Monday, December 30, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 7

The meeting hadn’t lasted much longer after that.  Finally Dr. Duguard had left us in the hands of Elizabeth.  I had to remind myself that this meek, shy creature in front of me wasn’t just some tour guide.  She was a part of this.  Also, the more I watched her, the more I sensed that something wasn’t quite right about her.  It was in the occasional glances she gave us when she thought no one was looking, or the occasional way I could catch her biting her tongue before speaking.

She was hiding something.

We were heading down a long hallway.  Just like everything else, the walls, floor and ceiling were a bright, almost glowing white.  There were no seams at all.  The whole structure just seemed to be one, solid piece.

“I apologize for the way Dr. Duguard acts.  She’s not the most sociable person.”  Elizabeth kept her head down, focusing on the chart she had clutched in her hands.  “This all... Well, we never intended for any of this to happen.”

“You intentionally tested an unstable, unknown and now possibly supernatural virus on human subjects.”  Kurt couldn’t even bring himself to look at the young doctor.  “Your intentions seem pretty obvious.”

The words made Elizabeth flinch.  Her eyes flickered towards Kurt, and for a brief moment her face seemed to flash with rage.

“So I take it these creatures are violent?”  I tried my best to keep my tone professional.  It wasn’t easy.

“Extremely.  Those who don’t change when exposed to the virus are usually attacked and killed by those who are.”  She stumbled over her words.

“Possessed.”  Ashtyn’s voice dripped with disdain.  “These people are possessed, and by something very powerful.”

“How do you know?”  Elizabeth’s voice quaked as she glanced at Ashtyn.

“These creatures are no longer human, sweetheart.  Whatever force is taking them over not only controls their body, it completely rewrites their DNA. That’s pretty fucking powerful.”  Ashtyn’s eyes were shooting daggers at the young doctor.

“So, mind telling us how Dr. Duguard’s brother managed to get infected?  I don’t think many people would sign family members up for trial runs of this stuff.”  I kept my tone casual.  I made sure my arms were at my side, relaxed.  I wouldn’t get any info if I kept up this defensive attitude.

“It was an accident.”  Elizabeth’s eyes drifted back to her chart.  “He, Andrew, was also a researcher here.  He was one of the leads on this particular study.  There was a leak in one of the containers, and he became exposed.”

I could see tears welling up in Elizabeth’s eyes.  She clutched her chart just a little tighter as she spoke.

“By the time we arrived to the lab he had already killed two of his assistants, and one of his fellow doctors.  His best friend.  He... dismembered them.”  The tears began to spill down her cheeks.  “I had never seen anything like that.  Most of my research was in pharmaceuticals.  The worst thing we ever got was an occasional heart attack or pussy rash.  This...”

Her hand moved to her mouth in an attempt to muffle her sobs. It was at that moment that I saw the ring on her finger.  A gold band with a simple, shimmering stone.
“Dr. Malone,”  I gently placed my hand on her shoulder, “how did you become involved with this project?”

We stopped walking.  Elizabeth was shaking, the sobs now uncontrollable.  Even Ashtyn and Kurt had softened their body language.

“Andrew... brought me... in.”  Her words were choked off by her crying.  “He was my... he was my...”

I glanced back at the ring.  Was that there when she came to visit us in the office?  The way she held her hand made it clear that she wanted us to see it.  Again my bullshit meter was going off.  Still, I needed to play it cool.  It was too early to call her out.  We didn’t know enough about what we were about to face, and I didn’t want to freeze out our only source of information.

“We will do everything we can to bring him back to you.  I promise.”  My hand gently squeezed her shoulder. I decided to lay it on a little less thick then she was.  

I glanced at Ashtyn, then to Kurt.  I could see the doubt in both of their eyes.

I tried to signal them to keep playing along.  

“So,” Ashtyn broke the silence first.  Her voice was considerably more welcoming.  “Where exactly are we headed?”

“Your quarters.”  Elizabeth began to wipe the tears from her eyes.  “My orders are to get you settled in while we set a viewing area for Andre... for the subject.”

Quarters?  What the hell was she talking about?

