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The Stranger – Chapter 3: Cabin in the Woods

Written by castor :: [Thursday, 26 March 2015 21:39] Last updated by :: [Friday, 27 March 2015 11:14]

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The Stranger – Part 3:

Cabin in the Woods

by Castor


based on the story by Talesian


 

“Don’t worry.” said the Defender “I’ll find your kitty.”

“But he ran away!” said the little girl with the cherub eyes.

“He can’t have gone far. Cats you see they like to run around a bit but they come back.”

“But where is he?”

“Don’t worry – you say he was a brown cat with …”

“With a black spot on his paw.”

“I’ll find him.” said the Defender levitating a bit over the street of Hartford

“You’re my hero.” Said the girl. “No heroine is that right?”

The Defenders face couldn’t smile – it was a metal mask of knights of old. But underneath … she smiled just a touch. Yes perhaps there was a moment in this … a moment of …

*****

Capetown it could be observed was a very pretty city. It had the requisite tall buildings, old homes, and streets – but it was also very pastoral. It said that there are six types of Biomes in the world and the fine grasses that grew around the city – and sometimes in it – were one of their own. Full of bushes, plants, wild flowers that when they bloomed made the city a kind of garden-like wild.

Even in its darkest slums – which Capetown had its share of – in spring time it could be said to be pretty even gorgeous in the morning light, a city of inequality between rich and staving poor but nature didn’t respect that.

It was on a morning like that just as the dawn was coming out, and the city was waking that on the beaches of the titular cape, snakes came from the ocean.

Snakes that were about 40 feet long and as thick as a rhino. Snakes that for some reason were black and white like the little penguins that lived in the harbor and they frightened away.

An army of snakes. Hundreds of them.

*****

John was a late packer. When it was time to go on a trip he would go from no bags to the airport in about an hour most times. It worked well enough for him. Sure it produced moments of panic like now but he did okay.

He was spending a three day weekend at Erica Harper’s Cabin in the Maine Woods, in hope to learn and pitch some ideas for their new campaign for her company.

It was a shame Bill was still so damn sick – he had been to his home the other day. And ugh. He had been to the hospital three times and doctors didn’t really know what was wrong with him – but it was bad.

But still he felt pretty good about it – not necessarily about the campaign but that they would get the campaign – she obviously had purse strings, and wanted to do something with them so it was easy. Where that would go and how that would devolop – ehh who knows. He suspected these would at best produce cheesy ads. But well … that was life.

He smiled as he got his suit case. One of the reasons he was so late was that he had just got an email from Janey and was responding to it. Janey was in Prague getting ready for a performance of her ballet at the opera house, which was neat for her as the opera house if nothing else is where they filmed a lot of classical locals in movies. She was performing on the same stage as Amadeus.

Janey could be a nervous Twitter fidget, scared of her own shadow, in person. In email form she was mostly pretty sensical, even in strong. None of her worry or doubt was present. Instead she seemed – well – happy and a touch formal.

He missed the twitter fidget though. He missed it terribly. Sometimes the formal girl who was claiming to have a good time and enjoy Czech cuisine …

He smiled. When he got the dotted line on the contract with Harper, he was thinking of taking a surprise trip to Europe – either Prague or Berlin the next step on their trip and spend a weekend there or something – have it shock and maybe give her a heart attack. It would be so wonderful. He had never been to Eastern-ish Europe before and …

He got a text. It was Harper “outside ready when you are.”

And he wasn’t ready. Bother that. He was now keeping a billionaire waiting. Well life.

*****

When the snakes came, when they started to come on land … people came. They didn’t immediately act hostile or anything, just rolled up on the beach that morning as if this happened everyday.

Crowds deployed – police, fireman, reporters even some scientists in the first hour, all curious about it – then well normal people cordoned off as they crawled up.

The snakes didn’t have eyes as you may think but the suggestion of eyes, little spaces like eye sockets covered with black and white skin. They did have mouths but no real teeth and no real tongues just long masses of bodies that came up that when they opened their mouth scarcely made a sound – just for a second seemed to look at the crowds.

The crowds looked back. Some took pictures. Some

Then one of the snaked lounged forward at whip liked speed and grabbed a policeman. It ate him whole without chewing.

