Chapter 3 – Calling Grey – A Carrion Book

Calling Grey

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Hello again!  If you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll notice the title has been updated.  The artwork is still temporary, but I think it suits the genre a little better.  Hope you enjoy Chapter 3 of “Calling Grey – A Carrion Book” by Jeremy Binns

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As the last chair clanged to a halt in the stairwell, Grey felt the familiar build.  The creatures screeched and roared above him as they began their hunt, but Grey allowed the river of power to flow through his mind and body.  He allowed it to flow from him.  He became fully alive.  In unison his body and mind became far more potent and powerful than any ordinary man was capable of.  He turned to descend the dark stairwell and return to the 2nd floor where he would face them.  Already, his eyes could see what ordinary eyes could not.  If a bystander happened to be watching, he would never notice any change in the dim light, but for Grey the experience was entirely different.  The darkness which surrounded him was overpowered and propelled away by the force which proceeded from his body until his surroundings were perfectly lit with as much brilliance as the noon day sun.  Even more so because this light emanated from his own being and created no shadows.

He flexed his fingers through the leather gloves and gripped the sword tightly.  His body did not change in appearance, but as the flood washed over him and he became fully immersed in its power, an epic awakening took place within that body.  He began descending the stairs.  The tread of his black leather motorcycle boots straining under the superhuman acceleration they were now being forced to endure.  Before he had fully inhaled the next breath he was already turning to face the stairwell from the center of the 2nd floor office.

His mind was now processing every detail with miraculous speed and clarity.  There were seven papers sailing through the air, caught up in the draft created as he entered the room.  He was acutely aware of each detail that now surrounded him, and he watched them in such vivid clarity that they seemed to move in a graceful slow motion ballet.  He already knew where each one would land.

He pulled the mirrored flight goggles over his eyes and the black ski mask up over his face and then reached down with his left hand to remove a finely balanced black blade from his boot.  He could hear the first two enter the stairwell on different floors racing towards him.  The first would come through the door in just over three seconds.

She jerked violently at the sound of the chairs in the stairwell and howl of the beasts.  Her head throbbed.  Her world rocked to and fro.  Swimming through reality, she drearily spoke her thoughts, “Where am I?  What’s.. what’s going on?”  Her mind was spinning and her vision was a cloudy blur.  She tried to stand but tumbled back against the large dark wooden desk at the rear of the office.  “Hello?” She hoarsely moaned.  In her confusion and fear, her mind reverted back to a primitive childlike fear that instinctively desired nothing more than to run and throw her face into the safety of her mom or dad’s chest while they defended her from any danger she was facing.  Before catching herself, she let out a whimpered, “Mom!  Dad!”

Reality slammed into her chest with the force of a semi truck plowing into her mind and emotions.  Instantly she was consumed as her memory returned in quick and horrid clips playing back in her mind each vivid detail in sequence.  The car, the disappointed look, the window, blood, running, running, the things, watching it running along the wall, mom, gun shots, mom – beautiful and frozen in time and then turning away, stairs, tripping, the office, more gunfire, the screeching, oh god the screeching just wouldn’t stop, and then she remembered the blackness that had covered her like a safe and protecting blanket.

She cold fingers took hold of the polished wooden corner of the desk.  She squeezed her eyes closed and tensed every muscle in her body in an attempt to stop the spinning.  More screeching of the beasts caused her to open them again.  There was just too much!  Too much to process.  “I can’t do this!” she thought to herself.  She shook her head and wrapped her arms around herself as her stomach began to heave uncontrollably.  She emptied the contents of her stomach, and then heaved some more.  She didn’t know if it was the emotions or the room spinning that was causing it.  She took hold of an old leather chair with her other hand to keep from falling over.  The last gut wrenching gag seemed to have slightly purged her mind as well as her stomach.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimmer of her gun lying on the floor.  At least it had been far enough away to not get puked on she thought.  She carefully dropped to her knees and began to crawl over to it.  Her body still felt like it was made of a churning liquid, and the movements caused a blinding pain in her head.  She reached up to steady her head again and for the first time felt a large damp knot on the side of her head.  She pulled her hand back again to see it smeared with matted blood. “Ewww!”  The exclamation sent everything spinning again, and she had to lay down in a fetal position just to keep from going into more dry heaves.  “How long have I been up here?” She wondered.  As she tried to connect all the dots, she dug her fingers into the dense emerald-green carpet in another attempt to stop the motion.

