Hunger: Chapter Six

As Raul slowly made his way down the steps, each wrung ringing the metallic sound of his movements, he could see fear develop in the creature. Without eyes or seemingly any other facial details all that could alert any to its terror was its squawking. The others didn’t seem to interested in their comrades pleas for help, but even if they did they would just be speeding up the inevitable. After he had glutted himself on their leader, Raul was going to clean house on the rest. Six of the birds, multiple feet taller than Raul though half his mass would easily last him a couple of days. If no one came after about five more nights, Raul would die of starvation, but he could at least say he didn’t go down without a fight.

Revving the saw as he neared, Raul felt a queer sense of pity for the bird who fought so vehemently to escape his predicament. Yet, even seeing that absolutely terror in the soulless thing, Raul continued on. As the saw came in, it batted at the blade, trying to keep it from making contact as though it knew what was about to happen. All of its delaying tactics only cost the bird its primary means of defense, his talons fell as flat stubs took their place. Then, with the claws removed, the bird resorted to its final means of keeping safe. It fell backwards full force, snapping the toe talon clean off, squirting thick, dark Aegean blood all over the place. Raul didn’t wait for the moment to pass him, he seized on his weaken prey.

Leaping the last two steps down, Raul impaled the bird on the blade and fired the saw relentlessly until the overly long neck was nothing more than feathers and gore. Yet in this act of malice and fury, Raul did not realize the others had been attracted to the scene. Were it the blood of a spilled fellow or the fact Raul came back within reach, he could not say, but as they surrounded him, Raul’s mind flicked away from easy meat. They attempted to hastily surround him which was a mistake for any that made it within reach before the others. Raul swung with violent haste and power, striking two of the birds, one across the chest while the other lost its beak. The latter tumbled down, squealing with a new noise that seemed to perturb the others. As the first one recovered from the strike, Raul was running him through, sloshing guts to the floor in frothy smoothie of blue innards.

Two more came with the third trailing, it didn’t look so focused on Raul as it was the other birds. The duo leading both struck at the same time, a foolish move for one but ingenious for the more fortunate bird. With one slice, Raul cleaved one birds skull into two while the other one wisely jabbed its talons into the motor of the saw. A shower of sparks would have force the tool from Raul’s hands if the talons impaling them didn’t keep them tight in place. Utilizing its other hand, the bird swiped at Raul repeatedly, slashing bloody stripes into his left arm. Yet, Raul was so lost and numbed to pain that he didn’t think twice as he ripped one hand free of the saw. He sought and captured the cleaver before taking off the aggressive hand and then removing the one stuck in the motor. It was a few minutes before Raul finished the full amputation, a sort of spite for the bird after getting cut up. And then there was one.

Raul looked about, hearing a strange squelching before his eyes fixed on movement that wasn’t the final spasms of a soon to be corpse. The last of all the birds was on its hands and knees, voraciously tearing away at its fallen friends. Grinning ear to ear like a psychotic, Raul fixed on the creature before charging in and planting the cleaver into the back of its neck. More of the deep, ocean blue blood splattered into the pink but was joined to by a small trace of red. The talons had hooked Raul in the stomach before he could finish the bird, his mistake, he was getting sloppy. Yet it was not a threatening wound, Raul slid the blade out with ease and even less blood. With that last bird out of the way, Raul went about dragging the spoils of victory up to the steps.

He left most on the landing only taking one at a time on the platform with him. As Raul hauled bird after bird up the final flight of steps to dispose of them until nothing was left but what could fall through the grates, he noticed something. After descending the steps from the platform, the siren would call again and the lights would flash. When he was not on the operation level, the security lock down lifted however were he to put a bird up there and descend again it would remain. Raul was beginning to make a connection, there had to be something to do with weight on the platform and the lock down. How he would find a way around it was beyond him still but Raul wasn’t too concerned as of yet. So long as he had food enough to last him a few days it would be alright.

