WRITTEN BY MGM
Pure Heart Chronicles
Book 1: Aria of Shadows
Two of the most unlikely pair are brought together to face the odds of survival in the depths of the unknown in a time of a horrible war that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the world itself.
Towards the hell of the battlefield, the lone group marched on through the thicket of the forest. One by one they followed in a line leading towards their final destination. As they wandered on, the forest was no longer as thick as before but started to empty into a more open area of trees with many large steel structures jutting from the land, covered with the overgrowth of vines and bushes. A pair looked to each other and nodded.
"I have a very bad feeling about this Sam…" Dante said as he looked back into the forest.
Dante was possibly the youngest of the group of commandos who were tasked with such a dangerous mission. At age 19, he was the most cautious and careful. Although young, he was no fool, for he had seen combat many times before. Each battle just as frightening as the last. Sam was his wingman and the only other who truly cared much about his opinions.
Sam sighed before he crouched beneath a large branch and said, "Relax, they might not even be hear. For all we know this place could have been abandoned years ago…" He said before he stood up and helped Dante back to his feet.
They moved towards one of the large buildings and approached with a high alertness. Dante looked into the glass of a window only to see a shadow cast in a room and vanish just as quick as it appeared.
"Were not alone here." He stated as he switched the safety of his rifle off and raised it as he stepped towards the doorway.
Sam and another grouped up at the opening and cracked the door open. Dust filled the air as they walked in, only to shattered lab equipment and blood stains on the walls. It was fairly barren other than the few insects and rodents that wandered around. They found the evidence that indeed someone or something had been there very recently.
Dante and Sam left the building and looked at the leader of the group. "It's clear, whatever was in there is gone now. But we did find signs of life. Something or someone is here." He said as he looked to the ruins past Dante.
They continued on and soon, deep in the heart of the strange structures, they discovered what had become of the former residence. A large pile of corpses laid within a pit, each of them charred to ash and bone. The mercenaries looked at each other before raising their weapons.
Sam looked around and loaded his rifle before he took a step back and twisted the bolt. "Stay sharp. We have casualties and we don't need any more."
One of the men took a step back into a small patch of low hanging vines. One of the vines however seemed to move, and slowly inched towards his neck. A low hissing sound came from above and he looked up. That very moment, he was tugged up from the ground and screamed before the shrill of his voice was cut off when his headless body dropped to the ground.
Several lizard like creatures dropped from the trees while some of the strange vines lashed down at the men. One lashed at Sam, and he swiftly ducked and grabbed it before he gave it a tug and pulled down one of the lizard creatures. It hissed and yowled as it thrashed about at him before his knife pierced its skull.
"Stay down and move!" He yelled as he ran from the site into the nearest building. He looked back for only a moment to see that Dante had been separated from the group.
Dante ran as fast as he could from several of the creatures that were chasing him. He kicked open the nearest door to a building before turning back and firing into the small group. Acting on pure instinct, he shut the door and blocked it before his aim was centered on a nearby window. He hurried out of the room and into a small opening that lead to a large watch tower. He looked back to see that they were breaking through the wooden shelf he used to block the door and panicked as he started to climb the ladder that lead to the tower.
Once at the top of the ladder, he realized that the trapdoor had been bolted shut. He cursed his luck and removed his pistol and placed its barrel against the wood just beneath the latch. A loud crash echoed from below and he pulled the trigger. The lock broke and he pushed the door open and climbed up. Dante looked down for a moment only to see a face quickly moving up the ladder. He shut the latch and placed his rifle in the lock to keep them from getting through.
Dante took in several deep breaths and laid his back against the walls before he reached for his radio and pressed the receiver. "This is Dante, is anyone still alive out there? I'm trapped in the tower. I have a view of the whole grounds. Their everywhere."
He waited and almost gave up hope before static from his radio made him sit up and lifted the radio up to his ear.
"Dante? How did you…never mind that. We're pinned inside a building. They're giving up and headed towards you. I can see a cable that goes to the factory. Maybe you can zip line there. We'll meet you there but be careful. Some of them are armed." Sam said. Almost immediately several shouts were heard and gunshots filled the air before all went silent.
Dante looked up and over the side to see a small building being overrun.
"Sam! Are you there!? Sam! Do you copy!? Do you copy!?" Dante yelled into the radio as he stared. What happened next nearly brought him over the edge. The building exploded into a blaze.
Dante dropped the radio and looked back to see a clawed scaled hand bust through the wooden trapdoor. Reaching into his pack he dropped several small packages and picked up a tripper. He ran out into the tower catwalk and headed towards the cable. He looked back and clipped his belt onto it and drew his pistol. He barely managed to kick off the catwalk in time and narrowly dodged an attack as one of those things pounced at him and missed. As he started gliding towards the largest building, he squeezed the trigger and the tower behind him was destroyed by the charges he left behind. He looked back one last time before he vanished into the thick of the woods.
