Disclaimer: This is my first delve into a supernatural setting. It's also an early Halloween idea of mine that needed to be written. It's also my first story set in the world of Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet. All rights reserved.
Point Pleasant, West Virginia, United States of America.
Heavy fog and a deafly silence had introduced itself to the sleepy town of Point Pleasant. It was a town that had history buried within its land. A town where the locals knew one another, would look out for each other and fear the same things.
When Spectrum moved in on the town to set up a Scientific Research Centre, the locals responded with a sense of fear and apprehension. The Mysterons’ War of Nerves had left an imprint on the town as well as the state. Nobody knew whom to trust. Throughout the town's history, generations of residents had witnessed cover-ups, mysterious agents, freakish accidents, UFO sightings and the most famous of them all, a mysterious winged creature. These events had become a staple, but in recent years, they had grown used to the notion that these mysterious occurrences were all too normal.
The fog rolled in around 8:00 p.m. as the sun had disappeared over the horizon. As the residents were about to settle down for the evening, they were disturbed by the sound of a loud vehicle that sped through their neighbourhood. Peering from behind their curtains, they witnessed a red Spectrum Cheetah car heading out of town. Its destination was unknown. They didn't know. They didn't want to know.
The Spectrum car headed out into the countryside. Captain Scarlet kept his eyes peeled on the dirt road ahead. Accompanied by Captain Blue, they were sent to investigate possible Mysteron activity at the scientific research centre. They had only been in Point Pleasant for a few short hours and already their presence had attracted attention.
The dirt road led them deep into the countryside away from town. Their only source of light came from the Cheetah's powerful headlights. The eerie surrounding gave Captain Blue the creeps. Halloween wasn't far away.
"Well, I tell you one thing, Paul. This town is the perfect place for a ghost hunt," he said.
Scarlet rolled his eyes up. “Knock it off, Adam. I didn't peg you as one for being afraid of the dark.”
“I'm not afraid of the dark. It's this town's history that gives me the creeps. You've heard the stories of what happened here, a century ago?”
Scarlet sighed. “What did happen a century ago?”
“All sorts of things!” Blue replied. “What, you don’t know about it? UFO sightings… Paranormal activities… Men in black going around, bullying people into silence… The Mothman.”
“The Mothman, pal. Really, you never heard of it? ”
Scarlet gave it some thought. “Oh yes… A strange, large winged creature, of unknown origins, with fiery, glowering red eyes, that used to live in these woods…” He chuckled. “Is that what worries you?”
“You know they say the creature is responsible for the collapse of the Silver Bridge, a century ago? People were scared because of it way back then, Paul. And I think they’re still scared today. Have you seen the way they looked at us when we arrived earlier?” Blue noticed Scarlet rolling his eyes. “What, you don’t believe me?”
“I’m not saying I don’t. But even if these things did happen, and this Mothman did exist, it’s gone now. That was then. Point Pleasant has done well for itself since. Besides, right now, the Mysterons were detected in this area. It's possible that Captain Black might be after something at the research centre."
Blue rubbed the back of his head. “What would Black be after? All the centre has is data codes and computers. There’s not even a soul in it. Its security is completely automated, and it’s supposed to be sealed off for the night. Even us can’t get access inside, if there isn’t a break in to begin with.”
“Yes, but they house a lot of valuable data on Spectrum's weapons resources. That's why the colonel sent us here. All we've got to do is secure the perimeter and report back to Skybase.”
Captain Blue took a deep breath. “Yeah, you're right. It's no biggie. We've done this many times before.”
Scarlet smiled slightly. “Okay. The research centre is just behind those trees. Let's just get this done and go home.”
They headed on, using their headlights guiding the way. The research centre appeared from amongst the shadows. The facility was still fully lit from its vast array of security and ambient lighting. The car stopped at the front entrance. The two officers stepped out into the cool Virginian air. Their nasal senses took in the foul odour of nearby chemicals.
“What is that stench?” Blue asked as he tried to stomach the smell.
"We must be near the old TNT plant," Scarlet replied, as they both approached the door's security computer. "It's said to be around here. Well, the computer here says there's no evidence of a break-in. We'll search the grounds for any signs of entry and report back."
