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Self-Termination Apparatus

By whoeverfightsmonster All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Horror

Self-Termination Apparatus

It feels like he's been crawling forever. Although the air gets colder as he descends, drops of sweat fall on his self-term. He manically wipes it dry. His hands are raw from the rocky ground, and dust fills his lungs.

Through his earpiece he hears:

--Come in, Jack. How you doing?--

“Peachy.”

He'd never complain about the tunnels. None of them would. Burrowing is life. That's what they teach the kids when they learn that there's nothing above their underground warren but scorched, uninhabitable earth.

He rechecks his equipment: gun with two precious, specially-made bullets; headlamp; self-term. Good.

He crawls on.

That stupid Olsen kid. It was his own damn fault, exploring old tunnels, Jack thinks. I shouldn't be here, alone and afraid, my knees and back aching. I should be with my wife.

He's sorry then, remembering the child's death. Grisly. The balance must be kept. A life for a life, or those things will venture closer to the occupied tunnels, hungry.

From his earpiece:

--We've detected it. Directly ahead. Keep moving forward and shoot on command.--

“Copy.”

His headlamp flickers. He carefully adjusts it. He won't let himself think about what would happen if he loses his light.

His earpiece shrieks:

--Stop!--

Startled, Jack bumps his head on the ceiling. His headlamp dies.

--We've lost the signal.--

“What? Jesus! My light's out.”

--Quiet. It hears you. Just listen. Move forward.--

Jack crawls through absolute darkness. There is no sound except his ragged breathing and the relentless dragging of his hands and knees, left, right, left, right, through dirt and rubble.

A whisper from his earpiece:

--It's behind you now. Turn slowly.--

He stops. He's hyperventilating. He forces himself to turn around.

--Shoot. Now.--

Jack fires twice.

Silence.

Then:

--You missed. We're so sorry. Self-term.--

Hands shaking, Jack unhooks his self-term, unlatches the safety. But he hesitates. He wants a moment to remember his wife.

-- Please, Jack, self-term. It's less painful…--

He's a terrified old man, crouching in the dark with a monster. Is a moment too much to ask?

--Jack, if it…gets you, we'll owe them two deaths.--

He activates self-term. Nothing happens.

Something scratches the ground, a few feet away.

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Dina Husseini: It was a good read. I love stories on fantasy and this story kept me hooked on it. If you like the genre fantasy this is a good story to read.

Evelyn Alonzo: I was up till three in the morning just so I could finish the story! It just really grabs your attention and you can't stop reading it at all! Lol great job, Nick! Can't wait to read your other stories!

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Remini UDA: I would like to firstly admit I do not like the romance genre, it's not something I tend to read and as such I did not complete the whole story and only made it to chapter 15. Whether that affects this review is for you to consider.The Unknown Variant is a very well written book, as a reader I wa...

Dina Husseini: To be honest I never knew you could make a fantasy this scary. I really enjoyed reading your story. At first to be honest, it was a bit boring but then it got so interesting and fun and (also you even scared me at times). I would really love to see this story on the big screen. It does deserve sc...

ericaporamoralcine: La trama es muy interesante y original y eso ya dice muchísimo cuando todos tratan de triunfar con ideas ya trilladas.No puedo opinar en detalle sobre la gramática, porque a pesar de entender el inglés a la perfección, la falta de uso en cuanto a lectura y diálogo hacen que me maneje bastante mal...

heavyreader: great scifi novels but needs a better spell checker (check auto-substitution level) and grammar checker!!! otherwise, ready for mass market publishing!!

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

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