prove she was the best. It didn’t take a genius to see that in her attitude. Heading off in his own direction, Dwight was careful. He couldn’t risk being caught a second time. This would not end well.
Claudette finished the generator and slipped away into the tall grass. She stayed close to a pile of junk for a few moments. She heard running feet and looked around the pile. She wasn’t sure who that woman was but running around was very much a bad idea. As she went to call out to her, a hand covered her mouth. She gasped, tense.

“Sh... it’s just me.” Dwight whispered to her. Claudette realized, turning to look at him. His wound was bleeding slowly, it the stains on his shirt said anything. She motioned for him to turn around and he did so she could work on it.

“Who was that?” She asked, tending his wound.

“Feng Min. That gamer girl who is really famous.”

“Oh. I think I saw an article on her once. I didn’t read it though.” Claudette replied. Dwight was sure she wasn’t much of a gamer anyway. She seemed too studious for that sort of behavior. That made Dwight laugh a little. He felt Claudette’s hands still for a second.

“Sorry. I was just thinking that you didn’t seem like you did much more then study all the time. Not that it’s a terrible thing Claudette.” Dwight said as she looked at him. He looked at her over his shoulder with a little smile.

“No offense taken. I do prefer to study and apply myself to sciences and botany. It’s ok. Doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have fun.” She said, tying off the end of the bandage. Dwight blinked at her, not sure how to take her comment. She smiled to him with a wink and then turned away. Dwight felt his cheeks get a little warmer. Shaking that feeling off, as it wasn’t the time for this, Dwight turned to follow Claudette away from the area they were.

“Where did Kate go?”

“I’m not sure Dwight. She just took off. She was working with me and then just told me to keep working and left. Feng went after her which is why I was going to call to her.” Claudette started back towards the heart of the circus area. “Were there any generators you saw while running around?”

“There was one near the horse. I’m not sure you want to go there.” Dwight wasn’t sure he wanted to go there again. “It wasn’t on the same side of the trailer as the horse, but you’ll hear it.”

“Horse?”

“Yeah. The horse has three eyes, but I think it’s blind. It also keeps vomiting something black.” Dwight didn’t really want to think about it. Still, they headed in that direction. Someone was going to have to find a door as well, if that was even something that was available. Coming around the edge of the trailer, Dwight stayed away from the horse he could still hear. It wasn’t something he liked listening to. Claudette chanced a peek around the trailer as Dwight got to work on the generator. Dwight counted slowly, and she was back within 5 seconds of looking at the horse. They didn’t talk about it.

Feng caught up to Kate without trying too hard. The woman wasn’t running anymore. Kate was crouched by a pile of junk, looking at the clown in the distance. The man was standing on a small hill, looking around. Likely looking for his next victim. Feng said nothing as she crouched by the woman. Shouldn’t they be doing something else? Going near the killer was generally bad, or so Feng figured.

“You should go.” Kate said, eyes fixed on the clown.

“And what are you going to do? Take him on by yourself? Real smart there blondy.” Kate looked at Feng, ready to be offended by the comment. “Listen, your friend back there, Dwight, is worried about you.” Kate looked at her for a long few seconds then away.

“They will be fine together. I’m sure he found Claudette by now.” Kate stood and ran towards the clown. Feng followed after her and tripped her behind a pile of broken-down pieces of furniture before the clown spotted them.

“What are you doing?” Kate growled at Feng, who was crouched above her.

“You are going to get yourself killed for no reason. At least make it count for something.” Kate was taken-aback by that comment. Feng watched the clown leave the hill and go after something that caught his eye. Based on where he was going, it looked like he was on his way back to the trailer.

“Looks like your friends might have drawn his attention. Now is your chance.” Feng remarked, getting off the blond woman. Extending a hand down, Kate took it and got up.

“Why are you worried about me?”

“I’m not. I’m worried about myself. If you want to get yourself killed, I don’t care. I just want to win and get out of here. If you being a distraction helps me, great.” Feng was brutally honest. Kate couldn’t fault her for that, even if she was rude about it.

“Fair enough.” Without waiting on an answer or further conversation from the woman in front of her, Kate took off after the clown once more. Feng didn’t stop her.

“Time to search for an exit.” Feng said, taking off in the other direction. The last place she had been had generators to do and a door to open. Logically, she would need to remember where the landmarks were in this place to find a way to get out of here when there was enough power. As she looked around, she discovered a generator. Not the best thing, but she was going to figure out how to fix this thing. Last time, she hadn’t really known what she was doing, and it resulted in the generator exploding multiple times. This time, she was going to do it better.

Dwight and Claudette worked together to get the generator done. It needed to be finished. Finding another generator was hard enough without having to worry about finding the crazy murderer at the same time. As they worked, Dwight’s hand slipped, and he exploded the generator. They stopped to look at each other in panic. Should they leave? Should they stay? The horse made a sound and panicked them both for a moment. Dwight and Claudette started to leave as they felt the killer was going to come this way. A bottle smashed near them and Dwight caught Claudette’s arm before she touched it. As the steps got louder, they then just faded away. A loud bang nearby caught their attention. Looking around the generator, Claudette saw Kate running away from the clown. She was intentionally baiting the clown.

“What is she doing?” Dwight asked, looking around the woman’s shoulder.

“She’s being a distraction.” Claudette said quietly, now understanding what Kate was going to do. A generator chimed in the distance.

“Feng must have done it.” Dwight was almost sure that it was her, though it could have been someone else honestly. There was no telling how many people were trapped in this hell. Either way, Dwight got back to work on the generator. Claudette followed a moment later. This would make three were completed. Was that enough? A door was going to have to be found so that they could figure it out. Or maybe talking to Feng would be helpful.

The generator was finished off quickly and the pair took off. They heard a bottle break, and someone start coughing. It sounded like Feng. Seconds later, the woman in question ran by, Kate nearby as well, with the clown following. He was shaking up a bottle in his hand. Was he mixing more of that horrible poison he was carrying around? Dwight bet he was.

“I’m going to look for a door. See if you can find another generator. Meet back here after you search.” Claudette nodded. Dwight nodded as well and took off in the other direction. Splitting up wasn’t the best idea for them to do but it was something that had to happen to make this go faster.

Feng coughed and tried to get out of the smoke. She didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to be in it anymore. She couldn’t see and when she tried, it looked like she was drunk. That was not a good feeling. Kate was running nearby and dodging the swings of the clown behind them. Without a doubt, it was going to be a close one to get away. Another bottle broke and Kate started to cough. Her cry of pain was loud to Feng and she wasn’t sure why. Both women ran towards the circus. The lights and sounds were of no comfort. Feng ducked around to the right and Kate went left. Hiding in a tent behind two stacked crates, Feng tried to catch her breath. Peeking around the crates, she could see Kate keeping away from the clown. She didn’t make it.

Kate dropped to the ground behind the tree. Feng saw her crawl a little away from the tree. The clown stepped up to her and stomped on her head. Feng felt sick, watching the clown stomp on Kate’s head repeatedly until the woman didn’t make any more sounds. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough for Feng to witness, the clown crouched down and lifted Kate’s right hand. The clown cut off her index finger. Clasping a hand over her mouth, Feng felt like she was going to vomit. The clown then picked up the finger, looking at it for several moments and then sucked on it. Feng moved back behind the boxes. The last thing she noticed was the clown reaching to the ring at his belt. Feng already knew there was fingers kept on the ring. Kate’s was just added to his trophy collection.
Waiting until the clown left, Feng crept away from her hiding place. She was shaken by what she had seen. Sure, she knew people died in this place. She had seen the bodies the last area she had been in and this one. Calming down as much as she could, Feng tried to get her head back in the moment. She didn’t want to die here. Part of her felt bad for letting Kate run off and do what she did. Maybe she should have stopped the woman. As she internally debated with herself, a bottle broke nearby. She started choking immediately. Waving a hand, she took off running blindly. In her ran, she jumped over a window and felt a pain in her back. She yelped, stumbling a little in the process. Now she understood how Dwight felt.

The coughing behind her was scary enough that she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it out. She was frantically looking for a way out when she heard the clown swing again. She tensed expecting pain, but she heard a grunt of pain instead. Claudette took off running, intercepting the hit that was meant for Feng. The clown paused, looking at the victims and then choosing to follow Claudette instead. Feng watched them disappear around the tents and the bright lights. Dwight turned up behind Feng and placed a hand on her arm. She jumped immediately.

“Where did you come from?” She asked, panting a little from the panic.

“We have to stick together.” He said softly, starting to help tend her wound. It wasn’t as deep as it could have been thankfully. Once it was tended, Dwight was moving again. Feng followed him.
“We found a door. It wasn’t powered though. I know three generators is done. I’m hoping we just need one more. That would be lucky.”

“And if we aren’t lucky?”

“Then we need two more and we have to keep looking.” Feng didn’t like that. She hoped it was only one more.

“Do you know where it is?” Dwight shook his head.

“We were looking for it when we heard you get into trouble.” Dwight glanced at Feng as they rounded some of the tents. There were more booths set up, old games that might have been fun, however now were just splattered with dark stains that Dwight was sure, meant someone died there. As they walked around, Feng reached out to tap Dwight’s arm. He looked to her. She pointed to a generator. Without hesitating, they got to work. Dwight quietly explained what he had learned about the generators, even though Feng didn’t ask. She was grateful, even if she didn’t say it.
They finished the generator without any sign of the clown. There was also no sign of Claudette, which bothered Dwight. For as long as it took them to finish the generator, there was no sign of anything or anyone else. Did that mean there was only the four of them in this place?

“Dwight, about Kate…” Feng said, as she crouched near the completed generator.

“I saw her.” Dwight said, not looking to the woman near him. “It doesn’t get any easier.” His comment implied he knew Feng watched the act happen. “We should move on. Try the door again.” Standing, Dwight walked off, frequently looking around to make sure the clown wasn’t going to sneak up on them. Arriving at the door, it was already open. Dwight was confused for a moment. Feng stepped into the area and then turned around. She was about to say something then her eyes widened.

“Dwight run!” The man turned to look at what had scared her. Claudette was running straight at them. As she passed, she grabbed Dwight’s wrist and yanked the man with her. He was barely two steps away from where she grabbed him when the bottle broke. They all started to cough and choke on the gas. The clown swung, narrowly missing Feng as she ducked down. She took off after the pair blindly. In her rush, she felt fingers curl around her wrist and she was yanked forward. Claudette had shoved Dwight ahead of her and went back for Feng. The clown had stopped moving, instead standing there outside the ‘gate’ and admiring his finger collection. It was then that Claudette noticed the newest addition.

“Oh Kate…” Claudette whispered, recognizing the ring on the finger in question. Turning away, the clown cradled his ‘treasure’ in his hands. Dwight sighed softly.

“I saw her body. Come on. We need to go.” He held out a hand for Claudette. She lingered a moment longer before she took the hand and they walked away. Feng, for the first time in a long while, felt a connection to someone else beyond a game. This was no game she now realized. Yes, she could treat it like that, however, in the end, they were going to die if they made a mistake. There was no chance to start over and try again.

Chapter Text

There was no telling if this was the last or just another trial to start to test them. The fog was thicker than it had been before. The trio walked in silence, not sure how to handle the horrors they were still facing. Claudette and Dwight had seen enough of this, losing people they barely had the chance to get to know. Feng, on the other hand, was struggling with just caring about someone else outside of her games that meant to so much. They still did, though she had to get her head in this moment, or she could die and there was no continue from last save for any of them. Claudette sighed as they walked. Feng kept walking like this was something she was used. Dwight just said nothing. There had to be an end to this.

“Huh?” Claudette’s voice cut through the fog and their thoughts. She was standing close to a wall? She reached out to touch it, making sure it was real. As she turned to the others, she gasped. They turned to follow her eye sight. They had been walking in fog and darkness but now, stood in what looked like a hospital entrance door. There was a door to their left and an open door into the building on their right. The reception area didn’t look as inviting as it was once.

“Are we in a building?” Feng asked, as they walked towards the open door. There was little else they could do. T green dumpster outside caught Dwight’s attention for a moment but he pressed on. On the wall to their right was a blue plus sign, showing this was indeed a hospital. It hadn’t seen any patients in a long time, it appeared. Chairs lined the entrance, clearly once used by patients and family members to wait until they were called. Pausing at the desk, there was two long hallways down either side and one straight ahead. The rusted wheelchair in the corner made Claudette uneasy. Dwight started down the path to the right and took a left at the next intersection.

“Where are you going?” Claudette said, looking around. There were signs that nature was trying to take this place back with the overgrowth breaking ground in a corner and making a patch of grass there almost tall enough to hide in. The security camera’s red light was blinking, though did that mean someone was on the other end or no? Dwight didn’t want to find out. Stopping in the hallway, he looked into what looked like a tub room. Maybe for hydrotherapy?

“We can’t just stand around Claudette. We have to keep moving. Look for those generators and doors.”

“We did just leave a door.” Feng remarked, crossing her arms.

“But it wasn’t open, so we have to find a way to make it open.” Claudette said, looking around the room across from the one with tubs. The beds and cabinets in there likely told a story none of them wanted to know, ever.

“Fine, fine. Let’s go Mr. Leader.” Feng waved a hand at Dwight. She was being sarcastic, but Dwight still had never been called a leader before. He was the one who shied away from all things like this and yet, here he was. Still standing so far while others had fallen. Pushing on, they walked down the short hallway into what looked like an observation theater.

“Is this a treatment theater?” Claudette asked as they crept into the area. Feng started up the stairs, seeing the instrument panel and then left. Dwight was standing in the middle of the room, looking around. The ground had a metal mesh screen over, with cabinets, wires, and machines littered everywhere. This room had seen some use. Claudette joined him. There was flat screen TVs suspended in the middle, likely showing whatever procedure it would have been at the time.

“Yeah, looks like. There is a control panel thing upstairs.” Feng said, finally joining them. She pointed up to it. The heavy metal shudders were all closed, expect in one area. It was perfectly positioned to face the lone generator in this area as well. That wasn’t lost on Dwight as he looked from one to the other. Beds lined the walls in some areas, making them wonder if this was a place where patients came to be tormented and not treated. Feng went over to start the generator, leaving the pair in the middle to sort things out.

