Chapters logo

From The Abyss

Niflheim (Supermax prison ship orbiting Earth)

By Andy ortegaPublished 2 months ago 16 min read
3

The Niflheim wasn’t as comfortable as a commercial ship that transported civilians between Earth, the moon, and Mars. It wasn’t as comfortable as military escort ships either. Hell, even cargo ships had better accommodations than the Prison ship Niflheim. Only the very basic necessities were given to both guards and inmates. These particular inmates proved themselves extremely resourceful after acquiring a tech pad from a corrupt guard and using it to hack into the cells causing a mass breakout.

I walked into the security room in a grumpy mood. I had just switched to working the night shift and I still wasn’t used to sleeping during the day. Our sector's temperature regulators were experiencing malfunctions so it was cold as hell. I sat down in front of the wall that displayed all of the security screens. There were probably around fifty screens, of course, one person wasn’t expected to keep track of them all. There were always two people watching the screens and usually three others doing other menial tasks, but since nothing needed to be done at night except watching the screens it was only me and Claire. She just started working the night shift too so she was also pretty groggy.

“I hate this job,” she complained as she rested her head on the desk. I sympathized with her, the pay was great but considering our circumstances it still felt too little. A supermax prison in space, a place for the worst of the worst thrown into the abyss. Good concept except you also needed decent people to suffer alongside them as guards. I checked the time and activated my headset to transmit over the security comms channel.

“All security teams check in.” There were five security teams in total, each one was five guards strong. Their responsibilities were to enforce order and patrol around our sector for any problems among the inmates or any damage to the ship itself.

“Team one check”

“Team two here”

“Team three all good”

“Team four check”

“......”

I waited but nothing else was said over the radio.

“Team five radio check?” I asked into the comm channel.

“.....”

Still nothing, I looked at the screens, going over each one slowly. Claire, having heard everything, was now sitting up alert and also scanning the screens.

“See them?”I asked, she shook her head as she clicked a button that gave us different angles of the sector.

Obviously, not every area in our sector had a camera watching it. It was as large as a football field with two levels.

“Where are they?” Claire mumbled as she kept clicking.

The footage from the security feed was good quality, it didn’t look blurry at all. I could see all the inmates in their cells from the cameras that were looking at that area. If I zoomed in I could even tell what side of the bed they were sleeping on. What I couldn’t see was where Team Five was.

“Damian, Claire, you two find team five yet?” It was Leo, he is team one’s team leader and in overall command of the security teams on the night shift.

“I don’t see them, there's places that we can’t see but…maybe they're hiding? Doing something they’re not supposed to do?” I told him that even though I didn't believe it, I couldn’t think of any other reason.

“No, Andrea is team five’s team leader. She’s someone who takes her job seriously, she wouldn’t allow something like that to happen.”

“Then I would start tasking your teams with areas to search, Claire and I will keep looking on our end and let you know when we find something”

Leo started giving out orders to the other four teams including his own to search our sector piece by piece. Two levels, the first level was completely for the use of the prisoners. The center is an open space for them to eat and walk around. That was also where the tower was, which held the elevator and security room, us. The second level was for the crew, security teams, the armory, and the medical ward.

An hour went by without anyone reporting seeing anything, neither Claire nor I caught anything on the security cameras either.

“All security teams check-in,” I said over the radio.

“Team one check”

“Team two check”

“Team three check”

Everyone was more professional than usual. Were they nervous? I waited for team four to check in, waited, and waited some more.

“Team four?” I asked but received no response.

“Team four, where the hell are you!” Leo chimed in, in an irritated voice. I searched the screens looking for team four but couldn’t find them.

“Claire, where did you see team four last?” She was frantically clicking through screens while she answered.

“They were checking the aft end of the ship, I'm pretty sure.”

I isolated the screens that showed the back half of the ship and rewound the footage for five minutes. Nothing. I rewinded the footage for another five minutes. Nothing. Where the hell are they? I rewinded ten minutes, but around the seven-minute mark, I finally saw team four. Claire must’ve seen them too, she leaned over to my side as I paused and played the footage.

“The waste room,” she said, it’s where team four was walking into before we lost sight of them.

“We don’t have any cameras in there,” I added as I called up Leo.

“The last sighting we have of team four is them walking into the waste room, I guess that’s a dead zone for comms and we don’t have any cameras in there so we can’t see them but…”

“But what Damian spit it out,” Leo said impatiently, Claire and I gave each other a look before I responded.

“They went in there seventeen minutes ago, the waste room is big, but it shouldn’t take them that long to search it.”

“You think something happened to them?”

“....I think you should send everyone there, or at least two teams.” There was a long pause before Leo spoke again.

“Team three, meet us at the tower. We’ll check out the waste room together. Team two set up a perimeter around the tower, don’t let anyone use the elevators until we find our people. Damian, contact medical staff and tell them to be ready to receive possible wounded.”

The teams acknowledged their orders as I contacted medical and had them prep their gear.

