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Mutagen - Post apocalyptic Sci-fi (Novel, Explicit, First Chapter)

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“How about you start over, from the beginning?” the woman said, the pen in her left hand clicking against the clipboard she held in her right. I sighed, for what felt like the thousandth time in the last few hours. “Yeah, because I want to say the exact same thing again.” I answered. She narrowed her eyes at me. Her hands tightened around the clipboard and the pen. Her mouth opened to speak, but I held up my hand before she could yell at me again. “Give me a second then, okay?” I asked. Her gaze turned suspicious, but she nodded.

I leaned back in the metal chair, the sharp angles keeping me from getting comfortable. I closed my eyes and let out a slow breath. The interrogation room around me was bare, the smooth walls utterly featureless. Two of the room’s corners held cameras, the red lights like blinking eyes. They reminded me of bad memories. I shuddered. My interrogator raised an eyebrow but said nothing. One of the walls had a mirror that I knew was one-way.

I shifted a little in the chair. A metal handcuff bit against my left wrist, keeping me seated. They had taken my jacket and left me in nothing but my blood-splattered shirt, and a pair of pants. Oh. And my boots. I’m glad they let me keep my boots.

The chill in the room was palpable. I imagined it had something to do with trying to make me uncomfortable. Too bad. I liked the cold. I looked back at the woman that sat across from me. Her chair wasn’t made of metal. It wasn’t padded or anything, but it looked decadent compared to mine. Between us was a table. It was covered in what they had called evidence. Pictures, files, papers, transcripts. To one side, there was a microphone.

“Like I said. I met her again yesterday. I was on patrol. She and some of her friends were sitting on a curb in one of the restricted zones. I went to go kick them out before they got caught by someone who was less friendly.” I said, sounding bored even to myself. “But you didn’t.” The interrogator said. Her green eyes shone in the room’s bright light, her brown hair pulled up into a tight bun.

She would’ve looked incredibly professional if it wasn’t for her obvious excitement. “That depends on how you define it.” I pointed out, and she huffed. “Listen, Damian, I know you don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here either. Just tell me what I want to know and we’ll both move on with our lives.”

I laughed harshly. “Yeah, if by ‘move on with our lives’ you mean I get left for the muties and you go back to your cushy desk job.” I complained, brushing my dark hair out of my face with my right hand. I tried to cross my arms, but the cuff stopped me with a jolt. I cursed and rubbed at what I knew was going to be a sore spot for a while.

It was her turn to sigh. “I’m here to help you, Damian. I might be able to convince them what you did was an accident, but only if you help me first.” She answered, the look on her face almost sad. “They teach you to use my name over and over to get me to feel like you’re a friend?” I asked, and she shook her head in disbelief.

“There was a breach. But you know that.” I continued, and she looked back up at me with interest. She glanced down at her clipboard and nodded, the pen scratching against the paper she had. “It was between where we were and the exit to the restricted zone. I decided that I didn’t feel like dying, so I fucked off in the other direction. I took her and the others with me.” I explained.

Images ran through my mind. The reinforced wall some distance away blowing inwards. The dust filling the air. The silence that followed the blast. The screeching, inhuman voices. The disjointed figures streaming in. I could never get over how wrong they looked. I shook my head. “It’s surprisingly easy to convince people to do what you tell them when their only other option is death by aggressive mauling.” I commented, off-handedly.

“We hid. The entire time we were there Sarah was on her computer. I don’t think I ever saw her put it away” I said. I remembered the shell of a blown-out building. The sound of distant gunshots. And then closer. The muties, their incessant scratching, their moaning. Sarah’s calm eyes. They were brown flecked with gold, framed by hair that was a strawberry blonde. We did our best to stay quiet. The night had come. Silence had not followed it. The light of distant fires lit the horizon. The occasional flash of an explosion. I would later find out that it was considered to be just a small breach. I knew what I had signed up for, but it had still shaken me.

“That still doesn’t explain the blood.” The interrogator said. I nodded. “The next morning we couldn’t hear any more fighting. I imagined the breach was dealt with. I guess we thought it was safe. We backtracked through the R-Z. There must’ve still been a few of them around.” I said, and the interrogator tapped the pen she was holding against her glasses. “Mutants?” she asked, and I nodded again. “Yeah. One of Sarah’s friends got grabbed by one. It tore off his arm.” I continued, looking down at the floor.

I remembered the look of terror on his face. The way his arm had stretched and then, almost comically, popped off at the shoulder with a spray of blood. His scream drowned out by the incoherent string of words the mutant tried to put together. I remember raising my rifle and firing. The ultra-dense slugs had punched right through it, streamers of blood following them out on the other side.

It had opened its mouth too wide. Its eyes shining red. Its serrated teeth an eerie pure white. Sarah’s friend was still screaming when the mutant bit a chunk out of his chest. The scream had died in a gurgle. The mutant finally fell as one of my slugs found its head. Bone and brains sprayed past it. The bitten man lay on the floor. Blood fountained out of him. Sarah had looked at me. Her eyes were pleading. “I killed the mutant. Her friend was dying. I put him out of his misery” I finished.

My interrogator stood off to one side. “So the blood on your clothes…?” she asked, and I nodded. “That’s where it’s from. We both know you don’t care about the blood though.” I answered with a wave of my free hand. “You care about Sarah. About where she went.” I continued. Her head snapped back to face me, and the glitter of excitement was back in her eyes. I knew that whoever was standing on the other side of the one-way mirror was paying attention too. I sighed. The seconds ticked away, stretching almost endlessly. Whoever spoke first lost. I didn’t intend to lose.

Seconds turned to minutes. My interrogator begun to seem impatient. I was nervous myself, doing my best not to shake. Eventually, she put a hand up to her ear, nodding a few times. Her eyes focused back on me, her lips pursed. “We’re prepared to absolve you of any wrong doing if you cooperate. You’ll go free.” She said, and I shook my head. “I didn’t do anything anyway, but that’s not good enough. Put it in writing.” I answered quickly, and she sighed. “We’ll send someone to write it up. Meanwhile though, why don’t you get started?” My eyes narrowed. I honestly had no idea what they wanted with Sarah. To be fair, I barely knew who she was. We had met a few times. She had said some cryptic things. Whatever she was in the middle of though… well… Maybe my captors wouldn’t be the only ones learning new information. I licked my lips. My interrogator sat across from me again, pulling a page off her clipboard and adding it to the mess of paper on the table. She shuffled the microphone closer to me. “you told me to start from the beginning, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

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