I apologize for taking ages to upload, but -voice cracks- my Internet was gone for almost a month. Pity me, weep with me, now I am alive again. (Or wave your arms like you just don't care- hey, it is your right not to care, whatchu gonna do)
Anyway, have the next chapter. I finished this story a couple weeks ago and boy, did it drain me of all my emotional strength.
VII: Your split second
All the mutants and violated humans saw in the last of their minutes was a flash of black and then there was a crack, a terrible, terrible sound that told them how far their necks had been twisted. And as their spinal cords surrendered to the strain they would truly know power and finally see.
Wesker could play the game all day and never tire of it.
Every throat he slit and every last neck he snapped put him at ease. They were mindless creatures, his victims, the prey of his hunt and no matter who watched him now- safe and sound, hidden away in the darkest of shadows- could complain.
The rage had come without warning. Like an unwanted guest it had not bothered knocking or introducing itself, so it ran in his defenses and corrupted his pure, stained soul.
Wesker snorted bitterly. It was all about his order to control himself and keep Chris alive- he had wondered what harder task there could ever exist. It was unnerving how much of a nuisance a single human could prove to be.
However, Redfield's life was reserved for someone other than him. Wesker had to redirect his anger and what better way was there?
Oh, how they whined, these spineless bastards and useless remains of humankind, as he ended them, one by one. It was what he was paid for right now and his duty was a serious matter. Wesker would not sell himself for money only; not anymore. His payment was different and yet so much more important than material gain or physical pleasure. He had to stay alive and find out who was the one claiming to own all of them.
A knife's blade would glisten so very beautifully in the lights, spread its reddened shone all across the area and every bit of the surroundings he took in with a glimpse of the eye.
Wesker was a machine and he knew it, a machine designed to kill and right now that satisfied him, if only for a split second. It didn't have to be any different, did it? It was a form of letting go, being a true self and no shell, no corpse forced to spin and spin and spin to look around and not be killed...
Slice, chop, twist. A slash. A cut. A step backwards.
Mechanical movements, really, not worth mentioning... he moved swift as the wind and fierce as the flame and they fell, in a beautiful shower of blood and he did not smile at his masterpiece. There were better days; oh, troubled, troubled times.
A spin and then a crack; a neck gone, a sinew severed, a heart removed.
Somewhere below his feet, below the concrete's safety, deep inside the earth, Redfield's heart was beating frantically.
Wesker hated every second of it and with each of the thousands of monsters he killed he wished it was a living creature, a human unworthy of another minute on the surface of the planet.
But it was forbidden... and he supposed obeying this single order would not hurt him. Until it did.
Every last fiber of his being lusted for this one kill, this last death which would finally still his famished mind. It could end one way or other, but it had to end soon.
But then again; Jill would not appreciate the delay.
The men were screaming, their skin had been pierced by their own tangled bones. Wesker felt his insides revolt against their God given nature. Blood had begun to pour from their eyes and he could no longer...
Resistance is but a glimpse of strength. Giving in, letting go of all restraints is so much more relaxing. Occasionally.
Their bones shattered with the loudest cry.
Maybe it is his face that brings her back to life, or maybe it is the sounds of persons being crushed like sticks and stones and broken bones. Jill would not remember; a memorable moment like this slipped her mind ever so easily.
"I have not expected you to come", she said and felt soft fear and relief tug on her heart. No more anger; all of it had been drowned away in butcher's work and fallen drops of blood not even worth mentioning.
Wesker did not move. His long, graceful strides had stopped right before her cell; but now he just stood perfectly still and watched; a moment of silence and sudden clarity.
A painting or a statue of a man; handsome, maybe, in an old-fashioned way, but naturally set in stone and never-changing. And in a brief moment of congruity she pitied him; forced to live until the end of time without anyone to join him.
No matter how often he addressed the matter of others being chosen by his forsaken viruses and parasites, they both knew it would never work. And he would have it no other way; if others were able to climb up to the same step he resided on, he would not be more than them, nothing better than an aged, mental man with rather... unusual talents.
Jill laughed, clear as a bell and resonating in both of their minds as it was the sound of failure; the sound born of spite and malice and yet nothing more than enjoyment.
