The room was silent, everyone gazed away trying to find something calming to occupy their thoughts. Author and character alike were unsettled by Shards harrowing tale and the entrance of another newcomer. Devlin whispered into Reapers ear as he fidgeted with the buttons on his jacket.
"Thank you Shard," I said regaining my train of thought. "The first step to healing is telling people, even strangers, about what happened." I took another deep breath and put on a smile for the solemn group. "I know what you all just heard may be hard or even frightening but if you all are to find some way out of your problems then you need to face them. Who would like to go next?" Reapers face shifted into a worrying wince as Devlin kept up her hushed whispering in russian. Reaper responded and sighed heavily. He stood and walked to the middle of the room, like an actor would walk upon a stage. Devlin spoke.
"Reaper said he'd share, but Anna, he has one condition." I raised an eyebrow but nodded for the young girl. She gave a weak smile and kept playing with a ring between her fingers. Reaper took over speaking.
"You must not interfere, no matter what happens. Understand Doctor." My heart rate increased, what did he mean by 'no matter what happens'? I slowly nodded my head and Reaper took a deep breath.
"My tale may not be as...deep...as Shards but it has it's own dark horrors." He pulled off his jacket and removed his shirt. A gasp echoed from the rooms occupants; authors and characters alike stared in astonishment at the number of scars covering the Russian's body. Numerous healed bullet wounds pockmarked his torso, almost like spots on a leopard. Other scars from sharp edged weapons, likely knives, crisscrossed his sides, stomach, back, and throat. What had happened?! I gapped.
"These trinkets," he said pulling his shirt and jacket back on "are a side effect of my profession. I kill people. It doesn't matter who they are or where they came from, somebody wants them dead they call me." His heavy accent made each word fall harder. " I have been tortured numerous times," a shiver ran up his spine and his face contorted to a mix or anger and pain. "Hunted by governments, organizations, assassins, friends and foes alike. I learned quick to find pleasure in my work. The satisfying look in a mans eyes when he knows he's going to die and there isn't a damn thing he can do about it. And the screams..."
He closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and took a deep breath before reopening his eyes and looking at his captive audience. "I began to experiment with how I killed them. A gun was just too quick, too clean. There are no lasting psychological damage with a fatal gunshot wound. I learned that prolonging the pain and the agony, created entertainment. Electricity worked well but sometimes it wasn't quick or slow enough. A knife worked even better. You could stab a knife at just the right angle so he can't scream or drag the blade ever so slowly across his throat." Devlin winced at every word that Reaper spoke, almost like it was causing her physical pain.
"And you know what's funny about it all?" He paused, a tense silence choking the room. "I can see all their faces, each and every one of them. I can see their blood covering my hands as I cut them apart piece by piece or blasted them away with a high caliber rifle. I can hear every plea, cry, and gut wrenching scream that spewed from their lips. In the end, you know who I blame?" Reaper put his hand into his pocket and looked around. No one answered. Shrugging he withdrew a pistol. My eyes widened and my heart caught in my throat, hadn't he been searched?! I began to stand but the sleek black weapon pointed between my eyes.
"You promised you wouldn't interfere, suka (traitor)." he said dangerously, a twisted smile on his face, icy blue eyes glinting with energy. Reaper then turned his attention to his creator, Devlin. She trembled lightly at the sight of the gun, she knew Reaper could use it with deadly efficiency. Her snowy grey eyes were frozen to the guns grinning barrel. He took a few steps over to her and placed the weapon against her forehead. Devlin closed her eyes, it was an inevitability of her end.
"I blame you! Your twisted imagination and sick idea of fun. Did you honestly think that I was it was so fictional? We are a part of each other and I am very, very real!"
"Reaper!" I shouted as his finger tensed around the trigger. Everyone was frozen to their seat stuck between the desire to help and the fear of what would happen if they did. Tears streamed down Devlin's young face but she made no sound, Reaper grinned.
Everyone jumped at the noise. Reaper laughed hysterically as Devlin's eyes shot open in shock "I told you," he said "it is more fun when the torture is prolonged and damages psychologically." He pulled back the weapons slide.
"There's no firing pin meaning no gunshot, guess it's your lucky day." Reaper pocketed the weapon and sat next to his author, personality instantly changing as he picked Devlin up and cradled her, like a baby, in his arms. Cooing soft russian words to her. Nuzzling into his shoulder, Devlin stayed silent, her eyes closed, and tears dripping down her face. Her hands held his jacket tightly, like a child clutching their mother.
"That's all you'll get from me for now Doctor," Reaper said in a cold growl. He never took his caring gaze off of Devlin as he softly stroked her head.