Gray inhaled deeply as he raised the throwing knife and then let it out partially before throwing it towards the door.  His remarkable senses watched as the knife sailed through the office space.  It began the two end over end revolutions it would complete before reaching its destination.  He listened to the beautiful sound it made as it sliced through the air.  A soft whisper followed by a quick swish sound, a lot like a rope being swung round and round.  It made its first revolution and half of the second before the grotesque hairless face began to round the last flight of steps and emerge into the doorway.

The black eyes and taught skin of its face were twisted into an inhuman expression of rage and fury.  One of the hands grasped the door frame at the same time the face was coming into view.  Grey watched in the scene slowly unfold as it’s long and fingers with their exaggerated joints and black nails actually began digging into the metal door frame as it pulled its way into the office.  The sinews and overly tight cords of muscle in its arms and body strained with the exertion.  The reflexes of the beast were much faster than an ordinary human’s, so during the fraction of the second that it filled the doorway it had already begun to decelerate and redirect.  If its face was capable of any expressions other than hate and rage it would have shown for the briefest of moments a fear of its own.  A mirror like reflection of the terror it had inflicted on the lives of the poor souls whose dried blood now stained its hands and face.  For perhaps the smallest moment in time, this creature knew the terror and the death it had dealt to others.

As Grey watched, the glistening tip of the blade that was moving so gracefully through the air seemed to gently come to rest on the beasts forehead just above his eyebrows.  A small dimple appeared as the tip touched the pale blue-green skin.  The dimple grew until its pressure opened an unseen fissure in the skin to receive the blade.  An unremarkable sound emerged from that opening as the point met the skull beneath the skin with enough speed to actually cut it much like a butcher would slice through a chicken bone.  The flesh on the forehead and the skull beneath continued to open the invisible seem wider and wider until they eventually received the full length of the blade.

As time seemed to ebb and flow for Grey during these moments, the beast suddenly slammed against the opposite side of the stairwell and fell limp.  Grey reached behind the small of his back and pulled out the other sword.  He stood in the middle of the office with a sword in each hand and inhaled deeply as a fresh surge of energy ran through his body.  He stared at the doorway and listened.  Three more of the beasts were descending the stairs now, and another was just slightly behind them.  They all screamed with amplified rage as they saw the twice dead beast crumpled in a heap just beyond the doorway.

The screeching!  The sound once again pulled her back from the precipice of unconsciousness.  Emmaline’s thoughts raced again.  “Mom!” She screamed, suddenly fully aware of the possibility that her mother was the source of the ear-splitting chaos.  She couldn’t just sit here like a child while her mother enduring god-knows-what agony at the hands of these things.  “Get control of yourself Emmaline!” She scolded herself for her childish delay.  Then, in a moment of seemingly complete detached randomness, she remembered a phrase her and her friends had used any time they felt that someone in the group was being a little too childish for their age.  She grabbed the gun and said to herself in a mocking voice that was totally inappropriate for the moment, “Put on your big girl panties, Emma.  It’s time to grow up.”

Grey tilted his head at the sound girls voice yelling the word ‘mom’ just as the next wave of creatures piled through the door like wild dogs on a hunt.  He could hear the fourth that had been coming down the stairwell stop somewhere around the third floor at the sound.  Grey’s senses went on full alert, and the flood of energy pulsed through his veins like fire.  The leading three beasts were erupting into the office, climbing over each other, pulling and pushing on anything they could grasp in a blood lust pursuit of their prey.  Abruptly though, and with obvious shock, the three beasts suddenly became aware that there was another predator in this space with them.  The first beast careening into the room realized this fact a moment before the other two and recoiled in fear as the others slammed against its back.  Then, all three began screeching with yet another level of rage as they too tensed in fear.

