July 23, 2017

George A. Romero (1940-2017)

[Posted by Ted H]

So George Romero died last week.
Contrary to what I've posted before, I'm a huge fan of his work, with the Dead Trilogy being the focal point of my respect and admiration. Hell, the reason I rag on his lesser 2 (I refuse to watch the other one) Dead movies was because of how awesome the first 3 were. I hated Land and Diary out of love. What we lose from Romero is another Dead movie (maybe it's for the best since he described it as "Fast and the Furious with zombies") as well as a previously cancelled zombie video game.
What I will never get over is how he was originally slated to write and direct the Resident Evil film. His script was rejected in favor of Paul Andersons...Now I actually got to read part of Romero's script, and I can't for the life of me see what was so wrong about it compared to what Anderson ended up with.

I was raised on movies like Romero's growing up. I still have an old beat up VHS of the '68 classic (though now I obviously rock a DVD) and I still remember when my parents came home one day with Dawn of the Dead as a surprise. Personally, I can't wait to raise kids of my own so I can raise them with Romero movies instead of Disney. My kids'll be more badass than yours.

The modern zombie lost its creator, folks, and the world will never be the same.
And now I'm really never gonna bother with Survival of the Dead...

....And if something happens to Sam Raimi at this point, I swear to God...

April 21, 2017

Pure Human - Born From Nightmares

[Posted by Ted H]

Yes, I am clearly a bad person....but let's focus on how I remembered to get some writing dont for once...


[Pure Human - Born From Nightmares]