At the base of the building, Dante unclipped his belt from the cable and sighed before he looked around. He stared in awe at the uniqueness of the fact that it was even still standing. Whatever it was before it became an outpost, it must've been important to some culture.
"Dante what are you getting yourself into." He thought to his self as he walked towards an open glass window that had been left open and had thorned vines growing into it.
As he climbed through he grabbed onto the vines despite the thorns. The gloves he wore protected enough as he started to climb down into the large dark room. He found his self inside a large dark room full of trashed tech and lab equipment. Several large empty glass containers and massive cages were thrown about while mining equipment and blood stained tools were strewn about.
"What the hell happened here…?" He said out loud as he shined his flashlight around. He shined it at a large door to see it was chained up and had a massive sledge hammer placed in-between the bars of the doors.
Dante walked over and shined his light into the glass window. He pulled the hammer out and wondered why the previous inhabitants had placed it there. He opened it and raised his pistol up as he wandered down the hall looking through windows and down corridors. He found one large room that had a large mine cart and a massive steel cage. A closer look showed it was more of a bird cage than anything else.
"What is this place...?" He said as he walked down the large grated floors. Each foot step left a loud metal sound before he cringed as he knocked over a metal bucket.
He looked about and realized there was a large metal door not far from him yet it was a long drop down if he were to slip off the small pole that stretched to the other side of a rusted and destroyed region of the floor. He slowly worked his way across that very metal pole before he slipped. He barely managed to get his grip back on and get back onto the grating on the other side. Once he did the pole broke away and he got up to his feet before hearing it hit the bottom. He pulled open the gating and shined his light into the large structure. The cage was as high as the ceiling and stretched down so low it vanished into the darkness.
As he walked along and gripped onto the handle of the walkway he looked around and looked up to the broken windows. "It's getting dark out." He said as he started to wander off into the darkness.
Far down below several shadows moved about. An iris locked onto the figure far above and let out a deep hiss as it narrowed.
"What is it?" A voice asked before it snapped out of its trance. The figure looked back and smirked. "Human, male, not one of the scientists though…he's armed, and armored. He looks a lot like a soldier…or mercenary. This could be an interesting fight."
The other figure looked up and grinned before it stepped into view. It was a large bat like creature and folded its wings. She walked over towards the other figure and glared up at the figure.
"Don't do anything stupid. I've seen mercenaries in action. They're more trouble than they're worth." She said as she glanced back to the other figure and walked away. The figure looked up and growled before silently calling over several others and pointed.
Slowly they began to follow Dante. The bat like creature looked back and hissed. She hopped up and hooked onto the grating as she made her way up. She stopped with wings spread in front of the figure which was now visible as another. It glared at her but she glared back with a rage in her eyes. They had a deep feral yellow glow. That type of glow you only see in the eyes of very pissed off creature.
"What the hell are you doing…!? You're going to get us all killed." She said before she glanced back and ducked as the beam from his light shone towards them.
She inched away back into the dark of the shadows as he made his way down the metal stairs. Dante wandered past her without realizing she was even hidden. He seemed to be in a rush to follow the sounds he heard. As he rounded the staircase he stopped for a moment and looked around with his light and pistol raised. He caught a glimpse of something and stepped back against a wall. She looked to his side to see a figure moving towards him with a large machete in hand. Acting on impulse she gave a strong flap with her wings and dropped over the side of the railing. It was enough to catch his attention and he shouted out before he kicked the figure back and raised his pistol.
Dante took several steps back before he finally pulled the trigger at the staggering large creature before him. It was a lot like the lizard like beings he faced outside however, with the scales replaced by fur and a build of a wolf like appearance. Several shots were well placed around the creature before Dante turned to rush down the staircase. He made it down several sharp turns and looked back to see several of the shadows behind him start to slowly grow closer as they caught up to his speed.
He slipped and fell down the railing and down onto hard stone floor. The cage was no longer visible as he found he had fallen into some form of a shaft, or cave system. "Get up you idiot!" He yelled at his self before he scrambled to his feet and took off at full speed towards a gate.
Once again it was locked and he had to act fast. He shot out the shocks and pried it open before he pulled apart the rusted metal and ran down the mining shaft. Before the gate closed a large shadow made it through the gap and collapsed to the floor. It stood up and shut the gate and placed a metal pole between the bars to lock it off.
"That should hold." She said as she looked back and followed him down the corridors.
He looked back and tossed his now empty pistol aside before he ran at full speed to escape. He vanished and fell through the flooring and she tumbled down into the very hole. They both hit their heads on the same metal pipes and were tangled in the same wiring. Pinned, trapped, back to back upside-down.
"Ugh…what was that?" She said out loud as she came to her senses and looked about. She was tangled in the wiring and sighed before she realized. She was not alone. Something was behind her but was not speaking and in the air was the very distinct scent of blood from a wound that was not her own...