Madness & Despair
The train slowed to a stop as it entered the station. Anna nervously stood up from her seat within the empty train car and walked towards the doors; she waited for them to open. She was on edge. Even though she was miles away from Dragunov, she still worried that he would find her.
Anna managed to escape the silent man and now she was going someplace where she thought it was safe. It took her a while, but she ultimately decided to go to Bryan's apartment. She didn't think it would be wise to go to Lee's mansion. If Dragunov is after her, he would surely go there next to look for her.
The doors opened and Anna cautiously exited the train. She slowly walked up a flight of stairs that lead out of the subway and onto the surface.
It was cold and the sun was beginning to set. Anna lifted the hood of her fur coat over her head and began to walk towards Bryan's apartment. Her bruised hands and face stung in the wintery air.
She eventually arrived and entered Bryan's building. She walked to his apartment and knocked on the door a few times. She didn't expect him to be home, especially after what happened today, however, she tried anyway. Unsurprisingly, he wasn't home.
Anna sighed tiredly as she sat on the floor. She began to question why Dragunov was after her. Is he seeking revenge? Or is it something more than that? Anna wondered if he was hired to kidnap her. It did make sense. If he wanted to kill her he would have done so when he had found her in Violet Systems. She pondered the possible reasons for her kidnapping.
Anna suddenly gasped. She wondered if she was caught spying on the Mishima Zaibatsu. She wasn't an expert hacker, so it is possible that the Zaibatsu had figured it out somehow. It was very possible. In matter of fact, Anna strongly believed it was true. It made the most sense. The thought frightened her immensely. If it is true, then it is only a matter of time before Lee discovers her treachery.
Anna quietly began to cry as her world was quickly crumbling away. Her life as she knew it was over and it frustrated her. All she simply wanted was to be loved and respected, but no matter how hard she tried to obtain that, it seemed like she was doomed to fail. She started to wonder if her goal of reconnecting with her sister was naïve and senseless. Was it worth it? She thought to herself. Is it really worth all this turmoil?
A part of her regretted the decision she had made.
Hours passed before Anna heard someone walking through the hallways. She slowly lifted her head to see to see who was approaching. Fresh tears began to roll down her cheeks when she saw Bryan turned the corner. She was inwardly happy to see him, however it sadden her that he was the only person she had left to rely on.
Anna sobbed quietly as she sat next to his door. Bryan was surprised to see her there. It looked like she had been through hell and back. Her white, fur coat looked brown and filthy. Her expensive blue jeans were caked with dirt and had rips in it. Her hair was frayed and matted.
"Shit! What the fuck happened to you!?" Bryan said in disbelief.
He quickly walked to Anna's side and stooped down beside her. He immediately noticed her bloodstained hands. They had cuts all over them.
"How the fuck did that happen?" He said; feeling concerned as he cautiously inspected one of her hands.
Anna remained quiet and quickly tried to regain her composure. Even though she was emotionally distraught and felt like the world was collapsing around her, she did not want to cry in front of him. She didn't feel comfortable doing so… No matter how badly she wanted to release her pain.
Anna felt slightly uneasy as she watched him examining her wounds. He was very attentive and careful as he probed each hand. Anna felt it was oddly comforting to know that he was concerned for her. When he was finished, he quickly stood up and opened the door to his apartment.
"Come on." Bryan said as he held open the door for her. Anna timidly rose to her feet and entered the studio apartment. It was completely dark, but she felt safe.
Bryan quickly closed and locked the door and turned on one of the lights. He then entered the bathroom and rummaged through his medicine cabinet until he found some bandages and rubbing alcohol.
"You gotta take off your coat." Bryan calmly instructed as he turned the faucet on the sink. He was relieved that the woman was still alive, but he wondered why she decided to come to his home instead of Lee's mansion.
Anna took off and dropped her dirty coat on the floor. She entered the tiny bathroom and stood next to Bryan. Bryan carefully washed her hands and took out any bits of glass he could find. Anna looked obviously distraught and for some reason, this bothered him.
"You really fucked up your hands." Bryan said half-jokingly and smiled; wanting to lighten the otherwise tense and awkward mood.
It worked… only a little. Anna sensed that he was trying to make her feel better… in his own way. She felt bit calmer and ironically enough, it made her want to cry much more.
