Amontillado, Chilled

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

A Worm Fanfiction

By DireSquirrel


The thousand insults she had put upon me I bore as best I could, but when she turned to torture and injury, I swore revenge. I knew she was the one to push me in that hell box, the locker. Sophia. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled -but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make herself felt as such to her who has done the wrong.

I watched her for months after I got out of the hospital as you might expect, I sought to know everything of her. Her patterns, her loves, her desires, all in the name of my vow of vengeance that I would soon wreak upon her.

It was in this exploration of her being that I discovered, she, Sophia Hess, the torturer of my life, was a Ward. To think that this creature, this abhorrent spawn was labeled as a hero was an anathema to me. It begged to be redressed. That was why nothing ever happened to her, why she was never punished even when she did things in full view of the teachers or administration.

I have no powers. I received nothing but great trauma and utter strife from the locker, nothing but endless nightmares of those hours where I understood not why I was chosen for such. Nightmares of what fell into my mouth as I screamed; nightmares of what I was forced to exist in for those long hours while everyone ignored my presence.

What I found was anger and rage with a desire for revenge most cold.

I tried to keep it in. Truly, I did, but it so ends that I am my father's daughter after all.

So, I did become the hunter to my prey, Shadow Stalker, Sophia Hess, and learned of her methods. I learned of her patterns. I learned of her weakness.

Never did she attack first. Sophia was always one to wait until violence begun upon the innocent, when someone already got hurt before she would take notice of their plight. I'm honestly surprised that the PRT or Kid Win with all his tricks didn't see me watching, but I was there, lurking from the shadows when some E88 member hit her with a cattle-prod. Her smoke form went back to normal and she screamed in pain. Gallant, her partner for the day, had saved her, but I finally saw the weakness I'd so longed for.

At length I found the greatest of Sophia's weaknesses: her tendency to patrol alone. In truth, she would call upon Emma on occasion for accompaniment or conversation, but when she took to the streets in her lonesome, never would she call the PRT. When she was out alone, she treated the common people like she did me, letting them be abused and tortured. Only then would she intercede.

I planned my revenge most precisely. I watched her like a hunter watched her prey galavanting between glade and hill. I realized she was a wild beast, gone feral and rabid, that could only hurt the herd. She had to be put down for the betterment of all, and most importantly, for my revenge.

I made a mask and a costume to disguise both my intentions and to delve into a persona of revenge for the purpose of redressing the tortures put upon me. I rearranged the shape to better suit my dark purpose, to act as a disguise, the chest was widened and made to appear more muscled and masculine. None would mistake me for the tall but frail, thin wisp of a girl I was in truth. I would be as a ghost, with no trail leading to my person. That would never do. Still, revenge had to happen and it was best to hit two birds with the same stone. So I searched around. Then I set up my trap.

It was child's play to build my own personal Stalker Disruptor. I was no tinker to forge some arcane technology from beyond the common person's understanding, but neither were Benjamin Franklin or Nikola Tesla. Electricity was and is basic chemistry and physics, in truth. A battery, a few pieces of wire and a heating element, a little electrician's tape and I was in business.

I waited until dark, and by now I knew her patterns as well as I could. It was a Thursday, which meant she would be going through the docks. She rarely wavered in her patterns. Even now I am quite frankly surprised others had not noted that fact before me. Or perhaps they had, which was why Shadow Stalker never encountered Capes upon those patrols. I watched her from the shadows as she beat up some ABB thug. She always perched on a rooftop to catch her breath afterward, and I was waiting. I threw my Stalker Disruptor, disguised as a brick, right at her. She saw it as I expected she would and phased, only to get the surprise from within. There was enough in that to stun her for a good while. It gave me time to make it up the fire escape in my costume and hit her with my tazer gun. She screamed and fell unconscious.

Into a storm drain went her two mobile phones, one after the other into the sludge surging beneath the street. I tossed all her other gear to local refuse piles, of which there were plenty in Brockton Bay. Those who thought themselves her masters would seek them out, but I was most determined not to be caught. Let them search the sewage and wade through rats for their Ward. When my task of forensic obfuscation was complete, Sophia wore naught but under clothes as I wrapped her in an old rug that smelled of something both dead and yet still alive.

