Monday, 10 October 2016 10:15

A Bright Tomorrow For The 22nd State - Part 3

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Part III
To Be Optimistic Before The Preordained Comes To Pass

I saw her again, this time we were driving through the streets of Chicago, she was holding the hand of a child, I couldn’t see her face, but the child was small with mousy hair and a striped top. I wondered if perhaps I had been sleeping well enough, or perhaps the excessive cigarette smoking had caused a lack of oxygen to my brain and I was in the midst of suffocation. Either would have sufficed, if only I had an answer; the endless not knowing and speculation had been driving me insane. My dreams were filled with images of Cynthia, she was calling out to me, begging; any cardboard-cutout psychiatrist would have prescribed me with a dose of ‘Shut the fuck up, grow up and get out’ even I knew the dreams meant nothing, a result of my mind not wanting to accept Cynthia’s appearance in the hospital. I had thought extensively about that day, her long flowing hair, her eyes; she was beautiful. And yet I could not accept that she had been there, I know I hallucinated, I know the sheer volume of sedatives I had been given would have forced any man into an episode. And then I heard an echo of the Hunched man’s voice, ‘they found something in your blood’. What could they have found? What possible reason would they have for committing me?

As my mind wandered aimlessly, I was being driven back to the Hunched man’s outpost near Lake Superior. We had spent a good three days, watching the Puritan checkpoint and learnt that no more than twelve officers guard the gate, at any one time. ‘Rudimentary procedures like this’ The Hunched Man often said ‘Will make or break this operation.’ We believed him wholeheartedly. I sat in the passenger side, with Christophe driving and Fredrik in the back.

“Are they going to be much of a problem?” I smiled and attempted to break various layers of ice that surrounded Christophe. “The Guards, I mean.”

“No.” Christophe barely acknowledged my question.

“Come on Christophe, cut the guy some slack, he’s new.” Fredrik’s wide twitching smile defused the atmosphere.

“We’re devising a distraction, the number of guards is irrelevant, we just need to know their protocols.” Christophe’s stern expression loosened.

“I see.” I returned to staring out into the vastness of the open plains.

“You’ll have to excuse Christophe, he’s been through some tough times man.” Fredrik’s nervous eyes began scanning frantically. “He was there when it happened, thousands of Puritans raiding houses, purging.”

“I heard that there were riots, but the Puritan’s only responded, the didn’t instigate anything.”

“You should know by now, you’ve been spoon-fed bullshit by the administration.” Christophe’s voice was surprisingly calm “Everything they’ve ever told you is a lie, designed to keep you, and your officer buddies in check. You’ve been keeping addicts like us busy just long enough for them to prepare another purge.”

Another silence.

“What really happened in D.C?”

Christophe’s face dropped.

“They declared war.” He maintained his iron gaze on the road ahead. “They began to purge D.C of all imperfects; women, children, elderly. They raided buildings and neighborhoods and within hours D.C went dark.”

“Why didn’t the media catch on, there must have been hundreds of thousands of phone calls warning someone outside of D.C?”

“The Puritans claim that it was ‘faulty’ satellites that caused a nationwide cell blackout.”

“Don’t believe that for a second.” Fredrik smiled.

“What about people fleeing from the city?”

“Those that could had no idea what had started the purging. As far as they could tell, it was a citywide riot.”

The pieces fell, as expected, into place. I could finally comprehend the agony that I had seen in all of the Hunched Man’s men. A lifetime of genetic segregation and liquidation, a cover-up that lulled us all into working for the Puritans, making it easy for them to sweep us up and throw us away. We had already lost; it was, as the Hunched Man had said, a case of making one last defiant stand. Once we had arrived back at the outpost, we would begin final preparations for our assault inside the Puritan state. A wave of palpable adrenaline rushed over me; the thrill of taking the fight back to the oppressors. And yet, there was another emotion hidden within the adrenal rush; I was scared. I couldn’t place my trepidation at the time, although I knew that the likelihood of anyone surviving such a mission was slim to none. I imagined, just for a moment, that I was a soldier on the frontline of a great battle, fighting for freedom. I imagined the men around me were my comrades, all clinging on to the dwindling idea of victory, all with wives and children waiting for them to come home safely. And still I had nobody waiting for me, no matter how hard I tried to imagine a family, I could not. Not even my undying tormentor Cynthia could fill the void.

