August 7, 2016

Pure Human - The Melrose Theory

[Posted by Ted H]

Holy hell, remember this story?
I'm not sure if I'll have anything right for next week since I'm prepping for a move. We'll see. But in case I got nothing, I leave you with a pretty long bit...


[Pure Human - The Melrose Theory]

            They waited outside for another hour, John not in the mood to smell the inside of the building any more than he needed to. They talked about random things, as if anything from last night didn't happen, and ultimately argued over whether or not John should go drive to the nearest gas station to buy coffee and cigarettes. Eventually, all conversation ceased when another vehicle made its way towards the parking lot. The approaching car stopped and out stepped Bryant, in a black t-shirt and jeans, with the same tired expression on his face from yesterday.
            "Did you bring coffee?" Blake asked "Or doughnuts? Or anything, really." Bryant gave a puzzled look before regarding the two cars parked nearby. "You came separately?" he asked. "Nah," Blake responded "I got a friend in there." Bryant's expression was of such shock, his mouth fell agape. "Why would you bring other people into this?" he yelled. "So I take it there's no breakfast," Blake said instead.
            "Why would I care about feeding you?" Bryant asked.
            "Because we were here all night," Blake responded quickly "Mostly."
            "I told you to come around now. Did you come right here after leaving yesterday?"
            "Dude, we were all set to call it a night," Blake said as he raised his hands to plead innocence "Things just happened and now we're here. Tell him, John."
            "Shit happened," John said with his arms crossed.
            Bryant shook his head. "How many people have you been blabbing to?" he asked.
            "Calm down," Blake said "Just us. Oh, and Anin, she's involved. And I guess Joey if he wants to believe it. Obviously Kimberly too, though not as up to date as everyone else."
            "Don't forget Matthew," John added, taking pleasure in the increasing misery Bryant was showing on his face with every name brought up.
            "Yeah, Matthew," Blake said "And I guess Clyde and Whitey count as w-"
            "Enough!" Bryant shouted, ready to tear his hair out "Are you planning to just run your mouths until this all gets out?"
            "Listen to me very carefully," Blake said, shifting his tone to a more serious one "This is already out. People are dead. There's a man grieving over his shattered family because of whatever the hell happened in that basement got out. You're not here as a courtesy, either. Don't forget that."
            "You've been in the basement?" Bryant asked, worried about what was already known.
            "Not yet," Blake said "You better have a keycard though."
            "I do, I do," Bryant said as he searched his pockets for it "Just, let me explain before-"
            "Guys?" Kimberly interrupted. Everyone turned to face her as she walked out of the building, covered in blood, with an uneasy look on her face. She led them to the corpse room, where her project for the last couple hours laid with an open chest and a pool of blood around from where Kimberly had been digging around. Upon sight of the creature, Bryant freaked out and began trying to explain, but kept tripping over his own words. "Shut up," Blake said. "But," Bryant began but Blake put his hand up for the man to be quiet.
            "So that...thing," John asked "What did you find out?"
            "It's a person," Kimberly said as she made a sideways face.
            "Please, I can-" Bryant started but Blake stopped him. "What do you mean it's a person?"
            "Well," Kimberly said as she walked to the table "This thing had its appendix removed. Plus what I could make of the teeth, though heavily distorted into these fangs, clearly show signs of a couple cavities being filled. Guys, if this is a person who's missing and this is super illegal shit I'm taking part in, now would be a good time to tell me."

            "Would it change your desire to be involved?" Blake asked.
            "No, but it would be a nice courtesy," Kimberly said.
            "You may speak now," Blake said as everyone looked to  Bryant for answers. Bryant, who just before tried so hard to get a word in, now found himself speechless now with three pairs of eyes burning into him. "Follow me," he said after an agonizing moment. Kimberly stayed behind with her autopsy project while John and Blake followed Bryant down the stairwell and to the locked door. He pulled out his keycard and swiped, unlocking the door.
            The door opened to flood the area with light. Once adjusted to it, Blake noted the stark difference the new level had compared to the decrepit office building they were leaving behind. The next hallway was renovated and fresh looking. Everything had been new, though amateur looking with the execution. "How is this place powered?" John asked "The rest of the building is falling apart."
            "Independent wiring," Bryant said "I know a private contractor that could help us out on that. Most of the work here was done by myself and a few...volunteers." Blake looked over the work. "You reinforced the basement framework," he said. Bryant nodded. "Indeed," he said "We had to in order to accommodate what we needed. Melrose and I met early into our years teaching at the university," Bryant explained "We were both up and coming in the psychology field."
