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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


2008/05/08

Chapter 4: Part 5, Kill Switch




Raimi had returned two hours later looking spry and enervated. His face, although looking far from happy, had a pleased expression on it. His lab assistant on the other hand had mixed emotions at the return of the crazed genius. He was relieved to have the creature's handler back, but he couldn't tell who was more dangerous, Dr. Frankenstein or his monster. Raimi entered the lab and had immediately started barking orders at him “Get a gurney and prep Eric for a move. He needs to go to the neuro-interface lab.”

Jason had almost lost his life trying to feed the creature, and most recently his hand as he tried to get Eric strapped down. Though the creature before him looked liked a drooling imbecile, Jason had learned pretty quick that looks could be deceiving.

The weak violet lighting only made Jason feel colder as he had entered the chilled holding cell which contained Eric. Upon entering the room he could see Eric's head cock to one side as he listened intently. An offish smile split his swollen countenance and Jason had wondered darkly if the extra brains Raimi had packed in there would spill out from between those red slits. It was a sickening thought which, in an odd way, reminded him of a phrase his brother often used. “Man I puked my brains out last night!” Jason felt his stomach lurch as he pictured it and swallowed hard to prevent himself from doing the same.

Moving around the cell Jason had tried to remain as quiet as possible but Eric tracked his movements with disconcerting accuracy. The singular twisting of Eric's head had reminded Jason of a bat which had sheltered near the beach of their summer cottage one sunny afternoon. The warning of his mother echoed in his mind as he approached Eric. Don't get too close Jay, it might have rabies”… Not rabies, he thought, something worse… far worse.

He needed to get close, close enough so that he could shoot a TCC loaded dart into the soft tissue of Eric's neck. The monstrosity's head was cocked impossibly to the side making it difficult to get a clear shot. In an attempt to get him to turn, Jason had grabbed a coin from his pocket and tossed it into the corner just beyond his target. A metallic ring followed the somersaulting coin through the air and then it suddenly halted as Eric's hand darted out and caught the coin in mid-flight.

With a haunting movement Eric squeezed the coin; building pressure, as if trying to crush it. Then he snapped and exploded in a rage towards Jason. The dart gun went off reflexively in his hand, deploying its payload into Eric's shoulder. The fleeting thought of escape had barely registered in his amphetamine altered consciousness as Eric struck him. He landed on his back and his breath came out in a harsh rush. Eric's crushing weight left him unable to fill the void in his chest.

The rotting smell of sickness fell upon Jason as Eric screamed insanity inches from his face. With a dawning fear, Jason had realized the substance of Eric's ranting. It was a victory cry, Eric had caught his prey. The haunting visage of a face missing its key components filled his vision. The last drawling word Jason heard before his awareness shutdown was “Food…

He awoke minutes later and was distressed to discover Raimi standing over him holding an empty hypodermic. Trying to stand he was equally disturbed to find that his muscles were not listening to his commands. “What did you do to me?”

Raimi leaned over and placed a finger over his lips and whispered “Sshh… You'll wake the baby. What I did was save your life.” He turned and pointed to the far corner where Eric lay in a collapsed pile. “I came into the cell and Eric was on top of you. I couldn't get a clear shot so I tazed the both of you.” He paused for a moment and flashed a withholding smile. “Sorry about that. With Eric temporarily incapacitated I gave him an additional dose of TCC. Here's a little advice, next time don't hesitate. Now get up and get him strapped to the gurney.”

Jason's muscles began to accept the messages from his brain stem as he stood on shaky legs. By the time he had Eric strapped down he was feeling back to normal; though normal was beginning to feel like a relative term. He was almost lunch ten minutes earlier, or was it dinner? Damn this place! He cursed silently. He had lost all track of time. Why weren't there any clocks anywhere?

Walking to the Neural Interface Lab he noticed a spring in his step. It appeared to him that cheating death seemed to give him a bounce, even his attitude had improved. He had stopped looking for clocks as he left the holding cells, in fact he didn't even care what time it was. By the time he reached his destination he had even forgotten that he hadn’t slept for at least thirty hours.

The neuro-lab was alive with blinking lights and electronic displays. There was an audible hum upon entering which began to agitate the catatonic zombie before him. Jason barely noticed it. His world had begun to take on a happy glow as his stream of thought gradually flowed to a trickle. Intermittent spurts of tangential thoughts like: Eric looks comfortable, he sure is sleepy, I'm cold, and I wish I had a sweater were all that his intellect could handle. He had no idea that this subroutine of internal conversations, common to all humans, had moved into the driver's seat and replaced his higher thought. He continued about his tasks as this mindless internal conversation rolled on.

