Desecrating Infestation

Download the story for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/927356

*Notice: This is a story that the squeamish or easily grossed out will likely not enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Infectious Investigation

There’s a strange infection going around in the city of Arklay. Normal people will wake up one day to find insects crawling in their body.  The insects are deep within their skin, but that doesn’t stop normal people from trying to cut them out by themselves. When surgery is done on these people, the insects have to be killed because they’ll try to renter the body of the patient. On further inspection, people infected with this strange condition have various kind of insect eggs within them. These eggs can hatch; maggots, worms, ants, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, cockroaches, hornets, flies, and even butterflies. Even when these eggs are removed, patients who were previously infected have a high chance of being infected again. People who get infected and don’t receive constant treatment die within days depending on the type of insects hatched in their body.

Panic has made people drink insect repellent, commit suicide if infected, or leave the city, which has spread the infection. One of the strangest parts of the infection is that it’s not spread by touch or physical contact. People who wear protective gear have a slightly lower chance of catching the infection, but they still catch it regardless of their gear. Disease control organizations have tracked down these people and are curing these people while experimenting on them to find a cure for the people of Arklay. The infection is now contained within the city with no one allowed to leave or enter besides disease control organizations, which have come from all countries to inspect the bizarre infection.

My name is Silva. I’m an agent and I used to live in Arklay, so I know my way around the city. I’m sent here by the Control and Contain Contaminations (CCC) organization to see if I can find the source of the infection. I’m wearing protective boots, gloves, and a gas mask. Along with a heated knife that can burn whatever it touches once it’s activated, I’m carrying a pistol and in case things get really bad, I have a flamethrower in the back of my truck. Before going in, I check my gear then go in the first building I want to inspect. This was the apartment where the first infected was from. Everyone else in the building was infected after half a month, so this place has been a place of interest with few people making out of it alive.

The first step into the building makes me feel sick. I feel as if I’m going to throw up. The mold, muck, and insect skins that line the wall make me feel slimy. It doesn’t help that the floors feel like I’m walking on mush. Flies, centipedes, hornets, and maggots are all over the place, but it’s like I’m invisible to them. I better not bother them, but then again, the insects born from the infection don’t become hostile for whatever reason. They almost seen unaware of everything around them and only focus on eating like normal bugs. Well, normal bugs that are twice or even three times the size of what they normally are.

The floors are littered with corpses of past human victims some of which barely still have flesh and meat on their bones. These insects are interesting. I’ve touched and dissected every kind that’s come from this disease and their insides are like those of normal insects. Even touching them now as I remove them from crawling on me is like touching a normal bug. I remember being used to bugs and gross things even as a kid. It’s one of the things that made me popular with the boys and unpopular with the girls. This, however, is beyond gross.

It gets worse as I go up towards the room of the first infected. The walls and floors are covered in a thicker slime and harder insect shells. Some of the skeletons on the ground are being picked apart by insects such as hornets and centipedes. It’s strange how these insects eat only the bodies of their human hosts and not any other kind of human flesh. We’ve tested it and they’ve completely ignored the human flesh and went for the normal foods that insects eat as if they only eat the bodies of their hosts. It’s a mystery I’m trying to solve, and I have absolutely no theories as of now. No one, not even the other scientists and agents I work with have any idea as to why this infection started in this city in particular. Hopefully, the answer lies in this room.

As I enter the room of the first infected, I see his decaying corpse on the floor. The room is a nesting ground for hundreds of insects who just crawl or fly around then rest in certain corners of the room before exiting it or resting in their nests. Their nests are nothing but beds for these creatures. These insects can’t even reproduce with one another. Anyways, the first person who was infected received surgery multiple times before giving up on life and died after three days. The insects burst out of his toes, fingers, eyes, mouth, and other areas of his body in a very painful way. Because more people got infected the next day, no one bothered to move his body and the building was eventually condemned.

I’m probably the first person here in a while or at least to my organization’s knowledge. None of the things here look tampered with. There are a lot of personal journal entries. They’re all dirty, but the heat from my knife makes the writing legible. This is the last entry.

“I can feel the pain getting worse. The damn bugs have started crawling out of my skin, so I don’t have much time. Why did I ever get this disease? I’ve never been seriously dirty or sick in my life. I’ve never been in a dirty place, so why me? Was it something I did? I don’t think I’ve ever seriously hurt someone. Did someone curse me because they didn’t like me? Is the end of the world going to happen soon? Is something biohazardous beneath the city? Are the insects going through some kind of natural evolution? I don’t know. I’m just a normal guy.”

There’s nothing here I can work with. Perhaps I can find something on his body. This isn’t exactly the best place to dissect his body, but it can’t be moved because it’s so embedded to the floor. Part of him will have to be destroyed anyway so I might as well look through it while I can. I take out my knife and start cutting in his body. There is nothing but broken eggs here and other insects who were using the body as a resting place. Oh? There’s a kind of weird fungus growing his body. I haven’t seen this weird black and green grown in the other infected bodies. This will be useful, so I carefully cut the fungus off and…it’s another insect. It’s a hybrid of a worm and millipede. I put the insect in a secure bag that will keep it fresh.

Huh? Something crawls out of the muck in the ceiling. A flying scorpion with spider legs. It doesn’t look friendly or passive like the other insects. I quickly bring up my heated knife in time to burn away the string it shoots at me. Since it’s going to be that way, I lunge forward and slice the scorpion in two. Two more scorpions come out of the muck and try to catch me, but since I know their tricks, I cut them down easily. Uck. I stepped in the webs. It’s pretty sticky. I have to heat up the knife in order to cut through it. These scorpions may be in pieces, but they might still be useful, so I put them in my secure bags.

When I exit the room, more scorpions attack me, I wonder what effect a gun will have. Oh. So, it takes two shots to kill one. Even so, it’s still struggling to hold onto life. More scorpions start crawling out of the walls, so I make my way out of the apartment while shooting them down and defending myself. These things are stubborn. When I leave the apartment, the bust through the windows and doors. I run to my car and break out my flamethrower. I have no choice but to light the entire apartment on fire since the scorpions won’t stop coming. It’s a shame I had to do this but-ah! I got all these bugs on me. Before I go anywhere, I change my clothes and burn my outfit. I then give my findings and report to the higher-ups who thank me and tell me they’ll have something for me by tomorrow since my findings are new.

