“Have any more Doritos?” Joel asked Sarah over the electronic dance music blaring from the speakers of the yellow Jeep Wrangler.
“I’m pretty sure I do. Check in the back of Yellow Fellow,” Sarah replied.
Joel got up from sitting on the grass against the tree trunk. It was dark in the Zephyr woods and the moon gave Joel enough light to see in the back of Sarah’s jeep, she named Yellow Fellow.
“Nice, you’ve got Doritos, and a big box of Crunchnutters,” Joel smiled, holding up the bag for the group to see.
“Pass those candy bars around,” Bree said.
“Where did you get a box of Crunchnutters that big?” Mike asked.
“My dad. He always buys bulk,” Sarah answered.
Joel grabbed a handful and gave a bar to everyone. The munchies were strong from all the weed they’d been smoking.
“Damn, these are good,” Bree said. “What’s in these? Crack?”
“Might as well be. Give me another one,” Terence said.
They ate one after another. Candy bar wrappers and Corona bottles littered the forest floor.
Sarah, her boyfriend Joel, Terence, Bree, and Mike always hopped in Yellow Fellow after the College school football game, whether their team won or lost. They took the back roads to their usual spot in the woods where they partied.
Sarah’s father, Dr. Oliver Ward, worked for the government-contracted, BHO Labs (Bio-Human Operations). He had no problem giving drug laced candy bars to his own daughter and her friends. It was nothing, considering other dreadful things he’d done to rise through the ranks of the company.
NMT (Neuromethyltryptamine) is what BHO called the drug. It’s a synthetic cousin of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine), the powerful hallucinogenic drug found in humans, animals, and plants. Many who have tried DMT have gone on bizarre trips and have claimed to meet the same entities from other states of consciousness or dimensions. One type of entity was the infamous Machine Elves who had been seen by many DMT users.
BHO had gone through many clinical experiments involving NMT with varying results similar to DMT. Many findings were quite different. Unlike DMT, NMT could be ingested, the chemicals and acids in the stomach do not destroy it. Nor does it cause nausea and vomiting. The mystical experience was always intensified when used with cannabis. Wild trips were always a result, among other phenomenon, which could not be explained just yet.
The experiment was to give NMT to blind participants outside of the lab, in a public group setting, who didn’t know they were taking the drug at all. Dr. Ward chose Sarah and her friends as unwitting participants in the study. He would keep tabs on their whereabouts through their cell phones to follow up on any outcomes.
The effects of the candy bars took effect almost immediately.
“Bree.” Mike said.
“Yeah?” Bree smiled.
“Why are there eyeballs all over your face? They’re staring at me. What the hell?” Mike said.
Bree laughed, “You’re high, Mike.”
“Hey, the trees, man. The trees are melting into the ground like wax. Weird. Now they’re regrowing.” Joel said.
“I’m trippin’ bad,” Bree said. “Gummy worms are coming out of the ground, everywhere. There are thousands of them. They’re smiling at me. They love me sooo much.”
Sarah started laughing hysterically.
“Ha! They’re jumping around, doing somersaults,” Sarah said, giggling.
“Who is?” Terence asked.
“Gnomes, ha! Lots of them. They’re so silly. Red hats. Blue hats. Yellow. Green. They’re tugging each other’s beards,” Sarah replied.
“Guys! Guys! I’m turning into a cartoon.” Terence said. “Wait. Am I turning into a cartoon? Or have I always been a cartoon?”
“Is this weed laced, Joel?” Sarah asked.
“I don’t think so, it’s the same stuff I get from Fat Larry all the time.” Joel replied.
“Guys! Now you’re all turning into cartoons!” Terence said.
“Larry did something to the weed, Joel.” Bree said. “Now the gummy worms are turning into binary code.”
“The sky is full of colorful geometric patterns. They’re moving in and out of each other like a kaleidoscope,” Mike said. “So awesome.”
The subjects’ pineal glands were overloaded. But not just that part the brain, many others as well. After experiencing various strange visions, emotions, and sharing insights about the meaning of life, they heard something up above, louder than the thumping music.
