Chapter 1

A prisoners escape.

"Time of death?"

"Ten thirty sir"

A voice cursed, "I told you she wouldn't take this, nothing else has survived it"

"I was confident she could take the G-virus" answered a younger, somewhat hesitant voice.

"G-virus?" the older voice asked suspiciously.

"That's what I decided to call it, I thought she could control the mutations but... I guess I overestimated her durability"

"Damn it Birkin! Everything else we tried this stuff on is now just a pile of warped flesh in a cage, I've seen that last specimen, it took ten slugs from my Magnum forty-four to take it down!" the older voice hissed.

"Amazing wasn't it, said Birkin smugly, to think something as weak as a rat could become something that powerful"

"Its dangerous ill give it that, the voice conceded, but it's uncontrollable"

"It will be one day Wesker" Said Birkin firmly.

Albert Wesker looked down through the darkness of his sunglasses into the lab below him; the safety glass that could take a grenade blast had shattered under the frenzied attack of Williams's latest 'experiment'. Thank god she had died quickly.

Beside him William Birkin observed the ruined lab below him with maniacal glee, the white room was smashed to pieces with huge slabs missing from the walls and the medical tables and gear twisted beyond recognition.

Steady dripping echoed around the room as the bodies of three lab assistants that were in the locked lab lay strewn about the room in various pieces. Most had been torn apart but one or two had deep punctures in their bodies.

And slumped in the centre of this carnage was a young woman, her appearance suggesting around eighteen years of age but in truth it was perhaps double that.

Her naked body was covered in blood not all hers and her body lay curled around the chains and enormous metal block that held her arms in check.

But from her back grew a dozen long tentacles of strong muscle and sinew that even in death wrapped protectively around the body they were attached to.

Birkin pointed out one that was halfway through the body of an orderly, "You see? Her limbs were locked so the virus made new ones from an uncaged part of her body, its incredible that it thought to do such a thing so quickly!"

Wesker kept his gun on the still body, "Is she dead though? I put a few bullets in her but I've seen her get up before"

Birkin turned to a shaking technician and the man quickly looked at his monitors.

"Heart and brain signals are at flat line, she's dead" he stammered.

Birkin rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "Heart attack, this viruses sudden mutation of her body was too much for even her to handle... shame really... I wonder if she had control over them?"

"She was screaming Birkin, I don't think she was in control" Said Wesker emotionlessly.

Wesker watched as a security team cautiously entered the room from the sealed door below them, they eyed the gore with apprehension and one shot a bullet into the girl just to make sure.

She didn't move.


"But-" the guards protests were cut off as his commander put a bullet in his head without hesitation, a few of the dead mans comrades swiftly took the body out without fuss.

Wesker arched an eyebrow, "You still intend to use her?"

Birkin nodded, "Ill take samples before disposing of her, she was well past her sell by date as a specimen anyway"

Wesker watched as the body was dragged off and Birkin went after the security team muttering to himself along the way.

Wesker finally holstered his pistol and took another look at the lab; images soon took life behind the glasses.

She was screaming as the virus was pumped into her bloodstream, the orderlies watching and taking notes oblivious to the woman's screams of anguish and begging for it to cease. The thick purple liquid in the syringes stabbed into the main arteries in her neck was almost empty when the change occurred.

First her eyes changed colour, the light brown became golden and the pupil constantly warped between mammalian and reptilian.

Her muscles bulged and then something under her skin flowed and rippled causing blood and screams to spill forth from the woman.

The mutation reached her arms and legs and for a moment they seemed to swell and claws began to develop on her hands, but once they grew to a certain size the metal of the cuffs and chains halted its growth.

For a moment both Wesker and Birkin had feared that the rapidly mutating flesh would break the cuffs but even the virus could not force open titanium of that thickness.

Then she had changed again, the hands and feet had suddenly returned to normal and her back had arched as the mutation under the skin had rushed there.

The skin swelled like a balloon and the woman could do nothing but give short painful whimpers, the pain so great even her breath was being cut off.

Then the skin had burst splattering the room in gore and six long tentacles like great snakes had snapped into the air.

The look on the woman's face as a tentacle snapped into her view was one of pure horror, the orderlies around her had already began to back away towards the door but the tentacles turned towards them when one bumped against a steel chair.

There was a screech of metal on tiles.

A silence.

Then a scream as a tentacle lashed forwards and split a man in two.

Wesker already had his gun drawn and Birkin was yelling for security as the lab assistants were torn to pieces.

The tentacles swiftly turned their attention towards their mistress; they lashed out against the chains holding her to the table and tore them apart with ease. The woman shakily sat up examining herself with wonder and horror. Wesker watched in fascination as her manacled hands reached out for a tentacle and it eagerly submitted to her touch, her eyes then turned cold and a black fury twisted her lips into a snarl as she looked up at him and Birkin.

A tentacle smashed against the glass of the observation station and bounced back doing no damage.

All six tentacles had then paused for a moment and then launched themselves against the glass.

The glass that was designed to hold back the force of a tyrant shattered as easily as delicate crystal.

Wesker hadn't hesitated; he opened fire on the girl sending a torrent of bullets into her.

She doubled over as one hit her stomach and another slammed her backwards as it smashed through her forehead, her tentacles acted swiftly and moved around her blocking the rest of the projectiles.

The woman shakily rose to her feet; her tentacles swaying angrily in the air as Wesker quickly reloaded. A bullet was forced out of her head and fell to the floor with a small clatter as the wound healed.

'She's never recovered that quickly from a bullet to the head' Wesker had mused as he slammed the clip into his gun and took aim.

The woman snarled and her tentacles slashed through the air towards Wesker and Birkin, Wesker rolled to the side swiftly putting two more bullets into the shrieking woman.

Her body was streaming with blood as twin holes were smashed into her chest, she fell to one knee but slowly tried to lever herself back up, overhead her tentacles shook spastically mirroring their mistresses pain.

Wesker didn't let up as he continued to fire putting more bullets into her. One into her head and another in a kneecap, the last going straight through a tentacle almost severing it.

She fell to her knees convulsing in pain her shrieks turning into pitiful mewls of pain, her tentacles were slumped round her trying to cover her body as more bullets tore into her.

With a final soul-wrenching wail she fell to the floor shaking and spasming until finally she remained still, Wesker and Birkin stared at her unmoving body until Birkin glanced at the monitors.

"Heart attack it seems" he said softly.

Wesker didn't answer. He was too busy watching for movement.

After a few minutes Birkin turned to one of his subordinates, "Time of death?"

Wesker was sitting in the dining room sipping at his coffee when William ran in; the scientist looked extremely pleased and was carrying his personal briefcase.

'What breakthrough happened now?' wondered Wesker.

"Its amazing Wesker! You won't believe what we managed to find in the girls blood," William said excitedly, waving his hands in enthusiasm.

"Lots of iron and gun powder?"

"No! The G-virus, she mutated it!"

Now Birkin had his attention, "Explain"

William quickly took a seat next to Wesker his eyes alight with excitement, "The G-virus increases strength, agility and creates incredible regenerative abilities as you know but it destroys the brain functions in the process"

"So does the T-virus Birkin" Wesker pointed out.

William waved it aside, "Outdated as far as I'm concerned, anyway her brain and body were being mutated and with any other subject their consciousness would have been destroyed and their body would be mutated beyond recognition but not her! She forced the Virus to change to mutate only what needed to mutate and to stay away from the brain"

"How's that possible?"

"Antibodies! Its amazing that they could do it but they did, within seconds her body had made its own antibodies to keep the virus out of the brain and to keep it controlled, she then took control of the virus and used it to her own advantage!"

William pulled a folder from his briefcase and pointed out some results.

"As you can see when she was injured her body placed all the normal repair cells there, platelets, proteins, white blood cells etc, but she also herded the virus there and then, well to be frank let it loose!"

He pointed at the some notes of the G-virus; Wesker eyed it and found it matched what he already knew of the virus.

"When a G-virus creature is injured it automatically heals using the virus to create explosive cell growth"

"Like cancer"

"Exactly! But she forced her own DNA into the virus and let it take over when she was injured, it repaired what only needed to be repaired then let it be, to all intends and purposes she's turned the virus into a secondary immune and repair system!"

Wesker nodded, it made sense.

Most G-virus creatures had a tendency to create extra eyes, limps, and even organs on even only mildly damaged wounds, the virus only knew to repair the area and it did it by making a multitude of various tissues.

'That rat made a new heart over a bullet hole I put in it, even with no major arteries that could possible connect to it' Wesker remembered with revulsion.

"So what Birkin she's dead now" Wesker said taking a sip of his coffee, 'needs more milk'

Without a word Wesker reached for the milk and poured some more into his coffee, William continued to talk, used to Weskers nonchalant take to such exciting news.

"Yes but we now have samples of the antibodies, with them we can create other subjects that can control the virus"

He leaned closer his voice becoming a whisper, "I also think I can make a cure for it... and maybe make personal samples for certain peoples"

Wesker absorbed what he said then slowly put his cup on the table.

"Are you suggesting what I think your suggesting?" he asked his own voice lowered.

William nodded his eyes alight, "Given time I can perfect this new G-virus, then anyone can inject him or herself and become a bio-weapon"

"Anyone like you?"


"What do you want for this?" asked Wesker considering what demands Birkin would make.

William's eyes hardened, "This new virus has been made by me alone, I will not share it with Umbrella... it is mine by right!"

"Umbrella will not let you keep it" Wesker warned.

"I know, that's where you come in, you've noticed how... exposed this place is haven't you"

Wesker nodded, he finished his coffee and eyed the abundant wildlife outside the windows of the hall.

"If there was an outbreak, whispered Birkin, it could quite easily spread through this entire forest... perhaps even further"

"I had noticed"

"I want to move somewhere more secluded... somewhere hidden where I can finish my research in peace"

Wesker considered his options; he could report William but quickly crushed that thought. The reward he would get would be small compared to the gains from this deal.

"When it's perfected I want my own sample... for personal use"

William smiled, "Find me somewhere hidden, somewhere to finish my research and you will be more powerful then you could imagine"

Wesker eyed Birkin as the scientist gazed off into his own world, "We will be... perfect, immune to disease, resistant to damage and stronger then any other mortal creature"

His eyes burned with zeal as another thought reached him, "Even time could not touch me... id be immortal"

Wesker poured another cup of coffee, "Us" he warned.

Birkin nodded, "Of course"

"Ill find you somewhere, just wait a few months and ill have somewhere to hide for you" Wesker promised.

Birkin nodded then rose from his seat putting away his papers then heading for the exit.

"What did you do with the girl?" Wesker asked.

William shrugged, "I had her disposed just like all the other specimens"

"Burnt or dumped?"

"Dumped, I don't want this place to stink for the whole day"

Wesker watched as William left then turned back to his drink, for a moment his thoughts went back to the girl and he wondered what was going through her mind when she died, after over twenty years of torture maybe she welcomed death?

Wesker shrugged, what did he care?

Good riddance to the bitch.

"Why the hell we gotta drag this shit around boss?"

"Can it, orders are orders boy you wanna argue with old 'sunglasses'?"

"No way, I'm not suicidal boss"

"Good then shut up and help me get this into the truck"

The driver shook his head in amusement as he heard the bitching of the two 'trash' collectors.

There was a thump as the girls body was thrown into the back of the van then one of the men walked up to his window.

"Ok mate your show now, boss wants her dumped in the 'pit'"

The driver nodded then started the engine, the two assistants walked back to the mansion talking about some party that was happening tonight.

'I'm not gonna be there though, gotta spend the night dragging dead people through the fucking cold and dark just cause the higher ups will bitch about the smell if we burn them' the driver thought, shaking his head in disgust.

With a sputtering groan the engine started and the van made a slow escape from the courtyard, black smoke barely visible in the darkness spewed from the exhaust and inside the van the body rolled about due to the poor road.

The driver turned up the radio listening with interest about the latest robberies and murders happening in Raccoon city, 'let the cops try and deal with some of the stuff we got in this places basement then they'll beg for normal killers' the driver thought in black humour.

There was another bump from the back and the driver groaned in annoyance, 'why the hell couldn't they strap the bloody bitch down first?'

There was another thump which made the driver frown in confusion, 'strange did I go over another pothole and not notice?' he wondered.

He turned the radio up blocking out any further noise from the back; he couldn't be bothered to listen to corpses rolling in his van.

He eyed the road before him keeping an eye out for any trouble; he was so engrossed in this and the radio he didn't notice the small window just behind him being prised open.

The man didn't notice either the long fleshy shape slowly easing itself into the cockpit; neither did he see the golden eye that watched him from the darkness of the van storage.

He did notice when he felt a cold breeze on the back of his neck, he glanced at the two windows either side of him but both were sealed.

'Bloody back windows gone and opened itself again!'

With a muttered curse the driver slowed the van down to a stop then turned to close the window and lock it.

His eyes met a single golden one that glowed in the dark of the van, it narrowed and then a terrified scream echoed in the van.

The drivers body twitched slightly as blood streamed from his mouth and the hole in his head, his features remained twisted into an expression of horror that he had took just before the tentacle hanging above his head speared into his brain.

The girls head cocked as she watched him for a moment then turning away she went to the far end of the van to examine the locked back doors, the tentacle in the mans head followed her after pulling itself free with a wet sounding yank.

After a moment's examination she gripped both the doors handles with her bound hands then gave a pull.

The lock shattered and the doors opened without further complaint, after a moments awed surprise at her own strength the girl jumped out crouching down low against the van. She eyed the darkness around her with only a little fear, her tentacles hung above her ready to lash out at anything that approached.

The girl stood upright her expression one of confusion that slowly turned into delight, she closed her eyes as a cold yet gentle breeze soothed her and her long hair rippled under its touch.

She took a deep breath of the forest and grinned as the scent of the abundant life brought back memories of times long ago when she had smelled flowers at a park.

With a scream of glee she shuffled into the forest to explore, her body crouched low as she kept close to the ground but above her the six tentacles guarded her back and watched over her.

Something she hadn't experienced for so long rose in the fog of her mind. She tried to remember it and then, with satisfaction, she recalled the word for it.


The girl shuffled into the forest intent on making the best out it and to never be seen again by her oppressors.

Lisa was at last, free.

Chapter 2

Awakening of the free tyrant.

A year later...


Within a room of metal and glass hidden deep beneath the mansion above it, a heart monitor steadily chimed in the darkness. It's soft note echoing in a dark and empty lab.

A single light flickered making the rooms furnishing look like items from a horror show. Tables filled with surgical instruments had a dank rust coloration to them and the metal of the room looked grey and foreboding in the poor light.

Empty tanks filled with dirty liquids lined the room in ordered rows; several were smashed with putrid sacks of decaying flesh still within or collapsed on the grated floor beside them.

In this room of death and darkness a single sound and a single light remained constant. Among the rows hidden at the back a single tank, still filled with life giving liquid and illuminated by lights along its length, remained untouched.

Within this tank a creature floated gently in the liquid, its body curled around itself like a child within a womb as it slept oblivious to the world around it.

So this remained for so long. Days went by and the creature remained unmoving, unthinking, its life barely sustained.

Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and still the creature remained trapped in its peaceful coma. As the months became a year the supply of life giving nutrients reached dangerous levels.

The tank over the year had slowly begun to take a misty and slightly yellow colour and the more rapid beeping stated the creatures discomfort and danger.

The lights turned red giving the creature an image of floating in blood, the beeping increased as a computer almost dead with age struggled to speak.

"Life s-zzzhilih-port sys-hsjsyh-m failing commen-zzzssy emergency awake-awake-awake-awake-sjskksjkjs awaking immediately"

The creature twitched as slivers of electricity ran over its tube, it convulsed violently as the voltage increased in a last ditch attempt to waken the child within.

The liquid was rapidly clouding over and still the creature didn't awake, the voltage stopped as the last of the power supply failed, the lab after so long went dark and silent with the finality of death.

In the darkness the liquid continued to turn a putrid yellow and the creature went still for all intends and purposes dead.

The putrid yellow covered the creature completely, until nothing but a shadowy figure could be seen.

Then a golden eye opened.

Outside the lab a chimera was doing its rounds of this level of its lair, its hairy saggy body was hunched over as it leisurely crawled towards the 'graveyard' a place were the ancient humans had made many of its kind and other such 'bioweapons'.

Its head raised with an audible snap and it hissed as a loud crash came from the door beyond it, it raised its scythe-like claw in readiness as something smashed against the locked door of the 'graveyard'.

The chimera took a step back considering its options as the solid steel door, several inches thick that even a group of chimeras could not break down, was being slowly forced open by what ever was behind the door.

Within its mainly instinctive brain the thought of 'running like buggery' popped into its head.

When a hand complete with claws and an equally muscled arm smashed through the door and began to tear a bigger hole the chimera's bottle dropped.

It ran justifying itself with the thought that 'any stupid idiot who stays to see just what could tear himself in half as easily as a steel door isn't getting far in natural selection!'

The chimera vanished into the vents as the door was torn down.

Twin gold eyes eyed the dark corridor before it with some apprehension, the room behind it had been scary to look at but this place was just as bad.

