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BYTE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


A pair of secret government experiments have escaped in Alaska.

Submitted: December 11, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 11, 2017

A A A

A A A


 

 

 

 

BYTE

 

 

The patrons of Uncle Charlie’s Bar & Grill ran into the Alaskan village street to see if the dying man could be saved. Seth felt them watching him as he knelt in the snow and applied the tourniquet to the man in the dark. He cut strips of his shirt for bandages as shards of ice and bitter cold from the blizzard froze his exposed skin. His hands shook as he wrapped the arm torn off at the elbow. In his long service with the Marines, once in Afghanistan, a guy managed to get his arm run over by a tank.

Seth looked at the long bleeding cuts. Cold moved into his fingers as he worked. What kind of animal had attacked a man less than fifty yards from the bar?

Splashes of blood left a trail, but the storm quickly worked to cover everything under a blanket of fresh white snow. Had a bear come into town? In Alaska, you can be attacked at any time by one of the several bear types, black, brown, and even polar bear in places. It could have been wolves too.

There were no discernable tracks in the snow, and a bear seemed the only animal capable of doing this level of damage. The man must have escaped and made it this far. Seth had seen him from his place near the window inside the bar and grill. There was also something peculiar about the wound.

“Them teeth markings look like they’re from a wolf. Too small to be a bear; strange though.” An old guy with a furry cap announced. “Sharp. Like a knife.”

People whispered among themselves. Many decided, from the moment they’d seen the man’s injuries, he wouldn’t live long enough to be carried to Uncle Charlie’s, to say nothing of the ten hours over a rough track to the nearest emergency facility. Most of the local patrons wanted to know who the new guy was that was trying to save the man.

Seth wondered the same thing too? Why was he always getting himself involved? After the passing of his dear wife, Amanda, in a car accident in Seattle, he’d decided on a hair-brained-cathartic adventure to find himself while exploring Alaska, the last American frontier.

His hands were slick with blood, and his fingers numb from the intense cold. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Twenty years of service programmed it into a man. He turned to the onlookers. “We have to get him inside.”

Grim faces stared back.

The old guy moved to help, and another man with a jagged scar running across his cheek followed. Scarface grumbled but shut his mouth with a glance from the old man in the furry cap. Seth decided he looked like a trapper or a homesteader.

A vehicle sound on the wind grew louder and a single headlight burst from the darkness speeding at them.

“Move!” Seth shouted, leaping from the path of the fast-moving snowmobile.

Gawkers scattered as the snowmobile barreled through the middle of them. One large woman in a puffy yellow coat was too slow. The hurtling snowmobile brushed her with its windshield and she bounced off like a tennis ball. She didn’t get the worst of it. One of the snowmobile’s steel skids had crushed the wounded man’s skull and the snow-track ground his brain into the ice.

The driver of the snowmobile wore a torn, bloody medical gown. The snowmobile slowed, and he slid off the seat, into the snow.

Seth knew there was nothing he could do for the first victim, and ran to help the driver.

Minutes later, with everyone freezing, the crowd went back to the bar and grill, carrying the man who’d crashed.

There was nothing that could be done for the man already dead in the street and somebody produced a blanket to cover him until authorities arrived.

 

***

 

Uncle Charlie’s Bar & Grill was warm inside. A fire blazed in the giant brick fireplace that served as the central heat for the establishment. The long wooden bar carved from a giant tree challenged for the centerpiece of the bar and grill and was where Uncle Charlie worked. Behind him, a full kitchen, where he prepared the menu of food and drink for mostly trappers, gold miners, hunters, and locals.

Uncle Charlie’s wasn’t a big establishment since it was in the middle of, no-where, Alaska. The village pub’s square footage held a long, elegantly carved wooden bar with eight equally carved wooden chairs, eleven tables, two pool tables, a few video games from the eighties, foosball, darts, and a small dance area for the brave. It was a Thursday night, and the NFL football game was being broadcast on the television hanging from the far wall.

Seth sat at the bar next to the young man who’d barreled into town on the snowmobile, accidentally killing the man, he’d been trying to save.

The man warmed himself by the fire from the huge brick stove, nearby. They’d learned his name was, “Torin Reed,” and that he was a sergeant.

“I have to go. They’ll be coming for all of you now!” Torin shook his head as if it would convince them.

“What’s he yapping about, Clem?” Uncle Charlie, the tall man standing behind the bar, demanded. The bearded owner looked to the old, fur-caped-trapper who had helped Seth carry Torin inside with a scowl.

