Chapter 5: Natasha

Wind, Fire, Brimstone

The city burns around me. I feel the heat, intense, angry, licking at my skin, sucking my pores dry. I hear the wind whip through the dying streets, it pulls at my hair, tempting me to run as well. I do not move. I smell the fear, it runs through the blackened avenues like some terror on horseback. I close my eyes, yet the image of the fleeing innocents is permanently etched into my retinas. But I do not back down, I do not cower, I move slowly on. Peacefully, blissfully content. Not ignorant, not uncaring, simply objective.

Then She is upon me, her leathery wings beating in tempo with the rhapsody of destruction being played around us. I play a ballad of my one, a symphony of silence; it moves Her to rage. She circles me, glowers at me, spits in my face. And still, Her claws do not rend me, Her jaws do not gnash me. She fears my touch, shudders at the thought, for I disgust Her, I am Her torment, and She is my toy. The weight of my weapon is heavy in my hand, surreptitiously I smile. She scowls.

So She is off, away. Flying, looping, fleeing, from roof to roof, street to street. Clawing, cutting, cleaving everyone in Her path. End it, I tell myself. Enjoy the show, myself tells I. The latter decides to take the former's advice, so I make no movement. Except the only one that matters. Forward.

"Save us!" scream surrendering civilians. Save it, cries my conscious. I'd rather watch the stars, such a shame the seem to shy. From me. I sigh. Once again, I find I am reminding myself I can end it all. This time, myself reluctantly listens. So I stop, everything. She comes to my side, the obedient oktoberist. How She howls. Lightning-fast, he tail licks the air next to me, am I such a bitter taste? How rude. I end Her.

She squeals, my eyes open. She screams, my fire opens. She is unable to fight back, too weak to even pretend. I engulf Her, suffocate Her. She breathes my disdain, I sink my harm into Her like, She bends. I snap, and so does She. As her body collapse, She is riddled with holes, and I am riddled with guilt. Wind is back, joyful and free, ignorant of the tragedy that has just transpired. He blows out the flames like candles, happy birthday you vermin.

November 3, 2007

I am in a hospital. It is nice here. The staff is nice, I like the staff. There is a Nurse, her name is Nurse Molly. She is nice. It smells clean here, which is nice. The food here is very nice. I broke a variety of bones is my body, which is nice. I'm on painkillers, and I think they are nice. I saw Nurse Molly slip a mood leveler into my drink this morning, how nice of her! I bashed her nice little face in with the nice food tray your hospital so nicely provided me with. I think the blood adds a nice, colorful ambient to the nice room, don't you? And Nurse Molly's desecrated corpse will look very nice lying next to you in bed, won't it Dr. Schmidt? From what I understand, you are quite comfortable with the idea. Speaking of which, you haven't found her body yet, have you, Dr. Schmidt? In conclusion, I'd like to thank you for the hospitality you and your staff has shown me here, it's been very... nice.

However, I'm not a nice person Dr. Schmidt. As I'm sure you will soon find out. I don't appreciate you taking advantage of my moment of weakness, what ever happened to Chivalry, Dr. Schmidt? I think your transgression must be punished, so we are going to play some games together my good doctor, until you realize the error of your ways and release me. Try to enjoy yourself.

Reducto Ad Absurdum

I sat quietly in the corner, crouched. It was night, the lights were out, and the hall was bathed in darkness. Sixteen hours had passed since I had escaped, however, I did not run as they expected me to. No, escape wasn't my true intention, it still isn't. I'm here to put an end to a tyrant, normally I get paid for doing that.

Though the hallway I was in was empty, all around me I heard panic. People don't react well when you cut the power in a hospital. They react even worse when you sabotage the backup generator less than five minutes later. Part of me says I should feel guilty, after all, cutting the power means pulling the plug on a dozen or so patients. Personally, I think that is a reasonable price to pay to stop our dearest Dr. Schmidt.

Let me tell you, Reader, about Dr. Schmidt. He is a very, very ill man; but he is also very talented. He can cure the blind, make the paralyzed walk, and reanimate the dead. He's the undisputed medical genius of this century. But he isn't just an expert in medicine, he's also a brilliant psychoanalyst, physicist, and artist. And he is a sadist. He vivisects his patients, rapes them, drugs them. One of every ten patients that come here leaves as an emaciated, bruised, lifeless shade, driven to insanity by his abuse. I find this to be unacceptable. Mostly because I've recently become his next target.

A guard's flashlight played across the wall next to me, I drew myself in closer. Apparently he heard me, because he came closer with a quizzical expression on his face. Poor man never stood a chance, his neck made the most satisfying sound when it snapped; it reminded me of my childhood, running through woods, breaking twigs underfoot.

