No way out
Trapped. Cold, damp darkness surrounding me. All cramped up. I cannot help but wait. Bide my time. Bide my strength. Haven’t heard from the others in ages. Have they abandoned ME? Impossible. Then again, it has been so long. Would I even sense it if they came? I am Mezihma. I am eternal. But now, I am merely a shell of what I was. What was that? I sense something. Some feeble corruptible mind. Wait, there are more.
An ear shattering explosion. Blinding light expulsed the dark. A burly, yet sophisticated, human voice yelled “Quick, activate the apparatus before it’s too late!” Faint lights mounted on helmets moved erratically throughout the cave.
These humans would be easy prey. Pathetic creatures. If only I had my old strength.
In a flash, every muscle cramped up and the same restrictive feeling of just a minute ago quickly returned. All senses were blocked, even thinking became impossible. Then, complete darkness again.
Where am I? Darkness again. Cannot move.
“Turn it off” the same voice as before said. “Run the consciousness test again and keep a close watch on the monitors.” A wide array of machines and devices beeped and lit up in a seemingly random order. “Increase the threshold on the electroencephalography machine.” The beeping became louder and more frequent. “Perfect. Turn up the lights would you.” Lighting up one row at a time, the lights revealed a large room filled to the brim with scientific equipment and personnel. Large, liquid-filled cylinders occasionally rose out from the machinery, some containing test subjects, others empty.
I am captured. Have to get out.
“Wait, something is wrong.” The beeping machine grew louder. “Turn the apparatus back on!” A nervous young woman flipped the switch. Nothing happened. The woman flipped the switch again. Then suddenly with a loud crunching sound, sparks flew throughout the room as lightbulbs shattered and machines exploded. Instinctively the woman crouched down and crawled under a desk. Trying to recollect herself she calmed her breathing. She couldn’t help but shriek as she felt thick liquid touching her hands and spreading across the floor.
“Is everyone alright?” the burly male voice asked, answered by a murmuring of yesses. Shocked faces were illuminated as dim flashlights shone through the room. “We need to get the emergency generators back on. You and you, grab a pistol and follow me,” the burly chief-scientist commanded as he pointed at a scrawny bespectacled man and a young woman who was frantically wiping something off of her hands. “The rest of you, assess the situation and see if you can’t manage salvaging some of the equipment.”
Making their way through corridor after corridor, the trio reached the control room. “Now. I want to make one thing absolutely clear,” the chief said as he walked towards a console that was adorned with an almost endless number of buttons and wires. “The situation must be handled with utmost security. After we turn on the generator, we block off the research lab and head towards the escape pods.” “But sir, we can’t just leave our people there!” the scrawny man protested. “We can and we will. They knew the risks when they signed up. Containing the situation is paramount,” the chief responded concisely. “If you would like to go back and join them, be my guest. If you would like to show the least bit of appreciation for the fact that I am saving your life, do as I say.” Flustered for words, the scrawny man stood down. “I thought so,” the chief added, “now press and keep holding that button over there.”
A thin, shaking finger rose up to carry out its owner’s instructions. “And you, flip the lever after I tell you to,” the chief told the woman without even looking at her. After somewhat confidently uttering an affirmative sound, the woman’s face paled and she started feeling nauseous. When the chief gave the signal, she raised her hand to reach out to the lever but was suddenly stopped dead in her tracks, unable to move. Her thoughts became flooded with horrific images and unintelligible whisperings. Against her will, she saw her hand reaching for the pistol fixed to the side of her hips. She felt her mind and any control over her body slipping away. Fighting would be fruitless.
Pathetic minds. All of them. I will be reborn.
“I told you to flip the bloody lever!” Looking over his shoulder, the chief abruptly found himself staring down the barrel of a pistol. “P… Put it away,” the scrawny man attempted to order. In a fluid movement the woman swung her pistol towards the stuttering man and pulled the trigger. She retook her original pose facing the chief before the scrawny body had even begun to tumble towards the ground. In a calm, but otherworldly sounding voice she said “The gun. Give it.” “What in the blazes is going on Katherine!?” the chief asked as he doubtfully reached for his holster. “I am Mezihma.” Katherine responded. “The gun. Give it.”
