E1M1: The Hangar

Blade slowly pushed open the metal door to the side entrance of the hangar and slipped inside. He drew his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, checking to make sure he had a full clip and stood by the door listening. An open barrel of slime bubbled in the corner spewing green acid on the walls. The overhead computer console hummed quietly, belching a click-click at random intervals. A whispering wind blew in through a broken window to his right.

The screams had quieted but they still echoed in his mind. He had been on perimeter patrol when a ground-shaking explosion had rocked the research complex. Over the radio, he could hear firefights, the screaming of the dying and strange, unearthly sounds. He had tried to raise Command on the radio, but no one answered his calls. He had sprinted back to the complex, but by the time he had reached the hangar entrance, the radio was silent.

He stepped forward and glanced out the window to the courtyard below. Bodies, lying in pools of scarlet, were scattered on the ground. He could not make out any faces, but he recognized the uniforms; it was his unit.

“What happened here?” He asked himself. “Are they all dead?”

Behind him, he heard a grunt and turned to see a Marine shuffling toward him from the observation deck. He started toward the Marine, and then stopped as he realized what he was seeing. The Marine, it was Jonsey, had deep scratches along the side of his face and across his neck. The front of his uniform was covered in blood from the neck wound, and Blade could see Jonsey’s heart and lungs through a gaping hole in his chest.

“My God,” Blade whispered. He choked down the rising bile and stared with fascinated horror as this creature, which had once been a bright, easy-going young Marine, shuffled toward him with jerky, halting steps. The creature stopped and its glassy eyes stared at Blade for a moment. It then raised a shotgun and pulled the trigger.

Blade reacted by instinct, jumping to the side and firing his .45 into the monster. The bullets dug holes into the walking corpse, but the creature ignored the shots and slowly pumped the shotgun to fire again.

Blade aimed at the head of the creature and fired. The slug ripped through the creature’s head and splashed brains onto the columns supporting the overhead computer console. It squealed like a dying animal and slumped to the ground, the shotgun clattering to the cement floor. Blade aimed his .5 at the creature, waiting to see if it was going to get up, but the creature was still.

“This can’t be real,” his mind screamed. He lowered the .45 and stared at the corpse. What had happened here? His security clearance did not allow him any details of the experiments conducted at the research complex, but rumor had it that the scientists were doing extra-dimensional research. Was this the result of an experiment gone bad? If so what was his next move? He ran his hand through his coal black hair and rubbed his steel-gray eyes. He should try to get to the Command Center and see if anyone was still alive. Even if everyone was dead, he could contact Earth for instructions.

He bent down and picked up the shotgun the zombie had dropped, holding his nose against the stench of putrefying flesh. He stood and looked toward the observation deck and saw some body armor on a table. He headed for the stairs to the observation deck. He would need that armor.

As he stepped on the first rung of the stair, a grunt sounded from the shadows to his left and another zombie stepped forward and raised a shotgun. Blade jerked back, pulled the trigger and the shotgun roared. The zombie’s head exploded in a shower of blood and brain and the body slumped to the ground.

Blade took a deep breath and slowly continued up the stairs and onto the observation deck. He glanced around the deck, looking for zombies, but thankfully, the deck was clear. He set the shotgun down on the table and picked up the body armor. He slipped on the armor, grabbed some ammo and reloaded the shotgun then headed back down the stairs.

Blade strode across the entry room and down a low corridor that lead to the computer room. He stopped at the door and pressed his ear against the metal, listening for any sounds, but the door was too thick. He could not hear anything. Taking a deep breath, he punched the open switch.

The door screeched open and Blade scanned the room. Two zombies standing by the center computer console turned toward him, then started shuffling in his direction. They both raised .45s and fired. The slugs whined off the cement wall beside him, spraying hot lead and cement fragments into his face.

Blade fired the shotgun, taking the head off the first zombie. Blade pumped the shotgun, aimed at the second zombie and pulled the trigger. Nothing; the shotgun had jammed. The zombie fired the .45 and the slug took a stinging nick from his right arm.

“Damn!” He said trying to clear the jam. He could not get the shotgun to work. He looked up and saw the zombie standing a meter from him, pointing the .45 at his head, ready to pull the trigger. Blade screamed and ran toward the zombie swinging the shotgun by the barrel like a baseball bat. The metal stock slammed into the side of the zombie’s head and the creature dropped like a sack of stones.

Blade hit the fallen creature in the head again and again and again, screaming like a madman. From the hangar storage area, an unearthly growl brought Blade back to his senses. He dropped the shotgun and backed away from the ruined zombie, his breath ragged, his mind whirling.

The growl sounded again and Blade felt a chill race down his spine. The sound was unearthly, alien. A part of him wanted to run and hide, but another part remembered his friends and fear gave way to anger. Something, or someone, had turned his buddies into these zombies. Somebody was going to pay. He drew his .45 and slowly walked into the storage area.