As if reading my thoughts, she spoke.  “It was in the contracts.  While you are working with us, you will be staying on the premises.  It’s standard protocol.  For security purposes.”  As she collected herself her voice returned to the meek, but professional tone from before.

“Guess we should have read the fine print.”  Ashytn couldn’t hide her annoyance.

So we were trapped in this building with a bunch of monsters.  Some human, and some... not so human.

They entered a hallway lined with thick, metal doors.  Painted on each door was a number.

“You and Kurt will be in room 3.”  Elizabeth pointed down the hall.  “Ashtyn, you’ll be in room 7.”

“I don’t have any of my stuff...”  Ashtyn’s annoyance was creeping back into her voice.

“We’ve supplied uniforms, toiletries and research materials for you.”  Any trace of humanity that Elizabeth had shown before was gone, now replaced by the same cold, business like tone her boss had.  “After you’ve had time to settle in I’ll return to take you to the viewing room.”

“Thanks.”  Kurt’s voice was devoid of emotion.

At least it wasn’t my fault he was stuck here.  They had thrown him into this madhouse before I even had the chance.

With a slight bow Elizabeth turned and left.

“So, what other surprises are they going to throw at us?”  I rubbed my temple, hoping to ease the tension building in my head.

“It was in the contract.”  Kurt turned and headed towards our room.  “I’m not exactly surprised, to be honest.  The way this place is run...”

“We’ll probably be lucky to ever get out of here.”  Ashtyn shook her head, and headed into her room.

I could feel a chill run up my spine at the sound of those words.  The further we got tangled up in this case, the more things just seemed to feel off.

Still, Juktha had told me that this was where we needed to be.  I needed to trust her on this one.  She has her reasons, even if I don’t always understand them.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 6

We were led into a small viewing room.  The lights were already dimmed, and the projector cast a bright white glow onto the screen on the far end.  Set up in front of the screen were three chairs.  Dr. Duguard motioned for us to take a seat, then settled down next to the projector controls.

The whole time Elizabeth never left her side.

“While the majority of the research done at Yamada Labs is medical, we do, on occasion, take on some more... historical projects.”  Dr. Duguard’s voice was flat, clinical.  “One such project was examining a set of remains found at a construction site on the south side of Chicago.”

She clicked a button, and a video began to play on the screen in front of us.

As the grainy image came into focus I heard Ashtyn gasp.

“What... what is that?”  Her voice was a harsh whisper.

“We were hoping you could tell us.”  Dr. Duguard never took her eyes off the image on the screen.

The video was rough, but the figure, still partially buried, was clear enough to make out.  The body was oddly shaped.  The torso was long, the shoulders broad.  The creature’s arms seemed to come to sharp points instead of hands.  The face had no eyes.  Just a wide, toothy mouth, stretched open in what I could only describe as a painful scream.

“What do you think it is, Doctor?”  I glanced over my shoulder at Dr. Duguard and Elizabeth.

“At first we thought it was a fossilized reptile, maybe even something prehistoric.  Upon further testing though we found no reptilian DNA.” She hit another button, and the image on the screen froze. “To be honest, the chemical make up of this creature is unlike anything we have ever seen before.  Except for one thing...”

“Which was?”  I looked back at the screen.

“There were traces of human DNA in the samples.”  Nomi’s voice grew tighter.  She was heading into an area outside of her comfort zone.  “The human DNA was corrupted, though.  It seems that this creature was not born, but created through exposure.”

“Or possession.”  Ashtyn’s eyes were glued to the screen.

“Excuse me?”  Dr. Duguard’s voice seemed to drip with scorn at the word possession.

“Possession is not just the act of a spirit taking control of another host.  It’s the spirit melding itself with the host.  They become one being.”  Ashtyn mimicked the doctor’s flat tone.  “In most cases the host body is left only mildly changed.  Increased flexibility, dehydration of the skin, discoloration of the eyes.  The host still appears to be human.  This... This is something more extreme.”

“Dr. Duguard, why exactly did you contact us?  This thing is obviously dead.  We specialize in creatures that are a bit more lively.”  I motioned my hand towards the frozen image on the screen.

