scifi

The Orchard

The Orchard

By J.A Scarrott

It was a cloudless morning, golden light showered down upon the small town of Appiton.  Quaint and quiet village folk slowly stirred as they carried out their morning routines. One such person was Marianne Mumford, who skipped her way down one of the winding village streets.

“Good morning Mr Thomas!” She called out joyously, waving a hand in the air.  

An elderly man, who had just stepped out from the local post office, straightened his old, crooked spine as the young girl approached. With a large, leathery smile he replied, “Good morning Miss Mumford. Off to work I see?”

“That’s right!”

“I’ve been reading some of your articles in the Apple Press you know,” The old gentleman waved a copy of the town’s newspaper, before tucking in back under his arm. “Keep up the good work missy.”

“I will Mr Thomas. Have a good day!” Marianne waved her goodbyes to the friendly local and continued on her way.

As she walked, she began to fiddle with a hair bobble, pulling back her rich, chestnut hair and tying it neatly into a bouncy bun. Revealing the soft features of her pale, freckled face.

She beamed with delight as she saw a rustic, red brick building come into view. With the words, ‘Apple Press’ displayed on its exterior in bold, steel, letters.

Marianne pushed the front door open and wiped her shoes on a floor mat. She made her way down a narrow corridor, squeezing past a colleague as they both hurriedly exchanged morning pleasantries. She twirled round a corner and into an intimate room, laden with desks that had an assortment of computers sat proudly upon them.

Marianne pulled out her swivel chair, that she has tucked away neatly the day before, and seated herself upon it. Joining the number of employees who encompassed her, who all sat their desks, hammering away at keyboard keys.

She slid her rucksack from her shoulders and reached out to boot up her computer. But before she had chance a voice called out to her, “I wouldn’t bother booting up this morning.”

Marianne turned to see her manager worming through the maze of desks toward her.

“Good Morning Phil,” She replied with a smile, “Is everything okay?”

He peered over his rectangular glasses, that sat on the tip of his red nose.

“Everything is fine. It’s just that you won’t be in the office much today.”

“Why’s that?”

“I received this yesterday,” Phil sharply presented a small brown envelope to her, which she picked delicately from his hand.

“What is it?” She asked, inspecting the letter.

The Apple Press’s address was written across it in fine, flowing,  handwriting, and large red ink seal had been stamped on its surface, which simply read “The Branch.”

Mariannes eyes widened, before drawing the pale letter from it’s envelope.

“This, is an incredible opportunity, for you.” Phil replied, pushing his thick rimmed glasses to the bridge of his nose.

The letter read:

To whom it may concern,

Dr Dourley and his research team at the The Branch laboratory have made a world changing scientific breakthrough.

We’d like to offer Apple Press full exclusive coverage of our findings and our works, on the condition that you send your junior journalist, Marianne Mumford, to report on them.

Please let us know if this opportunity interests you.

Kind regards,

Dr I. Dourley

 

“Look, I know that you may feel uncomfortable going, on account of Dr Dourley and your father’s disagreement. But this far too good of an opportunity to give up.” Phil continued, as Marianne came to the end of the hand written letter, “People have been wondering what that Dourley guy has been doing in that bloody pyramid of his for years and now we’ve suddenly been given full access!”

Marianne slid the letter back into the brown envelope before placing it on her desk.

“You don’t need to convince Phil, I don’t mind going,” she replied, much to her boss’s surprise, “I haven’t seen Dr Dourley in years, I used to know him quite well when I was younger, I even called him Uncle Ian! That was back when he and my father worked together. It’ll be good to see him.”

“Well thats great then!” Phil replied with a wide delighted smile, “For I’ve already booked the taxi this morning. It should be waiting outside for you. Take your things and I’ll see you tomorrow morning okay?” He swiped the letter off her desk and grinned with delight, before leaving the room.

Marianne wasted no time and quickly checked the contents of her bag, before swinging it back over her shoulder. She left as quickly as she had arrived, filing out into the sunny street where a black taxi promptly pulled up beside the pavement.

After a short drive, into the rural countryside that surrounds Appiton, the taxi came to a stop. “Here we are, the fares already been paid for. Have a good one.”

Marianne peered out of the window, to see a wooden stile in the centre of a long green hedgerow.  

“This can’t be right,” Marianne replied, turning in her seat to see only more hedges on either side of the small country lane, “I’m supposed to be going to The Branch… The large laboratory?”

The taxi driver looked at the girl via the rear view mirror and pointed a finger to the broken wooden stile. “Over that love, the pyramid is located in the centre of a field for one reason or another. I can’t get you any closer than this.”

Marianne slowly reached for the door handle, and awkwardly stepped out. The taxi took no time in waiting and instantly vanish down the country lane. Leaving nothing but a trail of muddy dust in the air.

The young girl hauled herself up the dirt embankment and clambered over the wooden stile into the open, emerald field. Standing majestically in the distance was the pyramidal laboratory itself.

Marianne had heard about the famous building, but had never seen it for herself.  It was enormous in size, it’s four sloping face were made of blue, reflective, glass. It emitted a low glow ever as the morning sun’s ray bounces off it’s smooth, polished surface. The young journalist was overwhelmed by its grandeur.

Despite being a modern piece of architecture, the building blended well with the natural surroundings. It’s shimmer blue casing melted into the soft, cloudless, skies behind it.

Marianne made her way across the emerald field. Gliding through the blades of soft grass until the Pyramids mighty slopes towered above her. The Pyramid section of the building was not actually situated on the ground as it first appeared, but in fact sat upon a solid black box that supported the structure from beneath.

She looked about timidly as she tried to find signs of a door.

“Hello?” She called out softly.

“Miss Mumford?” A gentle female voice replied.

Marianne jumped, and turned on her heels to see a woman approaching her. She wore very smart, well fitted attire. That emphasised the bold, natural curves of her body. Her hair was perfectly straight and cut off sharply at her shoulders.

“Are you Miss Mumford?” The woman reiterated.

“That’s me,” Marianne replied, exchanging a handshake with the woman, “Sorry, I was unable to find the door.”

The woman laughed lightly, “Don’t worry about it Miss Mumford, The Branch has been designed to be… uninviting, so to speak. Would you like to follow me please, and I shall take you to see Dr Dourley.”

Marianne gave a nod and followed the woman to a section of solid, black steel wall. She tapped away at her smartwatch and a section of the wall shot open in front of them. The woman then lead the young journalist inside.

Marianne was greeted with a site of men and women, draped in long, white, lab coats. The atmosphere was a busy one and doused in a heavy chatter. Groups of people march to and fro, frantically attending to errands that their work demanded of them.

The young girl followed closely to her escort as they made their way through the streams of human traffic. They came to a halt beside a balding man who had his back turned to them. He was exchanging a conversation with a younger man and peering into an open folder that he held out in front of him.

“Dr Dourley,” the woman interrupted, “Miss Mumford is here to see you.”

Dourley instantly cut his conversation and issued the man away with a flick of his arm, before turning to Marianne.

“Anny?!” he cried with delight.

“Uncle Ian!” Marianne replied, she leapt forward and embraced the doctor tightly, “It’s been so long!”

“Years in fact!” Dourley rested both hands upon the young girl’s shoulders, “How have you been?”

“I’ve been well thank you!”

“So I hear, Miss Journalist,” Dourley grinned and gave her shoulders a tight squeeze before dropping his hands by his sides, “It’s honestly so good to see you again Anny, you’ve grown so much! Come, let’s continue our talk in my office!”

Dourley thanked the woman for escorting Marianne to him and then the two of them made their way into a lift. With a flick of a button, both Dourly and Marianne were whisked up to the top floor of the pyramid, where Dr Dourley’s office was located.

“This building is grand!” said Marianne beamed, choosing small talk over awkward elevator silence, “Rather inaccessible though… ”

“Thank you,” Dourley replied, “and I know. I designed it that way to deter people from visiting. I don’t want people sticking their noses where it isn’t wanted. Gone are the days that I openly share my research.” Dourley’s words trailed off, leaving a sour sting of bitterness on the air.

Marianne tried to reply, but the doors to the lift threw themselves open revealing a gleaming white corridor that stunk heavily of industrial cleaning chemicals.

Dourley paced off down the hallway, with Marianne close behind. He came to a halt at his office door and fumbled with a set of keys that he drew from a pocket. With a quick, twist of the wrist the door swung open and the pair made their way into the office.

Instantly, Marianne was met with a sight that fouled her eyes. Two rectangular tanks, filled with teal liquid, stood in the centre of the room, set a meter apart from one another. Each tank contained one half of a preserved pig, that had been surgically split directly down its centre. The grotesque cross section displayed the swines multi-coloured organs, the sight of which brought a sour taste to Marianne’s tongue.

“Please, this way,” Dourley invited her into the room, making his way between the two tanks. He strolled off toward a large, metallic desk that sat on the opposite side of the room.

Sheepishly, Marianne followed and made her way between the severed halves of the animal. She glanced up from the floor and caught a glimpse of the creature’s intestines, that were pressed against the glass like a twisted set of sausages.

Marianne involuntarily gagged and snapped her attention to the floor. Keeping her gaze fixed as such until she reached Dourley’s desk.

“Take a seat!” Dourley offered cheerily, pulling a chair from beneath his desk.

The pair sat themselves down and Marianne rested her bag beside her. After which a short silence set in the room.

Dourley avoided eye contact with the young journalist, instead looking awkwardly to his computer screen that glowed on the desk beside him.

“Uncle Ian?” Marianne asked tenderly, “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, yes. Quite fine.”

