The last couple of days were a total fucking shitshow. More so than usual, believe me.
Things started out easy enough after we’d conscripted our new friend, Theodor.
While he was still under the effect of Sandra’s sedatives, I set out for a quick check on a few areas on my own.
The night, however, was quiet. I encountered more of the weird little puppets in an abandoned building, but that was about it. It was only a handful, and their efforts felt half-assed. Just thinking about it makes me shiver. It felt wrong, very wrong.
When I made it back, Sandra had already hit up headquarters and explained the situation to them.
In the end, headquarters made an exception, at least for now. Normally an ‘organism’ such as Theodor would be sent over for studying. Given our current situation, they allowed Sandra to use him as she saw fit.
Freaking headquarters. At that moment, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy.
Next day, we set out on our very first little hunt together. Sandra made one thing obvious right from the start. One wrong move, and the guy was in serious trouble. All he gave her for an answer was another one of his crazed grins, but I could see the slightest twitch in the corners of his mouth. It didn’t make me feel relieved, but I wasn’t as on edge as I’d been before.
Still, our new friend is pretty much fucking insane. Well, I knew that already, but…
On one hand, I’m happy he’s here because he’s a great help. On the other hand, he’s a total loose cannon. If not for Sandra, I’m sure he’d gone on a rampage a long time ago. Or, let’s say, sooner.
What makes things even worse is that the fucker just shrugged when I offered him a gun and protective armor.
“Nah, man, I’m good,” he’d said and gotten himself one of the combat knifes.
“I prefer to get my hands dirty,” he added with a little grin.
Isn’t that great? First a freaking mentalist, and now a psychopath. What a great fucking team I’ve got here.
The first couple of days went fine, at least when compared to what followed.
As I said, Theodor is fucking insane. If you thought I was reckless, you haven’t seen this guy. With Sandra around, I’d grown more careful, listened to her, and tried my best not to fuck things up as often. This guy? He was the complete opposite.
The moment he heard a creature was nearby, he barged right into its hiding place and tore the fucker apart. Seeing him take down a D-class organism is like watching a cat toy with a mouth.
Hell, on the third day, he went up against a C-class like it was nothing. Sure, I’d seen him at the park, but that was against a humanoid type. That day he was going head to head with a mutated beast type twice his size. I was sure the dude was finished when he took the thing’s charge head on. I heard bones break, saw him spit blood, but all he did was grin before he retaliate.
And the worst? He was laughing the entire time. The dude was having fun, not only fucking up that creature, but his own body as well.
“At least it makes me feel something,” he said once things were over, staring at his busted arm.
Sandra didn’t like it one bit. While Theodor was still checking his injury, Sandra twisted his arm upwards with her powers, making him feel more than just something.
“Sandra, what are you-?” I spoke up.
“He’s too reckless!” she screamed at me.
“And you,” he said, while giving Theodor’s arm another twist. “We brought you along so you could support us, not so you can go wild. With an injury like that, you’re useless to us!”
Well, what could I say, she was right. Third fucking day on the job, and he was pretty much out.
But you know what happened? After Sandra let him up, he twisted the bone back in place and bandaged it up without so much as saying a single word.
“Don’t sweat it, I’ll be good as new in no time.”
I just watched as the two of them stared at each other. Sandra furious and this crazy asshole thinking it was the most hilarious thing in the world.
The next day, though, I found his bloodied, stinking bandages discarded on the floor. When I asked him what was going on, he showed me his arm.
Apart from some scar tissue and a slight bruise, nothing was wrong with it.
You know what? Fuck this guy, really, fuck him. Why the hell did I even bother to go out there anymore with freaks like him around?
I didn’t get to sulk for long. Sandra’s alarm notified us of a new signature.
This one, however, like most we’d handled these past days, was transferred to us via headquarters, indicating that it was a humanoid type, most like C-class.
Ever since Theodor had joined our merry band, there’d been no hints of any puppets and no new emerging signatures.
“What about those puppets?” I asked Sandra while I studied the signature data. “Do you think they are just… gone?”
“Let’s hope so, but I don’t think it’s the case. I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Dylan, a very bad feeling.”
I nodded. Shit, I knew what she meant, and I didn’t like it one bit.
