NightCrawlers: Victims of a Parasite that turned into Nocturnal Cannibalistic Hunters whose only instincts are to kill and eat.
Having found a literal paradise in this drug store, with protection and supplies galore, Onyx and Dr. Doggy waited for the other shoe to drop. It took a couple of days to get everything all set up for optimal survival, but oh boy, it was all worth it. Onyx felt like a real survival pro, having set up her own rainwater filter using vases and cheesecloth, a contained fire pit with a wire rack and a giant wok. The firepit’s bonus was she was able to feel like a real boss, chopping wood with an axe.
By going around the houses in the neighbourhood, they were able to collect the luxuries the store didn’t supply. Going from house to house, she collected pillows to build a pillow fortress for her and Dr. Doggy to spend their downtime in, he would get a full session of head scratches while Onyx read through various books she had picked up. It was a beautiful moment of peace for both of them in the middle of the chaos, not everyone can go hardcore 24/7.
But there was no point in resting all day, gotta work hard to play hard. After finding the axe and adding it to her weapon arsenal, she made a point to set up a defence against the NightCrawlers. They were strong and super speedy, but they were quite stupid, shining a similarity to many of her old classmates.
She would hack away at the fences that surrounded nearby houses, sharpen them, turn them to spears, and stab them into the ground around the shop. It took her three days to take apart an entire fence and build around their hideout, but man was it worth it. The spears weren’t going to kill the Crawlers, but it would slow them, or if Onyx got lucky, immobilize them to make it effortless to kill.
Onyx thought she was prepared for anything after all the work she had put into their paradise, but the weather proved her wrong. Summer was coming strong, and the sun was hitting hard, threatening to melt everything it touched. Before, Onyx didn’t mind that she was without power, but now that was her top priority. They had a cheap battery operated fan, but honestly, it wasn’t cutting it.
Sweat poured down her back as she worked on the generator around the end of the building. It was way too hot outside for Dr. Doggy, but the loyal boy refused to leave her side. Onyx set up a little resting area for him outside, a giant empty cardboard box with a bowl of water. It was basically the laziest dog house ever, but Dr. Doggy had no complaints.
She would like to call herself quite the handy girl, but this generator made her brain hurt.
The instruction guide she found buried in the back of the staff room was so convoluted that it wouldn’t make a difference if it was written in another language. The pictures were slightly helpful, showing her the parts she needed to clean and possibly replace, but tragically, Onyx lacked in the tool department. Apparently, one cannot use a sword or an axe to fix sophisticated appliances, although it would have been wicked if Onyx could.
“Oh fiddlesticks,” Onyx muttered, standing up to wipe the sweat off her forehead. She had managed to scavenge various tools around the area, but was missing the key one; a ratchet. Dr. Doggy raised to greet her, rubbing her leg with his thick coat. She had heavily considered shaving him for the hot months before reading a pamphlet that explained how the coat protected them from overheating and sunburn.
“How do you feel about going on an adventure to find some more tools?” He barked eagerly and followed Onyx as she prepped her wagon with extra water and some cheap sunscreen from inside the store. Onyx grabbed her sword, placed it in a holster she made from an oversized belt, and put cheesy hats on them.
They went down west to a new neighbourhood with larger houses with attached garages. Onyx bet her bottom dollar that the tools she needed would be hidden in some garage, her hope would be to find a whole kit with all the different sizes. Things seemed pretty quiet as the two walked along, except for the occasional rat scurrying from one trash can to another.
One may look at Onyx and label her as a thief, and they would be correct, but not because she was black, but instead because she was smart. Onyx devoted time to learning how basic locks work, and that’s all she really needed. In no way was her skill comparable to Houdini, but she was smart enough to break into a couple of garages by unlocking the emergency release valve.
Opening up all these garages made her feel like she was on a game show, it was a mystery behind each door. Some houses you could tell belonged to hoarders, finding stacks of newspapers or broken appliances with no hopes of being fixed. Another garage was turned into a makeshift art studio with paintings Onyx wished she had more time to admire.
Throughout the ten she had opened at this point, she managed to collect Tibbits of parts, and a battery-operated screwdriver with different ends that was sure to help a bunch, but got nowhere closer to getting her ratchet set. She was about ready to hunker down and split some lunch with Dr. Doggy when he all of a sudden became hyper-focused with a house across from them.
He ran through the broken door before barking at Onyx, urging her to follow. The door seemed suspicious, giving her the sense that NightCrawlers had made it their nest. Onyx was on the fence about going in, but Dr. Doggy was more than determined, so she went with it, sword at the ready.
There were bits and pieces of debris trailing from the front entrance and towards the staircase. There were none on the house’s outsides, so Onyx knew there were at least one of those bastards waiting for her somewhere in the darkness. Dr. Doggy trotted up while Onyx slithered behind with her blade gripped tight in her hand. The trail had diminished in the middle of the upstairs hallway. Onyx peered into each of the rooms on the floor before going in and investigating. She couldn’t find any Crawlers, but she also couldn’t find what intrigued Dr. Doggy so much.
Content with her searching, she lowered her sword and called for Dr. Doggy ready to leave this house, but unfortunately for her, there was someone else who didn’t want her to go.
