The Weapon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Awakening in an unfamiliar place and robbed of his memories, Frederick Austlund finds himself trapped with only the company of a fellow prisoner. Together, Frederick and Joanie try to piece together where they are and what plans their captor may have for them.

Submitted: October 23, 2016

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Submitted: October 23, 2016

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  Fredrik Austland slowly came to consciousness. His eyes blinked open as a bright white light flooded his blurred vision. His eyes bled into focus revealing a white ceiling above him. He was laying on his back, beneath him, he felt a rigid mattress. His head slightly ached. He raised his hands to his face, rubbing his eyes as his body stretched and released a yawn. He shifted his body to an upright seated position. He found himself in a room. A soft white light filled the confined space. The light came from the trim on the walls below the ceiling. The walls were white, the floor was a deep navy blue and the mattress beneath him was gray.

  Sitting across from him was a petite woman. Her hair was shoulder length, black, and somewhat unkempt. She and he were dressed in white one-piece jumpers. She was caucasian, the skin tone of her face was light. She sat on a gray mattress like the one he sat on, the bed under it was a white plank that protruded from the wall. She smiled at him and began to speak, "Welcome back to the living.” She had an English accent with a slight rasp to it.

Frederik was confounded, "Where am I? Who are you?” He had a noticeable Norwegian accent. He began to take a more comprehensive inventory of his environment. If there was a door to this room, it was not evident. He assumed the door must slide open somewhere on the wall to his left since it was the only cleared area of the room. To his right, centered on the wall between the bed planks was a toilet. On either side of the toilet, about two feet apart were two very small planks protruding from the wall which looked like shelves. The shelves were at waist height. Centered approximately four or five feet over the toilet, embedded in the wall was a digital clock display. The time read "21:43:24.123 14 November 2068.” The clock seemed to keep time, probably accurately.

  The British woman continued, "I'm Joanie, and if I were to venture a guess, I'd say we are somewhere northeast of Anchorage in the Arctic Circle.” Her eyes inspected him as she continued to smile, "As to what exactly this place is, I've been trying to figure that out for over five days now.”

  Frederik slightly stuttered, still stirred with confusion, "Fi...five days? I can't be here, not for five days, not for one!” He stood and paced a single lap around the cramped quarters counter-clockwise, passing Joanie on his way to where he assumed the door might be. He began pounding the wall with his fists, "HEY!!! SOMEBODY!!! ANYBODY!!! LET ME OUT!!! LET ME OUT!!! Anyone?” His yelling and the frustration he vented through his smashing received nothing in response. He continued to crash his hands into the wall. This went on for well over a minute before he felt a hand on his right shoulder. He looked down to where he found Joanie's dainty hand.

  He turned his head, his body followed, until he was facing Joanie who was standing there with an empathetic gaze as her arms dropped to her side. She shrugged, "I've been where you are. No one is coming.” Her head tilted to one side, "Why don't you tell me what you remember?”

  He slowly slinked back to the bed which he now assumed was his. He seated himself and placed his hands on his knees, "My name is Fredrik. Fredrik Austland. I don’t really remember, I don’t remember anything. Nothing at all.” He could feel his heartbeat slow and his body began to calm as he took in a deep breath and released it with a sigh, "I have no idea how I got here. Or where here really is.” His face sunk deeper into concentration as he tried to remember, "Something happened. I passed out. The next thing I knew, I was here, trapped in this room, with you. No offense.” He passed a plaintiff look her way.

  "None taken. I'm just thrilled to see another human face.", she smacked her lips and continued, "Sounds, my friend, like you were abducted good and proper.”

  Fredrik straightened his posture and asked, "How about you? What do you remember?” He raised his hand to scratch his scalp.

  "I am an environmental scientist. I had just concluded a field study of some ice shelves in the Arctic and was flying back to Anchorage.", she paused before continuing, "I'm a pilot as well. My radio and transponder died in mid-flight as did my engines. I did the best I could to crash land. Apparently I did decently or I wouldn't be here.” She rubbed her chin with her fingers, "I don't remember anything after the crash. Same as you, I woke up here.”

