A/N: And 'Nighmare' is back! The good news? I've already decided on an ending, so hopefully it'll give me the incentive I need to finish the story! Hope you enjoy!
"Today on the Morning News… Psychotic killer, or wild animal? Our main story this morning is on the investigation surrounding a brutal murder of a man in Gotham. Also this morning, Tomas Shelley will be with us in the studio to talk about the recent rise in levels of unemployment and what business owners can do to counter the effects of the current recession, and we'll talk to the school boy Adam King who saved his fellow classmate's life during a field trip that went wrong. But first, here's Damon, with the latest from Gotham."
"Thanks Cassie. Two days ago, the body of a man yet to be identified was found by an elderly couple behind their shop on Brighton Road. A mixture of bite marks and scratches are reported to have covered the body completely. Originally thought to be a feral dog attack, the case has now taken a turn for the weird as the most recent information available to us suggests the teeth marks don't belong to a dog at all, but were made by a human. When questioned earlier today, Police Commissioner James Gordon had this to say…"
"There is no proof – no forensic evidence – that suggests the man was killed by a human. But rest assured our labs and police force are doing their very best to identify what did kill this man, and whether it is a human or an animal, our dedicated team will find and stop whatever is responsible."
"Police are currently asking any witnesses who might have seen or heard the murder to come forward and make a statement, either through the police station, or through Crime Watch as an anonymous source. The public have also been warned to keep away from stray dogs around the city, and to contact the Animal Pound if one is sighted. Back to you Cassie."
They fought to stand together as the crowd of Jump City residents crashed into them as they rushed to be the first onto the buses waiting at the town hall for the evacuation. A green hawk dived towards the ground, morphing into Beast Boy a meter above the ground where he dropped the rest of the way, landing on the balls of his feet like a cat.
"Still no sign of the army," He told Robin. "I don't think they're coming."
Robin nodded unhappily. "Any demons?"
"I could just see them, which means they're way too close for comfort." Looking at Raven, he smiled gently and nudged her with his elbow, "Except for this one."
The empath rolled her eyes before telling Robin, "We're out of time. We'll have to do it without the armed forces. It shouldn't be that hard, herding people in a direction they're already going. Hopefully we'll get everyone safely on the buses before the demons catch up. How far away is the closest safe camp?"
"About a four hour's drive. According to Batman, Green Arrow's stationed there. He wanted one of us thinking we'd be better recognised and thus trusted, but I told him no. He acknowledges you and Jason Blood – another Justice League member – are our two best chances at ending this and I made it clear that if one of us fights, we all do."
He watched his team nod in approval, Cyborg punching the palm of his hand and asking, "So where do we start?"
"Raven, Starfire; I want you two to help the police evacuate the residents. Make sure they're all heading in the right direction, and that families aren't missing people. Also make sure nothing attacks from the side roads. Beast Boy, Cyborg, we're going to have to be the first line of defence on the main street. Nothing gets past us."
The boys nodded but before anyone could move Raven quickly protested, "Right now I'm one of the team's stronger assets. I should be fighting. Get Beast Boy to-"
"Raven you're the only one who might be able to stop or reverse this mess. I'm not going to risk losing you this early into the game."
"We don't have time! Now go!"
Raven's eyes narrowed but she bitterly swallowed her orders and levitated up next to Starfire, training her amethyst eyes on the crowd around them and waiting for to take up her post further down the street before shouting at the throng of people, "Follow the Main Street to the town hall quickly but calmly!"
She kept her eyes on the crowd, all too aware of the mixed feelings of fear, anxiety, confusion and tension coming from the people and aware of how easily a fight could start over something a stupid as a nudge, or how one hysterical individual could lead to an uncontrollable stampede.
"Transport is waiting at the town hall! Please avoid taking up space with anything none-essential!"
She tried to locate her teammates, but they'd become lost in the crowd of people and looking further up the street she saw several shapes running towards them, far enough away that she was sure Robin and the other would reach them before they reach the crowd but close enough to make her uneasy.
