"Rigor Mortis"-The life after death RP(Started/PM for participation)-Arc 4: Closing Loose Ends

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I have to find him, find this Marcus , Gulliver thought as he marched towards the law firm Jose said Marcus was at. He walked past the street, his clothes still torn and bloody from being stabbed by Marcus, his eyes beaming determination to kill. Poeple all around him tried to stop him and ask if he is hurt or needs any help.

He entered the front door of the offices and found himself standing in the lobby. "I am looking for someone", Gulliver said, his hands still shaking, he opened the file and threw it to the group, holding a large picture of Marcus from his time in acting school, "Where is Marcus Williams?", he screamed at two secretaries sitting behind a counter.

A security guard sitting in the corner noticed the distraught man and slowly walked over to him, "Sir, are you alright? Do you need me to call an ambulance?". Gulliver turned back and screamed at the man, "Where is my murderer!". The security guard pulled out his pistol and aimed it at Gulliver, "Sir, calm down, get down on your-", the security guard began following the normal procedure, but Gulliver wasn't normal. He ran towards him, and then the security guard released two bullets that hit his torso, but it didn't stop him. He then punched the guard , the left side of his face completely crushed as if it were hit by a sledgehammer. Gulliver looked at his hand, it had a hole in it. The security guard shot him there and another time in his abdomen. Iron began spreading out and formulating around his fist, outer layers began to rust. He took the gun from the ground and aimed it at the security guard, "WHERE IS MARCUS WILLIAMS?".

"I d-don't KN-now".

Marcus was sat in his car once again, with Mira occupying the passenger seat next to him. He'd had a hard time concentrating as they'd made their way down from the apartment, but he'd finally formulated a concrete plan.

"OK." he said, turning to Mira, "You're Edgar Larkin's cousin, and you've come by his office to pick up some of his personal effects in the wake of his death, as he no longer has a wife or children. I reckon that's plausible. Cousin is distant enough that he'd probably never mention one to his colleagues, but close enough that I reckon they'll let us in. If we have to stretch it, we'll say that your relationship was distant ever since his marriage. When we get to his office, I'll stay outside and keep lookout, giving you time to search his office. Once you've found the files with his client information, take them along with anything you can find that seems personal to him, so we keep are cover up. I'll be right outside the door. Danger word is 'coffee', you hear me say that, stop searching and act natural. When you hear me say 'water' that means the coast is clear."

He hoped the plan wasn't too elaborate, he just wanted to make sure he'd covered every angle. No mistakes this time.

"If you want I'll do most of the talking. I can pretend that you're bereaved, and that's why you're not very chatty. I'll pretend I'm your assistant of something, coming along to help you with the clear-out."

Marcus felt uneasy about the two of them being alone. He couldn't look directly into her eyes, afraid he'd lose focus again. Half of him wanted to kiss her, the other half wanted to not mention last night at all.

Before he could fully think it though his hand had reached out and gently took hold of hers.

"Listen," he said softly "I'm glad you're here."

"Can you spare a minute? Sit with me and drink a little?"

Therese snapped out of her euphoria. Her mind began to process what just happened. Victoria had just kissed her.

Victoria had just kissed her!

Had Therese not been holding a file that was half her weight and a cup of steaming coffee, she would have jumped into the air and screamed for joy.

"I know I'm a good kisser, Terri, but I never thought I was good enough to cause someone to go into shock."

Therese beamed at Victoria and laughed heartily, being careful not to drop what she was holding. "Yeah, Victoria. I can spare a minute."

The break room was on the first floor, not too far away from where the two were right then, and then Victoria led Therese to it. Inside was a vending machine, a coffee maker, a few small tables, a microwave, a refrigerator, and some plastic forks, knives, and spoons in a drawer. Therese sat down and places the file next to her chair, inviting Victoria to take the seat next to her. Victoria made herself a cup of coffee, then sat herself next to Therese.

Therese started the conversation.

"So, mind telling me why you waited for me to admit my feelings first?" Therese let the irritation enter her voice, and a frown to paint her face. Victoria smiled, drank from her cup of coffee, and winked at Therese.

"Because I wanted to know how much you were into me. I wanted to hear you tell me that you wanted me."

Victoria's phrasing made Therese blush a little. "You could have made it a little easier!" She said, lower lip quivering slightly. "I've been thinking about telling you for months..."

Therese looked down into her cup of coffee, into the near pitch black liquid of the drink. Victoria edged her seat closer to her, and wrapped an arm around Therese.

