Chapter 8 – SHIVR
I don’t know what woke me, but when I opened my eyes, I felt relaxed. So it wasn’t a bad dream or a loud noise. It was really quiet down here, but I immediately knew where I was. I checked my watch, and it was a little past seven-thirty. Still early, but I might as well get up, I figured. I looked over at Ryan and he was still sound asleep. He was still lying on top of the sheets. One of his legs was straight, and the other one was pulled up and lay there in a bend. Both his arms were above his head, and this way, his whole body was on display. His soft penis was pointed toward his left hip. In the dim light of the room, he looked amazing!
I felt myself get hard, so I sat up and pulled up my boxers before I would get completely stiff. I heard some rumbling in Ellie’s bedroom and figured she was awake too. That’s when I noticed the soft beep. This is what must’ve woken me up. Now that I heard it clearly, I started focusing on it. It beeped every thirty seconds. It was soft and almost not noticeable, but definitely there. Behind me, Ryan began to move.
“Morning,” he grumbled. “What time is it?”
“Good morning. It’s around a quarter to eight. You can sleep some more if you like, but I’m getting up,” I said.
“Hmmm,” he responded and yawned loudly, obviously not fully awake yet.
I stood up and turned toward the door, trying not to focus on the sexy nude boy on the bed. I was making my move to get my shirt when the door opened.
“Good morning, boys,” Ellie cheerfully said.
I didn’t expect it and was a bit startled by her sudden appearance. She was basically dressed the same as yesterday. She was now wearing bright red panties instead of the blue, and her now white tank top seemed even shorter and tighter than the one she wore yesterday. And it was a tiny bit transparent because I could make out the shadow of areolas on her breasts when I checked out her hard nipples.
I expected Ryan to spring into action and quickly cover himself up, but he just lay there acting like there was no one else in the room. I could see Ellie checking him out, but she said nothing and acted as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
“Don’t you know how to knock?” I felt obliged to ask.
“I heard you were up, so I guessed I could come in,” she said, avoiding the question.
“Did you sleep well?” I asked, deciding to drop it.
“Yeah… Well… I was a bit anxious about being alone in my room at first. I was on the verge of coming over when I started drifting off. And then it was morning all of a sudden. So, yeah. I guess it was okay. Did you guys sleep okay?”
“Yeah. I did. Ryan didn’t bother me at all, and it’s a comfy bed,” I smiled.
“I see he’s in his usual sleeping outfit,” she giggled.
“I asked Uncle Adam, and he was okay with it. We made a deal. As long as I would stay on my side of the bed, I was okay with him if he stayed on his side,” Ryan said and blushed the moment he realized what he said.
“A good thing I didn’t come in and spoil the sausage fest,” Ellie said and started laughing with Ryan joining her.
I was a bit stunned by how they acted, but seeing both of them laughing, I couldn’t help myself and joined the laughter. I was glad that both kids didn’t seem to be worried too much about our situation.
“Let’s get us some breakfast and see where that annoying beep is coming from.”
Ellie and I prepared breakfast and couldn’t help myself checking her out. Her body was just as lovely as Ryan’s, only female. She had nice, perky breasts, which were about a handful. Her butt was sweet and pretty much the same as Ryan’s. Her red panties accentuated her forms magnificently, and there was a tiny cameltoe at her front.
I reminded myself I was gay and that these were just kids. And my niece and nephew, for christ’s sake. But I just couldn’t help myself and kept checking her out. We silently ate breakfast together. Ryan figured it was wise to put his underwear back on, and because of the heat, I couldn’t blame him. It was just a pair of boxers. All three of us were still in our underwear.
“I’m going after the climate control again. We know it’s working because the bedrooms were cozy last night,” I said, a bit annoyed about the heat.
“I forgot to bring my asthma inhaler from the house. I left it in my room,” Ryan said as he started munching down his Rice Krispies. ”Can I go and get it later?”
“Uhm. I don’t know. Uncle Robert asked us to go down here,” I said, not sure if it was safe or not.
“But what if I get an asthma attack?”
I thought about it for a few seconds. He was right. He could get severe attacks under the right circumstances. But Robert…
“First, I want to make sure it’s safe to go outside. I’m not sure what’s going on out there. The moment it’s safe to go out, you can go.”
“Of course. Uhm… Where are the keys to the house?”
“I put them on the coffee table in the living room. You know the alarm code, right?”
“I do. I guess I’ll just have to wait then.”