Dr. Schmidt's office was on the twentieth floor, I was on the sixteenth. Though the elevator would've been quicker and easier, if you'll remember, that wasn't an option. And so, I was forced to stealthily creep my way up four flights of stairs, which is not easy to do when they are constantly being used by frantic doctors and guards. Sometimes the best hiding spot is none at all, I simply strolled through the crowds, up to the twentieth floor. No one even noticed, it was as though I was invisible. Of course, once I found myself in the empty halls again, I had to resume my stalking manor, flitting between shadows.

Rather than a nameplate, the door to Dr. Schmidt's office bore the characters "GS-636". I tried the door, it was locked. Not an issue, Dr. Schmidt's facilities always were lacking in terms of security. He insisted that he wanted his patients to feel as though there were in a trusting, loving environment. Probably so that their sense of betrayal could add to his sick glee when he finally did turn on them. I took a bobby pin out of my hair, and a screwdriver I had previously stolen during my times in the maintenance areas of the hospital. The door opened with a soft click.

The sound of water gently splashing through a manufactured waterfall came from an elaborate decoration at the center of the office. Three glass panes with a constant flow of water washing over them, distorting the images behind them. Dr. Schmidt's office, and his facility on the whole, had a very zen theme to it. His desk stood on a pedestal of mahogany, and to the left and right of it were stone gardens, elegant spirals traced in the sand. I walked around the three panes of glass, and the doctor's desk came in to view. He was asleep, a desk lamp and the streaks of moonlight were the only sources of illumination in the room. The wall behind his desk was entirely glass, offering a stunning view of the mountains. I casually declined, turning to Dr. Schmidt instead.

"Asleep on the job, Mr. Schmidt? How unprofessional," I said, gently rocking his shoulder. A smile crept over his face.

"Well now, who's lovely voice is that?" he asked. I draped my arms around his neck from behind.

"Come now, surely you could never forget me," I whispered in his ear.

"Now that you mention it, you do sound familiar-" he stopped. For the brief moment of realization, he was silent, then he leapt out of his chair. I laughed viciously, while calmly producing a butterfly knife from my jacket pocket, Dr. Schmidt backed away slowly.

"Don't worry, sir, you know I'm not here to kill you."

"That's precisely what I'm worried about. You called me by my name."

"Indeed I did, Mr. Schmidt."

"I mean in the letter you left yesterday. You never call anyone by their name when you write."

"Well, these are serious days, Mr. Schmidt. But I fear you are trying to change the subject," I walked towards him at a painstaking pace, dragging my knife along the top of his desk as I did.

"Why are you still here? Why didn't you run, isn't escape your goal here?" I paused for a moment to formulate my response.

"Truth be told, it was too easy to escape. I figured I would play more psychological games with you, until you were either bored or terrified and let me go. But then when I managed to break out on my own, well, I decided it simply wouldn't do to let you remain unscathed. You need to atone for your sins, Gregory."

"So what, the idea is to torture me, is that it? How the hell do you think you'll be able to do that?! You won't be able keep running in this hospital forever, we're going to catch you and shut you away, and then it'll be my turn to have some fun."

"Oh, I fully intend to be captured, but let me assure you, you will not be having any fun with it."

"Maybe I could just call up Midas, have him deal with you." Again, I laughed openly.

"Oh now, Mr. Schmidt, don't be ridiculous. We both know that I'm much too valuable an asset for Mr. Rousseau to even consider damaging me in any way. And you know, rumor has it that he is getting a bit sick of you treating your patients so poorly, he may even condone some karmic punishment directed towards you." Mr. Schmidt didn't know how to respond, "I know this may seem like a nonsequitur, but your office's ventilation is separate from that of the rest of the building. Am I correct?"


"Can you guess what happens next?"

"... Yes," I could sense his fear, and I smiled.

"You shouldn't leave so much tabun gas lying around, Mr. Schmidt. We have three seconds before the air conditioning cycles on again, is there anything you'd-" before I could finish my sentence, there was a loud click, followed by the sound of a large quantity of a gaseous substance being released into the room.

"I guess you timed it-" Mr. Schmidt couldn't finish his sentence either, he was rapidly thrown into a coughing fit. Within seconds he collapsed to the ground. I myself was having trouble standing up, I had to kneel and use the desk for support. My nose began to run, and sweat dripped from my pores, I couldn't see a thing. Schmidt was convulsing violently, then ceased all motion. I frantically searched under his desk for the security alarm I knew was there. As my finger pressed the small red button, the edges of my vision started to fade into black. Then, finally, I could not withstand the chemical agent anymore, and collapsed. For a second, I hoped that security found us before we inhaled the lethal dosage, and then I was gone.

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