Woodlawn Ghouls
Woodlawn Ghouls
Summary: Investigations into strange noises, and a bizarre dismemberment leave several folks alone in a cemetery at night. With Ghouls!
Date: 2007 July 13
Related Logs: None

Woodlawn Cemetery - Front End
The lawns here are manicured, but it's hard to keep so much grass alive in the desert, and there are lots of brown patches on the 40-acre lot of one of the oldest cemeteries in Clark County, here on the spot of the former Stewart Ranch; it has even been declared a historic site. The cemetery is laid out somewhat asymmetrically, with sections of varying sizes, containing all manner of low, stone monuments. A two lane road joins the square lots at right angles.

The night is balmy and very warm. The temperature reached 108 degrees today in Las Vegas proper. The low tonight is roundabouts 81, but right now it's hovering in the mid 80s. Luckily, it's a dry heat with a lovely breeze now and then out of the southeast.
On the southeast corner of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Owens Avenue is the historic Woodlawn Cemetery. From the looks of things, and a scrap of police tape on the Southwest corner of this intersection, something went down earlier today. The scene is still marked, but the blood has been (mostly) cleaned up after an extensive CSI investigation. There is no police presence. Those with senses above and beyond the normal human spectrum will scent the remnants of blood over yonder as she breeze shifts.
There is very little foot traffic here just now, and most people are on the strip. The gawkers from earlier have all found better things to do with their time.

Zero rolls into the neighborhood, parking his old Harley about a block away. He's out of his biker leathers, going back to his lighter and darker goth clothing. If anything, he'll appear to be one of those curious goths as he makes his way towards the cemetary, senses open and alert.

There are rats in the graveyard. There's more than one, actually, a few massive specimens of rodentia lurking throughout the stones and in the lee of the crypts, keeping an eye on things. One'd have to have a clever eye to spot them.
One particularly large one, dark and sleek, nearly the size of a large dog, has slipped under the tape at the road's edge - just in view - and is snuffling and sniffing at it, naked tail lazily swishing, ears pricked to listen for anyone gawking.

He always has a reason to be somewhere. Dylan couldn't sleep, working so many nights at Seven. And its not like Vegas really shuts down. He has a light windbreaker on, dark pants, dark sneakers. The windbreaker is open partially, for he is carrying, a green shirt underneath. He runs a hand through his hair, stopping to look around to see where he has ended up. He blinks at the police tape, and then Zero as he goes closer. "Huh, what the hell happened here?" He heads that way.

Maria's schedule has shifted and it seems the results have made her a night owl. Having read the papers lately, she's curious enough to pass through the graveyard while she's out. Dressed in a simple, black but chic, designer women's suit, she tugs the jacket off carefully and lays it over her arm. It leaves her in a silk tank with a touch of lace at the dropped neckline. The balmy night threatens to make the material stick to her, the breeze her saving grace. A glance at the soil, her heels and she decides to take the chance anyway. A single step to see if she sinks and when she finds that she isn't in danger of taking a step and leaving her shoes behind she ventures further. Casually, her hair drawn over one shoulder, she looks from grave to grave, letting her energy roll out with an easy grace. The smell of blood lingers, allowing the strongest olfactory trail of crimson lead her steps.

It's -almost- comfortable out here. Not completely, but almost. It's also a friday night, Kate doesn't work again until monday, and she has drinkin' money! So, the dark haired reporter is rather happily strolling down the street. She wears a white sundress with little red flowers all across it, spaced out far towards the top and then very close together at the bottom of her dress. She smokes a slim cigarette out of the corner of her lips and her barbie-doll style red heeled sandals flip flop against the back of her heels as she walks smoothly down towards the bar district of the city.

Every now and then, a car rolls by, but no one seems to be paying Woodlawn much mind. A man may have been dismembered nearby, but that was this morning—old news in Vegas. And the city is trying to keep a lid on it. Looks bad for tourism, even if the victim was a local.
The wind shifts again, and carries new scents to certain perceptive noses. Blood. Death. Freshly turned earth.

