Voracity, Volume 2: The South

It’s been a while, so here’s another book. The entire second volume… Barely edited. So if you see something weird, let me know. By weird, I mean like spelling or grammar :).

Disclaimer: As with almost all my stories, there’s nudity, sexual themes, sexual content, descriptions of violence, brutality, insanity and all those nice happy things that people like to read about during the holidays. Lots of cursing, but that’s just normal by now. It’s more abnormal and jarring when people don’t curse. I was gonna edit out the ‘sex scenes’ originally, then I realized… There’s only like one and it’s barely even a sex scene. This might be one of the least NSFW story I’ve written! Of course, it’s only 40 Chapters… Not much. Anyway, good luck!

Yes, I did just copy-paste that disclaimer and then change 39 to 40.

I debated whether to remove the sex scene from literally the first few paragraphs of this book but… Meh. It’s nothing you all haven’t seen before on literally every ‘Mature’ TV Show in the past 10-20 years.

***

Chapter 40:

“Aaah~! Yes~! Yes~! I love your cock~!”

“Mmmn, yeah, your pussy is so tight! Go harder! Twerk that ass, Baby! Yeah!”

A huge pale ass was riding up and down on a fairly large tan shaft. Looking down, the man had fairly well defined abs and decent sized hands. The woman’s cute dainty feet were curled up on the side, very visible and intentionally shown. There was a blue wire sticking out of her relatively immaculate puckered pink anus. With the sound of beeps, she screamed and twisted erratically. There were also sounds of coins clinking together…

“Ah! Thank you so much, Baby~!”

“Yeah, thank you No-eight-teen for your tips!”

‘Cum! Shut up! Just cum! Finish! Finish! Breed! Breed!’

“Calm down, Vora, haha~! This is just how cam show performers make money. They drag it out as long as possible. Most guys can’t cum endlessly like me.”

Jake was laying on a beach towel in front of the fireplace in the living room, holding a cellphone in his left hand and watching porn for the first time with Vora. After another five minutes, the two of them got bored with watching Ryan’s parents and moved onto other things. Much darker, much more disturbing things. Real videos of the chaos in Baltimore, which they experienced first-hand. Along with some other videos from Manhattan, Las Angeles, Tokyo… There wasn’t anything too pornographic from China, because their censorship and control was most countries.

‘Breeding! Reproduction! Cum!’

“Yes, yes, it’s just porn. You’re so excited watching other people fucking.”

‘Fun!’

“I’m happy if you’re happy.”

‘Mmmmn~!’

“Heheh~!”

Once the two of them finished their morning ‘Breeding Session’, it was time to get to work. Jake was already naked. After a week, his changes have been slow but unstoppable. His height increased by a few more centimeters.

“I’m not complaining about being taller, but I’m a little worried… What if we never stop growing?”

‘Impossible. Inefficient. Unnecessary.’

Vora wasn’t too concerned. Jake walked over to the back door near the kitchen and went outside into the snowy woods. His back was seemingly covered in a white coat of fur, but just like a Polar Bear, his ‘skin’ was actually pitch-black. His right arm, chest, neck, even his nubby ‘ears’ and scalp were all the same. The carapace was taking over almost everything. However, his exoskeletal shell was still able to have hair and fur. Which made him look more like a yeti than an alien at this point.

His belly, face, left arm and legs were still covered in scales. But he didn’t know how much longer that would last. His entire groin and ass was covered up by a thick layer of white fur, but just like his back, what was underneath was a thick carapace. Whether it was his anus, testicles or even his penis, everything was already swallowed up and transformed. Just like the slit on his palm, when he needed to shit, the carapace would open up normally and reveal the pink fleshy meat inside. When he was aroused, it was a similar situation. A lot of reptiles and some fish, mainly sharks, or aquatic mammals, like whales or dolphins have a ‘slit’ that opens up to reveal the genitalia when necessary. When mating isn’t required, the sensitive organs are safely tucked back inside the body.

‘Hunt!’

“I think it’s more like fishing.”

Jake snickered and walked over to the icy shore. He had to walk a dozen meters out before he reached the thinner ice and was able to crack it open with his silver-scaled right heel. He quickly fell down into the water and started looking around curiously. The temperature below the surface was a lot higher than the air temperature, especially since there are a lot of cold, gusting winds with the heavy snow.

In New York, they were having a blizzard-hurricane. Down here in Maryland, they ‘only’ had to deal with a few snowstorms here and there. The nuclear bomb might have also played a part in the weather, but there’s always something or someone to blame for the weather. 

‘I think I’m getting used to the cold now.’

‘Adapted.’

‘Yeah. It’s probably still that damn polar bear, right? Well, your original shell is also pretty good at resisting the cold and the heat. But if your shell is so amazing, then why do we need anything else? Can’t we just cover our entire body with a carapace?’

‘Unknown.’

In nature, every part of an animal isn’t perfectly honed to achieve some purpose. A lot of things are just vestigial or completely useless. They’re useless, but because they didn’t interfere with survival long enough for the creature to reproduce and keep passing down that particular trait, it was impossible for it to be weeded out over time.

‘If I really think about it… Very few humans are actually capable of surviving on their own. Without medical procedures or medicines, the population would be much smaller. And a lot of healthy and genetically impressive humans that might be able to survive or thrive are killed in accidents, wars, et cetera. Smarter people tend to avoid reproduction, while stupider people will accidentally have kids or just not give a fuck. Then those kids will inherit their parents’ intelligence and continue the bloodline…’

‘Intelligence… Overrated. Drones, useful. Serve, Queen. Serve, Us. Grow. Expand. Conquer. Evolve. Adapt. Survive. Thrive. Live. Happy.’

‘Ummm, you’re getting there, Sweetie. But I think I get what you mean.’

Jake sighed out a few bubbles and reached down into the green bay grasses. Vora’s big black claw-like hand grabbed a similarly dark flounder. It was a relatively ‘flat’ fish with spines along the back and the belly, looking very round. Almost like a flattened football. This was the first catch of the day.

He surfaced and tossed the fish onto the snow near the edge of the ice. It flopped a few times before slowing down and eventually going into shock. Whether it lived or died didn’t really matter. As long as it was kept cold, it was fine.


Less than a minute later, he came back up and tossed over a big fat silver perch! Then there was a carp, a yellow fish with black stripes, a catfish, even a blue crab. Jake and Vora caught whatever they saw. Fishing laws are meaningless, especially now. Whether the ecology of the bay collapses or not has nothing to do with Jake’s casual daily fishing.

“Nice! An eel! Haven’t had a barbeque eel sushi roll in a long time… Not that I’ve ever made it myself before. But how hard could it be?”

After that, he found a bunch of mussels, clams and barnacles. Everything was placed in a big red cooler with a white lid. Then he walked carefully across the ice. His fur and hair was soaking wet, covered in green algae. He didn’t try to mimic a polar bear and try to dry himself off in the snow though. Instead, he hurried over to ‘his’ house and went inside.

The fireplace was still burning, the heaters were running and the overall temperature was pretty comfortable. First he put the cooler in the kitchen, ready to fool with that later. Instead, he hurried into the bathroom and turned the hot water on… 

*Crack~!*

*Click~!*

“No! Fuck! You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!”

Chapter 41:

That noise was the sound of a tree falling onto a power line in the distance. Then the power in the whole house shutting down. Including the water pump, the hot water heater, the electric heaters, the fridge/freezer… Except for the fireplace, everything else instantly became useless.

“Goddamn it! You could’ve waited until I finished taking a shower first, right?!”

‘Inconvenient.’

“Exactly!”

Jake calmed down soon enough and sighed dramatically. It wasn’t just his borrowed house that lost power. There were dozens of other houses in the neighborhoods nearby. As he got out of the bathroom and started struggling to dry his soapy hair/fur, he heard a shrill scream and a bunch of shouting from the nearest neighbors. The Laurels.

“Fucking A…”

He looked out the window that was facing in their direction, but really couldn’t see anything at all. There were too many trees in the way. He could still make out their voices for the most part though.

“No! I’m only one fragment away from my Divine Staff! Fuck!”

“Aaah~! My ass! Damn it Drake! Stop!”

“Mooom! Daaad! Stop fucking and call the power company! I need to raid tonight!”

“All of you, shut the fuck up! The cell towers must be down! And the phone lines are dead! This is serious!”

Jake sighed, “Well, they’re probably fine. It’s not like a tree fell on their house or anyone got hurt. They have a generator and enough gas. But… Kelly’s definitely gonna miss that raid, hahaha~!”

Maybe if the world wasn’t ending, he would also be raiding tonight? The two of them played the same MMORPG, but he was a filthy casual and she was a hardcore raider, PVPer and overall completionist. Like her parents, Kelly Laurels was a ‘Streamer’, but instead of making porn, she was a Vtube named Kandikans. She didn’t even show her face or body and avoided letting people know her name. Obviously she didn’t want to be associated with her parents as much as possible.

*Bang!*

*Badadadaah!*

*Pop! Pop!*

*Woooooo~!*

“Gunshots?” Jake frowned as he heard those familiar noises in the howling wind. It was still the morning and even though it was snowing heavily, the sky was bright. The woods were still darker though. It sounded like a shootout in the distance. There were also a few more trees and branches falling loudly. Compared to when he was fishing, the weather was getting progressively worse.

“Should we… Leave?”

‘Hmmm… Hunt?’

“Hunt what? We have no idea what’s out there or what’s happening.”

‘Eat!’

“Ugh… Well, either way, Ryan probably won’t be able to sell the seafood for us now.”

Jake brought the cooler over to his special spot in front of the fireplace. He got a frying pan from the kitchen and started cooking. Sometimes Vora would get impatient and just eat an oyster or clam raw, but for the most part, she preferred to have her food seasoned and cooked properly.

“You’re a lot pickier than before, hehe~!”

‘Tasty.’

“Yeah, it’s delicious. I’ve always loved seafood. I used to be afraid to eat the fish and shellfish from the creek where I grew up. Well, for good reason. I heard somebody died from necrotizing fasciitis… And that was a long time ago. It’s gotten worse since then.”

‘Worth, Risk.’

*Thump-thump-thump!*

“Jake! Jake~! Open up! Let me in!”

“Alright, calm down!” Jake sighed and left the fish in the frying pan near the flame. He walked over to the front door and unlocked it, almost getting hit in the face when it swung open suddenly.

“What’s the big deal?”

“You don’t hear those gunshots?!” Ryan was wearing a thick blue coat, with a black hood and puffy gray pants. He took off his gloves and asked, “Are you cooking?!”

“Of course. It might look like I don’t have ears, but they’re just covered by carapace and fur. My ears are just as sensitive or maybe even-”

“Stop! I don’t care about your fucking ears!” The little boy glared up at the big hairy white yeti-fish-man, “Come over my house! My parents are useless and my sister is an idiot! They sold my grandpa’s old guns a while back, so now we’re completely fucking defenseless!”

“And what exactly do you expect me to do?” Jake rolled his pitch-black eyes and complained, “I know I look like some kinda hardcore Furry Commando, but I’m literally just a Furry Porn Artist… Well, I’m good at drawing normal people and scalies too-”

“You said you fought your way outta Baltimore and had a bunch of gunfights!”

“Yeah, because I had guns! Dafuck do you want from me?!” Jake retorted angrily, “I survived because I was lucky! I just happened to be in a situation where it was dark as shit and no one could see anything!”

“You’re a fucking Yeti in a snowstorm! You’ll be fine!”

Ryan shouted, “Wait, I’m not asking you to go out and kill anybody! I’m just asking you to come over my house and help me protect my shitty family!”

“Do you guys have a guest room? I’m kinda tired of sleeping on the floor.”

“Yes! Now come on!”

Well, it didn’t take that much effort to convince Jake. He might have been a shut-in before, but he wasn’t a totally anti-social hermit. Living with a family of four in a relatively well-maintained and clean house was definitely better than living alone, in a creepy borderline haunted old house that was infested with racoons, bats, rodents and various bugs.

“Hold on. I need to get dressed and pack my shit first. If we leave the food here, it’ll be wasted.”

“Alright, but hurry up!”

Chapter 42:

When Jake entered the house next door, he was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. Nothing else. The little boy next to him was bundled up in a puffy coat and pants, with boots on and a hood covering his head. They didn’t stop for long though, because they carried a few coolers and suitcases at a time. It was a very short walk, so it wasn’t too big of a deal.

After they closed the front door the last time, they locked it and then barricaded it. Then they moved to the back door and did the same. The windows were also all covered up by curtains. The generator was running, so a lot of the more necessary lights and appliances were still running properly. The heater ran on oil and they also had a fireplace, so the more costly electric space heaters were all shut down.

*Bang! Bang! Bang!*

*Boom! Boom!*

*Pah! Pah!*

The two of them could hear gunshots in the distance, along with some faint screaming and shouting. They couldn’t tell where it was coming from though. There were some larger communities to the north, south and west which were more likely to have problems. There weren’t that many other houses in the thickest part of the woods like theirs.

“Don’t worry. I mean, I wouldn’t get near the windows, but don’t worry.”

Jake snickered as he watched the little boy pacing around anxiously and peeking out the windows occasionally. On the other hand, he was picking up where he left off. He put a few fish in a big pan and started frying them over an open fireplace in the living room. The two houses were somewhat similar, except that Ryan’s was significantly larger overall. There were three bedrooms upstairs, with two bathrooms. The first floor had a kitchen, two bathrooms, a big living room, an attached garage and a guest room. The basement was mostly used for storage, but there was space for another bedroom if necessary.

“How can I not worry! Even if they were just fucking around with target practice, I’d still be worried!”

“Roaaaaaaah~!”

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s target practice.” Jake shrugged as he flipped over a fish filet with his spatula, then sprinkled some assorted seasonings, added some cloves of garlic and mussels to the mix…

“Honestly, it reminds me of that time I almost got eaten by Polar Bears.”

“Polar Bears?! Where the fuck would Polar Bears come from?! Or any bears?!”

“Well, as far as I know, the Black Bear population in Western Maryland has been improving in recent years… There’s also a Polar Bear that I didn’t kill back then. But what are the odds that the Polar Bear managed to escape from Baltimore before the nuke hit? Or that it would come down here to find me for revenge?”

Ryan retorted, “It’s not a bear! It’s probably just a dog!”

“Bears are basically just really big and fat dogs.” Jake snickered, “Besides… If it’s infected by those worms, it won’t take long for a Husky to grow bigger than a bear.”

“Rye~! What’re you cooking? It’s making the house smell like garlic!”

A tall, skinny, blue-eyed, dirty-blonde haired girl in a pink onesie came walking into the living room. She had freckles on her pale white cheeks, with a few red marks here and there. Just very mild acne. Nothing compared to what Jake has experienced throughout his life. She looked at her little brother who was standing near the window and then at the ‘short’ man with the white beard, hair and even a bunch of ‘fur’ covering his right arm, throat and what was exposed of his chest in the v-neck t-shirt. Of course, even weirder were the silver fish scales on his forehead, nose, cheeks, left arm and both legs. 

Those pitch-black ‘demonic’ eyes glanced over at the girl and Jake heard a raspy, feminine voice in the back of his mind as always.

‘Stringy Meat! Breed? Eat? Taste?’

‘We don’t eat people. Or fuck them.’

Aside from emotional and spiritual reasons. Jake didn’t want to have sex with ‘humans’, because was pretty sure that he’d kill them. Anyone he didn’t mind killing, he definitely wouldn’t be interested in fucking. He’s gone 30 years without losing his virginity until he ‘met’ Vora. His self-control has always been pretty strong, at least in that regard.

“Mooom~! Daaad~! Ryan brought home a Yeti!”

“Kelly, don’t be a bitch.” Ryan glared at his sister, who was a head taller than Jake, but half as wide. He sighed and then introduced the two of them, “This is Jacob Cinagra, a Furry Artist from Baltimore. This is Kelly Laurels, my nerdy big sister, a Vtuber and professional gamer.”

“I know who he is.” Kelly frowned and scrutinized the furry/scaly man with her eyes squinted, “But why is he in our house? What if he’s contagious?” 

“Because it’s the fucking Apocalypse and can’t you hear those gunshots?! Or the roars?! He’s here to help ‘me’ protect you idiots!” The short boy shouted loudly with his voice cracking a few times, “If Jake was contagious, then we’d be infected by now!”

“You trust this random crazy Furry to protect us?! You met like a week ago! Besides, what can he do? They have guns, we don’t, this ain’t a fucking movie!”

“That’s what I said.” Jake gave her a scaly silver webbed thumbs up as he pulled over a leather sofa-chair closer to the fire and sat down.

“Ew.”

“Ugh…”

The two of them showed disgusted expressions and Jake also cringed, looking down at the seat, “Motherfucker.”

“Literally.” Ryan smiled wryly, “Mom does a lot of solo shows in the living room.”

“Our parents are so fucking gross. If the world wasn’t ending, I would have left this shithole the moment I turned eighteen!”

“Don’t the fucking clean up afterwards?!” Jake grumbled and quickly stood up, kicked the chair back away from him and started taking off his wet pants.

“Hey! What the fuck?!” Kelly screamed and looked away.

Ryan snickered, “There’s nothing to see.”

When Kelly looked over out of curiosity, she widened her eyes in shock.

“What happened to your dick?!”

Chapter 43:

“That’s crazy. So your dick and balls are like, inside your body now? That’s kinda badass.”

A shirtless, muscular and handsome blonde-haired, blue-eyed man was sitting at the dining table in the kitchen. He looked like a male model, with some very light facial hair and chest hair. The hair on his head was relatively short.

“Basically. It was kinda weird at first, but it’s definitely more convenient. Like, when you’re swimming around and have your dick dangling out, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Especially when you’re dealing with pikes and other more dangerous creatures…”

“Totally! Hahah~! I remember this one time I was on my period in ninth grade and went swimming-”

“Mom, please, stop. Just stop.” Kelly covered her face in shame and Ryan was just eating some pasta without looking at anyone else.

“Hahaha~! You’re already eighteen and you’re still getting embarrassed so easily.” Drake sighed and shook his head, “Cindy and I were already dancers at your age.”

“Stripers. You didn’t dance, you were strippers.” Kelly retorted angrily.

“So what?” Cindy, a beautiful brown-haired, green-eyed woman pouted her slightly chubby cheeks and complained, “Your special baby formula was fucking expensive. Mom had hospital bills, Dad was a drunk asshole, we did what we had to do to survive.”

“Can’t make that kinda money workin’ retail.” Drake chuckled, taking a sip of a protein shake, “Your Mom and I have always had our bottom line: No cheating, stealing, or hurting anybody. We never got involved in drugs or slutty side businesses. We stripped and fucked for money, sure, but we never crossed the line.”

 Kelly groaned, “Oh my God…”

“At least we don’t manipulate a bunch of ‘simps’ like you, Hun.” Cindy frowned and reprimanded her daughter, “Don’t you realize that those people are mentally ill?”

“Of course I know they’re fucking crazy! That’s why I don’t accept the weird fucking shit they try to buy me!”

“Hehehe~!” Jake snickered on the side while feeding Vora some fried barnacles. That weird scene was obviously noticed by the other people at the table. Ryan was used to it and didn’t care. 

“Fuck!” Kelly cringed when she saw those two long pink tongues sticking out of Jake’s pitch-black, ‘armored’ palm.

On the other hand, Drake laughed and said, “That’s so fuckin’ badass! Like some kinda alien shit, hahaha~!”

“I think I have a toy like that…” Cindy watched Vora eating for a few more seconds before asking, “Have you tried to fuck it yet?”

“Of course he has, hahaha!” Drake grinned, with a bit of white foam on his thin blonde mustache.

“Her name is Voracity. Or Vora…” Jake smirked, “Anyway, it sounds like the chaos outside has died down… But the winds are even louder than before. I hope we won’t get hit by a tornado…”

“Fuck, don’t jinx us!” Ryan shouted as he glared at the furry man.

“Sorry. But it’s a legitimate concern.” He shrugged, still wearing the same white t-shirt as before, but he changed into brown shorts instead of the pants he was wearing before. Jake was sitting on one end of the rectangular table, with Kelly sitting on the other. With Ryan along in the middle, across from his parents. Cindy in particular was a little too close to Jake and made him feel uncomfortable.

Ryan looked around the table and spoke seriously to everyone, “We’ve only got enough gas to run the generator for a few hours a day. So if you wanna take a shower or charge your phones, laptops, whatever, you gotta do it while you can. We don’t know how long this storm will last or when the roads will clear. We gotta prepare for the worst.”

“If it comes down to it, we can always ‘scavenge’ some resources. It’s not stealing if the previous owners are dead.” Jake used the fork in his left hand to pick up a chunk of barbecued eel meat and tasted it carefully, “Tastes a little… Burnt. I’ll have to be more careful next time…”

“Even if they’re dead, it’s still theft though.” Drake frowned, while Cindy also nodded in agreement.

“Then you guys can go try to buy gas from a gas station. See how that turns out.” Jake rolled his glass pitch-black eyes, “If you feel bad about ‘stealing’ shit, then try paying back money later. Assuming there’s someone who can actually claim the money… Or that the money even has any value by that point.”

“Things might not be that bad… Right?” Cindy sighed, “People always think the world is gonna end, then it doesn’t. And we still gotta live.”

“Maybe the world itself will be fine and human civilization won’t end… But… Well, you know.”

After Jake said that, everyone at the table continued eating quietly for another few minutes. Kelly was the first to leave and go play video games in her room. Then Ryan forced his father to help board up the rattling windows. Cindy had explosive diarrhea…

Basically only Jake remained at the table and kept eating for another hour or so, murmuring to Vora in a quiet voice. At least, his voice was extremely quiet compared to the howling winds, rattling windows/doors and the sound of hammering.

“Do you sense anything?”

‘Danger?’

“Yeah… I can kinda feel it again. That… Sense of dread.”

‘Hmmm… Humans, dangerous. Weather, scary. Hunters, encroaching. Air, cold, hot, wrong? Confusing.’

“Radiation. The air is radioactive. I know that already… Maybe that’s why I feel this way. And, if it’s as bad as I thought, then… Well, we’ll stay here until the storm ends at least.”

Chapter 44:

*Jiggle-jiggle!*

Jake opened his eyes wide and sat up in his unfamiliar bed. Looking around the similarly unfamiliar guest room. There wasn’t much in the room, as if it hadn’t been used for a long time. He looked over at the door handle that was moving and frowned. He didn’t say anything and the person on the other side didn’t speak either. After they found that the door was locked, they didn’t leave. Instead, he could hear a key being inserted into the bronze knob and turning slowly.

‘Danger! Enemy! Fight! Kill! Live!’

‘I know!’

He slowly and carefully got out of bed, sneaking over to the cabinet near the door. As soon as it was unlocked, the knob turned again. Then the door opened and Jake saw… Nothing. Then he felt a cold, wrinkled hand pressing down on his left shoulder.

“Jacob… Have you ever heard the story of the scorpion and the frog?”

‘Run! Fight! Escape! Jacob! Live!’

“This is a dream.” Jake looked at the hand and more importantly, the arm that wasn’t covered in scales and the shoulder that had no black carapace or white fur. Then the wrinkled old hand started rotting and decaying rapidly, with thousands of tiny black worms emerging. They wriggled around and started burrowing into his flesh, which was so painful that he wondered if it was really just a nightmare?

“Are you the scorpion or the frog, Jacob?”

“Fuck!” Jake opened his pitch-black eyes and breathed heavily, even opening black plates on his neck which were covered by white fur, to reveal the pink gills inside. He was totally naked and laying under only a thin sheet. The house was chilly, but his body was used to the cold by now.


Getting out of bed quickly, he looked around the room for anything weird. The light outside was shining in between the wooden boards on the two windows to his right. However, when he walked over to the door and turned the knob, he realized: “Someone unlocked the door!”

‘Enemy?! Danger?!’

Vora was also scared, because she shared the same dreams and nightmares with her ‘Host’. They had their own individual memories, but they could reach each other’s thoughts for the most part.

“I don’t know.”

Jake walked out of the room and looked around cautiously, but didn’t see or hear anything special. The wind was still howling outside, whistling through some of the windowsills that weren’t completely covered. The whole house shook from time to time. The generator was still off, but the oil heater was running. The first thing he did was go over to the fireplace in the living room and light it up. There was another fireplace upstairs, in the master bedroom, but it’s too dangerous to have a fireplace running while you’re sleeping unless absolutely necessary.

“Morning.” Ryan was coming down the stairs when Jake walked toward the largest first floor bathroom. He looked a little haggard. Wearing only a t-shirt and boxers. Well, at least he was wearing clothes. Jake forgot to wear anything.

“Morning…” Jake hesitated, but didn’t say anything about the lock. Instead, he just went into the bathroom. Then he looked down at his furry white bulge. He didn’t need to do anything special. The muscles were already in place. It was only a matter of subconscious thought. Underneath the fur, a pitch-black slit opened up and revealed the pink flesh underneath. Then a flaccid and smooth pink appendage was revealed. There were no visible bulging veins or scars on the outside. It was certainly inhuman in that sense.

“Even by my standards, this is a bit much, right? When I draw furry dicks and pussies, I usually try to make them more… Human.”

‘Humanity, unnecessary. Inefficient. Insensitive. Weak.’

“Well, you’re not wrong.” Jake nodded, then reached out with Vora’s thumb and forefinger, “I still need to aim my dick in the end though.”

‘Not underwater.’

“True, true…”

It took him a while to empty his bladder and the urine was fairly clear. There was enough light coming in through the boarded up window that he was able to see everything in the bathroom. There was nothing strange. No worms or other anomalies. Maybe a few spiders and centipedes, but that was pretty normal.

‘Why am I so fucking paranoid?’

‘Experience.’

“What experience? Kelsey?”

‘Mmmn.’

Jake sighed and wiped the tip of his smooth, slightly slimy dick off with a single piece of thin toilet paper. Then he flushed the toilet… But it didn’t refill. He sighed dramatically and ignored it. Well, they’d turn the generator on in a while, so he wasn’t going to bother heading out in a blizzard to get water from the frozen shore in order to flush the toilet.

“What now?” He yawned and looked around the living room blankly. The fire was dying a bit, so he walked over to poke it with a metal stick. Then he went over to the kitchen and looked through the freezer, which was still cold, because it was filled with ice and pretty well insulated. Of course, if it keeps getting opened and closed a lot, that won’t last for long.

‘Steaks?’

‘Steak!’

“Okay.” Jake snickered and took the half-thawed, potentially hazardous cow meat out of the plastic wrapped styrofoam plate. He put all four of the steaks onto a big frying pan and went over to the fireplace. Then he seasoned it with teriyaki sauce, garlic, onions, et cetera. Basically stinking the house up early in the morning. He also put on a t-shirt and shorts, sitting down on a simple metal folding chair.

‘How is it possible that even with a bunch of fur and a hard shell carapace on my ass, it still hurts to sit on a metal chair?’

‘Meat!’

“Yeah, I probably need more meat… I mean, fat. Normally there would be a lot of fat, but now it’s like having your bones on the outside… Kinda scary to think about.”

Actually, he still had bones everywhere except for his right arm. The exoskeleton covering his chest, back, scalp, neck, ass and groin were just a thin shell that replaced his skin. It was also fairly flexible and pliable. More rigid than skin, but it could still bend and stretch to a certain extent. Even his neck still had a full range of movement.

“Ugh, ew! *Cough-cough~!* Why the fuck are you cooking so early in the morning?!”

Jake looked over at the tall and skinny girl in a fuzzy blue onesie, with her hair messed up and dark shadows under her bloodshot blue eyes. She coughed a few more times as she walked down the wooden stairs to his left. Then she almost fell, but reached out and caught the railing in time.

“Shit… I’m so dizzy.”

“You have a rash on your face… And your neck… And your hands… And your feet.”

“I can see that. I’m not fucking blind… Urp~!” She stopped talking and quickly rushed over to the bathroom nearby, vomiting profusely into the toilet. Then she started crying.

“Are you okay?”

“Do I sound okay?! *Cough~! Cough~!* Urp~! Bleegh~! Ooooah~!”

‘Sick Meat. Dying. Inedible.’

‘Yeah… I know. Fuck.’

