Author: Tyler Trieschock | Banner: Tyler Trieschock
Tokyo, Japan – 2004
The clear bright skies of Tokyo rattled as explosions of metal and fire blossomed. Aerial fighters of human and alien design crisscrossed through the detonations as they battled for control of the sky. Far below the war of steel craft and diamond belligerents, the fragmented metal of fallen aircraft fell like rain onto the besieged city, and the monstrous, unconscious titans which lay scattered across the metropolitan area. Only the dorsal-spined leviathan feared by humanity, Godzilla, and the terrifying three-headed golden dragon of the Xilien invaders, Keizer Ghidorah, remained conscious and fighting. But even as the two tore into each other, clashing thunderously with their jaws unleashing breaths of pure destructive energies in the heart of the city; Tokyo was far from vacant.
Tens of thousands of residents awaited the chaos’ end under the streets in subways, basements, and bunkers. Some unlucky souls hid within trembling buildings, while those fighting to end the conflict pushed on in vehicles of war toward Keizer Ghidorah. The largest of the vessels, a battleship-like construct with a drill at its forward, the Gotengo, lay on its side in a state of disrepair after engaging the now destroyed Xilien Mothership. Those who crewed the monolithic machine watched those still capable of fighting press forward towards a hard fought victory.
Tokyo wasn’t lost, in retrospect the city hadn’t taken too much punishment from the Xilien assault, but the hydra’s defeat needed to occur or all the loss would mean nothing. With eyes filled with confidence, a surging presence filled Shinichi Ozaki as he realized his next action and the role he was meant to play.
Stepping forth from the survivors around him, the mutant’s right arm outstretched, allowing his open palm to glow under the light of the sun. A golden aura quickly enveloped Ozaki, illuminating his black clothes and causing his spiked, black hair to sway as if a continuous wind flowed through it. The radiant energy around him grew vigorously while sparks filled his open palm, a sense of euphoria forcing the emotionless man to crack a smile.
All his life Ozaki knew he was different, a byproduct of a genetic anomaly in his DNA. From his status as an outcast in life, Ozaki found others like him, bonded with them and trained with them, merely for them all to fall over the past day. They were irreplaceable, but glancing at the shimmering power surging through his right palm, a piece of him felt a connection to those now lost.
A parting gift to change the tide.
With the power to decide the conflict radiating through his body, Ozaki allowed the summoned power to flow past his being to another, better able to use his channeled energy. The battered nuclear leviathan’s spines ignited a golden hue while a confusing sense of sorrow filled Shinichi’s body.
With the noble act, something felt lost deep within Ozaki or rather misplaced, but as the titan known as Godzilla roared into the sky, quaking the metropolitan area, Ozaki dismissed the sensation to watch the battle turn to humanity’s favor. No matter how Godzilla defeated Keizer Ghidorah, Ozaki knew one that one thing could not be denied any further.
He, and his miraculous gift, were the keys to the city’s salvation. What aftershocks would follow his achievement Ozaki could only dream of.
Western Slopes of Mt. Fuji, Japan – 14 years later
Barely able to keep his eyes parted after the endless monotony of the inner workings of a toy company for twelve hours, Ichiro Miki wearily drove through an endless downpour of rain. The disgruntled boss wiped sweat off his wrinkled brow and flicked the radio on merely for an endless barrage of static to berate his ears. A tired breath was all Ichiro could muster before he angrily shut off the radio and focused on the five meters of road he could see.
“Go see the doctor?” Ichiro ranted. “What could it hurt? It should be clear skies today… Damn Sachiko, if Legion shows up on this side of Mt. Fuji, I’ll haunt you and our kids!”
The glow of lights stopped Ichiro’s inner dialogue before he noticed the edge of the nearly vacant parking lot. Speeding diagonally across the lines, Ichiro pulled his Toyota as close as he could to the front of the two story facility and parked his small car, noting the lack of many other vehicles in the area. Wanting to escape the pouring rain, Ichiro dashed out of his blue vehicle, passed the automatic sliding glass doors and found himself in a nearly vacant waiting area excluding a young woman at the front desk. Her colorful clothing could not hide the displeasure his arrival brought to her as she immediately glanced at him with barely hidden frustration, to which he retorted with a scowl of his own.
“You must be Ichiro,” the young woman with a now plastic smile stated in a friendly tone that hinted the words, about time, were the true ending to her sentence. “I’ll grab the doctor.”
As she made a call, Ichiro took a seat in a plastic chair, allowing the frigid water to take full effect and rattle his aged body with chills. The receptionist’s call was brief, the following silence now deafening as minutes passed.
“Thought you wouldn’t show, between Legion and the storm,” the receptionist quipped from her desk. Ichiro’s eyes dragged across the floor before he locked eyes with her, sending visible chills through the young woman’s body.
“If you knew my wife, you’d know she’s far more terrifying than that creature. Why are you here?”
“I love my job,” the receptionist sarcastically retorted while rolling her eyes before she continued under her breath, “definitely don’t need the money.”
Before any dialogue could continue, footsteps echoed down the nearby hallway.
“Hello Mr. Miki!” A friendly face assured as he entered the waiting area. He approached Ichiro with a smile of confidence which was slightly obfuscated by his thick blonde beard. “I’m doctor Alan Smithy, I spoke with your wife over the phone. Please, just follow me and we will begin your first, and hopefully final session.”
“That sounds… great,” Ichiro noted with the closest thing to a neutral expression he could muster before he and Dr. Smithy vanished into the depths of the facility.
Eurasian Continent – 130 Million Years Ago
The jungles of the old world rippled as shockwaves of fire tore through their dense layers. Reptiles of all sizes rampaged, not with malice but fear, their terrified roars deafened by the booming explosions of the two kaiju batting above their heads.
Glowing with magnificent light, Mothra Leo parted the ground beneath his rainbow wings, forming a trench dozens of meters wide which expelled large columns of destructive, multi-colored energy. The overwhelming pillars of color tore through the heavens, piercing the tallest clouds in the night sky and the devil hiding in their mist.
A malicious three-headed tyrant cackled in rage. Grand King Ghidorah’s juvenile self tanked the full force of the overwhelming shockwave, unleashing a plethora of spherical flames of plasma from its maws. Explosive, crimson energy lanced through the open air and descended upon the primeval forest like that of a meteor shower, killing all life which was unlucky enough to be engulfed in the blaze.
The jungles of the old world swelled with fire, burning everything in its wake to a blackened corpse, except for a single saurian who stood in awe of the chaos.
With a head that barely raised above the ignited trees, a young, bipedal dinosaur gazed into the flashing sky. An itch caused the juvenile beast to scratch its developing nasal horn, but an overwhelming aerial detonation caused Gomora to look up in wonder and envy. For what seemed like an eternity, he watched the dreaded three-headed invader terrorize the land, killing the youngest of his siblings and members of his kind which dared to resist. He desired nothing more than to fight, but with a height that would only reach the top of the dragon’s legs, he knew he held no chance. But now, before his eyes, Gomora watched a mere insect doing the impossible, standing up to the grand destroyer of his land. Its chirp, even in the face of such terror, defiant!
