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Zombie Me: Patchwork and Pieces

Chapter 1: Part 1, Litany of Rot

Chapter 1: Part 2, Shattered

Chapter 1: Part 3, Growling with Hunger

Chapter 1: Part 4, Vion Rising

Chapter 1: Part 5, Stand Off

Chapter 1: Part 6, The Call

Chapter 1: Part 7, Free Association

Chapter 1: Part 8, First Taste

Chapter 1: Part 9, Bert and Ernie

Chapter 1: Part 10, Starting to Rain

Chapter 2: Part 1, "Me!"

Chapter 2: Part 2, C.A.B.L.E.T.V.

Chapter 2: Part 3, Raining

Chapter 2: Part 4, Sheltered Hunger

Chapter 2: Part 5, Clouded Eye Open

New short story "The Awakening"

Chapter 2: Part 6, Everything Yet Nothing

Chapter 2: Part 7, The Cheshire Smile

Chapter 2: Part 8, Cacophony of Fists

Chapter 2: Part 9, Still Born

Chapter 2: Part 10, Empty Nest

Chapter 3: Part 1, False Rescue, Hidden Hope

Chapter 3: Part 2, The Process

Review of Brainchild... A collection of Artifacts

Chapter 3: Part 3, Psuedo Life

Chapter 3: Part 4, Wayward Derelicts

Chapter 3: Part 5, The Cleaners

Chapter 3: Part 6 The Corridor

Chapter 3: Part 7, Echoes of Death

Chapter 3: Part 8, The Road Kill Machine

Chapter 3: Part 9, Fixed Lividity

New short story "Alone in the Woods"

Chapter 3: Part 10, Fire Within

Chapter 4: Part 1, Eye of the Beholder

Chapter 4: Part 2, Home

New - Character Sketches

Chapter 4: Part 3, Dead Inside

Chapter 4: Part 4, Dead Soldiers

Chapter 4: Part 5, Kill Switch

Chapter 4: Part 6, The Call Part 2

Chapter 4: Part 7, The Key

Chapter 4: Part 8, Reunion

Chapter 4: Part 9, Unleashed


2007/10/04

Chapter 4: Part 1, Eye of the Beholder

A trembling hand stretched out and disturbed the chilled tendrils of moisture which gathered near the floor. Fingertips strained as they tried in vain to grab fistfuls of the cold steel flooring. Like new shoes on waxed linoleum, squeaks escaped as his palm stutter stepped across the polished surface. Eric paused as if startled by the mousy squeals. His head dipped sharply as if intending to ram his skull into the hard metal but stopped just inches from the back of his hand. He pulled it slowly across the floor causing a succession of rapid screeches which split the cold silence and trailed violent echoes.

His chapped lips, once full and soft, now parted slightly with the hint of a smile as if the annoying sounds gave him great delight. A thin line of drool escaped the corner of his mouth as he turned his ear to the floor and repeated the process of dragging his palm to create the sounds. Ssssssssscreeeeeecchhh… chich… chich… sssssqueeeeeeeak… Over and over he repeated the mechanical motion, each time the smile returned and then receded with the fading echoes. “Soooo beeauuuutiful…” He sucked in a dragging breath before repeating the mantra. The words slowly slurred as they passed over his swollen tongue “Soooo beeauuuutiful…”

Outside the room Raimi looked on in eager fascination through a reinforced one-way mirror. His face was so close to the glass that his breath began condensing on its chilled surface. In a reverential tone he asked “How long has it been doing this?”

A young looking lab technician named Jason Miles tentatively stepped forward and answered “Almost four hours now.” He paused and then added “He screamed for the first three hours after encephalitic resuscitation. I had to give him twenty cc’s of T.C.C. before he calmed down” Tetrachloro-Corticone, ironically, had been invented primarily by Eric, and as of yet, it was the only drug that could quell the rage of the undead.

Twelve hours now… Raimi thought to himself. Twelve hours since Eric’s reanimation and he was beginning to vocalize. Better yet, he was connecting with his new senses and associating them with abstract connotations such as beauty. Very promising… yes very promising indeed! “Twenty cc’s… And it only calmed him?” Raimi was astonished as he mentally pulled up records of his prior project. Patchwork had screamed for hours before Raimi had thought to use the T.C.C. on him, by that point Patchwork had screamed so hard that many of the sutures in his chest and face had popped. Streams of dark liquid leaked from them causing Raimi to wonder if the creature would survive the night. It had only taken five cc’s of the pale green drug to stop the screams, in fact it worked so well that it put Patchwork into an irreversible catatonia. Raimi had first thought that the powerful neural-narcotic had killed the creature, he thought in frustration How can you tell when something dead, dies? He had spent the next eight hours inserting sensitive probes deep into the creatures’ brain searching for any signs of activity. He finally heard a faint crackle from the neuroscope indicating the firing of neurons deep within the midbrain. It wasn’t the static of a poorly tuned radio station that he had hoped for, but it was something and he would take it over the loss of two years of research. Twenty cc’s… he though again to himself “That’s enough to kill an elephant!”

Eager to gain prominence within Vion the young lab tech had requested a transfer into Eric’s secretive group. After an exhaustive security check by Sergeant Ridgeman, full psychological profile, personal interviews with the four team members, and a high level secrecy agreement he was finally allowed within the darkened lab.

