There it was the
definitive heart of darkness. Within the abyss of the Atlantic was Fontaine’s
Department Store, three large building complexes in shambles and under the
mercy of the endless blue ocean. It was a daunting sight, the top of the main
building had the head of Poseidon, symbolizing a once great enterprise once
under the rule of Frank Fontaine. Now it served as a prison for all those
involved in the enterprise and the awe of Poseidon’s head has withered away,
trumped by the confines of his own domain.
*We gave up sesame soy glazed salmon and a two hundred thousand dollar penthouse for this?* Said my ghost and my “shoulder angel” Buchanan
“We didn’t give up anything, you’re not real”, I said looking at the department store. This place was not Rapture, not one bit. Up there they had blue spotlights, archways filled with people, and protectors repairing damaged sign posts. Here there was one large building with a lighted title that barely worked, that was it; there was not a speck of life to be found here. As the bathysphere moved closer to the alleged prison, I noticed something odd. The building was composed of windows from every corner, yet, not one of them had a light on, the rooms were just comprised of oblique darkness. “Something’s not right.”
*Beg your pardon?*
“Not a single light on in this entire building, how do you reckon that?”
* I don’t know, what do you think is in there?*
“You got me.”
*You can’t even speculate? And here I thought this was your forte*
“You know, I remember back when I was about to undergo the lobotomy, you showed off a speck of kindness and we were cooperating for once. In fact, that was the only time you even slightly resembled the Buchanan that roamed Rapture. What happened there?” I said curiously
*I’m as much John Buchanan as you are, I’m not supposed to act or think like him in anyway, in fact I’m not even real.*
“Then what the hell are you?” I said frustratingly, whatever this thing was it was commenting on every miniscule thing that I did and it was infuriating.
*I’m your shoulder demon, I’m the ghost of Rapture’s past, I’m a hallucination, I’m real, I’m not real. Take your pick.*
“Christ”, I said completely irritated. I knew that I wasn’t going to get any answers from him. I’ll get a doctor once this is all done and have this treated. For now I’ll let him blabber away.
*So into the devil’s nest we he-*
I fell back to the floor in shock. Something hit the bathysphere; I looked to the front window to see what it was. A figure was right in front of it. At first it looked like a person, but as I looked closer, I realized that was not the case at all, it was a mannequin; a faceless, pale mannequin. It was wearing what used to be a dress, now it was nothing more but ripped cloth. I looked to my side, to my horror there were at least a hundred more damaged mannequins just floating about in the ocean floor, all faceless, yet somehow staring at me. What the hell sort of place was this?
*Probably used to be some sort of boutique, stay vigilant.*
“Yeah you think?” I said, as if I did not know the obvious. The bathysphere began to enter the buildings dock. As it entered the tunnel, I noticed that there were posters advertising things like different plasmids and upcoming shows. Unlike the posters in Rapture, these were covered by signs that read “Closed by decree of the Council”. At least there was some form of order here; maybe some guards will be expecting me once I exit the bathysphere, though that would not be preferable. The bathysphere quickly ascended into the building and then stopped. The hatch for the sub opened and I walked out.
*Well this is dandy*
“I’d say,” I said looking at the bathysphere station. It was completely empty; there was not a single person to be found. The lights were barely functional, even the neon advertisements blinked about. The floor was an absolute mess, nothing but broken glass fragments and some sort of dried up liquid. I went to get a closer look at it; the liquid was red and made a trail out of the station. It did not end there; this stuff was all over the station.
*You don’t think that’s-*
“Blood . . . it’s all over the place.” I said to Buchanan. I explored the station to get a better idea of what went on down here. Dried up puddles of blood were in multiple areas, bullet holes punctured several walls and chairs, and some of the neon signs completely fell to the ground. I walked towards the exit slowly, not knowing what to expect next. Suddenly the lights from a billboard turned on and sitting in front of it was a body. I went closer to examine it; the body was completely frozen, his chest was missing, as if something went right through it. No blood was gushing out of him; his internal organs were entirely frozen. What the hell did this to him?
*I suppose any sense of order in this place is out of the question*
“This isn’t normal. Mind the frozen chest, gallons of blood were littered all over the floor and it’s all spread out. Whoever was here was mauled to death and ripped open.”
