The dim light of the evening lamps that lined either side of the worn road was still bright enough to cause Dylan Burges to squint ungratefully. Pulling his beanie further down his eyes, Dylan pushed his headphones deeper into his ears and continued his slow stumble home past through the warehouse district of Kansas City. A handful of friends and himself had pitched in together and rented an entire warehouse to live in, which was fantastic for parties, but they slept on mattresses and had to pack everything up and hide when the building inspector came along, having been led to believe the warehouse was merely practicing space for the band. Dylan muttered to himself as his 'house' came into view at the end of the street, decaying from old age, the place constantly had an unusual odor. He had grown to hate it there. As a final curse escaped his lips it was echoed by a ear-shattering boom. Dylan was smacked by a sudden gust of hot wind that pried his beanie from his head, his eardrums were ringing from the sound of an explosion and as he strained to open his eyes he caught sight of his home in flames, a half a stereo was steaming on the road ahead of him having been launched through a window onto the street. "Oh sh*t," the words dripped slowly in shock from Dylans lips before his hand fumbled around drunkenly in his pocket for his phone and his legs ran forwards towards his burning warehouse. Dialing 911, Dylan yelled into it over the roar of the flames, "Fire, my-my hou-warehouse is on fire, err, Dylan Burges, I don't know, f**k, like, 28 Old Bucyrus Road, there was an explosion, yea, please." He hung up as soon as he made it to the front of the building and stood before its flaming walls in silence.
He knew the others were safe, they'd all gone out drinking together that evening, but all their stuff, everything they owned was still inside. Dylan continued to swear and clench his teeth as he tugged his jacket over himself and jumped lightly up and down, a weak attempt to psyche himself up for an endeavor inside to rescue his material possessions, when he suddenly heard a noise from the alleyway next to it, a large crack followed by the sound of rushing flames. His bobbing movement slowed to a halt and curiosity got the better of him, maybe the cause of the explosion or a sign the warehouse was about to collapse, something to show it wasn't safe to enter his abode. Peeking around the corner, Dylan found himself before something he was totally unprepared for.
Before him loomed the silhouette of a twisted body against a wall of flame, a figure that towered several meters high, blackened with burns, its head balanced precariously on a coiled neck that looked like it had been snapped and stretched and rolled like dough with eyeless sockets coated in viscous fluid and a long tongue that grotesquely swelled with a single, reddened eyeball embedded in its center with a pupil that flashed strange symbols. An arm was missing and its legs were a mass of spidery limbs that seemed to be stretching into the ground as the creature grew, twisting higher into the night sky. Further down the alleyway was a massive wall of fire, but Dylan hardly noticed that when faced with the monstrosity growing before him. As he bent his head back, Dylan found a pain in his throat brought on by years of smoking which had made the position a struggle, but his eyes were locked on the creature, as if mesmerized. Taking a step backwards, Dylan looked down in time to see one of the creatures tendrils snake its way along the ground towards him. Yelping in terror, the young man turned to run, but glimpsed the tendril banging helplessly against an invisible wall. A cold sweat broke out across Dylans skin as he continued to back away from the terrifying alleyway as the sounds of sirens echoed over from a few streets across, glancing over his shoulders he saw the flashing lights of a police car and a firetruck.
"Woooow-ee, look at that boy smoke," Freddy Jaufenthaler muttered as his unnaturally long fingernails clawed yellow gunk out from between his teeth, "Kinda' makes you hungry eh boss?" Freddy said with a sideways glance at his superior officer in the KCPD. Bill Auva'a remained silent as he sped the police car down Old Bucyrus Road, shaking his head slightly in disappointment. Freddy had been making subtle fat-jokes about the large Samoan for two months now and the Corporal was visibly getting tired of it. To them, it seemed pretty standard procedure as they led the firetruck towards the flaming warehouse, it was most likely a gas leak, something boring like that, they were in Kansas City, the dead-center of America which had gone on so long unscathed by any of the supernatural madness that plagued the world. Screeching the police-car to a halt, Freddy briskly burst out of his side, and waited for a moment, leaning his elbows back on the roof of the car to admire the fire as the fire-truck parked and Bill struggled to get his seat-belt undone. Slowly hefting himself out of the vehicle, the rotund policeman glared at the back of Freddy's head in muted annoyance before noticing the boy a bit further down the street, stood awestruck staring at the sky. Glancing up, it took Bill a few seconds to spot what had caught the boys attention, a massive creeping figure that only just peeked above the rooftops of the neighbouring warehouses. It looks like a colossal black tree which grew before his very eyes, branches weaving their way through the air, a body that twisted and turned further and further upwards. From hundreds of openings along the tree's length, pulsating orbs began to emerge, unaffected by gravity they floated upwards, attached to the tree by barely visible strands like someone had tied a hundred balloons to it. "Hey boss," Freddy's nonchalant voice, not having noted the threatening figure, struck Bill's ear with a piercing screech, jolting him back a fraction to reality, "The owner of this place is well and truly F'ed in the ol' A, eh?" Bill tore his vision from the growing monstrosity and didn't bother to pay any heed to his deputy, instead leaping into the car to grab his radio.
