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Category Archives: Under-Dwelling

Aside

Under-Dwelling Part SevenPart One, Part Two, Part Three, Part FourPart FivePart Six

I wasn’t really scared. Yes they are fast but they aren’t that strong. Compared to me that is. It was just one mantis. That is of course if we were lucky because the truth is that there were probably six of them at least.

We were walking down the tunnel towards the monster and the more than likely dead homeless man. I followed Roy’s lead because he seemed to have a little more experience being underground walking around in the sewers. That was something that I should probably talk to him about.

As we approached the monster we could hear the thing eating the man. There was the sound of squishing flesh and bones snapping. It was really gross.

“How do you want to do this?” I whispered.

“I figured we would just run at it and kill it,” Roy replied.

“As sensible as that sounds, let’s pretend that there may be more than one of them around the corner. We should probably come up with some sort of strategy.”

“That might be a good idea.”

“You think?”

We stopped when we knew that the creature was right around the corner, slowly devouring its meal. I searched through my brain trying to figure out a smart way of handling it.

“Any ideas?” Roy asked me.

“Yeah,” I began, “you run in and distract it, and then I’ll cut it in half.”

“That doesn’t sound very favorable for me.”

“It’s not, but don’t you trust me?”

“Not really.”

“Too bad.”

“On three then?”

“You count.”

Roy shook his whole body, preparing himself for the fight about to take place. Then he took a few deep breaths.

“Are you going to take all day?” I asked him.

“Three,” he said and then barged around the corner.

I gave him a second and then followed right behind him, axes in hand. I could hear the thing screech as loud as could be when it saw Roy coming at it. When he was no more than a few feet away from it, he ducked down and the monster leapt into the air, coming right for me. With one swooping motion I spun around and chopped the thing right in half, just like I said I would.

The mantis fell to the ground with a thud and a splash. It was dead.

Roy got up and we stood back to back.

“There’s more,” I said. “There has to be.”

“Where are they?” he asked.

“I don’t know, but there is no way there is just one of them. There are always more of them lately.”

“Maybe not this time.”

We stood there for the longest time, just waiting. We were waiting for something that was never going to come, however.

After five minutes of waiting we realized that there really wasn’t going to be any more of them.

“Seriously?” I said.

“Wow,” said Roy.

“I don’t understand.”

“Maybe this monster didn’t get the memo.”

“So, we’re done then?”

“I guess so.”

We burned the monsters body and then left the sewer.

That was really it. It hadn’t happened in a really long time but there was only one monster to fight and kill. A part of me still couldn’t let go of the fact that there weren’t any more of them. You would figure that I would be satisfied with that fact but something about it just didn’t sit right. Are you disappointed…?

Under-Dwelling: Part Seven

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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Under-Dwelling Part Six

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four, Part FivePart Seven

The unsuspecting man was pulled down the tunnel and ripped around a corner. After my three seconds of hesitation I took off after them. At least we now knew the monster was definitely down there and it wasn’t sleeping. We were never going to be that lucky.

I picked up phone and called Roy. Don’t worry about how well I can run and talk on the phone. I assure you my ability to multitask is unmatched and I have a great attention to detail.

“Did you find it?” he asked me right away.

“More like it found me,” I replied. “There was a guy sleeping down here and when I was talking to him the thing just snatched him right up.”

“There was a guy sleeping down here? What is it with this city?”

“I don’t know. All I do know is that as soon as we are done here I am leaving.”

“I’ll second that. Where are you?”

I gave him a quick overview of the route I had taken.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll start heading that way.”

“See you soon,” I replied right before I ended the call.

I had lost any sight of where the monster and the guy had headed but all I had to do was follow the screaming. I just hoped that I didn’t get confused about where the sound was coming from and head down the wrong tunnel. It wouldn’t be the first time that had happened.

The mantis was pulling him so quick that the sound of his screams was becoming distant echoes. I was losing them, quickly. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with mantises so I don’t know if they have any sort of ritual before they eat people or if it just happens right away. I hope for that guy’s sake that they like to prepare their food first.

