Chapter 1- 'The Beginning'



   Jason Parker set the security system and locked the doors to the Humanities department of the college. Catching his reflection in the glass door, he admired his 6', muscular, eighteen year-old frame and tanned skin, he ruffled his blond hair and flashed himself a quick grin.


    "Thanks again for helping me close up tonight." Professor Wolf called from behind him in the car park, "I really appreciate the help, especially on a Friday night. Can I give you a lift home?"


    Jason turned and walked down the four steps to the car park where the professor waited by his old Volvo. "No, really it was no problem professor, its not like I had anything better to do tonight," Jason replied with a cheeky grin, flashing straight white teeth. "My house is actually just down the street, so I can walk. Thanks anyway though."  Professor Wolf shrugged, "Right, well I'll see you in class on Monday then."  He climbed into his car and slowly drove off, waving out the window as he turned the corner. 


    A figure stood silently on the corner watching Jason wave off the professor, when the car had passed, the figure was gone. Jason stared at the corner for a moment and then shrugged, turned and started walking the opposite way down the street.


    Jason shivered in the cool December air and sped up, eager to reach the student housing. He walked briskly down the dark road, passing a few alleys and trash cans. A car sped along

the street towards him with its lights blazing.


    "Turn off your fuckin' high-beams, ass," Jason muttered and tangled his head to the side so he could see better. As he passed a small dark alley there was a screech and the car swerved towards him on the pavement, speeding up. Before he could even move, a muscular arm whipped out from the alley and grabbed him around the waist, hurling all of his 180lbs backward to the ground of the alley. The car sideswiped a pair of garbage cans next to where he had been standing.


    "Jesus Christ!" Jason gasped as he stood shakily to his feet, winded from being knocked to the ground. He looked up and down the alley for his rescuer, but it was empty. He dusted himself off and cautiously stepped out onto the pavement again. Cursing, he set off down the street towards the student housing area, glancing over his shoulder every few steps.


    Looking down the street, he failed to notice the shadowy figure running along the rooftops of the buildings, pacing him on the ground.


* * *


    Jason slammed the door to his student house and stomped into the living room. His housemates, Jeff and Drew, looked up from the television screen as he entered. Jeff was 5'11"

and muscular with dark brown hair and brown eyes. A real jock. Drew, on the other hand, had sandy blond hair, green eyes and stood only 5'8", he was a bit scrawny but damn, he was smart. Jason thought as he saw them, 'I wonder what they'd say if told them how hot they look?'


    "Holy shit dude! What happened to you?" Jeff asked.


    Jason grimaced as he dropped his knapsack to the ground and collapsed into an empty armchair. "First day of the month and already someone's tried to kill me! Do I have some sort of sign on me saying 'Please kill me!' or something?!"


    Drew stood up, went into the kitchen and returned with an ice pack. "Here, you better put this on your hand before it swells much more." Jason looked down at his right hand, it was swollen and slowly turning an ugly shade of purple. He was still in such a state of shock, he hadn't even noticed.


    Drew sat down on the sofa and turned off the TV and asked, "What happened?"


    Jason winced slightly as he put the ice pack on his hand, then told them what had happened. Afterward, Jeff shook his head growling something about 'crazy drunk drivers.' Drew sat looking shocked and shook his head. "Just think if that guy hadn't grabbed you when he did...! Sort'a weird though that he ran off like that."


    Jason shrugged, "Well, I'm thankful all the same! If he hadn't, I'd be a smear on a wall right now." He stood shakily, "I think I'm gonna' crash, I'm still a bit shaken up." Jason walked down the hall and ascended the stairs.


    Drew called from the living room, "Hope your hand doesn't swell up to much. See you in the morning."


    Jason entered his room and flicked on the light, he stripped down to his boxers and crawled into his futon bed, wincing as he noticed a dark bruise on his thigh. He flicked out the lights and was soon asleep.


* * *


    Jason sat bolt upright in his bed, staring wildly about him. A pair of red, unblinking eyes glinted from the other side of his window, staring at him.


    "What the fuck?!" he shouted. The window burst inwards and a small red thing dived onto his bed. It lifted itself up on doubly jointed arms and knees and glared at him, then flashed a grin of wickedly spiked teeth. "Jesu---"


    Jason was cut short as a pair of small claw-like hands covered his mouth. He tried to lift his

arms but more of the small red, scaly creatures swarmed over his arms and legs, tearing his sheets and holding him fast with sharp little claws. More grabbed him from behind and pulled him flat on the bed.


    His head was still tilted up, and he struggled against the creatures holding him down. They were surprisingly strong for such little things. The larger one, that had crashed through the window stalked up the bed and stepped onto his stomach. Jason uttered a smothered scream, it's feet felt like hot coals on his skin. The creature pressed its feet cruelly into his skin. Now that it was closer, he could see that its skin was covered in small red boils or scales, and that wisps of sulphurous smoke rose from slit-like nostrils in its face.


    The beast paused, crouching on his muscular abs. It raised its arm above Jason's chest and uncurled a long, razor sharp claw. It raised its hand over its head. Jason struggled against the beasts and screamed as the claw was plunged straight down into his chest.


* * *


    Jason sat bolt upright in his bed, screaming.  He franticly pressed his hands against his chest and looked down. His chest was sweaty, but void of any holes. Jason sighed in relief and then, looking out of his window stood and pulled on a tank top. He crossed his room to the window and peered out into the early morning sunlight. He pulled open the window and inhaled the chill air. Then he looked down at the windowsill. There were tiny scorch marks along the sill, shaped like three pronged feet.


