So it strikes me that blogging my creature hunting experience only works if I survive. Like, it’s an automatic spoiler that I lived if I’m writing this down. If I ever die on one of these jobs, these posts will just stop and you’ll never know why haha!
Anyways, the lemniscate hunt went fine Hahahaahaha.
(It didn’t but we lived)
Neal found the Kelliher’s car around the block from a cannery, which meant we needed to act quickly. Gearing up was an exhaustive process, because we were trying to cover as much skin as possible, and then we were out the door.
“Alright,” Julian said. “These things basically look like lobsters. Their MO is to climb things and drop down on their prey from above, so what we’re going in with these.”
He passed me an umbrella. This job is insane, Julian’s like you’re gonna get attacked by a venomous lobster that will give you terrible hallucinations and then eat your soul, but don’t worry you’ll have an umbrella, you’ll be fine.
Of course, at the time I was like yeah sure, an umbrella will stop it from dropping on my head and injecting me with it’s terrible venom! Let’s do this! Not to make a Pulp Fiction reference, but remember when John Travolta is driving Uma Thurman home after she overdoses? That’s about how I’m lookin right now.
We parked on the street near the Kelliher’s car. Because people kept dying there, we figured that the warehouse was likely being patrolled, so we decided not to park too close.
We looked ridiculous. On top of the whole weird parasol combat goth look we were rocking, we were also all carrying wire rabbit hutches as we ducked under the caution tape into this abandoned cannery.
Inside was dark and cool. The aisles were tight, the machinery huge and hulking, leaving plenty of space for any number of creepy critters to be hiding out.
“Lodge?” Neal called. “Jess?”
“Should we be shouting?” Julian said and Neal rolled his eyes.
“Lemniscates will find us whether we shout or not,” he said. Apparently they have no eyes or noses or any recognizable sensory organs at all and a lot more study is necessary before we can understand how exactly they work.
But shouting or no, no one answered us.
We crept deeper into the factory. I jumped at every shift and clink of metal, and kept catching myself tipping up my umbrella to look for them lurking in the dusty shadows above us.
We didn’t find anything that first pass, or the second, though there were signs of where the initial crime scenes were. We even found some chalk outlines in the floor behind one of the retorts.
“Maybe they’re not here?” Julian said, but that didn’t really track and by the way he was still looking around intently, I could tell he didn’t really believe it.
“Maybe there’s a basement,” Neal suggested and then above him, a rusty piece of machinery moved.
“What was —” I began, pointing and then I realized, with dawning horror, that it wasn’t machinery I was looking at.
It was huge, not the size of a lobster. It was big enough to blend in with the machinery behind it. It moved sideways, and behind it I could see bodies lying on the concrete. I could hear it’s chitinous joints clicking. It reached with pincers more like mantis scythes than lobster claws.
“Shiloh run,” Neal said, and I even started to do it, but then it jumped, and suddenly it was on the other side of me, blocking off my retreat.
I dropped my stupid ass umbrella.
Julian leveled the rifle and started with tranq darts, but they landed with a useless thunk in it’s thick exoskeleton. He drew his hand gun next, and though it did recoil slightly, it seemed to do so more from the sound than the actual bullets which landed with dull thunks in it’s plates, and didn’t even draw blood.
I scrambled to get away obviously, and the Hawthornes closed in between me and it, but the creature climbed the machinery like any insect crawling across a wall.
It got Julian first, probably to stop him shooting, bowled him over sideways, rolled him over in its enormous claws and stabbed him neatly in the back of the neck. I screamed and it shuddered, and in one smooth motion sprang towards me. It would have squished me like a bug if Neal hadn’t shoved me sideways out of the way. I was close enough that I saw the blood drain out of his face when the venom hit.
I tried to run, but it was too fast. The last thing I saw before the sting was Neal curl up on his side and cover his head with his arms. Then, a horrible piercing feeling in the back of my neck and I closed my eyes.
When I opened them again I was somehow, impossibly, in the woods.
“It’s time, Shiloh,” someone said. I knew the voice at once, but it was so unexpected it took me a moment to realize it as Mr. Herman. I was standing on the edge of a casting circle and at the center of it was a large stone bowl.
Despite visiting this place every night in nightmares for months, my brain still scrambled to understand what it was witnessing.
I was back in the clearing in the woods, at the mouth of the bramble arch, surrounded by cult members.
“Kneel,” Angelica Mission commanded and though I didn’t want to, though I knew better this time, I felt my knees bend.