Short Stories

His feet hurt.

Sure, everything else wasn’t doing too great either but his feet hurt worst of all.

And why wouldn’t they? As he wandered through the ruins of his once beloved city, his bare feet endured perpetual pains of sharp glass, rough concrete, and piercing pieces of rubble.

With the sounds of gunfire drawing nearer and nearer, the young boy began to hurry. He didn’t have any particular destination in mind but he kept going nonetheless. He realized long ago that he wasn’t necessarily looking for an escape; he was merely trying to stay alive.

His breathing became ragged and heavy as he stumbled through the various pieces of debris and climbed through the crumbling houses, trying to avoid stepping on the especially sharp pieces of rock. He could see a warm mist escape his mouth with every pant and after a short while began to feel a growing pain in his right side. Disregarding the pain his body felt and ignoring the tortuous fire growing in his feet, he continued to run through the ruins.

His foot-eye coordination failed him for a fraction of a second but he nonetheless landed hard on a deformed rock that was sharp, ragged, and bent his foot in a weird way upon contact. With a cry of pain and a moment of panic, the boy fell to the ground clutching his right foot. As he lay there among the rubble, the sounds of gunfire considerably quieter than they had been a few minutes ago, he began to feel a warm liquid run over his hands. He raised his head and looked at his foot and saw his hands were almost completely covered in blood.

He raised himself up to a sitting position to examine his foot further. Slowly, he removed his right hand from his wound and applied even more pressure with his left hand. Being careful not to aggravate the wound or make a mistake, the boy carefully grabbed a fistful of the fabric that used to be a shirt and ripped a large piece off. He then began to wrap his foot as best he could using this makeshift gauze. With the small yet painful wound closed up as best as possible, the boy sat back to examine his feet.

Both were covered in so much dirt that they were almost as black as the pair of shoes he was wearing on the day of the attack. This instance of falling and cutting his foot was not the first time he’d experienced such a thing. His feet were covered in scabs and scars that only formed over the past few days. Both feet were so dry and dirty and scabby that small aggravations were enough to tear open the skin and unleash onslaughts of blood.

It took a while for the boy to realize he had started to cry. It took him even longer to realize why it was that he was crying. He wasn’t crying for his parents, wherever they may have been, or for his destroyed home or for his fallen friends or for his destroyed city or for the terrible fighting that was happening all around him at this very moment. No, he was crying for the loss of those little black shoes. They had been a brand new pair that he was wearing for the second time on the day of the attack. They were small and hard and were made of leather; they were a gift from his father, which was in it of itself a rare occurrence.

The boy knew that if only he still had them, then his feet would be protected from the merciless battleground and he would be without this constant pain and suffering that made him wish to run up to a soldier, grab his gun, and shoot off his own feet.

Thinking of his shoes, the boy began thinking of the day of the attack, which had only been a mere three days ago.

He had been in his house with his family as they all prepared for supper. He and his mother had just come back from the market purchasing ingredients so he still had on his new pair of black shoes. He had preparing the dining area, his mother had been making the final preparations for supper, and his father had almost returned home from his work.

Just as he was setting the final dining spot, however, he felt a rumble coming from somewhere. He didn’t hear anything, he didn’t see anything, but he knew something was wrong nonetheless, a strong feeling in his gut told him so.

Suddenly a far-off vibration could be heard and it grew louder and louder until the sky instantaneously opened up into a chorus of mechanical screams and roars. The boy dropped the plate he was holding, ignored the loud crash and subsequent rain of broken glass, and ran outside. He looked up at the late, blue-yellow sky and saw multiple bomber planes race across the airy expanse.

Just then, he saw one of the bombers drop what looked to be a large black egg onto a neighborhood that was a few miles away from his own. The neighborhood lit up in a column of fire and smoke and the force of the explosion tore across the landscape and pelted the boy with such fury that his hat flew off his head.

Somewhere far off, the boy heard his mother scream his name. He heard her rush outside and run to his side. He felt her shaking his body and trying to pull her with him. However, he paid her no mind as his full attention was focused on the scene unfolding before him. Dozens of bomber planes jetted over his city and dropped bomb after bomb after bomb. Houses exploded, churches flew into the sky in balls of fire, parks and ponds were covered in layers of soot and smoke. His vision was getting blurry and for a moment the boy worried that he was about to pass out or even die. It took him a second to realize his eyes were overflowing with tears.

