Originally Published as Thy Brother's Reaper
By Gianni DeVincent Hayes
Gillian Montague gave up journalism to become a private eye, then she finds a hell of a story.... A futuristic thriller.
ISBN 1-59531-187-1 Horror/Alternative Reality
Cover Art by Maggie Dix
November 25, 2010; Wilmington, Delaware
Gillian Montague caught part of the news on her car radio: “…entire family in El Paso, Texas, reportedly have been slain by massive sized humans with glowing red eyes. No confirmation has—”
She clicked off the radio. "Probably some crank report.”
Gillian checked her car clock: Nine-thirty p.m.; again she was late leaving the office. With her boss, Cyril, throwing the Grand Opening into her lap, she never seemed to get back home at a decent hour. She hated returning to an empty apartment late at night, in the cold of winter in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, with no one to cuddle up to. More and more she regretted having divorced Mitch, the only person she ever truly loved. Maybe she should invite him over for Thanksgiving.
“Darn,” she cursed when no hot air came out of her car heater. She needed to change careers; this working as a private investigator was earning little money. She’d have to talk to Cy about a raise but she knew he’d say, "Look, I just opened my shop at this new location; give me time.”
What was that ahead? Rotating lights on a police cruiser? She slowed as she neared the scene on the dark back road where a police car had pulled over a black Lincoln with a gray-haired woman sitting inside, looking surprised.
“Must have been speeding,” Gilly said aloud as she passed the car. Her eyes watched a tall, bulky police officer get out of his car, wearing a black helmet, high-top black boots, and the usual matching uniform. Just as she passed him, she saw his head turn in her direction, and his eyes connect with hers.
Her foot slammed the brake. His eyes! They flashed red …or did they? No, no, can’t be. Must have just imagined it after hearing that radio report.
She looked back over her shoulder, checked her rearview mirror, saw the officer approach the old woman’s car.
She drove off, perplexed.
The broad-shouldered, three-piece-suited man leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands behind his head full of silver-graying hair. He tried listening to the ongoing briefing given by the defense department chief, but was more interested in the activity outside the huge Oval Office window where barricades blocked Pennsylvania Avenue. Beams of sun burst through white, puffy clouds, and yellow mums popped out of sleepy-eyed leaves. His glance fell on his date book, and he was reminded of the cabinet meeting planned for the next day. Quickly, then, he pulled himself to attention and sat erect at his desk, his focus on the man before him reading from a paper. He interrupted: “So what you’re telling me is that the experiment is out of control?” President Jackson Williams punctuated the last three words by tapping his index finger against the desk.
The dark-haired Secretary-of-Defense shifted his stance, grimacing while trying to appear collected. “Well, it’s not quite ‘out of control’ but—”
“Either it is or it isn’t, Harry. Don’t play word games.”
“Yessir.” The chief cleared his throat, stared at the floor as if searching for the right words. “It’s more like ‘they’ have minds of their own. They’re dangerous.” The chief rubbed his chin as if in thought. “Some of our people have suggested that we abort the entire operation, though how we could be sure that we got them ‘all,’ I don’t know.”
The president jumped to his feet. “Abort! After all that we’ve done to train them to be mammoth, dauntless, fighting soldiers who we can rely on for the upcoming battle? Think of all that money we’ve invested in them. We are not going to abort the operation.”
“But, Mr. President, they are menacing—”
“Which is exactly what we want.” Williams looked out the window, his hands crossed behind his back. “The rest of the labs, and the clinics, too …are they experiencing the same thing as Enolc 1?”
“Not yet, since Enolc 1 was our first project but I imagine that as time passes and the products become more sophisticated, as they have at 1, then these other labs will experience the same problems. Innocent citizens are being threatened, maimed, even murdered.”
The president looked at the chief over his shoulder. “No experiment is guaranteed, Mr. Secretary. I’m very pleased they’re aggressive. We’ll win that battle.”
Harry sighed; there was no sense arguing with the man because when he had his mind made up, that was it. What did Williams care if there were trained, murderous, mad soldiers willing to die just to kill? It was a government’s dream. Next year, the president would be on his way out of office before the battle erupted, free of accusing, pointing fingers …and protected—he and his family—for the rest of their lives.
Walking across the office to the cart with tea and coffee, the Secretary of Defense said, “The battle, sir, when is it scheduled to begin?” He poured freshly brewed decaf from the silver pitcher into the cup made of fine bone china.
The president turned around, reached for the cup. “It’s uncertain when Russia will invade Israel—setting it all off—but we suspect it’ll be within the year. Then Egypt and the Middle East will become involved, as well as China, and us, but with our specially trained military, we’ll beat all of them and emerge as the leaders.”
“Which will set up the global government, the one-world economy, and the universal religion.”
“The plan’s been in place for decades. Our country will take its rightful, front and center, position in this new government.”
Secretary Gamblin sipped his coffee, patted his lips with a linen napkin. “I’ve never felt comfortable with the Enolc project.”
“You don’t get paid megabucks to feel ‘comfortable.’" An old familiar look of exasperation came over the president’s face, as if threatened by the questions. “Just do what you’re supposed to, Mr. Secretary.”
“Yessir.” Harry Gamblin set the cup down on the cart. “Under your directive, then, I will commission the Enolc Project at Lab 1 ES Easton to proceed.”
“That’s all I wanted to hear from the moment you stepped into my office.” Williams turned his back on his colleague and went for his desk chair, waving the secretary off.