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The Touch of Morton Part 2

Posted 06-05-2010 at 03:21 PM by BigwigRabbit

I'm getting sick of putting parts of stories together. Here's the rest.<!--break--> Yeah, it's super long. If you like the pieces better, tell me in the comments. If you like it all at one time, tell me in the comments. If you hate it tell me in the comments. Blah, blah blah.

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif][SIZE=4]With some experimentation, Morton discovered that the shock could only be delivered to someone who annoyed him. He had surreptitiously touched a number of people throughout the day. First, he touched his friend, Carl, the only result being a strange look and a “What was that all about?” comment that was vaguely uncomfortable. He touched various strangers and acquaintances, with a reaction only from Gil, a school bully, who turned in fury, fists ready to pummel whoever had poked him (he thought he’d been pricked with a pin). Luckily, Gil had no idea who had done it and Morton had already moved away a sufficient distance.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[SIZE=4] Morton began to touch Gil every day. Much like Vern, the first few times he yelped, screeched, and screamed with the increasing pain. Around the fifth touch, Gil stiffened, gurgling. He fell like a rock, a crowd murmuring over him questioningly. Morton left it at that because he did not know if Gil would survive a sixth touch. Vern sure had kept his distance.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Shortly after the incident with Gil, Carl confronted Morton.
“What did you do to Gil, Mort?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You know what I mean. You hurt him. Bad. What did you do?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]I dunno. If I touch somebody that has bothered me, I can give them something like a shock. It gets stronger every time I touch them.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]That sounds scary. You better be careful. Does it cause permanent damage?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]I dunno.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You say ‘I dunno’ too much. You’d better know. What if you touch Gil accidentally? What if someone finds out you can do this?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]I dunno.” Morton tried not to say it again, it just came out. [/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Why did you keep touching Gil, Mort? You didn’t have to take it so far.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]I hate that guy. He really bothers me and he really bothers other people.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You really hurt him, Mort.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Yeah. I guess I did. I shouldn’t have done that. I better try to control myself, huh?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Yeah. You’d better.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Morton woke up Thursday morning to the phone ringing. His stomach rolled. Early morning calls were rarely good. Morton’s mom came into his room shortly after. She was disturbed. [/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Mrs. Felderton says that she won’t be driving you to school anymore. She says that Vern doesn’t want to ride in the car with you anymore. She wouldn’t say why. Do you know why?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]No,” Morton lied. [/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Come now,” said his mom. “You’ve got to have some idea.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]No. It’s all very strange to me,” Morton managed.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Morton’s mom was not at all happy about having to drive Morton to school. The arrangement she had made with Mrs. Felderton had been wonderful. Being much the same type of person as Mrs. Felderton, Morton’s mom did not like to be inconvenienced regardless of who was doing the inconveniencing. She was rather grouchy and talked little on the way to school, which suited Morton just fine.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]This feeling that was stirring within him, this feeling of triumphant power was intermingled with a sickly dread. Perhaps it was guilt. He had strong conflicting thoughts, the ones saying “Beware!” were slightly louder, slightly more shrill than the raw roar of conquest. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]He found himself looking at the people, milling around him throughout the day, pinpointing who was annoying, who had crossed him. There was Neil. Neil had laughed when Morton had gotten a spot of ink on his cheek. Yes, there was Marsha, who carried her books in that stupid basket. Brian snorted when he laughed. Dale was just plain ugly. “Let’s start with Neil,” he thought to himself.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]At lunch, Carl had some words for Morton.[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You touched Neil, didn’t you?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Yeah. So what?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Why? Why’d you touch Neil?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]He’s a jerk.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Yeah, he is. So what? He never did anything to you.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Yeah he did! He laughed at me when I got ink on my face that time!”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Uh. Dude. Everybody laughed. You smeared ink all over your face. You were being a doofus.[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You also touched Marsha. I saw you. That was plain mean.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]She carries that ridiculous basket.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Is that a reason to hurt her? You’re turning into a bully, Mort. You better stop.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Oh yeah? What are you gonna do?