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Short Stories by Strongbow (Zombie Survival Club)

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 4:29pm

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

After much prompting, I've decided to put all of my shorts on one thread.

I apologise if you've already read these. I promise that two more are in the works.

For first time readers, enjoy!

Strongbow :)

 

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 4:31pm

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

Solomons Gamble

"And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, divide the living child in two..."
                                1 Kings iii, 23-24

    Look, this whole thing was not my fault. I see the way you're looking at me. I see the judgement in your eyes. I know what you must be thinking and I don't blame you, but you know how things were when it went down, you know how crazy it was! Ok ok, I know this isn't about you, but look...just let me explain myself, ok? You'll see my side, I promise. You'll see that in the end, I had no choice.
    You remember that day, the day that the world headed toward the proverbial fan. You were at home with the kids, while I was working at the hospital, treating the infection the news was talking about. Infection, yeah right. Let me tell you, it was far worse than anything Hospital Director Higgs allowed us to the news and the complete flipside from what those lying bast*rds at the CDC fed the public.
    I'm so sorry that I had to hide it from you, but I can tell you everything now, now that all of those pretentious, fork-tongued a*sholes are either shambling about looking for a hot meal, or lying somewhere with their brainboxes blown out. Please, just let me tell you what happened...
    There was a meeting the night it started, over a month ago, I believe. The night you left that message that you were pissed with me for turning off my cellphone, remember? Well, I thought I had a good reason for it, at the time. It was near the end of my shift and quite suddenly, I was called to report to Observation Room One. It turned out that three patients were being flown in from Springfield, Missouri, -special patients, all very hush-hush. When they arrived, complete with a two-man military escort, the patients were secured and sent to be viewed by myself and two others: Director Higgs and our infection specialist, Dr. Ti Woo. Think about it! Up until that point, I'd only been allowed to treat and transfer the infected to the quarantine center in Chicago, so I considered it a big deal to be in the Big Boys Club, for once. God, ignorance is so bloody bliss...
   Higgs briefed us, as we waited for their arrival, on the patients general prognosis: solanum viral contraction, advanced stages, blah blah blah. I'd been treating this very thing with increased frequency for the last eight weeks or so and had heard several times about the odd characteristics of advanced solanum infection. What could be so different about these people? I found out as they pulled back the curtain.
    Flanked on either side by a soldier, I saw three gurneys parked in a row in front of us. On the left was a blonde woman named Stacy Meadows, thirty-one, unconscious and terribly anemic, her skin taking on a grey color. She was deep in a coma, her breathing shallow and vitals barely registering, but was hanging in there, for the time being. I noticed a gaping bite, human and all too familiar, which had festered on her left forearm and that both hands were missing several fingers. Higgs announced that the wounds on Mrs. Meadows had come from her husband, gesturing to the gent on the middle gurney, who was thrashing against his restraints and moaning loudly.
    Mr. Henry Meadows was thirty-six. He was also, to be blunt, dead as a doornail. I mean flatlined all the way across the board, and he looked the part. Grey, mottled skin, bluing on the underside of his body, distending torso, sunken facial features, milky white irises, the whole enchilada. A ragged wound, underneath loose and bloody bandages, on the back of his left knee oozed brown fluid, which stunk to high hell.
    Higgs gave Dr. Woo and myself the details from the police report. Dispatch had received several calls from concerned neighbors of what seemed to be a routine, but violent domestic. After hearing Mrs. Meadows screaming bloody murder inside, the responding officers kicked in the door and found Mr. Meadows digging into his wifes arm with apparent gusto. Unfortunately, they arrived too late to keep him from making an appetizer of some of her fingers. They told him to freeze and he immediately turned on them, tearing out one officers throat while the other emptied his service revolver into Mr. Meadows back, screaming for backup, (and a long time after that, I imagine). In the end, it took several officers to restrain him, with several of them bitten or scratched by him in the process. They were bieng "evaluated" at Mercy in Chicago, Higgs said, (the bast*rd even made the whole two-fingered quotation gesture, all the while smiling like a fox in the henhouse.) The report added that before lapsing, Mrs. Meadows had told officers that her husband had been sick for the last few days, since receiving a bite from something in a pond he was dredging at the time.
    I stared at him as he growled and moaned on that gurney and slowly realized that everything, every rumor I had heard and dismissed about this infection over the last two months was true. The man moved, in spite of having absolutely no vitals and several bullet holes in his back. It hit me then, like a shot to the gut. All of those people I had treated that were in the early stages of this very thing I was witnessing, the ones I had sent to "treatment centers". I, they, had no idea what was happening, what was really happening, you know? Just that moment of realization, along with the fact that Mr. Meadows had caked blood from chin to chest and bits of shredded tissue still between his teeth, nearly made me run from the room. Maybe, just maybe I should've...
