Just finished editing this chapter. Pace picks up a good bit now.

Bad day at the office

"Work can kill"

Chapter 4: Baby's bottle

Cornelius nervously paced up one of the many corridors of Nowhere. As with anywhere in this place the corridor seemed to go on for miles. Cages and doorways filled the dank place with unearthly sounds coming from each one. This was one of Nate's many playrooms; where he created all his new toys. No matter how many times Cornelius ventured into this place he still couldn't get used to the level of fear that it brought out in him.

'How can one being hold so much hate inside itself to create these?' he thought as he walked, getting closer to the door he searched for. Eventually he reached his destination in the dark cold place. Each beast had a number and on each door his or her number was printed. The one he sought was known to him all too well. The number 310801091995 was rusted like a brand into the barrier that kept her inside.

The thick steel door creaked on its rusted hinges, as it swung open. The room inside was that of a pleasant hospital room. The sunlight of a red dawn was continuously pouring through the blinds, setting off the vase full of white flowers sitting on the bedside table. The figure on the bed sat up to see who was at the door.

Cornelius smiled lovingly "Good morning darling Josephine." The door squealed shut, keeping the nightmare outside at bay once again.

Patricia found herself carefully making her way through one of the many corridors that ran through the offices of Chainey and Lee Insurance. Her knuckles were white as she tightly gripped the switchblade. She hoped there weren't any more monsters bigger than the last things as she wasn't sure of her chances with the small knife.

A soft moan of pain came from somewhere around the corner up ahead. Patricia tensed up and shakily held the blade in front of her. It was hard to see much, as most of the lights were either too dim or flickering. A viscous fluid pooled on the floor. A few steps farther and the source of the liquid was visible. A lone water cooler stood near the corner surrounded by stains of black, red and brown. The stains streaked around to where the moans seemed to be coming from.

As Patricia drew nearer she noticed something floating inside the tank. A pinkish blob softly brushed against the clear plastic container. It slowly swirled around the red liquid and suddenly a pair of bright blue eyes looked out at Patricia.

She shrieked, quickly putting her free hand over her mouth in case anything heard her. The child was dead, that much was obvious but it was the old ship in the bottle question. Namely 'How the hell did it get in there?' A small pink digit twitched. Soon a small pink hand curled to form a minute fist.

The foetus beat upon the plastic scaring the crap out of Patricia. She put her hand to her mouth, 'Oh dear Lord. It's alive. How in the name of God can it still be alive?'

As the child beat on the plastic mouthing silent cries Patricia looked frantically for a way to free it. She felt around the back of the tank to grip the bottle and remove it so when she cut the bottle open the child wouldn't fall on the floor. Her hand came upon a scrap of crumpled paper that until recently must have been taped to the bottle. She opened it up and read it hoping that it would tell her an easier way to free the child. It read:

Always drowning in a thick sea of red,

People who see me always think I'm dead,

Floating in my tank I'm all alone,

All I want is to go home,

So don't just stand there on the wrong side of the gate,

Push the buttons below and free poor little Nate.

'A way to help him fantastic. I wonder why someone threw that note away?' She put her thumb on the bloodstained lever and pushed hard.

"Hold on little guy I'll soon get you out." She noticed that the umbilical cord coming from the kid led down to the button she was pressing.

Soon the blood stopped as something blocked up the tube. 'Damn must be the cord. Now how do I get him out?' A gurgling sounded from the tap. Patricia looked at the nozzle in confusion and disgust as a small pink, bloodstained tentacle emerged.

Patricia stood there speechless as the worm-like thing snaked its way down to the floor. She went to pick it up hoping that she could keep it out of the mess on the floor.

As she picked it up the end of the cord split into four places, revealing a small fang in each corner. The cord clamped onto her hand and wound its way towards her stomach. She desperately tried to get the screeching appendage off her before it reached its goal.

Fear and anger gripped her when she saw the baby inside the tank giggling, his fierce blue eyes glaring with malignance. She suddenly remembered the knife and immediately knew what to do. She flicked it open with her free hand and savagely severed the cord off at the nozzle.

The baby and the cord both screamed in anger and pain. The cord started to shrink, giving off a disgusting smell that made Patricia throw up. Angry with herself for being so stupid and not stopping to think why the note had been thrown away. She pushed the cooler to the ground. The plastic container split wide open, sending the contents flying everywhere.

