Summary: 'So you say that Zim is out there, stealing organs left and right and leaving empty torsos in parking lots and no one was ever able to stop him?' Halloween fic.
Rating: NC-17 for gore, violence, swearing.
Disclaimer: Invader Zim, the characters and the episode this fic is making reference to don't belong to me, but to Jhonen Vasquez.
Author's note: Sara's the girl with long blue hair, the one who snubbed Dib in the Episode the Room with a Moose. Also, happy Halloween.
My Italian designer shoes glide above the pavement, their tiny heels piercing the silence of the night. I disregard the cold autumn wind, the pain in my toes and the tears drying on my cheeks. Stupid, stupid, stupid. How could I have been so fucking stupid?!?
I mean, it's not if I was the first girl to fall for Torque. The guy's a football captain, hot as hell, smart enough to align coherent words and has this way of looking at you like you're the only girl to ever step on this cold and barren wasteland of a planet. So when he asks, smiling "Hey Sara, you coming to The Letter M's Halloween party, Saturday?", what was I supposed to do? I just melted, that's what I did. I thought, foolishly, that he'd had enough of giggling cheerleaders and could finally appreciate the finer points of a girl with more than two brain cells. How stupid of me. I had managed to gather the courage to make a move, and was just about to do so, when I found him in The Letter M's room, his hand under Zita's nurse costume skirt and his tongue caught somewhere between her tonsils.
I don't think they even noticed me. I don't think anybody noticed that I just took my handbag and left. The party was in full swing, it wasn't even midnight, after all.
Now, I know that leaving alone and walking at night in the suburbs wasn't the smartest thing to do, even less when wearing an angel costume, but I needed time to cool off my fury. I wasn't mad at Torque or Zita, even though I would have liked to hit them both with a Hummer, no, I wasn't mad at them. Just at me, silly little girl with a silly little girl crush, stupid Sara with her plain face and plain hair and flat breasts and-
What was that?
I turn my head, look behind me. Am I imagining things? There was a noise, I think. But I'm completely alone here, surrounded only by shady looking buildings. All stores, closed for the night, so I hadn't seen a soul in a while. I frown, wait a moment. No, nothing.
I resume my pace, quicker this time. My feathery white wings bob up and down with each step and my halo starts sliding off my head. I take it off and throw it in my handbag, annoyed. Why the hell did I have to pick the angel costume? The skirt was way too short, the wings were cumbersome and the shoes were killing me. Oh, and I finally noticed the cold. Why didn't I take at least a vest before leaving home? The white one would have looked great with the dress-
Okay, now I'm SURE I heard something.
But then, there's still no one behind me, no one around. I don't even stop, this time. I just walk faster.
And my subconscious unhelpfully provides me with a vivid image. A body covered in a white sheet, a crime scene. The television crew hadn't been allowed near the body, so all we had on screen was the lump under the sheet while the journalist read his cue cards with an emotionless face.
'…was found earlier this morning, in the dumpsters behind the elementary Skool… horribly mutilated, experts will wait for DNA results… was missing both lungs, a leg, an eye and eight fingers total… maybe tied to other murder cases and disappearances…'
That's the media for you. They say "maybe related" and you read "serial killer on the loose". Now my stupid brain is making connections between unrelated things while I push myself to walk even faster in those god damned shoes. There was this teenage boy missing, wasn't there? And that cop found in the river, bottom half completely gone, organs spilling on the cold concrete. And that torso they found two years ago in the McMeaties parking lot… That's all they found. A torso. A thoracic cage, completely empty. I heard they never managed to find out who it was.
There's another sound. A chuckle.
I start running.