            John wasted little time arriving to Joey's house, but the rain refused to let up. Blake climbed out and took cover under a nearby tree while waiting for the girls to catch up. "Blake, get back in the car!" John yelled from out the window, straining to be heard through the rain. Blake ignored him and looked around. Despite being in the morning, the street lights were still needed to see through the darkness and rain.
            Two more cars arrived while Blake stepped into the rain to get to the cop car parked nearby that he spotted. "Hello?" he called to it as he approached, only to realize that it was empty. "Not very comforting," he mumbled to himself as suddenly it stopped raining on him and he saw Kimberly standing next to him with an umbrella. "Didn't your momma ever warn you about catching your death in rain like this?" she asked. They returned to the tree where Whitey and John were waiting.
            "You haven't gone in yet?" Whitey exclaimed.
            "Not leaving Bryant alone," Blake said.
            "What if those things are inside right now?"
            "They're either already gone or not here yet. Simultaneous arrivals are incredible unlikely."
            "Fine," Whitey said "Let's just go."
            "You're staying here."
            "Excuse me?"
            "Like I said, no way I'm leaving Bryant alone," Blake said matter-of-factly "And Kimberly stays out here on the off chance that those things haven't arrived yet. You're on babysitting duty."
            "The hell I am!" Whitey screamed.
            "Someone's gotta protect Kimberly," Blake stated as he started walking towards the house in the rain, John quickly trailing.
            "Please don't let those horrible monsters get me, miss holy lady," Kimberly said with a pout."
            "You're on his side?" Whitey asked.
            "I was never really on yours to begin with."
            Blake and John quickly made their way to the front door. "Locked," Blake said as he tried the handle. "That's a good sign, right?" John asked. Blake ignored him and headed for the back where he hoped that the broken window was still left open. Along the way they crossed over the tattered remains of a police officer; ripped to shreds and without a head. "That's disappointing," John said as Blake jumped over and turned for the back.
            Blake carefully climbed his way through the still exposed kitchen window and started running for the stairs. "Anin? Joey? Anybody?" he yelled out to no reply. The layout of the house was chaotic, but nothing was different from when they left before. There wasn't any sign of a recent struggle. John had just climbed in himself when Blake took off up the stairs.
            "Anyone?" Blake called as he made for the bedroom. Inside was the same bloody mess they left before, the only addition was Joey face down on the ground in the middle of the room. "Don't be dead. Don't be dead. Don't be dead," Blake repeated to himself as he ran over and checked Joey's body. The man groaned as Blake rolled him over and John caught up. "Is he ok?" John asked. "Comparatively," Blake said "I'm honestly surprised yet totally grateful."
            "What happened?" Joey asked as he sat up and rubbed the back of his head.
            "We were kind of hoping you would fill us in on that," Blake said.
            "Anin!" Joey screamed as he suddenly realized and tried to jump to his feet but fell back over. "She's not here," Blake said "At least nowhere obvious."
            "Oh my God," Joey said as he rubbed his head again.
            "Talk," Blake said "Quickly."
            "Those things," Joey said "Anin knew they were coming back. They were coming for her."
            "How would she know that?" John asked.     
            "No idea," Joey said with a shrug "But I looked in her eyes and she was convinced. She said they'd kill the cops and come for her next. I suggested we'd try to run or something, but she said it wouldn't be any good. I ran for the closet where I kept a bat and handed it to her. Then I turned around to look for the lockbox where I keep a pistol and the next thing I know, I'm on the ground with you over me."
            John picked up the discarded bat and looked to Joey. "Well," he said "I think we can all agree that arming her was a bad idea. But at least we know why you're still alive."
            "Why would she do that?" Joey asked as he stopped rubbing his head "I was trying to protect her."
            "I don't think she wanted to be protected," Blake said "She knew they wanted her alive. The big bad wants her alive."
            "But why?" Joey asked.
            "I dunno," Blake said "Let's find out."
            "How we gonna find her?" John asked.
            "She knew they were coming for her," Blake said "And if she had the time to knock Joey out to spare him, what else would she have the time for?"
            "Well," John said "My first guess would be to hide. But that's clearly too easy."
            "She also knew we'd come back and attempt to find her," Blake said as he looked about the bedroom until he found what he was looking for under a pillow "So she took the time to prep and charge these." Blake held up one of Anin's sleep stones, which gave off a faint glow.
            "Clever bitch," John said.
            "The closer we are," Blake said "The brighter these glow."
            "So what are we waiting for?" John asked as he grabbed some stones from Blake and made for the door. Blake followed suit, but when Joey tried following, Blake stopped him. "What do you think you're doing?" he asked.
            "I'm coming too," Joey stated.
            "Yeah, no," Blake responded "Best leave things to the professionals."
            "Anin's my girl. No way I'm staying on the sidelines if she's in danger."
            "How badly do you think she wants you involved?" Blake asked "She just got done blindsiding you before running off with something that claims it's human. To me, that pretty much says 'Don't get involved' in bright neon letters."
            "Blake," John said as he attempted to intervene, but Blake turned back to confront him. "He's too emotionally invested," Blake stated "He'll only get in the way."
            "Still..." John attempted.
            "Remember when I let you involve yourself to save your sister? All that resulted in was you almost dying."
            "You're really gonna play that card?" John asked plainly.
            "You almost died and you knew what you were doing. This guy thinks a baseball bat will help fend off monsters born from nightmares. I'd like to avoid any unnecessary deaths tonight if you don't mind!"
            "What would you have me do then?" Joey demanded, arms in the air.
            "Be the guaranteed survivor of this entire mess," Blake said.
            Joey glared at Blake a moment before his shoulders sagged and he backed off. "Just..." he started, but hesitated. Blake rolled his eyes, but decided to humor him an extra moment. "Just promise me you'll bring her back," Joey finally got out "Or at least try to." Blake shook his head and stormed off muttering "This idiot," as he left. "We'll do what we have to," John reassured Joey before following Blake.

March 12, 2017

Pure Human - To the Gas Station

[Posted by Ted H]

Finding time to finish....go figure...