    The third gurney was the reason I didn't. She was only seven, according to Higgs report, blonde hair like her mother. Her small arms were tied securely to the sides of the gurney, her blue eyes wide and brimming with tears. Her name was Katie, and according to preliminaries, had not been bitten, though she did have blood on her nightgown. When Dr. Woo noted that fact to Higgs, he gave us a smug look and said simply, '...yet.'
    He went on to say that the Meadows family was not an isolated incident, that reports of violent incidents with the infected were increasing at an alarming rate, so much so that the federal government was quickly reaching the point of being unable to play down the truth for much longer. We, the physicians in the trenches, were ordered by good ol' Uncle Sam, to do our best to minimize the inevitable media fallout by collecting as much data from advanced infected as possible. We were to do this as discreetly as possible, while the bigheads in Washington decided how to tell the American People that the infected dead were getting back up and munching on their families like so much barbecue.
    Our offical duties were straightforward. Step one: conduct a full autopsy on Mr. Not-So-Dead Meadows. Step two: wait for Mrs. Meadows to turn and repeat step one. Step three: infect the girl and get ringside seats on the complete evolution of a solanum infection, repeat step two, then step one. Higgs would compile and send the gathered information to the CDC in D.C., who would ingest it with a healthy handful of crackers and sh*t out a vaccine, hopefully before things got really out of hand.
    All the while, I was staring at the girl, Katie, who witnessed the entire, horrific event with her parents while hiding under the kitchen table. There she was, strapped to a table, in a room with her psychotic corpse of a dad, her dying mother and strangers in white labcoats military fatigues, listening to her fate. She was looking at me, her eyes burning into mine. It made my heart absolutely sick. I mean, I was a doctor and have seen and treated grief-stricken or terrified children hundreds of times, but this, this was so much worse...it was inhuman.
    I was trying to wrap my head around what to do, when suddenly, from the gurney across the room, Mrs. Meadows let out a huge sigh and flatlined. Her vitals monitor immediately sounded high electronic alarms as her bowels released in a liquid rush, the smell mingling with her husbands decay, (which was bad enough, believe me). As Dr. Woo reached over to shut off the wailing monitor, the soldier near him groaned, then unceremoniously retched all over the floor, splashing his boots and Woos loafers with partly-digested MRE.
    Private Pukeys addition to the already unique bouquet in the room must have been right up Mr. Meadows alley. He went completely nuts, pulling on his restraints with renewed vigor, moaning loudly and gnashing his teeth with loud clacking sounds. Higgs was just yelling at the green-faced private to grab a mop, when Mr. Meadows, in his apparent excitement, bit off his own tongue with a sickening crunch, sending brownish fluid spraying from the stump in his mouth as he whipped his head from side to side in a frenzy, gurgling and spitting like a mouthwash commercial.
    Dr. Woo cried out that he had gotten some of the droplets in his mouth, spitting vigorously as he smeared the dark drops that had landed on his face with the sleeve of his labcoat. Higgs, his face red as devils by this time, pointed at the other soldier, (who had been staring at the fiasco with his mouth hanging open), and yelled that he was to secure Dr. Woo for infection testing. This seemed to make Woo forget about the crap on his face and with a cry of something in his native tongue, (probably to the effect of 'I'm out of here!'), he ducked for the door. He never made it.
    Private Pukey, who was closest to Woo and the door, grabbed at the good doctors collar, nearly slipping in his own uppage. Woo turned and pushed the soldier, who went boots-up onto the floor with a loud grunt. His weapon discharged a round into the ceiling as he hit, raining white chunks of plaster onto his prostrate, puke-covered self. The other soldier, Corporal Codfish, had obviously regained enough composure to raise his rifle and paint the wall with Woos innards. As Woo slipped to the ground in a dead heap and I quickly wheeled the gurney Katie was strapped to into a corner, Mr. Meadows succeeded in pulling a hand free from his restraint, (minus most of his skin), with a wet tearing sound. He swiped at Higgs who, with a disgusted grunt, instinctively kicked outward, knocking the gurney and the howling Mr. Meadows into Corporal Codfish. They both tumbled to the floor with a loud crash, the soldiers still-smoking weapon clattering across the room.
    I remember Codfish screaming as Mr. Meadows dragged his jagged nails across the soldiers face, leaving deep ruts which bled vigorously down his chin and into his lap. Pukey had gained his footing by that time, rushed over and fired several rounds into Meadows, who had torn through the other soldiers fatigues and was chewing on his thigh. One of the rounds went straight into the back of Mr. Meadows head, split it like a rotten melon, (which, judging from the smell, probably was), and continued on into the Corporals leg, severing his femoral artery in a bloody jet. He clutched his ruined leg and begin a succession of impressively high screams that actually rivaled Mrs. Meadows vitals montior, which was still telling everyone the bad news about her condition in a continuous beep.
    Meanwhile, Higgs had retrieved the Corporals weapon and was pointing it at the room in general, with a crazy look in his eyes. He walked over and hit Mrs. Meadows monitor with the butt of the rifle, which fell over and was finally still. He then pointed at Pukey and ordered him to collect his now unconscious Corporal and secure him for infection testing. Turning his back to them, he walked over and steadied the barrel at me. He told me that I would have to surrender myself and the girl to infection quarantine, along with the two soldiers. When I suggested that he join the party as well, he just laughed and told me that someone had to oversee the autopsys, but that he would acknowledge my post-humus contribution in his report to the CDC.
