Twenty minutes elapsed and still no word from Gina. Not wanting to wait any longer, Alex power-walked back toward the elevator, planning to move Felix herself. Just then, she heard a commotion coming from the Security Station at the end of the lot. Armored guards headed for the passenger elevators in groups. Alex followed a passing guard and grabbed his arm to slow him down. “What’s happening,” she asked. “Why is your entire unit moving out?”
“We’ve been infiltrated,” the guard reported. “Still not sure how they got in or why this is happening. However, we had all areas covered and other men stationed at assigned –”
“Wait a minute, you knew we were being infiltrated?”
“Yes, ma’am. A half-hour ago, we got an anonymous phone call warning us of an attack coming. We got our teams in order hoping to get the upper hand on the situation. Seems like we’re too late.”
“Have you seen who’s behind this?”
“Unfortunately, not. Our monitors went down just minutes ago. Camera feeds and alarm systems are all offline. But one of our men in the lobby reported something about smoke before his radio went dead. All units are collating up
at the heliport to start a full perimeter sweep. Hopefully, the head directors will send reinforcements as soon as possible.”
“Bad idea. If lobby security got taken down, then I doubt you guys will do any better. The infiltrators will probably have a group waiting to ambush you. We need to find out which floors have been compromised and go from there.”
“Can’t do that ma’am. The commander has given orders to –”
“Excuse me, officer, but I outrank you – your commander – and your whole damn security force! Now radio your commander and tell him to evacuate his team from the heliport. You and the rest of your team need to stay here and follow my lead. Is that clear?”
“You said the monitors went down, correct?” “Yes, ma’am.”
“Did you check if the backup generators went offline as well?”
“Um...no. We never checked ma’am.” “Come with me.”
Alex and the guard ran into the Security Station. Blank screens ran across the wall. She picked up the office phone and heard no dial tone. Antenna bars and wi-fi signals on her cell phone were both gone. “Dammit!” she yelled. “Can’t get a hold of anyone.” Maybe that’s why she hadn’t heard from Gina yet.
“You mentioned something about a back gener -” the guard asked.
“I know what I said,” she barked, shushing him mid-sentence. “Just give me a minute to figure this out.” Alex walked to the back room. There should be a map or a floor plan that’ll indicate where the back-up generators are located. Activating one of them will hopefully boost their connection services back online.
Meanwhile, the guard wanted to get back to the lot and help his team. He got on his walkie-talkie and requested their position status:
“OH MY GOD!!!!! WE’RE GONNA DIE!!!!”
“MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!”
The coiling mist ate through the cables and all the elevators dropped down the shafts like scud missiles. Friends and co-workers trapped inside, spending their final seconds of life in absolute terror. BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Explosions scorched the entire wall. A gust of smoke barreled through the parking lot. “GET DOWN!” the guard yelled out to Alex before diving to the ground.
As the panels burned profusely, the unearthly mist slithered its way through the lot, curling under cars and wrapping around columns. It calculated its moves like a predator. Waiting. Watching for a sign of life. Then take it.
The guard rolled on his side and cried his eyes out. His entire unit got eliminated in one shot. He was the last line of security left. Fear and misery clutched his breast, not knowing what to do.
Just then, he saw the mist curl from around a column, then hide back behind it. Blinded by tears, he thought it was one of the infiltrators about to attack. Fueled by anger, he charged outside with his firearm and shouted, “Freeze!!
Drop your weapon and show yourself or else I’ll kill you right now!”
Out came the mist in a huge balloon cloud. The guard froze with shock. Like a raging bull, the mist charged at him and wrapped around every limb of his body. Two sets of curling smoke spun like drills and shot up inside his
nostrils. He gagged. Grabbed his throat. Desperately, he tried to collect some
air. Mist swirled inside his eyeballs until they were as white as paste, paralyzing his muscles. Drool hung from his bottom lip. Mindlessly, the guard lumbered toward the Security Station, uttering a guttural moan.
Meanwhile, still rocked from the explosion, Alex got to her feet and stumbled back out to the monitors. She noticed the guard had left. From the outside, dense fog caressed the bulletproof display glass. Knowing dark forces are at work, she hesitated to leave the station. With a gun in hand, she inched toward the door. Perhaps the infiltrators were lurking in the smoke to capture more hostages. She cracked the door open by an inch.
The possessed guard smashed through the door and leaped on the agent like an angry cheetah. Her gun dropped. Shoving her against the monitors, the
newly-formed zombie chomped at the air. She held him back with all her might,
but his strength mysteriously increased. What used to be his face morphed into
a hideous gore with bubbling burnt skin and a jackal- sized mouth, foaming
with puss-like coloring. The stink of his breath fogged up her glasses. She was a t-bone steak and he couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into it.
Alex fought hard to push him away, but he would lunge closer each time. Only one thing left to do. Fiercely, she dug her fingernails into his eyes, nearly poking them out. Howling in pain, the zombie-guard loosened his grip. She sat on the control board and rammed both of her feet into his chest.
As the guard fell back to the back room, she immediately closed the
door. “What the hell happened to him,” she wondered. Was every guard in the building now a mindless zombie? Suddenly, vapor crept through the bottom of the door and slithered toward her shoes. Alex ripped off her jacket sleeve and pressed it against her face. She opened the door and boldly ran into the mist. Smoky vines shout out from all angles and reached after her, but she dodged passed like an Olympic speed skater.
