Delilah's Shadow

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Chapter 30

Colonel Scott, Doctor Alejandro, and several senior officers of Colonel Scott’s staff, were reviewing the tapes of Delilah’s walk through town, up to her meeting with the state trooper. They had unanimously concluded that Delilah was the source of all the death.

“How do we think this is possible? Anyone?” Colonel Scott asked the group.

“Some sort of hypnotic suggestion?” Lieutenant Fry asked looking around at everyone for validation. Lieutenant Fry was the youngest in the group. He spoke apprehensively, his eyes darting around, glancing at the others for approval, or support, for his idea.

“Ya asking me or telling me, son?” Colonel Scott shot back.

“Hypnotic suggestion can’t make someone blow their own head off. Our instinct to survive would counteract any type of suggestion involving death. This is complete control. Mental domination of some sort.” Doctor Alejandro said before the Lieutenant could respond to Colonel Scott.

“Well, how is she doing it, and how can we stop her?” Colonel Scott asked Doctor Alejandro.

“The obvious answer to stopping her, is with a bullet to the head.” Doctor Alejandro answered, “However, I would like to weigh in with other options before we take that drastic of measures.”

“Containment is my first-choice, doctor. Lethal response will be our last resort. That order comes from above my pay grade.” Colonel Scott reassured Doctor Alejandro.

“Then I suggest we do not approach her armed with anything more than tranquilizers. If we should fail to contain her, at least she will not be able to make us shoot each other.” Lieutenant Fry added. Colonel Scott looked around at the others who nodded their agreement. No one wanted to be forced to shoot themselves in the face either, like they witnessed the State Trooper do.

“I’d like to join the contact team.” Doctor Alejandro leaned forward on the table and folded her hands. Colonel Scott gave her a long look. He looked like he was holding his breath as he contemplated her request, with an emotionless blank stare. Then he looked around the room at the others and shifted in his seat.

“Doctor, what type of tranquilizer should we use for this mission?” Colonel Scott asked.

“Well, we have to consider that normal tranquilizers take time to work, a luxury we won’t have. I’ll do some research and come up with our most effective option.” Doctor Alejandro smiled, excited about what lay in store, “I’m very sure I can sedate her with a two-pronged dose that will disorient her while the tranquilizer takes effect.”

“Let’s make it happen.” Colonel Scott stood up and so did everyone in the room, Doctor Alejandro was the only one not at attention, waiting to be dismissed. She left back to her mobile lab.

“Ok, let’s start thinking about locating our target.” Colonel Scott sat back down. The rest of the soldiers joined him.

“She’s just a girl. I don’t think it will be that hard to find her. What do young girls like nowadays?” Lieutenant Fry asked.

“Lieutenant, when you start thinking of our target as a girl, a woman, or even a human, for that matter. You start to underestimate her. When you underestimate this helpless looking little girl, you end up dead, like everyone and everything that has come across her so far. We are the Intelligence division, let’s act like it. Do I make myself clear, gentlemen?” Colonel Scott asked looking at each member of the remaining group, “Pass that along to everyone involved in the containment mission.”

Lieutenant Crosby entered the meeting hall and marched over to where Colonel Scott sat. Colonel Scott stood as she approached, again, the others in the meeting hall stood at attention when the Colonel stood. Lieutenant Crosby was a very attractive woman, naturally beautiful. The type of beautiful that was ruined by make-up. She was a very persuasive public relations officer. She stopped and saluted Colonel Scott.

“At ease, lieutenant.”

“Sir,” She said and finished her salute, “We have a situation at the perimeter.”

“Report,” Colonel Scott looked at the other officers in the room, “As you were, gentlemen.” The officers started to move around the meeting hall, discussing amongst themselves their objectives and plans of action.

“If I may,” Lieutenant Crosby stepped around the table and grabbed the remote control for the large screen television, and the focal center of the meeting hall. She turned it on and flipped through the channels to a local broadcast, “I’ve met with them and gave them the statement we agreed upon. They are broadcasting anyways.” She stopped her search at a breaking news alert midway through airing.

