Chapter 20 "Showdown"
He said Jo isn’t real. He said he’s an illusion I created. I want him here now, now- Right n-! “Addison, relax... I don’t want you panicking before the birth.” Reuben sees me frantically looking around the room and suddenly I feel an invisible force make me look at his gentle eyes. It’s so wrong, so wrong! He’s making more of a calculative expression now, then he suddenly smiles in the warmest way. “You’re thinking of Jo... Your desperate reach for him is beautiful to me.” I really fucking wish I could get out of here! He’s dangerous and psychotic!!! I still can’t move or talk! I look past him at the two men fighting by the door; they must think they’re fighting other people in other places; they could’ve been my way out but you, Reuben, you fucked it up!
The baby is moving again, quicker now, more excited. The way it moves; I’m starting to feel sick again like before-worse than before! Why is this!!! I want to lurch forward, I want to scrunch myself into a ball, I want to scream, I want to move! I can’t.
He places his hand on my forehead and wipes the sweat off, “Please remain calm Addison.” he takes a pair of scissors out of his coat and cuts my gown open, then the moment he sees my belly, he smiles again and says something in another language... something as if he’s greeting it, I think. He begins caressing it with two fingers. I breathe fast and heavily through my nose, squeezing my eyes shut as the baby pushes against his touch. I think he’s helping it! He places his hand over my lungs and heart, slowing them way down, causing me to feel drowsy and fade in and out of consciousness. He returns to caressing my belly, back to having a concentrated stare, “Today... today... I know...”
“You stupid boy, you’re nothing! NOTHING! He doesn’t respect you! After all these years, you have learned NOTHING BUT HOW TO BE A NUISANCE TO EVERYONE!” Jack swings his arm around to punch me in the face and I catch his fist, speaking with a low guttural tone, “I don’t need you. I’ve learned how to survive without you and you’ve destroyed something that was precious to me!” I grind his knuckles in my hand, “I wasn’t harming you or that asshole you call your Father! I WAS LIVING MY OWN LIFE AND ADDISON WAS GOING TO BE A PART OF IT!” He winces and growls at our hands, “SHE’S NOT HERE YOU IMBECILE! HOW LONG WOULD YOU KEEP HER IN YOUR LIFE - DAYS, WEEKS? WOULD SHE LAST THAT LONG?! AUGH!” he punches me in the nose and upside my head,“STAY. AWAY. FROM US!” I stumble backwards and animalistically hiss with my fangs and claws out at him. Everything he’s said, it’s all about our past - all insults, all my failures, I’m a terrible son, I’m a terrible grandchild. I shouldn’t have been made his son. “There is nothing for you here!” He yells. I hiss at him again, and I want to throw him out the window, but then I look at you again. You’re blinking slowly at me; there’s nothing left in that pretty little face of yours. I watch as you try to keep your head up; you’re drooling and brain fluid is dripping down your forehead. Like sweat... like syrup... I wonder what that tastes like? It’s from you. I have eaten human flesh and organs before - there’s a first for everything, especially when you’re immortal - but surprisingly, I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking brain fluid. I don’t notice I’m licking my lips. “Reuben, my father...” Jack walks over to you and rubs your face. I feel a drop of blood trickle down my fast-healing nose, but I don’t pay attention to it; I’m pulled back to watching him and listening to what he says, and I realize all that he’s shouted at me was what Reuben wanted me to hear. This is not really happening. It... can’t be! I’m... I can’t believe I haven’t realized this. Is this really true?
“Jack...?” I say, “Jack... please listen to me!” I reach out, walking toward him.
“Why won’t you heal?” he continues petting your face, “What can I do? I will sew your arms and legs back, but you need to speak to me! Please, please! I’m so sorry I did this to you!”
“Father,” I put my hand on his shoulder. He smacks it off, “LEAVE US BE!” I turn my nose down at him, now growing impatient. “Listen asshole! You’re giving Reuben what he wants; he will not talk to you because he’s enjoying tormenting you! Now YOU wake the fuck up and pay attention! This is his fantasy!” He shoots his head up and spins around to me, “How DARE you!” I look down at the Addison imposture and she smirks at me like she knows anything I say won’t matter. You little bitch! I lunge at her, pushing him out of the way, and I snatch her brain, “DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!!!” He falls to the floor, gasping, “What are you doing! NO! STOP!” He scrambles, getting up as I rip her brain out of her head and throw it. Suddenly, the room changes; we’re standing in a psychiatrist office and you’re there Addison - you’re lying on a bed, sleeping as Reuben has his hand on your growing belly. My jaw falls open and Jack freezes on the spot. We’re in his office now. He’s talking to your belly. He’s saying things only a man totally obsessed with his creation would say. And Jack is becoming jealous bit by bit, just watching him coo over his new project. Rage is bubbling up within me. I have my chance to end Reuben now. Does he know we’re here? Why isn’t he acknowledging us? Is this yet another trap?
Your belly stops moving just then - just as he says ‘yes... you’re ready!’ He rubs it a few more times, looking from your face to his hand. “No...” he realizes something is wrong. “No!” He puts his ear to it. I wait and hold Jack away from him. Jack was never like this-he was never this unwise until now!
Reuben crosses his arms,letting his head down. “Blood clots in the brain... The process was too rushed. Damage is irreversible; this project has failed.” He sighs, “Why can I not create a successful piece of work? Everything I create is corrupt. Why... why?...” He turns his head slightly, then I hear a sudden tearing noise and fluid spilling out. He turns around, facing us with burning, blood red intense eyes. I look from him to you twice, and I see your belly is ripping open. Jack frowns at him, “Father, forgive me. FORGIVE ME!” He suddenly runs at him, slamming him against the wall and taking a needle out of his coat, “FORGIVE ME!” He plunges it into his neck, “My blood, my venom, and the blood of the last few I’ve killed! I AM TIRED OF YOUR GAMES! YOU DIE NOW!” The poison is making Reuben start to have a seizure as he struggles against him; he’s starting to foam at the mouth and shake uncontrollably. I stand stiffly in the same place, seeing my one shot going down in flames. This is not how it was supposed to happen. I was going to kill him. This was my duty! But you Jack, have taken this opportunity away from me. I start gritting my teeth while watching them. But then something hits me.
This can’t really be happening like this. There’s always a catch. I’m running out of time.
I turn and hurry over to you and look over your body. You’re wide open but you’re not bleeding like you should be. Reuben has relaxed you to near death and also slowed your blood flow. I didn’t think that was possible. I shove my hands down into your womb and pull the baby out. When it’s in my hands, I look at how the head is too large, its arms and legs are twisted, and the skin is bluish. What an abomination. I put it on a table and then use my vampiric abilities to stitch your skin back together. “Hold on Addison, hold on! I can’t have you like this!” As you heal, I wipe the blood off you and notice your mouth has been sealed shut. I can’t fix this. I try, but I can’t. Angrily, I look at Jack and Reuben. He’s injected everything in Reuben; now he’s repeatedly jamming it in his neck with all his rage and guilt - everything he ever was, it’s in the energy he’s using to kill him. And he’s yelling; he’s crying. I’ve never seen these things in him. I’ve never seen him sad, never seen him love - none of that. I can’t understand any of this. The room fades to black and where they stand, two beams of light appear and shoot up through the ceiling, taking them with them. There is a low hum, and suddenly-
But I can hear Jack’s cries slipping away. Both of their voices are slipping away into the hum. My lips part as I slowly blink at the sight and reach for you, soon finding your hand and holding it tight. The room is fading. Fading...