“If we make it out of this, I’m taking you both to dinner.” Dwight commented quietly as they started to work on the generator.

“What makes you think I want that?” Feng’s snarky reply caused Claudette to roll her eyes.

“I would love that Dwight.” She gave the man a smile. As awkward as he could be, there was some good qualities in Dwight, in all those they had met as well.

Feng had her back to the room, Claudette was on the other side of the generator, and Dwight was between them on the remaining side. Cautious, or paranoid, the man kept looking around they worked. This was coming together a lot faster than it had, which he was grateful for. He couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something else there. the hair on his arms and back of his neck were standing up, like there was more electricity in the air. The TVs that hung in the middle of the room emit a low humming sound punctuated with screams now and then. It was startling and distracting to more than one of them. Claudette moved to her left to say something to Dwight when the words died on her tongue.

In the single open window that they could see, she could have sworn she saw someone. Her eyes narrowed as she continued to look. The man was standing there staring back at them. It looked like his eyes were forced open as she could clearly see the whites all around them. His mouth suffered the same. Feng’s hand slipped again and popped the generator in front of them. The man in the window shifted, looking directly at Claudette. She gasped, jerking backwards.

“What is it?” Dwight asked, looking up as well. He couldn’t see anything.

“I thought there was someone up there.” Dwight followed her gaze once more. Still, he didn’t see anything.

“Let’s get this done and get out of here. This area is making my hair stand on end.” The women nodded in agreement. It didn’t take too much more time for it to be completed. As the generator’s full power was reached, the entire room came alive. The shudders on the second floor slowly opened, groaning as they moved. The TV seemed to scream louder, and it was then that Claudette recognized the face on it. That had been the man she had seen. This central room had many ways out, so the trio started in the middle. Feng’s hand shot out and grabbed Dwight’s bicep painfully. He looked at her and then followed her gaze. There in one of the opening windows, was a man.

“That’s him.” Claudette said. A little closer now, she could see that he had a white coat on like a doctor. In his hands appeared to be a metal rod with rods poking out of the sides of it. What caught all their attention was it had electricity sparking off it. The man walked forward, passing a few windows before he entered the control room. Effortlessly, he dropped the ten or so feet to the metal grating. All three backed up and away from him as he landed. Up close, he was even more horrifying and extremely tall. His skin didn’t even look like skin anymore, or at least it was corrupted with electricity and something machine-like. No one wanted to know what was on the man’s head or why his veins looked like tubing. He was clearly a part of whatever twisted experiments happened here. Stepping back, the three of them were about ready to dart out of the area. The man lowered his weapon, lifting up his left hand instead. They waited with bated breath to see what he was going to do. Within only a few seconds, he had gathered electricity and released it into the area in front of him, into Dwight, Feng, and Claudette.

All three screamed as the current shot through the ground and up into their systems. It wasn’t enough to kill them, though it did cause involuntary screaming and muscles to constrict. Not waiting a second longer, all three scattered out different paths, hearing the high-pitched giggling of the man behind them. Claudette dashed through a door, disappearing into another room that looked like it had some more tubs in it. Feng vaulted a window without a sound that held shower stalls. Dwight also took off out a doorway that led to beds. The electricity left a lasting feeling all over his skin. There was also the mounting feeling that that man, creature, was right behind him. He had been right.

The man was right behind him as Dwight continued to run. Pushing up his glasses, Dwight just ran anywhere he could see was a path. The hallways were littered with instruments and cabinets. A TV or two he could hear the static in the rooms he passed. Another bolt of electricity shot through his legs and he cried out. Each one seemed to get just a little bit stronger and that laugh, giggle, from the doctor behind him wasn’t helping. Dwight was getting horribly lost in this building. Didn’t he just pass that room with the tubs? Or was it showers? He didn’t know anymore as he continued to run. Ducking into a stall that as covered in shadow, he held his breath. His teeth were clenched tightly to try and prevent a sound, should that man choose to shock the ground again. Dwight hoped he had made enough distance to get away. The creature passed right on by the stall, not giving it a second look on his quest to find another victim. That metal stick of his was in hand, a reminder of pain if they weren’t careful.

Creeping from the stall, Dwight felt like he was on edge. It felt like there was a constant flow of energy in the air and he couldn’t fully relax. Not that he should have in this place anyway. In the distance, he heard Feng’s shriek. The doctor must have found her. Even as the scream faded, Dwight was on edge. Moving out of the bathroom in general, Dwight found himself in another long hallway. He didn’t even know which way he had come from at this point. Starting down the hallway, he came to an intersection. He could see the middle of the building and knew didn’t want to go back there. the rooms he kept passing were beginning to look all the same. Coming up on a corner, he looked down that long hallway. The piles of broken furniture and medical devices looked as threatening as the doctor himself did. Another scream in the distance caught his attention. This one sounded like Claudette.

Pushing on, the man weaved his way into the building. Each room was beginning to look like the last one just had. More broken cabinets. Beds that could have helped but likely did not. Dwight didn’t feel like he should be there. He felt unwelcome. It was an unsettling feeling. That mounting concern of the doctor being around him was growing. As he passed one of the many bathrooms, he thought he heard the sound of a machine trying to come to life. Walking into it, a TV hanging on the wall screamed and caused the man to jump. His nerves were clearly being frayed away faster than before in this place. Coming up on the generator, Dwight was very surprised to see Feng working on the side of it.

“I didn’t know you were here. I never heard you working on it.” The generators were loud, especially with them pulling, prodding, cleaning, and connecting wires together. Feng looked at him with a dry look but said nothing at first. She didn’t look any better than Dwight felt at that point. Dwight took his time, watching how she swiftly moved about the generator and he mimicked her as much as he could. He had repaired enough of them to know how to do it and so much made sure his actions were as fluid as could. A very unsettling and familiar feeling began to rise. Feng ad Dwight locked eyes for a moment and then Feng stood. She reached out and grabbed his arm, pulling him onto the side she was just working on.

“Stay here.” She crept around and then took off running. The doctor rounded the corner and shocked the ground. Feng was faster. She vaulted a window, narrowly missing the shock. The metal stick the man had slammed into the window frame. Feng smiled.

“You mad?” She taunted with a cocksure smile on her face and took off out of sight. The doctor effortlessly stepped through the window and gave chase. Dwight swallowed down the panic that had been rising. He just missed being shocked again but the threat alone of it had him on edge. He had to finish this generator. How they were going to find each other again was going to be a mystery. Taking his time, Dwight finished up the generator without too much worry this time. Now, off to try and find another one.

Room after room all blurred together. Dwight was sure he had seen that same flickering green vending machine three times now. He did find two of those totem looking things and kicked them over. There was no telling if they did anything at all to be honest. He still felt a little better knocking them over. The mounting panic was swelling up again and to his surprise, the ground rippled with electricity. Crying out, Dwight took off running. He had no idea where he was going to be honest. He had just got his barring and now he was losing them again. Weaving around a narrow hallway, Dwight pulled over a bed and shoved a cabinet into it. The doctor stared at him before choosing another path to get around the obstacle in his way. Dwight didn’t wait. He could see the center of the building once more. Jumping over a window, he grunted in pain. There was no ground where he had hoped there to be. Instead, he dropped onto some stairs, jarring his legs as he landed. Limping carefully downward, the man hid around a corner.

As he waited, the panic continued. Was the doctor close? Would he check down here? He didn’t have long to wait before someone did come downstairs. It was Claudette. She didn’t see Dwight at first and was just as surprised as he was when they noticed the other. She looked frazzled, eyes a little wilder than before.

“Are you alright?” She asked. Dwight nodded. It was a lie. He was just as worried as she was from all of this. That feeling came back and Claudette’s breathing picked up to almost match Dwight’s. If this continued, they had a higher chance of dying from a heart attack than anything else. it took some doing but the pair pulled it together and left the basement. The area hadn’t felt like a normal basement. None of those places with basements did. It was like there was something else there, something eager for pain, suffering, death. A taunting presence that offered a chance to be saved, only to take it away.

“Come on. I was working on a generator over there.” Claudette said, pointing through one of the doors. Dwight nodded, looking around as they walked. They stayed low, just in case the doctor came back. “Have you seen Feng?”

“Yeah. She’s alright. For now, anyway.” Dwight couldn’t be sure now. A squeal in the not so distant area gave them an answer as if on cue. Exchanging a look, they continued on quickly. The generator had been damaged from the looks of it. Shaking her head, she knelt down to fix it when the machine popped under her touch. Dwight, on the only other exposed end next to the end of a gurney jumped.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah. They had never done that. It was like there was a spark almost immediately when I touched it.”

“Maybe it has something to do with that crazy doctor?” Dwight asked, helping her it to work once more.

“Maybe.” Claudette murmured, shaking out her hands before she continued. They worked in silence for the most part, trying to drown out the humming and intermittent screams from the TVs hanging on the walls.

“Did you mean it? What you said before in the treatment theater?” Claudette’s words were quiet. Dwight glanced at her.

“When I said I would take you and Feng to dinner?”

“Yeah.”

“Yes, I did.” Dwight paused and then tentatively asked, “Did you mean your reply?” She nodded her head to him. That made him feel a little more confident at least. She had said she wouldn’t mind going to dinner with him. If they lived through this, he was going to do it. A generator came to life not too far from where they were working.

“Glad Feng is ok.” Dwight commented, earning another nod from Claudette. Their own generator came to life and two things happened. Electricity flooded the floor, causing both to cry out in pain, and the doctor came around the corner, his metal stick in hand. Claudette, more panicked than Dwight realized, cowered, leaving herself open for the hit. Dwight grabbed her wrist, yanking her into him. They collided with the bed behind him, shoving the rusted metal back as the doctor swung down. The loud metallic clang as it hit the generator seemed so much louder than it should have been. Shoving the woman out the door, Dwight was right behind her. A frustrated sound came from the doctor as he tried to shock the floor once more. It missed both who were running, though Dwight was such he felt a little lick of it at the heel of his shoes. Claudette went into a room on the right and Dwight had a moment to see Feng grab her and pull her into a dark corner. Dwight went down one more hallway and went left.

“You have to snap out of it, Claudette.” Feng said, feeling the electricity in the air as the doctor went past, chasing down Dwight. Claudette was crouched down, trying to calm her breathing and panicked nerves. Her eyes closed tightly as Feng remained nearby. There was nothing the Chinese woman could do but wait. The panic eventually ceased, and Claudette felt like she could breathe once more.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I hate that feeling as well. We have four generators done. Think the door would work now?” Feng said, looking out a window in the room. Hiding behind the vending machine had worked well, as the sounds it, and the TV mounted on the wall, gave off drowned out Claudette’s whimpering when she came in.

“We have to try. We also have to find Dwight.” Plan made, the ladies started towards the hallway again. Climbing out the window, Feng looked around. It was hard enough to find your way around without running but running made it worse. Creeping around, they found a reception area. Climbing over the half wall, the ladies came around into what looked like an office or library. There was one table in the middle and the walls lined with books. Feng looked around. The chandelier on the ceiling looked like it could have been welcoming at one point. There was a portrait on the wall, too dirty now to see who it was. A few other pictures hung around the room. There was two exits and a window in this little space. Claudette went to the table, pulling back the ornate high-backed chair.
“This place was a hospital but in recent times, it was used by the CIA.” Claudette said, looking at some of the scattered documents on the table. Feng walked over, standing on the other side of the desk. “Some sort of experiments and prisoners.” The solitary security camera above the doorway seemed to be watching them as Claudette continued. “Herman Carter. I wonder if that’s the man we are running from.” Neither had any real idea. “He was using patients and prisoners… in some sort of ECT experiments.” She scanned the rest of the document and looked up. “He was looking for the panacea of mind control.”

“Let’s get back to that door.” Feng said, unsettled by what they had learned. This wasn’t a solution to them getting out of here. It was just more fuel for the nightmare that this place was. The few chairs in the hallway were no relief as they came up sort. The doctor was running towards them. Scrambling to move, Claudette and Feng ran into the office once more. Claudette went through the reception area and Feng made for the window. She was a hair too late on this one as the doctor caught her with the metal stick he had in hand. She cried out, both from the pain of the injury but also the mild electricity that was flowing in the weapon. She ducked to the left and the doctor did the same. Something was knocked over in the hallway, and the further sound of it breaking was heard. Feng jumped back through the window, stumbling into the desk as she did. The doctor was right there. He swung, hitting her a second time. Feng hit the wooden floor. Claudette peeked around the edge of the wall.

In a swift motion, the doctor placed his metal stick at his left side, rubbed his hands together and stood over Feng. She was caged in by his legs and feet. The woman had been trying to recover to get up but never made it. Electricity shot between the doctor’s hands, almost like static electricity would happen if one rubbed socks on the floor and then reached out to touch someone. This was far worse. Feng squealed in pain, her body convulsing involuntarily, almost jarring her body into a fetal position. Her arms were tucked up against her chest as she lay on her side. Her face towards the wooden floor. The doctor stepped back and reached down to her shoulder. Pulling on her left shoulder, her upper body and head moved to look up at the doctor. Claudette covered her mouth with her hands. Black smoke rose from Feng’s face. Claudette could see her eyes were still open, as was her mouth, likely frozen that way in death. Satisfied with his kill, the doctor, studied the body a moment before retrieving the stick from his side and started on his way again. The whole thing had lasted no more than ten seconds, but it felt so much longer to Claudette, who had witnessed it from her spot against the reception wall. She sat there a moment, leaning on it. She felt that familiar rise of panic and needed to push that down. Dwight was still out here, she hoped. She had to find out.

