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Horror Thriller Fiction

The plaque to the right of the door read “Genetic Research”. The pair stood in front of it like they were expected to answer a riddle for it to open, like in fantasy stories.

“Are you sure this is okay?” asked Marty.

“By okay, are you asking if we're allowed? Even after we disabled the cameras and are now currently engaged in the picking of the lock that prevents us the entrance that we so desire? No, it's not okay,” said Will as he laid out his lock picking kit that he ordered from the internet.

“I mean, how much trouble do you think we'll get in if we get caught? They won't even let people look in the door when it's open.” Marty wrung his hands as he stood by the door. He looked on either side of the hallway as if someone would come around the corner at the wrong time.

“Probably a lot,” said Will as he picked the lock that kept them from their goal. “But the way I see it, we're only doing what they expect us to do.”

“Why would they expect us to do this? You lost me, there.”

“Well, think about it. They scheduled us to be the only two people here during a very expected blizzard, right?”

“Right.”

“And that blizzard has dumped enough snow to not only block the doors of the building but also lock the city down so no one can go anywhere, right?”

“Yeah.”

"To top it off, they have one room in the building that we, the functional plebeians of the company, are not allowed to go in that is locked with a simple number key lock. I mean the company has enough money to put a retinal recognizing laser whats-it but instead, they chose this measly thing. You can look up the directions on how to pick it on the internet. Which I did. Now I don't know about you but to me, that just shouts the unheard order of 'hey guys. Why don't you go find out what's in that room that you're not allowed in.'"

“Yeah, but what would we do...”

“Got it,” said Will as he finally unlocked the door. It clicked as it swung open. “Sir, I would like to extend the honor for you to be the first to enter this forbidden chamber.” He waved his hand into the doorway like an usher at a movie theater.

“Huh?”

“That means, you can go first.”

“Oh.”

“Well, don't be scared. Get going.”

The blizzard in question had snowed over a foot so far with gusts up to 50 mph. It reduced viability so much that most of the roads were closed. Snow had pilled up in front of the doors and windows to the point that they couldn't be opened, anymore. The main door at the front slid sideways but a wall of snow was blown up against it. So they still couldn't leave unless they dug their way out.

When they entered the room they found boring desks, covered with boring papers with terms and formulas on them that neither one of them was able to understand. Along the walls were centrifuges and racks of test tubes of various colors. Will found a standard white refrigerator. He opened it and found more test tubes in Styrofoam holders. They were labeled with masking tape and letters written in black marker. One of the sets was prominently in the front like it was recently used that read "Zagreus VI"

“I wonder what happened to the first five Zagreuses,” said Will under his breath.

“What's that?” asked Marty.

“Nothing. There's just this thing in here that says Zagreus VI.”

“What's a Zagreus?”

“The Greek god of mysteries, hunting and rebirth.” Will shut the refrigerator door.

“Sounds spooky. I'm bored.”

"I know, right. You'd think there'd be something much cooler in here with that much hype. Maybe that's why they had such a cheap lock on the door."

“Yeah. Let's get out of here.”

No sooner did they make for the door did they hear groaning from another room. To the far end of the room, they entered was an open door that leads to another room. It was a mix of someone waking up in the morning and gargling tacks, expelled like someone took a deep breath and just let it escape without forcing it.

“Hello? Is someone there?” asked Marty.

“Well don't announce that we're here. Dummy. Remember, we're not supposed to be in here. Let's just go.”

The groan came again. It was almost as mechanical as the wind through a patch of trees. The pair looked at each other, curious.

“Let's go see if they're okay,” said Marty.

Will nodded his head. The expression on his face was that of curiosity and apprehension. “But be quiet. We'll just take a look, first. Okay?” he asked in a hushed tone.

“Yeah, okay. But he sounds hurt. I think they need our help.”

They quietly stepped to the door and did their best to not let whoever was in the room hear them approach. Though it wasn't much use if they already heard the pair call to them. Will leaned his head in just a little to see what was in the room. He found a medical table in the center and the top of a woman's head facing them. Her hair was a mix of black and gray. He could see her hand to the side of her and what looked like a leather bracelet.

Will looked back to Marty. He pointed to the scene with this thumb. Marty came around and looked into the room for himself.

"Will! They have an old lady tied up in there! What's wrong with people?"

“Let's go get her out.”

The two of them jumped up and stormed into the room.

