Chapter 1: Switched Positions
Stalking through the eerily empty halls Chris Redfield came upon a large slimy, sticky cocoon that was glued to the wall securely. Aiming his weapon ready to fire in case anything burst out at him wanting to chew him up, he approached with caution. It was large enough to contain a person and as a peered closer he could just make out the shape and size of a teenage boy.
Placing his handgun in its holster he pulled out his sister's trust combat knife that he had found abandoned in the secret research facility. It had been kicked under a table and was covered in blood but there had been no way for him to tell if it had been Claire's or somebody else's.
Finding it had deeply unsettled him as he knew that Claire would never go anywhere without it. According to Leon she had relied on it on several occasions back in Raccoon City when she had been searching for him. He remembered giving it to her one year for her birthday saying that she had to learn a few defence moves in case she ever got herself into trouble. He smiled briefly as he recalled the look on her face as she opened it and the mirth in her eyes as she said she just had to get into trouble now to find an excuse to use it.
He placed the knife at the top of the cocoon and slowly cut into the thick rubbery web like substance. Once wedged enough he expertly pulled the knife down in a straight line all the way to the bottom. Satisfied that there was enough leave way, he sheathed the knife and placed his hands into the small space. Bracing his arms on either side of the opening he pulled with all his might until the web tore apart and released the young man. As the cocoon fell away, the unconscious boy slumped into Chris' strong muscled arms that gently sat him on the tilled floor and propped up against the wall.
As Chris watched the boy he noticed that the boy's red hair appeared to glow in the dimly lit hallway. He was disappointed that it hadn't been Claire that had been held within the cocoon but he forced himself to believe that she had been too quick and clever to allow herself to be captured. Still he couldn't help the doubts and anxiousness swell inside him now and then.
The red head boy slowly stirred back into the conscious world before vaulting forward and nearly toppling himself over. His eyes snapped wide open, alert and weary as he took in his surroundings. When he noticed that he wasn't alone in the corridor he spun his head until his crystal blue eyes landed and focused on Chris' bleak expression.
The boy narrowed his eyes in suspicion and clenched his fists like a cat ready to pounce if it was threatened. Not wanting to spook the guy Chris raised his hands in front of them, palms outstretched in a peaceful gesture.
When the boy continued to watch him but showed no signs of fighting him, Chris knelt with his left hand resting on his knee, down in front of the confused teenager so that their eyes were level.
"Hey you okay?" He asked and went to place his right hand on the boy's shoulder but it just got swatted away.
"Don't touch me." The boy snarled and bent his legs as if about to get up and run away.
"Whoa hey there! You're safe now." Chris decided it was better to give the boy some space and so he slowly moved away and stood up. He checked both ways of the corridor but he couldn't hear anything unwanted approaching so he offered his hand to the boy.
"What's your name kid?" He asked politely as shook his outstretched to emphasise that the boy should take it and trust him.
The boy just stared at the hand offered to him before glancing back to Chris' face. Several reasons popped into his mind as to whom the man before him could be, what he could want in this place. But Steve realised that if he wanted him dead then he never would have rescued him from the cocoon. Besides he didn't exactly have any other options.
He cautiously placed his own hand in Chris' hand and allowed the former S.T.A.R.S member to pull him to his feet. Once he was stood up he started rubbing the back of his head.
"I'm Steve, Steve Burnside. Who are you?" Steve looked around; he couldn't remember what happened just before he woke up.
"Chris Redfield." Chris pulled his handgun out again and gripped it firmly. When he spotted Steve's eyes flash for a second with uncertainty he flipped the gun round and offered it to him. "You look like you know how to use one of these." He merely stated.
Steve gladly accepted the gun and assessed its weight and condition before examining the man standing next to him.
"You trust me with a gun?" He asked incredulously not used to people just give him things so willingly. "You're not afraid that I'll use it on you?"
"My instincts tell me you're ok. Besides you don't look like you work for Umbrella." He answered casually as he drew out the spare handgun he had come across in a weapons cabinet. "Don't suppose you've seen a Claire Redfield at all?"
At the mention of her name suddenly all of his memories from the last several hours came flooding back and he exclaimed.
