A hundred families had prepared eulogies for the ones they’d lost. Despite the horrors that beset Crescent Valley these past months, none struck so deep as the tragedy of Oldtown Junction. History would tell of the dark day when Fang Force failed in their duty.
However, it was also a time of miracles, and history was not yet written.
A little boy clung to a statue and screamed as the men in uniform took her into the back of a van. ‘For safekeeping,’ they told him; ‘we’ll keep her safe’, as though any assurance could be enough. Nothing could soothe the vision of a mother’s leaving, save perhaps her return. Though even a child, for all the wonder they held, knew how likely that was.
The fighting in the distance stopped, and the tremors stilled. Fang Force stood victorious; they didn’t need a TV or radio to be sure. On any other day it would be a cause for celebration.
Then something peculiar happened. The air became warm, and so did the surface of the statue. Throughout the vehicle, grey faded into pinks, browns, and creams of all shades and tints. The workmen were careful not to leap back as the stone in their fingers turned soft, and once rigid figures began to move. Continue reading “Fang Force #36 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 6)”
Restored to full strength and beyond, Qimos moved across Crescent Valley with steps as long as city blocks. His stringy digits lashed at the masonry, tearing through the face of buildings. The void’s chill radiated from him, frosting the windows, and biting the unfortunates who landed in his path.
From his renewed proboscis he spat needles like iron girders. They shot into the street, and turned up the pavement. Pitiful creatures ran outside to avoid the collapse of their refuges, and those on the street fled for cover. Nowhere was safe!
“Take him from all sides!” Blue Fang barked through the comms.
The familiars charged from every corner of the intersection, running and scuttling, and pounced. Yellow Beetle charged at the feet, Blue Wolf the legs, Pink Spider latched to its back, and Green Mountain Lion struck from head on. Their combined force was sure to bring the enemy down, if only they could only land a blow.
Qimos sprang into the air, leaving the machines victim to their own momentum. They crashed onto asphalt and tore up the streets. It hardly seemed worth the effort destroying the city when Fang Force was doing it for him! Continue reading “Fang Force #35 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 5)”
Uncertainty permeated the streets of Oldtown Junction. Friends, family and loved ones stood transformed from flesh into stone. Were they really gone, or was there still some trace of humanity tucked away beneath? With strange things always happening around them it was difficult to say.
Volunteers wrapped the statues in padding and loaded them onto trucks. Bystanders watched from the barricade, crying when someone they knew was carried away. It was like losing them all over again.
“It’s not safe for them here,” the officials told them. They weren’t game to dash their hopes, no matter how unlikely a restoration seemed.
On an already dark day, Qimos returned to wreak more havoc. He was not alone, and led a horde of freaklings through the populace. The creatures spread in a devastating circle, prompting screams from the humans as they ran.
For a being born in the land of nightmares, there was no sweeter melody.
“Flee if you must, but it will do you no good,” Qimos mused. “When the floodgates open, and the Abyssal Realm swarms your Earth, your lives will be ours to toy with!”
None stopped to listen, but it mattered little. Continue reading “Fang Force #34 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 4)”
For once in his unnatural life, Lord Nihilex was in a bright mood; as bright as a cave-dwelling void being was capable, anyhow. On squat legs he bounded the steps leading to the throne and pumped his fists high.
“Red Fang has fallen!” he decreed. “Without leadership, Fang Force is sure to crumble!”
The freaklings crashed into each other, agitated and excited, and echoed with a high, squeaking groan that in some reality passed for cheering.
Among the throng was Qimos, the bipedal mosquito and hero of the hour. Somewhere under the depressed needle hanging over his face was a smile. Minute as his mouth was it stretched to its limits, and if seen would have shone with sickly blue cheeks.
“You’ve done us proud, Qimos,” Lord Nihilex continued. “Of all the generals under my rule you have been the most effective; more effective, even, than my pitiful excuse for a step-son – Fantom!”
Qimos hesitated, unsure of what to make of the comparison. Best not to question it, he thought; best to fall before his master and give him the reverence he deserved. Continue reading “Fang Force #33 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 3)”
Oldtown Junction came with a lot of memories. Just a few short years ago, Lindsay was a senior, wandering the markets after school. Some of her fondest memories included standing at the ice cream stall with her friends, and taking a little too long sampling the flavors.
It was on the faces of statues that the spirit of those memories twisted to horror. What manner of monster would do such a thing? And to leave a wanting child without a mother.
Lindsay summoned her bravest smile and offered the little boy her hand. “Let me take you somewhere safe,” she said. “Then we’re going to do everything we can to fix your mom. Okay?”
He wiped the snot from under his nose, but appeared no less confused. “But… but she’s a statue!”
“Then we’ll un-statue-fy her,” she said.
It took all she had not to betray her assuredness. What right did she have to make that kind of promise? Perhaps she wasn’t ready to let go of hope. So, Lindsay decided, she would do everything she could. It wouldn’t do for a kid to suffer for her optimism. Continue reading “Fang Force #32 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 2)”
It started with a rumble. Was she hearing things? Lindsay stopped, fresh from saying goodbye to another tour group, and listened. The tiles rattled a second time, and for a while all was quiet. She might have thought it a monster, but the bell tower always rang when evil reared its head. This, she decided, was something else.
