The Correspondent is a web serial by Dylan Reed. Buy the Origin story now.

Golden Age, Episode 5, Part 3

The Correspondent

People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.

“Shelby,” I whispered, “what the fuck are you doing here?”

“Who is THAATTTT?!” Shelby said, his question turning into a scream.

What had they done to him? I looked around the room for a light switch and saw none. Taking our my phone, I turned the flash light on and started examining Shelby.

His wrists were bleeding from his struggle against the restraints. His shirt was gone, and the pants he was wearing were torn and ripped. As he struggled the veins in his neck and forehead pulsed. He was screaming through clenched teeth as he thrashed around. I looked for wounds that might be causing him pain. When I got to his neck I stopped.

Around his neck was one of the high tech dog collars. It fit loosely on Shelby’s neck, but I could see that it was lined with needles. What I hadn’t noticed on my first encounter with the collars was the small bag of liquid that ran along the back side of the collar. Overtime Shelby would flop back on the collar the amount liquid in the bag got smaller, injected into his neck.

I tried to get at the collar but Shelby’s thrashing increased and I couldn’t see an easy way to get it off his neck. The amount of liquid had dwindled and I panicked. Seeing no other option I undid one of his wrists, moving around to the other side to unhook that wrist.

This seemed to calm him and I was able to get his legs unhooked. I helped him stand and then headed for the door. As I opened the door there was a huge crash behind me. Whirling towards the noise I saw that Shelby had flipped the bed against the wall. There was a weird bubbling under his skin and he started to grow.

Shelby started to change into one of the musclebound goons. He grew taller and broader, his arms and legs becoming ropey with muscles. I was at a loss for what to do. Hopefully I could stop whatever the collar was doing to him. It was my fault he was hear, he had probably come to investigate on his own. I should have never involved him.

There would be time to feel guilty later.

“Shelby,” I yelled.

Shelby turned, and I could tell that it was no longer Shelby. All recognition was gone from his eyes. He swung one of his massive arms at me, and I narrowly dodged the attack. His fist connected with the wall and left a gash, tearing through dray wall and studs alike. Shit.

I rolled away from Shelby, going through the door and saw that all of the sleeping youths were now awake and staring at the room. Fear was painted across thier faces and upon seeing me they broke, running towards the nearest exit. Oh how I wanted to joing them.

A crash told me that Shelby had broken through the door jam. I took a breath, and prepared to fight the closest thing I had to a friend.

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The story of The Correspondent will continue weekly. If you enjoyed this story, please scroll down and recommend it. Follow me on Medium or on Twitter.

Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.