“You hear that?” Bree said.
“Yeah, I thought I was the only one? It’s coming from the east.” Terence responded.
The thunderous sounds of screeches and thousands of fluttering wings grew shriller.
“Quiet,” Mike said. “Listen. It’s getting louder. Is it a flock of birds?”
They looked up as a colony of jet-black bats with fox-like snouts, pointed ears and black leathery wings swarmed the night sky above. The species was closely related to the bat known as the black flying fox which was not known to be native in the states. This rare hidden colony had been in a state of hibernation for decades. They were awakened and came out this night, screeching as they blocked out the moon.
“Bats! It’s bats! I’ve never seen so many at once.” Sarah said.
“Yeah, a sea of black bats in the sky. How are you having the same trip I am?” Joel said.
Thousands of bats descended toward the tops of the trees.
“I see them too,” Mike said. “But they can’t be real.”
“Do we all see and hear them? Terence asked.
“There’s no way we’re all having the same trip. They must be real.” Bree said.
“No way! None of this is real.” Joel said. “Fat Larry laced the weed. We’re all having a bad trip.”
The cauldron of bats swarmed in circular motions, flying lower and lower. A large one, the size of a cat, with solid black eyes swooped low, attacking Bree. She screamed as it left red scratch marks her face.
“Shit. This ain’t no trip!” Mike said as he ran for Bree, trying to grab hold of the fluttering animal. Bree screamed, jerking all around, making it hard for Mike to grab hold of the bat.
“Everybody! Inside Yellow Fellow!” Sarah cried.
They got up from sitting on the grass and ran for the Jeep. Sarah headed for the driver’s door, Joel and Terence grabbed the other doors. Mike struggled with Bree along the way as the bat became entangled in her long brown hair, its skin-wings thrashing about.
Everyone attempted to enter the vehicle, but thousands of winged mammals prevented them from getting inside. Sharp teeth and claws tore through their skin as they were engulfed by the bat collective.
An unknown side effect of the NMT had been taking place. It was not intended and even if BHO labs had been able document it, they wouldn’t know the cause. NMT somehow caused the brain to send out a signal that only a specific species of bat could sense. The signal called to them, and the bats had no choice but to primally answer.
The drug had also been working on a cellular level, changing the molecular structure of the users in conjunction with the DNA of the bats. As the horrendous attack took place, the bats’ saliva exchanged with the blood of Sarah, Joel, Bree, Terence, and Mike. This caused a physical reaction within both mammalian species. Bat DNA fused with human DNA as entire bats were absorbed into human bodies. The pain was excruciating.
The drug triggered strobe light effects to be seen all around by the group. Like in a night club in the woods, everyone observed each other’s bodies agonizingly merge with bats to the beat of electronic dance music and flickering lights. Screams filled the darkness of the forest, but no one heard them as bats and humans melted into each other.
Hours passed before the morphing was complete and the result was a deformed physical amalgamation of human and animal. All was quiet and the left-over horde of bats that did not merge flew back to the cave from where they came.
Dawn broke, as five figures lay on the grass in the woods, surrounding Yellow Fellow, all four doors wide open. Bat droppings covered the area along with strewn beer bottles and Crunchnutter wrappings.
What used to be Sarah woke up first. Her clothes were shredded and lay on the grass due to the stretching and growth of her body. Naked, covered in short black fur, she slowly sat up, lifting her long lanky arms. She stretched out lengthy clawed fingers and spread large leathery black wings. A loud screech came from her fanged snout, awakening her companions.
One by one, each sluggishly stood up, piercing screeches filling the air. The creatures vaguely recognized each other as their previous selves. Their long legs wobbled as they took their first steps with clawed toes in their in new bodies.
The black truck with tinted windows from BHO was nearly a mile away as it zoomed through the dirt roads toward the forest spot. The sound was recognized easily by the newly born creatures through the enhanced echo location of their large, pointed ears.
What used to be Mike let out a loud shriek and the others followed suit. They knew someone was coming for them. What was once Terence, was the first to lift off from the ground, flying straight into the air. One by one, each creature flew up into the sky and away from the forest site with loud heavy thwips of their wings. Their first flight came naturally and instinctually as they flew home to the deep caves of the woods.
