Terror has a new name...
The Hallow Creatures
Hold tightly to your hopes and dreams.
Arikon sensed the Pulse-Plasma Jets mere seconds before they blinked overhead and in an instant, reached the shimmering horizon before banking around to return. Instinctively he fell, slipping his hunting dagger from its leather sheath and biting down hard on the foul tasting hide all before he hit the ground.
Curling into a tight ball he held his anxious breathe; it was coming.
The plasma shockwave lifted Arikon as easily as the breeze lifts a leaf and slammed him hard into the unforgiving stone wall; the dagger bouncing off a window frame and slicing his stubbled cheek. He bit clean through the Devil-Rat leather and as gravity clutched him back to the ground, his lungs were removed of their precious air.
Wide eyed and with mouth agape, Arikon could not inhale; the Devil-Rat seemed to have its revenge as the supple tanned skin made a perfect plug in the writhing man’s windpipe.
Arikon could only stare at the blank white ceiling as his chest ached and burned. Tears stung his eyes and thinned the blood on his face as his body contorted one finally time in an effort to live. Cold began to flow through him as his vision became dull and misty.
Something began curling around his right leg, something firm and strong.
Beyond caring, his fading sight barely registered as the room turned upside down as he was lifted as a child lifts a discarded toy. Arikon was now high enough to see the crowds through his death fog. The shattered window breathed deeply the urgent cries and pleas and blew them softly at him.
He scarcely felt the first heavy blow across his broad back. The second blow galvanized him awake. The third blow dislodged the leather wad enough for Arikon to draw a long painful wheezing breathe and cough the Devil-Rat’s final insult onto the cold dusty floor. He felt himself being lowered slowly and surprisingly gently down. There he lay, heaving and gasping as his addled senses fought to regain control.
Struggling onto his stomach, then up onto his knees and elbows, he felt vulnerable and scared as his shocked lungs coughed and rasped back to life. His right hand spidered and scuttled around the bloodied floor searching for the hunting dagger.
A huge claw, softly yet resolute rested on his left shoulder. Arikon bowed his head and spat out a tooth.
“No...Please...I beg you...Not like this.”
He felt the dagger’s blade on the back of his seeking fingers and pulled his hand up and away in a reflex motion. The leather bound handle was pushed firmly into his palm. A sonorous growl caused Arikon’s anxiety to slow.
“I believe you are searching for this, Professor?”
The bloodied and beaten man finally succumbed to the pain and rolled onto his side to stare into the eyes of the enormous Sugar-Morph.
“Kan-Dee! Thank the stars. Can you get me to a chair please?”
Effortlessly, the Professor was lifted from the floor and with three huge strides, deposited with dignity into a broken wicker chair.
The goliath disappeared into an adjoining room as Arikon stared through the shattered glass at the chaotic madness before him. The Sugar-Morph returned with a cracked tumbler of water and a stained towel, holding out both dutifully to the shaken man.
“Thank you my friend.”
Arikon drank deep then stemmed the blood oozing from his cheek.
He glared at the figures beginning to leach out through the walls of the plasma jets and yelled in frustration and horror at the sight of children being ordered from their homes to stand obediently beneath an immense ‘Capture-Droid.’
Arikon shifted in his seat to face the Sugar-Morph.
“Who are these...these monsters and what do they want?”
The huge figure placed a massive claw just above the window frame and listened to the pleading of parents and sobbing of children. He curled all three digits in anger, slicing through the ‘Dusk Oak’ like a stick through water.
“There is no stopping them Professor for these are the ‘Hallow Creatures.’ They live an empty existence in the shadows, barely human so void of any humanity.”
He slowly turned to face Arikon.
“They believe their way is the chosen way and wish for everyone to be like them.”
Arikon looked from the panicking throng to his friend, then back to the nightmare unfolding outside.
“What will they do...?”
He held the towel to his face, his hand shaking uncontrollably with pain and fear. The behemoth gradually crouched by the side of the chair and gazed at Arikon intently.
A demanding sound shifted his focus and drowned the cacophony. A sound to be feared.
Arikon struggled from the wicker embrace and leaned heavily against the window frame. “NO! OH NO! WHAT ARE THEY...?”
The grumbling hooting echoed around the smoking city. Kan-Dee steadied the Professor.
“The Hallow Creatures are pure evil but also cowards to boot. They are their bodyguards, ‘Weens’, they process the children. Behind every Hallow Creature is a Hallow Ween.”
Arikon dragged his gaze from the terrifying vision and with disbelieving eyes questioned his friend.
“What do you mean process the children? What do they DO to them? We MUST stop them!”
Arikon leaned into the colossus and slid to the floor.
“We must...”
The Sugar-Morph carefully lifted the traumatised man, placing him back into the wicker chair.
“The ‘Weens’ are Cyborgs, they are able to enter a child’s very soul and remove all that is precious to them.”
Arikon couldn’t lift his head now, he could feel the shock shutting down his entire body.
“What do you mean, ‘precious to them’?”
Kan-Dee continued.
“The Weens get their energy from positive emotions so will strip a child of its hopes and dreams, its ambition and interests, leaving behind an empty shell and a future ‘Hallow Creature.”
Arikon felt the tears again and allowed them to run.
“There must be something we can do; anything?”
“Please Professor, your dagger if I may...?”
Arikon pulled the hunting knife from its bottomless sheath, handing it to the Sugar-Morph.
“If what you have told me is true, I don’t think one dagger will...”
Kan-Dee swiftly ran the blade down one claw and his golden, syrupy blood bubbled to the surface. He quickly snatched the blood stained towel from the chair and held it firmly against the wound. After a few seconds he removed it and handed the glistening towel to the ashen faced Professor; the crystallised blood shone.
“I’m sure you know what to do with this...?”
Arikon shook his head.
“My DNA is in this sample, it won’t work.”
The Sugar-Morph removed his utility belt, letting it fall loudly to the floor.
“You have to make it work Professor or there will soon be a new order, one which involves no order at all.”
He lumbered towards the door. Arikon struggled from the chair.
“Wait! Where are you going?”
Kan-Dee slowly turned his huge head.
“There is one thing that may appease them; one thing that they haven’t tasted in over a thousand years.”
The Professor gazed sadly at the proud giant.
“No, there has to be another way, let me think, please...”
The Sugar-Morph ducked under the door frame and clumped down the stone stairs. A final message echoed up the void.
“Goodbye Father...!”
Arikon watched heartbroken as the Hallow Creatures swarmed the Sugar-Morph. The city was saved and all but forgotten; the Hallow Creatures had a far sweeter prize.
He turned and gripping the bloodied towel firmly, limped up the stairs to his laboratory. He had work to do.
Gasping, he finally reached the fifth level just in time to watch the first Plasma Jet ascend and disappear in the blink of an eye. He placed the towel on a shiny metal tray and turned to the sink by the window to cleanse every last microbe from his grazed dirty hands.
Kan-Dee was outside staring at him through vacant eyes.
‘How is this possible? I’m five stories up...’
A gleaming metallic fist punch a neat hole through the glass, enough for Kan-Dee’s head to squeeze through.
“Change of plan I’m afraid...Professor!”
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