Case 01: "Case of the Bone Freak"
Manifestations 2072, “Case Collections” by Timidon Nodimit
Case 01, “Case of the Bone Freak”
Copyright: All Rights Reserved (C)
Previously published as Manifestations 2072, Case Collections. : Case 01, “Case of the Bone Freak” Episode 1 - 8 on Kindle Vella, Case 02, “Case of the Crazy Karen”, Episodes 1-10 on Kindle Vella.
Coverart: Timidon Nodimit
"When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword.” - Revelations
Sean’s one good eye opened, the smell of rotting flesh filled the bottom of the pit. He let out a breath of air. A heavyweight was on top of his back, reaching around with his unbroken arm. He felt the cold flesh of another body. Grunting, he rolled to one side. The broken body slid to the fungus-covered floor. Then, untangling a mangled leg from another body from his broken arm, he slid down off the pile himself.
He was wiping his parched mouth, looking up at the shaft’s entrance over a hundred feet up. An access tunnel led further down into darkness. “How the hell did I survive that fall?”
Straining to stand up, Sean’s left knee buckled, sending him back to the floor. “I’m going to live. I’m not going to die here.”
Damn, they took my clothes. How did they intend to dispose of all these bodies?
Balling his fist and shaking it skyward, “Damn you, I did what you wanted! You lied to me!”
He spun around, looking for the female voice. “Who’s there?”
"No one, but there are a few creatures down the tunnel. I believe they are flesh-eaters of some sort. Get closer and I can analyze them."
Sean scanned his surrounding area for something to use as a weapon while he searched for the mysterious lady speaking.
“Looking for something to defend yourself with? I have located an unlit electric torch in a wall sconce to your left.”
Sean spotted the unlit flashlight the voice called the electric torch in a holder on the nearby wall. “Hiding won’t do you much good.”
“Why do you think I am hiding? Just because you don’t see me, it does not mean that I am not here with you.”
Grunting again, he pushed himself up off the floor. Sean hobbled to the wall and pulled the flashlight out of the holder. Quickly pressing the power switch, no response. Damn, The batteries are dead.
Sean stared down the pits hall. “I must have a concussion from the fall. I am hearing voices in my head. The only thing that has gone in my favor today is that I am a free man.”
“Oh? And why is that?”
Hating each step forward, Sean hobbled to the nearest moist moldy wall. “I signed the documents and the waiver. The Judge posted the update. In exchange for an attempted Binding. I become a free man. The Binding failed, as the last thing I remember was strapped to that damn examination chair. The equipment being switched on and passing out, my body on fire.” He staggered as pain shot up from his knee, racing around to his lower back.
“You should wait about a half-hour before moving any further. Give your body time to heal.”
Sean chuckled, “Listen, lady. Gods, I am talking to myself. I need to keep moving, find a way out. Before my injuries bleed me out.”
“The internal wounds have already healed. The more complex healing will take a bit longer.”
Sean paused, “What?”
“You caught my attention, you sacrificed yourself for your family, and you are physically compatible with me. The Binding as you call it was successful.”
Sean’s breath labored with the pain, he gritted his teeth and conversed with the spirit. “I was tested when I was a child for bonding capability, I am a red case. No potential whatsoever. I knew the attempt could be fatal or leave me as a vegetable for the rest of my life.”
“Yes, and you went through with the attempt anyway. Desperation and Sacrifice are two qualities I can identify with.”
A smile formed Sean’s on bruised lips, “I thought they were crazy. I just had one choice to protect my wife and kids. So with my pardon, my estate assets are unfrozen. So what am I to you then?”
“You are my champion in this world.”
Sean steadied himself, Shifting more weight on his right foot. “The binding was for a spirit, Vladimir told me they wanted to make a weapon, and they were trying different methods and rituals out.”
Feeling pressure in his arm, his broken limb mended back together. “So am I Bonded to an evil spirit or a good spirit?”
“That is up to you. I am allowing you to use my powers for your personal use. I may chime in from time to time with some advice or a specific mission .”
He went quiet momentarily, “What’s in this for you?”
“You, I get to live again through you what you experience, your wants, desires, and love. Are you a brutal man? Do you enjoy causing suffering? Or are you a righteous compassionate man?”
Sean moved his legs. The pain had gone. “Do you care?”
Balling his hand into a fist, ”Good, because I don’t care much being left for dead. Some payback is in order.”
“So you are a wrathful man.”
Sean readied himself to go down the dark tunnel. “No, but the people I dealt with are often untouchable by the law and force others to their will. They take the desperate, make promises, and then discard them when it’s convenient.”
“So vengeance this time? I can do that. The two biomechanical creatures are just outside your viewing range, behind the corner. Currently feasting on the remains of one of the prisoners.”
Sean thought, I wish I could see in the dark. He felt a build-up of pressure in his eye. He put his dirty hand up to his eye and gave a quick rub with his fingers. When the pressure stopped, he reopened his eyelids. The tunnel before him illuminated various shades of gray.
“A quick change, your eye now emits infrared light, I have changed your body to allow you to see in the dark. This effect is only temporary.”
Sean grinned, “That is convenient.”
Sean staggered slowly down the darkened tunnel, “So, spirit, What do I call you? Do you got a name?”
