Last Five Bullets

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Prologue – One Shot to Save a Life

Strange things happen, but I don’t think my life will ever get stranger from here. I got an email from the Curaga Company. They wanted my services as a bodyguard and I agreed, but when I met them, they offered me a different kind of bodyguard job.

They told me they wanted me to, “Be part of the security team that’s escorting part of our next big cure.”

The Curaga Company is known for curing most forms of cancer and other life-ending diseases. They apparently have one part of the cure to a disease they couldn’t disclose to me.

After some explaining, they said, “Do this for us and we’ll be able to cure your daughter of her disease that is thought to be incurable.”

“What? Really?”

“Yes.”

My life has been a series of terrible events until it culminated with the disease that put my daughter in the hospital. I’ve just been working guard jobs to keep myself and my daughter alive as long as possible.

“Why would you want to hire a nobody like me?”

“Because we are impressed by your devotion to your job. Let’s go over a few that sparked our interest the most. When you caught a criminal speeding, you knew that that criminal was part of a protected class of people, but you still defended yourself from him, shot him, and arrested him at the cost of your job as a police officer.”

“You find that particular action impressive? What if I find something I don’t like and think I should bring you to justice?”

“We are confident that we do no wrong. We aren’t some comical corporation of villains who conduct human experiments and make bioweapons. Now, the next thing was when you shot and killed various members of the mafia that owned the club you were a guard of. The report gives us the impression that you didn’t know who truly ran the club, so we’ll shrug off the fact that you were working for them.”

“You will? I took a lot of flak from not realizing it for the first week that I worked there.”

“You freed many women from prostitution. We will. The last thing that you may not want to be reminded of is-”

“I’m sorry, but if this is what I think it is…”

“We’ll keep the details to a minimum. You saved dozens upon dozens of people first before you went to save your family. Unfortunately, the only member of your family you saved was your daughter, so everyone else perished.”

“…”

“We’re sorry we had to remind you of that but remember the integrity that you have. It’s what makes you an unappreciated hero in the eyes of many and a dedicated worker. Do not think for a moment that you did the wrong thing by saving those other people first. If you just saved your family, so many more people would be dead and I’m sure your family and others would have a negative view of you. What credit is it to you if you love those who love you, am I right?”

“Yeah…I just don’t want to think about it.”

“So, what do you think? Will you accept our offer?”

“Everything you described before makes this job seem dangerous if you’re keeping it a secret. What will you do if I don’t come back?”

“If someone from your team comes back with the cure, we will cure your daughter for you as a sign of respect. If no one comes back with the cure, then we will release your daughter from the vegetative-like state she is in so she will join you in the afterlife. How does that sound?”

“I guess she doesn’t have any other options. I’ll take the job.”

“Very wise choice, Mr. Retto.”

I was then briefed on what we’re going to do, how we are going to do it, and the plans if things go south. I am given a hazmat suit with body armor and a special pistol that has “fire” bullets as they call them. They are better than normal bullets because they can penetrate harder surfaces and cure people who get infected with the cure we’re after. Apparently, when only one half of the cure is used on an animal, it mutates into a flesh-eating beast that can only be killed with fire or these kinds of bullets. I’m also given a heated knife that will burn the infected, I’m not sure if it’ll be too useful. Regular firearms don’t work on an infect animal as the animal will seemingly grow whatever got blown off in a mutated way that makes them more dangerous.

I’ve seen the videos of this, and man were they horrifying. I hope things don’t turn out that way.

“Hey, Mr. Retto,” a man on the helicopter says to me, “You’ve been staring into space for the past hour. You nearly look dead. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Good because we’re almost there so get ready.”

“Right.”

I look at the picture of my daughter one more time before we land.

“Don’t worry, sir. You’ll see her again.”

“I hope so.”

We’ve landed in a large cavern underneath a waterfall. This place must be extremely top secret for them to hide it like this. The inside of the facility looks incredibly slick and futuristic. There are a lot of experimental rooms that don’t look too bad, but there are rooms with dead mutated animals like the ones I saw from the videos. Those things better stay dead.

The people around us don’t look happy. Some are whispering to each other while the others look frightened. In the briefing, I heard that most of these people are just a hired third party with Curaga members mixed in. I don’t think I’m allowed to talk to any of them nor am I allowed to voice my concerns to my teammates. All I can do is just walk a little faster to get this over with quicker.

