Thursday, May 18, 2017

Black Site by Michael Patrick Hicks

Release date: May 9, 2017
Subgenre: Science fiction horror

About Black Site


For fans of H.P. Lovecraft and Alien comes a new work of cosmic terror!

Inside an abandoned mining station, in the depths of space, a team of scientists are seeking to unravel the secrets of humanity's origin. Using cutting-edge genetic cloning experiments, their discoveries take them down an unimaginable and frightening path as their latest creation proves to be far more than they had bargained for.

Black Site is a short story of approximately 10,000 words.



Skin sloughed away from the subject, dissolving in the synthesis chamber. Watching the pink tissue drift through the solution, Alpha was reminded of fish food flakes. He’d never had a fish tank, but Papa had. Because he carried the memories of Papa in his own skull, he was able to make the comparison by proxy.
                “Subject Uniform failed to maintain cohesion,” he said for the benefit of the record. His voice was dispassionate and wooden, no longer burdened by the personal sense of failure he had once felt during earlier projects. The lack of success, though, was not necessarily a failure. Rather, it carried the potential of a lesson, new data to study and build from.
                Echo stood beside him, her hands hanging limply at her sides. Her fingers fidgeted against her thighs, patting out a tiny rhythm against her slate gray slacks, occasionally pinching at the fabric. As far as Alpha could tell, none of the others, himself included, exhibited such nervous habits. Not for the first time, he thought Echo was simply unique, and not just because she was the only female of the project. That, in and of itself, had been an aberration. A fluke. An oddity that he enjoyed studying, frankly.
                “Victor appears to be gestating regularly,” she said. “Systems are normal.”
                Even Victor, though, was marred by irregularities, far more than Uniform had been. Yet Echo was correct – Victor, for all intents and purposes, was developing as planned, even if the term ‘regular’ was a bit of a misnomer. The project was on track, and that was the most important aspect. The loss of Uniform was a disappointment, but hardly more than a minor misstep in Papa’s grander designs.
                Drawing closer to the chamber, he studied the developing fetus. The only thing separating the viability of Uniform and Victor were slight alterations in protein sequences. A slight change in carboxyl groups, an alteration in an amino acid that made one’s protein either active or inactive, turned a hormone on or off and, in turn, meant either doom or survival for one’s genetic sample. 
Victor was nearing the equivalent of its fifth month of development. In a normal fetus at this stage, the cellular formation would have taken on a shape plainly recognizable as human. Yet, Alpha failed to recognize much that was uniquely human in Victor’s development. A clearly designed face, arms, legs, and torso were all plainly familiar in terms of categorization but far from human. In fact, the aberrations were so pronounced that studying the subject gave him a mild headache.
                Echo put her arm around his waist, rested her head on his shoulder. He pressed his cheek against her hair, enjoying the warmth radiating from her body.
                “Do you think this is it?” Echo said.
                In the tank, Victor’s arm unfolded and smacked against the glass, an eye swiveling toward them. The fingers were strangely elongated, and already they could make out the tip of a sharp, dagger-like nail as he pressed his palm against the thick encasement.
                “We’re getting closer,” he said.


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About Michael Patrick Hicks:

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novel Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. He is also the author of the short horror story, Consumption, and his work appears in the science fiction anthology, No Way Home. He lives in Michigan and is hard at work on his next story.

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