Finally another chapter. Based off of 'The Long Death' See ya at the end!
After our eventful mission to Russia and our beyond strange occurrences in England. I had opted to head back to HQ to make sure everything hadn't gone to hell. Our cell reception here was spotty at best but Kate had decided to stay back for a few more days.
I had just finished my dinner in the mess hall when the U.N man passed me hurriedly then stopped calling out to me. "Agent Zander, are you available to head out ASAP?" he asked quickly.
I shrugged. "Sure, I don't have anything going on. Where too?"
Something inside my chest felt like it had just stopped. "What's in B.C?" I dreaded the answer.
"There have been a series of disappearances. Agent Kraus suggested he lead a team there as soon as possible." he explained.
I frowned and thought deeply for a moment trying to sort my thoughts. "Disappearances are hardly a front line concern, especially with everything else that is going on."
The small portly man shook his head. "Agent Kraus believes it requires investigation."
"I'm on it."
U.N man (who's name I really needed to find out) nodded. "Good, good. The transport leaves in 20. Thank you Agent Zander."
As I walked away to grab my gear I couldn't help but thinking. What do you know, Agent Kraus...
Abe had told me it had been Ben that destroyed his body. British Columbia just happened to be where Ben was... and these disappearances he felt warranted him to personally lead this investigation.
Did he know something?
20 minutes later, right on time our chopper was lifting of on coarse to our destination. I sat next to Carla as we talked amongst ourselves.
"Ah, hello. Agent Zander." Johann's German accented voice came, just as Carla was showing me a picture of her son. "And Agent Giarocco, isn't it?"
Carla lowered her phone and nodded slightly. "Hi, Agent Kraus. This your seat?"
Johann took the free seat opposite her leaving me feeling uneasy. "I believe it is." he pointed to her photo. "Very cute boy. A future agent?"
Yeah because every parent would want their child to go through this hell. "Not if I can help it." she flipped the picture over to show another one. "Oh, here's his first t-ball game."
I smiled as she shown it to me. "He's adorable." I agreed.
"I know it's crazy. My mom never documented my life like this." she laughed.
Agent Kraus shook his glass dome. "Not at all. You're proud parents. Can I see this photo?"
Carla pressed the screen. "Oh, that's actually a video. Here, let me turn up the sound."
"-Ego te baptizo in nomine patris-" a low male voice said as a child's crying cut through it as holy water was poured upon his forehead.
Johann spoke up. "So tiny, so beautiful. I know that this ritual has come to be equated with initiation- that's why people say "Baptism of Fire," for instance- But that's not really the intent at all." by now both me and Carla we giving him the 'what the fuck' face. He just pressed on. "The water is meant to literally wash the sins out of the infant, and therefore make it pure. Which is odd, no? What could be more innocent than a new born?"
Carla stuffed her phone in her bag. "It's a sacrament. Not a ritual."
"Oh..." Johann quickly held up his hands. "I've offended you. I'm sorry. I wasn't deriding your religion. I think I've become too academic, or-" But she cut him off.
"Forget it. Don't mind me. I'm just tired. Probably should get some rest." she laid her head back and closed her eyes.
Five hours later Carla and I found ourselves out in the middle of nowhere; no Johann in sight. Carla was shouting over the phone to the U.N rep as her breath cast steam into the night. "It's Deja Vu all over again, is what it is!" she yelled.
I shuffled in the snow and growled to myself at Johann's stupidity; Carla carried on. "Agent Kraus has disappeared- Exactly the way Agent Sapien did when we were in Washington last spring. He was driving his own vehicle, but never made it to the first rendezvous point."
She waited a few moments while he spoke on the other line then responded. "To late. We're already at the missing ranger's station. Zander's the ranking agent in Kraus's absence, and we've got folks up here waiting on us."
She paused as he said something then hung up without a goodbye. "Ok, your up Zander." she smirked towards me as she pocketed her phone.
"Alright everyone!" I ordered. "We're bunking here for the night!"
With a few groans resonating from the group we all retreated into the safety of the station.