We enter a cold storage room with a few scientists in it.

The team leader steps forward and says, “We’re here to collect the other half of the cure. Give us what you have, and you will receive your agreed upon payment in full.”

There’s an uncomfortable silence in the room.

“We decline your payment. It’s not worth it.”

“Then hand over all the research that you have the cure.”

“I don’t think so.”

The scientists pull out guns, but we shoot them dead. I’m sorry it had to be this way. Why did they resist? I’m sure they were paid well to do something worthwhile.

“Hurry and collect the cure.”

“There’s empty slots over here. Are we expecting a certain amount?”

“No, just whatever they have will be useful.”

We take all the vials of the cure, put them in a box, and leave the room as if nothing happened. An alarm then gets rung as wild animals start devouring people. Damn these people! I guess we know where the other vials went. Why couldn’t they make it easy for us?! We use our special ammo on these creatures to kill them, but we waste a few since they’re so fast. Those who were killed reanimate themselves and become the living dead. What the hell is going on? Why are people becoming zombies?

My team is dying around me and turning. I knew something would go wrong and this job would end up turning on me! It’s just the climax to all the bad things that have been happening to me.

“AAAAHHHH!”

These things hit with the force of a sledgehammer. Oh no…

“AAAH!!”

Uhhh…Something hit me with this claw arms and knocked me into a wall. Wait…I’m still alive? Where is everyone? Where did all those zombies go? This place is a mess with blood everywhere, but no bodies or torn flesh anywhere. They do regenerate flesh, so I guess it just collects goes back where it came from. Those things are bound to be around here somewhere, so maybe there are some notes around here that can help me. Ah, I found them near the testing area.

Okay, so the flesh does form together once it’s broken off while regenerating what was lost. That means a huge monster formed of flesh and dangerous appendages could be made if enough flesh is collected together. That better not have happened yet. Oh, there’s also a note in here that says conscious prey is preferred over unconscious victims by the virus. The other people must’ve gotten out somehow if the zombies just left me.

Oh, damn, I almost forgot the other half of the “cure”. Some of the vials are broken, some are missing, but I do find one that’s still intact. This is my daughter’s ticket to being saved. Now I have to find a way out of here. Thankfully this place is straightforward, but I don’t like how quiet and dark it is. It feels like something will jump at me any second. The random sparks and noises have me on edge.

After following the path forward, I find a large set of stairs near a broken elevator. I guess I have to climb the stairs. It appears that people were fighting and dying as they were trying to escape. Wow, this is a lot of stairs. Where is it taking me…oh no. I’m in a town. This is a town that we passed by on the way here. I didn’t think the facility would have an exit to here. I’m in some kind of mechanic’s shop.

Looking out into the streets, I see that it’s littered with zombies and other mutants who are wandering around looking for their next meal. I have to get through them and find a way out of here. I take out my daughter’s head bow and put it on my arm. One of the last things she did for me while she was still mostly conscious was to give me her favorite head bow as a way of her to always be with me. I only have five bullets left to use with my knife being a somewhat useless backup. Your dad is going to help you and I’m going to do risk everything I have to get this cure to you. I promise. I’m going to need you to help me, sweetie.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1 – Five Bullets, Hundreds of Enemies

I need to reach Curaga to let them know I’m still alive and that I have the other half of the cure. The communication device on me is all static so I guess I have to reach a radio tower to enhance the signal. Luckily enough, there’s one in the distance. I just have to get there safely without attracting the attention of the hordes of flesh zombies. The flesh zombies are all congregating in the streets and appear to be combining together just by bumping into one another. This doesn’t appear to be deliberate, but this will be a problem if I don’t get out of here quick.

I look around the mechanic’s shop and find a door to the back alley. It’s empty back here and I find a fire exit above me. I use a nearby garbage can to climb my way up to the rooftops. The situation looks way worse up here with most of the streets crowded with flesh zombies. The town doesn’t look that big from where I am. I wonder if anyone is still alive.

While traveling across the rooftops, I do see people trying to fight. They appear to know that these zombies can regenerate, and that fire is the only way to kill them as they’re using sticks with fire on it. They appear to be holding their own so if I interfere, they will probably die, but I have no idea how they’re going to survive. I’m not even sure if Curaga want them to survive. There’s nothing that connects them to the infection except the hidden lab, but no one is going to find it unless they know where it is and unless they can completely burn this town to ashes.

