by Todd Cameron
Fuchs read the name again, and then a third time, not believing his
eyes. Ten block letters stenciled on the dark fabric. 'MACREADY'. The
Antarctic night seemed to grow impossibly more frigid. Fuchs' blood
ran as cold as the glaciers around him. His breath came out in rapid
bursts as the impact of the discovery dawned on him. The man he had
trusted the most was the enemy.
Fuchs stood and swayed unsteadily on the snowy ground. It was not only
the polar wind making him off balance. Shock swept through him and he
shivered uncontrollably. In his hasty departure from the lab the only
cold weather gear Fuchs had thrown on was an outer jacket and gloves.
What little light and heat came from the flare he held was quickly
swallowed up by the sub-zero night. He would have to get back inside
quickly, or succumb to the night's temperatures. Who would he approach
with his revelation? If Mac was no longer human then whom could he
trust now? Garry? Norris?
MacReady was the man Fuchs had put his confidence in. Fuchs had
approached him first after making the shocking discovery in... Blair's
It needs to be alone and in close proximity with a life form to be
absorbed... the chameleon strikes in the dark...
Fuchs' mind raced. If MacReady was the 'Thing', then why didn't
MacReady attack him when he came to see him in the lab? And what about
when they were alone together in the snowplow? Something didn't click
and a piece of Mac's torn clothes was not 100% proof positive of his
Fuchs was getting cold and regardless of who he was going to approach
first he needed to get back inside. He turned to set out for the
entrance to the camp and stopped dead. A solitary figure stood
silhouetted by the entranceway's marker poles. The person was
completely still, eerily back lit by the luminescent blue navigation
Fuchs didn't move and held his breath. He raised the flare to try and
light the figure's face. Whoever it was wore thick outerwear and had
his hood pulled up hiding his downcast face in shadow.
"Who's that!?" Fuchs yelled out. The figure didn't respond.
His pulse was beating fast again. His heart thrumming against his
ribcage. Damn, it was cold… Holding the flare out before him Fuchs
took a few tentative steps toward the person, snow crunching under his
"Who the hell is that?" Fuchs was getting angry at the figure's
unresponsiveness... but his anger was much less than his fear. He
slowly walked towards the silhouette. The person's head was still
turned down at the snow. He took a few more cautious steps closer then
stopped with a jump as the figure suddenly moved. Slowly the person
raised their covered head. The face was still cloaked in darkness but
whoever it was, they were now looking right at him. Then the flare
"Oh shit..." Fuchs whispered under his breath. He hung onto the spent
magnesium flare for it was all he had.
" Goddamn it! Who the Hell are you?!" Fuchs screamed out again.
Then with unexpected speed the menacing figure started out towards
him. Fuchs backpedaled a step, not sure what to do. Fight or flight?
Adrenaline surged. As the person came out of the blue back lighting
Fuchs could see it had something in its hands… a gun? Fuchs waited
close to sheer panic until the figure stopped just a dozen feet away.
He could still not make out a face. Just a dark hooded hollow. But
then the blue light from the marker beacons lit the mystery.
The imposing figure aimed the object in its hands at Fuchs. As it
pointed at him Fuchs could now make out the blue glowing hue of a
flame-thrower's igniter. Too late, Fuchs realized his fate.
Seconds before the burning fuel stream slammed into his body Fuchs
could make out the senior biologist's face… but something wasn't
right... Blair's face looked like it was moving.
The blast of flame hit Fuchs like a wave and it almost knocked him off
his feet. Then there was the intense searing heat. The incendiary fuel
covered Fuchs from head to foot and he became a human torch. The pain
was beyond anything Fuchs had ever fathomed possible in his life. He
screamed uncontrollably and inhaled super-heated vapor into his lungs,
scorching them. With every muscle in his body contracting in violent
spasms he flopped to the snow and tossed about. Already most of his
clothing was burned away, his hair and beard gone, the skin
blistering. Quickly his struggles slowed, and he no longer screamed.
The flame-wielding figure that was Blair stepped forward and hit the
near dead Fuchs with another blast. The prone figure in the snow
barely moved and finally became still, a flaming, blackened atrocity
only now barely recognizable as human. The burning body melted itself
down into the snow, the charred flesh steaming and hissing.
Blair watched what was left of Fuchs already start to flame out, the
heated corpse already half concealed into the snow. Not wasting a
second Blair turned from the grisly pyre and started towards the main
entrance of the camp. At the doorway Blair slung the gas cylinders
from his back and set the torch down. Then he turned and set out
walking fast through the snow and steadily increasing wind.
The main door to the camp opened up and Palmer, the camp's assistant
mechanic, leaned out. Spotting the flame-thrower he bent down and
picked up the discarded torch, grimacing against the super chilled
wind and blowing snow. He squinted into the darkness at the departing
figure in the darkness. Blair stopped and turned to look back at
Palmer. The senior biologist and the mechanic made brief,
expressionless contact with each other before Blair set out again
through the building storm, heading up towards MacReady's shack.
Palmer watched him go for a moment, then hoisted the torch onto his
shoulder before closing and re-bolting the outside door. Outside the
icy wind howled on.
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