The sun was setting over the jagged horizon, what once was tall sparkling towers of a metropolitan city, have become broken in disrepair, rich green vines now wrap around these old accomplishments of man as if pulling them back into the Earth. 13 children slowly fan out, looking to keep their food storage up to par. Their numbers have been growing over the last couple of months and they have been struggling to keep up. The herds seem to have changed their patterns, which is really starting to worry the new Lead huntsman of the Group.

Bobby is 15 years old and an up and coming elder. Nestled high in the trees overlooking his hunting hunt, the humidity has beads of sweat constantly rolling down his face. Bobby is one of the taller kids standing about 6’ and is long and gangly which his peers seem to take joy calling him the “red stork” because of his long legs and his red hair. He lets out a slow sigh as he lifts the binoculars back to his face again. Being one of the older kids he remembers a lot about how things were before all the adults died about 3years ago. Even though he does miss his mother and older brother he loves the freedom of being on his own without the “Old ones” as they call them now dominating his life. He has real responsibility now, his life means something now. As pride pushed out the sorrow of his family he had a new family now a bigger family and in some cases he felt a better family. Even though so many things have changed no TV, no Madden (which he liked in particular…His team were the Steelers) no McDonalds all the food from the restaurants and stores has been looted years ago after the…

A sudden explosion of movement and sound snapped him out of his thoughts and he once again became laser focused. A Huge beast burst out of the old subway system and was barreling towards his western wing of hunters. “Great” he exclaimed inspire of himself. He spoke into his radio “spotter 2 you got eyes on this”? “I sure do Spotter 1, that sure is a bigun! You think I need to send the southern wing to help bring up the rear”? Bobby thought on this for a second biting his top lip like he always does when he is thinking quickly on something important. “Yeah, he said calmly go ahead and get them headed in that direction we need to make sure we bring it home. Judging from here that beast could help us catch up on our meat storages.”. “OK sending the southern wing now, yeah I’m sick of carrot strew be nice to have something more with it” said spotter two responding with excitement. While changing his radio channel while looking at the massive beast making a break away from Scout Team Alpha excited him. “Spotter 2 to south wing”, “south wing here” they responded to him quickly. “We got a real live one go North West two clicks by the old Varsity and we should have it cornered there contain and help west wing bring it down.” “OK headed northwest two clicks” promptly responded the south wing. He knew that the Southern wing would get there on time and he knows why Bobby sent them in to help. The Southern Wing is one of the most fearless hunters they have. As a group they have brought down some of the biggest and terrifying game to date.

Their leader Mark seems to be born to hunt. Mark is the best with training the dogs they use to hunt hogs. Those were for normal game… What they are about to face is far from normal and most of the hunt team has never seen one alive. “Spotter 2 to Spotter 1”…”spotter 1 goes ahead” “hey spotter 1 I’m going to head out in that direction to oversee everything”. “OK Luke good call get on over there we don’t need to get anyone else hurt” responded Bobby. Luke smiled and scampered down fire escape of an old high-rise that he was in. Once down he put on his cowboy hat and mounted his dirt bike, brought his rifle over his shoulder and checked it over as he dusted it off as he activated it. It gave off a barely audible hum as it powered up quickly. One thing about the time they live in now even though it’s hard he thought it sure is cool, Luke thought. Who would have thought that he would actually have a goddamn laser rifle to do what he wants…it wasn’t like it was on Star-Wars, but he will defiantly take it he continued to think as he speed off to meet the advancing wings.

When Mark got the call that his team was going to back up the west wing he was interested but when he got the rest of the information that they will help bring down a conformed Hypermammoth his excitement was clearly palpable. He never seen one before only knew about it from the hunting logs and some of the rare videos captured by other packs that he had a relationship with. In his first life Mark was very interested in animals and hunting with coon hounds and other such animals. He had no clue that one day this knowledge would help keep him and others alive. Too overcome the pain of losing his parents he threw himself into learning everything there was about hunting…Then the new creatures started to appear, strange and cunning animals that has been known to decimate whole hunting packs if not careful. Mark told the driver the direction to go and they speed off to meet up with the west wing, while in the back he barked off his expectations to his crew. He knew how important it was to keep calm and discipline. He knew his team would do well because he prepared them for this moment.

