Loneliness. That’s what he had always known. For the longest time, he thought this was the norm. This was what everyone felt. That loneliness was all he had at a time, but then it was replaced, replaced with pain. How we wished for the loneliness to return to take his pain away. Every day the pain riddled his body with what felt like needles being pushed out of his skin. All he wanted was the loneliness back, but he was stripped of it and placed in a cycle of pain. All because of her.10 years ago:
Rebecca stood outside the white room chewing at her thumb as two soldiers wheeled out a gurney with a blood-stained sheet over the body. A third soldier walked up to her and gave her a clipboard. She quickly took it from him, scribbled her signature, and shoved the clipboard back to the soldier before storming off. The soldier watched her leave before he sighed and rubbed his eyes. He turned to the other two and motioned for them to follow. As they followed him with the gurney they rolled over a crack in the metal floor. A small child’s hand slipped from under the sheet and hung limply as blood began to roll down its fingertips.
Rebecca sat at her desk for several minutes simply staring into space before she picked up the phone and began to dial. She tapped her finger as she waited for the other end to pick up.
“Hey, it’s me,” she said before she continued, “I’m going to need.” She was cut off by the person on the other end.
“Wait, what do you mean you’re out?” Rebecca asked before she listened and added, “How the fuck are you out? That can’t be possible?” her anger grew as she listened to the person on the other end.
“And you didn’t think to keep some for me?!” Rebecca had ranted before she continued, “the board is expecting results and right now all I have to present is a failure!” she rubbed her eyes as the caller cursed her out and argued with her.
“I expect test subjects!” Rebecca answered. She sighed as the person on the other end once again argued with her before she exploded, “Then make orphans!” She slammed her phone on the receiver, slunk back into her chair, and rubbed her temples.
“What the hell am I going to do now?” Rebecca asked herself.
Rebecca slid her keycard into the reader and waited. The reader beeped and the door slid down into the floor. She stepped across the threshold and threw her key card on the table next to the door. She sighed and rubbed her eyes before heading towards the kitchen of her apartment.
She opened the door to her fridge and took out a bottle of Root Beer before taking a seat at the kitchen table. She tapped a finger on the table and holograms appeared above the tables face. She had taken a large gulp from her soda before she began to swipe through each document. She stopped at one document as she felt something touch her elbow. She looked down to see a piece of construction paper had been slid in front of her. The paper had a crude drawing of two stick figures holding hands in front of a smiling sun in the right corner and a house on the left of the page. Above the tall stick figure with yellow hair were the words “mom” and the small stick had “me” written above it. Rebecca looked up to see a child who was no more than five with short brown hair and crystal blue eyes sitting across from her with a large smile.
“Do you like it?” the child asked. Rebecca looked back at the drawing and couldn’t help but smile.
“Yeah, I do.” Rebecca had said before she placed it to the side and added, “I’m sorry Seth, but mommy has a long night ahead of her. So I might not be able to read to you tonight.”
“That’s okay mommy. I can have Mr. Teddy read to me,” Seth said. Rebecca looked at him quizzically before she remembered the teddy bear she bought for him that could read any book by just scanning the cover.
“Have you eaten yet?” Rebecca asked. Seth shook his head. Rebecca nodded and quickly got up and headed towards the fridge. She used the touchpad in the door and ordered takeout. Twenty minutes later a knock came from her front door. She paid the delivery driver before placing a Styrofoam container in front of Seth while placing another in front of her. They both opened their containers to reveal a large portion of chicken and dumplings.
As they ate, Rebecca continued to ponder on what to do. The board is expecting results and according to Arthur, the next monster will attack in a month. There’s no way I’ll be able to find my next test subject, perform the experiment, and then wait to see if the vessel is approved. What the hell am I going to do
? Rebecca thought. She looked over at Seth who was shoveling a spoonful of chicken into his mouth and thought of an idea.
“Seth, Sweety. How would you like to help mommy tomorrow?” Rebecca asked. Even though he’s two years younger than most of the test subjects, he’s all I have
. Rebecca thought.
“Really?!” Seth said excitedly as bits of food flew from his mouth before he added, “Can I really?”
“Yep, but there’s one rule,” Rebecca stated before she continued, “You can’t call me mommy, just Ms. Cross. Can you do that?”
“Yes, mo-Ms. Cross,” Seth said.
“Very good,” Rebecca praised as she reached over and ruffled his hair.
