The Shimmer Project

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“ What have you been doing all this time?” Director Morgan roared. I stood in his office watching as paced back and forth in front of his desk. “ They can’t be that hard to find!”

“ Sir, we’ve been tracking them across the country. And we have been able to confirm that they’ve settled near San Francisco. There were repeated murderers, very bloody scenes. And around the state many occurring accidents that look normal until you get into the files,” I replied. “ But we haven’t exactly been able to locate them yet.”

“ Considering how gifted they are at killing, I doubt it will be easy for them to keep a very low profile for long.”

“ All the same sir—”

“ And why aren’t the SATs already there? If they are committing murders don’t you think it’s time to stop them?”

“ Yes sir. But we can’t be too safe sir. Our SATs are very young, due to all the deaths. They are inexperienced and wouldn’t stand a chance against the girls.”

“ I caught one with my bare hands once! Don’t give me this, too weak nonsense!”

“ If we could only locate them, then we would be able to exercise a discreet and efficient operation to bring them back. As it is, we don’t know where they are.”

“ I’m sure that if we send our men, they will come to us.”

“ It would be a massacre. Their powers are growing! The more they kill, the stronger they grow. They’ve never had this much power before, I wouldn’t know where to start!” I answered my eyes wide.

“ So? It would at least allow us to find them. I have the feeling you don’t understand James! This is disgraceful! We should have found them and brought them back by now!”

“ Sir, they’ve been moving around a lot…”

“ Bullshit! Don’t give me any of your petty excuses James, I won’t hear them! I need those girls back, and I need them now! Can you do that for me James? Or do I have to find someone better? Someone with more of a backbone perhaps?”

“ I can do it sir,” I growled back through clenched teeth.

“ You’d better. I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to get them back, are you James?”

“ Yes sir.”

“ Now, send you men to get them. Lure them out of their hiding place and trap them! I don’t care if they come back on the edge of death! I don’t care if only one comes back! Make it Number 5 and get her back to me!”

“ Yes sir.”

“ Get out of my sight James. You have twelve hours,” I nodded and walked back down the long rug. I exited the office and glanced at my assistant Rebecca. She was leaning against the wall. She detached herself slowly and gazed up at me.

“ How did it go?” she asked. I shook my head slowly raking my fingers through my hair.

“ We have twelve hours to move out. We’re going to San Francisco. Get the troupes ready,” I answered darkly.

“ Chief, it’ll be dangerous. They’re so powerful that—”

“ Don’t you think I know that?” I snapped back. “ They are all going to die! The girls won’t hold back, why would they? No, I’m sending all my men to their deaths. All on the slim chances that they will be able to bring at least one back,” Rebecca hesitated looking like she wanted to say something but then just shook her head and walked off rapidly. I sighed leaning against a wall.

Since the girls had escaped I hadn’t really done much work. Besides track them down and watch their amazing ability to hide from us. At first I was almost sure I was following the right track. But then on the other side of the country murders broke out suddenly. They had set us on a red herring. The murders increased. Every night, somewhere at least five people died in some accident across the state. Five a day. I knew they were behind it. And I knew that their powers were completely lethal. They were unstoppable, we could never contain them like we had before. They were too strong now. And everyday they would get stronger.

The troupes, my troupes were strong sturdy men that had been trained to fight Chimeramortuses since they were teens. It was a private force, harvested from army schools. The men spent their days training, so that if they had to, they would be ready to kill a Chimeramortus at a moments notice. The only problem was that the ones going after Numbers 5, 6 and 7 were all new. They still needed training. The good ones, the older ones had been wiped out during the escape. These young men were going to die.

There were over two hundred of them, proud in their black sneak suits. All of them lining up outside the laboratory on the lawn. The SATs moved quickly retrieving their guns from the armory and lining up waiting for their next orders. I watched them, my arms folded over my chest. Their captain was checking up on guns, making sure very soldier was ready.

“ Chief?” I looked down, it was Rebecca, she smiled.

“ What is it?”I asked.

“ The helicopters will be arriving in three hours, we also have two planes to transport ammunition and the girls,” I nodded slowly.

“ So this is war then.”