  "I've been here for more than five days, at least as much as that clock can be trusted.", She motioned with her right hand over her shoulder to the clock embedded the rear wall. "Not a single soul since I've been here. In the mornings when I wake up, a spread of food and a couple of liters of water are there abouts.” She pointed and waved her hand in a circle in the direction of the front wall.

  Fredrik stood and approached the toilet on the rear wall. He peered into the bowl and saw a metal seal where the drain should be. There was no water in the toilet, "Toilet with no water, a clock on the wall. No door, nor windows. Sustenance delivered during your sleep.” His eyes gazed to the two shelves that extended from the wall.

  "Ah, check this out.", Joanie stood and walked over beside Fredrik. She stopped in front of the shelf on her side of the room and placed her hand on its surface. After a couple of seconds, a holographic display lit up above the shelf. Fredrik's mouth opened slightly, he was surprised. Joanie continued, "Pretty cool, eh? It's a virtual library. I haven't been able to stump it for content as of yet.”

  Fredrik leaned in closer to examine the interface, "Is this on the info web, are we connected?”

  Joanie replied, "Apparently not. There is no media either. It appears to be an isolated, offline library. Of course, we wouldn't be so lucky as to have access to the grid, right?” She looked at him and he returned her gaze.

  "So, books only?", his expression showed disappointment.

  "Silly, it's not all glum, give me a title, author, something."

  Fredrik engaged for the moment since they appeared to have plenty of time, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes.” The display came to life and swirled into a list of the collective works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes in particular. "The hounds of the Baskervilles, that brings back childhood memories." He paced a couple of steps back and forth as he continued, "So, toilet with no water. Clock, virtual library, beds, food. What's the motivation?”

  Her face turned solemn as she suggested, "Ransom perhaps?”

  Fredrik retorted, "Too clean, uniform. Too high-end. Nah, this is something different. Besides, no one would pay a ransom without proof of life and you haven't had anyone ask to record you.” He tapped the side of his jaw with his fingers. Suddenly, it dawned on him. The clean conditions, the availability of the time, it all made sense, "Lab rats.”

  Joanie had a perplexed look, "Pardon?”

  "Lab rats.", Fredrik repeated. "We must be part of some research or unlawful experiment. I mean, it makes sense.”

  Joanie nodded, attempting to wrap her mind around what he was suggesting, "No. You think?”

  He continued, "It makes sense, doesn't it. I mean, think about it.” He waved over the environment as if presenting evidence, "Why would they let us keep track of the time and the date? They, plan to keep us here and time deprivation would drive us insane.” He paced over to the holographic representation of the library book that was opened on the shelf, "Just enough stimulation to occupy the time, but nothing that can be used, really. And finally, ", he gestured his hand back and forth between himself and Joanie, "the addition of a human companion. I don't believe it to be a coincidence."

  Joanie couldn't discard Fredrik's sound logic out of hand. He had some very thoughtful points that did make sense. Just then a tiny chime sounded from the ceiling above. "Crikey.", she shrugged. "Bedtime, Freddy.”

  "I'm sorry?", Fredrik was puzzled.

  Joanie pointed to the clock above. The time read two minutes before ten o'clock at night. "You'll want to be on your bed in two minutes. At precisely ten o'clock, every night, the room goes pitch as black. No clock...no anything. I think they flood the chamber with some kind of sleeping agent, I haven't been able to last one minute after lights out.", she had already begun to assume her sleeping position on the bed plank.

  Fredrik followed her example. Just as she had said, the clock rolled to ten o'clock and the room went black. It was the deepest dark he had ever known. He couldn't see anything, nothing, not even his hands. His thoughts fixated on his epiphany, but his thoughts quickly began to mush. Just as Joanie had predicted, he could not maintain his hold on his awareness. Soon enough, he had fallen into sleep.

  The night flew past in an instant. His eyes strained to awaken. The fog of his mind began to lift. He had wished that he would awaken in a hotel or bedroom. That this was all a bad dream, surreal, not real. As his mind became clearer and his gaze moved around the ceiling, that wretched clock came back into view. It wasn't a bad dream. He really had been abducted, he really was trapped.

