Crossed: The Scourge

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The following is a homage to Crossed, a series of graphic novels published by Avatar Press. Click here to visit the official site.


Suggested Audio Sickness

Slayer “God Send Death”

†† Slipknot “Duality”

††† Boy Sets Fire “Release The Dogs”

†††† Amen “Under The Robe”

††††† Korn “Make Me Bad”



Mankind is fucked. It pains me to start this correspondence on such a downer but it’s the truth and very soon the whole world is going to be overrun with the kind of virus that the human race just isn’t equipped to deal with. I hate to be such a prophet of doom but have seen enough over the past few weeks to more than convince me and feel it’s my duty to spread the word as wide and far as possible before it’s too late.


To be completely honest, I fear this may already be the case, but refuse to suck it up as I pride myself on my positive outlook and cannot bear to be defeatist. But the facts speak for themselves and we really are in the most godawful mess right now. As we speak, I’m packing up my shit and preparing to embark on a road trip, although I haven’t the faintest idea where my journeys will take me. All I know is that I cannot stick around here and await the inevitable after the things I have witnessed. Anywhere on earth has to be better than this.


It’s hard to even know where to start as I wouldn’t believe it myself if it weren’t for the fact that I trust my eyes even more than I trust my gut. Over the course of the past month, I have witnessed acts so utterly depraved that they will be with me until my dying day and there’s nothing coincidental about them in my opinion. The world we inhabit is made up of all sorts and, while undoubtedly there are a few rotten eggs amongst us, by and large the human race is reasonably non-toxic. I make it my personal mission to act with kindness wherever possible and barely a day passes when I don’t do at least one thing that benefits another without any form of hidden agenda.


It’s how I sleep at night and, by the same token, how I rise from my bed every morning. This entails smiling at strangers, assisting those less fortunate than myself, and generally showing hospitality to others, regardless of how I may be feeling. Up until recently, this has seen me good but I can barely leave my house now without something horrendous playing out and it only seems to be escalating as the days pass.


I used to enjoy a good zombie movie and took them all with a pinch of salt if I’m honest. For as much as they offer a depressingly bleak outlook of the fast corroding world we live in, I take great comfort from the fact that this eventuality is way beyond viable. However, it’s not all fun and games and the hidden subtext tends to bothers me, the idea that our species can bring the end of days on through our own short-sightedness that unsettles me most.


Should an outbreak occur, then the rulebook as we know it is thrown directly out of the window and people tend to adopt an all for one attitude, focusing only on self-preservation and ignoring the plight of our fellow-man. Throw a city into blackout and it’s only a matter of time before folk start looting, crime rates go through the roof, and our front then becomes utterly divided. The undead may pose minimal threat on their own, but the thing about zombies is that they have a habit of sticking together, while all around them lose their heads.


Thus when a similar contagion gripped my local community seemingly overnight and I discovered that this wasn’t exclusive to my neighborhood, I knew only too well how this was about to play out. There’s a sickness you see and I’m speaking of the kind of manmade plague that mankind designs to whittle down the ever-bloating numbers and clear ourselves some breathing space. I understand that may sound suspiciously like conspiracy theory, the ramblings of a madman, and you are welcome to form your own conclusions whatever they may consist of as there simply isn’t time for reassurance.


I’m banking on the fact that you’ll have already seen me as an ordinary decent human being, and are willing to entertain this notion no matter how crazy it might seem, as a preventative measure if nothing else. Ask yourselves what motivation would lead me to concoct such a crackpot theory and how this would benefit me personally. The very best I could hope for is to be locked up and the key tossed away and that actually sounds like Shangri-La to me given my current ambition.


I’m not insane, the hinges haven’t slackened, and the most terrifying factor of all is that everything I’m about to tell you makes perfect sense in my mind. It didn’t, I was just like you and was forced to process just the same kind of desolate data. But the speed of attainment graduates considerably when you simply have to learn or else be placed in dire straits. I believe they call it a wake-up call and it’s a fistful of smelling salts far too bracing not to endorse such organic reaction.


With previous rules no longer applicable, gaining and retaining wisdom becomes everything, and there’s nothing knee-jerk about that. Those aware of their surroundings buck up pronto, while anyone oblivious falls down with an almighty thump, accepting their fate as though already surrendered to playing no part in it. Therefore I request that you heed what I say, don’t question it, make this no harder on yourselves than it need be. Alternatively you could brand me wacko and we’ll go our separate ways right now. Should this be the case, then Godspeed and I will pray that your suffering be swift.


