Chapter 4: Abyss.   Posted by BookNook.Group: 0
BookNook
 GM, 11 posts
 Tarzan of the Apes.
 Hottie!
Tue 16 Jun 2015
at 21:12
Chapter 4: Abyss
                   “The only way to escape the abyss is to look at it,
                                               gauge it,
                               sound it out and descend into it.”
-Cesare Pavese
William Blake
 player, 168 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 18 Jun 2015
at 20:28
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Dr. Horrible sat in his office, a warmly appointed room full of books and medical journals, filling out paperwork. One of the rare windows in the facility supplied him with a view of a desert landscape occasionally blessed with breathtaking sunsets.
There was no sound aside from the soft scritch scritch of his pencil, the occasional beep from machinery.

Now and then he would glance up at the two monitors he had had moved to his office, sitting just to the side of his richly polished teakwood desk. One displayed two side by side pictures that almost appeared static due to the lack of movement within; the feeds from the rooms of S. Black and W. Blake. They both sat on their beds, asleep or thinking or whatever. The other monitor held the vitals information transmitted by the microchips the staff had installed in both subjects when they had been first admitted. Well, he thought, technically just Susan had them installed when she arrived. William had been here long enough that he had been admitted before the procedure was in place, and had been fitted with the chips only a few years ago.

Dr. Horrible smiled fondly at the images. William's dopamine levels were higher than they had been for years. Susan's oxytosin levels were actually beginning to register. Cortisol was still running alarmingly rampant in William, but that had been normal for about four years now. Susan was swimming in serotonin, but that was slowly decreasing in a most satisfactory manner. Their heart rates, oddly, had become synchronized. A few of the female orderlies had sighed at that, calling it 'romantic'.

"That's it," the doctor urged. "Even each other out. Become mentally healthy again, William. Let yourself trust him, Susan. Believe that you can make it." he chuckled as he bent back over his papers, the last requisition orders for the next stage of tests. "Build them up, tear them down," the evil doctor hummed in almost a sing song voice as he worked.
"Build them up, tear them down!"

This message was last edited by the player at 20:29, Thu 18 June 2015.

Susan Black
 Player, 158 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 7 Aug 2015
at 12:06
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan lay on her back, hands behind her head and her eyes on the ceiling above her bed. Her eyebrows were puckered slightly, and a small smile came to her lips as William entered her thoughts. She quickly wiped the smile away, a glare turning to the camera up in the corner before she settled her expression in her usual angry resting face. Why give them anything they could work with? They already had their lives. She was just going to make it as difficult as possible for them to get any conclusive data.

   The door to her room clunked heavily as it unlocked and she sat up in her bed, swinging her feet down to the cool floor. Three orderlies and two nurses came into the room, rolling a cart of computer equipment between them all and closing the door behind them. Susan sat with her back as straight as a rod, guarded and poised for a fight.
   Despite her kicks, punches and struggles, she was strapped to her bed in quick order. She gritted her teeth and stayed unusually quiet as the nurses rolled the cart up next to her bed, a strange dread deep in her stomach. A keyboard, monitor, and sleek headset were what she saw before the sting of a needle in her arm turned her attention away. A clear liquid was injected and the spot swabbed.

   She felt the effects almost immediately. The edges of her vision blurred, and she felt as if she were pitching on a boat. She groaned and closed her eyes, hoping that the feeling would diminish if she couldn't see the room rock. It didn't help. Susan thought she could feel hands on her head, lifting, turning, then something snug around her brow.
   "What's going on..?" was that her voice? She slowly opened her eyes, and closed them again tightly. The rocking motion slowly abated, and when she was finally able to open her eyes, she was staring at her ceiling.

   Susan blinked and sat up, putting a hand to her head. There was nothing there. Frowning, she got up from the bed and walked to her door. Locked. Turning around, she paced back to the bed to stop by the side, hands propped on her lower back. What had happened? Did she blank out during the experiment? She certainly had a headache. It could be a side effect from that drug.
   The lock on her door turned, and it opened as Susan glanced over her shoulder to see what it was. William stood in the doorway, and for a moment, a smile came to her face. Then he suddenly pitched forward and hit the ground, a gurgle of blood coming from his mouth. "William!" Susan screamed, lurching forward and dropping to her knees beside him. She turned him over and froze, shocked at the amount of blood covering his chest. It was all over her hands. Gasping, she took his face in her hands. He was pale, his breathing shallow. "Look at me." she demanded in a low voice.
   William's clouded eyes turned toward her, but didn't focus. He whispered something past the blood, something she couldn't hear and he stopped breathing.
   Susan screamed his name and shook him trying to wake him up.

   Susan woke up to her own scream. The room was dark, and she was covered in a cold sweat. She sat up, breathing heavily and putting her head on her knees. A nightmare. A nightmare. Taking in a deep, shaky breath, Susan flopped back onto the bed, her hands covering her eyes. It was a while before she could get back to sleep.

  Checking the monitor and headset sync pattern, one of the nurses stepped back as S. Black screamed again, struggling against the bonds that held her down. The top half of her face was concealed beneath the virtual projector, the effects enhanced a hundred fold by the hallucination drug modified to simulate the dream state sense of reality. The visual on the computer screen was split. Half covered in direction code, and the other a picture of what S. Black was seeing. It was just as the Dr. hoped it would be.

   Opening her eyes, Susan looked blearily up at the ceiling. What day was it? Why did she bother asking? She sat up and tried to move her legs to stand up, but her legs wouldn't move. A spike of panic struck hard and fast through her chest. She couldn't move her legs, they wouldn't respond. What kind of test was this supposed to be?
   Her door opened, it wasn't locked, and two orderlies dragged a third person in between them. When the door closed, the person raised his head, blood in his hair. William.
   He gave her a half smile, only to have it transformed into a grimace as an orderly fist sunk into his gut. He grunted and Susan shouted, "Stop! Stop it!" She tried to jump from the bed, to attack, to help, and tumbled from the bed in a heap. She pushed herself up on her side, legs laying useless. More hollow thumps and grunts as William took the beating. A fist connected with his jaw and blood spattered the white floor. Cursing, Susan dragged herself forward and grabbed the leg of an orderly, pulling on him until she was close enough to bite. She drew blood before she was kicked aside. She felt more than useless to help.
   William lay on the floor, his face swollen and bruised. Susan looked back at him, angry tears flooding her eyes. He opened his mouth and said something, but the words were lost past his mangled lips. With a savage kick, William's neck snapped and he stared at her with dead eyes at an impossible angle.
   A wrenching scream tore from her throat.

   Susan strained against the straps, her scream tearing painfully through the air. Notes were written quickly on a clipboard, "One more."

   Susan lay on her bed, her hands pressed over her eyes as the visions of William covered in blood and dying flooded her vision. It seemed so real, the sounds and the smell of blood. She gritted her teeth and rolled out of bed as her door clicked and was swung open. She looked to the doorway, afraid of what she might see. William was shoved into the room and the door slammed shut and locked.
   Jumping to her feet, she crossed the room and examined him, "Are you alright? Have they done anything to you?" she asked quickly, ignoring the slightly bewildered look on his face. "What have they done to you?" she pressed, turning to take his face in her hands.
   He smiled at her and pulled her to him in a tight embrace. He whispered something in her ear but she couldn't catch it. It had been too faint.
   "What?" she asked, taking a step back to look at him. Her heel caught on something and she fell back, grabbing at William's arm to catch herself. They both fell. Susan hit her head on the floor, making her ears ring and her head spin.
   As her vision swam, she saw William beside her, unmoving with blood in his hair. She felt like she was falling and her sight faded to black. She coughed and reached out to feel for him, her hand touching nothing but air.

   ...She heard the door close and lock.. Did they take him away?

   She opened her eyes with a gasp, her eyes focusing on the ceiling with sharp clarity. She sat up bolt right, to find herself alone. Drawing her legs up, she tangled her fingers through her hair and a sob racked her body as the images of a bloody William refused to leave her mind.
William Blake
 player, 169 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 7 Aug 2015
at 17:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sat up in bed, his back against the wall, staring straight ahead, blinking as little as possible. He was trying to keep his mind blank. He wanted to curl up, close his eyes, and think about Susan, but he was afraid to.

Hope quivered in his heart like a single thread of spider silk disturbed by a breeze. It shone in the sun, the unexpected light that Susan had brought into his life. Had it always been there, and the light had just now revealed it? Or was it there because of her as well?

William caught himself and forced his mind back to blank whiteness. But then his door unlocked, causing a quickly controlled spike of terror in him. He closed his eyes, not struggling as he was strapped quickly to the bed. He heard wheels squeaking against the linoleum, and opened his eyes to see them rolling some kind of computer and electronic gizmos into his room.

Then he heard the familiar tink tink of an orderly flicking their finger against the vial of a hypodermic needle. Suppressing dread, William decided to take a stab at his old tactics. He forced a wobbly grin as the orderly with the needle came up to his side.
"Oh no, I can't possibly buy any of that. Just say no, my mama says."

She only looked at him for a moment, then stuck his arm.
The effects came on surprisingly quickly and William groaned. It felt like a hallucinogen. They hadn't tried this crap on him for years now, ever since he had convinced them his mind was broken. Well, that's what came of revealing himself with Susan. He had told himself to expect it but it was still the worst.

The room spun gently, and his vision smeared. He saw the orderlies distorted white-gloved hands near his face and felt them messing with his head. His vision went dark for a moment, then suddenly winked back.

The orderlies were gone, as was the computer. He must have blacked out. Not that unusual. What was unusual was that Susan was standing in his room. The wide leather belt was around her waist, shackles on her wrists and ankles attached to it with thick chains. He tried to get up, to go to her, but he was still strapped down. She was angry, and afraid, but smiled at him. He smiled back just as his door opened again. He hadn't heard the key in the lock. An orderly with a surgical mask on entered, holding one of the silvery telescopic shock rods the bouncers carried with them. He put his hand on Susan's shoulder and forced her to kneel next to Williams bed.

She whispered something to him, but he didn't catch it. He raised an eyebrow at her, but she only smiled.

"Tell S. Black that you love her," the orderly demanded. William looked up at him in shock.
"What..?"
The orderly gave her a light tap on her arm, enough to make her wince.
"Tell her you love her."
William's mouth opened before he could think. "I love you, Susan."
She started to smile at him. God, he loved her smile. Then the orderly whipped the shock rod across her shoulders, and the smile blanched into a grimace as her muscles stiffened with the electrical shock. The shock rod came away bloody.
"Tell her you love her."
William couldn't seem to stop himself. "I love you."
Another savage whip across her back. She spasmed. William's hand was inches from hers... if he could only reach...

His mouth kept moving. "I love you." Crack! "I love you." Crack! "I love you!" Crack!
Then she started screaming, and the orderly couldn't hear his protestations of love over her, but he kept whipping at her with the shock rod. Blood flew and William sobbed, unable to even shout at him to stop. Soon, he beat at an unmoving corpse, slumped forward on the bed and staring at him with empty eyes. And still, William repeated, "I love you."

A few of the orderlies watching his hallucination looked at each other and smiled, cheeks flushed, eyes bright. This was good material.

William woke with a jolt, face wet with tears. He wasn't strapped down. His room wasn't streaked with Susan's blood. Just a dream.
Used to dealing with such nightmares, William tried to calm himself. He hadn't had one that bad in some time. Then he heard a clink of metal on metal, and looked up. Susan sat at a table next to his bed, strapped into a straitjacket, looking at him with a small smile on her face. He sat up quickly, wiping his face as he got to his feet.

"Oh Susan! I just had an awful dream. I'm glad you're here." She didn't respond. Her face didn't even change. "Susan?"
He walked around the table to her. She kept staring straight ahead. "Susan? He gently put his hand on her cheek and turned her face to him. Something was wrong. Her eyes were glassy and unfocused. Her expression was too smooth. Her skin was pale, her breathing slow and shallow. He called her name louder and louder, shook her, even slapped her a few times. She never reacted. Finally he knelt next to her chair and kissed her passionately. When he pulled back, her face was just the same, and a little drip of drool leaked down her chin from her slightly open mouth.

He had seen this happen before. When a patient reached this state, broken beyond repair, they were no longer useful to the hospital, and were... William burst into tears. He picked her up out of the chair and carried her to the bed, settling down with her cradled in his lap like a child.
"Susan, please wake up. Please Susan. Wake up." he moaned to her as he stroked her face, her hair, her hands. She didn't react. Susan was gone.

William opened his eyes, sitting in the same position, his back against the wall and his chin on his chest. Susan's body and the table were gone.
He didn't move. He felt.. broken. Yes, he was broken. Let them take him away to the fires, like they must have taken Susan. Let them kill him, finally. Let him go to be with her...
But then she appeared in front of his eyes. She smiled and spoke, but he could not hear her. He could not move. He was broken. She frowned and stroked at his face, just as he had hers. She shook him. She called out to him.
Despair welled up in him as it grew in her face. She kissed him. He tried, tried so hard to move. Why couldn't he move? She put her head down on the bed beside him and started to cry. He ached to put his arms around her, tell he was fine, but he couldn't. He wasn't. It hurt so much to watch her cry for him. He closed his eyes...

... and woke up lying on his bed, alone. He sighed and rubbed at his arm. That hallucinogen was the worst he had ever experienced... it had all seemed so real. He was terrified for Susan. Had any of that really happened? Was it just a peek at what was to come?
Practiced as William was at controlling his emotions and his body while in pain, he could not stop the slow, steady leak of tears that left hot trails on his cheeks.
Susan Black
 Player, 159 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 26 Aug 2015
at 10:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan sat on the edge of her bed, waiting. Waiting for something to happen with her back straight and her hands on her knees. She waited for hours. Finally, her door clicked and then swung open. She raised her eyes to look at the two masked orderlies that entered. One had a wide leather belt with chains in his hand. Susan waited quietly as they approached, and once they were close, she dove from the bed beneath their arms and hit the ground running.
   She was out the door in a second, the orderlies on her heels the next. "William!" she screamed, shoving from the wall and dodging them for another moment. She knew she would not get far, but she could not stop.
   As an orderly dove and wrapped his arms around her legs, she let out another scream of rage on her way down. She grunted, the orderly jerking her back by the ankles and pinning her down with a hand on her head, pressing her cheek to the cold floor. She screamed curses and yelled William's name. The belt was secured around her waist, her wrists and ankles forced into the shackles. She was lifted bodily and set roughly on her feet, to be guided by their hands on her shoulders down the hallway, around corners and down stairs to another door. It was unlocked by an orderly and she was pushed in ahead of them. The first thing she saw was William, and she hesitated as memories of his bloody body flashed before her eyes and fear gripped her. Fear that she would see it again.
William Blake
 player, 171 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 11 Sep 2015
at 19:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William was standing with his back to her in the small cell, head tilted slightly as he seemed to consider the scratched and filthy cinderblock wall before him. He turned when she entered. He looked fine. Normal. Well, as good as anyone could look while in this horrible place. His hands were shackled to his belt. There was a single female nurse standing close to him, chatting away. He didn't seem to be listening as his eyes found hers.

"... so real, so edifying! Ah, here she is. Because of our latest tests on you two, we have decided to pair you, temporarily, and observe. So enjoy yourselves, behave normally, and have fun, alright?" She nodded to the two big orderlies. One walked to William and removed his restrains. He remained motionless and silent. Then he walked back and clamped a meaty hand on the back of Susan's neck while his partner warily unlocked her chains. The instant she was free, before she had time to try anything, she was shoved away from them, hard, right into Williams arms. He grunted as he caught her.

The nurse and orderlies slipped out and locked the door behind them. William flinched at the sound, and then looked down. His deep-set brown eyes flicked back and forth, taking in her face. Drinking in the sight of her, unharmed.
Susan Black
 Player, 160 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 28 Oct 2015
at 23:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan looked back up at him, afraid to breath or move, as if it would trigger the nightmares she weren't sure were real or not. She could feel his heart beating, and see his eyes studying hers. Knowing that a wild look must be in her own eyes, she tried to make her voice steady as she said, "Say something to me."
   What if she couldn't hear him again? Terror still clenched in her chest as she clung to William tightly, pleading silently
William Blake
 player, 172 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 3 Nov 2015
at 22:41
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
A slight smile turned up the corners of his mouth. "I love you," he said, wincing a little inside at the memory of that last experiment. He squeezed a little tighter as he said it. But his attention was caught again by the wall, and he frowned thoughtfully at it, appearing troubled. After a moment he turned back to her and his smile returned. "So... we've been... 'paired.'"
Susan Black
 Player, 161 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 5 Nov 2015
at 00:44
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan felt a wave of relief rush through her when William spoke and held her tight. Smiling, she whispered, "I love you too." before she watched his expression turn thoughtful, and at his next words, her eyebrows raised up, "'Paired'?" she asked, venturing slowly, "What does that mean?"
William Blake
 player, 173 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Nov 2015
at 18:35
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William blinked down at her, and color bloomed high in his cheeks, turning the tips of his ears pink. He looked back at the wall, obviously dodging the question. "You know, I recognize this room." He stepped away from her, closer to the wall, squinting. "Yeah..." He leaned back, looking stricken. "I spent my first year here, in this room."
The walls, dull, whitewashed cinder block, were filthy. The grime had previously masked the fact that, carved over almost every inch, were words. Large and small, always grouped together in three or four lines, sometimes longer. The edges were rounded and some words were faded with age; ground down by time.
The only other thing in the cell was a dented and bent metal toilet in the corner.
Susan Black
 Player, 162 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 9 Dec 2015
at 23:47
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan watched him move, and her eyebrows shot up as understanding dawned on her. Her own face flushed and she took a few wandering steps back, toward one of the walls to inspect it closer. She opened her mouth to speak, and cleared her throat first to clear it, before asking, "Why did you write all of this?"
William Blake
 player, 174 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 10 Dec 2015
at 18:24
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"To stay sane," William answered quietly. He stepped up to a particular section. Most of the words were faded away, but seeing just the few that remained sparked memory in William's mind. He spoke softly, reciting without thinking words that had not been in his mind for years. The words had a cadence like poetry, or song lyrics spoken.

"'I have my mother's dreams. I have my father's eyes. You can't take that from me. Just go ahead and try.'" his fingers moved down the wall to a more deeply carved line. "'Help is on the way. Help is on the way. We were told just to sit tight, 'cause somebody will soon arrive. Help is on the way.'" His eyes closed as he tilted his head back, pain in the lines of his face as he spoke the finishing words of the song that he had not carved on the wall. "'But it never came. It never came.'"
He took a step to the side, his fingers brushing the next section.

"'We are the long forgotten sons, and daughters that don't belong to anyone. We are alone under this sun. We work to fix the work that you've undone. When cries for help go unanswered, when signal fires just burn and burn. We wonder if we're waiting here for nothing.'" His voice started to break with emotion as he spoke. "'Cause our lips are sewn, our ears are filled, with the constant drone of the unfulfilled, but we'll never fall, if we stand for something.'"

He sank to his knees, and read one of the last lines in the section. It had been deeply carved as well.
"'There's hope in the footsteps of resistance.'"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:26, Thu 10 Dec 2015.

Susan Black
 Player, 163 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 3 Feb 2016
at 23:21
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan reached him in two long strides and dropped to her knees behind him, wrapping her arms around him tightly and pressing her cheek against his back, "There is, Will." she gave him a long squeeze, voice tight with emotion and her eyes closed, "We may not have been able to get far on our own, but we're together now, and we can do this together." she finished off at a whisper, all her hope coming out in her voice.
William Blake
 player, 175 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 5 Feb 2016
at 00:33
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sighed as he shuffled around, turning to face her in a crouch. He then let himself fall back against the wall, pulling Susan into a comfortable embrace. They sat there for a long time, taking solace in the closeness and warmth of the other.
Remembering something, William glanced over towards the door, towards the last words he had carved in this room before they moved him to a constantly monitored cell. They were deep, and he had darkened them with blood. The dark stains remained. His eyes flicked down, and he felt something akin to shame.
But no. He had no reason to live before Susan came along. He smiled as he remembered the first time he had seen her, bursting into his cell during her escape attempt. Then he remembered the first time he had tried committing suicide, almost hanging himself in the Quiet Chair. He shivered, looking up at the words again and swallowing hard.

Will you kill what's left of me

I'm ready to die

William Blake
 player, 176 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 7 Apr 2016
at 01:08
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
His eyes shuddered away from the words, and he cast about for something else, anything else to occupy his mind. "Susan," he found himself saying. "Tell me about you. How did you grow up? How did you get stuck here? Does someone out there cry for you?"
Susan Black
 Player, 164 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 10 May 2016
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan stiffened and sat back, a pained tightness in her eyes, "I... No. No one cares about me out there." she sighed angrily and shook her head. Turning, she sat back against the wall next to William with her legs up, and laid her arms across her knees, "My mom died when I was little. Maybe six or seven. She didn't know who my dad was. I got put in an institute for troubled kids in Montana. I stayed there for years. Wreaking havoc. Before, well, guess there's no point lying about this." she took a deep breath before charging ahead with quick words, "I became a con artist. Part of a group of criminals really. No family, no place to stay. We traveled around the mid-west, doing jobs for cash and stealing a lot."

   Shaking her head, Susan smiled ruefully and ran her fingers through her hair, "Mark was our 'leader'. He was the oldest. I had been with the group for about a year, after running from the institute. Occasionally, while on a job, one of our members would 'wreck the gob' or 'run away', according to Mark. I was so stupid. I can't believe I didn't see a pattern until it was right in front of me. I saw him knock out and sell a girl from our group to someone. I didn't get back to everyone in time before Mark got me and threatened me. Then, the bastard brought me here and sold me." she leaned back and thunked her head against the wall, "I look back and think of all the things I could've done. Ran away despite being watched by Mark, just shouted to everyone about his lies... I don't know. But not standing up is what got me here, and I was done with it."

  "Now, I want to get out of here, find him and..."
Susan trailed off, knitting her eyebrows at the ceiling, "Get those other kids away from him." she glanced over to William, looking somewhat tired.
William Blake
 player, 177 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 10 May 2016
at 23:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
He listened to her story with an expression of wonder. "Wow. A con artist?" He laughed delightedly. "That's so cool!" He sobered a little when he thought about how she had been betrayed. "Wow. Mark sounds like a read dirt bag." He sighed, reaching up to rub at his nose. "That's a good goal for if we escape. Mine is to find my parents and show them I'm not dead. But first... we've gotta get out of here. Some... somehow."
Susan Black
 Player, 165 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 12 May 2016
at 02:30
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   "But what about you?" Susan asked, turning her head to look at him with curiosity, "What about your life before you came here? How did you end up in this place?"
William Blake
 player, 178 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 16 May 2016
at 22:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William blinked at her, and then his eyes became glazed as he looked back into the haze of his memory. His brow twitched in a slight frown, creasing the skin between his eyebrows.
"When I was a kid I was diagnosed with acute ADHD," he began. "Man, my parents could barely handle me. Even the lithium barely calmed me down. My parents had decided that was the best they could do though, and tried to homeschool me. Public school wasn't an option from the first, that's how bad it was. They were good teachers," he said, smiling a little, "Letting my attention bounce to whatever topic, but they always tried to enforce the basics. Anyway, as I got older, I became aware that there was something wrong with me. Other kids could focus and hold still for a lot longer than I could.

"I wanted to be a writer, like my dad. I really liked his stories that he read to me. I wanted to make things like that too, but I couldn't focus long enough to get anything done. My dad could sit in one place for hours and hours, just typing away. I couldn't. My brain just... couldn't take it. I started bothering my parents about more treatment options. Wasn't there anything that could be done for me?"
He chuckled, eyes soft with affection. "They told me that I was fine, that I could learn to live with it. But I didn't want to, I hated it. I was intellectually aware of how limited my own mind was, how I was physically unable to sit down and do something that I really wanted to do. I didn't believe I was strong enought to overcome it on my own. I insisted."

The skin around his eyes tightened, and he sighed bitterly. "They found this place. They were advertising an experimental new treatment for ADHD." He met Susan's gaze. "I checked in voluntarily for a five week program. I said goodbye to my parents. My mother hugged and kissed me. My father told me he'd see me on the flip side. I waved, and walked through those doors of my own free will." His head lowered, eyes welling up at the memory. "They had told my parents that they would not be allowed to see me until the treatment was over. That it would interfere. The horror began immediately for me. I was 'cured' of my ADHD in the first two weeks... the threat of the worst pain I had ever known was enough to keep me focused and still, no matter how badly I wanted to move. But then... they didn't let me go. They decided to keep me, for whatever reason.

"I remember being sedated to be moved to this secret underground part of the place. I overheard an orderly telling a secretary to fill out a death certificate, and to be sure to include the forms that negated any liability of the facility in my death. I started to panic, I thought they were poisoning me. But then I woke up in this room. This very room, four years ago. I worked out what had happened; they had told my parents that I had died."
A cynical smile twisted his mouth. "They tried to convince me for a while that my parents had abandoned me and didn't love me anymore, but I knew. Dr. Horrible was super pissed about that." The smile faded, replaced again by sorrow. "It's not much, but one thing that kept me going for years was that knowledge. They still loved me. And I knew they must be crying for me. In a way... that was almost worse than what they wanted me to believe."
Susan Black
 Player, 166 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 3 Sep 2016
at 16:12
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan listened with a quiet expression that hardened as his story came to a close, "How dare they!?" she railed, jumping to her feet, "Break apart a family without a second thought! Destroy lives! Not only ours but the ones we know." she raked her hands through her hair, as if unable to find an outlet for the rage she felt, "Playing God and being the Devil, with peoples' lives. No one has the right to do that."
   She began pacing back and forth, her eyes hard and her mouth set in an angry line. She was sick of this, she had to think of something they hadn't tried yet. Something that would work.
   An idea struck her and she stopped pacing, her head raised. But, she didn't want to let the Doctor know that she might have a plan, so she sighed and slumped down next to William and the wall, "But I don't know what to do." she made brief but intense eye contact with him and absently began pointing to letters on the wall, as if she were going over what he had traced in so long ago. 'S' 'H' 'O' 'W' 'E' 'R' 'S' she paused and glanced at him before continuing, 'D' 'R' 'A' I' 'N' 'S'.
William Blake
 player, 179 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 3 Sep 2016
at 19:50
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William watched her pace with a small, affectionate smile. Telling that story had drained him; while he wanted to jump up and rant as well-- he had very strong feelings on the subject-- he decided that the wall was more comfortable.
When she sat beside him again and fixed him with a piercing glare, a shock of goosebumps and tingles went through his body. He felt like his ears should be ringing, it was so intense. It burned away his weariness, and he watched attentively as she spelled. When she was finished he looked at her and shrugged a little, face uncertain.
"I don't know either," he agreed softly. He made a circle with his hands, his fingers overlapping about an inch. The drains in the showers were about that size, he thought. Often, he wasn't even awake when they washed him, but when he was he had stared down at the drains while being forced to wash in full view of everyone else. He showed Susan, raising an eyebrow.
Susan Black
 Player, 167 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 22 May 2019
at 04:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Clenching her hand into a fist, Susan pressed her lips together in agitation. "Think, think... think.." Her thoughts jumped from one idea to the next, catching and dismissing in quick succession. Underground facility, desert, surveillance, no help from the outside. Sighing, she pressed a palm to her forehead and muttered, "Do you think any of the people that work here, have any kind of conscience? Anyone that would help us?" she raised her chin, and lifted her finger to touch letters on the wall again, 'E' 'L' 'E' 'V' 'A' 'T' 'O' 'R'.