His mother finally succeeded in pulling him away and then commenced a terrifying period of 48 hours in which he and his mother attempted to make their way to the capital building of the city which had a secure bunker deep beneath the ground.

They travelled inseparably for the first day, running through alleyways, over rooftops, and across busy streets with their heads ducked and their knees bent. He never let go of his mother’s hand through it all.

That is, until, they met up with another group of survivors that was also making its way to the capital. At one point, when trying to cross an open street, the de facto leader of the group, an aging man with a patchy, white beard, ordered the members to cross the group one pair at a time. Before his mother could protest, another woman grabbed her hand, ripped her free of the boy, and dragged her across the battlefield. His mother cried the whole way across the street and began wailing hysterically as soon as they reached the other side. The boy also felt a moment of dread and unease but the leader’s reassuring hand in his own helped to calm his nerves.

However, just as they were about to make a break for the other side, a flurry of bullets began erupting from each side of the street and multiple bombs and grenades exploded all over the street. Deeming the street now impassible, the leader yelled across the street for the remaining members to head to the capital building where he and the boy would rendezvous with them there.

The boy’s mother would have raced across the street at that moment if not for some man holding her back and dragging her around the alley corner. After seeing his crying mother disappear from sight, the boy began to sob there in the alleyway as the sounds of war raged around him. The leader got down on his knees to look in the boy’s face and did all he could to assuage the young child before finally grabbing his hand and whisking him away.

From there the two of them travelled across the ruined city together. For almost 18 hours, the boy and the leader travelled in the shadows and under cover hoping to make it to the capital unharmed. And they would have, had it not been for an incredible stroke of bad luck and the leader’s selflessness.

When making their way slowly through an alleyway, one of the doors in the alleyway suddenly burst open and there stood a fully armed soldier. The soldier spotted the boy and the leader and began shouting commands in a language that was unknown to the boy. Without hesitation the leader rushed to the soldier and began wrestling him for control of the soldier’s rifle. Screaming through gritted teeth, the leader ordered the boy to run away and make it to the capital building and back to his mother. The boy still stood there, though, distraught as he thought of the possibility of losing yet another person. With tears in his eyes, he decided to stay by the leader’s side at all costs. The leader then looked back over his shoulder a second time, met the boy’s eyes with his own, and screamed at the top of his lungs for the boy to get away.

Terrified, hurt, and heartbroken, the boy ran. He ran and ran without thought. He ran even after he heard the sound of the fatal gunshot ricochet off the alley walls. He ran even after he heard the soldier bark orders at him as he gave chase. He ran even though he had yet to completely acknowledge the fact that he was now all alone.

The boy eventually lost his pursuer and collapsed against the wall of a house he had wandered into. As he sat there, trying to catch his breath as the sun’s dying light slowly moved across the opposite wall, it was then, at that moment, that the boy realized that at some point throughout all the chaos and mayhem, he had lost his little black shoes.

The boy did eventually make it to the capital building…or at least, where it once stood. In its place was a mountain of rubble that rose high above the boy’s head. He collapsed in front of the rubble as he realized, without a trace of doubt, that he’d never see his mother again; that all those people who did make it to the underground bunker were gone forever; that there was no hope left for the city or for its inhabitants; that he would be alone for the rest of his life.

There he broke. He collapsed to the ground and rolled around and around, sobbing. His face became a wet, sticky mess and he screamed so loudly that every breath hurt and every convulsion racked his insides until his stomach and sides were sore and cramping.

After he ceased his crying, he continued to lie there, in a paradoxical sort of undisturbed peace and calm, until night fell and the sounds of fighting began to draw nearer. That was when he began his barefoot wanderings.

After reminiscing on the past few days and after crying over the memories, the boy slowly rose from the rubble and began walking once more. He tested the makeshift bandage on his foot tentatively and was pleased to see it held.

He began walking again. Once more, he had no idea where exactly he was heading but he continued traveling nonetheless.

He limped along an alleyway when a door opening from the alley burst open and there stood a fully armed soldier. After looking around the alley, the soldier locked eyes with the boy and the two of them froze. After what felt like an hour had passed, the boy broke his trance and unleashed a terrified scream and turned around and ran for where he had come from.

Before he could get away, however, he felt a powerful hand envelope itself around him and pull him back.

“Wait, wait, kid, calm down.”

The boy resisted the soldier’s grip and fought against his pull.