She clicked another button.  The video changed.  The camera was in a lab now, and the creature was laid out on a sterile, metal table.  Three researches, clad in scrubs and face masks, moved around the body.  I could see their mouths moving under the face masks, but it was obvious the audio had been removed.

One of the researchers held a bone saw in their hands.  I could see the blade spinning as it was lowered towards the twisted, horrifying monster on the table.

The second the blade touched the creatures skin, a cloud of dust exploded into the air.  Not even the face masks seemed to be able to keep the researchers from inhaling it.

The one standing closest to the camera, a young man from the looks of it, began to shake.  Before my very eyes I saw his body begin to change.

It appeared that his bones were breaking, snapping under the skin.  His eyes seemed to vanish from his face as his flesh swallowed them. His teeth fell from his mouth as fangs painfully pushed themselves through his gums.  The change seemed to happen within a matter of minutes.

The video paused.

“Lively enough for you?”  Dr. Duguard was smiling.

“An airborne possession?”  Kurt looked horrified.  “This lab has control over a demonic super virus?”

“Yes.”  Dr. Duguard tapped a button, and the lights in the room came on.  “Obviously, this virus has major potential for us.  The army would kill for something this potent.  Only problem is, there is no controlling it, or the creatures it creates.”

“So you want us to... what?  Find a way to turn this... stuff into the ultimate weapon?”  I could feel my rage growing.  This was not what I signed up for.

“Hardly.”  Dr. Duguard looked annoyed.

“We... we want to reverse it.”  Elizabeth’s voice barely registered.  Hell, I had almost forgotten she was in the room.

“Dr. Malone.”  Dr. Duguard sent her a withering stare.

“Is that true?”  Ashtyn was on her feet, arms crossed.  She was on the defensive.

“Yes.”  Dr. Duguard sighed.  “This... this was not the last infection.  We attempted a few more... tests.”

“Human?”  Kurt was pitch white.

“Yes.”  Dr. Duguard held up her hand, silencing us before we could argue with her.  “Illegally, I know.  Usually something of this caliber can bend the law, but... our tests backfired.  This virus is extremely contagious, and the creatures it creates are highly volatile, and very unstable.  Most have died within a week of infection.  A few survived longer.  While they are alive sedation works for a short period, but once the effects wear off, well...”

“Then why not just destroy them all and brush it under the rug?”  I locked eyes with Dr. Duguard.  “Why bring in civilians to handle your mess?”

I could see the good doctor’s teeth grinding.  I had struck a nerve.

“One of those... tests... was my brother.”  For the first time her voice shook.  “So, as you can see, I have some personal interest in this case.”

Monday, December 23, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 5

Yamada Labs was exactly as I expected.  I had passed the building several times, but until today I had never been inside.  The lobby was very sterile, and very white.  The surfaces were all smooth and polished, and even the couch Ashtyn and I had been led to was a hard, plastic like surface.  When I sat down I had to catch myself from sliding off it.

“Non-porous surfaces ensure that contamination is limited and contained.” The young woman who had guided us in from the security gate smiled as she spoke.  Her smile was as plastic as the furniture, and about as comforting.  “Dr. Duguard will be with you shortly.”

Quickly the young woman walked away from us, vanishing into one of the sliding glass doors that seemed to line the entire lobby.

Ashtyn was taking everything in, her eyes wide.  “This place looks like something out of a movie.  I mean it’s all so... cliche.”

I nodded my head.  “We better work on this one fast.  All this... sterility might drive me crazy.  This whole place just seems to lack life.”

The more I looked around, the more I realized I was right.  There were no plants anywhere.  There were hardly any people, even.  The few I did see just rushed from one sliding glass door to the next.  If two people crossed paths they never stopped to talk.  They acted like complete robots.  

The glass doors directly across from us slid open, and a woman stepped out.  To her right was Elizabeth Malone, looking as shy as ever, and to her left I was shocked to see Kurt.  As the woman got closer I could see that her name tag read “Dr. Nomi Duguard”.

“That’s her?”  Ashytn leaned in close, and did her best to whisper in my ear.  In a room with all hard surfaces everything seemed to echo, though.

