Grey Matter


Ayrus digs through the obliterated remains of a troll's brain, splattered against the wall in a shrouded back alley. He is careful to keep his pristine white labcoat from touching the gore, but has already caked his rubber gloves in blood and flesh. The time is exactly 12:00 AM.

He pulls a tiny metallic shard out of the monster's maggot-infested skull.

"Another .44. Somebody's getting mighty confident."

He stands up and pulls off his gloves. "Hey, Ran, you go ahead and load it up. You know the drill."

"Yes, Sir. Although, I do have a question.  What is the point of you... digging around? If you know what I mean?"

He sighs. "Ran, see this little piece of lead? This is gold to us. I am so close to finding our guy. When he is off the streets and in our cell, we'll all be a lot safer."

"But... he is protecting us? Right?"

"Whether he kills trolls or not, he can't just go around shooting up the place. We have rules for a reason. By the time you're in my position, you'll understand."

"Of course." Ran nods in understanding but still has her doubts. She is just through with stuffing the rotted body in the back of the vehicle when three gunshots conquer the air in rapid succession. She is slightly alarmed but Ayrus looks downright excited.

"That was close by. This is it! Get in the passenger's seat, Ran, I am gonna catch this guy."

Just like that, the ecstatic Moderator's armored patrol car launches off towards the source of the shooting. The streets are void of life due to the curfew in effect and the only sounds filling the air are those of the vehicle and Ayrus' own heavy breathing. Its heavy wheel crushes the corner of a curb as it speeds around but he pays it no mind. He nearly flattens a wild animal lying on the sidewalk, but misses it by a hair.

Finally, he roves upon yet another executed troll, collapsed under the glow of a streetlight.


As he exits the car to inspect it, the cry of a raven overhead incites a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. 

He walks up to the troll and gives it a slight kick to be sure of its departure, and then leans down to flip it. Right off the bat he can see three apparent wounds. Two in the stomach, one in the heart. He just dons his gloves and nearly proceeds to open it up with his scalpel when another series of gunshots escape from the nearby forest.

His mouth is agape as he turns towards the fervor.

"What the hell is going on?!" He unintentionally bursts out.

"I-I don't-" Ran starts.

"It was rhetorical."


A mushroom cloud abruptly consumes the woods and trembles the very ground beneath his feet. The unbearably bright light forces him to raise his hand to his eyes as he looks on.

"Caaaw!" The raven cries again.

To be continued...

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