Kendall and the Kelenken

Submitted into Contest #150 in response to: Write a story where an algorithm plays an important role.... view prompt


Fantasy Science Fiction Thriller

This story contains sensitive content

Contains Violence, Adult Language and Themes, Reader Discretion is advised.

Somewhere near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thousands of electronic server raids hummed around a massive CPU. They processed disparate pieces of information until they created an algorithmic whole!

Martin Breesdale’s khaki cargo shorts rubbed against some tall grass as he escorted his girlfriend over several large stones in a stream. Her white summer dress blended in with the birch trees above, whose green leaves and branches stirred from the currents of the wind. The young couple continued walking until they stopped near a cliff. Beneath them was a majestic view of Big Iron village and the surrounding countryside. Rolling hills embanked the town as farmers’ fields proceeded in a checkerboard pattern until they reached-

“Marty, it’s beautiful!” said Kendall.

“I thought you’d like the view!” he kissed her on the cheek, then stood beside her.

“What’s that in the distance?” she pointed to a large cluster of buildings on a mountainside across them. One particular rectangular-shaped building stood out because of an enclosed glass corridor on one side.

“That’s Ft. Destiny,” Martin pointed as the buildings began to uproot themselves off the ground, “I work there!”

“Marty!” said Kendall, “The site is moving!”

“I know,” he looked at the building complex as it eerily sailed through the air and made its way toward them. Clumps of dirt fell onto the farms, fields, and local roads below. Roots of overgrown plants resembled tentacles, as they stretched out from their earthen platform.

“Marty, it’s coming closer!” Kendall said, alarmed, “what are we doing up here anyway?” she removed her left hand from his grip.

“Admiring the view!” He said in a monotonous tone.

“Marty this is ridiculous!” Kendall noticed trickles of blood running down his eyes and nose, “I thought you were going to-”

“No, it’s not!” He cut her off, “What should I be doing?”

“I thought you were going to propose for one thing!”

“Why would I do that?” He asked coldly.

“Because I thought you loved me?” Kendall watched as the military base hovered within a few hundred of them.

“I don’t love you that much!” He grabbed her by the shoulders and then rotated towards the approaching structures.

“Marty, what are you doing?” She struggled to break free from his grasp.

“Honoring my god, with a blood sacrifice!”

“Marty, no!” Kendall screamed as the glass dome of the rectangular building formed a set of jagged teeth, which began chomping as Martin threw her in-

Kendall awoke to thunderous vibrations on the ceiling. She breathed heavily, then wiped the sweat from her forehead. Three days of this shit already! The thought lingered as she removed her covers and climbed out of bed, and made her way to the second bathroom. Kendall could hear voices beyond the bathroom door as she put on a bathrobe. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail as she convened with her sister.

“It’s been almost a month since I’ve been here… And that fucking guy upstairs!” Kendall pointed to the ceiling, “can’t keep quiet at all!” she said as she straightened out her pink bathrobe.

“Alright!” Shouted Katie, “If it’s not the guy upstairs, it’s Marty I have to hear about! Yelling at me isn’t going to change anything!” She closed her eyes momentarily, until her anger faded, “So please calm down.” Katie smiled as she met her sister’s frustrated gaze.

“Look, I’m sorry for being such a bitch!” Kendall sighed and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t worry about it.” Katie said as they hugged, “it’s getting harder to sleep around here anyway.” She walked several feet across a hallway, to a wall-mounted mirror, “You know when I first met that guy when we moved in, he seemed nice enough and-”

Kendall watched Katie form a sheepish grin in the mirror.

“And what?”

“Why don’t you try speaking to him today when you get a break during work? He’s kind of cute.”

“I could,” Kendall rubbed strands of her brown hair from the front of her face, then crossed her arms, “I just have to find the right time.”

Katie studied her reflection as she buttoned up the white blouse beneath her black pants suit. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, Roger phoned yesterday and his plane lands tonight!”

“That’s great!” Kendall smiled, then focused her attention on a sound coming from down the hallway, a sound which crept closer-

“Mommy! Mommy!” A child ran from an opened bathroom door, through the hallway which led into a large living room, “I don’t want to be late!”