"Hey, I'm sorry, Terri," Victoria said. "You think it was easy for me? I've been head over heels for you since High School!"

Therese laughed, then turned her head and kissed Victoria on the cheek.

"We both messed it up a bit. How's that?" Victoria wrinkled her nose.

"Fine." Victoria squeezed Therese, then turned her head to Therese's and kissed her.

Therese felt her lips form into a smile, and kissed Victoria back. The two broke away and took a sip of their coffee after a while.

"Well, Mr. Raymond is probably expecting his files by now." Therese said in a disappointed voice. Victoria whined and pouted, but Therese reminded her that she had work to do as well, and the two got up.

"I'll walk you to your office. Mrs. Gerryman, right?" Therese asked. Victoria nodded, then grabbed Therese's hand.

"We can talk more at home tonight." Victoria said with a smile. Therese nodded, then left the break room, hand clasped in Victoria's.

The gunshots echoing through the halls stopped Therese cold.

"What the hell was that?" Came Victoria's shaky voice. Therese felt a chill run up her spine, and for some reason, she felt compelled to investigate.

"Victoria, head back to the security office. It's farther away back where we came. You should be safe there. Call 911 and tell the security guards about the shot. Stay there, do you hear me?" Victoria began to shake. Therese had always been the more level headed of the two, had her nerves under control and was good under pressure. Victoria looked like she was about to crumble on the spot.

"Victoria, do you hear me?"

Victoria nodded, then backed away to head to the security office. "Therese?"

Therese turned back and raised an eyebrow. "Yes, Victoria?"

Victoria looked at her, tears in her eyes. "I love you, Theresa. Come back to me..."

Therese felt her heart flutter when she heard that word. Love...

She walked up to Victoria and took her hands in hers. "I will. I promise. And I love you too."

Therese turned away and began to quickly walk down the hallway, in the direction she thought the gunshots came from.

"I'm glad you're here as well..." Mira whispered back shooting Marcus a nervous smile. She squeezed his hand a bit as they interlocked for a brief second.

It was only thing that she could give him at the moment, reserving her energy for what would lay ahead. Last night was something to remember but she couldn't afford to distract Marcus as he needed his alertness in case things would go awry. Plus if Mira had done more than a simple smile then they would end up in the car for longer than they had planned.

Mira opened the car door and stepped outside, motioning for Marcus to follow but almost at the starting gate she noticed something was a midst. She could hear screaming, shouts of despair coming from the building, and most importantly gunshots. They cracked like loud fireworks as Mira stepped closer to the building. Bystanders were scrambling outside as Mira passed them.

Finally she peaked her head in and what she saw made her heart drop.

The water quickly rushed down his throat as Adrian tipped the glass up to his lips. It would take a little while for the glorious liquid to begin taking the edge off of his dehydrated body. Still, the feeling of the cool water washing through his stomach gave the man a small comfort. Even with all that had happened, the little joys of being alive still continued to gratify. For this, Adrian was thankful. He didn't know if he would be able to handle it if every aspect of his life had become as drab and dour as some of the major events he had experienced.

He gently set the glass in the sink and moved towards the restroom with a change of clothes tucked under his arm. The hot sting of the water from the shower head also helped invigorate the man, getting him prepared for the day. Already he was beginning to feel better. The throbbing of his head was becoming less intense and he didn't feel like gouging his eyes out every time he looked into the light.

Soon after he was standing back in the living room, looking refreshed and ready for the day. The only two remaining in the room were Frank and Ben. Any sense of excitement he had about the day suddenly vanished as the reality dawned on him once again.

Another day. Today was just another day.

"So we going to do this thing?"

Marcus had heard the gunshots too, and his newfound optimism sunk like a stone when he saw people scrambling for the exit in panic.

So much for keeping it simple.

Reluctantly, Marcus opened the glove box and rearmed himself. He hated the idea that he might have to kill again, but between that and doing nothing while innocent people were getting gunned down, the choice for Marcus was clear. He had to do something.

Gulliver looked at the two receptionists, "MARCUS WILLIAMS", he screamed at them. One of the two sat in her place, completely petrified whole the other ran out through the entrance to the offices upstairs. Gulliver shot the receptionist that fled four times, and as he walked towards the one sitting in her place he screamed at her again, "WHERE IS MY MURDERER?".

