Fragmentation 11-15

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Meant to have this done for last night, but wasn’t able to. So, it’s delayed for a day. Anyway…

11) Sadness

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Weeks. It had been about ten or so weeks since Serena had last heard from her only son. The last time anyone had heard from the young man, he was on his way to a comic convention the next city over.

But right now, she had no idea where he was. He’d never made it to the convention, and every last lab in the city had been turned upside down at least five times. People had been interrogated. There was a manhunt that spanned throughout the entirety of the state. But there was no sign of him anywhere.

Well, almost no sign. There was, at one point, a lead in the eastern part of the city. Some hair had been found on the sidewalk. It was long and red. Nobody had paid it much mind for a while.

Until now.  A different lab had analyzed the hair. After a lot of back and forth between them, the police department, and a few other labs, there was finally something to report.

Serena had been hoping to find some information when the phone rang. So, when she heard that tone, she sprang from her work.

“Hello?”

“Dr. Taylor?”

The familiar voice of an officer that had called numerous times. Usually to report that they still hadn’t found anything on it.

“Yes, that’d be me,” she replied.

“We have a lead on the whereabouts of your son.”

She nearly dropped the phone. Her heart skipped a few beats with abject joy.

“Really? Where is he?!” she asked. “Is he okay? He’s not dead, is he? Please tell me you have something!”

Hesitation.

Oh, how she hated that hesitation…

“I’m going to be blunt here, Dr. Taylor. We have no idea where, exactly, your son is. We can, however, tell you that wherever he is, he did not go of his own free will. And he doesn’t appear to be anywhere in Pennsylvania. Aside from that, we have no idea. I’m sorry.”

Serena’s ears folded back. This wasn’t quite what she had in mind, when she heard about getting a lead on where her son was.

“O-oh… I see…”

Her free hand gravitated toward Travis’ “Missing” poster. She’d had a copy of it on her desk ever since they were printed.

“I’m sorry, once again, Dr. Taylor.”

“I understand. Well, thank you for the information…”

She hung up, before making her daily trek to his room. He hadn’t slept in that room since moving in with his sister and her husband. She still kept it set up for him, just in case he ever felt like staying over. But that room and the poster were the closest she felt she’d get to seeing him again.

Serena sat on the bed, drawing her knees to her chest, and began crying. Another part of her now-daily ritual.

All she could ask was…”Why?”

Why did this have to happen?

And why Travis?

Why would anyone feel the need to take him?

And what were they doing to him now…?

It was probably that psychopath. She had it in for him.

But where would she have taken him…?

12) Confusion

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“You want to do what again?” Tsaeb asked, scratching his head.

“Play fetch,” Nick told him, tossing the rubber ball up and down in his hand.

“And what would that be?”

The off-duty FBI agent sighed, running his fingers through his dark hair. “It’s a game people tend to play with their dogs, Tsaeb. A person throws the ball, the dog runs after it and brings it back. It’s not exactly rocket science.”

“Why?”

“…Why, what?”

“Why would they bring the ball back?”

“So it can be thrown again.”

‘But why?”

“Because it’s how a lot of dogs have fun. Is that easy enough to comprehend?”

“Not really…”

Right now, Nick was sort of wishing he were back at work. But nope. He just HAD to have a couple of weeks off. And then he just had to go and spend it with his family. Which included his sister’s opposite-gender, canine clone. With wings. He wasn’t sure where those wings came from. All he knew was that he was getting frustrated with his inability to grasp the concept of fetch.

“How about I just throw the ball… Let canine instincts take over, or something.”

“Okay.”

Nick threw it overhand. It sailed behind Tsaeb, who turned to watch it. and then he turned back to Nick and began clapping.

“Great arm!”

“Um… Thank you, Tsaeb. I take it you’ve no inclination to go get it?”

“Not really.”

“Huh… Okay, then, be right back…”

Nick walked toward where he’d seen the ball fly. It had gone pretty far. And it had managed to go right through of the windows of Serena’s lab. Never before had he felt such dread.

Just what would she do to him when she found out…?

As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait very long at all to find out how she’d respond. She stood outside of the lab, tossing the ball up and down in her hand.

“Um… Serena, I’m sorry about the window…”

She just grinned. It was like she wasn’t mad at all. Huh… What?

“I was planning to replace that window, anyway,” she said. “Our sister already broke it.”

Nick blinked.

“How?”

“She was sparring with Travis. And managed to hurl the boy right into the window. It’d cracked upon impact and lost a few shards. I think Spencer got them all out of his back. I think, anyway.”

“You…think.”

“Yeah.”

Serena tossed the ball back to Nick, who headed back over to Tsaeb. Well. Okay, then. There was that issue resolved. Tsaeb had been on the ground by the time he returned, scratching the back of an ear with his foot. He’d had to remove the shoe and sock on that foot to do so, but there he was. He looked up at Nick as he arrived.

