March 28, 2009
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The President of the United States, along with his entourage of bodyguards and babbling scientists, walked down a long concrete hallway. It was featureless, except for a wide door at the very end. The middle-aged man had straight, light-brown hair that had only recently begun to gray. The first silver hair had appeared the morning the first announcement was made. He had been looking in his mirror a few minutes after waking up, and the follicle had been looking back at him from the center of his hairline. The hair was like a premonition. It was as if his scalp had known that the hardest part of his life as of yet was about to begin, and had prematurely begun sprouting worry-hairs.

Now, though, his head was sprinkled with them, and he thought it made him look dignified in this time of crisis for the American people. It gave the citizens a reason to trust him, however superficial it might be.

He reached the door and waited while one of his bodyguards stepped forward and inserted a key card into the slot. The metal slab whooshed open, and the party stepped through it.

“We’ve apprehended three since you last visited, Mr. President,” said a short man in a white lab coat. He was the Alpha male among the scientists assigned to the crisis. The president could never remember his name—something German-sounding.

“One was found in a department store, the other two in a bar,” the scientist said. “They had met each other on purpose, and we assume that they were exchanging information… we have separated them, to be safe. You never know what they are capable of.” The group passed the first of the bullet-, fire-, and explosion-proof glass cells that lined this hallway. The man in the cell, a huge body-builder, slammed himself against the clear wall and shouted something indistinguishable. To make it easier for the scientists and researchers that were constantly scurrying up and down this hall, the cells had been made soundproof as well.

The scientist pointed to the third cell on the left. “Here’s the one we found in the department store.” A lanky, pale teenage boy sat quietly on the hard cot pushed up against the wall, his hands dangling limply in his lap. He stared down at the floor with a frown on his brow. Jerking, he looked up at the president and cocked his head. He did not move his lips, but his question was obvious: Why?

Most of the cells along the hallway were filled. The occupants were either sitting like the teenager, slamming themselves or various other objects—including, in one scenario, fecal matter—against the walls like the body-builder, or scratching at the glass like dogs left in the rain. The president kept his eyes firmly ahead, not giving the occupants of the cells any sign that he cared about their lives. Which, of course, he didn’t. Anyone or anything that threatened America as a whole or the individuals that it comprised was not worth the air it breathed as far as he was concerned. And they threatened both.

The president reached the end of the hall. The occupants of these cells were of the third kind—the scratching, pathetic ones. The president knew that if he could hear them they would be pleading and whining.

“Are you sure you want to do this, Mr. President? I can have one of several dozen underlings do it for you… countless scientists want to be the one to flip the switch, as the saying goes.” The president shook his head. He had made a promise to the American people, when the crisis had started. He had said that he would personally see to it that every single one of the abominations was destroyed, and he had meant it. He motioned with his hand to the scientist, and the short man sighed. “If you insist, Mr. President.” He reached into his lab coat and took out a small, silver case. The president took it and pocketed it, walking to the very last cell. All of the whiners—for that was what the president called them, in his head, although the official terminology was “Stage Threes”—were kept at the end of this hallway, or one of the scores of other, similar hallways that permeated the facility.

He touched a gray button on the side of the clear window. He felt a low vibration in the floor, and the woman in the cell was jerked back against the wall of her cell by an unseen force. All of the abominations were fitted with a uniform when they were captured, and each uniform was made of magnetic cloth filaments. One wall of each cell was magnetized, and the gray button turned on the magnet. It ensured that they could not hurt anyone else who came into their cells.

The president removed all metal articles on his person, and then pressed a green button. The glass wall slid open, and the woman began struggling against her invisible bonds. The president stepped forward and opened the gray case, revealing the pre-filled syringe inside. The woman began struggling harder, but to no avail. As he stuck the needle into her wrist, he examined her fingernails. They had already begun to lengthen, harden and sharpen: if her arm had been free, she could have easily gouged his skin with them. Moving his gaze to her already-dimming eyes—the injection worked quickly—he saw that her irises were an unnatural shade of brown, and that they covered the whole of the orbs. The whites were completely gone, and her pupils were enormous. If she had been left alive another day, she might have completed her change. He wondered if the glass wall could have held her in. As her movements slowed and then ceased, the president thought of how many times he had done this in the past. What was it, twenty? Fifty? A hundred? He did not know. All he knew was that he had killed. He had killed many times, and he would kill again. He knew beyond doubt that he would kill every single abomination that he could get his hands on until America was safe.

He loved his country.

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