“Ma'am, it's okay. We're here to help you,” said Marty.

The woman on the medical bed groaned and tried to lift herself up.

“No, don't try to get up. We'll undo your straps. Can you tell us your name?”

The woman groaned and did her best to lift her head.

“Marty, don't you think it's a little odd that...”

“Ma'am keep calm. I can't get your hand free if you fight like that.”

“Marty!”

“What?”

“Look over there.”

Marty looked towards the other side of the room to find a man standing in place behind a barred metal door. His clothes were torn and his skin was a shade of dirty gray. His face looked decomposed. His cheeks had rotted away and part of his nose was missing. His eyes were milky white like he had cataracts in both of them. He looked like he should have been blind, but he also looked like he was watching the pair from behind the metal barred door. But he wasn't groaning or trying to get out. He was just standing in place and watching with them with eyes that shouldn't be able to see.

Marty continued to undo the straps on the woman. “What are they doing down here?”

“I don't know. But I'm starting to think we shouldn't be in here. Maybe we should just call the cops,” said Will.

“But then they'll know we were here. We could lose our jobs for this, you said.”

“Yeah, but... Marty, watch out!”

Marty had unfastened the woman's restraints and she leaned forward. She almost bit his hand when Will said something. Marty yanked his hand back, just in time.

“Look lady,” said Marty. “I don't know what they've done to you but I'm not trying to hurt you.” He patted his chest and said, “Me friend Marty. Friend.”

She leaned forward and opened her mouth to try and bite him, again. Marty stepped back and she fell on the floor, trying to follow him. As she did, she fell on him and knocked him to the ground.

Marty crawled backward to try to get away from her. "Christ! Get off of me."

The lady bit him in the ankle so hard she drew blood. Marty cried out in pain and kicked her in the face, trying to crawl backwards to get away.

Will grabbed him by the armpits and yanked back to get him away from her. “Get away from him!” he yelled at her.

The lady swung her arm wildly to try and catch him again while moaning. It was like she tried to say something but forgot how, so her lungs and mouth just tried. As if they were trying to remember what speech was like.

The man in the cage moaned and pushed against the door to try to open it. It was locked and just clanged when he pushed on it. He seemed to get frustrated at it so he pushed harder and moaned louder. When it wouldn't budge, he grabbed it and pushed and pulled so much that it made a continuous racket.

“Let's get out of here,” said Will as he helped Marty to his feet. “We were never here.”

"Yeah, agreed." He hobbled out, leaning against Will as the lady pushed herself along the floor to chase them. She followed them out, taking swipes at them every time she'd get close enough.

“Why do you have to be so heavy?” asked Will.

“You're seriously complaining when this was your idea?”

The lady took another swipe and caught Will's ankle and pulled. Both of them toppled to the floor like a tree. She opened her mouth for another bite, but Will yanked his foot back before she could. He kicked her in the face as hard as he could but she stood her ground and tried to grab him, again. He kicked her over and over as hard as he could until he drew his foot back and saw that he'd broken her jaw and annihilated her nose. And still, she came for him. She kept trying to grab him and biting the air.

Marty had pulled himself up by the door frame and grabbed Will by the leg and arm and yanked him out of the room. He slammed the door shut. The lady pulled herself up to it and pounded on it with her whole arm, trying to get it to open.

“Christ, what was that?” asked Marty. “I mean, it was an old lady. But that was no old lady.”

“Zagreus. Now it makes sense,” said Will.

“English. Zagre-who? What does that mean?” Marty tried to catch his breath and leaned up against the door. The lady behind it slammed on it with her arm, again. “Can you please stop doing that?” he yelled to her. She responded with a loud moan that almost sounded like she said something.

“Re-birth is one of his things, right? It wouldn't surprise me if they were trying to bring people back to life.”

“Zombies. Why did it have to be zombies? I would've taken vampires, werewolves... A witch would have been awesome. Especially a really hot one. I hate dead people.” The lady behind the door slammed on it again. Marty slammed his head back on it to respond to her. “Cut it out!”

“How bad is that bite?” asked Marty. “Since we're on the subject.”

“It's actually not that bad. She broke the skin but it's no worse than a chihuahua bite. It mainly hurts from getting bent backward when she toppled me over.” He brought out his foot to show him. It was already filled with puss.

“You really should get to an emergency room to get that cleaned out and get some antibiotics in you. That looks nasty.”