As soon as I get home, I take a shower just to make sure I’m clean. I walk out to the balcony outside my room and look out at Arklay. I wonder what happened to my home. It used to be so peaceful, and now, it’s the center of attention because it’s infected with mysterious insects. My mom and dad used to live here. I wonder what they would think of this. I’ll get to the bottom of this.

The local news reports more infected people. Sewers and other dirty parts of the city are starting to crawl with these new kinds of insects along with the muck they bring along. They also talk about the fire I’ve started, but they don’t know about why it started nor the evidence I collected. Conspiracy theories will start cropping up if they haven’t done so already. I might’ve had some of my own if I didn’t know that all of the disease organizations don’t have a clue about what’s going on. I hope we get some answers soon…before this situation gets worse.

 

 

Chapter 2 – Sacrilegious Scum

During the next morning, I wake up to a message from my superiors. They tell me that they’ve found a sort of insect repellent. The fungus from the first infected is acidic to insects born from infected people, but it’s harmless to normal people. We’ve already tested this repellent out in normal people, and they don’t appear to have any side effects. When a person is injected with this repellent, the insects will cower away from them. They tell me this could be useful if I find any more scorpions or other bugs like them. It’s a risk to take this serum especially since it’s only been tested a few times on people, so I respond to their message by turning it down until there have been more tests. They say they understand then wish me luck in my investigation today.

I hope they weren’t wishing to use me as a test subject. My organization does consist of people with good intentions, but good intentions don’t always mean good methods. Whatever the case is, I head out today to the under part of the city. An earthquake hit this city one day and destroyed it. A new city was built on top of it, and the city below acts as a sort of pseudo home for the homeless. Once the insect disease became a serious problem for the city, the lower parts of the city became a home to a cult that worships the insects as servants of their insect god or whatever. It’s lunacy in my opinion. Because the cult views the disease as more of a blessing than a curse, they’ve tried everything in their power to get the disease themselves and even kidnap other people in the hopes of “ascending” or becoming honorable hosts of their insect god.

Since this might get messy, I’ve brought a small submachine gun in case I have to do some crowd control. I’ve also gotten fuel for my flamethrower and left extra in the back of my car. When I get to one of the entrances, I find some of the muck and insect skins. This is a bad sign since this stuff usually grows near highly infected areas. I equip my gas mask and go into the darkness to find a dead body that has recently died. Hornets, roaches, and spiders crawl out of the body’s skin and feast on its organs. A body this close to the public isn’t safe, so I use my knife’s blade to set the body on fire. I’m probably going to need to use it more if this is what I see when I first walk in. If that’s the case, I go back to my car and bring my flamethrower with me.

When I get back, I start burning whatever corpse nests I see. There were reports of people getting infected around here. Before we thought it had to do something with the cult abducting people, but now…that point still stands, however, we didn’t know about people dying around here. I send a message to my superiors to tell them to send clean-up crews to the other old city entrances. They message me back that they’re sending them right away. I can’t imagine how bad old city is if the way to it is littered with corpses.

The walls, ceiling, and floors of this pathway look stranger than what I saw at the apartments. It’s almost if some of this muck is made of human remains. Let’s just see to make sure. I cut open some of the muck and…ah! Yup. A human skull that’s split into three pieces falls from the ceiling where I cut. I didn’t know the insects could do this. Some of the fresher human remains look downright still alive with arms and legs reaching out as if calling for help. There are also human faces with their expressions still stuck in pain and fear.

Further into the passage, I find the old city. It’s in ruins with half-destroyed buildings barely hanging together due to the muck that the insects made. Hornets and butterflies the size of bikes fly around the large space above the city and pick at the dirt walls surrounding them. They could be trying to move out of this place to find food. This place has to be burned down, but it’s sitting in a place that could do serious damage to the city. We’re going to have to meticulously burn the muck from this place so Arklay can be safe. I wonder if the cult planned it so things would be this way.

The cult’s hideout is supposed to be further into the city. I have to cut my way through thick muck and the corpses of the infected in order to get to a church with the mark of the cult. Various huge insects are on display as if they were holy icons. There’s a bee the size of a car crucified in at the head of the altar. Maybe I don’t even need to question the cult members in order to find something that will be useful to me. I doubt any of them are alive after finding so many corpses. To start my search, I start cutting open the bodies of the insects to find more of the black and green fungus. Taking it might wake up those scorpions from before, so I leave it alone for now.

I heard screaming just now! There’s someone still alive, so I head over to the source of the noise to find a homeless woman being sexually assaulted by a grasshopper the size of a couch that looks like it’s mixed with fire ants. I didn’t know these insects could be so sick. Using my submachine gun, I light the grasshopper up until it dies. It takes half a clip to put it down. Even then, I have to stab it multiple times with my knife in order to kill it.

“Are you okay?” I ask the woman.

She tries talking, but she holds onto her stomach and screams in pain. Within seconds, three fire ants are burst from her stomach. I kill these abominations then take a second to collect myself. My mind is struggling to believe in the existence of these creatures. They’re so vile and now there’s a new terrifying variation of them. I guess I can’t get nauseous now, so I inspect the bodies of the dead woman. It appears that she’s been assaulted before judging by the condition of her genitals and stomach. There are eggs in her body with still dormant fire ants in them. It seems like she might’ve given birth multiple times to these insects. I take the eggs with me for further study.

Looking into the grasshopper, I find various new organs that I’ve never seen before. It’s probably the reason as to how it can reproduce with humans. I can’t drag this thing out by myself, so I leave it here for now. Damn thing is an abomination. I never want to see another one as I live, but I don’t think I’ll be that lucky.

