Saturday, January 1, 2011

So...It's 2011...if you haven't heard....

Luckily, your friendly, neighborhood demon of greed gets the luxury of making the first post of 2011.
Pretty spiffy, eh?

In order to kick off this new year, and new month, I thought I'd bring you all the 4th installment of Ankoku no Ki :D

Alright, there's no need to boo -_-
Haha I joke and really do hope that you all are enjoying the story thus far.

Here's the refresher course, if you've forgotten:

Last week, the main lady, Rachel Edington, escaped from the twisted event of her professor's murder, seemingly by her own hand, with the help of her long-time friend Justin Feldin. The two OSU students fled to her dormitory, where Rachel revealed that she had seen someone else murder her professor. Who? A girl of unknown name and origin whose main difference from Rachel was her obvious love for violent deeds.
Before the two friends could discuss the matter any further, Rachel's roommate burst through the door followed by a explosion soon after. Parts of the roommate shot into Justin, leaving him bleeding on the floor while a squad of men burst through the room's door and forced Rachel into a deep slumber.

Now, the story continues...

Chapter 4

“When they catch us, don’t say a word!”

            The world spun in elaborate circles around Rachel as she opened her eyes, ripping herself out of the darkness for of a scene of her sitting in a hard, oak chair wearing nothing more than a white, sleeveless tee shirt and a pair of red panties. “Where am I?” she mumbled as the spinning began to slow. She felt hung-over while never having taken a sip of alcohol. Turning her head to the left, sickly-green vomit ejected from her mouth, burning her throat. More slime leaked from her mouth as she tried to spit out the remainder of her breakfast.
            “Ah, I see you’ve awakened,” stated a man in front of her in a thick, German accent. “I was almost afraid that you might take yet another day to come out of your slumber.”
            “Where am I…?” she muttered once more as she gained her first, real glance of the environment before her. Around her was a brightly lit room and slightly larger than her dorm room back at OSU. Against the wall on the other end of the room was a freshly made bed clad in white sheets and a pillow. There was only one brown, wooden door to mark any sort of break in the surrounding gray-colored walls.
In shock, she attempted to stand up, but found that knotted ropes around her wrists, stomach, and ankles wouldn’t allow her to move. After her first attempt failed, she panicked and struggled harder, causing her and her chair to topple over harshly onto the carpeted floor below in the opposite direction of the pool of vomit she had just created. Pain shot through her chest as she coughed harshly.
“What’s going on?!” she screamed as she made another attempt to move her arms once more without success. “Why am I tied to this chair?! Where are my clothes?!” Panic claimed her mind as she forcibly tried to free herself, an act which resulted in little more than the ropes scraping the skin on her wrists raw.
            “Up we go!” exclaimed the German man, ignoring Rachel’s questions. With one heave, he raised the chair back to its original position. “We can’t have you getting any nasty bruises now, can we?”
            “Where am I?” she blurted out. “WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?!”
            “Relax, relax, mein liebe. Don’t be so frazzled. Your clothes are simply missing because I had to search you for weapons, drugs, and whatever else might be harmful to me or yourself.” She noticed for the first time that he was wearing a long white coat over forest green khakis and a black shirt, which contradicted his light-blond hair and white skin. Behind horned-rim glasses he stared at her eagerly with dark-blue eyes. His creepy smile made Rachel’s skin crawl. “Nothing sexual was done to you either, I can assure you. Although you are a very attractive M├Ądchen and I wouldn’t mind un—”
            “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING?!?” she screeched. The doctor cringed slightly, but smiled at her still. “WHERE THE HELL AM I? WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? WHY AM I HERE??” The man stepped up to her and slapped her hard across the face.
            “It’s unfortunate that we can’t avoid leaving such unnecessary marks, mein liebe,” he stated with a feigned frown and a slight sense of sorrow. “‘Who am I?’ you ask. What would you do for an answer, mein liebe?” He straddled her, pressing his body against her hers, and placed his lips only centimeters from her ear. Fear began to creep into her mind as she began to conceive all the possible things the man might do to her. “Don’t listen to anything they tell you,” he whispered almost too softly for her to hear. His words surprised her and sent a cold wave over her skin.
