Read the other chapters in the Terror Below tale here

Terror Below - Chapter 15: The Final Stand

“Those were our eggs! They stole them from us!” Rebecca’s voice resonated in the walls. Patricia and Sebastian were confused, trying to explain that Shep found the eggs, but Rebecca wasn’t having any of it. One of her hands was balled up into a fist and the other was pointing an accusatory finger at Pat.

“What the hell is going on?” Laura stepped in between Rebecca and the other party, not hiding her annoyance from being disturbed during coffee time.

“This lady came out of nowhere and said we stole her eggs,” Pat shrugged, “I mean, Shep found them and he came to us, so...”

“We left those eggs at the cafe to grab later. Things just got in the way,” Rebecca sulked. She was an uptight homemaker with mom pants. Laura found her and Tom, while driving down the highway, picking up survivors. At the time, Tom was dressing Rebecca’s wounds while she was shooting at a Screamer with one hand armed with a small gun. Laura ended up shooting down the beast and driving the couple to shelter. She learned that Tom was Rebecca’s Primary Healthcare Physician and they were both caught off-guard during the W.O.R.M.s’ escape. Rebecca didn’t care what happened to her husband, only that he was “off on a business trip somewhere and he was better off dead.” Laura was secretly a little scared of Rebecca, but she was in no position to reveal her fears to anyone currently. Better to share all of this information with my therapist later.

Laura stared blankly at the arguing parties and felt a little overwhelmed. “Okay, how about we just split the money?” She suggested, hoping to end the quarrel so they can focus on more important things, like surviving. She nodded at the agent to make it final, without waiting for a response and that raised the volume of the argument even higher. Laura shook her head and did her best to ignore the onslaught of questions.

“But that’s not fair! We found the eggs first.”

“We carried them all the way here! We risked our lives for them.”

“And if it weren’t for us, you would’ve never gotten your greedy hands on them.”

“Excuse me, but my hands are not greedy, Ms. twenty-dollar perm.”

“Seriously? You look like you haven’t showered in a month.”

Before they could begin to negotiate, the computers in the room started beeping. The concerto of digital blips only got louder and more alarming, until one of the agents working at a desk stood up, “Everyone, we need to evacuate. There’s a massive… Thing coming this way.” A sudden jolt quaked the Police Station, indicating that the agent was wrong. Something had already arrived.

I was just getting comfortable. As unsatisfying as the Police Station coffee was, Laura gulped the remaining bit of coffee that hadn’t spilled for a short caffeine boost. The agents scrambled to get their hard drives and thumb drives into bags. The survivors stopped squabbling and carried their belongings haphazardly out of the building. Laura and everyone else poured out of the Police Department, where a W.O.R.M. standing thirty feet tall was waiting for them in the rain. She had left a trail of dug-out stone and cement in her wake. Her eyes were glowing with menacing and a thirst of vengeance. She growled a low hum, vibrating the alien fins that flayed out of her face, ready to strike. Droplets of water welted against the Police Station and the W.O.R.M.’s tough skin. Shep had already started barking and none of the survivors were going to stop him. Laura and some of the other agents recognized her as WR-008.

We meet again.

WR-008 drew her head back and a piercing cry exited her mouth, in symphony with the thunder and lightning. The rain was beating against the shelter and the group could feel the gnarly dread form under their skin. Some people clasped their hands over their ears, resisting against the creature’s long battle whoop. It was questionable whether or not they would exist in the next hour.

“This one must be the Queen,” Laura heard Patricia chat to Sebastian.

“The what?”

“You know, the biggest one—if we kill it, all the others die. Like the boss in a video game.”

“That’s not how that works,” Laura turned her head back. Great. There aren’t that many of us. Some of us have no tactical training. Hell, that one doesn’t even know how to use a gun. She felt a small lump form in her throat from the stress. Should I be praying right now? Is it ever too late to start?

A turkey vulture—seemingly on queue—was taking shade under a tree, waiting patiently for bloodshed. It had been waiting all day for a decent meal. Regardless of who wins in this situation, it would definitely have something to eat. It was hoping it would be the humans, because it had never tasted W.O.R.M. meat before, so there wasn’t any point of reference to its taste. But it really wasn’t too picky. Laura, noticing the bird, was feeling the weight of the situation. Definitely not the best of the best here, but I’m not about to become bird food. A surge of caffeine kicked in and she aimed her gun at the Queen, “Everyone. Get your guns ready. Civilians, too.”

The group hesitantly pulled out their weapons—from shotguns and silver alien snare guns to axes, pointy sticks, and potato guns. Clicks and clanks reverberated to signal that the team was as ready as they could be to attack and defend themselves. Patricia and Sebastian huddled close together one with a pistol on hand and the other armed with a potato gun. Shep was standing at the ready—his hind legs wound down, ready to pounce. Laura cleared her throat to hide her trepidation and squared her shoulders, “Let’s show this WORM how much we like to play in the dirt.”

- Banana Chan