Fan Fiction

Searchers in the Dark
By Spaceman130

Author's Note: This story is based on the sewer section of mission 8 in Vampire Rain.

Fry, Leela, and Hermes lowered themselves rung by rung down an iron ladder leading to the sewers of New New York. Hermes led the trio's descent, followed closely by Leela in the middle, and Fry right above her.

As Fry climbed down the ladder, he twisted his face in disgust. A wave of nausea rolled over him as the foul stench of the sewage below invaded his nostrils. The deeper he went, the stronger the odor came on. He held his breath and tried to breathe in the stink as little as he could.

Fry didn't want to go into the sewers twice in one night, especially after witnessing the horrors that he did the first time he went in. He couldn't erase the grisly corpses of slain sewer mutants from his mind, nor could he forget the horrific, violent death of Leela's mother.

However, the sewer system contained an exit that led out in front of Edward van Dyke's lair. Fry and his team would need to find this exit if they were to accomplish their ultimate goal of destroying Edward, the prime walker who ruled over New New York.

If they could defeat Edward, then all of New New York would be purged of nightwalkers, and the threat to the city's human population would be over.

As he lowered himself deeper underground, Fry heard a thud emanate from below him. It was the sound of Hermes dropping onto a concrete floor.

Looking down, Fry saw that he was very close to the sewer level. He watched Leela let go of the rungs she was holding on to and drop down next to Hermes. She moved out from underneath Fry so that he could land safely on the floor.

Fry moved down on the ladder until he could feel no more rungs with his feet. He then released his grip on the ladder and landed with a thud on the sewer floor next to Leela and Hermes.

Fry took a brief moment to look around and examine his surroundings. He and his teammates stood on one side of a dimly lit, circular sewer tunnel. A flowing river of murky green sewage separated the two narrow concrete walkways on either side of the tunnel. Glancing to his right, Fry saw a wall of vertical iron bars spread across the tunnel like the bars of a prison cell. Beyond the bars, it was nearly pitch black.

Fry turned back just in time to watch Leela leap gracefully over the sewage and land in a crouching position on the walkway on the other side of the tunnel. It was an impressive jump, given the distance between the two walkways. Leela stood up and drew her assault rifle.

Hermes pulled out his assault rifle as well. "Follow me," he instructed his two teammates. He began to run ahead into the tunnel, with Leela following behind him. They kept their assault rifles pointed ahead of them as they ran.

Fry watched his teammates take off. He started to sprint after them — but he froze suddenly after barely moving a muscle. A cold, icy chill ran down his back as a familiar feeling swept over him.

It was a feeling he had felt numerous times throughout this night.

It was the feeling that he was being watched.

But from where? Who could possibly be watching him?

Fry turned his gaze away from his teammates, who were rounding a corner without him, and turned his body all the way around until he was facing the bars, where he thought he had seen nothing but darkness.

But what he saw there now justified his feelings of concern.

Behind the bars was a short, slender figure walking closer and closer to Fry.

Fry stared at the approaching figure transfixed, unable to look away, unable to move.

As the figure came into the dim light, Fry recognized it right away.

It was the girl.

Fry recognized her clothes: her bowed gray sweater, her colorful, patterned skirt that spread down just past her knees, her brown leggings, and her brown boots with fur trim.

He recognized her young, pale face. He recognized her short, messy strawberry blond hair. But most of all, he recognized her expression: her dark eyes which seemed to stare into his soul, and the eerie smile that she wore perpetually.

Fry had seen her a few times before: on the streets, on a rooftop, and in the hotel where he had acquired the advance team's weapons cache. And each encounter with the strange young girl flooded his mind with more and more questions he couldn't answer.

Who is she? Fry wondered as he stared at the girl. Why is she stalking me? Why does she show up in the strangest places? And why does she seem to disappear in the blink of an eye?

Is she . . . inhuman?

Fry continued to study the girl, trying to determine her intent. She gazed back at him from behind the bars, unmoving, the strange smile frozen on her face.

What does she want? Is she good? Is she evil?

Fry couldn't figure it out. He couldn't muster up the courage to utter a word to the girl. He could only stare back at her with his mouth slightly agape. He felt afraid and mystified at the same time.

I've got to call Leela and Hermes, Fry thought, his heart pounding.

It was as if the girl could read Fry's mind. Before Fry could do anything, the girl turned around and ran back out of his view, vanishing into the darkness.

Fry stood in place and gaped at the bars for a few moments, trying to comprehend what he had just seen. Even though the girl was gone, his heart continued to pound rapidly. His mind repeated questions about the girl over and over.