It happened so quickly that Onyx barely managed to register that something had fallen on her. Her legs gave in at the sudden pressure, and she could feel something pruny pressing into her bare shoulder. This was it, for all the time she cheated death so far, it was now her time.
But was it really her time? According to her furry companion, it was not. He swooped in like the hero he was, tackling the Crawler off her back and giving her long enough to get up and bring her mighty blade down in its neck. The duo watched the beheaded body squirm before finally coming to rest, blacked blood pooling beneath it. Onyx bent down to thank her saviour, first checking for bites and scratches, then hugging him like there was no tomorrow.
“Is this why you wanted to bring me into this murder house? You were craving some action, tough guy?” He licked her cheek before pulling back and barking towards the ceiling. Onyx looked up and saw the most obvious hole, something she should have noticed the second she got up the stairs. It seemed to lead to the attic, but the ladder was nowhere to be seen.
“You stay here and stand guard, okay?” Onyx asked, to which Dr. Doggy seemed to understand. Onyx got into a proper stance before jumping up towards the hole and using her arms to pull herself up. These were the moments she loved her beautiful bulging biceps.
Up in a far corner of the dusty attic was another Crawler, curled up in an abnormal ball. When it untangled itself and started crawling towards her, she was ready. All it took was one mighty swoop, and the beast was no more. Nothing stood a chance when Onyx was actually smart and prepared.
It was like Dr. Doggy was following the scent of a treasure because lo and behold, it was on a lone desk as if it were just waiting for her. The ratchet set was now hers in all of its glory. She grabbed the kit and stuffed it into her bag, ready to jump down when something caught her eye. There was a shattered window on the backside of was attic, with drops of blood covering the glass.
This was fresh blood, nowhere near old enough to come from either of the NightCrawlers that Onyx just encountered. This could only mean one thing. Onyx pulled back out her sword before approaching the open window, leaning out just enough to catch sight of a figure lying on the ground below.
“You are such a good boy, Dr. Doggy! Who is the best tracker? You are!” She shouted as she not so elegantly jumped from the attic to the hall. Dr. Doggy barked to match her enthusiasm before they raced down the stairs and out of the door to jump over the back fence.
This survivor looked far from alright. They were lying on their right side, back facing Onyx. There were glass shards scattered around the body and blood dripping from small wounds. Onyx walked around checking for bite marks and found none of the sort, just various clean looking cuts from the glass window. A slight rise and fall were coming from the chest, so that was a good sign.
Onyx wasn’t always know for her observation skills, but she sure noticed a lot while looking at this unconscious stranger. She was guessing it was a woman, based on her choice of style and the undeniable fact that she was pregnant. Onyx lifted her shirt and was thankful to find nothing but white skin, but it wasn’t the same for the rest of her body. There were some purple bruises on her right arms and legs. Also, they looked abnormally larger than her left arm and leg. Now Onyx was no health expert, but she was starting to suspect that parts of her arm and leg were broken. Her skin shared the same hue as a tomato, and when Onyx placed a hand to her forehead, she felt the heat of the seven suns.
Onyx knew she needed to get this stranger out of the sun, and quick. Moving as fast as her legs would let her, she dashed back around the house and grabbed her wagon. Pulling it quickly through the house, she took pillows from the living room and created a mini-bed inside the wagon.
Luckily enough for them, Onyx had wet wipes in her bag, allowing her to wipe some of the blood off her body. The real problem presented itself when she attempted to clean the swollen arm, the unconscious woman groaning.
“I’m sorry for any pain I might cause you,” Onyx spoke to the woman as she tried to roll the body as carefully as she could, receiving more unconscious backlash. Once the right arm and leg were in a good position, she made quick splints with some sticks and rope she found around the yard.
It was finally time. Onyx managed to move this woman from the ground to the wagon without pushing the broken limbs.
It was a silent walk back to the store, but it wasn’t a sad one. Onyx’s mind was filling with ideas on how to help this woman cool down and soothe her massive burns. Dr. Doggy was probably just thinking about all the fun he can have with a new friend.
Back at the shop, Onyx had to sacrifice parts of their pillow fortress to build a nest for their new companion. Onyx lifted her over to it, still being super scared of moving any of the bones.
Once Onyx had her set, she applied aloe to the exposed skin and set up the fan to blow in her direction. It was still a weak sucker, but it was the best Onyx had so far. With the weather being unpredictable with its sheer hotness, Onyx knew it would be vital that she get that generator going. There was some random memory from high school biology that hinted at overheating being bad for pregnancy. She left a water bottle and a granola bar just if she woke up while Onyx was out working.
“Can you stay here and protect her?” Onyx asked Dr. Doggy, to which he barked before settling himself down near the stranger’s feet. Onyx smiled to herself and took one last look at the woman before heading back outside.
She was hurt, probably in more pain than Onyx could ever imagine. Blood still stuck to the blonde hair upon her head, her clothes were gross, and her skin was sure to start peeling like an alien within the next couple of days. She probably went to hell and back within the last 24 hours based on her horrid appearance. Despite all of that, Onyx still had a single selfish thought floating through her mind.
She was so happy that she wasn’t alone anymore.