The zombies haven’t noticed me, but I’ve seen them on the rooftops. It looks like they can crawl and climb relatively quickly though I don’t know why I haven’t gotten their attention yet. I know sound and smells have something to do with it. Maybe it’s because they seem to be focused on fusing with one another. They appear to know that fusing makes them stronger. I see two trying to break into a store. They meld together with each other to finally break down the door then turn around to meld with a few others before going into the store. That place better be empty.

Some of the zombies that have noticed me are a pain to deal with since I have so little that’s effective in dealing with them. I throw whatever I find on the roof at them and sometimes light things on fire with the heat from my knife to keep them away. This is already turning into a big problem especially since I’m so close to the radio tower. Hold on. It might not be. I see a bar not too far from here. I quickly get to it and start making as many molotov cocktails as I can. This place looks like it was a hideout before it was overrun. Who would want to make this place their hideout? It looks like they escaped out a secret exit behind the bar, which is where I’m going because the zombies are coming in.

Before leaving, I make sure the bar is set ablaze so the town can catch fire. The zombies won’t react to the fire until they feel its heat and by the time that happens, they all should be spreading the fire to one another. Now that I’m out of the bar, I sparingly use my molotovs on the crowds of zombies around me so they’re pre-occupied as I get to the radio tower. Once I reach the tower, I’ve used up all of my molotovs. I could only make so many in the time that I had. Damn. I can see in the distance that the bar collapsed on itself and some of the zombies are sacrificing themselves to put out the fire. At least there aren’t any zombies around here and I should have enough time to ask questions.

I link up my radio to the radio tower and call to Curaga, “Come in command. This is Retto. I’m-”

“We know you’re still alive, and we’re glad because of it.”

“What? How do you know?”

“The armor and equipment we gave you tell us your status and health. I guess that got brushed over in the briefing.”

“I’m not even going to question how, but what I’m going to need extraction. Several workers of yours didn’t want to give up half of the cure and-”

“We know what happened. The cameras there link directly back to our main headquarters.”

“Why didn’t they want to give us the other half of the cure?”

“It’s because they didn’t like the fact that they could only make it with our funding and that they won’t the major credit. It’s a thing of pride really. We are the leader in medical advances and the biggest in the business for a reason. Most other companies partner up with us nowadays just for a chance to be noticed and profit.”

“Having a monopoly isn’t as fun as it sounds, is it?”

“It’s not our fault most of the customers and governments in the world decided to choose us for all their medical needs. Well, maybe it’s partially our fault. We’re highly charitable to the world and our workers, and it seems that it was our downfall for this event, but you can change that if you bring us the cure. You can still save your daughter. We already have a helicopter going to the roof of the police station, which is the safest part of town that the helicopter can land on. Be quick about getting there. From what we see from our satellites is that the flesh is growing at a rapid rate, despite your efforts, and will soon overtake the town.”

“What about any survivors?”

“If there are any, you must make them escape on their own if you want to save them. They cannot escape with you because they may exaggerate what happened here and put all the blame on us. Finding evidence to prove our innocence will be difficult with how things are. Besides our recording of the recent event, we have no other evidence for our case. The traitors must’ve done all their planning outside of our facilities so that it looks like we are at fault for this outbreak.”

“Are you sure about the survivors? It doesn’t look like there’s any way to escape by vehicle or on foot. Do you really think that they’ll just blame the outbreak on you and not take us on our word?”

“Unfortunately, it’s the way things are going to have to be. This outbreak is the reason their home is destroyed. It is not likely that they will cooperate with us. Mr. Retto, you must be getting to the extraction point now. The helicopter is quickly approaching and once it lands, it cannot wait for long because of the dangers in the town. Good luck and Godspeed.”

I guess that’s the way things are going to have to be. The police station isn’t that far from here but getting there is another story. What am I going to do? What the? An explosion went off on one side of town. It looks like it took half the block with it. There’s my chance to move. I’m hoping what caused the explosion isn’t what I think it was because I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with it. Before going, I take one look at a picture of my daughter to give me strength then head out.

