Elemental Emotions – Episode 7

Episode 7: Darker Times

The tower rose high into the air, reaching for a sky that wore a light shrug of white cloud. A man in his thirties spoke to a young woman nearly ten years younger than him. In her arms, a squirming bundle reached chubby arms up to pull at the long hair left loose on a calm day.

“Doctor,” a young man half his age moved up next to him. “And Mrs. Oliver.”

“Hello Dae,” she greeted kindly. Easily she relinquished her bundle to Dae after he’d boldly shoved the book he carried into the doctor’s hands.

“Look how big you’re getting Anthony!” he lifted the chubby boy into the air. “Your mom must be so tired carrying you. Aren’t you walking yet?”

The woman laughed softly, “not yet. Though he did pull himself up to his feet yesterday!”

“The first signs of independence,” Dae cautioned with a laugh. “Next thing you know, he’ll be off to university just like his dad did.”

“Oh my, don’t even talk like that. I want him to stay little forever,” she took her son back and snuggled him, much to the child’s delight. “I’m sure you two have much to do today. Anthony and I will let you get to it.”

Dae cautioned, “it looks to be quite warm today. Make sure you stay inside as much as you can.”

“We will,” she smiled with warmth. To her husband she nodded, looking a touch sad as she did.

“Still wasting time on that old text, Dae?” the doctor handed the book back.

“It’s your book,” Dae laughed.

“You’ve read it more times than I have.”

The young man shrugged, “that was before I knew I’d get to work with you. Your insight into the Primal lines is revolutionary!”

He looked with bored questioning, “I’m laughed out of every convention.”

“Not every one,” he smiled. They began walking towards the tower.

“Your comic book ones don’t count.”

“Who cares what a bunch of narrow-minded, short-sighted sheeple think?” Dae was light, even flippant in his approach to life. “You broke down the physiology of every Primal.”

“Nearly all,” the truth made his jaw tighten.

Dae pressed on, “thanks to your work, we know that evolution doesn’t play a role in their existence. We know that…”

“We still don’t know how they were first created,” he pointed out as they moved towards the research centre.

“Or why,” Dae acknowledged.

“I don’t care about why,” he wanted to steer the young mind down the right path. At the questioning look, he explained, “motivations will always change. I don’t care why they were created, I care how they were created so that we can further manipulate the bloodlines to our advantage.”

Dae touched his arm. A rare touch that he wasn’t comfortable with. Dae continued unaware, his voice low and face turned away from the centre, “the last two hires we sent out have not returned. This is the second time. They’re going missing.”

“Because we’re not meant to know the truth,” he already knew this.

“We’re scientists!” Dae was uncharacteristically upset. “We have a need to know.”

Before his junior went off on a tirade, he interrupted, “not according to those above us. If we want the truth, we’re going to have to find it ourselves.”

“We’ll be killed,” Dae cautioned.

He gave a careless shrug, “a risk. But they proved their worth somehow.”

“Who?” Dae was baffled. His light brown eyes grew wide with understanding, “whoever is above us? How do we know they didn’t buy their way in?”

“We don’t,” he admitted simply. “But my intelligence is what I have to offer. They will accept it.”

Dae held a look of doubt.

He changed the focus of their discussion, “are we set up?”

“Yes, minus the subject,” frustration was clear in the young voice.

“Don’t worry about that.”

Commotion up the road drew their attention. A caravan of soldiers were making their way closer. Dust rose on the near horizon. The heavy woods surrounding them were good cover.

“What do they want?” Dae sounded unimpressed.

As would he if not for one thing, “I invited them.”

“You?” Dae was understandably caught off guard. “You rarely let the military come here.”

He corrected, “I rarely give the military an excuse to come here. They are not in my control. But this time, there was a good reason to invite them.”

A small caravan of three military vehicles approached. Three soldiers per vehicle for the first and last of the caravan. Seasoned soldiers carrying weapons unless they drove. At the epicentre, the larger of the uncovered vehicles held one man of rank and ego, three soldiers, and a trio garbed in heavy cloaks with the hoods pulled low over their faces. One tall and slender, the other two at less than half her height. Shackles on their wrists made a soft clanking noise that carried on the gentle wind. Tight collars kept the hoods from slipping back. They would see nothing until allowed to.

The vehicles came to a stop. The man in charge stood up, “Dr. Byron Oliver?”

