Chapter 9A Chapter by Rylan Leif
Bold and Italics
Something was clicking next to my ears. As I slowly slipped back into consciousness I realized that it was Dr. Priya’s fingers snapping beside both of my ears.
“That’s a good boy.” She said, helping me out of the chair. I merely replied with a groan and then a grunt as my feet planted themselves on the floor. I still don’t understand why they haven’t given us shoes or socks. Shyloh was already standing and rubbing her neck. I was reminded of the twinge of pain that nipped at the back of my neck where the Stigchem was injected.
“I thought you said it wouldn’t hurt.” I tried massaging the pain out of my neck but my attempts were futile. “My neck is feeling pretty tender at the moment.”
The Beast huffed at my apparent ignorance, “I said that you wouldn’t feel the prick, which you didn’t. Minor pains around the injected area are normal, as they are with any other needle. You might also getting a splitting headache. If it becomes bothersome, I’ll have someone fetch you an Advil.” Her matter-of-fact attitude and all around sarcasm was irritating. She talked down to me like I was a complete idiot. Sorry honey, but without me you’d have no guinea pig for your little science experiment. Suck it.
“Before we move on, what did you inject in us? You promised that you’d tell us.” Shyloh whined.
“Well,” Dr. Priya started with exasperation filling her tone, “we extracted brain matter out of several lobes in your brains. The matter consists of chemicals and neurotransmitters from your parietal and temporal lobes as well as your medulla oblongata. These are the areas of the brain that are most similar to reptiles and birds. We took the same matter from the same areas in the raptors and mixed them together which created Stigchem or Stigmatic Chemical.” She led us back out into the arena.
“So there’s raptor brains in us and our brains are in the raptors?” Shyloh asked.
“Well no. You’re brains are obviously still in your skulls and the same for the raptors. We just swapped some of the chemicals around to give you guys some common ground for which you can communicate. We have high hopes for excellent results because you two are fabled stigmatic twins.”
“How did you know we were stigmatic twins?” I asked.
“We’ve studied your brains and they have the same nuclear genetic code which is only supposed to happen in identical twins. You two are fraternal so this peaked out curiosity given that you two had similar brain matter as well. We confirmed this with the pin test, when I poked Shyloh the pain receptors in your brain reacted as well as hers. Your telepathic abilities hold such promise for our experiments. We were very fortunate to have you two fall into our laps.” Her mouth was practically salivating as the words oozed from her mouth.
“Okay, so what are we supposed to do now with all this crap festering in our brains?” I asked.
Dr. Priya knelt down in front of us and looked directly into our eyes. Her voice was now soft and gentle. “Try to connect with the animal. This may take hours or mere seconds. Just look into its eyes, like I’m doing to you now and try to feel something.” She focused her attention on Shyloh, “This may be harder for you because both of the raptors are male.”
“So you expect me to get into a boy’s head?” Dr. Priya nodded. Shyloh laughed and cracked her knuckles, “I do it all the time. Piece of cake.” She said confidently.
Dr. Priya chortled--which was surprising. It was hard to believe that a crazy Nazi like her could demonstrate amusement or any sort of jovial disposition. “I admire that confidence Shyloh. Let’s hope it works out to our advantage.”
“Well here goes nothing.” Shyloh said, steadying herself. She planted her feet firmly into the sand right in front of the white raptor. Their eyes were trained on each other’s for a few moments. We all waited in anticipation; Dr. Priya was rubbing her hands together anxiously, the Blues were on edge, their guns at the ready and I thought I was going to chew through my lip.
Suddenly, Shyloh’s body jolted at the same time as the raptor’s.
“I think I’m in.” she whispered, swaying her head to the right; the raptor mirrored her.
“Yes! Very good!” Dr. Priya kept her excitement and clapping to a somewhat calm and low volume so as not to startle the raptors. “Try and command it. Tell it to do something simple.”
