Creep World: Book II (Part 1)
The entire novel Creep World is on the bookshelf, so you might want to read that before starting Book II, which begins... NOW:
The room was dark. When the door opened, and the blindfolds removed, the captives could finally see their surroundings. A small room made of vaulted steel. One chair in the center. The man that brought them in walked to the center of the room, in the middle of the beam of light that came through the door, reaching above the chair. A solitary swinging light popped on overhead, bathing the room in an eerie glow.
“The tall one. Put him in the chair. Detain the other two.”
“Sir, they’re all tall.”
The young man was thrown into the center of the room. The man by the chair grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him down into the chair, securing handcuffs behind him.
“That will be all, Ming.”
The other man took the other two captives out of the room, slamming the door.
The last man standing leaned over the chair.
A backhand across the face left the young man stunned.
“Your name, son.”
“Age before beauty.”
“I can play this game all night, son.”
“Lets go for the high score.”
The standing man sighed. “It’s just your name.”
It was the chaired mans turn to sigh. “Alright. Eric. Eric Ned.”
“Alright, Eric Ned. My name is Matt Kirk, but you’re to call me ‘sir.’ Comprende?”
Eric scoffed. “Yes… Sir.”
“Alright, I’ve got a few questions, if you don’t mind.”
“And if you don’t answer them, I will not hesitate to shoot you and bring in the other two.”
“Please, we’re survivors. You need us as much as we need you, so don’t be an ass and kill us. It’d be a big mistake on your part.”
Matt laughed. “You’re under the assumption that it’s just Ming and I here. Can’t blame you. He’s the only one you saw on the way in, the only other person you know exists. For all you know, we could have an army outside these very walls.”
“But you don’t.”
Matt laughed again. “You’re so self-sure. It’s funny. You’re also very, very wrong.”
The other two men were thrown into adjoining cells in the old prison. Their masks were once again removed, opening their eyes to their bleak surrounding.
“Miguel, you alright?”
The man in the other cell wasn’t moving.
“Aye, Fichter. I can hear you.”
“Are you alright?”
“How do you think Eric is doing?”
“He’s strong, Miguel. He knows how to play his cards.”
An outdated phone directory had been pulled out and put on the card table that Kirk had retrieved. He picked up the phone book and brought it over to Eric.
“Have you ever been hit with one of these?”
Eric said nothing.
Kirk tapped the directory against his leg. “I have. When they train you up for our kind of military ops, you undergo… ‘Special Circumstance’ training. Now, I don’t think it’d hurt you too bad if I just hit you with this flat.”
Kirk leaned down, staring Eric in the eyes. “But when I roll this up, well… I don’t think we’d be very good friends afterwards.”
Matt rolled the phonebook up and tapped it against the side of his legs.
“I’m going to ask you one more time. Just one. You give me a straight answer, I won’t need to roll the directory, and you won’t need to walk out of this room without your teeth. It’s simple.
“Now, Eric Ned of North America: Where did you get the boat?”
The way to Florida wasn’t exactly exciting. But that’s where we found the boat. Fichter had been driving; he usually drives… The only car we ever found that worked was a stick shift and he was the only person with us that knew how to drive one.
We had just come back from Arizona. Cactus National Park, maybe you’ve been. I don’t know. The St. Louis Arch had been mysteriously relocated to the middle of the desert, so Fichter, Angela, Steven, Gopher and I headed out west.
Fichter and I were the only people to make it back to the bunker in Virginia. But we had destroyed the Gate. We had been promised by a… Less than sane scientist that once the Gate was destroyed, the things would stop coming in. That the big thing they were trying to bring onto Earth would be left incomplete. Despite our loss, we were happy.
When we got back to the bunker, it was… We found out there were a few more in Europe. Don’t know exactly where, but the readings were definite. One in Paris, and one in Italy. The power spikes were unmistakable.
So Fichter and I headed south, firing out automatic weapons out of the car and stopping for fuel once. We had wised up to the situation. There was no wandering around, going inside of abandoned shops to pick up crappy food or try and find some more survivors. We hit each gas station, fired a burst into the air and hoped someone would come wandering out of the buildings.
We kept driving south, and we found a port in Florida that had a few boats. We took one of them, drove it all the way out here, wherever ‘here’ is and that’s how we got here.
“Don’t lie to me, Eric.”
Matt walked to the back of the room, staring at the young man in the chair, his face slick with sweat. Matt didn’t need to check to realize that the young man’s pulse was elevated all to hell, a common sign of lying. Or maybe it was just the situation. Matt didn’t know.
“You’re telling me you just drove to Florida, got on a little dinghy and sailed all the way over here and made it? That’s like throwing a dart all the way from across the street and hitting the bulls-eye. What exactly… Does Filner know how to pilot a boat?”
“Filner. The driver.”
“Fichter? No. He’s scared of water.”
