Based on an original concept by Amy Short
Two Yards Below – Part 2
By Chinthaka Nanayakkara
The appalling revelation made the Sri Lankan Military Intelligence promptly code name him “The Worm” while their duly notified Australian counterpart, ASIS, considered his carnivorous tendencies much more significant as they opened a file on him with block capitals “The Leech”.
Worm or Leech, his actions appeared to the intelligence personnel in both countries very much like that of a maniac. What better explanation can you provide for demonic schemes of a demented biologist who offers runaway orphans a better life and shots them on the head at bogus pick-nicks and buries them on site so his gelatinous, underground pets, a genetically modified Megascolides australis or Giant Gippsland Earthworms can feed on his victims like huge hungry leeches?
SLMI had first detected him when they were working on a series of complaints filed by relatives of about fifty unauthorized migrants who were supposed to have crossed the Timor Sea seeking asylum in Australian Mainland.
CCTV footage and the discovery of several forged documents quickened SLMI investigations and it strongly pointed at the ugly fact that both the Australian Authorities and the migrants themselves were fooled by the so called Worm. No one seemed to have any record on the asylum seekers. Satellite imagery suggested their last possible destination as Gippsland, South East Australia.
Then Victoria Police picked up the scent again through an anonymous phone call. They stormed an underground medical facility in North West Metro which turned out to be an ultra modern laboratory complex that harbored several dozen Giant Gippsland Earthworms, at various stages of their genetically modification process.
Blasting an iron safe they pulled out its drawers stacked with research papers. The documents described the importance of Gippsland Earthworms as an endangered species, how fast they are becoming extinct and why it is so urgent to find an alternative means for their survival.
One chilling alternative was to introduce them to a different kind of food.
The most disturbing find was a graphic video that showed a wet and wrinkled worm latching on to the bleeding chest of a dead body spread eagled in the murky depths of a shallow grave. The detectives quickly concluded it was made in a wild life park.
On another wing they discovered a sophisticated collection of excavating tools, including Ground Penetrating Radar. His warmth for flesh eating annelids must have cost the Worm millions.
They turned to the Satellite Images again and minute observation of several high resolution images provided them what they were looking for; a long stretch of freshly dug earth in the Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness area that is the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Later in the evening, the police deployed Worm’s own equipment to exhume the sapped bodies of his unfortunate prisoners, lying two yards below in a neat row at the edge of the Prom. The GPR pulse also detected the slow movement of two Megascolides australis just underneath the mass grave. Feasting all day long on the wholesome meal above them, the big animals had grown to ridiculous proportions and engorged with human blood, they could hardly move through the soil.
An especially designed truck transferred the worms to a nearby zoo where they died later on.
In his lab in NW Metro, the Worm had left lot of clues to his whereabouts as well as to his place of origin. For the moment we would keep that information undisclosed, taking only the liberty to assure our fellow countrymen that his full name went as Thomas Clifforde and that he is definitely not an Australian.
However there were more important details coming in.
The forensic experts going through his personal computers with grim smiles mentioned in their interim reports an interesting fact that made their superior officers in both countries jolt up from their seats. It was ironic, but the technical evidence was sufficiently accurate to confirm that The Worm’s PC network was indeed infected by a worm, a malware computer program which was highly likely introduced by some hacker somewhere, sometime back.
The hacker had sounded sarcastic, leaving his online credentials for the convenience of the Worm. It was a simple alpha numeric code that went J88.
Both Governments had to unwillingly acknowledge between themselves that someone had been after the Worm long before them.
Or more serious; manipulating him?
While the authorities argued online, a tall man calmly paced a shaded balcony in a Hotel called Berjeya, few miles away from Colombo City Center, Sri Lanka. Only a most careful observer would have noticed that he was getting impatient.
His phone vibrated. The text message from his operative he had been waiting for. He looked at it and his cruel lips softened in to a smile.
Two Yards Below.
When he left the balcony, he was still smiling.