“For fuck’s sake, here comes another one!” I stared at the murky shadow as it became larger, closer, and more distinct. Fleshy, living hands appeared and pressed against the thin glass. It was trying to come through. “Shoot it now, Will! Shoot it the fuck now!” I backed up and moved to the left of him. Shrugging, Will braced the gun, a Winchester ‘73 that was nearly as old as Will, on his shoulder and fired. The surface of the mirror rippled and splashed like water as it was sprayed with pellets.
I let out a shaky sigh as I saw the mirror darken with blood, then clear. The woman was gone. I felt Will’s hand on my shoulder.
“Easy Jack, you’re letting it get to ya too much.”
“I just want it to fucking end Will, you know that.”
“I reckon it will end soon enough. They’re trying to come here to live, not to die.”
“They damn well need to wait their damn turn, and they know it!” I huffed. “They’re as creepy as fuck, too. Just isn’t natural.” I turned and dug into my bag and pulled out my government-issued laptop. “You going to fill out the report this time, or me?”
“I’ll do it,” Will sighed, “I think you should tuck in early. I’ll let the ladies know we exterminated the problem and give them their leaflet and all that. Just relax and tuck in. Maybe you should file that vacation time you’ve been building up…”
“You know I can’t do that, Will.”
He raised his hands, “Fine fine, but just get going alright? I’ve got this.”
An hour later and I was home, staring at a candle I’d lit to relax. I never really got used to being here. I’m not sure anyone was. But like everyone else, I didn’t know what to make of the Invasion.
It had started soon after I died. I woke up spitting and choking mud, naked as the day I was born. I’d wandered for about half a day in an off-color, off-scented world… ignored by the cars I’d waved at, until I was finally picked up by Transitional Affairs. After a brief interview I was given everything I’d needed to become acclimated and start living my life in the Realm of the Dead. Finding a job didn’t take long— once the Invasion started, I and everyone else that had died near to the event was summoned and evaluated for recruitment for the Extermination Force.
It had started with a single man. At first, no one knew what to make of it. For weeks, there had been strange and unexplained phenomena in the back alleys of town. Seeing people in mirrors, objects moving, doors opening and closing on their own. And then the man. The bricks rippled and he simply stepped through. A 1520’s woman saw it from a nearby apartment. He placed a national flag, right there, jamming it into the cracks between the bricks.
It wasn’t until he walked out to the main street that there was a panic. See, there is a barrier between our worlds for a reason. That flag he planted? It began to burn. It was a familiar burn… the light of life and living. And it hurt. Where the man’s feet and hands touched, it dissolved. That poor woman almost didn’t escape as bricks began to glow and then dissolve. The people on the street, some of them weren’t as lucky. Anyone who bumped into this man on the busy street began to dissolve, unravel… discorporate. The man was glowing at this point. Looking more and more… more… everyone seemed to realize it at the same time: this man was alive. That’s when the riot started, the screaming and running. The police came, the national guard. They quarantined the area.
The official story was that they’d killed the man. Burned him and that section of the city with fire until it was cleansed. But I’d learned the real story as part of my briefing. The man… had simply walked into another wall and disappeared. Back to the living.
It had been hoped it was some kind of anomaly. But anomaly it was not. Only a few months passed before more unexplained phenomena began again. Fortunately, it seemed to take quite a bit of effort before anything or anyone could pass into our world. We learned how to kill them before they came through. But they also adapted, discovering ways to come through without drawing attention to themselves lighting fires with their steps. Disguising themselves and hiding until they slipped up and dissolved someone or, worse.
I am an Exterminator. It was my job to identify their access points to stop them from crossing over. Well, crossing over the wrong way, anyway. Will is a Hunter. He used to prowl the abandoned areas of town and wood, looking for anything that slipped through in uninhabited areas. He’d still be doing that, but currently he is the one assigned to train me.
I hear a sound, and I glance over. There’s a book, sliding across my counter.
Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 7