“Kid, relax, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Unsure of the language the soldier was speaking but able to understand his tone, the boy ceased his struggles and looked at the soldier. The soldier was dressed differently than the one who had killed the leader; the color and design of his uniform were different.

Then the soldier removed his hat and sunglasses and smiled at the boy. His eyes were a beautiful blue that twinkled in a way the sun couldn’t and the boy melted in his arms. He burst into tears and collapsed into the soldier’s arms. The soldier slung his rifle over his shoulder and picked up the war-torn boy in his arms. He brought his radio to his mouth and spoke into it but the boy paid him no mind. He simply lay there in the soldier’s arms as the exhaustion and heartache escaped from his body and soul.

At some point the boy fell asleep and the soldier carried him to his convoy and back to his base camp. There he delivered the boy to the refugee center and personally clothed him in a new, clean set of clothes. While folding away the boy’s old, torn rags, the boy awoke in a start. He began to panic and looked around the tent bewildered and afraid, he began to hyperventilate and cry until the soldier went to his bedside.

“Woah, woah, woah, calm down, it’s okay. You’re safe now.” The soldier smiled again and once more his eyes lit up.

The boy calmed down and overcame his initial distraught.  Then his eyes began to wander around the tent he found himself in.  Cots lined the lengths of the tent, a few filled with people who looked as bad as the boy felt.  While still looking around, the soldier spoke up.

“So tell me, what’s your name, kid?”

The boy looked at the soldier, confused.

The soldier cleared his throat and made sure to enunciate slowly. “What is your name?”

Again, the boy gave no response.

The soldier sighed and turned and called over a medic who spoke the native language. The medic translated the soldier’s question for the boy.

The boy looked from the medic then back to the soldier.

“Mohamed.”

The soldier smiled and reached from behind him.

“Well, Mohamed, I was waiting for you to wake up before I gave this to you. Now I’m not sure it’s an exact fit but I made the best measurements I could. But after seeing the condition of your feet, I thought you’d appreciate these.”

Mohamed cocked his head to the side in confusion but before the medic could translate, the soldier brought his hands forward, each one holding one half of the soldier’s gift.

A brand new pair of clean, white shoes.

