The Traveller Series
Greetings readers. My name is ‘Traveller’. Well, that’s not my real name of course. In fact, I am one of many, a member of an underground group of whistle-blowers determined to reveal the ugly truth about the shadowy organisation we all once worked for. In fact, I am the third incarnation of the traveller name, attempting to carry on the heroic example set by my two predecessors.
The misadventures, trials and tribulations of the first two travellers are already well documented and so I see little point in recapping them here. I would suggest reading their respective accounts in full before proceeding. Suffice to say, we are all connected by a top-secret government experiment which has taken a terrifying turn for the worse…a botched operation that has placed our world in extreme jeopardy.
The first traveller was at the sharp end of things, being a member of the elite survey teams deployed through trans-dimensional portals and tasked with exploring alternate versions of Earth. It would be fair to say that ‘traveller one’ wasn’t the type you’d expect to find on top secret and highly dangerous missions. I understand his background was in academia and he certainly didn’t have any military experience. Nevertheless, this man went to hell and back and survived these disastrous missions, all of which resulted in multiple casualties.
I first met him in the bloody aftermath of the Earth 537 mission. As you’ll recall, this was the occasion when an alien automated drone followed the team back through the portal and laid waste to our control room, killing twelve personnel and destroying equipment worth millions.
I was a part of the security detail on that fateful day but luckily wasn’t on duty in the control room, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to tell my tale. By the time I arrived at ground zero it was all over, but I was left to deal with bloody carnage and inevitable repercussions, being a member of the team that debriefed traveller one. I’ll admit to being astonished by his account and impressed by his resilience.
I remember how angry I felt when I heard he’d gone rogue and was telling his stories to the world. Back then I was still a ‘company man’ and so regarded the whistle-blower as a traitor. As you’ve probably guessed, my views have changed somewhat since that time.
And then there was traveller two, the second individual to take up the mantle and tell his story. Now, I really felt for this poor guy, as he got thrown into a situation he had no understanding of, and that’s got to be terrifying. Frankly it’s nothing short of a miracle that he survived and found his way home.
Traveller 2’s misadventure was the outcome of a major fuck-up by the eggheads. A test inside the subterranean chamber went sideways – all the safety protocols failed, resulting in a resonance cascade event and creation of rogue portals throughout the facility. Our man was unlucky enough to fall into one, and the rest is history.
For those of you interested, the world which traveller 2 had the misfortune to visit is designated Earth 619, although its better known within the project as ‘Vampire World’. No survey team ever visited 619, and its unlikely they’ll ever send one over there, given what we now know about that hellish place. The failed test was only meant to deploy a robotic probe but traveller 2 provided us with all the intelligence we needed to know.
Again, I was one of his interrogators and I’m ashamed to admit that I threatened the young man, saying he would rot in federal prison if he told anyone what had happened. Thankfully he ignored my warnings and spilled the beans. The 619 disaster was an unprecedented fuck up and heads did roll. Luckily for me, I wasn’t one of those in the firing line and so retained my security role. Even then I was still loyal to my employers, but that would soon change.
I have taken the name ‘traveller’ even though I never passed through a portal. I haven’t travelled to alternate worlds but I have come face-to-face with some of the monsters that inhabit them, and so this is my story…
It all began with blood and carnage on one cold winter’s night. I remember lying in wait behind the treeline, camouflaged and under cover, waiting for our enemy to arrive. It was a classic ambush scenario, set up by seasoned military professionals. It should have been a turkey shoot, but we made the fatal mistake of underestimating our opponents.
The commander for that operation was an ex-special forces man called Anderson, a hardened veteran with a stone-cold stare and commanding voice.
“Remember your place.” he told me in no uncertain terms during our pre-mission briefing,
“You’re a cop, not a soldier, and you haven’t been trained for this. Your role is to observe, nothing more…Stay in your fucking lane!”
And so I did. I was armed with a pistol on that night but didn’t open fire. I trusted Anderson and his men to do their job.