“ So it seems sir. I have alerted the city’s police force of our arrival, they think we’re government. They will obey our every order.”

“ Good.”

“ Yes sir. And they have photos of the Chimeramortuses to start searching. Maybe instead of just charging into the city, we can corner them. Less damage.”

“ Perfect Rebecca. You really are brilliant,” she smiled.

“ Thank you sir,” I nodded as the captain started in my direction. He saluted and grinned at me. He didn’t look a day over twenty.

“ Sir! Pleased to be working with you.”

“ Oh no you’re not,” I answered. “ The troupes must be ready to move out in three hours. We leave at dawn. Mack sure you have a few bazookas. And grenades. I have a feeling we’re going to need them,” the captain nodded, saluted then walked off shouting orders.

“ Sir I will be staying here, in contact with you and troupes at all time,” Rebecca informed me tapping her little walkie-talkie by her ear. I smiled.

“ Good. You must also keep track of the police, if they’ve found them, tell them not to approach. Just spy. It’ll save their lives.”

“ Should I tell them that?”

“ Yes, I don’t want any police casualties and I don’t want them getting involved further than they already are. If they start asking questions, this facility could be put into question then what do we do about all the Chimeramortuses running free?”

“ Of course sir.”

“ I’m going to get ready,” I answered walking off. I entered the armory. It was a large room full of various weapons that we used daily either in training for the soldiers of testing on the girls. It was almost empty but I found what I needed. Just a little pistol, it wasn’t nearly enough to hold the Chimeramortuses back, but there was no way I wasn’t going to use it anyway. Somehow after all these years I still considered those three girls my daughters. And there was no way I would ever be able to shoot my daughters. Even though I knew they hated me, I loved them. More than they could ever know.

It took me seconds to get ready, I stuffed the gun in its holster under my jacket then I combed my black hair then ruffled it again.

I went into the research room where my workers used to watch the Chimeramortuses with the cameras, calculating their growth, and powers. Now they just watched the army and checked up on the news in San Francisco. There was a bulletin board with photographs of the girls and a list of the casualties we could relate to them. Each day I watched the list grow longer. On a map we had pinpointed out all the places they’d stayed. There was a red thumbtack on San Francisco.

“ Chief there’s been another four more murders,” a young man told me.

“ Tell me more.”

“ Two women, on man. Cut up my a knife on the police report, but the incisions on the women’s bodies weren’t made by a knife, they’re too clean. Clearly the work of a Chimeramortus sir. Apparently there was a witness, he mentioned seeing three girls on the beach.”

“ Oh.”

“ The police are now looking for them.”

“ They cannot be suspects in a homicide case. If the police, the government gets their hands on them there won’t be much we can do anymore.”

“ Yes sir.”

“ Let the police know that they are runaways from a psychiatric hospital and that they are very fragile, prone to violence and suicide. Tell the police to back off until we arrive to retrieve them. Lie, anything to remove any homicide suspicion,” I said moving away from him. He nodded picking up his phone. I gazed at the bulletin board. My daughter’s faces stared back.

Five helicopters arrived first, the SATs loaded in, squashing together on their benches. The planes arrived minutes later and the last few soldiers drove their tanks and secured them in the planes. While the men loaded their equipment the young captain saluted and walked towards me.

“ We are ready to leave sir.”

“ Good. I’m coming,” I replied quickly. He saluted again and jogged away. I glanced down at Rebecca by my side. She gave me a small smile.

“ Good luck Chief.”

“ If it exists,” I answered walking towards the first helicopter.

“ James!” I turned to face Rebecca. “ Be safe, come back!” I nodded once then slipped into the front and the pilot handed me a pair of large ear phones. I could see the troupes behind sitting, leaning back against the insides of the helicopter. We had a long flight in front of us. The captain stood just behind me holding onto a metal bar.

“ Men! At ease. It will take us at least six hours to fly to California. For now, stay awake,” the men nodded muttering and the captain leaned towards the pilot.

“ Ready for take off!” he announced.

