Author's notes: This is a new fic, because I'm having writer's block with After the fall of angels. It's multi-part, but likely won't be too long. Um... Warnings: Dark. Also, can you put up a warning for incomprehensibility? This is mostly just written as it occurs to me.
It seems a long time ago now that I first learned about her- My sister, remade into a crude facsimile of her former self, created to rule a city. Until that moment, I never really understood my father's obsession so many years after her death.
After I first heard the rumors (from my own Marduks, no less!) that my father was regularly having shady dealings with zone ones, I waited, watched and followed.
I followed. And I regret it.
The first time I approached, I couldn't see what they, a stubby man and my father, regarded with such mixed pride and awe. I saw only a nest of machinery intertwined with cables like snakes and shot through with burnished steel. They left, and I went to get a closer look at the tanks suspended at intervals along the walls, one in the center- but I looked to the walls first.
The first tank held what looked like a robotic arm welded to the remains of a human body, torn and ragged fish-belly pale flesh waving and bobbing in the light current of bluish fluid. The rusted claw slowly curled as if seeking escape, caressing the glass with its needled fingertips. I turned away, not reacting. I had seen worse from my days on the streets in the war, or during Marduk duty.
The second tank was... Indecipherable. A tentacled mass of pulsing ooze laced with glowing filaments. It reminded me almost of a squid or a brain, floating ragged in brine, useless tentacles waving.
But I watched in horrified fascination as a blood-red eye opened slowly, at a seemingly arbitrary place. It was followed by a thousand others until the fleshy creature stared at me, covered with malevolently intelligent eyes. I broke their stare and ran on.
What kind of place had my father been frequenting?
The third tank was empty but for floating metal parts, something for which I was inordinately grateful. I could still feel the thing watching me.
There were only two tanks left now, one tucked away in a corner, the other the place of pride at the center of the room. Walking into dimness, I left the central tank for last.
Things were less kept up in this corner- I stepped over exposed wires and broken, rusted detritus. The Tank's light had broken, and a hairline crack ran up the side. The old glass was yellowed and grimy- impossible to see through but for a murky outline. I wiped away a section with my sleeve, and time stopped.
I think I screamed.
Tima, long-dead Tima, my sister, stared back at me, eyes wide. Her golden hair flowed about her eleven year old body like seaweed, framing the terrible green emptiness in her gaze. She still wore the clothes she'd died in, and I knew if I looked carefully I'd see the ragged bullet hole in her chest, the blood long washed away.
I'd told her not to play with that gun.
She watched me accusingly, and I turned away, feeling trapped and sick, unable to bear it. How could they do this?
I walked numbly to the last tank, with no real interest anymore in what lay inside, only hope for distraction. Nothing could be worse than the previous tank. Nothing.
I was wrong.
The machine, half-complete, small and dainty, stared back at me.