“After” – Chapter 6

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5


Knowing better than to scare the doctor with a scalpel, Salem knocked on the metal table just inside Monty’s dissection room. She might be lost in her own world, but she was a force to be reckoned with.

“Yes Alice?” She said without looking up. She didn’t seem to be doing anything. It looked like she was just standing there, looking at one of the corpses, but Salem wasn’t going to question it.

“Actually it’s me.” Salem said.

“Very nice. Yes, very nice to have you grace this hovel with your presence Peter. I was just thinking about the fact that it…”

“It’s Salem.” He said sternly. Monty turned around, her red hair shining under the medical lights. She set her green eyes directly into his.

“Indeed Peter, it is your last name. I was thinking about the fact that it might actually be better to have both of you hear to explain what’s going on, so I don’t inevitabely have to repeat it twice.” She shook her head a little bit, and her eyes followed something that Salem couldn’t see. As she started pacing around, she continued, “Speaking of both of you, where is Alice. I was informed that she was going to be here.”

“Someone else cracked, and Blackwell is currently charged with the care of their daughter.”

“You do not have to hide information from me Peter. I know what happened, and if I didn’t then I would learn later, only adding to the saddness of the knowledge of the event. Madeline was a friend, yes, but she couldn’t keep up with this, and frankly I don’t blame her. If I didn’t have these wonderful brains to study, I may well become consumed with the saddness that is the bleak and inevitable reality of what we now call daily life. It was her time. It is not worth mourning one’s death, when continued life would be the worst medicine for them Peter. Do well to remember that.” She paused for a moment to look at him. “Sometimes letting someone go is the best way to save them.

“Now, I do believe that I specifically asked for Alice to be here, and I would rather disseminate my findings to her, with you in the room, than to you and have you bungle the explanation.” She tapped her foot momentarily, then continued to pace.

“And what exactly is the concern with me passing the information along? Blackwell has Hope, and really can not come down here right now, so either have me pass it on, or explain it to her again when she can come down here Monty.” Salem said, following the pacing Monty with his eyes.

“You are a brilliant military man Peter, but you are not a scientist. Alice is an amazing biologist, and while neurology is certainly not her department, she is not clueless to it. We’ve had much time to teach each other our trades. You will not explain this correctly, so if it is required, then I will explain it to her again, and all you need tell her is that it is important to talk to me immediately.” She sharpened her glare toward Salem, “At your earliest convience of course.

“So, as I was looking at the brain, the initial scans didn’t show anything out of the range of normal, not that I could see. I had dissected the brain, you know, slicing the brain into hundreds of small sections is quite the pain.” She stopped, glared at the ground for a moment, huffed and continued pacing. “That didn’t seem to do anything for me, because again I could see nothing different. Not with my own eyes, not with my own machines. Then I started to think about the…”

“Monty, I don’t have time for your stories, get to the point.” Salem said, voice calm, yet peppered with annoyed.

She continued. “Then I started to think about the question. THE question. The important question. Do you know what that question is Peter?” she said, raising her eyebrow at Salem.

Salem sighed. “No Monty. I don’t. What is the important question?”

“See!” she said, making Salem jump. “That’s the problem. We’ve taken it for granted, we are so used to what they do that we don’t even question it. We don’t see them as human, so we don’t question what they do as human. So we miss the important question.” She smiled.

“Goddammit Monty!” Salem pounded his fist on the table. “What is your point?!”

Monty’s smile grew go a grin. “Peter Salem cracks, and Monty’s the only one that knows. The important question is why. Don’t you see Peter? We know that the Recreants have zero strategy, and saying that is giving them the benefit of the doubt. We also know that many of them used to be soldiers, even people from out own happy little home. So we have well trained, meticulous soldiers who come screaming and running at you, wielding weapons incorrectly, and generally doing nothing right by military standards, but we don’t ask why. Not in seriousness. So I asked why, and I looked again, and you know what I found? There’s something funny going on in the cerebrum. The frontal lobe is missing the majority of it’s nervous system. Or well… Not missing, but not functioning. Decayed, rotted, they don’t work.” She shivered, caught up in the moment

“Peter, the Recreants are unable to plan. The cannot formulate reason for what they do, they can only do. It is very primal. I think the Evarian are turning them into zombies, for a lack of better words. They are cutting off most of the frontal lobe capabilities somehow. I believe the Recreants can only do as they are told, and if it’s left vague, they can only do it vaguely. If they are told to kill us, that is what they will try to do, but they can not plan it out. They see us, they think kill, and they try. A, B, C, that’s it.”

“And nobody in the last 20 years have been able to figure this out?” Salem said.

“I know you are skeptical, but that is it. I have poured over every single bit of information we have, and nobody has seen this. Nobody has caught it. I haven’t caught it, not until now. The nerves are not missing, they are there, but they don’t work. They don’t fire.”

“And you know this how?” Salem asked.

“I electrocuted their brains and recorded the results. Don’t even start looking at me like that Peter, they are bodies. They are dead. You killed them or ordered them dead, don’t you dare try moral high ground bullshit with me, you kill people for a living. Every single one of them had the same results.” Monty sighed. “I appreciate that you and the others in our little malitia keep us all safe, but I still have contention with military. I know that you think that’s a mindset only available to the past. Well, I guess I live in the past. Now, get Alice down here as soon as you can.”

“Why is she such an important key in this? I can’t just tell her the good news and be on with the day’s duties?”

“Oh Peter, at one time, I did not irritate you so.” Monty shook her head. “I need her, because I don’t know why it’s happening, and a top notch biologist like her is going to be more help in figuring it out than you are. Specialization Peter, it’s a bitch isn’t it? Now, leave me to my work.” Salem stood there, staring at Monty, not sure what to say. “Shoo! I said I need to focus, and your silence is far too loud.” Monty walked over to the door and opened it, tapping her foot as soon as she stopped walking.

Salem finally turned around and walked out. “Have a sweet day Peter.” Monty said, waving until he was out of site.

[Ivy’s note: Hey sunshines, I really want constructive criticism and feedback. I hope to make this into a full sized, printed book one day, so please let me know what you think, and thank you ahead of time for those who do.]


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