“Don’t know, sir.” The old trapper sitting next to Seth gestured with a thumb. “Ask this guy. He seems to want to get involved.”

Seth sat up, burning his lips on the hot coffee.

Uncle Charlie gave Seth a stern look. “Who are you and what do you know?” His blue eyes were piercing and demanded answers.

“My name is Seth, and I know nothing. Just wandering through. Writing a book set in Alaska.” Seth shook his head and turned to Torin. “Who’s coming?”

Torin held a cup of Uncle Charlie’s Moose soup like it was a life preserver. He looked to Seth. “NSA, Army, I don’t know. Men with weapons. They’ll kill all of you.”

Seth sat his cup of coffee on the bar. “Why would they want to kill everyone?”

“Because you’ve all been exposed to their secret project.”

The log fire in the brick stove crackled; the Ms. Pacman video game made an end of turn sound.

“Exposed to what?” Seth asked the man. He looked to Uncle Charlie, who waited for the answer.

“To me.” The man’s brown eyes relayed nothing but sincerity.

Seth noticed that the soldier had recovered from the cold, considering he’d arrived almost nude. The hospital garb he wore was torn and bloody, but his body held no visible wounds. “Why is your smock bloody?”

Torin returned the look of a man who’d been broken, and tears rose in his eyes. “I’m a monster.”

 The room erupted with debate until Uncle Charlie bellowed. “Shut up!”

The din of the patrons quieted.

“What the hell does he mean by, they’re coming to kill everyone?” asked Uncle Charlie, throwing a bar towel over his shoulder.

Torin looked again to Seth because he’d given the man help. “Because of me. And you’ve all been exposed.”

Seth looked at Uncle Charlie, shaking his head like he wasn’t sure what to ask next. “You’re doing a fine job, Seth. Keep asking questions.”

Seth turned to the soldier again. “Okay, well, why are they after you?”

“Because I’m one of their escaped experiments.” Torin shifted in his seat, rewrapping the blanket around him. “They’ll send Byte. It’s not human. It doesn’t have a soul. Not like you and me.” He stopped and took another drink. “I should leave.”

“Is that who’s attacking people?” Scarface asked, walking up to the bar and into the light.

Torin nodded. “It’s a monster, too. God! I shouldn’t be saying anything.” Anger mixed with disgust flashed over Torin’s face, and he shook in self-revulsion.

“Guy’s crazy,” said the woman who’d bounced off the snowmobile.

Seth remained calm. “Why will he kill everyone?”

The soldier’s gaze turned dark. ‘B-Y-T-E’ is programmed to execute everyone not wearing a proper code on their uniform.”

“Byte?” The name sounded terrifying to Seth, and technical.

“He’s my clone, my twin, sort of, but metal.” Torin’s brown eyes looked to Seth. “He’s what attacked your friend. He’s after me. They all are.”

Every patron in the bar and grill drew a concealed handgun from under their coats. Seth carried only the knife on his belt.

Uncle Charlie drew a shotgun from behind the long bar.

Torin shook his head. “You can’t kill him with those.”

Seth took a step backward. A cautious man by nature, something told him his life was in jeopardy. For some reason, at that moment, he also caught a whiff of a wet dog standing next to the sergeant.

A deep rumble approached from outside.

Scarface ran to a window and pressed his face against the frosty glass. “Humvees! Five of them!”

“They look like they mean business.” Another, older man with frizzy white hair said, as he moved to the protection of a pool table.

“They can suck it!” The old trapper, Clem, raised a fist to everyone and stepped behind the bar with Uncle Charlie. H removed his furry hat and jerked his head toward Seth. “This one has a K-Bar, Colonel. Uses it well too.”

 Uncle Charlie looked to Seth. “I’m Colonel ‘Crawdaddy’ Charlie Rogers. You with us Seth?” He seemed to indicate everyone in the bar. Indeed, most looked like they stood ready to receive orders.

Seth nodded. “If half of what this guy says is true, we’re all screwed.”

“You should run.” Torin interrupted. “You’re all good men,” he raised his cup of soup to salute them. “I’ll hold them off while you escape. After I change, it’s hard to know friend from foe.” He flexed his shoulder as if it had already healed.

“Change? Into what?” Fear roiled Seth’s guts.

“Your worst nightmare!” Torin finished his soup and set it on the bar.

 

**

 

Outside the bar, the Humvees slid to a stop. The diesel engines dropped to an idle.

“They’re being ordered to shoot anybody trying to escape,” Torin said.

