Chapter 3: Nebraska

There are many nocturnal hunters that can be found in the Nebraska National Forrest. As the sun sets, life begins for these creatures, all searching for the meal that will see them through another day or if they are the unlucky ones, providing sustenance for another animal to survive. This night though, instead of their usual behavior, they were all silent and very still. A faint glow had just appeared electrifying the air. From the expanding glow came the smell of putrid air that grew stronger as the glow became a door from this other world. To the animals in the immediate vicinity, it wasn’t a door, it was just danger, and each creature did it’s best to ensure that it would be protected from whatever this new threat was. Out of the glowing door, strode several goblins, armed with bows and covered in animal skins. They spread out and created a perimeter just short of the Gold Rush Byway, save for one who remained near the door. They nestled into the bushes and became very still. There were human settlements nearby and they knew that their mission required anonymity. After a minute of quiet observation, one of the creatures made a strange shrill whistle. The goblin near the gate went back through the door only to return a moment later. The door began to grow, and the animals of the forest retreated further into the darkness.

It only took a moment for the door to reach the required size and several orcs came from within. Each one held a robust chain and at the end of each chain was a large cat like creature. The creatures, about the size of a tiger, had glowing red eyes and a small crystal nestled in their forehead. They were docile but at the same time they carried a feeling around them of menace. The handlers held the animals more firmly as an older orc arrived through the gate. The cats straight away perked up, more alert and agitated, they began to exude that menace more potently than before. The old orc spoke to them in a strange tongue that held the cat’s attention. In all there were fifteen of the creatures.

The shrill whistle was heard again and moments later the lights from a car on the road illuminated the sky. It only lasted a moment but every creature tensed for combat. The light shifted and disappeared again leaving them alone with the darkness. The old orc gestured and a red dust appeared to come from his hand, traveling on the slight evening breeze and settled over the animals. The cats settled as each handler removed the chain from their necks. The cats seemed to sink deeper into their menace for a moment and sprang from their handlers. They headed off into the darkness, moving into groups of three. The old orc stood and considered the animals briefly before heading back through the door. One of his subordinated made a counter call and headed through the portal, the rest of the group followed until those guarding the perimeter retreated from whence they came.

The cats themselves, strong with purpose headed off on their gruesome missions. Around the planet at the same time, there were nine other groups off on similar missions. The hunt had begun.


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