The Prey

The beast has been called Menace of the night, the super elephant, and the den killer. All of these names are what many have called the Hypermammoth. It’s a horrifying mix size, speed, and violence. Not much have been documented of this beast other than it first appeared about 2 years ago. The Hypermammoth stood about 8 1\2 to 13 feet tall had six legs its trunk has been noted to have a stinger that can be extended to kill larger prey if need be or enemies. It has four eyes that some reason makes it easier to see at night or even swim at different depths. This monstrosity hunts bears as its main food source. What makes this beast so scary is that it is very intelligent and crafty and has been know the kill whole units of hunters and even use some tactics like playing dead or injured to lure an unsuspecting hunter close. The Hypermammoth prefers to rush its prey using its size as a shock and awe method of attack. The Hypermammoth will not engage if its hunter keeps a safe distance because it knows it’s at a disadvantage. Its huge mouth has rows of sharp teeth that are long as fingers and sharp as daggers. It also has been rumored that they are beginning to form packs and becoming social. “So why are we hunting such a beast” said one of Marks wing member… Mark looked at him like he had three heads and an eye in the middle of his head and said “Because it’s the most delicious meat anyone has ever tasted even better than the meat in the old world!!” The members of the group giggled a bit not sure how to take that. “And it will keep a den feed for a couple of weeks.” Mark continued checking his weapon “Once you taste it you will understand” he finished as he turned his attention back to his weapon shaking his head at the young man with a smile. His smile quickly faded though as he got up to walk to the back of the modified van they were taking. He needed to focus now his team is now calm and ready but he have to make sure he knew what they was getting into. He reached for his radio to contact the west wing to get a status update. The next couple of hours will be critical if they want the hunt to become successful without too many injured. “Southern Wing to Western…what is your situation” he said over the radio, he released the button and waited for a response. Mark always got a little nervous on the radio and really didn’t like talking on it. During times like this he knew it was necessary. Times like this it was defiantly necessary it frustrated him that they haven’t reached out earlier to him. They knew he was the expert in such things. He made his way back to the front and sat beside his driver. Mark always preferred drivers that didn’t speed and was careful. That’s why Mark has fought so hard to ensure that Abony was his permanent driver. Abony was 15 and very detail orientated, at time she has been known to go out with the scout teams to ensure that she knew the lay of the land. GPS has been spotty at times and since the terrain has drastically changed the GPS can’t be totally trusted. New maps have to be drawn and Abony has been one of the leading kids in the efforts. Abony also wasn’t bad to look at Mark thought as he caught a glimpse every once in a while at her. Her skin was a perfect tone of brown and seems to absorb the sun light and make it more radiant. Mark knew that he felt very deeply for her, but he didn’t know how to express himself. Just thinking about it made him sweat with nervous tension. This was not the time to get lost on her long legs he pushed those thoughts aside and realized that it’s been at least 3 mins since he called for the Western squad. That may not be good he thought worried now. Maybe they didn’t get his message he thought trying to control the sense of dread that was starting to creep up his spine like an old ancient arachnid. He signed and looked over to Abony who was focused on the cracked and broken road they was driving. “Have they responded back to you yet” she said not looking him. He didn’t even realize that she knew what was going on…It didn’t surprise him though; she always seemed to be locked on to what others felt and usually bring calm to the cab. That was one of the reason everyone wanted her to be their driver. Mark said “no not yet…” he looked at his mic as he slowly brought it back up to his mouth “Repeat Southern Wing to Western…what is your situation? We are heading to your location red hot and need an update.” Again nothing… ” Eastern to Spotter 1 are you getting this?”, “yeah repeated spotter 1 I’m working to get a better location I don’t have eyes on anything right now…I’m not getting anything from them either…” Mark could hear the worry in Bobby’s voice. The mic burst alive “This is spotter 2 I’m on the way to the last known location of where the beast was heading, looks like he cut though through some thick bushes”. Spotter 2 had stopped at a path of broken trees and bushes that was freshly plowed though. He could smell the exposed wood. “Scout Team Alpha to all teams what is the situation out there? We have lost visual… We have also lost contact with the Western squad”. Shit, shit, shit, shit ! thought Bobby this can’t be good what do I do know, he can feel the whole hunt team waiting on him to make a choice. Then the voice of Mark broke the heavy silence. “OK guys remember we was taught if we were in a tough spot to maintain silence. Our boys might be hunkered down somewhere and can’t talk.” Mark took a deep breath to gather his thoughts… He really hated talking on the radio. His group has now stopped on the side of the road until they got more reliable information. It was fool hearty to roll into a situation that wasn’t stable. Kareem had taught him that before he… He pushed that taught out his head and brought the mic up to his lips to continue. “We have to remember our training guys. G taught us to ask a team specific questions that can be answered by simple responses. Something as small as an open mic response or feedback that can only be heard from our side.” Spotter two cut in. “ I think your right Mark I believe this monster may have cornered our boys because I’m following the trail and it looks like it goes to a small little neighborhood.” Luke had abandoned his bike and was now cautiously advancing on foot being careful and aware of his surroundings holding his rifle close to his body but ready to bear in a moment notice. He was careful to stay downwind and not to get himself cornered as he walked he carefully turned down his radio so he wouldn’t draw attention to himself. He knew he probably needed to let the others know he was going dark but he was already committed. He just hoped he could find the others safe.