    I was about to respond, when there was a moan from the dead womans gurney. ****, that was fast, I thought. Higgs apparently thought the same thing and turned his head toward the new-and-improved Mrs. Meadows. Seeing my chance, I belted out a battle cry and shoved Katies gurney hard into Higgs, which sent him tumbling into the pileup of Mr. Meadows and the now bled out and very dead Corporal, the rifle flying from his hands as he fell. I jumped to my feet and grabbed it from the floor, as Higgs, his labcoat covered in blood, struggled to untangle himself from the two corpses, yelling for Pukey to stop me. The private, though, was long gone, his bloody bootprints made a red trail through the now open door and into the hall.
    I laid the rifle next to Katie on the gurney and covered her with a bedsheet. I wheeled her through the door just as the police arrived in the hall, guns drawn. I hurriedly told them that Higgs was infected and that the room must be locked immediately until the CDC arrived and that I was taking the girl to ICU. Whether it was the fact that the room looked like something out of an axe-murder flick, complete with struggling dead woman, or that I was the only doctor in the room not covered in blood, they nodded and slammed the door shut. I smiled as I walked away, Higgs pounding on the door behind me. He and Mrs. Meadows were perfect for each other, I thought.
    I wheeled Katie down the main corridor and into a maintenance stairwell. There, I unbuckled her restraints, wrapped the rifle in the sheet, and carried both down the stairs and into the parking garage.
    As I loaded her into my car, I realized that she had not made one sound the entire time. I sat in the drivers seat and looked at her through the rearview mirror. She looked back at me and actually smiled. It was then that I noticed something about her, something I'd seen many times before. It was different with her, though. As my second eureka moment of the night hit me like a ton of bricks, I sat in my car and thought hard for what seemed like forever of what I should do. Finally, I made up my mind and turned the ignition.
    I grabbed some cash from a nearby atm and some supplies from Walmart. Satisfied that I was ready for the long haul, I made tracks out of Kansas City and headed west, stopping only for gas and a bit of sleep. When I finally arrived at that old hunting lodge timeshare in Colorado, (the one you hated, by the way), we holed up and laid low. I watched the news and Katie, scared that at any moment, SWAT would bust down the door and drag me off, like we used to see on COPS, but no one ever came. I wanted to call you badly, nearly every day, but I was afraid my phone would be traced if it were on, and I couldn't let them have Katie, no matter what. It was only when I saw the infection reach outbreak levels, that I summoned the conviction to try and get you out. I packed up and left Katie at the lodge, with plenty of food and instructions on how to stay safe. She's pretty smart, by the way, though she still to my knowledge hasn't spoken one word. I headed back to Kansas City, my head full of visions of rescuing you, guns blazing if neccessary. I swear it's true.
    God, I had never imagined how bad things had become. The dead and undead in the streets, the fires, the anarchy. Getting shot at, people dying in the streets, wild kids with bats, -it was almost surreal. The highways were choked with cars, so I used mostly backroads, dodging abandoned vehicles and rotting bodies as best I could. The undead, (I can call them that now), were everywhere, in the streets and buildings, their ravaged bodies bloated with the meat of the poor saps too slow or unable to escape, their moans a constant undertone, the white noise of the city of the dead. I can't even tell you how much ammo I used up before I realized that a headshot could turn them from meat-eater to meat again really quick.
    In spite of all of that, when I arrived home again, I honestly still thought that you were all alive, that you had hidden somewhere and waited it out, like me and Katie did. I can't even begin to discribe the pain I felt whe I found Tracy in her room, her little throat torn out and...and still trying to get out of the closet you must have locked her in. I hope you sent the undead ******* who did that to her straight back to hell. Oh, and I took care to put her to rest quietly, my love. Patrick...I found him where you left him in our room. I don't blame you for what you did...I saw the bite on his arm. The way you laid him out on the bed like he was sleeping, turning his head so the bullethole couldn't be seen...he looked so peaceful.
    Now you, my wife, my dear Elizabeth. I can't tell you how sorry I am that I left you to end up like this. I would've come back, should've perhaps, but I had to protect Katie. You see, what I saw in the car that night changed everything. When I looked at her, I saw the signs of advanced infection that I had treated so many times before... but she was stable, the monitor showed it. I watched her over the weeks to be certain I was correct and she continues to be completely stable. Do you realize the implication? She may actually hold the key, that vaccine turd the CDC was looking for. Higgs would probably have simply killed her, sent her to the CDC to die along with me, with countless others. She could've been overlooked. I will make sure that she isn't.
    I had to choose, though, once I realized what Katie might be, you see? I had to choose between saving the family I loved more than anything and possibly saving the human race. I sat in that car and agonized over the choice. I felt like Solomon, that king in the bible that had to choose to cut a baby in half, rather than give it to the wrong mother. I understand how he must have felt now, the guilt and doubt he must have felt as he decreed the gruesome death of that child. The only difference is that his gamble paid off, the lucky bast*rd. I look at you, what you've become and I'm not certain that I made the right choice.
    Look, I'm taking her to Chicago, try and develop some sort of a cure at the center there, (If it's still there, that is). If not, then I promise to take care of Katie, carry you and our childrens memories through her, to survive until I find an end to this, one way or another. I love you, now and forever, my dear Beth. the bullet won't hurt a bit, I swear, and you can finally sleep.
Goodnight, my love, and wish me Solomons luck...