“Hey, you don’t look so good.” Fredrik’s voice peered from behind. “You on something man?”

“No, it’s fine. I-I Just haven’t slept right.”

Fredrick was right; I was definitely on something. Whether it was the crushing hallucinations of a forgotten memory or the overwhelming realization that our government had been completely overrun from the inside by products, I’ll never know. I think that is what sickened me most, the idea that the material had absorbed and removed all of the little imperfections that made humanity, well, humanity. It’s only now that I realize all of the criminals I had detested for their character flaws and selfish nature, were what made mankind the crookedly imperfect race that it is. And together; The Hunched man and his companions stood united, bonded by their imperfections against the plastic world that sought to pave over them. I was proud to stand amongst them.

It was at that precise moment that, as if on cue, a large white vehicle collided into the side of our car, sending us somersaulting in midair. The pain was nonexistent; the shock of the impact rendered me into an almost dreamlike state. I believe you could call it an ‘out of body experience’. The sound of the car returning to earth shattered the unquestionable silence and through me back into my, now bloodied and bruised vessel. We remained upside down. The shredded corpse of Fredrik hung in my peripherals, Christophe’s screams of anguish alerted me to his condition; though bleeding and considerably shaken Christophe looked relatively sufficient.

“F-Fucking Puritans!” Christophe bellowed. “Not like this, not like this. I’m taking you with me you sons of bitches.”

With that Christophe began to sever his seatbelt and climb out of the window. From where I hung I could only see Christophe’s bloodied feet and several pairs of white boots that paced towards him. I flailed around trying to find a way out of the steel wreck.

“Christophe, Run!” My tired lungs hollered.

After a moment I was able to writhe my way out of the car and onto the cold tarmac. Where I saw a small squad of tall white-armored Puritans. Their eyes were empty and malicious, they raised their rifles to Christophe who continued to limp towards them.

“I-If you’re so seamless, then tell me, what would god make of this?” Christophe smiled.

One Puritan stepped forward and met Christophe’s gaze.

“God? God is a concept created by the impure to justify their impurity.” His voice bore no sentiment.

“You can’t take that away from me plastic man. God’s in my heart, deep within my soul. Something the ‘impure’ are born with. What are you born with?”

“Purpose, a future. Something an impure is born without.”

The Puritan raised his rifle to Christophe’s head and fired a single shot, sending Christophe cascading to the ground in a bloodied lifeless mess.

“No!” I bawled.

Before the squad had a chance to advance on me, I began to sprint off into the heavily wooded area just ahead of where the accident had occurred. The cracking of gunshots whizzed past me, narrowly missing my feet. I ran until my lungs bled, for miles and miles, until the sound of shooting and the revving of engines had stopped. My entire body pulsed with exhaustion. I stumbled for a while before collapsing against a tree trunk, unable to control my panting.

“Richard?” a calm and familiar voice echoed. “What are you doing?”

I panicked and searched for the source, scanning in all directions until finally a slender female form emerged from the brush. Cynthia had returned.

“I-I’m tired. I can’t go on.” I wheezed.

Cynthia gracefully walked over and sat next to me.

“You know why they’re hunting you, don’t you?” Her voice was uncomfortably ethereal.

“They want to kill me, f-for working with The Hunched man.”

“It’s your blood Richard. They know what’s in your blood, and so do you.”

I began to weep.

“You’re not real, you moved to D.C.” I began to breakdown. “There’s no way that you could be here.”

Cynthia held out her hand and placed it on mine.

“You’re living a lie Richard, you know why they wanted to take you away at the hospital, before the Hunched man took you, don’t you?”