I hear footsteps approaching me, so I take out my submachine gun and aim forward. It looks like a cult member. He’s wearing a black and green robe with the cult’s symbol on it.

“Are you here to help us?” he asks.

“I’m here to get rid of this plague. I’m not here to help your psychotic cult.”

“I know it looks bad, but I’m not with these guys. I’m just a normal doctor, who infiltrated the group to figure out a cure for the disease. I thought that I could get some of the insect’s blood and possibly make a cure.”

“You should leave it to the bigger disease control organizations. Lucky for you, I’m with them to help out.”

“Those organizations didn’t come here until a month after the disease was discovered. The damage done to the city and its people in that timeframe is unrepairable. Your people have no idea what it’s been like. We live in fear of randomly catching this disease every day of our life and you come here and think you’re doing us a favor.”

“Hey, I’m from this city. The CCC is doing its best to destroy this disease. They’re just playing it safe because we have no idea what’s happening. If we just acted without caution, then a lot more people could suffer.”

“I guess you got a point. I’ll share my findings with your organization. There’s nothing else for me to find here.”

“What happened here?”

“This? It’s been like this for a while. The cult’s been breeding these monsters because they thought they were divine.”

“What about these grasshoppers?”

“These atrocities could reproduce with men and women, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight especially for the men.”

“How were these things made?”

“I don’t know to be honest with you. It just seems like the more the area is infected, the weirder and more frightening insects begin to spawn from the waste these creatures make and from the infected.”

The two of us hear gunfire in the distance.

“The information you have will be useful to us, doctor. Let’s get out of here. The CCC should be here.”

“Thank you. I can’t stand being here anymore.”

The doctor and I run out to the streets of the old city to find a CCC clean-up crew in high-quality hazmat gear. They’re using a more powerful version of the flamethrower I have called Hellfire. I’d love to use that version one day or at least the Purgatory version of it. We come across more grasshoppers and flying scorpions as we try to join the hazmats. I have to use all of my submachine gun and flamethrower ammo in order to break through the hordes of mutated insects.

I go up to one of them and say, “Cover us while we leave and watch out for huge grasshoppers.”

“You got it, Silva. We’re going to turn this place into a furnace.”

“Don’t get too carried away hotheads. This place could come down around us if you burn too much.”

The doctor and I make it out of the old city. Before we go to my superiors, I get us a change of clothes then burn our previous outfits. The CCC better compensate me for all of the outfits I’m going to burn. After that, I drop him off with the eggs I found. Again, I am greatly thanked with the scientists and doctor exchanging friendly dialogue. They tell me that they should make great strides in their research because of my efforts. I say goodbye then take my leave.

When I get back home to my apartment, I take a shower then look out at the city. What have I been doing with my life? I’ve been trying to stand out and do the extraordinary for my entire life. Starting with acting like the boys then becoming a cleaner for the CCC. I wonder what it’s like to live a normal life. I’ve seen so many happy normal people in my life that I’ve lost count. They might’ve been struggling financially, but at least they were happy in their families. When this job is done, I’ll appreciate the little things more. I’ll watch the sunrise, hang out with friends, get a hobby, and maybe start a family. Yeah…that sounds good. Really good in fact.

 

Chapter 3 – Experimental Execration

It’s early in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep for some reason. I guess I was thinking more about what I was thinking about yesterday. What did I do in my life that didn’t concern study and acts to gain attention? Nothing, but I bunch of small events that don’t give me a warm feeling. I know dozens of people who can tell me heartwarming stories that bring smiles to everyone around them. They told simple stories, and to be honest, I don’t talk to anyone anymore, but still. I should stop moping about this and get back to work.

Soon after eating breakfast, I get a message from work that they’re working on a cure to the infection. Their testing is going well so far, however, they still want me to go out to see if I can find anything else to speed the process along or find something more potent they can use. They want me to look into a hospital that the doctor came from. It’s been condemned for a while since so much of it has been infected. The muck from the inside of the hospital has been seeping out of the building. Even the ground around the hospital has been reported to smell like rotting flesh with something leaking out of it.

It sounds bad and like what old city was like, so I agree to go there and head out with some new weapons. I’ve swapped out my submachine gun with a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. If I’m going to be in close quarters, then this is going to be incredibly useful. I managed to get a better flamethrower, which is called Purgatory. Hopefully, I get to try out Hellfire soon.

When I arrive at the hospital, I find it in a worse state than described. The muck has spread further out into the streets and into nearby buildings. Insects are crawling to and from the hospital to wherever the muck reaches. This entire block has been quarantined., but it should be destroyed. I don’t know about the nearby buildings and if they’re infested as well. They might be judging by all of the insects crawling and flying around here. More people will have to be brought in for a clean-up job this big.

I’d better get in there to fix what’s going on before it gets worse. Despite it being morning, the inside of the building is almost pitch black with the hospital’s lights flickering on and off. The lights should’ve been turned off a while ago, so someone must be here now or have been here recently. Maybe they were here to get medicine or maybe it was another disease control organization looking around here for research. I think this place might be worse than the old city. The muck here looks flesh-like and disgusting.

Some of the muck here is even pulsating like a beating heart. Eck. Before I have a chance to touch it, I hear glass being broken. When I run to check it, I find a person raiding a supply closet for pills and syringes. They’re wearing a bunch of heavy clothing as if wearing a makeshift hazmat suit.

I call out to them, “Hey! You can’t be here!”

“Screw you! You hazmats do nothing but burn our city to ashes.”

“That’s not true. Get out of here before you get sick. I’ll keep you safe.”

“The only safe place is outside the city and you people won’t let us leave.”

The person leans forward as to catch themselves as they slipped. What the hell? Part of the wall came to life. No. It was a moth the size of half the wall. The large winged insect has a mouth on its chest and a sharp syringe-like stinger. It attacks the person by latching onto them in the blink of an eye. It then eats the person’s body while its stinger is lodged in the person’s forehead. Before I can fire a shot, the insect dies and transforms the person into a corpse. Their arms, chest, and face are transformed into that of a praying mantis. I can see their organs through their see-through chest and their legs seem to have been split in two. How could a transformation like this happen within seconds?

