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Darkness. Colors. SCENES. Light, fLashes went by aNd buy, never holding long enough tooo focus on, snatches of conversation rushing by too quick to catch, terrible, terrible whispers by mystery-us robed figures, his ancestors, his predecessors, his descendants, his fuTurE. His FatE.

The void. The universe. He saw them all.

In his tWisted glory, he laughed, seeing all, knowing NUTHING. Strange sigiLs slipped by, chanted by learned wise women without wishes, DOOMed forever to recant the number of Stars.

Many-fingered beasts opened their many-colored eyes, and he smiled with teeth, and they smiled with teeth and he smiled because They smiled and He because they and he opened his mouth to devour them as they opened their mouths to devour him and all was the same and nothing all at once.

Stars flew past as the universe grew to Nothing and rings grew around galaxies like PLANETS, space folding and unfolding in aNd out upon itseLf, his entirety heating and cooling, forged by Big Bangs aeons apart but what seeemed like seconds to him, forging a soul that could not BE Divided unlike the rest of the Divided and he cried as he witnessed pale shapeless giants hammer down their hearts and crunmble again to nothing, MiNdleSS and hEArTless once more, and He wept in joy and sorrow and there was no distinction.

Millions upon billions upon trillions fell, death decaydoomdespairdeny the reality and the urge, the POWER to live against the void, no more strength to throw off it like a blanket, the foul crushing darkness at the beginning and the end, without end, eyes always open never seeing. He wept in despair as Gods cried and Gods died and the hope of rebirth was oblivion, intertwined with destiny. The sYstem needed crash, NEedEd crash, and he was the only one to see how Small and Alone the entirety of everything was. NO heart, no MinD, no poWer, a chaotic cacophony that rhyme nor reason mattered to, the universe was madness drumming without purpose, drumming a beat of endless dancers to an aWEsome and terrible, damnedable flute, he wailed as his spirit soared as the bard was write, full of sound and fury signifying NOTHING!

The VoidoomdespairdeathdespairdoomVoid pressing in, rending his eyes, rending his mind wide open to the possibilities of stars burning coldly in their Heaven, creatures shrinking and retreating from the light into the fading night that offered no respite. He Saw, and a wailing and gnashing of teeth was to be had as tears of blood reigned freely, the light of brighteousness gone, snuffed out never there at all, only an illusion in the face of cold Nothing that all feared and cried out for.

Spheres, pathways of energies, veins, closed and gone as Uni became Verse and became Cursed to Know without flinching. All the souls of all the planets were dEAd, rotting meat even dark CarriOn birds could not feast from, deader than doornails and empty oceans and sleep and forever. All death, all void closing in, all falling down no hope to be had, infinite zero everything passing start in reverse.

Everything.

He saw everything collapse into nothing, the doom pressing down. There was despair without end, deaddest despair and he grinned, grinned as the ancient secrets whispered in his mind, that darkness pressing in he grabbed aroundhimself, so cloaked he could SEE, and grinnnned as flesh faded and melted leaving only bones bones bones white and pure, pure green flame in his eyes and ribs, chanting words to hold the world together, fire-chant and skeleton-grin, as everything turned topsy up turvy down, and the despair was hope filling bones and filling fires and lungs as the green reached out, sickly mocking life reversing the reverse. Spheres, the pathways his energy ignited, holes in space-time as and time in hole-space as the Stars trembled at his laughter, Iä! Iä! A Thousand mothers with one Young never conceived of the cold poison drunk with relish, glee filling dark hearts beating again!, that which sleeps may forever lie and strange aeons had come! The dead must rise! Millions of graveyards on uncountable planets shifted as their occupants rose, yet again! Iä! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead must rise! The dead…

“…’msst rise.” Scott mumbled.

“Scott!”

“Th’ ded…huh? Muuh?” He opened his eyes and sat up, laying on his bed with Amber standing over him. “Huh? A-Amber?” She rolled her eyes.