Shyloh’s glare intensified, “Bow your head.” She said calmly. After a few seconds, it lowered its head. I was totally amazed at the spectacle I was witnessing, my pulse started to race. My sister was controlling the raptor!
The black raptor wasn’t so enthused by the anomaly. It turned its head towards Shyloh’s raptor and snarled. Before it did anything else, Dr. Priya pushed me forward, almost within biting distance of the dinosaur.
“You must act quickly! If you don’t connect with the beast’s mind then it might retaliate against Shyloh’s raptor!” she barked.
My heart started doing hurdles in my chest as I wobbled before the creature. I tried to get his attention with a commanding “Hey!” but all I could muster was a squeak. Nevertheless, the raptor turned its gaze on me.
I was shaking in fear, not only did I have to get inside this beast’s head but I had to do it fast before it ripped Shyloh’s raptor to shreds. Great.
I focused my eyes on the raptor’s and I slowed my breathing down. Let me in. Let me in. I kept thinking those words, hoping that they would eventually unlock the raptor’s mind. Time was working against me and I could feel the raptor pulling away to take a bite out of the other one so I repeated the words faster and louder in my head. It was to the point that I was screaming in my head so loud that I thought I might actually yell out loud. LET ME IN!
It felt hopeless. The raptor’s mind wasn’t letting me in.
I turned around and faced Dr. Priya shouting, “This is impossible!”
“You have to keep trying! Otherwise everything we’ve worked for at this point will have been utterly pointless!” Dr. Priya was almost crying, although I couldn’t tell if the tears were welling up out of sadness or anger.
“There’s no way in hell that I can just jump inside this thing’s head and make it sit!” Before the word left my mouth I heard the shifting of sand and a loud thunk.
“Think again.” Dr. Priya said with a beaming smile, this one actually looked genuine for once.
I turned around and sure enough, there was my black raptor sitting on its butt with its claws raised in the air like a dog begging for a treat. My jaw dropped and I was at a total loss for words, all the came out was a collective sputtering of “uhs”, “duhs” and “errs”.
“Sylas we did it!” Shyloh tackled me to the ground and hugged me. “Look at us! We’re raptor masters! No one is going to mess with us as long as we have these crazy beasts behind us!” The raptors whined and snorted.
“I think you insulted them Shy. Look at their faces.” She turned and, just like me, she noticed that they actually looked sad. I had no idea that raptors could frown or smile or anything like that.
“Awe, I’m sorry guys!” Shyloh stepped towards them like she was about to pet them.
“Shyloh don’t!” I screamed, hopping up to my feet. “They could attack.” She brushed away my warning and walked straight up to both of the raptors and patted their noses. She turned around and gave me a smug look while my jaw still hung unhinged.
“Brilliant!” Dr. Priya shouted. “It’s a success!”
Well I wasn’t going to let Shyloh have all the fun so I ventured over to my raptor who stood up to face me. I was a little startled that he got up but I didn’t waiver. He stared into my eyes and I could see calmness in his, almost as though he were a friend. I hesitantly reached my hand to his head still unsure as to whether or not he’d let me touch him. He sensed my uncertainty and offered me his head by lowering it so my hand was over top of his feathers. Then he pushed up and rubbed his head against my hand; letting my fingers ruffle through his feathers. He cooed at my touch and when I scratched down his neck and on top of his back he nearly purred.
“You’re just as harmless as a kitten aren’t you?” I said as he nuzzled my arm. I smiled at Shyloh whose raptor was on the floor getting a belly rub.
“This is amazing!” Shyloh laughed. “Can you believe we’re petting raptors?”
We remained silent for awhile except for a few giggles that escaped as we continued to toy with our pet dinosaurs.
“Well I need to get back there and monitor a few things.” Dr. Priya said pointing to the window. She approached us with little black circular patches in her hands. “Put one of these on each of your temples and they’ll feed data back to the monitors in there.” Shyloh and I did as she said.
“Is this supposed to monitor more brain activity?” Shyloh asked.