The mutant appears to be dead, but their body is steaming and quivering. It just stopped moving. I can’t get any samples from the moth since it shriveled up and breaks at the slightest touch. It’s as if it transferred all of its energy into the person. As I approach the mutant, it leaps up with its legs and almost decapitates me. Reacting quickly, I shoot its head with my double barrel to send it into the wall. It twitches a few times before immediately getting back up to slash wildly at me. With another shot from my double barrel, I shoot one of its legs off. This thing is so damn stubborn and refuses to die, so I stab it with my knife set at the highest heat, which finally kills it. What a pain.

Huh? I heard something moving in the vents. There’s no time to waste. I cut off whatever I find on the mutant and bring it with me. Before I can get too far, a sharp limb comes out from the vents and almost stabs me in the face. I dodge it, but then another limb comes out to try to get me. I have to lay low as multiple limbs come out to try to cut my head off. There are more of these things? Why didn’t they ambush me before? I guess I must’ve woken them up.

The mutants in the vents just stopped. That’s a relief, but…there we go. It seems like they stopped just to try to get me off guard. Moths from the ceiling and floor begin to attack me and the mutants start dropping from the ceiling. I haven’t even reloaded my double barrel yet and I doubt it’s going to be effective in this situation. There’s no chance for me to get out of this alive without using my flamethrower, so I start burning this place down. It does wonders against the moths and mutants, but the rest of the hospital catches fire quickly.

From what the doctor said in his message, he said he left some notes in his office as to where he thought the most likely place the infection started in. I go to his office while burning whatever remotely looks alive. Damn it. These things are sacrificing themselves to put out the fires. I’m going to have to really spend all my fuel in this place. I set fire to multiple places in the hospital including an electrical room so that it causes an explosion and more flames. That should keep them distracted, but it puts me on a tight time limit.

Searching through the doctor’s office, I find notes saying that the city deposits all of its wastes beneath the city since its far from civilization and hasn’t harmed anyone for the years they’ve done it, but the doctor thought that it might’ve caused the insects to mutate into what they are now. There are also notes here that say the doctor and his associates did experiments on the infected and the bugs before any of the disease control organizations arrived. Some of the tests ended with a mutation in the insects, which explains what I saw. Okay, this is good enough, but I have to burn down this building to keep the rest of the city safe.

I go out of the office to find the mutants and moths heading downstairs while completely ignoring me. Maybe there’s something important they’re protecting. I follow them into the second-floor basement to find a beehive-like heart that takes up most of the room. The insects are sacrificing themselves to snuff out the fire while a small horde of them stands guard. The guard stares me down while hissing at me. You guys made a big mistake putting your hive here. I load my double barrel and shoot the sensitive machines in the room then switch to my flamethrower to light the rest of the place on fire.

This causes a chain reaction and now the entire building is starting to collapse. I run with everything I got then jump out of the exit as the building collapses onto itself. Dozens of insects, special insects like the scorpions and grasshoppers along with the mutants, and the moths flee from the neighboring abandoned buildings and into the city. This isn’t good. The city is in chaos as everyone who can fight, fights against the hordes of insects. I should make my way back to my superiors while cleaning up my mess. I’m sure they’d fire me if I didn’t.

The situation calms down after an hour and a half of burning, shooting, and stabbing. I’ve seen dozens of people die as a result of what I’ve done, but it’s also not my fault! How was I supposed to know this was going to happen?! I was just doing my job! Or am I just making excuses? This reminds me of the many times I’ve had to burn infected people alive along with everything they have like a maniacal arsonist. I can’t think about that now. That was just part of my job to keep people safe.

With no time to waste, I change my outfit, burn my original, then head off to report to my superiors. Their base hasn’t fared well in the attack with parts of it destroyed along with bodies on the ground most of which are getting burned to ashes. I give them my report and they tell me that I shouldn’t feel bad because I was just doing my job.

“Sometimes you can’t expect everything to go your way”, they tell me.

I already know that. They don’t seem too bothered by what happened. In fact, they tell me my findings along with the free subjects I’ve brought them will accelerate the completion of the cure. I ask them about that, and they tell me that they should have one made in a day or two, though the test versions they have were all destroyed in the attack. It’s a shame for the people who were infected and are now infected. They give me new supplies and my Hellfire flamethrower with plenty of fuel as a reward. It’s strange getting it now. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I take it with a smile a thank you before heading home for some rest.

After showering like always, I take a look out at the city to see the destruction that I’ve caused. Most of the city lights are dark with fires being lit, which are probably burning bodies. I recognize the all too familiar smell. I hope my efforts have helped in some way. Huh? My skin feels itchy. That’s strange-

“AAAAAAHHHHHH!”

I scream as I see roaches, millipedes, and worms crawling around in my skin…I’m infected…

 

 

 

Chapter 4 – Revolting Roots

What did I do wrong? I’ve taken every precautious to stay clean. I burned my clothes, cleaned myself thoroughly, and have always kept my hands clean. Is this for what I’ve done in the past? All the lives I’ve taken for the greater good. All the lives I’ve burned down to keep people healthy and safe. Did I do too much? Were my excuses not enough to cover for my actions?

Is this for not caring about the people around me as much as I should? I do care about people, but I separate myself from others. When it’s time to work, I separate myself from what I do. I become a tool for the CCC and do what I’m told because I trust them and their goals. When I had the choice, the CCC looked like the most ethical organization, but are we? Do we focus too much on the ends rather than the means?

This kind of thinking is making my mind go in circles. It’s the infection’s fault. My skin is so itchy because of the insects crawling around in it. It’s so uncomfortable and chilling being like this. I was used to insects crawling on me, but them crawling in me is completely different. It’s like someone constantly lightly scratching the inside of every part of your body. I can feel them everywhere. In my skin, face, stomach, legs, and arms. Last night, I thought I was imagining things and thought that some sleep would help me, but it hasn’t. It’s gotten worse. I don’t feel so good, so I go to the bathroom and try taking normal medication that’s supposed to suppress the disease-!

