zero - a simple agreement Edit
"So why'd you call me, bat-wings? Have you not gave up on them yet?"
All was quiet, but was interrupted by the gentle clicking of glass against glass. Jars hung from the roofs of the massive, dull brown cave, containing crystal clear water and fireflies. The pale sunlight barely creeped through the cracks in the stone and dirt, illuminating the silvery gems that grew from the dirty stone ground.
A man wearing a pair of ragged jeans and a thick jacket stands in front of a dark figure hanging upside down from the ceiling. His black hat was worn over his dark brown hair, shadowing his brown eyes. A dark grin was on his face as he stared up at a patch of darkness.
"I understand," a voice said from the shadows, presumably a female. "But not all of them are gone. The U.S. has contained two of their members. You know who they are- their daughter, correct? I know you understand this, Matt."
"Ah, yes... You mean Raina, don't you?" Matt said, hands in his jacket pockets. "I know 'er, but don't you think her mothers are VERY upset? The government has her in their filthy hands!"
"That's why I've called you here," the person in the shadows spoke. "I have a message for you. Your brother Jeremy works at the lab Raina is contained in. Let him speak to Subject 110. That's just one of Raina's mothers. Report what you get back to me. You know the deal."
"Of course, Nightraiser... I'll let him take me back 'ere, kay?"
"Good. Best of luck to you, Matt."
one - it looked so right in the pictures... Edit
A door slammed, the sound echoing down the steel hallway lit by red neon lights running down them. These weren't the only lights, there were white ones on the ceiling as well, ensuring the hall was very well-lit. All around were warning posters and security cameras, alarms built into them. Two men walked down that very hallway, dressed in what looked like professionally made hazmat suits, complete with gas masks and other protective gear. One held what looked like a police baton and a shield, while the other walked behind the shielded one, carrying a small handgun that had some lights on it.
They were on their way to a heavily guarded containment room right ahead of them. The door was stainless steel, heavily locked with alarms and other warning signs. Right beside it to the right was a keypad built into the wall. Underneath the keys were blue lights that brightly glowed, in case the lights ever went out. Above it was a little screen that was outlined with brighter blue lights.
The two men walked up to the door and pressed a few of the keys, the numbers showing up on the screen. A loud creaking sound could be heard as a security camera with a built-in scanner pointed at them, a wide red light running down them. A beep could be heard as the door slowly rose up as the men walked in, but instantly shut when in the room.
After going through the same process with a second door, they entered the room. There were large screens built into the walls of the black room, all sorts of keyboards lined against many desks carved into the walls. They showed various rooms throughout the laboratory. There were all sorts of gadgets and buttons planted in the keyboards and some devices attached to the walls, their causes wrapped in secrecy in this control room. But that wasn't all...
There was a massive door right ahead of the men, security cameras placed all around the room, pointing directly at them. They were probably controlled and monitored by higher authority, as these security feeds didn't show up on the screens. There was yet another keypad and what looked like an ID scanner. The two men pulled out a small card from a pocket in their belts, inserting it halfway into the scanner. It gave a click of confirmation while one pushed in a code.
The door opened, swinging slowly to the side with a loud creaaaaak. Before their eyes could adjust, they watered due to the nearly blinding white light that filled the room, bouncing off the bright white walls. There were metal pieces running along the walls in the hexagon-shaped room. Alarms were placed all around, on the ceiling, by the door, built into security cameras that were attached to the corners of the walls.
In the very center of the room was a hexagonal container, the first piece of it being the door. It had a metal cap, a small white light inside of it, but hard to notice. The light casted a shadow of what looked to be a humanoid figure tied up to some sort of metal plate attached to the ground.
"So this is humanity's biggest threat," the man holding the baton said, "and it's not even heavily contained? This is stupid. If it's this dangerous to be kept by the control room, shouldn't there be more... equipment?"
"I know it's your first time being in here, but we have a job to do," the other man replied. "So be quiet and just follow my lead."
There was a deadly silence for a moment, but all of a sudden, there was a loud beep. The alarms in the room began to loudly call out, the noises horribly echoing in the small space. Red lights began to set off as someone spoke in the intercom. "All services, report to the main gate. This is not a drill. All services, report to the main gate."
"My god!" one of them shouted, nearly dropping his baton while covering his ears, although they were covered by the suit. The two were rushing out now, slamming the door shut behind them. It closed with a loud BANG, and whatever was in the container situated in the room was hissing and growling in distress, but their calls were muffled. The sirens died down after a few agonizing minutes of that awful sound...
two - woof. woof. snap. Edit
Bark! Bark! Click.
