Friendly Beasts

Friendly Beasts

A Story by VALORMORE DE PLUME
"

You wake up, bound and gagged. It's dark and foul smelling.

"

Friendly Beasts

by

Valormore De Plume

 

       She wiggles a little more. After hours of struggling, the bindings slip past the thumb releasing her left hand. In moments, she is on her feet. A tiny victory she thinks. In the darkness, the boundaries are obscure.

       Taking up the ropes, she ties them into one long piece. Attaching her shoe to one end, for casting in all directions, the extent of her dark surroundings begins to yield its secrets. A wall is there, the floor has no obstructions or holes within the length provided. Overhead, the shoe just touches a soft ceiling.

       She makes her way, past open shafts and broken debris, to a concrete floor with metal walls and a lower, upper limit.      Humming electrical machinery drones in the distance. Copious amounts of a foul-smelling oily substance slow the pace as she switches to moving on all fours.

       Her mind begins to reassess; is this better than where I started, would the opposite way be preferable, are they watching every move.

       Continuing to cast in all directions, she hopes for the best.

       The shoe bounces off what sounds like a glass window. Drawing closer, it has the feel of a large mirror according to its frame. She imagines eyes on the reverse side, peering into her soul. Pulling it from the wall causes it to crash to the floor in pieces.

       No opening behind, brings a sigh of relief and an urgency to continue moving. Someone might have heard the crash.

One more cast of the shoe reveals a door. The knob turns easily, releasing the latch, allowing sunlight to enter through the crack.

       Her eyes recoil at the brightness.

       She unties the shoe, returning it to her foot and steps through the doorway with elbow above her eyes. She haunches over, as the sun burns her oily flesh.

       Still unable to see clearly, apprehension fills her, from the sound of multiple voices murmuring.

       Vision adjusting, a group of people in lab coats feign applause.

       One figure, steps forward smiling.

       Two more rush in, grabbing her arms with force.

       Smiley says, “You are the first to escape our little experiment.”

       Smiley turns to the assembly saying, “We finally have a participant for the second experiment.”

       True applause resounds in the woods, as the two holding her, drag her away kicking and screaming.

~*~

       She returns to consciousness with a sudden jolt generated by a terrifying dream.

       She is naked, surrounded by a field of tall flowers that fills the expanse between two forested mountain ranges. In the distance, foreboding low-pitched screams reverberate through the wooded areas on both sides.

       She has scrapes on her back and sides, which indicate dragging. She remains low to the ground peeking through the weeds from below their tops as she assesses her surroundings.

       The memory of her recent escape from a dark subterranean trap is punctuated by the clinical looking crowd, which looked on her with evil intent as the two brawny men dragged her away by the feet.

       She quakes, not from being cold for the midday sun is already burning her tender pale skin, but from the words of their leader.

       “You are the first to escape our little experiment. We finally have a participant for the second experiment.”

       She gathers her resolve while straining her senses to evaluate the surroundings. Whatever is making the roaring growls seems to be at a distance. She attempts to discern whether it is a looped recording, to no avail. Varieties of birds flutter about, some feed on nectar others on insects. Deeming this a good sign, she raises her head above flower tops scanning in all directions.

       A glint of something shiny at the tree line catches her eye, causing her to lay flat again. Crawling in the opposite direction, keeping as low as possible, she makes haste to gain distance from what may be a riflescope and after a few moments, pauses to reassess. In this fashion through multiple times, she makes her way ten yards at a time.

A falcon swoops in to capture a lark near her position. Reasoning that if the birds are going about their business, it means they sense no threat. With that thought, she bolts to her feet and runs for all she is worth across the hundred or so yards to the cover of the trees.

       A bullet rips through the bark and buries itself deep into the tree she has her hand on. Sound from the gun catches up, from a westerly direction at the other side of the long wide meadow filled with flowers. She scampers to hide behind a rocky outcrop.

       Her heart sinks as she hears a pair of hands clap with a slow hesitant cadence.