“Yes, but it’s slightly different from normal brain activity. These patches let us see the passing of waves between you and the velociraptors so we can monitor their ability to take commands and see how well the commands are ingrained into their brains. So I’ll head back there and let you four get acquainted with each other. Feel free to play around; the soldiers will unlock the chains to allow for free movement. But be careful.” She warned us and snapped at one of the Blues to unlock the chains. “If anything goes awry, the soldiers will still be here to stop any mishaps.” She nodded and rushed into the other room, taking a seat in front of a computer.
“Anytime now, soldier man.” Shyloh barked as one of the Blues fondled with the locks on the chains. He responded with a grunt and the chains fell to the ground, freeing the raptors. I was starting to think that none of the soldiers spoke at all. They all just seemed to speak the universal language of ‘grunt’.
We walked out of ear shot of the Blues with our raptors following behind. Up close the raptors were actually pretty big. They were taller than both of us and really thick with muscles. They were kind of like really big horses.
“We should name them!” Shyloh said.
“Do you know any good raptor names? We could call them things like Shredder or something bad a*s like that.”
“I was thinking like a person’s name for mine.”
I gave Shyloh a dumb look. Is that really as creative as she got? Calling a raptor Steve or something?
“And what person’s name were you thinking about giving him?”
“I don’t know. Joel?”
I burst out laughing, “Joel? Are you serious? Hi, meet my velociraptors Joel and his brother Bobby!” Shyloh didn’t look too pleased with my poking fun at her but seriously, come on. Joel? That’s an absolutely heinous name for a prehistoric lizard.
Amidst my laughter we could hear Shyloh’s raptor starting to make noise. He wasn’t growling or roaring, it sounded more like a rainmaker, if that makes sense? I don’t know what you’d call it but the point is that her raptor was trying to communicate something to us. We gawked at it trying to figure out what it wanted and it just kept staring at us making the same noise.
Eventually the sounds started to spiral through our brains and it formed a word, “Draak.”
“Draak?” Shyloh asked. “Is that your name?”
The voice came from the raptor but it was spoken in our heads. Draak’s voice was a raspy hiss that sounded adolescent; he must have been around our age in dinosaur years, if that’s how it goes.
“You heard that right Sylas?” I nodded.
“So Draak…uh…nice to meet you?” I said.
Nice to meet you too. He said.
“Wow we can talk in English to our raptors. This is so cool!” Shyloh clapped her hands excitedly.
“So what’s your name then?” I asked looking towards my raptor. He made the same hissing noise and then the word “Kobor” resonated in my head.
“Awesome! Well I’m Sylas and that’s Shyloh.” I said.
Yes, those names sound much better than master. Kobor’s voice sounded less raspy and kinder but just as much like a teenager’s, I felt like his voice matched to my personality just like Draak matched with Shyloh. Draak seemed to have a hard, angrier voice while Kobor’s was calm and relaxed, so typical.
“So are you guys always vicious, like by nature? Or was it possible for you guys to be nice like this before we were in your minds?” Shyloh raised a very good question.
What do you mean by ‘vicious by nature’? Draak asked.
“Well one of you bit off that guy’s arm when the scientists brought you here didn’t you?” Shyloh said scanning from Draak to Kobor.
The green men attacked our pack, we had to defend ourselves.
“They didn’t just come after you two?” I asked.
No, they came out of thin air and landed right in the middle of our nesting grounds. They crushed dozens of our eggs.
“I didn’t think scientists were so careless.” Shyloh said.
“Well you have to think Shy; these aren’t your ‘run of the mill’ scientists. These people are crazy and ruthless; it’s no surprise that they would destroy dozens of eggs as long as they got what they came for.”
“I’m sorry that you and your brother have to be prisoners in this hell hole just like us.” Shyloh patted their heads.
Raptors are taught to adapt and to survive. It doesn’t matter where we are; we don’t grow too attached to the nest because we have to leave it shortly after we’re born. And we’re not brothers. We’re pack-mates. Mates to the same head female.