So weird, so weird, so very weird.
"What is it that stops you from insulting me for the condition I am in? ", she chuckled and stood up from the bank she had been sitting on. Two steps and she stood before the iron bars and grabbed a steady hold of them, never taking her eyes off Wesker. A wrong step and he would kill her; every second counted, every breath mattered.
"Is this retribution for your security breach?", he asked and his voice strained her ears, "Or rather a reward for a job well done?"
Even if he did not know how to read people, he always knew about her. Maybe it was in his poisoned blood and frightful thoughts; he could see what she had done and force it into her head once more.
"A bit of both, maybe", Jill said and stretched out her hand from behind the bars. Her fingers hovered barely above his chest for the shortest of durations; he did not flinch as she pressed her hand to his suit just where his heart should be.
"It is still beating", she laughed, "Why wouldn't it?"
Wesker took a step back and the loathing in his eyes became apparent. He thought her weak-minded and human, unworthy of his attention. But again, god or man or monster that he was, he was professional. Cold, cold, cold as the brightest flame.
"Rest assured: this is as unpleasant for me as it is for you", he said and casually slid a dangerous-looking knife out of his sleeve, "So, if you would...?"
Jill dodged the blade a second later, falling on the ground heavily. The pain shot through her every muscle, her untrained body was not used to the strain anymore. How long had they kept her, as an unclaimed price, a reward for nothing and less at once?
She looked up just to see the bars of her cell dissipate. What an iconic picture, a metaphor for freedom and yet she felt nothing at all. Nowhere to go, nowhere to run.
"I advise you to focus on a more productive action than this", Wesker snarled and ripped the remains of the doors out with enough force to shatter them. The sound sent shivers down her spine.
Slice, stab, chop. They are not there anymore, love, they are gone a second from now.
Jill struggled to get to her feet. A step. Another.
And she was freed of the cage.
Monster: "Any thing or person of unnatural or excessive ugliness deformity wickedness or cruelty. The word connotes something wrong or evil; a monster is generally morally objectionable, physically or psychologically hideous, and/or a freak of nature. It can also be applied figuratively to a person with similar characteristics like a greedy person or a person who does horrible things.
One who inspires horror or disgust: a monster of selfishness."
Her weakness made Wesker cringe and his skin itch every time she stumbled, itched to just hurry over and make the abomination she was stop. But he restrained himself minute after minute; they wanted her alive and throbbing with bloodlust. So they needed a head underneath the guillotine, someone to watch and the one to pull the strings and make it fall until it hit flesh and carved a mark larger than life.
And when the blood spilled on her, the beautiful bystander, she would be laughing and make her choice, once and for all.
Wesker knew he could not be the one to help her decide; he was not who she wanted at her side. One day, maybe, on sunnier days and brighter evenings he would have regretted this turnout; maybe he had even craved the attention once, all of it and all of her.
But where there had been affection there was nothing now, just a blinding display of indifference; bound by nothing more than necessity and obligation.
She would notice the mental scaffold too late.
"He is here, if that is what you were wondering." His voice was deep and cutting, a threat and a promise of madness at once. Oh, Wesker knew what he was. In their eyes and what was left of his; but who needed guilt and blame, silt to sink in and shame to live with?
"I wasn't", Jill replied and blatantly used the wall for support as she fell once more, "And why would I care? If you arrived first, there is no hope for me and him. No future without the presence of what has been you a long time ago."
Wesker felt the knife spin in his gut as her words sank in, below the surface and beyond. Why would he care? Why would anyone?
"I have refrained from killing him up to this point."
"You could tell lies like you tell your usual words of spite and I would not even notice; you make me realize how dependent on you I really am at the moment and you like it. Why make it worse?"
She waited a second too long for an answer.
"Is it because you can?", she continued and struggled to go after him, down the narrow hallway her prison had been; only hers, in a very long time, "Is it because you want?"
And the silence made her laugh, apparently, while his insides boiled with pent-up rage and just this last bit of control he did not want to let go of.
"But what would you want, the mightiest of gods and greatest of heroes?", she kept on asking and suddenly she grabbed hold of his motionless arm, his property, for support, "What would you...?"
