“I can feel the monster caged inside of me, screaming through my bones.”
–In This Moment
Rogue’s eyes flew open; the wracking pain that had for so long torn her insides apart and rebuilt them over and over again had ceased, leaving only a dull ache in each of her limbs. An ache that throbbed like a drill that was burrowing its way through her bones. She coughed roughly, a scrapping, agonizing cough. It had been almost three days since she had been injected and left with no water or food. She should have felt weak, but something unfamiliar seemed to feel otherwise. A billion microscopic computers flitting around inside of her refused to let the weakness she felt restrain her. It was almost as if they were communicating, urging her to the brink of wide-eyed insanity with each electrical, intelligent pulse of building anger.
She glared down at the metal band locked around her wrist and flicked her hand upward with as much force as she felt she could muster. The metal snapped clean from the ground, leaving a tiny wedge of steel above the weld. The other half embedded itself permanently in the ceiling. Rogue chuckled in delighted surprise. Rotating her hand so that her palm faced upward, Rogue’s bicep flexed as she lifted her arm and the metal that tried to contain her groaned and broke from the immense strain her body was now capable of putting onto it. A sigh of relief escaped her throat and the air grated across her chapped and split lips. Reaching over, Rogue took hold of the metal braces connected to her other arm and pried them loose.
“Finally,” Rogue grimaced. Pushing herself up to her feet with a small shard of metal in her hand, she swayed slightly and began to stagger her way down the hall as if she walked along the deck of a ship being tossed around at sea. The taste of sweat and pleasure swam through her senses, and she was forced to whisk away the fear that jolted through her chest. Her fists clenched at her sides as her feet dragged painfully down the long, concrete hallway. Folter’s stench drew steadily closer and Rogue, gripped the hunk of steel tighter in her palm. Folter’s color rounded the corner just as Rogue reached the end of the hall.
“Hello Folter,” Rogue grinned hysterically. Folter’s eyes bulged wide and his entire body began to quake. His mouth flapped open and closed like a fish begging for water. Rogue gently placed a black veined hand on his shoulder and squeezed, shattering the skeleton beneath the soft human flesh. Before he could scream, Rogue clamped her fingers around Folter’s fat throat and brought her face close to his. The proximity of his stench so close to her nauseated Rogue, but the pleasure of destroying this man, hearing him die far surpassed that abhorrence.
“Kill him,” Something whispered almost imperceptibly in her ear. Rogue looked sharply in the direction of the sound, but nothing stood where her senses fell.
“I don’t like to hear them scream,” Rogue whispered psychotically, returning her attention to her captive prey. “It’s the color. The way that the yellow drips from your mouths,” Rogue muttered, tracing the tip of an overgrown nail down Folter’s cheek. “How their eyes beg for a mercy that will never come.”
Folter shrieked into Rogue’s palm, his neck straining as he tried shaking his head back and forth in Rogue’s vice-like grip. Rogue giggled maniacally and slowly clenched her fist around the man’s greasy face. She felt the individual pops of his teeth breaking loose and the crackling of tiny fractures zigzagging along his jawbone. All but for a moment until Folter’s mouth imploded, filling his mouth with blood and bone. Rogue glared down at him with wild, yellow eyes. Her body convulsed slightly and she left Folter to bleed to death.
“Good. Sense it all,” The odd voice whispered gleefully.
“Who’s there?” Rogue barked, spinning around, lashing out with her senses for the first time in months. What she felt was not what she could have anticipated. Rogue clutched at her head as the hundreds of colors around her attacked her senses. The colors, far more vibrant than she ever thought possible seemed to move with new patterns and thoughts, shifting full seconds and in dozens of ways before the body actually pursued the movement. She saw, for the first time, the subconscious thoughts and emotions of every living thing around her.
“Feel them, kill them, kill them, KILL THEM!”
Rogue clawed in the direction of the voice angrily, but her overgrown nails cleaved nothing but empty air. Blood streaked her greasy blonde hair as her hands fell back to her sides.