* * * *
Sarah’s father, Dr. Oliver Ward, thought it peculiar that there had been no activity on his daughter’s phone for such a long while. It was time to follow up on his experiment.
Within thirty minutes, the BHO truck pulled up to the location of Sarah’s cell phone, lying next to a tree. Dr. Ward stepped out of the vehicle, along with three other BHO employees. Shredded clothes, torn shoes, cell phones and other items were left behind on the ground. But not a single body. Yellow Fellow was empty except for guano all over the seats and dash along with the box of left over NMT laden Crunchnutters.
“This is bat shit. Everywhere,” Dr. Ward said to his colleagues.
“What the hell happened here? Where are the subjects?” the raven-haired Dr. Danielle Ivory asked.
“It had to be the bats, a huge colony of them. They came here, attacked the kids, shredding their clothes. They ran off and must be out in the woods somewhere. Call a search and rescue. We need to find out the results of that damned experiment,” said Dr. Ward.
Shortly, a large-scale volunteer search and rescue ensued in the woods. The town of Ravensgate and its surrounding cities were on high alert. The SAR continued for the missing persons for days, finally ending with no results, or a single lead.
Dr. Ward sat in his office, behind his large oak desk. His coworker, Dr. Ivory, sat in front of it.
“Danielle, I asked you in my office to propose something about our missing subjects that may seem unorthodox. It’s imperative that we find them. I’m assuming they might be dead. But we need to study the bodies as soon as we can to see what effects the NMT might have had.” Dr. Ward said.
“Are the results of the experiment more important than simply finding your daughter, Oliver?” Dr. Ivory responded.
“Sometimes sacrifices must be made for scientific progress,” Dr. Ward replied, emotionless.
“Any new information concerning their whereabouts?” Dr. Ivory asked.
“No. But I’ve been thinking. The forest had been searched with no results. There were no tracks from the kids or animal tracks of any kind. The kids’ clothes were torn, but did not look like by a bear, wolf, or large cat. The only evidence of animal involvement were bat droppings all over the area. The Jeep was out of gas and the battery dead, meaning it had been left that way all night. The doors were left open, and bat shit was everywhere inside, as if the kids were about to enter but were attacked before they could get away.”
“That amount of bat droppings means it had to have been a huge collective of bats. Much larger than normal.”
“Correct. I propose a theory,” Oliver said.
“And that is?” Danielle said, leaning in closer to her boss.
“Consider the idea, as improbable as it seems, that there were enough bats to lift all five of the kids from the ground and fly off with them. If my theory is correct, the only option then, is to search the caves of the forest. That’s the most likely place they would be, dead or alive,” Dr. Ward said, leaning back in his desk chair.
“Hmmm. It’s highly unlikely that human beings were carried off by bats. But to quote Sherlock Holmes, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’”
“I’m going to go on a personal search into the caves of Zephyr woods. A small one that will go unnoticed by the public. We’ll start in the largest cave in the forest. What do you think about joining the team?”
“A cave expedition. I think it might be worthwhile. Count me in.” Dr. Ivory said with anticipation.
The next morning, an unmarked black BHO truck parked on a dirt road deep in the woods, in front of the cave closest to where the subjects went missing. The forest caves were not considered in the initial search because they were miles away from the site from where Sarah and her friends went missing. They couldn’t have gotten that far…unless carried there.
Dr. Ward and Dr. Ivory had employed two others to venture inside the cave with them. Federal Agent Ricky Lubel carried an M4 Carbine rifle in case of any dangerous animals that might be inside. Tracker, Armand Jackson was the lead. Waiting outside in the truck was Alice Rosser, the driver with a walkie on the same channel as the others.
“First time in a wild cave?” Armand asked the crew before entering the cave’s gaping mouth.
“Wild cave?” Dr. Ward responded.
“A non-public cave.” Agent Lubel stated.