Nate was free. Patricia was about to slit the monster child's throat when the remains of the umbilical cord whipped up and bit her on the wrist making her drop the knife. She felt a gentle sucking, as she grew weaker. She punched the child making it squeal in dismay. The cord broke off oozing an oily substance, before splitting into four again, this time up to the child's navel and becoming something like spider legs. The child reared up and scuttled away at a frightful speed, crying and wailing as it bolted down the corridor.

Patricia picked up the knife and got to her feet. She sucked the wound and spat out the blood until she was happy that she wasn't poisoned. A soft moan came from around the corner. It was different from that of the foetal creature's unearthly shrieks. These cries sounded more human.

'I bet that's the person that crumpled the note. The kid must have got the poor soul as well. I have to help them. Anyway there is a better chance of getting out of here if there are two of us.' Nevertheless she still had the switchblade ready. She looked at it and noticed that it had a small metal cross on it. 'Salvation huh. Well here's hoping.'

She walked around the corner oblivious to the wound on her wrist. The four points now miraculously healed, but still leaving small, dark bruises. The hallway around the corner was pitch black as Patricia carefully proceeded to check for the source of the moans. She quickly scanned her surroundings for a light switch but couldn't see any there.

A small patch of grey, mottled skin could be seen in the dim light coming from the hall she stood in. She gathered herself and took a step towards the patch, ignoring her basic primal instincts to run like hell.

"CRUNCH." Patricia stepped back to see what she had stepped on. It looked like the remains of some sort of bug. Skittering and clicking noises joined the soft moans in an eerie chorus. The wall seemed to pulse with movement. Patricia tentatively poked at the wall with the knife.

A small screeching noise was heard before her arm was half smothered by small dark shapes.

"Holy Mother." Patricia exclaimed as she furiously swiped at the insects. More dark shapes dropped from a fluorescent light directly above her revealing the identity of the little creatures. Cockroaches…

Nathaniel walked happily down one of his favourite corridors in Nowhere, looking for his parents and feeding his pets on the way. He carried a large bag of beef jerky with him, taking a nibble every now and then.

Red and golden eyes shone back at him from the darkness. The weak light shining in the middle of the dank, decomposing hall kept his pets just far enough from the bars so he could slip his hand inside the rusty bars to throw the beef jerky into the cell.

The cages only lasted for a short while. They housed his smaller creatures. Once he got past them there came the bigger cells that were completely transparent but were much more secure than any material cell. These cells were made of magic specifically to Nate's design, as he wanted to see these larger pets feed whenever they had the chance to feed on living flesh. The only material thing about the cells was that they had large steel doors with slats near the bottom for feeding purposes.

Each beast had a number just as each child has a name. Each creation was different in one way or another. The decaying reanimated corpses of nurses patrolled the corridors. Their motor functions already starting to show signs of deterioration as they twitched violently every now and again.

There seemed to be fewer than normal today but then again that could only be expected today with all the excitement over the ritual of crossing. Nathan came to a door with a strange symbol and the name Bazalamon etched onto its steel surface. 'Not far now. Wonder how Mom is?' he thought as he pushed the door open.

As soon as the door was open Nate could tell that something was wrong here. There was an eerie silence where there was normally a large commotion of howls, whoops and whistles. Suddenly from the darkness above him came the sound of something large clinging to the metal cage ceiling, straining the bars.

A large body dropped down in front of Nate. It's sickly pink and white skin was covered in black splotches outlined in yellow that moved along its body. It also had oversized arms and legs. Pointed bones protruded from the club-like ends of its arms. It's face consisted of three lines that opened so form a mouth on what appeared to be a dinner plate for a head. The head was attached to a wormlike neck to join onto the body. Nate recognised it as one of his bodyguards. A closer named Matt. He grabbed Nate with his club-like arms and opened his three lips to speak in a harsh whisper.

"Master?! I need to hide you quickly. He has somehow gotten loose. I think it was those blasted children. I knew company would only encourage him to remember his human side. They reminded him of being a father and now he's let most of the spiky terrors loose.

