- The Chronos Bugby Dean Kuch
This work has reached the exceptional level
Some demons aren't Hell spawn. They're man-made....
The Chronos Bug by Dean Kuch

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

The Chrono§ Bug

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This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end ~
Jim Morrison & The Doors





Three-year-old Kayla Grooms' anguished shrieks permeated the usually quiet, crisp morning autumn air. An unnatural, inhuman sound; it was one which immediately changed Myrna Grooms day—and certainly little Kayla's—from mundane and safe, to horrifically surreal, in an instant.


Aside from Myrna's daughter's terrified screaming — as globules of flesh fell from her tender bones in gooey, viscous clumps — it was a picturesque fall morning in Glenn Acres, Ohio. The day dawned brightly, promising lots of warmth and sunshine. Against a pristine, crystal clear sky, the first pink blushes of sunlight emerged warm and inviting in the midst of Indian Summer. To the average passerby, everything would seem exceedingly normal—an otherwise gorgeous daybreak in a small, hick town. Today would be far from normal. Our world —along with Myrna, Kayla, and everyone and everything in it— was about to take a terrifying turn for the truly horrendous. Just Myrna and her melting little girl — along with a handful of others across the country — were remotely aware anything was out of the ordinary. Little Kayla's meltdown occurred very early on; at a very premature juncture of the outbreak. However, more unsuspecting folks would meet a similar, pain-filled fate as had befallen tiny Kayla Grooms. There would be more screams of anguish and pain in the weeks and months to come.

Many, many more...

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Dr. Arlow Billington arrived at work at precisely 6:35 am, just as he had for the previous twenty-three years.

He'd been laboring over a particularly deadly strain of genetically altered, irradiated samples of the Candiru parasite, a tiny leech-like creature infamous for its penchant to swim into the penises of its unwilling male hosts. Found primarily in the warm tropical waters of Brazil, Columbia, and Peru, this bloodthirsty creature got it's nasty reputation for very good reasons. It was ill-advised for any man to take a piss while swimming in the lakes, ponds or streams of the aforementioned countries.

When the elite hierarchy of the Defense Department unanimously agreed that the next round of warfare would be fought in the lush jungles of Madagascar, just off the eastern coast of Africa, the Chronos Project was sent into overdrive. Coupled with recent threats from a new terrorist group linked to an Algerian militant in the Sahel region, it was immediately heightened to a priority one status.


The responsibility rested squarely on the shoulders of Marlow — and his brilliant team of scientists — to make the parasite far deadlier, adaptable to all climates, and hundreds of times smaller. A genetically enhanced monster. The project dubbed, “The Chronos Bug," or “CBX-1," had been named after the Greek god of time. The hope was that, in time, it would help sway the tide of resistance away from the invaders — namely the U.S. — because we would have the only known antidote. We would then be capable of administering it to the civilian populace, preventing any mass infections in populated cities and towns. We would be hailed as heroes.

As for the terrorists, they would be left to their own devices...namely dying.

A microscopic nightmare.

The winning of hearts and minds.

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Each evening, Marlow prepared for the oncoming day by laying out his work clothes the night before. Everything was methodically prepared — ready to go — when he headed out the front door of his modest home at exactly four-forty-five am. The keys to his Hyundai SUV hung on a peg near the door— without fail.  They were the last things Marlow grabbed as he left his home.

Time to begin the task of procuring the new data on my biological warfare bug
; my little Frankenstein's monster in petrie dishes. Billington smiled broadly at his little quip.

Just another day in paradise.

If residents of this tiny, but very affluent town knew what went on behind the barbed wire fences and bolted doors of the Aughbright Genetic Research Labs, there would be an outpouring of protests. One the government could ill afford.

Naturally, Marlow was forbidden to speak about any duties pertaining to his research there. It was all classified, top secret, and to speak of the horrors he'd created to one day unleash on an unsuspecting enemy would bring about his untimely demise.