[Pure Human - To the Gas Station]

            The rain continued to fall hard as the storms wind only intensified. Blake marveled at it as he stepped out the car while under the relative protection offered at the gas station pump overhead. John didn't need the gas, but he had mentioned to Blake that this would be where everyone from earlier would meet up. Blake spied a familiar face looking out at him from the station doors; One of the clerks who rudely denied him cigarettes before. Blake held up a pack and stuck his tongue out at them.
            "Mature," John said as he and Blake watched through the rain as two more cars drove in towards them. A flash of lightning briefly illuminated the women in their cars; Kimberly, who was afraid of the sudden lightning, and Whitey, who wore a stern expression as she drove by.
            "How nice of you to wake up and join us," Whitey mocked as she stepped out.
            "Don't you have someone else to annoy at this point?" Blake spat back.
            "What happened to you?" Kimberly asked as she ran over.
            "Our big bad is scared," Blake said "We need to figure out why and stop whatever he's trying."
            "Didn't you just get done earlier saying how we were in an optimistic situation?" John questioned. Blake sighed before continuing. "That was before he made a play at me," he responded "Apparently he has a different way to win that we weren't anticipating."
            "Seriously?" John asked.
            "Yeah," Blake said "He told me pretty much that my usefulness had ended, or something like that."
            "So you were assisting the enemy!" Whitey screamed loud enough to be heard by the gas station attendant through the storm. "Simmer down!" John yelled. "No, it makes sense," Whitey said "That's how you've been one step ahead of me this entire time!"
            "Then why did the ghost man attack him?" Kimberly asked. "Betrayed by your master," Whitey scoffed "Cry me a river."
            "Are you done?" Blake asked "Because I've been one step ahead because unlike you, I'm no amateur. This is my job." John stepped between them. "Calm down, both of you," he said "Blake, what usefulness were we providing him?"
            "Beats me," Blake said as he shrugged "All we've done since arriving is find his pets' crime scenes and kill one of them off."
            "Maybe they get stronger when there's fewer?" John asked "Like they all share the same power supply. One less using the power means more for everyone else?"
            "Nah," Blake said "Then why bother creating seven? One or two would suffice."
            "Maybe ghost guy knows how to be stronger to give his creations more juice!" Brittany said excitedly.
            "No. Guys," Blake started "He wants to amplify his influence, not strengthen its impact."
            "Amplify the what?" Kimberly asked.
            "Make it easier to...do his thing," John said.
            "He needs a better connection," Blake said "Right now he's stuck influencing people under a very specific situation. I guess he's trying to find an easier way to interact with people."
            "He would need a physical body for that," Whitey said.
            "Then why not just possess you instead of try to get you killed?" John asked.
            "And how would you be useful for a physical body?" Kimberly asked.
            Blake thought about it for a moment while a flash of lightning lit everything up nearby. His eyes then went wide as he looked to John. "We need to get to Anin, now!" he shouted. "What?" John asked. "Who?" Kimberly said. "They weren't trying to kill her last night," Blake said "They were going to abduct her!"
            "Holy shit," John said as he sprinted around to the drivers side. "What's going on?" Whitey yelled. "Just follow us, no time!" Blake yelled as he climbed into the car as John started the engine and peeled out back into the storm. "Ok, I know we just did a thing back there," John said as he drove "But I'm a little fuzzy on the details. What's going on with Anin?"
            "Why didn't those things do anything to her back at the house?" Blake asked.
            "Because they're insane?"
            "Vitaearnus needs to strengthen his influence. His goal is to corrupt more people into his monsters with less effort."
            "And how do we and Anin factor into that?"
            "We brought Anin here...and Anin has already exhibited an ability to delve into another person's mind."
            "I thought Anin can only passively observe or some shit, not actually do anything inside someone's brain?"
            "She can open the door, so to speak, which is the hard part."
            "Aw man," John said "This is our fault."
            "Nah," Blake said as he contemplated his shortening cigarette "He's been reaching out to her in her dreams for a while before she came to us. One way or another she'd have ended up here. At least this way we're in a position to help her."
            "But can we actually do anything?"
            "Just drive. Fast."