“Once we’re inside, our GPS and cell phones are useless. Our walkies won’t work once deep inside but are good to have in case communication is needed close to the surface. Our helmet lamps have new batteries, and your packs are fully stocked with supplies. And whatever you do, don’t separate from the group. It’s easy to get lost. Got it?” Armand said.
“Okay then. Let’s go.” Armand said as he stepped into the mouth of the cave. It became dark fast as the group followed Armand through labyrinthine corridors. Agent Lubel trailed behind Armand, his rifle in the low ready position. Dr. Ward and Dr. Ivory walked side by side behind him.
The tunnels sloped down into the earth as the headlamps gave view to rocky walls. There wasn’t a sign of any creature, much less the missing persons. The floor began to flatten, and Armand halted the team. He crouched down and picked something up.
“It’s a torn piece of blue jean,” Armand said.
“I’ll take that,” Dr. Ward said.
“Doesn’t mean it belongs to who you’re looking for. But someone might be down here, and no telling how long.” Armand replied, handing Dr. Ward the shredded fabric.
Dr. Ward put the material in a plastic bag. The group continued forward as the air became damp, redolent with the smell of wet rock.
“Look, an opening up ahead.” Dr. Ivory said, pointing to a large entrance at the end of the corridor. Their footsteps echoed throughout the cave as the group walked up to the large archway. Armand shined a bright spotlight, revealing a huge dark cavern with a shallow body of water on the floor.
“This place is enormous.” Dr. Ivory said.
“Look up there,” Agent Lubel said, pointing to the extremely high ceiling, his helmet light giving clarity. Up above, huddled together, hanging upside down from the ceiling was a sea of silent sleeping black bats. The sight was overwhelming.
“Unreal. There are thousands of them.” Agent Lubel said.
“Look. Up there. In the center of the colony. There’s some kind of large mass among the bats.” Dr. Ward said, pointing upward.
Armand shined the spotlight at the middle of the ceiling at the form and it became clear. Five sets of large black leathery wings were visible, wrapped around bodies roughly seven feet in length.
Dr. Ivory screamed at the sight of the creatures, causing the large beasts to open their solid black eyes. They shrieked loudly, echoing off the cavern walls causing thousands of the common bats to fly off from the ceiling. The humanoid bat creatures flew from the cave’s ceiling, displaying razor sharp teeth, and dove toward
Agent Lubel aimed his weapon upward, letting loose a barrage of gunfire at the monstrosities. The bat that was once Joel was shot in the chest multiple times, and it nose-dived into the shallow water with a splash.
“Head back! Out of the cave!” Armand ordered.
“Alice, start the truck! Code red! Start the truck!” Agent Lubel screamed through the walkie. There was no response.
The team immediately ran back down the corridor. The creatures swooped low, after them, accompanied by a swarm of bats. The sound of running and shrieking bats resounded throughout the cave.
The gun’s magazine emptied. Agent Lubel ran down the corridor behind the others as he inserted a fully loaded magazine. He turned around and the bat that was once Mike flew at him. Lubel fired as the monster gripped his shoulders, taking a chunk out of his neck with large fangs. The rounds injured the monster and it fell backward on the floor.
The trio approached the mouth of the cave as thousands of bats attacked them with claws and teeth. The Bat that was once Bree soared into Armand’s back, knocking him to the ground on his stomach. The creature jumped on his back, tearing into the side of his face with its mouth as he screamed.
The Joel bat rose out of the water, hurt but very much alive. It headed down the corridor after everyone.
Dr. Ward and Dr. Ivory made it out of the cave into the light of day, followed by the swarm of black bats. The Sarah bat flew above Dr. Ward, looping around in front of him. Clutching his arms with elongated hands and long fingernails, it swept him up from the ground, straight up into the sky and held him, its snout to his face. The bat’s solid pitch-black eyes looked into Dr. Ward’s blue eyes as he screamed in terror.
A part of the creature was familiar with him, but just a part. It couldn’t quite remember who he was, but its primal animalistic essence did not care. All it saw was an enemy who attacked its colony. The creature bit into Dr. Ward’s face until he went unconscious. It dropped him to the ground, breaking the major bones in his body.
