Lisa Logue Books

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chasers: The Warehouse (Issue #1)

Ben and Joey are called to an abandoned warehouse where shades, one of evil's many consorts, are presumed to be reeking havoc. They must find and destroy them, no matter the cost. What they find lurking scares them so badly, they aren't sure if it was actually real. ***Includes adult language***


The old abandoned warehouse stood like a shadow against the light of the dock. It creaked and groaned with the blowing wind, warning those who dared to enter. But there were a few who were chosen to walk with darkness. At first glance, they looked like everyone else, but if you looked close enough the small tattoo-like marks would glow a faint red, and that’s how you’d know. They are hunters of a sort. More specifically, they are chasers.

“You’re sure the coordinates are right?” Ben wiped the sweat from his forehead. He hated old warehouses. Any other type of building and he was golden. Nothing good happened in warehouses- ever.

Joey glanced at Ben from the corner of his eye and smirked, “What’s the matter, cuz? I thought you liked your job?”

Ben shook his head, “I do like my job, cuz, but I hate warehouses. Remember the one we had in Boston? We barely made it out of there alive. These things find holes within holes to hide in. If we’re lucky enough, we’ll find them all and the place won’t collapse with us inside.”

“That’s the general idea,” Joey quipped as he strapped on the holster for his handgun. One of his favorite parts of hunting was the prep; when they gathered their weapons and supplies before going in balls-to-the-wall. The cool metal would press lightly into his naturally hot skin, sending chills throughout his body. He could almost compare it to sex; almost.

“What’s the story? Do we know how many are in there?” Ben pulled his brother’s old leather riding gloves over his hands, cracking his knuckles so they wouldn’t slip off. Ethan used to wear them when they chased together, but Ethan was dead. All Ben could think about was killing all of the slimy freaks he could get his hands on.

Joey pulled a roughly drawn map from his vest pocket, “The radar pinged where each of the X’s are drawn. With a place this big, there could be layers of these suckers underneath each other. If all else fails, we blow the place. I don’t feel like repeating Boston tonight, either.”

Ben and Joey are no different from the other chasers except that they are blood related. Cousins by blood, brothers by rite, they are inseparable. Years earlier, Ben’s older brother Ethan made sure to bang it into their heads that it was rare for blood to fight together and how important it was to stay together. The Guard didn’t like pairing blood family together in case something happened, which usually meant they didn’t want to kill the bloodline because of someone’s mistake. Ben watched Ethan leave camp without him only one time in his entire life, and Ethan never came back. That’s when Ben knew that he couldn’t let Joey make the same mistake. Blood stuck together, end of story.

“Do we have a point of entry? If the wind blows too hard this place is gonna cave. Fucking warehouses,” Ben popped a piece of gum into his mouth.

Joey slipped the last holster up his leg and synched it tight. He pulled the dip can from his back pocket and stuffed the minty tobacco into his cheek. “Are you gonna bitch the whole time? Jeez, anyone else would swear you were a Rook.”

“I might. Just remember this conversation the next time we have to go to a mausoleum. Who’ll be the Rook then?” Ben threw Joey his pack and shrugged into the rest of his gear. It was almost time to go and they were both tense.

Ever since Ethan’s death, Ben was more anxious than normal. He was a little too cautious for Joey’s taste, but he couldn’t blame the kid. Joey might have been his cousin, but he grew up with Ethan and Ben, spending so much time with them he considered himself more of a brother. With Ethan gone, he couldn’t lose Ben, too. Then he’d really be alone and there wouldn’t be anyone left. Chasers weren’t easy to come by these days.

Joey eyed the map of the warehouse, “It looks like we’ll go in through the south-side door, here, and work our way around. There’s no tellin’ where these bastards are hiding. This place is at least fifty years old. The walls have more holes than Swiss cheese.”

“Yeah, lots of places for things to hide. You ready?” Ben checked the safety on his handgun before holstering it. Joey sheathed his crossbow between his shoulders, “I’m good. Let’s go get it before they realize we’re here.”

Chasers were supposed to rely on stealth and the element of surprise, but Ben and Joey were the polar opposite. Their weapons were loud, as were their mouths, and they didn’t care if they blew up the place as long as everything evil inside was dead. They used more human weapons than traditional chasing weapons. Ben was especially gifted in adapting them to meet their needs.

