I don't know how, but I managed to fall asleep. Only to find myself being gang raped by Disney characters who then fed me to a massive toothed penis. I woke up with a start, flailing in my blanket in an attempt to escape the digestive nut sack. Needless to say, that morning I felt a little less than rested.
I flopped out of my bunk to find the others gathered around George's corpse. Before I could step over, feign my surprise at his murder, Nigel jumped down from the rafters. He glared at me a moment.
Nigel said, "I assume you had your reasons."
I said I did. He nodded, "Nevertheless, this will not end well."
Lagos kicked open the barrack's door, and Lenny came in barking, "Alright you filthy shitheads, dust ya cunts off we got a whole lot of fun planned for y'all." -- Spying the group assembled around George he hurried over -- "What's going on there? Aw fuck."
Lenny stood next to the blood drenched bunk. He shook his head, "Lagos! Pig food."
Lagos entered the barracks stooped. The arch of his shoulders scraped the ceiling beams as he maneuvered to George's bunk. Without a word he grabbed George by the arms, and dragged the carcass off to be eaten by pigs.
"Outside, outside," Lenny shouted. Everyone hurried without running. The others knew the procedure well enough to act without orders. As they lined up in rows I followed suit. Nigel kept close by my side.
Lenny sent a guard to the boss man's double wide with news of the murder. While we waited for the reaction Lenny growled at us, going into explicit detail about gutting the culprit with a power sander, grinding the flesh away till the abdomen burst open. No one seemed worried by the threats until the door to the double wide opened. Black Mix Hendricks emerged in tattered jeans. Shirtless, he strolled along with a prison tat skull and crossbones on his chest.
Standing before his assembled cattle, Mix Hendricks just eyed the group for a minute. After what felt like an eternity he said, "I'm not going to kill anyone except the person who did this. However, I am going to hurt all of you until someone tells me who is responsible."
To emphasize his point Mix Hendricks produced a long thin blade. It resembled a filet knife. The person next to me, a kid no older than eighteen, started shivering. I noticed a scar on his forearm as if someone once peeled off a long strip of skin. The implication hit me, producing a cold sweat in the process.
Nigel spoke up, "It was him."
I looked over to find the simian fucker pointing at me. What an asshole. Just because it was the truth didn't mean he had to tell anyone.
Mix Hendricks narrowed his eyes. He strolled over, scratching his neck with the knife tip. Lenny followed close at his heels. Standing beside Nigel, Mix Hendricks spoke without looking at the anthro, "A lot of people make the mistake of assuming your kind is stupid. Nothing but walking, talking animals. I don't think that way. Especially considering that I can't do anything to this man." -- he gestured at me with the blade -- "He doesn't belong to me anymore, and I would be quite foolish to fuck with Caliban." -- he smiled at Nigel -- "But you already knew that."
Nigel said, "Either way, it doesn't change the truth. He killed George. I saw him."
"Fine," Mix Hendricks shrugged. He spun around, and jammed the knife into the stomach of the scarred boy standing next to him. Staring at me, Mix Hendricks stabbed the boy several times. When he finished, the teen collapsed at his feet spreading a pool of blood. Mix Hendricks wiped the blood off on my shirt, "That's on you."
A few guards carried the boy to Doc Elsa's, while Mix Hendricks slithered back to his double wide. Lenny ordered us to head for the chow tent. I followed the others, solemn columns marching silently.
Away from Lenny I hissed back to Nigel, "You're a fucking rat."
"And the others should get hurt concealing you? A murderer? I don't think so my good man."
"Okay, fair point, but you didn't even give me a chance to do the right thing."
Nigel said, "Hmmm, quite right."
"You bet ass quite right."
"Would you have? Spoken up I mean."
Part of me wanted to say yes, of course. No doubt whatsoever. Yet, I couldn't shake the feeling at least one person might have been flayed a bit before I said anything. Selfless people don't tend to survive monsters, though they are remembered fondly for their sacrifices.
Chow consisted of a dirty metal bowl filled with what I would call curried mud and "rice." The others made it a point not to sit anywhere near me. They welcomed Nigel with open arms.
As I choked down what felt like my last meal, a low hum came from above. No one else seemed to react to it. Even the Raiders ignored the sound. Peering out from under the chow tent I saw a triangular metal object drifting through the sky. A large black semi-sphere hung from the object's underbelly. It lazily circled the Raider's camp then flew off, accelerating to an incredible speed. In a few seconds it bolted clear out of sight.
"Cameras," Joyce said behind me.
"I always wanted to be on TV."
"Very few get this station."
I turned, "Is it a good idea to be seen talking to me?"
She said, "They think I'm telling you off."
"I see. I was told he deserved it."
"He did." She sighed, "But you haven't been here as long as we have. The few of us who've lasted, we're all we've got. Plus, it doesn't help being reminded how easy it is to die."
I understood. The survivors bonded into family, getting what little peace they could out of the connection. However, that didn't make the realities of this place any less absolute. None of them needed the darkness thrust in their face. It was already all around. Still, I couldn't help wondering how many of them would slice up ol' George same as me if they felt sure it meant escaping this place.
"So what now?" I asked.
"Now this." She slapped me. Hard enough to maybe leave a handprint in my face bones. I had to restrain the instinct to punt her as hard I could in the gash.
Then she said, "On the river, be ready."
A few hours later the Raiders herded Joyce and I onto a rusty, grey PBR MK II. The riverine patrol boat looked desperate to sink. If my luck held out, I might get to drown before Caliban's camp.