Sometime during the night Agent Luis went out to have a quick smoke so only Carla and I were left awake in the large one roomed building. Carla was speaking over Skype to her son as I sat down staring at the wood table to my side, my thoughts were running amuck in my head.
Kraus had this all planned out. He would leave us, go to track down Ben. It was the only thing that made sense. What didn't make sense was how the hell he'd found out about Daimio at all.
"Okay, goodnight, sweetheart. I'll see you soon. You mind daddy-" Carla was cut off promptly but a random agent. "For Christ's sake, Giarocco! We're trying to sleep."
She lowered her camera. "Sorry, sorry, sorry. I was trying to be quiet."
My fingers drummed against the table as I sighed with boredom.
Wood exploded everywhere; Carla was thrown from her seat by the window and instantly everyone was up. I jumped up and whirled around to gape at the large red monster that held Agent Luis in his hand; his blood dripping from the monsters maw and his intestines hanging haphazardly from his gut.
"NNNGH! GOD HELP!" An agent screamed as the things claws dug into his abdomen .
Instantly everyone started shooting, including me, although I wasn't sure it'd be enough.
Carla ran up on it firing round after round from her automatic shot gun but it did nothing but get the thing's attention. With one idle swack it flung her away and grabbed another agent's face with his clawed hand.
Throwing down mu gun I ran at it using all my strength and side checked the beast hurling it back. Agents fired upon it, bullets doing nothing as it shot up from where I had thrown it.
The creature rushed upon another group of agents to it's left, bowling them over as if they were made of cardboard.
He ripped and tore them to pieces in an instance.
Blood rained everywhere, too many had died already. This time when I rushed the thing I held on and dragged it down. Its claws ripped into the flesh of my back but I did my best not to focus on it as I drove my combat knife into it's chest.
"KEEP FIRING!" I shouted as the creature howled. More shot erupted. Once or twice I was hit but it wouldn't kill me. I held onto the beast as best I could and bite into it's exposed neck with all my force, tearing the skin and ripping off a portion.
"CEASE FIRE!" Someone yelled. Carla.
I shouldered the beast back against the wall as it's claws torn my chest. I dared to look towards her, a single frag grenade in her hand; she'd been bloodied pretty badly. "You can't hurt it. Withdraw immediately." When no one moved she ordered loudly. "YOU HEARD ME! MOVE!"
"DO IT CARLA!" I shouted, then screamed in pain as the beast bit into my shoulder.
Every nerve was on fire.
"MOTHER FUCKER! LOOK AT ME!" Carla screamed. The creature looked up and tore more of my flesh as I grunted in pain. "Look what I got."
The whole cabin ignited in a bright flash and an ear splinting bang. Everything went black.
The next two day's passed in a blur. As far as I knew the surviving agents called in assistance and had Carla and I air lifted to the nearest hospital. Carla was alive, they said it was touch and go but she was up now and doing well.
As for me, the doctors were marveled I was even still alive. My shoulder was mangled bad, they had it wrapped up with gauze but I healed fast and the bleeding had stopped. Add that to the stitches in my back and torso and I was still good to go.
As of now I found myself outside Carla's room with a group of other agents. Only I could hear the conversation within.
Someone was playing the video Carla's phone had captured. "AHH! GOD!"
"I'm sorry." Johann said from within. "I should have been with you. I was your commander and I left you alone."
"I don't think it made much difference, Zander handled it better then you could have. But you should have, yeah."
Johann was silent for a moment. "It might have made some difference."
"So where were you?"
I could hear a chair move as Johann probably stood up. "A few nights ago, I had a dream. It was the first I've had- the first night's sleep I've had, for a very long time. I don't know it you've met Panya, Agent Giarocco, but she had an idea about this dream. She thought it meant that my spirit had been infected by something." he paused. "And she was right."
The chair moved again, I guessed he must have set back down.
"Listen, I just wanted to know where you were, but really, you don't have to tell me." Carla said bitterly.
"Actually, I do." he replied. "You've probably been told that some while back, my spirit wasn't in a containment suit- that for a short time I had a human body."
"I'd always heard it was super-human, but figured that was an exaggeration." she said.