They appear to have commandeered some of the nurses and used them as vessels to get into the realm of light. I have been containing and watching him, stalling for time to think of a way to subdue him. However now you are here things have changed, and not for the better either. Here hide yourself in the children's cell behind one of their paintings. Bright colours seem to confuse him so he tends to avoid them. I will try to subdue him so you can decide what to do with him."

Nate nodded and hid behind a picture of a burning hotel. Even with most of the powers of a deity he was still vulnerable and the Lurker was one of his most dangerous creations yet.

A loud sniffing sound was heard from the darkness ahead. It was followed by a satisfied chuckle and lumbering footsteps. Matt hit the lamp nearest to him with one of his bony spikes. He made sure that he had both spikes out, as he was sure that this was going to be a tough fight.

The lamp swung, sending light into the darkness and revealing glimpses of the Lurker in the dark. As a Closer, Matt did not fear much as he was one of the more powerful creatures in this hellhole, but he knew when he was outmatched and that this fight would take more than sheer brute force to win.

Red globes flashed whenever the light hit the Lurker's eyes. Matt hid up in the ceiling again to get ready to pounce. The creature partially came into the light and Matt's fears were confirmed. The thing was unchained.

The creature was made up of different, warped body parts. It was a large head with four lumbering, blue tentacles that looked like veins descending from the neck and acting as legs. Its Rastafarian hair served two purposes. Firstly the strands acted as arms, secondly they were tipped with bony claws and could be used as weapons.

It seemed that the beast had grown strong enough to dispel the magic that had held him. Either that or one of the little ones had entered a guard and set him free. The Lurker spoke in a deep and angry voice.

"Where are you devil? I recognise your scent. It lies like an oily scum on all the creatures here. Why did you do it? We remember what you did. Oh yes our spiky little cellmates told us what you did and we remembered."

'We?' Matt thought. He had not seen the creature up close before but now that he could Matt saw the others that the Lurker referred to. Small faces writhed and slid about the large head's skin. It looked like a multitude of small skulls buried beneath the creatures flesh.

The Lurker continued after the silence his tone was smug this time. "That is not all your spiky children told us. Oh no. They told us that you were not a God. They know your little secret thanks to the mind reading gift that you gave them and now I know it too. You can be killed and believe me after what you have done you will suffer a long, painful torture. Oh by God but you will suffer."

Matt's eyes narrowed as he got ready to pounce, "Closer…closer." The Lurker plodded forward a couple of steps before extending a tentacle towards the cell door that Nate was hiding in. The door was ripped off its hinges. The beast sniffed close to the entrance and smiled.

"Peak-a-boo I've found you." The colours in the picture swirled and danced as if they were real flames. The creature stepped back while shielding his eyes.

"Now." Matt leapt down from the shadows onto the Lurker, thrusting his arm spikes into the Lurker's eyes.

Screaming with a sound of pain and rage that filled the corridor the Lurker jabbed its tentacles up towards Matt hoping to catch and crush him. Matt furiously stabbed at the creature's head before vaulting off just in time towards the ceiling. The claws dove at the place Matt used to be; unfortunately all the Lurker accomplished was to stab into his own scalp.

The Lurker roared in pain. He began to speak again, blood streaming down his face. "Minion of the devil I know you can hear me. My life was taken unfairly from me. Not only that but that of my family as well. It is probably the same for you too." His voice broke down, sounding a bit weaker towards the end.

Matt didn't know if it was due to emotion or if it was down to the lack of blood but he knew an opportunity when he saw one. Matt jumped down from the darkness to stand in front of the creature, his oversized arms dragging on the pale concrete, spikes still protruding from the fleshy clubs. For some reason the creature still retained the power of sight. The small faces had opened their tiny eyes. All of them screamed their own tiny chorus of pain, some screwed up their faces as blood flowed over them. Matt spoke while keeping an eye on the Lurker making sure that he didn't underestimate the beast even in a weakened state.

"My story is as sad as anyone else's but unlike you I see this form as a gift to fulfil my destiny. Everything happens for a reason. You were wrong to assume that I had completely lost my humanity. You had better accept your destiny soon as well, else I will be forced to remove your mind so that you will become like the mindless drones that you hate and pity so much."

The Lurker raised his tentacles and narrowed his eyes "To the death then."