Eventually the echoes became so quiet that I could barely hear them. There was no telling where the monster had taken the guy and I was too slow to catch up. Hey, give me a little slack will you? Let’s see you try and keep up with one of those things. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Anyway, I stopped running and started to look around for any clue that might lead me to where they had headed. There was nothing. So, I just kept running in the direction that I thought they had gone and hoped for the best.

I looked down and my feet were dirty as hell. Even my pants were beyond disgusting. I was definitely going to have to throw these away and buy some new shoes and pants. Not a big deal. I kind of have an unlimited supply of money. Oh, right, the monster.

After wandering around for a while Roy finally found me.

“You lost them?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“How?”

“Those things are fast.”

“I thought you were, too?”

“I am. Doesn’t mean I’m the fastest creature on the planet.”

He just shook his head.

“Watch it or I’ll kill you and leave you in this sewage,” I threatened.

“I bet,” he said, laughing it off.

“We need to find them.”

“I agree.”

All of a sudden there was a horrific scream and a loud crunch. You know when you hear that sound that either makes your teeth hurt, or you can feel it, or just generally makes you feel sick? That’s what that sounded like. I almost felt like throwing up. I don’t do that, though. I haven’t thrown up since I was a little kid.

“What was that?” Roy asked me.

“You know what that was,” I said.

“It came from that way.” He pointed down one of the tunnels.

“So we head toward the bone chilling sound then?”

He just nodded his head.

“Cool,” I sighed.

We headed for the sound of the man that had definitely just been eaten…

Under-Dwelling: Part Six

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Under-Dwelling Part Five

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four, Part SixPart Seven

It was an alligator. There was actually an alligator in the sewer. I never thought that I would actually see that. It wasn’t a big one but we couldn’t just leave it there either. Any unsuspecting victim might wander into it and get seriously injured.

“Seriously?” I said.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Roy admitted.

“Why is there an alligator?” The thing was hissing at us but it hadn’t moved yet, so we kept our distance.

“I don’t know, but what do we do about it?”

“We can’t just leave it here.”

“We can’t call animal control either. They’re not going to believe that we found an alligator in the sewer. They’ll think we’re crazy.”

“Maybe we are crazy.”

“Speak for yourself.”

I stared at the alligator and it stared right back at me.

“We can’t just leave it here,” I repeated.

“Then what do you suggest?” he asked me.

Five minutes later we had the thing dragged out of the sewer and zipped tied the legs together and the mouth shut. Oh yeah, and we tranquilized it. Apparently Roy has things like that. We left it out on the street and called animal control. That was their problem now.

We headed back in the sewer. Of course we had to head back in there. There was no way that the alligator was the one that was killing everyone. That was just a random coincidence. It was definitely a mantis.

It didn’t make sense to head down the same tunnel that we found the alligator because if the mantis were down that way it probably would have eaten the reptile. More than likely it was down one if the other tunnels.

“Well,” I began as we were standing at the intersection, “should we split up?”

“We were working alone well before we met each other so I think we can survive,” Roy pointed out.

“True. I’ll head this way.” I went down the tunnel I originally wanted to go down, leaving Roy to go the other way.

“Stay in touch,” he said and then disappeared.

Being in a sewer by yourself is really creepy. I’m not really sure how the Ninja Turtles manage to live in a place like this. It was really gross.

Ten minutes had gone by and there was no sign of the thing anywhere. I checked in with Roy and he hadn’t seen anything either. I was starting to think that maybe the alligator was the one that was killing everyone. It was a fleeting thought.

I saw something move in the tunnel up ahead. I couldn’t make out what it was from where I was standing, so cautiously I stalked forward with my axes at each side. The creature was lying down. That was good. I could end this thing quickly and be done with it. I was afraid there were probably more of them hiding somewhere.

I was a few feet away from the thing, which was covered by some sort of blanket, when it grunted. It didn’t sound like a mantis. I ripped the blanket off the thing and there was a man underneath it.

“What the hell is the matter with you?” he asked me. “I’m trying to sleep down here.”