The young woman followed the sound between beats. It was coming from inside the castle. She entered the staircase leading to the basement and followed it to the end. The ground rumbled again, louder this time. She was getting close.
Rarely did she have a need to enter the basement. While tour goers believed there were dungeons or catacombs, in truth there was only a storage area for props and cleaning supplies. Lindsay brushed an effigy of the Great Vampire King to one side – a relic from Halloweens past – and came to the source of the noise.
The vampire dripped with sweat, and let the weights in his arms drop to the floor. It struck with a boom, the likes of which shook the walls. Luther brushed the soggy blond strands from his face.
“Looks like you caught me,” he said. Continue reading “Fang Force #31 – “Hero’s Essence: Lindsay’s Fight for Life” (Part 1)”
Time has little meaning for immortals such as Fantom. The air was musty and thick with the smell of rot. Where he sat was no doubt the resting place of countless before him, not that it bothered him. He would wait until doomsday for Queen Lacuna’s return.
He stilled upon hearing footsteps. There was no mistaking Lord Nihilex’s gait. The shadow conqueror rattled his talons across the bars of his step-son’s cell.
“Curs’tac has been destroyed,” Lord Nihilex said.
The prince hummed. “He was lucky to survive as long as he did.”
Lord Nihilex threw his weight against the cell where stalactites and stalagmites had were closed like interlocking teeth. “Luck or not, he had an advantage; one which you jeopardised with your… your arrogant posturing!”
“My point still stands,” Fantom said. “Your affection for our Queen, deserved though it is, has made you dull. You have the power to raze worlds, ‘my Lord’, but will not lift a finger to claim them.”
Were anyone else present they might have feared for Fantom. Who among them was so bold to speak to one of the great Abyssal rulers in such a way? Continue reading “Fang Force #30 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 6)”
Wiseman ran his palms over the crystal ball, and through it revealed the goings on in Crescent Valley. What it showed put the court ill at ease; less because a promising general had fallen, and more for the fury it would inspire from their master.
Lord Nihilex did not disappoint, and stormed across the obsidian tiles. They cracked under his feet, and rattled loose the stalactites. His bellows carried through the tunnels, and into the mouth of the Abyssal Realm.
“Of all the clumsy, inept sycophants to march through these halls, this one grates me the most!” he roared. “To think that I had hopes for Curs’tac, picking off the entire Fang Force one by one, only to be betrayed by his own foul smell!”
The absurdity was too much, and prompted the shadow conqueror to kick over a table, then the candle holder, and to brush all the cups from a nearby table. His servants, and his children, cowered in his wake. To even breathe out of turn might set off a chain reaction they may not survive.
“I’ll instruct our next generals to shower, Father,” Vultera said. The harpy shook so much that a rain of feathers fell from her body. Continue reading “Fang Force #29 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 5)”
Though Drake was at rest, he was anything but restful. He twisted in his sleep, kicking off blankets one second and grabbing for them the next. Pain coursed through him while his body slowly stitched itself together.
Cassius sat at his bedside, never once looking away. He reached for Drake’s jacket, which had fallen to the floor, and pulled it back over the wounded vampire’s chest. The green, vegan leather was smooth to the touch, but lacked the earthy smell that was part of its character. All Cassius could smell was the garlic, onions and spices so liberally applied to the curator’s meatballs. Who would have thought that mere foodstuffs could make him so pitiful.
Spike balanced on the bed rail and applied a washcloth to Drake’s forehead. She fretted, fiddling with tiny claws. “I hope the others are alright,” she said.
“They will be,” Cassius said. “They’re strong, and Lindsay’s there.”
The little bat flapped and whined. “But-but there’s only three of them, and-”
“Curs’tac is a dangerous enemy, but worrying isn’t going to help. We have to trust that they’re strong enough to handle the situation.” Continue reading “Fang Force #28 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 4)”
The caves growled and the wind like teeth pressed into the monsters from behind. Even Curs’tac, indestructible as he was, hesitated when drawing closer to the throne. He took refuge behind Fantom, whose advance continued.
“You must be out of your mind,” the creature said. “Y-you pulled me away without orders. Victory was in our grasp! I’ll make sure he knows it was you! I’ll make sure he has your head!”
Were there eyes behind his mask Fantom might have rolled them. It was not uncommon for would-be generals to prattle with bravado, but this one was particularly grating.
“I have called you here for a purpose,” he said.
Stalactites trembled, and the ground cracked. Greater than the draw of the Abyssal Realm was the presence that loomed at its mouth, hanging in the darkness. The shadow conqueror’s bellow gripped at the tar covered things the monsters called hearts.
“AND WHAT PURPOSE MIGHT THAT BE!”
It was not a question; it was a challenge, and one that only a fool would take upon themselves. Lesser creatures had known oblivion for speaking out of turn. Was now the time for Fantom? Continue reading “Fang Force #27 – “Shell Shock: The Indestructible Foe” (Part 3)”