Leaving the ‘safety’ of her space, she needed to find the door and see if it was open. As she moved around, she could hear the humming of active TVs and a few generators. She was so turned around. It wouldn’t surprise her if she went the wrong direction. Walking past some beds, she didn’t want to think of the torture that happened here. Shaking it over, she crept through a window. A generator chimed and then there was that sound of electric shock. She felt her hairs stand up on her arms. Dwight’s cry echoed as he ran away from the doctor. Claudette was spurred on to run. She ducked around cabinets and around piles of broken furniture in the hallways. She could have cried when she saw a sign pointing towards the exit. Following it along the outer wall of the building, she found that green dumpster. Running to the door, she lifted her hand. Placing it on the handle, she pulled it down with effort. The humming sound brightened her spirits. Dwight came barreling into the area, hunched over and trembling. Claudette let go of the handle to check on him.

“You’ll be ok. Try and calm down. Snap out of it.” She said as calmly as she could. “Stay here behind the dumpster. I’m going to get the door open.” She said, moving back to the door. Dwight crouched down, hands on his head as he tried to slow his breathing. It felt like his heart was going to explode from the panic. Just as he was beginning to feel a little calmer, the door opened. It groaned, sliding on hinges that likely hadn’t been opened in a long time. That tingle of electricity in the air was back. He looked up to Claudette. She extended a hand, which he took. As they ran for the door, a familiar and unsettling giggle was heard. There, at the entrance to the building itself, was the doctor. On his shoulder was Feng’s body. She was still. Dwight’s hand tightened on Claudette’s. He didn’t need to know what happened. Feng didn’t win this fight. A tug on his hand was all the man needed and they took off into the fog once more.

Chapter Text

The fog was an unforgiving place. One mistake would cost you in a way you never thought possible. There was no doubt about that. With each death, seen or unseen, Dwight felt a piece of his soul leaving. Was there an out to this? Was the only way to get out of this through death? Maybe the others who died had the straightforward way out. Each trial felt like it took a little more of their sanity away. A little more chipped away at their soul. How many people had the lost already? Some they barely got to know and others, like Kate, had been there for several areas.

“Looks like another forest.” Claudette said quietly as they came into an accessible area. There were several trees in the darkness, looming like monsters in their own right, making the area feel so closed off. The trees were twisted, perhaps telling the history of this place as much as they could. Claudette rubbed her arms as they walked around the area. The trees were unsettling.

“I hope it doesn’t have another person who is going to throw hatchets at us.” Dwight said, seeing a rather large, twisted tree in a clearing. That one looked like it was the central focus of this place. Perhaps it was a lovely place to have a picnic at one point.

“Whats that about throwing hatchets?” An unknown voice cut through the moment. Both Dwight and Claudette tensed up, looking around cautiously. From behind a tree crept a man out of the darkness. Claudette and Dwight were understandably ill at ease. The man was crouched in the tall grass, keeping low to the ground. His trench coat was dirty around the edges and his black pants made him look like his torso was just hovering over the ground.

“Some killer we faced threw hatchets at us. She wanted us to die painfully.” Claudette said, keeping low herself as she looked at the man. He too was of African descent.

“Whats your name?” Dwight asked, looking around in the darkness of the woods before focusing on the man in front of them. The question he asked was more out of habit, than anything more.
“Adam Francis. You?” The man responded, looking from one to other and back.

“Dwight Fairfield. That’s Claudette Morel.” Dwight couldn’t prevent the hollow sound coming from his words. There was little hope of escaping anymore. Adam could die in the next few minutes for all they knew or even they could. Claudette placed a hand on Dwight’s arm and squeezed lightly.

“Sorry. We have been through a lot.” Adam nodded to her words.

“I understand that feeling. I was in a warehouse of some kind before coming here. It was hard to navigate. Anyway, I met a man there. He was a detective investigating some brutal murders. This warehouse had some strange traps set up and things that looked like shrines to those traps. I saw someone with a trap on their head. I tried to help but failed. The trap went off and her face was ripped open. The detective said they were reverse bear traps.” Adam sighed, lowering his knees to the ground as he continued to talk. “Next time I saw him he had his hands in some trap that was cutting up his arms. He had a trap on his head. He told me to run, to leave him behind. The woman was right up on him. I saw her stab his hand as he tried to block the attack. I left then but I heard the sound of his choking on his own blood. As I ran away, I found this opening in the ground. I took it and I came out here.” Dwight and Claudette exchanged a look. Sounded just as horrifying as their own struggles.

“We will do our best to get out of here. We have lost a lot of people too.” Which was true. Some of them right in front of them which was heart breaking. “Have you seen anything out here?” Claudette was curious as she looked at Adam.

“Some bear traps on the ground though they weren’t primed. Found a few laying in the open and two in some grass.” That was something to be aware of. It would be one painful mistake otherwise.

“So, the ground is dangerous.” Dwight shook his head, peering around the tree he was behind. In the far distance, he thought he could make out a building or maybe two. There was a lot of buildings in the distance actually.

“This place is huge. I haven’t really been able to get out of this forest and those buildings in the distance keep telling me to stay away.” Adam wasn’t really the more adventurous person, when it came to things like this.

“We have to find some generators and doors. That is the only way we get out of there, other than that hatch you found. We have used them too. I don’t know what causes them to come into existence though.” Dwight explained as he took. “I think I see a generator from here. If this place really is as big as you say it is, then we have a lot of ground to cover.”

“I don’t know if it will help you both or not but if you see the little stones or rocks around, you can throw them as a distraction. I used them last time and it helped.” Adam said quickly. It would be helpful, perhaps in the future. “You have to wait until the right moment though. Don’t just recklessly throw them.”

“Alright. Thanks. Come on. Let’s see about that generator.” Claudette stood to follow after Dwight. The three of them took their time, looking in the long grass and around the trees. Traps could have been anywhere. They reached the generator by a broken wall. There was some brief considering for what this could have been when it wasn’t decayed and falling victim to time and whatever this place was. They worked in silence, Dwight teaching the other two how to work as quick as possible with as little noise as possible. It was still very possible to make mistakes. As the generator came to life, they breathed a sigh of relief. Walking out from behind the rock formation that was nearby, Dwight cried out unexpectedly, dropping to a knee and his hands around his right ankle. Pain shot up his leg and he had to suppress the urge to cry out again as the littlest movement jarred the injury.

“What happened?” Claudette asked, kneeling at his side. She gasped, her fingers coming into contact with cold metal. Adam was right next to Dwight as well. Dwight, to his credit, was keeping his moans of pain down. Adam helped to pry the trap open, releasing Dwight’s right ankle. When the pressure was gone, he gasped collapsing into Claudette who was in front of him. She helped him move and once he was away, Adam let go. It snapped shut with a metallic bite.

“I don’t think we are making it out of this one.” Dwight commented as Claudette and Adam both treated the wound. Adam seemed a little slow at it, though he was picking up his pace as the moments ticked by.

“There's no limit to what you can achieve, as long as you back it up with hard work.” Adam said, offering a little smile with the words. “If you think we can escape, we will. Just have to stay positive.” Dwight said nothing. Claudette tied off the bandage and helped Dwight to his feet. The man was battered and bruised, physically and mentally by this point. He just stood there, getting his barring. As he did, he saw a man in the distance. He was walking the building that looked like it would have been a mine shaft. Claudette and Adam turned to follow his line of sight. From this distance, there was no telling the details of the man. One thing was for sure, he was setting traps over there.

“Come on.” Adam said, lightly touching Dwight’s shoulder to get the man’s attention.

“Yeah.” They turned and went in the other direction, to find another generator. Claudette followed them quickly. As they walked, they continued to look at the ground, not walking through the tall grass unless they had to. This was something that Dwight didn’t want to repeat. His body ached enough. Though as he considered it, his body didn’t hurt as much as it should have. The injuries he had sustained from previous killers were little more than a dull ache, if even that. The atmosphere of the trees and broken walls was almost suffocating. Still, they pressed on.

“Let’s try in there.” Claudette said, pointing a building in front of them. Weaving around the large wooden spools and random tracker treads, the building had clearly seen better days. The roof looked like it was blown out, or maybe caved in. It was really hard to tell. Checking the partially boarded up doorway, Adam stepped through, followed by the other two. They headed upstairs. The crates littered around the area gave some cover at least.

“What do you think this place was?” Dwight asked, as he got down to work on the generator.

“I think I saw a tower as we walked. It creaked too. Probably about ready to fall apart. Smells like coal in here.” Claudette commented.

“Everything here is decaying.” Adam’s words were true, even if they didn’t want to consider that. Quite suddenly, Claudette spoke up.

“We have to hide!” She hissed, creeping away to hide behind the boxes. Dwight hurried after her. Adam was not so lucky. He started to move a few seconds too late. The man they had seen in the distance was upon them. Adam took off running then. The only place he could go was out the window. It was a long drop that jarred the man’s joints as he hit the ground, honestly lucky he didn’t break anything. The killer paused to quickly break the generator, faster than either of them had seen. Claudette and Dwight pressed against the boxes, barely breathing as the man walked past. He dropped out the window after Adam and was gone, not even a sound as he landed outside. The heavy breathing under the mask he wore was still ringing in their ears.

“That man wore a mask and had metal coming out of his shoulders and arms. Did you see the bear trap in his left hand?” Claudette said, looking at Dwight. He nodded to her, a little shiver wracking his body at the mention of the trap.

“It looked like he had overalls on or something. Even his boots looked like they were designed for hard surfaces. The weapon in his hand… do you think he made it? It looked rough around the edges.” Dwight filled in the rest of the blanks they had both seen. Hopefully Adam would be ok. How the man hadn’t broken something jumping from a second-floor doorway they had no idea. The pair made their way back to the generator to get it done. They had to in order to try and find the doors to get out of here. Claudette pulled herself away from the generator to check in a box that was nearby. She hoped there was something useful inside. Dwight glanced over at her wondering what she was looking for. The generator came to life and he turned to see Claudette standing next to him. The man hadn’t heard her move.

“Found a med kit. Maybe it will help if we step in another trap.” She was at least trying to look on the bright side of finding something useful in the box. Everything else was broken. The once bright red medical kit box was now damaged, scratched and dirty, though still useful.

“I don’t want to step in anymore of them, but you might be right.” Dwight replied. “We should go.” Heading down the stairs, the building groaned again. A shrill cry in the distance made them both stop. That wasn’t the sound of man’s scream. It was a woman’s. Claudette’s fingers tightened around the handle of the med kit.

“There’s someone else here.” Claudette said, looking off in the direction they heard it from. It was the western side of the area. They would have to pass close to those woods again it looked like. Without saying anything about it, the duo carefully picked their way across the area. Leaving the tower behind them was a minor reprieve. The forest was still just as eerie as it had been, the massive tree in the middle standing guardian of this place. As they crept closer, it was abundantly clear that this was a massive property. Similar to the area with the corn field they kept finding.

“Should we check in the building?” Dwight asked, as they came up to a section of the wall that was broken out, partially protected by some debris and a tractor tread. There was a soft moaning sound from inside. They could just barely see someone hanging from a hook. Her weak attempts to remove the hook from her shoulder were hard to watch. It had to be incredibly painful to have that in her shoulder. There was blood pooling on the floor under her. If he had to guess, Dwight figured the hook wasn’t originally designed for this. Before they could move, Adam ran into the area. He lifted her off the hook, glancing around for the killer then pointing to run towards the open doorway. She limped away, holding her shoulder and Adam took off with her. Dwight and Claudette looked at each other before they crept into the building.

“What do you think this place was?” Claudette asked, looking up towards the second story of the building. Almost all the windows were broken out. the machinery in the middle hadn’t been run in ages, if the thick layers of dust and dirt told a tale.

“Some sort of ironworks facility I would guess. There is a melting pot up there on that arm” Dwight replied, picking up a half form ingot. He turned it over in his hand and promptly dropped it. There on the backside of the ingot, was a finger partially sticking out of it. The bone was all that was left. “This place was hell.”

“It is hell. We are still here.” Claudette’s remark brought a mild glare from Dwight, but he didn’t mean anything by it. Flickering lights caught his attention. Where those indicting something was there or just further proof the building was fallen to despair?

“There.” Together, they made their way to the generator. It was near the large open doors of the building which was both a welcome sight and a scary one. There was no cover if they were found. The cabinets and lockers nearby might not be a safe place to hide, if the time called for it. The seconds ticked by and it was becoming more and more apparent neither could focus. They had slipped multiple times on the generator, getting little progress made. Was it the building making them so unsteady or something else? Either way, the area wasn’t helping, even though the machine was quiet, giving off the occasional groan as something moved.

“We should go.” They were struggling enough. As they stood to leave it for now, the killer came around the corner. Adam was struggling on his shoulder, wiggling and trying to pry himself free. The killer’s pace was quick, determined, on a mission with his sights set on the hook the woman had been on previously. Dwight and Claudette ran, though the killer swung and struck Claudette across her shoulder. She cried out, though kept running. Dwight pushed her towards the stairs, their boots sounding loud against the metal of the catwalk. Adam’s cry of pain filled the space as he was hung up on the hook below them. Claudette turned the corner too sharply and slipped from the catwalk where a piece of the railing was missing. Dwight dove after her, landing prone on the catwalk, catching her wrist and the railing with his free hand. Neither dared to breathe as the killer below them kicked their generator. The man looked around, clearly trying to decide which direction he was going to travel. He never looked upwards, which was a small blessing to the pair that were hanging there. Finally, he left the building.

“Don’t let go.” Claudette said as Dwight pulled her back up. Pure adreline kept them moving in this moment. Claudette grabbed the edge of the catwalk, helping to pull herself up. Dwight fell back into the railing, Claudette falling into his chest. They just rest there a moment, to let their pounding hearts calm. The woman placed her forehead against his shoulder, calming her breathing. Claudette was not someone who was adventurous at all and that was both a rush of fear and adrenaline. She lifted her head, adjusting her glasses as she did.

“Thanks.” She said quietly and without hesitation, leaned in to give the man a kiss. It wasn’t hot and heavy. It was simple and nothing more. She drew back, leaving Dwight a little flustered. He adjusted his own glasses out of habit before he responded to her.

