Chapter 49: II



12:00 and thirty-four seconds a.m. on New Year’s Day, and as The Bear of Berlin saw Kodek’s gun aiming up at his head, rising through the air between them like some slow-motion action set-piece in a seventies Walter Hill flick, he knew exactly what had just happened: He’d been set up. Set up by The Brain for trying to re-assign a hit on him when Bear and Kodek had met together in Germany for the first/second time. That was back during Oktoberfest…

He’d been set up, but at least he’d tried to pull that black thing from Anna’s guts before (Kodek thinks I’m trying to kill her!)

Kodek pulled the trigger, and Bear’s brains Jackson Pollocked the dancefloor.



Brain though he was going to have a fucking heart attack by the time he dropped Bear, still sleeping off the tranquilizer, onto the couch inside the brick apartment of the tenement. In the living room close to the tiny kitchen Brain was using a second-hand dining room table as an operating table, and Zarana was lying quietly atop, not unconscious, she was currently catatonic. Which pretty much suited Brain just fine, he wasn’t going to have to deal with her for a while yet. But he was going to have to deal with the big fucking Bear of Berlin, PDQ.

Larry the Brain went over to Zarana and swept the linen sheet off of her, her body was naked below the waist. Brain slipped on a Nitrile glove and fingered Zarana up her vagina, wiggling the fingers inside her lax flesh, until he felt the pinch on his fingertips. Then he inserted his thumb, and eased his entire fist into her cavity. He could feel the baby fangs scraping against the back of his hand as he pressed on, thankful that at this stage they were still somewhat soft and flexible, still, the edges of the creature’s bite caused brain to wince. The tentacle had short, this swaths of nettle spikes along the bottom of the flesh, and the stinging sensation went all the way up his arm when he closed his fingers around the tongue-like muscle. And then he squeezed his fist closed and yanked with all his might.

A few seconds later, as he was force-feeding the endless tongue down Bear’s throat, he woke up, his eyes wide, no doubt unable to comprehend why he was still able to breath during the short-spiked tongue-tentacle’s crawl down his throat. Bear’s eyes looked down the length of the black-slick abomination and saw that the other end (endless) was still making its way out of the hooker’s vagina from all the way across the room.

Oh, shit.

Brain walked to the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee while he waited. No rush. The alien sedative that was excreted through the soft/sharp nettle-spikes on the creature’s underside would keep Bear paralyzed until it finished it’s journey into the man’s organs.

And then Brain could start the process of re-programming Bear. To send him out to kill his friend Kodek and his wife Anna, and thereby, just maybe, preventing his own theoretical future demise.

If anyone had a chance of killing Kodek, it would be a friend of his. Lord knew his enemies had no fucking chance…


Over at the coffee shop, on the side of the highway leading out of town, Lizzie, Petersen and Kodek were taking up a booth by the window. They were all drinking coffees, black. Or at least, they’d all bought coffees. At that moment all three cups were sitting idly on the diner table, untouched and losing steam.

So what now?” Petersen asked.

I don’t know,” Lizzie said. “I think destroying Brain’s lab probably hurt him. Or hopefully, put a little dent in his plans.” she looked over at Kodek. “You remember us, sitting across from each other, back in San Francisco?”

Kodek managed a small smile. He’d been sitting there in silence, thinking, since they’d brought the coffees over. He looked at the last of the steam coming out of the full cup and tried to gauge how much time he’d been sitting there pondering for. He couldn’t guess. “Of course I remember,” he said, and at least his smile broadened.

You met The Bear after that.”

Yeah… Why did you give me those documents?” he asked her.

Her own smile faded. “I knew you’d do something with them. I knew you were a good guy.”

At that point in time, I had the feeling that you were trying to kill Anna.”

Lizzie said nothing at that. “I have a feeling, that somewhere along one of the timelines of the universe, I might have. I don’t know. I have no memory of that, or trying to do it, and I can’t say that I really ever did. I do know Brain was rabidly trying to have your wife whacked. That’s why I went in and saved her.”

Saved her?”

Yeah,” Lizzie said, giving him the you-must’ve-known look. “I went in through one of Brain’s portals. In his lab.”

Kodek obviously still didn’t get it.

The fucking alien thing in the lab freezer? Remember that?”

I sure as hell do,” Petersen said, his head low, his eyes focused on his own cup of coffee just as Kodek’s had been over the last twenty minutes.

Right? I went there to his lab, rogue, made like I was crazy. Like he could manipulate me. I got myself back to Shotgun Mary’s and switched us.”


Me and Anna. I manipulated her timeline and got her to be in the kitchen of the diner, thinking she was the cook. She wasn’t the cook. OR, not before I fucked with the timeline, anyway. She was the waitress.”

That’s why you had her nametag!”

Sometimes you can’t fuck with inanimate objects, so unfortunately, her nametag stayed on the uniform, but I was trying to be quick.”

Because of the Alpha waves.”

Lizzie raised an eyebrow. “How did you know that?”