“Yeesh, finally. I’ve been calling you for five minutes now, you slept like the dead.” She slapped her hand to her head as she realized the pun, realizing she was descending to his level. “Anyway, everyone’s ready to go, we’ve been waiting on you. How do you feel? Are you alright?”

“Uuhh…” Scott rubbed his eyes and stretched, flexing his hands. “Yeah. I’m fine. Good, even.” he said, realizing it was true. The aches and tiredness of his body had vanished. He looked over on the bed, the Necronomicon sitting innocently on top. He started to reach for it, but pulled back hesitantly. “Umm…th-this may sound weird, but…I, I’ve been here the whole time, right?”

“Yeah, I guess. You came up here two hours ago, we didn’t disturb you ‘til now.” Amber blinked, creasing her brow with worry. “Why? Is something wrong? What’s up?”

“No, nothing…just, just a bad dream, I guess.” Scott said, standing up and picking up the ancient book. He shook his head, which felt strange. There was a tingling in his brain, like it felt…heavier? No-fuller. He frowned in concentration, but nothing else seemed to be off. He looked down at the book in his hands, and for the first time since he’d read it he shivered. “Yeah, don’t have time to worry ‘bout it. Let’s go.” He put it in his bag, slung it over his shoulder, and walked out.

“Ooookay?” Amber followed, very confused.

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“Hurry up, Hurry up! The Master is waiting, we don’t have time to lose!” Gregor snapped, directing the others. The driver hissed at him, and he screeched back, louder and more fearsome. Cowed, the vampire obediently backed the truck down the ramp into the mall’s basement.

Brian had returned furious. He’d taken one look at the newly-emptied cells and with a shout melted them. After that he’d ordered every single one of his vampires, all 1,487 of them, to move out.

“We have dallied here growing our numbers too long, and we have grown complacent for it. We need to keep going, going and converting as many humans as possible. The special elite series ended up being useless anyway; now we swarm the world with our numbers. Unfortunately, I can only connect two points in space as a fixed location, and we need to move faster than that. We’re going to grab some trucks and launch a convoy that will cover the world!” His declaration had been met with resounding cheers, and the first stop on the tour: Nahumville. The first actual city would provide plenty of new recruits, as well as the means to move east towards the ocean, and from there their avenues for infestation increased dramatically.

“Move it, you louts! Stop standing around gabbing, load up into that truck! Pack it full, more than standing room, you won’t die if it flips over! Give me that!” Gregor snatched up a vial for one of the vampires mixing chemicals at the lab’s table. “The Master has commanded ALL of us into the trucks to join the attack. If you’ve got fangs, use them. Not wasting time playing scientist!”

“Ssss! The Master has ordered me to complete this serum before we move out, it’s an agent to help suppress the hunger! We could be on the road for weeks, do you want to suffer between each raid?” the balding, horse-faced vampire challenged.

“Pah! My faith in my lord sustains me, sweeter than any blood. As should yours. So are you contradicting my orders?” Gregor said, baring his fangs. The other hissed and crouched low, and Gregor raised his hands. Suddenly, a new vampire interjected.

“Guys, guys! There’s no need to fight, we’re all vampires here, we’re all gonna serve to the best of our ability, everything’s cool.” Will said, sliding between them. “Look, everyone’s joining in, just have him pile in last after he’s done, what do you say?” he attempted to pacify Gregor. The other vampire snatched up the vial and scampered off. Gregor paid him no mind, his attention on a bigger target. He scowled.

“Ugh. You. Listen, boy,” he hissed and poked Will’s chest, leaning into his face. “I don’t care that the Master favors you. You will not undermine my authority, especially in front of the others again. Understood?” Gregor said softly, his voice full of menace and his eyes glowing red. Will gulped.

“Y-Yeah, but it was by our Master’s orders that he was doing what he was doing too.” he defended, too shakily for comfort. Gregor narrowed his eyes.

“Master has also given me authority to oversee us. I do not need help from any pathetic upstarts who had to betray their friends in order to win a place in the Masters’ good graces. I do not like you, and you will not order me around. Do you have a problem with that?” Will was keenly aware that he was staring at a centuries-old vampire even before their mutation, a creature very used to killing people.

