Think I preferred the fire shit,” A.J. remarked shortly, running a hand through his sweat-soaked hair, shoving the golden brown strands which had been clinging to his forehead back into place. At least you could see the flaming monsters from the earlier rift. At least fire was something with which he knew how to deal. But this room could have been swarming with shadow creatures for all he knew, and he hated being pitted against an enemy he couldn’t see. It left him feeling vulnerable.
Although he opened his mouth to say something, glad that Sidney was alright, he was suddenly shoved aside, stumbling back across the floor, doing his best to avoid the abyss as another creature pounced from the darkness. While Sidney dealt with that one, he regained his footing, aiming his pistol and firing at a pair of shimmering black eyes hovering in a far corner of the room. The gunfire cast a light over the furniture and exhibits for only a second before the darkness returned, an unseen terror falling over dead with a guttural groan.
“Me? Fucking perfect,” A.J. said sharply, managing a throaty laugh that sounded mostly self-deprecating. He was glad to be in his element, glad to have something on which to focus his attention, even only for now. If Sid was asking as a friend and not as a combat partner, A.J. appreciated it, but now was not the time to dwell on friendship or sentiment. Life was shit, but they kept on fighting for their chance to live it. And so, raising his firearm again, he fired, once, twice, three times into the darkness, the red glow returning to his eyes and casting an eerie glow over the room.
Sidney is gazing upward into a world he can’t embrace, venom running through his veins. It had been going so well and in an instant it had gone oh so terribly wrong. But who is he to say? His best could of really been his worst, and now in the end, he’s paid for it. It’s all gone cold.
When he sprang himself at the shadow creature, a raspy yell escaping deep within his throat, the beast knocked him off balance with a check of its shoulder. He hit the ground hard, the weight of his body sending him sprawling on the floor. Before demon, hellhound, or whatever the damn thing is advanced on him, Sid was on his feet, hands dancing with electricity that charged up his knife. Driving the electrified blade in the soft spot under its jaw, he let out another yell, putting all his magic into on souped-up electrical current, frying the monster from the inside out.
Yanking the blade out of the slain beast, Sid take a brief moment to himself. The thirty-one year old should of known better than to let his guard down for even a second, especially knowing that more of these ungodly creatures surrounded him and A.J. Before he could check on how the man was faring, Sid was suddenly gripped from behind so fast everything from then on out was a blur. There’s an awful cry coming mere inches from his left ear just as a sharp, white-hot pain erupts from his neck spreading throughout his body. In a millisecond his gun is brought up and the trigger pressed, the fangs that ripped a chunk of his flesh no longer grinned down on him.
Both bodies drop to the floor in heavy heaps, the weight of their bodies dragging them down. It’s okay to cry out he know, but the sound won’t…can’t come and he’s only greeted with the gurgling of blood. Silent tears stream down his face, blood pouring from the chunk missing in his neck. His heart beat slows and he knows he’s going somewhere where the pain will cease. A cold body takes one final shaky breath and Sidney Parker stares up into the beyond with cold, dead eyes.
When the monster pounced upon him and held him down, shadowy claws wrapped firmly around his wrists, pinning him to the floor and releasing a mouthful of putrid breath into his face, A.J. let out a pained cry, fighting back with every ounce of strength he could muster. However, as powerful as he was, the creature kept him in its grip, rallying against his superhuman strength with a mighty roar. Piercing black eyes met A.J.’s own, and in that moment, the man nearly feared death, feeling the saliva dripping down from the gaping maw ready to take a bite out of his neck.
But then a flash of light filled the room for only a moment, forcing the darkness to retreat. A loud howling noise echoed through the air, taking A.J.’s attacker off guard and giving the man some leeway to kick it off. But he had nowhere to back away, the open abyss standing impenetrable just behind his back, spewing more and more of the nightmare beasts into their world.
But just as his assailant had its bearings and was ready to pounce again, Sidney was behind it, driving a knife into its skull with a sickening squishing sound. Crawling forward, A.J. scrambled to his feet, his clothing and skin stained with dark unmentionable fluids regurgitated from the monster’s mouth.
“Sid. Shit. The fuck is happening?” he breathed, locking eyes with the man. He had lost his rifle in the scuffle, and rather than searching for it, he pulled his pistol from his belt, ready for action. “You alright?”