The issue of food was fast in coming, the birds offered plenty of meat but that wasn’t the problem. Raul viciously attacked each and every one of the creatures as though he had eaten in several days. Piles of half chewed bones and those few organs Raul could not identify or justify as edible began to accumulate beneath the platform. In the process of tearing the birds into small enough pieces to slip through a grate, Raul made some discoveries. Firstly, as he pulled away the feathers and feasted on the face, before cracking the skull to get at the brain, he found the eyes. They were hardly distinguishable as eyes, only their soft, squishy, and glossy qualities gave them away. Thin, snaking swirls stuck in where eye sockets should have rightly been. Raul didn’t question it but tried to eat at least one of them only to find they were less than appetizing. Not long after that, Raul found he was out of dead flesh to devour and that he was still hungry. The worms had crept down to pick over the remains but still Raul felt hollow. And then there was his legs.

When the worms left him, Raul’s limbs went slack and weak until the parasites returned. He could hardly move and if he tried it was a painful experience to say the least. Raul just lay on the platform watching as the worms picked and pulled at the remains dropped into the watery level. As they did so, he also noted that the blast doors opened. It was ever more insulting to notice this as it simply made to mock him in his inability to squirm out of the wet lab. The fact also stood out plain and simple to Raul, he could escape if only he could remove the worms before heading for the door. How he would do that Raul could never know but his attention was dragged away as the parasites shot back into his innards.

Raul had entirely forgotten about the ice block sitting in the middle of the wet lab. It had melted down to nothing in the time it took Raul to eat every last bird and was the furthest thing from his mind when the worms served to warn him. Had he considered the block once it would have only been in noting the increase of fog or the chute in the roof. The block had no doubt descended from there but if it were operated by a person or set on a schedule Raul could only guess. And in the same vein of guessing, Raul had been wrong in his assumption he had seen a human shape in that block.

The gargling of viscous fluid in several throats filled the lab until nothing else could be detected. Raul couldn’t even hear himself think against the fluid cacophony but as he saw that shadow creep out of the fog, his mind kicked in gear. Hastily his hand sought for a worthy tool to handle whatever it was that had emerged from the ice. Finding a hammer, solid steel featuring the rising and falling studs of a meat tenderizer, Raul decided he had chosen well. Swirling with all the speed he could, Raul confronted a new creature, something completely removed from the birds and other monsters.

It was not a symmetrical shape in the slightest, to say it was anything but a collection of junk organs would be a kindness Raul didn’t have for it. The creature bulged with great tumors with the texture of a brain while other parts were as narrow as a human spine, bolstering inhuman teeth. Glossy, jet eyes searched but it wasn’t entirely apparent if they could see. An orgy of limbs that would best fit an alien lifeform flapped and grasped about looking for some prey. It was as these appendages came into sight, Raul realized this experiment was not crawling up through the gap in the platform. Instead, the unsightly thing was floated like a balloon up to the second level.

Raul’s mind stuttered on first sight of the freakish behemoth but with only a second everything clicked back into place. Violently he cracked open a glassy eye with the hammer causing inky fluid to rupture and pour from it. As Raul continued his relentless attack with the surgical mallet, the creature emit a belch of incoherent growls and shrieks. It was a stupendous symphony of howls that no mortal ears were made to hear. Raul nearly halted himself in the terror of it all but he knew it was time to kill or be killed. The limbs of the monstrosities flailed madly yet uselessly as Raul clubbed it over and over. By the time it was all done, the creature had deflated across the platform and was without shape for all but its teeth.

Despite Raul’s hunger, he did not proceed to eat the beast, he would not even try. Instead, Raul slid the hideous thing back down to the lower level allowing the minor current of the pool to take it away. It’s tar-colored blood went on to stain the water, but it was far from Raul’s concern. All the edible meat was gone, nothing below would be even remotely close to appetizing. Yet, as the worry really struck home, Raul was met with a new prospect. The blast doors released, the lights flashed as the sirens came, and then the men in their hazmat suits filed in.

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