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  • Jeff Bacon

Crystals

We threw the ropes over the ledge, down the throat of a volcano. Our job was simple, go as deep into the volcano as we could and collect crystal samples. Phil and I had always loved explorations like this, especially when the fat cats from XPS Corporation were flipping the bill. Phil snapped in his tack and launched off the ridge. “See you down there.”


I finished checking my gear, then hooked up and rappelled down the volcanic wall. The first two hundred feet went fast. Phil had found a ledge that was perfect for the second setup. We anchored a second set of ropes.


“This equipment is sweet. Do we get to keep it?” Phil asked.


“Only if we get the job done dipshit.”


Phil hooked his rope in. “Well Nancy, let’s get going.”


Phil jumped off the ledge and descended into the darkness. I was more cautious as I check everything one more time. I started my descent when I heard Phil scream. I could only see the light on his helmet moving around fifty feet below me. I loosened up slightly to get to Phil. When I reached him, his back was to the wall as he struggled to free himself.


“Phil, what the hell happened?”


Phil looked up at me as he smiled. “I turned to see the cavern when I hit something protruding out. I think it went up my ass dude.”


I laughed. “Is there any room up your ass since your head is so damn big?”


I helped Phil lift off the crystal; it had punctured his pants and scraped his butt. We both had a laugh as we went further down the throat. We finally found a what we were looking for. A wide conduit where we could take samples of the crystals formed in the tube after an eruption. We found more than enough materials to fill our backpacks and fulfill our job.


XPS had supplied us with electric ascenders, which made the escape from the depths of the volcano almost as easy as our entry. Once we made it to the top, the XPS team quickly secured the samples as we collected all the gear we could. We loaded into the helicopters and returned to the society of rich men. When I finally made it home, I locked the doors, pulled the drapes, shut off my phone and went to sleep.


I woke after sleeping for eighteen hours straight. I turned on my phone and saw seven voicemails and at least a dozen text messages from Phil. The first message he stated he felt weird and couldn’t sleep. Each message seemed more frantic until the seventh, where he stated he was hearing voices in his head and couldn’t control his arms. I called Phil back, but no answer. I splashed some water on my face and got dressed. I jumped into my Jeep and drove over to Phil’s house.


The front door was wide open. I walked into the house to see most of the interior destroyed. There was stuff everywhere. I walked into the kitchen where he wrote ‘I’m gone’ on the fridge in blood. I walked outside to figure out where he had gone when the neighbor came up to me.


“Hey, you’re Phil’s friend, right?”


I looked up and down the street. “Yeah, do you know where he went?”


“He yelled he needed a doctor as he boarded a bus. It was the number 61 bus, but it doesn’t go to the hospital.”


I ran over to my Jeep. “Thanks, I’ll find him.” I slammed the Jeep into gear and headed south. The bus had pulled over onto the sidewalk and ran into a tree about fourteen blocked from Phil’s house. I stopped and went to investigate. The bodies were all lined up with a crystal bridging each body from ear to ear. “What the hell happened here?”


The bodies moaned and moved. The bus driver’s eyes opened. His black eyes fixed on me as he reached for my hand. I jerked away and left the bus. I noticed a subway tunnel entrance. I ran down the stairs to see Phil walking into the subway car.


I ran after him. “Phil. Wait up. Phil. Phil. Phil.”


The subway doors closed as Phil sat down. Small stems of silicone crystal extruded from his ears and pierced both passengers on either side of him. Blood ran down the cheeks of every passenger as the crystal entered and exited their bodies. The crystal left on man’s ear and entered the ass of another man standing. He immediately straightened up as the crystal exiting his mouth and entered the next passenger’s ear. The sound of glass crunching became louder as the crystals moved from passenger to passenger.


I ran back up the stairs to get to my Jeep. The passengers from the bus were chasing people around on the street and infecting them. I made it to my Jeep without being noticed and took off. I pulled a business card out with a number for Mr. Kipply from XPS. I called, and he actually answered.


“Hey Mr. Kipply, I think we have a problem.”


Mr. Kipply cleared his throat. “I assume you are talking about the silicone based parasite you removed from the volcano?”


“Whatever the hell it is, yeah that’s why I’m calling.”


I heard the chiming of glass as Mr. Kipply poured himself a drink. “I was the only one that made it to the panic room. Everyone else is gone. Taken by that damn thing.”


“How do we stop it? How do we save Phil?”


Mr. Kipply took a deep breath. “This is the end of the world, son. Enjoy the view.”


Before I could speak another word, I heard a gunshot, and the phone hit the ground. Mr. Kipply was gone. I drove through town as I watched people run in horror. Block by block, the silicone parasite took over. I barely made it to the edge of town and saw a hoard following me. I stepped on the gas. I needed to make it out of the city to figure out what to do.


My Jeep was t-boned by a tow truck. The Jeep flipped over three times as I was tossed to the curb. I woke to see Phil standing over me. My pants pulled to my ankles as I felt the cold crystal enter my rectum. The voice in my head told me not to be scared. We were going to have some fun and enjoy the ride.

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