“Yes. Capt. Vania, I presume.”

“Commander,” was the curt correction. Title mattered to those holding rank. With stiff pride he exited the vehicle. The others followed, and those in hoods were pulled to the ground.

“We are ready for you,” he moved on without comment.

The new commander gave a signal. Four of his men moved to escort the trio inside the facility. The commander followed with head high and shoulders broad.

“Commander?” Dae whispered. “He can’t be older than me!”

He shook his head, “those who lack intelligence, exert force. But I suppose the military has some use. They alone have access to demons, after all. Make the final preparations. Today, we break down the last of the Primal lines.”

Dae stopped short, fear and shock radiated off him. An explanation was not coming. Now was the time for action. Dae forced his legs to move him ahead.

Though outside appearance belied much of it, the facility was large; deep with a thick tower that rose high into the air. The bulk of the building lay hidden beneath the surface. Inside the lobby security greeted them, allowing them access to an elevator. They moved downwards.

When the doors opened to the desired level, Dae was in action, “gather two of our stronger Elementals, bring them down immediately. Sanitize the stations again. Take swabs and label them properly.”

The lab hummed with activity. The moments before an experiment were always the most thrilling! He watched. The undertone of excitement rested mutely within his gaze.

He turned that gaze to the commander, “which is our subject?”

“The woman,” cold and dangerous.

“A fresh specimen would be better,” he noted distastefully.

“A fresh specimen is a costly and deadly purchase to smuggle,” was the reminder. “When she was turned, she killed three accomplished Elementals before being subdued.”

The techs amid the room looked uneasy.

Unaffected, he glanced to the two other prisoners, “those two?”

A chilling gaze rested upon them, “are her sons.”

“Human still?”

“Yes. Twins,” the voice lacked any warmth.

“Identical?” he was hopeful.

“Fraternal,” the truth destroyed all hope.

Yet, “we’ll make do. But we’ll make do on my terms.”

“I don’t care what you do with them.”

“Fine,” he conceded. “There’s an inn…”

“I will watch.”

“Dae will show you the observation room.” He too would not show any emotion beyond angered annoyance.

Dae sent a questioning look his way. This was unusual, and also unavoidable. He gestured with a nod of his head. Dae moved off, offering to get the commander a drink.

The Elementals were brought in. Young kids that were inexperienced yet powerful. He gestured at Dae’s retreating back, “place one with the commander. The other will stay in here.”

The young boy was sent to follow after Dae. If anything happened, the commander would be protected. The young girl was directed to a place near the tables. Her gaze did not leave the ground.

“Get her ready,” he gave the order.

The little Elemental flinched. But it was needlessly, for his interest was not her.

“Yes doctor,” one of the techs replied.

The soldiers around the woman began unlocking the chains which held her. Sensing the danger, the young Elemental looked up. The faint hint of light began to form in her eyes. She knew not what she faced, only that her power may be called upon.

“Dr. Oliver, sir?” one of the younger and inexperienced techs gathered enough courage to come forward.

“What?” he was curt and rude.

There was a nervous bob of the head, “the children. What would you like done with them?”

His eyes found the two young, hooded forms standing mutely. “Take one to the secondary laboratory and secure it.”

“Yessir,” the young tech again bobbed his head.

One of the soldiers roughly took a hold of a slight shoulder. Silent, it followed the direction of the soldier. Dae passed them as they walked out.

The woman was now ready. The chains holding her secure were in the hands of a soldier. The others stood close by should she act out. But the demon before them was vastly depleted. Hollow and sunken, black eyes stared vacantly ahead to the ground. Thin, dark brown hair was matted to her head. The frail body was little more than skin over bones now. Translucent skin revealing black blood slowly moving through thick veins. She was close to the end of her life. Even the demon’s power within her would not be enough to force the corpse to continue on.

She was led to the table where she complied when placed upon it. Heavy straps reinforced with chains moved into place over each limb, over the torso, and over the forehead. He looked at the bonds with critical eyes.

“She’s not much of fighter,” Dae was concerned.

As was he, “grab samples of her blood before we begin. Then prep the child.”

“The child?” Dae was surprised. “Do we know if he’s uncontaminated?”

“Take blood samples. The results will tell us what we need to know.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to wait for the testing to come back?” Dae was pulling out syringes and vials for the samples.

