Supplemental Report 3: The Experiment

Chief,

Agent Cordero reporting in from the shallow end of the gene pool at the Alvin C. Melmoth Memorial Hospital. Went up to the psych ward today, Chief. Wanted to check out the digging down in the basement first, but something about the set-up down there gives me the willies. I think that’s where the real action is around here, but I’ve got a feeling I’d better not just go barging in. Too many workmen. Too isolated. Too easy to make me disappear. So I’ll try it later tonight, when they’re not working.

The psych ward, on the other hand, is full of normal medical staff I can intimidate however I want. Speaking of whom… Have I said fuck this place? Well, fuck this place. I feel for the people here whose minds are being messed with. I really do. But what was going on in this psych ward… Somebody should have said something. I saw how scared a couple of these people got when I started asking questions. They knew something was up. Maybe they didn’t know how bad it was. But fuck them anyway.

Now, the info I got from Rosemary was kind of sketchy, but it sounded like some real mad scientist stuff was going on. People strapped to tables, she said, multiple IVs, wires running into their heads. I took some of that with a grain of salt. Rosemary’s just a cleaning lady, after all. Could have been somebody hooked up for shock treatment. But she was describing patients lying there like that overnight, which didn’t sound right. So when I arrived this morning, I asked about shock patients first.

That earned me some nervous glances, but they got me the info. Looked on the up and up. I checked in on a few of the patients, and they all seemed about as good as any crazy people do. So I started checking the treatment rooms. Nothing too suspicious there, either. Then I found a locked door. Room 532. Went up to the front desk and very sweetly asked for the key. They couldn’t find it. Memories were kind of fuzzy about what, exactly, that room was used for.

So I stopped being sweet. Flew off the handle. Told them to call maintenance and get somebody up there with either a master key or tools to take those doors off the hinges. About half an hour later, a guy showed up with both. Larry. I liked Larry. He was not remotely prepared for what we saw on the other side of that door. But he was a nice guy. Efficient. He tried the master key first, and was really shocked when it didn’t pop the lock. So he tried a couple of others. No luck. We were both pissed off at that, so we set in on those hinges with a vengeance. Got them out in record time and pulled the doors down.

As it turns out, Rosemary’s description was completely accurate. Room 532 was a nightmare. Tables lined up along both walls, eight of them, with people strapped to them. Or what was left of people, anyway. They were all in pretty bad shape. Emaciated. Not sure why they even needed to be strapped down, really. I doubt any of them could have stood up under their own power.

Anyway. They were all Native American. Alo, I’m assuming. Each of them had three IVs hooked into them. One with blood plasma, one with some kind of nutritional fluid, and the third filled with the Alo Black Drink. So we’ve got plenty of that for the lab to play with now. Pure, undiluted stuff. Can’t wait to see what they make of that. The Pocket Brain went nuts for it.

Sorry, Chief. I keep getting sidetracked. That other detail Rosemary gave me, about the wires in their heads. She was right about that, too. And we’re not talking about electrodes glued to their scalps, either. These people had straight-up electrical wires running down through holes drilled in their skulls. Looked like they’d been there a while, too. The skin had sort of knitted back together around the wires, kind of puckered up all red around the hole. No infections, amazingly enough. Whoever was in charge of the poor bastards was a lot more careful about that than he was about keeping them from looking like Auschwitz survivors.

One other weird thing about those patients: their skulls were malformed. Not so much that you’d immediately notice it. But once you got in close, you realized that their foreheads were too big. They protruded out from the middle, like there was something pressing against them from underneath with enough force to reshape the bone. Maybe a pineal engorgement of some kind, or maybe some kind of new structure growing off the front of the brain. We’ll never know, because–

Anyway. They each had two wires in their heads, one on each side just above and in front of the ears. The lines ran up the walls and connected to a master cable that ran along the ceiling and through the back wall of the room. Larry was looking a little queasy by the time we figured out that set-up. Something wasn’t right in that room, and it wasn’t just the condition of the victims. The air was wrong. Charged, somehow. It was making me a little dizzy, and Larry was already turning green before I suggested we try the door in the back wall.