“No! Fuck you, you’re not real.”

“You know the truth, you just refuse to see it.” Cynthia smiled and placed her hands either side of my face. “You’re not who you think you are.”

“W-Who am I?” Tears now streamed down my face.

Cynthia’s eyes drew me in, our lips centimeters away, when the sound of voices emerged in the distance. As I looked, I saw the flickering to torches in the distance. I turned back to meet Cynthia’s gaze but she had vanished. Another tortuous apparition. Anger washed over me, a foundationless anger that, with no bounds, forced me onto my feet. I stared into the darkness, only the flickering’s of flashlights broke the black curtain that shrouded the woods. I walked towards them, slowly at first but gained speed as I did so. I felt a wave of mental exhaustion, at least if I was captured and executed the torment would end. I drew closer, and closer still until finally the voices became clear. A familiar husky voice.

“If they processed Callahan then they would have already stormed the outpost. They’re waiting for us to find him and bring him back.” The Hunched man barked.

“Then why are we doing exactly what they want us to?’ Phillip Werner queried.

“Because, we need him.”

“Why? Why the hell do we need a dead-beat cop?” Werner began to raise his voice.

“The answer to that question, my dear Phillip, is far too complicated for your drug addled mind to comprehend. I’d also like to remind you why you’re here; I saved you from certain death, do you remember?”

“Yes sir, I’m sorry sir.”

I waited in the bushes, the ever-virulent eavesdropper, who for some reason was indispensible to the Hunched man’s cause. I edged closer in order to grant a view of the search party. As I did so, three shadows emerged, The Hunched man, Werner and Daniel were patrolling the wooded path. Both Werner and Daniel Wielded small automatic rifles.

“Let’s get back to the truck and search in the morning.” Daniel muttered.

“No we must act tonight, before the Puritan’s get wind of our plan.”

“Someone’s already ratted us out!” Werner cried. “How’d they know Richard would be in the car at that time?”

“All the more reason to hurry, don’t you think?” The Hunched man smiled.

Daniel stopped in his track and checked a small device in his pocket, Both Werner and The Hunched man stopped as well.

“What are you waiting for? Let’s make haste.” The Hunched man frowned. “Daniel, what are you doing?”

Without saying a word Daniel turned to face them and raised his rifle. Phillip Werner screamed as a volley of gunfire tore open his chest. The cascades of blood spattered The Hunched man and struck him to the ground.

“Daniel, no stop! You fool!” The Hunched man Begged.

Daniel, with tears down his face walked towards the Hunched man. His hands shaking with divergence.

“I’m Sorry, I-I’m so sorry.” Daniel began to weep uncontrollably. “They have Edward, he’s alive! They told me to spy on you and in exchange they’d return my brother to me.”

“He’s dead Daniel! They’re lying to you, like they’ve lied to all of us.” The Hunched man quaked with fear. “D-Did they ask you to kill me?”

Daniel nodded, clouded by tears and unfathomable grief.

“You know they’ve killed him, you know it deep down. They’re just going to kill you too! P-Please I’m begging you let me finish what we started!”

“It’s too late, they’ll give back my little brother. We’ll live in the retirement camps.” Daniel cocked the gun. “Don’t be afraid, you’ll be at peace.”

“Afraid? Afraid of what? Death? You don’t know fear, you can’t take from me what they haven’t already destroyed, and all I ever had was an opportunity to send them one last defiant message. That’s all I had to live for, that’s all I’d ever bee remembered for! So go ahead, shoot me!”

Daniel hesitated for a second.

“Shoot me!” The Hunched man thundered.

“I’m sorry.” Daniel whispered

“Do it!”

