47 Ethereal Nightmare (2)

The younger man shifted silently in place. After a minute of quiet thought, he said, "Don't we go into the forests and stuff around these ruins all the time?"

Gunther sighed, "Those places are different. It's the areas where people once lived that are considered dangerous. When the investigation squads made their way through some of the ruins, a handful of them also vanished. One squad of 30 disappeared altogether. It only happened in the ruins, and the rest of the places searched were deemed safe. Only the ruined towns and cities have remained abandoned and untouched for 300 years out of silent fear." Looking around the bunker again, the veteran said, "All we can do now... is pray... pray that we survive the night."

The scene began to move forward quickly, as they had stopped talking. An hour later, the pair had fallen asleep, the younger man half-curled into a ball while the veteran slept leaning against the wall. The fire continued to crackle in the dark and silent bunker, an eerie and unsettling sound amidst the ruins. Nothing happened until almost three o'clock in the morning, when the silence was broken.

The first noise that happened was the distinctive sound of a blade biting into flesh, followed by a shriek of shock and pain. Gunther, being the veteran that he was, immediately awoke to full alertness, grabbing his sword and making his way quickly to the younger man, who had suddenly started bleeding from a hole in the right side of his chest. "Eric! What the fuck!? How did this happen!?"

As Gunther attempted to stay to bleeding, the younger man stammered through the sharp pain, "I d-don't know! A-all I felt was steel all of a s-sudden! I couldn't e-even see a weapon!"

"Damn it, I knew we shouldn't have been here. This is my fault..." Gunther grunted irritably and regretfully as he managed to quickly bind the wound enough to lessen the bleeding, which was all he could do until they could escape. As he was preparing to help Eric up, his sixth sense kicked in, and he swung his sword behind him. Instead of striking anything, Gunther's sword simply swung through the air, unable to touch what he felt from behind. Readying himself for a second attack, Eric having trouble holding his own sword, Gunther began to move his sword into a defensive posture when that sound echoed through the bunker again. This time, Gunther was the one stabbed by an intangible blade, causing his to groan in agony. The veteran, an experienced adventurer, ignored it and swung his sword again, yet still touched nothing. Blood trickled from his mouth as he held his wounded chest with his free hand, "Son of a bitch, it's like ghosts! We've got to get out of here, we can't fight what we can't touch!"

The two injured men made their way to the bunker doors, the older man being more injured than the younger. As they stepped outside, Gunther suddenly turned and shoved Eric out of the bunker. As the younger adventurer briefly shouted in pain, he looked up to see Gunther standing in the doorway, unmoving. The familiar sound of blood dripping on the ground attracted Eric's attention, as he saw quite a bit of it coming from Gunther. Then, the veteran fell backwards and landed heavily on the stone floor. His eyes still held guilt, a minor fear, and sadness, though the light from them was gone. A vicious gash covered the fallen man's sternum, cleaved nearly in half from shoulder to hip.

"Gunther!" Eric shouted in terror and anger. As much as he didn't want to believe it, he knew his companion was dead. Grabbing his friend's sword from where it had slid from his hand after his fall, the younger man cried tearlessly, "I'm sorry, Gunther..." Turning and running as fast as his injured body could move, Eric headed towards the closest exit to the ruins he could get to. While he had nowhere near as good a sixth sense as Gunther, his hearing was abnormally good, and he heard another familiar sound: arrows in flight. "Damn it!" cursed the younger man as he ducked between stone buildings, behind broken pillars and dodged the invisible arrows that struck everywhere he had been.

A good sprinting distance away from Eric now was the exit of the ruins. He had managed to get himself into a doorway of a collapsed house, using unhinged door as a defense against the arrows he couldn't even see. "Shit, I can't see these fuckers, and I can't defend against their blades... If I stay here any longer, they'll get to me... and I'll end up like Gunther... fuck, I have to run for it." Steeling himself, Eric heaved the door onto his back, using only the handle to keep it in place as he rushed for the destroyed archway that was once a gatehouse. Arrow after arrow continued to strike the wooden door, splinters and holes covering its surface. Two arrows pierced through the door and stabbed Eric in the back, making his howl in pain as he kept running.

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When he finally reached the last five paces, Eric picked up speed, lowering his body for extra boost, dashing for his escape. He was so close to escaping this hellish place, and it only made him move faster. More arrows rained down on the door, turning it into less of a door and more of a rotten plank of wood. As the last few arrows shattered its stability, Eric dropped the door handle and ran faster, now unburdened by its weight. The younger adventurer's foot thudded with each step as his body bolted under the half-destroyed archway. Then, Eric felt a cold sensation from his waist, one that startled him.

The younger man felt himself falling, a bit backwards and sideways, landing on his back. Turning his head, eyes filled with shock, Eric watched his legs continue running a short distance before topping over and rolling to a stop. Straining his neck, Eric tried to look at his body... and saw that he had been cut in half at the waist, clean through. Blood gurgling in his throat, his last thoughts of unwillingness to die, he sputtered, "No..." Then his head rolled backwards and lay still, his face still wearing his expression of fear.

Seran watched this with a dark look, which only grew darker as he watched the corpses of the pair seem to dissolve into nothingness, with even the blood drying up like water. As the scene came to a close, the time spell coming to a stop, he hissed quietly, "This... is a fearsome place..."

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