 

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 4:33pm

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

Pale

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."
                                      Revelation 6:8

    Soft tapping on the window beside me. My eyes snap open, a sharp intake of breath as panic instantly grips me, wrapping around my chest like a cold vice. My heart hammers loudly, I lay frozen. Quickly waking from the recesses of my troubled sleep, my mind assesses the danger, seeking the source of my fear.
    Rain...soft rain tilted just so, pattering on the pane like eager fingers. The vice slowly melts, the hammering in my chest slows, allowing me to breathe once again, --to recognise my surroundings as familiar.
    My hand steals slowly off of the mattress pad that I'm lying on, wheelframe long ago discarded for silence, and rests on the familiar grip of my pistol. Wrapping my fingers around it, I pull it to me and hold it to my chest, its coolness comforting me. My eyes adjust to the darkness, identifying the props of the ceiling fan above me. I think for a moment on how long it's remained motionless, stilled since the power died...since everything died.
    With a soft sigh, I pull myself upright, my pistol still cradled against me, then falling into my lap as I slowly run my hands over my face. I feel the bags under my eyes, the wrinkles in the corners of my mouth and forehead. It feels old, my skin rough and caked with a fine layer of dinge and old sweat. So much for my youthful twenties, I think to myself with a tight-lipped smile. Water is such a precious commodity these days, the buckets on the roof providing barely any relief from thirst, let alone bodily odors. Not that there's really any need to bathe.
    I stand now, gripping my pistol, quietly moving in the gloom, across the bedroom and into the adjoining bathroom. Laying the pistol carefully in the sink, I slide a plastic bucket under me, squatting with one hand propped on the bathtub ledge, relieving myself with practiced indignity. Finished, I hitch my jeans up and slide the bucket back behind the toilet.
    Sitting on the bathtub ledge, I slide a hand down the inside of the tub, feeling for the water height. Just under half full. Enough for a few more weeks, with caution. Cupping my hand, I bring the water to my mouth, sipping, then run my hand over my face, releshing the cool moisture.
    I look around me, at the darkness of the house. I wonder what time it might be, the clocks having stopped weeks ago. I shake my head at such thoughts. Time doesn't matter anymore. Light equals day, darkness equals night and both don't belong to me anymore. All I own now is my life, --survival my unwanted hobby, my forced occupation.
    God, how did it come to this? I've forced my mind over that question over and over, the broken record of my brain turning the possibilities inside and out.
    I think back to the days before the darkness, before they came. No one paid attention to the rumors, --isolated reports springing up in the tabloids, then later on the footnotes of internet news. A virus, some sort of flu named 'Goliath' of all things, that made its victims mad with fever, blood boiling in their heads, --a fist-sized lump finally building on the brain, cracking their skulls like eggshells. Another new flu, born halfway around the world? We dismissed it with a collective shrug and a jab of the remote.
   American media...so very efficient at downplaying and minimizing international reports of people collapsing in the streets of Bangkok, convulsing in offices and homes in Baghdad, projectile vomiting blood and mucus in the churches, police stations and hospitals of Johannesburg. The CDC calmly oreassuring the public that the grainy, bootleg videos streaming out of Berlin, London and Tokyo showing shaky images of people clawing open their shirts, scratching deep red ruts in their chests as thick blood and dark globs spewed out of their mouths, noses and eyes were utter fabrications. YouTube videos going viral, then disappearing from the net. Blogs springing up casting theories and conspiracies, only to be shut down, labeled "Terroristic in nature". Vaccines needled into crying children in front of lines of anxious parents...and yet, we dismissed every dam*ned word of it. Why? The why is simple...arrogance.
    We buried it because of what was said about Goliaths inevitable conclusion, the evolutionary peak of its infection on its victims. Not the reports of a horrific death, mind you, oh no. That part, in fact, was actually sensationalized, snatched and chewed up by media dogs and network on-the-scene reporters and regurgitated back to the American public in the form of sterilized "Comprehensive Reports." Photos of bloodstained gurneys, trucks piled high with trussed-up corpses, --("...What you are about to see you may find disturbing..."), the oily black smoke billowing from human bonfires. It wasn't until they attempted to capture video of the rest of the stories that the real censoring began. Journalists cut off in mid-sentence as the cameras swung toward shrieking bystanders, the gunshots of police and soldiers, the twitching within the piles of the dead. We were assured that increasingly frequent reports of American Goliath flu victims staggering to their unsteady feet, slack-jawed and shuddering, were fabrications of internet-addicted fearmongers and terrorists. I remember watching the Secretary of Defense chuckle and shake his head during a press conference at the very notion that corpses were rising up and turning on the living, biting and consuming their flesh. We, in our armchairs, the AC blowing in our faces and lights on in every room, ate our microwave popcorn and sighed in relief. Everything would be alright, we were assured. The military and local law enforcement were handling the situation. We were in control, they said, and we swallowed that pill without even asking for a glass of water.
