by TS Caladan
None of the 86 “prisoners” knew why they were detained or transported to an “insane” facility on a strange and unknown island. It had been three days of complete disorientation. They had been dazed for days.
There were far more questions than answers. The only clue to their predicament…
A white band on their wrists with the word: ‘VIRUS-H,’ which had a backwards ‘S’ and red numbers with a few of them printed backwards.
What did the bands mean? What was Virus-H?
The confused (medical) inmates or stranded islanders were half men and half women along with some children. They appeared unhurt, barefoot and wondered, “Who are we?” Three days ago, 86 of them slowly awoke from within the white walls of the main compound. They were dressed in typical hospital gowns with most of their backsides exposed.
Were they simply a collection of amnesiacs thrown together on an island without guards, without medical attendants? Were they insane? The wristbands strongly implied: The group was quarantined because of a deadly disease~
Where were the jailors, wardens, administrators, doctors and nurses? Were they experiments for some government or a test research group? Were they clones? Were they ‘disposable people’ thrown upon a remote island to be forgotten? What happened to their memories?
The island was not the usual tropical island. The land was stripped bare, devoid of trees and palms with little vegetation. The barren land that poked above what appeared as a big, blue ocean and under a big, blue sky was approximately a mile in diameter. Weather was gorgeous. There were pools of good, drinking water.
The prisoners or test subjects had access to the entire island and were not confined behind the thick walls. They climbed white, abandoned watchtowers and explored underground chambers. They walked through a network of crooked tunnels and badly built surface-hatches. Nothing was locked and nothing of real significance was discovered.
The insanity to the whole place was how poorly the structures were constructed. From radio towers to radio dishes to archways to halls to steps and concrete walls, the masons’ work was terrible. Buildings functioned as buildings, but seemed like productions from the labor of children.
They found fresh food inside boxes on the beach, outside the walls of what looked more and more like a “bunker” or nuclear test-facility. The food was immediately rationed. The 86 had what they needed to survive, but only for a short time. What was going to happen when the food supply ran out in only a few days?
Far away from the island compound, three came to consciousness and now spoke. They wore the same hospital gowns and found themselves atop gurneys and inside a sealed lab:
“Do you remember your names? Do you remember anything?” a blonde man asked a man with black hair and a girl with brown hair.
They were scared.
“What’s wrong with this place?” the blonde guy, who seemed more aggressive, asked his blank colleagues.
The girl with brown hair shook a bit and responded with, “What?”
“Well, look at it! The door doesn’t fit; the windows are crooked, some don’t have glass? And it’s a mess. Everything’s OFF, in disarray and, and not very clean inside, what? A clinic?”
The man with black hair finally uttered his first words and weirdly said, “We’re in hell. It’s a menagerie of pure madness. It’s not supposed to make any sense.”
The practical blonde guy didn’t buy it and that kind of talk wasn’t doing the young lady any good. “Maybe you should keep quiet if that’s what you’re going to say?” he almost ordered. He thought he could break out. He felt action was needed and quickly went to the door. Blonde guy banged on it again and again with his fist and shoulders to get through. He kicked it a few times.
She joined in the activity and also struck the irregular door with her smaller fists.
The two smiled at each other and shared a ‘moment’ in the chaos of an imposed nightmare.
The other guy only looked around in fear.
Minutes passed. Blondie smashed the small, bolted bar and the door sprung loose and opened. All three were soon in an untidy, white hallway outside of the laboratory room. Fifty feet down one corridor was a dead-end and twenty feet down the other was a much larger, round door.
“Well, we’re making progress. I’ll check the door.” The blonde led the way. He reached the white door or portal first.
The portal had a reinforced window and was firmly sealed. A handle did not work. There was an old, empty box on the wall that may have once contained an electronic locking-mechanism.
Blonde guy felt around for a type of ‘release’ or latch that could open the portal.
Quiet, fearful guy looked through the smeared glass at an angle. “There’s a metal rod or vertical pin, it looks like. You won’t break through this one.” There was nothing else through the glass that was discerned.
“So you do speak sense?” The men nearly smiled.
She smiled and knew the guys attempted to get along. She thought, Maybe we’ll figure what’s going on and get out? She also worried about the illness. Did they have it? Was H fatal? For a moment, a received picture in her mind formed of what (she felt) came before. Then it was gone like a dream.