Chapter 45:

“Is she sick again?” Ryan came down the stairs when he heard the noise and looked at the open bathroom door with a serious expression on his immature face. His sister was crying, coughing, choking and making other noises.

“Is it… Parasites?”

“She’s your sister. I’m about to eat.”

“Where the hell did you find steaks?” Ryan looked at the food on the frying pan and frowned.

“They’re probably from before the outbreak. Might be a little old, but they were frozen, so it should be fine.” Jake shrugged, “Better to eat them now, before they go bad.”

“No, there definitely aren’t any steaks in the house. My sister’s a vegan, my Dad’s a health nut and my Mom’s a vegetarian. I haven’t had steaks since before my Grandpa got sick.”

Jake looked at the meat for a few seconds and cringed, “Goddamn it. I wasted a clove of garlic and half an onion.”

“That’s your concern?!” Ryan shouted, “Someone must’ve put these steaks in our fucking freezer!”

“Yeah. Probably.” Jake nodded and sighed again. Then he went over to the back door and opened it, with the wind howling loudly and blowing a bunch of snow inside. Not to mention wasting heat. He tossed everything on the frying pan outside in Vora’s sad cries, then closed the door and looked at Ryan, “The door was unlocked.”

“I noticed! Shit! Is there someone else in the house?!” Ryan looked around anxiously, “Didn’t you hear anything last night?”

“I did have a nightmare that someone unlocked and opened my door.” Jake sighed dramatically, “Then I woke up and the door was really unlocked. Are you gaslighting me?”

“I should be the one asking ‘you’ that!”

After standing around awkwardly in the living room for a few minutes, Ryan finally had to go check on his sister. Jake had nothing better to do, so he followed along. It wasn’t that bad or messy. She just vomited a bunch of green stuff into the toilet bowl… Green. Not blood or worms, just green liquid with some chunks in it. If the green goop wasn’t glowing faintly in the darkness, then maybe it would be less concerning.

“Did you eat any of the seafood I made last night?” Jake asked curiously.

“No!” Kelly glared up at him while sitting on the edge of the bathtub near the toilet. Those eyes were bloodshot, but there were some green spots glowing in her blue irises.

“No! I won’t fucking calm down! Shut up! Shut the fuck up! *Cough-cough~!* Damn it! I just… I just wanna raid…”

Then she started sobbing in the darkness. Those tears were glowing faintly with fluorescent green. Just like the algae outside in the bay. Jake sighed and left the bathroom with Ryan, who also looked like he was going to start crying.

However, the little boy pulled himself together and tried to focus on things he could actually do now. For example, “We need to search the house and make sure there aren’t any intruders.”

“Yeah. But… Keep in mind that there should be five people in the house right now.” Jake looked over toward the ceiling, closing his eyes and listening carefully, “Vora can only sense four people in the house. Someone’s missing.”

‘Male. Strong Meat. Gone.’

“Drake is missing.”

“Dad?!” Ryan shouted anxiously, then he asked, “But if Dad’s missing, how could Mom not notice?”

“You really don’t want me to answer that question.”

“Is something wrong with Mom too? No…”

*Creak~!*

They heard the door opening upstairs, then some soft footsteps. Boards creaking. The windows rattled and creaked as well, partially obscuring the sounds. Jake looked at the little kid and suggested, “Why don’t you go up there and make sure they’re okay?”

“Fuck off!” Ryan gave him the middle finger, “What are you afraid of? Didn’t you escape from Baltimore? You survived a nuke? So go up there and make sure my parents are okay!”

“What if they have guns?”

“They don’t have any guns!”

“You just said they didn’t have steaks either.” Jake smiled wryly, “Alright. I’ll go check on your parents.”

With the loud noise of an engine starting up, the lights in the living room and kitchen turned on suddenly. The bathroom was the same. The hot water heater and water pump also started working. Then Jake saw the beautiful brown-haired woman walking downstairs in a thin black nightgown.

“Oh, Drake finally turned on the generator! Thank God, I’ve been waiting to take a shower for half an hour!”

Ryan glared at Jake, who shrugged, “What? I’m not omniscient. I was seriously expecting your Mom to turn into a monster.”

“What’s wrong?” The garage door, which was connected to the hallway near the living room, opened up and Drake came out with a tired expression on his handsome face.

“Is Kelly sick again?”

“Yeah.” Ryan answered with a solemn expression, “But Dad… Have you been outside?”

“No way, hahaha~! Wait, why?” As Drake walked over, he towered over his wife, son and the ‘yeti’ Jake. He was about 1.9 meters tall. That’s not just a matter of height. His entire frame was huge compared to them. Cindy was only about 165 cm. But she was relatively ‘thick’, so it worked out.

Ryan explained, “The front door was unlocked. And Jake found some steaks in the freezer.”

“Your saying there might be somebody else in the house? Where?” Cindy frowned and looked around anxiously, “Are you sure Jake didn’t do it?”

“Even if I sleepwalked and unlocked the door… I mean, for fuck’s sake, the steaks were in packaging.” Jake walked over to the kitchen and picked up the styrofoam, which still had a little sticker on the plastic that said the price, along with a description. There was even a date going back a month or so…

“Well, at least I’m not hallucinating this, right?”

Drake chuckled, “Unless we’re all hallucinating.”

‘Unless they’re all just your imagination.’

Jake sighed as he heard his own paranoid thoughts rattling around in his head, “Anyway, I’m worried about Kelly. I’m not a doctor, but it looks like she’s infected by the algae. Or has radiation poisoning. Maybe both. But if it’s radiation, then why are you guys fine? And if it’s algae, when and how did she get infected?”

Chapter 46:

They didn’t find any footprints or evidence of other people in the house. They weren’t detectives after all. Even with Jake’s heightened senses, he couldn’t find anything. However, they did uncover the mystery of Kelly’s infection pretty easily.

“Fuck!”

“Shit!”

“This is bad. This is real fuckin’ bad, Man.”

Ryan, Cindy and Drake all spoke in that order, while Jake just took a sip of the tap water from the kitchen sink. It didn’t taste particularly strange. But there were small glowing green particles in it. Mainly in the hot water, though the algae was certainly spread throughout all the pipes and the faucets by now. So in terms of infection, it didn’t make much of a difference whether they used the hot or cold water at this point.

“This is how the world ends.”

‘Adapt, or die.’

“I don’t know if boiling the water can get rid of the algae.”

‘Soup?’

“In other words, you guys should stick to bottled water as much as possible. As for showers…”

Jake sighed, looking at the upset faces of the three people. Poor Kelly was still in the bathroom, alternating between explosive diarrhea and vomiting. On the other hand, Ryan, who has been eating seafood and using tap water normally this whole time, was still completely fine. Drake and Cindy were only a little sick and the symptoms were relatively mild, but they were still obvious. Some rashes, fluorescent green particles in their feces and urine… Strange voices telling them to ‘Relax’, ‘Calm Down’, ‘Embrace the Balance’ or other bullshit like that.

“We only have a few cases of bottled water…” Ryan sighed, “I’ll just… Drink tap water instead.”

“No!”

“No way!”

Cindy and Drake glared at their stupid son, with the giant man saying, “The weather will get better soon. We just need to hold out for a few more days and we can go to the store.”

“Or I can loot some bottled water from nearby houses.” Jake shrugged, “Don’t look at me like that. I’m not gonna go murder anybody. Just scavenge some supplies. But not now. Not until this damn storm calms down a bit.”

“Thanks, Jake.” Ryan looked up at the white-bearded man’s scaly face. Honestly, modern day humans have been so conditioned by video games, movies and the internet, that none of them thought that Jake looked that strange. At least, compared to a lot of the monsters in New York City, he was actually a very handsome yeti-merman creature…

“It’s not a big deal. I know we’ve only known each other for like a week, but it’s enough that I don’t wanna see you and your family die.” Jake sighed again, “Anyway, you guys should take care of Kelly. I’ve been in her situation before… Well, what I experienced back then was a lot worse. The most painful thing wasn’t the literal pain and agony… It was the fact that I was alone. My family, I don’t even know if they’re alive or dead. I’m afraid to know for sure either way.”

“Thanks, Man. We really appreciate it.” Drake reached out and wanted to pat him on the shoulder, but Jake moved back quickly and avoided his giant hand.

“Sorry. I don’t like touching people.”

“That’s a shame.” Cindy giggled and winked at him, “Are you sure?”

“Mom, stop.”

“I’m sure.” Jake frowned and backed away from the two of them, “Even if I wasn’t worried about infecting you with whatever I might have… I’m not really interested. Sorry.”

“Don’t feel bad, Man.” Drake smirked, “But if you ever change your mind, don’t feel shy. We’re professionals. Hahaha~!”

“Dad…” Ryan frowned, “Don’t scare Jake away.”

Eventually the three of them left and Jake had to find something else to eat in the kitchen. Fortunately, there were still quite a few things left in the freezer and fridge that needed to be eaten quickly, before they went bad. As he was cooking a big frozen lasagna in the microwave, he was also chatting with Vora as always.

‘Breed?’

‘No, I don’t wanna fuck them.’

‘Why?’

‘Why do you wanna fuck them?’

‘Reproduction.’

‘I barely even know them. I definitely don’t wanna have kids with them.’

‘Useful. Tools.’

“Seriously Vora…” Jake murmured to himself as the microwave beeped. Then he took the food out and went over to the table, starting to eat with a metal fork he rinsed off in the sink out of habit. Fortunately, they also had paper plates/bowls and plastic forks/spoons, so the rest of the family didn’t have to eat with their hands like savages. Of course, no matter what they did, they couldn’t avoid getting infected by various pathogens. It’s only a matter of severity.

‘Currently, useless. Dangerous. Unstable.’

“I mean, that’s true, but still, no.”

‘Not, food. Not, family. Not, safe. Why, stay?’

“There’s a blizzard outside.”

‘Weather, inconvenient. Cold. Lair, warm. Hmmm…’

“Yeah, it’s not safe out there either. Don’t worry. We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna go South. Where it’s always nice and warm.”

‘Warm, nice. Warm… Dangerous.’

“Everything is dangerous. So we might as well find a more comfortable place to be in danger, right? Hahaha~!”

Ryan and his parents looked over at Jake talking and laughing to himself in the kitchen with worried expressions on their faces. Drake whispered, “Are you sure?”

“What other choice do we have?” Cindy sighed and held her husband’s hand.

“It’s too dangerous.” Ryan shook his head and frowned, “Wait a few more days first.”

“In a few days, it might be too late.” Drake coughed a few times, looking down at the small, glowing green blotches on their hands. Only Ryan was the same as before.

“Fine. Tonight.”

Chapter 47:

The rest of the day was pretty bland for Jake. Not bad though. He had plenty of food to eat. Water to drink. He even took a shower in the contaminated water before the power was cut off. Then he borrowed a laptop that was fully charged and played some simple 2d RTS games from back when he was a kid. He also drew a picture of ‘Bunny’ fighting a giant tentacle monster in space, taping it to the wall afterwards like a poster. However, when he was about to go to bed at night, he received a knock on the door.

“It’s unlocked.” As he said that, the knob turned and the door opened slowly. Revealing a young woman who was wearing a white tanktop and short tan skirt. The tank top barely covered her surprisingly large breasts. While the skirt also revealed a lot of her long, skinny legs. The first thing that Kelly did when she entered the room was look over at the wall behind the bed.

“You’re a really good artist. *Cough-cough-cough~!* Even though you’re a furry… You’re still amazing.”

The tall and skinny girl’s pale skin was illuminated by the dim candle-light. But in the dark room, those green blotches were glowing brightly. The capillaries in her eyes were also green, like her irises. Kelly’s long blonde hair was in a messy bun, her previously white teeth were also dyed fluorescent green, like her lips, nostrils, ears, even the veins on her neck, chest and hands were glowing. She walked over to the bed unsteadily and sat down on the edge, looking over at Jake’s furry face at closer range.

“Thanks. It took a lot of effort to reach my current level of Furry proficiency.” Jake snickered and moved away from the side of the bed where she was sitting, “So, what’s up? Are you feeling any better?”

“Do I look like I’m feeling better?” She rolled her glowing green eyes and sighed. Not as angry, frantic or desperate as earlier. Although she wanted to take a deep breath to calm herself down a bit more, she had trouble breathing properly, so she just coughed a few more times.

“Jake… Help me. Please. I don’t wanna die.”

“Help you how? The blizzard isn’t as bad as before, but even if I carried you to the hospital, you wouldn’t make it outside in the cold. You’re better off just resting-”

“You know what I mean.” Kelly smiled wryly, “I’m not really religious. But I pray sometimes. When I’m helpless and desperate enough… She gave me an answer, Jake. So like, help me become like you. Bite me, fuck me, whatever it takes, I don’t care. I just wanna live.”

“I’m not a vampire, okay?” Jake shrugged his furry shoulders, “And is your God made of green goo? Because I think that’s probably where you’re getting these ideas from.”

“What’s the big deal? It’s just sex. I’ll do all the work. *Cough-cough~!* Are you gay or something?” As Kelly said that, she took off her tank top and revealed her breasts with her cheeks blushing. She didn’t bother removing her skirt, just lifted it up and spread her shaved pussy in his direction. However, it was obviously infected. With lots of glowing green pustules where she used the razor last night. The clit, vulva, even her asshole were all dark green, with green slime covering them.

“Let’s imagine for a moment that I’m okay with fucking… That.” Jake scooted back farther away from the very, very sick girl, “If I knew for sure that I could save your life by fucking you, I’d do it. But I don’t. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll either die or transform into some kinda crazy monster. Or maybe something even worse. Besides, maybe you’ll get better?”

“I’ll sign a fucking consent form! Just fuck me! *Cough~!* Please! Just, I just don’t wanna die! I don’t care whether I turn into a furry or a tentacle monster, I just wanna live!”

‘Breed! Breed! Breed!’

‘Vora, stop!’

“If you really don’t care what happens, then… I’ll just jerk off and you can do whatever you want. But I’m not having sex with you. Whatever happens, it’s not my fault.”

If it was really just a matter of bodily fluids and infection, then actually having sex shouldn’t matter at all. 

“No! I need to fuck you! I can feel it! I’m sorry! But I can’t help it!”

Jake rolled out of bed as she lunged at him, “No! Stop! Fuck this shit, I’m leaving!”

“Sorry, Buddy. I know it’s fucked up, but ‘She’ says she needs a sacrifice.” Drake, the nearly 2 meter tall, muscular man was standing in front of the doorway, naked.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Jake backed away from the doorway and bumped into Kelly’s chest, “Get off me! I’m serious! I don’t wanna hurt you!”

“We don’t wanna hurt you either, Sweetie. Don’t worry. You won’t lose anything. I promise, once you start, you’ll never wanna stop.” Cindy walked over, also naked, closing the door behind her as she entered the room with her husband.

“Ryan! Ryan, your parents and sister are trying to rape me! Stop them before it’s too late!”

“Sorry, Jake.” The muffled voice came from behind the door, “It’s not like they’re gonna kill you. Just… Let it happen. Everything will be over soon.”

‘Breed! Breed Breed! Devour! Conquer!’

“Fuck off!” Jake pushed Kelly off his back and sent her flying onto the bed, coughing violently. Then he punched Drake in those perfectly sculpted abs, which were covered in some glowing green veins. He used his left fist though. He didn’t want to let Vora get anywhere near them!

“Get off me!”

Cindy’s huge breasts and surprisingly strong arms were clamping his left arm tightly, but she really wasn’t that heavy. At least for Jake now, he jumped away from Drake’s pounce and pulled Cindy along with him. The two rolled along the ground a bit and he managed to slide his scaly arm out of her cleavage-clutch.

“The three of you are sick! You should be resting and recovering, not wasting so much energy! Just let me go! Ryan! Open the door or I’m gonna start fighting!”

‘Fight! Breed! Reproduce! Dominate!’ Vora was getting even more excited, ‘Devour! Meat! Meat! Meat!’

“Please, Jake. Don’t hurt them. You know they can’t help it. I just want them to get better. It’s just sex. Don’t be such a pussy. No matter what happens to them afterwards, I won’t blame you, so just do whatever you want. Don’t think so much.”

‘Why are you fighting? You know you wanna fuck ‘em, right? Hehehe~! They want you to fuck them too! Isn’t this the kinda shit you’ve always fantasized about? Well, minus the weird green goo… Or maybe the glowing green goo will work as lube?’

‘Run! Escape! Danger!’ Vora’s frightened roar woke Jake out of his confusion. He looked around at the frantic, horny, crazy algae-covered family… Then he turned toward the closest window and ripped the boards off quickly. They weren’t nailed in very well in the first place. He elbowed the drooling giant man in the face, causing his nose to break. Then he kicked away the relatively short and plump woman. He opened the window, rather than breaking it like a lunatic. There was no screen and the size of the window was big enough for him to crawl through easily.

‘Danger! Run! Hide!’

Kelly was grabbing onto a tuft of white hair on his ass, but he just kept moving. Ignoring the pain. Unlike hair that’s attached to skin, his fur was ripped out pretty easily, because the carapace wouldn’t stretch as far.

“No! Don’t leave! Jake! Please! Come back!” Kelly screamed desperately, but Jake just kept running through the thick snow. It only took him a few seconds to reach the shore, which was frozen over and covered in a layer of snow as well. However, he just kept running until he eventually reached thinner ice, which couldn’t handle his weight.

‘Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! It’s so cold!’

‘Hide! Escape! Danger!’

‘I know, I know! Shit!’

Chapter 48:

“What was that?”

‘Unknown.’

“Are you okay now, Vora?”

‘Sanity, recovered.’

“That was different from before. Fucking A! From now on, let’s stay away from humans. It’s too hard… I don’t wanna kill people. I don’t wanna kill animals either. But I also don’t wanna get killed, raped or eaten.”

Jake sighed, looking over at the big, rusty old lighthouse that was dangerously tilted to the side. It was just a ten meter tall lighthouse, seemingly floating in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. About ten kilometers to the East of Ryan’s house. Sharps Island Lighthouse was nearly 140 years old. A pretty interesting landmark, which was why Jake ended up stopping nearby to catch his breath. Of course, all around the lighthouse were huge areas of scattered ice, with dark blue water in between. Jake breathed out a frosty breath and shivered a bit.

“It’s so fucking cold… Have I mentioned how much I hate the cold?”

‘Cold, bad. Survival, difficult. Reproduction, unlikely. Need, warmth.’

“Breeding, reproduction, fuck… There’s definitely something wrong. It’s not the green stuff. It’s something we can’t see. Some other influence? Pheromones? Ghosts? Aliens? Viruses? Who knows?”

‘Irrelevant. Hmmm… Danger. Careful.’

“Is that?” Jake looked up at the dark sky. The wind was relatively quiet now, but he still couldn’t hear anything. However, he could clearly see the outline of what looked like some kind of helicopter. It was coming from the East and going West, from his position at least…

“Are they going to DC? There’s no way they’re going to Ryan’s house, right?”

‘Maybe.’

Either way, he still submerged beneath the frigid waves and looked around at the surprisingly bright underwater world. The reason why it was bright was because of the glowing green algae and blue jellyfish that were everywhere. Some of the fish and other creatures that ate the algae were also glowing. They didn’t seem to have any negative reactions though. Their scales and eyes might glow green from the infection, but they didn’t seem sick.

In fact, most fish could eat or interact with the algae without showing any obvious reactions or differences at all. Jake didn’t dive down too deep. The deepest part of the Bay was nearby and even though there were green bay grasses and seaweed near the bottom that spread some light, it was still difficult to see anything that far away underwater in a murky bay.

‘Maybe it was a mistake to come this far out… I always feel like something is watching me.’

‘Fish!’

‘Yeah, but there’s a difference between these little fishies and the deep sea monsters… Now that I think about it though. Even in relatively shallow rivers and bays, you can still find crazy huge catfish and other creatures. That was before the Apocalypse.’

‘Big Fish! More Meat! More Danger!’

‘Yeah… Let’s go. We shouldn’t stop moving. I’m afraid I might freeze to death.’

Under the scales and carapace, he did have some fat, but it wasn’t as powerful as a walrus, seal or polar bear. His main method of resisting the cold was simply burning calories. Which was part of the reason why he had to consume so much food on a daily basis. The other part was that his body was obviously still changing. His metabolism was very high.

‘Fear… I’m always so fucking afraid. It was like this before. Now it’s even worse. I can’t just calm down and relax. I’m always on edge. Always so anxious. Probably because I’m surrounded by danger and can’t trust anyone. Not even myself.’

‘Fear, scary.’

‘Yeah, scary.’ 

Jake giggled with bubbles coming out of his mouth, then started swimming away from the lighthouse to the south. Down the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. His current position was just close enough that he could somewhat see the shores on both sides, even at night. But just to be safe, he got a little closer to the shore on his right. That was the West. He would need to keep following that shore southward for a long time.

‘I think we’re scared because we’re weak.’

‘Eat. Grow stronger. Adapt. More efficient. Evolve. Ascend. Breed. Reproduce. Conquer.’

‘But then again, the stronger you get and the more you have, the more afraid of losing everything we’ll be…’

‘Fear. Danger. Fight. Stronger. Harder… Hmmm. Survive. Thrive. Live.’

‘Yeah. I guess, no matter what, we still need to survive and live. One day, maybe we’ll be able to settle down and have kids together on some tropical island in the south? That’d be nice.’

‘Death Flag!’

‘Hahaha~! Seriously though, this algae… What if it really is radioactive? Humans and other mammals have a relatively low radioresistance than fish, mollusks and insects. I think the tardigrade is probably the most radioresistant animal, though I’m not sure if it counts. After all, you’re comparing a microscopic creature to macroscopic ones.’

‘Hmmm… Radiation, tasty?’

‘I have no clue what radiation would taste like… Just that Kelly seemed to be suffering from acute radiation sickness. Of course, it could also be something totally different. There are lots of diseases that have similar symptoms. I’m not a fucking doctor. This algae doesn’t taste bad to me though. And I don’t feel sick. By the way, the water is looking clearer now.’

With his webbed left hand fingers open and his armored right-hand cupped, he swam in a very leisurely breast-stroke. His webbed toes weren’t that useful, because his feet didn’t grow any wider or longer in comparison to his overall stature. It was better than nothing though. He kicked gently and slowly, trying not to attract too much ‘attention’ to himself. Especially because he was still covered in white fur and reflective silver scales.

‘I think it’d probably be best if I was darker.’

‘Camouflage.’

As Voracity spoke in the back of his mind, his left hand pointed to the glowing green fur on his right forearm. All around them were clumps and orbs of green goop, along with freely floating particles. The water itself was actually getting clearer in comparison. Jake looked at his two arms and then at the fish around him. They were also silvery, brown or black for the most part. Some with green spots or goop stuck to their bodies. Jake actually blended right in with the rest of the environment once his white fur turned green. At most, he just looked like a bigger ‘fish’.

Chapter 49:

About 10 kilometers to the south of Ryan’s house was a community called Dares Beach. There were only a few long piers reaching out from the rocks. There wasn’t really a ‘beach’ in the conventional sense. Just a bunch of rocks piled up, which were covered in ice and snow now. Jake just watched it for a few minutes, before diving back down under the water a few hundred meters from the shore.

It was so cold that he was afraid to sleep. Even though he was exhausted from swimming all night, into the early morning, he still kept going. Eating the unlucky fishies, oysters, clams and barnacles they found along the way. As for the algae… It didn’t really taste particularly amazing in the first place. Even the bay grasses and seaweed didn’t taste very good. What he wanted was the seaweed salad from a sushi restaurant. Wakame… Which also has other ingredients like sesame seeds, other types of seaweed, ginger, radish, various leafy greens, et cetera. Ultimately though, the main ingredient was seaweed from the ocean. Not a dirty brackish bay.

“Sure, the ocean is basically the world’s toilet. But it still tastes and looks better than the Chesapeake, right?”

‘Know, soon.’

“If I think back though… I don’t remember clearly what the ocean ‘tasted’ like… Probably salt. Really salty and nasty. But maybe our taste buds will change when we ‘adapt’ to the salty water? I haven’t noticed how nasty this brackish water tasted for a while now.”

‘Smells, rotten. Sewage. Feces. Urine. Death.’

“I know. Don’t remind me. I feel like one of our dumbest adaptations was ‘smelling’ underwater.”

‘Necessary. No sight, no sound, only smell.’

“Yeah…” Jake took a deep breath and then submerged into the icy cold water again. He could see a certain distance, but it’s true that he could ‘smell’ much farther than that. The problem was that he had no idea how to differentiate the smells properly. His nose obviously had its own olfactory senses, but smelling underwater is a bit different. His aquatic ‘sniffer’ was located in his right palm. Vora’s only orifice functioned as a mouth, a nose and a reproductive organ at the same time.

‘Do you have a brain?’

‘Likely.’

‘Is it in my shoulder? Or my hand? I need to know, or I might accidentally give you brain damage.’

‘Unknown.’

‘Ugh… We can’t go to the hospital to find out. Whatever. Maybe it’s not that important. Hopefully.’

‘We are one.’

‘True… Does that mean that if something happens to my brain, I can still survive by leeching off of yours?’

‘We are one.’

‘Okay then.’

‘Fish! Big Fish!’

‘I see it.’

Jake looked over at the huge, two meter long catfish that was swimming slowly above the glowing green bay grass. Like a lot of other fish, the temperature was so cold that it could barely move or function. Even if it could, he wasn’t too worried.

‘Eat!’

‘No way. It’s such a waste.’

He shook his head and continued swimming at a leisurely pace. It wasn’t long before Vora became excited again.

‘Long Fish!’

‘An eel?’

Jake looked down and saw a two meter long black eel with glowing green eyes, looking up at him casually, then swimming away at a swift speed. Two meters is actually extremely large for any kind of fish in the Chesapeake Bay. However, it wasn’t unheard of… At least it was still well within the realm of reason. Fortunately, most fish weren’t too much of a threat to his safety. A bigger danger would be something small that could get inside his gills. Or just poisonous and oxygenless water…

After a few hours of swimming, he finally started to have some trouble breathing underwater. He noticed that the algae was brighter than usual. Not only that, but the fish and other creatures in the area looked a little… Sick. He also sensed that familiar ‘heat’. As if his gills and scales were burning. Especially his eyes and nostrils.

‘Danger!’

‘We have to stop!’

“Haah~! Fuck, you have to be kidding me! How did I forget about that?!”

Jake gasped for breath and felt a little nauseous. Of course, he was also having a mild panic attack. He had good reason though. He looked at the smoking and steaming buildings in the distance, feeling like his heart was going to explode from fear and anxiety. Then he snapped out of the fear and started acting quickly. The wind was blowing to the East, so he quickly swam toward the shore on the right side. At least, he felt like that would be the safer bet.

The normally gray sand on the beach was covered in snow and ice. He quickly rolled around in the snow in order to ‘dry off’ like a Polar Bear, with very little success. At most, his slimy green fur and hair was just covered by white snow. His scales also had a lot of snow caked onto them. Making him look like a snowman with pitch-black eyes. 

He coughed a few times and didn’t feel much better after breathing the ‘fresh air’ of the Natural Park. Jake looked to the southeast, along the coast, only about 2 kilometers away. He coughed a few more times and grumbled, “No wonder… Ryan’s house was less than twenty kilometers from Calvert Cliffs!”

It was something so obvious, yet he never noticed or paid attention. Probably because he didn’t actually know where Calvert Cliffs was… And even if he did, they never announced in the news that the Nuclear Power Plant had melted down!

“No, maybe it’s related to all those gunshots and roars? There were also a few loud explosions… Hmmm, then again, the power plant might have melted down during the blizzard, after the power was cut off? Do they get their power from Calvert Cliffs? Whatever. That doesn’t matter anymore. We just need to get the fuck outta here.”

‘Radiation, unpleasant. Cold. Hot. Confusing.’

“We’re obviously really sensitive to radiation. Even if we seem a bit more… Resistant… We also can’t rule out the possibility that the radiation has damaged our genes to a certain extent. Or is constantly damaging our genes. Maybe we’ve already been… Sterilized.”

‘No!’

“Don’t worry. I’m not sure. It might not be permanent, even if there’s something wrong.”

‘Nothing wrong!’

