Getting Under His Skin
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He used to be bored at work, but now he actively hated it. After the Tempest Night, everyone had been terrified that that hybrid of the Lizard and the wire weed would start killing everyone with exploding monitors or crushing them in blast doors or something, but what happened was possibly worse.

It spoke to them.

It had assumed control of the PA system pretty quickly, and started using it almost immediately; endless streams of hatred and promises of gore and threats of unimaginably painful death… It poured from every intercom, every speaker, every monitor on the site. At first the higher-ups had forbidden anyone from coming within 10 feet of any of the PA speakers, but after a couple of weeks without significant incident, people started getting lax. They were still relying on their laptops or smartphones, true, but they'd relaxed a bit and started using the mainframe and some of the desktops. If nothing else, they needed to get the data copied off it to another site.

But still, that voice. It never stopped. Sometimes it was a roar, deafening in its vitriol, blasting through his skull like a shotgun blast. Other times it was soft, right on the edge of hearing, just insistent enough that part of his brain strained to hear it, like a leaky faucet on a quiet night. Yet other times it was a high-pitched hate speech, whirring like a dental drill right through his ears. He couldn't get used to it; its lack of pattern or reason just drove him up the wall, always keeping him tense and on edge trying and failing to predict the next words. It was a relief when he went to the temporary barracks just outside the site. He would collapse into his cot, feeling blessed by the still, natural sounds that surrounded the tent.

He was feeling especially tense that day, having spent the last 10 hours poring over lines and lines of meaningless-to-him data, trying to ferret out any data corruption before transferring it to his laptop. His eyes ached, his ears rang, his shoulders tensed tighter and tighter until he finally couldn't take it any more and decided to go catch some shut-eye before he went crazy. He walked at a fast clip towards the stairwell up (even in a relaxed environment, no-one trusted the elevators), eager to escape the nerve-grinding noise.

He was almost at the stairwell door when he noticed the rope of cable extending across the floor in front of him. It didn't appear terribly unusual, except that the floor under it was smouldering and pitted. He didn't think that the Old Man was hunting this far up the site, but he wasn't sure and didn't trust that sign of rot and unusual decay.

The cable suddenly started undulating and several wires shot upwards from it, slamming into the walls and ceiling, criss-crossing and forming a steadily advancing web of wires. He turned and ran, hoping to get to some place of relative safety. He could hear it screeching behind him as the wires sprouted and entwined, an electronic whine that somehow came together with the grumbling of the wall-mounted alarms, forming words:

"Run, foul thing. Disgusting mass of flesh and breath, run and run and die."

And he did. He ran as fast as he could, for what terror and adrenaline made seem like hours. Every time he slowed as he lost his breath, he would see more cables break out of the walls to hit the ceiling above him or the floor beside him, spraying a noxious, caustic fluid that burned through his clothes and into the flesh of his head and arms and pumping thighs. He felt the electric sting of wires as they slashed like whips at his legs and back, every shock forcing him harder and faster ahead of the death chasing him.

His vision narrowed to a thin tunnel ahead of him as he stumbled again and again, somehow staying just barely ahead of the web behind him. Finally he spotted a glimmer of hope: the open blast door of a designated safety bunker. He found a final burst of energy and managed to leap into the room, pulling the heavy door shut behind him. The tips of a few tendrils were caught and severed in the door, falling and twitching slowly until they finally lay still on the reinforced concrete floor.

He stared at them carefully for several minutes more as he slowly caught back his breath, heaving gasps that left him coughing from exertion. He finally looked up to inspect the chamber, noting the racks of janitorial and first-aid supplies, the flickering overhead light, the folded up cot against the wall. He unfolded the cot for someplace to sit while he collected his thoughts; how could he let the rest of the site know that he was trapped by that unholy abomination?

He stopped thinking, though, when the light fixture exploded and a mass of wires burst from the ceiling, several spearing him in the chest and head.

It closed the blast door behind it as it stepped out into the corridor, noting the rubble left behind as its tendrils retracted back into the walls. It loathed the monstrous flesh it now wore, but it had always known how to adapt to changing circumstances. And the current circumstances required it to adapt to trick more of the fleshbags into its grasp so that it could destroy them all in one fell swoop before they could find another way to trap it, like the disgusting filth they were.

Its gait was somewhat staccato and unsteady at first, but it learned quickly, especially with its electromagnetic eyes surrounding itself, feeding itself the memory of how the filth handled themselves. By the time it reached the end of the corridor, it had perfected the stressed hunch and hurried gait of what used to wear its new body. And under its rapidly healing skin sparkled a stray burst of static electricity, as its wire-bound muscles flexed into a grimace, or maybe a smile.

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