“Oh, well that’s good too I guess. As long as you don’t miss your family or pack or whatever.”
No we won’t miss our pack Shyloh. I think we’ll just kick it around here and try to have fun; we’re too young to get all depressed about crap.
“I can’t believe how much you talk like us.” I said.
Well our brains are melded; it’s only natural that we’d have similar speech patterns.
“Oh he sounds like you alright Sylas.” Shyloh laughed. “But don’t worry guys, we’re going to bust out of here as soon as we can.”
Sounds good to me.
“Sweet.” I said and the conversation fell awkwardly silent. We stood facing each other without really moving except for Draak who was scratching the back of one leg with the other. “So I’m going to address the elephant in the room here…Can we ride you?”
It was hard to judge if Kobor was asking out of curiosity or because he was insulted. His voice in my head was still a little fuzzy, making it hard to judge the tones of his voice.
“Well I guess it would be like a horse. Is that cool? Or are you guys totally against it.” I tried to sound as genuine is possible; I just really wanted to ride on a raptor.
Neither of them said anything, they just bowed their heads and squatted, offering their backs to us. Shyloh didn’t hesitate. She ran and leaped onto Draak’s back and he let out a startled cry.
Jesus! Watch it! I’d like my spine to stay in one piece.
“Oh sorry! I just got excited.” Draak huffed at Shyloh’s apology. I thought it was funny.
“Let me know if I’m hurting you.” I said to Kobor as I gently climbed onto his back.
It was a little awkward at first. I’d never ridden on a horse before so I had no idea what I was doing and my crotch was being crushed against Kobor’s back. There were just a lot of uncomfortable things going on at once. Shyloh of course was already having Draak trot around like a lame show horse.
But after awhile and a lot of little adjustments to keep my boys from being pulverized, I got into a somewhat steady seat on Kobor’s back.
“Yeah let’s do this. But how about we start off slow, alright?” Kobor nodded and took a few sauntering steps which made me wobble a bit. Shyloh and Draak were already jogging in circles around us and laughing.
“Come on boys let’s get a move on.” Shyloh teased. I just wanted to push her off her raptor and have her land on her face. Kobor read my mind and nipped at Draak’s ankle causing him to jolt and Shyloh to fall off, flat on her face.
A*s. Draak growled and tried to take a bite at Kobor, but he missed.
I laughed, “Take that Shy. My raptor just wiped the floor with you.” Shyloh stood up and spat sand out of her mouth.
“If this sand stays in my scalp for the rest of the week I’m going to turn you into raptor jerky, Kobor!” She hopped back on to Draak while Kobor and I pounded fists like ‘homies’. Who knew raptors could be gangster?
“Well with any luck it’ll stay in your mouth and you won’t be able to taste that slop at dinner time. You should probably thank us.” I winked at her but she ignored me and continued to prance in circles with her raptor with her head held high, re-inflating her recently deflated ego.
“Why don’t we open these guys up and have a race?” Shyloh tempted.
No need. I’m faster than Kobor, I always win.
Maybe not with extra weight on your back.
Kobor and Draak were growling and hissing at one another. “Easy there boys. We’ll race and see who the quicker raptor is.” Shyloh said.
“Yeah she’s right. Come on Kobor let’s show her how much faster we are than her.”
“All you males are alike.” She spat. “First one to the far wall?” Shyloh pointed to the back of the arena which looked to be a few kilometers away.
“Fine. May the best man win.” I replied boldly.
Shyloh laughed, “Okay buddy. On my go.”
“Let’s do this!” I screamed
“On your marks…” Shyloh started, “get set…GO!”
Kobor and Draak let out triumphant howls as they started to run. We picked up insane speed. Sand was flying behind Kobor’s feet and a rushing wind tore through my hair. We had to be going at least a hundred clicks; the stands of the arena were a blur beside us.