“There isn’t the time,” he dismissed the idea. “The demon Primal line exists only to kill. It does not eat, it does not sleep. Slowly the host body is consumed by madness and will eventually die. She is in the final stages. I doubt she will last till the results are back.”

“We’d be able to see if the child is compatible with the demon infection without killing a potential test subject,” Dae moved to the woman. There was no reaction from the eyes; about the only part of her that could move right now. The black eyes simply stared blankly into the unknown. Five vials of thick, slow moving black blood were drawn and labelled meticulously by Dae. One of the other techs waited nearby to take the completed tray to the storage fridges.

His gaze darkened with thought, “they share a bloodline. That will have to be enough for these circumstances. His mother’s blood was compatible. His might be too. If not, we have a spare.”

The young boy was brought forward next. Shackles on his wrists and the collar around the neck were the only restraints to hold him. The cloak was pulled off. Just a boy with hair that was darker than his mother’s. Even at his young age, and her depleted state it was easy to see a hint of elegance that they shared. But it was the nose and the eyes which marked them as related.

Dae was wrapping up things with the mother. So, the physical inspection fell to him. He lifted the hair to view the ears; human. Teeth were also average human teeth. No fur on the arms. No hardening of the skin. No bumps or protrusions on the back. “No signs of Primal infestation. Get him on the other table.”

One of the other techs did as told. The boy was lifted to the table. Slight and almost frail, as many young boys are, he was nearly too small for the table. The straps were somewhat adjustable though, allowing for them to be moved to fit the small frame. Same as his mother, heavy straps were reinforced with chains. The one meant for the chest nearly covered his entire torso under the arms. The one for his forehead left only his mouth visible.

Dae came in with a fresh needle and vials. The thick needle slid into the exposed arm. If the boy’s facial expressions belied any pain, it was hidden beneath the strap meant for a forehead. Quick moving, red blood flowed into the vials. Human blood. Again, it was labelled with care before being carried off.

A machine was wheeled over. Techs ran about the room documenting vitals of both subjects. Dr. Byron Oliver watched it all with critical eyes. Not a single mistake would be allowed. This was his final and most elusive Primal. If any answers were critical, it would be the ones they would obtain today!

“I want a flatline for two minutes before we begin the transfusion. Monitor and document all vitals of both subjects throughout the procedure.”

Lab techs ran about performing duties. Transfusion lines were inserted. Dae was the one to start the machine. The boy’s blood was the first to enter containment. Machines gave visuals to his vitals, telling them all they needed to know. The steady beating of the heartrate monitor was baffling. The heart should be racing with adrenaline by now. Yet, the boy was calm. Unusual and questionable. He wasn’t the only one to pick up on this. But it was too late to stop now. The woman died more and more with every moment that passed. Her blood would soon be hard, marking the end for the disease she carried.

The flatline sounded out. The boy had lost too much blood and was now dead. Dae started the two-minute timer. Lines inserted into the woman were now connected to the machine. The boy’s were disconnected. New lines were being placed on him while the woman’s demon blood began to slowly transfer to the machine.

“Don’t remove the needle or you won’t get the vein back,” Dae cautioned the tech which had moved to the boy.


Dr. Oliver watched the demon blood with salivating interest. The crawl to the containment unit was unbearable! The chamber walls were clear for a very vital reason. As the first heavy drop of demon blood reached the chamber, he turned off the flow of the infection. At the slowest crawl, the infected blood sent that single, thick drop down to its kin blood. Intently he watched the battle which exploded!

Black demon blood reacted violently to the red cells of the boy’s blood. Defenseless, the boy’s blood could only be consumed by the voracious appetite of the demon. It swirled manically within the sea of red. Reacting as though a battle were indeed taking place. The black thinned, suggesting that it would lose the battle yet. They’d seen the results of that before. A process that began with heavy breathing, brought on profuse sweating, turned the skin ashen, and led to violent convulsions. Death came slowly. Today, the clear chambers would allow them to see either the bonding of the demon infection or they would see what happened when both sides lost. Everyone in the room watched with bated breath.

The human eye could not see on a cellular level. They probably shouldn’t have been able to see anything. But they did. Darkness spread throughout the chamber. A rapid pace within the two minutes the boy lay dead on the table. And disproportionate to the ratio of blood to infection. Much like a drop of dye within a glass of water, the infection flowed about. But instead of being diluted, the darkness seemed to hold a steady color as it grew. It was clear that all it took was a single drop of demon blood.