The small dinosaur’s claws twitched with desire, igniting a fire within its reptilian heart which exceeded even the torrential blaze around him.
No matter the size, no matter the terror, he’d stand against an overwhelming threat and crush it beneath his claws. Maybe if the moth failed, he’d have his chance at besting King Ghidorah, but first he needed time. He needed to grow-
A peculiar sight stopped the saurian’s line of thought. Chaotic events around Gomora seemingly froze in place, drawing a look of bewilderment from the dinosaur. Fire became as rigid as stone while the moth and dragon remained frozen in the high atmosphere. Gomora let loose a grunt, unsure what the occurrence was as he raised his right claws to scratch his head, merely to gaze upon a hand far larger than he’d seen just moments ago. The dinosaur’s eyes darted to his body which now cast its shadow over the burning forest, his height easily rivaling that of the dragon which ravaged his lands.
Gomora gradually lowered his appendages to his sides and scanned the horizon, noticing an overwhelming darkness surging toward him like a tidal wave.
Eyes went wide upon the realization of his current predicament.
This was no reality, not even a distant memory, but a dream, and one he was tired of residing in. Roaring furiously into the realm of his mind, the false reality trembled from the saurian’s roar until all became nothing in an endless void of black.
Gomora’s right hand smashed through palpable darkness, launching a mass of rock and dirt from the wall of his grave and breaking the seal of his tomb. Light shined upon the dinosaur while rain poured into his falsely created burial site. The meager layer of dirt would not hold the mighty Gomora, and upon a familiar world, the saurian would make his revival known.
Foothills of Mt. Fuji – Present Day
Alone, underappreciated, and taking the universe’s constant unpleasantries where the sun currently did not shine. If life ever could mirror his work, then Shinichi Ozaki found the perfect mission to replicate his past decade of escapades.
Atop an unknown hill somewhere near Mt. Fuji, Ozaki parted a breath filled with apathy. While his innate superhuman strength and speed was regularly wasted by his superiors’ disinterest, the recent incursion of the kaiju scourge known as Legion sparked a bit of hope that his talent would not be wasted, merely for that desire to be thoroughly crushed by incompetence not of his own making.
Of course they’d deploy me on the wrong side of the mountain the day I decide to be a bit… rebellious, Ozaki thought. Now instead of fighting man-sized bugs by the hundreds, I’ll have to fight against a dishonorable discharge.
Another vent of air through Ozaki’s nostrils marked his acceptance of his dire fate before he rested his body against a nearby tree. Against the bark, Ozaki felt every drop of precipitation across his body. Rain ensnared the irked man with frigid tendrils, causing the standard camouflage uniform he wore to stick like glue across his physique. Minor inconsistencies in texture, like the leather knife sheathed across his thigh, the plastic radio holsted to his belt and the M-16 strapped across his back, all caused the officer’s skin to feel on edge. Droplets pelted his inexplicably spiked hair, tapping his forehead and keeping his thoughts from trailing anywhere except his eventual disciplinary action.
Not that a dishonorable discharge will change much.
The thought plunged Ozaki’s stoic heart into the grasps of despair he’d held off for some time. As he closed his eyes, succumbing to darkness within, distant dual flashes of light ripped Ozaki back to reality.
In the extended valley between the hill he stood upon and another geological chain in the distance which would eventually lead to Mt. Fuji, two separate flashes of light, like lightning in their momentary brilliance, illuminated the fifty foot trees and distant transmission towers of the surrounding area. Just as suddenly as the lights formed, they vanished, taking Ozaki’s ability to see with their departure as his pupils rapidly dilated to the pitiful light available. The mutant winced, counting down to when the thunderclap should’ve followed, but as no sound or pressure wave struck his being, a quizzical smile took shape.
Maybe I’ll be needed after all, Ozaki theorized before a distant quake rattled the dirt, solidifying his next course of action.
Eyes wide in delight, Ozaki wasted no further time and dashed down the hillside, putting olympic runners to shame before lunging into the dense forest lining the valley. What seemed like a suicidal jump towards impalement morphed into a graceful dance as Ozaki ducked and weaved through seemingly endless rows of hemlocks.
The Christmas tree-like flora, while not dangerous, Ozaki pretended they were for the fun of it. Bouncing off a clear section of bark with a kick or launching himself off the wet earth with a two-pronged jump continued Ozaki’s staggering pace through the darkness, pressing his reflexes the hardest they’d been in ten years. As the mutant barely evaded a long branch unnaturally jutting from a tree twenty feet off the ground, the darkness within Ozaki’s heart and mind felt like a distant memory.
His acrobatics demonstrated to himself that his abilities were still in top form. No matter what challenges lay ahead, he could still face them head on with the confidence that he would come out on top.
Ozaki’s glowing smile then retreated. Eyes went wide, realizing something was amiss as the veil of darkness in front of him suddenly raced forward. Details cleared with the passing distance, yet Ozaki waited for the sight to make sense.
Reality proved unchanging.
An immense wall of dark green took Ozaki by surprise yet as he sailed airbourne, outside the reach of any trees, the trajectory of his lunge was assured. Twisting his shoulder forward to take the brunt of the impending impact, Ozaki’s body struck the sudden mass, deflecting him back to the wet earth below, accompanied by flowing water. A wet flop marked his return to the mud covered ground where his curiosity, momentary excitement and body sunk beneath the liquid earth beside an inexplicable monstrosity.
Mt. Fuji Neural Research Office – 10 Minutes Prior
Ichiro Miki shuddered, an eerie chill creeping up his spine as he lay in a medical bed, surrounded by unfamiliar electronic equipment. Decaying, polystyrene squares lined the ceiling of the room, a sight Ichiro frequently found himself staring at within his old toy company office. While in his work room he could enjoy peace and quiet, able to sequester himself away from other’s prying eyes, he found no luxury here as he awaited the doctor to finish hooking up another patient in the procedure who lay directly across from him on the far side of the room.
“So doctor, mind going over this process again,” Ichiro warily asked, tapping the thin, metallic helmet strapped to his head.
Dr. Smithy obliged with a smile, parting the hair on his lip for a brief moment before he replied, “Put simply, this machine will remove the nightmare’s causes from your subconscious mind. What dreams may come after this procedure I assure you will be solely positive.”
“And this is… safe?” Ichiro hesitantly asked, causing the doctor’s movements to noticeably slow. ’Oh god Sachiko, what type of half-baked quack did you refer me to?’
“Of course!” Smithy finally noted with a warm smile on his face. “All procedures were approved by a government’s meticulous review.”
Ichiro’s eyes narrowed. ’A government? Not, the government.’
“Not to be rude, but are we ready?”
The new inquiry drew Ichiro and the doctor’s attention to the other patient who lay with a permanent look of annoyance across his face. While the metallic helmet now hid the patient’s balding head, something deep within Ichiro’s gut instructed him to hate the man. As to why, the toy manager did not know, but in his gut, the old man held faith.
“And you are?”
“Yuasa, Shusuke Yuasa,” the patient remarked. “Here the same as you and the good doctor was good enough to see us both. I’m sure he’s fully accredited.” A smile, as wide as the one the receptionist gave to the toy manager, beamed from Shusuke who looked the doctor up and down. “Apologies for my friend. Obviously he’s a bit nervous. Probably uncomfortable since you’re a foreigner.”
