Contract of the Dark


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In the previous episode, Mother Rune smiles, as  thousands of crimson eyes open up, staring at the light of the world, eagerly awaiting their mother’s call. Readers voted that Aaron and Raphael appear to aid Cross as they take on Mother Rune’s army.

Episode 19

Answering their mother’s call, hundreds of karayans pour through the hole. Humans once before have become corrupted. Their entirety reeks of the darkness. Crawling into the world they called home long ago, many sniff the air like hounds, catching the unfamiliar, yet familiar sent. As the smell fills their nostrils, sensations of lives forgotten enter their deranged minds. Crimson eyes glow with excitement. They salivate, hungry, starving. No shred of humanity is left in the blank stares. Hardly can they be called the superior race, nothing more than beasts infected by the ethereal darkness. They have become blind pawns, only driven by the basic instinct of animals.

One of them, a woman by her curved features, catches the scent of something queer. Her head snaps toward Cross, who remains frozen from the sight of the ever growing army that invades the city park. A slimed-covered smile reaches her lips, revealing multiple rows of fangs filling her mouth. She shrieks a horrid battle cry, and charges. Her howl catches the attention of her fellow mindless brethren. They follow her example, storming the enemy. Another karayan, whose back sprouts wings, takes flight. He intends to catch Cross through the skies before the woman can from the ground.

Cross does not allow either of them a chance to snatch their prey. The centipede-dragon monstrosity he commands bounds upwards, snatching the winged karayan out of the air. It crunches the poor in its massive jaws. Not a single scream comes from the victim. The zombie-like entity finds death in utter silence. Meanwhile, the shark-mouthed karayan continues to rush in, hoping to sink her fangs into Cross. He looks at her with his single crimson eye, and attacks mercilessly.

The same demonic hand that he used to slay Drekken finds its way into her chest. A moment later, the female karayan bursts open, shed like a cocoon as a scorpion-like beast emerges. It manifests in two sets of pincers, grabbing ahold of four karayans and enjoying its first meal. The three stingers find a trio of the enemy, pumping full of a corrosive acid that melts them into blackened ooze. Only the sounds of the beast can be heard, as none of the other karayans meet death with any noise.

Even with the addition of a new beast, Cross is far outnumbered. The dragon that has proved a valiant ally thus far is now buried under a pile of fifty karayans. They appear to be clawing at its armor-like hide. Soon enough, the scorpion meets a similar fate, as one hundred of the mindless drones bring it to the ground. Despite as being nothing more than pitiful creatures, their numbers are too much for him to handle. A dozen or so of the crimson-eyed men swarm Cross. He struggles to shake them off, but their vastness overpowers him. One wraps themselves around his neck, choking him. As he gets swept up in the swarm, he eyes Mother Rune, still standing over the pit to oblivion. Thousands of her children continue to emerge onto New York. Feeling the end near, he closes his eyes, as one of the karayans prepares to eat him alive. Their maw inches closer, ready to feast.

But suddenly, he feels lighter, as if the pile had simply disappeared. Opening his eyes, he sees just that. Hundreds of the karayans are hanging through the air, run through by a forest of stone spikes. The feral creatures writhe against the impalements, trying desperately to attack him. One that the spikes missed finds Cross left gawking, and lunges. Luckily, an ally has emerged. This new friend grabs the karayan by the face, holding the creature firm as it thrashes.

“Do not be losing focus, Cross,” he says with a smirk.

It is the mad scientist himself, Raphael Fantassa. The arm that grips the corrupted beast is not his own. Fresh stitches line the limb, connecting it to the rest of his body. It is a borrowed piece from Necros, as is the leg that holds him on his feet. And with the arm comes the powers. As the hand holds the creature at bay, it begins to rot its flesh. Again, no screams leave its throat, as it decays down to the skull. With no tendons or ligaments, the rest of the body flops to the ground, freed from the bone.

“I see you dealt with Necros,” Cross observes, shuddering at the sight of the decaying powers.

“Yes, that’s what took us a bit longer,” Raphael glances over. “I’d suggest putting that cloth back on…you look awful.”

“No time for that,” Cross remarks, touching the exposed cheek bone with his fingers.

“I cannot believe that you are alive, Omega,” another voice speaks up, approaching from the rear.

Aaron Fellmind comes next to the karayan that was once his enemy.

“It is Cross now,” Raphael interjects.

“I see,” Fellmind speaks uncaringly, while he searches among the thousands. “Where are Drekken and Rune?”

“Drekken is already dead,” Cross answers, looking at the pile that has slain his centipede pet. “As for Rune, take a look over there.”

He points toward the wormhole where the karayans continue to pour out of, as Mother Rune eyes the group through the army of her children. Aaron’s mouth is left agape when he sees what has become of his friend.

“What happened to her?” Raphael asks, attacking another karayan that rushes him.

“Mother possessed her,” Cross ventures a guess. “She is the source of this madness now.”

“Well Aaron,” Raphael smirks, looking over at the boy, “You’re up.” 

“Wait, you can’t mean,” his voice trails off. “I can’t do that to Rune.”

“You will have to,” Raphael argues, “Otherwise they will ransack this city. And by these numbers the entire country too. Now go over there and use that tool I gave you.”

“What are you talking about?” Cross asks, watching as the army begins to surround them.

“I think we have a way of ending this,” Raphael observes the enemy closing in as well. “But Aaron is the only one who can use the device. It’s powered by his ability.”

“It will kill Mother,” Aaron finishes. “But I don’t want to risk hurting Rune.”

“You are going to have to,” Cross says somberly. “There is no other way.”

Aaron Fellmind winces at the thought.

“Go now,” Raphael orders, “Cross and I will hold off her children.”

The young karayan takes a deep breath, and runs through the crowd of corrupted creatures. He eyes his goal. Glaring at him from over the pit is Mother Rune, eagerly awaiting him. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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