Without compromise, Marlow knew he'd be found dead within minutes; the victim of an unfortunate accident, should he feel so inclined to leak anything. Nevertheless, he loved his work, and such thoughts rarely, if ever, crossed his brilliant scientific mind. He had no desire to let anyone in on his employer's dirty little secrets.

This particular Friday, Marlow would find little respite in his anonymity. Genetic monsters knew no strangers.

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At precisely eight-forty-two am — on an otherwise normal summer morning — this team of brilliant scientists would make an uncharacteristically costly and quite deadly mistake. Their bodies would resemble well-used candles upon discovery, putrid piles of liquefied flesh pooling around the torn remnants of their bio-hazard suits. Within minutes, organs, bones and soft skin tissues would be reduced to something resembling pink molten wax. Pleas for help would go on for several minutes, unnoticed and unheeded behind well sound-proofed walls. The aftermath of this catastrophic error would cause the excruciating, agonizing death of multitudes of innocent citizens.

“Dr., we're prepared for the test-run to begin. The recipient is sedated and strapped down. Everything is already set in quadrant one.” Dr. Suzanne Preston, loaded down with an abundance of case file studies and trusty clipboard, motioned to the computer monitor overview of the control panel from the CBX-1 laboratory.

Busy little bees making sweet monsters instead of honey, thought Marlow, as he observed and oversaw the activities.

Several technicians in air-fed bio suits scampered around the tight-fitting spaces, fine-tuning the necessary adjustments.


“Our human subject is ready now for the first round of injections," Dr. Preston stated, with no more expression or fluctuation in her voice than if she were a robot.

Dr. Billington acknowledeged his assitant with a quick nod, then spoke into the com from the opposite side of the glass. The observation side...the supposedly safer side.

"On my mark. In three, two, one ...administer CBX-1


The sounds of compressed air echoed throughout the chamber as the hypo forced the serum into the condemned man's veins.

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Within seconds, excruciating wails of agony were heard reverberating off the walls within the confines of the lab, and all along the brightly-lit corridors.


To be continued


Author Notes
* Whatever you not pee in his pool!--

1) Vandellia cirrhosa, common name candiru, a member of the family Trichomycteridae the pencil or parasitic catfishes.
Vandellia is about an inch (2.5 cm) in length and when it has not fed is slender and almost transparent (except for the eyes). It lives in the rivers of tropical South America.This small catfish is a vampire - it feeds on the blood of other fish.

It has been described as entering the gill chambers of larger fish to suck blood from their gills. Once in the gill chamber it anchors itself there, so as not to be flushed out as the fish pumps water over its gills, with spines on its gill covers. As it feeds the body becomes engorged and distended with blood. Once it has fed the candiru swims out of the gill chamber and burrows into the river-bed to digest its blood meal.

You are correct in believing that the candiru poses a hazard to humans (and other mammals that might urinate in the water). It seems attracted to the flow of urine (possibly as it resembles the stream of water from the gills of a large fish). The candiru may swim up the stream of urine and enter the urethra of a bather urinating into the river.

This, of course, not part of the fish's normal feeding behavior - the fish has made a fatal mistake. Once up the urethra the fish can not turn nor can it move backwards because of the rear-pointing spines on its gill covers. It is locked in. The fish invariably dies and the dead fish and associated swelling of the lining of the urethra cause the urethra to become blocked. Surgery is required to remove the obstruction.

2) Chronos was imagined as a god, serpentine in form, with three heads -- those of a man, a bull, and a lion.
Chronos was confused with, or perhaps consciously identified with, due to the similarity in name, the Titan Cronos, the identification becoming more widespread during the Renaissance, giving rise to the allegory of "Father Time" wielding the harvesting scythe.
Chronos is usually portrayed through an old, wise man with a long, grey beard, such as "Father Time". Some of the current English words whose etymological root is khronos/chronos include chronology, chronometer, chronic, anachronism and chronicle.

This is Chapter One of an eleven chapter novella. I appreciate you following along, and, as always, thanks for your support.

Pleasant Screams...


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