The sudden ringing of Fry's communicator broke through his thoughts. "Fry, what are you doing?" Hermes snapped impatiently. "Get over here, mon!"

Fry was jolted back to reality. "Sorry. C-coming, Captain," he stuttered into his mike, his mind still reeling from his encounter with the girl.

Fry took one last glance at the pitch blackness behind the iron bars. After seeing that there was nothing there, he turned around and broke into a run down the sewer tunnel, eager to get back to Leela and Hermes.

Fortunately, Leela and Hermes hadn't gone far ahead of Fry. Fry turned a corner and saw his two teammates stationed at the end of a hall, facing left into another hall, their assault rifles aimed straight ahead of them.

Fry jogged toward Hermes, his boots pounding against the concrete floor. As Fry neared him, Hermes turned his head to face Fry and raised a finger over pursed lips in a silent order for Fry to be quiet. Fry obediently slowed his pace to a crawl and carefully made his way over to Hermes.

When he finally reached Hermes, Fry crouched down and peered around the corner to see what his teammates were pointing their weapons at.

The hall led out into the underground city that the sewer mutants built and inhabited. A sign hung from the ceiling of the sewer tunnel. It read:

Knee-Deep in Pride

At the other end of the hall was a row of ramshackle houses. In front of one of the houses, two of the sewer's residents, Dwayne and Raoul, were engaged in a conversation. Dwayne was a very tall, lanky mutant with two noses and a huge, bulging forehead. Raoul had a third arm in place of his right ear and a number of strange growths.

As Fry spied on the two mutants, he remembered he had seen Dwayne earlier in the sewer — as a bloody corpse. Now that Dwayne was seemingly alive and well, it was obvious to Fry that he had come back to life as a nightwalker.

Hermes spoke up in a whisper. "Listen up," he instructed. "Since we're underground, I don't think it'll be a problem if we make some noise."

Fry and Leela nodded in understanding.

Hermes pulled a firearm from his belt and handed it to Fry. "Fry, use this."

Fry took the weapon from Hermes's hands and examined it. It was a pump-action shotgun with a single barrel. Fry was familiar with the weapon; he had used it to survive in the hotel on his previous mission.

"See those two nightwalkers?" Hermes asked. "Fry, you'll open fire on them first. Turanga and I will back you up if you get in trouble. Got it?"

Fry nodded his head. "Yeah."

Fry, Leela, and Hermes continued to watch Dwayne and Raoul converse for a few moments. Eventually, Raoul waved good-bye to Dwayne with his third arm, then turned around and left. Dwayne watched Raoul disappear around a corner.

"Now's your chance. Go!" Hermes whispered to Fry urgently.

Fry climbed to his feet. Lifting the shotgun, he aimed it straight ahead at Dwayne and made his way quietly over to him, taking care not to alert him with noise. He knew he had to get close to Dwayne due to the shotgun's short range.

As Fry approached the mutant, he felt a pang of guilt as he realized what he was about to do. He felt awful about going to kill Dwayne. He knew that despite their hideous appearances, most of the mutants were harmless, decent beings that didn't deserve the fate he was about to deliver to them.

But Fry also knew that many of the mutants had been transformed into fanged killing machines as a result of being attacked by nightwalkers, and they had to be destroyed in order to keep the population safe.

Fry was now several feet away from Dwayne. Dwayne stood his ground and stared straight ahead at the corner that Raoul had gone around, unaware that there was a shotgun pointed at his left side.

Sorry, Dwayne, Fry thought with sympathy as he held the heavy weapon up. But it's time for you to go.

Standing a few feet away from Dwayne, Fry lined the mutant up in the shotgun's sights and squeezed the trigger.

The shotgun discharged with a loud bang that echoed off the sewer walls. It also recoiled so hard in Fry's hands that he almost dropped it.

Dwayne uttered a final cry of pain as the pellets struck him in his side. He collapsed onto the wooden boardwalk and melted into a steaming puddle of acid.

Fry was about to turn to the right and proceed further into the sewer when he heard noise coming from around the corner ahead of him.

Fry froze and listened hard. They sounded like rapid, angry footsteps — and they were headed right for him.

Fry gulped. He felt his heart begin to pound.

Fry looked over at the corner — and saw Raoul emerge from around it in nightwalker form.

He heard me, Fry realized. He heard me fire the shotgun.

Raoul caught sight of Fry and froze for a moment. He stared at him hungrily through monstrous green eyes. A gob of saliva dripped from one of his fangs and spattered onto the wooden walkway.