“How do you know that,” Seth asked.

“I can hear them.”

The patrons clearly looked to Uncle Charlie for orders.

“They’ll send in my clone after they have me. It’ll kill everybody! You can’t stop it with your weapons. You couldn’t even stop me. You’ll need silver.”

“He’s cabin loony, Colonel! It could be him who cut up that guy outside,” said an old man with crazy, white hair.

“You stay calm, Beppo.” Uncle Charlie took charge at that point. “Virgil!” he yelled to the kitchen, “Man the fifty.” He pointed to Seth. “Behind the bar. Take the magnums.” He turned to Clem the trapper. “Cover the withdrawal until we’re inside. The rest of you slow them down, then follow.”

Seth walked behind the long wooden bar, made from a single giant Fir tree, to see two handguns and an M60 sitting where Uncle Charlie indicated.

Clem grabbed the machine gun like an old friend.

Seth left the two handguns behind the bar, within reach. “Thanks.”

Uncle Charlie winked a blue eye.

A man near the front opened the door. “You people are crazy. It’s the government. They can do what they want.” He ran out.

“Screw that!” Beppo responded.

“There’s at least two dozen!” Yellow coat woman’s voice sounded eager.

“I smell twenty-five men,” Torin answered. “Plus the female officer. She’s the scientist who did this.”

From the window, three soldiers clad in white walked toward the entrance. The short one out front pointed to the man running from the bar, and several soldiers leaped from the closest Humvee to pursue.

“They’re coming in!” Scarface announced from his place on point.

“Stay calm, Marine,” Uncle Charlie glared at Scarface. “Matilda,” he indicated Yellow coat lady and her friend, “you and Moon get behind me.”

Matilda moved to comply.

The two soldiers behind the officer carried white weapons; even the Humvees wore the bleached camouflage.

The door opened, and they stepped inside. The officer removed her eye-protection and helmet. The suits held no badges, insignia, nor rank, not even an American flag, but had a five-digit number followed by a letter above the right breast and on the back of their uniforms, a square QR code.

“Good morning, or evening. I can never tell in this godforsaken state.” The short female officer removed her gloves, and her eyes came to rest on Torin. She nodded in recognition.

Torin frowned.

The officer smiled and looked around the room, pausing on Uncle Charlie, Seth, and Clem standing behind the bar. “This man,” she indicated Torin, by pointing at him with a tiny white finger, “is a military fugitive!”

“You don’t look like an MP.” Clem had a thick southern accent.

 “You the head-honcho?” The officer turned her piercing green eyes to the older man.

“I suppose so.” Clem shook his head to indicate he was.

“Forty-two,” announced the officer. A soldier behind her, the number on his uniform beginning with 42, drew and aimed his rifle’s laser between Clem’s eyes.

The room froze as if the walls of the building had fallen away and the ice storm had blown in.

“Hold up!” Uncle Charlie raised his voice. “That’s my friend. We went to war together, and I’ll be damned if a half-pint bitch is going to walk into my place and issue orders. You could start by clearing a few things up!”

The officer smiled, though there was more warmth in the blizzard outside than in the gesture. “This man is a fugitive and under arrest.”

Her number began with 30.

“The question remains.” Uncle Charlie adjusted his jaw. “Call off your dog.”  He indicated the green dot on Clem’s forehead. “Or there’ll be a whole lot of killing.”

“I have a squad outside ready to take this place, on my order.” Her mouth stretched into a sneer of warning.

“Well, number thirty, you’re not wearing any rank. And I didn’t make it through West Point and Special Forces selection to roll over to a bunch of candy-ass kids playing in the snow.”

Seth smiled, remembering his selection into Force Recon.

The officer looked the room over. “So, we have a bunch of ex-military? Anti-government types, huh?”

Torin stood, shrugging the blanket from his broad shoulders. Tall and strong, he weighed at least two fifty-five pounds. “I’m not going back.” His posture pined to attack.

The officer pulled a tranquilizer gun from inside her coat. “Now Torin, let’s not cause a scene that’s going to get people killed. Come peacefully. You signed up for the project.”

“Neither of us are going back. I will not let you create more monsters.” He stuttered the last word as his body arched and the young man stood on the tips of his toes.

Hair suddenly sprang from its shoulders, and his back began to stretch and bow. The elongating head and snout turned toward the ceiling and started to huff and snort, blustering into a rage, until the horrible human din turned into the howl of a wolf.

“Forty-two, cover!” the female officer yelled.