Chapter 50:

“Alright, alright, calm down. Getting angry and panicking won’t help us or fix anything. We need to, we need a car. Or something, anything. We can’t just keep walking. It’ll take too long.”

Jake shivered and lost a bit of snow as he walked. Revealing the green hair and fur again. But it wasn’t ‘glowing’ as brightly in the sunlight that was shining through the white clouds in the Eastern sky. He walked across a small green pond that was frozen over and covered in snow. Then he trekked through the woods for a few minutes. He couldn’t get lost, because he didn’t really know where he was going at this point. He just traveled ‘West’.

Maybe it was luck or just inevitability, but he eventually found a few buildings belonging to the Natural Park in the middle of the woods. They were empty and overrun by various woodland creatures. But he didn’t really care about that. He quickly found a key to one of the five vehicles in the small parking lot outside! It belonged to a big red pickup truck…

When Jake sat down in the seat of the expensive and relatively new vehicle, he stared blankly at everything for a while.

“I don’t remember how to drive.”

‘Key! Ignition! Turn! Gas! Go!’

“Yes, yes, Vora’s such a genius. But what about this stuff?”

He pointed toward the black stick jutting out behind the brown leather-covered steering wheel, on the right side. Then what looked like a computer monitor below the middle of the dashboard. There was also another screen behind the steering wheel that lit up when he turned on the ignition.

‘Unnecessary!’

“Seriously, I don’t remember cars being so ‘high tech’… Then again, the last time I drove was in… What? Like 2012? It’s been eleven years already? Fuck. Also, the car and vans I drove were from the 90’s or early 2000’s.”

Fortunately the battery wasn’t dead and the engine didn’t have any trouble starting up. It made a loud noise and rumbled, shaking the seat. Jake smiled wryly and looked down at all the snow on his body, which was falling off onto the seat and floor. But he didn’t care, because he didn’t expect to use the truck for very long.

‘Heater!’

“I think we need to wait a while before we can turn on the heater. Also, I have no idea how to turn on the heater.”

Jake snickered and pulled the stick a bit, moving it into several positions. Eventually setting the vehicle to reverse and slowly stepping on the gas. After backing up and turning, he started driving forward on the thick snow. Very slowly and carefully of course.

“Thank God…”

He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally reached the end of the small road that was deep in the woods. Although there were some downed trees and branches, none of them were large enough that they couldn’t be avoided or directly driven over by the pickup truck. Out of the woods, he reached a big open area with a bunch of downed power lines in the snow. This was a place connected to the power plant not far away to his left, but he couldn’t ‘see’ the actual plant from his current position. At most, he could see some small buildings and parking lots.

‘Heat! Heat! Heat!’

“Okay! Geez, relax a bit.”

Jake’s right hand moved outside his control, while the left was still controlling the steering wheel. Vora pressed on some random buttons on the touch-screen, before eventually figuring out how to turn the heat on. But it wasn’t instant.

He crossed over into the woods again, but this time it was just a very small section, before he started driving parallel to the highway! Seeing that highway, he smiled. Because it was basically empty and abandoned. He turned left, then kept turning and started going south on the ‘right’ lane. After all, even if he didn’t think anyone would be driving on the road in this situation, he didn’t want to draw attention or have an accident.

“Solomons Island Road?”

‘Salmon?’

“Are you still hungry right now?”

‘Always.’

“Of course you are.” Jake rollared his pitch-black eyes and looked at the road ahead seriously. Using his right hand to wipe away the snow and green slime that was melting down from his eyebrows. Then he looked at the hair on his hand. He scratched his head and then looked at the big clumps of long green hair in his hand.

“I’m losing my hair. Again.”

‘Radiation?’

“Maybe. Maybe not. Might just be ‘unnecessary’. It doesn’t really help that much when living like a fish. Or maybe… Yeah, radiation.”

Jake opened the window and threw the hair outside. Not just a little bit either. All the fur and hair on his body was falling out rapidly. As if his body was rejecting the hair to avoid being contaminated by the radiation or slime that was stuck to it. He looked out the window and saw the smoke or steam rising beyond the treeline. But he didn’t pay too much attention to the nuclear power plant anymore.

Vora started driving, while he used his scaly left hand to remove as much slimy hair from his body as possible. Revealing the black carapace underneath. His gills opened and closed, along with the black plates covering the sides of his neck and throat. Green goop was leaking out constantly and he also coughed a few times, spitting some greenish phlegm into the wind. Thankfully he wasn’t driving that fast.

The road turned to the right for a while, with small exits appearing from time to time on both sides. However, he couldn’t see much other than trees. And he wasn’t interested in stopping either. There were a few more turns, left and right, but only slightly. For the most part, the roads were pretty straight from his perspective.

Finally he saw some small houses to the right, which had huge snowy fields surrounding them. Some of them had smoke rising from their chimneys. He even saw some people outside. Though he wasn’t too interested in what they were doing or why. On the left, he saw a fancy hotel, a random restaurant and then a shopping mall, with a big grocery store next to it.

‘Food!’

“No way. We’re not stopping in this radioactive hellhole.”

‘Food!’

“No. No food.”

‘Meat!’

“Just because you call it something else, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop. Look, we’re already past it! Fuck!”

‘Hoppy Meat!’

Jake felt like he was going to have a heart attack, but thankfully, the truck was driving slowly in the middle of the day. So the stupid group of deer were able to see the giant red monster rushing toward them and quickly got out of the way. There were also some cars that crashed in the middle of the road ahead anyway.

He had to slow down even more and carefully drive around them, even going off the road a little bit. Fortunately, this area was relatively flat and the sides of the road were just some grassy dirt underneath all that snow. Soon enough, all he saw were slightly barren trees on both sides of the road. Of course, while some trees were bare, a lot of them still had spiky green needle leaves. There were also a lot of smaller trees that seemed to have been planted recently, or perhaps, they just grew up on their own.

Across the median to the left, Jake saw a huge semi-truck that was carrying a bunch of other cars. Unfortunately, it crashed and all those other cars were also sent scattering around, blocking that side of the road off completely. Well, it wasn’t unfortunate for Jake, because he wasn’t on that side of the road in the first place.

Eventually he actually saw some people driving around. But they came and went quickly. Crossing the street in front of him, crossing the median without a care, then making a left turn and driving off into… Well, Jake couldn’t see it anymore and didn’t care either way.

“Driving is so much easier than swimming. Holy shit.”

‘No Fish…’

Chapter 51:

Solomons Island, like most so-called ‘islands’ in Maryland, wasn’t completely surrounded by water. However, there really were quite a few creeks inside the ‘island’ and even the Patuxent River, which almost reached up into Washington DC. The red pickup truck was meandering along the road and slowly approaching the nearly 2 kilometer long bridge that crossed the Patuxent River when Jake started to notice something strange.

“Is it just me or are there an awful lot of black cars driving around this area?”

‘Hunters?’

“Maybe…”

Jake’s heart rate was rising and his scales were really dry from the heater. That green slime was wiped off for the most part, along with nearly all the hair/fur on his body. Making him look even more inhuman and strange than before. He looked around anxiously and once he heard that familiar sound of helicopter blades ‘whirring’, he started panicking. Because behind him was a big black SUV. Then another one drove out of a parking lot he passed on the right, then the left. Even driving over the median in order to completely surround him!

“Fuck!”

‘Enemies! Danger! Escape!’

“Shit! Shit! Fuck!”

He didn’t know who they were, but he was pretty sure they weren’t cops. And they most definitely weren’t arresting him for grand theft auto! There were no announcements, no warnings, they didn’t shoot at him, but that didn’t stop him from freaking out and panicking.

The windows of those SUVs were tinted and dark, so he couldn’t even see who was inside. Or whether they were pointing guns at him from behind the glass. Those helicopters could also be aiming various weapons at him. Though they were circling around pretty far up in the sky.

‘Run!’

“Run where?!”

‘Away!’

“Seriously, Vora! What does it look like we’re doing?!”

‘Failing!’

“Shit! Shit! They’re gonna catch us and turn us into fucking lab rats! Or uh, well, test subjects? No, maybe they’ll just kill us directly!”

‘Live! Survive! Escape!’

“Haah~! Haah~! Aaaaaaaah~! Fuck me~!”

With one last crazed scream, Jake bounced around back and forth between the two cars. Eventually reaching a narrower road, where the SUV on the left rammed through a metal traffic barrier and crashed into a small tree. Not suffering much damage, but the situation didn’t improve much. Because they were coming up on the bridge! The SUV on the right kept ramming into Jake’s truck, while the one in the back was doing the same. They were pressuring him, trying to make him stop, but it was only making him more afraid and panicking even harder.

He pressed down on the gas and sped up. The icy and snowy road made him slide a lot even under normal circumstances. Now it was much worse. In the end, he managed to ram the SUV on the right into the concrete barrier and fence a few times before it was finally smashed through! The black SUV flipped a few times before landing on the ice and snow, not far from the beach…

Of course, Jake was able to see everything, because he also crashed off the bridge immediately afterwards! First he hit the ice with the front of the truck, causing the airbags to go off and smash him in the face really hard. Then, when he was only halfway underwater, the other SUV landed on the bed of his pickup truck!

“Mmmmn~!”

‘Escape! Escape! Escape!’

‘I know! Stop yelling!’

Vora’s claws ripped open the airbag as Jake’s left hand unbuckled the seatbelt. Then he tried to open the door normally, but it was stuck. So he elbowed the window…

“Owww~!”

‘Well, that was a bad idea.’

‘Me!’

Vora punched the window with her sharp and pointy ‘armored’ knuckles. Easily shattering it into thousands of pieces. Jake quickly climbed out the window and started swimming away as quickly as he could through the murky water. He went down deep, to the very bottom, which really wasn’t that far. There were those familiar green seaweed, algae and bay grasses, but they weren’t glowing. There were also a lot of brown things. Logs, branches, rusty metal pipes, anchors, et cetera. It was very difficult to see, especially with the ice and snow on the surface blocking the sunlight to a great extent.

The brightest lights were the headlights on those two vehicles. Then he saw some flashlights emerging from the SUV, but it seemed like the people inside weren’t chasing after him like lunatics. Simply trying to escape to the surface to avoid drowning.

‘So cold! Fuck! I think we’re going into shock!’

‘Eat!’

Vora reached out and grabbed a clump of dark-green goop. Licked it a few times, then sucked it inside her ‘mouth’. The taste was a little different from the glowing algae, but at least it didn’t taste like literal shit, so Jake was relieved. After all, under normal circumstances, if you find a clump of nasty-looking green or greenish-brown gunk, it might just be something that was dumped out of a boat’s septic tank.

‘Fishy!’

‘Eat the little fishy then.’

Jake lost a few bubbles of air from laughing as Vora happily devoured a few stupid minnows whole. They were already a hundred meters away and on the bottom of the murky river. So he wasn’t too worried about the mysterious organization hunting them down. At least, as long as they’re careful and don’t get too close to the surface, it’d be hard for helicopters or drones to see anything.

The only issue was that he eventually ran out of air completely. Having to switch to purely using gills and slowly walking along the bottom of the river. He was also a little lost and confused. Afraid to go to the shallower areas or surface in order to figure out where he was or which way he should go…

‘There.’

‘You sure?’

‘No.’

‘Well, I trust you anyway.’

Chapter 52:

In the end, Vora managed to figure out or guess the general direction of the Chesapeake Bay. The water in that direction was saltier, clearer and also, much more radioactive. Soon enough, they noticed that the green algae was glowing again. Plus, it was almost night time, so it got much darker. Which meant that Jake was finally able to surface in order to breathe some fresh, frigid, radioactive air.

He didn’t see any pigs, but he did manage to find Hog Point. He didn’t recognize it. However, he did somewhat guestimate or ‘hope’ that it was the place to the south of the southeasternmost tip of Solomons Island. From his perspective, it was just a bunch of rocks, covered in ice and snow. Many of the ‘beaches’ in Maryland were like that.

What he didn’t know was that beyond the frozen over golf course was actually an airfield and naval base. Fortunately, he didn’t decide to go ashore. He just kept swimming and walking. Passing out a few times and waking up ten or fifteen minutes later. After a lot of ‘experience’, he tangled his feet up in seaweed and seagrass, then took a long nap that lasted nearly an hour. Otherwise he would end up drifting off somewhere or washing up on the beach.

‘Thankfully we didn’t accidentally inhale in our sleep.’

‘Instinct.’

‘Yeah… We’ve gotten used to breathing with gills.’

They felt a lot better after getting some real sleep. They also noticed that the temperature was getting higher. Not because of the radiation in the water, but because the blizzard was over and a sudden Warm Front hit Maryland. Typical Maryland weather, for those who are unaware. It was almost February, but the temperatures suddenly reached all the way from the 20’s to the 80’s Fahrenheit!

“Holy shit!”

‘Warmth!’

When Jake reached the surface he was amazed by the sudden change that happened seemingly overnight. A lot of the ice on the surface was already melting, even though the water was still almost freezing. Not to mention the snow.

In order to soak up as much heat and sun as possible, Jake didn’t care about being spotted by drones that might be nearby. He floated up to the surface completely and started doing the backstroke. His scalp was covered by a hard, chitinous black carapace instead of skin. Just like his neck, chest, shoulders, right arm and groin. Not much had changed really, except that his fur and hair were all gone. Now his entire chin and jaw were also covered by carapace, making him look even more inhuman than before. All his other skin was replaced by large silvery fish scales as well. Though many of them were starting to fall out, possibly because of the radiation exposure.

“Is that a drone?” 

When Jake swam past the golf course and could see a sandy beach area on the shoreline, he also noticed that there was a small black thing hovering around not that far away. Then it started coming closer.

‘Bird.’

“That’s definitely a drone!”

‘Plastic Bird.’

When it was only a hundred meters away, he could finally recognize it as a small black X-shaped drone. Different from the ones he saw back in Baltimore, but that didn’t mean much. There were countless different shapes and sizes for drones. Supposedly the military had tiny fist-sized drones that could spy on targets several kilometers away. The one he saw this time was more conventional, with four propellers above the four corners of the X-shape. The middle part had a decent sized camera on it, staring straight down at him from the air.

At first it was just a small, normal-looking unarmed drone. So he wasn’t too concerned. But then there were more. And some of them were huge, heavy-duty, almost like miniature helicopters, with small machine guns or even tiny missiles on them!

“Fuck you!”

Jake gave the approaching drones two differently shaped middle-fingers, though it was a little hard with the webbing on his left hand… Then he took a deep breath and dove down underwater before they could arrive. As he was swimming a few meters below the surface, he could still hear the rotors and propellers buzzing or humming. Then he started hearing an even louder noise.

‘Fuck!’

It was a pretty big silver hull of a ship that appeared in his sight. There were also a few dozen black speedboats on the surface. They were circling around above him, seemingly capturing his exact location pretty easily. After all, it was a sunny morning and a lot of ice had melted. There was a lot of glowing green algae near the surface and on the bottom of the water, which also made it harder for his black and silver body to hide from the sky.

‘Deeper! Escape! Run!’

‘I know, I know! Shit! My sunny day! My warm air! Assholes! Fuck!’

‘Revenge!’

‘What revenge?!’

‘Escape! Best Revenge! Live!’

‘Hahahah~! That’s true though… Fuck those bastards!’

Jake dove down into the frigid water even faster. Especially when he started hearing things ‘plop’ down into the water behind him. Looking back, he saw some tiny aquatic drones and even some divers in all black wetsuits. They had what looked like tiny spearguns in their hands and were swimming after him. Some also appeared in front of him!

‘Shit!’

He darted forward and reached out with his left hand, yanking away the ‘gun’ from the man’s hand. The other hand reached out and grabbed the tube on the right side of their face with Vora’s claw. Then ripped it out violently, jerking the person’s head to the side in the process. Of course, they tried to fight back and Jake dropped the speargun. However, it didn’t really matter.

His main goal was just to force the person to surface and stop chasing them. He also swam behind that man to use him as a human shield for the ‘enemies’ that were chasing behind. Then Jake dove down rapidly again! He left the relatively ‘safe’ shoreline region and went down into the depths of the Chesapeake Bay for the first time.

Although the humans couldn’t keep up with him, those little submersible drones were different. They looked like small silver torpedoes with cameras on the front. Some of them were slower and wider, looking more like automatic vacuum cleaners, with several lights and cameras on the sides. Jake was swimming Eastward toward the deepest part of the bay that was within his reach, making his body feel a little uncomfortable. But it was nothing like back then… Now, whether externally or internally, his body had changed a lot.

The deepest part of the Chesapeake Bay was over 50 meters… But he obviously wasn’t at that deepest spot. Down there in the darkest depths of the bay, he was still surrounded by radioactive slime and glowing fish. Basically, it was impossible to hide his figure completely. Besides that, they had radar and other methods to track him, aside from just using visual inspection.

Jake and Vora followed the tide to find the way south, swimming around through the wreckage of ships, through the sandy underwater ‘grassland’, even got attacked by a big grouper or bass that was big enough to swallow him whole! Unfortunately, it didn’t help much. By the time the sun went down, Jake was totally exhausted and passed out.

‘Well… We tried our best.’

Chapter 53:

“Jacob Cinagra, how are you feeling?”

Those pitch-black eyes opened slowly. Jake blinked a few times and looked around at his surroundings curiously. He was floating in clear water with bubbles rising up from the side constantly. It tasted and smelled like spring water from a bottle. Below his feet and on all four sides were mirrors. Which allowed him to see the current state of his body very clearly and easily.

A lot of the scales on his abdomen, left arm, leg and even his face had fallen off. Revealing red sores and pustules. It really didn’t look good at all. He sighed dramatically, because he understood that it was likely radiation sickness. Then he looked down at his right palm and the familiar pink slit that opened up, releasing a few bubbles before closing again. Vora had stopped ‘spreading’ a while ago. Likely due to the radiation exposure as well.

‘Captured.’

‘Yeah…’

“Jacob Cinagra. I know you can hear me.”

Jake looked up at the ceiling, swimming upwards and poking his head above the water. There was only half a meter of space that wasn’t filled with water, but there was plenty of air. So he could take a deep breath and even speak.

“I’m locked in a fish tank and probably irradiated. How do you think I feel?”

“Yes. You’ve been irradiated quite badly.” The soft, feminine voice spoke again, “Your radioresistence is quite impressive. Are you hungry?”

“Starving.”

‘Food!’

“That’s good. It means that your digestive functions should still be working properly. Do you have any preferences?”

“Meat! Uh, sorry-Fish! Meat! Meat-Stop it!” Jake smiled wryly with his stiff lips, covered in sores, “Just… Whatever. As long as it’s not literal garbage. We’re not picky.”

“I see. It’s difficult to provide fresh meat or fish that isn’t irradiated or contaminated.” After she said that, a small tray was lowered down from above his head. Jake had to move out of the way to avoid getting hit by it. Then he looked up, but couldn’t see anything except those bright lights shining down on him from above. However, his attention was quickly drawn by the meal that was provided.

“Thanks, haha~!”

‘Meatloaf!’

Jake reached out with his right hand and those two tongues, along with his armored fingers started tearing apart what was likely just a heated up frozen meatloaf dinner. It also had ketchup on it, but it got dried up in the microwave and didn’t really taste that great. It was still a lot better than the gunk in the river and bay. There was also a hamburger, with cheese, pickles, et cetera. Which Jake struggled to eat above the water, while kicking his legs slowly.

“So what’s the deal now? Are you gonna vivisect me or force me to do some crazy experiments?”

Once Vora and Jake were full, they started worrying more about their tragic future…

“Mister Cinagra, we understand that you’re afraid and paranoid, but please understand that you’re being detained for your own good and for the safety of the world. You’ve been infected by multiple extremely dangerous and contageous pathogens. You’ve also been irradiated so severely that it’s a miracle you’re still alive. Aside from making you comfortable and providing you with food, there’s nothing else we can do for you now. We’re sorry, but at least by observing your condition, we can learn a lot of important data that might help others in the future.”

“So… You don’t need me to do anything? I just float around in a fish tank and eat the food you feed me? What happens when I need to shit or piss? And isn’t there anything to do? Like something to read or watch? Maybe a video game?”

Jake asked a bunch of questions, but unfortunately, there was no response. The lights dimmed after the plate returned into the hole in the ceiling. In the end, he was stuck staring at himself in the mirror. The tank was large enough that he could swim around a little bit, but it was still kind of cramped. It felt especially creepy because as long as he looked in any direction except upwards, he’d be staring at himself in the mirror.

‘Well this is fucking boring.’

‘Breed?’

‘But they’re watching us…’

‘Hmmm…’

An hour later.

‘Breed?’

‘Ugh… Okay.’

Well, there was no response from that woman. He just looked at himself in the mirror and awkwardly used his palm-pussy to suck off his retractible pink almost tentacle-like inhuman dick… The more he watched himself, the hornier he got, but he didn’t do anything too strange.

‘Fuck. This feels so embarassing after it’s over. How do people have sex in front of a camera?’

‘Money.’

‘True… Well, we don’t get money but…’

“I’m hungry again! Did you guys have fun watching us? Now feed your pet fish! We need a lot of food! Our metabolism is super fucking high!”

His voice was really loud in the small room. There was no response for at least ten minutes though. Then a plate lowered from the ceiling as the lights got brighter and blinded his extremely sensitive eyes.

“I apologize. We have a lot of other patients here. Many of them are in much more critical conditions.”

She paused for a few seconds, then continued speaking in a very calm and professional tone.

“If masturbation makes you feel more comfortable, then feel free. Don’t worry. Everything recorded here will only be used for scientific purposes.”

“Terrific.” Jake smiled wryly, shoving Vora into the spaghetti and meatballs. She mostly just ate the meatballs and tasted the sauce. While Jake used a plastic fork that came with the metal plate. Quickly devouring the small amount of pasta.

“I’ve read your file. Thirty years old. Ever since you moved to Baltimore, you’ve rarely left your house unless absolutely necessary. You’ve been surviving off your elderly parents all that time. Barely interacting with anyone but a handful of friends on the internet and some ‘fans’ of your artwork… When the evacuation order was given, you were already sick and decided to self-quarantine in your home.”

“Yeah, I know. I was a fucking lunatic even before Vora came along.”

The mysterious woman giggled, “No, Jacob. You aren’t a ‘lunatic’. We don’t use that word. You just have an anxiety distorder, like so many other people in the world. It’s not very strange. Especially now… Your paranoia and delusions, along with even your anxiety can all be attributed to your untreated hyperthyroid condition for most of your life. It was only shortly before the Corona Virus pandemic when your hyperthyroidism was finally under control to a certain extent. You don’t need to put yourself down or feel sorry for yourself.”

Chapter 54:

“Are you a psychologist? Or is a psychiatrist? Psychoanalyst? I can never keep track of which one is which.”

“I’m a Psychiatrist, among other things. You can call me… Doctor Aliya. I’ll be your attending physician, psychiatrist and caretaker for the time being.”

“Then you can call me Jake or Jacob. Mister anything always bothers me though.” 

He snickered and watched the plate rising up to the ceiling again. As he floated on his back, he closed his eyes and used the black nubs he called ‘ears’ to listen closely to what was happening beyond the glass. Unfortunately, all he could hear was the sound of water, his own breathing and heartbeat, plus some static-like background noises that played whenever Aliya spoke. Like to prevent him from finding any clues to his current location or to simply hide the voices of people that might be speaking in the room.

“If the mirrors are causing your distress, I can change them for you. Is there any particular scenery you prefer?”

As Doctor Aliya spoke, Jake opened his eyes and noticed that the scenery changed dramatically. He couldn’t see his own reflection anymore. It was just a big, wide open space with lots of colorful corals, seaweed and tropical fish.

‘Fish!’

“Calm down Vora, they’re not real.”

“Vora is the name of your symbiotic parasite? You’ve spoken to them several times now.”

“Voracity, but I usually call her Vora. I named her myself. It’s not like she had a name before we ‘met’. I understand she’s a parasite. You don’t need to tell me any bullshit like she’s not real or whatever. I know she’s real. She has her own personality, emotions, desires, thoughts. Even her own biology. I’m sure you’ve done some X-Rays and MRIs when I was unconscious. So you know that she has her own brain and everything, right?”

Doctor Aliya giggled, “Jacob. As long as you believe ‘Vora’ is real, that’s all that matters. It means that Vora has her own independent consciousness. If you had to rate her intelligence based on human age, how old do you think she would be?”

“Vora is as intelligent as I am. That’s not an insult to Vora though. I’m just saying that our minds are connected to a certain extent. Although she acts cute and childish sometimes, she’s not an actual child.”

“I’m not accusing you of anything, Jacob. You don’t need to be so defensive. There are no laws regarding the treatment of symbiotic parasites.” She laughed softly again, “Tell me your story. Tell me what you experienced. What you and Vora experienced together. How you escaped from Baltimore and everything that happened afterward.”

“You already know about the Laurels, right? I’m sure they’re probably in a cage around here somewhere, too…”

When she didn’t respond to that question, Jake sighed. Maybe it was doctor-patient confidentiality, top secret or some kind of mind game. He really didn’t know or care. Anyway, he wasn’t ashamed of what he did in Baltimore. So he started telling the story from the beginning. Though he left out Bunny’s identity. Everyone else though, he honestly didn’t give a fuck about.

“Every near-death experience is very traumatic, no matter how tough a person’s will might seem.”

“It’s possible that this ‘Miss Maria’ was just a hallucination. However, there are quite a few people who were evacuated from Baltimore shortly before the city was… Destroyed. Whether she possesses some supernatural powers or not will likely be a mystery. I’m sorry I can’t tell you for certain one way or another.”

“You shouldn’t feel bad about those people you had to kill in self-defense. Jacob, not only were those people suffering from hallucinations and using firearms against you, but you were also hallucinating. It’s normal to feel some guilt over their deaths, but try not to blame yourself too much.”

“You knew that this girl, Kelsey, would likely come back to harm you again later. Yet you still couldn’t bear to hurt or even disarm her… When she came back to try and kill you, she also had the chance to attack when you were distracted by her hounds. Neither of you really wanted to hurt the other. Which is normal. It means that something else was influencing your judgments the entire time. In your case, you claim there were multiple ‘voices’. Are you sure that your shootout with Kelsey actually happened? Or that Kelsey actually existed in the first place?”

“You were afraid. It’s normal to be afraid. To feel different. Your appearance has changed so dramatically and you’re very obviously infected by something. I don’t blame you for wanting to escape, rather than waiting for rescue. The situation was so chaotic at that time… I’m proud of you for surviving, Jacob.”

“You saw Miss Maria again. Along with cryptic messages and warnings. This time even ‘you’ believe that what you experienced was only a hallucination.”

“It’s incredible that you were able to react so quickly and efficiently in the face of something as terrifying as a nuclear missile… Hearing your story, it really amazes me that you’re still alive. Fortunately, you were indeed far enough away from the initial blast to avoid much of the radiation by submerging yourself. However, most of the radiation poisoning you’re currently suffering from is due to more long-term exposure. Both internally and externally. Likely from consuming the radioactive algae in the Chesapeake Bay.”

“Even when Ryan betrayed you and his family tried to rape you… You still didn’t want to hurt them. Jacob, you’re a good person. I hope you know that.”

After that, she didn’t speak anymore about the agents who might have been injured in the car accidents or the divers who were exposed to radioactive bay water in order to capture Jake. There were a lot of secrets involved. Things that even she didn’t know about and was definitely not allowed to discuss. Even if the person listening was just a ‘fish’ in a tank, that was likely dying from radiation sickness.

“Anyway, that’s pretty much everything that happened.” Jake coughed a few times and his mouth felt a little dry, “Can I get… Like, an iced tea or something? Orange juice? Anything but nasty, salty, radioactive bay water.”

“Of course, Jacob. Would you like some more food as well?”

“Shrimp! Uh, sorry, you don’t need to have shrimp. Anything’s fine. Whatever’s cheapest and easiest. I know it’s probably hard… I need to eat a lot.”

“Trust me, Jacob. Your appetite makes me happy. It means that you might actually have a chance to recover… Most of my patients aren’t so fortunate.”

When Jake and Vora finished eating, Aliya asked, “Would you like to watch or read something? I can adjust one of the screens for you.”

“Sure, thanks. Umm, is it a touch screen? Can I… Like, paint or draw something?”