Grey heard the fourth creature change direction in the stairwell.  He knew the beast was heading towards whoever had yelled for her mother somewhere in the building above.  His mind compartmentalized his situation, and he tightly gripped the blades of his swords

Instead of rushing at him, like the would have ordinarily done to any other victim, they came to a hesitant pause.  Their gaping mouths snarling and predatory.  Although he remained alert, this was nothing new for Grey. He had seen hundreds of the beasts and was accustomed to their reactions and methods of attack.  Next, as they assessed the situation, they began to spread out in a manner similar to what a pack of wolves might do in an attempt to surround a deer.  The beast that turned to his left dropped to all fours as it cautiously made its way around to his side.  It’s long and lean body alternately disappearing and reappearing behind the old cubicles.  At the same time, the beast to his right was walking around to the left with a catlike fluidity of motion.  The first beast hadn’t moved.  It’s body rhythmically swaying with each breath as it climbed onto a large desk and hissed.

In a voice that was entirely befitting of their nature, the hiss was followed by a guttural and drawn out, “Greyyyy.”

“I’m coming!” Emmaline shouted as she pulled the large wooden door open and ran back into the stone hallway of the 8th floor.  She ran past a large decorative and sculpted planter in the corner.  The shriveled and decaying plant that had at one time been large and healthy was now a fragile pile of dried and shriveled leaves.  She turned the corner and almost slipped on the floor.  It wasn’t very dusty up here because this floor had been sealed and undisturbed for nearly sixteen years, but it was still a polished stone floor which exaggerated the effect of the ultra thin layer of dust that had accumulated.

“Dammit!” She scolded herself and her surroundings again.  There were 8 office doors on each side between her and the stairwell.  “I’m coming mom!  I’m coming” She yelled again, as her sneakers regained traction and pounded the hallway floor.  She was half way to the door when she received her reply from the stairwell.  The blood curdling howl nearly caused her to collapse right there again.  She fought the urge to just surrender to the hopeless plight at hand and stopped.  She could heart it now more clearly.  The stairwell door was still ajar, and it was screeching with each breath as it bounded up the stairs.

She turned and frantically raced back towards the large office.  She let out a sound that was something between a sob and a breath as she ran for her life.  She let up a little at the corner to keep from sliding again and headed for the big door at the end of the short hallway.  As she burst through it onto the soft carpet inside, she had enough sense to close it quietly as she heard what sounded like the stairwell door being flung nearly off its hinges.  She locked the door and stepped back behind the wooden desk.  She raised the 9mm and was angry at herself again when she saw that her hands were shaking uncontrollably.

Very few people had ever heard the creatures speak, and of those, only a handful had lived to tell it.  Even then, no one believed the tales of the creatures who spoke.  Grey knew otherwise.  These vessels of death were not mindless monsters.  Oh, they were definitely monsters, but to say they lacked any intelligence was a fatal error.  Most people would never hear them speak because their focus was so completely singular that words and language were completely unnecessary.  They sought only to kill.  They would steal the remnants of life left within the earth and forever destroy humanity.  They were an inoperable cancer within the existence of life on earth.  They were the decaying and vile purification of man, and now this carrion spoke his name.

He had encountered this several times before.  Somehow these beasts, these carrions, knew him.  Much in the same way that he inherently understood and knew them.  He looked at the creature in front of him.  He didn’t just see the glistening black teeth and fangs or the dark eyes and distorted features.  He saw a blackness that seemed to proceed from within them.  In the same way light sometimes came from deep within his being, these beasts emanated a darkness that swallowed up its surroundings like a black hole and sucked up all available life.  It was not his opposite, for he had none, but it was as wicked and as vile as any creature having ever existed before.

They lunged.