We laid in wait for hours, freezing in the cold night air as we watched the road, waiting for the enemy to enter the kill zone. It was miserable and tedious, and I thought the bad guys wouldn’t show. I still recall the surge of adrenaline I experienced when I saw them – the eight darkened figures moving in tight formation along the road, all heavily armed and marching stealthily towards their objective.
Anderson silently raised a hand, ordering his men to hold their fire. The tension in that moment was palpable, as our whole mission hung on a knife’s edge…and then they saw us, detecting the deadly ambush just too late. One of our targets shouted out a warning to his comrades before opening fire, and suddenly the air was filled with bullets, as all hell broke loose.
Anderson was right about one thing at least. I was no stranger to violence and death, but I’d never been in combat and so was of no use in this situation, merely staying low and covering my ears in a vain attempt to drown out the heavy gunfire. I saw little of the skirmish that followed, but it was obvious that the operation wasn’t going as planned.
The soldiers beside me were all firing, but bullets were striking all around us. I saw men fall, cut down by high-velocity rounds. This wasn’t meant to happen and for a horrifying moment I thought we would be overwhelmed, my life ending violently in the trenches.
I don’t know how long the gun battle went on for. It seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes. But, to my immense relief, the firing dwindled before ceasing altogether, and Anderson called out to his surviving men, ordering them to advance towards the road. I glanced up and saw bodies scattered across the tarmac, our enemies riddled with bullets and their guns now silent.
“Thank God!” I swore, thinking the battle was over and we had won.
I stood up in my foxhole but Anderson shouted a rebuke.
“Stay down, damn you!” he cried, “This is still a combat zone!”
I was frustrated and annoyed but nevertheless obeyed the old soldier’s order without question…and thank God I did, because a moment later there was an almighty explosion – a flash of intense light that lit up the night and an intense wave of heat which threw me off my feet. I lay on my back, still in a state of shock and with a sharp ringing in my ears.
I don’t know how long it was before I managed to get up on my feet and survey the horrific scene before me – a huge crater in the road strewn with body parts. It was utter carnage and made me sick to my stomach. The back-up team arrived a few minutes later, and the powers-that-be tried to make some sense of the gore and bloodshed.
It was some time before we learnt the truth of what happened. Apparently one of the enemy soldiers had only been wounded by the initial exchange and had detonated some kind of suicide bomb to wipe out our people. Anderson had walked right into the trap and what should have been a turkey shoot turned into a massacre.
Once the investigators matched the body parts to the victims they confirmed nineteen dead – all twelve members of our mercenary team and seven enemy troops…Seven enemies, meaning one had escaped the net. A killer was at large and had a head start. I knew we needed to find the bastard, and fast, or the body count would continue to rise. And that’s how it started.
So, you’re probably wondering who these enemy soldiers were and why we were so determined to kill them. Well, these eight were not of this world. They all hailed from an alternate dimension – one that you readers will already be quite familiar with. They came from Earth 312, a society where sadists and psychopaths rule supreme. Of course, the original traveller was part of the survey team that crossed over to 312, and what followed was a bloody fiasco, as half the team were slaughtered and the survivors barely escaped with their lives.
The 312 mission was disastrous for another reason. One of our people (the team’s medical attendant) defected and joined the enemy. There’s no doubt that this traitor shared his knowledge of TDP technology with his new friends, because soon they developed a portal of their own. We know little about the society on Earth 312 but have learnt more in the months since this bloody incident.
On their world, North America is split into a collection of warring nations who’ve been locked in bloody conflict for decades, and the worst of these war-like states is Sataniago, a land governed and shaped by killers and torturers of the worst kind. The history of this twisted country largely remains a mystery, but the society that’s emerged is under the thumb of a death cult dictatorship, combining elements of ritual sacrifice, Spartan-style military training, and a sadistic religion loosely based on Satanism.