He looked over to the bed where Joanie should have been but wasn't. He sat up and began to look around the room. Just then, he was startled when Joanie leaped out in front of him, seemingly out of nowhere. Her head cocked slightly to one side as her eyes winced. Her mouth was pursed and her eyes were wide. She crouched to his eye level and began to mutter, "Mm...mm...MM...mm." She swayed with each syllable.

  Fredrik was petrified. He had no idea what was going on. He moved his eyes over her, half in shock. Her hair was a mess. She had a full head of beautiful hair last night, but now, her hair appeared pulled. She had bald spots, and the exposed skin appeared raw and bloody. It looked as if she had been violently pulling her hair out. Halfway down here right leg and across the center of her groin was stained with hues of yellow. Her body odor mixed the smell of sweat and urine. She began to chuckle, "hehe. Signs of life...signs of life.”

  The bizarre shell of Joanie changed her expression. She cocked her head, her eyes squeezed shut, and her lips pulled back to reveal her gritting teeth beneath. Her eyes shot open and a grin took shape. She straightened her head as her expression changed to sadness. She began to whine as her hands raised to pull on her hair. Something was definitely not right with her. Perhaps she was insane. The look in her eyes was wild, crazed, and yet, eerily solemn.

  Suddenly, out of nowhere, she broke down. She sat back into her bed. Her head fell into her hands and she began to cry. "Why am I here?” She pulled away from her hands and stared at the ceiling above, "COWARDS!!! Why won't you show yourselves! What do you want! Please, let me go!” The two sat across from each other during a long pause of uncomfortable silence. Frederik felt terror and sympathy. He wanted to reach out to her, but something held him back. Who could do such a thing to such a delicate creature? Was this what was destined for him? His heart began to race as panic set in. Suddenly, he realized the terrible situation he was in. He was trapped in a room at an undisclosed location in a jumper that was not his with a woman who was falling apart right before his eyes.

  Her face fell to gaze at his. She began to speak, "I miss my family. I want to see my family.” Considering her previous moments, she was now remarkably composed. 

  Fredrik's compassion swelled within him, "Your family? Who's your family?” He had hoped to distract her from her despair. He wanted to connect with her on some level, any level.

  Her eyes began to water as she stretched to remember them. She sat forward as her eyes washed over Fredrik from head to toe. She began to talk, "My sister Annie and father.” Her voice choked as she continued, "I think I'm losing my mind.”  She began to tap her index finger against her temple. Tap, tap, tap, each one thudded harder and louder than the previous one. Her finger closed into a fist and she continued to pound her head.

  Without warning, she thrust her head violently backward until it cracked against the wall. Her body resumed upright. Her hands lunged for her face as she pinched her cheeks.

  Fredrik stood from his bed and began to back away from her toward the door. What he saw next paralyzed him with fear. Her eyes began to bleed. She shot upright to her feet. Her face contorted into a manic scowl. Her arms stretched out toward him. He stumbled backward as she closed her hands into tight fists. Her hands were so clenched that her fingernails pierced her skin and she began to bleed. She let out a blood-curdling howl and her head began to bob side to side. Before Fredrik had time to respond, she lunged at him.

  She was amazingly possessed of strength. He tried to ward her off, his arms raised to his eyes. She smashed into him like a freight train, knocking him to the floor. She quickly straddled him at the waist. He was immobilized as she began to tear at his flesh with her hands. She then began biting at his face, Fredrik's arm was all that was between her violent jabs and his face. He felt her teeth dig deep into his muscle as his arm was torn to shreds in front of him. The pain was unreal. He writhed and screamed as he tried to break free in vain. She was somehow stronger than him. Soon his arm lost its strength and she began to tear his face apart. It wasn't long from then that Fredrik was overcome by the fear, shock, and misery. The pain soon swirled around him and blanketed his body. His vision began to fade as he fell away from consciousness. Darkness and silence embraced him as his fleeting mind faded into nothingness.

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© Copyright 2017 Rod Christiansen. All rights reserved.

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