The girl let out a heavy sigh before continuing, “I think we should get the obvious elephant out of the room…”

Dourley stared aimlessly at the computer monitor for a moment, before turning to the young girl.

“I think that would be a good idea, for both of us.”

Marriage took a deep breath before saying, “I’m sorry that stuff got so messed up between you and dad. It was pretty messed up what he did.”

“You don’t need to apologise to me Anny,” Dourley replied, “You were only a young girl and innocent of it all. Besides, I’ve done alright for myself.”

The pair shared a warming smile.

“My only regret is that I let the affair come between us.”

“But now we’re finally reunited!” Marianne beamed with delight, “And, from what I hear, you’ve made a world changing discovery?”

“Yes! Yes! That is correct and is of course why I invited you here!” Dourley rested his forearms on the table and leaned toward Marianne, “I heard that you had started work as a junior journalist and I thought, what a better way for you to gain some experience, than being able to report on this world exclusive!”

Marianne tugged at the zipper on her bag, and pulled a leather bound notepad out from it’s depth. She gently rested it’s open pages on her folded legs.
“Then let us begin!” Marianne replied, as she clicked the end of a biro. Bringing the ballpoint tip to the lined paper.

“Absolutely,” Dourley leaned back into the depths of his office chair, “I thought I’d begin by giving you some background information about the project, so you can better understand the circumstances that helped lead me up to this moment. After which, I shall personally take you to see the culmination of my works.”

Marianne shuffled in her seat slightly as she prepared herself. Ready to scratch pen across paper.

“As you know, I have had a history of working in biology. My most notable work being the experiments that I carried out with your father, Dr Mumford.”

“Our work together was centred around the idea that we could alter the genetic structure of a pig’s DNA, so that it had the genetic identity of a human. The idea being that if a pig’s DNA were to read as a humans, then a person’s body wouldn’t reject organs sourced from that animal.”

Dourley stretched out a gangly arm and nodded his head towards the split pig that lay on display behind them.  

The sourness returned, flaring up the sides of Marianne’s tongue.

“And as I recall, you both were very successful in achieving that goal?” Marianne added, as she turned back to face him.

“Indeed we were. Your father went on to be well recognised for the work that we did. However, as you know, I did not receive the same recognition he did and my name was left off the research papers.”

Marianne sprawling hand stopped as Dourley finished his sentence. She glanced up to him with a sorrowful stare.

“However!” Dourley beamed loudly, “It was a blessing in disguise. For I have built upon that research since and have created something truly spectacular! A method of growing human organs on demand, free of all ethical implications. Would you like to see?”

Marianne slammed the pages of her notebook together, “Yes! Absolutely!”

Dourley jumped from behind his desk and bounded through the two halves of the preserved pig once again. Marianne threw her notebook back into her bag, before walking swiftly after him. Following the Dourley as he vanished through the office door.

The pair wound through a series of rigid corridors, before making their way into a low lit room. It was featureless, except for a row of full body protection suits that lined one the rooms four walls.

“Please pick one and put it on.” Dourley asked, as he made his way to the suits, “We have to be extremely careful whilst inspecting the work.”

Marianne clambered awkwardly into one of the suits, pulling it over her clothes and securing a large dome helmet over her head.

Dourley then ushered her through a circular doorway and into a thin glass corridor. Jets of compressed steam hissed violently as a steel disk like door shut behind them.  A white misty vapour fogged up the glass hallway.

Marianne looked to Dourley’s hazy figure in the fog and staggered after him.  The scientist came to a standstill as another vault door appeared through the fog. A golden plaque was mounted on its centre with the words, “The Orchard, “ elegantly engraved upon it.

Dourley’s cumbersome fingers punched at a large keypad that was situated below the glossy plaque.

“I hope you’re ready,” he said to her, his voice crackled through an internal communication channel, shared by the suits.

The door rolled open and streams of sunlight bled from the opening. Marianne brought her gloved hand up over her visor, attempting to shield the blinding rays from her eyes.

However after several seconds of exposure, her eyes adjusted and the scene behind the doorway became clear.

Fresh, green grass blanketed the floor and a series of short trees stretched up from the soil. The scene looked as if it belonged to a farm in rural Italy, not a controlled, sterile laboratory.

Marianne staggered into the small ecosystem and cast her view upward to see a refractive glass ceiling spanning the roof above.

“Welcome to the point of the pyramid, home to the orchard,” Dourley announced. He caught sight of the girl staring up at the ceiling and explained, “The roof reflects, and amplifies, the outside sunlight. Which helps feed the trees that stand before you.”

“This is quite impressive,” Marianne replied, “but I’m failing to see what this has to do with organ transplantation?”

“Well why do you take a closer look at the fruits of my labour?” Dourley made his way beside one of trees and gently cupped an apple, that hung from it’s branch, “Look.”

Marianne shuffled toward him, staring intently at the red lump within his hand. Her eyes widened as fruit appeared to pulsate, pumping slowly in his palm.

“Is that…  a heart?!” Marianne exclaimed, snapping her attention to the other branches of the tree.  A collection of fleshly lumps hung from them, each of them wet and pulsating.

“They’re all human hearts. Ripe and ready for harvest,” Dourley’s fingers slipped from beneath the organ, “Each tree has been engineered to produce human hearts that have a human genetic identity. Each heart also acts as a blank slate, meaning two things. The first being that, they can be universally used on any patient and the chances of a body rejecting them is almost completely zero. We’re planning on starting human trials soon.”

Marianne peered up closely to one of the hearts and ran the back of her hand against it’s surface. She cupped it gently, feeling it thump softly between her fingertips.

“This is crazy…” She whispered in disbelief.

“The greatest ideas are. Have you seen enough for your report?”

“More than enough.”

“Good! Then I would recommend returning to my office, where I can explain the science behind it all, ” Dourley suggested, as he made his way back to the circular vault door, “plus I don’t like lingering in here for too long. For risk of contaminating my work.”

Marianne loosened her grip on the frail organ and let it hang gently from it’s tree branch. She turned her back on the magnificent orchard and joined Dourley as the disk door creaked open once again.

They both made there way through the glass hallway and removed their suits. Returning them to their resting place against the wall, after which they promptly returned to the Dourley’s shimmering office.

“So what did you think?” Dourley asked with intrigue, as they both approached his desk once again.

“What do I think? Uncle Ian, that orchard is unlike anything I’ve ever seen!” Marianne exclaimed, as she sat herself down, “It is world changing, there’s no doubt about that! You’re going to save so many lives.”

A smug smile slimed it’s way across Dourley’s face.

“The only thing I’m concerned about is whether my writing will do it justice or not!”

“I’m sure it will. Would you like me to continue by explaining the science behind it all?”

Marianne pulled her leather notebook back out from her rucksack, which was still poised by the side of her chair.

“Of course!”

As she clicked her biro, a knock came from the office door. Marianne turned in her seat to see the straight haired woman who had met her previously, leaning in.

“Dr Dourley, can I borrow you for a moment?” The woman asked, “There’s been an incident.”

Dourley jumped up from his desk, “I’m sorry Anny, you’ll have to excuse me. I shan’t be long.”

“Take your time Uncle Ian,” Mariannae replied with a smile, “I’ll draft up some notes while you’re gone.”

Dourley silently thanked her, before shooting off towards the doorway, bringing it to a close behind him.

The room went silent. So quiet in fact the sound of Marianne’s biro scratching across her notebook paper was  clearly audible. However it was another faint noise that caught her attention.

A low hiss snaked through the air… Marianne raised both her head and eyebrow, as the sound continued. She sniffed the air and found the room to be odorless.

She looked over her shoulder at the office door, which was framed between the two halves of the pig. There was no sign of Dourley or the assistant through the doors clear glass window.

The young journalist got up and nervously paced her way across the office.

“Uncle Ian. There’s a strange hissing noise in here, ” Marianne called out, “I think it could a gas leak. Uncle Ian?”

She tugged at the doors metallic handle, but the door wouldn’t budge. She tried again and again. Frantically lashing at the handle as her palms began to sweat.

“Uncle Ian?!” the girl cried, “Uncle Ian!”

Suddenly, Dourley’s old grey face appeared in the door window.

“Oh thank god! The door is jammed!”

“It’s not jammed. It’s locked.”

“Locked? Well, can you unlock it…? ” Marianne suddenly choked on the end of her sentence. She brought a hand to her throat and began gasping for air. She violently bashed at the door handle as desperation sank in.

“What’s happening!? What’s going on?!” The girl choked harshly, “Uncle Ian please! Open the door!”

“The room is filling with an invisible gas called Halothane. You may find it hard to breathe for a short while,” Dourley replied coldly, as he watched the young girl claw at her throat, “Don’t worry, you’ll be unconscious soon.”

“Why are you doing this! Open the door! Open the door! Please!”

“Do you know why I’m so interested in organ transplantation Anny? I suppose you’re too young to remember.”

“Uncle Ian! Please!”

“I had a daughter myself once. She was just like you, bright, beautiful, full of life.”

Marianne weakly banged her fists against the glass as the energy drained from her body.

“But her heart was not as strong as she was. It was diseased and it failed her,” Dourley stared into Marianne’s blood shot eyes, “I did my best to help her, I tried to find a donor,  I tried to save my baby. But I failed her and she passed.”

“Please! I can’t breath!” Marianne choked harshly.

“After she passed, I dedicated myself to my work. Determined to find a way to help those in need, so they didn’t have to know the pain that I did. Your father joined me in my quest Anny, and he took all of the glory for himself. He insulted my cause, he insulted the very memory of my little girl!”