Getting ready had been annoying enough with Sandra waiting for me in the hallway. Now there were two freaks of nature out there, wondering why I bothered with guns, grenades and hell, freaking protective armor. God, this entire job had turned from annoying to total fucking bullshit.
As we set out, Sandra told us that today’s signature was located in my city’s very own little welfare town. It was the remnant of an old urban development project. It comprised nothing but old, run-down tower blocks and half-abandoned buildings, pretty much the neighborhood you’d avoid like the plague.
The moment we made our way past the first ramshackle buildings we noticed the stares. Disgruntled faces and mumbled curses told us that we weren’t welcome here. I also noticed that some guys were ogling Sandra a bit too much. I couldn’t help but feel tense, but Sandra was her usual self and didn’t give them any notice.
“Well what do you know, feels just like home,” Theodor joked next to me.
“Should’ve known you’ve been hanging around places like this.”
He shrugged. “Been there, done that, you know?”
“No, I don’t,” I grumbled.
Sandra pointed at one of the tower blocks ahead. It looked as if it could come crashing down any moment and I was sure it was abandoned. Yet, when I gave it a closer look, I could see curtains in some windows. Here and there people were leaning out their windows, staring at the general misery surrounding them.
“Freaking hell, people actually live in there?”
“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Theodor answered with a shrug, but for the first time his face was somber, sad even.
“Shit sucks,” I agreed after a few moments.
He gave me a curious look, but our brief conversation was cut short by Sandra.
“Let’s go,” she said and waved us toward the building’s entrance.
The door stood ajar, barely holding onto its hinges. The moment we entered, a few figures scrambled away, retreating to wherever they’d come from.
I was about to pull out my gun, but Sandra shook her head. Instead, she pointed upward.
“It’s up there, eight’s floor.”
With that, we made our way down the hallway. It was littered with trash and at least half the apartments were abandoned.
We finally reached an old elevator. The rusty doors and the general condition of the building made me opt against it.
“I’m not going to die in some freaking elevator accident,” I cursed and walked towards the stairs.
Sandra and Theodor reluctantly followed me.
We’d barely made it to the fourth floor when I came to regret my decision. Climbing eight flights of stairs is hell, especially when you’re wearing a suit of protective armor and carry multiple weapons and god knows what.
“Shit, hold on, these freaking stairs are killing me,” I cursed.
Theodor stopped and gave me a probing look.
“You know, a couple of weeks ago, I’d have been the same as you, even without all that shit you’re wearing. Right now, though, I don’t feel a damn thing. Could probably do this all day.”
“Yeah, well, thanks for that asshole.”
He grinned at me.
“Can’t believe I threw myself into this stoic shit for years, living out on the streets like Diogenes. Should’ve read Nietzsche since I feel like I’ve become the freaking Ubermensch.”
“The fuck are you talking about?”
“Philosophy,” Sandra chimed in from the flight above us.
“Diogenes,” Theodor explained, “lived in the streets like a dog, not owing a damn thing.”
As I heaved myself up, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Seems to fit you just right.”
For a second he glared at me before he shrugged.
Yeah, this guy was a dog, rabid one. He was already grinning and his hands were opening and closing in anticipation. He couldn’t wait to go in, couldn’t wait to kill.
The moment we reached the eights floor, Sandra pointed to an apartment to our right. It was the only closed door. The rest of the floor was barren.
“Let me handle the door,” Sandra whispered before she rang the bell. “You guys hide nearby.”
When the door opened, a fat guy in sweaty clothes pushed out his head.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Hey there,” Sandra said in a voice as sweet as honey. “A friend of mine told me that things up here can be… interesting.”
For a moment a puzzled look showed on the guy’s face before his eyes wandered over Sandra’s body. They turned hungry instantly as they went to her chest and then lower. It took him long moments before he looked into her eyes again.
“Well, sweetheart, why don’t you come inside then?”
Angry yelling originated from inside when he held open the door for Sandra and let her step in. The moment the rest saw her, they were quiet.
The fat guy was about to close the door again when I pushed my foot in.
“Who the fuck are you?” he cursed.
Theodor ripped the door open, prompting a pained curse from the guy.
“Hey, you dumb bitch, you lied to me!” he screamed after Sandra.
