“See ya later Maddy.” Freya called to me from the living room. “Yeah, see ya.” I called back before walking out of the front door into the pouring rain. Freya was my best friend, as was Holly, and we were all just having a chat but I had to leave. I had work to do, so I couldn’t afford to stay and chat until two in the morning however much I wished I could, but no doubt the teacher would kill me if I hadn’t completed my GCSE course work just because I was gossiping
I had no umbrella so I tried to shield myself as best I could by putting my hands over the top of my head to try and stop the rain from ruining my hair. It didn’t work. I gave up as my arms began to hurt and it wasn’t really doing much anyway. The rain seemed to come down harder, as if trying to beat the brains out of my skull. It was more like hail than rain but when I looked, it was only rain that was falling to the pavement. The night was dark and I was glad of street lights because otherwise I would have been utterly terrified. I had an intense fear of the dark, but my mum says that it wasn’t a fear of the dark and that I just worried too much about what might be out there. I hated the massive intervals between street lamps, as there is always that spot in between them that is completely black and makes my heart pound in my chest if I stand there for more than two seconds. I look up to see the full moon just poking through the clouds, not really casting much light on the world below. I shivered and crossed my arms in an attempt to keep myself warm. It was mid October and the temperatures weren’t the best, especially when you are walking down the street, late at night, in the rain, wearing only a vest top and a skirt. I really wish I had taken my mother’s advice and worn my coat now.
I heard my phone go off in my handbag, so I stopped under a street light so that I could answer it. I pulled my phone out of my bag and turned the screen on, looking at my notification. It was a text from Selina, checking if I had got the worksheets that she wanted. I was about to answer when I heard a little yap like bark, the kind you might hear a puppy make. I looked around myself unable to see anything. I must have been hearing things. WOOF! There it was again! I looked down and at the edge of the street light; I could just make out a small Alsatian puppy, smiling. I could only see its head and front legs in the light; the rest of its body was covered by the cloak of the night. I put my phone back into my bag and knelt down in front of it. “Who’s a good boy?” I say in one of those playful voices you use when speaking to baby animals. It walked towards me, but not making a normal, puppy running sound. It made more of a slithering sound, as if it were dragging its lower body along the floor. It was moving slower than a normal puppy would when running, for I am sure it was running as its front legs were moving at such a pace as to suggest that but it wasn’t moving very far very quickly. Once its whole body had emerged into the light, I could see why it was moving so very slowly. The dog, although looking like a dog at the front, looked nothing like a dog at the back. Past its front legs was nothing but one long tail, and not a dog’s tail either, but a snake’s. There was also a rattle on the end of the tail which when the dog now lifted and shook it, created a rattling noise that was almost as bad a sound to listen to as fingernails being scraped down a blackboard.
I gasped and stood up in shock. The dog’s eyes flared red, and it bared its razor sharp teeth, revealing the forked tongue that lay in its mouth. Now the dog looked more of a threat, but being only the size of a puppy, I didn’t really see how it could do me much harm. That’s when it grew, grew to an unimaginable size. It was about two thirds the height of me, which was very intimidating to look upon. It growled, drool in its mouth which was slowly dripping onto the floor. When it hit the pavement, the concrete sizzled and looked as though it were melting away. The drool was acid, capable of burning through concrete so obviously capable of burning through flesh and bone. I began to back up away from the monstrosity, although it advanced towards me as I did so. The more I looked it in the eye, the angrier the creature seemed to get but when I tried to look away, I found my eyes drawn back to it. Terror seized me, unsure of what to do. Should I run? Should I fight? My heart hammered, feeling as though it were trying to burst through my chest. My breathing quickened in my panicked state and my eyes widened in terror. I felt like screaming but I couldn’t bring myself to do so.
“Tarhack! Crah!” A shout came from somewhere, barked as though giving an order. I looked up and saw the silhouette of a figure in the darkness behind the creature. The dog like thing stopped its advance, whining as it did so, obviously not wanting to follow whatever orders it seemed to have been issued with. The dog backed away slightly, towards the silhouette of the man. I looked at him, but I couldn’t make him out. It was too dark where he was standing, and it was as if he didn’t want me to see what he looked like. “Th-th-thank you.” I stutter, knowing that this man had just saved me from whatever would have happened if that thing had got its teeth on me. The man didn’t answer, didn’t move, and didn’t respond in anyway. “W-what was that language?” I ask, curious as to what the man had actually said as the language he had used was not one that I recognised. “That language is not of this world.” The man replied, in a low, evil-sounding, voice. His voice alone brought me back to the sensation of the fear that I had been feeling moments ago, let alone what he had actually said. “Who are you? What is that?” I ask, looking at the creature. “I cannot answer either of your questions but what I can tell you is that I know who you are, Maddison Keen.” He says, and I can tell from his voice that he is smiling. I shiver, no longer from the cold but from fear. “Can you at least reveal yourself to me?” I ask, choosing to ignore his previous statement. I didn’t know how he knew my name but all I wanted to do now was know who he was and then I could go back home and forget that this ever happened. “I can, but you will not like what you see.” He says, almost laughing. I regret instantly asking to see his appearance.
