Scarlet Memories (Book 2): Metamorphosis, страница 1
SCARLET MEMORIES: METAMORPHOSIS
By: Jessica Ozment
Copyright © Jessica Ozment 2015
The right of Jessica Ozment to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The story contained within this book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the author.
The indolent and torpid undead tacitly crept passed the dense lining of trees in the surrounding woods, trying to catch a small, fidgety squirrel that was scampering about on the ground. It endlessly searched for a pecan to stow away for the winter. The creature shuffled forward, extending its battered and bloody arms toward the small rodent with no luck. The squirrel quickly rushed through the undead’s deadly grasp, to a nearby sturdy pecan tree behind the monster.
Its delayed reaction hindered its chances of catching anything to eat for months now. The undead’s decaying limbs slowed considerably, causing it to miss out on several meal opportunities. The creature had the distinct urge to find others like itself. Very much like a bee had the urge to dedicate its life to the hive’s needs and wants. It was just wired this way. It couldn’t be helped.
The creature in a past life, a human life, was called Jeff. The name tag on the monster’s upper left hand shoulder oddly showed a light into the world that no longer was.
It couldn’t feel its broken foot, which was being dragged carelessly on the forest floor. It was beginning to fall apart at the ankle as the decomposition set in. Black and purple skin hung from it, revealing the broken bone that hit the dirt with each step the creature took. It suffered the break just before it hit the ground as a human months before, trying to escape from a rapacious and hungry undead.
The fall promptly broke Jeff’s delicate neck bone as well, immediately killing him and allowing the change to occur. Three hours later, it rose from the grave and began its journey as a flesh eating undead.
Currently, it aimlessly roamed the woods searching for flesh, all the while making its way to a gigantic swarm of other undead. It had many miles to travel before it reached the horde. Even still, it could feel the unique thought pattern coursing through the host’s brain. This was in the very same area of the brain that dictated the host’s cognitive abilities. In some ways, the virus controlling the undead’s body gave coordinates to reach the swell of monsters. The body had no other choice but to follow the direction it was given. The brain had been completely hi-jacked and the synopses that were firing off were geared towards one thing…Kill.
The lurking undead came to a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It could smell the blood of an animal not too far away. The sanguine fluid easily guided the monster between several buildings before it finally caught up to its helpless prey. It was a Fox. One of its paws had been completely chewed off and the undead was more than willing to finish the job.
Slowly the monster shambled up to the Fox, reaching out with its elongated bloodstained nails. The Fox subsequently let out a high pitched whimper and struggled to get to its three remaining good feet. Its actions were too slow though, as the Undead wrapped its cracked and sun-dried fingers around the poor creature’s neck. The black, beady eyes of the animal soon clouded over as the monstrosity reached down and ravaged the tiny animal with its rotting teeth. Satisfaction smeared across the monster’s bloody face.
Throwing the small morsel it found in the Fox to the ground, the monster continued on the blind path to the growing horde. As it travelled further through the town, the stump where its foot used to be was filing down as if it were being cut by a saw. Bits of rotting flesh left a trail behind the monster as it scrapped the bloody stump along the concrete of the sidewalk.
The creature whipped its head around speedily as it heard another noise come from within one of the buildings nearby. It could plainly hear the labored breathing of its favorite meal, desperately trying to muffle down sobs escaping from its mouth. The soulless creature heard the rapid heartbeat of the Human steadily rise as she hid beneath a large wooden desk.
The undead smacked its jowls as a greyish black fluid escaped its unsightly mouth. It was ready to seek out its next meal as it had an insatiable desire to eat again; its hunger would never be quenched. The building came into view and the creature slinked through an open door at the back of the building. The Human’s sweaty scent was strong, guiding the leviathan with ease throughout the dark room. It didn’t need eyes to find what it was looking for.
Nearing the repetitious sound of the Human’s rapidly beating heart, the undead hunched down, ready to pounce. The Human sat still, not realizing that its own heart was giving away its carefully chosen hiding spot. The monster lurched forward, twisting Jeff’s bones to the limit and caught hold of the poor, petrified Human. The woman was trembling underneath the monster’s grasp. No matter how hard she jerked, she couldn’t break free.
The undead sunk its foul teeth and nails into the helpless Human. It ripped through tendons and bone, instantly crushing the forearm of the woman. She let out a deep howl of pain and broke free of the undead’s strong grip. Wasting no time, she ran as fast as she could out of the building without looking back, leaving a thick trail of blood behind her.
At that moment, the undead felt a strange ping snap its attention back to the nearby herd. It soon lost interest in the fleeting meal that had now escaped its clutches and shifted its body towards Atlanta once more. No matter how much it yearned to finish the girl off, it had to obey the herds need to grow.
