His feet pelted against the dry crackling landscape, a cloud of dust-like dirt descended in his wake. The behemoth's toes were shrivelling, aching, screaming for him to stop, but he knew he couldn't, even if he wanted to. He might have been running for longer than he could recall, but distance was what he wanted and he was willing to sell his own feet in order to buy another mile.
Escape, freedom, just name the synonym and he was thinking of it throughout his venture from his compound. He wouldn't think too hard on it, however, considering that he had no destination, no safe haven in sight.
His lungs began to swell. He huffed for another breath, but his body couldn't fulfill this task. His stride lessened and his large ebony eyes widened. He scraped through his gown in a fruitless attempt at easing his chest. He was not a sitting duck for too long. He knew standing out in the flat plains he would be as easy a target as a worm on a hook, so he leapt into a patch of shrubbery. The twigs scratched at him, though it was not nearly the worst pain he had endured.
His lungs went to work quickly, he couldn't stay in one place forever. He didn't know whether someone was following him or not, he was too afraid to look anywhere but forward. He didn't want to peek out from the small brush either, too risky.
He swiftly rubbed his eyes one at a time, the dwindling daylight still being enough to agitate his enlarged pupils. Thankfully the night was soon upon him and would gift him with the upper hand over his possible pursuers.
He gasped for one last mouthful of air. "I don't think I can go much farther" the mumbling monstrous man spoke. A voice from inside his mind echoed back with 'don't think, just do. They can out think us, but we can out do them. We must keep moving.'
With that, the refreshed being sprung from the small bit of plant-life the landscape had to offer and continued forth.
The horizon had little to offer for the past couple of miles, but finally a rather large collection of buildings began to surface. It was the first city that the creature had ever seen, in person anyways. He had studied pictures before and was trained to work within urban environments, but on that night it would be his first field trip. If he could make it there anyways.
His heart sung a gleeful tune. He was a mere night away from freedom. Sure, they could probably still search for him within that town, but there were more places to hide than a few sparse rocks and groupings of greenery.
Though the minute that he was so sure on his clean getaway, he heard the roar of some sort of engine echoing over the tundra. He had rode in the machine in the past, so he could recognize its sound and that very sound transformed into a horrid hiss. He felt like the lab rat in the maze that saw the end only to be faced by a cobra. The ragged rodent would overpower the serpent though.
The noise was far enough for him to know that he might be able to outpace it for a good while, but overtime it will be within his vicinity. He had to think cleverly and use his time wisely.
In no time flat, he came across a paved road, though there were no vehicles populating it. He ran alongside it for a good while to analyze the destination, which was the safe haven up ahead. With the radiant roar growing ever closer, the doll eyed man thought quickly. A small tree was in his path, so he swiftly toppled it over and onto the path paved for passage.
'We can't wait. They will be here any moment!' his mind attempted to warn.
"They have transportation, I need transportation." With that being said, the one armed wonder dove onto his belly, keeping the ground close to him and crawling out of immediate sight of the road. He waited for a good while, stressing about his decision considering that the noise that bothered him most was growing closer and closer by the second.
A pair of lights came into sight, speeding down the road at a leisurely rate. The being couldn't quite investigate the figure of the vehicle, but he knew it wasn't the buggy that was pursuing him. The sound wasn't too far off, but it was further away than the headlights that were scoping down the road. He was filled with anticipation, waiting for the moment he could outsmart the other voice in his head and steer clear of those who were tasked to find him. As the vehicle came near though, it gently changed to the opposite lane and continued to coast forward.
The shark faced fellow leapt out of hiding in astonishment, he couldn't believe what he just witnessed. "No! That can't be right! They told me that the yellow line separated the directions that the machines moved!" the creature exclaimed as he raked his hand through his messy black mop of hair.
'We're doomed! They'll be coming any second! You failed us! We could've been half way to the city if we would've continued moving! They'll put us back in that box and it's all your fault!'
The monstrous man winced as his mind stung him for his missteps. His body began to shiver, he fell prey to his own stupidity yet again, but this time it would be most costly. His anxiety was hitting him too hard for him to think straight. For every step he took to make a new plan, he was pushed back by his own brain asserting his mediocrity. He wanted to breakdown, quit everything, but he kept breathing in harder. He had to do something, he couldn't permanently place his prison into his only possible future. His chest felt empty, his breathing became erratic, but he pushed forth ignoring his endlessly spiteful mind. He limped his way across the road, his anxiety acting like a fifty pound iron ball strapped to his ankle.
