Well, some of you might wonder how I ended up with this sort of… occupation. It’s not exactly the type of job you pick up on a whim or apply for. No, you could say, fell into it.
As I mentioned before, sometimes people are unlucky enough to encounter some of the creatures before I’m able to take care of them. And sometimes, those people are lucky enough to make it out alive. That’s what happened to me, and that’s why I was chosen to become the cheerful exterminator I am today.
I wish none of this would’ve happened and given the shit I’ve seen over the years, I often wish I hadn’t made it out alive at all.
But hey, you’re not here for my pity party, you’re here to find out how this entire fucking shitshow started, right?
It was back in the summer of 2014, only seven years ago, but it feels like an entire lifetime.
Early summer was a time that I always enjoyed. Those hot days and warm nights always felt special to me. They make you want to go out, spend the night gazing at the stars, and to forget about all your obligations.
It was my best friend Thomas who invited me and my girlfriend, Julie, to hang out at the riverside. He wanted to have some BBQ, share a few cold drinks and introduce us to Gabriella, a girl he’d been dating for a while now.
It was supposed to be fun, but it turned into my worst nightmare, one that still keeps me up at night.
Gabriella turned out to be a pretty fun person and after introductions were over we just hang out together and talked about all the mundane things in life that didn’t really matter.
As the sun went down and our drinks became scarce, we decided on a little pub crawl in one of the more trendy areas in our city.
It’s a place crowded with cramped bars, shitty clubs, and late-night stores. It’s your typical bustling party district. At least that’s what the bigger streets are like. If you left those behind, you’d find small, dark alleyways, deserted streets, and old, run-down buildings.
Back then, I didn’t know it, but the place was exactly what those creatures I hunt down like the most. Where better to hide and wait for prey than the underbelly of society.
I learned later that headquarters had my city under surveillance, but regarded it as a low priority area. Thus, no local exterminator was present and so things occasionally got out of hand.
Now, where was I? A yes, the bars. The first one was a small, well-known hard rock joint. The music was great; the drinks were cheap, and we had a blast before we moved on.
After two other bars, we decided that we had enough of sitting in small, cramped places. The night was mild; the sky was clear; it was perfect to sit outside.
We got ourselves a couple more beers from a late-night store and went on our way to find a place to enjoy the night.
It was Thomas, who told us he knew just the place. He mentioned a certain construction area nearby. It was supposed to become some high-rise building, but constructions had been suspended months ago. If we’d made our way inside and got up to the highest floor, we’d have a fantastic view over the entire area.
I wasn’t really a fan of the idea. Now, my city isn’t dangerous, but if you strayed from the more lively areas, you could still run into a disgruntled homeless person or a few drunks who are a bit less stable than you. Or, well, something even worse.
Thomas, of course, didn’t have any of it. He promised it was nearby, safe, and I’d regret not checking the place out. So, being the idiot I am, I eventually agreed to come along.
We went down a small side-street, made our way through one dark alley-way, then another before we arrived at a closed-off area. Thomas was quick to show us the ‘secret entrance’ he knew and in we went.
By that point, we were all pleasantly buzzed and my original fears were long forgotten. It was only Gabriella who turned around at some point. She said she’d heard something, but Thomas was quick to put his arm around her and sway her.
Maybe if we’d listened to her things would’ve turned out differently, but somehow I think it was already too late by then.
We made our way through the empty building, past bleak walls, and up half-finished staircases.
When we reached the top, I had to admit that Thomas had been right. The view was stunning. And so we settled down with our remaining drinks and decided to spend the early morning hours right there.
It wasn’t long before we heard something. Footsteps. First, they were below us, shuffling through the dark, deserted hallways of the building before whoever was responsible made their way upstairs.
I gave Thomas an apprehensive look about to curse at him when someone stepped into the barren room.
“Thought I saw someone up here. What’s up guys?” a scrawny teenager with unkempt hair and a beer in his hand called out to us.
We were all quiet, but the kid seemed to be alone, smaller and younger than us, and pretty drunk himself.
“Hey there,” Thomas greeted him before anyone else could so much as open their mouth.
He was the friendliest person I knew and approached and befriended pretty much anyone, regardless of who they were.
“We’re having a few drinks and enjoy the view,” he continued.
“Mind if I join in?” the kid asked.
“Well, sorry, but-“ I started but was cut off by Thomas.
“We’re all pretty drunk, so why the hell not. The more the merrier,” he said with a grin and toasted at the kid.
“Indeed,” the newcomer said smiling and joined us. There was something about his voice, something that felt a bit strange, but I couldn’t put it anywhere.
Things had started off a bit awkward, but the kid didn’t seem to be the dangerous type. He joked around with us, kept drinking his beer, and while he was a bit odd, he was all right company.
That was until he made some off-hand comments.
“You know, sometimes, I wish I could just,” he mumbled, giving Gabriella a little wink while licking his lips.
She shuffled around, said nothing, but inched closer to Thomas.
He was quick to defuse the situation by changing the topic, going back to music and some local clubs.
I listened for a little while before I cuddled up with Julie. Together we just sat there, gazing at the stars and musing on about life.