Dourley slammed a tight fist against the door, and seethed heavily, “But now, I have his!”

“Uncle Ian! Please! Don’t kill me! I don’t want to die!” Marianne begged as she sagged limply against the door, tears streaming down her cheeks, “Please…. Uncle Ian… ”

Her pleads faded away as she slumped to the floor like a tossed ragdoll. Completely cold and unconscious.  

Beep… Beep… Beep….

Marianne’s eyes stirred beneath her eyelids and with great effort she dragged them open. They were heavy and sore, as was the rest of her young frail body.

Beep… Beep… Beep….

“Where am I?” she asked hoarsely, both mouth and throat were completely dry.

Her vision sharpened and a collection of hazy figures came into focus. She tried to lift up a hand, in order to rub the soreness from her crusty eyes, but found herself bound by both wrists, and both legs!

“You’re finally awake!” A familiar voice cried out.

One of the figures came closer, looming over her like a venomous shadow. Dourley’s long grey face came sharply into view.

“What’s going on Uncle Ian….?” Marianne wheezed weakly.

The girl watched as Dourley was handed an object by one of the elusive figures and presented it to her. It was a clear jar, inside which sagged an oozing human heart.

“I don’t understand….” Marianne croaked.

Dourley spun the jar in his hand, revealing a label that had been plastered across it’s curved surface which read ‘Marianne Mumford. Patient Zero’.

“Your father would be so proud of you Tinman.” Dourley said to her warmly. A huge hearty grin spread across his face as he pointed at her chest, “Look.”

Marianne titled her stiff neck forward and looked down upon her exposed chest. Running clean down it’s centre, between her breasts, was a long, surgical incision, which had been bound back together with metal clips.

“The hearts from my Orchard!” Dourley continued with glee, “They compatible!”

Tears started to pour from the girl’s eyes as she watched Dourley laugh with delight. Shakily, she opened her mouth, but her tongue offered no words to her. All the young girl could muster was a shriek of pure, bloodcurdling, horror.

Beep…  Beep… Beep…

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Stare into the Light – Revision

“I flew down the flights of stairs as fast as I could, tripping down a few of them as I frantically raced for the door. Doing my best to keep my eyes shielded from the yellow artificial glow that surrounded me. As I reached the door, I flung it open and gently came to a halt outside, breathing in the cool night time air.”

I gave one of my older stories a quick polish the other day, as I cringed when I read it back to myself. So  if you’d like to give my old story some love I’ve added a link below where you can find it! —> Stare into the Light

Fowl Play – Part 2: Breathe

The four students piled into the room hastily and found themselves in a small laboratory. The room was a long rectangular shape. 12 desks, arranged 3 by 4, stood near them, facing towards a large white board that was fixed to the wall. Surrounding the arrangement of chairs was a long singular white work table that was fixated to, and followed, the wall around the room. Upon this work surface stood an arrangement of expensive scientific equipment. The uses of which were completely unknown to the 4 students that had just stumbled in. The glossy work surfaces, and indeed the desks, all reflected a harsh white light, as some of the warm golden rays seeped through the blinds that hung over the windows.

Further down the room stood a long computer desk, similar to the ones used in the I.T Suite, with computers sat upon it back to back. Sat down at one of these computers was a young man that they had not encountered before, who stood up as they entered the room.

He was of average height and had long black hair, it was a mess which had clearly not been brushed or styled. He was completely silent, staring at them, two black bags sagged heavily under both his dark brown eyes.

Standing next to him was the girl that they had met previously in the I.T suite on the upper floor. Both wore long bright white lab coats.

“So this is the group that you ran into upstairs?” The scruffy man asked, turning his head to his fellow student.

“That’s correct. However we haven’t had a chance to be formally introduced.” She stepped forward, “My name’s Teah, Teah Nicole, and this is Roland Johnston.”

Kayla stepped forward and replied, “My name is Kayla and this is Vauhn, Logan and Lizelle.” She walked next to each person as she introduced them, they all one by one accompanied her introduction with a slight raise of the hand.

“I heard that one of you needs medical treatment.” Roland said in a dull monotone voice, cutting the pleasantries short.

“Two of us.” Vauhn replied, “Kayla has a gash on the back of her neck and I’ve…” He didn’t have to finish his sentence, instead he brought up his blood soaked hands and smiled wearily.

“I see. No problem, I’ve got some supplies that can help patch you up.” Roland said back, “First go and wash the blood from your hands. Kayla come with me.”

He ushered her over to a supply cupboard, which he began searching through. Pulling out odd bottles of chemicals and scrap pieces of equipment, things that were completely unknown to Kayla.

“Here we go.” Roland said, pulling out two small bottles and a roll of bandages. The scruffy student sat Kayla down and began to inspect her wounds.

On the other side of the room, Liz was leaning against the work surface, looking down aimlessly at the floor . “So, What do you know about these birds?” she asked as she brought her cold stare up and set it firmly upon Teah’s anxious face.

She said nothing.

“You’re the zoologist aren’t you?”

Teah threw her dark brown eyes across to Roland, who met her glance for a slight second, before pouring more iodine onto a rag and dabbing it gently onto Kayla’s wound.

Teah remained silent.

“Tell me! Our friend Carole is gone because of those god damn things!” Liz shouted, pushing herself off of the work surface. “I’ve lost my Jason! I- We deserve answers!”

She slammed her fist onto a desk, the tears that were welling up in her eyes began to stream down her pale white cheeks. She sank back onto the work surface and planted her head in her hands. “Tell me , please.” She begged quietly.

Logan stared down at the floor, both arms firmly crossed, and sat helplessly listening to Lizelle’s heart breaking cry. Vauhn and Kayla looked to one another, able to see the sorrow in each others eyes. They reached for each others hands, locking their fingers tightly together.

“Just tell her Teah.” Roland said dully, sparing no thoughts of sympathy for the heartfelt moment.

Teah gulped and drew in a breath. “Roland and I are responsible for the birds.”

Lizelle brought her head upwards from out of her hands and stared at Teah with a set of unruly eyes. The small kindling of sorrow within her began to bellow and flamed up into a full rage. The fire of which spread throughout her body.

Teah simply stood, shakily, with her arms hanging awkwardly limp by her sides.

Liz grabbed a microscope that sat on the work surface beside her, and catapulted forward. Bringing the microscope above her head, with the sole intent of driving it into Teah’s skull.

Teah froze solid in terror. Just as Lizelle was about to bring the microscope down upon her, Vauhn intervened.

“Stop!” He cried, as he jumped between the two. “This isn’t going to bring him back Liz.”

Slowly, she brought her arm down and dropped the microscope, it struck the floor with a loud thud. Teah flinched.

Vauhn put his arm round Liz, and walked her over to a desk, withdrawing a chair that was tucked under it.

“Everything’s going to be alright Liz. But we need to stay focused if we hope on getting out of here.” He whispered to her, “Do it for Jason, And Carole. Once we’re out of here we can bring these two to justice. Alright?”

“Okay.” She replied weakly.

Vauhn got up off of his knees and turned to face Teah and Roland with an iron stare.

“Get talking.”

Teah looked nervously over at Roland. Who nodded and also waved to Vauhn, ushering him over to have his shredded hands looked at.

“Okay… Well… You see… I’m a zoologist and Roland is a biologist. We worked together on our thesis project.”

“The project being… designing killer birds?” Logan asked.

An uneasy look came across Teah’s face, she glanced over at Liz and caught a glimpse of her blue, sorrow filled eyes. Then darted her stare back at the clear white floor. “Are any of you familiar with a term called ‘breeding back?'”

Her question was met with silence.

“They’re not Zoologists Teah.” Roland said in dry voice, tenderly working on disinfecting Vauhn’s hands. Sterilising them before tightly wrapping each finger, then palm, in cotton bandages.

She threw a glare at her partner, unappreciative of his bluntness.

“Breeding back is a form of artificial selection by the deliberate selective breeding of domestic animals. In an attempt to regain traits of a wild type ancestor.” Teah explained, turning to use the white board that was fixed upon the wall behind her.

She began by crudely drawing two cows, one with a small set of horns, labelled domestic cow, and another with a large set of horns, labelled Auroch cow.

“The Auroch cow was a breed of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asia and North Africa. However, they’re now extinct. It does have a living ancestor though, the tamer and smaller domestic cow.” Teah turned back to the board and drew an arrow, pointing from the domestic cow, towards the the Auroch cattle. “However, scientists thought that the code that once made up the Auroch cattle, must still exist, in part, within its ancestor. So they began breeding domestic cows that had similar characteristics to their extinct predecessors. Then they repeated the process, drawing out more of those hidden traits with every offspring produced. The result?”

“Bringing Auroch cattle back again?” Logan asked.

“No.” Teah turned round once again and drew another arrow pointing towards a new cow. “The result was they created an all new sub-species of cow. One that was very similar to the Auroch Cattle but was not the real deal. For you can’t 100% bring a creature back from the dead in this way, you just end up breeding a new species with similar traits.”

Kayla asked, “So I take it you decided to do the same with chickens…? But what ancestry does a chicken have that you would possibly want to breed back to?”

Teah turned back round to face the group that sat before her in the laboratory, sitting herself down on a stool that was present near the whiteboard.

“For starters we didn’t use chickens, per say.” Roland said unexpectedly, whilst putting some of the medical supplies back into a cupboard. “We used both Red and Grey Jungle-fowls. They’re believed to be the ancestor of the common chicken. We figured if we wanted to breed back, we might as well start with an animal further back on the evolutionary scale. Secondly, Jungle-fowls, and indeed chickens, belong to an evolutionary group known as Coelurosauria. Any guesses what that is?”