His hand kept on bleeding and releasing more layers of iron over his right hand, with rust continuing to form. He walked past the counter and held the woman's head, screaming at her again. She began to scream as his grip tightened, crushing her skull altogether. The blood and brain matter that had touched his arm seeped into his gunshot wound, as if it was sucked in, and Gulliver felt rejuvenated. Ignoring the handgun, he rushed to the upper floor to find Marcus and finally have his vengeance.
.
"We should go", Frank said to Adrian. Before he left the apartment he leaned into Adrian's ear and asked something in secret, "Do you love Alice? ". He turned back and began walking away from the apartment towards the dumped corpse.

"Do you love Alice?"

As Frank whispered in his ear, every facet of Adrian's body stiffened like a board. Through the events of yesterday, he had barely had time to even consider Alice. Now that the memory had been forcibly conjured once again the entire spectrum of confusion came roaring back with a vengeance.

With every part of his mind and body he wanted to abhor Alice. The woman had proven herself undeniably evil that day in the mall. Between her callous disregard of human life and her willingness to completely override Adrian's memories, there was no doubt in his mind that this woman had lost any sense of empathy for humanity long ago. What person would willingly destroy something so precious to a desperate man?

And yet...that delicate touch of her mind gently sliding through his thoughts...the scent of her body as she walked by. The taste of her lips as the pair fell to the bed...

But were any of those memories of Alice? Or were they memories of...memories of...

Once again, the name escaped him. The name that had meant so much to him before the end was now completely out of reach. For all he knew, he would never have it back.

He followed Frank listlessly out of the apartment, barely paying attention to his surroundings or the workings of anyone around him.

"Love her?" he muttered more loudly than he intended, "I don't even know her..."

Exiting the car, Marcus jogged over to the lobby entrance, his hand inside his jacket, ready to draw the gun at a moments notice. He positioned himself with his back against the wall on the opposite side of the door to Mira. Slowly, he peered round the side of the wall to get a look at the carnage inside.

The lobby was deadly quiet, as everyone who had been occupying it moments before had fled. However, Marcus could hear faint screams as whatever it was that was terrorizing the staff moved further into the building. From his vantage point Marcus could see three bodies. One, a security guard, was slumped against a pillar, his face mangled and soaked in blood. Another, a woman, was lying face down near the entrance with four gunshot wounds in her back. Finally, a receptionist was slumped forward at her desk, painting the space around her crimson.

Marcus looked across to Mira. She had got there before him, perhaps she had seen the culprit.

"Who is it? What did you see?" he asked her.

Ben followed the two men out of the apartment. Their whispering clearly telegraphed to the entire hall that they were having some important conversation. Ben kept back, no need to eavesdrop, he lived with Adrian, the focus of the conversation would come out eventually.

"...love....don't even..."

What was he talking about? And why did Frank need to know? Ben supposed that the answers would reveal themselves in the end, but it still knawed at his curiousity. Ben supressed the feeling, it wasn't pressing information at the moment.

Ben walked up beside the older man.

"How have you been holding up? It's been a rough couple of days."

She looked back to Marcus, distraught at even what had occurred. What she had seen.. that man... Marcus' name.

"I...I don't know... this man he-it was shot by the guard but it didn't phase him. It looked like his arms were made of some metal. Then he went up to the receptionists and... killed the one face down. Then... it went up to the other one... and crushed her head. Like an orange...." Mira breathed in, trying to control herself. She thought she had been fine since last night but this brought all the worries and the despair flooding back in.

"Whoever it was, he was calling your name. He wants to kill you..."

Therese began to slow her frantic pace when the four other gunshots rang out, accompanied by screaming and running. She knew without a doubt now that the sound had come from the reception area.

The hallway she was in was about 10 feet wide, and the double doors leading into the lobby only had windows on the upper halves, and even then, they were framed with the metal used to make the door. Therese pressed herself against the far wall, inching closer and trying to see inside of the lobby without being spotted.

"Whoever it was, he was calling your name. He wants to kill you..."

Marcus had to take a long pause and let Mira's words sink in. Whoever this man was, he had powers similar to their own. That could only mean one thing...

Frank, or one of the others, is behind this!

Marcus couldn't even feel angry. He was just too shocked to feel anything else. Frank had kept him in the dark, put him in danger without any prior warning, and had generally treated Marcus and the others as a fairly disposable investment. But, to actually send someone to kill him, to send Marcus walking straight into a trap set specifically for him. Why? What was the purpose?