            "How does that bring us here, to a hole in the ground?" Blake asked as they walked down the hall.
            "Melrose was interested in parapsychology. He believed innate psychic abilities were possible in the everyday man, not just a select few in the world. He needed to prove it though, and I was more than willing to assist in such a groundbreaking experiment. We applied for a grant and were eventually awarded it with the understanding that we could produce results quickly.
            "We went to work quickly applying Melrose's theory. He believed that a person's ability to utilize their senses could only be distributed so much. It lends itself to the saying that a man who cannot see can hear all the more sharply because his sense of hearing is adapting to the lack of sight. If we could deprive people of all their major senses, then perhaps we could channel someone's ability to hear psychically, or move something with their mind."
            "That sounds hard to set up," Blake commented.
            "Oh it is," Bryant said "It had to be natural, too. If we introduced artificial means of sensory deprivation, the mind wouldn't accept the need to compensate. We placed subjects in a shallow pool of just the right temperature to make them feel neither heat nor cold, having them not move in case they create noise in the pitch black soundproof room. Tried as we might, we couldn't get the results we needed. I was ready to call it a failure, but Melrose refused to give up his theory. He pushed our subjects. Longer hours in the room, often locking them inside until they preformed their task to his liking. Cough or sneeze in the room to break up the senseless silence, then your several hour stay inside would be reset. No one was allowed to eat or sleep until their time was done. It was all for a good cause, though. Melrose felt he was on the verge of stirring someone's innate powers. But then, one of the subjects died.
            "When the university found out, they responded appropriately. I was suspended just for being a part of it, but Melrose insisted he acted roguish and alone, ultimately sparing the job of myself and everyone else involved with the project. He however, was fired and banned from the university. Everyone was barred from even associating with him anywhere near campus. It was a fall from grace for a brilliant young mind.
            "Melrose was un-hirable after that, everyone knew about what happened. He got a few dead end jobs, but couldn't let go of the legacy he believed to be just out of his reach. He reached out to me and others, promised us that his breakthrough was within reach, all we needed to do was push a little harder. He invested millions of his own wealth and funds he was loaned, every last dime into renovating this abandoned structure with the intent to complete his experiment.
            "We set up this facility. It was crude and lacked many amenities, but it was deemed sufficient for what we were endeavoring. And while the rest of us were applying the finishing touches, Melrose went out and collected his subjects. Seven people, a combination of homeless and orphaned, all chosen to discover the ability to tap into deeper psychic powers. We felt these people were chosen because of their need and willingness to participate in fringe science. The truth was though, that Melrose chose them because none of them would be missed or sought after.
            Each were stripped and locked in their own isolation chamber, devoid of any light, sound or outside stimulus. White noise was pumped in through the speakers and we had night vision cameras set up to observe. The first several days were touch and go. We locked the subjects in their chambers and they would attempt to lose all sensory feeling. We told them beforehand that there was a switch inside their room and if they could locate it in the dark and/or switch it on with their minds, then they would gain a rather handsome reward for their progress. Several hours later, after consistent failures, we'd release them and feed them before letting them roam our basement facility and sleep.
            "Each of us had our own outside commitments and responsibilities outside of the facility except Melrose. He was here every day, taking notes and making adjustments to the experiment parameters. The most any single member of our team were to give here was three days while there were stretches of days where Melrose wouldn't even go home. He was too engrossed.
            "A month had passed though and zero progress had been made, just like before. Some of us had begun to lose patience and hope that the Melrose Theory could be proven. Melrose began pushing the subjects harder for more hours each day but no one came close to any undiscovered power. On top of this, each of the subjects wished to leave, no longer interested in being guinea pigs for a silly psychology theory.
            "Many abandoned the project, some even threatening to call the police. Melrose saw the end had been all too familiar with before and confided in me his fear for why the experiment was fast becoming a complete failure. He believed the subjects were becoming used to the low stimulation. He asked me how I felt we should progress and salvage the experiment while we still could.
            "This is my fault as much as it is his. I told him that we need to create a primal urge, a need for the hidden power in each of us to present itself. These subjects were being placed in sensory isolation with a promise that they were being let out. Promising a reward for success would be useless unless that reward is escape from something rather unpleasant. We locked the seven subjects in their rooms and refused to let them out.
            "In what we deemed day one of our final attempt, the subjects went through the motions it seemed until the usual times in the rooms had come and gone. They demanded to be released soon, but no one responded or opened the door. Each reaction was intriguing at first. Some pleaded for release, others angrily demanded it. One attempted to feel around his dark cramped room for the exit switch, which none of them knew was buried behind a section of wall, only reachable if they utilized a psychic power Melrose desperately required them to acquire.