The sound of tiny claws clicking against the pavement was too quiet to hear. All around, dirty cars were trailing down the filthy streets. There were cracks and holes in the tar and sidewalks. All sorts of buildings looked like they hadn't been touched in ages, their painting dull. It was like a ghost town- even the skies looked dull and depressed. A horrid stench of acid drifted through the unclean air in this small town that had nearly turned to dust.
Bark, bark. Click.
People dressed in cheap clothing were lined along the streets, all huddled together in fear of something- no, someone. In all honesty, they had no idea what there WAS to fear, but they were taught to. They learned to feel this way not by will, not for their good. But for order.
Bark... bark. Click.
They were all staring at something- an animal. Their eyes were wider than a full moon, energy rushing through their bodies like it was their blood. Some were paralyzed, some wished to leap out at this... thing. The thing they learned to fear was nothing more than...
What even was there to fear here?
The whole town was surrounded by a thick, electrical fence with barbed wire and what looked like hundreds of warning signs. 3,000 volts of pure electricity running through the wires of that fence. It kept them in for a bad cause. Sickness ran through the filthy streets, but it was just for experimentation. The higher authority was putting these people to death, just for the sake of science. Why?
An orange-and-white Welsh corgi ran down the sidewalk, tiny claws still clicking against the ground. It wore a thick metal collar around its white neck, decorated with some sort of red button and some metal studs. It had a metal piece built into its chest, which went down its stomach to its hind legs. The corgi was half-mechanical. But even after the painful procedures the tiny dog went through to be like this, she still looked like she smiled, tongue lolling out.
"Awww, a puppy!" a young boy with short, messy blonde hair said, running over to the robotically-enhanced dog. The corgi barked, running up to him with its tail wagging. Just as the boy pet her, his mother butted in.
"Honey, don't mess with that dog," the mother said, tugging her son away by his arm. "It might be dangerous..."
Sadly, the little dog's smile faded as it ran off, racing down the pavement like an arrow through the air. She stopped at an old barber shop, the sign's words dull and scratched out. The door was blocked by wooden planks nailed into the thin walls, but she slipped through a hole in the ground. Wood dug into her dark orange fur as she scrambled through the dirt, soon crawling up onto the wooden flooring.
"'Ay kid, your dog or whatever is back..." a man dressed in dull overalls with a white shirt underneath said, his stale brown eyes finding their way to the little dog. The smoke from the cigarette in his mouth swerved around his brown beard. Footsteps echoed from down one of the short halls.
Slamming one of the chairs positioned by the tables down, a young boy wearing an orange shirt and some ripped shorts darted in, squealing as the dog jumped into his arms. The kid had messy blonde hair and blue eyes that reminded the man of the ocean and sand, things he'd never be able to see once more.
"Yay, 770 is back!" he cheered, stroking the dog as it licked his arms. "Why was she gone so long, Pat? Does she not love me as much anymore?"
"Kid, I don't know," Pat replied, tossing the cigarette into a small bowl on the counter he leaned on. "You need to keep her safe though. People are after her, and I know you don't want her to disappear again. Of course 770 loves you, and loves you very much... but keep her inside."
"But what about the stray cats?" the boy whimpered.
"They'll be fine. Those strays have lived long enough feeding on pigeons and rats... 770 will be okay. You know, those cats are scared of her, right Pip?"
Pip nodded, wincing due to the sudden pain of the tag on his right ear. It was a bright yellow piece of unknown material with a scratched out symbol, or maybe it was a number. It was halfway torn with a white interior. Even after all these months, that tag wouldn't break off. Why he wore it was... unclear. But Pat knew the exact answer, but he didn't have the heart to tell the kid.
"You should be getting to bed," Pat coughed. "Remember, keep the hatch locked unless you need me. I'll be in the back, alright?" Pip nodded with a bright smile. When the man walked off, his cheery expression faded to the face of worry. He looked down at 770, sighing.
"They're gonna take us back, aren't they?" he said in a rather monotone voice. "Back to the lab w-with her?"
"Don't worry," the little dog said in a rather high-pitched, cheery voice with a British accent. 770's tufted tail wagged quickly behind her as she tried to cheer the young boy up. "We can escape! I know we can!"
"But 770, we tried over and over... there's no way out of the fences."
"Don't worry!" 770 still reassured. "Keep your hopes up, and nothing can stop us! We'll be as free as birds when we go for the cities. We can find your family!"
Pip barely smiled, but picked 770 up in his fragile grasp and carried her. In the distance, there was a loud wail and a muffled scream of anger and sorrow.
three - there's a dog in your heart... Edit
"There's a dog in your heart, and it's howling at the full moon. It wants to be free, just like you, just like me..."