    I get up from the bathtubs edge, the numbness in my bum slowly receeding as i reclaim my pistol and softly make my way out of the bedroom and through the dark halls of my home.
    Rooms seem enormous in the gloom, devoid of the furniture that now lies piled up in front of the doors and windows. I step into the living room, the grimy carpeting masking my steps as I head to a window, the sprinkle of the rain outside patting small blots on its surface. I tenatively pull back the thin curtains and peer through the boards, nailed securely to the windowframe, into the night. The street is dark, barely visible without moonlight, the carnage of my neighborhood hidden gratefully from my view.
    Just then, I hitch my breath. A form slowly shambles into my view out of the blanket of light rain, just barely within the limits of my vision. At first, I see only a human frame outlined, shoulders slumped as if in defeat. As it moves into better view, I see its head jutting forward, then twitching sharply from left to right, as if bieng pulled, neck bones popping outward from the effort. It moves closer into my vision on stiff legs, the occasional twitch causing it to stagger, then regain balance as it walks. I can now see the clothes, drenched through with rain and dryrot, bleached from the sun. A t-shirt, torn and ragged, completely coated in the front with the caked, dark blood of its first demise. Sweat bottoms ripped and sagging, stained also from the blood and feces it expelled in the final convulsive moments of its human life. Its arms twitch, hands clenching and unclenching at its sides as it moves a bit closer into my view. My mind begins to race, anxiety welling up as I watch its jerky approach. I know that though its eyes, white and bulging impossibly out of their sockets, cannot see me, its hearing is excellent even in the white noise of rainfall. I see the slack jaws, the chin hidden under dried blood, the strings of sinew and rotting flesh caught in-between broken, jagged teeth. I see the bulging forehead, incredibly large, jutting over its now hidden eyebrows like a grapefruit, the skin split open, showing the white glint of skull. It stops walking, close to the window now. It stands, mottled grey-skinned body jerking occasionally as if shocked, the jaw now slowly working up and down, the head and limbs twitching. I imagine that I can hear its soft moans and hisses, the burps and farts of escaping gas from the rotted meat in its bloated belly and intestines. Slowly, it turns and finally lurches slowly away, back into the darkness.
    This is what they didn't want us to see. This is what we were in "control" of. We believed...we had no reason not to. We believed until their lies came crashing down around us, the naked festering truth crashing through the paper walls of our lives, shattering the security pipedream we had talked ourselves into. We believed, even through the gunshots and explosions merely blocks away. We believed in spite of the screams of our neighbors and the startled wailing of car alarms. We believed that the snow on the tv, then total loss of power was temporary. I actually even still believed as Rex was barking madly outside and my husband walked into the room with his pistol, usually locked up in the closet. It wasn't until after I helped him move the furniture in front of the doors and I looked out the window I'm at now that truth reared its head and took Mrs. Tentlach on my front lawn. I saw her get dragged down, her screams intensifying as they tore into her belly, ripping out purple loops of innards, tearing into her face, neck, legs, --blood fountaining from ravaged arteries. I watched as they feasted...watched as my world changed before my eyes with gnashing teeth and clawed hands.
    I move from the window, wiping away a tear with my sleeve. I steal into the kitchen, sitting carefully on the floor in the midst of discarded cans and wrappers. I peer into some of the cans, probing them with my fingers, knowing that their contents have long since gone. I sigh, mentally forcing my hunger away. Lately, its been much harder to stave it off. John had all of the plans, he was my final scrap of belief. He knew to fill the tub and sink with water. He knew to put the buckets on the roof. He knew to re-enforce the windows and doors. He rationed the food, pulled guard as I slept. He knew he was growing weak, keeping me strong. He also knew how to leave, with a single gunshot to his temple on the roof. He didn't take me, though. He should've taken me...
    Now I wander the house, eating a little, sleeping a little and watching them a lot. I see the reanimated corpses of neighbors turned long ago, wandering the neighborhood. I see the decayed corpse of Rex, still tied to a tree in the backyard, but I try not to look at him long, --it makes me drool. I watch the water slowly receeding from the tub, the buckets gathering so very little. I see John...his remains in the kitchen where I gathered him in desperation, keeping me fed a bit longer, when I can stomach it. I see the pistol in my hand, taunting me, showing me the way out.
I see the world. It is pale.

