Quiet. Silent. Everything was Nothing and she was alone with her thoughts. Who would want to talk to you? It’s all your fault. You’re going to cause nothing but misery, forever. It’s all your fault. You deserve this.
Ellen’s mind raced, and it could only hurt her. She was not allowed to talk to anyone, not after what she did. The guards were blocked from even seeing her, she was that horrific. Confined to a nearly impossible degree, with gags, blindfolds, chains, cuffs and straight-jackets all supported with a complex metal contraption suspending her in place. All that was was all her thoughts; all her thoughts were all that was. She waited and hoped for the occasional jolt of the van as it took her to the city kept her awake. Anything to make the Ellen in her mind go away, or be distracted for a moment.
You don’t deserve to live. You killed them.
Ellen couldn’t escape her own thoughts for even a single second. It hurt.
Did it feel good? Having her die because you didn’t want to hear me for just a little longer?
A thousand accusations, a thousand spiteful words pierced her with precision that proved to her it was her own mind doing this. Her very soul was trying to drive her insane.
She loved you, and you said those filthy, evil words.
It was working.
And guess what? You get to go free. I’m sure Uncle Jonathon will be proud.
A violent jolt of the van changed her mind for a second.
Oh my. It appears you’ve caused even more death.
Metal tearing, shouting, screaming, gunshots. Nothing.
They had kids. Both of them.
More metal being torn, louder, more pronounced.
And now it’s your turn. You’ll spread misery forever, without fail. You disgust me.
“This her?” a ragged voice asked.
“Yeah, this is the one,” answered what sounded like a young girl’s. “Taker, take out the bits we don’t need once I’ve tapped her.”
Ellen woke up to find herself alone.
No voice. It was gone. She got up and realized he was free. She was free, and there wasn’t that constant voice in her head telling her how horrible she was every second she wasn’t near Ryan, and she could move and walk and speak and-
“So you took out her will to die?”
Ellen shot around and saw them. Seven Humanoid figures and a giant spider. She’s seen weirder teams of capes before. Unlike Ryan she actually bothered with reading cape news and gossip, rather than instinctively sneering and going for the remote. She recognized them already. The Hunting Party. She was back in the clutches of the hunting party.
Sacrifice, Druggie, Fractal, Glutton and Jawbreaker stood in a group. They were finished off by three of their other members whom the news reported as visiting Asia at the time they attacked Norfolk. Taker, Bloodwitch and Kumo.
“Why are you here?” she asked. Or more correctly, that is what she meant to ask. What she actually said was “Ahh, Munroe. You think you can save this little girl, too?”
A brief moment of horror crossed Ellen’s face as Bloodwitch slapped her across the face, sending her across the room.
“Taker, she told you to take out all the bits we don’t need,” Bloodwitch snarled at Taker, her veins visibly popping from her powers.
“Now now, I was only having a joke. It’s not like you’d kill yourself anyway,” replied Taker, adjusting his glasses. “Though if you let me take something of similar value, I’d give you back your death…”
“Back off, you fucking creep,” Bloodwitch replied, a spear of blood shooting out of her arm and touching Taker’s neck.
Glutton suddenly jumped and bit down on the blood spear, breaking it. He shot a look at both of them and resumed eating his burger.
“Enough,” ordered Sacrifice calmly. “We have many experiments to run in the future. Taker? Take these things,” she handed Taker a note of paper. He smiled while looking at the list and walked over to Ellen, who just managed to stand up. Ellen turned to run and began to look for a door or a window.
“It’s no use, dear.” said Taker, slowly walking towards her. “I took away the exits.”
“Clara, help me!” Ellen cried. Bloodwitch clenched her fist and looked away. “Don’t let it happen! Don’t just stand there watching again!”
Taker got even closer. Ellen tried to make another run for it but she froze. She suddenly fell to her knees and put her hands behind her head. Bloodwitch was using her powers on her.
Ellen panicked, struggling to speak. “Clara, please! I didn’t mean it! You said you’d prote-”
“You aren’t her!” shouted Bloodwitch, visibly angered. Ellen shut up, reduced to sobbing.
Taker reached her, and placed his and on her head.
“Loyalty to your friends, family and everyone else bar us.”
A surge of blood rushed through Ellen’s head.
“Please, Danny… It wasn’t their fault,” she whispered to Taker.
“Your ability to use your power on us.”
Another surge of blood.
Ellen could actually say what she wanted to. “Please, stop this.”
“Your ability to betray us or rebel against us in any form.”
Another surge of blood, heavier than the last.
“And finally, your will to leave us.”
It was done. As the last pulses of blood ran through her head and she heard the tinnitus slowly pass by. Even her thoughts changed. Ellen was still scared, still frightened, but now she feels no need to escape, to try and run away. She looked up at Taker as he took his hand away.
“We always take a new member from each experiment,” smiled Sacrifice. Ellen remembered a small detail about her; she used to be a well known metahuman researcher. Her experiments have come to this? Awful.
“It’s a way to keep on having fun.”
“I see.” Ellen wasn’t disagreeing. Only loyalty to the Hunting Party remained. It pained her to admit so, just a little.
Sacrifice walked closer to her, wearing a bull’s head instead of the goat she last saw. She placed her hand on Ellen’s shoulder.
“You are now Trauma,” she said gently. Ellen got up, allowed to move again. Sacrifice turned to the rest of the Hunting Party. She clapped her hands and spun around in a mischievous manner.
“Who wants to see the current situation of Texas?” she asked.
Kumo was the first to reply.
“Why go Texas?” the spider hissed.
“Because, Kumo, I want to study the Effects of Druggie’s formula on a Kingmaker victim. The King of Texas is conveniently nearby, and he’s going to open up soon anyway. Kingmakers need to wage wars and Texas hasn’t had one in 15 years,” she replied.
Kumo didn’t respond.