What little lighting still remained flickered erratically making horrible after images in the minds eye, the ruined structure of the walls and the hissing jets of steam from ruptured pipes made the corridor seem to be the gateway to some hellish world.

With force of will the creature took a step forward its eyes narrowed and claws held up defensively. But with every step the creature lost its fear as it became accustomed to this strange place, indeed, its eyes were now finding it increasingly less difficult to pierce the darkness and see what the spectres in the shadows really were.

Still this place was strange; the creature gave another glance at the large tank dimly seen at the back of the room behind and of the hulking monster which floated comatose within it.

Shaking its head to dispel its wariness the creature advanced soon reaching the end of the corridor and stopping before a strange construct.

A large metal 'box', it seemed, was suspended above a large tunnel which although not visible to the eye the creature could smell a thin breeze wafting from under it, eyeing it the creature carefully stepped inside its eyes squinting at the harsh glare of the light inside.

It examined the box intently running its hands along the walls and sniffing with interest at the wires and hardwire that was hidden within its frame.

A small charge still ran through the construct and somehow the creature knew this meant it should still be functional, it dimly recollected the image of boxes similar to this one moving up and down, ferrying people between levels.

'Ok so how do I make it move?' it wondered.

Its eyes spied two buttons, closer examination showed them to be simple arrows pointing up and down, and they both glowed with dull yellow light.

The creature reached out and pressed one, when nothing happened it frowned worriedly and tried the other.

The elevator gave a dull whine and a sharp thump as it reluctantly moved, like a pack mule not wanting to move from a comfortable spot but submitting to its master's commands. Within the creature hissed at the elevators first startling shudder then relaxed as it gradually descended.

The doors opened with a rusted groan and the creature stepped out gratefully, it eyed the surrounding area with even more suspicion as everywhere it looked destruction and decay met its eyes.

The walls and floor were covered in filth, grime and horribly coloured fungal growth. Here and there sparks flew from decaying wires and half the lights were smashed, the other half barely functioning.

The creature shivered at the chilling cold and wrapped its arms and tail round itself protectively, its breath misted before its eyes and the creature watched it with surprise then gave a childlike smile as it took deeper breaths to make more 'clouds'.

After a moment entertaining itself it took several inquisitive sniffs of the air, its eyes frowned in puzzlement of the strange scents in the air.

The air itself was musty and old, as if this place had been locked away for years and no new air had filtered in, also many strange creature scents drifted throughout the air.

Rotted things, hairy things... things that stank of sweat, bile and excrement as well as decaying flesh.

Justifiably cautious the creature rounded the corner of this corridor coming to a long t-junction, at one end was a heavily rusted door which seemed to lead to more corridors.

At the other a set of double doors which glowed due to the harsh yellow light that glowed from a lamp above it... something about those double doors filled the creature with dread and it hissed quietly as it stared at those doors, which seemed to glare back with malevolence.

The creature looked away moving towards a door at the centre of the junction, it was unlocked and no threatening scents or noises came from within so it pushed open the door, wincing at the harsh screech the door made.

Somehow the creature knew it did not want to attract attention to itself.

Stepping in and gratefully shutting the door behind it the creature examined this room thoughtfully; some kind of battle had taken place here due to the torn and broken furniture and long scratches in the walls.

Moving to the only standing table the creature eyeing an old typewriter on its surface then brushed its hand over some of the paperwork scattered about the desk, one message scribbled frantically on to a notepad caught its eye. Unfortunately most of the writing had degraded over time and thus only snatches of letters were still legible.

'Th T- rus has be n set loos an our cha ces of survival gro dim. Ed and I ha e deci ed to esc pe anyway w can bu the gua ds are prevent ng any ne leav ng due to the out reak, ev n with so many dy ng they st ll clin to protoc l!

Still Ed may h ve foun a way ou afte all, a dispos l wo ker named Josh ha acc ss to the body dispo al chu e, its ris y bu we could us it to re ch the sew rs an escape tha way.

Of cour e even tho gh unguar ed some of th speci ins may h ve rea hed the sew rs alre d .

St ll ev n a slim chanc is bet er then wa ting t die.

The chu e is hid n in th entr nce to emerg ncy tu el to th heli ort, it sho ld be unguard .

Cassy if y u read th s hurry t t e chute, I wil wait fo you at the ottom but i c nt w it fore er.

If i am n t ther or a dead th n ple se carr on and esc pe.

Pleas sur ive my love...

Y u lov ng husband Garry.'

The creature read the letter twice over trying to make some sense of it, T-rus? An outbreak? Just what had happened here?

Its eyes were drawn again to the word T-rus and it whispered the word to itself... somewhere... within its shattered mind it knew this word.

T-rus... T-rus...

The creature closed its eyes and snarled in frustration, it knew this word!


T...rus...T...v-virus. T-Virus!

The creature screamed as white-hot agony and thunderous voices echoed within its skull.

"Are you sure it will be able to survive such a procedure Birkin? No other test subject has been successfully melded with the Nemesis virus"

"This isn't Nemesis Wesker, this is my own creation... a hybrid of T and G-virus and I am confident that this specimen will mould with the virus"

"But you've tried children and embryos before Birkin, what's so special about this one?"

"Just a hunch, I have a good feeling about this one Wesker"

"Spencer is not going to overlook this Birkin, you know that"

"If it dies then no harm done, if it lives then Sir Spencer will ignore my... 'Initiative' and congratulate my success"

"You presume too much William"

"Have faith Albert, this will usher in a new age for Umbrella"

The creature collapsed, curling into a ball as tears streamed down its face. It mewled in pain as echoes of an old torture, a 'procedure' was remembered by its body.

Another scream as its skin burned and it felt sharp instruments pierce it's skin and eject poison into its body, a corruption that its form and mind did not want.

"PLEASE STOP, PLEASE STOP, PLEASE JUST STOP!" the creature sobbed, but like before the surgeons of pain refused its pleas and continued the mutilation of its form.

Just as suddenly as it started it stopped, and the creature lay still its breathing sharp and erratic as the pain faded. It shut its eyes tightly crying like a child subjected to horrible things.

After a few moments collecting itself it raised itself to a sitting position, claws carefully wiping away its tears and checking itself for wounds... wounds that could not be seen but it KNEW had existed.

'What happened to me?' it wondered in horror, 'what nightmares have I endured and can no longer remember?'

For the first time since its birth (birth?) it felt clarity of self. It looked over its lightly purple skin, large clawed hands and long tail which shook in fear (its own fear the creature numbly thought) and knew for the first time this was all wrong.

Purple skin, wrong.

Claws two inches long, wrong.

A two meter long tail that acted as a fifth limb, all wrong.

Wrong, wrong, WRONG! IM ALL WRONG!

"WHAT HAPPENED TO MEEE!" it shrieked, noticing that its voice too was harsh and broken, as if its mouth and tongue were not build for speech.

It received no answer and the creature slumped in defeat at its own failure to recollect its past, whatever it had been.

Its tail curled round itself in a comforting embrace and the creature gave a brief smile at the action patting its shaking appendage. It didn't care at the moment that it was really being comforted by itself, as long as it was comforted.

After a few minutes of silence the creature warily rose to its feet its fists clenching and unclenching in its rising fury.

'Something has been done to me... something I can't remember yet can still FEEL.'

The creature eyed the crumpled note still held within its claws and its face set into an expression of determination. It would follow the instructions of this last message and escape this horrible place.

And then it would start searching for answers to its questions.

The creature eyed its claws yet again and thought, 'And perhaps some clues as to what I am'.

So decided the creature turned and made to march resolutely into its future.

And stopped dead in shock.

Another creature was in this room and it too looked shocked at the others presence, it was standing next to the doorway to this room just beside a large chest.

The creature hissed and raised its claws in defence; the other did the same thing. The creature glared at the newcomer unsure how to proceed... it didn't really want to fight. Perhaps it could talk to the other?

"Hello?" It asked cautiously, the creature noticed with confusion that the other mouthed the same word as it but no sound came forth. Then it noticed a table and typewriter behind the other.

The creature blushed in embarrassment and smacked its head at its own foolishness, its reflection copied it and the creature gave an amused laugh at its reflections embarrassed appearance.

Curiously it walked closer seeing its whole self for the first time, it ran its claws over its face in wonder and looked deep into its own eyes.

'I'm not that... bad looking actually' it thought with amazement, (For some reason it had been expecting much worse) strangely it found its gold flecked eyes to be quite pretty. It blushed at the thought and eyed the deep indigo its cheeks had taken as it blushed.

It examined itself noting how smooth and flawless its lightly purple skin was, it was confused as it still couldn't shake the feeling that it should be horrible not perfect.

It tugged at its hair inquisitively, the hair itself was jet black and hung in strips over its eyes. The rest was overgrown and thick, reaching past its shoulders. The creature shook its head fiercely, grinning in delight as its hair flowed and danced with the movement.

The creature smiled at itself all in all very pleased with how it looked; now it decided to turn its attention to the rest of itself.

The creature extended an arm wiggling its claws experimentally, its hands seemed bigger then normal (although it wasn't sure what normal was) but this was probably to compensate for the large claws that grew from its fingers.

Its arm was of an average length in that it hung to just below his waist, (well slightly longer due to the hand) yet its muscles were well defined and seemed to be very strong.

This made the creature frown in confusion as it looked over its chest noting the strong toned muscles there. While not as clearly defined as wrestlers muscles or a weightlifter they were still visible, more like a dancers lean and flexible physique.

The creature though pleased with its form still couldn't shake off the feeling of wrongness that it had mere moments before, it kept expecting pink skin and a smaller frame then this purple warrior. It met its eyes and again it felt that the colour should have been a sparkling green rather then the current golden brown before it.

It shook its head clear of the troubling thoughts, it looked nice not horrible and anyway it would find out more about itself later.

The creature pleased with this little self-evaluation of itself made to move on when another thought, that had previously been lurking in its subconscious, crashed into its mind like a freight train.

The creature blushed and turned back to its reflection meeting its own nervous eyes, then with some trepidation it slowly looked down its body. To the region below its waist.

'Oh my'.

The creatures blush deepened as it looked upon itself, its head cocked to the side as it eyed its flesh... and the reaction that its own attentions were having.

Reaching out with a hand (very carefully due to the claws) the creature gingerly enclosed its flesh and shuddered as its gentle attentions made strange... feelings flow from the area.

Shaking its head the creature pulled its hand away, now was not the time for self-exploration!

The creature met its eyes again and blushed at the flushed stare.

"Guess I know what I am now..." he whispered.

Looking on his naked form the issue of modesty soon became a top priority in his mind; the creature looked around searching for any clothes to wear.

His golden eyes looked upon a chest next to the door to this room with hope, walking over to it he carefully made to open it.

The chest wouldn't budge and the creature glared at a large rusted padlock that kept this possible source of clothing beyond his grasp.

'At the very least there must be something of worth here for it to be locked' he mused.

He eyed his long claws speculatively and giving a shrug carefully stuck it inside the lock, twisting the digit around in the hopes of unlocking it.

His attempts met with no success and after a minute the creature snarled and raising his fist lashed at the lock in anger. To his surprise the metal crumpled under the blow, thought still locked the metal was severely damaged by the strike.

The creature eyed his hands in wonder then gave a savage grin as he contemplated this interesting discovery.

'All right then!'

Grasping the lock in both hands he gave a savage pull laughing as the padlock was torn apart under the pressure. Throwing it away dismissively he opened the chest and gave a shout of glee.

Rumbled clothing packed thickly into the chest met his excited gaze and the creature quickly pulled the nearest apparel free.

It was an old lab coat yellowed by age but not too moth bitten, to his delight it was a good fit the robe flowing below the waist giving him some modesty.

Pleased the creature dug deeper into the chest looking for some more clothing, the chest seemed to be full of old lab coats of varying sizes but giving another whoop of delight the creature pulled a faded pair of blue jeans from the pile.

The creature tried to put the jeans on but winced at the pain of trying to fit his tail in, inspecting the jeans he grinned and ripped a hole in the back for his tail.

The jeans were now a snug fit and he swung his tail around for a moment just to widen the hole more comfortably.

He patted himself down then frowned as his hands felt something in the jeans left pocket, fiddling around for a moment ('god these pockets are tight!') he pulled out a small plastic bag.

He held it up to the flickering light and examined it thoughtfully, a strange red and green plant matter was crunched up into a paste and sitting at the bottom of the bag.

He carefully opened it and sniffed it inquisitively; he gagged immediately at the strong herbal scent and quickly closed the bag.

He eyed it suspiciously again, whatever this material was it hadn't smelt of decay so mustn't be harmful... perhaps its some kind of medicine? He considered this for a moment.

Shrugging he forced it back into his left pocket and turned back to the chest, after a few moments spent lifting up the (supposedly heavy) chest and giving a few firm shakes to free the clothing he abandoned his search. After rummaging through the clothes the creature found nothing else of interest.

"Guess this will have to do" he murmured as he patted himself down. Taking one last look at the mirror, and giving himself a smile of encouragement, he stuffed the researchers note into his pocket and left the room. To continue his journey and find out more of this place.

And hopefully find someone else alive in here.

Within the cold and silent halls of the dead and corrupted lab a figure paused in its shambling lurch.

Frenzied sniffing broke the silence as the figure breathed deep of the stale air, as a new scent drifting in the cold breeze awakening an old hunger.

Milky eyes turned and the creatures steps became more hurried as it stumbled towards the source of the scent, moving through the empty corridors until it reached a self connecting square passageway.

Its steps slowed as old memories that barely remained in its rotting brain flowed to the surface. Images dwelled behind its void eyes as it remembered times long gone when it worked in these labs, though the halls were in much better condition then.

Another voice within its own mind spoke and the unliving body of a former researcher moved into the shadows to ambush its approaching prey. The body heeded only the voice that seemed to echo from within its own diseased cells.

It had obeyed when the voice had told it to attack its former friends in this place; it had listened as the voice spoke above the pleading of the creature's friends and the body had reacted without hesitation as it was told to feast on its friends flesh.

The voice had roared in bloodlust as the body's teeth had sunk into warm flesh and living blood had gushed down its throat.

Now the creature hesitated as it stared at the door before it, it remembered that beyond that door was the power rooms for this lab. It had worked there once, with friends where it had joked, and laughed… it had been happy.

More recollections grew. Something had been set loose within the labs. An unseen predator that had attacked the people and animals here turning them into flesh eating monsters and forcing them to turn on their friends and companions.

The body remembered a time when the voice had first started to whisper within its thoughts, weak at first but growing swiftly stronger. Begging, pleading, persuading and then finally demanding obedience… submission.

The mind had fought but eventually succumbed to the voice and the tide of rot and pestilence that overcame its senses. Now the body was nothing more then a doll, a puppet. And the voice the puppeteer.

More sniffing, the prey was approaching; the voice grew excited at the prospect of warm flesh.

The virus spoke… and the dead man obeyed.

The creature stood undecided at the junction he was currently occupying. Having just left the room behind him he now wasn't sure what direction to take next, should he continue along the corridor to the rusted double doors or take this much less threatening door to the right?

'Hell with it ill take the seemingly safer route' the creature decided with a shrug.

His tail lashed in agreement and encouraged by his audience of one tail he made for the single door before him, wasting just a minute trying to open another door along the same route that was securely locked.

The creature gingerly opened the door a fraction, sniffing deeply of the air and standing alert for any suspicious sounds. After a few moments he detected nothing threatening ('Hopefully') and entered the corridor beyond the door.

He frowned as he found himself at yet another junction with corridors that seemed to stretch on forever, spending a few moments 'ip-dip-dooing' the creature went right.

The hidden creature tensed as it heard footsteps approaching its hiding place, drooling in anticipation it prepared itself for the upcoming battle and subsequent feasting.

Having found yet another firmly locked door along the right hand path the creature had continued on hoping for something of interest to turn up.

The creature gave a low growl when a putrid smell hit his nostrils; he advanced cautiously eyeing the stacks of ruined tables and scaffolds to his right.

He moved to investigate the shadowy area but stopped as the smell made its location known, his head turned eyeing the large fan that dominated the left side of the wall of this passageway.

He moved closer, the heavy and slow turning of the fan catching his attention; he peered into the darkness behind the fan trying to see into the gloom.

His eyes widened and he stepped back in shock as his eyes adapted to the dark, a huddled figure was lying behind the fan as if it had been trying to hide there.

The creature eyes moved over its body staring in revulsion at the deep slime encrusted cuts throughout its form, the bloodstained clothing and general gruesomeness of the image.

After a few moments he noticed that the head was missing and couldn't hold back the morbid thought 'where is it?'

His question was soon answered as the fan stopped, the surprise of that sound suddenly stopping made the creature flinch but he froze rigid when he saw the reason for the fans stopping.

The head had been ripped free of the body long ago but almost a year of air currents had rolled the head into the path of the fan, it was just the creature's unfortunate luck to be here when it did.

The creature stared in horror at the frozen image of a scream looked up at him silently and slowly began to back away.

