The_Babylon_Buddy Somewhere in Kansas
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(If you are looking to critique my draft it is currently under maintenance so please come back in a little bit.)

A field lay in front of Clint. It looked a lot like the one he used to play in as a kid. It lay right on the outskirts of town, right next to Ms. McGraw's house. He could run around all morning in the tall grass. He would pretend he was the pirate Blackbeard, fighting other pirates on the high seas. Or sometimes he would imagine the tall oak tree on the outer rim of the forest as Mount Everest, and he would have to climb to the top to plant his flag. But he could never go into the forest. Clint would ask Ms. McGraw why. She would tell him the story of the old mine. Clint never liked the story of the old mine; it always scared him from the forest. As Clint stood in this field, he felt something off. Something is incorrect about this place. Clint turned around to face the forest behind him.

"Hey1," Suddenly the bright light of the sun against the brown grass disappeared, and all Clint could see was the leather on the seat of his cruiser. "Hey, Clint." The voice was muddled by the grainy walkie-talkie. Clint, have you seen anything yet?" It was his partner, Curtis. Clint quickly picked up the walkie-talkie.

"Nothing yet, you?"

"All I've seen is a few deer." Clint put down the device. He always thought the watch points were odd.
After maybe three sightings of strange or dangerous individuals by the highway, now every night two officers have to stay out by the road in their cruisers all night. It was torturous, but if the people felt safer because of it, then Clint would put up with it. Right now, they were barely an hour into their shift. Clint checked his watch. 5:53.

"Goddamn it!" It had felt like it had almost been over, but it just started. Clint looked at the radio. Three times before, he had switched through it to no avail. No harm in trying, Clint thought. As he listened to the many channels, from easy listening to heavy rock to some other songs, he switched to the local news station.

"Tonight here in Esster, we will be having a beautiful blood moon tonight, so stretch your necks because you'll be looking up all night."

Brandt's chair sagged as he did. The office around him was stuffy and hot. The sad tan paint chipped and cracked with age. Brandt didn't even know if the phone would ring. It just sat there taunting him. Ring Ring. Brandt snagged the phone as quickly as he could.

"Hello, what seems to be the problem tonight?" The voice that responded sounded old and frightened.

"There is someone in my cellar. You need to help me." It was Ms. Ida, a sad widow who had recently called the station almost once per week to inform them that she was seeing people in her home. But every time an officer arrived, there would be nothing out of order.

"We'll be right over, ma'am." Brandt thought he should have been thankful. He now had something to do for the night instead of sitting in his office and melting in the heat. Brandt grabbed his equipment off the wall and smacked his partner in the head to let him know the situation. Brandt's partner, Rick, quickly grabbed his equipment and walked out to their cruiser. As they opened up the door to the station, the cold, fresh air of the night hit them like a typhoon. As Brandt fiddled with his keys, Rick looked up to the sky and saw the exhausted sun slowly lowering itself to another sky. And as he looked down, he thought he could almost see a figure in the distance. Almost illuminated by the sun, peeking out from the forest.

Curtis refrained from looking to the left. He was scared of how dark and large the forest beside him was. Curtis wished he had brought his favorite book with him. He had nothing to distract him from the fear that lay at his side. Sometimes he would try to see the moon through his window, but to do that he would have to glance at the forest. He had heard that there was a blood moon that night. He wished he could see it through the trees. As he sat in his car, he slowly tuned out the sounds of the forest. Knock, knock, knock! Curtis turned to his left. There was a man at his window. He was pale, with sunken, stretched eyes. His mouth was forced into a smile, and his eyes stared blankly at Curtis. The man knocked on his window again. Curtis could hear his heart pounding inside of him. He grabbed for his walkie-talkie and spoke quietly into it,