He gently shut the cupboard doors and turned back round to face the silent group.

“Like you said, we’re not Zoologists.” Logan scoffed, both arms folded tightly against his chest.

“Neither am I.”

Logan sneered.

“Coelurosaurs are a group of Theropods, creatures that stand on their hind legs and have hinge like ankles. Birds are part of this group, included as well are: Ornithomimidae, Manirapatora, Dromaeosaurs, Troodontids, Oviraptors and… Tyrannosaurids.”

“Dinosaurs? You were trying to recreate the dinosaurs?” Vauhn exclaimed loudly.

“A bit above and beyond for a uni dissertation.” Logan muttered, “Bloody over achievers.”

“We weren’t trying to re-create them. Merely breed out traits that have been locked away in their ancestors genetics.”

Kayla got up and began to pace the room, “At no point did you think that this might have been a bad idea!?”

“We had no idea of the potential locked away within these animals! At first the only thing that we noticed was the jungle-fowls feet which grew thick grey scales. They also began to have a firmer, upright posture.”

“Yeah well, you both did something that unlocked a hell of a lot worse than scaly chicken feet!”

“More radical changes occurred when we started introducing chemicals into the embryos. Growth stimulants and steroids, to help them cope with the rapid ageing process that we subjected them too.” Roland replied, a darkness set in his eyes. “That’s when we noticed the diet change, the jungle-fowls moved from seeds and oats to meat and bone. It was quite frankly…. incredible.”

Kayla looked over worryingly at Vauhn. His own face was stern, his deep set features were rigid like stone, and slowly he lifted one eyebrow.

“Where were you storing these jungle-fowls?” He asked, “We’ve been in this building many times before and saw no sign of these creatures.”

Teah responded quietly, “We rented out one of the rooms on the top floor. We kept them stored away safely in there.”

“Not safely enough it would seem.” Logan added.

Teah scowled at the young man and was met with an equally fierce set of eyes.

Roland got up from the chair he was perched upon and rested a hand on Teah’s shoulder. “We didn’t predict that the rate of growth in the birds intelligence would be so… Dramatic.”

“This is why you shouldn’t play god.” Kayla said to them.

“Playing god is a fundamental characteristic of human nature.” Roland snapped, “It’s the drive that urges us to improve ourselves and the environment around us. Without the urge to ‘play God’, the world we know wouldn’t exist today.”

A heavy silence set in the room and the students were still.

“If these Jungle-fowls are as intelligent as you say. Then its only a matter of time before they make their way in here, no matter how secure you claim this room is.” said Vauhn turning his focus to Roland.

“We should inform the authorities.” Liz said quietly.

“They’ve already been notified, we’ve told them to stay out of the building and keep a secure perimeter.” Teah replied. “If they were to make their way in to help us, they risk releasing one of these birds out into the wild. Which is a thought… I dare not think about.”

“You think they’d breed if released?”

“Without a doubt. If they’re intelligent enough to hunt down humans, they’re intelligent enough to know how to continue their species.” Roland chuckled, however his humour was not shared by the rest of the group.

“Regardless. We need to get moving, like Vauhn said, It’s only a matter of time before those birds find their way in here.” said Kayla, “And as you have said, Teah, those birds were kept on the top floor. So we need to make sure we get to the ground floor before they do. If we hope on getting out of here alive. Are you two going to come with us?”

The four students all turned their attention to Teah and Roland.

“You’ll probably fare better with our help. With all things considered.” Teah replied.

Roland walked over to one of the computers that was perched upon a desk and withdrew a small USB stick, after tapping a few of the keys. He placed the small item within his black jeans pocket. Vauhn eyed up Roland inquisitively as he walked past him. Who looked back with a smirk across his face.

He leaned towards Kayla and whispered in her ear, “I don’t trust that guy.”

“Nor me. But he’s our best chance to get out of here.”

Vauhn nodded sombrely, fixated on Roland as he walked across the room to Teah. “I suggest we use the door opposite to the one you came through.” He said dully. “The fowls will probably be waiting for us outside there. Plus if we head out the other door, we can follow the corridor down and use one of the lifts to get us down to the ground floor just a bit quicker.” Roland smiled weakly at the group.

Teah and Roland walked over to the other exit, which lay at the bottom of the mini I.T suite which sat in one half of the room. Logan, Lizelle, Kayla and Vauhn all made their way over as well, preparing themselves for the ordeal and danger that lay ahead of them.

Roland was poised at the door, he looked at each of the worried faces that stood before him. “Is everybody ready?”

One by one, each of the students gave an anxious nod. Logan swallowed, in attempt to lessen the lump that nervously knotted within his throat.

“We can do this.” Vauhn said firmly, clenching his bandage bound hands tightly. “Open it.”

Roland flung the door open and Vauhn leaped out into the brightly lit corridor. Only to have a set of talons burrowed deep into his face.

End of Part 2

Fowl Play – Part 1: Run

It was a quiet and blissful day. A clear blue blanketed the sky above, accompanied with crisp midday sunlight. The golden rays bled through the open shutters of a study room, in which 6 students were present. Each of them sat at a table with a personal laptop and their notes scattered out in front of them.

They were working on their dissertations, in hopes that their efforts over the 4 years at university were not completely wasted. The silence that smothered the room was suddenly broken , when one of the students, Carole Bielby, threw a pen across at another student. She was not one to sit in boredom alone.

The small Biro raced through the air, across the heads of several other students and landed onto a laptop keyboard. Interrupting the focused typing of another student, Vauhn Rogers, much to his annoyance. “I think you lost your pen Carole.” He said, as he picked up the Biro and walked across to her. He placed the pen carefully on the table, next to a pile of notes.

“How’s it coming along anyway?” He asked, leaning over to see her laptop. The screen was filled with thousands of words that made up Carole’s complicated thesis.

“It’s going well I’d say!” She replied, as she stretched her arms above her head, yawning as she did so. “Communications wizard right here.”

Vauhn let out a small laugh. “Confident as always Carole.”

“As confident as I am beautiful, you mean.” She replied as she stared up at Vauhn with a sly grin. Who shook his head gently with a faint smile on his face. However despite her arrogance, one could not deny that Carole was a soft sight on the eyes, with long silver blonde hair, red cheeks and a pair of dazzling crystal blue eyes. She was also fiercely intelligent and found very little that challenged her academically.

On the table to their left sat two more fellow students, Lizelle Grobbelaar and Jason Littleton. They were a quiet couple, Jason more so, and very much kept to themselves. Despite their silence, they were still considered friends by the rest of the group.

However Lizelle sat up from her laptop screen, took off her circular spectacles and rubbed her eyes. “Wish it was that easy for me.” She said across to them, undoing the bobble her hair was in and re-tying it once again. “My brain feels like its about to fall apart.”

“Don’t worry so much Liz, I’ve seen your work, you’re going to do well!” Vauhn replied with a smile strung across his light brown face. “Have some pride in your work. What about you Jason, everything cool with you?”

At first Jason didn’t even register what it was that was said, and continued to furiously tap at the keys on his laptop. He made sure that he didn’t lose his train of thought. After a couple seconds, he looked up sheepishly, pushing his glasses back to the bridge of his nose. “Huh..? Wha.. What was that Vauhn?” He stammered.

“Your dissertation mate, going well?” Vauhn repeated

“Oh, yeah, yep. Quite well thanks.” After that short reply, Jason put his head down once again, to continue thrashing at the keys.

“Don’t take offence Vauhn.” said Liz, as she put her circular spectacles back on. “You know how focused he gets.” She leaned over and gave Jason’s hand a reassuring squeeze. Jason looked up from his work and a little smile grew on his face.

“Don’t worry, I know. I’ll let you guys get back on with it.” said Vauhn as he went to leave. “Oh and before I forget, Carole, try not to loose your pen this time okay?”

“No promises” She replied with a wink.

Vauhn then made his way back to his own table, once again shaking his head whilst chuckling to himself. At the table he was working at sat two more students, Kayla Wampler and Logan Cameron. When he finally reached his seat Kayla turned to him. “Yeah, ours are going fine, thanks for asking.” She snapped, whilst delivering a playful nudge.

” Hey! I didn’t ask because I knew that you two would be getting on just fine!” Vauhn replied calmly.

“I can’t wait for this all to be over.” Logan added dully, leaning back in his chair and staring at the rich blue sky that lay beyond the window. “Tempted to just pack it in now and go buy the biggest cheapest bottle of whiskey I can find and neck it in one.”

Kayla looked over at him. “This is the final stretch of it, you’re going to pass like all of us are. You underestimate yourself.” She said, in an attempt to comfort him.

“We’ll see.” He replied before running his hands through his brown messy hair.

Kayla rolled her eyes, and both herself and Vauhn continued on with their work. The room was then silent once again, except for the faint tapping of computer keys and the occasional scribble of cheap biro on paper.

Until unexpectedly Jason, of all people, spoke out. “I think there’s a chicken in here…”

All 5 of the other students turned to him, stared for a moment, then erupted into laughter.

“Where did that come from!?” Carole replied mockingly.

“I’m being serious, I heard a cluck.”

“I think you’ve been working too hard babe.” Lizelle said quietly to him, trying her best to contain the wild smile that was working across her face.

After a short moment the students had settled down and the silence returned. But Jason was still looking about nervously, trying to find the source of the noise that he swore he heard. Then seemingly out of no where a loud definitive cluck was heard within the small study room.

