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The Bleeder – Mr. Deadman

The Bleeder

Mr. Deadman

It was a few minutes past midnight when the commotion subtly uprooted the diseased calm that lingered in the alleyway. The back doors of the van flew wide open. A body, or something that resembled one, was thrown out to tumble along the rough pavement. The heap splashed into a puddle of water and stayed without the slightest twitch. Just like that, the van was gone, driving off into a distance unseen by the huddled homeless.

 Curiosity lured a few, which later grew into a modest crowd. They observed and discussed the strange form. His arms and body were swollen with bulging muscles, and metallic etchings throughout his skin invoked a wave of questions. They pointed at his face, explaining the oddity of his mask, which was a modified welding mask. There was a metallic cube of extreme weight that illuminated with flashing dials, which connected to his body by a series of tubes and hoses.

Being starved for most of their time, the homeless crowd was only as humble as their basic needs. They tried as hard as they could to pillage from the helpless manifest. Swooping as if they were vultures over a rotten corpse, attacking the pockets of his jeans only to fine lint. It was only the strange bulk of metal that was profitable, but it wouldn’t come undone. They beat the connections with bats, and the failure led to a bigger consumption of desire. One of them was wise enough to use his knife, but the sharp edge of his blade was dulling to the surface.

His arms moved, flopping in the puddle, but nothing significant. The mere fact that he was becoming aware scared off most of the people; the three that remained were the most rugged, disgusting, and unclean of the bunch. They were the alphas of their ken, or perhaps just the most desperate. They watched him move and grew with eagerness; their victim was weak, shaking to keep his own weight. Caught in a desperate cycle, the desolate fiend struggled to even kneel.

The boldest one acted first, placing his gritty, contaminated palm upon the surface of the cube. He brushed against the surface, feeling the cold untouched metal, while toying with a clever idea. A series of chords detached from the sides of the device and lunged at the man. One by one, three different lines snapped into his body with a force he couldn’t contest. His cry and torment was not given a reply he hoped for. His brethren ran off, but their attempt was without success. The remaining lines expanded into the distance, piercing through their chests.

        A web of chords drained them of their blood and other valuable fluids at a rate that their body couldn’t adjust to, a strong piercing pain, followed by a searing vacuum gave allowance to a creeping coldness. The dials on the device flourished with an assortment of lights, while the entity attached suddenly had the strength he needed. He rose from the ground, carrying the device in his hand, which he clipped to the narrow bars that ran along his back. The being took notice of his surroundings and couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sensation of being lost, alone, and without any help. He could see the damage done to him, but not feel the pain.

He took the overcoat from the bold one and used it to cover his shirtless torso. The fabric loomed over the device, rendering him as a muscular hunchback. He walked throughout the narrow pathways as if to find something, while studying the sudden change in place. The shadows were thick, but his eyes were keen to resolving that. He saw with illumination, everything beamed at the seams with a slight golden tint, but it started to fade as his eyes have endured the torment of electrical shocks and chemical injections all too much.

The smell of tobacco redirected him to another narrow passage, where a slender young woman stood with cigarette in hand. She wasn’t aware of his presence and that offered a moment of invitation. He approached with an opened hand with its machinery infused fingers and lunged for her frail neck. She screamed but was silenced by a sudden slam to the wall. A gash was indented into her skull, which bled out onto the crusty pavement.

He knelt over her and opened the visor of his mask. His pale skin was riddled with crust lines and scars. The eyes were of a more enriched story; strained from the constant injections, the whites of his eyes were of that of a waterlogged, blood-soaked sack, and drooped with intense saturation. With careful fingers, he released himself of sight, and began to take hers. His fingers were tipped with a silver piece that housed many uses. They adjusted to what his body needed in order to complete the exchange of eyes.

It was shortly after this procedure that he heard the low rumble. It was a subtle bass that pounded from a source unclear. He searched for it, following the noise. It grew in texture, expanding into a chorus of speeches and mid-topic rants. It was difficult for the lab designed creature to follow, but what he found were basement doors that had seen better days, bared with an iron piece, chained by a web of iron and padlocks, all of which were destroyed in contest against his strength.

He bled from the tips of his fingers at an invariable rate until the last drop. He didn’t faint, nor did he suffer. It was this exploitation that was seen as a miracle by those around him. This ability blessed him with continuous tribute, placing him as an idol before their praised lord. They tested him, searching for flaws in ability, but all the questions were answered with a notion that their faith was honest. The men and women in this chamber serve a god not to alien from common beliefs, one that rules with intolerance and justifies punishment, pain and torment, by any means, Nzulmbi.

The third day of their trials delivered onto them a fatality that bolstered the creature’s reputation. It was during a ceremonial chant. The head of the Covent praised the work of other members, discussed foul showcases of violence, while reading a passage from an ancient tome. He spoke in Latin about a deity that rules with righteousness, blessing those that should be blessed, those willing to make great sacrifices. The speech was what made his accidental death something of a novelty by the group. They watched as the creature drained the head priest until his flesh turned cold.

With natural reason diluted by actual practice, the Convent was quick in their efforts. They appointed a new head priest and developed a network of trusties that would allow them to offer sacrifices to their newfound idol. The first victim was a meek little man that seemed too scared to either resist or run away. The others were snatched from a status that made it almost impossible to trace. Compared to the previous, they faced more elaborate chanting and festivities, while standing in his shadow. The moldy basement became more alive after each additional victim, until the day she was offered.

A little girl, not much older than ten was delivered in front of the idol. He sat on a handcrafted stone throne, a tribute from one of the more talented individuals, with an unshakable calm, the same he expressed with the others. The network of cables launched out from his backside, but they didn’t strike into her flesh. Instead, he studied her more carefully and saw in her a gentle innocence; she was young, fresh with life, and blessed with a clean slate, something different from the others.

“The sacrifice must be made, as it claims it so in the tome of the ancient king. Don Laviall was an honest man willing to make our lord happy no matter what the means. The death of this young girl will bring his eyes onto us and enlighten us with a type of kindness never seen before. Wealth will rain down onto us from the heavens once we know how valuable our lives are in comparison to the lord,” said the Priest.

“She is so little. She has no life yet to take, seizing a beginning,” said the masked creature.

“But you, as the bleeder, must surely understand. You did after all come to us and give insight.”

The light within him had been contested before, but the memory of it was faint. Searching for it, digging through a dark hole, scratching at any photographic image. He breathed slightly and never felt his lungs expanding. He thought with an active mind, a mind that has been conditioned and void of deep wondering. He was a shell of a man, but inside was something animated by carefully designed mechanisms. It was partly because of these machines that he lived in this numb state. Even when he bled, it poured out of his body without the slightest awareness.

The image of the girl, her flush cheeks and blond hair, freed him from the nothing he was so accustomed too. It was for this feeling that he moved to defend her against a group that had housed him for months. He felt nothing in response to the thought of fighting them, only slight confusion, as he never registered anything they have ever said.

“I have to think, does your messiah really profit from her loss?”