“I can see that,” I replied. “Don’t you know that it’s dangerous down here?”

“What? Like there are alligators in the sewer.”

“You know my friend and I just dragged one out of here, alive.”

“Yeah right.”

What is with this town? First there was a dude in an alley calling it his yard. Then there was a mid-sized alligator living in the sewer. Now there is a dude living in the sewer. This city was awful.

“I’m serious,” I tried. “You should get out of here.”

“I don’t think so,” he said as he stood up. “I’ve been living under here for ten years and ain’t never had a problem.”

Suddenly, something grabbed him and yanked him down the tunnel so fast I barely had time to see it…

Under-Dwelling: Part Five

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Under-Dwelling Part Four

Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part FivePart SixPart Seven

That place stunk like nothing I have ever smelled before, and believe me some monsters smell terrible. I was starting to think that maybe I should have gotten a mask just like Roy but I would never admit that to him. I would die before I ever let him think that he had won.

There were at least five dead rats that I could see within the first 20 feet and they were all floating in a mix of a whole lot of nasty things. Yes, sewage. We were in a sewer so it was sewage. I had a little more respect for the people that had to work in sewers or anyone who cleans portable toilets. That takes a strong stomach.

We started to trek through the underground tunnel, searching for any clues that might lead us to the mantis.

“I can still smell this place even through the mask,” Roy complained.

“You have no idea,” I said.

“Wishing you had a mask?”

“Nope. I’m not a little baby. I can handle it.”

“Uh huh.”

“You don’t hear me complaining about it, and I’m not wearing a mask.”

“Whatever. Call me when you hit puberty.”

“That’s mature.”

We eventually came to a four-way intersection. I looked back and forth a bunch of times, trying to decide which was the best way to go.

“What do you think?” he asked me.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

There was a hissing noise off to the right.

“You hear that?” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. “It came from that way.” He pointed to the left.

“No, it came from that way.” I pointed to the right.

“That’s just the echo. Trust me.”

There was another hissing sound, and I started to think that he was right. I wasn’t afraid to admit it that time because we needed to find this thing.

“Okay,” I started, “maybe you’re right.”

We started walking down the tunnel to the left with our weapons ready. These things were quick, nasty creatures that were out for nothing but blood, just like every other monster on this planet.

We were a little ways down the tunnel and we still hadn’t found the mantis.

“Just remember that these things will usually leave a trail of body parts,” I pointed out.

“I know that,” Roy retorted. “That’s only if the kill is fresh.”

“Not always. Sometimes after they eat they might sleep for a day or two, maybe even three.”

“Let’s just hope we’re that lucky.”

“Scared?” I was hoping for the same thing but I needed to give him crap.

“No. It’ll just be easier.”

We both jumped and turned to the right. There was a short tunnel that looked like it wrapped around to the left.

“I don’t think we’re that lucky,” I said.

I headed towards the tunnel with Roy right on my heels. I slowed down for a moment and he stepped on my heel. I almost turned around and chopped off his head but I quickly thought better of it.

“You’re the one who slowed down,” he whispered.

“Pay attention,” I said back.

I started down the tunnel again. When we rounded the corner we found what was making the sound, and it was not what I was expecting to find…

Under-Dwelling: Part Four

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Under-Dwelling Part Three

Part One, Part Two, Part FourPart FivePart SixPart Seven

Okay. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no. A mantis is not what you think. Well, maybe it’s similar. A mantis is a creature that is dark green with long arms that bend the wrong way and is ugly as sin. They bite the head off their victims and eat the bodies. Yeah, that’s like a praying mantis where the female bites the head off the males. But they’re not praying mantis, they are just similar, henceforth the name. They have little beady eyes and a round mouth fully of tiny, sharp teeth. They usually live in caves.

Roy and I looked at each other with an “oh crap” look plastered on both of our faces. Mantises are nasty creatures and a pain in the butt to deal with. I think you’ve probably learned by now that all monsters are difficult to deal with.

“Pretty messed up,” said Harry. “I hope you guys know what you’re getting into. Whoever you’re after is one crazy psycho.”