The fan make a low whine as the heavy blade began to dig into the severed head, the creature couldn't look away as the blade slowly crushed the heads skull. Pus and grey/yellow brain matter began to dribble out.

With a muffled gag the creature wrenched his eyes away curling around himself and clutching his stomach in nausea.

He closed his eyes as his stomach threatened to eject its contents when a loud crunch and a noise similar to the impact of porridge on the floor cut through the air.

The sudden mental image was too much and the creature fell on all fours as he vomited onto the floor.

The hidden monster had left its hiding place among the rusted scaffolds and old operating tables, it crept more stealthily then it had ever done right up to its preys retching form.

The virus screamed in anticipation and the body trembled as it raised its clawed hands, drool and green corpse gases expelled from its mouth as it appraised the morsel currently shivering on the floor.

Its muscles tensed and its hands quivered in expectation as its prey remained oblivious to its presence.

The virus roared.

And the body leapt.

The creature had just started to rise when something slammed into his side, he gave a shout of surprise as something smashed him into the ground harshly and hands moved to hold him.

He struggled franticly against his assailant and tried to twist free of its grip when he felt hot breath near his neck and then to his shock sharp teeth sank into his shoulder.

The creature roared in pain and fear as his attacker gnawed at his shoulder, the thick material of the lab coat thwarting it momentarily.

'Its trying to eat me, this thing is trying to eat me!' The creature thought in horror.

Forcing himself to ignore the pain he clenched his fist and punched his attacker as hard as could, there was a crunch and his enemy gave a moan of pain but it only served to make it redouble its efforts.

Maddened with pain the creature twisted round sharply trying to break free of the others grip. He screamed as the flesh of his shoulder was ripped away during his escape but he was free and he quickly rolled away and sprang to his feet.

Now finally able to view his attacker he stared in horror at the abomination that looked back at him hungrily, it gave a loathsome slurp as it gulped down the flesh still clamped in its teeth.

Its form was that of a man and indeed the filthy and tattered lab coat it wore identified it as having once been a researcher but that's where the similarities ended.

Its eyes were a milky white with opaque pupils that couldn't possible bestow vision, the creature looked deep into them shuddering at the endless hunger that filled those eyes, a hunger that overrided all other emotions.

Its skin was stained a deep crimson and had rotted away completely at certain places exposing reddened tissue beneath. Its face with its leering grin and rotted teeth made the creature quake in fear and its corpse appearance further heightened his terror.

Although clearly emaciated and with its muscles appearing wasted its posture and bearing was powerful as it slowly rose to its feet, squatting slightly its body tensed and made ready to spring.

The creature couldn't help but notice the large crimson hands similar to his own and the brown unclean claws that sprouted from its fingers.

"What are you?" The creature whispered trying to understand how something so… so dead could be so alive.

The monster answered him only with a snarl and it charged at him closing the gap between them with starling speed; the creature sprang back as filthy claws swiped through the air trying to cut him to ribbons.

The creature danced about trying desperately to dodge those slashing claws, the monster hissed in frustration and then unleashing a screech of rage lunging for him with its arms outstretched as if to embrace him.

Thinking quickly the creature ducked and leapt to one side the monster rushing past him, as it did the creature's tail swung round impacting on the monsters legs and bringing it tumbling to the floor.

It laid there dazed for a moment but soon tried to get back on its feet, 'oh no you don't!' the creature thought angrily and bringing up his foot he brought it down furiously on the monsters back.

There was a loud snap and the monster screamed though more in hate then any real pain, it struggled franticly and the creature pushed down harder digging his foot deeper into the monsters spine.

Despite paralysis below its waist the monster continued to shriek and thrash around, growing nervous that others might hear its cries he kneeled pressing his knee in to its back to hold the thing in place.

Not wanting to get close to its teeth the creature grasped its hair in both hands and pulled back hard, the enemy snapped its teeth and hissed as its neck and head was pulled back uncomfortably.

Before it could act the creature reversed his grip and smashed the monster face first into the hard concrete floor, there was a wet crack and dark blood spurted but the monsters struggles continued.

Showing no mercy the creature grimly continued to smash the things head into the floor, pressing his whole weight onto it to ensure it couldn't escape. He snarled as its struggles weakened and repeatedly slammed his attacker into the floor, giving into rage he continued until nothing but a blooded pulp was left.

He leaned back panting heavily as he numbly surveyed the shattered mess that was the monsters skull, diseased blood lazily spread from the wound and its brain matter covered the floor where it had been forced free from the constant punishment.

Taking a breath to calm himself the creature shakily got to his feet trying to ignore what had just happened, he took a few steps away from the corpse before slumping against the passage wall, slowly sliding down to rest against the cold stone.

Hugging his knees he stared blearily at the body, he idly noticed that its leg was twitching occasionally.

'What just happened?' he asked himself in confusion.

What was that thing that attacked him? Who was that man whose head has just been crushed by a fan? Just what happened to this place?

He hugged himself tighter as these questions raced through his mind, taking another breath he tried to look at what few facts he had.

The thing that had attacked him it was wearing a lab coat so perhaps it worked here once? Which meant was whatever he was working on the cause for his current condition?

His eyes once again rang over the dead mans flesh staring quizzically at the rotted skin and bare tissue. Nothing could be alive with such injuries it just wasn't possible… was it?

Was the man then… dead? Was he not alive at all?

The creature shivered at the chilling thought, was this some kind of zombie? An undead?

No! The creature shook his head at the thought; such things were fiction, myths, just stories!

'Then just what is that thing then if not a zombie?' His subconscious argued.

"Not a zombie… not a zombie. Its something…else" The creature frowned and his eyes darted to his pockets and the note still within, he quickly brought it out and studied it again.

The writer was afraid cause something had got loose, this T-virus. People were dying but they weren't staying dead were they?

He eyed the lab coat again, the people were dying but they were getting back up and killing. He shivered as he recalled the look of delight on the monsters face as it swallowed the flesh clamped within its teeth.

"So people were trying to escape, the guards obviously were trying to stop this virus from spreading so were killing deserters, the outcome? Mass panic and mayhem." He nodded at his reasoning.

He looked over the filthy walls and silence that filled this place, his own heartbeat sounded like thunder in this… tomb! For lack of a better word.

'Which means this place has been abandoned for years probably, and is likely swarming with these 'zombies' everywhere' he groaned at the prospect.

"That's just great" he spat. 'Just what did I do in a previous life to deserve waking up in this place?' He wondered gloomily.

Deciding that there was no point wasting anymore time the creature got back on his feet wincing at the pain in his shoulder, he gingerly prodded the area noting that the bleeding had stopped thankfully.

Stuffing the note back in his pocket and glancing at the corpse once more he decided to carry on and get the hell out of this place.

Being more careful of his surroundings the creature crept to the next junction hiding just at the edge before peeping round.

His caution was justified as this path lead to another long corridor with another side door at the end and a set of stairs leading up. Unfortunately another 'zombie' guarded them; this one was in even more disgusting state then the previous. Where that one had moved with strength and had been of a crimson coloration this one was just a rotted corpse.

Its movements were slow and it seemed to have problems with its equilibrium swaying from side to side as if about to topple, furthermore its skin was a pale white flecked with pink blood stains and even had green pus growing in its more serious wounds.

Although it was looking in his direction it hadn't noticed him, possibly its eyesight was poor as well. It only stood gently swaying with its mouth open and eyes staring blankly at him.

The creature didn't doubt that this adversary would be far easier to deal with then the other but it would be prudent to avoid a confrontation, he couldn't be sure how many more where over there.

The creature doubled back to the door he used to enter this corridor then took a left continuing down this bare passageway.

To his chagrin the corridor ended with another split decision, ahead was a single door and to his left was another route.

This route was more like a tunnel then a passageway, the lighting had completely died within and its arched roof only added to the gloom.

Worse at the end was the zombie he had spied earlier, to his surprise and suspicion it was now facing this way but still made no movement just continued to sway.

Glaring momentarily at the zombie the creature looked across at the door before him, he could just make out light through its grimy window and the door itself was open a fraction indicating it wasn't locked.

'Of course there could be another of those things in there' his subconscious reminded him. He nodded in agreement.

Still he wanted to explore this place and the previous room he had investigated had gained him clothes, a possible escape plan and funky plant stuff.

'And a pleasurable touch session' his subconscious teased. The creature blushed.

"Yes… well let's think how to get inside without drools over there spotting us" He hissed in embarrassment.

He paused reviewing his thoughts and words over the last minute and then slapped himself, why am I having a conversation with myself?

Doubling back again he came to the point where he first spotted the zombie, to his relief it was still there and was still looking in his previous direction. Looking round himself he moved over to the stack of rusted scaffolds where the other zombie had been hiding and started to rummage around.

He grinned at the few rusted cans he found, two were drink cans and one was a large paint tin, all empty though.

Stepping round the corner he took aim and threw the first small can, to his humiliation it fell miserably short and the noise did not attract the zombies attention. The second fell right next to the dead things feet but was ignored, he threw his hands up in frustration.

Hefting the paint can he took careful aim and chucked it strongly, the paint can soared through the air and smacked right into the side of the zombies head.

The creature laughed as the zombie almost fell over at the impact; it righted itself and then slowly turned to face him. It squinted at the paint can as if unsure what had just happened then looked in his direction.

"Hi there!" The creature shouted, waving in amusement at the startled look on the zombie.

Noticing him at last the zombie gave a dull groan and stretched out its arms towards him, shuffling forward as fast as its legs would allow.

This wasn't very fast at all.

The creature smiled as the zombie hobbled like an old man towards him, he nearly laughed out loud when it stepped on the drinks can that had fell short and almost tripped.

Waiting until it had got a fair distance the creature backed off, putting on a burst of speed and heading for the room he wanted to explore. Rushing through the corridors he was confident the zombie would get confused and go back to its previous post.

He reached the door looking round he couldn't see the undead but straining his ears he could still hear it moving ponderously around the passageways.

Holding his breath in apprehension he gentle pulled the door open releasing a sigh when the door made no real noise, slipping inside he carefully shut it behind him then punched the air in triumph.

Turning he did a bow to his rapt audience smiling at his clever deception, opening his eyes and looking upon his imaginary audience the creature froze at yet another image of horror before him.

This room appeared to be another form of lab, supercomputers, a desk and cabinets were to his far left and before him were a group of surgeon's table and medical equipment.

And on the table was another corpse hideously ravaged and bathed in blood, the creature swallowed but overcoming his revulsion he stepped closer in morbid fascination.

Firstly the body was that of a man and he grimaced as he saw it was completely nude, secondly its arms and legs were spread-eagled and strapped to the table. Eyeing the look of terror still frozen on the mans features and trying to ignore it the creature examined the rest of the body. The chest appeared to had been ripped open and the rips pulled apart exposing the sopping innards, the creatures face screwed up in disgust as he counted most of the internal organs missing… possibly eaten by the mans killers.

Judging by the severity of the wounds and the general mess this was most likely not done by a human although… the creature frowned, perhaps it had been done by someone crazed enough.

'I'm getting better at this dead body stuff, I'm not throwing up yet' the creature grimaced as his stomach did another painful clench, 'although perhaps I'm not far off!'

Shaking his head in pity for the dead man, (and inwardly praying something like that doesn't happen to him) the creature stalked over to the rest of the room.

Moving over to the desk he ignored the paperwork for the moment and instead began to press a few keys on the computer squatting on the desk. After finding the power button he stared incomprehensibly at the lines of machine code running across the screen and then blinked as a password screen popped up.

Spending a few moments typing random words the creature gave a sniff of annoyance, 'nothing goes my way here' he thought moodily.

Idly thumping through the paperwork he couldn't find much else here he could understand, a lot was time index's, notes on feeding schedules, times for meetings etc.

He paused as he found something of note, a small memo about some specimen the scientists were working on.

The creature's blood ran cold as he read about this monster that the scientists here had made, the memo confirmed his suspicions that this T-virus caused the dead to rise back to their feet, the implications of this were incredible.

A virus that could reanimate dead flesh?

Reading more he found that this was merely a by-product of its true function, ('some by-product' he thought in disgust) apparently the virus was meant to mutate its host making them stronger, faster and with improved healing. Engrossed in the writing he found that the scientists found it difficult to make T-virus creatures they could control, most died and became zombies but the few that survived lost their minds and mutated beyond recognition.

The memo was centred on a new zombie they christened 'crimson head' a mutation of the zombie… could it be?

The creature rubbed his shoulder in painful memory of his red skinned attacker, the claws and ferocity of that monster were daunting by itself but according to this file the crimson was only a lesser T-virus creature?

Reading more he found that the first crimson was locked in the graveyard of some mansion… a mansion?

The creature paused and looked round himself curiously; the damp walls and cold atmosphere coupled with the lack of windows and the silence confirmed his thoughts.

"Am I underground?" He asked himself thoughtfully; if so it explained a lot… was this laboratory below this mansion? Perhaps people still lived there?

The creature thought more about this and wondered now if it would be a good idea to meet with whatever 'people' lived here if any. The writer of the memo showed no loss or even caring about the other scientists killed by this first crimson head, so why would they want to help me.

'Good question that, perhaps we should ask ourselves what kind of people could make these things down here and this T-virus?' The creature's subconscious said worriedly.

'Right, perhaps I should be wary of who I meet in this place' The creature concurred.

Tail swishing in agreement the creature resolved to be doubly alert once in this 'mansion', he read more but the memo wasn't more helpful then the information he already had.

Pausing in thought he went back to the beginning of the memo and searched for the date, his claw stopped on the number '1998'.

He frowned in concentration, another 'memory' was growing in his subconscious, again he felt that this date was wrong. He couldn't be sure but he felt that the date he last 'remembered' was much lower then this.

Throwing the memo to one side he turned round resting against the wooden desk, he tilted his head in confusion as he spotted another room in front of him with a large glass window misted over with condensation.

Walking over to it he peered in but couldn't make out much, creeping to its doorway he walked in squinting into the dark.

His eyes couldn't pierce the shadows so the creature fumbled around the doorway hoping to come into contact with a lightswitch, his questing claws pressed into something and the room was illuminated.

The creature turned round and then swiftly pressed himself back against the nearest wall releasing a small gasp in shock.

This room was filled with bodies; a whole row of them hanging from the ceiling in plastic body bags all curled round themselves as if in a deep slumber.

Swallowing his fear he stepped forward his gaze slowly moving along the rows of cadavers, most seemed peaceful but one or two seemed to be frozen in twisted poses of suffering, silent screams on their lips.

The creature was horrified by what he was seeing, 'just what were the real monsters here?' he wondered, 'The things prowling the corridors… or the madmen who made them?'

Sickened by the inhumanity of the former scientists here the creature was fast losing his pity for the dead corpses littering this place, it could be called poetic justice that the cruelties they inflicted on others should be unleashed on them.

Looking away he began to investigate a row of lockers that stretched along the right wall finding little but old clothes, 'Imagine getting changed into work clothes with them watching you' he thought in black humour.

Moving along the row the creature found little of interest; he reached the end pausing to examine an old photograph stuck to the inside of the last locker. It portrayed a young woman with fair skin, dark hair cut short and clothed in a long red dress slashed down one side; she was laying along a satin bed with one leg exposed enticingly, the dresses slash falling back up to her thighs.

The creature felt himself blush as he looked into her dark eyes and smiling ruby lips, he didn't doubt that this woman was as exotic and… interesting as she looked.

Tearing it free he turned it over finding some words scribbled across the back in eloquent handwriting.

'So you won't miss me John, take care handsome. Ada.'

There was a fading lipstick image of a kiss on the back and the creature looked on the woman's smiling picture again, whoever this 'John' was he had been very lucky to have someone like Ada.

He gently rang his claws over the image indulging in a little daydreaming… what must it be like to have a lover like this? To have someone so precious in your life?

His smile froze as he looked on his claws again, they were resting on her cheek and he couldn't help but find the image discomforting. He looked to her hands and found then slim, delicate and beautiful just like the rest of her.

'We're nothing like her, we don't even know what we are' His subconscious said sadly.

The creature nodded silently, why would this female… why would 'any' female be interested in him. He wasn't even of the same species and would probably be looked upon as a monster.

Sighing he made to place the picture back but hesitated, if he ever escaped perhaps this 'Ada' would want this picture as John had clearly treasured it and she has the right to know what happened to him.

'Or perhaps you want it for yourself?' his subconscious pointed out.

He blushed, 'Nothing so crude though… it might be nice to look upon a smiling face once and awhile' he defended.

Pocketing it he turned round face to face with the dead again, shaking his head in sorrow he made to leave this site of death when something caught his eye.

At the back of the row of bagged bodies were two smaller figures, looking closer the creature's eyes widened in speechless amazement at what he saw.

The corpses were children; they looked no older then babies judging by their size but even more horrifying was their appearance.

They had purple skin, tiny tails curling round themselves and short stubby claws growing from their podgy hands. For all intends and purposes the two were miniature versions of him!

The creature carefully raised a claw and touched one of the children running his hand gently down its form shivering at how cold the plastic material was, tears blurred his sight as he questioned what this meant.

Were these his family? His brothers… his children? If so why could he not remember them, if they weren't his blood then what were they… what was he?

