Friday, 13 January 2012

~Steele~ Heart of Darkness

I don't particularly want to talk about it anymore, but here I am. God knows I need to do something productive, ever since...that, I've been holed up in the garage, sleeping on a tattered mattress in the corner, keys in hand. Ready to go, but something always keeps me here. Some strange part of my mind, beyond the logic and the fear, a swirling pile of unexplainable emotions, motivations that I didn't know I had, hell, that I don't even know the name for. I suppose we all have them, that degree of uncertainty in the back of your mind. That part of you that makes you do things you never realised you had in you, that go against who you are, and leave you thinking, 'why?' Those shameful moments, the bursts of anger...No person puts themselves in a situation they don't enjoy, not willingly.

So why do we do it so fucking often? There's got to be some part of the mind that makes it so, some terrible, dark part of the mind that has desires which run entirely perpendicular to the pursuit of happiness. A part of us with alien desires, self-destructive patterns. Sigmund Freud theorized about the death drive, the wish to return to whence we came. Others gave it a name, called it 'thanatos', after the Greek mythological personification of Death. The part of us that makes us replay traumatic experiences over and over, magnifying them. We don't want to, but we do it anyway, an entirely internal unhappiness, despite us presumably being entirely in control of our thoughts.

Thanatos. That part of us that drives aggression against each other, for control of resources, for ideological reasons...the destruction of fellow man, for reasons we don't truly understand.

Thanatos, that part of us that stands on a bridge, looks down and feels strangely comforted.

It was called 'thanatos' at the turn of last century.

I wonder what we call Him now?

.   .   .

I looked down the stairs, fear and foreboding wrenching my mind in two. I didn't know what to expect, I couldn't know what to expect. The expected had been thrown out the window when the walls started to melt. The silence roared up from down below with an almost palpable ferocity, a rumbling, stagnant silence that hung in the air like mustard gas.

I reached down to my holster. There was no way I was heading down there without some sort of protection. Flicking the safety off, I took one step, two, down the creaking steps, and closed the door behind me, cutting off the last remaining light. I sat and waited for my purple vision to kick in; this was unfamiliar territory, the only way I'd be able to have any sort of advantage would be if I could see it better than the other bloke. this point, I almost expected to see Spencer or Todd skulking around down here, so I decided to plan ahead, going through my pockets and pulling out a leather pouch, from which I took two syringes and a darkened spoon, before reaching back into the bag. In a Loop, you have all the time in the world for that.

Soon having my bearings, eyes adjusted to the dark I continued down. It was quiet...but not the oppressive silence of before, there was a buzzing in the air, an intermittent whine, which stopped for only a second before starting up again with renewed vigor. I walked with soft feet as the whine grew louder, resonating and vibrating upwards and outwards into a harsh scream, one filled with unimaginable pain, piercing, practically rattling the medical supplies which were rather strewn around the entire facility. I followed the sound for what seemed like an age, its intensity growing louder and louder...

I walked down a corridor and saw at the far end, a thick metal door with two small glass panes either side of it looking into the room beyond, with just a little light seeping through. Walking up to it as quietly as I could, I stayed low and to the shadows, not wanting to be seen...with a light hand on the door, I pulled myself up to the left window and peeked through.

The room was...well, it had clearly been designed to look like an operating theatre, but it had fallen into the position of storage room sometime during Doc's time down here with her little mad scientist routine. And what a storage room; the walls were lined with shelves of jars, some entirely opaque, some which clearly had things preserved in them. Small lizards, bugs...then at the creepier end of the spectrum, rodents, snakes, a single opossum with its lips curled back in a snarling grin...what looked very much like a human hand...

But even the jars weren't the worst part, strewn around the room were animals at varying stages of decomposition. Masticated coyotes with rotted flesh, birds strung up by their necks with ruffled feathers, and bones, so many bones, piled up almost as if there was a natural sort of order to it; it didn't look unclean, it was cool, methodical...surgical.

