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Hurricane-force winds whipped through the trees, causing branches to break off and hurl towards the heart of Whyshburg. Thunder boomed, echoing throughout the mansion and the graveyard. Lightning flashed and cracked in the unnatural maelstrom, illuminating the monsters that emerged from the portal for a brief moment before the darkness hid them once again.

All of the chaos did nothing to hide The Collector’s manic laughter.

The Collector savored the horrified screams of the damned. The Rabid tore through the doors and through people’s flesh, leaving unrecognizable carcasses behind. The Berserkers lumbered throughout Whyshburg, cracking open the heads of its remaining citizens and crushing their bones to dust. The fear was in the air, thick as the fog that covered the town.

He loved every moment of it. He reveled in it. This terror, this horror, is what he thrived in. The Earth would belong to the Netherspawn, and the sun would never shine again. This time, they wouldn’t be stopped. The storm would consume the world, allowing their kind to rule.

Now he could throw off his shackles and join the rest of them in the carnage.

Usually, the Collector had to hide in the shadows and avoid the townspeople. He knew that was his role to play, and played it with great reluctance, knowing the best was yet to come. Now, he could march through what was rightfully his and take it by force. Gone was the polite shell of himself, and gone was the gentlemanly demeanor.

The Collector’s white eyes gleamed with bloodlust as he stormed the town with some of the Rabid. Mortals screamed at the sight of him, and they tried to run -- but they weren’t fast enough to escape the minions of Phobia. None of them were.

“Rip! Tear!” he roared. “Make them suffer for their insolence!”

The closest Rabid let out an unholy screech as she charged towards a farmer. He rushed into the costume shop, desperate for shelter, but he barely made it through the door. The telltale sounds of ripping flesh were drowned out by the thunder, but oh, the crimson! The blood that spilled! The Collector shivered as he watched. But, no, watching was not good enough. This was his triumph as well.

He would take what he was owed.

The Collector stepped forward and forced the Rabid to move aside. She hissed, but followed his silent command. He jerked his head to the outside, and she scampered away on all fours, howling over the thunder.

With the distractions gone, he could finally focus on his prize. The look of pure, primal fear in the farmer’s eyes made the Collector cackle gleefully. He raised his shovel, then slammed it into the farmer’s ribcage. The bones broke with the inhuman force of the blow, flying towards all corners of the costume shop. Blood shot upwards, hitting the Collector’s face and exposed ribcage.

When the shovel rose, it fell again, crushing the human’s internal organs and what bones remained. The Collector couldn’t stop himself; the act of killing was so seductive, and the sounds of screams and gurgled cries spurred him on.

He stabbed again.

And again.

And again.

The farmer’s last act was coughing up blood -- and then the life faded from his eyes. The Collector paused for a moment, then lifted his shovel from the corpse. It glistened with blood.

The soul barely made it out of the body before being snatched by the Netherspawn. He immediately grasped it and clutched it tight, causing it to disintegrate in his hand. The Collector observed the remains of the wisps for a moment, then turned his back on the body and lurched forward into the madness.

The Nightmare King before him had gotten just as carried away, it seemed. He looked upon what used to be a body; its head had been smashed in so thoroughly that only soft matter remained. The Collector clicked his teeth in quiet approval.

This was enough to get the Nightmare King to look at the Collector. The Collector tipped his hat in a silent greeting.

“Incredible that you gave them the privilege of seeing your true form!” The Collector shouted over the wind.

She feared us the most, said the King. They all do.

“Then let us indulge the lot of them!”

The King gripped his mace and turned away from the Collector, tattered robes nearly ripping off in the maelstrom. He moved into the fog, and the Collector watched until he could no longer see the Nightmare King.

The sounds of begging, pleading, and eventual horrified cries echoed through the Collector’s ears. It was enough to spur him on. His shovel lagged behind him, and the blood that covered it mixed with the wood and dirt.

If anyone were foolish enough to follow it, he would be more than happy to reward their curiosity. For now, though, the roar of the Berserker called him -- people running from the Netherspawn would be running towards him.

He cackled with delight as stragglers emerged from the fog, and he readied his claws for bloodshed.