The body bags each had a tag stuck to them and shaking in anger and sorrow the creature ripped one free examining it closely.

'Specimen 023- birthed successfully and showed promising blending with the Hazard-virus. Unfortunately it rapidly mutated during first year and was lost as a possible bioweapon. The experiment survived for several months after mutation even as its body began to deteriorate due to cellular breakdown. Although failed its prolonged death gave us insights into the 'Hazard' mutations and possible ways to counteract them.

Morphine administered during first month of mutations but the 'Hazard' virus quickly adapted to the drug and Mr Birkin deemed it an unnecessary cost to increase dosage.

023 shot 12th December 1995 after it stopped mutating and continued to deteriorate, order to terminate suspended for two weeks in hope it might show new mutations'

The creature stared at the writing as twin trails of wetness ran down his cheeks… the poor things. His fist clenched crushing the thin tag as his body trembled in barely contained rage.

"The 'specimen', he spat the word, was only a child and they let it suffer for almost a year just for their research?' he hissed in loathing.

His eyes burned as he looked upon the dead children before him, so what if they didn't look human they were living things! Those scientists had no right to play god with their lives!

Reaching for the dead child again he caressed it tenderly hoping against reasons that perhaps its soul could see that one creature at least mourned its death… that one person felt despair for its suffering.

His eyes rang over its body giving a pained gasp at every bruise, every cut, and every twisted stigma that covered its body like a map of pain.

And then an even greater horror came to his sight.

Looking upon its tail he saw a small number '023' tattooed in plain black ink just on the underside of the tail close to were it joined with its body, a terrifying suspicion grew in the creatures mind.

Pulling away he looked down upon his own tail reaching out for it and dragging it close, it resisted almost as if it didn't want him to see.

Tugging harder he carefully turned his tail over and felt all the blood drain from his cheeks, felt an icy claw of crushing despair as he gazed upon the black tattoo on his tail.

The number '025'.

The creatures eyes dimmed as his mind all but collapsed at this revelation, his legs gave and he fell to the floor in a crumpled heap curling up into a foetal ball and rocking gently as he emitted small sobs of sorrow.

He now knew without a shadow of a doubt what he was.

He was just another creature made by the insanity of the humans here.

He was… a monster.

Chapter 3

The survivor.

Within the shadowed forests surrounded the Arkley mountains there were secrets still hidden within the dark canopy of the forests, secrets that humanity should never find yet had a key role in their creation.

One such secret was a mansion hidden deep within the forests invisible to most and with few that remember its existence.

Abandoned for over a year the forest had claimed the manmade structure acting both as its captor and guardian.

For the mansion was inhabited by horrors that were not of this world, certainly Mother Nature had no part in making such monstrosities. Indeed a greater monster named humanity had in their arrogance made these creatures and been unable to control them.

Now the creatures battled amongst themselves for supremacy, this mansion was now the site of an outlandish battle between the nightmares of human imagination.

Within the mansion itself rotted corpses animated by human science shambled through the corridors of their old home feasting on the flesh of anything not of their kind that encountered them.

Outside slavering hounds hunted the forest becoming a feared predator of the woodland creatures as these hellhounds hunted them. In the trees black birds of previously harmless scavenger intent now were motivated by a new instinct to attack and kill any prey they spied, their eyes glowing with red murderous zeal.

In the tunnels that stretched beneath the mansion grounds manmade reptilian hunters patrolled their lands, their pack behaviour and heightened weapons and intellect had made them the uncontested dominant creatures of the land. Although they were besieged by yet another insidious enemy, creatures of silk and venom their minds of alien cunning these spiders also held a large portion of the sewers their ensnaring webs ensuring that travel through these areas was suicide for most.

Of course not all the creatures had packs or had made alliances for their safety, some powerful individuals hunted and fended for themselves and had become feared predators to all the warring factions.

The great snake 'yawn' with her crushing coils and overpowering strength had made her a feared adversary of all the races, even the hunters had learned to fear her evil gaze and venomous fangs.

Within this world of predators another individual had irked out a living in the forest, a human female her body altered long ago by the virus coursing through her veins had the instinct of a born survivor. She had taken everything that both humans and their monsters had thrown at her and still stood strong.

Her name was Lisa and she had long ago given up her humanity to survive in this place, indeed to stay committed to the ideals of a true human was near impossible in this place.

Little did she know that her salvation was soon at hand.

The hunter guzzled the warm steaming flesh on his claws squealing in amazement at his good fortune. The deer had foolishly came close to the mansion grounds, perhaps to feed or maybe curiosity? Regardless the hunter was lucky to have spotted it first before any others and had quietly stalked his prey and killed it before it had time to escape.

Ripping a leg free the hunter bit deep into it chewing on flesh and fur and shivering in pleasure at the sweet taste, unafflicted flesh was hard to come by here.

So engrossed on feeding the hunter didn't hear the metallic rustling slowly moving up the path where it had ambushed the deer, the rusted gates of the graveyard before it creaked open and the hunter started, leaping to his feet defensively.

The creature that hobbled onto the path and stood a few meters from him was completely beyond the hunter's knowledge, it swayed gently its chains dragging along the ground and its amber eyes glaring in the hunter's direction.

It looked like a human to the hunter and one that was heavily hampered judging by the chains round its legs and the large block holding its hands in check, thus it should be easy prey.

Yet there was something unnerving about this human, the hunter felt a little apprehensive about the many faces draped around the creatures head, the sightless eyes and open mouths made even he uneasy. The insane amber eyes that stared directly into his own were having strange effects on him; he couldn't stop his claws from shaking.

Shaking his head furiously the hunter shrieked his outrage; this was just a human! They were no match for his kind!

Rearing up to his full height the hunter roared showing off his powerful physique, his scales as strong as steel his claws of incredible sharpness and his wicked fangs. To his annoyance the human did not cower as expected instead it rolled its eyes as if it was bored by the display.

'Well! Ill make it show respect for its evolutionary superiors!' He thought angrily.

Screeching his species characteristic cry he charged at the human his claws extended to tear it apart, to his surprise the human gave its own scream of challenge and began to rush him as fast as its chains would allow.

Once close enough the hunter tensed his muscles, leaping into the air moving to slam into and crush this human, and rip it apart.

As he leap the human brought back its bound arms like a bat and, as the hunter fell, swung in a powerful upwards swing smashing into the hunters chest.

The force of the blow was incredible and the hunter gave a startled squeal as he was thrown back by the hit slamming into the ground in a tangled heap.

Quickly righting himself he glared at the human more cautious now, the human stepped forward and the hunter moved back unsure how to attack now.

The human began to shake and it hunched over even more almost to the point of collapse, it convulsed violently and the hunter wondered if it was going to be sick.

With a scream the human shot back to its feet its body fully extending, the hunter jumped back with surprise as six long tentacles erupted from the humans back snapping through the air with sensuous motions.

It was too much for the hunter and giving one last snarl at the human he ran off into the undergrowth… perhaps the clan had something else to eat?

Lisa shivered as she shrugged off the last vestiges of pain that her tentacles had caused; the pain was a minor discomfort for scaring off a predator.

Shuffling forward she stared hungrily at the prize of this short battle, the body of the deer had long gone cold but Lisa didn't care… she had eaten worse and survived.

Wrapping some tentacles around its remaining legs Lisa dragged it along behind her as she moved slowly up the path to her cabin. Her ears and eyes remained alert as she scanned the trees around her for trouble, the blood trail the deer was leaving behind it would be a beacon for any creatures wandering the woods.

She reached the silent watcher and nodded at him amiably, although his face never showed any emotion it was a comfort to see some human features not rotted and decayed.

She noticed that the forest was again trying to claim the statue and she spent a few moments fighting back the thick undergrowth, a waste of time to some but Lisa was not going to allow the only human (even if just stone) she had taken from her.

Finished she reached out for his face her hands gently running over its cheeks, its eyes, its lips… doing this reminded her of times long gone when she did this to her mother, when she felt comfort and security in her arms.

Giving the statue a friendly pat Lisa resumed her journey, the darkness pressed down all around her and the chirps and occasional screams of something dying echoed through the forest but she paid it no heed. Lisa had long ago stopped being the child who feared the darkness.

At last the lights of her cabin were in sight; she gave a tired sigh as she spied her sanctuary.

The creatures of the forest had long ago learned not to enter this place, it had taken several months and more savage fights then Lisa cared to remember but she had eventually drilled in the point that this was her territory.

After a days hunt with surprising success (she grinned at the dead deer and licked her lips) she was looking forward to eating enough to fill her stomach for once, and then curling up beside a warm fire.

'Which reminds me I better take stock of how much firewood I have left later' She thought.

Reaching her front door she pushed gently against it finding it firmly locked.

'Good nothing tried to get in'

Extending a tentacle she pulled aside a loose board above the doorframe and her tentacle snaked in, after a few moments fumbling she moved the latch and the door opened.

Dragging the deer inside she slammed the door shut and moved into the 'living' room.

'Home sweet home' She thought glumly as she stared at the old and filthy cabin, cobwebs and dirt choked the place and the wind howled through the air given entrance by the many holes in the structure.

That it had fallen into a severe state of disrepair was undeniable, that it was filthy and infested with bugs and mice were beyond question. But it had served Lisa faithfully as her shelter for over a year and besides… 'Mice make a welcome food source if hunting goes bad' Lisa mused.

'Speaking of food' Lisa dragged the dead deer over to the fire feeling her body pleasantly warmed by the heat, dumping the body she hobbled over to her storage box in the next room.

Just up a small flight of stairs was the next room of the cabin, a disused bed covered in dust and moth bitten sheets occupied the left wall and a table with a typewriter and some of Lisa's writings were to the right. A large metal trunk was at the back and Lisa hefted it open sorting through her stuff for what she was looking for.

Some old clothes… herbs… notes etc, Aha! Lisa pulled a large metal poker from the trunk; she examined it for a moment then gave it a quick clean with her rags.

Heading back to the living room she moved closer to the deer looking on it thoughtfully, after a few moments her tentacles stabbed down into its flank ripping away a great strip of flesh.

Blood flowed freely and Lisa held the meat above her hungrily drinking the blood that dripped from the meat, shivering in delight at the taste she raised the poker and skewered the meat on the metal point.

Turning to the fire she hummed to herself as she held the meat in the flames the flesh hissing and steaming, as it was cooked.

'I feel like deer tonight, like deer tonight!' Lisa grinned and licked her lips as she prepared her first true meal in two weeks.

Lisa sighed blissfully as she rested beside her fireplace; it had been so long since she had felt pleasantly full that she had almost forgotten the feeling.

She frowned as her stomach rumbled and a dull ache began to radiate from the area but she ignored it, doubtless the meat even cooked had not been healthy but the virus would help her digest.

She sighed and laid her head on her arms, at times like this she couldn't help but wonder whether she was cursed or blessed.

She examined her surroundings numbly, she had long ago given up being sad for where she was forced to live but she could still remember what it felt like… those first few months had been terrible but she had survived.

She snorted derisively, 'survived'? True she had withstood everything Umbrella had done to her, she shivered as she remembered the horrible things they did to her body and mind, and the attacks of the monsters of this place.

But was it all worth it? What did she have left anymore but her life?

She looked down upon herself and shuddered in disgust at her ragged and dirty clothing, her ruined and bound form… she couldn't even call herself human anymore.

Her tentacles surrounded her trying to comfort her but Lisa pushed them away angrily hot tears filling her eyes… 'What hope do I have of ever escaping all this?' she thought bitterly, 'Is it my fate to survive all this and then to die here all alone? Either at the claws of the monsters or by old age?'

She reached under her 'masks' wincing as the metal block bit into her wrists and tenderly ran her fingers over her face.

Her skin she could feel was thin and smooth, no blemishes or wounds… certainly no rotting flesh. Her hair had grown thick and long covering her face but that too felt strong though dirty, just as the skin of her arms looked young and healthy although clearly emaciated.

She didn't know how old she was anymore, in the cold white halls of the labs she had never seen sunlight or even a calendar and her captors had not been kind enough to tell her the date. With no sense of time only her own body's changing form was able to tell her she had aged… and as she aged certain people took notice of her changing form.

She quickly crushed the memory, that was something that should remain buried… regardless she had no idea of her age. She had keep a rough calendar once free within the forest and had summarised that a year and five months had passed but that couldn't tell her how old she was.

The one thing that confused her and her captors too was that as time passed the researchers aged, the first ones who had worked with her father had become old men to Lisa's eyes yet she remained unchanged, she still looked like a young woman.

'I certainly don't feel old, she mused, but then I've not had a real life to experience and grow old in'

Still it didn't matter anymore in time she wouldn't ask such questions of herself anymore… not anymore.

She rolled unto her back her tentacles shifting to more comfortable positions. She was finding it harder to think like 'Lisa' and not what the virus wanted her to think.

When in the forests she had to think like the monsters to survive, to become an animal to make the most of her senses and keep one step ahead of her enemies… unfortunately it was getting harder and harder to pull back from this state.

At times 'Lisa' would wake and find herself in her cabin with no idea how she got there, or out in the forest somewhere. It scared her this erosion of her mind but a part of her wanted this.

'Humanity has nothing for you anymore Lisa… give in to the wild and survive the only way possible. You cant be a human in this world' A voice had began to whisper within her mind and Lisa was tempted.

What was the point in clinging to her humanity? There was no use for it in this place and all it was doing was holding her back.

But as she thought this a part of Lisa rebelled against this, if she surrendered her humanity then it would be as if the bad men had won, they would have broken her completely and she knew she was stronger then that.

'I'm better then that' She thought.

She sighed and sat up her tentacles shaking in worry.

'Its only a matter of time anyway, I'm on the edge of my sanity here and I don't think ill be able to pull back from that cliff next time' She thought sadly.

She was broken from her depression as the light in the cabin began to dim; she looked to the fire and saw it was starting to die.

'Better get some more wood then' Lisa sighed as she got to her feet and walked out of the cabin.

"Back into the never ending nightmare that is my life" She whispered sadly.

Chapter 4.

A name is taken and a path is chosen.

The creature had managed to drag himself from that room of death and was currently curled up in a ball below the glass window to that room of revelations.

He couldn't stop the tears, nor the painful sobs… why did this have to be? Why did fate have to be so cruel?

On reflection he was amazed he hadn't come to this conclusion earlier, he was 'born' in a giant test tube, his form was radically different to a humans and his strength and senses were far superior.

'But that's some comfort isn't it? That we're stronger?' His subconscious tried to reassure him.

The creature snarled and smashed his fist into the ground, 'No its not!' he thought in anguish, 'I'm just another 'bioweapon' made by the humans here, I don't have my own life I'm just a… a thing! Just like all the other 'things' out there!'

"I don't have anything… no friends, no family… I'm alone here and all I was wanted for was to be a weapon" he muttered sadly.

'So? What does it matter what we were. What matters now is what we become! Now that we know the truth' His subconscious argued hotly.

The creature frowned in thought, there are some good points there but something else was troubling him.

'Who are you… really? I'm getting really confused by this double act in my head'


'Answer me!' the creature mentally hissed.

'I'm, his subconscious hesitated, I'm you… the you before'

'Before?' The creature asked confused.

'Yes before we were changed, the scientist tried to erase me but something of us remains in me… the before us'

'So I was right, I did have a another life in this body!' The creature thought in astonishment.

'Yes I'm what's left of that life, the personality and ideals of that person we were'

'Then who was I? The creature asked.

'We, a moments pause for thought, we don't remember… like I said our minds have been damaged and all I am is echoes of the past'

The creature thought about this, rolling over to his back and bringing his hand to his head, 'This is crazy' he thought.

'I assure you we are sane'

"I'm schizophrenic!" He exclaimed in alarm.

'We are not, his subconscious said irritably, I have no control over you only suggestion'


'Think of me as an emotional support, the part of you that refuses to give up'

The creature nodded somewhat relieved and surprisingly cheered up slightly.

"Ok 'inner support' what now?" he asked.

'We forsake the path the scientists tried to force on us and make our own destiny… and we get the hell out of here' His subconscious gave a mental grin.

The creature rose to his feet stretching out the mild cramp from curling up so long, wiping away his tears he considered his options.

'I need to find this escape chute and it's near this emergency exit where ever that is'

He sniffed the air noting the stillness and lack of air currents, 'ok I'm underground, the exit is probably on ground floor so maybe those stairs would be a good bet?' he mused.

Patting himself down and finding everything secure ('photo, herb, note check!') the creature made to leave when something else came to mind, he looked down at his tail staring in discomfort at the tattoo '025'.

'I don't want to be some 'specimen' anymore… I don't want to be called 025' He thought rebelliously.

'Then lets have our own name' His subconscious said.

The creature tapped his chin with a claw looking around himself for ideas, he needed something… profound, something eccentric and personal.

'Hercules?' His subconscious smirked.

'Very funny, umm…' he blinked as he heard something rustling in time to his claws motions.

Looking down he saw that the dead child's tag was still stuck to one of his claws, ripping it free he eyed it and then his face darkened with anger. He made to throw it away when something caught his eye.