Blade pressed himself against the cement wall and cautiously peered into the storage area. Barrels of green slime had ruptured filling the storage area with bubbling acid. A clear area of the floor zigzagged through the slime and ended in a short corridor at the back of the storage area. Standing by a door at the end of the corridor was a zombie, gibbering to itself and walking slowly in a circle.

Blade heard that low, chilling growl coming from the top of a raised platform. Blade looked at the creature and his blood ran cold. It was straight out of some hideous nightmare. The monster was covered in matted brown fur, with bony spikes protruding from the flesh. Its eyes glowed an evil red color and long, deadly claws protruded from it hands and feet.

The creature arched its back and roared at Blade. It then leaned forward and spewed mist from its mouth that burst into flame and became a fireball streaking toward him. Blade jumped back as the fireball exploded into the wall beside him, scorching the cement. The heat of the blast washed over him like the gust from a furnace.

Blade realized that the rumors were true. The explosion he had felt while patrolling the perimeter must have opened a door to another dimension. This creature, this imp, was not of this world. The zombies, this imp—they defied common sense and violated physical laws. They could not be of this world. They were nightmares from the pit of Hell.

He had to get to the Command Center and warn Earth. He may be the only human left alive in the research center. If these creatures somehow managed to get off Mars and get to Earth, millions would die. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was time to battle Hell.

He looked down at his .45. He would need better firepower. There was a weapons cache behind the platform, but the switch was in the room at the end of the corridor. He would have to get past the imp and the zombie with only his .45. He checked the clip; only two shots left. He took a deep breath. They would have to do.

Blade ran into the hangar, keeping low and following the zigzag of clear cement. The fumes from the bubbling slime around him threatened to overwhelm him so he kept his breath shallow as he ran. As he neared the corridor at the back of the storage area, the zombie saw him and raised its .45 and fired. The bullet whined off the cement in front of him. Blade heard the imp bellow and the whooshing sound of another fireball. Blade did not look but kept running toward the door.

The heat of the fireball scorched his back as it passed behind him. The fireball struck the pool of slime behind him and exploded. The fumes ignited and with a roar, the flames flashed across the pool of slime. The blast threw him into the air toward the door at the end of the corridor. He slammed hard onto the cement, losing his grip on his .45. The pistol into the corner behind the zombie..

Blade pushed to his knees and came face to face with the muzzle of a .45. He rolled to the right just as the zombie pulled the trigger. The gun roared and the bullet dug into the cement where Blade had been kneeling only a moment before.

Blade continued to roll coming to his feet and kicked the zombie in the face. The zombie staggered back against the wall. Blade stepped close to the creature and punched it hard in the face. The smell of rotting flesh made him want to gag and his fist hit with a soft wet sound.

The zombie staggered back against the door at the end of the corridor. It tried to raise the .45, but Blade grabbed the monster’s wrist and twisted it backward so the muzzle was pointing at its head. With a grin, Blade pressed the zombies finger that was curled around the trigger. A neat hole appeared in the forehead of the zombie and the body slumped to the ground leaving its brains on the door.

The fire was raging in the storage area him making it hard to breathe. He had to lower the platform and get to that weapons cache before the fire blocked the entrance to the room. Blade looked at the .45 that the zombie was carrying. The clip was nearly full. He slammed open switch to the door and stepped into the exit room, looking for the platform switch.

From the back of the room, near a door marked “Exit”, an imp stepped forward and hissed at Blade. Blade fired two shots at the creature, the bullets digging holes in its chest. The imp did not seem to notice.

On either side of Blade, behind a wooden screen, two zombies were pressing themselves against the wood and firing at him. The bullets whined off the concrete walls and floors, spraying hot lead and cement chips into he air. Blade stepped back and fired at the zombie on his left. The creature jerked back, then slumped to the ground.

The imp opened its mouth and a fireball flashed toward Blade. He hit the ground as the fireball passed above him, singeing his hair. Blade fired again at the imp. The imp staggered backward a step, and then resumed its advance. Blade pushed to his feet and fired several shots into a barrel of slime behind the imp. The barrel exploded engulfing the imp and turning it into a flaming torch. The imp danced around for a few moments, then crumpled to the ground and quietly burned.

The zombie to his left shuffled around the corner of the screen and fired at Blade with its .45. Blade rolled to his left and fired at the zombie striking it in the chest. Blade kept pulling the trigger, tracking the fire upward and blasting the head of the zombie to pulp. The creature fell onto the burning imp and did not move.

Blade slowly got to his feet and scanned the room. It was empty. He found the platform switch on the wall beside the door and pulled the lever down. Behind him, he could hear the sound of grating metal as the platform lowered to the floor of the storage room.