“…involved in the hunt for the Michelangelo serial killings revealed special facts in the case linking him to the quarantine at Paradise Falls now under siege by the military. He appears to have died in an attack just outside of Paradise Falls just beyond the infected zone. Police and authorities believe Perry Tucker, the Michelangelo killer, died as a result of coming in contact with this unknown woman,” Colonel Scott was stunned when the footage photo from the State Patrol vehicle was held up by the reporter revealing the face of their target.

“That’s not all, sir, there has been another body posed. We have the footage.”

“I wanna see that footage. We need to shut that report down. That broadcast is live, gentlemen, shut it down.” Colonel Scott ordered. The forensics officer and the I.T. officer went to their equipment and began trying to jam the live broadcast. “I wanna know how he got that photo. Detain that man before he leaves the area. I wanna know every person who had access-” Colonel Scott was cut-off when the power started to fluctuate, almost going completely out. Then suddenly, darkness overtook him, he closed his eyes in pain from the onslaught of noise that entered his head like a freight train, with all its fury and sound. Colonel Scott fell to the ground grabbing his head, vainly covering his ears. He convulsed on the ground unable to control himself, as every thought, emotion, and memory, of every living thing around him flooded his mind at once. It went on for what seemed like an eternity. Then all at once, it stopped with a single word, ending the cacophony, “Breathe…” The darkness and flashes of images from the other minds stopped. He stood on the banks of a river looking down at his target, the young girl. She lay on the banks in a frozen spasm, that locked every muscle in her body, so hard she couldn’t breathe. Colonel Scott couldn’t move. All he could do was look down at the young girl. She looked so helpless, that if he wanted, he could have taken her out right then, if only he could move. He could feel her desperate hopelessness, her sorrow and pain. So strong, it brought tears to his eyes, he couldn’t control it. “Breathe… Hummingbird,” He heard again, and turned his head to see a girl who looked through him and at the young girl laying on the banks of the river. She walked past him to the girl on the banks and knelt next to her, caressing her hair. They were twins! Colonel Scott heard a loud crashing to his right where he saw thick woods. Something barreled toward them, knocking trees and brush aside. It came into view, violently charging at them. Colonel Scott tried to step back and instinctively reached for the weapon on his hip that did not exist. What appeared to be a woman’s body, some seven feet tall, towering above them, looking down through long ratty hair, with a crown of leaves woven together. She was bare-breasted, but wore a long dirty gray skirt. In her hand was a large knife that dripped with blood, so much blood that it appeared to bleed itself. Her face was that of an old woman with a snarling, toothless growl. Her faced twisted and contorted as she approached them. When she got closer her faced morphed and bubbled, becoming a familiar man’s face, then again it twisted and bubbled into a young woman’s face. The cycle repeated itself as the creature stomped toward Colonel Scott raising both hands over its head to stab down at him with the large bloody knife, screaming an animalistic growl at him. Colonel Scott came to, suddenly, on the floor of the meeting hall. He took several panting breaths before he collected himself enough to push himself up from the floor, to a sitting position, fear still gripped him, making his chest tight. He looked around the room and could see every soldier was down. He staggered to his feet, then knelt next to Lieutenant Crosby who was the closest to him. Her eyes were open but blank. She was convulsing, vomiting on herself, unable to turn her head, choking on the vomit pooling in her mouth. Colonel Scott turned her on her side and patted her back to help her expel the vomit so she could breathe. She choked, coughed, then finally started to gasp for air. Colonel Scott surveyed the room and could see the others were in similar states. Luckily, none of them were choking on their own vomit. He stood on unstable legs, putting his hands on the table where he sat, just moments before, to steady himself. He felt like hours had passed, causing him to check his watch. Whatever happened to him happened in minutes, not hours. He helped Lieutenant Crosby to a chair as she started to come out of it, breathing hard like she just ran a race. She looked up at Colonel Scott speechless.

“Take a minute, Sarah.” He said, she slowly shook her head in response. Colonel Scott walked to the entrance to the meeting hall and looked out. As far as he could see, soldiers were down. Some were starting to come around, but most still lay on the ground, either convulsing or dead. “Doctor,” Colonel Scott whispered to himself and looked in the direction of Doctor Alejandro’s quarters. Electronic equipment fizzled and popped behind him, overloaded.

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