Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Three
Eden, by rhetoric
Word count: 1,240
*takes place before the second half of the events in "the unexpected heathen"*
She stood over the limp feline, her breathing heavy and her heartbeat erratic. It had taken longer than she’d expected, and her vision hadn’t been entirely accurate; but there was too much still to do, she didn’t have time to stand and ponder the small inconsistencies. She wiped the blood on her hands onto her leggings and made her way into the concave area the beast had come from.
The halls were empty. It seemed no one wanted to be nearby in case the jaguar got loose. No one expected her to be the one prowling the halls seeking prey. She strode easily, despite her wounds, her long strides smooth and patient; she glided down the linoleum floors with an eerie grace, foreign even to other vampires. She moved as if she truly walked on nothing but air; the only trace of her presence the bloody footprints that she left behind.
She found a small armory of cattle prods and she slipped one, the safety carefully locked in, into the back of her pants, along her spine. She kept a second one in her palm. She wondered how far away the employee lounge was.
She had things to do, certainly, but a cigarette couldn’t hurt.
She waited for them in the lounge, her feet propped up on an empty chair, a cigarette between her bruised and dirty lips. While stashing her acquired weapons, she’d even found a decanter of whiskey and sipped the liquor from one of the tiny paper cups for the water dispenser. She was wiping her freshly washed hands on an abandoned lab coat, having found no towels. She frowned at them when they broke in, guns leveled between her eyes, hollering for her to Get the fuck down!
“Finally,” she said, stubbing out her cigarette in the ashtray; the gesture was casual, disinterested. She didn’t flinch at their sudden appearance, didn’t seem at all bothered by their waving barrels and bellowing demands. “I have places to be, you know,” she added, and lunged across the room with the inhuman, unfathomable speed that only a vampire could have, fangs bared. She went for the biggest one, first.
Within a minute and a half, the armed guards were dead and those that remained had their hands in the air, their weapons dropped at their feet, with a prayer on their lips. She smiled at them, and blood dripped from the tips of her fangs, her pupils dilated and disconcerting. Her clothes were torn and jagged where the jaguar’s claws had sunk into muscle, but the wounds were knitting together ever-so-slowly.
She ran her tongue along her bottom lip, gently scraping over the splits that hadn’t quite healed, allowing them a terrifying glimpse into how she enjoyed the taste of their comrades’ blood. When she’d finished, after wiping the rest of the blood from her mouth with her fingers and casually licking them clean, she said, “Take me to Zeus.”
Zeus had insisted the guards tie her up properly. Even though she made no move to protest, they did so gingerly – and she wondered how secure the binds actually were.
He’d looped the cuffs around her wrists onto an anchor that he raised above her head, lifting her feet from the ground and twisting her shoulders out of their sockets. She smiled at him and said, “What a lovely view, I can see your hubris from here.”
He scowled at her but collected himself quickly. “Who are you, my child?”
“Haven’t you figured that out, yet?” She tilted her head to the side, configuring a perfectly curious expression on her features. Her eyes said, how could you not know?
He studied her in judgmental silence for a long few moments, as if he expected her mask to come crumbling down if he looked hard enough.
She said, “I’d be glad to tell you, but you’re not worth telling.”
He lowered the anchor and stepped close enough to touch her. The backside of his hand smacked against her face, hard, but she simply looked at him. He hit her again, and followed it up with a solid punch to the face. Once he got started, he showed few signs of ever stopping. He swung at her, eventually moving from her battered facial structure to her ribcage, cracking and bruising her all the way through to her bone marrow.
He grew impatient when she made no noise. “How would you like your shot?” He sneered at her, raising her back off the floor and gesturing with his free hand to an assistant in the corner.
“Serum or not,” she said, “You’ll be dead within the hour.”
“I doubt that very much, my dear,” he said, as the syringe sank into the bottom of her foot.
The serum spread upward from the heel of her foot, travelling up her thigh, across her abdomen, over her ribcage. It spiraled out and twisted around her back, up her shoulder blades. She let it fill her, scalding every atom in her body, and then took in a steady breath.
Yes, she thought, let it spread. This would be the last time.
When he was sufficiently convinced she’d had enough serum to put her inheritance into hibernation for the rest of her life, he lowered her back down until her legs crumpled beneath her and she sat on the ground, her arms still raised above her head.
He grabbed the chain between the metal cuffs and let her arms drop to the ground in front of her, the sharp pain of her dislocated shoulders ripping through her torso. She gritted her teeth, careful to keep any sign of strain from her jawline – she wouldn’t let him have the pleasure of seeing her struggle – and rolled them until they popped back into place, one agonizing roll at a time.
As he had her moved to a chair at the end of a long table, she said, “You have no idea what’s going to come for you,” and the look on his face was enough satisfaction for her to allow the guards to stretch her arms across the table and tie them in place.
The rope was taut, stretched across too much space, and dug into the flesh of her wrists until they bled. She relaxed into the position as much as she could, refusing to tug on the binds and increase her own discomfort.
A man stepped closer to the table and flicked on a spotlight, though his position was carefully out of her vision, she could smell him. He smelled like cinders and copper. And wet dog.
Her hair fell in her face when she attempted to turn her head to see him. She knew what he was doing without having to look – she could feel the coolness of a knife hovering over her skin. Zeus said, “Take some samples,” and the edge of the blade sank in. The faceless man peeled off layers of the epidermis on her arms and folded the strips into neat piles on a metal tray, delicately, every movement peculiar and methodical.
Then, he got out the cigar cutter, and she knew the time was at hand.
She felt Pilot on the outskirts of her consciousness; his inheritance spread through the building swiftly, contaminating the air with the stale scent of decay.
“Cut it off,” she encouraged, “I want to see him eat your heart while it still beats.”
* author note: as has been my habit lately, this is only part one of two. Pilot's next chapter will hopefully get written up tomorrow.