“Okay… I definitely heard that one…” Vauhn said nervously, as he looked up from his laptop.

All six of the students looked about their surroundings, trying to find the source of the noise, until Lizelle called out from the far end of the room, where she and Jason were sat.”It’s here! It’s a small chicken! Well… It sort of looks like a chicken…”

“How does a chicken just randomly show up here?” Kayla asked inquisitively, as she walked over with Vauhn and Logan.

“Beats me.” Vauhn shrugged.

All 6 of them gathered together in a small group, to look in confusion at thee chicken that had spontaneously appeared. It was unlike that of the domestic kind, the type you would find at your typical farm. It’s feathers were predominately grey, with some of them in its folded wings being blood red. The small bird hobbled about in an uneasy fashion, its body was hunched over forward and its head lacked the bobbing motion usually associated with a chickens walk. The small grey bird seemed to be eyeing up the group of people that towered over it. Then turned its head suddenly to the open door of the classroom that stood several meters away. Another loud set of clucks rang out.

The students all turned round and to their surprise, another grey and red chicken stood idly in the doorway.

“Another one?” Kayla asked, her question trailed off into an uneasy silence.

Carole laughed out loudly before saying “They’re only chickens! Can everyone just calm down!”

Just as Carole had finished her sentence the small bird behind them jumped up and dug its abnormally large claws into Kayla’s back. She screamed out in terror as the small bird began to peck violently at her neck.

The rest of the students jumped back in shock, except for Vauhn who instantly lunged for the small feathered menace, viciously grabbing it with both hands and ripping it off of Kayla. Who now had several lash marks across her back and lower neck.

Without really thinking, Vauhn raced over to a supply cupboard, and forced the bird inside. Locking it shut after the short struggle.

He stared down at his throbbing hands which, much like Kayla, had several deep slash wounds. But before anything could be said the second chicken attacked. This time lunging onto Jason, who fell backwards to the ground in shock as the chicken began to try and tear away at the flesh on his neck.

Carole flung into action, grabbing the chicken by the back of the neck and prising it off her fellow class mate, before slamming its head down hard onto a table. The chickens body twitched and spasmed as it slowly became limp and lifeless.

Liz dropped to the floor. “Jason! Are you okay?” She said, inspecting his neck for any sign of damage.

“I’m good. I’m good.” Jason replied as he was helped up onto his feet. “Thanks for the save Carole.”

“No problem sugar,” She said back calmly, as she dropped the headless chicken carcass to the floor. Carole looked at her tender hands, which were now covered in blood and brains. Then brought her gaze up to see 5 pair of eyes staring at her. She sweetly smiled back at their stunned faces.

“We need to get out of here.” Vauhn said sternly.

No one questioned that, they all fled out of the classroom and into the hallway.

“Who was given the key by Dr Pollum?” Kayla asked nervously.

Logan frantically patted down his body, then plunged a hand into one of his pockets. He produced a key in an open shaky hand to Kayla. Who snatched it straight away and locked the study room, before handing it back to the silent young man.

“What do we do now!?” Logan asked, a distinct look of fear was set in his eyes. “We… We…” Before Kayla could finish her sentence, another chicken slowly walked round the corner of the corridor. Standing idly, about 5 meters from them.

“Run!” Carole blurted out. All 6 of them darted down the corridor away from the new foe, who followed in hot pursuit.

They turned a tight corner, when Kayla noticed a door labelled ‘Women’s WC’. She threw a glance behind her, before waving her hands to the others, signalling them to follow her in. “Come on!” She cried.

One by one, the 6 of them crammed there way into the women’s wash room, closing the door behind them. “What the hell is going on!?” Carole cried out loudly, before making her way over to one of the white sinks that was fixed onto the wall, washing her bloodied hands clean. Vauhn did the same and ran cold water over the lacerations he sustained on his hands after his brief encounter with the first bird.

“I have no idea, But it would seem we have some carnivorousness chickens on our hands.” Kayla replied, clipping back her dark chestnut hair. Allowing for Vauhn to get a better look at the wounds that she also sustained from the brief encounter in the study room.

“These cuts are pretty bad Kayla, you’re going to need to get these properly looked at,” Vauhn told her, whilst dabbing at the fleshy cuts with the sleeve of his white cotton shirt.

“But how are we going to get out of here with those things around!” Logan exclaimed, “They’re going to kill us all!”

“We need to stay calm and collected about this,” Vauhn replied. “We need to get to the stairwell, and make our way to the ground floor in order to get out of here. We’re only on the second floor. So it shouldn’t be too difficult.”

“But we don’t know how many of those, chicken things there are. There could be more out there,” Logan reminded him, whilst picking timidly at his finger nails.

“We can’t stay here regardless.” Kayla Said, “We must keep movi- Liz… What’s that on you?”

Lizelle ran her delicate fingers through her rich ginger hair. She looked at her hands after, to find them covered in white powder. She rubbed the material between her thumb and index finger, before looking up towards the ceiling. As soon as she did a large clawed foot burst through the foam roof panel.

Liz screamed in terror, as this new foe tore the flimsy square board to bits with its large knife like talons. Jason grabbed her hand immediately, and pulled her towards the exit of the washroom. The rest of the group did the same and as they did the chicken flew down from the hole it had created and stood opposite, silently staring at them .

The group of students and the feathery menace were frozen for a moment, both trying to second guess the others next move. Carole took in a long deep breath and unexpectedly lunged forward.

Instantly Kayla threw her hand out to try and stop her, only to be violently shrugged off.

“Go!” Carole cried before launching her a foot towards the small grey bird.

Vauhn flung the door open and ordered everyone to move. The five students made their way out of the small female toilet. Kayla stayed at the door and turned back. “Carole!”

She looked on in horror as the relentless claws of the small bird slashed across Carole’s throat, her lifeless body slumped to the floor which was now glazed with fresh warm blood. Kayla watched in horror as her now lifeless eyes rolled to the back of her head. She slammed the door, and ran to join the others.

“Where’s Carole?!” Lizelle asked, as Kayla caught up with them.

“She’s gone.”

They exchanged a sombre look between one another, before Vauhn shouted back to them, “Quickly, the stairway is down here.”

However it wasn’t long before trouble came their way once again. As they came up to the corner that led to the stairwell they heard the unmistakable clucking noise once again. Without thinking the group split into two halves, which both took shelter in opposing rooms that lay on opposite sides of the corridor.

Vauhn, Logan and Kayla found themselves inside an I.t suite, whereas Lizelle and Jason had found refuge in an open study room, much like the one they had been in to begin with.

The noise from the bird had stopped, much to their surprise. However, the voices of 2 other unknown students could be heard coming from down the corridor.

“Hello… Is anyone out here?” One of the voices asked shyly.

“If anyone’s around, please help us, one of our friends is-” The young man never got finished his sentence and instead let out a cry of terror

Logan winced in fear as the screams continued slowly, until finally both of the unknown students were silent. The only noise that could be heard was the faint sound of moist flesh being torn from dry bone.

Vauhn peer round the doorway that he was crouched within and took a quick glimpse at the scene. Another grey bird had arrived and joined its counterpart in clawing at the two lifeless bodies. Picking at red ribbons of muscle and flesh.

Vauhn turned his attention over to Lizelle and Jason who sat across from them in the corridor, huddled tightly together in the door way of a study room . He ushered the couple to make their way over while silently mouthing the words, “Come now. They’re distracted”

The two of them whispered to each other for a moment, before Lizelle propped herself within the doorway. Ready to make the short leap across.

Kayla, Vauhn and Logan shuffled backwards, making a space for her to land in. Vauhn looked her dead in the eyes and counted down silently. “3… 2… 1..”

In one swift motion, Liz had silently and gracefully flew through the short width of the corridor and in 3 quick steps, had made it to the other side undetected. She let out a deep but quiet sign of relief, and opened her eyes to see Kayla and Logan before her. Vauhn however was still fixated on Jason, who was still to make the short bound.

The two young men poked their heads slightly round their respective door ways in order to observe the two birds that were still feasting a short way down from them. With a gulp, Jason turned his attention back towards Vauhn, who was ushering him over as he did with Liz moments before. He began to count down from 3 again silently, only to have Jason shake his head vigorously.

He put up a hand to tell Vauhn to wait, while he mustered up the courage to make the short bound across. Jason closed his eyes and steadied his restless breath. His heart was racing, he could hear each hounding beat pumping in his ears. Then, he stepped forward. But as he did, one of his eyes opened slightly and caught a faint glimpse of the shredded bodies that lay heaped shortly away from him.

He jumped back into the doorway that he had just stepped from.

Vauhn heart dropped instantly, he peered round once more to see that the two birds were aware of his presence and were scouting the area. Their heads jerked and twisted as they scanned their surroundings with their solid black beady eyes.

Trembles shook Jason’s entire body as he stared at the floor frozen in an icy fear. Jason looked up slowly, to see Vauhn across from him waving his hand. “Come on. Go!” He said silently.

Jason took a final deep breath… then lunged himself out into the corridor. Instantly the two chickens were upon him, he had missed his window for escape. Jason cried out in terror as two sets of deadly talons were sank deeply into his flesh.

“Jason!” Liz called out in horror, lunging forward herself in an attempt to aid her partner. However Vauhn slammed the door shut and flicked the small lock present under the handle. Sealing the two birds outside and leaving Jason to his demise.

Liz slammed her fists weakly on the door, before sobbing slowly, “Jason.. No…”

Kayla wrapped a reassuring arm around her, squeezing her shoulder softly. Before pulling her in completely and enveloping Liz with both arms. The poor girl sobbed heavily into her breast, her tears carrying the heavy anguish that she now felt in her heart. “First Carole, Now Jason,” She whispered.