The now barren streets where the zombies once were are covered in blood without one piece of bone or flesh in sight. It looks like the explosion that gathered them together may prove to be a problem. Thankfully I find a nearby gun store. There should be something here I can use to keep the zombies at bay even if it isn’t that effective. Maybe there are some grenades I could use? Please?

Oh no. A group of four people come into the gun shop. We point our guns at each other.

“Who are you?” a slender man who looks like a gambler says.

“I’m just a survivor like you.”

“Really? Because I’ve never seen anyone wear anything that you do.”

“We don’t have time to interrogate him,” the teenaged girl says, “Are you going to let us take what we need from this shop or not?”

“You can have whatever you want as long as I take what I need.”

“Deal.”

I slowly lower my weapon first as the other four lower theirs. They then look through the shop while I go back to looking for explosives.

“What’s your plan, mister?” the teenaged girl asks me.

“I’m going to the police station then getting out of here.”

“Huh. Do you have someone there waiting for you?”

“I’m meeting someone there, so yes.”

“What’s your name?”

“Call me, Mr. Morte.”

“I’m Clarrisa.”

“I thought you said we don’t have time to interrogate him.”

“Shut it, Tony. I can talk to him if I want to. Did you find what we need?”

“Not yet.”

“Then mind your own business. Don’t mind him, Mr. Morte. He hasn’t learned how to listen to his superiors yet because he’s a rookie.”

“You guys are cops?”

“Yeah, and I’m the daughter of the chief of police, so you know I’m tough.”

“I used to be an officer until I did my job as an officer and brought a person of a protected class to justice.”

“If you were an officer here, you wouldn’t have been fired. Heck, I’d say you be promoted to chief of police just for that one act. You can still be since my father recently died and the position’s open.”

“Thank you, but I have to decline. I have to get a job done first.”

“Suit yourself then. We can escort you to the station. Think of it as a favor from one officer to another.”

“I’m fine on my own. You need to get out of town before it’s too late. I’m sure you’ve seen the growing number of flesh zombies that are melding together to form one enormous freak of nature.”

“You call those things flesh zombies? We just call them the flesh.”

“Don’t ignore my point. I’m used to doing jobs on my own. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Listen, old man. The place we’re going to is past the police station, and we’re going to need more weapons from the armory there, so we’re not bothering you if we tag along.”

She really wants to help even though she doesn’t know me. Her dad must’ve taught her well. I respect that, but I don’t want to be dishonest with her. I’ll have to make sure they leave before I’m picked up.

“If you’re going to be so persistent about it, then I guess I don’t have a choice. You can come along.”

“You got that right.”

Something in the corner of my eye catches my attention. It’s a flesh zombie that’s crawling on the glass outside of the gun store and it’s noticed us.

“Watch out!” I try to say as quickly as possible before the zombie attacks while pulling out a shotgun.

The zombie juts out its sharp bone-like tongue through the head of one of the cops. I shoot the zombie three times along with the other cops until the zombie is paste.

“Damn it!” Tony says as I gather my things.

I take out my knife, burn the remains of their friend, then burn the remains of the zombie.

“What are you doing?”

“These zombies come back to life and tougher if you don’t burn everything. Don’t you know that?”

“No. We’ve been surviving for a while and haven’t figured that out. How did you?”

“I pay more attention.”

Crowds of zombies start appearing around us.

“What the heck?” Clarrisa says as she readies her weapons, “I thought that explosion we made would’ve held their attention for longer.”

“I think we attract them more than sound.”

I take out the grenade launcher I found and start blowing up the nearby cars to start fires in the streets.

“Let’s hurry!” I say as I run through an alley, which is the only area without zombies.

I’m glad and terrified at the same time that I have help with me. What am I going to do to save their lives while also keeping my secret? I’m going to have to come up with an answer soon, and I already know that it’s going to be difficult.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2 – A Biohazardous Residence

How many people live in this town? These streets are swarming with flesh zombies. I’ve been following Clarissa to get to the police station, but every place we go seems to be crowded with the undead.

“Let’s take a shortcut through the grand hotel,” Clarissa says as she points at the large hotel in front of us.

Since I don’t know any other better ways, I follow her into the hotel where we sit down and take a breather. This place has been boarded up and reinforced with furniture in certain entrances, so someone was definitely here. The lights aren’t on, so I’m assuming this place doesn’t have any power. There are signs of fighting with blood in certain places but no bodies, which is worrying. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to see dead bodies as much as I wanted to in my life before.

