A Slow Devour

A Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines Fanfiction

Disclaimer: I own nothing from this amazing game, but it seems the game owns quite a bit of real estate in my psyche.

The little girl sat in the far corner of the cell, knees drawn to her chest.

She was looking at her brother with what seemed to be concern, noting perhaps the shallow state of his breathing, or the blood slowly oozing from the stump where his leg used to be, despite the sad attempt at a tourniquet he'd made.

Stanley Gimble watched her through the small window in the door to the cell.

He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with the girl but her brother was a fine specimen, certainly worth the trouble of dealing with her. She was not extraordinarily pretty, though Gimble rarely liked the way children looked. Little midgets they were, too disproportionate.

She did have good clear skin though and perhaps, he thought, he could use it for patches.

Gimble hummed a merry tune while he washed up for the coming rituals. He would need to finish the job soon or the meat would go bad. It was a chore to keep everything fresh and alive but unable to fight back. Gimble felt he had perfected the art quite nicely over the years.

He laid out his meat cleaver, a scalpel and a small pair of surgical scissors. He carefully wiped each of them with sanitizing solution. It wouldn't do to have the prosthetics collecting gangrene before he even got a chance to cure them. He worked quickly, methodically.

He felt eyes watching him, and glanced up. The girl stood now. She was too short to reach the window, but she hadn't moved from the corner, and she could still see him.

"Are you going to kill him?" she asked. Her voice was small and unsure and he had to momentarily pause in his work to hear her over the sound of running water, the sink.

Gimble decided she deserved an honest answer, though he hoped she would not go into hysterics again.

"Yes, my dear," he answered, and he turned the faucet off, running a bloodied rag over the polished surface of the cleaver with agile fingers. He did not recognize that this action would make the sanitation rituals he preformed on his equipment useless.

The girl's eyes shown with unshed tears, but she said nothing in return.

Molly was nine. Her last name was Tanner. Her address was 206 Pinewood Avenue. She repeated these things over and over in her young head, a sacred mantra. This is what she would tell the police when they came, she thought, and this thought deeply calmed her.

The man, her captor, their captor, she amended, sparing her older brother a sidelong glance, looked and sounded quite professional most of the time.

He had an accent, one she had come to find quite creepy, quite horrifying. His calm voice had called to her, she clearly remembered, over the drone of the bonesaw and her sobbing.

"Do excuse the mess," he'd said, as though they were dinner guests he had invited to entertain instead of prisoners he held against their will and permanently maimed. As if it was red spaghetti sauce flying at her face instead of blood.

John stirred from the other side of the cell, waking up from the fitful sleep he'd settled into. Molly was at his side in a second, scrambling as quickly as her wobbly legs could muster. It had been several days since they'd been fed anything and she shook when she moved.

He was laying down, the stump of his leg elevated, resting against the concrete wall. She pulled his head into her lap and he cracked a strained smile up at her.

"How are you holding up?" he asked her.

"I'm great," she said, smiling back.

He shook his head at her. His resilient little sister, as stubborn and as full of humor in this dreadful situation as she ever was.

She petted his head and he closed his eyes, letting the feeling of her warm hands on his hair lull him into a state of relaxation. Though the tourniquet he'd tied around his leg had deadened the pain some, the ache was still deep.

"Why don't you go back to sleep," she suggested, "Save your strength for when help comes?"

The content smile vanished from his lips, "Yeah," he said slowly. He opened his eyes, and her hand momentarily stopped it's gentle ministrations.

He didn't believe at that point, that there would be any help coming, but looking at his naive little sister's big brown eyes, he just couldn't say that to her. To see her normally happy-go-lucky expression so distraught deeply disturbed him. He wanted to make her smile again before they died.

"What are you going to eat first? Where do you want me to take you to get something to eat when we're outta here?"

She looked around the cell, thinking, her fingers brushing through his buzz cut again, "I think I want to get something vegetarian."

There, a toothy smile had broken out on her face. He closed his eyes, content, ignoring the throbbing in his leg.

A while later, Molly could not determine how long, Gimble's footsteps plodded closer to their cell.

His plain, unassuming face appeared in the small window cut into the heavy metal door.

"You're awake?" Gimble glanced at John, whose head was still situated on Molly's lap.

"Good! We can get started then!" Gimble said, the enthusiasm in his voice nearly maniacal.

Molly watched her brother's adam's apple bob as he swallowed, and she couldn't contain the whimper of fear from escaping her lips.

Gimble unlocked the cell door and strode in. He heaved John off of Molly's lap and dragged him away, out of the room, ignoring both the fatigued struggling of the young man and the desperate protests of the girl. The cell door slammed again behind him. He didn't bother to lock it.

Molly sat back down in the far corner of the cell, the only corner that wasn't coated in her brother's blood, and waited.