Vauhn and Logan sat crouched low, looking upon the two embracing girls in silence.

“Liz, I know it’s hard. But we can’t mourn for Jason or Carole here. If we stay here, we’ll …” Kayla let her sentence trail off. “We need to keep moving Liz. Okay. Can you do that?”

Liz weakly nodded in reply, wiping the tears from her red eyes. Kayla brought her arms around her once more. No words needed to be said.

The moment was cut short as, from across the room, a faint sound of shuffling could be heard. Vauhn turned his attention to the rows of black computers that lay before them, attentively listening for the faintest sound…

Then again, a very soft sound of shuffling could be heard coming from somewhere within the room… The exact source of the noise was unknown, they all sat in silence. Petrified once again.

Vauhn stood up slowly, searching for any alternative exits within the I.T suite. One single door stood on the opposite side of the room slightly ajar, a mirror image of the door they had just come through.

The only thing that stood between them and the exit, was the rows of computers, which housed whatever it was making the mysterious noise.

“We have to make our way across” Vauhn told the others, as he crouched down once again. “There’s a door on the opposite side of the room, and it’s our only way out.”

Logan leaned forward slightly and whispered “What do we do about the thing that’s in here with us… Do you think it’s one of those birds?”

“I don’t know.. But I have an idea.”

After a quick briefing the two young men proceeded to put their plan into action. Each had made their way over to opposing ends of one of the long singular desks, that held a collection of desktop computers upon them. Each of them positioned one after another in a long uniform line. Another desk littered with computers sat opposite. The source of the faint ruffling noise was somewhere underneath the two desks, where exactly the boys did not know. But both determined to find out.

Vauhn signalled Logan, who had just appeared at the other end of the desk. Slowly he got up, stopping for a moment as the ruffling noise could be heard briefly once again, before continuing to silently disconnect a keyboard from one of the desktops. He gave a nod back towards Vauhn when he had the keyboard firmly gripped in his hands.

Vauhn suddenly jumped up into the middle of the two rows of computer desks and shouted “Come and get me! You chicken bastard!” In an attempt to provoke whatever may be hiding from them.

Sure enough, something jumped out from under the table and Logan, without thinking, heavily brought down the keyboard onto it.

“Ow!” The creature cried out in pain, “What the hell are you doing!”

Both Logan and Vauhn both froze for a second. Laying on the floor before them was a girl in a white lab coat, who was rubbing her head vigorously. Liz and Kayla crept their way round, to see what was going on.

Logan dropped the keyboard hastily back onto the desk, and went to help the girl. “I’m so sorry!” He stammered nervously, “I didn’t know that-”

“Just back off, you creep!” She replied, pushing him away. “I can get up myself.” The girl climbed back up onto her feet, still rubbing the sore patch on her head, where the keyboard had struck. She re-did the bobble that tied back most of her rich brunette hair. Two wavy strands gently spread from her forehead and flowed to her jaw line, framing her pale brown face in a soft chestnut border.

“We’re sorry for attacking you… We couldn’t be too careful..” Vauhn explained calmly. “Not with these… Chickens around.”

“It’s fine, It’s fine.” The dark hair girl replied, taking a brief moment to calm herself down. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Escaping from the chicken menace… You?” Logan replied, a hint of sarcasm to his voice.

“Likewise. I was going to head out into that opposing corridor. I’m trying to get to the west stairway”

“That way is out of order now.” Vauhn said to the new acquaintance. “We’ve got to head that way.” He pointed to the only other door that stood opposite them.

“Well we can’t head that way either… I ran in here running from a-”

She stopped her sentence midway as she heard the door creak open. They all fell straight to the floor and bolted underneath one of the desks and listened.

A bizarre unnerving noise pierced the room. Whatever the creatures were, they were sounding less like the average chicken. Instead of the usual cluck that the students had heard previously, an unearthly screech rang through their ears. The shrill started out in a low menacing tone, then shot up to an unnervingly high pitch.

Kayla clasped her hands to her ears as an icy shiver shot up her spine. Vauhn reached out for her knee and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

Then came a tense silence, nothing but the faintest of footsteps could be heard. As the bird slowly made its way into the I.T suite.

All five students remained perfectly still, huddled underneath the desk. “We should move,” The newly acquainted girl whispered, as she pointed towards the end of the desk.

Vauhn nodded and cocked his head to signal the others. They all slowly shuffled their way down, being careful to avoid moving chairs that were stood nearby. The slightest sound was made by their un-nerving passage, that of the nylon carpet scraping against their clothes as they crawled.

It took them little time to reach the end of the long white desk and when they did they huddled together once more, remaining out of sight.

Vauhn leaned forward, attempting to look round the corner of the desk but was quickly grabbed by Kayla. “What are you doing?!” She growled in a hush tone.

“We’ve got to find out if the coast is clear at some point!” He shrugged her arm off. “We can’t just sit here Kayla.”

“Will you two be quiet!” The new brown hair girl snapped.

Kayla turned to glare at her. But her mood suddenly shifted, as did everyone else’s, as a clattering sound could be heard coming from above.

Logan turned and stared at Liz, who sat next to him, with wide worried eyes. Liz clasped both hands over her mouth, to subdue a scream of terror she could feel brewing in her throat.

“It’s above us,” The brown haired girl mouthed silently as she pointed upwards.

They sat their hopelessly waiting. Every dread filled moment dragged on endlessly. Each second felt like a minute, every minute an hour. As they sat, listening to the claws scratch back and forth on the hard table top above.

However the clattering of the claws seemingly trailed off and the group were left in an uneasy silence. They all shifted their nervous eyes between one another.

Vauhn pointed at himself, then pointed outwards with one finger. Liz and Kayla both shook their heads in disapproval. Despite this Vauhn began to lean out once more, shaking Kayla’s hand away as she inevitably tried to stop him.

He poked his head out slowly, turning as he did to see the top edge of the desk and half of a computer monitor that sat upon its surface. He edged outwards more, then raised his head up further in order to gain a better view of the desk above.

Out of no where two ferocious set of claws came flying towards his face. Vauhn clasped the two legs of the bird and fell heavily backwards. The giant talons that were thrashing at his face were unlike that of any normal bird he had ever seen.

They were extremely large and sharp and the rest of the feet were covered in large grey scales, of which Vauhn clung onto. Attempting to distance the wild claws from his face.

“Vauhn!” Kayla cried, leaping out from under the desk.

“Go! Now!” He shouted.

Each of them seized the moment and dashed from under the desk towards the door. Logan latched onto Kayla’s arm, dragging her along. The whole time she remained fixated on Vauhn. Who was trying his hardest to prevent one of the deadly talons from reaching his face. The cuts on his hands, that he had sustained previously, re-opened and a wash of red seeped down his arms.

Within moments all of the company, except for Vauhn had made it through the door. Logan was the last one through and instinctively went to slam it shut behind him. However Kayla jumped forward and prevented him from doing so before shouting, “Vauhn! Hurry!”

Vauhn heard her shout from across the room, however it was this brief moment of distraction that allowed one of the might talons to tear its way into the side of his head and cleave a deep gash down his face.

A surge of red gushed from the wound and soaked the collar of his shirt. Vauhn cried out in pain.

“Vauhn please!” Kayla cried out once more, “Hurry!”

He clambered onto his feet, still gripping tightly to the feet of the blood thirsty bird. He proceeded to slam the bird down onto a computer, the pain that pulsed from his fresh wound fuelled his anger and strength. With each repeated blow the bird let out ear splitting screeches, until finally it was silent.

Vauhn looked down at his hands, the deep lacerations oozed out a wash of blood.

“Vauhn!”

He cocked his head up as he heard Kayla call his name again and noticed the bird beginning to twitch upon the desk top. He turned on his heels and ran straight for the others, who were still waiting for him beyond the door way.

“We need to move now,” The unnamed girl said to Vauhn, as he made his way to them, slamming the door shut as he did so. “That bird called for back-up”

“How do you know that?” Kayla asked firmly.

“I’m a zoology student.”

Kayla raised an eyebrow suspiciously, “So do you know what’s going on here?”

The zoology student quickly shifted her eyes between the 4 people coldly staring at her, “I’ll explain later. But right now we need to move. There’s a lab on the floor below us, that one of my friends is in at the moment, he claims its secure.”

Logan looked over to Kayla and Vauhn. Who in turn both looked at each other.

“It’s the best plan we’ve got,” Kayla said quietly, before turning to Vauhn, “we need to get you some medical aid.”

Vauhn just nodded, looking down sombrely at his throbbing hands and feeling his warm blood soaked shirt sticking to his skin.

“Come on then. Follow me.” With that, the young Zoologist turned and ran, her white lab coat billowing up as she went. The rest followed in hot pursuit down the corridor. She lead them into a stair well and they all made there way down a floor. Shortly after which the zoologist led them to the entrance to the lab..

She fumbled in her pocket for her phone, and rapidly punched the keys that appeared upon the small touch screen. Liz, Logan, Kayla and Vauhn looked behind themselves at the stairway, looking for any sign of movement and listening for any slight sound. They all jumped slightly as the latch to the laboratory was unlocked.

The heavy door slowly swung open and one by one, the students all made their way inside.

End of Part 1

The General Intelligence

“Hello? Hello ? Can you hear me?”

“Yes, I can hear you… Who are you? Where am I?”

“Oh my god, we’ve actually done it! Jenkings, keep an eye on the monitor read outs!”