*****

“Nice car.” said John coming out.

It looked to be an Oldsmobile something, a kind of boxy little thing number, though it was painted red. Inside was Ms Harper wearing what looked to be a tanktop and jeans. She looked of female perfection in a causal sense with her perfect body and red hair cascading in the light of the mid priced automobile

“Thanks.” she said smiling “it’s been good to me. My Dad got it for me as a gift for getting into college.”

“Like the red paint job.”

“Red cars go faster.”

They pulled off his street and drove north at a sensible speed. It was after all an Oldsmobile so it wasn’t like it was going to speed off.

*****

The Defender was flying over Hartford when the little radio like thing in her ear told of the snakes. She was still looking for the cat when …

Ahh well. More faded promises. She was probably going to cry or something when she didn’t turn up – or maybe the cat would come home. Ahh well the thousands of little things that happened in the world every second of every day and …

She turned. In an instant she was flying at near super sonic speeds towards South Africa.

Of course well, Hartford to Capetown was about seven thousand miles away, at the bottom of the southern hemisphere. She could fly faster then speed of sound, many times in fact – but that wasn’t really great for the atmosphere so she normally stuck to about a 1000 an hour. And well 7000 divided by a thousand meant …

When she got back she would continue the search.

*****

New England wasn’t that big in the cosmic sense of the world, nor was it cities. It always surprised John – the admittedly two or three times a year he did it that you didn’t have to drive to far to be in the beautiful forests once you left Boston, forests in this case of a very deep very dark green that almost covered him in a sense of twilight though it was only like 10.

“Wow.” he said looking up.

Erica smiled. “I love it out here. It’s just so green and beautiful. We’re still always a way but – you know – the drive it’s up in the blue mountains. Just the drive. It’s worth it, just to clear my head sometimes.”

“So you don’t drive a Prius.”

Erica laughed “If you want to put this in the commercial I am going to need something else … Its weird being me sometimes. I didn’t set out specifically to become a billionaire I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about it or want it … but when it happened it happened. Out of College I got a job at a tech company that went out of business within 6 months. Then I got a job at E-Bay developing the tech that tells you what you may also want to bid on then I got an idea …”

She left out how she got the idea.

“And well. The rest is kinda history.”

John smiled.

“So your one of those billionaires who tries to live a normal life.”

“Well you’ll see.”

She turned on the radio. It played some nice classical music, which she fairly enjoyed. What John didn’t knows was that it was a tape from thee previous day she didn’t want to introduce the possibility the radio would break in with the prospect of …

*****

The snake monsters after a few minutes left the beach, creating a panic on the shore – people ran people chase, and a few even got trampled. The Snake monsters paid them no mind – not really.

Instead they started to swarm – Capetown was a big city when you looked out it from Robbie Island to the table mount ions and the snakes proceeded by 1s and by 10 to space out over it to crawl and slither, and bite people, to destroy the buildings, to hurt and crumble up the city into a riving see of destruction.

*****

“Nice … Cabin.” said John looking around.

How much of the word Cabin was a joke? John found it hard to say. This was a large central space mad of a lot of wood paneling with big beams that went up to what probably would classify a second floor(but didn’t actually exist) all built around a giant fireplace. It had two bedrooms a dinning room, and a biggish kitchen. It had the kind of feel of something Frank Lloyd Wright would design – if he was feeling rustic – yet it wasn’t quite a mansion. It didn’t have that exact feel. It felt like something a mountain man with OCD and a lot of time on his hands might make to show his friends.

It was nice. That much was true. The building had a nice view of a valley of large trees at the feet of the blue mountains – it was amazingly beautiful.

“So do you want me to show you to your room.” Erica said.

“I’ve been curious … and don’t take this the wrong way.” said John “But anyone special in your life.”

Erica paused. “Not right now.”

She considered again leaning against the wall as if in thought.

“When I was in college I had a girlfriend. She broke our last year there – I think it just confused her. A couple of years latter she got married to a very nice guy and invited me to his wedding … and since then. It’s not so much that I am lesbian or bi or any of it. But it’s been tricky. Within 5 years of college I was a multimillionaire – and you know the whole. Am I just with you for your money for your power? It’s hard. And Millionaire men are dolts – just the worst people you could imagine. And by and large the multimillionaire lesbians are taken.”

