Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.
The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.
The Spider’s Face contorts with rage; hatred and fear are what he wants to engender, laughter deflates him. “I will cut laughter right out of you, Rotblossom,” he growls, glistening eyes fixing her with a maniac glare. This makes Rose laugh all the harder and The Spider, abandoning composure in the face of her mockery, fumbles for a tool to make good on his promise. He whirls upon her with an implement that looks to be the bastard offspring of a dirk and a wood-saw, many toothed and vicious. He comes at her, crossing the room with ground-eating strides, murder hot in his alien eyes.
“Its too late,” croaks Rose, something in her voice stops him is his tracks.
“What do you mean?” asks the Spider.
“Look in your tunnel,” she says. “They should be here by now.”
“No one can get into this place,” growls the Spider, coming toward her, raising his blade. “Tricks won’t save you now, Rotblossom… I know you too well…”
“That flows both ways Spider,” said Rose. “I remember who you are and what you have done to me, all of it now. I know you are rattled, ask yourself why?”
“I should just kill you right now!”
Rose laughed, “A swift death, knowing what surely creeps toward you? Gladly.”
“I will make you scream!”
“Raaaaaahhhh,” a scream, high pitched and feral, escaped the lips of The Spider as he dashed forward and brought the knife down. Rose felt the jagged blade tear into the flesh of her hip, but Spider was driven by rage and while the cut would bleed, it was neither deadly not especially painful. She summoned her courage and laughed at him as he drew the blade back to strike again.
“My only regret, bastard, is that I will not get to see what they do to you.”
“There. Is. No. They,” hissed the Spider, punctuation each word with a jab of his jagged blade-saw. Rose hissed in pain and strained against the bonds that held her. The third hit struck deep and she grunted and felt hot blood rush from the wound as the blade ripped free.
“Enough of this,” snarled the Spider, raising the blade again. “You ruin everything!” The phrase echoed through Roses’s mind, dredging up memories of all the times he’d said that before in this terrible room and the terrible violations that followed before somehow transferring her life force to one of the bodies in the specimen tanks.
Why am I not mad? Rose wondered as she saw her death in his eyes, wondering how her mind could withstand the knowledge of what he’d done to her, how many times she had died and been reborn. Was she even herself anymore or just the spark of something transferred from husk to husk?
A bell sounded from another room. The Spider froze, his eyes wide with fear. He turned, still brandishing the bloody knife and sprinted toward a copper pipe fitted with a pair of goggles near the entrance to his laboratory.
Rose was feeling light-headed now, torpid as her mind turned over the riddle of her being, ignoring the screaming of her survival instincts in the back of her head. Distantly some part of her realized that the bell was some kind of alarm, but that came and went as Rose bled, wrestling with the essence of her being.
And then it came to her. All she had were her memories, that was the sum of her being. The body she wore was just as artificial and interchangeable as the various forms of her metal arm. The memories were what mattered… and as the Sorceress had before him, the Spider had given her back some of her memories. Satisfied by this realization, Rose came back to herself. She was bleeding. The Spider was saying something as he looked through his periscope.
“No. no, no. no,” he moaned. “You led them straight to me. No. no. no. no.”
Ah, yes. Them.