Pip was standing out in the open, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, except for the old flip-flops covering the bottoms of his feet. He held 770 on a chain leash that hooked to her collar, which was crafted out of lightweight, stainless metals that were rare to find. He was looking up at a white-haired young lady with pale skin and pinkish-red eyes- an albino. She leaned against a dead tree just across the road from a bar, swinging a crystal pendulum in front of her. Dressed in a torn, long white dress, she was like a ghost in the cold night.
"We all want to be set free from this place, like a puppy in a pound... we all want to be free birds, right?" she said, looking back at Pip with a gentle smile. On her bruised shoulder was a dove, quietly perched on her as it stared up at the crescent moon.
Who was this ghostly girl?
Her name was Amaris, recognized as the "child of the moon" due to her stunning paleness and the fact she only came out at night. She was like a the light in the dark for this fear-ridden town, but the only one who holds the cure. Nobody really knew what the cure would do, but they needed it. It was now or never for those people that scavenged the streets to get rid of her.
"When will we be free?" Pip asked, head slightly tilting to the side. 770 barked at the dove on Amaris's shoulder, causing it to blankly stare at her in response.
"One day, little one. One day, sooner or later, we'll be free from the fences that cage us, free from the chains that bind us. I know it's gonna be soon," she said, looking up at the sky as if she belonged there, "but not right now..."
"Kid, where are your parents?" Amaris questioned, raising an eyebrow. Pip went silent, looking down at 770 and back at his feet. The only noise was the wind and the scratchy music booming from the bar and its flickering neon lights. It was a disgusting place- and only the worst people in this awful town could be found there. It was like someone pulled Hell from the ground and shoved it into a box.
"I don't know..." Pip sighed, scratching the back of his neck to reveal a few scars on the pale undersides of his arms, although dull and old. "I don't have any, but a man named Pat takes care of me."
"Then where is Pat?"
"Umm... he's asleep... I snuck out to get my dog 770 some food," Pip sighed, scratching the head of his pet. The little dog was now gnawing on a dry leg bone of some small animal. "He's kind of been acting weird at night, and I hear him crying."
"Aww... poor soul. Are you lost?" Amaris cooed, and Pip nodded. She reached out a hand, showing that she wore a silvery ring with a tiny slab of amethyst on it. "Come with me, you can stay at my place tonight, and you both can have some food-"
There was a loud snapping sound that came from the bar not too far away from the two. Amaris's dove instantly began to ruffle its white feathers before taking flight, landing on top of a broken electrical pole. Glass shards scattered across the cracked tar on the dusty road, breaking into millions of pieces upon pieces. Out of the broken window came a limp figure crashing down on the road, neck horribly twisting against the ground. Whoever this was, they were surely dead by now.
"Kid, we need to move," Amaris urged, pushing Pip away from her to hide him behind her. Looking to the curb, they piled up under a few large boxes, trying hard to ignore the spider webs that brushed the back of their necks.
In the distance, men were caught in a wrestling match. Kicks and swings were flinging from every direction, some striking, some swiping through the air without leaving a mark on the opponent. There was no flight in this situation, and their only instinct to follow in their heavily intoxicated state was to fight till one had enough.
The horrifying sounds of snapping, twisting, and painfully writhing bone and flesh were echoing in the used-to-be silent night. Blood spattered onto the concrete and tar ground, sinking into the many dry cracks like rainwater. One of the men fell over with a loud thump and a raspy crack.
Pip nearly screamed.
The fallen man's head was severely twisted, blood leaking out of a massive gash in his throat. Flesh was spilling out of his stomach. A large, gaping wound was cut into his belly. Innards spilling out, the man above him stomped on them as the weakened opponent coughed and wailed in agony. The passerby and watchers were screaming, some even cheering for the fight to go on. Soon, the wails of the armed forces' sirens drained out all other sounds as a large vehicle rolled into the scene.
Pip was dragged away by Amaris, 770 trailing behind them. Her leash dangled behind her as she ran behind her owner as the sound of loud screams of agony and electric shocks were washed away by the suddenly cold wind.
four - out to get us all Edit
Pip was wheezing and crying as Amaris held him close, trying to calm him from witnessing the scene that unfolded not too long ago. They were crouched beneath a few rocks, resting in a dip in the ground. He was wailing into Amaris's chest.
"Shh, shh, calm down..." the lady chirped, running a hand through his hair. "It is alright, it is alright... they will go away soon. You will be safe, they will not contain you."
"B-But they're g-g-going to take me back and put me in those w-white rooms!" he wailed, hugging the lady with all his might. "T-They're going to put me behind the metal tubes!"
