Spider-man sailed over the top of the Empire State building, gazing downward, the world appeared like an ant farm. People mere specks; Pulling into a tight somersault changing his direction, righting himself and throwing his arm out, he cast a web line with a soft 'thwip'. Striking true and forming a firm anchor ninety stories above the ground, Peter Parker gave a sharp pull and propelled himself outward and around the HSBC building with blinding speed and about two G's of force on his enhanced body. Sure, in his assertion the monster behind him followed.
Forming an 'L' shape with his body, he kicked out with his legs sailing upward. Using his hips to twist around in mid air and landing softly on the edge of a nearby building in a three-point crouch. His eyes narrowed in on the last known position of his pursuer. Heart hammering in his chest, Spidey sense quiet. Pete tried to focus and listen, but the cacophony below filtered up to him, drowning out any attempt to use sound to narrow down a vector. It would be like trying to hear a pin drop in a big band concert. Eyes roaming, he waited.
A soft scrabbling of gravel, Spider-man reacted out of years of reflexive hard lessons fought. "Ah, crap"
Pitching forward just in time as the black and red symbiote called Carnage shot over where he had just been.
"Tally, ho." Peter called as he dropped fast, straight as a pin. Accelerating to terminal velocity quickly. Dual handed he fired off twin web lines, arching low he skimmed Houston Avenue, cutting between two cars and once more shooting skyward. Pivoting into a ten eighty spin, upside down, he braced his hands together and merged the lines. Firing off a tight netting of sticky webbing behind him. The expanding lattice work caught Carnage unaware and wrapped the alien and host up tightly.
As Carnage fell to the street below, Spider-man landed on the face of the Baxter Building. Immediately his vision fixed on the falling serial killer like a hawk.
"Awe, po baby. Did the bow break?" Casting a single line from his web shooter, the substance struck the symbiotes chest and took hold, just as Cletus broke free of the net. "Let me help you back up."
Yanking on the line savagely, with all the might he could muster. Spider-man put all his anger and rage into the movement, carnage folded in two, had he been a normal human being, his spine would have severed mid back. The screaming symbiote swung out in a wide arc. Streaking in toward the face of the building at breakneck speed, crashing into the upper floor of the Baxter building with enough force to send chunks of metal, concrete and glass shards raining down on the street below.
Large shards imploded inward, showering the laboratory of Dr. Reed Richards with millions of tiny, refracting prisms worth of light. The accelerating red and black mass which had shattered the reinforced glass was cast into the bowels of the building, end over end. Brick and mortar shattered, and spider webbed as the one-hundred-and-eighty-pound body struck the back wall.
Scrabbling to its feet, there was no reprieve as a massive, rugged beige fist struck the symbiotes chest like a freight train. The blow struck with such savage force and intensity, it drove Cassidy deep into the titanium floor and shooting aerosolized bits of concrete below into the air.
Ben Grimm slowly stood to his full, rocky height.
"Welcome to your personalized clobberin time," He growled, quickly seizing Carnage by an ankle, the Thing ripped him from his depression in the floor, spinning him in a half circle and releasing the cursing and screeching killer back toward the shattered remains of the window.
"Air mail for a one, Cletus Cassidy" Cried Spider-man shooting into the window like a blur. He drove both heels deep into Carnages back once more folding him in two and like a pin ball, the body flew back into the laboratory once more. "Now that is back breaking precision"
"Do you ever shut up, web head" Ben growled
Carnage, to his credit drove a vicious looking axe like appendage into the floor to arrest his movement and righted himself to full height. Not missing a beat, the symbiote sprang forward to assault the two heroes; Midway in his flight he crashed into an invisible barrier and crumbled to the ground. Spinning to his feet, he roared and made to retreat, only to discover a box. A box getting smaller no matter how he fought against the walls, there was no escape.
Susie Storm had him right where she wanted. Fully materializing, she lifted the box with her mind and guided it back ward to a large black and silver pod.
"Welcome to the Baxter building, Mr. Kasady" Susie smiled for the ball like figure trapped inside her force construct.
"Pele, for the penalty kick." Pete sailed in and drove a powerful kick toward the barrier. Milliseconds before Pete would have broken his toe, she dropped the unseen field and the kick caught the gasping alien with enough force to send a small car into a field goal from ten yards. The symbiote sailed into the pod, striking the adamantium wall and dropped to the floor.