“I wasn’t going to let you drop. That could have killed you at worst and broken bones at best.” His cheeks were tinted a light pink that wasn’t from the stress of keeping her alive. “I’m just glad you are alright.” They had been through a lot together so far and even parted, they had endured. Before anything more could happen, Adam grunted downstairs. The pair upstairs looked down to witness the man forcibly pull himself off the hook. It looked like it had taken a lot from the man as he stumbled to the ground.

“Adam, upstairs.” Dwight called down. The other looked around and then up. Seeing the pair, he nodded, hurrying to get upstairs. By the time he reached them, the pair had moved back to the office area. Tending to their wounds took little time at all, as Adam quickly picked up on how to treat wounds in the least amount of time. A skill both Claudette and Dwight took to heart. Adam refused help for a brief time, though neither of them knew why. Heavy footsteps on the stairs outside caught heir attention. Claudette moved to the window.

“He’s coming back.” She whispered. The toe of her boot nudged against a small piece of metal. She picked it up. Adam had said they could throw them for a distraction. She stayed low on the window as she picked a place to throw it. Maybe she could make it hit one of the treads outside. She had to try. Lifting the piece of metal, she threw it. She couldn’t hear a sound that was made but the killer outside had. The steps turned around, heading back downstairs and towards the sound.

“Adam, it worked!” She was thrilled by this fact. Adam nodded as he knelt by the doorway, out of sight. Dwight was similarly concealed by a cabinet that was there. At the very least, if the man with traps had made it upstairs, someone could get out in the confusion.

“There’s what is easy and then there’s what is right. If you confuse the two, there is not telling what you’ll become.” Adam replied cryptically. Without another word, he stood, walking out the door and down the steps. Dwight and Claudette followed. They still had to find a door somewhere in all this mess. Claudette’s med kit was all picked clean, but it had helped to make their own injuries less painful. With three people, there was no time at all to think about mistakes on the generator. it came to life effortlessly under their hands. Leaving the building through a side door, the ominous building towards the east seemed a good place to start. None of them wanted to go near the building they had seen at first when they were in the woods.

They looked carefully for traps as they walked past treads, spools, and through tall grass. It wasn’t good enough. Claudette shrieked in pain, dropping to a knee as she held her ankle. Dwight couldn’t even see the trap. Gingerly, he felt down from her leg to find the trap. Adam started to open the trap then paused. Dwight looked up, seeing the man coming in their direction. The metal of his weapon was reflecting some of the moonlight and there was clearly fresh blood dropping off it and the killer’s left arm.

“Get her out of this thing. I’m going to run for that building.” Dwight said and took off running towards the man with the trap in hand. He swung at Dwight, missing at the last moment and getting caught by a wooden pallet that Dwight yanked down on top of him. The killer kicked in the wooden item and went after the bespectacled man. It wasn’t long before neither was still in view. Adam forced the trap open, allowing the woman to crawl out of it.

“I can see why Dwight was limping after we freed him.” The teeth of the trap were blunt, though that only hurt more. Yes, it had broken skin but not cleanly. Wrapping up her ankle, she got to her feet. A little more unsteady than before.

“We should avoid any grass. That trap was very well hidden.” Adam said, to which Claudette nodded. She wondered if it was a special trap or something else.

“We should go after Dwight.” Nodding, the pair jogged off after their companion, Claudette praying that he was ok. She passed a trap that was set. Slowing down, she crouched. Grabbing a stick, she leaned over the trap and pressed the center of it. It snapped shut on the stick, breaking it half and creating a loud sound. Without looking back, they continue to run to meet up with Dwight, hopefully.

Chapter Text

Their trek to the other side of the estate was one fraught with fear of traps and any sounds. Every whisper of the breeze was the possibility of death it felt like. They never did run into that woman again. It was entirely possible that they wouldn’t ever know what happened to her. Claudette was ok with that, which made her feel bad about that thought. She was a caring person, wanted everyone to survive but her thoughts had turned dark. Now she was just glad that it wasn’t her who was suffering and dying. Claudette didn’t like that thought but she had no choice given the hell she was in at the time. Maybe when she got out, things would change but even then, this place was changing them all, especially those who lived to tell the tale, which was getting smaller and smaller each time they suffered. For now, they had to see if they could find Dwight and get out of there. They had finished three generators. Someone was going to have to look for that door eventually.

Adam and Claudette crept over towards the storehouse. At least, it looked like one. As they got closer, it was clear that it was, in fact, a storehouse. One of the massive doorways was blocked off with boxes and crates all stacked up. It left a door open, which was fine, but it would limit how quickly they could leave the area. There was some other broken-down buildings and trees around, making the area very dark and shadowed. Perfect for laying traps around and leaving them for an unsuspecting victim. Crouching down by a large spool and some crates, the pair were silently debating on whether they went into the building or not. It groaned as the pair looked on.

“What should we do?” Adam asked, looking around. The area was eerily quiet, and a feeling of heaviness was almost tangible. Claudette shifted around, peering around the edge of the boxes attacked by them. The tracker treads also helped to keep them covered from sight. At least, from one side. The area looked like it was either being loaded or unloaded with how many crates, boxes and spools were laying around. Maybe they had been previously working on something that was no longer in the area. Before Claudette could answer Adam, there was a loud pop in the distance. It was metal on metal. A trap had been triggered, however there was no cry of pain.

“We should go inside.” Claudette said, looking around. There was no telling how long they had before that monster of a man came back. “Look out for traps but we have to see if there is a generator. We also need to try and find a door. See if it has power yet.” Some of the areas they had been too they were lucky, and it was an easy one or two and done. The more recent places they had been to, included five generators that needed to be done. Moving forward, the pair moved carefully, looking at the ground to make sure they didn’t step in a trap. There was one they saw in a doorway. Sidestepping the trap, Adam and Claudette walked towards the corner of the building. There were tall racks of various things stacked around the room, with stairs leading to the basement and more racks around the corner. Claudette was sure she even saw some lockers.

“Do you think Dwight is alright?” Adam asked, as he searched in a box nearby for anything useful. Claudette moved over to the only open window. She nearly stepped in a trap.
“I’m sure he is fine.” She said, looking around for something to pop the trap with. She couldn’t find anything so left it there. “There is a trap in that window. Only on the inside it looked like.” Adam nodded. They found a generator and got to work. Adam had found a very nice toolbox in the box nearby. With the tools and the parts available, repairing this machine went very quickly. Just before they finished the generator, Claudette and Adam both stopped. Dwight was running outside the building. He vaulted into a window and then stopped, crouching by the window out of sight. Claudette and Adam moved away from where they were. Adam hid behind a rack of boxes and Claudette went into the basement. Dwight had no idea his fellow survivors were there. The killer came into the building, his pace quick and determined.

The heavy breathing of the killer sent Adam and Dwight’s nerves on edge. Dwight crept back out the window, though stayed in the shadows. Adam dodged around the rack as the killer looked around. He stopped moving near the generator, perhaps considering what he was going to do. Kicking it viciously, the killer turned and went down into the basement. Claudette heard the heavy footfalls on the stairs and pressed into a corner as much as she could. The smell of mold and death was heavy in the air. Claudette held her breath as much as she could. Someone died down here. Many people she was sure of. The killer stalked around the room, looking behind some of the boxes down in the basement before he left. Claudette breathed a sigh of relief that turned to panic. Suddenly the killer was in her face, grabbing her by the neck. She yelped out as she was tossed over his shoulder, some of the bits of metal coming from his skin digging into her. She struggled, unwilling to die like this. As the man carried her back upstairs, she heard the clicking and saw a bright light. The killer did as well and dropped the woman on his shoulder in favor of shielding his eyes. A hand wrapped around her wrist and she was yanked towards the door. When her vision cleared, she could see it was Adam who was pulling her away. That meant it was Dwight who had blinded the killer somehow.

“What?” She asked, once they were outside the building and Adam was tending her minor wounds.

“Dwight had a flashlight. He got it working just as that man came up the stairs with you. I honestly though Dwight was going to drop the thing, but he didn’t.” Claudette had no idea what happened after she was pulled out of the building. They had to get back in there and finish the generator though. She heard the machine get damaged, but she didn’t know what happened after that. Adam finished patching her up and smiled tightly. “He’ll be fine. That man is made of sterner stuff than I gave him credit for.” Claudette nodded. She had to agree there.

Moving back towards the building, they discovered that the trap in the window had been tripped at some point and Dwight was nowhere in the building. Neither was the killer for that matter. The machine was sputtering. It was painful to see all that progress they had made on the machine was destroyed when the monster of man kicked it. Getting back to work on the machine, they used the tools and parts in the toolbox and finished it as quickly as possible. When the machine roared to life, there was a single breath of relief before the tension came back. The man with the desire to kill everyone was stepping through the window.

“Run!” Claudette yelled as she bolted out the door. Adam went out the other door. The Trapper, which Claudette coined, was chasing Adam down. The woman wasn’t sure where she was going to go. Adam should be ok but there could be traps and she had no idea where Dwight was now. Crouching down in the darkness, she leaned against the building. She had no idea she was by a window until Adam vaulted it and kept running. The Trapper’s leg came out next and she pressed herself against the wall as much as she could to avoid touching him. No one knew she was even there which was lucky. Separated from the others, Claudette decided to look for a door. If she could find one, maybe she would get lucky and she could open it. If not, then she would have to work on finding a landmark so she could tell the others and get that last generator. At least, she hoped there would only be one more needed.

Keeping to the shadows, Claudette slowly crept around. She was worried for her companions and hoped they were well. She hadn’t heard any traps or cries of pain. Then again, this area was huge, and it was possible she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, hear it anyway. There wasn’t as many traps around in this area which lead Claudette to believe that there was a limited amount of them. As quiet as the area was, she much rather hear something beyond the eerie stillness. It was oppressive and heavy. Anything was better. Even a cry of pain. Taking a breath, she continued on. Skirting the edges of the area, she found nothing and no one. Only trees were her company as she continued on. There was a generator she could see but it was damaged far beyond repair and it had a few traps around it. Choosing to move on, she nearly walked into a trap. Stopping just short of it, she looked for something to trip it with. As she looked, she heard the heavy steps. Pressing herself up against the rocks, the trap a mere few feet from her, she held her breath.

The Trapper walked around, clearly sensing someone was there. The shadows cast in this cozy area of rocks, trees, and grass didn’t help him in his quest to find his victim. Claudette didn’t move as the killer bent and grabbed the trap. For a brief moment, she felt him look right at her, but he continued to turn and moved to set up the trap somewhere else. She wasn’t sure where he was going and, in a moment of bravery, or stupidity, she followed him. For some reason, she felt like she needed to see where this killer was going and why. As she crept after him, she realized they were heading towards the one part of the map they hadn’t been too yet. This made her nervous, but she knew she had to keep going. As the building came into view, she had a very bad feeling about it. The sound of the wind sounded more like the moans and cries of the dead.

Claudette watched the man walk into the building and disappear. She crept close to an open window and looked inside. It looked like there was once a rail system there. Maybe for moving something. The only thing she could think of for this type of building was a mine shaft. Looking around, she saw much of the same things as she saw on the rest of the area she had explored so far. Crates, large spools, boxes, trees and some rocks. Those moans she could hear sounded terribly close and real. Not just something she thought she was hearing. This was a more serious and concerning sound. The Trapper was still around so Claudette had to take her time and plan to figure out what that sound was. It was possibly a survivor, someone the killer was keeping alive for now to torment later. Leaving the building for the moment, Claudette saw a door in the distance. It wasn’t opened and it didn’t look powered. Wandering around the building carefully, she discovered another generator. This one didn’t look like it was too damaged, and she noticed a familiar toolbox. Adam must have been here!

Claudette searched in the toolbox and managed to find a shiny new part inside. Maybe that would help. Hiding against the crates, the killer was coming back, and Claudette couldn’t be found. She tucked herself into the darkest part of the area and waited. Searching around, the killer set two traps and left. The woman was terrified but didn’t move until she was sure he wasn’t coming back. still, she heard nothing in the distance to say that there was someone else out there that was still alive. Working on the generator, she finished it quickly on her own with the help of the tools and the new part she found. When the generator roared to life, she sighed. Now she could try the door. The sounds from the building came again.

Moving into the building, she crept down towards the sounds. There was a passage way down there that looked like it was partially collapsed. As she moved closer, she heard the sounds louder and clearer. When she got closer, she could see who it was. Dwight and Adam were both there, injured and seemingly barely awake. Adam was the one making most of the noises. Claudette hurried over to them and used her skills to patch them up. Neither looked all that good and Claudette was sure that most of Dwight’s clothing was bloodied now. Even Adam’s jacket was looking worse for wear and filthy.

“Come on. We have to get out of here. The door is powered. Just have to open it.” Claudette pulled on Adam’s hand. The man struggled to get up, but he found his feet. Dwight was staggering as he leaned against a wall. Dwight’s flashlight was broken nearby, appearing to have been smashed. As Claudette looked around, she could see the remains of people, parts of them sticking out of the dirt and collapsed shaft that was partially hollowed out once more.

“Let’s go.” Dwight said, pushing off the wall. He had looked better when Claudette just met him. Still, at least they were moving around. Adam was already heading off. The sense of dread was coming back. “Hurry.” Pushing up his glasses which were miraculously not broken, Dwight took off limping as fast as he could. Claudette was on his heels and Adam was just in front of them. The trio moved towards the door in the shadows as much as they could.

“Go, go.” Claudette hissed as the killer spotted them. She took off running drawing the man’s attention. Adam ran to the door, throwing the switch. He felt the power flare up under his hand. Dwight was nearby, watching Claudette run around with the killer right behind her. He missed swinging at her several times as she ducked and dodged around the items that were littering the area. Dwight noticed that it seemed like the killer was getting closer to her. How could that be? Was Claudette slowing down? As he watched, she was attacked with skillful precision. She cried out, holding her arm to her side. The killer persisted in his taste to get her. The door groaned and slid open.

“Claudette!” Dwight yelled, waving her over towards them. The woman glanced over, sliding across a fallen palette. She continued to run, not looking back. The killer changed course and went after Dwight. The man was still limping from his wounds but did his best to run. Claudette raced towards them just as the killer lifted his weapon. As it came down, she hit the ground, allowing Dwight to keep going. Adam and Dwight stopped in the doorway of their escape, torn on what to do.