“Emotions become voices maybe? He’ll have answers. Where is he? He dies. Seraph, where are you?” She rambled, staggering toward the staircase and using the wall to brace herself. Her bare feet were soundless on the concrete floor and the guards that lined the hallway heard nothing as she approached. Finally reaching the top, Rogue stumbled forward and caught herself on the far white wall, leaving bloody stains on its surface.
“How the fuck did she get out?” The nearest guard to her right shouted. He raised his black assault rifle toward the sneering woman with yellow eyes. She licked her lips swiftly as her eyes flitted between the four armed and terrified guards. Her gaze lingered for milliseconds on each of their stances, body movements and muscular twitches, while her mind calculated instantaneously the most efficient method of slaughter.
“Kill, kill, kill.”
“Where is he?” Rogue demanded, flinching in the direction of the whispers in her ear. Her torn and tattered shirt was draped loosely around her, sinewy, muscular body. Sallow and ghoulish skin clung to her petite, wiry frame. The cargo jeans clasped around her waist by her belt, now sticky with sweat and blood, could not hide the prominent hipbones that jutted out from her sunken waist.
“Get down on the ground!” A guard shouted, moving toward her. Rogue watched his color’s yellow hand reach out to grab her by the hair and she grinned madly. Snapping her own hand up, she caught the man’s as it began to reach and pulled. The limb, not capable of resisting such force, was immediately dislocated and the skin separated around it, leaving only a bleeding stump where it once had been connected. Rogue tossed the arm to the side as the guard screamed and kicked him in the knee. As he fell, Rogue turned to the side and kicked his face into the wall, shattering his skull.
The men said nothing as fear over took them and they unleashed a barrage of lead at the insane woman. They fired blindly, unable to keep track of the monster easily dodging and dancing around their bullets. A blur vibrated passed each guard, leaving only a bloody stain and a dismembered carcass where each once stood. When finally the crackle of gunfire ceased and the smoke cleared, Rogue, hunched and feral, sank to her knees and hung her head forward. Behind her was left only a red smeared hall and four human bodies torn to pieces in her insanity.
“Seraph, I smell you! Come play with me daddy,” Rogue called out. Seraph’s guard, their colors oozing a yellow stench crept cautiously around the turn of the hall. The three men’s gazes fell on Rogue first who looked at them and grinned wildly. Their yellow grew more intense, however at the sight of Rogue’s devastation, their faces drained of all hope.
“Oh my god,” the back right guard, moaned. Doubling forward, he emptied the contents of his stomach onto the floor.
“They all are,” Rogue agreed, speaking in the direction of the disembodied murmur. “They weren’t very entertaining. Where’s my father? A girl needs her daddy,” Rogue crooned and staggered to her feet. The guards stumbled backward, scrambling to stay as far away as possible. Rogue licked her lips, tasting their yellow colors floating through her ears. Then she heard it, the sensation of Seraph’s repulsively confident aura.
“It’s about time. I was starting to wonder how many of your pets I’d have to rip apart before you decided to come play with me, Dad,” Rogue sneered.
“S-sir?” A guard stuttered, glancing nervously up at the towering man behind him. Seraph’s frown deepened and he placed a calm hand on his guard’s shoulder.
“Go. This isn’t a safe place for you. Don’t worry, I can handle my unruly child,” Seraph assured. Rogue laughed loudly at the words and held her metal shard at her side, poised to strike.
“You’ve lost it Azrael. I understand that the Augmentation Process is excruciatingly taxing on the human mind and body without the anesthetic, and it appears I falsely assumed you of all people could handle it,” Seraph said slowly.
“Lost it?” Rogue scoffed, “I’m out of my fucking mind! And it’s your fault! You did this to me, you made me become this!” Rogue continued screaming. Black veins twisted up her limbs as she quaked and the muscles in her neck bulged inhumanly.