The others wished Joyce the best. A few of them spit at me. Creepy Al gave me the finger. And to think, just yesterday he wanted to kill me kindly. I said goodbye to Nigel, told him there were no hard feelings.
" 'And Man in portions can foresee
His own funeral destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance...
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a victory.' "
I said, "Same to you buddy."
Three Raiders clambered onto the boat. While one of them tied Joyce and I to a rail at the back of the vessel I saw Dr. Elsa standing in the doorway to the medical shack. She drank from a jug, every swallow making her grimace. Joyce stared straight ahead, not risking what a glance might give away.
The boat grumbled to life. The pilot cranked up a stereo in order to blast the Oakland Raider's theme song.
As the boat pulled away from the dock Lenny shouted, "Have fun."
I hollered back, "We will."
The sour expression that slapped onto his face made everything up until then almost worthwhile.
After a few minutes the boat went around a bend leaving the Oakland Raider's behind us.
Farther down river something that can only be described as a cross between a Great White Shark and an alligator trudged from the shore. It slipped into the murky water then soon swam alongside the boat. This immediately made me realize there would be no swimming today. Any chance of escape hinged on Joyce and I taking the boat, although I still had no idea how exactly we were going to pull that off.
The pilot kept his eyes on the river, steering to avoid rocks and the wreckage of other watercraft. Meanwhile, his two compatriots took turns firing at the alligark -- two idiots with peashooters poking at a beast.
Joyce took advantage of the distraction as a chance to reach down, and stick her hand into her vagina. Well, I shouldn't say whole hand, but she definitely went knuckle deep with at least two fingers, fishing for something. She looked too grim to be enjoying herself.
I whispered, "Need any help?"
She grunted, "I got this."
Just as one of the guards turned to check on us Joyce jerked her hand back. I caught a brief glimpse of a plastic baggie which she deftly tucked into her palm. The guard went back to harassing the river monster.
Joyce whispered, "We'll only get one chance at this."
It was then I remembered the powdered death Elsa told me about. It's funny the things that slip one's mind having to contend with the mental stress of reluctantly murdering a polite stranger as payment for an escape attempt in order to avoid being savagely raped to death by a group of lunatics who practice what could be called necro-sexual-cannibalism. Fortunately, Joyce still had her whispering eye on the ball.
"What's the play?" I asked.
She fiddled with the baggie, trying to rip it open without drawing attention, "We lure them over here. I throw the powder in their face -- don't breathe when I do -- then we take their guns, shoot the pilot, and get out of here."
"I like it. Simple and reckless."
"If you have anything better, I'm open to suggestions."
I thought for a second. Nothing came to mind. She asked if I had any idea how to lure the two guards over. I said maybe, but she would have to trust me, go with whatever happened next. She said okay.
So I said, "You guys wanna watch me fuck her?"
That got everyone's attention. I think even the sharkigator cocked its head out of the water.
"Seriously?" Joyce said.
Ignoring her I addressed the guards, "Come on. Last request of a dead man." -- I pointed at the pilot -- "This guy knows what I'm talking about. You can even jerk off. I don't care. I'd do the same for you."
Joyce chimed in, "Yeah."
The three guards started debating the request.
I added, "Guys, I've been on river cruises before, and if there's no booze this shit gets boring as hell. You can only shoot so many times at whatever the fuck that thing is before you need a distraction."
The pilot said, "What if things get wild? We're not supposed to touch you."
I said, "I think that only really applies to me. I was sold. She's being punished. I doubt it matters what condition she arrives in to tell you the truth."
As Joyce slowly turned to look me. Her face said it all: where is this going, and are you fucking serious?
Before I could respond the pilot said, "Okay. Dying man gets a last nut."
"Get ready," I said then addressed the two guards, "You fellas get in here. You do not want to miss this."
Chuckling, the two guards sauntered over to us. I started to undo my pants, while Joyce undid a few top buttons on her shirt.
"Slow on there honey, " one of the guards said, "Let me enjoy this."
He leaned in close, eyes locked on her cleavage, sweat dripping off his stubbly chin. His buddy sidled up next to him. The pilot glanced over his shoulder, but had to keep turning back to watch the river ahead.
Joyce winked at the two guards lusting over her. They never even saw it coming. Pretending to be about to rip her shirt open she shot her hand up into their face and blew hard into the baggie. I held my breath the second she moved. A cloud of white exploded into the face of the two guards, sending them stumbling. Blinded by the powder they soon began to have trouble breathing. Gasping, one held up his rifle to fire at us. Joyce grabbed it by the barrel, and yanked it from his hands. The other collapsed into a twitching purple faced heap. The pilot turned to view the commotion.
He understand everything in a glance. He went for his pistol. Joyce fired, but he ducked. Meanwhile, unable to reach the other gun because of the rope, I stretched out a foot to try and drag the gun closer. Banging off a rock, the boat lurched to one side. Joyce fell against the railing. The pilot fired wild. The rifle slipped closer to me. I snatched it up as a bullet from the pilot whizzed past my head. Taking careful aim, Joyce put a round right between the pilot's eyes.
Not wanting to lose a moment she put the barrel against my rope and fired. She ordered me to the front of the boat. I throttled back. The river looked clear enough, so I hurried back to untie Joyce.
She searched the dead guards, and found a key. It unlocked our radio collars. I can't imagine how great it felt for her to be free from the device. I'd barely worn it a full day, and taking it off seemed like salvation itself.
That's when I saw it, surging through the water, what can only be described as...
PART 8: Japanese Tentacle Porn with a Crucifixion Fetish