February 18, 2017

Pure Human - Doing a Thing

[Posted by Ted H]

Wow....There's a really good excuse....I'm just not gonna talk about it...


[Pure Human - Doing a Thing]

            Blake needed a moment to understand where he was when he awoke. The world was zooming passed in with darkness, driving rain and bright lights. It took longer than it should have for Blake to realize that he was looking up at streetlights while riding in John's car. "Good morning, princess," John said as Blake rubbed his eyes and sat up from his slouched position. "How long was I out?" Blake asked. "Long enough to have to be carried out," John responded without looking over.
            "Any resistance from those things?" Blake asked as he turned his head to see there was someone in the back seat.
            "Nah," John said "They set fire to the building and made for the hills.
            "Whimps," Blake muttered as he looked to Bryant, handcuffed and holding his injured foot. "Why is he here?" John didn't look away from the road as he said "Would you prefer we leave him to his own devices?"
            "I'd prefer if we tossed him off a bridge," Blake said "You can follow him, too. I thought you said you had him detained?"
            "He was. I had to uncuff him and toss him in here after dragging your ass out."
            "Then how did the building conveniently catch fire?"
            "They did it," Bryant said in a low voice.
            "And they spared you?" Blake asked, skepticism heavy in his voice.
            "I guess they had better things to do."
            John turned away from the road long enough to exchange a look with Blake. Blake then looked back to Bryant and shook his head. "I can shenanigans," he said "Those things don't tend to spare many in their wake. Two people I can think of weren't killed on sight, and those things instead messed heavily with both of them. So you're going to sit there and tell me that they passed you without even a second thought?"
            "Are you honestly going to try and attribute rational thought or motives to those things?" Bryant asked. "Yes," Blake said without missing a beat "Because underneath all that monster and psychotic actions, they're ultimately human." Bryant gave Blake a stern look as the other man turned back around. "Where's your phone?" Blake asked John as he worked a cigarette into his mouth.
            "In my pocket," John said "Can whatever you need wait?"
            "Seriously?" Blake asked "Which pocket?"
            "Stay out of my pants."
            "Be mature. This is important."
            "What's so important that can't wait five God damn minutes?"
            "I just woke up from a Mister Anus attack, and you're wondering what the rush is? I need to call Matthew."
            "What did you call him?" Bryant asked from the back, being ignored.
            "If Matthew had an update," John said "I'm sure he'd have notified us by now."
            "Maybe hearing what just happened to me will narrow down his search," Blake mumbled as he flicked his lighter.
            "Probably not. I'm sure what Anus did back there isn't uncommon."
            "What are you both, twelve?" Bryant said. "Can you not talk right now?" Blake said as he turned around with a freshly lit cigarette and looked to Bryant.
            "I'm just saying," Bryant protested "There's a supernatural monstrosity out there, responsible for all the death and torment going around, that you're making fun of their name. You really think it wise to antagonize something like that?"
            "I do," Blake said as he blew smoke at Bryant "And besides, Anus isn't the true monstrosity behind the death and torment. That would be you." Bryant glared at Blake as he blew more smoke and turned back around. "What have I said about smoking in my car?" John asked, annoyed. "Shut up," Blake said "I was doing a thing."

January 29, 2017


[Posted by Ted H]

Wow....hi.....so yeah, I've all but forgotten this site. Next week I'll be around...hopefully...

I've got plans for the year, including my return to NaNoWriMo, but 1st things first: Let's finish Pure Human...

December 11, 2016

Pure Human - Dead on a Mountain

[Posted by Ted H]

So...Gonna put up my 2017 New Years Resolution to post with more regularity. Pure Human is almost done...but in my drive to get to the finish, I keep forgetting to actually update the site...