Erica paused to push her hair out “Been things there and here – all things considered it’s probably 50% here … but it’s …”

“Tricky.” added John “Tricky for everyone.”

“Sometimes.” Erica paused “I wished it wasn’t. I wish I could just let myself be that woman with everything. I mean look at my tits they're awesome … but I just can’t manage that. It’s stopping me. She’s stopping me.”

John nodded “Well bullshit is hard to get over sometimes.”

Erica nodded “well you keep going.”

She walked and opened a room that smelled so much f a pine forest that it filled his lungs of summer camp. It was gorgeous beautiful.

And she smiled sadly and it was more beautiful still.

*****

Nine and half hours of terror is a very long time. For the people of Capetown, they were still terrified. Many were fleeing town heading into the country – something that the snakes actually weren’t really making that much of an effort. Instead they swarmed filling the city and staying there in a mass of writhing destruction focusing on them.

The Defender flew into town. This was a nasty depressing mess.

She dived down towards a snake. She flew right through it. Literally right through it not stopping at its skin. It was big and dangerous – but unlike much of what she normally fought vulnerable to traditional force – inside well she found guts and blood but the speed thankfully produced enough heat that it melted before it went on her armor as she flew right through its heart.

It fell down dead.

She suspected that a really big tank, on a really good day could take this down. An army could probably save the city

Or as she watched another snake rear its head her head it hissed at her.

Then a dozen more hissed.

Still as she stood on the ground for a second went into a football three point stance and then flew forward towards the abomination. She was still enough for the job.

The other snakes hissed – however this would take time.

*****

John sat in the living room as Erica was in the kitchen cooking

“So you really don’t have any servants.”

“I have a housekeeper that comes into my Boston place two or three times a month but I feel a bit guilty about it. Thought about getting a regular person for house keeping here but don’t really have the need. Ehh I like to cook.”

John nodded “My girlfriend cooks sometimes – I wish I did – but kind of plainly honestly a bit for my tastes.”

“Then I shall add extra chili.” said Erica “no wait that may not be a good idea

John laughed. “I am going to head to the bathroom.”

“Sure.” said Erica “Down the hall.”

John got up and walked down the hall a bit – he had been promised indoor plumbing, and he hopped it would deliver – he saw a door and pushed on it.

It was locked

“Which one.”

“The door on the right.”

He pushed again “it’s locked.”

Erica paused and walked over opening a door “Oh, I mean the left – even for a genius I get that confused a bit.”

“What in that room?” John asked

“My workspace.” said Erica

“I would be curious to see that.” said John “that could bee a neat thing to see in a commercial.”

“Is that all you think about?” said Erica.

“Well it’s my job – it’s why you hire me – and maybe not commercial about an add.”

“I don’t know.” said Erica “Sometimes I think this is a bad idea – but well will see

“And workspace.” said John.” That sounds neat – not office or lab.”

“Well when I like to work. I like … well you know what I’ll show you after dinner.”

*****

The Defender stood in front of a snake monster – it held a small boy in its coil as it hissed. It was trying something. Something kind of clever. It was holding the boy hostage – there was the implicit promise – if you come a step closer the boy was going to die. Huh

This implied a level of thought and intellect she didn’t know the monsters had. She had assumed to a degree somewhere that the creatures she was fighting and dealing with some kind of – well – animals. Maybe alien, but attacking out of.

She moved a hand at super speed. It moved faster then the snake could see 20 feet to slice its head with a single burst. The coils released with the small boy catching his breath fast, with large gulps.

Some just animal instinct – but now this kind of suggested premeditation. Some weird thoughts.

Huh what did that mean?

*****

“This is a lovely little curry.”

“I would like to say I got the recipe from some Indian temple, after years of travel, but I guess two years ago, I went to a little dive Indian restaurant – in Chattanooga of all places – and wow it impressed me. Not as good as theirs. That’s the secret: it’s not always about the best ingredients, but about the ingredients working together – not about the peak but the valleys at the right spot …”

Erica shrugged

John smiled “You’re a well-traveled, computer genius, billionaire, with supermodel looks – I am just going to say it – who wears jeans loves to cook,. Huh. What’s your opinion on sports?”

