Sci-fi Short Story (Audio Version Coming Soon)
"One, two, three...one, two, three...breathe," Samson thought to himself. Counting in his head and breathing slowly helped with his nerves. The sound of explosions and screams could be heard above him. The lion was coming. It was after its prey. Humans.
Samson had been sent on a mission. His mission was one where his survival was not certain. Being in a situation is not ideal for Samson, his bad nerves always hindering him.
“But really, who does well in a life or death situation?” Samson thought to himself.
"I need twelve more bodies this way. We have three more lions after us and they are closing in fast!" The lieutenant screamed at the top of his lungs. There were few soldiers left. "The damn thing is smart. It's after our oxygen system. Frank! Make sure we have all the doors ready for dispatch!"
Samson continued his breathing. The twenty-five soldiers that went before him were missing. That was ten minutes ago.
"We will be ready in one minute, sir! I believe these last few lions may have been slowed down a bit by the team before," Frank shouted as more explosions could be heard outside the barrack.
Samson stopped his breathing exercise. His fear was replaced by anger at what he just heard. "Stop fucking calling them lions. They are monsters from another planet, not some stupid cats from Earth," he thought clutching his laser gun in his fist.
"Ready in 20 seconds! Soldiers, line up," the lieutenant shouted, completely unnerved knowing his life was not the one about to be at risk.
Samson gritted his teeth as he waited for these last few moments. This was it. Three lions were outside and if he didn't shoot straight, this was it for him.
Frank grabbed a lever and stood completely still. The moment seemed to last forever in Samson's head. Suddenly, Frank began to grunt. The sound of a squealing, rusty lever could be heard. The door was opening.
With the sound of a loud roar and explosion, Samson ran outside the barrack. A slew of soldiers following.
With a blackened sky, the soldiers ran into the dark abyss. Smoke and Sutt clouding the air, the soldiers pushed forward, only being guided by the sound of a roar in the distance.
"The lion is 80 feet in front of us. Everyone, stay sharp. We don't want to die out here." The lieutenant replayed over the communicator.
"You should have thought of that before you sent us all out here on this stupid mission," Samson thought to himself as his heart began to increase rapidly. His moment of meditation was over and it wasn't coming in handy.
"Everyone ready, these things are fifty feet in front of us."
"Make sure to listen to any human interaction. There may be survivors from the previous team"
"The previous team is all dead," Samson thought, "no one is surviving this shit. It's a damn..."
Samson's slowly trudging was halted as he stepped on something hard.
"Ughh," a human voice could weakly be heard.
Samson quickly looked down to see a soldier lying on the darkened ground, several slash marks exposing his gutted flesh.
Frozen in fear, Samson starred as the soldier turned his head toward him.
"Help...me...please...it will...argh," the man couldn't speak, his pain was too much.
Samson gritted his teeth and began to shiver. "Stay quiet...stay quiet," he thought, not responding to the man's pleas for help. "You'll get both of us killed."
Samson broke out of his trance of fear and crouched down to the man on the ground.
"Please stay quiet, Samson whispered, "that lion is still out there. It's around fifty feet..."
A low growl could be heard directly in front of the two men. Samson froze. He could only hear his slow footsteps approaching him.
Clutching his laser gun, Samson slowly looked before him. A large four-legged monster greeted Samson's view. The monster's head was cat-like with eyes that were wide and red. It slowly made its way toward Samson and the soldier, each footstep a calculated ready-to-pounce stance.
Suddenly a laser whizzed through the air, striking the beast in its eye. The slow approach of the beast was halted as it gave a loud, boisterous roar that could be felt in the air.
As quickly as the first shot came, several more followed, pelting the monster into a distracted frenzy.
"Now is my chance," Samson thought as he was about to run. Just before he was to spring away, a hand gripped his leg. The soldier on the ground was still alive.
"Please!" He cried in agony, "help me!" He begged as Samson tried to wiggle his way free. Samson began to struggle ferociously as his innate fear took over. Clutching his gun, he aimed it at the soldier.
Just as Samson was to fire at the ailing man, their eyes met. He could see the soldier's face, blood-stained and tired, fear and tears filling his eyes. Samson paused before crouching down.
"You're coming with me. Just hold on." Samson grabbed the man by his arm, pulling him to standing and acting as his crutch. The man's cries of excruciating pain fell on deaf ears. Sampson was too afraid to care about his pain and the sound of lasers firing in the air made sure there was no sense of calm.
Samson quickly began limping away from the fight and back toward the barracks where he began. It was the only safe place. The soldier, clutching Samson's arm, continued to produce a muffled scream.
Samson continued his limp walk for a few feet before noticing, his approach to the barracks was quickening. He laboriously trudged through the debris before noticing the soldier's grip had been lost. The man had fainted as Samson continued forward, acting as his crutch.
Still in a state of flight, Samson grabbed a hold of the soldier tightly and strained forward, using this moment to try and reach his destination. As the sound of lasers and screams lessened with each passing second, Samson could only think of getting to safety.
Finally, at the gate to the barracks, Samson lifted a fist and struck the iron door with all his might.
"Let me in!" He screamed, "I have a wounded soldier. He doesn't have much longer!"
His plea was met with silence.
Again, Samson pounded the door, his arm growing tired with each continuous strike.
Finally, tired from his desperate call, Samson slowly brought his pounding to a stop and broke into tears.
With a dying man on his shoulder and a war of survival happening only feet away, Samson could only feel defeat.
