Chapter 16.3: Quarantine

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A fleeting moment of calm settled Seth's senses. He closed his eyes, allowing the wet dark to soothe the subtle sting that had developed in his eyes. The cooling sensation reminded Seth of his exhaustion. Before long he was dozing.

A distant cry brought him back. Subtle whimpering followed by heart wrenching wails of a small child resonated through the prison. They were torturing children too? Seth was on his feet and nearly stepped through the veil when the guard fired on him, the energy shot melting a small hole the concrete slab behind him.

Seth stepped back, hands out as a sign of resignation. They were afraid, and reasonably so. They must have heard of the husks, the empty human vessels that could transforms into whatever monstrosity their demonic minds could conjure. Tales of the demons abilities didn't do the horrific reality of it justice. The sounds of churning bone as muscle and flesh reshaped themselves to suit the monster's distorted version of beauty wasn't something that words could describe.

Seth snorted. The soldier would have had one-shot to take out the husk, if that. Strikes that would have killed or maimed a human meant nothing. They'd keep trudging forward as if unware of pain. One hole the size of his thumb wouldn't have mattered.

If he were a husk bent on feeding, he would have risked the veil. He didn't know what the tech was meant to do to demons, but he always imagined the shields to worked like an electric fence. If the demon could bare the shock of the veil as it pushed itself through, the soldier who just fired at him would have been mauled before he was able to take a second shot.

He felt the tug of a smile on his lips. This was why Astral insisted on using his environment as weapon. The environment could be weaponized with the right mind, the right imagination, the imagination of a survivor. Maybe that's what's been missing from the nation's defenders? They adopted the survivor mindset after massive losses. Too much chest beating... Use the environment so they wouldn't know what was coming. They wouldn't know where to target, where to find their aggressive prey.

He wondered if this group were husk activists. He had seen passing mentions of protests in the capital filled with photos and videos of people waving signs that read: They're human too! Rights for our fallen soldiers!

In his first year studies, he had learned that the fallen and wounded soldiers were sent home, not being of any use on the field. It was a standard thing to do; no one thought anything of it. A couple of years into the war, someone saw a connection between the attacks and homebound soldiers. To test the theory quietly, the number of MIA soldiers went up while the number of attacks within the nations borders had decreased. The concept is still toted as a theory and hyped up correlation to push the government's agenda. He wondered what Astral's opinion on the subject was? She's been through a full invasion. She'd witness things most people in the capital tend to romanticize...

"What is this place?" Seth shouted over the crying. "What do you guys think you're going to accomplish by torturing children!" He balled his fists. "Who are you?" Seth didn't bother to carry his voice. He knew they weren't going to answer.

The doctor returned with an escort, replacing his armed guards. She regarded the prisoner with the same analytical stare, her brown eyes looking him over bottom to top. "Subject has rested for eighteen hours. Signs of rapid regeneration is apparent along the subjects torso. The presence of necrotic flesh has subsided and showing fresh signs of regrowth."

'Damn!' he flinched. His disease was combatting the demonic contact. He presented with a false positive for demonic infection. He couldn't tell someone like her that he was immune. Not without becoming some sociopath's lab rat again.

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