Much later, the trio eventually fell asleep. They were confined to the lab and hallway. Each had found comfortable places in the room to bed down. Tomorrow was another ‘day’ to resolve the puzzle, although no one knew if it was day or night outside of the building.
Suddenly, sounds were not heard by the ones with different colored hair. They remained in REM sleep while…
A tray was shoved under the unlocked door to the room. (Someone walked down the hall to the room). A tray that contained fresh food almost made it through the rectangle opening. It had to be nudged a few more times by a shaky foot in a dirty, white shoe that a nurse might have worn.
A minute later, the metal pin on the exterior of the heavy door down the hall was waved over the vertical holes that sealed the portal. A shaky hand in white gloves at the end of a stained medical-jacket sleeve held the thick pin. The pin clanged a few times near its target. It jerked again and again in unsteady movements. Finally the pin was held over the right spot and slid down metal holes. The door was securely locked. The hand shook again and struck the wall twice…
The blonde guy turned. His eyes opened for a second and then he fell back to sleep.
At the island compound, another day had passed and the 86 stranded subjects were incredibly worried about the food situation. They saw the end of it in no time. They feared.
Yet, the 86 were more organized now. They picked names and duties. The strongest became the leaders and protectors of weaker ones. The people were no longer in embarrassingly skimpy gowns. They had found blankets, cutting tools and had fashioned a modest type of island clothing.
Children played. Men and women got along and pulled together for the sake of the entire community. There had not been “troublemakers.” People were too concerned with survival and started no wars with one another. But the dire question: What happens in near future when the food runs out?
Two discoveries were made that proved of great interest to the leaders of the islanders:
* One page of an official document marked ‘Operation Mushroom’ was found in an old filing cabinet, which was oddly placed in the back of a small closet. The island was once an atomic test facility, as unbelievable as it sounded. Shoddy, bush-league IDIOTS built this place and they’re fucking with nukes?
* The other find was either a dud or held fantastic ‘treasure’ insofar as answers for the 86 on the isle. A wall-safe with a combination (again backward numbers on a few) had been observed in the first days, but not thought much of. Could it hold the key to all of their questions? But who could crack the safe? Dynamite would be nice.
Far, far away and inside the room attached to the sealed, white hallway…
When the three awoke, they noticed the tray of food that was slid through the opening at the bottom of the door. The 3 did have guards or attendants or doctors or someone who monitored them! Someone brought in food, so there had to be somebody beyond the portal who cared about them.
On the platter were 3 bananas, 2 apples, an orange, 3 bagels, Jujube-like candy, cheese, 3 oysters, an onion, whip cream, bread and corn on the cob. Eight drink containers were on the hallway floor in a discarded pattern as if thrown on the floor. Nothing was marked or had any writing on it.
“I think we’ll be all right,” the girl said with hope in her heart.
The blonde commented, “I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. We’re still in prison. We have no answers.”
The quiet guy started to eat a banana, paused and then continued.
The girl chose cheese on a bagel.
Blonde guy relaxed on the floor with the others. He divided up what was left into equal thirds. “That all right? And Okay if I call you Jane and you James? Gotta call you two something.”
Jane asked, “What, what do we call you?”
“I always liked…Mark.”
The lady laughed a bit and repeated, “Mark.”
“Strange that I know things like math, state capitals, countries, history, but know nothing specific, recent? Nothing about me. Or how this happened? Where are we? What is this poor facility?”
She replied in total sync. “Exactly. Where did I go to school? Where did I grow up or who were my parents? Who put us here and why? But, I might…I might be…starting to remember.”
“Really?” Mark broke the corncob in two, replaced half and took a bite out of the other half. He tried to get a response from the other guy. He asked, “James? You remember anything?”
“Me? I must have lived an awfully s-sinful life to be cast down here into the p-pit…of hell.”
Mark did not want to hear any “we’re in limbo” shit. “Look. We are in quarantine! Virus-H. It’s on our bands. Obviously they put us in quarantine. Have we checked every drawer and cabinet? Is there a scrap of a clue to what “H” means? Have you felt sick; found a rash? Are there operation marks on your body, stitches? I only found a few needle marks on my arm.”