“Just go. It’s ok.” Claudette said with as much confidence as she could muster in that moment a smile on her face despite her pain. She hurt all over. The killer stood over her, looking down at her and then over to the others in the doorway. Dragging her backwards a few feet, the killer lifted her up a little by her neck. The woman was laying face down so this arched her back. He placed a trap under her head. The next few seconds felt so long as Claudette’s head was crushed in the trap that was laid there. She never made a sound and Dwight wondered, morbidly, why she never did. Adam yanked on Dwight’s arm and the bi-spectacled man finally moved. He was in shock that Claudette was gone. They had made it so many times. She was his hope since the beginning and no she was gone. In his shock, he never noticed that as Adam made sure he kept up, they stumbled into a bamboo thicket of sorts. There was a few structures in the distance and a larger one near the back.

Chapter Text

Dwight dumbly stood there, trying to shake off the numb feeling that was coming over him. Why did any of this matter? If they were all to die in horrible ways, why even try to run? Was there ever to be an end? How long had this been happening? Hours? Days? Years? Did anyone even know they were missing or was their existence wiped from history? Eventually, Dwight had to stop. He yanked his wrist back from Adam, who came up short looking at him in surprise.

“We have to keep moving Dwight.”

“Why? What does this matter?” The pizza boy snapped back. “Does any of what we are doing matter? Why are we trying to survive when everyone so far has died in horrible ways?” Adam frowned, listening to Dwight’s rant. He understood where the man was coming from.

“Are you guilty that you have lived this long Dwight?” Adam’s words were harsh to Dwight, though that was not the intention at all. Dwight wanted to snap back, say something off the cuff but he didn’t. He just waited this time, those words sinking in. Maybe he was feeling guilty. Yes, he didn’t want anyone to die but so many of those he had come into contact with, and made brief friendships with, had wanted him to push forward. Little by little, Dwight was coming to terms with the fact maybe he was meant to keep going. he would, by his choice, carry on the stories of each person he had met, even if the didn’t know much of them to start with.

“I’ll be fine Adam. I’m sorry for my moment of weakness.” Adam shook his head.

“Don’t think anything of it. We all have moments like that. We should move on though.” The pair now took the time to look around. There was bamboo everywhere in small clusters. Some rocks of assorted sizes and some structures neither could quite make out. There were also some shorter stalks of what could have been bamboo near the rocks. It would make for a decent place to hide. It could prove helpful as Dwight and Adam didn’t think they were free of this hellish nightmare at all. There was little chance of escape, but they would keep working toward that goal. Maybe they would get lucky. Maybe he would be better off than Ace was.

“I guess we should check on those buildings. See what they are and if there are doors and generators.” Dwight said with a bit of a sigh. Walking together past some bamboo stalks and fallen trees, or rocks Dwight wasn’t sure, they moved towards the smaller building. As they got closer, Dwight wondered if they were still in their own time period. This place looked Asian in design, though he couldn’t tell much else. The small building was a pagoda that was very run down. It could have been a lovely building at one point. A nice location to sit and read or talk with someone.

“This looks Japanese.” Adam said, studying the roof line and the tiles. Dwight had no idea but believed him for now. The bi-spectacled man walked up on top of it, careful of his footing as he was sure the floor would cave in under him. Leaning on the railing, he looked around from his slighter taller point of view. There was a lot of nothing around, just more bamboo, rocks, and that building. There was some walls and little cubby areas. He wasn’t sure what they would have been used for, but this place felt old. It also felt angry.

“Is it possible for a location to feel emotions?” Dwight asked, looking over to Adam. Adam’s eyes shifted from the architecture to Dwight.

“If you believe in those types of things yes. A location can be haunted or hold emotions if someone died in a horrific way. Why do you ask?” Adam had the professor answer at the ready. Dwight tapped his fingers on the railing in thought.

“This place feels angry to me. All of the locations I have been at during this nightmare have felt evil, but this place feels angry.” Dwight wasn’t one to believe in ghost stories, but he might be changing his tune if this place had an angry spirit at it.

“Anything is possible Dwight.” Adam compromised, since he could see the man was upset over something.

“I just hope I’m wrong and it’s just whatever expected evil has been taunting us.” Dwight commented, trying to lessen the tension. Leaning forward to look into the distance as he thought he saw movement; the railing gave way. He tumbled to the ground with a grunt. Dwight pushed himself up and then stopped moving. He heard a hissing sound and then a ghostly woman appeared. She was in terrible shape. Her left arm was cut clean through in two places, above and below the elbow. Her right arm was also severed. There were so many pieces of glass jutting out of her skin that one might have assumed she died from falling into glass. The sharp point of something was coming out of her right hand. The left side of her stomach was sliced open and her right leg was cut through above her knee at an angle. Her left leg seemed to be intact. She was barely clothed, with just wrapping across her chest and her lower body. It was barely enough to keep her modest. There was pure rage and anger coming from her as Dwight slowly moved to hide in the bamboo nearby. He had no idea where Adam disappeared to. In addition to the wrappings and severed limbs, Dwight could see and smell the blood that covered her. Closing his eyes, he stayed where he was as the woman walked around.

She seemed fragmented as she walked around, twitching and her limbs that were cut seemingly held together by stings no one could see. Her hair, black as midnight, stood straight up and flowed like she was underwater. She was making noises as she was moving, and it sounded like she was gasping for air or hissing. Dwight couldn’t figure out which was louder to him. Out of nowhere, he heard a noise and the woman did too. She took off immediately to check it out. Dwight took the chance to get out of there. Heading in the other direction, he ran once he felt safe enough. The feeling he had was settling in his bones at this point. He knew this place was, in fact, haunted now and that woman was killed here. As he made his way around, he could see a generator. Frowning, he made his way over to get to work on it. Perhaps it would be easier than he was expecting.

The generator came to life without much trouble in the long run. Dwight hadn’t seen or heard anyone, or anything, else since he started. He was a little concerned the woman would show up once more. Her blue skin-tone was disturbing enough and combined with the rest of her? Dwight was sure she would be in his nightmares more often than some of the other murderers he had encountered. Dwight took his time, creeping towards the main building now. Or at least, he felt it would the main building since the feeling of dreed and anger was growing as he got closer. He had to shake off the feeling to panic as he came closer. Crouching down hidden in some bamboo, he waited a moment. He had to find his courage. Taking a step out of his safe place, a stuttering image of a woman, the woman who was killed, darted in front of him. It looked like a skipping movie. He stopped and held his breath. The feeling he had was the same as the nurse he had faced when she phased right through him. It was cold and unfeeling.

When the image skittered on and left, Dwight continued on. He could hear a generator being worked on somewhere in the house. There were some stone structures outside that would have been decorative, but Dwight couldn’t name them. They looked like lanterns or something. Dwight leaned around one looking towards the house.

“Those are called tōrō.” Dwight nearly jumped out of his skin at the voice behind him. Adam was there, looking a little worse for wear but still alive. “This place is Japanese. After we had a guest, I looked around. I heard about this place, if it’s what I think it is. A father lost his mind and killed his wife and his daughter. The papers made it sound like he went insane, but no one could say for sure. He wouldn’t say anything, but he was told to do it and it was the only way out. He surely felt that way with mounting debt pilling up around him due to medical bills and his daughter’s education at university.” Dwight looked back at the house. It made sense then why he had the feeling.

“Do you think the feeling I have is because of the murders?”

“Not sure. The first owner of this place was a man who was a shipwreck survivor. He joined in the war at the time and used a katana. His fury was unmatched on the battlefield.” Adam was knowledgeable about history, but then again, he was a teacher. It made perfect sense that he would know such things. The tiny details of each person were ingrained in the hearts and minds of the others who were with them. Or at least it was for Dwight. He could be the next one to die for all he knew. Broken from his thoughts by a loud popping sound, the men looked to the building.

“Let’s go.” Adam suggested as he started towards the building. Dwight came up behind him as they came closer. It was a two-story house at one time. Dwight wondered what it looked like in it’s prime. The building was almost sad to look at now. Like everything else in the other places, he had been, it was decaying and rotting. Dwight paused on the porch, looking around. There were some cabinets around and he walked off to the side. As he looked around the edge of the house, he could see a man crouched down breaking one of those bone totems he had seen and broken himself before. This one was on fire it looked like. As the totem fell to pieces, a sense of dread came over Dwight. The man stood up and turned to see Dwight standing there. Honestly, the man in front of Dwight looked like he was homeless. Or a middle-aged father with a beer belly. Either way, both jumped when Adam cried out in pain. Dwight looked into the building and saw that woman standing over his friend who fell to the ground. He wasn’t injured, was he? Dwight didn’t think he was, but he couldn’t understand how Adam was taken down so quickly. The woman turned to see Dwight and came after him. He turned and ran, jumping over the railing. As his feet hit the ground, he turned to look back. The woman swung a sword, a katana, which had slammed into the wooden railing. It vanished back into her hand, the tip protruding from her hand. Dwight didn’t stick around and kept running. He didn’t know what happened to Adam or what happened to the man who was responsible for breaking that totem.

The feeling of dread was right behind Dwight as he ran. On reaction, he threw down a pallet behind him. He heard the angry sounds behind him. She summoned her sword and destroyed the wooden obstacle as Dwight took off. The woman was right behind him. She was faster than he expected. Darting away, he tried to hide in the bamboo around a corner. The woman went past him but turned just as Dwight turned around and ran another direction. Dwight felt he had to keep distance between them and so kept on the move. The rocks and the bamboo helped to keep distance, but the woman was right behind him. Dwight stopped at a partially broken wall as the woman stopped moving. He wasn’t sure what was going on but slowly walked away. She was standing there twitching and making her hissing sounds. Her image blurred and appeared right in front of Dwight. He yelped, throwing down the pallet right next to him. It exploded into pieces as it struck the woman. Dwight vaulted the wall and took off.

The woman didn’t follow him this time. Dwight took cover in the bamboo by some rocks. He was just able to get through them and he didn’t think she would be able to follow if she just showed up. Catching his breath, he wasn’t sure if any generator was done. He wasn’t focused on listening to it. A generator light went off in the distance which caught his attention, as did the cry of pain soon after. It didn’t sound like Adam so maybe it was the other man he had seen. Dwight, gathering his courage, ran back towards the house.

When he arrived back at the house, he was careful as he walked into the building. It felt evil itself to him. The tatami mats were stained and soaked in blood. The cushions were scattered around, and walls had a tale to tell. The home was falling to pieces, and the once lovely screens dividing the rooms were damaged and rotten. There was a mask with a short table under it with candles on it. Was this an altar for something? Or someone? The mask looked demonic. Above the mask, was a rack holding some katanas. Either side of it was wall scrolls. Everything was covered in blood. Someone had died there. Someone, something, had come back to life there as well.

“Hey.” The gruff voice behind him startled Dwight as he turned. It was the man he didn’t know. “Can you help me?” He asked, holding an obvious sword wound. Dwight nodded, moving closer to patch the man up.

“I’m Dwight.”

“Jeff.”

“How did you end up here?"

“I don’t know. I was back in my hometown after my dad passed and I just ended up here.”

“Oh. I’m sorry for your loss. I was on a camping trip with my boss and co-workers. Woke up lost in the woods.” Dwight said as he tied off the end of the bandages. Jeff stood up straight once more with a nod.

“Thanks man.”

“Yeah, no problem. Have you seen any generators around here?"

“There is one in the other room. I was working on it when I felt her coming. I went back to the hide and found that bone thing with candles.” While he was speaking, the man moved back to the other room. Dwight followed. The generator was damaged, clearly the woman had broken it after coming back.

“Have you seen the other man who was here? His name is Adam.”

“Yeah, I helped him back onto his feet. That woman chased after you.” Dwight felt good about that at least. However, Adam was here now. That made him a little uncomfortable.

“We should work on the generator. Have you seen any big doors?” Dwight started to work on the generator with Jeff. Together, it would be faster. There was a greater risk to that woman coming back. Dwight felt like they could hear her coming though before she actually attacked either of them. They worked in relative silence until the generator came to life. Standing up, Dwight hear the hissing sound.

“We have to leave.” As they darted for a door, the woman appeared. She blocked the doorway, bringing her sword down on Jeff. He grunted in pain. Dwight vaulted out the window as Jeff went out another doorway. Not wanting to leave him to his fate, Dwight followed. It took a minute for Jeff to fall to her sword and that was after Dwight took a blow meant for the man. The pizza boy had tried to help. Dwight hid behind some rocks. Jeff was carried to a hook near where Dwight was hiding. It could have been a lantern hook for all they knew. Jeff cried out as the metal pierced his shoulder. Dwight flinched. It had to hurt. Keeping quiet, he waited until the woman was distracted and left. Dwight struggled to get Jeff down, but he did. When Jeff’s feet touched the ground, he turned and yanked the hook down as well. Maybe it wasn’t as sturdy as it looked. Jeff tended to Dwight’s injuries and Dwight tended to Jeff’s.

“I haven’t seen Adam.” Dwight commented as they started back towards the thicket of bamboo.

“I saw him briefly. He distracted the woman. I also saw a door.” Jeff said, pointing back towards the house. Dwight made note of that. Two generators had been done by Dwight, with Jeff’s help on one. There was a third done by someone else. Perhaps Adam. Two more perhaps were needed. He should check the door.

“Try to find another generator. I’m going to check the door.” As he was speaking, another generator went off in the distance. That made four. Jeff nodded and headed for the thicket as Dwight went another way towards the door. It wouldn’t be too hard to get there and then hopefully find Jeff, or even Adam. Crossing the space, Dwight was careful to avoid her detection. Checking on the door, Dwight saw Adam nearby, also creeping around.

“Adam!” Dwight said and hurried over to him. Adam heard him coming and stopped to see what was going on.

