Friday, July 29, 2011

Patient Zero

I’ve only been in town three days, and already people are dying.

There’s been panic as they’ve flooded the streets, half blind, half mad, covered in boils, in their vain attempts to flee the city. But the bridge has been blown and the military’s sealed off all the highways, so they shouldn’t get far.

Some won’t believe that U.S. soldiers would fire on unarmed civilians. They’ll swiftly learn otherwise.

They’re saying it’s only a temporary measure, a quarantine as they research potential treatments, but this is nonsense, of course. They always quarantine the city, they always research treatments, and none of it ever comes to a God damned thing. Eventually, their “temporary measures” turn once thriving cities into mausoleums. I’ve seen it happen before and I’ve no doubt I’ll live to see it happen again.

And yes, I know it’s all my fault, don’t you think I know that? By this late stage in the game, of course I know.

But still, here I am, packing my things and preparing to run. I’ll be leaving tonight. By foot or by bike, sticking to the back roads, avoiding the quarantine zones as best I can and hoping to bluff my way through if I happen to get caught.

It’s easier to bluff through than you’d expect, considering. But in a way that does make sense. I look perfectly healthy, after all, and even soldiers are human beings, capable of the same levels of empathy as anyone else. They’ve been told the contagion shows symptoms in hours, and kills in days, so when they see a healthy looking fellow such as myself they assume I just got lucky. And by the time they start showing symptoms, a few hours later, it’s too late. They’ve already let me pass.

Because what nearly nobody knows is that there are carriers, who spread the contagion without showing symptoms of any kind. It’s one of the CDC’s best kept secrets. If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, there’d be even more panic than there already is.

If people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might be stopped from leaving town.

I might have been stopped from leaving the last town.

Or the one before that.

Hell, if people knew they could catch this plague from the seemingly healthy, I might not have been allowed out of that research facuility in the first place, so many months ago.

I wonder how my life would differ had I not been…

No matter, life is what it is. I can leave town, so I will, and when I arrive at wherever it is that I wind up next, people there will start dying. I know that too.

And I also understand I ought to turn myself in. Should’ve turned myself in after the first town I murdered.

But to do so would mean a lifetime in a lab, poked and prodded and tested and, when I die, dissected.

I hope they would wait until after I die.

Hopefully I’ll never have to find out for certain.

So instead of doing what I know in my heart to be the right thing, I’ll set out on my own. Avoid people, avoid cities, and hope for the best. It’s all I can do.

Maybe that’s selfish. Probably it’s selfish, but I honestly don’t care. I never asked for any of this, and I most certainly don’t accept it.

I know you’ve stopped listening to me, you’re long since dead. You started dying the second I walked into the room, and I don’t know if you even understood why. Still, thank you for letting me vent like this. It feels good to get it all off my chest. People need that, sometimes.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go. I need to keep moving, after all…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fight Bus

To get on the bus, you must first fight one of it's current passengers.

You'll get to choose which one.

Space will be found, and you'll each be provided a knife. We'll bind you both together by the wrist, then watch the two of you slash at one another.

If you lose this fight, none will help you. No ambulance will be called and you will die, unmourned.

If you win, you'll take the place of your slain opponent on the bus.

Only later will you realize there's no way off the bus, until a new prospective passenger chooses you...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


There are monsters in the woods.

I have reasons to know that.

And when the townspeople find his body, disemboweled and half-devoured, they'll know it too.

The only witness, a boy of nine, won't say a word, he'll be catatonic with fear, unable to describe the thing that attacked them in the night.

They'll know a monster hunts the woods, and they'll know the danger that lurks.

And they'll hunt me.

What they won't know is what my prey was doing to that boy when I found them.

But I know, because I know there are monsters in the woods.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Return

When he came back, he came back... wrong.

He looked the same, if observed superficially enough, but behind his eyes was a disturbing blankness. A lack of.... sympathy? Empathy? Whatever quality it is that allows one living person to connect meaningfully with another, he now lacked it, and in it's place was... nothing.

Were there enough of him left to wish, he'd wish for a merciful end. Instead, he lurched into the house where she, unknowingly, defenselessly, awaited him.

“How was work, honey?”

“You don't want to know.” He murmured, shoulders slumped, as he grabbed himself a beer...

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Chosen One

You, boy. Yes, you. My Gods, have I found you? Are you he? Are you... the chosen one?

Speak not, young one, for I know that you are from the scar across your scalp. You are he who was prophesied, who will lead our people out from under the yoke of the Sorcerer King and into a new golden age. You will continue, will lead the rebellion as your parents did before you.

But you already have parents, you say? Waiting for you back at home? Please, child, you jest. Surely you can't possibly believe that those drab, dreary creatures you grew up with could have birthed one such as you? You must have known from an early age that you were meant for more than the gray little lives they led, that you were too special for their world to contain or constrain you. They are good people, to be sure, and they have done their best to raise you, protect you, and to keep you from knowing your destiny until you were old enough to understand it's responsibility, but they are ordinary. And you, young boy-king, are anything but that.

Your true father was a great warrior, perhaps the greatest who ever lived, and he led the rebellion's forces against the Sorcerer King, winning battle after glorious battle in spite of his enemy's superior numbers and dark majiks. Your mother was an elvish queen.

You, of course, know none of this. When they sent you, at birth, to be raised by your “parents” here, on this world, they knew that any knowledge of your true identity before the time was right would only endanger you needlessly. So it was kept from you, until you came of age, and now the time has come to seize the sword and lead the rebellion your true parents began. To lead, and to avenge them.