       “You are proving to be a most excellent subject for our little experiments Miss Granger. Give her the coveralls and be a little kinder to her this time.”

       She turns around to see the two musclebound men from the last meeting.

       “Put on the clothes and blindfold Miss Granger. You have earned a few days of rest while we evaluate some other subjects. My associates will escort you to a place where you may bathe, eat, and rest in comfort.”

Melota bides her time for now.

       She has no choice, other than dehydration… Drink from their water she must. Thoughts of escape override her hunger and pain, but thirst serves a more imperative urgency. Taking a few small sips will need to do for now. She wets a piece of cloth, wetting her face and neck. She decides to make use of the shower and washes, with her coveralls on.

       As the water washes away the grime, thoughts of the last few days begin to surrender to her analytical mind.

Her attention shifts to the immediate surroundings.

       This is set up to look like a small apartment, with food in the fridge and a pantry. There are cleaning supplies, as if she might reside here for some time. It feels more like a big metal storage container. Melota must assume this is the next experiment.

       She wonders about the others…

       They said other subjects…

       Logic insists that variables must be at a minimum in any experiment. She deduces that however many survive the same traps as she, they all move on to the next experiment.

       She wonders about her captors…

       They showed themselves. When she got out of that mine or whatever it was, she caught a good look at them all. If not for the security guards, she could fight her way through the lot of them in moments. Their identification and prosecution seem to play no role in their plans for her or the others.

       She steps out of the shower to begin drying, without interrupting the stream of thought.

       Melota hones in on her memory of each captor. There are seven geeks in white coats, two ex-military in black, and Smiley in royal blue. Those in lab coats could be intimidated with ease. This might work to an advantage. Security team can be distracted if the lab workers panic. A plan for survival brews, spiced with the feeling that Smiley will be alone.

       Knowing the captors are watching, she pretends to be eating, but disposes of the hidden bits in the latrine.

       When the lights go out, she stages herself between the kitchen counters, where the cameras are only able to see a portion of her. She can use her body to conceal what she must do next. Cleaning supplies, available from the lowest cabinet, can be very volatile if mixed properly.

       When all is ready, Young Melota allows her eyes to close as she awaits an opportune moment. Her impressions of her adversaries lead her to believe they will not allow her to have a good night’s sleep. They will not expect her to be conscious and prefer to relocate her as she sleeps.

       They have done this before when dragging her through the flowers. Blurry images of dragging linger from that time, with enough sensation to render the impression that she has succumb to their drugs again.

       She says a silent prayer for everyone involved.

       Bang.

       Melota recoils from the sudden impact. Sleep, supposed to be a ruse, is now an embarrassment. She holds her position between the counters, feigning the impression of exhaustion.

       Waiting for the door to open, she is ready to spring the trap.

       Again, a rock strikes the outer wall opposite the door.

       This is not logical, unless they are aiming at terrifying her before they enter. Are they suspicious of a trap? Now, is too late to change the plan.

       She holds still, as if unconscious.

       Hours pass.

       An urgent nature call devastates her resolve to remain motionless.

Something is amiss. This is not how they do things.

       When she flushes the toilet, another rock bounces off the metal exterior. Something causes the entire structure to lift on one side and then slam back to ground. She hears heavy steps outside accompanied by deep low growls.

       Melota peeks between the curtains, spying the back of a huge dark figure. In the distance, she hears the same roaring growls as she heard while in the field.

       Again, the structure begins to rise from the opposite side from the entryway. She scrambles to get back into the small bathroom, as the building overturns. She manages to get down and out of the bathroom as a tree stump crashes through the window that is now where the roof was.

       She listens with careful intent. Hearing snapping branches fade into the distance; she raises her head above the exterior. Distant growls receive a response by her intruder who is now at a medium distance.

       Melota is not sure why, she feels this to be a rescue.