Seeing what he was about to face off against, Fry uttered a short, fearful whimper.

Raoul outstretched all three of his arms, dropped down into the waist-deep sewage, and began to charge Fry.

Fry aimed his shotgun down at Raoul and pulled the trigger.

The gun didn't fire.

I forgot to cock it! Fry realized.

As Fry pulled back the pump to load another round into the chamber, Leela and Hermes unloaded their assault rifles on Raoul, rapidly shooting bullet after bullet into his body. The shots hardly seemed to affect Raoul, as he ran straight through the sewage without flinching despite being hit by about a dozen rounds.

Fry stepped back as Raoul neared him.

Raoul leaped from the sewage onto the concrete walkway Fry and Hermes stood on.

"Eat lead!" Hermes shouted at Raoul, firing more rounds at him.

As Raoul quickly stormed toward Fry, he realized he had a chance to finish him off.

Standing next to Hermes, Fry pointed his now loaded shotgun at Raoul and pulled the trigger.

The blast finished off Raoul. Uttering an inhuman scream of pain, Raoul dropped limply onto his back and stopped moving. He then melted into a puddle of acid like Dwayne had.

Staring down at the acid puddle forming at his feet, Fry let out a "Phew!" of relief and pretended to wipe sweat off his forehead.

"Good job, team," Hermes congratulated the three of them. "Let's keep moving."

Fry worked the shotgun's pump and loaded another round into the chamber. Leela and Hermes reloaded their assault rifles with full magazines.

Looking around, Fry realized that the only way to proceed through the sewer would be to lower himself into the sewage and wade through it, as the other ledges were set too far apart for him to jump.

Fry hesitated before he lowered himself into the thick, brownish-green river. He groaned in disgust as the putrid sludge soaked his boots and fatigues. Hermes dropped in and followed after him. They waded through the waist-deep sewage for a few feet, holding their weapons high over their heads. They set their guns down on one of the many wooden walkways that served as sidewalks in Sewer City and pulled themselves up onto it, out of the sewage.

After climbing to their feet, Fry and Hermes picked up their weapons and followed Leela as she led the way through the sewer.

Leela crossed a board that had been set up between two of the ledges as a makeshift bridge so she could join Fry and Hermes on one side.

Passing rows of ramshackle houses on either side of them, the trio of soldiers turned left through the tunnel. Directly ahead of them was a wall of iron bars and a path that led right.

After taking the right turn, the soldiers found themselves on a block with three dry cleaners, all right next to each other on one side.

As Fry and Hermes walked across the boards, Leela suddenly held a hand up to halt them. "Stop. Someone's coming," she whispered.

Fry froze in his tracks. Listening hard, he could hear that Leela was right; over the trickling of the sludge flowing through the sewer, footsteps were audible. They sounded like wet slaps, as if whoever was making the noises was barefoot. The sounds came from around the corner, on the ledge across from them.

A second or so later, the footsteps stopped.

Leela crept as slowly as she could toward the corner, trying her hardest not to make a sound. The boards squeaked beneath her boots as she moved; they noise audible to the three soldiers, but not loud enough to be heard by the stranger.

Leela peeked around the corner as slightly as possible so that she could see the stranger, but the stranger couldn't see her. She then looked back at Fry and Hermes.

"It's a nightwalker," she whispered.

"Understood," Hermes whispered back. He then turned back to face Fry. "Think you can take it out, Fry?"

Fry's heart nearly skipped a beat. "M-me?" he stammered. "Uh..."

For a few seconds, Fry stared into Leela's and Hermes's impatient faces. It began to dawn on him that they were getting sick of his constant fear of facing the enemy.

"...yeah, I'll do it," Fry finally mustered up the courage to say. He tried to say it confidently, but he ended up sounding completely unsure of himself.

Fry held the shotgun up and aimed it ahead of him. He moved slowly and quietly past Hermes, then Leela. His heart began to pound as he neared the corner. He was always fearful when facing nightwalkers because he had seen first-hand that one false move around them meant a quick and violent death.

At the corner now, Fry put his back against the wall and tried to slow his racing heart by going over his goal in his mind. All he had to do was pop out from behind the corner, aim his gun at his enemy, and pull the trigger.

But could he do it without getting killed in the process?

Fry wasn't sure. But he knew he had no choice.

Fry inhaled a breath of foul sewer air and exhaled it, preparing himself. Then he sprang from cover and came face to face with his newest enemy.

It was a tough-looking male mutant Fry had seen before, but didn't know by name.