“N-No.” Will said, holding his hands up. “But I do have a problem with anyone trying to subvert Master’s orders for their own purposes. I don’t think he’d like that, do you?”

There was a moment of silence, Gregor trying to bore a hole a hole through Will’s head with his eyes alone.

“See to it everyone, and I mean everyone, is in the truck in three hours.” Gregor warned and stalked off, shoving Will with his shoulder. Will rubbed it and cast a dark look at the elder vampire’s retreating back.

He sighed and picked up a blood pack, making a hole with a fang and sticking a straw inside. He sat down out of the way of everyone else. He watched the hustle and bustle of the other vampires as he sighed and drank his lunch.

He’d never thought it’d be like this. Brian had declared him one of their top agents for the information he’d brought, the only price entry to the vampire club. But as it turned out, the other vampires despised him, from jealousy over special treatment for no effort, do distrust, because even with the vampirization how could they trust and rely on a comrade who had proven willing to throw literally everyone he cared for away?

Will slurped down the last of the blood and rolled it into a ball. And then there was the thirst. An aching, pounding, constant need to feed. Enough wasn’t enough; he wanted more, and more, and more! It was only by Brian’s command that he held himself back. He shook his head and wondered how Kevin could stand it.

He crushed the package in his hand as he thought of his former best friend. It was all his fault; Kevin didn’t warn him about how bad the thirst was, Kevin kept showing off his new abilities, it was Kevin who kept getting fame and the love of the town! How dare he! Will stood up, fuming. How dare Kevin start all this! How dare he leave-

Will blinked, letting the crumpled package fall to the floor. He sighed. How dare Kevin leave him behind.

But it was too late for regrets now, no matter how much he had. Will wiped his mouth and set off to get a mission, to help prepare, to do anything so he wouldn’t have to feel like this any more. He turned and bumped into Brian.

“Ahh, how fortunate. I was wondering if you’d like to help me with a little ‘project’ I’ve got in the works?”

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“…jslatmon ha!” FWOOSH!

The mountain of deceased canines rumbled and folded together like clay, bone and muscle merging and forming anew into a massive mound of decayed flesh. Toxic emerald magical energy played over the fur, bristling into a dark coat. The group was stunned, taken aback by this marvelous display of magic. Scott grinned and stood proud, his preparations almost complete. Amber peeked out form behind a stack of boxes.

“I-Is it over? Did you cast the spell?” she asked nervously, her eyes darting to the covered ceiling.

“Yeah, it’s over? Why are you hiding?” Nightfang asked, eyebrow raised.

“Well the last time Scott tried this spell, the roof exploded.” she explained, eyeing the amalgamated zombie warily.

“What!” Cross wheeled on him, and he held his palms up.

“Hey, easy! That’s not…exactly what happened.” he protested. “I mean, yes, the sigils for the Zombie Titan Mk. 1 were a little…overdrawn, I admit that. But half the problem was a human shape was too tall for the building, and when you combine that with the…overenthusiastic formation, that’s what spelled trouble. Get it? ‘Spelled?’” He wagged his eyebrows, and Amber threatened to hit him with a refrigerator. “Ah-hm. Anyhoo, after the necro-surge amplifiers had been dampened, it’s simplicity itself to inscribe ‘tah’, ‘cuh’, and ‘th’uulinsh’ into the circle, thus redirecting the cosmic flow for a much smoother fusion. Look, you can hardly tell the bones are made from smaller ones!” he said, thumping the beast.

“Okay…” Cross said, trying to follow his jargon. “So the thing was too big and you used too much mojo at once, so that’s why the roof’s patched up?”

“Precisely, detective!” Scott said, strapping on goggles and hefting a chainsaw. “Even if I am a genius, real progress takes time and effort. Fortunately, I learn from my mistakes. Zombie minions 1-15, prep the tanks! 16-20, start opening those boxes, this’s what we’ve prepped for! 21-30, aid me! We gotta carve this sucker up, he’s our main offense! If anyone wants to help, please use the scalpels next to Larry, Moe, and Curly.”

