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February 19, 2024

Anachronocity v3p1

By Josh Brown

Land of the Bizarre - Part One

As he searched the corridor for the medical facilities, Alex said, "This ship is held together by duct tape and bubble gum. Remind me again, why are we associating ourselves with criminals?"

"In case you missed the memo, we're criminals, too." Katlyn halted in front of a door and pointed at the red cross on it. "Some things never change. International symbol of medicine."

"I am not a criminal." Alex bristled. "I've never even gotten a speeding ticket in my entire life."

"And you never had detention in school--yeah, I know your type."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Katlyn tugged open the door to the medical facility and wandered in.

"Hey! Answer me!" Alex followed.

Inside was anything but a medical facility. Much like the rest of the ship, the equipment here was far past their prime. Overhead, exposed cords and wires hung down haphazardly in curves like a jungle canopy. A spark danced along one of the battered wires, giving Alex a sense of dread. Two examination tables stood side by side in the middle of the room, several feet apart from each other. Being worried about joining up with a band of criminals suddenly didn't seem that bad. This ship wouldn't make it another month; then they'd all be dead.

"Okay, maybe we should just turn ourselves over to Interpol," said Alex. "Nothing can be worse than--are you listening to me?"

Alex followed Katlyn's gaze, blinked, and then tried to take a step back out of pure self-preservation.

"'Ello lovelies!" A gargantuan woman lumbered toward them from the corner of the room. Her breasts, like a giant uni-boob with a single slit of cleavage down the center, could have held the entire crew of this ship safe from the vacuum of space, and held Alex transfixed. When he finally tore his eyes from her breasts, he took another step back. A single mane of hair ran back from her scalp, either side of her skull void of hair but covered with a wild assortment of tattoos. More tattoos covered the lengths of her thick arms. Alex was almost afraid to wonder where else those tattoos extended.

"Sorry," Alex said. "We didn't know someone else was waiting for the doctor."

The woman bellowed with laughter. "Don't be silly, dearie! I am the doctor." She slapped Alex on the shoulder, sending him stumbling for balance.

Out of the corner of his eye, Alex saw the smirk on Katlyn's lips. "Doctor," she said, "We were told to find you. We need IDs."

"My, arent you a pretty thing? Call me Mama, none of that doctor stuff."

"You--you are a doctor, right?" Alex said.

Thick fingers patted the exam table. "Best doctor this side of the universe. Have a seat you two."

As she shuffled through some of the equipment on the counter, Mama said, "Just need to extract those little buggers and then I can reprogram them right quick."

"We actually have never been IDed," said Katlyn.

Mama's hand halted on a bulky contraption that looked like a cross between a blender and a torture device. "Never? How's that possible?" She half-turned, eyes scrutinizing her victims.

The longer Alex was here, the more trapped he felt. He needed to flee. All his life he made it a point to stay as far away as possible from people that looked like this woman. Now he had to put his life in her hands.

"Long story," Katlyn said. Alex knew what was coming next, he could feel it preparing deep in Katlyn's throat, like a demon waiting to spring out and scare him to death. "You might want to give us a full workup. Just to be safe." Was that a smile on Katlyn's lips? What had he done to deserve being trapped in the future with a sadistic woman--several, in fact.

Mama fished a few tools out of a drawer and approached Alex. Sensing his unease, she said, "Relax, dearie. I don't bite... too hard." She grinned, revealing a few gold-capped teeth. She set her tools of torture between Katlyn and Alex. With surprisingly agile fingers for a woman of her stature, Mama selected a tube and spun off the top, one-handed. She dumped out two pills. "Bottoms up!"

"I don't do drugs," Alex said.

Mama smacked Alex in the shoulder, nearly knocking him off the table. "You're a funny guy. I like you."

After resettling himself, his shoulder throbbing with the memory of pain, Alex scowled as Katlyn reached over and took one of the pills. She swallowed it without hesitation. A challenge played on her lips as if she wanted to say, "Look who's more of a man than you." Alex closed his eyes, willing this nightmare to go away. When he reopened them, nothing had changed. He snatched the pill and swallowed it before he could think about what he was doing.

Mama stomped to a terminal attached to the wall, her steps echoed. She punched at a few buttons, but her wide frame blocked any view to the terminal. Several grunts and curious noises escaped her as she studied the information.

Unease churned at Alex's stomach. "What was that pill?" He looked at Katlyn. "You feeling all right?" Light beads of sweat popped out of Alex's forehead.

"Never better," replied Katlyn. "You don't look so good, though."

In his chest, Alex felt his heart beat harder once, then twice. Fiery rolled in his stomach, burning fingers reached toward his chest. Still the wall of Mama's back stood toward him. "Uh," he mumbled. His arms grew heavy and tingled, followed by his legs. Tunnel vision came next, everything around him stretching out along a deep passage. Somewhere in the distance, he thought he heard Katlyn. Could it be he noted a hint of worry in her voice? Must be delusional, too.

Before the black overran Alex, Mama turned. Alarm filled her wide eyes.

To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-02-21
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