He had to fight to keep himself calm. Marcus wasn't going to lose it, he'd come through everything else they'd thrown at him so far, he would come through this. The old, steely determination took over, and Marcus' blood ran cold. It was at this moment that Marcus really understood what kind of sacrifice he would have to make from now on. The old rules, the old morality, they were all gone now. Only one thing mattered, the survival of him and the few people he could still care about. Marcus knew he would have to not only discover the darkest parts of himself, but remain in control of them, and utilize them when necessary. There would be no waking from this nightmare, but Marcus sure as hell wasn't going to give in. The shady organisation that Frank worked for had treated Marcus as little more than a proxy, a conscript, but not any more. Now, Marcus wanted to do more than just resist them, he wanted to show them what he was capable of. He wanted to show them that he could be their equal, and that whatever they threw at him, it would be a cold day in hell before he would give up on this new lease of life.

Marcus slowly withdrew the gun. Not in anger or in fear, but simply in readiness. He took a second to practice aiming with it. Holding it steady, closing his left eye to give him a clear view down the sights with his right. He focused on what the gun felt like in his hand, trying to balance it's weight. It might all have been an act, but it was as close to the real thing as Marcus could hope for right now, and Marcus was a good actor. Any preparation he could give himself would be worth it.

Ready for whatever he would encounter, Marcus turned to Mira. If he said to much, he would lose focus, best to keep it short and to the point.

"If I'm not back in 20 minutes, just go."

Therese froze when she saw the man with the gun in the lobby. She quickly pushed herself back, out of view of the window, and tried to process her thoughts.

Could that be the killer? Maybe... He looks angry, pissed even. Enough to take a life..?

Therese shook her head. She couldn't heap the blame on someone just because they fit the initial bill. She would have to find out more about the man before she implicated him.

Besides, the gunshots had gone off a while ago. Why would the man be standing here still if he was trying to kill someone? Had he accomplished what he set out for already, and was merely waiting for the cops? Did people actually do that, or was that only in those crappy crime shows?

Therese sat down, trying to figure out what to do. Her phone was up in the 2nd floor office of Mr. Raymond, along with all of her other stuff. Victoria should have reached the security office by now and called the cops...

What to do, what to do...

"How have you been holding up? It's been a rough couple of days."

Adrian looked carefully at the student moving at his flank. Ben had been acting far more compassionate this morning the Adrian had ever seen him. It seemed out of character from the impression that Adrian had gathered of Ben from the last few days. Everything had always seemed so cold and calculated before; there had never been a sense of tact in his words unless that tact served some greater purpose. There had never seemed to be any room for emotions or pleasantries when dealing with Ben.

So...why was today so different?

Although Adrian wanted to believe it was a sudden change of heart, he felt as though it were more likely that Ben had some game he was playing. The professor's mind drifted back to a couple nights earlier as he ranted when triggered by Ben's callousness. At the time the young man just stared at him stone-faced while he vented all of the frustrations and indignities he had suffered. The pair hadn't really spoken since then...was this some sort of plan to smooth things over again? Now that they would be relying on each other today, did Ben decide it would be best if they were on good terms?

Well...whatever the reason, there's no harm in being civil.

"Yeah, it has been pretty difficult," he smiled warmly as they walked down the stairs, "But I'm getting by. At least we're still alive."

If this can even be called living...

The trio walked outside of the apartment. Adrian dug into his pocket and pulled out his keys.

"Guess I'll drive today. Where to Frank?"

"We need to get out of the town, the body was ditched somewhere near the road.", Frank answered as he entered the car and sat at the passenger's seat in the back, visibly uncomfortable in the automobile. "Been years since I went on one of those", he said quietly. "We need to hurry, the police might find him soon", he ordered both Adrian and Ben to enter the car and drive.
.

Gulliver went upstairs and kept looking for Marcus. He screamed at them while more blood kept gushing out of his abdomen and covering the floor. The rage overcame him and he continued to search for the man that killed him, occasionally stopping and killing bystanders demanding they show him to Marcus. He walked to the end of the corridor and to his left was a room with three men pointing their handguns outside the door, ready to fire at Gulliver. A woman stood behind them.
"WHERE IS MARCUS WILLIAMS?", he screamed again and walked towards the three. The three security guards opened fire and shot Gulliver many times, causing him to collapse on his knees, his hands on the ground as he coughed up blood. "I never give up... I never surrender... I am...", Gulliver mumbled under his breathe as he continued to defy death. The pool of blood that formed underneath him compressed into an iron rod that shot out of it and hit one of the security guards in his chest. The two others began to reload their pistols with a new clip, but Gulliver was already up. He threw himself at the two and pulverized the one of his right. The blood gushing from his stomach seeped into Gulliver's open wound in his right hand. The third one finished reloading his pistol and aimed it at Gulliver, he then raised his left hand at him. He looked as if he was begging him to not shoot, but his hand burst open and from it shot it a large iron pellet. He kept on bleeding and was shot yet again.
He looked behind and saw that woman hold a gun at him. She was shaking in her place and screamed for Gulliver to stop it all and die, but Gulliver never intended to do either.