And with one final defiant cry the Hunched man was killed, at the hands of one of his trusted, a man with nothing to lose. Just like the Hunched man himself. An unexpected sense of grief compelled me to stand. A man whom I knew nothing about and had no reason to trust, but likened me self to all the same, believed until his dying breath that he needed to fulfill this one last act. Daniel had collapsed onto his knees and wept, a sad illusion had been presented to him, Edward was dead, and soon Daniel would be too, at the hands of the Puritans. As he wept I moved silently behind him, I was unsure how I would do it, but I knew it needed to be done. I approached slowly and surefootedly, until I was just close enough. I had forgotten my strength, as Daniel struggled for oxygen my arm tensed clutching around his neck more and more until the jolting had stopped. The last few moments caught up with me in one large cluster of emotion, I had killed an armed robber in the line of duty, but I had never killed with my own hands before, and in such a manner.

After a moment or two the device in Daniel’s pocket vibrated. I removed the device from Daniels cooling corpse to see a message displayed on the screen:

Have you completed the task we assigned you?

Once completed return to the outpost for phase two.


More anger, unbearable, obstinate anger that consumed my thoughts. I began to type back to the Puritan officer who had organized this butchery:

All targets eliminated, Richard Callahan has also been dispatched.

Will Report to outpost when available

I intended with every fiber of my being to finish the task that The Hunched Man had set out to complete end what he started. Either way that the plan concluded I had decided that I would not live to see the complete absorption of the U.S. I intended to live on in whatever awaited me after death had its way, for whatever awaited it would be undoubtedly human, imperfect in all the right ways. This was my task.

Moments later, a pair of vivid lights emanated from further down the path. The roar of a truck widened my eyes in panic. No doubt the cold calculative hand of the Puritan would have lingered near. Paralyzed by the bright beams of the vehicle’s headlights, I remained still while the vehicle ground to a halt. As my eyes adjusted to the light I was able to make out a rusted white pickup truck with a large metallic military crate stored in the back. The door swung open rapidly and a tearful Ernie Samuels clambered out.

“Did-did you do this?” Ernie’s face contorted with grief.

“Daniel had been spying for the Puritans” I held my hand out in protest. “I’m sorry.”

Ernie placed his head into his hands and bawled in anguish.

“We need to finish what The Hunched man started, can you do that for me Ernie?”

“They’re dead, they’re all fucking dead.” Ernie squared up and pointed toward me. “This wouldn’t of happened if The Hunched man hadn’t wasted all that time looking for you!”

“What are you talking about? I was looking for him.”

“No! No! No! The operation was supposed to happen months ago, but then Edward was sent to you, as soon as The Hunched man saw you on that camera, he flipped, changing the whole plan.”

“Why me? God damn it, why me?”

Ernie wiped tears from his face.

“He said he knew you, he said he knew all about you, and that he never thought he’d see you again.”

A cold sharp spike ran down my back.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I began to hyperventilate. “That’s bullshit!”

“He said something about a manifest, back at the outpost, you’re in that.” Ernie stared into the dirt.

My mind was alight, pillars of understanding collapsed, the fabric of my very mind unraveling, I needed to see that manifest. I walked toward Ernie and held out my hand.

“Give me the keys, now.”

Ernie stared blankly at me.
“They’ll find you, Richard, they always do.” Ernie handed the keys and stood in front of the truck.

“You can’t stay here! Come on.” I beckoned. “Let’s go!”

Ernie stared blankly once more.

“Where are you going? You can’t hide from them.” Ernie chuckled lightly. “Hell, you can run, but they always find what they want.”

“I’m not running, I’m getting to that outpost and then I’m going straight into the Puritan state to finish this.”

Ernie chuckled emphatically.

“No, I think I’ll stay here. Always did want to die under the stars.” Ernie picked up Daniel’s machine gun and sat by a nearby tree. “You go ahead.”

“Very well Ernie.”

I turned to enter the truck before Ernie spoke his last.

“Non quomodo Deus voluit.” Ernie chortled. “The Hunched man used to say it.”

“What does it mean?” I stopped without turning.

“Not as god intended.”