Still here? But you still need convincing right? Okay then please allow me to elucidate further on the pestilence I mentioned earlier. I must remind you that the following facts cannot be backed up, alas my foresight is just not that vast, and I’m working primarily on presumption here. My theory may not appear viable but the evidence I present is 100% authentic and I’ll leave it to you to form your own conclusions from hereon in.


The pandemic in question has spread like wildfire and appears unfussy with regards to host. Once infected, good honest people rapidly lose their minds, to such a degree that they will do anything whatsoever and more besides to embrace its disorder. Think of the very worst instincts that a human being can possess and then magnify it as this is precisely what happens. Rape, torture, mutilation, cold-blooded murder, cannibalism, all are deemed fair game and, to make matters far worse, this scourge rewards any invention shown.


Once this tainted blood commences circulation, there is nothing the host can do to curb their “enthusiasm” although the effects vary markedly from person to person. Some wear their hearts on their sleeve, become martyrs for its petulant cause, and go about their vile work openly. These parties don’t attempt to ignore their burgeoning desire for sadistic gratification and exist only to quench this insatiable appetite for destruction. However, while they may appear the most significant threat to global security, it’s the growers not showers that we really have to concern ourselves with.


You see, while others may seem compo mentis, and talk a good game on the surface, the more conniving keepers amongst us are looking to outwit their quarry and will stop at nothing to hoodwink us steadily into lowering our guard. These are by far the most dangerous of all strains as they don’t flag up on our radars until which time as they see fit or the urge to devastate becomes just too strong.


The bond of family is pretty much unbreakable right? The wellbeing of our blood relatives is tantamount to all but the most excluded and we would sacrifice ourselves before seeing our loved ones come to harm. Isn’t that traditionally how it works? Then why, when I opened my curtains this morning, did I observe my neighbor’s children (who are aged five and seven to my recollection) and their fellow playmates sawing their poor mother in half, somewhat gleefully I might add?


What could possibly drive a woman in her early thirties to take a sledgehammer to her newborn baby without so much as a flinch of parental restraint? Surely the ties that bind are too tight to unravel through one act of momentary madness. I wouldn’t have believed some of the things I’ve seen myself if I hadn’t done so with my very own eyes and I’ll take these sickening snapshots to my grave. What I’m speaking of here is hell on earth at its most sheer, the complete and utter dissolution of society as we know it, and I’m reasonably assured this will result in death for every last sorry one of us.


With the population rapidly becoming overrun with such savages, you would be forgiven for expecting them to start turning on themselves as there’s clearly no need for camaraderie. However, while mutilating their own kind may satisfy a short-term need, it’s nowhere near as rewarding a pastime as soaking up every last drop of dread from innocent victims. Should they be unsuspecting then it’s an added bonus as, the more acute the trauma, the more monumental the sense of accomplishment.


Meanwhile, any attempts by the media to get a handle on what has been going on have proved fruitless as the sickness has spread so fast that all they can do is speculate. Grasping theory from thin air just so happens to be what these bottom-feeders are best at and any specifics provided have altered wildly from publication to publication. Predictably, precious little is known about how long the infection has taken to go global or where it actually originated. Likewise, they seem clueless as to how quickly it takes control of its vessel although I’ve seen first hand how promptly things can turn ugly and it seems to be a matter of minutes before it reveals itself.


What do we do if we spot something suspect? Well my advice would be to run for your lives and don’t even contemplate looking back as they’re some way beyond dogged in their pursuit and not a slither of mercy will be shown towards anyone culpable of dragging their heels. Once apprehended, it really is all over as I’ve never before witnessed such an efficient breed of killers and neither have I seen such joy gleaned from doing so. Needless to say, it’s an all too one-sided transaction.


Speaking of guilty pleasure, one thing that is certainly not in question is that sexuality plays a key part in proceedings although anyone crossing their fingers for tender loving care are barking up the wrong tree entirely as there is nothing delicate about the manner in which they choose to get their rocks off. Indeed, the only certainty is that submission doesn’t figure into their agenda one iota. Consider a natural predator and how it elects to demoralize its quarry before moving in for the kill and then magnify that by as infinite a number as you can conjure up as their greatest arousal thrives from the amount of shame they can inflict.


Should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself in a ménage à trois scenario, then prepare for things to become terrifyingly tantric as release will not be granted until all parties present have had their way with you. Be advised that there are no shortage of spotters waiting in the wings and they can pick up the scent of a good free-for-all from a country mile away. Where I come from, mass orgy is generally regarded as a good thing, but not when the bedside manner is so appalling and each of their multiple orgasms incorporates such excruciating agony on your part.


