“Stand Down” Week 4 – Genesis, Part 3
Cut to Ian, just making his way up to the front door of Zain’s house. Notably, no cars are in the driveway. Ian knocks on the door panickedly. The clouded sky is still orange with sunset.
Ian swears under his breath, turning away from the door. He responds quickly as his phone begins to buzz.
IAN: Zain! What the hell, I was calling earlier to tell you about what was going on at Scott’s!
Ian pauses. There is no cut to Zain, and his voice cannot be heard from the POV as Ian listens to the phone.
IAN: Oh, thank god. So everything’s okay, then?
Cut to scroll over the Jordan and the Warren family just outside their house, sat on the edge of their driveway outside.. Mister and Missus Warren are speaking with the police, while Scott and Jordan sit side-by-side, silently, watching as a total of six ambulances fill with supposedly incapacitated police officers. Jordan is feeling his left pectoral under his shirt. They are illuminated only by the headlights of police cruisers and the dull blue of approaching night, as where they are the setting sun can no longer be seen.
Cut back to Ian.
IAN: Uh, yeah, sure, I can wait. No, it’s not that cold, don’t be a little bitch.
Cut back to the emaciated boy, still on the slowly drifting ship. The ship’s visage is choked by pitch-black night. The already rotten and ruined sail of the boat has been torn at the base, and the boy can be seen huddled on the deck, wrapped in this missing section of it. Seen reflected in his bloodshot eyes, his face towards the open sea, is an approaching fishing vessel. Soon enough, light is shining on the wreck from this vessel, and as the boy sits up, shouts begin to sound from its deck. The boy’s face shows no relief, his vision unfocused and his lips held tight. As the sail-shawl falls off him, one can see his ribs casting their own shadow, his skin pulled taut over his bones.
Cut to the child having an adult’s coat put over him as he is ushered onto the fishing vessel, men from the boat striding quickly over to the other ship’s deck. The three men and women from the fishing vessel that make their way onto the wreck. They complain both of a stench and about the horrific state the on-board corpses are in.
FISHERWOMAN: (Through the shirt she is covering her nose and mouth with) Oohg! This one’s belly’s all but combusted!
Not looking at the boy as she passes him, an older woman makes her way onto the wreck. She heads straight towards a hatch at the ship’s bow. Opening it, she descends down the staircase it hid, coming upon a space of pitch-blackness. Taking a flashlight from inside her coat, she flips it on to immediately illuminate the pale body of a shirtless adult man, splayed out in the small room’s corner with their back to the wall. His head is slumped over, and as she raises it with a gloved hand she sees that his eyes are closed. She ungloves her other hand and places two fingers to his lower neck. Dropping his head, she picks up one of his arms, flipping it over and placing her fingers on its wrist. Holding the flashlight with her teeth now, her eyes communicating disappointment as she removes her fingers and moves its beam up the man’s arm, following a series of red splotches under its skin. As soon as it illuminates a large amount of exposed flesh on the man’s upper forearm, small bite marks present in the wounds, it falls, the woman’s mouth hanging open in shock.
Cut to the boy back on the fishing vessel. There is no sound present in the scene; all is muted. The boy is sitting on a bench in the roofed section of the ship, near the steering wheel. His face is devoid of emotion. This holds true even as a gruff-looking fisherman makes his way up to the boy, lowering to a knee in front of him and placing both hands on his shoulders. The man does not smile, but there is a reassuring sincerity in his face as he mouths “everything is going to be alright”.
Only at that point does the child slowly break his slack expression, beginning to bawl.
Cut back to Ian sitting on the steps of Zain’s house, as he looks down the sidewalk towards a calmly approaching Zain. A full-looking black duffel bag is hanging from his shoulder, and his crystal armor is not present. Ian gets up in time to meet Zain at the house’s driveway.
IAN: The hell took you so long? My parents’ve been calling me like, every minute for the past half hour!
ZAIN: Oh, shut the mouth, I’m already cold and tired. What I’ve got in store for you’s gonna make it worth the wait.
Zain takes a ring of keys out of his pocket, unlocking the house’s door.
Moving inside, with Ian following, Zain flicks a light switch to reveal that they’ve entered into a dingy laundry room. Placing his back on another door on a wall adjacent to the first, Zain turns to face Ian.
ZAIN: Now, Ian, before I show you this I want to make some things very clear.
IAN: It’s a dead body! I knew it, one-hundred percent. That, or you’ve got someone–
ZAIN: Ian, this is serious. I want you to understand that I am your friend, and that this is a gift. What I’ve done, I’ve done for your sake, and you’re going to grow from it.
IAN: Well, all right, let’s see it already!
Zain turns around, flipping the door’s lock and clicking on the following room’s ceiling light.
Now illuminated is a dirty, stone-floored garage, the gates obvious on the rightmost wall. The room is filled with clutter, but it’s been shoved to the walls to allow the place a spacious look. At the room’s center, right under the ceiling light, is a mountain-shaped, desk-sized pink crystal, seemingly embedded into the floor.
