Waking Gods Page 72

It’s looking right at me. I’m getting out of the truck. I’m roughly two hundred feet away. I’m taking the container out of the back. Getting the hose out of my backpack and…plugging it in. I think that’s how it goes. Now all I need is to…drag…this…thing…two hundred feet…in the dirt. The robot is just staring at me. I think…Yes, the light on him is getting brighter. It’s…it’s releasing gas. I can’t see where it’s coming from. It’s as if it’s forming around it. It doesn’t seem to be coming out of anything. The gas will reach me in about five seconds. I hope it’s the same thing it sent out before. We’ll know soon enough…That’s it. I’m completely surrounded. I can’t see. I can’t see my own feet.

That container’s so heavy…I’ll just…stop…sit for a minute…I can taste the blood running into my mouth. That iron taste…We’re…We’re all made of the same thing.

The gas is dissipating. I can see the sky again. I can see the light of the robot seeping through. I can see my feet. Soon they will see me too. Time to get up.

I’m about halfway there. It’s really…heavy. I…I wonder what they’re thinking. They’re probably wondering who this crazy woman is, dragging a beer keg in the dirt. At least, now they know I’m…not like them. There’s only a bit of gas left on the ground, like dry ice onstage at a rock concert. My feet are dragging through it, creating small currents in the mist. It’s really pretty…The keg doesn’t feel as heavy anymore. It must be the adrenaline. Those feet are gigantic when you’re standing next to them. I’m there. I can…I can touch it. The shield is gone. It’s…It’s cold. Even where there’s light, it’s cold.

I’m ready. Holding the hose. I’m pumping…It’s working. I can reach…maybe fifteen feet high. I can cover the whole foot, the ankle. I feel like a dog urinating on a lamppost. I’m afraid they’ll just kick me away. This side is pretty well covered. I’m dragging the container to the other side. The robot’s feet are fairly close to one another. If I stand here, I can probably…Bad idea. I have to get closer. I’m running out of solution already. That’s it. I’m all out. I’ll just give it a minute or two.

Slowly stepping away. I’m walking backwards the way I came so they can see me. So far nothing. It might not be enough. That container looked big until I was standing inches away from the alien robot. It’s like painting a building. I should have brought the other container. I can always go back to get it if this doesn’t work.

I’m beginning to doubt this entire plan. If they were looking for us to make a statement, my spreading green goo all over their feet seems a little…understated. I don’t even know if that’s what they’re looking for. I don’t know if they’re looking for anything. This might be a complete waste…Wait…Wait…

It’s hard to see in daylight, but I think the light in the right foot is beginning to flicker. Maybe I’m just imagining things. No…The light went off for half a second or so. Again…Again…The lights went off on the entire foot now. I wonder it that’ll be enough to…Now the lower leg is dark. The left foot is flickering. I barely sprayed anything on that one. I think they’ve lost power on the entire right…I…

I barely got out of the way. The lower leg just fell off. It’s now standing on one leg, and that one is losing power as well. I think it’s about to fall on its—I don’t even know how to call these—the upper knee. I have nowhere to run but straight ahead. There are trees everywhere. I’m running as fast as I can, but I’m not sure I can outrun a twenty-story building. I can hear it crumbling down behind me.

The bacteria must have thrown off the molecular structure on the entire robot! It’s coming down. I can see its shadow stretching in front of me. I don’t think I’ll…AAAAAARRRRGGHHHH!

Something caught my leg. A rock, maybe. I don’t think it’s a piece of the robot. I can see its head to my left. I think it was a large rock. My knee…My leg is…I can see the bone sticking out. I think I’m gonna faint. Take a deep breath, Rose. The worst is over. I made it. I don’t know if that’s what they were looking for, but it worked. That robot is done for. My leg…Can anyone hear me? Vincent? Vincent, can you hear me? General? I need help. I need a doctor. Hello? Is anyone list…? OH GOD!

One. Two. Three. Four….Five. Six, seven, eight. They’re…I think they’re all here now. The alien robots, they…they just appeared, all of them. AAAHHH! One more…It just materialized, maybe one hundred feet in front of me. I can’t move…I can’t run away…Can anyone help me?

It’s…It’s magnificent…They’re just looking at me, all of them. It’s like…Times Square, the first time you see it. It’s like an army of gods, each with its own color. It must mean something to them. The one closest to me is orange. It’s Hyperion. What’s it doing? It’s crouching. It’s putting its hand down on the ground, maybe thirty feet to my right. His head…His head is coming down over me. God help me. It’s…It’s right above me. I can almost touch it…

I’m…I’m so sorry. Please forgive me…

Where did it go? It was staring at me, then it vanished. Another one…They’re all disappearing, one at a time.

I’m alone…It’s over.

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

FILE NO. 1641


PARTY LOG—EVA REYES

Location: Inside Themis, EDC Headquarters, New York, NY

—This is Eva Reyes. We’re on board Themis, celebrating. I’m with my dad, Dr. Franklin, and General Govender. I…I don’t know what I’m supposed to say! Hey Vincent?

[Yes, Eva?]

Why do I have to wear the headset?

[Because we’re recording this. Rose likes to record everything.]

I know that, but why me? Why can’t any of you wear it?

[Let’s see. I have a broken shoulder and a bent-up leg. Rose has a broken tibia.]

It’s a headset. It goes on your head.

[You can move around more than we can. Stop complaining, will you?]

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