The doctor’s hands immediately rose, waiving back and forth as if trying to force the conversation in another direction “No, no it’s fine. We all are nervous-”
“American, right? Had a friend from the Midwest, you remind me so much of him.”
The doctor’s hands went to the back of his head. “Northeast actually.”
Ichiro grimaced as the pair laughed amongst themselves. In response, the impatient man tilted his head back and closed his eyes, hoping to escape the nightmare in front of him by delving to another time.
Thoughts of his younger self headed the request.
’Face your fears. Fight your own battles.’
Such heroic statements in his youth were inspirational, but as a man pushing sixty, Ichiro allowed the thoughts of his younger self to fade to his subconscious. To constantly fight against challenges, against the nightmares of the modern day were tiring. In fact, his fears and worries seemed to take those child-like mantras to heart more than him, relentlessly pursuing him in all facets of life. Now, all Ichiro wanted was to finally rest, to be done with the struggle which plagued him since he was young.
What he would give for such a chance…
Footsteps drew open Ichrio’s eyes as the doctor finished mingling with the other patient. The doctor said his pleasantries, beginning to walk towards the door where the process could be initiated. While Dr. Smithy’s hesitation gradually revealed itself once more to Ichiro’s observant gaze, what was more curious was the constant phrase the doctor silently repeated to himself. Focusing his aging hearing, Ichiro deciphered the words just as the doctor departed the room.
Eyes flexed in confusion at the statement. ’Not another New York. What happened in New York?’
Foothills of Mt. Fuji – 2 Minutes Prior
Gomora trudged past the vast hills which lined Mt. Fuji’s basin and through an endless hemlock forest that while not tall, proved troublesome with the flora’s density. The tedious movement did have its benefits, giving the saurian excess time to ponder why he was buried. His memories proved hazy, but pieces gradually molded into something tangible.
He was awoken by humanity. A battle ensued but he came to blows with something as much human as it was alien. A red and silver humanoid with golden eyes met him on the field of battle, trading blows until… until he was defeated? No…
Gomora stopped in his tracks, eyes going wide. No… he wasn’t just beaten. Was he killed? No… he survived, but surely without the humanoid’s intention.
Teeth grinded against one another. Expressing his frustration, an overwhelming roar echoed into the storm as lightning struck nearby, retorting Gomora’s bellow with the crackle of thunder. Frustrated breaths vented from the saurian, his eyes overflowing with rage.
He wouldn’t lose again! He wouldn’t return to that darkness again!
Fury focused Gomora’s vision on the hills in front of him. Beyond those features, he could sense the terror of his youth. The dreaded dragon, it still lived and surely his revival was of no coincidence. This time, the mighty Gomora would not watch on as a mere spectator. He would crush the dragon within his claws! With an earth shattering bellow, Gomora barrelled through all in his way.
Rain pelted against his hide to no avail.
Trees toppled with little resistance.
Even as a row of human transmission lines neared his view, Gomora’s nasal horn ignited with orange energy and from the protrusion, the dinosaur unleashed his Super Oscillatory Wave at the electrical structures. Destructive waves pelted and easily contorted the steel support, melting the wiring into fiery globs. After creating a large enough opening in the line of metallic structures, Gomora ceased his signature weapon and passed through the hole to continue his trek.
No barrier would halt him. No humanoid would stop him. On this day, he would battle the nightmare of his past and vanquish it!
Western Slopes of Mt. Fuji
Emerging from the sloshing clay, Ozaki pulled himself out of the mud, cursing to himself until he stood upon solid ground. A pouring waterfall running off the unnatural mountain’s side removed most of the earthy particles from the man, yet his rage could not be tempered by relief that his despised uniform wouldn’t stain. Taking a few steps back, removing himself from the strongest downpour of running water, Ozaki gazed upon the warty mountain before him, a single brow raised as his mind raced for an unfamiliar name.
The mass was a monster nearing one hundred meters long lying on its back, legs fully extended, of which Ozaki held no doubt. But which kaiju was it? Was it alive? How did it make its way here, near Mt. Fuji, undetected?
“Definitely not Legion,” Ozaki commented before beginning to walk alongside the fallen creature. “Warty skin. Green. Bipedal. I know this.” The man’s mind raced, meticulously prying open data troves of information over two decades old, but a decade of neglect was not doing Ozaki any favors. Reaching the end of the kaiju’s right leg, he spotted three spiked toes and then proceeded to his left. “Kazuma would know, and I’d never hear the end of-”
The discovery of steaming land took the words out of Ozaki’s breath. Fallen trees sizzled upon contact with rain. Superheated, cracked dirt refused to soften. Wide open with not a single hemlock still standing, the nearby land seemed reminiscent to the aftermath of a bomb’s detonation, drawing Ozaki to think of the bright lights which originally lured him to the site. Had the kaiju simply been struck by lightning?
Ozaki crossed the compressed landscape, noticing the impression of twin monster sized footprints in the dirt. Each impression marked with three toes, each with no sign of any others leading to or away from the area. Looking back at the possibly dead, or sleeping, kaiju, Ozaki looked for similar burn patterns like those on the ground. One leg lay extended, the other raised up in an arch with its left knee pointing at the sky. While the detail was hazy, and he couldn’t see anything above the creature’s abdomen even for his enhanced vision, the fallen monster didn’t seem charred in the slightest. The lack of burns coupled with the miniscule rhythmic rise of its chest gave Ozaki no doubt, the creature was unmistakably alive.
So you dropped from the sky and then what? You were struck by lightning?
A vile feeling made itself known within Ozaki’s gut, a warning that the pieces he was gathering were not coming together. Before the mutant could think any further, a female shriek ripped through the rain filled sky, replaying the dual flash of light within Ozaki’s mind. Two, distinct flashes.
Military boots kicked off soggy earth and propelled Ozaki towards the scream. In just a few seconds, Ozaki’s run took him between the fallen legs of the lumpy-skinned beast, under the creature’s arched left leg and finally, onto old pavement. A parking lot stretched out for a few hundred feet with a lone, caved-in structure just barely noticeable at the other end. Sprinting toward the decimated building, other objects came quickly into view through the darkness. Two parked cars lay untouched while a third seemed torn open as if beset by the world’s largest can opener. No sign of the attacker remained, spiking Ozaki’s heartbeat more than his inhuman dash. Untouched trees lined each side of the parking lot. The second monster was nearby, but if it wasn’t on the periphery then where-
A sudden wave of pressure slammed onto Ozaki’s dashing body and the man’s run morphed into a sliding halt. Unfazed eyes snapped up, watching a descending blur form color and shape.
Triangular jaws parted. White teeth shined over crimson flesh. Black wings swung backward. The final monster wasn’t stalking from the trees, but hiding under the shadow of night. The aerial monster had caught its newest prey out in the open with no possibility of retreat and as Ozaki realized this, unparalleled anticipation gripped his very soul…
Hiding within the caved-in lobby, Ichiro awaited the unidentified new arrival shrouded in darkness and rain to be swallowed whole. The nightmarish avian, which up to this point easily consumed the receptionist and tore Dr. Smithy’s own car to get to him, had made short work of those wishing to flee. Now, only the other patient and himself remained, but more than likely for not much longer. In the nightmare’s gluttonous curiosity, the seven-forty-seven sized creature had flattened a majority of the office. How could the newest fool to stumble upon the fresh hell around him fair any better, especially against something so large?