   She was a con-artist for goodness sake! Maybe the could play their way out. That didn't seem likely at all. This was an experimental facility that would still enjoy watching a spectacle like that.
   Susan let her tense shoulders drop slightly. Spectacle.
William Blake
 player, 180 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 24 May 2019
at 07:23
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William shook his head. "No. Lots of the people here are former patients, conditioned to follow orders or be punished. Others are here because they... like being cruel. I've tried. Once, I made a friend among the orderlies. His name was Alex. But it turned out to be a trick. A betrayal. So... no. No hope there."
He also idly traced his fingers over the words, pausing at 'K' 'E' 'Y' 'C' 'A' 'R' D'. He glanced at her to see if she'd seen, then continued. 'S' 'C' 'A' 'N' 'N' 'E' 'R'. He sighed as his fingers moved. "I carved these words so angrily. So hopefully..."
Susan Black
 Player, 168 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 25 May 2019
at 20:03
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan did see, and leaned forward to rest her forehead against the wall, "Hope... I almost don't want it anymore." turning her head slightly to look at him, she felt the heavy weight in her chest ease slightly. Acting both out of impulse and desire, she leaned forward and kissed William. She knew they were watching, knew they were smiling... but she had to. For now, damn the consequences.
William Blake
 player, 181 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 28 May 2019
at 18:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William tried not to think about consequences as Susan kissed him, but he couldn't help it. He had been "paired" before. His return kiss started stiff as his eyebrows drew down into a frown, and his hands were unconsciously balled into fists. They opened after a moment, reached up to cradle her face. But the sick feeling in his stomach refused to leave.

This message was last edited by the player at 08:22, Thu 20 June 2019.

Susan Black
 Player, 169 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 26 Jun 2019
at 22:49
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Feeling the stiffness of his kiss at the start, Susan opened her eyes and leaned back slightly. Her face still cradled in his hands, her eyebrows cinched together. She searched his eyes, knowing why he was reluctant, and she still felt the sinking in her heart. Taking his hands in her own, she pushed them away gently and mumbled an apology before getting to her feet. Taking a few quick strides to the door, she pounded her fist against it and yelled, "Let me out! Let me out now!"
William Blake
 player, 182 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 19:41
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William scrubbed his hands over his face, then got up and chased her to the door. "Hey," he said gently, taking her arm. "I'm sorry too. It's just... what if..." He took a steadying breath, but the depth of his horror was obvious in his eyes, in his voice. He leaned in close and whispered so softly he was barely audible. "What if you got pregnant?"
Susan Black
 Player, 170 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 1 Jul 2019
at 03:06
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Slumping against the door, Susan covered her eyes with a hand. Thoughts and horrors racing through her head, she took a shuddering breath and nodded once, "You're right. That's..." she trailed off, feeling too worn out to try and vocalize the nightmarish situation that would be. Shaking her head, she pressed the palms of her hands to her eyes. They're winning..."
   "No!" she said, as forcefully as she could, which, still wasn't very forceful. She pushed off from the door to look at William, hands on her hips, eyes desperate, "I'm not going to live, or die, in this hell hole." She turned to look at the camera, "I'm going to cut off your balls and shove them down your throat!" With a quick gesture that involved a raised middle finger, she turned back to William and placed her hands on his shoulders, trying mightily to keep up her bravado, "I.. am going to get us out of here. I'm going to take you back to your family."
   A thought struck her suddenly, her eyes filled with sadness, and she tried to hide it behind a smile, "And I think I know how I'm going to do it."
William Blake
 player, 183 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 1 Jul 2019
at 08:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William saw the look in her eyes but wasn't sure what it was. He felt alarmed, and reached for her shoulders. But when he opened his mouth to speak, no words came to him. He tried a few times, but there was something about how she'd said that, something in her voice. He searched her expression, brown eyes darting back and forth. "What do you... what do you mean?" he finally asked. Her determination to escape... he had been willing, even eager, to play along and plan and try. He admitted to himself that he didn't really believe they would get out. But something in Susan had broken just now. He had no idea what, and found himself terrified. Speechlessly panicked. Without knowing why, he stepped away from her and let his hands drop to his sides, waiting for her answer.

******

Eyes on the monitor, Dr. Horrible made a dissatisfied noise. "They're not going to do it," he grumped. "I was worried W. Blake's previous experiences were going to be an obstacle. But what were we to do? He is the prefect subject. Breeding him was imperative." He sighed and sat at his desk, opposite one of his colleagues. "And there will be no forcing the issue. It would have had to have been their decision. So. We move on with the alternate plan. Report." He steepled his fingers before his lips as his colleague opened a white binder.

"The virtual reality tests worked far better on S. Black than on W. Blake. They both fear losing each other, but S. Black's were more... focused. Her fears of his injury or death were pretty thoroughly explored. The only actionable thing we were able to glean from Mr. Blake was that he fears his affection for S. Black will simply result in her death and/or torture. Basic stuff, really." He chuckled. "You'll have to watch the recording sometime. Especially the moment when the girl watches the boy's neck snap."

Dr. Horrible nodded, poking at some papers on his desk. "Once the separation chamber is signed off on, I'll have time for a little pleasure. The perks of the job."

"Yes. But," the other doctor said, closing the binder. "Do we really need the separation chamber? Why not just restrain the girl, make her watch that way?"

Dr. Horrible blinked, then leaned over the desk with an intense look in his cruel eyes. "Those two subjects are at the point of development where they are beginning to realize how much they need each other. They are thinking about what they would be willing to endure for each other. How far they are willing to go. What they are willing to sacrifice for the other. So we drive them to those decisions." His lips pulled back in a rictus grin. "We see what they offer to us. We see how well they bargain with absolutely nothing to bargain with. I want them to be able to move, to scream, to beg with every inch of their bodies. Able to do everything but touch each other. You'll see. That's why we'll be making the girl watch first. She's not so used to life here. We'll get something interesting out of her, mark my words."

His colleague conceded with a nod, and stood to leave. Dr. Horrible turned in his chair and angled the monitor so he could watch sitting down. "They won't give us the leverage of a fetus, fine. It just means that once we're done with W. Blake, we'll be able to move on to S. Black once he recovers. No reason to spare her if there's no fetus to risk losing."
Susan Black
 Player, 171 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 2 Jul 2019
at 01:14
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Running her fingers through her hair, Susan took a deep breath. William looked so worried, terrified even. He was stronger than she was. She knew that now. He deserved to go home, to a family that loved him, and would help him when he got back to them. A part of her felt black, shriveled up inside. Maybe like that, it wouldn't hurt so much anymore.
   She took a step closer to him and reached out to touch his arm, whispering softly, "I mean that.. I'll do whatever it takes to get you home to your family."
   Susan heard footsteps, the lock on the door began to turn. Placing her hands on both sides of his face, she smiled gently, "Because I love you."
William Blake
 player, 185 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 2 Jul 2019
at 05:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Reaching up to grab her wrists, William held them firmly in place as his breathing quickened in distress. "You... you can't..." He felt a hand close on his shoulder, and for the first time in a long time, he fought them, jerked away from them. "You can't...!" He pulled Susan with him to the far side of the cell as the orderlies grabbed for them both. He kept trying to speak, but he could barely get the first few words out. He was half blind with terror and anger. But he just stuttered as they ran out of space and slammed into the wall, and then were slammed again as the orderlies caught them. "You can't lea--" A fist connected with William's stomach and the words were lost in a whoosh of breath. You can't leave me. Why couldn't he say it? His eyes left her face and fell on a section of wall. The lyrics carved there, long forgotten, seared into his mind along with the image of Susan's gentle, sad smile.

Under the knife I surrendered
The innocence yours to consume
You cut it away
And you filled me up with hate


Then there was only the ground as he was pinned and restrained. He couldn't get his breath back to tell her. To beg her not to leave him.
Susan Black
 Player, 172 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 4 Jul 2019
at 02:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   A choked sob escaped Susan as her hands were jerked behind her back, "Don't hurt him anymore." she said, not fighting the restraints. She watched him as she was dragged to the door, tears spilling down her cheeks, blurring her vision. Was this the last time she was going to see him? She didn't doubt for a single instant that they would let her say goodbye. Blinking furiously, she called out, "I love you, Will!" and then she was pulled forcefully through the doorway and out into the hall.

   One hand on the back of her neck, forcing her head down, the other on her arm, the orderly marched her away. She didn't fight, her tears stained the faded blue hospital top she wore. She tried to envision William with his parents, at home, smiling and laughing. He would be so happy, she told herself. The orderly pulled her sharply around a corner, and she nearly lost her balance. His mother would hug him everyday. She heard a scream off in the distance. He would watch TV, and read books. At a doorway, the orderly pinned her to the wall while he opened the door with his I.D. Once it was open, he didn't bother taking the restraints off and merely pushed her inside. Hitting the floor hard, Susan stayed where she was, catching her breath. He would be happy, she thought again, pinching her eyes closed and biting her lip.

   She didn't move for a long time.
William Blake
 player, 186 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 07:26
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss

 William fought.

He kicked, he bit, he threw his weight around. He fought them every step. Finally they threw him to the ground and one of the orderlies left to get a sedative while the other sat on him. He wriggled for all he was worth, but the restraints weren't coming off and neither was the weight of the orderly, crushing him against the floor. Finally, he wept. He let his forehead rest against the cool linoleum, and cried harder than he had for years.

He remembered what Susan was going through. They were breaking her, and it broke him to see it happening to her. His mind was a whirlwind, raging and screaming when he was used to it being quiet, so quiet.

The second orderly returned and jabbed a needle in his neck. After a minute William felt a wave of forced calm, felt all his muscles relax, and once he was lying motionless and limp the orderlies hefted him by his arms and dragged him along. It was some sort of relaxant; it took all his willpower to remember to breathe. And he was awake, though he was groggy and his vision was blurred. He was aware.

They took him to a room and propped him up on an examination bed, untied him, then roughly pulled off all of his clothing. A doctor then poked and prodded, and William realized he was getting a checkup. He looked away from the people and focused on the ceiling, trying to ignore the feelings of humiliation and violation, to protect himself, and he fell into old habits, old thought patterns that took his mind away from cold fingers and instruments. As he daydreamed, the doctor checked him over thoroughly. He didn't hear what was said about his health, didn't come out of his own thoughts until he was lifted from the bed.

Naked, he was dragged to a nearby shower block. There, they scrubbed every inch of him with some kind of stinging, disinfecting soap. He stared at the drains the whole time, feeling his breathing quicken as the sedative slowly, slowly wore off. They were preparing him for something. He could twitch his fingers, but not much else. Once he was clean to their satisfaction, one of them took a handful of his hair and lifted his head. He barely felt the discomfort. He saw a nurse approaching with scissors and an electric razor in his hands. A trickle of relief permeated through his otherwise locked down mind; his hair had been long and falling annoyingly in his eyes for weeks. It had been months since his last cut. It was probably longer than Susan's by now.

But the nurse just eyed him, head cocked to the side, and pointed as he spoke, gesturing. William couldn't make out what he said. The sound of water was too loud in his ears. After a few back and forth comments and both orderlies taking turns at roughly grabbing at his hair, the nurse left without doing anything. William was confused as he was flash dried, the water hissing off of his skin and the sudden dry heat making pinpricks of sweat rise painfully through every pore. He remained confused as they quickly dressed him in a plain white, short-sleeved hospital top and long white pants. He could nearly stand by himself. His hands were cuffed again and he was led on a long walk, down elevators and through checkpoints.

Finally, he was deposited in a very strange room. The orderlies walked him in, forced him to sit on the floor, removed his restraints, and left through a door that hissed closed. He leaned back against a pristine white wall, slowly taking in his surroundings as the sedative worked it's way through him. The room was sectioned in half by a perfectly transparent wall. It's surface was broken by a round, slightly concave section in the middle, with seven circles of opaque plastic arranged symmetrically inside. A hexagon, six circles arranged around a seventh in the center. He could see little hinges in the clear plastic, so he assumed they opened and closed. The room was well lit and sterile, a stark counterpoint to the grubby cinderblock of his old cell. He was alone in his half, and the other half, which had it's own door, was empty. After an hour or so, he forgot about his confusion and was able to stand and walk around, and his mind returned to thoughts of Susan, and the whirlwind it had been before the shot of relaxant.

He angrily swiped his damp hair out of his eyes as he paced. How dare she? Drag him back from the brink only to decide to step up to it herself? William cursed and rubbed at his arms. He didn't know what she intended to do, but whatever it was, it scared the hell out of him. He couldn't let her do it. He loved her too much. The look in her eyes... it haunted him. What was it? Fatalism? Resignation? Defeat? He felt tears rising again as he thought about it, but shoved them down. He just needed to talk to her. To tell her that she couldn't. Whatever it was, she just couldn't.
Susan Black
 Player, 173 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 03:20
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   The door opened, Susan still hadn't gotten up off the floor. She looked up at the two orderlies from where she sat and took a deep breath, "I want to see the Doctor." she said softly. She'd been thinking, ever since she had stopped crying, and knew that she didn't have much to work with. She had nothing to work with.
   Hands under her arms, she was lifted bodily from the floor and marched out into the hallway. "I want to talk to the Doctor!" she said, jerking her arms slightly. She received no change or response from the burly men, and they continued to take her swiftly down the hallway.

   They reached a room with an examination table, and before she could say a word, a nurse stuck a needle in her neck, "Ow! I want to see the Doctor!" she shouted. As she was brought over to the examination table, her anxiety rose, just as she felt the forced effects of a relaxant of some kind. Once on the table, her clothes were removed and she could only manage a weak protest. Limbs like lead, she could only focus on breathing while a doctor seemed to be giving her a checkup.
   "She is fine. Despite elevated stress and being slightly underweight. Situation considered, she is in good shape.

   She was lifted off the table, and carried into a washroom. After being scrubbed head to foot in a painful fashion, she was dressed in white shirt and pants. The strength was returning to her arms and legs, "Gett me th' Doc-tor." she slurred. Hands cuffed behind her back, she was lead down further into the hospital.

   As she they turned around a corner, most of her strength returned by now, she saw Dr. Horrible standing down the hallway. Her mouth was suddenly dry. He was standing, slightly stooped, his hands clasped behind his back, and a wry smile on his pale face. The orderlies grip on her upper arm tightened as he jerked her to a stop in front of the Dr. "You.. asked for me." It wasn't a question, and it sounded dangerous.

   Licking her lips, Susan looked up at him through her lashes, her heart pounding in her throat, "I want you to let William go free. Send him back to his family, and leave him alone. Forever." she prayed that she sounded more authoritative than she felt.
   An eyebrow rose, "Why should I do that?" Did he look amused? Yes. She decided. He did look amused.
   Angry now, Susan raised her chin, "If you send William home, and leave him be.. I'll do anything you want. I won't fight. I'll cooperate." she kept her voice steady, knowing full well that she was begging. She just didn't want to sound like it. She knew that Dr. Horrible knew how important Will was to her. "For the rest of my life." she added in a whisper.
   A slow, menacing, smile spread over his thin lips, "It's a start S. Black. But you'll have to offer me more than that." waving his hand in dismissal, the orderly pulled Susan toward the door.
   Panicked, Susan shouted, "I don't have anything more!"

   The doorway closed on his broad smile, and he was gone. Down another small hallway, and finally into a room she had never seen before. She was thrown to the ground, held down while the cuffs were removed, and then left there as the orderly closed the door behind him with a hiss.

   Stupid! She berated herself, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. She pushed herself up onto her hands and knees and raised her head, to see William on the other side of a clear dividing wall.
William Blake
 player, 187 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 05:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
He had been pacing with his arms crossed, but when he saw her, he rushed to the wall. When she saw him he was speaking, but no sound crossed the divide. He was frowning, looking at her imploringly as he spoke, unaware that she couldn't hear him.
Susan Black
 Player, 174 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 14:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan pushed herself to her feet and crossed to the wall. She placed a hand on the clear surface and looked at him with her eyebrows drawn together. "I can't hear you." she said, shaking her head and pointing to her ear. Her eyes searched his face, and it felt like a hand had closed a tight fist around her heart. What more do I have?
William Blake
 player, 188 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 23:20
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Blinking as comprehension dawned, William's expression turned to one of frustration. He took a step to the side and poked at the opaque circles, but they didn't budge even when he pounded a fist on them. Susan barely even heard the impact. He hurried back to face her, looking urgent.

He jabbed a finger into the wall, pointing at her. You, he mouthed clearly.
He crossed and uncrossed his arms before him repeatedly in a negative gesture, shaking his head as he mouthed, Cannot.
He fixed her with a fierce glare and pointed to the door. Leave.
Then he gestured sharply to himself with both hands, holding her gaze. Me!
Susan Black
 Player, 175 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 01:30
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan pressed both hands to the glass-like wall, taking a moment to think of how to communicate what she wanted to say. His eyes, she hadn't seen them like this before. They looked to be almost crackling with.. determination, anger, resolve. She lifted her shoulders in a heavy shrug, How else.. she mouthed slowly, before gesturing to herself, can I she reached her hands out to him imploringly, save you?
William Blake
 player, 189 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 04:00
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
When he understood her, his mouth dropped open as a look of flabbergasted wonder settled on his face. He stepped as close to her as he could, pressing the length of his body against the divide. His dark eyes had something fathomless in them.

You have, he said to her, eyes becoming misty.

You have.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:02, Tue 09 July 2019.

Susan Black
 Player, 176 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 15:45
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan pressed her hands to her heart, she knew he couldn't hear the choked exhale of air that came out of her, but he could see the tear running down her cheek. All she wanted in that moment was to be held by him, to feel the strength she saw in him. Taking her hands from her heart, she placed them across from his own and pressed her body against the glass parallel to his. Despite the dividing wall, she felt close to him and it gave her strength. A flicker of hope beat softly in her chest.

   Stay with me? she mouthed, raising her eyebrows slightly to emphasize the question.
William Blake
 player, 190 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 20:28
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sighed as tension flowed out of his body, letting his forehead fall against the wall. He smiled tearfully at her, started to nod and open his mouth to speak when something made him jump and look away.

Behind him, the door to his half was opening. Keeping his hand on the clear wall, William watched as three big orderlies slipped through the door and quickly closed it behind them. Two of them slowly advanced on him, and he backed away, glancing worriedly over at Susan. The third one stepped up to the wall, making sure Susan looked at him. He held up his wrist, showing her the medical brace there. He reached into a pocket and pulled out pieces of a cast. He covered the brace with the pieces, then let the cast fall to the floor. Then he removed the brace, shook out his hand, and tightened it into a fist. As he did he looked at Susan, and though most of his face was covered with a surgical mask, she could see his cruel smile in his eyes.

He spoke, and the other two orderlies grabbed William and held him between them.
Susan Black
 Player, 177 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 21:49
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan looked at the orderly in total confusion, shaking her head. As the other two took hold of Will, she moved along the wall to stay as close to him as possible. She glanced back to the first orderly, saw the cruelty, saw the anticipation. She didn't want to put the pieces together, the divided room, the thugs. "Hey! she said, slapping a hand against the wall, "Don't!"
William Blake
 player, 191 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 00:07
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William struggled, but though he was tall and broad-shouldered, next to these men he looked small. The third orderly saw that Susan was confused, and reached up to his breast pocket. He pulled out a small notebook and pen, scribbled something, and held it up so she could see.

It read, You break my wrist, I break your boyfriend.

Then he dropped it, turned, and punched William across the face.
Susan Black
 Player, 178 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 02:59
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Recognition dawned a split-second before William was punched, "No!" she screamed, the fist around her heart tightening its grip painfully. Smacking her palms against the wall repeatedly, she shouted, " I did it! Hit me!" she pressed herself against the glass like surface, standing on her toes as if it would bring her through to the other side. Her eyes were locked on Will, only leaving him for a moment at a time to look at the vengeful orderly.
William Blake
 player, 192 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 05:23
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The blows kept falling, rhythmic, snapping William's head back and forth, back and forth. All silent to Susan.
William's feet slid on the floor with every punch, and he tried to get away from the men holding him, but they didn't let go until he couldn't hold himself up anymore. He fell to all fours, spitting blood. He crawled toward Susan, but didn't get far. An orderly kicked him in the gut, and he fell on his side, his hair covering his eyes. Then one kicked him in the kidney, and William's back arched as he screamed. She saw him gasping for breath as he rolled onto his back.

An orderly grabbed the front of William's shirt and hauled him to his feet, his back to Susan. Another savage blow to the face, and this time blood splattered across the clear dividing wall. William staggered back into the wall, sliding slowly down into a sitting position. His back was right there, so close, yet unreachable.

They started kicking at his legs, and when he started kicking back they picked him up and literally threw him across the room. He slammed into the opposite wall and fell heavily to the ground. He twitched and his arms and legs moved sluggishly, but his eyes were rolling in his head. Blood streamed from his mouth and nose, from cuts on his face. They picked him up again, holding him between them as his head lolled. One grabbed a handful of his hair and yanked his head up, holding him like that for a few moments, waiting until his eyes stopped rolling. He blinked rapidly, eyes widening with pain and fear as his senses returned. He looked for Susan and found her, his adam's apple bobbing as he tried to swallow. He actually started to smile at her, lips and teeth bloody, but then they started the beating again.
Susan Black
 Player, 179 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 05:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan couldn't look away. She yelled and pounded her fists against the barrier, trying to get their attention, to get them to stop if only for a moment. But they kept beating him. She ran to the strange concave circles in the wall, pulling and pushing at them in vain. Moving back to the opposite wall, she ran to slam her body against the barrier, and then again, "Will! she shouted, slamming a shoulder against the wall. When his blood splattered across the clear divider, a tortured wail ripped from her sore throat. She sank to her knees behind him, hands pressed desperately to the wall.

   Her own screams were the only thing she could hear. When he looked at her, on her knees and leaning against the divide with trembling arms, and smiled.. Susan could only mouth I love you before they broke eye contact.

   As she watched, it was if she were being beaten too. Every blow sent a painful clenching through her stomach. Utterly helpless. Caged. As tears started to roll down her cheeks, words started to pour out of her as well, "I know you're listening! I know you're watching!" she pounded a fist against the wall, "Please! What do you want? I'll give it to you! Just, please! Stop hurting him! Please!" she begged, near to sobbing and feeling on the verge of hysteria. "I'll give you anything you want! Please! ..Please!" she trembled on her knees, feeling as though she were going to vomit, unable to take her eyes from William.
William Blake
 player, 193 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 06:55
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
No one answered her pleas. The beating continued. They rained blow after blow after blow, and slowly the floor, walls, and white clothing of both William and the bouncers were dotted and slashed with red.

William had been beaten before, but not like this. This went on and on. Methodical. Precise. The pain was breathtaking, crushing. Every time he got close to passing out, they would stop and wait. Sometimes shake and slap and pinch him until he was awake again. He was never quite able to lose consciousness completely. One of his eyes was swelling shut. The taste of blood in his mouth was overpowering. And every time he caught a glimpse of Susan, enduring suffering of a different kind, alone, he felt like he was going to explode with anger. A few times it gave him strength enough to successfully fight back, block a blow, sometimes manage a hit of his own. He felt particularly proud of one good, strong punch he landed on one of their jaws. He knew he would pay for it in pain, but he didn't care.

Once, he would have just taken it. He would have snarked at them if his mouth was free, but then surrender to whatever test they were running on him, hoping that this time, it would kill him. He hadn't fought with his body, but with his mind. His decisions. When they had offered him a choice of leniency or luxury versus pain, he'd chosen pain. Every time.

But now he wasn't alone. Things were very different-- no longer run of the mill experiments and torture. He knew this wouldn't result in his death. He could tell they were being careful. Staying away from his spine. Not breaking any bones. He had no intention of trying to make them kill him this time, either. But just taking it... while Susan was watching? He couldn't. She was right there. She gave him strength. She had to see him fight back.

She had changed him. She was the pulse of life in his veins, the only reason he had to fight. So he did. He wished he could tell her it was all right, to be strong. He was with her, even if they were apart.

Each time the orderlies had to stop and wait and try to keep William from losing consciousness, it took longer and longer for him to come back. At the fifth such break, when after all the shaking and slapping had failed to open William's fluttering eyes, the opaque circles popped open. Only about an inch, but suddenly sound from both sides of the divide could be heard.
Susan Black
 Player, 180 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 17:14
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's stomach felt like a nauseous, shriveled rock. She had one hand supporting her as she leaned against the divide, the other clutching her abdomen. Her mouth was so dry, and her throat was so torn from screaming that she had to take a moment to try and swallow to ease the pain. She glanced up at the now open circles, hearing the panting from the slightly winded orderlies.

   "Will." she rasped, relieved that it seemed to be over. Dragging herself to her feet, Susan gazed down at the bloodied man on the floor. She slowly raised her gaze to the first orderly that had written her the message, her eyes blazing, "You sick son of a bitch!" she shouted hoarsely, slamming a bruised palm against the clear wall, "All of you! Bastards!"
William Blake
 player, 194 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 06:12
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
At the sound of her voice, William's eyes opened, rolled a bit, then focused. He turned his head to look at her, smiled through split lips. His left eye was red and swollen to a slit, and a dozen small cuts dotted his cheeks and nose. "Susan," he started, voice hoarse. "It's all right--" He was cut off as the orderlies snatched him to his feet, and cranked their fists back for more punishment.