            "Three days passed and all the subjects ceased all cries for release. Three days in darkness, in silence. We checked the cameras to see them, lying in the dark. Melrose seemed content, feeling that they had given up their futile hope for escape and doubled down their efforts for parapsychological ascension."
            "Please don't say ascension," Blake broke in. Bryant seemed jarred from the disruption and tried to retrace his story in his head. They had long since reached the end of their hall, but Bryant didn't seem to want to open the door. Every other door in the long hallway led to various equipment or janitorial closets all related to the office building above. All the doors in the hall looked the same, including the one Bryant was hesitant to open, but that final door seemed foreboding, with a chill in the air surrounding it like it contained something dark.
            "Three days," Brant picked back up "Three days then silence. But the fifth day, that silence was broken again with their voices. One of the subjects was conversing, We first though they were talking to themselves, but upon listening in, the conversation was one sided. To say it was odd was an understatement, but not entirely unexpected. The conversation with the imaginary friend seemed to end, and we all went about our business, until we realized that another subject was now talking to themselves.
            On its own, that seemed unsettling, but we noticed a lot of the conversation mirrored the conversation the previous subject had. We watched and waited for the conversation to end just so yet another subject could begin talking and have the same talk. Soon, all seven subjects had had their conversation with no one, all about the same things.
            "Many of us were cautiously excited. It seemed that our subjects were able to communicate on a higher level, and they weren't quite developed enough to respond any other way but the obvious route. Some felt that such a perceived breakthrough deserved to have the subjects released and able to recuperate, perhaps so we could talk to them directly about what happened and how they were able to hear something that our equipment couldn't detect.
            "Melrose decided, however, that we leave the subjects where they were. He felt that retrieving them now back into the world would stunt any progress they've made. Later that day, the conversations began again, one at a time, but this time the subjects were whispering so low, we couldn't understand what was being said. We barely noticed that they were talking again.
            "Deep down, we didn't want to know how the subjects were conversing, but we were men of science. We needed to rule out all other causes before we felt content to say all seven subjects had developed any sort of ESP. So late that night, we waited for the subjects to begin talking again and we observed them on the cameras. One of the other doctors had set up the camera system and began shifting through different view types. Standard, night vision, inferred, some special light sensing refracting type, I don't know, A/V was always beyond me. The point is, he found one view type that showed us something terrifying.
            "Inside the room with one of the subjects, was a man standing on a corner. The subject was talking to him, and they could see him despite the room being pitch black. The conversation ended and the man walked up to them and placed a hand on their head, causing them to fall right over and sleep. He them casually walked out of the room. We frantically switched to the next room, because these conversations always went in the same order, and watched as the man walked through a wall and was promptly greeted by the next subject.
            "This went on each time, the man walked into a room, talked at length with the subject in a way we could not hear, then placed a hand on their head and put them to sleep. After the seventh and final subject was put to sleep the man simply faded from sight."
            "He faded?" Blake and John asked in unison.
            "Uh," Bryant said, taken aback by the reaction to that particular point in his story "Yeah, he faded away. Then all cameras failed and we no longer had visual. Some of us felt it was because we were playing around with the settings too much. The rest of us knew it was because of that mysterious ghost.
            "The speakers still worked though, and that night all the subjects were actively making noise. They were groaning, crying out in pain and moaning. When we heard gurgling screams, we feared the worst, but Melrose refused to open the doors and see what was happening. He insisted we fix the camera feed.
            "I had to leave, but before I did, Melrose had relented and agreed to open the chamber for one and only one subject to study and see what happened inside, but only in the morning when most of the staff would be available. I had a full schedule at the university and wouldn't be able to make it back to the complex until the evening.
            "All day during the sixth day I waited for any news or calls, but no one reached out to me. Either nothing happened, or something so extraordinary occurred that everyone was too enamored with their work to break away and update me. That night I sped on the drive to the complex, anxious to see what happened when they opened the test chamber."
            Bryant stood silent for a moment. "What did you find?" Blake asked as Bryan unveiled his key card again. "What did I find?" he said "When I opened this door?" He swiped the card and a clicking noise sounded, allowing the door to open. "This is what I found."
            The door slid open to reveal a blood bath. Crimson stained every inch of the control room and severed limbs and torn bodies littered all over the place. Equipment was trashed beyond all recognition and many of the lights in the room were broken and unlit. The entire place reeked of death and decay that went unnoticed before despite everyone being just outside.