When Gulliver had finished with her, she hardly looked human.

Damn.

The man with the gun had wondered off, but he had left the woman there. Therese had seen the two of them stand together talk, and as such, she had no idea if this person was with or against her, same as the man. But Therese needed to get around them...

A rapid spouting of bullets echoed through the building, clearly coming from upstairs.

Shit!

Therese ran off away from the lobby. There would be an alternate staircase about a minute back if she ran, this one much, much smaller than the one in the lobby, but it would get her upstairs. Upon reaching the stairs she heard a sound that froze her heart.

Victoria. Victoria was up there, not 15 feet above her. With the person who was shooting people!

Therese virtually sprinted up the stairs, thanking whatever God there was that she never wore heels. She reached the top, then sprinted past the door.

A woman was laying on the floor. At least, something that might have once been called a woman. Her body was so mutilated that Therese could barely tell that it was a human, let alone a woman. But there were a few defining characteristics: the long, black hair, the blouse and skirt, the high heels, the ring you gave her as a gift years ago when you first moved in with her...

What happened next, Therese would try to remember. She would look back at this moment and realize that she could not recall, for the life of her (no pun intended) what happened after she recognized the broken corpse on the ground as Victoria. She remembered a man, an ugly man, with what looked like iron coating his body walking towards her and screaming, and then, blackness.

The silence of the lobby was broken by the sound of several gunshots echoing from a few floors above. Someone was still fighting back. Marcus sprinted across to the flight of stair in an alcove at the far corner of the reception area and continued on upward. Whoever, whatever this thing was, it had come for him, and Marcus would not just stand by while people were being killed because of him. Soon after the gunshots came blood-chilling screams, and the muffled sound of a man shouting, fists pulverizing bone.

It was one of those moments when time ceased to have all meaning. The journey up the stairs could have taken seconds, or hours, Marcus could not be quite sure. The noise rose like a crescendo as he reached the right floor. It was coming from just around the corner.

Even after all the strange events of late, Marcus could not quite believe his eyes. It was the man from the day before, the man who's gun Marcus was holding in front of him right now; the man he had killed without mercy. What looked to be liquid metal was oozing from gunshots in his abdomen, some of it beginning to congeal and rust on his clothes. The man was standing in a pile of bodies, with blood smearing the walls and floor around him. He was finishing off the last as Marcus stood there. Yelling at the top of his voice, his words finally clear, and punctuated by the crushing blows of an iron fist.

"WHERE. IS. MARCUS. WILLIAMS?"

"I'm right here." Marcus announced, holding the gun and his voice steady.

The man wheeled round with blood lust in his eyes, but Marcus wasn't going to give him a chance.

"Don't take another step!" Marcus threatened, gesturing to his pre-existing wounds. "Unless you want to see if you can survive one through the head. Who woke you up? Who sent you here?"

Gulliver turned back as he heard a familiar voice. His rage grew even more as he saw the man that killed him. Nothing could stop the stampede forward, but before Gulliver even came close, the floor shifted. Gulliver's blood covering the floor formed into small iron pellets and shot out into Marcus. Gulliver continued to run as Marcus was penetrated by dozens of iron pellets.

Marcus, understandably, hadn't counted on the man's ability to use his own blood as a ranged weapon. He was peppered as if he had been blasted with a shotgun, and was knocked backwards. The iron pellets didn't go as deep as a bullet, and thus Marcus didn't feel the worryingly familiar sensation of his life slipping away. Not that that was much consolation, as before shock and semi-consciousness had at least worked as an anesthetic.