His hands trembled as his eyes darted over the mutilated form of his boss who now sat drooling oafishly in the isothermal cell before him. His eyes felt like ice cubes stuck to the frozen flesh of their sockets. With great effort Jason turned slowly from Eric’s hunched form to the far more frightening countenance of Raimi Walters. Sensing the threatening tone in Raimi’s last statement he proceeded cautiously. “The dosing followed Eric’s observations in our Canine and Pre-primate studies.”

Raimi sensed a slight trembling in the tech’s countenance, good, the red haired waif had reason to be afraid. Raimi calmed himself with the realization that Eric’s group had none of the data on T.C.C. from project Patchwork. He turned back to the mirror, still Eric had withstood an incredibly large dose, fascinating. “Discontinue the administration of T.C.C. immediately.” Raimi’s voice never got louder then a whisper but Jason flinched as if Raimi slapped him. He looked down at the gold and silver Rolex that loosely sat on his wrist. It had been almost a full day since the confrontation with Eric and Hans in the surgical theatre and now, no matter how much amphetamine he took, he could no longer hold back the weary gates of sleep that beckoned to him. With a sharp movement he turned to the lab tech who tiredly rubbed his eyes.

Raimi finally took a moment and scanned the thin man who stood before him. At about five feet nine inches the man appeared taller then he really was due to his thin frame. He wore a crisp white lab coat with “Vion Technologies” stitched in red on the left breast and “Miles” in blue cursive on the right. He looked tired and Raimi attributed this to the fact that he had grabbed the young man directly after Eric’s surgery. The bleary eyed youth had said something but all Raimi had heard were snippets of protestations “End of my shift… Plans to go out… Brother’s twenty first birthday…” Raimi halted his determined march back to the lab and turned a piercing gaze to Jason “If you value your… Professional life… then I would certainly reconsider your priorities.” Raimi turned and continued to his labs without waiting for a response. He wasn’t shocked to hear, after a brief pause, frantic footsteps racing to catch up to his robotic march.

A thin cracked smile split the stone of his face as he could hear gasps of wonder from behind him as they both stepped into the frigid surgical theater. Raimi didn’t look, but he could imagine the slack jawed man with his mouth hanging agape as he stared at the futuristic robot hanging lifelessly from the ceiling, and then right on cue he could hear a sharp intake of breath as Jason caught sight of the body laying beneath. Oh how Raimi wished he could have seen the transformation of that look from amazement to horror, but he had more important things to do.

As he began rechecking the roping incisions that crossed Eric’s face he could hear a faint stuttering from off to his right. “Wha… who?... Eric!” Raimi was surprised when the tech finally expressed a coherent thought. “What the hell did you do to Eric?”

Sensing the rising panic within the trembling voice of Jason, Raimi decided to forgo further observations so that he could calm the tech. Right now he needed a second pair of hands and could not afford a meltdown. “Jason… It’s Jason right?” Raimi’s voice was as quiet as the soft purr of a kitten. This surprising tone caught Jason off guard and halted his further progression into hysteria, he nodded slightly. “I have been working with Eric for some time now. He was very dedicated to his research, more dedicated than most ever knew. We had been working on an extrapolation of his work with Pieces. You’re familiar with that project and its vast potential I’m sure.” Jason gave another short nod. Raimi paused just long enough for this last statement to fully sink in and then continued. “Well Jason, Eric had what I believe to be a severe stroke tonight.” He thought that this wasn’t much of a lie as Eric did have a severe stroke. Yes a severe stroke of bad luck he thought with an inward smile. “I found him slumped over that control panel. He must have been dead for at least an hour as his body was already starting to grow cold. Eric had mentioned to me on many occasions that he would want the research to continue no matter what, and that he would do whatever was needed to further it. Even if this included becoming part of it.” There was just enough logic behind this to give it some credence, and Raimi could see it beginning to break through the shroud of shock that threatened to engulf the shivering man. “Eric simply donated his body to science.”

“But what about his family, they would never understand this.” Jason said this in an almost pleading tone as his hands pulled the lab coat tight around his shoulders.

“Believe me, if Eric had any family we could contact I would do it personally, but the profile he filled out listed no one. In addition to that, the background check Sergeant Ridgeman performed turned up no one.” Raimi gave Jason his all purpose Cheshire smile, up front it seemed innocuous but upon reflection it contained damning secrets. Jason, wanting… needing to believe, never looked deeper into that smile then the plastic warmth it offered on its surface. “The data we can gather from this minor sacrifice, if you can call it a sacrifice at all, can benefit millions around the world. You’re an intelligent man Jason and I know you understand what we are trying to do here, and you can help.”

Raimi could see that his silken words had worked their dark magic. Jason’s hands loosened their grip on his lab coat and then dropped limply to his sides. “What do you need me to do?”

If Jason had been broken then, what could you call his countenance now some fourteen hours later? Beaten, crushed… Raimi preferred to call it pliable. Dark circles now ringed the man’s eyes. Raimi stopped himself before he began to sympathize with Jason. He reached within his coat pocket and pulled out the vial of pills. “I want you to stay on until I get back, I should only be gone for a few hours. Here…” Taking out four of the little white tablets he said “Take these, they’ll wake you up and give you some energy. You’ll need it for what I want you to do next.”

“What’s that?” Jason nervously asked Raimi’s back as the senior Scientist began walking to the door of the observation room.

Raimi stopped and gave Jason that smile again “Why… I want you to feed Eric.” This time Jason did not miss the secrets shadowed behind those gleaming teeth.