August 13th 2012. Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia.
It all began around four days ago. Anyone working in US Department of Labor, US Marshals Service or the EPA offices were all evacuated by an unknown agency out their buildings and into the Crystal Underground, our underground shopping centre. Given that most of Crystal City is essentially an underground city, it would seem the safest option in a threatening situation. At that point, no one knew what was really going on. Until we heard the screaming.
On surface level, we heard awful screams and cries followed by, what sounded like military or government orders and gunshots. One of the sounds which exceeded the pitch of everything else was peculiar growls and humming sounds.
Three days passed. Around 1200 people hid in the underground tunnels, all of them not knowing what was going on above their heads. We just tried to piece everything together. The gunshots, the screams, the screeches. The military, government or some authority was obviously fighting something but what, we did not know.
After the third night, a group of us decided to surface. We had to know what had happened to the city. The fear disappeared the night before, now it was sheer curiosity. As we searched for a stairway heading up, I felt a woman I had developed a bond with in the previous days, grip onto my arm, shaking. It was comforting. Sadly, any comfort I felt vanished when my eyes set on the site of the surface.
Crystal City's beautiful marble walkways and shiny concrete sidewalks were all stained with blood and flesh. Decapitated body parts lay all over the urban neighborhood. I saw a man, who used to deliver letters in my office, lie dead in the middle of the road. His body was halved although a leg was missing. Something had clawed at his torso. His intestines lay next to him, half hanging out of a gaping hole. I felt her grip on my arm grow tighter. The fear had returned.
We wandered for hours, eventually coming to the border between Crystal City and Pentagon City and that’s when we realized we were alone. Someone had blocked off any entry or exit to or from the city. We all realized that whatever was going on, whatever had killed those people was in the city with us. Some higher authority was putting us under quarantine.
Including me, there were eighty-three of us in the group that chose to depart from the underground, something which now seemed like a bad idea. Our group was close together. No one wanted to stray. The woman I had grown to care for never let go of my arm. In the hours we walked from the blocked border back to the city centre, I silently counted over six hundred and nine bodies, or large body parts. We were all still none the wiser to what caused this carnage. But then we hit the centre of the city and caught a terrifying glimpse.
By the time we hit the city centre, our group had split off into four groups, each heading into a different area of the city centre. I was with the woman, a teenage couple, an Asian American family (the father of whom I knew well) and a group of EPA workers. We headed to an area north of the Crystal Underground, hoping to find someone in the police station. The walk there was eerily silent. No one said a word and the sounds of the other groups had disappeared. I shared worrying glances with the father of the Asian family. We both knew this wouldn't end well. All the while, for around seven straight hours, the pretty woman held on to me.
The police station. Someone I did not recognize had been impaled on an advertisement sign at the side of the building, however, under his pinned corpse, was, what looked like a dead wolf. The wolf was grey and had extremely pointy teeth that were on display due the creature’s jaw appearing to be locked open. A thick purple liquid oozed from a hole in the animals stomach. This creature was not a normal wolf.
The exterior of the police station was caked in blood. The inside was worse. Moulds of flesh lay everywhere. Although it did not appear to be human flesh. It was darker and dripped with black oil. I felt her head hide behind my shoulder in fear. The scattered flesh smelled unusual, similar to a strong stench of gasoline. Behind me, I heard the EPA workers stop dead in their tracks followed by a growling sound coming from the corner of the room. Another wolf-like creature appeared staring and growling at us. Its grey fur covered in blood. Its pointy teeth arching over its lips. I heard EPA workers stumble out of the door. I saw only one remained, glued to the floor in fear. The teenage couple had pressed against each other glaring at the wolf creature in terror. A grip tightened on my shoulder. I pushed her behind me for safety. The wolf pressed forward, it's growling sounding more demonic the closer it came. From the corner of my eye, I spotted a second wolf, slowly walking towards the first one. This wolf was identical although had a large slice on its side which spurted purple blood. Whispers began behind me. The Asian family sneaked out of the door then sprinted. Seconds later, I heard a piercing scream coming from the mother of the family outside, then silence.
