Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 1 – Part 2

Here’s part 2! As always, remember… it’s unedited.

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The taxi stopped at the palace complex, she was still a long walk from home. The lights from each of the lamp shone ominously over her head. Swinging to and fro as the winds blew stronger and faster; tucking her dress between her legs, she continued to walk slowly on the sidewalk. Her shoes’ heels clicked on the hard rock, as her steps quickened. It wasn’t long till she heard something peculiar: footsteps synchronized with her own. Swallowing hard, she took a left turn around the conference room, looking behind for anybody suspicious. Nobody appeared.

“Was it all in my head?” She whispered.

Suddenly, something cold grabbed her hand. She let out a scream as a familiar voice tried to calm her down.

“Adelaide! Calm down, it’s me: Anthony!”

She sighed, placing her hand on her chest, “Jesus Christ, Anthony. You scared the living hell out of me.”

Placing his arms around her, he kissed her cheek, “what are you doing so late in the street? Why are you so jumpy?”

“I felt like someone was following me. I guess it was just you… thank God for that,” she said, holding on to his arm. “Could you walk me home, please?”

“I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t.” They both made their way down St. Charles’ Cathedral.

Tall angels made of stone with golden spears and silvery eyes watched over them as they walked right below them; their shadows overwhelming their bodies. Anthony would look back, from time to time, much to Adelaide’s fear.

“Anthony, is something the matter?” She whispered into his ear. “You’ve been uneasy for the last ten minutes and awfully silent. This is unlike you.”

“I don’t mean to startle you but it looks like we have company. Someone has been tailing us and a minute ago, I saw someone hiding behind the angel’s feet.”

“What do we do?” She held on to Anthony, tightly. “Maybe we should go inside the cathedral? They wouldn’t dare do something inside a holy place.”

“It’s worth a try. Come on.” They both ran to the side of the stairs, running to the inside of the cathedral.

The inside was well lit with candle light dissipating the shadows; flickering as they walked down the aisle. Large arcs adorned the ceiling, as chandeliers and hung over their heads. Mahogany pews and golden candle holders at the altar; dotting its marble walls and floor – votive candles bellow a statue of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, illuminating their faces with the constant glow of a candle flame.  Anthony held on to Adelaide’s hand, walking her to the first pew, just below the altar, watching for any movement.

A door opened, as a priest walked in. They both let out a deep sigh, as Adelaide smiled at Anthony’s worried face. There were three people kneeling, deep in prayer and a priest lighting a few candles whose flame had flickered beyond existence.

The priest walked down the altar, gently swinging open a small metal door, and stood next to where they sat.

“My children, must I ask why are you not praying? Is something the matter?” His eyes were deep blue, like the ocean, but lifeless and still. Unfazed by human emotion, that’s what Adelaide saw as he sucked the living daylights out of her. “Is something wrong, Your Royal Highness?”

“Who are you?” She slowly slid closer to Anthony, “I come to this church every Thursday and Sunday. Not once have I seen you here. There is only one priest and he’s a family friend…”

Searching through his garments, he took out a gun with a silence attached to it. He smiled as he signalled someone on the distance. Immediately, everyone stood and took out their guns, “pretty damn smart for a Crownie.”

“What do you want from us?” Anthony replied, shielding Adelaide from view, “you have no shame… even going as far as doing something this low before the eyes of God!”

“God? Son, where I come from there is no God. There is only me, you, them and us… No God to step on our dreams and today: no God to save you, boy.”

No sooner had he said this than a bullet grazed the right side of his neck, as he fired back. Anthony and Adelaide fell to the floor, hiding beneath the pew. Several gunshots were heard, as the fire fight seemed to move away from them. No sooner had it all started than it suddenly finished. Silence ensued.

Footsteps echoed on the distance. Clenching her fists, Adelaide dared not peak but if this was going to be her end, she would face it with honour. Looking out into the aisle, a tall man stood before them. A silvery well-trimmed bear, black eyes as dark as the deepest trench and as cold as the loneliest night; a black coat covered everything with the exception of his shoes.

“I don’t know what you want but I won’t give in to terrorist threats. Do you worst!” Adelaide said.

Anthony looked back at the man, both now sitting on the pew.