Despite the unrelenting beating, Carnage sprang to his feet. Prepared to return the favor but was consumed in a swirling ball of white-hot flame. As soon as the wall of blistering heat struck the pod, a massive sonic pulse resonated. Carnage howled in pain as Johnny Storm directed all he had at the mass killer in his sights. The screams of agony from the alien symbiote drown out the sonic speakers, it was akin to nails on a chalk board. Bone chilling and equally blood curdling. The containment cells doors slammed shut and Johnny body flamed out. Turning he smiled at his friend.
"Hey, Pete." He half waved "MJ find any single friends for me yet?"
"No such luck Johnny" Pete shrugged apologetically. "What models haven't you dated or hit on?"
"Touché," Johnny admitted "What about kylie?"
"To young and please, look what that family did to Lamar, Kanye and Bruce? You'll wind up as the first Trans gender super hero to have a nervous break down in a crack house and OD on pixie sticks."
Carnage roared at the door.
"So uncool, "Johnny laughed.
"You boys done yet?" Susie scolded them
"SSS-Spider-man," Carnage hissed "Thisss, is far from over. I have a surprise for you."
Before Peter could address the killers veiled threat, Reed had activated the containment cells sonic resonators and the Dissonance field. Carnage snapped his head back and tried to scream, but no sound came out. Its body shivered and shook, quivered in sickening ways. Thrashing side to side, the alien symbiote beat itself against the walls of the chamber in rage filled futility. An attempt to escape the pain it was being subjected to, to no avail.
The alien itself pulsed and dripped, leaking onto the grated floor where the symbiote would be collected. The window rattled as vicious weapons lashed out from its arms in an attempt to break free. With every second, it lost strength and a piece of itself. It appeared to be melting, but was only losing cohesion, unable to sustain its bond.
In a show of final defiance and hatred, Carnage fixed his gaze on the four heroes watching his death. The black and red visage melting away from the killers' face, exposing a single, burning green eye and a shock of red hair.
"If not me, then my children. I will taste your flesh, little Susie-q"
Reed having heard the threat, increased the sonic attack. The decibel level and wavelength maxed out. Kasady collapsed to the floor, curling reflexively into the fetal position. His body jerking involuntarily. The spasms began to quell, increasing in their pause, until he was still.
Through the floor grate, drip by toxic drip, the symbiote died. As a precaution the containment sphere would be launched deep into the neutral zone. Cletus Kasady lay shivering on the grate, naked and alone.
"Open it, lets get him to Ravenscroft"
"They had enough time to activate the beacon" Tony said. "So, they must've made it out."
"It's automated," Steve replied, stepping over a mail box sized lump of concrete
"Mixer got a bit outs hand?" Tony remarked "Someone give, Mr. Banner ecstasy? Friday, where was Mr. Banners whereabouts last night?"
"Bruce Banner was last seen at Mid-town Manhattan for a lecture on Quantum Theory." The automated female voice said
"Well, scratch that idea"
Not funny, Tony." Cap scolded his friend
"End of the line," Hawkeye called out. "Stair wells gutted."
Taking point Clint had navigated easily through the rubble that had once been the Baxter building. His eyes scanned the desiccated stairwell. Entire chunks of stairs were missing in eight-foot sections.
"As in not there. Absence of stair like existence. Gone." Clint remarked, Natasha sliding in beside him.
Pursing her lips and a slight bob of her head she said, "Nope, no stairs. At least no usable stairs.. what in Gd's name is going on?"
Stepping between them, Cap looked inside the ruined stairwell. Two stories above and below, the entire area was obliterated. "Tony?"
With effortless ease, Ironman pried apart the elevator doors and illuminated the abysmal shaft. Inside his helmet. The heads-up display assessed the route, determining it to be structurally suitable.
"Going up?" He asked with a tip of a nonexistent hat.
"Sweet mother of Gd," Clint whistled. A soft, warm breeze blew in from the shattered window at the upper most level of the Baxter building. Haunting, silvery moonlight filled the room, casting a gossamer glow to everything. Tile, mortar and metal lay twisted and left in piles of smoldering wreckage. Threatening shadows danced across the shattered laboratory.
Inside Tony's visor, Friday chirped "Sir, detecting no trace of biological lifeforms. Tracking no movement outside of Avengers."
"Cap" Tony called out "I'm not reading any movement, nothing living besides us."