Mark voice again came across the radio, “They will only respond to the leader of the hunt…So Bobby it’s on you. If our boys ok they are waiting on you to do something” Mark meant to put an edge in is voice as he ended speaking. He always felt Bobby wasn’t fit to lead and it may lead to the deaths some great kids. Bobby took a deep breath he can feel the coldness building up in his chest it was almost paralyzing. He pushed himself through it. “West wing this is Bobby” he didn’t feel the need to be formal in a situation like this. “Are you ok, click once for OK or Twice for No” …Time seemed to stand still all that can be heard is the random wildlife that thrived in this area. “then all heard the mike come alive as the radio hissed twice. OK now we are going somewhere as a collective sigh could be felt by everyone. OK they are alive but in trouble. “OK guys we are on our way to your last location did you encounter the Hyper?” almost immediately he heard the radio click once. Here comes the part that no leader ever wants to have to say. “has

there been any casualties” again quickly a response of two clicks. There was another collective sigh from everyone one the air ways. OK ok that’s OK at least there isn’t anyone dead…Yet Bobby thought as he tried to get his thoughts together. “Mark he started…” what is your location I think we need to get all the teams together and figure this as one.” “I agree Let’s Meet in the parking lot of the old City Hall building that’s not that far from here.” All teams that could confirmed the location and started that way.

Luke heard everything that was said and was starting to worry because when they meet up they are going to make a roll call and they would notice that he wasn’t there. He would have to worry about that later because he wouldn’t dare make any unnecessary noise. That hyper beast has very acute hearing esp. for anything that’s not natural like the voice coming from a radio. Slowly creeping from the unchecked vegetation like a hunter in the safari movies he loved to look at. He knew that they were just actors but he always admired their bravery. ‘shit he thought I bet none of those pussies never hunted after something this scary’ … well except for Arnold in the old movie Predator…Yeah that was pretty damn scary he thought as he kept a low profile as he weaved from car to car. Then he saw it… it was like watching a nightmare while being wide awake. It was circling an old gas station, well more stalking who was in there. He lined up his rifle to get a closer look at it and maybe take a well place shot… He could be a hero and maybe he can ensure his possible survival when he becomes of age. He was lucky to be born healthy but he was kinda small for his age and worried on more than one occasion would he met his end or go on to the uncertainty of becoming one of the vanished. No one truly understood why, but when a kid becomes 18 to 21 they are either found dead or they are just gone… He let out a slow breath as he allowed his mind to wonder, he has already lost 2 brothers one dead still laying in his bed with his eyes and mouth open like he was scared to death. While his older brother was never seen again. One was healthier than the other. Steve was always sick and because of that was physically weaker. Some believe that only the physically strong was being made to vanish but as time when one that wasn’t really the pattern. No real rhyme or reason other than the ones that was taken was very good at one thing or another and didn’t have any mental limitations. An unnamed competition grew out of fear of being found dead. So the kids fought over to be the best of the best showing off to a God…a selfish God that takes and disregards for no seemingly no purpose at all. Just the thought of this made him angry he was the last of his line. If he had to take down this big bastard to ensure that he wouldn’t be found dead it was worth it. He would rather be lost in the unknow void and face what could be next than have his story end. The face of his brother that was left behind again came flashing in his mind like an overexposed picture. Pupils pinpoint no signs of life body void of organs. Something just seemed to harvest him they even took his eyes… his blue eyes… his heart…. His liver…. They said he still had his lungs…. but that was his problem he had weak lungs and had asthma that would keep him barely breathing at times. The scary thing about it all there was no cut marks, no trauma just the disturbing sag of the missing bones and organs was the only hint … there was a group of older kids from the old college who worked to try and find some answers. This group was the closest thing to scientist or doctors they had in these times now. Whenever this group was made aware of a taking in the area they would come and research ask a ton of questions and if left…they would ask can they take the body to run an autopsy on the remains. They would always come back and give the family an update to what has happened to their left behind loved one. It was all the same… inconclusive.