Bryan poured the rubbing alcohol onto her hands, Anna yelped in pain as the antiseptic burned the cuts on her skin.
Anna was suddenly overwhelmed with sorrow and began to cry. She was trying her best to bottle her emotions around the man, but she couldn't hold it in any longer. She cried loudly and quickly wrapped her arms around Bryan's waist.
Bryan was immediately taken aback by Anna's unexpected gesture. He absolutely and unequivocally felt uncomfortable. Once again he had to deal with a crying woman, but this time he couldn't simply ignore her.
"Hey, um… Are you alright?" Bryan said in shock as he looked down at her. He kept his arms firmly in the air; not wanting to touch the woman even though her arms was tightly curled around his torso. Anna sobbed uncontrollably on his chest.
"The antiseptic is not supposed to sting that much." Bryan joked nervously; not knowing what else to say or do.
He heard Anna begin to snicker. Her laughter slowly grew. She released Bryan and stepped back a little as she carefully wiped the tears from her eyes. Bryan stared at her skeptically as he witnessed her sudden change in mood.
"I'm sorry…" Anna said softly as she looked down at the tiled floor. "I'm just having a bad day."
"No shit." Bryan quipped, feeling thoroughly confused by her actions. Even though her behavior was baffling to him, he silently decided to overlook it.
"Well, let's wrap those fucked up hands of yours. I'll take you to the mansion afterwards." He said as he picked up the bandages from off the sink.
"No, I can't!" Anna said nervously. "I can't go back there."
"Huh? Why not?"
"Please…" Anna begged. "I'll tell you in the morning… I promise."
Bryan sighed resignedly. "…Very well… I'm fuckin' tired anyway."
"Thanks." Anna said timidly. "…A-and don't worry about the bandages, I'll wrap them myself."
"Alright." Bryan said passively. He handed her the bandages and exited the bathroom.
Anna exited as well and sat on one of the couches.
"Well, I'm gonna take a shower." Bryan said as he searched his dresser for a change of clothes. Remembering how uncomfortable Anna was the last time, he was feeling a bit more courteous and decided to dress inside the bathroom rather than out.
"Make yourself at home." Bryan joked as he entered the bathroom.
Anna felt very awkward. She was in Bryan's apartment again; the man whom she hated and feared… or at least she used too. After talking and getting to know him over the past few days her feelings towards him became muddled and confused. A large part of her feared him; only seeing him as the crazed, ruthless, killer. Another part of her did not and was in fact intrigued and curious about him. She saw sides of him that surprised her; that she didn't know existed. She actually wanted to learn more about him and understand him better.
Anna's skin began to irritate her. She really wanted to shower, but she didn't have a change of clothes. She wondered if Bryan would lend her something to wear, but she was already feeling guilty. She believed she was asking too much of him. He must already be annoyed by my presence, she thought.
Minutes passed before Bryan exited the bathroom. Anna looked at him nervously. He could tell that she had something on her mind.
"What is it?" He pressed as he looked at her.
"Um… do you mind if I uh…" She said nervously as looked at him.
"What? You want to use the shower? Go ahead." He said simply and shrugged.
"Yeah but…I-I don't have anything to wear." She said sheepishly as she looked down at the floor.
Bryan quietly sighed and walked over to his dresser to find something for her.
Anna was surprised. He was being so generous. He must be doing it out of pity, she thought. The idea was depressing to her. To actually have a man such as him pity her was shameful and almost unbearable.
Bryan walked over to the couch and handed her some clothes. "You can have the bed tonight; I'll sleep on the couch."
"N-no… I can't do-"
"Just take it." Bryan interjected firmly. "…You did keep your word earlier… you know, with Lee." He mumbled uncomfortably.
Anna softly smiled. "Thanks." She said quietly as she slowly took the clothes from his hand. She realized that Bryan could be nice at times even though he hated this side of himself.
Anna stood up and entered the bathroom. She felt very uncomfortable as she stood in the cramped space. The room was still warm and damp from the shower he had taken just minutes ago. It was also saturated with his cologne.
Anna uneasily undressed and showered. When she was finished, she wrapped the bandages on her hands and put on the clothes Bryan gave her. It was a white, short-sleeved shirt. It hung loosely on her body. She also wore a pair of short, khaki pants that constantly slid off her waist. She stood in front the mirror to see how silly she looked.