The man smiled, “God is definitely with you two. Had I been a minute later, you’d both be dead.”

“Who are you?” Anthony replied.

“General Ignatius Solt at your services, Your Royal Highness,” as he bowed before her, she saw the royal guards step in, armed and ready. “Let me take you to your father, he’s worried about you.”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

***

Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table; her father had been gone for half an hour now. He had told her to wait but was not informed why. She had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt and the ring leader had vanished. It was reckless of her to walk home with no escort and even endangering the life of another royal.

“Crownies, huh?” She whispered. Looking at her half-empty bottle of water, she realized that God was on her side.

The door opened behind her as a young man stepped in, followed by her father and the general. They were all discussing something but the young man just stood nearby, firm and unfazed, he was probably a soldier or a bodyguard.

They both grew silent and sat opposite to her, with the solider standing near the door.

“Adelaide, you already know General Solt,” he pointed at the same man that had saved her a few hours ago. “He is a war hero, the man who singlehandedly crushed the southern rebellion and now: your saviour,” taking a sip from a glass of wine he continued “I have a great deal of enemies both outside and inside our family. You are the youngest and with that a lack of experience. Your mother and I have tried shielding you from the reality of the outside world, to save you from the hardships that your siblings have endured.”

“They are all experts at what they do best,” she replied.

“Experience does not shield them from the unforeseeable; your mother had taught me that.” Motioning for the young soldier to come closer, he looked at the general, expecting him to take over the conversation.

“Your Royal Highness, your father believes that you need to be taken care off by having a watchful eye following you wherever you go,” he cleared his throat, “This is Second Lieutenant William Solt, my son, and your bodyguard.”

“Bodyguard? I don’t need a bodyguard. I am not some porcelain ornament to protect, I can manage on my -,”

“-and yet here you are, shaken and sacred. I almost brought you back in a body bag!” Her father interrupted. “I am not asking for you permission, Adelaide, I’m telling you that from now on, you won’t even go the kitchen without Mr. Solt.”

“Father-“

“-Your Royal Highness to you. I am still higher than you’ll ever be, don’t disgrace me before a hero,” he got up and walked over to the general. Tapping his shoulder, they both walked out of the room, leaving only Adelaide and William.

Fifteen minutes had passed as silence ensued.

Adelaide tapped her fingers on the table, looking back, from time to time, only to meet William’s watchful stare. Turning around quickly, he continued on for the next ten minutes.

“I’m not sure what someone like you is supposed to do rather than harassing me with that filthy stare,” she said.

William didn’t answer.

“At the very least, they could have afforded someone with more experience and higher ranking than you.”

Again, he didn’t respond.

Annoyed, she got up and hastily made her way through the opposite door, with William right behind her. She sped up her pace but William still managed to keep up with her. Around corridors and halls covered in fine paintings and beautiful flowers, she soon got tired.

Upon reaching the door to her room, she grabbed the handle and stood still. William was right behind her. “I won’t allow you to enter my room; I am not fond of strange men watching me sleep.” She didn’t even turn around.

“I am your bodyguard not your stalker. I will stand guard outside your door till morning breaks,” he replied. His voice was soft, softer than what she had imagined.

“And what if someone breaks into my room?”

“Your room is safe, I have seen the design, and there is no way anybody is getting in without going through the royal guards bellow.”

She scoffed, “smartass.” Adelaide slowly opened the door, looking back at her bodyguard as the light slowly dissipated into the darkness of the room. His blue eyes were the same as those of the priest: cold.

Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 1 – Part 1

*This is a story I was writing for Nanowrimo 2015 but was unable to finish it due to some family troubles and final exams. It’s not edited so beware.

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He took off his hat, looking around at the place; White walls and the slow hum of the ventilation system- that was enough to put him off.

“I didn’t think your father would buy this dump.” Touching a small green parrot, he sighed, “just look at this place, animals and plants… might as well call it a zoo.”

“Father isn’t dumb, you know. Unlike the rest of the family, he actually has a brain and thinks on his feet.” Adelaide rang the bell on the front desk. A few seconds later, a lady appeared on the counter. She was dressed in white, with a small blue tie and a small blue hat on her short blonde hair. Her brown eyes scanned the two visitors.

