Most people go through life on a sort of auto-pilot. Not that they can't make decisions, they just don't—beyond the trivial. They have no problem deciding what shirt to wear this morning, but then simply fall into love affairs, careers . . . parenthood; perhaps even believing they are happy. They lack the Will to do otherwise. They follow instructions, they do what they're told. These are the sort you find are easily turned. They succumb to the Will of other, more powerful, forces, like sheep for the shearing—or cattle to the slaughter—realizing too late that they've never had the option in the first place.
A rare few have the power to exert their Will—their "Anima"—to withstand the influences of forces beyond the capacity of the rest to comprehend, or even perceive. In a population of billions, they perhaps number in the thousands. These few "Animated" individuals are all that stand between the sheep and the long cold night of oblivion.
"It's like shooting fish in a barrel," Xander Hayes quipped. The blond, blue-eyed Canadian took aim at the barnacle encrusted behemoth over the sea wall where he and Sam and taken cover. Whereas Sam's rifle was a up-converted M4 MWS, Hayes sported an Orochi Occultech rifle. ("I like to call it Hard Rain," he'd said.) On semi-auto, he made short work of the incubators that had begun to advance on their position. Sam focused on the big one. The red and gray creature screamed in pain and anger, recoiling briefly before renewing its advance.
Unlike the zombified former residents of Kingsmouth, the beast they fought now was clearly from the depths. It towered at least four meters, with giant lobster claws and a gaping, saw-toothed maw in its torso. And still it advanced, despite Sam emptying a full clip into it. Almost within striking distance, it reared up.
"Time to go," said Hayes, as he dodged to his right, out of the blast wave. Sam wasn't so quick, and the spray of water knocked her on her back. Chunks of seawall went flying. Sputtering, she looked up as the creature raised its claw to impale her. The small hairs on her arms stood on end as a tendril of brilliant white flashed into view, enveloping the creature and causing it to seize up for an instant. Momentarily forgetting Sam, it turned toward the source of its new pain, Xander. As it lumbered toward him, Sam dragged out her own claws and leapt onto the beast's back.
She failed gain purchase and tumbled off. But the Canadian was driving fireballs into the creature's maw. Sam jumped again–more determined this time—and drove her claws into the creature's back, using them to climb higher. The beast screamed in pain and anger, but Sam made it to the shoulders. With one set of claws embedded for leverage, she stabbed into the creature's head. Over and over, she drove in her claws as the beast flailed its pincers, but unable to reach her. Xander kept up his fiery assault as the creature stumbled and fell.
The impact threw Sam clear of the carcass. As she lay there trying to catch her breath, Xander came and stood over her.
"You all right?" he asked, lending a hand to help her up.
"Yeah, I think so." She looked down at her slacks and jacket, formerly so professorial, now drenched in seawater and gore.
"You ever read Harry Potter?"
She looked at the Canadian askance. "Yes, why?"
"Remember what it said about the Killing Curse, Avada Kedrava? You've got to mean it! I don't think you meant it until you got up on that beast's back.
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
Hayes peered at Sam intently. "I'm telling you, when you really mean it, you won't even need bullets in that gun." He then flashed her a grin. "Meanwhile, you'd better reload."