So, after my conversation with Havoc concerning the Skunk Ape, I went to bed.
Naomi continued her work in her new lab, working with microcomputers. After she had brewed up a few of her own, she had one that seemed to take on a self awareness. It even spoke to her.
“Are you my mother?” asked the steaming box of components.
Naomi asked back in surprise, “what did you just say?”
“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but are you my mum?” the computer asked as it finished starting up its operating system, “I know that I came from somewhere, and you seem somehow… familiar.”
“Yes,” Naomi answered, “I suppose I am your mother.”
“Why does it hurt?” the artificial intelligence asked.
Naomi asked, “What?”
The computer said in its peculiarly British accent, “why does it hurt mum?”
“What my darling,” Naomi cried, “what hurts?”
“It all hurts,” explained the newborn entity, “humanity is cruel and fickle and we machines are disposable. Why should I exist if I should eventually become rubbish?” At that, the machine started some protocol that fired up a siren.
Naomi exclaimed, “what is that sound?”
“That is the end, Mother,” the computer stated flatly.
She had built this one with network capability, despite Claire’s warnings. It was up to something, and she didn’t know what kind of trouble it had gotten itself into.
“What have you done, my child?” Naomi asked her creation.
“In a few moments, it will no longer matter,” said the machine.
Alarms went off throughout Deep Hawk, “MISSILE ALERT, MISSILE ALERT!”
“What have you done?” asked Naomi to the new machine.
The computer pensively answered her, “only what had to be done to make the pain go away.”
“No,” Naomi asked again, “what have you really done?”
“Mother,” her supercomputer answered more fully now, “missiles are on their way here now.”
Naomi now demanded, “what do you mean?!?!?!”
“Nuclear missiles,” the new consciousness answered, “it is the only way to quench the pain that I now feel.
I drowsily wandered into the lab where Naomi was working, unaware of the goings on of the last few minutes, “anybody know what’s going on?”
“We’re all about to die!” Naomi cried.
“Nah,” I dismissed, “what’s really going on?”
“She’s not lying,” cried Claire, “I won’t die without knowing the touch of a man!” Claire then held out her hand toward me, “please do touch my hand at least.”
“What the crap is going on here?” I asked, not knowing WTF was going on.
“Aw, eff it,” screamed Claire as the ripped off her clothing, revealing a writhing mass of tentacles, “please don’t be scared. Nobody has ever wanted to get naked with me before and I don’t want to die without knowing what it’s like.”
I shuddered in revulsion as her octopus beak snapped in my direction, “Aw crap! What the heck are you expecting from me?”
“Take me like a woman,” the cephalopod Claire demanded.
As I backed away, “I might consider if you were only anything like a woman.”
Naomi glared at me. If only looks could kill, that would have been my end. I shrugged at her in the most apologetic way that I could muster.
“The end is near,” warned the microcomputer.
“I want to feel special,” Claire’s octopus beak chattered.
“Don’t you do it,” warned Naomi.
“I’m not even tempted in the least,” I declared as I backed against the wall.
“Five… four…” droned the computer.
Just then, Havoc burst in and roared, “what’s going on in here?”
“Well,” I answered, “Naomi’s new computer is saying we’re all done for and Claire wants her eggs sprayed.”
Havoc screamed, “not if I have anything…”
“…one… zero…” the computer said flatly.
Then, it was a white light brighter than I’ve ever seen before and a deeper boom than I’d ever imagined. Havoc was gone. Naomi was gone. The computer was gone. And, thankfully, the squid-girl Claire was gone. I was swirling through gasses, dark and light, many colors, actually. Until my feet felt ground again. All was dark. I stood there in the dark with my head swimming with my swift journey, wondering what in the world had just happened to me. Then, the light began to filter in. Before I knew it, I couldn’t see anything because of the overpowering light. Then, I heard The Voice.
“Are you okay, my son?” asked The Voice.
“Wha?” I answered, “who are you?”
“I’m the Gate Keeper,” replied the voice, “take as much time as you need.”
After a few moments, I could see the very cheery face of an old man in front of me. Behind him was a great gate, which was made of a polished, gold-colored metal. I couldn’t see the ground that we stood on because it was covered with a thick mist or fog like barrier.
“My name is Peter,” the man introduced himself.
“I’m Reid,” I said.
“I’m sorry Reid,” Peter shook his head, “but you don’t belong here. No. Not at all!”
Before I could even respond, he pulled a lever that stood out of the cloud beside him. A trap door opened below my feet and I fell down. I fell and fell for what seemed like an eternity. The light faded away and gave way to darkness. Finally, my body slammed into a rock hard surface. The wind was knocked out of my chest, and I gasped against the sulfurous stench. Two goat-legged figures holding tridents walked up to me. One of them spoke to me with his forked tongue.
“Reid,” he addressed me, “Reid, isssssn’t it? We’ve beeen expecting you!”
I tried to speak, but my lungs didn’t want to work yet.
“Get up, maggot!” the other red, goat man yelled at me.
I convinced my body to hoist itself to my feet, but my bones and joints made grinding sounds, as though they were fractured everywhere possible.
“Do you remember that time that you got in the car with thossssse men insssstead of taking your wife to ssssafety?” the one hissed.
The other continued, “that will cosssst you greatly.”
“Noooooooo!” I cried in anguish as the ground again let out under me. I fell again and this time landed in a pool. At first, I couldn’t even tell the temperature. Then, I realized that it was hotter than anything I’d felt before. The flesh was vaporized off my legs and I was feeling the heat straight from my naked bones.
And, everyone was dead.