Authors: Jacqueline Druga
Amoeba Books 1 - 5
By Jacqueline Druga
Copyright 2013 by Jacqueline Druga
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover Image Courtesy of
© backgroundstore - Fotolia.com
Thank you so very much to Dan Cote and Denise Moore for all your help with this monstrous project.
“We must always strive for excellence in any scientific endeavor in which we approach. Answers can be found in the success as well as failures in any experiment. Our minds must continuously be one step ahead. At the end of one road, we shall think of the next. There is still so much to be learned. It is science. It is never ending.”
Dr. Randall Jefferson
Director of The Caldwell Research Institute
He closed his deep
, dark brown eyes slowly just about the same time he parted his thick lips, letting out a small huff of breath. Billy Griffith leaned back, slouching some in the seat of the helicopter. He took off the baseball cap which he wore backwards, and scratched his sweaty, curly, dark brown hair. He coughed, hoping that sick feeling that had crept up on him would somehow dissipate soon, before he upheaved that take-out breakfast sandwich he hadn’t wanted to eat in the first place. “God, can you fly this thing any worse?”
Leonard Helms chewed gum, loud and chomping as he flew the helicopter. He only grinned at Billy. He could have gotten away with saying he was just learning how to fly had he not looked the part of the experienced pilot.
“It’s got to be around here somewhere.” Billy placed on his hat again, and lifted the clipboard. An aerial map laid on top.
“Your source was wrong
,” Leonard told him.
“No.” Billy shook his head. “Very reliable.”
“Why are you chasing this anyhow? It doesn’t sound like a boring story to you?”
“I’m an investigative reporter. There’s nothing about this that sounds boring. Besides that, I have my reasons.” Suddenly
, Billy’s tone changed to an annoyed one. “And how in the world does it sound boring to you?”
“It was an experiment. Big deal. Who cares?” Leonard kept peering ahead as he flew. “They isolate a group of people away for months to see if they whack out.”
“Yeah, but you don’t think it’s a bit odd that in the forty years Caldwell had been conducting The Iso-Stasis Experiments, only four people out of all the participants survived? One of which shot himself in the head. Undisclosed reasons.”
“He cracked up afterward
,” Leonard stated as if he had the answer. “Look, they lock a bunch of suicidal people up, they either kill themselves or each other. That’s what happens. You said two people survived this one that just ended. You wanna know what Caldwell does to these people, call
“Oh, sure. I’ll just look in the phone book and call up every John and Jane Doe there is
,” Billy said sarcastically, checking out his map again then looking up.
“That’s the names they released?”
“Hello?” Billy rolled his eyes. “You know this. You were there. Privacy reasons.”
“I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking at that cute blonde from the science review.”
“Speaking of cute blondes.” Billy lifted the map on his clipboard and pulled out a photo from under it. “Tim snapped a picture of her walking off the plane.”
Leonard shifted his eyes between the flying and the black and white photo Billy held up. “Jane Doe? What about John?”
“Military came, surrounded him completely, and took him away. I got a picture of him from behind. Thank God he’s a giant, or I wouldn’t have gotten that. The guy is like six-five or something. No wonder he survived it.”
“Survived what?” Leonard asked with
an edge. “A mental experiment. Come on, Bill, you’re chasing nothing here. And you’re wasting the station’s gas.”
The clipboard toppled from Billy’s hand and he sprang fo
rward in his seat. “Oh, shit.” He looked quickly to Leonard. “You were saying?”
Leonard looked shocked as he spotted what Billy did. It was small in their visual scope at first, but as they cleared the hillside forest, the Caldwell Experiment Complex came into their full view. Or rather, what was left of it. Wooden and metal splinters of the once
whole structures were spread about the area like matchsticks. Workers in white suits roamed about, lifting the debris, rummaging through pieces of furniture, carrying crates and even body bags to helicopters that awaited.
Billy lifted his camera. “Hold it steady.” Billy began to continuously take pictures. “Being awful quiet there, Len. Feel like recanting that crazy person story? Got any new ideas on what happened here?”
“Barring any blast of nature’s fury, I haven’t a clue.” Leonard moved the chopper closer and held it steady while Billy got what he needed.
Dr. Randall Jefferson looked up to the helicopter that hovered awfully close. He was a short, stout, older man whose gray hair blew from the chopper’s blades. He wasn’t dressed like his title ‘Director of Caldwell Research’ dictated. Jeans and a tee shirt were his work attire. Donning gloves, he stood at a long table sifting through tiny pieces of the experiment’s remnants, determining what was viable and what wasn’t.
e grew more disgusted by the minute the closer the chopper flew. They were too close for his comfort. Dr. Jefferson wasn’t worried that they could see something they shouldn’t. There really wasn’t anything recognizable left. He was more fearful of the fierce wind from the helicopter blowing away something he could very well need.
Dr. Gregory Haynes looked
out of place, perhaps because he felt out of place, and he somehow projected it. It was his second day with Caldwell, and at forty-two years old, he was the exact same age that Dr. Jefferson was when he was in Greg’s shoes, in the preparatory training position for Caldwell Director.