"Not really, no. And you've probably heard about Captain Daimio, too, yes?"
So this was about Ben. My fist clenched involuntarily. "Not too much, actually." Carla said.
"Of coarse, because the people at the bureau would rather not remember him- or the things he did."
The chair shifted again signaling he'd gotten back up.
"Revenge. That's why I volunteered for this mission. Not to find those people, but because I thought Captain Daimio might be here. That's where I was."
He'd gone back to where Abe and I had been, that weaselly fuck.
"Looking for Captain Daimio? While we were dying?" Carla spoke, her voice sounded angry. "You'd better leave, Kraus!"
"Not until you hear the worst of it, Agent Giarocco, because I was right." I heard the camera play the creatures attack once again. "This is Captain Daimio... and if I'd been with you-"
"I SAID GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" Carla shouted.
I moved away from the door as It opened and Johann came out. "I'M FILING A REPORT ABOUT THIS! YOU HEAR ME!" Carla shouted.
"What's that about?" Agent Nichols questioned.
I wondered what expression Johann would have if he actually had a face.
"It isn't your problem, Agent. You can all grab some breakfast, and meet me back up at the rangers station in two hours." he ordered. "We've still got a mission."
When everyone cleared out I hung back, I had a feeling it was what Kraus wanted. If he wanted to act like the team leader he'd still have to put up with me on the team.
"You should get some rest Agent Zander."
I shook my head and narrowed my eyes. "I'm good for duty." I nearly growled.
"I can not let you out into the field in your current condition."
Oh, no Kraus you're not going to get your 'revenge' while I sit in some hospital. "I've been though worse. I'm going."
I walked off to grab another blood pack for breakfast before heading off to the rangers station.
Two and half hours later we were trekking through the snow following a trail of blood.
"Hell now, that's a lot of blood. Guess you and Carla got his ass good." Nichols said with a grimace.
Before I could say anything 'team leader supreme' spoke up. "I doubt very much that's the creatures blood. Even when wounded, he can heal very quickly."
"He's not the only one." I muttered lowly.
I caught sight of the knife he'd been carrying since we started out into this freezing waste land. "But you think you can kill it with that?"
"That is exactly what it was made for. In any case, I hope I can."
My eyes narrowed and I fought back a low growl that was forming in my throat.
"I ain't doubting you, Sir. Stranger things happening all over this world. And anyway, didn't a sling do what Saul's army couldn't?"
"That is the story."
I scoffed. "It's more than a story."
The only other female agent spoke as she lead ahead of Johann. "Not a believer?"
"A believer in what exactly?"
Suddenly she stopped and once I reached the top of the hill I saw why.
"JESUS! JESUS, IT'S HERE! FIRE! FIRE!" She shouted.
I ran up and slammed her gun down. "No! He's not dangerous!"
"What the hell?!"
Johann came beside me. "That's not the creature that attack you."
"How the hell you know? You weren't there!"
Nichols didn't lower his gun. "No, that's not it. But it's something!
"You were debriefed that we would see strange things out here, not all of them are dangerous." Johann said. "That is not our objective."
No your objective his much worse.
I looked at the wendigo and it gazed back at me as if it remembered me; then in a split second it took off.
"See? Not aggressive at all- no concern to us. Come on I need you to focus and we're losing daylight."
As we pressed on up another snow covered hill Nichols questioned Agent Kraus. "So we got good and bad monster now?"
"I wouldn't say "good" just harmless."
Again I wanted to scoff. "No monster is harmless. Same as people, people can seem "harmless" too... doesn't mean they are."
"You know all about this I guess." Nichols said eying me.
I smirked. "To many years of experience."
"It's a wendigo." Johann disregarded everything I had said. "A kind of living prison that holds the soul of a murderer."
"A monster with a killers soul? That's harmless?"
I reached the top of the hill along side Nichols. "In this case, yes, because the only way that soul can be free is to kill another murderer to take it's place inside the wendigo."
"Although if I am correct this wendigo doesn't have the soul of a killer." I said.
