Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction (5 page)

BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
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“I understand, I’m not stupid. I’m feeling a little under the weather, from our conversation.  Maybe, I’ll just have a little nap.”

“That’s a great idea Robert. You should do that.”

 

Robert went over to the cot in the back of the office and laid down. Chaz opened the door, but flipped the lock on before closing it from the outside. It stayed locked. Just for extra measure, he put all his weight on the handle bending it till it was inoperable.
That should buy me a little extra time, in case our freaky geek decides to cut his nap short. Time to pay a visit to Patzy.

 

***

 

It didn’t take long for Chaz to find his way to Alpha Lab. This lab had no windows, only a single white door. Chaz opened the door and walked in. Nothing he’d encountered so far, could have prepared him for what he was about to see. The lab was dark, except for the center of the room. There were ten separate but connected glass tanks each sized for and containing the body parts of what could only have been patient zero … Patzy.

 

Each arm, leg, hand and foot were in a separate tank. The torso and head were also in their own tanks. The tanks were suspended but still connected in proper anatomical position. Patzy looked like Michelangelo's proportions of man drawing. The arms were straight out at ninety degrees from the torso, with the tanks holding the hands just at the ends of the arms. The legs were slightly wider than shoulder width, with the feet just hanging below. The head in the middle where it belonged, but the eyes were missing. Everything else seemed in place. A bluish bubbling liquid pulsed through the tanks. Narrow silver metal tubes connected all the tanks, and some sort of organic strands could be seen running from each body part through the tubes to the next. The strands between head and torso were thicker, and throbbed as a red liquid moved through them. A large circular metallic wheel surround the grotesque display and supported all the parts with hanging wires and supports. From the wheel hung multiple wiring harnesses that fed to the computers and lab machines around the room.

 

The lab was void of personnel, as Chaz said out loud, “What the hell have these sick bastards been up to!”

He backed slowly towards the door he had entered. Initially taken back by the sheer monstrosity of what was before him, Chaz now noticed the details of her face. It was older and more wrinkled than any he had ever seen. Even though it was encased in liquid, the face still looked as dry and recessed as a corpse rotting in the desert sun. The skin though, was free of blemishes and scarring. It just looked bone dry old.
How can that thing even be alive? How could it have any affect on someone outside this room, let alone those outside the walls of the fort. It barely looked alive.

 

Then Patzy started twitching. Just little twitches at first. Chaz wasn’t even sure she had move at all as he moved in for a closer look. The liquid in her tanks started changing color, from blue to clear. It started with the tank encasing her head and slowly spread to the remaining tanks. As it cleared, it became luminescent. Like a light was being shone through from the other side. Then, just as all the color changed from blue to clear in the tank of her feet, Chaz heard a voice. It was the voice of a young girl. A voice that seemed familiar.

 

 

 

Patient Discovery

Patzy’s mouth moved. “You are tired and lost. You who has never been here before, are afraid. You who have have never been afraid are lost. I know why you come here.”

Chaz tilted his head and shuffled back closer to the door.

“You who has come so far, does not want to leave now. Come closer. I mean you no harm. It’s not in my nature to harm.”

Chaz stopped moving, and asked, “Where are your eyes? Why are only your eyes missing?”

“They did not want me to see them. They were afraid I would recognize them perhaps later. Perhaps in my multiples.”

“Your multiples?”

“Those I change. Those who become more than they are, and more like me.”

“You mean the other freaks you mutated. Those outside our walls.”

“I don’t know this meaning of ‘freaks’. Others outside this wall are some of my multiples. Those who took my eyes, were afraid I would know them through my multiples. They think they’ve protected their futures, but they know nothing of the future. I know of your future.”

“Yea, that’s great, but I’d really rather not know anything else about my future.  I have a hard enough time dealing with my past. Your voice sounds too young, but it seems familiar to me. Why?”

“I learned it from her. I like to learn from the new ones. She is better. Better than I am, but she is not the first. I will always be the first. The only first. Always the first … forever.”

Chaz took a step forward. “Her? Who is her? Are you talking about Christa?”

“The new one … yes. She is better. Better, but not as old. I am the first. They are afraid of me … they took my eyes.”

“Is that why you're … in pieces?”