On Susan's side, a cruelly amused voice hissed over hidden speakers. "Thanks for the assist."
Susan Black
 Player, 181 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 16:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's knees gave out and she crumbled to the floor, a hand still pressed against the clear wall, "No." she croaked, fresh tears stung her eyes but didn't fall. What could she do? What did they want? Her mind felt so muddled, her head was pounding. "Please. I'll do anything." She felt so lightheaded, and so... guilty. It was crushing her. Why couldn't she doing anything to help him? "I'm so sorry, Will.." she murmured, the scenes before her blurring and spinning. She slipped lower, and found herself laying on her side by the divide, her hand against it.
William Blake
 player, 195 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 05:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
This part of the beating seemed to be the last hurrah, the punches falling fast, almost frantic. And Susan could hear all of it now. William was mostly silent. One or more of the orderlies breathed harshly through their teeth; perhaps smiling as they worked. The worst was the hollow sound of the blows landing, the splattering of blood, William gasping or grunting depending on where he was hit. He cried out a few times, mostly to body shots.

Occasionally, William got out a word or two. "Susan," he would gasp. "Susan." Trying to tell her something. "I'm here," he said once, pressed against the wall by an arm across his throat. "It's okay," he groaned from his hands and knees.

Less than a minute later, something changed. Another blow across the face sent William careening into the clear divide, right by where Susan lay. He fell and didn't stir. The orderlies stepped over and jostled him, slapped his face and pinched his arms, thumping at his chest with flat palms. His eyes never fluttered. Finally one peeled open the least swollen eye and shone a light into it. "He's out." he grunted, out of breath. "Unconscious."

They all straightened up and started to move toward the door, leaving William lying with one shoulder pressed up against the clear wall. One stepped to the side and picked up the pieces of cast and medical brace on the ground, tucking them and his notebook into pockets.
Susan Black
 Player, 182 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 15:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan looked up at the orderly with hatred burning in her glassy eyes, "I'm going to break more than your wrist, when I see you again." she rasped quietly. She stretched herself along the length of William from where she lay on the ground, fixing her eyes on him and clearly dismissing anything else the orderly might say. She raised her hand and moved her fingers lightly over the clear wall, as if she were stroking William's face, soothing the swelling bruises.

   "Rest now, Will." she murmured, making sure his chest was moving up and down, "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I don't know what to do anymore." she whispered, her bottom lip trembling. She spoke to him then, knowing he probably couldn't hear her, "I love you, Will. I want more than anything to be on that side of the wall with you. That's why they made this room I imagine. To keep us apart like this." she grimaced and placed a palm on her throbbing temple, "Sadists."

   She was so tired, but how could she rest? To not be awake when William regained consciousness? She rubbed her eyes, "I told them I would give them anything to make them stop. I don't know if there is anything I can give, or if they just want to watch us scream." she rested her head on her arm, "I saw you fight back. I want you to know that.. You're changing." she smiled, but it faded a soon as it arrived, "So am I.." she sighed.
William Blake
 player, 196 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 06:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderlies left silently, all of them with bloody knuckles.

William was still, breathing shallowly, for hours. The blood streaked everywhere darkened as it dried. At the angle he was laying, his face was turned away from her. She could see part of his profile, misshapen and red. Almost every inch of skin she could see was bruised and cut.

Finally, his breathing changed, and his limbs twitched. She heard him gasp in pain as he returned to consciousness.
Susan Black
 Player, 183 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 02:36
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan jerked out of the unintentional doze she had fallen into. Her hunger and thirst vanished as concern for William took her complete attention. "Will?" she croaked, her voice was gone. Swallowing, she tried again and managed to make a more solid sound, "Will." She propped herself up on an elbow and pressed against the glass, "Be careful." she cautioned, worried that moving his swollen and bruised body would be too much for him, and he would lose consciousness again.
William Blake
 player, 197 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 06:55
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
He lifted his head, then changed his mind and put it back. "Ouch. Ow, ow ow." The fingers on the hand closest to her twitched and jittered, his legs moving fitfully. "Let me just..." he trailed off as he bent his knees, and then slowly and carefully, with much hissing and wincing, William scooted so that his shoulder wasn't jammed up against the wall and he was lying completely on his back. There were tears flowing freely from his eyes; his face was a swollen mess, especially the left side, blood everywhere. He opened his right eye and looked at her, clearly trying to smile. "Sorry you had to see that," he rasped, the pain in his voice tightly controlled.
Susan Black
 Player, 184 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 15:35
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   "You're sorry?" Susan said incredulously, propping herself up on a hand so that she could look down and see him better. She shook her head and brushed her hair from her eyes, "You? William, you were just.. beaten. Harshly, cruelly! No matter what I said they wouldn't stop. I'm the one who is sorry." she finished quietly. She closed her eyes for a moment, looking at his battered body was difficult, "I broke that guys wrist a while back, he wrote a note that said that since I did that, he was going to break you." she put a palm to her forehead, her headache was returning.

   "Every time you were hit, or you fell.. I'm so sorry. You were fighting back, and I couldn't help you." she leaned her forehead against the wall and looked down at him in misery, "I can't even hold you now."
William Blake
 player, 198 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 20:05
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"But you're here," he countered, gazing steadily at her. "I can see you, hear your voice. Much better than being alone. And this?" he raised a hand slightly, fluttering it at himself. "This isn't the first beating I've taken, and it's not the worst. No bones broken. Sure, previously they didn't go for... for so long, but... you know. They are always thinking of new ways to hurt us. We knew something like this would happen. We knew we'd have to be strong."
Susan Black
 Player, 185 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 22:33
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Smiling slightly, she sighed and nodded, "Yeah. I.. know. Don't let me forget." she said. Sitting up, she crossed her legs and leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees, "What can I do for you? Is there anything that will help you feel better?"
William Blake
 player, 199 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 04:25
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
He tried to take a deep breath, but winced and stopped. He sighed, started to slowly raise a hand to his face. "You being near is enough. It seems like they're going to leave me like this. Usually after something like this I'm whisked off for treatment and bandaids. So... yeah, you being here helps. Have they delivered food yet?"
Susan Black
 Player, 186 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 04:59
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Shaking her head, Susan tried not to lick her dry lips, "No. There is no way that you are going to get better without food and water." she didn't dare voice aloud that she thought it might be another tactic to weaken them, in case she inadvertently gave them the idea. She didn't want to play into their hands again, not after earning another round of beatings for William, "Maybe if I just ask nicely?" she said jokingly. Turning to address the room with a politely raised voice she said, "May we have some food and water, please?" before cocking her head to the side and waiting.
William Blake
 player, 200 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:08
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The waited for a few moments, but nothing happened. William's raspy laughter broke the silence. His hand plucked at some strands of his hair that were stuck to his forehead with blood; he winced as he pulled them free, then scratched delicately at the area. "Man... I am messed up," he groaned as he carefully lowered his hand. "I do wish you were in here with me. Some kisses would be real nice right about now."
Susan Black
 Player, 187 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:16
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan smiled at him, as big a smile as she could muster. It was good to hear a laugh come out of him, "I have to agree." she took a moment, and marveled at him. Beaten to a bloody pulp, and he was laughing and wanting kisses. She gave her head a slow shake, it aggravated her headache, "Though, it does make you feel special. I bet they built this whole room, just for us. Lots of time, energy, money. They're such idiots." she didn't know why she said that, but it did feel good to do so.
William Blake
 player, 201 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:28
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"Yeah." William's eye closed and he sighed. His eyebrows twitched and he shifted his body slightly. He laughed a little again. Then he swore. "Sorry. Just... ow." His hand raised like he was going to pluck at his face again, but then he seemed to force it back down. "Riding this out is gonna suck. Promise..." He trailed off, then shook his head slightly. "Nevermind."
Susan Black
 Player, 188 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:37
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's eyebrows puckered and she leaned forward to place her hands on the divide, "Promise what?" she blew a breath out of the corner of her mouth to get her hair out of her eyes, "Tell me, Will." she didn't want to sound as desperate as she felt to know what he wanted her to promise. She would do anything to help him, to feel like she was needed, and wanted.
William Blake
 player, 202 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:44
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"A promise you can't keep," he said. "I don't want to make you do that. I just wanted you to stay with me. And I know you will as much as you can, but they... they might take you away. So no, don't promise." His closed eye tightened and he grimaced, breathed in sharply as he dealt with a wave of pain. "Just... just love me. Even if you're apart from me."
Susan Black
 Player, 189 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 05:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   A warm feeling, like a heavy blanket, wrapped snugly around her insides. She felt more relaxed than she had in hours. She smiled at him and nodded, "Always." her headache was still there, but didn't feel as pronounced as before. She kissed the tips of her fingers and touched them to the clear wall, "You're stronger than I am. I know you're going to be fine, and I will be strong for you." she tilted her head to the side, lowering her voice to say, "Maybe we should try and sleep. It'll get us through some hunger, and help your body heal."
William Blake
 player, 203 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 06:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William nodded, cracked open his eye to look at her again. "Sleep, yeah. Good idea. And I'm... not strong. I'm just... acclimated. Used to it."
Susan Black
 Player, 190 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 06:22
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan shifted to lay down by the wall, her head resting on her crooked elbow, "You are strong." she insisted, already fighting to keep her eyes open, "I've been watching you, so I know you are, no use trying to convince me otherwise." her eyes closed heavily. After talking with him, hearing his voice, seeing him move a little, eased some of the tension knotting her stomach. She was asleep by the end of her next breath, her body sagging against the ground in exhaustion.
William Blake
 player, 204 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 06:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Knowing she was asleep, William tried to relax. But his body... everything hurt. He wasn't comfortable, and it wasn't possible to get comfortable. His throat was dry and his face felt like it was actively being stung by bees. He tried to shift again, but the bruises everywhere complained at every twitch. The ground felt lumpy, but he knew it was just him.

Eventually his exhaustion overwhelmed his pain, and William fell asleep.
Susan Black
 Player, 191 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 18:47
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   While they slept, the opaque windows closed with a soft hiss, blocking all sound. The door to Susan's side of the room opened, three orderlies and a nurse came in. The nurse carried a sort of helmet that covered the eyes and ears. Before Susan could wake fully, two orderlies grabbed her and sat her up, the third came around behind her and took a firm hold of her head to keep her still. She started shouting, trying to look and see if Will could hear her.

   Despite her wriggling, the helmet was forced over her head to cover her eyes. It was strapped on under her chin and locked in place. She kicked to no avail, completely blinded and unable to see a thing. The orderlies pushed her down, said something to her, and quickly left the room.

   Sitting up with her knees bent, she tugged and pulled at the helmet. She shouted, stomped her heels, tugged and pulled, but the helmet wouldn't come off. Putting her hands out, she moved in search of the wall. After a minute or so, she believed she found it and called out to William. She had indeed found the clear wall, but could only hope. She knew she could still hear, because she could hear herself shouting.

   She didn't notice the soft click of the microphones as they turned on. The speakers on William's side of the room turned on. He could hear what was happening on her side of the room, but she couldn't hear what was happening on his side.

   "Will? Not again! Please, he won't survive!" She started to sob, the helmet sounded an edited recording of his beating from the day before. To her, it sounded like he was being beaten all over again.
William Blake
 player, 205 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 5 Aug 2019
at 17:16
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
At the sound of Susan's voice, William's eyes flew open. Well, one of them did. He saw her standing over him on the other side of the wall, wearing some sort of helmet. He tensed to sit up, but agonizing cramps erupted in every muscle he had just tried to use. He remained where he was, trying to breathe through the pain. "Susan," he tried to shout, his dry throat stealing all his volume. "Susan, what's happening?"
Susan Black
 Player, 192 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 01:18
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Pounding a fist against the wall, Susan grunted in frustration through her tears, "You can't do this! Please stop!" She sank to her knees by the wall, putting her hands on the sides of the helmet, to either try and block the sounds or take it off. She couldn't hear William on the other side of the wall. She began to breathe rapidly, "What more can I say? I'll do anything! No!" she cried out and sobbed, curling up on herself and shaking.
William Blake
 player, 206 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 16:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Still unsure of what was happening, but aware now that Susan couldn't hear him, William raised his hand and pressed it against the clear divide by where Susan knelt. "I'm sorry, I'm here," he murmured. His own pain seemed far away now. The desperation in Susan's voice cut at him like a blade. "I'm right here."
Susan Black
 Player, 193 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 20:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Two hours or so later, the sounds of fists on flesh, William's groans and gasps finally finished. Susan was laying on her side, arms wrapped around herself. She felt so ill, so exhausted, so dehydrated. Delirious? She shuddered, "Will? Is it over? Please, let it be over." she groaned and tightened her arms around herself, "Why won't they let me see you?" she had asked the question many times before, but had given up on taking the helmet off. How could they beat him again? He was probably dead. She bit her lip, not wanting to believe it. They wouldn't kill him. There was too much suffering they could be put through together.

   At that thought, that their lives would be nothing but pain apart, pain together, pain for each other, she whimpered softly. She felt broken inside, and for the first time she allowed herself to admit that a part of her wanted to die.
William Blake
 player, 207 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 21:08
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
It hurt to cry, but William couldn't stop. He had slowly and carefully turned himself to lay on his side, facing Susan. They were tricking her somehow, but that didn't mean her suffering wasn't real, wasn't going to scar her somehow. Pain stabbed at him with every gasp as he sobbed, knowing she couldn't see or hear him. Once they were done with her, he hoped they let her speak to him. He wanted to tell her he was fine. No matter what they did, as long as he and she were both here, alive, he was fine.
He didn't care about the pain. Pain was his whole existence. He did care about Susan. She was... everything. He would've been willing to die for her, if that didn't mean leaving her here alone. "I'm here," he whispered again. "Please, Susan. I'm right here."
Susan Black
 Player, 194 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 6 Aug 2019
at 22:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   The door to Susan's side of the chamber opened, and she didn't seem to notice. Two orderlies and a nurse came in and walked over to her. She started when they grabbed her, but didn't have the strength to fight back as the nurse used a sort of key to unlock the helmet. Her head was held in place anyway as she jerked halfheartedly. The helmet came off and she cried out, closing her eyes against the painful light after being in darkness so long.

   Shoving her to the ground, the orderlies left with the nurse and the door closed behind them. The sound proof panels on the dividing wall opened, allowing William and Susan to hear each other. Hand over her eyes, Susan pushed herself up to lean on her elbow, "Will? Are you there?" she asked fearfully, slowly taking her hand from her eyes and squinting painfully.
William Blake
 player, 208 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 01:28
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William smiled at her, his bruised face still wet with tears and snot. "I'm here. I'm fine. They didn't do anything to me. It was a trick. I'm okay."
Susan Black
 Player, 195 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 04:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan scooted over to the wall, a disbelieving, angry, and relieved wail tearing from her throat as she lay parallel to him. Her eyes were adjusting as she looked him over, and she started to shake uncontrollably as the realization set in, "A trick..? They didn't beat you again?" she pressed a shaking hand to the divide, tears welling in her eyes, "I heard them beating you."
William Blake
 player, 209 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The crick in William's neck was becoming unbearable; his shoulders were too broad to make laying on his side comfortable without the support of a pillow or something. He slowly began to shift to his back. "They didn't. I'm sorry you had to go through that again... bastards." The last word was spoken with a gasp as his swollen limbs protested the careful movement. He kept his eyes on her, keeping the pain back as much as possible and letting all his love for her shine through.
Susan Black
 Player, 196 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 18:55
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan let her hand fall and she shook her head in the slightest, the tears running over when she saw the look of love in his eyes. What could she do? She worried that she was going crazy. After listening, believing, that he was being beaten to death she wanted to die. She felt so guilty. For being so selfish for wanting to die, for feeling sorry for herself when William was so clearly in agony.

   She tangled her trembling hands in her hair, her voice barely above a whisper, "I don't think I can do this, Will."
William Blake
 player, 210 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 05:23
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Settled on his back, William twitched one shoulder in a shrug. "They won't give us a choice. And when they do want us to make a choice, it'll be damned if we do, damned if we don't. It always is. They'll wring us and wring us until there's nothing left... but they still won't let us die. But you know what? I don't care." He smiled at the ceiling, a fierce, crazy sort of smile that cracked the cuts in his lips back open. He winced, seemingly unaware that tears had started to fall again. "I don't care anymore. They can do whatever they want. You hear that?! I don't care!" He lifted his head from the floor to shout, but quickly let it fall back again. "They can hurt us all they want. We love each other, there's nothing they can do about that. And that's wonderful."
Susan Black
 Player, 197 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 8 Aug 2019
at 16:39
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan watched him, and listened to him. An inexplicable calm settled over her, and she felt the shaking begin to subside. Her lips curled up in a small smile, and the tight knot of dread in her stomach began to uncoil, "We love each other." she echoed, "Nothing can change that. It's wonderful." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again. She pressed her body closer to the divide, blinking her eyes against her desire to fall into quiet sleep, "We love each other." she repeated, her eyes staying closed against her will.
William Blake
 player, 211 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 11 Aug 2019
at 16:56
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"Love you," William whispered as he watched her eyes close. He ached to hold her, to just be able to touch her. Hopefully soon. He closed his own eyes and tried to rest, the world spinning gently around him.

***

"Not going exactly to plan, but the bones of it remain relevant."

"How much longer can the boy go without water?"

"Two or three days, based on past experience. Probably less, since his body has experienced trauma."

"Then we wait. As close to death as possible. See what she does, outside of this odd pact of theirs. Once he succumbs and we revive him, it'll be S. Black's turn."
Susan Black
 Player, 198 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 04:16
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   How long had it been? It was difficult to think past the constant, painful ache of hunger in her stomach, and the scratchy thirst in her mouth. It was impossible to tell what time it was in this separated chamber. She rested her forehead against the clear wall and gazed down at William. He did not look good. Bruises had turned green, his lips were dry, many parts of him were still so swollen. She could only guess as to how much pain he was still in.

   "I've been thinking about the moon today." she rasped. She had been talking as much as she could, hoping to distract him from the pain, and keep him awake. She was terrified that if he closed his eyes for too long, his chest would stop moving as he breathed, and he would be gone, "Do you remember how it could form a ring of light when thin clouds moved in front of it? I loved the soft light that came from the moon, and could stare at it all night." she smiled and chuckled gently, "You know, I've never actually been able to see the man in the moon? I just, can't seem to make him out."
William Blake
 player, 212 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 17:28
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William blinked slowly at her, his discolored face twitching into a small smile. He liked to listen to her voice, but he didn't want to admit to her that he didn't remember how the moon did that. He barely remembered what it's face looked like. His head felt thick, filled with fluff. His thoughts moved slowly through the fog. After a few moments of silence, he decided to change the subject. "I've been... thinking about... loneliness," he croaked, having to pause for breath every few words. "How... I used to... fight alone. How... it's so... much easier, now... I have you." His smile widened, but his dizziness rose to unbearable levels for a moment and he closed his eyes against it.

He didn't even feel the hunger anymore. The pain had stopped throbbing or coming in waves and now just sat heavily everywhere. Dried blood made his skin itch, but he didn't have the strength to scratch or rub it away. Holding still, the pain was bearable. Moving was agony. So he lay still, moved only his face, tried to focus on Susan. It was getting harder and harder.
Susan Black
 Player, 199 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 12 Aug 2019
at 20:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan would have cried at the sight, but she had run out of tears a long time ago. Her chin trembled and she shook her head slightly, "You have me at a disadvantage.." she whispered, "I've never lived here without you. So you have to stay alive." she pleaded softly. Leaning up against the glass she tried to swallow past her dry mouth, "I'm afraid I will do something desperate, to keep you alive." she confided, "Something you would hate me for."
William Blake
 player, 213 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 00:08
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William shook his head slightly. "Never... hate you. They won't... let me die. They'll... take me to the edge, but... Even if they... tell you I've... died, it's... probably a lie. So... go ahead and... call their bluff." He laughed, the air whistling from his dry throat. "This," he said, gesturing vaguely at himself, "Is probably... just a ploy..." He trailed off, his mouth opening and closing a few times. His eyes closed and he frowned. Tried to swallow. Then fell worryingly still.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:08, Tue 13 Aug 2019.

Susan Black
 Player, 200 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 03:12
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan watched in motionless silence, her eyes wide and her mouth pressed into a worried line. A few seconds went by, "Will?" she whispered. When there was no response from him, she got to her knees by the glass, saying louder, "Will?" She looked down on him with mounting anxiety. Probably a lie..     Probably just a ploy..        Call their bluff..

   Shaking her head Susan slammed a hand against the wall, shouting, "Will!" She began to tremble, her breath came in short, painful gasps. Her hungry, exhausted mind couldn't seem to focus on any one thought at a time. She lurched to her feet, her shaking hands pushing her hair back. He's stopped moving. She tried to grasp the thought that told her that he was right, they wouldn't let him die. He's dead.. Agony slashed through her like a blade and she stumbled, almost falling. She couldn't tear her gaze away from him, even though her vision was unfocused and was tinged with darkness.

   A low groan rumbled in her throat. Was this real? Was she being tricked again? No, they killed him. She clutched her empty, nauseous stomach, feeling lightheaded. They wouldn't, they valued him too much. He was too strong to kill. He's not moving. She placed both hands against the clear wall, leaning into it as she felt her consciousness threaten to slip into blissful darkness.

   "If he is really gone.." she whispered, knowing who she was talking to, "Then I have nothing to lose." she breathed. Desperation. Love. Anger. Hope. Sadness. Insanity.. Closing her eyes, she spoke in a soft, intimate murmur, "William. I'll see you soon. Opening her eyes, she gritted her teeth and shoved her fear deep below for what she was about to do. What she had contemplated doing. She pulled her head back, and slammed it against the wall. Stars shot across her vision as she pulled back to hit her head again, "Save him!" she shouted in a slur, slamming her head again and dropping to her knees, almost unconscious and pulling back for another blow.
William Blake
 player, 214 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 05:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Her door hissed open and orderlies rushed in to restrain her. None came for William.

Rooms away, two doctors monitored the action. Dr. Horrible bent over the screen that showed William's vitals.

"Is he gone?" his colleague asked.

"No. He's gone into shock. His heart rate is so low I doubt the girl could detect it even if she could touch him. Breathing so shallow it's undetectable. His body is shutting down for it's own protection." He smiled wickedly. "Perfect."
Susan Black
 Player, 201 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 17:37
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan hurriedly hit her head against the wall again, a second before the orderlies grabbed her and bodily yanked her back. She could barely see past the dark haze crowding her vision, but there was still no movement on William's side of the chamber. Blood trickled down the side of her face, "Save him!" she screamed, kicking and struggling as she was pinned to the floor on her stomach. Rearing her head back, she prepared to start hitting herself against the floor. Nothing to lose. she told herself. Followed immediately by, You've gone crazy. A big hand seized a fistful of her hair and jerked her head back, preventing her from hitting her head again. One of her arms was being held behind her back, with the other, she reached up and scratched viciously at the hand in her hair.

   "Bitch." the orderly growled, nodding to his companion. The other took her free hand and held it at a painful angle behind her. She tried to crane her head to look for William, but the orderly twisted her head away.

   "Save him!" she screamed, wriggling with all her strength. Her attempts were weak, and easily held off by the two brutes. "I'll never stop! You take him away from me, and I will have nothing to lose!" A nurse stepped into her field of vision, a syringe in her hand. Susan squirmed, and was held still as the needle pinched into her neck. The effect was immediate, and Susan went limp as unconsciousness swept her away.
William Blake
 player, 215 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 19:33
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
When William opened his eyes, his gut reaction was disappointment. I'm alive. Then he remembered Susan, and the feeling vanished.

He tested his body. Aches and pains remained, but not as devastating as they had been before. He shifted, and felt the thickness of bandages on his body. He sat up laboriously, and looked around. He was back in his cell. Cracked linoleum and walls, the same banged up metal chair in the corner. He looked down at himself. He was in clean scrubs. No blood anywhere. The swelling was way down. He lifted his hands to his face and winced as his fingers explored the bumpy, scabbed mess. He must look a horror.

He tried to keep his mind from wondering where Susan was, if she was okay. He would just have to wait and see what happened next.
Susan Black
 Player, 202 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 13 Aug 2019
at 21:38
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Rising up out of her deep sleep was slow and muffled. She rocked her head to the side, becoming aware of her body. Dull, throbbing pain was emanating from her right temple, where the brunt of her self harm attack had been focused. Her eyelids felt as if they were weighted down and impossible to open. She swallowed thickly and started to reach up to touch her face. Her hand was stopped an inch from the hospital bed she lay on, and she pried her eyes open. She blinked hard a few times, and slowly her vision focused somewhat past the lazy spin of vertigo that made her feel as if she were falling.

   She looked down at herself. Her ankles and wrists were strapped to the bed by thick bands of velcro and buckles. An IV dripped liquid down the line that went into her arm. She was clean at least, and could feel clarity begin to take a stronger hold as the drugs wore off. She wasn't in the divided room, but was in what seemed to be a generic room with a laptop desk and stool by her bedside. Where was Will? In recovery? Dead? A jolt of panic brought on a heavy wave of dizziness and she closed her eyes against it. She knew she would find out soon enough.

   She gave an experimental tug at her bonds, no give, and the door handle to the room turned. Susan looked quickly, and saw Dr. Horrible step into the room. The orderly outside closed the door behind him, and he looked at her with a craned neck and a crooked smile. Hatred and anger tried to rise to the strength she desired, but the drugs were still suppressing her system, "Is Will alive?" she asked quietly, feeling that she should do what she could to seem in control.

   The Doctor walked to her bed and gave her a pat on the knee. Susan flinched and tensed her leg beneath his spidery hand, "Yes." he gave her leg a squeeze and moved around to the stool on the right hand side of her bed. He took a seat, rested his elbows on his knees and looked at her.

   Relief broke a dam of emotion in her chest and Susan did all she could to keep the flood under control. Her chest heaved in a large gasp and she gritted her teeth together to keep from doing it again. Alive! Her heart rate rose and she felt a flush of warmth that made her treacherous lips smile.

   "And what shall it cost you?" Dr. Horrible murmured, pressing his hands together with a sigh, "You asked us to save him. We did. Now what will you do for us?" he raised an expectant eyebrow at her, as if she were a naughty child that got into trouble of her own making.

   Susan took a breath, cornering her celebration that she couldn't resist, and looked at Dr. Horrible with hatred, "I told you before. I don't have anything. William is all there is, and if you take him from me, I will kill myself."

   "W. Blake tried to kill himself many times, long before you arrived here. That's not a threat. It's not even a promise." he leaned forward even more, his lips curling, "What will you give us?"

   "I don't have anything!" Susan said, her voice rising. She clenched her hands into fists, deliberately lowering her voice, "You're taking my sanity bit by bit. All you do is take. Even if I had anything to give you, you wouldn't stop hurting us. I've got nothing."

   Dr. Horrible smirked and raised his hands in a helpless gesture, before rolling to her bedside and placing his hand far too intimately on her thigh, murmuring, "Nothing?"