"I need backup immediately. I have someone who is possibly under the influence nearby who could be aggressive". Curtis turned to the man, "Do you need assistance sir?" The man still stared blankly at him. He knocked on the window one more time, more frustrated this time. Curtis grabbed for his gun. Even with it by his side, he couldn't keep his composure. As the sweat started to accumulate on Curtis's face, the man's smile stretched further. The skin around it was stretching farther than it should be able to. His eyes sank further into his head, and they turned from a sullen blue to a dark gray. His pupils were slowly fading into the rest of his eyes. His mouth started to open with the sound of bones cracking. The man had no teeth, and as Curtis could now see, he had no clothing. The man continued to make incomprehensible sounds from his mouth, ranging from moans to shouts. He lifted his hands and arms, which were incredibly long. Curtis realized that the man had grown in size. His legs were long too—maybe 3 feet long alone. The man's sounds became louder, and he started to pound against the glass of the cruiser's window. Curtis pulled out his weapon and pointed it at the man. The man's vacant eyes didn't react at all; they only stared at him. Curtis started to see the glass start to crack. He started to squeeze the trigger of his gun. His mind was racing; he didn't know what to do. Suddenly, it was gone. A second police cruiser drove up next to him with a red splatter. The shouting and moaning had ended, and Curtis dropped his gun. Leslie, another officer, had exited the vehicle to go see what she had hit, her curly black hair bobbing as she stepped. Curtis dared not exit his vehicle. Leslie walked up to his car with a fearful expression on her face. Curtis rolled down his window.

"I hit a person! Should I call Clint?"

"That was no person," Curtis said quietly.

Brandt and Rick parked next to Ms. Ida's house. It was an overgrown and crumbling house, right on the edge of town. As Brandt walked inside, he was surprised to see that it was fairly well-kept. Ms. Ida was nowhere to be found, and there was an underlying stench to the place. Brandt skimmed over the front room with his flashlight and saw nothing out of place. The men searched the house until they reached the cellar. The small door creaked as Brandt opened it. With the door opened, the stench was almost unbearable. They walked down the chipped and moldy wooden steps and reached the bottom of the cellar. The men looked around with their flashlights. All they saw were some old antiques. They searched more thoroughly this time. Rick had found a short hole behind the steps. As he turned his flashlight to look inside, he let out a bloodcurdling scream. Brandt ran over and looked in the hole as well. Behind the hole was a long room with low ceilings. Crouched down inside the room were about a dozen small, pale people. They had small, sharp teeth and long, thin limbs. They were about 3 feet tall with large, beady black eyes. Brandt pulled out his gun and yelled,

"What are you doing here?" The creatures reacted by screaming and howling at them. Brandt didn't know what to do. Bang! The sound was deafening. Rick pulled out his gun and shot one of the creatures. It had started to run towards him. The rest of them started to make incomprehensible noises and ran towards Rick with more speed than the first creature. He shot once more and missed. The creatures grabbed his legs and started to dig long, sharp claws into his sides. Rick screamed in pain. Brandt quickly grabbed onto Rick's shoulders, pulling him away from the beasts. It wasn't enough, and Rick was pulled into the crawl space, screaming for his life. Brandt's only option was to kill the creatures, and he fired three shots into the hole. It sounded effective and distracted the creatures for a time. While the creatures were distracted, Rick hit one of the beasts with his taser, making it unable to move. The six remaining creatures continued to pull Rick further into the crawl space than Brandt could grab. Still screaming, Rick was pulled into the darkness. Brandt didn't know what to do. He shone his flashlight into the hole and saw a second hole at the end of the room that led outside. The creatures had pulled Rick through this hole. Brandt ran up the stairs and through the house to the outside. There, he saw a trail of dispersed dirt, only barely illuminated by the moonlight. Brandt thought about following it now, but he realized it would end up with one of them dead. So Brant ran back to his cruiser and picked up his walkie-talkie.

"I need backup, Rick has been dragged into the forest by multiple, violent attackers."

Rick couldn't see very well. Around him, he could just make out the shape of a small, brown room. He could feel something gooey and wet in front of his eyes and all around his body as well, but when he tried to wipe it off, his arm couldn't move up to his face. Rick started to scream for help, but something covered his mouth. Suddenly, there was a white figure in front of him. They were slouched over and breathing heavily. The person moved their hand to Rick's face but stopped for a second. In another room not too far from the one he was in, Rick could hear incoherent yells and moans. The figure in front of him seemed to respond with more incoherent noises. Then the figure wiped off whatever was on Rick's face. Rick now had a good look at the creature. It was slouched over with a large head. Its mouth was filled with sharp, needle-like teeth. It barely had any eyes. Only small white dots stuck to its face. It had large clawed hands and large dinosaur-like feet. Its legs and arms were long. Its hands were almost reaching the floor. The creature seemed to examine him. Not with its eyes but with small nostrils in the center of its face. The creature covered his sight line, but he could make out stone walls with wooden supports behind the beast. It stopped examining him and reached down to the ground below it. The creature grabbed onto a small, worm-like creature with small black eyes. The creature placed the worm on Rick's face. It started to crawl toward his nose. Rick started to panic, squirming inside whatever contained him. He tried to move his legs, but when he did, a sharp pain shot up his body. The worm made its way to his nose and started to crawl inside. Rick could feel it moving through his nose until it went too deep and he couldn't feel it anymore. The creature then destroyed his constraints and let him go. Rick was confused, but then he understood his situation as his body moved without his command.

