It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Let the games begin... A short story.

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 05:26 AM
It started with a small pain in the solar plexus, this barely noticeable niggle lasted for days. It was the precursor for the oncoming transmutation, the latent DNA working its chemically driven magic on unseen areas under the skin, warping, cracking and reforming bones and cartilage for some unknown purpose……

Elias had never been morning person, unlike his wife Jane, who was generally annoyingly chipper as the sun began its ascent above the glittering horizon. He had been carrying out his usual morning activities, a monotonous series of boring interactions with equally boring everyday objects of personal self-maintenance. His girlfriend Jane had left the house twenty minutes earlier for her equally dismal forty minute drive into the office, she had been complaining of indigestion for a few days now and still didn’t feel quite right but it was an important week for her so she fought through the inconvenience and persevered.

Elias normally used this time to mentally prepare himself for the day ahead and to relax a little with the daily news and a coffee breakfast, but the relentless niggling pain in his chest had caused him to snap out of autopilot and forced him to sit down and contemplate this unwanted and unexpected intrusion. He first noticed the pain 5 days earlier while playing poker with his rather eclectic group of friends and acquaintances… He initially thought it was heartburn caused by the undeniably spicy and fierce collection of snacks and dips laid before them as sustenance, it was true that he and his friends revelled in competition and challenging each other and this intense competitive nature also extended to the choice of snacks and beverages they chose as fuel for the long, smoky and combative night ahead. It persisted until the next morning although never reaching a level of discomfort sufficient to wake him from his slumber that night. Throughout Saturday and Sunday he had battled with the dull ache, trying to keep himself busy to mask the annoyance. As the weekend progressed he also noticed it was as if the world was slowing down… He couldn’t quite put his finger on it but he was sure something was off…

People had been speculating for weeks about the “noises in the sky.” They had been heard all over the world, strange mechanical booms and dull metallic explosions that seemed to be emanating from the Earth’s own atmosphere. Scientists and world leaders in atmospheric phenomena could not explain the source of these strange sounds and the issue had never been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. The noises had stopped two days earlier and again, an explanation as to why was never received by the general populous. If the powers that be knew anything about what was happening they were keeping stchum…. And if Elias’s suspicions we correct they knew about as much as everyone else, which was nothing at all…

Sat at the kitchen table he instinctively bent over double in his chair, face and eyes clenched tight as an unusually sharp pain resonated throughout his chest and shot down his left bicep causing his fingers to tingle and the hairs on his arm to stand on end. He realised that he was now running late, late for a job he hated, late for a meeting with his boss that could well have important implications for the near and long term future. He was up for a promotion and this meeting was meant to be the arena for him to prove to the more senior members of the organisation that he was ready for it, and that he could discharge his new responsibilities with aplomb. Being late would not send a good message to his potential contemporaries.

As the worst of the pain subsided slightly he decided to make a break for it. Hopefully it would remain at a manageable enough level to enable him to complete his journey into work without issue. He worked a lot closer to home than Jane so generally chose to cycle in, unless the weather was particularly inclement or the traffic particularly severe. He did, however, choose to drive on this Monday morning, just wanting to get to his desk as quick as possible and begin the task of trying to isolate the cause of this nagging discomfort as fast as he could. He swilled his coffee mug under the tap and placed it upside down in the sink, then folded the paper neatly and placed it on the side board and headed for the front door. As he clicked open the latch he grabbed his keys from the small table by the door and continued his journey through the building to the shared parking lot in the basement.

Despite the strange feeling he had over the weekend it wasn’t until that Monday morning, driving into work, that he started to really question the unfolding reality all around him. It seemed that the whole world had a hangover that morning, the roads were quiet, the footpaths were empty, shops were closed, it seemed as if everyone had taken a day off at the same time. The people that were out looked forlorn and lethargic, they were going about their daily chores with a look of muted discomfort on their faces, as if the very act of moving from one place to another was suddenly an immense chore.

Elias pulled into his parking space underneath the huge concrete behemoth of an office building he worked in and noted the lack of vehicles in their familiar spots and formations of sub-conscious social obedience. As he propelled himself out of the driver’s seat of his low sitting sports coupe with a groan he turned to see a middle aged man, who he recognised as Jim from the fourth floor analytics department, just entering the stairwell. They’d exchanged pleasantries on many occasions as they arrived at work as they seemed to nearly always arrive at precisely the same time, Elias was convinced Jim was trying to ingratiate himself with him to further his career through the back door knowing that Elias was clearly going places. As he noticed Jim, Jim also noticed him and raised an arm to signal a greeting.
As he raised his arm to shoulder height Elias saw a grimace cross his face and the upward movement of the arm was arrested by some unseen force. The two men lost eye contact as Jim dropped his gaze and contemplated this painful intrusion. He looked up again and shouted to Elias, “I’ll catch up with you inside mate” and Elias watched as he grasped his shoulder with his other hand and begin an exploratory investigation for the source of the pain while absentmindedly beginning his ascent of the desolate staircase. Elias finished securing his vehicle and skipped across the parking lot, he sprang up the stairs 3 at a time only slowing to a sensible pace as he walked out onto this own floor and slinked into his office hopefully unseen. He was hoping that his shoddy timekeeping wouldn’t be noticed by the very people he was hoping to impress that morning…