“Dwight. I’m glad I found you. There is a generator almost done over by that small building we came across. Each time the generators are finished, I can see that woman for a few seconds. I don’t understand it. It also doesn’t matter how far away she is.” As Adam hurried to explain, the door near them powered up. Dwight looked at the door and then back to Adam, who looked nervous. He looked around, seeing the woman.

“It’s not going away like before.” Adam said as he went to the door. Dwight stood nearby, hoping that Jeff would turn up. Adam threw the switch on the door, powering up the door they needed to leave this place. Dwight was mindful of the area, looking around and waiting. Jeff came running over just as the gate groaned and slid open.

“Come on. We have to get out of here.” Adam said, looking into the distance. The woman was coming. Dwight and Jeff darted past, Adam on their heels. Dwight looked back and tripped over his feet into Jeff. Adam stopped to avoid the same fate. The pair didn’t fall but they might as well with how comical they looked.

“Adam!” Dwight said, looking not at the man but over his shoulder. Adam knew then she was right behind him. Her sword appeared in her hand as she stabbed Adam through the chest from behind. The man cried out, falling to the ground on his side. She swung again at his down form, a blow landing on his stomach in the front, another in the back and finally a last blow on the front. She hunched then, screaming at her victim. Jeff wondered if she was so bloodthirsty, she delighted in the sight of her victim cut apart as she was herself. Her sword disappeared as she looked back at those in front of her. Dwight caught Jeff by the shoulder and pulled him along, outside of her reach as she stood over her victim.

Chapter Text

As the pair took off, the recent memory of Adam’s death was fresh in their minds. Dwight had seen enough of it to last a lifetime and he was over it. Even if he made it out of this, he wasn’t sure he would ever be the same. Therapy wouldn’t even help he suspected. Who would believe him?

“I know this place.” Jeff’s voice cut through his thoughts. Dwight looked around. There was snow everywhere and it was chilly. This looked like a lodge.

“You do? What is it?’ Dwight asked, taking in the area.

“This is a ski lodge. Well, it was. It’s been closed for years. I painted a mural here.” Jeff looked around in awe, perhaps a little uneasy at being in a place he knew so well. “Ormond was popular for a while. I’m not sure anymore why they closed it.” The main lodge, a massive building, was in the middle of the area they were walking around. Piles of snow littered the area, as well as abandoned ski equipment. Dwight wondered what this place would have looked like when it was in it’s prime. Would families have come here to enjoy the slopes? Would couples have enjoyed a romantic get-away?

“Dwight.”

“Huh?” Jeff was several feet away from Dwight at this point and the pizza boy hadn’t noticed.

“I said, I found someone else before I ran into you and Adam.” Dwight walked over to him as they slowly entered the main building. There was the typical counter, couches, a fire pit in the middle. It could have so relaxing, had it not been so depressing. “His name was … um... I don’t think I got his name. He was very strung out. Not on drugs I mean.” Jeff quickly corrected, as they stopped near the fire pit in the middle. “He feared some dream demon he said. The demon would get him if he fell asleep, so he took energy drinks and pills to stay awake. I felt bad for him.” Jeff sighed, looking up at the second floor of the building. He had fond memories here and honestly wondered if his mural was still there. Probably not the time.

“What happened to him?” Dwight asked cautiously, looking at the bookshelves before he walking closer to a single generator in the middle. It didn’t look like it belonged there.

“Well, he died. He got really edgy, said the world had gone grey around the edges and ash fell from the sky. I honestly thought the kid was high.” Jeff chuckled a little, as he worked on the generator. Before he could finish though, someone else came running around the corner.

“Hey! Someone else. Oh, thank god.” The voice was female, and she was rather short, sporting a dirty purple hoodie and green checked skirt. Her black tights had holes in them and mud all over and her sneakers were untied. All Dwight could really see of her face was she was young, likely still a teen and her pale blue hair.

“Are you alright? Whats your name?” He asked, without really considering the options.

“Susie. I’m ok. I think I saw someone, but I don’t know. My best friend Julie should be around here. We ran away from a scary looking building leading to a basement.” She sounded naïve and worried, if Dwight had to guess. Maybe she really had no idea what was going on. Jeff continued to work on the generator, but he was watching and listening.
“I’m Dwight and that’s Jeff.” The man introduced them quickly. “Do you have idea what is going on?”

“She doesn’t, but I do.” Another voice echoed in the lodge. A man approached this time, all black clothing, a little baggy for his build. He too had his hood up. Dwight couldn’t blame him honestly. It was cold at the ski lodge after all.

“Joey! I’m glad you made it. Have you seen Frank or Julie?” Susie knew who this was. The generator came alive behind Dwight as he glanced to Jeff.

“Not yet. They have to be around here somewhere.” Joe looked over to Dwight and Jeff. “Maybe our friends here can help us.” Something about the man’s tone didn’t sit well with Dwight or Jeff. As on edge as Dwight wanted to be, both two were just like them.

“We haven’t seen anyone else. We just came here.” Jeff said, coming around the generator to stand near Dwight. “We should keep moving. The goal is to get the doors open after all.” Everyone nodded, though something about the new pair still didn’t sit right.

“I’ll go with Dwight!” Susie announced, moving over to the man and clinging to his arm. Dwight staggered a little, feeling uncomfortable by this. “Joey, you can go with Jeff. It will save time if we split up.”

“Alright. Let’s go.” Joey didn’t seem to care either way. Jeff and Dwight exchanged a look before they went their separate ways with their new partners. Susie refused to let Dwight go. It was uncomfortable but the man just let it go. She might just be nervous, or this was her personality. As they left the area, Dwight finally pried himself free of Susie’s grasp.
“Come on. We should be a little more serious about this.” Susie nodded, though Dwight didn’t believe her. As they came to a generator, Dwight crouched on one side of it and Susie remained on the other. It was hard to tell if she was helping or not, but he couldn’t really see her either. “How long have you been here?”

“I dunno. Hard to tell. You?” Susie responded without missing a beat, though the voice sounded different. Dwight couldn’t figure out why. He shook it off thinking it was his tired mind playing tricks on him.

“A long time it feels.” Dwight answered, falling back into silence. As the generator was about half done, Dwight felt someone behind him. He turned to look, seeing yet another hooded person. This person was male and different than the other. Dark pants, boots, a leather jacket and a white hood. Under the hood was a mask with a drawn smile on it and blood splattered across it. As Dwight stood up, a hunting knife came into view, blood on the end. The man slashed at Dwight, opening a fresh wound. Crying out, he took off running. As he glanced over his shoulder, wondering about Susie, he saw Susie standing there, sliding a mask over her face.

“She was part of it?” Dwight gasped out as he ran. As he was not followed, he stopped. This wound felt different than others. Choosing to treat it as quickly as he could, he didn’t feel any better when it was finished. Panting lightly, he wasn’t sure what happened, but he had to find Jeff and fast. Hiding behind a maze of wooden walls and snow drifts, he started to inspect his wounds again. There was a sound on the other side of the wooden walls, and he stopped. Listening carefully, he heard someone pass by quickly. Maybe it was Susie or Joey or whoever that other one was. Didn’t Susie mention a Frank? There was a Julie too. Considering the names, Dwight was snuck up on by Susie. She raced at him and vaulted a window before slashing at him once more. Crying out in pain, he took off limping as fast as he could.

Weaving around the wooden walls and snow drifts, Dwight was running out of places to go. Dropping a pallet that was leaned against a snow drift did nothing. Susie slid across that the same as Dwight had before. She made an annoyed sound and fell back a few feet. As Dwight felt he was getting away, he stumbled to avoid a tree and ducked around a corner. Right as he was passing a locker, Susie’s blade sliced into him. Hitting the ground, Dwight moaned in pain.

“This is no place for cowards.” Susie’s cold words cut just as deep as her knife had. Trying to crawl away, Dwight was surprisingly lifted by the slight woman. There was no time to process what happened in that moment. One moment Dwight was just settling on Susie’s shoulder and then next the locker they were next to burst open to slam into Susie. Startled, she dropped Dwight onto his feet with a cry of surprise or annoyance. Perhaps it was both in the end. The woman who had been in the locker yelped in either pain or surprise as the pair ran away. Without thinking, Dwight went into the main building and up the stairs. He could hear the woman behind him.

“Stop running.” The woman said sharply, and Dwight did. He felt like he knew that voice. It was a vague memory. As she helped Dwight tend his wounds, he hoped that Jeff was ok.

“What were you doing in that locker?” Dwight asked, feeling better now.

“I wasn’t hiding, if that’s what you think.” The woman’s curt tone wasn’t missed.

“Wait, you’re from that talk show.” Dwight was trying to remember. “Jane, right?”

“Yes, the one and only. Glad you’ve heard of me.” Dwight wasn’t sure he was glad he remembered her at this point. “Whatever is going on here won’t keep me down. People are remembered for the challenges they overcome. You can run away and forget what you’re capable of or you can face your fears and remind the world of who you are.” She sounded so proud of that statement.
“Right. Well, to get out of here and show the world we must finish generators. Come on.” Dwight picked his way out of the building and headed back towards the generator he had been working on. It had been damaged, as he figured it might be. Jane followed him, which was helpful. As they started working on, Jane muttering to herself about how great of a scoop she would get from all this, a generator chimed in the distance. Jeff must have been safe for now at least. That was a good thing. It was then that Dwight just felt like Jeff would be ok. He couldn’t explain the feeling but there was a bond that formed between everyone in this place.

“How many of these do we have to deal with?” Jane asked and Dwight was hard pressed not to roll his eyes.

“It’s been five I think in the last places I’ve been?”

“Five? Last places? How long have you been here?”

“Too long.” Dwight was tired. He was tired of these trials. Tired of these pointless slash wounds that would just heal, somehow, when they left this area. Tired of the questions. Their generator came to life quickly with two people working on the machine. That confirmed there was three started. Two more to go. If they could find them. Working his way slowly around, Jane was right behind him. She was blessedly silent while they moved. In the distance, Dwight could see Susie and Joey wandering around. Without warning, Joey took off running, knife held at the ready. IT sent shivers down his spine.

“Where are we going?” Jane asked, keeping her voice down. As they moved from their cover, Julie stood there. Dwight figured it was her since she was taller, like Frank had been, with a leather jacket, tan pants and boots. She slashed quickly as Jane and then Dwight before running off. Stunned by not being followed, the two survivors tended to each other’s wounds. Dwight glanced around, spotting Jeff not far from them. How had he been totally ignored being that close? It wasn’t like the man was hiding. He was very visible in the snowy landscape.

“Jeff, I’m glad you are ok.” Dwight spoke up, welcoming the help to tend to their wounds.

“Yeah, me too Dwight. I gather you figured it out, but Susie and Joey are working with the enemy, whoever that is.” Nodding, Dwight sighed.

“Yeah. Frank and Julie are too. How did she not see you?”

“I don’t know. It’s happened two other times. They have just missed me. Kind of reminds me of a painting I did.”

“What was it called?”

“Death Fooled by the Cloak of Falcon Feathers.” Dwight wasn’t much of an art person and that name seemed long.

“Yes well, this is all grand, but we have surviving to do. Let’s go.” Jane’s tone cut through the mood.

“Jeff, Jane. Jane, Jeff.” Dwight introduced them before walking away. There was a generator in the corner that all three could work on. There was a lot of debris in the way, which would give them some cover if they needed it. Within a few minutes, the generator came to life. Jane walked around the side where some lockers were, and Dwight went to the snow drift with a pallet leaning against it. Jeff was caught in the open and spotted. As he ran past Dwight, Joey lunged at him with a knife in hand. Dwight reached up and pulled the pallet, which slammed into Joey. He staggered back, growling in anger at being stopped.

“Smartasses get killed. We always see to that.” Joey yelled after them as he followed. Jeff and Dwight broke up and went into different directions. Joey followed his original target. Crouching behind a snow drift, Dwight watched the angry man flipped the blade over in his hand and take off running. There was a brief change in his direction, as he looked right in Dwight’s direction, but he continued to chase down Jeff. The pizza boy wanted to help. Maybe Jane would be able to find a generator and avoid their other friends roaming the map. Following as best as he could, Dwight lost them for a while. He was still cautious since there was others around. Jeff’s cry of pain was loud and clear. Dwight crept closer and waited. Joey stared down at his victim and then picked the man up. Dwight ran over trying to get in the way and prevent the artist from being back on a hook. Other times when the killers had swung there was some stagger to being tossed off balance. Joey didn’t have that issue. He continued to swing right after another, and Dwight was forced to take a hit. Grunting, he took off running. Turning around a safe distance away, he could see Jeff wiggle his way out of Joey’s grasp. The killer flinched and staggered under the sudden lack of weight on his shoulder. A frustrated growl left him before he looked around to find both Jeff and Dwight gone.

Treating his wounds yet again, Dwight was already over this. The double healing for whatever the killers were doing to him was exhausting. It took way too long and to treating wounds twice was silly. If he could control his pain a little better, he might not even worry about treating the wounds. Regardless, he did what he could to feel more himself before heading off. Hopefully Jeff and Jane were ok. He just wanted all this to be over. This had to be a bad dream and he was over it. Well, maybe not a dream. If there was any truth to whatever hell Jeff had witnessed with that kid, maybe a dream wasn’t the best thing to have happen.

Dwight felt he should look for one of those doors. It would be best if someone knew where they were and since he was alone, and didn’t know where any generator was, this was a good use of his time. Or so he thought anyway. Finding a food nearby a small raised building, Dwight tried to make a landmark for it. The generator lights he could at the very far end was where the three of them had worked together. That would be an easy thing to remember. Hiding behind an electrical shed, Dwight planned his next move. In the distance, he heard a chime. Was that a generator? It was so far away he couldn’t have been sure.

Jeff came running around the edge of the main building, heading straight for the door Dwight was near. He was still injured and groaning in pain as he threw down the switch on the door. Dwight quickly went to the door, not sure if he should help or not. Jeff looked worried and suddenly spoke up.