For a second, their eyes met and the air ran cold with disgust, with disappointment and yet again memories, of the worst of times. Jill shook her head at him and let go whilst he snorted in disgust. It would always end like this.
"So why is he alive? And why are you?"
"They made me return", he answered curtly and the knife screeched forward, plunging deep into his flesh and suddenly he could not wait for it to move again, "As a token, maybe. A weapon; or rather a tool, one of the gears always moving. Albeit I doubt I will live up to their expectations. As for your dear friend... I must say, the Organization has suffered enormous losses the last weeks, they did not want to lose potential allies this soon."
Jill's eyes shifted from amused to blank for a second.
"He would not join you."
"He would", Wesker responded coldly, "For you, dear, he would."
Jill felt the blood on her hands as she let go of him, she could still taste it upon her lips and smell its metallic odor in every single second that flew by. Superstition, of course, his sleeves were clean and his whole attire unstained; but she knew what he had done, every last of his victims screamed at her in this very second. But who was she to complain? Her casualties began to wake her up at night, soon she would be like him, gone insane with whatever one did to cope with sentiment.
The mental image of reuniting with her friend, the best and one and only, killed her slowly. It was naive to believe, so very naive and every last of the visualized scurrilities would keep the others from becoming reality; but she could not stop her thoughts, always trailing back and making sense of what should be nothing more than a bunch of wires, randomly entangled to be marveled at.
"I saw your masterpiece this week", Wesker drawled and his voice was a living insult, resounding endlessly inside her, "It was... stunning. I would not have thought you capable of such a deed, since it sparked even my disgust."
Jill felt her blood freeze and her protective shell dismantle under his stare, his knowing eyes. Why did he not see her as a piece of meat? Why did he not make it easy?
There was nothing of incentive to him, nothing she could use for her advantage.
"I have no idea what you are talking about", she said weakly and felt her legs give in to the weight of either her exhausted body or the guilt- it did not matter.
"Of course. I did not expect you to be able to recall the incident yet. You will, in time", he responded and it disgusted her how understanding it sounded.
But as she faced him once more, holding her smile firmly in place, he did not look patient or empathetic. Wesker was Wesker and he would not change that; there was murder written all over his grin. Or was he frowning? She could not tell anymore.
"What will happen to me?", she asked and the fear did not fuel her confidence.
"I am not authorized to elaborate."
"Then don't. Be blunt and insulting. Don't pretend you wouldn't enjoy that."
"They will not kill you", he said and Jill wondered if the emotion she heard was regret, "But you might know there are things worse than death."
The lights burned in her eyes and she felt painfully alive for a second. The sudden sensitivity of her skin provoked goose bumps tingling up her spine; the chilly air comforted her arms and bare neck as much as it hurt her bruises and cuts.
"I met them", she muttered, "The things worse than worst. Worse than you."
Wesker chuckled darkly.
"There are people out there beating me at my game", he said, "You will be praying to your petty god for my presence soon enough. The far I get beneath your skin, they will get to the very core of your being and tear it apart for fun."
As they passed a doorway into a sort of laboratory she squinted her eyes and stopped in her motion.
Jill should have known better; but the words tumbled from her mouth and he had no choice but to hear their meaning, process and understand within the blink of an eye.
Lifted up by the throat she struggled for a single breath, a single beating of her heart before the dawn; just a glimpse at her killer and one at her friend on the other side.
Wesker's eyes gleamed and yet he did not twist his hand to make it stop, let it end, for all the years pushed to the edge; he stayed calm for a moment or two.
"Do not assume to comprehend the extent of their power. Loyalty may or may not save your life, but obedience certainly will. Although it may last for less than a split second, it surely-"
His eyes widened and Jill smiled.
The split second passed and he coughed up his own blood, spraying it all over their faces before his body convulsed and the grip loosened on her throat.
"A weakness, old friend. Your monologues may stroke your ego, but your surroundings may not be as fascinated", she whispered and practically fell backwards.
For a moment she had seen the silhouette behind him, barely visible due to swift movements unpredictable for human standards.