“He profits from our existence, but we don’t exist without his blessing. This is for us to begin a new cleansing.”

“You exist right now, you feel it don’t you. You feel it when you breathe, when you move. The one that doesn’t exist is I. I don’t exist and neither does this lord that you speak of.”

“The Bleeder might have misspoke, he wouldn’t denounce his creator, not with full intent. Perhaps we were wrong about the level of your servitude. You are less of what you seem, the Bleeder is thus a shadow of another idol. We will find that such idol, and we will create a better platter for it. Right now, we have this dear child to offer to Nzulmbi and that must be done. To not, will bring this Covent down to a low unimaginable.”

“No one will hurt this child, no one will even touch this child. A group of men like you stand before me, with a mind much more diluted than mine. That bothers me and makes me feel something I have long forgotten about. The absence of emotion had left me stale, but that has been revoked. I dare you all to challenge me, but I dare you even more to challenge each other. This lunacy has gone far enough,” said the Bleeder.

“You are part of what you just labeled as lunacy. You are a totem of worship. Your body is not by design from the god we neglect, but by the god we worship. You are him. You will feast.”

“If God created me, then he owes me an explanation.”

       

“We are the messengers of that. You must know it to be true, you found us.”

The Bleeder paused and his hesitation grew as he thought about that notion. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt aware, or even felt at home with anything. His mind was diluted into a despairing loss and was of no use other than to further dissolve any stable radiant. He moved from his place and felt an instant gain of pressure and had to use the arm of the stone chair to keep his place.

“You see, you are weak without her blood. You body needs to be revived so that it can flourish at full strength. Your ability to live is because of the way he crafted you. You steal blood, gain nutrients and bleed out the rest. You are what you hate. Do not let this girl be the end of you.”

The chords launched from his back, piercing through the air at rate faster than before. The metallic lead of the cable stabbed through the priest’s neck, causing him to gasp for air.

“…This isn’t his will…,” were his last words before the clamp readjusted so that it could absorb the blood. The other cables launched out, attacking random people in the thick crowd. The rest were speechless and not sure what to make of it. The head of their command, of their view, was cut off and now they bled for their idol.

“This isn’t his will, then he is a traitor and must be punished,” said a bearded man.

The bleeder regained his strength and swallowed the frail girl into his arms. He bolted for the door, while offering his thick skin and muscles as protection against the rain of attacks. The rioting crowd was of no contest to his will; he reached the door and left with his web of cables springing back into place. The sporadic movement of the cables caused further injury onto the people, slicing through the skin of many.

The fallen idol slammed through the door shattering it into a thousand splinters and kept on running. He ran through a network of passages, running past several sleeping homeless, junkies, and social misfits. He was in a place much worse than before, even though it was more open. It was a forgotten part of the city; a place that once had a great view of the river bend. Now it contained only a collection of scattered cars, buses, and other junk that acted as housing for the people that lived there. They were the type that considered a morning injection of heroin to be a good way to start the day, a type that wouldn’t care at all for his intrusion.

Using the overlapping shadows of the place as a cover, the Bleeder began to pace much slower and wandered without any direction. The escape had dissolved to an expanding calm, he stooped behind a brick wall releasing the girl from his grasp. He examined her and sighed to the strange feeling. Her eyes moved, twitching to a disturbance known only to her. She squirmed for a moment, startled for a second that went by slower than how it started.

“Home, I want to go home,” she cried while crawling out of his arms. “Where am I?”

“You want to go home. Home, that is where you should be, where is it, your home.”

“What happened to you? You look weird, eew gross, is your hand bleeding?”

“Yes, it bleeds, and what happened to me is the reason of my being. That is the only thing I can make out of this misery.”

“Why are you so sad?”

“Is this sadness? I don’t know. I saved you from those people. Do you remember the people that brought you before me?”

“I thought that was just a dream. Does that mean I get to go home now.”

“Yes, but where is it.”

“I don’t know, not here anyway. We should leave this area. Head for a much wider street.”

“I will try.”

A group of people gathered at the opening of the ally, and the sound they made brought onto them his attention. He poised his dark image before them, empty of fear. The cultists made their taunts, but the empty reply drove them impatient. They charged at him, leaving him with only seconds to think. He glanced at the girl and spotted a latter. He offered her cover and rough persuasion as she climbed to the rooftops. The rushing mob swarmed him like ants on a spider, weak and pathetic, but the surge of their numbers was a greater advantage than first thought. He spun his fists, pounding for release, but they stayed with their fight. He grasped a kneecap and smashed it with his fist, causing the pile of bodies to cave.

He fled from the scene, but turned around to find a man with shotgun in hand. The barrel was pointing directly at his chest, and the man didn’t hesitate any longer. The shot was fired and the bullets punctured through his chest creating a cavity that exposed the fumes of his inner workings; a musky green essence seeped out, causing the man to churn with a repulsed stomach.

The Bleeder climbed the ladder with difficulty at first, but he proved to be too strong for the others to hang on. Upon reaching the top he lunged for the face of a follower and smashed it against the brick wall. The body fell unto the others, freeing the ladder from their efforts. The little girl was at the edge of the building seemingly amazed by the sight of the busy city.

“You are okay, but only if we hurry!”

“My home is over there,” she said while pointing at a collection of rundown apartments. The Bleeder glance at the sight and became one with the objective. He pulled the girl closer to him, further staining her white dress. She was more repulsed by his roughness than his skunk-like stench.

“I will take you there.”

“What about those people? Aren’t they trying to kill you?”

  

“I believe so, but their intent shouldn’t last too long. I am stronger than they are and will succeed.”

“You might want to see a doctor, I never seen green smoke come out from a person’s chest before,” said the girl.

“I can’t say I haven’t and I doubt a doctor would be able to do much. I’m a monster, after all.”

“Yeah, you are, aren’t you? But than that makes you my monster, I don’t mind.”

“I see that you don’t,” he took her into his arms and jumped across to the other roof. He ran over the rooftops with the speed of a bull and was nothing close to being acrobatic. The pavement would crack to his landing, any glass surface would shatter to the vibration of his stomping, and the ledges crumbled easily to his presence. The air was the only thing he didn’t harm as his coat flapped on every jump. The girl screamed with fear at first, but that soon changed to excitement.

He crashed onto the roof of an apartment and shattered it, causing a great commotion as the residents were rudely wakened. He ignored the shouting and continued towards the girl’s direction. He navigated the grounds of the place, stomping over grass, bushes, and flowers until he reached a fence that was instantly taken down. She was amazed by his strength and laughed at him for his seer determination. He didn’t respond, as he didn’t know what to say. He stopped suddenly at her door and gave no indication of being out of breath. He set her down and turned his back.

“Wait, where are you going? You should meet my father, he should thank you.”

“If he is like you than yes,” he said.

“He is, he taught me much about the world and trained me to be smarter than most.” She opened the door and ran into the small apartment. For a place that was centered in a rat’s nest it was actually well kept, taken into high regard in appearance and smell. The Bleeder had difficulty walking in, but once he did he found the girl rejected by her own father.