  Brian sat on the couch in his condo of Crown Villas. He was bored out of his mind, and he did have some stuff to do. He finished the chores around the condo, did his daily exercises and finished his three book reports for school he had to do over winter break. It was “No Phone Day” so he couldn’t use his phone on Sundays. His friends Joey and Chris were at church. His other friend, Mike was still at home trying to beat his new game Dead Space. He had no contact with any humans for the last twelve hours.
Brian wanted to play with his Proto X; a tiny palm-sized quad copter he got for Christmas, but his dad took it to his workshop to install a camera as a surprise. He also finished reading The Lost World by Michael Crichton and he didn’t have anything else to read.
He was about to collapse on the floor from boredom when he heard a knock at the door. He opened it and saw Joey and Chris were back from church.
“What’s up you guys?” said Brian. He gave each of them a bro hug and they came inside.
Joey sat on the couch and asked, “How was your day so far?”
“I was bored for the last hour.” He sat next to Joey. Chris went to the kitchen and grabbed a water.
“Didn’t you read your book?” Joey asked.
“I finished it an hour ago,” Brian responded.
“Chores?”
“Done.”
“Reports?”
“Done.”
Chris sat at the kitchen table. “Thanks for bringing that up. I need to finish my third one.”
“Where’s your Proto X?” asked Joey as he smiled bigger than when he walked in.
Chris smiled the same way. “Yeah. I want to fly that thing.”
“My dad took it to his shop,” Brian said.
Their smiles faded quickly. It was a cool toy for teens and everyone wanted one.
“You really need to get out of this condo more,” said Chris. He drank the last of his water and threw the bottle in the recycle trash. He always made it. Brian thought that he should try out for basketball.
“I agree,” said Joey. “We all need to. We need to go have more adventures. Run around, get dirty, hop some fences, getting into trouble would be a goal that we should accomplish.”
Brian looked like he was going to agree with them. It was fun to go out and have adventures. You make more friends, learn more about the world, and are more creative, the list is endless. “I don’t know. What if we get into trouble or something?”
“It’ll be worth it.”
Brian did remember his mom once saying, “Get into trouble for crying out loud, Brian!”
“Well, what do you say?” Joey asked.
Brian nodded. “Okay.”
Joey and Chris high-fived Brian and gave him a few pats on the back. He felt happy now. He was the new adventure boy. But one question still crossed his mind: “Where should we go?”
“Do you have any places that you’ve been interested in seeing?” Chris asked him as he twisted his hat backwards.
Brian thought for a moment and said: “Follow me.” He got off the couch and walked out the back door of his condo. Chris and Joey followed.
The back of the complex was all dirt with a few tall trees and a small clearing. To the left was a cliff, to the right was a fence and straight ahead was some sort of tower. They didn’t know if it was a work tower or a water tower. Brian led Joey and Chris to the cliff. It was almost completely vertical. There were some pipes at the bottom and some tall trees that prevented anyone from seeing the ground below.
The city of Corona was so peaceful, and the mountains were so green and Brian somehow found them very mysterious. Maybe because they were so quiet all the time or that no one ever went on them.
The three boys looked down the cliff. About fifty to one-hundred feet down was a small building. It was said to have been a water purification building that helped control the pool machines for the surrounding houses. There was an overturned police car near the front gate. It had been there since Brian moved in a year ago, maybe a little longer. There was a lot of graffiti on the walls and trash all over the place. It looked like a haunted house.
“I don’t know man,” said Chris. His voice sounded deeper. He was already getting goose bumps. “I’ve heard and read a lot of stuff about that place, and it doesn’t seem like a good idea at all to seek adventure.”
“You’re the ones who wanted me to seek more adventures and get out more. Now you back out on me!”
“Come with me,” said Chris. “Let me show you what I’m talking about.”
They all ran from the cliff toward Chris’s condo. He lived three buildings away from Brian and next door to Joey. He walked in and led his two friends to his dad’s office. Chris was also curious before about that water purification building, so he went online and looked it up. He printed the articles soon after and has kept them ever since. He pulled the articles out of the closet and handed three to Brian and the other three to Joey.
Each article was about some major events that happened at the building years before.
The first was set thirty years ago when a few workers said they saw paranormal activity (doors slamming on their own, women screaming even though there were no women working there, strange shadows, and glasses dropping from shelves) and a death of one of the workers by gas fumes.
The second was the same except there was more paranormal activity and an increased amount of deaths.
The third was set a year before the boys were born when the building closed down from too many deaths and strange activity. Some reports said that some policemen entered the place to find out what was wrong with the place, but when they did, they never came back out again.
The next two stated that the security system still works for some unknown reason, even though the power was cut and no one set foot there for so many years. It was mostly on during the night. The reports were made only a month ago.
The last one stated that the disappearance of a group of teens who went into the building and never came back out. The only evidence found was some blood of three of the boys and two wallets.
“Sound’s tough, Brian,” said Joey as he swallowed loudly. Both boys handed the articles back to Chris.
“You know those newspapers make up stories like that to get people interested in reading it,” explained Brian. Chris and Joey agreed with him. Just about 80% of the stories the newspapers make are all made up. “Come on guys, I think we can do this, unless you’re chicken.” Brian made chicken noises and flapped his arms like wings. He could see they were getting annoyed with him. “You would be doing the same thing to me.”
Joey and Chris knew that he was a hundred percent right. “OK,” they said simultaneously.
Brian quit the chicken noises and the flapping. He was happy his friends agreed to go.
“We should know more about that place before we go in there,” said Chris. He put the articles back in the closet. The goose bumps on his arms and legs didn’t seem to be getting any better.

