Nothing was meant by it, they said. How could we have known you were in the helicopter, they said. I sighed as I shuffled through the papers on my basement desk, scanning over the black and white faces of the town’s residents. I was in the process of sorting the normal people and those who had developed a mutation into two separate piles. Once I had completed the mundane task I took hold of the normal residents’ pile and slid it into a folder. My attention easily shifted over to the pages of mutants as I began to look through those more carefully.
I frowned a little as I noticed that the majority of those who had gained an ability were female. I myself was a fan of a more patriarchal society, as was Dr. --------. If only I had become non-human, had gone through some ordeal that made me something more than what I was today. The mutants were the ones with the real power- it didn’t matter how many rules the Council enforced (although there really weren’t many, something would have to be done about that) or how much the food was limited, in the end the mutants could destroy us all. But it didn’t look like they would. Not unless they had someone controlling them.
Dropping the papers on the desk, I was suddenly overcome with a sense of hopelessness. No one knew of the army below the earth. No one knew of the attackers in the sky. Except for Justice. I needed to start using these armies, before Dr. -------- came over here himself and started to stir up unnecessary trouble. But like the mutants, these powerful bands of people would need to be led by someone with even more power. I pushed back the chair I’d been sitting in and made my way over to the back of the room. Opening the back door, I cautiously looked inside, trying to strain my eyes against the dark. After hearing nothing I felt around the wall until I came across a light switch and flipped it on. The light revealed four men- all of different ethnicities. Two were playing cards, one was throwing darts, and the fourth was just lying in his bed, staring up at the ceiling. “Arrats! Fermintxo!
The two men playing cards looked up as I called their names. “Come with me,” I motioned for them to follow me out the door and they obeyed, leaving the other two back in the dark. I led them over to a computer in the next room over. The two of them stood over me while I sat down and printed something out. Once the page filed out of the printer I handed it to them. “Get this for me,” I commanded.
The two men looked at the picture, then looked back at me, “What is it?” Arrats asked in a low voice.
I took the page back and looked at the picture that was printed on it. The picture was all black except for the substance in the middle. It seemed to be a glowing purple stone, all jagged. If you looked closely you could almost see a face in the center, although the face wasn’t exactly human and lacked expression. “You mean you don’t recognize this?” I asked them. The members of Pozik Sukaldea Poltsak thought for a second and shook their heads. “This was one of the key elements used in the bombs Dr. -------- designed and set up around this country- it’s some synthesized version of radon, if I remember correctly,” the two men continued to stare at me blankly. I sighed and tried to explain more, “There were three key elements in those bombs,” I held up three of my fingers, “Three elements that were sure to destroy this country! Radon, francium, and astatine. If my research was correct, radon was the element that was most likely to cause mutations,”
“So what do you want us to about it?” Fermintxo asked, narrowing his eyes. Although Dr. -------- had strictly ordered half of PSP to come to America and treat me as if I was the doctor himself, most of the men lacked respect for me. Of course, it didn’t help that they generally didn’t like me either, but I was only asking for their service, not their friendship.
“Go and get it.” I answered in a voice barely above a whisper as I shoved the paper back at them.
“Where are we going to find this?” Fermintxo folded his arms and looked at me challengingly.
“I don’t know!” I replied after a few seconds of stuttering, “Try Roseston Park, or something. That’s where the Illusion ends for this town.” The two men left but not before Fermintxo gave me a look of disdain. I sighed and flopped back down in my chair again, scattering the pictures of the mutants.
Looking over to my left, I could faintly see the outline of the door that led to the “Undead Holding Cell”. Earlier, I had considered splitting up Aitor and Luken from what was referred to as the “Live Holding Cell”, but it didn’t take long for us to come to the conclusion that no one would last even five seconds in a room full of zombies.
I had the urge to cut off more limbs from the walking corpses, but by now I had cut through three bodies and hadn’t bothered to attach those limbs to anyone alive. The post-it note I had scribbled on earlier was still attached to the back of the computer’s monitor. I pulled it off and read over what I had written:
-Security in the sky
My plans for resuming the full destruction of the United States stared back up at me mockingly. I had only written them down yesterday, but already it seemed as if none of them could work. What was I doing? In a matter of minutes this whole operation could be shut down. I was doing all of this directly below City Hall. I had already shown some of the Council members parts of the basement. What if one of them reported this to Justice? My thought process was interrupted by the sound of Arrats and Fermintxo barging in. I looked up when Fermintxo dropped a metal box on the desk in front of me.
I glanced over at it, then back at the two men, “Is it in there?” I asked. Arrats raised his eyebrows and turned away, heading for his room.
“What do you think?” Fermintxo asked rhetorically before following his partner.
“Eh eh eh!” I called out, stopping them in their tracks. Once they were facing me, I asked, “Are you sure it’s safe to touch the box?”
“It’s not, actually,” Arrats replied.
“You were just touching it, though.” I said without a hint of a question.