In a room covered in what looked to Jason like acoustical panels hung a lone high intensity lamp. Its singular cone of light illuminated a black vinyl covered gurney. An IV stand trailed a lonely plastic line to an arm rest. Its needle looped around a restraint indicating its intended location.

“Transfer Eric to the table.” Raimi's voice came from speakers hidden behind the porous wall coverings. Having been prevented any chance of an echo; the room fell once again back into its soft quietness. Jason reveled in its quite solitude and jumped when Raimi's voice exploded from the speakers “I would quicken your pace. Eric looks as if he is returning to consciousness.” Indeed Eric had begun to show signs of life. Jason worked quickly as his mind took the task and broke it into its individual tasks. Undo restraints, right arm, left arm, left foot, right foot, move body, repeat the restraints in reverse, then insert IV needle and start the drip.

When he had finished Raimi appeared in the doorway holding a gleaming set of tools. He moved to the left side of Eric and fastened the head restraint which had been forgotten. He looked to Jason and realized that a verbal lashing wouldn't matter at this point. Jason's reasoning level was on par with a four year old by now. Raimi wondered how much longer he would be useful to him as the boy grinned widely at him. The mix of amphetamines, scopolamine, and Provigil would only take him so far before his body crashed.

A gleaming scalpel seemingly appeared out of nowhere in Raimi's dexterous hand; and Jason began to clap at the sleight of hand. Raimi scowled but couldn't bother with Jason right now. His scalpel dove into Eric's neck just below the cranial bulge behind the ear. He cut a crimson swath about an inch long and removed the blade. Like a metallic barracuda a pair of surgical pliers dove into the incision, its steel jaws bit, loosened and bit again as if searching for something. On its third attempt it found what it had been looking for and retreated from its burrow with plastic clip trailing a tangle of multicolored wires. Raimi smiled and within seconds had stitched the flesh back together around the data port.

“Jason… Jason!” Raimi's raised voice snapped Jason out of his stupor. Then its tone changed “How are you feeling?” he asked in a curious way. His eyes never leaving the work in which his hands were busied.

“I feel great.” Jason’s voice was low and languid. “I'm cold; I think I have to go pee.” Raimi thought that if he let this go on he would have drowned in the inanities of bodily functions. In fact he thought that Jason's mentality wasn't far from pinching it to prevent soiling himself.

“Great, I'm so glad for you.” Raimi cut Jason off with a voice dripping with insincerity. “Now go outside and bring in the communications cart with the computer on it. After we are done you can do anything you want, in fact you’ve been so helpful I think that you deserve a promotion. Just remember, you feel great.” Raimi thought that he heard Jason mutter an echo as he left the room. He returned smiling broadly and pushing a small cart which contained various electronic instruments.

Raimi immediately connected the data port on Eric’s head to a small computer. “Jason, do you know what control is?” Jason’s head bobbed a slow unsure nod. “Control is power over reality. It is the power to mold your own reality, and the reality of others. As you have witnessed tonight, I have conquered death; now I will begin my experiments… on life!”

The computer flashed the words “Connection in progress” after a second Eric’s Jaw clenched tightly and the screen now read “Connected on data port 1: Awaiting I/O sequence…” Raimi accessed a screen titled Physio-Motor Control and clicked on a flashing button labeled RUN CALIBRATION. Immediately Eric’s body vibrated as electrical impulses rifled through his nerves. After the initial spasm, the system triggered a flexing and relaxing of each muscle group in Eric’s body. Raimi followed its progression via an on screen silhouette. The body twitched as if possessed; Raimi smiled as he thought to himself… He is possessed, by me. The haunting progression of increasingly complex movements ended in the horrific vocalization of “A-E-I-O-U” Each letter was drawn out and strangled as a global microphone system registered the vocal patterns. The computer screen changed to a display labeled LINGUISTICS CALIBRATION, below which appeared the wave pattern of Eric’s voice. Again he repeated the vowel pattern, this time it occurred faster and his enunciation was clearer. The third attempt sounded more human than machine, and finally the sequence finished with Eric saying “Calibration complete”.

Jason began to clap at the spectacle before him. Raimi even smiled as he thought of the decades of research and programming that went into the intricate ballet of nerve stimulation. Like many spring blossoms this smile quickly faded as he began to gather his instruments.