“He did die Dwight. The kid I was telling you about before. He had scratches on him when he fell to the ground. I’d never seen such a thing before as he got up. He stood there, seemingly dazed and then a hand, a gloved hand that had razors on the fingers burst from his chest.” The door was almost open at this point. “The kid fell dead and I saw the demon behind him. He looked like he had been burned and wore a striped sweater and a hat.” Hearing running feet, Dwight looked over. Jane was darting up the steps of the small building. For a woman of her size, she was agile. Vaulting the window, she slipped a little on the rocks before she ran for the door. Jeff’s hand never left the handle as the door rattled open.

“Come on!” Dwight called, running closer to Jane as he could see Frank behind her. Jane limped her way to the open door and Dwight was on her heels. Jeff was waiting for them both, however waited too long. As he turned to run, Frank lunged at Dwight, missed and hit Jeff instead. The man went down in a heap. Dwight turned and saw the others, Julie, Susie and Joey, walking close from around the edges of the gate.

“There’s no getting out of this now. We’re too good at it.” Frank said then looked down to Jeff. For a moment, Dwight hoped the man could get away. As Jeff went to his knees to get up, Frank swung the knife in hand. Jeff dodged, the blade going over his head and his left hand went up to fight back. Frank plunged the knife into Jeff’s forearm without remorse. Jeff shoved the man back using his injured arm as leverage, and Frank took a step back as if surprised his would-be victim dare fight him off. Stabbing Jeff in the left ankle, he was pulled backwards. Frank partially crouched over the man as Jeff twisted to defend himself again. Frank sank the knife deeply in the fallen man’s torso, slicing from collarbone to pelvis, though some effort was involved. Standing from the now dead victim, Frank as well as his friends looked on. Each one wore a mask with a smile on it, a haunting image after seeing the blood splattered all over Frank in that moment. Dwight shook it off and turned, running after Jane who hadn’t stopped to wait.

Chapter Text

As with every time he left a trial, or nightmare, things slowly changed as the fog swirled around them and slowly faded, revealing a new area for them. It was like a gift that no one wanted. He felt like he had already been here but perhaps not. The area felt like that place he had gone where the killer was throwing hatchets at them. It felt the same, but it couldn’t be the same as Dwight looked up at the looming broken stone structure in the middle. It went so high into the cloudy sky that he couldn’t see the top, if there even was one. In his opinion, it was a mockery to the heavens. There was kind of archway leading to it, or maybe leading away from it? Probably depended on how one looked at it. Jane’s wounds, as painful as they had been, healed as they moved forward into this new area. The wounds Dwight had also healed themselves, leaving him feeling more himself. Still, a piece felt like it was taken each time a new trial happened. Was it because someone died each time? Was it because Dwight continued to live through each one as if he had to be the storyteller for everyone’s stories that had been ripped so forcefully from the history pages.

The large stone pillars and arches, damaged with time, left an imposing feeling as Dwight and Jane walked under them. It looked like a gathering place, and the pathway to the main building was lined with more of the stone walls. This had to be a temple of some kind, though the smell of death and decay was strong in this area. Reaching out, Jane touched the stonework. Nearby, there was a generator with claws around it. The spindly legs twitched occasionally, and Dwight wouldn’t go near it. Whatever force was preventing, or at least cautioning them, away from it seemed serious. Would it hurt them if they got near? He wouldn’t be that experiment.

“Wonder what that is.” Jane said, almost curious enough to touch it. Dwight hoped she wouldn’t do something that stupid, but it was on her if she did.

“I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.” Dwight responded, moving on with their exploration. The man took the steps carefully up into the temple. At one point, this place might have been a wonderful, peaceful place to worship. Now it just promised death. The cold stone reminded Dwight of ancient pictures he had seen from many years ago. How old was this place? Nothing was built like this anymore currently. Then again, what day and age were they even in? Where they in a known place or some other plane of existence.

Once he reached the top, he paused to look at the golden arches in the middle. There seemed to be raised places, perhaps for someone to stand at. The building felt old, like it was way beyond time and place where it should stand, however the trees and natural placement of things suggested otherwise. Hearing an inhale, Dwight looked down through the metal grating on the floor. He saw a tall woman in some sort of headpiece and what looked like a dress. She lowered the incense burner in her hand and vomited to a place Dwight couldn’t see. He felt sick just watching her. Whatever she was doing, she had to be sick or infected with something. Moving away from the grates, Dwight hid behind a half-wall as the woman walked past.

She was far taller than Dwight expected from the first view of her. The woman, likely a priestess, stopped at the stairs and looked around. Taking a chance, Dwight peeked at her. She didn’t have a dress on, it was more of a robe from whatever time frame she came from. She did not look normal. As she stood there, Dwight could almost smell death on her. The incense covered a lot of the smell. Her dirty robes were white at some point with gold thread. Her skin was rotting and diseased in many places that he could see. Arms, legs, torso, neck. Even her face, what little of it he could see under her gold and white head piece, was infected. Taking it all in, Dwight was almost sure she was missing a toe, but she started moving at that moment and he couldn’t have been sure. He was sure that she was bare foot.

Jane was long gone, and Dwight couldn’t see her from where he was. Passing through the main area of the temple, he left through the other side. As much as he wanted to explore, he was nervous at the same time. The eerie candles everywhere didn’t exactly give this temple a welcoming feeling now. There was some more broken pillars and archways behind the temple. There was a generator in the distance and Dwight made his way over. As he approached, he could hear it already being worked on. Coming around the side of it, there was a woman crouched there working on the generator. She had long pink fingernails and for a moment, Dwight was surprised she could even work on it. Usually a person who worked on machines didn’t have long fingernails, much less painted ones.

“Stop staring and help me with this.” She said, looking up at him. Asian in appearance and accent, Dwight nodded dumbly.

“Yeah sure.” He went to work on the other side. “I’m Dwight.”

“Kimura Yui.” Dwight looked confused and the woman sighed. “Yui.” Based on her clothing, she looked like a biker. Pink seemed to be her color as well. Her long blonde hair wasn’t something that was expected. By this time, asking questions seemed pointless so Dwight didn’t even bother. Someone was going to die anyway. Could be him, could be Yui, could be Jane. Could be no one but that wasn’t likely to happen. As they worked on the generator in silence, things went quickly and well. The generator came to life and Yui took off immediately. Dwight admired her strong will in that moment to get things done. As Yui moved though, the priestess came back. She inhaled and vomit all over Yui. The woman flinched and kept moving. She was coughing and throwing up immediately. As Dwight took off running, the priestess turned and vomit in his direction. Same as Yui, he started coughing and felt sick. It was a slow feeling that gradually felt like it was taking over everything that he was.

Running away, he felt like his strength and willpower were being drained from him. Hiding behind a tree, he couldn’t hear the priestess coming after him. Maybe she had chased down Yui. As he crept away, he could hear running water. Looking around, he found a beautiful fountain with clean water. Coughing once more, he felt bile rise in his throat. Using the water to wash his face and his mouth out, he felt better. It took a few moments, and when Dwight lifted his head, the water was a crimson red. Stepping back, he felt the water, once clean and helpful, now would turn against them from the corruption he had unknowingly given it. As if to laugh at him, a generator was finished in the distance.

Three more to go. That made him feel better as he backed up from the fountain. Turning away, he went for some wooden walls towards a generator he could see. When he reached it, Jane was there already working on the generator. She was sick and Dwight was uneasy touching the generator. The generator smelled horrible and there was almost no space that wasn’t infected by the fact Jane kept vomiting on it. It was almost like she had the plague and Dwight knew that feeling.

“If you find a fountain, you will feel better.” Dwight said and Jane coughed before she vomited.

“I was famous you know. This is going to bring it back for me.” Dwight continued to listen, even though he wasn’t doing anything helpful. Over the generator, he could see one of those totem things. He went over to break it while Jane kept talking. “Showing up when things get rough, listening to people’s problems, and supporting those in need; that’s how you become stronger, that’s how you grow.” She paused to look over at Dwight. “You’ve been doing a lot of that haven’t you?”

“Some of it yeah.” Which was true. Dwight destroyed the totem and stood up at the same time Jane finished the generator. Two left which was helpful. Hearing something, a voice in another language, Dwight was on alert. The priestess came around the corner and inhaled. Drawing back, she vomited but it was different. It was black and red, much like the fountain had looked when Dwight used the water. Jane took off out a window and Dwight tried to get around the corner. The green vomit that he had been hit with before made him sick. This red and black vomit hurt. Slamming down the pallet, Dwight heard the priestess say something. A moan, groan or maybe even a curse. He had no idea, but he kept moving. How her incense burner, being bashed against the wooden pallet, broke it was anyone’s guess. The burner should have shattered. Or at the very least been damaged in the process.

With no cover, Dwight was a sitting duck as he ran around the trees. There were some rocks as well, though with vomit like hers, there was no hiding if she tilted her head back. Hearing her do just that, Dwight braced as he ran. Crying out in pain, the man hit the ground. When had it started raining? Nearby, he heard someone yelp out of fear, or shock perhaps. He couldn’t be sure. The priestess looked around in that direction but ultimately picked him up. The priestess was quickly to haul him up on her shoulder. Disgusted, Dwight struggled. Looking up, he could see Yui only a few feet behind the woman carrying him. Struggling that much harder with renewed strength, the priestess couldn’t withstand it. Dropping the man with an annoyed groan, Yui and Dwight took off.

“Come, we’re going to rip our way out of this.” Yui said with a cocky smile on her face. Dwight almost believed her. Truly. Her courage was infectious. The pair took off hiding around some rocks and stone pillars. Yui assisted in helping Dwight recover from his wounds before they moved on. As they moved as quietly and quickly as possible, they heard a generator being worked on. The machine wasn’t as lively as when it was finished so maybe Jane was working on it. Yui and Dwight started to work immediately without a word spoken. This wasn’t the time for words. It never was now. It was survival and sometimes, that meant just keeping your head down. The machine under thir hands was repaired quickly without issues. It was nearly done when Jane spoke up.

“Ok, stay calm. Don’t overthink it and just keep moving forward; you got this.” Dwight wondered what she was talking about. Was she talking to herself or them? Did it matter? The generator chimed loudly, and the lights came on above them. Yui took off immediately. Dwight couldn’t blame her. The priestess was soon in the area and as Dwight and Jane took off, the priestess didn’t see them and went towards where Yui left. There was no way she couldn’t have seen them. They had been right next to the generator when the priestess showed up. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, Dwight kept moving. With one generator remaining, Dwight felt he should explore the temple as that was the one place, he hadn’t been just yet in order to look for one. The doors were also a concern he should look for but the temptation to explore this area was strong. It didn’t hurt to know their area, even if they might be leaving it soon. There was plenty of stone lined pathways and broken pillars around. Jane seemed to have the same idea as she was already down there.

The temple was hauntingly beautiful even now. The metal grates and the golden inlay around was impressive. Before Dwight went downstairs, he paused to look at a golden plaque on the wall. It looked damaged and was in a language he couldn’t read. Heading down the stairs, it was a maze with walls and metal gates stopping ease of motion around the area. Settling on the generator, it was uncomfortably quiet. Dwight wasn’t feeling stressed and that made him more stressed. Silence was suspicious now. Looking around, he could see Jane doing the same thing. As the sense of dread settled in once more, Yui came running down the stairs. There was no sign of the priestess. Both paused to look at the woman as she came down the stairs.

“What?”

“Is the priestess following you?” Jane asked almost in an accusing tone.

“No.” Yui said with a huff, getting to work on the generator without even wasting time.

“It feels like she did Yui.” Dwight said, not fully believing the words. Moving away from the generator, he went upstairs. There was no sign of the sick woman anywhere. Out of no where came green vomit. Dwight ducked down behind a wall and the priestess blew past him. She looked like she was on a war path. The generator in the temple had to have been done because there was a loud sound of metal dropping. Dwight looked down into the lower section of the temple. Yui and Jane were both running away from her. Walls became the only way to keep away from her and her vomit. Yui took a face full of the vomit and took off up the stairs coughing. Jane remained in the temple. The priestess continued to follow her, circling around the walls and trying to vomit on her. There was a small area that had a circle on the ground. Jane coughed and tried to avoid as much of the vomit as possible. As she ran around a corner, the priestess cut her off. The woman turned and ran back the way she came only to get struck by the priestess, sending her onto the cold stone ground. Dwight had no idea if she had been found before or even placed on a hook. There was sadly nothing he could do now though.

As Dwight watched through the grate, the priestess bashed Jane in the back of the head with her incense burner. Jane had been trying to get up to her knees when the attack from behind. The priestess paused to give praise to something or someone without fully extended out to either side of her before she turned her eyes back on Jane. With surprising speed, she wrapped the short chain around the woman’s neck, despite the face Jane had her left arm and hand out defensively and lifted her up. Jane had the perfect view of the infected priestess’s face. It lasted mere seconds before the priestess inhaled and vomited directly into Jane’s face. She tried to prevent it but the overwhelming amount of it suffocated the woman in the worst way possible. Dwight wanted to vomit at the sight as the priestess tossed her body aside to the cold stone ground, like it didn’t matter in the least. Walking away, the priestess was going to have to come upstairs and Dwight forced himself to move back away from where he was. He had to hide and get out. Yui was somewhere outside the temple and he wasn’t sure where the door was. To be honest, he hadn’t seen anything like that.

The priestess left the temple in search of perhaps Dwight and Yui. The pizza boy went to one of the windows and looked around. He had to try and find the door. Through the fine rain, trees, stone pillars and some rock formations, he couldn’t see anything that looked like a door. Jumping from the window, Dwight absorbed the fall to the ground and went to explore and find the door. He was cautious, taking his time. Maybe Yui was doing the same. She seemed like the strong independent type. She was probably just fine. Taking care of yourself was something in this nightmare you had to be able to do.

Passing by the center of the area and the stone walls, Dwight thought he spotted the door in a corner. It was still hard to see around the natural obstructions. Hearing an inhale, Dwight ducked. The splattering of vomit on the wall behind him kept him crouching behind the wall in front of him. Moving away from the wall, the priestess started to go around it. Dwight went the other way. As she started to puke again, Dwight ducked again. The priestess missed again, and this time swung at the man. The incense burner struck Dwight across the back. He jerked forward away from her. Running towards some high rocks and trees, Dwight dropped a pallet behind him as he heard the priestess coming. She sounded like she swallowed a frog as she was hit with the pallet. Sighing, she slammed her burner into the wood to break it, though Dwight was long gone. He ducked into a locker and held his breath as much as he could. He didn’t want to be found.