            "Holy hell!" John cried as he covered his mouth. Blake carefully stepped around the room as he observed the carnage. "Why didn't anyone escape?" he asked. "There was a breach," Bryant responded "Obviously. An alarm was raised, and when that happens, the only door out locks and can only be opened from the outside."
            "And these people were trapped inside with those things," John said as he shook his head.
            "Do you know what happened?" Blake asked.
            "They opened a chamber," Bryant said "And waiting inside was a monster. It got out and killed. Those that got away raised the alarm, trapping everyone with their doom. The monster was easily able to breach the other chamber controls by ripping through, and soon there were seven monsters running around and killing.
            "No one was able to get a warning out. One of my colleagues came in and unlocked the door from the outside, unwittingly allowing for the escape of the creatures. They scooped him up and we still have no idea where the body could be. But then later I came to find all of this."
            "How do you know any of this?" John asked "Was there security cameras or something?"
            "Melrose," Bryant said "He was here for everything. He waited in the control room while they opened the chamber. He initiated the lockdown. And when those creatures found their way into the control room, he simply sat in fear and waited for his turn to die, but he was spared. He didn't know why at first, until one of the creatures crawled up to him and whispered the word "Father" into his ear.
            "I brought him to his home and tried to get him to calm down. It was then he admitted that everything had been a mistake. That because of him seven innocent lives were changed into unholy creatures. When news broke of a family being slaughtered, he called me and cried. He said he had to do something, anything so he could live with himself after what he did."
            "Guess he failed in that regard," Blake said as he made his way to the back. There was a door to the rest of the complex, torn down from the outside. "Why was this door so easily breached?" he asked. "We were running a psychological experiment," Bryant said "We didn't think extra measures were needed other than the front door and all the chambers. The alarm was put in place in the event a subject tried to escape. We didn't think we'd be locked inside with anything more dangerous than a desperate homeless person."
            "Man," Blake said "Hindsight is 20/20, right?" He made his way into the next part of the complex, which was a large housing area with seven beds and other amenities for when their subjects weren't locked in their chambers. Everything laid mostly undisturbed, ignored by the monsters on their way to killing all the doctors. Blake breezed through and into the next hallway, John and Bryant quickly trying to play catch-up.
            The next hall was a bloody mess with torn bodies laying throughout. Bryant was on edge. There were seven chamber doors, one opened normally, the other six ripped down. Beside each door was a panel. Blake walked up to the first door and looked at the panel, flipping the light switch when he found it.
            The chamber reeked of human waste, and Blake didn't need help determining what the puddles and pile in certain corners of the room were, but his attention was focused on the pale gelatin looking pile in the middle of the room. "Is that where the subject was sleeping before the camera went out?" he asked, pointing to the mystery pile.
            Bryant nodded. "I haven't the faintest idea of what it is," he added "But it's the same in every chamber.
            "If I had to guess, it's the tainted part of them," Blake said, remembering his earlier conversation "Stripped away, apparently leaving them pure."
            "Pure monster, maybe," John said as the smell in the chamber got the better of him and he walked away.
            "I swear," Bryan said, a hint of frantic creeping in his voice "We weren't aiming to create this...these monsters."
            "You didn't create anything," Blake said as they both left the chamber "You allowed something in that was able to twist them. Not exactly as bad as deliberately trying to play Frankenstein, but still pretty unforgivable. You disconnected them from their own humanity and allowed something not of this world to access them. This fading man, did he have a name?"
            "Um, uh," Bryant stuttered, trying to remember "Many of the subjects had trouble with the name, and simply referred to him as Vic."
            "How about Vitaearnus? That sound familiar?"
            Bryant's face grew pale, as he remembered the name. "That was mentioned by a couple subjects, yes...Who is he?"
            "A threat that keep getting more credible as time goes on," Blake said as he signaled John and they went to leave. Bryant followed them, trying to get across to them how bad he felt about the situation. "You're not that sorry," Blake said as they stopped in the control room, in the middle of all the bodies "You're sorry that it ended this way. You're sorry that your colleagues are dead and you're sorry your one friend in all of this ate a bullet. But you're not sorry about what happened to those seven people except that they became the stuff of your nightmares."
            "That's not true," Bryant attempted but Blake shook his head at him. "Name them," he said "Name all seven besides whatever subject number you designated for them. You picked seven people you knew wouldn't be missed and you tortured them in an attempt to draw out some psychic power you didn't even know if they did or didn't have. Innocent people have died from this, but none of them are in this room. The only injustice I can think of is that you were spared."
            Bryant balled his hands into fists, but had no answer or response. Blake and John casually walked away and back up the stairs to go find Kimberly. By the time they resurfaced, the sun had risen and was bathing the office area with light. "Find out anything else useful?" Blake called as they reached the room she was in to find her sitting with her head down in the corner while a smoldering mess laid in the table.