“Miss, would you happen to be the inspectors who were scheduled for today?” Her voice was soft.

“Yes, we came by under orders from His Royal Highness DiGrigori to inspect his latest acquisition.” Firm in his grip, he greeted the lady with a handshake as Adelaide looked around.

A door to the right opened as a man covered in from head to toe in a protective suite, stepped out. Taking of his gloves and head gear, he smiled at both and shook their hands. “Welcome to Garton’s Biological Research Centre. This is the central lab were we do most of the top secret research formerly sponsored by the Wellington Family and now His Royal Highness.”

Adelaide greeted him, her hands shaking. She was nervous; it was her first time inspecting anything for the family. Usually her eldest sister was entrusted with these tasks but she was out of the Kingdom. “It’s a pleasure to be here, Mr. ummmmm… I don’t think you’ve introduced yourself.”

He smiled, “I’m so sorry, where are my manners? I’m Dr. Leon Garton, the eldest son of the Garton Family. I’m a geneticist and I focus primarily in what you would call the ‘taboo’ science of cloning.” Taking off his suit, he continued, “I had heard that the DiGrigori were a family of warriors, cunning and strong but the rumours were true, after all.”

Adelaide stared confused at Dr. Garton, “What rumours?”

“They said that the youngest daughter was as beautiful as a diamond and as delicate as a rose. Bless my soul; I never thought I’d meet the legend herself.”

She blushed, “Thank you for those kind words, Dr. Garton, but may we proceed with the tour so that Mr. Dee can inspect the facility?”

***

“Well, that was a waste of time,” Mr. Dee howled. “Your father sure loves to waste his money on pointless investments. Last time it was a mechanized research centre and the time before that… an agricultural research centre.”

“I don’t see what’s wrong with research centres,” Adelaide fixed her hair, “I personally admire these people.”

“It’s not these people or what they do; it’s the whole research business. It provides no profit. He should buying manufacturing facilities and such; that’s a better investment. A guaranteed gold mine.”

“Father’s investing for the long run. You wait and see, he’s up to something… he’s always three steps ahead of everyone.” Looking at her watch, she let out a long sigh. Five hours had passed inside that facility, her afternoon was gone. Seven in the evening and she was already late for father’s announcement. “Mr. Dee, I’d best be going or father will have my head.”

The Smog

Okay, here you go. A new short piece. As always, it’s unedited… you’ve been warned.

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There was a light in the distance, amidst the dense fog. Her footsteps echoed as she made her way across the street. Whispers, voices called her name; beckoning to get closer – she hurriedly made her way to the bus stop.  The air was still. Her skirt swayed to her movements of her long slender legs. High heels tapping on the surface of a pavemented street; checking her watch, it was still too early for the sun to come out.

The voices kept on calling her name. Vivian, Vivian, Vivian, they whispered as each time they grew louder and more violent. Faces formed in the mist, speaking words she could not understand. They coughed embers with each passing. Holding on to her coat, she sped up towards the light. As it came closer, the bus stop was beneath it. A small lamp post illuminated the tiny bus stop. Three brown moths encircled the light, tapping with their large wings, the plastic covering. Small faces on the moths’ abdomen grinned with a sadistic smile as their eyes glowed in a sinister crimson light.

A tap on the thin metallic sheet that covered her head, a tap on the ground; the scent of rain overwhelmed her. As rain showered the hidden street, she could see the flashes of lightning surrounding her, outlasting the now flickering light of the lamp post. More moths had gathered around the light, as the mist engulfed her.

Her phone rang; she took out it out of her small pink bag. It was the alarm, five thirty in the morning: she was going to be late. Out in the distance, two head lights dimly came into view. She walked to the door, still closed, foggy and nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the vehicle. Knocking on the cold glass, as tiny crystalline drops slid down the window, it opened. The driver greeted her as he took off his bright red hat. Long, unkempt beard, covered in grey hairs and white; sweaty face, sprinkled with sweat draining down his nose. Taking out her bus card, the machine beeped, as she walked down the empty isle to the back.