There was never any word from the taken. That makes it even more terrifying… just gone no goodbyes, no screams just poof like they was never there. His mind snapped back into reality. “Shit, shit, and shit” he thought franticly as he took the scope down looking around but careful not to make a lot of noise. He had lost track of it. He slowly crept forward towards the gas station and tried to stay in the tree line. He may have sealed his fate. If the Massive animal had caught on to his sent it probably have doubled back to investigate. Luke kept his rifle to bare ready to react. He hoped he didn’t have to face it, but if he had to he would be ready. –Snap- he ducked from the sound and felt something knock his hat off then he leapt forward and rolled and turn to see that he had just missed the truck/stinger of the massive animal that towered above him. They locked eyes for a moment and time seemed to stand still and then a moment later time exploded into action as both went into motion. Luke was able to get a blast from his rile out and made contact with the side of its head which he saw the brownish fur part from its massive skull along with a quick puff of crimson before he turned to run. The shot caused the creature to take a step back right before it charged pulling its trunk back almost like a coiled cobra. The core of his rifle was made of something not from this world that much was clear. He didn’t even care how it worked. One of the smart kids was going on and on one day on how the weapon uses the motion of the earth to keep its core charged and could fire unlimited burst. All the kids had to do was to build a casing around it…Well; his older brother was able to build the casing which allowed the user to use the weapon. His brother had given it too him right before he vanished… He hoped his brother was with him today as he cracked out another shot hoping to wound it enough to escape. The shot crackled past its leg in a blur of blue electrical charged energy. He knew he wouldn’t make it to the city hall because it seemed to have position itself between him and the building so he had to get to that gas station. He darted behind a rusted minivan and felt the van lurch to the side as it got hit by its massive trunk; “damn” he thought, it must be closer than he thought as he heard the squeal of the metal and the grunts of the creature as he worked to pull out its stinger stinger being pulled from the car. He looked back of his shoulder as he started to make his way to safety he can see it gather itself for another charge its trunk being pulled back again ready to strike. He looked forward again towards the old gas station and saw that the glass was already broken on the front doors so he felt confident that he didn’t have to brake stride to get inside the door. The issue is how far that thing can reach with that damn stinger. He figured about 8 feet long maybe for with the stinger. He was afraid to look over his shoulder he was surprised how quite that big animal can be. He leapt through the door and could feel broken glass around him when he slid towards the door. He could feel the cuts on his hands as he scrambled to get up as fast as he could. He heard a tremendous boom and twisting of metal as the animal hit the door with all of its mass. He could feel the building shake by the force. He made a sharp left in the building towards its bathrooms he was hoping to find the ladder to get to the top of the building he knew he would be safe when he reach the top. He looked back and saw its massive head was almost to the cash registers and was turned his way. Its truck was lining up to make a strike, the beast still clawing at the floor desperate to end Luke’s life. Luke knew he was in a bad situation now more than ever he was in a small hall way and wouldn’t have the time to reach the back to the latter so he dove into the bathroom right in time he could feel the massive trunk fall as it missed its mark. He knew he had a couple of seconds to get back out of the bathroom and hustle to the back office. He quickly scrambled to his feet and burst out the door with his rife to bare. He released 5 blind bursts towards the creature, it didn’t matter if he hit or not he just wanted to distract it for a split second. He worked the easily made it through the door and closed it. He put his back to the door and slowly slid down exhausted but content he could take a quick breather. Then he was pushed forward as the creature must have fired again with his weapon of choice. He heard more metal squealing and glass break. “Oh god” he thought he must have crawled more of his massive bulk inside the store and could reach down the hall even more. He quickly got up and trotted towards the back of the office and found the ladder. He pushed what was once a manager’s desk toward ladder and slung his rifle across his shoulder and started to ascend towards the roof.