Avenge? Yes, I'm sorry to say it, but your parents both were slain by the Sorcerer King's assassins. For great men and women make great enemies, and no enemy's greater than the Sorcerer King. Your road will not be an easy one, you must learn your mothers elvish majiks, and learn too to wield the blade your father forged. Many will resent you for arising from nowhere to claim leadership, and it will be a struggle to win their trust. But I have faith in you, child, for I know who you truly are, and what you are truly capable of. For you see, it was I who delivered you to this world to be protected, and it was I charged with the task, when the time was right, of retrieving and training you to take your rightful place as the warrior king you were meant to be.

You cannot, I'm sorry to say, go back to say goodbye to the two who raised you, but fear not, they'll understand. They've known how special you were this whole time, and will be overjoyed to learn that you've been called home. And time is most certainly if the essence. The Sorcerer King's armies are on the move, and we must move to meet them. We must away, and away with the greatest of haste.

Away, to meet your fate. other news, another dead child has been found in the forests just outside of town. The boy, one Antony Johansburg, aged twelve, is the fourth to turn up dead in the first half of this year, and authorities report they're no closer to the killer's identity, nor to determining how the killer is luring these poor children away with him. We'll be back for an interview with little Antony's bereaved parents after these words from our sponsors.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The following audiolog was recovered in the office of General David Martin, Commander of the OWPEN Station, by the emergency squad sent by the United Nations to recover the station on July 26, 2026 in the aftermath of his breakdown. It is General Martin's last audiolog. It is presented here in it's entirety, and is highly classified. Sharing any part of this audiolog is considered an act of treason, and is punishable by death.

Begin Recording

After consultation with the senior officers, the decision was made...

The decision was made.

That’s such a weird turn of phrase. Like the decision came around of it’s own accord, unbidden. From the depths of consultation, nobody’s fault, and nobody needing to take responsibility. It’s the sort of phrase that only gets used by somebody trying to avoid the predictable consequences of his actions. Trying to weasel out of something. It’s a politician’s phrase. And I’m not much of a politician. Never have been.

I’m a soldier. And I’ve always done my best never to weasel.

Soldiers take responsibility for what they’ve done. So I apologize, and I’ll start again.

After I consulted with my senior officers of my orbital platform, I made the decision. I accept responsibility for the decision, sole responsibility, and I happen and for the record to stand by it.

Circumstances being what they were, I could do nothing else.

It’s easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to suggest that there may’ve other, less destructive options, and yes the fact that we now know we only lost communications with the installation due to sunspot activity and not to any failure at the facility itself makes my later actions seem rash, but put yourself in my position and examine the facts for a moment.

At 8:45 Tuesday morning, a sample of an experimental neurotoxin was compromised, and by the time the air filters could scrub the atmosphere back to a safe level, some unknown number of researchers had been infected with a highly contagious, extremely lethal virus.

The virus has an abnormally long gestation period, followed by a period of mental breakdown in which the infectee is prone to bouts of murderous rage. By the time these violent symptoms emerge, however, weeks or months have elapsed, and god knows how many new people may have been infected. There is no treatment, and the end result is death in ninety six percent of case studies. It’s the perfect weapon, the perfect killer.

And, the minute that sample was compromised, the perfect tragedy.

I am aware that Dr. Hendrickson believed he could reverse engineer an antivirus before the gestation period was up, of course I am. As the Command of the orbital platform, I’m present at all high level briefings, and was at the meeting wherein he made his admittedly eloquent case in favor of being given more time to attempt just such a thing. But tell me, if we’d given him the time he requested, and one person, just one, had somehow gotten out of the compound, did we even have a plan to contain the area?

I’ll save you the time looking that up. We did not.

So yes. I conferred with my staff, and then I made the decision.

And my decision was to turn the weapons platform on the compound, killing everyone inside and sterilizing the area. I did this for reasons I believe are self-evident.

The fact that the compound was inside a city of six hundred thousand is obviously regrettable, but in my estimation that’s well within the acceptable range of collateral damage.

Yes, I am aware that due to the secrecy of the project the public can never know why I did what I did. It is, after all, already being reported by the news networks that I abused my position as part of a larger mental breakdown. I’ve seen the coverage and while that fact is upsetting I understand the rationale.

I’d like to say this recording is an attempt to win my freedom, or salve my reputation, or even beg for my life, but I know better. I am, after all, a good soldier, and I know that there are times when tough decisions must be made.

And really: The damnation of one innocent man verses admission of our government’s participation in an illegal biohazerdous weapons program? Not a particularly tough decision.

So rather than an argument, consider this recording... a goodbye. You’ll find it near where I put a bullet clean through my brain. I’ll die instantly, and you can claim anything about me you like, anything you believe will assist in covering up this program, and the tragedy it resulted in.

I have no doubt whatever story you concoct will be entertaining in the extreme.

I also have no doubt said story will paint me in the worst possible light.

I have no doubt I’ll be thought a monster for what I’ve done.

And I regret it not one bit. My name will be cursed by seven billion still living people, and I hope they have a damn long time to curse me. I hope they teach their still living children to hate me, too, and I hope those kids have good long lives in which to use my name as a pejorative.

I didn’t know I’d be called upon to die like this, there was no way I could have known, but I knew dying for what was right was a risk when I signed on as a soldier. With this in mind, yes, I do go willingly.

So... goodbye, I guess. Goodbye.

Computer? End recording.