I started the truck and reversed back on to the main road. I felt cold and strangely impassive, not knowing for certain if Ernie had killed himself, or if he simply waited for mortality to claim him. I drove wrathfully towards the outpost, using only fragmented memories of near by landmarks to navigate. Tears in my eyes and fear in my heart I drove heedlessly through the wooded valley, until the lumbering outpost came into view, a brief calming sensation washed over before I noticed a distinct white Puritan patrol vehicle was parked just outside of the complex. One of the officers had just noticed me when I pushed the accelerator hard against the floor of the truck. A volley of gunfire punctured holes in the windshield as I sped uncontrollably toward the officer. An ear-shattering thud followed by the flailing corpse of the Puritan caused me to smash my foot onto the breaks. The truck slid for a meter or so before coming to a halt. I paused for a moment and scanned the truck for some kind of weapon; to my great frustration there was little more than a lead pipe in the back. Any rational minded person would have decided against walking into an obvious trap with nothing but a rusted lead pipe to defend himself, but I needed to see that file, or die trying.

The ground crunched under my feet as I tread cautiously toward the door of the outpost. My knuckles white against the pipe, my heart pounding drowning out the rest of the world around me. I placed my hand on the door handle and pushed violently taking cover by the doorframe. Silence. I peered inside to see sheer darkness, and crept in slowly and scanned for the nearest light switch. As expected a shot rang out through the large warehouse narrowly missing my foot.

“No, No stop! What are you doing?” A clear English accent echoed, one I had not heard before. “It’s not Hank. Hold your fire.”

With a blinding flash the warehouse lights were switched on. After a moment of utter blindness I was able to make out three Puritan officers and a well-suited man with thinning hair and crescent rimmed glasses. He stared empathetically.

“Lower your weapons. “ He stepped forward and motioned to a small table in the middle of the warehouse. “Have a seat Richard.”

“Who the hell are you?” My teeth ground with anger.

“I’m a dear old friend Richard, please have a seat?’

“Do I have a choice?”

“Richard, you always have a choice.”

Reluctantly I sat on one of the metal chairs, upon which the well-suited man gracefully removed his jacket and placed it over the chair. He fumbled with some of the papers on the table and then proceeded to stare at me quizzically.

“Just how much do you know?”

I chuckled satirically.

“Who are you?”

“I’m surprised Richard, that you don’t remember me, my name is Doctor Joseph Heade. I was one of the twelve that helped initiate the Puritan program. I oversaw all of the test phases.” Heade smiled with a self-righteous grin.

“They haven’t sent you to a retirement camp yet?” I teased.

“No, quite the contrary I have a lovely house in D.C. but we’re not here to discuss that. I have to be honest Richard; this is not how we had planned things to happen. Hank has tripped us up at every turn, except for one unexpected advantage, you.”

“Hank?”

“I see, no doubt he’s been using his ‘street name’. The hunched man, was known as Hank long before any of this happened. Hank was not a deformed child. He was a marvel of medical science; his brain activity levels were beyond anything else in recorded history.”

The sinking feeling had returned, bile filled my brain; it had become impossible to track the lies amongst the truth.

“He was a Puritan?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. He was part of the first generation of genetically assembled beings. He was number seven of fourteen.”

“The first experiments?”
“Most of them died days after we birthed them, all of them were deformed physically. But number seven was different; he began to repeat words that he had heard from the staff.”

“But the Hunched- I mean Hank looked older than you.”

“An unfortunate side effect. But we decided to manage it, control it, and now today we can grow a fully formed Puritan in days.”

I placed my head into my hands.

“Why are you telling me all of this? How do you know who I am?”

“Richard there’s a lot you need to know before we conclude this meeting.”

“You tell me right now or so help me god, I’ll bring this pipe to your fucking skull!” I seethed with anger. “What the fuck is going on?”

“Hank’s operation into the Puritan state was nothing more than a vengeance plot; he hated me and the Puritan’s for what he was. He felt, false.”

“He was right. I watched him die, I watched Daniel Crosby kill him for his brother’s return. You lied to him.”

Heade smiled awkwardly, before shuffling through more papers, he held up a green file.