Blech! I can’t believe it. I just barfed out a centipede the size of my arm. I still feel sick. My stomach is killing me and so is my bladder. This is terrible. Living with this disease is worse than I thought. I can’t hold it in anymore. This is getting even worse somehow! I crap and pee out insects. Why is this happening to me?! I put on my shower and set it to the highest temperature. This calms down my stomach and the bugs within my skin. It even manages to shrink some of them. No wonder why so many people kill themselves when they’re infected. Living like this is hell.

There have to be surgeons at the CCC base. I don’t care what kind of surgery or medicine they give me. I’ll do anything to get rid of this infection inside me. After hastily dressing, I go to my superiors and explain my situation to them. They tell me that they don’t currently have anything to suppress the infection or get rid of it as of now. The research they’ve done has come to a halt because of the attack and the complexity of the virus.

“There might not be a chance I can be cured or even relieved of my pain,” they say.

I almost lose my composure until they mention that they know where the source of the infection is. It’s exactly where the doctor thought it was. There’s a chance that the infection will be destroyed when the source is killed. They think this is correct because the CCC and other organizations have been finding the hives I found yesterday. When the hives are destroyed, the nearby bugs and mutants will go into a rampage to try to infect other people before dying shortly after. The scientists theorize that these hives act as field officers for their leader down below who controls the rest of them. If that’s what it takes to be cured, then I’ll do it. My superiors say that if the infection is not stopped today, then the government will have no choice but to destroy the city. I don’t know why I don’t care about it, however, I have to for the sake of everyone that lives here.

Before we go out, we operatives are armed with Hellfire flamethrowers, fireproof hazmat suits, satchel charges, fire grenades, and magnums as a last resort. I don’t know if they meant for us to use it to kill ourselves or to use on the insects, but I’ll take it as both. The CCC and other disease control organizations team up together to attack this threat from all sides. The best way to get to the city’s waste disposal site is through the old city. As we move our forces through there, we are ambushed by mutants, grasshoppers, and scorpions.

Whatever is controlling the insects must be feeling defensive because we’ve gotten rid of their forces on the surface. The fighting is long and intense with dozens of casualties despite our advanced equipment. Our forces are cut in half by the time we reach the halfway point. The way down is littered with corpses, toxic waste, trash, muck from the insects, insect shells, and excrement from the sewers. No wonder why there are so many insects down here. There are large rodents and stray animals down here, but it looks like they became hosts. Some of them look like they were fighting against the insects, however, they’re all dead and we’ve never seen them before, so we’re facing a more powerful and intelligent force than we thought.

We lose fewer people from this point on as we get used to the insect’s combined attacks and ambushes. The disease is me is starting to bother me again. When I’m not using my flamethrower, the disease almost seems to slowly grow. I’m getting sicker and sicker with each passing moment. I can tell other people are infected as well because of the way they’re acting. A few of the people we lost along the way succumbed to the infection, so we had to put them out of their misery then burn their bodies. I’ve known some of these people for years, but only on a surface layer. There are a couple of people that talked to me along the way down as if we were friends for years. I wouldn’t know. Thirty-five percent of our combined forces survive the long walk down to the source of the infection.

What we find at the disposal site is an army of all kind of insects along with a hive that looks more like a spiraling tower than a hive. Without a moment’s hesitation, we get to work in destroying everything around us. We unload all of our fire grenades that we have and those that we collected off our fallen. This gets a nice fire going. We use this fire as a barrier to keep away what’s ever coming to us as we approach the main hive. When we get to it, we plant all the charges we have then make our way back the way we came in.

Once we blow the charges, the hive lights up as if it was the center of the earth. Most of the insects go on a frenzy while the lesser ones die off one by one. The group loses more people as we escape the collapsing tunnel. We lose even more people the frenzied insects until I think I’m the only one who’s left. I wouldn’t know if anyone else is alive because I just cared about my own survival without thinking about anyone else.

Damn, the way I came in collapses on itself. I go through a tighter portion of the old city as it falls around me. Everything I had to protect myself is dropped including my hazmat suit. That’s how tight the way I’m going is. I see a light ahead. I’m almost there! When I emerge from the ruins, the ground begins to collapse as well, so I keep on running for my life. Buildings around me are collapsing to the ground and people are running for cover. I yell at them to run away from the city. Some listen to me, others don’t, and most die because of the destruction.

By the time I get to safe ground, the city has a massive hole in it that I can’t see the bottom of. Oh, wait a second! I don’t feel any bugs crawling around my skin! I can’t even feel anything that feels like a bug in it. I’m cured! Even though I’m elated, everyone around me is sad because their homes are destroyed. It used to be my home as well, but I don’t feel the same as they do. I feel like I’ve been in a situation like this before. It doesn’t matter. I report back to my superiors and they celebrate. We have a funeral for those who died then a party for our victory the next day outside the city.

From the view I have, I look back at what used to be the home I grew up in. It looks like a mini-apocalypse happened there. I doubt anyone is going to live there for a while especially since the CCC needs to double clean it to make sure no trace of the infection still exists. As for me, I take a vacation. My superiors are surprised since they usually have to force me to take breaks, but they approve of it, especially because of all the work I did. The CCC is recognized as the main contributor to ending the virus because of our research and clean-up efforts. I’m given three weeks off and told that I can have the month off if I so decided. I’ll think about it. It depends on how good this normal life I’ve heard so much about is like.

Huh? Is that a-Oh. It’s just a normal sized cockroach. I’m so used to seeing them big sized that the normal sized one surprises me. I’ve had enough of bugs for a lifetime, so I squish the roach then get in my car and head off to the shore. I heard it’s beautiful and full of people this time of year.

