Posts Tagged ‘Fingerface’

Samantha was here.  She was safe.  Well, safe as her power allowed her, anyway.  There was still the issue of escaping and the more pressing issue of calming her down, but everything was perfect.

Now, to find a staircase.

I turned to the Fingerface.

“Any stairs?”  I asked.

The Fingerface walked past me, towards the area covered in fire and ice.

I followed it and after a brief pause to look at each other, so did Nightmare and Dead Metal.

The staircase up was made of mostly bone rather than flesh.  It was a clear attempt to maintain some form of structural integrity as Samantha’s power spread throughout the area.

Dead Metal ran ahead up the stairs, leaving me and Nightmare alone.

Climbing it was… painful.  My burns were still fresh and exhaustion kicked in halfway up the stairs.  Thank god for railings, I mused.

I limped up the second half of the stairway, holding down a desperate need to cry as Nightmare aided me for the last few steps by propping my bad arm over his shoulder.

It was a slow,

Dead Metal was standing at the top of the steps.

She spoke her first words in my company.  “It’s her.”

I could feel the contempt dripping off her as she said that.  Nightmare gave a quizzical look.

“Are you sure?”

We reached the last step.

“I know.  She looks exactly like she did that year.  Sacrifice, the bitch.”

I gulped a little, and Nightmare looked at me like I’d insulted him.

“That’s the girl you were after?”

He got out from under my arm and stepped back.  I gripped the railing a little tighter.  I could see the thoughts running through his head.  Kill her.  Kill her and kill him, too.  The silence was thick.

“Just do it, Nightmare.”  Taker said gently into his ear.  “Go on.”

Taker wasn’t real.  He’s busy, safe and happy after putting me through hell.

“Just push him down the stairs and finish her off,”  he sneered.  “After all, she ruined everything.”

I closed my eyes and took a breath.

“Taker was the leader, not Sacrifice.”

Dead Metal took a step forwards, but Nightmare stopped her with his cane.

“Explain,” he said, anger seeping into his tone.

I did.  I explained the three years, what Sacrifice told me, what Taker could do, what he did do.  What he did to Sacrifice.

He didn’t say anything until I finished.

“Ryan, my boy.”

I looked at him.

“If Sacrifice is supposedly fine,”  he said, stepping to the side.  “Why is she dressed like that?”

Samantha walked around the corner, slowly.  Naked, covered in blood.  The goat skull mask was affixed to her head again.

Even the pose was reminiscent of Sacrifice.  Samantha was always on edge, worried.  Expecting the worst.

Sacrifice didn’t worry at all.  She relished her own presence, trusting her powers.

Apparently, she had fine control of bodily fluids.  Blood, sweat, hormones…  even the fluid within the cells themselves.  She could reinforce herself to ignore a stab wound or break bones with ease, or alter hormones to induce sleep.  Luckily, she needed physical contact to alter the fluids of others.

She took a step forwards and reached her hand out to me, ignoring Nightmare and Dead Metal entirely.

“Samantha?”

Sacrifice stopped and lowered her hand for just a moment.  I internally breathed a sigh of relief.

Then she lept at me.

She hit like a truck, winding me and sending the both of us down the stairs.  I still held the railings; they snapped off.  It didn’t matter since the pain of impacting the ground made me drop the bone railing anyway.

Nightmare and Dead Metal moved to follow us, but Sacrifice turned and literally snarled at both of them.  They stopped in their tracks two steps down and backed away.

She turned to me.

“H-hey Samantha,”  I stammered.  “It’s me, Ry-”

“Shut up,”  she answered.

I sighed in frustration as she stared at me.  Stared through me.

“How do you know my name?”  She asked.

“You told me.”

“Where am I?”

“An asylum for people who don’t have a handle on their powers and their sanity.”

She took a second to think.  “That figures.  What about my powers?”

“Because you had a re-awakening,”  I replied, pausing to catch my breath.  “Several.”

“Several?”

“Twelve.”

She got up, still sitting on top of me.  “Twelve?”

I nodded as much as I could.  “Twelve,”  I assured.

“How?”

“You don’t remember?”

“I don’t.”