"Spread out," Captain America ordered "Keep an eye open and Tony see if you can reboot the security systems and get a video surveillance feed. Shed some metaphorical light on this situation, please."
Steve Rogers strode over to the shattered window and peered out into the hot New York night; The stars barely visible. Gazing down he took in the sights of a bustling city he had known for over ninety years. Random lights blazed from offices staffed by late nighters, hundreds of headlights and tail lights snaked up and down the cities arteries.
That single question bit at him, nagging away. What could have done this? Simultaneously eating away at his gut was the feeling he was being observed. Assessed by something very cold, very calculating and all predator. Listening to that feeling honed by years of combat, he scanned the shadows and crevices of the nearby rooflines for any anomalies. The NOGs combined the available light with IR and ultra violet, giving him an almost daylight view of the city. The AI reading his pupil movements and micro twitches. Zeroing in or out reflexively. Despite the assurance of his heightened intuition, he saw nothing. The hair on the back of his neck stood rigid as a gentle, warm breeze kissed the back of his neck like the breath of the dead. There was no shaking it, what ever had done this was watching, waiting.
"Powers coming on line in three," He heard Tony's' verbal warning over the ear piece. Reaching up, Cap disengaged the NOGs just as the blinding LED lighting came to life, laying bare the apocalyptic destruction before them. The light glared with blinding efficiency of design.
And Wanda screamed a blood draining, terror filled shriek that split the graveyard like silence of the lab.
As cap scaled debris like an Olympic hurdler, Wanda screamed and screamed and screamed until she couldn't scream any more.
Susan Storm lay dead on the floor. Her once vibrant, merry blue eyes were now dead and sightless; A milky white blue that would haunt the Avengers dreams for years to come, along with the sight before them that could never be unseen. Her golden blonde hair stained red with her blood. Arms above her head in a straight line, legs angled and bent to form a four from her corpse. A gaping hole in her stomach, led to where her intestines once rested, but were now circled around her body in a macabre reference to their team's logo.
There was an empty, bloody cavity, white bone poking grotesquely from it between her bare breasts. Her heart was one. An angry cloud of black and blue flies swarmed around the Avengers legs, darting in between them, filling and exploring every open orifice and crevice that once was Susan Storm.
"My Gd," Tony whispered
Heavy foot falls grew from behind as Clint rejoined the team. "Jesus Christ," Stunned he stood, speechless. "What happened? Who could have done something like this?"
"Million Dollar question, Clint" Cap responded "Tony, security feed?"
"Friday, patch into the remote security access and see if you can get me some images"
'Right away, sir' The automated female voice responded
"This is savage, animal." Wanda sputtered "Who is capable of this?"
"Clint," Cap addressed the archer. There was only a shocked silence in response "Clint"
Steve had called more forcefully, but still it wasn't enough to shake the man from his thoughts.
"Clint!" he yelled, grabbing the man lightly by his all-purpose body armour, shaking him from his stupor. The colour was gone from his face, his brown eyes a million miles away. "Find a sheet and cover her. Natasha" Steve fixed his piercing blue gaze on the former Russian Assassin. Her beautiful face a sheet of pure marble. "Notify Fury and get agents here as of yesterday."
Turning away she keyed into a SHIELD frequency and spoke softly.
Cap turned to Wanda. "Are you ok?"
Wanda's soft green- hazel eyes appeared haunted, almost lost. She nodded "Da, yes, I will be ok. I'm ok. I mean, I'll be ok."
Steve rested a comforting hand on her shoulder, offering her his strength and resolve. Even in silence, in solemn moments, the gentlest of touch offered by Captain America was the rock that many needed to go on.
"Tony?" Turning to Ironman, Stark didn't look at him, instead he held up a single metallic finger. A minute passed
"Sonuvabitch." All one-word Tony muttered, turning to face Cap
Even covered by an emotionless helm, Cap could read a million things wrong in that golden stare. "Steve. It was Peter."
"What?" Stunned, Steve shook his head in disbelief. "Come again, Tony?"
"I think you need to see this, Steve." Tony shook his head. "Spider-man did this, or at least what used to be Spider-man."
Gathered around the holo-table, the three-dimensional projection provided by Friday back at Avengers Station, offered a gruesome turn of events. The fight unfolding in vivid colour and clarity of audio.
