Yes! I’d knocked my chair over! Victory!
I heard the clomping of jackboots grow nearer. I really should have thought this out better.
“Trying to escape, eh? A good beating ought to fix these urges!” A pair of black boots appeared in my peripheral vision. I sighed. It really figured that the only other sane survivors who’d lasted this long were gun-toting thugs. It appeared that you needed to be delusional or vicious to survive out here.
Wait. What did that make me?
I sniffed hopefully through my filters as my captor approached. Was that a lingering trace of shampoo I detected? I would sit here like a good little hostage if they’d just share their hygienic facilities. I opened my mouth to suggest my deal, but a sudden shriek drowned me out.
The black boots vanished from my line of sight, kicking as they went. There was more shouting, and something dark and sticky splattered me. Screams of "OH GOD WHAT IS THAT THING... KILL IT! ...SHOOT IT! ....AHHHH!" were coming from the hallway behind me, followed by reverberation of gunfire and ended with choking. Squishy, ripping sounds permeated the air. My stomach turned. There was no way I’d get so much as a bar of soap now.
A hot, red torrent doused me. I tried to inchworm my way out of the splash zone. Well, there was my shower. Why did my wishes always work out in such depraved ways? The screams settled to silence, and the storm of human juices petered off. I decided not to look up.
Maybe if I ignored it, it would ignore me.
With frantic determination, I kept scooting towards the door. Of all the times to be tied to a chair! Closer, closer…
A tendril latched onto my chair, lifted me up for evaluation and put me upright again. So much effort for nothing!
“I taste like battery acid! ...I’ll give you extremely nasty breath! I haven't had a bath in years!” I babbled as I was spun about-face to meet my latest attacker.
Staring back at me was a single eyeball. It peered hungrily out from the face of a zombie. Hold on- was that a zombie? It was dangling from an amorphous blob of flesh like a puppet. Nope, definitely not a zombie. I needed my field guide to wasteland anomalies back.
“ProDUCE YOuR PRoPRIeToR! LeAd Us To tHe OnE KnoWn As CaPtAin.”
it commanded, gargling and brandishing the sign Captain had taped to my rear. I goggled at the crude drawing, my brain struggling to find a logical explanation for what was happening.
“Cancer?” I squeaked. “Is that you?”
The fleshy skeleton vibrated excitedly at the sound of my voice, dripping blood everywhere:
"ThE SiGn... A MeSSaGe...It SPeAKs... YoUR DNA HolDs A MeMo For Us...
PrOCessinG TeMPoRaL InForMaTiOn MeMo...
ChARLES SNIppy, you WIll knOW US aS BioMATrix 117."
I stared at the hideous fleshy blob and dangling skeleton. It knew my name. Why did it know my name? When did this happen? I don't recollect telling any fleshy monstrosities my name. Was it spying on me somehow? Was it reading my mind? What else did it know about me?
"YoU AnD I aRe qUITE Well AcQuaiNted. We KnoW ALL the things."
All the things? I highly doubt that, since we just met. Stupid mutant monsters, always claiming that they know all the things just to scare me into submission.
Well I ain't falling for your lame ass tricks!
Flesh tentacles easily snapped the ropes that held me to the chair.
"STAnd Up, ChaRlEs.
We HaVe FreEd YoU For A GrEaTeR PuRPose.
wE ARe dESTtinEd to bE tOgEthEr... FoReVeR... It SeeMs."
"No! That is never going to happen! Not while I am still alive!"
I shouted at the red skeleton.
I bet it just wants me to lead it to more humans to eat. I refuse to lead a flesh-eating thing to consume my only... eccentrically... insane... friends.
Wait what... together? Why is it that every monster that I come across wants to either eat my heart, suck out my soul, or marry me?
"YouR RefuSaL To ComPlY... is UnacCepTaBle. YouR CompliAnce Is NeceSSarY To SpEeD Up thE InTeGrAtIoN, OtHerWiSe We MiGhT LooSe tHis TemPoRaL WinDow.
NoW, aCCept YoUr Fate. ACCept oUr relAtionSHip."
"Do IT NoW!
SaY - I Do HeReby Accept This TranSacTion WiTh BioMatRix 117 To Be TeMpORaL PaRTNeRs...
...Seal The DeAl!"
The skeleton pressed on.
A sudden, foreign thought permeated my mind whispering in my own voice: "Accept now".
"NEVER! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" I shouted in terror, twirling, jumping backwards and throwing the chair at the skeleton, knocking it over.
The Cancer thing was clearly using some sort of its mind-control powers on me. That will not do at all.
"Charles! This is you... me from the future... accept the deal now... for the sake of the universe..." My own voice echoed in my mind, now considerably louder, taking over, flooding my head.
I knew exactly what had to be done to stop this mental attack. I ran head-fist into the nearest wall, getting up and hitting my head against the wall again and again, focusing on the pain of the moment here and now. I had to stay myself and resist this, whatever sinister, foreign influence it was.
With each smack the voice seemed duller and duller until it fell completely silent.
The fleshy skeleton finished its grappling dance with my chair.
"StOp! YOu InComPeTeNt MuLTiCeLLuLar FooL! WhAt HaVe YOu DoNE?!"
It cracked, its only eye falling out of its head and rolling towards me.
"Game Over." I boasted, stepping on the eye and crushing it underfoot.
Tentacles grabbed at my neck and started to shake me up and down.
"HUMANITY FOR THE WIN" I yelped, flapping side to side, happy that the foreign me-thoughts were completely gone from my head.
Two victories in one day, I was on a roll!
Assisting journal writer:Kaitlin Gossett
24th February 2011