A small red hole appeared between Clem’s eyes. Blood, brain, and bone splattered over the bottles and mirror behind the bar. He fell to the ground flopping...

Gunfire broke out.

Behind Seth, a fifty-caliber fired rapidly over his head, blowing holes through the walls of the establishment, and alarming the scrambling soldiers outside.

In the middle of it all, a half-man, half-animal hairy beast emerged from the pandemonium.

The black werewolf roared savagely, leaping toward the back-peddling officer.

Another sound, this one more of a shriek than Torin’s, burst from the darkness outside the bar.

Under heavy fire, the officer and her men backed out of the doorway. No sooner had they stepped outside when something heavy hit the doorway. A large piece of the building’s facia exploded as a half robotic, half werewolf-like thing ripped the door and its frame away from the building.

The machine-man and wolf hybrid stood in the wreckage. The metal monster stood eight feet or taller. It's one laser-like eye and one living considered the room and its occupants briefly before turning its gaze to Torin. “Come home, brother.” The voice sounded like a stretching guitar string. It showed its long razor like metal claws.

 “Go to Hell! And we are not brothers.” Torin screamed, right before he attacked.

The smaller, black werewolf met the mechanical beast in a collision of steel and black fur, the battle reminding Seth of the old Japanese movie, where King Kong battled a mechanized Godzilla.

As the two creatures grappled at the front of the bar, patrons fell back to Uncle Charlie’s position and began covering for him. Uncle Charlie grabbed Seth by the shoulder, pulling him back, “Come on, marine!”

Virgil continued to fire the fifty-caliber to cover their retreat.

Seth followed the others and Scarface pushed a knot in the wood paneling.

The entire wall moved away to reveal a hatch and ladder leading down.

Seth looked at Uncle Charlie.

“Into the hole, if you want to live!”

Seth moved to the hatch.

Scarface gave him a quick smile and nod of camaraderie as if he’d joined.

Seth thought he’d just joined a circus where the animals seemed to be on the loose. Once again, he was in the middle of it all.

Others followed him down, Matilda in the yellow coat, and her slim friend Moon, along with Beppo, Scarface, and a few unnamed men and another woman made it down the ladder.

The fifty-caliber barrage of gunfire stopped as Virgil abandoned the weapon. He was the last to descend and closed the hatch, twisting the wheel shut and locking them in.

 

 

***

 

Seth smelled gun oil and munitions in the darkness after he’d descended the ladder into the bunker. When the lights came on, he became aware that he’d walked into the world of a paranoid military man and his minions. Rows of weaponry lined metal racks in a central room, stacks of ammunition in shelves to the ceiling. He immediately recognized the shoulder-fired missiles.

 Uncle Charlie’s secret basement had an ‘X’ layout. The complex had been built with one purpose in mind; to survive a world gone mad. “You’re ready for World War III,” Seth announced.

 “Take your pick, but I think the AT-4 will do.” Uncle Charlie pointed to the rocket launcher built by those peaceful Swedish designers at Saab.

Seth couldn’t help the grin. “Agreed.” He gave a quick nod.

The gray eyebrows shot up as Uncle Charlie reached for an M4 assault rifle and attached grenade launcher. “You’ll need this, too.” He handed the weapon to Seth. “Take whatever you need from the armory wing.” He pointed down a long tunnel lit by a string of lights. “There’s some bear traps down that way, too. Grab them”

“Those will work.” Seth glanced down the wing and wondered what other goodies he would find.

“Let me introduce you to some friends.” Uncle Charlie, opened his arms to include the others gathering up weapons and ammunition. “This is Captain Beppo Roe.” The old man with frizzy white hair stepped forward, shaking Seth’s hand. “Master Sergeant Jeremiah Williams. He can help with the traps.” He pointed to Scarface, whose smile stretched the jagged white line of his scar, taut.

“Semper Fi.” The lean man reached out.

Seth shook his hand.

“Semper Fi, ooh-rah!” returned Seth.

Virgil was a retired Navy Seal, Matilda an Air Force radar, and communications specialist. The other men and women present represented all the military branches, including the Coast Guard.

Seth accepted the hand grenades Beppo offered. The night vision goggles that fit the helmets handed out by Scarface would be useful in endless winter night in the north. The others had plenty of advice as they prepared themselves for battle, should it ever come.

“Sorry about Clem.” Seth looked around the room.

The group stopped what they were doing and looked at him, blankly.

Beppo spoke for everyone. “We live by the sword. We die by the sword.”