    He glanced into the backyard of the house. Several small, burnt out craters littered the grass. "Oh Shit! The landlord's gonna kill us!" he swore.


    Jason pulled on a pair of jeans and raced downstairs. He burst into the kitchen, Jeff and Drew looked up from their cereal.


    "Glad to see you're feeling better!" Drew greeted him.


    Jason looked at them both in astonishment, "Haven't you seen the backyard?!"


    Drew and Jeff looked at each other in confusion and shrugged, Jeff looked back at Jason, "Yeah, I put the garbage bags out this morning. What about it?"


    Jason stared at him in astonishment. "Didn't you notice anything strange about it...? Maybe the smoldering craters?!"


    Jeff just looked blankly back at him, "Sorry, didn't see anything, and I think I would have noticed that!"


    Jason pulled open the back door and ran onto the porch. The yard empty except for leaves. Jason walked slowly back into the kitchen, shaking his head. "I swear I saw it!"


    Drew looked worriedly at him, "I think you might have hit your head last night. You should take it easy today."


    Jeff rose from the table and put his bowl in the sink. "I told you this place was cursed!" he said.


    Jason glanced at him, wide eyed, "You mean you believe me?"


    Jeff glanced back at him, then smiled and said patronizingly, "Sure I do. But right now I'm heading out with Cindy (Cindy was his girlfriend). We should be out till fairly late, and I don't want to be disturbed on my cell. Unless of course, you see little demons doing pagan rituals in the yard or the walls start bleeding or something... Then you can call me, wouldn't want to miss something as exciting as that!" He walked towards the doorway and paused, twirling his finger by the side of his head and mouthing to Drew, "Crazy!" Then he laughed and bounded out the door.


    "Arrrgh!" Jason yelled in exasperation, "I'm not crazy!"


    Drew, laughed and then stood, "course your not!" he said and patted Jason on the shoulder. "Look, I feel sorta' bad about leaving you here, alone, especially in your condition--"


    "I don't have a condition!" Jason yelled.


    "--but we've got the stage hall booked this morning and we need to start prepping for the play" continued Drew, ignoring the interruption. Drew had been backing towards the door the whole time he was talking. "But I'll leave my cell on so you can call if you need anything..." He grasped the door handle, "or if the walls start bleeding!" He burst into laughter and yanked the door open, rushing outside.


    "I'll get you both this evening!" Jason yelled after him, then shook his head and grinned.


    Jason trudged upstairs into his bedroom and got dressed properly before he sat down and opened up his email on his laptop. It 'blinged', telling him he had mail. He looked in the inbox. There was one message. It was from 'Angel Matthew'. Who the hell is that? Jason asked himself. He opened the email. There were only two words;         


    'Get out!'


    Jason shrugged and closed the message. A moment later another message appeared from 'Angel Matthew', Jason opened it up.


    'Get out now! Run!'


    "What the fuck?" Jason cursed and closed the message. Again, another one appeared.


    'Fine, turn on your TV.'


    "OK, this is getting irritating" Jason said, he moved to close the window.


    A new message opened up on its own, before he could even close it.


    'Humor me.'


    Jason sighed, "What the hell," and stood up and turned on the small television on the other side of the room.


    The TV showed a house from the outside. Suddenly Jason noticed someone standing near a window. It was him! The picture changed, now it showed the underside of a bed. There was a block of something that looked like C4 and a red flashing light. With a shock Jason recognized it as his bed. Shakily he sunk on all fours and peered under his bed. A block of C4 with a flashing light was stuck to his bed.


    "Oh Shit!" Jason scrambled back. His laptop blinged and a new message opened.


    'Now will you run?'


    Jason jumped up and grabbed his laptop before rushing down the stairs and out the front door. He was running across the front yard when the explosion picked him up and tossed him through the air. He landed heavily on the grass beside the road. As flaming debris fell around him, a black Lotus Elise with tinted windows pulled up on the road in front of him. The passenger door opened and the driver called out,


    "Get in!"


    Jason raised his head and stammered, "What? Who are you?"


    "Just shut up and get in! We don't have much time before they get here!" the driver said hurriedly.


    Jason didn't move, "What are you talking about? Who?"


    "Get in!" the driver yelled. Jason stayed where he was and a large muscular arm reached out and hauled him bodily into the car. The door slammed and the car sped off down the street. As they turned the corner, Jason looked back and caught sight of several black SUV's pull up outside his house and people in black with machine guns swarmed around the wreckage of the house and began searching for something.


    Jason turned and looked at his rescuer for the first time. He wore a long black leather trench coat that hid his body and a black cowl shrouded his face. The whole car smelt faintly of lilies and jasmine, the odour seemed to emanate from the driver. The driver's head turned towards him and Jason could make out a pair of lightening blue eyes staring intently at him, then the driver turned back to the road. Jason pressed himself against the door, and tried the handle. It was locked. He started yelling, "What the fuck is going on? Who are you? Were are you taking me?"


    The driver didn't even turn his head, finally he said quietly, "I'm taking you somewhere safe. Try to get some sleep, it will be a long journey."


    Jason, now angry and panic stricken, started to smash his bulk against the car door. "Let me out you piece of shit!"


    The driver stuck out his right hand in front of Jason's face and spread his fingers. A soft, white glow spread out from his palm and Jason felt his eyes close with sleep as his head slumped forward onto his chest.


* * *