The chamber had worked perfectly. The fight was flawless, Spider man had worked with the Fantastic Four so much that the well-executed plan was pulled off effortlessly. It was after Carnage was contained and the symbiote stripped of the serial killer, when the chamber was shut down and Spider man had entered the chamber with Johnny.
"Right there," Natasha pointed out, "His shoulder, what is that?"
"Friday pause play. That," Tony said pointing to the video. "Is a symbiote. A symbiote that survived Johnny's hurricane of fire and the sonic chamber."
Using his hands, he expanded the area on Spider-mans shoulder for all to see closer. It was oily, reflective and seemed to change shape internally.
"Carnage?" Clint asked.
"No, the sonic resonators and flame had done a number on the symbiote. It would have been to weak to form any kind of new bond, that fast." Cap replied, "They did everything text book."
"Then what?" Widow asked, her arms crossed over her ample chest.
"Watch" Tony said. "Friday, continue play"
The holographic display continued. Spider-man was consumed by a wall of swirling browns and black and tan. The monitors tracked it all. Right up to and including Susie's evisceration and murder. A shocked gasp escaped Wanda's mouth.
When it was over, the team got a clear glimpse of what had been born of this unholy union, the black slick coalesced into a form, settling into its host and morphing revealing a brownish-tan undertone, the black shaped and molded into what appeared to be tribal like designs from head to toe. Spider-man rose to his feet, as Johnny burst into flames.
"Pete? Are you ok, buddy?" Johnny's dead voice echoed in the SCIF. Essentially a giant faraday cage designed so no one could access anything said in the room.
"Pete, can you hear me?" Susie asked wearily. On replay, over and over, it seemed as if Johnny knew something was wrong, that Pete was going to move before he did. Screaming for his sister to move and run. Johnny had then funneled a massive column of flame toward his former friend, reflexively the symbiote Spider-man raised its arm to cover its face as the flames washed over him, enveloped him, licking at its oily skin.
Slowly, methodically. The new symbiote moved toward Johnny. Gaining confidence, one foot in front of the other. Through the flames and fire, its eyes were fixed on Johnny in a single-minded purpose.
"Do you know what you and a birthday cake candle have in common, Johnny?" A dark, thin and viciously sharp looking tendril shot out from its body and before Johnny could react, it severed his head from body. Immediately the flames died and fell from Johnny's body as he crumpled to the floor, his head rolling a few feet away. "You're both so easy to blow out. Flame. Off."
"Friday, freeze feed." Tony said. The holographic Horror show paused "You do not want to see the rest. Or what he did to Susie, shit. I wish I never saw it."
"That wasn't Spider-man," Steve replied
"The hell it wasn't," Clint spat back "We all saw that, Steve. I know and you do too, the symbiotes enhance a person's natural aggressive tendencies."
"It was the symbiote" Cap responded "We are all familiar with how the species works Clint. Perhaps this one is especially aggressive."
"Spider man was never homicidal, Steve." Natasha offered. Her hands up in her dark, crimson hair.
"You remember the Venom Symbiote?" Clint spoke up, twirling a pen between his fingers. "Nearly drove Pete insane, drove him to it. Hence why he got rid of it."
No one needed to be introduced to Venom, it was a vicious but allied symbiote whom everyone in the room had encountered on one occasion or another.
"And this," Tony waved his hand, the image zoomed and cleared. Revealing a sinister brown face, marked with tribal like markings, the twisted eyes red streaked with yellow vein like pathways. A black jaw filled with gleaming white fangs. Each one hypodermic in appearance and a long, thick tongue in its grotesque mouth. "Is what I believe to be an off spring of the Carnage symbiote. A sixth Generation, which appears to have inherited it's fathers' homicidal tendencies and almost none of its weaknesses."
"Excuse me?" Clint raised his hand, perked up in his chair a bit. "I'm sorry, I thought you said none of its parents' weaknesses."
"You did and you saw." Tony met Clint's steely gaze "Should I replay the scene where it walked through a wall of flame that given the lumens it was putting off was as hot as three blast furnaces, he just strolled on down that burning tunnel of love. I'd make a Valtrex joke here but given the circumstance."
"We get it Tony." Cap said holding his hand up "Any idea what this things capability are?"
"Given the tactical analysis Friday ran on the video, it has all of Spiderman's strengths and agility which it has also enhanced. It also has or seems to have retained Pete's intelligence, minus Kasadys obvious psychosis, yet it still has an extreme drive to predatory behavior.