“So… What’s the point of this ‘fetch’ thing, again?”

Nick threw the ball.

“Go run after it,” he said. “It’s meant to be fun. We’ve been through this, haven’t we?”

Tsaeb shrugged, before chasing the ball. He returned with it after several moments, handing it back over to Nick. His tail wasn’t wagging. But his ears were perked up a bit. On his face was an expression of sheer confusion.

“…I still don’t get it.”

And for the first time since he joined the FBI, Nick just sort of gave up and walked away.

13) Freedom

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They never thought this day would come. But here it was. The day they were all finally able to leave the lab.

It was a strange feeling, to say the least. All four girls had been in that particular lab since they were children. It had, for the past 25 or so years, been their home. It wasn’t always a pleasant home, of course. Not with the testing, and the pre-dawn wakeup calls for some of these tests. They hadn’t even had real rooms there. Not since they were little. once they hit their teens, they were each given what basically amounted to cells. Each cell contained a cot, and a small changing area. Bathroom breaks needed to be asked for, which would then involve an escort.

But they had been given generous portions of food. The lab workers hadn’t wanted them to starve, after all.

This had been their existence right up until today. Today, 20 year old Nick Taylor, currently in school studying law enforcement, had come by to meet his older sisters for the first time. He knew they’d been held in that lab for several years, and decided to also try and free them from the place. Preferably without resorting to violence.

A number of negotiations later, Nick appeared at his sisters’ cell with one of the much taller scientists. Of course, Nick WAS only 5’3”. It didn’t take much for the scientists to be taller than himself.

“Experiments 24601 and 24602?” the scientist asked.

The experiments in question looked up. 24602, known as Serena, pushed up her glasses and looked at the shorter man. His eyes looked so identical to hers and her sister’s. But she’d never seen him before in her life. Her sister Beast stepped toward the door.

“Who’s this guy?” she asked the scientist, arms crossed.

“My name’s Nick. I’m here to get you out.”

Beast and Serena stared at Nick for a moment, and then at the scientist.

“…You’re not fuckin’ with us, are you?” she asked.

“Not at all,” the scientist replied. “I can get the paperwork, if you’d like.”

The door was unlocked, and Beast and Serena gathered what few belongings they had. Beast had a set of knives, while Serena had a number of books concerning robotics. As they exited the cell, they were joined by another scientist. With this one were experiments 25101 and 25102: the Sangre sisters.

“So, these are their friends?” Nick asked.

“That is correct, Mr. Taylor.”

Serena blinked. “…Wait. ‘Taylor’?”

“Yes. He is your brother.”

Ivy, also known as 25102, tilted her head to the side.

“How’d he know about the place, and why’re me and ‘Vette leaving with them?”

Nick ran his hand through his dark hair. “I’ll explain after we leave. Are you all ready to go?”

None of them argued with that.

As the group left, all of their small belongings were put into one rolling suitcase, which Nick began pulling for them. The two sets of twins followed him down the corridors, and through the exits.

The very first thing that hit them was natural sunlight. The first time they’d seen the real thing since they were small. Blinding, beautiful…

They stepped through the parking lot. There were few cars around. And fewer people. For a brief moment, the girls all wondered if they were being set up.

“My car is in the parking garage a couple blocks over,” Nick said.

Serena was the one to clear her throat.

“So… Nick, is it?”

“Yeah?”

“How’d you find out?”

Nick was quiet for a moment, before beginning to go into it.

“I was raised by one of the doctors here. Dr. Wilkes. He only told me about you all last year.”

“Dr. Wilkes…” Beast mused. “Wait, would he be that one doctor with the dark blue eyes and brownish skin and glasses? Gives physicals?”

“That’d be him. He told me there were two girls with the same eyes as myself, and the same last name. We got to talking and he told me all about you two and your friends. I’d been working on a way to get you out ever since. “

Silence, and then Beast wrapped her arms around her little brother in a hug.

“Thanks.”

Serena pushed up her glasses, thinking over how to go about her new life. Ivy and Yvette trailed behind a little, talking excitedly with one another about potential paths they could take now that they were free of the lab.

And as for Nick, he had begun thinking of his own future. Helping people like this made him feel great. And since he was already studying law enforcement, he was thinking of a goal to ultimately work toward.

Several years later, he was accepted into the FBI.

14) Inevitable

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Why couldn’t Yvette listen to reason? That was the last thing that went through Ivy’s mind as her body fell to the cold wet street. She’d tried to persuade him to leave Slade. That the mage wasn’t the best thing for her.

She had asked Yvette to come back to their friends. To stop assisting with the murder of so many innocent people. Yvette saw the deaths as casualties of war. Ivy, on the other hand, saw them for what they were: genocide.

