Experiment TCA-276 (pt5)

                Morgan paced the office, biting a fingernail. Rita was pale and sweaty, taking shallow breaths, but her eyes followed Morgan back and forth. Morgan had spent a minute crying after she realized the police weren’t going to come to their rescue, but she’d snapped out of it when she heard the pounding on the other side of the stairway door. Now she needed to make a plan, there wasn’t time to be hysterical.

                The pounding stopped and Morgan looked up.

                “What are they going to do now?” Rita asked.

                “Probably going to look for another way in.” Morgan stared at the ceiling. “Is there another door?”

                “Just the loading dock,” Rita said.

                “I’m gonna go check it out. See if it can be reinforced.”

                Rita nodded. Morgan grabbed her hammer and cell phone and went out to the hall. As she passed the operating room, there were several loud crashes. She hesitated next to the door, looking back and forth between the office and the loading area down the hall. Loud groans and snarls started up on the other side of the door. It could only mean one thing.

                Morgan sped-walked back to the office.

                “More of the bodies have escaped the cold lockers.”

                “How is that possible?” Rita’s eyes filled with tears, but Morgan wasn’t sure if it was from the news or from her sudden movement.

                “I don’t know. But I think I should barricade the door. If they can get the lockers open…it’s only a matter of time before they get out here.”

                “Right…” Rita’s eyes scanned the room. “Can you move the filing cabinets? This desk is probably too heavy for one person… Or there’s a couch in the breakroom…”

                “I’ll try.” Morgan grabbed the nearest filing cabinet, tilting it on its side and started to drag it down the hall.

                It was slow progress, but she eventually had the three filing cabinets blocking the door to the OR. She needed to go check the loading dock before she did anything else. She’d go back for the couch later.

                Morgan ran down the hall, already able to hear voices on the other side of the roll down door. Locks were secured on the chains, so it wouldn’t move easily, but it wasn’t going to keep them out forever. Morgan needed help.

                Her eyes fell on a toolbox in the corner and she had an idea. She fished her phone out of her pocket and dialed her neighbor’s number.

                “Hello?” Dale’s voice was thick and scratchy with sleep.

                “Dale? It’s Morgan. I need your help.” Morgan retreated from the loading dock, not wanting the men outside to hear her.

                “What happened? Flat tire?” Dale cleared his throat, becoming more awake.

                “No, worse. Um…I really don’t know how to explain. There are bad men trying to break in to the morgue. They killed four police officers in the parking lot. No one is answering the phones at the police station when I call back…”

                “Where are you now?” He was fully alert now.

                “In the basement. We’ve blocked the doors, but I think they’re trying to break through the loading door now…”

                “I’m on my way.”

                “Be careful.”

Experiment TCA-276 (pt4)

                “I think they’re breaking in,” Morgan said, leaning out of the office door. “I think I heard glass breaking,”

                “Okay…” Rita’s jaw was clenched and she was sweating as she tried to keep her leg still. “There’s a security door that closes over the stairway… The key pad is on the wall… Type…3-4-6-7 and it will activate.”

                “Okay.” Morgan grabbed her hammer. “I’m going to get a cell phone too.”

                Rita didn’t answer as Morgan left the room. She dashed over to the stairs to setup the door first. She typed in the code and heard a click as the light over the door turned red. A metal panel slid out from the wall and covered the regular door. There was another satisfying click as it locked into place.

                Morgan waited. She couldn’t hear as much noise from upstairs now, but they would realize they couldn’t get down here soon enough. And then there would be an uproar. And then they would try something else…

                Morgan went towards the operating room, adjusting her grip on the hammer. Cracking the door open, she peaked inside. Robert Holt’s cadaver was on the other side of the room, head caved in. But he dragged himself across the floor in slow, jerky movements. At the sound of her arrival, his head snapped around so he could look at her with his remaining eye.

                He snarled. The knocking and growling resumed from the cold lockers as he started across the floor towards her.

                Morgan took a step into the room, one eye on her phone on the counter and the other monitoring Holt’s progress across the room. She snatched up the phone, swung at his head before he could get too close, and ran back to the hall. The door slammed behind her and she slid the lock home.

                Someone was pounding on the door from the stairs now. Morgan kept to the other side of the hall and tip-toed, not wanting to be heard. The men’s voices were loud enough to penetrate the metal sheet, but Morgan couldn’t make out the exact words. She was sure they were coming up with another plan.

                “Okay, I got a phone,” Morgan said as she stepped back into the office.

                “And the door?” Rita said through a gasp.

                “Closed it. They’re on the other side. I don’t know what they’ll do next.”

                “Call for help.”

                “Okay.”

                Morgan dialed 9-1-1 again and waited. The phone rang…and rang…and rang. After every fifth ring, an automated message played.

                “Your call is very important. All operators are busy. Please stay on the line for the next available operator to assist you.”

                But no one ever answered.

                “No one is there,” Morgan whispered as tears began to cloud her vision.

                “What?” Rita was pale and shaking, about to pass out.