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]You’re looking for reasons to hurt people, Mort.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]What of it? What of it, Carl?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]The bell rang and the situation was diffused before it got out of hand. Carl walked back to class, lead sitting in his stomach. He couldn’t believe Mort had threatened him. It was not an overt threat, but it seemed as if Mort would stop at nothing. He was becoming a tyrant. It got worse, though. Near the end of the day, as the teacher passed by Mort’s desk, he suddenly stiffened and made that now familiar yelp. The teacher turned to look at Mort, fury in his face, but Mort stared placidly back in his usual way. The teacher gave a very puzzled look and went back to the front of the room, rubbing his hand. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]The bell rang, signaling the end of the day. The class made their way out en masse. Carl could see Gil trying desperately to stay away from Mort. Somebody jostled Gil from the right, sending him into Morton. Gil made no sound. He fell like a sack of sand, making a sickening thud as he hit the floor. Carl watched in horror as Mort acknowledged the stricken Gil with a sideways glance and continued out the door and on his way. The teacher rushed to Gil, shouting for someone to summon help.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Carl’s father’s name was Mr. Benchley. He worked as a laboratory technician for a chemical company called HexChlor. The company made industrial chemicals mostly, but did a little work for the Pentagon in one small department. Mr. Benchley worked in the main section of the company organizing the results from tests and implementing tests designed by the chemical scientists.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Mr. Benchley sat, as he usually did in his darkened workspace, early in the morning, listening to soft music. This morning it was Chamber Music by George Frederick Handel. He was staring at the data on his computer screen but nothing was registering. He was remembering a morning not so long ago. A van had pulled up outside, its lights shining briefly into the room. “Odd,” he had thought. No one usually arrived until much later. He had gotten up to see who it might be. He had instinctively drawn away from the window when he saw two men, clad head to foot in black, get out and remove a gurney with a small body on it.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]The figures could not possibly see him in the dark room, but he still hid to the side of the window. He waited a quick count of three after they had entered the building, then followed at a prudent distance. The men wheeled the gurney to the military section. They went in to the private lab of Dr. Meeker, a chemical engineer. Mr. Benchley went to the door and pushed it opened a crack- just enough to peer through. What he saw astonished him nearly into a screech.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]A machine stood against one wall. It had a clear, central cylinder, slowly turning, and filled with brown liquid. Tubes wound their way around the machine ending with a thin, clear plastic tube tipped with a small needle. Mr. Benchley could now see that the figure on the gurney was a young boy approximately 9 years of age. The needle was inserted into the unconscious boy’s arm and ugly brown liquid drained into his vein. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]The deed was done so quickly that Mr. Benchley had hardly had time to back away from the door and retreat into another corridor before the men began pushing their charge back out toward the van. As the gurney was rolled back toward the van, Mr. Benchley stood against the wall, sweating, panting, sick. He didn’t have to wonder what that was all about, even though his mind, in denial, begged the question. With surprising quickness and clarity, he decided on a plan of action.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Sal was the night janitor at HexChlor. Mr. Benchley was the only employee above clerical level that talked to Sal. He always greeted Sal as he came in and Sal was leaving. They’d chat a while before going their separate ways. Mr. Benchley asked Sal to leave a tiny listening device in Dr. Meeker’s lab. After hearing the story about the van and the boy, Sal was glad to do it. He didn’t like Meeker anyway.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]It had been three weeks since the bug was planted and here Mr. Benchley sat, staring unseeingly at his computer screen. Nothing of any interest had been recorded on the receiving device. He had not checked it yet this morning, but he doubted if there would be anything new. He called up the neat little computer program that recorded every sound from Dr. Meeker’s lab into MP3 files. He clicked the “play” button and listened lethargically. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]When the conversation started, it shocked Mr. Benchley with a shot of hot adrenaline emptying into his stomach.[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]The boy is reacting nicely.” A stranger’s voice.[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Give me details.” That was Dr. Meeker.[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]It took 6 touches to put one kid in a coma.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]What’s the prognosis?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Not good.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Ahhh. That can’t be helped.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]The boy is becoming very aggressive.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]We’ll have to terminate soon then.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Give him two more days. Then make it look like an accident.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Will do.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]The sweat that had burst out all over Mr. Benchley’s body was cold, clammy. He found himself out of breath. He had been holding his breath throughout the conversation. They were doing some horrible experiment on a live person. More atrociously, they were experimenting on a child. Who is the kid? How could he be found? Was there an antidote?[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]What about the antidote?” the stranger asked as if on queue. [/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]No. I don’t want to waste it. I’ve got only 3 doses and each takes months to produce, whereas the serum takes only days.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]But how do you know it’ll work?”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]We’ll try it later when we have the serum more refined. Until then, it stays right here under lock and key.”[/SIZE]
