Disclaimer: The only thing belonging to me is my imagination. I wouldn't trade with Capcom about that.
Summary; It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. Sherry, Wesker, zombies. Inspired by the Secret Stage in UC.
A/N: praemonitus pramunitus is latin and means 'forewarned, forearmed'.
Sherry clutched the gun until the knuckles of her fingers went white and her hand hurt from the strain she was forcing upon it. Sweat had started to form on her palms, making her hold a little slippery. She held the pistol with both hands, just as he had taught her. Your aim will be more accurate, he had said, take long, even breaths and stay focused.
Her breaths were short and hurried however, mostly the opposite of his instructions. She could feel every trickle of sweat running down her forehead, down the curve of her neck and under her clammy T-shirt. The liquid was cold, making her shiver and sending short, impulsive quivers along her spine. Her own body distracted her, immensely so. The heartbeat was echoing in her ears and shutting out all the important sounds.
One of them could creep up on you and all you hear is a loud DUM DUM DUM when your heart goes for a new record.
She couldn't see clearly in the dim light and the occasional beams of lights entering through the broken windows were more of a nuisance than a help. Just when her eyes adjusted to the semi darkness there would be sudden, flaring light blinding her.
Her eyes darted across the room from left to right, up and down and the whole procedure over again. Drawers on one side, stocked with books. Three neatly ironed lab coats were hung on clothes hooks beside door. In the back part of the room there were four tables with computers on them and the free space in between was filled with all kinds of medical and chemical equipment.
There was nothing out of order, but damn she couldn't focus! One of them might be poming its ugly head up from behind of a drawer, giving her a sinister grin before waiting to assault her when she least expected it.
Get your guts together, girl, this is all about concentration. Concentrate, damnit.
She aimed the gun into every corner, finger ready on the trigger, but there was nothing to shoot at. Where the hell were they? They were here somewhere, she knew it, he'd left them here for her, but where were they?
Sherry didn't doubt their existance for one second, mainly because he had told her what would await her. Not in every detail of course and she dared to say that he had left out the part of the mental stress. If it weren't for the tension keeping her together, Sherry was sure she would explode just because of the agigation.
But then again, what did you think? That you'd simply walk in here, kill whatever comes your way and turn around to leave again?
There was a time when every such thought brought back distorted images of the hell that had been Raccoon City and a blurred face of a girl with a ponytail and a pink bikervest aswell as a policeofficer with the big white letters RPD printed across his uniform. The girl's name had been Claire and the man had been called Leon.
She had asked him once why she could only vaguely remember the events those six years ago. He had named it shock and posttraumatic repression and when she had been seventeen – he had considered her mature enough by then - they had had a long talk about Sherry's parents, their life and the role they had played in the outbreak.
They had also talked about Claire and Leon and Sherry had accented the luck the three of them had had on that fateful night. He had just smiled and nodded understandingly and for a moment had been lost in thought (she noticed that that happened sometimes, especially when they talked about William Birkin, Sherry's father.)
She was pulled back into reality. The absence of any sound impacted harder than any noise could have had.
The silence around her was suffocating. She had the feeling that the inaudiable screams and moans were so deafening that they shut off every other possible sound. Perhaps she wouldn't even be able to hear the crucial step behind her, perhaps the noise would rip through the silence so abruptly that her ears wouldn't even pick it up.
Sherry proceeded taking small steps and was careful not to trip over any of the broken lab items on the floor. Discarded reports, broken glass, phials, heavy devices. She even saw one of those expensive microscopes on the ground.
Stop observing. Listen. Listen, he said you should listen. And feel. You can feel them, when they're close.
He said she could feel them. That it was possible if she only concentrated hard enough. Their presence was signalized by the smell, first of all the smell. Decaying bodies, rotting flesh, a pungent odor that even hurt your eyes if you were exposed to it too long. And they couldn't keep from moaning and groaning, because – as he had explained – their want was so immense, their urge so irrepressible that they needed to give utterance to this compulsion and their brains were too distorted to form anything apart from the inhuman cries.