Jane and James both shook their heads for no. They hadn’t looked.
“Bizarre that this food is real good, so fresh, huh?” Mark stated.
Jane asked, “Why’d you say that?”
“How lousy this place is: lost, run-down and abandoned. Least they can farm.”
They ate most of the food and saved some for later.
BLAM! The explosion went off precisely as expected. Dynamite did its job and blew apart the wall-safe, discovered on the island.
Earlier, islanders discovered an underground locker. In it, there were dozens and dozens of respectable clothes such as shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, hats, plus tools and emergency supplies. The clothes weren’t made well and the tools operated not quite as they should. But most importantly, the better dressed 86 also found a few sticks of dynamite.
The few leaders reentered the room, after…
A briefcase in the safe must have been destroyed in the blast, but numerous burned papers survived. Before the papers were sorted out to find if there was any valuable information on them, young Eddie ran into the room.
“Come quick! Someone’s here! Something’s approaching the island. Look!” He pointed outside.
They ran to the shore as fast as they could where they saw… It was a black helicopter, such as the feds used in what was called ‘Black Ops’ projects. It came in very low over the water. The unusual aspect of the flight was how erratic it was as the craft jostled in the air. It went from side to side and up and down when certainly there was no need for those movements. Were the pilots 90 years old? Did they have epileptic fits? Were they drunk? Were these bad pilots their keepers? They could pilot a helicopter, they just couldn’t pilot a helicopter well.
The quarantined islanders kept the younger kids back and protected behind the compound’s white walls and also by a few strong women. Most of the men and some teens stood tall in front of the facility. Some of them proudly waved to the helicopter. Their minds were clear and desperate. They needed help, now that the food was gone. They were ready for whatever came their way…
They heard the loud sound of the helicopter’s blades and then felt its mighty force. But the trashy “rescue” ship or whatever this was seemed in trouble. It went way off course, missed “Bunker Beach” and continued for a quarter mile down the shore. The wobbly helicopter landed without a crash as the bravest of the 86 ran to the site and attempted to greet the pilots. From a distance, they saw:
A large, rear door opened like a military craft upon a beach. In fact, the first of the islanders saw two soldiers at a distance or what appeared as military men: one in the cockpit and one out of the rear door. Things were seen dropped from the back and they rolled down and into the sand. They were boxes and what resembled white body bags. The pilots wore helmets and black visors that covered their faces. The one in back seemed to move with a hitch. He jerked again. The rear door closed.
The helicopter started up very quickly. Its blades turned and it soon lifted off the beach. There was no face-to-face encounter. No questions were answered.
When the quarantined 86 saw what was in the bags, their numbers increased by 12. There were now 98 lost, alive souls who were no closer to rescue or the answers.
Fresh food was in the boxes. There were cans and no openers.
But there were new official (singed) papers which had to reveal the truth and possibly will answer the biggest question of all: WHY was this happening?
One more time at the quarantined lab, hall and portal…
The triad infected by Virus-H was sound asleep and delicious food was again left for them by a shaky guard in all white. In a minute, again on the way out, a gloved and scuffed hand attempted to get the metal pin down through the holes to secure the door. The pin failed over and over to go in and made enough noise to “wake the dead.” The frustrated attendant had enough and just gave up. The hand involuntarily jerked, struck the portal window a few times and waved, which indicated: Fuck it.
The metal bar was dropped and made the loudest noise of all when it struck the floor. The sounds and echoes definitely woke Mark, Jane and James.
Soon they walked to the source of the commotion and discovered the portal-door at the end of the hall was unlocked. Their eyes lit up, three pairs. Finally. Here was the chance to escape and face whatever the hell was out there! They prepared to RUN through the dingy portal-door, still in gowns…
When the community at the compound pieced together what was badly written on the fried papers, a vague ‘picture’ of lost history was ascertained:
The year was 2018. The entire planet was affected by “Virus-H.” A “570 Plan” or ‘Executive Order 570’ was put into operation where those with the contagion were rounded up in every country. The infected were recognized, sedated and eventually placed into guarded camps and examined. The backward “3” on islander’s wristbands stood for this particular installation, which was once a nuclear test-site.