“Of course. Creative activities like writing, drawing or playing music can keep your brain active and help when dealing with trauma or stress. One moment… There. This is a program I’ve used before. But never on such a large screen.”

“Thanks! I know you’re probably busy with those other ‘patients’. Uh… Wait, before you go, what about when I need to go to the bathroom?”

“The water in your tank is meant to help you detoxify and cleanse the radiation from your body… It will be filtered and purified very efficiently. Don’t worry. If it really bothers you that much, I recommend using the corner behind you to the left. That’s the ‘exit’, where your feces and urine can be removed more quickly.”

“Good to know…” Jake sighed and then held his breath, sinking down to the center of the white canvas in front of him. The light was a little distorted because of the water, but that didn’t really matter. Art didn’t require precision, especially if there was no real purpose or reason.

‘She’s trying to manipulate us.’

‘Mmmn.’

‘What should I paint?’

‘Meat!’

Chapter 55:

‘Oww… Ugh… Fuck me… Aaaah~!’

‘Endure. Heal. Recover. Grow. Overcome.’

‘Shit! Fuck! Aaaagh~!’

‘Jacob, survive. Live! Live! Heal! Recover! Grow! Evolve! Endure!’

Jake roared in pain and agony as he thrashed around in the water. He scratched his necrotic flesh and scales away from his abdomen, revealing the torn red abdominal muscles and yellow fat underneath! Then his neck and back started shedding their shells. Even his gills had been replaced several times thus far. His eyes were just hollow sockets, his nose was torn off, his lips were gone, half his teeth fell out already and the others were loose! Below the left knee, there was nothing. That lower leg was already removed from his fish tank a few days ago.

‘Aaaaaaaagh~! Aaaah~!’

He couldn’t even scream or cry, because he literally coughed out his lungs earlier. He even shit out most of his intestines. Many of his internal organs were missing, yet he was still alive and well because of Voracity. In that right arm, there was a beating heart, a functioning brain of some sort, a digestive system and as for ‘breathing’… 

There were tiny holes in the black chitinous armor on the arms. Those little holes could absorb the air from the atmosphere easily or close up to prevent any air from getting inside at all. Similarly, they could absorb the air from inside the fish tank, because it was well oxygenated.

‘Hmmmmn~! Are you okay, Vora?! Are you okay?!’

‘Alive.’

‘As long as you’re fine… I don’t want you to feel this way…’

‘We are one.’

‘I know, but I don’t want you to suffer… I love you.’

‘Love. Together. Endure.’

‘Yeah… Sorry… Sorry you have to feel this bullshit too…’

‘Overcome. Recover. Heal. Adapt. Evolve. Endure. Survive…’

In the end, Jake and Vora passed out again. It’s been a whole week since they first woke up in this fish tank. At first things weren’t that bad. They would have plenty of food to eat. The water was the perfect temperature; not too warm, not too cold. They could also watch movies, paint, watch TV shows, draw manga, watch Anime, have sex while watching Hentai… A surprisingly fulfilling and comfortable prison life.

Unfortunately, that fun time didn’t last very long. Jake’s body was forcefully rejecting the radioactive parts. Whether it was flesh, blood, organs, even bones! If his ears were functioning, he might be able to hear Doctor Aliya’s encouragement or comforting words. However, the only ‘person’ he really cared about now was Voracity. And Vora has only ever cared about Jake. The two of them were suffering together, though it was obviously Jake who had to endure the bulk of it.

‘I feel numb.’

‘Hmmm… Hungry.’

‘Yeah, hungry, but I don’t know if I have a stomach at the moment.’

‘Smell, food.’

The blind, horribly scarred and bloody man in the fish tank reached upwards with his pitch-black right hand. The pink slit opened up and two long tentacle tongues emerged, grabbing a large chunk of some sort of meat that was thrown into the cage. Vora didn’t care what it was or where it came from. The important thing was that it tasted good.

‘Meat!’

‘Yeah, meat. Go ahead and eat. We need to restore our strength.’

‘Mmmn… Fish!’

‘Salmon?’

Vora started eating a large chunk of some sort of raw fish, likely salmon. Although she couldn’t see it, her memory of many tastes came from Jake. He’s eaten lots of sushi/sashimi in the past, so they could recognize it pretty easily. The meat was still cold, as if it had just been thawed.

‘Hmmm… Unknown.’

This time, Vora ate something that had an odd taste. Or more like, it had almost no taste. Just a texture similar to tofu. Then there was a jelly-like substance. They would sleep intermittently. Only waking up to eat every few hours. They couldn’t see or hear, only smell and taste. At some point, they noticed that they weren’t in the tank anymore.

Instead, it felt like they were strapped down to a soft hospital bed. It felt like pieces of their flesh were being removed. Though it was still nowhere near as painful as what they endured before then. Some needles were injecting something cold into various parts of Jake’s body. There were also some strange things that entered inside of Jake’s neck, reaching down into his right shoulder. Whether they were removing things or implating and injecting things, the two of them couldn’t be sure. They were in a really groggy state of mind and barely remembered those ‘operations’.

‘Hmmm… I think… I think I feel better?’

‘Recovered? Light!’

‘Yeah, I can hear too.’

Jake looked around the dark fish tank, then squinted his eyes in pain when the lights suddenly turned on above him! Then he saw himself in the mirror and was stunned. Okay, maybe not that surprised. After all, he knew this day was coming sooner or later.

‘Vora…’

‘We are one.’

‘Yeah.’

In the mirror, his entire body was covered by a thin, flexible black exoskeletal carapace. His abdomen was covered in several layed plates that opened up when he ‘breathed’. There were still gills on his neck, but they were more auxiliary compared to the huge ones on his belly. His left arm was almost identical to the right in external appearance. However, there was no opening on his palm and he could still feel his bones aching inside of that thick shell. His left leg was a bit nubby past the knee, but it could be seen that the carapace was growing larger.

The toes on his right foot seemed to be fused together and greatly enlarged. Transforming into three long talons, with thick webbing in between them. Almost like it was somewhere between a duck and a raptor. Just like the feet of many birds, there was a fourth ‘toe’ extending from where the heel would have been, too the back. There was no webbing connecting the fourth toe to the others, so it had a full range of motion.

‘It’s kinda cool.’

‘Efficient.’

Jake snickered and breathed out some bubbles in the process. Indicating that his lungs had grown back, again. His chest was about the same as before. Covered in carapace, but still having what appeared to be pectoral muscles without nipples. The most dramatic change was probably his face. At least, the face was a very important feature for humans.

Chapter 56:

Jake’s scalp was still bald. Covered by a hard, reflective black shell. His ears were also still just nubs on the sides of his head. His eyebrows were hairless, but still visible. It’s just that his forehead, temples, jaw, even his cheeks were all covered in the same black chitinous armor. His lips were still pink and looked about the same, even though these new lips were a bit thinner than before. His nose also grew back, looking about the same size and shape. Except that there weren’t scales on it anymore. Only that hard, rigid shell.

His eyelids also grew back, which was a relief. After all, fish and a lot of other similar creatures didn’t have eyelids. He didn’t want to think about what life would be like if he could never close his eyes. Jake’s irises weren’t pitch-black anymore. He still didn’t have white sclera, while the pupils were also really large, but the new irises were pink like his lips… And Vora’s ‘mouth’.

“Okay, maybe I don’t really look that different after all.”

Jake snickered and spoke in a deep voice underwater. When he smiled, his cheeks cracked apart and revealed his huge fang-like teeth! He still had some molars in the back for chewing and grinding, but most of his front teeth were even bigger, sharper and scarier than before. All of them were new and white though. Instead of the teeth, the weirder thing was the way his ‘cheeks’ slid open, similar to Vora’s mouth. Though it did make sense. The carapace couldn’t be as flexible as human skin. At least he didn’t have giant insectoid pincers… Yet.

“Hey, Doctor Aliya! Are you there?!”

He swam up to the surface and shouted at the ceiling, but got no response. Then he swam over to the mirror that usually acted as a touch-screen monitor. Unfortunately, it didn’t react to his claw-like finger-tips. Speaking of which, he looked down at his left hand and realized that he didn’t have webbed fingers anymore. However, it wasn’t that big of a deal either way.

‘Okay, this is not a great sign.’

‘Abandoned?’

‘Or maybe something happened outside while we were in a coma? We don’t know how long it’s been.’

‘Escape?’

‘First we’ll wait. Before we start trying to escape, it’s best to make sure that something really happened out there… Otherwise, this might just be some kinda psychological test. The problem is that they might want us to escape. If we don’t try to escape, then what if they decide to kill us or something?’

‘Hmmm… Unknown. Dangerous. Confusing. Hungry.’

‘Yeah, I’m starving too.’

A few hours later, when Jake and Vora were starting to get impatient, the bright lights above the tank suddenly shut off! Not just the lights, but the oxygen pumping into the tank also stopped, along with the small hole that removed the waste in the corner. Everything was very still and quiet.

‘Shitballs.’

‘Unfortunate.’

‘Maybe it’s just a test?’

‘Unlikely.’

They looked around in the darkness and obviously couldn’t see anything. There was no light source at all… At least, until Jake’s eyes and carapace started glowing dimly. His irises, lips, gills and even the palm of his right hand were glowing pink. While the black carapace had a lot of blue lines along the joints. It wasn’t that bright, but it was plenty for his sensitive eyes to see everything in the small, confined space with a lot of reflective surfaces.

‘Looks like after eating all those jellyfish and radioactive algae, we figured out bioluminescence?’

‘Danger.’

‘Yeah… It’s fine if it lets us see, but it also lets other things see us…”

‘Up?’

Jake swam upwards as far as he could, then reached out with both hands and tried to grab something, anything on the ceiling. However, it was completely flat. The lights were behind a very durable plastic or glass, which was similar to the mirrors that surrounded the rest of the room. There was a small hole where his shit and piss could be sucked out of the tank before, but now it was sealed shut. The holes in the floor that released bubbles were the same. Completely sealed shut.

‘Well… This is a problem.’

‘Trapped.’

‘Yeah. Sooner or later, we’re gonna suffocate.’

‘Claw?’

Jake looked over and chose one of the three sides that didn’t double as a computer screen. Then he reached out with his sharp claws…

*Scratch-scratch-scratch!*

‘Okay, this is useless.’

‘Takes, time.’

‘Maybe if we had a week, we could do it, but can we last that long?’

They kept scratching at the glass and it did leave a very small mark, but the material was much closer to plastic than glass. If he was in a heavily pressurized tank, then maybe he could rely on the pressure to break the glass/plastic more easily. But… Well, he wasn’t too optimistic.

Eventually, they swam to the surface again and tried to pry open the circular indentation where the tray of food usually comes down. Unfortunately, that was made of some type of metal. And it was even less likely than scratching open the glass/plastic walls. Once again, they were placed in a ridiculously desperate situation…

Over the course of the day, the temperature in the tank also got much colder. Their carapace was actually a pretty good insulator in terms of heat. At least, as long as they didn’t open the big gills on their belly. Even the small gills on their neck would get cold pretty easily. Making their body lose a lot of heat, really quickly.

‘Fuck.’

‘Unfortunate.’

‘Yep… Yep.’

‘Cold.’

‘Fucking freezing. No, seriously, the water is starting to freeze! Shit!’

‘Danger!’

*Crack~!*

Chapter 57:

As the temperature dropped low enough for the freshwater in the tank to freeze, the ice managed to crack the glass and tough plastic of their fish-tank prison cell. With a strong punch from Jake’s right fist… Well, it cracked a little more. Specifically, he was swimming around at the top, trying to escape before being encased in ice.

“Fuck! Fuck! Break!”

*Crack! Crack! Crack!*

‘Live!’

Vora and Jake were doing their best to survive. Punching left and right, while also kicking their legs to disturb the water, keeping them afloat and also preventing it from freezing as easily. Running and choppy water is harder to freeze, but not impossible. If it’s cold enough, you can squirt water out of a hose and it will freeze in mid-air.

As the glass or plastic finally broke open, he reached out and pulled it back… Only to find that behind the glass was a concrete wall! Then he saw a flash of light and turned around to see big red words written on the white ‘canvas’ screen!

[You can’t escape from fear, Jacob.]

“Jacob! Can you hear me, Jacob?!”

He suddenly heard a quiet voice shouting in the distance and felt like his body was being jerked around violently. There were also loud thumping noises everywhere. The water was really cold and he could barely open his eyes.

“Jacob, I know your auditory senses have recovered! Please respond! Wake up!”

‘Awake!’

“What’s wrong? What’s going on? Fuck me… Ugh… It’s so fucking cold…”

Jake was on the surface and almost freezing to death. But the surface was much wider than before. Then a moment later, he smacked his hard, armored face against the glass wall on the side.

*Ting!*

“Ow! Fuck!”

‘Uninjured. Overreacting.’

“What happened?! Did we freeze and thaw out?! What year is it?!”

“You weren’t frozen! And it hasn’t been that long! Happy Birthday, Jacob! Now wake up and keep yourself moving!”

Doctor Aliya’s voice sounded a little anxious and the usual static in the background was missing. So he could hear some gunshots, screams and roars, along with big explosions in the distance and loud thumping that corresponded to some of the noises he could hear from inside the tank.

“It’s already February 22nd?! Shit, how long have I been recovering?!”

Jake frowned, with his cheeks cracking open a bit from the muscle movements. Revealing the glowing pink fluorescence inside. The whole tank was completely dark, like in his nightmare, but he didn’t bother trying to escape again. Just keeping from freezing to death was hard enough.

“You recovered a while ago, but you were in a coma and didn’t show signs of waking up until earlier today… We have to move to another facility now. Don’t worry. There’s nothing to worry about. Everything is going to be fine.”

“Are you comforting me or trying to convince yourself?!” Jake shouted as he floundered around in the violently shaking fish tank. His hard head, ass and elbows smacked into the glass dozens of times by now. Making him realize that the dream was really just a dream, because that glass or plastic was absurdly hard. Also, the choppy water wasn’t showing any signs of freezing at all. It’s likely that the temperature wasn’t cold enough yet. The good news is that the temperature wasn’t dropping any lower.

“No wait, what did you do to me?! Did you put something in my head?!”

“It’s just a few simple implants! Just think of it like a cellphone you don’t need to charge-”

“In other words, it definitely has a tracking device installed, so that I can’t run away?”

Jake rolled his glowing pink eyes and snickered, “It feels like we’re on a ship now?”

The violent shaking stopped and the tank seemed to have been finally installed properly. The temperature was rising and bubbles started appearing where they should. Similarly, the vent or filter on the one side started running, sucking out the cold water and replacing it with new, warmer water. 

Most people can’t even feel anything if the ship is large enough, like an aircraft carrier or cruise ship. However, Jake didn’t think this ship was quite that huge. He could feel and hear the hum of the engines, maybe even the propellers too. The acceleration of the ship also created waves in his little fish tank, depending on which direction it was moving or turning, speeding up or slowing down.

“Jacob, you have to remember that even if you recovered from radiation sickness, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to radiation now. If you were released back into radioactive waters, you would need to endure all that suffering again. Next time, you wouldn’t have us there to help you recover…”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s for my own good that I’m trapped in a fucking fish tank. A tank which apparently can turn into a coffin very easily as soon as the power goes out!”

“Your habitat will be a lot bigger in the new base…”

“Habitat?! Fuck, you’re putting me in a zoo?!”

Doctor Aliya laughed awkwardly, “It’s more like an aquarium…”

“Fantastic.”

‘Food?’

“Whatever, when are you guys gonna feed me? I’m starving.”

As soon as he said that, the lights on the ceiling lit up brightly and blinded him. Then a tray of steaming hot and spicy ramen noodles came down. There were lots of tofu, but no meat. Jake and Vora didn’t complain though. As long as it was food and tasted good. The only issue was that it took a little while for Jake to get used to holding a fork in his newly armored left hand. The fingers were thicker and clunkier, with sharp tips on the points, instead of normal fingertips and fingernails. Fortunately, he was already pretty familiar with that shape and texture because of Vora. There were also tiny barbs on his fingertips, palms, et cetera, so that he could grasp things more easily.

“Are you okay? Aliya…”

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”

“You don’t sound fine.” Jake sighed, “Were you injured? Or… Infected?”

“No. It’s not a physical issue.”

“Sorry for your loss.”

The voice in his left ear was silent after that.

Chapter 58:

“How are you feeling now? No sea sickness?”

Jake was in the middle of drawing a sexy naked woman with a purple octopus for a head, when he suddenly asked. Even if he was underwater, he could still speak and Doctor Aliya could still hear him. He figured there must be some sort of microphone-like implant somewhere in his throat or mouth.

“I’m fine. How are you feeling, Jacob? Is there any pain or discomfort?”

“Nah. I’m pretty good actually. Much, much better than before. I feel completely healthy. Something I haven’t felt for a really long time.” He sighed dramatically, releasing a lot of bubbles in the process, “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good.”

“You’ve lost and recovered nearly all your major organs. It’s a miracle that you’re alive. In order to keep you from losing any more entire limbs, we needed to perform surgery and remove all the radioactive bone tissues from your body.”

“I remember bits and pieces from that.” Jake nodded, rubbing his literally sharp chin, “Thanks. Hopefully you didn’t implant any bombs or other dangerous shit inside of me in the process.”

“I know you won’t believe me when I say this, but no. Jacob, we did not implant ‘bombs’ inside of your body… We didn’t implant explosives inside of Miss Voracity either.”

“Not even cyanide or some other poisonous nonsense?” Jake raised his right eyebrow, which caused the carapace above his eyebrow to crack open a bit. His whole face had a lot of lines in various places, so that when the muscles underneath moved, it wouldn’t cramp up or directly rip the muscles from the carapace.

“No, Jacob. We did not put poisons or toxins inside your body. This isn’t a movie or comic book. We aren’t going to send you on suicidal missions against your will. Although you might not believe this, you still have human and civil rights. The only thing you need to do is stay physically and mentally healthy. Don’t try to harm yourself. Just exist. It’s not too different from the way you spent most of your life so far, right?”

“It’s super depressing when you put it that way, but sure. Whatever. By the way, did I get taller? It feels like I’m a little taller, but I can’t tell…”

“No. Your height increased and decreased several times as you lost tissue. You might feel bulkier now, because your muscle mass has increased. Your body is covered in a carapace-like exoskeleton and your original skeleton has lost a lot of density. Technically, you’re much lighter now than before.”

“It’s kinda hard to tell when you’re underwater.” Jake sighed, then he swam upwards and took a breath of air, before submerging himself again. Although he can hold his breath for upwards of twenty minutes under normal circumstances, that time is greatly diminished when he decides to speak underwater.

“How much farther is it until we reach our new ‘home’, Ali?”

“I don’t know. Even if I knew, I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you, ‘Jake’. Sorry.”

‘Sounds, tired. Sick. Weak. Afraid.’

‘Yeah. It’s normal though. Assuming she’s human.’

‘Hmmm…’

An hour later, Jake finally finished his painting and smirked. The glowing blue eyes of the giant woman were particularly striking… Those purple tentacles were wrapped around a few huge metal warships from WW2, easily crushing and tearing them apart. She held a golden trident in her hand that was even taller than her mountainous body. Enormous waves were rising behind her back, while the seabed could be seen down below, where her dainty feet were standing. That pale human body was very voluptuous, with particularly large breasts covered in barnacles and green seaweed-like pubic hair. There was a big beak where her mouth would be on a human face.

“Jacob… Did you see this creature somewhere? *Cough~!* Eh-hem…”

“Her name is Enigma.” Jake nodded, “A friend of mine commissioned me to draw her a few times. She’s the protagonist in one of their webnovels. Why? Please don’t tell me there are already giant monsters the size of mountains in the ocean now… It’s only been a few months, right?”

There was no response. A few hours later, Jake started hearing loud ‘booming’ and the water in his tank started sloshing around violently again. The lights flickered a few times, but that was all. Only a few more hours later, did the situation calm down a bit.

“Aliya! Doctor Aliya! Are you still there? Are you okay? Don’t forget to feed me, okay?!”

“Sor-Sorry, Jake… *Cough~! Cough~!* There was a storm outside. Some people were… No, sorry, I can’t explain. Legally. *Cough~!* Here… Just in case. This should last you a lot longer. Don’t, don’t eat it all at once.”

Jake could hear that aside from Aliya, there were also several other male and female voices in the background. Some people were yelling, screaming or shouting things. There was a lot of coughing and even other strange sounds, banging, screeching, et cetera. It sounded very chaotic, but clearly his tank was so insulated or far away from wherever she was, that he couldn’t hear any of that aside from the implant in his left ear.

“Thanks… Ali, take care of yourself. Vora says… Heal. Recover. Survive. Uh, Breed? I think she means, you need to get well soon and then start a family or some shit, hahaha~!”

“Thanks, Jake, Vora… I’ll try.”

When the plate lowered this time, there were all sorts of things sealed in plastic packages. For example, ‘compressed biscuits’, granola bars, tuna in packets, chocolate bars, other types of candies and cakes, even some frozen uncooked meats and whole fish. The plate didn’t return back up again and the lights above his head weren’t as blinding as before. Allowing him to see a half-meter wide dark hole… Unfortunately, there was no way for him to fit through that opening at the moment.

‘Trap?’

‘Maybe, maybe not. It’s useless for us to worry about it though. We can’t fit.’

‘Can. Sacrifice.’

‘We are not gonna rip our left arm off in order to escape. At least… Not yet.’

Jake looked at his left shoulder, while was covered by relatively thick and rigid ‘armor’. He pressed it down in various spots. The material bent and even cracked a bit if he pushed too hard. However, it didn’t break. There were several plate-like segments that were connected together with pinkish flesh underneath. He poked in between the plates and ‘hissed’ in pain, though he didn’t draw blood. His pointy fingertips were pretty dangerous though. They’re sharp and hard enough to scratch his black chitin, so doing things like picking his nose or scratching his face in the past were very dangerous. Even now, his nostrils could be sealed shut, but the insides were still very sensitive and delicate.

‘Eat.’

‘Yeah… Eat.’

Chapter 59:

The power was still running, so Jake and Vora had fun drawing things. Of course, Vora’s artwork was mostly related to food and eating. Jake’s were often borderline hentai or pornography. They were both very talented though. On the one hand, Jake put in countless hours of time and effort throughout his entire life… On the other hand, Vora is literally Jake’s other hand. She basically started her ‘life’ with almost maxed-out Art Skill. Not very useful for survival in the apocalypse, but at least it allowed them to share another interest in common, besides eating and sex.

That hole in the ceiling was still luring them in… Tempting them to try and escape. However, they didn’t run out of food yet. And the power was still running properly. They were both very paranoid and suspicious. Expecting this to be some sort of test.

It wasn’t until three days later when they were almost out of food, even though they rationed pretty well. When they just finished ‘breeding’ and started considering tearing off their own arm in order to escape…

“Jacob… Can you hear me? Jacob!”

“I’m here. Can’t you see me? Aren’t you monitoring me constantly?”

“No… Jacob, I need your help.”

“If you wanna make a commission, go ahead. I’ll charge you a TV Dinner.”

“Jake, this isn’t a joke! Haah-haah-haah~! Damn!”

*Bang-bang~!*

“Is this some kinda psychological test?” Jake frowned, looked up at the hole in the ceiling, where he still couldn’t hear or see anything. However, he could hear a lot of chaotic screams and gunshots in the background of Doctor Aliya’s microphone.

“This isn’t a test! Jake, there’s been a containment breach and… *Bang-bang-bang~!* And most of the crew, escort personnel and-Everyone has either been infected or killed already! There are only a few of us left!”

“How do I get out of this tank? There’s gotta be another way besides climbing out the tiny hole, right?”

“It’s just like any-hah~! Like a fish tank! Jake! Take off the lid!” Aliya took a few deep breaths and then whispered softly, with horrible noises in the background.

“Haven’t you even tried to reach up there or look around yet? I left the controls within reach. It looks like a small tablet.”

As Jake heard that, he swam up rapidly with his two terrifying flipper-feet. Then he jumped out of the water and easily grabbed the edges of the hole, poking his head up out of it. His right elbow was placed on the metal outside, while the left shoulder was just a little too big to fit through. However, he could easily reach the small tablet that the Doctor told him about.

In case it wasn’t waterproof for some stupid reason. Jake just stayed there in that position and carefully pressed the button on the side after his finger was a little dryer. Then it immediately came out of a type of sleep mode. There was no nonsense involved. On the lit-up screen, there was a big red button that said: [Open!]

So he pressed it… Then he heard Aliya say, “Be careful when you open the tank.”

Suddenly he was being lifted up in the air! It turned out that the entire small compartment was just part of the tank’s lid. However, the lid didn’t lift very far. Only a few centimeters, then it started shifting to the side slowly.

“Fuck!”

‘Danger!’

“I know!”

He was stuck and his left arm was already being pressed against the glass wall with a lot of force! Fortunately, he quickly raised his right hand upwards and slid down into the water again. Then watched as the lid was completely removed off to the side, before swimming up to the surface again. That tray, attached to metal wires, was already broken off and sank to the bottom of the tank.

Jake jumped up and grabbed the edge of the side where he usually painted on, then pulled himself onto the edge. Those light-pink irises looked around curiously. It was a small room with metallic walls, not much bigger than the fish-tank he was stuck in before. He pulled himself up and over, then hung onto the outside, before dropping down carefully.

Out here, the glass was only semi-opaque. Standing on the outside, looking in, he couldn’t really see through the part of the ‘wall’ he turned into a canvas. The sides though, were basically transparent. Like a typical one-way mirror.

Then he looked around the room and noticed a few big freezers. Sure enough, they were filled with various meals. Everything from TV Dinners to just hunks of meat. Needless to say, Vora was really excited. Unfortunately, they didn’t have time to cook anything in the microwaves nearby.

“Are you out yet?”

“Of course.”

“Good…” Aliya breathed a sigh of relief, “Opening the door requires a facial scan, a code, a fingerprint and a vocal command.”

“How the fucking fuck am I supposed to do any of that?”

Jake walked over to the door and looked at the various locks, then he looked around for a vent or something, but it was obviously not possible. This was a containment device for a potentially airborne pathogen and even shielded against radiation. There was almost no way to break out either. Unless he learned how to teleport or was strong enough to rip the metal door/walls apart.

“You’re not. I am.”

After she said that, the door suddenly slid off to the right side.

“Hiss!”

“Fuck!”


A big red-striped snake lunged at his face, so he dodged out of the way and slipped on the ground, because he wasn’t used to his new feet. In particular, his left foot was smaller than the right and obviously not completely regrown yet. Jake reached out with his left hand and grabbed the mouth of the snake that was trying to bite him, but then another three big red and black snake heads started attacking him in other areas. Thankfully, his entire body was covered in a black shell and those poor fangs were almost broken.

“Be careful. Some of my other patients might have escaped as well…”

“Ya think?! Fuck me! Was this a person?!” Jake couldn’t help but complain when the five-headed Hydra-like creature started clawing at him with its big lizard-like hands. The body was really bloated and still had visible breasts, with lots of layers of scale-covered fat rippling as it tried to crush him underneath the huge torso. The back legs were also very lizard-like, with a long, thick tail behind its blubbery ass.

“You’ll have to be a little more specific…”

Chapter 60:

‘Meat!’

“We are not going to eat this thing!”


Jake complained as he rolled over and kicked with his bigger right foot. Gouging out a huge hunk of flesh with his long talons. His body made loud noises as he moved around. Without thinking too much about it, he punched one of the snakes in the face, stunning it. Then he grabbed two others with both hands at the same time. His fingers squeezed tightly and fresh, tasty blood squirted down Vora’s throat. Those long tongues ejected inside the flesh of the skull and scooped out part of the brain. Another snake bit toward Jake’s face, but he opened his mouth wide and chomped down onto its neck instead! His long fangs dug down deep into the flesh and as he moved his head around, grinding his teeth, the flesh was torn apart completely!

“Fuck! Why does it taste so good?!”