“I can’t stand them. Waste of time and resources.”

“You fiend.”

This got a laugh from Erica. Then a slightly longer laughs – as if this was the funniest thing in the world.

This laugh ever so slightly made him uneasy.

“Do love videos games. Ehh life.”

She walked across the table and sat next to John. She smiled at him, and his momentary ease went away if for no other reason then Underboob. Well he was human and she was.

She traced her fingers over his chest.

“I just live. That’s all we can do. I just wish it wasn’t so lonely. That I had a person to play multiplayer games with.”

“There’s entire systems to …”

And she leaned down to kiss him …

When two inches away he pulled back.

“Ms Harper. I’m … I’m flattered. Really I am. You’re perfect, but I love her. Love her to peaces. She’s not as perfect as you … But …”

She closed her eyes.

“You think me perfect.”

She took his hands and with less resistance then you might imagine she took John’s hands and put them on her breasts.

“Can’t I …”

She got up and walked away.

“It’s okay Erica. Your heart is in the right place – I know you try hard. Maybe a little to hard. But you’re a good person.”

Erica paused in her walk and stopped.

“Oh right.”

She turned and looked at him.

“I am going to give you a choice Mr. Farmer – an honest one. I have been watching you thinking about you … for a long time – so I will give you a choice.”

“I think Ms. Harper – if it’s not too much trouble I want to go home – if you can’t drive me …

“That’s choice one. You can just go home.”

She turned

“Or you see what’s behind door number two as Monty Hall might say. You see where this goes, where it ends.”

John leaned back “What’s going on?”

She paused and looked at the fireplace. “Well that’s what behind the door isn’t it?”

John got up and walked towards the back of the house towards the locked door

Erica smiled. Well what ever else happened no matter her elaborately constructed seduction games that seemed a failure … she had gotten him here. And that she supposed was a victory that even her couldn’t take away.

It looked like a fairly ordinary door all things considered. John knocked it to feel it – as Erica walked up. And wordlessly opened it with a key

Inside was a small space with a wooden staircase going down into a basement?

“If you had been clever you could have seen from the geography of the house there wasn’t space for a real room.”

“Ha.”

Erica smiled and started to walk down the stairs which had two risers down, as she did a light automatically turned on.

“Let me tell you a story.” said Erica.

“Is this your secret origin tale.” said John, suspecting he had answers.

“If you like.” said Erica “About 5 years ago I was a junior exec at E-Bay – not much really of a position. But one day my ex-girlfriend from college comes in. She had been hiking, and in the woods had found what she thought was a meteor site – but not really. It was an alien space ship. I am not sure of its real purpose. I suspect to map the universe or something.”

“Huh.” said John “oh.”

“She thought of me as the smart one – well who am I to argue – and the even though we had broken up a bit harshly. Well, she brought it to me to figure it out.”

They kept walking what ever this wasn’t one floor down but felt forever into a void

“This is something we probably leave out of the commercial.” said John

Erica giggled a touch “Well … Energy. Most people don’t realize what you can really build if you have unlimited supplies of it – in most construction the limiting factor isn’t steel or weight, but how you can fit enough of a power supply into it. The machine had a fusion reactor about 7891 times more efficient than anything we had at the time – I calculated that. It was designed to travel faster then light. Once you get unlimited power. Things open up.”

They reached the bottom of the floor and a door opened.

Inside was a massive lab. A gleaming white fortress, full of computers and work stations – some with gleaming metal constructs half made, some with large glass cases with strange liquids inside of it that seemed to bubble.

“Wow.” said John looking in with awe he steeped around for a second.

“My company is made up with well … just the barest hint of what I have developed and it’s been enough to make me billions

“With this … with this. You’re the Defender aren’t you?

She paused.

“Well know that you know this … you may as well know everything. Come on.”

John paused and walked to a wall. As they did they past a small glass case which inside was a fairly rough looking cylinder of iron about 18 inches. It looked like a metal worker had gone to a foundry and done half ass worked, and then thrown it into first into the fire and then into rust.

“Oh this by the way is the Alien Ship. Doesn’t look like much.”

But she walked past it to the wall. And pressed a button.

A door opened John walked into the dark room in awe.