   Susan's whole body turned to ice and she didn't dare bat an eyelash. They must know she was a virgin. All those tests, somehow. She couldn't look at him, only at his wiry hand on her leg. It was suddenly so cold, her fear escalated to near panic, "Don't touch me!" she spat, unable to take a full breath past the tightness in her chest.

   His grip on her thigh tightened painfully and she grimaced, "Would you take his beating for him?" he asked.

   "Yes." she answered immediately, terrified.

   "That's all you would do?" he scoffed, "Maybe, he would do anything to keep you.. safe." he released her and stood, straightening his jacket as he moved around to the door. He gave it a knock and the orderly opened it for him from the outside. He glanced over his shoulder at her, saying in parting, "He's recovering quickly. You should see each other soon." with that, he left and the door slammed shut.

   Susan sat there for a few moments in utter silence. Once she took in a breath, it escaped as a hopeless sob that collapsed her into tears.
William Blake
 player, 216 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 00:00
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
When food was delivered, William ate. He sat quietly on his bed. He rested.

He waited.
Susan Black
 Player, 204 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 03:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan slept in the bed while she could, keeping William on her mind in order to keep the darkness at bay. She felt so vulnerable, so threatened. Wrists and ankles still bound, she had no choice but to rest, grateful to at least be hydrated and not hungry. She wasn't sure how much time had passed since Dr. Horrible had shaken her so badly, but eventually the door opened and more orderlies entered.

   She was systematically released from the bed, and bound in hobbling shackles that locked around her waist. An orderly on each side of her, gripping her upper arms, she was moved out of the room and down through the hospital to the corridor that she recognized. Dread, because she had a good idea of what was going to happen to her settled in her stomach. Anticipation, because she wanted to see William bubbled through her turmoil.

   Before the door, her restraints were removed and she was shoved in. The push was so strong that she stumbled and fell as the door closed behind her with a hiss. Jerking her head up, she looked to the opposite side of the divided room. William wasn't there. She frowned as she got to her feet, looking to the opaque circles on the clear wall to see if they were open.
William Blake
 player, 219 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 04:20
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
They were closed. It felt like a few hours before William was pushed through the door on the other side of the wall.

He stumbled stiffly and barely caught himself, a hand against the wall. He looked up and met eyes with her, and smiled.

A good portion of his face was still mottled red and purple, the skin lumpy and puffy around his eyes, down one of his cheeks to his jawline. A dozen or more small cuts were scattered everywhere, from his forehead to his chin. The circles under his eyes were bruise dark. His movements were slow and stiff as he worked his way to the clear divide. It all spoke of pain, of cruelty, but still he had a smile for her. Despite it all he was still achingly handsome.

He glanced at the closed circles and clearly sighed. His eyes lingered for a few moments on a few dark blood splatters still left were they had fallen on his side of the wall. He returned his gaze to Susan's, trying not to frown in worry.
Susan Black
 Player, 205 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 04:31
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan rose from where she had been sitting, curled up in the corner. She moved swiftly to the wall and smiled at him, unable to help herself at seeing him. It was the biggest smile she had given in a long time. He was bandaged, clean, and he was smiling at her. She mouthed his name and placed her hands on her heart. Earlier, she had made sure her hair was falling over her forehead, to cover up the self inflicted bruises there. She didn't want to answer those questions yet.

   She pointed at him and mouthed, 'You're alive.' before placing her hands over her heart again and smiling, 'Thank you.'
William Blake
 player, 220 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 04:37
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William's heart clenched, but he just gave her a little half-shrug. He wasn't alive because of anything he had done. He gazed at her, drinking in the sight of her. He knew something bad would happen soon, so he just smiled and soaked up as much of her as he could. "Love you," he mouthed, placing his hands over his heart as well.
Susan Black
 Player, 206 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 04:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan drank him in as well. She knew deep down what was going to happen, she said she would take it for him. So she steeled herself, storing him away for when she knew she would need him. 'I love you too.' she smiled. She started slightly and glanced over her shoulder, she had heard the hiss of her door opening. Three orderlies stepped in. She hadn't been expecting them so soon after William had arrived. She thought they would be given more time.

   Her heart began to pound and she looked back at William with large, fearful and resigned eyes. She placed her hand flat against the wall and kept her eyes on him, reassuring him as much as she could with her expression. The large hands of two orderlies grabbed her and pulled her away from Will and to the center of the room. The third glanced at William and moved to stand in front of Susan, flexing his hands in preparation, showing her the scratches on his left hand with anger.
William Blake
 player, 222 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 05:05
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
In a blinding flash of panic William realized what was going to happen. "No," he whispered.

He couldn't stop them. What could he do for her? Wild fear threatened to overwhelm him. Not her. Not her too. He desperately slapped his hands against the clear divide. "No!" He'd give anything to spare her this... but they knew that.

He'd have to trust her strength. And give her as much of his strength as he could. So he stayed on his feet, let his hands fall to his sides and clench into fists. He pushed the pain away and schooled his expression, tried to let only anger show.

Half the agony of his beating was watching what it did to Susan. He would be strong for her, and not let her see what her pain was going to do to him.
Susan Black
 Player, 208 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 14 Aug 2019
at 05:30
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's eyes left Will finally, and focused on the orderly as he lifted his fists. She fought to free herself, was held firm, and wriggled in their grip. He could see her sharp intake of breath right before the first blow landed, snapping her head to the side and down. The big man moved in and sank his other fist into her gut below her ribs, driving the air out of her. She would have buckled if she wasn't being held up. The orderly stepped back and paced, watching her gasp for breath. William couldn't hear the choking sounds she was making, but after a minute she regained her breath.

   Another punch, then another, and the orderlies began to warm to their task. They took quick turns, restraining, then beating, restraining and back again. Susan spat out a mouthful of blood, and a handful of her hair was taken in order to raise her face up to make it an easier target. She looked at William past the thugs, her eyes softening through her pain for a moment upon seeing him. Then another punch made her ears ring and stars sparkle before her eyes.
William Blake
 player, 223 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 15 Aug 2019
at 19:26
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William stood and watched, face stony. He would watch, and remember.

He wanted to dissolve, to blubber and beg them to stop. Inside he screamed every time they hit her. Outside, he could barely stop his body jerking and twitching with each blow. He fought not to crumple to his knees.

He waited for her eyes to find him again. He put a hand on the clear wall, and tried to give her a strong smile. But the way his lips were trembling ruined it, and he almost broke. But he sucked in a breath, and kept his eyes on her. Kept his face angry. But he couldn't stop the tears.
Susan Black
 Player, 209 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 02:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   At first, Susan had tried to not make any noise when she was hit, but a few groans began to escape her. Her knees began to give out, and she struggled to stay standing. One particular punch sent her straight to the ground. She lay there for a moment, before looking back to William through a swelling eye and pushing herself up. A solid kick to her stomach stole her breath again, the orderlies paused while she struggled for air. Only after she managed to inhale slightly, did they move in with more kicking and punching while she was down. She tried to kick back, but her ankle was caught and held to keep her in place. A sharp kick to her kidney made her scream.

   A long time passed, Susan tried to fight back, and it brought on more energized reactions from her torturers. The first time she passed out, she was gently slapped awake. Her arms were bloodied and bruised from her attempts to protect herself. It wasn't too long before she lost consciousness again, getting a kick to the jaw. Her features were lost under swelling bruises, cuts and blood. A vigorous shaking brought her back long enough for an orderly to bodily slam her against the dividing wall. She stood for a moment, leaning against the divide for support, her back to William. The brutes advanced with bloody knuckles and made quick work of beating her to the ground. She took the hits while pinned against the clear surface, and when her body went limp, they knew she had passed out again.

   One of the orderlies bent and rolled her onto her back, shaking her and shouting at her, his large hands gripping the front of her bloody hospital shirt.
William Blake
 player, 224 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 04:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"Susan," William said in a tight whisper. "Stay down. Don't get up." He pled for it to be over. The hand he had placed against the clear wall had balled into a fist. He watched her for signs of life.
Susan Black
 Player, 210 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 17:14
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's breathing was so shallow it could barely be seen. The orderly slapped her and shouted at her, but seeming to answer William's plea, Susan did not wake. Dropping her, the big man straightened and gave her a shove with his foot. One eye swollen shut, just as William's had been, she lay on the floor with one arm across her belly.

   The opaque panels on the dividing wall opened, and William could hear the heavy breathing of the orderlies on Susan's side of the room.
William Blake
 player, 225 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 16 Aug 2019
at 19:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William gasped with the need to call out to her, but bit his tongue. He glared at the bloody-knuckled orderlies. He trembled with the effort of keeping silent, tears flowing freely down his face. He looked back at Susan, straining to see if she was breathing. They wouldn't let her die. He knew that. But breathless panic began clawing at his throat anyway, constricting it so he could barely breathe himself.
Susan Black
 Player, 211 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 05:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   The orderlies paced for a minute or two, watching William and nudging the limp Susan every now and then. When Susan didn't stir, they nodded to each other and left the room, the door hissing closed behind them.

   Susan didn't move, aside from her shallow breathing. A few cuts still oozed blood, and her hair was matted.
William Blake
 player, 226 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 20:40
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Once they left, William allowed his legs to fold under him, collapsing into a sitting position. His sore limbs protested, but he barely felt it. "Susan?" he called out tentatively, wiping at his face and sniffing to control his runny nose. "Susan?"

He didn't know what to do. He could do nothing for her but be here, and love her. So he tried to content himself with that, but it was hard. He wanted to be either holding her in his arms or breaking some orderly faces.
Susan Black
 Player, 212 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 21:44
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   A soft moan came from Susan and her fingers twitched. Her head rolled toward him, and the eye she could open fluttered. She made a sound that may have ended up being his name, but her eye rolled back and she passed out. It was a while before she took in a deeper breath as she regained consciousness, her eye opening again and searching for William.
William Blake
 player, 227 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 00:22
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William had fallen asleep sitting up, his forehead pressed against the dividing wall, his hands relaxed and open in his lap. His shoulders rose and fell with his even breathing.
Susan Black
 Player, 213 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 00:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan watched him for a few minutes, taking stock of her throbbing body and trying to get her vision to clear. His actions during her beating had kept her mind focused. How strange, she thought sluggishly, that the realization of his love for her came through in so many ways during her beating. Guilt swept through her at the thought and she shuddered, wishing she could have done at least that, for him.

   Everything hurt. She twitched her fingers first, before trying to raise her hand to her face. The movement sent a lance of pain up through her shoulder and she cried out, dropping it back down and gasping.
William Blake
 player, 228 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 01:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
At the sound of her voice, William started awake, his body jerking back reflexively. When he saw she was awake, a huge smile split his face. "Susan! You're alive," his voice cracked with relief. He scooted back toward the wall on his knees.
Susan Black
 Player, 214 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 02:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan couldn't help but smile at seeing the one on his face. She flinched and swallowed thickly, her voice weak, "I can.. certainly tell." she tried to smile again at her attempt at humor, her open eye closing for a moment to rest as a cut on her lip started to bleed anew, "Are you.. okay?" she whispered, looking at him with a sadness.
William Blake
 player, 229 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 02:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"No. Why would I be?" he answered lightly, still smiling. He stiffly maneuvered himself into a cross-legged sitting position. "But you're alive. We can be not okay together."

There was a pit in his stomach. The future was dark. But right now, they were together, and they could talk. A far sight better than nothing.
Susan Black
 Player, 215 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 03:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan wished she could grab him and kiss him. How was he smiling? It was infectious. The sadness in her eyes faded, and she sighed, "Thank you. I- " She tried to shift into a more comfortable position, and the bruising pain was almost too much. She groaned through gritted teeth until it subsided, and had to resist the urge to keep moving. After a panting breath, she continued, "I.. can't express... how much you help me." It was getting slightly easier to talk, but each breath was fresh pain.
William Blake
 player, 230 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 20:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William swallowed hard, but kept smiling. It was a small, tender thing. Watching her pain felt like he was receiving fresh injuries, bruises on his heart, gashes in his soul. "I'll be here for you," he said quietly, repeating an oath he had spoken to her once before, "Though my heart is black and blue."
Susan Black
 Player, 216 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 04:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan shuddered in pain and closed her eye for a few minutes. When she felt able to open it again, she looked at William and asked quietly, "What happened to you after they came? I.. They came and took me before you. I didn't see what happened. I thought you were dead." she had gasped a few times through her questions, and regained her breath.
William Blake
 player, 231 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 21 Aug 2019
at 20:10
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William lowered his eyes, thinking. "I was talking to you, then... darkness. I think I lost consciousness. I woke up in my room. I saw no one for a long while, then they brought me here." He looked back up at her. "What about you?"
Susan Black
 Player, 217 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan was silent for a moment, thinking back on what she did, what Dr. Horrible said, and she shuddered. She didn't want to tell him about what she did to herself, she was feeling a wave of shame. Licking her cracked lips, she took as deep a breath as she could, "After they came to get me, they knocked me out. I woke up in a recovery room... The Doctor came to see me." she hesitated, fearful tears stinging her eyes. She shook her head in the slightest, "He asked me what I would give, after I asked them to save you. I told him I didn't have anything." she looked away from William and closed her eye, saying carefully, "He touched my thigh... I think he threatened.." she couldn't bring herself to say it. She took a few painful and short breaths, stealing herself, "Threatened my, virginity. That's when he asked if I would take your beating, and I said yes."
William Blake
 player, 232 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 22 Aug 2019
at 20:10
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"You... took my..." William pressed a hand to his mouth, fighting a wave of nausea. The emotions slammed through him so powerfully and so fast he could barely identify them; anger, horror, fear, love...
He quickly put up his walls, and the storm eased. His walls against torture. Horrific things had been done to him over the years he had lived here. Horrors and violations he could barely make himself remember, didn't think about, didn't talk about, for his own sanity. He had many coping mechanisms.

He didn't want Susan to have to go through this. To have to carve up her own psyche just to survive what was happening to her body. But if he couldn't stop that, at least she wasn't alone. He tried to remember, to throw his mind back to when this had all been new, so he could try and help her, understand what she was going through...

After a few moments of silence as he struggled not to vomit, William let his hand fall away from his face. He hiccuped a small laugh. "I would have done the same thing," he said thickly. "Susan... I would have done the same thing for you. But... please, we... we can't give them what they want. They'll take it anyway, but... we can't just give it to them. That he... threatened your..." Rage fought for a place in his expression as he struggled to keep his voice even. "Your virginity... I understand, it was too frightening and... disgusting. But..." He searched for the words, idly reaching up to touch his scabbed lips. "We have to... call every bluff, even if its not a bluff. They expect things to go a certain way, and I've always tried to... well, to mess it up. To be as uncooperative as possible. It's the only way I could fight." But then he frowned. "Though I always paid for it. I thought it was worth it, but..." He looked at her, the agony she felt reflected in his eyes. "Maybe it's not the best way for you to fight."
Susan Black
 Player, 218 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 23 Aug 2019
at 04:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan blinked and tears ran a trail through the blood on her face, "Will..." she grimaced. She didn't know what to say, watching him had made her feel like she was being gutted. All of the talking had made her dizzy and she lost focus for a few seconds, William's form darkening. She fought for clarity, gained a little, and shivered, "How can I fight? I feel the fight leaving me.. I want to do anything to keep you alive so that.. I'm not alone." she shivered again, "Do you want me, to do what they say?" she asked, trying to understand what his meaning was. Her head felt like it was full of throbbing barbwire.. She was so cold.
William Blake
 player, 233 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 23 Aug 2019
at 19:50
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"No!" He tried to scoot closer to her, his legs pressing right up against the divide. "No. That's just it. You don't have to do anything to keep me alive. You don't have to do what they want, they'll keep me alive anyway. There's no way they'll let me die, after so long of me trying to. And your fight," he said, his face and voice becoming even more intense, "Was what convinced me to keep breathing. You keep me breathing. You keep me fighting. So... you're allowed to take breaks, like right now. But.. when it counts, fight. Okay?"

He wasn't sure what he was asking. He'd never had to articulate this before. Knowing when to fight and when not to, knowing how to react with levity when they wanted fear from you. He remembered being where Susan was now; willing to do anything to make the pain stop, broken, defeated. But he had learned that nothing you did made it stop. He just wanted to bring her there, so she didn't have to learn it the hard way, like he did. But seeing her like this, covered in blood and bruises, it was making him crazy. His thoughts were bouncing faster than he could pin them down to see what they were. It was like his ADHD was back, all his mental control gone. It frustrated him, which just made it worse.
Susan Black
 Player, 219 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 05:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   "Okay." Susan said thickly, emotion welling up inside her. Hearing him talk about what she did for him made her heart burn, but not in a painful way. She mustered up a small smile, "I think I'm beginning to understand." she sighed and closed her eyes, the cold was driving her to distraction. She looked up at him and flinched, "I wish you could hold me, I'm so cold. Maybe I should try and rest." she whispered, closing her eye and trying to relax. It was harder than she thought.
William Blake
 player, 234 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 06:18
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"I wish I could hold you, too." He whispered. He watched her closely, resting his forehead against the clear wall. "I'll try not to worry. After all, I know that they won't let you die, either. Because then, what would be the point?" He worked up a half-hearted chuckle, and suppressed the sudden urge to cry.
Susan Black
 Player, 220 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 25 Aug 2019
at 05:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   "What would be the point.." Susan echoed, giving him a tiny half smile. She tried to think on that more, to figure out a way to outsmart the Doctor, but she just couldn't. She did not look forward to the next couple of days, and determined that she would be strong for William. She would hide her pain from him, and from Dr. Horrible as much as she could. She didn't want to give him any more satisfaction. Her breathing slowed and evened out, and she fell into a fitful sleep faster than she thought she would.
William Blake
 player, 235 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 26 Aug 2019
at 23:48
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"What would be the point, indeed." Dr. Horrible mused as he watched the screen with dissatisfaction.

"It's not going quite according to plan, is it?" a colleague asked.

"Something we didn't factor in," The gaunt doctor replied. "What the combination of W. Blake's previous experience and newfound motivation would create. It's... odd. A hopeful... fatalism." The doctor smirked at his oxymoron. "He's resigned, even accepting, to all that has happened and is going to happen... it seems. Yet, also determined to fight as much as possible. At least S. Black is about where she should be, mentally. Maybe we should alter the program, separate them for a time, perhaps? See what we can do to this odd state that the boy is in. At least get him and his optimism away from the girl, for now."

His colleague nodded thoughtfully. "I'll arrange a meeting. A shift in the program will require all hands on deck."

Dr. Horrible grunted, watching as W. Blake watched S. Black sleep. The instincts the patient had developed over his years here were complicating everything. Could he really have thrown them so solidly off the mark? His intelligence tests hadn't shown that high a level of cunning, and it was impossible to throw them all. Hell, a year ago he had most everyone believing he was mentally broken, one level above brain-dead. Even if it had been a sham, he had indeed been broken. The girl had helped him over that, according to plan. But now he was trying to help her out of being broken herself. It was a strange turn. An unanticipated one. His empathy for her had a chance of disrupting everything.

But... it still demonstrated their dependence on one another. That they needed each other more than ever. So the bones of the test were still viable. A few tweaks were all that was needed.
Susan Black
 Player, 221 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 27 Aug 2019
at 04:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan tried to breathe through her nose as much as possible, in order to keep her mouth from drying out. Her attention only went so far however, and she often caught herself gasping after coming out of a dazed stupor. It must have been a day at least. Or more? Time was impossible to keep track of when she would black out for hours at a time. She couldn't move more than an inch at a time, the pain was too excruciating. Her dried blood was itchy, her swollen skin tight.

   For as long as she could, she would keep her attention focused on William. She would give small smiles, assure him that she was feeling alright. Inch by inch, she had moved a hand over to rest it against the wall where William sat. A small thing, but to feel closer to him, made her feel better.
William Blake
 player, 236 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 27 Aug 2019
at 05:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William rested both hands by where she had put her hand, his knuckles and the backs of his fingers pressed against the divide. He sat cross-legged with his knees also up against the divide, occasionally resting his forehead on the clear wall. His healing body ached. When she was asleep, he stretched and dozed. When she was awake and talking, he talked with her. He encouraged her, told her how well she was doing, told her he loved her. He tried to think of things to talk about, small, normal things. But he couldn't. He didn't remember how. His mind was too full of Susan, hurt.

When they came for him, the dam inside William finally broke. The moment he heard the door hiss open behind him, a sob forced its way out, and tears began falling. "Love you," he choked as he scrambled to his feet and turned to face the orderlies. When the two men reached for him, he slapped their hands away and made a run for the door; but he wasn't quick enough on bruised legs. He felt a hand brush the back of his shirt and miss, but another closed on his arm, pulling him up short. He twisted and pulled, but the orderly kept his grip, allowing the other to wrap his arms around William's neck in a half-nelson. They dragged him towards the door, and when he started kicking the other orderly had to grab his legs. William bucked in their arms, but they carried him away. The door hissed closed behind them.
Susan Black
 Player, 222 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 27 Aug 2019
at 23:24
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Tears spilled from Susan's eyes as she watched, only able to hoarsely whisper his name, and that she loved him too. She cried weakly for a while, and it was silent in the rooms apart from her. Fear gripped her heart in a vice that seemed to choke her. What would they do to him? She clung to what he had told her. They wouldn't kill him. She repeated that to herself until a heavy wave of blackness covered her, eyes fluttering closed. The last thing she heard was the hiss of the door opening as they came for her.
William Blake
 player, 237 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 04:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William lost some time after one of the orderlies choked him out when he wouldn't stop struggling. He woke strapped to a chair in a familiar room; the cold metal extensions on the back of the chair pressed into either side of his neck. In front of him was a plain table, and beyond that a screen mounted into the wall.

This was a testing room. He was about to be evaluated. He struggled to calm himself, but Susan kept flashing into his mind. Susan's blood. Susan's pain. He built up his walls, but his control was slipping; his breathing quickened and it was hard to hold still. The thick strap across his chest felt far too tight. He knew it was pointless to struggle, that it would only get him zapped. His skin crawled in sick anticipation.

Questions started flashing on the screen, stupid stuff like 'Strawberry is to peach like carrot is to..?' and then giving him a few options. A countdown ticked in red numbers in the top right corner.

William's brain was scrambled. What should he do? They hadn't done a test like this on him for so long, it had been one of his few triumphs. He just had to replicate what he'd done before to get them to stop. Gradually making them believe he was broken, but he probably couldn't go back to only answering yes to everything. He'd have time to think about it later. Desperately he tried to get back in his mental state from back then. Cold. Logical. Hopeless. It was far more difficult than he thought it would be.

He began giving answers, getting a few right but mostly slightly wrong. Not wrong enough for punishment. Some he honestly didn't know. Presented with a seemingly random scattering of letters and asked to say what word it was? That one earned him a painful shock when the counter ran to zero. Having to subtract 1,733 from 3,238 in five seconds? Zap. But every time he was jolted with electricity, he tried to make his answers as close to the line as possible. Wavering wildly as often as the questions allowed between mostly right and mostly wrong. Technically right or just barely wrong. The hot agony of electric shock actually helped him get where he needed to be, mentally; soon he barely needed time to consider before he instinctively gave the answer, right or wrong as he felt was appropriate. Anything to throw off their data. Anything than what he actually knew.

It seemed to go on for hours. His chest ached, his neck was burning, his eyes felt dry. His heart felt like it was laboring mightily to just beat. Beat. Beat.

'If Susie has 38 golf balls, a third of which are red and half of which are blue, are only 7 of them green?'

It was yes or no. Not much obfuscating to do. Susie... Susan. His mind tried to latch on to the distraction even as it struggled with the math. Susan... kissing him. Susan, being beaten...
"Y-yes?" Damn, he sounded uncertain. Frightened. A yelp actually escaped him when the electricity coursed through him again, when he'd been silent up til now. He was losing it. Just because he was a wobbly mass of terror inside didn't mean he could show it on the outside.

Thoughts of Susan were supposed to make him stronger! Maybe it was time to unfocus and sink into himself. He'd been shocked enough for that to be believable. He tried and 'failed' to answer the next few questions just in case, then just fell silent, shuddering, waiting for the next shock. He let himself start to be more vocal about the pain. No screaming, though. Just grunting and more yelps. He was still aware of the questions, though his vision was getting blurry. It was time to be wary of tricks. Sure enough, one question flashed for only a moment before disappearing: 'If Susan were dying and Will could save her by dying himself, would he?'

He only spasmed a little. Was Susan dying?! He tried to turn the spasm into a more relaxed sort of wiggle, like he was only adjusting to get more comfortable. He struggled to keep his face the same, not let his concern show. No. They wouldn't let her die. Pointless question. But... would he? When he believed, although it was deep and hidden and shameful, that death was the only escape? Would he let her go and stay behind, alone?

"Yes."

He wasn't even aware that he had said it out loud. The ramifications of his thoughts were too horrible to keep dwelling on, and another sob escaped. She would hate him if he did that... he would hate himself. He had been so angry at her for suggesting something similar, so horrified at the thought of being alone... He was a hypocrite. He didn't deserve her. His desperation to make her pain stop didn't justify making that kind of a decision for her.

Pointless, he told himself. Won't happen anyway. They just asked to unsettle him. But no shock came. He thought that was odd; when he was silent, he always got a shock.

***

In the observation room, Dr. Horrible's face twisted into a grin. "Gotcha," he sneered, unaware that the question on the screen wasn't the question that William had just answered.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:07, Wed 28 Aug 2019.

Susan Black
 Player, 223 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 05:14
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan woke suddenly, painfully. After a moment of wildly looking around the recovery room, she settled and held her breath. She was strapped down, probably to keep her in the bed and attached to the IV in her arm. She was bandaged and clean, the swelling was down and she was no longer throbbing. She slowly let out her breath. She was alone.

   She leaned her head back against the elevated mattress and closed her eyes, her mouth silently working to form the name, William... over and over. What were they doing to him? Was the Doctor making demands of him? Lying to him? Had she been lied to? She knew that she had been tricked before. She didn't know what to believe.. She knew she believed in William. If he said that they wouldn't kill them, then he was alive. She would see him again.

   Her mind raced feverishly through those thoughts for some time, and she waited.
William Blake
 player, 238 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 14:46
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"As you are all aware," Dr. Horrible began as he stood before his collegues, "This last battery of tests didn't go quite according to the predictions. It was intense, as desired; engendered the feelings intended, mostly, but with quite a few add-ons. Because of these... extra variables, not as much was gleaned as could have been. A slight re-work is in order."

Ideas were bounced back and forth, rejected, exhumed, considered, toyed with, shot down. Eventually they settled on a plan.