“You’re pathetic. You honestly believe that I turned you into a monster? You are my child Azrael, but you have always made your own decisions without thinking of the consequences. You lost control and I had no choice but to kill you. I was pleased to see you had changed after I failed,” Seraph explained, his color reaching out to the sane side of Rogue’s mind.
“Then why not just leave me alone?” Rogue bellowed. “I was happy! I was finally good!” Rationalism came swarming back to her at the thought of Zaria, the smell of her hair and warmth of her light and smile, the touch of her titillating voice caressing her body and mind.
“I could not let you live or work with Virus and Tinman, as I knew that one day you’d regain your memories. When that day came you would know who I was, how I worked and you would help those two brothers hunt me down. You changed, my daughter, and I was proud. However I could not let them find me,” Seraph reasoned. His hands never left his sides and his color was anything but apologetic.
“Well then, let’s end this now,” Rogue sneered. Darting forward, Rogue tossed the shard of steel at the black haired man. Seraph narrowly sidestepped the lethal weapon that buried itself in the far wall. Rogue snapped her fist into the side of Seraph’s face, sending the hardened spy tumbling to the ground. In an instant, Rogue was on top of him, reaching to tear his throat from his body.
“Stop!” Seraph ordered, fear permeating his aura and sending chills of pleasure through Rogue’s body. She smiled at his order and attempted to continue, but when she tried to move her arms, she was unable to inch them forward in the slightest. Panic pulsed through her as she struggled against some invisible barricade. An ethereal wrap that enshrouded her entire body and sent throbbing pain through her limbs.
“What the fuck did you do?” Rogue fretted, the muscles in her arms bulging as she strained to strike the final blow to Seraph.
“Pain! Tear him apart! Rip! Tear!” The voice bellowed into her eardrums.
“I’m trying!” Rogue roared to the side. Seraph frowned at the strange behavior.
“Release me,” Seraph ordered. Before she knew it was happening, Rogue’s grip immediately released its hold from his neck.
Seraph dropped his head back and laughed in relief. Lifting his arm, Seraph pushed his daughter off of him and straightened his shirt. His downward cast eyes scrutinized Rogue’s stiff form as he stood. With a grunt, Seraph collided his foot with Rogue’s stomach and sent her sprawling into the wall across the hallway.
“I told you that I put a personal touch into your Augmentation Serum, Azrael,” Seraph said as he strode over to her.
“Rogue,” Rogue responded immediately. Seraph smirked and knelt next to her.
“You will call yourself Azrael,” Seraph ordered.
“And why would I do that?” Rogue asked, trying, in vain to move. Her eyes darted left and right, hoping to find some sort of weapon or escape.
“Because the nanites that I injected you with are programmed to react to the sound of my voice. Anything that I order you to do, they will make you do,” Seraph sneered. Rogue shivered at the hollow, emotionless glint in his eyes, like that of a shark knowing that it’s prey had no chance of escape from its razor lined jaws.
“Fuck you, you piece of shit,” Rogue spat. Seraph smiled menacingly.
“What is your name?” He asked.
“Ro- Ahh!” Rogue cried at the pain scorching her entire body. The nanites in every part of her vibrated angrily upon her attempt to disobey an order, wracking her without relent for several seconds. Her body twisted and writhed and her hands clenched into balled up fists until the pain subsided.
“What was that, darling?” Seraph asked, holding his hand to his ear. Rogue bit back her pride and closed her eyes.
“My name is Azrael, Angel of Death,” she whispered, letting the hot tears slip down her pallid cheeks and onto the blood soaked ground.
“Indeed it is. Now, you will not harm a single one of my men, in the field or in this facility. You will not harm myself, nor your sister. And you will call me by what I am to you. Father,” Seraph ordered. Rogue bit back another reflexive retort and grunted instead.
“What was that?” Seraph asked.
“Yes… Father,” Rogue said through gnashed teeth.