And, as if these evil fucks weren’t dangerous enough, we unwittingly handed them the secrets of trans-dimensional travel, allowing their military to launch an assault upon our world. The commando squad they sent was heading towards our facility when we ambushed them. They were most likely on a sabotage mission. But what they didn’t know was that we were tracking them, using a secret technology to detect their insertion and plan our ambush.
All the bastards should have died that night, but now a highly trained and extremely dangerous killer was on the loose, and I was assigned the unenviable task of tracking him down. So, where to start? I knew next to nothing about my target as an individual, but the intelligence we had on him was chilling. These commandos were the cream of the crop from a society where children are indoctrinated and conscripted into a brutal military training regime that erases virtually all traces of humanity, producing ruthless killers.
Our target would have undertaken extensive survival training and be experienced in operating deep behind enemy lines. We had no leads or clues and so could only wait until the bodies started to pile up.
I received the first call two days after the botched ambush. It was late at night and I was at home, but awake. I don’t sleep too well these days, not after all I’ve seen. I picked up the phone and heard my partner’s voice on the other end. That was Lisa, a twenty-year veteran detective who’d worked many murder cases in a major US city. I can’t reveal any further details about her, but I trusted Lisa with my life.
I recall how she sounded during that first call, her voice tired and monotone as she tried to hide her emotions.
“We got a hit,” she explained, “Two dead by the roadside.” There was a pause and a deep sigh before she spoke her next words. “The victims are both cops.”
“Shit!” I swore, as the anger rose from the pit of my stomach.
“Where?” I enquired.
She gave me the location and two minutes later I was on my way.
The murder scene was a darkened back road on the outskirts of town. My first guess was a traffic stop gone bad, and this was later confirmed by the dash cam footage. The local cops had cordoned off the area while our investigators moved in to search for evidence. The first victim had been shot through the head at close range, his body lying motionless in the middle of the road and his brains splattered across the tarmac. The second officer was struck by a barrage of bullets that had shattered the windscreen of their patrol car, cutting him to shreds.
“Poor guys never stood a chance.” said Lisa, as we examined the bodies.
She shook her head in disgust and I noted the barely contained rage behind her eyes.
“Yeah.” I agreed, without elaborating.
We both knew the truth. The local police had received the bare minimum of information about our target. They had no idea how dangerous the man was and so were basically sitting ducks.
“What about the shooter’s car?” I asked, “Can we track it?”
Lisa shook her head again. “He abandoned it two miles down the road. Looks like he proceeded on foot from there.”
I nodded in resignation. “So, what now?” I asked fearfully.
“They’re placing a curfew on the town and setting up checkpoints on all the major roads. There’s nowhere for the bastard to go…” She turned to face me, and I noted her look of steely determination as she spoke. “We’re going to get this fucker!”
“Yeah, we’ll get him.” I agreed, although I feared how many more would die before we took this monster down.
We didn’t have to wait long for the next massacre, less than 24 hours in fact. I felt a terrible foreboding as my shaking hand reached out to lift the phone. Lisa’s voice was strained and emotional as she communicated the details.
“He’s struck again. Four victims in a residential building. I’ll send you the address…I’ve got to warn you, it’s a bad one.”
After that she abruptly hung up the call, leaving me to ponder what kind of hell this monster had left in his wake.
I arrived half an hour later to what, on the surface at least, appeared to be a perfectly normal suburban street, complete with neat lawns and white picket fences. It looked like a nice quiet place to live and bring up a family, but tonight it was transformed by the chaos of blue flashing lights and a small army of police officers and paramedics.
I glanced over at the concerned local residents standing on the other side of the cordon, with looks of shock and horror etched across their faces. I hoped the media didn’t get wind of this, but that was someone else’s problem to manage. The outside of the house appeared normal and clearly he hadn’t broken in through the front door, but as I approached I recognised the foul stench of death that I’d encountered too many times before.
As I walked up the garden path, a uniformed cop ran out of the house, pushing past me before vomiting all over the green grass. Not very professional, I thought…but I reckoned he was a rookie and this was his first murder scene. Still, when I entered the house and saw the horrors within, I could hardly blame him.
