Index was once a small and close-knit community, but the town located on the western side of Washington state has grown in recent years beyond anyone's expectations. It is the ideal place for those who work in Seattle but can't afford the city's high real estate prices, and for others the natural beauty attracts them to the town. And Index truly is a beautiful place - surrounded by thick evergreen trees, tall mountains and glistening rivers and lakes. While weather is typically rainy with overcast skies even this does nothing to take away from the beauty of the town, and it is only highlighted further when the heavy snow graces the town and caps the mountains in winter. To many, Index would seem like a paradise. And yet lurking beneath this visual beauty there is more to this town than anyone might ever imagine...

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Helios Tallon

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Helios Tallon | Army of God; Chief

Posted on Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:24 pm

There were many ways to awaken. The smell of coffee filling your room, an alarm clock, a thunderstorm, or warm light beaming through your window. Some were more pleasant than others, but more or less, they were the same throughout your entire life. Most people did not expect the unexpected, they never foresee waking up to an earthquake or to an intruder in their home. They know it happens, but they never think it could happen to them. It only happens to others, does it not? For the most part, people are right. Some will spend their entire lives waking up to the smell of fresh coffee, and it was my job to see to it that the unexpected remained docile so they could continue waking up to that smell of fresh coffee. But with that job... I sacrificed my own peace.

The most frightening way I had awaken in my entire life, was to a rabid vampire crouched on the floor at the foot of my bed. I heard the snarling first, but when I saw their blackened eyes and blood stained mouth from years of living in the wild, I jumped so high I swear my head could have hit the ceiling. Their hair was blonde, but years of eluding modern life, technology, and communication with not only their own kind, but human kind as well left it muddy and knotted. They had no clothing, and their body was stained from their countless meals, and weathered from the earth, no doubt from sleeping in caves for decades. It was that night when I really learned how inhuman they could truly be... How inhuman they were...

On this morning, I had managed to sleep through the night, mostly. I had not been on a definite sleeping pattern for years, however more often than not I had a tendency to sleep through the day. I missed certain things the day could bring, light most of all, but it was not my choice to engage in a nocturnal lifestyle, it was a requirement. Wolves were more likely to be active, vampires were free from their restriction of the light, mages were more in tune with their magic, and mediums were more connected to the dead. The night was optimal for hunting. It was only logical.

On this day, I did not wake up to the smell of coffee. I did not wake up to an alarm clock, a thunderstorm, or warm light beaming through my window. I woke up to a nightmare, one that I was not even sure was a nightmare. I had fallen asleep in the church, an old habit that I had been intently trying to break. My neck ached from sleeping hunched over my desk, and my back was stiff for the very same reason. None of that mattered when memories from the night before began seeping back into my waking mind.

Someone had pulled me from my sleep in the middle of the night. I remembered seeing his suit and thinking how clean the fabric of it looked, and how every detail, even down to the buttons were without flaw. I did not see his face, because I had not had a chance to fully waken. I did remember his hands... they were in my line of sight as he slowly walked around my desk. His nails were longer than the average man, knuckles tinted a light shade of pink, the only color contrasting his snow white skin tone. Even in their natural state, hanging at his sides, they had an air of grace with them, the kind that can only be achieved by living through a more graceful time. But on this morning, it was not the graceful state of his pale white hands, or the clean and flawless nature of his suit that had me waking up with tension in my stomach...

Had I seen his face? The memory was hazy, as to be expected, but this memory in particular was more hazy than I felt comfortable with. I remembered looking to see his face, but when I tried to remember his features, there was nothing but emptiness. His face was blank. There was nothing outstanding about it, nothing that stood out, he was so plain in fact, that I quite literally could not even remember the color of his eyes or hair. It was strange, but no stranger than the memory of him whispering something to me... And that brings me to now...

Those whispers are what had awaken me. I could not pull any sense from any of them. They were just sounds, but they had grown so loud in my head that when my eyes shot open on this morning, it was almost as if dream residue had leaked into my waking world. I could still hear them, but they were fading. And their volume decreased until there was nothing but silence...

I immediately stood up from my chair, and my body wobbled, forcing me to brace myself against the wall for a moment to prevent collapse. My eyes may have been open, but my legs were still sleeping. And as they began to awaken, so did the rest of me... The alert feeling inside seemed to fan out from my head, all the way down to my toes, and I groaned as that aching feeling in my neck, shoulders, and back began to really set in.

I stumbled towards the door as I started removing my tie. I had one thing on my mind... I needed a shower, a shave, and some coffee, and quick. I had no idea the time, but my long night and the lingering familiarity yet strangeness to my internal alarm had me feeling even less presentable. Before I even turned the handle I tried to straighten out my appearance the best I could. And once I realized it was all futile, I opened the door anyway and started down the hallway...

I hadn't even reached the door when I had this overwhelming feeling of doom. I wanted so badly to somehow connect that feeling to the strange dream I had, had the night before, but I could not shake the feeling of instinctual dread growing from my core. My feeling was confirmed when I heard the sound of something dropping. Like a book from a shelf or... My head turned around in all directions. Where did that sound come from? A second time, only this time, something louder, and my eyes locked on the door that lead to our lower levels. It could just be Dr. Reese, or Samantha doing her routine cleaning I tried to tell myself. But then why did I have a feeling it was something else?