'Hazard virus' he read, obviously this was the virus coursing through his veins… it was ultimately responsible for his creation.

'We were the only ones who blended with it' His subconscious reminded him.

He stared at the word whispering it to himself, "Hazard… hazard…"

'Hmmm?' he mulled it over.

Sounds nice, different, somewhat confrontational and unique… like me?

"Hazard I like it, from now I'm called Hazard!" He smiled pleased with his new name.

He struck a pose, trying to look swath and regal while holding an imaginary wineglass before him.

"The names ous, Hazard… ous" he chuckled.

'Very funny' His subconscious said dryly.

Hazard poked his head cautiously out of the door, opening it a fraction more he spied the area seeing no zombies present. Though they could be hiding?

'Ok head for the stairs, stop for nothing' Hazard told himself.

Stepping out he took the right corridor heading for the stair junction; he stopped when he spied the zombie back at its original post.

The zombie had spotted him too and giving a triumphant groan shuffled unsteadily towards him its arms outstretched.

'Stop for nothing!' His subconscious yelled.

Hazard charged forward, feet pounding the ground and claws ready, no way was some rotted corpse gonna stand in his way.

Within reach of the zombie it lunged forward arms moving to grab his neck, Hazard ducked down below the grasp and pushed forward and up easily lifting the zombie off its feet and throwing it to the floor. Wasting a second stamping on its face he carried on reached the doors to the stairs.

He quickly opened the barred door shutting it behind him and fumbling with the lock, he just managed to lock it when the zombie reached the door.

It threw itself at the bars its arm reaching for hazard, he jumped back narrowly avoiding the outstretched hand and thwarted the zombie rattled the doors bars in vain.

"That was close," Hazard said breathlessly.

Turning away from the raging zombie Hazard slowly ascended the stairs ears alert for any unusual noises.

Once at the top Hazard eyed his surroundings critically, this floor was just as disused as the previous and appeared to have been similarly abandoned.

To his right was another short passageway with a set of doors and some junk at the end, before him the corridor continued on and disappeared round a left corner.

'Quick decision'

Hazard moved forward ignoring the double doors, he reached the turning and found that it led to a single door with a dirty window in the door.

Shrugging he took a few steps forward when an interesting smell made him stop, he breathed in deeply finding the smell oddly minty and sweet.

Looking around he saw several potted plants placed to one side of the corridor directly under a bright light; he kneeled down beside them curiously.

The plants were small stems with bright green leaves growing from multiple branches, hazard was surprised at how bright and healthy they looked… a small amount of life still survived down here it seemed.

The smell the plants gave off was familiar to Hazard and he snapped his claws in recollection, digging into his jeans he pulled out the packet of crushed plant matter. He didn't know what the red stuff was but the green must be one of these herbs pulped up!

But what was their purpose? There had to be some significance to them being pulped and placed in an airtight bag.

'Perhaps they're food?' He wondered.

Thinking of this his stomach gave a pained grumble and Hazard was reminded that he hadn't actually eaten anything since he awoke.

'How longs it been? An hour or two maybe?' He mused.

Picking up a pot he carefully plucked a leaf from the plant holding it up suspiciously.

He shrugged, 'here goes nothing' and threw it in his mouth chewing carefully. His face screwed up at the strange taste; he wasn't sure whether it was good or bad as his taste buds kept arguing on what to make of it.

He swallowed quickly bracing himself for any pain but his stomach gave a content gurgle as it began digesting and asked for more.

Eyeing the herb a bit more appreciatively now he pulled it free of the pot, spending a few seconds wiping away the dirt form its roots, and began taking bites from it.

Hazard stayed in that spot for a few minutes as he sampled all the herbs, all tasted roughly the same having a strong minty taste.

Hazard wiping his mouth and jumped to his feet patting his stomach happily, it felt good to have something in his belly.

Hazard had moved on and reached the door when something else came to his attention; his shoulder though it had stopped bleeding had been giving off a dull painful throbbing since the attack, which Hazard had been largely dealing with.

Now though the pain had completely stopped, not just in his shoulder but all his other small bruises and cuts dealt by the crimson had stopped transmitting pain.

Bouncing about and stretching his limps Hazard was amazed at not just the lack of pain but good feelings coming from the rest of his body.

'Just what was in that plant?' he wondered in astonishment.

Obviously the herb had some medical properties; pleased with this discovery Hazard made a mental note to collect any more he found and stepped through the door eyes alert.

Hazard frowned as he entered this next room, it was thankfully empty but was much colder then the rest of the labs.

Hazard shivered as a cold breeze lashed him but his eyes sparkled with hope at the feeling, fresh air!

Sniffing deeply Hazard smiled, as he smelled the scents of the outside world on the breeze, he spotted a ladder at the end of the room and hoped that was the way out.

He ran forward skidding to a halt as another item caught his attention, a large trunk similar to the one where he found his clothes was against the left wall with a typewriter to the right.

'What are these, storage rooms? Workstations?' Hazard wondered.

He checked the typewriter but it hadn't been used for a long time judging by the dust and no paperwork was apparent.

He eyed the chest thoughtfully; maybe this one held something else of interest?

Moving his hands over it he found it unlocked and didn't seem to have anything threatening within, with a shrug he gripped the lip and threw it open.

His eyes widened and he gasped at the sight before him, carefully reaching in Hazard picked up the object within and held it up for inspection.

It was a large knife but certainly not of the kitchen variety, its hilt and grip was bound with dark leather straps that felt cool and strong to the touch.

Hazard stared in something like awe at the blade itself, a foot long with a serrated edge it was a deadly weapon and its metal though not shiny was dull and practical… the colour of a weapon intended for use not display.

Running the tip of a claw down the blade he hissed as the metal easily cut into the hard bone, despite being unused for possibly years the blade remained incredibly sharp.

Hazard saw some writing carved into the length of the blade and squinted as he read it 'Reinforced carbon-alloy' and further along 'Umbrella Military Department'.

Smiling happily a his new lethal acquisition Hazard gently placed the combat knife next to the typewriter and examined the other items in the chest.

There was a thick brown leather belt with several pouches for carrying items and a sheath that was probably for the knife, Hazard pulled it out pawing it inquisitively.

The leather was firm and strong, obviously the thick metal chest had protected it from the damp atmosphere. The buckle caught his attention as it depicted a stylised umbrella made from steel.

Hazard frowned as he stared at the umbrella; there was something significant about this…

Picking up the knife he examined the markings again, this umbrella had been responsible for the knife and probably made many more weapons… what kind of name was 'umbrella' for a weapons manufacture anyway?

'Perhaps its not known for being a weapons maker' Hazards subconscious suggested.

He sighed in confusion as he carefully placed the knife within its sheath and then began to put the belt on; perhaps this umbrella had some ties to this lab.

He frowned as a new thought came to him, these things here where obviously intended to be weapons ('as was I' Hazard grimaced in disgust) maybe this 'umbrella' wanted to buy them? Or provided security or arms to the people here?

Hazard shook his head dispelling his thoughts; he could ask himself questions once he was somewhere safer.

'In other words anywhere but here' his subconscious said.

'My thoughts exactly' Hazard agreed: then felt a mild headache at the resulting cerebral confusion.

Hazard had reached the top of the ladder after a few minutes climbing, ('How bloody deep do these secret labs need to be?') he carefully pulled himself onto the next level his new weapon drawn and clutched tightly in a clawed hand.

He remained semi-crouched with his ears and eyes alert as he carefully sniffed the air, unfortunately he wasn't getting much just stale air with a hint of corruption on the breeze.

After a few moments he rose and stalked wearily forward, after a few steps he found this room to be not only empty but also very small.

A massive set of thick metal doors were a few paces from the ladder, Hazards eyes shone with hope as he read the writing on a large plate on the door.

'Heliport exit- only to be opened in an emergency' Hazard glared at the writing and then the doors, his need to get out of here was certainly worthy of being an emergency!

He took hold of the door handles and gave them an experimental jiggle, the doors didn't even move in the slightest.

Hazard growled and then braced himself against the steel doors, "let's see how strong you are" he whispered before pushing against the doors.

Hazards muscles bulged and he gritted his teeth as he strained against the doors but despite the (supposedly) enormous pressure he placed on them they wouldn't move.

Exhaling and stepping away Hazard gave the doors a swift kick in annoyance before turning away, obviously he wasn't getting through there anytime soon.

Moving deeper into the room he found an elevator shaft at the other end of the room. He clapped his hands in relief when he saw the elevator was still down here.

Of course eyeing it apprehensively Hazard was unsure as to its usefulness; there was no whirring of gears or other machine noises to indicate it was operational. Also the caged frame of the elevator was heavily rusted and like everything else hadn't been used for years apparently.

Opening the cage door Hazard stepped inside examining a large control box that should operate the elevator. The controls had some interesting buttons and levers but after spending some time pressing and pulling them all nothing had happened.

Hazard hung his head in defeat as he stepped out of the cage, his tail shutting the door behind him, 'what now?' he wondered.

He pulled the tattered note from his jeans and consulted it again; ok so apparently this chute was somewhere in this room… but where?

Hazard searched the room his eyes easily piercing the darkness but apart from the locked doors and elevator the walls were bare with just old piping and wires adorning them.

'Was the scientist incorrect?' Hazard thought in mounting panic, if there's no chute how else was he meant to escape?

"Think, THINK! Is there anything else here that I cant see?" Hazard yelled at himself.

He moved over the walls more carefully running his claws over them, sniffing and listening intently.

He had almost searched the whole room and was about to give up when he smelled something from one of the dark corners of the room.

He breathed deep smelling moisture, rot and fresh air. He pressed his ear against the wall and could faintly hear the trickle of water.

Pulling back Hazard eagerly examined the area and found that a large sheet of metal had been bolted over this section of wall… almost as if to hide something.

Hazard tapped the metal with a claw hearing an affirmative echo from an empty space behind, his face set into a determined scowl as he raised his claws.

'Nothing is stopping me from escape, nothing!'

He roared as he smashed his fist into the metal, his claws easily piercing the plate, he slashed and pulled tearing the metal sheet from the wall furiously.

Snarling he ripped the metal free and threw it to one side exposing a large dark hole in the wall.

Hazards hair rippled as a strong breeze tugged at the strands and he breathed deep of the pungent scent, if this pipe didn't lead to a sewer he didn't want know what else could smell so bad.

'Freedom never smelt so good though' Hazard grinned as he stepped closer squinting into the tunnel, he was slightly nervous as he couldn't see very far into the tunnel and god knows what would happen if he went inside.

'Do we have any other choice?' His subconscious reminded him.

'None what so ever, but really could it be worse then this place?' Hazard joked nervously.

'Quite possibly'

Hazard frowned, 'Look stop making me more nervous I'm going in ok?'

'I'm just saying' His subconscious said meekly.

Hazard took a breath to psyche himself up and then climbed into the chute holding on to the rim and balancing just on the edge of the slope.

"Here goes nothing" he said resolutely then threw himself into the darkness.

Chapter 5.

The underground.

The sewers were named as such by the scientists and workers of the mansion as the network of caves had long served as a drop off point for garbage and refuse, whether bodies or more mundane trash.

The caves were a varied assortment of lichen covered rooms filled with moisture of both large pools and smaller streams. The little manmade equipment still left here had fallen into severe disrepair with only the most well crafted or perhaps stubborn machines still functioning.

Apart from the steady plink of falling water the sewers were eerily quiet, the air was still and moved lazily from room to room while what few creatures lived here learned to move silently or become a swift meal.

This place of darkness and rock was home to two factions of the nightmare lands, the hunters had long ago taken the greater part of the caves as their home, the moisture and darkness suiting their reptilian species.

The giant arachnids though holding a smaller area then the hunters had long proved to be immovable, their lands were strewn with trapping webs and the screams of the dead and dying echoed in those caves accompanied by the spiders hideous chittering language.

Thus Hazards cursing entrance into this world was heard by many attentive ears.

"Shit! Ow! Fuck! Ai! Bastard! Ouch!"

Hazard spat and cursed, as his journey down the chute became increasingly painful, he was suddenly acutely aware that perhaps, just perhaps, going down that hole hadn't been a good idea.

Another tight corner and Hazard clenched his teeth in agony as his rips got a painful smack before gravity gripped him.

There was a strong sensation of free fall and Hazards sense of touch was screaming he wasn't touching anything. He braced himself and was soon rewarded when he hit the floor again forcing a pained gasp from him.

Another minute of tumbling and turning in the dark and Hazard spotted a light ahead that he was rapidly approaching.

'Oh no'

The hunter had been stalking this area of the sewers for a few hours in the hopes of finding a meal but more so as a place to vent his frustrations.

The hunter could not believe the strength of that human that had stole his kill, how was it possible that a mere human and a female at that had bested him!

He had pleaded his case to the clan elders (which had consisted of growls, chirps and hand motions) and had asked for back up to hunt down that female but he had been overruled, it was as if the elders feared the girl as they seemed agitated by his tale.

He kicked a loose rock and scored the wall in anger, how could the clan allow this slight to go unpunished? In the past the chimeras and spiders had made pushes against his species and such assaults were met with vicious counterattacks.

And now they huddled in their caves afraid to face a single human? The old cowards!

The hunter growled and flexed his claws… things would be different if he was the alpha.

His daydreams of the power, prestige and breeders such a position would grant him were a source of constant musings, the alpha was getting old now and should be replaced by younger hunters… for the good of the clan of course.

So engrossed in his thoughts the hunter hadn't heard the increasingly urgent swearing that had began to build up in the passageway, he blinked and looked around in confusion as Hazard dropped from the ceiling above him.

'What the hell!'

Hazard had been desperately trying to stop his fall but the wet and slimy chute had allowed no purchase for his claws, now with the ground rapidly coming to meet him Hazard braced himself for the impact.

Therefor he was surprised when he fell on something surprisingly soft and moist and didn't gain any broken bones.

Still the impact had hurt and Hazard lay dazed for a moment until it began to dawn on him the thing he was laying on was moving.

And growling…

When a webbed scaly hand complete with long claws swiped the air Hazard didn't need any more motivation to move, scrambling off the thing he jumped to safety hissing as cold water lapped at his feet.

Hazard turned examining the thing he had fallen on with trepidation; the creature had struggled back to its feet and now was glaring at Hazard with extreme aggravation.

Hazard was strangely reminded of a toad, if a toad had grown to almost six feet high, walked on two feet and gained a substantially larger muscle mass.

Its body was heavily built and squat, its legs were short but strongly muscled, in contrast its arms almost reached the ground and Hazard was oddly aware that this thing most be able to do a real killer of a clothesline.

The monster chirped a high pitched sound and took a step forward, its red eyes glowed with menace.

Hazard had the urge to run but as he thought this he was acutely reminded that this was what he had been doing since he first woke up, why should he fear these 'things'? Was he not a weapon too?

Hazards eyes narrowed in anger, he'd been through a lot today and he really was not in the mood to be hunted and chased.

He had a lot of anger and frustration in him at the moment and he was now going to work some of it off on this foolish creature trying to scare him.

Hazard snarled back at the creature his hand quickly drawing his knife and brandishing it. He lashed his tail and rose up to his full height.

'Just try and kill me' Hazard steeled himself.

The monster screeched and lunged at Hazard, its short legs propelling it forward in a massively long leap and Hazard barely had time to block before it was on him.

Hazard yelled as the two collided, the creature knocking him back with the force of its strike, it hissed at Hazard crouching down for another go.

But Hazard was ready this time, the creature lunged and Hazard spun round lashing out with a kick, his clawed foot scoring its face and throwing it against the tunnel wall.

He creature sprang to its feet its breath coming out in angered pants as dark green blood flowed from the gouge in its cheek, hate and surprise shone in its eyes.

Hazard roared and charged closing the distance quickly and slashing at the creature's chest with his knife, it moved sinuously to one side dodging the blade.

Almost too fast for Hazard to react, the creature swung its fist at hazards head trying to claw his face.

Hazard ducked, the fist missing by inches and with its guard weakened Hazard speared his free hand into its stomach his claws easily piercing the scales and ripping bloodied lines across its flesh.

The creature shrieked and darted back out of Hazards range, it made the mistake of examining its wounds and Hazard lunged at the creature his blade held low and ready.

He almost struck a vital spot, the enemy saw his attack a second too late and moved to block, it screamed, its chirps becoming even more high pitched, as Hazards blade stabbed into its arm and erupted from the other side.

The creature pushed Hazard away desperately; it's remaining hand lashing out forcing Hazard to retreat, he danced back his knife dripping with the enemies blood and eyes glowing with anticipation of a kill.

The creature had had enough though; as Hazard lunged it kicked up water in his face, the dirty liquid reaching Hazards eyes and blinded him momentarily.

Hazard pawed his eyes and retreated back to avoid a counterattack, his eyes cleared and Hazard readied himself but when he looked down the sewer tunnel his adversary had gone.

'Damn! I was looking forward to killing it' Hazard mentally cursed.

The hunter ran while Hazard was distracted, down the tunnel and easily leaping the large chasm that split the floor. He opened the door at the end escaping through and vowing revenge for what that new creature did to his arm.