“[SIZE=4]Alright then.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]Footsteps retreated from the room and the door could be heard closing quietly. Mr. Benchley forced himself into a calmer state of mind. He took several deep breaths and focused his thoughts. Fortunately Mr. Benchley was very good at analyzing information and making strategies. He got a long piece of paper and began to make notes:[/SIZE]
[LIST][*][LIST][*][SIZE=4]Tell Sal what’s up[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Get him to find out what the antidote looks like[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Make a mock antidote[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Get Sal to steal and switch the antidote[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Find the kid[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Give the kid the antidote[/SIZE][*][SIZE=4]Don’t get touched[/SIZE][/LIST] [/LIST] [SIZE=4]***[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The dark triumph that Morton felt as he rode home had no hint of guilt, no tinge of remorse. In silence he savored the sight and sound of Gil’s fall. The power he felt was immense. No one could stand against him. Never again would he be bothered by anyone in any way. In his room a little later, he added to his list of people who needed straightening out. He began to make categories: those who needed a little straightening and those who needed more. Names were moved from one category to the other.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Meanwhile, Carl was walking home, as always. His thoughts were opposite Morton’s. Morton needed to be stopped. The question was, “How?” He resolved to talk to his parents about the problem. He did not know if he’d be able to convince them that the situation was real. All he could do was try.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Dinner at Carl’s house was usually a pleasant experience, with his father asking how his day was and what he’d done. Carl’s mom and dad got on pretty well and the family was fairly peaceful. This made broaching the subject much easier. Carl’s dad asked him what happened today. Carl said, “Well my friend Morton has recently gotten this strange ability to hurt people by touching them.” Carl’s dad leapt to his feet with a shout, “WHAT?! TELL ME! WHO? WHO, CARL? WHO?!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Carl and his mother recoiled in tremendous surprise. Carl’s father realized he had severely startled them and forced himself to calm down and retake his seat. “Carl, a very bad scientist at my company has injected someone with a serum that causes the victim to have powers that sound very much like what your friend Morton has.” Carl felt a mixture of dread and relief. This was terribly serious but at least he now knew what was going on. Also, his dad did not need any convincing.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Together they spent the evening planning how they were going to help Morton. It would be extremely risky. Mr. Benchley would have to have Sal steal the antidote without putting in the dummy replacement. Time was in very short supply. Carl would go to Morton’s house Saturday morning (the day after tomorrow). Carl would lure Morton outside where Sal would grab Morton, hold him, and Mr. Benchley would administer the antidote. Divine intervention would really be a big help.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The first hitch in the plan occurred the next morning when Mr. Benchley arrived at work and Sal was nowhere to be seen. A quick glance at the parking lot confirmed that of all days, Sal had picked today to leave early. A check of his timecard confirmed that he’d left just 8 minutes before. Even though there was no “Plan B” Mr. Benchley went right to it. He walked straight over to Dr. Meeker’s lab. A swift peek verified the lab was empty. Luck turned for the moment when Mr. Benchley found the cabinet unlocked, the antidote right there for the taking.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Luck continued, as Dr. Meeker had decided to take that Friday off. Mr. Benchley called Sal as soon as he thought he’d be home. Sal was home. Sal immediately bought into the plan. They’d meet at 9:30 A.M. on Saturday. Then, together they’d go over to Morton’s house and put the rest of the plan into action. Both Mr. Benchley and Sal were sweating profusely when they hung up their phones.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Morton shook off the tiny speck of guilt as easily as he shook off the covers that sunny Saturday morning. He re-ran the memory of the last few people he’d touched. Their reactions gave him a great deal of satisfaction; however, he was not satisfied. He was growing weary of only being able to touch people, especially certain people once or twice. He could not risk severely damaging anyone else. He had to build his list. The doorbell roused him from his recollections and musings. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Carl was at the door. Yeah, Carl was one that had annoyed him lately. He’d wait to see what Carl wanted and then he’d bust him one with the old finger. What the heck was Carl doing here anyway on an early Saturday morning? Morton’s wondering quickly grew into suspicion.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Hey, Mort. What’s up?