Wiping the fog from the window, she could barely see outside. The bus stop disappeared a few feet from the bus. As she gazed outside, staring at the dim lights that zipped past them, a face appeared before her. Sliding to the seat next to her, the image dissipated with the cold breeze, as five months held on to the window. Their faces glowing, nibbling at the window; she looked at the bus driver as he stared at her through the rear view mirror, “you must be new here,” he said.

The Moth

It’s been a while since I wrote something… it’s short with no plans on expanding it – maybe not anytime soon, anyways. As always: it’s unedited, so read at your own peril.

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A loud scream ripped through the vail of silence; the curtains of darkness were ripped apart as she awakened. Her eyes hazily scanned the room. It was more akin to the squeal of a pig, or a large boar. Sweat slowly ran down her spine, a quick shiver of her body and an outbreak of goosebumps that covered her arms down to her wrists. What had she been dreaming about? Her mind was lost in a sea of confusion; all she could remember was a thick tar-like fluid covering her body- adrift in a sea of nightmares.

A cool light air settled in the room. She looked at her window yet it was still closed, covered by crimson curtains, as light from the street pierced through. Slowly sliding to a side of her bed, she slid both feet inside her sandals and walked over to the window. The closer she got, the cooler the air became. Opening the window, she was dumbfounded by the sight: a thick fog covered everything. The glow from the light post was completely hidden away, reduced to the image of a radiated pile of clouds slightly illuminating the room.

As she was about to turn around, a large brown moth crashed into the window. Startled, she let out a scream. The moth vanished. She leaned closer to the window, as she noticed the creature fluttering by till it settled on the glass. Inspecting the insect, she saw what appeared to be a face on its torso… a human face.  Stupefied, she collapsed on the floor. Gazing at the face, it smiled, revealing a full set of teeth.

She couldn’t scream; her legs became numb as her body slouched over to a side. The floor was cold. It all faded to black.

Awakened by an itch on her left hand, she clumsily got up. The window was covered by these moths, as their faces all moved… almost as if they were laughing, nibbling at the window. Their wings flapped, constantly hitting the window. The noise echoed inside her head, scratching and hitting. She fell on the floor, covering her ears with both hands, as tightly as she could. She tried screaming but to no avail, her screams drowned amidst the sound of the scratches.

Crawling to her bathroom, the itch continued. Scratching her hand, she noticed a small bump. Anxiety overwhelmed her. Her finger nails scratched the surface, still the pink irritation turned into red – her nails had pierced her skin. She couldn’t stop as the itch only worsened, spreading to her left arm and her right cheek. Scratching and scratching, it didn’t hurt, not even after the skin pealed before her eyes, not even after the flesh was ripped apart from her vessels and nerves. Her nails hit the bone, and even then, as fleshy chunks fell on the kitchen sink and blood turned the water scarlet red – she kept on scratching and ripping. Tears fell down cheeks and into the bone; horrified at the sight of her body.

The window shattered and the bathroom became flooded with moths as they attached to her flesh; nibbling, biting, hitting and ripping with their tiny legs; all dark brown with white antennas. A white moth, considerably bigger than the rest, landed on her eye – its face grinned and her world became dark.

She awakened, covered in a cold sweat. Her mother opened the door and walked into her room, “Now, now… lay down, your fever has yet to go down. You’ll be alright, honey.” A small towel soaked in cool water; she placed it on her daughter’s forehead. “It’ll all be over soon, baby.”

The Work Continues!

So, I’ve been uploading Haven and The Village Standing on God’s Feet… but, my love belongs to Adagio for Canon. Here’s a fragment of chapter 14… a few more to go and the book will be finished… probably before my vacations end.

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Twelve more hours to go; her hands were shaky as the tension of the situation settled in. Amelia closed her eyes and took a small sip from her glass, shaking its icy contents, rattling as she struggled to her feet. Whiskey had never been a vice she took lightly, furthermore, she’d try to never indulge in anything that would consume her control over any situation – she was determined. The small ice cubes rattled as she placed the glass on the smooth mahogany desk now covered in papers and maps. A small drop fell on a location she had highlighted in red. Holding her head with both hands, she sighed; a light headache was settling in.

“Am I doing the right thing?” she whispered to herself, taking a step back. As she fixed her slouching posture, she combed her hair and played with the mirror for a while – her face wasn’t that of a Premier, not yet anyway.