He would get payback; with or without the clan he would have revenge!

Hazard wiped his blade on his lab coat grimacing in disgust at the horrible smell the toad-creatures blood gave off.

'Maybe that's why nothing eats them if they smell and probably taste so bad?' Hazard thought as he sheathed his knife. Now he had yet another 'monster' to add to his growing list of horrors made by the humans here, obviously that thing was probably a more advanced weapon then the 'zombies'.

'But was it once human or an animal?' Hazard wondered. If it was a human then it was amazing how much those scientists could change a human's body.

'Thankfully we are not that extreme' Hazards subconscious said.

Hazard shook his head, 'perhaps not as horrible but I am extreme, it was strong but I was stronger and it was definitely surprised at that' he thought worriedly.

Hazard dismissed his thoughts, all he was doing was upsetting himself and he needed to think where to go next.

Hazard spent a few moments stretching and working out his kinks from the fight before he finally appraised his surroundings.

The passageway he was in was little more then a rocky tunnel carved somewhat corridor shaped. The walls were covered in moss and lichen with small streams of water flowing from various cracks. The dripping was a constant noise and the water that covered the floor was freezing and at least ankle deep.

Thankfully there was lighting produced by a system of yellow bulbs that stretched across the roof, some had died but the majority still worked though, even as he looked Hazard could see many were flickering dangerous.

"Well it's a bit better then the labs… there's fresh air" Hazard said brightly while eyeing his surroundings unimpressively.

Hazard looked up at the chute where had come from, in the flickering light and hidden amongst the jagged rocks it was difficult to even see it.

Hazard saw he would have to jump to reach it and even if he did he doubted he would be able to get a grip inside or climb up the long pipe.

'Aw well don't wanna go back to that place anyway' Hazard though dismissively.

Looking down both ends of the tunnel he saw a door and a ladder behind him and a junction in front, considering his options Hazard carefully moved forward wanting to know all the tunnel before leaving it.

Hazard winced as the sharp rocks and cold water were playing havoc on his bare feet, by the time he had got to the junction he was sure he had been cut once or twice and he was finding it difficult to feel his toes.

Hazard hummed in interest as he saw another one of those large metal chests beyond the junction as well as a typewriter, beyond that was a door but there seemed to be a large hole in the floor between him and it.

Moving to the chest he tapped it curiously, perhaps this one had something of use in it too? The others had a good track record.

Opening it he found himself with some more clothes to play with, pulling an item free he found it to be some kind of thick overall the kind builders would use.

He turned it this way and that hissing in annoyance when he found it would be far to small for him, it looked like this one had been made for a midget it seemed.

'Just my luck, the only clothes left were made for dwarfs!' Hazard thought irritably, he was about to throw it away when an idea came to him.

He pawed the overalls finding that they were made of thick leather hide, the material was very strong and resisted Hazards mild attempts to pierce it with his claws.

He closed the chest and sat on it moving to a comfortable position; he examined his feet finding that although he could feel them again and the older cuts were healing it was still painful.

Hazard thought it odd that the small cuts had healed so quickly, his subconscious told him that it should have taken much longer but Hazard dismissed it, 'the quick healing is just another quirk of my existence' Hazard thought amused.

Still although the rocks couldn't do serious harm it was bloody uncomfortable not to mention cold so it would be nice to have some shoes…

Hazard held the overalls up for examination; perhaps he could make some makeshift footwear?

Drawing his knife Hazard got to work.

Hazard waved his feet to and fro proudly viewing his own brand of footwear made for sewer expeditions!

He had cut some large pads out of the overalls to go on his soles finding the thick material adequate protection; of course the trouble was how to keep them on his feet?

He had solved this by cutting some long strips from what was left of the overall and tying three round each foot to hold the pads in place.

And then to ensure that the straps wouldn't come loose he made two more strips and used them to tie up the straps on each foot… it would keep the 'shoes' from falling apart but it would probably take hours to get the things off.

Hazard hopped off the chest and took a few hesitant steps around the area, the going was still uncomfortable but the sharp rocks couldn't penetrate the leather and thus no cuts.

"I am the man!" Hazard thought about this, "the freaky lab creature man but still the man!" He yelled happily.

Pleased with his ingenuity he opened the chest again chucking the scraps of the overall in and doing a last search of the chest.

He frowned as he found another plastic bag similar to the one he already had, it was crushed plant matter but unlike his other one this herb was a bright blue colour.

Deciding to risk it hazard opened the bag and took a sniff. To his surprise the herb was almost completely scentless.

The small amount of smell information he was getting told him the plant wasn't decayed, 'it must be another medical plant' Hazard assumed.

Shrugging he pocketed it and closed the chest, he eyed the typewriter but it had nothing of interest so Hazard moved on.

He came to the large chasm that split the tunnel and looked over the edge nervously. The bottom was out of sight; in the darkness inside it could be a few meters or a few miles.

Hazard looked round wondering whether this was an accident or intentional? Surely a human couldn't jump this?

'To tell the truth I'm not sure I could either' Hazard thought.

'Agreed' His subconscious concurred.

Hazard spotted something interesting, on the left wall next to the chasm was a rusted metal plate with a hole in it. Hazard examined it and found that the 'hole' was square shaped… perhaps it was part of some kind of mechanism?

After a few minutes Hazard gave up with his investigation, it seemed that he wouldn't be able to interact with it without the right equipment.

Hazard doubled back to the chest and continued down to the end of the tunnel his steps stumbling once or twice as he navigated the water-covered floor.

He stared at the ladder and the door next to it considering these avenues, the door probably led deeper into the sewers but the ladder could reach the surface?

Inspired by this thought Hazard eagerly gripped the iron rungs and began to scale the ladder his clawed feet and tail making the upwards trip quite fast.

At the top he found himself in another tunnel that was illuminated by several candles along its length, Hazard picked up one that was propped close to the ladder and pawed it inquisitively.

He noted that half the candles wax had melted away, he wasn't sure how long it took for candles to die out but it couldn't have been here since the outbreak first happened.

He looked into the flickering flame thoughtfully, whoever had put this here had done so not too long ago to light their way.

"But who? The toad things?" Hazard wondered out loud. He thought about this and found it unlikely, those things could probably see well enough in the dark.

'This was put here by someone who needed the light to see… or for comfort perhaps?' Hazard subconscious suggested.

Hazard nodded mulling it over; his eyes sparkled with hope at the thought that perhaps a human had put this here recently? Perhaps they weren't all dead?

'Um is that necessarily a good thing?' Hazards subconscious pointed out.

Hazard frowned, 'Surely they can't all be bad and perhaps if I explain to them I'm not a monster they might hear me out… besides it would be nice to have someone to talk too' Hazard answered.

'I hope we know what we're doing' His subconscious said worriedly.

"Hey trust me I know what I'm doing" Hazard said cockily, and then got another migraine.

Hazard had reached the end of the tunnel, picking up two spare candles that had been left on the floor, and was forced to stop by the fierce waterfall that blocked the entrance.

Hazard squinted into the rushing water but couldn't see past the current, the water was just too thick.

'Surely I can force my way through?' Hazard wondered.

'I'm not sure' His subconscious said.

'I can make it' Hazard thought steeling himself.

Taking a few steps back Hazard braced himself then charged at the waterfall leaping into it.

He was immediately smashed into the floor by the heavy downpour, Hazard scrambled about trying to push forward but the weight was too much, every time he got to his knees the water flattened him again.

The water was blinding his senses and beginning to force itself into his mouth, Hazard started to panic as his air began to run out.

'Go back! Go back!' Hazards subconscious screamed at him.

Finding it impossible to rear up Hazard tried to roll back even as the current tried to hold him in place, his lungs burned and Hazard felt his strength begin to weaken as the water hammered his body.

'No I won't die like this!'

Unleashing a gurgling roar Hazard threw himself back his arms stretched towards the tunnel, to his relief his claws reached out of the waterfall and had found a grip on some dry rocks.

Pulling with all his might Hazard dragged himself clear of the waterfall quickly rolling back onto dry land thankfully.

He threw up on the rocky floor expelling the water from his lungs and then taking several deep breaths, air had never tasted so sweet.

"Let's not try that again" Hazard gasped before having a couching fit.

'Agreed' Hazards subconscious said.

Getting back on his feet Hazard shook his head fiercely throwing some of the water free, he frowned as his hair sagged over his eyes before he pushed it back.

After spending a few moments wringing out his hair and shaking his tail Hazard went back to the ladder throwing a parting glare at the waterfall before he began to descend.

He would escape this place, one way or another.

Hazard had entered the door next to the ladder and had found himself in some kind of 'T' shaped tunnel, albeit a very wobbly 'T'.

Thankfully this room was relatively dry with just a few small puddles of water on the floor so Hazard had an easier time navigating; he reached the junction looking left and right curiously.

He found that the left had another corner but the right came to a very strange end, moving down the tunnel found a large boulder at the end that blocked any further access to the route.

Pawing it curiously he found it wedged tight, judging by the damage to the tunnel walls around it had probably crashed against this path and become stuck.

'Was there an earthquake or something?' Hazard wondered.

Hazard explored round the boulder and stopped when he smelled something unpleasant under the boulder, kneeling down he could still see some dried red stains on the ground and the smell of death.

'This was a trap' Hazard affirmed, he shook his head at the insanity of this place, the scientists didn't just unleash the monsters here but seem to have made this whole land one giant obstacle course!

'Perhaps that's the point' Hazards subconscious pointed out.

Hazard frowned at this, perhaps that was the point, and perhaps this outbreak wasn't an accident?

'But all the scientists became zombies! Surely they wouldn't do this to themselves willingly?' Hazard thought in outrage.

But as he thought this perhaps they weren't willing. Perhaps they were sacrificed for science by whatever people were in charge of this place.

"All for the sake of research!" hazard spat in disgust, shaking his head he stepped away from the boulder rushing to the other end of the tunnel and entering the door straight ahead.

"I don't think ill ever meet a 'good' human at this rate" Hazard sighed sadly.

Hazard had spent a few minutes exploring the next room and decided there was plenty of interest here as he leaned out over the massive hole that filled the middle of the room.

Hazard spat over the edge and listened intently, after a few seconds he couldn't hear anything.

'Must be very deep' Hazard thought.

He straightened himself and looked round the room again; it was shaped like a large square with the hole in the centre and doors at the north and south.

Behind Hazard was a small offshoot of the room with various machinery packed against the wall.

Hazard had already investigated and deduced that it was the control system for something, but it seemed to be missing some of its internal parts and thus wouldn't work.

So what was it for?

Hazard thought he had an idea as he eyed the thick chains and pulley system that suspended from the roof of the room and descended into the darkness of the hole.

'Perhaps there's an elevator down there?' Hazard wondered drumming his claws on the rail that surrounded the hole.

Hazard had judged the distance to the chains and was pretty confident he could jump to them if he had a running start, if there was a dead end below then he should be able to just climb back up to this level.

'Why is it I always end up going into dark holes?' Hazard mused as he limbered up and took a few steps back ready for his daredevil stunt.

Taking a breath and praying to whatever deity was listening that he didn't miss Hazard sprinted towards the abyss.

At the edge he leap soaring across the gap with his claws outstretched towards the chains, his length ways movement began to take a more downwards angle and still the chains seemed miles away.

Thankfully Hazard had judged correctly and although he fell downwards a few nervous meters his angle was true and he grasped the chains as he reached them.

The impact swung him round dangerously and he almost lost his grip but his tail swung round the swaying chains and dragged him back in.

Hazard clung to the chains in a death grip as he slowly felt his heart begin to slow down, he exhaled thankfully vowing to say thanks in the first church he found.

Looking down into the darkness below him Hazard steeled himself and began to climb down into the abyss, hoping that perhaps there would be an exit down there.

'Preferably highlighted in bright neon lighting and with an arrow the size of a car'

Chapter 6.

The meeting.

Hazard had reached the bottom and dropped onto the large elevator at the end of the chains, balancing on its roof beams Hazard surveyed his surroundings critically.

It appeared the cave had now gone deep enough to reach some kind of underground river that flowed below him like rapids. Hazard was amazed at just how huge this cavern was.

The elevator was resting on some kind of metal platform that rose above the waters below it; one end seemed to lead to a ladder that disappeared down towards the river. A doorway next to the elevator lead deeper into the caves.

Hazard whistled in awe as he watched the roaring water flow beneath him, he smiled when his whistle echoed round the chamber and he wasted a minutes shouting gleefully and listening to the echo.

'Ok enough fun' Hazard reined himself in.

Jumping down into the elevator he examined its controls seeing that the elevator wasn't operational; he hadn't expected it to be really.

Hazard glanced at the door just outside the elevator but decided to see where that ladder went first.

"Besides I need a drink" Hazard said licking his parched lips.

Moving across the short bridge that lead to the ladder, (tip toeing due to the ominous creaking the wooden boards made) he came to the ladder and to his surprise found another one of those metal chests tucked against the cavern wall half hidden by the shadows.

Rubbing his hands gleefully Hazard decided to try his luck again and opened the chest, having to strain a bit due to the thick rust covering the lid.

Hazard gave a very girlish shriek, (immediately blushing and coughing more manly) as he saw an item of incredible potential within the chest.

Reaching in he pulled free a small hand crossbow, its metal perfectly preserved and its mechanism undamaged. Hazard gently rang his claws over the weapon feeling the tightness in its wire as it already held a wickedly pointed arrow within it.

Hazard grinned as he waved the crossbow about feeling its weight and sighting along it, the arrow was perfectly angled and Hazard didn't doubt that this weapon could easily force its charge through even steel.

Carefully fitting it on his belt Hazard gave it a gentle pat before exploring the rest of the chest, he found some smashed glassware and apparatus and even some cracked glasses. Hazard tried them on before throwing them away.

He gave another shout of joy when he found some more crossbow bolts within the chest, a mere five unfortunately but any ammo was well received and Hazard tucked the bolts within one of his belts pouches.

Finding nothing else of interest Hazard closed the chest and made his way over to the ladder peering over the edge nervously.

He was thankful to see that the ladder didn't descend too far and it seemed there was another platform below that was much closer to the river itself.

"Wish there was a drinks machine nearby" Hazard muttered, wondering at the lengths a bioweapon had to go to get a drink round here.

Shrugging he swung himself over the edge and descended the ladder cursing to himself about how poorly these ladders where built.

At the bottom Hazard eyed his surroundings, this platform was much more barren then the last, although there was a disused industrial crusher at the far end but Hazard lost interest after pressing the up and down buttons several times.

Kneeling beside the platform edge Hazard cupped his hands in the flowing water below the edge; he brought them to his lips and drunk deeply of the cold water gasping at its sweet taste.

'Oh my god it's so good, spring water perhaps?' Hazard mused as he quenched his thirst.

After spending a minute drinking as much water as he could stand, and feeling very bloated, Hazard made his way back to the ladder remembering to come back here if he should find it difficult to find water.

'And bring some containers back too' Hazards subconscious reminded.

'Good point that' Hazard conceded as he quickly scaled the ladder, he moved across the bridge carefully still wary of the creaking then jogged over to the only way left to go.

Hazard eyed the door before carefully reaching for its handle; he winced when the door gave a loud creak, as Hazard had to force it open.

Looking inside he saw that there was yet another subterranean tunnel before him though this one was much dryer and more illuminated.

Stepping in Hazard stalked cautiously up the tunnel pausing when he came to a T-junction, looking both ways he couldn't see anything distinguishing about them.

'Time to use the tried and tested method' Hazard thought before 'ip-dip-dooing' again, the method told him to go right.

Hazard found that the tunnel continued in curved pattern as he went right, he found a lever in the wall along the route and pulled it curiously. His ears pricked as he heard something click in the tunnel and he hurried deeper into the passage.

He soon found that the tunnel was actually a long circular passageway with two doors both firmly locked, Hazard found that the lever extended two prongs from the wall next to the locked door momentarily, possibly to allow something to rest on them.

Hazard looked around but couldn't find anything that could be used with the mechanism; he sniffed in annoyance as he found himself at yet another dead end.

Calming himself down Hazard moved between the doors examining them closely, the one that was deeper in the tunnel was solidly built and probably bolted, as Hazard couldn't force it open despite several attempts.

Stalking irritably over to the other door Hazard gave it a few experimental shoves to see if he could force it open, not to his surprise he found it also to be securely bolted and probably the mechanism was the only way to open it.

Screaming in frustration Hazard gave the door a swift kick to relieve his anger, one not being enough so he began to furiously pummel the steel door.

Though the metal construct of the door was resisting Hazards attack the constant banging was shaking loose the plane of plastic that covered the doors window.

Hazard yelped as something crashed onto his head he hopping back and rubbed his skull looking around defensively for what had struck him. To his surprise he saw that the doors window had fallen free.

Carefully scooping it up Hazard saw that what he had originally believed to be glass was just flimsy plastic, looking between the sheet and the empty hole in the door Hazard summarised that the plastic was loose to begin with.

'But why?' he wondered.

