The lightning was gone, and so were the crashes of thunder. Rumblings still remained as Leon Kennedy drove the government-issued vehicle through the winding streets, avoiding small debris and keeping his speed down to hear for survivors. Another virus, another city evacuated. Empty and desolate, the bowels filled with god-knew-what; Leon's humanitarian side urged him to stay behind when others went after the bastards responsible. He wasn't ordered to stay here, but much like Raccoon City and Spain, the destroyed town spoke to him and seemed to beg him for salvation.
So he drove, fog swirling up from the slick blacktop and causing his visiblity to be limited even further. Leon's window was down as he crept through the city's miles of streets, so that he could better hear for signs of life. However, the only sound he heard was wet tires on cement, and the distant rumble of thunder far away in the sky.
Black buildings towered around him; this city had not suffered a nuclear attack like Raccoon City; instead, detrimental acid-based gases had been dispersed by plane, as if the city were a bad crop of corn. The acid ate away nearly everything but the metal of the buildings; everything else was wasted away. Or so the government hoped. And so Leon didn't hope. He was in this city while it had been filled with teeming corpses, zombies, infected people and other horrors, but that had been three months ago. Now, it was just an empty shell of a city in which Leon hoped all hope was not lost for whoever still trembled in its borders.
Something flashed across his headlights. It was about twenty feet ahead of him, and masked in mist. But clearly a human, clearly running across the street. Leon screeched on his brakes even though he wasn't driving very fast, and in a split second his seatbelt was done away with. As the car stopped and Leon had his hand on the handle to open the door, another figure dashed across the road, and then another. He stepped out of the car, leaving it running.
The footsteps still echoed on the pavement, and Leon sprinted after the noise.
Thus began a wild goose chase, under alleyways and through the thickening darkness. "Wait!" Leon yelled again, his grey eyes darting feverishly around, looking for the shadows. "I'm from the government! I've come to help..." The footsteps faded, and even the physically fit agent struggled to keep pace. The city's ever-growing darkness was lit up with solar streetlights; lights that stored energy until it was dark enough for them to switch on. When one switched on directly above him, Leon shielded his eyes, putting one gloved hand up and blinking rapidly. Washed out and appearing even paler under the solar lamp, he turned his attention to the sidewalk and squinted to see the shadows again. Nothing.
He ran on.
Minutes later, there--around a corner, and there again behind a dumpster. Were they chasing him, or was it the other way around? The sound of running footsteps seemed to be all around him and he spun around, pinpointing the noise. He couldn't. Leon was lost in the puzzling maze of city buildings and debris, so he headed for the only opening in the labrynth that he saw; before he knew it, the out of breath agent was standing near a large, empty dock that overlooked the silent snake of a river that crossed this city.
He paused, taking in the sight of completely and utterly still water, listening to his heartbeat and the rumbling overhead, slightly petrified of that silent black river. At one time it had been the hub of the city, but now it lay like silk. Leon gazed down, his breath still heavy and fogging out around him in a small cloud as he gulped for air and turned around to face the city, turning his back on the water.
"Hello?" he bellowed, dedicated to his mission. "If you're out there, I--" he was cut off by the sound of running footsteps thudding across the wooden planks of the city dock, and in an instant Leon's gun was drawn, one hand gripping the handle, the other gripping his flashlight, which he held in his left hand, criss-crossed with his right wrist for support. The beam swept across the form of a running man, speeding toward Leon with a horrified look on his face.
"Freeze!" Leon said, on the defensive, and from behind him, he heard more running footsteps. He spun around, his flashlight landing on another person; this time a woman. Both figures had something in common; the deranged look on their eyes, the uncanny speed, the dried blood on their mouths....they weren't normal--at least, not anymore. He doubted they could be saved, although they didn't look or act like any type of zombie he'd ever seen.
"I said freeze!" he demanded again, hearing more of those superhumanly fast footsteps enter the planks, and even as he squeezed the trigger, the woman let out a bloodcurdling scream and veered off to the side, screeching and tearing at her hair. The man stopped short when Leon's bullet tore through his chest, but there were others coming. Leon backed up, but there was nowhere to go: before he knew it, he was shooting an entire clip off his handgun and facing at least 12 infected people. They fell under the strain of his artillery, but as the agent dropped his empty magazine, two of the men managed to tackle him, and as one, the three flew over the edge of the water.