Haven – 03

This took me a while to upload… it’s not much, but I’ve been getting off my butt and right into writing. As always, this is unedited, so be aware of the mistakes. Mistakes galore!

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DAY 13

It’s been three days since the Research City closed its gates after the lockdown. Nobody really asked why, since inside the city was safer than wandering around the outside world. Eventhough it was well distanced from the city, its influence could be felt within the monochromatic walls of every structure: the fear, the incapability to change one’s luck, the insecurity and the desire to reshape the situation. High crime rate and violence, it was no wonder everyone strived to work with the Q3 Corporation. The Black Stars usually patrolled within the buildings, suspiciously at the same hour every day for the past three days. Something was happening or was about to happen, probably something had gone missing and they were willing to do whatever it took to corner the thief.

I looked around for a bit, before starting my shift. Janet stood by the door of the R-6 building; she looked worried. We had been friends, back in our university days; when she was nervous, she’d constantly play with her hair – she was doing that right now. As I walked towards her, I noticed an older fellow walking straight to her. They engaged in conversation as I watched from afar. The expression on her face was that of fear… but why? The old man, grey hair, a long lab coat covered his wide chest, standing well above her head, his short grey beard ran up to his side burns, and a grey metallic briefcase on his right hand. He gave her a keycard and entered the building. I promptly made my way to where she was. She was on the verge of tears.

“What’s wrong? What happened”? I tried talking to her but she made no sense.

“I fucked up… I fucked up real bad,” she repeated over and over again. Lifting her hands to cover her face, she smiled. “I sold my soul to the devil, Michael. Now, it has come looking for that which I promised.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I signed up for a shitty experiment… an experiment I knew there was a .1% chance of survival,” she slid the keycard into her pocket. “I didn’t expect that they’d go ahead with it.”

“What did you get yourself into?”

“There are secrets confined within this place… dark secrets. The devil’s lurking within these walls.”

“What? You knew didn’t you? You knew exactly what you were getting into… you knew what my sister got into! You knew all along!” I stared into her eyes. She tried averting my gaze. “Damn it! What happened to her? You know I’ve been worried sick about her…”

“Mike… right now’s not a good time,” she moved her eyes. A camera, we were being monitored.

She motioned for me to go. As I turned around, she gave me a crumpled piece of paper. Never once did I look back, never once did I even think of saying good bye. Something inside of me whispered that this would be the last time I’d see her alive.

On my way back, I bumped into Ms. Rosa. She stopped and dragged me over to the G-3. She grabbed a piece of paper and wrote something on it, I was unable to make out what it was. Folding it neatly, she placed it inside my pocket and walked away. Jesus Christ, it’ll be a long day.

*****

Lying on my bed, I look up at the ceiling. It was white, absolutely white, with not a scratch or imperfection to be found. It was a lonely place, sometimes I’d wish my girlfriend was here to cheer me up. This job was making me lose my mind. Whenever she called, I had to hide everything that was considered sensitive information from her. The walls had ears and so did the computers.

I got off my bed and walked into the bathroom. Locking the door, I looked at the piece of paper that Janet had left behind. It had a few things written on it: RSTP00986, and below a: Genysis78. Was this a username and a password? If so, where would I input these things? Maybe there was a log in for people in Janet’s position.  Now looking at Ms. Rosa’s paper, it was more of a direct command: meet me at 11 by the G-5 gate. Easier said than done… I had to evade the guards and probably the Black Stars. What was even more puzzling was the fact that she didn’t even ask for directions to the place. She didn’t even believe me when I told her that such a place existed.

Two hours and a few beers later, I awakened to the sound of static: somehow my pc’s monitor had been turned on. Static? I don’t remember that happening on an LCD screen. The computer started, loading all programs till a couple of windows appeared. It had a logo and two spaces for a login and a password. The keyboard started typing by itself, adding the same login name and password written on the crumpled piece of paper Janet had given me. As it logged in, multiples windows appeared on the monitor: fragments of reports, statistics, lists… Emilia Alejandra Guerra… my sister! I crawled closer to the edge of my bed, closer to the screen. Suddenly, the shadows that adorned my room began to fill every nook and cranny, sliding and covering everything – including the light from the windows and LCD. With the fading glimmer of light, a scream echoed through my room – I woke up covered in sweat, as the empty cans of bears fell of my bed. Was it all a dream? Managing to pull my weight, I made my way into the bathroom.