I couldn’t believe it either.  Dr. Duguard looked more like a pin up then a scientist.  While she had on the requisite white coat, her clothing underneath was tight, fighting her curves perfectly.  Her top was low cut, exposing her ample cleavage, and her skirt was short enough to show off a great deal of her long legs.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Nomi Duguard.”  She stopped in front of us, and held out her hand.  “I’m so glad you could come and see us today.”

I stood, taking her hand in mine and giving it a firm shake.  “It’s my pleasure.  It’s not every day we have someone from the world of science take an interest in our field.”
“Yes, well... these aren’t every day situations.”  Dr. Duguard glanced back towards Elizabeth.  “I assume that the girl who brought you in showed you your contracts?”

“She did.”  I had read it over quickly, but everything in there was exactly what I had expected.  Which really meant that it was loaded with so much small print I could barely read the majority of it.

“No issues, I hope.”  She had the same forced smile that seemed to be part of the company uniform.

“None at all.”  I handed her my signed contract.  Ashtyn did the same.

“Wonderful, then follow me.”  Without another word Dr. Duguard turned, heading towards a set of doors on the other side of the room.

I trailed behind, and Kurt fell in next to me.

“What are you doing here?  I thought they would never okay you working with us.” I leaned in close, hoping that the others couldn’t hear us.

“Apparently, because of our relationship I’m the perfect company representative for your team.”  Kurt just shrugged.

“What does that mean exactly?”  I didn’t like those words.  ‘Company representative’ just sounded off to me.

“It means I report back to them.”  Kurt gave me a sly smile.  “I’m a double agent, sweetie.  Sorry.”

I glanced around the lobby.  No one was watching us.  I gave him a quick kiss on the lips, and mouthed the words “I love you” to him.

He mouthed them back.  

As we walked through the sliding glass doors I could feel my stomach begin to knot.  Part of me felt like a plaque reading “abandon all hope, ye who enter here” should have been hung above the door.  Instinctively I reached out, taking Kurt’s hand in my own.

For a brief moment I saw Elizabeth look back at us.  When she saw our clasped hands I could swear I saw her scowl.

That girl was hiding something.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what it was.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 4

Before heading over to Yamada Labs I decided to stop off at the office and get a few things settled before starting the new case.  Even during our down time we had paperwork to complete.

Who knew that Demon Slayers would have to fill out so many forms?

As I approached my office I froze.  I could sense her before I even walked through the door.

“You took a new job?  And you didn’t even call me?”  Brittany sat on the edge of my desk, her arms crossed over her ample chest.  Her face was an almost comical scrunch of anger and frustration.

I ignored the anger in her voice, and made my way to desk, brushing past her to get to my computer.  “Clare hasn’t cleared you for field work.”

“Oh please, I know this shit backwards and forwards.  I mean, hell, I am a fricken demon!”  She turned, slamming her hands down on my desk.  “Come on!  I can handle this stuff.”

“The demons, yes.  The human aspect, not so much.”  I began sorting through the papers that Brittany had managed to scatter all over my desktop.

“What are you talking about?”  She leaned in close, her face inches from mine.  “I’m fucking great with people.”

“You are great at scaring people.” I looked her square in the eye.  “If I recall, you were the one who told a client during an interview, and I quote ‘stop being such a pussy and deal with it yourself.’ End quote.”

“He had a demonic lawn gnome infestation!  Like that was even worth our time.”  She stood up straight, her hands on her hips.

“Those lawn gnomes had eaten his dog and his neighbor.” I kept my voice steady and calm.  “So yes, it was worth our time.”

She stomped her foot hard, and her face was starting to grow red.  I was about to have a she-demon throw a toddler level temper tantrum in my office.  This was not how I wanted to start my day.

I took a deep breath.  “Listen, while Ashtyn and I are in the field we need you to man the office.  If we need you, we will call you in, okay?”  I was fighting my inner frustration, and was doing my best to sound calm and civil.  “I just can’t go over Clare’s head on this one.  I’m sorry.”

“So I get to play desk jockey while you and Ashtyn have all the fun?”  With one sweep Brittany flung all my papers off my desk.  “Great.”

