Posted: January 5, 2014 in Horror, Science Fiction

He was a young man, or had been; dark hair and a slightly crooked nose. Muscular, but not monstrously so, he had fought well.  He was also wonderfully, irrevocably dead, no question. Neck bent at an unnatural angle, the young man was naked from the waist up and his torso was wet with blood, though I had done most of that post mortem.  The facility was ultra secure. No one came or went without my knowing about it. No one had heard his screams.

That is, no one, but me.

And perhaps the others. I sometimes wondered how much they heard, if they suspected what I was planning to do. They did not all react the same when the heavy, pneumatically-sealed door slid open with a hiss, and saw my face for the first time.

A few screamed before I even touched them.

Not this one. He had understood the moment we locked eyes. It was a fair fight. I always make sure it’s fair. Hand to hand and to the death.

I spit out a bit of gristle which was all that remained of one ear, tried to wipe the blood from my mouth with my hand, realized it was pointless. The shower jets awaited me and then a soak in the suspension tank. However, I had to clean up the mess first.

Approaching the voicelocked portal to freedom, that for which my opponent had been fighting, I cleared my throat, “Door, open.”

I couldn’t resist a little nod of satisfaction when I heard the soft chime followed by that sterile, sexless voice, “Opening.” A second later the door slid back into its recess with that reassuringly familiar hiss and I stepped into the hallway. I didn’t have another session scheduled until after lunch, but I wasn’t hungry anymore and felt invigorated enough to fit one more in before my next rest period.

Plus, I wouldn’t have to get cleaned up all over again.

“Room 141, seal, scorch, purge,” I watched as the door closed itself. Approaching the porthole style window set into it I felt a small grin twitch my lips. I tried to master the impulse, failed, and cursed myself for my weakness.  Almost as if I was no better than the scum I kept in these chambers.

There was the first tiny spark, a spurt of flame and light.  Soon it caught and grew, taking root on the dead thing’s torn pants, its hair, even its skin and bones. The enitre contents of the room were engulfed in a gigantic red rose even hungrier than I.

I started to laugh. Fought to master the impulse, succeeded, choking down my amusement, my weakness.

Giddy, almost sick, as I always was after a kill, I endured this weird mixture of omnipotence and revulsion. I knew what I did was disgusting, but could no longer stop of my own will. Only by killing them could I purge myself.

“Room 142, entry only, lights on. Voicelock code Janus.” The door of the neighboring chamber obeyed and I entered to find my next opponent with an arm thrown across his eyes. The mirrorlike inner surfaces of the room threw back light from every direction and he was trying to  blink back tears.

Sometimes it amused me to keep them in darkness, so I gave him the opportunity to adjust and focus. It was important to me that this be fair. I spoke to let him know he was not alone.

“The chamber is voicelocked. It will not open so long as it detects vocal or respiratory patterns from more than a single subject. The fight is to the death. We begin on the count of three.”

“W-what?” the young man’s eyes finally homed in on me with a look of recognition and he lowered the defensive barrier of his arm, a mistake.


He studied my face, more nightmarish than any warpaint, and spoke, “My god, how did you – -? I mean… why me?” This was how it usually went. My opponents often thought they were the victims.


His eyes hardened as he returned my look, the dark brows above them coming down into a furious black line. This one understood just like the last. Two in a row. Unusual. Perhaps I was making progress.

He was a young guy, dark hair, slightly crooked nose. Muscular, but not monstrously so, he would fight well.  He was also wonderfully, revocably alive, and so was I. Lately, this was the only time I felt alive. It came down to strength, will, hunger. 

Was I the weak one or was he? This would determine it.


I rushed him even as he instinctively sought a defensive posture, bending at the knees, trying to decide if he should meet me head on or dodge to the side. Too late, he decided to dodge and we crashed together with the sound of flesh on flesh. There was a snarl of rage. A primal, animal sound out of place in this day and age. I was unsure which one of us had made the noise.

After all, we were identical down to the last chromosome. The only difference was one of us knew how to kill.


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