“Good thing they had us work during a blizzard. You know, so we can't leave.”

"Let me grab the first aid kit. They probably have some rubbing alcohol. I'll be right back," Will got up and scurried off to get the kit.

“Don't worry about me. I'll just hang out here with the dead guys.” The lady behind the door banged on it, again. “It's a good thing you're already dead!”

Will went into the other room and rummaged through the cabinets. "Of course most places would have a thing hanging on the wall with a red cross on it so that everyone knows where the first aid stuff is. But does this company? Of course not. That would mean they care about their employees. They would want their employees to have quick and efficient access to possibly life-saving bandages and aspirin and whatever else is in a first aid kit that I wouldn't know about because I can't find it." Will looked around at the floor. "Maybe it's in the manager's desk. Why not? I bet that little weasel would make us beg for a bandage if this place ever caught on fire and we needed to treat a third-degree burn. Forget people dying. That little jerk needs to feel important. And that's more important than dying from an infection due to burned off skin." He emptied the desk and didn't find it. "Of course it's not in there. Where would... The break room!" Will ran over to the over-sized closet that they called a break room. It wasn't much more than a table and a counter with a coffee machine and microwave with a cabinet underneath. He threw open the cabinet door and found a shoebox. He opened it and found what he was looking for. It was filled with cheap bandages, two pairs of tiny scissors and a travel-sized container of rubbing alcohol. "Finally!" he exclaimed as he tucked the box under his arm and ran back to tend to Marty.

When he got there, Marty was gone and the door was open. “Marty?” he called. No one answered and no one was in the hallway. “You've got to be kidding me.” He peeked into the room to see if he was in there and see what happened to that woman. Neither one was in there. It was a jumbled mess that looked like they had a burglary, but that's how they left it when they tried to get away from her. The man behind the cage was still there and he watched Will, the same as he did, before. Will waved to him, out of jest and trying to break the tension.

Will walked out and explored the hallways. He called "Marty? Marty, can you hear me? This is no time for jokes, man! If you're not on the ground in a coma, I swear I'll put you in one!" But Marty didn't respond. If he had his number, he could just call him on his cell. But he didn't. He took out his phone and looked at it anyway, only to be reminded that he doesn't get reception inside the building, anyway.

He made his way to the front of the building and could hear the automatic doors slide open and closed. “Marty?” he called. He didn't get an answer but jogged to the building's entrance, anyway. He found Marty standing in front of the sliding doors, watching as they opened and shut. As soon as the doors met, they would open all the way then repeat the cycle. When they opened, they revealed the wall of snow that had blown up against it that prevented them from leaving.

“Oh, thank god I found you. Why didn't you answer? It's depressing, isn't it?” Will asked.

Marty stood motionless and watched the doors as they opened and closed.

“Hey, don't get mad at me. I had to look all over to find the stupid first aid kit. It turns out it was in the break room. Good thing you weren't bleeding to death, right?”

Marty didn't turn around to thank him or yell at him. He just kept standing in the same spot and watching the doors.

"Well, you're obviously fine. You can get it yourself next time. Are you going to answer me?" Will became immediately aware of what must be going on. He called "Marty!" as he ran to turn him around and see his face. But halfway there, the power cut out and turned the entrance completely dark. Will couldn't see an inch in front of his face. "Marty? Marty are you there? Oh god." He could hear himself breathe and he could hear the shuffling of feet across the short carpet of the entrance. The feet sounded heavy and one sounded like it was dragged along the floor in a slow limp. Will heard a moan that sounded mechanical and drawn out. Will tried to back up from it but in the pitch blackness of the room, he couldn't tell if he was backing himself up into a corner.

The emergency lights clicked on from the wall behind him. Will could see the face of Marty, inches in front of him. His eyes were milky white and all the color drained from his face. His mouth hung open and drool trailed out of the corner.

Will managed to quell the terror just enough to try to talk to him. But “Marty...” was all he got out before the old woman bit him in the lower leg and he dropped to the ground. No one heard Will scream for his life when Marty and the old lady ate him alive.

Months later, a man in Detroit turns on his TV. A commercial begins with a beautiful young girl holding a jar of face cream. She looks directly into the camera and says, “I only trust Zagreus to make me look young and vibrant. With a thin application every day, it can do the same for you. Zagreus. Because you deserve it.”

January 17, 2021 00:25

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