01 Oct Modern Monster: The Banshee
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"Modern Monster: The Banshee"Written by
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Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
Dr. Oswald Meegla walked through the Siren Industries door after showing his ID card to the two brutes outside. He looked at his sheet again: West Wing, Room 6. According to the man who gave him the job, he’d be giving a test subject a new experimental drug. One of a kind, an exclusive chance that only he had the honour to test out. He looked around. He couldn’t see any direction to anywhere. It was a jumbled mess of doors and vending machines. It was his first day on the job, and to his dismay, he had no idea where to go.
He looked around the reception. Left, right, then left again. A woman was sitting down on a blindingly white desk: her face emotionless, her head slightly tilted to the side. He hadn’t seen her sitting there the first time. Frowning, Dr. Meegla went to the desk.
“Um, yes, hi, excuse me, I’m err, looking for…” Dr. Meegla stuttered. He couldn’t speak, he wished he could stop um-ming and erring and just talk clear. His voice had always been embarrassingly high.
To save himself time, he just held up his sheet to the lady working there. She seemed quite pretty, despite her blank face and complexion. She was pale, her skin whiter than bone. Everything is white here, white or grey, Dr. Meegla thought.
“Second door to your left, straight on, then to your right. Thank you. Goodbye.” She said all at once. Her voice was just as blank as her face, and her lips barely seemed to move at all. They didn’t match what she was saying, like a badly out of synch movie.
“Thank you, Mrs, Uh…,” He glanced at her name card.
“Harpy.” He said quickly. “Miss Harpy.”
He expected some kind of reply, instead she still sat there, her wide eyes seemed to be looking right through him. He shrugged and carried on, turning to his left at the end of the room.
Shortly after him, another young man walked through the door. Dr. Desmond Trinity. He moved his long brown hair away from his eyes. He had to find his room: West Wing, Room 7. He’d only looked at the paper once, yet he still remembered. Photographic memory. He was trying out a new drug for patients apparently, a one of kind experiment, that only he had the honour to try out…
Dr. Meegla carried on with the directions given to him, and as he turned his last right noted a sign…
He was going the right way, at least. Despite this he was remarkably un-impressed at the colossal building; it was grey and dull, and after all the hype around this place, he sort of expected mutants and monsters to run amuck the building.
Siren Industries was an ugly, grim place. The building seemed to sneer down on the people below, living its own life and ignoring everyone else around it. It was grey, bleak and had tiny, barred windows that were almost impossible to see into. It was a testing lab for diseases, medication and experimental studies. Steam and smoke poured out of the chimney like blood from a wound. The smoke was black and inky, therefore making the dull weather even duller, the gloomy atmosphere even gloomier. Like an exhaust pipe from Hells flames. At the door were two security guards, muscular titans of men. Each stood as still as a tobacco shop Indian. Anyone who tried to sneak by them rarely left without a few broken ribs. Getting in without permission wasn’t very common, and if someone did get in, no-one ever saw them get out.
Hardly anyone had been in Siren Industries, and yet there were complaints and petitions against it. Environmentalists, animal rights petitioners, and even the common lowlife living in the area thought it should be run into the ground. And if the terrible people living there thought this building was wrong, then trust, it must have been quite foul. It was no secret that Siren Industries had some pretty inhumane experiments going on inside, given the toxic and chemical smoke as well as the frequent newspaper articles claiming animal abuse. The building didn’t have the best reputation. In addition to this, every fortnight or two, vans would come to the building handing out crates that gave angry, animalistic screeches from inside. One guard would swiftly place something in the driver’s pocket, and they’d be gone without a word.
Animal cruelty nuts went mad over the place: T-P-ing it, writing ‘crude’ messages with spray paint. One particularly driven hippie had got into the sites dumpster, and what he saw was all the proof he needed (according to him anyway.) He said there were mutilated animals in garbage bags, some with extra limbs, some lacking limbs; some odd colours, some deformed beyond comprehension. This had caused quite a stir around the neighbourhood, but the hippie in question disappeared from the town shortly after. Some say Siren Industries gave him money to get away, some bluntly suspected that they’d ‘taken care’ of him. However, the town’s outrage had recently died down to shift focus to all the disappearing tramps around the area.