            "What the hell?" John asked as Kimberly picked her head up and shrugged. "Apparently they're vampires," she said as she stood up "Because sunlight fucked their shit up real bad!" John made a face while Blake investigated the mess. "I was poking around the stomach," Kimberly continued "Pulling out chunks of meat I'm pretty sure are human, when all of a sudden I heard this sizzle. I peek over and notice a ray of sunshine was coming in and hitting this thing on the leg. Where the sun hit, the creature's body began to break down. Before I knew it, this guy was a cooking, popping and sizzling mess until he was nothing more than this burnt mess of biological waste."
            "Lovely," Blake commented. "Before he burnt up," Kimberly said "All I did was keep confirming he was human though. On the outside, yeah, he's a monster, but the inside is nothing but normal blood, guts and bone. They're just all warped in their own little way."
            "Well, sorry my little gift for you didn't have enough sunscreen," Blake said. Kimberly shrugged "It's okay," she said "It's the thought that counts, right?" Blake grinned as he looked to John. "How about I make it up to you though?" he said "We found this pile of human, uh, jelly in the basement. If you want, I'll let you poke it with a stick."
            Kimberly's eyes lit up. "Okay," she said with a smile "That sounds fun."
            "Awesome," Blake said as they went to leave. "Hope you don't mind the smell of piss and shit," John added. "That's okay," Kimberly said "I don't mind that at all." she then skipped her way down the hall ahead of them. John made a face at Blake, who was smiling and refusing to look back. "Does that mean what I..." John started, but stopped. "All I'm gonna say is that I told you she was crazy as hell," Blake said as he walked faster.
            They caught up to Kimberly as Bryant emerged from the stairwell. "Let us back down there," Blake said "We need an expert opinion on something in your little dungeon." Kimberly blushed and giggled at being referred to as an expert while Bryant shook his head at them. "There's nothing down there that needs any more clarification," he said before walking for the exit. "James," Kimberly said with a pout "You promised me something weird and disgusting."
            "Get back here!" Blake yelled as he and John chased after Bryant as he reached his car, but didn't go in the driver's side but rather opened the trunk. "I didn't come here to confess and allow the police to come," Bryant said as he retrieved a tank of gasoline and a duffle bag "I believed Melrose when he said he'd go out there and find a way to reel in his creations. So when you came to me yesterday, easily connecting me to the man, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the authorities would follow. And learning that Melrose gave up all hope and killed himself, I now know there isn't any choice for me."
            "You're going to destroy this place, and yourself with it," Blake said as Bryant nodded and shouldered his duffle bag. "Are you going to stop me?" he asked. "No," Blake said, garnering a shocked look from John. "But," Blake continued "We look that place over to our satisfaction before you go and blow this place off the map." Bryant and Blake stared each other down for a moment. "Fine," Bryant said "It'll take me a while to set everything up properly anyway. Do your little investigation, if you really want to look over a bunch of dead bodies."
            "Are you insane?" John asked as he and Blake followed Bryant back into the office building "We have to stop him."
            "Stop him from what?" Blake asked "We can't exactly bring in the cops on this. And I don't feel like watching this guy day in and day out while he waits for his perfect opportunity to do the deed. This way we know he'll wait for us."
            "Are you sure he'll wait?"
            "Well, you'll babysit him while I look around with Kim. You do have a gun and all."
            Everyone reentered the office building and made their way down into the complex again. Bryant opened the door to the control room and propped it open with the shattered remains of a wooden chair. He then took his can of gasoline and began splashing it about while he made his way to the next room.
            "Stick to him like white on rice," Blake said as John nodded and walked with Bryant, his gun in hand but still tucked away. "Do you need me to tell you how these people died?" Kimberly asked sarcastically as she kicked at one of the bodies on the ground with her foot. "Nah," Blake said as he leaned over a computer and started typing at it. "Thankfully these things had no interest in wrecking ALL of the computers," he said as he tried to find something useful.
            "Trying to make something work?" Kimberly asked. "Apparently the cameras work again," Blake said "But any informative files have been deleted, probably by Melrose."
            "That's nice," Kimberly said with no interest "I'd like my human jello now."
            "Right, whatever," Blake said as he got up and led Kimberly towards the chambers. On their way they passed John and Bryant, the latter who was on his way outside to retrieve another gas can. "Either of you wanna go on a coffee run?" Blake asked, to which neither man answered. "Right," Blake said as he and Kimberly moved on "I'll just smoke for now."

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