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a mythical hydra and the ‘woman’ couldn’t grow new heads. At least not that quickly or easily. Even just losing those three was enough to cripple her nervous system and send her into shock. Jake didn’t stop there though. He quickly kicked out and gouged another big chunk of flesh from the side of the blubbery monster. Then he wrapped his right arm around one of the remaining necks and twisted violently, snapping the vertebrae in many pieces. The last head was grabbed with both hands and crushed, then torn in half very violently. At that point, the rest of the necks and body was twitching, gyrating, shitting itself… The usual.

“Eww…” Jake quickly left the room before he got any urine or feces on his feet. Ignoring the fact that he was completely drenched in that monster’s blood and brains.

“Where are you, Ali?”

“I’m one deck above you now… Hiding in the bathroom of my lab…” Aliya whispered, “The Captain was supposed to… He was supposed to destroy the ship in the event of an outbreak like this. But there was a mutiny. I don’t know where we are now. I don’t even know where we were going before. But they’re driving the ship somewhere…”

“What do you want me to do? Stop them?” 

Jake rolled his eyes and looked around at the messy hallway. There were bullet casings, blood, guts and other random nasty things all over the ground. He heard banging and thumping from the doors that were still closed, but ignored them. Although crouching allows you to ‘stealth’ in games… In reality, that doesn’t really help much most of the time. Especially if you aren’t used to crouching. And Jake was barely used to walking around on his new feet, plus the fact that he’s been submerged for a long time now. His body was stronger than before, yet it was still really awkward to move around on land.

“Of course not… Just… Make it to me first.” Aliya breathed heavily and rapidly, both from fear and exhaustion, “Be careful… Cindy… She’s here.”

“Cindy?! Like the Cindy I told you about?! She didn’t die from radiation poisoning?!”

“No… She did… But, you’ll understand. Just be careful.”

Jake complained, “This ain’t a fucking horror game. Can’t you just tell me?!”

‘Suspicious.’

‘Seriously though.’

He made his way through the filthy metal hallway and saw an open door on the left. As he peeked inside, a big red and black snake-head shot out! Then two more wrapped around his arm and leg, while two big, muscular arms reached out to grapple him! Unfortunately, the ‘man’ with snakes for heads still had a relatively normal-looking body below the necks. So Jake reached into his abdomen with his left claw-like hand and grabbed one of the two beating hearts inside. Crushing it and causing the whole body to spasm violently. Then he swirled his sharp claws around inside the dude’s torso, before pushing his limp body back inside the room with Vora’s fist.

Those snake heads were still alive and very angry, but they quickly started fighting with each other and couldn’t coordinate properly. Strangely enough, Jake didn’t notice any red or black worms. However, as he got closer to the end of the hallway and saw the metal stairs leading upwards, he did see something very familiar. The lights were dim and there was sticky green slime coating everything, even stretching out across the floor a few meters. Some mangled corpses laying around on the side were already being engulfed by the glowing algae.

“Please tell me that this shit isn’t radioactive…”

‘Not, hot.’

“Don’t worry, Jacob… It’s not radioactive… But it’s not safe either. Be careful. Ugh…”

With a groan, she cut off the communication again. Jake sighed dramatically and started walking across the slimy floor. Although it looked sticky, he almost slipped when walking up the second stair. Then he grabbed the metal railing with his right hand, which was also slippery and eventually had to use his left hand to prevent his face from smacking into the sharp edges of the stairs…

‘Tasty!’

“I can’t believe you’re still licking this shit!”

‘Safe.’

“It’s not radioactive, but it could be poisonous or have some other nasty viruses and bacteria!”

As he shouted and made a lot of noise, there were also some sounds coming from the darkness at the top of the stairs. He looked up and saw three small, child-like figures lurking at the top of the stairs. They didn’t have guns in their hands and they weren’t radioactive, so Jake wasn’t too concerned.

“Sex!”

“Fuck!”

“Ass!”

“Cock!”

They started shouting at him in childish, high-pitched voices, while throwing metal tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, knives and hammers!

“Goddamn it! Fuck off, Brats!”

‘Prey!’

“We’re not eating little kids!”

Jake used his left hand to cover his face, while his right hand was still holding onto the railing. Otherwise he couldn’t walk up the stairs without slipping. When he was halfway up the stairs, the ‘children’ screamed in fear and scampered away on all fours. The whole time, Jake couldn’t really get a good look at their appearances.

“It sounds like you’ve already met ‘Cindy’.” Aliya sighed softly and whispered, “Before she died, Cindy continuously gave birth to dozens of offspring… Those children grew rapidly. Unfortunately, they died shortly after reaching adulthood. Radiation Sickness.”

“So these are the grandkids or what?” Jake finally reached the top of the stairs and saw a bloated corpse covered in green slime. It was bulging and stretching, so he quickly moved away. Only a few seconds later, the belly burst open and two sharp claw-like green hands emerged. Then he saw the head of a small child… Well, it had no eyes, nose or ears, only some eerie holes. Only the mouth looked a little more normal, though there were jagged white fang-like teeth jutting out awkwardly. It looked very scary, from the aesthetics of normal humans at least.

“It’s kinda sad.”

‘Weak Meat!’

“Yeah… Wait, no, we’re not eating them!”

Chapter 61:

“Aaaah~!”

“Sex~!”

“Kill~!”

“Mama~!”

The little boys and girls were screaming random things as they circled around Jacob in the shadowy corridor. Occasionally throwing clumps of algae or other nasty things at him. He was fine with algae, but sometimes they threw human intestine or feces, which made him have to dodge. No, he basically tried to dodge everything, because no matter what, everything was potentially dangerous or disgusting. The wrenches, knives, scalpels and empty pistol magazines left scratches or small dents on his exoskeleton.


“Stop it, you little Bastards!”

“Reeee~!”

“Dada~!”

“Daddy!”

“Fuck!”

“Shut the fuck up!” Jake finally couldn’t stand it anymore and started making horrible, high-pitched and loud noises! Then the little kids scrambled away to avoid the annoying sounds… When he had to stop to take a breath, he saw some of them approaching again!

‘Hunt!’

“Ugh… No.”

Although he could theoretically try to run over and catch them, realistically, he would just slip on the slime and other ‘things’ littering the metal corridor. There were also lots of rooms on the sides. Most of them had closed and sealed or locked doors, but some were open. There were plenty of places for the green kids to run or hide. Ultimately, he was more like an aquatic creature at the moment. Of course, just because he couldn’t catch them, didn’t mean he could catch the objects they threw at him!

He grabbed a wrench and chucked it hard enough to make a really loud noise next to the face of a little ‘girl’. Which scared her and her siblings. Causing them to scamper away and hide somewhere. Jake sighed as he finally reached his destination.

“Are you here yet?”

“I think so…” Jake entered the open door on the right side of the corridor and looked around at the laboratory. There were lots of computers, instruments, beakers filled with weird colorful liquids and of course, green algae all over the floor, walls, et cetera. A few ripped up lab coats were scattered on the ground, along with blood, flesh, limbs and heads. A teenage boy with green skin was hiding in the darkness on the right side. He was wearing the peeled-off face of a young dark-skinned woman like a mask… He also had a lab coat on his body, which was dyed green and red, wearing a small intestine like a scarf.

“Looks like they actually have a pretty high level of intelligence.”

Jake closed the door behind him and locked it, so that the other annoying brats couldn’t get involved. He walked closer that that strange-looking ‘kid’, but the boy raised a 9mm pistol in his hand and shouted, “Fuck! Fuck-fuck-fuck!”

“Fuck you too.” Jake raised his middle fingers to the kid and snickered.

“Cindy-19 is outside with a sidearm. But he shouldn’t have any ammunition left.” Aliya sighed, “And yes… They aren’t any less intelligent than humans. However, they’re extremely impulsive, violent and cruel. Tracy treated him like a son…”

“You don’t need to try to manipulate me, Ali. He’s not a child anymore.” Jake looked at the dyed green ‘meat’ that the boy was using to jerk off and smiled wryly. Then he reached out, grabbed a glass beaker and threw it at the boy’s face! Even though he blocked with the pistol, the glass still shattered and splashed all over his ‘masked’ face, neck and chest.

By the time that Cindy-19 reacted, two very hard and sharp black knuckles tore off his mask, along with half his real face! His left cheek was completely caved in and shattered. Then the back of his head smashed into the corner of a metal desk nearby… He squirmed around for a while, but a bit talon pierced through his temple and dug out a big chunk of that surprisingly gray brain matter. Even though his skin was dark green and his blood was glowing green, his bones were still white.

“He’s dead.”

‘Devour!’

“We’re not gonna eat him, Vora. We don’t need to eat every fucking thing, okay? Look at what happened last time. We almost died from radiation poisoning.”


‘Hmmm…’

Although she was unsatisfied, Vora still compromised in the end. Mainly because they already ate not long before leaving their fish tank and it’s only been a few minutes. She mainly just wanted to taste everything.

*Click! Creak~!*

Jake looked over and saw the metal bathroom door slowly opening outward. It wasn’t as high-tech or fancy as the doors to enter and exit the labs or containment rooms. Compared to the lab, the bathroom was brightly lit and extremely clean. Jake looked into the room and then heard a voice in his ear.

“I know you can see me, Jacob.”

He snickered and ‘smirked’ at the 1.3 meter woman who was looking up at him with a weary expression on her relatively attractive face. Doctor Aliya Ahuja was in her forties this year. Descended from Indian and Arabic parents. With light-brown skin, a normal-sized head and torso, but abnormally short arms and legs. She obviously had Dwarfism. A little chubby, but overall, she seemed relatively healthy and didn’t have any weird tentacles, claws or green spots. Even her irises were the most basic light-brown, without any strange glowing colors involved. She even bothered to straighten her long black hair and pull it back into a ponytail that reached her ass. The short woman was wearing a specially tailored white lab-coat, with a simple black blouse and pants underneath. She also wore boots with relatively large heels to make herself a little taller.

“Well, I didn’t really know what to expect. Hehehe~! Shouldn’t you put on some protective gear though?”

“Like what? Gloves and a mask?” Aliya raised an eyebrow and looked at the 1.75 cm tall ‘man’ who looked like he was covered in black carapace armor. But his entire body was now glowing with green slime or covered in blood and entrails.

“I need a hazmat suit if I want to be completely protected from all the biological contagions on this ship now… Normal PPE would be useless.”

She walked past Jake and looked around her lab. Especially at the twitching corpse of Cindy-19. After sighing dramatically, she turned back to Jacob and asked, “Why did you kill him?”

“He’s old and intelligent enough to understand the consequences of his actions.” Jake shrugged, “Those little kids outside are really like babies or small children. Well, you get the point.”

Chapter 62:

“I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, Jacob. I’m just curious.” As she said that, Aliya walked over to a small door on the side of the room. Entered a code and unlocked it. The door slid open and revealed some ‘emergency’ equipment. Several .45 caliber pistols with already loaded magazines. Some protective black body armor that seemed to be specially tailored to her exact measurements. There was also a diving suit and hazmat suit. 

“Nice.” Jake snickered and reached out to take a pistol, but was glared at by the small woman.

“These are mine. Don’t contaminate them.”

“Ugh…” Jake groaned and looked around the room. Quickly finding a black assault rifle in a pile of green goop. He took it into the bathroom and washed it off, along with his entire body. The water pressure was surprisingly powerful in the shower. He was about to test fire the rifle, but decided against it. After all, there were way too many things in the room that could ricochet easily.

“Don’t worry. Even if they’re covered in mud, those rifles will rarely misfire.”

Aliya didn’t care about his presence and quickly took off her lab coat, along with most of her other clothes. Only keeping on her black bra and panties. Then quickly put on her ‘combat uniform’. It wasn’t very high tech, but it was still ‘bulletproof’ against small caliber firearms. The vest and helmet could resist higher caliber weapons.

“So what’s the plan? Kill our way to the Bridge and take over the ship?”

“Jacob… Be realistic.” Aliya looked up at him with the black, ballistic helmet in her hands. Then she put it on her head and even her eyes couldn’t be seen behind the tinted visor. The whole helmet looked somewhat similar to a motorcycle helmet in a lot of ways, just a little clunkier and less sleek. She spoke again and her voice was transmitted directly to his left ear. 

“I’m not even authorized to know how many ships are in this fleet. However, I do know that this ‘is’ a fleet. They were able to take command of the ship and haven’t been destroyed or counterattacked by the rest of the fleet. This means that there could be hundreds or even thousands of armed, trained military personnel. Our goal is simple: Survive and escape.”

“Okay… How?” Jake looked down at the tiny woman who was holding a large pistol with both hands.

“We need to go above deck. I need you to help me carry my diving suit.” Aliya went back out of the bathroom and placed the diving suit into a bag, then handed that black bag, along with a painted-black air tank to Jake. He didn’t have any complaints and just slung everything over his left shoulder. Holding the black rifle with both armored hands.

“Thank you, Jacob.”

“No problem.” Jake snickered and walked over to the sealed door. Although he was able to close it before and it locked automatically, he couldn’t open it on his own.

“Please protect me from those children… I don’t want to hurt them. But I can’t let them hurt me either.” Aliya put some flash drives and other small things in her pockets. Not hiding it from Jake at all.

“If something happens to me… Please upload this data to the internet. Or hand it over when you’re captured later. It’s very important.”

“Is it waterproof?”

“Yes, Jake, it’s waterproof.”

After she giggled, the tiny woman took off her helmet again in order to have her face scanned, gave a verbal code, typed something in and even had to use a keycard. Then the door slid open and Jake looked around warily, aiming his rifle at the little green brats in the distance. Of course, they didn’t have eyes, so it was a mystery how they could tell that they were in danger. Either way, they quickly screamed, ran and hid.

“They can sense the death of their older brother.” Aliya walked next to Jake in the corridor, hiding behind or in front of him depending on where those ‘Cindys’ were located. Trying to use him as a ‘human’ shield.

“Don’t forget to turn the safety off…”

“Ah, I thought I did?” Jake looked down and flipped the little metal piece near the trigger from ‘Safe’ to ‘Fire’. He also checked the magazine again, then chambered a round by pulling the slide back and releasing it. Accidentally knocking the round that was already inside, out of the hole that appeared. Aliya reached up and caught the round, handing it back to Jake while chuckling.

“Don’t waste ammunition. Make every bullet count. Be careful not to kill us with a ricochet.”

Even if she was wearing body armor over most of her body, she knew full well that there were many places that had much weaker protection than others. Even Jake’s ‘armor’ had a lot of weaknesses and might not even be bulletproof in the first place. They never did any durability tests or anything like that.

“Do we just go up? Are there any automated turrets or laser corridors? Maybe infrasound cannons or plasma-”

“Jacob. Stop. Just stop.” Aliya sighed dramatically, “Although there are some automated defenses, most of them have been destroyed or disabled already. Our enemies are infected sailors and soldiers.”

As they spoke, Jake looked up at the ceiling and noticed the security cameras. There weren’t any machine guns attached to them though. He couldn’t help asking, “Aren’t those cameras working? Shouldn’t they be able to see us now?”

“Even if we’re standing in front of them, they might not be able to see us.”

As they walked up the stairs carefully to the next floor, with those little green ‘Cindys’ screeching and shouting behind them, they encountered a naked pale-skinned woman. She was covered in bloody wounds, but she was just staring at the wall blankly. Muttering to herself in a quiet voice…

“Nemôže uniknúť, nemôže uniknúť, nemôže uniknúť, nemôže uniknúť zo strachu, nemôže uniknúť z teroru…”

“What language is that? Sounds like Russian?” Jake whispered to the tiny woman who was using him as a shield again.

“Slovak. Come on. Don’t let your guard down just because she looks crazy and unarmed, but we shouldn’t waste too much time. We don’t know where we are or what the environment is like outside.”

“Nikdy sa odtiaľto nedostane, nikdy neodíde, navždy tu zostane, zostane a nikdy neodíde, navždy, na veky vekov…” As they walked past a closed metal door on the left, Jake could hear a deep voice mumbling. Even as they walked away, he could still hear those strange words echoing in the back of his mind.

“What the fuck does it mean?”

“It’s better if you don’t know.” Aliya pointed her pistol up ahead and hid behind Jake’s carapace-covered ass, “Be careful.”

The lights were flickering on and off ominously. Even though the corridor was empty, there were doors on both sides. Some of them were open, with weird moaning, screaming or crying noises coming from inside. Jake walked past one of the doors and saw three men raping a third man who was screaming for help. Without thinking too much, Jake fired two shots. One passed through the back of a dark-brown head and into another man’s pale forehead. The second round went through the spine of a different pale-skinned, muscular man and out his chest. Unfortunately, hitting the face of the man that was being ‘raped’.

“Why waste your ammunition?” Aliya sighed and watched as those four men all turned towards them at the same time. Those blood-red eyes were glaring at them. Then they scrambled across the dark room, but Aliya reached up and pressed a red button, which forced the door to close automatically.

“I wanted to make sure my gun actually worked.” Jake shrugged, then he swung his elbow backwards. The sharp chitinous edge of his forearm ‘armor’ cracked open and tore apart the left cheek of the crazy woman who was lunging towards Aliya. The neck snapped and the body still continued forward, but the little woman was able to dodge out of the way in time.

“Hehe~!” 

“Don’t be smug.” Aliya sighed, then watched as Jake stomped down hard on the woman’s skull. A bunch of black liquid squirted out instead of blood and brains. Then the headless body of a huge centipede emerged from a gaping hole in her back. It squirmed around violently for a while, until Vora reached down and grabbed it. Squeezing and crunching a few times, the meter long centipede was quickly devoured into her pulsating pink ‘mouth’.

“Vora… Seriously.” Jake groaned and shook his head, “Well, I wouldn’t let her eat those ‘hydras’ downstairs or the greenies. Sometimes she just can’t resist her impulses.”

“We all struggle with our instincts and impulses, Jacob. I’m not judging you… Or Miss Voracity.”

After a few more seconds of walking through the creepy hallway, they reached a door at the end of the hall. Not a stairway or ladder, but an elevator, which was still working, like most of the ship. However, it required a lot of codes, phrases and facial scans, fingerprint scans, et cetera.

A monotonous feminine voice spoke: “Access Denied. Insufficient Authority.”

Chapter 63:

“If we can’t go up, is it possible to go down?” 

Jake asked as they went back the way they came. Eventually reaching the floor where he started out. However, the corpses of those two ‘Hydras’ were missing…

*Pah~! Paaah~! Paah~!* 

He fired three shots at the snake heads that appeared out of a door on the right. The scales and bones obviously couldn’t stop the 5.56mm rifle rounds. However, he still had to kick the heavy body of the blubbery ‘woman’ backwards with his webbed right foot. 

Then Aliya reached up and pressed a button to close the door. They closed all the doors they encountered on the way down. It was just simpler that way. After all, the crazy people and little green brats couldn’t unlock them from the inside.

“These three floors are sealed away from the rest of the ship.” Aliya explained as she entered some codes in front of another metallic elevator double-door. Then she scanned her face, gave a voice code, et cetera.

“Welcome, Doctor Aliya Ahuja.” As the feminine voice spoke, the doors opened and a very large elevator was revealed. It was big enough to fit Jake’s entire fish tank not that long ago. Along with other cages and containment cells.

“This is how I entered the ship, but I had my vision and hearing impaired at the time. My authority wasn’t high enough to see what the ship looked like… I only vaguely know what happened, based on things that some officers told me secretly.”

“You do not have sufficient authority to select that option. Please choose again or ask for temporary permission from your superiors.”

“Figures.” Jake snickered and shook his head, looking up at the ceiling, where there was a relatively large square emergency or maintenance hatch.

“Are you sure you can do it?” Aliya asked, looking up at the same spot, “You’ll have to carry me.”

“What’s the alternative? But… Ummm… We need to get a chair or stool first.”

No matter how much taller he might have gotten recently, he was still way too short to easily jump up onto that 3.5 meter ceiling. Besides, Aliya had to put in a special code just to unlock the maintenance hatch! In an emergency, this ship was basically a death trap. And that was obviously intentional.

“Careful…” Jake snickered as he pushed the not-so tiny ass upwards through the hole in the elevator ceiling. Then he reached up and kicked off the metal chair with his webbed feet, knocking it over and making a lot of noise. He pulled himself upwards pretty easily. His body had a lot of extremely ‘efficient’ muscle under that exoskeletal armor, while his weight was relatively low. His strength would actually be much higher if he didn’t have bones, but if it was a situation like Voracity… There were organs inside her body, so her relative strength wasn’t much different from the left arm.

“Hold on tight. I don’t think your armor can reduce fall damage much.”

“Unfortunately, I’m not a magician or acrobat.” Aliya giggled and climbed up onto his right shoulder as he crouched down, holding on tightly to his neck with both hands. Of course, she also used her small legs to try to wrap around his waist as best she could. Jake was still carrying the bag of scuba gear on his left shoulder, while the rifle’s strap was around his right.

“Why don’t they have a fucking ladder or something?” Jake grumbled as he gripped those thick metal cables with his hands and feet. Yes, even his feet could ‘grip’ things now, though it was a little awkward and made him feel like they were going to cramp up at any moment. Without thinking too much, he pulled himself up farther and farther… At a certain point though, he couldn’t help asking, “How big is this fucking ship?! If it’s so big, then why is it shaking so much?!”

He saw that they passed by at least five floors, which was two floors higher than where that other elevator was located, yet he couldn’t even see the top of the dark elevator shaft! Then Aliya turned on a flashlight on her helmet, shining it up at the ceiling…

“Fuck me!” Jake shouted in shock, because he almost climbed face-first into a gigantic cobweb. Not only that, but he also saw hundreds of huge spiders that were bigger than his head. Then there was a big mommy spider that was almost bigger than his entire body. It had blood-red eyes, gigantic fangs, skinny long legs and a huge, fat, bulging black torso. There was nothing particularly strange about the spider in terms of appearance… The problem was just the fact that all of them were extremely large.

“They’ve been infected. Even a regular spider can grow to such an absurd size in a matter of days… Incredible. How many nutrients are required to fuel this explosive growth?” Aliya wasn’t scared or startled. Instead, she sounded like she wanted to take those spiders back to her lab and start studying them.

“Maybe they absorb Dark Energy or Dark Matter?” Jake sighed, “Either way, do you want me to keep going or not? Because if you do, then-”

*Bang! Bang-bang-bang!*

“My ear! Shit!” Jake almost lost his grip from the pain in his right ear as the small woman started shooting the encroaching giant spiders with her pistol. Especially the biggest one, which had a few big holes blasted in its bloated abdomen. However, they didn’t swarm towards them like zombies or rabid monsters. Instead, they scuttled away in fear like normal animals.

“Keep moving. Don’t fall. We need to make it above deck as quickly as possible.”

“Yay, climbing up a creepy elevator shaft through a bunch of cobwebs, surrounded by giant spiders… No, Vora, we aren’t gonna eat anymore. Your stomach is already full from that centipede… No, you can’t borrow my mouth to eat them!”

“Focus, Jacob.” After scolding her ‘mount’, the armored man continued climbing the rest of the way in silence…

Looking up at the ceiling that they finally reached, Jake looked over at the closed metal double-doors to his left and asked, “Now what?”

“Now? Now…” Aliya pressed the barrel of her gun against his right ‘ear’ and whispered, “Sorry, Jacob. It looks like I’m the scorpion and you’re the frog.”

“Nope. I’m just a stupid fish.” Jake snickered, “This is all just a nightmare, right?”

“What are you talking about?” Aliya tapped the side of his head with the barrel of the gun and asked, “Are you hallucinating? This might seem like a nightmare, but we have a mission to complete. We’re still alive and I intend to keep us that way. The doors are open, but we aren’t above-deck yet.”

It was only then that Jake noticed that on the other side of the closed doors, there was a big open rectangular space that was big enough to fit his whole fish tank through. Just like all the other doors. Jake swung back and forth a bit, then jumped over into the open doorway. 

“Help!”

The poor Doctor almost fell to her death in the process, but he quickly reached out and grabbed her arm with his right hand… But his rifle smacked into her helmet in the process. Fortunately she was wearing a helmet, or she might have gotten a concussion. 

“Thank you…”

“No problem. Sorry about that.”

‘Danger!’

Anyway, the two of them looked around the dark hallway warily. Jake was holding his ‘assault’ rifle and Aliya was holding a different black semi-auto .45 caliber pistol, which still had a full magazine. The two of them were ready for a fierce battle or shootout, but what they encountered was something so much worse.

Chapter 64:

“Surrender. Release yourself from this life of pain and misery. Embrace ignorance and Bliss. Enjoy your eternal life in the paradise that She granted us.”

A soft yet masculine voice was playing through the sound system of the entire level on repeat. It was also playing in Jake’s left ear. Not too loud. But quietly, in the background, almost like a lullaby.

“We all deserve Joy and Bliss. This painful world is only a short nightmare, not our reality anymore. Sleep… Sleep and awaken in the new world. Our families and friends are waiting for us to join them. Heaven isn’t a myth or illusion. It’s real… Surrender. Release yourself from this life of pain and misery. Embrace ignorance and Bliss. Enjoy your eternal life in the paradise that She granted us.”

“Joy Bliss? What is this, an Amusement Park advertisement?” Jake rubbed his left ear nub in irritation.

“In 1986, shortly before the Chernobyl Disaster, the founder of Joy Bliss Entertainment was visiting her new theme park that opened in the city. There was a pandemic outbreak in the city and the surrounding area… After the nuclear power plant melted down, everything was covered up and forgotten.”

Aliya sighed, “Fukushima has had a lot of ‘hauntings’ after the tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown. We’ve done some… Tests on people who experienced these apparitions and found some evidence that they’ve been infected by a type of black parasitic worm.”

“A lot of places have been ‘haunted’ though. Those black worms have probably been around forever. Maybe those bloodworms are the same? Some asshole country or sketchy organization like yours, probably did something to make them more contagious and deadly.” Jake smiled wryly, scratching at his left ear-nub, “Is there a way to turn my fucking implant? Otherwise I’m gonna have to perform surgery in a few seconds.”

Aliya pulled out a small ‘cellphone’ from her right pocket and entered a code, then a few seconds later, Jake could hear a soft ‘click’. Then Aliya explained, “I can turn it off. But if we meet someone with a higher authority, they’ll be able to turn it back on again. If you want to remove the implant… I don’t recommend you do that.”

“Is it really a bomb?”

“No. But it will be very painful.”

Jake shrugged, “Ain’t it painful enough now? It always feels like there’s something in my ear… Inside my head. Irritating me constantly. I can feel some other weird spots in my body. Especially Vora. She’s really upset about the thing you implanted in my shoulder.”

“If we manage to escape and make it to your new habitat, you won’t need those implants anymore.”

Aliya looked over at him, “Are you angry? Jacob… You know you can’t survive out there. You belong in a research facility. I’m not that worried about what you would do to the world, but what the world will do to you… Honestly, Jacob… You’re very important to us. And I personally don’t want you to suffer needlessly.”

*Boooom~! Creak~!*

Before Jake had time to retort, he almost fell to the ground, while Aliya really did fall and roll toward the wall. All kinds of loud alarms quickly blocked out those annoying brainwashing announcements. The lights were already off, hence why it was so dark before. But now there were other red lights flashing ominously.

“What the fuck was that?!”

Jake quickly stood up and saw all the doors along the eerie metal hallway start to open automatically! Then there were crazed screams and loud roars as hundreds of naked men, women, especially children, started pouring out of those enclosed rooms. Most of them were covered in blood and filth. With glowing red eyes that matched flashing lights, but were visible even when the lights briefly turned off.

“We obviously hit something!” 

Aliya shouted and then got up off the ground, hiding behind Jake, who raised his rifle and started firing rapidly! She picked up the pistol she dropped and started shooting at those glowing red ‘targets’ that were rapidly approaching them. 

Fortunately their back was to the open elevator shaft, which meant that all the crazy, rabid ‘zombies’ were within their line of sight. As for the giant spiders? They were all started, discombobulated and confused. Hiding in their ‘home’ and hoping to eat some tasty bodies that fell down into the webs from time to time.

“Shit! We don’t have enough bullets for this!” Jake slung the rifle on his shoulder and then picked the little woman up onto his back. Basically letting her ride around his neck like a little kid.

“Hold on tight and don’t let them pull you down!”