Ivan, the leader of the west squad looked in horror at the situation that unfolding before his very eyes. Luke was fighting for his life and there was nothing neither he nor his team could do about it. His team had just barely survived the ambush attack of the creature. His team had made it to the third floor of the old city hall building. Jeiden shared the window with him. “Ivan we have to break radio silence this is insane!” again nothing but scilence it seemed like Ivan was deep in thought or just interested in what would happen next. Jeiden looking out the window as the massive creature continued to try and push itself deeper inside the building… “Ivan!!!” He shouted at Ivan we have to do something, I refuse to sit here and watch this think kill Luke.” Ivan shocked at Jeiden’s tone turned to look at him. Jeiden has always been one of the quite kids very small for his age but very lean. He was known to be one of the best runners in the group when he decides to really run. Jeiden was more of a day dreamer, but today he was sharp and focused. Ivan could see the fire in his eyes and feel the conviction in his words. “We don’t even know if he’s still alive” he countered. “We are not to break radio silence until everything his clear.” Just then they heard the sound of a metal fall on tin, which made them both look out the window while staying low. They saw the hatch open on top of the building then they saw Luke pop up with and pull himself to the top of the roof. Jeiden clapped his hands once which made a cloud of dust explode from his fingerless gloves. “Yes!” he exclaimed. I know ol luckie Luke would make it. Jeiden turned his head back to Ivan then at his radio. “You know they are on the way to this very parking lot they need to know what they are coming into.” Ivan looked away. Jeiden sat there his breath taking away from the lack of concern from Ivan. “Dude!” Jeiden exclaimed. Some of the other kids also in the room heard Jeiden raise his voice which most has never heard the mild mannered kid get upset. “no” said Ivan calmly as he took the battery from the radio and everyone in the room could hear him the metal on leather as he smoothly pulled out his revolver on Jeiden, whose eyes got wide as he put up his hands and walked slowly walked back. “It’s time for a change” stated Ivan matter of factly, and Jeiden knew he was in trouble. By the look of things and the lack of surprise in everyone around him he was the last person to know what was about to go down. Jeiden has always been known as the quite skinny kid, but what he has always been known for is his speed. Before Ivan could finish his statement Jeiden exploded towards the corner of the room behind some old sofas then bolted towards the door. Ivan was only able to squeeze one shot off as the bullet made the innards of the sofa explode like he shot a white dove. As Jeiden dove through the door and rolled to his feet he had pulled out his weapon and made his way towards the down the steps. He could hear Ivan voice “damn it guys we all talked about this. This is our chance don’t let him get away the others should be here shortly.” Screamed Ivan, the rest of the group could hear frustration in his changing voice. Jeiden knew his speed would help him in the beginning but this was his first hunt, he never even fired a gun before at a living thing. Let alone a friend…Or what he thought was friends he had to keep his advantage and get the heck out of the building and risk encountering that monster that’s lurking out there. He knew the rest would be slow to follow him out there. He was on the second floor and quickly went onto the floor below and hoped he would be close to the roof level with Luke he had to warn him about Ivan’s scheme. He can hear the footsteps as the rest of the pack tried to cut him off. He’s sure that they have already split into at least two groups and searching the building. He also knew that once he yells out the window that they would know exactly where he is. “Oh Jehovah, give me strength” he whispered between breaths. He got to a window and saw Luke still on top of the building looking at the city hall building no doubt he must have heard the gun fire he thought. He decided to shoot the glass out. Quickly he pointed the barrel at the glass and fired. This ear splitting noise quickly caught Luke’s attention. “Luke!!!” he yelled the “West Squad has Set us up, we are in the building, they are after me, they may try to shoot you up there stay low!!” With that Jeiden ran back to the stairwell covering multiple steps at once using the hand rails as support. Luke quickly looked up and saw the sun shine on something metal but quickly ducked before he heard the crackle of gun fire and the bullet bounce off the roof. “Holy fuck” he said holding his hat and scampering behind an A\C unit that was on the roof “What a fucking day” he sat there with his rifle on his lap as he heard a barrage of bullets bounce off the unit and sweet pouring down his face.