“Yes, they want to control me, and need to keep me disconnected. I am incomplete in this state. There will be no more multiples for me. She will though … she is better.”

“Christa is better? How?”

“Yes, the Christa … she is better and she will win because she is better. She will be served by the almighty.”

“The almighty? Who is the almighty? Do you mean God?”

“I do not understand this ‘God’. The almighty are below us, but in control of you and yours. They put me here, they try to control me, but it is fleeting.”

The color of the water changed momentarily from clear to a light shade of red, then back to clear.

“The almighty are the suits from the lower level. Is that who you mean?” Chaz asked.

“Yes, from below, they control lives. Mine and yours. For now.”

“And Christa, what about Christa? Is this what they plan for her? This atrocity they’ve inflicted on you. Is this Christa’s future?”

“No, this won’t work any longer. She is better. They have other plans. Bigger, atrocious plans … better plans. But, she is better. She doesn’t understand yet. She is only now awakening.”

“What are their plans? I need to know what they are, so I can help her. I can make this better.”

“How can you help her?  She is better … that is all that matters … plans? I know not plans. What they plan for does not matter. Only the now, and what will be. Things that must occur will. Plans are without substance.”

“Damn it ya old freak! You don’t want this to happen to anyone else do you? Especially someone else like you. I can help her, and make her even better than she is now. Even better! Do you understand that? She could be even better than she is now. Help me out here.”

“Yes, I can help. Make her better ... if you can. The almighty will attempt to guide you, but what they do defies reasoning. You must go to them, and decipher their way. Only then can you make her better.”

“Yea great. As if I haven’t caused enough trouble messing around where I don't belong. Now, you want me to get even deeper into it? What the hell? Things couldn’t get that much worse could they?”

 

Chaz could still hear Patzy talking as he headed for the elevators.
I really should get to Christa. If that thing knows about the suits down below, then Montgomery knows as well. God knows what they’ve done with her. Given what’s happened to Patzy, I don’t even want to think about it. But if anything Patzy told me is true, then whomever’s pulling the strings downstairs is the one I need to deal with. They’re the real authority here, and the key to finding out what’s really going on.

 

 

 

Friends In Low Places

Chaz found himself once more on top of the elevator waiting for a ride. The elevator control panel he found, was biometrically secured. The best way he could think of at the moment to get to the government level with the suits, was to hitch a ride with someone else. Waiting wasn’t easy. Chaz’s thoughts raced back and forth between the horror show that was Patzy, to all the possible outcomes for Christa.
Sure, she’s not entirely human, but she’s not one of those freaks either. I know she’s more than just a little kid, but these people don’t even think of her that way. What could possibly be worse than what they did to patient zero? Maybe I’m just letting my imagination get away with me. Who says it has to be something worse? Patzy just said it would be something different. That what they did to her wouldn’t work with Christa. Maybe, it wouldn’t be so bad. They could just keep her isolated. Not likely though, given what Montgomery had told him about how the mutation works. Not that I can trust Montgomery. She’s keeping more secrets then the General at the moment. Could the president actually be here?

 

Chaz’s thoughts were interrupted by the elevator door opening. A woman in blue overalls entered and keyed the panel. The elevator started moving downward.

 

She’s different thought Chaz. I haven’t seen anyone wearing overalls in the facility yet. Maybe some maintenance personnel? But why none of them on the upper levels. Maybe, there weren’t many, and he just hadn’t seen one yet. Chaz’s first thoughts were to take out the maintenance worker, but he reconsidered. I don’t want to be creating any bigger of a disturbance tonight then I need to. Who knows if crazy Robert will keep quiet, and I don’t need to be alerting any more people to my presence then necessary. It’s a short ride, just wait a little bit longer.

 

The elevator came to a stop, and Chaz moved quickly. Silently, he moved the access panel and lowered himself down from behind, as the maintenance worker moved towards the open door.
If I time this just right, she won’t even notice me.
Chaz held on suspended from above, as the worker exited the elevator, then dropped to the floor in a crouched position just as the doors started to close. The worker was already moving down the outward hallway. Chaz started to reach for the closing doors, just as another hand reached through the doors from the hallway.

 

The other hands pried open the doors, and a white lab coat entered the elevator. The researcher looked at Chaz momentarily, then turned and pressed a button on the panel. Chaz recognized this guy as the one who had talked to him near Alex’s room.
Maybe he won't recognize me. This was a bit of an awkward situation.

