London, East End, est 1950/1960
On the streets in the East end of London, in a pact narrow rows of brick houses in Bethnal Green, a young man was watching outside through his window. Looking down at the street from his house, where people were going about their daily lives on a cool autumn morning. He opened his windows to let the breeze in like a fresh draft, but not the freshest and cleanest of air. Here it was full of smoke from the chimneys from coal fires, clogging the air in a smokey line of heavy black fog. But the man didn’t care as this was his home that he grew up all his life, he wouldn’t change it any other way.
Bethnal Green was a place like no other for it was where The Firm, the gang led by Kray Twins once ruled the streets, and the site of one of Jack the Rippers routes to escape his acts of murder. But life wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Community was strong, neighbours knew one another and would help each other when times were tough. Fathers went to work in the working class world, wives would look after the children and do their daily routines, some even worked in market stalls selling food.
The young man got his music player out which he fondly enjoyed listening to, music inspired him to draw, think and feel the music playing on his old 78. He put his favourite song in the 78 player and started playing the song, the sound was booming out of his windows as the music traveled down the narrow street like an amplified stage show. The drums and beat could be heard straight down the street bouncing around and echoing from the walls.
Somewhere nearby in a disused vegetable pile down the back of a stable house, rats were eating raw vegetables in this graveyard of dead veg. Their ears detected the booming music and hurried back into the shadows. Some skulked around ruins of bombed out houses that still stood after the Second World War. Overgrown, abandoned and deteriorating from years of neglect, these ruins provided the rats a comfortable nest to breed and expand around the East End.
Meanwhile back on the narrow street, people heard the music and saw the young man with his music player as the source of the loud noise. They danced and smiled at the music that was playing. It was a calm but catchy song that had a great drum and piano combination. The song that was playing was called Blueberry Hills.
Blinking his eyes open as if he awoke from a terrible dream, Luke was standing in amongst the crowed looking up at the young man. The man looked down at him with a charming smile as if he knew Luke. Suddenly he stood up on the windows edge, spreading his arms out wide and jumped down. He fell head down towards the cobbles, his sudden act shocked Luke by the sight of this mans death wish. Instead of cracking his neck from a height of 16ft or more high, he dropped into a pool of dark liquid that appeared out of nowhere, exactly where the man would’ve killed himself. It saved his fall as he fell onto the pool that was only a few centimetres high, but he vanished into its thick dark underworld.
The crowd froze with no concern for what just happened to the man, they stood still smiling in an oblivious day dream. They turned towards Luke with that same expression the man had given Luke, that knowing sinister smile that made his back chill by the supernatural.
The street turned dark, the sun became clouded by thick dark clouds that blotted the light. The people around Luke suddenly fell on the cobbled floor as If a great plague had struck them, he gasped stepping back in shock as women, men and children decayed into shrivelled corpses. They all looked at Luke as they decayed into piles of yellow bones, whispering his name even as their life force dissipated. “Luke” they whispered “Times running out, you’ll be with us soon”.
The street was silent and cold as a crypt as the world around Luke the streets became a dark and haunted perversion of what came before. The bricked houses had an eerie appearance like a tight wall blocking the light and outside world. Bethnal Green became a fantasised underworld that it was known for by the legends and villains that walked it’s streets. For Luke, he was walking in the physical underworld of Bethnal Green, it’s underworld.
Bubbling and squelching like a boiling pot of hot water, the dark pool grew wide and deep as it flooded the street up to kneecap height. The young man slowly climbed up the flooded water and up towards the surface like a revenant from the dead. Drenched in water and walking slowly, he brought his left hand up in a clenched fist and opened it up in an open palm. He smiled as the rats appeared all around Luke with gleaming red eyes and decaying fangs that gnawed on dead fleshy chunks. From rooftops to swimming in the water, they sniffed the air catching Luke’s scent. The predators have found its victim.
Luke was trapped in a narrow street with no route for escape, trapped like a rat in a corner. The mysterious man still smiled at Luke, chuckling as he came towards him with the rats circling around. He spoke in a soft and intellectual cockney accent like any East End born “It’s nice to meet you at last Luke, your getting closer now, so very close to the Final Apocalypse”.