The moment we entered, I saw a group of four other guys inside. They were all sitting on propped up camping chairs around a table covered in bottles of cheap liquor. All of them jumped to their feet, screaming at us, all except one. He eyed us curiously, watching the situation unfold.
“All right, gentlemen,” I started. “There’s some safety issue with the building. Unfortunately you’ll have to leave so we can-“
“Shut the fuck up you piece of shit!” one of them screamed at me.
“Get the fuck out before I kill you, asshole,” another one added.
I sighed, my hand closed around the gun in my pocket. If they wouldn’t listen, I’d have to make them.
Sandra’s was focusing on the scanner again, but I saw Theodor stepping towards a door behind the group.
“Hey what do you think you’re-“ one of them screamed at him and tried to punch him.
Theodor easily caught his fist and pushed the guy back. Then he kicked open the cracked door.
I saw the body instantly. A young woman was lying on a dirty old mattress. Her body was beaten, bloody and unmoving.
“Shit,” I cursed, but the situation had already escalated.
The fat guy next to me tried to jump me, but he went down with a single punch.
The rest of the group had stormed towards Theodor. He wasn’t grinning anymore. His face was hard, angry and disgusted. I heard him whisper the words ‘fucking scum’.
These three assholes must’ve thought they’d be able to overwhelm him, but they didn’t know what they were in for. Before I could even react, Theodor swatted one of them aside and knocked out the second one. He then got a hold of the third one. I heard bones break as he grabbed the man’s wrist.
“Dylan, it’s,” Sandra started, but she didn’t have to tell me who the creature was.
Guy number four was still sitting on the couch, still not saying a word and watching the surrounding chaos unfold with a disinterested look on his face.
I pulled out the gun, pointed. But right at that moment, Theodor threw his remaining attacker aside. The man’s unconscious body crashed into me, and my shot trailed off, missing the target.
“Fucking hell,” I cursed as I steadied myself again.
These few seconds, though, were enough for the creature.
Sweatpants and clothes tore as muscles pushed and additional appendages burst from its body.
I lit the fucker up, blood sprouted, but the bullets didn’t seem to have much of an effect. A second later they were pushed from the writhing, seething mess of the creature’s muscles.
Shit, this fucker was tough, and it was pretty damn huge.
I saw Theodor, combat knife in hand, but before he could land an attack, the creature pushed him aside effortlessly, throwing him across the room.
I pointed the gun again, pulled the trigger, but in that moment the creature focused on me. Appendages shot forward. The gun was batted aside and one of its clawed hands scratched over my protective armor, leaving behind a huge gush.
God dammit! I jumped back, tried to bring as much distance between me and the fucker, but I knew I’d be too slow. I prepared myself for things to get ugly when the air around me crackled.
A wave of Sandra’s invisible powers shot forward, crashed against the creature’s giant body, but could barely stop it.
There was a loud screech, its eyes focused on Sandra before it retreated to a room to our right. By now, Theodor was up again, and chased after it.
“Dammit, don’t be reckless, that thing’s dangerous!” Sandra called after him.
Shit! Where was the fucking gun? My eyes darted around the room before I found it, picked it back up and hurried after Theodor.
I could already hear the sounds of fighting, of laughter.
When I entered the room I’d expected to find a mess of blood and gore, that Theodor had torn apart the creature already. Today, however, was different.
This time it was Theodor who’d backed away. One of his legs was bleeding and his face was covered in blood from a cut on his forehead. He was still grinning, but his eyes were different. This was serious, they told me.
The creature, though, had been wounded too. Two of its appendages had been torn from his body, but I could already see it healing, could see new ones pushing from its body.
Shit, what the fuck was this thing? This was no mere C-class!
The moment it saw me enter the room, it let out a thundering roar. My ears popped, blood gushed from my nose and I staggered. I tried to point the gun, tried to shoot, but my head was spinning.
The creature rushed forward again, not at Theodor, and neither at me.
I was batted aside as its enormous body crashed into me before it threw itself at Sandra. There was an angry, high-pitched scream as another wave of Sandra’s powers crashed into the thing. Yet, it wasn’t pushed back, was merely stopped. Its body tensed up, muscles twitched and contorted before it pushed onward.
Sandra’s face was covered in sweat. I saw her eyes growing wide, heard her screaming as she threw another assault against the creature, but it wasn’t enough.