Matt chuckled, "If that's the way you want it then fine. I'm sure the master can use your spare parts to make some new creations." With that Matt raised his huge meaty clubs, pointed them at the Lurker's forehead and charged with a guttural cry.

Patricia opened her eyes squinting as the artificial light shone onto her from above. The last thing she remembered was that she was being swallowed by a sea of cockroaches. They were suffocating her, the wave of scuttling darkness crawling down her throat and blocking her airway. She had fainted.

A voice drifted into her ears, "Hello? Miss are you OK? You seemed to be having quite the nightmare for a moment there but then again who isn't in this place? I think he must have got you too then. I can see the mark on your wrist."

Patricia groaned as she got up. She was a bit groggy at first but soon she started to remember about the child in the water bottle. She looked around and saw the container in pieces on the floor. "That thing was real?" The voice around the corner spoke again.

"I'm afraid so. The poison it produces induces severe nightmares in its victims, giving it a chance to escape if threatened. A tricky little beggar. You are not the first one I have seen to suffer from its effects."

Patricia was confused, "But I didn't blackout until I walked around the corner. How could I have been asleep? The bottle is still broken."

The voice sighed, "The poison takes effect as soon as you are bitten. You may sleepwalk for a time but in reality the only thing you achieved was to set it free. It seems that for a moment the lines between reality and nightmare are blurred before the blackout occurs."

Patricia became suspicious, "How do you know so much?"

The voice replied in a sad tone, "I have been here; watching for quite sometime now."

Angered, Patricia lashed out, "And you did nothing to help?"

The voice sounded frustrated, "How could I?"

Patricia was puzzled, "What do you mean? Where are you?" Patricia walked around the corner to find the voices owner. The switchblade fell spinning to the stained carpet and landed with a barely audible 'thud'. Before her lay some thing she knew that she should have expected; horror. However the new horror completely took her by surprise.

It was the fact that it was so human in appearance. The man who had been talking to her was tall with dark eyes. His dark hair was cut short, with a light beard and moustache. His wrists were covered in small lines where he had obviously slit them. Apart from a few tattered shreds he was naked. The lower half of his body was not visible. It seemed that his body had been neatly cut in half. His top half was stapled to the wall with numerous nails, spikes and oversized staples.

Small trickles of coagulated blood were imprinted on the walls. Patricia picked up the knife. "How long have you been there?"

The man sighed, "This place has been my residence for as long as I can remember. The name is William Fisk. Pleased to meet you Miss?"

Patricia fixed her hair, pushed her glasses up and generally tidied herself before shaking his hand. "Patricia Heartwing. Pleased to meet you." As she shook hands with the torso, now known to her as William Fisk, she couldn't help but think how crazy this looked.

She thought about it, 'Might as well look at this like Alice in Wonderland. This world can't be real. I don't know how I got here. Maybe I'm asleep back in the office and this is all a dream. In any case I'll just play along and ride it out until it's over.'

She withdrew her hand. William frowned, "Hmm so you cope by thinking that this is a dream too huh? Well I gotta tell you now that you have to snap out of that way of thinking. You are partially right this place was created from someone's dreams but then again isn't the world you come from the same? And just like in your world you are affected by everything that surrounds you, if you are cut you will bleed, if you die here you die there as well. There are some things about this darkness and it's creator that I have to tell you… Oh hold on just a second."

Patricia followed Fisk's line of sight until a solitary cockroach came into view. As quickly as he could manage Fisk pierced his left wrist with an overgrown nail and spread the blood on the wall. The cockroach gave out a few clicks, sensing the nearby blood. It sharply turned around and scuttled quickly towards the waiting Fisk.

As soon as it came within his reach he slammed his hand down with his palm cupped, trapping the creature. He picked the insect up and shoved it into his mouth, still clicking. The clicking soon stopped after the first few crunches. He finished his meal while Patricia watched. Once done he wiped his mouth.

"Pardon my manners, survival and all that. Now where was I? Oh yes the darkness. This realm was created by what some of your predecessors have called the devil if that means anything to you. I have seen many people come through here sinners and supposed saints alike.