 

The End

The Martyr who Failed

Part 1 – The First Death

There’s an unknown group of people that wander the country and kidnap and kill people for their own amusement. This night, they’ve kidnapped a man named Sebastian, his friends, and family, which includes his wife and two children. They force Sebastian to kill himself with a knife in order to save the life of his family. He tries to kill himself, but he passes out due to blood loss. The kidnappers don’t let him die honorably. They patch Sebastian up then kill everyone he knows. They then carve one of the Chinese symbols for failure on his head after they shave it. The kidnappers also carve three tear marks under both his eyes because of how much despair and sorrow Sebastian was in. After that, they bury him alive and naked, but since he almost did what they asked, they put him in a broken coffin with tools so that he can break out.

“We’ll let you off easy,” one of them says, “You have everything in your coffin to dig yourself out. If you’re ballsy enough, you can find out how to find us there.”

A glimmer of light in Sebastian’s lifeless eyes lights up. The kidnapper talking to him notices it but doesn’t pay it any attention.

“I will find you,” Sebastian swears, “But I won’t kill you. I’ll do worse! You better run fast and run far because I won’t have mercy on you!”

Sebastian is laughed at as he’s buried alive. He screams out his resolve as the final bit of dirt covers his grave. The kidnappers put down St. Peter’s cross before they drive off as Sebastian breaks free. He’s not an escape artist and his wounds still hurt so it takes some doing for him to escape. He emerges from the dirt as rain pours down on him and lightning lights up the night sky. It turns out that the kidnappers buried Sebastian in a graveyard not too far from his house.

He walks from the graveyard to his house while completely naked though he is unable to feel shame. His pain and anger are enough to push him forward.

“I’ll find them,” he says aloud to himself in a sneering voice, “I’ll make them all pay.”

A few people in cars pass Sebastian by and don’t bother with him. People on the streets that see him turn their heads away. No one cares about him. No one cares to think about the help he might need. Some think his situation is the result of a prank or one too many drinks. Sebastian keeps heading home while paying the same attention to them. Thoughts of revenge and what he’ll do to every single one of them course through his mind and memories of his loved ones. His anger gives way to sadness when he thinks of the people he lost.

“I’m sorry,” he says with tears flowing from his face yet again. The pain from his wounds makes it look like he’s crying bloody tears. “I’m sorry I couldn’t kill myself for you. I’m sorry they couldn’t let me die. I’m sorry you had to die for me…please…Please give me the strength to do this for you.”

Once he gets home, the first thing he notices is that the family car and his friends’ cars are gone along with the decoration his family put outside the house and the window. There’s nothing inside the house except for a piece of paper and a pair of basic clothes constituting of jeans, black sneakers, and black jacket on the floor. It’s as if his family never moved into the house. The letter has a number of places written on it with no context. These places aren’t too far from here, but the places are abandoned. They are the perfect places for Sebastian to get his revenge. The water still works in the house, so Sebastian takes a shower before changing clothes and heading out.

The first place he goes to is a small shack at the edge of town. Sebastian has to walk all the way there, but he doesn’t mind. This is the only thing in his life that he’s focused on.

“I will give my life to this if I have to,” he says to himself as if he’s telling God Himself what he’s about to do.

There’s a four-door truck outside the shack. Three people patrol the area and appear to have concealed weapons. The only person he doesn’t see is one of the people that forced him to kill himself.

“These might just be his underlings,” Sebastian says to himself while planning a strategy.

After having a plan of attack, he executes it. He takes a medium sized but heavy rock and throws it at one of the guards with it when he’s taking a leak. Once he’s down, Sebastian knocks him out with a punch to the face. The guard has a gun on him along with a wallet. Sebastian resists the idea to kill the guards and the leaders and leaves the wallet alone. The other two are sitting inside the shack and talking to each other. Sebastian knocks on the door.

“The door’s unlocked ya idiot,” one of them says.

Sebastian knocks again.

“What? Do you need help or something?”

Again, another knock.

“You’ve got to be kidding. Hold on.”

Once the guard comes outside, Sebastian knocks them out and puts their body aside. He then heads inside and throws the heavy rock at the other guard’s face and knocks him out with his fists. Sebastian finds a metal baseball bat in the shack and takes it with him. He goes outside to the backyard of the shack to find one of the people that forced him to kill his family. The man is with another victim. He’s showing the innocent man a pile of maggot infested corpses in a ditch.

The man asks, “Do you know who these people are?”

“N-no,” the innocent man answers.

“These are the people we were paid to kill mixed in with the people that chose to mess with us and people that we killed for fun.”

Sebastian begins to sneak up on them.

“If you don’t want to end up like them, then I suggest you never talk to anyone about what you found.”

Sebastian hits the kidnapper over the head, which scares the innocent who almost falls into the mass grave of bodies.

“You’re safe now,” Sebastian says to the man as he catches him from falling.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to get my revenge on these bastards. I’m not going to kill them. I’m going to do worse.”

“Are you crazy? Do you even know what these people are capable of? They’re not just normal crazy people.”

“I don’t care. This is going to happen.”

“I’ll pray that you succeed but I’m not sure you will.”

The innocent man runs away from the shack. Sebastian then enacts his revenge on his first victim. He buries the man underneath all the maggot infested bodies but gives him just enough room to breathe. The man wakes up just as Sebastian is about to leave. He screams out in fear and disgust as the maggots cover him and crawl all over his face and body. With a smirk on his face, Sebastian leaves the backyard. He then takes the man’s phone and calls the police to come to this location before he heads out in the kidnapper’s truck to the next location.

“One down. Five to go. They’re all going to pay. Every last one of them. In the worst way possible,” Sebastian says with conviction.

 

 

Part 2 – The Long Night

The rain continues to pour on Sebastian’s darkest night. Lightning lights up the sky and thunder roars like war drums pounding to warn his victims of his arrival.

“I’m going to get them. I’m going to make them pay,” Sebastian says to himself over and over again, “I can do this. I have to…but what if I can’t? This’ll all be for nothing then. Would my parents approve of my actions? Would my wife still love me? Would my children still look at me as their father?”

Sebastian’s mind trails off before a bright flash of lightning snaps him out of it. He’s at where he needs to be.

“There’s no going back,” he continues, “There’s no other reason to live. If I won’t do this, no one will.”

