The Ambrose Chronicles

A Pathway to Bedlam

October 9th, 2007 - 11:13 P.M.

October 9th, 2007
11:13 pm

October 9th was a dreary night.
The air was cold, the skies were cloudy and a pre-winter dampness seemed to hang in the air. The city of Ambrose was tucked under a blanket of dark as no moon shone to bring respite to the city asleep. The street lights did their best to ward off the night, but in a town such as this, it is often a vain attempt. Amidst the feeble lamps, however, a single beacon moved through the night, like a lantern in the hand of a lone watchman.
A bus moved through the streets, driving along in its nocturnal circuit.
The passengers all sat alone, an old woman up front, looking out the window with a serene smile brought on by years of seeing all that life had to offer. A young man, not even out of highschool, sat with his laptop satchel clutched in his lap, a troubled look on his face as he looked out the window. A man in an old leather coat sat in front of him, his eyes watchful, but at rest. A large man wearing cargo pants and a military jacket dozed in his seat as the bus rolled on. Another young man sat near him, talking quietly on his cell phone to an unknown friend. A man of Asian descent sat behind him, his clothes and demeanor that of a college student, he occupied himself with his head phones as he listened to music. Then finally in the back sat a man with long black hair, wearing a biker coat and stained jeans, who looked out the window without interest. They all had somewhere to go and plenty of time to get there.
And then the driver cried out.
Slowly everyone lifted their heads, they looked around disoriented and confused, then the haze started to drift from their minds and eyes. The bus had swerved, the driver pulling hard at the wheel, then the light pole. They had crashed. Everyone slowly looked to the front. The driver pushed himself up from the bent wheel, he had a gash across his face. Here and there the passengers groaned, but other than that all was silent. The driver looked back to his charges,
“I-is everyone ok?”
Just as he finished the sentence something unseen erupted through the driver side window and pulled him through, so fast that the glass hadn’t even had time to hit the ground.
The silence became sepulchral.
Suddenly the man in the leather coat stood up, a very large snub nosed revolver in his hands,
“Everyone stay away from the windows!” he yelled.
The young man with the laptop cowered away from the window, the large man in the military jacket stood, instantly awake and alert, in the back the man in the biker coat slowly sidled away from the window. A few moments of dead silence passed.
And then people began to hear it, a tapping so faint that at first it went unnoticed. Slowly the tapping grew, and it became obvious that the sound was circling the bus. They all looked to the windows, but the street lamps were out, and the internal lights of the bus made it impossible to see anything except for their own reflection.
“What is that?” The man in the military jacket said.
“Quiet.” Said the man with the revolver.
The tapping sound turned almost taunting.
“What the hell is that?!” The kid that was on the phone yelled.
“I said be quiet!”
“What the hell IS THAT?!” the kid stood up, panic and horror on his face.
The man with the revolver sighed in frustration.
“Screw it,” the kid said, “I don’t give a damn what anyone says, I’m getting the fuck ou-“
Suddenly the emergency exit on the roof exploded downward, and a hand reached down, grabbing the kid by the head, he started screaming as he was pulled upward, but as soon as he was out of sight his screaming cut short.
Everyone on the bus began talking at once, shouting and cursing and demanding answers. The man brandished his revolver, “Everyone just stay calm God dammit!” he yelled.
The man in the military jacket reached into his bag and pulled out a road flare, the only weapon he had besides the brass knuckles he was already sliding onto his other hand. The Asian student stood up, instantly dropping into a well practiced martial arts stance. The young man with the laptop ducked under the seats, frantically crawling to the front. The man in the back remained seated.
Finally the kid got to the front and grabbed the CB radio. Everyone turned as one when they heard him. He began frantically calling out an SOS to anyone, but the signal was choppy. As he yelled at the receiver something was happening, the sound of metal, twisting and snapping, could be heard. The kid looked around nervously, then suddenly the radio was pulled through the front of the bus, the kid screamed and fell backward, crawling as fast as he could back toward everyone else.
The man with the revolver looked to the front, where the radio was torn free.
“Dammit we need to get out of here. Fast.”
“If we can get out to the street I can probably hot wire a car.”
Everyone turned and looked at the man in the back.
The man with the revolver opened his mouth to speak, but was drowned out by the sound of the front door being pulled open.