Only five of us remained staring at the bizarre wolves. They appeared as if they were preparing to jump for us when a sudden humming sound came from a corridor to the left of us. The wolves recognized it and immediately lay on the floor. Descending from the darkness, four men appeared. Each wore a business suit which were all drenched in blood. Three men had long blades sticking out from their forearm. The blades ran all the way to the bone. All of them were bald and had large heads and pale faces. I pulled her close to me. They continued to produce low humming sounds. All together, the four of them looked at us and grinned. One of the men raised his hand, outstretched his palm then closed it and made a fist. He punched the air; however he made contact with something. The air rippled. More and more wolf creatures appeared. Each more demonic than the last.
Each wolf lay on the floor next to one another. The air still rippled and more wolves appeared. Eventually, he pulled back his fist and clasped his hands. The other three men looked at him and smiled. She held my hand tight. The five of us stood incredibly still. I tried to move but failed. To my horror, the four men then glided towards the wolves and stood behind them as if preparing them for an attack. One of the wolves stood on its hind legs and walked towards me. The men looked at the wolf and one of them made a 'tut-tut' noise then clapped his hands together. A singular clap. The wolf imploded. In a split second, its grey fur disappeared and its thick purple liquid sprayed the room. The man on the furthest right raised his hands upward and the wolves began to rise. All of them, grinding their pointy teeth and oozing a purple blood. Staring at us, the men smiled one last time then grinned at each other. The middle man snapped his fingers and the four of them vanished into the air, leaving only a ripple in the air behind.
I began to shuffle my feet, realizing I could move. No one said a thing. The wolves continued to stare at us and demonically growl. I counted twenty-three of them. Simultaneously, the adrenaline kicked in to all five of us and we ran out of the police station, not knowing what we just experienced. I heard the wolves growling and biting behind us. They were chasing us. I grabbed her hand and ran as fast as my feet would allow me. My mind racing, thinking about the men; their appearance, how they controlled the wolves to most likely kill everyone and how they just disappeared.
Hands clasped, I ran with her heading for a passage to the underground. The teenage couple were in the same situation. The remaining EPA worker was slow. He was only a legs length away from one of the wolves. My vision felt as though it was impaired, I was running so fast. In the short distance, I saw one stairway leading to the underground but realized that it has no door or shutter. The wolves would be free to chase us in. Behind me, I heard a scream of agony. The EPA worker had fallen. My peripheral vision saw the teenage couple run into the passage I avoided, being followed by half of the pack of wolves. I was too late to warn them. It was only me and her now. Holding her hand, I recognized a building in the next street. My former office. It has an underground passage and would be a safe haven from the wolves. I felt hope that we would be safe. But then, my heart sank as I felt her grip loosen. Stopping dead in my tracks, realizing she had fell, I fought like I had never fought before. I kicked wolves away from her left and right. One wolf leaped into the air and sunk its sharp teeth into the flesh of my forearm. Pain didn't kick in, at least not yet. My main priority was getting into the office with her. I saw one last wolf rapidly coming toward me. Instinctively, I grabbed, what remained of a nearby metal pole, and held it in the air in front of me. Moments later, I was covered in purple blood. The wolf impaled halfway up the steel.
With any strength I had left, I picked her up and limped towards the office building. I swung open the door, used what I could to block it and headed to the stairs and underground passage. She was in my arms, smiling at me, as I blocked the door between the passage and the stairway. I finally felt safe.
Hours later, we sat against the wall of a coffee shop in the Crystal Underground. I kissed her forehead and she fell asleep in my arms. It was just a case of waiting it out.
She looked so peaceful. I felt myself drift off next to her.
A sound awoke both of us. She looked at me worried. A humming sound.
A ripple appeared in the air. We knew they'd found us. I stood up, fists clenched, knowing there was no other way. She rose and stood at my side. I grabbed her hand and smiled and together, we stared at the ripple and listened for the noises. Prepared to fight.
Just a student from Scotland who loves to write and aims to mess with minds through fiction