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Second Coming by Elijah Rainey

November 8th, 2022, was a day of calamity. I can still feel myself trapped, remembering that black hell. It's truly funny how all it took was a day for the world to fall to such destruction....Now I’m left sitting within my college gym waiting for the military to arrive. If they do ever arrive.


7 days have passed since all of this has happened and everyone has slowly been slipping in and out of insanity. There was still no sign of the military and students were getting progressively more anxious. The sounds of helicopters overhead had left us with some semblance of hope, but even that had come to fade with time. The lack of food supplies wasn’t helping the case and everyone was beginning to succumb to madness. In true Lord of the Flies fashion, I knew that if I stayed there any longer, I would definitely die if I

stayed any longer.


-----

I had placed myself in the corner of the gym for instances like this and was closer to the door. Glancing at it just past a group of students. I was preparing to get up, much to my dismay, as my body was a bit malnourished. My body had never been the best even before all of this happened, so I guess this was to be expected. That said, my body had never been this weak before. If I were to describe it, it would be that something was sucking out all of my strength. Nevermind that, getting out of here is my top priority at the moment.


Though saying this I guess my fears were a bit founded, as just as I was preparing to meekly leave, someone or something knocked on the gym door. Instantly the room was left in silence, not that anyone had the strength to talk, leaving the room completely still. The knock sounded again and this time a voice resonated behind it, “Open the door, we're with the Parasol Corporation.” He said he was a member of the Parasol Corp. They were the second most powerful company behind Eden. It’s a wonder as to why they’re here. Although I knew they were a private company, seeing their private military with my own eyes amazes me. It reminds me of the rumor going around that Paracol owned the entirety of Skunk City. They did act oddly quickly to denounce the rumor, but I didn’t give it much thought at the time.


There was no one moving to the door. Seeing that, I can only guess that they got impatient as the door was soon kicked open. My gym teacher stood in front of the man with an inquisitive gaze. I was still eager to leave this gym. Glancing at my watch that read, ‘12:30pm’, I did a double take back at my watch. I looked to the sky that seemed to be devoid of a sun, or more like something blacked out the sun. My heart palpitated at the sight of this.


The Parasol Corp operatives walked through the door. They were fully equipped with military grade weaponry and a gas mask covering their faces. Their footsteps were light despite all of the heavy equipment; their strides almost inhuman. One spoke, “All of you here are free to come with me to Parasol City. It is a quarantine zone created by the Parasol Corporation. But before that we must check you for any infectious spores.” The gym was still in silence after he had finished speaking. I myself was the same, as what they spoke of was like being slammed into a brick wall. We had heard nothing about an infection. All we knew was that a worldwide quarantine was in place, trapping us in this gym for the past week. Though this didn’t take long as people began to give in to their fears and hunger. Some began to readily agree to go with the Parasol Corp operatives. Lining up before the operatives with smiles on their faces. I, however, was still in my corner as something about this was bothering me. One of the operatives mentioned that we needed to check for any infectious spores, yet I didn’t see any way for them to check for them. I glanced down at my clothes, looking for anything spore-like, yet found nothing at all. But as if the universe had moved just in spite of me, several more operatives burst into the gym. Their weapons trained on all of us, waiting for the order to open fire.


Seconds passed slowly before a man wearing a pure white lab coat and a gas mask walked into the gym. He stood still for a while before he removed his gas mask and spoke. “As it were, you all are the only ones alive within Skunk City. Count yourselves lucky at this fact.” He snickered something under his breath that was barely audible. He continues, “do not mind this procedure, as it will only take but a few minutes at most.” He then lowered his hands down, and all of the operatives opened fire on us. I watched as my peers dropped to the ground before they could even scream. As the blood from their bodies leaked onto the gym floor, painting it a dim dark gray color.


I rushed to dive under a pile of bodies to shield myself from gun fire. Feeling the blood run down my face and the putrid smell that followed almost made me dry heave what was left in my empty stomach. I glanced towards the scientist looking man, noticing that he had re-applied his gas mask. I vividly remember it having a white band over the air purifier. He was surveying the room from the look of it. He then took a glance in my direction. I paused, waiting for what seemed like days before he looked away.


They stopped firing promptly after that. The scientist looked across the room that was now littered with corpses before stopping in my direction once more. He spoke coldly through the gas mask. “Boy, I am aware of your hiding there; you’d do best to come out now rather than later.” To say I was scared would be an understatement. My fear was at an all-time high at the moment, and by my divine luck it only got worse from there. I began to feel movement coming from one of the long dead bodies on top of me. I had played far too many zombie games to know what was happening. I pushed the bodies off of me and rushed to the operatives. I was far more afraid of the undead beings behind me, rather than the guns trained at me at the moment. Getting behind the infantry line, I was greeted with a barrel pointed directly at my forehead. It was both warm and cold. One of the operatives walked towards me at the command of the scientist. He handed me a gas mask that had a black band around the purifier to put on. I’m not one to stand on ceremony; quickly putting on the gas mask. The scientist spoke again, “you’ve done well to survive this far; for that I commend you. Though I’m sure you will soon wish you had died here like the rest. I’m sure you have many questions about what happened here, but unfortunately you’ll have to wait to get them.” As he finished speaking, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the back of my head. The already dark world became even less saturated as I fell to the ground.