Leon felt his heavy form leave land, and his eyes were turned upwards at the sky when his back hit the water and broke the steely smoothness of the black depths. Instinctively he took a deep breath, filling his air with lungs as the water splashed loudly around him, and then everything turned murky grey as his body plunged under.
They were still attached to him; writhing, Leon struck out at one of the men with his pistol; the slow-motion of the water was enough to merely stun the opponent and not do any real damage; bubbles issued from the angry man's mouth as he attempted to roar while being underwater. Leon's eyes were open, and the sight of the men tearing to get at him and dragging him father down was too much. He used every bit of his strength to break free, but in the process, his flashlight swung out of his hand and slowly floated downward, cutting an arc across the blackness and revealing Leon's ashen complexion, as well as the two men's dust-streaked faces.
His empty hand now reached for his knife; with it in hand, he strained to reach one of his adversaries, and the blade connected with the man's chest, Leon driving it up to the hilt and quickly withdrawing it. Now the water, illuminated by the sinking flashlight and on top, by the solar streetlights, was flooded by an outpouring of cloudy red. The man slowly floated away from Leon's sight, and the agent kicked against the other man, who still pinned him down.
He was losing breath, and fast. The last anatagonist had Leon by the throat, and somehow headlocked him. The two flailed around, turning upside down in the water. The blond's head pounded and his lungs begged for air as he wrestled the demon attacker, finally using the knife for its true purpose; slashing. The jugular of the man was sliced open, and more red spilled into the impenetrable darkness of the water. As Leon still struggled to kick away, the man's fingers loosened their grip, and Leon wasted no time in turning his head upwards, eager to once again see the cloudy night.
His lungs finally gave way and without meaning to, the agent inhaled, gurgling water, and he sputtered, his vision flickering to blackness like the flashlight that finally sank too far to be seen. He realized he was upside down still, and his long legs kicked in slow motion as he fought to steady himself with no air and no sense of direction.
All he saw was eddying water and bubbles circulating around him, not knowing if he was upright or still facing downwards, and his heartbeat sounded in his ears, his lungs screaming now for air; finally his flailing arm broke the cold surface of the water. Leon propelled upward until his head broke the surface as well, and he exhaled, coughing and shaking his bangs away from his face. When he got his bearings, Leon realized he was still very close to the dock; still coughing as he pushed himself up on the wood, water dripping off his tactical suit in abundance and making the surface slippery.
From the corner of his eye, Leon could see another figure, hiding among the abandoned docked ships. It appeared to be a female, and as he gazed at it, waiting for another attack, the figure slowly slunk away, and he could hear the thuds of her feet on the walkway as they slowly faded into the distance. Confused, Leon watched after her, but she didn't return. The agent pulled himself up, sitting on the dock and resting for a moment. He checked his equipment to make sure it was still intact; his guns were okay, his ammo was there (thank god for waterproof cases) and a buzzing from somewhere on his tactical vest told him his commuications device was intact as well. He lifted the small cellphone-looking contraption and saw the words simply stating "New Voice Transmission."
He looked around him, instincts telling him that there were more people in this lost city. Watching him. But not attacking. Perhaps even frightened. Leon wasn't sure what was going on. He put the device up to his ear to hear the transmission he'd missed, expecting headquarters to require a briefing.
"Hello, Agent Kennedy. You have FOUR new transmissions. Press the green key to listen.
He pushed the button automatically. Then the voice changed from robotic to heartwarming, and he sat, wet and cold in the gathering dark and likely another storm, shivering as he listened.
"Well, I half expected you'd answer on your birthday! Happy Birthday then, call me later you old man! It's Claire. Bye!"
"Scotty, you need a new voice message. This one's shit. I want to hear my old McScotty McKennedy when I call him, not a robotic woman. Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Give your old folks a call. We'll be waitin' by the phone."
"Let me guess, Leon. On the job during your birthday? I should have known better than to call. I'll try again later." That one sounded a lot like Ashley.
"Happy birthday, handsome."Click.
Leon knew that voice, and as pulled away the device and then looked at his communicator in amazement, it vibrated again with a loud screech, and the screen flickered and went dead, finally giving in to the water damage that plagued it.