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The Containers of Grim

Summary

Plague ransacks Earth and the only way is to isolate the victims to find a cure. 

one

Darkness: Night had fallen upon Central Stasis Facility in a remote facility outside of Michigan, in which people were stored of all nations, races, cultures, sexes, religions and creeds. They are placed in blue colored ooze that bubbles inside a square chamber, sized only for a single human body, and chambers themselves are monitored by the central computer from which they preserve the bodies with life or from decomposition. A process from which many had come, first many with terminal disease, later the plague victims of 2287 AD that swept all nations and the entire globe to kill off a third of the populations on Earth.

 

 

This is their only chance the doctors and scientists had said. It was the only way to protect the world, and save them from a terrible death ahead. It is a death in which many had already perished, before using technology to isolate the victims as they searched for a cure. But that had been almost ten years ago.

 

 

Andrew Martin, now twelve years of age, stood looking at his father in the glass chamber with his mother and holding her hand. As he peered at his father, who hung motionless in the ooze, Andrew realized that he had not changed in the time he had seen him many times before. He had not changed in the time put in chambers. He missed his father, playing with him before he had become ill. He wondered when his father would be well and released from the chambers, or if they had been working on a cure yet.

 

 

Here, the young boy glanced at his mother, who placed her hands on the outer glass of the chamber, as if to gather strength from the body of her spouse who hung suspended there.  The boy peered at the reflection of himself in the glass of the chamber, at his sandy blond hair, aqua-marine blue eyes, round face, and square jaw like his father who hung in the chamber. The boy is dressed in the new-age fashion of the day. It is a loose tunic, pants with matching boots and belt that looked like something out of Buck Rogers in the Twenty-fifth Century. He is the spitting image of his ill father. Tears began to flow as the boy looked up at the chamber.

 

 

“Mommy, when will Daddy awaken again so he can come home?” The boy asked, and peered at his mother who with closed eyes placed her hands on the chamber.  She had let out a silent sigh of sadness as she stood there.

 

 

His mother, Carol Martin did not answer. She is a woman in her mid to late thirties, with dark gracious hair that spilled to her waist, ever so sprinkled with gray, a round face, a fair complexion and dark brown eyes. She had placed his father in this state when he was but four years old, having contracted the disease, and every month she had come to visit him with the hopes that they had found a cure and would open his eyes to smile down at his wife and child.

 

 

But it wouldn’t happen today.

 

 

Around Carol and her son, the hallway was clear. There is only one other person in this long chamber of probably a thousand containers like this one, separated in banks, who stood like her looking up at their loved one in silence. The only sound of the whole area is the low hum of the respirator unit and refresh unit that keeps the blue ooze fresh with oxygen. A console is built into the bottom of each of the tanks, and each one showed activity of the brainwaves, heart, or breathing of the person in the chamber. That information, of course, was only dependent on the condition of each of the patients in the chambers, as some were lifeless as they were placed in the glass chambers.  His father was just one of the lucky ones.

 

 

Her spouse, Chuck, was one they had just placed as is into the ooze, and his body taking in the life giving substance as he remained frozen in time. His heart kept going at a slow beat and his breathing shallow with the oxygenated ooze. He remained living so long as the computer controlled the environment of the chamber with electrodes snaking to his body.

 

 

“Your father will be cured soon, I promise.” She finally replied, turning her head to try to smile at him, trying to hide her tears, as she did so, so often.

 

 

“I can’t wait.” The boy replied, “He promised to take me fishing. I want to catch a whale!”

 

 

“And you both will.” Carol replied, turning away as her eyes burned, and she steadied herself on the chamber.

 

 

“Today is my husband’s birthday. He would have been thirty-five today.” She thought, “Some birthday, But if he would have been alive and out of the chamber, he would have been very sick right now too, the virus penetrating the body. This is for the better, it always was, and someday we’ll be together again as a family.”

 

 

“Damn.” She whimpered a bit as her mouth clenched, biting her lip fiercely. She had not become sick yet, thankfully. She had Chuck isolated before he had given it to her and her son. But still they were alone.

 

 

“Can I touch him?” Andy asked, “Can he hear us?”

 

 

“I think he could hear us.” She replied absently and peered at the thin pale face, the solemn expression on her husband’s face. She wished he was here, to touch him, and hold him. But she couldn’t, and almost screamed in frustration at the fact.

 

 

She cast another look at the face, at the closed eyes and dark rings around the sunken eyes of her husband.

 

 

“Damn you Charles.” She whispered, “You had to travel to that country where they were all sick, and be exposed! Now you left me alone.”

 

 

“Damn you, I hate you!” She cursed, but after a moment shook her head, “No, I’m sorry I didn’t mean it. I just wish you were here.  Please, God, let him come back to us.”

 

 

Placing her arms outward, Carol moved as-if to embrace her spouse. Her face was flat against the side of the tank.

 

 

Andy watched his father in silence, as he hung suspended in the tank, and the blue ooze bubbled around him. The boy managed a smile as on his face, as a smile appeared on the face of his father. He had gasped quietly in astonishment when he realized that his father was alive and could hear him, that his wish had been granted somehow.

 

 

“Look he CAN hear us! YAY!” The boy squealed and Carol looked up in astonishment to see the smile. A moment later, her husband’s eyes fluttered to open then closed. They opened again and closed, then finally flipped open, to stay open. They showed no recognition as they stayed open and a pained, glassy, dazed, look appeared upon them. After a moment, they seemed to focus, and they moved silently downward on her and Andy, His clawed hand moved toward the glass on the inside.

 

 

“Oh my god!” She gasped. The young woman stared in wonder as alarms quickly sounded. Was he was alive and was he cured? Had her prayers been answered? Silently she thanked God. They were a family again and they would be together again soon. 

 

 

Doctors ran in from all sides to peer in astonishment at his conscious form, but it was short lived as a red smudge appeared in the tank a moment later, as a long ominous tone appeared on the monitor below. As the cloud began to dissipate, a skeleton remained, the virus doing its work and destroying the entire bits of flesh from the body that now floated in the red and blue ooze.  Her husband was no more.

 

 

Carol briefly peered at it, gasping in terror as she fainted abruptly to the deck. Her son of course began to weep, as he placed his hands on the chamber, and his final words were “Daddy?”

 

 

But his father was gone.

 

 

WC: 1,373