If the timing weren’t terrible, a laugh would of escaped him, sending him into a fit of giggles at how the man before he looks. Wasting time of stupid things like that in the middle of a fight is what gets you killed. “It’s Quantico all over again.” He says without a doubt, the piece of the puzzling slowly coming together the more and more he spends time dwelling on it. Except for the sky opening it was the ground this time, threatening to swallow them hole along with the creatures it gives birth to.
"I’m good." He takes a shaky breath, hands gripping his knife and gun tighter as another beast crawls out of the void, raring itself to pounce on the two of them. This time Sid’s ready. It springs forward, he pushes A.J aside who’s directly in its sight, and steps aside, bring his knee up just in time to crack it against the thing’s jaw. What perfect timing. He’ll say right now that that’ll never happen again. As it recollects itself, there’s no hesitation when he drives his knife on top of its head, ending it instantly.
"Are you alright?" Multiple meanings lie behind the question. He had almost been killed seconds ago and just last night the man had been taking sleeping pills for reasons that didn’t need to be said. Friends pick up on those kind of things, and the one thing that depresses A.J more than anything losing Mara when really she’s right in front of him. He’s about to say something else when a screech echoes throughout the building, more and more of those monsters making their way out of the rift. He’ll wait for an answer later, right now they need to stay alive until the rift closes and they can recollect themselves and regroup with the others. Sid lunges at the nearest shadow, knife raised above his head ready for the plunge.
His sleep was deep and dreamless—fueled by the little white pills he had downed the night before. But when the ground began to shake beneath him, the tremors stirred A.J. brutally awake. He shot straight up on his bedroll, sweat shimmering on his brow. And through the drowsy fog still clinging to his eyes, he could only barely see the shifting darkness around him. A muttered curse escaped his lips, and he brought up a hand to clutch his head, trying to steady himself. What time is it? Too dark to be morning yet. Why the fuck am I awake? Whatever it said about him, his first instinct was to search for the pill bottle, to try to pop another few tablets and knock himself out until sunrise. But then he heard gunfire echoing a few rooms away.
“Jesus H. Christ,” he murmured, jumping to action as old instincts took over. In that instant, he was in a Pennsylvania firehouse, an alarm ringing in his ears and pulling him from his bed. Shaking away the lingering fatigue, A.J. grabbed his rifle and checked his ammo, squinting through the funhouse of shifting shadows and stumbling over to the door, steadying himself on the frame. But with the last bout of weakness falling from his limbs, he began to move more quickly, running through the museum, weaving through rooms and exhibits until the floor abruptly ended beneath him, a piece of tile falling away into the void. He stumbled back, his shoulder hitting something solid. Hiss. Turning, he threw his weight against it, whatever it was, and the red glow taking hold of his forearms, he sent the monster flying, disappearing into the abyss.
“What the fuck?” he murmured, adrenaline hammering through his veins. The red light emanating from his arms and eyes painted the room crimson, the powerful glow illuminating the space and guiding him through it. There were other creatures, he realized, all around him. And raising his gun, he fired, trying to pick them off as they circled in the space’s farthest corners. But he was too close. And then another gunshot rang out, not his own, and turning toward it, he could make out a familiar, slim form standing there in the dark.
“Sid! The fuck is happening?” he cried out, moving for the man, inching his way through the room. But all at once, another creature pounced from his left, knocking him to the ground.
The time it took for him to register someone was shouting at him, a familiar voice at that, the creature before him lunged once again, this time taking him down with it. Both bodies tumbled over each other until coming to a stop at the mouth of the abyss. His knife slid in one direction and his gun in the other. Head hanging over the abyss, he tries to wiggle free from the creature pressing down on him and when that doesn’t work he calls out to A.J, glancing over his direction only to see him knocked to the ground as well. Dammit. He’s totally defenseless and about to either get eaten or thrown into an never-ending void. No. That’s not how he’s leaving this world, not without a fight that is.