 

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 4:34pm

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

Patient Zero

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power...
                                         Revelation 20:6

    In a grey building, down a dark hallway, behind a thickly painted white door, in a small room, in a small corner, she sits naked on the floor, -her legs drawn up against her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees, her greasy hair draped, her face hidden.
    A small bed is pushed against the wall across from her, cold and unused, leather straps hanging from its frame. Underneath it, the discarded blue hospital gown she wore for a time, though she cannot recall exactly when. Nearby her, a sink of aged steel, water dribbling out of the small hole that serves as a tap. Above it, a steel mirror inset into the wall, its surface warped, reflecting back a distorted image of the room. A small, lime encrusted toilet squats nearby.
    A small drainage hole, covered by a dark circular grate, adorns the center of the room. On the ceiling, a single phosphorus bulb, protected by a dirty steel cage, flickers with an electric tick and buzz, casting erratic strobed shadows on the walls, barely lighting the confines of the room. In a high corner of the room, a small camera watches, its small red eye glows unblinking, a single star in the concrete sky of the ceiling. The door is heavy, bare save a small square above for eyes and a slightly larger square below for food.
    She sits unmoving, oblivious to the cold of the floor against her bum, the uneveness of the walls pressing on her hips. She sits, listening to the buzztick of the light, the water trickling down the sink drain, the murmor of memories in her head.
    She remembers that she had been someone once, she had a name. She tries to remember it and fails. With a wave of a mental hand, she dismisses her search and instead focuses on other flashes that emerge through the thick fog of her mind, -the reflection of a woman. Blonde hair, dark blue eyes that shone dully above a seemingly forced smile. A slim body, the feel of curves in tight-fitting tops and impossibly short skirts, of feet in tottering high heels, of waxy lipstick on red lips and teeth.
    Her hand twitches as she remembers, the broken nails of one hand dragging uneven scratches across one knee, then balling into a fist. It clenches, then slowly relaxes as her mind plays back again, images flashing across her minds eye.
    She remembers the smell of the streets, wet concrete and asphalt reflecting the harsh neon signs and silhouettes of buildings towering above her. The clop of her heels resounding off of the walls, the downward looks of other faceless women that walk the same streets as her, the thick smell of their purfume briefly overpowering the pungent city odors as they pass.
    Other faces. The faces of so many men flitting by her eyes in a panorama of gutteral lust, their eyes roaming the contours of her body, the leering smiles, tongues running wetly over dry mouths. They speak in low voices, the undercurrent of fear and self-doubt masked by overconfident words as they barter for her flesh. The smells of their cars, the melded odor of stale cigarettes and liquor, unwashed skin reeking of sweat and man-cheese. The feel of rough hands pinching and scraping soft skin, teeth biting tender spots and drawing blood, hips bruising, ragged breath in her face as they rut.
    A moan escapes her, the sound echoing around the small room. A large ****roach scuttles out of the floor grate and pauses, antenne searching.
    The faces leering in her vision fall suddenly back, leaving only one, which burns in the center of her mental vision with fierce intensity.
    He was different. His voice was soft, his tone unstressed. No beads of nervous sweat dotted his forehead. His dark eyes roamed her, yet held no lust, simply scrutiny. Questions came from him that she'd not heard from the others. Drugs? No. Children? No. Record? Not yet, she laughed. He had nodded, his smile not reaching his eyes, dark as pitch.
    His car was small, but clean. His smell was clean, his face unreadable. His money was new and plentiful. She sat in his car, smiling. The green glow of his dashlights cut his face in half as he leaned in, whispered that it would be alright, the rag in his left hand covered her mouth and nose tightly. The sweet smell of anesthetic rolled her eyes back and darkness descended like a curtain.
    She remembers waking, head pounding, a flickering light compounding the throbbing in her head as her eyes darted around the room. A red light shone in a dark corner across from her. A loud click resounds and the door opens, two men, two faces enter, the panic rising sharply as she realizes that her arms and feet are bound to the bed she lies on.  She recognises one of the faces, the face with questions, with dark eyes. The other face is unfamiliar, twin gold bars on his collar flashing in the unsteady flicker of the light. She remembers crying out as they produce vials and needles. The pressure of hands holding her arm down, the sharp prick of flesh, vials soon dark with her blood disappear back in the pockets of the faces lab coats.