“You are not to be here. How did you get here?”

“Daddy, I was saved by this man here, I think some bad people were going to do some awful things to me.”

“That awful thing was what they needed to do, what we needed to do. You are my only daughter and to offer someone like you with your importance is a sacrifice I am willing to make. Humanity needs to be redeemed.”

“So, you let them take her. You just give her up for a belief?”

“What are you supposed to be?”

“They worshiped me, I think. The people you gave her to…”

“Dad, I don’t get it, what is going on,” asked the girl.

“Abigail, this is the thing that was to take your life. Salvation is close… all he has to do is strike.”

“That is not happening. I might be lost and some sadistic manifest, but I am not some tool. You as her father failed, and the only salvation is in your death,” yelled the Bleeder. He lunged for the father and raised him by the neck.

“Wait, he is my dad, my family.”

“Do you have a mother?”

“No, she died when I was born.”

“Hmp… Her death was my awakening,” said the father.

He squeezed his hand just enough to give a stern warning. The girl cried a trembling wave of tears, “You monster.”

The Bleeder closed his grasp, teetering with a cold delivery of death, but she stopped him. She wiped her tears and looked too clever for her age, “He wants to die, don’t give it to him. Instead take me to my aunts and I will explain what happened.”

“She’ll never believe you and I will win in court. You are my property,” said the father.

“What about the cult,” asked the Bleeder.

“We do not exist, nor do we give detail of anything we do.”

“Then your death will free her”

“My will locks her into another, there is no way to stop what must be done.”

“Then he will die too. I made my decision, and I will protect her, as she is just a girl.”

“Then Nzulmbi will take you back and he isn’t passive like the others, he will find you and set you back.”

“I’m a creation of something human, that I believe to be true and it is your cult I have to thank for that.” He squeezed the throat with full might, snapping it into a flatten mesh of flesh, bone, and blood. He dropped the body to watch it fall and noticed the girl’s repulsive reaction.

He left her there with a promise that he would keep watch. She didn’t want her only sense of security to be far and away, but her cries were of no use. As much as he wanted to protect her, there was a growing curiosity of his creation, a longing for a sense of purpose. A monster such as him shouldn’t be real, but that is a moot point when considering what man can do so long as there is desire and drive to do it.

 

About The Bleeder: The Bleeder was a series several years ago during the initial beginnings of Deadman’s Tome. It’s one of my earlier works and it definitely reads as much. The story is essentially a combination of vampire and Frankenstein’s monster, combined with some crazy cult stuff.

After re-visiting The Bleeder, and having come off from writing Turbo Slut 5K, I must wonder if I really have a thing against hobos.

 

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The Bleeder by Jesse C. Dedman

The Bleeder by Jesse C. Dedman

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It was a few minutes past midnight when the commotion subtly uprooted the diseased calm that lingered in the ally way. The back doors of the van flew wide open, but the pocket of darkness offered a great cover that the brake lights contested, glowing with a hue that seeped into the darkness, revealing a glimmer of movement. A body, or something that resembled one, was thrown out to tumble along the rough pavement. The heap splashed into a puddle of water and stayed without the slightest twitch. Just like that, the van was gone, driving off into a distance unseen by the huddled homeless.

 

Curiosity lured a few, which later grew into a modest crowd. They observed and discussed the strange form of the man’s condition. His arms and body were swollen with bulging muscles, and metallic etchings throughout his skin invoked a wave of questions. They pointed at his face, explaining the oddity of his mask, which was a modified wielding mask. There was a metallic cube of extreme weight that illuminated with flashing dials, which connected to his body by a series of tubes and hoses.

 

Being starved for most of their time, the homeless crowd was only as humble as their basic needs. They tried as hard as they could to pillage from the helpless manifest. Swooping as if they were vultures over a rotten corpse, attacking the pockets of his jeans only to fine lint. It was only the strange bulk of metal that was profitable, but it wouldn’t come undone. They beat the connections with bats, and the failure led to a bigger consumption of desire. One of them was wise enough to use his knife, but the sharp edge of his blade was dulling to the surface.

 

His arms moved, flopping in the puddle, but nothing significant. The mere fact that he was becoming aware scared off most of the people; the three that remained were the most rugged, disgusting, and unclean of the bunch. They were the alphas of their ken, or perhaps just the most desperate. They watched him move and grew with eagerness; their victim was weak, shaking to keep his own weight. Caught in a desperate cycle, the desolate fiend struggled to even kneel.

 

The boldest one acted first, placing his gritty, contaminated palm upon the surface of the cube. He brushed against the surface, feeling the cold untouched metal, while toying with a clever idea. A series of chords detached from the sides of the device and lunged at the man. One by one, three different lines snapped into his body with a force he couldn’t contest. His cry and torment was not given a reply he hoped for. His brethren ran off, but their attempt was without success. The remaining lines expanded into the distance, piercing through their chests.

 

A web of chords drained them of their blood and other valuable fluids at a rate that their body couldn’t adjust too, a strong piercing pain, followed by a searing vacuum gave allowance to a creeping coldness. The dials on the device flourished with an assortment of lights, while the entity attached suddenly had the strength he needed. He rose from the ground, carrying the device in his hand, which he clipped to the narrow bars that ran along his back. The being took notice of his surroundings and couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sensation of being lost, alone, and without any help. He could see the damage done to him, but not feel the pain.

 

He took the overcoat from the bold one and used it to cover his shirtless torso. The fabric loomed over the device, rendering him as muscular hunchback. He walked throughout the narrow pathways as if to find something, while studying the sudden change in place. The shadows were thick, but his eyes were keen to resolving that. He saw with illumination, everything beamed at the seams with a slight golden tint, but it started to fade as his eyes have endured the torment of electrical shocks and chemical injections all too much.

 

The smell of tobacco redirected him to another narrow passage, where a slender young woman stood with cigarette in hand. She wasn’t aware of his presence and that offered a moment of invitation. He approached with an opened hand with its machinery infused fingers and lunged for her frail neck. She screamed but was silenced by a sudden slam to the wall. A gash was indented into her skull, which bled out onto the crusty pavement.

 

He knelt over her and opened the visor of his mask. His pale skin was riddled with crust lines and scars. The eyes were of a more enriched story; strained from the constant injections, the whites of his eyes were of that of a waterlogged, blood-soaked sack, and drooped with intense saturation. With careful fingers, he released himself of sight, and began to take hers. His fingers were tipped with a silver piece that housed many uses. They adjusted to what his body needed in order to complete the exchange of eyes.

 

It was shortly after this procedure that he heard the low rumble. It was a subtle bass that pounded from a source unclear. He searched for it, following the noise. It grew in texture, expanding into a chorus of speeches and mid-topic rants. It was difficult for the lab designed creature to follow, but what he found were basement doors that had seen better days, bared with an iron piece, chained by a web of iron and padlocks, all of which were destroyed in contest against his strength.