Writing in agony, Marcus tried through the fog of pain to summon a memory. With effort, the image of Ryan, the alpha bully from his orphanage, swam in front of his eyes. That was who this man was to Marcus now. They were bullies. Marcus had wronged them, but he did not feel sympathy when he considered the pain that they had inflicted on others, innocents, for no reason other than sick, twisted rage. Marcus felt the anger he had felt, watching from afar while Ryan had exacted his wrath on lesser creatures. He felt the triumph of beating him, seeing him jeered at by those who had once fled in fear of him, knowing that his power was gone. These two emotion memories burned through him, allowing him to extract the shrapnel embedded in his flesh, and to close the gaping holes. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Marcus acknowledged the absurdity of the situation. It was as if serious, even life threatening injury, had become more of an annoyance for Marcus than anything else. How long before it simply became routine?

Marcus had dropped the gun, and the man was now too close for Marcus to pick it up in time. Physically, he had lost, and Marcus was sure he was about to die, and doubtful that Frank would be there to bring him back as he had done with Ben (It was still the most logical conclusion to assume that the man was hear because of Frank, or at least on Frank's orders.) However, there were other ways to 'win'; and if it was time for Marcus to die, he was not going to go quietly. He would not allow this man to feel his vengeance was just.

Marcus stood up, and braced himself for the incoming hail of blows, his body still running hot from his righteous anger. The man's fists came crashing down,one after the other, in powerful, punctuated blows. Such an attack would have beaten Marcus' to a pulp before. However, the raw emotion that Marcus felt meant that his rate of healing increased. Every time a bone was broken, or an internal tissue damaged, his body had healed it in time for the next blow. Short of tearing his head clean from his shoulders (which Marcus feared might be a distinct possibility) the man could not hurt him, and he was beginning to wear himself out in this battle of attrition. Marcus tried to speak, to reason with him to stop, but his words were either obstructed, unheard, or ignored.

Eventually, it seemed to register with the man that Marcus was remaining impervious to his attacks, and he relented, looking exhausted by the sustained assault. The murderous glare in his eyes still remained. If Marcus wanted to get out of this situation, he needed to act fast. Calm, almost nonchalant, yet with presence, Marcus walked towards his attacker until there was no more that a yard between them, and looked down upon him like the very sight of him was mildly distasteful.

"Before you start again, listen." said Marcus, his voice level, but in a way that showed utter disdain for his opposite number. "In case it had escaped your memory, you were the one who shot me first, remember? I felt bad about what I did, I never wanted to become a murderer, but on reflection I think I did what most people would have done. I'm no monster, but I don't think the same can be said for you."

This was utterly bizarre, insane even, but Marcus supposed it was a sign of the times. Nothing in his world was 'normal' anymore; so why not stand up, in the face of imminent death, or torture, and talk down to your killer as if he were nothing more than a thug. If not to make him back down, at least to make some small part of him feel guilt.

"Look around you. These people were innocent. They did nothing to you. What you've done here isn't self-defense, you slaughtered them while they begged and screamed. They had friends, families; did you not think about that? You killed these people because you were selfish, because they stood in the way of a revenge you don't even deserve, and you don't look to sorry about it to me! If you need to blame someone, blame the people that sent you here. The same people that sent me to you. They're the ones that play God, screw with people lives, turn people like me into killers and never even explain what its all for. Don't blame me, because I don't accept it!"

Marcus raised his fists, standing poised on the balls of his feet. It was a hopeless gesture, Marcus knew that if this man continued to fight, Marcus could not overpower him, and he didn't know if his supercharged resistance would last forever, but right now he didn't care. Maybe, just maybe, he could front his way out of this...

"If you want to kill me, come on then!" he finished "But I'm not the villain here, and you don't get to walk away feeling good about what you've done."

Mira couldn't stop herself. A few moments after Marcus had told her specifically to stay, Mira left the safety of the outside and ventured into the bloody building before her. The smell was something familiar but not easy to get used to. Blood and ichor nearly flooded her nostrils going deeper and deeper into the building.

Then she saw Marcus. He was drenched from head to toe with blood and his skin was pocked with little holes as if he was shot by a million little bullets. Before him was an angered figure, the same one that she saw before in the lobby killing those people.

A cry escaped her lips and she ran forward.

"MAARRRCCUUUSSS!!!" She screamed. Tears flowed once again. Her breath was short. Mira ran to Marcus not caring if the monster would strike again. She was scared. For him. For her. For the both of them.