       She follows with haste, in the direction it went, hoping to leave her tormentors far behind. As she ascends the mountain, her captor’s encampment comes into full view. It is bustling with activity. Some men are going through the overturned cargo box.

       The small explosion, from Melota’s improvised explosive device, reverberates in the box canyon.

       She feels sad for the men, knowing the corrosive properties of her concoction. However, she also feels relief, because their crew is down three men.

       That leaves her lab coat tormentors and smiley with only one fighter. She decides to sneak back into their camp. Her plan includes freeing the other test subjects before a new round of insanity.

       Three steps toward the camp and a huge dark figure steps out of the shadows, blocking her way. Melota sidesteps and it matches the motion.

       It points across the ravine to her left.

       Someone with a flashlight is heading their way. She turns to say thank you, but there is no sign of the dark figure.

       With as much stealth as she can muster, she makes her way up the mountain to find a suitable place to hide and sleep.

 

       When first light opens the sky, she learns she missed the camp by a hundred yards. Being near the apex, on the east side of the camp, she is able to see everything with clarity while the brightness behind her washes out everything from their view.

Melota doesn’t believe in luck. When a blunder turns into an asset, it serves to strengthen her resolve. Boldness drives her closer.

       Two men in lab coats and the remaining security guard, all brandishing automatic weapons, load the truck with gear.    Smiley barks degrading remarks while urging them to go out there and get the girl. The med techs are afraid, but have no alternative.

       Melota smiles as they drive away. She listens. Smiley is back in the lab hovering over the remaining technicians. The subjects would be in the metal storage containers, beyond the perimeter.

       Her first target is their fuel supply. Making her way to the supply tent, she loads her pockets with rations, a small knife, and a spool of some electrical wire. One end goes on the light’s wiring and the other end of the wire goes on the large fuel tank. She conceals the wire along the rafters and with leaves, along the ground. When they turn that light on tonight, they’re going to hear a loud Boom.

       Second target is the big generator. She cuts the fuel line at both ends and buries the piece of tubing. The residual gasoline in the sediment bole will allow the generator to run for a few minutes, igniting the fuel tank.

       She checks the fuel tank on the lab’s small generator and finds it has enough to last the day.

       After this, she makes several trips to appropriate and hide as much food and water as possible for when she rescues the others. She also hides their extra ammo and weapons.

       Late in the afternoon, she hears the truck in the distance and some gunfire. She hopes her new furry friends are not in danger. Melota scampers away to a safe vantage point to obscure her presence and catch a few winks.

 

       Near dark, she wakens to Smiley’s shouting at the returning men. Soon it becomes apparent that the men encountered something scary and big. Smiley continues to scream at the three men until they produce some tissue and blood samples.

Melota’s heart sinks at the thought of the men killing these gentle creatures.

       Long shadows surrender to complete darkness in the forest.

       Boom, the large fuel tank explodes, sending a shudder through the trees at supersonic speed. The huge fireball illuminates the surrounding forest for a few minutes. Being next to the supply tent everything in the tent is ablaze.

The metal lab building withstands the flames. Without electricity, it is of no use to them.

       Smiley comes to the perimeter of the camp, mere yards from Melota’s hiding place, and begins to yell.

       “Very good, miss Granger. You are a delightful surprise indeed. You need to know that we are a hundred miles from civilization. My men came under attack by angry grizzly bears, less than a mile from here. You will not survive alone.”

       Melota knows that bears do not hunt in packs. They must have encountered the furry ones. As for the hundred miles from nowhere, that may be true. When at the peak of the mountain, she could see nothing except more mountains in all directions. She has seen no airplanes of any size since this started.

       “There is no way to escape Miss Granger. Come back. We’ll put you into a sleep from which you will never wake. Isn’t that better than starving, or becoming food for a predator? If we have to hunt you, I guarantee it will take weeks of agony before we allow you to expire.”

       She remains quiet and motionless. She is not going to yield to these mad scientists.

       Smiley returns to oversee the cleanup.