[Pure Human - Dead on a Mountain]

            Blake should be cold, common sense dictated that since he was sitting near the peak of a mountain. He was quite comfortable though in just his trench coat. He idly thought of a cigarette, but he questioned his ability to light it with the wind blowing the way it was. "I don't particularly feel like looking around," he announced with surprising clarity and volume despite his location, a further indicator that he wasn't actually where he was perceived to be.
            The Faded Man appeared before him, walking up the mountain. "Would you prefer the park again?" he asked as he reached Blake, who stood up. "Nah, that's Anin's dream world," Blake said as he looked about to the cloudy view of his mountain top. "Makes me wonder," he continued "Is the park from Anin's dream world a real park, or just something random?"
            "Is this mountain real?" the Faded Man asked back.
            "Well this IS Everest, right?" Blake said "Or at least what I envision it to be. I doubt you picked it, since I was thinking of it on my own at the time you so rudely intruded my personal space."
            "You bring your dead to the top of a mountain?" the Faded Man asked as Blake began to understand the original question.
            "Not really," Blake said "Everest is no joke. You die, you're left behind. Already too dangerous to begin. Main focus is still how do you get yourself down; no time to think about the dead." The Faded Man furrowed his eyebrows at the statement. "It's odd, I know," Blake said as he looked towards the nearest body to where he sat "But it's a cruel world, isn't that right 'green boots'?" The dead body nearby did not respond.
            "Hmm," Blake muttered "I figured this is my world, I could get him to do something. Maybe I need to focus-"
            The Faded Man cleared his throat, grabbing Blake's attention.
            "Right, whatever," Blake said "So why are we here? A bit early to gloat."
            "You've served your purpose. I'd rather dispose of you now while I have a chance, even if the best I can muster is incapacitating you in a fire."
            "Hoping it slows my friends down and they all get caught in the blaze?" Blake tossed out.
            "Or they just leave you behind, whichever works."
            "What's the matter? I get one of your precious monsters killed and now you don't want me around?"
            "They are expendable, more so once my influence becomes amplified."
            "What makes you think you can even amplify yourself? You've relied on some pretty specific circumstances to this point in order to gain access into people. And what's to say you're gonna be allowed to even get stronger?"
            "Like you even have an inkling on how to stop me," the Faded Man taunted.
            "Then why bother with all of this? If I don't have a clue on how to win, why even concern yourself with my involvement?
            The Faded Man said nothing and smirked at Blake in a way that annoyed him. The kind of smirk you give to someone oblivious to something completely obvious to you. The superior smirk of a smug ass that made Blake want to walk over and pummel the Faded Man until he stopped. As he felt the anger, Blake noticed the wind around him start to pick up and have a bite to it as it blew passed his face. "We're done here," he said.
            "You don't decide anything," the Faded Man replied.
            "You want to strut around and show off how powerful you are," Blake said as he stood up "Show off the hold you have on humans and complain how this is your world and blah blah blah. Funny thing is, right now, you're in my world." At Blake's command, the wind of the mountain began to blow in one direction at the Faded Man, trying to blow him down the mountain.
            "Adorable," the Faded Man commented but ultimately held his footing "But this vessel is of my original creation."
            "And just like Earth, you no longer hold true control over it anymore," Blake shouted over the winds as all the dead on the mountain began to rise up and run for the Faded Man. They were pushed away at first, but soon they numbered too many as they collided to smother the Faded Man. Blake then willed a tremor through the mountain that triggered an avalanche. The falling snow began down the mountain, but curved its path to avoid Blake and head straight for the Faded Man, who was slowly being pushed back away by the wind and the dead.
            The Faded Man struggled to poke his head through the dead and to face Blake briefly before the avalanche hit. He then spoke in such a way that his voice cut through the sound of wind and chaos around to be heard clearly by Blake. "I look forward to twisting you into my pure creation once more." Before Blake even cared to respond, the avalanche crashed through and everyone was gone.

November 24, 2016

Pure Human - Pecking Order

[Posted by Ted H]

Here's a super awesome 1st ever Thanksgiving update!