Seeing this, Ian looks flabbergasted.
IAN: The hell? This is mine? Like, I can take this?
Zain makes his way into the garage, placing a hand on the thickest part of the crystal spire.
ZAIN: Yeah, if you want. It’s all for you.
IAN: What is this? What’s it worth, you think?
Ian squints at the angular crag, getting close and crouching down in front of it. From his POV, one can make out a vague shape at it’s center.
ZAIN: Too much, right now. Hopefully, though, it’ll mean nothing to you soon.
Zain looks down at the ground, his back to Ian as the face of the mountain shatters on Ian’s side, chunks of it clattering onto his lap.
Following these rocks in their fall is a girl, small in stature though obviously not a child.
As Ian catches her limp body, her shoulder-length hair droops. It does little to hide the blue coloration in her face.
Zain removes the black bag from his shoulder. He turns slightly; barely enough to look at Ian and the girl. The feathered end of an arrow can be seen jutting out of his pants’ pocket.
ZAIN: She got back three days ago. Funny she didn’t tell you.
Ian clears the hair from the girl’s face. Confusion is obvious in his expression.
IAN: …What’d you do?
ZAIN: What’s it look like, horse-mouth?
Zain turns to fully face Ian. Ian is looking at Zain as he holds the girl caringly.
ZAIN: I put her in a rock and let her suffocate.
Ian is looking between Zain and the girl. His eyes are beginning to water.
ZAIN: If it’s any consolation, I couldn’t watch. I left the garage while it happened.
IAN: So she died alone.
ZAIN: Oh, don’t be so melodramatic!
IAN: She’s so cold, Zain–
Ian’s face contorts quickly into an expression of anger. He’s full-on crying now.
IAN: What the fuck, Zain?! What the fuck were you thinking!?
Ian’s voice reverberates throughout the garage.
He looks away from Zain, towards a pile of clutter on a nearby wall. Setting the girl down, gently, he walks over and picks up an arm-length piece of rebar.
Turning back towards Zain, and raising the rebar towards his head, Ian continues to shout.
IAN: I’m gonna beat your ass, and then I’m gonna tell everyone!
ZAIN: Oh, fuck off! You think I didn’t plan for you being a pussy about this?!
Zain turns away from Ian, crouching down to unzip the black bag.
Ian charges at Zain, swinging the rebar down at the back of his head.
In a flash of neon pink, an inhumanly bulky arm formed of geometric crystal leaps from Zain’s back.
The clawed hand of this arm catches Ian’s, and cracking sounds can be heard as it tightens its grasp. With the rebar still in its grip, Ian’s hand assumes an unnatural shape under this pressure.
Ian’s yells echo throughout the garage. Zain gets up partially, kicking him in the stomach.
Ian, having been knocked to the ground, has the wind knocked out of him. His eyes are wild and unfocused as he looks towards Zain.
The crystal arm disappears behind Zain’s back as he stands and lifts the opened bag.
Ian’s breathing is ragged, his back to the crystal mound.
Digging into the bag, Zain fishes out several chunks of pink crystal.
ZAIN: My parents are far, far away, Ian– all courtesy of a couple flawless gems, belonging to a never-before-seen strain. Even in the midst of the Covid crisis, a nice, safe vacation can be had for the right price.
Ian falls to his side, now looking at his hand, its palm having been folded in on itself. Only now, as he touches it, wincing as he does so, does the piece of rebar fall from its grasp. His breathing is heavy.
ZAIN: And, that’s just the thing, Ian; Covid-Nineteen. You, yourself told me that it only ever really affects the old and the weak. Do you understand what this means, Ian? It means that it’s the perfect time for us to run hog-wild. As adults fear for their health, their infrastructure is failing, right? So many businesses are closing. So many of them just stay inside, now. If they’re scared of just being near each other, how could they ever hope to work against us?
IAN: (pained voice) God, just shut the fuck up. You fucking killed her, you crazy fuck.
Ian is burying his face in the stone floor, crying even harder now.
ZAIN: I did that for your sake, you dumbfuck! Now, you have nothing holding you down. Nothing to regret. Nothing to render you a total sad-sack.
Dropping the bag, and drawing a full, golden-tipped arrow from his pocket, Zain pulls Ian’s head up by the hair. He stabs the arrow through Ian’s open mouth before Ian can move to defend himself.
Ian produces many choking and gurgling noises, and grasps at the intruding arrow-shaft with both arms as he struggles to get up. Zain lets go of the arrow.
ZAIN: Let her go, Ian, and you’ll have the world.
Switch to Ian’s POV as he watches Zain begin to leave through the door they came in. His vision is becoming blurry.
Zain looks back at him, opening the door.
ZAIN: Let her go, and I’m sure you’ll be worthy.
Ian’s vision begins to fade into black, and the POV falls forward, towards the stone garage floor.