 

He bled from the tips of his fingers at an invariable rate until the last drop. He didn’t faint, nor did he suffer. It was this exploitation that was seen as a miracle by those around him. This ability blessed him with continuous tribute, placing him as an idol before their praised lord. They tested him, searching for flaws in ability, but all the questions were answered with a notion that their faith was honest. The men and women in this chamber serve a god not to alien from common beliefs, one that rules with intolerance and justifies punishment, pain and torment, by any means, Nzulmbi.

 

The third day of their trials delivered onto them a fatality that bolstered the creature’s reputation. It was during a ceremonial chant. The head of the Covent praised the work of other members, discussed foul showcases of violence, while reading a passage from an ancient tome. He spoke in Latin about a deity that rules with righteousness, blessing those that should be blessed, those willing to make great sacrifices. The speech was what made his accidental death something of a novelty by the group. They watched as the creature drained the head priest until his flesh was cold.

 

With natural reason diluted by actual practice, the Covent was quick in their efforts. They appointed a new head priest and developed a network of trusties that would allow them to offer sacrifices to their newfound idol. The first victim was a meek little man that seemed too scared to either resist or run away. The others were snatched from a status that made it almost impossible to trace. Compared to the previous, they faced more elaborate chanting and festivities, while standing in his shadow. The moldy basement became more alive after each additional victim, until the day she was offered.

 

A little girl, not much older than ten was delivered in front of the idol. He sat on a handcrafted stone throne, a tribute from one of the more talented individuals, with an unshakable calm, the same he expressed with the others. The network of cables launched out from his backside, but they didn’t strike into her flesh. Instead, he studied her more carefully and saw in her a gentle innocence; she was young, fresh with life, and blessed with a clean slate something different from the others.

 

“The sacrifice must be made, as it claims it so in the tome of the ancient king. Don Laviall was an honest man willing to make our lord happy no matter what the means. The death of this young girl will bring his eyes onto us and enlighten us with a type of kindness never seen before. Wealth will rain down onto us from the heavens once we know how valuable our lives are in comparison to the lord,” said the Priest.

 

“She is so little. She has no life yet to take, seizing a beginning,” said the masked creature.

 

“But you, as the bleeder, must surely understand. You did after all come to us and give insight.”

 

The light within him had been contested before, but the memory of it was faint. Searching for it, digging through a dark hole, scratching at any photographic image. He breathed slightly and never felt his lungs expanding. He thought with an active mind, a mind that has been conditioned and void of deep wondering. He was a shell of a man, but inside was something animated by carefully designed mechanisms. It was partly because of these machines that he lived in this numb state. Even when he bled, it poured out of his body without the slightest awareness.

 

The image of the girl, her flush cheeks and blond hair, freed him from the nothing he was so accustomed too. It was for this feeling that he moved to defend her against a group that had housed him for months. He felt nothing in response to the thought of fighting them, only slight confusion, as he never registered anything they have ever said.

 

“I have to think, does your messiah really profit from her loss?”

 

“He profits from our existence, but we don’t exist without his blessing. This is for us to begin a new cleansing.”

 

“You exist right now, you feel it don’t you. You feel it when you breathe, when you move. The one that doesn’t exist is I. I don’t exist and neither does this lord that you speak of.”

“The Bleeder might have misspoke, he wouldn’t denounce his creator, not with full intent. Perhaps we were wrong about the level of your servitude. You are less of what you seem, the Bleeder is thus a shadow of another idol. We will find that such idol, and we will create a better platter for it. Right now, we have this dear child to offer to Nzulmbi and that must be done. To not, will bring this Covent down to a low unimaginable.”

 

“No one will hurt this child, no one will even touch this child. A group of men like you stand before me, with a mind much more diluted than mine. That bothers me and makes me feel something I have long forgotten about. The absence of emotion had left me stale, but that has been revoked. I dare you all to challenge me, but I dare you even more to challenge each other. This lunacy has gone far enough,” said the Bleeder.

 

“You are part of what you just labeled as lunacy. You are a totem of worship. Your body is not by design from the god we neglect, but by the god we worship. You are him. You will feast.”

 

“If God created me, then he owes me an explanation.”

“We are the messengers of that. You must know it to be true, you found us.”

 

The Bleeder paused and his hesitation grew as he thought about that notion. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt aware, or even felt at home with anything. His mind was diluted into a despairing loss and was of no use other than to further dissolve any stable radiant. He moved from his place and felt an instant gain of pressure and had to use the arm of the stone chair to keep his place.

 

“You see, you are weak without her blood. You body needs to be revived so that it can flourish at full strength. Your ability to live is because of the way he crafted you. You steal blood, gain nutrients and bleed out the rest. You are what you hate. Do not let this girl be the end of you.”

 

The chords launched from his back, piercing through the air at rate faster than before. The metallic lead of the cable stabbed through the priest’s neck, causing him to gasp for air.

“…This isn’t his will…,” were his last words before the clamp readjusted so that it could absorb the blood. The other cables launched out, attacking random people in the thick crowd. The rest were speechless and not sure what to make of it. The head of their command, of their view, was cut off and now they are bleeding for their idol.

 

“This isn’t his will, then he is a traitor and must be punished,” said a bearded man.

 

The bleeder regained his strength and swallowed the frail girl into his arms. He bolted for the door, while offering his thick skin and muscles as protection against the rain of attacks. The rioting crowd was of no contest to his will; he reached the door and left with his web of cables springing back into place. The sporadic movement of the cables caused further injury onto the people, slicing through the skin of many.

 

The fallen idol slammed through the door shattering it into a thousand splinters and kept on running. He ran through a network of passages, running past several sleeping homeless, junkies, and social misfits. He was in a place much worse than before, even though it was more open. It was a forgotten part of the city; a place that once had a great view of the river bend. Now it contained only a collection of scattered cars, buses, and other junk that acted as housing for the people that lived there. They were the type that considered a morning injection of heroin to be a good way to start the day, a type that wouldn’t care at all for his intrusion.

 

Using the overlapping shadows of the place as a cover, the Bleeder began to pace much slower and wandered without any direction. The escape had dissolved to an expanding calm, he stooped behind a brick wall releasing the girl from his grasp. He examined her and sighed to the strange feeling. Her eyes moved, twitching to a disturbance known only to her. She squirmed for a moment, startled for a second that went by slower than how it started.

 

“Home, I want to go home,” she cried while crawling out of his arms. “Where am I?”

 

“You want to go home. Home, that is where you should be, where is it, your home.”

 

“What happened to you? You look weird, eew gross, is your hand bleeding?”

 

“Yes, it bleeds, and what happened to me is the reason of my being. That is the only thing I can make out of this misery.”

 

“Why are you so sad?”

 

“Is this sadness? I don’t know. I saved you from those people. Do you remember the people that brought you before me?”

 

“I thought that was just a dream. Does that mean I get to go home now.”

 

“Yes, but where is it.”

“I don’t know, not here anyway. We should leave this area. Head for a much wider street.”

 

“I will try, but I’m not sure where here is.”