Only when things got heated again did I turn around.
Thomas had gotten up and stood in front of the kid with an annoyed expression on his face.
“You know, it might be best for you to leave,” he brought out.
“Dammit,” I cursed to myself. Shouldn’t have invited him after all…
“What’s going on?” I asked, getting up.
“That guy’s creepy! He keeps staring at me, making these weird comments!” Gabriella answered.
“All right, how about we get going? It’s almost morning anyway,” I started, trying to end things before they could escalate any further.
“Oh, you want to leave so soon?” the kid asked in a sing-song voice that made the hairs on my back stand up.
“Yeah, we are. So how about-“
Thomas’s sentence was cut off right in the middle. There was the sound of shattering glass as the bottle he’d been holding hit the floor. Then he started screaming.
I took a step forward, but suddenly, there was blood, so much goddamn blood, and I could see that it hadn’t only been the bottle that had fallen. Right there, right in front of him, lay both of Thomas’s hands.
He fell to his knees, tears streaming from his eyes, staring at his bloody stumps with wide eyes.
Everyone froze. No one knew what the hell was happening. I remember staring at the situation in a mixture of disbelief and shock, not able to grasp the situation in front of me.
At this moment, the kid started to laugh. First in his normal, screechy voice, but soon it changed, became guttural and distorted.
His body trembled, shifting below his clothes.
“Dylan, what’s going on?” Julie spoke up in a shaken voice, clinging onto my arm.
“I,” I started but wasn’t able to answer, wasn’t able to do anything.
The kid’s clothes started bulging, then tore apart as his body twisted around itself. He was shaking, convulsing, but the guttural laugh continued and even grew in intensity.
His body began warping, stretching itself. Muscles grew, skin stretched as bones pushed outward, puncturing the skin and growing into new appendages.
I stood there, not able to move, only able to stare at the horrific, surreal transformation happening before my eyes.
What had been the body of a scrawny teenager before, was now a twisted mess of flesh and appendages that towered high above each one of us.
Suddenly his head jerked forward on an elongated neck. The thing put his mouth close to Thomas’s ear and whispered something I couldn’t hear. Then his mouth opened wider and wider. Skin and flesh tore apart as his jaw unhinged. For a second I saw huge, heavy teeth and a black, bloated tongue. Then it bit right into Thomas’ neck. Blood gushed forward, thick and heavy. His arms rose, waving frantically through the air before they flopped down again.
And after that, the thing’s face distorted by a wide grin and it turned towards Gabriella.
“Ah, there’s nothing better than a hunt,” it brought out in its distorted, inhuman voice.
At this moment, reality finally sunk in and panic descended.
Gabriella was crying, inching backward, away from the creature, but within seconds it was upon her and tore her to pieces. She didn’t even have the time to scream.
Julie was the first to move again. She rushed for the stairs before she turned back, got a hold of my hand, and pulled me after her.
“Dylan, come on!” she screamed at me in sheer hysterics and when I was able to move, I hurried after her.
Down, get out, run away. That was all that was on my mind. In front of me, Julie hurried through the hallway.
We stumbled on and finally made it to the stairs. We threw ourselves forward, down to the floor below, while the abomination’s deep, throaty laughter followed us from above.
“Run, little mice, run,” it blurted out, laughing.
Then the entire building shook. Julie screamed up, tripped, and fell to the floor. As I pulled her up, I turned around. I’d expected to find the thing right behind us, expected to see it coming for me, already feeling the pain, but there was nothing on the stairs.
Julie had gotten back to her feet, but we’d barely taken a handful of steps when the ceiling in front of us burst apart. Plaster and stone rained down before an avalanche of limbs and muscle descended.
The thing giggled as its eyes focused on us. Its wide mouth twisted into the same gigantic grin I’d seen before.
“Oh, I’m going to enjoy this,” it brought out, its tongue pushing from its mouth.
I thought it would rush us right then and there, but it didn’t have to. I knew as well as it did, that there was no way out. How could you run from something like… this?! There was no way we’d be able to get away. We were trapped.
In front of us, the entire hallway was filled with a sprawling amalgamation of limbs and flesh. For a moment the creature’s eyes met mine and I couldn’t help but give a short laugh. Then it moved, slowly pushing itself forward, relishing my terror. Its limbs were holding onto the surrounding walls, dragging its body forward like a spider.
“Why don’t you run?” it asked in a giggling voice.
And right at that moment, Julie pulled me away, away from the thing, away from the hallway, and into a room to our right. Laughter erupted from outside.
It didn’t matter, it didn’t matter a damn bit. For a moment I laughed again. Behind us the first of its many long limbs were getting a hold of the doorway, digging into the brickwork.
But right at that moment, I saw it. The sun was dawning outside. There was a window. There was a window right in front of us! We stumbled forward, reached it, but Julie’s face turned to despair.
“No,” she started, falling to her knees, and kept repeating it over and over again. We were way too high up.
“We’re on the third floor, there’s-“
“Wait, Julie,” I cut her off. “Over there, that ledge, if we can get there, we’ll make it to the scaffold and can get down!”