Slamming his hands to the side of the creature’s face, through the shifting shadows he can make out grotesque features, whether it’s skeletal or rotting flesh doesn’t matter. Letting out an unnatural yell, his runes flare, glowing a deep, heavy blue as his arms and hands spark to life. The creature lets out a terrible yelping sound, caught off by the sudden volts travelling throughout its body, and when he feels it go limp he brings one leg up and tosses the monster over him and into the abyss.
The moment he’s freed, Sid jumps right up, scrambling to retrieve his weapons. The red glow caught his eye, allowing him to remember the person who’d been taken down alongside him. A.J had been the last thing on his mind a moment ago, but now he’s top priority. Tensing up his leg muscles as he runs, once at the edge of the chasm between him and his friend, Sid jumps and lands on his feet, wasting no time to drive his knife in the back of the monster’s head.
A nightmare. That’s what this is. He is asleep, stuck in slumber from the terror that’s unfolding right in front of him, and he won’t wake up. The earth below his feet trembles, the ground cracks, opening up a darkened abyss mere inches from his feet. In his dream he’d managed to light up a light bulb and when he held that bulb out in front of him there was no source of light emanating from the simple household item to penetrate the darkness and that only confirmed this was actually happening, that he was awake and experiencing Hell all over again.
He took a few cautious steps back from the abyss, eyes watching in terror as something begins to crawl its way out. Thoughts of Quantico race through his mind, how the sky had opened up, unleashing fiery beast upon them and this is too much like that. A black-eyed, shadowy…something emerges from the hole and the only visible features as far as Sid can see are the eyes.
In the second it took him to draw his gun and knife, the thing lunged forward, intent to take him down to the ground, but thinking quick he managed to sidestep and bring up his knife to slash along the creature’s smokey, black side. What kind of damage he dealt can’t be seen through the shadows concealing the beast. It slides to a halt, turning and raring itself for another leap. It doesn’t matter what creature lies hidden underneath the shadows, if Sid’s learned anything from the past year, it’s that these things need to be put down. Bringing his gun up, he aims and fires.
[Sitting on his bedroll, A.J. looks at the people around him before popping the sleeping pill and downing it with a swig of water. He’d gotten a whole box of the little white tablets from Omar that morning. Still, it wasn’t that he couldn’t sleep. It was just that he could do it earlier and for a longer time with some help. With each passing day, his mood has been growing darker, and if left to lonely wandering, he’s vaguely certain that he would let his guard down on purpose for the state he’s in.]
[Sid’s up and about, wandering aimlessly with no real goal in mind. Earlier in the day he tried to get a light bulb to light up with his power, ending with the bulb shattering and no source of light whatsoever. Having power of electricity now, you think there’d be something he should be able to get working. Rechargeable batteries maybe? Heading back to his place in the museum, he stops seeing that A.J’s awake, eyebrow quirking when the man pops something in his mouth. It’s unusual to see him take anything, if it’s medicine at all which he hopes it is.] What is that?
Not lately, no. [Omar narrows his eyes a moment, but it’s a vague motion, as if he’s struggling to see something in the distance. He allows Sidney to try to comfort him, but there’s a hollowness in his chest, a horrible feeling which leaves him feeling almost half-human.] I’ve been…I don’t know. Spending a lot of time in the ambulance. And smoking a lot of cigarettes. I’m some sort of parody.
[Sid can sense it, still see that Omar’s by the fact he had to kill, but Sid doesn’t know how much more he can express to the doctor that it was the only choice. Had he not killed them, surely Omar wouldn’t be standing here. The man sighs, giving one last pat on the shoulder before tucking his hands away in his pockets.] I’ve been collecting light bulbs. Maybe I shouldn’t though now that I think about it. I feel this is like the time I thought I could heal bone.
Me too, and it’s been, like, twice. I’m a piece of work. [Omar gives a bitter laugh, shaking his head. He continues to fidget, crossing and uncrossing his arms.] Don’t apologize. You didn’t do anything. I don’t know why all this is coming up right now. [He shakes his head, biting his lip.] I’m sorry.
And you kiss your mother with that mouth? [Sid takes in a breath after he realizes what he said, vaguely remembering, if at all, the doctor telling him he has no idea how his family is fairing or if they’re alive at all. He pats the man’s shoulder, attempting do to what he did with A.J a week or so ago and just talk to the man to distract him.] So what’s up with you now that you see your best patient less?