Perhaps it was, by now – hours, of making circles in this maze. Perhaps even more time passed, but due to lack of light and being enclosed within these walls – I’m not sure about time anymore. After that hell rabbit went away – miraculously, my body began co-operating with me. To top it off on a good note – doors were opened. Giving me option of leaving this forsaken room.
Right now, as I’m walking, I am doing my best to recall the details about this world. But, right now, all I can muster to pull out of my head is this one location within these walls. It is one of few which actually have windows. And even this piece of information is not supported by the rest of “memories”. Just by the sheer feeling of “I know”.
These dark corridors are driving me back to insanity. I somehow survived here before, but what happened then – altogether – is hazy.
It is cold in here. My breath makes foggy clouds that dissolve in thin air right after I breathe out. I was periodically touching walls. Although they were ice cold – some at times felt warmer. Half see through all of them, yet I distinguished that some were bit thinner, some thicker. Every few square meters of room space in this maze – were doors, and I had been opening and closing them every few minutes. I could for now recall one thing: in here – going towards the lights – meant death.
After few moments I stumbled upon a room with broken glass scattered all over the floor. “Shit, I do remember this one. I think it was on the right side few doors down.”- Niko whispered to herself as she barely managed to; bit by bit, slowly get through this room with causing as little sound as possible. “Yeah, these bastards react to noise, some others to light.” – She recalled in her head.
This place had the best of it – swarming mongrels of monsters, who long ago were humans, but now are hunters of these post-war sewers. Actually – old research facility, but feeling it gives is the same.
Finally the door and walls from solid material – nothing to see through. That’s the one, that’s where she left her. Niko touched the handle, silently turned it and door unlocked. She walked inside, closing the door behind. Moonlight room, simple bed, someone sitting on it. Window has bars on it, yet letting the light in. It was cold here, colder than inside the maze. Walls covered with frost; half of the floor is covered in ice another half – crumbling and cracking from cold. Window bars threw shadow on the floor – seeming beautiful in a way. Person on the bed was hunched, covered with blankets. Breath made puffs of fog, long hair sticking out of the massive “armour” of blankets.
This someone turned around to face intruder. Eyes glistened in the faint light, blankets slipped back on bed, as she got up and walked towards Niko. Layered in warm clothes, boots. It’s a wonder how she is still alive.
“So you’re back. You sure left me hanging for too long this time around.”- this person spoke.
“Nice to see you again, yet still it’s weird to see myself from aside.” – Niko replied.
Indeed, the person facing Niko was the exact copy of her – to be precise; it was the other her from this dimension. And this world is the horrid underworld, where all the insanity gathers to feast.
They hugged each other, feeling finally some warmth in this forever winter land.
The indicators show stability of the patient, machine engine keeps on humming, some scientists walk around keeping tabs on all the data they have hands on, observing one body connected to many wires, inside chemical filled capsule, supplied with needed oxygen and other in-vein vitamins and proteins to keep this body functioning.
In the room behind the three inch window stands man. His glasses glisten, as he looks at the capsule, fiddling pen in hand, breathing out heavily. He turns around and walks out. After few steps he’s stopped by an apprentice: “Sir, you must report the progress to Chef.”
Man in glasses nods and walks further to his destination.
There are so many things yet to discover.
– Tell me what happened. – Niko sat down on the bed, staring out the window.
– Well, you left me here. I got some help from “Forces” supplying me food and water through window. But each time someone is sent – gets killed right after he or she makes delivery to me. Cat at times comes to keep me company. But he is under suspicions – so he is not as often as I’d liked it to be. All the rest – just days passing by and sun barely shining through this thick darkness. – Doppel was walking around in the room as she explained latest events. Her boots not making any sound – special covers on soles.
– So… Trapped or just unwilling to open door on your own? – Niko turned to look at her Doppel, smiling.
– Waiting for you. You said it yourself before you disappeared – that I stay and wait for you. Did you lose memory again? – Doppel took a good look at her other self, raising her eye brow.
Niko scratched her forehead, then rustled through her hair, heavily breathed out. Finally took a look at her hands – which shook in slight fear. She was back, yet needed to put some effort to remember what was forgotten. Each time with these “trips” parts of memories are somehow erased.
– I remember how I was cornered by Red. I was bleeding, my left side in pain, blood on my hands, scratches all over my body. Red was overjoyed by circumstances, as she got me in the room downstairs, while I was shaking with terror inside it. That’s all what I can recall. – Niko looked up. Doppel came to sit next to her, taking Nikos shaking hands with her steady warm palms, entangling their fingers. Doppel looked Niko in the eyes – giving off sense of calmness.
– We should go, right? Before you become like one of them “lifeless”. – Doppel smiled.
Doppel took Niko by hands, got up, then pulled Niko. Niko was somehow in slight daze of the memories that started to come back. To snap her back – Doppel slapped Niko across the face. Right cheek burned up from that slap. Niko was surprised, but knowing situation – she’d do the same. She was back to “This” reality.
They opened the door, looked around to make sure it’s still quiet. Then got out, silently closing door behind; making this room the save point of this maze.
Now they were to find the exit from this hell – something they both started seeking for long time ago.
Crossing the corridor, ending up in office room, with some remarkable name on the door. Sitting down in the chair, breathing out and taking off glasses.
“Now we have to wait.” – Thought Kriss.
This seemingly usual office room, yet the shelves on walls being stuffed with different books, papers, documents, all putted and stored like in the “old” times. This was the best possible way to avoid information leakage. This room was prepared like a small studio flat, just without windows, with sliding walls that hide bedroom, bathroom and toilet.
