Barry sat on the edge of his seat at the security desk waiting for someone to come around with some sort of information. It had been nearly a half-hour since Duke ordered him to man the security desk and sent Katie and Mandy to alert the remaining staff of the situation.

During that time, Barry intently watched every monitor looking for anything unusual or out of sorts. He observed Mandy as she went outside and got the keys from the suspicious pick-up truck and returned inside safely. However, he hadn’t seen her or Katie or anyone else on any of the monitors since then.

As promised, Duke had been making constant radio checks with him every five minutes, and his transmissions were coming in clear. So far, so good, he thought to himself and started to relax a little bit. It was getting to be late into the morning hours and a wave of exhaustion began to settle in over Barry. Yawning, he leaned back in his chair and pulled out a book of some sort and began to leaf through it.

Looking at the diagrams inside, Barry skimmed through his pilot’s training manual and began to focus. With his test only a week away, he wanted to be as prepared as possible for it. He knew that if he could ace the written exam, the field test wouldn’t be far behind. And, if he passed that, he was almost assured of the pilot’s job with Haddonfield Memorial, transporting patients back and forth from the larger hospitals in Chicago.

Carefully reading the chapter marked ‘Pre-Flight Preparations’, Barry got about a paragraph into it, when his radio emitted a loud burst of static, causing him to jump and almost fall out of his chair.

“Barry, it’s Duke, do you read me?” the transmission stated.

“Yeah, Duke, go ahead,” he responded, catching his breath as he pressed the talk button.

“I’m currently roving through the basement area,” Duke informed him. “I should be making my way back toward the main desk in roughly fifteen minutes.”

“I copy that loud and clear Duke, everything is quiet on my end of things,” Barry replied.

“That’s how we like it. Look, kid, I’ll be seeing you shortly and we can regroup and go from there. Duke out.”

Barry didn’t bother replying with the proper protocol. Instead, he just breathed a sigh of relief that Duke didn’t come across anything serious and continued to go over his manual.


Duke had just finished his last transmission with Barry when he heard a loud thumping sound directly in front of him.

He had just entered the basement area and was surrounded by boxes stacked to the ceiling full of medical supplies and paper products, most likely for the bathroom or cafeteria, he thought. Dimly lit cement corridors flanked him from there, going all the way down to the east staircase.

“Who’s here!!!” Duke commanded, drawing his flashlight and pistol as he quickly scanned all the dark corners.

Feeling a nervous sweat bead up on his forehead, Duke reached for his radio to inform Barry of the situation, when, all of a sudden, The Shape emerged from the darkness and quickly wrapped two strong hands around Duke’s throat, catching him by surprise. Duke dropped both his flashlight and pistol to the ground, and his eyes began to bulge in their sockets.

With inhuman strength, Michael pushed Duke back against the wall with a thud. But Duke, a strong man in his own right, managed to reach down to his belt and grab a hold of his taser gun. Quickly depressing the trigger, the tasers connected directly into Michael’s chest, sending electricity coursing through his veins as he dropped to his knees almost immediately.

Duke struggled to regain his breath, but somehow held onto the trigger of the gun, which controlled the flow of electricity that Michael was receiving. After a few seconds, The Shape fell from his knees to his back, motionless on the ground.

At that point, Duke had caught his breath and was trying to determine what to do next. Since his flashlight fell and broke on the ground, it was completely black in the basement, giving him absolutely no idea where his pistol was. His radio, however, was still clipped onto his belt, so he quickly grabbed it to try to pass word on to Barry to get help fast. He started to make a transmission, but only got a few words out when Michael sprung back to his feet, catching him by surprise once again. This time, Duke dropped his radio, shattering it into pieces on the floor as the struggle continued.

An instant later, Michael ripped both of the taser wires out of his chest and stabbed one into each side of Duke’s neck, causing Duke to initially shock himself before he dropped the trigger gun and fell to his knees.

With smoke still streaming from the eyeholes of his mask, Michael reached down, grabbed the trigger gun, and squeezed before Duke had any time to react.

The Shape then watched Duke squirm and scream in agony on the basement floor as he diligently held the trigger in. Over a minute later, after Duke stopped moving, his skin turned black, and his shirt collar caught on fire.

Michael dropped the trigger gun to the floor and observed his prey frying for a moment before making his way up the east staircase back to the main corridor of Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.

Proceed To Chapter 20
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