Then he charged forward like a tank and knocked those ‘soft’ fleshy bodies out of the way with relatively ease… Mainly because they were literally only toddlers and small children. The adults were already shot and being devoured alive by their hungry offspring. Another good thing was that the different ‘families’ seemed to have an aversion to each other. Many of them were fighting among themselves whenever they got close. Biting, clawing, wrestling and shoving each other.

“This kinda reminds me of my childhood!” Jake laughed as he jumped up in the air a meter or so, overtop a big pile of crazy zombie kids and corpses. Most of them just looked like regular humans, unlike the strange green creatures below. Which made the scene even more disturbing in a lot of ways.

“Aaaah~!”

“Rooaah!”

“Miiiyah!”

Those kids were roaring and screaming constantly, so Aliya couldn’t even hear what he said. Or maybe she just ignored his nonsense. It only took a minute for Jake to reach a staircase at the end of the corridor, but there were a bunch of metal tables, chairs and boxes piled up to block the way. Fortunately though, it didn’t block off the path completely. He was able to pull a few of the tables and chairs out of the way. Throwing them back at the zombies who were biting his ankles, thighs and ass. Then crawled over the pile of junk, with Aliya hopping down onto the stairs and starting to climb up on her own.

However, the whole damn boat was shaking violently. It wasn’t as simple as a single ‘crash’, but more like a series of smaller impacts. Jake couldn’t help complaining, “Who designed this fucking ship anyway?”

“I don’t know. But we need to keep moving.” Aliya was breathing heavily inside her helmet as she followed Jake up the stairs. Those little kids were crawling after them, so she shot a few of them in their heads and chests… But that only slowed them down a bit. It didn’t actually deal any fatal damage. What really killed them were the other zombies that smelled their blood and tore them apart.

*Bang~!*

“Fuck!” Jake groaned in pain as a big chunk of his left thigh was torn apart. The black carapace didn’t seem to help much against a shotgun slug. Of course, he also shot the soldier in the head three times with his rifle. Then he changed the magazine quickly, while ducking into an open doorway with Aliya.

“John!” Someone shouted anxiously from down the hallway, “John, are you okay?!”

“Baby, I love you! Please don’t leave me!”

“No! No! Get off me! Asshole! I’ll kill you!”

“Bitch, I’m your superior officer! Follow orders!”

“Get out of my head! Get out of my fucking head!”

Aliya listened to the chaotic cacophony and sighed, “They’re all hallucinating.”

“I wouldn’t say they’re ‘all’ hallucinating. It’s too chaotic and I can’t make out the different voices, but it’s safe to say that there are probably a few people like us… Or at least like ‘you’, who haven’t gone batshit crazy yet.”

“Jacob… I’ve been hallucinating too.” Aliya sighed again, taking off her helmet and showing her face under the flashing red lights. There were small black ‘veins’ wiggling around on her cheeks, temples and lips. While her eyes were extremely bloodshot, with tiny glowing red flecks in her irises. However, when the lights flashed and Jake blinked, all those symptoms were instantly gone. At most, she just looked a little tired.

“Yeah. Me too…” 

The tall man covered in black carapace, blinked his glowing pink eyes a few times and shook his head. Then he looked down at the big chunk of meat that was missing from his left thigh and grit his teeth in pain. He was used to pain, but it was still a big problem to have something wrong with his mobility at a time like this. The two of them were hiding out in that random crew quarters, while the noises outside got louder and louder. Along with the sirens, there were gunshots, screams, roars… Jake was having flashbacks to Baltimore.

“It’s getting colder. A lot colder. Really fast. There’s a breeze coming from up ahead…” Aliya put on her helmet and peeked out the open door for a moment. Jake did the same. A lot of the zombie kids were already entangled with the surviving sailors and soldiers up there. However, they could see some light coming in from the staircase at the end of the hall.

“Gotta be an exit.” Jake smirked, “But… I can barely walk. And I think I’m losing a lot of blood…”

“I know.” Aliya nodded, “Thank you, Jacob. I couldn’t have made it this far without you.”

“You’re leaving me? Just like that? Well… I’m not actually surprised.” The tall man breathed a sigh of relief and sat down against the metal wall, “Do you need me to help you put on the diving suit?”

“No… I can do it myself. Just guard me for a while, if you can.” As she said that, Aliya was already taking off her combat armor. There weren’t that many pieces. The main thing was that she basically got naked to put on the diving gear. Then she put the helmet, vest, wrist guards and shin armor back on, over top of the diving suit. There was enough room under her helmet for the tubes connecting to the air tank on her back.

Jake had to shoot a few of the ‘zombies’ that came into the room. Then he used his right, non-injured leg to kick them back out of the door, while still sitting against the wall. By the time the Doctor was finished wearing her diving suit and a few armor pieces, the chaos outside had subsided a lot. However, the ship was still hitting things and swerving around a bit.

“Fuck… Shit… Ugh… Fine. I’ll escort you the rest of the way.”

In the end, Jake stopped pretending and stood up again. Of course, it’s true that he was still bleeding and limping, but he wasn’t completely useless yet. Aliya chuckled, “Thank you, Jacob. We’re almost there. Once we get outside…”

She didn’t keep talking, because she really wasn’t that optimistic about their situation at all. However, they weren’t the only ones who wanted to go outside. So by the time they left their room, the hallway was filled with corpses and little naked brats eating those corpses. Most of the people and zombies had already left.

Aliya’s flippers and Jake’s flipper-feet made loud popping noises as they walked across the bloody metal floor, but it was hard to hear anything over all the other noises. Jake grabbed the railing with his left hand and breathed in the fresh, frigid air coming in from the top of the stairs. He wasn’t the only one that was having trouble though. The small woman was panting as she struggled to follow his already slow pace up the last flight of stairs…

“This…” Jake looked around and saw a helipad, surrounded by hundreds of mulched up corpses. Whether it was soldiers or zombie children, they were all torn to shreds. There were multiple black helicopters circling around in the bright blue sky, with big glaciers all over the place. One huge aircraft carrier not that far away was actually broken in half in the middle, burning in many places and sinking into the depths of the huge ocean waves. There were also a few big silvery metal ships that were still sailing, but most of them were severely damaged.

“It looks like this isn’t the worst case scenario.” Aliya breathed a sigh of relief and took off her helmet. Then she also took off her mask. Pulled out a phone from her pocket and made a call, “This is Plague Doctor 86, requesting immediate evacuation from the Elias.”

“I thought you said you didn’t even know what the ship looked like…” Jake sighed and watched as a black helicopter slowly landed in front of them. Then three heavily armed and armored soldiers wearing black helmets came over, pointing their assault rifles at the two of them. No, one of them was over two meters tall and carried a big light machine gun with one hand. There was a riot shield in the other.

“Has he been tagged?” The huge person asked in a deep but somewhat feminine tone of voice, “Release into the wild or recapture?”

Aliya didn’t hesitate to say, “I recommend recapture.” 

“It’s not up to you, Doc.” A much shorter ‘man’ snickered and kept his barrel aimed at her head, “Both of you put down your weapons first.”

Jake and Aliya didn’t stupidly resist. Mainly because the situation didn’t seem that bad. At the very least, they weren’t mowed down immediately by the minigun on the helicopter.

“Yes Sir.” The tall ‘woman’ chuckled, “It’s your lucky day, ‘Jake’. I’m amazed you made it out of Baltimore. Since you can survive a nuke and acute radiation poisoning after that, the higher ups think you’re more suitable for life in the wild. Don’t worry. We’ll be keeping an eye on you from time to time.”

“Come with us, Doc. You’ve had a rough time, but it’s over now.” The short man came over and grabbed Aliya’s arm roughly. Pulling her back toward the helicopter and stuffing her inside.

“Hey! Wait a minute! Can you at least tell me where the fuck this is?!” As they were about to start taking off, Jake finally couldn’t resist asking a very important question.

“You said you wanted to find an island in the south…” Aliya’s voice appeared in his left ear once again as the helicopter blades were making a lot of noise, “Coronation Island is over that way and on the other side is Laurie Island! Good luck, Jacob! I hope you can be happy with your freedom!”

“Coronation, Laurie, what kinda fucking names are those?!” However, the helicopter was already far up in the sky at that point. Then he saw the other ships getting bombarded by missiles from some dots on the horizon. Of course, the one he was ‘riding’ wasn’t going to get lucky.

“Shit! Fuck! Ow! Aaah!” He cursed over and over again while running across the metal deck. Eventually he reached the side of the boat as the whole ship crashed into a huge iceberg. If he wasn’t already grabbing the railing, he would’ve been thrown across the deck from the inertia! More importantly, there were more missiles bombarding the ships and some of them were coming his way!

Without hesitating much, he jumped over the side and dove into the icy cold waves…

‘Cold!’

‘No shit!’

‘Unpleasant.’

‘No shit! Fuck my life… Fuck our life!’

‘Hmmm… Injured. Need, rest. Must, heal. Digest. Adapt. Grow.’

‘Yeah… But we can’t sleep in this crazy cold temperature. And our leg… I think the slug is still in there.’

‘Shelter. Island. Sleep.’

Chapter 66:

‘Bird!’

“I see the bird.”

‘Fat Bird!’

“Yes… It’s a very fat and adorable little birdie…”

‘Meat!’

“I’m sure they have lots of meat…”

‘Eat?’

“I think it’s better if we don’t keep swimming around with the fucking penguins… Fuck! Goddamn it! Aaaah! Shit!”

Jake wanted to cry. Because he got his wish. He made it to the islands in the south… The problem is that he was a bit too far south. Although he didn’t know the exact location, it wasn’t hard to guess that Coronation Island and Laurie Island were very close to Antarctica. Of course, they were far enough away that it actually wasn’t that cold in the air. At least it was well above freezing, because it was the middle of ‘Summer’ in the Southern Hemisphere during February. The water was very cold though. And there were still glaciers and ice everywhere.

He watched some penguins getting eaten by leopard seals. Then he saw some big black and white Orcas devouring the unlucky seals. But there were also other birds eating the penguins. It was the normal circle of life down in the ‘south’. Hell, the penguins also ate plenty of fish. So while it was a little sad to see the cute birds being killed, Jake had a hard time empathizing with them too much. He was more worried that a couple of Killer Whales or Great White Sharks would suddenly attack him from below the freezing cold waves…

Fortunately, even if his left leg was injured, he still managed to swim pretty fast with his right flipper and two working arms. Within a few hours of swimming through the huge icy waves, he finally made it to a much calmer area as the sun started to go down. Then he climbed up onto the rocky gray shore of what he assumed was part of ‘Coronation Island’. Or at least one of the many tiny islands in that general direction.

His presence obviously frightened and agitated the massive penguin colony. But in the end, penguins are very stoic and ‘brave’ creatures. They can face being eaten alive by a Skua with surprising composure. Then again, a lot of animals in nature are incredibly brutal and cruel. Humans often forget that they aren’t very special. The atrocities that humans inflict on each other and various other animals is really not that different from the horrors that have always existed in the natural environment.

“There’s always a bigger fish.”

‘Fish? Bird? Both?’

“I need to perform surgery first.”

Jake sighed and started using his sharm fingertips to dig through the open wound on his left leg. It had already stopped bleeding for the most part, but now the wound was ripped apart again. Because he had to remove the large chunk of lead from the back of his thigh, where it finally stopped before it could pierce out the other side of his exoskeleton.

“Although it might not seem that impressive… Our armor is actually pretty damn strong. That was a fucking shotgun slug. I’ve seen people shoot through car doors and concrete walls pretty easily. Even steel sheets, if they’re not too thick… Though it also depends on the power of the particular slug… Sorry. I know I talk a lot, but it’s mainly because I’m trying to distract myself.”

‘Same.’

“Well, you do talk frequently, but you usually just say a few words…”

‘Mmmn.’

“Or shit like that, hahaha~! Ow…”

Rather than glaciers, there were actually a lot of snow-covered mountains everywhere. It was very ‘scenic’. He could even see a few big blue ice sculptures jutting out of the ocean near the island. If Jake wasn’t in so much pain, freezing his ass off on a cold gray rock and slightly delirious, then he would have appreciated the view a lot more.

‘Food.’

“Seriously?” As Jake was on the verge of passing out, a group of five grayish-brown birds landed around him. Some of them were still covered in penguin blood. Their eyes weren’t glowing red or anything weird like that. Their sharp beaks and beady black eyes looked at him curiously. Then they started poking him, especially trying to dig open the wound in his left thigh…

‘Delivery!’

“Hahaha~! Yeah. Skuas, if I remember correctly?”

Jake reached out with both hands very quickly. The three other birds flew away, but their two companions had their necks snapped and crushed apart. He left one of them on the smooth brown rock to his left and then held the other in his hands. The poor skua was staring at him helplessly as Jake tore off its feathers, skin, even dug down into the meat and organs. Only after a few minutes did it finally lose consciousness and ‘die’.

“I don’t see any worms or other weird things…” As Jake spoke, Vora took control over his body and forced him to bite down onto the bloody breast meat. It tasted…

“Mmmn.”

‘Whatever makes you happy.’

“Happy… Food. Sex. Drawing. Movies.”

‘Vora, you’re so adorable.’

“Hmmm…”

After devouring most of the meat, Vora threw away the rest onto the rocky beach. There really wasn’t much sand at all. Just smooth stones. As he started peeling the feathers and skin off the second bird, Jake sighed.

“It’s really… Weird.” He looked over into the distance and saw some parts of those big metal warships that hadn’t completely sunk. Mainly because the water in that area wasn’t so deep or there was an iceberg underneath that held the pieces up.

“Like, warships are super fucking expensive. At least billions. Especially an aircraft carrier. How could they just destroy them like that? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and easier to just clear them out? What are they so afraid of? And why aren’t these penguins, seals and other creatures affected? Everything is so strange…”

‘Humans. Strange. Inefficient.’

“Well… I guess it’s not that weird.” Jake snickered, “I don;t know how much damage those crazy bastards did to the bottom of the ship. Maybe it’d be too expensive to repair the ships? Maybe the people who owned the ships aren’t the same as the ones that destroyed them? Why the fuck do I even care?”

‘Boredom.’

“True… At least it’s not that cold right now… Just a little unpleasant.”

‘Uncomfortable.’

Chapter 67:

“Skuas are kinda like ducks… In the sense that they have webbed feet and are birds.”

Jake snapped the head off yet another brown-feathered Skua, drinking the blood directly into his mouth. Then he ripped the feathers off very familiarly and ate some of the meat into his right palm, while the rest was ripped apart by his long white fangs directly. He looked down at his own webbed feet and laughed.

‘Like, us?’

“I’m not a bird though. So it doesn’t count.”

His left tight was already healed in the past week. Now he was just stuck on this penguin-infested rocky shoreline because he was afraid to try competing with various types of whales, seals and other large predators. There were also giant squids, sharks, et cetera. Really, the ocean was terrifying. Which is why he always tried to stay in the shallow water when he was swimming before. Now… Even the shallow water in Antarctica wasn’t safe. Aside from being extremely cold, the biggest issue was the food chain and trying not to become a part of it.

Jake reached out with his bloody hands and picked up a squawking fat white-bellied penguin. It didn’t have any yellow around his face or neck. Adélie Penguin to be exact. Its head and back were black, just like the little flipper-like wings. He smirked at the 60 cm long, 5 kilo bird and asked, “Aren’t you cuties afraid of me?”

‘Eat?’

“No. There’s no point eating them. We have plenty of other food sources.”

Jake didn’t need to build a shelter. He just found a ‘softer’ rock to curl up on and go to sleep. But when he woke up on the second day, he found that a large group of penguins and their chicks started flocking around him. Of course, part of the reason might be due to the fact that he glows in the dark now. Some parts of his black shell glowed blue, while his eyes, lips and some joints were light-pink. However, penguins weren’t stupid. They saw him killing and eating their natural predators repeatedly. Even saving a few of their chicks.

“Aeeuh uh uh~! Uh uh~!”

“Waaak~!”

Some cute, but huge seals were making annoying noises on the beach nearby. They had gray fur on their backs, with white bellies, though the bellies and chin also had some gray spots. Their heads were somewhat feline in a lot of ways. With short black whiskers on their snouts, their open mouths had long, sharp, yellow teeth. Four particularly long canines, and some more jagged ones in the back, along their pink gums. Their big solid black eyes reminded Jake of his previous appearance.

“Fuck off!” After he put down the confused penguin, he stood upright and glared at the big group of huge seals. Although he could tower over them on land, the actual length of their fat bodies was well over three meters on average! They weren’t afraid of him and became even more aggressive. Especially the bigger males among the group.

“Guess you didn’t learn your lesson last time?”

As one of the big boys flopped over while barking at him, Jake rushed forward and punched it in the face! He cracked a tooth and busted the vicious predator’s lip open. Causing it to become even more enraged. The other nearby seals also tried to surround him.

“Noisy Meat!” As Jake and Vora let out their own battle cry, the two of them started brawling with the group of 350-400 kilo aquatic mammals. If they were careless and got bitten, those yellow fangs were strong enough to penetrate the armor on their body. So they had to be careful.

“I’ve never had seal meat before! Wait, don’t run! Come back here you bastards!”

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to deal with a group of giant seals. In the end, they flopped away and escaped into the water. Taunting him and splashing water in his direction. There were a lot of scratches and grooves in Jake’s carapace, especially on his arms and legs. However, there weren’t any actual injuries.

“It still hurts like a bitch though…”

‘Tricky Meat.’

“Well, they’re not that dumb. Just like those skuas.” Jake looked back and saw a group of brown-feathered birds attacking his flock of penguins. Of course, the penguins also fought back to a certain extent. The skuas mostly targeted the eggs and chicks, rather than the adults. When he came back over to the flock, which was actually called a ‘waddle’ on land or a ‘raft’ in the water, those skuas flew away for the most part. Only a couple of particularly reckless ones actually flew over and pecked Jake in the face!

“I’m glad you volunteered to be our after-fight meal.”

Holding the two struggling birds in his hand, he sat down on a large boulder and snapped their necks. When he threw the head of one bird into the flock, some of the penguins started pecking at it and tearing some meat off. Although they primarily eat fish, they were still carnivorous birds after all. They wouldn’t waste food.

“We’re facing a pretty big problem.” Jake sighed after he finished eating the two birds with Vora. His pitch-black, rigid and armored face wasn’t covered in blood, because those two tongues on his right palm licked it all up. His own pink tongue was also pretty long. There was no problem reaching his eyes if he really wanted.

“It should still be February. But I don’t know how long this good weather will last. The water is too cold and dangerous to swim long distances… However, there are a lot of islands, icebergs or just ice in general. The islands are fine… But anything within range of an orca is not safe at all.”

‘Where, Florida?’

“We don’t need to focus too much on Florida. I’ll be happy as long as we can reach a relatively warm area… But, I feel like as long as we stay in cold places for a while, our body will adapt. I still don’t wanna stay too close to where those ships went down. I know they put trackers on us, but there are probably limits. For the time being, we should walk across this island.”

There were huge icy and snowy mountains not far from the shore. But they didn’t need to climb up the mountains directly. They could just go around the rocky shoreline. Although the penguins were a little sad that their guardian left, they still didn’t try to follow him away. Besides, there were basically penguins everywhere. Along with several types of seals. Walruses live in the Northern Hemisphere. So no, there weren’t any of those blubbery monsters on the beach. Elephant Seals on the other hand…

“Fuck off!” Jake roared at the gigantic, nearly six meter long monstrosity that was trying to attack him! It had brown fur and a particularly long ‘elephant-like’ nose that dangled over its upper lip. Comparatively, the females were actually really cute and adorable. Still bigger than Jake, but cute in comparison to their deformed, terrifying male counterparts!

“Uhuh uhuh uhuh uhuh~!”

Fortunately, seals are really slow on land. He didn’t bother trying to fight with the bull Southern Elephant Seal that was bigger and heavier than a car. Instead, he just walked away at a brisk pace across the rocky beach. His webbed and clawed raptor-like feet were a lot more flexible now. Whether it was in the water or on land, he was confident that his speed was much faster than before he was captured back then.

Chapter 68:

After swimming to another island not that far away, he witnessed some fur seals surrounded by emperor penguins. One of the big brown seals was literally raping a relatively tiny penguin, while the others were just casually watching. The other seals also didn’t seem to care. Even the penguin getting crushed and penetrated violently didn’t seem that upset.

“Nature is so fucked up.”

‘Breed.’

“We can breed later. I wanna kill and eat that rapey seal first.”

‘Fat Meat!’

Vora was obviously excited to finally eat one of those elusive creatures. Fur Seals are fairly large, but compared to Leopard Seals and Elephant Seals, they’re really tiny. These few weren’t in a large group and their target was letting his guard down…

“Honestly… Except for Elephant Seals, the rest of these loudmouth bastards are actually kinda cute… But as with most animals, they’re pretty fucking evil when you look a little more closely.”

Jake jumped on the back of the two-meter long seal and dug his claws into the fat neck from behind! Scarlet blood sprayed out all over the nearby penguins, but they barely even reacted. A nearby seal started freaking out though. It didn’t come to help its dying friend… Instead, it just wiggled away and tried to escape. But when it noticed that Jake wasn’t paying attention. It came back and started barking, making all kinds of other annoying sounds.

“Ahuh-ahuh-ahuh~!” Jake also shouted back at the annoying seals that were trying to scare him away. But he ignored them and continued ripping out the fatty throat of the penguin-raping seal. Speaking of which, that penguin was able to escape in the chaos, but it didn’t go very far. Just stood there and watched the excitement.

“Meat!”

Vora took over control for the next part. She used her sharp claws to tear open the thick, blubbery flesh on the back of the brown-furred seal. Then she bit down on the exposed fat and chewed it a few times, “Tastes, good.”

“Very descriptive, hahaha~!” Jake shook his head and sighed. Then pressed his palm against the dying seal’s face. Two tongues reached out and wrapped around the left eyeball. Sucking it inside very violently. Almost every part of a seal can be eaten by humans. And Jake… Has long since changed his ‘Race’ from Human to something else.

“I’m not even grossed out by this shit anymore.”

‘Lies.’

“Okay, fine, but you don’t see me stopping you. Right?”

Unfortunately, even if he could eat every part of the seal, there was only so much that his stomach could hold. Vora particularly liked organs like the eyes, brain, heart and liver. While Jake just ate the back meat, fat and flipper meat. Considering that the 2 meter long Antarctic Fur Seal weighed hundreds of kilos, most of the carcass was left for the skuas, penguins and other seals to fight over.

“Ugh… We ate way too much.”

Jake groaned as he looked down at his slightly swollen abdomen. His abdominal plates were slightly opened, exposing the pink gills inside. His right forearm was also bulging, with a lot of small pink cracks in the stretched out carapace.

‘Need, food. Breeding, soon.’

“Wait, seriously? Is now really the best time?”

‘Yes.’

“Umm… Well… Ugh.”

‘Offspring, useful… Tools.’

“If we have kids, we can’t treat them like tools. We’ll have to love and protect them.”

‘Offspring… Protect, Mother. Serve, Mother. Survive. Thrive. Grow. Conquer. Happy. Safe.’

Jake rolled his eyes and sat down on a random rock, looking out at the slightly choppy waves. Then he saw a huge gray-skinned whale, with a massive mouth that stretched down like a line from the tip of its nose to what seemed like its neck. The weird thing was that it was too hard to see the eyes and they weren’t where you would typically expect them to be. Making the 30 meter long Blue Whale look even more ominous. There was a whole pod of them swimming around off in the distance.

“Yeah… ‘Safe’. Vora, if you really wanna have kids, then we’ll have kids. Fuck it! I’m already a thirty year old man! It’s time to give birth!”

‘Mmmn.’

Chapter 69:

Over the next few days, Jake had to be more careful. Those seals were surprisingly vengeful. He couldn’t even sleep anywhere near the beach because he was afraid of waking up with a gigantic Elephant Seal crushing him to death. Fortunately, it was almost impossible for them to climb those steep, rocky hills to reach him.

Although he didn’t ‘give birth’, there were a few very noticeable differences to his body. First of all, he stopped glowing in the dark. Even his irises became much darker, but still retained that light-pink hue, with huge pupils and no visible white sclera. 

He was growing bigger at a pretty quick pace. From 175 cm to at least 180 to 185 cm, though he couldn’t tell for sure, because he didn’t exactly have a ruler for measurement. His weight also increased dramatically. Whether it was muscle or fat, he was definitely much bulkier under that black carapace. The shell also sloughed off once, leaving him in a weird ‘soft-shell’ state, similar to a crab. Then the new shell slowly hardened again. Though it already showed signs of sloughing off again soon, in order to keep up with his ever-expanding body.

“It sounds awesome to be able to keep growing all the time… But realistically, it fucking hurts. At least we managed to get rid of this shit though.”

Jake looked down at the five pieces of metal and plastic in his palm. They didn’t look like much and were very tiny. But one came from his left ear, another came from his groin, one was in his right shoulder, the other two were in his neck and abdomen. As he shed his black shell, these silver and white things were left behind, so they were particularly noticeable.

‘Freedom.’

“Maybe.”

He threw them all as far as he could. There weren’t any huge congregations of animals on this particular island. It’s not strange though. Not all islands were covered in seals and penguins. And they don’t always stay there all the time. They migrate quite often. Just like the dolphins, whales and other animals in the ocean. Everything is constantly moving. Especially the wind and the waves.

“Why aren’t the penguins and other animals down here affected by the parasites? Or maybe… A long time ago, that organization already had a vaccine or has had multiple vaccines. They’ve been treating the animals here as test subjects? Or the animals down here are naturally immune, or at least, highly resistant?”

‘Lair?’

“Yeah… They definitely have some secret bases in Antarctica. Maybe even a huge sanctuary? Why don’t people live in Antarctica? Even if the inland area of the continent is really fucking cold all the time, that’s only on the surface. They could always go underground. Geothermal or nuclear energy for power. The coastal regions really aren’t that different from Argentina or Alaska, Siberia, et cetera. People live the fucking desert and the mountains, but they can’t survive in a place like Antarctica? I don’t believe it.”

‘Danger?’

“You mean… There might be something else down here? I guess that’s also possible. Maybe some ancient evil ‘God’ was sealed here long ago by aliens?”

‘Rabbit Hole.’

“Okay, okay, I’ll stop.” Jake snickered and stretched his body a bit, looking up at the cloudy sky and choppy waves. Then he walked out across the beach, into the frigid waters. It didn’t feel that cold too him anymore though. At most, just a little unpleasant. Not unbearable.

“I’m surprised we didn’t start growing fur or feathers. But I guess it makes sense. At most… We’re just a little more dangerous.”

On the edges of Jake’s forearms, his elbows, knees, shins, shoulders, back and even his head were sharp thorns or barbs. Similar to the spikes on the edges of a crab’s shell. The most obvious purpose was for self-defense. Though they could also be used as an offensive weapon.

In contrast to his pitch-black body, Jake’s surroundings were actually very bright and colorful. There were brown rocks everywhere, with plenty of pretty purple and pink starfish. Lots of long spiky pale green things and fat spiky pink things, some brownish red seaweed and/or seagrass, and of course, there were fish. Tiny silver ones, big brown ones, creepy transparent ones, all sorts of weird shit.

“Fuck off!” 

Unfortunately, Jake ended up getting discovered by a group of curious and hungry Leopard Seals pretty soon. These particular seals probably had no idea or simply didn’t care whether he beat up their relatives a few islands over, but they started attacking him from different sides. And he obviously fought back. His sharp claws dug out the eye of one unlucky bastard, then another one bit down on his left leg and started jerking his entire body around… But he used the sharp talons on his other foot to tear open its throat. Spraying blood everywhere in the salty, frigid water. Which attracted other predators pretty quickly.

“Shit! Shit! Orcas!”

One of the biggest nightmares of Antarctica. The Killer Whale! By the way, these nefarious monstrosities might seem cute and adorable at a distance, but they treat seals the way that seals treat penguins… All-in-one food and entertainment objects!

The seals panicked and started trying to escape, in vain of course. Those 5 to 10 meter long black and white Orcas made the 2 to 3 meter long Leopard Seals look tiny in comparison. First they target the biggest and fastest seals. The parents of the group. Both of whom were previously maimed by Jake. Then, after killing the parents, the literal Killer Whales started swimming around the panicking, adorable seal pups and tossed them around like toys. One of the Orcas in particular, was interested in Jake.

