Those who have read my novel Sectors should enjoy this read. For those who haven’t, no worries. Let me catch you up: The main protagonist, Gilbert, a boy who lost track of his best friend in an old abandoned house while the two were ghost-hunting succumbs to an odd world called Sectors, small universes flavored not only with humans, but monsters, ghosts and robots. The evil creator of Sectors, Baron Fields, continues to rule the land, bringing horror to anyone falling victim to his worlds.
In Gilbert’s last scene we joined him in his escape from a horde of the Converted, slipping through a door in the old abandoned house…
Running Sequence 8 Dash 1
Needles stabbed his face.
A whine of gears spun with a low pitched brrrrrrgggggttttt!
Gilbert rapped his knuckles against something hard above his face in the darkness, attempting to fend off the needles.
He gasped. The sound of the Baron’s robots caused his heart to skip. Horrifying scenes flashed his memory of escape from the last Sector. All his friends were either dead or Converted into robots, their brains wired to new, infection-free, eternal robotic shells.
His lungs filled with a scent of freshly cut pinewood. Flakes sawdust forced a cough and a hack. Nearly a wretch. Spastic contraction of his abs forced his forehead and knees to contact the hard surface, already previously discovered with his knuckles.
Tiny needles poked at his lips; side-stepped into his left nostril.
Gilbert blew out a squirming pellet. Rubbed his violated nose. Rapped his knuckles again. Another set of needles tattooed across his forehead. His eyelids snapped shut just in time as the needles traversed.
He knocked the invader off, earning an annoyed brrrrrgggggtttt!
He grabbed small handfuls of empty space, each side of his person, rather than above his face. Though didn’t help masking the dread of confinement mixed with fear alongside blossoming panic.
More needles tattooed his forehead, prickled bare skin on his torso, his arms, and his legs. Gilbert twisted violently, flapping his arms, kicking his legs, shunning the unseen molesters. Thrashing did little to dislodge his invaders, though limited his micro-sized space.
Sawdust drained any reprise of clean air as he thrashed harder in an effort to rid the invaders. Though his right knee hit the surface of his prison repeatedly, a few painful, he heard a muffled crack! As his neurotransmitters transmitted more panic, he ignored it and the knee pain, striking the weakened area again.
Adrenaline-fueled he planted both palms and shoved, splitting wood, causing moist earth to sift through the crack, finding its way into his mouth, nose and eyes.
He turned his head, spat.
Blew out what he could from his nose.
Tried blinking some of the offensive material out of his eyes.
He clamped his mouth and eyes shut, held his breath, resumed his attack on the damaged wood.
The crack widened. Digits clawed the earth as he wormed a path out of the subterranean horror. At some point in his ascension, something bitter and slimy squeezed through his lips.
He spat the squirm out.
Squinting at the overpowering light, eyes slow to adjust, he staggered, caught his balance, wiped dirt from his person. Sucked in a deep breath. Coughed. Expelled more dirt from his throat.
Something scraped his skin, pricked his neck, vibrated, voiced an annoyed brrrrggggggtttt! Sunlight snatched a wink of chrome before it burrowed itself into the dirt.
What the heck were those things? Mechanical bugs? Gilbert shuddered. Geez! Am I ever going to find a way out of this demented place? Blink. A rub of more dirt from his face. What Sector am I in now? Could the Baron be watching him under a microscope or hunched over a crystal ball, maniacally rubbing his hands together, emulating the Wicked Witch of the West from the Oz stories?
Sadly, he had left behind his Converted friends Bobby, Wendell and Rodney.
No longer friends.
Conversions, sheathed in metal shells. An interior dressed with spinning cogs. Multi-colored wires. Bolts. Screws. Only duplicates of friends whom he once knew.
Unbidden memories of his parents flashed. Stabbed his heart. He’d never see them again. Ever. They too had been Converted, condemned as pieces of machinery, insignificant pawns in the Baron’s game of blood. Reviewing the horror in his mind, realization signified a skintight blue bodysuit and a red cape, both emblazoned with a huge stylized S, and to be from the planet Krypton, if he was to have any hope of getting out of this mess.
If only it could be that easy…
The focus of his thoughts swept aside as he snatched a view while standing at the base of a rise. An endless plain smothered with triangular shaped headstones, crooked as bad teeth.
A rerun of Sector 5? With zombies? At this point anything is possible…
Gilbert wished against the occupants of the marked graves to leave their buried homes.
Sure, Gilbert, use your telekinetic ability you don’t have.
Single and double digits marked each stone. Numerals precluded any perceived pattern. Etched as if a child’s hand had scratched them.
A breeze kissed Gilbert’s cheek as he started off.