Ivan McCloud was one of the bigger kids of the group standing around 6’2” and 180lb at 17 years old. He has been commanding his own group for the last 3 years. His groups were always under his iron fist. Ivan drew others like him, kids that had a tint of cruelty to them. He trained his group hard and didn’t like to have girls in his group. Always to his self and quiet, the other kids always wondered what was behind those dark brown eyes of his. The smaller kids always seemed to stay far away from him at all costs which have raised a couple eyebrows from the leadership. That’s when the choice was to add Jeiden to the group. Jeiden has always known to be a little innocent and it was decided that he could contribute to the hunting side and see how he handled himself. Which of course Ivan hated the idea. He hated not being able to hand pick who he wanted to join his group. Ivan knew that this Jeiden would be a loose string, but he figured that he could dispatch him pretty quickly. He didn’t anticipate him being so close to him and trying to convince him to call the others. He was supposed to be a scared little church mouse. He also didn’t have any idea the kid was so damn fast. Lamar his second in command walked up to him. “Dude that kid is fast as hell, you see the way he dipped out on you?” Lamar was talking with a small hint of a chuckle. Ivan made a slow sigh, “yeah I kind of saw that L.” said Ivan. “So what we gonna do if he gets away?” Ivan turned around quickly face red with anger and frustration “Well we better make sure he never leaves this building alive!” He said softly “If he get away all of this will be for nothing.” He sighed. “Luke wasn’t supposed to show up alone” Ivan said. “Yeah well he did, I know you were friends with his brother but he has to go too. You are aware of that right Ivan?” All the playful tone left Lamar voice has he questioned the bigger kid, has he positioned himself to look Ivan into his eyes. Ivan hated the way Lamar talked to him. Hated the way he demanded things from him, But Ivan knew he wouldn’t be in the situation to take over if it wasn’t for him. Lamar wasn’t a big kid…Very far from it, but he was as the other kids say; “scary smart.” The way he seems to just figure things out was crazy. Things he shouldn’t…Lamar came to him with the idea of a “hostile takeover” to ensure that they will become the leaders and to weed the weak kids out. There was some theories running around that only the stronger groups, ones without any fear or weakness wouldn’t be left behind. To be honest Lamar really scared Ivan a lot. Lamar always seemed to be 2 or three steps ahead of everyone else. Even now he has been coordinating everything just outside of the spot light but in full control. Ivan was beginning to think that the food shortage wasn’t an accident that Lamar wanted to get everyone desperate to venture out further into the danger zones. ‘He couldn’t be that smart could he’ questioned Ivan to himself careful not to let Lamar know what he was thinking. “yeah, I know Lamar. They all got to go.” Ivan said with a snarl as he turned while loading his weapon as he walked away. Lamar watched him walk away and slowly turned to look outside the window. ‘This is much bigger than anyone can imagine’ Lamar thought. ‘None of them understands what’s going to happen next.’ The voices in his head that is usually a whisper was becoming louder and louder every couple of days. Lamar figured the closer he gets to his overall goal the voices wanted to be sure things were going exactly right. Lamar knew that he was just a pawn in the huge game that was playing out in front of him…He just felt like a passenger now. He couldn’t tell who were in charge anymore, the voices or him. Whatever the case he cherished the power it seemed to give him. His thoughts were much more fluid and quicker than it was just 2 years again when he joined this group. Back then the voices was just a bunch of soft white noise in his head… like the noise of changing a radio channel trying to find the correct frequency, with the volume turned down low. When he got closer to this group the voices seemed to unite and get just a bit clearer. He knew he was meant to be here, and he knew what is purpose was. It had nothing to do with who gets left behind or taken. It is all about whom he has to find. He watched the huge animal work his head out of the old gas station in frustration, searching for something to trample. Then it let out a loud noise from its trunk, which sounded like a train slamming on its brakes in a desperate attempt to stop. –Perfect- Said the voice in his head. –Its calling the others- the voice was sounding clearer than ever now that send multiple pleasure down his spine. Lamar figured that the voice would use that to keep him to keep him motivated subliminally.