He had a chunky build and wore a lime-green vest with the sleeves torn off, exposing thick arms with growths on the upper arms. He also wore brown pants torn at the knees and no shoes. His head was bald.

He glared at Fry with a frightening expression, his two eyes narrowed menacingly at him and his mouth hanging open to reveal fangs. A strange fluid ran from his open mouth and dripped onto his chest. As Fry stared into the mutant's eyes, he could see that he had two pupils in each eye.

Fry's eyes went wide and his mouth dropped open. He was petrified just viewing the mutant's normal form.

Upon seeing Fry, the mutant transformed almost instantly into nightwalker form. The whites of his eyes turned green, his skin went deathly pale, and razor-sharp claws sprang from his fingertips.

The mutant glared at Fry for only a moment more before raising his claws and charging at him.

His heart pumping frantically, Fry pointed the shotgun at the mutant as he stormed toward him.

"Eat this!" Fry cried, and pulled the trigger.

The blast hit the mutant in the chest. Uttering a scream of pain, he dropped lifelessly onto his back, then melted into acid.

Fry cocked his shotgun, then followed behind Leela and Hermes as they continued their trek through the sewer system.

Turning the corner, the trio found themselves in a long hallway with various shops lining either side of it. To Fry's relief, there were no mutants in sight, despite this being one of Sewer City's busier areas.

Fry, Leela, and Hermes all traveled on the right side of the hall, with Leela leading the way. As they reached a shabby-looking Starbucks at the end of the hall, Leela raised a hand, motioning for the crew to stop. Fry and Hermes followed her direction.

Leela peered around the corner, then looked back at her teammates. She then motioned her hand forward to indicate that the coast was clear and that they could proceed.

Turning past the Starbucks, the three soldiers found themselves at an intersection where they could go either left or right.

Hermes stopped and looked at his radar. "The sewer exit should be to the left," he reported.

Fry and his teammates turned left and soon found themselves facing a wall of iron bars. On the left side of the wall was a locked door.

Fry saw to his disappointment that a ladder leading up to the surface of New New York was nearby in a hallway just past the bars.

Fry found himself wishing Bender was with them. He could bend the bars apart and create an opening they could get through.

Hermes shook his head. "We won't be able to make it through here," he said. "We'll have to go around."

Hermes reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of shotgun shells. He held them out to Fry. "Take them," he told Fry. "I have a feeling you'll need them."

Fry took the shells from Hermes's palm and loaded them into his shotgun, praying in his mind that he wouldn't have to use them.

The team turned around and started heading back the other way. Hermes dropped into the sewage again and climbed onto the block across from Fry and Leela. He then began to make his way toward the end of the hall. Fry and Leela stayed on their side and followed after Hermes.

Hermes had just passed Martin Luther Thing, Jr. High School when he raised a hand to halt his teammates. "Be quiet," he whispered. "Do you hear that?"

Fry listened hard — and felt a chill run down his spine when he heard the eerie dry breathing coming from around the corner. He knew that sound from anywhere.

Leela nodded at Hermes. "Sounds like more nightwalkers."

"Everybody hold your positions," Hermes instructed in a whisper. "Aim your weapons at that corner."

Hermes pointed his assault rifle ahead of him. Fry and Leela followed suit with their firearms.

"Fire whenever it comes out," Hermes whispered.

For the umpteenth time that night, Fry's heart began to pound out of fear. Even though he and his teammates were armed and ready for whatever unpleasantness that was headed their way, he couldn't help but feel worried. Fry knew they had to be careful when engaging these creatures in battle, because one missed shot could be the difference between life and death.

Fry breathed in and out as quietly could as he waited for the enemy to show itself. As he listened, it almost seemed like the breathing was coming from two places at once.

That means there's two around that corner.

Fry gripped his shotgun tightly, his finger trembling as it touched the trigger. His dread intensified as the breathing grew louder, closer.

They're coming to get us. We're all dead.

A sudden loud, metallic crash made Fry nearly jump out of his skin.

What was that?!

Fry, Leela and Hermes all whirled around to see what had made the noise — and saw two mutants turned nightwalkers staring at them hungrily from the other end of the hall.

Fry recognized them right away. They were Moose and his girlfriend, Mandy. Moose's mutations included a pair of moose antlers on his head and a pig's nose, while Mandy had scaly skin and two eyes that extended from long stems, like snail eyes.

Moose and Mandy bared their fangs and raised their claws, ready to rip the crew to shreds.

"Come on!" Hermes yelled to his teammates. "Open fire!"

