The elevator door opens on a spring dawn saturated with fog. Draped over the barrier wall, it divides between the running legs of civilian workers adhering to evacuation routes, including the two gardeners who stagger inside our lift, just as we exit, and drop to their knees to fill their lungs. Entering the motionless air I see squads of Blood Keepers bleeding from the elevator bay. Black uniforms disappear into the mist and the tracks of bodies, moving toward and away from the only outer access point, draw lines like those on the surface of an active anthill.
This is the Compound—the last surviving human settlement in Monstrum.
Keeper Vaughn, our instructor and commander, waits for us at the center of the bay. Tufts of his graying hair are glued to his forehead with sweat, and now I know it’s not a drill.