His dreary wet optics scanned the area and identified a rather large rock, about half his size. He began the labor required to set the stone on the other lane, thus giving the driver no option but to move one of the objects to move forward. Once his new plan was set in motion, he drooped to the ground sulking in his past failure and still being lashed at for it mentally.
On the paved road, there was yet another pair of lights coming his way, but unfortunately the dune buggy was making its way into sight as well. The anxious creature gulped as though he was trying to force a watermelon down his throat. The next machine looked more promising than the last, considering that he could make out its shape and it was much larger. It was coming closer and at a faster rate than his pursuer's vehicle, but that didn't put him at ease.
He kept low to the ground and watched as the next machine stopped at his road block.
The large transport truck came to an abrupt halt as the driver was late to notice the obstructions. The man leapt out from his driver seat, the back of his attire having a symbol with the word 'Miller' at the center of it. This originally spooked the creature as it was both his creator's name and the namesake of the lab he came from, but it's logo was nothing near similar to that of the lab nor did it include the other words that come before or after the 'Miller' part of the name.
The hauler peered around before he bent down to clear the way. "Christ almighty. 'No don't just ram through the obvious trap, let's go outside and move it out of the way'. Now the police are gonna find me cut up and left in several different baggies all over the goddamn highway" the truck driver muttered to himself as he dragged the teenaged sapling out of his way. "You stupid kids better know! I have a gun! I'm a pretty decent shot too! I was a marine for several years, specialized in sniping!"
In the meantime, the big eyed being snuck into the cavity between the cab and the trailer, holding on for dear life and hoping that the driver would stop ranting sometime soon.
"You think your videogames make you tough!? I'll show you how a real man fights! You won't be offered another life or a continue screen! The back of my hand will be the last thing you remember! Do you hear me!?"
The behemoth's face grew with more and more concern, not only because of the buggy getting into closer vicinity with each moment the other guy gloated, but because the driver might check around the truck for him and beat him senseless. Sure, he was specially trained for combat, but that didn't mean he was ready for a fight. In fact, he wanted to avoid conflict as much as possible, the current situation being even more of a reason to avoid that.
The driver soon clued in on the noise of the other vehicle in the area, the sound of his own truck's engine being enough to cancel out the smaller machine's for the past while. His eyes bugged out and he scurried back to his seat, shouting many obscenities as his challenge was met.
"I did not factor in the buggy!" the spineless truck driver exclaimed as he slammed the door and put the petal to the metal.
The tiny car attempted to keep up with the freight truck, but its top speed was falling a little bit too short. The scientists within the vehicle were able to keep up for a small while and were signaling the driver to stop and honking their horn, but the only answer they got was a middle finger pasted on the passenger window as the truck continued to accelerate.
Meanwhile, the being had clung to the cab as hard as he could, becoming more and more nervous as the vehicle drove faster. A simple misstep would not only injure him greatly, but bring him back to square one. Not only that, he would be even more vulnerable to the scientists, meaning that whatever they were planning on doing to him before he escaped would become a reality and frankly he didn't want to know what it was.
With the getaway driver being unresponsive, the buggy moved in closer to the gap that was the creature's hiding spot. "Twenty three! Just calm down! We know we haven't been fair to you! Dr. Miller came back! You might not trust us, but he will make things better for all of us! You remember Dr. Miller right?! He said first things first we'll give you your old room back! The one with the comfy bed! We won't force you to hurt anyone ever again! Swear on my life!"
'Don't trust them!'
"I don't need you to tell me that" 'twenty three' muttered to himself.
The black eyed behemoth peered back at the scientists and shook his head in refusal. He made it quite clear at that, not that he needed to.
In response, the scientist in the passenger seat rose up with a rifle-like weapon in his grasp and aimed it at the escapee. The target took a deep breath and as his lips closed together his skin began to crackle and harden as though it was morphing into some sort of rock-like substance.
"Don't shoot just yet!" the driver exclaimed.
"You think I don't know that, rookie!? Just keep pace! He can't hold his breath forever!" the senior staff member answered as he adjusted his scope.
The two vehicles kept at a rather steady speed lock with each other, though the buggy faded in and out of view from the lab experiment. What the scientist said was true though, the creature couldn't hold his breath forever. In the state that he was in, his nostrils were still quite open to soak in the air, but his chest was unable to expand or compress considering that it was as flexible as a cold iron brick. It was eventually too much for him to handle, so he had to release his power and in that split second the passenger took his shot and the little dart pricked the creature in the leg.