Slowly, everyone turned to look.
For a moment, nothing.
And then, the sound of a heavy boot on metal, someone was coming in.
Everyone instinctively backed away from the front, all but the old woman, locked into her seat by confusion and fear. The boot-strikes continued, seeming to last for hours instead of the seconds it would take to climb the short stairs. Suddenly the lights in the front of the bus flickered. As everyone watched a man appeared from the strobing darkness in front of them. As he stood there the light flickered back on and steady, this new person now bathed in fluorescent light.
A collective gasp was heard as they took in the features of the new man.
They were just….. wrong.
His face was almost elongated, but ever so slightly, his features sharp, feral in appearance. As they watched, his eyes glowed with an inner light. They looked to his mouth, it was covered in blood, as was his neck and shirt. His hands were covered in gore.
The old woman began to panic.
The feral man looked at her, her eyes widened in fear, a lifetime alive had not prepared her for this. A smile spread across his face as he took in her reaction, as he did he revealed long fangs, also slick with blood, and he continued to stare at her. And then without another word, the woman clutched her chest, slumped to the side and was still, a look of horror frozen on her face.
The feral mans gaze returned to everyone else.
The man in the leather jacket slowly but confidently raised his revolver.
“Get to the back door.”
Without another word he fired.
Everyone was moving as fast as they could trying to get to the back door, the first shot was heard, but missed. A second shot rang out and hit home, everyone turned back to see the feral man striding forward confidently, not even a look of discomfort on his inhuman face. They turned back and threw open the door, the man with the road flare in front. As the door swung open another man was outside, baring the same feral features of the first. They all took an instinctive step back, but the man with the road flare ignited it almost without a thought. The second feral man leapt forward, one foot landing on the edge of the bus, but the man with the flare was ready. He took a step forward and jammed the flare into the feral mans eye without a second glance.
Such a scream has not been heard by the ears of the waking.
The feral man seemed to almost disappear with the speed that he fled, the road flare dropped to the ground. They all jumped down and headed left, running for the first vehicle they saw, an old pickup truck. As they ran for it a window on the bus shattered outward, the man with the gun thrown roughly outside and to the ground. They stopped in shock, but only for a moment as the feral man inside the bus came charging out, aimed directly at the man in the military jacket.
On reflex he grabbed the feral man as he charged and redirected him, sending him into the building they had nearly crashed into. The man in the biker coat and the kid with the laptop turned and ran for the pickup. The man in the biker coat slammed his elbow into the window, breaking it. He reached in, unlocked it and threw the door open, hopping in to pry the panel off from under the steering column.
The feral man hit the wall hard and the man in the military jacket pinned him to it. The student then ran forward, delivering a quick series of punches and kicks to the feral man. Suddenly the feral man moved in a blur, running up the wall and flipping over the man in the military jacket, and deftly slammed him into the same wall. He then turned to the student, murder in his eyes.
The student took a step back, dropping into his stance, when several gunshots pierced the night. The man in the leather jacket stood with his gun raised. The shots slammed into the feral man, stumbling him, but any look of pain or discomfort was vacant on his face. He turned towards the man in the leather jacket, but before he could make a move sirens blared in the night. The feral man looked up, then back to the man in the leather jacket, a look of rage colored his face, and then he bolted into the darkness.
The three men stood there for a moment, the sirens wailing. Then the sound of the pickup starting shook them from the moment.
“We need to go.” Said the man in the leather jacket.
They all turned and ran to the truck and hopped in the back. Without delay the man in the biker coat took off down the street, away from the carnage. After driving for about a block they looked around and realized that the street lamps were normal again. The man in the leather coat scoffed, then opened the back window of the truck and shouted some directions over the sound of the engine and the wind, then leaned back and closed his eyes.
They drove for a while in silence until they got to their destination.
They all got out of the truck and looked to their supposed sanctuary.
A massive gothic church loomed above them.

Comments

Good start. It feels so long ago now.

A Pathway to Bedlam
ZarDog

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