“We should get moving. Those things will be melding with one another to break down the doors and I don’t want to be around to see that abomination,” I say as I get up.

“He’s right. Let’s move,” Clarrisa says as she follows after me.

“Do you know the way out of here to get to the station?”

“Yeah. It’s a straightforward path.”

“It doesn’t look like it’ll be with all of the junk in the hallways.”

“I can find a way around it. My friends and I always used to play hide and seek in this place when we were kids, so I know this place inside and out. I even know the little secret areas like the ones where the janitors kept their pinups of women. There was one photo that I found that was a ‘questionable’ photo let’s say of one of the employees.”

“That’s good to know.”

“So how did a cop like you get a job that landed you in our humble little town?”

“I got an email then traveled down here for the job. It’s not an exciting story.”

“What job did you get?”

“Guard duty.”

“For who?”

“Why does it matter, and why do you keep asking?”

“There’s no reason to keep quiet because those things know where we are, and I’d like to know more about you since you seem to be an interesting fella.”

We hear noises that sound like walking that makes us jump.

“You two can flirt later. Guns up,” Tony says.

We get closer to the noises until we see what’s causing it. Apparently, someone left a birdcage near a barricade and it’s been knocking down some of the luggage that’s blocking the hallway. We let out a sigh of relief.

“We should take this little guy with us. He could warn us when danger arrives.,” Clarrisa says as she grabs the bird’s cage.

“Why do you even ask when you just do it?” Tony asks.

“Who said I asked?”

We then enter a large dining hall with various kinds of supplies in it. Gas, food, makeshift weapons, and some guns are strewn about everywhere. It looks like the people here left in a hurry and took what they could. They didn’t leave any explosives, but the gas will be useful when the zombies get in. Tony and the other guy are eating what they can while Clarrisa is feeding the bird and herself.

“Do you want something, Mr. Morte? This may be your only chance to eat something,” Clarrisa says to me.

“I’m good.”

Even though I am hungry, I probably shouldn’t show them my face.

“What? Don’t want to show us your face or are you trying to be a big man?”

“No, I’m just not hungry. Besides, we can’t sit down for long.”

“You can’t take a quick bit of something? Maybe you’re wearing that gas mask for some other reason we don’t know.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. Do you think the air is infected?”

“I don’t think it is.”

Curaga never mentioned part of the cure affecting the air, so it shouldn’t be airborne in any way. Clarrisa walks over to me and stares me down with a smile.

“Stop messing around,” Tony says.

“Shut up,” Clarrisa commands him.

“If Morte wants to keep his secrets, let him. We’re going to leave him soon anyway.”

“His secrets are why I want to know more about him.” Clarrisa starts to take off my mask, but I grab her hand. She then pulls her pistol on me. “If you don’t let me see your face, then I will show you that the flesh will be the least of your worries.”

Not wanting to cause any trouble, I let her take off my mask. Everyone looks at me, including the bird for some reason.

“Do you know him? Because I sure as hell don’t,” Tony says.

“No, I don’t. He does look handsome for an old man though,” Clarissa says while putting my mask back on.

Thank you, God, no one knows who I am.

“I’m flattered, now can you stop messing around?”

“What? Don’t like a pretty girl getting close to you?”

The bird starts flying around in its cage seconds before a loud bang is made outside the hall. They’re in. Heavy footsteps walk through the hallway and stop outside the hall. We all have our guns up as we stand in the center of the room in case we get flanked from behind. The footsteps then cease for a couple seconds before what’s making them breaks through the wall.

It’s a large zombie with bones around every part of its body except for the bottom part of its face and its chest. We open fire on the creature as it charges at us. Bullets don’t slow it down, and I’ve already run out of grenade launcher ammo, so we dodge out of the way. It appears that it’s down for now as it’s slumped on the corner of the wall. I have to burn this thing somehow before it comes back worse than before.

“It’s not going to be dead for long. Help me burn it. Let’s move!” I say as I quickly run over to it.

First, I try to move the thing so that I can burn its flesh since its bone burns, but the fire isn’t burning through it, and the damn thing is too heavy. Even with the help of the other three, we can’t move the hulking monster.

“There’s only one option if we want to prevent this thing from coming back,” I say to the three, “We have to light up the wall this thing is on with gas, but the fire will probably light the rest of this place, and I doubt the sprinklers are working.”

