Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 48

With a horrified look on my face, I tore myself away from Kenny and hauled ass back over to the rest of the boys. 'They have to know! They need to get out of here!' I thought frantically as Kyle took his place back on his 'stage' and addressed the armies of both races. "I'll deal with the remaining factions, the rest of you return to your stations and prepare for war." he said as everyone raised a fist and gave a war-cry: just as I skidded to a stop at the front of the group.

"There's no time for that now! You guys gotta go!" I yelled as everybody turned to me in confusion. "Nobody here needs a bathroom break MacManus, stop being such a girl." Eric scoffed as I fought the urge to tear my hair out at his stupidity. "No you idiots! They're coming! You HAVE to go!" I cried, making everyone freeze as the realization of what I meant finally clicked in their minds: causing the backyard to erupt in panic and rapid questions.

Before anyone could find a place to hide or move to escape, Kyle's backyard became swarmed with Blackwatch soldiers: weapons drawn and more-than-ready to be used. 'Please god: don't let them have itchy trigger-fingers.' I prayed fearfully as the Commander of the large squad of fifteen stomped forward and glared at us from behind his gasmask. "Alright ass-wipes: on the ground and nobody gets a bullet in their pretty little heads!" he ordered as his lackeys forced us on our knees and roughly cuffed our hands behind our backs.

From where I was pinned, I saw Tweek being forced in the snow almost directly next to me, poor kid looked like he was one of those toys that shivered non-stop when you pulled on it. And it didn't help that the soldier pinning him was taunting him and giving him all kinds of death-threats if he didn't hold still. "Hey! Leave him alone asshole!" I snarled as I tried to get free from my captors and help poor Tweek before he either got killed or put himself into a catatonic coma. "Shut up brat!" the one holding me said as he stomped on my back with his boot, making me yelp in pain as I tried to force the virus to keep still so they would think I was normal.

"Let's go! Captain Cross wants all captives transported to Containment-Zone Four." the Commander ordered as the soldiers effortlessly picked up our crying and struggling forms and carried us out of the yard and threw us in the back of a Marine transport vehicle. As the Blackwatch soldiers climbed into their own convoy vehicle, a squad of Marines climbed in the back of the vehicle: causing everyone (especially Alex) to huddle as far away from them as possible. "What the-hey Cooper! These are just kids, the fuck are we doing transporting them to the Containment Zone?! They all look fine to me." one of the Marines questioned as he took us in: only to get shoved by his CO.

"You're a real piece of work Private Johnson! Didn't you hear Blackwatch?! This thing (whatever the fuck it is) can change its shape to look like anyone! Are you REALLY willing to risk every civilian in this town by letting this thing run wild?!" another Marine snapped, causing the first to eye us warily before agreeing and took his seat as we began moving. As we traveled into downtown, I saw many squads of Blackwatch troops, Blackwatch choppers, Military Tanks, Combat Jeeps and Gentek officials herding everyone in town toward the Community Center: mercilessly shooting those who fought back or tried to escape.

"Ninja three-three this is Shogun, how copy?" a voice on one of the Marine's radios questioned as the boys closest to me kept glancing fearfully between the soldiers and me. 'Don't even think about telling. If you do, the shit will hit the fan a hell of a lot quicker than you could run.' I thought as I discretely shook my head at them: warning them NOT to say a single word. "Ballista one-one is Oscar Mike, ETA two minutes. Maintaining current course, over." the Marine that pitied us earlier replied into the radio as I leaned to the side and nudged Tweek with my elbow to get the hyperventilating kid's attention.

"Don't worry, it isn't you they want. You have nothing to be afraid of, okay?" I whispered quietly to him and returned to my original sitting position as he rapidly nodded while he fought to control his spasms. Apparently, the rest of the boys heard what I said and tried to control their fear too as Alex moved as close to me as he could as a pair of Marines leaned forward so they could speak without having to yell over the sound of the vehicle's loud engine. "Why are we even doing this? We're supposed to be peacekeepers handling panicking civilians and shit. Give this cattle-herding bullshit to fucking Blackwatch." one of them said in distain while the other sent a pitying look in our direction before replying to his friend.

"Man, you want to leave a transport mission to those fuckin' baby-killers?! They'd just as soon blow this town and everyone in it to kingdom come!" he replied, making me gulp as the rest of the kids started trembling something fierce as they imagined what could've happened if those Blackwatch soldiers were riding with us instead of these guys. "Yeah yeah I heard that, man. Take a look at how lucky these kids are right now: if Blackwatch was here, they'd accuse all of 'em of being the thing they want." said another Marine from further away as we approached the Community Center: where the once-peaceful meeting place had been turned into a full-blown apocalyptic nightmare.

Patrols of Blackwatch and Gentek personnel were lining people up and scanning them for signs of the virus before shoving them into the building: where I could only imagine the nightmares waiting inside. As the vehicle came to a stop, the Marines got out first: before two male Gentek scientists approached the back of the truck. "Damn, we got a group of kids." one of them mumbled to the other as they set down a step-stool for us to use to get down. "Fuck this virus: if it hadn't been created, no: if that fucking MacManus hadn't escaped, we wouldn't be doing this!" the other growled before gesturing for us to go to them. 'If only you bastards knew I am right here.' I thought before I stood up and walked over to them with a vicious glare on my face: leading the way as the boys fearfully followed.