’He can’t’, Ichiro assured himself, reinforcing his initial strategy of hiding merely to watch the next actions of the blur with youthful fascination.
Instead of running away or dropping to his knees, the blur inexplicably lunged toward the falling shadow. Old eyes failed to follow the blurred individual’s incredible leap yet as a high pitched wail echoed, Ichiro staggered back from the intensity. Hands raced to his ears, blocking a horrid scream that seemed to quake the shattered structure. As Ichiro looked to Shusuke, who too clutched his ears out of necessity, he recognized the unmistakable expression of pain morph into terror. Tracing the man’s gaze back to the lobby’s entrance, Ichiro found the blur fully materialized beside him.
A quick yell of terror escaped Ichiro’s lips. Arms sprung back, clutching fallen debris while he felt every thunderous beat of his old heart.
“Who the hell are you?” Ichiro demanded.
The newest arrival turned to face Ichiro, causing the man to embed himself further onto the debris behind him. The blur was young, sporting a military uniform with some type of rifle slung over his back, yet for a man trapped in hell, he seemed inexplicably unfazed. “You can call me Ozaki. I’m here to help.”
“Help?!” Ichiro felt the urge to laugh but fear kept the desire in check. “How can you help us? That-that, thing is still out there. It’ll come for us now!”
“Not likely. We have a minute, maybe two,” Ozaki retorted.
The officer unsheathed a knife from his thigh that was anything but standard issue. The gargantuan blade, pressing the limits of a regular knife, was covered from edge to hilt in fresh blood.
“Took an eye,” Ozaki assured, explaining the confidence of the young man. “You know what that flying thing was?”
Ichiro looked to the far back of the collapsed lobby where Shusuke limped forward. The man was trembling, yet his eyes showed a resilience Ichiro desperately wished he possessed.
“I don’t know how you took an eye. They’re flying, scaled devils that-”
“I know what they can do.” The soldier noted, tilting his head side to side as if batting around the information in his head. “What about the bipedal… wart thing? Can’t see it from here but-”
The officer’s unnatural calm attitude vanished. Eyes locked on Ichiro’s trembling body, sending new tremors coursing through his aged frame as the young man’s inexplicable jovial nature sharpened into something else for a fraction of a second. Ichiro didn’t know what twitch or shiver, distinct from all the rest assaulting his body, gave away that he knew what the monster was, but like a predator hunting prey, Ozaki was now laser focused on him, unveiling a primal urge within Ichiro. For the miniscule moment that the officer stared at the old man, instinct screamed for Ichiro to flee.
He- he can’t be human. The old man thought.
“-it’s unconscious.” Ozaki finished, his full attention now on Ichiro. “I assume you can tell me.”
Ozaki formed a wide smile. Another bluff, a fake smile just like the receptionist once gave to him, but Ichiro’s eyes remained wide, certain of the inhuman killer behind the facade.
“Gabara, it’s Gabara,” the old man divulged. “I don’t know how, but it’s him.”
Ichiro felt momentary relief as Ozaki turned to face the outside. The collapsed building shook. Incredible winds flowing over the structure, launching rain into the open lobby, yet the officer remained stationary, transfixed on the pitch black sky.
“Relax, I’ll get you both out of here. Anything else important I should know?” Ozaki inquired.
“I think I know how this happened.”
Ichiro’s attention snapped to the other patient who stumbled within arms length of Ozaki. “My name is actually Tsutomu Osako, I’m an inspector. I was tipped off that a fugitive from the United States was running this office, so I went undercover to gather evidence. I planned on making my arrest after tonight’s session, but… then the power went wild.”
“Not another New York,” Ichiro mumbled to himself, remembering the doctor’s final line before the process began and the lights went wild.
The inspector continued, “I believe the doctor was from New York City. Details were scarce to what he did, but it was something related to a Crackler. Assumed it was hysteria related. Whether the doctor perfected his science or it was an accident, what I and Ichiro both fear now lives.”
The collapsed lobby rattled once more. Voices fell silent, remembering the living horror soaring above.
“So I’ll get them to kill each other,” Ozaki affirmed, drawing Ichiro’s attention. “Gyaos is circling us. On his next pass, I’ll lure him right to Gabara. You both stay here, out of sight. When it’s clear, I’ll radio in support.”
“You have a gun!” Ichiro cried out in condescension.
“Five point five six rounds won’t affect something that large. Was lucky with the knife and I probably only sliced the outer membrane. We need a bigger distraction.”
Ozaki’s body stretched out into a sprinter’s position. Muscle tensed across the officer’s body, sharpening every fiber of his being to the shock of Ichiro. The man readied another yell of protest, but as the structure rattled for a third time, Ozaki’s body jettisoned away, morphing into a blur indistinguishable from the darkness.
Why a few hundred foot long parking lot, easily able to hold dozens of cars, existed for a single office space Ozaki wondered and then disregarded. There were a thousand reasons, but none of them were going to shorten the distance he needed to dash or shield him from the flying terror that no doubt was laser focused on his sprinting figure. While Japan’s population was filled with healthy, fit individuals, the amount of time to cover such a space over slick terrain would probably be close to ten, maybe fifteen seconds, especially for a soldier weighted down as he was. Luckily for Ozaki, he wasn’t human.
Keeping track of every passing second, Ozaki noted the passing of the fourth increment of time. The officer was within jumping distance of Gabara. A confident hand reached out, ready to mark the world record beating achievement with a fist bump across emerald flesh, but a wave of pressure struck first.
Hurricane force winds launched Ozaki airbourne, reversing all the hard fought momentum he’d built up. A jolt of disorientation came and went before the officer struck the black pavement, sliding backward at high speed while rain whipped his body. Keeping upright was a challenge, but pressing his heels across the pavement finally forced Ozaki to a stop.
’Mistimed the Gyaos’ sonic boom. Just need to double time it back. How far did I-‘
Ozaki’s inner monologue vanished in time with a quick head turn and the realization that two sets of terrified eyes were on him. Ichiro and Inspector Osako were in the open lobby, bewildered and horrified by his reappearance. He’d sailed back to his starting line and the Gyaos no doubt would be on him in just a moment.
’Not letting that happen.’
Cracking pavement marked Ozaki’s second attempt as he dashed forward through wind and rain. The officer felt his heart accelerate. Time slowed as the effects of adrenaline coursed through his racing body. In three seconds, Ozaki achieved what he did in a little over four. Roughly thirty feet of pavement remained between him and Gabara but on opposing sides of his periphery, two red walls extended forward. White teeth alerted the officer to the dire truth.
’I’m between its jaws.’
Time became a crawl. If the Gyaos clamped its jaws shut, he’d be doomed, but what surged forth as the man’s right leg struck pavement wasn’t fear, but defiance. A war cry began to boom. Pavement fractured as all Ozaki’s strength funneled down. What was a run morphed into a desperate lunge, surging forward out of closing jaws toward the arched leg of Gabara.
