- The Wastelander - "A Tale from the Apocalypse"
Chapter One: Who the Hell is Phillip Kindred?
I don't know how long I was in that damn tube.
My first waking memory was the sensation of falling forward, my bleary eyes opening just long enough to see the floor rushing up to meet my face. Pain radiated through my skull, and the faint coppery taste of blood filled my mouth. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light of the room, I took in all there was to see. The floor, thick with dust in some parts, was bare metal tile. Against either wall was a row of Cryo-Stasis chambers, their corresponding numbers painted on the tiles at their feet. My mostly-naked body was sprawled across a great big "30"
No, wait... it was upside down. I was laying across the number 03.
The realization of what had happened was still sinking in. Why had I been placed in cryo-sleep? For the life of me, I couldn't remember. Maybe it was just the chemical cocktail, or maybe it was brain damage from being left on ice for so long... but I couldn't remember a damn thing after getting off duty and heading home from the precinct. After that, everything was a blur. Panic gripped me for a moment, but it quickly faded as I realized I wasn't alone in the room.
There, slumped against the wall with his chest ripped open, was the corpse of a man in a hospital smock just like mine. His eyes were wide open, frozen in shock. Just by the look of him, I could tell he hadn't been dead long. A quick glance around told me that whoever had done this was gone, but I instinctively began scouring the room for anything to defend myself just in case. All I found was an old Multi-tool. The blade was dull and the scissors were all gunked-up with cryo-preservative, but other than that it was like new. I flipped out the largest knife blade and held it out like a sword, slowly inching my way across the bloody floor and over towards the doorway.
The hall outside was dark and completely overrun with debris. Overturned medical tables and piles of badly-damaged equipment blocked the corridor, probably makeshift barricades set up by the staff before they were ultimately forced to abandon the facility. Of course, that assumed they had survived long enough to abandon the facility. There was always the chance they'd ended up like the poor bastard back in the lab behind me.
What about him? Who was he? What was he doing here, and why was he killed?
Say what you want about my priorities, but the inner homicide detective in me wanted answers. He also wanted his uniform, his badge, and his gun. I felt utterly naked without them, and that wasn't just because my bare ass was hanging out in the breeze. With a deep sigh, I turned back into the lab and knelt down beside the body. At first glance, he looked like he'd lost a fight with a chainsaw. It was only when I got closer and really 'looked' at the injuries that I recognized them for what they really were: claw and teeth marks. Those weren't what had killed him, though. No. That distinct honor was owed to whatever had caused the burn-like charring of the flesh on either side of his skull.
I also found a blood-stained strap on the man's left wrist. It read, in bold letters: "Philip Kindred".
Something about that name struck me as familiar, and yet... I couldn't quite place it. Was he someone I'd met during the time for which I have no memory? Maybe we'd met in the lobby of this damn place, waiting for our turns to be put on ice. Whatever it was, it nagged at me. I knew the man, somehow. I knew him, but I would be damned if I could remember anything about him other than the name Kindred.
I still don't know why I did it, but I quickly removed the strap from the dead man's arm and placed it upon my own. As I tucked the strap bearing my own name underneath, I caught a glimpse of light reflecting off something metal in the corner of my eye. There, just a few feet away, was a strange bronze emblem attached to a braided-leather necklace. Something about it gave me the heebie jeebies, but I couldn't just leave it there. What if it was important somehow?
Despite the thousands of questions running through my mind, there was only one which mattered to me right now. Finding that one answer, I just sort've... knew... would help me to find the answers to all my other questions.
"Who the hell is Philip Kindred?"
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"Who the hell is Philip Kindred?"
The Wastelander: A Tale from the Apocalypse