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The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years.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.
“Always have a contingency, Rotblossom!” exclaims the spider as he looks down at her.
Rose struggles to move, but only her toes and fingers respond. Every ounce of will and all her hate amounts to nothing as he looms over her, grinning like fucking Cackles, but twice as ugly.
“You thought you could beat me? If it weren’t for me you would have died a dozen times by now. I have manipulated you from the start. You have no idea…”
He laughs again, a uncontrolled edge creeping into it, which was somehow more terrifying, like spotting a Rockwyrm looming behind a pack of Deep Wolves. The Spider bends over, grabbing Rose and lifting her with surprisingly little effort.
“I had the strength of will and foresight to defy a sorceress and a bandit king, Rotblossom. What makes you think that you could ever beat me in a game like this?”
He laughs again, jostling her. Desperately Rose wiggles her toes and the fingers of her real hand, trying to regain control. If she can just keep him talking…
“You actually recognized me, I believe, but were too slow to act. And then I ensnared you, and I have been using you ever since. It took five tries for you to kill Lawch…”
The rest of the sentence is lost as the implication hits Rose. What does he mean? Lawch said something similar.
The Spider pauses. Rose hears the sound of a key in a lock, followed by heavy gearborne doors grinding open. She could not see much with her face hanging just above the Spider’s belt but the room is large and filled with laboratory equipment including dozens of man-sized specimen tanks. It smells like the heart of the Syndicate fiefs; the Sorceress had told her the truth about the Spider’s illicit alchemical experiments as well.
“We’ve been through this dance before, Rose. It is a shame that I will have to make an end of it like this. We could have gone bedrock together, but you never could learn to appreciate me. Not once in any of the lives I have given you.”
Rose’s mouth worked. She wanted to scream at him. To call him a rapist. to call him a murderer. To tell him that she remembered.
Rose is dumped into a chair and feels cold metal bands slam shut around her wrists and ankles. It feels oddly familiar and panic grips her. She can barely breathe and her mind swims. Hope drains from her like blood from a sliced artery.
“Your subconscious remembers this place,’ says The Spider, grinning. “It is a pity that this will be our last waltz, my dear. We have had so much fun here over the years.”
Rose’s eyes dart around the room. It is large, with a vaulted ceiling. Copper pipes, glass tubes and sterile white lights crowd the ceiling. Beside the chair that she is trapped in is a table full of instruments, blades, syringes, and other devices of pain and mutilation. Some of them stir her thoughts as she spies them. What has he done to her?
The Spider picks up a syringe filled with a milky liquid and pushes the needle into her skin. Rose struggles, but cannot move.
“Usually I just hypnotize you and lead you down here,” says the Spider. “I haven’t had to use drugs since the first time…”
He sighs. Then shakes his head. The expressions are recognizable and yet alien in him, like watching a puppet without strings.
Rose gasps as her throat clears and her tongue regains feeling.
“Fff-FUCK YOU, SPIDER!” she howls.
“Good, good. It’s always better when you can scream,” he says. “Shall we begin?”