"What did I do?" He sniveled through his tears, "am I going to die here? Why here?"
Samson continued to cry as a small sound of static could be heard over the intercom. Jolting out of his state of despair, Samson gasped and shouted, "let me in! I can't fight in this and I have a man dying here!"
Another moment of silence greeted Samson as only static could be heard.
Suddenly, a small, weak voice could be heard. "Run....bzzzt...save yourself..."
Samson's mouth fell ajar. He blankly stared forward.
"What the hell is going on?" He thought to himself. "Save myself from what?"
The moment of surprise was cut short as Samson noticed, there was only silence around him. His mouth grew dry. There was no sound of lasers, no screaming, and no footsteps behind him.
He began to breath heavily.
Out of the silence, footsteps again began to approach Samson. A slow growling began to fill the air, sending goosebumps up Samson's spine.
In a panic, Samson began rapidly pounding the door, desperate to get inside.
A slow growling began to approach Samson more quickly. Without any regard for the threat behind him or the dying soldier at his feet, he began pounding the metal door in front of him. His fists growing ever more sore from his desperation.
"Please, please, let me in! I don't want to die like this. Not here, not in this place, not in..."
Suddenly, the iron door slid open to Samson's surprise. He made no hesitation to leap through the doorway, leaving the soldier to whatever was approaching. Exhausted, he collapsed to the ground.
Breathing heavily, Samson only had energy to catch his breath. The adrenaline still rushing through his body, he returned to his breathing as tears began to pour from his eyes.
"One, two, one, two, three, two.." he struggled to count as he slowly began to compose himself. He finally looked forward to seeing who his rescuer was. There was only an empty barrack in front of him.
Silent, Samson lips fell slightly ajar.
"Who just...who just saved me? He thought as he blinded and squinted into the darkness.
He looked down and took his time coming to his feet.
"Someone told me to save myself...someone is here. Where is the lieutenant or Frank? There were soldiers waiting here just moments ago..."
Samson froze as a familiar sound could be heard coming from the darkness. A low growling and slow footsteps could be heard approaching him from the darkness.
"No...how did it enter? It couldn't have. Not everyone here. No!"
Samson could feel his face getting hot. He scrunched his face and began to shake his head from side to side.
"No...don't let this be happening, it can't be...it's just…"
Slowly, emerging from the shadows, a catlike face came into view. It's red eyes examining the specimen in front of it. It stopped its approach and slowly tipped its head to the left.
Samson could only stare in disbelief. The terror he had been running from was staring directly in front of him. He blinked as there seemed to be no more tears for him to cry. The sound of Samson's breathing was the only thing that could be heard in the silent standoff between man and beast.
There was no movement from either figures standing in the barracks. The beast slowly returned its head neutral as Samson placed his hand on his heart. To his surprise, his heartbeat was calm. His face turned blank as he starred the beast straight in the eyes.
In a moment faster than a heartbeat, the beast flashed its great fangs and leaped toward Samson.
Samson screamed and leaped to the side, barely avoiding the pounce of the beast.
Scrambling to find his laser gun, Samson shot his weapon without much aim. A small flurry of lasers beams ricocheted around the bunker, burning nearby objects.
The beast, startled by the unpredictable shots, lashed its body back and forth before taking several steps away from Samson.
Samson stopped firing once the beast was in the shadows but still...the only thing he could see were glowing red eyes, sharing at him.
Samson lay on the ground, his gun pointed toward the red eyes starting at him from the darkness. He couldn't stop shaking as the beast gazed at a distance.
The sound of any slight notion of movement made Samson hold his gun even tighter. The sweat ran down his face as the anticipation of an attack felt like a lifetime.
"I'll shoot...shoot this mother…" Samson thought to himself as the sweat continued to accumulate.
To stop the sweat and keep his hand on the gun, Samson blinked.
It was gone…
He quickly looked to another spot in the darkness. The eyes had moved.
He blinked again in confusion.
The beast once again moved to another place in the darkness.
Samson's eyes widened.
Without a moment of notice, the beast leaped from the shadows as Samson let out an unprepared scream. Firing his gun, the beam of energy missed the beast and hit the ceiling. In less than a second, the beam bounced from the ceiling and straight into the head of the beast; only a meter away from Samson.
The beast fell to the ground, motionless. A sizzling, bloody hole in it's head was the only sound that could be heard in the darkness.
Samson closed his eyes tightly and began to count to himself.
"Why, hello Samson," a friendly voice said gleefully, "you got an even better score this time."
Samson opened his eyes. He was laying on his back in a large, white room; machines and monitors beeping furiously.
A man in a large white lab coat approached him.
"You tried to run away again but you know the simulation will find you," the man said with a chuckle.
Samson breathed out his mouth and starred at the ceiling with a frown.
"I know but the simulation gets too real...it doesn't help that I have no memory that this is a simulation," Samson replied as he shrugged his shoulders.
"Well that's what makes it an effective exercise. You might encounter something similar once this training is over. Y'know, the aliens on the battlefield will be just as merciless, if not more, than the simulation."
Samson let out a deep sigh before clenching his fists.
"Send me back in, Riley," Samson said aggressively.
The man looked at the monitors and back to Samson.
"Are you sure? I know you remembered your breathing exercises but the simulation still puts strain on you…"
"Just do it!" Samson shot back forcefully.
Samson closed his eyes and thought to himself before drifting away, "this time, I can't be afraid to shoot between the red eyes."