He walked slowly back toward the storage area, holding his hand up to shield his face from the heat of the flames. The slime was still burning, filling the storage area with smoke and acrid fumes. Blade looked for the imp, but could not see it amid the flames and smoke. The flames had probably consumed it when the platform lowered.

The platform was on the other side of the burning slime and to get to it, he would have to jump. He secured the .45 in his holster and backed up to get a running start. He had to make the jump on the first try. There would not be a second chance.

Blade took a deep breath of clean air, ran to the edge of the slime and jumped. The flames licked up toward him and he felt the heat through the soles of his boots. He landed on the platform with a jolt and rolled into the room.

As he lay on the ground catching his breath, he heard a hiss coming from the shadows at the back of the room. Blade jumped to his feet and pulled the .45 from his holster. An imp stepped from the shadows and crept slowly toward Blade. Blade raised the .45 and pulled the trigger. The hammer fell on an empty chamber.

“Damn,” Blade said throwing the pistol at the imp. The imp batted the gun to the side and took a swipe at Blade with a clawed hand. Blade dodged to the side and tried to get to the table. A shotgun, some shells and a stimpack lay on top of the table under a bank of bright, yellow-white lights.

The imp reached out, grabbed Blade by the back of his armor and lifted him into the air. It shook him as a child shakes a doll and then threw him against the wall opposite the table. His armor went rigid as he slammed into the wall, knocking the breath out of him. He tried to crawl away from the imp, but the creature picked him up by his ankles and threw him into the corner. Blade felt the wall give slightly under the impact, easing the shock and giving him a chance to catch his breath.

The imp reached down and swiped at him with a clawed hand, just as Blade jumped between its legs. The imp turned and Blade kicked at the monster’s kneecap as hard as he could. The imp staggered backward, howling in pain. Blade jumped to his feet and lunged toward the table. His hand fell on the shotgun, but as he tried to lift it, the imp slammed into him and wrapped its claws around his chest.

Blade drove his elbow into the matted fur, and then stomped hard on a clawed foot with the heel of his boot. The imp grunted and loosened its grip. Blade drove his head backward, slamming it into the face of the imp. The creature rocked back and released Blade.

Blade leaned forward and grabbed the shotgun, pumping a shell into the chamber and spinning around just as the imp opened its mouth to spew a fireball. Blade jammed the shotgun into the creature’s mouth and pulled the trigger. The imp’s head vanished and the body flew back against the wall with a satisfying splat, and then slid to the ground, twitching madly.

Blade slumped against the table and tried to catch his breath. The fire in the storage area was roaring like an angry beast and Blade could hear the pop and crack of the cement as it shattered in the heat. He loaded up on shells and slapped a stimpack on the deep scratches the imp had left on his arms.

Blade approached the platform, the intense heat burning his face. The fire had completely involved the storage area and portions of the roof were falling into the flames as the fire ate into ceiling. There was no way he could leap to the exit corridor. He was trapped.

The fire was beginning to creep into the weapons cache, licking up the walls of the room and blackening the ceiling. It would not be long before the room was engulfed in flames. Blade looked around him for another exit, but all he saw was the table and walls of the small room. When the imp had thrown him into the corner, he had felt the wall give slightly when he had crashed against it. Blade walked to the corner and began pushing on the walls.

After a couple of tries, he found a section that moved slightly when he pushed it. He ran his fingers along the wall and felt a thumb-sized depression about waist high, next to the section that moved. Blade pushed his thump into the depression and felt a click. With a hum, the loose section of the wall slid down into the floor revealing a lift. Blade stepped on the lift and it shot upward stopping at the entrance to a dark, hidden passage above and behind the weapons cache.

Blade stepped off the lift and feeling his way along the wall, followed the passage around to an opening that looked out over the end of the storage room near the computer room. Looking down he saw that the way was clear, the fire not having any fuel to burn on the bare concrete.

Blade jumped and landed with a roll, then ran down the corridor and into the computer room. The air here was hot and smoky, but the computer room was clear of fire. He slowly made his way back to the entry room where this nightmare had started.

In the entry room, Blade looked out the windows that opened onto the courtyard. One window was broken and blood stained the jagged shards that reached up like daggers from the window frame. He knocked out the glass and leaned out the window. The courtyard seemed clear of monsters. Carefully, Blade stepped out the window and jumped to the hard-packed dirt of the courtyard.

Bodies lay scattered on the ground. In the center of the courtyard, a pool of slime bubbled and spat in the dim sun. Across the courtyard, a window opened into the storage area and Blade could see the flames shooting out of the shattered window and up into the sky, sending thick black smoke trailing toward the mountains in the distance. On the left of the courtyard, a set of stairs descended into darkness.