***

  At around six that evening, Brian called Mike and asked him if he knew anything about hacking into a security camera system.
“Are you kidding, of course I do. Have I been living under a rock?”
Brian asked him if he could hack into the security system and get control of it so they could sneak in without being seen by them.
Mike said he would do it, but he needed the serial number on the power box to hack in.
“There’s a lot more you need than that.”
“I already have everything else. I just need that, and I’ll take care of it.”
Brian said that he would try his best to get it before midnight, the scheduled time to start their investigation.
His father came home at nine-thirty with his new Proto X. The tiny camera was installed and there was a screen on the remote so he could see whatever the camera saw. He wouldn’t have to look at the X itself anymore.
He went down a much less steep part of the cliff and stopped about halfway down. He called Mike and told him he was going to give him the serial number with his Proto X.
He turned on the controller. The small light at the top blinked orange. He turned on the quad copter. The LED lights (two red and two blue) blinked once and they stayed on and a small BEEP came from it. The orange light stopped blinking and changed to green. It was ready to run.
He put the copter on the palm of his hand and lifted the throttle. All the blades spun and it made a sound like a mosquito on steroids. It lifted from his hand and was in the air. He turned on the camera and looked down at the screen.
The quad copter made a 180 degree turn and the building was in view. He pushed the other lever up and the Proto X tilted down slightly and rushed forward like a tiny jet. He stopped it and it was straight up again just five feet from the wall of the building.
The wall was white with brown spots, chipped paint, blood stains, and some weird writing written in the blood such as: IF YOU ENTER, YOU DIE!, BEWARE OF DEADLY GHOSTS ALL OVER, and WHOEVER ENTERS NEVER COMES BACK OUT. He swiped the lever to the right and the quad copter tilted to the right and jerked right as well. He immediately released it and it stopped in front of the cable box for the security system.   He called Mike and told him the number: LB777WED9823. Mike thanked him and he would let them know when he would be ready.
Brian hung up and looked back down at the screen on the remote. He turned the Proto 180 degrees again and saw something he would never forget.
The camera was focusing on what looked like a weird-looking transparent man. He was dark and he was wearing some kind of hood. He just stood there and stared at the quad copter like he was about to send it flying into space, never to be seen again.
Brian almost dropped the remote. He pushed the throttle up and the Proto sped forward like a jet and through the man. The camera went blurry and static ran through it for a few seconds. Brian had no idea where it went.
About five seconds later, he heard the sound of the rotors getting louder. Before he could turn to look, the quad copter struck the back of his head and landed on the ground by his foot. He turned off the remote and the Proto X. He hoped that what he caught was still on the camera and not his imagination. He put the Proto X in his jacket pocket, ran as fast as he could to his condo, and went to bed for a short nap. Before he went to sleep, he turned on a walkie and set it to the same channel that Joey and him had told each other earlier that day, and checked his watch. It was 9:36 p.m.

***

  By exactly 12:04 a.m., Brian was already sitting on his bed wearing black clothes, with all his gear packed in a small backpack: a flashlight, extra batteries, an air horn, a camcorder and his walkie talkie. His Proto X was fully charged and was safely in his pocket.
He heard static on the walkie and finally heard Joey’s voice. “Okay, it’s time. Don’t get caught. Over.”
Brian picked it up, held down the button and responded: “I won’t. Over.” He grabbed his backpack, stuffed some other bags and a pillow under the sheets, and placed a red balloon on his pillow. Watching those movies with kids sneaking out really payed off. He slowly opened the sliding glass door, and closed it slowly. He hopped over the small gate surrounding the back patio, and ran out to the clearing. Joey and Chris emerged less than a minute later. They were also carrying their own backpacks with gear in them. They were wearing black clothing as well.
“Okay, guys,” said Chris. “Here we go to the one place that’s said to be haunted.” He started to sound like a ghost before he was even done talking.
“What’s going on with Mike?” Joey asked Brian.
“He said earlier that he was almost ready he will give us a call when he’s hacked the system.”
“If he fell asleep, I’m going to kick his butt when I wake up after this is over.”
“Same here,” said Chris.
“Alright, let’s go.” Brian got up and ran toward the less steep part of the cliff he took a few hours ago. They went down slowly. Some bushes scratched their faces, arms, and legs. They walked until they made it to the chain-linked fence.
The building was fifty yards in front of them and it seemed like it was waiting for them. The lights were on, the cameras were panning back and forth, like they were searching for them, and the front door was open a crack.
Brian’s cell phone vibrated in his pants pocket. It was Mike.
“How’s it going Mike?”
“Good. I have hacked into the system. I can now see what the cameras see. I see you guys on the other side of the fence.”
There were some clicks from his computer.
“Okay, I’m passed the firewall. Now I can control the cameras. But only for a little bit.”
“How long?”
“Only about a few minutes every few hours from what I’m looking at right now. I’m fighting for the system control from someone else, but no one’s in there. It’s probably a temporary glitch, nothing too bad.”
“Good to hear.”
“Okay, Brian. I need you to do something. I need you to fly the Proto X by the camera that’s facing you, and get it to turn away from you then I’ll shut it down.”
“Why can’t you shut it down now?”
“Whoever was controlling the system got control again, but I can get it back again in a few seconds.”
“Alright, I’ll do it right now.”
He put the phone on speaker, and set it on the ground. He pulled the Proto X out of his pocket, turned it on, and flew it toward the camera. The small gusts of wind made the X drift off a little, but it fought the wind and stayed in view of the camera lens. Once he was in front of the camera, the X drifted to the right and the camera kept its lens on it like it was magnetic. Then the red light next to the lens turned off and the camera stopped following the Proto.
“Alright. I shut down all the cameras. You are good for ninety seconds. GO!”
The three boys climbed the fence like they were trying to escape a wild dog. They made it to the top and dropped down. They landed on the dirt ground and clouds of dust formed around all three of them. They got to their feet and sprinted to the door. Brian forgot the Proto X on the ground. The three boys ran into the building. Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind them.