Only years of practice keep me standing on these fucking heels. I swear I can hear someone after me. I turn my head, there's absolutely no one but I swear there's the clicking of metal, and it's coming closer and closer-
There's an intersection, I just cross without slowing down, without looking –
Headlights glare, tires screech, and there this MOTHERFUCKING TRUCK stopping mere inches before sending me to my ultimate painful death. I scream, so completely angry and terrified, and I hit the hood with my fist and again and again-
My ankle twists and I fall to the pavement, hair and dress and wings landing everywhere. I'm still screaming, and crying now, and frantically looking around me to see if that clicking metallic sound is still around-
There's someone in front of me, hands raised. I recoil, screaming bloody murder trying to think of a weapon, of anything that could help me fight this evil bloodthirsty psychopath before he leaves only my torso on a parking lot-
I think I heard my name.
'…Sara, is it Sara? Or Zita, or- No, I'm sure it's Sara. Calm down! Stop screaming, please! I'm sorry, I didn't see you coming- Oh my god, are you hurt? Did I hit you? Please, Sara, tell me if I should call an ambulance-'
I think hearing my name did the trick. I stopped screaming and fully looked at my aggressor. He was tall and lanky, ghostly pale and wore a long black trench coat. The car headlights caught in his glasses, and I think I recalled the ridiculous hairdo from a long buried memory. He was still talking.
'…that's it, look at me, focus! Now you have to tell me if you're hurt in any way, I need to know, please, Sara-'
'…Dib?' I mutter, unsure about the name.
'Yes! Yes, you're right, it's me, Dib!' he says, overjoyed. 'Now, please, are you hurt? Did I hit you?'
'…I don't think so…' I mutter and sniffle. I do a quick mental check and find all my members attached and no sign of pain besides my aching fists. 'I… was surprised.'
'Thank god,' he says with a relieved sigh. 'I'm glad you're okay.'
He bows down, passes an arm around my waist without asking for permission and practically lifts me up. I wobble on my heels and have to grab his leather coat.
'We shouldn't stay here,' he mutters with a worried look around. 'The streets aren't safe.'
'I think I heard someone walking behind me,' I whisper.
He snaps his head around and his gaze focuses on me.
'Did you see anyone?' he asks.
'…No, but I did hear something… You have to believe me, I'm not crazy!' I whisper frantically.
'I do believe you,' he growls, pulling me to the car.
'What are you DOING?!?' I screech, trying to pull away.
'Taking you home,' he snaps. 'It's dangerous, here.'
He opens the car door and practically shoves me inside, still looking frantically around. When I resist, he throws me an irritated look.
'Look, either you get in or you don't. Don't come complaining when you're missing half your organs!'
I stop fighting back and sit on the passenger's seat. He slams the door shut, walks around the car, looking around, a hand resting on his hip, under the trench coat. I'm pretty sure he's carrying a gun. He was the kind of loony that owned guns and kept them around just in case. If I remember correctly, he'd been voted the most likely to snap and kill everybody in a school shooting, back in the days.
What the FUCK was I doing in his bloody CAR?!?
He got in and started the car without sparing a second. His brusque driving took me by surprise, and I practically landed in his lap.
'Buckle up,' he says while doing the same thing one-handedly.
I obey and try to stop my chattering teeth. I throw him a sideway glance. He was watching the road like a hawk, eyes narrowed and clenched jaw and hands crisped on the wheel.
'Huh…' I start, lamely.
Dib, being the same neurotic boy I remember, only needed this to start on a rant.
'You shouldn't walk alone at night,' he chastises without taking his eyes off the road. 'You listen to the news, I guess? Disappearances and bodies found in dumpsters and shit like this. You think they're all unrelated? Isolated events? Of course you would, the government does everything to keep this all hushed, they don't want to induce panic. They have a hold of the media, only the worst stuff gets through, the things that have too many witnesses… If the MacMeaties employees hadn't panicked and alerted everyone, I'm pretty sure the empty torso thing would have remained a secret. No one heard about the lawyer missing a spine, or the Hi Skool teacher found in meaty pieces, every single bone removed. A gory mess, that was. I still got nightmares about that one.'