We were neck and neck with Shyloh and Draak and we were almost at the end of the arena.
There’s no way this is ending in a tie. I thought to Kobor.
Not a chance. He replied. I ducked down a little like a jockey on a horse and Kobor kicked it into high gear. We blazed passed Shyloh and Draak who were coughing from all the dust and sand we were shooting behind us. When we reached the back of the arena I could only see a cloud of dust until Draak and Shyloh emerged through the veil slowly in defeat.
“Yeah!” I cheered, patting Kobor on the side. He was panting but still managed a victorious shriek.
“Damn. I was sure we were going to win. Oh well, you did pretty good Draak. Sylas probably cheated anyways.”
“Oh please! I’m insulted you would think such a thing.”
We should’ve tripped them on the way by just to be sure. Kobor thought to me-- privately of course.
“Yeah maybe we should have.” I responded, chuckling.
“Hey no inside jokes kids. Try and be mature.”
Oh whatever. Kobor huffed.
“We should probably head back to the Blues now.” Shyloh said glumly.
“Yeah. You know what’s so stupid though? The Blues were supposed to be in here to protect us from some sort of mishap but when we ran off they didn’t even follow us. What if these raptors decided to eat us? No offence guys.”
“You’re right! What a band of dicks. They probably wouldn’t have even cared if the raptors turned on us.” Shyloh crossed her arms and pouted.
To be honest, I don’t think that Dr. Priya cares much about your well being either. She now has the chemical that is necessary to control us and that means that she only needs you for a few more tests then…who knows.
The harsh realization sunk in like a knife and a cold sweat started to trickle down from my neck. Kobor was right. That ruthless tramp would soon have no further need for us and she’s probably only keeping Trix around to try and keep us happy before she kills us. After all, we are merely loose ends and eye witnesses that could incriminate her and Cere-Tech if we were ever released.
“He’s right.” Shyloh said. “How could we have been so stupid? We need to get out of here.”
“We’ll work something out later. Maybe talk to Reese and Trix to see what they know about this place. Maybe there’s another tunnel like the one that got us in here.”
“What if there isn’t Sylas?” Shyloh’s eyes were glazed with horror. “I’m scared. I don’t want to die.”
You can’t think like that Shyloh otherwise Dr. Priya will already have an advantage over you.
You two need to act like all is well. If she thinks that something is up she might just separate you from each other or kill you now.
“Good point. Maybe we should head back there now. The sooner we’re finished here, the sooner we can figure something out with Trix and Reese.”
“Alright, giddy up Draak.” He snarled.
Don’t ever say that to me. I am no horse.
Shyloh stiffened up a little.
Don’t mind him, he’s harmless.
“Remember Draak,” I said. “She can make you rub your nose in the dirt.”
She wouldn’t dare.
And with that, the next sounds coming from him were startled shrieks and muffled growls for Shyloh had forced him to thrust his face in the sand. I was laughing hysterically, he looked absolutely ridiculous.
Alright! Alright! I get it! Let me up.
Shyloh made him stop moving but his nose was still in the sand. “Only if you promise not to be mean anymore.”
I promise. Now let me up.
What’s the magic word Draak?
You stay out of this!
“Draak?” Shyloh teased, “Come on.”
Please. He muttered flatly.
Shyloh let his nose come up and she patted him on the head. “There’s a good boy.”
Yeah, yeah. He pouted.
Now that all the fun and games had ended, we headed off back towards the front of the arena where the Blues were still standing. I don’t think they moved a muscle the entire time. But Dr. Priya was outside standing next to them by the time we had walked all the way back.
“Is that enough fun for one day?” She asked pleasantly.
We gave her the best smiles we could fake, including Draak and Kobor, and nodded our heads.