"My child, what do you mean? Metal tubes...? Please explain, Pip."
"T-The big tubes, with the strange liquid in them and the mask that k-keeps me alive... no matter what," he sniffled, looking up at Amaris with reddened eyes. "I never get to go to sleep either... Th-those tubes are so horrible."
"Why are they keeping you there?"
"I don't know... A-Amaris, can you please keep me away from them? Help me find the night?"
Amaris sighed, hugging the young boy tightly to calm him. His cries were subsiding now as he finally got himself to relax. Outside of the small shelter protected by rocks so they were unseen, the sirens had slowly died down and many had vanished, or were left dead on the roads, battered and beaten.
In all honesty, it had looked like the devil chewed them up and spit back out a mess of guts and bone.
Pip had drifted to sleep all of a sudden, as if he were tranquilized. Amaris shook him to attempt to wake him, but he would not waken. She began to grow worried as she constantly shook him. A pang of fear stabbed her chest like a knife burying itself into her heart. His breathing had become shallow, and she noticed something yellow and red poking out of his shoulder.
Something had tranquilized him. No, someone had.
Outside, the buzzing of sirens flooded back into Amaris's ears, making them ring and almost scream for silence. Blinding white lights flashed into the shelter as the large rocks that were supposed to hide them were moved. Behind the lights were a few men dressed in heavy armor and gas masks, holding massive shields and electric weaponry. They were shouting various commands, pointing their weapons at the two.
Amaris shielded the child with her body as the men lunged forward, prodding her with their large weaponry. Two massive fork-shaped pieces of metal jabbed her flesh, digging into it as blood leaked out of the wound. With the click of a button, a horrible electric shock was sent through her. She threw Pip against the wall as she fell to the side, paralyzed where she'd lay, shaking as the pulses rushed through her system.
A bright flash of white light filled her senses as she felt nothing but numbness, all sounds being blocked out. She felt like she couldn't breathe, but she had a last thought before it all went black.
They have him.
five - SCREAMING FIT!!! Edit
Bleep, bloop. Zwee, zwee. Wait, what? No, wait, zwee. Nothing was said. Bleep. Ignore that... UGH! Bleep.
A few noises could be heard in the darkness, some robotic beeps and bleps. Well, who was doing this? Someone in the dark was. Pip was standing on a metal plate implanted into the ground below him, which was made of concrete. A single light attached to the wall was overheard, the light blue glow beaming down on him. In front of him was a dark hallway that almost appeared to never end.
He was shoved forward by something that sharply prodded his back. With a gasp, he tumbled forward, nearly landing on his face. His palms slammed painfully against the concrete ground, stinging when he raised them to stand back up. Blood oozed from a minor cut on the base of his palm, but he could only wipe it on his shirt, the same one he wore for two days in a row.
He walked forward, cautiously taking small steps. A sharp jab sent a wave of pain running down his neck and a small shock was administered by a black collar he never notice. It was tight around his neck and would lightly shock him whenever he stopped, gradually growing stronger.
Young Pip was forced to walk into the darkness. After what felt like hours- but was really just a few minutes, maybe a good two or three- the sound of white noise echoed in the darkness. It was interrupted by a few bleeps and bleps until it cut off, changing to complete silence.
Pip screamed after the stranger, wailing and falling back on his bottom, painfully against... something lighter than the hard concrete. No, it wasn't a painful fall at all. Something below him was soft, but what was in front of him... it was bright.
There were three average-sized screens in front of him, all of them having a light blue hue. On the top two screens were eyes, one per monitor. The lower one had a pair of human lips that didn't move as the robotic unit would speak.
"AAAH! I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE ANOTHER HUMAN!" it screamed, having the voice of a female. "IT'S BEEN FIFTY YEARS!"
Pip sniffled, looking up at the monitors attached to a metal system attached to the dark wall, all sorts of panels and buttons built into it. There were all sorts of flips and switches, boxes and wires. In the top of it was a round screen with something floating inside of it... A heart and a brain, all hooked up to a few wires of some sort. The two organs floated around in some sort of thick purple gel.
"What... are you?" Pip wheezed, sitting with his legs criss-crossed on the blanket that was below him. It was a cheap blanket and had many tears in it from being too thin, but it kept him warm in the coldness of the hall.
"I AM A ROBOT FIXED INTO THE WALL!" the robotic system said loudly. "IT'S BEEN YEARS SINCE 1967... I HAVEN'T SEEN ANOTHER ROBOT, YET ALONE ANOTHER HUMAN! OH MY GOD THIS IS GREAT!"
