Eyes flickered open. Muscles that were dead mere moments before spasmed and jittered with hunger, bony fingers with long nails scratching into the wood of a chair and leaving long gouges, chippings falling to the floor. The head of the corpse rose from where it had rested, chin against its chest. It blinked, and looked around with blank eyes.
It was pitch black, but the dead thing could see regardless. The world looked cold and grey, but it was still sight. It was confused. Where was it? How did it get there? It was sat in a wooden chair in a great hall, tucked in under a long table. There were more chairs around the table. Most were empty, but a few other nodding, dark bodies sat motionless in some. The room looked like a feast hall, but there was no feast on the table. Oh, how it was hungry.
It pushed itself away from the table, chair legs screeching disturbingly in the darkness, and rose on creaking limbs, death-blue skin stretching taut over pitted, eroded muscle.
It crept to a door at the end of the tomb-hall and stepped into a corridor outside. Its booted feet padded silently in the close stillness. It felt a pang of hunger like some monstrous beast rearing in its stomach. Oh, how it wanted to eat. Meat, any meat. Thick. Red. Juicy. Raw.
It breathed hollowly into the darkness. Its lungs were not much up to the challenge, but it didn't really need to anyway. When it reached the end of the corridor, stone walled and dusty, earth punching through collapsed walls in places, it took a flight of stairs down into the gaping, hungry maw of a cave system.
Hungry, so hungry.
The caves dropped away below him, a great drop; a hidden ravine like a bloodless vein to the centre of all things. It looked over the edge. At first it thought there was nothing but more blackness, but it soon realised that something was resting down there. Moving.
Shallow breaths, like his, hissing up from the depths in cold whistles of drafty air. Whatever it was, it was enormous. It was pale, standing out in the blackness, and it stank. Rot and pus. A brackish odour, stronger even than the stench of his own degraded flesh.
It shifted suddenly, rising. A bulbous lump at the end of a long, scaly body covered in long spines and tumorous globules turned towards him, like it was looking at him.
The dead creature thought it could make out multiple black protrusions on the lump, like glinting eyes, but he could not be sure, as at that moment the lump split vertically down the middle, exposing the very maw of Hel itself.
The thing was a serpent, but its mouth opened down the centre of its head instead of having a hinging jaw at the bottom. The mouth was filled with teeth: hundreds of sharp, viciously curved fangs, arranged without any semblance of order, a deadly flower bursting into bloom. The serpent yawned, hot acidic breath billowing up from its massive throat hundreds of meters below, and the dead thing felt its flesh burning slightly, and finally it remembered why it was here, and what it must do. The serpent closed its mouth and lowered itself back down into the deeper shadows below.
The dead thing turned away and began to instinctively head for the surface. It had sworn allegiance to The Progeny. Its job was to kill.
And there were so many people to devour.
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