And then it happened. The creature pushed through her assault with sheer force alone. Claws shot forward, and I saw them tear through the fabric of Sandra’s cloth. Blood sprouted from the cut and I heard her scream up in pain. She staggered backward, fell to her knees, her hands on the wound she’d received.
I cursed, but my head was clear again. While the creature was still focused on Sandra, I saw my chance. I rushed forward, pushed the gun right against its body and unloaded on it. Flesh evaporated, blood gushed out, but even that wasn’t enough to finish the fucker off.
It screeched in pain, and a moment later I was thrown across the room. I crashed against a wall, felt the air being pushed from my lungs and bones break. On the floor, I could already see the fucker’s flesh rending, healing.
Just as the thing was about to finish Sandra off, I saw Theodor. For once he hadn’t been reckless, for once he’d waited and snuck up on the beast.
He plunged the combat knife deep into its back and tore. Blood gushed from the body and the creature screeched up in pain.
Before it could retaliate, however, Theodor’s punch landed. The thing’s head was thrown backward, I saw Theodor’s hands close around the lower jaw.
I heard bones snapping and flesh tearing as Theodor tore it off.
For a moment the creature backed off, too surprised by his attack, but then it was about to retaliate. It took a single step before it seemed unable to move.
I saw Sandra holding up a shaking arm, saw the sweat on her face, saw the blood sprouting from her wound. After only a few seconds, her arm sank down again.
This last ditch effort had been enough, though. Theodor was upon it in an instant, and with all the strength he could muster, he tore the creature’s head from its body.
For a moment he jumped back, as the body went wild, flailing and trashing.
It’s not over, I thought, shit, it’s still not over. I already saw it sprouting a new head, saw it attacking again, but then the body crashed to the floor and lay still.
Once it was over, I thought there’d be solitude, but Theodor started laughing, cursing at the thing, and began tearing at its body in a frenzy.
Instead of watching, though, I hurried over to Sandra.
“Hey, Sandra, you all right?”
She nodded. “It’s not a deep cut. I was able to avoid a serious injury, but it was close.”
As I stared at Sandra’s bloody body, as I felt the throbbing in my own, I wondered what the hell we’d encountered here.
“This was no C-class!”
“No,” Sandra said, shaking her head. “The data must’ve been wrong or dampened. This thing was definitely B-class.”
By now Theodor had stopped and stood there panting. The cut on his forehead was still bleeding, and so was the gush on his leg.
“Hey, Theodor, you all right?”
No answer. Instead, he walked over to one of the guy’s he’d knocked out before. I opened my mouth to say something, but before I could, he crashed the guy’s body against the wall. Blood gushed from the guy’s nose and mouth, bones snapped and his body fell to the floor, a mangled mess.
The second guy followed soon after. A single hit to his chest and his body lay still forever.
“What the fuck are you-?”
“None of them deserve to fucking live!” he screamed at me as he went to the third one who was desperately trying to crawl away from him.
“That girl over there? You see her, right? What do you think they did to her? Fucking look at her!”
With that, he crushed the neck of the third guy. He was already making his way over to the fat guy I’d knocked out when I heard Sandra scream.
Theodor crashed to the floor hard, I heard him curse and his eyes focused on Sandra.
“I told you,” she pressed out. “Behavior such as this will not be tolerated. I warned you, I warned you that if do anything out of our jurisdiction, there’d be consequences.”
I saw her twist her hand, saw her arm shaking while Theodor cringed in pain.
“Sandra,” I started and put my hand on her shoulder, but she didn’t react.
“Hey, Sandra, stop it,” but she didn’t respond, her eyes resting on Theodor.
“Sandra, fucking stop! You said it yourself! We need him!”
Finally, Theodor slumped down to the floor, unconscious. Her head darted around, staring at me with angry eyes.
“Dammit, Dylan, we can’t just go around and… dammit!”
Her eyes wandered to the dead girl in the room.
I stood there, staring at Theodor, staring at Sandra and then at the fat guy I’d knocked out before. He was awake now, but still on the floor. He looked at me and when my eyes met his, he inhaled sharply.
For a moment I looked over at the girl’s body once more.
Fuck monsters, I thought, as I brought my foot down on his neck hard.
Fuck monsters and fuck morality.