 

Shit, this could get ugly again … or maybe not.
The lab coat spoke.

“I’ve never seen one of you military types down here before. Montgomery must have decided to start sharing some of her secrets.”

Chaz didn’t respond at first, but decided to go along with his story.

“Yea, in the spirit of teamwork and all it seemed like a good idea. Pretty hard to keep something like this a secret for too long.”

“I suppose so."  The researcher took a double take on Chaz.  "Say, didn’t I see you earlier tonight? You were with the new group that came in from the outside right?”

“That’s right.”

“You must have had quite the adventure getting here. How did you manage to survive getting past all those things outside?”

 

The elevator was moving far too slow for Chaz’s liking, and in the wrong direction. He really didn’t want to have to sit and wait there, for someone else to key the fingerprint scanner to get the elevator moving again. For the moment though, he went with the conversation.
This could be an opportunity to get a little more information about what the hell is going on around here.

 

“So, how did things go down below with the big shots?”

“Ahh, not so bad. You know, the usual. They just want to know about every little thing we’re doing. They seem so concerned, that we’re going to mess up their master plan.”

“Yea those all important big plans of theirs. Any idea how those are going?”

The researcher gave a questioning sidewards glance to Chaz, and started fidgeting in his pocket.

“You know they never tell us anything about that right? They didn’t tell you anything about it did they?”

 

Chaz heard beeps coming from whatever the researcher was fiddling with in his pocket.
Damn it, he doesn’t trust me. He’s trying to dial someone without me noticing. This is about to go south. As the researcher reached for the emergency button on the elevator panel,
Chaz brought both hands together and down hard on the back of the researchers head. He started to say something, then crumpled in a heap on the floor.
Damn, not quite what I had in mind. What the hell to do with this guy now?

 

The elevator stopped at the lower medical level. The doors open, and for just a second, Chaz caught a break. There was no one to witness the remnants of his little melee with the lab tech. Chaz quickly reached for the close door button. Then, dragging the unconscious researcher closer to the panel, he dragged his finger across the biometric scanner and pressed the government level button.

 

As soon as the doors closed, Chaz quickly got to work. He reached up and popped open the access panel above him. Next, he relieved the researcher of his lab coat. He wrapped the coat under the researchers arms and left enough free to get a grip on. Holding on to the tail of the lab coat, he pulled himself up through the access panel with the other. Once atop the elevator, he braced himself, and pulled the researcher through with both hands.
Damn boy, you're a lot heavier then you looked.
Using the researchers belt and pants, he secured both his hands and feet to the main cable.

“Sorry buddy, not the nicest place to wake up, but I need to keep you quiet for at least the next little while.”

 

Chaz jumped back down into the elevator, and put the panel back in place. He chuckled a bit to himself.
That guy’s gonna be scared shitless when he wakes up in the dark on top of an elevator. He should be alright though. Eventually someone will hear his screams over the sound of the elevator and rescue him.

 

Chaz jumped back down in the elevator just as it was coming to a stop, wearing the lab coat he had borrowed from his friend atop the elevator. As the door opened this time, no one was anywhere in sight.
Finally, the one time I feel like I blend in, and there’s no one here to greet me. Time to find out what’s really going on here.
Chaz headed into the empty hallway and turned right. This wing looked significantly different from the other wings he had been to so far. The walls here were covered in dark wood paneling. Elaborate lighting sconces illuminated the hallways, and solid brass knobs and numbering were on all the doors he passed.
This wasn’t a cheap place to build. Glad to know that all my tax dollars were well spent on some big wigs version of a man cave.

 

Ahead of Chaz just down the hallway were two suits walking towards him. No point in turning around, they already see me. Besides, this time I dressed for the part. As he got closer to the suits, they take notice of him and the larger one holds up his hand.

“Hey, I don’t know you. Where do you think your going?”

Chaz replies. No, I’ve been around a while, it’s just my first time down here. I was just looking for the wash … ”

“You don’t have time for that, and you're heading the wrong way. The assembly is taking place in the auditorium. It’s down the hall you just came from. Take two lefts at the end, and follow the signs to the presentations room. They’ll be waiting for you. You don’t want to keep the people at this meeting waiting. They’re not your average big shots.” The two suits gave each other a knowing grin.

