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Galleon
02-18-2008, 07:21 AM
((This is not a story about Pokemon. It is not about a Pokemon trainer or a Pokemon breeder or a Pokemon nurse or scientist or farmer or whatever the heck else there was. Pokemon of the conventional sense do not exist in this particular world. This is not a light-hearted tale, and neither is it meant to be extremely dark or abrasive. If you don't like that, then please send hate mail to Scott, because he is a poop head.))

- - - - - - CLEAVER - - - - - -
by Galleon

...There was no excuse. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. If only this sickening feeling in his stomach would go away, he would’ve liked to say something, try to explain maybe. It was ironic, it was. After everything that had happened, he saw something in himself that he’d never seen before, never wanted to see, something unexpected of the kind of person that he used to think himself to be...

One ][ "Deserter" ][ One

"I quit." Roy stared at the broad desk in front of him, unable to make eye contact. His dark uniform was rustled and dirty, visible scuff marks and sweat stains from a long night in the deep city. The room's heavy air was nearly unbearable. Just standing there, in front of his superior, he felt an intangible weight upon his shoulders.

Colonel Luis didn't say anything. The marks on her vest coat stood out in crisp color, reds and greens and whites lined up next to one another. She just sat there stolidly with her hands folded on the table, penetrating blue irises never faltering, never looking away.

"I just can't... be here anymore." Around all these faces... He tried not to look at the silver badge on the table. It reminded him of everything he was giving up. "I hope you understand."

"I doubt I really can," Luis said. "But it's your decision, not mine." Her thin lips pursed together tentatively, as if she wanted to say something else but couldn't find the words. Her face said she disapproved, said she was disappointed, said a hundred other things that he couldn't quite decipher.

An ill silence fell over the room. He wondered why she didn't ask what his reason was, but he was glad for it. He didn't want to explain. Not to anyone.

A pensive look came over the colonel's face. "Aren't you going to ask me about the others? Or do you already know?"

"...How are they?"

There was noticeable hesitation in her voice. "Six of them are dead."

"What!?" He finally looked up at her, his eyes trembling under dim light from a sluggish ceiling fan. Six!? Six people died!? He could barely breathe as his gaze moved around the room, perhaps looking for some evidence of reality. His mouth kept trying to say something, but even he couldn't tell what, stuttering words that didn't exist for the turmoil in his chest. Pressure against his head numbed every last thought.

"Until you walked in here, we thought the number was seven. Four were killed at the scene and the other two died in intensive care earlier this morning. The three that survived are all hospitalized with serious injuries."

Swallowing the lump in this throat, he tried to ask a question. "Wh-who was... w-was-?"

"...Darrel, Madison, Michaels, Chase, Bauss, and Lanchet."

He didn't just know these people. They were friends. Good ones. Maybe they hadn't always gotten along; maybe they didn't even like each other all that much, but they were comrades, and in this city, this domed seclusion, that meant something. This isn't...! Just the other night...! Darrel and Chase...! Everything was fine just the other night! How could they all die, just like that!? Madison's daughter is gonna turn eight next month! He can't just leave... They all can't just... A cold daze gathered in his vision, and he raised a hand to his forehead, as if trying to ease his mind by force. Thoughts kept pouring in, incomplete, hardly even discernible, memories and emotions all swirled together in horrified confusion. "I can't believe..." He tried to compose himself, but found it difficult.

"You should pay a visit to the others," Colonel Luis said.

"Yeah..." His wretched grimace was the best apology he could manage without completely breaking apart. He wanted to go, run out of the office and away from this woman's silent judgment, from the guilt that strangled every word out of his mouth, but he had to know one more thing. "Miles... what happened to him?"

"We still don't know. There's reason to believe he's still alive, at least, but that's about it."

"I see..." Roy turned to leave, trying to hide the anxiety making his arms and legs shake.

"There's something else I'd like to know."

He stopped directly in front of the door, not wanting to face her again.

"You can tell the record whatever you want, and I suppose you don't even have to tell me the truth, but... what exactly did you see last night?"

"Didn't the others tell you?"

"We took their statements, yes, but they're hardly consistent with one another," Luis said. "The doctors suspect they're suffering from severe mental trauma as well. I wanted to hear what really happened."

The door creaked open. "...I wouldn't know."

**********

The hospital was bigger than he remembered. Being a police officer, he'd been here several times before, but it wasn't at all the same this time. The sterile walls, the sterile smell; it was like everything he knew about this place suddenly meant something different to him. And it was mortifying.