“Get in!” Alice saw the horror taking place and screamed to Dr. Ivory as she ran for the open passenger door of the truck.
What used to be Terence snatched the back of Dr. Ivory’s black hair, yanking her backward. She screamed and her glasses fell off as she collapsed to the ground on her back. The creature crouched over her, attempting to slice her throat with long black nails. Alice unholstered a Glock 26, releasing three rounds into the side of the giant bat’s ribcage. It fell back as Dr. Ivory got up and hopped in the passenger seat, slamming the door. Alice sped off down the dirt road.
“What the hell are those things?!” Alice screamed.
“I don’t know. Just drive!” Dr. Ivory snapped.
“What about the others?”
Alice retrieved her cell, informing her superiors about the situation.
“Dammit! They’re following us!” Alice shouted.
The humanoid bats gained fast on the vehicle. Two of them caught up, flying alongside each side of the truck. Alice aimed her firearm out the driver door window at what used to be Terence. As soon as the bat saw her firearm it flew upward, out of Alice’s range.
“Faster! Drive faster!” Dr. Ivory screamed.
Alice floored the gas.
The five creatures worked in tandem, hovering at the rear of the truck. The bat that was once Sarah flew above the vehicle, in command. The other bats gripped the back end of the truck, two at the bumper and two each side.
“They’re planning something,” Alice said. She leaned over, her head out the window, one hand on the wheel, the other on the grip of the gun. The Bree bat was a straight shot near the rear tire. Alice aimed but the creature moved sideways, dodging the bullets.
The human bats lifted the back end of the truck up as it sped, overturning the entire vehicle forward, backend up. It landed on its top then flipped over sideways in three intervals. Both airbags deployed, the truck landed on its passenger side on the ground.
Landing on their feet, the bats walked up to the vehicle, facing its underbelly. No movement or sound came from Dr. Ivory or Alice. The Sarah bat ripped the driver door from its hinges and pulled Alice out of the truck by the back of her jacket. It sniffed the woman then tossed her on the ground. The Joel bat hopped on top of the side of the vehicle, ready to pull out Dr. Ivory as the sound of multiple vehicles headed in their direction. When backup arrived at the scene, the creatures were gone.
* * * *
Four days later.
Ravensgate, Michigan. Zephyr Woods.
Our GPS enabled BHO to find the destroyed truck on the dirt road. I did not know how long I was unconscious. After waking up in the hospital, I was told for six hours. I am not without bruises or soreness, but I have no broken bones and thanks to the air bag, I am fine. Unfortunately, our driver, Alice Rosser, did not survive the wreck. Dr. Oliver Ward, Agent Richard Lubel and tracker, Armand Jackson were all killed by the creatures from the cave.
Our small team was unsuccessful in finding the missing persons, Sarah Ward, Bree Russel, Michael Jefferies, Joel Alden and Terence Johnson in the cave. However, we did find shreds of torn blue jeans inside the cave, whose owner is unidentified.
These deadly attacks demonstrate evidence of a new undocumented cryptid. Tribes of Sasquatch and Dogmen have already been documented by the federal government. They have been categorized by type, and their behavior studied for years. Their presence in the woods has been corroborated by Native American tribes all over the country for decades. Other less sighted cryptids have also been documented and studied.
This never-before reported cryptid is of the humanoid-bat persuasion which I call Homo Chiroptera. There were distinctive males and females, but during the traumatic event I could not say how many of each. All five creatures were seven-to-eight feet tall, with elongated arms, legs, and short jet-black fur covering their bodies. Their wingspan could be at least ten to twelve feet in length and their faces resemble that of the fruit bat. These attributes were plainly visible yet presented in a distorted and disfigured manner.
It is my contention that these cryptids, accompanied by local common bats that were previously undocumented in the area, were responsible for taking the missing persons, as evidenced by the amount of bat droppings at the site. Further investigation will ensue to learn more of this Bat-Humanoid species. The NMT experiment remains inconclusive due to the missing subjects and will continue.
Dr. Danielle Ivory.