“Well...”  I looked at her, doing my best not to smile. “I was trying to get those sorted for you.  That,” I pointed to the mess on the floor, “is your project for the week.  Have fun piecing it back together.”

I stood up and headed towards the door.

“Wait... what?”  Brittany looked from the papers, then to me, then back again.  “That’s not fair!  You should have told me!”

I stopped in the doorway, turning to her.  “When you get that temper under control, Clare will okay you for field work.  Until then...  Well, think of it as a test of character.  Use this to grow, Brittany, so you can be the best you can be.”  I gave her a thumbs up and winked.

She chucked a leather bound spell book at my head.  Luckily I had already closed the door by the time she threw it, but I could hear the hardy thud of the thick volume as it bounced off the wooden door.

I knew I was being hard on her, but honestly, she had a lot to learn.  This wasn’t all just big fights and bloody battles.  It was dealing with very human, very scared people who were stuck in something they had no idea how to deal with.

Hell, I wasn’t sure I even knew how to deal with it all.  I just had to remind myself that I could handle this, that I had faced foes much stronger, and much deadlier then anything I could possibly be facing at Yamada Labs.

Juktha, I hope we’re right.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Alternate Lives *Update*

So, writing continues on the second game, but the true ending is almost complete.  After that only one more path needs to be written, and then writing will be complete!  YAY!

So, as the I chug along on the game things continue to change.  Namely, this game will have a limited number of endings (as of right now, I believe there are only four planned.)  The reason for this is simple.  It's what the story dictates.  I know people prefer a ton of endings, but I would rather keep the number of endings limited, and be very happy with them, then jam pack the game with endings, and be disappointed with the majority of them.

That being said, there are still a good deal of choices to be made in the game.  All of them change how the main story is told, with most of them effecting the final outcome of the game.

Also, just to clarify, this game is a one-off, side story that really is there to wrap up Joanna's storyline.  It also is a chance to explore a few characters who didn't get too much focus in the first game.

Bobby and the Demon Slayers crew DO NOT show up in the game. At least not right now, and if they do, it will be a small cameo. That is why I am writing the serial series "Experiments in Darkness".  That particular story was an idea that I had for a game, but realized that the story is too linear, and the Visual Novel format was not the ideal format for that particular story.

SO!  With that all said, things are still moving on Alternate Lives, and the games new stats are up on it's page.  Go check them out, continue to read the serial, and I hope, keep enjoying the ever insane world of Accidental Demon Slayers!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 3

That all powerful goddess in my head decided that she needed to put her two cents in on the matter.

She and I have never communicated normally.  Sometimes she’s just a voice in my head, guiding me where I need to go.  Sometimes she can show herself, depending on where we are.  Usually, though, she just communicates emotionally.  It’s kind of like that gut feeling, the one you know you should follow.

This time she decided she wanted to have a little sit down with me in a place where I couldn’t get away.

In my dreams.

The room she had designed for herself was fairly plain, but comfortable.  The space was bathed in warm, orange light, and the floor was covered in  red and brown pillows.

Juktha, my own personal inner goddess, sat cross legged on one of the pillows, her hands resting in her lap.

I stood in the doorway, slightly confused that someone had managed to redecorate the inside of my brain.

“You didn’t think you would start this journey without talking to me, did you?”  She smiled and motioned for me to sit across from her.

“I don’t know.  You’ve been pretty quiet recently.”  I plopped down across from her, and was surprised that I could actually feel myself landing on the plush surface of a large, round pillow.

“I speak when I need to.  Goddesses aren’t much for wasting words.”  She watched me, her eyes calm and welcoming.

“I take it you have a bad feeling about this particular case.”  I took a deep breath, and the smell of warm vanilla filled my nostrils.  It was hard to be worried when everything around me was forcing me to be relaxed.

“I know you do.”  Her smile faded.  “You need to have confidence that we can face this together.”

“I guess I can never really let go of doubt.”  I let out a half laugh.  “I know, it’s very human of me.”