Johann ignored my comment. "The innocent have nothing to fear."
You have this whole thing backwards ghost boy. "And the rest of us?" I spoke darkly.
The female agent still leading the way stopped and turned again. "Hey, agent Kraus!"
The wendigo was back, gazing at us just beyond the trees. "What the hell?" Nichols questioned.
"Lookit him. Its like he wants something." she said. I kept quiet as it took off once again.
Nichols grunted. "Some kind of game he's playing, or what?"
"Maybe..." Johann muttered. "This way." he commanded us forward.
We all followed. I myself did so begrudgingly.
After a nearly 20 minutes of trying to track the wendigo the woman near Johann began complaining that we were getting no where.
"I told you our objecting is not an animal. That trail may have been a decoy."
She huffed, "Yeah, "May have." Look, Zander, Nichols and I can go back and-"
"No! We all stick together. That's final."
I strode closer to him. "You do realize we rank the same, Kraus. You're not the only one with the authority here." I reminded him darkly.
"Yeah, and if you won't broaden the search, why the hell are the rest of us even here?" I was beginning to like this girl.
A flash behind her made her turn. "What the-?"
I walked closer; down the steep angle of the hill was a torn up camping tent. Bodies and blood littered the ground in front of it.
We hiked our way down and many of the agents looked sick by the time we reached the gore.
"Might be your "good" monster's not so good. The missing hikers,, the park ranger. It's like a barbecue pit."
I stepped closer. "The wendigo didn't do this..." Ben? Why...
"Now how sure are you? Monsters always stick to the rules?" Nichols questioned me.
But Johann spoke for me again. "No, it's not that. The dead speak to me, Agent Nichols. I am here for them. They are here for me."
Johann ordered up back up the hill to make camp for the night. However I wasn't having it and when he took one of the slaughtered bodies as his own and walked into the darkness of the thicker treeline.
I waited a few beats before following, watching my steps as to not alert my query.
We walked on for nearly 30 minutes before I stopped and watched from a safe distance, as Johann entered a clearing. I squinted trying to see passed the tree line.
"Good thinking there, Kraus." a familiar voice rumbled. "On e whole in that containment suit and you're no good in a fight are you?"
I slid closer, trying to get a better look. Ben was visible now, on the other side of a large moose carcass. He held up his gun. "Now this? Useless."
"If you knew I would find you, you should have chosen a better place to hide."
Ben grunted, standing up completely. "Who's hiding?" he questioned. Then he looked down slightly before gazing sorrowfully up at the corpse Johann was possessing. "Look, Johann, you need to know how sorry I am."
The corpses head tilted. "No. You didn't stay to face us, to deal with what happened, what you'd done. You ran away."
Something in his sentence stuck a cord deep within me. It was the same thing I'd done after I'd snapped and killed those two agents.
"If you had any remorse what all, you'd come back to the B.P.R.D. With me now, but you aren't going to do that. You just can't stop killing."
Ben had lost control... I gazed upon the sight unfolding in front of me with understanding and grief. But who's side am I on?
"You don't even want to." Johann taunted.
Ben just stood there. "So you're here to execute me, that it? With a knife?"
Johann bent down slightly. "It can do the job you'll see."
Ben slid out of his jacket exposing a bare torso. "Maybe but can you?"
"I haven't thought of anything else for months. It's gnawed at me- like a parasite. Your death was the only was I was going to be free of it. I really believed that. But that isn't true. And now I know it. That thing inside me is gone. I'm myself again, I think. So no, killing you won't be easy for me."
He ran at Ben "But you still have to DIE!" At the moment Ben's body contorted and began changing into the creature we'd fought last night.
Bones protruding though his back as his skin morphed to red. He reached out and grabbed Johann by the through but Johann kicked up and hit him in the throat before jolting forward and slamming the dagger into his chest.
The creature then screamed in pain, lashing out and tearing Johann's bodies flesh. It fell and Johann's spirit flew out and dissipated.
I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, as I watched the thing Ben had become howl and groan with pain. That was when I noticed it. The moose carcass was getting up.
"Fuck..." I couldn't watch this. This wasn't the way.