***

  After the door slammed shut, Brian took out the camcorder, and turned on its night vision. Chris found a light switch, but only a few lights came on. There was a small flight of stairs in front of them leading down, and a concrete floor.
Brian suddenly remembered that he still had his cell phone on. He tried calling to Mike. All that came out was static and what sounded like Mike screaming. All that they could hear him saying was “Ge–…ou–…th–…” Then the phone went blank. It was the last time they ever heard from him.
Brian hung up the phone. He looked at Joey and Chris and shook his head. It was enough of an answer to them. They did try the door again, but it was still stuck like someone super-glued it shut. They were stuck in the building, with no possible way out as far as they knew.
They descended the stairs slowly, with their flashlights in hand. They reached the bottom and found what looked like some kind of lair with a giant swimming pool like at their high school. There were concrete pillars in one long row. The swimming pool was on the right side and there was a row of doors on the left. Above the pool was a giant glass roof overlooking the stars. There was just one problem. That wasn’t there when they first walked in. Something was wrong with the building the moment they entered it.
“I don’t know about this place anymore,” said Joey. He was almost panicking and he looked like he was going to drop down any moment.
“Just stay close,” said Brian as he wrapped his arm across the back of his neck.
They made their way over to the pool. It was as still and silent as a cemetery. They stared at the water and what looked like a dark figure standing on the bottom.
Brian’s jaw dropped. “Get away from there!”
But it was too late. The figure leaped out of the water, grabbed Chris by the shoulders, and dragged him under the surface.
“RUN,” shouted Brian.
Him and Joey ran from the pool and into one of the rooms on the other side and closed the door behind them.
It stayed quiet for about five minutes before they opened it again. Brian was almost in shock. He was in tears and he dropped the camcorder twice. Joey offered to take it and Brian thought it was a good idea.
They walked even slower back to the pool. It was still and silent as before, Chris was gone, and there was someone else with them in the building that was going to kill them any way possible.
“Chris.” The boys shouted that name for almost fifteen minutes before his body, soaked with water and the odor of chlorine crashed through the glass ceiling. It missed the pool and landed on the ground. They heard some CRUNCH, CRACK sounds when he hit.
“Oh my god, Chris.” They didn’t even get closer to him. They looked behind Chris’s dead body and saw the dark figure again with a skeleton-like face. He looked like he was staring down at Brian. He was more scared than ever.
“I guess some adventures aren’t worth it if it takes the life of someone you know,” said Brian as he wiped a tear from his cheek. It was the last good thing he said.
Both boys tried to run, but Brian tripped and felt like something was ripping through the back of his spine. He yelled out with all his might, and his eyes changed from a leaf green to fire red.
Joey got it all on the camcorder. He looked at Brian, and saw him change completely. He sat there like he was still in shock, his head turned 180 degrees, and faced Joey. Brian then smiled, and said: “Whoever fears me the most, gets their adventure.”
But it didn’t sound like a good adventure at all. The demon now possessed Brian and Joey was easier to kill.
Brian’s head turned back around, and he ran toward Joey.
Joey didn’t even think. He ran as fast as he could to the end of the long hallway and went into the door at the end. He held it shut as “Brian” tried to forcefully pull it from the hinges. He stopped after about ten seconds, but it felt like hours.
Joey held the camcorder at his chest. He was capturing everything. His heart felt like it was trying to leap out of his throat. Tears ran down his cheeks like rivers. “I have to get out of here,” he said to himself. He had to find another weapon to use against “Brian.” On the shelf beside him, was a jug of liquid chlorine. He held it in his hand tight, and slowly left the room.
Immediately, he looked to his right at the door beside the one he was in. There was a little girl about nine, and she was wearing a night gown.   She had her back toward him.
“Oh my god,” he whispered.
The girl turned around and looked at him with bright green eyes. Her eyes rolled back and she let out a demonic roar. Joey splashed the girl with the chlorine, turned away and ran off yelling. He could hear the girl’s demonic yells right behind him and very close. He was beside the fifth concrete pillar and he turned right hoping to not see the girl again but he saw “Brian.” “Brian” jerked forward and let out a demonic roar, and Joey fell backwards and the chlorine bottle rolled away. Joey was dead.
“Brian” picked up the camera, and stared into the lens. His eyes were dark and he had sharp teeth. There were also purple-like veins on the lower part of his face. He stared at the camera for a few seconds and turned it toward Joey, who lay lifeless on the floor. “Brian” turned the camera back to his face and turned it off.

