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Sunday, July 12

Black Guard: Part 9 – You Scream, I Scream…

The stairs led down into extreme darkness. Their flashlights did not illuminate in the normal way, casting a much dimmer light upon their surroundings. The basement was circular, approximately sixty-foot in diameter. Images of demonic figures, and black writing accompanied them. A large pentagram sketched in white chalk covered the center of the room. The chalk glowed as their flashlight beams traced its perimeter.

A tall man sat akimbo inside the center of the pentagram. He appeared to sleep with his arms folded across his chest. He wore jeans and a dark polo shirt. He was barefoot, with a tag on one toe. What was visible of his body was entirely covered by blackened and blistered skin, oily and sticky to the touch.

Thirteen burned red candles ringed the pentagram. On the opposite side of the room was a small rectangular table that held seven small statues.

Hammer drew his pistols. Jim-Bean pulled out his gas mask and put it on top of his head, ready to be flipped down over his face at any moment.

The door at the top of the stairs slammed shut, and the candles spontaneously lit. A demonic voice echoed through the chamber and the man rose…

Hammer fired several bullets into the figure, but he barely reacted.

“He’s already dead,” said Archive. “Mundane weapons won’t work.”

“Well do something about it!”

With a scream, the man reared back and black tar spewed out of his mouth.

Archive pulled out a piece of chalk and penciled an Elder Sign onto the hilt of Hammer’s pistols. Then he made a mark on Hammer’s forehead.

“What’s that for?” asked Hammer.

“It will protect you,” said Archive.

“Oh man that’s disgusting,” said Jim-Bean, transfixed. The vomiting continued, as the tar slowly encompassed the corpse, volume far beyond the capacity of a human stomach to contain.

“What about my gun?” asked Jim-Bean.

“No time,” said Archive. He tossed him a pocket knife. “Use mine.”

“But this is…” Jim-Bean looked down. It was a Glock. “Never mind.”

The tar rose into a roughly humanoid form, rippling like a pool of black mud, exploding in geysers. It expanded to a size larger than an elephant, but only because of its lengthy lumbering limbs and legs did it project size. Its head was topped by a single black oval eye and snout-like mouth, a receptor filled with needle-like teeth similar to the spines of a cactus. The stench of ammonia filled the room. But by far the most awful part of the beast is its shriek, which sounded like a dying animal slaughtered in the most horrific manner. It echoed inside their skulls.

Archive presented the Elder Sign amulet. “In the name of—“

The Screaming Crawler moved with the grace and speed of a leopard. It closed the distance to Archive in one stride, slamming him against the wall with an undulating limb of ooze and claws. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:42 PM


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