“Want me to go with you?” Ellie asked.
“Nah. It’ll only be a few minutes. I can handle it.”
Ellie’s mood surprised me. Usually, she acted like a spoiled brat. But since she woke up after the first night at our place, she changed completely. I liked this version of Ellie a lot better than the previous one.
“What’s that light?” Ryan asked with his mouth full.
I looked over to where Ryan pointed and noticed a small red light blinking in an irregular pattern. I couldn’t place it. It wasn’t an alarm or something because it was too small for that, and it would’ve blinked more regularly.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Is it an alarm?” Ryan asked.
“Nah. Don’t think so,” I said.
“A countdown, maybe?” Ryan tried.
“Hmm. Looks like morse-code,” Ellie said casually.
I let that sink in and looked at the light for a few moments. I figured Ellie was right.
“Huh. What do you know? I think you’re right!” Ryan said.
“Do any of you know morse-code?” I asked. “I know I don’t.”
“In class last week, we had an assignment about communication through the ages. I downloaded an app back then to include some morse in my paper. Give me a sec.”
Ellie opened her phone, and I took a pencil and a piece of paper. A few minutes later, we had:
“Uhm…” Ryan said, looking at what I wrote down.
“It spells Check Channel 999,” I said, suddenly seeing the correct sequence.
We went to the living room, flipped on the TV, and switched to channel 999. On TV a woman appeared, who started talking to us. It was an explanatory video about the systems that were available in the shelter. There was an advanced video surveillance system with both inside and outside cameras. An advanced climate control system reused the air. It wasn’t directly connected to the outside world in case of a gas or nuclear event. The advanced communication system could also use morse-code, satellite, internet data, and every other protocol known to men. This was all available from the control room.
“Just say ‘Assist me SHIVR,’” the woman on the TV said, “and the system will listen and respond to your requests.”
SHIVR appeared to be the SHelter Interactive Voice Response system. A variation on Alexa, Assistant, and SIRI.
“If your voice was added to the list of people that can control the shelter, you’d be able to operate everything down here with your voice,” the woman on TV continued.
I guessed Robert fixed this part, but I needed to check it out. I decided to finish this video before I tried. Right now, the floorplan was showing, and it was apparent we were now living in only thirty to forty percent of this facility. There was a control room, an extensive laboratory, and a crops room where fresh vegetables could be grown. This was all really impressive stuff.
“This concludes this informational video. If you still have questions, feel free to ask SHIVR. You can rewatch this instruction at any time by switching to this channel.”
We were now looking at a field of wavy grass that could’ve come straight from the commercial for a funeral insurance company. I switched off the TV and looked at the kids.
“Well?” Ellie said.
“Well, what?” I asked.
“Don’t you wanna test SHIVR?” Ryan chipped in.
“Assist me, SHIVR,” I said and considering the anticipation on both their faces not a moment too soon.
“Hello, Adam. How can I help you?” a warm woman’s voice said that appeared to come out of nowhere.
“Uhm. Turn off the lights?” I asked.
The moment I said it, we were in complete darkness.
“There you go,” the voice said. “Anything else?”
“Turn them back on, please,” I said, and a moment later, we were able to look at each other again.
“Am I on the list of people that can operate everything?”
“Yes, Adam, you are. Dr. Wilkes made sure you are.”
“Great! And the people that are with me?”
“They are allowed to operate all the basic functions, such as the lights, temperature, kitchen, that sort of stuff. If you want, I can print the entire list of options.”
“No. Thank you. We’ll figure this out. Can you show me the control room, please?” I asked.
“Of course, Adam. I’ll open the door, and you just have to follow the lights.”
I heard a door open in the distance and saw a few lights burn brighter in the hallway.
“Well. Let’s check it out, shall we?” I said, getting up from the couch.
We walked over to the control room, which was behind a hidden door in the hallway. If you didn’t know it was there, you couldn’t see it. It was pretty well hidden, I had to admit. Once we were in the room, we saw a wall with screens to our left with a big control panel in front of it, almost like a direction room for a big TV show you see on TV sometimes.
On the monitors, the entire outside was visible. I never saw cameras when I was in our forest, so they were pretty well hidden.
“Wow,” Ryan and Ellie said almost simultaneously as they watched the screens.