I found myself walking towards our meeting place. The bioluminescent shrubbery glowed as the night sky was illuminated by the tiny glimmer of starlight. The moon was a bright crimson crescent, hovering next to a bright start glowing in gold. The was no wind, the walls blocked most of the air currents but a slight breeze could be felt from time to time; it was a relief that the inside of every building had air conditioning and small fans to mimic a slight breeze at certain locations.

Each building was five stories tall, with no exceptions, and absolutely no windows. Only the cafeteria was allowed to have windows. Inside every building there was a world of its own: its adjusted temperature, humidity, elimination of allergens and static; even the inside pressure had been tweaked.

Still pretty clumsy, my drunken state became apparent as the dizziness grew even more obstructive to tonight’s plans – whatever they may be. On the distance, I could see Ms. Rosa, leaning against the wall. Her hair was tied in a bun, unlikely of her – maybe there would be something that would have us running around like criminals. I shuddered at the sound of that; I wouldn’t let anything or anybody risk my research. I was going to find my sister, no matter the cost.

Haven – 02

Wow, I actually made a part 2… I guess I’m starting to like this story. It’s coming along slowly because I have summer school and an exam every week. I did a slight wtf jump somewhere and still trying to fix it… no inspiration is flowing today. Enjoy and as always – it’s unedited and filled with mistakes, so tread lightly. Leave a comment if you found it amusing, good, bad, or anything.

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DAY 8

                It’s been a whole week. Early morning and late evening, the stress was kicking in. My fingers were so adapted to the whole procedure; I couldn’t even hold a spoon without pressing my thumb unto the tip of its handle. It wasn’t a very technical job but the pay was good.

The cafeteria seemed so vacant, just a few souls lingering about. My supervisor used to sit by herself. She’d seldom speak to anybody beside job related topics. She would always have her hair tied in a bun and her big conspicuous glasses always slipped down her small nose. Her name was America, strange name for a strange girl.

“Good morning, Ms. Rosa, how are you?” I sat next to her. She didn’t even look up but still managed to respond, somehow.

“Mr. Guerra, I’m okay but I’ll be back to work in a few minutes.” Her voice was as cold as the first day that I met her. “And you should hurry up too.”

“Hey, I was wondering… Can I ask you a question?” She didn’t even flinch. “It’s kind of a strange question so try not to laugh.”

“Mr. Guerra, I can assure you that I don’t have a very good sense of humor.”

That explains a lot. “Okay… Here goes: have you heard anything, any rumors or anything at all about G-5 and what lays beyond that gate?”

She stared at me, silently, examining if I was pulling her leg. “Are you serious?”

“Dead serious.”

“G-5 doesn’t even exist; it’s a myth used to scare newbies,” she grabbed a tiny red pill and swallowed it with some fruit juice. “That’s like asking if local folklore is real.”

“Between you and me, there is some freaky stuff happening and it’s all tied to the G-5 stories.” Sitting up, I stared into her small blue eyes. “I saw the place.”

Her face shifted from a burst-into-laughter to a are-you-serious expression. Slipping into her white lab coat, she grabbed her water bottle and finished her juice. I sat next to her, carefully measuring her mood. She wanted to say something but it seemed as if she couldn’t quite piece it together.

“You say G-5?”Skeptial, as always.

“I did but I’ll continue after we get back from our shift,” as I stood, she grabbed my shoulder and shoved me into the chair.

“You are not going anywhere,” she wouldn’t let me go without a thorough explanation.

“I got lost a few days ago and followed the wall. I thought that the wall would lead me straight to a gate… it did but it wasn’t the gate I was looking for. G-5 stood ominous, it was still active but there seemed nobody inside. An old guard told me that freaky stuff happen on the other side of that gate.”

She bit her lip. Placing her hands inside the pockets of the lab coat, she played with her eyes. Looking around, hoping that nobody was eavesdropping on the conversation.

“G-5 is not supposed to exist and even if it did… there is no sane reasoning for keeping such a place,” she raised her fingers. “Testing and Experimentation are within G-2, Research within G-3 and Production within the G-4; there is no reason to have a G-5.”