My feet hesitantly carried me to the door leading to our lower levels. I rubbed my eyes with one hand, and with the same hand gave myself a pat on the cheek, anything to try and wake myself up. I had to be prepared, did I not? I was actually thankful I had fallen asleep in my office in my clothing from the night before... Or at least I thought I was... As I reached into my jacket, I realized one of my daggers was missing. The one on the right was there, but the one on the left was not... I quickly opened my jacket to examine the holster inside, and there was no sign of damage which meant one thing. It had not fallen out, it had been taken.

As much as I wanted to let my mind try and solve the mystery, I could not, because another thumping sound came from behind the door in front of me. I pulled the only dagger I had from it's case and took in a deep breath before opening the door. It was useless to do it quietly, as the light from the hallway illuminated the dark on the other side. If there was someone at the end of these stairs, they would not know I was coming because of the sound I was making, they would know from the light.

The door swung open, the only thing preventing it from immediately closing again was my body preventing it from meeting it's connection. And as it swung back around, the hinges began to creak and groan. There was no sound other than that of the hinges, which was my second alarm. Had it been one of my teammates, firstly the light would have been on downstairs, and secondly, they would have greeted me, they would not have stopped making noise because they would have had no reason to stay quiet. That dreadful feeling in my stomach increased, and no matter how long I had been in my line of work, I still felt hesitant when putting myself in the line of fire. It was that human desire to live, no man could truly get rid of that feeling.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small flashlight, switched it on, and tucked it between my teeth as I started slowly down the steps. My speed had nothing to do with being quiet, because with each step came that familiar creaking groan of the wood beneath me. I was going slowly, because I was being cautious. Another futile attempt this morning, considering it did not matter how quiet you were. If you were stepping into the lions den when the lion is hungry and more awake than you, danger was inevitable.

When I reached the bottom of the steps, I turned my head around slowly, examining the room inch by inch. The light in my mouth did not produce much illumination, or solace for that matter. Seeing the dramatic shadows of everything it lit up, paired with the drop in temperature just made everything more eerie... And that was not the only thing causing an eerie feeling inside of me. I heard a screeching sound only inches in front of me, but as my head turned there was nothing in sight. The sound was so loud, so inhuman, so gut wrenchingly horrifying I nearly dropped the flashlight from my mouth. A breeze rushing past me had my head turning again, and I nearly gave myself whiplash when it turned back around at the sound of the door slamming shut. Another breeze rushed past me, and I sped up my scan, quickly turning my head around the room, hoping to see the cause of the chaos.

Then I spotted it...

My light was barely illuminating the hall... I could see the back of what could be described as female... Her posture was poor, she was hunched, and her arms sat at her sides, a few inches away from her body with her hands turned inward, and long fingernails casting a shadow on the walls and ground in front of her. Her clothing was dirty, torn, old... Her hair was knotted, greasy, and stained... I immediately thought of that night, when I woke to that rabid vampire at the foot of my bed... My heart was beating fast, I knew that if this creature was anything like that one, then it was unpredictable. Turn around! I demanded, trying to keep my voice strong but I could not prevent it from shaking, I was still startled from the screeching sound she had made, and the loud slamming of the door.

Her head and torso instantly turned around, her legs and bent knees strong as they didn't even flinch from their original position. Her wide black eyes and blood stained mouth were the first things I noticed. Until she screeched at me again and I noticed her chipped and decaying human teeth... And her fangs. She was a vampire. She immediately started rushing towards me, and while I knew her kind was unpredictable, I still didn't have time to stop her. She tackled me and my dagger went flying across the room. Like a wild dog snapped her jaws towards my neck, face, chest, anything she could sink her teeth into. Her foul breath burned my eyes, and foaming drool splattered across my face as she wildly tried to feed from me. I held her back until my arms were burning, and finally managed to kick her back. She hit the wall behind her and I quickly reached for something... Anything inside of my jacket as I pulled myself to my feet.

I felt something sharp, and when I realized it was the prototype I had been given the other day I only hoped it would work. It was a throwing star... One with a little more kick than the usual. My eyes met her, she was trying to regain her focus, as the force clearly did at least a little bit of damage. As my hand was raising to toss the throwing star, I noticed something... There was an envelope nailed to her chest... One with my name on it...

I tossed the throwing star anyway, and it pierced the little bit of cloth she did have on her body and sunk into the wall behind her. I immediately started climbing the stairs as a high pitched beeping sounded the alarm. I didn't even make it up the stairs before the explosion happened, and shards of silver went flying around the room, along with her flesh and insides. Both of which pierced the back of my calves. Dry wall dust and chunks covered my clothing and hair, and I waited for the dust to clear just enough for me to see before allowing myself to move back to the bottom of the stairs... Which is exactly where the envelope had landed. It's edges and corners were scorched, but just my luck, it was nearly in tact, nothing a little bit of scotch tape wouldn't fix. I was not entirely sure that was something to be happy about either...


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