       She takes advantage of the lack of electric, knowing the surveillance cameras are out of commission. With stealth, she makes her way around the perimeter to where the other test subjects are. Peering through windows reveals no signs of life. There are no locks on the doors. Entering the farthest container reveals it to be for storage. Soon, all twelve surrender the same puzzling outcome.

       Her heart sinks with the realization that she is the lone test subject.

       While making her way back to the food stash, she hears Smiley begin yelling again.

       “What do you mean? Who could turn over one of our storage containers?”

       “They’re all overturned sir. They’re all lying on the side with the doors. We’re unable to get to the supplies inside. We tried to use the truck to winch them back into position. They’re too heavy and the winch pulls the truck instead.”

       “Get a torch and cut a new opening.”

       “The torches are inside, sir”

       “Get some more people out here.”

       “The satellite phone’s gone sir. It was in the storage tent, when it burned.”

       “Get the jack out of the truck and raise it a little at a time, apply some blocking and repeat the process until you are able to wench them upright again.”

       “I’ll get on that right away sir.”

       Smiley then orders the remaining med techs to comb the area for the girl.

       “I suspect she is nearby, watching us. I don’t understand who is helping her. Take the guns and shoot to kill.”

       “There are two guns in the truck sir. The rest of them were in the tent that burned.”

       “There are four of you. Work in teams of two. Kill the girl, or I’ll kill you. Don’t come back until she is dead.”

       Melota hears all their loud conversations. She thinks about the guns she stashed. She decides it will be better to leave these lunatics to their troubles and escape on foot.

       About twenty minutes of stealthy hiking brings her up the mountain enough to see the camp again. She can see that the jack is working. The cargo box is lifted a couple of feet and the security man is shoving logs under to hold it in place so he can repeat the process.

       A large dark figure moves in close and lifts the cargo box, revealing the guard under it.

       The guard reaches for his sidearm.

       The beast kicks the jack, drops the box on him, and the overturned jack.

       Melota gasps at the strength and ingenuity of the furry creature.

       This sound reveals her position.

       Two med techs are, by chance, within a few yards and shout to her to put her arms up. They order her to return to camp with them.

       Melota raises her hands, locking eyes with one then the other. She recollects her impressions of these two, from the first meeting. Both winced at the sight of her as she emerged from the first experiment, even more so as the men dragged her away.

       Even with the gun, they appear ashamed and afraid. She speaks to ease their burden.

       “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. I can see that. This stupid attempt at an escape put you in this situation. That’s understandable. I am lost already. There is no way out. I get it now. I don’t blame you two. Take me back to smiley.”

       The gun lowers as they laugh at Melota’s name for their boss.

      “His name is Goddard.”

       They snicker.

       “He thinks he’s god.”

       Melota takes several steps toward the camp, hands in the air. The techs relax; lower the gun and rush to keep up with Melota. When they come in range, she executes a textbook spin kick, knocking the gunner unconscious. The other, appearing stunned, with her mouth agape. A swift uppercut was more than enough to render her limp.

       She uses their shoelaces to bind them together and gags them with material ripped from their lab coats. She inspects the bindings and positioning. This is a nice little package for Goddard, or the furry ones. Knowing they will be out for a while; she covers them with pine needles and then some small branches to keep them warm and out of sight.

       She figures there are three remaining threats to her survival. It was only by luck that these two were the most timid of the bunch. Intuition suggests the second team would head off opposite from the first. Still there is that threat that they might be afraid to go too far from these two. Team two may hover in this area.

       She moves when the clouds cover the moon. She plots her path when the moon peeks through. Within an hour, she is near the far side of the camp, having skirted beyond the perimeter. She finds the perfect spot. Three trees stand very close to one another making a ladder of alternating branches that will enable her to climb and blend into the crosshatch of limbs. She can see out, no one can see her.

       She spots Goddard. His frustration is obvious, as he goes through the burned ruins of the supply tent. Charred objects eject in random directions at great velocity. He is cursing under his breath. She enjoys his juvenile demeanor with great satisfaction.