After dinner, Rebecca tucked Seth into bed and even read him one of his favorite bedtime stories: Jack and the Beanstalk. After she had finished, she kissed Seth goodnight, shut off the bedroom light, and left his bedroom door ajar so some of the hallways light could shine into his room. Seth rolled over and felt a large smile form on his face. He was so excited to see what was outside with his own eyes and not have to use the Television to show him what lay beyond his front door.
Seth was jolted awake as the alarm he set last night blared through his dark room. He yawned and quickly tried to silence it. Once he finally found the off switch, he lied there for several minutes contemplating getting up. He stretched and quickly got up remembering he’d see firsthand what the outside world was like. After showering and getting dressed Seth walked out to find Rebecca cooking breakfast.
As Seth sat at the table, Rebecca brought him a plate with four slices of French toast. While Seth devoured his meal, Rebecca sat down across from him sipping at her coffee. This needs to work. It has to work. Otherwise
, Rebecca thought before she shook her head. No, it will work
After Seth had finished his breakfast, he helped Rebecca with the dishes and soon was waiting giddily at the front door. Rebecca placed her shoes on before kneeling down to eye level with Seth and asked, “Do you remember the rule?”
“Yep,” Seth nodded before he added, “I do Ms. Cross.” Rebecca had smiled wide and ruffled his hair before she took his hand and led him outside.
A silver door slid down into the floor revealing a large room with computers, strange machines, and in the middle a holding tube that had what looked like pressure cuffs hanging from the top. Rebecca and Seth walked into the experimental room as Seth looked in awe at the hologram screens and tube in the middle of the room. He was super excited after he left his home, but after seeing the fourth hallway and its light grey steel walls. His excitement slowly dwindled. Along the way, he met many passersbys who would stop and talk with him. However, they seemed sad when Rebecca talked with them and explained why he was there. Some even said he had a brave soul. He thanked them, even though he was unsure of what they meant by having a brave soul.
“Ah, Ms. Cross. We’ve been expecting you,” a woman said as she walked up to the two. She was a short thin woman with long jet black hair and lime-green eyes.
“Sammy, this is Seth. He’ll be helping us today,” Rebecca explained.
“Ms. Cross, can you help me with these calculations. Something seems off,” a male scientist asked.
“Be right there,” Rebecca answered before she turned to Sammy and asked, “Can you set Seth up while I go and help Adam?” Sammy nodded and with that Rebecca left the two.
Sammy knelt down to eye level with Seth and introduced herself,
“Seth, was it? My name is Samantha, but most people call me Sammy.” She let out a sigh before she added, “I just want to let you know: you’re such a brave soul to help us with this.”
“Why is everyone telling me that?” Seth asked before he added, “Everyone I met on the way here told me the same thing.”
“I can’t give you too many details, but I can tell you that what you’re helping with could save all of humanity in the near future,” Sammy explained. Seth really didn’t understand what she meant by that, but he simply nodded. Sammy smiled weakly before she stood back up and added, “All right, let’s get you hooked up.”
Sammy led Seth towards the large holding tube in the middle of the room. She helped him into the tube before the pressure cuffs hanging from the top slowly floated down. She had placed each cuff on Seth’s upper arms before she began to explain, “You’re going to feel a slight pinch. After that these cuffs will pulsate to keep your blood flowing normally.”
“Ok,” Seth said a little weary. He had thought he would be helping by getting his mother food, water, or cleaning up. He wasn’t sure why he had to be placed in this tube in the middle of the room. Sammy nodded before a hologram keyboard appeared next to the tube. She typed in a few keys before Seth jumped as he felt a prick come from under the pressure cuffs. They soon began to slowly pulse.
“Sorry, we used to count down before, but we found some of the others began to hyperventilate,” Sammy explained.
“Is he all set?” Rebecca asked behind Sammy who made her jump.
“Y-yeah,” Sammy stuttered before she cleared her throat and added, “We are all set to proceed.”
“All right, let's begin the procedure,” Rebecca announced. Sammy had nodded before she pushed a few more keys on the keyboard and the doors closed, encasing Seth within the glass tube. Sammy followed Rebecca back towards a large computer console. As she did, Sammy asked, “He’s much younger than the others. Are you sure the normal amount of the Serum will do?”
“I talked with Adam about that while you set Seth up. We both think the amount won’t be too much for his body weight,” Rebecca said before she turned to Adam and said, “Begin phase one.”