That one was locked, too, and again none of the master keys worked on it. So it was back to the hinges, Larry getting greener and greener as we worked. I was feeling it, too, that charge in the air seeping in around the edges of my mental defenses. Took us a little longer to get that second door down.

On the other side was some kind of control room. Sorry to be so vague, Chief, but my memory gets a little fuzzy here. I mostly remember gauges and dials. Buttons. Switches. Levers. As I try to describe it now, I realize that what I’m seeing in my head is a cartoon. A drawing out of a comic book. I’m going to try some hypnotic recall here. See if I can’t dredge up something useful. Hang on.

*************

As soon as we opened the door, the pressure on our heads doubled. Larry puked. I wanted to. It was coming from the machines. Constant, pulsing waves of it. Like standing next to a generator. Ten, twenty, thirty seconds later, Larry was down for the count and I found myself standing in front of what I assumed to be the controls. I started throwing switches, slapping buttons, trying something, anything, to make it stop. Out in the ward, I could hear the patients moaning and thrashing around, but there was nothing I could do for them, nothing. I had to save myself, stop the machines, stop them, because no one else could. Who was going to come in there and turn the things off? Rosemary? She wouldn’t even have lasted as long as Larry. The nurses were already too scared of this room to even tell somebody they had a horror movie unfolding under their noses, so it was up to me, up to me and nobody else, and to hell with those poor people with the wires in their heads and their giant goddamn foreheads, they were already lost, already lost before I got there, already dead, and

I’m sorry, Chief. I’m so sorry. I let you down in there. I blindly slapped at the controls until the pain stopped. Because by that time, by the time I’d hit a few buttons and driven the things into overdrive, there was pain. Such horrible pain, so much more than I was ready for. So much more. When it stopped, when I came back to myself, the machines were on fire. I stumbled back. Grabbed Larry and hauled ass. As we stumbled through the ward, I saw a lot of blood. Blood and brains and fire. More fire. They were burning. Burning from the head down, burning because I’d made them burn. I tried not to look. I had to get Larry out of there and get back with fire extinguishers and put out the fire so maybe I could save some of them but I couldn’t save anyone I couldn’t I killed them I killed them I killed them myself.

So I tried not to look, but I did look. And the last patient, the guy in the last bed on the right, he had yanked the wires out of his own head and he was bleeding but not burning and his eyes were open and the light was going out of them and he looked at me. Looked at me with this awful expression of peace. Like he knew. Like he knew that I’d killed him, and he was saying thanks.

*************

Goddammit. Goddammit. Fuck this place. Fuck it. Fuck hypnotic recall and the whole goddamn dirty business. I’m going down to that basement now, Chief. I’m taking my gun. And god help whoever gets in my way.

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About Mark Brett

Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at https://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at http://dorkforty.wordpress.com/. View all posts by Mark Brett

One response to “Supplemental Report 3: The Experiment

  • Mark Brett

    Cordero, this is the Chief.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You did good in there, all things considered. You’re dealing with powerful forces. Forces human brains were not built to cope with. You don’t have to be happy about it, but that’s the way it is. Remember that last guy you looked at. Remember his eyes. Let them drive you to get stronger. Do better. But don’t let them rule you. That’s a good way to go nuts. Or wind up dead.

    Which reminds me: I need to finish telling you that story about clearing the Dero out of Chicago. Heck of a thing. That case just sat there and stagnated. Festered, I’d have told you at the time. We knew what we were looking for. Even knew where they were. But they weren’t surfacing. So we kept driving around. Kept surveilling. Kept waiting. I wanted to go in and dig them out. Or, as time went on, just abandon the whole thing. We’d spooked them somehow, I argued. They’d abandoned the Chicago nest, and weren’t coming back. Mission accomplished.