“What Final Apocalypse? Who are you! Where’s my friends and where are we?” Luke’s anger rose in agitation at the mans amusement. The man replied back “The journey you’re now undertaking has set a chain in motion that cannot be stopped, and you know you can’t change it. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, the mutant army has grown to a mighty force that’ll invade Melbourne very soon. Even yourself time is running out from the virus that flows in your body. How long will you last until your body finally gives up?”
In rage, Luke balled his right fist tight and strikes the man down by impacting his fist to the face. But the man quickly grabs the hurling fist with ease, and flicks it backwards breaking the wrist and joint to the hand. Luke howls in pain as he falls to his knees cradling his limp hand. The chuckling echoed around the street ridiculing the futile attempt.
“This is my world, what strength you have has no meaning to me, I can make you suffer much more than that. But I’m not a violent man, I don’t believe in violence. But I will defend myself if I perceive a threat”
Luke cradles his hand as he clenched his teeth to endure the pain. He looks up with fury burning in his stare “So what’s the goal for this Final Apocalypse? World domination? Replacing humanity with your mutant army? Or sending your alien friends to earth to make a new home using it’s natural resources?” The cockney man shakes his head and says “None of them, I won’t reveal what we’re doing yet. I await for you at the Water purification power plant”.
He walks away from Luke and snaps his fingers to command the rats to engage towards Luke. The army of rats pounced at him, shredding his lungs and eyes in a bloody bloodbath. Luke screamed in pain as the blood gushed out in pools of dark red in the flood, causing Luke to fall and thrash in the flood water. The rats tore out his ears with their yellow diseased teeth, gnawing at the fleshy meat in greedy gulps. They clawed at the joints in Luke’s legs and arms paralysing him whilst he violently spasmed in pain. Gnawing at his flesh, the rats entered Luke’s body’s as the dug into his insides looking for the tasty organs like the liver, heart, intestines, lungs and kidneys.
At this point Luke would’ve died from shock and intense pain, but he was still alive. All he could hear was the chuckle of the young man as he knelt beside Luke’s thrashing carcass body. “I’m not a violent man” the young man said as the rats eat the last of the flesh that were left on the bones of a dead man.
Luke was still alive, even though he was just a pile of bones floating in the flooded street. The young man picked Luke’s skull, he positioned Luke’s skull to look straight at him. “You know times running out Luke, I can see it, the day the virus will clog your vital functions to breath, see, smell and move. You’ll need to hurry, find the Dark Mind, find me and I’ll give you the chance to die trying”. Suddenly he crushed Luke’s skull, and all that can be heard was Luke’s agonising screams as his soul was dragged down into the flood by forces unknown.
Luke blinked his eyes open, sweat pouring down his face and body in a heat of panic and anxiety, heart beating so fast that Luke couldn’t breath for several seconds. Still in his hazmat body gear, he ripped off his gas mask and breathed in an out deeply in jagged breaths. He was back in the wasteland, the dry land that stretched either side of a long tarmac road that seemed better days. Trees dead and hollow like thorns appeared in the distance, with little plant life around Luke.
He turned to see the gang as panicked and distressed as he was, Glenn looked like he saw a ghost, Krakstrong angry from a great offence that caused him to roar. Waz was mumbling to himself, saying about “the heart and soul” like it was a riddle that even his vast knowledge couldn’t decipher. As for the flood, the rats and the man, they vanished like they never existed.
After several minutes of waiting for everyone to calm down Luke spoke to the gang, his nerves still shook him from his nightmare. “Did you guys see that? The man, did you see what the F he did?” They all nodded in agreement, they all saw what happened.
“We were all there in the flood right here, then all of a sudden I was alone in the same shed that my wife was in before she was murdered. The Butcher came back from the dead, standing there eating chunks of my dead wife. Then he came up to me and shredded me alive” said Glenn, he was shaken by what he saw but kept his iron will together. Luke shook his head in confusion. Didn’t they all witness what he did? Or did they see something else……
He said to Glenn “Wait, did you see a young man with an army of rats around us before and after?”. Glenn replies back confused as well “No, I saw the Butcher coming out of the flood, he came up to you before everything changed and I was alone, then I saw the shed like I awoke from a nightmare. I didn’t see an army of rats nor this young man either”.