        She tosses a pinecone at the metal wall of the lab, then once more. He takes out his sidearm as he spins around, and shoots the building, three times. This makes him more agitated. He continues to spin around, shooting in all directions, until it clicks without a bang. The look of desperation is priceless.

       He slams in a new clip.

       She tosses a pinecone toward the cargo boxes.

       He moves in that direction with worried steps.

       She throws one farther in the same direction.

       He is wary as he creeps toward the noise.

       A bit closer and she will drop on him from above.

       She looks for a new cone to throw, none in reach.

       A sharp loud call interrupts her plan.

       “Don’t shoot, we’re coming in.”

       “Did you get her?”

       “No sir. We heard you shooting. We thought you might need help.”

       “Where are the other two?”

       “They went up the mountain to survey a larger area. They thought the girl might light a fire or something.”

       “She’s not that stupid. That’s more than I get from all of you. I told you all, the girl will stay close.”

       “But.”

       “Shut up.”

       Smiley paces in a circle, with the terrified techs in the center. They remember he threatened to kill them if they came back without the girl. He stops behind them.

       “I know, security is not what you were hired for. Go get the others and bring them in. Miss Granger has left us with no provisions. We have to leave in the truck and hope it has enough gas.”

       The techs are dumbfounded by his change of intent and relieved.

       “The girl won’t last long out here alone. Now retrieve the others.”

       They head up the mountain.

       Smiley goes into the lab.

       Melota descends the tree. The truck is not far. She opens the hood with care, and removes the coil wire. She lowers the hood without clicking it into the latch. Hiding the coil wire under a rock seems to be prudent in case of capture.

       Smiley exits the lab with an armload of boxed files. He moves straight to the truck.

       Melota has too much open space to run and hide. She slides under the truck as he nears.

       He places the boxes on the front seat, then comes to the driver’s side and gets in. When the truck won’t start, he pounds the steering wheel and stomps his feet. He then notices the hood is ajar. When he gets out and checks, he discovers the wire missing. He slams the hood with great force, and stomps back to the lab.

       Melota dashes back, to hide up her tree again. She catches her breath once seated in seclusion. She can hear smiley in the lab throwing things around. She bides her time, knowing she has the upper hand, for now.

       Ten minutes pass.

       Smiley comes out of the lab and fires three shots into the air.

       A rifle shot from three quarters of the way up the mountain returns three shots.

       Low-pitched roaring screams begin to sound off at differing ranges and directions.

       Melota senses the furry ones are gathering all the clans.

       Smiley focuses on starting a fire and throws on more and more logs until the bonfire is too big to get near enough to throw more from the stockpile. He then barricades himself in the lab.

       Melota notices the vocalizations are converging on the spot she hid the first two techs. She hears gunshots and realizes the second team must be with them.

       Other furry ones are making their presence known at the camp, by throwing rocks at the lab building.

       The screams of the four med techs give Melota a shiver. She prays for their souls.

       Rocks begin to slam against the Lab from all directions at once. Soon the windows are broken and the rocks keep getting bigger. The roof begins to buckle under the weight of the heavy rocks. When it caves in, Smiley runs out to the bonfire with a second handgun and a large box of extra ammo clips.

       Melota gets the impression that Smiley kept a cache of weapons in the lab because he was aware of the furry ones.

       The sound of breaking limbs nearby causes him to empty one gun in that direction. He slams in another clip.

       They’re taunting him, thinks Melota.

       This continues for almost an hour.

       Smiley begins to laugh and then mocks them with a roaring scream of his own.

       A tremendous and terrifying roar returns from the darkness. It is so loud it feels like a shockwave moving the trees where she sits and pushes the flames of the bonfire. Smiley buckles at the waist, as if receiving a gut punch.

       Smiley’s reaction is to laugh like a maniac as he mocks them by acting like a chimpanzee.