    But old Avery Scott, he knew better. Just told me to shut up. Shut up and drink your coffee. Shut up and watch the damn monitor. Shut up and for once in my life, listen to my betters. That last one burned real bad. Pissed me off pretty royal. But he was right. Smooth and steady, that guy. Calm like the ocean, and just as deep. Just as deadly, too, once he got moving. And that’s what came next.

    I almost missed it. We were driving around in the van, arguing. That’s all we did by that time. I kept the headphones over one ear, and kept the other one clear so I could make whatever idiot point I wanted to make that night. Can’t believe Avery didn’t just smack me in the mouth. Like I said, that was one patient guy. Anyway. I finished yelling something dumb, and noticed a scraping sound. I shut up fast then, and started scanning the monitors. Closed-circuit security jobs. A whole bank of them in the back of the van. Most were just as lifeless as they’d been the whole time. But on one of them, in the basement of a tailor shop, I saw movement. Something was clawing its way through the wall. I hollered at Avery, he whipped the van around, and we were off to the races.

    As we jumped out, Avery tossed me a blackjack. “Don’t use your gun unless there’s more than ten,” he said. “If we make too much noise, they’ll collapse the tunnel and we’ll never get them.” I just stared at him. But before I could say anything, he’d turned around. Picked the lock on the door in ten seconds flat, and moved in quick and quiet. Caught the first Dero coming up from the basement and bashed it in the face. Yellow blood went everywhere. It squealed and went tumbling back down the stairs, tangling up with the others in a pile at the bottom.

    Avery jumped down on them like an animal. I took the stairs. By the time I got down there, he’d taken out four of the things. The other two were still on their feet, and I had to leap over the pile to catch them before they got back to the door. Caught one in the back of the head, but the other turned to fight. Ugliest thing you ever saw. Stunted and twisted. Pale, jaundiced skin. Face like a turd. Clawed hands, kind of like a mole’s. And naked. Dick like a tree root. The fight was getting him all hot and bothered. But I wasn’t interested, so I whacked him one in the mouth. Couple of teeth went flying, and some more of that yellow blood, but he still managed to jump me. Caught a claw in my neck, and it burned like fire. Got a bad infection from that. Dirt and fecal matter in the wound. Ugly business.

    Anyway. Little bastard was strong as a bear. He took me down to the floor and leaned in. Started trying to gnaw at my face. Breath smelled of spunk and rotten meat. Blood started dripping into my eyes. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was what he was saying. In between all the heaving pervert breaths, he was whispering and growling at me. Describing all the things he was going to do to me once he got me back down underground. It occurred to me that this wasn’t a fight to him. It was a seduction.

    And that’s when I lost it. Started swinging that blackjack and didn’t stop. More blood. Brains started raining down. And still I kept on swinging. Every bit up pent up frustration. Every bit of anger. Every bit of crazy that had been building up in my head since Yig. It was all coming out through that blackjack. Eventually, I smacked myself in the face. Avery had to grab my wrist to stop me doing myself damage. The Dero’s head was more or less gone at that point, and that animal I’d seen the old man become was gone. The ocean was calm again, and it was bringing me home.

    Things moved pretty quick after that. We called it in, and the Agency got a team down there on the PDQ. We went in and burned the nest out, just like I’d been wanting to from day one. But because we waited. Because we let the Dero calm down and make their move first, that plan actually worked.

    Patience, Cordero. Important lesson to learn. If you’re reading this before you go off all half-cocked into that hospital basement, it’s something you might want to consider. After that commotion up in the psych ward, they’re going to be on guard. So don’t be stupid. Don’t be a bad ass. I don’t care how angry you are.

    Report back immediately, Agent. I want to know what’s happening out there. I want to know you’re still alive.

    – Chief Bill Roberts, signing off.

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