There were warning signs ahead advising him that he was
approaching the Annihilation lane turnoff. Passing the skull sign post he
declined looking at the littered wrecks that cluttered the massacre lane, his
concentration was directed inwardly. He ignored the white overalled cleanup
crews who stood around laconically chewing gum while their compactor machines
cleaned up the carnage from the night before, the huge semi-automatic mulchers
masticating the mangled wrecks into compact squares of flesh and
Things were as usual.
The horror for many was yet to come as the spinning mass came into contact with the two cars, which had just propelled themselves down the ramp. A series of explosions devoured the four cars and their occupants. The flames climbed skywards in a funeral pyre of death and destruction. The furnace door had been opened, giving the spectators a glimpse into hell.
The crowd scattered in fear and confusion, many being crushed underfoot as the heat drove them back. For others, the steel netting became a steel web which held them tight as the heat and flames engulfed them.
The Stein Man Title had no real significance until the combatants stripped off, their shaven and oiled bodies looked like reassembled Frankenstein monsters, a scarred patchwork of cuts and disfigurements. Where the flesh had been torn, it had been sewn together with rough crossover stitches, their chosen names matched the condition of their bodies.
The young man remained frozen in fear, for only a second before he tore off the offending watch which was now angrily flashing. Faster and faster. He was galvanised into flight. He turned to run. Took only a single step and stopped, clutching his head with both hands. A single piteous moan. His eyes seemed to diffuse with blood and he dropped, disjointed, a puppet with the strings cut. He sprawled lifeless on the harsh pavement. Beside his body the watch no longer transmitted a signal.
When the AIDS virus had swept the world in the eighties it had been estimated that it would only be a matter of time before a cure would be found. Herpes had been equally prominent, a virus that had paled into insignificance when AIDS had begun its deadly gallop around the world. After all cold sores had been around forever. So Herpes had been a little more severe. A worry. But not a real problem.
The antidote for AIDS had seemed so close. So very close. When, somehow, somewhere, a cross culture had evolved. A strain of Herpes had merged with the AIDS virus. The HADES bud had been born.
HERPES ACQUIRED DEFICIENCY EMERGENCE