Just as the moose rushed at Ben, trying to thrust the dagger from chest, I slammed against it and hurled it across the clearing.
I turned towards Ben, trying to see if there was any possible way I could help him. I heard running behind me but couldn't react fast enough as the possessed moose slammed it's rack into me and tossed me into a nearby tree; my face smacking against the wood, splitting my skin and cracking my nose.
I slid down coughing as he slammed Ben down. "You son of a bitch." I gasped, spitting out blood.
Suddenly Ben launched up onto the moose's back, but Johann bucked him off throwing him up with his antlers.
Daimio slid to the ground but lashed out again at the moose's legs, grabbing on and then biting into it's flesh just below the neck.
It fell as Ben processed to rip it apart his claws. After a few beats he stood, pulled the dagger up and hobbled off into the trees.
I followed, screw Johann. I ain't helping him get his revenge. This wasn't right.
Even thought I couldn't see Ben in the now pitch darkness I could hear him. The crunching in the snow and the heavy breathing. Sure my body ached like a mother fucker and I think Johann ripped open my wounds but I could still keep going.
When I heard the walking stop I proceeded with caution. I could see him now, illuminated in the moonlight. Ben was hunched over holding the knife in his now human hand. I slid out of the trees into the large clearing.
He looked up slowly. "Nash?"
"You look like you need help..." I said coming closer slowly.
Ben looked back at the knife in his hands. "Whatddya doing here?"
"We came to investigate the disappearances, turned out Johann had more on his mind then missing hikers."
Ben didn't look up. "It was me..."
"I can help you. Man, I know what it's like. I ran away before. I snapped and killed two agents." he looked up at me. "I didn't want to face it. But I know what it's like to have something inside you that wants to take over. I can help."
"There ain't no helping me now." he grunted jabbing a finger at his head. "There is no controlling this thing. The only thing you can do for me is end it."
He held out the knife but I refused. "No. I can't do that, Ben." I frowned and shivered subconsciously. "I've already lost Abe... I don't wanna lose you now."
His eyes widened slightly. "Abe?" his gaze fell to the ground as I nodded. "Goddamn it." he growled. "This whole damn world is falling apart."
Before I could respond he lifted the dagger to his throat and attempted to slice it open. "Ben what are you-?!"
He hissed in pain, eye watering until he finally dropped the knife defeated. "Jesus!" he shouted throwing it to the wayside.
He stood up slowly and faced me. "I have to do what must be done." he laid a hand on my shoulder. "It was good to see you again." he even smiled slightly before turning and walking out into the wilderness.
I knew he didn't what to be followed. This was his decision, not mine. Whatever he was going to do was up to him. Not Johann.
I grimaced at the thought of having to head back to the camp sight and even face that gas bag again. This was all such bullshit. I'm definitely going to have to use a lot of self control to prevent myself from tearing a hole in his suit.
When I reached the camp again the agents were all asleep besides from, guess who, yeah Johann. He didn't look at me when I approached. Or maybe he was watching me but I couldn't tell.
It seemed to take forever for morning to arrive and for us to finally pack up and resume our 'search'.
"Hey! We got something over here." I could already smell the blood before they pointed it out. "Something real bad."
"Fuck! He got another one! God damn it." Nichols yelled hands over his head. "At least this guy looks like he put up a fight."
While Johann was gazing upon the ruins of what looked like a hut I couldn't help but fear what I already knew. This wasn't another victim.
"Agent Nichols, your helmet please." Johann instructed.
With some hesitation the agent handed it over. The German dunked it in a pool of water near the body and poured the icy liquid over the face of the man.
I sucked in a lungful of air and tried to bite back my emotions. Ben.
His stomach was torn apart and his hair matted with blood as he laid still in the pool of crimson.
"We can go home now." Johann said finally.
I lagged behind with the body for a few moments, promising to Nichols I would catch up.
"You never deserved any of this." I whispered. "Bealtaine do Soul a bheith ar fos."*
*May your soul find rest
I actually wrote this one in less then a day. I'm kinda really proud of that. Comments please!?