(I’ve once again entered the NYC writing challenge. It is amusing that I write “once again” which implies I have done this many times, and that is simply not true. It is only my second time playing this game. Posted below is my first entry. I was given the genre of Action/Adventure, the setting; A Train Yard, and I had to use the word Peach in my story. I had 48 hours to write 1,000 words. I received five points which put me in the top ten in my heat. I think that’s pretty cool.)
The Doctor’s Order
The whistle from a train woke Steve with a jolt. He winced from the pain in his side caused by the bullet. It had gone clean through him, but missed his vital organs. He pressed his hand to the wound and leaned up against the trunk of a tree. Flood lights from the train yard poured between the shrubs and bushes where he had been hiding. The last thing he remembered before passing out was Max yelling, “I’ll get the shit! Stay awake!”
The air was filled with smoke from the fire and blotted out the stars. He sniffed the warm night air. Chemicals. They were burning. Who knew what kind of shit was frying in that institution of horror. It needed to burn, the papers, the experiments, the workers, and especially the doctor.
Steve felt dehydrated. He remembered the peach that he grabbed from the ground from one of the doctor’s orchards where they left Clair’s stiff, but living body. He pulled it from his coat pocket and took a desperate bite nearly choking on the sweet juice. It was overripe and slightly bruised leaving a rotten aftertaste. He didn’t care he was thirsty, and in need of something to satiate his thirst. He threw the pit into the darkness and wiped his fingers over his pants. They were sticky. Sticky from peach and blood. He ignored this like he ignored the bruised fruit.
He heard yells and frenzied footsteps. Where was Max, he wondered. Their time was running out. He dragged himself through the dirt and shrubs till he could get to a spot where he could see and remain hidden. Through a space in some prickly bushes he could see men running around the train yard and jumping the tracks. He scanned the cargo cars for something, anything, that gave him a clue to where Max could be. They were dying all three of them.
Steve could hardly acknowledge the last thirty-eight hours as being real. The night before last they were having dinner with the doctor. Having conversations with his overtly charming wife and and his towheaded twins. Clair had leaned into Steven’s ear and whispered, “Don’t the children seem a little Step-fordy to you?” Clair had instinct. She always had had instinct. For years’ the doctor’s strange behavior had been chalked up to quirkiness and eccentricity. Clair had always suspected that there was something a little off with the doctor, but Steve had brushed her suspicions aside as being hypersensitive and judgmental, and now because of him, the muscles in her body were slowly turning into a cemented state, an agonizing metamorphous, till the last muscle, her heart would freeze.
A wonderful experiment in biological warfare. That’s what the doctor called it. Top-secret and military bound if his viruses worked, but he needed to test on people. After, secretly injecting the three of them in various ways, through food, or wine, or even a drink of water, the doctor took them on a stroll through his garden. I have something very special to share with the three of you, he had said.
His backyard was an animal graveyard. Horrible sounds of pain from the creatures that were still alive filled the yard like an opera of death. Dying had to be slow and painful, the doctor had said, in case they want to get some information out of a prisoner. There are of course antidotes, he said, somewhere in the train yard.
Real Dean R. Koontz kind of shit, Max had said after the three of them had watched the hospital explode. That’s when Clair began screaming. Her virus was beginning to take effect. It had all been a game for the doctor.
There was a terrifying yell from the train yard. It was Max. Steve shifted his body to look in the direction the scream. On the top of a train car he could see the silhouette of a man bent forward and clawing at his stomach. It was the disease. What the doctor gave to Max. A virus that effected the brain like a kind of schizophrenia causing the person to tear open their own stomach and remove their guts with their bare hands.
It’s Here!” Max managed to screamed.
Steve’s mind quickly jumped to Clair. He wondered if she was still alive and would they be able to save her. Shots fired through the air. Max’s body shuddered violently then collapsed onto the train car.
“We got him!” Someone yelled.
“Max.” Steve whispered. What could he do? He was injured, shot and loosing blood. His virus hadn’t taken hold yet, and the doctor never told him what it was that would happen to him. It seemed lost. He had to move. Steve prepared to haul himself up and braced himself to absorb the pain, but as he rose to his feet he felt nothing. He stood there for a minute waiting to see if he would pass out again or if the pain would return, but it didn’t, in fact he felt stronger, even somewhat energized. He lifted the blood soaked shirt to look at his wound. Nothing. His skin was crusted with dried blood but there wasn’t a hole just a red blemish where the hole had been. Self healing. Biological warfare. Something for the soldiers, he thought. A rage surged inside him burning his lungs and overwhelming his muscles. He felt Hulkish. It wasn’t too late the mission had not yet been accomplished. There was still a chance to get the antidotes and save Clair. The fools in the train yard were nothing to him. He lunged in the direction of Max’s limp hanging body. The antidote was there. He felt giant like a tank. He stormed into the floodlights as the barrels of multiple guns swung toward him, but he wasn’t afraid he was the monster now. He would leave his antidote in the train yard. He didn’t need it.