Sailing beneath the emerald appendage, the Gyaos meters behind him, Ozaki felt his achievement wash over him.
Once again, he’d achieved the impossible.
Green eyelids rocketed open. A howl ripped through falling rain. A nightmare awoke to anguish in a world he’d only dreamed of.
Instinct fueled Gabara’s movement as four-fingered hands reached out and ensnared whatever sliced into his right thigh. Jagged teeth clamped down on the appendage and as Gabara howled in anguish, the ogre let loose a desperate kick. A high pitched screech and the retreat of the attacker signaled the strike’s success, allowing the bipedal nightmare to arise unhindered.
The ogre twisted his neck from side to side as he stood upright, cracking his freshly created bones, reaping immense satisfaction. Everything Gabara looked down upon, from the trees to the distant ruined human structure, seemed both familiar and new. He’d watched everything from afar, trapped in a mental cage the monstrous kaiju could not comprehend. Feeling his mind ache trying to come to terms with where he had been, Gabara disregarded his past, where he came from and focused on his current freedom, and how he would enjoy it. Twisting his neck to the right, brutish eyes located the cause of his momentary discomfort; a crimson avian creature staring at him with blood stained jaws.
Water flowed off black bat-like wings which eclipsed the blood-red wyvern-like frame of the Gyaos. Different sections of the creature sported different skin and coloration, as if to highlight the hyper-efficient killer traits from the super-sized, crimson brawler beneath the killer’s immense wingspan. Whatever the reason for the mismatched features, the beast before Gabara possessed the natural strength and talons to tear him apart; however, Gabara disregarded such threats, snickering to himself with child-like glee.
If he could scare the wyvern, then all the power would never come to play. Cackling to himself, Gabara relished the torment to come. It was time for some payback.
Raising his arms to match his own height exceeding one hundred meters, Gabara lumbered forward in the most frightening display he could muster, letting loose a potent screech to rattle the wyvern’s senses. The display wasn’t in preparation for a swipe or an attack, merely to maximize his own imposing size and drive the impudent predator away. Gabara desired the Gyaos to writhe in terror, not conflict; instead, Gabara’s worst fear came true.
Black wings flexed outward. The crimson fiend’s long neck arched back, letting loose its own shrill cry of intimidation, sending the emerald ogre back a single step. Gabara’s eyes flexed, his illusion of brutality shattered. Whatever reservations the Gyaos possessed moments ago vanished as it sprung forward, crimson talons extended.
Gabara was no longer a rival to challenge, merely prey.
Thick talons sunk into the emerald flesh of Gabara’s abdominal sides while ravenous jaws snapped towards his neck. Deprived of the strength to counter, Gabara merely stumbled back, yelping in anguish. As the hillside’s slopes unexpectedly arched downward, Gabara’s retreat morphed into a fall. Arms outstretched, warty palms grabbing the Gyaos’ legs, turning the avian’s assault into a frenzy to remain upright and eventually, airbourne.
Feeling the wind flow across his body and dangling helpless above the hills he once stood upon, Gabara felt his own fear paralyze his actions. He was dangling, helpless, and most importantly, afraid.
Stealth was not a trait Gomora associated with the three-headed terror of his time, yet the lack of its appearance drew only that conclusion. Rain poured on undamaged trees and the lights of humanities’ domain glowed in the horizon. Ghidorah’s trademark trail of desolation was absent, yet the saurian’s keen instincts assured him the dragon was close.
But, where was he?
Deafening the thunder rattling the heavens, distant monstrous wails answered the saurian’s inquiry. Gomora swept his impatient gaze across the darkness, hoping to finally face the tormentor of his youth, and as a colossal form fluttered in the distance, Gomora’s nasal horn sparked with power. His moment of battle had arrived and he would be the one to initiate his long awaited combat.
While the rain and darkness obscured the flying goliath’s mass, Gomora aimed for the three-headed terror’s center mass. Orange waves vaporized falling water upon contact as a billowing shockwave exploded forth from Gomora’s nasal horn, surging to draw the terror’s attention or simply deliver a powerful first strike; instead of either, a third option graced Gomora as the hulking mass seemingly separated in midair.
Gomora’s bewildered stare was all the creature could muster at the sight, unsure what to make of the separation as a distant tremor rattled through the land from the lower half’s impact on a collection of transmission towers. The top half, blending into the blacked skies, revealed itself once more as a golden aura illuminated a draconic maw which let loose a beam-like lance. Shock from the recent separation kept Gomora rooted in place, allowing the energized beam to slice effortlessly over his left shoulder, intermingling blood and water as crimson liquid erupted.
Gomora withheld the urge to bellow a cry of anguish, but found his eyes laser focused on the black and crimson flier he’d accidentally picked a fight with. His new enemy wasn’t Ghidorah and yet, every fiber in his being wished nothing more than to pound it into the earth.
Ghidorah’s death would have to wait. Another creature enticed Gomora’s wrath.
Mt. Fuji Neural Research Office
If you can’t beat your enemy, lure something that can.
While not applicable to all situations, Ozaki held no doubt Captain Douglas Gordon would grin upon seeing the chaos on display with the officer’s use of the tactic. The forced battle between Gabara and Gyaos had evolved into a possible three-way with the unexpected entry of a third combatant: a nasal horned reptile. The name of the creature fell on the tip of Ozaki’s tongue, but the identity of the creature would come to him in time. For the moment, Ozaki allowed the feeling of his success to wash over him.
Ichiro and Inspector Osako were safe, and the battle was taking the trio of monsters farther away, into the unpopulated hills of the region.
“Baragon,” Ozaki noted with assurance, finally finding the monster’s name before sliding to a stop outside the dilapidated office. “All right, it’s clear! Time to move!”
While not lit, the area around the lobby remained still. Falling rain created the only noise, drawing a bit of ire from Ozaki.
“We need to go! I radioed what’s going on. The moment those things are notified to upper command, they’ll either be bombed or gassed. Either way, we can’t stay here.”
The continued silence drew Ozaki into the rundown lobby that showed no sign of the men he searched for. Backing out of the ruined office space, the officer swept his gaze across the area, trying to spot silhouettes in the darkness until his eyes went wide. Shifting his attention to the vehicles behind him, Ozaki noted the distinct lack of one blue Toyota.
Foothills of Mt. Fuji
Streaks of golden death descended from the sky, trailing Gomora’s mobile form as the beast dashed chaotically to avoid a grim fate. The once proud forest beneath the saurian’s shadow laid fallen and shattered, pummeled into wet earth by constant, chaotic footfalls.
Evasion wasn’t high on Gomora’s desires for the battle with his aerial foe, but even he, stubborn as he was, could understand the danger of allowing the sonic scalpel to connect with unarmored flesh. Fresh blood still ran down his left appendage, and if another beam connected, blood loss could wear him down before any fatal strike was unleashed. Such a fate was beneath the mighty Gomora, so instead of arrogantly taking the blasts, the beast ducked, dived and dodged every one of the wyvern’s destructive breaths.