“ Yes sir,” I heard the propeller before the vibrations rumbled through the helicopter. Suddenly we were hovering in the air facing the open sea. I heard the other helicopters rise as we flew off. The planes shot ahead. I gazed around the cockpit, the pilot seemed pretty uninteresting so I closed my eyes hopping to get some sleep before we landed.

I fell asleep after a while of trying, then woke up as someone started shouting. It was the captain, we had arrived. I looked out the window peering down at a concrete landing pad surrounded by a vast green field. There were trees not too far off. In the distance I could see the ocean.

Some of the choppers were already on the ground, the troupes filed out. The planes had landed and were being outfitted with their holding cells for the girls. Tanks, trucks and men were lined up in the grass.

The pilot landed our chopper smoothly and the doors flipped open. The troupes started out bending over not to get their heads caught in the propeller. I hopped out after the captain. He marched proudly towards his men waiting. I stood next to him gazing at the hundreds of men.

“ Now men,” I started shouting. “ Remember your targets. You’ve seen the pictures, teenage girls. They will most probably be together. They killed over one hundred people escaping in under ten minutes. Their weapon is in their mind, the more they hurt you, the more powerful they grow. Last time they were tested, even the most powerful lethal range did not exceed ten meters. Now this might have changed in this last month. They have one weakness, each other. If one is hurt, the others will do anything to save their sister, even give themselves in. That is your only chance of survival, would them before they wound you!”

“ We’ll separate into two groups,” the captain continued shouting. “ One will group stay here, you know who you are. You will be backup for the men returning with the mutants, you are to keep the cages open and as soon as one is captured you are to leave. The second group will move into the city with Chief Morgan and I. We are to be as low profile as possible. Our job is to find the girls and lure them out of town to the tanks, here where they will be injured and caught. As the chief said, their weakness if each other. Catch one and the other two will come running. Therefore as soon as one is caught straight back to Morgan Island. They will follow and we’ll catch them. Try not to kill them, but men, if it comes to kill or be killed, shoot first,” he paused. “ Right Ladies! Lock and load we’re moving in!” The SATs quickly assembled themselves, those coming into town jumped in their trucks, the ones staying started the engines in their tanks. It was all done in a matter of minutes, a truck stopped in front of the captain and I. We both jumped in and it started up down the dirt trail. All the other trucks followed behind.

It was a warm night, the stars were out and shining. In the distance I could make out the city’s bright lights. We moved over a couple of hills then coasted onto the highway and into the south part of town.

We stopped near a hotel and the men loaded out of their trucks. I watched as they slipped their guns on and awaited orders.

“ They’re most likely in this city, we don’t know where through. Your job is to find out then to lure them out of their hiding place. I’m expecting some place with a view, somewhere very crowed. Downtown would be my first guess. If you stop them, stay twenty meters away at least, for your owe sakes. The weakest are the ones with black hair, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate them, we don’t know how powerful they are anymore. You’ll have more luck capturing one of them. Remember, draw them out of town to the field, where they will be brought down and captured. Don’t forget to contact me when one is spotted,” I told them.

“ Sir,” I turned as the captain pointed out a police car cruising towards us. It stopped and a police officer slipped out of the front seat followed by his partner.

“ I’m Chief Samuels. You must be the assault team,” he said reaching out to shake my hand I took it and I nodded.

“ I’m Chief Morgan. This is Captain Black,” the captain shook the officer’s hand as well.

“ Pleasure.”

“ Have you located the suspects?” I asked.

“ Not yet. You said they were from a psychiatric hospital?”

“ Yes, they ran away about a month ago.”

“ Quite a team for three girls.”

“ Their father really wants them back. And they are dangerous. So your men should stay well away from them, not provoke them.”

“ We’ve being having quite a few homicide cases this last month, if your girls turn out to be guilty, they will be taken to court.”

“ Of course. But they aren’t,” I gave him a curt nod. “ And they’re crazy, they’ll only be brought back to us.”

“ We were lucky enough to find a witness last night. He mentioned seeing three girls.”

“ I see. Carry on. Our men are going to search the city they will be as low profile as they can. Your men may search as well. Capitan Black let’s get moving,” I slipped back into the truck.

“ Sir,” the captain answered as the trucks started off again into the city. The assault team faded into the darkness.

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