Various people passed him by, hurrying along in some plain colored outfit, white or blue or green or pink. He supposed his appearance wasn't very pleasant, especially for the middle of the day, but he couldn't bring himself to care. They were blurs to him, busy in some other world with some other people. Quentin's room was... He stopped in front of the door labeled '33C.' From its slender window, he could just scarcely make out his friend, raven hair and closed eyes amidst a sea of white. He entered.

The man's eyes slid open and he turned. His expression didn't change in the slightest.

Roy took a silent breath. "How are you feeling, Quentin?" He moved towards the bed, uncertain and slow. Afternoon sunlight seeped through the thin, gray curtains drawn across a lone window, filling the small chamber with a sickly luminance.

"Couldn't tell ya," he said with his grating voice. "They got me all doped up on something."

Roy's face went pale as he looked at the man more closely. There was no outline in the sheets for the left half of Quentin's body, only rumpled, white cloth. "Your arm and leg..."

"Yeah."

"I-I'm sorry. I didn't know," Roy said. Pressure in his chest grew worse as he tried to speak. "How did-" But his mouth snapped shut before he let himself finish.

"What's that?" Quentin laughed harshly. "You wanna know how it happened?" His mouth twisted disgustedly. "That's right, isn't it? You don't know. You weren't even there."

"I... I was..." Roy tried to say something, anything, but there were no words for this. The rhythmic beep of the heart monitor took presence in his mind as he let a cumbersome quiet take the room. Lack of space made the air stuffy, worsened by his own poor hygiene.

After a time, Quentin said, "You want to know, right? Well, I'll tell you." He shifted awkwardly beneath his sheets. "My arm and leg... they were taken."

"...Taken?" Roy wasn't really sure if he wanted to hear more.

"That's right," the man said. "Last night... that monster, whatever it was... it took them. I barely even glimpsed it before they were gone, sliced off like nothin'." The pain in his face wasn't physical. "My arm and my leg were never found. Else the docs might've been able to reattach them."

"I see..." He sighed. "I'm sorry..."

Quentin's laugh was ear wrenching. "No, you're not."

Roy blinked. "I am! I didn't mean for this to-"

"Shut up!" he yelled suddenly. "Don't even try to apologize again! It won't change anything! You ran away! You abandoned everyone!"

The words stuck him in the gut, and Roy almost staggered back.

"Look at you! You've barely got a scratch on you! Why do you think that is, huh!?" He tore the sheets away from his body, exposing the bloodstained bandages where limbs used to be. His voice was on the verge of breaking. "Look at me! You should be lucky to look like this! And you're trying to tell me you're sorry!? You've already got your arms! You've already got your legs! You don't get forgiveness, too! A deserter doesn't get forgiveness!"

Roy could barely stand. His face cracked apart as he looked at Quentin. There was no excuse. He didn’t know what to do, what to say. If only this sickening feeling in his stomach would go away, he would’ve liked to say something, try to explain maybe. It was ironic, it was. After everything that had happened, he saw something in himself that he’d never seen before, never wanted to see, something unexpected of the kind of person that he used to think himself to be.

I am sorry... I am...


((Author's Note:This story is partly inspired by my recent fascination with the anime series Big O, so expect some weird shiz to go down. Though, there are no giant robots... *couwe'llseegh*))

Galleon
03-15-2008, 12:31 AM
Two ][ "Last Night" ][ Two

A black and gray police car sped down the highway of Northeast Dome. From the passenger's seat, patches of luminescent color filled an otherwise dark cityscape. Even this high above the ground, industrial towers rose up in all directions, pushing their smokestacks all the way out of the dome. Robust steel bridges passed overhead, dozens of support beams crisscrossed in the dark.

Roy Barriter glanced at his partner, a woman four years his senior, her eyes intent upon the curving road ahead. Sergent Maria Lanchet was her name, and he might have considered her more beautiful if he didn't know her so well. The silver badge on her arm shone even amidst the rhythmic beat of this dim light.

His other partner sat in the back, wearing his 'work face,' as Roy called it. K-9 officer Miles was one hundred and seven pounds of law-enforcing shepherd, his perked ears and astute eyes both displays of dedication to the job. Yet even in this type of severe environment, he was a handsome creature. His winter coat had just come in, and all its blacks and browns and whites flowed together seamlessly.