“Yet you forget that you aren’t human.  Not entirely.  I do not just reside in you, I am you.  Down to your genetics.  Though we are both separate entities, we are joined.  By fate, by chance and by choice.”  She reached out, her hand resting on mine.  “We both chose this path because we are two pieces that were made to fit together, to fight together.”

Her words made me feel better.  Sometimes it’s nice to have your own personal Yoda.

“What about Kurt?  He works for that company.  A company, I don’t really trust.  The last time I put him in danger, and I wasn’t even trying to involve him.”  I could feel a lump in my throat growing.  The idea of every intentionally putting Kurt into harm’s way terrified me.  “This time he’s involved whether I like it or not.”

“He just as much a part of you as I am.” She gave my hand a gentle squeeze. “Your instincts are telling you to protect him for a reason.”

“I just wish I knew what that reason was.”  My sense of calm was fading.

“Sometimes someone is safest when they are close to you.”  She stood.  “Take those words as you will.”

“Do you have any idea what we are going to face?  Do you see anything past what I know?”  I wasn’t proud of the pleading sound in my voice, but the uncertainty was driving me nuts.

“The important thing is, we can handle it.”  She leaned forward and kissed my forehead gently.  “Now, it’s time for you to wake up.”

I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again I was lying in bed, my head resting on Kurt’s chest.  I could see sunlight breaking through the partially closed drapes.

I gave him a gentle squeeze and took a deep breath.  I wasn’t positive, but I swear I could still smell the faint aroma of vanilla in the room.

I just had to remind myself that this is where I needed to be.  This is what I needed to be doing.  No matter what my fears my tell me, the truth was that this was a path that only I could follow.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness pt. 2

“So, do you have any idea why my services would be needed at your work?”  I sat across the kitchen table from Kurt.  My dinner plate sat untouched in front of me.  I hadn’t been able to shake my uneasy feeling since leaving the office.

“What are you talking about?” Kurt looked at me completely confused.  “Someone from Yamada hired you?”

“A young woman, Elizabeth Malone, came in today.  Said something in the lab resulted in creating something... well, it created something that they feel I would be more inclined to handle.”

“Sweetie, I’m in the business offices all day.  I hardly ever have anything to do with the labs.  They keep those places locked up tight.”  He took a bite of his dinner, seeming completely unaffected by the current topic of conversation.  “Everything there is on a need to know basis.”

“So you have no idea what I’m going to be dealing with?”  I pushed a piece of broccoli around my plate, my mind still miles away from my meal.

“None.”  Kurt sat back, giving me that look I knew too well.  The worried look that made me question why I was even in this stupid business in the first place.  “I will admit, I’m curious about what they’re doing down there, but for now, it’s all out of my clearance.”

“Curious?”  I leaned forward.  “You know...”

“Don’t even think about it.”  Kurt looked away from me, again putting his focus on finishing his food.

“Wouldn’t you like to see what they were working on?.”  I smiled.  It was the first smile since I had left the office.  “You could see stuff so secret that even the President would probably be denied access.”

“I don’t know.  Bad things tend to happen when I get involved with your work.”  He still wouldn’t look at me.

“Please!  Clare is out of town, and Brittany isn’t even close to being ready to handle an actual team mission.”  I did my best to pout.  I’m pretty sure I just looked ridiculous, but it seemed to work.

He glanced up at me.  “They would never okay it. No matter how adorable you try and make yourself look.”

“Of course.”

“Now stop pouting.  You look like you’re having a stroke.”  His serious facade faded for one brief moment and a swear I saw him crack a smile.

For a brief moment I forgot about the unknown.  I forgot about all the questions that were running through my head.  At that moment my mind was completely in the moment.

For the rest of dinner I pushed the new job out of my head.  The unknown and unexpected meant that moments like this could be in short supply for the foreseeable future.  It was best to just enjoy dinner, and enjoy time with the most important person to me in the whole wide world.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments In Darkness pt. 1

*** Warning: Accidental Demon Slayers: Experiments in Darkness is intended for mature readers, and will contain adult language, extreme violence and sexual situations, and is intended for mature audiences.  Reader discretion is advised.***

The lab door was locked.  Why was it locked?  It was never supposed to be locked!  The man’s mind raced as he tried to figure out what to do.  Normally he could think quickly, but right now fear was clouding his every action.