 

A group of people gathered at the opening of the ally, and the sound they made brought onto them his attention. He poised his dark image before them, empty of fear. The cultists made their taunts, but the empty reply drove them impatient. They charged at him, leaving him with only seconds to think. He glanced at the girl and spotted a latter. He offered her cover and rough persuasion as she climbed to the rooftops. The rushing mob swarmed him like ants on a spider, weak and pathetic, but the surge of their numbers was a greater advantage than first thought. He spun his fists, pounding for release, but they stayed with their fight. He grasped a kneecap and smashed it with his fist, causing the pile of bodies to cave.

 

He fled from the scene, but turned around to find a man with shotgun in hand. The barrel was pointing directly at his chest, and the man didn’t hesitate any longer. The shot was fired and the bullets punctured through his chest creating a cavity that exposed the fumes of his inner workings; a musky green essence seeped out, causing the man to churn with a repulsed stomach.

 

The Bleeder climbed the ladder with difficulty at first, but he proved to be too strong for the others to hang on. Upon reaching the top he lunged for the face of a follower and smashed it against the brick wall. The body fell unto the others, freeing the ladder from their efforts. The little girl was at the edge of the building seemingly amazed by the sight of the busy city.

 

“You are okay, but only if we hurry?”

 

“My home is over there,” she said while pointing at a collection of rundown apartments. The Bleeder glance at the sight and became one with the objective. He pulled the girl closer to him, further staining her white dress. She was more repulsed by his roughness than his skunk-like stench.

 

“I will take you there.”

“What about those people? Aren’t they trying to kill you?”

“I believe so, but their intent shouldn’t last too long. I am stronger than they are and will succeed.”

 

“You might want to see a doctor, I never seen green smoke come out from a person’s chest before,” said the girl.

 

“I can’t say I haven’t and I doubt a doctor would be able to do much. I’m a monster, after all.”

 

“Yeah, you are, aren’t you? But than that makes you my monster, I don’t mind.”

 

“I see that you don’t,” he took her into his arms and jumped across to the other roof. He ran over the rooftops with the speed of a bull and was nothing close to being acrobatic. The pavement would crack to his landing, any glass surface would shatter to the vibration of his stomping, and the ledges crumbled easily to his presence. The air was the only thing he didn’t harm as his coat flapped on every jump. The girl screamed with fear at first, but that soon changed to excitement.

 

He crashed onto the roof of an apartment and shattered it, causing a great commotion as the residents were rudely wakened. He ignored the shouting and continued towards the girl’s direction. He navigated the grounds of the place, stomping over grass, bushes, and flowers until he reached a fence that was instantly taken down. She was amazed by his strength and laughed at him for his seer determination. He didn’t respond, as he didn’t know what to say. He stopped suddenly at her door and gave no indication of being out of breath. He set her down and turned his back.

 

“Wait, where are you going? You should meet my father, he should thank you.”

 

“If he is like you than yes,” he said.

 

“He is, he taught me much about the world and trained me to be smarter than most.” She opened the door and ran into the small apartment. For a place that was centered in a rat’s nest it was actually well kept, taken into high regard in appearance and smell. The Bleeder had difficulty walking in, but once he did he found the girl rejected by her own father.

 

“You are not to be here. How did you get here?”

 

“Daddy, I was saved by this man here, I think some bad people were going to do some awful things to me.”

 

“That awful thing was what they needed to do, what we needed to do. You are my only daughter and to offer someone like you with your importance is a sacrifice I am willing to make. Humanity needs to be redeemed.”

 

“So, you let them take her. You just give her up for a belief?”

 

“What are you supposed to be?”

 

“They worshiped me, I think. The people you gave her to…”

 

“Dad, I don’t get it, what is going on,” asked the girl.

 

“Abigail, this is the thing that was to take your life. Salvation is close… all he has to do is strike.”

 

“That is not happening. I might be lost and some sadistic manifest, but I am not some tool. You, as her father failed, and the only salvation is in your death,” yelled the Bleeder. He lunged for the father and raised him by the neck.

 

“Wait, he is my dad, my family.”

 

“Do you have a mother?”

 

“No, she died when I was born.”

 

“Hmp… Her death was my awakening,” said the father.

 

He squeezed his hand just enough to give a stern warning. The girl cried a trembling wave of tears, “You monster.”

 

The Bleeder closed his grasp, teetering with a cold delivery of death, but she stopped him. She wiped her tears and looked too clever for her age, “He wants to die, don’t give it to him. Instead take me to my aunts and I will explain what happened.”

 

“She’ll never believe you and I will win in court. You are my property,” said the father.

“What about the cult,” asked the Bleeder.

 

“We do not exist, nor do we give detail of anything we do.”

 

“Then your death will free her”

 

“My will locks her into another, there is no way to stop what must be done.”

 

“Then he will die too. I made my decision, and I will protect her, as she is just a girl.”

 

“Then Nzulmbi will take you back and he isn’t passive like the others, he will find you and set you back.”

 

“I’m a creation of something human, that I believe to be true and it is your cult I have to thank for that.” He squeezed the throat with full might, snapping it into a flatten mesh of flesh, bone, and blood. He dropped the body to watch it fall and noticed the girl’s repulsive reaction.

 

He left her there with a promise that he would keep watch. She didn’t want her only sense of security to be far and away, but her cries were of no use. As much as he wanted to protect her, there was a growing curiosity of his creation, a longing for a sense of purpose. A monster such as him shouldn’t be real, but that is a moot point when considering what man can do so long as there is desire and drive to do it.

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Bleeder Resurrection: Exhuming the Corpse

 

            Blades of pale light pierced through the gray hazy sky that loomed with a deep saturation over the desperate city. The cries of many washed under the sounds of traffic and the occasional roar of thunder. The light splashed against the glass of the Richard Keller building–a towering scraper that rose towards the heavens in narrowing stacks of steel and glass—shielding those inside from the toxicity of the air, the cacophony that plagued the inner city, and the scorching heat of an afternoon sun.

 

            Nava sat in a cushioned chair with no intention to stay longer than needed, and delivered Mr. Keller a steady gaze that sought for truth behind the lies. Keller, with legs crossed as if talking business, tapped the end of a metallic pen against the mahogany desk.

 

            “So are you going to tell me or not,” asked Nava, agitated.

 

            “I already told you,” said Keller, glancing away for a moment with a heavy sigh. “I don’t know a damn thing about that property.”

 

            “But you own it and must have some sort of record of who leased it last,” asked Nava, more of a statement than a question.

 

            “That piece of trash property,” said Keller, foolishness stretching across his wide wrinkled mug. “The last company to lease that dump went out of business years ago. With the economy decaying around us, there isn’t any use for my organization to inspect it anymore.”

 

            “I don’t buy that for a minute,” said Nava, the tips of his fingers pressed together, and his elbows dug into the padded arms of the chair. “You know more.”