[Pure Human - Pecking Order]

            "Why are you here?" Blake demanded as he walked in to seem Whitey praying over a tattered corpse. "Don't take that tone with me!" Whitey yelled back. "And you!" Blake turned to yell at John "I told you to be white on rice with Bryant, not white on fried rice. Where is he?"
            "Detained," John said "And hobbled."
            "Oh," Blake said as he nodded approvingly "Good enough."
            "You would approve of unwarranted violence," Whitey snapped.
            "If it makes my job easier, you'd be surprised at what I approve of," Blake said "Now how in the world did you even get here?"
            "That coat of yours isn't exactly subtle. It's a beacon of energy that's just calling out for me to smite it."
            "Whatever," Blake dismissed her "You do realize it sends mixed signals when you show up randomly like this when I'm working, right?" Whitey scoffed as she turned to continue praying over a body. "Don't bother praying for whoever that was. In case it isn't obvious, we're at ground zero for all this chaos, and these guys were responsible."
            "No one is above prayer," Whitey said.
            Blake rolled his eyes and turned away from Whitey as she prayed softly to herself. "What now?" John asked "I know he's mostly harmless and all, but I'm not too sure about being in the same building as the fading guy."
            "We plan more accordingly," Blake said, contemplating a cigarette "We know the limitations of Vitaearnus, we know there were seven of those creatures (now six) and we know those things are extremely fragile so long as none of them get the drop on you."
            "So...optimism?" John asked.
            "I know, right?" Blake said "This feels a little weird. Usually we're-" Blake cut himself off as he snapped his attention to the hallway heading to the stairs. "Something's here," he said.
            "Bryant?" John asked as he readied his gun. "Nah," Blake said as he pulled Kimberly behind him. "I don't hear anything," Whitey said. "Whispers...Clicking," Blake said as John's eyes went wide and he trained his gun at the door. "Only one way in here," John said as he aimed "Even those things can't be that foolish, right?"
            "They're not," Blake said "But they're out there."
            "Well there's only one way in here," John said "So let's hope they're as suicidal as we hope."
            "Sounds like they're more likely to wait for us to foolishly try to escape," Whitey said "Only way in is also the only way out."
            "Wait," Kimberly said "More of those things? Like what you had me look at before? They catch fire in sunlight or whatever. How did any of them come here?"
            "Weather was about to get pretty bad when I was last out there," John said "Pretty dark looking."
            "Convenient," Blake mumbled.
            "How did they even know to come here?" Kimberly asked.
            "They were created here," Whitey spat as she readied herself "They most likely live here."
            "You don't murder your way to freedom just to live next to your old cage," Blake said.
            "Well then they probably were drawn to your evil energy," Whitey replied "Same way I found you."
            Blake rolled his eyes, then spun his head around in realization. "That's why he was here!" he cried out.
            "Who?" John asked without looking over, eyes trained on the only exit.
            "Vitaearnus," Blake said "Called his children home to do his dirty work."
            "I knew finding you was a bad idea," Whitey said as she pressed her hands together and began whispering a prayer into them.
            "You kidding me?" Blake asked "For once you're actually involved in the case!"
            "Guys," Kimberly interrupted "Nothing is coming."
            "Hmmm," John said "Maybe camouflage?"
            "We'd still hear them, and they're not getting closer," Blake said
            "Maybe they're using stealth," Whitey said condescendingly "Or do you not know why camouflage is a thing?"
            "They can't camouflage like that you tit, they're night dwelling creatures by nature," Kimberly shouted "How do you not know this?"
            "Stay out of this," Whitey said "This doesn't concern you. Blake was foolish to risk your life by involving you."
            "Are you serious?" Kimberly said "I just got here while you've been looking into this for way longer. And I still know more about these things than you." Whitey flashed a shocked look which soon turned to anger. She was about to respond when John interjected. "Can we focus, please?" he yelled.
            "Relax," Kimberly said "They're waiting for us to make a move."
            "How are you sure?" Blake asked.