Zero catches sight of Maria….or a well-dressed woman that looks like her! *sniff,sniff!* no, it's Maria. Once he spots a friendly face, he's much more bolder as he heads in through the front gates. "Maria." he whispers, sure her hearing can catch the sound as he tries to quickly and silently catch up. "Here to check out the cemetary too?"

Dylan frowns a little, then ducks under the line, following the others in. He even goes so far as to pull his hands out of his pockets, frowning a little as he peers around in the evening gloom. He doesn't talk anymore either, keeping his breathing soft and steady as he looks to see what is going on. He will follow Jason and Maria, watching for now.

One of those rats scampers through the cemetary, brushing between some stones past Maria, wriggling through some brush and dropping down to chitter and snuffle at the big black rat. That one lifts its head, ears pricking, and then turns up to scramper up along up back the slight embankment, squeezing under the fence in an impressive display of flexible bones, and heads for the back of the graveyard.
Kate considers the short cut towards the clubs she wants to go to. It just happens to be through the cemetary. It's not late enough for the place to be freaky, right? So the young reporter turns upon the ball of her sandaled foot and carefully steps in the graveyard… Only to see a rat immediately. Her nose wrinkles, "Bloody hell, I thought I left those things back in New York. Shoo…. Shoo, go!" She snaps her hands at it, trying to scare it away before she continues her walk.

Removing that expensive coat, against the silk, is her standby. The holster fastened tightly in place, a constant weight and hardness that Maria has become accustomed to. Pressing the weapon until it digs against her side, her arms tightening from shoulder to elbow, her steps pull to a stop. A hand comes to rest on one of the taller gravestones, fingertips gently sliding over the rough surface as if it were fine cloth. Eyes flicker, gaze turning in the direction of where the rats might be, looking down without surprise as one scampers close enough that she can clearly see it. "I see you." She whispers, a soft sing-song voice. A small sniff, her posture stiff for a moment before she continues. Something has her attention, her steps following something you can't see with the naked eye. Zero approaches and she looks to him. An up and down and she flashes a brief smile. "Si." she murmurs.

There is little warning before several figures rise up from the darkness near the back of the graveyard, high pitched squeals a disturbing symphony in their wake. Whether they came from the ground, or merely entered the cemetery from a different direction is anyone's guess. They move faster than zombies, and their flesh is whole. But they are not human.
Their forms are barely clad in shredded clothing—the skin that shows through is a dull silver-grey. They move like primitives, low and skittish, arms slightly out to their sides. They are dirty, skin smeared with dirt and dry and old blood. There are many, hair matted and messy, In the shadow of the night, with so many monuments, it's hard to see just how many they are, or if they're all coming from the same direction.
To those with more perceptive, inhuman eyes, a dull red glow issues in the darkness. Their eyes glow. The waning crescent moon casts just enough light to see long, dark talon like fingernails growing from the hands of some of the figures as they approach. Three of them swarm out of the darkness toward the unlucky were-rat closest to the center of the cemetery.
The poor beast goes down under the pile of clawing and snapping figures with a high pitched squeal, fighting back. There are loud cracks, pops, and shrieks.

"Shit, I played D&D long enough to recognize THOSE things…Wights. Ugly, faster and nastier cousins to zombies." Jason whispers to Maria with a shrug, "Just guessing." as he reaches under his jacket to pull a glock handgun from it's holster, and takes a shooting stance, aiming for the best target. "Ready when you are." he murmurs, "I'll shoot when you do."

The returning rats come upon the scene just as the one in the center is fallen upon… and there's a squealing hiss from the others, as two massive, sleek and well-fed rats erupt from their skulking places and plunge in to tear and bite at the ghouls' legs in defense of their fellow.
There's a sickening crush and crack from the stones then as the largest of the rats rises upwards; black fur glistening in the light as the Rat King stands in a form half-human, half-rat, naked tail lashing and claws spread by his sides as he regards the three upon his follower, hissing in a low and inhuman tone, "Ghouls. Filthy creatures…"

Dylan blinks, turning towards the sound. It doesn't take a long reaction time either before he is pulling his Barretta from his shoulder holster either. "Crap, Jason, Maria, get back!" Yeah, he does yell, moving to where he has some cover with a larger grave marker. He also points at the nearest ugly undead thingy that he has a clear shot of, and shoots, while moving. Got to love military training. "Crap, ugly undead things and ugly giant rat things!"