Yvette had tried to convince Ivy to come to their side. Ivy didn’t take that very well, instead charging Slade with her sword. She wasn’t able to decapitate him as planned.

First, red magical energy ripped Ivy away from Slade. And then the sword was torn from her hands. And last but not least, the blade of the sword was thrust through her chest.

Her death wasn’t instantaneous. She’d had a few minutes before her breath stopped. She’d used those last moments to tell young Gemmy to tell their friends her goodbyes.

At the moment, Ivy’s soul had been pacing by the steadily cooling body. She was waiting for the inevitable visit from Death. She’d always sort of expected the Reaper to be standing right there after the end.

Though to be honest, given all the people that had been dying in just Hell Bent alone, she could understand there being a delay. She could try to re-enter her body, sure. But she doubted it’d go very well, considering the sword wedged in the chest.

“Ivy Sangre?” a voice asked.

“Took you long enough,” Ivy replied, turning toward the source.

Sure enough, there he stood. Tall, imposing, clad in a hooded black robe. A scythe held in his bony hand, he looked Ivy over. She saw her face reflected in it.

Ivy wasn’t afraid of the Reaper. She wasn’t happy to see him, sure. But she knew this was coming. It had to come one of these days.

She just hadn’t expected it to be this soon. There was but one question on her mind.

“So… Which way am I going?”

“That is not for me to decide. You’ll be taken to the afterlife, where they will judge your actions here on Earth.”

That statement gave her pause. Ivy wasn’t entirely sure how great of a person she was. She cared about her family and friends. And she had been the one to help Travis recover from his ordeal with serial killer Jesse Lynn Belle. She gave to charity at Christmas each year.

But on the other hand, her living had been spent killing. She’d also become quite adept at stealing when needed. She wasn’t exactly caught up on the dos and don’ts of having a happy afterlife. But she was fairly certain that murder and theft were on the latter end of the spectrum.

Maybe she could make a case for herself. She was sure she wasn’t a terrible person, at least. She’d only done the murder and theft things for her job. And those that she killed were known for hurting innocent people, anyhow.

It wasn’t like any of her targets were innocent, so she may have found a loophole. She hoped so.

The Reaper held out his hand to her, as if noticing her newfound apprehension. “It’s better to be judged than to be left on Earth.”

“Why?”

“You’d become a vengeful spirit.”

Ivy thought of what she knew about vengeful spirits. And she couldn’t bear to do that to her friends.

And so, she took the Reaper’s hand, as he dragged his scythe through the air. A hole opened up before them. It was like a tear in reality, and Ivy was guided through it, ready(ish) for what would come next.

15) Idle

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Jesse pulled off her shooting mask, taking her long blonde hair out of its high ponytail. It got a bit warm wearing that thing, being made of latex. But it helped with her look on their films.

Jack was finishing up a few edits on their newest piece of work, as Lane sat back in his chair in Jack’s office. He hated his work sometimes. Sure, his dream had always been to be an accountant for a major film studio.

But why did that studio have to be Visions Studios? Visions had been responsible for a rash of murders. Murders committed by Jesse, and filmed by Jack. All Lane had to do was keep track of their finances and act as a receptionist for anyone that called in. He was the voice of this company, and their wallet.

But he had no say in how things went once a new victim set foot in that studio. Once they were  inside the labyrinth known as the studio, they were pretty much doomed.

Jack wheeled his chair away from the laptop a bit, just spinning it a bit.

“Nice work out there today, Jesse. You always bring out the best performances in your co-stars.”

“It means so much to me to hear you say that,” she said, leaning against the desk. “How goes your editing?”

“Great. Would you like to see the newest film? Gauge your performance?”

“Well, in the name of professionalism, how can I say no?”

Jesse stood behind Jack as he started up the film. This one had begun with a young girl. She had to be about thirteen, if Lane had to guess. He recalled speaking on the phone with her. He was asked to lie to her, to tell her that he was the head of a tutoring agency and that the girl was being inducted into the agency. Since this girl was top of her class, she hadn’t exactly questioned it.

Lane wasn’t watching the film. And he’d done nothing to stop the girl from meeting her doom. He could hear the girl screaming in the movie.

“Please stop!” he’d heard her sob.

He could still smell all of the blood as he passed by the shooting room. The poor kid had completely bled out, from what he understood. When Jesse had hauled her body out of the room, she had massive gashes on the arms and legs. Right where the major arteries and veins were. The one that was conspicuously left alone was her jugular vein. Presumably, Jesse had wanted to hear her cries during the exsanguination.

There was nothing he could do about Jesse, though. she terrified him. The thought of going to prison for being associated with her terrified him. But mostly the idea of trying to contact the authorities and being found out by Jesse was what scared him most.

So for now, he’d sit there idly. He’d wait for Jesse to screw up. Get herself busted.

Then he could be free.

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