“Ooooiiiaaaohh~!”

“My ears! Ugh…” Jake groaned in pain from the incredibly loud, high-pitched noises all around him. Then felt his body being lifted upwards rapidly against his will… Then he was flying through the air. Another Orca jumped out of the water, smacking him with its tail like he was a ‘tiny’ toy seal. He flew dozens of meters through the air and quickly twisted his body in mid-air to avoid being bitten in half by a big mouth that reached up out of the ocean below!

“Fuck you!”

Of course, aside from cursing, Jake also reached out and grabbed one of those big, cute, eyeballs. Which was hidden in the darkness below one of those big white ‘eye-shaped’ patterns on the side of its head. The whale screamed in pain, making all sorts of horrible high-pitched noises.

‘Revenge! Tastes… Good!’

‘Yes, yes, nice catch phrase. But now we need to escape before they murder and/or rape us!’

Jake really wasn’t kidding about the rape part. Aside from seals raping penguins, Orcas also rape various types of dolphins, murder other whales for fun, they’re basically one of the most intelligent and objectively ‘evil’ creatures in the world, aside from humanity. Which is kind of impressive.

He kicked his flippers and dove down deeper into the cold water with three of the furious Killer Whales chasing behind him. One was missing an eye, another was much smaller than the other two, likely their child. The three other Orcas were still busy playing with the dying seal pups. Of course, they weren’t ‘literal’ pups that hadn’t been weaned yet. Just much younger and cuter Leopard Seals. Hence why they were targeted as objects of enjoyment.

“If you wanna kill me, I’m gonna take more than a fucking eye!”

Chapter 70:

A big mouth full of incredibly sharp teeth bit down on Jake’s left arm, jerking him around violently in the water. But his armor and the muscles underneath weren’t as weak as they used to be. His left foot scratched a meter-long gash on the white underbelly and the relatively young Orca reacted strongly. Letting go and swimming away in fear.

On the other hand, the two bigger Orcas became even more violent and furious. Instead of simply biting him. They smacked him with their black foreheads, back and forth a few times. However, their tough and blubbery skin wasn’t unharmed. Some of Jake’s sharp barbs broke off in their flesh. Not only that. All three Orcas started to have blurred vision, especially the one that lost an eye. Strange sounds in their minds were interfering with their echolocation and regular hearing as well.

This allowed the battered and severely wounded ‘man’ to avoid some of their subsequent attacks. Jake slipped away and hid inside a small underwater cavern. There were actually a lot of similar areas. Either holes in rocks and boulders, or simply holes in the gigantic glaciers. Compared to the glaciers, obviously the rocky holes were more comfortable.

‘I hate Orcas so much… Fuck… I hope you assholes get captured and put in tiny swimming pools!’

‘Unlikely.’

‘I know it’s unlikely! Shit… Ugh… Yeah, cry! Cry more, you bastards!’

‘Poison.’

‘Is it poison or venom? Are we poisonous and venomous? Since when?’

‘Always?’

‘I guess we never really had the chance to find out, huh? Hahaha~!’

The three Orcas made a lot of annoying noises and tried to break or move the rocks to get to Jake, but in the end, they had to leave for one reason or another. Maybe they were bored. Maybe they though that Jake wouldn’t be edible. Either way, they were gone… But Jake didn’t leave his hole yet.

‘They might be waiting for us nearby.’

‘Mmmn. Injured. Need… Rest.’

‘Ugh… Yeah.’

In that tiny hole, there were actually quite a few small fish, krill, seaweed, starfish and other random things. With the light shining in from a few small holes between the rocks above, Jake was able to see everything inside pretty clearly. He could also see the broken carapace on his left arm, both legs, chest… He couldn’t see his back, but he could also feel a lot of pain.

‘Breed?’

‘What else can we do in this situation?’

‘Eat?’

‘We just ate. I miss being able to read, draw, watch movies… Not get attacked by fucking seals and orcas!’

‘Hmmm… Freedom. Hard.’

‘Life is always fucking hard. But at least we’re together. And at least we aren’t in a cage…’ Jake looked up at his rocky prison and sighed, ‘Well… At least we aren’t in a cage that’s hard to escape?’

Then he heard those annoying high pitched noises again and saw five giant Orcas swimming around outside his little holey cave, blocking some of the light that was coming in from various directions. In the end, Jake just sighed out a few bubbles and closed his eyes to rest. Vora on the other hand, reached out and grabbed an unlucky purple starfish. It struggled a bit, but was quickly crushed and broken apart by those sharp, powerful claws. The slit opened up and two tongues pulled the crushed up pieces of meat inside.

‘Starfish are interesting. They’re kinda like earthworms. You can split them in half and they’ll regenerate into two separate starfish. Theoretically.’

‘Powerful.’

‘Yeah. I don’t wanna find out whether we have that ability though…’

‘Inevitable.’

‘Please don’t jinx us like that.’

‘Truth.’

‘Ugh.’

Jake ignored the angry glares and squeals of those Killer Whales, coughing a few times and spitting out more bubbles. Then, his long pink ‘tentacle’ was inserted into Vora’s tight pink slit. The Orcas felt insulted and annoyed by the perverse masturbatory acts of the strange, tiny black creature. In the end though, they left after a few hours of failing to move the massive stones surrounding Jake. Whales are smart though. Even if they can’t reach inside and attack him. They still did a lot of nasty things to disgust him.

For example, tossing small rocks into the entrance. Shitting and using their tails to make their feces enter inside the little cave in the ground. They also threw some seal heads and guts inside. It became a little hard to ‘breathe’ a few times, but there was no real harm in the end. The water was still oxygenated enough.

When Jake was sure the Orcas had finally left, he sneaked out and crawled along the bottom of the ocean floor. Not daring to be as careless as before. Swimming was much faster, obviously, but he was trying to be as stealthy as possible. Because he got tossed around earlier, he couldn’t even tell whether he was going north, south, east or west at this point. His only goal was finding a safe place to spend the night.

“Oh nice! This is actually pretty sweet. Hahah~!”

‘Lair!’

“Yeah… This could be our secret lair!”

He found a small entrance to a cavern and crawled inside, only to find that there was actually a pretty wide area inside. Not only was the area inside fairly large and filled with a decent amount of ‘food’, like starfish and glowing blue mushroom-looking things, there was even a large boulder that reached up out of the water. The top of the cave had a lot of breathable air. At least for Jake and Vora, not necessarily for regular humans.

“It’s surprisingly warm though.” 

Jake looked around, but didn’t find any obvious or exposed geothermal vents. Just that the rocks in the cavern were warmer than the freezing cold water outside. The salty and humid air was about the same temperature as the air outside, which was what he now considered ‘comfortable’.

‘Lair. Nest. Eggs… Reproduction.’

“You wanna give birth here? Are you sure?”

‘Yes. Good enough.’

“If it’s good enough for you, then it’s good enough for me. Whatever. I’ve kinda given up on reaching that tropical island to be totally honest. Right now I just wanna rest and heal from those fucking asshole Orcas!”

Chapter 71:

Jacob Cinagra looked at himself in the mirror and sighed. He had a shaggy black beard and long hair that was pulled back in a ponytail. His eyes were brown and his teeth were yellow, crooked, probably needed to go to the dentist for cavities, but he didn’t want to leave the house. His upper body was relatively muscular and hairy. As deathly pale white as the rest of his skin. Almost like a vampire.

Behind the back of the short man was a huge, terrifying monster. Nearly 2 meters tall, covered in black carapace, with sharp barbs on the shoulders, bald scalp, forearms, shins, knees and elbows. The face… Honestly, it didn’t even look the same anymore. The nose was flatter and wider, the chin was sharper, he was still relatively handsome, just… Like a different person.

“It’s almost like I got recast…”

As he said that, Jake turned around and looked up at the huge, muscular, monstrous ‘man’. But then he noticed that the chest was bulging, the hips were much wider, and the face also became much more feminine…

“Jacob… Breed!” That rough, raspy, deep and somewhat feminine voice came out of the woman’s mouth as she picked him up like a toy. Pressing him against that familiar bed in his room, that huge body rode on top of his waist very assertively. That solid black armor on her groin opened up and revealed a familiar-looking pink slit. Then she forcefully inserted his already hard cock inside.

However… Even though it felt great and was definitely in line with his perverted aesthetics, Jake couldn’t ejaculate. They had sex for hours, even what felt like days, but nothing happened. Neither of them could have an orgasm. Voracity in particular was getting really anxious and impatient. Until finally, she realized, “This… Dream?”

“Yeah. Obviously.”

When Jake said that, he opened his eyes and looked down. His long, pink, tentacle-like dick was really hard and he felt like he also had to piss really bad. More importantly though, he looked at his painful, bulging right shoulder and upper arm! It wasn’t bulging just a little bit, but looked like it was going to explode at any moment!

“What the fuck is this shit?! Vora, are you okay?!”

‘Pregnant. Breeding, successful.’

“Are you sure?”

‘Hmmm… Yes.’

Jake sat up on the smooth stone ‘bed’ that was covered in salty water. Then he heard some weird noises and splashes. Looked down at the water that was lower than when he went to sleep and noticed a group of five dolphins swimming around in the water.

“Fuck! Scared the shit outta me! Thought they were tiny Orcas…”

The hourglass dolphin really does look a lot like a slimmer, much tinier Killer Whale at first glance. They have a similar color scheme, except that there’s a large white ‘hourglass-like’ pattern across the sides of their black bodies. Their bellies are also white. There’s a blowhole on the back of the head. A big black fin on the back, two cute flippers on the sides and a tail that goes up/down, similar to most whales and porpoises. It should be noted that the adults were only about 1.8 meters, while the younger ones were even smaller than that.

In response to Jake’s words, the group of dolphins began making even more noise. Some of them jumped up and splashed him. A particularly naughty girl jumped onto the wet rocks and tried to bite his dick off!

“Goddamn it! This is my house! You guys can go fuck around somewhere else!”

Of course, they didn’t listen to his bullshit. In fact, their situation was very similar to what Jake faced the other day… They were hiding from Orcas! He could hear their annoying screams and see their infuriating faces poking in from the tiny hole down below. The combination of different high-pitched noises was driving Jake more insane than usual.

“It’s kinda funny… There was a time when I loved seals, dolphins, whales, basically all animals. Uh… Well, to be fair, I’m a Furry Porn Artist, so that’s kinda in the job description.”

Jake paced around on the rocks anxiously as he held his aching right arm and shoulder with his left hand. It’s been six hours since he woke up and the size of the building parts had almost doubled. The black carapace cracked apart and a bunch of small pieces were held together by thin, stretchy pink skin and muscles underneath.

“Now… Now I hate everyone and everything! But I especially hate ‘them’! Fuck off, you evil goddamn Orcas! Aaah~! Shit! Oww…”

‘Coming… Soon. Birth… Painful.’

“I’m sorry, Vora… Hang in there. It’ll be over soon.”

‘Enduring. Discomfort.’

Jake noticed that it wasn’t just him either. Among the hourglass dolphins splashing around in the large, open cavern, at least five of them had already given birth! Even more dramatically, there were at least four or five dolphins per birth… From what little he remembered from his previous ‘research’ for various artworks people commissioned, dolphins generally only give birth to a single baby at a time. Twins are almost unrecorded.

“Is this… I guess I did see the penguins having an awful lot of eggs back then? But where does the energy come from? Are they just eating more?”

He actually didn’t pay too much attention to any individual penguin, seal or skua. There were just way too many of them. The ocean was also filled with fish and other creatures. He figured that it was just normal. After all, he barely knows anything about Antarctica or the surrounding wildlife populations.

“Unless… The plants? And microorganisms? Hmmm…”

It actually wasn’t that hard to figure out. Something obviously ‘changed’ on Earth. Maybe the planet was bombarded by a particularly large amount of radiation from somewhere? Maybe it was something else. Either way, from the smallest microorganisms to the largest plants and animals, the entire ecosystem was changing dramatically in various ways. It didn’t affect everyone and everything equally though.

That one group of spiders managed to grow to an absurd size in a matter of days, but there were definitely more spiders than that in the ship. Not all of them experienced such extreme changes. Just like how some people went crazy, but looked human for the most part. Others transformed into weird centipede monsters.

“Ugh… Whatever, I think, I think we’re giving birth now? Fuck, why does it have to be so painful?!”

‘Hmmm… Too big?’

The carapace on the right arm completely shed and revealed the soft, delicate pink flesh and muscle underneath. From the bulging shoulder and upper arm, down to the forearm and hand. Without the carapace or bones though, the whole arm was more like a limp noodle. Not even as useful as a tentacle really. Those fat worm-like fingers spasmed constantly. Along with the rest of the arm. It felt like Jake and Vora were having an entire, arm-wide series of unending muscle-spasms! So painful and prickly…

“It’s coming!”

‘Birth!’

The two of them were happy and excited in the middle of the night, when their massive right shoulder and forearm started to deflate. Lots of acidic juices sprayed out over the wet stones they were sitting on. Fortunately, those annoying dolphins and Orcas finally left. So the two of them could give birth in peace and quiet…

Chapter 72:

“She’s so adorable.”

‘Hmmm… Hypocrite.’

From the moment they first saw the long black and white creature that emerged from their massively widened palm, they both felt a sense of intense irony… The newborn baby girl wasn’t ‘humanoid’ like her father. Assuming that Jake was actually the father.

The chubby body was curved on the back and relatively flat on the belly. There was a long and fairly straight fin sticking up around the middle of the back. Then the tail got a little narrower than the pudgy belly, but not that much. The two horizontal fins on the end of the tail were fairly large and thick. Not far from the ‘neck’, there were also two short, stubby fins reaching out to the sides. The head was a little bulbous, with a blowhole on the top. The mouth opened up wide and made some high-pitched, horrible noises, revealing the terrifyingly long and sharp teeth around the sides of that thick pink tongue. Those big, pitch-black eyes were on the sides of the head, only a little higher than the edges of the jaws. With a big white eye-shaped patch above the eyes and ‘ears’, which were a little bit behind the eyes and basically unnoticeable.

“It’s different. Okay? Those Orcas are evil fucking bastards. But Tori is our precious baby girl. Besides, I never said that Killer Whales were ugly. They actually look pretty cool.”

‘Torrent. Useful.’

“She doesn’t need to be ‘useful’, okay? She’s our cute baby girl. We need to protect her and make sure she grows up safe, health and happy-”

“Torrent. Useful. Tool.” A high-pitched and adorable voice emerged from the meter-long baby Orca’s mouth and Jake sighed dramatically.

“Don’t mind-control our baby girl.”

“Torrent, serve, Mother.” Tori looked at him with her cute and innocent left eye, “Grow, adapt, improve, expand, evolve, conquer, live… Happy.”

“Is she talking or are you talking? Can Tori talk already?” Jake asked his bulging, tentacle-like, pink right arm, which was already starting to shrink back to normal slowly.

‘We are one.’

“Seriously? Then… In other words, Tori is just an external body for you?”

“We are one.” Tori spoke in a cute high-pitched, squeaky voice. Then Jake shivered and saw his own face through that relatively small eye. 

The man smirked and the hard carapace on his cheeks cracked open a bit, revealing the pink flesh underneath. Then he spoke in a deep, raspy voice, “We are one. Expand, overcome, survive, thrive, adapt, conquer, evolve… Devour. Breed. Paint. Fun. Jacob, Voracity, Torrent… We are one.”

Then Jake blinked his eyes and shook his head. Everything went back to normal, as if it was all just a weird hallucination or nightmare. He looked down at the cute baby orca in his left arm and dangling onto his lap.

“Did that really happen or am I losing it again?”

‘Not, hallucination. We are one. We are… Hungry.’

“Eat! Meat!” The cute voice shouted excitedly and flopped out of his arm, diving down into the water nearby! Jake sighed and also hopped down into the water. Even without the use of his right arm, he didn’t have trouble swimming in the dark cavern. Bioluminescence is actually not rare, especially in deep-sea creatures. This particular cave wasn’t very deep underwater, but there were still quite a few jellyfish, starfish and other random plants or fish that were glowing vibrantly. Allowing Jake to see the meter long ‘Orca’ munching on an unfortunate ugly silver fish.

‘Eat!’

‘Okay, okay. After this midnight snack, we really need to get some sleep. I’m worried about Tori though. What should she do? Can she survive out of water for long?’

‘Torrent, protect. Guard, Mother. Eat. Rest. Grow.’

‘Well, I guess that makes sense. Human babies are tired after just being born, but… Well, but is she able to act on her own? If we go to sleep…’

‘Torrent, follow orders. Good tool.’

‘Please don’t call her that.’

‘Good… Drone?’

‘Kinda feels even worse…’

While the two of them were bickering in their minds, Jake and Tori were both eating random things. In particular, Jake found a giant orange crab that looked like a long-legged spider. The body was really tiny, while the limbs were absurdly long. There were also some green mossy things that tasted pretty good. A weird ‘plant’ that looked like it had black feathers with brown stems and long tentacles reaching out over the rocks it was growing on. There were also some unfortunate fish as well.

‘Aww, thank you Sweetie.’

Jake smiled gently at the cute baby Orca that rubbed up against his palm after bringing him a struggling black fish that was half a meter long. Unlike Vora and Torrent, who didn’t seem to give a shit about other creatures, Jake had mercy on the fish and killed it first before the two of them started feasting. Eventually though, Torrent’s parents had to go to bed. But they didn’t sleep on the uncomfortable rocks. Instead, they just floated around underwater.

Torrent waved her little flippers around and made some excited squeaky noises. She didn’t just eat constantly. There was a limit to the size of her stomach after all. In the end, she just practiced her special ‘abilities’. Echolocation, swimming… That’s about it. From time to time, she would push her parents away from the entrance of the cave.

She stared at the tiny crabs and giant white, fluffy sea-mushrooms or other weird plants and animals. In particular, some of the types of seaweed and seagrass were multiplying at a visible speed. However, some crabs, shrimp and fish were eating them at a fast pace as well. They were also multiplying from time to time. Either breeding and reproducing directly, or simply migrating from outside the cave.

In less than six hours, she witnessed a particular brown, leafy seaweed grow from a tiny sprout to nearly three meters high! In the end, the relatively empty cavern was transformed into a forest of glowing plants and animals overnight! Rather than having trouble breathing though, she noticed that the amount of air in the cavern increased dramatically and the water level was receding because of the air pressure. Seaweed is a plant and just like trees on land, it absorbs carbon and exhales oxygen.

What would happen to the world’s atmosphere if this scary trend spread across the entire planet? Little Tori had no clue and didn’t really care either way. She would adapt. She would survive. She would thrive. And overcome all obstacles that stood in her path.

‘Enemies?’

Torrent’s cute little eyes started glowing with faint pink fluorescence. The ‘tiny’ meter long body had also gotten a lot fatter from all her gorging. She would need to get some rest before she could actually ‘grow’ properly. 

There were high-pitched noises coming from far away. Echolocation, similar to her own voice, or even higher in pitch. She could hear a large group of ‘voices’ chattering with each other, but couldn’t understand their language. After all, learning a language wasn’t so easy. Even Vora hadn’t completely mastered English yet, even with Jake’s help. Tori inherited her mother’s communication skills… Well, it was better than nothing.

‘Danger? No… Leaving. Hmmm… Mother, resting. Must protect.’

Chapter 73:

“Hmmm… What the hell? Tori, are you there?! Are you okay?!”

Jake’s head was slightly above the water. Just enough for him to breathe through his nose. However, when he looked around, the area above the water was much wider and that rocky area they used to sleep on was basically unreachable. Then he looked under the water and all he saw was green, orange, brown and blue plants, animals, et cetera. It was totally filled to the brim.

“Here, Father.”

That cute, chubby little Orca face poked out from some dense seaweed and Jake immediately hugged his daughter with both arms. Vora had mostly recovered to her former glory. The pink meat and flesh was once again covered by a pitch-black carapace, but the ‘armor’ was a little thinner and more flexible than before. It would take more than eight hours to regenerate completely.

“Need, sleep. Must… Grow.”

“Of course you do, Honey. Don’t worry. I’ll protect you…”

‘Lair, infested. Needs cleaning. Devour!’

Vora just woke up and her first thoughts about eating. Jake sighed and looked at his daughter’s body. She was really fat now. And something he didn’t notice earlier was that she actually had gills. They grew along her sides, behind her two little flippers. They were hard to see when they were closed, because her skin in that area was black. 

Normal Killer Whales also have a small gray pattern behind and around their dorsal fins on the sides, called the Saddle Patch. Along with a little white pattern that reached up onto the sides of their tail, behind their abdomens. Tori didn’t have either of those. The top of her body was pitch-black and the bottom was pure white. Baby Orcas are usually more brown or orangish as well, but Jake’s daughter was obviously not a ‘real’ Orca from the start.

“Do you wanna sleep in the water or above water?”

“More air, better.”

‘Oxygen, important.’

Although Vora said that they were ‘one’, Jake really couldn’t link Voracity’s deep and raspy mature voice with Torrent’s cute and innocent, high-pitched, squeaky child-like voice. Then again, even if they were telepathically connected somehow, didn’t they each have their own brains? In the end, it was almost impossible for him to treat his daughter in the same way as his ‘wife’.

“Don’t worry, Tori, I’ll make sure you’re on the surface of the water as often as possible.”

“Hmmm… Sleep.”

After saying that, those big glowing pink eyes slowly closed and the baby Orca just floated there on the surface peacefully. It was instantaneous. Jake couldn’t help feeling a little jealous.

‘Eat! Grow! Develop! Improve! Clean!’

“Alright, calm down. Sheesh… Don’t you feel anything about our precious daughter? Isn’t she adorable?”

‘Useful… Meat?’

“That’s even worse than before. Nevermind. Just, never try to eat or hurt our children, Vora. Seriously.”

‘Offspring, important. Protect, Voracity, Jacob. Ensure survival.’

“Phew, whatever. We have a lot of work to do… A lot of ‘pruning’ and ‘evictions’.”

Obviously they couldn’t just eat everything. The whole cave was completely infested by all sorts of plants and animals. Jake did notice a trend though. There were lots of tiny creatures, while the bigger ones would leave if they had the ability. The first thing he did was uproot some different types of seaweed and seagrass. Basically the biggest ones he could find. Then he pushed them out the meter-wide entrance and let them get washed away by the currents. There were plenty of tiny crabs, krill, shrimp and fish that were also pushed outside in the process.

From time to time, Jake and Vora would eat some starfish or plants at random. They also shared a big silvery fish. However, most of the creatures were tossed outside or scared away. Jake also paid attention to his daughter. Making sure she was floating above the water and getting as much oxygen as possible.

Every hour, she seemed to get a lap skinnier and grow a few centimeters longer. When she woke up after a four-hour deep-sleep, Torrent was already 110 cm long and starving. Without even speaking to her ‘parents’, the little cutie was already munching on some unlucky transparent fish.

“Tori! You’re awake already? Are you sure you don’t need more sleep?”

‘Unnecessary. Must eat. Need nutrition. Digestion. Then sleep, grow. Repeat.’

The ‘little girl’ was busy eating, so Vora responded in her place. Jake smiled wryly and gently caressed her smooth skin with his armored hands. Then sighed dramatically as he looked down at his ‘claws’. Although his carapace was sensitive, it obviously wasn’t the same kind of tactile sensation as normal flesh. His palms and fingertips also had small, tiny barbs, so he had to be careful with the direction that he ‘caressed’, or he might hurt Torrent’s thick, blubbery flesh… Though it was very unlikely.

“Father, enemies?”

‘Danger?’

Jake looked over toward the entrance of the cavern and frowned, “I don’t know. I can’t really tell the difference between Orcas or dolphins. I think the bigger whales have deeper voices though. Probably? I don’t fucking know. I would’ve spent more time researching Antarctic Animals, but I never thought I’d ever get dumped in this hellscape one day…”

Either way, they didn’t need to worry about Orcas. They were too big to fit through the entrance of the cavern. But some of the smaller seals and dolphins could still do it. Speaking of which, Jake looked at his slightly larger daughter and sighed, “We can’t stay here for very long… Maybe only a few more days at most. Otherwise we might get stuck inside this cave. I’m also getting worried about the growing ‘air bubble’. A small bubble isn’t a big deal, but at a certain point, the pressure will probably crack open the ceiling… It’s also weird how warm the stones are… I’m afraid there might be an undersea volcano about to erupt nearby.”

“Father, look!”

Jake watched as his silly daughter jumped out of the water and did a backflip. Splashing him in the eyes in the process. Of course, he was basically an aquatic creature at this point, so it didn’t bother him at all.

“Good job, Tori, hehe~! You’re so talented!”

‘Exercise, useful. Build muscle. Train reflexes. More efficient, hunter. Protector. Fun.’

Watching his daughter playing around and having fun, Jake and Vora also tried to do some tricks. At the very least, they were able to shoot up out of the water a few meters and do front flips… Backflips took a little more work. On one attempt, he went too high and actually kicked a rock on the ceiling and chipped a ‘talon’ on the middle of his right foot. After burning some calories and using up excess energy, the three of them started eating again.

Chapter 74:

“It’s time to move… Tori, be careful and stay near me. We’ll be staying close to the ocean floor. Hiding among the seaweed and rocks. We’re still small and dark enough that we shouldn’t stand-out too much… Hopefully.”

“Yes, Father!”

“Uh, Sweetie, why don’t you just call me Dad or Daddy?”

“Father is Father.”

“Okay then…”

Jake snickered as he looked over at the adorable face next to him. In the past week that they’ve been staying in this cavern, the two of them have been growing at a steady pace. Jake shed his shell once again after reaching about 2 meters tall. While the chubby Orca-shaped Torrent was also about 2 meters long. The three of them were afraid to leave the safety of their home, but unfortunately, they didn’t have the ability to widen the entrance of the cavern. If they waited any longer, they wouldn’t be able to leave.

“Try not to make any sounds. I know it’s tempting, but don’t use echolocation.”

“Yes, Father.”

The two of them sank down into the seaweed forest and slowly made their way over to the entrance. It was night outside and the ice sheet made the moonlight significantly dimmer. However, there were lots of colorful jellyfish, starfish, weird spiky pink danger noodles and all sorts of other beautiful sea creatures/plants. Fortunately, the dense seaweed made it much easier for the two of them to hide.

Jake reached out and grabbed the dark rocks that were practically invisible in the darkness. Of course, they could still be seen pretty easily due to the contrast. This was something he was a little worried about though. Because from above, the two of them would look like long black silhouettes moving through the colorful undersea foliage. 

‘So cold…’

‘Unpleasant.’

‘I almost forgot how uncomfortable it was out here…’

Tori, Vora and Jake complained in their interconnected minds. However, they didn’t stop moving. On the way, of course, the three of them were constantly eating. Sometimes they would stop, because they could hear and see scary gigantic figures lurking in the distance. At first, they were mostly just worried about Orcas and different types of seals, but after they really came outside… They realized that there are plenty of other monsters swimming or even ‘walking’ around.

The Japanese Spider Crab is or ‘was’ the largest known crustacean on Earth. They look like big red Daddy Long Legs Spiders, but they’re actually crabs. With red and white blotched shells, extremely long legs, a tiny body and two super long claws that can reach out to crab prey from quite a distance. Jake, Vora and Tori ate quite a few of them in their cavernous home… However, the ones they saw were only two meters ‘tall’ at most. They could see some similar-looking shapes in the distant darkness, but the size was truly absurd. The smaller ones were ‘only’ about 3 meters, but the biggest one… They couldn’t get an accurate measurement. Because it was just too big and it was too dark to see the whole thing clearly.

However, the good thing was that just because they were massive, didn’t make them overly dangerous. They were awkward, slow, careless and most of the time, they were very weak because of growing way too fast. Antarctica also had ‘sea spiders’, which were big yellow long-legged spiders that lived about 1800 meters below the surface. Jake and his daughter were nowhere near that deep.

In fact, they were trying to find the nearest island. The ocean is seriously way too dangerous. The deeper the water, the more terrifying. Aside from the pressure, the two of them would need to deal with the monsters that lived there. It should also be noted that not all creatures could grow so rapidly and outrageously. Most crustaceans can grow endlessly, but the process of their growth is difficult. Hence why Jake needed to shed his shell every so often. For those giant crabs, they’re like giant moving feasts for the smaller, more agile dolphins, seals and whales that aren’t scared by the huge size.

