Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Body Farm; Part Two

Content Advisory: Contains scenes of violence and horror some may find disturbing. This serial started on the 08/22/11.

The Body Farm
Part Two

They burst into the building, slamming the doors behind them, the automatic locks clicking into place.

Bernie slammed into the glass pane, clawing and grasping at the window.

The two doctors backed away, trembling, their eyes wide with shock.

“What the hell…” Eleanor breathed.

Another body came running toward them—one Eleanor didn’t recognize. Yet still it seemed to be filled with such fury and hate, focused on getting to them.
“What the hell is going on?” demanded Robert.

Eleanor’s heart raced. This wasn’t possible. This simply couldn’t be possible.

 She’d seen people she knew were dead, run and move like the living.

They were surrounded. On every side of them the acre of enclosure was filled with almost a hundred bodies. Were they all like this? Had they all come back? Mentally, she scanned what she had seen. On their crazed run back to the building, she’d barely had a chance to think about it, but now she looked back she could see it in her head. Almost all of the graves had been disturbed.

“Do you think it’s all of them?” Robert asked, picking her thoughts out of her head.

“I don’t know. Jesus, I hope not.”

More bodies slammed against the glass. An elderly woman; her face little more than holes with scraps of skin, her long white hair clinging to her scalp. A middle-aged man, not long dead, his face and hands bloated with gases.

They tore at the locked door, bashing their rotten fists and mouths against the glass panels, leaving smears of dirt and putrid flesh. The doors were strong, purposefully designed to keep out intruders, and they didn’t budge under the onslaught.

Robert’s fingers wrapped around her forearm, his digits digging into her flesh. He dragged her down the corridor, but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the sight, her neck craning backward, watching the things tear at the glass, their rotten faces pressed up against the glass.

“Come on!” Robert yelled, yanking on her arm, snatching back her attention.
On autopilot, their feet slapped against the linoleum floor as they raced down the corridor to Eleanor’s office and lab. Bursting through the door, Eleanor slammed it shut behind them and used her key card to lock it.

Panting, she pressed her back against the door. “What the fuck?” she said, staring at Robert, her eyes wide. All the blood had drained from Robert’s face, his skin as ashen as one of the corpses.

“I must be dreaming,” she said. “Please God, let me wake up. I must have fallen asleep at the slab and this is all just…”

Her thought of work sent her eyes skittering across her lab, to the mortuary table where, only thirty minutes earlier, she’d been working on a corpse.

The silver surface lay empty.

“Where the hell is Janet?” she blurted.

Robert spun around, “Who?”

“The woman I was working on when you came in to tell me about the disturbances. She’s gone.”

His eyes focused on the empty table and widened as the implication of her words sank in. “Holy shit! Where is she?”

Both the office and the lab only held the two doctors. Where ever the corpse was, it wasn’t in the room with them.

“You know what this means. Assuming someone hasn’t moved her—which from the scene outside is fairly likely—then she…”

“Has moved herself,” Eleanor finished.

“What do we do? The same thing might have happened to all of the cadavers. This place might be riddled with them.”

“We need to lock ourselves in here and hope whatever is going on out there will end.”

“No,” said Robert, shaking his head. “We’re blind in here. We need to get to the security office. They’ve got cameras all over this place. At least then we’ll know what we’re up against.”

“So we need to go back out there?”

“Only to the security office. It’s three corridors down. We can make it”

“Oh, God,” she said, nausea washing over her. “I can’t believe we’re doing this. Can’t we just hide in here and wait for someone to come and rescue us.”

“Yeah?” he said. “And what if no one is coming?”

They stared at each other.

“Okay,” she relented. “Let’s do it.”

Using her key card once again, Eleanor opened the door. Cautiously, she poked her head out into the corridor. All was quiet. There was no sign of any bodies.
Light-footed, the doctors ran down the corridor. Every muscle was tensed for attack, but none came. The silence around them was almost too quiet, as though something were waiting.

Where are all the dead bodies, Eleanor thought. There were at least two in the building; no doubt more had been stored overnight in the mortuary. What were they doing? Grouping? Trying to figure out a way to let the others in?