That was a dangerous answer for me.  Up until the war with Texas Sacrifice was firmly on the side of ‘sociopathic serial killer’, even if it was because of Taker’s influence.  Worst case, she remembers Norfolk and nothing after. Best case?  She remembers the war.  Anything before Norfolk? Almost as bad.

“Do you remember the war?”  I asked.

“What war?”

“The Kingmaker war.”

“Congo?”

“No,”  I paused.  “Texas.”

She turned up to Dead Metal and Nightmare, then back at me.  They didn’t move from the top of the stairs, mixed between looking for an escape from Sacrifice and wanting to listen to my conversation with her.

“I don’t remember that.”

I took the plunge.  “W-what do you remember?”

She didn’t say.  I could understand that, there was a real reason not to trust me.

“It’s May,”  I said.  “2015.  What date do you remember?”

“19… 1997.”

A gap of roughly eighteen years separated me and Sacrifice.  Me and Samantha.  I felt a pang of sadness, then my side flared up.  Sacrifice quickly got off me.

She turned to Nightmare and Dead Metal.

“What the hell are you waiting for, help me help hi-”

“Murderer,”  Dead Metal called out.

Sacrifice looked taken aback.

“…What?”

“You murdered people all the way up to 2012, Sacrifice.”

Oh, I see.  Her group never formed until 1999.  In her current state, the Hunting Party doesn’t exist to her knowledge.  That’s slightly better than what I feared.  Still, Nightmare and Dead Metal have a serious grudge with Sacrifice.  Victims?  Probably.

Sacrifice alternated between looking at Dead Metal, Nightmare and me.

“I…  I what?”

“Before we go through the history you’ve somehow forgotten,”  I interrupted.  “Can you heal me first?”

 

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Nightmare was constantly prodding at my awareness, trying to keep me lucid.  It was helping me more than I would like to admit.

Then again I was almost paralysed with pain and possibly dying so I had no real reason to complain about the guy making sure I wasn’t going to fall into a coma, or worse.

The hallway was changing as we progressed down it, occasionally breaking down a wall or two.  The face worked as a shield and protected us from the debris that came down as we essentially ploughed through a building.

“Hold on, we have some disturbance here.”

I moved a little to try and see ahead of us from behind the shield and regretted it instantly.  It was apparent that my burned skin did not like to even have a gentle breeze over it.

I winced and moved to hold my side but stopped.  I could see the disturbance.

The hallway condensed a little as a small but obvious black pinprick hovered in the air, creating a clear event horizon around it that blocked the hall.  It looked like a wormhole.

“Dead Metal, be prepared to back up,”  Nightmare said.  He dropped his act and was more focused now, even his voice was a little changed.  “I don’t like the look of that thing.  We’ll have to go around and hope it isn’t hostile.”

Just before our ride reversed the wormhole un-collapsed and an almost entirely black silhouette of a man unfolded so that he was standing in the hallway.  He wasn’t entirely black, as he looked more like an empty spot in the world.  He had stars and galaxies cover him in the way the sky would be covered, and as I moved my head, wincing I could see that the stars changed depending on his position.  He was what I would be looking at if the earth and the sky wasn’t there, a living window into space.

Nightmare grunted in irritation.  “Dead Metal?”

Wordlessly, Dead Metal fired something at the Wormhole making man before us.  He recollapsed and took the hit in his black hole form, then decompressed.  The rocket was growing smaller inside him.  I smirked internally, I was right to assume he was a wormhole.

He charged right at us.

“Back up, back up!”

Dead Metal followed Nightmare’s order and moved into reverse immediately, stopping the patient from closing the gap as he tried to approach.

It was no use.  We were losing the ground we covered.  I tugged on Nightmare’s shoulder.

“I’ll counter him,”  I said weakly, at the limits of staying awake.

Nightmare looked at me, studying my resolve with a gaze.  Whatever face I was making was good enough, because he nodded.

“Dead Metal, Stop.  Our new friend would like to aid us on our quest.”

The vehicle stopped, and the patient who I’ve dubbed Wormhole followed. He cocked his head to the side and shrunk down, pulling pebbles of rubble into himself.

I slowly hopped off and limped to Wormhole.  I knew his power, he was functioning as a one way trip to outer space.  One that I wasn’t going on.

