This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2015 Angel Alvarez. All rights reserved. Including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the author.
The sun has begun to set at the quiet and peaceful, Oak Healthcare-center.
Viggo walks away at a firm pace, leaving the place, as the nurses slowly help their patients back into the building.
The elderly, and fragile, Dr. Von Braun sits on his old wheelchair, breathing through an oxygen tank, connected to his nose by two small-plastic tubes. He watches the sunset, with his tired and heavy eyes, at the healthcare’s yard, while licking his lower lip incessantly, and drooling from the right side of his mouth. Impatiently waiting for his nurse to take him back to his room.
“Looks like you’re very popular today” joked the nurse. “Another visit!”.
“Hey gramps!” says his new guest with a smirk on his face.
Dr. Von Braun knew his previous visitor, but this, slim, young man, not even old enough to drink, strikes his curiosity. He takes a closer look at the boy, discovering one tattoo on each forearm; A plus or positive on his right arm, and an infinity symbol on the left one. His mind is still sharp, he doesn’t forget a face easily. Dr. Von Braun is sure he had never seen this boy before, but, somehow, he looks very familiar.
Perishing in a place like this would’ve been the farthest thought in her mind just a few moments ago. Now, surviving is the only thing that matters.
Ocelot’s breaths are shorter every time she inhales. Her lungs are starting to feel the lack of air coming in, she is suffocating to death, one breath at a time. A towering man, with a wide, brick-like frame, has his thick grip tighten around her neck. The pressure of his clutch is evident by the strong veins popping all around his arm. His strength keeps her suspended in the air against a concrete wall, slowly asphyxiating.
Her earpiece, lays on the driest part of the wet, crooked floor, a few meters away, leaving her with fewer options. On her last effort to survive, Ocelot depletes her remaining energy pulling her gun from the holster attached to the left side of her chest. As soon as she pulls it out, the brute grabs her shooting arm, and, with a ruthless, but fluid, movement, sends her flying across the room. Ocelot lands hard on the wet, dense floor. The impact forces the gun out of her hand, sliding on the floor and stopping a few feet away.
Ocelot tries to catch her breath, when the barbaric man surprises her, avalanching towards her. He swings a fierce kick. Ocelot rolls out of the way at the last second, barely evading the hit. This hopeful act is not enough to keep her out of danger, and, as she tries to reach her gun, he hauls savagely by the hair, dragging her towards him. Using the same pulling force, Ocelot turns in an instant, hitting him viciously with the base of her palm and breaking his nose. Stunned by the hits, the man loses hold of her.
The beastly man releases a deafening scream while covering his bloody nose. Now he’s truly mad. He sprints in her direction, while she drags herself backwards across the floor, in an effort to get away. On a sudden move, he jumps on top of her. An echoing bang! Brings silence to the room. Ocelot had just enough time to grab the gun and take him down. One second too late, and it would’ve been all over for her.
Ocelot, with some effort, moves the, now, lifeless pile of muscle that crash-landed on top of her, out of the way. It takes her a moment to pull herself up from the floor, but when she does, not a second is wasted in studying the environment. The leaking water on the floor is far more evident in the hallways, where it reaches up to her ankles. Two of the four walls of the room have massive, door-sized holes. She grabs the earpiece from the floor and puts it on.
“Ocelot? Ocelot!?” asks a worried Wilkins, from the other side of the device.
“…Wilkins.” mutters Ocelot.
“Oh, thank… What happened!?” insists Wilkins.
“Long story. What can you tell me about this place?”
“Not much really. The building was evacuated to be demolished a few years ago. However, it was occupied by homeless, junkies, prostitutes, and everything in between”.
“Hold on” requests Ocelot, with a cautious voice.
She positions her hand flat on the wall. As she does, her pupils quickly dilate, and, to her eyes, colors fade away, turning everything around her black and white.
The boy visiting the old man in the healthcare center pushes Dr. Von Braun down the hallway, followed by a multitude of filthy, ragged, and ill men and women that occupy the decaying building. Ocelot follows their track, ending up in front of a set of decomposing stairs.
“I’m getting body-heat readings on your floor! Be careful” warns Wilkins, shocking Ocelot out of her vision.
Her pupils normalize, and colors return to her eyesight. “I’m going solo” responds Ocelot, with icy conviction.
“No! Don’t you even-” Wilkins is cut short by the click of Ocelot’s earpiece turning off.
