01 Feb Tales from a Rookie Storm Chaser (Part 7)
That was enough to describe our predicament as Olivia bounded down the stairs to the control room. I was right beside her as I heard the sky open up and the rain begin to fall.
The last thing I saw was at least a hundred of the citizens of Emerald Bay about to hit the station like a flood.
Olivia ran through the maze-like corridors toward the bunker, shouting to me to find her father. I made it to the control room, surprised to see Mister Kearny was already there.
“Turn the signal on,” I told him frantically.
He shook his head, glaring at me before gesturing to the system. “One of the generators blew a fuse… we’re on a recharge.”
Only a few dim emergency lights came on as he turned his attention to me and growled, “I hope you’re happy, Mister Pruitt. You may have just doomed us all.”
I didn’t say a word as I heard the crowd slam against the station’s wall, their gnashing claws scraping the bare concrete.
From behind me Caleb entered the control room carrying several rifles. He tossed one to Kearny and remarked, “We need to block up the lower corridors. Anything that they could use as an entry point.”
“Shut down the other access points to the breakers. We need this place dark, they can’t do much in the dark and that’ll give us the advantage,” Kearny remarked and then gave me one of the guns.
“Don’t think for a second this makes us even. But we need all hands on deck right now,” he said as he grabbed his crutch.
“What should I do?” I asked, still racked with fear over the incoming onslaught.
“Keep the radio on and listen for our signal. Once the basement breaker is pulled, someone will need to go up to the equipment room and do that one as well,” Kearny instructed, following Caleb out.
I nervously stood there in the control room, listening as the townsfolk began to climb on top of one another to search for a window. Some of them even managed to reach an arm in through the beat up windows. I aimed the gun and fired at the first, a shriek of anger reverberating throughout the group.
I stood there for at least an hour, watching as the creature’s struggled to find a way in. The emergency systems were still allowing me to watch the monitors and see everyone else hard at work.
Caleb and Mister Kearny were in the lower tunnels, using every sort of debris to block the paths that the creatures might find as they went. Olivia was in the breakroom, setting up what appeared to be a trap of some kind. Laschar was grabbing spare boards and reinforcing the windows to keep them from breaking in that way….
I froze as I scrambled and checked the monitors one more time. Where was Natalie, and more importantly; where was Martin?
Then I caught sight of them, running through the halls toward the garage. Where they… making a run for it? I watched breathlessly as the duo arrived at the garage and Natalie went to the weather van, opening the back to haul out one of the crates.
The C4. I smiled and realized that if anything might stop these beasts, it was that.
I pressed on the intercom and shouted, “Natalie! Come up to the control room! Bring the goods with you!”
The two seemed surprised to hear my voice over the loudspeaker, but they didn’t question it.
It was three minutes later that Caleb and the older Kearny managed to cut the power in the basement. The whole station went dark, and I listened as the storm rattled the building like a cage.
A glimmer of light hit my face from above and I saw Olivia enter the control room carrying a couple of flashlights.
“This’ll have to do the trick until dad grabs the night gear,” she said tossing me one and then looking up toward the windows where the creature were almost to the roof.
“This is my fault,” I muttered, watching the beasts finally reach the roof and listening as they searched for the stairwell.
“We can distribute blame later,” Olivia said dryly. Another moment later we heard the shattering of glass above. They were in the building.
I holstered the rifle, listening as something got close to the door and aimed, my heart beating out of my chest as it swung open to reveal Martin and Natalie coming in with the C4.
“Jesus,” I said letting out a sigh as the two placed the crate down on top of some of the computer consoles.
“Is that really a good idea to have that here?” Olivia asked, stepping away from the explosives.
“Better than it not being here,” Martin said as he clenched his side. He still wasn’t fully recovered.
“They’re moving across the computer room,” Olivia said as she heard several bits of equipment fall over against one another. The creatures were pushing everything out of their way to get in, to find and kill us.
Behind me the radio crackled to life, making me jump a little. “Has anyone gone to the computer room yet?” Caleb said in between bits of static.
I swallowed hard and looked toward the ceiling where the creatures continued to rattle around blindly searching for the next exit.
“There’s uh… a bit of a problem,” I muttered over the walkie.
“Well we’re kinda pinned down here. Once that second breaker gets switched off we can restart the system,” Caleb said irritably.
“Roger that,” Olivia said passing the radio to Natalie and then taking one of the guns still lying about along with one of the crates.
“Come on Pruitt,” she ordered. I nodded dumbly, gripping the rifle and following the stream of light her flashlight cast on the narrow corridor.
Above us every move we made was mimicked by the monsters, their sounds growing louder as Olivia cocked the gun and we turned the corner. Jim was right there, having successfully barricaded the stairwell.
“That should hold them,” he said triumphantly. But his victory was short lived as I realized that was exactly where we needed to go.
“Move aside Laschar, we’re going through,” the younger Kearny demanded.
Jim’s eyes widened as we heard the shrieks continue.
“Liv, you go up there; it’s suicide,” he argued.
“Dad’s downstairs. We’ve got hostiles on all sides. If we don’t get the signal up and running we’ll be dead anyway,” she countered and shoved him the c4.