Marks Team had arrived first, at the destination. He heard the sound of the monster as its call vibrated from the decaying building corpses that surrounded him. “whoa!” he said ducking at the same time with his head scanning the area “what the hell was that?”. “Don’t know” answered Abony, “It’s impossible to figure where it come from with all these buildings, the sound just bounces around everywhere.” She finished still calm and now leaning against the steering wheel. “I think it may be best you come on in we can defend each other better while we wait for the others.” Abony said while still scanning the area. “Yeah your right” Mark answered while pulling himself back up into the vehicle. “I know you love me so much you can’t stand the thought of anything happing to the dreaded one huh” he said with a sly smile on his face trying to get a hint of what she may feel about him. She just rolled her eyes playfully with a small smile and sighed putting her head on the steering well while. The guys behind them giggled at the awkward exchange. “Whatever, I don’t care what you guys say your all jealous!” Mark said with his arms cross, “ohhhh yeah we are so jealous of crashing and burning soooo spectacularly.” One of the guys in the back said. As the giggling became more of a rumble. Mark really didn’t like being laughed at…but for her, he is more than willing to make a fool of himself. “Well at least I made her grin! Way better than any of you punks did” He said turning around and pointing at them”. More laughter and ribbing can be heard as the other units arrived. Bobby with his 4-wheeler was dumbfounded. ‘how could they be laughing at a time like this’ he thought but he would address that later, “hey mark, what the hell was that crazy noise we heard just a moment ago?” Bobby said as he was walking to marks team unit. “Don’t have a clue” mark replied “nothing I’ve heard before.” He continued while he climbed out of the unit to have a face to face with Bobby. “I can tell you it was a living thing though. I’m just hoping was the screaming of that hyper in its death throes and that our boys have dealt with it.” Mark finished. Then the eruption of small fire swept the blissful silence away. “damn” Bobby said ducking along with mark who was moving closer to his unit scanning the area with his rifle. Abony head popped out the window, “if you boys are finished dancing out there those shots came from over there.” She said again calmly and measured like she just announced it was bedtime. “let’s go!” mark said as he jumped into his seat.

Jeiden had made it to the first floor without any incident so far, he had gotten a good jump on them and other than the stop to warn Luke he wanted to press his advantage. Just as he was about to sprint across the street to the next building his breath was frozen in terror as the massive beast quite as death itself came around the side of the building. It was obvious what its intent was. It was looking for something to kill, by now the best had to pick up all of their scents or just put one and one together because of all the noise. Jeiden slowly backed away from the door to and slid behind the huge desk that used to welcome people to stay the night. He began to hyperventilate a bit, but he was desperately trying to control his fear. The thought of the best splitting him apart with that sharp stinger at the end of its trunk brought tears to his eyes. Even heavier was the thoughts of his "friends" wanted to end his life was even more horrifying. That monster out there was understandable but the thought of his own people wanted nothing more right now was to...Kill him... to leave him on the cold street so that the vultures and other creatures to feast on his cooling flesh almost made him break down and accept it. He choked back the spasm that was making his throat tremble and decided to be brave. He decided that no matter what happen he would live and die by his choosing not by the whim of anyone else. He had learned to finally love himself. He refused to let his friends down who by now must have figured out where they were and coming this way with no clue what they are headed into. He slowly stretched his legs as he waited the thing to disappear around the building he had to reach that gas station and get to Luke maybe they could make a stand and old up till the others come. His breathing was slowing down now, his heart rate started to even out. 'ok' he thought 'let's do this'. He exploded out the door just as he heard a couple of bullets whiz by him as he felt himself born again as he finally felt the sun warmth bathe him with a new-found purpose. Out the corner of his eye he seen a massive tube-like think coming his way from around the corner of the building. He didn't have time to think as he went down hard to avoid what was coming towards him, he heard a loud thunk sound and the splintering of wood. He didn't look back he didn't have too he knew the thing had doubled back. He also knew that the thing was so powerful it had destroyed the power pole that he was just getting ready to pass and that if he didn't slide out the way that stinger would have been in his chest. For some reason none of this bothered him he just kept running zigzagging between cars and going under old trucks making himself less of a target. He felt like he was just an observer in all of this. Just then he saw felt three bolts of lightning pass him and heard the roar of the creature as Luke shots must have hit its mark frustrating the creature but slowing down enough for him to widen the gap.

