Nathan found himself floating in the formless grey fog again. It was darker this time. Heavier. Almost a true black. Each time he found himself here in this prison, the darkness of the void appeared to have seeped in more and more.
He longed to merge with it, to join Eddie, to finally pay for his arrogance. It was his fault his best friend was dead. He tried to get angry, but his prison absorbed it before it could even register. He tried to give up, to allow the void to take him, but something pulled him back every time.
Once again voices cut through the fog, though more distant than before.
“What do you mean there’s only a seventy percent chance your serum will work?”
The anger and incredulity of his father’s tone was palpable. Nathan instinctively tried to shrink away from it. His father intimidated him, even here in this featureless fog.
“That’s not what you told William. I didn’t risk Nathan’s life bringing him …”
“William did not provide adequate data,” another voice cut in. It was a direct contrast to Nathan’s father’s. The stranger’s voice was flat, and nearly devoid of any emotion. If anything the stranger sounded bored, even a little contemptuous as he continued.
“The current charts show severe systemic distress, the liver has completely failed, and his lungs are only operating at forty percent efficiency…”
“Can your damn serum save him or not?” Nathan’s father interrupted, each word clipped and emphasized.
“Yes, but only if the retro-virus makes the necessary changes to his DNA and metabolism before the radiation kills him. As weak as he is, I have my doubts.”
“Keep your doubts to yourself and save my son!” Thomas spat. “That’s what I’m paying you for.”
Time flowed oddly in the grey fog for Nathan, with no external references. Moments drug on for what seemed forever and long periods seemed to pass near instantaneously. Nathan had just enough time to register the stranger’s words about radiation, serums, and viruses before everything changed.
It began as an odd itch at his neck, then suddenly without warning his world turned into a hell of pain and fire.
Then the screams began.