“Chloe, you won’t be late for school honey!” Katie turned and lifted her daughter off the carpet.

“She’s still the cutest six-year-old ever!” Kendall smiled as she leaned against an opposing wall.

“Let’s say goodbye to Aunt Kendall now!”

“Bye Aunt Kendall!” Chloe kissed Kendall on the cheek, then hugged the top of her shoulders.

“Goodbye sweetheart!” Kendall waved as they exited the apartment unit and walked down several flights of stairs.

Katie paused as she set Chloe down on a sidewalk path, “We’re going to have dinner with Roger after we pick him up from the airport tonight. So don’t expect us back till later!”

“No problem, have a good time!”

Chloe waved a second time as she entered her mother’s car. She was an exact duplicate of Katie in miniature. Blue eyes, blonde hair, complete with a wholesome innocence. Kendall stood against the door frame and watched as they pulled out of the parking in a white sedan. Once they faded from view, she returned inside.

Kendall rested on the opposite side of the closed door and thought of how she arrived at her predicament. She had recently gotten out of a long-term relationship, which had gone nowhere. Having no place to go, Kendall moved in with her sister and her family. Kendall was fond of Katie, Chloe, and her husband Roger. Seven years with Marty and all he had to do was ask me to marry him and I-

Footsteps slammed heavily through the ceiling as if someone had paced back and forth deliberately. What the hell is going on up there?

A half-hour later, Kendall showered, dressed, then trudged through several hours of software development. Sure enough, her boss recognized her efforts and granted her a two-hour lunch period. Kendall sat up from her work computer on the kitchen table and stretched. Her curvaceous physique was accentuated by thigh-high blue jean shorts and a low-cut halter top, which matched her blue eyes. Unlike Katie, Kendall’s hair was an auburn brown. She pushed her chair out, rotated the front Venetian blinds, then walked into the kitchenette. Kendall prepared a grilled chicken salad and ate leisurely while she gazed outside. The parking lot in front of the apartment building looked strangely abandoned for a Wednesday. She sipped from a bottle of water as she glanced back at her laptop.

A few minutes later, a black SUV with dark tinted windows, drove up a winding road that led through the main parking lot of the Sparkling Meadows lodgings. It made a right-hand turn, then pulled into a space in front of her unit. Kendall was temporarily blinded by the glare of the vehicle’s windshield. She typed BRB into the company’s online chat app, then covered her eyes with her left arm. Kendall stood up from the chair and walked towards the bay window.

The driver and passenger side doors opened and out stepped three men. Two of them, one black and one white, appeared to be in their late 20s. They were dressed in combat helmets, body armor, and tactical gear. The third man, who exited the rear driver’s side door, wore a finely tailored khaki-colored suit. His long blonde hair surrounded a pair of aviator sunglasses, which masked his eyes. He smiled once he noticed Kendall staring. She immediately moved to the side of the window and hid behind the wall. A smirk slowly formed on her face. He’s handsome! I wonder if-

Another crash upstairs.

The commotion startled Kendall, causing her to jump back against the wall. Kendall looked at the ceiling and followed the sound of heavy footsteps, as they trekked across the floor. Finally stopping above the kitchen area. She listened, but heard nothing but silence. What would Marty do? She thought. Suddenly, a violent rumbling shook the upper- and lower units simultaneously. Ah, Fuck Marty and that asshole upstairs! Kendall’s qualms were replaced with righteous anger as she stormed out the front door.

Once outside, she observed the three men behind the SUV with the trunk wide open. Kendall immediately sashayed along the sidewalk path towards the stairwell. As she climbed the steps, her three male admirers’ mouths were agape. After she rounded the top-hand railing to the second level, Kendall telegraphed a smile. Like a satellite antenna, the dapper blonde man received the signal. He raised his aviator sunglasses, returned a warm smile and walked towards the leasing office. Kendall reached the door of the mystery unit and knocked. She listened closely and thought she could hear cawing and flapping. She grabbed the doorknob and noticed that its fittings were loosened. Kendall rotated it, and slowly pushed the door open. Except for the sun at the doorway and a vast skylight near the back of the apartment, everything was shrouded in darkness. “Hello!” she called out, “Anyone here?” the door closed behind her as she entered.