For a moment she didn’t seem to understand what I was saying. As the creature pushed itself into the room, however, its mouth hanging open, jaws unhinged, tongue dangling from it, she got going and pushed herself out onto the ledge.
I was about to follow her, to swing myself out, but at that moment I felt a piercing pain in my leg. I was dragged backward, heard the thing’s voice from behind. I struggled, beat against the hands holding onto me, screamed, but there was no reaction. The creature’s face wasn’t focused on me, no, it focused on the window. And for the first time, something changed. For the first time, it looked elated.
“Julie, run!” I screamed.
Right at that moment the thing threw me aside, pushed past, and burst out through the window.
Outside, I heard Julie on the scaffold, heard her heavy steps, her desperate cries for help. I prayed, I hoped that she’d make it, that she’d somehow alert someone and we’d be saved. Yet, only moments later, her cries were cut off by the sick sound of tearing flesh. And with it, the last sliver of hope I’d held was crushed.
I was on the floor and watched almost in a trance as the blood slowly kept streaming from the wound in my leg.
I barely looked up when the creature returned, staring at me from the hole that had been a window not too long ago.
Then I saw Julie’s remains in one of its many bony hands.
“So weak, so fragile,” it mused on. The hand around Julie’s lifeless, bleeding frame pressed down. I heard bones breaking, flesh-tearing, and saw her body burst to pieces.
At that moment, I saw red.
I don’t know what happened exactly, but I remember throwing myself against the creature, colliding hard with it. I felt something puncture my abdomen, felt something hot, wet, and warm run down my leg.
For a moment the thing held onto the wall, then the bricks gave way.
I was weightless, then I crashed down right on top of the thing. All the air was pushed from my lungs. This time, however, it was the creature who was screaming, who was hurting.
As I rolled off its body, I saw what had happened. We’d crashed down on an enormous stack of building materials, and the thing had been impaled by at least a dozen metal rods.
It was twisting, screeching, trying to push itself upward, but it seemed to be trapped.
I tried to get up, tried to get away, but once more it got a hold of me. I felt its hard, powerful grip on my leg, felt its fingers dig into skin and flesh. Then it started to twist, to yank me backward. I screamed as tendons ripped and bones broke.
But that this moment, my hand closed around something. It was some sort of tool, left behind when construction was abandoned. As I was pulled back, I used all the force I could muster to bring it down right on the creature’s head.
I felt it twisting my leg, felt another of its appendages tear through my body, but there was no pain anymore. There was only rage, blazing, burning rage and with it, I brought the tool down again and again and again.
I don’t know when it stopped moving; I don’t know when I passed out.
I knew I should’ve been dead. There was no way anyone could survive the wounds I’d suffered. Yet, headquarters had proven more than once that they could do the impossible.
When I woke up, I found myself in a small hospital room. Several strange machines surrounded me, and a plethora of tubes and cables were connected to my body.
“Good morning, Mr. Evans,” A woman said to me. “It’s a miracle you’re still alive, a miracle only possible because of us.”
“W-What’s going on? Where am I?” I blurted out before the memory of what had happened returned to me.
In shock and disbelief, I tried to push myself up, but sharp, hot pain shot through my entire body. Even worse, I found myself constrained to the bed.
“Where’s everybody? Where’s Thomas? Where’s Gabriella? Where’s… Julie?”
“They are dead, Mr. Evans. All of them.”
All the energy left me as the soul-crushing reality hit me. I slumped back down and tears streamed from my eyes.
“What the fuck, what the fuck happened? What was that…?” I finally stammered.
“The creature you had contact with was evaluated as a lower C-class organism.”
“What the fuck are you even talking about? What the,” but I didn’t even have the energy to continue.
“As I said, what you encountered was a lower C-class organism, or in layman’s terms a monster. It’s regrettable what happened last night and we like to give you our condolences, however, the existence of these organisms has to remain a secret. We can’t have the knowledge of their existence become public.”
“Like I give a shit about any of that!”
“Mr. Evans, there are only two options. One, you vanish right here and now. Two, you become part of our organization.”
“Vanish, what the hell are you-?”
There was no answer, no change to her cold, hard, emotionless expression.
“Do you want revenge, Mr. Evans? These things are out there, and what happened last night is not an exception. People are being killed, are being torn apart, just like your friends.”
I didn’t say a damn thing. Hell, what do you say to something like that?
“You weren’t only able to survive an encounter with a C-class organism, you took down the creature with no specialized equipment. It might have been luck, but impressive nonetheless. We also confirmed that your resilience and potential are above average compared to-“
“So what you’re saying is you want me to take those things down, that it?”
“Which do you choose, Mr. Evans?”
As I lay there, the events of last night played out in my head again. Thomas’s screams, Gabriella being torn apart, and finally Julie’s lifeless body bursting apart. And worst of all, the things grin, and the way it treated us; as if we’d been nothing but prey.
“If I do, I get to kill those things, right?”
For the first time, there was the hint of a smile on her face as she nodded. She knew what I’d pick and with nothing but a simple sentence, I was in.
“You know what, fuck monsters.”