Silence

By Ira Taborn

Silence, what a strange feeling. It’s as though nothing exists around you, as though what you hear is the sound of silence itself. The sound of wind blowing against the walls, of water running though the pipes and even the dreaded sounds of footsteps echoing down halls that originate from God knows were. This of course is, in itself, an oxymoron, for how can one have silence if there is sound.


Laurë, pondering this, looked to her left and stared out one of the nearby frost covered windows and sighed, mumbling, “D*** it, now I’m sounding like Socrates.” Laurë just had to laugh, for just a week before she would have been appalled at the thought of having herself cursing out loud, but now she seemed to find a curse word in every sentence that had the honor of leaving her lips. Of course, a week ago, she had a father who did every thing he could to make her a polite and well-behaved little girl. It almost feels like a dream now. They had problems here and there, but over all it was peaceful. But, like any dream, you have to wake up. Yawning, Laurë got up and began moving down the hallway pulling out her pistol, knowing that if she stayed in one place for too long they might find her, and that would be very bad. And as she wandered down the dark hall; she couldn’t help but remember how she managed to get herself into this mess.

******

“LOOK OLD MAN, IF WE DON’T GO AND KILL THEM LIKE THE SAVAGES THEY ARE AND INSTEAD JUST HIDE HERE LIKE COWARDS, THEY WILL FIND US AND THEN THEY WILL KILL US.”


“Dinendal, don’t get blinded by your emotions. We all know you just want revenge against them.”


“SO WHAT IF I WANT REVENGE, AT LEAST THE I HAVE THE GUTS TO TRY AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, UNLIKE YOU BAS...”


“Dinendal, calm down and shut up.”


Everyone looked in shock at Socrates, who, after his little outburst, went back to reading Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. After recovering from that rare show of annoyance from the group bookworm, Dinendal looked around, threw his hands up in disgust, and, in fit of rage, stomped out of the room. Watching this, David leaned over to Socrates and remarked, “He seems to be in a bad mood.”


Socrates sighed at this and, still reading his book, replied, “In truth, we’re all in a bad mood. Of course that’s what happens when every one you know gets killed around you.”


“So very sad, but true. By the way, what did they do here; as in what did they do when this was a research center?”


“Well, as you may know, this is the Anthon Research Faculty which was originally based in New York, named after Dr. Brian Anthon, who is Laurë’s father. It was moved to Antarctica after the third bombing for security and privacy. What most people don’t know is that this faculty has been working secretly working on cloning for the United States. The rest you probably already know, as you were here.”


It was this moment that Laurë joined the conversation, “ But why would anybody, or anything, for that matter, act like that.”


“May I answer that?” Dr. Shadwell had finally recovered from his earlier argument with Dinendal. When everyone said yes, the doctor continued. “I once was told from an old friend that while man can be greater than the animals, he can also become lower. In effect, one could say they have lost their souls.”


“D*** right they don’t have souls.”


Dr. Shadwell, a bit annoyed at Dinendal’s somewhat obnoxious voice, turned around while stating, “Now that’s not what I said. Technically they can still refine their... WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”


In reference to his statement, Dinendal appeared to be well armed. In his hands was an AK-47. He also had a pistol in his belt and an M-16 strapped to his back. The first person to respond was David, yelling, “Hey, that’s my AK!”


“Yeah, well you don’t seem to be using it!”


“Oh, and you are!”


“Yes!”


Dr. Shadwell, noticing where this conversation was going, instantly jumped in, “Wait a minute listen to yourself. Are you really going to go out there and kill some fellow hum-“


“Don’t even dare honor those, those monsters with that word. Those monstrosities have no souls and are anything but a human, what ever they may say doctor, and the only way to deal with abominations is to kill them. Who’s with me!”


For the little that was there, this wasn’t a surprise, but that someone raised his or her hand and, more importantly, who it was on the other hand, was. “I’ll go,” shouted Laurë.


Recovering from the initial shock, Dr. Shadwell was the first to react, “Laurë, you are insane if you --”


Shadwell instantly stopped when he saw the look on Laurë’s face, “I’m not a child and you are not my father. It’s time for me to take life reasonably into my own hands.” Laurë stared hard at Dr. Shadwell, who looked like he wanted to say something, but then chose not too. Socrates and David had the same look. Disregarding this or not caring, Dinendal handed Laurë the M-16 and walked out. Laurë started to follow, but then Socrates grabbed Laurë’s arm. Before Laurë could respond, Socrates stated, “I’m not going to stop you, but remember this, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” He let go and I left.


*****

“God, I wished I listened to them.” The operation, if you can call it that, failed miserably. They were just walking down the hall when one of them ambushed them with a knife. Dinendal was killed right there and then, and right there Laurë panicked and dropped her rifle and ran, and ran, and ran some more. When she stopped, she was on the other side on the facility. She just had to thank God for still having the other gun that Dinendal gave her. Now she was wandering the cold desolate halls. She was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard a noise from behind. When she looked behind her, she didn’t see anyone. Taking a deep breath she turned back around and froze. Someone she didn’t know was in front of her. Spotting her, the person lifted his gun yelling, “Die you carbon-copy freak!”


If he hadn’t of paused to say that, the draw might have been just that, a draw, but thanks to it, Laurë fired first. But there was little time for celebrating when the words “Go to h*** clone” reached her ear. Turning around, Laurë felt a piercing pain that felt like an explosion in her chest that knocked her off her feet as well as something warm running down her stomach. Hitting the ground, Laurë, despite her pain, heard what sounded like someone talking into a radio, saying, “I got another, how many clones did you say there where again?” And as the darkness took her, she had only one thought, “If you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”


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