            “Don’t speak, just listen,” he interrupted, the warmth of his breath felt odd against her ear as he pressed himself tighter against her. “My name is Dr. Friedrick Hartmann. I apologize for my actions, but you must understand their necessity in order to trick the people watching us. You were abducted by the military. They want to free her.”
            Her?! He can’t mean—
            “They’ll do anything to free her, mein liebe. They want to use her as a weapon if they can’t make peace with China.” He rubbed his hands down her arm in a faux sexual gesture. “They wanted me to come in here and force her out by stressing you. It is imperative that you stay calm, no matter what. I will try to get you out of here. Until then, you must stay calm.”
            “That’s enough, Friedrick,” a man’s voice came from behind the perverted German man, he sounded American. Rachel couldn’t see the source of the sound through Friedreck’s large body. “Get off of Rachel now or I’ll put a bullet through that demented skull of yours.” The doctor groaned mockingly and moved back slightly. He smiled one last time at Rachel, a sincere, warm smile that made her feel comforted although she refused to show it.
            “You always know how to ruin my fun, don’t you mein Oberst?” Friedrick said disappointedly with a small sigh of defeat. Friedrick climbed off of Rachel, clearing her view of a tall, well-built man with short, dark-brown hair and matching eyes. He wore a forest green shirt and camoflauge printed khakis. Beneath both of his arm pits he carried, large, silver guns in leather holsters with a large hunting knife sheathed in the side of the right holster. He looked to be only in his late 20’s, but had the appearance of a person who warranted the respect of someone twice his age. When Friedrick reached his source of intervention, he smiled happily as if he had done nothing wrong. The man sunk his fist deep into Friedrick’s gut, causing the demented doctor to double over in pain. Even while in pain, he faked a wide smile.
            “That’ll be all from you, Dr. Hartmann. Return to your lab immediately. Also, I don’t want to hear you speaking German when addressing your superiors.” The stern voice of the dark-haired man was enough to knock the smile from Friedrick’s face for a second.
            “Yes, right away, colonel.” The doctor feigned another smile and left the room in a hurry. The colonel shook his head in shame and approached Rachel.
            “He didn’t hurt you at all, did he?” he asked with a deep sense of concern.
            “No, I don’t think so…” she responded with deep-rooted uncertainty towards the man addressing her. Once more she was uncertain of how to approach the situation at hand. “Is it really necessary for me to be tied to this chair?” The colonel laughed lightly.
            “Not anymore,” he placed a small smile on his face, “I’ll undo them to make you more comfortable.” He pulled his knife out of its sheath and quickly cut the knots. “While you were asleep, these knots were a safety precaution. Now, they only seem to be a nuisance.”
            “Precaution from what?” She flexed her wrists in an attempt to rid herself of the feeling of the ropes.
            “That’s not very important right now.”
It seems pretty important to me… Rachel sighed and slouched in defeat.
“But, I can tell you that you’re in good hands at this facility and that we understand that it wasn’t you who killed your professor.” She perked up immediately.
            “Really?” Realization set in, and her happy expression turned incredulous. “Why?”
            “I’ll just say for now that we have good reason to believe that you couldn’t have possibly done it.” He smiled brightly, and she returned the expression.
            “That’s great!” she exclaimed in thoughtless glee. “Just wait until I tell Justin!”
            “Justin? Oh, you must mean that boy that was with you…” the colonel’s face grew more solemn.
“Yeah…Why do you say it like that? What happened to Justin?!”
“He was dead when they found him.”
“What?” Shock struck Rachel hard.
“It seems as though a small object penetrated an artery just above his left thigh. When the recovery team found him, he’d already lost too much.” He placed a comforting hand upon Rachel’s shoulder, the warmth of his hand felt good against her skin. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
“It’s all my fault…” she said meekly. “If it weren’t for me, he’d still be alive. I should have died instead. I shouldn’t be alive…” She wished she were dead, that she didn’t have to hear such horrible news. Nothing at that moment could have made her feel worse, but her thoughts ceased entirely when the colonel wrapped his arms around her tightly. In her sorry state, she gave in to the comforting hug without question. Then the doctor’s words rang through her head: “Don’t listen to anything they say.” Thoughts began to shoot through her mind faster than she could perceive them. The question posed seemed to be whether or not she should trust the armed man squeezing her against him. Regardless, she knew what she had to do.