Clint couldn't take it anymore. His uncomfortable seat was made worse by the heat of his car. Clint opened up his door and took a breath of the fresh air. He stepped out of the car to stretch his legs. Above him, he saw the blood moon. Its crimson light illuminates the clouds beneath it. Clint thought about checking in with Curtis but decided not to. If Curtis saw anything, he would have told him already. Just then, Brandt's voice came through his walkie-talkie. As Clint listened to what he was saying, his stomach dropped. Rick had been taken by a group of violent attackers. He looked into the forest. Its darkness taunted him. He couldn't imagine running into the forest to find Rick. He picked up the walkie-talkie. Clint spoke quietly,

"Brandt, do you know where he was taken?" Brandt responded slowly,

"I don't know, but they went in the direction of the old mine. Clint's whole world paused. He remembered the story of the old mine. The one Ms. McGraw would always tell him One day after a discovery at the mine, none of the miners returned home. Ms. McGraw's husband had disappeared in the mine along with Clint's father. They seemed to vanish. After that, the forest became unsafe at night. Ms. McGraw would talk about a time when five unruly teens went into the forest in the night and came back the next day without two people. Clint couldn't imagine wandering out to the mine, but on the other hand, he couldn't leave Rick behind. After a minute of thinking, he ran into the forest. In his haste, he left his weapon on the passenger seat of his cruiser.

Brandt couldn't run very far. His old legs had done enough running, and he was already out of breath. His flashlight was just barely combating the darkness around him. Brandt stopped to catch his breath. As he did, he heard a sound from the forest. It almost sounded like that of a deer, but it was much too human. It was like a scream, but not a scared one. Brandt continued to run, now with his gun clutched in his hands. He didn't know how close the sound was, but he also didn't want to find out. After another 5 minutes of running, he made it to the mine. He remembered the building from his childhood. Except he remembered it being lit up and filled with people. Now it lay decrepit and aged before him. The dirt trail ended at the entrance to the main shaft. Brandt ran inside the large, dark hole in the side of the Red Hills mountain without a second thought. As he entered it, he came upon a large main room. The floor was laid with rotting wood, and there were multiple tunnels in certain parts of the room. As Brandt looked over the room, he heard footsteps from the entrance. As he turned and pointed his weapon at the entrance, he was relieved to see Clint. Clint seemed relieved as well. Clint spoke fearfully,

"Do you know where Clint is?"

"No, I'm guessing down one of these tunnels."

"Well, which one do we go down?"

Just then, Clint noticed a glow coming from one of the tunnels. He and Brandt ran down it. They came to a room filled with a gooey substance that gleamed slightly. There were large pockets of it on the walls, and when Clint saw what was in them, he threw up. There was a slumped-over dead person inside. The sound of Clint's regurgitation drew something to them. Surprisingly, Rick walked into the room. Clint was relieved, but only for a moment. He noticed something off about the man. His skin was paler and more stretched than before. His eyes were more bloodshot. His posture was more lopsided. He spoke quietly, slightly slurring his words:

"Hey, you guys need to get out of here, guys. It's not safe here. But you also can't go back the other way; the cave has collapsed." Clint hesitated Rick sounded too happy. He wasn't scared at all. Clint responded,

"I'm going to go look back. I left my gun at the entrance."