    The dark eye face leaning in, to her ear, whispering that everything will be alright, telling her to sleep. Another prick in her neck and sweet darkness.
    The images blur in her mind, memories melding together in a stream of agonizing familiarity.
    Hours passing into days, into weeks, then irrelevance in the small room. She remembers screaming up at the red eye till her voice was a hoarse whisper. Tied to the bed, wrists and ankles sore from struggling, weeping in shame the first time she deficated on herself, bled on herself.
    He would always arrive eventually. The dark eye face, accompanied by other faces that she couldn't recall and didn't care to. Only him, the face that led her to this hell, did she remember. He would always whisper the same thing, that it would be alright, followed by that familiar sting in her neck. When she awoke, her soiled gown would be changed, her oozing bedsores treated with salve, the sheets crisp under her freshly washed body. Eating was a degrading neccessity, more white-coated faces, grunting, forcing her to a chair and feeding her, bound, threatening a tube if she didn't comply. The food a pasty, tasteless goo, her water running from an iv stand to her arm twice a day.
    The tests were continuous. Countless vials, brimming with her blood. Machines wheeled in, a symphony of flashing lights and electronic noises as the faces read streaming data, jotting down notes on plastic clipboards. Injections that burned in her veins and made her retch with nausea. Agony as bits of her flesh were taken with glinting knives.
    Snippets of conversation between the faces. Terms like 'failed synthesis' and 'neural recalibration' floated between them as they looked at her, probed with cold tools and prodded with latex hands.
    She felt herself succumb to the routine of abuse. Her body no longer resisted, the dark corners of her mind that she retreated to becoming ever more familiar and inviting. Only his face would follow, his dark eyes followed her even there, still appraising her huddled, helpless form.
    She had no idea how long the restraints which held her limbs had been unfastened. She remembers weakly moving an arm and feeling no resistance. Surprised, sitting up, her hands going instinctively to her calloused wrists, rubbing them absently. The stiffness of unwilling muscles, shuddering as she swings her legs to the edge of the bed, the oddness of the floor under her feet.
    She stood, burning nausea hit her in a sickly wave, her legs shuddered from disuse. She fell heavily to the ground. Crawling to the toilet, she retched up a foul-smelling yellow mucus, the splash of the jetting fluid loud in her ears as her face hung in the bowl, yet she didn't choke or sputter. She wiped the ichor from her mouth with an arm and sat up, realizing that something had changed.
    Still on her knees, she anxiously felt her body, running her hands over herself, over her gown then under. Her skin was mottled, greying with blue tinges on the back of her arms and legs. It felt heavy, numb, but thinner, sliding over her bones like an ill-fitting glove. The river of veins on her hands and feet no longer prominent, but black and shrunken, her nails yellowed, accented by hairline fractures that extended to curled cuticles.
    With a grunt of effort, she grasped the sink and rose to her feet, bracing herself against it as she peered at her distorted bust in the metal mirror. Her once ample breasts sagged, deflating. Her cheeks, once high on her face also dropped, forming jowls, her eyes sunken and yellowed. She grinned into the mirror, pulling back cracked lips with ancient looking fingers and inspected her mouth. Her teeth looked long, gums receeding and pale, her tongue nearly as grey as her skin. She felt odd, detatched from herself. Her insides felt heavy, her belly distended. A coldness in her chest which spread from her shoulders to her crotch. She clutched the front of her gown with a fist, pressed it against her instinctively to stave off the sensation, felt nothing behind her ribs.
    She blinked rapidly, trying unsuccessfully to produce tears to clear her fogged vision. The buzztick of the light intensified in her ears as she fought to comprehend what they, what he had done. She thought back on the relentless tests, the mind-numbing sedatives, the constant abuse of her body. He had taken her, decided her fate and transformed her into the distorted stranger reflected back at her. She sat beyond death, touched but not taken, embraced, then abandoned, her ghost cast indifferently back into the shell of her body. Forgotten, like the countless faces that took her other self so many times, a lifetime ago.
    She tried to laugh, but made no sound till she forced air into her dead lungs, the sound wheezed out as a low groan. She staggered to the bed and sat heavily on the edge of it, shoulders slumped, arms dangled between her bluish knees. Her ghost eagerly retreated into herself, a single desire left burning in the forefront of her wasted mind.
    She stirs from her memories, body shifting slightly, ignoring the small puddle of brown ichor pooling around her, trickling from the ruin of her lower orafices. The ****roach scuttles to the puddles expanding edge, testing with its antenne before tenatively partaking of it, jaws lapping rapidly. Her next memory is vivid, a technicolor stream of images flickering past her mental vision with absolute clarity.