He steps into the light of the street lamp so that I can fully see what he looks like. His skin was a pure white, like paper. His eyes were like holes in his face. They were entirely black with no white, and they were unevenly sat on his face, one higher than the other. His mouth was full of fangs, all his teeth were like a sharks or like that of his mutant dog. His mouth was all twisted and off to one side of his face and I found myself wondering if he was even able to smile. He had charcoal black hair, but when I looked closer, I realised that it wasn’t hair at all. It was made up of feathers, like that of a raven and now that I looked, his nose did remind me of a beak. He was staring at me, boring into me with those black eyes. They were like bottomless pits and I felt as those I could just fall into them. I looked down at the floor, no longer able to look at the abomination of a man. “Oh Maddison, you have so much talent. If you come with me, then you and your family can live a long and happy life.” The man says and I look back up at him as he speaks, watching his mouth move like a worm wriggling across his face. A bright, shining thing appears from nowhere, floating in mid air. “Come with me, through the portal. I can help you unlock your talent Maddison.” He says, almost smiling. I shake my head, and I watch as his expression turns angry and annoyed. “Very well, have it your way.” He smirks and steps through the portal, his dog following him, and then it closed, as if it had never been there. I turned and ran home, not stopping or looking back until I got there.
I reached my front door and got inside; slamming the door behind me to make sure nothing could get in. The house was silent other than the static coming from the radio in the kitchen. The house was in semi-darkness, the only light piercing the blanket of shadows coming from the scented candles that mum often had lit around the house. The flames of the candles flickered, making the shadows of objects jump and move across the floor and up the walls and it felt as though I was being watched by some unnatural being, by something not of this world. “Mum! I’m home!” I call, waiting for her reply. There was no reply. That was odd, mum never went out. She was always at home, doing the dishes or making the beds or putting away laundry. I was getting scared now but I forced myself to calm down, she would be here somewhere. She probably hadn’t heard me. I walked upstairs in the darkness, some of the older steps creaking under my weight. “Mum?” I called, quieter this time. I saw her bedroom door was slightly ajar, although no noise was coming from the room. I walked over and opened the door.”Mum?” I ask again, just as I open the door and see what lies in my parent’s room.
I should have seen it coming from the smell of rotting flesh that the room was giving off but upon opening the door, I still I gasped at what lay before me. The walls were covered in blood, as was the bed. The heads of my mother and father had been neatly arranged on the pillows of the bed and their arms had been placed around it as a horrifying decoration, looking almost like a gory flower. Their intestinal tracts hung from the ceiling, dripping digestive juices from the severed ends. I looked down to see their feet neatly placed by the bed as though they were bedside slippers. My mother’s make up table had their tongues and eyeballs laid on it, as well as their hearts and a lot more blood. Their actual bodies, or what was left of them after they had been dismantled, were hanging from the ceiling, stripped of all clothing. Blood was dripping from the hanging bodies onto the floor, and their remaining guts, such as their stomachs and their lungs, were literally hanging out of their cut open torsos. It looked like whoever had done this had taken a lot of time and had a lot of fun with this. I was surprised that I wasn’t sick on the spot when I saw it, as the sight was horrifying. I looked over to see a portal on the other side of the room and the man from before was stood just next to it. I growled in anger, knowing he had been the cause of their deaths. He smirked at me once more, obviously loving the fact that I was in pain upon seeing the dismemberment of my family members. I started to run over to him, intending to strangle the man, to tear his paper skin to shreds using my hands and teeth but before I got there, he stepped through the portal and disappeared. But just before the portal closed, another hound from hell emerged from it.
