Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Omikron Plague : Part 3 : And Then The Rains Came

[Warning : This story contains ideas that may offend, shock, or just gross people out. Please remember that it's just an SF story and not intended to be taken too seriously. PS - it's also copyright dr_eamer 2007]

"What happens in the chapels?"
"I'll tell you when you're older."
"You said you'd tell me everything."
"I will. When you're older."
"I might not want to know when I'm older. I want to know now."
I gave what my programmer would have a called 'a sigh of resignation.' "All right. They sacrifice children."
"What children? Who?"
"Children from the poorer countries. During sacred ceremonies they place a young boy or girl, not yet ten years of age, on a conveyor strip that takes them up a ramp and into a furnace."
Shock, disgust, then anger crossed the boy's face like clouds across a moderately windy sky.
"But - but why? How could people possibly do that?"
"They believe the God of the Folding Green will bless them with fortune."

- Conversations with the Forgotten Child - Scri-bot 256/12B

The raindrops fell, whizzing past her face like burning matches. One glanced off the back of her hand and the woman cried out as the skin there started to bubble and bleed.

Alice shook the stinging drops of rain from her hair as she fled for cover. Steam was rising from the street in vapourous swirls. The increasingly frequent acid drops caused garbage and discarded rubber tyres to hiss and fold in on themselves, throwing up acrid odours into the air, which somehow managed to worm their way through the protection of her mask.

A doorway provided her with temporary shelter, raindrops falling and bouncing near her ankle-boots. She shifted the bundle from one arm to the other, and glanced down through her smudged goggles to check the tightness of the blanket.

"It'll be okay," she said as if to herself, looking up and down the street taking in her bearings. "We're almost there."

The sky to the east showed a bright glow on the underside of the mucus-coloured clouds, coming from the Interplanetary Terminal launchpad lights just a block or two away, and Alice could hear the warbled monotone of announcements over a PA system between thunder cracks. Pod tubes wound their way through the air overhead like spaghetti, no doubt speeding those evacuees who could afford it to the Terminal in safety and comfort. And time.

After examining the blisters on her hands, Alice delved into a pouch strung inside her cloak and took out a silver sachet. Emergency Rain Alkali . She tore it open and sprinkled the white powder onto bubbles of broken skin, wincing as it made contact. Looked like she'd got some burns from that radioactive zombie ex-colleague she'd 'bumped into' too. The geiger on her wrist-com registered some excess activity, no doubt some of it coming from itself because that arm had been closest to the ... thing.

"Seven minutes and forty three seconds till lift off," the com informed. Alice made a growling sound beneath the mask, and forced herself to focus, to keep it together. So close now. Don't blow it, Alice.

The tiny map on the com screen showed a red line going down this street, turning right, then right again, and then left a block over. She could just see the first corner through the maelstrom of rain and smoke. There was no way she would survive that journey out in the open. There had to be another way. On the map was her final obstacle - a grey building that the red line skirted around. She clicked on it. Toyota-Ford Pod Construction. The floors above ground were deserted, but several floors below ground level were still in use, according to the pop up window.

She squinted through the sheets of rain and rising smoke at the building opposite. The sign above the doors had been eroded beyond legibility, and the outer surface of the walls showed the destructive results of being open to decades' worth of vengeful nature.

But, and this is where her heart tripped, one of the ground floor windows was broken, and could be a possible means of entry.

Alice turned and searched for something to cover her head with. An iron sign, barely clinging to the wall nearby looked big enough, and after a few tugs it came away in her hands. She lay it at an angle against the wall and stepped on it, bending it into a roof-shape.

With the bundle held firmly against her chest in one arm, the other hand balancing the apex of the bent sign above her head, she paused. Alice took a deep breath and said a silent prayer to whoever would listen.

Then she braved the burning downpour.

To be continued ...


Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

Its almost like your teasing us on purpose, keep writing!

8:59 am  
Blogger shannon said...

true true. the suspense...

4:51 am  
Blogger dr eamer said...

Shucks, thanks folks ... :) I'll try and make the chapters longer next time, but I just tend to naturally run out of steam after about a page and a half. Glad you're enjoying it though.

10:16 am  
Blogger dr akula said...

Not bad. Needs more blood. More gore.

10:47 am  
Blogger dr eamer said...

Gore? We did Gore already - Inconvenient Truth, remember?

11:28 am  

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