"Claire! Yeah I know her, we escaped that island together, we we're in the snowmobile finally escaping this place when something grabbed the vehicle and throttled us all the way back here."
Before Chris had the chance to process Steve's words; that's when Alexia's insane crackle of laughter echoed throughout the hall. "Lost something have we?" She spoke in a mocking tone then laughed mechanically again, the sound echoing all around them.
The two men took a quick glance at one another before running as fast as they could further down the corridor, following the crazy woman's cackling. They came to a staircase and snapped their heads up at her in perfect unison and glowered at her. She was standing at the top, resting her long slender hands against the railing, exuding an air of superiority over them.
"Alexia!" Chris shouted and pointed his gun at her, taking a cautious step towards the staircase. He felt his whole body tense with rage as if sensing the danger that she truly possessed under her innocent complexion.
"You mean there really is an Alexia?!" Steve asked shocked as he followed Chris' example and raised his weapon at the seemingly unarmed woman.
Alexia merely stood smiling smugly at them, her pale perfect complexion doing nothing to hide the cruelty that lay beneath the angelic surface. She brushed her hands down her navy blue dress as though bored with the two of them so she turned and walked quickly out the door completely ignoring their shouts in ordering her come back to them.
Chris and Steve looked at each other before chasing up the stairs after Alexia. They climbed the stairs rapidly and stomped onto the landing where she had been standing a moment before. When suddenly a huge tentacle burst in through the door and charged straight towards them.
They both rolled out of the way in separate directions, the tentacle narrowly missing its targets. Unfortunately the floor underneath where Chris had rolled to, gave way and he stumbled down to the floor below with the rumble crashing on top of his legs. The huge tentacle disappeared as quickly as it had come. Steve had managed to make it to the corridor Alexia had walked down, so he warily crawled to where the landing had caved in and looked down to see Chris trying his best to sit up but he was gripping his leg tightly.
Steve was about to ask him if was alright when Claire's anguished scream ripped through the room like an earthquake, shattering their hearing.
As much as Chris wanted to Steve to wait for him to get himself free from the rumble and climb over the rumble to get to the second floor. He absolutely wanted to leave no time for Claire to be in any more danger. So he locked eyes with Steve and yelled at him "Just go help Claire I'll be fine!"
Steve nodded in acknowledgement and wasted no time in scrabbling to stand up and dash through the door. Steve ran as fast as his legs would allow him and he pushed them even further down the eerily silent corridor, upon reaching the electronically locked door he swiftly got out the security card he had tucked away in his pocket and swiped the panel on the wall. When the door opened he raced down the dark corridor, which his legs burning in protest to the exercise abuse. Eventually it led him to an outside plaza where there were dozens of statues on either side of a narrow stone path.
At the other end he could clearly make out an unconscious Claire strapped to a chair with an axe blocking her escape. Steve ran and didn't hesitate to push the button that would unlock the restraints that were binding her securely to the stone chair.
He frowned as he took in the sight of her; she was breathing slowly and she showed no signs of being hurt or tortured which made him sigh with relief. Though he could feel as if something was wrong but had no idea what. So he just focused on getting her to safety.
"Claire?" Steve called to her gently with desperation underlying his tone. He gripped the axe firmly with both hands while placing a foot against the wall for support and begun pulling with all his strength, trying to bravely rescue her.
"Steve?" Claire asked breathlessly as she slowly opened her eyes. When she was fully awake and aware of what happened to her; she stared into Steve's eyes. "Alexia said she was going to experiment on me, just like what she did to herself!" Claire grabbed onto the handle of the axe and tried to help Steve shove it away from her.
"It's no good, it won't budge!" Steve said frantically letting go of it, scanning around to see if there was anything that could help him remove it from where it was embedded in the stone. Finding nothing he saw the despairing look that adorned Claire's face and so he placed a hand on her right shoulder to try and give her a little comfort.
As soon as Steve touched her shoulder Claire felt her heart suddenly begin to beat rapidly above normal. She had to let go of the axe handle so she could start gripping her hands together over her chest. She felt the colour drain from her face as the burning sensation overwhelmed her as she felt something nestled inside her start to reign free. She suddenly found it difficult to breathe, as though she had been plunged underwater and there was no oxygen to take in.
