Where do I begin? I've been an ass lately; that isn't like me, but I can't help it. This ache tears at me day after day while I sit helpless to do anything about it.
I have to get back.
The echoes drift to me from time to time, fraying the edges of my sanity and slicing me like so many poison-dipped knives. Too much more of that, and I might go mad…though madness might be preferable to this sane torture I'm enduring now.
I have to get back. HAVE TO.
And sometimes, I see things I could forever do without seeing. Things that horrify me, spelling death for all I love. I've just had another one of these—visions, I guess you'd call them—and I know it's only the beginning…
Shrill ringing jerked Director Matya Paschke out of her much-needed sleep, and she cursed as she fumbled for the phone. She'd already worked eighteen hours straight and was due for some rest. This had better be important, she thought, finally snagging her phone. I'll behead them myself otherwise. She punched the answer button.
"What?" she snarled.
"They're here, ma'am! We're –" The rest was garbled, the sounds of shouts and panicking making it hard for Matya to decipher his words.
"What? Thom, who is there?"
"Demons!" he yelled over the cacophony.
Matya shot out of bed, adrenaline flooding her and turning her eyes to ice-blue. If Thom was right—and he always was—then they would need everyone on hand immediately.
"Call the nearby Agencies, get some damn reinforcements! I'm on my way."
Matya cursed again as she threw her clothes on. She knew what they were up against, and that they didn't have the manpower they needed. She ran a small branch of the Agency in Crosby, a little town of about a thousand souls in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota. The closest Agencies were miles away; it would take reinforcements time to get there. She only hoped they could hold out long enough for help to arrive.
Her front door shattered inward just as she grabbed her keys, sending splinters flying. A snarling form, backlit by the streetlight outside, paced toward her. If it wasn't for the ebony-black skin and dark crimson hair, one would think this thing was a vampire. But it wasn't—Matya had heard about these demons, and she knew she was in for a hell of a fight.
She dropped her keys and growled, the feel of her canines descending and her claws elongating fueling her with determination. The demon responded in kind, its onyx-black claws glinting wickedly, and it launched itself at her.
They traded blows, their claws leaving ragged, bleeding swipes across skin as their growls filled the air. It was a deadly dance of life and death, and while Matya held her own, her hope was quickly fading. She knew she couldn't hold off the demon forever—though a good fighter, she simply wasn't strong enough; she found herself sweating, muscles protesting the strain, as she was steadily beaten back by this thing that had invaded her world.
A metallic flash—then burning pain radiating from the new wound in her neck. The same wound a dagger was now protruding out of, and the same one that Matya was pretty sure had pierced the artery.
Matya knew she was done Either the demon would finish her off here, or she was going to bleed out when the dagger was removed. Well, if I'm already dead, she thought, eyeing the demon in front of her, I'd better make it count.
The demon lunged for her again, but Matya was faster. She ripped the dagger out of her flesh and drove it savagely through the demon's chest, hissing with triumph as the demon turned to ash. But her triumph was short-lived—moments later, Matya collapsed, vision darkening as blood poured from her wound.
Another pile of ash soon joined the first, the last testament of a Director determined to protect her people…
…And so it begins. The destruction is no longer imminent—it is here, now, and I can do nothing but impotently watch the horror overrunning my world.
I have to get back.
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