“It’s really going to be like that, huh?” Tony asks as he flips open his lighter.

“That’s what it’s going to have to be,” Clarrisa says as she pours the gas on the monster.

After Clarrisa is finished pouring the gas, I light it on fire, and I quickly follow her out of the room. More sounds that sound like the zombies breaking in are made around the hotel. I make a short line from the gas can I have to the rest in the hall and light it on fire.

“Move! Move!” I say as the hotel begins to burn.

Clarrisa leads us through the halls of the hotel, some of which are blocked. The zombies start breaking through the ceilings and walls with some of them armored with bone, others have nothing but sharp bones on their bodies, and some are just half heads with mouths for bodies. We shoot these zombies or run away if we can. Suddenly, the hotel shakes as a loud noise is made.

“What was that?!” Tony frantically asks.

“It doesn’t matter. Keep moving!” I say as I keep running.

The zombie horde keeps breaking into the hotel and we keep mowing through them until we reach a dead end.

“Clarrisa?”

“This is the only other way out!”

“Maybe there’s another way.”

The wall behind us is broken down by a massive monster made of flesh. It’s a mess of faces, bones, eyes, teeth, mouths, arms, legs, and other body parts are all together in a mesh of horror. Without saying anything, Tony and I start firing at the atrocity with everything we got while Clarrisa and the other guy start taking out the luggage and tables from the barricade. I don’t think my fire bullets will do anything, so my trump card is out the window. Shooting its eyes, inside its mouth, and its appendages slows it down a bit, but it isn’t slowing down as much as I want it to.

Our backs are almost against the wall, so I start helping clear the barricade by throwing the luggage into the atrocity’s mouth, which actually chokes it up a bit. No wonder why it shoved it aside. I didn’t think it mattered, but once all of its mouths are full, it doesn’t matter anymore. Thankfully, the way is clear now to an exit without a door, so we just run through it, but the other guy who I don’t know is taken in by one of its tendrils and eaten whole. We shouldn’t have stopped firing at it. There’s nothing we can do for him, so I push Tony and Clarrisa outside and away from the hotel.

“I’m sorry, but he’s gone,” I say to them.

“It’s still coming after us!” Clarrisa says as she points at it.

That thing is larger than I think because it’s leaking out of all the floors of the hotel. Dammit! Is this thing made of all the zombies in the town?! The three of us shoot at it to slow it down as we back away. The good news is that the building is burning, which is probably one of the reasons why it was coming at us so fast. I look around for something to help us and see a gas station behind us.

I tell the two, “There’s a gas station behind us. We can use the gas there to make the fire spread faster!”

“I’ll get the gas! Hold it off!” Tony says as he runs to the gas station.

Clarrisa and I hold off the atrocity as it tries to stab and grab us with its long tendrils. The fire is making it weaker, but it’s still putting up quite a fight with all the appendages it has. It’s like the hotel itself is the monster. Tony comes back with four canisters of gas, but the atrocity catches him.

“Tony!” Clarissa yells out.

“Don’t worry, chief! I got this!”

Tony pour the gas on the atrocity and himself and lights both of them on fire. Tony is screaming out in agonizing pain, but I can tell he is satisfied with his decision with a small smirk on his burning face. The atrocity doesn’t appear to be dead, but at least it isn’t moving towards us anymore.

Clarrisa is crying for her friend, so I try to comfort her by putting my hand on her shoulder while saying, “He’s a hero, Clarrisa.”

“And I’m proud of him. For a rookie, you knew what to do when faced with a difficult decision. Now…you’re going to take me with you.”

“What? No. You don’t want to be with me. I’ll just be slowing you down since I have to wait at the station.”

“My plan was to escape with those two but you’re the only one I can go with now.”

“I’m not escaping until I need to do what I need to at the police station. Just find a car and escape with it without me. There shouldn’t be many more zombies in the town so you should have a clear shot out of here.”

“I’m not leaving without you. I’m the only cop left in this town and I’m not going to leave another one to die. You’re taking me with you and that’s it.”

“…Fine.”

“Good. I knew you’d see it my way.”

Clarrisa and I walk to the police station, which I see in the distance. The streets are empty, and the danger appears to have diminished, but what am I going to do with Clarrisa?