While thunder routinely echoed above, a fresh petulant cry signaled the temper of the Gyaos at its breaking point. Its black and red body jettisoned down, leveling above distant hills with a direct flight path parallel to the ground. Golden light gleamed in its maw as it flew directly toward the saurian, drawing pride from the deepest pits of Gomora’s soul.
He’d ticked the Gyaos off enough to force it into close range attack and the opening Gomora dared not waste.
Destructive light surged forth from the avian and in response, Gomora heaved his gut forward. Unlike his brown hide, the armored shell encompassing the saurian’s chest and abdomen absorbed the ray, sending pieces of rocky fragments flying. By the sonic scalpel’s conclusion, jagged lines cut through the abdominal armor of Gomora, but no blood seeped from chipped plating.
Gomora grinned in arrogance from the deflection, then swiped his right serrated digits out. Shifting into a turn, the Gyaos pulled away, easily evading the incoming strike with agility unbecoming a creature of its size, but even the failure could not remove the glow of arrogance across the dinosaur’s face as its unnaturally long tail swung out. All the extra space the Gyaos had given itself to pull away became a distant memory. Gomora felt the crack of bone and sensation of bending flesh before a long impact followed, rattling the destroyed forest like an earthquake.
Swinging its head to gaze upon the fallen Gyaos, eyes flexed open in surprise as the avian sprinted toward him, already upright and uncaring of its broken right wing. Such a find Gomora failed to register until it locked in on the ravenous, crimson eyes of the creature and all the predator’s motivations became crystal clear.
Bellowing a roar of intimidation at the incoming wyvern, a swift left hook crashed into the Gyaos’ temple. Blood projected from its split maw, sending the beast staggering backward. Under the blackened wings, a crimson, muscular body openly flexed, giving Gomora the perfect location to aim for an old fashioned impalement.
Earth trembled under fresh footfalls. An arrogant bellow tore through the falling rain. Gomora lowered its spiked cranium, hoping his nasal horn or his two piercing crests would slice into soft avian flesh; however, the Gyaos’ disorientation ended in an instant. Blackened wings fluttered regardless of their well-being, pulling the creature out of harm’s way just as the rampaging saurian entered the void where the predator’s body once existed. As the realization he’d fallen for a well-timed trap infuriated Gomora, a perfectly placed kick to the head snapped primordial bone and muscle to the left, rattling the saurian to his core.
Gomora stumbled to a stop, head snapping back and forth to remove the daze that engrossed his mind. The Gyaos was proving troublesome and as his view filled with crimson talons, the thought morphed into a bloody reality.
Digits tipped with knife-like claws swiped with reckless abandon, accompanied by the high pitched screeches of the blood-lusting Gyaos. While the claws merely sparked against Gomora’s armored abdominal plating, flesh tore away as the natural weapons carved through softer brown flesh. Whether the cuts opened up across Gomora’s arms or shoulders, the saurian could not help himself to stumbling back from the assault, yet the frenzy continued, every swipe aimed at lacerating his jugular. A slash across Gomora’s right eye finally broke the pain barrier, stoking rage which manifested in orange light.
A burst of oscillatory waves struck the Gyaos’ center mass, flinging the avian back nearly a kilometer. Just as the predator neared the wet earth for an inevitable impact, the wyvern flexed its bat-like wings and racked its crimson claws across the waterlogged soil. Broken and non-impaired wings extended in unison while the Gyaos birthed a horrendous scream to soak terror within Gomora.
Such a display barely rattled a reptilian nerve…
While the intimidation display may have frightened his younger self, Gomora possessed no ounce of fear. How could it? Compared to the nightmarish three-headed king of terror, the avian before him was merely a pretender. One which needed to be put down.
Energy swirled between his three cranial horns, alighting Gomora in a vibrant hue. The Gyaos followed suit, summoning sonic energy as golden light took shape within its serrated maw. As each planted their feet in preparation of what was to come, the tantalizing prospect of victory gripped the saurian. Staring through crackling waves of orange light, Gomora eagerly awaited the climactic end to his first true battle in decades, merely for the booming crunch of bone to halt those enticing emotions.
Yellow light dimmed within the avian’s maw. Crimson eyes rolled backward, as if the Gyaos was trying to gaze at the metallic human pylon now resting atop its perforated skull. Gomora pried his eyes away from the Gyaos’ reaction to its attacker, finding not an eager killer, but the original lower half of what Gomora once thought was Ghidorah engrossed in paralyzing shock.
The Gyaos’ corpse collapsed upon shattered bark and scattered foliage. A transmission tower, clutched in the ogre’s grip like a club, remained still like its wielder. As the realization that the new arrival had killed the Gyaos sunk in, Gomora watched the shock gripping Gabara melt away into euphoric celebration. Arms swung up and down, shaking the unorthodox metallic weapon while an ear-splitting cry ripped into the stormy heavens, claiming a victory the ogre held no right to possess.
Seething with rage, Gomora’s eyes continued to narrow until they became specs of focused fury. All euphoria Gabara felt instantly vacated once he noticed the saurian, his child-like celebration replaced with genuine terror as it processed the error of accidentally clubbing Gomora’s enemy to death.
Smashing his right fist into an open palm, Gomora vented hate from his nostrils, heart pumping blood thick with vengeance and pride.
The draconic tyrant of oppression would fall before Gomora on this night, but first, he’d crush another nuisance on his path to glory.
Western Slopes of Mt. Fuji
Noise within Ichiro’s Toyota was at a minimum as the driver plowed it through a constant downpour. The drive was tedious and slow going, but Ichiro was for the moment safe, though not alone. Beside him, Osako was quiet, unnaturally so. The inspector’s mouth remained permanently open, yet either indecision or shame kept words from spilling out.
“Spill it detective,” Ichiro snapped.
“Shouldn’t have left Ozaki. We should have-”
“What, stayed?” Ichiro interrupted. The old man snickered, head moving side to side in disbelief. “That man’s dead for all we know. We escaped. No one can fault us. No one would’ve stayed and confronted those things.”
“We made those things. We’re responsible,” Osako countered, forcing another sneer from Ichiro.
“And those nightmares killed people. If you’re responsible, then blood is on your hands. I’m not accepting that. I’m running from this mess. I’m going back to my wife and putting this all behind me. Behind us.”
“I’m not a coward,” the detective snapped.
“Neither am I. I’m just-” Ichiro relinquished a deep breath, “I’m just tired.”
Ichiro shifted his attention off the road, watching indecision plague the inspector. Such a state of mind couldn’t be allowed. The vehicle gradually slowed to a complete stop. A click marked the unlocking of the passenger door. Seconds passed and with the passage of time, Ichiro allowed his silent ultimatum to sink in.
The inspector took just a few moments before he exited the car. Echoes of the passenger door slamming coincided with Ichiro hitting the gas, leaving the ex-passenger to a fate shrouded in darkness and rain.
Foothills of Mt. Fuji
Gabara’s thoughts raced in harmony with his surging heart, eyes transfixed on Gomora’s death invoking gaze. The ogre expected the pylon, still clutched in his warty claws, to knock his previous attacker out cold; instead, the Gyaos’ cranium was pierced by a random piece of jutting steel, silencing its ravenous hunger once and for all.