Sherry pointed the pistol upwards as a buzz suddenly tore through the silence. Her heart momentarily in her throat, soothed down again. One of the neon lights just had a short circuit or something. The light went on and off in irrgeular intervals tunking the room and its many corners into darkness, only to pull it out of the black mass again.
Sherry sighed, noticing her increased heart rate. It pulsed so hard as if it wanted to wriggle its way out of her chest. If it continued at this rate Sherry would even consider such an act possible. Over the years she had learned to accept so many impossibilites as reality that sometimes she wasn't even surprised anymore when he showed her one of the new creations, or unexpected mutations. She was always shocked and slightly afraid, but rarely surprised anymore. Nightmares took on horrible forms, but he kept telling her that she had to handle the abnormities, that the nightmares only fed from her fear.
One time she had broken down in tears, because this was not the life Sherry wanted to be part of. She remembered exactly. She was slumped in a corner, hardly able to control the flood of tears running down her cheeks and he had done something so odd that he had managed to replace her despair with curiosity by just a simple act, rather than with the following words.
He'd bent down beside her, put his leatherclad fingers under her chin and pulled it up so she was forced to look at him. He rarely displayed any emotion apart from indifference and even though his face had been as stern as ever, his eyes detached from the outside world by the reflective shades in which Sherry had been able to see herself, the tone in his voice had let a hope spark inside her that perhaps there was some other side about him she didn't know about.
He'd said, "If there had been a choice, you could regret your decision now– but there never has been. Don't trouble yourself with matters that you don't have the power to judge about,"
She had stopped crying instantly; not so much because of his words (they made little sense at that time and weren't all that enlightning) but because she suddenly reminded herself whom she was facing and that she didn't want Albert Wesker getting a bad impression about her.
Sherry shot. It hit a stack of books and sent them tumbling to the floor. Lose pages covered the ground. The book had been titled 'A Beginner's Guide to Cellular Biology'.Shit… shit…
She'd seen the face, damn, but it had been gone so quickly again. An ugly grimace, a distored grin and empty eyes. The face had said, 'you can run, silly girl, but in the end I'll get you' without words, but she had heard them in a mocking tone inside her head, so loud that she thought it was going to explode.
Her heart tried to overpower the voice by beating harder, if that was even possible.
Sherry pointed the gun into the direction the face had popped up from, suddenly feeling a thousand empty eyes watching her, laughing about the little frightened girl.
And then she saw a pair of eyes, a real one, regarding her from behind a fallen over drawer. The man was missing his lower lip and an ear and showed an advanced state of decay. He didn't move when Sherry turned to him, didn't even blink. She reminded herself that they never blinked, because their brains were too dead to send impulses to their eyelids.
Instead of attacking or running away, the head remained where it was and observed her with seeming admiration. When she raised the weapon and aimed it between its eyes, its lips took on the slightest form of a smile, but because of the missing lower lip it turned into a horrific something, revealing yellow teeth and purple flesh. Its last unspoken words were 'gottcha' then the head exploded with the kind of pop you got when pulling the cork off a wine bottle.
Sherry's finger was still tightly pressed against the trigger, wondering where all the blood was, because her first kill hadn't left any traces.
She pointed the gun into the direction of the thing and slowly rounded the corner. Sherry expected gore, but there was none. The figure's head had been neatly severed from the rest of the body, as if she had worked with a high presicion tool. No blood came from the stump that had been the man's neck. It should though. All big cranial vessels were located there.
Then something unexpected happened and Sherry leapt back in surprise a yelp leaving her lips.
An audiable POOF! filled the room for a second. Then there was a small explosion, whose light swallowed the body.
And then it was gone. The floor was clean, no traces of a shot. Sherry felt another cold drop of sweat making its way down her temple and trickling into the back of her shirt.
Fuck, what the hell is this?
She'd never seen anything like that. Perhaps the curious thing had suffered from the same effects she feared to succumb to. Everything that was holding her together was tension, she reminded herself. Perhaps it had been so exited (or afraid?) that it had simply been too much for its body to endure. Sherry was about to ponder the possibility that it might be a new tweak to his creations but couldn't finish the thought.