Peeking through the gap he could see a small set of stairs leading round a corner into another room, he could just make out a yellow glow emanating from around the corner.

He also could see that a mirror had been placed opposite the door allowing Hazard to see himself and the other side of the door, to his delight he saw that the door was held by a simple unlocked bolt that should be easy to move.

Reaching his arm in Hazard strained to reach the bolt, standing on tiptoe and with his arm and claws fully stretched he grimaced with effort as he tried to grasp the bolt but found his arm just wasn't long enough.

After another try Hazard pulled back his arm head butting the door in aggravation ('ow'), he glared into the mirror wondering at this set-up.

It was obvious this arrangement was made so that only the owner of the door could open it but how?

'Maybe they have longer arms then us' Hazards subconscious suggested.

Hazard frowned as he considered this; of course a longer reach would be useful but how could he copy that?

Hazard raised his arms examining the limbs and his clawed hands in deep thought… the T-virus was meant to be able to mutate its host to suit their environment and needs, perhaps mine can too?

He stretched out his arms concentrating hard, "Stretch!" He commanded forcefully.

Nothing happened.

Hazard frowned and shook his arms, limbering up; ok perhaps it needed more concentration.

Stretching his arms and spreading his claws Hazard focused until his eyes watered, mentally willing the virus to lengthen his limps.

After a few minutes Hazard was feeling like a right idiot and his arms were beginning to grow sore with his constant stretching.

He exhaled painfully and let his arms and shoulders slump as he considered that perhaps he didn't have that much control over his virus.

'I could have told you that idiot' Hazards subconscious laughed.

"Shut up"

Hazard glared at the metal door in mounting anger, he was an intelligent sentient being and he was not going to be stumped by an inanimate door!

'Think Hazard think! I need extra reach but how can I get it?'

He paced about thinking about what to do when his tail, which had been gently swishing behind him, caught on some loose rocks on the floor.

Hazard winced at the sudden pain and pulled his tail free grumbling to himself as he soothed his hurt appendage, he idly thought to be more careful how he moves considering how long his tail is when the idea hit him.

His eyes sparkled and he almost laughed at the idea but hey it was worth a try.

Backing against the door butt first Hazard looked over his shoulder as he guided his tail into the empty window pane of the door, his face screwed up in concentration as he felt around with his fifth limp until he gave a yell of glee when he touched the bolt.

It was difficult to move the bolt as Hazards tail was too thick to wrap round the bolt but after a few moments straining Hazard managed to force it to one side, there was a click and the door swung open.


Hazard rubbed his tail trying to relieve the soreness he felt, the doors sudden opening had given him a painful slap against his behind.

Grumbling with feeling Hazard edged carefully into the room. Closing and bolting the door behind him, and stepped quietly down the small flight of stairs Hazard gasped in awe as he rounded the small corner and beheld the room he was in.

The soft yellow light was being created by dozens of candles, piled high in the centre of the room and on tables and old chairs round the edges they bathed the area in warm light.

What were more fascinating were the dolls. Hazard stepped into the room squinting in the bright light but quickly adapting, he picked up a doll from the nearest table gently holding it up for inspection.

The doll looked like a baby, with porcelain skin and bright ruby cheeks it looked quite cute especially its light blue eyes, Hazard smiled at the pleasant smile on the dolls face and gently ran a claw down its cheek.

He put the doll back carefully and picked up another, this one was a child too but its painted features had been chipped and tiny cracks ran down its cheeks giving it a sad appearance, Hazard noticed that's its dress was yellowed with age and had several rips in it.

Putting it back Hazard wondered about this room and the dolls, did this mean that a child lived here in these dark caves?

'Or still does live here' Hazards subconscious suggested.

Hazard investigated further finding that the furniture here was mainly old tables and cupboards filled with dolls and other nick knack's, in the centre of the room was a large collection of cushions and pillows and judging by their crumbled state they had been used recently.

Hazard carefully sat down among the cushions his body gently sinking into the warm fabric; he felt warmed by the candles dotted around him and couldn't help but contemplate this position.

He spied another doll lying amongst the pillows and gently picked it up finding that this was made of stitched fabric and looked to have been handled a lot.

He looked into its smiling features and couldn't help but hold it close to him giving into the tranquillity of this place. He suddenly had an acute understanding of this place and could almost see a young girl alone in this room cuddling her dolls tightly for comfort.

Hazard eyed the candles around him seeing them for what they were, the vast number was a clear indicator that the owner of this place had been afraid of the darkness of the caves and wanted some light somewhere.

'Well they say that light keeps the monsters at bay as well as the darkness' Hazard thought.

'Is anyone still here though?' Hazards subconscious wondered.

Hazard sniffed wiping away some moisture from his eyes and stood up gently depositing the doll back on the pillows.

Sweeping his eyes round the room Hazard saw another small passageway half hidden by some thick drapes hanging over the entrance.

Throwing them to one side Hazard saw another small passageway leading round a corner that was half submerged in water. Hazard waded in, the water rising to his waist and making him shiver at the cold as he moved through the tunnel seeing another brightly lit room in the distance.

Hazard paused at the threshold staring into the next room curiously, this room was brightly lit by many candles but Hazards attention was drawn by the crumbled bed and personal items dotting the place.

Stepping in cautiously Hazard saw some towels had been strategically placed at the entrance and so he used them to give himself a quick drying.

Eyeing the room inquisitively Hazard stalked over to the bed examining the obviously well used bed carefully, the material was still warm and Hazard felt a surge of hope, 'perhaps a human still does live down here?'

Hazard looked around and frowned when he spotted something of interest on a dresser next to the bed; padding over he picked up a tattered piece of paper finding it to be a photo.

He examined it curiously, the photo showed a young girl perhaps six or seven? She was smiling happily and Hazard wondered who she was.

He put the photo down and picked up another, this one showed the girl again, still happy, but now she had a well dressed man and a beautiful woman at her sides both holding her hands and smiling.

'Perhaps her parents?'

Whoever they were they all seemed happy and Hazard wondered at the significance of this, the photos all were yellowed with age and very tattered so obviously they had been taken a long time ago.

There was no date on them so Hazard couldn't be sure when they were taken, he concluded though that these photos must be important to have been placed in this 'home' so perhaps one of that family lived here?

Looking around again Hazard found mostly junk, memento's probably, but there was an ornate jewellery box placed to one side, obviously purposefully judging by the candles placed round it.

Carefully opening it Hazard found another picture of the family and some paperwork. Examining it he found it to be another 'lab' memo and began reading a feeling of foreboding growing within him.

His eyes scanned the words and he felt nauseous as he read about the fate of the family in the photos, the father 'Trevor' had been 'terminated' (Hazard snarled at the cold terminology) and buried without ceremony. The mother 'Jessica' had been experimented on with the virus and had apparently died, Hazard hoped she had died painlessly and not been torn apart by her body's mutations like the children in the lab, Hazard shivered at the memory.

Hazard read more and found that the girl had been named 'Lisa' apparently she had melded successfully with the virus and had been deemed worthy of further research.

Hazard growled as the memo cut short, "What happened to the girl?" He hissed furiously at the silent pages. Judging by the fact no mention was made of her death perhaps she had never died? Hazard thought about this as he looked around himself and suddenly it all clicked.

The warm bed, the dolls, the many candles and collected photos.

Lisa still lived here!

He almost yelled with delight at the thought that he might have someone to talk to after all, he put the file back and then stood in the centre of the 'bedroom' unsure what to do now.

Should he wait for her to come back home? Hazard wondered at how the little girl might react to suddenly seeing a creature like him in her home. Hazard grinned sheepishly as he examined his claws and purple skin… 'Probably be scared out of her wits' Hazard thought.

Ok perhaps he should keep exploring? Finding her in more neutral territory might make her less uneasy.

So decided Hazard walked deeper into the room finding a ladder leading up into the ceiling, perhaps to the surface?

Scaling it Hazard found himself in another small tunnel that split left and right, left went to another ladder while right appeared to lead to a small storage room.

Hazard went right exploring the storage room, he found a lot of the medical herbs here as well as barrels of water. He considered taking a few herbs but decided against it, wouldn't make a good first impression with 'Lisa'.

He stalked over to the next ladder looking up the rungs critically, it was very dark but Hazard could just make out small spears of light piercing through something up there.

Hazard shrugged, doubtless he would find out, and began to climb.

Hazard had reached the top of the ladder finding a trapdoor, that led into some kind of cabin, covered it.

Now he moved cautiously deeper into the small building listening for more movement and sniffing curiously, there was a strange scent in the air… not rotted or diseased but somewhat sweet like?

'Of course, Hazard decided, whatever the scent was it was being overpowered by the decay of this place'

Hazard shivered as the wind crept in from the multiple cracks in the cabins structure, damn it was cold here.

Hazards ears pricked as he heard a snapping, crackling sound and he stalked into the next room passing a typewriter and disused bed and approaching the 'living' room, he supposed.

Hazard stared in awe at the fire that burned in an old chimney, Hazard stepped closer hypnotised by the swirling flames and bright colours.

'And the warmth…' Hazard sighed happily as he stretched his hands towards the fire enjoying the soothing heat that warmed him.

Well the fire was clearly proof that someone lived here, Hazard spent a few moments warming himself before exploring the cabin some more. He found a collection of rags and bandages piled in one corner next to the small staircase which connected the two rooms of the cabin, he pawed through them curiously then recoiling in shock as he found that many of them had blood on them.

Gingerly Hazard picked a bandage up frowning at the dirt and blood that, although old, still stained it.

'What is the significance of this?' Hazard wondered. Were these Lisa's? If so did that mean she was injured often?

Hazard shuddered at the thought of the young girl having to survive here with the monsters that lived here, he was amazed to have lasted this long himself but by the looks of it this girl had been alone for years!

'Well she wont be alone any more' Hazard promised.

Hazard continued to explore entering the other room examining the typewriter and finding nothing there. Then going over to the bed he found it was cold and didn't seem to have been used at all.

Struck by an idea Hazard kneeled down and moved the covers under the bed, rummaging underneath with an outstretched claw.

"Aha!" He grinned as his questing claws found a tattered book and pulled it free, holding it up Hazard inspected it finding it to be some kind of diary.

Taking a seat next to the fire and curling his tail round himself for warmth Hazard began to read.

Lisa sighed thankfully as her cabin came into view; she had spent hours it seemed searching the forest for useable wood among the undergrowth.

She shivered at the biting cold and couldn't fight off the feeling of tiredness that smothered her body, she wondered just how late it was as it had been well into night when she had first went hunting many hours ago.

Wearily she forced her exhausted body to walk unsteadily up the bath to her cabin cradling the collected wood as best she could in her arms. Her tentacles hovered above her protectively but even they were beginning to droop sleepily.

'I can't wait to curl up in bed and sleep for a whole day' Lisa thought wantonly, she smiled and her eyes slide shut as she fantasised about a whole day relaxing at home not worrying about hunting for hours on end just for a few measly scraps.

Normally she wouldn't do such a thing, even taking one day off was too much of a risk but with the filling meal of that deer and with some meat still left she didn't have to worry about food tomorrow.

She shuddered as the wind howled and tore at her shivering form; she wrapped her tentacles round herself for warmth as her ragged clothes did little to protect her from the elements.

She quickened her pace her legs moving as fast as her chains would allow as she hurried to her cabin, she reached the front door and let loose a tired sigh.

"Need sleep" Lisa muttered then yawned as she began unlocking her front door.

Hazard was poking curiously at the torn body of a deer he found half hidden in a small alcove under the stairs.

The smell had begun to filter into his nostrils while he had been thumping through Lisa's diary and he had crawled over to investigate.

Now despite the horrible image that the mutilated animal presented Hazard was fighting the urge to rip some meat off its flank and guzzle it with gusto!

'Plants ain't got nothing on meat!' Hazard groaned inwardly as he considered his own herbal supplies and the feast laid out before him.

'Of course this is most likely Lisa's dinner' Hazards subconscious reminded him.

Hazard nodded and wiped away the drool from his chin as he turned away from the deer, wouldn't do to upset the host.

Hazards eyes returned to the diary he had left next to the fire. He had barely started reading when the smell had attracted him so he was still curious about what the book contained.

So Hazard took his seat again by the fire and picked up the book again, so focused on this was he that he almost jumped out of his skin when a loud crash thundered in his ears.

Jumping to his feet and looking towards the source Hazard stared in shock at the… 'Thing' that had just entered the room. It stood equally shocked, standing just a few paces from him and staring at him in confusion.

Hazards eyes darted to the floor seeing that the bang had been a large collection of branches that the creature had dropped, his gaze went back to the creature and he stepped back in disgust at what he saw.

The creature was humanoid shaped and a head shorter then Hazard but due to the fact it was slightly stooped it was probably as tall as he was. Hazard frowned when he saw that a large metal block that held its arms in check weighted it down and that thick chains also hampered its legs.

Hazard grimaced as his eyes returned to its face or perhaps its 'faces'. Its head was wrapped in a veil made of skinned faces that had been crudely stitched together, their slackened mouths and empty eyes made Hazard shiver in revulsion. Though if he looked closer hidden within the 'veil' Hazard could just make out two amber eyes glaring at him with deep suspicion.

So numbed by the horrible sight before him that Hazards claws had gone slack loosening their grip on the diary and dropping it to the floor, Hazard jumped at the dull thump of the book hitting the floor and the creatures eyes shot to the diary.

The creatures amber eyes widened in shock as it saw the diary then stabbed back at Hazard practically glowing with menace. The creature hissed as its body vibrated in anger and Hazard took a step back nervously.

'Oh boy' Hazard thought uneasily as the creature took a step forward its posture clearly hostile and its eyes hate filled.

As it stepped into the room the light of the fire illuminated it more clearly and Hazard quailed in horror as he saw what he had thought to be just flickering shadows in the air above the creature.

Six long tentacles of muscle and sinew grew from the creatures back, they snapped through the air and hovered menacingly above Hazard as if ready to spit him at any moment.

'Probably are' Hazard thought, sudden images of those tentacles piercing his flesh and tearing his body apart flashed through his mind and Hazard prayed he hadn't just had a premonition.

From the looks of things the creature was working itself into a frenzy as its tentacles slashed through the air and its snarling grew angrier.

Hazards took a quick peek behind him seeing he was being backed into a corner, 'this would be very bad' he decided.

Before he was trapped Hazard made a lunge for the steps leading to the next room, the creature screamed and one of its tentacles stabbed into the steps stopping him.

Before he could try to dodge past it another tentacle swiped the air and Hazard was forced back, his eyes looked round wildly as he tried to see a way out but the creature had successfully backed him against the wall.

Its tentacles rose into the air above him and Hazard knew he had seconds to act before they tore him apart, throwing caution to the wind Hazard dived forward.

The creature shrieked as it stabbed down but Hazard had moved too close and they smashed into the floor behind him. Not stopping Hazard speared into the creature throwing them both to the floor in a tangled head of rags, chains, and tentacles.

Hazard snarled as he wrestled with the creature, despite its thin and light body it possessed incredible strength and ferocity and he was hard pressed to contain it.

He yelled in pain as a tentacle slashed across his back and another thumped his rips while he and the creature continued to grapple.

'Right that's it!'

Roaring Hazard grasped its rags lifting its upper body up and then slamming the creature into the hard floor, the creature's head was banged painfully and it lay dazed for a moment.

Not letting up Hazard swiftly straddled the creature holding it in place by its neck and unsheathing his knife with his spare claw, he raised the sharp blade and was about to pierce his attackers heart when his eyes met its own.

Hazard froze as he looked deep into those wide amber orbs, he had intended to meet its gaze and let it know who was superior as he killed it, as punishment for its foolish attack but he had not expected the emotion he could see in those eyes.


His attack faltered and Hazard hesitated as he contemplated those fearful amber eyes, he had not been expecting that.

With strength born of terror the creature screamed and bucked violently throwing Hazard off itself, Hazard yelled as he was thrown forward to sprawl across the floor.

Quickly righting himself Hazard sprang to his feet defensively, he saw that the creature too had got back on its feet and was eyeing him nervously.

Hazard sneaked a peek behind him and saw that the coast was clear he had a straight run to the cabins exit.

He looked back at the creature and shrugged, "We'll have to finish this some other time" He said lightly before turning tail and running, so quick on his escape Hazard missed the creatures shocked eyes and surprised gasp.

Hazard charged through the cabin door throwing it open and racing outside, he skidded to a halt as he found himself in some kind of forest.

Hazards eyes looked around in wonder as he saw for the first time the trees and life on the surface, he shook his head and glanced over his shoulder. He didn't have time for sightseeing! Not with that 'thing' behind him.

Thus Hazard darted into the forest picking a worn muddy path and hurrying along it.

As Hazard ran down the twisting path, his feet making heavy splashes and squelches in the mud, he couldn't help but feel uneasy surrounded by the tall trees.

Hazard shivered, and not just from the cold, earlier wonder now gone Hazard found this forest to be rather spooky. Mist clung to the ground and swirled lazily around the trees, the trees themselves created images of nightmare attackers to Hazards eyes, the darkness and their twisted branches making Hazards imagination work overtime.