Right now, he’s at an old grindhouse. The electricity is barely working and the blades in the building have grown dull and rusty. A couple of cars are parked at the side of the building. Peaking inside, Sebastian can see four guards and the woman that cut the throats of his children. The people here appear to be repurposing this place as a hideout. His blood boils, but he calms himself down and plans his attack. A sound from behind catches his attention and Sebastian quickly knocks out the guard with his baseball bat though he is still found out. He hastily knocks out another two guards before the rest shoot at him. He takes cover behind a piece of machinery. The guards and the woman who killed his children point their guns where he’s taking cover and slowly walk around the side to get a shot at Sebastian.

“What do I do? What do I do?” he asks himself.

The guns the knocked guards had are close by on the floor. Sebastian has never used a gun before but now he has no choice to. He runs to grab them and slides behind another big piece of machinery and manages not to get hit. Knowing he only has one shot at this, Sebastian calmly breathes in and out before running out of cover and unloading both of his guns. Ten shots land and hit the guards and the woman in the leg. He then goes up to where they are and knocks out the guards before grabbing the woman and holding her over a meat grinder.

“You actually did have the balls to come back. Ha, not many people do,” the woman says.

“You better stop killing innocent people! Or else you’ll face another person like me. Except they’ll probably kill you.”

“What? You aren’t going to do it yourself? It’s a shame that a child’s own father won’t take revenge for them. Do you remember the way they died? I do. They kept calling out for you as they bleed from their throats. I don’t know what’s so special about killing adults when children are so much more delectable.”

Something snaps in Sebastian and he strangles the woman’s neck. As she suffocates, she begins to smile as if she wanted him to do this. Seeing this, he quickly turns on the meat grinder and throws her in it. The blades are rusty and dull, and the factory is about to run out of power, so this’ll hurt, but it won’t kill her. Again, Sebastian uses one of the guards’ phones to call the police so that they can arrest these people. Sebastian then drives away still furious about what the woman said. His hands grip the steering wheel as if they were still around the woman’s neck.

“That bitch. That fucking bitch!” he says aloud before attempting to collect himself before he gets to the next place, “I gotta remember. I’m not like them. I’m not going to kill any of them. They’re just going to wish I did. But I still hurt them. I even buried one alive. Am I even still a good person? Was I ever?”

Before he can think of the answer, he’s at the next location. It’s an abandoned one-story building like the last place, but this one appears to be going through some construction. Sebastian doesn’t remember hearing about this building being built on the news, who would usually talk about new buildings. It appears that this group of murderers have enough money to create their own buildings in a not so secret way. Regardless, Sebastian parks a little far away from the building. There are quite a few trucks and cars here, so Sebastian makes sure to scout out the area before heading in. The power is on in the building, so he sneaks around and short circuits it. He then heads in through a basement window. Inside, he finds a cache of weapons, clothes, money, and various other things. These seem to be things that the kidnappers bought themselves or took from their victims, which is most likely out of the two.

Heading upstairs, Sebastian sees that there are some guards still patrolling the halls. He knocks out the nearest one near the door and hides their body in the basement. This noise attracts another two guards who Sebastian lures into the basement to take them out. Once he hides the unconscious bodies, Sebastian quickly, but quietly checks all the rooms to find his primary target. He knocks out who he can including one person on the toilet. That man’s face he leaves in the urinal.

Eventually, he finds his way to a room with a furnace. The man tweaking it is the man that killed his wife. Holding his anger in, for now, he quietly walks up the man pulls him out and breaks both of the man’s legs with his bat.

He holds up the man near the furnace’s fire and says, “Who’s the asshole who can’t do anything for his wife now?!”

“Look, I didn’t know you were with Tommy and Jefferson okay? If ya’ll just wanted us gone, then we would’ve disappeared into the wind and stopped hurting people! Or at least I would!”

“Who are you talking about?”

“What? You’re not…”

Gunshots are heard outside.

“The damn feds are turning against us after everything we did for them! They couldn’t keep their do-gooders out of the loop. Listen to me man, they’re going to think you’re a psycho like us. I can get you out of here and help you get your revenge for your family!”

“What is the furnace used for?”

“Why does it matter?!”

Sebastian headbutts the man in the face, which causes the man to lose a couple teeth.

“W-we used it to get information out of people and to scare them! We put them in those fireproof body bags over there, so they’d feel like they’re burning alive while in it.”

Sebastian looks at the fireproof body bags.

“Don’t get any ideas man! I already confessed my sins to you!”

“You confessed. Now you have to do penance.”

Sebastian knocks the man down then shoves him into the fireproof body bags. He then puts the furnace on and puts the man in it. As he watches the man burn and hears him scream, Sebastian smiles deviously, but in the fires, he sees his fate, which is similar. His smile fades away as he sees this. Since the gunfight is still going on, Sebastian sneaks through the fighting to get to his truck and drives away.

Two backup police come out of hiding as he escapes.

“Pull the vehicle over now!” one of the officers says over the car’s speakers.

Sebastian thinks about it then says to himself, “I can’t. I don’t know how long or if these killers are going to stay in their places. There’s only three left. I have to get this done myself. It’s what I have to do!”

The police cars chase Sebastian onto a highway. He weaves through cars in order to get through the dense traffic and escape, but the police stay on his tail. There doesn’t seem to be a way to escape until he sees the way laid before him.

“Well, at least this parking spot is close to where I need to be,” Sebastian says before driving his truck into a lake.

Once the truck is under water, Sebastian uses his bat to break the car window. He swims to a sewer entrance while under the cover of water. The action-packed ordeal takes a lot out of Sebastian, so he sits on the floor once he’s inside the sewer system. He breathes in the sewer stained air disinterested about how it smells and does the sign of the cross to show how thankful he is to still be breathing. This next person is supposed to be in these sewer systems for some reason. When Sebastian finds his way to a part where parts of the sewer converge, he’s ambushed by the woman who killed his family and her armed guards.