"So, final pass. For the duration of one month, the subjects will be kept apart, rotated back into the regular experiment schedule, and will receive no news of the other from any source. Make sure everyone gets the memo, people. When they ask, say nothing, give away nothing. Ignore them. The only acceptable response is mild confusion.

"The girl needs to be handled very, very carefully during this time. There's no chance they'll forget about each other, of course, but we want her to be as distracted as possible. As little time to think on him as we can manage. When we bring them back together we want it to be... jarring for her. We keep trying to break her physically, but no arduous mental tests until after that breaking point.

"As for the boy... he is being resistant to our evaluations, but he let one little thing slip. His desire to die remains in place. Buried deep under his new optimism, but still there. He admitted he would die to save the girl. Going directly against his new 'creed'. This contradiction will be instrumental in... re-breaking him."


***

When William opened his eyes, he was lying down on a cot in a large room full of cots, most of them occupied. His wrists and ankles were shackled to the thin bed frame. Two nurses were leaning over him, one male, one female. He didn't recognize either of them. His brain still felt fried from that brutal question and answer session. "Awake," one said. "Find the vein." The other leaned over and prodded at his arm. He felt a cold swab of iodine, then a pinch as an IV was inserted. They made notes on a clipboard, then moved on to the next bed.

William sat up as far as he could, craning his neck to look around himself with bleary eyes. He couldn't see Susan. Where was she? Was she alright?

His arm felt cold. He looked down at the IV, and let himself fall back. What was this? He wanted to speak out, wanted to ask, but he didn't want to draw attention to himself. He decided to bide his time. The cold spread, and William dozed, occasionally shivering. The nurses came by to check him from time to time, making notes on their clipboards. Suddenly, a few cots away, a man started screaming. Then, a minute later, the man next to him. Then the next man. All their IV bags were empty. His was on its last few drops. William closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. Whatever this was, it wouldn't kill him. Wherever Susan was, she was alive. He had a hope of seeing her again. When and where these monsters wanted, but he would see her again. Hopefully soon.

He suddenly felt like all of his skin had been torn off in one tug, like a magician yanking a tablecloth out from under glassware. William couldn't help it; he screamed right along with everyone else.
Susan Black
 Player, 224 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 28 Aug 2019
at 16:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Two days must have gone by before they moved her. During that time, they had fed her, tended to her bruising body and hadn't told her anything. She could see through both eyes again, but the reflection she caught of herself in the metal bars of the bed was ghastly. She was bristling and fidgeting with worry for William and the unknowns. When they came and released her from the bed, she was stiff and it was still next to impossible to move much. An orderly on each side, her arms in their tight grips, she was marched unsteadily from the room.

   She expected to be led back to the divided room. But her trip was much shorter and she was taken into a different room. The floor and walls were lined with panels about two foot by two. She was pushed inside and the door was closed and locked. She stood for a moment in confusion, wondering where William was. A panel on the floor under her bare right floor illuminated and she only had a second before an electric shock shot up into her foot and sent searing pain through her tender body. She gasped sharply and lurched away from the panel as the light under it went out.

   Realization dawned as the new panel she was standing on lit up. She willed her broken body into action, and was quick enough to reach the wall before the buzz of the panel electrocuted her. She was panting already and moaned as the panel she was leaning against lit up. She wasn't fast enough, and choked as the shock jumped through her. She stumbled away, and almost started to cry as the panel she stood on came to light.

   She lurched, stumbled and fell in her attempts to avoid the painful shocks. But the movements where enough to make her vision darken, her body protesting to the physical demands with burning pain. Soon, she was crying out more and more. She was breathless and exhausted. When a panel under her foot, and the panel under her hand shocked her at the same time, her body stiffened and she fell. The Panels under her illuminated and she simply closed her eyes, knowing she wouldn't be able to get away. The shocks made her convulse and she screamed. They kept the voltage going for another few seconds, then it all shut off. Susan lay on the floor panting and twitching. She looked with bleary eyes to the two orderlies that came into the room. They picked her up under the arms, and dragged her out and back to the recovery bed.
William Blake
 player, 240 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 2 Sep 2019
at 07:22
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
It felt like weeks. Experiment after experiment, just like it used to be. After a few days, he had finally broken and asked a nurse about Susan. They had just looked at him. Said nothing. He couldn't get the last image of her out of his mind; lying on the floor, covered in blood, swollen with bruises. Was she all right? He ached to hear her voice. He couldn't even be glad that he hadn't seen Dr. Horrible all this time either; surely, he would have told him something about her. Probably something bad, but at least something.

He was lying down in his room, alone. He took a slow breath in through his nose, and exhaled even slower. He felt fine. Sure, he was tired and worn out. Stressed. But physically, he was fine. Totally recovered from the beating. None of the experiments had been invasive, though most had caused pain. It was like... they were trying to get him back to normal. Pretending that none of it had ever happened.

Well, they could mess with his head all they wanted. He would never stop believing in Susan. There was no way they could convince him that he'd made her up, or that she wasn't real. She was too amazing. No way could he have imagined it. His thoughts shied away from the fear that he would never see her again; of course he would. Of course he would. He just had to stay alive.

A cold shock went through him at that thought. What if... that was what they wanted, all along? To make him fight again? To live? He groaned and rolled on his side, burying his face in his hands. No! He didn't want to think this way, but now that he had, it wouldn't leave him alone. He would see her again. He had hope. He did.

A key turned in his door lock with a loud clunk. He felt a spike of terror, like he always did when he heard that sound. He remained motionless, his face covered. The door opened, and people walked in, paused to regard him. He didn't move. He wondered if they were wary; he had tried to run from them a few times now, actually knocked one guy out once. But then they stepped forward, grabbed his arms and pulled him to his feet. They were bouncers. William kept himself relaxed, his head lowered, eyes on the ground. Their grips were tight. Not buying it.

A gurney was wheeled in by a nurse. The bouncers pushed him toward it, started lifting on his arms. He started to climb up, and when he turned to lay down one of them let go of him. He tried to jerk his arm free of the other guy and roll off the other side of the gurney to make a run for it and try to find Susan, but the bouncer held on. So he lunged back and tried to bite the bouncers giant hand, but the man grabbed a handful of his hair and stopped him cold.

He struggled, but the two bouncers and the nurse managed to get the padded leather cuffs around his ankles, then a strap across his chest, then cuff his wrists too. They even secured his head with a strap across his forehead. Finally they strapped a gag onto him by holding his nose until he almost passed out. Then they tossed a rag over his face so he couldn't see, and wheeled him out of his room.

He tried to relax during the short journey. He was wheeled into a room and the rag was taken from his face. The ceiling lights blinded him. He heard another gurney wheeled into place beside him, but he couldn't turn his head to see. His left arm was untied and pulled off to the side. He fought, but they secured it again, sticking straight out from him with his palm facing up. They did the same to the person next him, except with their right arm. He could tell because suddenly he felt the other persons fingers brush his. They reached out for him, questing. So the person beside him wasn't one of the brain-dead subjects. Was it Susan? He tried to reach for the palm and draw letters like they used to, but it was too far. He tried to do it on just the fingers, but the other person wouldn't hold still. So he held still, holding his hand flat. But no letters were drawn. The other person just felt at him, tracing his fingers with theirs.

A nurse stepped up, holding a tray of tools or something. He couldn't tell. The nurse busied for a bit, then spoke. "Subject One," he said, addressing William. "You will be handed a controller with two buttons. The right one represents Subject Two. The left one represents you. I will administer burns of increasing intensity to whichever subject you indicate. If you drop the remote, you will both receive burns. To begin, superficial burns will be applied to both of you. Then, only to whom you indicate. Do you understand?"

William remained motionless. The nurse brought something close to his face, something hot. Hot enough to make him wince even though it didn't touch him. "Understand?" William nodded. The nurse turned away. A moment later he heard a slight hiss. A gasp from Subject Two, and a muffled, high pitched scream. He could tell by the noises that Subject Two was a woman. Was it Susan?!

The fingers fluttered and tried to squeeze his, but the angle was off. Still, she trapped two of his fingers in hers and squeezed hard while she screamed. Finally it stopped, and the fingers went limp. The nurse turned back, and pressed the hot something against William's arm. He gasped, but didn't scream. He clenched his hand, and felt the barest flutters from Subject Two's fingers. Quickly the hot tool was taken away, and the pain dulled from hot agony to hot throbbing.

"Superficial burns applied." The nurse picked something up and reached across William to his right hand. "Open your hand." William did. The remote was pressed into his hand, and William's thumb guided to the buttons. "Left equals you, right equals them," he was reminded. "Choose. If you take too long, burns will be administered to both of you."

What the hell kind of experiment was this? Was it Susan? So close? He couldn't see. He tried to speak through the gag, but of course he was unintelligible. The nurse ignored it, just looking down at him expectantly.

He couldn't know. If it was Susan, and the choice was up to him, he knew what he had to do. He couldn't take the chance that it wasn't her. So he pressed the left button. A red light lit up somewhere above his head.

"Subect One. Administering first degree burn." The hot tool pressed against the inside of his arm in a different place than the first time. The nurse left it for longer. Tears started to seep from William's eyes as he fought it. Subject Two's fingers kept brushing against his clenched fist.

Breathe, William. You have to breathe through the pain. The tool lifted, and he gasped. The relief was minimal; he could still feel the heat destroying his skin. He tried to wiggle his arm, to free it, but it was clamped down tight at the wrist and just below the shoulder. He could barely move it. The two burns throbbed.

"Subject One. Choose."

Staring at the ceiling through tear-fogged eyes, William pressed the left button. The red light lit up again.

"Subject One. Administering second degree burn." Subject Two's fingers were tapping at his. Once the nurse pressed the hot tool against his skin again, he stopped feeling anything else. Pain. He left it there for an eternity. William could feel it going deeper, deeper, reaching for his very bones to scorch them. He couldn't hold still. His legs jittered, making the shackles rattle. But being so tightly secured meant that there was very little writhing he could do.

When the nurse finally took it away, William tried not to sob. He could barely tell that the hot tool was gone, the pain stayed the same. And he knew it would get worse.

"Subject One. Choose."

He didn't want to. He wanted Susan. Was that really her, next to him? There was no way to tell. Her fingers told him nothing, just fluttering and stroking. But if it was her... Shaking, William hesitated before slowly pressing the left button again.

"Subject One. Administering third degree burn." He pressed the tool against William's bicep, then just got up and left. William shouted after him, screamed into his gag for him to come back, but of course he didn't. No matter how he struggled he couldn't knock it loose. It got as bad as the second degree one, then just kept burning. Deeper and deeper into his skin, his muscle. New layers of nerves were scorched and he felt them all.  It seemed like it was all he would ever feel.

Eons passed. William's skin stopped sizzling. The nurse came back and William thought he would take the tool away, but he didn't. He just leaned over William's arm, poking and prodding, making his other burns hurt more too. William knew begging was useless. So he just kept gasping, groaning, sometimes shouting out an unintelligible swear word. His arm just kept burning.

When he finally took it away, William was actually surprised. He thought it would just be left there until it burned off his whole arm. The nurse took the remote from him. Was it over? But no. The nurse kept poking and prodding, talking out his notes aloud about severity and dermal penetration. Then he unscrewed something, and William felt cool lotion smeared onto his first, superficial burn. The stinging pain eased. The nurse watched in silence for several minutes. His worse burns called out for the same relief, and he shifted, tears still leaking from his eyes.

"Improved color." He poked at it, glancing at William. "Decreased pain response." He poked and prodded some more, going on about skin elasticity and what have you. William wanted to scream at him to get on with it. He still felt like his bicep was on fire. Slowly, the nurse applied the cool lotion to each burn, but it seemed to stop helping after a certain point. William began feeling sick to his stomach. He didn't want to vomit with a gag in his mouth, but it seemed he wasn't going to have a choice. He tried to signal to the nurse, but the man ignored him.

Bile rose powerfully, no chance of trying to force it back down, though he tried. Vomit exploded out around the edges of his gag, and his sinuses burned as it forced its way out through his nose as well. He thought his eyes were going to pop out with the pressure. The nurse watched him heave impassively, but when William started choking and suffocating on his own vomit, he sighed, then reached over and released the strap across Williams forehead. William turned his face away from the nurse so he could more easily take off the gag, and when it came free William vomited everywhere. When it was finally over and he could breathe through his mouth, he lay completely spent, arm burning, face burning, stomach churning. He slowly circled the dizzy drain of consciousness, and fought it so he could do one last thing. He laboriously turned his head and looked at the other gurney, whispering, "Susan?"

It wasn't her. She was too tall, her hair too dark. William couldn't see all of her face, but he knew that wasn't Susan's nose. All that, for a stranger. William wanted to cry, both from frustration, and paradoxically, from relief. She didn't have to lie there and listen to him burn. It was just some crazy fellow captive who took all the punishment for some unknown reason. True, he had suffered, but he would have anyway, Susan or no Susan. The nurse noticed him looking and threw the rag back over his face. With the sudden lack of visual stimulus, William's dizziness increased, and he quickly fell unconscious. It was a relief.
Susan Black
 Player, 227 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 3 Sep 2019
at 05:01
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Feet pounding on the treadmill, heart pounding in her ears, Susan ran. The oxygen mask on her face was slick with her sweat. The monitor wrapped around her upper arm was chaffing. The other women on their own treadmills to either side of her were panting heavily, just as she was. She no longer wondered how long she had been running. Everything burned, and she knew that she would once again be run down to nothing. The adrenaline test dosage had increased, making her capable of running longer, but still causing major shut downs throughout her body.

   She allowed a short wail to escape between her gasping breaths. She wanted to see William. She wanted to feel him. She had asked about him weeks ago, when she was still healing after the beating. Not that her healing had been restful. She could never remember being so continually sore and tired. The nurse had only looked at her quizzically, and hadn't said anything about William. Then the caffeine tests had kept her awake for days. She couldn't focus, couldn't think straight. Couldn't do the math, literature, and science tests that they put in front of her. Shocking her with prods whenever her attention would wander.

   She felt a crippling pain in her abdomen that made her stumble and nearly fall. She managed to catch herself, blinking back tears from the pain. She new that if she fell before she lost consciousness, they would let her drag on the treadmill until she did faint. It had happened before.

   A nurse appeared beside her treadmill and took notes from the readout on her monitors. She blinked back more tears, a wave of shame washing over her. These short periods of shame came when she remembered that, sometimes, days would go by before she could think on William. Where had they taken him? She could only relive her last foggy memories of him being carried out by the orderlies. Every time she had asked after him, she had gotten nothing but exhaustive activities. She hadn't asked for a week. Or had it been two? Now, she only thought about him silently, praying to see him again.

   The woman to her left cried out and fell. She hit the treadmill with a loud slam that made Susan flinch. The woman wasn't unconscious, and she screamed as the tethers kept her rolling and burning on the fast track. Susan kept her gaze on the window in front of her. Four men in coats stood on the other side, clipboards in some hands, laptops in others. None of them were Dr. Horrible. They seemed to be discussing the developments, and at the moment were keenly watching the screaming woman while another nurse cataloged what had failed. Probably her liver, Susan thought. That is what it felt like to her. Like something on the right side of her stomach was twisting itself like a thorny rag. All she could think about was the burning throughout her body.

   She gasped, black spots dancing before her vision. The screaming beside her finally stopped when the woman blacked out. Susan longed for that dark oblivion. It came to her not long after, and as she fell, the last thing she felt was the burn of the track on her knees and hands.


                                                                                             *  *  *



   A few days later, Susan cracked. She had been instructed and forced to carry sixty pound bags from one end of a large room to the other. When all had been brought to one end, they made her put them back by way of electric shocks. After being prodded into moving them back for the third time, Susan had a sack on her shoulder. She couldn't see straight, couldn't walk straight. She felt a shock on her back and gasped, not even realizing that she had dropped to her knees.

   She looked up at the orderly with the prod, her glazed eyes dark. He electrocuted her again and she convulsed, dropping the sack and falling onto her side. "No, no, no, no, no.." she mumbled, putting her shaking hands over her ears and pinching her eyes shut. Even that position was too difficult to hold for more than a few seconds. She was delirious. Only a tiny bit of her mind felt calm, and all it could say was, 'You're broken.'

   She thrashed under another breath stealing shock and lay on her back. She couldn't stop the shaking, couldn't stop the gasping, couldn't stop the crying. She realized that she was sobbing. The cries were racking her body and all she could think was, 'Broken..' When she felt, deep down, that she wanted to think about someone... Someone that brought her comfort, not pain. He had dark hair.. Broad shoulders. Susan shuddered and couldn't stop sobbing. How desperately she wanted to focus on that person, on him. "No, no, no, no." she blubbered, her eyes rolling as somebody picked her up and carried her from the room. His name flashed through that small, calm part of her brain, 'William,' and she sighed, her head lolling from side to side as she was carried down the hallway.
William Blake
 player, 242 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 3 Sep 2019
at 21:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Was it worth it to keep fighting? Susan wasn't around. Should he keep trying to run, trying to make them work for everything they got from him? It was so exhausting... the punishments were excruciating... but he had to. Susan probably was. It was a way for him to feel close to her. He had fought until a blow to the head dazed him. He woke to find himself back in the evaluation room. He groaned. This was, what? The fifth or sixth time? The electrodes pressed coldly into the sore spots on either side of his neck.

What had he done last time? He had... babbled. After only a few shocks he had pretended to go into a frantic panic. He had answered the questions as quickly as he could, just jabbering out one of the options or giving a random answer that sounded viable to anything else. When he had been shocked, he let himself scream.

Today? Perhaps he would be silent. Perhaps he would answer only a certain type of question. He wasn't sure. He waited for the test to begin so he could make a decision. The first question flashed up onto the screen, the red countdown to pain beside it. The sentence started with a W. Probably most of them would. He decided he wouldn't answer questions that started with a W. He giggled. When he didn't give an answer, he was shocked. He forced out another giggle. Let them figure that behavior out.

The bandages on his arm itched. The burns were still healing. He checked if the next question started with a W. It did, so he ignored it, letting his gaze wander around the bare room. He pretended Susan was there, giving him fiery encouragement the way she used to. He pretended she told a joke, and he laughed until the shock cut it off sharply. The next question was 'Does red and blue make purple?' He answered as alertly and clearly as he could. "Yes." The question disappeared and he wasn't shocked. And so it went on.

Until once, when he glanced to check the first letter, an image flashed on the screen for less than a second. It shocked him to his core.

Susan, on her side, curled into a fetal position, hands over her ears, eyes closed, pain in every line of her body. It was there and gone so quickly, but it threw off his strategy. What question was this? It didn't start with a W. He had to answer. But he couldn't focus. The question just echoed in his head, the words sounding strange and foreign. He couldn't comprehend them. So he just said "No," as strongly as he could. He must have gotten lucky. No shock came. The next question started with a W so he took a moment to process.

Susan was out there, alone. Fighting alone. Was she thinking of him? Was she staying strong? He tried not to worry; it wouldn't help anyone. But there was lump in his throat. She had felt so fragile the last time he'd been with her... a shock stiffened his body, and he laughed, the sound crackly from his sore throat.

The next question. He glanced up, and the image of Susan flashed again. Concentrate on the question. It didn't start with W. It said, 'A three letter word, when put in front of the following words, makes a new word. Name the word. FUSE, CLAIM, DUCT, CREATE, FIT, FOUND, LONG.'

Oh no. He had such a hard time with these ones. He pursed his lips and stared at the list. He narrowed his focus to the first two. If he could figure those out, the rest should fall in place. Words buzzed through his head, trying not to get derailed by the name Susan. Ah, he got lucky again. It came to him quickly.

"Pro." No shock. He didn't want to think about some of those words.

The next several questions started with W. His mind wandered between shocks. He giggled and laughed at every odd thought. But when he happened to look up once, the image of Susan was back. But it moved. An electric prod jabbed her in the back and she convulsed. His body stiffened, his mouth opened, he was about to call out to her... but stopped himself. The clip ended and disappeared, replaced by a question that started with W. He couldn't make himself laugh. But he had to keep up appearances. He knew it was important.

Should he give in to the rage? At least a little. Just to clear his head. The next giggle he made sounded more sinister than anything else. He hoped it was enough. He hated them. He hated them so much... no. He couldn't get into that now. He had to concentrate.

He got through the rest of the test without breaking his facade again. They dragged him back to his room. Dropped him on the floor. He crawled into bed, and wept.
Susan Black
 Player, 228 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 03:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   At first, Susan thought they had weighed her body down with heavy irons. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she wasn't even tied down. Only one orderly stood behind her, muscled arms folded. She was sitting in an examination chair, sensors and electrodes attached to her head, neck, back and arms. Why was everything so murky? She knew they hadn't let her sleep merely doze in a half conscious state. She was so sore, after her muscles were torn over and over with no real rest period, she wondered if she would ever feel good in her own skin again. Staying in her chair took most of her concentration. She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again, her memory crashing back, bringing with them a shake that was strongest between her shoulder blades. She couldn't make it stop.

   She closed her eyes and kept them closed, refusing to look at the screen before her. She shook so violently that her teeth clacked, and she solidly clenched them together. Focus! She thought harshly, attempting to piece together the image of William in her minds eye.

  A small zap, not enough to hurt, jolted her and she opened her eyes. The screen before her had a picture of a woman and the question; Is this person: Sad, happy, confused, or angry?

   Susan said nothing, she didn't want to. Her fear of being broken was physically crippling. After she was carried out of the room with the heavy sacks, she had cried, screamed and shut down. She hoped that the small, quiet part of her mind was her own. She hoped that it meant that she was still in control of herself. That she wasn't letting William down. The lump that came to her throat at the thought hurt. She imagined she heard his voice, echoing through the raging chaos that was the rest of her mind..

   Electric pain lanced through her exhausted body and she nearly fell over, gasping. She laboriously reached up to grab hold of the sides of the desk before her, "No." she said forcefully, thinking that if her body couldn't fight anymore, she had a voice. William would want her to fight. To fight now. A lancing stab of fear chilled her, could she still fight? Was he there to fight for?

   The image of an old woman came up. Is this person: Healthy or sick?

   What kind of questions were these? She waited, watching the timer count down. When it ran out, she was electrocuted and it made her want to cry. It hurt so much. "No!" Susan shouted. She couldn't think of anything else to say. It felt that, right now, the word 'no' was an encapsulation of everything she was, and a denial of where she was. Everything was wrong!

   The image of a dark haired man appeared. Susan sat up a fraction straighter, blinking when she confirmed that it wasn't William. It looked a lot like him though. She looked down at the question; Is this person: Alive or dead?

   Susan's mouth dropped open, and before she could fully comprehend what she had seen, the screen flickered and presented a different person, and a different question. It was her own picture.. She couldn't keep her gaze from looking at the words at the bottom. Is this person: Alone?

   Susan drew in a deep breath and started screaming. She screamed like she was being ripped apart, because screaming was easier than thinking. She gripped the desk and screamed through the electric shock, tears clinging to her lashes. She reached up and began tearing the sensors from her body, the orderly behind her stepped over and easily restrained her, pinning her weak arms to her sides. She kept screaming, and focused on the noise she was making. She didn't want to think about anything, and the noise was her own distraction.

   Two more questions came and went while she shrieked. A desperate defense, but it was still easier to scream than to think about how much she was hurting. A nurse came in, removed the sensors, and the orderly bundled Susan out of the room while she screamed.
William Blake
 player, 243 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 05:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sat and tried to be tranquil. Legs crossed, hands relaxed and open in his lap. Eyes closed. Head bowed.

He had to re-adjust. Things around him were changing. There were aspects to some of these tests and experiments that he had to be prepared for. Things involving Susan.

He carefully controlled his breathing. It wasn't hard to remember how to do this. He could almost hear his mother's voice, guiding him through, relaxing him. The difference was, now he could sit still. Now, he could concentrate, focus, hear nothing in his mind but white noise.

Re-adjust. Re-center. Susan. She was his center. Thinking of her made his heart go all shivery and achy, made his throat constrict with fear. He remembered the first time she kissed him. The first time she made him angry. He remembered how she had saved him when he had broken. He had to be ready. Ready to save her.

The clip of her they had shown him tried to play in his mind. No. He saw it. He knew. They were hurting her. She was going to need him.

He wanted to keep crying. He had cried most of the night. It just hurt so badly, knowing that she was somewhere, alone, hurting. Suffering.

Thinking of his mother made him think of his father. How badly he had wanted to make things like his father did. To write. Most of the little schooling his parents had given him centered around literature. And he had loved music. He had gone so long without it. But being back in his old cell; seeing the lyrics carved into the wall had brought a lot of it back. Songs he had memorized. Poems, soliloquies. Maybe now...

His eyes flew open at the thought. He could sit still now. Maybe he could write something. Something for Susan. He bowed his head again, thinking. Yes. A poem or a song. Something.

And just like that, words flowed. They came haltingly, cautiously, but they came. Drawn from all he knew, all he felt. All that Susan had reawakened in him.

He needed to write.

Ripping at the bandage on his arm, he uncovered one of his burns. Barely wincing, he tore at the scab. Blood welled onto his fingers. He stood and reached out for the wall, and hesitated. This was only for Susan. She would be the first to know it. In code, then.

William smeared his blood in symbols that he attached phrases to in his mind. Sometimes he spat on his other hand and removed a symbol, or moved it to a new place. His head felt hot, and he worked feverishly, the only sound his own breathing and the slow drip, drip, drip of blood from his fingers.

He had a strange sense of deja vu. He had strong flashbacks to kneeling beside the cinderblocks in his old cell, fourteen years old, frantically scratching with the stub of a screw until his fingers cramped. He kept it sharpened on the metal toilet. He dug and carved and tore at those walls, but only deep enough for words, important words. When they had broken him, he had used that screw to slit his wrists. The scars were faded, almost gone, just dark lines among many on his body.

He had to tell her. How she had saved him. How he loved her, forever.
Susan Black
 Player, 229 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 22:31
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan was finally given time to sleep. It couldn't have been more than a few hours, but curling up on her bed and falling asleep as soon as she had closed her tired eyes had felt blissful. William had walked through her foggy dreams, smiling at her and reaching for her. As hard and as fast as she had run, she couldn't catch him.

   "Wake up!" a voice shouted. Susan came awake abruptly and opened her eyes with heavy foreboding. She was dragged from her bed and roughly set on her feet. She swayed, feeling little rested after her short sleep. A rotund examiner with glasses as round as his belly came into focus before her. His nurse stood behind him with her laptop on a small portable desk. The orderly behind her tightened his grip on the back of her neck in warning.

