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Shit! This is bad. This is bad! Shit. Where the hell is HH??

I’ve tried the key. No response. Maybe it doesn’t work, maybe he’s busy. Either way, I’m kinda screwed.

There’s simply no way I can fight with Alice around. Not a chance. I can’t risk it. She won’t last a second, with or without that gun. It might not even work on monsters.

…we’ve been running for a while, though. And that…thing…I can hear it still. Slithering after us. Oozing through doorways. Destroying things. It’s hungry. I sure don’t need telling that, not from anyone. It was clearly feeding in there, mopping up the bodiesand why stick with leftovers when you can try something fresh?

In other words: it’s not gonna stop.

Up ahead, I can see movement. We’re heading into an office. Looks like more berserkers*…this should be fun.

“Alice, hold tight!”

She follows the command without argument, as I remove one arm supporting her and brace myself for impact. Sure enough, one jumps straight at me- impaling itself on the now extended arm covered in throbbing violet light. Forcing it aside, I duck the flailing grasp of another, and spin round so that Alice can shoot it point-blank in the face with her pistol. Right now I wish she’d asked for a magnum, but it’s enough. We’re actually doing well at this.

Between us we dispose of a few more, Alice taking headshots as I move us through the crowd. Then, suddenly, I feel something clamp around my ankle. I kick out, removing the hand and sending the berserker reeling. Unfortunately, I then see what’s behind me…that thing sure is quick

Alice screams as she catches glimpse of it too. It’s even more hideous up close, like a spider the size of a twin bed made from melted skin. Ned knows what could create something like this, because it sure as hell ain’t natural. Alice’s face buries itself into my shoulder, and I can feel the chill running through her body as her arms tighten painfully around me. I take a step back, mind racing as to how I’m ever going to leave this place alive.

The berserkers, to my surprise, appear to feel it too. This fear. They howl and wail, gnashing their teeth, and in a scrambling mass turn to flee. For some, though, it’s too late. Caught by a grasping tendril, the unlucky bastards are quickly dragged beneath the pulsating mass and consumed, struggling horribly as they die.

I don’t watch for too long. Ahead of me is the managerial suite, and inside a refreshingly solid-looking desk. Within minutes, the desk is upturned and we’re behind it- it’s not much, but I’ve literally ran out of other options.

My companion looks terrible, like that girl from The Ring without the composure. She might have arachnophobia, for all I know; if not before, then almost certainly after. I’d pat her on the head, tell her it’s going to be all right, if I wasn’t currently trying to skewer our ugly fat neighbor instead.

The bolts don’t seem to be affecting it much. I burst a few eyeballs, impale a few limbs, but it carries on regardless, ripping the limbs free and ignoring the rest.

Soon, it’s within striking range. From somewhere inside that horrible body comes a shriek, and the entire thing swells into the air like a balloon; now I can see teeth, rows upon rows of jagged black teeth, drooling in anticipation for this next snack.

Alice looks at me silently. There’s a fire in her eyes now, an acceptance of the struggle to come. She’s pretty tough. I kinda wonder how long she spent surviving by herself in that dust bowl…not that it’s going to matter now. I give her a thumbs up. No idea why. And then I jump the barricade.

Thankfully, this seems to catch the creature by surprise as much as Alice. I manage to grab a firm hold of it before we go crashing backwards, away from the barricade, and the next minute I’m engulfed in a hissing cloud of thrashing limbs.

Away from the girl, I can finally let loose, and burning violet light envelops the entirety of my left arm. But it’s not going down easy. For every tendril I tear off, another appears, and whenever it strikes it hits like a damn sledgehammer. The sheer mass of tendrils are stopping me from reaching it’s body, and causing any lasting damage. It’s too fast for me to hesitate even for a second.

At this rate, I’m going to run out of bones…

“BRAAAAIIIINS!!”

The entire room stops.

Well, almost the entire room. Thanks to our unexpected guest, I finally have an opening, and I’m not about to miss taking it. I can just imagine what the ugly bastard’s thinking right now.

What kind of chump actually says that?

W

*An unofficial name devised on the spot, because raging-pasty-macho-gorilla-zombie-Channing-fucking-Tatum-hybrid is a bit hard on the tongue.

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