And in the centre of that room was Doc, leaning over a prone Matthew Rivers, his face contorted into a mask of pure agony, arms and legs strapped to the operating table...Except 'legs' wasn't quite correct, as one was sticking out of a steel bucket on the ground, a cut pant leg next to it with the unmistakable stain of blood. Lori's glasses reflected the light, coming from a single light in the centre of the room, the rest of the lights resolutely darkened. Her eyes were hidden, and she appeared to be concentrating particularly hard as she cut at the pants on his other leg with a pair of scissors, though every so often her lips would part in a slight giggle, almost nervous, and very quiet compared to the yelps which erupted from the psychologist's mouth as he struggled.

I slid back down from the window, nauseated, horrified...and desperately planning. Experimentally, I tried pulling the handle, and wasn't surprised at all to find the door locked. Oh well.

Time for plan B. I pulled out my gun and aimed it at the lock, before catching myself. "That only works in the movies, asshole," I muttered, before pointing at the window, looking away, and pulling the trigger.

Crash. So much for the element of surprise, I thought as I stuck my hand through the window and swiftly unlocked the door, as Lori recoiled backwards and snapped her head around to look at me, standing in front of the light, glasses no longer obscuring the sight of her glassy, severe eyes. Rivers whimpered. I gave her a quick grin, a part of me hoping I'd get one in return, hoping her gaze would soften and ask for me to politely not shoot her window...

Her eyes twinkled, and a vibrant laugh floated towards me as I breathed a sigh of relief.

Which was short-lived as she reached for a scalpel and laughed even harder, taking a few steps towards the door. I winced and, as an after-thought, reached for the lightswitch. My eyes were still adjusted to the dark, hers weren't. And I needed any chance I could get. The last thing I saw before we were plunged into pitch blackness was the cruel red glint of the scalpel blade.

Withdrawing my hand from the window, I pushed open the door and snuck in, staying low to the ground. The sudden lack of light shocked Lori, and she stumbled a little, swinging her scalpel around madly, her teeth involuntarily gnashing with each swing. That was my first order of business, disarming her; I crawled up, staying close to the floor as she swung in a rage...then all of a sudden she stopped, holding her scalpel in front of her face, and scanned the area slowly, her glasses cloudy in the low light. When she was looking the other way, I slid up closer, praying that Rivers would make some more noise to hide the sounds of me sneaking, but he had returned to a dull whimper and heavy breathing. Clearly not wanting to startle the one with the knife, which is an admirable venture...

She spun around with terrifying force and stared at the door, her glasses swaying just slightly with her head. I held my breath, and the room went dead silent. Lori didn't move, she just stood there, and Rivers...I didn't know what Rivers was doing, but his breathing had calmed. Fuck, he has to be alright...

I breathed out, and Lori struck at me like a cobra, slicing me across the forehead with a long slash as I fell back and grasped around behind me for something to defend myself with, until my hands grabbed something cold and muscly, which I brought out in front of my face just as Lori stabbed down, and something metal clanged behind me...

The scalpel stuck, and I pushed Lori back with renewed force, seeing my chance, feeling wetness soak into the back of my shirt. Her grip on it came loose, and she stumbled backwards as I got to my feet and swung my newfound weapon at her side, catching her under the arm and feeling something salty flick onto my face, a single drop getting in my which point, I realised what my weapon was and dropped it in horror; the severed leg tumbled to the ground unceremoniously as I resisted an oncoming wave of nausea, though not too well. I retched, and Lori smacked me across the face with an open palm, before lunging at my throat with her nails, knocking me backwards and winding me, landing spritely on my chest with a sweet smile on her face, glasses shimmering. Her fingers, moving with the practiced ease of a surgeon effortlessly found the carotid arteries on either side of my windpipe, which she pressed down on with a gleeful cackle; I felt my vision start to blur, and my head start to spin as her nails dug into the thin skin on my neck, completely ignoring my windpipe as all I could do was breathe, breathe...

And reach for the syringe in my pocket, which I stabbed into her cocked elbow, with the practiced ease of a self-confessed junkie, drawing blood in from the vein and injecting in two swift movements. Her glasses dropped off with a start as her thumbs relaxed, and she looked at me in the eyes...curiously. "...wha?"