"The Symbiote itself is, given how it killed Susan, capable of producing a paralytic necro toxin, which it can either combine or separate at will internally"
"We've never seen a symbiote this strong." Natasha breathed heavily.
"What do we call it?" Wanda asked
Tony shook his head. "Better you hear it from its own mouth."
A flick of his fingers and the feed accelerated.
Susan Storm lay limp in the tendrils black grip, paralyzed but alive. The tendrils extending out from the creatures back, securing the woman by her wrists and ankles. One thick tendril supporting her tiny waist. The thick, grotesque tongue licked over her face slowly.
"Your tears are my fuel, your fear my ecstasy." It hissed "My father warned you, he would taste your flesh. And he will, through me."
Susie made small, inaudible whimpers. "Abandon all hope, ye who encounter me."
Sharp, pointed Talons of fingers traced over Susan's face, down her slender neck. "For I am Recluse."
On screen Susan's chest cavity exploded from within. Her heart was thrust out and upward, still beating. Pumping the last remnants of blood within it. Susan's eyes grew wide in pain and shock, horror and terror captured in those beautiful blue eyes, as her last seconds of life were filled with the image of Recluses needle like teeth, devouring her heart, tearing away bloody chunks and eating her alive.
Wanda vomited on the floor, gagging and spitting the bile away. Clint Stood up and pulled her hair back. Natasha was eerily still.
"What do we do?" Everyone turned toward Cap. Stunned, that wasn't a phrase ever heard from the star-spangled Avenger.
"Iron wall actual, this is Iron Wall one. In position." The SHIELD team's message sounded in Tony's Helmet simultaneously with War Machines.
"Iron wall, one. This is actual. Copy, in position. Stand by to go." Colonel James Rhodes responded. His black and silver Armour blended more with the dusk than Tony's red and gold. Though, both surmised that colour scheme really didn't matter much if they encountered Recluse.
The combined Task Force of Iron man, War Machine and two elite SHIELD super human response teams moved into the quiet neighborhood. Surrounding the home owned by Peter Parker and Mary Jane Parker.
Outside the house was still, dark. What once would have been a quaint and lovely home, now held an air of nefarious energy. The silence surrounding the two-story dwelling was of the kind you would experience in a tomb.
War Machine knelt by the door, left gauntlet flipped up revealing a video screen. Pulses of energy rippled through the lower level, bouncing off of anything in its way and being picked up and processed by his suits AI. Once completed, it provided a real time, holo projected image of the entire downstairs for Rhoades to access.
"Lower levels clear, Tony."
"Iron wall, one. Bang em." Iron man ordered, raising his arm. His own gauntlet detached and fired off two small cannisters. Followed by War Machine. Within seconds, the interior of the home light up in a flash of blinding fury and noise. Glass blew out into the street, as War Machine leveraged up and forward, driving his boot into the door. The flimsy wood shattered, and the teams moved in.
Fanning out, the black clad warriors methodically searched the rooms. Clearing the downstairs and basement area.
"Iron wall two, moving to second level" Came a call over the integrated communications channel. War Machine acknowledged the movement, his shoulder mounted GAU 7 Gatling gun tracked for targets in the confined space. Nothing however peeked the AI threat matrix.
"Looks like we crashed the wrong party" Tony said "Worst surprise party ever"
"Makes no sense," Rhodie responded "He's still fundamentally Spiderman and Pete. He would make his way back home by now."
"Let's hope not, pal." Tony countered "He also worked at Roosevelt High School."
"Do we have teams in place? Rhodie scanned the room.
"Cap and Wanda. We also managed to get Thor in on the action."
"And Bruce?" A moments levity in his tone.
"Not. A. Chance." Ironman smiled to himself "At least not yet."
"Iron wall two, Iron wall actual." The second level team radioed in.
"Go for Iron wall actual"
"We found something, you might wanna come up here and take a look."
Both men made their way upstairs to the master bedroom and paused just inside the door.
"This isn't human," War Machine voiced
Mary Jane was trussed up on a make shift spit. What could only be assumed as the closet bar, was pushed through her throat and out her anus. Her hands and feet tied behind her and over the bar with black inky webbing. Her eyes wide, the look of betrayal and horror fixed across her dead face. On the wall, scrawled in the same black webbing was a sinister, taunting verse:
'The Itsy-Bitsy Spider went up the water spout. Out came the heroes to flush the spider out, but the itsy-bitsy spider wiped them all out'
"Tony" Rhodie called, but he was already two steps ahead.