 

 

Chapter 3 – Chekhov’s Gun

We’re almost to the police station and there hasn’t been one single flesh zombie in sight. This feels so wrong compared to before where I couldn’t look in a single direction without seeing one of those things, but the town seems completely empty now. It makes sense because of what we just fought though it feels like there should be more. This makes things difficult for me in how I need to get rid of her. I’m hoping that either the people in the helicopter or in Curaga will change their mind if I can convince them that she can come with me. They must have seen what happened. They must know that she can be useful.

She’s sticking close to me while looking around and looking down at the ground every few seconds. Poor girl just lost her home and everyone she knew. There has to be something I can do.

“We’re here,” Clarrisa says as we arrive at the front of the police station.

This place isn’t heavily barricaded so it’s easy to slip into. The inside of the station barely has any blood in it and the place is mostly clean with a few things lying around as if someone was trying to leave after a normal Friday and they just wanted to go home. We pass by the armory and find that most of the guns are gone, but we do find some ammo and leftover grenades.

“We should take these just in case,” I say.

“You don’t think there are more out there, do you?”

“Better to be safe than sorry.”

“My dad always said that. He always warned me not to get into danger unless I knew I could get out.”

“He’s a smart man. I told my own daughter something similar.”

“You have a daughter?”

“Yeah. She has an incurable disease.”

“Is this job to help her?”

“Yes, it is.”

“I have a feeling you know more about this outbreak of flesh zombies than you let on. Is it true?”

Why does she really have to ask me this now?

She continues, “I know you’re an experienced officer, so you must be trained in knowing when someone’s lying, but that also must mean you know how to lie. You’ve been leaving just enough details in what you say and enough honesty in your voice to convince me that you’re an honest man, so be honest with me.”

“Your dad taught you how to be a good cop. I’m sure he’s proud of you.”

“Dad didn’t raise his daughter to be an airhead. Give me an honest answer.”

“The honest truth is that I was sent here to retrieve part of a cure that caused this outbreak, but the people who worked with us rebelled because they wanted the credit and fame for themselves. The cure itself can cure millions of people including my daughter, but when it’s separate, it’s deadly. Don’t blame the cure makers. Just blame the selfish pricks who didn’t want to cooperate because they weren’t going to get the credit they wanted.”

“Can you tell me who you work for?”

“You can figure that out on your own. A helicopter is coming here to pick me up with half the cure, but they don’t want anyone coming with me because they don’t trust you. That’s why you have to escape on your own.”

“They’re not much of a company that wants to help people if they want to leave me for dead.”

“They don’t want you dead. They just would rather you didn’t know who they were because you might not understand that it wasn’t their fault.”

“If that’s the way it’s going to be, then I will figure it out on my own.”

“I know you will. Now, go get a vehicle and leave.”

“Fine.”

Clarrisa leaves with her weapons. She’s going to find the answers she wants or Curaga is going to find her. I just know it. I hope they don’t do anything bad…oh no.

“Watch out!”

A large tendril is about to hit Clarrisa through a window, so I push her out of the way before it hits her.

“Clarrisa!”

“I’m okay!”

“Get out of here! Hurry!”

“How about you follow your own advice, old man?!”

Right. I head up the stairs as tendrils begin to pierce through them. Is that atrocity from before still alive or is this a different one? Whatever the answer is, I’m sure I’ll find out soon. When I get up to the roof, I look into the distance to see my helicopter, but when I look off one ledge I almost get hit with a tendril. I throw a few grenades I have off the ledge and after they all blow up, I slowly approach the ledge and look down to see a mess of burnt flesh, body parts, faces, and mouths. It’s definitely the same atrocity as before, but it’s smaller now and looks as if it cut off part of itself. Maybe it knew to do that so it could survive. There’s some kind of heart or core in the center of the mess that has veins connecting it together. I shoot at it and nothing happens. Even my last couple grenades don’t do anything.

Suddenly, I hear my helicopter and before I know it, it’s landing on the roof. When I look back down, I see that the atrocity is regenerating. My fire bullets are probably the only good weapon I can use. I then see a police car driving away. She finally gets out, but the atrocity gets up and runs with its many legs after Clarrisa. My normal bullets don’t do anything on the charred legs and body, and it’s already too far for my pistol shots to hit it. Damn it!

“Get in the chopper already!” I hear someone from the helicopter say.