“Hey, boss! That chick was staring at you hard!” said Terrance.

“I noticed!” Keith Huguenot smiled as he walked back to the SUV, “Did you two ever hear of Bo Janke?”

“Only by reputation.” Said Terrance.

“Wasn’t he an intelligence analyst who was involved in that incident at SCIF 38 a few years back?” Said Kip.

“Yeah, he’s been on paid leave ever since.” Keith glanced at a piece of paper in his hands, “He still handles certain assignments for the firm though.”

“Paid leave for two years?” said Kip with astonishment, “For what?”

“Insubordination mostly. Anyway, based on this roster, that’s his unit there on the second level. My contact said that the Kelenken was led into it a few days ago. So, they should both be dead by now.”

“Hey boss!” Terrance ceased loading his shotgun.


“What’s that sound?” Their discussion was interrupted by a loud cawing.

“Didn’t that girl go in there?” said Kip as he slung an M-4 rifle over his shoulder.

“Both of you follow me!” Keith then dashed up the stairs with his team.

Kendall’s eyes eventually adjusted to the murky environment. The skylight allowed the sun’s rays to permeate through the center of the roof aloft the kitchen. Finally, she stopped near a couch and paused. The floor was littered with the bodies of dead crows and pigeons. Kendall found the stench unbearable. Strangely she could hear the sound of flapping and cawing again-

Something entered her peripheral vision from the side. It slowly moved into the radiance under the skylight. Kendall looked up and saw a tall, monstrous-looking bird, the Kelenken! She estimated it was approximately ten feet in height, and perhaps weighed 250 lbs. It was covered in a grayish-white coat of feathers from head to toe. There were two short wings on its sides, too small to provide lift for flight. The head was coated with maroon-colored feathers, which contrasted with the lighter gray of its massive beak and hind legs.

Kendall did her best to maintain her composure as she slowly backed away. The dark yellow eyes of the beast followed her movement with a dead stare. As she continued to retreat, one of her feet stepped on something. Kendall looked down and noticed the other turned-over furniture, and then the body of Marty. He lay face down in a pool of blood. It just happened to be his severed right hand that Kendall had stepped on-

She screamed at such a high volume, that the terror bird leaped toward her in anger. Kendall froze in place. The murderous fowl was only a few feet away now-

The front door suddenly burst open as Keith, Kip and Terrance charged through. They hovered over Kendall and pulled her down to the floor.

They opened fire and the Kelenken was hit with multiple rounds to its hind legs. The bird quickly jumped forward and slashed Kip in the torso with its talons. Aah! He rotated screaming, as blood gushed from the deep lacerations across his chest, then fell dead. Kendall and Keith pulled his body away from the kitchen. Next, Terrence unloaded his shotgun into the Kelenken’s neck and face as it charged. Red stained feathers molted off the fiend from the deadly impacts of the shotgun shells. The bird cawed violently and lunged downward. Out of ammunition, Terrence clubbed the Kelenken with his Shotgun. It kicked the weapon out of his hands, then pecked him apart with its beak. His disheveled cadaver fell next to Kip’s.

“My pistol’s jammed!” said Keith as he desperately threw it at the bird. The Kelenken approached confidently as it prepared to devour its final victims -

“Everybody down!” Said a voice, causing them to take cover. Gunfire boomed from the damaged skyline. Fractions of a second later, large 50-caliber shells penetrated the abdomen of the creature. It writhed in pain as the lodged rounds exploded, sending its corpse colliding over a dining set, into a wall. An unidentifiable man’s head peered through the damaged skyline directly above them.

“Hey, you down there! You guys alright?”

“We’re fine!” Said Keith from behind a sofa.

“Alright, I’ll be down shortly!”

The mysterious man entered through the doorway and cradled a rather peculiar-looking rifle in his right arm. He was of average height, stocky build, with shaved dark hair. Dressed in a blue polo shirt, khaki pants, and tactical gear. His brown eyes greeted Kendall with fascination and Keith with hostility. He walked past them and glanced down at the body of the Kelenken. While their acquaintance looked on, Keith reached into his suit jacket pocket, retrieving a small derringer.