Blade turned his attention back to the pool of slime. Some heavy armor was sitting on a rock that protruded above the surface of the pool. He could use that armor, his own being somewhat battered and beginning to loose it effectiveness. He walked to the edge of the pool and gauged the distance. He could probably just reach it with the shotgun.

Standing as close to the edge as he dared, Blade reached out with the shotgun and tried to snag the strap on the armor. He had to be careful; the edge was crumbly and if he fell into the acid, it would be all over. Stretching out, he snagged the strap of the armor and lifted it off the rock.

Behind him, he heard a grunt and the sound of a shell being pumped into a shotgun. Blade jerked at the sound and the edge crumbled. He flailed his arms and lost his grip on the shotgun. Both the shotgun and armor fell into the hissing pool of slime as Blade threw himself backward.

He rolled over and looked behind him. A zombie was raising the shotgun it carried and aiming it at Blade. He rolled to his right as the zombie fired kicking up a plume of dust and digging a head-sized hole in the dirt.

Blade rolled to his feet and ran at the zombie. The zombie was pumping another shell into the chamber of the shotgun and raising it, when Blade jumped into the air and kicked viscously at its head, sending the it flying backward. Blade landed on his feet and scooped up the fallen shotgun.

The zombie was struggling to its feet and Blade stepped up to the monster and pointed the barrel at its head. The creature looked upward with vacant eyes, and Blade recognized the face; it was his best friend, Sammy. They had gone through basic together, had roomed together and both had been stationed on Mars.

Blade looked at the gibbering creature on the ground and tears filled his eyes. “I’m sorry, old buddy,” Blade whispered and fired the shotgun. Without looking back, Blade slowly walked down the stairs and into the gloom.

At the bottom of the stairs, Blade pumped another shell into the shotgun and peered into the dim corridor ahead of him. He could hear some feet shuffling, but could not see past the bend of the corridor a meter to his left. Slowly he walked toward the bend and looked around the corner.

A decaying face stared at back at him. “Shit!” Blade said and jumped back. The zombie shuffled around the corner and Blade fired the shotgun. The headless body took another step forward, then fell chest first to the ground.

Blade stepped around the decaying corpse and climbed a set of stairs to a doorway at the end of the short passageway. He slapped the open switch and stepped into the exit corridor at the end of the storage area. The fire still raged in the storage area, but the way was clear to the exit.

He pressed the switch to the exit door with a sigh of relief. He had made it. He had a long way to go, but he had survived the initial shock and horror of the situation. If he kept his wits about him, he could make it the Command Center. He would have to fight every step of the way, but this was what his training had been all about.

With a hum, the door slip upward and a red-eyed, brown monstrosity growled and clawed at his face. Blade jumped back and pulled the trigger of the shotgun, but the hammer clicked on an empty chamber. He had forgotten to load a shell.

The creature lunged at him and slapped him hard on the side of the head. Blade slammed against the light stand next to the door and with a shower of sparks, knocked the light from its fixture, his shotgun rolling into the corner as he hit the floor. The imp leaped on top of him, pinning him to the ground.

The creature was clawing at his chest, leaving deep scratches in the duralloy armor. Blade frantically reached for the shotgun, but it was just beyond his outstretched hand. He looked around and saw the broken lamp beside him, sparks flying from the bare wires protruding from the broken shaft. Blade reached for the lamp and just got his fingers around the base and with a scream, shoved the shaft into the chest of the imp. The exposed wires sparked and smoked when they touched the imp.

The imp screamed and convulsed as the electricity coursed through its body. Blade getting to his feet, kept the wires on the creature as it backed against the wall. The imp clawed at Blade, but the lamp stand gave Blade enough reach to keep his distance. The imp bucked and screamed like a demon, but Blade pressed the stand against the imp with all his strength, keeping the wires embedded in its flesh. With a dying scream, the imp slumped to the ground, twitching and smoking. Blade kept the wires on the carcass for a minute more, and then tossed the lamp on the ground. The imp was dead.

Blade retrieved the shotgun and slapped a stimpack on his bruised chest under the battered armor. The pain eased as his chest numbed and the drugs did their work. He cautiously looked into the exit elevator expecting see more monstrosities, but the room was clear. He entered the elevator and slid to the floor, breathing hard. He would take a moment and rest before he threw the switch that would take him to his next encounter.

He snapped his head up and looked around. He must have dozed. Thankfully, it had been a restful nap. He stood and took a deep breath and threw the exit switch. The door closed and the elevator dropped. When the door opened, Blade smiled.

“Time to rock and roll,” he said, raising the shotgun and pumping a shell into the chamber.

Author's Note

This was a nearly straight fictionalization of the first level of Doom. It turned out to be harder than I expected and this was the only one I completed.