'…Dib?' I whisper, feeling sick. 'What are you talking about?'
'It's Zim,' he growls.
I almost slap my forehead in frustration. Of course, it's Zim. It's always Zim this and Zim that with him. He couldn't take his mind off the green kid in elementary Skool and stalked him through the few years of Hi Skool the two managed to attend to. I bite my lower lip to stop any snide comment from slipping. Dib was the one holding the wheel, after all.
'Do you remember, in elementary Skool?' he starts again without sparing me a glance. 'Zim got sent to the nurse, but he couldn't let them know he was an alien, could he? He…'
'Alien?' I snort before I could stop myself.
He throws me a venomous glare and presses harder on the accelerator. The car lunches forward in the empty streets.
'Stop being so fucking blind,' he seethes. 'I've been saying it for years and still no one believes me. Skin condition my fucking ass-'
'Okay, okay, I get it, sorry, I believe you,' I say in a rush, praying that he doesn't crash the car.
'No you don't. No one believes how much of a threat the Irken Empire can be. They targeted our planet for invasion, and Zim's been trying to take it over ever since. And I'm the one, the ONLY ONE that ever did anything to keep our planet safe. You have no idea how many times we almost died by Zim's hands or by his sheer stupidity. You have NO IDEA-'
'Dib! I get it! You saved us all, I thank you for that-' I mutter frantically. 'Please, slow down before we both die!'
'I can't slow down,' he growls, throwing a look at the rear view mirror. 'That sound you heard after you, those metal clangs…'
'…Zim?' I whisper, looking back and seeing nothing.
'We don't have much time,' he mutters darkly.
I can't help a shudder and sit back, gripping the door handle till my joints become white. Whatever Zim might be, alien or not, and I sincerely doubt it, he was still a freak and prone to hysterics. I wouldn't be surprised he became a cold blooded psychopath.
'You say he wants to… steal my organs?' I shiver, disgusted by the mere thought of it.
'He already did it once,' says Dib in a hurried voice. 'When we were younger. He started stealing everybody's organs so he could pass as a human. He replaced them with everyday objects-'
'How can that even be possible? And why don't I remember anything?'
'Irken technology is way ahead of us in many levels. My guess is that he managed to brainwash the entire school, except me, of course-'
'Why not you?' I ask with a frown.
He makes a noise, halfway between a scoff and a snicker. He stays silent for a long moment, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say something or not.
'That's not something you could ever understand,' he almost whispers. 'The hate. The adrenalin. The thrill of the chase, the challenge of a worthy nemesis. But he does. He understands.'
I keep my comments to myself, wondering what was more dangerous. The bloodthirsty organ thief somewhere outside or the insane ramblings of a delusional teenager.
'So you say that Zim is out there, stealing organs left and right and leaving empty torsos in parking lots and no one was ever able to stop him?' I almost shriek.
He grunts noncommittally and turns right, into another neighborhood.
'Less than a year ago, he got a call from his Tallest,' he says as if that explained anything. 'Those are his leaders. He was summoned to face trial for high-treason or something like that. He didn't go, so they simply sent people to execute him. They almost succeeded… He hasn't been the same since.'
'But why steal organs?!? Why does that have to do with anything?'
'Human and Irken organs are almost compatible,' he explains in a rush. 'You can attach them and they'll work for a while, but then they start to decay and they'll rot away. But that's just enough time to find other organs to replace them with.'
'That's… That's HORRIBLE!' I yell. 'How come you're the only one knowing that?!? Why hasn't the army done anything to stop that maniac?!?'
'People are stupid, that's why,' he growls. 'A serial killer can get away with anything.'
He frowns a moment, ignores the red light and keeps driving.
'They never even found my sister,' he says in a dark voice.
My eyes pop wide. His sister?!? A vague image of a purple-haired girl, glued to her GameSlave comes to mind. His sister …?
'But your dad, I thought he had the influence…' I lamely start.