“I don’t like this,” she hissed. “It’s too quiet.”

They reached the office booth. Glass windows were embedded either side of a black door. A silver panel with touch buttons allowed access to those who had both the key and the code.

Inside, the two security men huddled together. An older man, Jimmy, had his arms around a younger guy in his early twenties, Kyle. Kyle’s dyed black hair stuck up from his head as he peered at them through the glass.

Robert yanked on the handle but the door didn’t budge. The two men stared at him, bug-eyed, clinging to each other.

“Hey!” Robert smacked his palms on the window. “Let us in!”

“How do we know you’re not contaminated?” Jimmy shouted at them, his voice sounding muffled through the barrier. “You’ve been out there with them, we saw you.”

“Jesus, don’t be so ridiculous. We’re fine. We need to find out what’s going on. We’re the scientists. If anyone is going to figure this thing out, it’s us.”

“No way!” yelled Kyle. “You could have those things out there with you.”

“Let us in, you assholes!” Eleanor beat her fists against the solid door. The possibility of attack lurked at her back, knowing there were bodies still missing in the building, that they could come racing down the corridor at any minute. “You want to die in there like trapped rats, or do you want to do something about this whole shit heap?”

The two men glanced at each other. “Okay, do it,” said Jimmy.

Kyle stepped forward and disappeared from view as he swiped his security card. On the outside of the door, the red light flashed green and the two scientists imploded through the door, slamming it shut behind them.

“We need to get hold of someone—the police, the military,” said Robert.

“We’ve already tried,” said Jimmy. “It’s just an automated answering service.”
Eleanor turned on him, her eyes narrowed. “What do you mean? Who did you try?”

Kyle answered in a rush, “Everyone. We tried every number we have. No one is answering”

“That’s not possible.”

“It is,” said Jimmy, handing her the phone. “Try for yourself.”

Eleanor’s gaze flicked to Robert, who nodded in encouragement. With her heart in her throat, she dialed 911. Robert leaned in close to hear.

‘I’m sorry, but your call cannot be taken. We advise you to stay in your homes at this time and keep all of your doors and windows locked. Help will be with you shortly.’

She hung up. “What the hell sort of emergency response is that!”

Robert was pale-faced. “It’s not just here. Whatever has happened to our dead has happen on the outside as well.”

“So what are you saying? “ Jimmy said. “That we’re stuck here? That no one is going to help us?”

“It sure sounds like it,” she said.

Numerous small security monitors made up most of the back wall behind them. In synchronization, they all turned, their eyes trained on the screens.

On each one, the dead ran at speed—no shuffling gait of rigor-mortis ridden corpses—they had purpose. Numerous corpses, in various states of decomposition, with clothing hanging in tatters from their limbs, ran. Flesh peeled like old paint from their bones. Yet none stumbled or limped. Whatever state the bodies were in, they moved with the unnerving grace and speed of an athlete.

In every small square of the monitors, the dead ran toward them, toward the cameras.

“They’re all coming to the building,” Eleanor said. “They know we’re in here.”

“Shut up, that’s crazy,” said Kyle. “How can they possibly know we’re here?”

“A couple of the others saw us,” said Eleanor. “Maybe they have a way of communicating with each other.”

Robert shook his head, “This whole thing is crazy.”
“This is your fault!” Kyle yelled, his face drawn, dark circles beneath his boggling eyes. “If you hadn’t come in here, we’d be safe!”

 “So what,” Robert said, rounding on him. “You’d just hide out here and hope they went away?”

“At least they wouldn’t know anyone was in here.”

“Shut up, Kyle,” said Jimmy. “This isn’t their fault.”

“No?” he counter argued. “How do we know it wasn’t some freaky experiment these scientists have been carrying out that have made this happen?”

“Jesus, Kyle,” said Eleanor. “We study decomposition, we study insect life. How the hell could we make something like this happen?”
“How should I know? You’re the ones with your big fancy educations, looking down on the rest of us.”

Robert put out a hand. “This isn’t helping anyone. Kyle, believe me, if we understood anything that was happening here, we would say so.”