“S.I.G.,” Blue acknowledged.
So far, their search had been a silent one. They could find no traces of forced entry and no signs of Mysteron activity. Blue was relieved at the idea that it may simply be a false alarm.
As Scarlet called Skybase and started to report that everything was normal, a strange low-frequency sound attracted Blue's attention. It had nestled itself into his eardrum and increased in volume. Blue couldn't focus his attention away from this sound as it began to drown out the voice of his fellow officer. His curiosity was peaked; he felt a huge urge to follow the noise to its source. He couldn't work out why, but he knew it was somehow calling out to him. Slowly but surely, without Scarlet even noticing it, he walked away from the Cheetah and wandered off, stumbling, into the menacing woodlands, his flashlight barely lighting the way ahead.
As Scarlet finished his report, he hastily turned around to find that Blue, strangely, wasn't there with him. He called out to him. His voice echoed through the trees but there was not reply; not even a whisper.
Scarlet heard the cracking of the underbrush in the distance; it came from behind him. He turned around and shone his flashlight on the woodlands. Captain Blue appeared within the beam of light. He was heading into an old derelict building.
“Adam? Adam, where are you going!?” Scarlet shouted as he ran after his friend.
Blue didn’t reply. He didn’t even turn around to acknowledge his friend. Unknowingly, he had entered the main building of the old TNT facility, transfixed by the hypnotic sound. He dragged his feet through chemical puddles until he came in front of a narrow walkway, a long and dark corridor, leading deeper into the building, and that he couldn’t see the end of. Dropping his flashlight, Blue was now standing in total darkness. Scarlet's voice echoed throughout the halls but he still could not hear him; he couldn't speak nor think. He had lost control of his all his senses.
Suddenly, Blue began to feel pressure on his temples; it gradually intensified. This was accompanied by a tingly sensation that travelled through the nerves all over his face. His cheeks were numb, his mouth went dry and his heart rate began to race. Although he still couldn't speak, he knew that something was there, in the walkway with him.
And the thing that terrified him the most was that there was nothing he could do about it.
As Scarlet entered the walkway, he shone his flashlight down the tunnel in front of him. He found Captain Blue standing there in a paralysed state, with his back to him; he didn’t even turn around. Wondering what could be wrong with his colleague, Scarlet stepped towards him.
He then began to hear the sound himself and an uneasy feeling set itself in his gut.
Something was wrong. He needed to get Adam out of there. It was the classic fight or flight response and Scarlet's instincts were to flee. As he approached his friend, he was knocked back by two intense red lights that appeared before them.
Captain Blue began to scream at the top of his lungs. The intense light was burning his retinas to the point that he couldn't see. Scarlet threw his colleague to the ground and ducked as a loud shriek echoed throughout the hallway.
Suddenly, a dark winged creature appeared from nowhere, knocking the flashlight out of Scarlet's hand. He yelped in surprise and groaned as the creature flew out of the building and into the night. Scarlet waited a few seconds before picking himself up off the contaminated ground.
“Come on!” he said, approaching Blue as the latter was nursing his smouldering eyes. “We've got to get you out of here!”
“I can't see! Paul, Aggghhhh!!! I can't see!!” Blue screamed as he struggled to take on the intense burning pain. “It hurts so bad!”
"Hold onto me, I'm going to get you out of here," Scarlet replied, as calmly as possible.
Scarlet kept his guard up and nerves steady. He recovered his flashlight and carried his friend out of the building. He was seriously freaked out by what had just happened.
He tried to rationally work out what it was that flew over them. Was it a bird that happened to have just set up home there? Was it something that the Mysterons had constructed? He wanted to find the answers, but his first priority was to get Captain Blue to safety. He hoped that his friend’s blindness was only temporary.
They eventually made their way out of the facility. Scarlet headed for the car but felt compelled to look up towards the roof of the research centre. He didn’t know why exactly, but he had a bad feeling that it wasn’t the end of it.
The creature had perched itself up above on the roof, its wings extended outwards, sporting an attack posture. Its red, flare-like eyes cut through the mist.