'Don't talk about my father,' he growls. 'He- He… He doesn't get it! When I tried to warn him about Zim, he just laughed! And then he shut me out completely! He forbid me from approaching his labs, emptied every piece of scientific equipment from our house and- HE HASN'T COME HOME IN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS!' he yells. 'He doesn't even CARE that Gaz is somewhere, missing her lungs and heart and limbs! We're just failed experiments for him so he just plain stopped caring!'
'…experiments?' I whisper.
But he doesn't hear and keeps on raving about his father. I look outside and realize I don't know where we are.
'Dib?' I stop him. 'My house isn't-'
'A diversion,' he growls. 'I'm making sure we're not being followed. You wouldn't want a murderer knowing where you live, do you?'
I slowly shake my head.
'I'm taking you to my place,' he explains. 'It'll be safer for tonight.'
'What? You think I'm going to your home?' I scoff. 'What kind of girl do you take me for?'
'An idiot, lucky to still be alive.' he snaps. 'Don't worry, I'll find you a nice place to sleep far from my room and I promise I won't rape you and that you'll still be breathing tomorrow morning, how's that?
I frown, realizing I haven't really got a choice over this. I'll just have to stay alert and phone home whenever we get there. Times like this make me wish for a cell phone.
We sharply pull in an entryway. Dib stops the car, unbuckles and gets out without a word. Hand still on his probable gun, he walks around and opens my door.
'Hurry before we're seen,' he whispers.
I keep close until we reach the door. He presses a hand on a metallic plate and leans down in front of a camera. I think I recognize a retinal scanner. Paranoid much?
The door clicks open in front of us. He practically pushes me inside and slams it shut, locking the numerous digital locks. I notice that the windows are boarded up with metallic curtains and that a faint hum comes from numerous electronics.
'That should be enough,' he mutters to himself.
'So, we're safe?' I whisper, holding myself with nervousness. 'Zim won't reach us?'
He turns around and gets this faraway look. Like he's not looking at me, but through me.
'…Zim…' he whispers.
Then my world went black.
My world is fuzzy. There's talking. I'm lying down… Can't move. I'm cold.
'…didn't I tell you I'd manage?' snaps a voice. 'You just HAD to intervene!'
There was the noise of metal dropped on metal, things being moved left and right.
'Because of you we almost missed this chance! You still don't trust me after all these years!'
Feet stomping left and right. I shiver. Am I naked?
'Oh, you're awake,' says the voice, not sounding too happy. 'Too bad for you, I guess. This is always easier when they're asleep…'
He comes near me, I open my eyes. Dib? What is…
'Yes, she looks alright,' he says. 'Still useful. Which is more than what you would have done if I hadn't- Nevermind. Hello Sara.'
He places a hand on my head and slowly caresses my hair. I start to panic. What is happening? Why am I lying down naked- What is Dib-
Why the FUCK can't I move my limbs?!?
I try to scream, but no sound comes out. I try again. What is wrong with me?!?
'Don't hurt yourself, there's no need,' he says, distracted. 'Your vocal chords are- What I injected you with- Oh, don't look at me like that. I had to find a way to stop the screaming, didn't I? It got so annoying after a while!'
I can't help it, there are tears pooling in my eyes. I try to trash around, but I find no energy to do so. I'm drowsy. I'm scared.
'I mean, not you, of course. You've been a model patient so far. It's just that, the others… some caused me a lot of trouble. You can't imagine the problems I had with Gaz. She wouldn't stay still, she wouldn't shut up! I admit the work I did on her wasn't my best, but then she was the first. I have more experience now, it'll be less… messy.'
He starts to run his disgusting fingers all over my body, touching, pressing my muscles as if evaluating them. He pokes my stomach, my breasts, my throat, all this with a pensive look.
'I guess you'll do. GIR was right.'
