A/N: This is a horror/thriller story I wrote for school. It was originally inspired by those little people that run around on Twisted Metal Black landscapes. Imagine the game through their eyes. I worked very hard to eliminate every fanfiction-esque aspect of the story, but after the assignment was over I brought it back to its origin and put everything right. I hope that here the story can get the response it deserves, be that good or bad. You don't need to know anything about Twisted Metal Black to understand the story, but some basic knowledge would help. I am not a filthy rich gamemaker, and not affiliated with the Twisted Metal enterprise in any way, so please don't sue me.
A Nameless Ambience
The man yawned at his desk, shut down his computer, stood up, and stretched. It was dark out, a testament to just how late he had stayed. He took up his coat and turned out the light leaving his dull, gray office in favor of a dull, gray hallway, heading towards the lift. At least he wouldn't have to worry about finding his car: the grounds would be almost deserted. The factory grounds were huge, housing the five-story office building he was in, as well as a multi-level parking garage, several huge power generators, buildings housing maintenance and security personnel, four long and low warehouses, and an open concrete river that functioned as both a sewer system and security barrier, wrapping around the grounds on three sides like a moat. The whole place was gray and smelly, and it resembled a set of concrete blocks. He wouldn't be here at all if it didn't pay so well.
He was out of the lift and moving across the huge lobby on the main floor when he heard it. The gray granite floor under his feet trembled as the distant rumbling came closer. He dropped his coat and sprinted out through the glass doors and looked towards the factory's main gates. He froze.
Trucks! Trucks were pouring through the gates two at a time, parting to the left and right to spread out over the land. Although they came in various sizes, each one was larger than life, mechanical monstrosities that seemed to have a life of their own. He lost count of them as they came through, traveling around the grounds at over ninety miles an hour, tires squealing as they showed off like bulls tossing their horns. And still the man didn't move. He took a deep breath and composed himself.
These gangsters couldn't be allowed to go joyriding on company property. There was a phone on the desk inside the lobby. He would just go right back in and….
There was a flash of red to his right and he turned his head to see balls of fire raining down on a warehouse. The noise of crackling fire and explosions reached him a moment later as a low black car emerged from the flames, fleeing an olive green hulk that was firing at it. He heard an electrical crackling to his left and didn't dare to look. He turned and ran back down into the lobby, now fearing for his life.
The lobby was dark and the phone was dead. The generator for this building had been destroyed. There would be no help from the police; he had to escape! The main entrance was out of the question, it was too conspicuous, and the cars could follow him through it. There were some smaller entrances though, foot bridges across the river in the back. The cars couldn't follow him there. Another explosion shook the building and he heard the very walls creak. He couldn't stay here.
He stepped across the lobby, trembling as he approached the glass doors. As he reached for the handle the doors shattered with the impact of another blast. He stepped sideways into an alcove beside the doors, dodging flying glass. He heard the roaring of motors approaching outside the doors. The first truck flew past, casting a red glow over the broken glass. The man huddled closer to the wall as he heard the second truck approaching. He didn't dare move as the sound trickled and fell into his ears, frozen like a child staring at his closet door at night. The noise like a sickly ice cream truck grew louder and the man's stomach rebelled. He found himself praying that whatever demon was emitting that twisted noise passed him by.
He hardly breathed as the noise faded away, its source leaving in pursuit of the first truck. The man waited a moment before running through the doors, heading like mad for the polluted river. The air was thick with the fumes of gasoline and gunpowder, so harsh it felt like liquid fire pouring into his lungs as he gasped for air. He saw the giants running all around him, crashing into anything that was in their way without discretion, sending missiles and strange explosives onto the more stubborn obstacles. The man was ignored, too insignificant and slow to be important to these high-speed monsters. A pylon crackled and fell, still sparking with electricity. Without power and the feeble glow of the lamps, the factory was now ablaze with fire.
He kept running as the giants continued their pointless race all around him. Smoke curled up to the sky as they attacked each other. He heard a deafening roar as one passed within a few yards of him. Although it was mounted on thick tires that stood higher than him, there was no mistaking that sleek black body. The silver handle twisting down its side gleamed in the firelight as the monstrosity of a hearse slammed on brakes and spun around to face him. Its engine roared and the man knew it had seen him. He tried to run, but stumbled over his own feet in terror. He heard a crackling sound, but didn't dare turn away from the beast bearing down on him. He was sure it was over.