Rapid water splashing from the leaking floor, divulge the approaching footsteps, with increasing swiftness, of an unknown person, in Ocelot’s direction. The whispery sound of a punch moving through the air, advices Ocelot of an upcoming attack, who, on a singular motion, dodges the attack, pulls out her gun, and, after rolling it over, in the best cowboy style, hits her aggressor on the back of his head, knocking him out cold.
She doesn’t have time to hear a second man, who jumps her from behind, making her crash on the watery floor. He’s holding a naked, rusty, razor to her neck while Ocelot has her gun placed on his forehead. In just a split-second, she notices the same dry and empty look the first man had, as if they weren’t themselves, just mindless predators. The three attackers share some common traits; ragged clothes, greasy hair, stained skin, and circular blood marks on their arms and neck.
Junkies. Shouldn’t they be running away from me?, she asks herself.
The razor pressures her neck, causing blood to start dripping out. The gun fires a bullet that blows through his head clean, leaving an eternal echo, and the dense smell of gunpowder.
Ocelot holsters her gun, and coldly walks up the chirring stairs. The festering second floor is mostly shunned by the collapsed ceiling. A massive, corroded, metal vault, draws her attention. As she gets closer, Ocelot discovers a note, taped just above the vault’s wheel, written with a red-colored crayon: Gear up! Final boss is next. :3
The randomness of the message on the piece of paper only serves to reaffirm the uncertainty of her current situation. This is by far my weirdest case yet, she thinks.
It takes all her strength to turn the creaking wheel and open the vault’s immense door. The light coming into the vault, from the open door, draws the attention of dozens of the grungy, ill-looking men and women, that she saw in her flashback, sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, as if waiting for something, or someone. They fix their eyesight on Ocelot, and begging murmuring gurgling sounds while slowly standing up.
Ocelot quickly notices Dr. Von Braun at the other end, sitting on his wheelchair, with a small green board on his lap. If she wasn’t sure before, she is now, she will have to face this mindless swarm of predators to get to him. Gun in hand, she assertively sprints forward, avalanching towards the multitude. She shoots the first few out of the way. The bullet sounds only serve to further anger her aggressors. Without ever stopping, an out of bullet Ocelot, hits the upcoming attackers unconscious with the back of her gun, while moving forward to Dr. Von Braun’s location, no matter what. She is about to reach him, just a few more meters to go and she is there, but they prove to be far too many to handle, clustering her, she tries to fend them off unsuccessfully, and they slowly drag her into a clump. “Doctor, I’m here for you! I’m the rescue team” shouts Ocelot in desperation, before being swallowed completely by the mass of people.
The old Doctor slowly glances over with his weak eyes, “F-fr-Friendship” states Dr. Von Braun with a tired voice.
The crowd, obeying his command, dissipates, clearing the area surrounding Ocelot, and standing still, all around her. She looks at them unnerved, but in their eyes, where she had previously seen rage and mindless acts, now there’s only a stale, unfocused look. As if they were empty inside, turned off somehow.
Ocelot is in awe, a simple word had just vanished the killer instinct of these people and saved her from certain death. She places her gun back in the holster and cautiously moves to Dr. Von Braun’s side. “What happened here?” asks Ocelot.
The elderly man tries to mutter something, but words have trouble coming out of his mouth. “It’s ok” reacts Ocelot, placing her hand on his wrist.
In a flash, a numerous amount of his memories play in her head. The kid who brought him to the vault, holding the green board. “Ok old-man, I’m going in, don’t hide the formula or I’ll steal your pension!”adverts the adolescent.
The memories take Ocelot further back now. A young Evan, resistant, is forced to swallow a capsule while being restrained by a big male-nurse. Behind him, a janitor cleans a puddle of fresh blood.
The event jumps again. A, completely white, high-ceiling room, serves as a cage for half a dozen, tired, ill-looking, children. Fading away, one by one, until there are only two left, Evan and Thirteen. A silhouetted man watches over them.
With dread, Ocelot promptly releases Dr. Von Braun’s wrist. “You… You’re a monster” proclaims in disgust.
“P-please… Stop him” he begs. “That boy… he’s going to unleash an onslaught!”.
Ocelot, still processing the rush of information, turns on her earpiece. “Wilkins. Location is secure, bring in the rescue team” she reports doubtful.
“I’ll take this” she informs, grabbing the green board from Dr. Von Braun’s hands, before walking away from the vault.
The Crunch Diaries continue in Crunch Diaries: Proton.
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