She fondly remembered wearing Lee's clothes around the house. She always enjoyed it. There was an intimate sense of gratification she got by doing so. It was odd but she felt safe, comforted and loved whenever she wore them.
Right now, she felt uneasy wearing Bryan's clothing and somewhat guilty. Wearing them brought about the same feelings; feelings that should only belonged to Lee. It made her feel like she was cheating even though their relationship no longer mattered. Somehow, her feelings towards Bryan and Lee were getting tangled and confused. 'Surrogate boyfriend.' The word quickly entered her mind. It was a word Bryan used to describe their odd situation.
Anna immediately blushed and shook her head defiantly as she exited the bathroom. She didn't want her mind to wander on the subject much longer. She noticed Bryan was lying on the couch wrapped in one of his comforters. He was already fast asleep. She caught herself staring at him as she walked by. Anna slowly walked over to his bed and hesitated for a moment before reluctantly getting under the sheets.
She closed her eyes and pretended that she was in the mansion with Lee; that she was wearing his clothes… It was the only way she could fall asleep and to ease her guilt.
Anna was slowly waking up from her slumber. She turned around in the bed. Her head rested on something warm and so did one of her hands. She wasn't in the bed alone. She didn't pay it any mind at first, she actually enjoyed it. She nuzzled her face closer into the warm body next to her. However, the odd feeling that something wasn't right quickly grew within her as she slowly regained consciousness.
Anna suddenly blinked her eyes open and lifted her head to see who was lying next to her.
"Bryan?" She muttered to herself in absolute horror. Anna screamed loudly and jumped out of the bed. She couldn't believe she was cuddling next to this man.
Bryan woke up completely startled by the woman's loud shriek. He fell out of the bed and hit his head on the wooden floor below.
"FUCK!" Bryan yelled aloud. His hands clutched the back of his head from the sudden jot of pain. "What the fuck's the matter!?"
"Wh-what are you doing in the bed!? I thought you said you're sleeping on the couch!" Anna yelled feeling a mixture of shock and anger as she pointed a finger at him.
"What?" Bryan muttered; feeling very puzzled. He glanced across the large room and saw the couches on the other side. He then turned his attention to where he was and quickly realized what occurred.
"It was an accident!" He said feeling very annoyed. "I got up to take a piss in the middle of the night; I've must've come here afterwards." He explained as he got up from the floor. "I was half-asleep when it happened."
Anna casted him an angry look as she held on to the pants to keep them from sliding off her waist. Her face was flushed red with embarrassment. Bryan couldn't help but smirk playfully at the woman's appearance and demeanor.
"You're such a jerk!" Anna said angrily as she stormed off towards the couches.
Bryan smirked and shook his head dismissively as he climbed back into bed and sleep.
Anna sat on one of the couches; she was still fuming over what happened moments ago. She reached over and grabbed the TV remote that was on a small table next to her. She turned it on. There was a live, news broadcast going on that discussed the attack on Violet Systems. Anna gasped as images of the destruction flashed across the screen. They also showed video footage which shocked her even more.
She instantly thought of Lee and wondered how he was doing. His entire company was destroyed because of her. Anna quickly turned around; she wanted to speak with Bryan, but he looked like he was sleeping again.
Anna sighed warily. She hoped that Lee is alright. She got up and walked over to the kitchenette. She was feeling a bit hungry. She silently hoped Bryan wouldn't mind if she rummaged his kitchen for something to eat. She opened the fridge, it was almost empty. There was only a case of beer, bottled water and a small carton of expired milk.
"Geez… there must be something in here to eat." She muttered to herself as she continued to search the fridge.
"There is!" Bryan said loudly.
Anna shrieked. She turned around and saw Bryan standing right behind her. She put a hand over her chest as if to try to prevent her heart from jumping out of it.
"Why did you sneak up on me like that?" Anna said dumbfounded. "I thought you were asleep."
Bryan chuckled. "For revenge… what else?" He said matter-of-factly. "And I can't sleep with you making all this fuckin' noise."
Anna watched as Bryan opened one of the kitchen cabinets and pulled out a box a cereal. From what she can gather, it looked like the sugary kind; the type of cereal that kids like to eat.
"See… I got food." Bryan smirked as he held the box for her to see.
"…But that nothing but junk." Anna said bemused. "It has marshmallows in it for crying out loud!"