“Hey look out!” shouted Kendall before Keith could aim at the man’s back.

“Get out of the way!” Keith pushed her against the sofa, “You’re dead Bo!”

Bo knelt behind a kitchen table as a bullet sailed into the wall. Keith crouched behind a half-wall. Bo rolled out from under the table and shot Keith in the stomach as he stood up. The force of the round flung Keith across the carpeted floor. He landed against the bottom of the couch.

“You, okay?” Said Kendall as she entered the kitchen.

“Never been better!” Bo jested, “So who are you?”

“I’m Kendall!” She smiled, “I live downstairs.”

“Nice to meet you.” Bo shook her hand, then addressed Keith.

“You’re Linus Huguenot’s son!”

“Correct!” Blood gurgled out of his mouth.

“What the hell is this all about Keith?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know!” He laughed.

“I would!” Bo reloaded his Barrett M82 rifle.

“I’ll show you!” Keith reached for his derringer on the floor. Bo stepped on his left hand. “Ahh!” Keith screamed, “Okay, I’ll tell you!” Bo released his foot from his hand.

“We came to capture the Kelenken. After it escaped!”

“Bullshit!” Bo scoffed, “How could a prehistoric bird, exist, then travel three hours to my apartment?”

“It could, if it were produced with the right genetic algorithm. Utilizing evolutionary computation!” Keith laughed, then choked. His appearance began to look transparent.

“Who wanted it done?” Bo slung his rifle over his shoulder.

Keith struggled to speak, “G-Gomez!”

Bo watched as the body of Keith Huguenot and the Kelenken, dissolved. A white foam spread over their corpses, then dissipated, revealing two skeletons.

“Mr. Janke, what’s going on?” Kendall wrapped her arms around his shoulder.

“I don’t know.” Bo stared at the bones of his adversaries, then spoke with a look of shock on his face, “Unless…EH-308!”

“What’s that?” Kendall said nervously.

“That guy’s father invented EH-308, a chemical used to revive the dead.”

“It can bring people back to life?”

“Precisely.” said Bo, he grabbed a pair of car keys from the outline of Keith’s body.

“That’s impossible!” said Kendall.

“I’m afraid not. It was used on my former girlfriend. Besides miss, this doesn’t involve you!” He politely removed her hands from his shoulder, “They must have been injected with a synthetic version of EH-308, combined with other things. Fossils returned to life…but how?”

“Keith mentioned algorithms and computations?”

“Yeah. So?”

“I work in software development.” Kendall smiled, “He’d need a lot of processing power for those kinds of calculations.” Kendall followed him to the front door.

“I think I know just where he’d get it too!” Said Bo.


“Ft. Destiny. Near B-,”

“Big Iron!” Kendall interjected.

“How did you know?” Bo said with a puzzled look.

“I had a nightmare about it. My ex worked there.” She pointed to Martin’s corpse.

“That’s how it starts!” Said Bo.


“I’ll explain later.” Bo turned toward the door.

“Tell me!” Kendall grabbed his shirt sleeve, causing him to tense up, “Please!”

Bo replied calmly, “A few years ago, I discovered the SCIF at Ft. Destiny was haunted.”


“Yes, lots of people died. Anyway, I had nightmares, before it happened.” Bo held the door open.

“You mean to say that’s going to happen to me?”

“No, but I do think all this is linked somehow.”

“Ok, what about the bodies?”

“Nothing, we don’t have time.” He locked the door, “The police would think we’re nuts anyway.”

They descended down the stair case, then entered the vacant black SUV.

“Mind driving Kendall?”

“No problem!” She grabbed the keys from Bo, “you tired?”

“Yeah, because of that fucking dodo bird.” He laid back in the passenger seat.

“So who are we going after again?”

“Oh,” Bo yawned, “a guy named Gomez.”

“Does he have anything in common with those others?”

“Not really,” Bo shut his eyes, then he snapped forward, “Actually yes!…He’s dead!”

June 18, 2022 01:16

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