"What... you've never seen another person?"
"NOPE. IT'S BEEN AGES SINCE THE LAB I WORKED AT CLOSED! W-W-W-W-WOW! MY BODY GOT FROZEN AFTER I WAS DISSECTED AND I'VE BEEN TRANSFERED FROM BOT TO BOT... THIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT WORKED..." it said, huffing through its speakers after speaking in a very loud and hyper voice. "AND I'VE BEEN STUCK HERE WITH NO HUMAN INTERACTION FOR YEARS."
"Who are you... r-robot?"
"ME??? WHO AM I? WHY, I AM THE GREAT DR. ZERALA!" she laughed, eyes looking cheery for a moment, as if expressing happiness. "THE GREATEST SCIENTIST THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN! AND I'M THE CHILD OF TWO OF THE ORIGINAL MAIN SCIENTISTS... ISN'T THAT GREAT?? RIGHT!? OR AM I BAD FOR BEING THE DAUGHTER OF TWO CRAZIES?"
Pip said nothing.
"OH WELL. WELL WHO ARE YOU???"
"P-Pip... why are you so loud...?"
"CAN'T HELP IT," Dr. Zerala said, a little quieter, but still yelling. "I APPARENTLY AM JUST VERY LOUD AND I HAVE NO WAY OF CONTROLLING IT. COVER YOUR EARS IF YOU WISH, BUT YOU'LL STILL HEAR ME."
"When can I go home...?" Pip whined, crossing his arms and looking down. "It's so dark and cold... so cold..."
"SOON LITTLE ONE!!" Dr. Zerala replied, the screens moving forward to him. "YOU WON'T BE HERE VERY LONG!! THE DOCTORS WILL TAKE YOU OUT SOON!! MAYBE?"
Pip nodded, but then Dr. Zerala shut off, freezing in place as the screens went blank, leaving Pip stranded in a dark hall with no escape.
Until something stuck his arm.
six - that's not even human anymore Edit
"Matt, why are you here?" Jeremy, a man with black hair and almond eyes, growled. He slipped a pen back into the pocket of his lab coat. "You should be back with the children at the orphanage. You're supposed to give them their medicines!"
"Brother, I ain't got time right now," Matt huffed. "I need to see someone in the lab. Now let me past the security gates and we can speak."
"No. Matt. You're not going past unless you tell me why you're here."
"I need to talk to one of the Subjects!"
Jeremy went silent, silent for a little too long. Matt blankly stared at him with his arms crossed, awaiting his response, or an answer. His brother appeared to be stunned, almond eyes wide with shock.
"Nobody can talk to the Subjects..." Jeremy stammered out, as if he were forcing the words. "They're highly dangerous and are in quarantine right now! Threats to humanity, even. But why would you ever want to even look at one, let alone talk to one?"
"Nightraiser." Matt grinned. Jeremy couldn't deny this request now- Nightraiser was a mighty being, and everyone was terrified of her. She was probably watching them in her sleep now.
"A-Alright Matt... but if you DARE try to let one out, you'll be dead!"
The brothers walked down a hallway, dressed in the very same hazmat suits the two men before them wore. Holding shields and police batons, they entered the control room and opened the metal door in front of them. The hexagonal containment unit was shown, but a second door emerged as a button was pushed. Jeremy walked in and flipped a switch. The hexagonal formation's door slowly opened, finally revealing what was inside it.
A woman, looking as if she were in her mid-twenties, was strapped to a heavily build metal plate that rose from the ground, held up by the metal block behind it. She wore a dull, brownish-gray straightjacket and a strange device on her head. It was slightly rusted. It reminded Matt of a bear trap, except more complex. One of the pieces was placed in front of her mouth, the copper-gray metal keeping her from biting. Behind this device was her wildly ruffled brunette hair topping a freckled face and cold brown eyes.
She looked like something out of a horror movie... but less horrifying.
"So this is Subject 110," Matt huffed in disappointment. "I thought she was a lot scarier than what my parents told me when I was a kid. THIS is the threat to humanity?"
"Don't underestimate her strengths, brother," Jeremy hissed through a microphone inside their suits. "She is far more powerful than you know. If you're gonna talk, do it now."
"Subject 110, what happened to Raina?" Matt snarled at the restrained organism. In response, it let out a rather animalistic growl from its esophagus. 110's eyes looked like they were wider than full moons, a strong glow radiating from them.
"It's not even HUMAN anymore!"
"We know," Jeremy responded with a chuckle. "That's why she's here. Kept by the control room so we could constantly monitor here. Soon, she went a lil... well she lost her marbles."
WORK IN PROGRESS