Chapter 32

Penny raced through the convention hall, out of breath and searching desperately for just a glimpse of her tall weirdo. Her eyes darted from each tall, lanky, male figure within a 20 ft. radius. There was no sign of Sheldon.

"How could I be so stupid?" Penny kept muttering to herself, over and over again. A brief moment away, a moment where she was relaxed and not thinking about what was going on, why she was even fucking here, and he was gone. Gone who knows where.

Was he stalking a Nobel Laureate? Did he find a colleague of his? And, Penny did not want to think about this, what if Professor Hartferd found him? What if Sheldon was taken from one of the very reasons he was broken?

This thought pushed momentum into Penny's strides. 'I'm not too late' was the mantra that Penny thought over and over in her head.

The hall was starting to clear out and there was still no sign of Sheldon. Pushing out the main hall, Penny almost crashed headlong into the same woman again. The woman snorted at her and looked at her reproachfully.

"I'm so sorry, again. I did not mean to almost hit you. I am just trying to find my friend. He disappeared and I do not know where he went and..." Penny kept babbling until the woman held a hand up.

"If it was the man behind you earlier, wearing the ludicrous cartoon shirt, then he was just heading out of the hall. Towards the hotel I believe, with another man slung around his shoulders. They were just here", the woman looked down at her watch, "not even two minutes ago."

A huge smile burst across Penny's face as she swept the woman up into a hug. Spinning her round, Penny crushed the woman with a heartfelt hug. "Thank you! Thank you so much! I owe you!" Penny ran through the hall, leaving a very flustered woman behind.

Running up to the hotel concierge at the front desk, Penny slammed her hands down to get his attention. The man started, looking up from his phone in bewilderment.

"My friend. The tall, goofy scientist in the cartoon shirt. Where did he go?" she demanded.

"I'm not allowed to …"

Penny leaned in close, their noses almost touching. "You will tell me. You will tell me now, before I show you why I won junior rodeo all thru high school."

Pulling away, the concierge pointed at the elevators. "He went up with Dr. Hartferd. Up to the 24th floor."

"What room?" Penny demanded.

Penny slid to a stop in front of door 243. "I'm not too late. I'm not too late. I'm…" Penny kept muttering over and over again as she fumbled for the card key that she bullied out of the hotel staff. Penny was about to slide that key through the door, when a crash inside made her drop it.

Scrambling to pick it up, Penny swiped the key hurriedly in the card reader. The door beeped and Penny shoved her way inside. "Sheldon! Sheldon, where are you!" Penny cried into the apartment, racing through the suite doorways. Coming up to master suite bedroom, Penny steeled herself against what she might see inside, and shoved the door open. She wasn't prepared.

Sheldon was holding a gun over a bleeding Dr. Hartferd, a firm foot holding his hand down with a heel, Sheldon's shirt was torn open and there were visible hand shape bruising patterns on the side of his neck. There was a manic gleam in his eyes that Penny had never seen. Sheldon was breathing harshly, completely ignoring the pleas being uttered from the prone doctor.

"Sheldon, please put the gun down. You don't want to do this."

"Shut up! He deserves this! He deserves everything he gets!" was the shrieked response, as he stepped harder on the foot which caused the doctor to cry out in agony.

This stopped Penny in her tracks. "Sheldon?" she asked, even though she knew it wasn't him anymore. A snort was all the response that she needed. Fabio was back.

"That weakling couldn't even handle seeing this disgusting waste of skin. Sheldon immediately left when this monster showed his face. However, "Fabio looked over at her with a hysterical look "I knew that you were planning something like this. Little Miss 'Let's Save Sheldon'! You can't save him! You can't even save the other alters! We're broken! Scarred! ….dirty." Fabio whispered the last word so low that Penny almost didn't catch it.

"Oh, Sweetie, you are not dirty." Fabio whipped his head around to glare at Penny.

"He is a monster, Penny! He doesn't even deserve to be allowed to roam around. Tell her. Tell her what kind of a monster you are." Fabio gestured the gun at Dr. Hartferd. When the Doctor was not quick to answer his demand, Fabio hit him in the head with the gun. The Doctor fell to the floor again but yelled in agony as Fabio dug his heel further into his hand. Penny could hear cracking bones with each heel turn. "Tell her!" he shouted, as he locked the gun out of safety.

"I don't know what…"Fabio backhanded him this time, splitting the Doctor's lip.

"Does that jog your memory? Slapping me around, before you had your way with me? Making me beg for you to stop? Well it's your turn now." Fabio pressed the gun to Dr. Hartferd's temple. "Beg me to stop."

Dr. Hartferd started lamenting how sorry he was, tears streaming down his face as looked imploringly up at Fabio.

"Please, Sheldon. Stop this. I won't do it again. I'll stop right now. I'll come clean." The doctor begged him.

"Stop right now?" Fabio whispered. "Who are you hurting right now?" Turning to Penny, he motioned with his head to the bedroom. "Grab his phone, Penny. Let's see his newest 'buddy.'" His manic grin was back as he turned back to look at the doctor. "That's what you liked to call us in front of the other professors, right? Not when we were alone, however. You preferred 'Boy' behind closed doors."

Penny came back with the phone and handed it towards Fabio.

"Look at the pictures, Penny. Stop when you find someone about 11 to 13. That's the age he likes the best."

"I don't want to. Penny whispered imploringly before Fabio cut her off.

"Just do it! I want you to see what kind of perversion broke your precious Sheldon."

Tears streaming down her cheeks, Penny started to look through the doctor's photos. Most were of him and his wife, his experiments, and his kids. Penny wanted to throw up thinking about how his wife didn't know what a monster he was, that she was married to this disgusting man.

Then she found him. Shirtless and sitting on an unknown bed somewhere. He was just a normal looking boy. The boy had shaggy brown hair with big, blue, and very sad eyes. And he was looking up at her from the screen. His anguish was etched into every crevice of his face in the photo.

"Give me the phone, Penny. I want to see who replaced me."

"No, you don't. Please, let's just go. We could just leave and not come back." Penny begged him, slowly inching her way forward and very wary of the gun he still had pressed into the doctor's temple.

"Dammit, Penny! Give me the fucking phone!" Fabio barked at her.

With trembling hands, she started to hand the phone over before Fabio snatched it from her hand. There was a large part of her that was glad that the photo was not perverse in nature. The boy was shirtless but nothing incriminating about the photo. Penny would not be able to forget the photo as is, at least it was not one that she would throw up every time she remembered it.

Fabio looked at the photo, his face twisting tighter and tighter with revulsion. He threw the phone at Dr. Hartferd's face. "You disgust me", Fabio spat. Twisting the gun into Dr. Hartferd's temple, he said "You're a monster. You don't even deserve to live. I would be doing the world a service getting rid of you. That boy wouldn't be scared anymore. You wouldn't be able to ruin anyone else's life. I would sure sleep better knowing you were dead."

Penny stepped towards Fabio, trying to finally placate him. She held her hands up to show that she wasn't about to do anything. Growing up around guns all her life, she knew not to startle someone on the edge. Steeling her resolve, she tried to talk him down.

"He is a monster and he deserves to be punished. But not this way. Not by you hurting him. Hurting yourself. You're just going to add more wounds to your heart. Do you really think you can take a life?" Penny inched closer to Fabio, hands up to show that there were no tricks. One swift step, however, and the manic gleam was back in his eyes.

Aiming the gun at Dr. Hartferd's forehead, she heard "Only one way to know."

This chapter was …interesting to write. Let me know what you think. All of your lovely reviews made me want to type this as fast as possible. So, more reviews, faster writer. Just saying. Love you all. ****