The meekly creature flinched in pain, but not only that, he knew what would come next. The tranquiliser dart put him on a timer and he had no idea how close the city was. Considering how much time had passed, he was hoping it was within a safe distance.
"Keep in close pursuit!"
"Stop being a backseat driver!"
The truck driver peaked at his mirror and noticed that the dune buggy was still in close proximity. Not only that, the passenger was pointing a gun at his vehicle. He sneered as he grasped at an empty can and a colourful array of items he had laying around his cabin and began tossing them out his window with a full intention on hitting the scientists who were probably attempting to harvest his organs. "Damn kids trying to shoot out my tires!" he spouted as he unleashed his garbage barrage.
Considering the rather open nature of the dune buggy, it would come as no surprise that at least some of the projectiles were capable of bashing into the heads of the hunters, especially the one with the rifle and in a standing position. The money shot, however, was the debris that decked the driver directly in the dome, which in turn caused the mini-mobile to swerve off the beaten path and give the transport a significant lead.
The horn of the freight vehicle spewed like a victory cry as the driver laughed heartily as he left the duo in the dust.
His stow-away was not as pleased, sure he was more than happy to see his pursuers get left behind like that, but it came at a cost. He plucked the little dart from his leg, already feeling the faintest of its effects. He had to stay awake, he had already come so far, all he needed to do was find a hiding place in town and he would be set, though his hyperbolic thoughts were not so clear cut.
He attempted to ease himself by breathing in a slow fashion, calm himself, but his brain was back to scolding him for not doing more than he could. He might've been able to avoid the shot if he had been more mindful of it, but the space he was in didn't allow for too much maneuverability, he was lucky that he could even fit.
After a couple of minutes of dwelling in his own thoughts, plotting for his next move after he wakes from his soon to be induced slumber, he began to notice a change in his surroundings. Buildings replaced the tundra for scenery. He made it.
The vehicle came to a stop at one point, which the being took advantage of and took a better look of the surroundings. It would appear that he had come to a stoplight, the streets weren't too busy. The bulbous eyes of the behemoth were drawn to the neighboring vehicle though. He had heard of that type of red vehicle, a fire truck. He was to keep an eye out for those considering that it was one of the early augmentation adapters. Not that firefighters were given too dangerous of an ability, being able to absorb heat was rather harmless.
With the scientists no doubt keeping tabs on the transport, it would probably be best for him to switch escape vehicles and follow wherever the new truck goes. With one mighty leap, he tackled the side of the fire engine, climbed aboard, and saddled into the ladder atop the machine. The creature ducked down, though that didn't stop him from absorbing an eyeful of the city. Sure, to most it was nothing more than a suburban sprawl, but to twenty three it was astounding. Minus the street lamps and other such lights that were irritating his peepers. He was like a child who had a photo of Niagara Falls, but didn't actually see the wonder of the world until adulthood.
He took in as much as he could, but made sure that he wasn't too visible. It was quite late, but there were still more people around than he would like. He was certain that someone probably noticed his exchange of vehicles earlier, but it probably wasn't a significant amount to cause him problems in the near future.
The truck was close to arriving at its station, which meant it was his stop. At this point, the sedative was near to being fully set in. His eyes were challenging him to keep conscious, and his limbs were starting to abandon him. Once the vehicle pulled into its driveway, the beast pulled the last of his energy to jump off and zip his way toward the nearest house. He tiptoed around the light and kept close to his best friend, the darkness. He easily snuck through the backyard of the unsuspecting owner and proceeded to climb whatever was available to him. A loose brick, an air conditioner, whatever was there, the mopey monster took advantage of.
Once his hand felt the shingles, he pulled himself up with his last bit of strength and collapsed on the roof. He slowly but surely wiggled his way into a better position so that he wasn't as visible to anyone below the building.
'We made it. We did a commendable job' his mind echoed as he embraced the weariness and in return hugged him back. While the shingles were not quite a comfortable surface, it was a welcome change to the stone cold slab he had been used to for… however long he was trapped in that mono-white box.
"… I… am glad you are… im-" with that, out like a light, the monstrous titan finally getting a peaceful rest.
If this passage interests you at all, head over to Lulu publishing spotlight page for Redgrim to purchase the full book (only in ebook format currently). I haven't planned on releasing all the chapters on here, but if the support is good I will release a couple more.