 

            “Good lord. The moment the police decide to get balls and do something about this slum of a city the moment you would stop sniffing around in useless bullshit,” said Keller, holding the pen loosely between his clinched fingers, pointing the tip at Nava. “You have some nerve coming in here and expecting something close to respect. The police don’t run this joint any more than the drug dealers and the pimps. You represent trash overdue for throwing out.”

 

 

            “Times are tough, very tough indeed, but without our help it would be much worse,” said Nava, holding back. “What do you know about the operation that took place on your property?”

 

            “I don’t know a damn thing,” said Keller, leaning back in his chair.

 

            “Stop with the lies. We know it was a military operation, and we know that you keep watch over your possessions. A man like you would demand some sort of compensation for the time spent on your land.”

 

            “If that were true,” said Keller, raising an eyebrow. “You wouldn’t find a damn thing. Nothing in the books, nothing close to the type of evidence you would need to tie this to me.”

 

            “Time will tell,” said Nava, smugly. “Once we get the information we need, we’ll meet again.”

 

            “You mean from the engineer gone rogue? You won’t have the time. He’ll be dead before he reveals anything more than he already has,” said Mr. Keller.

 

            “Is that a threat,” asked Nava, leaning forward.

 

            “No,” said Keller, clicking the pin. “It’s a matter of fact.”

 

            “Enjoy your remaining moments of freedom, because when this is through, your ass will be in jail,” said Nava. He rose from the chair and stepped out from Mr. Keller’s office without another word.

 

            The lieutenant walked with anger seething between his teeth. He thought, for a moment anyway, that something useful would come from the lead, but instead he found another dead end. A man dressed in a dark suit walked by, brushing against Nava’s shoulder. Instantly the two stared at each other. Nava, distracted by the case, thought little of paying any respect to the gentleman, whereas the suit gazed with narrowing green eyes, piercing, scanning, and judging. Before Nava could say a word the suit entered the elevator. Nava dusted off the sleeve of his gray short sleeve shirt, and the motion caused his the thin chain that held his badge to wiggle slightly.

           

            Nava exited the front and felt the humidity almost immediately. Standing at the steps, he could feel his pits gushing with sweat. He wiped his forehead, and swallowed through a dry mouth. Herds of people walked along the sidewalks in various clusters, making it difficult to enter, and much more rewarding to leave. Nava bid his time for a quick phone call before daring to cross the consistent current.

 

            “Pick up you old bastard,” said Nava, softly as he eyed the women walking by. “Hey Roberts, it’s me, Nava. I tried the lead you gave me and got nothing. I hope you start rethinking your plans for retirement.” Nava ended the voicemail and closed his cellular phone. After taking a moment to clear his head, the lieutenant stepped into the moving crowd and followed suit. Like the rest, he stayed clear of the darker areas of the street, avoiding the alleyways with pretentious ignorance to the muffled sounds of fighting. Crime infested his poverty-stricken city, slowly but surely causing the once beautiful city he grew up in to plummet into a chaotic nightmare that no amount of arrests could prevent. It soured on his tongue, generating memories pregnant with regret, but Mr. Keller was right; the power of the badge faded into shadows as the change in times released a tormenting sense of desperation. An economic meltdown like the world had never seen brought this powerful nation on its knees, and those willing to threat with nuclear attacks and other disasters didn’t hesitate. The further the depression hit, the more increasing the stakes for a better life became. Thus, hundreds of people were tossed out of the corporate sector to test their wits against the bleak, desolate streets that rendered the more desperate individuals into prostitutes, drug dealers, and worse.

 

            Nava strolled along the crosswalk with his fists deep into the pockets of his khaki cargo pants, while reliving the awkward moment when Captain Roberts decided to retire. Nava stopped to the abrupt squeal of a military truck and stepped towards the building. Rows of men and women branded with the patriot duty to serve in the world’s finest military force lined the cab of the truck.

 

            The National Guard stormed to the sidewalk, grabbing anyone that looked of age, and carried them into the truck. One by one they’re loaded into their harvester of sorrow like cattle for the slaughter.

 

            “At this rate you would think our way of life would be a little better,” said a homeless black woman.

 

            “If they had any sense, they would clean out the alleyways,” said Nava. He watched as the armed forces proceeded to board the truck. A crack of lightning smeared from the sky and released a downpour onto the city.

 

**

 

            Scampering over a pile of shattered stone and metal that gleamed in the light of a full moon, Abigail reached for the top with only minor cuts. She clasped the rusted rebar in her small, dirty hand and pulled herself over a rough slab of metal. She dusted her hands, wiping the residue against the denim of her jeans. She peered through the darkness of the opening–a gaping wound in what used to be solid floor—for any signs of movement. With the exception of the settling dust, there was nothing. Her gut fell deeper, pitting lower than before in hopelessness, but she leaped down anyway. The sound of her red converse hitting the floor was followed by a slight girlish groan.

 

            Except with the occasional stress of the crumbling structure, the air was snuffed of any sound. A cool breeze emerged from the pit below, penetrating her soft exposed skin with a dryness she felt before. With her hands clinched around her arms, Abigail walked slowly towards the grave of her guardian. Buried under layers of clutter that weighed more than he did, Abigail could only rely on her gut feeling that he would some day return. She dropped to one knee and felt her smooth fingertips along the thorn of the rose she brought with her. She could feel the sharp natural instrument slicing through the layers of flesh, and though she connected with the tease of pain, she dared not to press deep enough to draw blood. With a moment of wishful thinking distracting her, Abigail placed the rose along with the others.

 

            Though distant, the sound of men approaching sent her scurrying away for cover. She ducked under a metallic table that sat against the wall and waited with a curious eye. Obeying shouting commands, a group of men climbed over the ruins opposite of her entry. They struggled with reaching hands that scraped across the folds of sheet metal and steel. Profanity flowed from their mouths in thick waves, growing more potent on each attempt, while the sound of a starting engine roared behind. Only two of them made it over the scrap pile, and they watched as a bulldozer scooped what it could, leaving a small opening for the others to use.

 

            All of them wore ragged clothing in desperate need of washing, and they approached as if haunted by some heavy burden. Some of them held knives, some grasped tightly onto lead pipes, but they all carried the intent to kill without the slightest sense of remorse. Abigail crawled deeper into her cover upon glimpse of the one in front. A cryptic symbol burned into the flesh of his forehead, searing the brand with a bold dark scar that represented, in one glance, an ever-moving entity of soullessness. The man, Malkovak, had haunted her before, rendering her frightened beyond imagination, all the while hoping that someone would help her.

 

            “I can’t believe it took this long,” said Malkovak, the voice resounding deeply.

 

            “She’s clever,” said the other.

 

            “That she most definitely is,” said Malkovak, stepping towards the cluster of roses.

 

            “Do you think he’ll still work,” asked the other.

 

            “If our Lord deems it so,” said Malkovak, his voice lifted with a hint of pleasure. “And I believe he does. First we should bring in our sacrifice.”

 

            Two cloaked individuals pushed a woman dressed in torn rags and bound in chains towards the rim of the pit. She squirmed and cried out for forgiveness, offering them her body as a compromise, but they were only mildly amused.