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “I dunno, Carl, what IS up?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Well, I just came by to see if you were up yet and wanted to go shoot some hoops at the park.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Alright, sounds good. C’mon in. Let me get my shoes on.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The first thing Carl noticed when he came in was how clean the house was. It had never been super dirty, but it hadn’t been clean either. The carpet didn’t really get vacuumed all that often and there was always the odd sock and plate lying around. Now the place looked immaculate. Mort’s mom was missing too. Usually, she’d come to the door to greet any visitor. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Where’s your mom?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Busy”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Doing what?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Breakfast, prolly.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Well, if she’s making breakfast, shouldn’t you stay and eat?” The words were out before Carl realized what he’d done. He was supposed to stick to the plan.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Yeah Carl. That sounds like a good idea. Why don’t you join us?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Carl’s stomach turned again and he felt himself flush. His dad and Mr. Crayton would be expecting him. When he didn’t show, they might come looking for him. There was nothing to do though, but go along and eat breakfast. Breakfast was the last thing Carl wanted right now, even though he had not eaten since last night. In the kitchen, Carl was in for another shock. Morton’s mom appeared cowed. She held her head low and looked at Morton and Carl out of the corner of her eye. The look she gave Carl was pleading, desperate. Morton had touched his mom; his own mother! She was visibly petrified.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Carl began to speak before his better judgement could silence him. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Mort. You’ve touched your mom! How could you do that to your own mother?!” [/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “Carl. Your incessant nagging is beginning to annoy me. I’m getting tired of it.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] “You won’t touch me, Mort. I’m your best friend.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The illogic of the sentence hit him before he was half done saying it. Mort had touched his own mother; more than once obviously. He would have no qualms about touching his best friend. While these thoughts coursed through Carl’s mind, Morton’s finger reached out and touched him on the cheek. Morton had discovered that a touch to the cheek produced maximum results.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The pain Carl felt was immediate and extreme. It felt very much as if high current electricity passed through his face at light speed to his feet. It took several seconds for his brain to recover and begin again to do all of its jobs. His muddled thoughts were still clearing, still formulating the single command to flee when Morton touched him again.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The effect this time was roughly double. Carl’s knees buckled and he almost fell. The world swam briefly and he remained dizzy for a time after the pain had subsided. It took a good while longer for his brain to recover this time. Carl thought vaguely that he could not handle many more of these.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Morton was busy torturing that nice boy Carl. Morton’s mother saw an opportunity to escape. She eased out of the kitchen just as Morton touched Carl for the second time. She opened the door and saw two men standing there, one with a syringe, the other ready for action. The two men appeared to have no need for information or instruction. They pushed past her unceremoniously and into the house.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] The third touch was the worst yet and Carl had to fight hard to maintain consciousness. Luckily, Morton was so enthralled with his power and tyranny that he did not hear Sal come up behind him. He was suddenly held by the strongest grip he had ever felt. A pin-prick pinched his arm. Rage filled his skull. Fire raced through his veins. He strained to reach around to touch whoever was holding him. He struggled like mad. He felt the grip slipping. He twisted and turned. Finally he got one arm loose. He reached up and touched his attacker on the cheek. The grip remained strong. He touched again, and again, and again. No result. Rage built higher still and spilled over. He felt it spill wetly from his ears. He passed out.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Dr. Meeker was arrested that afternoon as he played golf. His partner was also arrested, though he protested innocence to the point of tears. The police had gotten the story and the audio evidence from Carl and Mr. Benchley. Then they had informed the Pentagon, who in turn had sent out some stern and severe looking military policemen to the golf course. They were not very gentle in handling the arrests.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4]It was 2 months before Morton emerged from the hospital. He had no memory of anything that had happened since the day before he had been kidnapped. The antidote had not worked perfectly. Morton had no feeling in his index fingers, and he got minor shooting pains in his face whenever he became annoyed. He apologized profusely to his mother and she forgave him. He could not forgive himself, though.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=4] Carl, his father, and Sal Crayton were given civic awards by the mayor and a general at a special ceremony. Gil eventually recovered from his comatose state, and very soon after, he and his family moved away. Vern learned to behave. [/SIZE]
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