Monday, October 11, 2010

Frozen Fear, Part 2

Far North of the Arctic Circle, the next morning:

Clark shut the door to Barry's barracks and locked it behind him. He covered his mouth with his hand and his face was extremely pale. He coughed as the snowy winds blew through his hair. He walked to the mess hall where some of the tech guys and security detail were conversing loudly. Hal and Diana sat at a table eating steaming bowls of oatmeal. Clark went to the kitchen and got some for himself and sat next to Hal and began eating.

"Where's Barry?" Hal asked Clark after a few minutes.

"He..." Clark paused. "He won't be joining us today. He isn't feeling too well, so I'm letting him rest for the day."

"Well I think I'll take him some  breakfast then," Diana said.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Clark blurted, standing up from his chair to stop her. "We don't want to wake him up. I have to make some calls. I'll be back in a bit."

Clark returned his dishes to the kitchen and left the mess hall, heading for the command building.

"What's got into him?" Hal asked.

"Who knows. But something's definitely not right."

They sat there eating in silence. A few minutes later, one of the security officers came into the mess hall and told all of the others to report immediately to the command building.

"What's going on?" Diana asked worriedly.

"Nothing serious," the officer replied. "Just some drills."

"You all seem to be in quite a hurry for drills," Hal retorted.

"I assure you," he said sternly, "Just. Drills."

They left the mess hall and hurried across the snow to command, leaving Diana and Hal alone with the techies. They stood up and walked out the door, leaving their bowls on the table. They pulled their parkas's hoods over their heads as soon as the cold air stabbed their skin. They could see all ten security officers jogging hurriedly from the command building toward Barry's barracks. They could just make out the sound of a fist banging on Barry's metal door.

"Something's very wrong here," Diana said as she began to run towards the security officers. Hal ran after her.

The security officers were standing huddled around the open doorway. Most of them were avoiding looking inside, and one was doubled over, gagging. Diana and Hal pushed their way through to the doorway.

They froze stiffer than any Arctic wind could ever freeze them.

The inside of Barry's barracks was covered in blood and entrails. Every inch of the walls and furniture was covered in scarlet gore and shredded flesh. What looked to be intestines swayed monotonously from the ceiling.

The night before:

"You shouldn't be here."

Barry jumped in fright and sat up.

"Who's there?" he asked, shaken.

"A monster. An abomination. A creature."

"What do you want?" Barry asked.

"For you to leave. You have disturbed me. I've lived in this white hell motionless and content for a time so long as to render time meaningless."

"We're here for research," Barry told the voice, "we won't harm you."

"I'm not so foolish as to think that true. Man always lashes out at the unknown, because he fears it. He proves his fears correct as the unknown rarely is unprepared."

"Are you not a man yourself?" Barry asked nervously.

"No. I am the unknown."

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