She heard the sound of the monster as it raged through the hallway slamming against doors and making horrifying noises.  Her hand began to shake even more.  They had killed her parents.  Her mom had died trying to protect her, but it hadn’t worked.  They were still coming for her, and they would kill her too.

“I don’t want to die.”  She said as her vision slowly blurred and her eyelids brimmed over with tears.  “Suck it up Emmaline!  You can do this.”  She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket.  She quarantined the fearful thoughts racing through her mind and determined that she was not going to die without a fight.  “Come and get me you bastards.”  She said through a tight jaw as she mentally prepared herself.  “Remember the range.  What did dad always say?”  She remembered him teaching her to shoot with the help of the camp guard.  She had been so nervous, and he had put his hand on her shoulder and spoke to her in that voice that could calm any situation.  “Just relax Emma.  Being tense will only throw off your aim.  Take a couple of deep breaths and relax your shoulders.  Easy now.  Feet shoulder width apart.  That’s it.  Check your aim.  Breathe in, and let it half way out.  Don’t jerk, just gently squeeze the trigger.”  When the gun finally did fire, she completely missed the target.  But by the end of the day, she was hitting the target almost every time, and by the end of the week, she was quickly becoming one of the best shots at the range.

She took a deep breath and positioned the sites at the center of the door.  She heard the creature nearing the end of the long hallway.  When it rounded the corner to the door, she would be ready.

All three of them lunged at the same time, but the two flanking him were closer.  With as much grace as a ballet dancer he stepped down to on knee and with lightning speed extended his arms plunging the swords into their chests.  This wouldn’t permanently kill them, but it would give him the time he needed to deal with the third.  He was fully in the moment.  The third beast had leapt from the desk at the same time the other two had lunged.  Since it was in the air before he had dropped to his knee, it was now unable to adjust its trajectory and Grey turned gracefully and dropped to his back as the beast’s black claws scraped along the mirrored lens of his goggles.  As it flew over and proceeded to land, Grey placed his hands flat on the ground beside his head and kicked into the air.  The added push from his hands caused him to spring upright with his feet underneath in a crouching position.

Now it was his turn.  He lunged with a blurring speed.  His gloved fist crushed into the side of the beast as it was just turning to make another attack.    As his knuckles pulverized flesh and bone and turned the brain to mush behind them.  He began to spin and with his left hand grabbed the blade from the creature to his right.  He gripped the intricately carved handle with one hand first, and then finished the spin to take hold with both hands.  With preternatural strength, he heaved the blade upwards, literally severing the beast from center mass and up.

He followed the arc through as the blade pulled free of the creatures skull over and around to meet the neck of the last assailant that had managed to get up on all fours.  Its head fell to the ground beside yet another printer.

He didn’t pause as he sprinted towards the stairwell.  He pulled remaining sword from the headless body and raced towards the girl.

Emmaline heard the beast recklessly round the corner of the long hallway and head towards her, and she thought she heard the sound of ceramic breaking.  As the door shook with the force of the creatures impact, she began firing.  It roared in anger.  She fired again. It slammed against the door again and again causing the wood of the frame to begin to crack and splinter.  She emptied the 15 round clip of the p226, and everything went silent except for the ringing in her ears.

She waited for a moment, still shaking from the adrenaline.  When she didn’t hear anything, she reached for the handle.  She turned the lock and slowly opened the door.  She fully expected the beast to rush at her, but as she opened the door, all she saw was dark splatters of blood and splintered wood.  She stepped into the empty hallway and then startled when she saw a man with swords come running around the corner towards her.

“Get Back!” He screamed.  How was he moving so fast.  She felt the drop of blood land on her cheek and looked up just in time to see it let go and sink its claws into her shoulder.  The unbearably excruciating pain fired off every ounce of adrenaline she had left, and she stayed conscious just long enough to see the creature’s head fall off.  Her last though, “It’s head fall off?”

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That’s it for this chapter.  Let me know what you think, and if you enjoy the book, please share it in your social networks.

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"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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