Adam, a tall man with a five, o’clock shadow, short brown hair, and brown eyes let out a sigh before he typed in a few keywords while saying, “No matter how many times we’ve done this. It never gets any better.”
“Oh suck it up Adam,” Rebecca said before she added, “We’ve done this to countless orphans, no one cares if a few hundred orphans disappear within a year. Mandy will just write them off as either adopted by some made up families name or claim they’re runaways.” Rebecca then turned to Sammy and said, “Let Seth know what’s going to happen so he’s not freaking out.” Sammy nodded and placed an earpiece into her ear.
“Seth, can you hear me?” Sammy asked through the earpiece. Seth looked up in shock as Sammy’s voice came from the speakers above him. He then looked out at the room and nodded. Sammy nodded as well before she explained, “That’s good, now as for what’s going to happen: We are going to inject you with a liquid that will give us some test results on the human body. We find children to be more subjectable and easy to gather data from then adults. This liquid will cause your body to feel warm. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it will only last a few seconds.” Seth nodded as she explained and when she was done he gave her a thumbs up. He had no idea what she was talking about, but he knew his mother wouldn’t subject him to something dangerous.
Sammy grimaced slightly as she lied to him and at his response to her explanation. She turned to Rebecca who nodded. Sammy quickly typed in the code and black liquid flowed down from the ceiling and into the containment tube holding Seth. The black liquid flowed through each I.V. line and into Seth's body.
Seth watched as his veins in his arms started to turn black. His body felt warm, but not uncomfortably warm. It felt like he was snuggled up in a warm blanket that just came out of the dryer.
“Is everything all right Seth?” Sammy asked. Seth nodded, but then pointed at his neck where his voice box was. Sammy nodded and answered, “I can hear you if you have a question.”
“Are my arms supposed to turn black?” Seth said showing her his veins and how black they were becoming.
“Don’t worry about that. It’s simply the liquid going through your body. They’ll go back to normal after the procedure,” Sammy said. Seth nodded and continued to watch as his veins slowly change from blue to black. For several minutes the three watched Seth waiting for the inevitable. Adam gripped his console tightly as he waited. He knew what would happen next and no matter how many times he saw it, he still couldn’t come to terms with it. So many times he wanted to just run to the tube, pry it, open and save the test subject within. At one point he did but was stopped and lectured on how this befitted humanity, but he knew what the lecture really meant: either do your job or quit. However, he knew quitting wasn’t an option. The government wanted all this unlawful testing a secret and knew to quit meant death.
Seth suddenly fell to his knees and clutched his stomach. Adam closed his eyes and let out a long breath as he tried to close his mind to the next part of this horrible situation.
“Seth? Seth what’s wrong?!” Sammy asked. Her tone was concerned, but it was all an act. She knew what was going on. Just like Adam knew. However, she did her best to seem concerned for him.
“It’s my stomach,” Seth cried before he continued, “It hurts-It hurts so much!” Seth winced and the pain intensified in his abdomen. The warmth he felt started to intensify and it started to feel like his skin was on fire. Seth sobbed as the pain intensified and he added, “My body feels hot, it feels like it’s on fire!” Seth quickly got up and began pounding on the glass of the tube as tears began to swell in his eyes. The black liquid continued to travel through his veins and was now traveling up his neck.
“It hurts Mommy! It hurts! Please, Mommy, I don’t want to do this anymore!” Seth pleaded as the pain began to intensify and he sobbed, “Please let me out, Mommy! I want to go home!” Tears roll down his face as he continued to plead. It seemed the more he cried out, the faster the liquid traveled through his veins.
“It’s going to be ok Seth. This is just the side effects of the liquid,” Sammy reassured him.
“Mommy, please. I want to go home! I don't want to be here anymore! Mommy it hurts, it hurts, it hurts!” Seth pleaded before a sharp pain rocketed through his head. He fell back to his knees clutching his head as the pounding intensified. when he looked up at Rebecca, the black liquid had spread from his veins and was now branching toward his right eye that had shifted from its crystal blue color to glowing blood red. Behind Seth, a long shadow figure started to slither up the back of the tube. Its body was like that of a stick figure.
As soon as Rebecca saw this, she yelled, “There, turn it on!” Adam nodded and quickly typed in a few keys. A small spark of light fizzed to life above the tube before Seth began to scream as electricity surged through his whole body. Within seconds he fell limp on to the floor of the tube.
“Vitals are low, but he’s still alive,” Sammy announced.