                “No one is there…. The people from the trees… they must have gotten to them already…”

Experiment TCA-276 (pt 1)

*New short story I’m putting together for you. This will be another first draft posting like my story When the Rains Came. Hope you enjoy :)*

                Morgan watched the steady drip of coffee fall into her cup. She went cross-eyed for a moment before shaking her head and stretching. The shift in her sleeping schedule was still kicking her ass, but it would all be worth it in a few weeks. Her internship was almost over and then she would be a certified morgue technician.

                At a quarter to seven, Morgan stepped out of her apartment to head into work. Her neighbor, Dale, was climbing the steps from the parking lot. He was covered from head to toe in what looked like paint and mud. He was lugging his toolbox with a sour expression.

                “Hey. Bad day at work?” Morgan asked, trying not to smile at his appearance.

                Dale grunted. “Genius at work turned to talk to me with the spray texture gun still running. Covered me and my tool box. Now I get to spend the night cleaning my tools off for tomorrow.”

                “Yikes. I’m sorry to hear that.”

                Dale shrugged. “Have a fun night at work. Don’t get spooked.”

                Morgan laughed and continued down the stairs to her car. She drove down Main Street and watched the sun set over the old buildings on the square. The town already felt deserted at this hour. All its inhabitants would be at home with their families by now. Their nightlife consisted of a small bingo hall, but that was closed on Wednesdays.

                At seven on the dot, Morgan pulled up to the funeral home and parked next to Rita’s rundown Subaru. She’d be hard at work by this time, getting all the paperwork in line for the night. She’d told Morgan that would be the last part of her internship; it would be the easiest part of her job when she took it on full time.

                Morgan trudged down the stairs to the morgue, taking larger gulps of her coffee to help it kick in faster. She found Rita standing next to her desk, a large file folder in her hands. Her eyebrows were drawn together and she was frowning; both were sure signs that she was anxious about something.

                “We’ve got a busy night ahead of us,” Rita said without looking up. “Twenty-five cadavers will be delivered in about five minutes.”

                “Wow.” Our usual night consisted of three or four. “What happened?”

                Rita turned a page. “A drug trial for cancer patients at a hospital two towns over. Zero percent success rate. The doctors are in a panic, rightly so.”

                “Why are we getting the shipment? There’s gotta be several morgues closer to them that can take the job.”

                “They said they were all full,” Rita said. She shut the folder and rubbed her eyes. “But I’m pretty sure they’re just hoping to sweep this under the rug. If less people around them know what happened, maybe the media won’t get ahold of it. They’d have a field day poking holes in the operation. And I don’t blame them. I would like to know how they got the green light for human trials. Earlier tests must have shown it wouldn’t work…. But what do I know? I’m not a doctor.”

                A bell rang down the stairwell.

                “Come on,” Rita said with a sigh. “That’ll be the truck.”

When the Rains Came Part 3

(part 1 and part 2)

“Hey, new kid!” Marcus yelled across the hall as the new student tried to squeeze through the crowd. He looked around, eyes wide as though expecting something bad.

“Yeah, you! Come here,” Ethan motioned him over to their group.

“Hi,” he said once he’d reached them. “I’m Kevin.”

“I’m Marcus, this is Ethan, Ben, Lacy, and Sammy.” He pointed to the group. “How was your first day?”

“Uh…okay I guess.”

“Where’d you move from?” Lacy asked.

“Colorado.”

“Cool. I’ve been there,” Sammy said.

“Wanna come hang out with us?” Ben asked as they started moving towards the exit doors.

“Sure… There’s a pond by my house, we could go swim-”

“Nah,” they collectively cut him off.

“Huh? Why not? It’s so hot out, swimming would be nice.”

Their eyes shifted around uneasily.

“The water’s dirty.”

“There’s weird fish.”

And a few other mumbled excuses.

“We can go explore the fields instead,” Ethan offered. “We can drop our stuff at my house, it’s on the way.”

They agreed and began to walk down the sidewalk. Lacy and Sammy hung back, discussing a fashion magazine while the boys led the way. They stopped in at Ethan’s house and piled their school bags in the front hall.

“Is it always this hot?” Kevin asked, pulling off his overshirt and throwing it over his shoulder.

The others laughed.

“You don’t even know what hot is,” Marcus said.

“Yeah, wait ’til August when it’s so hot you feel like your skin is melting.”

“Oh, great.”

“So why’d you move here?” Ethan asked as they began to cross the open lot into the field. Lacy and Sammy were picking flowers and tucking them into each others hair.

“Well, my dad has family here. They said they wanted a ‘change of scenery,’ whatever that means.”

“They didn’t ask you about it?” Marcus asked, grabbing a large tree branch from the ground to use as a walking stick.

“Not really. They just brought home a bunch of boxes one day after they had a conversation about moving. I thought they were kidding.”

“Nice joke.”

“Hey, guys! Come look over here!” Ben had wandered away and was waving them over. They started to run towards him. “Slow down!” he put his hands up and they stopped. “Look.”

A gaping hole in the ground lay before them, the edge was just feet away from where they’d stopped.

“Ugh, what’s that smell?” Sammy covered her nose.