They went back to cleaning weapons. Uncle Charlie cleaned and oiled the six huge traps Seth and Scarface had carried from the tunnel. Testing each trap set Seth’s nerves on edge, watching the trap snap shut on the thick pine tree log. Uncle Charlie decided the time to reconnoiter the surface had arrived. He left Beppo in charge of the bunker, taking Seth and Virgil with him.

Seth followed the two older warriors, bearing every weapon he could carry, all of them dressed in white.

The hidden tunnel system featured a backdoor, about a hundred yards from the road in front of Uncle Charlie's place. The disguised entrance opened from what would appear to an onlooker to be a giant, burned-out tree stump, half-buried in a hillside.

Scarface shut the secret door. They were now locked outside. It was cold. His breath blew out in plumbs, and he shivered as a wave of goosebumps wept over his shoulders. It had been much warmer inside the bunker.

A colorful aurora danced in the sky with a green ribbon of energy as they moved on snowshoes over the powdery landscape. Although the headlamps lit a path, the snow and windswept trees set an eerie mood as Seth, Virgil and Charlie crept through the forest toward the back of his bar and grill. The two old men carried the traps, as Seth set the point at Charlie’s request.

He rounded the corner of the building, the M4 familiar in grip, his exposed fingertip pressed near the trigger. The scene in the street appeared to have been a massacre. Men were strewn like spaghetti and meatballs, their bodies torn and bloody in their white uniforms. They’d scattered in fear. Seth wanted to wretch but stopped himself. The savagery gave Virgil and Charlie pause when they too, came around the corner.

Seth wished he could look away, and spotted the officer. She’d propped herself up against a Humvee and appeared to be conscious. He moved cautiously to her. When he arrived at the Humvee, he placed his weapon against the bumper and dropped to a knee, wondering which of her deep slash wounds to treat first. It didn’t look like she had long to live, and she sat trying to hold in her intestines, using her once white suit to cradle them to her stomach.

Charlie and Virgil watched as Seth tried to help her with the long slash across her abdomen.

“Don’t look like you’ll make it. So, why don’t you level with us?” Charlie asked.

The officer scoffed. “You’ll be lucky to make it!” She coughed in obvious pain. “It’s nearly impossible to kill them.”

“We’ll see about that!” Charlie spat in the snow.

“They’re killers and survivors.” She coughed again, blood spraying from her mouth in crimson droplets. “We needed a polar advantage, so we created them from an infected source.”

“Sounds like you tried to play God.” Seth worked to help the woman push her spongy intestines back inside.

“Byte will hunt all of you down. He’s probably watching us right now!”

“Where’s Torin?” Charlie his head swiveled, looking around.

“Probably went into the woods and will freeze after he changes back. Come spring, he’ll wake up hungry.” She stopped and looked down at her belly, with Seth’s hands trying to hold the organs in. “I’m cold.”

Her time was short, but he tried to make her last moments comfortable. “Surely we can kill it.” With a jerk of his chin, he indicated the two bear traps slung over his shoulders and the two missiles.

Traps might slow it down, perhaps enough for a missile to blow it in half, and her lingering look left him with the feeling that it could work—if everything went their way. Things never went Seth’s way.

“Good luck.” Officer 30-693B slumped, her eyes unfocused and distant, and she expired in the cold and snow.

 

 

**

 

Charlie and Virgil were convinced that a pile giant rocks, in the middle of a glen of birch trees on the opposite side of the village, would be the best place to trap and destroy both beasts, if necessary. Seth agreed.

“Stand guard, Virgil. Seth and I will set the traps.” Charlie dropped the three traps he’d carried from his shoulders. Virgil did the same and went to his position on the rocks. Charlie, as Seth had begun to call him at his request, tied the traps to the trees with a coil of rope he’d brought along. “Wrap it once.” Ice hung from the old man’s beard in frozen clumps.

It took both men to unfold the stiff springs and set the jaws open. “Keep your weight on it.” Charlie carefully set the trigger as Seth kept the pressure on the spring. If a mistake was made, the guy setting the trigger might lose their fingers or even a hand in the razor-sharp jaws.

Virgil watched from a boulder-top.

Snow fell, adding to the already sweeping altars of white.

Charlie and Seth set the last trap, Virgil’s terrified scream penetrated the night.

None of them guessed the Lycanbot's ability to leap great distances in a single bound, and Virgil became the victim of their ignorance. The flesh and steel quadruped held the man in its claws and drew his neck into its unyielding jaw.

Virgil’s head came away from his neck.

Byte tossed the body from the rocks and into the snow.