I can’t do anything to help her now. Unless…

I get into the helicopter and tell the pilot, “Chase after that police car! That officer needs help!”

“Okay, but we aren’t stopping. Use the turret if you really want to do some real damage.”

I quickly get to the turret and unload whatever I can as we fly over Clarrisa, but I can only land so many shots that slow the atrocity down by a little. If only I had used my fire bullets on the core when I had the shot, then she wouldn’t have had any trouble escaping. It sounds like she’s taking sharp turns as she tries to dodge the atrocity. It’s on her tail. Come on Clarrisa…

“You still have half the cure, right?” the pilot asks.

“I got it.”

“It’s amazing that you survived. I heard that it was Hell on earth down there.”

“It was. I got out by the skin of my teeth thanks to a group of cops.”

“Is that who was in that car?”

“Yeah. There’s only one of them that survived.”

“That’s tough. They’re going to have a slim chance of survival especially with what’s coming next.”

“What do you mean?”

“They didn’t tell you? Here, use this comm device to ask them.”

The pilot gives me a communication device and I say into it, “This is Retto. I’m aboard the helicopter a-”

“We’re so glad you escaped, Mr. Retto. We knew we could rely on you. You’re just in time as well.”

“In time for what?”

“We were going to tell you, but we thought you already had so much rushing you that we thought it was better not to tell you about the nuke coming in.”

“Nuke?!”

“That’s the only way to truly clean the city. Any other way would just risk another outbreak.”

“Delay it! I rescued an officer who is trying to avoid an abomination of flesh while trying to escape.”

“Then we can only pray and hope that the officer escapes. We cannot call off the nuke especially since we’ve already pulled so many strings to get it deployed in the first place.”

I hit the side of the helicopter.

“Damn it! I should’ve brought her with me. If you only let me bring her with me-”

“Then you would’ve been in greater danger. We don’t believe in the exchange of lives, but you must think about the lives that will be saved with what you have. Don’t worry about the woman. If you think she is capable, she will escape.”

“Tch.”

“We will be seeing you soon with your reward, Mr. Retto, and don’t look directly into the explosion of the nuke, otherwise, you’ll be blinded.”

“Thanks for the tip.”

About thirty seconds pass before the town is nuked. I look at the aftermath and see that everything around the town is destroyed too. I guess the explosion had to be massive in order to destroy any infected creatures that might’ve wandered out of the town. Clarrisa is a smart girl, but I don’t know if she made it. If she did die…I don’t know. I can’t let myself worry about it now.

In the following days, my daughter is cured and is now perfectly healthy along with millions of other people. Even though I didn’t help in making the cure, my name is included with the others who did make it, which has given me some fame in the industry and government. I’m also set for life with the amount of money that Curaga has given me along with free healthcare, which is a nice bonus, however, I can’t get the events I went through out of my head.

My daughter and I now live in a nice small house for the two of us filled with all the things she wants. Pictures of my family, accomplishments, and all her toys and dolls in shelves for everyone to see. I don’t care for the look of the house, but I put my foot down when she suggests things such as putting up purple, red, and pink curtains all over the house to make it look fancier. My daughter goes to a special school to catch up on what she missed, and she’s doing well. I didn’t expect anything less from my daughter.

Speaking about daughters, Clarrisa is still on my mind. My daughter keeps reminding me of her because she wants to be an officer like me and acts tough and asks questions like how Clarrisa did. It may just be me being too hard on myself, but I could’ve saved more people if I actually used my fire bullets. I didn’t because I was afraid of exposing myself and risking my daughter’s life. Sure, the lives of millions of others were at stake, but in my mind, if I can’t save a single life, then I can’t save anyone. I’ve talked to psychiatrists at Curaga and they’ve told me to be easier on myself and the priests I see tell me the same. I guess I should just let it go, but I feel like I’m turning my back on my calling since I do nothing nowadays besides reading theology and philosophy books, instead of looking for guard jobs or at least trying to get back into law enforcement.

On one normal day, I get a knock at the door. A man dressed in a casual suit greets me and says, “We at Curaga have uses for your skills again if you wish to aid in the saving of more lives. What do you say, Mr. Retto?”

We talk about the pay and who will take care of my daughter then I say, “I accept, but please, call me Mr. Morte.”

 

The End

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

 

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