There was one man, called himself a preacher. He figured this was hell. He died too… Anyway I can assure you that this is not hell, merely a different version of your world. This place simply has more devils. The creature who created this place is one of them, his name is Nathaniel."

Patricia interrupted, "You mean the kid in the tank?"

William shook his head, "No that was merely another one of his creations. I think he's working on growing a decoy. There are a few of them as he is not invulnerable."

Patricia looked thoughtful, "So why did he put you up here? Are you a threat to him or something?"

Fisk shook his head in bewilderment, "I don't know if I got on the wrong side of him but he had his henchman put me up here. He said it was symbolic. I have no idea what he meant. Maybe it will be of some use to you. I tell everyone this, it never makes a difference but I can always hope."

Patricia's brow wrinkled with thought for a moment before she shrugged her shoulders, "Nope. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Let's not worry about that. For now let's just worry about getting you down from there. You're obviously important in some way."

Patricia flicked the knife and went to work behind William, trying to pry the staples out. He cried out in pain, "Ahh stop, stop. If I fall I will surely die. I need you to get my wheelchair. Its in that room over there." A dark watery liquid was starting to ooze from behind his skin. "Hurry." His fear filled voice urged her on.

She opened the door to find a small storeroom. There at the back of the room was the wheelchair Fisk was talking about. There was also cleaning products, a flashlight, a first aid kit and a chain with an unlocked padlock at the end. Sitting on the seat of the chair was an unexpected visitor waiting for Patricia. It grinned and waved.

It was another Spinefant. Patricia flicked the knife open and grabbed a bottle of bleach. She pierced the side and sprayed it all over the little beast's face, sending it into throes of agony. The creature screamed before clambering up the shelves and flying into the ventilation system like a bat out of hell. Patricia grabbed the chair and rushed back into the hallway.

There were now fountains of the water spraying out from behind Fisk. A large bulge now stretched the skin behind his neck showing up all of his freckles and age spots. His face was contorted with excruciating pain. Stretching sounds like a balloon being inflated came from his body before a high pitched squeal escaped.

Patricia left the wheelchair in the hall and ran to the storeroom. She shut the door and braced herself. "Help me," Fisk screamed before the staples started to come loose. "PING," the staples burst out of his skin like bullets. The force of which embedded them into the wall.

One cracked Fisk's skull at the back. His bloody torso went limp before a groaning was heard. Cracks quickly spread out along the wall quickly followed by trickles of dark water. The groaning and splitting sounds became louder before Fisk's limp corpse was sent flailing into the wall by a torrent of cold black liquid.

The wheelchair smacked off the storeroom door before sailing down the corridor. Patricia noticed water starting to seep under the door. She quickly took her jacket off and rolled it up in an effort to block the gap. 'And I thought that Jack guy was going to ruin my suit. Huh, life is a bitch.'

She looked around and grabbed anything she thought she might need. There was some candy on the shelf next to the flashlight but she thought better of it. She opened the first aid kit and found a bottle of Stareol. Patricia quickly poured the disinfectant over the areas she had been bitten and scratched. She cleaned the wound with some cotton wool and closed the kit again.

She knew that there would be no point staying in this death trap so she picked up her jacket and stored away the chain and the knife before picking up the flashlight. Patricia smirked, 'This is like one of those videogames that Rick plays.' She forced the door open and waded out into the hallway.

The initial blast had done quite a bit of damage but had obviously passed. She saw the late Fisk's body float by and forced herself to stop crying. 'Sure it was your fault but weep for the dead when you are safe.' Patricia was emotionless at the best of times but seeing the poor man's face struck a cord. It was her fault and she knew it. It didn't matter that she tried to help that man was dead because of her.

Tears starting to blur her vision she tripped over the wheelchair while fixing her hair. Its wheels were still spinning giving out a terrible squeal as they did so. As she fell Patricia caught a glimpse of something moving… something big.

Dark water rose around her. She could feel a current pulling at her. Soon she was swept off her feet as frothing and angry rapids drove her further. Something bristly brushed past her. She looked wildly about while taking quick breaths. With all the writhing and tumbling Patricia's weapons and supplies were lost. 'This didn't happen in the game. Life sucks.' She thought helplessly. Her head hit something hard. Darkness…

Hope you enjoyed that chapter. Next one follows Jack. Please R&R