1 When the Red Moon Rises

Floating in the night sky, a wraith-like moon enveloped the eerie forest with its scarlet luminance. The breeze blew through the darkness, causing the tiniest of leaves to dance with the tune of the wind.

The rustling forest created a cozy ambience that relaxed one's mind and body, relieving them of their worries. But, it also made a natural white noise that blocked out any sound that would compete with it.

Within the dense, overgrown trees, a group made their way past the wild vegetation, crunching the earth beneath them. With each stride they took, various spiky limbs tugged at their grey jumpsuits revealing traces of fresh blood.

The blood moonlight caught glimpses of their scrawny bodies as they stumbled from the poor visibility.

The group came to a slow halt and hid beneath the roots of a giant tree. Smokey mist condensed from their unsteady rhythm as they tried to calm themselves down.

Suspense and anxiety occupied the tense atmosphere. The five people stayed quiet, frightened to create any movement that might give their location away.

Without warning, a man with a fresh scar slashed across his cheek lifted his finger over his lips. Everybody ceased their breathing.

Seconds passed.

"Fuck man! Where did they run off to?"

From the wavering darkness, two mysterious figures appeared from the shadows of a tree, landing near the group. They were wearing black hooded cloaks that flew with the breeze.

"How am I supposed to know! This was all your fault! If only you hadn't played around then we could've finished the mission already."

The hooded men shouted at each other but the wind blocked their voices making it difficult to hear.

"You don't think I know that stupid cunt! Help me out so we can get this over and done with. Fuck, our leader is going to kill us for this."

Out of rage, the hooded man kicked the flora around him sending leaves and fungi into the air.

"Let's fucking go already. We've wasted enough time as it is."

The man looked at his companion and patted the bits of debris away, disappearing into the shadows.

The remaining figure looked with annoyance and turned his head to look behind him.

Chills ran down the group's spine as they prayed he wouldn't notice them. With a stroke of luck, the figure turned around and followed the other man.

Silence once again returned to pervade the area. A massive sigh of relief escaped from their mouths, gulping in mouthfuls of oxygen.

"How are you guys holding up?" a man with a scar asked. The group looked at him first then lowered their heads.

Once again they ended up in silence.

It wasn't until someone built up the courage and responded.

"Um, um," a young boy said. Dirt covered him from head to toe but one could tell that he was still in middle school from his immature voice.

"A-Anderson h-has a broken a-arm and, and J-Jack… I-I'm a-afraid he, he won't make it."

Everybody stared at the two injured men. One had his arm bent backwards dripping with blood which made him quivered with pain. The other man had deep patches of purple bruised over his body and jagged bones pierced his flesh.

At this rate, they wouldn't last for much longer.

The young boy wanted to console the group but a howl growling with hysterical laughter blasted through the forest.

"Well, well, well! Look what we have here. If it isn't Harry and his little gang. How have you been?"

High above in the twisted branches, a dark silhouette sat relaxed against the trunk playing with his knives. The blood moonlight stressed the large size of the cloaked man as he juggled them around.

He exuded an aura of dominance that felt as massive as a mountain.

The man laughed once more and leapt down from the distorted branch, landing above the shelter.

The roots crumbled like cookies and collapsed altogether burying the group alive. Crimson splattered in all directions dyeing the vegetation red within the vicinity. The soil drank the blood with greed enjoying its newfound supplements.

From the lingering cloud of dust, the figure rose with mischievousness.

"Hahaha! Check out this bloody mess. Did you guys have a blood nose seeing my handsome face again?"

Underneath the wreckage, the man with the scar starred in fear, revealing the deep dread in his terrified eyes. He turned his pained neck around but saw none of his comrades, only their arms and legs stuck out from their unfortunate resting place.

Tears welled in his eyes as he knew only he had survived the attack. "Kill me already. I don't want to go back to that hell."

"I'd rather not. You see… I have the troublesome task of bringing you guys back." The dark figure looked at the buried group again and snickered, "Well most of you anyway, so be a good kitten and let me take you home."

A punch as swift as lightning knocked the survivor unconscious drowning him in the soil.

"Mission accomplished I guess. What should I do with those two fellas now?"

He stood motionless until an image of a monstrous wolf howled into the forest appeared from behind his back.

The howl resounded through the area ripping through the wind.

He then lifted his head and glanced towards the night sky scattered with leaves. In his silver eyes reflected the image of the moon in all its brilliance.

"Ugh! I can never get use this bloody smell. How am I supposed to wash all this blood off?

Removing his cloak, he flicked it like a whip getting rid of the crimson liquid.

"Man, what a drag."

He then lifted the survivor over his massive shoulders and dashed off into the woods, leaving the lost souls behind.

In a room as dark as the hopes of an orphan, a young man awoke to the thin lighting probing through the slits of the wooden shutters. Scanning the room, Lam noted an absence of supplies, namely paper and stationery, on the worn-out table.

Donning his trusty robe and comfy slippers over his soft sweatpants, he ambled his way towards the windowsill. He glanced through the open window and saw the scarlet moon.

"Ha, such a beautiful moon tonight," he mumbled under his breath. "Maybe one day I'll create a building just as appealing."

Gray clouds soon blanketed over the brilliant disc as if they wanted it to themselves. The young man closed the window shutters and walked towards his beloved friend, the bed. He sank into the embrace of his mattress, snuggling himself into a comfy position.

He then pulled his phone out of its dock connector to check the time.

12 am.

Meh, I can wake up in time for classes, Lam thought. I'm just going to watch a few videos then go to sleep. He scrolled through his social feeds swarmed with posts of the red moon. There were selfies, videos, and even articles about this phenomenon.

Thump… thump… thump.

A light headache tapped at his head, but, Lam paid it no heed. It'll go away.

Hours travelled by and Lam's eyes grew heavy. His body relaxed, his heart rate slowed down and the grip around his trusty companion loosened.

The poor phone fell from its owner's hand, flabbergasted at this sudden betrayal and cursed the heavens of its fate. It landed on the soft mattress, illuminating the darkness of the blanket world.

4 am.

-/-/- Bonus scene

Lam continued scrolling through his social feeds when he found a conspicuous photo before his eyes. A dashing girl dressed as a Neko maid appeared on his screen.

>. >

<. <

A single finger pressed hard onto the phone and waited until a 'save image' popped up.

Next chapter