This time it wasn’t an Alsatian snake, it was a Dalmatian spider. It was as big as a Dalmatian with the same colouring and the same face, but it had eight legs and I don’t know how many eyes. Now I screamed and backed away, knowing for sure that this time I would die. It scuttled towards me, its eight legs all moving in one fluent motion, like clockwork. Its main body bounced up and down as it walked, and it would have been comical if it didn’t have massive fangs and fiery eyes and if it wasn’t coming to kill me. But it was, so I couldn’t laugh at the way it moved around. A man, whom I didn’t know, ran straight past me, dagger in hand and jumped on the beast, aiming for the throat with his weapon. The man managed to finally get one good hit, and he left the blade lodged there and backed away from the creature. I listened to it whine like a hurt puppy as it died, and I almost felt sorry for it. Almost. “Who are you?” I ask, hoping that this time, my saviour was a good person. “Conor Lyons at your service. Come with me if you want to live.” He says, before leaving my parents bed room. I had no other choice but to follow this mysterious man.
As I walked, I examined Conor. He looked as though he was in his mid thirties, with brown hair and green, emerald eyes. I don’t know why, but there was a sense of power, of strength coming from him, even though he looked like he couldn’t lift 2kg off the floor! I followed Conor, trying to figure out whether this was a good thing to do. I didn’t know him but I couldn’t stay in my blood stained house. We left the house, and then fresh air hit me. I fell to the floor, and sat on the cold, wet pavement and hugged my knees to my chest and began to cry. It was like I had only just realised, upon exiting my house, that my parents were dead, that I would never see them again. Conor stood over me impatiently. “Are you coming?” He asks, obviously wanting me to hurry up which was just a bit selfish and inconsiderate. I don’t answer, stuck in my own thoughts and emotions. He grabs my arm and drags me into a standing position. “Pull yourself together! We have to get out of here before more of the demons come for us.” He says. Demons? Those dog creatures were demons? I didn’t want any more of them to come for us, so I wiped the tears from my face, making myself as calm as I possibly could and I followed Conor down the street. I was walking next to him, trying to figure out if this night had been a dream, a horrible nightmare, or if it was real. I settled for it being real as no dream could feel like this. “They said your aura would be strong but I never imagined...” He mumbled to himself. I had no idea what he was talking about so I decided to save the questions for later, when we got to wherever we were going.
We reached a house, looking as ordinary as the ones next to it lining the street. It blended in perfectly. Nothing strange about it. Conor pulled out his keys and unlocked the door, walking inside and turning on the lights. I followed him inside and he shut the front door. The walls were a sky blue and the carpet under foot was green. Pictures of nature littered the walls all the way down this corridor. It seemed like a nice enough house.
“We have to leave and find the Salominite Cyronig in Madic Gor Keruel before Prince Plasma gets his hands on it.” Conor says, turning to face me as if expecting me to understand what he was talking about. “Find the what? In where? Before who?” I ask, completely confused. “The Salominite Cyronig is a valuable yet immensely powerful gemstone that when placed in Prince Plasma’s death machine will spell the end of all life as we know it. Madic Gor Keruel is the name of the demonic dimension which roughly translates as ‘World Of Demons’ and Prince Plasma is the man who killed your parents and wanted you to go with him, through the portal.” Conor explains, sounding impatient. “Sorry, but I can’t go on some quest to a demon world. It sounds fun and all but I have GCSEs to do. My teacher will kill me if I don’t get my work done so I really should be going.” I say. “If you leave this room, if you turn your back on the quest, the whole earth will be destroyed and it will be your fault. It is your destiny to follow this quest, it is your destiny to...” and then Conor trailed off. He knew my future, my destiny? I had to know more. “What is my destiny? How do you know my destiny?” I ask, or rather demand. “I can see people’s destinies...” Conor says, not wanting to say anymore. “And what is mine?” I say, having to talk over the rumble of thunder. Conor looks at the floor, evading making eye contact with me. I grab the front of his shirt and bring his face closer to mine. “What is my destiny?” I demand, I had to know. “You will go on this quest and save all of humanity but you will die at the hands of Prince Plasma himself...” Conor says as I see a flash of lightning, illuminating the whole room for mere milliseconds. I gasp and drop him, now stuck with a choice. Be a coward and stay here, living my life until the whole world ends, or journey to an unknown world and be a hero, dying to save the earth. Maybe I should stay here; no one would know that it was my fault that the world ended. But that was cowardice, and I was going to die either way, so I’d rather die being noble and brave than hiding in school, scared and cowardly. I would just have to hope that my death would be quick and almost painless. “I’m in.” I say. Conor smiles, “Welcome to the Hound Hunters.”