“...Alas, some mysteries of nature are not yet to be discovered.  One day I will return and see what has become of this creature...”

A man wandered away from a vault, slain guards with vines pierced through their bodies littered the ground outside, as if the natural world erupted in rage to slaughter them.  He pulled up his tattered grey hood and strolled away from the gruesome scene, gazing at the large rusted key in his hand. How strange the key seemed, that it bore no marks save for two parallel lines, as if the number ‘11’ was written upon it.  The man grinned with pleasure, knowing its true purpose.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The man wandered deep into the woods of a foreign land he had not seen for some time, slowly taking in all the sights of the changed landscape.  His journey took him away from them, however. Deeper into the woods he walked. The man finally came upon a small hut, run down and ramshackle, and knew he reached his destination.  Inside he went, reaching for the key in his bag clutching it tightly. Down into the tower he stalked until he found the door bearing the same marks as the key.

It had been so long since he had seen these halls.  The urge clawing at the back of his mind to go deeper was growing, but this was where he needed to be.  He put the key into the lock and opened the door. Inside was a monstrous tree, twisted and strange. Into the room he walked, marvelling at the vile, glowing, egg-shaped fruit hanging from the branches.  He was searching for something. Finally he came to a lower hanging fruit. He smiled with a sinister joy as he plucked it from the tree. Satisfying his curiosity, he left.

Several days later the tree stood alone in the room when a fruit, fully ripened, fell from the tree.  A horrid hiss emanated out as it cracked open and monster emerged, free to leave from the open door...

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Part 2

“I know what I saw! It had horrible razor teeth! I don’t know how it could have seen us… there were no eyes.  It didn’t have any eyes, or ears, or anything beyond being that mound of flesh and horrible gnashing maw. There was know way we could have known it was coming.  It crawled out from under the ground and before I knew it, it burrowed back down. It’s not safe!”

Some time had passed since the door was left open.  More eggs had hatched since then. More monsters stalked the woods since then.

 

“The way it walked?  I couldn’t make this up.  Every motion was this sickening jerking twist with each of its limbs.  Arms sharpened into spike-like bones.. I thought we killed it when we attacked.  It looked dead! But.. I’m sorry, I had to run…”

 

Hunted like animals.  The common people of the land feared leaving their homes.  The guards even began to find fear in their hearts.

 

“I watched six of them gang up on it!  Not a single one could hit it with a sword…  Like they weren’t even trying.”

 

Rumors travelled fast across towns.  What was out there?

 

“It just… it never stopped smiling.  I ran as fast as I could. I can’t… I can’t get that smile out of my head…”

 

How many were out there?

 

“I’m telling you, I found his body!  The man I knew is NOT the one inside that house right now.  SOMETHING -- whatever it is -- looks like him, but that’s just… that can’t be him.”

 

Why are they here?

 

“She was only in the dark for a few moments… but its like her body was hollowed out…”

 

Stay in groups.

 

“Even being near, it was like my skin was on fire.  I couldn’t stand to get any closer and it just… melted his armor around his body.  Those screams will haunt me for years…”

 

 

The hunt is on.

 

 

 

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