Eleanor pulled herself together and tapped one of the screens. “We need to pull ourselves together and think about this rationally. We know they’re outside and they want in. But what’s happened to the bodies in the building? The one I was working on was missing and I’d bet any money that yours is as well, Robert.” She turned to Jimmy. “Can you pull up the internal cameras?”

“Sure,” he said, flicking a switch.

Images of empty corridors and rooms filled the screens.

“Where are you, you fuckers,” Eleanor said under her breath.

Around them, the lights flickered and all of them glanced up.

“Why doesn’t that fill me with confidence,” said Robert.

“Keep going,” Eleanor said, making a winding motion with two fingers, “There’s got to be places we’re not seeing.”

“There are blind spots in the building,” said Jimmy. “But the corpses wouldn’t know that.”

“It’s not like they’re hiding. We’ll find them.”

“There!” Robert said, poking his finger at one of the screens.

A body, tall and hunched with a head of grey hair, shuffled across the screen, a mop held in one hand, a silver industrial bucket in the other.

Eleanor frowned, leaning in closer. “What the hell…”

“That guy’s not dead,” said Robert.

“No,” said Jimmy. “That’s Lenny, the janitor.”

“Shit!” swore Eleanor.  “I never thought other people might be in here. He’s just carrying on like normal. Doesn’t he know what’s going on?”

Jimmy gave a shrug. “Why would he? He’s down in the basement. He hasn’t been outside and he sure as hell doesn’t have any cameras.”

“We need to contact him!” Eleanor said, panic rising her tone. “Warn him! Those things might be down there with him and he’s got no idea. God knows what they’d do to him.”

 “Which corridor is this?” Robert squinted at the screen. “Look!” he tapped at the right hand corner. “Correct me if I’m wrong but that looks like a phone.”

Eleanor leaned in. The distinctive rectangular shape of one of the center’s phones was attached to the wall near the figure.

“He’s right,” she said, turning her head to Jimmy. “Can we locate it and call?”

“Of course.” Jimmy pulled his seat toward him and sank down. His fingers tapped the keyboard of the computer. He picked up the phone and dialed an extension number, then handed the receiver to Eleanor.

On camera, Lenny’s head jerked toward the direction of the phone and he stopped his mopping. He shook his head and went back to his work.

“Pick up the phone Lenny, damn it!” Eleanor willed. But Lenny made no motion to go to the ringing phone so she hung up and tried again.

This time he threw down the mop and stalked up to the phone.

“Yes?” his gruff voice came down the receiver.

“Lenny, my name is Eleanor Armitage, I’m one of the scientists here. I need you to come up to security right away.” She saw the alarm on his face as he stared up at the nearest camera. “You’re not in any trouble, but something has happened and I…”

His head swung away, his attention snatched away by something they couldn’t see.

Suddenly, the bodies rushed him.

Even on the black and white, low resolution screen, Eleanor recognized Janet. Her mouth stretched wide open, and though she couldn’t hear the ear-piercing shriek emitted from her throat, she could tell both from the open maw and the expression on Lenny’s face that the scream was the same as she’d heard outside.
Janet hit Lenny with force, his arms pin-wheeling as he tried to keep his balance. From off screen, another body raced at him.

Teeth sank into his neck, ripping away a chunk of flesh. Blood poured down his chest, a dark apron on the screen.

In the security booth, four people watched the silent movie in mesmerized horror.

Like frenzied animals, they clawed Lenny apart, biting, tearing, ravaging. Dark splatters of blood hit the freshly mopped floor, strips of flesh dangling from his bones.

Lenny slumped to the floor, no longer recognizable as something that had once been human. The things surrounding him stood, straightening up, surveying the destruction and fully in control.

“How long?” Eleanor whispered.

Robert turned to her, “Until what?”

“Until Lenny joins them…”


The Body Farm will continue 9/8/2011

Like what you've read? Marissa Farrar's short story collection, Where the Dead Live, is available to buy from Amazon for only $0.99.

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Marissa Farrar

Copyright © 2011 Marissa Farrar. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.