“Remember, honey, a mutation suggests a mistake or gap in the DNA. We are simply layering it; adding more horns and drums to the orchestra, is all. Creating a symphony, remember? We’ll be far from freaks. We’ll be Divine. Perfect.”
The words of her late husband echoed thru Noah’s brain. Those words were a hellish haunting she welcomed and held onto. After all, his words were all that remained of her fallen hero. Vera’s panicked ramblings continued as Norah drove on in silence. She was too busy reading his words scrolling in the marquee of her mind against a blanket of stars. Once again, her mind tuned out surrounding audio as her physical form was set on auto-pilot.
“Um, hello!? NORAH?!”, Vera elated, “Where are we going?” Norah remained fixated on the road with no mind to her sister. Vera looked to Xora in helpless disbelief. His eyes shifted to Vera as he responded in monotone, “We’re heading north, 30 miles outside the parameter of the city.”
Vera narrowed her eyes at him, “How the hell do you know?” He leaned forward, “I assure you, your sister’s actions are quite nominal for her present condition. I’ll inform her when we reach the distance required. She is mourning for now. Let her be.” Vera settled back into her seat more confused than ever. Silence engulfed the remainder of the trip.
The night became darker the further they reached outside the city. Vera watched the yellow lines speed pass trying to come to grips with present reality.
She was terrified.
Just then, she thought of their mother. Every night, she would tell them stories. Stories that seemed seamlessly improv, as she never read to them. Her voice was so angelic and soft that it had almost a hypnotic effect:
“And the two princesses came together to rule the kingdom and be the savior of their people. And oh, how they danced beneath the stars, that night.”
Vera looked out the window to the stars, closed her eyes, and hoped she was only dreaming. She was startled out of her thought when she heard the leather seat rustle behind her. She looked to see Xora gently placing his hand on the back of Norah’s head.
Norah sprung from her state and swerved a bit. “What the hell!?”, she shouted as she regained control of the wheel. “Where are we?!” Xora pointed to the distance, “Up here there’s a nature trail on your right. I need you to go there.” Norah shot him a look thru the rear view. “Trust me.”, he told her.
“Nature’s Nook” the sign read. As Norah turned onto the gravel path, a red padlocked gate appeared thru the lights and clouds of dirt. She stopped the car and turned to Xora, “Well? What now?” Raising an eyebrow he replied, “Let me out of the car.” Norah rolled her eyes. She proceeded to undo her seatbelt and step out as to give him room to climb out.
He strolled over the gate and gripped the padlock in his hand. With one sudden tug, it came undone. Vera frantically looked to her sister, “Listen, this weirdo is out of the car now and we can totally bail..”-“What are the other options, Vera? Hmm?”, Norah interrupted. Vera conceded as Xora waved them thru the open gate. After Xora took his place in the back, she inched the car down the midnight path. Five minutes passed before Xora announced they’d gone far enough.
She brought the car to a stop and slammed it in park. “Pop the trunk.”, he said. She followed his instructions as they began to pile out of the car. Xora kept a few feet behind as the girls peered over General Brand’s body. Horror came over Vera’s face as she began to cry, “Who the fuck is this, Norah? Why would you do this?!” Norah closed her eyes and breathed deep. Suddenly, Vera stopped and her face faded from horror to that of confusion, “Where..where did you shoot this guy? What the hell’s goin’ on?”
With her eyes steady on Brand’s body, Norah responded. “I didn’t. I think he had a seizure.” Vera shot her sister a look of terror, “What-the-fuck..”-“Listen, I don’t really know if it was me. I mean, I think it was..”
Vera now felt as if she was staring into the very face of crazy, “Why in God’s name would you put this man in THE GODDAMN TRUNK , THEN?!” she screamed, “Are you NUTS? Where’s James?!”
Norah placed her face in her hands as she wailed uncontrollably. Feeling her sister’s sorrow, Vera wrapped her arms around her sister. She held her tight as the wailing escalated. It was then they heard Xora’s dark voice sound behind them, “I need..you both..
to back away from the vehicle.”
They were instantly horrified when they looked upon his face. His mouth was dripping with pools of saliva as he breathed heavily. Without question, they slowly backed a few feet away.
“Turn around. Do not look upon me.”
The girls turned away. They could hear Xora lift Brand’s body out of the trunk and plop him to the ground. It wasn’t a few moment before they could hear the sounds of tearing and what sounded like the spooning preserves. The girl’s curiosity got the best of them as they slowly turned back around. What they saw was a large leathery form that hunched over a mess of pulp that was once General Brand.
The leathery beast turned in an instant to reveal the large face of an ant with mandibles that stretched 2 feet in front of it. They were adorned with the drippings of human flesh. Before their brains could comprehend what they were seeing, the creature let out a deafening roar.
Vera let out a blood curdling scream before collapsing unconscious.
Norah would have caught her had she not projectile vomited on her person.
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