The bowl-shaped radio on the dashboard squawked some scarcely audible numbers that Roy recognized as a reported domestic disturbance. It wasn't news to them. The dome's enveloping wall loomed only a few short miles away, and Sgt. Lanchet took the next exit.

Tall, amber lights seemed to grow farther apart as the vehicle descended into the lower streets. Buildings looked more run down, perhaps because most of them had been constructed with either brick or wood. The road became worse, almost grinding against the car's tires. The car eased to a stop.

“This’s it, huh?” Roy said, stepping out to the sidewalk. The building in question rose three stories, topped off with a sunken roof. Odd patches of battered concrete showed through its outer layer of old oak. Practically all of the visible windows were broken, save one on either side of the structure, and shards of glass littered the ground. None of the lights seemed to be on. “Not very pleasant.”

“It's to be expected,” Lanchet said, signaling Miles with a flick of her wrist. Immediately, the dog leapt from the vehicle and fell in behind her, waiting dutifully.

Roy eyed the street strangely. No one was around, leaving only a vague quietude, without regard for the distant sounds of traffic and sirens. It was almost eerie, he realized after a moment of following his partner.

A few short steps invited the trio up to a pair of wide doors, where illegible graffiti stood out like some kind of errant welcome. Lanchet knocked the metal ring against beaten wood, but the sound seemed so dull that Roy doubted anyone more than a few feet from the door could hear it.

“This is the District Nine Police Department!” she said in a firm voice. “Please open up!”

No response. If anything, the silence seemed to gain weight.

"Please open the-" Lanchet clutched the brass doorknob, and it turned without effort. She blinked and looked at Roy awkwardly, as if to say something in disbelief, but after a moment, her face went hard again, fraught with suspicion. "This is the District Nine Police Department!" she repeated in the darkness. "If you are here in this building, you have ten seconds to make yourself known, or a police K-9 unit will be sent to find you!" The building responded with a wooden groan. She threw a hand sign to Miles, and he bounded into the wall of black. The other two officers entered with flashlights.

It wasn't any warmer inside. Roy immediately found the nearest light switch and flipped it, but nothing happened. Great. "Power's out."

The primary hallway was longer than he expected. His flashlight could just vaguely make out the dark red walls, and he tried to imagine what the place might have looked like with more light.

Miles' scratching steps suddenly grew more urgent, and they could be heard rushing up to the second floor. Immediately, coarse barks shook the building's dusty slumber, nearly making the walls tremble.

Roy didn't even look at his partner; he rushed ahead, knowing she'd be close behind, broad beams of light jumping up a decaying set of stairs. Echoing barks subsided into muffled growling, but the sound of flailing claws grew louder. Flying up the steps, Roy turned the corner to see the dog wrestling with the figure of a man. Miles' bared teeth dug into unprotected flesh, drawing streaks of blood from a broad forearm. But the person didn't budge at all, didn't even cry out in pain. Miles practically hung there in midair, legs thrashing at broken bits of wood and plaster all around them.

"That's right!" said a hoarse voice, intoxicated with senseless fervor. "Get a good taste!" Hidden in the dark, the large figure hardly seemed human. The arm didn't budge, making Miles clench down even harder. "Do you like this blood!?" Sickening crimson oozed forth, coating the dog's entire jaw.

Roy realized he'd drawn his gun, pointing it at the man with both hands. "Miles! Let go, Miles! Sir, get on your knees!"

The dog's frenzy snapped back, and Miles dropped to the floor, throwing his head around as if trying to get rid of the taste. His four legs staggered a bit, taking the dog right into Lanchet's arms as she arrived at the top of the stair.

Who is this guy? His eyes wouldn’t budge from the tall silhouette. Suddenly, he noticed that he could barely control his own breathing; just looking at this figure, he felt his lungs heaving abnormally. His arms began to shake, and he watched the gun tremble in his own hands. What…? What is this!? I'm scared!? Irrational panic crept into his mind, and all he could do was try to keep his vision steady as the figure stepped into clearer view.

The man towered over Roy.

How can a person be so tall?! shouted a thought, and he felt his gun lower, as if his arms were too weak to hold it up any longer.

*this post is still a work in progress and will be edited to completion soon. Why? 'Cuz it's hard. It's really hard. T_T*

((Note about the author: Random knowledge about police dogs? What a weirdo. You should stay away from guys like that. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this story. Stop. Go back. Beware of dog.))