Mark's crew had just made a left as they saw the Massive creature taking three shots from what must have been Luke's Light rifle. Mark just looked in disbelief as he saw the beast slightly slowed but very pissed, "is that Jeiden?" One of his members said. "Dam I believe it is, look at his run!" Said another member. Abony said very cailmy maybe we can distract it, I can drive at a good distance while you guys bust it up, maybe we can get it away from our boys." Mark had snapped out of his awe of the creature and acknowledged her. " yeah what she said" he said with a worried look on his face. "Open up the side doors and strap yourselves down tighter let's put that thing down!" Mark had already brought his weapon to bare and squeezed out a couple of shots at the rampaging creature, as the others followed right behind him as Abony had maneuvered the van so the boys can open fire as one. They made the pass on the other side of the street peppering it with small arms. This made the beast look their way and lose its footing as it hit a power pole and lose its footing it stumbled for a moment then quickly gathered its balance then it made a dash towards the thick brush that have thickened over the years of neglect. " Damn that was intence lets go back and get out people and let's find out what happened to the oth-" he was cut off as the windshield of the van suddenly became like multiple spider webs as bullet penetrated the van. With out any prompting Abony quickly drove them away from the direction of the onslaught. " damn, damn, damn , what the HELL! IS GOING ON" Mark shouted out confused. " is everyone ok he looked back at his pack taking a quick head count. " Yes sir" they answered "We got lucky" the windshield is bullet resistant but that’s been used up now" he said as he used his size 12 shoe to remove the glass as its now more of a liability than a help. He looked over at Abony who was looking confused also but focused on getting them away from that volley of bullets. "we have to find out what's going on, I think Jeiden made it to the gas station and I assume Luke is there also by the direction of those laser blasts, take us out a bit and circle the area." Abony didn't say a word but nodded as she took another path. Mark's team converted bus was a thing of beauty it was a converted special education bus with big tires a "reimagined suspension" as the grease monkey team like to say. The left side of the bus had gun slits installed in multiple areas and the whole side can be slid back when the crew was just riding or for other emergency procedures. The next hill they cleared gave the team most of the team stomach drop to their ankles as the van had to have been airborne for a moment before it landed on its huge tires and gained traction. Abony hit the hill and made the bus go airborne on purpose one to hear the younger boys squeal and to calm her nerves. She was scared and knew that the safety of all the crew was in her hands. It Always calmed her to drive a little fast and reckless. She knew that Mark wouldn't like it, but this wasn't about him. She felt more control of the bus now she felt as if the jump reestablished the bond between human and machine that they were now one unit and that together they would do what it takes to make sure everyone goes home. Mark's cursing brought her back as she was making a hard-right turn making a U turn to return back to the area where they last seen the creature.

Bobby had just arrived seeing the volley of gun and laser fire from the top of the gas station and the old government building. His heart sank as he started to take in what was going on. It was a Civil War... Civil Wars was nothing new in the new world they lived in. Each Den was a nation within its self. Some Den's had tolerance of one another but rarely attacked the other. The treat to most Dens other than the elements and the crazy new emerge wild life was each other. He knew Ivan was a little nuts but definitely not smart enough to pull off something like this. Bobby knew he had to do something, but he didn't know what to do was the issue. This was way


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