"Oh mi dios, parte posteriora del pas!" She mumbles, the sound of the strap on her holster eaten alive by the chorus of the dying were-rat. A low growl, a sound of disgust very close to a snort and she steps back herself. Eyes flicker, she's trying to get a quick count. Bullets to bodies, how many can she take down, and how strong are they? It looks ugly. Another step back. "What… are they?" she whispers, safety on her weapon pushed with her thumb. Zero answers her rhetorical question and for a moment she turns to gawk at him, at the same time pulling her weapon. Just when she thinks she's adjusted to the sight of the creates themselves, the rats roll in. A half and half rises up and she steps back. Not looking back, she bumps the back of her legs into a rather tall head stone. To make is casual, she reaches to put her jacket on the memorial. A glare at Dylan, eyes flashing. "Don't shoot the rat." She growls. She's not aiming, yet.

"Holy shit." Kate gasps out, reaching into her purse for her tiny little .22 Colt. Not that she's really all that good with it, but.. she can give it a try. Still, she's staying back, near the edge of the cemetary as she considers the possibility of running. She then double thinks that. She replaces the Colt into her purse and pulls out a camera. These are going to be -brilliant- photos. She moves back against the cemetary wall, trying to get good enough angle that she can see and, hopefully stay out of the fight.
The poor were-rat (WereRat_1) who went down under a hail of ghouls is still screaming a high pitched sound, but it's hard to make out through the painful sounds the ghouls are making as they fiendishly rip flesh from the pinned rat!

As the were-rats leap forward to help their fallen brother, one of them manages to take off a hunk of ghoul with a well aimed bite. A subsequent struggle proves well matched, and one of the three ghouls is drawn off of the fallen rat to slash and claw at WereRat_2. The third were-rat slashes at the ghouls, but misses, blocked by a slash of an arm from a feeding ghoul.

Six more ghouls emerge from the darker parts of the graveyard, bringing the count up to 9 total. Two more of them leap into the frey with the others fighting the (NPC) rats, and four advance on Maria and Zero. Everything smells of blood now, the scent of ripped flesh spilling life everywhere is thick upon the air.

Zero takes aim and fires as he backs up to stand side-by-side with Maria. Two quick squeezes of his trigger and….*blam! blam!* …he hits both, but one is just a flesh wound (Ghoul_4). The other, however, has a chunk of shoulder blown off (Ghoul_5). Neither one really slows down much. "Aw, fuck me." he mutters as his jaw clenches, beast inside flaring…..it's either fight or flight, and he's not about to turn tail without his pals. The lean albino's ready for a fight!

As the second of the ghouls stumbles, shin torn out beneath a rat's teeth, the Rat King plunges into the mass of ghouls with a low, chittering hiss of rage— claws digging into the decaying flesh of the thing's arm, bone and sinew snapping and crackling as he takes a firm grip, then the join pops free, and the skin tears as the rips it free of the shoulder. A sweep of claws towards another ghoul is evaded, his tail lashing about.

Dylan misses with his first shot, and he lines up another, clicking the switch over to semi-auto. "Sure…The rats can fight ghoul thingys too. Now why in the hell haven't you left yet?" BAM! BAM! "Damn civilians." Still, it seems the civilians are a better shot than he is tonight. He misses.

Damn it all if the blood doesn't smell… good. Maria inhales it deeply, for a second her eyes roll shut but she quickly forces them open. Raising her weapon in proper hold, "Here they come." Zero squeezes off a few rounds but it doesn't serve to slow them much. The cat beside her curses and growls and she moves to step around that troublesome tombstone that has her jacket casually draped over it. Screw fashion, this is about to get ugly. "We're going to have to take three each at this rate, Mijo." she is doing quick math, counting the rat. Dylan's remark is heard, a faint smirk on her lips, "Cause you can't shoot for shit." Enough talk. Squeezing the trigger, taking good sized chunks out of both targets. The ghouls stumble, taken aback a little as the pair she hit shriek in what seems brief agony. Not to mention, Maria is hit with a little of the blood. Oh, that's going to stain.