“Come now Jason, I have one last thing to do, and then you may go.”

Jason began to leave the room when something caught his eye, “What’s that?” He asked pointing to a small remote that lay off to the side of the computer.

Raimi halted for a moment to be sure he understood what he was referring to and saw the object of Jason’s attention. “Well… you could call it a kill switch of sorts. It’s like a keyless entry system for a car except this one is for Eric.”

“Huh… Cool!” Jason reached for the remote but Raimi grabbed it just before Jason’s hand reached it. Raimi fought back the urge to strike him realizing that setting upon the imbecile in such a way would accomplish nothing. Jason’s mental capacity was dropping fast. Raimi would have stoop to his level to reason with him.

“Yeah, it is pretty neat; but do you want to see something even better?” Jason nodded. “Then follow me, we are going to take this new toy for a test drive.”

They both entered a room adjacent to where Eric was incarcerated. In opposition to the quiet solitude of Eric’s room this was alive with the humming of cooling fans. This was the heart of the computing center for what they had just witnessed. Raimi sat in front of a bank of monitors which displayed the states of the various instruments within the lab. The central monitor displayed Eric lying on the table. “Jason, do you remember when I saved your life back when Eric attacked you.”

“Eric wasn’t nice.” He said. His body crouched slightly and a troubled look crossed his face “I was scared.”

“Well, you shouldn’t be, I’m right here to protect you from the boogie man.” Raimi’s face softened and he placed a hand on Jason’s shoulder. “Right now though, I need you to be very quiet. I’m going to make a call; can you do that for me?” With a nod Jason turned and sat down in the corner.

Raimi withdrew Eric’s black Motorola cell phone from his pocket and hooked a USB cable to it. The screen to the right of Eric’s monitor flashed the words DOWNLOADING CONTENT… These were quickly replaced with EMULATION ENABLED. With this completed he moved to the opposite monitor and placed a wireless microphone into his ear; a blue light on it began to blink indicating an active connection. Raimi took a deep breath and said “Hello, testing one… two… three…” The end of the test phrase came out through Raimi’s smiling lips as he stared in wonder at Eric repeating the phrase. Quickly Raimi replayed the audio log, he smiled so broadly that his cheeks began to ache; it was perfect. Eric’s intonation matched that of his, he could even hear the hint of his laughter at the end. “Excellent!” Eric also repeated this.

Raimi began to laugh at the elegance of his puppetry. His delight though, soon quickly faded as Eric’s rigid posture gave the laugh a robotic, forced character. Well there was bound to be some limitation. What Raimi never realized was that Eric had mimicked him perfectly. Raimi laughed so rarely that when he did it sounded forced and mechanical.

Slightly disappointed he moved on to the real reason why he was there. He scrolled through the phone numbers stored in Eric’s cell and found the one he was looking for. Alongside the words “Jen’s Cell” was the picture of an intelligent looking blond woman. Raimi knew instantly that this was the ”Hot blond” which Eric boasted about so prolifically. He snapped out of his intense scrutiny of the picture when a small dark crack shot across the LCD. He released the tension in his hand and let his thumb gently caressed the crack. Dark liquid crystal blotches began to ooze from the fracture. His thumb paused a few more seconds and then pressed send.

Through the ear piece Raimi would be able to hear Jen, but he would have to do all the communication through his puppet. Raimi was able to give a final glance at the system diagnostics screen before the phone began to ring.

The ringing ended in an audible click and was followed by the faint beating of music in the background. A tentative voice asked “Eric?”

Now, the real test of all the work he had done truly began. He repressed the urge to hang up and triple check the connections and retest the audio delivery system. “Hi, Jen.” The software pumped Eric’s diaphragm, providing the breath of speech as the words came out fluidly.

“Eric, where have you been? Why didn’t you return my calls? Is everything all right?” The flood of questions had caught Raimi off guard. He paused for a second as he thought, Keep it simple.

“Yeah I’m fine, are the guys with you?” He thought it best to get right to the point.

“Yeah, Eric… Jackson’s… dead. He was bitten by something, and then he got sick.” Her voice was becoming frantic. “What the hell is going on?”

“I know, Carmen told me about Jackson. I’m back at Vion; I’ve found some more evidence. I can’t explain everything over the phone. I need you and the guys to get over here quickly.” Raimi had laid the bait and now he hoped that she would take it.

“Eric, I don’t think that I can go back there. Things have happened to fast. People are dead; and we need to go to the FBI. This goes way beyond local authorities.” Raimi began to panic, he was losing her.

