Summary: Rorschach on a hunt, at a loss. Somewhat graphic. Oneshot.
Her body lies ruined in the dank basement. A dungeon. He is too late.
Happy Harry isn't happy to see him. He cowers behind the counter, sweat pouring off his balding pate as he holds a tablecloth in shaking hands.
"Rorschach, please," he whimpers. "How m-many times you gotta come here? We don't know anythin'."
Rorschach doesn't believe him. "Somebody knows." Somebody always knows.
He takes a look around the depleted bar. There are a handful of oddly loyal patrons at Harry's who brave the risk of broken bones, even after eight of them have already been sent to emergency ward this week. He chooses a drunkard at random. Comes up behind the man, grips him by the scalp and slams his nose into the table.
Glass and cartilage shatter with a spray of visceral bourbon.
An awful howl of pain sounds out. It's redundant; he already has everyone's attention. Still, they remain silent.
"Who killed Sophie Grey?"
The smell of blood is overpowering, even through the skin on his head. It's fresh. Reminds him of an abattoir, only more sickening that the blood has come from one person. One ten-year-old girl. Whole sections of her flesh have been torn out. Even her teeth are missing.
His response is a string of blank stares, some fearful, some hardened. Screaming drunkard with his face dribbling down the sides of his mouth waves his arms about in frenzy, trying to get a grasp on the iron fist in his mangled hair. In an instant, Rorschach snaps one of those arms backward at the elbow.
The cry this time is even more agonising. Maybe it'll stop the scum from drinking away his welfare payments in future.
"Ro-Ror-Rorschach, I'm gonna call th-the cops," Harry squeaks fretfully, resembling a rodent more than ever. "Y-You can't keep doin' this to us... you're not even s'posed t-to be here, with the Keene Act passed..." He's true to his word, actually reaching for the phone.
Rorschach lets out an indistinct growl from the back of his throat. Vermin. Working with vermin, is what he's doing here. Useless, foul, more trouble than they're worth. They'd even sell themselves to the cops to evade him. He contemplates snuffing out the lot of them; too impractical. With a final crack of the man's arm, he lets go of the drinker. Walks out.
It's too close to Roche, and he can feel cold sweat breaking out all over him, feel the nausea rising. He turns from the body but the sickness still lies heavy in his gut. Blood paints the walls, stains the crude tools piled in a corner, burns a rust red haze behind his eyes. He doesn't know how long he's been crouching there when it occurs to him there is a creaking sound from above. Floorboards.
It's been almost a week. Trail gets colder every day, and he knows this. But he has no leads.
Rorschach prowls the rooftops over the filth and decay that is New York, indifferent to the onslaught of rain that washes the streets and foams into gutters. He can feel the water drill into him through the coat, see it collect and spill off the brim of his hat, but these things no longer register.
He has tracked every blue Ford wagon in the city. He has harassed all potential witnesses from where the girl was abducted to where her carcass was found. He has staked out the crime scene in case killer ever returned. He has tried everything he knows.
But his man does not exist.
The door to the basement opens. A man stands there, holding something like a casserole pot, when his jaw drops and he turns tail in an instant. The pot clatters to the ground, as loud as a gunshot. Rorschach gives chase but the man is fast. He bolts out of the abandoned house and into a car parked down the road.
He cannot give up. Not an option. Murderer of innocent girl walks free without consequence and he cannot let that pass. It gnaws at him. He hasn't slept in three days because there is so much wrong with this.
He pants for air that comes too thinly, practically sucking in that part of the fabric over his mouth. Ink blots swirl in chaos. Vehicle pulls further away even as his legs pump as hard as they can go. He doubles over at the pain in his side, palms heavy on knees. Keeps his eyes trained ahead. He can't see the registration plate but memorises the car model. Memorises that face. He will find him.
The city beneath him is empty. The moon doesn't show its face tonight. The only movement is the flicker of neon lights selling sex and depravity at affordable rates.
A/N: Just a bit of speculation. Would Rorschach go crazy if a killer got away?
If you're interested, title refers to the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk that sank in 2000.