Revulsion filled Gabara who felt his empty stomach contents heave at the sight of the Gyaos’ corpse. Killing was naturally abhorrent to its principles, yet now, it was plagued by the concept. He’d stolen the dinosaur’s victory with the Gyaos’ death and another life was demanded.
His own life…
Between running or fighting, Gabara leaned naturally toward the former, but fresh wounds littering the saurian’s damaged albeit muscular hide filled the ogre with unnatural confidence.
Maybe a few blows would be enough to temper Gomora’s wrath?
Taking the initiative against his reptilian aggressor, Gabara stampeded forward and swung the transmission tower in his warty clutches like a bat. Human steel neared but never reached Gomora’s head as reptilian digits intercepted the unorthodox weapon. With a single hand, clawed fingers squeezed, shrinking the tower to a fraction of its former size. All the while Gabara remained motionless, unsure how to proceed, until a reptilian fist crashed into his gut.
Confidence and air vented violently from Gabara’s open maw. Stumbling back while clutching his aching gut, the ogre dropped his contorted weapon and waved his right arm back and forth, attempting to call off the engagement. Momentary hope pulsed through Gabara as Gomora turned away, merely for his expectations and body to soar away from a crippling tail swipe.
Gabara crashed down a moment later. Aches and pains surged throughout his body, but those irregularities could only be appreciated momentarily as Gomora descended upon him. Gabara thrusted his arms forward, meeting the saurian’s clawed digits with his own yet the contest of strength was as feeble as it was short lived.
Elbows crashed hard into damp soil. A thunderous bellow berated the warty creature’s meager resistance while orange light ignited from the dinosaur’s rhinoceros-like nasal horn. Gomora was demonstrating why he was superior, why he deserved the win so infuriatingly stolen from him, and that the ogre’s life would be just as easily taken away. Possessing no retort, only palpable fear, Gabara closed his eyes in fright, accepting his inevitable death, yet something else within him cried out in rebellion.
’Face your fears!’
The childlike voice boomed forth from Gabara’s mind, the last vestige of Ichiro Miki’s will, transmitted during the ogre’s creation, defending the mental tormentor. The embodiment of strength faded with every passing moment, but its words continued to stoke flames within Gabara’s soul.
’Fight this battle…’
Just as quickly as Ichiro’s vestige of defiance formed, it slipped back into the subconscious of Gabara, yet the feeble voice’s impact proved clear as orange pupils awakened, accompanying the illumination of the nightmare’s own horn. Crimson power sparked atop Gabara’s head, foreshadowing a howling war cry not out of defiance, but fury.
Whatever piece of Ichiro Miki remained, the ogre cursed with all his being. The voice reminded him of his mental imprisonment and manipulation. Ichiro, whether aware or not, used the ogre as a puppet, a manifestation to represent all the man dreaded in life, and while Gabara was set loose by forces for which he did not understand, the freedom gained would not be wasted.
This battle would not be the end of Gabara, the nightmare!
Bolts of energy traversed across warty flesh, flowing through green appendages into brown hide. A pain filled cry echoed from Gomora, electricity reversing the tide of reptilian strength. A final surge gave Gabara the ability to thrust his aggressor back, allowing him to rise and charge forward.
A right hook crashed into an unbreakable shell of armor. While force failed to crack Gomora’s abdominal guard, electricity passed through unfazed, wreaking havoc upon internal organs. The saurian retreated a step merely for Gabara to continue his assault, throwing an energized slap across a face still illuminated in orange light. The blow proved the final straw with Gomora throwing a haymaker, forcing Gabara to follow suit with his own.
Fists crashed together like meteors. Finger bones cracked apart. A shockwave shattered rain and as thunder boomed overhead, each kaiju retracted their impaired digits, prepping their signature weapons to end the battle once and for all, yet in doing so, Gabara quickly realized his predicament.
Gomora’s energized horn was growing in illumination with every passing moment. If the personified nightmare didn’t close the gap and fast, he’d lose the momentary standoff. Stoking the fires of fury within, Gabara sprinted with all the strength he could muster, no trace of fear left within the emerald biped.
Electricity arched across warty flesh bathed in orange light and just as Gomora reared his head back to unleash what had to be a mega charged Super Oscillatory Wave. Gabara threw his left appendage forward, every spec of flesh encased in crackling energy.
Blue and orange power melded together and then violently expanded, detonating with an explosive force that threw all fifty thousand tons of the ogre back. Any sense of grace was lost upon Gabara as he soared and then violently rolled for what felt like an eternity. Pained moans, barely audible over the falling rain, escaped the ogre’s jaws, yet the creature painstakingly righted himself, scanning his smoking surroundings to pinpoint his foe. After a few moments of dragging his wary gaze across the flattened terrain, Gomora’s immobile body came into view alongside all that lay beyond, giving the nightmare-born creature a moment of clarity.
Gabara was victorious, alive, and most importantly, afraid.
A blistering migraine coupled with a blood stained face were the repercussions Gomora felt for underestimating Gabara, a mistake the primordial creature assured himself he would not repeat. Clawed digits pressed against the hillside he lay against, pushing for a victory or at least a resolution to the conflict that would better suit his damaged pride, but all Gomora’s willpower vacated his body as a glowing, golden star arose over Mt. Fuji
Even with a new shimmering star-like hue, Gomora knew the ascending creature was none other than King Ghidorah. He’d missed his chance of retribution and all that remained was anguish and solitude bestowed upon him by the draconic tyrant’s previous visit.
Strength vacated as quickly as pride. Not even contempt for the ogre could make-up Gomora’s diminished fighting spirit. He’d failed. He’d lost. What else was there to take?
Steel birds of humanity roared past, unleashing canisters over Gomora’s stagnant body. The ordinance detonated upon impact, driving Gabara away in a panic, yet instead of fire blossoming with bombastic fury, green mist overtook Gomora. Nostrils flared. A foul odor seeped into the saurian’s lungs yet no pain followed, merely fatigue.
Gabara’s chaotic attempt to flee came to a catastrophic end as it fell face first, coming to a stop as its orange haired forehead plowed into the wet dirt. A faint laugh tried to force its way out of the dinosaur’s throat at the sight merely for a yawn to supersede the reaction. Blackness engulfed Gomora’s consciousness as he gradually descended back into a realm of nightmares and dreams.
Western Slopes of Mt. Fuji
Dawn’s faint light drew a weary breath of relief from Ichiro. No longer did rain pelt his car or was he trapped on the fringes of civilization. Military transport trucks hogged the road in front of him, and while on most days he’d let loose a volley of curses at such a sight, after the long nightmare he experienced he’d let this occurrence slide. If he couldn’t stay out of sight to escape responsibility, he’d make his presence briefly known to facilitate a hasty exit on his journey back home.
The blue vehicle slowed to a halt. Ichiro groaned as he exited his Toyota and made his way toward the stopped convoy. Craning his neck from side to side, Ichiro looked for soldiers but with nature running parallel to the road, platoons could hide in the dense forest or lay low in the tall grass between the trees and road without him ever knowing. He’d need to do more to attract attention.
Fingers curled around his lips. “Hello! Anyone nearby?”