A chuckle to my right. There are metallic clangs, like the ones I heard after me, on the street. Something small walks up to my head and peers down. A robot, small robot with bright red eyes and a demented smile.
'No need to be so smug,' snaps Dib. 'You may have found her, but I did all the work. Your methods are too barbaric, you always damage them too much before they even get here! What use are they if they're already half-dead when you bring them? You know I don't have the technology to heal anything!'
The robot answers something, a metallic screech that grates on my ears. Dib frowns.
'I got to repair your voice unit…' he mumbles. 'But later. No time now, Zim is waiting.'
The robot nods and disappears from my sight. I'm scared. I'm panicking.
Dib takes me around the waist yet again and lifts me a bit, so I'm sitting down. I can finally see where I am.
My mouth opens, I want to scream, but still, no sound comes out. My throat burns.
'Sorry, I know this doesn't look pretty. I told you my dad took all his scientific equipment back,' he says, almost apologetic.
There are tables and counters and walls, covered in blood. There are fridges and diagrams of the human body and tools everywhere. I realize I'm crying.
'Now, now, don't cry,' he snaps, annoyed. 'I promised you you'd still be alive tomorrow, didn't I? Look, you'll even have some company!'
He turns me around and I almost faint.
There's a human being there, sitting in that chair. It's naked and missing both legs. Its torso is covered in ugly scars and uglier stitches. There's dried blood all over its skin. The hair is half shaved off, leaving strands of a sickly orange color.
And it's looking right at me.
'Say hi to Keef!' announces Dib, waving my hand around. 'He's been a model patient so far. Anything to help Zim, he kept on saying. That's before I tied him down, of course, after that he just kept on screaming until I took off his vocal chords. I couldn't inject him with what I gave you… See, I needed the vocal chords…'
I can't believe this. Keef is still alive. His eyes are looking at me with no expression at all, but still moving. I feel like fainting.
'He asked me to kill him, right before I started the operation,' frowned Dib. 'I wish I could, it would be easier… But then I'd have no way to preserve the bodies. All I got are those lousy fridges and it only work for a couple of hours at best. I wish my dad had left me at least some pieces of equipment. Or that Zim's base hadn't completely blown up. He had the technology… I'm just doing my best with what I got.'
He sighs, places me against the wall and walks up to a table, covered in a bloody sheet.
The sight that greets me is the most horrible I ever saw in my life.
There's a body lying there. It's mostly green. But- there are other parts- human parts- instead of- there's a human arm, and leg, and foot, and- and there are stitches all over the body, gross stitches drying in human blood and there's this green thing oozing out of- and those big, red, empty eyes staring at nothing and this mouth opened in a silent scream, showing razor sharp teeth and-
I vomit, all over myself. My throat aches so much-
'No need of overreacting,' growls Dib. 'Now I got to clean you up. He'd hate to see you like that, he's such a germaphobic.'
He walks to a sink, fills a bucket and pours it over my head, drenching me in ice cold water. He leaves me there, shivering, unable to move my own limbs. I am going to die. I'm going to die. I'M GOING TO DIE!
'He's still alive,' he whispers, almost reverently. 'Just barely. I managed to reattach his pak, but I can't find a way to restart the personality data. It just keeps him breathing, unconscious, but he's wasting away… His organs are putrefying inside his body, I got no choice but to replace them. Until I find a way to bring him back, I got to… But you wouldn't understand. Only he does.'
I watch, terrorized, as he pulls on a whitish lab coat and a pair of plastic gloves. He opens a drawer and takes off a syringe, huge and rusty pretty much the scariest thing-
'I'm sorry,' he simply says. 'I wish I had more anesthetic, so I could just put you to sleep through the operation. I don't like this more than you do… But I'm running short. The more I can do is to locally anaesthetize you so you won't feel any pain. I'm afraid that you'll be awake through this. You'll have to be a brave girl.'
I want to scream I want to yell I want to run I want to cry I want to die-
'I need an eye.'