Mental Nature - Part 3

Roger Brees By Roger Brees, 21st Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Mental Nature, Part 3. Something's up with Red. Something's up with Danny. Something is terribly wrong here.

Part 3

Mental Nature, Part 1
Mental Nature, Part 2

I didn’t move. Not so much out of fear, although that was a part of it, but there was something about the way the figure was sitting there, motionless, shrouded in darkness, that gave me the feeling that whoever it was, they weren’t at all sane. After neither of us moved for a few seconds, I allowed my hand to wander for the handgun attached to my belt. When it finally wrapped around the grip, I pulled it out of its holster and slowly turned around, raising my gun as I did.

I cleared my throat. There was no response from the sitting figure.

“Red?” The figure stirred and grunted.

“Danny...” Red’s voice was groggy, and it had a quality that I’d never heard before, one that I can only describe as diseased.

“Red?” I didn’t once ease my posture. “Why don’t you come over here a second?”

“Danny... I-I’m not right,” Red replied, making movements to stand up.

“Just take it easy Red, are you hurt?” I asked, unclipping the flashlight from my rifle, without lowering my pistol, and shining it at Red.

He was pale. As a natural redhead, he was usually pale, but not like this.

“Danny, something’s not right...” Red seemed to be coming around a bit, his voice becoming slightly more grounded in reality. “I’ve...”

“Red?” Being overcome with the feeling that he had just stopped himself from revealing something vitally important, I pressed him. “What is it Red? What happened?”

“I saw... something...” Red shook his head. His manner gave me visions of a thick fog creeping through a sparsely populated town. “Some horrible things have gone in this place.”

I shuddered. “Red, it’s nothing. The light around here is tricky. Let’s just do what we came to do and get home, OK?”

Red paused for a second, stood right up, and forced a smile. “What am I talking about? Let’s just do this.”

I didn’t for a second believe that he was OK, but I didn’t think he was a liability. “How about we make it through that corridor as smartly as possible?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, sure,” Red was definitely distracted. Had he seen something?

“Before we go off though...” I holstered my pistol and attached my flashlight to the bottom of my rifle. “Are you sure there’s nothing you want to tell me?”

“No- well... it’s just... what are we here for?”

“We’re here to recover those exper-“

“Yeah, I know that version, but what exactly are the experiments? What was this place for?”

I paused for a moment, considering how to answer the question. “I don’t know.”

“Something bad happened here Danny... the Colonel said the scientists here had their own little coup and threatened to publish inside secretrs... but...”

“Red, I really don’t know. Let’s just go in, get the experiments, and get out. I don’t know what the experiments are and I don’t care.”

“Something terrible happened here.”

I didn’t reply to that last statement. I merely slung my rifle back over my shoulder and left the room.

It took us about five minutes to get back to where we were in the corridor. Red didn’t say anything the whole time, always keeping a few feet behind me. I rarely looked back at him, given that his flashlight beam shining past me was good enough indication of his continued survival.

It was only when we reached room 108 that we stopped.

“What is it?” asked Red.

“This is about where I was when I came back for you.”

“You shoulda stayed put.”

Putting my obvious qualms with the manner in which he just spoke to his team leader aside, I began to respond. “I just...” I nearly told him about the apparition. The ghastly, twitching figure. But I thought better of it.

Whatever he’d seen before I found him in the bathroom had nearly unhinged him. Maybe it actually had. But I didn’t want to make things worse, even though I was still haunted by it. Whenever I closed my eyes, I could see it, twitching in the darkness, staring at me.

Obviously bored of waiting for a response, Red spoke: “What I was saying back in the bathroom...”

I didn’t interject. It was a conversation we needed to have.

“Yes?” I sighed.
“It seems weird that we weren’t even told what it is we’re retrieving. Why didn’t they send more people with us? I guess because of a need for secrecy, but I was thinking. These guys didn’t die from the gas- at least, most of them didn’t. I can’t help but look at the bodies and think that they went nuts- crazy I mean.” I could see Red check my face to look for any hint as to what I was thinking, but I was confident that it didn’t offer one, though I’d considered everything he was saying. He continued. “This place has been playing tricks on us. I don’t know why, maybe it is just the dark, yeah, but what if it’s not? What if there’s something just wrong with this place? I feel like I’m going crazy here and I know you do too. What if it was too dangerous to send a bigger group? Like, maybe it’d get to a group more?”

I could tell he was thinking of the many dead scientists that we had passed up until this point. “Red, I do get what you’re saying. But it is more likely just about secrecy... I really believe that.” No, I didn’t really believe that, but I didn’t want to confirm his fears, at least in his mind, by agreeing with them. “Let’s move on.”

Red didn’t protest. What he did do, however, was peculiar. He walked straight past me, toward room 108.

“Let’s check this out... I can hear something coming from in here...”

I forcibly put my hand on his shoulder. “Red, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Danny, I swear, there’s someone in here.”

I didn’t let go. “Red, I don’t hear anything, and neither do you.” I wasn’t lying to myself. There was definitely no noise coming from the other side of the door, and indeed, from my vantage point, I could see through the crack of the slightly open door, and I could see that there wasn’t anything person-shaped hiding in the shadows.

But Red shrugged off my hand, and I let him. “Petra...?” He grabbed a hold of the door, and pulled, while I gripped my rifle, just in case.

The door opened with a disgustingly rusty groan. I saw Red shine his torch in, and there definitely wasn’t anything making a noise. All that lay in this room was another corpse, and when I shone my flashlight on it, I immediately wish Red had never opened the door.

It was another scientist. This one was just as decayed as the rest, but what had transpired right before his death was more obvious here. His clothes were covered in blood, from the lapels of his lab coat to the hems of his trousers. The walls were smeared with blood, and by smeared, I mean the scientist had literally done it with his hands. I crouched down for a closer look at the corpse and made a horrific discovery. Beneath what was left of his rotting skin, I could see splinters of fingernail buried into the cheek-bone. This scientist had clawed his way through his face. At that point, it became too much. I spun around, left the room, put my hands on my knees and finally expunged a stream of vomit from the depths of my body. I could feel Red standing beside me.

“I’m sorry...” he said. “But I know I heard someone... or maybe I’m just going crazy.”

“Who’s Petra?” I asked, wiping my mouth with my sleeve.

“My sister... she ran away a long time ago...”

Sensing that I was about to become the victim of some cliche’d story of self blame and pity, I cut him off. “Forget about it. Let’s go.”

Although I took on ahead immediately, I could tell that Red was offended without looking at him. I didn’t care. I wanted to get out of there. Or at least of this forsaken corridor. Luckily for me, that last wish was about to come true. After a few steps, I could see the end. A door, just like all the others, sat menacingly ahead. I didn’t notice it then, but a while later I’d realize that there wasn’t any trace of the bullet that I’d fired earlier. No dent in the door, not even a black mark.

“Finally,” said Red as he pushed past me and wrenched open the door.

I was thankful he did that. It would have taken me a while to build up the nerve to open it. As horrific as this corridor was, I’d gained a sense of familiarity with it due to all the time we’d spent there. Now, we were about to face a new unknown.

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author avatar Cleo Cole
9th May 2012 (#)

Enjoying this...more now :o)

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