"Move quickly but calmly!" The empath shouted, the crowd travelling way too slowly for her liking, her own feelings of agitation growing as time passed, all too aware of how quickly the seconds were ticking away and that the lesser demons she'd spotted had been running and that the people she had to protect were walking. Her eyes flickered back and forth between demons and humans until she saw an increase in movement up the street out the corner of her eye and turned to find shapes pouring out of alleyways and side streets, adding to the demons running down Main Street towards them until she would have put their numbers in the hundreds. She cursed but didn't dare remove her eyes from the threat as though her gaze was the only reason they hadn't already been overwhelmed.
She could tell from the alien's voice – calm and distracted as it was – that she hadn't turned to look like the empath had intended. She fought to find her next words, wanting to grab Starfire's attention without getting anyone else's knowing that if someone looked back now, their crowd of agitated people could turn into a frightened and senseless stampede.
"I think Robin's trying to get our attention."
It was a lie but it worked and she heard Starfire's loud gasp, cringing as she waited for the stampede to start, but instead of screams she heard Starfire's voice growing louder as she flew closer.
"Please calmly make your way towards the town hall, from where you will be evacuated to safety. Please, do none of the shoving and pushing. There is room for everyone."
Raven tried to ignore the blatant lie. Although half of the city had been evacuated yesterday and people had been leaving on their own for weeks now it still left more people than buses in the city. It wouldn't be enough, and someone would have to think of something fast if they planned on saving everyone.
"Robin has called for our assistance?"
Raven looked at the alien princess and shook her head. "No, but have you seen how many there are? There is no way the boys can fight them off on their own."
"We can't let them harm anyone." Starfire said fiercely.
"Great, but unless you have any suggestions I think it's going to be inevitable."
Starfire frowned for a moment, before asking, "Could you create and maintain a shield large enough to block the street?"
Raven shrugged, before answering, "I can try."
The Tamerainian took off with astonishing speed, reaching the boys within seconds. Raven chose to teleport instead of flying, reappearing above the end of the crowd with her arms spread wide and her eyes glowing white.
"Azarath, metrion, ZINTHOS!"
The obsidian wall rose from the ground, soaring up like a bird, stretching it's wings across the width of the street. The shield created panic within the crowd who didn't need to be told what it was for, but the sound was dull on the other side of the shield. Muted, as though it wasn't real and wasn't behind her but coming from a TV set someone had left on somewhere.
Having heard the empath's voice, Robin relaxed his defensive stance for a moment to glance behind him, scowling when he caught sight of the two girls. "I told you to-"
"You cannot fight off this many at once." Starfire interrupted, landing beside him, her fists glowing with a green light as she readied two starbolts. "And technically, we're helping the evacuation by keeping the citizens alive."
Raven moved to stand beside Cyborg and he frowned at her. "You sure you can fight and hold that shield in place at the same time?"
"I'm going to have to." Raven replied, and he nodded.
"I've got your back."
"Raven, Star, since you're here I want you two to use every advantage you have and attack from the air. Give each other plenty of space and be aware of each other's whereabouts." Robin said, watching the demons run toward them. "No holding back. Aim to kill."
Starfire let one of her starbolts loose as soon as the first demon came into range. The pale white doughy skinned creature dropped as the ball of green energy hit it's chest and melted its way through and out it's back, hitting the demon behind but only having enough energy left to scorch it's skin.
"Now that's what I'm talkin' about! You go, girl!" Cyborg grinned.
Seconds later the demon with the scorched skin fell to the ground, disappearing underneath the feet of the others, another two following it before the titans clicked on, looking at the demon stood beside them. As the lesser demons came into range of Cyborg he altered the settings for his sonic cannon before sending a blast towards the hoard. A black, viscous substance leaked out the ears of those caught by the blast, the high frequency sound waves bursting their eardrums. Two of them tottered forward before they fell, lost beneath the others within seconds. Raven and Starfire took to the air as Robin threw several explosive disks into the hoard, landing direct hits that ripped one of the demons into bloody shreds.