She says, “We were expecting someone else, but this’ll do. You have only one option if you want to live. Join our ranks. It might take some getting used to, but it’ll be worth it. Trust me. I was in your exact position a couple years ago.”

“It’s over for you and your band of mercenaries or psychos or whatever you are. Three of your leaders are already under arrest and the law is after you.”

“That’s not an answer I’ve heard before, but it’s also the answer I didn’t want to hear. It’s a shame too. I would’ve gladly been a replacement for your wife.”

The sewer system begins to flood because of the heavy storm outside. Sebastian and the kidnappers run away from the impending rush of sewage water while some of the guards are instantly caught up in it. The water blocks off certain passages and manages to catch the guards while Sebastian and the woman are still able to keep running. The only escape they find is a ladder that leads to a sewer grate. Sebastian is ahead, so he’s the first one to climb up. Both of them manage to climb up the ladder just in time as the flood of sewage water passes by. Sebastian looks down at the woman and she can already tell what he’s thinking.

She smiles then says, “Marry me?”

Sebastian responds by saying, “That’s not how it works,” before kicking her face and making her fall into the putrid water. “Shit is supposed to go down the toilet. Just like you.”

He gets back to land and goes back to where the sewage water gets out to see the guards and woman wash up on the other side into the arms of the police. Somewhat thankful these people are still alive. He turns around to continue his journey of revenge. The paper that says the location of the kidnappers is wet and barely readable, but Sebastian can infer what it says since he looked at it several times already. He has to walk in the rain again to get to the next place, but Sebastian doesn’t mind. There are only a couple of people left. Two more people that deserve a fate worse than death.

 

 

Part 3 – The Redemption

This next person is not too far away from Sebastian. They’re at a popular bar and town and the place is full of people tonight. Sebastian casually walks into the bar and looks around to see what he’s up against. Everyone here is enjoying a new type of drug, so they’re not a problem. In the upper room of the bar, he finds the man who killed his friends. He’s not drugged up and drunk like his friends and customers. The man is also enjoying him with two women. He has a shotgun by his side, so going in to attack him head-on might not be a good idea. Sebastian heads to the back alley to find the truck that the man and his guards came in. The truck looks like it was recently open. In it, he finds the ingredients for the drug, a gas mask, a list of what the drugs do, which notes amounts needed for a high, and a bag full of them.

He gets an idea and takes what he needs. With the drug ingredients in hand, he puts the right amount of it in the air ducts so that it spreads throughout the building. Sebastian puts the gas mask on and waits a few seconds for the drugs to take their effect. When he goes to the bar, he finds everyone giggling and smiling on the ground. They’re exhausted because of the drug and don’t have the strength or care to move. The same thing goes with the man upstairs and his girls. Now that he doesn’t have the strength to fight back Sebastian takes the man and brings him downstairs to the bar. He takes the strongest drinks from behind the bar and forces the man the drink until he pukes. He then throws the man aside and into someone’s crotch.

There’s only one more place to go now. One more person to get revenge on. Before Sebastian leaves, he takes the man’s car keys to the truck, calls the police to this bar, and drives off to the final location. The rain is still pouring hard on this particularly dark night. The lightning is striking more frequently and erratically now as if nature is playing a song to signal the end of Sebastian quest for vengeance. This next place is an abandoned hospital. When Sebastian gets to it, a couple other cars and trucks leave the hospital while a couple stays behind. Before he goes into the building, Sebastian says a quick prayer before entering the building. He starts by going through the basement. In it, his eyes see the fire again for a second before his eyes adjust to see gas canisters and a lighter among the stolen goods. Sebastian takes the gas canister and pours it into the room.

Once the gas can is empty, he goes upstairs and starts dealing with the guards. These guards are more attentive about watching the windows than the hallways so they’re not much to deal with. After they’re all knocked out, Sebastian finds his last target. It’s the man who came up with the idea that he should martyr himself for his family. The man is on the phone with someone.

He says, “Just because the others are caught, it doesn’t mean that I can’t bring us back from the brink. I did start this whole group after all…I got a few ideas, start a worldwide scare, kill a couple big names, whatever sounds too edgy to be real…Of course, I was kidding-Of course I’m being serious! Look…Ok, fine. I’ll talk to you later when something actually happens. Wait, you know what? I’ll find you and you might not like it when I do. Good day to you sir.”

The man hangs up the phone and looks over the table of guns and checks them. Since he’s caught up in thought, he’s easy to knock out, but this can’t be the end of it all. It’s too easy. This man is the leader of the nameless band of mercenaries who are also kidnappers. It is not likely that this person will change his ways, which is where Sebastian’s plan comes into effect. He takes the unconscious bodies of the guards outside of the building along with the stolen goods. After that, he uses the gas canisters and soaks every inch of the building in it. He breathes in and out slowly before going through the final part of his plan. He puts the leader of the mercenaries in a room with him and wakes him up before setting the building ablaze.

Everything quickly catches fire including the way out of the room.

“What did you do?!” the leader says in a panic.

“I lit everything on fire. It all ends here.”

“What?! Why?! I-I’ll change! I swear I will. We can both get out of this mess together if we-”

“No, I already know how people like you work. This is the only way you’ll change.”

“And what are you going to do? Huh? Did you stay just to watch me burn?”

Sebastian hugs the man.

“What are you doing?!”

“I’m going to die here with you. I’ve already forgiven you and your friends. I don’t hate you.”

“How can you not? We killed everyone you hold dear and took all your stuff. Don’t you hate me?”

“I said I forgive you. I’m willing to die with you to show you that. To show that you still have a person in this world that cares about you.”

“I…I don’t know what to say.”

“Let go of your hate and honestly confess the things you did wrong. And…please forgive me for ending things this way. The fires will only burn me for a short while, but they will burn you for an eternity if you don’t do this.”

The man begins to sob and hug Sebastian as the flames begin to consume them. Sebastian feels the intense flames for only a short amount of time. In the fire, he sees everyone he holds dear waiting for him in the eternal light with open arms.

 

The End

 

Download the whole story on Smashwords for free – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/888809