February 24, 2020
If all went to plan, today would mark the first day of Sienne’s rebirth. After all the tests--the painful experimentation, the confusing sessions with Dr. Andrews, the blackouts, the invading electric currents--the end was near. Today she would be freed.
They would take her black and ruined soul away and replace it with a new one. The bottomless pit in her stomach would be sealed, ending her unholy appetites, and she would be allowed access to the city. She wasn’t sure how long it had been since she’d last been outdoors.
A knock at the door turned her attention from the barred window. She had a memory of guards rushing through the door to her cell, blaring their sonic guns and chaining her to the ground. So much had changed.
Two armored soldiers walked in, followed by Dr. Couric. The flesh scent filled the room, but the urge to feast was gone. Deep down she suspected she’d like to, but she was no longer slave to base instincts.
“Good morning Dr. Couric,” Sienne said, turning her back to the guards. The men moved in unison, strapping the shackles to her arms and legs.
“Good morning to you, Sienne. Did you sleep well?”
Flashes of chaos, bodies pressing together. Screams of pain and terror. Teeth gnashing, ripping through meat and bone. A garden of utter delights. And then the darkness moved in without warning. She was suddenly sickened by what she was doing. Crying, bleeding bodies around her, all in different stages of death. She had feasted on each one. She vomited and the darkness intensified, smothering her. Two small children, one male, one female, and an older human male talking and laughing in a beautiful house. She was with them, laughing and beautiful. Before she could stop herself she... She could not remember. More blood. More darkness.
Sienne shook her head. “No. More dreams, like the ones I’ve told Dr. Andrews about.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe the procedure will fix those too. Who knows?”
“Yeah.” She hoped so.
They took the stairs down to the sub-levels, one guard in front, followed by Sienne, then the other guard. Dr. Couric brought up the rear. As they descended, the pungent smell of the deceased grew stronger. They were near the holding cells of the others. The zetas. She thought she could hear them moaning below, loudly monotonous in their confinement. They stopped outside S-2 and waited for Dr. Couric to scan his identification badge.
Once they were through the door all traces of the monsters outside faded. The floor was cluttered with machines. Plastic casings all about. Glossy monitor screens broken and dented. Sienne was wary of the shattered glassware scattered everywhere. There appeared to be a winding trail through the mess, leading off across the room to an unmarked door.
“Sienne,” began Dr. Couric, “once we get inside I’m going to need you to sit on the bed and relax. Dr. Andrews will be waiting for us. The procedure should be relatively short and simple. Just a shot and that should do it.”
Why are we doing it down here then? I could’ve got a shot in my room. Dr. Couric scanned his badge again, a light flashed green, and they walked in.
Dr. Andrews was scribbling on a clipboard. She looked exhausted. Her eyes had deep shadows and her hair was messy, but the woman smiled when she saw them. “Hello Sienne. Are you excited?”
“Yes,” she said, sitting on the bed. The guards took their places near the door. “Though I am a little nervous. Will it hurt?”
Dr. Andrew shrugged. “We’re not sure. I wouldn’t think it would hurt any more than any other shot.”
Sienne watched Dr. Couric open the fridge. He pulled out a small box and moved beside Dr. Andrews.
“We believe this is the one, Sienne,” said Dr. Andrews looking at the box. “Dr. Couric and I have been working with several samples from the zetas, trying to unravel the cause for the disease and then stopping it. We thought the mixture that gave you feeling again would eradicate the infection, but it only made you vulnerable. These past few months, everything you’ve gone through gave us insight to your biology. We now think that the changing is not a simple antidote, but a process of reformation. Without the process, and all the tests, I don’t think we would’ve been able to create this. Sienne, without you, there would be no hope for the zetas, and I just want to say thank you for working with us.”
Dr. Couric had withdrawn a syringe from the box and was now standing beside her. She could smell the sweet taste of flesh on him. Her heart was beating quickly and she did not know why. The prey was trying to help her, what did she have to be nervous about?
“Let’s hope this works,” Dr. Andrews said, moving near Sienne. She felt a tiny prick in her neck. She felt the same. No different than she had seconds ago.
The doctors were looking with raised eyebrows. “I don’t think it--” The rest was lost in her screaming.
Sienne remembered everything. She remembered her life before changing into the zeta. She was relatively young. Married. A mother. She worked from home, selling insurance. She belonged to a Baptist church. She had a dog named Beano. She lived in a modest two-story house in a suburb outside St. Louis. She drove a silver Toyota.
She remembered watching the news, scared for her family. For her country. Something was going on in East Asia. Then reports of bombings across the States and people changing into ravenous monsters. The nation was in turmoil.
She remembered transforming. Turning into something hideous and hungry. She remembered... Oh God. Nick. She’d killed him first, tearing out his entrails with her teeth. Gorging herself on him, unable to stop, despite his pleas. Lapping up his spilled blood like a dog. And then the children...
She became aware of the gyroscope’s song, singing its soothing tune above the horrors of her mind. She focused on the melody, letting it pull her up and away from the darkness of her mind. Soon the humming of the gyroscope was all that mattered. Images of gore threatened to break the reverie, but the song’s spell kept them out.
Her eyes flew open. Dr. Andrews was leaning in front of her, hands resting on her shoulder. Concern filled her eyes.
“Sienne! Are you okay? What happened?” Her voice was shaky.
“Did it work?” asked Dr. Couric.
“Grant! Not now. Something’s wrong. Sienne, honey, what happened?”
“I killed them,” she said, tears falling. “I killed them all.”