   His examination began. He checked her eyes, ears, mouth, lungs, and heart. All the while dictating notes to the nurse, "Decreased vision by .2%, still some bruising. Hearing is fine. Schedule a dental checkup. Lungs are strong." He listened to her heart for a long time, his eyes closing and his head nodding slightly. He leaned back with a trademark doctor sigh, "Weakened heart. Some murmuring." The nurse set a scale on the ground and Susan was placed on it, getting a pinch from her orderly to stand still. She looked down at the display and gulped. She had dropped to a dangerously low weight, it frightened her. William wasn't around, and now her body couldn't be relied on.

   These men of science... Susan's thought trailed off and she paused to think for a moment. William's words came back to her, 'Maybe it's not how you should fight.' But what would William do? She let herself wander down that path for a while.

   Picking her up from the scale and sitting her on the bed, the orderly resumed his position beside her. The doctor checked her reflexes, and didn't have a positive response. He turned to the nurse as he was finishing up, "If the scheduled tests proceed as planned, the subject will most likely suffer permanent damage. Be sure to pass that along." he said offhandedly.

   Susan raised her head slowly, her voice low and rough, "Did you hear that?" she asked. She hadn't heard anything, but the nurse and doctor turned back to look at her quizzically, stopping what they were doing to listen.

   She paused, enjoying what she knew would be a fleeting moment of power. Cocking her head to the side, she raised her eyebrows, "Ah. It's just your bullshit!" she shouted, fighting weakly against the orderly in an effort to stand up. The doctor and nurse winced against her sudden yell, and moved toward the door with a tightness in their shoulders that betrayed their annoyance to Susan. She couldn't stand up past the orderly, but kept shouting, "What a performance! You're all liars!"

   The orderly put a finger to his ear, paused while he received instruction, and nodded, "Punishment." he said, wrapping a hand around her throat. It surprised Susan so much that she gasped, panic seized as her air was cut off. She reached for his hand and tried to pry his fingers away, to no avail. He turned her by the neck and forcefully lowered her to the bed, deflecting her wild kicks with his other hand. Susan choked and struggled, she could feel the cold darkness closing in on her. Agony, fighting to draw breath, her lungs bucking in pain. Was he going to kill her?! She scratched his hand and arm, drawing blood. Tears ran into her hair as she closed her eyes, her lips turned blue and her writhing body jerked weakly this way and that. Eyes rolling back, her mouth open in desperation for air, she shuddered and slowly fell still.

   William's face fluttered in her mind the second before the darkness swept her away.


   In the room, the orderly waited a moment after she went still before releasing her bruised throat. The fat doctor returned and checked her, nodding to his nurse. They set a brace around her neck while the orderly secured her wrists and ankles to the bed. Assuring themselves of her condition, they left her there, wheezing in tiny breaths.
William Blake
 player, 244 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 13 Sep 2019
at 19:14
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sat on the battered metal chair in his room, strapped in a straitjacket. His ankles were secured to the chair. He stared at the symbols he had dabbed and smeared all across one grimy white wall. Sometimes his lips twitched with a mouthed word or two.
There was a doctor in the room with him, but William was completely ignoring him, his voice a dull buzzing. He was asking why, what they meant, what he was thinking. William didn't answer. His mind was too full of words.

Words for Susan, and no one else. They started hurting him to try and make him answer. He was silent. They zapped him. Struck him. They covered his mouth and nose and nearly suffocated him, but still he said nothing. Not even when they produced that hot tool that had burned him before, and threatened his feet with it.

What felt like hours later, the words were still safe in his head, but he had to concentrate everything he had left to not speak them aloud. He waited for more pain, but nothing came. Finally he brought enough of his wits together to look around the room. The orderlies were gone, there was just a single doctor left, standing silently in front of him. He made himself look up at them.

It was Dr. Horrible. Cold terror flashed through him, and he dropped his head to hide it. He saw bloodstains on the front of the straitjacket. Saw the angry red burns in neat lines across the tops of his feet. He let himself start to get angry. He had to defend against this man.

"It's simple to see that you are planning something with all this." The doctor waved at the symbols on the wall. "We just want to know exactly what. Tell me."

"Take me to Susan." William spoke in a thick whisper. "I'll tell you if you take me to her."

Dr. Horrible was silent. He stepped closer, then moved his shoe to William's feet, pressing down on the burns. William hissed in a breath. "Susan," he demanded on the exhale.

"Who?" Dr. Horrible asked, slowly starting to twist his shoe back and forth, pressing down with more of his weight.

William controlled his breathing, fighting mightily to keep his eyes clear of tears. He would not tell him, especially not him. "You... know my demands. Hurt me all you want. I. Won't. Talk." As he spoke, he lifted his head to stare into the doctors eyes. He made himself keep eye contact while the spiteful man ground down harder on his foot. Finally, with one last savage twist, Dr. Horrible stepped away. William kept staring at him, the urge to look down at his feet almost overpowering him. But he fought it.

"Hmm." The doctor stepped around him and left the room. William sat alone for several minutes before nurses and orderlies arrived. They cleaned and bandaged his wounds, then untied his ankles and made him stand. He was too weary to fight back, until he saw an orderly step up to the wall with a bucket and sponge. The man waggled the sponge at him.

"Last chance," he said. William looked at the symbols. He had it all in his head. They could erase it and it would still be in his mind. So William started laughing. He laughed as they wiped away the blood. He laughed as they strapped him down to his bed. He laughed as long as he could after they left him alone with his bruises and burns, and he knew that he would see Susan again very soon.
Susan Black
 Player, 230 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 15 Sep 2019
at 00:06
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan was outright crying now. Two orderlies had been battering her around all day, switching with another team when they got tired. They hadn't been beating her exactly, a few punches here and there. She'd been slapped, kicked, shaken and jostled between them for hours and hours. She was utterly exhausted, they wouldn't let her sit or lay down. She felt like she had been ripped in two. A big, ugly tear between her mind and her sanity. No neat lines drawn or boxes to put herself in. It was chaos, it was raw, and it was red.

   She stumbled and fell while sniffling and trying to wipe her face with her hand. A shoving kick hit her thigh and she rolled onto her side. She wasn't exactly sure what she was saying, but she felt her mouth moving and was aware of her own voice being heard. Was she telling them to stop? Or was it nonsense? She looked up at the man as he stomped at her and raised a threatening fist. Susan flinched back in terror and covered her head with an arm, screaming, "Please!" Wow. A word.

   He grabbed her defending arm and moved it before slapping her soundly across the face. Her crying resumed amidst the stinging. She was dragged to her feet and forced to walk from the room without preamble. Confusion mingled with relief romped through her mind, "I've already been to the dentist." she mumbled while they took a turn. She was stopped before a door that she recognized and her hopes lifted. It was her room. They brought her inside and deposited her on the bed. Then they left.

   The moment of shocked silence broke when Susan noticed a plastic cup of water beside the bed. She snatched it up and gulped it down without a second thought. Replacing the cup, she laid down on the bed and closed her eyes. She only wanted one thing.. She paused, no. Two things. One: To see William. How his image had remained intact in her minds eye was beyond her, and she didn't care to ask. She wondered where he was. Maybe if she found him, he could fix her. She sighed, knowing she had told herself that so many times, and wondering if she believed it still. She wrapped her arms around herself as the familiar pain in her chest whenever she thought of him stung her painfully. Two: To sleep. So she focused, and refocused on William's image as she fell asleep.

                                                                                             *   *   *

   Her awakening was rude, as always, and Susan rubbed her eyes. The raw tear inside her seemed to howl in displeasure at being denied more rest and she kicked angrily at the orderlies that had begun to drag her from the bed. One raised a fist in warning and Susan couldn't stop herself from flinching back. She stopped kicking and dejectedly walked from the room, leaning heavily on the orderlies, "Where are we going?" she asked flatly, directing her question to the faded floor tiles beneath her feet.
William Blake
 player, 245 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 15 Sep 2019
at 04:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderlies didn't answer, just kept walking. They marched her through corridor after corridor, and after a few minutes Susan heard more footsteps fall in place behind her. Occasionally the footsteps fell out of rhythm, and she heard slight scuffling or a grunt. But they always caught up to her again, keeping pace behind her and her escorts.
Susan Black
 Player, 231 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 15 Sep 2019
at 05:59
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
      Susan tried to look over her shoulder, curiosity guiding her movement. The vigilant orderly's hand shot out like lightning to slap her, and she gasped in surprise more than pain. He gripped the back of her neck and bent her head forward, throwing off her gait and making her footfalls heavy and uneven. Her mind raged in it's crushing disorder and she desperately tried to catch and piece together the question that made her stomach clench into knots. If they didn't want her to see who it was, was it William?

   She had to know. Were they just tricking her? She shivered at the thought. How could she dare to raise her hopes so high? She had been tricked so many times before. The  gaping tear inside her thrashed as she was moved along. Now she was too scared to look. If it wasn't him... she worried that she would loose the weak grasp she had on sanity and waste away completely. She felt like such a coward.

   She waited in terrified and shameful silence until they stopped her in front of a door and began to open it. She tried to peek over her shoulder again, and got a peripheral glimpse of the persons behind her.
William Blake
 player, 246 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 15 Sep 2019
at 08:07
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
It was William. She glimpsed his unmistakable shoulders and shaggy hair; and the black blindfold covering his eyes. He couldn't see her, and stood between two orderlies with a grimace on his lips.
Susan Black
 Player, 232 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 16 Sep 2019
at 03:32
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Many things happened at once for Susan. Her mouth opened to scream, tears stung her eyes, and her chest burst into searing flame. "Wi-!" The orderly had finished opening the door and had seen her, clamping his hand over her mouth and turning her shout into muffled nonsense. She screamed into his hand and lurched in their arms, the shot of adrenaline that burst through her fueling her fight. She shook her head, wrenched her arms, and stomped her feet. All while they dragged her through the door and into the room.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:36, Mon 16 Sept 2019.

William Blake
 player, 251 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 17 Sep 2019
at 06:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
It was her. Over all the years of torture, over every helpless humiliation he had experienced, there had never been a greater test of his will and self control as when he stayed silent and still when he heard her voice. He lifted his head, but kept every other sign of recognition from his face. Hopefully, they wouldn't know he knew.

He went over the words again in his mind; their familiar cadence helped calm him. He hated that something so intimate was going to be recorded and studied; but he would say it to Susan first.

He waited for some time, he assumed because they were preparing Susan ahead of him. Then he was led into the room, and his hands were cuffed together and secured above his head. Not tightly; his elbows could still bend. He fought only superficially, not managing to even dislodge the grasping hands. But then they left him alone in blindfolded darkness. He shifted his aching feet and stood quietly.

There wasn't a sound. Was she unconscious? Gagged? Or was she even in here at all? What if it was all a trick and they had already taken her away? He listened carefully, but there was some kind of background hum, maybe from air conditioning. He couldn't detect the presence of anyone. If only he could see.

William had a thought. While they were walking, the orderlies had stopped him from lifting his hands to the blindfold. Now, maybe he could lift the blindfold to his hands. He flexed his arms. He would have to be quick, and he would probably have only a brief glimpse. He felt around his bonds with his fingers. The thick, belted cuffs were connected by a thin chain, which was then held by what felt like a locked carabiner, perhaps attached to the ceiling by a another chain. Maybe it wouldn't hold his weight and he could try running. But he seriously doubted it.

Taking two long breaths through his nose, William gave himself a quick countdown. Three, two, one. Then he grabbed the carabiner with one hand, lifting himself smoothly off the ground with one arm. The fingers of his other hand brushed against his forehead; so close-- his arm started shaking as he lifted himself just a little higher. He managed to get his fingers under the bottom edge of the cursed blindfold, then let his arm relax. As he thumped back the floor, the blindfold was yanked free. He held it in a clenched fist.

The first thing he saw was Susan, tied to a chair a few feet away. She was gagged. Her eyes were open but unfocused and dazed. There was no one else in the room. This was his chance, but she had to snap out of whatever they had done to her, fast. Once they saw what he had done, they would be back in here, soon.

"Susan?" he asked with soft urgency.
Susan Black
 Player, 236 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 17 Sep 2019
at 17:33
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan fought to focus on William, her head lolling from side to side seemingly of its own accord. The blow to her temple had made her ears ring, adding to the raging noise the angry tear inside of her was making. How on earth was she going to focus?! She was so angry at her sanity for breaking, so terrified all the time. How desperately she wanted him to hold her, to feel safe and loved. And he was there, he was right there! She blinked hard, and heard his voice say her name. It was a soothing balm and an electric shock all at once. She looked at him again and saw that his blindfold was off. Her shoulders heaved with the intensity of the emotion that welled from her chest. She smiled as much as she could around the gag, tears springing to her eyes as she made a soft sound of relief.

   She searched his face intently, her eyes wild and desperate. She twisted her tied hands in futility, panting sharply through the gag as she attempted to calm her breathing.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:15, Fri 20 Sept 2019.

William Blake
 player, 252 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 23 Sep 2019
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
At her smile, an answering smile bloomed on William's face. Tears sprang to his eyes, her struggle making his heart ache.

"Susan, I made something for you. It's a song. Or a poem, since there's no music. I'm going to recite it to you while we're alone. Okay?" He cleared his throat, oddly nervous. He swallowed past the lump in his throat, and gazed into her eyes as he started speaking, the words in a cadence.


"I can see every tear you've cried
Like an ocean in your eyes
All the pain and the scars have left you cold
I can see all the fears you face
Through a storm that never goes away
Don't believe all the lies that you've been told

I'll show you how to live again
And heal the brokenness within
Let me love you when you come undone."


A room away, doctors consulted their notes and went over their instructions. None were closely watching the screen depicting the two subjects. They were both where they were supposed to be.

"I'm so desperate just to see your face
Meet me in this broken place
It's hard to stand but we won't bow
We won't bow tonight."


William tried not to rush through the words. He knew that time was running out, but was amazed that he had gotten so far already. He would say it all to her.

"I'll walk through the fire
Just to feel you next to me
Hold on to desire
You're the only hope I see
I hate what I have been
Falling apart within
Dying to be unbroken..."


It took two or three glances at the monitor for someone to notice that W. Blake had somehow removed his blindfold. Shock and confusion, shouted orders for orderlies. Then resignation. The experiment would have to be reworked slightly now that he knew S. Black was the other subject. Grumbling, they ordered the orderlies to gag the boy and bent over their notes again.

"Come and find me in the dark now
Every day by myself I'm breaking down
I don't want to fight alone anymore
Bring me out
From the prison of my own mind
I need a hope I can't deny
In the end I'm realizing
I was never meant to fight on my own."


Orderlies walked in and headed toward William, one of them carrying a gag. He saw them, and tucked his head securely between his arms. They reached him and pulled at his arms, but he fought them, kicking and twisting. His voice rose as he kept reciting.

"Every little thing that I've known
Is every thing I need to let go
You're so much bigger than the world I have made
So I surrender my soul
I'm reaching out for your hope
I lay my weapons down
I'm ready for you now."


He was almost finished. Just a few more lines... the hands of the orderlies were reaching for his face, pulling at his arms. They didn't strike him. They must be under orders.

"I don't want to be incomplete
I remember what you said to me
We don't have to fight alone."


He flashed Susan a huge, triumphant smile, and let his arms be pulled away from his face. He was gagged roughly, but the joy and satisfaction in his eyes didn't dim.
Susan Black
 Player, 238 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 25 Sep 2019
at 03:07
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan sat absolutely still and listened to every word, her heart in her eyes. Only William could make her feel safe, loved and worth saving while they were kept apart. She hadn't felt this warm in so long. The angry chasm inside of her was quiet and still, and she couldn't stop smiling at him. She didn't cry, didn't tremble. She luxuriated in the peace that only William could bring, wanting to hold him and thank him for what he had just given her.

   She extended the thumb, pointer, and pinky fingers of her left hand while keeping her two middle fingers curled to her palm. Hoping he knew that it meant 'I love you', and wishing for a more eloquent way to express how much she truly loved and needed him.
William Blake
 player, 255 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 25 Sep 2019
at 04:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
It took William a moment to remember what that gesture meant. Then he smiled back and signed the same sign back at her. It had helped her. He could see it. No matter what they did now, he had given Susan what he had made for her.

They were left alone in that room for ages, just looking at each other. William's hands gradually went numb. His burned feet ached. He didn't care. He knew this was going to be bad, and wanted to drink in her presence, the sight of her, for as long as he could.

Eventually two orderlies came in. One of them took the gag off of Susan, but they left William as he was.
Susan Black
 Player, 239 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 25 Sep 2019
at 16:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan sat stiffly for a few silent moments after her gag was taken out, unsure and flighty. She decided it was worth the risk and said quietly, "Thank you, Will. I missed you." she kept her eyes on him and smiled tremulously.
William Blake
 player, 257 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 28 Sep 2019
at 16:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderlies remained where they were, silent. A moment later, Dr. Horrible walked in, his eyes on a neatly stapled printout in his hands. He stopped close to Susan, flipped a page, and kept reading.

William took a deep breath through his nose and stood still, actively trying not to shuffle uncomfortably. His eyes flicked between the doctor and Susan, his dread plain to see.
Susan Black
 Player, 240 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 29 Sep 2019
at 02:12
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan refused to look up at the doctor, her own gaze sliding from Will to the floor down to her right. She pressed her lips together and tried to slow the quick pounding of her heart. A whimper was trying to claw its way up her throat, and she swallowed hard to keep silent. She looked back to William through her lashes, her hands slowly clenching into fists.
William Blake
 player, 258 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 1 Oct 2019
at 04:40
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The silence stretched on and on. Finally, Dr. Horrible smirked at his papers, and glanced up at William. "Am I correct in assuming that this... poem... nonsense is what you were scribbling on your wall?"

William blinked, looked at Susan, then looked back at the doctor. He shook his head.

The doctor raised an eyebrow. "No? Well then. I suppose our agreement still stands. I brought you to her. Now you tell me what they meant."

He nodded to an orderly, and the man stepped around behind William and snapped off the gag. William opened his mouth wide for a moment, stretching his sore muscles. First he looked at Susan, gave her a quick, tight-lipped smile. Then his dark eyes moved back to the onerous doctor.

"They were for you," he lied. "What I said to Susan was just to comfort her. You see, I realized something. This place... you, all you've done... it's all made me who I am. And she loves me. Perhaps despite all that, but still. She loves me." He smiled at her again, this time a big, full-faced grin.

The doctor seemed to accept this, and impatiently tried to move William along. "What do they mean? These symbols for me?"

"I used them to help me remember," he explained. "Words. Phrases. Do you want me to recite it for you?" William did have some words for the doctor. They roiled blackly in his mind, laden with bile and bitter hatred. He smiled emptily at the doctor, eyes blank. He had to be careful.
Susan Black
 Player, 241 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 2 Oct 2019
at 00:23
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   It was hard for Susan to describe the feeling she had. He had bargained in order to see her. He had given her a poem from his heart. He knew she would need help, he had been where she was and that gave her hope. She didn't take her eyes off of him, living for each smile. She smiled back in response to his big grin, but couldn't stop the nagging worry at the back of her mind. What was he going to say? She could see the look in his eyes, and while it made her immensely proud, she still worried about the aftermath. She still refused to look up at the doctor, the gaping tear inside of her threatening to rise up at scream at him. So she kept her eyes firmly fixed on William.
William Blake
 player, 259 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 20:59
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor huffed impatiently. "That's what I've brought you here for, isn't it?"
William forced himself not to glance at the orderlies. He wondered if the doctor would let him finish, or if he would get mad. Before fear could stop him, William smiled and started speaking.

"Milk us for all we're worth
Make sure you get them first
The apple of your eye
The rotten core inside."


Dr. Horrible folded his arms, a dissatisfied sneer growing on his lips.

"We are all prisoners
Things couldn't get much worse
I've had it up to here
You know your end is near!"


William spat the words out, and a wild joy threatened to send him into gales of insane laughter at the look of incredulous disbelief on the doctors face. He fought the impulse and kept speaking, locking his head between his arms again as the next few words brought color to the doctors face and he motioned the bouncers forward.

"You had to have it all
Well, have you had enough?
You greedy little bastard, you will get what you deserve
When all is said and done
I will be the one--"


A bouncer punched him in the gut. He was tensed for it, but it still knocked the air out of him. A few more blows and they were able to get his arms away from his face and put the gag back on. William dissolved into helpless laughter at last. The doctor stood stonily silent for a few seconds before taking angry steps forward, getting right up in William's face.

"Think this is funny, do you? Your girlfriend is tied to a chair, you're shackled to the ceiling, and you think this--" he pulled a scalpel from a pocket and shoved it before William's eyes, "Is funny?!"

William couldn't stop laughing. The threats took his breath away, but the fear just made the laughter come out harder. His legs were threatening to collapse, he was laughing so hard. Finally, white hot pain snapped him out of it, as the doctor cut him, his anger making the movement quick and savage. The scalpel opened a shallow wound from the top of his shoulder to the top of his chest. William gasped, the laughter finally stopping.
Susan Black
 Player, 242 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 12 Oct 2019
at 04:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan had watched with her mouth agape and her heart pounding, not realizing that she was leaning as far forward as she could in the chair. She had moved her mouth several times, but no sound had come out. When the doctor cut William with the scalpel, a strangled gasp escaped her and she strained as she leaned toward him. The blood on his chest jolted her and Susan found her voice, "He's right." she said, finally looking at the doctor. Fear was roiling over her in heavy waves, but she wanted to get the words out before the gaping tear inside overwhelmed her again, she could feel it opening up to swallow her whole.

    "Your time is almost up. Asshole." She was shaking, and chilled, but she had said it with the hope that it would help William feel that he wasn't alone.
William Blake
 player, 260 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 12 Oct 2019
at 06:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Dr. Horrible's head snapped around to Susan, splotches of red on his gaunt cheeks, his thin lips pressed together so hard they were almost invisible. Then the corner of his mouth twitched in a little smirk. He cut William again, the blade slowly gliding along the line of William's collarbone. The doctor kept his eyes on Susan, watching for her reaction. More blood stained the front of William's shirt red. For William's part, he squeezed his eyes shut, but made no noise.
Susan Black
 Player, 243 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 12 Oct 2019
at 20:30
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   She knew what he was doing. It frightened her because it was working. An iron fist closed around her heart in a hot, painful manner. The tear inside of her came awake with a deafening roar that shook her to her core. Susan flinched, her hands clenching tighter as she watched the blood on William's shirt spread.

   "No." she said simply, as if she had been asked if she liked pickles. She started shaking her head, and found that she couldn't, or wouldn't, stop. "No." she repeated, shivering in her seat. It felt as though the tear had turned into crashing waves, buffeting her from the inside in a wild bid for release, her skin the only thing keeping her together.
William Blake
 player, 261 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 12 Oct 2019
at 23:29
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor stepped away from William and gave a short, calming sigh, feeling once again in control. "Now. What are we going to do with you two? Hm?"

As William watched Susan shake her head, he desperately wished he could speak. The lines of hot pain drawn by the scalpel barely registered; he could see her sinking.

"Subect S. Black? Any suggestions?" Dr. Horrible stepped to her as he spoke, lowering the scalpel towards her face. William's stomach froze in terrified ice.
Susan Black
 Player, 244 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 05:25
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   With a shudder, Susan fell still, her eyes focused on the scalpel. She couldn't hold onto any thought for more than a moment, they slipped from her grasp like shards of ice. She looked past the small blade to William, her eyes reflecting her desperation. "My name is Susan." was all she could think to say, and it came out quietly, "I hate you." she glanced at the doctor harshly, before looking back to William with a softer expression, "And I love him." she shivered under the doctors oppressive crowding, "And you hate us, because you'll never understand that. Or have it."

   The doctor's left hand shot out and roughly grabbed her by the jaw, the anger back in his eyes. Susan cried out weakly, suddenly feeling overheated, yet somehow still cold. The scalpel hovered over her eyes, steady in his grip, "Perhaps it's possible to cut it out of you." he mused ponderously.

   Every muscle in Susan's body was clenched, and she couldn't help the stifled sob that came out past the doctors pale fingers.
William Blake
 player, 262 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 06:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The scalpel's cutting edge brushed against her cheek, but didn't bite. It lingered there for several long moments, scraping slowly across her skin as his eyes followed it hungrily. "Much can be learned through vivisection. Cut it out and study it." Finally, the doctor leaned back and removed the scalpel, but didn't release Susan's jaw. He nodded to an orderly near the door, and the man left. "I suppose it'll be up to you. Our experiment today requires your input, after all."

The orderly returned, pushing a wheeled tray with three pieces of black cloth draped across it, covering three separate objects. He stopped it between William and Susan. With one last cruel squeeze, the doctor let go of Susan's face and turned to face the tray. "Three options. Three ways for Subject W. Blake here to prove how much he loves you. Or that he doesn't love you nearly enough." The doctor smirked at William, who returned his attention with a cold glare. The fear was still in his eyes though, shrouded, but there.

Dr. Horrible walked around to the other side of the tray. "And you, lucky girl," he said, pointing at Susan. "Get to choose. Option one." He placed his hand on the first square of black cloth, covering something lumpy and solid. "Option two." When his hand touched the middle object it squished a little. "Option three." The cloth covered something with hard angles, and when Dr. Horrible touched it, there was a faint metallic clink when it wobbled on the metal tray. He then met Susan's eyes, his sick glee dancing on his face. "Choose. Keep in mind that if you don't choose one, I will happily use all of them. Definitely an attractive option, my dear." He chuckled and reached out to touch the third object again in anticipation.
Susan Black
 Player, 245 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 13 Oct 2019
at 20:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan looked at William with uncertainty, her eyebrows drawn together. Whichever she chose, she knew it would be painful. Would he even use the one she picked? Would he use them all anyway? She didn't have the faintest idea of what was under the black cloths, but the way the doctor touched the third one made her shrink back. She was silent for a few seconds, feeling that if she didn't say anything quickly, he would just use them all. She swallowed nervously, looking at William again before turning her gaze to the doctor to see what his reaction would be.

   "Option... two." Susan murmured, thinking that the choice she had been given was an illusion. They were going to hurt anyway, no matter what she picked.
William Blake
 player, 263 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 14 Oct 2019
at 02:33
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor flicked the black cloth away from the tray with a grin. Beneath it was an IV bag filled with black liquid.

"There are five doses of this compound in this bag. You will both be hooked up to it, and one of you will be given control of who gets how many doses." As he spoke, orderlies came forward with tubing and an IV stand. They hung the bag from it and moved toward Susan with a needle.

William shifted as he watched the tray get wheeled away, wondering what was under the other cloths. They left the tray off to the side.