“Good, get the transport crew here and take him to the holding cell. The next few days are going to be crucial. I don’t think I have to tell you what happens if this fails,” Rebecca said.
“Yeah, we know,” Adam said before he picked up the phone and dialed.
“Well, that was a first,” Sammy said.
“What do you mean? Rebecca asked.
“We’ve never had a test subject cry out for their mother before,” Sammy said.
“Yes, that is quite strange,” Rebecca lied.
Seth’s fingers twitched as he slowly came to. His head was pounding as he sat up and looked around. His surroundings had changed: instead of the holding tube, he found himself in a large white room. The bright white walls made it hard to see whether the room had a door or not. Seth slowly got to his feet and proceeded to feel around the walls to look for a key card reader or a doorknob. When his search turned up fruitless, he began to pound on the walls screaming, “Mommy? Mommy where are you?” he continued to plead for his mother to let him out.
“Mommy?!” Seth cried as he continued, “Mommy I want to go home!” he began to sob as he slid down with his back against the wall and whispered, “Please, I want to go home.” He pulled his knees up to his chest and continued to sob. He stayed like that for what felt like hours before the aroma of food caught his attention. When he looked up, he saw a tray of food sitting in the middle of the room. He quickly crawled over to it and saw two large helpings of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and long stalks of asparagus on the tray. He looked around and began to once again call out.
“Mommy?! Mommy where are you?” Seth cried, but his voice simply echoed in the room. His stomach growled as he once again turned his attention to the food on the tray. He had swallowed hard before he grabbed the tray and sat cross-legged in the middle of the room before he began devouring his meal. Once he finished, he got up and began to examine the room. He ran his fingers on the walls trying to figure out how the tray got into the room. When he turned back towards the tray, it was gone. Seth quickly ran towards where it once was and examined the floor. he quickly began to spin around looking for where the tray had gone as more tears filled his eyes and he cried out.
“Mommy?! Mommy where are you?!” Seth cried out. He began to sob, “Please, I don’t want to be here. I want to go home!” he continued to cry for someone, anyone to take him out of this room and bring him home. After what felt like hours Seth’s voice became strained and he finally placed his back against one of the walls and slid down to the floor. He once again pulled his knees to his chest and sobbed, “What did I do? Why did you leave me here?”
As the days passed, Seth began to accept his fate. At first, he would continue to cry out for someone to help him out of the room, but when no help came and the only change in the room was the trays of food appearing. He began to lose hope and over time, he would simply sit against the wall, blankly staring into space.
One day while staring into space, he heard something. It almost sounded like someone talking. Seth lazily looked around not seeing anyone in the room. He let out a sigh, closed his eyes, and lightly banged the back of his head against the wall he sat against.
“Doesn’t that hurt?” a voice asked. Seth's eyes shot open and he looked around. He saw, nothing in the room. Seth let out a long breath and rubbed his eyes. The voice came back again, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I’m going crazy,” Seth muttered to himself.
“No, you’re not,” the voice said. Seth looked around once again but found nothing in the room with him.
“I must be, I’m hearing voices,” Seth said before he added, “And also talking with the voices.”
“Well, is it all that bad? I mean, wouldn’t you rather talk with me then sit there like a zombie?” the voice asked.
“You got a point,” Seth said before he added, “Fine, I’ll humor you. You got a name?” the voice laughed.
“You seem rather different than the other kids,” the voice said before added, “You seem more intelligent.” A smile cracked on Seth’s face at the voices compliment.
“Mom had me studying at a young age,” Seth admitted before adding, “It was the only thing that kept me from being bored. I don’t have any friends.”
“Why not?” the voice asked.
“Mom said I wasn’t allowed outside the house,” Seth said before he continued, “She said people wouldn’t understand why she had a child.”
“So she was hiding you?” the voice asked.
“I guess, but I was ok with it,” Seth said. He had sat there in silence for several seconds before he admitted, “Although, it was quite lonely at times.”
“So you basically traded one loneliness for another,” the voice asked alluding to the room Seth found himself in. Seth hugged his knees and simply nodded. It was the voices turn to stay quiet for several seconds before it added, “well, there's one thing I can help you with.”
Seth looked up as though he’d see someone standing there and asked, “How?”
“I can be your friend,” the voice admitted. Seth cracked another smile at the voices proposal and nodded.
“Friend? Yeah, I’d like that,’ Seth said before he added, “So, what’s your name?” The voice fell silent again causing Seth to ask, “Did-did I say something wrong?”