“Claire, rewind the cameras watching the waste room three hours back.” she looked at me confused at first, then realization slowly dawned on her.

“Team five?” she asked, I nodded.

She got to work as I finished my call with a disgruntled doctor who didn’t appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night. Movement in the cells caught my attention as I looked at the cameras again. Some of the prisoners seemed to sense something was wrong as a few of them walked towards their doors, pressing their faces against the barred windows. One in particular drew my attention. He was crouched against his door, rocking back and forth muttering something. I took a closer look and focused the audio on him to make out what he was saying. I was just about to listen when Claire called out to me.

“I found them!” I jerked to the side to look at her screens.

There they were, Team Five conducting their routine sweep of the first level. Looking through a few cells here and there. Doing a systems check of critical equipment. Nothing out of the ordinary, Andrea, the team leader had stopped in front of one of the cells. The others noticed and waited for her but she motioned them to continue without her. She was talking to the inmate, another female. From the gestures I could see, the conversation looked like it had become heated.

“What is she doing?” Claire asked.

It wasn’t unusual for the guards and inmates to argue and hurl insults at each other but something about this interaction seemed off. The rest of her team had reached the waste room when they called her over. One of them had walked in and saw something that he thought was important enough for her to see. As she made her way towards them the others filed into the room. Shortly after she walked in a hand reached out and slammed the door shut. Both of us jumped out of our seats at what we just saw.

“Did…did you see that?” Claire asked in a barely audible whisper.

I nodded my head but I still wasn’t sure If what I saw was what I actually saw. I reached slowly for the controls and rewound the footage just before the door was slammed shut. I pressed play keeping my finger hovered over the button. As soon as the hand reached out I paused the footage.

“What the hell is that?” Claire breathed.

Whatever it was, It wasn’t human. The arm itself was abnormally long, we couldn’t even see the elbow. Its skin was an unnatural white, like a sheet of printer paper. The one feature that made it truly alien was its fingers. There were only three of them. They were long, very long, with viscous-looking claws at the end of them. I was frozen with sick fascination at the alien appendage on the screen. Seeing movement from the corner of my eye snapped me back to the present. On another screen, Leo along with Teams One and Three were approaching the waste room. My hand shot to my headset opening a comm channel to the security teams.

“Wait!” The two teams froze in place. Fully alert, they raised their weapons.

“What, what is it!?” Leo asked while aiming his rifle at the waste room door.

“There is something in there!”

“What? What's in there?”

“I don’t know, some sort of creature, it's not human!”

“The hell are you saying, Damian!”

“Listen! Whatever it is, I think it…” The lights suddenly went out and the whole ship sighed as if it was going to sleep. I tried pressing multiple buttons to get some sort of reaction but all the screens remained dark.

“Claire!” I could hear her frantically trying to press buttons on her side too.

“Everything is down! Even if this is a critical shutdown the system should’ve still given us some kind of warning!”

I heard a crackly voice come from my headset.

“Damian! Claire! What the hell just happened?”

“We don’t know! Everything just went dark without warning!” I could hear the prisoners yelling in the background of Leo's transmissions. They knew now that something was wrong.

“What about the prisoners?” Leo asked, he was probably worried about a mass breakout.

“They’re secure, their cells have physical locks for exactly this reason. The backup power should come on in just a moment, just hold tight.” I could hear Leo curse and yell at the prisoners.

The lights came back on, and though they were red it was better than nothing. If the lights were red that means the main power still isn’t back on. Unlike the regular lights, the red lights let out a low humming noise. The screens flickered, the words system rebooting, please wait, were on every screen.

“Something is wrong,” Claire said as she stared at the black screens, “something seriously messed up is happening here.” I looked over at her, she was a nervous wreck.

Sweat was glistening off her face, and her eyes seemed unable to stay focused on one thing for more than a few seconds.

“Leo! The door!” one of the security guards said.

“Shit,” Leo said under his breath but still loud enough for the microphone in his headset to pick up.

“What is it? What happened?” I asked,

“The door, it’s open,” Leo said in a low steady voice.

Claire and I looked at each other, the same fear reflected on both our faces.

“Everyone keep your eyes open! Damian, what do you see?”

“Nothing, our systems are still rebooting over here!”

“Dammit! Okay everyone stay close, move forward slowly.”

“We’re going towards it?” one of the guards said in disbelief.

“Yes! Some of our people might still be alive in there, now get your ass moving!” I heard several complaints over comms but none of them outright refused to follow his orders. They were almost at the door when one of the guards spoke up.

“Stop!”

“Why? What happened?” Leo asked,

“Where's Ricky?”

“Ricky?”

“Yeah, he was right behind me, where the hell is he?”

“Ricky!” he called out.

“What the, something just dripped on me.” someone else said.

“What the hell is this stuff?”

“Did you guys hear that?”

“Hear what?

“It sounded like it came from above..”

“What the fuck is that!”

“Holy shit!”

“It's got Ricky!”

“Shoot that thing!”

