Dr. Pinkett was quivering in the corner, his pleas having fallen on deaf ears… mine. The intercom speaker above us crackled on and off. In the moments in-between the white noise we could hear distant screams emanating from the other side of the compound and the violent hissing of violence, sharp and cutting. Still, I didn’t know what Pinkett was so worried about. We were only getting what we deserved and, besides, the creatures would get to Norris before they got to us and Norris was nothing if not an obstacle.
His quarters were nearest to the bay doors that stood as the maximum security entrance to Holding D and it was his quarters that you had to pass to gain entry. Even now, looking back I can picture exactly how the scene must have played out. I can see those ink black demons, their faces dripping from the blood of the guards at the gate, their teeth made keen by their bones sliding down the corridor, drawn to a sound they would have never heard before… The Beach Boys. Norris was obsessed with them. Aspergers poster boy, locked in a sunshine soaked, Brian Wilson fuelled fantasy world of his own, Norris would have seen those hellish figures sliding in through the door to his quarters, slow as death and without a moments hesitation would have unleashed everything that the Beach Boys helped keep at bay.
I can still remember the sound, a great resonant rush of wind, like the breath of God as the very air around Norris ignited into flame and seared through the creatures and down the hall, incinerating everyone and everything in its path, human or otherwise. The creatures represented the greatest threat to Norris; possible disrupters of his inner peace and potential meddlers of his extensive vinyl collection. As it was, the record collection was a moot point, the collected music of the modern era lost in one heated moment. Yet, Norris’ inner peace was an issue of contention. Pyrokinesis in the hands of a, sometimes, irrational and erratic mind was truly a thing to behold. Another victory chalked up to Holding D.
By the time he got to us, the good Doctor and myself, Norris had picked up a fellow traveler. Lauren had found herself wandering down the hallways, wondering on what all the commotion was all about when she had been greeted by a vision of flame. It screamed and pulled itself down the walls and the ceiling toward her and surely, if she had been capable of such things, Lauren would have felt something akin to fear. As it was, the flame stopped, as if sensing her presence a few feet from her and withdrew, back up the hallway before dissipating into smoke. Impossible acts made everyday by the wonders of Holding D. Through the remaining puffs of smoke, she had seen Norris, calm and collected strolling toward her, ‘Hang Onto Your Ego’ humming from his lips and a tremor slowly beginning to build in his hands.
“I don’t know what’s going on.” Lauren said, stood in front of Doctor Pinkett and myself, her face still and unfeeling.
“We’re going to hell.” I clarified for her, calmly.
Norris mumbled something, barley intelligible. Some Beach Boy lyric…Hang on to your ego... Hang on, but I know that you’re going to lose the fight…
Down the hall we could hear the creatures approaching.
Norris, Lauren and myself. Surrounded by death.
And not one of us above the age of 13.
* * *