Winston Sharpe had spent an entire day trapped in that alien realm. His endless pursuit of knowledge, of answers to every existential question that plagued him endlessly; like purpose, point, why and how, had led to one of his duplicates attempting it, for science, for the knowledge. When beings drift to sleep their minds can subconsciously touch upon a state of being where they can tap into energies that border on third dimensional comprehension, a state of being which is the aim of true meditation. What many don't realise is that that state of being is in a sense, a place, it is called the dreamscape and many have ventured into its depths, psychics and sorcerers alike, the limbo between one state of being and the next, impossibly impassable by anything as feeble as a third dimensional being. The dreamscape isn't a set location however, it coats the entire universe like an ocean, polluted by the merest thought and Winston was foolish enough to attempt to break into it in the worst possible way. Having discovered an alien race that had waged genocidal warfare for centuries, with trillions dead on both sides and the literal word for hope being non-existent in their language, Winston had attempted to enter the dreamscape where their subconscious pollution was at its height, to enter a truly alien realm filled solely with seething rage and endless sadness. He had found himself trapped there for a day, fighting off ghouls the sight of which could have been cause for insanity, and after that day, he escaped back to Earth, outside an old hideout in good old Kansas City. Little did he realise he had guests, a host of them in fact. Six paranormal, parasitic nightmares inside his very head who made him a prisoner in his own body, taking possession of him and finding themselves in a brand new, untouched world to play in.
A madman blowing things up left-right and center had of course drawn attention and the members of the Champions know as the Umbra Sorcerer and Andromeda Night had rushed to the scene to quarantine and defeat the disturbance. The attempt had in one way, failed, but it was not a total loss, two of the demonic entities were vanquished in the fight and Winston managed to regain control of one of his multiple brains and reform himself. His remaining biomass was well on its way to its new goal though, reforming Winston's body as a life-giver for all the creatures it could recall from the alien dreamscape, a quintessential tree of life for the damned. And so there it stood, towering high over the neighbouring warehouses, it's branches beginning to block out the moon for those below, its roots cracking the surrounding roads and causing the neighbouring burning building to collapse entirely. From the many tooth filled maws that covered the four story and still growing structure, the fruit of the tree was being vomited forth into this world, wombs for that which never lived. The orbs pulsated and grew larger as they floated among and above the branches, attached by fleshy umbilical chords that traveled down the gagging, humanoid throat. Inside their flesh eggs was a hundred hearts beating, a thousand claws tearing, a ten thousand sharpened teeth gnashing. The first orb broke open as Winston was still falling. The newest lifeform on earth tore its womb into dozens of strands of skin with its teeth and claws, the ball literally burst apart in a shower of blood that splattered the ground beside Freddy Jaufenthaler who was frantically trying to yank Dylan away from the scene. Glancing up, Freddy's last sight was a dark maw, filled with rows of jagged teeth covered in spittle that dripped upon him before it closed on his upper-body, letting loose a spray of blood where its teeth sunk in.
The creature stood some eight feet tall, a writhing mass of tendrils and mouths which gnashed aimlessly in the air, bar the mouth that was clamped around the Kansas Deputy, which was busy gulping back his still kicking legs. It's tendrils whipped about through the air, each time making an audible crack as its eyes scanned the road it had fallen down upon. Dylan had only just broken free from Freddy's grip and sat before the beast in dead silence, a wet patch slowly growing along his pants as several of the creatures eyes locked onto him. Standing infront of the police car, Bill knew he had to do something. He had made sure the necessary authorities had been alerted but that wasn't enough, he'd just watched his companion be eaten by some otherworldly demon and he was not going to let it happen to this poor kid. With unsteady hands, Bill raised his gun at the creature and opened fire. The shots made an odd 'thwak' sound as they struck the creature, seeming to cause fractures along its skin. In response, without a moments hesitation, one of the whip-like limbs cracked in the air before being brought down upon the overweight Samoan, shearing him into imperfect unsymmetrical halves which promptly fell apart into a heap of innards. Dylan had only just broken into a sprint, the sound of an engine seeming to signal to him that the fire-engine had started up to flee as well. There was another crack in the air and a cold, pulsating, metallic tendril wrapped itself around his left-ankle, causing Dylan to slam face-first into the ground, breaking his nose and shoving his buck-teeth through his lower lip. Crying, Dylan clawed at the ground as the tendril pulled him back towards the writhing mass of a monster. Rolling over, the young man briefly caught sight of another creature falling from the sky, this one with wings which dove through the front wind-shield of the escaping fire-truck, causing it to veer and crash into a wall. It was hardly what was on Dylans mind however as he was hoisted above one of the creature's many maws, bits of Officer Jaufenthaler's muscle tendon's were stuck between its teeth and it stank like vomit, crap and bile. Staring into the mouth of death, Dylan watched his tears fall into the darkness below him as he whispered his goodbyes to his parents and apologised for his sins.
Winston had attempted to kill it and he had failed miserably, this was his punishment for being so brash. A shard of bone had penetrated his right thigh, his left thigh, his right ankle, his left ankle, from his left ass-cheek up to his left-shoulder blade, his right ass-cheek up to his right-shoulder blade, and a final puncture that had gone straight through the middle of him, protruding through his head. As he fell from the highest branch of the tree, Winston wondered why he was still alive, so much had been lost from his memories due to his possession, he was using a back-up brain, he wasn't even too sure how his powers worked anymore, but he was alive for now at least, to enjoy these brief seconds of free-fall, watching the trail of his own blood in the air above him, red streaks framed by fire, smoke and the organic branches of a cancer that could threaten the world. As more of its 'fruit' continued to burst open high above him, Winston tried to smile, for it was beautiful.