Once breaking through the fog bank, she ran to a clear area on the other
side of the lot. Dropping to her knees, she filled her lungs with as much
oxygen as possible. She then looked back. It can’t be. Something big and white approached. Fear had hit her for the first time tonight as she watched the mist chase after her like a tidal wave!
Alex ran down a ramp while cars flipped over behind her. The mist moved with the force of a hurricane. She turned to run down the next ramp that led to P2, but she used her wits and climbed underneath an SUV along the side instead.
Seeing nothing but white mist ahead, she held her breath while hearing its hisses getting closer. It circled the entire level trying to find her. While thinking of an escape plan, she noticed her feet touched a railing. Quietly crawling backward, she slid over the rail and dropped down to P2, gently landing on top of an orange Lamborghini.
As the mist still lurked above, Alex ran over to the ramp on the other side of the lot. According to the floor plan at the security office, alternate controls to the backup generator were installed inside the guard post by the front gate. In the case of a security breach, the guard on-duty would be able to send out an S.O.S. Running non-stop, constantly looking over her shoulder, she finally reached the unoccupied post. The intruders must’ve overlooked it, not doing
Just then, she was overcome by sudden chills. Had the air conditioning restarted? Overhead, swirly white lines spewed out from the ventilation shaft. Huffing. Puffing. A monstrous form began to take shape behind her. Nervously, she turned around. A spine-chilling wail had deafened her ears, shattered several car windows and ceiling lights. In its mystic and horrific form, the cobra had returned. Spraying mist drenched her face.
Alex sprinted toward the guard post and took a charging leap inside. She kicked the door closed and frantically searched the control board for the hidden keypad. The cobra widened its mouth in front of the post. Fangs were the size
of swords. There! Hidden behind the fire extinguisher. Shiny buttons numbered from 0 to 9. Steadying her trembling fingers, she punched in her access code. Mechanics started working. Backup generators began to charge up.
Within seconds from devouring the post and the agent trapped inside, the lights illuminated from above. Alex turned on the ventilation system and switched it to vacuum mode. The cobra howled in fright as it got torn through
the air vents, sucked up into nothingness. Alex exhaustedly rested, thanking God her plan worked.
At that moment, the parking lot gates opened and in entered Harvey Gaines, holding an M60 machine gun. The agent ducked inside the Post and covered her mouth with her hand.
“I know you’re in here Vasquez!” he shouted. Sniffing. “I can smell you.”
His eyes rolled toward the guard post. She must be in there.
Growling from the end of the hall grabbed his uninvited attention. He spotted the possessed guard charging toward him like a bear in the woods. Without thinking twice, Harvey opened fire, wasting an entire round of bullets. The guard dropped to a bloody mess. During his moment of distraction, Alex ran out of the post and ducked behind some parked cars.
Feedback sounded from Harvey’s radio and Khalil’s modeled accent snowed in. “What have you found?” he asked.
“Just some stupid guard trying to play hero,” Harvey snickered.
“Good. Sweep the perimeter and get back up here. I’m going to call out
Vasquez and I don’t want to spook her any more than she probably is already.”
“Fool, you ain’t my boss!! Remember Hart’s instructions: I plant the bombs
and you grab the agent! Now shut the hell up and let me handle my business, i-ight?”
“This plan needs to go accordingly to lure the Angelite here! But just in case
we can’t grab her sister –”
“This whole building is sealed tighter than a virgin on prom night. Ain’t no way that agent is getting outta here. Besides, I already checked the keycard logins and she ain’t left the building yet. She’s up in here somewhere. Why don’t you go ahead and make the damn call?”
“The Angelite won’t have a reason to come here if she already knows Hart
is at the Federal Reserve! Agent Vasquez is the bait we need!”
“I missed the part where that’s my problem! That’s your job! So, you better think of some ol’ scientifical madness to make this thing work or else John’s gonna be playin’ Soccer with yo’ face! Let’s do this already so I can up outta here and scoop up some of that loot, ya heard?! Get to work, fool! Out.”
Ever so slightly, Alex poked her head up. Harvey loaded a fresh clip and then shot up the guard post. Shredded glass and sparking mechanics remained. He opened the gates halfway and ducked out before closing them again.
Static then sounded from the building’s PA speakers as Khalil mockingly did a soundcheck. “Helloooo, Vasquez! Or should I say - hola señorita! You must be wondering how we found you, huh? Let’s just say we’re in the same
line of work. Now that I have your attention, my associates have placed a bomb in this building, which is set to go off at dawn. Your colleagues. Friends. All who you care for will be blown to kingdom come unless you surrender yourself to me. Tonight. Do so and I give you my word as a gentleman that they’ll all
go free. Make a choice. But choose soon because there’s a time limit to these negotiations. And just in case you’re holding out until your superhuman sister comes...”
She heard panting and coughing. Curse words yelled in a British accent. She
gasped. They’ve captured Lloyd!
“Sorry. I know this tactic may seem old-fashion, but no sense in reinventing
the wheel if it still works, right? Now either you hand yourself over to me or
your top agent will be the first to die. Meet me at the heliport when you’re ready.
My associates will have a pair of cuffs waiting for you. Ta-ta.”