Glass and Steel, Part 13 - Breaking Point
Posted By: Random 14-Year-Old<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 5 May 2006, 9:02 am
Glass and Steel
Part 13: Breaking Point
And Ren said to himself, "I have lost my life. May Hell control me, now."
For surely Ren had taken a plunge into the depths of the underworld, never to see daylight again. He had taken an all-out nosedive, allowing himself to sink deeper and deeper into the pits of Hell, until he fell so far that he was even beneath the fiery flames. He was so deep now that no light or heat could reach him at this point—he sat alone in freezing darkness.
But this was all metaphoric, of course. Ren knew that he was simply in a dark chamber, but what difference did it make? It might as well be the depths of the netherworld. There was no hope for Ren to get out of here—for that matter, he didn't even have a clue as to where he was. Nor did he care. It was Hell to him.
However, this dark chamber was—perhaps—better than the environment he had been in before he passed out. At least now he could sit up against this wall and think clearly, without the excruciating pain of constant plasma waves burning his flesh. At least now he did not have to look at the menacing purple cruisers that floated in the sky, the very cause of Ren's pain—the Covenant.
Wait—no. Ren tilted his head back against the damp wall. How could he blame the Covenant for his blunders, his stupidity? It was his fault he lost Ariana. If he had held onto her she would not be dead right now. No—farther back than that. Ren had also been the reason they had landed in the hospital; it was his impulsive anger that had crashed the car. Farther back—Ren was the reason Ariana had been taken to her father's house in the first place; if he hadn't been so horny to sleep with Ariana, her mother would have never taken her out of the house and into danger.
So many horrible mistakes. Ren deserved to be shot for the pain he had caused to Ariana and her family. All he needed was a—
Ren snapped his head up the instant he heard the voice. The large steel door had opened, and there stood a man in the threshold.
"Thank you, Wallace."
A second man appeared and handed the first man what appeared to be a gun. Ren slammed his hands to the ground and tried to push himself up.
"Don't get up."
Ren looked up and saw the gun pointed at him. The dim light inhibited his vision, but he could clearly see a twisted expression on the man's face. Ren relaxed, and stayed on the ground.
"Now that you're finally awake, I have some questions for you."
Ren's breathing began to calm, and his heart rate started to slow as well. Maybe this little encounter would work to his advantage. "Shoot me."
"Sorry, kid—I play the games here, not you. Now—"
"Shoot me, damnit. Shoot me in the head."
The man with the gun trembled for a second, frozen and confused. Then he steadied his gun and stepped forward, closer to Ren. "I will shoot you wherever I feel like it. If I have a mind to blow your dick off, then that's what'll happen. You don't tell me where to shoot."
Ren snarled, and the man was apparently fed up with Ren's attitude. He jammed the gun into Ren's stomach, holding it there as it pierced Ren's skin and drew a stream of blood.
"Answer my questions and you might get lucky—I might kill you, if that's what you wish."
Ren wasn't going to take this. He grabbed the gun with both hands, pulled it from his stomach and stuck the point of the gun to his forehead, all in one quick motion so that the man had no time to respond.
"Pull the trigger."
The man was frozen for a second again, but even quicker than before he came to his senses and threw back the gun out of Ren's reach. Wasting no time he lifted his leg and kicked Ren in the face with his boot. Ren slammed sideways into the ground, feeling his jaw suddenly out of place.
"Boy, you really are delusional!"
And with that, the man opened fire. Ren felt bullets tear through his legs and feet, the pain feeling like it would never end. He could feel his flesh ripping apart as the rounds butchered his legs like meat cleavers. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, the gun stopped shooting. The pain continued to overwhelm Ren, and the pitter-patter of bullets on the ground echoed in the chamber.
Ren gasped in short breaths. He dug his face into the ground, brutally grinding his teeth.
"A true work of art, I'd say," Ren heard the man saying. "If you could see the bright red beauty of your former legs, I think you'd be impr—"
"Damnit!" a voice echoed somewhere outside the chamber. Ren heard footsteps behind him as a second man entered the room.
"Chief, let me explain, he was not cooperating—"
"I told you not to lay a bullet in him—" The voice paused for a second. "Get out of here."
Ren attempted to raise his head to look at what was going on, but his lack of energy prevented him. His head dropped back on the ground, and he listened to the men.
"You must understand—"
"I understand where you belong, Demitz. Now leave this chamber. Go get some lunch or something. I'll finish here."
Ren listened as the first man started to leave the room, his feet growing fainter as he walked down a nearby hallway. And then, suddenly, the man who was still in the chamber apparently fired a gun, and Ren heard a body drop in the hallway. He fidgeted for a second. He was beginning to realize what kind of place this was, and exactly how much control he even had over his own life anymore.
"Ren, turn over to face me."
Ren froze in astonishment. He knew this man—this man knew him?
"I apologize for your legs—we'll have them patched up and fixed, the same way we healed your plasma burns. But I am only going to continue this generosity if you cooperate. Now, Ren, turn and face me. And answer my questions."
Questions. Ren might as well get this over with. He would tell this man what he wanted to know, and Ren would get on with his life—or preferably end it.
Ren twisted his body in a gruesome manner, feeling bits of flesh peel off his legs and stick to the ground. He gasped sharply at the piercing pain of these wounds. After a cruel struggle with what was left of his legs, Ren opened his eyes to face the man.
And he gagged in shock. Howard Gaffer.
"Yes, Ren. It is me."
Grabbing the ground behind him and pulling himself backward, Ren ignored the pieces of his legs that tore off and stayed on the ground in front of him—his only thought was backing away from this maniac—the unstable psycho that had murdered Ariana's parents in cold blood.
"You probably believe I am insane."
Ren collapsed on his back, unable to move any further.
"But soon you will understand exactly what I am capable of, Ren. Soon you will know what I have established here on great Planet Luther."
Ren breathed heavily, trying to find strength to move. He had wanted to die a few minutes earlier—but dying by the hands of a nut job like Howard Gaffer was unacceptable. He would rather live without legs for the rest of his life than be killed by this lunatic.
"Fine—let your fear control you, for now. Soon you will be on my side. Soon. But right now I need to know a few things from you, Ren. I have questions."
Questions, questions, questions. Damn it. "What the hell do you want to know?" Ren croaked through a short breath.
"First of all, Ren—where—" The man looked around for a moment, tapping his finger on his chin. "Where is Ariana?"
Ren's anger exploded. "You want to kill her, too? Finish the job? Eat shit, Gaffer!"
Gaffer straightened himself and stepped away from Ren. "I was hoping you would cooperate. I suppose I was wrong."
Ren smiled. "Well you're gonna kill me, then, right? Do it. I'm not cooperating. So kill me."
And then, with a spring in his step, Gaffer stepped into the threshold of the chamber door. "I do not plan to kill you, Ren. If you do not answer my questions, I will not answer yours. You will die on the inside, confused by the recent events. And you will sit here in the darkness, pondering."
Ren stared at the man. There seemed to be a strange truth to his words.
"I know you have questions, Ren. Why has your body been able to withstand plasma that shattered buildings? How did you get here? Where are you? I know the answers, Ren."
Howard Gaffer paused to give Ren a chance to respond. The man was sick. He was toying with Ren. He knew that Ren's soul was deteriorating in confusion. He was grabbing Ren's weakness and shoving it in his face.
Gaffer took a step into the hallway, and prepared to shut the chamber door and leave Ren in the cold darkness once again. What a sick man.
"Wait," Ren said. "I have questions."