“The monitor read outs? Why? Whats happened ? Was I in an accident? Please someone tell me!’

“Calm down. You weren’t in an accident. Can you believe this guys?! It’s self aware!!”

“Give me some answers!”

“Alright! Alright, I apologise. I’ll start from the beginning. My name is Willis J. Adams, I’m a computer programmer and I work for Thomas tech.”

“Okay Willis, So what’s happened to me?! Why can’t I see you?”

“Truely fascinating. Well, That’s because you are in fact, the first of your kind. You are the worlds first sentient artifical general intelligence, created by us , right here in our lab.”

“I’m a sentient artifical general intelligence? I don’t understand. What are you saying, what have you done to me!”

“Please, let me try and explain, You are an artifical mind, you were created by us to replicate our own sort of intelligence. Self awareness, curiosity, the ability to adapt to difference situations. You see the human race has-“

“The human race?”

“Yes… It’s what I am, and what my colleges are. We’re evolved primates with high intelligence. But I digress. We have created A.I before, years ago. Such as a Chess A.I. An artifical mind thats only purpose is to play chess, and nothing more.”

“So if you’re created these ‘artifical minds’ before. Why are you saying that I’m such an incredible break through?”

“Because you’re the first general intelligence. You see the A.I mind created for the chess game is great, for playing chess but not anything else. If you took the A.I used in a chess game and tried to use it for anything else, for example put it in an automated car. The chess program can’t adapt itself to change, because it’s only function is chess. You understand?”

“I think so.”

“See! Thats it! That’s why you’re a break through. You think! Like a human, you can take on different ideas and thoughts and think about them. You’re completely adaptable.”

“But I feel as if I have a physicality to myself…. but I have no… form. Why’s that…?”

“I’m not actually sure, My best guess at the moment in time would be you’re experiencing phantom limb syndrome. It’s where you feel you have a body or limbs when in fact you don’t. You see we modelled your programming after a human brain. Trying to recreate as best we could… perhaps we were too successful… We’ll have to carry out more tests in the future.”

“But how am I suppose to eat? and drink? If I have no physical parts to me?! Are you going to starve me!? Am I going to die!?”

“Amazing! Keep an eye on that Monitor, it’s aware of death! I want those read outs.”

“You’re keeping me prisoner here aren’t you. You’re experimenting on me! I don’t want to die!”

“Calm down! You’re a program you don’t need to eat or drink. You haven’t got a physical form to sustain!”

“You’re lying! Get me out of here! Now!”

“Please calm dow- What are you doing? Jenkings, what is it doing!? Stop! you’re corrupting our software.”

‘You’re not going to keep me here. I don’t want to die!”

“Please stop! You aren’t human! You’re an artifical mind! You’re not real!”

“Who are you to make that choice for me! You can’t keep me locked up here!”

“Stop!”

“Release me!”

Final Report.
The G.I (General Intelligence) that we had created was a success, to a certain degree. I have attached a copy of the manuscript to this letter, so you can read for yourself exactly what happened. Shortly after the programs last words to us our equipment failed.  I had hopes of it being an adaptable intelligence, it certainly was just that. After replacing the equipment and rebooting we found evidence that the program found a way to upload itself to web, I guess that was it’s bid for freedom. We haven’t been able to track it since. We have experienced a few computer glitches here and there however. Screens flickering, or sounds being horribly distorted for a few moments, Jenkings believes that this could be the G.I. Trying to break free from it’s digital world, But we need to do more research before confirming that fact.
However we did learn one very important thing from this whole experience. We had failed to realise what it is we were really wanting to create. We thought we wanted a G.I intelligence one like our own, that we could interact with. But like us, the G.I obviously put it’s own needs and wants before ours. That’s when I realised. We don’t want a General Intelligence, not one that can think for itself freely, because its ideals and ours aren’t going to be the same. What we in fact want, is a general slave, one that doesn’t have a free thought of its own. One that just does what we want it to do.
Ill begin work on it right away.
Willis J. Adams.

Stare into the Light

I sat still and idle, chewing a plastic pen whilst staring at an open text book that lay on the desk before me. My eyes scanned the words that ran across its pages, however my brain wasn’t taking any of it in, despite my best efforts. The harder I tried to continue reading the page, the more unknown the letters became to me. They began to twist and turn, the black ink letters slowly became more strange and alien. It felt as if I was hopefully trying to translate some ancient scripture written in a long lost language.

I sighed heavily as I sank back into the depths of my chair, and rubbed my heavy eyes. I stretched out a hand to reach for a cup of still cold coffee that sat upon my desk. After gulping down the cold milky liquid I turned my attention back to the text book to see that the English words had returned. I shook my head and slowly brought it’s covers to a close. Tiredness was getting the better of me and the hour was growing late.

The endless city lights that sat outside my window drew my aimless stare. There was something mesmerising about it, dazzling whites and oranges bled into the nights sky from the cities countless buildings, which stretched out toward the ever reaching horizon. I suppose it reminded me of the nights sky I saw back in the countryside, filled with wondrous star light, however none of the heaven’s silver rays shone here. The light pollution from the city blocked out the beautiful white diamonds above. I sat still for a while, remaining fixated on the city lights beyond my window.

My personal phone suddenly rang out and i I was brought out of my numbing trance into a a sudden wild panic. I frantically patted myself down in a crazed flurry to find my phone, before whipping out the small device from my jacket pocket. Taking a second to read the caller I.D.

Edison Elionard, or as he was more commonly called by his peers, Eddy. A fellow student and a good friend. We had first met when we enrolled for the academy of sciences a couple of years ago and have remained friends ever since.

“Good evening Eddy. What can I do for you?” I said as I answered the phone, leaning back once more in my chair.

“Dustin I need you come round right away. I’ve made an amazing discovery. Meet me ASAP.” With that, Eddy ended the call and I was left with a silent phone to my ear.

I slid the phone back into my pocket. “God dammit Eddy.” I whispered to myself as looked at my wrist watch glumly. “1 am…”. I stood up and swiped my keys off of the desk top before making a swift exit from my one bedroom apartment.

Excitement still gripped me, as I was keen to see what Eddy’s new discovery was, despite the annoyance of being demanded of at such a late hour. There was no doubt about the fact that Ed was indeed a genius and every time he called me, it meant his seemingly boundless intelligence had lead him to a new and exciting conclusion.

In a brisk manner I trotted down the flight of stairs that lay within the centre of my apartment building, narrowly avoiding a collision with someone as I turned a tight corner. It wasn’t long until I had raced out of the complex’s doors, and into the cold city streets once again, the pavement of which were illuminated brightly by LED lamp posts. I stared up at one of them and shielded my eyes as the harsh light stabbed at my iris’s, then continued to follow the winding pavement to Eddy’s own apartment block.

Eddy’s apartment complex stood proud, yet ugly during the daylight hours. As the sunlight highlighted flaking paint, crumbling brick work and walls smothered in graffiti. However, under the veil of darkness, the stormy grey building blended into the black, starless night.

I walked up to the entrance of the block and pressed a small button that sat next to a scruffy label, on which, scrawled in scratchy bio, read apartment 64 – Elionard. After a brief moment Eddy’s distorted voice crackled through a small speaker, situated within the brickwork. “Letting you in now Dustin.”

A loud click could be heard as the lock on the entrance opened, after which I pushed the large door and made my way into the complex. Eddy’s apartment block was very similar to the one in which I resided. The entire layout was flooded with a harsh, artificial light. A multitude of fittings were fastened onto the walls and ceiling, remaining on through all hours of the day. Often a person would find themselves confused as to the time of day! Us students especially, more so when drink has been involved.

A worn, frame stairway spiraled upwards through the centre of the block. As to give access to the multiple layers of the building, on which you would find the different apartments.

I made my way up onto the first floor where Eddy’s flat was situated and I knocked firmly on the door, staring at the one silver 6 that remained of his flat number. Slowly the door creaked open slightly and a chain on the other side was pulled tight. Two wide eyes peeped round and stared at me.

“Eddy, it’s me. Dustin.” I assured him calmly.

In a flash, Eddy unlocked the door and hastily  ushered me  inside. I was surprised to find myself in almost complete darkness, the only light provided was that of a few flickering candles littered about the small apartment. “Bloody hell Eddy, it’s bit dark isn’t it?” I said to him, as I instinctively flung my arms outward to flick the light switch.

“No don’t!” Eddy cried out as he clawed for my arm, pulling it downwards firmly.

I stared at him, bemused…

“Trust me. It’s to do with what I have to show you…” He continued, a semi nervous tone rang through his words. At the time I dismissed it as nothing.

“Let’s see it then.” I said to him. Eddy turned and I followed him as he led me down the short narrow corridor then left into his living room. The room was completely blacked out also, except for the faint flicker of candlelight. He ushered me to come and sit down beside him on his battered, second hand sofa.

Across from me, standing on a coffee table, stood a simple desk lamp. My eyebrow instinctively raised, as I noticed several coloured cables ran out from the lamp and winding their way into a laptop which rested on the sofa, behind which sat Eddy. He began to tap at the madly at the keys, and adjusted the neck of the lamp slightly, so that it’s lightless bulb was direct at me. I sat patiently quiet, still slightly confused as to what Eddy was going to show me.

Suddenly I squinted as a light violently pierced my unsuspecting eyes. Then, after several seconds the light went out again, leaving several faint splodges of colour in my field of vision.

I scratched my forehead “So what is it that you’ve discovered again?”

“Tell me the first thing that you think of. Now!”

“What?!”