No reply graced Ichiro’s ears. Fingers twitched with renewed unease, but the old man’s mind quickly suppressed the thought as he neared the vehicles, engines roaring for all within earshot to listen.
’Soldiers are probably deep in the forest. I’ll just speak with the driver.’
Under a camouflage tarp, the first vehicles’ back lay empty, affirming Ichiro’s thoughts about the soldiers. Monsters were rampaging miles away, why would they be here? As the old man reached the driver’s side door, Ichiro knocked gently. With no response, a louder series of impacts followed with the same unwanted result.
Frustration racked Ichiro’s brain, so the man decided against his better judgment to waive at the driver. Doing his best to suppress growing hostility, Ichiro maneuvered in front of the vehicle, shaking his right hand wildly like an impatient student trying to attract a teacher merely to freeze in place upon seeing the windshield.
A charred husk of a man, only stationary thanks to the seat belt still clinging to his lifeless body, hung over the driver’s side wheel. Small fires danced around the corpse, flickering as air passed though a hole in the windshield, its perimeter sizzling as if a stream of flames burned clean through.
Unease flooded back and the instinct to flee launched Ichiro around the vehicle’s front. The old man’s lingering right eye caught sight of a horror so vast, he instantly stopped and wretched. His stomach contents now plastered on the side of the road, Ichiro stumbled back and looked on, horrified by the dozens of burned and mangled soldiers lying across the field to his left.
Twitching unnaturally, a single man rose from the field of death, his back facing Ichiro’s horrified gaze. No clothing shrouded the lone survivor’s blood-covered skin, allowing the wind to sway the man’s excessively long hair and grace the man’s unmentionables. Every step the lone survivor took was like a toddler, legs buckling, on the cusp of falling with every action. Whatever gripped the man seemed palpable, the shock and terror at seeing the carnage reaching the individuals soul as his erratic behavior continued. Legs finally gave way and with the survivor’s fall back to the tall grass, Ichiro doubled back.
A human scream hurried Ichiro’s already desperate flee before he heard the sound of something striking the truck behind him. Tires screeched over the pavement. Metal crunched then whined.
Whatever silenced the men in uniform, stopped the convoy and more than likely finished off the lone survivor was now without a doubt in pursuit of Ichiro. Old legs pushed past exhaustion, carrying the fleeing man to his driver’s side door just as the killer, running on all fours, let loose a wail of terror.
Ichiro noted the screech of his Toyota buckle from an impact before he realized his body was soaring forward. Teeth sunk into the back of his throat, spilling untold amounts of blood as he soared. The monster, whatever nightmare had beset the convoy of soldiers, had reached him and there was no escape.
Striking the pavement with bone-cracking impact, Ichiro felt the weight of the monster upon him and then… nothing. All feeling, what the man assumed was mostly inexplicable pain, was severed from the neck down, and as the edges of his sight began to lose color, Ichiro knew he could not escape the terror befalling him. And then as his head rolled, indicating the lack of any connection to what was his body, Ichiro spotted the beast.
Drenched in blood and vile, the inhuman entity tore Ichiro’s body down to nothing, ripping it apart while snarling furious cries. It showed no interest in consuming what it ripped and tore, merely a desire to destroy. As two murderous blue eyes looked toward the decapitated head, pupils sparkling uncontrollably as if the nerves were composed of lighting, Ichiro accepted his fate and embraced death, allowing him to run from a nightmare one final time…
Anti-Kaiju Division Headquarters, Japanese Self Defense Force, Tokyo
Deep within the multi-story central command of the Japanese Self Defense Force, the commander of the facility tortuously read a new report which graced his desk. Wrinkled hands flipped through page after page while observant eyes glossed over the information within. Upon reaching the conclusion, revealing the numerous casualties of the incident which overshadowed the repulsion of Grand King Ghidorah or the death of Legion on the country at large, the reader snapped the yellow file back together and tossed it across his wooden desk, sighing in frustration before he leaned back in his aging chair. Brown eyes looked to the ceiling, tracing the square tiles before the commander glanced to his right out a large, glass wall. There, standing over one-hundred meters tall, the silver mechanical form of Mechagodzilla, lacking an arm and covered in battle damage, glowed under the yellow lights of his launch bay. A sight which brought Commander Takaki Aso great comfort in times of crisis. Today, it brought nothing but resentment.
Monsters were killable, or in the case of Gabara or Gomora, relocatable. Whether placed on Monster Island or the classified hellhole at the center of the Atlantic, monsters were no longer the immeasurable threats they used to be.
’But what does one do against a terror that isn’t known?’ Such thoughts plagued Commander Aso unlike any other.
Realizing his next action, Aso peeled himself off his aging leather chair and exited the room with a hurried step. Hundreds passed him by as he walked through the halls. Some awkwardly ignored his presence while others just stared with curiosity, but he gave the members of the J.S.D.F. little mind; instead, he focused on the necessary actions, politically and militarily, which needed to be enacted. A final door swung open and upon entry to the holding cell, Aso sat down and looked into the eyes of Shinichi Ozaki.
“I’ll keep this brief,” Aso said, voice lacking any clear emotion. “I don’t believe you’re responsible, but with the evidence so far collected, your service is being placed on hold.”
Ozaki’s uncaring expression cracked after the final words. “Discharged? You need me. What happens when you find him?”
“Him?” Aso inquired. “So you do believe the massacre was a mutant.”
Ozaki’s expression morphed from disbelief to rage in a nano-second.
“Not a chance. They all died with honor a long time ago. Whoever or whatever did this, it’s beyond what you can handle, you need me.”
“Electrical burns. Bodies ripped apart by sheer strength. Dead soldiers surrounded by spent ordinance with no trace of what killed them.” Aso lifted himself from his chair, gaze locked on Ozaki. “What I need are soldiers that I can trust, not those which leave their fellow man to die.”
“Ichiro Miki and Inspector Osako. They can confirm-”
Aso’s unflinching gaze made clear Ozaki did not need to continue. The young man’s attention shifted to his right open palm which the mutant stared at as a priest would a bible, searching for answers to questions Aso cared not to inquire about.
“I need to help you.”
The honest words tempted Aso to reconsider his decision. Whatever killed his men in the western hills was violent, deadly, and powerful, yet no matter how much reason Aso applied to the idea, the core issue proved untenable. The man before him needed more than a target for vengeance or redemption. There was more behind the plea for help. Such an unknown Aso dared not risk to gamble over.
“You’ll be released until this matter is resolved. I trust you to remain out of sight. If we need you, you’ll be informed. Sayonara, Ozaki.”
Aso’s quick departure transformed what little hope remained inside Ozaki into directionless frustration. Elbows fell to the table while Ozaki’s head slid back, eyelids closed as he thought.
He was truly alone. No allies, no direction and as much as he wished not to admit to himself, without the power he desired more than anything else to possess once more. A horrid nightmare engulfed Ozaki’s life, but unlike the past fifteen years, the chaos around him came with opportunity.
A test to draw out his latent power. A path he’d walk alone to redeem his mistakes and the men he’d let down. Such a dream Ozaki would pursue to the ends of the Earth.
For in a world of man, who else but him could challenge the unknown nightmare?