You told me … I thought… Or Anna?…” for a moment, Kodek went back into heavy-thinking mode. “Shit, I guess some part of me, deep down, though you might have been another version of Anna. Like maybe you were her in some point…”

Lizzie shrugged. “I guess that’s possible, too.”

What the fuck are you guys talking about?” Petersen asked. He looked stressed out and frustrated. He shot his attention over to Lizzie. “Weren’t you just another fucking actress for The Corporation’s propaganda department?”

Officially, yes. But, like you guys, I’ve also been trained in combat and weapons. All of us have been. They train us and arm us to the teeth and then Larry ‘The Brain’ fucks with our heads – which is exactly why he had that nickname coined for him, by the way – and then place us in some seemingly regular or mundane work in different departments of The Corporation. Shit,” she laughed, “Kodek is one of the most skilled hitmen on the planet. And we were supposed to believe he got himself a job as a friggin’ copywriter? Ha! That was them, messing with the timeline Alpha waves, making it seem like we were all making our own decisions!”

And then you found the documents. And probably more, right?” Kodek asked. “More evidence?”

Not much more,” she said. “Like you, probably, I’m sure we all felt deep down that we’d been… displaced.

Trained like the rest of us? Not me,” Petersen declared. “I’m just an ad man.”

Yeah?” Lizzie Challenged, “then why the hell were you so good at defending yourself against that army of bat-shit aliens?!”

It was one of those moments where just as you say something a little too loud, the entire joint goes quiet. Lizzie looked around. Sure enough, they were all staring at her and her friends. “Crap.”

Kodek tried to put on a shit-eating grin for the coffee shop crowd. “I think we should get the hell out of here,” He suggested through closed teeth.

Lizzie agreed.



It was Anna and Kodek’s house. Kodek wasn’t there. Anna came out of the bathroom, barefoot on the carpet and her pregnant belly protruding out of her hanging-open bathrobe. Her hair was still wet from the shower.

Her feet stopped on the hallway carpet. Anna’s eyes glared into those of the woman standing in front of her.

Zarana pointed the .44 handgun down onto the top curve of Anna’s belly. That way, the bullet would go clean through the fetus and Anna might die of blood loss, but Anna would be inconsequential at that point, so Zarana really didn’t give a shit.

Outside the house Petersen was waiting in the Buick parked up on the curb, the engine still running. He felt like Ryan O’Neal in that Walter Hill film, The Driver. His adrenaline was pumping. I’ve been trained for this, he tried to remind himself. And smiled…

Anna reflexively put her hands up and cried, “No!” and just then Zarana’s head spun around because the front door crashed in and they both watched as Kodek and Lizzie came running inside, both with .44 handguns drawn, Kodek already raising his at Zarana and yelling something that crashed through Anna’s head like “GET DOWN!” but it was all a cacophony at that point, and somebody did fire, but it was Lizzie’s head that exploded in blood, splattering all over the living room wall and she crashed forward into the mouth of the hallway and the was blood splattering everywhere, Kodek was screaming something but Anna couldn’t tell if it was actually words or not, or just some warrior cry, but it was okay, she was already hunkered down, she realized, and then something hit her –

The back of Zarana’s legs. Zarana toppled over Anna, crashing backwards down onto the hallway floor, her arms spread out, her gun hitting the wall, blood spraying like a fountain from her throat.

Hey man, nice shot.

And one of her eyes. Two shots? Had to have been. She was dead before her back his the carpet, her insides painting the white hallway walls with crimson, and Kodek still screaming something…


Anna was turning to look at her already, and then–



Too late, Anna was looking, and that black thing practically sprayed up from both Zarana’s mouth and the fatal opening in her throat, speeding towards a new host, a new killer host, so it could feed hungrily on the Gamma waves of a trained assassin.

In the background, Kodek still yelling. Anna could feel the black slimy splatter slithering its way across her face and into her orifices – her hears, nose, mouth, the edges of her eyes, and she tried so hard to scream out and her mind frantically flashed on Kodek and her baby–

But only for a second in time.


They were on the roadside edge of a cliff. She fired the bazooka, clearly aiming straight at him, and yet Kodek was filled with relief when the Mini Cooper exploded in a ball of furious orange flame and black smoke behind her. Most of the twisted metallic remnants made it over the cliff that time. But the relief quickly dissipated when Kodek realized that not only did Anna NOT shoot the Mini Cooper, that it had in fact exploded due to its own burning interiors, but that she had managed to fire the bazooka-weapon at him, and he was (not exploded into tiny pieces of crispy/bloody flesh) now covered in some kind of dark-beer-colored goo/slime that was somehow strangling him as if it had a mind of its own. Horrifyingly, as blood began to seep through the shirt and jacket at his arm, wrist, and the right side of his chest (and even a little from the upper part of his right cheek) it only served to lubricate the blob flesh, mixing with its own browny goo, and Kodek’s grip on the abominable Lovecraftian creature began to literally slip away.

To be continued…


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