Given mankind’s ongoing fascination with the application of rhyme and reason, it is only natural that some will attempt to supply logic where I’m fairly assured that none whatsoever exists. That said, I do believe we have made a rod for our own backs and, while mother nature clearly has no hand in this, it was only a matter of time before we wore out our welcome mat. You see, we habitually abuse our position here as though we have some divine right to call ourselves the dominant species and this kind of pig-headed approach evidently isn’t looked upon at all favorably by the powers that be.


I’d completely understand if you feel that this doesn’t apply to you, not that this will ultimately prove any real consolation. Many of us would swear blind that we live good, meaningful lives and, to a certain degree, I’m sure that we do. However, we also live in a world where the greatest crimes often go unpunished, where the affluent prosper, and power is both misunderstood and squandered. While the lion’s share of us seem to suffer by default, the fattest cats are growing ever more bloated and cannot seem to resist abusing their positions for their own gain.


So you see, something had to give eventually. We couldn’t be expected to coast along much farther without being called to task for our collective ignorance and I’m surprised it has taken this long if I’m honest. A bitter pill to swallow I know but it is critical that we accept the part that we play as not all of the blood on our hands is our own. Our methods may be considerably less extreme than theirs but, as a race, we need little stimulation to fuck each other over, whether stabbing each other in the back or opting for a more candid approach.


Then we have the whole “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mindset and I get that as ignorance is bliss after all. For a few seconds of vague discomfort, the reward is complete emotional disconnect, and this may appear far too tantalizing a proposition to pass up. After all, they seem to revel in their lifestyle choice, maximizing every available opportunity to take things to a whole new level of debauched. Say what you will of their exploits, but they are seldom anything less than fervent when going about their harsh business.


I mentioned at the start of this communication that the writing is on the wall and regret to inform you that my observations look set to be disconcertingly on the money. In the past twenty-four hours alone, I have been subjected to sights so repugnant that any lingering hope of resolution I held onto have now been soundly vanquished. Yet the vision that haunts me most is the sheer nonchalance with which they dismantle their prey. But this is more than simply indifference, it’s pure recreation all the bloody way.


Anyway, you should be safe here for the time being and I encourage you to make yourselves at home if at all possible as ludicrous as that may sound right now. Feel free to construct barricades, grab whatever provisions you think you might need, utilize the on-site panic room, and lock yourselves down indefinitely. Mi casa es tu casa, after all, we’re all in the same boat right? The blood that courses through our ventricles may not be of the same group, but the manner in which it spills is indistinguishable.


One thing I would advise is using your time here shrewdly as the facilities really are second to none and it would be downright scandalous to waste them. If you’re feeling particularly bold, then I’m sure you’ll find the outside pool to be a most agreeable distraction. Furthermore, it cannot harm to prepare yourselves for the inevitable and those few lengths could make all the difference between sinking and swimming once the high tide comes rolling in as it soon will relentlessly.


Another must is to eat well as you’ll be needing every ounce of strength that natural fuel can supply. We cannot be expected to make a decent fist of anything on an empty stomach and the weather just happens to be ideal for front porch cookouts. Needless to say, this is no time for grazing on Caesar salads, and I implore you to get some red meat inside you as it is here that you will find the nutrients you need to withstand the onslaught. For the record, I’m thrilled to report that we have employed an all you can eat policy. Can’t have you going hungry now can we?


Together we may yet make a difference, united we can endure the worst of it, and hopefully begin to make some sense of all this mindless barbarity. Of course, this will entail a huge level of trust, and I appreciate that may seem a stretch given the intelligence that I have just relayed but there really is no other way. The very moment our faith in one another diminishes, we may as well throw in the towel. Besides, after taking a look outside at all available options, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s little left to be lost in trusting one another. May as well just take that punt then right? I mean really, given that we’re all pretty much screwed regardless, what’s the very worst that can happen?


At any rate, I feel it is high time the festivities draw to a close and regrettably you may not care much for what I’m about to say. My sincere apologies for parting on such a negative and I truly loathe playing party pooper here but the bottom line entails reiterating my opening line. Mankind is fucked. Get over it. You’ve proved a most agreeable audience and I’m grateful for your attentiveness, but my desire has become too potent now and I never was particularly proficient in resisting the overwhelming urge to scratch that pesky itch. You tell me, have I acted out of turn? Could it be that I’ve been bad? I do hope this qualifies. 


Click here to read Keeper’s Grue Banquet



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