Kate swears beneath her breath as she realizes there isn't much light in this grave yard. Perfect for necking teenager, sucky for ace reporters! She mutters another curse and, slowly, begins to creep in the direction of the battle. She's tryign to stay towards the side of the graveyard… out of the action. She just wants to get close enough she can get some upclose shots.

The ghouls are just going wild. Bullet fly in the night, several rounds hitting, several missing. Bone cracks and blood flows. The poor rat left on the ground has already left his ribcage behind, though his compatriots have managed to fight back with the other 2 ghouls. The large rat-man (Anthony) is being flailed at by his target.
The Ghoul nearest Maria rears up and dives at her, claws flying. Maria proves to be too much for it. Zero's ghoul, the one he shot, dives for him, emboldened by its compatriot. Wounded, they are, but still the scent of fresh blood drives them.
Kate is unlucky enough to pass into the path of an swarming Ghoul who was about to go for Maria and Zero. It dives for the poor woman, slashing with its nasty black talon-fingernails.

"SONAVABITCH!" is Jason's gripe as one ghoul does a 'Freddie Krueger' across his chest, laying a slash of four furrows that tears his shirt." M'favorite shirt, dammit!" he growls, even as he tries to toss the ghoul away and is tackled, it tries to take a bite out of the albino's face. What it DOES get is a mouthfull of gun barrel, and…*blam!* Jason blows a hole in its skull, in a nasty point blank mess. Gun powder sears into the flesh, chunks of brain rain down and bloody nasty is disgorged from its newly ventilated cranium. It drops to the dry, browning grass and twitches. "THAT'S for ruining my favorite shirt!!" he yells at the twitching corpse as he climbs back to his feet.

The Rat King's hooked claws rake against the dis-arm'd ghoul's back as it flails at him, peeling away the greyish flesh from it, his jaws snapping for the horror's face, though it recoils and hisses back at him. "Go for the heads," he hisses out, voice low and bestial as he thrashes about in the midst of the ghoul-pile.
The other rats - while not humanoid, are still massive, one of them leaping up and tearing a ghoul's arm off with its teeth, tendons and skin snapping as it's torn from the bone. Ther other fighting rat is bitten in return, squealing in pain as blood sprays from the horrific bite across its shoulder.

"Crap!" Dylan says again, ducking back from the one that tries to swipe him. That Ghoul is rewarded with a hole in it, but it doesn't seem to slow down much. "This isn't working." He says, trying to get closer to Jason and Maria, or hell, even the rats. As long as he can get somewhere were he can have others watching his back while he tries to take out the ghoulies.

It's not until the creature passes her by, missing her and going for a new target, that Maria realizes the photographer is there. There isn't even time to warn her as Zero nearly goes down at her side and the Rat king instructs to aim for the head. Almost on cue, she yanks that trigger with enthusiasm and she takes off half half the creatures skull in the blow. The blowback of critter brains makes her growl, moving to wipe her face with her arm and replace her hand quickly back on her firearm. "The fuck it's not working." she snarls. Almost anything dies when it doesn't have a head, well… save zombies.

Shit. That hurts. That really hurts! Kate's eyes fly wide and she suddenly thinks twice about trying to get any close ups. she's no fool, she's not going to survive a long term conflict with these things. So she immediately beings backing up, half running, half dashing, but keeping her camera out and snapping as she goes. Maybe she'll get -something- useful! Sadly, she can only photo graph with her right hand, her left arm and shoulder ripped through by the ghoul's claws. The thing is still coming after her, making Kate screech just a little as it BARELY misses her and she keeps running backwards. "…Hell…I hope I got that shot." A swiping claw shot would sell SO well.

Loud keening rises up from the population of Ghouls in this cemetery as two of their own fall, and then two others are severely damage by the were-rats. As one, the ghouls back off slowly, and begin to flee into the depths of the graveyard, save three.

The ghoul chasing Kate is momentarily stumbled and frozen in place by the bright flashings into its eyes as her flash pops. It's bright enough to sear the things night vision and disorient it for a moment.

Another ghoul is dispatched by the were-rats and the Rat King. Another has its arm ripped off before it slashes, then runs. Sundry parts, three ghoul bodies, and a were-rat lay dead.