I reached my range and the Wormhole folded in on itself before vanishing.  No distortion of light, no nothing.  Wormhole was gone as soon as I walked towards him.

A brief thought of an absolutely normal person floating in the middle of space flashed in my mind, and I nearly fell over.

Nightmare caught me.

“That was interesting, pray tell us how you were able to defeat such a man without touching him?”

“I stop powers from… From working,” I explained, my breathing even heavier.

Nightmare nodded and dragged me back  onto Dead Metal’s vehicle.  I wondered why there aren’t any seats since I was essentially laying on the top of the hood of a very, very small tank.

And it was very, very painful.  Every jolt, every bit of rubble we drove over and every wall we crashed into was distracting.

Now that I thought about it, this facility was improbably large for psychiatric uses, even if many of the patients had powers.

“It’s taking a while,”  I said to Nightmare.  He nodded at that, glad that I’m making an effort to stay awake.

“This building has a unique feature dwelling within it’s walls,”  he said.  “It is larger than it appears.”

“I guess it has to be, with people like Wendigo,”  I paused for breath. “And the Wormhole guy back there.”

“Indeed, my boy.”

We got closer to Samantha.  The walls were fading into a skin like colour, the sharpness of the corners disappearing.  An eye opened up on the ceiling, looking at us as we drove by.

Even the cells and doors changed, exactly like last time.  The rooms filled with stomach acid, trying to digest the occupants.

The only problem was that most of the occupants were trained for this and the rest had powers.  We stopped again.

The ground became too soft, too fleshy.  We were caught in a puddle of blood, piss and flesh.  The tracks only ripped away more skin at the ground and let it bleed even more.

“Unfortunate,”  grumbled Nightmare.  “Dead Metal, this ground is too dangerous, we-”

“It’s safe-ish,”  I said, stumbling of and yelling in pain on my soft landing.  “Fuck!  It’s fine.  Samantha’s doing this.”

“I see,”  replied Nightmare, walking around the vehicle.  Dead Metal popped out of the hatch.  “I can see why she could help your predicament, with this… power.”

That, and if I was going to die, I want to at least say goodbye to somebody.  I’d have chosen Michael or Ricky or Derek or Maxine any day, or even Ellen if she wasn’t…

Right now, I only have Samantha.

I was braced against Nightmare, struggling down the putrid halls.  I could see fights of all types and hear them.  The rumbling and burning of flesh, Wendigo laughing as he snuck down a hallway, freezing three guards who had guns levelled at him.  The last one tried to get out the way too late and his foot broke off with the momentum.  He fell like a statue.

Luckily, Wendigo was too obsessed over his own art to notice us, and turned into the corner behind the three guards.

Metal spikes erupted from the floor, puncturing a converted pipe that began to leak fecal matter.

“C’est -”  Nightmare muttered something but I didn’t quite catch it.  It sounded foreign.  French?

It didn’t matter.  He picked up the pace as we got to more patients and guards.  This time it was one former patient protecting a few guards from a second.

The second patient walked away without a fight once one of the guards stepped forwards.  Lovecraft.

Now that I think about it, Lovecraft wasn’t a common name at all.  Was she a metahuman, too?

“So any clue on your friends location?”  asked Nightmare.

“She was in her cell last time,”  I said, grunting as I stepped into a softer bit of the flesh floor.  “She’ll be in one this time too.  Suspended in a cocoon.”

Nightmare nodded.  “Dead Metal, Check the cel-”

“No,”  I blurted out.  “She makes things, traps.  bone spike pits, drowning pits, even guards.  I’ll guide you.”

Dead Metal looked up at Nightmare, then me.  An unspoken agreement was made and Nightmare dragged me to the cells from the hallway.

We took a pause every two or three cells to look around for anyone who would attack us – be it the staff or the numerous powered and clearly insane patients – as we progressed from cell to cell.  We eventually saw our first womb room.

Dead Metal stepped forwards.

“Be careful,”  I said, making her pause mid step.  “She makes guards.”

Just as she was about to resume I saw Firespitter run around the corner, screaming.  He was back up.

Nightmare gracefully swerved us out of the way as he fired a flaming ball of liquid at us from his trunk.  It went wide and I turned to look at what he fired at.

Two Fingerfaces stood nearby.  Dammit.