Fry's heart raced as he watched Moose and Mandy charge toward him. With their superhuman agility, it was like watching two bulls on steroids.

Leela opened fire on Mandy as she stormed over the walkway across from the one where she and Fry were standing. Hermes sprayed bullets at Moose as he ran through the sewage, the thick sludge hardly slowing him down.

As Fry stared at the two mutants rushing toward him and his teammates, he couldn't help but feel disbelief at how resilient they were. Moose and Mandy were taking bullet after bullet and still running as though they were completely unaffected by the numerous shots that had struck them.

Mandy leaped onto the walkway in front of Fry, only a few feet away from where he was standing. She was close enough to him that he could smell her sweet, cloying body odor. It was a smell that all nightwalkers carried.

Mandy's dry breathing hissed in Fry's ears. He could see her fangs clearly now, long and sharp.

Terrified, Fry pointed the shotgun at Mandy and squeezed the trigger.

Mandy cried out in pain as the blast struck her in the chest. She then collapsed onto her back and melted into acid on the wooden walkway.

Fry cocked the shotgun, then aimed it down at the sewage, expecting to catch Moose in the sights.

To his surprise, he was nowhere to be seen.

Fry was only able to wonder where Moose was for a split second when he heard Hermes shout "Fry, behind you!"

Fry spun around and saw Moose charging Leela. He realized that he had been so focused on battling Mandy, he didn't see Moose jump out of the sewage and land behind him.

"Come and get it!" Leela cried as she filled Moose's body with even more bullets.

As Fry watched Moose barrel toward Leela, he saw that she was going to be killed if he didn't act fast.

Fry aimed the shotgun at Moose and blasted him in the back right as he was about to rip Leela open.

Moose cried out in agony and crumpled to his knees. Leela moved back just as he fell facedown at her feet. Moose then melted into a puddle of acid, as Mandy had.

Relieved that he had survived another encounter with nightwalkers, Fry cocked the shotgun and began to head back to the door.

Fry was only able to take two steps before a guttural voice behind him growled, "Who's there?"

Feeling a pang of terror, Fry spun around and saw another mutant in nightwalker form standing at the corner he and his teammates were aiming at before they were distracted by Moose and Mandy. It was a skinny male mutant with red hair that stood up in tall spikes. He had three eyes as well as two mouths dripping with a strange fluid, which explained why the breathing seemed to be coming from two places at once. He also had two forearms on each arm and wore a ripped green vest with short sleeves and brown pants tied to his waist with a thin rope.

Fry was so startled by the mutant's sudden appearance that he fired the shotgun at him without aiming precisely.

The blast hit the mutant and caused him to flinch in pain for a moment, but it didn't kill him.

The mutant dropped into the sewage and charged toward Fry. Terrified, Fry turned tail and ran away as the mutant neared him.

Fortunately, Fry's shot had done enough damage to the mutant that Leela and Hermes only had to shoot him a few times before he keeled over and sank into the sewage.

Hearing the nightwalker's death cry, Fry felt his terror become replaced with relief.

"Good job, everyone," Hermes remarked. "Let's go back to the door. We can get through it now."

With that, Fry and his teammates headed back to the wall of bars where they had seen the locked door. As Fry neared it, he saw that the door had been knocked down by Moose when he entered, which explained the loud crash he had heard earlier.

Thanks to that, Fry and his teammates could now make it to the sewer exit after all.

Fry, Leela, and Hermes all went through the open doorway and crossed a wooden board that had been set up as a makeshift bridge between the two ledges on either side of the tunnel. Leela was the first to make it to the ladder. She jumped up and grabbed the lowest rung with both hands, and started to climb it. Hermes and Fry followed after her.

As he climbed, Fry felt thankful to be getting out of the sewer and not having to put up with any more of the stenches, the sewage, or the residents trying to kill him and suck his blood.

But he also felt terribly worried, because he knew that when he got back to the surface, there'd be more nightwalkers he'd have to deal with before he could get into Edward's lair and terminate him. The only way to end the nightwalker threat once and for all was by defeating Edward, the prime walker.

As he reached the surface, Fry heard Leela push the manhole cover aside at the top. Rain poured into the open hole and showered onto them. The drops felt cool on Fry's skin.

Leela climbed to her feet on the surface, followed by Hermes.

Fry was the last of the three to climb out onto the road outside of Edward's lair. As he smelled the sweet, fresh surface air, he wondered how many more horrors he'd have to face before his mission was over.

End Note: There's more that happens in this mission, but I just wanted to cover the sewer part in this fanfic, which is why it ends the way it does.