The strangely shaped claw had pierced Wesker's chest once more; a reunion between friends and maybe more than a revenge on the creator of all the evils in the world. Jill loved naivety, kept it close to her heart to make sure it would never leave her and make her think about the possibility the root of all her pain was not a single person.
A tyrant killed another, just as she would have predicted and yet the sight left her bewildered.
Wesker's flesh had been spread unnaturally wide to allow the metallic fingers to protrude from his ribcage and his body seemed to take a while to take the sensations in.
The streams of red glistened in the bright light, streaking down what had been a living corpse before; Jill wanted to treasure the moment, never to lose it just to have proof gods were able to bleed out on a dirty floor like casual slaughter cattle silenced with a shot to the head. Amidst fountains of their own spilling life, brought down by the unrelenting saw with a mind of its own, they all would welter and watch with widened eyes as their savior came closer; knife and gun and death in hand.
Their eyes met and she had hoped to see a human again, just in the second before the end, but of course she did not. And she did not see the end either.
Wesker let no bit of emotion show, not even the pain he could have allowed himself easily, he simply urged his body forward in a quick motion.
The obscene sound of flesh on flesh, more than a physical contact, so much deeper, more intimate than lust; and then they separated, monster and murderer, saint and sinner.
Jill stared at the hole in the human body, the place where there should have been muscles and sinews and blood in the veins. Now she could see right through his disguise.
The tyrant's throat was cut and no one wept for the falling giant, the would-be-hero had he completed the task. Jill felt her clothes and skin soak with blood as it splashed onto her, but she could not care. It was too much at once, too much to see and process and her mind felt like a child's dream, so soft and warm and safe.
Wesker turned to her and he smiled, showing teeth and red upon white upon red, smiled right through the gory fantasy.
"The funny thing is...", he began and pressed a hand to his already healing chest, as he began to sway, "I was not even lying this time."
Jill realized how her knees gave in and her lungs never managed to hold that breath she wanted to keep inside her forever.
She fell first, not on her knees, merely to the side so that the metallic ground soothed her skin with the cold at the bitter end.
Wesker took his time, wiped his knife's blade on his suit and lowered himself to the ground slowly and gracefully; he sat with his back against the wall, casually spitting blood to the side.
"How did they get you?", he asked and started removing pieces of shrapnel from the bloody mess that he had turned himself into; pieces of tyrant-tissue and a monster's meat.
Jill stared at him, the walking mockery of life, and even though she remained unscathed, she felt more wounded than him, more exposed.
"What were their promises? Eternal life? Unlimited power? Peace?", he asked and chuckled at the thought.
She thought of the promises they had made, the life she had seen in their proposals. And for a moment she felt the urge to deny everything; but then again, who was he to know the truth?
"All of them", she replied and avoided his eyes as though she felt ashamed at the revelation.
And he believed her because he was vain. Because he believed to know she was like him. It was pitiful to watch.
"Lies are a curious invention of humankind; designed to protect and yet... the fact one resided to utilize them as a makeshift cover exposes a weakness worse than truth, does it not?", he chuckled and she realized how easy he played her.
Wesker looked her straight in the eye and she felt her whole world crumble and decay of fear.
Her mouth was dry and her palms sweaty as she clenched her fists, desperately waiting for another word as the seconds passed and it was her turn to fill the silence with words cutting even deeper.
"Does it? You tell me. A moment from now you will be gone and I will walk out into a brand new life with no worries or issues to be solved- you, king of cowards, should give an answer to your own question", she said and waited for an impact, an onslaught of violence breaking her bones.
Wesker did not move and she realized his wound affected him more than he showed; it was all about bluffing, believing in the charade of strength and wisdom while they were both fools caught in the long game.
Jill struggled to her feet and stumbled over to his wall, kneeling down before him.
He did not stop her as she took his knife and firmly placed it against his neck, the blade barely grazing the pale skin. Each heartbeat forced it against the metal, leaving a scratch and a stain, nothing more than a droplet of blood.
"I could end it right here." She stated the obvious as bluntly as she could, "Slit your throat and move on."
Wesker was calm and unfazed by the threat; he shrugged.