Scarlet hurried for the driver's seat as fast as he could, dragging a stumbling Blue along. Then with no warning, the creature dived at them once again. Scarlet pushed Blue forward, and both Spectrum officers hit the ground; their faces were now covered in mud.
Scarlet followed protocol and tried to report the attack to Skybase. His cap microphone swung down into place. “This is Captain Scarlet calling Skybase! We're under attack! Repeat! We're under attack!”
Scarlet made repeated attempts to hail base, but there was no reply. It was at that moment that another set of thoughts crossed his mind; was this creature a part of an attack from the Mysterons? Was it somehow responsible for jamming the airwaves?
He rolled over in the mud to observe the skies above them. The creature had vanished into the mist; never had he seen a creature so large move so silently. A reassuring calm descended over the area as the wind rustled the trees. However, Scarlet had never felt so on edge. He just needed to head out of the area and get Blue to safety. The sooner they could get back to town and establish a link with Skybase, the sooner his colleague will be able to receive assistance.
He carefully sat Blue in the passenger's seat; as he sat in front of the wheel, he contemplated their next move. There was no route out of the woods other than the one they had taken to come to this place. The Cheetah wasn't designed for heavy off road use and its flying capability was extremely limited. Scarlet was worried; he just couldn't tell if the creature was going to fly back at them from whatever direction. Something was telling him to stay there, to somehow break into the centre and seek refuge in it, but by that time, his adrenaline levels had kicked in, and he floored the accelerator, keeping his eyes on the dirt trail ahead.
Blue mumbled slightly as the car's sudden motion helped him relax. He was still in pain, and felt disorientated. He decided to keep talking.
“Paul, what the hell is that thing? Is it still following us?”
"It seems to have flown away," Scarlet replied quietly as he became distracted at the sky above them. "Adam, this might sound unbelievable to you, but I think I know what that thing was."
“Trust me, pal, I'm open to all suggestions and theories.” Adam huffed. “I'm pretty sure that thing wasn't a barn owl!”
Scarlet's voice deepened. “No, I think that was... that Mothman you mentioned earlier.”
“What? After all this these years?”
"I got a look at it," Scarlet continued. "It fitted the description given from the eyewitnesses over a hundred years ago. The wings, the size…”
"Not forgetting the eyes," Blue added, nodding as he remembered what he had seen. "Well, if it is the Mothman, how could it have lived this long, though?"
"I don’t know. It obviously was using the old TNT plant as its home," Scarlet theorised. "I'm not sure what it eats to survive, but its source of energy might be in there.” He shook his head. “Whatever that creature is exactly, it must have triggered the alarm at the research centre."
"Well, at least, if it’s the case, it isn't Mysteron related. The question is: do we kill it?"
“I don't have any intention of killing it, Adam. We were not sent here to do that. If it's not a Mysteron threat, then we shouldn't tackle it. Look what it did to your face.”
Blue tried to open his eyes again. The intense pain didn't follow, but his vision was still impaired.
“Everything is blurry,” he said as he looked over towards Scarlet. “I hope it won’t last. How bad does it look?”
Scarlet took a glimpse at his friend's face. He slammed on the breaks, pulling over to one side. He peered over his fellow captain and examined his eyes with a small flashlight. Blue's eyes were completely bloodshot; his pupil's retinas was glazed over; the veins around his eyes had swollen and adopted a dark reddish tint.
"It looks really bad," he said. "As soon as we get back to base, you’ll need to see Dr Gold."
“I'm not going to argue. This really hurts. We'd better get a move on.”
“Agreed. The town shouldn't be too far away now.”
They continued on down through the sinister countryside. A sea of ambient light from Point Pleasant appeared in front of them. It seemed like they were in the clear until the unbelievable happened.
A shadow passed in front of the car, bumping the hood. Startled, Scarlet slammed on the breaks once again. He fought to keep control of the car as it skidded into the underbrush.
The creature had returned. It perched itself on top of a rock formation by the road. It screeched uncontrollably, as its intense red eyes homed in on the two Spectrum officers. Time seemed to slow down around them. Scarlet sat there, motionless, as his mind raced at a mile per minute, his eyes set on the creature. What did it want? Whatever it was trying to do, it wasn't going to let them go anywhere.
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