Beast Boy morphed into a jaguar as the demons reached them, his claws and teeth ripping into flesh. He pounced, landing on the back of one of the creatures and sunk teeth sunk into the flesh of its neck until he found the top of its spine, tearing it out and throwing it aside as his weight drove them to the ground. He pounced again, this time vanishing under a group of the demons only to reappear as the Beast, throwing two of the demons aside while using brute strength to crush another's throat with his fist.
As the demons surround the grounded titans, more and more made their way towards the shield Raven had erected scratching and biting at it, banging their fists against the obsidian wall, each blow jarring her body. Black vines shot out from underneath her cloak, each finding its target, burrowing deep into the chests of five demons before she lifted them up and with a strong flick of the vines, dislodged them, sending them flying back into the main hoard. As the vines found another five targets she noticed several demons dangerously close to Cyborg and concentrated, the robotic titan hearing bones snap before they dropped to the ground. She'd began to do the same to the demons surrounding Robin, her vines of dark energy busy attack other targets, when a sharp pain hit her behind the eyes, letting her know she was pushing it. She ignored the pain as best as she could, forcing herself to concentrated on the demons surrounding Robin and pushing with her mind until their frames snapped and they fell, hitting the ground in awkward heaps. The empath felt something warm and wet trickle its way down from her nose and onto her upper lip and wiped at it, her hand coming away smeared red.
She could still feel the fists and claws slamming against her shield again and again, begging for her attention and gnawing at her concentration, the blood flowing faster from her nose as she eliminated a few of those pushing at her shield, the pressure behind her eyes increasing with each use of her powers.
"Raven, you're bleeding!" She heard Starfire gasp.
A glance at the alien showed she was also starting to feel the pressure, her starbolts no longer burning all the way through their targets, and only killing about three in five of those she hit. "I'm fine," She waved her off, before snapping another two necks, her left arm guiding three of the vines towards some of the demons still at her shield, skewering them.
"I understand it is hard for you to keep your shield up, levitate, and be on the attack at the same time. At least find a roof from which you can stand."
Raven started to argue, but saw the sense in what the Tamerainian was saying and nodded instead. "Okay."
She looked up, eyes searching for the closest, lowest roof, the smallest building being an eighteen story apartment block. She flew over to it, standing dangerously close to the edge in order to better see her teammates.
She watched as one of the demons turned away from the shield and trained it's dull yellow eyes onto Robin's unprotected back. It had started to crouch, ready to spring forward when Raven concentrated on the curve of it's spine. She didn't hear the bones snap, too far away on her perch, but saw it fall and heard the high keening noises it made in distress. Robin heard them too and turned, surprised to see how close the source of the noise was, pulling a bird-a-rang from his utility belt and using the sharp blade on its inner curve to silence the demon, his face matching the waves of misplaced guilt and unhappiness Raven could feel radiating from him.
Her gaze moved back to Cyborg, her eyes widening when she caught sight of the mass of demons almost overwhelming him. Her amethyst eyes turned white as she shouted her mantra and flung her arms wide. The demons were thrown back as though hit by a large wave, a sharp pain stabbing her left ear and making her wince, the large shield blocking the street flickering as she struggled to hold onto it. She moved one hand up to cup her ear, ignoring the feeling of something warm and wet dripping onto her hand as she turned to face Beast Boy, getting no further than assessing his situation before she heard Starfire scream her name out in warning.
She started to spin round to face whatever the alien had seen but was too slow and didn't see what crashed into her side, pushing them both over the edge of the building. She let out a startled gasp, the shield of dark energy below them shattering. She could feel sharp claws digging into her back but did her best to ignore it, instead watching the floor as it moved towards her far too quickly. She tried to levitate, turning in her fall in an attempt to dislodge the demon, every part of her brain screaming the command but didn't stop falling. She let out a genuine yell of fear then, scrunching her eyes shut as she tried to prepare herself for impact. She could hear the animalistic cries of the lesser demons around her, felt a moment of intense pain, then nothing.
A/N: As always, review (both critical and good) are always welcome. Let me know what you think to the new starting place.