No dialogue for this part. As we got closer to Truth’s skyscraper, the recorder started to only pick up static.
There were no valets to take Ahriman’s car this time. No one was outside the building at all, so Ahriman (illegally) parked by the curb, and we ran inside. The lobby looked like an anthill that had been kicked over. Very serious men in suits with impressive looking guns stood by all the entrances, and herded panicking proxies to wherever they needed to go. Manton and his team met us, and told us that a place had been set aside for us to stay until the situation was resolved. Until then, we would stay here, under guard, with all the entrances carefully watched to ensure no one could get inside. For the first time in a month, I breathed a sigh of relief. Lepidus put a hand on my shoulder, and we shared a smile. For us, at least, this little war was over.
A piercing sound shrieked from the earpieces of all the guards, loud enough that even I could hear it. Many of the guards simply collapsed, and even the ones still standing were clutching their heads.
Before I could react to the noise, Sky fell and began to thrash on the floor. In a moment, Lepidus identified it as a seizure, and rolled her onto her side as she started to vomit. I started to come over to help before she hurt herself, but then…
Then a car smashed through the glass front door, running over the prone guards in its way. Arkady jumped out of the car and stabbed the closest standing proxy in the gut. He glanced around the room, and when he saw us, started running at us. All the guards were still incapacitated, and most of the other proxies had run for cover as soon as Arkady showed up. I watched him coming closer, and I knew there was nothing I could do to stop him. He was going to kill me right there, then kill the rest of us, and I was utterly helpless in face of that….
Of all people, it was Ahriman who stepped between Arkady and me. Arkady hit him with another of those hammer like punches, and I was sure that the fight was over then. Ahriman staggered, but kept standing, and brought his fist into Arkady’s chin in an uppercut. I think Arkady was as surprised as I was, because he didn’t even try to block as Ahriman continued to attack.
That shock didn’t last long enough, and soon Arkady was laughing like a kid as he started to viciously fight back. Ahriman held his own better than I thought possible, but it was clear he couldn’t keep it up very long.
Sky suddenly arced her back and began shouting sounds unlike anything that should have come from a young girl’s voice. Fog rolled in through the hole Arkady’s car had made, filling the lobby in seconds. All the lights went out, leaving us in total darkness. Then they came back on, and now the Boss was standing in the center of the lobby. There was a moment of silence as everyone took in his presence. Then, the lights went out again.
When everything went dark this time, the darkness was accompanied by screams. The lights turned back on a few seconds later, and the first thing I saw were bodies everywhere. The Boss was still standing in the same place, but tentacles were coming out of his back, and lashing at everyone around him. Anyone caught by those tentacles was ripped apart in seconds, showering blood and organs all over the room. My first instinct when I saw that was RUN, and I followed that without question, blindly sprinting away from the carnage. I made it a few feet before the lights went off again, and I tripped over something. But instead of falling onto the hard floor, I landed in water. When I stood up, for a moment I was standing in knee deep grey water, illuminated by a faint red glow from above. Then everything went dark, and when I took a step it was back on solid ground. The lights came back, and I was in the lobby again.
I saw the elevator not far from where I was, so I started running to it. Another proxy was already at the door, pressing the up button over and over. A ding sound came from the elevator, and the door opened. The proxy took two steps inside when black roots ripped out from the ground underneath him, wrapping around his legs and pulling him to the floor. More roots wrapped around his body, growing through his eyes and mouth, choking off his screams.
The elevator looked like a no go. I turned around and started to run for the stairs instead. Before I could reach it, the lights went off again, and were replaced by that red glow. When the change occurred, I was again wading through grey water, but this time I was also surrounded by black branches. I pushed my way past them, until I came into an opening. All around me, growing out of the water, were black, leafless trees.
Arkady burst from the trees, looking very disoriented. When he saw me, he raised his knife to attack, but I quickly turned to run.
There was another flash of darkness, and I was back in the lobby, with Arkady nowhere around. The door to the stairwell was so close, and I sprinted as fast as I could, jumping over the roots growing out of the floor. Once past the door, I was taking the steps two at a time, not paying attention to the floor number, just trying to get as far from the lobby as I could, until my lungs were burning too much to breath. I went back out a door, onto a floor filled with cubicles, just as the lights went out again, along with the sound of a gust of howling wind.
The now familiar dim red light quickly came. But this time, I was still inside the building. When I looked out a window, I didn’t see the city of Phoenix outside. Instead, stretching on to the horizon was a foggy swamp dotted with black trees. And in the sky, partially obscured by a ceiling of grey clouds, was a huge red sun.
In the time I’ve been resting on this floor, it hasn’t changed back, so I’m getting the horrible suspicion that I’m stuck wherever this is. My electronics have been acting weird, but they work enough for me to type this. I just have to ignore the random strings of letters and numbers that keep appearing on my screen, or the fact that the clock just says “00:00.” I’m still getting WiFi, but it’s only one bar, and I keep seeing random strings of HTML across most pages. Hopefully it’s still enough for me to get this post up.
I have no idea what’s going on, and I really just want to curl up and hide somewhere. But I need to go and try to see if I can find anyone else.