Atomic America

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Waiting

James felt his palms sweat around the flashlight as he stared up at the bug. Bug? No. This wasn’t some little pest. It barely even resembled a waterbug anymore. It was a monstrous creature with armoured plating and snapping fangs. Calling it a bug felt insulting for the terror that clawed at the inside of James’ chest.

It’s head ticked from side to side, beady voided eyes staring down at them. He felt the air catch in his lungs as he watched the other pair of lights grow behind it in the dark. The clicking smacking noises started to fill the air as they grew louder and louder.

“Run…”

Rose’s voice was soft beside him. Like she was telling herself first. Then she turned her head, just slightly towards the others; her eyes still glued on the creature hanging above them.

“RUN!”

At Rose’s scream, James came to life. The flashlight in his hands clattered to the ground as he began sprinting down the tunnel. His boots pounded against the tunnel’s floor. Specks of mud and droplets of water splashed around him as he ran. With both hands extended, James scooped Bear up into his arms, pressing her against his shoulder as he went. She wrapped her own arms tightly around the back of his neck; her eyes wide in fear.

He was only a few steps from the car when something huge dropped down from the ceiling. The car rocked backwards as the giant waterbug crawled over the hood. James skidded to a halt; the rest of the group stopping alongside him. The man who had been driving the car sat shaking in his seat, staring helplessly up at the creature’s fangs. The insect’s clawed limbs extended forwards as it examined the glass. It’s wings buzzed behind it a second before it went still. The whole air went still with it.

SMASH

The creature forced it’s head through the windshield; glass shattering around it. The driver’s scream only lasted half a second before the fangs tore into him. Blood splattered and covered the interior of the car. The man’s gurgling cries for help were cut off by the snapping of his ribs.

Terror filled screams echoed around James as he starred in horror, his hands tightly gripping Bear close to his chest.

Then the clicking sounds become louder. The noise grew and grew until it seemed to surround them. Terrified, James shifted his focus to the noise, following it upwards. Craning his neck back, James saw it. The tunnel was dark, but the reflection from the headlights allowed him to just make out the sight. Crawling along the ceiling and up the walls was the rest of this mutation’s brethren. All of them just as gigantic and all of them with dripping fangs. Their wide oval shaped bodies lined together as they crawled over the cement gray walls. A sea of brown, moving in waves out from the hole above the rubble.

That’s when they began to drop.

James forced his legs forwards, breaking free from the fear holding him hostage. He dashed past the car and the feeding beast; eyes focused on the ground ahead of him.

The noise of a massacre echoed up and down the sewer tunnels. Hellish screams and demon-like chattering bounced off the walls. James couldn’t hear himself think. The air breathed a nightmare as the tunnel became thick with wailing and gunfire.

One after another, the monstrous insects dropped off of the ceiling, landing on the tunnel floor. James weaved and sprinted around them, hearing the high pitched chatter of the bugs’ excitement. But James kept running. Cries and screams came from Bear’s mouth but James didn’t turn around. He just gripped her tighter as he barreled down the sewer. His eyes frantically raked the walls, looking for any sign of that juncture Rose had mentioned. Concrete and pipes took up most of his vision until finally- a platform.

Jumping up onto it, James spotted the maintenance ladder. It hung about ten feet above them; a lock keeping the bottom third of it from sliding down.

Suddenly, Bear let out a terrified scream.

James spun around to see one of the creatures running their way. A bubbling bouncing gurgle came from it’s mouth as it’s legs rapidly tapped across the paved floor. The two front limbs opened and closed as it ran, black eyes pinpointed on them.

Kobu barked and growled in front of James, his quills raised and teeth snarling; but James was pretty sure even with his regeneration, he couldn’t take this monster. Dropping Bear behind him, James yanked his pistol from it’s holster, training the barrel on the bug before firing.

Ting

The bullet bounced off the insect’s armour. James gritted his teeth and let out his own growl before pulling the trigger again. And again. And again. Flashes of light and deafening echoes filled the darkness until the bullets finally broke through the plating. An explosion of bains and blood pooled around the waterbug’s body as it collapsed in front of the platform.

“MS. ROSE!”

James looked over to see Bear pointing into the shadows. Stepping closer to the platform’s edge, James barely made out her distant figure. The flash of her revolver lit up her face just long enough for him to see her shooting down one of the bugs, completely unaware of the one creeping up behind her.

“STAY WITH KOBU!” He yelled over his shoulder, leaping back down into the tunnel.

The creature in front of Rose finally collapsed at her feet. She let out a sigh before the shouts from ahead caught her attention. Looking up, she spotted James. He shouted at her, waving his arms and pointing in the distance. She spun around just in time to see the massive insect appear on top of her. Falling backwards into the mud, Rose dropped her gun. She stared up at the creature’s snapping fangs as they hovered in front of her. Desperately digging at the mud beneath her feet, Rose began crawling backwards; her legs kicking out in front of her, pushing herself back until she was up against the tunnel wall. Rose’s breath wheezed from her burning lungs as she pressed herself flat against the solid curved structure. The waterbug’s sharp front limbs planted themselves into the wall on either side of Rose; cracking the cement around the ends. She was trapped.



SaraK57

Edited: 04.09.2019

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