The three birds flapped over to the assembled defenders, offering gleaming scalpels with their beaks to Amber and Genevieve.

“Err, no thanks.” Amber said, politely waving Larry off. Genevieve hesitantly took one, and Curly flopped on its back, offering its belly. She stared at it, then started whimpering.

“Why am I the only normal one?” she wondered aloud.

“Vhat do you mean? Ve must all take part in da devense of dis place. I vor vun am feeling nostalgic, I haff not been to var in at least two centuries.” Harvaste said, using a coagulated blood blade to slice an incision in the bird’s stomach. Genevieve stared at the vampire lord cutting open a bird, the feminine ghoul politely declining another, the masked vampire superhero, the hovering rainbow ghost, and the necromancer, gleefully ripping open a giant zombie. She sidled up to Cross, the last bastion of normality and sanity.

“Help me.” she whispered, begging with her eyes. Cross turned to her with a weathered, knowing face.

“Here. It’ll help.” She reached into her overcoat and handed her a flask.

“I…can’t drink this.” Genevieve muttered forlornly.

“So, why exactly did you make…this thing?” Nightfang said, handing Scott a towel.

“What inspired my last titanic creation: anime.” Scott said with a flourish, digging around in the beast’s chest. “That and classical mythology. Have you ever been three stories tall? I have. I-hnngg-connected my body to the Mk. 1, so I could control it directly. But there was a problem. See this?” He rolled up his sleeve and proffered his wrist. Nightfang saw a large circular scar, angry and red.

“Eeesh.”

“Yeah, turns out dead tissue being hooked up to living? Not a great idea.” Scott said, resuming his work.

“Well, it’s your own fault.” Leo pointed out. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I stopped the necrosis from happening, it’s just got a while to heal. During fall and winter it’ll be alright with long sleeves, but I dunno how I’m gonna hide it in the summer.”

“Wristbands, maybe?” Nightfang said.

“I thought’a that, but they’re not really my style.” Scott said, scooping out a mass of torn flesh and goop, absently placing it in the vampire’s hand. Nightfang looked at it, glanced around, stared at Leo who could only shrug, and tossed it to the floor with a disgusted expression. “But anyway, this’s more of an assault vehicle than a mech. ‘Sides, I’ve already done a humanoid giant zombie, It’s boring to just repeat the same thing over and over. I must tax my imagination to create!” the necromancer happily chirped, finally done with hollowing out the chest cavity. “Okay, we’re good to go here. Pass me that steel plate, would you?”

“Are you sure this’s all right? I mean, that was a part for an auto company, you just took it from Amber’s dad.” Leo said as Nightfang handed him the piece. They all looked towards the office, where her parents were being tended to by Bones while their souls were gone.

“It’s to save the town, I don’t think they’ll mind.” Scott said sheepishly.

“And that makes how many laws broken now?” Nightfang asked wryly.

“More than you want to know!” Scott said cheerfully, hammering the plate in.

“You know, with all the modifications you’re making to it, it seems a little more like a cyborg, than a zombie.” Leo said.

“Oh my GOD I would LOVE to make a proper cyborg zombie!” Scott gushed, his undead assistants wheeling up the pump and lifting it for him. “Yeah, with the Mk. 2’s special enhancements it is a cyborg, technically. Unfortunately, I can’t make the mods I’d like to right now, if I could that’d be so cool!” He looked at the pump in the beast. "Heh, cyborg zombies. Cool.”

“Yeah, a cyborg zombie is pretty rad.” Nightfang agreed, looking the giant over approvingly. “But uh, you said the first one made a hole in the roof ‘cause it was too big?”

“Yeah, it was a pain. Good thing Mr. Harris knows fast contractors.”

“Then, uh, how did you plan on getting the thing outside?” They all looked up to the roof, which the beast’s head was already halfway to laying down.

“Through the…” Scott trailed off, realizing his miscalculation. “Damnit!”

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A note from Dreadwizard Siegfried

Cyborg zombies are pretty rad.


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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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