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Ghosts
The Last Days
SCREAMING TOMB - TALES FROM THE GRAVE
Sunday, 12 June 2005
Supreme - by Francis Allan Barangan
Topic: The Last Days
The cleansing of Metropolis.

A nuclear strike was ordered launched which decimates the entire Metropolitan city into mile long strips of glass. Buildings leveled down and the populace, dead and alive where reduced to ashes by the force and intensity of the blast. Nothing human survived.

12 hours ago, a makeshift fortress stood erect in the center of the city. Government soldiers stand their ground at the onslaught of a very powerful undead. The small group of soldiers under the command of James Bartholomew Olsen, a former reporter who later enlists in the government's dwindling armed force to combat the unstoppable assault of the living dead, tried to ward off the attack until their rescue choppers arrived.

In a few minutes the front walls went down revealing a strongly built undead that appears the one responsible in breaching it. Weapons are ablaze but doesn't harm the creature. Incendiary devices were detonated at each point to stall the creature but to no avail. The creature along with hordes of undead mows through.

At last Olsen came face to face with the creature. However, he recognized the creature as the one person who could've turned the tide of the battle. Superman. The man of steel has succumbed to the death plague and has become an undead himself.

Firing his gun at the man of steel, Olsen was rescued by the choppers and was just in time to see the creature rise up again and got swallowed in the blast that leveled all of Metropolis.

Nothing human survived.


- 0 -


Three years has passed.

James Olsen returned to Metropolis to inspect a military underground facility that a few days ago were transmitting information to the Cave. The Cave is a facility located in a mountain that now functions as the seat of government. The primary goal is to find a cure to the death plague that infects 75 per cent of population in the United States alone. However, the underground facility in Metropolis inexplicably stopped sending vital information to the Cave a few days ago. That prompted the new executive chief to order a military inspection hence the presence of James Olsen and his team of assault marines to the site.

They enter into a large hole in the ground that was built as a massive elevator for choppers in the old days. The soldiers went down in a service ladder one by one until they reach the bottom. At the bottom there is a big logo which James knew stands for the Cadmus Project.

The team discovered that an emergency situation triggered power disruptions all through out the facility and the systems initiated code DEFM-12 which activated defense lasers in every corner of the facility. DEFM-12 is only initiated when an outbreak occurred inside the facility. That would mean an outbreak of undead specimens inside the facility. But that occurred three days ago and the lasers would've cut any ghoul walking in the corridors of Cadmus. But just the same, James motioned his men to be cautious.

A computer hacker named Private Jones were able to hack in Cadmus' mainframe and disable the DEFM-12 code. The lasers are disabled and the soldiers were able to get inside. However, the lights are still out so they use night lenses to amplify their vision. James split the group in three where one group goes to the power chamber to try to get the lights on, the other group to the command chamber to re-configure and reboot the security systems and the last group to the lower level research chamber. James went to the last group.

The first group reached the power chamber where they discover burnt powerlines which is the cause of power failures in some areas of the facility. The second group reached the command chamber and initiates a full reboot of its systems. However the full reboot disables some of the locks in the facility. A moan was heard after the locks were disabled.

James and his group reached the research chamber where they saw specimens lined up one by one and seems to be in the process of dissection. Just then, they heard a THOOOM! from the central chamber. Another THOOOM! was heard and it becomes apparent that something is inside that is causing the sound. James and his men moved closer.

The group from the power chamber is just leaving when something grab a man from behind and ripped out the flesh from his neck. Decaying hands shoots out in the darkness and pulled each man down. Their weapons are not even fired as fresh blood is spilled on the dusty floor.

The group from the command chamber has just succeeded rebooting the systems when to their shock, the faces of at least twenty ghouls are staring at them from the thick fiberglass. The ghouls banged and scratched at the glass trying to get the fresh meat inside.

James points his lights to the door of the chamber and he's shocked to see fist marks appearing on every sound. Without warning the door flew open crashing two of his men. A creature of a man was inside the chamber and it is angry as hell.