 

            “Nzulmbi,” muttered Malkovak, kneeling down, inspecting the recently added rose.

 

            “Nzulmbi,” said the others in complete unison.

 

            “As children to your blessing, we call to you so that we shall not be forsaken,” said Malkovak, pulling out a curved dagger from under his coat. “For an ounce of sympathy and protection, we offer rivers of blood.” The others repeated the phrase, their voices collecting into a morbid choir.

 

            Malkovak rose with the dagger slicing through the woman’s chest vertically. Blood splashed along the blade, staining the sleeves of his wool suit. A crimson tear gushed as if it were an open faucet, saturating her little rags. Malkovak pressed the blade against her neck, teasing her with a slow slicing motion that ate more and more of her flesh with growing hunger. A thin line of blood emerged from the wound, and Malkovak produced a little smirk. He pushed the screaming woman into the pit, watching as her body fell helplessly onto piercing rebar.

 

            “Bring the equipment,” said Malkovak. “It’s going to take more than a bleeding woman to get him out of this.” He walked towards the table.

 

            “We should thank her,” said the other.

 

            “Then allow me,” said Malkovak. He reached under the table with fast hands and clinched firmly onto Abigail’s arm, pulling her out with complete ease despite her attempt to fight. “How easy this is,” he said. “We’ve got both of you, together. This will be a glorious day, indeed.”

 

**

 

            His cell phone buzzed. “You got anything,” said Nava.

 

            “No,” said Vivian, disappointed. “My source gave me nothing. A bunch of bullshit.”

 

            “Well, it turns out Keller isn’t going to talk about it. This has to be the longest light ever,” said Nava as he slammed his palm against the steering wheel.

 

            “If you’re on Main Street then you’ll be there for a few minutes. I suggest you get comfortable,” she said, stopping with an air of silence. “Wait, you already talked to Keller.”

 

            “Yeah,” said Keller, heavily. “He wasn’t much help. But I swear we will get him for something. I know it.”

 

            “Well, your intuition is right,” said Vivian.

 

            “Why is that,” asked Nava, releasing off the break, slowly coasting behind the other slow responsive driver.

 

            “He’s dead,” said Vivian. “I just heard that someone called in a body in the Keller building, and it was him. Do you know anything about it?”

 

            “I don’t know shit,” said Nava. The light changed to red, catching him just before crossing the intersection. He slammed the steering wheel. “Wait. Before I left his office he gave an obscure threat. He pretty much warned that anyone that talks would die.”

 

            “Nava, you should wait for me before you do anything,” she said.

 

            “Sorry Viv, that isn’t going to happen,” said Nava. He floored the pedal and crossed the intersection, swerving between the vehicles for narrow openings that were closing by the second. He closed his cell and tossed it to the passenger seat. He grabbed the steering wheel with strong grasps that bleached his knuckles, and drove aggressively through the busy streets, navigating down side streets whenever traffic became too dense.

 

            He drifted into the parking lot of a grungy apartment complex where roaches and rats were regulars, infesting the floors, crawling behind the walls, and thriving off the filth of the junkies, bottom feeders, and other slugs of life. Nava kicked in the flimsy chain linked postern and ran up the gravel steps. He stormed up the stairwell and stopped with heavy breathing by Levon’s door. He knocked and waited, and knocked again, but the stall of time played on his nerves. Nava pulled out his USP .45 and knocked one more time before trying the knob. Stubborn, but a good solid push forced the rotting particleboard to swing open. Nava stood on the threshold with gun raised, while the door pivoted against the wall.

 

            “Levon,” said Nava, cautiously. “It’s Nava. Please tell me you’re in here.” Nava stepped deeper into the studio apartment, navigating a narrow trial that dug through the piles of junk and garbage composed of computer parts, fast-food wrappers, magazines and things collected over years of living. The bed, cluttered with paper plates stained with food residue, was empty. The computer chair, marked with white streaks going down the rim of it, was empty. The room, with the disgusting filth that hid in the closet, was empty of anything other than a few insects. A foul stench wafted into the air, and it lingered in from under a closed door. Nava neared and tapped lightly against the door.

 

            “Levon, are you in there,” said Nava. He opened the door with gun pointed and ready.

 

            “Jesus Christ,” said Nava, covering his eyes as he walked away.

 

            “What’s the deal? Can’t a man take a shit in peace,” asked Levon. “Fuck, man.”

 

            Nava leaned his back against the wall parallel with the opened door. “You have two minutes to finish up before I pull your ass off that seat. Don’t make me do it. Don’t you dare make me fucking do it.”

 

            “You invaded my home,” said Levon, hollering from the bathroom. “I should be asking you to leave.”

 

            “You have two minutes,” said Nava.

 

            “What’s the deal,” asked Levon, closing the magazine.

 

            “I have reason to believe that someone is gonna try to kill you, and you and I don’t need that,” said Nava. “Just hurry the fuck up. I would think a gun in your face would finish the job.”

 

            “Hold on,” said Levon. “Almost done.”

 

            A muffled release of air went almost undetected, but the shattering of a computer monitor brought Nava down with his hands wrapped around his weapon, aimed at the doorway.

 

            “Don’t be breaking stuff,” muttered Levon.

 

A dark suit walked by with only a second of exposure. Nava shifted to the other wall, pressing his back against the strained surfaced. His gun aimed at the small stretch of wall aside of the doorway. A hole punched through the wall, sending a bullet down where Nava once was. The lieutenant returned fire, projecting an acute burst of thunder that startled Levon.

 

            “Alright, alright,” said Levon. “I’m fucking done.”

 

            “Hurry,” said Nava, trying hard to maintain focus on the target.

 

            Levon stepped out of the bathroom dressed in a dirty, black guayabera and very relaxed cargo pants. Nava grabbed him and pulled as he walked closer to the doorway. With an itchy trigger finger, he peered around for an angle that would answer his lurking, nagging curiosity, but after several attempts all he could do was brave the confrontation.

 

            Nava’s gun pointed straight down the hall, waning slightly. The suit stared, his eyes dull like the approaching reaper with weapon for execution. Rounds were fired from both directions. Nava landed with his shoulder bashing against the floorboard, he checked himself, unsure of any inflicted damage. Not a drop of blood from him, but the stalker had a different fate. A splatter of blood marked where he stood, and a kicked in door pointed in the direction to follow. Nava pushed himself off the ground and pointed the gun as if their executioner would jump out for another attempt.

 

            “Levon,” said Nava. “We’re leaving this dump.”

 

            “Fuck,” said Levon. “What the fuck is going on, man?”

 

            Nava paced backwards with Levon nearby and didn’t shift from his position until a quick escape was within a few steps reach. The two raced out from the contaminated complex, and Levon followed Nava to his ride.

 

**

 

            “I’m glad you decided not to finish him off,” said Vivian, accusingly. She leaned against the interrogation room wall. A hand wrapped around a relaxed arm as she bit her lower lip. Her dark short hair was slightly long at the front, a few strands settled with sharp tips right above her left eye. A tight forming police uniform hugged her petite frame, bending over her small bust with parted collars that exposed the pale skin and beginnings of a plain white shirt.