"No matter what, one of you will get at least three doses. We've never tested it beyond two. The data will be edifying."

William kicked as the orderlies tried to get near him with his needle. He was frustrated and frightened; why hadn't he kicked Dr. Horrible when he was within reach? But the orderlies grabbed his legs and zip-tied his ankles together. If he was crafty he could get one more kick in. He'd save it for the doctor.
The orderlies held his head still and inserted the needle directly into his neck, then taped it in place. He barely felt the pinch, trying to keep his heart rate down. This was going to be bad.
Susan Black
 Player, 246 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 14 Oct 2019
at 04:35
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan cringed away from the orderlies, wishing she could move farther than the restraints allowed. One nurse held her trembling shoulder still while the other inserted the needle in her right arm. Memories of the last few weeks were flashing before her, exhaustion, pain, needles, shocks. She took a few deep breaths, they were unsteady, but they helped her calm down slightly. She looked up at William, blowing a strand of hair from her face, her hair was starting to curl now that it was growing out. She smiled nervously at him, but couldn't keep it up and ended up biting her lip to keep it from trembling.
William Blake
 player, 264 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 14 Oct 2019
at 19:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Dr. Horrible fussed with the IV bag as the orderlies brought the tubes connected to the subjects back to him. He connected them to the release mechanism, then consulted his watch. This experiment had been severely delayed already, and it was getting late. Each dose would take several minutes to administer fully, but S. Black had chosen. Plus, it would be delicious to watch.

He stepped back toward Susan and pulled a quarter from his pocket. "Now, to determine which of you will be in control of the dosages. Subject S. Black? Who will heads be? Who will tails be?" The doctor smiled cruelly as he watched Susan's face, her distress amusing him greatly.

William could barely swallow past the fear in his throat. He tried to smile back at Susan around the gag, and gave her a reassuring nod. He hated that Dr. Horrible was forcing her into all the choices, as if trying to blame her for the suffering that would come next. William would never shift the blame away from the shoulders it so solidly sat on. These sick games just further confirmed his hatred.

Would it ever end? No. Again, the thoughts that had darkened his mental doorway during the last psyche test returned. Let her die? Stay behind? Was this his chance? William doubted it. He didn't have enough information. Besides, he couldn't. Couldn't make that choice for her. When she had first come here she couldn't believe his willingness, even eagerness, to end his own life. She just didn't understand it.

At the thought that she might understand it now, tears welled in William's eyes. No! She had such passion for life. He didn't want that to be gone! But there was nothing he could do now. He had given her what he could, at least. More than he should have been able to. So he stood there and silently cried while the doctor tormented her. Odds were, they would both survive this experiment and be subjected to countless more.
Susan Black
 Player, 247 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 15 Oct 2019
at 03:49
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan glared up at Dr. Horrible, burning with hatred and fear. She shook her head and pressed her lips together, turning her face away from him, "No." she said tightly, shaking her head. She giggled, for only a moment, at the thought of telling him where he could shove the quarter. She closed her mouth again quickly when she saw him move toward her out of the corner of her eye. She flinched when he grabbed a handful of her hair and forced her head back, "I'll be tails!" she said hurriedly, closing her eyes.
William Blake
 player, 266 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 17 Oct 2019
at 19:19
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor released her hair and handed the quarter to one of the orderlies. With the ringing sound of fingernail on metal, the quarter flipped into the air.

William's eyes were glued to it as time seemed to slow. He prayed for heads. Heads, and all the pain would be his. It was selfish, but he didn't care. Tails, and it would be up to Susan. He didn't want all the pain to be hers today. He coughed out a laugh. He wouldn't share but she should? The double standard rang in his ears like the noise the coin made. But it wasn't up to him. Yet. Maybe it wouldn't be at all.

The orderly caught it and slapped the quarter down on the back of his other hand. The slap made William flinch. The orderly held out his hand toward the doctor, who smiled.

"Tails."
Susan Black
 Player, 249 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 04:18
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan closed her eyes with a heavy sense of finality, feeling both dread and relief. She knew what she was going to do. She opened her eyes to look at William, and knew that they both thought the same way. The corner of her mouth twitched up in a faint smile and she sighed. He would've taken it all. She felt angry at him for thinking of doing something like that, and yet a small part of her warmed at the thought of the kind of protection he gave her.

   Raising her chin, she swallowed and took a fortifying breath, "I'll take it." she said, looking away from William out of fear of losing her resolve. Her hands were clenched so tightly her knuckles turned white, "What does it do?" she asked, the tear inside of her swelling in anticipation of the pain and anger.
William Blake
 player, 267 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 20:03
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William sagged, resting his head on his left arm in a posture of defeat and dread.

Rather than answer Susan's question, the doctor just smiled cruelly as he placed a simple remote in one of her hands. There were two buttons labeled 1 and 2.

"Pressing one will administer a dose to you. Pressing two will administer it to him. And since you have control, my dear, I have no compunctions telling you that taking all five doses will most likely be lethal. Oh, and should you drop the remote at any point," he said gleefully, "Control will default to Subject W. Blake. When you hear the tone, you must choose a button within thirty seconds or a dose will be distributed to both of you." Cackling, he started walking toward the door. "The experiment will begin momentarily!"
Susan Black
 Player, 250 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 18 Oct 2019
at 22:13
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan tightened her grip on the remote, her eyes closing as a few tears ran down her cheeks. "I.." she shook her head, glancing to the door as the doctor closed it behind him. She looked at William, hoping that her eyes reflected more determination than she felt, "I will take all that I can, Will. I.. I won't..." she broke off, her chin trembling despite her efforts to appear calm. The fear of the unknown was making the tear inside of her mind open, causing her thoughts and emotions to run wild.
William Blake
 player, 268 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 04:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William just looked at her, his dark eyes bright with tears, though no more fell. He bit down hard on the gag in frustration, then held his hand in the I love you sign. Then he pointed to himself, then her, then back to himself, then to her. Share it, his eyes urged. Please.
Susan Black
 Player, 251 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 03:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan took a deep breath, held it for a moment and exhaled with a nod, "Okay. Together." she said. It was what she would have wanted him to do, take turns with the doses and get through it together. But she was going to go first. He had been standing there for too long, his arms where most likely numb, and his feet aching awfully. At least she was sitting down. She kept her grip on the remote tight, and waited, the waves of insanity crashing against her breaking barriers.
William Blake
 player, 269 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 24 Oct 2019
at 20:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William's shoulders relaxed, and he tried to bury his fear. He tried to just love her and feel nothing else. They weren't alone together, but at least the horrible doctor was away. He drank her in, seeing her distress and understanding it. He tried to hold her eyes and communicate only support and love. Inside, he quivered. Mentally, he didn't want to go near that quivering place.

Suddenly a flat tone sounded, and a red light started flashing from above the door. Decision time.
Susan Black
 Player, 252 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 02:45
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, Susan looked away from William's eyes and down to the remote. She clenched her teeth together to keep from making any noise. How she wanted to scream and cry. How was she going to keep Will from seeing,  really seeing, how broken she was? Her insides sank, he would be so disappointed. Her thumb hovered for a moment, before solidly pressing the number 1.
William Blake
 player, 270 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Fri 25 Oct 2019
at 06:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Immediately, black fluid began filling the clear tube connected to Susan's arm. It inched closer to her like an elongating snake, longer and longer it stretched from its source until it kissed her skin.

Susan's arm went very cold. Slowly, the veins in her arm became visible. Black against her paleness, they stood out sharply to William's eyes. The black veins climbed higher and higher, got darker and darker as the compound was pumped throughout her body with every elevated pound of her heart, a heavy, aching pain spreading with it. Cold sweat burst from her skin. Her entire body was lined in black. It suffused her face, her eyes, her lips. William's face was a mask of horror.

The pain built and built to unbearable levels.

Then finally, the dose finished. The tube emptied, the tail of the snake disappearing inside her. Her skin started clearing as the compound was absorbed, but something felt very, very wrong. The pain didn't stop. It became more intense. Tiny daggers were slicing through every inch of her skin.
Susan Black
 Player, 253 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sat 26 Oct 2019
at 21:26
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   As the compound had spread through her body, Susan had shivered and moaned. As the aching intensified, she gasped and wiggled in her chair, hoping that a different position would alleviate the growing pain. It only got worse, so she gripped the remote with her black lined hand and tried not to look at her skin. Her breathing hissed through her clenched teeth, she tried to breath through the pain but it only helped for so long. Her dose was almost finished, it had spread through her entire body when she let out a long, tortured moan. Sweat ran down her temples and neck, wetting the collar of her white shirt. 'I can't do it!' she thought desperately, it was unbearable. It froze, burned, ached, and tore all at once.

   She realized she was still moaning, and couldn't stop. 'Scream.' the low, manifesting voice in her head made Susan jerk her head up and shout out in surprise and pain. Confusion distracted her from the pain for only a moment, and she looked at William frantically. Had he heard it too? Was it only her? Or did the compound create that voice? She didn't know, and didn't have time to think on it before the pain overwhelmed her again and she lowered her head to groan.

   The dose was finished, but the pain didn't ease. She still felt that slicing agony and stomped her feet, "Owwww!" she shouted, leaning back in her chair and gasping, "It's not stopping!" she grunted, panicking when the voice spoke again, 'Scream! "No!"

This message was last edited by the player at 21:46, Sat 26 Oct 2019.

William Blake
 player, 272 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 3 Nov 2019
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William watched all of this with horror in his eyes. He hated the orderlies and the doctor for leaving the gag on him. If he could just talk to her! It was like he wasn't even there. He could do absolutely nothing for her. This place was all darkness, as dark as the compound in the IV bag. No light could live here for long, and it was the worst pain he had ever known, watching Susan's light going out.

He wanted to rage and scream, but knew it would be a waste of his energy and emotion. So he stood quietly, eyes locked on Susan, and waited for his turn. He swallowed, and felt the tube attached to his neck quiver against his shoulder.

After a few minutes of agony for Susan, the flat tone played again, the red light flashed.
Susan Black
 Player, 255 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 20 Nov 2019
at 03:34
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
  Trembling, Susan rolled her head to the side and up, humming almost continuously through the pain. She looked at William and flicked her gaze back to the remote, 'Give it all to him.' "No." she growled forcefully. Susan swallowed and blinked hard before pressing the number two on the remote. She sobbed softly and shook her head, "I'm sorry, Will." She knew what was coming, hated the feeling of helplessness that was crushing her down in to little bits. Perhaps the pain from her first dose would wear off before she had to take another.

   The black substance was moving through the tube to William now, and Susan watched. She felt that she owed it to him to see, to be here in this together. Pressing her lips together, she waited to see if her pain would fade, and waited for Will's to start.
William Blake
 player, 273 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 2 Dec 2019
at 07:46
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William saw Susan watching him and the progress of the black liquid. He kept his eyes on her. He shuddered when he felt the cold spreading from his neck. He fought the urge to let his teeth chatter. He knew that the black would be filling his veins, just as it had for her.

Oddly, the thought that his pain would soon match hers brought him tremendous peace. So he relaxed his shoulders, smiled at Susan, and bore the aches brought on my the mysterious substance as well as he could. He stood still and tried not to twitch. It mounted and mounted until it was agonizing. Still he fought to look at Susan and keep as much of it from his face as possible. The tube emptied as the dosage was completed.

Maybe if she thinks it doesn't affect me as much, he thought, she'll give me more.

Then a buzzing began in his head, just below and behind his ears. Low and barely noticeable. At first. He blinked. Something felt off. Bits of his brain seemed to be shooting off in random directions, trailing thoughts behind them. He shook his head. His focus was breaking up.

William fought it. His attention seemed to be forcing itself everywhere at once. His eyes focused on little details, sharp and distinct but unconnected, and never long enough to process them. A curl of Susan's hair resting against the curve of her neck. A black scuff with its edges curling up on the linoleum floor. A hair trapped in the crease of skin at his elbow. A drop of sweat trembling in the lines of pain on Susan's forehead. A crack in one of the ceiling panels, revealing a dark abyss beyond...

The buzzing was drowning out all sound now. William closed his eyes tight, trying to impose order back on his thoughts. It was difficult to compose any line of thought. What was happening? He was having some kind of freak out. His mind hadn't felt like this since... since before he'd come here. When his ADHD had been at it's worst.

William trembled where he stood, the chaos within showing only in the severe frown on his face. It felt like his every inch of skin was being cut open, and the realization of his pain stayed steady in his whirling mind. The pain was the only thing that wasn't tearing about like it was caught in a hurricane. So he concentrated on it. The pain was like a white hot light in his head, and he stared at it to the exclusion of all else. The storm still beat at him, but now he had something at his center. The rock of what his body felt, even if just now it was agony.

He opened his eyes again and looked at Susan. There was a hard despair in them, the acceptance of this pain and all the pain that would come in the future. He drew strength from the sight of her, of all of her, and slowed his breathing. Again, he was ready. Again, he waited.
Susan Black
 Player, 256 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 4 Dec 2019
at 06:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   If there was any decrease in the effects of the black substance, it was so small that Susan didn't notice. When William looked at her, his eyes made of steel, she stilled for an instant.  How was he doing it? How..? 'You're going to drown' She shook her head a little. How could William bear such agony? The buzzer sounded, and before she could let herself linger on the repercussions, she pushed the number one.

   She breathed as carefully as she could, but her rhythm turned erratic when the black poison once again spread through her body. Her remaining wits scattered and she couldn't make heads or tails of where she was, or what was happening. The voice in her head was shouting, drowning out her own flighty thoughts. On the outside, she was twitching and crying. Her vision was blurred, and she could only make out the faded figure of William a few feet before her. Incoherent muttering passed her black lips, though she didn't hear it herself, "Can't do it... Could never do it... No!... Will, please..." she began rocking back and forth as far as her restraints would allow, "Will, tell me..."

   The pain that rippled over her skin was too much, the pain that tore at her insides was unbearable. The chaos in her mind took dark form and forced her under a smooth, glossy surface to where everything was dark and quiet. She couldn't seem to open her eyes, but she was awake and could see William before her. She felt herself sinking deeper into the cushioned darkness, a hand outstretched toward the light, toward William. But she was still tied to a chair. She opened her mouth to call out to him, but couldn't make a sound.

   Susan sat in the chair and trembled, her eyes glazed and staring past William and beyond. There was a clatter that echoed around the cold room, as the remote hit the floor after falling from her limp fingers.
William Blake
 player, 274 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 4 Dec 2019
at 08:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William looked at the remote on the floor, then back to Susan's vacant eyes. A single thought shocked the chaos to stillness in his mind.

She's gone.

As an orderly crossed the room to Susan and picked up the fallen remote, William became aware of a sound, familiar and alien all at once. Muffled screaming. Was he screaming? The orderly walked over to him and reached up, bumping the remote against William's closed fist until it opened and accepted it. He started to step away, then paused, raising a hand to his earpiece. He listened for a moment, then moved around behind William. He felt the man's fingers on the back of his head. The gag fell away and he took a deep breath through his mouth. The scream was about to start again, and he strained mightily to stop it. A sound still escaped from his throat, but it was more a long, pained whine than a scream.

She can't be... she's not. I can save her. She brought me back. I can bring her back. We just have to get through this first. They'll let me, I know they will. I know it. Don't I?

William opened his mouth to call to her, but something stopped him from speaking. A feeling, or force, seemed to constrict his throat and silence him as completely as the gag had. The feeling was so strong that he didn't even try to fight it. Whatever was happening, he would stay silent. He wouldn't scream and cry and beg for the evil doctors' pleasure. He doubted she could hear him anyway. He barely felt the pain now; Susan filled his mind.

The red light and noise reminded him of the experiment. He had to pick, or they would both get a dose. William looked up, juggling the remote with numb fingers so he could see the buttons. Susan had taken two. He had taken one. Two left. The briefest thought of giving them both to Susan flashed across his mind, but he rejected it instantly. The doctor said all five was lethal. Four would probably not kill her, but may damage her irreparably. So he would be selfish, and take the remaining two for himself. If he had any chance of saving Susan, he had to spare her as much pain as he could. He pressed number two.

The fresh dose brought the buzzing back, breathed strength into the chaos claiming his mind, and ramped the physical pain up to staggering levels. His body shuddered and his legs shook. It felt like his eyeballs were vibrating in their sockets, but he kept them fixed on Susan. Tears began streaking his black-lined face, but not for himself. Susan was feeling this now. She was suffering like this, and he couldn't help her. Well, he could a little. He could take the rest. So he reined in his sobs, focused on the pain to clear his mind, and waited with gritted teeth.
Susan Black
 Player, 257 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 4 Dec 2019
at 22:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan felt so sluggish, in deep water and weighted down, unable to get out. She could feel, and was aware of the pain. It surrounded her on all sides and kept anything from getting in or out. 'Will!' she screamed in her head. In her chair she moaned and rocked forward, blinking slowly. Just blinking felt like it took an eternity, "Will.." she mumbled, crying through the one word.

   She looked for him, but couldn't find him. She thought he was right in front of her. She felt like she was inside a nightmare, unable to open her eyes without blinding pain. She could see white walls, masked faces and shadows. An instant of sharp pain made her turn her head, and she looked down at her hand. She uncurled her fist and saw blood on her palm, surprised to see that her nails had bit through her skin. Her blood looked almost black, and in her mind she watched the darkness spread and bring the pain into focus once again. She looked up, and there he was. She could see Will, though he looked hazy around the edges, and she smiled slightly. Then she saw the expression on his face and felt a different kind of pain. A burning in her chest that took her breath away and sent her tumbling back down into the muffled darkness.
William Blake
 player, 275 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 5 Dec 2019
at 02:16
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
When William heard her speak his name, the constriction of his throat tightened painfully, then slowly relaxed. He gasped softly, then spoke back to her. "Susan..." The red light flashed again. So soon? It felt like the previous doseage had only just finished. William pressed the number two button, and tried not to watch the progress of the dose. He couldn't take much more, but he would have to.

He concentrated all of his being on talking to Susan. Even just the few words he had to say to her took huge effort to speak through the chaos in his mind. "Susan, I love you. It'll be okay. I love you. Can you... remem-" William cut off as the final dose started leeching into his neck. Black traced out the veins under his skin again. "Aack!" He couldn't speak through it. It was fire, it was metal, it was teeth, it was the sharpest cold he'd ever known. It spread to his arms, and he dropped the remote. He barely heard the clatter as it spread down his torso, and when it reached his legs they refused to hold his weight any longer. William sank until he hung from his wrists, his feet dragging, muscles across his body jumping as he convulsed.

There was no more thought in William's mind. It was blasted away by the black substance's effect. With every convulsion he grunted or cried out, all control over his own body lost. William thrashed, mentally and physically, for anything he could hold on to. Black began dripping from the cuts on his chest. Black spittle stained his lips and chin. Even his tears turned black. There was nothing but horror and pain for him. But when the dosage finally ended, the chaos ebbed just enough for William to grasp at the frayed edges of his control.

Am I dying? asked the teeny, tiny piece of himself that stayed calm through any storm. The piece that let him spit in the faces of his captors even as they broke every bit of him. Did Dr. Horrible lie? This blackness felt like death. This ragged agony that was lancing through his being felt like only death would end it.

He couldn't die and leave Susan here alone. That was the one thing he could not do. It would be unforgivable.

William forced his eyes open. They felt gummy and the room around him was dim through his black tears. He was still convulsing, weaker and weaker. He tried to take a deep breath and coughed, spattering black droplets on the floor. The cold was overpowering every other sensation, but William fought it with everything he had. But he needed more. Something more to get him through this. A familiar rhythm started beating in his mind, and the words he had made for Susan poured across his consciousness. They soothed him. He told his heart to keep beating to the words. A few managed to make their way past his lips as the convulsions stopped completely and his body tried to drag him down into a darkness that he feared was death. He couldn't see Susan, but he knew she was there. He wanted to stand, but he was too weak to pull himself up.

"I'll show you... live again...
heal... brokenness within...
Let me love... you... when you... come... undone..."


He coughed once more and his breath hitched, and even the strength to take another breath left him.

The chain holding him up creaked as he swayed slowly. He was still awake. He wasn't breathing, but he could see. He didn't feel any more pain, only cold. His eyes met Susan's suddenly, and he blinked at her. At least, he hoped he did. I'm here, he wanted to say. I won't leave you.

Beat, dammit, he told his failing heart. Beat!

***

A room away, Dr. Horrible smugly made a note on his chart. This experiment was a resounding success. The random chance made it so exciting! Subject Black had dropped the remote, sealing Subject Blake's fate. They all knew he would take as much as he could. Previous experiments proved it. The third dose triggered a cascade failure, a chain reaction that should send the subject into a cataleptic state. Perhaps enough to fool Subject Black into thinking her partner had died. The cruel doctor had been hoping that Susan would be the one to take the third dose; watching William watch the girl seemingly die would have been more edifying, having already witnessed Susan's reaction when she believed William dead. But what would a repeat do to her fragile psyche? Dr. Horrible eagerly watched to screen to see.
Susan Black
 Player, 258 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 5 Dec 2019
at 05:35
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   It was like watching through a keyhole. She felt that she couldn't bear her own pain, and was certain she couldn't watch any more of William's. His writhing had faded in and out of her field of vision, she had snatched at it, but the dark waters kept pulling her deeper. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew that he had taken the rest of the poison. That thought was there, and she struggled to make sense of it. "It'll be okay. I love you." she had heard him say that, she was sure of it. Wasn't she?

   She caught sight of Will again and leaned toward him, instinctively wanting to be near him. He was so still, and hanging from the chains without supporting himself at all. Black tears, black blood. He seemed cloaked in the black substance, and he looked dead. Her head twitched in what could be a shake, "No." She reached for the keyhole that she looked through, desperate to look closer. She felt stretched and thin, only aware of the thumping of her heart because of the pounding sound that was coming from the back of her skull.

   "Will?" she whispered, forcing the word out took so much effort. She lost sight of him for a minute and searched hurriedly. When she found him again, and he hadn't moved she immediately rejected what she was seeing and closed her eyes. In this place, in the dark and muffled world that kept her from harsh reality, everything seemed more simplistic. If William was dead, then she wanted to be dead too. So she would wait for him, because if he wasn't dead, he would find her and... he would be with her.

   "I'll wait..." she whispered, her eyes glazing over again as she sunk down into the depths, down where she was certain she couldn't be hurt, "Kill me too.." the darkness was wrapped around her now, thick and cushioned. She methodically called out for William, and searched for him in the darkness. If he wasn't moving up there, then he had to be down here.
William Blake
 player, 276 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Thu 5 Dec 2019
at 11:04
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Cold. His eyes were stuck open. What was happening? Minutes passed. He stayed aware. The buzzing receded, but his mind, once so contained and orderly, felt like it had been scattered so far and wide that he would never be able to pick up the pieces.

He saw Susan move. Heard Susan speak. He wanted to move and speak too, but black held him down.

I'm here, he tried to cry out. I'm not dead! Or was he? Didn't matter. He wouldn't leave her no matter what.

Two orderlies approached him, one lifting him so his weight was off his wrists. The other unlocked the chain, and then they just let him fall. He didn't feel the impact, but he landed on his side, still facing Susan. He saw the black smear his face made on the linoleum.

Dr. Horrible stepped into William's vision, quietly addressing the orderlies so that Susan couldn't hear.

"Go get the body bag. Make it look real." They nodded and headed for the door. Then the doctor knelt, pulling on rubber gloves so none of the black liquid would touch his skin. He took William's pulse with two fingers on his wrist. He seemed to wait for a long time before smiling and straightening up.

My heart is beating, William realized. I am breathing. I'm not dead, for real.

As the doctor turned away to speak to Susan, William's fingers twitched.
Susan Black
 Player, 259 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 5 Dec 2019
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   He would have to bring her to attention, she was unfocused and almost unresponsive. Dr. Horrible kept his gloves on, and leaned down to grab Subject Black's chin. He turned her head right, then left, watching her eyes flash to terrified awareness and fade back to dull unseeing orbs. She wasn't completely gone, and by the stiffness in her muscles, still in pain from the black serum.

   The doctor straightened and clasped his hands behind his back, "Do you hear me, Subject Black?" he asked flatly.

   Hate The emotion crashed over her when she heard the doctor's voice. How she hated him! She'd kill him. Her temper rose so she grabbed onto it to ride it back up out of the sludge inside of her. What sent her down here? Was William gone? Panic seized her and she shivered. It was taking too long to get back! The doctor was talking again, so she kept following the sound.

    "-understand that this is your chance to say goodbye. Subject Blake took the rest of the serum, after you dropped the remote, and it proved to be too much." He could see her coming around, her eyes were getting brighter. "We only have a limited amount of time until they need to take him to the morgue. There's so much to do." He stepped in front of her to be the one thing she saw when she came back, and crouched down, taking hold of her chin again. He watched, and waited for another few seconds, then she blinked mightily and focused on his face.

   Susan suddenly saw the doctor's face before her, she flinched back in raw fear and cried out, "No! Stay back!" a few more words of terror stumbled out of her mouth and she started to retreat, back to where she couldn't feel all of this pain.

   "No!" Dr. Horrible said sharply, "Look at me." he ordered, jerking her head back in front of his. She did look at him, her eyes wide, bright and fearful. The two orderlies returned then, a heavy, black body bag slung over a shoulder, "You need to see what you have done."

   Stepping to the side, the doctor revealed the deliciously blackened and morbidly still boy on the floor. He couldn't keep a smile of satisfaction off his face.

   When Susan saw William's face, she fell so utterly still that she didn't notice when Dr. Horrible let her go. She had stopped breathing and only took a shuddering breath when her body kick started the process.. Again. It was happening again. First, bloody and beaten on the floor, now here. What was she going to do? What could she believe? Hot tears ran down her cheeks in silence, until a choked sob broke the brittle air around her and she shattered into a million tiny pieces of pain and anguish.

   At a gesture from the doctor, the two orderlies began to shift William into the body bag. Through her sobs, Susan shook her head and wailed, "Just kill me, too!" she sagged in her chair as she cried. There were no more shreds of light for her to hang on to, no more hope. All she could feel was despair, fear and hopelessness. "Please... Kill me too." she sobbed, the sound so lost and heartbroken that she cried harder.
William Blake
 player, 277 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sat 7 Dec 2019
at 22:01
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
"Sssssththhh..." The corpse hissed, barely audible.

A black stained hand clutched weakly at one of the orderlies' arms, leaving behind a smear. The orderly swore, panic in his voice, and bolted for the sink by the door, leaving his partner to stare in disbelief. The body bag, still open, shifted as William tried to get up, to go to Susan. One of his elbows poked out.

