This is the final episode in Pine Gap Teaser 06 and the last one I will be posting. I promise today to be more considerate of your stomach today. However, if you are a glutton for punishment feel free to check out part one, part two or part three once more. I hope you’ve enjoyed these snippets and support my work by purchasing a copy of my book. Pine Gap is available in Amazon Australia, the UK and worldwide.
Happy Valentines Day.
Again they rode in silence, both officers mentally digesting the impossible horrors they had just witnessed and preparing themselves to inspect the final piece of the puzzle.
Thankfully there were no rigor-mortised remains to punish the senses on level seventy-two, only the twisted metal, shattered electrics and concrete destruction wrought by the fury of the invader. Katana shook her head in disbelief at the damage.
“Was it a bomb?”
“Nope. Stone Gollum.”
“You mean one creature did all this?”
“A Stone Gollum is a pretty big creature Major.”
Katana had never seen such a beast and she momentarily pondered on its destructive power. Finally she asked the question that had been burning on her mind since hurling on her commander’s boots.
“So what is the pattern Colonel?”
Drax kicked a small chunk of cement sending it skipping across the rubble and off into the darkness. When the echos ceased he answered her.
“Ok, the wriggling heap of maggots on level thirty was discovered fresh five days ago.”
“The half-man, half-prison cell on level forty-four appeared three days ago.”
“The hanging nudist was heard screaming two days ago.”
Katana was starting to understand the sequence that would lead to Gabriel’s ultimate conclusion.
“And today a Stone Gollum magically emerged from thin air.”
“Our invaders are getting better at this aren’t they sir.”
“Damn straight Major.”
Drax looked back at the destroyed remnants of level seventy-two one last time, lost in his own musings. They only fly in the ointment was the Nat he found this morning. It was half buried in the floor yet, if it had followed the pattern he just showed Major May, it should have been running around on all six legs spitting poison at everyone.
“All I can think is that because level sixteen is such a larger space than the rest, they screwed up their coordinates.”
He had spoken that last thought out loud and Katana had heard him.
“What do you mean by ‘coordinates’ Colonel?”
“Just mulling over some ideas Major. Lets go chat to some of the inmates and see what they know.”
Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004
The two officers traveled in silence until they reached level fifty-eight. As they embarked the car Gabriel commented to Katana,
“Do you have your handkerchief handy Major?”
Without a second thought she placed the scented cloth against her nose. As soon as she rounded the southern corner of the elevator shaft she saw what they had come to find. Hanging from the ceiling by his head was a naked man. His body was twisted and contorted in agony, but otherwise he was anatomically perfect. Five twos on either foot, two legs, male genitalia, hips, stomach, fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and neck were all exactly where they should be. His chiseled chin jutted forward from a jaw full of white teeth and his nose was straight. But that’s where the man ended and the roof began. The bridge of his nose, his eyes, the top of his ears, his forehead and cranium were encased in the ceiling cement. Blood had trickled from his nostrils, dribbled onto his chest and congealed. In death he had vacuated his bowels leaving a disgusting pool of excrement on the floor and dried faeces clinging to the hair on his legs. Drax leaned forwards to examine his fingers. The nails on each hand had been torn and his fingertips were raw and bloody.
“What do you think happened to his hands Colonel?”
Drax pulled a small, high-powered torch from his pocket and shone it at the ceiling. The concrete in the roof around the victim’s head had scratch marks on it. He spoke more to himself than to Major May when he replied.
“Looks like he tried to dig his face out of the roof before he died.”
Katana was absolutely perplexed.
“This is getting ridiculous Colonel. How the hell can this happen to a person?”
“I’m not sure Major but I think I see a pattern emerging.”
“What sort of pattern sir?”
“One more level to inspect and I’ll tell you.”
Coming soon Pine Gap Teaser 06(d) – An Inescapable Conclusion
Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004
Sorry about ruining your breakfast last week. Perhaps you should read this before eating 😉
Colonel Gabriel Drax and his queasy companion, Major Katana May, headed back to the elevator shaft and plunged deeper into the bowels of Pine Gap.