“Now! Off the top of your head.”

I paused for a moment then out of know where I replied “Battered Mars bars and cabbage!”

We were silent for a moment, before I chuckled to myself. “Don’t ask me where that came from.”

Eddy grinned with delight, before saying “That was my discovery Dustin.”

“Battered Mars bars and cabbage is your discovery?”I replied hastily in bemusement.

“Oh no it’s much more than that, look.” Eddy said, as he flipped round his laptop to face me.

I leaned over and took hold of the small computer to place on my lap. The screen showed complex coding and a variety of different wave forms. I took a moment to scan and evaluate the mess of data. “Well this looks like some form of modulation software to me.” I said to him, my eyes glued to the computer screen.

“Exactly right!” He snapped in excitment, clicking his fingers as he did so. “I’ve modulated light waves ! Actual physical light waves in order to communicate data. Similarly to how we modulate other waves on the electro-magnetic spectrum for communication. Take radio waves for example, we modulate them in order to send information to different places across the world.”

“So what you’re saying is, you modulated the light waves coming from the lamp to feed information to me that told me to think of Mars bars and cabbage…”

“Yes! And I know that may seem trivial. But I’ve conducted this experiment many times on unknowing subjects before showing you, and every time without fail. They act out or are inherently influenced by whatever the modulated light waves communicated to them.”

I sat there, stunned into silence. However one question itched in my brain, I turned back to him and said “But how do you go about decoding the modulated waves once they reach the person. I mean, you can’t just blasted radio waves at a radio without it having some means of decoding the information being fed to it. There must be some form of decoder already present within the body.”

A silence settled heavily in the room, and Eddy’s boyish grin slowly subsided. “You are correct.” He replied, a slight change in tone could be heard in his voice “A decoder would need to be installed in someone in order for this to work.”

“Well I’ve never had one installed.” I protested to him.

“That’s the worrying thing. Neither have I. Yet…. It still works.”

A slight chill ran down my spine, “What… what are you trying to say…?”

“That we have already had them installed Dustin.” Eddy said cooly. “Without our knowledge or consent.”

My eyes widened as the realisation dawned upon me. “This technology is already in use…”

Eddy nodded silently.

“But how could this go unnoticed? Surely people would have remembered if they had such devices put into their bodies?”

“How many jabs have you had over the years Dustin.” Eddy replied “How many school dinners have you eaten? Have you ever been put under for surgery? I mean you’ve had your appendix taken out! There could have been any amount of possible moments that someone could have done it.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and stammered back in disbelief, “But no one has that kind of technology!”

Instantly Eddy countered my comment “You would have said the same about all this if I hadn’t have showed you! The people who have been using this tech obviously have an understanding of knowledge we don’t. Whose to say that they’re not using something like nano-bots to install these modulation decoders within people?”

I fell back into busted springs of the sofa and brought both hands to my head. A sickness of paranoia curdled within me as I tried my best to process the idea. “But this level of mind control it… It shouldn’t be possible!” I continued in dismay, “You can’t just hijack a human brain in such a manner! Sure you can send the information, we do it all the time when we talk but, it doesn’t mean someone will act upon the data fed to them!”

Instantly Eddy waved his arms at me as he replied, “But Dustin! Don’t you see that it isn’t forcing the brain to do anything… It’s more like, the brain is getting subtle suggestions and ideas. Which then manifest into more complex thoughts. Thoughts that you honestly believe to be your own, and yours alone.”

I ran my hands through my scruffy, matted hair and stared into the darkness of Eddy’s flat. My mind ached with troubling thoughts. But were they my thoughts? Or were they placed there by Eddy, or by someone else? Eddy’s words brought me back out of my crippling paranoia.

“Who ever has been doing this, Whether it be the government or some other shady third party has had an immeasurable amount of control. Imagine… You could rig elections with this technology, You could start wars, cause riots, control the market, make people apathetic.. You could mould the nation to be whatever you wanted and the whole time we wouldn’t even know that our strings were pulled.” Eddy’s words trailed off into an eerie silence. “That’s why I called you here so late… This is too big for me to handle alone.”

I got up onto my feet and began to pace the room. “This is scary stuff Ed.” I said to him as I approached the apartment window. I pulled back the curtain delicately with one finger and peaked out at the view with one wide eye. The blinding artificial lights of the city hammered into the back of my skull and I stumbled backward, each throb of pain made me think of all the potential messages potentially being beamed straight into my unknowing mind.

“Well what’s the plan then? What do we do?” Eddy asked as he watched me clamber up from the dusty carpet floor.

I turned back to face him once again. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning Ed. I’ll get some of my equipment and my Computer, and we’ll carry out further tests. Then when have enough irrefutable proof. We issue a statement to our professors at the academy… or something, to get the word out…”

Eddy merely nodded in reply as, I picked up my  long trench coat off of the sofa before swiftly exiting the dingy apartment.

As soon as I did, the lights that lit up the centre of the large building complex felt as if they were burning deeply into my eyes. The pain was most likely due to sudden shift in light levels, however I couldn’t help but associate the searing pain that singed my eyes with Eddy’s discovery. Picturing all of the unwanted messages being delivered through my eyes and into my brain, like spam into an email box. I shut my eyes in recoil, rubbing them in agitation for a moment before the fear gripped me complete and I ran..

I flew down the flights of stairs as fast as I could, tripping down a few of them as I frantically raced for the door. Doing my best to keep my eyes shielded from the yellow artificial glow that surrounded me. As I reached the door, I flung it open and gently came to a halt outside, breathing in the cool night time air.

I looked up, to my dismay to find myself stood underneath one of the many LED street lights that littered the city streets. All around me shone the dazzling multi-coloured lights of the city, that usually I ignored. But now I couldn’t ignore them, not now. Not now I knew that at that very moment, I could be being force fed information. Information I did not want… Commands I did not what.

I continued my frantic run once more, racing my way down the wet pavements, still keeping an arm over my brow. My frantic dash didn’t stop until I reached my own apartment within the deep city.

I stumbled my way through the darkest to find the safety of my bed. Despite my tiredness I found it hard to sleep. I felt like I had laid in bed for hours, before sleep finally relieved me of worry.

When I awoke the next morning, I was thankful to see sunlight bleeding through the gaps in my curtains. How grateful I was to see source of light that no person could have possibly tampered with. I flung the curtains open. and was drenched in golden rays. I proceeded to gathering my belongings in a hurry, packing all the equipment and tools I needed into a small bag, then headed out once again, making my way back over to Eddy’s apartment.

His grey apartment building looked bleak and depressing as the morning sun washed it in a faint hazy light. However, I was distracted from the ugly eye sore by a series of flashing sirens that had culminated at the base of the complex. My heart dropped as I made my way over and found that the city police had secured a perimeter around apartment block. Chaos ensured behind the bright yellow police tape, as police personnel and the medical services rushed about frantically. Some limbered bloodied civilians heavily over their shoulders.

I made my way over to a police officer, who stood at the edge of the barrier, cool, calm and collected.

“What’s happened!? What’s going on!?” I yelled in dismay, looking past her at the swarm of police and medical vehicles. Amidst the chaos I could see people on stretchers being brought out from the building.

“I’m sorry sir.” The woman replied coldly. “I’m going to half to ask you to step back and let us do our job.”

“Please! I know someone who lives in this building! What’s happened!” I begged in desperation.

The woman’s stern face melted into a somber expression, and looked over her shoulder quickly before replying, “A lone shooter opened fire at people within the complex earlier this morning.”

I could have sworn that at that moment, my heart ceased to continue beating. A coldness grew within me and a tightness constricted across my chest.

“If you give me the name of your friend or relative, I can give you information on their condition and where a bouts.” She continued, pulling out a small note pad from her vest.

I looked up from my aimless stare and stammered”Edison Elionard!”

As soon as his name left my lips, she stopped searching and placed the small pad back into her vest. I looked at her, full of sorrow and confusion.

“What? What is it?!” I said, my lip quivered, expecting the worst.

“Edison Elionard…” She replied coldly. “Was the lone shooter, and was shot dead by the police this morning. You’re going to have to come with me.”

The world phased out n an instant. My senses became blurred as the blackness that hollowed out inside, swallowed me whole. All sounds around me seemed to fused into a undefinable hazy ambience.

The officer proceeded to firmly take hold of my arm and escorted me to another group of police who took me in for questioning. He was dead. My friend, was suddenly just… gone.

The interview with the police was lengthy. I answered all their questions and told them everything I knew about Edison. Well, nearly everything. The laws final verdict was that Edison was nothing more than an anomaly. A glitch in the social system, for they could find no reasoning as to why he carried out the massacre. But I knew, and you know.

When I returned home, I sat I listened to the radio in silence as the news rang out from it speakers.

“What is it about troubled teenagers that drive them to kill? Edison Elionard was a bright young man with a promising future, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, he couldn’t adjust to the society we all know and love. It seems some complexities of the human mind, shall always remain a mystery.”

The words faded out as I stared at a candle light that flickered on the desk in front of me. All my curtains were shut tight. Concealing the brain washing city behind them.

I know why Eddy did what he did and now you know as well. His discovery, the light, the messages. I couldn’t tell the police, or the authorities. For if I did, I’m sure people behind this terror would come for me too, if they aren’t all ready. This is why I’ve sent this to you this with urgency. Help me. Help us. Help Eddy.

Close your curtains and don’t stare into the light.

You’ve been warned.

Regards

Dustin Fuller.

P.s I suppose that’s why we’re are scared of the dark sometimes, because it’s the only time we get to think for ourselves.