“You have no idea,” I muttered under my breath.

“Huh?”

“I said yeah.”

Harry just grunted.

“We should really get going,” Roy suggested. “We have a lot of ground to cover.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

“How long do you think you’ll be in town?” Harry asked us.

“I have no idea,” Roy told him.

“Let me know.”

“Yeah.”

Everyone shook hands and then Roy and I were outside. We started walking down the street.

“A mantis,” said Roy.

“No crap,” I replied. “Although the way things have been going there will probably be 10 of them.”

“Ha, yeah.”

He laughed but I knew that he was worried about it, just as much as I was. Dealing with one mantis would be difficult enough but there were probably a number of them that we were going after. Every monster that I’ve run into lately has been in groups larger than what there normally was.

Harry had told us that most of the heads had been found in the same area so we decided to start our search there.

There was a sewage drain in the heart of the city down a dark, sketchy alley. If I weren’t a paladin I would probably not go down there. When we were about halfway to the end a man came stumbling out from behind a dumpster.

“What are you doing in my yard?” he asked us.

“I don’t think we’re in a yard,” I pointed out.

“This is my yard.”

“Okay, but we need to get down there.”

“If you don’t get out of my yard I’m going to call the cops, ya little hooligans.” We were both taller than him, so I wouldn’t say we were little.

“Look, sir, we really don’t have time for this.”

“I’ve warned you.”

All of a sudden Roy ran up and punched the guy right in the face, knocking him out cold.

“Really?” I said.

“He wasn’t going to just go away,” he pointed out.

“Did you have to knock him out like that, though?”

“He’ll live. Not all of us can wipe people’s memories.”

“Touché.”

We reached the end of the alley and the sewer grate was there, buried in the ground and surrounded by grass. The mantis was waiting for us, hungry for more. I’ve been fighting monsters for a long time—it’s a long time to me—but they still made me nervous. And I don’t care who you are going into a sewer to fight something that chopped off heads was daunting.

Without any words I opened the drain, which was already broken open, and we both jumped in…

Under-Dwelling: Part Three

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Under-Dwelling Part Two

Part One, Part ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart Seven

The men stalked towards us with malicious intent in their eyes. In retrospect I wasn’t really afraid of what they would do to us considering that I could beat them but I didn’t want to draw in unwanted attention.

They finally reached us and just stood there, staring at Roy. He stared right back at them with the same hard look on his face. Then they all smiled. The one who had called his name pulled him in for a hug. I was very confused.

“You jackass you,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell us you were going to be in town?”

“I didn’t expect to be here too long,” Roy admitted. Hopefully we wouldn’t be.

The man looked over at me. “You running a daycare center?”

“Excuse me?” I asked. Who does this guy think he is?

I stepped forward but Roy put his hand up to stop me.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Roy lied. Well, maybe it wasn’t a lie. “We’re working together.” Roy turned to me. “Wes, this is Harry.”

I reluctantly stuck my hand out and squeezed his hand a little harder than I should have. He took it like a man, though.

“Good grip,” he said. “Wouldn’t have expected that from you. I can respect that.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“Still bounty hunting then?” Harry asked Roy.

“Yeah,” Roy replied. “That’s why we’re here actually.”

“A lot of disappearances lately.”

“You know anything about that?”

“Come have a drink with us.”

“I guess we can have a quick beer.” Roy looked over at me and I nodded in agreement.

We got to the bar and Harry bought everyone a beer. I went to grab for one but he knocked my hand away.

“You’re underage kid,” he pointed out. It was worth a shot. Honestly it smelled terrible anyway but I didn’t want to look like a wimp.

Once we were all settled in Roy talked with them for a little while, getting reacquainted. Apparently he had come through here once before after Drake had sent him on his own. Drake, to remind you, is the paladin that trained both of us. Roy was the only human, besides the agency, that I knew of that hunted monsters. Anyway, he was hunting a vampire and Roy saved Harry’s life. Harry just thought it was someone high on drugs or something, which was convenient because he didn’t need to know the truth.