In the hallway, at the bottom of the staircase, was a human head, severed at the neck and affixed to the banister. The decapitated head had belonged to a middle-aged man. His bloodshot but now lifeless eyes remained open, staring at me in what seemed like an accusatory manner, and his mouth was open as if he was trying to scream his last words.
I stood there for a moment, stunned by the utter savagery of the scene before me. It took a moment to regain my composure and to consider where the rest of this man’s body was. I soon got my answer, as Lisa’s called down from upstairs, telling me to join her. I did so with great reluctance, avoiding the severed head as I carefully made my way up the blood-splattered staircase.
The man’s headless corpse was at the top of the stairs. His body was naked and, to my horror, I saw there were many additional wounds, showing that he’d been brutally tortured before his death. I couldn’t imagine the terror and pain he’d suffered, but it got worse when I entered the master bedroom.
There were two bodies lying face down in pools of blood. Both were wearing pyjamas and looked young, possibly in their early teens. I saw they were a boy and a girl, their innocent blood now soaked into the carpet. I was glad I couldn’t see their faces. I could hardly imagine the horror they’d been through in their final moments.
The final victim was a middle-aged woman, naked and tied to the bed. She’d been stabbed multiple times through her chest and stomach. Lisa was standing beside the bed, staring down at the body, her eyes scanning the scene and taking in the details of the horrific crime.
“Jesus!” I swore, “What the fuck happened?”
Lisa took a deep breath before replying. “He broke in through a back window while the family were asleep, overpowered the parents and restrained them.” she nodded towards a wooden chair facing the bed, which I’d previously missed. “The father was bound and gagged over there, the mother stripped and tied to the bed.” she paused briefly, her lips trembling as she struggled to continue, “He brought the children in next and slit their throats. Made their parents watch. He raped the mother before stabbing her to death and finally turned his knife on the father, torturing him for almost an hour before finally cutting his throat and chopping off his head…”
“My God!” I didn’t know what else to say.
I’d witnessed some horrific atrocities during my years on the force, but the brutality and sadism of this attack was on a different level. It took me a moment to fight through my disgust and outrage and focus on the case.
“How do you know all this? The order of the killings I mean?” I asked.
Lisa didn’t look at me as she took a phone out of her pocket and held it aloft. “Because he filmed it all on this. Looks like he stole the phone off one of the dead cops.”
“Oh fuck!” I swore, not wanting to believe it.
Lisa must have watched the video already – God help her. I shook my head in disbelief as it started to come together in my exhausted brain.
“He knows he’s going to get caught.” I muttered, “Whatever plan they had for escape has gone to hell…He knows he’s a dead man but he’s fucking with us – killing innocent people and leaving a trail of bodies for us to find…He won’t stop until we kill him.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Lisa confirmed, as she turned her head to confront me. “And it’s worse than you think.”
She scrolled through the phone and brought up a photograph, holding up the device so I could see the screen. I gasped in utter shock at what I saw. It was me and Lisa, standing on the street at night. When I looked closer, I realised it was taken at the previous crime scene where the two police officers were killed.
“Jesus! He was there watching us!” I exclaimed.
“Yep.” Lisa confirmed solemnly, “He knows who we are, and I’ll bet my bottom dollar we’re his next targets.”
A cold chill ran up my spine and I experienced a raw terror, realising that the hunters had now become the hunted…And now, it was either him or us.
Once again, our extensive searches were unsuccessful as our target went to ground. We were sure the killer was still in the vicinity, but it seemed unlikely we’d get him before he struck again. I was still on the road, struggling to keep my eyes open as I patrolled the streets. It was after midnight when I got the inevitable call from Lisa.
“I need you out here. I’ll text you the co-ordinates.” she said, in her usual monotone voice.
This call struck me as odd for a couple of reasons. She’d asked me to meet her urgently and so I assumed there’d been another massacre, but Lisa had offered no details on the circumstances or number of victims. My sat-nav showed the location was out of town in an unpopulated area. I was expecting another car-jacking or botched traffic stop but was surprised when I arrived by the side of an abandoned road.