“No-no. I-I don’t have a name,” the voice said before he added, “When I was created. They never gave me a name.”
“Well, why don’t we fix that,” Seth said before he thought of a name to call the voice. Something popped in his head and he blurted out, “How about Davis?
“Davis?” the voice questioned.
“Yeah, there’s this show I watch called Hyper Morphing Troopers. They’re these people who are given suits of armor to fight this evil alien queen. They also can fight in giant robots. Davis is the Red Mantis Trooper,” Seth explained.
“Davis,” the voice said before it added, “I like it!”
“Cool,” Seth said before he added, “So are you going to stay as a voice or are you going to show me what you look like?” the voice fell silent before it let out a sigh.
“I’m sorry Seth, but I can’t,” the voice admitted before it explained, “You’re not the first friend I’ve had, but whenever I reveal my true self: They disappear. I don’t want to be alone anymore.”
“I won’t leave,” Seth said.
“They’ve always said that but they’ve never kept their promise,” the voice said.
“Come on, you can trust me,” Seth said.
“They said that too,” the voice said. The two said nothing for several minutes before Seth broke the silence.
“Then why ask me to be your friend?” Seth asked. When the voice didn’t respond he continued, “Clearly you trust me enough to make yourself known.” The voice stayed quiet for much longer this time. Seth pulled his knees closer to his chest and sighed, this was it: the voice would disappear, and he’d once again be alone.
“Promise me you won’t run away?” the voice finally asked. Seth Looked up at the empty room and smiled.
“Where am I going to go?” Seth said as he motioned around the room.
“Yeah, it was kind of a stupid thing to ask,” The voice laughed before it let out a long breath and simply said, “Ok.” Seth watched as his own shadow stretched across the room and began to crawl up the wall. It began to take the shape of a skinny shadow stick figure. Its lengthy arms hung limply on each of its sides. Seth stared in amazement before a smile formed on his face.
“You know, I was expecting something scarier,” Seth said before he joked, “Now I’m disappointed.” The Shadow figure laughed at his joke.
“I’m sorry to disappoint,” the voice said playfully before it asked, “So, are we still friends?” Seth smiled as he stood up and lifted his arm to present his fist to the shadow.
“Yep,” Seth said. The shadow began to peel itself from the wall and curled its clawed hand into a fist before placing it against Seth’s. Its sphere like head began to crack and a Jack-o-lantern like smile formed on its blank face and it hissed in a voice that sounded like its mouth was filled with rusty nails, “Friends”
Seth’s shadows expanded under him before it began to spiral up from the ground and enclose him in a pitch black egg. The egg began to hover a few inches above the ground before it began to Pulsate. With every throb, the egg grew until it was around the same height as Komodo. Komodo suddenly dropped the building in its mouth and turned towards the egg. A low growl emanated from the back of its throat. The spikes on its ball-shaped tail began to blink green before the blinking accelerated and suddenly ascended up its back towards its head. Komodo opened its mouth and spat out a green beam of light.
The beam soared through the air and made contact with the egg before exploding and creating a mushroom cloud. The shockwave toppled buildings and shock the ground as the area around the egg was coated in thick smoke. Komodo lowered its body as it slowly unfolded its four spider legs. Its spider legs suddenly pierced into the ground before forcing its body high into the air just as a beam of white light shot from the smoke. It soared under Komodo before hitting the ground, Swirling, shrinking into a small dot, and finally letting out a popping noise before a large area around it imploded in on itself.
Komodo landed on the ground before watching the Death Hunter walk out of the smoke. The Death Hunter was two hundred and fifty feet long (one hundred feet smaller than Komodo) from its large round head to its arrow tipped tail with red spines going down its back. Black leathery wings were folded on each side of its body, and its pitch black skin shined in the sunlight. The bottom of its round head cracked into a Jack-o-lantern like smile and it unleashed a massive roar that sounded like a glove being pulled down a stringed instrument.
Rebecca watched in the control room as the events unfolded and the Death Hunter revealed itself. One of the staff in the control room pulled her from her trance as they asked, “Ma'am, the army is calling. They want to know what to do next. They can’t get in contact with Kane and they want to know if they should continue attacking Komodo?”
Rebecca turned to the woman and said, “Tell them to retreat.” Rebecca then turned back to the screen that showed the two monsters sizing each other up and added, “Let them fight."