“Nightmare, let me go!”

He complied, and charged Firespitter before stopping.  A wall of icicles sprouted from the ground.

Wendigo must have been Firespitter’s ally.  No wonder he left me for dead, I thought.

One of the Fingerfaces charged, pointing with many indexes, middles and rings.  I was weaker than last time; I didn’t have a knife.

Still, I had to fight.  Hands outreached, no less than fifty small fingers stretched like tentacles of a squid.  I stepped to the side, grabbed at the shoulder and put my foot out.

Momentum guided it into the door.  A door that was lined with spiked of bone, leaning outwards.

The second Fingerface wasn’t as stupid, and tackled me as the first died.  I landed on my good side, but it hit me in my burned hip.

I screamed out and punched its head repeatedly.  Four, five, six times.  No use.

I shot a brief glance up.

Wendigo and Firespitter were a team with surprising synergy.  They created impassible terrain each time they attacked anyone and missed, they always created splash damage, and most importantly, they were able to fire nearly constantly together.  They did so perfectly.  Wendigo freezing ground, launching icicles.  Firespitter lobbing balls of flame, burning the flesh on the ground.

Nightmare and Dead Metal were already separated, with Firespitter and Wendigo creating a deep gash of fire and ice in the middle of the hallway.

That’s when the Belching Screamer threw up over them from an upper walkway.

I could hear the anger from Firespitter, covered in something that was purely rancid.  “Dammit.”

He wiped some off of his clothes with his hand.  Then he saw that it was eating through the cloth.

“Wendigo, Freeze me!”

Wendigo turned and Nightmare tackled him down in the short time he exposed himself.  Firespitter shot a blast out as Nightmare tumbled, holding onto Wendigo.  Wendigo took the brunt of the blast.

Nightmare then kicked Wendigo back as a maw opened in the few unburned and unfrozen patches of floor.  It ate Wendigo as he stumbled, then froze.

Firespitter was already gone by the time I turned to look at him.  His clothing was discarded, burning from chemicals.

“This reminds me of our employer,”  remarked Nightmare, patting out a small singe in his clothing as he stood up and walked over to me.

The Fingerface stopped moving and was mostly limp now, but it still held onto me and I struggled to shove it off.

“Dammit,”  I muttered.  “I’m here for Samantha.”

It looked up.

A second later it let go and got up.

“Where is she?” I asked.

It pointed at where the Belching Screamer was.

Okay.  She was on the second floor.

I could meet her.  Then I can deal with Trauma.

 

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Samantha was unmoving, resting in a fetal position inside the sac, protected from the world.

“Please wake up,”  I cried, banging my hand off bone.  “I’m here for you!  It’s gone!”

No reaction.  The cocoon moved slightly, organs above shifting, providing nutrients.  I cut away at the side with the knife, forcing my way around the door and flesh.  Blood spilled everywhere as I fell into the room, on my knees before the mass of flesh.

I did what worked last time, and burst the sac with a stab.  Fluids poured out as I ripped away, reaching in fo-

A single eye the size of her face opened, moving to make eye contact with me as I reached for her.  Then one over her left breast, then her right forearm, her right shoulder and her left knee.  It was a decoy, meant to delay intruders.  A hand grabbed me, the eye on the back of it staring into my eyes.  Angry eyes.  I stabbed the eye with my knife, gouging it.

The many eyed child let go, beginning to climb out the sack as I backed up, giving her space.  Her hair, Samantha’s hair fell off and away as she climbed out. An eye opened at the calf of her right leg as I adjusted my grip on the knife.  Three more opened at the navel, looking up and down at me, blinking.

“One of Samantha’s protectors, I assume?”

It charged, reckless and violent.  I ducked under an overhead swing with the left arm and went for a stab at the ribs.

A mouth opened, nearly biting my hand off as I pulled away in surprise.

“That’s new,”  I said to the many eyed child.  It struggled a smirk, or what could be called one.

I charged in again, stabbing the three eye formation at the navel and ramming the right shoulder with my own, pushing her back into the ligament cage.  The many eyed child looked at my hand as I stabbed it in the face.  The eye exploded in vitreous, pouring down the neck as the many eyed child spasmed, dying.