Her breath hitched in her throat as she heard the shrieking wail of the saw again; her brother's hoarse begging. She listened to it until it became a continuous drone on and on in her head.

On and on until her brother fell silent.

Gimble came for her next, opening the cell door wide. She heard his footsteps before he got there and stood, ready. When he motioned for her in the doorway, she numbly followed him without protest.

Her tennis shoes were sticky with dried blood and they smacked against the concrete floor.

Gimble led her to a room with many instruments hanging from the walls. Knives glinted at her, of all kinds and sizes.

There was a metal operating table in the center and atop of it lay John. She ran to the dismantled torso and kissed his rough cheek, but he didn't respond. His eyes were closed and his skin was rapidly cooling. He was dead.

Gimble allowed her a few moments to mourn. He busied himself with resetting the instruments he'd used on the boy while she cried. Thankfully she didn't take long with it. "Goodbye John," he heard her whisper to the corpse.

She turned to him and regarded him.

He said nothing, and she flinched when he picked her up, placing her atop the table, her short legs dangling over the side. She did not resist, all too consumed in her grief, he suspected.

He took her small forearm in his hand, prodding at the delicate skin there. It was certainly the right color, nearly matching that of her brothers, and it was quite soft. He took the scalpel from the tray where he'd placed it, and he heard her draw in breath.

He glanced at her young face. Her eyes were closed tightly and she was holding her breath. He could not fathom why she would not want to see this.

He took a moment to marvel at the way the silver scalpel shown against her alabaster skin, and then in one swift motion, he sliced a thin line from her wrist to the crease of her elbow. He watched the rich blood ooze down the sides of her arm, where he planned to peel it away from the muscle. She was shaking now, silently crying again, and her tears fell down into the blood, into her cut.

Gimble took a blunt instrument now, and wedged it underneath the sliced skin. This earned him a gasp and she desperately tried to pull away from his grip, digging her fingernails into his arm. He pulled the instrument away from her with a sigh.

He needed to lift the skin from the muscle beneath it without damaging it or ripping it. Perhaps he should just kill her, he thought, but the skin was always better, always more malleable when it was fresh. He stood there in indecision for a moment, thinking about his options.

A shrill buzz interrupted him. It was from the intercom upstairs.

Damn, Gimble thought, as he let the instrument drop back into its tray with a familiar clink. He left the girl there on the table, locking the door to this room behind him.

Molly looked at the cut in her arm and struggled to keep from sobbing again. It hurt bad, and though she didn't want to touch or move it, she remembered her brother using his shirt to stop his bleeding.

She reached over and grabbed the scalpel on the tray beside her with shaking hands. Awkwardly, one handed, she managed to slash a strip of cloth from her shirt, and used it to blot at the cut. It was deep, and the cloth was almost immediately soaked through in deep red. She pressed it down with a wince, and looked away from it, careful not to allow her eyes to stray to her brother's body beside her either.

Instead she just looked forward at the concrete wall, clearing her mind, preparing herself to die, to go to heaven where John was.

A sudden noise outside the cell caught her attention. She was high enough on the table that she could just barely see through the small barred window in the door.

Flashes of a knife, Gimble's voice and the voice of someone else. Her heartbeat sped in her chest as she listened to the unfamiliar grunts of men engaged in battle. The police? It went on for several minutes, and Molly could not see much. She could not tell who was fighting outside her cell.

The noises didn't last long and then they stopped with an abrupt thud. Someone walked around outside the cell she was in. Her breath hitched as she listened. It wasn't Gimble's methodical, even footsteps she heard.

The door clicked as it was unlocked and something stepped into the room. It was certainly not the police, and in fact, did not appear to even be human.

It had no shirt on, and the skin on its chest, arms, face was grooved and mottled and grey. It was completely hairless, she could clearly see. Its face was wrong, somehow, the features crushed and distorted. Its ears were pointed, like she imagined a faerie's would be, but this inhuman thing was no mystical childhood storybook creature either. It seemed very clearly to her to be some kind of monster.

The monster regarded Molly for a moment with eyes blacker than coal, and then it growled, in a voice that matched its appearance, "Are you okay?"

Its gaze fell to her hand, clutching the shreds of her shirt to her bleeding cut.

It was such a funny thing for a monster to say that Molly nearly began laughing.

"I'm great," she replied, a wry smile on her face.

The monster smiled back at her, like her brother would have. At least, she thought it was a smile, but it had sharp jagged teeth and the expression on its disfigured face was difficult to discern.

"Are you going to eat me?" She asked it, eyeing the teeth speculatively.

The monster laughed at her just once, a shallow hiss.

"No," it said, "I will free you, but you can't say anything about me to anyone, understand?"