"But it's a good source of vitamin D." He said teasingly as he pointed at the box.
Anna scoffed. "I can't believe you eat that stuff." She found it hard to believe that a man who had killed and murdered many people enjoyed eating food with colorful, shaped marshmallows in it. It seemed very ridiculous to her.
Bryan took out a bowl and poured some cereal in it. He went in the fridge and pulled out the carton of milk. He was about to use it, but Anna quickly stopped him.
"Wait!" She yelled. "That milk has been expired for days now."
Bryan curiously opened the carton and took a whiff. "Huh, it smells good to me." He shrugged.
He poured the milk into the bowl and Anna swore she saw a lump or two exited the carton. She winced in disgust.
"Don't you have anything else to eat?" Anna asked sarcastically. "Like… eggs, beacon, bread… anything!?"
"Nope." Bryan said flatly as put spoonful of cereal in his mouth. "I'm not a fuckin' chef and that's what diners are for." He said as he walked towards a couch and plopped down on a seat.
Anna sighed and took a bottle of water out the fridge. It was the only thing she considered edible… well, maybe. She then sat on a couch next to him.
"So… you care to explain what happened yesterday?" Bryan said as he casually chewed his food. "Lee had your phone traced and he sent me after you, but all I've found was my old friend, Dragunov."
Anna was surprised to hear this.
"I had to fight him. Now he's captured and tied up in Lee's basement… He's the one who kidnapped you right?"
Anna was elated by the information. "Oh, thank goodness…" She said feeling relieved. However, she was surprised to hear that Bryan considered that man a friend. "You know him? Personally, I mean?"
"Well... kind of. We've hung out a few times… Why? Do you know him as well?" Bryan asked curiously.
Anna hesitated for a moment before answering. "Yes… I do…" She said uneasily.
"Really!?" Bryan said as he perked up in his seat. "You've fucked him or something? If you did I'd like to hear some details."
Anna growled angrily. "No I did not!" She said defiantly. She secretly wished she had something to throw at the man.
Bryan gave a look of disappointment as he returned his attention on his food. "Aw well… that guy is a fuckin' mystery to me… So how do know him?"
"I was hired to go to Russia and kill him about two years ago." Anna said thoughtfully. "The guy who hired me was a strange fellow… He looked like a ninja or something … I thought was ironic; an assassin hiring an assassin." She chuckled quietly to herself.
"Well, needless to say, you've failed." Bryan chimed in.
"Yeah… It was scary. I barely escaped Russia with my life… It was the last job I took before I met Lee."
"So you think he's here for revenge?" Bryan said curiously as he pondered the idea. "Hmm… He doesn't seem like the type of guy to do that kind of thing…" He said perplexingly.
"I thought that at first too… but I think he's here for a far worse reason… which is why I cannot return home." Anna said uneasily as she looked at him. "I-I was hacking into the Mishima Zaibatsu."
Bryan nearly spit out his food. "You WHAT!?" Are you fuckin' crazy!?" He said in disbelief.
Anna nervously remained silent.
"So you think the Zaibatsu sent him after you!?" Bryan yelled as he quickly stood up from his seat.
"Yes." She said quietly.
"Shit!" Bryan cursed as he mentally put the pieces together; getting a clearer understanding of the dangerous situation they are in. "So you're the main reason why everything happened yesterday!?"
His comment struck a nerve in Anna. She was suddenly overcome by guilt.
"That means that Lee will find out! He will know everything." He muttered to himself.
Bryan quickly changed his clothes and prepared himself for the day. He wanted to go to the mansion. He was confident that Dragunov will never utter a word, but he still wondered if Lee figured it all out already. Anna was right, she cannot return home, she must hide in order to remain safe.
Anna quietly sat on the couch. She regretted everything that has happened. She suddenly realized that her selfish actions have created panic and chaos in the city and the loss of many innocent people's lives. She felt utterly and wholly miserable.
Bryan reached into his wallet and pulled out some money. "Here." He said as he walked over to her. "Order some pizza or something."
Anna timidly took the money from his hand.
"Just stay low and don't do anything stupid while I'm gone." Bryan instructed sternly as he quickly exited the apartment.
Anna silently began to cry.
"Where is she!" Lee yelled as he struck the Russian hard across his face. "Speak you bastard!" He screamed as he hit him again.