-------

Coming to it, I felt a sharp and shooting pain in the back of my head and my spine. I reached to grab the back of my head to feel something bound to my hands. My head was pounding from the pain of getting hit by something that I thought was a gun. Besides the back of my head, of which I was sure was bleeding, my ears were also ringing intensely. The ringing began to subside when one of the operatives placed a pair of headphones over my ears. He then affixed the microphone to my mouth and went back to his business. Static played in my ears until I heard a chirping sound. The scientist’s voice then played in my ears. “Have you finally come to my boy? Good. We will be arriving in Parasol City in just a few hours. I’d advise you to get some rest until then.” Next came the static again. I knew staying with these people, if you could even call them that, was my best option at survival now.


For what felt like days we flew over Skunk City. It had been reduced to mostly rubble and looked devoid of humans. I did occasionally see some zombie-esque creatures roaming around the streets below us. Whenever we flew past, they would look up at us and howl to attract more of their kind. At one point thousands of them came from God knows where and chased after us for some time. When we finally made it into the forest that surrounded it eastern side, the world returned to silence. My eyes grew unbearably heavily due to being unable to sleep with all of the howling below us for the past hour and a half. I wonder how long it has been since I last slept? If you don’t count the dirt nap I was subjected to, it should have been during class when this all started. I closed my eyes reluctantly and drifted off into sleep.


-------

I closed my eyes to find nothing but darkness. This place felt oddly familiar, as if I were in the safety of my own soul. It was one devoid of warmth or cold, and yet somehow felt more comfortable than anything I had ever experienced. If I were to compare it to something, it would have to be the womb. It was a place I could finally escape from the torment I had been going through the past week. Calm and peaceful, l was my soul, not so hateful as the outside world. Would I despise Gaia for the machinations of mankind? Or will I simply accept the fate that I had been dealt? What am I even talking about? Let me just enjoy this peace and quiet for a little while longer.....


-------

*psss*...“Boy, do you plan to sleep till your death?”, said the scientist over the microphone. The sudden sound of the Scientist’s rustic voice shook me awake. I found myself back in the helicopter. The world around me wasn’t gray anymore; just plain pure darkness. The microphone clicked in my ear again. The scientist spoke, “Boy, we'll arrive at a lab in Paracol City in just a bit. Mind yourself and you’ll be fine. Though, I’ll tell you now, don’t make a noise when we get outside.” The helicopter landed soon after and an operative helped me to my feet. As I walked through the helicopter door, I glanced back and saw a fungus on the helicopter floor. It was then crushed under the boot of one of the operatives. The helicopters sliding door closed to reveal alternating yellow and white triangles within a hexagon, having a black parasol in the middle. An operative pushed me forward into the laboratory. Faced with an elevator, the scientist had his retina scanned and entered the laboratory. Pushing the button labeled ‘B-0’, we began descending at a fast pace. Arriving on floor B-0, another scientist welcomed us at the elevator door. “Welcome back, Dr. Kessler, is he the test subject for today”, as the woman finished speaking, I realized I am that test subject. The scientist I had been with, whose name I now knew as Dr. Kessler spoke, “yes, this boy is the test subject that I have found. He has already been exposed to the 0-XGZ fungus and is a grade-0 reservoir.” I familiar pain pierce the back of my neck and the world faded to black.


“Subject 003 rise and shine”, said a callus voice I hadn’t heard before. As my eyelids felt incomprehensibly heavy, I was unable to open them for some time. “I won’t repeat myself Subject 003, get up now or I will use force,”, claimed the voice more irritable than previously. I tried once again to open my eyes, but as if they were glued shut, they wouldn’t budge. “Fine, though you brought this on yourself”, just as the voice was about to raise his gun, he was stopped by one of the scientists. She then went on saying, “Subject 003 has been put under sedation and will be unable to wake up at this moment. However, he should be conscious enough to hear what it is you want to say”, finishing her sentence, the scientist continued her work. The operative then turned to face the cage I had been placed in, this much I could tell by the sharp-cold bars pressed against my back. He began speaking again. “Dr. Kessler has expressed his condolences of you having survived thus far, and with that said you won’t be dying anytime soon. In honesty, I would advise you to get used to your current state, as you will be subjected to for the foreseeable future.” With those final words said, the room returned to silence as I, too, drifted into silence. I opened my eyes to find a familiar darkness...



-------

In front of man were classified files pertaining to something called Project Eden. Another man walked into the room; he spoke. “Kessler, was it necessary to go through all of this destruction just for the sake of a bio-weapon. You destroyed the entirety of Skunk City just for your own ends. We have reports of grades 1-5 infected escaping the quarantine zone. You were given the XGZ-Fungus to develop a bio-weapon to use against the Mongolian Empire, not the landia Imperial Nation!! I'm starting to think you weren’t the right person to handle this project." Just as the man was about to continue his lecture, his head fell to the ground in a single breath. Standing behind the man was a dilapidated corpse in a state of rigor mortis. Dr. Kessler stood up and walked toward the corpse of the man. He stared at it for a minute before facing the infected corpse. Kessler said, “Well done Subject 000, you have done well. It’s time to begin Project Ragnarok.”










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