Molly looked at it and nodded. She was relieved. This wasn't a monster after all. Gimble, dressed in his professional slacks, with his fanciful accent, he was a monster. This creature, she squinted at it, this ugly thing, was going to help her go home. It clearly wasn't a person, but it was no monster.

She didn't pull away or struggle when its long rasping fingers gently gripped her under her arms and placed her onto the floor. She followed it out of the room, sparing her brother's body one last look before leaving it there. Seeing the torso laid out on the glinting metal of the gurney, and his slack jaw, the pained expression made her heart ache. She vowed to go back to it, to give her brother a proper funeral like the one her grandmother had been given the past spring.

Gimble was splayed across the floor outside the cell, a knife deep in his chest, the whites of his eyes showing under a half-lidded expression. She passed his body without remorse.

She was led out of the maze of stairs and rooms, and outside, in the parking lot shrouded by night.

"Go to the police officer patrolling the museum over there," the thing rasped to her. She glanced at the man across the street and nodded.

As she walked forward towards the policeman, she glanced behind her to thank the oddly compassionate ugly creature who had helped her, but the thing was gone.

Sixteen year old Molly Tanner sat in her psychiatrist's office, repeating the same old mantra she'd been repeating to people for years. First to the police, when she'd led them to her brother's body, then to her parents, and then to the other psychiatrists they'd had her see back then.

"I don't remember," she told this one, like all the others.

He was a man in his forties. Overweight. Balding at the top, greying at the bottom. He peered over his glasses at her, the creases in his frown deepening. He sat across from her in the lush downtown office. Her in a chair, him hiding behind a desk.

"You don't remember?" he restated over steepled hands, "Nothing after Stanley Gimble cut your arm?"

She shook her head, the motion pulling her hair taunt. It hung like a dark shroud, nearly to the small of her back when free but today she had styled it in a tight braid.

Of course she did remember. Her thumb briefly swept across the perfectly straight white scar that went all the way from her wrist to the crease of her elbow.

"It's been many years since this has happened, Molly," the therapist said, his voice irritatingly smooth and professional, "It's just you and I here now and I'm sworn to secrecy. Can you still not share? For your own mental health?"

"I really don't remember," Molly lied to him forcefully. She dug her fingers into the cushion of the plush chair she sat in, agitated the man seemed unable to move on.

"Hmm," the psychiatrist said, and he collapsed his hand steeple. He wrote something down in his notes.

Molly knew what they thought, all of them. They thought she had done it somehow, that she had killed Gimble and gotten away. She was content to let them think that, to not substantiate any claims either way.

"Your parents tell me you've stopped taking your medication, Molly. The Adderall I gave you for your ADHD symptoms."

Molly shrugged, unsurprised that her parents knew she'd been flushing the pills. They were nosy.

"It makes me feel anxious," she said. Another lie. Funny how they seemed to be a default setting for her these days.

The doctor nodded and reached into his desk drawer. He pulled out a prescription pad and began writing, "We'll try something else then," he said.

She rolled her eyes when he wasn't looking. Somehow, she thought, he probably knew she was going to flush these too, so why even bother? Pills, Molly spat in her innermost thoughts. Even pills wouldn't end the dreams of the strange creature that had come to her aid in Gimble's Prosthetics. Pills wouldn't make her normal again. They couldn't bring back John.

For some reason this man with his shiny desk to hide behind and his little scribbles and his books held upright by bronze animal heads thought he knew something about her. He could connect the dots that weren't there, accuse her of things she didn't do, but he had no evidence.

Even if she told him what had really happened, for her own mental health, what a crock of crap that was, it wasn't as if he'd believe her. He'd slap her with another little label. Schizophrenia, most likely. More useless pills, maybe even institutionalization. She wasn't stupid enough to want that.

Molly rather hoped she was mentally ill, though she'd never seen the monster from her childhood again after that night. She secretly hoped that perhaps it would show up in more than just her dreams. Maybe, she thought with a scathing, bitter sarcasm, it could kill this irritating man for her, or at least guide her hand.

Her eyes trailed along the bookshelf, where several of her psychiatrist's own books were showcased on the shelves. She had an inkling that he intended to bleed her of her own little story to add to his collections. Cracking the Killer Child, maybe. She should suggest that as a future title to him.

Next time, maybe, if he pissed her off enough.

Molly took the paper with her new prescription on it from him with a tight, closed-lipped smile, more of a grimace, and left the office.

Author's Note:

For those of you who are reading I Dream of Blood, don't worry! This story will not (hopefully) effect the output of that one. For those of you who are wondering, though Molly is present in my other fanfiction, this story does not coincide with the timeline of events in my other fanfiction, so enjoy it separately. Don't try to like, figure out how it fits in there cause it doesn't.

That's all folks. More to come.