“Hank escaped the laboratories one night and grabbed the entire production manifest. This file could undo everything we’ve tried to achieve.”

“Good, Hank said there was something about me in there, what did he mean?”

“In order for you to understand the answer to that question we need to explain to you the process, okay?”

I nodded grudgingly.

“Hank escaped midway through, what we called, ‘Generation Two’; our second attempt at the Puritan program. There were over two hundred subjects, and I remember every single one. The Generation Two strain was physically successful, but mentally unreliable. After a painful test period we discovered that the problem was human emotion; the subjects refused to believe that they were artificial, and their mind refused to accept the lack of memory that your typical adult would have.”

“So they all went mad?”

“For the most part, yes. But the real problem was the brain’s attempt to…fill in the spaces in the subject’s mind. Simply put, they began to create their own memories, utter fantasy and often resulted in a mental breakdown of irreparable proportions.”

“Was it worth it?” I folded my arms in disapproval.

“You tell me Richard? The Generation three strain you see behind me is more perfect than we could possibly have hoped for.”

“What happened to the generation two subjects?”

Heade motioned to the Puritan officers, who ensued to aim their weapons candidly towards me.

“Well, in truth we aren’t sure. There was simply too many to execute, so we decided to run an additional test.”

“Sir, Daniel Crosby is dead.” One of the officers held his hand to his headset.

“I know.” Heade smiled. “As I was saying, we introduced the more stable subjects into the real world, using their own falsified memories to place them in whatever scenario they believed there were in.”

“No. That. What the fuck does that have to do with me?” I began to squirm in my chair, my hands clenched to the arms of the chair.

“I think you already know Richard.” Heade’s smile dropped. “Let me ask you a question, what was your fathers name?”

A head splitting agony ran through my skull, the room around me blurred.

“I-I don’t know.”

“And your brother, or even your mother for that matter?” Heade leaned forward. “Have you ever been to the hospital for an illness? Or a genetic disorder?”

Nausea is an underrated sensation, my entire stomach felt as though it was going to fall out of my mouth.

“I-I don’t remember.”

Heade leapt from his chair and held out his arms enthusiastically.

“You were assembled in twenty-seventeen, and introduced straight into the Chicago police department. Obviously we couldn’t alert you or anyone close to you of your situation otherwise it might have triggered a severe breakdown. Would you like to know the positive thing about it all? You did fantastically, far better than we could ever have guessed.”

“You…you knew all along? Y-You were watching me?” I struggled to maintain a clear image of Heade.

“No no no, Richard, give us some regard, we entrusted you to look after yourself. We valued you as a human being where no one else could.”

“My family, my home, Cynthia, all lies?” My chest grew heavy and my breathing tight.

My mind had collapsed, nay, my entire world had collapsed around me; pieces of the sky had crushed the warehouse and left me standing amidst the rubble of my false past. I had descended into nonexistence; what am I?

“Richard, are you still with us?”

The warehouse came into focus.

“Yes, I just…it all seemed so real.”

“And to you it really was, everything was running according to plan, until Hank sent Edward over the border. As I’m sure you’re aware, Hank has been causing us trouble since he escaped. I’ll be honest with you, we slipped up; Hank had access to the sewer system that leads directly into the Puritan state, and we can’t find out where he’d been accessing it. Did he show you where?”

I hung my head in dejection. Hank had, indeed, shown me the entrance tunnel. I struggled to push the words out of my mouth, my head now blistered with agony.

“What am I?”

Heade frowned and sat back in his chair.

“You’re a medical marvel, you and Hank were our most successful products.” Heade removed his glasses and smiled unnaturally. “Where is the access tunnel?”

“Exactly, a product. An item, an object, perishable and expendable, why the hell should I help you?”

“Because Hank is dead, the operation is over. We simply want to know, for security reasons, where the tunnel is.”

“All I have to do is get that crate on the other side of the border and detonate it, it’d be close enough to destroy every subject in your central processing facility.”