Jumping forward, the creature left the dark and lurid building. The constraint coercion to join the massive herd was unyielding. The monster’s very bones were pulled in Atlanta’s direction. As the edacious undead stepped out onto the main street, it saw the unfinished meal it had unwillingly just let go. She was no longer human. The turn had only taken mere minutes and she was now following the force that was pulling her body too.
Jeff filed in line with her, smelling her vigorously to inspect that she was genuine. The human scent had already left her and her eyes had glossed over, turning a shade of toxic green. Her skin was beginning to grey, and she had blood trailing out of her mouth and nose. She was just like the rest., only now Jeff had a “partner” to join him as he trekked to Atlanta. It wouldn’t take very long as the dead didn’t need to rest. The dead never stopped.
Soon, the pair stumbled into the large overgrown city. They had caught up with others like themselves shortly after leaving the small town and entering the woods. There was no longer any life coursing through the once bustling city. All of the animals were forced out shortly after the rise of the undead and all of the plants were stamped out by the herd.
Jeff and the unfortunate undead girl conceded to the back of the herd. Having already blended in, the minds of the herd melded. They were as one and nothing could stop them. The pull to destroy and consume everything in their path grew stronger with each new undead that joined the swell of death. Now all that was left within the city was death.
ONE YEAR LATER. Ian held his throbbing head in his track marked hands. He was lying down resting after the recent round of experiments that he had been subjected to earlier that day. Ian covered his face, not wanting to expose his piercing green eyes to the
“I can barely move this damn thing!” He thought, upset with his lack of strength. He didn’t like being helpless.
After a few moments of struggle, Ian tightened his grip on the call button and slowly removed it. Beads of sweat had formed on his face and neck; his breathe was considerably heavier. He pressed the small green talk button and scruffily asked for the nurse’s help.
“Nurse, I need some pain meds and water in here, please!” He groaned into the microphone. He dropped the call button beside his quivering body as he lowered his head once more.
The dull pain from the new injections was supposed to be a good sign. That was what the doctors were telling him, anyway. He wasn’t entirely sure that he trusted them. He knew that they were feeding him and keeping him safe from the undead outside. Ian took a shallow breath; he had to trust them for the time being. Once he found out what they were experimenting on him for, he would decide his next step. He needed a good reason to be a guinea pig. Right now, the outcome seemed bleak. It had been so long since they had started the experimenting. It wasn’t as if he would be able to walk out of here without objection. Ian made no illusions; he was here by force. They may have become laxer on his confinement but, Ian was still a prisoner. The thin red line had just become a little hazy; that’s all.
A few moments later, he saw the door to his room swing open and his new nurse tip-toe inside. She was carrying a metal medical tray with a syringe of morphine on it and a small glass of ice water. Only her cold blue eyes were visible due to her gauzy mask. She slid the tray down on the bedside table next to Ian.
“Here’s your water,” the nurse snapped as she thrust the glass into Ian’s hand.
She picked up the syringe and depressed it, causing a bead of morphine to shoot out. Ian flinched; he was tired of being a pin cushion.
“Alright, where do you want it?” She asked with a bored sigh, “In the arm or the butt?”
“My hip,” Ian told her while pulling down the waistband of his scrubs. Once he did, he grimaced as he got a good look at his discolored skin. Healthy skin was becoming a rarity. His arms were even worse. If they didn’t stop this soon… Ian sighed; he wasn’t sure how much more he could take.
The nurse took the needle and pressed it into the skin on his buttocks. She held the skin down with firm pressure and when she was done, she roughly rubbed the area with alcohol.
“All done. You should be feeling the effects soon.” The nurse turned on her heel and quickly started for the door. She didn’t give Ian much time for questions.
“Nurse!” Ian called after her.
“Yes, what is it?” She barked while pausing by the door.
“Are they any closer to finding whatever it is they are looking for?” Ian asked, craving answers and a semblance of freedom.
“I’ll tell your doctor you would like to speak to him, the nurse huffed. She turned on her heel and hastened out of the room. “Bitch,” he thought. It seemed like that was the only answer he ever got. He tried his luck with everyone that came into his room. Someone was bound to give in and help him or at least he hoped.
He laid there for several hours with the morphine coursing through his veins. Ian tried his arms; they would barely lift. Even his legs were getting quite heavy.
“She gave me the good stuff.” He sighed.
“At least, I’ll get some rest.” He figured as he turned over on the bed. It took him a moment to accomplish as the medicine took hold and he became more sedated.
All that he could think about was what had happened to the others. It had been a long year since they were at the school together. It felt like even longer since they had tasted freedom.
The only survivors from the school were with him right now at this facility. None of them had a clue where they were. The last thing he could remember was being placed in a helicopter and flying to this place. The flight had taken them quite a few hours to reach their destination. So, Ian assumed it had to be several states away from Texas.