Zero pulls his gun up to aim and *blam!* p-ting!….the dazed ghoul stumbles at the last second, narrowly avoiding the bullet. The projectile fortunately ricochets off a grave marker, though he's missed the beast. "Y'know…finding all our bullet shells'll be a bitch, if we dont want police forensics tracking us down…" he notes casually to Maria and dylan in a low tone….

As the ghoul beneath the Rat King's claws is literally dismembered by him and the two still-active rodere upon the scene, he hurls the butchered form of the sinewy, decaying thing to one side— lunging in to grab the twitching, thrashing form of the injured rat by its scruff, hauling it up into the air, cradling it against his chest. Perhaps dead, or dying, but he's taking whoever it is away anyway.
"Zero," he hisses sharply, a claw thrust through the air, "Photographer."
That said, the Rat King turns - not towards the ghouls, but away from them - and lopes off into the shadows, followed by the scrambling run of the other were-rats, one of them lagging behind a bit due to his injures.

Dylan draws down on one of the retreating ghouls, his barretta reporting as brain matter starts outrunning the ghoul, which finally falls. He holds the weapon down to one side, staring off after the large rat. He looks at Jason then, "Yes..it is a problem. Much like if you hurt that woman the problem your going to have with me."

She holsters her weapon, stepping over zombie bits and brains. A growl and she shakes her head, "God damn…" She mutters, wiping her face with her arm once more and pulling something that looks like a bit of skull out of her hair. "That… was disgusting." As Zero remarks about the shells, she has to laugh and shakes her head slightly. A look between the King, taking his broken rat, then towards Dylan and finally on the woman. "Get her camera, Zero." She mutters. "This can't be in the paper." A faint grin, "Besides, let 'em find the bullets, fuckin' did the cops a favor. What they going to put us in jail for, eh?" She nods her chin towards the bodies, as they are. "Killing these things? Fucking self defense." Her accent thick as she snarls the words out.

Well, they're going to have to run, because that's what Kate is doing! This is the story of the week! She cradles her camera against her midsection like it was some sort of baby as she finally has now just turn and run as fast as her little legs can carry her. Back out of the graveyard, back towards where her car is parked. She wants this story.

"We CAN'T have that woman get those pictures of us printed on the papers." he explains to Dylan as he starts to head in the direction of the photographer, gun safety clicked on and holstered back up. Well, time to chase….and like the leopard he is, he dashes impossibly fast towards Kate. "Like i'm gonna hurt her. pfft." is heard as he comments to Dylan in passing. He WANTS that camera, cause he might be on it! "Hey! hay LADY!" bounding, sprinting, one hand pressing to his chest as he gives chase…

Dylan finally holsters the gun, then looks after Zero. He then looks around at the carnage, then back to Maria, moving closer. "Well, good to see that you are alright. Hadn't seen you since that night in the club." He looks back after Zero, then where the rat king slipped off. He frowns more, "I don't know what is going on..but you can't really have people running off playing vigilante.."

Her eyes follow Zero, making sure he's going to catch up with the woman. Otherwise it might be a game of cat, cat and mouse. A small sniff, looking at Dylan. A small frown, her lips pressed together and Maria snaps the leather back across her holstered gun. "Yeah, been a little busy." She murmurs, or so says the fresh vampire marks on her neck. It's hard to tell that among the backlash of gore. Eyes trail to Zero once more, "We ain't playin' Mijo." Is all she mutters, when he remarks about vigilante. "You're lucky we were here. I doubt you could have taken all of them yourself." A flash of a feral grin and she heads in the direction of the woman and her camera slowly. Stalk mode.

Kate does NOT like being the mouse, especially as Zero does catch up to her and reaches for her camera. Kate's eyes shoot wide…"Hey! That's mine! What the hell?!" Kate yelps out, trying ot protect the camera with her body… maybe pull out the flash card before he gets the equipment, but ultimately that's over 1,000 bucks of equipment and, in the long run, she'd rather just lose the memory card.

Dylan looks back at Maria, "I..can't say I have an answer to that. I did follow when I saw Jason come in." He turns to walk next to her. "And now I think you have smelled too much blood. Your acting like some of the guys I knew back in the service."