Then before she reached them Mira stopped in her tracks. She could feel it again. The pain was coming back but in its place with a red-hot desire. A desire to protect. Mira dropped to her knees clutching her body. She had to protect Marcus like she had to protect the people that she used to save, that woman and child, her past patients, and finally the brother that she failed to protect. Mira couldn't let Marcus slip away like she did David. Not while she was still breathing.

"GRRAAAGGGHHH!!" Mira growled. "GET AWAY FROM HIM!" From her crouched position she bolted up like an Olympian sprinter and the velocity of a train. Whatever happened back before was happening now but this time she could feel the power she had at her fingertips. The man saw this coming and raised his iron arms to block the incoming attack but Mira didn't care, she just wanted to get him as far from Marcus as possible. So Mira rammed her fist at the monster's abdomen hearing a loud crack and bend of metal. But Mira didn't come from the attack unharmed as her skin began to tear from her expanding muscles. Blood began to seep through but she had felt this pain before and she needed to brave through it.

Ben silently sat in the back seat of the car. He processed what had happened over the past few days.

I suppose most people would go to therapy for this..

Ben felt emotion welling up inside of him. Was that anger? Sadness? What were these? What did they mean? Ben quashed the thoughts alongside the emotion.

Ben leaned his head back on the seat. Why had he given Adrian the glass of water. Was it because of compassion, or cold logic that the older man would need to be ready.

No. Stop it.

The thoughts quelled inside of his head. Ben finally spoke directing his question to Frank.

"What are we expected to do with the body once we get all of our answers?"

Gulliver was surprised at the appearance of another woman. She had stopped his rampage and caused him to stumble back. He looked around himself and blinked quickly. "N-n-no, where... why", he said as he continued to look around the corridor. His eyes moved around the room and focused on the trail of blood on the floor, then his hands. His right hand was covered in rust and his left hand was completely white and numb. His stance changed, his shoulders slumped back and he looked back at Marcus. The rage built up again as his left arm turned red.

Loud taps were sound in the background. It came closer and closer with each tap. Klaus appeared from behind and watched Gulliver throw himself at Marcus, staying silent in the distance. He grinned as he looked at Mira in her changed form. "Kinder, kinder", Klaus said as he walked though the bloody corridor, "Why so angry?". Gulliver pounced back at Marcus but Mira stood in his path. Even though her sheer force was staggering, he managed to land a few hits that cut through her flesh, causing her some substantial harm.

Klaus could be seen bending down and forming a cup of sorts out of his hand, filling it with fresh blood and getting it near her face. He drank it with delight. He slowly walked away from the fight and towards the security offices, bending down and taking another sip of blood. As he rose up he grunted and began searching the floor for something.

Gulliver threw himself at Marcus, but this time his attacks were slower and had less of an impact on Marcus. Marcus, already exhausted of energy, had his regenerative ability slow down and nearly halt. Gulliver looked down at the beaten Marcus and kept on throwing punches at him, crying out "YOU did this to me" and "You took her away". After each punch he seemed to look paler and paler.

Klaus turned left and saw the body of a woman lying in the corner. He bent down and tasted her blood. After verifying his initial suspicion, he wore a leather left glove and bent down on her corpse.
.
"We only need it to guide us, that's all", Frank said while sitting down in the back sit of the car.

Without another word, Adrian took his position behind the steering wheel and put the key in the ignition. As he drove, his mind began to drift back to the simple question that Frank had asked him back in the apartment.

Do I love Alice?

It seemed like a stupid question to even consider. His interactions with Alice had been nothing but baneful up to this point. The crime that she had perpetrated against his mind would have should have been completely unforgivable. She had tampered with his brain and ruined the integrity of his memories. There was no going back from that. I should have been so simple just to nurture the grudge and let the rage further fuel his actions.

And yet his mind kept coming back, mulling over images and fantasies that one would be unable to describe as "vengeful." Even the mere thought of her face was enough to make his blood run hot with ideas that were less than family friendly.

But these emotions...they couldn't be based from anything more than primal lust, right? This woman had expertly proven that she was wretched. How could anything more meaningful than instinct come into play with her.

Time passed swiftly as Adrian mulled through his thoughts. Soon, the buildings of the city were packed less densely, finally giving way to the beauty of nature. Adrian's spirits lifted at the sight. The city had always rubbed him the wrong way. The marvels of industry and urban development were fine, but man would never be able to approach the majesty of the natural world.

For the first time since he jumped in the car, Adrian broke the silence.

"How much further?"

Frank looked to his left and saw a small restaurant and rest stop. "Pull over after you go past the tree grove".