Ian remembered back to how the military had blown a hole through the door of the media room in the school to get to him and Sam. They were so scared of what might happen to them. Once inside, the soldiers took them to their helicopter just outside the school grounds. Ian remembered walking over the mutilated corpses that had been the undead. He could see fresh bullet holes covering their decaying bodies. He tried not to step on them, but, there were too many to avoid. Eventually, all the soldiers met back up at the helicopters. With them, they brought Jeremy, Jerry, Susan and her son, Jamie.
Ian remembered looking off to the side of the helicopter away from his friends. Guilt ate away at him; how he wished he could have saved more people. It had been a horrible situation. The rest of the refugees at the school had nowhere to go. Screams rent the air as they were all locked in and eaten alive.
“Why didn’t the military help them?” Ian thought as he sucked in a calming breath. He would never get those answers.
He shot a glance over at Jeremy, his once good friend.
“Maybe if we hadn’t deceived each other over power, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Ian realized. He wasn’t proud of himself, but he wouldn’t let a tyrant like Jeremy take over their helpless friends.
Ian remembered how Jeremy had a total look of enjoyment run across his face. It was so sinister that Ian had to look away. It was easy to see that Jeremy was going insane. Everyone could plainly hear the horrifyingly helpless screams of their friends locked inside the school.
“What a sick, sadistic psycho!” Ian raged. How he wished he could shoot him where he sat.
Ian shook his head. That was the past, and he needed to focus on the future. As the hours dragged on, he rested, enjoying the quiet. The room he had been placed in was similar to a hospital room. An operating table stood near the door for emergency purposes. He supposed they didn't want to have to move him out while they were conducting tests on him. There was also a bathroom and a mini kitchen so he could prepare meals for himself when allowed. Considering his circumstances, he was well taken care of for the most part. Being a lab rat wasn't all that bad but he wanted answers now. He wanted transparency.
Ian awoke to a person standing over him. They took his wrist and felt for his pulse as they stared at their watch, making note of the results. It was one of the doctors who had conducted the latest experiments. Ian cleared his throat,” What are you doing to me?”
“I want to know what’s going on out there. I deserve answers. It’s been over a year now. Why won’t any of you talk to me?” Ian demanded. His headache was returning and it made him want to throw things. He watched as the doctor released his arm.
“We aren’t supposed to be talking to you,” the man said as he turned around slowly, the fear clearly written in his eyes. “We are testing you for immunities,” the doctor whispered as he leaned in giving Ian a close look at his pristine smile.
“What kind of immunities?” Ian narrowed his eyes, urging the doctor to answer. The doctor looked up at a camera that was placed in the corner on the opposite side of Ian’s bed. It watched him twenty-four seven. The red light on it never turned off. The doctor turned back to him and opened his mouth to speak. Suddenly, the door to the room burst open.
“Dr. Shields!” The nurse who ha
“Yes! I’m coming!” He answered nervously, as his body shook from head to toe. He quickly grabbed his clipboard and scrambled towards the door as the nurse held it open for him. She watched as the doctor left and snapped her head back to face Ian. Her cruel eyes pierced right through him as she glared at him in disapproval. Finally, she broke her gaze and closed the door. Ian growled when he heard the click of the lock.
Sam shoved her plate of food towards the center of the table she was sitting at. Her light blonde, full-length hair bounced off her shoulders as she moved. She sighed heavily, rolling her crystal blue eyes as part of her potpie sloshed off her plate and onto the table.
“Damn,” she thought, “I wasn’t that hungry anyway.” She grumbled as she jumped up to clean her mess. She couldn’t help but think about Ian as she did.
“He’s out there right now somewhere in the labs getting God knows what done to him.” Every time one of them left, they all felt distraught. They had no idea what was being done to them or what test were being run. They just knew it had something to do with the undead outside.
“It had to be.” Sam regarded as she walked over to Susan and Jamie, who were sitting on a love seat nearby. The boy had just come back from the labs and didn’t look so hot. His mousey brown hair was stuck to his forehead from the sweat that had been building on his scalp.
“My god, what did they do to you?” She asked in concern as she leaned down and felt Jamie’s head.
“It was hot; too hot.” Sam pulled her hand away swiftly as she bit down on her lower lip.
“Has he had any liquids?” Sam questioned Susan. She was an older woman, in her mid-forties. Her graying auburn hair was up in a tight bun and she was sprawled out on the couch. Susan nodded with unshed tears in her eyes. As she closed them, they streamed down her tired and battered face. Lately, she hadn’t said much of anything to anyone. She was locked so deep inside her depression that none of the others could do anything to snap her out of it.