The locker doors were ripped open and the priestess slammed her right hand with the incense burner into the wall and her left hand grabbed Dwight around the neck. Dwight yelped and was slung onto her shoulder. Wiggling and struggling to get away from her, the man was not going down without a fight. He couldn’t tell where she was taking him, but he felt the hook pierce his shoulder. He cried out loudly, holding the hook as much as he could so he didn’t hurt himself more. Panting as he hung there, the man wondered if this was going to be his end.
“Now it not the time to give up.” Yui’s voice was right next to him as she reached up to pull him down. She was surprisingly strong.

“Thanks.” Yui nodded to Dwight’s comment and took off, Dwight limping after her. His shoulder hurt and more than just his body ached. Seeing the door in the distance, Dwight felt hope return, even if only a little. Without warning, Yui swung around and got behind Dwight. The woman cried out in pain and kept pace with Dwight. Glancing over his shoulder, he could see the priestess taking a sharp inhale. She must have had that red and black vomit from the fountain. There was no telling if Jane had been sick and helped herself or if Yui had. Dwight couldn’t be in more than one place at a time and there wasn’t a reason to ask these questions. As the vomit splattered against the brick walls, Dwight and Yui ducked into the exit gate. Both survivors took off out the door, watching the priestess swing her incense burner in annoyance before she disappeared from their sight.

Chapter Text

The fog wrapped around them without mercy. It blocked everything out as the pair continued. Dwight couldn’t figure out how he was the lucky, or unlucky one, to keep surviving all the trials he had been forced to play with friends. Was it fair to call them friends when he didn’t know most of them beyond a name? Maybe it was fate being a cruel mistress. As much death as he had seen, the pizza boy would continue. He could use all things he had learned and help others, at least for a while. As he stopped talking to others, maybe he shouldn’t do that. Dwight was conflicted with this idea. Maybe that was the problem. The others didn’t have enough knowledge about this. Slowing to a walk, he watched Yui. Would she even care if he tried to explain something to her? He couldn’t know until he put in some effort.

“Hey wait.” She stopped at his words, looking like she was impatient. Dwight hesitated for a moment before he spoke. “I know this might not matter to you, but important to work together in all this. To get out alive you know.” At least she was listening, even if she looked annoyed with him.

“Yeah ok. Can we keep moving? There is an evil feeling in the air.” Yui responded. Did she even hear him? Dwight gave up, at least for now. Nodding, the man continued. It didn’t take long before Dwight felt unease.

“I feel like I’ve been here before.” He looked around, taking in the bamboo stalks, large rocks, and the very Asian feel of the architecture he could see. “Maybe not here specifically. I don’t remember that large building in the middle.”

“That’s a shrine. Or used to be. Looks damaged.” Yui said, looking up at the top of it. “See the statue?” Sure enough, the statue at the top looked like something had smashed into it. The head and the arms were in pieces, if they were even still under the statue. The large red frames around the shrine seemed daunting. “Those Toriis have been around a long time. This place feels old.”

“Toriis?” Dwight asked, hurrying to follow her up the stone stairs. She stopped hallway up and pointed to the red archways. The pizza boy turned to look at what she was pointing at.

“Those are called Toriis, traditional Japanese gateways.” Dwight nodded, absorbing the information. That had to mean that the other place he had been, also with the bamboo and the same architecture, was also Japanese. Was that killer also Japanese then? As Dwight considered this, they started back up the stairs. The statue at the top was indeed smashed. The head and right arm were in pieces and the hand on the left was missing. There were some pieces of it littering the ground around the statue’s feet. How anyone got up there to break it… Dwight didn’t want to find out. At the top with the statue were the remains of paper walls with some lanterns still hanging around. If this place had been a shrine, what event caused it to fall into decay and isolate it from the rest of the world like it was now? Yui started working on a generator nearby which caught Dwight’s attention. Moving over, he crouched to help her. The area was quiet, though the feeling in the air was heavy and foreboding. Without hearing anything but the occasional wind breeze blowing past, there was nothing more. No running feet, no angry cries or sounds of death. This was peaceful, and so very suspicious.

As the generator chimed, signaling it’s return to life, there was a blood chilling roar from somewhere nearby. Yui and Dwight froze, looking around for the source of the sound. Glancing over the side of the shrine, Dwight shivered as the statues on the ground seemed to follow his every move. That was disturbing. Yui walked silently to his side and looked down as well. Hearing pounding up the stairs, both turned to see a massive samurai charging at them. Yui jerked backwards and Dwight moved as well. There was no railing where Yui had been standing. As the massive club (called a Kanabo) came down on the ground with a ground-shattering thud, Dwight fell from the shrine through the missing railing. He landed on the ground harshly but got up and ran as the giant of a man rushed after Yui. She fled down the stairs, weaving into the statues and the bamboo.

Even though Dwight went in the other direction from Yui and whatever that massive creature was, Dwight could still hear the club hitting the ground and obstacles from time to time. Maybe that creature was what destroyed the statue? He might be tall enough to do that. As the pizza boy made his way towards what could have been a courtyard at one point, he heard a grunt in the distance. Maybe that creature was done? Either way, it was far in the distance. The sound of the wooden wind-chime was soothing and haunting at the same time. Moving around the large rock, Dwight settled on a generator. There was a box nearby, open and looted. Was there someone else here? A little bit of hope and curiosity was peeking. If there was someone else here, that could improve their chances of surviving.

Working on the machine, Dwight tried to keep his hands steady, a task easier said than done these days. Was it days? Weeks? Months? The passage of time was a fickle thing in this place. All of this could be a fever dream. Just something that he made up – his thoughts stopped as he heard a cry of pain. Looking up from the generator, he could see a woman just on the other side of some bamboo. She had short hair covering the left side of her face, a tan jacket with a scarf around her neck, and jeans and boots.

“Need help?” Dwight asked, keeping his voice steady. The woman looked over, though didn’t move. She just observed Dwight for a moment before moving over. Dwight left the generator to help her treat her wounds. Apparently, there had been a med kit in the box as she handed it to Dwight to use. He picked out the few useful things within the battered red kit. At least there was something that was useful, even if it couldn’t be used a second time.

“I’m Dwight.”

“Zarina.” She too had an accent, but it wasn’t the same as Yui’s. When he finished helping Zarina, both went to the generator. “Do you know what is going on?” Dwight smiled a little.
“Yes and no. I’ll tell you what I know.” And with that, Dwight talked about what he had seen, what had happened, how they needed to get out of this place, but it was just a pipe dream. The generator was long ago finished, and the pair were slowly moving around towards another one. Crossing over a bridge, they hadn’t seen nor heard from that beast of a man or Yui. Reaching another generator, they got to work, and Dwight continued to talk. Laughing bitterly, he shook his head. “Even if we make it out of here and go to the media, they won’t believe us. I wouldn’t believe us.”

“The news edit out what is burdensome and complex, which is the truth." Zarina, having been silent this whole time, spoke up as she looked to Dwight. “We will need proof of this.” She tapped the recorder at her hip. “As long as this makes it, we will have that.” The man wondered if that little device would be enough. It would have to be in the end wouldn’t it? Zarina’s hand slipped and the generator popped in annoyance. She covered her face and gave Dwight an apologetic look. Right afterwards, Yui slid across a pallet and yelped in pain. She whirled around.

“That’s not enough to beat me. Not even close.” As the beast of a man broke the pallet, Yui took off running once more. The attention had been turned to the pair on the generator nearby though, as the loud pounding steps came closer. Zarina and Dwight took off running in two different directions, not wanting to get caught. The beast was following Dwight as he curved around the walls in the area. Hooking a hard left, Dwight vaulted over a window and right into the arms of the killer. The sword came down across his back and the man yelped in pain. How had the killer known there was a window there? Dwight didn’t even know until he came around the corner.

Darting off as quickly as he could, he glanced back over his shoulder. The killer samurai was coming for him though he seemed to be gathering something. Dwight couldn’t quite make it out, but he didn’t want to get caught again. He dodged around rocks and bamboo stalks. He misjudged a bridge and was sent straight into the ground by a second swipe from the sword. Picked up effortlessly, he was dropped on a hook before the killer walked away swiftly. Crying out, the man hung there, trying to calm down as much as he could with the metal hook through his shoulder. A few moments later, Dwight noticed movement and could see Yui and Zarina coming for him. They helped him down and tended their wounds as swiftly as they could. It was far faster with them all working together.
“Did you get hit twice? It seemed like you were bleeding a lot more than normal.” Dwight commented to Yui. He never figured he would be asking or commenting on such a thing in such a calm, collected way. Was he getting numb to this? Zarina seemed to wonder the same by the look on her face.

“It felt like it too, but I don’t know. Felt more of it after he got you though. Maybe it’s a skill of his or something.” She shrugged, not letting it bother her. It wouldn’t do any good worrying over something they had no control over. Her goal was to get out of here. Moving over towards a dropped pallet that hadn’t been broken by the killer, Yui took the time to force it back upright into the place it was before she dropped it. Dwight and Zarina stood nearby. There wasn’t enough space for either of them to help her set it back up even if they wanted to. “I’ll hit you with everything I’ve got. Then I’ll do it again.” She smirked over her shoulder to Zarina and Dwight. “At least, that’s what I would say to the killer.” She was cocky, but that was helpful in a time like this. Still, that same attitude got Ace killed. For now, it was all they could do.

Moving off to another generator they could see in the distance by the lights above it, this would make three that could be done if they weren’t bothered. Together this would be a fast generator. Yui knew what she was doing and Zarina was being careful. Dwight had done this enough times, he was positive he could do it in his sleep at this point. Maybe he should try that if he ever had the chance to sleep again. Oddly enough, thinking about it now, sleep never seemed to creep up on him. Was that an affect of being in this place? Or did the adreline keep him going and there was no down time enough to consider anything other than fight to survive.

“I didn’t start here. I started in some lab looking place.” Zarina’s voice cut the silence and the generator sounds. “There were two kids there. Well not kids, I guess. Anyway, they were telling me about some creature they were fighting. I didn’t believe them of course. Monsters like what they told me weren’t real. Children’s stories.” She stopped working on the generator as she continued to speak though. “And then I saw it for myself. I can’t even begin to tell you what it was. It came out of the ground. Hole really that looked like it was held together with intestines or something. It made this horrible sound and lunged at them. It was very much the monster from children’s nightmares. Its face opened up like a flower, but that flower had nothing but teeth.” She shook her head and sighed. “In the end, it killed them both and some guy with a puppet on his hand. Admittedly, the man was a smartass, but he didn’t deserve to die like that. None of them did.”

Under their skillful and learning hands, the generator was basically purring to life. Three down and two to go. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for the thundering footsteps to come again. The three of them scattered into the wind. The samurai was following Yui once again.

Dwight noticed a totem nearby in some bamboo and went to break it. The totem itself would have been difficult to see unless he had been looking for it. He still didn’t fully know what those things did, but he never liked the results of some of those totems. This one, however, was not on fire. Perhaps it was just a dud and useless. Regardless, it was now destroyed. Standing, he worked his way around once more. Hearing a generator in the distance, he went that way. The loud angry sound came again. Ducking down behind some bamboo to look and listen, Dwight saw the samurai race past, looking like a demon possessed him. Maybe that wasn’t too far off from the truth. A startled yelp was heard, and Dwight thought it was Yui. It was near the generator he was working towards. Sure enough, the woman was struggling and dropped on a hook. She screams were hard to hear, as they all were in the end. Taking his time, Dwight went over and pulled her from the hook when it was safe.

“Thanks.” She commented, letting him tend her wounds again. It seemed that was all they were doing for the time being. This killer, this samurai, was a cruel one to be sure. Just as Dwight finished helping Yui, the killer in question came around the corner and brought the sword down on her again. They darted off, Dwight trying to protect Yui from a second hit. She raced through a pallet and Dwight was right behind her. He dropped the pallet, smashing it into the killer’s face. He staggered a moment, allowing the pair to run away. Instead of breaking it, however, the killer went around and hit Yui a second time. The woman went down in a clearing with no cover.

The samurai stood over her, sword pointed down at her. She started to turn over only to be speared through her left side with the sword. Honestly, Dwight was surprised it missed her heart. The samurai grabbed her by the head, and ripped out her tongue, silencing her scream. Dwight almost vomited right there. He couldn’t watch this. Leaving his hiding spot, the man ran. He couldn’t watch someone else die and he knew, without a doubt in his heart, that was what was happening. Yui was not recovering from that. Racing past the shrine in the middle of the area, the statues seemed to be mocking Dwight as he ran. They followed his actions, or it could have been a trick of mind. Tiredness. Surely that was it. A distant chime was heard. Four generators down. Zarina got another one done. Slowly his running, Dwight paused for a moment. Survival was not all he wanted anymore. He wanted Zarina to get out, even if he died for it. Maybe this would come to an end if he did. Was death an escape? As he considered this, the sharp pain that slammed into from behind was nothing like Dwight had felt. He never heard the killer coming. What happened?

Dwight turned to roll over and the sword pierced the left side of his chest. He cried out in intense pain, only to be silenced as the demon above him grabbed his head and proceeded to ripped out his tongue. Before he could choke on his own blood or really register the pain he was in, the club was brought down with in the killer’s left hand as the right hand ripped the sword free from his body. The pain almost numbed him as he lay against the ground once more. His glasses were shattered and there was a moment he was surprised no glass was in his eyes. Blurry eyed with a numbness settling over him, he looked up at the samurai towering above him. Two quick hits from the club slammed into his body. One partially struck his head and he collapsed to the ground with his last breaths. Dwight was gone. There was nothing left. He had been killed, just as so many others had. His last conscious thought was a hope that Zarina could get out of here alive and share their story like she said she would.