The creature watched him from the shadows.  The man could hear the deep, wheezing breath of that thing as it stalked him.  Even without eyes he was sure it was watching him, enjoying the site of seeing such a once great man running around like a fool.

“Let me out of here!”  The man beat his fists on the heavy steel doors.  “It’ll kill me!  It’ll...”

He suddenly felt hot breath on the back of his neck.

He didn’t know how something so huge could move so fast, but the creature had managed to cross the lab without him even noticing.

The creature... That was what it was now.  It no longer resembled his friend, his partner in crime.  The man that had once been his closest friend was now something else.  Something vile and bloodthirsty.

The man closed his eyes. He knew what was coming next.  No amount of screaming or pounding could change his fate.

Before the man could even utter another sound, the creature struck.

The man’s head was removed from his neck in one clean swipe.  Blood erupted from the perfectly smooth incision like a geyser.

He could see his body standing there, spurting precious blood out into the air.  For a brief moment he was able to watch himself die, and then... darkness.


The office had been quiet for most of the day, and I was starting to think that maybe the local demon population had taken a vacation.

I wouldn’t have minded.

My last little demon slaying adventure had taken a lot out of me, not to mention it nearly killed most of my friends, and resulted in my boyfriend getting kidnapped by an evil goddess hell bent on destroying the world.  So, a little down time was welcome.

“Dear God!  Can something, anything, please happen!” Ashtyn whirled her chair around to face me, nearly knocking her computer off her desk.

“I thought the world not being in jeopardy was a good thing.”  I leaned back, stretching.  “Peace and quiet just means we don’t have to worry about another possible apocalypse.”

“I don’t care.”  She leaned forward, her eyes shooting death rays at me. “I didn’t sign up for this job just to do paperwork.  I signed up for the action, the adventure, the... the...”

“Tentacles?” I shuddered at the word.  Tentacles seemed to like me about as much as I disliked them.

“Sure!  Right now I would even take tentacles.” She stood up from her chair and started pacing around the office.  “I would take some attempted demon violation over paperwork any day.”

“Speak for yourself.”  I had already had my fair share of run ins with tentacled demons, and I wasn’t missing them.

There was a timid knock at our office door.

“Come in!” Ashtyn plopped back down in her chair.

The door opened and a young woman entered.  She had long brown hair, done up in a braid that trailed down her back, and her pale, freckled face sported a very large pair of coke bottle glasses.  Her clothes were plain and conservative, and she had a small, black purse clutched in her hands.  The poor thing looked like she was about to dart out of the office at the slightest noise.

“Is... Is... This Demon Slayers Inc.?”  She took one step into the office, but never looked up at Ashtyn or I.

“Yep.”  I sat up straight, trying my best to look professional.  “How can we help you?”

Normally Clare handled the new business, but this week she was stuck in a conference on Demonology and Exorcism Techniques.  So, it was my turn to play boss.

“I think I may have a problem.”  She looked up at me, her big brown eyes seemed rimmed with tears and ready to burst.

“What kind?  Demons, poltergeists, cultists?  We have a special this week on gnomes and other assorted pint sized terrors.”  Ashtyn was practically bouncing as she spoke.

“It’s... well, I don’t know what it is.”  The woman glanced at Ashtyn.  “Are all those things real?”

“You would be surprised.”  I eyed Ashtyn, trying my best to signal her to calm down.  “Why don’t you have a seat Miss...”

She looked at me, “Elizabeth.  Doctor Elizabeth Malone.”  She sat down, smoothing out her ankle length skirt as she did.  Her fingers fumbled with her purse.

Something had this poor girl spooked.

“So, what exactly is your problem?”  I kept my voice soft, calm.

“I... I work at Yamada Labs. Are you familiar with us?”  She still couldn’t bring herself to look at me directly.

My heart seemed to skip a beat.  Yamada Labs?  Kurt had been working in their IT department for the past three months.  If something had been going on there he would have told me, right?

“Yes, I have an idea of what goes on there.” I did my best not to let my growing sense of dread show.

