James-Journal-7

James Spence
Not sure when…
Wow, where to begin? It’s only been a couple of days, but it seems like it’s been a life time. I’ve been shot at, chased, and met a man who calls himself “Merlin”.
—-
Let me back up a bit, after asking Detective Cruz to give me an excuse to kick Mindy out, I headed downtown, and of all the people to run into, I found my old sometimes-flame Johanna working as an EMT. I wasn’t even aware that she was in Chicago, and here she was. We decided to meet up, get some coffee and catch up on old times. She complained about having yet to see any of Chicago, despite having been here for a couple months. I decided to fix that.
—-
We started with the coffee on the observation deck of the John Hancock Center and that’s where everything went crazy. We met a couple others on the deck, an EPA Agent name Marie, and Dan, who is a lawyer or suit of some kind. As we were talking, first we noticed a large black shadow pass over the window, but were unable to see any trace of what caused it. It had drawn our view over to the lake, and what we saw next was even weirder. The lake was on fire.
—-
Looking around, we could see no motion indicating that the city knew the lake was on fire, and checking our phones, there was no news bulletins. Not only that, but it turns out that Marie had received the same crazy phone that Cruz and I had. That’s too many crazy coincidences for one week for me. I had to see what was going on at the lake.
—-
The four of us headed over there as fast as we could, and it got ever weirder! There was no one around the beach. There wouldn’t be any swimmers of course, but there was NO one around the beach. And it wasn’t hot. There was no heat coming off the flames. I was able to get close enough to get a sample of the water from beneath the flames, with the intent to take it to my lab to see if there was something in the water causing this phenomenon.
—-
We made haste back to the Gibson Institute, and those shadows seemed to follow us down the alleyways. Fleeting at the edge of our vision, they always moved just out of view. Arriving at the office, it was shut down for the weekend, so we met no resistance on the way in. Entering my facility, everything was in disarray. Moving into the lab, it was even worse, there was a ruptured tank with shrapnel buried in the wall, and some drops of blood leading to the storage closet. Inside was the security guard shot five times in the chest, and he still managed to drag himself to the closet.
—-
We had gone far enough, it was time to call the police now that a man was injured here. Marie tried first, but she couldn’t get a signal, and neither could the rest of us. We headed for my office to use the land line, and once again, everything was in shambles. I had Dan try the phone while I looked around to see what was missing. Just about the same time that Dan told us that phone was dead too, I realized the only project file missing was the Aurora project. And something had been left behind, a body, holding a pistol.
—-
Examining the body, we found three strange things. Around his neck, he wore a silver chain, bearing the same symbol as the new phones Marie and I had received in the mail. Two, the man had no injuries, save two small puncture wounds in his neck. Lastly, the man was cold and dry, as if his blood had been drained. Testing the phone again, I saw a strange message flash across the screen, “Nearby Death Detected. Please be careful. Have a nice day.”
—-
Suggesting Marie try calling our “service provider” she does. She also got a strange message, “What, another one is in there? What are they protecting? Check it out.” This just wasn’t making any sense. The scene in the office led us to believe that there was at least one other person involved, there were at least 10 bullets fired. None of us wanted to admit it, but I was the first to say the word we were all thinking. “Vampire.”
—-
None of us believed it of course, but it really fit the picture of this dead man. It was then that we started to hear movement from the elevator. We made a dash for the stairs, and I suggested that we move up and hide, instead of trying to run down the stairs. We all kicked off our shoes and Marie and I waited by the door, listening for if they were headed our way. They were referring to us as sleepers, but we had no idea what that meant. I whispered for the others to move upstairs, but I guess the bad guys heard me as they started to head our way.
—-
We hid up the stairs as we heard a scuffle, more gunshots, and some shrieking. We hid and cowered until they had passed, and then we went up to the next floor to check if there was anyone outside waiting for us, and to find another stairwell to head down. We moved down to the security office on our way out, with the intent to grab any tapes that might have caught what was going on. I also grabbed a walkie talkie and a couple of stun guns and a taser.
—-
I managed to save an image and video of the men on my phone, and discover that there were two different groups of people that came into the building, and they weren’t friendly to each other. We were able to use the security cameras to monitor their movements in the building, and not a moment too soon, as they were headed right for us, almost as if they knew where we were. I had everyone get ready at the back door of the office to bolt, while I got ready to use the stun gun on the first guy to try opening the door.
—-
I can’t believe it actually worked! As soon as I saw the handle begin to move, I sent 50,000 volts coursing through it, and I heard a very surprised grunt. We immediately bolted out the back door, only to find another man down this hallway. Marie and the others ducked into one of the side labs, while I somehow managed to round the corner, not get shot, and hit the man with the gun with my taser. Marie managed to find a small bunsen burner with a gas tank, and she lit it and hurled it at the guy behind me, just as I was rushing into the lab. Either he shot at it, or it landed just right, but the tank ruptured, taking him out of the fight as well.
—-
With a short reprieve we took off down the hall, bolting for the exit. I managed to scoop up the gun without shooting anyone on the way past the guy I took out. We burst out through the back door, only to find a scared, tired looking man, holding the Aurora Project in one hand, and a gun in the other.
—-
In typical movie fashion, we both point our guns at each other and demanded the other identify themselves. We spoke for a couple minutes, before we remembered that we were being chased and wedged some rebar underneath the door. Thinking that would stop the men that were chasing us, we discovered that this guy calls himself Merlin. I responded that my name was Arthur, and my companions followed suit. If he wasn’t going to give his real name, neither were we.
—-
After a couple minutes we heard some pounding on the door, and I could’ve sworn I saw it give a little. Deciding to worry about what was going on later, we headed for the cars. Good thing too, as somehow they managed to smash down the metal fire doors. I’d never heard metal BREAK before, but it wasn’t a pleasant sound. Marie arrived at here car first, but was having trouble with her keys, so I hit the unlock, auto-start and trunk release buttons on my car. “Sorry, get in!” I yelled. Marie and Dan piled into the trunk without too much complaint and Jo got in the front. Marie took a couple of shots from the trunk with the gun I handed her while I whipped the car around to save Merlin. I think she actually managed to hit one of them too.
—-
Merlin was our only chance for answers, so I had him pile into the car on top of Jo, much to her displeasure. Then I high-tailed it out of there. I didn’t think any of them were going to be able to chase us, now that I was behind the wheel. I was right. We got out of the city and I pulled into what I thought was a random stop. An old church with walls high enough to hide my car behind, just in case. Crawling out of the car, we asked Merlin all sorts of questions, but he just kept speaking in riddles, never really giving us a straight answer. He seemed to hint that Marie and I were special in some way, that we were meant to come here.
—-
Well, I think that catches us up. Merlin told us that if we wanted answers that we were to enter the church, and all would be revealed. We decided that we had come this far, we had to know what was happening. Jo and Dan were asked to wait outside with Merlin while we headed into the church. I gave Jo a quick kiss, “Just in case it’s a trap,” I said with a smile. After that, I turned and headed to the doors of the church. They opened into a darkness that threatened to swallow us whole….

James-Journal-7

The Dark Queen of the West Rase Cidraen gaaran