*How can you tell?*
“Take this,” I said walking towards an area where blood was prevalent. “You have no concentrated pile of blood, rather it’s formulated into a deformed circle of sorts and the center of this circle is empty. The victim laid here while someone tore right through the poor sap ripping out all his internal organs with its bare hands.
*So now we’re dealing with monsters*
“If you mean sick fucks that get pleasure from doing these things, then yes, that’s exactly what we’re dealing with.”
I decided to then leave the station; I had seen enough of this place. I went through the exit and began to slowly walk up a flight of stairs. Like the station, this place was coated in blood . . . someone was dragged up here. I went through a station and now stairs leading out of it, yet there was still not a single person to be found, just endless blood and a body. As I reached the top I began to slow my approach. I went through a door that led me to a lobby, like the station it was completely deserted. Water leaked through different cracks around the building and formed large puddles throughout the area; the structural integrity of the building was weakening, probably from the pressure of the ocean floor. There were empty shops on the side and in them were lights that were fluctuating by the second, repeatedly turning off and on. I stayed by the side of the lobby, not wanting to attract any unwanted attention. Coming up were a few damaged couches, one of them happened to have a small box of .32 rounds, just what I needed.
*That’s awfully convenient, don’t suppose there’s a tommy gun lying around there too*
“Never question providence; it’s not every day you see a box of bullets lying around on a luxury chair.” I said, loading my revolver with the bullets “Now I know you don’t really exist, but where do you think this Elizabeth is at? It’s an awfully big place and I don’t know where I’m heading.”
*My memories are your memories, we’re one in the same.*
“Right then, I suppose we just keep looking,” I said to him anxiously, it was a big place and I could easily get lost. I did not have much time, my daughter was close by and God knows what was lurking down here. I passed the couches and walked to the end of the lobby, but then I saw something that evoked curiosity. Lights were on in the last store to my right; it looked like a rundown boutique store. I decided to make my way over there, hoping there was someone else in this forsaken place.
A scream came out of the store, it was a female. I quickened my pace and took out my revolver. I entered the boutique shop. Like the outside of the store, it was filled with mannequins, all of them stripped of their assigned clothing. I stayed to the side of the store, cautiously looking for the damsel. Inside the boutique store there was another room, the door was open and a light was on. I could see the reflection of the woman and standing next to her was a man.
“So you’re leaving me now? Can you at least give me the courtesy of telling me who she is? Joe answer me . . . please.” said the woman in the other room. So that’s what the fiasco was all about, a damn cheating scandal? Even in a prison love somehow prevails. I lowered my revolver and began to casually walk into the room, whatever those two were undergoing, it could wait, I had questions.
“DAMN IT JOE, ANSWER ME!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. I slowed my pace once more, this argument seemed heated and might turn ugly.
“Am I not pretty enough for you anymore? Is that it Joe? AM I NOT GOOD ENOUGH?”
I peeked my head out and saw the front of the room, yet there was nothing. I then move forward and turned my head to the right and there they were, man and woman standing beside one another. Only . . . there wasn’t a man . . . it was a god damn mannequin. Something was off; I could feel it, a chill running down my bones.
“Ma’am . . . are you alright?” I said, she looked away from the mannequin, but I still only saw her back. Not a word was said nor any muscle moved, she just stood there silently. Her hands were shaking, her neck was bruised, and her gown a mess.
“Are you here to take me to the beauty pageant? I always wanted to be part of a beauty pageant. Please take me away from this place.”
“Alright now,” I said to her, placing my hand on the revolver “Turn around now and . . . we’ll head to the show.”
“What’s that? You don’t like my dress? But I spent days putting it together? HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE IT!”
“Settle down there Miss, I need you to turn around now,” I said to her. She complied with my order and began to turn around. When she finally faced me I . . . I . . .
“ . . . Oh my god”
“What’s wrong, I-I thought you said we were going to the show together.”
I did not reply. My hands were shaking and I stepped back.
“YOU’RE GONNA LEAVE ME? BUT YOU SAID I HAD IT IN ME! YOU SAID I WAS PRETTY!”
“Stay back!” I said to her, pulling out my revolver and pointing it directly at her.
“DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU MEN AND YOUR GUNS! I’M GOING TO TEACH YOU A LESSON IN MANNERS.”
Suddenly the woman began to sprint towards me in full momentum. I panicked but kept firm in my position and pointed the gun directly at her.
“Don’t make me do this!” I said almost pleading her.
She just kept running towards me.