The islanders were extremely anxious. After this much time and trauma, many people got on each other’s nerves and at each other’s throats. They gathered together in the middle of the concrete courtyard where they first awoke. The 98 were confused and it was not clear what direction they would go in the future~
“There’s nothing wrong with us!” Jake screamed. He shouted to the crowd, “Look how long we’ve been here! All 98…we’re fine! We don’t have a disease or VIRUS! We have no symptoms of any kind; no one’s been sick. The ‘newbies’ aren’t sick. Nobody’s puked. We’re all healthy. We’re fine. No marks. What Virus?”
Janna was one of the new ones dropped on the island. She suggested, “What if we attacked the next supply ‘copter? I calculated from when you said you first awoke…to the helicopter’s arrival. We can estimate when the next one’s coming. I say we sit in wait, in hiding, along the shore, at the right time, a lot of us, armed with anything. If there is only two of them again, we should be able to overtake them…”
“I like her,” Eddie said. “There’s a plan. I’m for it.”
Janna smiled and stated, “There’s more, ha. If we take control, I think I can fly the thing. My memory’s returned. I flew a similar one in Iraq.”
“I love this girl!” Eddie repeated much more enthusiastically.
Mark flung the door open and the three instinctively ran out into…
A bright, badly-designed, clinic lobby and a world they were hardly prepared for. What appeared like “zombies” or the undead were in white hospital uniforms. They were in the middle of routine work that dealt with the “Human Crisis epidemic” that the zombie Media called “Virus-H.”
Two horrifically “normal” nurses saw the two male “monsters” and the female creature escape and they screamed for their deteriorated lives! They kicked and jerked as fast as they could away from the infected threesome of escapees.
A doctor down the hall saw them push open the door. He hit a wall-alarm after he missed the big button a few times. It rang! Then he wobbled down a corridor and puked at the sight of them.
The three “ugly” people with the disease raced out of the portal almost as frightened as the “pretty” normal people in a society of zombies.
They ran by ‘undead’ guards who carried guns. After the guards with decayed flesh finished the overall shock at the sight, they attempted to fire the guns and put down the three rabid, hardly-clothed, ‘beasts.’ Their aim wasn’t very good.
The human-looking fugitives ran by a small group of children that had eaten a dead squirrel.
The scared children saw the hideous monsters and scattered and screamed, “Grrrr, grr, grrrrr! Grrrr, grr, grrrrr!” [translation: “Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!”].
Onboard the next supply helicopter to the island’s compound, a curious zombie soldier (the one who operated back door) had a curious thought. Translated, it was: Wha dis fresh food for humans taste like? After the usual body gyrations, the young soldier removed his helmet with visor. He was a particularly “handsome” (subjective) boy with a green-brown, rotted face. The soldier jerked in every direction and made sure no one saw him. He reached into one of the already broken boxes and pulled out a beautiful, sweet ear of corn…and bit into it. The undead fed on routine detail to Compound #3 gagged and launched into a massive, full body spasm no one would believe, far beyond his normal facial tics and jerks! “Aaaaauuugh! Gr, Grrrrrrrrr!!”
With a surprise attack, smart islanders overpowered two, very dumb, zombie pilots and commandeered the aircraft. But new questions remained for VH rebels who completely remembered their old lives as “Bizarros”: Where to go and what to do?
The mile-long island with a compound called: “Bunker Beach” had turned into home. The 98 made runs to land and salvaged and stole whatever supplies and food that they could from the “Bizarros.” Their numbers and resources quickly grew as they flew other healthy humans infected by Virus-H to a safe home: an abandoned, nuclear-test bunker in the South Pacific.
In time, distorted island structures were straightened out…
The revolution expanded. The fight continued.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad that a dead/dying world slowly morphed and had become alive again?How to order novels by TS Caladan
or go to publisher’s site: TWBPRESS.COM
- http://www.twbpress.com/authortraycaladan.html Promo-page from publisher: TWB Press in Colorado
- TWB Press in Colorado
TWB Press, publishing, electronic, e-books, ebooks, short stories, novels, science fiction, supernatural, horror, thrillers, fiction
TS Caladan's 3-Book "Traylogy" can be purchased thru TWB Press.
9" x 6" books with cover art are less than $18.00. EBooks are $3.99.