“I know how it feels to lose someone close.” She squeezed him tighter, forcing cool tears to fall from below her eyes. “My father died back during the Afghani insurgency.” Something about the tone of his voice was meant to soothe Rachel, but only made her feel more uncomfortable.
“What happened to him?” she asked, sniffling mucus back up her nose cutely.
“He was driving a Humvee full of wounded soldiers when someone decided to send a rocket their way. The explosion blew up the entire passenger’s side of the vehicle. He survived the blast, but couldn’t survive the amount torture they put him through when they took him captive. I was only thirteen when I heard my father wouldn’t be coming home…”
“Does the pain ever go away?” she asked softly.
“No, it doesn’t.” He pulled back from her and stared into her sad eyes with a sense of kindness that almost made her believe him completely. “But neither does all the memories you made together. All of those memories are with you, and they are worth more than all the pain of loss.” She smiled slightly. “You just have to cheer up, and think happy thoughts until the world feels a little less cold.” Her smile widened before she sniffled softly.
“Thank you, I needed that.” She laughed in embarrassment. “So, you never told me who you are.” He smiled at her ignorance.
“My name is Col. John Stroyer. I’ll be looking after you while you’re staying here.”
“Where is ‘here’?” He laughed once more.
“You don’t need to worry about that at this moment.” He stood up, removing his arms from around her and made his way across the room. “Now, maybe it’d be best if you took a little nap. I’m sure you must be drained from all that’s happened.” She smiled and nodded sweetly.
“Yes, a nap does sound quite good, doesn’t it?” He gave her his hand to help her up. “Thank you.” Standing up, she began to slowly make her way to the bed.
“No thanks necessary, just rest up, you have a big day awaiting you when you wake up.”
“Oh?” Col. Stroyer nodded. She pulled back the sheets on the bed and laid herself down.
“And, I’ll be sure to keep the doctor out while you sleep.” They both laughed lightly as the colonel inched his way towards the door.
“Thank you,” she said even sweeter. “Also—”
“Yes, I’ll bring you a fresh set of clothes when you wake up.”
“How did you know?”
“Just a good guess.” He winked. “Sleep well, Rachel.” He stepped out the door. Rachel’s smile faded with the light in the room.
Is Justin really dead? What’s going to happen to me? She squeezed her pillow tighter against her body. Why am I so scared? Justin…I wish you were here… For the first time since she awakened in the room, real tears fell from her clear-blue eyes—no longer innocent due to the crime she knew she was a responsible for.
*  *  *  *  *
“How’s she doing?” Brigadier General Edward Stroyer—a buff, black-haired man of average height and tan complexion, wearing his full army uniform—asked Col. Stroyer as he stepped out of Rachel’s room into the dark hallway between captive’s rooms.
“She’s fine. Even through Dr. Hartmann’s ‘attack,’ she remained in a calm state. Also, upon hearing about her friend’s death she didn’t change. She broke down, but the situation wasn’t enough to make Eris come out of hiding.” The brigadier general rubbed his chin pensively. “It’s almost as if her professor was a one-time-only event.” The colonel sighed.
“No, it wasn’t,” Edwards spoke sternly.
“When they went to retrieve both of the children, Eris reared her ugly head. Two of her vines cut through half of the retrieval squad before they could get all the way through the door. When the smoke cleared, they found Eris with several flowers and half a dozen vines coming from her body. Why do you think it was so necessary to sedate and subdue her before capture?” John looked at his superior with momentary ignorance was without reason. He had seen her torn clothing, but the extent of the situation hadn’t sunk in until now. “No, this girl will change again..” Edwards’ tone was too matter-of-fact for John’s taste, “but the question is whether or not we can kill Eris’s connection with her before the distortions begin to occur. That’s why I’m putting my faith into you, Colonel.” John smiled with pride as Edwards placed his hand atop his shoulder.
 “I’ll do my best to make you proud choice, sir.”
“No doubt,” Edwards coughed roughly, removing his hand to cover his mouth. “That’ll be all for now. You will be notified when she awakens, until then, make the necessary precautions.”
“Yes, sir.” I won’t let you down, father…  Calmly he turned and proceeded down the hall to prepare for Rachel’s awakening. 

Provehito in altum

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