Rick immediately started to react to this. He gained height. His eyes became black, and all his teeth fell out. His legs and arms became longer. His clothes were ripped apart as he grew. Rick had become a large, screaming creature. Clint yelled at Brandt to shoot it, but he just stood there and froze. Clint started to run back to the front room but heard a gut-wrenching noise. He turned and saw Brandt screaming for his life as he was being ripped apart by what used to be Rick. Clint watched as Brandt's arm was ripped off and he was thrown against a wall with a thud. Clint quickly looked for a weapon and spotted a pickaxe across the room. He ran towards it and grabbed it. As he did this, the creature grabbed onto his leg and started to pull it towards him. Clint turned around and drove the pickaxe into its chest. Clint pulled it out, and the creature stumbled backward and fell over. Clint walked towards it and slammed the pickaxe into its head with a splat.

Curtis and Leslie stared at the creature. Its head was hideously splattered on the pavement. Curtis asked Leslie,

"So what do we do?" They decided to go back to the station and fill out a report. As they were driving through the town, they spotted a man on the side of the road. They recognized him as a teacher at the local high school. They stopped their car and got out. Curtis spoke curiously,

"Are you lost, sir? You need any help." The man looked at him, and Curtis felt the same feeling he had felt before. The feeling that he was being looked at but not seen. The man continued to stare at them. He slowly started to walk towards them. Leslie spoke authoritatively,

"Sir, stand still and tell us your name." The man continued. Leslie panicked and tazed the man. He barely responded to the attack and leaped at Leslie. He transformed into the creature Curtis had seen before. Curtis pulled out his gun and fired four shots into its back. The thing stopped moving. He moved it off of Leslie to try and save her, but at that point, the damage was already done. Her face had become a bloody pulp, and one of her arms was hanging on a thread. Curtis didn't know what to do. He couldn't just leave her there. He pulled her into her car as she made painful noises. He reached into his glove box and grabbed a roll of bandages. He wrapped up her head and arm and locked the car. He grabbed his walkie-talkie and said,

"Hey, something, attacked Leslie. I don't know what to do. Should I go back to the station?" Clint responded,

"The same thing happened to Brandt. Curtis, please come to the old mine. I'm trapped inside of it and need your help."

Clint's only option was to walk deeper into the mine. He headed through the previous chamber, avoiding looking at Brandt. Clint started to descend through the mines. At the very end, he came across an elevator labeled creature. He walked into the elevator and manually pulled it downward. As he lowered himself, the space below him started to glow more and more. Clint had reached the bottom and saw only a small tunnel in front of him. that was almost fully illuminated by something around the corner. Clint turned the corner and froze in shock. In front of him was a massive mass of flesh. It made horrible, wet noises. It was covered in eyes, teeth, and limbs. It seemed to see him. Clint didn't want to look at it anymore. He could feel the immense evil in this place. As he started to leave, the mass of flesh began to squirm. Hundreds of small worms began to wriggle out of the creature. The worms climbed onto Clint as he ran back to the elevator. He had to swipe away dozens of worms. He pulled hard on the rope, trying to escape. He made it out and ran down a separate tunnel. Inside the next room were three reptilian creatures. One ran towards Clint. He dug his pickaxe into its shoulder, and it sprung backward, convulsing in pain. He swung it into the second creature's skull, slamming it into the wall with a wet thud. The third creature grabbed onto his left arm and bit deeply into it, sending a sharp pain through his body. With his right arm, Clint swung the pickaxe into its back, stunning it for a few seconds. Clint used this time to push it over and stomp on its head a few times. By this point, his hazel-brown skin was now caked in red blood. He saw a small exit at the end of the tunnel. He ran towards it and welcomed the cold spring air. It took him a second to realize it, but he was in the field. The one at the edge of town next to Ms. McGraw's house. He looked to his left and saw the large oak tree. It looked just like it had when he was a kid. Sadly, Ms. McGraw's house had been torn down years ago, and now a small plot of dirt lies where the old wooden house used to be. Clint felt relieved by the field and was not scared anymore. He heard footsteps near the road. He turned and saw Curtis running towards him. He stopped to catch his breath. Curtis also sounded relieved when he said,

"Oh, thank God, I'm so glad I found you." Clint was relieved to see Curtis and see that he was unchanged. He wasn't acting or looking strange like Rick was. Curtis asked,

"Do you know where Brandt or Rick are?" Clint only looked down and shook his head. This time when Curtis spoke, he was more sullen:

"I'm sorry to hear that. I think I know what to do. I think you need to join us." In an instant, Curtis turned into a creature similar to Rick. Curtis grabbed Clint and ripped him apart.