As the wind shifted, they all got a whiff and made similar disgusted noises. It was a combination of wet dog and decay and it made the children draw back from the hole.

“Something’s down there,” Marcus said. “Something dead, I think.”

“Should we tell someone?” Lacy asked.

A sudden rattling noise made a response impossible. It seemed to be coming from the hole. As it faded back out, the kids were looking at each other in confusion and fear.

“Cicadas?” Ethan suggested.

“I think it’s going to rain,” Ben was watching the sky now as clouds rolled in. Dark angry clouds.

Thunder rumbled above them to confirm his suspicions.

“We should go.”

“Back to my house, yeah.”

“Come on.”

The first drops of rain began to fall as they started back across the field.

“Ow!” Sammy squealed, wiping a spot on her arm.

“What?” Lacy was looking at her with concern.

“The rain. It stung me.”

More was falling now, at a more rapid pace.

“Ouch! Stung me too!”

“Let’s get out of here!”

They took off at a run.

Tornado Alley Post

Missing Children

Yesterday’s thunderstorm rolled in quickly and dropped several inches of rain on the town. During the night, several children were reported missing. Their last known whereabouts were near Lemon Ave. If you’ve seen any of these children, please alert the authorities.,

When the Rains Came Part 2

*Part 1 available if you missed it*

Drew folded the newspaper over to read the last of the article, shaking his head. “But that doesn’t explain the people that weren’t missing until the next day.” He’d heard the frantic calls on his police scanner. People that had been safe during the storm had gone out the next morning to help their neighbors and never returned.

Drew stood and posted the newspaper clipping onto his bulletin board next to various others. His eyes roved over the mass of articles,  missing people posters, and weather reports. His eyes lingered on one picture in particular.

His sister, Nora, had gone missing three years ago in a storm that hadn’t gotten the publicity it deserved. No tornado that night, only “high winds.” And yet her car had been found upside down in the middle of a field. But her body had never turned up. It was like she’d been carried away…

The apartment door opened and brought Drew out of his reverie. His brother, Stephen dropped an empty basket on the floor and unzipped his jacket. His shaggy brown hair was in desperate need of a trim and the rough stubble on his face made him look like he hadn’t slept in days. Maybe weeks.

“It’s done,” he said, collapsing onto the couch and rubbing his face.

Drew pushed his chair away from his desk to face Stephen. “Everyone on the list?”

“Everyone.”

“Even the ones I added on last night?”

“Yes, even them. They all have their bluebonnets.”

“Good.” Drew relaxed into his chair. “I think I’m gonna hop in the shower. I’m helping with the missing posters later.”

Stephen watched him through his half-closed lids as he stood and started down the hallway.

“You know it’s just a myth, right?”

Drew stopped but didn’t turn around. “What?”

“The bluebonnets…it’s just a myth…”

“Not if it works.” And he went the rest of the way down the hall to the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

When the Rains Came part 1

A sketch from 12 year old me

And then the rains came. They came down from the hills and up from the sound. And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor. And it rained a murder… Soaking. Spreading. Penetrating. And it rained an omen. And it rained a poison.”
– Tom Robbins

Annie was leaning against the door frame as the storm rolled in. The storm sirens had been going off, but everyone knew you had to check the skies yourself to be sure. The wind had changed, blowing cool air across her face and the sky had that green hue; but still she waited.
The power went out and she glanced over her shoulder into the dark house. A slam from the house next door turned her attention back around and she watched the neighbors hurry down their porch steps and across the yard to their storm shelter. The father stopped to wait for his family to pass him into the door and saw her standing there.
“Take cover!” he yelled, but the sound was whipped around on the air and Annie could only make out the words from watching his lips. She gave him a nod and a thumbs up; but still she waited.
The man gave her one last worried look before slamming the door behind him.
Annie began to walk across her yard to her own storm shelter; still watching the sky.
And there it was – the reason her neighbors had been so panicked – coming across the field was a funneling cloud off doom. The dirt and dust flying up from the ground held Annie mesmerized; she’d never been this close to one before. It was so beautiful in all of its destruction.
The rain was coming with it. Annie was brought back to the seriousness of the situation as stinging cold drops hit her skin. Adrenaline pumping, she ran the rest of the way to the shelter door and climbed down the first few steps.
But she had to see it one more time. Had to behold all of its glory. As she looked back though, too much debris was blocking her vision. It was too close now. Annie began to pull the door closed, using all her strength against the wind.
A scream cut through the noise of the storm as Annie got the door shut at last. Latching it, she tried to shake of the terrible feeling that last sound had given her. As the hail began to slam into the door, she had to accept that there was nothing she could do to help them.
Take cover indeed, this one was going to be hell.

Tornado Alley Post
The F4 that Rocked the Town

Last night’s storm brought death and devastation to an area that hasn’t seen a tornado in twenty years. Neighborhoods were leveled and the downtown area was partially destroyed. The most notable building to take a hit was the local rock music venue, Drink Up.
Along with the winds, came the rain. And not just ordinary rain, no. Last night we experienced some kind of acid rain. Experts are still out on the official word.
Death toll from last night’s storm stands at sixty three.