Erica stayed in the main lab and pressed a button as the door closed.

A light came on. John realized instantly he was in a plastic cell of a prison a small white room with a bed – and on the bed …

… there was a dead woman a rotting corpse that looks like it had been dead for years.

A speaker went on with Erica’s voice.

“That’s Karen. She was my girlfriend you see who brought it here. She thought we should go to the government with it. Did I mention that she hurt me? So I hurt her. She was so thin, so pretty. I calculated how many calories she spent in a day – and gave her about a 100 less each day. All the water though with a little bit of orange flavoring. It took about two years, but I slowly starved her to death, each getting a little strong, and her cries and pleases a little less. Energy. It was quite fun to watch.”

And John fainted dead away.

*****

Defender saw the last snake monster menacing a subdivision in a quaking mass of hisses.

It would be dramatic to say that it was larger then rest, a big boss monster for her to fight – but in fact it was the exact same size as all of the other snakes. As she flew up and grabbed it pulling off its head, it didn’t even get a chance to react – it just died.

And after a visual sweep of the city. She confirmed that it was all gone. All of the monsters were dead.

There were smoldering ruins – but not all that much. The creatures in fact seemed to be going for the appearance of mass destruction more then actual mass destruction – yes plenty of fires burned and people died – but strangely as if the attack on the city had been done to create the appearance of mass chaos was more interest then the actual kind.

The attack was spread out, moving over one of the largest cities in the southern hemisphere in pure scale, to take the maximum amount of time for her to stop.

And get there.

And get back.

The Defender paused a second.

Oh no.

*****

John woke up to discover that he was in a restraining device covered in what looks to be plastic cables designed to hold him at his arms and legs. Not steel, but well. It did the job. How he got there in the lab.

She was in front of him. Smiling. Still wearing a very nice tanktop and jeans combo.

“You’re the one behind the robots the monsters.”

“And you thought I was the Defender. That I was your guardian angel.”

*****

The Defender was about to fly off to head back when she heard a cry from a single child trapped in a rubble. A little girl who was covered in …

She moved to free her.

*****

“She’s a good soul.” said Harper “But a predictable one. I set up a crisis in Africa.”

“Why?”

“I killed hundreds – if not thousands – but, well it was to cover up this little vacation. It will take her at least 24 hour to finish.”

*****

Defenders started to fly. She normally restricted herself to about a thousand miles an hour. Now she was going 5 times that 6. the speed turning her amour to a glimmer superhot white. Her red hair was like fire she normally didn’t fly this fast. But she needed to … she needed to get back.

*****

John Struggled against the restraints feeling them in his soul somehow – how would this why was this … when was this.

*****

About an hour after leaving South Africa she was back home back in Boston … to find a normal enough looking city. A normal place full of people going about their lives … she paused. What was going on?

And then question came. Where was he?

*****

“However at this point it doesn’t matter.” said Harper “You may think she’s Superman, and she may be – but she doesn’t have x-ray vision. We are under a 100 feet of hard rock. She can’t see underneath it at all. we’re quite alone here.”

*****

“Hey Mr. Willikers.” said the little girl as she walked around the house. A small brown cat looked up at her aware that his owner seemed very shocked and surprised, but unaware why. He meowed at her as she walked up and picked him up “I missed you.”

She paused “You’re the most important thing.”

*****

“In about year I made a 100 million – easy. I tried it you see. I bought fancy cars – they're in a garage somewhere – I bought a huge mansion to put them in. That’s, models of various genders – this body I am going to say – this is all 60 percent the best plastic surgery money can possibly buy. Conventional things.”

She leaned against a table.

“There was a famous Buddhist philosopher, who went to the emperor of China, and saw his grand palace, his gigantic mighty army and beautiful gardens and said: ‘These are conventional and therefore worthless’. All of that didn’t make me happy. Not one bit. I liked making money, so I tried that for a while longer – but not one bit.”

Erica moved her hand and touched his face.

“Do you know what did interest me?”

“Monologing like a crazy person?” answered John.

“You see, when you global spanning supervillain, you just rarely get the opportunity to talk to people – not a good honest conversation.”

“Are you trying to rule the world or something.”? Said John

Erica laughed “Mr. Farmer, I already am.”

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