Despite the burning hatred for the place, Siren Industries still stood as tall, repulsive and arrogant as ever. No-one could seem to find any evidence against it, and sadly, most people had given up by then anyway.
What did he get? White, dull corridors, giving a very melancholy feel. It was just like any other hospital or science centre, duller than dull, greyer than grey.
He was about to move on when he heard a high ringing, quiet, but present. He put his index finger to his ear, yet it still softly rang in the corner of his mind. Probably just ears being funny.
He looked at the walls of the hallways and noticed two portraits hung on the walls. One was a stern looking woman ,with a disapproving face, probably the founder of Siren Industries. She had a face that made children feel guilty for misbehaving: ‘I’m not angry, I’m disappointed.’ it seemed to declare. Another was a piece of classical artwork: Medusa being beheaded as a brave young hero clutched her beheaded skull, her face snarling viciously. They made him become sweaty and fidgety.
He continued to walk on, looking to his left and his right.
Room 1, Room 2, Room 3, Room 4…
Dr. Meegla stopped on the spot and clutched his ears in pain. A sharp stinging noise had run through his ear, almost like something had poked his brain with a sharp icicle. It was that ringing noise again, only now more shrill and painful. He winced and stumbled on, clutching the walls as he did so. The noise slowly dimmed down, until disappearing altogether.
Room 5, Room 6…
He knocked on the door. Nothing answered. Carefully and cautiously, he pulled the handle. It creaked and opened into a small room.
The room was as plain as the others: a rectangular room, small and grey in colour, a single table with two chairs opposite to each other. There was a bottle of water and a small jar on the table, presumably for the patient. The room was quiet, awkwardly quiet, like the silence that would follow a conversation breaker, almost like it was vacuuming all the sound out of the room. There was a tiny camera in the room, watching him in anticipation.
Dr. Meegla guessed that there were workers behind there, monitoring the experiment. He took a seat. The subject would arrive soon, any minute now. He fiddled with his thumbs. It was awfully ominous and eerie in the room, alone in the quiet. He looked at the jar: ‘Experimental pills: #sídhe.’ The rest was too small to read besides the ‘50 PILLS’ label.
Room 3, Room 4…
Dr. Trinity carried on after merely glimpsing at some pictures. One of a grumpy woman, another of Medusa being killed. Her face had gave him a shiver down his spine. It reminded him of the nightmares he used to have, the ones with the witch…
…suddenly a shrill sound rang in Dr. Trinity’s ears, causing him to stumble and grab the walls. He winced, it felt like a fire alarm rattling inside his skull. Although a shaken, he made his way to Room 7. The second time some high noise had caught him off guard. He entered a rectangular room, small, grey in colour, a single table with two chairs opposite to each other. There was a bottle of water and a small jar on the table, and a tiny camera on the ceiling. He sat down and fiddled with his thumbs. It was awfully ominous in the room, he waited for the subject. Did the subject know he was taking pills?
Was the subject even willing?
“You never know with this place.” He laughed to himself.
Any second now…
Dr. Meegla thought back to his childhood, how his mother never had faith in him. How he’d look at space magazines and science shows and how he prided himself in his science skills. His mother would simply put her wine-box down and tell him he’d never do it. To give up. Work at the boozer.
‘Now look at me mother.’ He thought bitterly to himself. ‘Who’s won now?’
Here he was, with a PhD, trying out an experimental drug on a patient. He’d been waiting for this moment for how long? His thoughts stopped, and he frowned. How long had he…?
He was suddenly very puzzled. He couldn’t, for the life of him figure out what had happened before this. He tried to think back to yesterday. Yesterday for God’s sake! Nothing. Just a blank slate, like a missing data file on a computer. All he seemed to see in his mind’s eye was the burred memory of his mother doubting him, un-comfortable memories. The kind of one that made him sweat and become nauseated. He couldn’t, he couldn’t…
…he couldn’t remember his life.
Dr. Trinity was sitting down, this room made him feel uneasy. He felt as if all his childhood monsters were waiting here for him, waiting to jump out of the shadows and make him cry again. Just how when he had first seen the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. He’d cried and ran out the room, as his siblings mocked him for being a bawl baby. He squinted un-comfortably. He didn’t want to think back to these memories. But oddly that was all he seemed able to do, think back to her pointed nose, her green skin and screeching voice.