The doctor was watching Susan, enraptured, unaware of or disinterested in the noise behind him.
Susan Black
 Player, 260 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 8 Dec 2019
at 00:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's breath caught in her throat. Her expression changed instantly to one of hopeful disbelief and she leaned forward, tears still leaving dark streaks down her face. "Will?" She whispered breathlessly, the ache in her chest so intense it was nearly distracting. She wanted nothing more in the world than to be free of her restraints.
William Blake
 player, 278 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 8 Dec 2019
at 05:31
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Not dead. Not dead. Not dead, William's frayed mind chanted. Didn't betray Susan. Not dead.

His stuck-open eyes were burning, the only part of him that was feeling anything besides deep, heavy cold. He shifted his head to look up at the orderly that was still kneeling over him, and something shiny at the man's hip caught his eye. A rectangular, silver handle. A boxcutter? William reached toward it, and was surprised when his body complied, if slowly. He was feeling downright otherwordly. But not dead. Definitely not dead.

The orderly started to flinch away, so William grabbed his arm. This made the man gasp in horror and try to pull away, but William's clammy hand was like a claw. He didn't release him until his other hand pinched the handle and lifted the blade from its clip. Then he let the man run away.

He started to sit up, but something pinched at his ankles, preventing him from using his legs. He strained until he could see; oh yes. His ankles had been zip-tied together earlier when he had tried to kick. He concentrated on the boxcutter. His slick, thick fingers tried to manipulate the catch and free the blade, when suddenly a gloved hand grabbed his wrist.

"How..?" Dr. Horrible asked, poking at William's face and peering down into his eyes. "Three doses? How are you..?" Suddenly the bland, relaxed expression on William's face morphed into a grimace of hate, and William spat. A spray of black peppered the doctor's face. At first, he just winced, disgusted. Then his eyes widened. "Aaah!" He let go of William and brought black-stained gloves to his face, seeing that they were no good. He began trying to wipe it off with his sleeve.

William remembered the kick he had been saving for the doctor. He laboriously drew his legs up to his chest, then rocked his body back onto his shoulder blades, throwing his hips into the blow. His feet connected solidly with the doctor's lower chest, and William heard ribs break. As the doctor screamed and fell out of William's sight, the black-stained boy wheezed triumphantly, his fist still clutching the boxcutter.
Susan Black
 Player, 261 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Sun 8 Dec 2019
at 20:54
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan's mouth had dropped open in amazement when Will had spat in the doctors' face. She hadn't felt so stunningly elated for as long as she could remember. It felt like a great victory, and the rush of those chemicals swept away the lingering effects of her two doses. The pain wasn't gone, but she didn't feel trapped by it anymore. When William kicked Dr. Horrible, and the sound of breaking bones was followed by his scream, she smiled.

   The doctor, however, reeled back and crashed into Susan's chair. Bracing herself, Susan fell to her right and jolted as the chair hit the floor. Something felt different and she opened her eyes to look at her right arm. The arm of the chair had broken when it had hit the floor, the thick velcro strap that held her wrist to the arm was still secured, but no longer to the rest of the chair. Reaching over, she tore her left wrist free of the velcro and rolled out of the chair.

   Susan felt sick and propped herself up on her hands and knees. She looked quickly for William and saw him less than two feet away. Adrenaline fueled and desperate, she crawled more quickly than she thought she could and reached him in a second. Her only thought was to touch him, hold him, and never let go again. She knew if she did, she would fall back down into that dark, cold place. She couldn't speak past the lump in her throat, so she looked him in the eye, gently brushed his hair from his forehead and leaned down to kiss him, her arms wrapping around him tightly.
William Blake
 player, 279 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 03:55
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
But William turned his face away, his eyes still wide and swimming with black tears. A drop left a dark streak as it escaped the corner of his eye, and black bubbled at his lips as he tried to speak. "Ssss... Ssssuuu..." She mustn't kiss me. Mustn't touch me, Susan. I'm poison. Look at them. Don't make yourself worse.

The two orderlies were sprawled on the floor, moaning, one in a small puddle of grey vomit. The evil doctor was unconscious.

Instead William pushed the boxcutter at her, and one hand pointed shakily toward his feet, the thick white zip-tie almost hidden in the folds of the body bag. "Ff...ffffssss..." His lips were too cold, too thick to work! He grunted in frustration and tried unsuccessfully to blink, looking at Susan's eyes. No time! They would be coming any moment.
Susan Black
 Player, 262 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 04:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   She understood why he turned away, but it still hurt. She opened her mouth to speak, but stopped to listen and watch him, taking the boxcutter from his icy hand. Understanding lit her face and she nodded, moving down to his feet. Pushing the body bag folds away, she leaned down to focus. The pain wasn't getting worse, however, she still felt like she had been hit by a bus. She didn't want to cut him, so she took firm hold of the tie before cutting it quickly.

   She wasn't sure what William's plan was, but seeing that he could barely speak, Susan fought to make her own plan formulate in her muddled brain, "Over here, Will." she pointed to the wall beyond the unconscious doctor, before grabbing the body bag and pulling with all her might to drag William to the spot. If the doctor was between them and the door, and she had the boxcutter at his throat then maybe... She didn't know, and couldn't think of what might happen after that.
William Blake
 player, 280 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 05:19
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
As Susan dragged him, William tried to roll over onto his side, but coordinating his limbs was getting more difficult. Pain was reawakening in his torso, like pins and needles jabbing his organs. By the time Susan deposited him by the wall, William was on his side, but couldn't manage to push himself up onto his elbow.

Urgency. Something was driving him on, but he could barely remember what. He coughed, and felt like it had knocked the wind from him. He struggled to get another breath. Susan. She wasn't safe yet. He tried to speak, but all that came out of him was an incoherent wheeze.
Susan Black
 Player, 263 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 05:29
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan dragged the unconscious doctor over a little and sat down in front of William. She pulled Dr. Horrible's head into her lap by his hair and put the boxcutter to his throat. When she looked down at him, the blade held tightly in her grip, a moment stretched into eternity. This man, who had done the most wicked and abusive things. Hurting William, hurting her. And here, she had him with a knife to his throat. She could kill him right now, and would be lying if she said she didn't want to. Hatred burned through her with such force that she curled her lip in disgust, her shoulders shaking from the intensity of the emotion.

   Taking a breath, she looked over her shoulder to William, her eyes now wide with uncertainty, fear and panic. The door burst open and before she could see what had come through, she angled the blade at the doctors throat and yelled hoarsely, "Stop!"
William Blake
 player, 281 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 05:43
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Five orderlies screeched to a halt beside the broken chair. Two nurses hurried to the fallen orderlies and started checking them over. One hovered behind the orderlies uncertainly, clearly meant for the doctor. The five gigantic men eyed the blade warily; one turned away and spoke softly into his walkie-talkie.

Behind Susan, William struggled to stay conscious. He had to, Susan needed him. When he saw the threatening orderlies, he managed to get an elbow under himself. With a gasp, he forced the arm to straighten and rolled upright.

He was still dripping with the black compound. It dotted his forehead in his sweat, dirtied his teeth, ran from his nose. But he glared at those five men with his stuck-open eyes, dared them to just try and touch him or Susan. He felt another cough coming on and braced himself against the wall, raising a hand to his mouth so none of it hit Susan. After, once he could see again, he looked at the black mess leeching more cold back into the skin of his hand, and turned it threateningly toward the orderlies.
Susan Black
 Player, 264 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 05:58
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   "Stay back, or get poisoned yourselves." Susan threatened, her heart pounding so fast and so loud that she hiccuped. It seemed so surreal, this entire situation, she wasn't sure if she could believe it.. but she knew that she would, because she would never forgive herself for not acting on it. She didn't dare turn to look at William, afraid that if she took her eyes from the orderlies, they would pounce. Now what?!

   "Get them out of here." she said forcefully, jerking her chin toward the two poisoned orderlies that were being looked over, "Don't try anything, or I'll cut his throat." she sincerely hoped that she sounded sure and strong, because she did not feel that way. A panicked voice kept repeating itself in her head, asking what are they going to do?
William Blake
 player, 282 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 06:02
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderly with his walkie-talkie out jerked his head at the other four, and they dragged the men out. The extra nurse left as well, trying to help. Another doctor stepped in after they had exited and moved to stand beside the orderly. He said nothing. Just watched.
Susan Black
 Player, 265 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 06:12
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
  Susan didn't speak either, she just kept her eyes on the new doctor and the orderly. She tried to think, tried to come up with a plan. With William in his state, they couldn't walk out, not yet at least. And even if they could, would they really make it very far? They could be tranquilized, gassed, or outright killed. Dr. Horrible was their bargaining chip, and she tried to think of how to use him to their best advantage.

   From what she could remember, this facility was in the middle of nowhere. Her gang had gotten here in a stolen car. They wouldn't make it on foot in their state, even if they were let out. Maybe if someone came for them from the outside? "I want to make a phone call." she demanded, her grip tightening on the doctors' hair.
William Blake
 player, 283 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 9 Dec 2019
at 21:16
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderly and the doctor glanced at each other. The orderly gave a minute shrug, leaving it totally up to his superior. The doctor lowered his eyes for a moment, then met Susan's gaze. "No cell phones are allowed in this facility."

Probable, thought William, the word plucked from the gently swirling muddle of his mind. Check pockets.

William slowly leaned forward to reach around Susan, awkwardly pawing at the doctor's white coat with his left hand, which was cleaner than his right. He barely had any sensation in his fingers, so he hoped Susan caught on.
Susan Black
 Player, 266 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 10 Dec 2019
at 03:35
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan noticed William, and understood. Keeping the boxcutter at the doctors' throat, she took her other hand from his hair and started rifling through his pockets. She kept her eyes on the two across the room, only glancing away for a second at a time to guide her hand in the right direction. She came away with a pen, notepad, wallet, and keys, which she deposited behind her next to William. There were two pockets left, and she was getting anxious. She thought that the wallet was a good find, and leaned back slightly to murmur to Will, "Find out who he is. Maybe an address, his or where ever we are." she eyed the two men across the room warily, whispering, "Are you doing alright?"
William Blake
 player, 284 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 10 Dec 2019
at 07:41
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William fumbled with the wallet, coughing again, this time onto the back of his hand. There was red among the black. "Nnnnnnn...." he tried to answer Susan, shaking his head even though she could not see him. No. Not alright.

He pulled out some kind of receipt and noted that there was an address. He read it, but didn't really absorb it.

Gaspard Hewitt
1290 Road 4dt,
Meeteeste, Wyoming, 82433


He thought to check the name against the drivers license. Gaspard Hewitt. It matched. The picture matched.

He held the receipt out to Susan, trying not to lean forward too much. The paper trembled, betraying the effort it was taking for him to move. He was so cold. The stabbing pains in his torso were getting worse. His back and belly felt full of knives, cutting every time he shifted.
Susan Black
 Player, 267 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 10 Dec 2019
at 17:10
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan looked at the paper, and nodded before returning her gaze to the two across the room. The situation was getting worse by the second. Her worry for William was escalating exponentially and she was struggling to think past it. She slid her hand into the last pocket, and there was no phone. Her chest tightened and halted her intake of breath. What now?

   She focused her gaze on the standing doctor and took her grasp of Dr. Hewitts' hair once again, "I want the antidote for the poison you gave us, and a phone. I know you can get them." she angled the boxcutter and drew a drop of blood from the unconscious mans neck, "And I want to see them tested on separate people before you give them to us." she raised an expectant eyebrow, and pressed her lips together to keep them from visibly trembling.
William Blake
 player, 285 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Tue 10 Dec 2019
at 22:32
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The other doctor ran his thumbs along his fingers in an unconscious nervous gesture. He turned and spoke softly to the orderly, who jogged from the room.

"The antidote we can bring right away, but you'll have to wait for the phone. Our only line capable of outside calls is in the lobby, and can't be moved."


The orderly returned, slowly leading one of the poisoned orderlies to stand beside the other doctor, then left again. Once devoid of support, the man wobbled, but managed to stay upright. His skin had an unhealthy pallor.

"Furthermore," the man continued. "Subject Blake will most likely be experiencing severe organ failure and internal bleeding. The antidote will halt the compound, but not undo the damage done."

Behind Susan, William had found something else in Dr. Horr... Dr. Hewitt's wallet. He reached forward and tucked a plastic keycard onto Susan's lap, the silver chip on it's surface gleaming in the harsh halogen light, the black magnetic strip showing signs of frequent use. His breathing was short and shallow, coming in little unevenly spaced staccato gasps.

"Indeed, it is... remarkable that he is still conscious." There was a strange hunger in his tone.
Susan Black
 Player, 268 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 11 Dec 2019
at 03:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan felt the keycard and carefully glanced down to see what it was. She wasn't sure if they had seen it, so she left it for a moment and tried not to panic, "Then bring what is needed down here and heal him." Could they do that? How would she maintain control if William was on the table? If she didn't do anything, he would surely die. She slid the keycard under the elastic of her shorts, and prayed that she would be able to hold onto it. She swallowed past her dry mouth, "Get started with the antidote."
William Blake
 player, 286 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 11 Dec 2019
at 10:06
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The orderly returned, a nurse trailing behind him, carrying a rolled up black case. She paused behind the doctor and cleared her throat. He turned to face her and started whispering.

"Do we have a sedative that acts fast enough to knock her out before she can kill him?"

"No. The fastest acting would still give her a few seconds."

"Then administer the antidote. Try to get it to Dr. Hewitt as well. And give the boy a stabilizer. If he dies then she'll most likely turn to murder. We just need to buy time."

"Understood, doctor."
Susan Black
 Player, 269 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 11 Dec 2019
at 14:27
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan watched with narrowed eyes. The nurse took a glass bottle from the rolled up case, and a couple of syringes. She prepped the arm of the sick orderly, took a dose of the antidote from the glass bottle and gave it to the man through his arm. His reaction was apparent in about a minute, he relaxed, color returned to his face and he began to breathe more easily. As the nurse prepped another syringe from the bottle, she approached Susan and William slowly. Susan made threatening eye contact with her, making sure her hand holding the boxcutter was visible and ready. "Give it to William first." she said, her whole body tense and clenched with anxiety.

   Deliberately, the nurse knelt down beside William and carefully cleaned a spot on his arm. The woman was steady, and seemed remarkably calm. When she gave William the medicine, Susan tried mightily to keep a sigh of relief from escaping too loudly. Pulling out another syringe, the nurse explained that it was a stabilizer to keep subject Blake stable until more could be done for him. Susan looked in to the woman's eyes, searching for any sign of deceit. A quiet feeling stirred in her, so Susan nodded. The woman quickly cleaned the back of William's hand and injected the stabilizer. When the nurse turned toward her, she stiffened again and raised her chin, "Slow." she ordered, afraid that any sudden movements would tear a fight reaction out of her and she would kill her hostage. The nurse did move slowly, and gave Susan a dose of the antidote before gathering up another needle and looking at Susan, "May I give the doctor a dose?" she asked.

   "No." Susan said, an idea flashing in her mind, "You can give him a dose, after William has been taken care of and is with me." she leaned back slightly, desperation shining in her eyes, "Now, get back."

   The nurse gathered up the supplies and retreated back to the other doctor and they began whispering. Susan glanced over her shoulder to William, questions written all over her worried face.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:33, Wed 11 Dec 2019.

William Blake
 player, 287 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 16 Dec 2019
at 02:44
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William stared forward sightlessly, eyes wide. A black crust was forming around his eyes, peppering his crowsfeet and the edges of his cheekbones. He sat with his arms wrapped around his middle, and showed no reaction when he was injected. A minute after he received the antidote, William was finally able to close his eyes. The action made him gasp, and he leaned forward until his forehead rested against his knee. He started sobbing quietly.
Susan Black
 Player, 270 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Tue 17 Dec 2019
at 05:09
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan had to turn back to keep her eyes on the people across the room, but she reached her free hand around and rested it on the back of Williams' neck. Gently caressing him while the whispering continued, she struggled to keep it together. In her lap, Dr. Hewitt was breathing in a steady but shallow pattern, still unconscious.

   "We are unable to bring what we need to treat subject Blake. He will need to have a CT scan in order to determine where any internal bleeding may be. He will more than likely need a blood transfusion, plasma, and other supplements." the doctor tilted his head at her, his eyes hard, "And it needs to happen soon."

   Susan began to panic. She couldn't lose him. She couldn't stay here alone. But, if she let him go, let him die.. he would be free of this place. Tears stung her eyes and she blinked hurriedly to clear them, a few dropping onto Dr. Hewitt. How selfish she was. She felt despicable. Her hand that had been touching William was shaking, so she took it away and grabbed onto the doctors' coat, "Then take him, heal him and let him make a phone call." she said in a small voice. She was certain now that she would not make it out of this situation. They would find some way to use William to get her to stop, and she would never see him again. But he would be alive.. and perhaps get out of here after calling someone. He had family he could call. Who could she call? No one. He had a better chance than she did. She was so distraught, so weary, she wondered if she was thinking straight. Did that make any sense? She shrunk in on herself in despair, already fearing what would happen to her after this.
William Blake
 player, 288 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 18 Dec 2019
at 05:17
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor nodded quickly at the nurse and the orderly, and they approached slowly. They gave Susan as wide a berth as possible, and the man leaned down and grasped William's arm with a gloved hand, starting to pull him gently along the wall. William looked up only slowly, struggling to open his eyes and focus. His tears were starting to run clear again.

When he saw what had him, he panicked. "No!" he screamed. He jerked his arm free and scrambled back to Susan on his hands and knees, gasping fearfully. "No, no, no..." He stopped behind Susan, close enough that she could feel him shaking.
Susan Black
 Player, 271 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 18 Dec 2019
at 05:36
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Breath hitching in her throat, Susan looked over her shoulder at William. She felt like she was an inch away from breaking again, and took strength from the sight of his clearer tears. Even so, she had no idea what to do. She couldn't drag the unconscious Dr. Hewitt around to keep as a hostage, and they couldn't stay here. If Dr. Hewitt was awake... he could walk. And he could fight back. A tear betrayed her and ran down the side of her face. Impossible. This was all just delaying the inevitable. They would surely kill her for this. Moving her free hand, she reached out and took hold of one of Williams'. She couldn't think of anything else, so she raised her gaze and whispered, "Give this rat the antidote, and we'll all go."
William Blake
 player, 289 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 18 Dec 2019
at 06:07
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
Behind her, William moaned softly, his arms wrapped tightly around himself again. "Susan," he whispered wetly. "Susan." He raised a hand to his mouth and coughed, his body stiffening with the agony of it. He teetered forward on his knees, catching himself on the hand he had coughed into, leaving a bloody smear on the floor. The red of blood was shocking against the white pallor of his face and the black it was stained with. "I need... Need... Susan," he said shakily, trying to tell her something. Confusion colored his tone. He slowly sank into a sitting position, letting his legs splay out to the sides. "Susan... call 911."
Susan Black
 Player, 272 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 19 Dec 2019
at 04:44
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan listened to William as the nurse approached again, slowly and carefully injecting Dr. Hewitt with a syringe. She nodded and wished she could wipe off the hand of hers that was holding the boxcutter, she was starting to cramp up. Yes, 911 would hurry with services and protection. She clung to the idea as the minute dragged by for the doctor to regain his consciousness. She took firm hold of his hair, and held the cutter carefully.

   He moaned and started to move, so Susan pulled on his hair slightly, "Don't move!" she said, her voice more shrill that she meant it to be.
William Blake
 player, 290 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 21:52
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The evil doctor froze, eyes rolling fearfully. His face was pinched with pain. "My... my ribs," he whispered, something like disbelief in his tone.

At the sound of Dr. Hewitt's voice, William moaned, a note of raw fear driving the sound up in pitch. He could barely bring two words together in his mind. His body was trying to shut down, but he wouldn't let it. Susan was not safe.

Susan... not safe. Not safe. The mantra repeated in his confused, bleary mind. Every word was tinged red with pain.
Susan Black
 Player, 273 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 15 Jan 2020
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan took a few deep breaths, her mouth dry, "We're going to get up, and go to the lobby to make a phone call." she slowly moved to get her feet under herself, "Now get up." It was awkward, slow, and painful for them both, but they did get to their feet. Due to his height, Susan was forced to stand on her toes. She held onto Dr. Hewitt's coat at the shoulder, and kept the boxcutter to his throat, and turned a little to look down at William, "Can you?" she asked softly, desperately.
William Blake
 player, 291 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Mon 27 Jan 2020
at 20:57
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
William looked up at Susan, understanding that she wanted him to go with her. He saw the desperation in her eyes, the fear, even though he couldn't hear her voice over the pounding of his own heart.

Not safe. Still needs me. Stay awake! William slowly braced both hands against the cold linoleum, jerkily shifting his legs underneath himself. Words murmured under the chaos and noise in his brain.

Show her your strength. It's more than you know.

With shaking limbs, William gradually got to his hands and knees. He didn't let himself stop there for a breather; if he stopped, he knew he might not start moving again. He fought to drag a heavy foot forward, then braced his arms on his knee, and heaved upward with all his waning might. When he got upright he didn't know it for several moments, his mind whirled so. His muscles stayed clenched, and that might have been the only thing that kept him from falling. Finally his sight cleared, and he saw Susan looking at him. She was so beautiful. He smiled at her, showing blood-lined teeth. He raised a black and red smeared hand toward her. Words whispered in his mind again and shone from his glassy eyes.

Lay your burdens on me. I can bear all the weight of the world with you on my shoulders...
Susan Black
 Player, 274 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 03:55
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Susan smiled back at him, a relieved, bright and exhausted smile. He never ceased to amaze her, and a warmth swelled in her chest that gave her a glimmer of hope. He was going to be with her. She took his hand and pulled him up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder, quickly returning hers to Dr. Hewitt's shoulder. With the doctor in front of her, and William behind, she felt dwarfed.

   "Now, lets go. Slowly." she said, pushing to get the doctor moving toward the door, "Everyone stay well away."
William Blake
 player, 292 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 08:15
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
The doctor started shuffling forward, hunched and whimpering. His tears began to plop onto the front of his white coat.

The various other people in the room scooted a few yards in front of Susan, heading for the doorway.

William's hand was heavy on Susan's shoulder. She could feel his breath on her neck, his forehead brushing against the crown of her head with every other step. His breathing was staccato, intermittent, and hissed through clenched teeth. His world was pain. Pain, and the slim shoulder under his hand. That anchor dragged him onward, and he would not let it go without him. He wanted to bury his face in her hair and breathe in the scent of her. He wanted to envelope her in his arms and never let go. But it was all he could do to put one foot in front of the other. Go when she went. Stop when she stopped. He leaned on her whenever he felt like he was going to fall, and she kept him upright. Kept him moving; kept him breathing.
Susan Black
 Player, 276 posts
 Escape is the plan.
 Revenge is the goal.
Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 05:20
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
   Their progress down the hall was slow, and to Susan it was an eternity of high anxiety and fear. William's hand on her shoulder both worried and comforted her, but she kept reminding herself to focus. The elevator was at the end of the hall in a wider waiting room, she was going to take it up to the lobby, call the ambulance, and wait. It was all she had, and as far as she dared think.

   The doctor sniffed, and Susan gave his shoulder a hard squeeze. Her throat felt so tight that she couldn't take a full breath, and walked slowly down the hall while taking sharp, small intakes of cold air. Almost there, not far to the elevator now, only a couple more feet.

                                                  * * *

   Around the blind corner to the small area in front of the elevators, an orderly crouched, a short range taser in his hand. On the other side, another orderly waited to snatch the doctor. The former knew that if he didn't incapacitate the girl here, the others would in the lobby upstairs. However, they did not want the patients to get that far. No one had ever gotten that far, and they were determined that no one ever would. He tensed, the nurse had just backed into his field of vision, coming before the huddled group. He knew that he could not miss.

                                                 * * *

   Susan opened her mouth to tell the nurse to push the elevator button. She didn't feel the taser points when they hit her on the hip and just under her ribs at her side. What she felt was the overwhelming cramp that spread along her side and instantly sent the rest of her body into a stiff convulsion that took her breath away. There was a sudden movement to her left, and the boxcutter was torn from her paralyzed hand. She fell the next moment, breath still frozen in her lungs. The doctor was caught by an orderly and whisked out of sight. Susan hit the floor like a sack of flour, unable to catch herself, or reach for William.
William Blake
 player, 294 posts
 No escape but death.
 They won't let me.
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 06:50
Re: Chapter 4: Abyss
When the support from Susan suddenly vanished, William wobbled where he stood, confused. His vision, blurry and fractured, focused in on the taser in the crouching orderly's hand. His eyes followed the curly wires to Susan, on the floor, convulsing in pain. Rage ignited in his brain, sending a hot flash of adrenaline through his body. He felt his heart skip a beat as it drove the agony he felt to new heights. But strength flowed through him, though he knew it would be fleeting.

He tackled the orderly and bashed the surprised man's head against the floor. Then he turned around and scrambled to Susan on his hands and knees, slipping and sliding on blood. Where had it come from? Him or the orderly? He grabbed a handful of her hospital gown and began dragging her toward the elevator doors. There were other people around, but he could barely see them. Were they trying to stop him? He heard yelling. He did see a hand reaching for him. He threw himself backward, dragging Susan with him, and the hand missed.

Breathing hard, he coughed and choked on blood. Maybe it was coming from him. Yes, there were fresh stains down his front, mixing with the darker, older blood stains and the black smears. His back hit something. He tried to get his feet under him again, but they just trembled and jerked. His shaking arms gathered Susan to him, her back against his chest, his arms probably squeezing the life out of her. But he couldn't let go. People were coming closer. He had to move! But when he tried, more blood forced its way up his throat.

Suddenly whatever he was leaning his back against disappeared and he fell backwards. He found himself looking up at a square, stainless steel ceiling with a bright light in the center. The walls had handrails. The elevator. It held a group of surprised orderlies who looked like they had been ready to leap out of the door once it opened. William tilted his head back and smiled up at them, a fast drip of blood running from his mouth to his hairline. He saw at least two of them grimace behind their surgical masks.

Unconsciousness was pounding in his head, but something was still holding it back. He felt Susan's weight vanish, his senseless arms thrown wide. The orderlies spread out around him, looking down at him. He was staring at the light on the ceiling. It was so beautiful, he had never noticed before. "Susan, look," he tried to say. But blood just bubbled and frothed on his lips.

While he was looking at the light, he felt something break within him. It wasn't a savage break. More like a soft snap, and then relief. His body, still clenched with tension, relaxed. His eyes closed. Can't go into the light, he thought at the darkness flooding him. Can't leave Susan. Just can't. Okay?