"Let's call it a morphine milkshake." I commented with an all-too-gracious smile, as the good doctor began to quiver. I gently pried her limp hands from my neck and pushed her off me, without much resistance, as a broad, content smile grew on her face. I stood and went to turn on the lights, going through my pockets to find the second syringe as I walked over to Dr. Rivers, who looked at me with tears in his eyes and chapped, bloodied lips which he'd clearly torn to pieces with his own teeth. "Thank you." he said in a hoarse voice, as I gave him the opiate wordlessly, waiting a few minutes to make sure it had helped with the pain.

With that, I turned back to the good doctor lying on the ground and drew the gun again. Now things were sorted, there was a glaring issue here to take care of.

-   -   -

"You in there, Lori?" I said, sitting cross-legged next to the girl lying on the ground. Her gaze slowly swung in my direction. Vacant stare, and just a tiny bit of saliva on the corner of her mouth. Attractive look. "'ello, Steele." She got out eventually, with much difficulty enunciating. I decided to start off tactically. "We cool?"
"You just cut off a man's leg and tried to kill me with a scalpel. Are we cool, or are you still feeling stabby?" ...well, tactically enough.
She blinked, and mumbled something inaudible, before speaking a little louder. "Marcus left. I don't need to do that anymore."
Marcus...her ex. Poor girl, she'd been through so much...but apparently she was going through a little bit more. "I don't know, I'm seeing a lot of Marcus in you sometimes. We're your friends, you know that. We'd never hurt you." I placed the gun softly next to her ear, and she turned to look at it, clearly puzzled. "But that person who attacked me, that wasn't you. That was someone else. Mind telling me who?"
Her gaze was oddly contemplative. "Marcus said I had to operate or he'd die."

Oh, lord.

"Marcus...don't listen to him. You remember last time you two met? He tried to hurt you?"
A nod. "Know it now...didn't know it...when..." She shuddered a little. I realised at this point that she was lying in the overturned bucket of Rivers' blood, so I put an arm under her back and picked her up into a sitting position; she wavered a little, so I kept my support behind her. "Kinda felt everything fade into the shadows...laughing, didn't know why..." She looked contemplatively at the blood on her hands.
"You okay, hun? You remember it all?" I asked, trying to sound comforting. She thought about that for a moment and went pale. "Oh god, is he...?" She stood and walked over to Rivers, it was all I could do to catch up and grab her. "He's fine. Are you fine to be checking on him? If anything else bad were to happen to him..." I flashed a warning glance at her, and immediately regretted it as the doctor cowered. "I just want to say...say I'm..." her eyes teared up a little from the guilt, and I relented. "He knows, love. Don't worry. We've got so much else to worry about right now."
"Like what?"
"The House has gone a little haywire. We need to find Spence." I said, moving away from the operating table to light a cigarette, as she processed this new information, before taking a few steps towards me, before an unmistakable crunch of glass emerged from under her foot. I was a little on edge, I'll admit: I dropped my match and spun around. Lori looked underneath her foot, to see the crushed remains of her glasses. She tried to put them on, and with an emphatic "Fuuuuuck," realised they were beyond repair. "Well, this sucks." She turned to me, broken glasses still on her face. "Shall we?"

I smiled. "Of course, love. You got another pair you can pick up before we go? That said, I don't know if you'd like what you'll see up top."

"Fuck it .  .  . Let's just go."


  1. Holy fuck I'm so glad you're both alright.

  2. "No person puts themselves in a situation they don't enjoy, not willingly." Really, now. Because I do willingly go to the dentist, but I don't enjoy it at all.

  3. Steele, thank you. Fuck, thank you. You could've just upped and ran when shit went to hell, but you didn't, and not only that, you were there for our team when I...


    ... and Lori, shit, I'm sorry for letting it get that far. I thought I could... regardless. It's not your fault. If anyone should take the blame, it's me.

  4. And that, Ben, is why dentists have statistically higher suicide rates than just about any profession.

    Spencer (oh look he's not dead, wouldn't have been fucking surprised) I have but one thing to say to that.
    *slow clap* Great fucking job.

  5. Ben: You make a good point, but from going to the dentist, you keep yourself healthy, and everyone likes that. Plus if we were going Freudian about it, nice teeth help you get laid, so there's that.

    Or maybe I've just spent too much time around our amputee psychologist.