An explosion ripped through the compound. The thermite slag burned down into the main fuel line allowing the fire sprint its way to the nearest buildings. The mess hall was the first to erupt. The flames found DengarIG-88’s lab, and the resulting shockwave blew out the windows from all the buildings. With shards of glass and metal raining down, the scientists scrambled for cover. Crouching behind the thresher, Olsack watched the others race to shelter.
This morning in the fields, the meeting had not progressed well. It seems their democratic execution system was breaking down. They had chosen him. That was not the plan. TheCheese had even volunteered to be his executioner. But, Lady Luck or Mistress Fate had smiled on him today. When the fire reached the mess hall, led by John McLaren, they had all forgotten him and tried to save themselves.
Olsack needed to find a place to hide from his fellow scientists; he only needed to remain safe for a few more days. The resupply would be coming shortly, and he would be off this rock. Stroking his beard, he surveyed the torn landscape for an escape route. The landing strip, unfrequented by the others, made the ideal sanctuary from this madness. Rocked by an explosion from behind, Olsack lost his connection to today, and fell into yesterday.Densely forested mountains hugged the horizon; Charlie had been stalking them all day. They had ambushed the squad twice today. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on the captain. Nam’ had taken everything he cared about over the past two years. His parents died while he was waist deep in the scum of the jungle with leeches feast on everything below the belt. Two months ago, his girlfriend left him, saying she could not be with someone who would re-sign up for a third tour. She had no idea of the horrors his friends had to suffer in the jungle; he could not abandon them. Just this morning his best friend Pollock had caught a bullet bouncing through his skull. The only thing left for this hellhole to take was his life. And he would go kicking and screaming before that ever happened.
The tree line rigged with explosives hid the enemy from Olsack and his squad. He felt their eyes sizing them up. He felt a deep growl - or was it just his empty stomach? They had a timetable to complete. Checking the map every few minutes, the captain pushed them hard to the LZ. The unit had a long road ahead.
“We need to make the ridge by night, boys. If we don’t get there in time, our ride is leavin’. Then Charlie will be all over us. You’ll be begging to be in a body bag if we don’t make it,” the captain called back to them. The other soldiers laughed, but Olsack’s stomach knotted. He knew too many people that had gone home in a little black bag.
Gunfire broke the quiet, fling through the high grass and digging deep into Johnson, the radioman. Arcing across the sky, a grenade landed in the center of the squad. Olsack dove for cover screaming, “Everybody down!”
The detonation ripped through the soldiers, shrapnel shredding in the air. Olsack watched as his friends met God sooner than they expected by the Viet Cong. Time stopped, he could not keep track of the events happening around him. He watched McGinn gunned down, the wet jungle surrounding the horror. Finding the trigger of his M60, Olsack let loose a hot ten-second barrage into the jungle. Over one hundred rounds spent, he spun around trying to find the hostiles, greeted by find smoke and fire. A black shape swam through the smoke across the bloodied field. Drawing the trigger again, his weapon answered back by jamming. Abandoned by his weapon, he needed a new ally. Throwing the useless contraption down, he reached for his side arm.
All went black, as the burlap sack snapped over his head. Screaming his battle cry of desperation, the butt of a rifle broke his nose and consciousness.
Gameguru dragged Olsack past the burning mess hall by his lashed feet. Olsack had been in a daze when he found him. It did not matter; the group had selected him for execution. His prisoner was bound, and could not see with the sack over his head. The smell of the burning contents of the building found him. The flames licking at the passersby warmed gameguru on his way to commit his cold deed.
“You’re heavier than you look,” he spat back at his burden.
He had successfully captured his quarry, and now only the task of disposing of him remained. GameCommedore should have completed his preparations, and now he only needed to make the delivery. Rounding the corner of the burning building, he found that to be true.
GameCommedore stood by the Waste Management Device. When Dr. Loki described the WMD on their arrival, it sounded like a small recycling unit. In actuality, it was the size of a shed and recycled nothing. It was a small room with a three-foot wide hole in the center, an outhouse for garbage. The walls covered with screens and meters sat silent. GameCommomedore had never seen them active. Everyone’s garbage, trash, and medical waste went in and nothing ever came out. No one was quite sure what happened from there, but they all knew they never had to worry about it again. Gameguru needed to dispose of some waste.
“So are we sure about this one?” asked GameCommedore.
“About as sure as the last one. He kept claiming to be the mongoose but couldn’t see anything. How much more evidence do you need?”
“We don’t have that, only our gut. My gut says this is our guy,” barked back gameguru.
Pulling his leather jacket tight to fight back the cold choice, GameCommedore responded, “Everything is ready. We put him in the hole, we wait for him to transform. If he is the beast, we will know by sunrise. If he isn’t we pull him up. Do you want first watch?”
“No, you take the first watch, I’ll be back around two,” he said aligning the unconscious body with the hole.
“Let’s do this thing then,” GameCommedore finished, sliding Olsack as gently as possible into the aperture. He landed with a soft thud amongst the colony’s waste.
Olsack walked out without a word, closing the door behind him. GameCommedore was alone with the suspected creature. He checked his safety protocols. He retested the time to activate the system. In addition, he practiced sealing the lid to the chamber. Neither would take longer than a second or two.
He pulled a Snickers bar from his jacket, and began to have his late snack. He checked the wrapper to see if he won the unwinnable prize, and had not. Crumbling into a ball, he practiced his hook shot into the disposal system. He scored, the crowd went wild, and the machine turned on.
The room hummed as an unseen machine came to life. Lights flashed, and screens displayed reports and processes. A detached digital voice spoke out, “Maximum allowable weight achieved. Waste elimination process initiated.”
Olsack stirred in his pit of filth. Hundreds of small lights sparked, illuminating his chamber. The walls of the lower chamber rotated their speed increasing. A web of beams shot from one light to another, spinning ever faster. Olsack twitched as the beams moved along his body. Black wisps of smoke rolled from the contact points of light. Burn lines traced and burned across his body creating charred mesh, and his screaming intensified.
The machine spun and churned to complete its task of disposal. GameCommedore scrambled to shut down the machine, flipping switches and turning knobs, but to no avail. The lasers dug deeper into the Olsack’s flesh. The terrible whining sound of the machine and Olsack rattled through his mind.
“How do I stop this?” screamed GameCommedore.
“Oh God,” screamed Olsack. The sack burning off his face, he looked up to see his executioner. “I hope you choke on me.”
A burst of red and blue light exploded from the chamber, and the sound stopped. Winding down, the machine released a puff of black smoke.
SEER, WEREWOLVES, and BODY GUARD send me your picks before Sunday at midnight.