Into The Hot Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


Could you follow the orders?

Submitted: December 29, 2017

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Submitted: December 29, 2017

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Into The Hot Zone

There are twenty of you, all in this together. All sworn to secrecy; hell, you hardly know any details yourself. You weren’t in the first six to enter the Hot Zone. They all returned looking like ghosts, unable or unwilling to utter a word about the mission they had just been on. They are kept apart from the rest of you, isolated in a room all on their own, where only those fully geared up may enter.

It kind of gives you some clues. But clues is all they are.....you have no idea of the reality. Not until your name is called amongst the next six. And then you are taken in to a briefing room, told of your task. All of you look shocked; how can you be asked to do this? One of you refuses, tries to make a break, to make a run for it. The officer in charge of briefing you doesn’t hesitate to draw his gun, to fire. It is a kill-shot. Nothing could have made it clearer that this is something which you have no say about. You will obey orders or you will die.

Into the van and you are being moved. There are no windows so you cannot see where you are headed. They don’t want you to know the name of the town just in case on of you might have some kind of link to it. Perhaps a friend or a distant relative, someone you somehow know, lives there. You won’t know – not until it is too late.

You are kitted out on the way. Helmet, your face completely covered. You are having your breathing regulated, filtered, impurities removed. The suit you are wearing is supposed to be made form some type of very strong material, resistant to rips, tears, bites. The enemy will throw whatever they can at you, use any means to bring you down. They will have no compassion, will show no mercy. They, those you are being sent in to destroy, want your life, your blood, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Kill or be killed! You have been told what to expect. It is up to you.

The perimeter fence is well-patrolled. Nobody is allowed to go in, or out, apart from you and your fellow soldiers. There is no sight of any of the ‘residents’. They have been infected with....something, you don’t know what. It is incurable, will spread like wild-fire. Nobody will be allowed to leave alive. Once you have all been in and done your part, the entire area will be burnt to the ground; no, beneath the ground, such will be the strength of the blaze. You are the humane option, bringing instant death rather than one of prolonged agony.

The guards on the gate don’t look at you as they allow you entrance, preferring to look at the ground. Is it from pity? Or is it from disgust? You walk in through the gate, conscious of the gate being closed but not pausing to look back. You have your orders and you will follow them.

As you walk further in to town you remember the words; ‘Men, women, children, even tiny babies, must be killed. Failure to do this will put the whole country, the whole world, at risk.’ Are you facing some kind of viral outbreak, or the results of a chemical weapon attack? Nobody has told you. Either you don’t need to know or they do not know themselves.

There are sounds now, coming towards you. You had expected to come across people laying down, half dead already. You had not anticipated the whoops and hollers that are coming your way. You had not expected your targets to come charging at you in such numbers or at such speed. One of them flings themselves towards you, leaping from a distance, grabbing and gnashing, intent on bringing you down. You lash out with your arm and for a moment wonder just how much this material is going to be able to withstand.

The eyes look dead, hollow, the skin torn and grey. For all intents and purposes, this child is dead, a corpse. You cannot be held accountable for killing what is dead. That’s what you tell yourself as you take aim and fire.

It dawns on you how safe the secrecy of this mission is. Should you perish, they’ll have a good cover-up story, ready to put in place. But if you should survive, and by the very numbers that are approaching, you have your doubts; should you survive, the shame and the guilt of what you have done will be more than enough to hold your tongue forever.


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