Maria makes the classic motion of imitating a jabbering mouth with her hand. Rolling her eyes, she drops the hand and looks at Dylan. "Next time, I'll let the boogyman getcha." she remarks with a grumble. Arms cross, looking at the pair. If she were to have to retrieve the camera, she might just smash it. Pulling her hair up, she makes sure there are no more sticky, ghoul bits and tucks it into a loose bun. A look towards the photographer, "I'm sure you'll understand why we can't let you publish those pictures." Of course, she probably doesn't but that's not the point.

Zero grabs for the camera once he reaches her, long white hair flying wild and mirrored sunglasses (yes, during night time) covering his eyes as he replies in a gruff, (altered) growled voice. He's partially shapeshifted choice parts of himself by the time he's reached her. More bulk and muscle slightly different facial structure (lets see you tell the police artists how I look NOW! HAH!). He grabs for the camera with the intent to remove the memory. "If you tell me where ou work, you'll get these back when i've made sure we arent in thos pictures."

Kate swears quietly as her camera is taken. She looks back up to the others, but isn't a completely raving nutter. She understands the need to protect identity, especially sources. That… that makes her pause. She walks back over towards Dylan and Maria, nodding for Zero to follow. "…Do we have to leave right now? Why don't we stand and go through them now. You can delete the ones that give you away. My… my name's Kate, by the way. i work for the Review-Journal.." She, if Zero doesn't jerk the camera from her, switches it to display past photos and then hands it over. "Just… be careful. It's expensive. And… don't go too far back. There are some nude ones on there." She winks. "Just kidding."

Kate then does a double take at Zero… and towards the blood on the ground. The blood on her hands. The fact she's still BLEEDING… Now, Kate isn't a screamer. And shewouldn't like to think of herself as a swooner… though she's just close to passing out for a moment…"…holy fuck… they.. they could have killed us… fuck… I'm gonna be… sick.." And she turns, seeing a bit more brain on the ground… and ends up puking up most everything she's eaten today behind some poor schmuck's gravestone…

Dylan runs a hand through his hair, then makes a face. He then looks back at Maria and shrugs, "You might be doing everyone else a favor. The Boogeyman has already got me..the Devil is just waitin for his turn now." He blinks at the light coming slowly, then hisses, "Company coming, hide behind something." He chooses a large gravemarker, ducking down behind it to wait for the cops to pass.

"And that, means it's time to go." She trusts Zee to take care of the camera, the babbling, bloody human and turns to head off. A glance at Dylan, her look says, I better not see my name on my news cast, article in the paper or otherwise contributing you as the source. A brush of her energy against Zero, a nuzzle and she shrugs her shoulders down, stepping to lean against one of the larger angels that is reaching towards heaven. It's easy enough for her small frame to hide until the lights are past. Slowly, she begins to make her way out of the grave yard and away from the scene. As she passes the bodies, she scoops to pick up her jacket from where it was on one of the stones.

Zero takes the camera, the memory, and leaves the expensive equipment for Kate to keep in her ownership, but not before wiping down where he's handled the thing with the remainder of his shirt. "Ugh, what DID you eat??" he asks and takes a few quick steps back, hand covering his nose. Even if he doesnt notice the squad car, he knows it's a good idea to beat feet, close the front of his jacket, and find a back way around to his bike.. off the streets where no police are….

"…Sushi." Kate manages to moan out between bouts of puking… Though she still has enough head about her to want her memory card back. She reaches into her her purse and shakily hands her card in his direction…"Get… what you can leave… to that address… Thanks.." Ugh…" Oh fuck…" and she pukes again. This is -not- good. She tries to stumble for her car before the cops get there.

The cops roll up on the corner, and the main entrance to the cemetery. The light glints over the vomit tombstone first. "Oh, man Terence. We got spew." And then a moment passes and the light rolls over an arm sticking out from behind a tombstone. "All right, stop the car. Looks like we got passed out kids in the—" He's halfway to opening his door when his light flashes over a gore-iffic head splodey ghoul mess. "Shit, man, call it in! We got bodies."

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