Dragunov did not utter a word. He merely looked straight ahead at the concrete wall in front of him. He was strapped to a chair with his hands tied behind his back. His face and body was bloody and bruised and he had a black eye. He believed a few of his ribs were broken. He was in intense pain, but no emotion dared resonate on the man's cold face.
His calm, stoic and silent demeanor angered Lee immensely. He badly wanted to inflict pain on the man. He wanted to make him scream and beg for mercy. But no matter how hard he tried the results was always the same. It was as if the Russian was mocking him.
Lee signaled the guards to come in and continue to torture the man. Lee sauntered to a corner of the room with a bottle of liquor in his hand. He was slightly drunk and looked disheveled. His tie loosely hung around his neck and a few buttons on his shirt were undone by the collar. His shirt was also sloppily tucked into his pants.
Two guards entered the room. One of them was smoking a cigarette. They smirked and chuckled evilly as they approached the silent man.
"Okay you guys… I wanna hear him scream." Lee said as he took a few swigs of his drink.
One of the guards walked over and punched the Russian hard a few times in his stomach. Dragunov lurched over and quietly gasped for air. The other man pulled the Russian's head back and pressed his lit cigarette firmly against his cheek. Dragunov remained emotionless. He did not scream, yelp, or even grunt in pain.
Lee grew furious. He threw the bottle hard on the ground. It broke and shattered across the concrete floor. The guards grew worried and quickly stepped aside.
"Say something you mute fuck!" Lee said angrily as he ran up and pulled on the Russian's collar. "Where is she!? What have you done to her!?"
"Whoa! What's going on here?" Bryan interjected as he slowlyentered the room.
"Oh Bryan, it's you." Lee said feeling somewhat relieved as he released his grip on the man. "This man refuses to speak no matter what I do to him." He said hysterically.
Bryan can smell the booze emanating from the drunken man as he approached him. "Well I've warned you… He's bad at conversations." He joked as he glanced at the Russian.
"I guess you were right…" Lee said warily. "We have his cellphone... But it seemed to have been modified in some way." He said quietly. "We've searched it; tried to hack it, but we couldn't find anything. We don't know where he came from or who is working for… nothing."
Bryan inwardly felt relieved by this. "Well, that's fucked up… So what are you gonna do now?"
Lee gave an aggravated sigh as he passed a hand through his hair. "I don't know… I-I just want Anna back… I just want to know if she's safe." He said tiredly as he leaned against a wall.
"Do you think that she is still… alive?" Lee asked quietly. He looked very distraught.
Bryan was taken aback by his question, he was uncertain with how he should respond. A small part of him pitied the man. "I'm sure she is alive and well." He said uneasily.
"She would've called by now." Lee said sullenly.
Bryan didn't know what else to say to calm the man down. They were silent for a few moment as Lee thought of what they should do next.
"I want you to take me to where you've found this asshole!" Lee muttered angrily as he thumbed at the restrained man. "Perhaps we can find something that can lead us to Anna."
Bryan sighed. "Alright… if that's what you wanna do then let's go." He said simply.
It was the early afternoon when Bryan, Lee and a small group of his men squeezed into a large black van and headed towards the location where Dragunov was found.
Lee and his men searched every abandoned factory, warehouse and lot for the missing woman. Bryan followed Lee and watched him as he desperately called out Anna's name in vain. He looked a mess and Bryan assumed he hadn't showered or slept since her disappearance. Lee was obviously desperate to find the woman he loved.
Even though Bryan felt a sense of guilt, he followed the distraught man and simply did what he was told. He searched many rooms and buildings that he was instructed to; fully knowing that Anna wasn't there.
Lee reluctantly gave up after several hours of searching. They couldn't find a single shred of evidence that Anna was anywhere nearby. They all climbed back into the van and returned to the mansion.
The van pulled up to the front steps of Lee's home. One of the guards eagerly ran out of the mansion.
"Mr. Lee! Mr. Lee!" The man called out. "His phone... It's ringing!"
"WHAT!?" Lee said astoundingly. He quickly ran into the house; Bryan followed closely behind. They ran into the living room where they saw Dragunov's cellphone vibrating on a small table near a couch.
Lee quickly picked up the device and looked at it. The number was blocked and listed as 'unknown.' He hastily answered the call.
"Who is this?" He said anxiously."
