A woman hurried down an empty street, her clenched hands buried deep in the pockets of her jacket. The feeling of being followed caused her to glance over her shoulder. Each flash of light that sped past tore a startled yelp from her lips. Coming to a stop at the mouth of an alley. Chest heaving, her pulse racing, she stared down into the shadows. She had to keep going, she had come this far, so she took a step forward, then another and by the third step, fear, anxiety, duty, and hunger propelled her forward the rest of the way.
"Come on Emily, you can't chicken out now," she chastised, the words echoing off the walls that seemed to close in on her. Her rapid footsteps betrayed just how anxious she was, if the news stories about random attacks by gangs or fierce animals were anything to go by, she had every reason to be. Shuddering, she tried to suppress her sense of unease, and the knowledge that if her mother found out that she had snuck out at night, monsters and gangsters were the least of her concerns. Looking up Emily good see her destination, a featureless, grey industrial building loomed ahead of her, her only obstacle was a mountain of a man dressed in a black suit and tie standing in the circle created by an above security light.
Pausing at the lip of the circle, Emily took a moment to take a breath to recompose herself before crossing the threshold towards the door, stopping only when the suit raised a hand.
"Isn't it past your bedtime, little girl?" he asked as she pushed the hood of her jacket away from her head, revealing sandy brown hair.
Looking back at him with a disappointed expression as she removed her ID from her pocket. "I haven't had a bedtime in nearly nine years."
Nodding the doorman checked her id before handing it back, "That's not what I meant, but I take it little girl, that you know the password, or are you just here to waste my time?"
Emily squared her stance and grinned, "Moda ket Alam."
The doorman raised an eyebrow at this girl's butchered attempt at the password before standing aside, "Close enough, welcome to The Coven."
Grinning, Emily crossed the threshold and entered an otherwise dark corridor. As she walked she could feel faint vibrations through the floor, which increased in strength and tempo the closer she got to the end of the corridor.
Exiting the corridor onto a metal grated platform that ringed the hugged the walls of the building, Emily stopped and placed her hands on an iron safety railing to allow her eyes to adjust to the pulses of strobe lighting that seemed to activate in random patterns. From her position she could see that the dance club itself was on a lower level, connected to the platform she was on by a large industrial staircase. Throughout the building, people danced and partied while the rest of Chicago slept, throwing the fear and danger that plagued the news to the seven winds. Smiling, Emily handed her jacket to the cloak room attendant revealing a somewhat figure-hugging outfit and descended the stairs, stepping between couples and groups as they danced, she found herself joining them as she moved passed the scattered couches that penned the dance floor.
As the music reached a fever pitch, she caught glimpses of the other patrons between flashes of coloured strobe lights. While she considered her outfit to be somewhat revealing, it was nothing compared to what some of the others were wearing. Flesh and skimpy clothes were widespread, and she could see a lot of that flesh patterned in intricate tattoo work. Initially impressed by the ink that was around her, she suddenly began to see similarities in the work, in some cases the tattoos were identical. Emily stopped dancing as a piece of a news story she had overheard popped into the back of her mind, relating to the recent gang violence that plagued the city at night, and how some of the tattoos shown on the bodies; tattoos that were visually similar to the ones that gyrated and jumped around her. The thumping in the club seemed to mirror the adrenaline fuelled throbbing inside her ribcage as she realised that she should not have come here. Taking hold of the hem of her mini dress, she became aware of the number of people around her, and decided it was time to leave.
When she reached the lip of the dance floor, the cacophony diminished as the DJ changed from one track to another. In this lull, she heard deep guttural laughter originating from the upper level, before it was joined by the sound of something wet and heavy hitting the dance floor, knocking over several dancers. Turning towards the impact, she could see glimpses of what had struck as the dancers got to their feet. Even in the intermittent light, Emily could make out the suited body of the bouncer, lying crumbled on the floor. The colour drained from her cheeks as the realisation of what had happened as others started to react, some screamed, others flinched, but most looked to the upper portion of the building. Despite the commotion, all Emily could hear was the laughing.
Slowly, Emily pulled her gaze off the mangled body of the bouncer, and up to the upper platform. She could hear muttered curses by the clubbers near her, but most seemed content just to glare. Standing over the crowd, leaning over the safety railing returning that animosity was an assortment of men and women, dressed in what Emily guessed to be a mix of rags and fur. As the two groups glared at each other and traded barbs, a larger figure exited the corridor and approached the railing. Emily suddenly realised that this monster of a man was the source of the laughter. This walking mountain sported an impressive wild mane of dark brown hair that matched his well-manicured goatee, giving him the appearance of a comic book super villain than an actual person.
"Oh, isn't this quaint, and to think we weren't invited, I am almost crushed," the mountain remarked, laughing once more as his companions mocked those below them. "So, is this a private party, or can anyone join in?" None of the answers he received were welcoming, causing the mountain to shake his head, causing his mane to whip about impressively.
"Tsk, tsk, the rudeness of people. I suppose that we will have to teach them a lesson," he stated before pointing towards the dance floor. Two of his underlings started snarling menacingly before taking purchase of the railing and using it to propel themselves over the side. Both landed without incident in the centre of the floor, forcing the grouped dancers out of the way, but not before they both grabbed a dancer as they fled, and sank their teeth into the dancer's necks, before pulling pack, bringing portions of flesh and blood with them.
Emily screamed, her voice joining the other clubbers as they scattered, trying to get away from the pair of newcomers who unceremoniously dropped their victims, a few clubbers south safety amongst the grouped seats, while others scrambled towards the staircase in an attempt to get away. She watched in horror as the clubbers that reached the top of the stairs tried to run the gauntlet of newcomers who still stood on the platform. The lucky ones were killed outright, an unfortunate few were attacked and simply pitched over the side of the railing, the sound of their bodies hitting the dance floor made Emily cringe. Most of the clubbers who tried to run the gauntlet were savagely beaten, almost as if the newcomers were playing with them.
Deciding against using the stairs, Emily ran over to the seating area and took refuge under a table. From her vantage point she could see a light coming from an open rear door. As she weighed the odds of her making to the exit before being killed, she saw one of the newcomers head in her direction. The sound of her heart beating against her ribcage reached an almost deafening pitch with each step he made, until suddenly twisting at an awkward angle before falling to the ground.
Emily sat back startled, pressing her back against the metal crossbeam that served as the base of the table, and attempted to make sense of what had just happened, as she did, a woman wearing a black tailored suit stepped over the body, removing an ornately designed blade from its back, she stole a moment to look in Emily's direction before shaking her head and moving on, revealing three men standing behind her, also dressed in suits, but all with drawn pistols pointed towards the upper level.
"Why did I have to be so stupid and not listen," she muttered as she watched the spectacle play out in front of her, from her position she could hear similar prayers from others nearby, which were drowned out by a succession of thunderclaps as the suited men opened fire. Emily watched in mute horror as bodies fell ungracefully while others scattered. These intruders proceeded down the stairs, dragging the lifeless bodies of clubbers behind them, to use as shields against the gunfire. Another chill ran through her spine as the two groups met on the dance floor. Pistol and blade met tooth and nail as they tore into each other, at this point the scene became to horrific for her, and Emily forced her eyes shut in a vain attempt to block out the inhuman sounds that seemed to overpower all other noise in the building, with the exception of the pounding of her heart.
As she sat frozen under the believed protection of the table, the noise intensified until a crescendo overwhelmed her senses, then everything went quiet.