As they past the thirty-first floor Gabriel’s forehead tingled with a strange sensation that was vaguely familiar, but the pins and needles in his brain were only short-lived. By level thirty-five Katana’s nausea had subsided and the two officers were in a reasonable mood.
“Is it like this all the way to the bottom Colonel? Swapping every five floors?”
“Yep. Tedious isn’t it.”
The pair shared a smile.
Gabriel stopped the car on level forty-four and turned south. A miasmal stench made the air heavy like thick, transparent smog and Katana raised her hand to her throat as if choking on the noxious fumes.
“Am I going to be sick again Colonel?”
A short distance from the elevators he found what he was looking for. The naked body of another humanoid was welded into the back wall of an empty prison cell. The creature’s entire left hand side protruded from the smooth concrete surface whilst the right was lost from existence and presumably part of the mortar. The only clue to the fact that it had been alive upon arrival at Pine Gap was the look of horror and intense pain, permanently etched on its dead face. What the poor being must have experienced in its last moments could only be imagined.
The severely bloated corpse was well into the second stages of decomposition. Its swollen tongue poked grotesquely from decaying lips like a zombie blowing a raspberry while greedy, fat larvae crawled in the vacant eye sockets. The carcass was so distended that it threatened to explode at any moment, covering the officers in vile putrefaction.
“Hold the torch please Major. I want a closer look at where this thing has come from.”
Katana shone the light where instructed, her hands quivering slightly as she fought off the almost overwhelming desire to regurgitate. There was no damage to the structure. No evidence of a hidden passage. No visible hint as to the origin of this nightmare. Gabriel took out his knife and cut the skin nearest to the cement. A rancid gas that smelled like a mixture of methane and rotten eggs hissed from the open wound enveloping the officers in a cloud of malodorous fragrance.
“Look at that Major. The body doesn’t go into the wall. It just stops. Have you ever seen anything like that before?”
Katana could contain herself no longer and began vomiting profusely, splashing Gabriel’s boots in the process. So much for the spit polish shine. When she had finished retching he handed her his handkerchief. It had been dipped in Eucalyptus oil and offered her a more pleasant alternative to the fetid reek of the wall-mounted remains. Eventually she was able to speak.
“How can this be Colonel?”
“I wish I knew Major. Lets get out of here.”
Coming soon Pine Gap Teaser 06(c) – The Horror
Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004
In this four-part episode, Colonel Gabriel Drax and Major Katana May are investigating some of the horrors lurking in the depths of Pine Gap.
The elevator doors opened onto level thirty and the two officers exited the car. Katana began heading toward the southern end of the complex but was called back by her superior officer.
“There’s nothing nasty over there Major. Come with me instead.”
He led her down the silent corridor past the rows of empty cells. There was a faint smell of rotting meat in the air that began to get stronger the further north they walked. Katana noticed movement on the floor in front of them and drew her pistol.
“Relax Major. Its already dead.”
The erratic motion that Katana saw was in fact the writhing bodies of a million maggots, squirming and feasting on the bloodied remains lying in the corner of the floor and the northern wall. Involuntary peristalsis made her gag before speaking.
“Oh yuck! That’s disgusting. What died here Colonel?”
“No one is exactly sure Major. A Tullimbar patrol reported finding a lump of flesh, which was later identified as the back of a bipedal humanoid, lodged in the wall here five days ago.”
Gabriel scraped some of the worms away from the wriggling pile and exposed the white bones of a spinal column. The smell was indescribable and Katana was forced to swallow the bile rising in her throat.
“Who was it Colonel?”
“No one from here Major.”
“Where did it come from?”
Drax just shook his head.
“Lets move on.”
Coming soon Pine Gap Teaser 06(b) – Cadaver Glue
Pine Gap © Matthew Green 2004