Dylan Goodwin

Quietly, the soldiers held the rifles aloft their shoulders, ready for any sudden movement. They slowly and silently placed one foot in front of the other, discerning a path through the oversized webbed sacks. These sacks covered the ceiling, walls, and floor. They were about the size of a baseball and covered in a thick viscous slime. These sacks were used as hibernation pods for “Flyers,” as the soldiers called them. As the scientists put it, the slime acted as a blanket to keep the Flyers at the perfect temperature while hibernating. The soldiers were aware of the horrors they contained; this wasn’t their first encounter.
They were occupying a dilapidated house on the outskirts of a small town. This residence homed a small colony of these creatures and was said to have a weapon capable of killing hordes en masse.
This mission was to eradicate Flyers’Flyers’ swarm that had infested the western side of Australia for the last two years. It was a new breed of spider; Tarantula sized, with wings and an abnormally large abdomen. This was used to wrap the victims head in strong webbing, so the Flyers can forcefully lay their eggs in the victim’s mouth.
They mutated from a botched “vaccine” for the Great Plague of 2020.
The team had received reports of a potential weapon that interacted with the Flyers hive-mind, cutting the brainwaves, resulting in instant death.

“”On me.”” Their Commanding Officer whispered into his throat mic.
One by one, the following soldiers huddled closer to him, placing their feet in his footprints, careful not to disturb the creatures slumber.
They reached a staircase, their CO made hand gestures, indicating for the two men to scout their path.
The scout soldiers, Henry and Enri, Identical twin brothers, crept up the steps, rifles raised. The steps creaked quietly, however, not enough to wake the sleeping Flyers. Once reaching the top, Henry indicated for Enri to search the right side, and he would search the left.
They split up.
Henry creaked open the first door as quietly as possible. He muzzled his silenced weapon through the door and swept the room with the attached flashlight, nothing of note or value in this room. He quietly relayed the information to his CO. He was told to move to the next room.
Enri, on the other hand, had made the discovery that they were all hoping for. A dead soldier’s face wrapped in silky web, clasped the weapon so tightly that Enri had an extremely difficult time prying it from his cold dead fingers. Enri thought about how ironic it would have been if that cliché phrase was the last thing this soldier had uttered. He chuckled at the thought.
Finally prying it free, he noted the find to his CO and relayed his intent to retreat.
Taking his first step, while looking at the weapon’s majesty, he heard a sickening crunch. The blood drained from his face, and all feeling left him. He looked down at four of the eight legs, which were sticking out from under his boot. He gulped.
The hive mind buzzed with activity.
The sacks began to squelch open.
Enri’s last word was “”fuck”.

Every sack in the house started to squelch and split open. Henry looked around and realised what was happening, turned tail, and ran to Enri. He swept past the stairs and reached the door that he had seen Enri enter. He looked through the frame and saw the scared look on Enri’ s face.
“It’ll “It’ll all be okay.”” Henry assured.
Enri opened his mouth to speak, only to feel a Flyer scurry up his leg lightning-fast, across his torso, and to his face. He shrieked an unholy scream as the Flyer wound its way around his head, spinning strong web behind it, covering his head and spitting paralysing venom into Enri’ s still open mouth.
Henry cried out in anguish as he watched his brother be consumed by this creature. The Flyer finished the web and sat where Enri’s mouth was situated. The Flyer pierced its large abdomen through the web and ejected eggs into the Enri’s mouth.
Henry saw the weapon, still in Enri’s hands. His mission came back to him, and he sprinted toward the now lifeless yet rigid body and took the weapon from his brother’s hands. The Flyer looked at him, through its many deep black eyes, and gave a snarl. Henry had never heard this sound before and never wanted to again. It sent a bone-chilling shudder down his back. He turned and bolted out the door.
Downstairs, their CO had immediately recognised the worst and ordered his men to retreat from the house. He knew Enri had located the weapon, so he pushed up the stairs. He met Henry carrying the weapon.
“”Enri is dead.”” He said.
“I’m “I’m sorry, mate, but we need to go.”” Rushing back down the stairs, they dodged Flyers and crushed sacks under their boots, no longer treading with caution.
At the base of the stairs, Henry tripped on a split sack and tumbled to the floor. His CO raced to scoop him under the arm and help him up. Henry cried in pain; there was a lump of timber sticking out of his thigh. He knew he would wouldn’t get out of this alive. As his CO shot the advancing Flyers, Henry pushed the weapon into his open hand.
“”Take it and eviscerate these fuckers. I’m I’m done for.”” He lifted his leg, exposing the bloody wound.
“”Oh fuck. I’ll I’ll get you out”” His CO assured. “”I need assistance.”” He shouted into his throat mic.
After giving the weapon back to Henry, his CO picked him up, and they hobbled across the floor, both firing at advancing Flyers.
The door burst open, and Private Drite unleased a turret of fire from his Flame Thrower.
The house lit up.
Two more men rushed in from behind Drite to help Henry. They picked him up by the shoulders and moved out; He hopped on one foot to maintain balance.
Drite burned everything he could see; while their CO rushed out behind the two carrying Henry.
Private Drite followed them, pacing backward as he set fire to the Flyers and surroundings, making sure he scorched every last bug.
Outside, Henry was sat on the ground and the medic set to work patching him up. He watched the house burn to the ground as he thought about his brother.

Tears burned his eyes. He never said goodbye.

Private Drite exited the house and turned to face his CO. He pulled out his handgun and shot their CO in the face; the entire company was shocked. Drite took this advantage and shot them all except for Henry.
“”What the fuck?!”” Henry said, reaching for his gun. Drite quick-stepped to him and whacked him with the butt of his pistol, kicking away the gun.
“”Nah mate.”” He said.
“”Why?”” Henry asked, shock, awe, and confusion set on his face.
“”We need these creatures to wipe out humanity.”” Drite admitted. “”I was hoping the 2020 plague would have done it, but evidently not.”” He looked into Henry’s Henry’s confused face. “”I am hiding the hive queen to build an army big enough to wipe out humanity. This colony was just a blip on how many I have nestled away.””
“”Why kill everyone?”” Henry finally asked.
“”What do you mean, “why”?”” Can’t Can’t you see humanity for what it is? Diseased, decadent, hedonistic, power, and money-hungry. We do don’t deserve to live, and this will be our next mass extinction.”” He caught a sign of pity in Henry’s Henry’s eyes. He pistol-whipped him again. Henry fell on top of one of his fallen comrades.
Dazed, all he could feel was a crushing headache. He could taste metal and spat out blood.
“”Enri deserved to live.”” He said, still facing the ground.
“”What?”” Drite angrily asked, getting closer to hear Henry’s Henry’s pitiful last words.

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