Security of this room was even higher than the top notch fortresses.
Phone call was to be awaited, the higher up from somewhere was about to have a talk with Kriss.
But for now he observed the statistics of progress and functioning of the body few levels below. It was his job – keeping track of this division and keeping track of this “subject”, who was not last under his jurisdiction. Not letting it out before “required” wakes up, not allowing disconnection to the body of any sort, making sure information is strictly sealed and no one remembers anything after the end of the shift. Everyone has to be wiped out, so that AIO does not trigger any reactions that aren’t allowed. There’s only one man in this place allowed to remember – Kriss, he is the only one who never leaves the office, who lives in this place, just to make sure that this research is of no harm or possibility to be known to others. Just one man, other than Kriss has the memory and the data of the progress of this project – and this person was about to call.
Cold walls were actually soothing now, but the thing giving chills down the spine was seeing the dead creatures behind the wall. In less than a meter from you, hibernating, but would snap at any sound that was louder than faint whisper. These mongrels were once – human, but after the creation chemical, that later became forbidden, these bastards were born.
Doppel and Niko were manoeuvring through rooms, opening and closing doors, avoiding fallen snow, broken glass and other mischievous leftovers from battles with rescue corps. Although some seemed like nothing much, yet one thing they had in common – the deadly trigger saying you’re ready to die – anything that was making sound.
Both of them knew what hell it was. All who were left here -became walking sort of creatures – overgrown limbs, sharp claws, blind, horrid white eyes. These things would bounce out to any sound, clawing and killing instantly. A little different white eyed mongrels were reacting to light, as they’re horridly deaf. Still accompanied with grotesque deformed bodies.
Soon as they reached the stairway, along with broken walls and leftover parts, something started to flash back and forth around them – dark shadow. Doppel and Niko gripped onto each other’s hands, holding tighter than ever. These things either were the scouts of Red, or the pieces of Cat. One was an adequate person, quietly helping them from aside; another was bloodthirsty maniac having strangest affection to Doppel and Niko – craving madly one thing – to torture them. Yet these shadows could never be distinguished between which belongs to whom.
Right now both girls froze in place, waiting what’ll come next.
The shadow flashed away, and few seconds later they heard mongrel crushing sound and evil laughter of Red.
– Shit, we better make a run for it. – Doppel said.
– Upstairs, come! – Niko rushed.
Running up the broken stairs, with bits of glass and pieces of wood scattered around them, manoeuvring through the rubbish, making sure as they went they didn’t wake up the lifeless bastards that stood arm’s length away from them.
“Floor 7” read the sign on the wall. The one of few floors with windows and different sort of walls, so they both darted inside the hallway of “Floor 7”.
They heard the horrid sound of chainsaw, the crushing sound of walls, glass being chipped more to bits by footsteps. Then – crying of the lifeless bastards dying, as they most likely got in the way, and voice of Red: “Oh you’re back! Let’s play! Let’s play!”.
Finally some light was shining in the corridor from windows on the right side. Both had to go now a bit slower – floor was creaking, in some parts it had holes to the hell below – where Red was lurking and scouting like maniac for them both. Shouting out about his so called “love”.
“Come out and play with me, you rascals! I want my dear chainsaw to love you lots! Oh come on! I want that view of your heart on my hands! I’d love to hug your weak bloodied heart and feed the rest to mongrels!” – Red kept shouting.
Suddenly one of the doors on the left opened – Cat was standing there. With the gist of his hand he showed to enter the room. Niko and Doppel made it just in time. Seconds later the glass windows shattered in hallway. Red yelled “I’ll find you!” as she walked. Her chainsaw scraped the walls, floor, her heels echoed in the halls. That voice made mongrels cry in fear. “Come on out, you bone pillows! I wanna pla-ay!”- Red groaned in madness.
Cat was holding girls mouths, so that there was no sound. Their breathing and thumping of hearts felt so loud, making them fear that Red would find them and have her way with them.
Just as the sounds died down, with Red and her minions walking away – somewhere further into the depths of Lab – searching for the prey – Cat released the grip.
Both Doppel and Niko breathed out in relief. They really appreciated the gesture and were happy to see Cat.
This person, Cat, was the copy of David. Cat had white hair, amazing body, green eyes, but he was in his black-framed glasses and strange barocco-like suit. Looking somehow like a butler, but with less officiallity – with his shirt always undone – showing his pale skin. One big difference – Cat had cat ears and tail. Remnding of the fact that he is not like the David Niko knows. This one is also a victim of chemical experimentation.
– Oh, good to see you outside, – Cat, smilingly, looked at Doppel, then turned to Niko, – and good to see you back.
From slight overflow of emotions Doppel hugged Cat tight. Niko just mumbled “Oh I wish…” to herself.
The bunker sort of room, where they were at – had window. That attracted Nikos attention. She got up to look around – leaving the two to their moment. Room resembled a classroom, but devastated and burned out. Pacing to the window – Niko looked at old papers on the small tables. Having still something scribbled on them. Window was barely holding drapes pieces, of what once were flowery curtains.
Niko took a look outside the window – city, broken and burned, with these bastard creatures walking around aimlessly. Further out is a massive wall, with lights beyond and thick smog, hovering above it – it’s refuge of the “Force”. That is the place where Doppel and Cat have to be returned. They are both from there, well, actually Red is also from that same place, but she had the worst of it by agreeing to become a pet to a scientist that made her this way, then threw her out here.
Niko remembered the mission she had to carry out here – kill the bastards and erase Red from existence.
Oh, the heavy work yet to be done…