Sub Terror

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
My entry for Crowley's 'Things That Go Bump In The Night' competition based on pic. prompt 1.

Submitted: July 18, 2016

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Submitted: July 18, 2016

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Sub Terror.

I'd never really thought about how far underground we were, working in the basement. I knew there were below ground levels above us but I'd never paid much attention – just got into the lift and pressed B.

We had never been encouraged to ask questions about our workplace, or about our jobs, really. It was interesting work for anyone obsessed with science – chemistry, in particular. And it was very well paid. Exceedingly well paid, in fact. And we weren't being rewarded for being sociable.

When the lights went out I wasn't unduly concerned. The emergency generator was sure to kick in at any second. The lights did not come back on, the computers shut themselves down one after the other, all around the room. The test equipment turned off, rendering as useless all the samples that were currently being analysed.

I looked towards Andrew Millar. He was in charge of our department, the only person I had ever had to answer to. There must be hundreds of people working in this building but I had never met any but the ones I shared this lab with.

“What's going on, Andrew?”

I was going to ask but Carol, the only woman in our team, beat me to it.

Andrew looked steadily back at her. There was not a trace of alarm showing on his face. “I don't know, Carol. I'll make a call and try to find out.”

Was I the only one that noticed how Andrew's hands shook as he picked up the internal phone? And this was the man with the steadiest hands I'd ever seen, even when he was handling some of the world's most lethal substances. What was it that he was hiding from the rest of us?

Andrew had just started to say, “It's not working,” when the alarms began.

There was instantly a cacophony of clashing sounds reverberating all around us. Each machine had it's own alarm, as did the storage facility, the lab, all the other surrounding labs and, of course, the main building itself. The audio assault was so shocking, so sudden – so extreme-- it rendered us useless.

I had one thought in my head and one thought only. Make the sound stop! I felt as though the sides of my head were caving in; my teeth gritted together so strongly that I felt six of them shatter. My vision was becoming nothing more than a mix of black and red.

Andrew had to shake my arm violently to get me to notice the ear protectors he was holding out to me. We had all been given them as some chemical reactions could be rather explosive. They helped dampen the sound but only slightly; it was still almost unbearable.

I wanted to ask questions. I wanted to know what in hell was going on. There would have been no point in any of us speaking though as even shouts would have been drowned out. Time didn't stop but it felt like it had. The blaring, the beeping, the screeching seemed to go on forever.

And then it stopped. I removed the ear protectors and it was silent. Not a sound! Andrew and Carol removed theirs, so did Sam, Frank and Sean. Everywhere was bathed in an eerie dim green light. The back-up batteries had at least stopped us from being plunged into total darkness, but we were all aware that they would not last indefinitely. We needed to get out of the building and the sooner we did that the better.

Sean went to the door and pushed the button. It remained silently closed. No power; no doors; no exit. This was just getting better and better. And even if we should manage to find a way out of the lab, what about the lift? Would it work with no power? And why had it taken me all this time to realise that there were no stairs.

We were all well and truly trapped with no other option than to wait for someone to rescue us.

At first we were patient; sitting in silence, lost in our own worlds. I became aware that Andrew was sitting there holding his head in his hands as if in defeat. What did he know that we didn't?

“Andrew, tell us what's going on.” My voice was shockingly loud in the quiet of the lab.

“I don't know what's going on. I was no more expecting this than you were.” Was that a hint of defensiveness I heard in his voice?

“Okay, so maybe you don't know about this, but tell us what you do know. Tell us about this project that we're working on, the one that's never spoken of.”

Andrew stared at me, his expression a mixture of anger, hostility and pity. “It's better that I don't. No matter how much you swear to keep it secret they won't believe you. They would never allow you to leave.”

There was a loud crash from somewhere, followed by what sounded like a scream. It was distant though, hard to be sure.

The way Andrew's face became noticeably paler made me push for more information. The second quite definite scream only reinforced my need to know.

“Come on, Andrew. What's the secret? What exactly have we been creating over the last few years?”

Andrew slumped back into his chair. “You really want to know?” He looked at each of us in turn, resigned to explain as we all nodded.

“Weapons! You have been involved in the creation of weapons, the like of which have never been seen before.”

“Biochemical weapons are all over the world.”

“That's true,” Andrew agreed. “But biochemically created armies are not!”

What was he talking about? It kind of made sense though. All the drug modifications, the blood tests, the constant checking for different chemical responses. We'd all unknowingly been involved in experimenting on other human beings.

“Did the soldiers know what they were signing up for?” I asked, almost too shocked for words.

“What soldiers?” Andrew asked.

“The ones that we've been experimenting on. Did they at least volunteer?”

“Oh no, you've got that wrong. The test subjects were not soldiers; they would have been far too valuable to waste on experiments. We have been creating a whole new army made up from those who have been declared to be criminally insane. We have created a sociopathic, psychotic, killing machine; one that has no feelings for other human beings whatsoever.”

There followed a series of loud crashes, each one nearer than the last. I could hear a dull, persistent thud, over and over and over again. I could hear glass shattering....screaming. Wherever it was coming from was not far away.

“And that's......”

“They must have got out.....escaped!”

“But they are still people; they can be subdued, surely?” I asked, the desperation in my voice so clearly heard, even to myself.

The sound of something scraping along the wall outside silences us. It sounds like an iron bar of some sort. We can't help it; we don't want to see but our eyes are drawn towards the window that looks out on to the corridor.

There is insufficient light for us to be able to make out any details but we can all clearly see the lumbering figure as it pauses alongside the window. We can see the menace in his posture. There is no doubt in my mind that he wants my blood along with that of my co-workers. He is not going to let us escape.

This......this monster that we have helped to create moves close to the window. I can now make out his curled back lips that are split and crusted with blood. Skin that looks green in the light, covered in bleeding cuts and healing scars. I can see a head of hair, tattered by the missing clumps that have so clearly been torn out.

And I can see a pair of eyes, dead of any emotion, calmly and calculatingly surveying his victims before him. I know that I am looking into the very face of my death.

He lifts up a hand that is already broken and bloodied and starts thumping on the glass. This was the source of the rhythmic thudding I had heard before.

We should be screaming, panicking, trying to get out. Instead we are standing horror-struck, with no way of escaping.

More sounds of scraping from the hallway can only mean more of those.......things are approaching. Whatever they have become they are certainly no longer recognisable as human. Another face appears at the window. This one seems to have half of his cheek missing. He looks almost like one of the zombies from the movies.

Andrew reaches into his drawer and pulls out a gun.

“Yes! You can shoot them. They are still people. They can still die!” Sean has suddenly found his voice.

“No, Sean. There are over a hundred of them. There are six bullets in this gun. I'm not giving orders, the choice is your own to make.” And with that Andrew raises the gun to his head and pulls the trigger.

I can't be shocked. I can't be stunned. There are three pairs of hands at the window now, thudding against it, totally in time.

I pull the gun from Andrew's hand and hold it against the side of my head. Just as I move my finger on the trigger I hear the sound of breaking glass.

 

 

(1580 words)


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