He heard a man chuckled on the other end. "I guess my assumption was true… he has been caught."
"Who is this!?" Lee said more sternly.
"Tell me… Is he still alive?" The man asked slyly.
"Answer me!" Lee yelled angrily over the phone.
The man chuckled again. "It's me uncle…. Jin Kazama."
"Jin?... Jin!?" Lee said disbelievingly. "You did this!?"
"Yes I have… uncle." He mocked.
"Where's Anna!? What have you done to her!?"
"Oh? She's not there with you? Jin laughed out loud upon his realization. "Well I guess she must be someplace far, far away by now…." He said teasingly.
"What are you talking about?" Lee said feeling thoroughly confused.
"Someone from Violet Systems was spying on my company… Naturally, I thought you were behind it."
"Me!?" Lee said feeling utterly shocked. "I never tried to hack into the Zaibatsu… Never! I don't want to have anything to do with the Mishima accursed blood-line. You should know this! I've worked so hard to distance myself from you all!" Lee yelled angrily.
"I know… That's why I thought it was odd at first. But facts are facts… and I had to do something about it." Jin said nonchalantly. "But now I see the real truth." He chuckled. "It seems like you were played a fool, uncle."
"What do you mean!?" Lee muttered furiously.
"My mercenary was supposed to kidnap the hacker and bring them here. Last night, I received a text message stating that they have escaped. He also missed his flight this morning so I assumed the worst…" Jin explained. "Are you getting it now?… Huh, uncle?" He said amusingly.
Lee was in shock. His mouth hung agape and he remained silent. He refused to believe what Jin was insinuating. He didn't want to.
"My mercenary does not know where your Anna is." Jin said clearly. "Knowing that man… He would probably never utter a word to tell you… even if you threatened his life."
"Are you… Are you serious?" Lee mumbled nervously. His mind began to swirl with thoughts of Anna and how much he loved her. He really did not want to believe the truth even though it all made complete sense.
"Yes uncle…" Jin said regretfully. "It seemed liked she played both of us… She's probably laughing at us as we speak."
"No…" Lee said quietly. "No…" He said more defiantly.
"You should be more careful with who you let into your life." Jin said sternly.
Lee abruptly hung up the phone and dropped it on the floor. He was still in utter shock.
"Lee… is everything alright?" Bryan asked as he gave the man a concerned look.
Everyone in the room was worried. Lee had a crazed look in his eyes as if he was about to have a mental break down.
"No she would not do that to me… she can't… she won't." Lee muttered nervously as his mind slowly connected the dots.
She was spying on him; spying on the Zaibatsu. It made sense. It explained her odd behavior and her disappearances. It all seemed true but Lee didn't want to believe it. Anna was in love with him. She loved him and he loved her. It was real… wasn't it? He questioned himself. It all couldn't be a lie… can it?
Lee's mind and body was engulfed with conflicting emotions.
"I refuse to believe it! I REFUSE!" Lee yelled loudly as he smacked a lamp from off a table. It went crashing on the floor. His words were stern and defiant; they were filled with conviction… However, deep down inside, he was slowly accepting the truth… Anna had betrayed him. It hurt him more than anything he could imagine.
Why did she do this to me!? WHY!?" Lee screamed at the top of his lungs as he angrily walked toward a bookcase and knocked it down. The books spilled and scattered across the floor.
Everyone quickly exited the room; some ran out of the mansion. They never saw Lee this angry. His behavior even shocked Bryan. He was normally polite, quiet and well-mannered. Now the man was a shadow of his former self.
Lee angry trudged around the mansion screaming Anna's named. He kicked over tables, chairs, vases and other expensive things during his rampage.
Bryan thought it went on long enough. "Lee! LEE!" He yelled as he ran towards the man. "Calm the fuck down!" Bryan commanded as he grabbed hold of one of his arms.
Lee swiftly pulled himself away from Bryan's grip and punched him hard across his face. Bryan slowly stepped back. He was shocked the man actually hit him. He felt fresh blood trickled down from his nose.
Lee was surprised as well. He couldn't believe that he had just punched the man, but a part of him was too upset and angry to care.
"J-just leave me alone!" He said breathlessly. He turned around and staggered off. He continued to angrily knock over and break expensive items around his mansion.
Bryan slowly wiped the blood from his nose. He quietly stood and watched the man's fast descent into despair.