Breaking The Boarders
They had thought it to be impossible when the Vine’s lead supervisor defined the project for them. They had discovered a toxin that reacted with the basic requirements of animation, centering in the mid-brain at a lower level of function and Bernie was their first test. He had been given the drug and had responded in significant measure, reanimating, almost seeming alive at times. That hadn’t told the researchers that he would smile and cry and laugh as he had when he had been alive, Shehoff had convinced himself that those were ghost moments, the absence of real emotion, just a mechanical response to the H.
Bernie had worked one of the bed rails loose from its iron bolted frame and was swinging it wildly at the glass. Shehoff was startled by the expression of rage in his face, he almost seemed angry.
“Get someone in there to calm him down!” he yelled to one of the techs. They stood there and looked at him as if he were out of his mind.
“We can’t risk infection Shehoff, you know the toxin acts as a virus to the living.” Shehoff knew the end result of infection was death and reanimation.
Bernie screamed and Shehoff looked scared for a moment.
“AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTT………..OOOOUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTT!” he sounded as if he were speaking to them for a moment. One of the lab techs said,
“We’re used to it. Lately he’s been screaming like that. It’s like he knows, almost sounds like he’s yelling to get out.” Shehoff shivered and sat down in one of the leather office chairs that were situated behind the partition. Just then the glass splintered and broke. Bernie fell forward halfway through the glass with the momentum of his swing. The glass gouged deep rents in his flesh but he didn’t bleed or act as if he was in pain he just laughed and crawled into the control booth.
Bernie’s laughter was the last thing Shehoff heard as he panicked and fell unconscious.
The day passed and the sun rose and fell as night approached the New Mexico desert facility with tendrils of something ethereal and unbidden. Shehoff awoke to find the techs all dead, torn to bits and partially eaten. Shehoff looked out of the observation room into the hall. The emergency lights were flashing and there were screams coming from the other side of the facility. The Vine had really done it this time. The dead would walk, he knew the virus, the toxin would spread rapidly through the population once contact was made with the outside world. Bernie sat in a chair opposite Shehoff and he knew in that moment he would never live to see that end result.
Bernie was chewing his finger and moaning at Shehoff. He had dressed himself in one of the white lab coats, it was smeared with the blood of the technicians. There was a gob of crimson near Bernie’s smiling mouth, he had been hungry and the techs had been there for the taking. Shehoff realized that they hadn’t had a chance. The H gave the subject superhuman strength, and there was no sense of pain, he knew there was no really effective way of stopping him. Shehoff knew he would only have one chance at this thing, he lit the match and threw it to the floor. There was a small puddle of gasoline from the portable centrifuge near the center of the floor. The gasoline ignited and Shehoff prayed that the facility and Bernie and all of the test subjects would burn to ash. He stood to leave when Bernie hit him. Shehoff fell to the floor and didn’t move. The sirens screamed and Bernie somehow made his way to the front gate. It had been torn loose from it’s hinges.
Bernie stood outside the burning facility, he had some sense of warmth from the flames and his eyes dilated with the brightness of the fire. Cool air rushed in from the desert feeding the flames and causing the night sky to reflect an eerie orange light. The facility was fenced in by a ten foot razor barbed barrier, the techs who escaped and some of those who had been reanimated, had left the gate open. Bernie wandered through the gate and headed toward the bright glow that came from the distant town of Halo. Bernie laughed for a moment, smiled and moved forward toward the city. The night wouldn’t reveal her secret until the dawn.