“The Last Good Man”
by Hector M. Rivera
The last good man was 32 years old and tied down to a gurney. It wasn’t a hospital that was his home, but a deep underground military base. His captors had been testing him for weeks. He, like his unfortunate comrades were special forces troops, otherwise known as lab rats. Sadly, he, like his comrades, followed orders unquestioningly and saw the hypodermic needle they offered not as a gross and inhuman violation, but just another fear to conquer. He was a brave man and a noble man and his courage was matched only by his profound naiveté. The last good man was a hero to the nation and given a hero’s welcome. Each one had been given the top secret treatment and each one had reacted according to the predicted outcome.
Some of the soldiers did not show the tell tale signs of each attempt right away. Some of the men would descend into delirium whispering the names of their sons and daughters and others spoke of dark shadows chasing them. Some of the men, now reduced to shaking and shivering boys, even called for their mommies. The transformations occurred immediately after the flat lines blazed across the computer screens, to which their vitals were being monitored. First the death rattle would rasp out of the mouth of the deceased joe and then a violent convulsion. The scientists had seen it before and were not really inclined to rush into the very sparse room. All that lay in it was the gurney, the heart monitor and the thrashing of what should have been a corpse. The injection they had given him was mercury like and black as pitch. It was a blob of gloom in that horse needle they so lovingly shared with their volunteer.
The man’s eyes turned as black as the mouth of a cave that led to hell. His veins bulged out a freakish green. His skin took on a translucent hue. The look of the toxic veins along with his sweaty and pale skin was a mockery of the person this creature used to be. His muscles grew with the black sludge that now sloshed through his giant throbbing veins. A roar escaped his lips that would have shaken any jungle and caused trickles of urine down the legs to any alpha-male in the forest.
The scientists looked on, not even the hint of sweat on their brows. Their lab coats so pristine white, that in their darkened observation room they could have been mistaken for ghosts, forced to walk the halls of where they committed their most heinous crimes. They looked on and their pupils could not be seen in the dark room. The glare of monitors and fluorescent light against their spectacles, made them all seem to possess large white ovals instead of eyes. They looked on.
The creature strained and strained and now the thing so much stronger from the injection of dark death seemed to make his gurney explode. Nothing hung from his limbs but the eviscerated remnants of his bonds. The creature stared across the room and knew his captors were on the other side of the one way mirror. He could smell them. He charged across the room, slightly stumbling on the debris of the gurney and walloped the mirror with his now bulging arms. The window did not give.
On the other side the lead scientist named Dr. Murphy did not even flinch as the behemoth slammed against the sneaky window to his torments. He merely said, “Eliminate him.” A yellow gas began to flood the room of the monster’s last moments un-alive. The monster looked at the gas as if an enemy had entered the room and he retreated to the furthest part of the space from it. Seconds later the entire room was flooded and a curious vision presented itself to the scientists. The beast began to melt. First the hair began to smoke. Then the skin seemed to liquify and drop off like an over used soap dispenser. Before his muscles followed suit, his hands went up to cover his face. His eyeballs burst and leaked through his disappearing fingers.
The beast let out a scream. His final and most fierce of them, as certainly the beast must have sensed that even his un-death’s death had arrived. The roar seemed to dissipate into a bubble of regurgitated internal organs that crept up the creatures throat and then nothing. Just a bubbling goo on the floor.
Dr. Murphy looked pleased. “The experiment was a complete success folks.” He said this with the warmest of smiles. “With the use of this gas we can insure the defeat of any insurrection by our invading hord force. We have solved several military related drawbacks. Now with the injection, we can make a nearly impervious offensive juggernaut. Once the compartmentalized special forces soldier breeches enemy lines, he will give himself the shot. Upon taking the shot he will undergo the change we just witnessed. What you did not see is that once the change takes place the carrier of the injection has a hundred percent communicability of the injection dispersed through his pores. Once one of the opposition force is infected all will follow suit and when all are converted, we fly over the enemy-converted, and spray the yellow solution gas and viola…military campaigns are literally ended with a mop.”
Some clapping erupted from behind the scientists in the observation room. It emanated from the shadows and eerily grew in volume as it approached from its dark shadowy blanket. A four star general appeared from the gloom followed by his roach like entourage. “Well done Dr. Murphy. This operation is a complete success. My superiors will surely be pleased.” It appeared to Dr. Murphy that a stiff handshake was headed his way but all that erupted from the hand of the general was gunfire.