The timer for the two minutes was up. To Dae he said, “run the blood back into his body.”

“If he doesn’t revive?” Dae questioned.

“Then he doesn’t survive,” it was a cold response.

Dae didn’t question it. They withdrew the demon’s lines and reconnected the boy’s new ones. The boy’s infected blood ran quickly back through the lines. Was it the ratio of human blood to infection? Was it something more?

“Is it the introduction of new cells to feed upon that revitalize the demon blood?” He’d murmured the question to himself. To Dae, “make sure you keep enough of the infected blood to test.”

“That’s more than a sample. The boy will have deficient blood to sustain his body. Those infected don’t eat, meaning his body won’t be able to produce new cells. For all we know, the demon blood kills the heart.”

He nodded, “when we’re done, we’ll cut her open before the blood completely hardens. I want to see the internal organs of a living demon.”

Dae looked to the other techs, “move her to the secondary lab and begin preparations. We don’t have much time.”

Intrigued by the experiment before them, Dr. Oliver moved to the boy. He was pale and lifeless. “How long before the demon infection revives you?”

The boy spat; an uncontrollable reaction to the experimental procedure. Life, in a way, was returning to the child.

“Watch that the blood does not get on you,” he looked at the blood spots upon the sleeve of his lab coat. It was what the boy had coughed up. Though darker in color than it should be, the blood looked normal.

“Why?” one of the techs was an idiot.

“I suspect demons were the first creation,” he watched the boy turning demon begin to fight with every ounce of energy the young body had. It was surprising how much it contained. The restraints were strained under the pressure of the young body writhing in pain.

“Creation?” Dae was the one to question.

He finally let loose a theory he’d had for some time, “science, not evolution. Certainly not God. I suspect Primals were first created by man.”

“Primals are a disease,” Dae pointed out. “Your research suggests that with the other lines.”

“A disease created by man,” he agreed.

“But the Primal Wars were because of the Primals’ lust for power,” Dae pointed out. “Why would we create a disease that killed thousands in that war?”

It was a voice over the speakers that provided an amendment. A voice protected from behind heavy glass. “Hundreds of thousands.”

He cast a look towards the glass. He saw only his own reflection.

The commander’s voice continued, “you are on the right path, Dr. Oliver. Though it’s never been written down to my knowledge, you still managed to uncover some of the truth. Primals are a manmade construct. Man’s greed against nature’s vengeance. We were losing, destined to become extinct ourselves just as we’d done to countless species.”

“But why make Primals?” Dae questioned. “Was it intended?”

It was Dr. Oliver that suspected he knew the answer, “scientists were tasked with making a dying race live longer and stronger, relying less on the resources man had depleted.”

“Correct doctor,” the voice behind glass acknowledged. “Within the limits of science, they urged evolution down a different path.”

“Not a disease,” he put it together with anger lighting his eyes.

Dae breathed the words, “a mutation!”

He continued to speculate, “a species that feeds and consumes less; vampire.”

“A bastardized version of the tales, to be sure.”

“Scientists created Primals with the intent of turning all humans for the purpose of survival?” Dae was sceptical.

“I doubt all humans would have been chosen,” he was realistic, and savvy to the military’s ways.

The smile that couldn’t be seen, could be heard in the voice that spoke to them, “not all, I’m sure. A chosen number after the experiments were completed.”

“But something went wrong,” he looked to the boy on the table.

“Man is greedy and impatient. Both become dangerous in scientific hands. Demons were created quite by accident. How they were, and how they got out into the world is a truth buried in time,” the voice was dark with anger. “Now you know the why. With your research we can finally begin to understand how.”

“That’s why you agreed to my request,” he was back to looking at the mirror.

The voice laughed, “I agreed to your request because few take you seriously.”

Anger narrowed his vision, “yet, I’m closer to the truth than any of them.”

“That makes you dangerous unless controlled. Do you want to know more?”

He wanted to retort, but desire had him nod stiffly, “yes.”

“Fearing another mistake that would lead to another war, we’ve long kept science in the dark about the Primal origins.” There was a bitter laugh, “but as our numbers grow once more, war among humans is inevitable! And I would rather see our side hold the advantage.”