    She cannot remember how long she sat on the bed, catatonic, her ghost waiting deep within the recesses of her shell, but she remembers the loud click of the lock on the door, the twin pairs of footsteps walking toward, then stopping near her unmoving form. He had returned, his smell unmistakeable, his dark eyes still appraising her. Standing over her with the other face, who she vaguely remembered as the one with gold bars, still glinting on his white collar.
    She listened to him, his voice still soft and unstressed, as he spoke of successful reanimation, of her success where so many others before had failed. The gold bar face talked of military applications, of biological superiority. Dark eye face spoke of taking a final sample before her autopsy and disposal, gold bar face grunting his agreement.
    She felt him lean in, grasping the top of her still bowed head with one hand as he slowly inserted a large needle into her discolored neck with a thick pop, the jugular pierced. He pulled back the plunger, the syringe filled with brown, milky fluid. He leaned close to her ear, whispered that it would be alright, that she would sleep forever soon, as the needle slid out of her neck, more fluid tracing from the puncture to her collar in a brown stream, staining the neckline of her gown.
    Her eyes snapped open, thick fluid teeming around the edges of her shriveled lids as she gazed into his dark eyes, which widened in surprise.
    "Yes," she breathed raggedly in his face, "it will be alright."
    She leaned forward, grabbed the back of his head with both hands and bit fiercely into his cheek. His warm blood filled her mouth as she yanked her head back, a portion of his cheek and lips tearing away with a wet ripping sound.
    Dark eye face screamed in delicious agony, falling backward into gold bar face, one hand clutching his ruined face, blood running freely between his fingers, spattering in large red drops on the floor. Gold bar face bellowed in pain and surprise as he clutched his leg, the syringe buried deep in his thigh, the plunger half-depressed. He tore it out with a cry and stared at it in his hand, eyes and mouth wide in terror.
    Beside him, dark eye face scrabbled to his feet, moaning, his polished loafers smearing his blood into red streaks on the floor, his exposed teeth and jawbone glinting a dull white through the ragged hole in his face. Still shouting, they both rushed through the door and slammed it shut, the lock turning with a loud click.
    She stared at the door after them, chewing methodically. Blood and gobbets of fat and tissue dribbled down her chin and onto the front of her gown. Her grey tongue licked her gore-coated lips, her ghost releshing the taste of him.
    After a while, she stood, swayed. She shuffled to the opposite corner of the room, where she pulled the gore-soaked gown over her head and sent it skidding under the bed in a heap. With a deep sigh, she slid her body down to the floor, her knees cradled by her arms, head against her chest.
    She reaches down and pinches the ****roach between now rotting fingers. Slowly, she slips the struggling insect into her mouth, biting down with a crunch.
    She remembers the alarms sounding later, the shouts outside the door, the gunshots. She remembers the long silence after, broken only by the buzztick of the light, now flickering desperately, clinging to the twilight of its existence. She listens to the moans that occasionally come from the other side of the door, the shuffling of feet dragging through the dusty, darkened halls. She smells the decay of them, of her and prays that her ghost can one day leave the shell it is confined to.
    She hears a wet fist, pounding weakly on the other side of the door. She raises her head, milky white eyes thick with yellow crust, turning to look at it. She imagines that it is the dark eye face, his body rotting as he mindlessly carries out the sentence of his dark conviction, a product of his own heinous designs. The edges of her cracked mouth turn up, her rotten teeth now thick with crushed insect shell and leg as she smiles at the door.
She hopes so...

 

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 8:54pm

d_dude

d_dude

1,756 posts

These must be hard to make, but please make more. I would bellflop 20ft. into a pool for 3-5 more stories.

 

Posted Feb 2, '11 at 9:37pm

Maverick4

Maverick4

3,707 posts

:D

Yes! And I enjoyed reading all the shorts again. Though it seems as if one is missing? May be not...

 

Posted Feb 3, '11 at 4:35am

Efan

Efan

2,692 posts

I have very much enjoyed the darkness from all these stories. Please. Write more?

 

Posted Feb 3, '11 at 4:04pm

jacksonghuntington

jacksonghuntington

257 posts

Very interesting stories. I want to follow in your footsteps and write more too. Try to write a lil happyer is my sugestion but as a guy, these were intence stories!

 

Posted Mar 16, '11 at 1:11pm

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

A new story is coming soon :)

I'm just finishing the final touches.

 

Posted Mar 29, '11 at 9:42am

Strongbow

Strongbow

317 posts

Two new stories coming very soon.

:)

 
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