Sunday, March 15, 2020

Hootennany

It all started on April 30th, 2021 - Hootenanny, and days away from the end of the semester. The skits and silliness of Hootenanny seemed a little dark this year; the theme was ghost hunters, and was a little on the nose at times. The study group was lampooned at least once, as were the Men in Black, and more than one of the previous adventures. Even the host of Lurk Until Dawn was there as a guest. After Hootenanny, the crew headed for a well-earned rest, feeling collectively bone-tired. Between fighting monsters and studying for finals, it's time for a good weekend snooze.

Early the next morning, however, it was immediately obvious that a good rest wasn't in the cards. Sirens filled the break of dawn. As the students awoke, they found hallways empty, and rooms ransacked... and occasionally, splashed with blood. The power was out; only the sound of distant screams can be heard. Checking their cell phones, a number of the group realized the date was a bit off. It was more than a year in the future, the day after  their own graduation, Sunday, May 8th, 2022.

James grabbed his tools; Will grabbed his weapons. Priya headed for her truck, but managed to attract the attention of a gremlin, which she dispatched easily. She picked up Will and James, and hearing the sound of gunfire on the other side of campus, let Will (a better driver) take the wheel.

Meanwhile, across campus, Alistair found his car totaled, though was able to pull out his weapons and equipment. He bolted for where he hired the others would be, only to be stopped by a huge, winged demon! As the demon swung its mighty blade at him, he dodged and tumbled, staying mostly unharmed until Will executed a beautiful tail-slide and, using the tail end of the truck, bashed the demon into a wall some 30 feet away.

It was only then that Will noticed the limp form in the bushes - Michelle, his girlfriend, dead.

James grabbed the massive demon blade, then quickly jumped back into the truck as more demons jumped the fence and headed towards them. Picking up Will's car, they headed away from campus, picking off demons, gremlins, and imps as they got in the way. The demons chanted, faint on the wind: "Convergence! Convergence!"

Outside campus, the streets were littered with the dead, the demons, and the wholly unnatural. As they served between wrecked and burning cars, the only other human visible far down the street is mobbed and killed by a pack of gremlins right before their eyes.

Trying to get to the Risen Church, they were forced to detour into a residential area - a fire truck was turned over in the street. As they inched between two cars, just avoiding the corpse of a fat man, they saw one vehicle - a green truck - held a man that was still alive. James and Will managed to pull the bent door off, and carefully removed the young man. Inside a nearby house, they found a couple, a man and a woman, dead... They healed the young man as best they could, and hid him in the building, going he would survive.

When they reached the Risen Church, they found nothing but the burned out husk of the building. They continued through town, realizing something terrible was coming - a monstrous demon, 60 or 70 feet tall! It moved slowly towards them as they fled. Finally, they decided to return to campus, using the last vial of Ley Line juice to see where the lines were - they were obviously bending and writhing through the student center! Climbing up, they fought a number of flying demons, and used the candlestick to destroy the ├╝berdemon. James found himself batted halfway to the grave site, but managed to pull himself tough and rejoin the fray, taking on two lieutenants and a plague demon, and winning. Will and Priya fought waves of imps, as Alistair fought several horrible wraiths. He stopped once the roof was clear to cast a spell, a question of a deity. Once cast, he found himself in a stark, white room; a pleasant yet monotone voice asked him to state his question, which he did: how can they prevail? The answer was... Strange. Unexpected, perhaps.

Finally, as they ran out of bullets or strength, they fell, one by one...

...only to awaken from their shared nightmare with a certainty that they've just glimpsed the future. It is the morning after Hootenanny, and the world is still safe... for now.

The wounds sustained somehow remained, though, as old scars; thankfully, finals went well, and they headed into summer break with relief.

Oh, but you want to know the answer to the question, don't you! The strange woman's voice answered, after a short pause:

The talkative mage must follow his dreams
The dreamers hold the key
And the clockwork policeman's elderly friend
Who swam against time's dark sea
The Spanish berserker must learn of the truth
Before a Wells's run dry
Battle the witch and the bitter cold
But forget not the Eye of Phi
So find the quiet runner's friend
Old enemies, return to the dead
The Dutch spear-woman, tunnel bound
To stop this Convergence, you said?

Enter hell.
Stop the spell...
End it well?
Who can tell?