He could take a normal handgun and modify the ammunition to radiate light before exploding and eradicating the shades or other demons. The crossbow he made was Joey’s favorite by far. The arrows were blessed and dipped in holy water before being run through black fire, thus making black arrows. No matter what Joey shoots, they disintegrate and so does everything else in the vicinity. There was something about exploding force fields and black arrows that could make a guy go weak in the knees. No doubt, Ben was a bad-ass at forging.

Joey took the lead, following the lines he memorized from the map. Ben followed closely, keeping an eye on the dark spots the night created around them. The knot in his stomach tightened with each step. He swallowed down the anxiety before Joey could notice how bad it really was. Ethan’s death haunted him more when they were working.

Once they reached the dilapidated doors, Ben took the grenade from his vest and pulled the pin before tossing it into the pitch black room. It took mere seconds for the flash-bang to go off and that was their queue.

Joey kicked the door in, shooting any and every thing that moved with the black arrows. Ben aimed for the larger masses as they began to retreat into the darker parts of the warehouse. He launched another flash-bang into the air above them, shooting as many lighted bullets into the giant coagulation of darkness as it writhed in pain. The room exploded in light, causing the shrieking demons and black souls to explode to dust.

Joey wiped the ash from his face and looked at Ben. He was standing in the middle of the room as the light faded, ash raining down on him from above and glowing red with the sigils of a true chaser. Ethan would have been proud, he thought. As Joey pivoted his foot on the worn wood, something grabbed his ankle and pulled hard. “Ben!” He yelped before falling into pitch blackness.

“Joey!” Ben ran to the edge of the hole and looked down. His stomach hit the floor. All he could see was black with no sign of Joey at all. He snapped a few flares and chucked them into the hole. The hissing and shrieking began immediately as the most terrifyingly large shade he’d ever laid eyes on moved beneath the opening like a massive wave.

That’s exactly what it was; an ocean of darkness. “Joey!” Ben yelled again, praying for some type of response. It was hard to hear anything above the hissing and popping of the shades and demons around him, but he couldn’t wait any longer. Reaching into his pack, he found the grappling gun and searched for a steady place to anchor it. The warehouse was barely standing on its own, especially after the grenades and gunfire, but the cross-beams would have to do.

“I’m coming, Joey. Just hang on,” Ben said. He shot the inky mass full of lighted bullets before taking the plunge into the hole. He probably should have been afraid, but he wasn’t. All he could think of what saving Joey; how he couldn’t save Ethan. That was his job. Joey was somewhere in the basement and, with any luck, he was still alive.

The hissing noises filled the room and Joey pulled himself up slowly from the damp floor. He had no idea where he’d falled, but the room was much too dark. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as the cloud of evil scaled the walls around him. He’d never seen a shade so big. Light flashed above him like a heat storm and he knew it was Ben. The crazy son of a bitch was actually trying to rescue him. A low growl from the shade was all the warning Joey needed to realize what was about to happen; it was about to take the warehouse down with them inside.

“Joey! Where are you? Joey!” Ben dangled from the rope, suspended above the floor, and scanned the room. The knot in his gut grew at the sight of the basement. The shade took up the entire room, even spilling over as it hugged the ceiling. Most shades were the size of humans; this one could fill almost the entire building. “Joey!” Ben called again, hoping he wasn’t too late.

“Ben, over here! Hurry up, this sucker’s about to take this place down,” Ben turned to his left and saw Joey’s gloved hand sticking up above the misty darkness. “Alright, hang on,” Ben swung himself over and dropped down a few inches to meet Joey’s outstretched hand.

Ben’s fingers formed a death grip around Joey’s wrist and he hit the automatic reel, pulling them both out of the hole with lightening fast quickness. Joey was scratched up and bruised, but was already healing. They looked at each other for a brief moment, silently thanking God that they were still alive. Ben unlatched the grappling hook and set about unpacking the grenades.

“Have you ever seen anything that big?” Joey asked over his shoulder, shooting anything that was left floating around them.

Ben shook his head, “No. I don’t think that’s a regular shade. It’s not acting like one. It should have disintegrated when I used the lighted bullets and it’s still down there like I never touched the damned thing. Fucking warehouses.”

