NightCrawlers: Victims of a Parasite that turned into Nocturnal Cannibalistic Hunters whose only instincts are to kill and eat.
This was the dream. No more standards, no more rules, no more needing to put on acts to impress every idiot who judged her because of her black skin (it’s because they are all dead now.) In Onyx’s opinion, the best part is that no one cared about which bathroom she used because they didn’t work anymore! All of that stuff was gone, and all that was left behind was pure chaos.
Sure it came with new dangers and the risk of being eaten alive or infected by the NightCrawlers, but not everything can be sunshine and rainbows. You win some, you lose some, but Onyx was more focused on winning.
The whole city was now just a supersized playground, everything was first come, first served, and it was perfectly acceptable to carry around badass weapons! Early on, when survivors were abundant, Onyx had noticed most others used guns, planks and pipes to fend off the NightCrawlers, but why even bother with those lame tools? The most intelligent of the survivors—which included Onyx—knew how to properly kill a Nightcrawler, which was by severing the spinal cord. Not as easy to do with a gun unless you were trained to the extreme or just super lucky.
Now how do you severe the spinal cord of a creature trying to eat you alive? Decapitation by a sword. Both an efficient and badass way to kill a NightCrawler. Early into the apocalypse, she had made a temporary base in an antique shop; it worked out pretty well. The owner seemed to have had an addiction to granola bars and flavoured water, which put Onyx in a good spot. Initially, she had planned to make it her permanent base, but a NightCrawler came through the window and just had to ruin everything.
She was sure that her life flashed before her eyes but considering she was only nineteen, she didn’t have much life to flash before her eyes, so it was relatively quick. It worked to her advantage as well; a speedy recovery from the initial shock allowed her to climb over a shelf and avoid getting bitten. Escaping outside was a terrible idea. The streets ran wild with Crawlers, so she knew her only option was fighting back.
There was a sword hanging on the wall, Onyx had assumed it was a plastic replica and hit the NightCrawler on the side of the neck, thinking that it would just push it away, but that was not the result.
Its head rolled right off his shoulders and fell on her foot. Onyx was not prepared for that, but she sure was excited by it.
Initially, the thoughts that came to mind after she eliminated the threat of the NightCrawlers was ‘O.M.G I just killed a person!’ but after taking a second glance at the vile creatures, all those evil thoughts of morally questioning her actions went straight out the door.
The NightCrawlers still stood like people and kept some similar features, but they totally lost their appeal and leaned more towards the undead look. Their bodies would swell up, and the entirety of their skin seemed to bruise up, turning shades of purple. Along with that, back hunching over time to the point of no return, making it easy to tell the difference between the new and the old Crawlers. The older Crawlers also had a tendency to crawl instead of walking due to their hunched backs, which added a whole new level of terrifying to their presence.
All of those shenanigans brought her to where she is now. Walking down a new neighbourhood, wagon in one hand and a sword in the other. This new neighbourhood was a questionable choice. It was one of the first ones in the city to be affected by the parasite, and a majority of the residents had been turned. That meant there was a higher average of NightCrawlers, but that also meant more buildings that had yet to be scavenged.
Onyx walked along the sidewalk, noting down houses for future raids. Making fort in one of the many homes was quite tempting, but it had proven to be futile time and time again. She fully intended to pass them by for the time being until she heard something coming from one of the houses with the door wide open.
“That did not sound like a person, but it also didn’t sound like a NightCrawler,” Onyx reasoned with herself, using curiosity as an excuse to risk her life to investigate the noise. She left her wagon outside and entered the house, sword in hand. The house was a pretty typical suburban white family house with the cliche quotes hanging from different frames.
She walked past one of the doors so absentmindedly that she almost missed a grumbling figure hidden behind a corner. Adrenaline pumped through her blood as she tightened her grip on the sword, lifting it high. The Crawler seemed docile, hardly moving as it stayed slump on the ground. Deciding it wasn’t worth the effort, she snuck passed and went towards the sound source.
Up the stairs, a door shook. Whimpers came from the other side. As far as Onyx knew, Crawlers didn’t whine, unless they could use enough brain cells to trick her into walking into her own death. With one hand on the door handle and the other holding her blade in a tight grip, she pushed open the door, prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
On the other side of the door was a fluffy monster who immediately attacked her with a face full of kisses. Onyx closed the door behind her as she brought the beast into her arms and ruffled his fur, the softest thing she had felt in years. With a scratch of the ears, Onyx could tell that the sense of enjoyment was mutual. It was the best.
“Who is a good dog? You are, you are!” Onyx squealed, excitement flowing through her mind. She finally had someone to talk to other than herself. Yes, the dog was not capable of responding to anything that Onyx would say—except for barks and kisses—but beggars can’t be choosers, and Onyx wasn’t picky. Onyx thought she had seen big dogs before, but this one took the cake. For a quick second, she wondered who weighed more, her or her new friend. He was a pure ball of white fluff, but Onyx could feel some real muscle on this guy under all that fur. After she finished scratching the dog’s ears, her fingers went down to a collar and read the slightly faded words.