"Alright form a line! C'mon, we don't have all day." they ordered as they began scanning us with a portable machine. "Why are you guys doing this?! We haven't done anything wrong!" Stan pleaded, only to be ignored as they scanned me just as I ordered the virus to retreat: fooling that stupid little machine into giving a false-reading of negative. Once a cursing and pissed-off Eric had been scanned, we were roughly shoved into the Community Center with the rest of the surviving residents of the town as our handcuffs were removed. As I rubbed my aching wrists, I watched as the kids sprinted off in search of their parents and families as Alex glues himself to my side.

"Come on Little Bit, let's find mom and dad." I said as I picked him up and carried him through the crowd of crying and shouting people. Discretely using my sonar, I found my parents standing close to a pair of rather dirty people: one of which I had seen before and assumed to be Kenny's mom. Pushing my way through the crowd, I came face-to-face with my parents as my mom rushed at us and engulfed us in a sobbing hug. Letting go of me, she took Alex and held his sniffling form to her as my dad glared icily at me before viciously yanking me to him by the front of my costume.

"Now see what you've done?! You've led them RIGHT to us, after all we've done to ensure our escape! Take a good look around, you monster: all these people are going to DIE because of you." he hissed before angrily shoving me away from the rest of my family, sending me on my ass on the cold floor before leaving me to send them a kicked-puppy look before standing up and turning away and disappearing into the crowd. It took all I had not to break into a sobbing mess as I took in the petrified faces of all the innocent people around me: people that didn't deserve an ounce of what was most-likely about to happen to them. As I found a semi-secluded spot near the back of the crowd, I about jumped out of my skin as a hand grabbed hold of my right arm.

Whirling around, I let out a strained sigh of relief when I saw Kenny standing behind me. Even though I couldn't see all of his face, I could still see the fear and concern in his eyes as the doors that led out slammed shut. Without a word, I gripped my best friend in a bear-hug as the fear of every memory came rushing back like a tidal wave. It wasn't until I peeked my teary eyes open did I notice a little girl around Alex's age holding onto Kenny's tattered parka in a trembling death-grip. I didn't even notice Kenny giving me an equally-tight hug in return: all I saw was the Blackwatch Captain walking up to the podium at the front of the overly-crowded room.

As if he knew I wasn't paying attention to his comforting words anymore, Kenny let go and looked in the direction of Captain Cross as he leaned into the microphone: catching the entire room's attention. "Residents of South Park Colorado, there is a monster in your midst." he began, causing the adults to erupt in outrage and terror before Cross' Lieutenant: Lieutenant Riley fired a shot into the ceiling: effectively shutting them up. "This creature escaped custody several months ago, fortunately: we have tracked it here. However, it can change its form into any living thing: a shapeshifter, if that's what you wish to call this abomination." Captain Cross continued, making a low growl rumble in my chest at the name as the virus started twitching under my costume.

"Calm. Down." Kenny hissed in my ear as I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye before forcing myself to relax. "Fortunately, we have the entire town in this one building: making the retrieval job that much easier. Lieutenant Riley has personally re-wired the sprinkler system into releasing our special formula instead of water. This formula is called Bloodtox: named for its red color and the blood-like gel it becomes in a liquid form. It was designed to combat the Blacklight virus: the very creature that had escaped and eluded capture. To a human, it's perfectly harmless: so harmless in fact, that each and every one of you have been breathing it in since you have entered this room." Cross continued, making my eyes widen as I whimpered in fear as my throat started having a tickled feeling. 'No! Please not this! Anything but THIS!' I thought as I held my gloved hand to my mouth and let out a near-silent cough.

"To our Target, well…just imagine what happens to a frog as it's dipped in acid." Riley said with sickening glee as people left and right looked at each other nervously as they probably did just that. Glaring through squinted eyes at the blood-red mist, my coughing started getting harsher as Kenny looked at me in concern at first: then in full blown panic. "Saphira please! Stop coughing!" he practically begged as I started coughing louder: causing people to start turning around to stare at us. "I *cough* can't!" I hacked as I pulled my glove far enough away from me not only to try to breathe, but also see that my palm had been stained red as my coughing-fit eventually caught the attention of everyone in the room.

"All units: Target is in sight! Repeat! Target is in sight!" Cross yelled as all the Blackwatch squads charged through the double-doors: giving me just enough time to sprint past them in a black and red blur. "Stop her!" one of the Commanders ordered as his men started shooting me: stalling my escape just long enough for one of Gentek's super-solders called D-bags to snatch me around the neck with a heavy-duty catchpole. With a screech, I fought and tried to escape through blind eyes as another pair of D-bags sprayed me in the face with Bloodtox-filled fire extinguishers. Soon enough though, the poisonous gas rendered me unable to move or defend myself as large, thick iron cuffs were placed around my arms, legs, hands, and feet as large and heavy chains hogtied my limbs behind my back.

"Took you Hunter fodder long enough! I wanted THIS-" the lead D-bag paused to kick me savagely in the ribs with his steel-toed boots, making me squeak in agony as I felt several ribs shatter beneath my body suit and skin. "Contained several days ago! Load it up in the transport and get it out of here: McMullen is losing his patience." he continued to growl at the Gentek scientists and Blackwatch soldiers as I helplessly watched them lift my bound form up and literally throw me in a container similar to the one they delivered the Hunter in, giving me just enough time to see my outraged and crying friends trying to get them to let me go before the door to my prison slammed shut and locked.

'Well…it was fun while it lasted I guess. Too bad it had to end this way, I was really starting to like some of you.' I thought in surrender as the heartless bastards gassed me again through the container's ventilation system: rendering me unconscious and oblivious to wherever the hell they were taking me: though when it came to Blackwatch and Gentek…everything's hell.

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