Sgt. Wilson is near panic as he reaches his commlink to contact James. The ghouls have surrounded the command chamber and is banging on the glass. Though the glass is made of fiber, it won't stand long with the continous banging of the undead.

Olsen fires his semi-automatic and throws a grenade on the creature. However the weapons have little or no effect as the creature stumbles to get near him. Finally there was cornered and the creature grab him by the neck on one hand. James points his light to the creature's face to blind it but to his shock he recognize the creature as... the man of steel.

But how can that be? He saw the man of steel when he is swallowed and consumed by the nuclear explosion in Metropolis three years ago. Could it be that, even though he is re-animated as a living dead, that he still possesses his vaunted invulnerability? That must be it, James thinks. That's the only way he could've survived the explosion.

And what about the facility? The people in this facility must've found him after the explosion and has been researching him for the last three years. That's why his officers are very concerned over the loss of communication. They are using the man of steel as a guinea pig, a lab rat, but they did not know he retained most of his invulnerability or they have become desperate and reckless in the search of the elusive cure? Whatever their reason, he doesn't have time to ponder because his life is now in peril.

Before the ghoul could crush his neck something happened. The face of anger that is clearly displayed on the face of this ghoul subsided into an innocent, childlike look. The ghoul relaxed his grip and stares at the face of Olsen. Could it be that the man of steel still recognizes his onetime friend and partner? It must be, but James isn't waiting to find that out. He ran away from the man of steel as fast as he can. While on his way up he realizes his commlink is blinking. It is Sgt. Wilson and he has bad news. The walking corpses are on the verge of breaking the glass. He's asking James for instructions. James ordered Wilson to activate the facility's self destruct mechanism. "We're dead men already." James told his man.

Sgt. Wilson immediately summoned the self destruct program and activates it just in time before the living dead succeeded in breaking through the glass. The team let out with full fury slicing the ghouls in half with their bullets. But their semi-automatic weapons are not enough, they were taken down after they each blew their heads off with their hand guns.

A series of explosions emanates from the facility. James knew he must move fast enough to get out of the facility before it comes crashing down. He made it through the corridors but not before wrestling with a few undead. With each explosion the facility weakens. James counted twelve explosions. If memory serves there are thirteen explosions with the thirteenth as the most powerful one, equivalent of a small nuclear bomb. Debris is falling down and most of the walls and the ceiling has fallen down. James reached the elevator ramp and begins climbing up the service ladder.

Just then, something burst through the ground and caught James by the leg. It's the ghoulish man of steel! James tried to free his leg but the man of steel has a firm hold on it. The ghoul seems to be trying to communicate with James but James is not interested in talking with it. He knows the big one is coming, the big explosion is gearing up and he must get out of the facility before it does.

James tried kicking its face with his right boot. The ghoul responded by pulling James down to the floor. But he hit his head hard that he lost consciousness. The ghoul lifts James with both hands and stares at his face. It moans, trying to speak, trying to find the words that he longs to say. And when he finds it, this is what he said:

"Jim....meeee."

The big one blew! The underground facility was swallowed by flames and was instantly consumed. The service ramp blew with such force that it seems a volcano has erupted in the middle of nowhere. Debris shoots up 200 feet in the air before settling down. Along with the debris is the ghoulish man of steel landing with such force on the ground that he caused small shockwaves that breaks the mile long glass strip, the result of a previous explosion. The ghoul looked down on his arms and is surprised when he realizes he is no longer holding anything. The blast have disintegrated James body that only the invulnerable body of the man of steel remains. The ghoul hollered loudly that his voice echoed on the mountains of St. Curtis. Then he moans, lowering his body to the ground as if in grief for losing Olsen.

A few hours has passed and the ghoul is moving again, seemingly going somewhere but in reality, nowhere. The world is emptier than ever but the re-animated body of the man of steel endures. He walks on equipped with a very faint memory of what he was. When will he rest? Only time will tell.

Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005 5:05 AM EDT
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