Prologue

A man stood behind an ornate wooden table with his head down, loading a black revolver. He was deep into the middle of his life, and it showed, the wrinkles on his face were not just because of the stress that plagued him right now. This man's name was Gregory Mitchell, and today was the day that he would die.

Gregory wasn't particularly unhealthy, and he definitely wasn't too old. He was just unlucky, very unlucky.

A bluish suit hung on his thick frame, and a fat black tie lay on his chest. His attire made him look fat, but in truth, he was average weight and height for his age. In fact, he was average in a great deal of ways. Except he knew how to use a gun, his employers had made sure of this. That should have warned Gregory that a time like now might someday come. But he couldn't have predicted this, no one could've done.

The gun lay still in his hands. And right now, even though he didn't want to, he might have to use it.

The sounds of machine gun fire and screaming crept up from the lower floors and into his office. It hammered more cracks into his psyche, fracturing any feelings of courage that had remained. Security had assured him that the "disturbance" would be taken care of. But now, he wasn't so sure. At least that was until the howls started, then Gregory realized that this was no simple disturbance.

A chorus of howls had begun, and now they echoed off the walls outnumbering the screams and providing a soundtrack to what was now a warzone. And the only thing that stood in-between him and the madness outside was a single, wooden, locked door. As the fear began to consume his mind, he began to curse.

Gregory cursed the people that had promised him a cushy job at a remote office, he cursed the elaborate vases and exquisite paintings that lined the room, but most of all he cursed himself from coming into work tonight instead of staying at home with his wife and children. However, his hopeless ranting was cut short by a sound that sent his stopped his heart and sent a chill running down his spine. It was the sound of silence.

A bead of sweat ran down the side of his face as he stared at the door in front of him. There was no way that this could happen, but he was sure. The gunfire had seceded, the screams were no more and the howls had faded away into nothingness.

So he stepped out from his desk and began taking slow, deliberate steps towards the door. There was only one thing to do. Gregory put his ear to it, using his hearing to search for any clue to the conclusion of what had just taken place. He was mere seconds away from thinking that he may have to open the door and relinquish his safe zone, but then something changed.

Gregory leapt backwards, suddenly taking deep breaths and training his gun on the door. A noise had reached his ears, and now it was one that haunted the corridors of his mind. It was soft and slow, but unmistakable.

It was scratching.

The louder the noise got, the more he wanted to ignore it, to call it a trick of the mind. He wanted this more than he had ever wanted anything in his entire life. But he knew that this was real. And he knew he had to do something about it. His hands had begun an involuntary dance, but Gregory ignored them, he forced them to be still as he raised his revolver, pointing it at the door.

The gun felt heavy, heavier than anything he had ever handled on the practice range. The gun shook from left to right, as it seemed like a flood of sweat swept down his face. He had been forced to learn thousands of calming techniques when he had learned to shoot, but right now, he couldn't even come up with one. So he simply clenched his jaw, and pulled the trigger.

BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

The revolvers' battle cry filled the air, sending three bullets spinning into the wood in front of him. Gregory stood dead still, desperately listening out for any sound. The scratching had gone. Relief washed through him, liberating him from the weight that had troubled him for so long. For the first time tonight, he started to think that he might live to see tomorrow. But he was wrong. Dead wrong.

Without warning, Gregory fired upwards, uncontrollably spinning and screaming for maybe a second before he crashed into the ceiling with a sickening crack. Then gravity reclaimed his body, setting him up for a painful reunion with the ground. And as he met the ground once more, his vision flashed as a red curtain fell over his eyes. Consciousness fled the sinking ship that was now his body. But that was not to be his final resting place. No, somebody or something had a very different ideas for him.