Concrete, steel, grey everywhere…
It made the GeNext Laboratory feel like a prison. To test subject Greg Harris, over the past two weeks, that was exactly what it was. The large man clenched his jaw as one the
jailers scientists inputted the code to open his cell door.
The harsh fluorescent light in Harris’ cell reflected off of Dr. Nanyakarra’s oval glasses, making him seem less than human. “President Newcastle is dead,” Nanyakarra said without an ounce of emotion in his voice. “We need to move, now.”
Two broad-shouldered security guards stepped out from behind the sinister doctor and into the cell, each one grabbing Harris by an arm. After two days of food and sleep deprivation, the test subject could put up no fight. Still, he did everything in his power to keep his head up high as he was dragged out of the cell and into the drab, grey corridors of the GeNext compound.
Four weeks ago, the former All-American, NFL-bound football standout had come through these same corridors with nothing but optimism in his poor, naive head. “We’ll make you into a better man," the project’s representatives had promised. “Who knows? Maybe you'll make it to the NFL after all." As if the promise of regaining the glory he had lost years ago wasn't already enough, the financial compensation he was being offered for participating in the trials had made him readily amenable to the idea of leaving his young daughter for what he initially thought was a two week stay at the compound.
"Natalie..." Greg whispered under his breath. If he squinted just hard enough he could remember what she looked like, how her hair smelled when he would hold her, how she looked at him with loving, innocent eyes. One of the guards noticed the tear streaming down the prisoner's cheek and snickered, muttering an insult to no one in particular. Harris planted a foot, halting the group’s progress and almost causing the guard to stumble. “What did you say?” he forced out through clenched teeth, violent eyes locked in on the imposing guard.
"Now, now, Test Subject 12, there’s no need to get testy," Dr. Nanyakarra interjected. "We know you haven't had a meal in a couple days, but we'll get something in that poor stomach of yours soo-...."
"My name is Greg...Greg Harris, not Test Subject 12" the fed up test subject interrupted.
“Your name is whatever I want it to be,” responded Dr. Nanyakarra as he reached for the other guard’s Shock Stick. “You'd be wise to remember who it was that gave you your legs back.”
The moment the Shock Stick made contact with Greg’s exposed skin, a torrent of pain coursed through his being. Harris’ obvious show of pain only encouraged the good doctor who now pushed the infernal weapon tighter against his subject’s body.
“You...you’re gonna kill him.” Harris heard one of the guards say over the crackle of electricity and smell of smoking flesh.
Pain is an interesting thing. It causes a lot of unneeded suffering....but it can also be a catalyst. People are pushed to great heights because of the pain that flows through their bodies, and now every cell in Greg’s scientifically-altered one was being pushed to the absolute limit because of pain.
As he let out a mighty roar, Harris' body began growing to double, triple its normal size, a weathered and beaten frame replaced by bulging muscle in a matter of seconds. Dr. Nanyakarra 's attack had ceased. Instead he now lay prone on the floor, terrified eyes looking up at the hulking green monstrosity through the broken glass of his eye-wear. Finally, he was showing some emotion.
As the monster’s powerful hands took the mad scientist's head in its hands, Dr. Nanyakarra couldn’t help but think about how poetic this all was. A man, torn asunder by his very creation; the hubris of human invention coming back to bite him in the ass. Mary Shelley would be proud. Whether the monster agreed to the poeticness of the situation as he crushed the good doctor’s head in between his meaty palms remains unknown.
Alarms rang out throughout the compound as men in riot gear flooded the corridor. The pain derived from the initial rain of bullets that barreled into his thick skin further fueled the jade giant, who used his newfound strength to tear at the mass of uniformed men. With every swing of his immense arms, he showered the walls with blood and guts. Suddenly, the room wasn’t so grey anymore.
Higher and higher the Freak ran through the winding tunnels, encountering pockets of resistance on every floor, and doing away with them much too easily. Finally he reached an imposing steel door, one he was able to tear through in the time that it took most men to take a piss.
With the afternoon sun warming his viridescent skin, the Freak let out a terrible roar, the whole military base he was standing on vibrating in his rage. Just miles away, the Freak could see a twinkle and in a brief moment of lucidity he could just make out the writing on the sign. “Las Vegas.”
His legs, like two thick logs cut from an ancient Sequoia, compressed and pushed up against the concrete surface, making the ground crack under him and propelling him high into the hot, thick air of western Nevada.
“We’ll make you into a better man,” they had told him.
Instead, they made him into a Freak.