There was a big center screen with smaller monitors around it. The lower half of the monitors was reserved for inside footage. Every room, including the bedrooms, had a camera. Only the bathroom didn’t have one for obvious reasons. I looked at the control panel, and there were like a gazillion buttons, switches, sliders, and all sorts of other stuff I needed to figure out.
“Doesn’t seem like anything is going on outside,” Ryan said.
He was right. There was no wild animal or a horde of zombies walking around. The only noticeable thing was the green circles around text lines next to the top left monitor. The texts were ‘Outside Air quality,’ ‘Outside Radiation Level,’ ‘Outside Noise Level,’ and a few others like these.
“I guess you’re right,” I responded.
“Why is that button red?” Ellie asked and pointed to the control panel.
There was a label, ‘Coms,’ and the button below it was indeed red. Before I could react, Ryan pressed it, and it turned green. We were silent for a few moments, but nothing seemed to happen. Until I heard a familiar ping beside me.
“Yay! Wifi!!” Ellie chirped. “And no code on it!”
“I’ll go and get my inhaler first. Is that okay?” Ryan asked. “You can watch me on the monitors, so you’ll know I’m fine.”
“Okay, sport. But be real quick, okay? We still don’t know exactly what’s going on outside.”
“I will. Be right back.”
“Assist me, SHIVR,” I said and asked her to set the temperature at a comfortable level of seventy-one degrees.
I got up to get my phone from the bedroom, and the moment I opened the door, Ryan walked out wearing his clothes.
“Do you know how the elevator and the airlock works?”
“Of course. I’m already eleven, you know?” he answered and acted as if he was offended by my question.
I took my phone and walked back to the control room. The moment I walked back into the room, I could see Ryan enter the airlock. I joined the wireless network and sat on the chair in front of the panel. I looked over at Ellie, who was completely engrossed in her phone. I did notice she had a worried look on her face.
A few moments after my phone was connected, a tsunami of beeps and buzzes from new messages was launched. In the corner of my eye, I could see Ryan going up in the elevator. I’d received a lot of Facebook messages and even more WhatsApp messages. And I missed thirty-five voice calls.
“STOP!!!” Ellie suddenly screamed beside me.
“Whoah! What’s with you?” I asked.
“There is something terribly wrong outside!” She glanced at the monitor where Ryan was just exiting the elevator.
Ellie got up, ran into the hallway and toward the airlock.
“RYAN!!!!” She screamed.
But because of the airlock, he couldn’t hear her. I ran after her and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“What is it, Ellie?” and I could see the tears in her eyes.
“People are dying, Uncle Adam! I looked at a lot of videos online. Everybody who is outside starts to scream, and then they fall to the ground. DEAD!” she said between sobs and started crying her eyes out.
“I need to get him,” I said and opened the door to the airlock.
“NO! You can’t! Then you’ll die too! Look!”
Ellie showed me her phone. A video of a guy walking over to someone that just fell to the ground was playing. After a few seconds, the guy did the same. And another guy. This was starting to freak me out.
“Oh my god!” I said. “Quick! Back to the control room. Maybe there are some speakers outside, so we can call out to Ryan.”
We ran back, and both frantically started looking on the control panel. In the meantime, we could see Ryan running toward the house.
“Assist me, SHIVR. Is there a way to contact Ryan outside?”
“One moment, please,” the voice said. “Okay. You can talk into the microphone, and everybody in the forest and on the lawn can hear you.”
“RYAN! GET BACK!!!” Ellie screamed into the microphone, not wasting any time.
I could see Ryan stop running on the monitor. He hesitated a second and turned around.
“QUICK!!” Ellie said, a little less panicked now.
To our great relief, Ryan sprinted back toward the elevator. I glanced over at Ellie, who looked at me with a hopeful face, despite the tears rolling down her cheeks. I was feeling confident he’d make it back to the elevator. When I thought he was safe, Ryan stopped and started screaming from the top of his lungs, just like the people in the videos. A second later, he dropped to the ground and stopped moving.
“Oh no,” I whispered, feeling my stomach turn.
“NO!!!” Ellie screamed and threw herself at me.
“I have to check on him,” I said to no one in particular.
“You can’t! Please don’t!” Ellie cried.
“But…” I couldn’t say much more and started crying too, knowing Ellie was right.
Ryan had died.
End of Chapter eight
Copyright 2021 – Jason Crow
All rights reserved
Did I just kill off this cute package of joy and happiness? I’m sorry guys! I hated to do this, but in my opinion the story needed this. Just keep on reading and maybe it makes sense then.