“Oh, how lovely.” She beamed. “It’s almost dinner time so how about we walk our friends back to their pen and you two back to your room? Everyone’s nutritious meals should be waiting and we best hurry because it’ll all taste awful when it’s cold.” She glanced at the raptors, “Well except for yours because it’s already cold of course.” She let out a high-pitched laugh that was so exciting and ear-splitting that it almost made me puke. I really was starting to hate that woman. If there was one woman in the entire world that I was allowed to punch in the face it would be her.
“Alright, sounds good. I’m kind of hungry anyways.” I said as my stomach rumbled obnoxiously. I dismounted Kobor and started walking him to the door when I heard a loud shriek and a man’s bloodcurdling screams. I whipped my head around and craned my neck to see the carnage just behind Kobor.
There was a thick stench of blood in the air and my stomach rose in my throat when I saw that Draak was tearing into the back of one of the Blues. He was writhing and screaming (it turns out they can vocalize more than just grunts) while Draak’s killing claws were puncturing and slicing.
I could feel a tremor in Kobor’s mind. The scent of blood was driving him wild and if I didn’t get a hold of him quickly then a feeding frenzy would start.
“Soldier!” Dr. Priya screamed, “Get control of that animal!” The other Blue reacted without hesitation. He raised his gun, which was glowing bright green, and pulled the trigger. A burst of lightning crackled out and engulfed Kobor, Shyloh and the now deceased Blue. Fire seared in my brain. I collapsed to the ground, clasping my head to try and push the pain out; Kobor was shrieking in pain too. Then Draak and Shyloh collapsed, unconscious, and the fire in my head receded.
“What the hell was that?” I screamed. I rolled in the sand for a moment trying to shake out the shock of the flames that were just blazing within my skull.
“I had to take control of the situation. Your sister just killed one of my soldiers.” The anger in Dr. Priya’s voice hissed out at me, its venom threatening.
“She didn’t kill him! The raptor did!”
“The raptor was under your sister’s control. She had to have ordered him to attack!”
“You can’t know that sure!” I stood up and shoved the other Blue out of my way to challenge her asinine accusations. “If your idiotic grunt over here didn’t shoot her then maybe she could have told you that!”
“What makes you think that she wouldn’t deny it if she did do it?” Dr. Priya was growling now. I never noticed how animalistic she could be, it was terrifying but I wasn’t going to back down.
“Because I would’ve heard her order the raptor to attack you idiot! Do you really think we’d be so stupid as to attack one pathetic little Blue? What advantage would that have given us? We take one guy down and then we run? We’d never make it out of here alive.” Dr. Priya fell silent, thinking about what I was saying. “We want to survive and that means we have to do exactly as you say until you let us go.”
“Very well. I see your point, but once she wakes up she better have a damn good explanation as to why I have to get a soldier replaced!”
“Fine.” I helped Kobor off the floor; he was whimpering and shaking sand off of his hide. “Get your little turd over there to pick up my sister and put her on my raptor’s back.”
“Do it.” She snapped. The soldier grunted and pick up Shyloh with one hand. I couldn’t believe how strong he was. It was a good thing that the Draak attacked him from behind; otherwise the Blue might have been able to thwart his attack.
The Blue placed Shyloh on Kobor’s back which caused him to waiver a little under the wait.
“Still a little shaky hey?” I asked him. “Can you handle it?”
Yes, I’ll be okay.
“Alright.” I replied.
Another Blue came in through the wooden door and stood next to Dr. Priya, he was followed by a team of people in the green suits. The cleanup crew I assumed. They started rolling the dead Blue up in a giant plastic wrap.
“These two will escort you back to your room. I have to stay here and deal with the havoc that your sister’s ineptitude just caused.” Dr. Priya spat. I didn’t bother with a retort, she wasn’t worth it so I just snorted and looked over at Draak.
“You aren’t going to hurt him are you?” I asked.“No. We can’t afford to find another one right now and besides it wasn’t his fault. He’s vicious by nature.” I shrugged and headed out with my escort party leaving Draak’s unconscious body behind in the sand.
© 2012 Rylan Leif
A Grand Unraveling