“Dr. Doggy? Didn’t realize I was in the presence of a genius?” Onyx giggled, as Dr. Doggy licked her cheeks. After receiving all that love and affection, she stood up and pulled something out of her back pocket that would seal the deal, half of a pepperoni stick. It was a beautiful thing, watching him devour the treat.
“Alright, partner, you ready to brave the world?” She asked, pulling her bag back onto shoulder, readying her hand on the door. Dr. Doggy matched her enthusiasm, but before she could let them out of the closet, Onyx heard groans. Not a good sign at all. All of their excitement must have woken the NightCrawler, wait, two? Onyx most definitely didn’t count two before.
“This is bad news,” Onyx muttered, tapping her fingers on her arms. Eyes were scanning the room as she tried to think of ways to escape the house alive. One NightCrawler would be no problem for Onyx. It would be like a piece of cake. Two was a different story; the bastards move too quick. One wrong move and she’d become their next meal. She nervously glanced around the room, looking for anything that could help her escape, catching sight to her saving grace. In the laundry room corner was a pile of hockey gear, the perfect armour to save her ass.
There was a weird funk to the gear. Onyx didn’t even want to think about how long it had been since it was cleaned. Instead, she chose to focus on her battle plan. The gear covered her chest, shoulders and forearms, while some extra pieces fit perfectly on Dr. Doggy.
Both of them were prepared, standing at the door, waiting for the fight of their lives. Dr. Doggy probably didn’t understand what was happening, but his wagging tail said he was happy to participate.
Onyx took one last deep breath before reaching for the door handle and opening it ever so slightly. After that, she brought both hands to grip her sword before kicking the door and shouting her battle cry.
It was time to be thankful for the hockey armour, as there were no just two, but three NightCrawlers. The first two were standing mere feet away from the door, while a hunched one laid silently by the stairs, seemingly unnoticing.
Onyx lunged forward and struck the first one on the neck’s side, giving the second Crawler a change to latch his teeth onto her protected forearm. Blackened blood spilled from the wound as she struggled to unwedge her sword. The attachment on her arm wasn’t helping all that much.
Dr. Doggy came to her rescue, running into its side and forcing it down to the ground. Onyx had enough leverage to pull back her blade and stab it down into the second Crawler’s neck. All of the blood and action got the attention of the older NightCrawler, who now started gunning it towards Onyx and Dr. Doggy. There was still a reasonable distance between them, so Onyx sprinted towards it so she could do something she had always wanted to do. She reeled back her foot and kicked its head as if it were a soccer ball.
The moment was slow motion, her foot and the head connected, and a satisfying crack rang through the hall. Her foot stung real bad after, but it was worth it just to see the Crawler slumped and died from her single kick. This was most likely the coolest thing she has done to date.
Walking past a mirror, Onyx noticed the splatter of black blood that covered her neck and face, thick as syrup and held a horrid stretch. She took a detour to the bathroom, dirtying the beautiful pure white towels by wiping her face. Onyx was thankful the infection only spreads from bite marks. If it were done by contact with blood, she would have been dead ten times over.
Onyx left the house proud and in dire need of a shower, trotting down the street with her new companion by her side. She did a quick raid of the home, finding half a dog food bag and a semi ripped box of treats. Now the two of them continue to search for a safe base.
The criteria were hit or miss. The Crawlers are a bit smarter than most would like to give credit for. Their insane sense of smell caused them to pry open doors and smash windows to get into houses, so most typical homes were off the list for safe spaces. Cars weren’t a safe bet either; Onyx had witnessed a whole horde gang up on a car’s survivor and tip the car over. That poor dude became the NightCrawlers appetizer; Onyx did want to help that guy, but he sealed his fate after jumping into the van left in plain sight.
The sky had carried the sun across, and a horizon painted with colours of beauty acted as a warning that night would soon fall. She put some hustle into her steps, cutting through backyards to get somewhere safe for the night. There was always something wrong with most of the houses in her current neighbourhood, so she decided to jump over to another. On the way, she spotted it, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow she was searching for.
It was a small drug store. From the outside, it looked undisturbed, a literal supply paradise! Onyx picked up a rock and threw it as hard as she could at the glass, to which it bounced back. Satisfied with the window’s strength, she went for the door just to discover it locked. “Alright bud, guess we are gonna have to scope out the back.” Onyx sighed, leading Dr. Doggy around the back.
She started thinking of complicated ways to break into the store, but there was no need. Around the back was a corpse, one with his lower half destroyed, a look of terror imprinted on his face, and a set of keys in his hands. His wounds looked fresh, but there was no life in his eyes. Onyx mourned for him and the life he lost, but only for a second. If she gave too much time to strangers’ death, she would be too busy to focus on her own future. But she mourns for that second because he deserved at least that.
Onyx dragged his body away from the store, hoping to bring less attention to her new hideout. Going back to the front, she unlocked the door and brought her wagon of stuff into the store. Just by gazing around and taking in the shelves of food and supplies, Onyx knew this was the start of something great.