The screens started rapidly coming back to life. My eyes darted left to right, up and down, trying to find whichever screen showed what was happening. It only took me a second for my eyes to settle on the scene that I was only able to listen to till now. Claire must’ve found it at the same time because I could hear her take a sharp inward breath.

The creature was now in full sight, clinging to the ceiling. It was humanoid in shape, its spine stretched out of its back looking like it was on the verge of tearing its skin. It had disturbingly long legs and arms, they looked skinny because of their length but on closer inspection, they were thicker than the average man’s. It had no hair at all, its skin was completely smooth and white. It also didn’t have eyes or a nose, It did have slits on both sides of its head that probably worked as its ears. It barely had a neck, but its head was large. Its mouth was also frighteningly wide, It stretched from ear to ear. It looked to be about eight feet in body length. It wasn’t bulky but It wasn’t skinny either. Its body was flat against the ceiling. It was looking down at the group with a person hanging from its mouth by the neck. It was Ricky, his body was limp, dangling from the mouth of the alien creature.

“I said shoot that fucking thing!” Leo yelled.

The two teams opened fire at the creature. It dropped Ricky’s body and dropped to the ground in the center of the group. It was bleeding a bluish blood from multiple bullet words but It didn’t seem to care. It let out a horrifying scream revealing rows of serrated teeth. It lunged at one of the security guards, biting deep into his neck. It picked him up using its mouth and flung him across the hallway, crashing into two others. It lashed out with its long clawed arms, slicing the throats of two more guards. It lunged at its next victim but got shot by one of the guards armed with a shotgun. Half of its head blew apart from the blast and its body collapsed to the ground. The guards kept shooting it while it lay on the ground, its body jerking from the impact of the bullets.

“Cease fire!” Leo roared over the gunfire.

Everyone had stopped shooting, some a little later than others earning a warning glare from Leo. I sank into my chair, letting out a breath that I hadn’t realized I was holding. I looked over at Claire who had also sat down. She stared at the screens with wide eyes, probably still trying to process what had just happened. I returned my attention to the screens. Some of the guards took cautionary steps toward the Alien creature while everyone else had their weapons pointed at its unmoving body. The guard closest to it gave it a nudge with his foot, no response. He kicked it hard, but still no response. The others lowered their weapons slightly.

“Looks dead to me.” one of them said.

“Check our guys that got hit!” Leo ordered,

“Ricky is dead.” a solemn voice called out.

“Carlos and John are also gone, bastard cut their entire throats open.” another said.

“Dante is gone too, that thing pretty much bit his entire neck off”.

Four died in a matter of moments. Even from the view the cameras provided, I could tell how gruesome those three had died. I scanned the other screens, all the prisoners were huddled in the corners of their cells away from the doors. They were staying as silent as possible, no doubt terrified by what they just witnessed. One was muttering to himself, at first I was surprised that the audio was picking up his voice but then I remembered that this was the one I had noticed earlier. I focused the audio more to hear his voice, It still barely came out as a muttering whisper but I could just barely hear what he was saying.

“Claws…they're clawing...claws...they're…coming…claws... they're screaming.” his incoherent muttering sent a shiver down my spine. I noticed movement on one of the screens that showed a view of the waste room door.

“Something just moved by the door!” I yelled over the radio.

Everyone who wasn’t already facing the direction of the door spun towards it. All weapons were up and pointed at the dark rectangular doorway.

“What did you see?” one of the guards whispered over the radio.

“I don’t know, but something moved in there.” There was a moment of stillness, nobody moved, and nobody made a sound.

The prisoner’s mutterings were the only thing that could be heard other than the low hum of the red emergency lights.

“Claws…they're clawing…claws…they're…coming…claws…they're screaming.” He kept repeating, his voice rising and falling, never maintaining a set volume.

It made the whole scene very ominous. If that's how I felt watching it on the screens I can't imagine how distressed the guards must feel.

“Why the hell does he keep saying that?” one of them asked nervously.

Before anyone could respond, a person stumbled out of the doorway and fell to the ground. From the jerk of their weapons, I could tell that the guards had quickly removed their fingers from the triggers of their weapons. The person who stumbled out of the doorway was wearing a security uniform. Dried blood caked one side of her face, her short brown hair sticking to it like glue.

“Andrea?” Leo said in disbelief.

ThrillerScience FictionHorrorCliffhanger
3

About the Creator

Andy ortega

I love writing fantasy and sci-fi but I also write the occasional heartfelt drama. I hope to connect with many writers on this platform and write amazing stories for everyone.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

Add your insights

Comments (2)

Sign in to comment
  • Test2 months ago

    Excellent effort! Keep up the superb work

  • Jennifer David2 months ago

    This is giving guards who guard a prision like General Zod's with the pay of the people who work in the north sea (with a ship like the prison in guardian's of the galaxy)...can only enjoy it if you make it back lol Seriously though, I like it. But I low key don't want to know what it is...although I also do ;) another good read!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.