Charlie slapped Seth on the helmet. “I’m for killing this thing.”

Virgil’s head sat in the palm of the creature’s hand. The eyes twitched as if trying to tell them something before it too was tossed aside.

There was only one plan, and he played the central part, as usual. “Hide in the trees, and kill this thing. I got the bait part.”

A glance that could only be understood among warriors passed between them.

Charlie sprinted into the cover of the trees as fast as the snowshoes would carry him. He took up a position behind a fallen log that was a large snowdrift.

Byte’s head swiveled as it followed Charlie as he escaped into the trees. It turned back to Seth, who sat crouched like a piece of cheese on a paddle.

Byte leaped from the huge, boulders, landing less than three feet from the traps.

Seth had his first close look at the metal beast. It was tall, the long limbs shining like chrome and melded with the muscle in a fusion of alloy and hairy flesh. The creature turned its gaze, one laser eye, the other real, toward Seth. It shifted between the man and the traps.

Byte lifted a foot and placed it between the traps. The beast smiled a steel grin, its teeth gleamed as sharp as razors.

Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” played in Seth’s head, proving that if there were gods, they kept a sick sense of humor. He opened fire and launched a grenade. “Escape that!”

Byte moved with remarkable speed and avoided the shot.

The robotic beast took a step his way.

A deeper growl swept down from the boulders.

Byte stopped, turning to meet his pouncing brother, and as luck or skill would have it, a hairy black foot knocked Seth out of the way.

The jaws of one trap closed, missing with a loud snap.

Another sprang, followed by the howl of the black werewolf. His right leg held firm.

Charlie opened fire from the tree line.

Seth shook off the blow from the foot and ran. The iron traps continued to capture more limbs in their bloody teeth.

Though it did not howl in pain, the lycanbot had been caught. It issued a gurgle; its most human-like sound.

In the pitched melee, brother against brother, the traps clamped down on their limbs.

Charlie shouldered the M136 AT4 missile. “Faster!” He waved, urging Seth to get clear.

Seth scrambled as fast as the snowshoes allowed. He dove for the protection of the boulders and heard the launch of the rocket. He turned from an outcropping of rock and watched the missile hit the metal breastplate of the creature and detonate.

The metal monster flew in a thousand directions all at once and landed in pieces. Gory limbs were caught in the traps; chunks of flesh and warped metal strewn everywhere. The head, with no jaw to speak of, seemed to function nearby. It slowly sank into the deep snow.

His right ankle caught in the jaws of the trap, the creature that was Torin lay on his back with a piece of angular metal piercing his rib cage. The beast howled in agony as it pulled the sharp object out and tossed it away.

Seth and Charlie moved cautiously, ready to pull the trigger and pour a full magazine into the chest of the hairy beast.  

Behind the hairy face and within the wild eyes, Seth recognized the young soldier. The long snout full of sharp teeth and a long tongue shortened. Torin, though still a hairy beast, slowly changed. He reached for the ankle caught in the trap, trying not to show the pain.

“So much for indestructible.” Charlie aimed the M4 at Torin. “I can end this here and now!”

Torin looked at Charlie and Seth. A look of ‘he’s right’ stood in the young soldier’s eyes.

“He appears human to me, Colonel. It would be murder, and that I can’t abide.” Seth set the borrowed M4 upright in the snow. He knew if circumstances were changed, it might have been himself the military had experimented on.

“And you intend to render aid.”

Seth nodded as he knelt next to a man who moments before had been a mix of human and wolf.

“You better stay away from the village, far away, or the next time, by God, I’ll blow your ass away, too!” Charlie glared at Torin but lowered his weapon.

“This is going to hurt a little.” Seth stepped on the trap’s arm to release it.

Torin hissed between clenched teeth, pulling the foot from the iron jaws. “Thanks!”

 “What’re you gonna do?” Seth let the trap snap back shut.

Charlie shuffled away to pick the head of the metal creature out of the snow.

“Wait here awhile. Wander off into the woods in a bit. Get lost.” Torin looked to the sky as he rubbed the wounded ankle. “Beautiful! Isn’t it.”

Seth followed his gaze to the northern aurora stirring the heavens in colorful waves of green. “You’ll freeze.”

Torin grinned. “I’ll thaw next spring. Far from here.” He looked at Charlie, who smirked suspiciously as he stuffed the head of Byte into a bag.

“I’ll be somewhere else,” Seth drew the M4 from the snow and stood. He’d had more than enough of Alaska.

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Tim Arnzen. All rights reserved.

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