I saw Lisa standing beside her car but there were no ‘blues and whites’, cops or investigators anywhere to be seen. I parked up, keeping my headlights on as I jumped out of my car and went to speak with my partner. I should have realised something was wrong as soon as I saw the look in her eyes. I’d been around criminals for long enough to know when somebody looked guilty.
“What the hell Lisa?” I asked, “What’s happening?”
She shook her head and I noted how she couldn’t meet my eye.
“I’m so sorry old friend. I knew you’d never agree to this, but there’s no other way…I couldn’t sit back and wait for another innocent family to get butchered. We need to finish this tonight.”
My exhausted brain was working overtime as I tried to make sense of what she was saying, and then it clicked.
“Jesus! We’re the bait!” I exclaimed.
She nodded her head solemnly in confirmation. I couldn’t believe how reckless Lisa had been and I felt a cold chill as I realised we were in extreme danger.
“Fuck this!” I swore, as I reached out and grabbed my partner by her arm. “This shit is crazy! We need to get out…”
I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence, because in that moment a bullet whizzed only inches past our heads, shattering Lisa’s front windscreen.
“Get down!” she screamed.
We ducked into cover just in the nick of time as a barrage of rounds struck all around us. I drew my pistol, scanning the darkened treeline, trying in vain to identify the shooter’s position.
The shooting stopped as abruptly as it had begun, and we waited, taking cover behind the shot-up car. The tension was almost unbearable and the attack came like a bolt from the blue.
I heard what sounded like the crack of a twig coming from behind us. Turning quickly, I saw a blur of movement as a figure emerged from the shadows, slashing out with a sharp blade. His target was Lisa, and the bastard’s knife found its mark, slashing my partner’s throat and spilling her blood over the grass.
I tried to react quickly but my instincts weren’t fast enough, as the killer smashed the gun from my hand and struck me hard in the face, breaking my nose and knocking me down. I fought the pain and looked up at my attacker, seeing his face for the first time. It’s strange because – looking back – I can’t remember his features. All I recall is his dark predatory eyes and sadistic smile, as he sheathed his knife and drew his pistol, advancing upon me, preparing to deliver his coup de grace.
I closed my eyes and prepared for death. A shot rang out, but I felt no pain. Opening my eyes, I saw my attacker’s face screw up in pain, as a bullet tore into his back. To my astonishment I saw my dying partner Lisa, blood pouring from her cut throat, her face a deadly shade of pale as she lay dying on the ground. She’d used her last ounce of strength to lift her gun and fire.
The killer swore as he turned away from me, and I realised this was my last chance. I reached out and grabbed my pistol, aiming upwards at his torso and firing. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Three shots, all hitting him in the chest.
I saw him fall but didn’t want to leave it to chance. Pulling myself up, I stood over the target and kept shooting, emptying my entire clip into his limp body. My hand was still shaking after I heard the empty click.
It was only then that I remembered Lisa and ran to her side, taking her hand and calling her name. But it was already too late. Her skin was ice cold and her eyes had closed for the last time. I gently laid her down and then looked up to the night sky, crying out in pain as the grief overcame me.
What followed was a clean-up operation like none other. If my employers are good at one thing, it’s covering up their fuck ups, and this operation was no exception. They never acknowledged the deaths of our people and spate of murders carried out by a serial killer from another dimension. How could they?
The deaths were written up under various causes and the media were kept out of it. The anonymous killer and his comrades from Earth 312 had never officially existed and so their remains were cremated and disposed of without ceremony.
As for me, I was expected to return to duty after a brief hiatus. But I couldn’t go back to doing that job. I could no longer be a government stooge or continue to cover up their deadly mistakes…And so, I’ve joined the growing posse of whistle-blowers taking on the traveller name. Others will follow and together we will stop this evil. Our strength is the truth and we will win this battle, no matter what it takes.
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