 

            “Believe me,” said Nava, unfolding a chair. “I wanted to.”

 

            “Why is that not a surprise,” she said, looking away from him. “You should’ve waited for my help. Perhaps you wouldn’t have had such a close call.”

 

            “No thanks Viv,” he said, cupping his hands with elbows placed on top of the metallic table. “If I waited a minute longer then Levon here wouldn’t have made it.”

 

            Levon didn’t look at any of them. He stared at the tiled floor, lost in his own thoughts.

 

            “He seems broken,” she said. “You really think you can get anything from him.”

 

            Nava glanced at her with a slight smile, and tapped the middle of the table, pulling for Levon’s attention. “Levon, since I saved your life, I feel that it’s only fair to ask you a few questions.”

 

            “If that guy is after me then it would have to be because of what I know,” said Levon, leaning forward with brilliant beady eyes that shown through his dirty mug. He placed fingertips against his weathered, tainted lips and seemed a hostage of his own delusions. “They know,” said Levon. “Despite your efforts to silence the story, they know. Don’t they?”

 

            “That’s what makes it so important that you tell me everything you know about the operation that took place at the old piping yard,” said Nava, gently.

 

            Levon stiffened and pressed a finger against this temple. “I know you want what’s in here, but at the cost of my own life, at the cost of yours? I don’t think you understand that some things are better off left alone. Don’t tamper with something you have no business with.”

 

            “Levon,” said Nava. “If you don’t help us then how can we help you? Don’t you want to be protected?”

 

            “Besides we already have the whole department wanting to snuff us,” said Vivian, disregarding their only witness. She walked to the table, pressed her palms against the surface, and leaned forward. “I don’t want to work narcotics again,” she said, shaking her head. “So just spit out the fucking information.”

 

            Nava glared at her, but redirected his focus to drilling the confused, smelly, disgusting man. “We’ll protect you,” said Nava, laying on genuine comfort. “We know you were involved with creating him.”

 

            “Don’t go jumping to conclusions. I didn’t do anything more than help design a system that could, if used correctly, function as artificial organs, secreting huge doses of serotonin, epinephrine, endorphins and other chemicals into a host, a breakthrough that would revolutionize our current concept of medical science. If someone had this in them, their body would perform ten times more efficiently. Athletes could become the perfection they dream of. Soldiers could become the soldier their country needs them to be. I didn’t know what the company we shipped the technology would do with it. If we did, I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. But, then again, there were rumors. There was this gossip that something big, something evolutionary was in the works.”

 

            “What company did you ship it to,” said Nava.

 

            “Sekume, but the name of the company won’t matter. It was a front for powerful wealthy men to pool their resources together without detection. But this is really just a rumor. It probably isn’t true. But there is a name, Aidan Agamat. My associates would refer to him a number of times.”

 

            “Agamat,” muttered Nava. “Sounds familiar.”

 

            “He’s a financial advisor for Jackson & Pearson,” said Vivian. She parted her lips, thinking about the difficulty it would be to pin a man with such reputation as the one responsible for the monster’s manifest.

 

            “So you shipped the technology to him,” said Nava, doubtful.

 

            “Yes,” said Levon. “I’m telling you. You should stop now and prevent a lot of unnecessary damage from happening. The more you look into this the more difficult it will be to do anything with it.”

 

            “Then we best keep this to ourselves,’ said Vivian, glancing at Nava. “Hopefully we won’t get pulled from the assignment.”

 

            Nava rose from his chair and left the room with Vivian following behind. She tugged on him. “Look, I know you’re worried about finishing this, but we’ll get something.”

 

            “Trust me. I want nothing more than to bring the asshole responsible for this to justice, but we can’t do it without doubling our efforts,” said Nava, rubbing his face with his hands.

 

            “I could see what I could get out from those connected with the cult,” said Vivian. “It’s worth looking into.”

 

            “Sure,” said Nava, narrowing his gaze. “Just don’t let your guard down and take someone with you just to be safe. I wouldn’t walk those alleys alone, not again anyway. You should take Darren with you.”

 

            “What makes you think you’re going to be doing shit alone,” said Vivian.

 

            “Don’t worry about me. I’m just gonna ask him a few questions,” said Nava.

 

            “But what about the gunman,” asked Vivian, placing her hands on her hips. “You think you’re going to face him alone? We should hit the streets together, double our efforts that way.”

 

            “I’ll be expecting him, so I already have the advantage,” said Nava, trying his best to sound convincing. “Besides, he’s a pathetic shot.”

 

            “Stubborn ass,” said Vivian, shuffling her feet.

 

**

 

            Torches set ablaze crackled hungrily in their iron fixtures, fighting the suffocating darkness with orange hues that dominated in areas of interest, leaving the corners and various portions to disappear into the darkness. A cage held high above the ground by a chain that extended up into the shadows rocked to the weight of their brave hostage. With water-rimmed eyes, Abigail sat against the bars of her tiny cage with arms wrapped around her folded legs. She feared their intent, knowing that they would surely kill her and not with a kind hand. No, her captures would treat her like all their other victims, but because of history, they would increase the glorification of her sacrifice. Horrid thoughts plagued her mind, saturating it with a heavy mess. During the intense moments, when tears of dread trailed down her cheeks, she fixated her view at her only salvation. The Bleeder, like some forgotten relic, looked weathered, battered and broken. His body, the fractured, blood stained remains of it, was stretched out between overhanging boards that housed a number of cords that snaked one another into a pit of mechanisms below.

 

            The chamber was underground, that Abigail was certain, but the exact location she wasn’t sure of. The smell of rot penetrated the earthy, musky scent of water stained bricks and mortar, dried oak, and dust. Without much to do, all she did was set her eyes onto her once giant undefeatable guardian, trying to see beyond the shattered wielding mask that covered a ruined, mutilated face.

 

            Three men dressed in all black entered from the side door, pacing towards the machines. Malkovak followed them. With a hand on his chin, he seemed favorable to the progress, but weary of the amount of time it would take to test it.

 

            “Finding the parts was hard,” said the taller assistant. “But you were correct with the leads.”

 

            “Of course, it is a rarity for our seers to mislead us,” said Malkovak, voice steady and even. “Besides, the branding on the equipment inside him could only mean one thing. How is he responding?”

 

            “His vitals are, well, not much of anything,” said the shorter assistant.

 

            “You can’t measure something like him, he’s a creation of our Lord,” said the taller one. “We just finished patching him up.”

 

            “You hear that,” said Malkovak, glancing over his shoulder at Abigail. “It sounds like it is time to feed our messiah.”

 

            The assistant pressed a few buttons and turned a few dials and blood gushed through the cords, feeding into the Bleeder’s corpse. Thin streams poured out from the patchwork, but overall the carcass contained the fluid long enough for it to absorb the needed nutrients. After a slight groan, the Bleeder clinched his right fist with bleeding fingertips.