“You can call me ‘K’”
Sean continued down the hall, “No full name? Hiding something?”
“Everyone has secrets the less one knows about us, the better. I won’t lie to you, but I may not tell you everything. Some information is on a need-to-know basis.”
Sean slid slowly against the wall, he quietly approached the corner of the tunnel. “Keeping secrets, just like a woman.” Sean turned the corner quickly.
K kept silent.
The two bio-mechanical flesh-eaters chewed the fresh flesh off another victim. He had survived the fall from the top of the pit and crawled his way here. The flesh-eaters were humans with gray skin, parts of the anatomy had been replaced with metal prosthetics, mainly the teeth and hands. The implanted plastic metal eyes glowed red as they looked up at the new threat. An electronically enhanced voice sounded as the creatures growled at the new target.
K projected, “Analyzing.”
Shouting to K, “They are called Ghouls!” He dashed past g, heading to the door at the end of the hallway. He grabbed the round handle and twisted. Damn it, locked.
K said, “Bio-mechanical life form, efficient bio-mass conversion to electricity. Fuels inorganic and organic parts. Augmented strength and harden internal armor. Claws and paralytic toxin bite. The threat level assessment, minimal.”
The sound of electric motors buzzed as the ghoul’s attentions turned towards him.
Sean sensing a tingling sensation running up and down his arm.
K said, “Try the door now.”
He turned the handle and the lock burst apart. He pushed the door inwards against the hinges, the door buckled. Pushing through, he turned around and placed the metal door back into place, giving the handle a twist on this side and warping the door just enough to seal it back into place. The bio-mechanical ghouls crashed into the door, scrapping and screaming in the vain attempt to reach Sean.
Sean staggered back, clutching his arm, which now began to pulsing in pain. “Minimal? I have no weapons.”
K projected, “Incorrect, you are a weapon.”
“Is the pain going to happen each time I use your power?”
K said, ”Yes, until you build up your strength. Becoming a host requires an adjustment period, much like exercising a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger you become.”
Sean moved down the tunnel. Finally, the tunnel came to a four-way intersection, A string of fluorescent lights lined the ceiling, the walls filled with layers of multicolored pipes caring liquids or gasses to and from somewhere.
Sean said, “Any idea how to get out of here?”
K responded, “My detection range is limited. However, I do sense a stairwell about sixty meters down the left corridor.”
Sean moved down the tunnel. With each step, he could feel the pain in his legs becoming less intense. Finally, he stopped limping about halfway down the corridor. Reaching a turn in the hall, he peered around the corner. Sean spotted an Exit sign above the door in bold red lettering. He moved to the door, twisted the handle, He discovered his new strength had already left him.
K projected, “Ability boosts are temporary, though you can make it permanent with training and time.”
Sean huffed as he climbed the stairs, going from one level to the next. “Got it.”
He came to another door at the top, Pushing the door open a surprised man leaning against the door fell inwards. He was unwashed and hairy, maybe in his twenties, his clothes tattered and ripped. A shopping cart filled with plastic bags and various collected nick nacks pilled high was parked a few feet away from him. Sean slammed the flashlight across the man in the jaw, sending his head cracking against the concrete wall behind him.
K projected her thoughts, “Aggressive. He will live, I sense no permanent injuries. A very well and practiced blow. Do you fight much?”
Sean stripped him of his boots, pants, and shirt. “Yeah, almost every day in the prisons exorcise yard. Either for a position or a prize. He will sleep for a while.” Sean found the stranger’s wallet in a pocket, he cleaned the cash out and shoved the money into his pants pocket. He then flipped the empty wallet back on top of the mans unconscious body.
Sean quickly donned the loose-fitting unwashed cloths. He stepped out of the exit corridor. The sound of a train echoed down the tunnel, “I am near the subway system?” Sean followed the Exit signs until he came to a small access corridor leading to the main tracks.
Sean looked both ways when he reached the main subway tracks. “Which way out? Oh wait, I can see the station from here.”
He quickly moved against the far wall, darting to the terminal’s platform. He quickly climbed up between one of the boarding pylons and headed towards the exit. A few onlookers ignored him and actively averted their eyes as he passed. The wreching unclean clothes did help him avoid other people. He stopped momentarily to look at the station’s route map and identification.
K’s voice chimed in, “You are happy about where we are? Why?”
Scampering up the exit terminal, he burst onto the busy people-filled street. The sun held itself high in the sky. The vehicles inching their way down the traffic-laden streets, honking madly at each other. “God, I love this town. K, you ever been to Earth before?” Looking up, he knew exactly what he was. His eyes gazed up at the majestic spire and craftsmanship of the previous centuries’ craftsmanship.
“Not this Earth. I sense you admire this building?”
He replied bursting with pride, “The building is an icon of the city, built-in 1931, as a project to lift the spirits and wallets of this city during a great depression. This is New York’s, the Empire State Building! Have you ever seen something so magnificent!”
K’s silence broke, “It is very nice.”
Sean shook his head. “That’s all you have to say! Well, I will have to enlighten you about this great city.”
K’s projected her voice gathering some excitement, “Do you have libraries here? I would sure like to read about your great city.”
Sean shook his head, “Well, yes but you can’t learn about a city just by going to old dusty books. You got to live it, to experience what makes this city the best.”
K did not respond to his excitement.