'That and the silence' Hazard looked around fearfully as his own footfalls seemed to echo around the forest, his first fast escape down the path had slowed to a defensive walk as Hazard wondered if the outside was any better then the inside?

Hazard paused in his walk as he spied a statue half hidden in the dark and trees, stalking over he saw it was in the image of a man dressed in some kind of robe.

Hazard eyed it thoughtfully, despite the thick foliage around it the statue remained untouched… perhaps purposely by someone?

Hazard reached out and carefully touched it with a claw, the carved rock was smooth in some places but time and the elements had worn down most of it and discoloured the statue greatly.

'Doubtless this guy was quite a looker once' Hazard mused smiling at the thought, patting the statue Hazard moved on.

Lisa was in turmoil.

She had been pacing back and forth in front of her fire for the last few minutes thinking furiously about what had happened.

'He talked…' was the thought that filled Lisa's mind, after so long she was pleasantly surprised to find that she could still comprehend another's words.

That… monster?


Experiment like herself?

He had talked and now that she examined the situation he had done many more human things.

He wore clothes, admittedly so did the zombies but they did so out of ignorance, they couldn't 'think' to wear or not wear them.

He had carried a weapon, Lisa shuddered as she remembered that moment when he had been ready to stab her but then… he had hesitated?


Why hadn't he struck?

'Perhaps because he showed mercy?' Lisa wondered. She would have struck; it was the logical thing to do to an attacker.

She sniffed angrily, what use was mercy in this world? He was only weakening himself.

'So why didn't you attack him when he ran?'

Lisa frowned at the self question, 'because… because I didn't want to risk another battle!'

'Liar, you were just as intrigued by him as he was by you'

'What are you talking about' Lisa asked herself, swiping at the air irritably.

'Go after him, investigate this new player'

Lisa continued to pace as she thought this over, why shouldn't she go after him? She was curious…

Lisa remembered his face, a part of her shivering at the memory, it had been so long she had almost forgotten how emotive a face could be. The expressions of wonder, fear, anger and confusion had all been present and Lisa stopped her pacing as she considered them.

'Perhaps… I could…'

Lisa snarled and reared to her full height her tentacles slashing the air angrily; this line of thinking was pointless! As the battle had proved he was her equal if not her superior in strength and he was just as well armed as she. He was a threat to her!

Lisa snatched up her diary, that 'person' had been reading her diary! That alone was enough reason for punishment.

Throwing the diary back under the bed Lisa hurried out of the cabin finding the creatures scent and following it carefully.

He was a threat to her… and so the only way to sort that was to eliminate him.

Even as Lisa considered how to do this a part of her twisted painfully at the thought of what she was going to do.

Hazard had decided the fear factor of this forest had just gone up several notches.

Resting against a moss covered headstone Hazard eyed his surroundings worriedly, the rows of graves spread out in this graveyard, with the mist swirling around them, was a scene straight out of a horror film.

'Hopefully I'm the hero and not just another meal' Hazard thought.

Tapping his claws on the headstone Hazard considered his options; the path behind him led to that cabin and whatever that 'creature' was.

The path in front beyond the yard's gates seemed to lead to a building though even Hazard couldn't see much in the dark.

'Haven't got many choices have we' Hazard mused.

'Nope but hey what else is new?' Hazards subconscious said lightly.

Hazard smirked and nodded his head in agreement when the sound of a gate's protesting opening caught his attention.

Hazard swore when he saw the gate in front had opened and two of those 'toad' creatures had stepped in, they seemed surprised to see him too but judging by the way they licked their lips and brandished their claws it was a welcome one.

'Options?' Hazard asked as he drew his knife and crouched defensively, the two monsters splitting up and stalking him from both sides.

'Run?' His subconscious offered.

A 'toad' chirped and was answered by the other as they both rushed him claws outstretched.

"Run!" Hazard agreed and sprinted for the exit, the scaled creatures behind him shrieking and chasing after him.

Lisa had reached her stone 'friend' and the entrance to the graveyard when she heard the hunters high pitched warcrys, she looked down the path in astonishment as the gate was wrenched open and the purple creature darted through pursed by two hunters.

She stepped into their path rising to her full height, tentacles bared and shrieking for all she was worth.

She was smugly pleased when all three stopped dead.

'Oh crap!' Hazard glanced between the ragged creature blocking his escape and the two scalys behind him, to his surprise they too seemed nervous.

The ragged creature stepped forward hissing threateningly and both Hazard and the toads stepped back fearfully, judging by the frenzied chirping behind him the 'toads' seemed to be having an argument.

Suddenly one of the green creatures lunged for Hazard, he jumped to one side narrowly avoiding its attack, rolling with the fall and rising to a half crouch Hazard saw that the tentacle creature hadn't liked that.

Swifter then it could act the toad was lashed by one of the creature's tentacles, it shrieked and tried to retreat but a tentacle snaked round its leg and tripped it up. Unleashing an enraged scream the ragged creature lifted the scaled thing over its head and smashed it into the ground.

Stunned the 'toad' was helpless as more tentacles encircled it and continued to lift and then pound it into the ground, Hazard winced as he heard bones break.

The frenzied strength of the creature was awe inspiring as it continued to slam the 'toad' into the ground until it lay still clearly dead.

With a contemptuous flick of its tentacles the creature threw the lifeless thing to one side. Then turned to the remaining 'toad' and glared at it, daring it to attack.

The last scaled creature eyed its dead companion before turning tail and running for all it was worth, Hazard grinned as it tripped yet continued to crawl away from them.

He finally laughed as it hauled open the gate to the graveyard and scurried past the headstones, the blind panic in its movement's comedy to Hazard.

Smiling pleasantly Hazard turned to face the tentacle creature to thank it, maybe it wasn't an enemy after all?

"Hey-" Hazard started but before he could finish a tentacle slapped him across the face, Hazards head spun with the blow and he fell to the ground dazed.

Shaking his head to clear his vision he stared at the ragged creature before him in astonishment. He tried to understand this betrayal. It had just helped him hadn't it?

The creature hissed angrily, raised its tentacles high above Hazard readying themselves to stab down, and pierce his flesh.

Hazards eyes locked with the creature and he tried to understand the reasoning behind its impending attack in those amber orbs, all he could see though was madness.

But even as he lay paralysed by fear the tentacles quivered and the creature hesitated in its attack, Hazard frowned as he saw a conflict warring in its eyes as if it was unsure whether to attack or not.

Still Hazard didn't want to risk the outcome and quickly scrambled away from the creature rising to his feet at the edge of the forest.

The creature was still just watching him with a look of confusion and surprise in its eyes; as if surprised it had just let him live?

'Only one option left' Hazard thought, throwing one last look at the creature he dashed into the forest ducking through the foliage and disappearing among the trees.

Behind him the creature stared silently in Hazards direction contemplating the dark forest he had run into. With a shrug it shuffled after him.

Hazard ran like he had never run before, he ran to escape that creature. He ran to escape those zombies, those 'toads'. He ran in the hope of just escaping this place!

'What have I done to deserve this?'

Hazards mind was in a maelstrom of rage, sadness, and hopelessness. Everywhere he went he found horror and insanity of nature and human madness. Everywhere was danger and with no end in sight Hazard felt the best option at this moment was to run.

He tore through the dense greenery of the forest his eyes looking round wildly as the darkness and trees seemed to create nightmarish creatures at every turn.

Hazards running had rapidly turned into blind panic and he could not stop himself from racing around blindly in his fear. His hearts chaotic pounding seemed like it was trying to fight its way out of his chest, his lungs burned due to his ragged, hyperventilating, breathing and yet he could not summon the will to break this panic.

He must have ran a mile it seemed as he stumbled through the forest when he thought he heard a faint rustling of chains behind him. Still running he glanced over his shoulder for a few seconds but couldn't see nothing.

He almost believed he had imagined it so he looked back in the direction he was running and saw a second too late the tree that was squatting in his path.

"Oh cr-"

Hazard opened his eyes warily idly admiring the bright stars that shone high above him, he blinked and considered this and then realised that for some reason he was lying flat on his back with his limps sprawled in all directions.

He made to sit up and immediately groaned and fell back as his head suddenly radiated pain across his temples, he wondered whether this is what a hangover felt like.

'Nope just a concussion' His subconscious said brightly.

'No need to sound so pleased' Hazard thought as he raised a claw to his forehead gingerly touching the hurt area, thankfully he couldn't feel any blood but the beginnings of a very painful bruise was growing on his temple.

Hazard lay still gently rubbing his head as he tried to recollect what just happened, he fought that ragged creature, he ran into the forest, then it all got sorta hazy and then…

Hazard frowned as he remembered then glared in annoyance at the tree that towered above him, in his stunned state and with the wind whistling through the leaves he could almost hear the tree sniggering.

"Laugh it up tree, I'm the one who's gonna make a table and matching chairs out of you" Hazard grumbled. He, carefully this time, rose to a sitting position moaning painfully but finding it tolerable.

Cradling his head in his claws and looking around blearily Hazard wondered what to do now, the impact with the tree had knocked some sense in him so his panic was over… though he wished for a less painful method of calming him down.

Resting his claws on his knees and curling his tail round himself Hazard surveyed the woods around him critically, though he couldn't see anything hostile instinct told him that this forest was just as dangerous as everywhere else.

Hazard felt his eyelids becoming strangely heavy and had to fight to keep them open, he rubbed at them with his knuckles and yawned widely exposing his long fangs.

Hazard blinked rapidly clearing the gunk from his eyes and examined this strange feeling, looking at the night sky he realised he must be getting tired.

'Well everything has to sleep right?' He mused.

Standing up Hazard yawned again and gave his limps a stretch before considering this problem; he couldn't exactly sleep out on the forest floor.

Who knows what things live out here and besides it wouldn't be very comfortable. Hazard tapped his claws against his leg and gnawing his lip in frustration as he looked around; perhaps he could investigate that building beyond the graveyard?

'Yeah just one problem where the hell is it?' Hazards subconscious asked snidely.

Hazard grimaced as he stared at the trees that surrounded him, in the darkness and thick undergrowth he doubted he could find the path again.

Hazard snarled and kicked the tree in frustration, bloody hell nothing went right for him here!

Hazards ears twitched as he heard something snap after hitting the tree and he cocked his head quizzically, thus his skull made an easy target for the short board of wood that dropped from the heavens.

"Ow!" Hazard yelped and danced back rubbing his head painfully; he glared around him suspiciously until he spotted the rotted plank that had struck him.

He picked it up carefully, sniffing and examining it. He saw that it was manmade though heavily rotted and Hazard tilted his head up peering into the branches of the tree above him.

His eyes widened and he gave a short surprised chuckle as he saw an old treehouse, of all things, resting in the shadows above him.

Obviously kicking the tree had loosened a piece of it that had been rotted away by time and the elements; he grinned happily and patted the tree thankfully.

"Ill let you off for this" He tittered in amusement.

Rubbing his hands together to warm them up he braced himself then leap onto the tree grasping its trunk and quickly scaling the aged bark.

Hazard found his claws as effective as any climbing equipment easily finding grips among the tree and climbing as quickly as a monkey.

'Albeit a purple furless one with big claws and no musical talent' He thought humourly as he reached the treehouse.

Resting amongst the thick branches that the shack was lashed to he carefully manoeuvred around the 'house' looking for a way in; the treehouse was solidly built in that it was, relatively, in one piece. Hazard grinned as he spied a doorway almost invisible in the darkness and he stepped inside.

Hazard found the roof to be very low making him believe that the treehouse was made for kids originally, he had to stoop when standing but it wasn't too bad. Peering into the darkness Hazards eyes quickly adjusted to the shadowed interior and found to his delight that there was already some tattered blankets thrown to one corner.

He picked them up carefully and held them at arm length distastefully as mouldy leaves fell from the blankets, sorting through them he found one that was in ok condition.

'Only a slight smell and coloration… just hope they were brown to begin with!' Hazard thought eyeing the dirty blanket apprehensively.

The wind suddenly howled through the trees and Hazard winced and clutched himself as the cold easily flowed into the shack to attack his trembling form.

'Guess ill have to make do' Hazard thought glumly as his eyes threatened to close again, he fought back a yawn and pacing about to find the driest spot.

He sat down against one of the treehouses walls and wrapped the old blanket around himself, shivering as the cold material covered him Hazard snuggled in deep resting his head on his knees as he warmed himself.

Through the open doorway Hazard looked out over the black shrouded forest and the stars that glowed high in the sky, the young tyrant smiled slightly as he admired their gentle glow and felt slightly relieved that something here was still beautiful.

'Well that's my first day of existence over, suppose I should be happy just to have lived through it'

He sighed sleepily idly wondering what to do next or where he should go when he awoke.

'Maybe it'll look nicer in tomorrows light, Hazard thought hopefully, better yet ill wake up in a nice warm bed and this will all have been a horrible dream'

He yawned again and felt his body beginning to settle into sleep, his muscles began to relax and he found conscious thought increasingly difficult. As his eyes began to slide shut the brief thought that something might kill him in his sleep rose in his foggy mind but he was too tired to give it much thought.

At the moment he couldn't really summon the energy to care… perhaps it would be nice to sleep forever and never have to see monsters again.

'It'll all be better tomorrow… it'll all be better…' Was Hazards last thoughts before sleep took him.

In the darkness of Raccoon forest Hazard slept peacefully as the nightmare world continued, killers prowled the land and many things screamed in agony but one creature at least had found peace of a temporary sort.

Hazard slept on and in his dreams, at least, the monsters did not trouble him.

Unknown to Hazard two amber eyes knew of his resting-place, standing under the tree and staring up into the dark canopy these eyes had no trouble piercing the shadows.

Lisa had watched as the strange purple creature had climbed the tree and after waiting silently she heard his gentle breathing slow and knew his guard was down.

With silence honed by years of stalking her prey Lisa carefully scaled the tree her tentacles climbing the tall oak like a great spider.

Her chains barely made a sound, when necessary Lisa could be quite stealthy when she felt the need.

Crouching in the doorway to Hazards lair Lisa's eyes watched the sleeping tyrant carefully watching for any alerts but after a few tense moments Hazard did not stir and her presence went unnoticed.

Creeping into the old treehouse Lisa kneeled by the slumbering creature examining him closely for the first time.

Lisa analysed his strong muscles, sharp claws and whip-like tail with cold calculation admiring what a dangerous being he was; there was a savage beauty to the creature before her.

But reminded of his strength and the two times he had evaded her Lisa knew he was a serious threat to her, her lips pulled back into a snarl as she remembered the creature holding her down and raising his knife above her.

She had felt real fear at that moment, the incident too much like her past tortures for her to ignore. She swore she would never be in such a position again and this 'thing' had dared subject her to that again.

"Never again" She whispered to her ignorant prey as she rose to her feet, her tentacles rising above the sleeping creature ready to strike, to kill and end this threat.

Her eyes hardened as she prepared to do this final act, she had hesitated before but never again!

As she was about to strike the creature shifted, moving his head to one side and resting against the wall, exposing his soft features to the pale glow of the moon.

Lisa felt her throat constrict as she looked upon this creatures surprisingly human features, she hadn't noticed before but he was quite… beautiful.

Lisa shook her head frowning in confusion, what did she care? He was a threat and had to be eliminated!

Again she prepared to strike and then the creature gave a soft murmur, his eyelids fluttered and he smiled slightly as if he was imagining sunshine and flowers. Happy places far from this horrible world.

Lisa was transfixed by its gentle smile and blissful features… he looked so peaceful.

Lisa knew what she should do, this creature had the power to kill her and she had survived by destroying threats before they killed her, so she should kill him too.

So why was she hesitating?

Lisa almost sobbed as this indecision tore at her mind; she should kill him yet… yet she couldn't bring herself to do it.

Her gaze flickered to the tentacles hanging ominously above the sleeping creature and for some reason she felt… shame?

Yes shame, shame that this creature was so peaceful and happy in his dreams and here she was ready to end those dreams and that smile forever.

Her shoulders slumped in defeat and she snorted in disgust at her own weakness, she eyed the sleeping creature wondering if he will ever know how close to death he came this night.

Kneeling down again she brought her veiled lips close to his ear, "You can live… for one more night at least" She whispered. The creature frowned momentarily as if he heard the threat but his features quickly became blissful again.

Rising to her feet and shuffling quietly to the exit she glanced at the sleeping creature wondering why he interested her so much?

'Perhaps I'm lonely… or hungering for something new in my life?' She mused.

Regardless the next few days should get interesting with him running around and who knows, maybe ill have some fun before I kill him.

Fixing his sleeping image in her mind Lisa dropped from the canopy onto the ground without a sound, straightening her shoulders she set a course back to her cabin, she had some sleep to catch up with.

She looked up at the stars smiling slightly at the glow unknowingly echoing Hazards thoughts on how beautiful they were.

Looking back at the treehouse she waved a tentacle in his direction mouthing a 'good night'.

Maybe she and him might learn to tolerate each other… perhaps even become allies?

Lisa cocked her heads thinking about this then laughing at how ridiculous the thought was.

She knew she was going to kill him.