Overseeing the process, Greg noticed Dr. Jefferson’s perturbation with the intruding helicopter. He made his way to Dr. Jefferson. “Want me to have them moved?”
“How?” Dr. Jefferson asked. “Unfortunately, about the only thing you can do right now is flip them off.”
Greg snickered. He closed his mouth whenever he smiled which showed his shyness.
He was a smaller man with greying crew cut hair. He adjusted his small wire glasses as he peered at what Dr. Jefferson worked on. “Anything I can look at yet?”
“As a matter of fact
, yes. Found a few items of interest that we will need.” He handed Greg a clipboard, then lifted a small piece of tin, examined it, and tossed it aside.
“From room six. Wasn’t that the room where Jennifer Reilly passed on?”
“Yes. Amazing that with all the destruction, that’s what remained. It’s in the bin.”
Greg set down the clipboard and moved to the blue bin with a sheet covering it. He blinked
, startled when he looked in. Tossed in the bin as if categorized the same as the torn diary, computer disk, and candle that were in there, was a partially decomposed arm which had been severed or seemingly ripped at the elbow. The hand even sported a sapphire ring and chipped red nail polish. Greg covered the bin. “Well, uh . . .” He brought his fist to his mouth, trying to look calm as he cleared his throat. He brought his hand down and flashed a quick awkward smile to Dr. Jefferson, clearing the sickness from his throat one more time. “I see now why I left NASA for this.”
The growling of wolves, the painful shriek of the beast’s cries, could be heard through the walls of the Seal River complex. Cal Reynolds knew she was dreaming, and she kept telling herself ‘it was just a dream,’ but she couldn’t wake up.
It was s
o real, just like it had happened to her six weeks earlier. In the lower level watching the black-and-white monitor, watching Major Jake Graison, towering and strong, taunt the creature from the complex. The creature was a blur in Cal’s dream, perhaps her mind’s way of making her forget. She watched the monitors. She did what she was supposed to do. Her hand trembled over the homing device button waiting for Jake to lead the creature out. All was clear. With a slam, she pressed the button. She heard the stampede of the wolves led by the homing signal. The wolves may have been their enemy, but they were also their saving grace against a vicious predator that would not go down. A predator that tried with fortitude to claim the three of them that remained.
Cal raced from the lower level back up to Jake and young Rickie.
Rickie Carlotta. Eighteen, full of life, the only person to make Cal really smile since her own daughter, Jessie, had been tragically killed a year earlier.
Never did it cross her mind when she reached the upper level that anything had gone wrong. How could it? Jake was in control. Jake had led the beast. And Cal’s world sunk along with her heart when she arrived in what was the recreation room. Rickie lay on the floor, a pool of blood surrounding him. Jake, his usually stern and handsome face just looked so lost as he knelt above a disemboweled Rickie.
At that instant in her dream
, the instant she lifted Rickie’s’ thin body to hers, holding him in her arms, feeling his hand touch her face, his warm blood seep against her small-framed body, Cal just wanted to wake up.
utching Rickie tightly to her. Begging Jake to help him. Feeling the life leave Rickie . . . again.
She sobbed in her dream and looked up to the ceiling. “God!” She cried out. “Take me out of this! Please take me out of this!”
She felt herself drop as if falling from a distance, and the shaking of her body caused Cal to sit up in bed and gasp for air. Her blonde hair was wet from perspiration. Her shoulders moved drastically up and down as she tried to catch her breath. The room was lit only by the moon. Trucks in the distance were the only noises.
“Cal.” The deep male voice grumbled her name.
Still out of it, still feeling that dream, Cal, edgy, twitched her head to the side to see Jake. His eyes were still closed as he lay on his side. She tried to say his name, but nothing would come out. Never could she recall her hands or body shaking so badly. Looking down at them, she saw the blood. Covering her hands, her chest, just as it did when she held Rickie. At that instant, her breathing went out of control, and she started to hyperventilate. She flung the sheet from her and raced with a stumble out of bed and to the bathroom, slamming the door.
She flicked on the light and blasted the water in the sink. She washed her hands and her face
, waking herself up completely.
She lifted her head to look in the mirror.
She was so pale. And Cal still shook. Gripping the edge of the sink, her head dropped and she let out a sob drowned out by the running water. Slowly, and emotionally, she lowered herself to the floor bringing her legs to her chest, wrapping her arms tightly around them and burying her face to her knees.
“Cal.” Jake called her name from the other side of the door. He cleared the grogginess from his throat. “Cal, you
Cal lifted her head, wiped her eyes, then hurried and reached up
, shutting off the faucet. “Um . . . yeah. I’ll be out in a second. Go back to bed.” Cal stared at the closed door. She waited with anticipation for the sound of Jake’s heavy footsteps returning to bed, and when that happened, Cal returned to her post-dream frightened huddle on the floor.