“That skinny Mexican guy you got. He knows how to drive a boat?”
“So three retards with no real sailing prowess managed to take a boat all the way across the ocean? Where the hell did you pick the Mexican up anyway? You didn’t mention him.”
“He was on the boat. Hiding.”
The phone book hit Eric squarely in the stomach.
“I hope you don’t have any cysts to rupture,” Matt grimaced “Because our field surgeon got taken the other day.”
Eric gagged. “You think the Mexican can pilot the boat? Fine… Ask him.”
“I’m not quite through with you yet, though.”
“I don’t know what else to tell you.”
“Well, you’ve got a reason for lying. You wouldn’t hold information from me unless… You’re working for them.”
“Are you off your nut? There’s not a chance in hell that I would work with those things.”
“I may well be off my nut, but I’ve seen it before. They’ll take hold of your mind and make you do things you have no intention of ever doing.”
I can’t control my body. Oh, God, where am I? Where is this? The gun?
We’ve lost. There are too many dead. I can see the thing across the field. It’s staring at me. No, no, we’re not all dead.
The bodies are disappearing. What is this thing doing?
I need to put the gun down before-
“I’ve killed the Mind Melders before. It just takes one bullet. I’ve killed so many of those things… They wouldn’t want to use me even if they could.”
“Well then, what the hell could you possibly want to hide from me?”
“I didn’t know that I was hiding anything from you. It’s simple. Road down to Florida, hopped on a skiff and then sailed all the way to wherever we are now. Did you know there are islands out there with people still alive on them?”
A light of hope turned on inside the recesses of Matt’s mind.
“They aren’t friendly. They’ll try and eat you, put you on the end of a spear. Not quite the people you would want to bring along to man a little boat.”
As sure as the light turned on, it turned off.
“Well, I’m glad to see the miracle crew of three made it away from the crazy people unscathed.”
“We don’t deserve that name. After all I’ve seen and done, I certainly don’t deserve that name.”
The shotgun in the road. The young man asking not to be killed but welcoming the fate. The man in the shop. The few they left behind. Murder under a false pretense.
“God must have had a hand in throwing that dart, Eric.”
“If God is still around, he’s probably sitting back and laughing… Sir.”
I wasn’t entirely truthful to that faux military man. We had stopped and entered every building along the way looking to rebuild our group, maybe strengthen our numbers. All we found was more death. It seemed like a little detail I could leave out when talking to him. Doesn’t matter; all the buildings were just as dark as they were when we were heading west, if not darker. I had a pocketful of syringes in case we ran across someone that needed help… But there was no one. No one I could see anywhere, no one that Fichter spotted.
Just us, heading south for the winter.
The military man and Eric sat in silence, eying each other, trying to fit opposite pieces of the equation together.
“So, are you telling me the truth? You have an army outside these walls?”
Matt smirked. “You’re on a need to know basis, son.”
“Yeah, and I need to know.”
There was pain in his eyes.
“Not quite an army. Enough people to ensure that you won’t really be hurt if the things attack.”
Eric sighed, leaning his head back in the chair.
The military man walked to the door, knocking twice.
“Ming, I’m through with this one. Open the door.”
The door slid open. The blindfold went over Eric’s eyes once again as he was lead through the hallway and into the holding area. The blindfold was removed moments later, the bars slamming shut.
Eric, in the cell to the far left, Fichter in the middle and the squat Mexican on the far right.
“So, how are you guys holding up?”
“Miguel, I don’t think he’s doing too well.”
Miguel coughed in his cell. “I’m doing fine.”
Eric laughed. “Anyone have a joke? I’m not too good with prison.”
“Alright, a Mexican, a black man and a Creep are all in a car. Who is driving?” Miguel grinned through the cell bars, reminding Fichter of the Cheshire Cat.
Eric thought about it for a moment. “Who?”
“Fichter,” it sounded like Fee-kter when Miguel said it, “Because he’s the only one that knows how to drive the damned cars!”
“Work on that one a little bit and get back to us, Miguel,” Eric said, holding his hand up through the cell and offering an earnest thumbs up.
“Alright,” Matt said to Ming quietly. “Bring in the scruffy one. The one with the beard. He’s next.”
Ming marched down the hallway, opening the door to the holding cells.
The masking tape-tags were clear over the doors. It was a judgment call on behalf of Ming as to who was the scruffiest, but he already knew that Matt had dealt with Eric… For the time being.
“Fichter comma David, you are to come with me. Master Chief Kirk would like to have a word with you.”
Eric snorted. “Master Chief?”
Ming shot him a glance.
Fichter comma David was lead through the door. Eric watched his hunched figure walk down the hallway until the door slammed shut.
“Well, Miguel, I hope we all sing the same song.”
“Fichter is a baritone and you’re a bass,” Miguel offered a half-smile.
“What? No. There was more than Miguel on the ship. Who told you it was just Miguel?”