DAY 10

After a few days of traveling to and from the city, I decided to stay within the compound. The apartments were small yet comfortable; a bet, a closet, a small bathroom and a small table. There were nine buildings, all ordered into three triangles. I saved time and money, things that were precious to me. That morning, Ms. Rosa sent me a message: I want to see the G-5. She seldom talked but the moment she did, things got serious.

That evening, I waited for her outside the building. Late as usual, she was a thorough worker – probably suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. She was wearing a small black dress; the lab coat was for show as she worked inside an office.

“How were the numbers today?” I looked at my watch, it was already past six thirty.  The sun had already set.

“Ha ha ha,” she replied dryly. “Was that a joke?”

“I just don’t see the need for a lab coat inside an office.”

“It’s part of procedure, okay?” Her high heels knocked the sidewalk with such force, it echoed amongst the building. As tall as monoliths, these building were dead remnants of a green area that was burned to the ground to make way for this facility. “I have to keep a close eye on those numbers. Stabilizing the environment means that reactions take place at a controlled pace. I’m mother nature.”

“Morris told me that these bioluminescent plants were your idea.”

“In a way, yes. I was working with splicing jellyfish DNA with living things. It was a pretty straight forward work, testing the whole splicing business and then it hit me: save the grid, plant living light posts,” she grabbed her phone and showed me the digital photos of the first experiments. “We made trees but thought that small and medium sized bushes would do the trick.”

“But you still use LED light.”

“Yes, but these bioluminescent plants generate around 45% of the light needed to traverse around the compound. A simple way of saving money and keeping this planet clean.”

We walked into the cafeteria of a nearby building to grab a bite, already sensing that the adventure would definitely take its time. The place was empty, except for two or three persons still eating and the staff. The air conditioner had been turned off but a soft breeze was being pumped from the outside. It was dark, probably around seven thirty but you could see, through the transparent windows, the glow of the bioluminescent shrubbery; a light blue glow.

“So, you were in the Botanical Gardens, next to the Biodome?” I played around with my soup. “There’s a research lab within the confines of the glass dome, right?”

“Yes, I was. I worked there with another colleague; we were in-charge of the Cytogenetics Department and Cryogenics.” She fixed her blonde hair, as it dangled from between her fingers. Making a short ponytail, she continued: “She was moved to the Necrobiology Department… I think she had a degree in Thanatology or something like that.”

She sat fixated on her spoon, swirling things around her plate. “Taphonomy too, I guess. She was well versed on every topic pertaining to death.”

“No shit, she was modern day necromancer.” I moved my plate over to a side. “We’re way off topic. The thing is, this G-5 does exist and I want to know why it’s not on the map.”

The LCD screens, overhead, were pouring an absurd amount of local news. Something was going on outside, riots and blockades. Due to this very incident, many were unable to make it to work. The floor was tense, on the eve of the Phage’s release, the Research City was undermanned. The Black Stars were patrolling within the building, almost as if bracing for something.

“Is it that bad?” I asked.

“What is?” She looked around at the passing heavily armored soldiers.

“The riots outside the Research City.”

“Even if a volcano erupted, the walls of this city are reinforced. They can take artillery fire and not crumble.” She slid off her coat. “The Black Stars are the anti-contamination unit. They are called in when a severe outbreak occurs and quarantine is evoked upon the facility; and when I say evoked I mean that they force you to sit by and die.”

Carrying gas masks connected by a large tube over to a tank strapped to their backs, every soldier carried a semi-automatic rifle, a riot shield and a couple other firearms. The rifles were covered in a black ink-like substance with a bayonet on its tip, its long handle was lined with a sharp blade – the rifle could double as a spear or an axe, by the looks of it.  The riot shields were darkened, metal plates with a small slit at the tip and hole on the right side. These men were armed and ready for an invasion, not a contamination breech.

Their shadows painted the glimmering tiled floor, as their shoes echoed with each step. The white walls that furnished the building became dull and gloomy. I became tense. I always got tense around soldiers, especially those who looked as if they were about to butcher a community.

“Something’s not right,” a woman’s voice could be heard from over a distance.

“To hell with this,” someone else commented.