       A huge figure emerges from the darkness.

       Melota can’t believe her eyes. Smiley is at least six foot, maybe a little more. This furry one at the edge of the clearing is at least twice as tall and massive in breadth.

       It stands in the open with glowing red eyes focused on Smiley. The forest goes silent. In all directions, pairs of red eyes reflect the firelight.

       It is obvious that Smiley is insane as he continues to make chimp sounds and antics.

       The large dark figure begins to stride toward Smiley, picking up momentum with each step.

       Smiley expends the rounds from both guns as the creature races toward him.

       The dark figure stops in front of Smiley and bends down to look him in the eye.

       Melota can see blood oozing from the furry one’s wounds.

       Smiley laughs still, with the monster inches from his face.

       Again, the furry one produces the monstrous roar in his face.

       Smiley falls to the ground convulsing like a seizure.

       He places his foot gently on smiley’s chest.

       Smiley laughs aloud.

       With deliberate slowness, full weight transfers to this foot crushing the ribcage. It picks him up by the feet and holds him high in the air as he rotates for all to see.

       Melota diverts her eyes from the ghastly sight. For the first time she wonders about her own safety.

       Loud guttural howls sound off from all directions and reverberate throughout the forest.

       The huge one throws Smiley’s lifeless body high into the trees. It snags in the branches as it falls and hangs there twenty yards from Melota’s position.

       She covers her mouth to stop the scream that rises in her throat.

       The beast strides away, crunching sounds, and breaking limbs indicate the others are leaving the area also.

Melota stays in her hiding place and falls into a deep sleep.

       She dreams of being with the female furry one and her family. The curious youngsters, who are bigger than Melota, make giggling sounds whenever she looks at them. They seem fixated and perplexed by her clothing, but keep their distance.

       The father sits at a distance with his back to Melota as he plays with them.

       The mother draws near. Her kind eyes feel welcoming. She extends a hand, stroking Melota’s hair.

       She begins to hum with a pleasant vibrato. This relaxes Melota.

       Visions fill Melota’s mind, of Smiley doing surgery on the furry children. She then notices shaved patches with sutured scars on the children, tears well up in her eyes. The mother begins to make a variety of grunts and tongue clicks. Melota believes she is talking, though she doesn’t understand. The mother uses her fingers to close her own eyes. Melota closes her eyes in response. A new vision emerges of an eagle flying over. She is then able to see what the bird sees, as it soars on high. The feeling is exhilarating, as if it is her flying. She thinks of leaving the forest and the bird flies southward. About ten miles away there is a small town. The Eagle returns to where Melota is sleeping and lands in that tree making a shrill call which wakes Melota from her dream.

       It is early morning. The sunlight feels warm on her skin. She looks at the bird again and nods while smiling. The eagle nods back and flies away, to the south.

       She descends the tree and heads for the truck.

       “Yes.”

       The keys are in the ignition. She retrieves the coil wire from under the rock and puts it where it belongs. She gets back in the driver’s seat and starts the truck. The fuel gauge is at half a tank. She says a prayer for the furry ones before leaving.

She is about to leave, when the female steps out from the shadows at the side of the road. Melota displays a wide grin when three youngsters peak out from behind their trees. Melota looks back at the camp. When she looks back, they are gone.

       Melota thinks of men and monsters, to muse on how blurry the line between them is, as she drives away.

       She also realizes that this experience has expanded her gift in ways she could never imagine.

Later, she informs the police about the experiments and makes a map for them to follow to the encampment. She makes no mention of the furry ones.

       She begins to understand that this gift may put her in danger, although she is also sure that while fighting evil, God will see her through.

 

THE END

By

Valormore De Plume

©7152018

 

 

© 2020 VALORMORE DE PLUME


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Added on June 14, 2020
Last Updated on June 15, 2020
Tags: abducted, experimented on, no escape.

Author

VALORMORE DE PLUME
VALORMORE DE PLUME

Picture Rocks, AZ



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