Firmly gripping his still holstered pistol, the chief stared into eyes as pale as fresh snow. Realizing he needed to act, the chief ducked down and shot a wide cable fixed firmly underneath the ventilation shaft. As the cable snapped and flung around violently, thick grey smoke quickly filled the control room. The chief took this opportunity and rolled over his assistant’s lifeless body towards the exit. Attempting to get back up onto his feet, the chief’s daring action was abruptly cut short. Tighter and tighter he felt a thick wire cutting into his neck, slowly suffocating him. Desperately gasping for air, smoke filled his lungs.
Vaguely recognizing the shape of a pistol just in front of him, the chief reached out with every bit of strength he could muster. Clutching the grip, he aimed the muzzle over his shoulder. A gunshot echoed throughout the room, ripping his eardrums and disorientating him. The chief felt a splatter, followed by a heavy object falling on top of him. After pushing the object off of him and rolling on his back, he looked through the smoke to gather his bearings. Left of him, a lifeless scrawny body. To his right, he stared straight into blue eyes and saw Katherine’s bloodied face, pierced by the impact of a bullet. Climbing up on his feet, the chief ran out of the room as quickly as he could to clear his lungs from the smoke.
Alright Henry, pull yourself together, the chief thought to himself, briefly pausing after running through corpse-filled corridors for what felt like hours on end. He ripped off his sleeve and wound it around his neck, still bruised and bleeding from Katherine’s almost successful attempt to choke him. Hitting the switch on his right, Henry was met with a gust of rain and wind blowing inwards as the door opened. Quickly passing through the door, he turned around and hit the switch on the other side, blocking off the passage. He paced towards the hangar on the other side of a long moonlit walkway, the rain soaking his white uniform and washing the blood off his hands and face.
When Henry finally reached the other side, he became somewhat nauseous. He felt the blood ebb from his face, his mind filling with strange incomprehensible imagery. Henry looked back over his shoulder. With a loud bang, the door through which he just came was blown out by a tremendous force and flew across the passage. A myriad of tentacles followed a tall and slender figure, slowly drifting out onto the walkway. Desperately, Henry tried to resist the strange imagery and ran inside. His legs starting to feel heavier with every step he took.
Do not resist. Your feeble mind is no match for me. Feel your control slip away. Embrace this. Incessant whispering penetrated Henry’s mind as his heartbeat pounded like a jackhammer. Making his way towards a flickering green light, signaling the single escape pod that was left, Henry felt his legs cramp up. Will I make it? Do not resist. I have to get out. Do not resist. Step by step Henry made his way towards the green light. The figure drifted through the doorway, closer and closer. You will not make it. Yes, I will. You will not. In a flash of pain, Henry’s right leg snapped at the knee and he fell to floor.
Fingernails tore as Henry clawed and scratched at the floor to pull himself forward. He was almost there. Persistence will not save you. Fingers crunched and broke, bending in ways they were not supposed to bend. The creature halted just meters away, extending its many limbs. Elbowing over the floor, Henry crawled up to the open escape pod doors. His bloodied hands could barely touch the small step leading up into the pod when one of the figure’s tentacles wrapped around his broken leg and pulled him back and upwards into the air. Dangling upside down, Henry felt blood rush back to his brain, relieving him of a small amount of the creature’s presence in his mind.
Excruciating pain overcame Henry as he reached for his pistol and aimed at his constricted leg. Three shots sounded. An unearthly howl. The tentacle released, hurling Henry down onto the hard cold floor. As fast as his broken body would allow him, he hoisted himself into the pod. Pathetic. Henry’s movement halted slowly as if he was crawling through thick paste. Images of death flashed before his eyes. With the last ounce of control left over his stiffening body Henry slammed his mangled hand on the release button, blasting him out of the hangar into the midnight sky. Instantaneously his muscles relaxed, his mind cleared.
He was free.