It was simplicity itself to drag her through the alleys, avoiding the traffic cameras and sticking to the shadows. With the presence of such unsavory types as the Merchants, Empire 88 and the ABB, few ventured out in that part of the city after the fall of dusk. Twice I was forced to electrocute my prisoner as she woke up, but my preparations were complete by the third awakening.

She was bound by zipties around her wrists and ankles. An orange power-cord, the ends held high above the high tide line, was bound around each limb, across her front. All of this within a metal cage, most like my own cage which I return to through those hours of the night. It was, in fact, her locker.

I did quote to her -"My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."

"What?" she demanded, still groggy from her repeated electrocutions by my hand. "What the fuck?" Her eyes did grow wide as she took in the new world she found herself in. As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of trash and detritus of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the sides of the locker.

"Truly, My dear Fortunato," I said with a shake of my masked head, "You should spend more time upon your studies instead of torture and abuse."

She, being the predictable sort, did attempt an escape, but the live power running through that cable, the only source of light in the forsaken hull of one of many abandoned ship within the Boat Graveyard, prompted a most pained scream, forcing her back to her true form.

"We did read that prose in class not two days hence," I reminded her.

"You-who are you?"

"Me?" I said as I pulled out a brick from a sack held up a trowel. "I am but a humble mason."

"The Fuck?" she demanded. I smiled behind my mask and placed a brick on the rusted metal of the hull that served as the floor. I ignored her vitriolic response to my actions and the shaking of her cage as I worked. One brick followed another.

"Why the fuck are you doing this?" she demanded some minutes later.

"Why indeed?" I asked. "Why should you deserve to have such an ignominious end? If you must ask of me such a question, surely you can answer it yourself? What actions would bring you to such an end?"

"I haven't done fuck to you, bitch!" she did snarl with much shaking and thrashing within the locker. "Let me the fuck out of here and you won't be killed when the PRT finds out!"

"Nay," I did say. "They will not find me here, will not find the issues, will not find you, for years possibly. We are well within the high tide's reach."

Her head did spin as she took in the signs.

"The tide has just gone out and will return in a few scant hours," I said.

"What?" she asked.

"Truth," I said. "Look upon the walls and see the barnacles."

Like a fool she wriggled and thrashed and, once more, attempted to phased through the current bound to her flesh. She sagged and fell, hanging only by the orange cord that provided the wavering incandescent light.

I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the electrocution of Sophia had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a wounded woman. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the locker door. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labors and sat down upon the sacks of mortar. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The walls were now nearly upon a level with my breast as the water of the rising tide lapped at my feet and reaching into the hole I'd left on the first tier. I again paused, and holding the incandescent over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams of panic and fear, screams so fondly as familiar as my own, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled, wondering if I was doing wrong. I placed my hand upon the solid metal of the forsaken ship, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the walls; I replied to the yells of her who clamored. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamorer grew still. Were any foolish enough to delve this far into the Boat Graveyard, they would no doubt be chased away by the haunting bellows we both let forth.

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position, just under the space where light seeped into the cage and allowed air to escape upwards with the oncoming tide. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the Ward Sophia. The voice said-

"Ha-ha." there was a pause. "Hebert. That's you, isn't it? The locker, the talk about class. You, you've won." Again she paused. "Now let me out." She did pause once more. "We'll go to Fugly Bob's. We'll have a great laugh over the burgers about this."

I did not reply, but reached up, setting the last few bricks and stones in place around the front and back, shoring up inlet for water. The bottom was already dry and the bag assured me that it would solidify even in water as it was designed for ramps and recesses into lakes, rivers and oceans.

"Let's go, Hebert," Sophia said, attempting with all her power to not sound like she begged me for release.

"Indeed," said I. "Let's go."

"Jesus Fuckin' Christ, Hebert!" she bellowed as my foot steps echoed away from her. "Let me out!"

I walked up the rusted, broken ladder to the ship's deck and looked up to the few stars one could see from the city. I ignored the pleas for help as she and others at Winslow had ignored mine. I set the rusted metal back down on the hatch and looked down to where Sophia's muffled screams still came.

"Requiescat in pace, Sophia."

AN: If you haven't read Worm, I recommend it heavily. Just Google Worm and Parahumans and you'll find it right quick. It's an amazing story.

Second, This is very heavily inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I made a few quotes from "A Cask of Amontillado" that I integrated into the story and tried to match the storytelling to his style. I think I mostly succeeded. As for fans of my other works, I'm still working on them. I'm stalled in a few, but they should be ready soon enough.