“Ultra-thin protection,” Arrats held up his hands, but I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, “Dr. -------- dipped all of our hands in some sort of silver liquid before he sent us over here. Let’s us touch radioactive material.”
“Wait, wait!” Arrats had almost reached the door but stopped again at the sound of my voice, “I need your help.” I said, some energy starting to return to my body.
“Running more errands?” Fermintxo asked bitterly.
“No, no,” I said, waving my hands dismissively. “You see that closet over there?” I asked, pointing to a narrow door a few feet away from their room.
“That’s a closet?” Arrats asked in slight disbelief, “You told us the door was painted on.”
“Well, it’s not really a closet either,” I replied, dodging his accusation. “It’s really just a small, dark room. I mean, it’s not that small…” I trailed off, a small smile forming across my lips. The two other men just looked at me in confusion. “Can one of you bring me that box over there?” I asked, pointing at the metal box they had brought in. Arrats ran over and grabbed it, but Fermintxo stayed in his place, trying to stare me down to no avail. Once Arrats came back with the box, I motioned for the two men to follow me to the door. “What I need you to do,” I explained, “Is lock me in there with the radon. For an hour.”
“An hour?” Arrats asked incredulously.
I nodded, “Yes,” I replied. “Let me out in an hour.”
“How big is this room?” Arrats asked, showing slight concern to my surprise.
“Just lock me in!” I commanded. I opened the door and went inside, looking up and down the walls, but not finding what I was looking for due to the darkness. Once I was pressed up against the back wall, I looked down at the metal box, “Drop it in here,” I commanded. Hesitantly, Arrats opened the box to reveal a small, purple stone. Fermintxo took it out and dropped it on the floor in front of me. Before I had time to think this through, he shut the door.
I was left in total darkness. My legs had just begun to get tired from standing still so much when I finally felt it; Zap. That tiny shock of electricity, barely enough to be felt. A minute or two later, Zap, another one- stronger this time. The stronger they got, the faster they came. I could feel my heart stopping for a second, then stopping for longer. As time went by I started to sweat, started to panic. I whimpered at the next shock and jumped slightly. The next few shocks made me scream in pain and I could feel a tear well up in my eye. The next shock numbed my entire body while simultaneously burning it to a crisp. The next one shook me so violently I stumbled back into the wall. I screamed again and pounded on the door, calling for them to let me out. No one answered. The shocks were entering through different parts on my body now; they had started at my feet and were slowly making their way up to my chest. They were on my abdomen now, only an inch or two away from my heart. This had never been tested before.
The moment of truth came- 450 volts to the chest. In that split second I saw the flash of lightening come out from the wall, aimed directly at my chest. In the same second the once dormant radon sprung to life. The electricity hit me directly in the heart and I screamed, feeling my heart stop and my body vibrate. The shock was only supposed to last a second, but it kept going. Had someone switched the shock generator from automatic to manual? Soon my mouth was frozen open and I couldn’t scream any more, my eyes were nearly popping out of my head. The hour was up. The door opened. My body fell out, crushing the radon when I collided with the floor.
My body spazzed a few times and then just twitched every few seconds. A little blood was trickling out of my mouth and my eyes were glazed over. I couldn’t move. I had just electrocuted myself and I hadn’t lived through it. A wave of energy suddenly waved through me, lifting me up and throwing me down at the same time. All of a sudden I was able to move again. I got up, blinking, shaking my head, trying to get the feeling of being shot in the heart with 450 volts of energy out of memory.
I got up and looked around calmly. Turning around, I saw not only the room I had just come from but also the crushed radon. It glowed a bright purple that seemed to be gravitating toward me. If I had lived, I must be dead. But I was still walking around. Which meant that I had mutated. But what had I mutated into? I looked down at my hands, expecting fire to come out of them. I looked up at the sound of Fermintxo entering the room. “How’d you get out?” he asked. “And what happened to the radon?” he quickly walked over to the broken stone and tried to scoop up the remains. As he brushed past me I felt something dark well up in my chest. As he turned around and started walking back toward the door I ran up behind him and grabbed his throat. Black wisps seemed to come out of my hands and start to spread up to his face.
Soon, Fermintxo’s face was completely covered a sluggish black mist. He was choking and I couldn’t tell if it was from the black or from my hands. I let go of his neck, but kept my fingertips out stretched. Seeing as the darkness formed a thin wire between my hands and his neck and face, I tried something new. Without warning, I clenched my fists and pulled them back as hard as I could. Fermintxo’s head was yanked back with the black cords and I heard a satisfying snapping sound. The choking man’s coughing stopped and he fell to the ground. Like a tape measurer, the black wisps quickly retracted back into my palms as soon as the man was dead. I smiled threw one of my hands into the air. A dark blob marred the air around me and quickly looked around for another victim, as if it had a mind of its own. I felt like laughing out loud as I watched the black wisps disappear under the door crack of the “Living Holding Cell” and soon heard a blood curdling scream emit from the walls.