The electronical double doors leading into the room opened with a sucking sound. A shabby figure ran, hands outstreched. Its eyes were so full of hystery that Sherry couldn't see anything beside it. It flailed with its arms through the air wildy and picked up a speed that it shouldn't be able to aquire in its situation.
The spooked man ignored her completely in his run of madness, sprinting past her. Sherry caught a slight scent of his decaying flesh and heard the words that never left his lips:
'Level four contamination detected! Level four contamination! It's over! it's OVER!'
She turned around, holding the gun pointing on the man's back, who didn't slow down despite the massive wall cutting off his way. He kept running and made sweeping motions with arms, not screaming unintellegible things.
He collided with the wall accompanied by a dull thud and fell on his back hitting the cold, sterile floor. He twisted and tried to get up, but Sherry shot him in the spine and the body went limp.
A moment later he disappeared as strangely as the other one had.
Then a quiet chuckle broke the silence.
Sherry shot around and had her gun aimed at another face. No, infact, it was the same one that had been watching her the first time around. It bore the same grin, too. She had barely been able to see it the last time, but Sherry was absolutely sure it was the same face. One of its eyes was blodshot and its hair must have fallen out in one of the early stages of death.
It looked at her intently, studying her, then popped its head out of view as if having obtained whatever answers it had seeked.
In its stead one of the observation computers was knocked off a table. The glass made a shrill sound as it bursted on the floor and from behind the table emerged another thing, dirty with a battered body. It stepped on the shards of glass without seeming to notice them. The glass crunched under its feet and it probably cut into its skin.
At first it looked Sherry in the eyes. She thought it was confused. It didn't seem to know what its purpose was here. It didn't want to attack her, simply stared at her, or perhaps through her at the far wall located behind the girl. Or perhaps it looked at 'A Beginner's Guide of Cellular Biology' that lay forgotten on the floor.
Then, as if someone had flipped a switch it jumped at her, dirty hands outstretched to grip her throat.
Sherry closed her eyes on instinct. She prepared to let out her one final scream, but the thing that had once been a human never got that far. She hadn't even realized how of often her fingers had closed down on the trigger, but it was now laying outstretched on the floor before her, twitching slightly.
Its eyes focused on her a last time and the confusion seemed to be gone. In her head it asked her 'Who are you? Who am I?' then its body was swallowed by the mysterious POOF!ing explosion.
Sherry backed into a corner, feeling the hard wall against her back. Those people – whatever they were – came from all directions and didn't bother much about physical possibilities and time and space matters.
She didn't want one to materialize out of thin air behind her. Mostly because she didn't want to die without knowing what had been the cause. That was the worst way of dying, Sherry thought, because of the lack of knowledge.
He always said knowledge was the key to success.
The bloodshed eye was fixed on her again. Sherry didn't notice at first, but she could feel it lingering on her eventually. Same grin, no hair. The Raggedy Man revealed one of its hands. It was dirty with grime and blood and he waved it slightly, before it disappeared behind the counter he was hiding behind.
Sherry thought that it meant 'hello'. Later (she refused to make herself believe it at first) she was sure that it had meant 'goodbye'.
Just as his hand the Raggedy Man's head disappeared a moment after.
Next time she'd shoot him Sherry told herself. Next time it was her turn to tell him goodbye.
The automatic doors to her side janked open again. Four figures dashed through, similar to the crazy man from earlier. They did not run against the wall and die though, instead stopped in the middle of the room.
For a minute they didn't move. As if somebody had put the tape on 'Pause'. It gave Sherry the opportunity of looking at them closer. One was wearing a dirty lab cat, but she couldn't read the name on the name tag. Two of them were nacked and showed horrible injuries, bitemarks and long red streaks where they had been clawed in the back. The last stared off into her direction, but after initial alertness, Sherry eased. It didn't look at her exactly, rather fixed on the spot where the man who'd been interested in 'A Beginners Guide to Cellular Biology' had died.
Dirty Coat faced the far off wall that was huddled with microscopes, test tubes and thick, dusty books. He suddenly started to hum, startling her. She had never heard one of the creatures make any other sound than moans, but this one hummed. Its vocal cords were already damaged and the sound was a bit shaky, but it was a hum nonetheless.