“I don’t think you’d want to detonate it, you don’t know what it’s like on the other side of that wall do you?” Heade gurgled.

“I don’t care what’s over there, I’ll finish what we started.”

Heade’s temper flared.

“Richard, don’t you get the irony here? You’re one of them! A Puritan, a perfect human, save only for your fractured mind. Your emotions have prevented you from being all you can be. We can fix that if you show us where the tunnel is.”

“My emotions are the only thing that make me remotely human.”

Heade snapped, in a fit of rage he through the table over, scattering the papers to the wind. The Puritan officers remained calm and aimed their weapons accordingly.

“Human! Human! You’re a product Mr. Callahan; you’re as false as this jacket. You’ll never be human! Nor would you want to be.” Saliva fumed from Heade’s mouth. “You have no idea how soul crushing it is to be human; I wake everyday knowing that I have cancer! That soon I will die, like a diseased dog on my knees. I’ll never have the chance to be perfect, I pray you feel my pain Richard!”

Heade paced in anger before beckoning one of the Puritan officers over. The officer handed Heade his rifle and retreated to the side.

“As imperfect as you feel, you’re human. You’re perfectly imperfect, unlike me Dr. Heade. Non quomodo Deus voluit.” A singular tear rolled down my cheek. “Emotion is all I have now, you have memories, good ones and bad.”

“Wait, what did you say? Non quomodo Deus voluit, what does that mean?” Heade panted.

I smiled for a moment knowing that The Hunched man would have been proud.

“It means, not as God intended.”

Heade aimed the rifle.

“Where’s the access tunnel?”

“Death? You’re threatening me with death? What makes you think I’m afraid of that now?”

“Nothing, I’m threatening you with pain.”

A loud crack followed by a searing pain in my chest produced a vile scream. Heade’s rifle smoked. I clasped at the wound, blood seeping through my fingers. Heade crouched down toward me and smiled.

“You’re human enough to feel that, I hope.” Heade returned the rifle. “Last chance?”

“I-I c-can t-take it.”

Heade drew his foot and kicked me off of the chair and onto the cold unforgiving warehouse floor. I writhed in pain before he returned. I rolled on to my front and tried to crawl back to the chair, my hands scratching at the floor.

“Do you know what I’m going to do?” Heade ground his teeth. “I’m going to leave you here, to die alone. You see, you can’t threaten what we’ve created. Our utopia will be beyond individual comprehension, once our kind dies out, the Puritan’s will lead a new progressive cycle in humanities wake, as a unified people devoid of race coluor or creed and emotion. They’re perfect and I assure you Richard, as god truly intended.”

I rolled onto my back, staring at the ceiling. The puritan ideal had come from men who despised imperfection, even in themselves. They created a system where by products would replace humanity. I needed to get to the border, I needed to finish what we started, to make one last statement against the dehumanization of humanity.

“I’ll make it to the border, I’ll make my stand.” My bloodied gums splattered the ground.

“Let me show you. Let me show you why you will never be able to finish Hank’s genocide.” Heade motioned once again to the Puritan officers. “Pick him up and put him in the truck, bring the military crate as well.”

I began to snicker uncontrollably.

“You’re going to take me straight there? You are imperfect.” I snorted.

Without saying a word Heade picked his jacket up and marched over to the door. The three Puritan officers grabbed me securely by the arms and heaved me toward the door. My eyes grew heavy from blood loss and soon all I could hear was the sound of my shoes dragging across the concrete floor. I had delved deep into my own mind, my eyes now firmly closed, I didn’t know if I was still alive.

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Jake E. Sampson

Jake E. Sampson was born in a small, quirky, town in the United Kingdom, from there he attended University in Cardiff and eventually followed the writer’s calling to Los Angeles. He is a writer, director, musician and lover of all things dark. Writing a series of short stories: some science fiction, some crime thriller, others horror Jake draws influence from: Clive Barker, H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Phillip K. Dick, Chuck Palahniuk, Mary Shelly, Stieg Larsson.

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