A hissing green beam of light shot through the air, hitting the side of the hearse. It spun again with the impact, its back doors flying open. The man's stomach finally won its battle as coffin after coffin spilled from the still-spinning hearse, littering the ground. Trying not to think about the contents of those black boxes, the man left his lunch on the road and continued to run. He heard the crunching of metal behind him as the hearse took its revenge on whatever other truck had attacked it.
The man glanced around, seeing a bridge in the distance. He changed direction and headed towards the parking garage. Perhaps running through the building would give him some cover on the way to the bridge. He ran under the yellow and black striped gate, intended to keep cars from parking without paying. His shoes clopped across the concrete and tar in the empty garage, the usually awkwardly loud sound dwarfed by the noise outside.
An unseen force shook the building and sent the man crashing from his feet. Small cracks appeared on the wall ahead of him. After a heavy pause, another hit sent bricks and mortar flying everywhere as the hulking, olive green Hummer crashed through the wall, tires squealing as it halted a few yards from him. Its horn signaled loudly and a low rumble came from the entrance to the garage. Trembling with dread, the man pulled himself to his feet and turned around.
The yellow and black barrier crumpled like paper as a low-slung black car crashed through it. It was so low and flat it looked as if the Hummer could roll over it, but for all that it was no less sinister. This car squealed to a halt as well and flashed its headlights, ready to fight.
The man didn't dare move as the cars faced off. These beasts had come to fight each other, they weren't interested in him. For the first time in his life he reveled in his own insignificance. He was nothing compared to these monsters. It was as if they didn't even see him. With a final roar of its engine the Hummer sent a rain of fire over the man's head. The black car swerved and the fire rained down around it. As the fire stopped the black car faced forward again, readying for the counterattack.
A shadow slid from the black car, sweeping out across the pavement like a living thing. The man's breath caught in his throat as the shadow fell over him, his body flashing hot as with a fever. Then it was gone as soon as it came, rushing toward the hulking, gray-green monster behind him. His feet were moving, carrying him towards the fallen wall. Behind him, the Hummer's motor revved as it tried to avoid the attack. He didn't slow down as he reached the rubble, stretching out exhausted legs and heaving his body over the piles. He landed and let his knees fall under him on the far side, rolling in order to avoid injury. Then he was off again, leaving the garage and the two dueling giants behind.
As the last of the buildings fell away he headed towards the moat. Just over that bridge he would be safe. Yet he could run no more. Trembling with fear and exhaustion, he fell to his knees by one of the few still standing power poles. He was close, so close to his escape. The bridge seemed to be taunting him, still and innocent over filthy water. He clung to the scarred pole for support and looked once more over the darkened factory. Whole walls were reduced to rubble, the roads were marked with black rubber, and vile-smelling bits of metal littered the landscape. His office building was reduced from five stories to two. In the distance, by the white light of a crumpled generator, he saw the dark shape of that monstrous hearse as it threw itself from the roof of the parking garage and landed on the road below, its enormous tires taking the impact with ease. The guns, flamethrowers, and bombs lit the sky in a deadly parody of fireworks. The glow fell on his face as two tears fell from his eyes, cutting through the brake dust and grime that now painted him head to toe, hiding his identity. In any other way he would have been glad to see the factory go, but what could be worse than this senseless destruction. It was more than anything could bear.
He heard a familiar roar behind him and he turned to see the instrument of his demise. A stained-glass windshield obscured the driver from view. Its headlights blazed red like the fires of hell, one long wooden spike projecting from its hood, poised to impale. So this was to be his fate: not crushed by huge wheels, or burned in the fire, or melted by any of the high-tech arsenal that these trucks bore, but impaled upon a wooden stake, the last terrible detail needed to complete this scene. His knees trembled as this last monster revved its engine and shot forward. He saw it come closer and closer. It was less than a few feet away and he could swear that for an instant, time froze.
"Honey, it's time for dinner!" a sweet feminine voice called. There was a pause.
"Brother, didn't ya hear? It's time to eat!" Another pause, then a deeper, louder voice yelled:
"Turn off the damn video game!"