Sherry didn't know the melody.
She shot each one while they were still frozen. Dirty Coat she shot last, because she thought she might be able to recall the song if she listened just a little longer.
He never seemed to bother with such gratuitious things as music. Usually she only saw him in one of his labcoats (it had never been so dirty as the humming thing one's) or in his tactical gear, before or after a mission. Sometimes it happened that missions went bad. When that happened she didn't see him all.
He had a maid make food for her and take care of whatever she needed, but he remained locked in his room. Sherry had never caught him slipping in, but he was there.
She had never entered his room after a bad mission, because the metallic scent of blood that sometimes made it through the door detered her. He would come out again whenever he saw fit, only to bolt himself in one of the laboratories for days.
But when everything was over he took time for her. He made sure she understood all of the files he left for her and she had struggled through two thick books on biochemistry in just the previous week. Both had been far more complicated than the Beginner's Guide to Cellular Biology.They hadn't found the time to talk about that yet.
One day he had approached her (it had been after a bad mission). He had held a gun in his hands and offered it to her. She'd denied at first but then –
- the Raggedy Man's ugly grin caught her attention. He was kneeling behind some heavy device with many bright lights blinking. Some of the lights threw shadows on his face, the only visible part of his body.
The Raggedy man raised his hand in the same gesture as before (goodbye). He waved her towards him and didn't say 'Come here.'
It was no invitation, no request. It was an order and Sherry felt her legs move without her assent.
Wesker had placed the gun in her hands back then. The pistol had been heavy. The metal had been cold and it had somehow been wrong. It belonged to him, not to her.
She had pressed it back into his hands quickly and shook her head, "I don't want to do this."
Something in the Raggedy Man's bloodshot eye was inviting. The macabre twist of his grin was daunting at the same time, but Sherry's feet moved. They moved, unfailing, but she couldn't raise the gun to blow his head off. All the energy that went into moving her legs against her will left nothing for the coordination of her arms.
"Very well," he'd said then, looking at her sternly, "Change is not necessary." He had been about to tuck the gun back into its holster when –
- the Raggedy Man opened his arms and raised them in an elegant motion. 'My lady,' If he had ever said it, it would have been in a mocking tone, Sherry was sure. He took a small bow before her and she could see the pulp of flesh that had once been ihe back. He must have been caught by one of the more vicious creatures. Like the one that had gotten the two things in the back earlier. Those that had listened to Dirty Coat's humming and had been petrified by the song they somehow hadn't been able to place.
The Raggedy Man extended an inviting, but dirty hand.
"Survival is not mandatory." Sherry had gripped his muscular arm then, preventing him from putting the gun away. He had eyed her quizzically, then eased his grasp on the weapon.
Change was necessary, Sherry thought as her feet carried her closer to the Raggedy Man. She could almost feel the horrible smell now and the mere imagination made her want to puke. A cold hand enclosed around hers and she was forced to look into the bloodshot eye by an invisible force.
'Gottcha' was followed by a triumphant grin.
Sherry remembered Wesker's words, remembered how wrong the gun had felt in her hands. She looked at the Raggedy Man beside her who was basking in his victory and pulled her hand lose.
"No," she said and there was a kind of satisfaction rising on the Raggedy Man's putrified features. Sherry raised the weapon that now felt so right in her hand and pulled the trigger.
Before his head disappeared in a spray of real blood the Raggedy Man grinned and his lips formed two words:
She said, "I will go no farther."
"There is no choice. We can only go on."
The magician said again. "We can only go on."
- The Last Unicorn
This probably makes as little sense as the Secret Stage in UC, but hey. It makes you wonder.
When I first played the scenario I was completely freaked out by those zombie-like things ( that just can't be normal zombies, mind you). I died at least a hundred times before I got to defeat the Raggedy Man.
I always thought this to be some kind of program Wesker had Sherry play through to be forearmed for possible outbreaks. With the technology he has, I am sure he could pull off some virtual reality scenario and who knows: perhaps mind talk is the next thing we'll have to deal with in RE5…