He searched his mind, and then in the calmest tone he had he said “Jen, take a deep breath, relax. Think for a minute, we don’t have any concrete evidence yet; no one would believe us. They will now! I have all I need bight here, but I can’t get it out without you.” He paused a second for effect “Jen, I need you!”

He knew that he had her. She hesitated, but the confirmation came within seconds “O.K. I’ll talk to the guys.”

“Good. Meet me in the garage. Tell Carmen that the entrance code is one, five, one, six, two, three, got it?” He gave her as second to write it down.

“Yeah, Eric… I love you.” Pain and uncertainty saturated her last words.

Raimi felt a small twinge of fear. What if he couldn’t convey the emotional response she needed? He felt that it was best to just terminate the conversation; his thumb pressed the red End button and sat back staring at the body on the table.

The experiment had been a success, he should have been ecstatic, but why then did he feel like it had gone wrong? He grabbed the phone, yanked the cord out of it and threw it against the wall where it rained broken plastic to the floor. With the connection broken Eric began to move. For the first time since the break in Raimi wished that he had a living, breathing, thinking Eric to talk to.

No sense in crying about it now! He said to himself. I’ll figure it out later. In the meantime he would contact Sergeant Ridgeman and tell him to coax Carmen into goading the group if there was any hesitation from the girl. It wasn’t his job to worry about specifics; all that mattered was that they came here. Besides he had work to do, he was having guests and he had loose ends to tie up.

He smiled and turned to the cowering young man in the corner. “Don’t be afraid, I’m not mad at you. Remember… You feel great!”

“I do.” Jason stood straight but was beginning to look weary and he had lost some the enthusiasm from his affirmation. During the walk back to the isothermal holding cells Jason’s pace began to slow.

Upon entering the chilled rooms Raimi decided to try a new tactic. “Tell me something Jason, what are your dreams?”

Jason's glazed eyes lit at the question. “I want to be a dad. I like babies. I want a family.” Jason's inhibitions were so far gone by this point that he never noticed the scowl that crossed Raimi's face.

With the sociopathic equanimity of a hangman, Raimi replaced his scowl for a smile. “Well, with the promotion you're going to get for helping me tonight I'm sure that you'd be able to provide for a large family… Hey, I have an idea.” Raimi grinned. “How do you feel about feeding Eric? Why you could practice providing for someone. We could pretend that you’re his father.” His sarcasm fell on deaf ears.

“Sure, I'd love to.” Jason smiled and moved to the new cell housing the restrained Eric. “What should I feed him?” A wide, happy smile spread at the thought of doing something nice for the man who had saved his life.

“Unfortunately Eric likes meat; fresh meat. Why don't you unbuckle his restraints, I'm quite sure that you can provide food for him.”

Without regard for the hands that reached and tore at the fringes of his lab coat, Jason began unbuckling the restraints. Raimi noted that Eric seemed somehow to understand that Jason had no concept of the danger he was in. He patiently waited until both of his hands were free before finishing the assault he started hours earlier. Raimi looked to the red button on the remote which would halt Eric’s attack. His eyes shifted to a smaller, recessed button just to the left of it and decided to give it a try. Pressing it he activated the neurotransmitter which began stimulating Eric’s aggression center… and the response was immediate. Raimi laughed quietly at the double meaning of Kill switch; this time his laugh sounded more like himself, maniacal.

Like a helpless piñata at a Cinco de Mayo festival, Jason lay on the floor as Eric’s scrabbling hands tore the life from deep within him. Oblivious to his own slow and tortured death, Jason Miles gently patted Eric's head muttering “Good boy, good boy…” Finally his hand slowed, fell to the floor, and then moved no more.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Serial Killa said...

Holy Crap!!!

That was awesome. Worth the wait in gold. Keep on rockin!

10:56 PM  
Anonymous ROTLD said...

Really, really good... Nice to see some new art too. Do you all the artwork yourself? Cause some it is truly impressive... Keep on writing, the story is coming along great!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

R.I.P. Jason Miles

12:12 AM  
Blogger Wesker said...

Don't you mean Pieces?

There is no such thing as peace in this reality. Just as no one truly dies. ;)

Thanks to all for the positive words!

12:35 AM  
Anonymous helpless in hell said...

Hey! Just stopped by after a long absence. Great work! Things seem to be coming to a head... Can't help but anticipate the rest!

4:35 PM  

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