“What do you mean? My boss just said I had to go and get a status report on the girl the military brought in from the outside.”

“Oh yea, don’t worry, you’ll be getting an update. Just get your ass moving. They’re waiting now.”

Chaz nodded his head. “Yes you're right, I should just get going.” He turned and headed away from the suits.

 

As Chaz got to the presentation room, it was already full. He was feeling like the last kid getting to class after the bell rang.
The trick, is to be quiet and blend quickly he thought. As he entered the room, it was only about half full. He was grateful for the video screens that had everyone's attention. They were alternating between the scenes outside the fort, the White House in ruins, a video stream of patient zero, and Christa. No one seemed to notice him enter the room. Except, for the person at the microphone on the stage asking for everyone to be seated now that everyone was present. They must have me confused with someone else, thought Chaz. Here’s to hoping that extra person doesn’t show up and ruin my disguise.

 

The videos on the screen stopped much to Chaz’s disappointment, as he only caught a fleeting glance of Christa. A longer look may have given him a chance to track her down easier. As everyone took their seats Chaz headed for a seat between two suits in the back of the room.
Less chance of being outed by suits than my supposed colleagues from the medical wing, if I sit between those two.
As he took his seat, the lights dimmed, and a spotlight shone on the pedestal at the front of the room. A rather large Asian man approached the podium, and launched into an introduction.

 

“The man you're about to hear today, needs no introduction. He’s led this country through some of it’s most difficult times, and accomplished feats that no American has before accomplished. Serving uniquely as the vice president for our last three presidents, he’s highly qualified to lead us through this next great challenge. A challenge we all face as a nation, but that you people here in this facility have the honored privilege of being the vanguard of. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for every single one of you in this room. And now, I ask you to give a respectful welcome to Vice President Theo Masters.”

 

Chaz couldn’t believe what he was seeing at first as the room applauded.
It really was the Vice President walking from behind the curtain to the podium. So, he managed to survive that attack on the White House. That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while. Not that it would take much, and I’m not sure what he can really do at this point, or exactly what he’s doing hiding underground.
Chaz started applauding as well when he noticed to two suits giving him odd glances.
Gotta remember to keep blending in.

 

As the Vice President took the podium, the applause died down, and the few standing found their seats.
That’s a pretty heartfelt welcome. I guess that being locked in a bunker for a few years during the apocalypse, makes you a little starved for good news from the outside world.

 

The Vice President spoke.

“I’d like to apologize for the late hour of this meeting, and I want to think you all for taking the time from your busy work schedules. I know what you're all doing is very important. I also want you to know, that even though you don’t always hear it, your country and your leaders are also grateful for what you're doing. I’m no man of science, but I do know something about challenges and achieving goals.”

 

Geez, thought Chaz. Is this going to be one of those pep rally speeches? I really hope he didn’t come all the way here, just for that. C'mon, give me something real to work with.

 

“I know, it can take years to get real work done, and that anything of real value takes mountains of work. But, every once a a while, fate smiles upon you and gives you just what you need. Finding a cure for this infestation has been long coming, and I know how close you've come in the past. Today I’m told that with the arrival of the little girl named Christa, that your victory … all our victory, is closer than ever. After learning as much as we can from this little messiah, we will allow her to go forth and weaken our enemy.  The enemy that's been at our door steps for far too long.”

 

Messiah is a strange choice of words, thought Chaz. The VP is not normally known for being spiritual in either his speech making or his policy decisions. Maybe good speech writers are hard to come by these days?

 

“I know many of you have longed for the day, when you can leave this bunker and return to your friends and families.  Friends and family that many of you haven't seen in years. And for many of you, I hope you can do that. We all know, of course that the old saying ‘you can never go home’. Our world has changed, and not necessarily for the better. But it has changed, and given the monumental accomplishments you’ve achieved here, I’m sure you will be able to pick up the pieces from those previous lives. Not only pick them up, but make them whatever you want them to be. They will be different, and they may not be what you expect. I’m here today to deliver a message that’s never been spoken by the leaders of this country or any country. I’m hear to prepare this group first, because you are the vanguard of this great victory. I’m counting on all of you here to spread this message when the time is right.”

BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
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