Luke’s spine chilled as the supernatural became more mysterious by Glenn’s vision of what he saw. Is this how the Dark Mind works? By using the fears and nightmares of its victims to control them? Luke needed to hear what Krakstrong and Waz has to say to see their prospective on the situation.
“Waz, Krakstrong, what did you two see in your visions?”. Krakstrong who calmed down from his anger management looked at Luke and replied “I saw flood, I saw that man thing”. Luke smiled “So you did see that young man with curly hair in the suit too?”. But krakstrong shook his head “No, I saw my old self, Keith, he tried to posses my body and turn me back into a human”.
This was another revelation that made things more complicated. Luke looked at Waz and waited for his reply, Waz talked slowly in a dry unemotional tone “I saw the flood, it defies logic for there wasn’t any water source, not this far into land unless there were rain clouds. But there were no rain clouds, the water came from the ground. Then I saw you coming up from the flood, you asked me to take your hand……then ………” he stopped. He didn’t say anything after that.
It’s an illusion more likely, a game that the Dark Mind plays to lure its victims into a false sense of unease and lower their mental defences. But, they all saw something in the flood, but was it a being that could use powers to show different prospectives, or was it more complex than that? Why did Waz see Luke in his prospective, was Luke his greatest fear, regret, loss or jealousy?
Whatever it was, it made no sense, especially when comparing each experience with each other. One was fear, the other in denial. For Luke, his was the strangest one that was someone he never met before in the flesh. He knew the person in books he read, horror stories that would chill your bones and screw your mind by the violent and supernatural horror. The man died many decades ago, this being wasn’t the same man as the one Luke saw. It was a younger version, a mocking disguise of someone’s flesh and identity.
The man he met in the flood was called James. He was now Luke’s nightmare, the living manifestation of Luke’s fear of a slow death by the virus that’s flowing in his body. Once his time was over, the rats will surely find him and they will devour him……..
The gang reached the end of their long walk across the long stretch of road leading towards the Water purification power plant. They see a gas station that was abandoned, this will be their resting point until tomorrow. Glenn and Luke scouted the area to see if there were any hostiles in the area, none were found. They enter the kiosk shop, scanning the shop for supplies and clearing the area for them to rest. Krakstrong will have to sleep outside as there weren’t enough room for him to fit into kiosk space.
As the sun went down and the stars came out, the gang rested from the long days road trip. Gathering their thoughts on what happened that day. It still shook them from the experience of witnessing the supernatural influence of the Dark Mind. But it made them more determined and stronger to stop the Dark Mind.
Waz went outside walking around the building where no one will notice him for a few minutes. He held up his symbiotic arm that withered and morphed constantly, cables, flesh, metal and bone morphed like a constant wave. He morphed a small screen with buttons to tune the signal, a small tv like device that he used to catch the signal that he was following.
He tuned it for a couple of minutes as the static buzzing fuzzed when tuning for a signal. The he got the signal, a barley visible green glow of an unidentifiable person on the screen. The person spoke to Waz through the radio speakers “So, have brought the group to the location that we agreed on? Has Luke collected the package from his father?”
Waz replied back in a dry cold tone “yes, he doesn’t suspect that I know about his package. We’re at an old gas station to rest for the night, by tomorrow we should be on schedule following the river down towards the location for three days”. The person replied back “Good, I’ll be waiting for you by day two, make sure your not delayed or this entire mission will be doomed”. The signal went as the man signed off. Waz was about to go back when suddenly he was pinned to the wall by a great force of impact, breaking his bones. A big purple hand pushed him into the brickwork pinning him to restrain his movement. He turns one of his eyes around to see Krakstrong snarling at him, radiating pure hatred at Waz.
“Who were you taking to! Answer now or I’ll tear you apart!!!!”
End of part 3