San Nicolas Island
The U.S. Navy guards the outermost of the Channel Islands, far into the ocean off the coast of California. It keeps many secrets there.
Some of those secrets concern weapons testing and national intelligence. But other secrets lie deeper in the nature of the island itself; for it’s not by chance that this island is the one chosen for military secrecy.
At any moment some 200 government agents occupy San Nicolas Island. About two-thirds of them come and go on special assignments. The rest are there full time. The full-timers know something the part-timers don’t. The island is haunted.
Haunted by exactly “what” is the question. Many unique experiments have been conducted around the island over the decades. Exotic forays into telepathy, particle cannons, photon bombs and genetic mutation have all been extensively undertaken. People have died during these experiments. One even died but went on…
The final days were a struggle for Jack Sheriff, who relinquished control of defense contractor Sheriff Enterprises years ago. At 92 his body failed.
He was brought to the island voluntarily for an experiment.
Procedures were followed to store his remains for future reanimation possibilities. Instead of freezing the body they encased it in a hi-tech sarcophagus. It worked better than expected. Technically dead, Jack was still thinking!
Technicians had only meant to preserve his body; but instead they kept his neurons active as well.
It wouldn’t do to keep a thinking brain confined in a shell until the body inside could be repaired.
The strange outer casing preserving his body was modified to serve as his mobile vessel, stimulating and connecting to his neural network. It’s a body insensitive to pain with a nearly impenetrable hide.
For now he’s confined to the island. Those who’ve seen him on a twilight stroll turned to the other direction.
Then there’s the island itself…
Honeycombed with hidden caverns and tunnels, the island tempts research teams into its labyrinth where some vanish forever. Artifacts are discovered that contradict and confuse scientists trying to make sense of them. Bones of long-dead others are found from all eras and locations of human history. Only recently has a California tribe claimed kinship with some of those bones, interfering with excavations by imposing a federal restriction.
But the “haunting” whispered of by old salts is not that of the zombified mummy being reconsidered as the prototype model for an army of the dead. No, the haunting is that of Padat.
Padat is known by some California tribes as The Ghost of the Little People.
My mother was Puoche and our people had lived on this island for generations. We were of a tribe called the Toki, the biggest no taller than three feet, who were fierce fighting cave dwellers and whale killers. The Toki came to the island from the mainland generations before when the giant immigrants on the mainland grew in number.
But one day the farthest island refuge, ours, became the dumping ground for mainland undesirables.
The social misfits who came first were beset by angry Toki.
Then the big ones learned to guard against the Toki and warned others as the giant population grew. Eventually no more giant criminals were delivered but those already there were mating and breeding.
The island was forgotten by the mainland, left alone once more. It was too late for the Toki. It is said we were finally hunted to the last and extinguished forever.
We let them say it.
Yet after that the strangest phenomenon was reported. Occupiers of our island were killed in unusual accidents, like a boulder rolling over on them.
Missing folks were found at the bottom of cliffs in piles.
And an oddly garbed small woman was often witnessed escaping into the very walls of the rugged hills.
The inexplicable assault went on for over a hundred years until there were very few large people left. Finally the few who remained were surprisingly besieged by Russian fur traders who wanted their women desperately.
After that, no one stayed on the island for long. Anyone who tried has discovered the same odd winnowing of personnel.
That unfortunate situation is now faced by a very perplexed U.S. government, who thoughtlessly moved an ongoing unwitting modern-day operation into an unknown realm, as they build their army of the dead.