"Nick, move on May, get her out now."
He moved through shadow like a shark through water. He knew this city, its secrets. All its deepest, darkest hiding places. He had explored it all as a teen and as an adult. There was nothing new within the city that never slept that he didn't know. He also knew they would be hunting them, though that was their fallacy, they could no more hunt him, than could a fly hunt a spider. It was they who were being hunted. Looking down on the city below, perched within the deepest of shadow and crevice, it all seemed to make beautiful symmetrical sense.
He was not a villain or a hero. Those were very tiny and child like concepts. Constructs of a limited mind to attempt to boost one organism above the others. The mindset of prey. Moral standards they hid behind to cast off the reality of what they truly were: Animals.
And now they. The perfect blending of intellect and animal drive. An apex predator among a world of sheep ripe for the slaughter. He had an insatiable drive to feed and hunt. For living tissue. The scent and look of fear on his Preys face.
The black tribalistic designs swirled and slowly changed, moving, melting and reforming to maximize the shadows that ebbed and flowed with the light and pulses that weakened a shadow. The symbiote sent millions of electrical pulses of sensation to their brain, all processed instantly and reflexively. They were full for the moment, having fed on three of the not so fantastic four and their own wife. The long tongue lashed the air, splitting and forking, dripping toxic saliva, tasting the millions of scents in the air. One all to familiar to him. A distant memory of the life they had before they truly became all they were meant to be.
Bracing its hands, they waited. Rolled their shoulders and shook in anticipation.
With impossible reflex, Recluse jerked to his left as a subsonic bullet slammed into the dull grey industrial AC unit, he took refuge by. With blinding speed, he bounded and rolled across the roof top with acrobatic grace and devilish speed. His senses zeroing in on the chambering of new rounds, turning on a dime, Recluse pivoted to his right. Sprinting to the roof line. Barely touching the edge, Recluse sailed out over the chasm of concrete fifty stories up. Body flying toward the adjacent building.
The predatory symbiote crashed through the closed window. Shards of glass sprayed inward. In the split second he had before tucking and rolling under a barrage of gun fire, the symbiote lashed out with its long, black tendrils, shattering the lights which faintly illuminated the apartment. Everything went dark. Once more oily tendrils lashed out and stripped the two assailants of their weapons.
Recluse came flipping up and over a long white leather couch, tucked into a tight, tiny ball. One leg struck out catching Frank Castle square in the chest, sending him crashing into a wall and shattering another window rattling the family portraits along the walls. Within the same moment, an arm sprang from that ball of flying mass and cast off a glob of black webbing that caught the Winter Soldier in the face, covering his nose and mouth. Even with his carbonadium arm he couldn't dislodge the mass.
The symbiote closed in, delivering two massive blows to Bucky's ribs. Devastating the bone, while a hook to his jaw dazed and staggered the enhanced soldier. Feet and legs became like Jell-O.
"Sorry," Recluse hissed "Let me give you a hand."
Grabbing the wrist of his metallic arm, he gave a savage yank and with a muffled shout and the sound of tearing metal, the arm tore away from Bucky's body. Instantly, his Spidey sense went off, time slowed, and he reacted. Ducking low, Recluse dodged Punishers blade and drove an elbow up and into the nerve cluster under his arm.
"Batter up!" Recluse yelled, spinning and swinging Bucky's amputated arm like a baseball bat, driving the metal deep into the Punishers skull. The man collapsed to the floor. Repeating the vicious blow over and over, laughing maniacally until nothing remained of Frank Castle's head.
"Party of one for a closed casket, party of one."
Turning back to Bucky, he watched the body slide down the wall. Limbs twitching, spasming with what life remained. Crouching down on his haunches, those terrible red and yellow eyes took in the Winter Soldier's last dying moments.
"True beauty" He hissed "Can be seen in death,"
Within a minute, his twitches ceased. Recluse extended a long, terrible black talon and poked the corpse.
"Hey, you. You ok? You don't look so good."
Grabbing the corpse by its ballistics vest he easily picked up the dead weight with a single hand. "Maybe you need some fresh air."
And as easily as a child discarding a toy, he flung the body out of the window and into the street below.
(7) Two Weeks Later