“We’re going up there if anything besides us comes back, blow them to hell,” she growled.
Laschar was too awestruck to argue as we made it past the barrier and I cocked my gun. Olivia listened for a moment as the creature’s scurried to another part of the room. “The breaker is on the left side. Right past the fire extinguisher,” she paused, reaching for the handle.
“You ready Dillion?” she muttered.
I nodded, too scared to even say a word.
The door popped open and the two of us walked in with guns at our shoulders.
The room was bizarrely quiet. A few gentle noises came from the west and I shot a flashlight to see if the monsters were coming. But they were too smart. They were waiting for us.
“Come on,” Olivia said keeping her back to the door as we moved up the long stretch between two rows of equipment.
Then there was a scream. I cast my light to the ceiling and saw one of the men twist his neck toward me before pouncing down. Kearny shot him to kingdom come, but just as his body crumpled to the floor; three more men took his place.
I pushed back the opposite direction as they crawled toward me, mouths agape and an angry growl resounding through the room.
Before I knew what was happening, I was firing; picking them off one by one. One of the larger consoles toppled over as we passed by and Olivia gave a sharp nod toward where the fire extinguisher was hanging. “Think you can make it?” she asked as she quickly reloaded. The blind creatures were scrambling over their fallen comrades, bone and blood splashing everywhere as they tried to attack.
I leapt over the fallen console, my eyes set straight on the breaker. But two more larger women were blocking my paths. Their skin was barely clinging to their body as they screamed toward me. I lifted my rifle to fire, but another male attacked from behind. He pushed me to the floor and a long tube like tongue slid out of the man’s mouth.
Another blast ricocheted across his skull and he toppled over with a scream as Olivia helped me up. I snagged the extinguisher as I saw more of the creatures moving toward us from the east.
Pulling the pin, I aimed for them and fired; the mist spreading out to give us a few extra moments. The people stopped and shrieked louder, clearly angered by the device. Olivia was almost to the breaker. Then another console toppled over and pinned her down.
“Are you hurt??” I shouted. “Just switch it on and off,” she insisted.
From the mist came something that made me freeze in my tracks. The people had started to conjoin together and form something that resembled a human ladder. Their mouths were stretching open and gripping the sagging flesh together as the large fleshy creature skittered over the turned over console, towering over me like a bear.
Several of their arms stretched open the amalgamation of flesh, revealing massive pincers that moved toward me to crush my body like a twig. I pressed my back against the wall and pulled down on the breaker, knowing that if I died at least the others could be spared.
Then from the darkness came a spark of light.
Something glimmered in the shadows and I saw it move straight toward the creature’s torso. Then I heard a voice.
I didn’t hesitate. I jumped to the floor as the creature let out another cry and then blew up from the inside out.
As the innards of the bizarre monster splashed across the stained brick, a figure emerged from the shadows.
“Jim,” Olivia said as she got back up on her feet.
He looked at the disheveled mess of flesh and muttered, “I got tired of waiting.”
Olivia gave him a laugh and then muttered, “We need to get back downstairs.”
We went down carefully, listening as the other creatures tried in vain to find another way in. “I’ll stay behind. Give the word over the intercom and I can throw the switch,” Jim told us. Kearny’s daughter gave him her rifle and we left the way we came in. Once in the control room, Olivia was about to give the word to radio her dad, when we both noticed that Martin was nowhere to be seen.
Natalie was in tears gripping a chair as we went down the short flight of stairs. “Whats going on? Where’s Martin?” I asked as Olivia snatched the radio and called to the basement.
“Dad? We’re ready when you are,” she said. I focused my attention on Natalie. “Natalie, look at me! Where is Martin?”
“He said… he said that it wouldn’t stop because they were after him. Even with the signal up… he said this was the only way….” the blonde girl said.
A second later Olivia gave the word over the intercom and we watched as the power came back on.
My eyes scrambled to the monitors. I didn’t see the cameraman anywhere inside the building.
“He’s on the roof,” I realized.
I rushed back up the stairs, calling out to Olivia, “Start the broadcast! I’m going to stop him!!”
I don’t think I have ever ran that fast in my whole life. The sky was still storming as I reached the exit, and spotted Martin looking toward the edge in a rain smock. I moved to leave the stairwell, but one drop of rain nearly caused my arm to swell up.
“Martin!!” I screamed, desperate to get his attention.
He turned toward me, the storm howling louder as the broadcast tower came to life. Channel 46 was back on the air.
“Go back inside Pruitt,” Martin declared.
“Not without you,” I insisted. I didn’t care about the dangerous rain. I stepped out and cursed softly as the burning storm hit my arms and neck.
“Damn it! Dillion go back! Don’t you see that this ain’t gonna stop!” he said. I scrambled to find cover, looking over the edge. Most of the townsfolk were paralyzed. But there were a dozen or so larger men that still were trying to reach the station.
“They want me. I’m a part of it now,” he explained softly as the storm raged on.
“What the hell are you talking about?” i screamed.
“This is how it has to be,” Martin said taking a step toward the precipice. “Tell Natalie…” I could see his eyes glaze over as he struggled to find the words. “Tell her I’m sorry…”
“Martin!” But it was too late. He went over the edge against the roar of more thunder.