Ben dropped the charges into the hole and he and Joey took off for the exit. Their increased speed was always a plus, especially when blowing things up. The only thing lighting the way through the increasingly darkening warehouse was the faint glow of red from their skin as they jumped through the doors and rolled down the hill to their truck.

They didn’t stop. The grenades exploded and the green flames were so bright it hurt their eyes in the rearview mirrors while they sped away. Ben had deep gashes on his cheek where the brush cut into him during the downhill roll. Joey popped his left shoulder back into place and pulled a nail out of the back of his hand. Normally, they would celebrate their victory, but they were still unsure of what they actually witnessed.

Ben spoke first, “Do we tell them? What if others are walking into this and have no idea. How many are going to die? Or have already?” What he didn’t say out loud was that Ethan could have suffered at the hands of whatever type of shade they just saw. Of course, Joey was already thinking it.

“I honestly don’t know. Do we have any proof? You know we can’t just waltz in there without something to show for it or they’ll think we’re nuts. I’m surprised they’ve let us go so soon after Ethan. Are we one hundred percent sure we saw what we think we saw?” Joey spit out the old dip and stuffed his cheek with another.

“I know what I saw and I know what it looked like. The best we can hope is that it was picked up on our energy drives. Next time we’ll need to bring some thermals just in case. Something feels off about this, doesn’t it? Why would that thing have just been hanging out in an empty basement?” They shrugged, both fighting the same gut feeling that something big was stirring right under their noses. The truth was, they had no idea what it was, just that it was even more abnormal than normal and it scared the hell out of them.

The truck raced down the highway, putting as much distance between them and the warehouse as possible. The green flames eventually turned to the normal orangish-yellow color and the structure collapsed in on itself. It took a long time for firemen and rescue teams to get there, not leaving much for them to do except churn the ashes in an attempt to figure out how the fire started. Lucky for the boys, Ben’s grenades left no traces so there wasn’t anything linking them to the fire.

Eventually, the authorities left and the fire turned to low smoldering embers. The embers eventually began to bubble. Thick tar-like blobs formed and grew, clinging to each other like hot glue. The gooey mass poured from the wreckage and down the hill, following the trail the boys had made during their escape. As it reached the road, the massive goo began to mold itself into something else.

A face appeared in the center. It was that of a woman. Her eyes were almost black and her lips red as blood. She emerged from the mass, standing naked near the shoulder of the highway. The skin she wore was lightly tanned and everything about her was petite. Even her face resembled a teenager’s, sweet and innocent. If not for her imposing glare and jet black hair, one might even think she was a normal human girl.

A car skidded to a stop as its headlights spotted the naked woman. The man behind the wheel jumped out, blanket in tow, and urged the strange girl out of the cold and into the warmth of his SUV. She smiled and nodded, making herself comfortable on the seat beside the human man. She could smell his reluctance and fear, but she wouldn’t kill him yet. She needed information first and he was going to be easy to manipulate.

“What’s your name, sweetie?” He asked in a hushed voice. She guessed he was afraid of scaring her. If only he knew what he had ushered into his car.

“Name?” She answered quizzically. She didn’t have a human name that she knew of. She hadn’t walked on the surface for thousands of years. Her true name wasn’t one even pronounceable in the human tongue.

The man gave her a strange look, “Sure. My name is Hank. I don’t want you to be afraid of me, I won’t hurt you.”

She smiled again, “Not afraid.” Clearly, her human tongue was not yet available to her. Still, she had a start. The human Hank was going to be very helpful. “Mara. My name is Mara.”

Hank smiled, “Nice to meet you Mara. Is there somewhere I can take you? Do you have family nearby? What on Earth were you doing out here by yourself?” He asked many questions, but Mara reined in her impatience.

“No family. I cannot remember why, just that I am. Can you help?” Mara struggled with the words. Hank smiled again and patted her shoulder, “Sure, Mara. We’ll figure it out. You can stay at my house for now until we figure out what happened. Will that be alright? I have a guest room over my garage. You will have privacy there.”

Mara nodded and a sinister smile spread across her face. Yes, the human Hank would be very useful. Stupid humans. It was no wonder they had to be protected by the angel bile who called themselves chasers. Soon, she thought, soon.

© 2013 Lisa Logue
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