Elias popped 2 pain killers in his mouth and swilled them down with a cool glass of water from the machine outside his office door hoping that they would provide at least some relief from the ever present pain which seemed to be getting worse as the day went on, In fact, now he thought about it, it had been getting slowly worse since it started 5 days ago. As the cool liquid sloshed around his mouth and slithered down his gullet washing the two medicinal tablets down he felt a hand on his shoulder and he spun round half expecting to see his boss, red faced and furious that he had chosen this particular day to be running late. Jason Jones, his boss, had been the one to champion his ris

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 05:28 AM
Jason Jones, his boss, had been the one to champion his rise to the upper echelons of management, he had been the one to push for the promotion for Elias, he would understandably be angry as this indiscretion on Elias’s part, albeit a minor one. His reputation was also on the line due to his enthusiastic backing of his charge and friend.

He was surprised, however, to see his colleague Simon standing before him, looking as if he too had had a bad weekend if truth be told. Simon was a good worker, a man of integrity, a little too much integrity if Elias was completely honest. In this game you needed to be a little bit ruthless, and generally the more ruthless you are the quicker and further you tended to rise up the ranks, hence Simon’s current and perpetual job title of “Assistant senior junior buyer.”

“We’re mostly on our own today big boy” Simon said, “Half of the staff couldn’t be bothered to come in,”

although they only worked for a small to medium size company this was very unusual.

“What’s wrong with everybody?” Elias asked, “maybe it’s taken until now for that whipping you gave us all at Poker last week to really kick in and now it has they’re all sulking” he said, which caused a whimsical smile to play across Simon's generous lips.

“Don’t know” he replied, “But I’ve whipped them all before, why would this time be any different!”

“What about management?” Elias asked, hoping that the meeting at least would still be on, he had waited a long time for this opportunity and was not happy at the thought of its cancellation at his expense.

“Not a sausage I’m afraid” answered Simon, “All of them have called in sick, and to be honest, I’m thinking about going home myself” he continued, “I’ve got this pain in my chest that’s been bothering me all weekend”……..

“Well that’s strange” said Elias, “I’ve had the same thing for the last few days, and so has Jane, Must be a virus or something, a pretty virulent one given the lack of personnel today!”

“Well, I’ve still got plenty to do today, catch you at lunch man” said Simon and with this he playfully punched Elias in the upper arm and trudged back to his own office down the corridor…..

Elias sat and contemplated their conversation for a while after Simon had left… It was certainly a coincidence that Simon happened to be bothered with the same strange affliction as him and his wife, but not a complete surprise as on occasion in the past it was not unknown for a small proportion of the company to be off at the same time given an illness of sufficient virility and effective dispersion. This seemed different though, It was far more people than usual and could not simply be attributed to a common cold or a bout of transmittable sickness.

He was only now starting to realise that there could be a pattern here, the people on the streets as he drove to work, the lack of people in the office, the apparent slowing down of the world over the weekend, and now the stark fact that he, his wife, and Simon were all feeling this same strange pain in the chest area… Given the evidence it would be safe to assume they were all suffering from the same thing, but given his limited medical knowledge he couldn’t for the life of him work out what it could be….

Elias inadvertently crushed his paper water cup when the tortured scream reached his ears.. It was so unexpected and intrusive in this usually sombre office environment that it took him by complete surprise, he dropped the cup, turned on his heels and hurried towards the source of the sound…

He got half way down the corridor before the pain hit him… It was worse than before, a lot worse. It coursed through his veins like swarms of fire ants, his eyes watering as an involuntary whimper escaped from his own mouth. The tidal wave of pain fired through his nerve endings and caused him to stumble and fall as he continued his journey to help his screaming friend, he crashed headlong into the pot plant situated outside Simon’s office and ended up on the floor just outside writhing in agony but able to see into his colleague’s office…

His friend was laying on his back in the middle of his office floor still screaming like a woman giving birth, the two men made eye contact and each seemed to be pleading with the other to do something to help. Helping his friend had now taken a back seat in Elias’s mind however, he was now attempting to deal with the excruciating pain wracking his own body that was emanating from his solar plexus and effectively paralysing him.

