He continued to skim through the message with an anxious visage. Every question that consumed his thoughts was quickly replaced by a new nervous belief. What was going on has now been deemed as true. For weeks he had wanted it to be nothing but pathetic lies and pitiful rumors. But here it was. The epidemic had caught them. How much damage would its lethal grasp cause? He wanted to believe very little. But the gut-wrenching sensation brought forth a notion that it will be ghastly. The concern for his people outweighed that of the worry towards himself.
A sudden knock on the door caused his attention to be averted away from the paper. He intently stares at the wooden object for a moment before finding his voice within the chaos. “It’s unlocked.”
The burly man watched as the door opened, revealing a petite woman. Her strawberry curls wrapped around a doll-like face. One that was painted with a horrible expression, of shock and terror. Clearly, she had been crying only minutes before arrival. Finally, with a quivering and shrill voice she squawks, “They’re nearing the White House, Mr. President! Please, we must get you to safety!”
His face dropped and his broad shoulders sagged. It almost seemed like he was about to rise and listen to her words. But he still sat in the plump leather chair, evidently shaken by the fact. After a trembling sigh he tells her, “No, I must stay. I am the captain of this ship.”
He was referring to his country. If it was going to fall, so was he. There was no point in watching his land get destroyed from afar. That’s not the way Dean Wyther’s mind worked. Though, the woman didn’t seem pleased by his decision.
But she gave in, “If you say so.”
Screams sounded off from outside. They couldn’t have been farther than ten yards away.
Closing his eyes, he waits.
It might have been minutes.
But they finally arrived at the White House…their last destination.
1 Year Ago (?)
Somewhere in Europe (?)
August 5, 2028 (?)
“How does it feel, hm?”
An enthralling quality swung and looped through every amused word. At first the male voice was too smooth for reality. It acted as a twinge of enlightenment that should never flow with a world of despair.
Then it reaches my ringing ears and converts into something more intimidating. I suddenly gain a new sense - a pang of fear adding onto misery.
White-hot pain radiating throughout my shuddering frame helps produce an answer. Instead of a hasty scream from the pure agony there’s a rumbling in my lungs. It grates against my convulsing torso with enough force to shake the solid platform. Trickles of carbon dioxide tickle my throat and drag with them a rugged cough. The pathetic noise abruptly fluctuates into what should have been humored laughter.
But it came out as gunfire from the pit of my chest. A sound so brash, bloodthirsty and horrifyingly startling…even to me. Following the bullets of brutality are goose bumps, which begin to consume each centimeter of paling skin. This had been caused by a horrid aroma. The poignant smell churns anxiety, creating a sickening stomach qualm.
If I could make any motion, I would grasp onto my aching gut. But thinking about the move also raises secondary thoughts: A waste of energy is what it would be.
Is it truly possible that sheer terror has its own scent? Or is that just me altogether? Whatever the odor is, it’s the equivalent of rotting meat mixed in with sopping dirt. Think of it as someone burying a slab of uncooked pork, only for the sun to roast it right before a heavy downpour.
Not the most pleasant of fragrances.
There is a muffled noise that gets trapped by musty and stale air, leaving the sentence untranslatable. I couldn’t tell if that was the person speaking again.
Maybe my feeble mind is playing tricks.
A pummeling heart in my ears takes over former chiming. I wonder whether the cardiovascular muscle is still in my ribcage, or had moved to my burning skull.
I stifle a crackling groan and attempt to open my eyes. The eyelids were terribly heavy. Both personal surveillance pieces refuse to listen and a film of black remains. That’s when realization hits like an iron fist. My eyes ARE open.
I try to double over as the strike comes at full force. But straps only enable my head, back, knees and hands to lift off the metallic bed. Hearing the stretch of leather, I buck against them again. Yet the trammels are too stubborn, rejecting all hopes of freedom.
Anesthetics must have persisted effects for the first few minutes of my barely conscious state. Whatever had been acting as a dam between me and pain all of a sudden broke.
Nearly snapping all of the restraints, I arch farther off the makeshift bed and roll my head back. I clench my teeth together, feeling my eyes widen to twice their size. My very being is flooded and torrents of torture erupt as sweltering tears spring into dry ducts. Cruel waves blast against muscles and lap over bones. Within a second my arms and legs go from frigid to scorching. A tsunami of drilling blades mercilessly washes through my upper body and slashes at my innards.
Or was I actually being stabbed over and over and over again?
But the swelling of a hurricane presses against my cranium with insurmountable pressure and overrides all other sufferings. I thought my skull would rupture. It compels a heart-wrenching outcry to pop my own ear drums and nearly dislocate my jaw. The reverberating sound causes the once still air to tremor. As it echoes I get an idea of how big the room truly is. And how empty.
No longer wanting to feel immense pain, I make an effort to shut myself down. I wait for shrouds of death to devour both my mind and body. Longing to turn into a soulless carcass that has only one purpose – decaying.
“I don’t think so Liam.” I could feel their bitter breath against my forehead. Despite being close, they sounded a hundred feet away.
What was it they had said? Liam? A prick to my gooseflesh causes me to release a sharp gasp, and the previous thought to disperse. It was a familiar sensation with the memory too far behind. A needle?
The fading sound of heavy boots against cement pulsates in my skull. Then I hear a door open and close, the whir of advanced technological locks telling me that the man has left.
I had been so close to leaving my own flesh and escaping this hell. But evil strings ruthlessly tugged and hauled me back. As if someone had filled my system with lead, my blood vessels weigh me down. My rapidly decelerating pulse startled me a bit.
Nerves go on sensory overload as I unwillingly drop back down and relax. Chilling steel against my bare back wasn’t what I wanted at the moment.
At least the previous pain has ebbed to subtle numbness.
Heavy waterworks still stumble their way down quivering cheeks. My chest heaves as I take vigorous inhalations. Speckles of white dance in front of my view and eat away at the shadows. Minor relief washes through me once the sense of sight comes forth. As the light dissipates my focus also settles. Instead of seeing six distorted faces hover overhead, they fuse into a single attractive one.
Soulless eyes act like endless galaxies that gaze down at me. What appear to be black, the pair of irises can be seen with hues of sapphire. Stars of hidden beliefs glisten behind each orb. Distant yet close. Thoughts forever clouded, never to be revealed. Untouchable and unreadable. Each one shimmers with the anguish of being unbearably far away from humanity.
Who do those eyes belong to? Why do they show so much torment?
As if it were a rabid creature, grief claws at my insides with uncomforting potency. Those eyes…they are…mine. Frowning, I scan the rest of the unrecognizable young man in the overhead mirror.