“I can’t really discuss what exactly our experiments are, but I was cleared to tell you that one of our experiments may have resulted in something more along your lines of expertise.”  She looked up finally, giving me a half smile.  “If you take the job I would be able to fill you in on the rest of the details.”

“Well, that isn’t much to...”  I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence.

“We’ll take it!”  Ashtyn was back on her feet, her fist thrust into the air.  “Ma’am, whatever your supernatural problem, Demon Slayers Inc. will solve it.”

“Really?”  For once the young woman seemed to relax.  “Oh thank you!”

She reached into her purse, and pulled out a business card.  As she reached over my desk to hand it to me, I saw something odd in her eyes.  There was a shift, a glimmer of something that made me uncomfortable.

“Just be at this address tomorrow at ten.  My boss, Dr. Duguard, will fill you in on the details.”  She stood up straight, closing her purse.  “Thank you so much.  You won’t regret this.  I promise!”

Part of me already did.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Accidental Demon Slayers: Clare and the Ghost Hunter pt. 4

Clare sat on her bed, listening to the sound of Max in the shower.  She knew it had been stupid to take someone so inexperienced into something she had known would have been dangerous, but she couldn't help herself.  She wanted to show off.  
Her training was always about keeping out of sight, blending in.  Sometimes, though, it felt nice to be the strongest person in the room.  
The water turned off, and a few seconds later Max stepped out of the bathroom, a towel around his waist.  His hair was wet, and hung limply, and water still seemed to shimmer off his body.  
"Guess you proved me wrong."  He gave her a weak smile.  
"Well, at least now you can say, without question, that the supernatural exists." Clare leaned back, unable to take her eyes off of him.  
Yes, he was a fake and a fraud, but he was also hot, and it had been a while.  A long while.  
"You handled yourself pretty well."  Clare stood, walking towards Max.  "At least you didn't get yourself killed."  
"Like you would have let that happen."  He moved forward, their bodies centimeters apart.  "I have never seen someone so in control."  
"That creature was weak.  I knew going in that she wasn't really a threat." She smiled.  "I just thought I would have a little fun before taking her out." 
"That's your idea of fun?" Max looked slightly horrified. 
"It's not my ONLY idea of fun, though." Clare's voice was a soft rumble. 
She let her lips brush against his.  He smelled sweet and clean.  His skin was still slick and smooth from the shower.  Her fingers traced the muscles in his arms, his shoulders, down his chest, down and down... 
"I thought you didn't like guys like me."  Max's voice was a breathy whisper.  
"Who said I liked you?"  Clare kissed him, pulling his towel away, and tossing it in the corner.  
The next morning, as Clare made her way towards the first lecture of the morning, she had to admit, she had a little extra skip in her step.  Sure, she had acted on impulse, but last night was proof positive that sometimes you just needed to give into your base instincts.  
"Hey, don't you look relaxed." Max came running up to her.  
She took a little pride in the slight limp he had that day.  
"Don't get cocky." Clare gave Max a slight nudge.  
"So, could we... I don't know, maybe do that again?" Max started to blush.  
"Which part?" Clare gave him a sly smile.  
"You mean there's more to the first part?"  He looked a little shocked.  
"Plenty more.  This is a hotel, Max.  These places are loaded with demonic and supernatural energy.  They didn't hire me to just take out some low level succubus."  She gave him a pat on the shoulder.  "This is going to be an interesting two weeks."  
He may be a fraud, thought Clare, but he's at least fun. 
 The End... For Now... 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

*Accidental Demon Slayers Updates*

So, Clare and the Ghost Hunter will be wrapping up next week.  Following that is a longer serial, Experiments in Darkness.  Since Experiments is already proving to be MUCH longer then Ghost Hunter, the posting schedule will be different.  Instead of posting once a week on Thursdays, the new serial will post twice a week, once on Monday, and once on Friday.

Now, for the game updates.  Alternate Lives is still happening, and I'm chugging along on the script.  I'm not close enough to give a for sure release date, but right now it is looking like second quarter of 2014.  Why is it taking so long?  Well... real life tends to make working on the game difficult at times.  So, when there is more to report, I will fill you in!