The bonds broke free! The demon-child was on his knees, crouched and ready for his first kill. He threw his arm out in an arc to cover the room. Blood droplets flew outwards to coat and contaminate. Blood that was taken from the chest of the boy’s own body when his fingers cut the skin. Blood slowly began to seep into the material of the shirt he wore. For the first time, the eyes of the boy focused upon Dr. Oliver. Calm yet murderous, those black eyes took the breath from the entire room.

He stared back at the demon, “you’re trying to infect the room!”

There was no response for a tense moment. Techs stood about the room fearful to move. Dae glanced at the blood which threatened the purity of their experiment. Thick blood dripped slowly from the fingers of the boy’s outstretched hand.

And then, in an instant no one could understand, the demon-boy’s focus and demeanor completely shifted. The head snapped slightly to the left, as though he’d heard something. Black eyes stared through the glass of the observation window to that which none of them could see. What was happening on the other side was unknown. What happened on this side frightened them all.

The demon launched from the table. His power sent the table across the room behind him as though it were a folding table. Black wings made of smoke emerged from the demon’s back, sending him forward with even greater momentum. The darkest growl emerged from depths within the small body it shouldn’t have held. And then, with his face fearlessly up, he smashed into the glass! It fractured and cracked like a spiderweb.

On the opposite side of the glass, the commander stared at the figure beyond the glass. At the impact, he’d taken an involuntary step back. The Elemental child had as well. The fear so evident on the child’s face was reflected within the commander’s eyes. His heart raced faster as the darkened eyes held his gaze through glass humans on that side could not see through. Black blood oozed out around the face. The wings pushed forward to place greater strain on the glass. In time, it would give way.

“Get the restraints!” Dr. Oliver barked the order with all the authority of a great general.

“Is that even a demon?” the nearest tech was terrified!

“Whatever it is, the host body is unconscious, if not dead, after a hit like that. It’s only the infection that now acts. It is unfocused. The time to act is now! Get that Elemental up here to do its job.”

Behind them the young girl trembled in fear. Upon her face heavy spots of darkened blood rested. The tail end of the arc had splashed upwards on her face.

“Dr. Oliver,” Dae’s tense voice turned the scientist’s head.

Everyone turned to look. Everyone except the commander and the demon-boy. Hatred burned in the eyes that stared through the glass. Understanding began to light the commander’s, “you know.”

In the other room, the demon blood was taking over the glowing mark within the Elemental’s eye. Slowly, the blackness was moving to her other eye, running along the veins and turning the soft brown iris black. Darkness began to slip into her hair color.

A heavy thud had the scientists turning back around. The demon-boy sat crouched upon the floor. His black soulless eyes stared across the room. Looking back, they saw the Elemental crouch in the same fashion.

Her head titled and she spoke a single utterance, “mmmaaaaee.”

The smoky wings of the demon-boy fell slowly to the floor. He said nothing. Through the cuts which leaked blood over his face, the calm and murderous eyes stared at the Elemental he had infected. Death was imminent. There would be few survivors.

The commander turned from the fractured glass. His voice uncaring as he addressed the Elemental, “let’s go.”

“That little boy,” Zene’s hands pressed to her lips. She breathed his name, “Nevetes!”

Down, within the pages of the book they had read from, familiar calm and murderous dark eyes stared back at them. Though only a sketch, the resemblance was unmistakable. From beside her, blackness began to take over the red hue she knew so well now.

“No,” she held his arm.

“Human?” the voice was not the Nevetes she knew.

Fearfully, she stepped back. And yet, “this doesn’t change who you are. Not to me!”

“Human?” he demanded of Anthony.

The wraith could not hold his gaze.

The book was sent flying when Nevetes violently threw it across the room. The warmth of the red within his eyes was completely consumed by darkness. From behind his teeth, “there is nothing human about me.”

Shadow wings, so like and unlike Mae’s, flowed out of him. Bursting outward they pushed the jacket off his shoulders and knocked Zene to the floor. His fingers flexed to bare the claws. Wings furled around him. The proud shoulders now hunched forward. His head was tilted down, his black eyes saw only the anger raging within him. His jacket fell heavily next to her.

“I will rip their throats out!”

He cast his hand at the window, shattering it with nothing more than the gesture. Fury rolled off in waves behind his speeding form. The dark mass that was his body was thrown out of the window where his smoky wings caught the air and carried him far from the truth. And far from her. A tremble shook the hand that couldn’t reach him.