“Anyway,” began Harry, “so what’s the deal? Do we have a serial killer here or what?”

“I don’t know,” said Roy. “We’re here to find out.”

“It’s been really strange. A lot like last time, but stranger.”

“How?”

Harry slowly spun his cup of beer. “I don’t like to give into rumors or myths or anything like that but people have been disappearing into the sewers.”

“Yeah,” I chimed in. “We knew that part.”

“Did you know that the only thing left of the people they find are their heads?”

Now he had our attention.

“Come again?” Roy said.

“Yup,” said Harry. “All they find is their heads. They didn’t release that information to the media.”

“How do you know then?” I asked.

“Frankie’s wife here works for the sheriff’s office.”

I was already dissatisfied with having to be where we were and why we were there, but now I knew what we were there for. There was only one thing that would kill a human and then leave just the head: a mantis…

Under-Dwelling: Part Two

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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Aside

Underdwelling Part One

Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part Seven

It had been a few months since my ordeal back in the White Mountains. Roy was doing a lot better. Enough so that I decided to take him out on the next adventure I was heading out to. I was back in a city, not New York but definitely a place that was way more crowded than I wanted it to be. I didn’t have much of a choice, though, because my job was to hunt monsters so I went where the monsters were. It was that simple.

I’m not really sure what the name of the city was but we were somewhere in the middle of North Dakota. The place smelled. I don’t know what it was but there was something in the city that let you know you were in a scummy place. I was more of a country guy myself. I enjoyed the clean air, especially the smell of fresh-cut grass. Not the smell of gasoline and raw sewage. Although, I was going to have to get used to that very soon. I’ll get into that in just a little bit, however.

We settled in a cheap motel that most people would go running from if they had any good sense, but when your life revolves around vampires, werewolves and a whole bunch of other monsters, it wasn’t that scary. I heard three screams and one gunshot within the first ten minutes of being there. Yes, of course. I dealt with the gunshot. Turns out the guy was just shooting spiders off the wall. I still knocked the guy out and took the gun. I couldn’t let him the shoot the wall and actually hit someone.

The streets were dirty. I mean they were so dirty that I felt like I was going to need new shoes by the time I got to the next intersection.

“This place sucks,” Roy pointed out.

“I noticed,” I agreed.

“Why did we come here?”

“Monster.”

“Right.”

“So what are we after again?” Roy asked.

“An alligator in the sewer,” I replied.

I know. That sounds like a bad urban legend and it was. There was no such thing as giant alligators that live in sewers and eat city workers. There was definitely something that was down there but it certainly wasn’t an alligator. I wasn’t really sure exactly what it was yet but that is why we were there.

“What the heck would be living in the sewers?” he asked me. He didn’t say heck. I’ll let you imagine what he really said.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “There is really only one way we are going to find out.”

“Sometimes I really hate this job.”

“Me too.”

“I’m not going down there without a gas mask. I have a thing with smells.”

I stopped to look at him. “You hunt monsters for a living and you have a thing with smells?”

“Yeah. Are you going to tell me you don’t have your pet peeves?”

“Not smells.”

“Let’s just go get some gas masks.”

“Gas mask. I don’t need one.”

“Whatever.”

We went to a store and purchased the gas mask that Roy so desperately needed. I was going to give him so much crap for that one. How could a guy who has been within two feet of a werewolf be afraid of the stench of a sewer?

Once he had his mask we needed to find out where to start looking. The city was pretty big and there were plenty of sewage drains, so there were a lot of places to start. In the interest of finding the thing as quickly as possible we figured we would ask around.

After talking to a few people we had 10 different places to start, which means we had zero ideas.

“That was completely useless,” I said.

“Yeah,” Roy agreed.

“Just pick a place, I guess.”

“Yup.”

“Roy Winston,” came a deep voice from behind us.

We both turned around and there was a group of five men walking towards us, and they looked really angry. On top of that they were huge, like obvious steroid users.

“Oh crap,” Roy sighed.

We couldn’t even walk down the street without grabbing someones attention…

Under-Dwelling: Part One

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Under-Dwelling

 

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