He could feel strange things going on within him, a tingling under the surface of the skin, as if a thousand insects were all burrowing out from the inside and trying to escape through his skin with ravenous intent. Suddenly, with a sickening “pop” his ribs snapped outwards, detached themselves from his sternum and protruded outwards tenting the skin on his chest and threatening to burst out, Elias screamed with increased intensity as he felt his ribs violently burst through the thin wall of skin keeping them encased within his body and ripping his shirt to threads. Arcing ropes of crimson blood sprayed out in all directions as excruciating pain fired through every receptor exploding in his head and limbs…. Elias managed to turn his head slightly and shout at Simon through clenched teeth and blurred vision;


The only response he got from his friend was the same incessant screaming and pained gurgling caused by his own horrifying metamorphosis. Inexplicably this was happening to both of them at precisely the same time and at that exact point Elias couldn’t work out for the life of him why…

Where his ribs had broken through his chest they now began to fold back, opening up his chest cavity to the atmosphere and causing more pain to fire through his now muted pain receptors. Adrenaline was now kicking in as natures defence mechanism, but this was actually having very little effect on the huge swathes of hurt he was feeling at that precise moment. Nature itself was not even prepared for this apparently spontaneous mutation. He felt bone crunching against bone, he felt the cartilage snapping and reforming, each snap causing him to issue a whimper from his now dry, cracked and wobbling lips. He even felt his internal organs moving, rearranging themselves and stretching and twisting his flesh, muscle and ligaments. With each snap his ribs folded back on themselves and fused into new positions as the ligaments between snapped, twisted and re-attached themselves in a new alien formation. The pain was still unbearable and at this point he was beginning to think this may be the end as visions of his life flashed through his half delirious mind. Strangely, at this point he was wondering if he’d left the gas hob on as he rushed out of his flat this morning, the human mind confounding him with its own sense of priority at this critical juncture. This was the last thought that went through his mind before he blacked out…..

It was always present this latent DNA, seeded many centuries ago when humans were primitive and lacked the knowledge to understand the complicated processes involved or indeed the horrific implications..…

Elias awoke an indeterminate amount of time later to a dark and silent office and corridor, he was soaked with blood and lying on his back with the pot plant resting across his legs and soil generously spread all over his crotch. The pain was just about bearable now and

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 05:28 AM
Elias awoke an indeterminate amount of time later to a dark and silent office and corridor, he was soaked with blood and lying on his back with the pot plant resting across his legs and soil generously spread all over his crotch. The pain was just about bearable now and it appeared that the nightmare he remembered prior to blacking out had been very real. He turned his head to look into Simon's office and saw his friend sticking out from under his desk barely conscious. Simon was lying on his back facing away from Elias.

“Simon” he called out with no response, “SIMON” he almost shouted and saw his friend jump as the shout roused him. “What the # is going on mate? Are you ok?”

“Yeah” Simon answered through gritted teeth, “I think so” he said as he rolled over to look at Elias.

“#ING HELL” was the response he got from Elias coupled with a look of shock and confused awe…. Elias was looking wide eyed at his chest and Simon followed his gaze down his torso to see what had Elias so transfixed.

“CHRIST, #, WHAT THE #” was all he could muster when his eyes fell upon his chest and stomach area. His body was not his own any more, his shirt had been ripped off by some unseen force and he could very clearly see that something very strange had happened. He now had a huge hole passing straight through his chest area, about 10” across from nipple to nipple and all the way down to his belly button…..

It was that night that they arrived…. They came in force, they revelled in the mass confusion, the anarchy, the pain and the suffering… They had seen it many times before and felt no compassion for these primal creatures, these creatures that had been assessed, filed, studied and assigned a purpose. They were the game makers, they were making a game and we were the tools, the paraphernalia, the living, breathing pieces in their sick game of #ed up chess…. magnificent human entities reduced to no more than tools with a hole in, pieces in a game, used, abused, and totally humiliated for the enjoyment of these so called superior beings…. The future of mankind is bleak, but the future of the game is secured, and the game is more important than all living things in the universe.

This is the thought that went through the mind of the Second Count of the middle expanse of the Ort cloud colonies as he grabbed a handful of game pieces and looped them onto his left nipple ring ready for the first round….. He reveled in the tiny protestations of the newly acquired pieces in their strange melodic language, they were feisty, and that always guaranteed an exciting game……..

Peter Lowe.

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 05:29 AM
This is my first short story... All comments welcome!

Hope you enjoy the read...


edit on 3-3-2017 by PerfectAnomoly because: Double post.

edit on 3-3-2017 by PerfectAnomoly because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 06:05 AM
a reply to: PerfectAnomoly

Yes, I did enjoy the read. Been doing a lot of that here on Ats lately, short stories and all. Always like something new/original.

Good bit of work there mate.

Would enjoy more if you post.

kind regards,


posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 06:43 AM
Well, that took me on a ride. Sci-fi is my fav. It was GREAT! Loved your buildup and details. More, please!

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 07:16 AM
a reply to: bally001

Thanks for the kind comments, was great fun to write...

I may expand upon this story.... Watch this space.


posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 07:17 AM
a reply to: Justso

Thanks for the kind comments.... Glad you enjoyed it!

Not sure whether to expand upon this one or start a completely different one...

Either way, watch this space.


posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 09:00 AM
a reply to: PerfectAnomoly

Oh please expand-it was so captivating!

posted on Mar, 3 2017 @ 10:57 AM
Couldn't stop reading. Excellent.

I, too, will be looking for more.

new topics

top topics


log in