Maroo! That’s where she finally decided to go. The brochure promised plenty of things to do, including dune bashing which was something she had always wanted to try. Plus, and most importantly, it was cheap. For the longest time she had wanted to travel but never had enough money to go anywhere…well, she had some money but, everywhere she wanted to go cost too much money and she had almost given up hope until today, when that flame was renewed. Nita needed a break and had made up her mind, she was going on a summer vacation!!
Those first few days of her week long holiday were magic. She spent hours on the pristine beaches swimming and surfing and just lying on the sand till it was time to go back to her hotel room. She explored the town on foot and was amazed at how big malls housing all the big foreign brands existed parallel to old vendors with nothing but baskets to hold their wares. There were luxurious cars and ancient bicycles all moving on the same roads and even the people were a strange contrast of the ancient and the modern with the children dressed in Europe’s’ finest while the older folk work traditional outfits. It was turning out to be the holiday of her dreams. She saved the best for last and booked an overnight safari trip just a couple of days before she had to return to her dreary old life.
Nita’s first glimpse of the desert took her breath away. A never ending majestic expanse of golden sand constantly changing position and place in the hot desert winds. Sand that was so hot during the day, it could burn your feet through your shoes and sand that was so cold at night, you could freeze to death if you weren’t protected. It was beautiful in a terrible sort of way but she wished she didn’t have to leave. Away in the distance, marring her perfect view was a concrete structure. It seemed strange to have a facility out there, in literally the middle of no-where and Nita felt her curiosity piqued.
“What’s that?” she asked her local guide who was like everything else in the city a mix of the old and the new in his colourful headgear, traditional clothes and Ray-Ban sunglasses.
“Oh, Ms. Nita,” he replied, “It’s science facility of government. Not many activity there now.”
“Science facility? What kind of work did they do?”
“I is not too sure Ms. Nita. Animals were taken there one time I think. Before many years. Now, I think all is quiet…”
Nita gazed out into the distance and wondered what experiments took place in that stone monument in the middle of the sand. She didn’t think it looked abandoned but then, the guide should know. She imagined it bustling with activity with scientists and labs and those poor animals….she was lost in her slightly dark reverie when a fellow traveler tugged at her arm and pointed at the line of dune buggies a little in the distance. She grinned and ran towards the desert vehicles along with all the others in her little party spending the next few hours riding the dunes having the most fun of her life before returning to the tent for a local feast.
Nita collapsed in the tent so glad she had come on this trip hardly believing that her time in the sun was almost over. She weren’t sure when she fell asleep but suddenly, Nita woke up to something that sounded like an old bomb-siren. She bolted out of her tent, blinking in the near pitch darkness and looked around her. The sound seemed to be coming from the abandoned science facility where there was a beacon shining out in the darkness and what looked like a hell of a lot of activity. She could see dark figures moving on the walls of the building with something that looked like blow torches. She couldn’t understand it and while she was trying to make sense of what she saw, she was joined by others who had woken up because of the noise.
“Mamma what’s that?” little Amy asked pointing to something in the sand.
Nita and the others looked to where Amy was pointing and sure enough, there was something moving in the cool desert sand. As it got closer, there was a strange rustling and clicking noise that seemed to be emerging from the wave coming towards them. But no one knew what it meant. The guide who had gone back to the main tent to bring out a torch walked towards the sea of darkness and disappeared over a dune. Suddenly, they heard him scream.
“RUN!!!! Giant scorpions!!! Giant scorpions!!!!”
No one reacted at first, they just thought he was using the wrong words as he often did, English not being his native tongue. But the terror on his face as he got closer to them was enough to strike fear in them all. Nita looked at the dune behind him and there following him was a sea of scorpions the size of small dogs coming towards them at a terrifying pace. Suddenly everyone was screaming. Everyone was running.
When she opened her eyes, at first she didn’t know what it was that woke her, but in no time, she felt like her skin was on fire. It was as if someone had doused her in kerosene and set her alight. She was in so much pain, even the restraints they had placed on her couldn’t hold her down and the nurses had to rush in. All she wanted was it to stop. They gave her a shot to sedate her and just before she passed out again, she turned to the beds next to her and saw a long long line of others who seemed to be suffering the same fate….
Someone had turned on the news and that woke her up again. Everyone was watching with looks of horror on their faces. All over the city, scorpions of monstrous proportions were running amok and authorities were doing their best to capture and destroy the beasts. Thousands had been stung and only the very young or the very old had died, the rest were suffering in hospitals in different parts of the city. It appeared that the military scientists in the facility had been conducting experiments on these creatures to unleash them on the enemy….the sting of these scorpions wouldn’t kill you instantly, just render you insane with pain. They needed a cure…but, the scientists were far from providing one. The authorities were calling it a military-scientific experiment gone awry…that’s when she fell into restless slumber again…
She had wanted adventure….
Another Chuck Wendig challenge. Hope you liked it!