“I’m the one who protects Samantha,”  I said.  “Not you.”

I walked out the room and began checking the birthing rooms more carefully, learning from my mistake.  Each room I checked had another monster of Samantha’s imagination, ready to challenge anyone who opened the door.  Another Many eyed child, staring through the door.  A belching screamer, creating a mess and laughing away.  A fingerface, unable to sit still.  A faceless mother and peekaboo child, trying to cooperate as they pulled at hair on the wall.

I wonder what those poor soldiers that were eaten will become?

The last room had Samantha.  It had to be.

It was normal. The only room that looked like a room and not a bouncy castle or some padded cell.  No skin floors with body hair rugs.  No eyes on the walls like security cameras, no traps.

A carpet, some walls and a ceiling were the confines of the room.  Even the door was normal, from when I approached it.  Inside contained nothing but a desk and two tables, with Samantha in the corner.

She had a coat over her cloak.  Another layer of armour.

I knocked, three times.

“Samantha?”  I asked, politely.

No response.  “I’m coming in, okay?”

I opened the door slowly.  Closing it, I looked at Samantha.

She hadn’t moved.

“S-shut up,”  she murmured, quietly enough that I could only catch it now.  “Not talking about it.  Shut up.”

“Samantha?  It’s me, Ryan.  You remember me, right?”

“I’m not like that.  Not like him.”

I took slow steps, trying to avoid her lashing out.  Eventually I got close enough and crouched down beside her.

“Samantha,”  I said, placing a hand on her shoulder.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t follow my promise to you.  I didn’t know they’d separate us so quickly, okay?”

Samantha was silent in response.

“I’ll take you out, and you’ll let it all be normal, right?  I assure you they won’t harm you.  I won’t let them.”

Samantha nodded. I barely picked her up and carried her in my arms back through the hallways as the rooms turned to normal, slowly.

Skin dried, shrivelled and gave way to carpet.  The bone doors slowly changed back to the painted blue wood,  Eye lens returning to glass.  Eyes fell away from the walls, rotting like umbilical cords.  One door opened.  A fingerface, his fingers wriggling in excitement.

“No,”  I said, ordering him.  “I’ve got her, she’s safe.”

He cocked his head, all but six fingers where his mouth should be laying flat against his skin.  An array of fingernails overlapped like scales.

“She’s safe,”  I repeated.  He backed away, waving dismissively behind me.

The peekaboo child was breaking inches away from my neck.  Blue eyes, scanning me from behind.

“She’s fine,”  I said, to reassure her, her protective beings and myself.

I had reason to.

***

One Year Ago: Kingdom of  New Austin

It hurts. It hurts.  Make it stop.

“Ryan,”  taker teased, sitting before me.  “You should give up.”

Make it stop.

“No,”  I strained.

Taker waved to his men, and another tink of metal sounded as a winch was pulled, the mechanism suspending me moving a little more in response.  Pain shot through my body.  My knees broke hours ago, it’s the only way to explain how I felt my legs bent against the drum.  My arms were next.  One more click, then-

Tink. It hurt so much.  I could almost faint.

“Just say it.  Beg me to let you down.  I’ll be nice, I’ll treat you like an important part of the family,”  he smiled, sipping some glass of alcoholic drink.

“I’ve always wanted a family pet.  I’ll adopt you from Sacrifi-”

“No,”  I interrupted, in pain from the act of moving when I shouted.  “I won’t.  She isn’t like that, she isn’t like y-”

Tink.

I woke up god knows how many hours later, all healed and healthy.  Sacrifice was right there, the cell across from me, still chained up.  She’d all but given up.

“Ryan, I’m sorry,”  she muttered, in the throes of a nightmare.  “Ryan, I’m sorry.”

I shifted, chains clinking.  I could move my knees and elbows, thankfully.  The one mercy we were given was that New Austin had some very good doctors.  Unfortunately, we had some very good doctors.

“Ryan, I’m sorry.”

I’m getting tired of the repetition.

“Hey, Sacrifice!”  I called out.

No response.

“Hey, Samantha!”

She roused awake, looked around, and sighed.