Come to think of it, he couldn’t remember anything else. All he remembered was the grotesque face of the witch, and nothing else. Not even yesterday. He couldn’t,
He couldn’t remember his life.
Meanwhile in the next room, Dr. Meegla was struggling. His vision was becoming blurry and un-focused. Sweat began to form on his brow, hot sweat that made him go a red colour. Dr. Meegla was increasingly getting more ill, until he stood up and leaned against the table. His body was shaking, and he was dizzy beyond belief. Where was the, where was the t-test subject? He should have been, here by now…
He was struggling to breathe. He was thinking back to his past, and how he couldn’t remember it. The life he’d never had. He groggily lurched for the water, and faint ringing rung in his head. His clumsy movement had knocked over the pills, and they spewed across the table, but he had little interest in them. He took a desperate gulp of the water.
He winced. It tasted odd and chemical, like chloroform. This wasn’t ordinary water. They’d put something in it. Spiked with something! He looked at the pills, his legs becoming weaker. From what little he could remember, he’d been a whizz at maths, he counted the pills quickly: 46, 47…48. 48 pills. He remembered the label.
Suddenly, a high, shrill screech thundered across the room and he let out a startled yelp and fell to the floor while clutching his ears. God the noise, oh God the noise! It shook through his body, until his body was screaming from the inside. The feeling was something similar to being corkscrewed in the head.
At the corner of the room was a bone pale woman, dressed in a tattered wedding dress. Her face was terrible and she was practically a skeleton. Her skin had a sick, blue-ish colour, that reminded him of infection and disease, veins like spider webs visible through her grotesque features. Her hair dangled lifelessly like straw and dead snakes as termites crawled around it, giving a faint scuttle. Her mouth was impossibly wide, stretching to ridiculous lengths. Her mouth was full of yellow fangs, riddled with chips and cracks, and worst of all, it bellowed this devilish cry, higher and louder than anything else. Her mouth was a huge pit, a black hole ready to suck him up and make him disappear.
Her eyes, her eyes were the worst. They were piercing, they were huge. However in a way, they had a disapproving look. The look a mother would give when finding out her child was playing with knives. I’m not angry, just disappointed.
A look of authority…
…a look strangely like his mother.
“I’m sorry Mommy.” He whimpered over the deafening noise. “I’m so, so sorry…”
In the next room, Dr. Trinity was sobbing on the floor, his brains being shattered by the bellowing cry of the woman in the corner of the room with her green skin, her pointed nose, her black clothing. He had become sick and dizzy, and drank the water, which he had quickly realised it had been spiked with the pill. Then this witch had appeared in the corner of room. He’d desperately clutched the door and shook furiously. Locked. He was stuck with this demon.
“I’ll get you, and your little dog too…” He mumbled insanely over the running stream of tears down his face.
From behind the camera a scientist watched, chuckling to himself. There were two TV’s, both showing similar images. In both was a single man, lying on the ground, sobbing and clutching his ears. One mumbling about his mother, one quoting Wizard of Oz. The scientist looked pleased. The experiment had progressed beautifully.
Another scientist came in, younger and thinner, delivering the drinks. He saw the TV images.
“Ah, the Banshee project.” The younger one started in awe. “This one had sounded somewhat interesting.”
The elder let out a deep, unpleasant laugh. “Can you imagine? This pill as a weapon-ised gas. No other military base could stop us.”
“No-body can stop us. Enough of the complaints, and those damn government searches. ” The younger one added, a swig of coffee. “Where do you even find the people to do this?”
The elder one did not reply, but simply tapped his finger on a newspaper headline.
WHERE ARE THE HOMELESS GOING?
Neither one said anything, the younger just let out a knowing grin.
The older one let out a satisfied nod. “Siren Industries is the way forward. Future projects such as deceased re-animation and cryogenic freezing will revolutionise the world as we know it. We will rise above this pitiful village.” The older one grabbed his coffee, and took a sip.
“To the future!” The younger one said chirpily, as he raised his glass.
“To the future!”
They clinked glasses, and continued to watch the first step of hell on earth take place.
Credit To – YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE USERNAME! Thanks to Kate Sherin and Katherine Cofer!
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