Ben looked at Frank. There really wasn't much to talk about with their employer around. The solemnity in the car had killed much of the conversation topics. Ben decided to go with something a little bit more lighthearted than what they were about to do.

"So what do you do in your downtime Frank? Considering you are our employer, and yet we know so little about you. To an extent, we want to know at least something about you other than the guy that keeps us afloat."

"I have my haunting grounds", Frank said as he kept looking at the roadside. "I tried to break the Embargo on Cuba", Frank said playfully. "But my work keeps me busy", Frank said.



Adrian kept driving, unsure of how much longer it would take for them to reach their destination. Ben had tried to break the silence with some idle chit chat directed at Frank. The smoking man's response had caused Adrian's ears to perk.

"I tried to break the Embargo on Cuba..."

He glanced over at his superior, a trace of a smile gracing his face.

"You know, when you say things like that, I can't tell if you're joking or being serious."

His eyes focused back on the road ahead.

"What a world we now live in..."

Pain. That was all Mira felt. Her body took its horrendous shape again. Her muscles grew and tormented her but she had to do something, to fight back. The man's attack had cut into her skin and into her muscle. It was hard enough to move as it is but now there were gashes where even more blood began to spill out from.

I have to fight...I have to save Marcus...pay him back what I owe...

Through sheer strength and will Mira picked herself up. She could no longer talk so all she focused on it action. She charged at Gulliver breaking his hold of his grip on the pale Marcus. What followed was hard for her to see as it was all in a blur of action now. While Gulliver was brought back Mira brought back her own arm and sent it flying at him with what must have been the velocity of a speeding bus. She couldn't see past her own blood but all she heard was a tremendous crack.

Marcus lay panting on the floor, feeling battered and bruised. With the aggressor tiring, his healing powers had continued to deal with the worst of the injuries. However, some of the blows had broken through and now Marcus had no strength left to heal them. It looked like he'd just have to get better the old-fashioned way this time.

Wincing a little Marcus sat up and tried to figure out what had just happened. Mira stood over him in her bulky, transformed shape.

"Remind me... never... to piss you off." Marcus remarked to Mira as he got to his feet, picking up the gun just in case he still needed to defend himself. "Thank you." he added, more sincerely this time.

Mira had sustained some nasty cuts in the fight, and he transformation was probably causing her more distress. However, she still seemed to be holding up,l probably through adrenaline. Marcus tried to return her to normal, but he had nothing left to give at the moment. Just sensing her injuries made his head ache, and he almost passed out.

"I'm sorry." he told her. "I can't. Can you... turn back... by yourself?"

Lying in a pool of his own blood, Gulliver began to lose his consciousness. His eyes still fixated at his murderer, he cursed his name, calling his a cold killer. Klaus had invited the woman to join and work for him, calling for her through the glove. She accepted. As she woke up, Klaus greeted and asked her, "How would you like me to call you, girl?".

"Enough", a voice came echoing through the building, "Enough of this violence and needless bloodshed", it continued with a distinct Latin accent. A man in robes came to Gulliver as if he were floating in the air. He bent down and held his head, moving his hand through his hair. "I will cure you, son", he said. The iron covering some of Gulliver's body began to crumble and the man closed his eyes, once and for all. The man moved his right hand to his left shoulder and made a cross in the air, saying "in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritūs Sancti". He let Gulliver's head rest on the pool of his own blood and then stood up and looked at his two previous opponents, barely able to stand.

"Welcome, children. I assume you are Frank's servants?".

"Welcome, children. I assume you are Frank's servants?"

"I'm nobody's 'servant', and I'm not a child either." Marcus replied haughtily, his physical pain doing nothing to help the way he felt about these people. This one was new. He looked and sounded Spanish, or perhaps South American, wearing robes that Marcus assumed had some religious significance, judging by the way he had put the man to rest. It seemed that the more was revealed to Marcus about these people the less clear everything became. What were they? Government agency, criminal organisation, religious cult?

"What the hell were you doing sending that maniac here?" Marcus demanded, "After yesterday, what did you think he was going to do; are you trying to get us killed?"

Jose walked over to the two injured lost souls that stood in front of him. "Klaus, is the girl ready?", he said out loud to the man a room away. He didn't hear an answer. "Hell, little one, is something you can not comprehend and thus something that should never be taken lightly. I am here to cure poor Gulliver, and I come to offer my cleansing to you", Jose explained himself while still floating over the blood covering the floor.

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