"Claire what's wrong? Claire?!" Steve could feel the rise of panic web it's way throughout his body, as Claire thrust his hand off of her shoulder with incredible strength that sent Steve stumbling backwards.
"My entire body burns!" She screamed out in agony as she struggled and writhed in the chair.
Steve's eyes widened as the realisation sunk in. He was powerless and he hadn't made it to her in time. All he could do was watch with a dozen mixed emotions swirling around.
Her skin changed to a dark green colour that slowly consumed her entire body. Her beautiful sky blue eyes transformed into a crimson red. Her right hand shook violently as the bones snapped in various places and directions and reformed them into a giant claw. The clothes she wore began to tear and shed in places where they strained from her mutating body.
"No…" He whispered as he raised his hands in front of him, for protection.
He couldn't believe that the girl he had met several hours ago had transformed into one of those monsters that the two of them had been facing together and exterminating to get free of this chilling nightmare.
Claire gripped the axe handle snugly and effortlessly ripped it out of the wall as she stood up and readied herself to kill. Steve saw the murderous glint in her crimson eyes and ran as fast as his incredibly tired legs would carry him, towards the gate that was rapidly closing, leaping and jumping every now and then dodging Claire's attacks. With each one she got closer to hitting him and after each one she became more aggressive.
Steve dived and rolled under the gate just as it closed behind him. Claire angrily swatting at the gate with the giant axe within her mutated claws. It wouldn't be too long before the steel bars gave way to her relentless bombardment.
Taking a few moments to catch his breath, Steve looked despairingly up at the monster that Claire had become he thought It's hard to believe that someone looking as pretty as Claire being turned into a monster that she is now. Leaning against the wall, Steve wiped away some sweat from his forehead and tried to come up with a plan to get out of this crazy mess.
Unfortunately the huge tentacle that had attacked him and Chris earlier, decided to return at that precise moment and came crashing in from the other door and wrapped itself around Steve's body tightly, making sure he couldn't escape. Steve despite his best efforts was helpless in the tentacles grasp.
At that very moment Claire broke through the gate and stepped towards where Steve was being held. She raised the axe and swung it eagerly at his neck. Steve expecting to feel pain or nothing at all, he had closed his eyes when Claire had swung, now opened them curious and dumbfounded to see the blade of the axe merely inches away from his neck.
Steve looked up at Claire and saw that she was intensely staring into his astonished eyes. "Steve…" She managed to croak out as she swung the axe swiftly down onto the huge tentacle and severed it. The half holding Steve fell lifelessly to the ground and the other half smacked straight into Claire's rib cage and sent her flying into a wall, dropping the axe, the tentacle then retreated.
Steve was lying and panting for breath on the cold, hard stone floor slowly picked himself up to a standing position. He stared in disbelief as the monster before lay on the cold floor reverted back to Claire's frail human body, her clothes now sagged a bit from being stretched. Steve cautiously walked up to her and knelt down beside her. He placed his right hand down onto her wound on her stomach that was bleeding severely.
Claire slowly opened her sky blue eyes and took his other hand in his and placed it on her cheek. She stared into his eyes as one single tear fell down her delicate face and Steve wiped it away with his thumb. Claire smiled weakly at him and he returned it back at her.
"Claire you were right your brother, Chris came for you. Just hold on and we'll take care of you…" Steve choked out as he took in her vulnerable state, she was still so very pale and he couldn't do anything to help and take care of her wound.
"Steve…I broke our promise…fortunately Chris always keeps his…" Claire smiled weakly again at Steve before turning her head to the side; she knew there was nothing anyone could do for her now. "Forgive…me…" she whispered and then Claire was gone.
"No!" Steve cried out, wrapping his arms firmly around Claire's body he cradled her side to side. "I love you Claire…" Steve just sat there with Claire in his arms cradling her lifeless form.
A/N: I hoped you enjoyed it. I'm re-writing the story and giving it some much need massive improvements and probably changing some of the later chapters as I'm changing the direction of the story. Keeping my promise to a dear reader!