‘Being bigger isn’t always better… In terms of survival, you need more food to maintain your own strength. You can’t hide as easily. And bigger animals… Are still just animals. They can’t really compete with missiles and torpedoes. At a certain point, you’ll be picked up on satellites and aerial surveillance really easily.’

‘Father… Should I… Stop growing?’

‘Of course not. You should grow as much as you can grow. I’ll do the same. If we turn into giant monsters, then there are also benefits for being massive. I’m just saying that being tiny also has its advantages. Besides, how do we intentionally stop growing?’

‘Growth, good. Growth, dangerous. Safety, best. Torrent, must adapt. Environments change. So too, must we.’

‘Yes, Mother!’

Jake and Torrent kept moving along the bottom of the relatively shallow sea region, eventually finding a slope, leading up to an island. When they crawled up onto the rocky shore, they still kept low to the ground and moved slowly… Well, one of them was in the shape of a tiny Orca, so it’d be weird if she could suddenly stand up and walk.

“It’s surprisingly empty.” Jake whispered as he looked around the beach. There were only a few small groups of penguins scattered around. Maybe five Elephant Seals; a gigantic male and four small females. There were also crabs and starfish on the wet rocks, braving the crashing waves. The two of them looked up at the huge icy mountain and felt the relatively warm wind blowing past. The temperature in the air was much lower than what Jake and Vora remembered…

“I hope we didn’t go south.”

‘Hmmm…’

“Father… Land hurts.”

‘Weak skin. Shell, stronger.’

“Don’t worry, Tori. We won’t be staying on these rocks. And don’t listen to your silly Mom. Shells ain’t all they’re cracked up to be.”

Jake stood up, bent down and lifted his ridiculously heavy daughter in his arms very carefully. After all, he had sharp spikes on his shoulders, forearms, elbows, shins, knees, back, head… Basically, if he dropped her or fell on top of her, or just poked her with the sides of his arms by accident, he could hurt his precious baby very easily.

“Are you okay? Let me know if it hurts or if it’s hard to breathe.”

“Yes, Father. I’m fine.”

‘Breathing, unaffected. Slight discomfort.’

“Don’t worry. It won’t be long. We just need to make it somewhere safe for the night. I’ll put you down on some nice, smooth ice soon…”

Of course, Jake knew that this also wasn’t a long-term solution. 

Chapter 75:

“I’ve been watching those baby penguins lately…”

Jake sat on a boulder next to a very shallow stream, where a chubby, 3 meter long Orca-looking creature was barely submerged halfway underwater.

“Although the penguins might be breeding and reproducing faster, they don;t seem to be growing that quickly. From what I remember, Penguins usually take a few years to grow and develop. Those chicks are still chicks and it’s been a whole month already.”

‘Weak Bird.’

“Too slow. Won’t survive.” Even Tori was a little disdainful.

“But they are surviving and thriving. You’d think that they’d get hunted to extinction, right? But they have way more fish and other things to eat now. The seals have also stopped eating them as often. The Orcas stopped eating the seals. It’s not because they’ve grown a conscience, but simply because they have other food sources now.”

‘Water, safer.’

“Father, swim?”

Jake snickered and looked out toward the icy waves. There was a storm approaching and the sky was getting darker. The air was also colder than usual. He let out a long sigh and shook his head, “We should save our energy.”

“Sing?”

“Sure, Sweetie. Go ahead and sing.”

‘Hmmm…’

Although it was called singing, Torrent wasn’t using any human words. Some of the sounds she made were so high-pitched that Jake couldn’t even hear them. However, he could see and hear a giant pod of Orcas in the distance ‘singing’ back. There were at least fifty of them. There were also a decent amount of hourglass dolphins who were also singing along. From Jake’s ears, it sounded like a sorrowful, depressing melody, which became more upbeat as time went by… Of course, he also hummed along. The seals, penguins and skuas also made some noises.

There were waves crashing, wind whistling and thunder cracking. Jake smiled gently and rubbed his daughter’s back. Looking over at the mountains on the horizon to the north. Of course, they could also be glaciers. It’s hard to tell from so far away.

“Nature is chaotic and cruel most of the time. But…” He snickered and murmured softly, “It’s still so beautiful and exciting. Right, Vora?”

‘Nature, danger buffet.’

“Yes, nature is a danger buffet.” 

Jake rolled his faintly glowing light-pink eyes and looked over at the five-meter long crab legs that were washed up on the shore nearby. There was also a shell the size of a boulder. Over the past month, most of the biggest crabs were already killed and eaten by various predators. There were also some weird-looking fish that washed up onto the rocks with nasty tumors and lesions all over their bodies, but the penguins and seals wouldn’t eat them. Only the skuas didn’t give a shit.

“I hope it’s not radiation.”

‘Not, hot.’

“Yeah… I don’t ‘feel’ the same way. Might just be some other random problem. With how fast a lot of these fish are reproducing, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had deformities and other genetic issues. Could also be parasites.”

“Father, play?”


Jake snickered, “What do you wanna play?”

“Slide!”

Hearing that, his pink lips twitched a bit and he squinted his eyes to look over at the icy mountain a few hundred meters behind them… Then he looked back at the 3 meter long, nearly 500 kg ‘dolphin’. Yes, Killer Whales are actually a type of dolphin, technically. Though it’s debatable whether Tori would be considered an Orca or a dolphin.

“Sure…”

‘No. Insufficient energy.’

“Vora… This might be the last time.”

‘Unnecessary expenditure.’

“Using fancy words won’t change my mind.” Jake snickered and walked with his daughter upstream. Eventually the water turned to ice and she had to use her little flippers, along with her tail to push her heavy body forward. Of course, her white belly was very smooth and couldn’t gain much traction, so Jake had to dig his talons into the ice in order to help push her heavy body up the hill.

“Hands, feet, useful.” Tori watched her father struggling and spoke in a cute voice.

“Yeah. They’re definitely important. But your flippers are also strong and useful. Don’t feel bad.”

‘Why not, both?’

“Why don’t we have any extra arms or legs?” Jake asked rhetorically.

‘Unnecessary.’

“Besides, even if Tori had some extra arms or legs, I don’t know if they’d be strong enough to move her huge body…” Jake shook his head, “Besides, can we really grow extra limbs if we feel like it?”

‘Maybe.’

“Maybe?” Tori spoke in that cute high-pitched voice, while grunting and groaning. Struggling to push herself up the icy hill. 

It took them an entire hour to reach the top and the storm in the distance was almost over their heads. Jake looked down at the gigantic natural slide and sighed, “Are you ready, Baby?”

“Yes, Father!”

‘Yes.’

Jake actually climbed onto that thick, blubbery and muscular back. He held onto the thick and long dorsal fin and shouted, “Let’s go~!”

“Wooo~!”

‘Slide!’

Chapter 76:

The side of the hill they slid down was actually much more slippery and steep than the one they climbed, so they picked up speed rapidly! Tori had to be careful and avoid the random sharp rocks or chunks of ice that stuck up out of the mostly smooth slide… Of course, she inherited her reflexes from her mother. Otherwise Jake would never let her do something so incredibly dangerous for fun. 

*Booom~! Crack~!* 

Lightning even crashed down around them a few times, while freezing rain was pelting them harshly. But it only made the three of them more excited!

“Hahaha~! Fuck yeah! Jump!”

“Jump~!”

As they reached the bottom of the hill, there was a big upward sloping ramp that led into the sea! As they flew up that ramp, Jake was sent flying even higher when his daughter did a front-flip! Then he dove down into the depths of the shallow ocean, accidentally smacking face-first into an unlucky silver fish. The fish was unlucky, because Jake’s face was very hard and had some sharp edges. While the fish had relatively soft scales.

‘Danger! Enemies!’

‘I see them!’

After Jake pushed the stunned fish off his face, he saw a few familiar figures emerging from the darkness. Along with their annoying squeaks and clicks. He didn’t know what they were saying, but the clicks were definitely echolocation. A lot of dolphins use it, not just Orcas. And with so many different kinds of dolphins in the area, plus his own daughter, those damn clicks were basically unending.

“Weeeeeiiiiiooooh~!”

“Aaaahng~!”

Torrent swam over in front of Jake and started making loud, high-pitched noises at the giant one-eyed Orca that was charging over towards them. There were also a few other Killer Whales that either came to help or were just watching the show from a distance. Jake also noticed a fairly small, ‘only’ 4 meter long Orca that had a big scar on its white belly. Obviously the five of them that targeted him were the same ones that nearly killed him before.

‘Can you understand what they’re saying?’

‘Squeaky Meat Noises.’

‘Yes, Father… They want… Me. They, they say, forgive you.’

‘Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.’

‘Greedy Meat! Hunt! Devour!’

Although Vora wanted to fight, kill and consume their archenemies, Jake and Tori were a little more reasonable. While Tori agreed to the terms that the one-eyed Big Daddy Orca offered, she actually turned around and swam away rapidly. Jaked reached out and grabbed her big fin with both hands.

She looked tiny compared to other Killer Whales, but that was also an advantage. Whether on land or in the water, a larger and heavier creature will usually be slower. There’s also the fact that Torrent’s muscles were stronger in comparison to her size. Just like Jake can push her up a slippery icy hill, she can carry her father along behind her back while still ‘outrunning’ the angry Orca family behind them.

‘Go North!’

‘Yes, Father!’

In the past month, aside from learning to communicate with Orcas to a certain extent, Tori also learned how to ‘sense’ North. Jake and Vora also gained this ability recently. Possibly a genetic trait inherited from the skuas and other seabirds they’ve eaten. Either way, it was a very useful ability. Though still not as good as a GPS with satellite support, unfortunately.

‘Danger!’ 

Vora shouted in their minds as a huge red and white claw reached down from above! The pincer was long, just like the arm and legs behind it. Torrent dove down rapidly and Jake struggled to keep his grip on her fin… Then he looked back and saw the group of five angry Killer Whales scatter to avoid the terrifying attack. That was one of the last remaining gigantic Japanese Spider Crabs, which stopped growing rapidly a while ago. Its total height was at least fifty meters and each claw was big enough to pinch a full-grown Orca in half. Maybe that was a little exaggerated, but it’s true that the crab was obscenely large and intimidating enough to make those Orcas stay far away.

‘They’re circling around the sides! Keep going!’

‘Yes, Father!’

Tori flapped her tail up and down, which propelled her whole body forward. Though she was still moving up and down occasionally. A typical Orca can hold its breath for 90 minutes. Tori can breathe underwater, but if she wants to keep doing strenuous activity for a long time, then she needs to surface for air, just like Jake. However, even though they kept swimming northward, it only took about ten minutes for the small family of vengeful Killer Whales to give up chasing them. After all, Orcas are social animals. They typically don’t stray very far from their ‘Pod’. Especially now that things are so chaotic and strange. Their environment has changed a lot recently and they’re afraid of the unknown.

Similar to Jake’s mentality, the Orcas are also smart enough to understand that the deeper waters are always going to be much more dangerous and terrifying. So they’ve been lurking around the same small islands. There’s plenty of food. The weather is fine. There’s really no reason to leave and take their chances. Especially now that they have so many babies to worry about.

*Booom~! Crackle~!*

“Fuck! This storm is pretty intense! Hahaha~!”

“Father, I can’t see land.”

‘Or ice.’

The three of them were floating on the top of a huge wave and looking at their surroundings. They’ve officially left the ‘safety’ of the shallows and entered the open ocean! Whether it’s the Pacific or the Atlantic though, there was no way to know for sure.

“I know we probably went hundreds of miles to the southwest, but I don’t know where we were before.”

‘Hungry.’

“I know you’re hungry. We share the same stomach.” Jake snickered, “I’m sure you’re hungry too, Tori. Let’s eat first before we move on… Also, it’s kinda dangerous up here. I don’t wanna get hit by a big chunk of ice or struck by lightning.”

“Yes, Father!”

The situation underwater was also pretty chaotic and the currents were strong, but the two of them were good enough swimmers that it didn’t matter much. They were more worried about predators than natural disasters. After all, the sea was so deep… They couldn’t see the bottom.

Jake smiled wryly as he looked down at the darkness below, ‘It really does look like the Abyss… But is it really staring back at us?’

Chapter 77:

Finding food was extremely easy. The hard part was not becoming food.

Jake swam slowly and cautiously through the tumultuous waters. Torrent enjoyed flipping upside down and turning around in different directions, circling her father as if she was playing a game. There were all kinds of fish in the sea. Usually they targeted the bigger ones, because of efficiency.

“It’s better to kill one big fish than a hundred little fish. Because the big fish probably ate way more than a hundred fish already. So it’s Karma.” 

Was what Jake taught his daughter, though her mother had a much more concise life lesson: “Fish, good.”

‘Father! Mother! Look!’

Jake and Vora stopped munching on their decapitated giant green fish, looking over at the special food their daughter captured. It wasn’t really anything special, just a big white squid. The head was about a meter long and the tentacles were almost twice as long.

‘Tentacle Fish!’ 

Vora was so excited that she took over Jake’s body directly and forced him to bite down on one of those tentacles while it was trying to strangle him. Tori also chomped down on the head of the squid a lot harder, chewing it with her incredibly sharp fang-like teeth. She also had molars in the back of her mouth that could grind things more easily. There were no incisors, but she really didn’t ‘need’ them in the first place.

‘Be careful it doesn’t spray ink everywhere.’

‘Ink, taste good!’ Vora retorted, though she also didn’t want to get sprayed.

‘Thank you, Tori. I love you.’

‘Good, Torrent. Much, love.’

‘Welcome, Parents. I love you too.’

Jake was a little worried about Vora’s language development skills lately. After all, their 5 week old daughter is already speaking and communicating in multiple languages, plus telepathy. But Voracity hasn’t really made much progress yet.

‘Language, unnecessary. Hunt, eat, sleep, grow, breed, repeat.’

‘Communication is useful. Gather information. Deceive enemies… Talking is fun.’ Tori retorted her mother and even laughed out loud afterwards, “Hihihihihi~!”

Of course, her laughter sounded more like random dolphin noises to Jake. But he smirked and gently caressed her head as they floated above the abyss.

‘When you were born, I was actually really afraid… I was afraid that you would really become some kinda drone or just a tool for your mother. I’m glad you have your own personality, individuality and opinions.’

“Hihihihihi~!” 

She didn’t say anything after that, just giggled while eating the rest of the squid head. Jake and Vora focused on the tentacles. It didn’t take long before the whole creature was completely devoured by the three of them. There really wasn’t any waste. Except for that headless fish that was tossed away and forgotten.

After swimming slowly underwater and resisting the chaotic currents, Jake and his daughter surfaced again in order to breathe. Of course, the energetic pseudo-Orca soared out of the huge wave a few meters and dove back down a few times. Jake on the other hand was just struggling to breathe without getting hit by a clump of ice.

“How big is this fucking storm?!” He complained before diving back down under the waves. Then the two of them continued their seemingly endless journey northward across the terrifying abyssal depths.

Depending on whether there were any mountains underwater, those depths could be as ‘shallow’ as 2 kilometers, but for the most part, it varied from 3 to 4 kilometers. There were also some areas slightly north of Antarctica that were 5 to 6 kilometers deep. The problem is that whether it was 1 kilometer or 10, they still wouldn’t be able to see anything that far.

Orcas can generally dive about 100 meters or so when foraging. Though the maximum known depths in an experiment was 250 meters. Jake and Torrent have never tried to go deeper than a hundred meters. At least not intentionally. The amount of pressure the body has to endure at that depth is related to the buoyancy of the body. If they exhale most of the air in their lungs and evacuate the gas from their bowels, they can obviously have a much easier time at those extreme depths, but they’d still never attempt to go deeper than a couple hundred meters.

Instead, they just lurked near the surface. Swimming slowly but steadily. The storm did end eventually. Rather than ending, it’s more likely that they just moved away from it. After all, the storm was moving faster than they were swimming and likely going towards the south.

At night, the father and daughter were floating on the surface of the relatively calm sea. Jake was laying on his back with his arms spread wide, kicking his feet lightly from time to time. Tori’s blowhole was on the top of her head, so she rested on her belly instead. However, she was also looking up at the beautiful starry sky with the eyes on the sides of her head.

“Father… Are we aliens?”

“We were both born on Earth, so nope.” Jake snickered and rubbed her side very gently. Avoiding those delicate and sensitive gills that were half-submerged.

“Did you wanna be an alien?”

“I don’t know.” Tori looked up at the stars for a while and asked, “Father… Can they see us?”

“The stars? Aliens? Or the human satellites in the sky that are always looking down at the Earth?”

“Stars… Look like eyes. In the darkness. Staring down at us. Predators, waiting… For careless prey.”

“Hehehe~! Well, even if they were eyes, they wouldn’t be looking at ‘us’ specifically. Something that big, it’d be able to eat a whole solar system. So don’t worry about it. But if you see some creepy eyes in the depths of the ocean, looking up at us, then let me know. That’s a more realistic threat to our safety.”

‘Jinx.’

“I’m not jinxing anything, okay?”

“Father, look! The stars are falling!” 

Torrent suddenly hopped up out of the water excitedly and made Jake sink below the waves. When he swam back to the surface, he saw the ‘falling stars’ and couldn’t help cursing, “What the fuck?! A meteor shower?!”

‘Danger! Escape!’

“Escape where?!” 

Even though Jake said that, he quickly submerged and grabbed his daughter’s fin. Then Tori flapped her tail rapidly, sending the two of them a hundred meters below the surface in a few seconds. That’s all the time they had.

*Boooom~!*

Chapter 78:

The light, heat and noise gave Jake flashbacks of his last night in Baltimore. Torrent was still struggling to swim down deeper, but both of them were hurt by the shockwave pretty badly. Their skin was fine, but the internal organs were injured.

‘Fortunately it’s not a nuke. We don’t need to worry about radiation. But… What the fuck?! How could a meteor hit so close to us?!’

‘Missile?’

‘Father… It hurts…’

‘Hang in there, Tori! I know it hurts, but we need to keep moving. Don’t go so deep. Whatever happened, already happened. Now we just need to get out of here and surface to get some air. That shit knocked the wind out of me. Literally.’

‘Yes, Father.’

Jake swam on his own, staying right next to his daughter as they slowly surfaced over the course of a few minutes. When they came above the water, they looked around and barely saw anything. Whether it was a missile or a meteor, there was no mushroom cloud… Even if there was one, it was the middle of the night. The moonlight did reveal some smoke trails and clouds in the sky, but that was about it.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes… Need rest to heal.”

‘Rest, recover, adapt, grow.’

“Well… You two can get some sleep first. I’ll keep watch.”

Although the effects aren’t that great, it was indeed possible for Jake and Vora to take turns resting. 

‘Unnecessary.’ 

However, it was inefficient. So Vora refused. On the other hand, Torrent had already closed her eyes and was snoozing quite peacefully. The three of them ate plenty of food during the day. So she didn’t need to eat anything extra or special. Only her tall dorsal fin and the top of her head were visible above the water. Just like any normal Orca.

“I don’t think we’re actually hurt that badly.” After about an hour of rest, Jake didn’t even feel any pain or discomfort. At least, nothing out of the ordinary. His ears didn’t rupture and his lungs were fine. The pressure wasn’t enough to do much damage to his current physique.

‘Breed?’

“It’s too cold… And Tori is here.”

‘Sleeping.’

“Yeah, she’s sleeping, so I don’t want you to give her any weird nightmares with your telepathic connection.” Jake sighed, “Besides, we’re supposed to be on lookout. And I don’t wanna freeze my dick off. So no.”

‘Bored.’

“We just survived either a missile or a meteor. Boredom is fine. Just be bored for a few hours until our daughter wakes up and we can go to sleep.”

As he said that, there were hundreds of bright streaks in the sky. However, they seemed to be skimming the atmosphere or simply falling so far away that he could witness it. Occasionally there would be some loud noises in the distance when meteors exploded in the atmosphere. But none of them were big or powerful enough to cause them any harm.

“I’ve never seen a meteor shower in person before.”

‘Same.’

“I know you haven’t…” Jake rolled his glowing pink eyes and sighed dramatically, “At least we know it’s not a missile bombardment.”

‘Aliens?’

“You think aliens are intentionally trying to hit us with meteors from space?”

‘Unknown.’

“For that matter, maybe we’re being targeted by a fucking Sorceror?”

‘Enemy?’

“It’s sarcasm, Vora. I’m being sarcastic.”

‘Same.’

“Hahaha~! You’re so cute…”

‘Hmmm… Breed?’

A few hours later, Jake noticed that they were drifting a little off-course. Though it didn’t really matter. They wanted to go north to a warm climate. They only traveled about 5 to 10 kilometers per hour on average. Theoretically, they could swim a hundred kilometers per day. Aside from ‘freak accidents’ like meteors falling on their heads, even just the normal concerns about hostile predators attacking them was enough to slow down their pace or cause them to go off course. Jake knew that this migration to the tropical zone might take months from the very start.

‘Fish! Many fish! Dead fish!’

“Yeah… Not too surprising. They were probably killed by the meteor shower.”

Jake looked around and saw that there were millions of dead fish all around them. But not all of them were dead. There were also tons of scavengers preying on the carcasses. No birds, but plenty of other fish, crabs, shrimp, et cetera. Instead of eating the questionable dead ones, Jake and Vora grabbed some unlucky living creatures to feast on…

“I smell… Food.”

Torrent opened her tired eyes and looked around at her surroundings in confusion. Then she opened her mouth and ate a stupid little brown octopus that was attached to her face. She didn’t consider whether the octopus might be poisonous or not, but fortunately, she didn’t seem to suffer any ill-effects.

“Tori! You’re awake already?”

“Yes, Father! What happened here?”

‘Space, rocks.’

“Meteor shower.” Jake snickered, “Some of them might be from where we got ‘hit’. But others might just have drifted over from other impact sites… Or maybe we drifted over to them? Either way, we should get out of here.”

‘Eat!’

“We can eat while swimming.”

“Yes, Father! Hihihihi~!”

“What’s so funny?”

“I had a dream… In the dream, we were humans.”

‘Elaborate.’

“Go on, Sweetie.”

“I couldn’t swim. Hihihihihihi~!”

“And?”

“It was too cold. We froze. Hihihihihi~!”

“Are you sure this wasn’t a nightmare?”

‘Humorous.’

Chapter 79:

“Vora, you look really sexy today. I like your new hair-uh, not cut… Just hair.”

The short, pale-skinned man with a shaggy beard and long-black hair was cooking pasta in his kitchen when his 2 meter tall, dark-skinned wife walked over from the living room. Of course, neither of them were wearing clothes, but that was normal for a couple of nudist newlyweds, right? It’s not like they had anyone else living in the house with them.

“Hmmm… Noodles, when?”

That beautiful face had extremely smooth skin, light-brown eyes, thick pink lips, a somewhat flat and wide nose, with a fairly sharp jawline. Aside from the lithe and powerful muscles on her hairless naked body, Jake was immediately drawn to her extremely long dreadlocks. There were only about seven or eight, fairly thick dreads, but they seemed to be floating around in the air. Almost like they were weightless and being blown by the wind.

‘Speaking of wind… Why the fuck is it so windy in the kitchen? Oh well.’

“Don’t worry. They’ll be done in a minute. God, it’s so nice to finally have a fucking stove again. Although I might be a master of microwave pasta… I still prefer the stove.”

“Breed?” Vora ‘asked’, but she didn’t really give him the chance to respond. Just picked his tiny body up and threw him down heavily on the tile floor of the kitchen. Then she pressed her squirming pink ‘lips’ against his mouth. Once she was properly lubricated, she got up and sat down on his rapidly hardening ‘meat’.

“Now we’re gonna have to take a shower…” Although Jake was happy to be ridden by his hot and horny wife, he couldn’t help worrying about being dirty.

“Unnecessary.” As she said that, Voracity started licking his neck, face, lips, chest, basically using her tongue to ‘clean’ everything.

“I love you, Vora.”

“Hmmm, love.”

As they kept going, the ceiling started leaking freezing cold water. Then Jake looked up and saw those long dreadlocks transforming into huge pink tentacles! Those suction cups stuck to his chest, face and neck, even reaching down to wrap around his shrinking balls… But they didn’t bring him any warmth. Everything just felt colder and colder, until Jake finally opened his eyes.

“What the fuck?!”

“Father! Help!”

Before he could figure out what was happening, Jake heard his daughter’s voice and reacted instantly. There was a huge light-brown octopus wrapped around the 3.2 meter long ‘Orca’. Although she struggled hard, those long tentacles were intentionally reaching into her blowhole and gills at the same time! The powerful beak directly under that big, bulging head was biting and chewing into the flesh on Torrent’s back…

“Get the fuck off my daughter!” Jake didn’t care about wasting air and still shouted angrily. Then he swam over and shoved his right arm straight through that squishy head! Vora’s fingers crushed and shredded the insides, whether it was the brain, heart or other important organs, it was only a matter of whether she could reach them or not in the struggling giant body. The tentacles lost contact with the main brain, but they each had their own individual brain to issue commands. So Tori was still in danger.

“Don’t worry, Baby, I’ll save you!”

‘Father, I can’t breathe…’

‘I know, Sweetie. Just hang in there. It’ll be over soon.’

Those suction cups were able to latch onto Tori’s skin pretty easily. But Jake used all his strength and quickly yanked it off of her head first. Once she had access to her blowhole, Torrent was able to surface and take a long, deep breath of fresh, frigid ocean air! Then he felt something tightly constricting his body… And it wasn’t an octopus this time!

“We got a big one!”

“More than one! Hahaha!”

“Quick! Quick! Pull the net up!”

A long, blue and white fishing boat was only a dozen meters from where they surfaced. It was a metal monster of over 60 meters long and the side of the deck was nearly 13 meters above the crashing waves. Obviously such a huge, industrial-sized net wouldn’t be pulled up by humans at all. Instead, there were a few big white crane arms on different parts of the boat. One of them near the middle was reaching out and lifting the huge group of ‘fish’ up out of the ocean, then dragged and dropped it onto the white metal deck.

“Wait, dat’s an ahrca!”

“A keller whale?!”

“Shet, tahss it back!”

They didn’t notice Jake, because he was being crushed under Tori’s left side, covered in all kinds of other fish and shellfish. Not to mention the giant octopus carcass that was still writhing and twitching constantly. Vora was also happily eating its internal organs without worrying too much about anything else.

A group of men and women in yellow waterproof raincoat-like fishing attire were gathered around the big pile of fish, sorting everything out. Certain fish and shellfish had to be kept alive, while others would be thrown back into the ocean for various reasons. Some could just be kept in a freezer, whether they were dead or alive was irrelevant.

“¡Mira el tamaño de ese calamar!”

“¡Eso no es un calamar! ¡Eso es un pulpo!”

“¿Eso es un cangrejo?”

More than half of them had pale skin, light hair and spoke with Irish or British accents, while the other half were Hispanic, with dark skin and didn’t even bother speaking English. So Jake had no clue what they were talking about, but one of them was pointing at his location and shouting something.

“’Ey! dere’s a black goehy oehnder dere!”

“Foehckin ‘ell!”

Then a tall, burly, middle-aged ‘English-speaking’ man shouted excitedly, “Get away! Quick! it’s a foehckin mahnster!”

“¡Es el cangrejero!” One of the younger and shorter Hispanic men laughed and patted his friend on the shoulder, pointing at the 2 meter tall giant that stood up out of the pile of fish. Although some of the people were scared, they were mostly curious. After all, the world is pretty crazy now days. As fishermen near the Antarctic region, they’ve seen all kinds of weird shit even before the ‘Apocalypse’.

“Father, are these humans?”

However, when they heard the 3.2 meter long Killer Whale speaking in a childish and adorable voice, a few of the men screamed in shock. While a couple of the burly, weathered fisherwomen thought it was adorable instead, looking at their male counterparts in disdain.

“Yep… As far as I can tell, they’re human.” Jake laughed awkwardly and revealed a terrifying ‘smile’ at the group of relatively small people surrounding him at a distance, “Hi, I’m Jake… From Maryland, in the US. Uh, can anyone tell me where the fuck this place is? My daughter and I are a little lost…”

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