"I am what keeps you alive", he said and grinned at her all off a sudden, chuckling with genuine amusement, "Oh Jill, you are so amazingly slow in your deductions, the amount of patience necessary to talk to you is still intriguing me."
The knife cut in a little bit farther.
"Off with my head and you and your lover are dead in a heartbeat. They keep you for me, both of you. So that my loyalty is assured I may not kill you for a while... so why condemn the two of you if all you have to do is wait?", he asked and slowly forced the knife away from his throat; was it leather that touched her skin? Gloves or human hands? Jill felt her pupils dilate and feared the mechanical movement, the ever turning gears.
"There is nothing you can do", he said and she knew he enjoyed the thought, this psychological terror he inflicted, "So save your petty life by sparing mine."
And it worked. He had won, even facing death and agony, won once again and she was helpless, defenseless and had to admit he was right in the end.
"He will come for me. And you will get what you deserve", she replied quietly and with enough false hope to make the taste bitter and spoiled.
Wesker sneered and his colorless eyes still haunted her with their arrogance.
"Is that what makes you sleep at night?", he asked and chuckled.
"Yes it is. And yes you do believe in it. But at the end of the tunnel there will be no light, there will be no savior when I am gone. Your world, your society is as rotten as the single place waiting for you, corrupt and oh-so-bad-to-the-bone", he spat and the truth was a slap in the face.
Jill went silent and watched with horror as his story unfolded.
"They will leave you in the gutter after they have successfully used all you had in body and mind, a ragdoll, a puppet in their spider's web and you will know that your optimistic sunshine-loving brightly-colored dream is as fake as the taste of loving words on your tongue."
The madness was not as far from her as she had believed. It edged closer with every word he said and it poisoned her, infected her and made her young again, to set the world on fire.
"And once your proclaimed devil dances on your grave you will see how ungrateful your treatment was, how deeply inclined they bowed for you before they raised the pitchforks to escort you to the gallows pole", he continued and sneered once more, "And why? Because of love, maybe, or because they were obliged by fate."
I could kiss the devil that tempted him to do it. Yes, I could kiss-him-even wert thou that devil.
The knife wrenched deeper in his gut as she grabbed his chin and forced his head backwards for a moment, pressing the fingers of her other hand to his bloodied chest before lifting them up to his face.
Wesker froze as she acted with an urgency he had not expected for once.
She left a bloody stain on his cheek, a mark to remember.
"So human", Jill said, "You are so fucking human it makes me retch."
His vision flickered due to the blood loss and he knew he would not be able to defend himself against her and Chris; if they turned up together he would go down once more. Wesker was not afraid, it was simply a component he had to consider to come up with a plan.
The desire to ignore his orders and kill his two old friends was overwhelming, but he knew the Organization waited for a mistake like that; the incentive of disobedience was naturally strong, they had to be sure to whom he swore allegiance in the end.
Wesker produced a choked sound in his throat and faked a tremor running through his body- he hated to admit it was easier than expected. The familiar sensation of death creeping near filled him, although it was nothing but a memory.
Jill watched with curiosity as he fell silent and pulled away at last.
In her eyes he was no threat anymore; so both of them would live another day, to meet and kill again.
Wesker hated to have to pretend his weakness, the humiliation stung in his brain and a weaker man might have been offended enough to act.
She left him to die a moment later.
Everything else was a blur.
Jill remembered stumbling down a corridor, avoiding rooms too dark to see a thing and in the end... she had come across a staircase. Descending into the basement she had walked across a field of corpses; the horrors of death meaning less than ever. Too gruesome a time rendered her incapable of feeling disgust anymore, to a horrible extent that made her laugh at the dead bodies instead of weeping over the loss; every torn limb amused her because any other behavior would damage her brain beyond repair.
Humanity was a selfish trait, after all.
And then there was Chris, appearing from out of nowhere, the knight in shining armor she had waited for for so long. Her heart might be heavy, her spirits high, but he did not care, as he had never cared about such nuisances before.
He looked back when she didn't.
What a shame, what a shame, what a shame; she was on a mission to save her world.
So what if that did not include him anymore?