I finally got back to this story. it’ll be a while before I make the next chapter, but since it’s been a while, I figured my newer readers could try catching up with the older stuff. I was planning on releasing this later, but I have no means of charging my computer and the prospect of typing out a whole post on phone is not one I like. This can be read without spoilers from the previous chapter, but reading them will add much-needed context. Stay frosty.

Part 1: Here

Part 2: Here

***

“Bring him closer.” a hoarse voice hissed from the veil of darkness at the end of the tunnel.
The three men whom stood at the threshold of the tunnel glanced at one another with gaping mouths and widened eyes that glistened with fear. The two burly men that held on to a stretcher had quivering knees, while the immobile corpse resting therein gave no complaint. The squat geezer whom led the party was also frozen in his boots. The fledgling old man, whom friends and family called Dietrich, swallowed whatever traces of common sense remained inside of him.

“Where are ze Brothers?” He nearly bit his tongue when he spoke. He had to remind himself to stop his Gurgelian accent from slipping through his lips, it made him feel vulnerable.

The slitherine voice that prowled in the back of the tunnel chortled once. Dietrich heard his underlings, Thomas and Barrabus, gasp at the echoing laughter. “It’s only me, Dietrich. Have you something against me? If so, you should have told me sooner.” Even Dietrich’s amplified spectacles were not enough to see the figure in the dark, but a deep recess in his soul could feel the disembodied voice’s smirk. “Perhaps I’d have made it a point to dispose of you the moment I met you. Mmmmyeeessss.”

That bastard. Dietrich thought to himself. Whenever he’d meet with the thing in the dark, it would always speak in that bastardized version of the colonial accent. Somehow, it was even more grating than an actual colonial speaker.

“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?” Its authoritative tone boomed out of the tunnel, almost knocking Dietrich off of his feet.

Thomas, the more sensitive of the twins, started sobbing like a child whom desired its mother. He had a giant’s build, but if the soul was an inheritable trait, then it went without doubt that Thomas had inherited that of his mother’s. The brash Barrabus let go of his end of the stretcher, the body on top of it sliding down until Thomas steadied it, and then Barrabus brandished his working class knuckles at whatever stood in the dark.

Dietrich whirled to face Barrabus, the sheen of his glasses following the turn of his head. Barrabus was a powerful man without a doubt, and the coiled lines on his forehead indicated he’d been offended by the voice making Thomas cry. Yet what danger could a hulking brute like him pose to an astute fox-like whatever hid behind the darkness?

“I’ll handle the talking, Barrabus. Hold on to the stretcher, and make sure the body isn’t damaged.” It was a rare occasion to see Barrabus flinch once his inner beast was brought out. And whether it was the fear or direness of the situation, the giant conceded, and hoisted his end of the stretcher again.

“This oughta be worth it for Thomas’s tears.” Barrabus muttered with a scowl. “Lad hasn’t wailed like that in years–not since the days he went silent.”

“I’m still waiting.” taking on a playful, almost teasing tone, the voice in the dark called him forth. “Leave the body only six paces ahead of the tunnel’s mouth. After that, you know what the Brothers told you to do. Go back to the graveyard. The three days have passst, now the Metamorphosis is only misssing one final day. You will be rewarded handsomely…SO DON’T SCREW IT OVER!” Dietrich’s heart skipped a beat with the other boom of the voice, but Thomas braced himself this time around.

Dietrich faced the two burly men and nodded. Thomas and Barrabus gave a frightened approach into the tunnel. Their legs buckling under the weight of unspeakable horror, they rushed inside and lay down the stretcher with what little grace they could afford. Dietirch cleared his throat at the sight of the dead man.

Supposedly, he’d been a member of the aristocracy whom had served many a year in the navy. He’d died of old age, which was tragic enough, but what made it worse was his enhancement. Rumors circulated that he’d signed up to a government program which had his heart replaced by an artificial organ capable of transporting adrenaline throughout the veins at the wielder’s behest. The twist was, that none had told him that such an implant would only keep him in a vegetative state rather than let him die of old age. A poor fate, not being able to break the cruel chain of existence. A fate that was far too akin to an actual death.

Barrabus and Thomas emerged out of the cave like two whimpering pups whom were about to be beaten. They came beside their Lord, Dietrich, and the three traded glances with one another.

Just what sort of scheme have I gotten myself into? Dietrich thought to himself. Of course, the reward would be worth it in the end.

“YEEEESSSS” The serpent’s voice came out as an explosion yet again. And before Dietrich could tell them to stay, Barrabus and Thomas were already sprinting halfway towards the automobile.

But Dietrich stayed.

He took slow paces away, not knowing what it was that he wanted. More insight into the voice’s motives? A glimpse into what the voice looked like? Or perhaps one last gaze at the dead man in military fatigues?

As he was close to departing the tunnel’s threshold, and while he had half a mind to run out before he regretted not doing so, he heard the voice in the dark cackle yet again. It then gave a throaty cough and uttered the final words that reverberated in Dietrich’s mind on the trip to the graveyard. “PHILIP FORDSHIRE! HE IS MINE! ONE WITH THE HIVE!”

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