  Outside the building, Brian’s Proto X turned itself on, and circled the building slowly. It made the same sound: a mosquito on steroids. It was now part of the security system. It circled forever, waiting for anyone else who wanted to find anything interesting in the building.

The End!

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Detective Deadlock – Chapter 1: Detected Deadlock

The rain pounded at the window of the police department office building.  Such weather was so common in Province 78, it had earned its name as ‘Cohld City’ and kept up the reputation.  A reputation of crimes on a scale of dozens a day, even for a sanctuary of the apocalypse.  The city was made out of a surrounding circle of towering concrete walls that kept out the even greater horrors of the outside world.  The officers of the CCPD did not concern themselves with what happened outside of the walls of the city, some refuse to do so out of principle; some refused out of fear.  In the walls were multiple forms of corruption and chaos, but each of them were monitored and controlled by the specialist squad of the CCPD called Deadlock.  Named after their lead detective, they strive to keep Cohld City peaceful and without anarchy.  Each of them specialized in their own rank.

There came a time when one officer had fallen.  To the lead detective, Detective Deadlock, that meant a new rookie was bound to show up.  Since it was only a matter of time before they arrived, Deadlock waited in his office patiently, spinning around in a leather swivel chair, phased out and looked toward the ceiling.

The door to his office creaked open.  “You know, for a brilliant detective such as yourself, you sure tend to daydream way too much,” Officer Winston commented.

“What do you want now, Tommy?” Detective Deadlock spoke.

“The new rookie.  Name’s Officer Charles, Annika Charles.  Since you’re our lead detective here, I suggest you train her for field work, got it?”

“Why can’t you train her?  I’m busy with other stuff.  Having a rookie is like walking a blind dog,” Deadlock remarked.

“Chief specifically picked you out, and come on, show some gratitude or something and stop being such a Smart Alec.  I’m going to send her in in a few minutes…” Officer Winston closed the door behind him.

Detective Deadlock let out a long sigh. “Rookies…then again, some people have to start somewhere.  I just hope the academy taught her something good.  Ugh.”

A slight beeping noise came from his desk.  The intercom from the COM-link station.

Deadlock pressed down on the answer key, “What is it now, Krishna?”

“Pursuit at Twelfth Street.  Possible gang member,” a man’s voice responded through the intercom.

“I thought that was Yuriko’s department?  Why are you calling me?” Deadlock asked.

“Gang member has ‘supernatural’ abilities.  Don’t really know.  Cut me some slack man and get down there.”

“Tommy just told me there’s a rookie coming in, what do I do about her?”

“I’ll tell her to wait for you, just go.  Yuriko’s department is having trouble subduing this guy.”

“Freaking Yuriko…I’m on my way…” he said as he put on a dark brown fedora.


The sound of police sirens echoed off into the distance of the province.  The sound of clawing of bricks and windows came closer, bringing in several more police vehicles with their sirens on.  Long nails reached through the cracks of the bricks and launched itself forward.  A mutated man clawed his way along the walls of the building just barely avoiding the bullets of incoming police officers.

“How fast is this guy?” an officer exclaimed as he tried shooting at a maniacal man climbing along the walls of the block.

Another officer focused on driving and avoided colliding with pedestrians and other vehicles.

“He’s running out of block!  He’ll hit the main wall soon!” the driver shouted.

As the driver predicted, the man came to an immediate stop as soon as he saw the towering concrete wall that surrounded Cohld City.  He growled at the sight and turned toward the officers that pursued him.  Half a dozen CCPD officers had loaded guns aimed directly at the man.

The man was hunched down with his hands nearly touching the floor.  His face was mutated, covered in gorges and cuts.  His forehead was full of enormous bumps and his back covered in disorderly spiky hair.

“Put your hands in the air!” one of the officers ordered.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” the man’s tongue slivered from his mouth.