“I’m still here,”  she said to herself, audible only in the pure silence that had been our home for the last two years.  It was dark, but not too dark.  Stone were the walls and ceiling.  A thin layer of dirt covering the stone below was the flooring.  Metal bars separated each cell, and an array of shackles and chains as decoration.  “Fuck.”

Sacrifice looked miserable.

“Hey,”  I said, trying to create a conversation.

“What is it?”  she asked, looking at the floor.

“You were having that dream again, right?”

She hesitated.

“Don’t apologize.  He’d have done it anyway,”  I added.

She looked away.

I tried to get her to respond.  “Sacrifi-”

“Shut up,”  she finally spoke.  “Just shut up.  I want to sleep.  I want to lie down.”

“Sleeping all the time won’t work,”  I said, my voice louder.  “We have to keep sane minds!  We ha-”

“Sane minds!?  Sane minds!?”  She was shaking, crying in rage.  “He’s been fucking with ours!  Have you wondered how many times you wanted to give up but nearly didn’t?”

Too many to count.

“You did give up!  You did fucking cave in!  Every time, we let him win and he puts us back to square one and grinds us down again!”  She was shouting at the top of her voice now.

I sighed.  I feared this too.  He just wanted to play with us, and is holding up his agreement just because it was Trauma.

“I-I thought that too.  I wouldn’t dwe-”

“I saw you!”  she screamed, furious.  “I saw him fucking break your legs and make you beg him to stop!  And then he broke your fucking arms anyway!”

Wait, what just happened to me?

“He’s been making me watch, every time I was free he made me watch and now he’s just fucking letting me remember because it’s the last year!”

“Look, Samantha, Lis-”

It didn’t work.  She thrashed, angry and terrified at the world, her chains rattling like mad.

She glowed in the magnificence of powers being born and reborn, and chains turned to intestines, tied like knots.  The ground and the room slowly changed to human flesh.  She’d re-awoken her powers again; she’d reached the twelfth stage.

***

“I’ll protect her,”  I said to the many eyed child, heading for the outside.  Only Samantha’s beasts were left.  The parodies of the friends she had to kill.  The family she was tricked into murdering.  “I’ll protect her, Druggie.”

The many eyed child is surprisingly receptive to the name Druggie, just like how the peekaboo child responds to Bloodwitch.  Homunculi; perverted and insane representations of others.

I walked out, Unperson, Maxwell, the new cape and Margaret standing in a circle, talking.

Maxwell turned to me.  They knew.  Margaret must have told them.

“There are a few things in there that you should kill,”  I said.  “They aren’t that hard to fight, but they are human-ish.”

Unperson looked sick.  I stunk of various fluids.  I needed a wash.

“Ryan,”  started Maxwell, softer now.  “You must talk.  We can take care o-”

“You can’t,”  I said.  “You know who she is, and you know what happened.  What should be done, and what will be done are complete and utter opposites, and she’s already…”

I choked.

“I’m going to take her away.  Not to the City, the city is a hell hole.  I’ll make my own place, I can do it.”

Unperson looked confused, but stopped Maxwell from interrupting me.

“The city isn’t good enough.  Too many people get thrown in, regardless of how good they are.”

Unperson spoke up.  “She’s not go-”

“That doesn’t matter!”  I shot back.  “She paid for that more than anyone else ever will!  I don’t think a single criminal or fugitive or whatever out there paid for what they did in their entire lives as much as she did in a year!”

“Ryan, she’ll just do thi-”

“I can make spaces, and you know they don’t go away until I wish so.  There is only the City, that’s all there is to stop powers from activating,”  I explained.

Guards finished off the last monster in the now normal building.

“I can make whole villages to aid others who can’t, just let me take care of her myself.”

Maxwell looked at Unperson.  She was partially convinced, but not enough.  He looked at Margaret.

“He can do it,”  she said.  “And Maxwell;  I didn’t get it as bad as she did.  Nobody did.”

Maxwell growled under his breath, cooling the air.

“Fine,”  he relented after too long.  “It’ll be under contract with the NHN Ryan.  That is if the higher ups agree with it.”

He turned to the unnamed cape.  “Aim, go report this to Alliance and crew.”

Aim smiled, and set off in the air.  His green spandex didn’t suit him at all.  Sacrifice rested, not stirring as I barely held her up in my arms.

I need to put her down somewhere.

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