            "We're in a bit of an entrenched position," Kimberly said "And with your ghost buddy calling out orders, he know it'd be suicide to charge in after us. So they obviously need to get us out of here first."
            "And how would they do that?" Blake asked.
            "Obviously burn us out, duh. Set fire to everything and wait for us to evacuate."   
            "How would you think a fire?" John asked.
            Kimberly was silent for a moment while eyeing everyone. "Does no one else smell the smoke?" she asked. Blake and John looked at each other quickly before smelling the air. "It's faint," John said "But something is burning, yeah."
            "When were you going to say something!" Blake shouted.
            "I thought you knew!" Kimberly shouted back "How could you not smell that right away! I thought you just had some big James-Blake-style plan to get the upper hand and that's why we were waiting around in a burning building."
            "Seriously?!" Blake shouted "Even if I did have a plan, step one would still be get out of the freakin fire!"
            "Well do you have a plan now, or what?" Kimberly asked
            Blake sighed before looking to the others. "John, take point. Whitey, hang back and watch our six," he said before turning back to Kimberly "You, stay behind me."
            John nodded and slowly walked into the hallway, gun drawn. Blake followed with Kimberly right behind. Whitey checked back to where the fading man had been before she followed, ready to strike at anything approaching. They made it to the stairwell, the smell of smoke building as they made their way.
            The sounds of crackling flames from above enveloped the stairwell as they entered and a bright red light shone from the opening at the top. "That's not a good sign," John commented as he began up, gun raised "I'll scout ahead quick and make sure it's safe. "Hold up," Blake said as he heard a strong and angry whisper behind him. John ignored him and continued up.
            Blake still had enough remnants of the blue chalk on his hand, so he dug his lighter back out and casted the shadow trick and checked back the way they came. Walking passed Whitey and heading for Blake was the fading man again. The shadow he was casting suggested him raising his arms towards Blake's head. "What's going on back th-" was all Blake heard John say before darkness overtook him and he collapsed.
            "Oh you've got to be kidding me," Whitey said as she quickly backed up. Kimberly sprinted through the hall, foolishly passed where Blake just fell, and hid behind Whitey as John came barreling down the stairs. Whitey prepped her hands with glowing light and held them in front of herself, set to hold off the invisible adversary somewhere in front of her.
            "What the hell happened?" John asked as he ran over to Blake. "Don't go near there!" Whitey called. "Why?" John questioned. "Invisible man!" Kimberly yelled. "And how do you expect to escape?" John asked "You're on the wrong side of the hall to be afraid of something invisible in it."
            Neither girl answered him as he reached Blake and crouched down. He was alive, but out cold. "This is where you'd say something dumb and snarky," John whispered as he pulled Blake's arm up and grabbed his lighter "You'd mock everyone and say something about how if something was going to happen it would've already happened."
            John hoped that Blake's shadow casting trick didn't require the user to be conscious. He ignited the lighter and held Blake's chalked hand out behind it, careful to avoid setting the man's hand on fire. The blue hue flashed out towards the girls to reveal nothing unseen near them. John then adjusted to show the other end of the hallway. The faded man was nowhere to be seen or unseen.
            "Where did he go?" Whitey asked as she calmed her hands down. "Maybe he stole James' soul and escaped with it!" Kimberly threw out there. "Are you two really gonna question this now? With a burning building over us?" John yelled as he grabbed Blake's body and threw it over his shoulder.
            "Wait!" Whitey cried out "Those creatures may still be up there!"
            "Your point?" John asked as he held out his handgun with his free arm.
            "Can you fight them while carrying Blake?"
            "Not really sure, but it's not like either of you can carry a grown ass man out of a burning building."
            "No, but....is this really the safest option for everyone?"
            "Are you suggesting we leave Blake behind?"
            Whitey bit her lip, unsure of what to say before she finally answered "...No, but..."
            "Learn the pecking order," John said as he started for the stairs.