“If you do not comply we will shoot!” another officer exclaimed.

Instead, the man ran forward and lunged at two of the officers.  He grabbed their dark blue uniforms and pushed them to the floor, snarling and growling at them.  The other officers began opening fire.  One of the bullets hit some of the oversized acne on his forehead.  It exploded into an enormous amount of puss and yellow liquid.  The man let out a screech and jumped at the other officers.  He grabbed one of their faces and repeatedly bashed it against the police car.

The other three officers kept firing and unloaded several dozen bullets into the mutant.  He was unaffected by the weaponry and instead leaped toward the other officers and punched each of their faces.  The mutant grabbed one of the officers by his uniform’s collar and snarled at his face.

Suddenly, the mutated hand of the man exploded into bone and flesh.  The officer he was holding fell to the floor as the mutant grasped his hand in extreme pain.  Another bump on his head exploded, spewing puss all over the officer and police vehicles.

The officer looked around and spotted Detective Deadlock reloading his signature magnum handgun.  Deadlock had arrived in his own personal vehicle with a temporary siren on the roof.  His car was based on an ancient model from long ago.  Its matte black paint job shined in the rain and made it almost invisible at night.

“Detective?” the officer asked quietly.

“Yuriko sent you guys after this thing?  Such a waste of officers,” Deadlock said as he holstered his handgun.

“We were suppose to handle it.  Who sent you?” the officer inquired.

“Don’t let the suspect die, unless you want the explanation of how the hell he ended up like that to remain a mystery.  Cuff him and head back.  I’m going back to my office…” Detective Deadlock said as he yawned with a bored expression.

“What about the injured?  We can’t leave them here!”

“I called an ambulance already.  Arrest the man, officer.  Before he gets up again…”

Detective Deadlock drove away, leaving the dumbfounded officer to force the mutated man into the back of the police cruiser.

The detective made a quick stop at a local fast food place.  He ordered a small burger and left straight away.  The way Detective Deadlock thought was nothing shy of unorthodox.  It took him nearly half a decade to achieve such a calm and relaxed attitude to the point where even reporting back right away was too much effort according to him.  He never denied enjoying his job and spending time with his coworkers, but at the same time reflected a behavior opposite to it.

He bit into the burger before unlocking his car.  Something caught his attention past all the rain drops.  A voice.  He heard a subtle voice in the background of the pounding rain.  Figuring his department could rely on him coming back in one piece, he went off to investigate the voice.

Finishing up his burger, he came closer and closer to the distinct voice.  It became clear it was a woman’s, none that he recognized on the radio.  Only more reason to keep him intrigued.

He approached the central park of the city.  Following the pathway toward the center fountain, he spotted a woman singing to the rainy sky.  She stood on the rim of the fountain staring up the cloudy night.  Her attire was that of dark blue jeans and a red checker shirt.  She held both of her hands together against her chest, singing a tune that not even Deadlock heard before.  Her hair was braided up and toppled over in the form of some sort of mohawk with the darkest of color.

“Um, excuse me, miss?” Deadlock spoke up, his calm attitude slowly fading away, “Is it alright for me to ask what you’re doing out here singing in the rain?”

The woman ignored him and kept singing toward the stars.  Her voice slightly lightening up then simmering down to a quiet whistle, repeating the tune over and over.

Detective Deadlock saw no harm in this woman singing, seeing that there weren’t any local residents complaining at all and nothing was really being disrupted.  He sat on the rim of the fountain and dug into the fast food bag in search of any remaining fries.  A boom of thunder shook the entire park.  After it settled, the woman had stopped singing.  Deadlock heard footsteps, rushing ones from all entrances of the park.  He ducked down next to the fountain while still eating his fries.

Multiple suited men carrying heavy assault rifles and machine guns surrounded the woman.  They wore black suits with bright red ties and dark leather gloves.

“Missy!  This is your last warning!  Surrender all of your syndicate and we might spare your life!” one of the men shouted.

Instead, the woman raised her hand toward the man and lifted up just her middle finger at him.  Grunting at her, the man lifted his hand up and waved it down, signaling all the men around him to disable their guns’ safeties.

“These guys are serious?” Deadlock pulled out his holstered magnum.

The woman hopped down and headed around the fountain.  Detective Deadlock spotted her pulling a large wooden box.  She pried it open with her bare hands and revealed an enormous chain gun.  The detective’s eyes grew wide as he saw her lunge the weapon out and rev up each of its six barrels.