“Good, now, come with me. You must be famished,” Seraph said, offering his hand. Rogue grimaced and grudgingly took the hand extended out to her. Seraph hauled her to her feet and, patting her on her pale shoulder, began walking down the blood stained hall and around the corner. Rogue reluctantly followed, toes dragging dully along the hard surface beneath her feet.
Seraph led her to a single white door that created the end of the hall they had traversed. Rogue’s piercing gaze counted the multitude of men and women that sat inside, all seated at long tables. Their colors were busy, enjoying the meals that were placed before them. As if to beg her for some, Rogue’s stomach rumbled loudly and generated a painful series of cramps through her abdomen. Seraph said nothing as she doubled over in pain and clutched at her stomach.
Scanning his palm on the black pad beside the plain white door, a faint hum resonated outward and the door slid to the side. Dozens of interested faces turned to watch the father and daughter pair as they entered the chow hall. Rogue slightly remembered a few, if only in the back of her mind. Each color quivered with subconscious fear at the two as they passed, refusing to look up or speak as their ominous presence loomed. Rogue couldn’t help but sneer menacingly at each individual that dared make eye contact with her. It was all she could do to assert her power over these monsters that agreed to work for Seraph.
“Could end them all. Teeny little roaches beneath our heel,” The voice sang softly from Rogue’s shoulder.
“Quiet,” Rogue hissed.
Seraph led Rogue through a single door, concern creasing his brow at his daughter’s random outbursts. The chrome handle attached to the white door vibrated loudly in the awkward silence as it shifted back into place. Rogue shut the door soundly behind her and cautiously inspected the single square room with a barren table placed at its center. A tall, lone refrigerator hummed in the far corner of the room. To Rogue’s left, the spotless, gleaming granite counter that led all the way to an open window was decorated with only a coffee pot and several pristine mugs.
“So, Azrael, what are you hungry for?” Seraph asked, pulling out a high backed, wooden chair from the table and offering it to her. Rogue stepped around the side of the table and took a seat in the chair opposite, earning a knowing smirk.
“Anything other than rat or fish,” Rogue mumbled, the words trickling out of her mouth. She swayed slightly in her chair, catching the edge of the wooden table with a grunt before she fell.
“Well, before you collapse from hunger; how about a burger?” Seraph chuckled.
“A what?” Rogue questioned.
“A burger. Meat smashed together between some bread essentially. My personal favorite,” Seraph informed. He strutted to the window, his shoes clicking loudly on the tile floor, and peeked his head through.
“Janette, two burgers please, with fries,” Seraph spoke kindly. Turning his head, he peered at Rogue’s swaying, ghoulish figure, “Better make that three.” After a moment, a pair of plates were lowered delicately into the spy’s hands and he slid the white ceramic plate laden with two burgers and a handful of golden fries in front of Rogue’s hungry gaze. She stared at it with distrust, turning the sesame seed covered bun over to inspect the steaming, flat meat patty beneath. Sweet red ketchup and bitter mustard coated the top of the meat and underside of the bun. The succulent scent tormented her tongue and she immediately felt herself begin to salivate and her stomach moan with desire. She cautiously picked up the burger between her hands and tentatively brought the first bite she’d had in over a week to her lips. In a single instant, the food touched Rogue’s mouth and she began to devour the meal ravenously. When finally her plate was clean, Rogue sighed and relaxed into her chair.
“Better? How about a tour of the facilities then?” Seraph asked. Rogue looked up from her plate to her father’s that still held the majority of its now cold contents.
“Fine,” She said quietly. Seraph smiled and pushed himself to his feet. Rogue followed suit, her body feeling far more revitalized and energetic. He led her back through the long cafeteria, now almost devoid of patrons. Those that remained shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, ensuring that they faced as far away as possible from the dangerous pair.
“This is Medical. Should you succumb to unfortunate enough circumstances that you’re injured, report here for attention.” Seraph motioned with his hand toward a clear window. Inside, an elderly doctor enshrouded in light green was diligently stitching together a small gash along the thigh of a young soldier who winced with pain.
“He can’t sew himself back together?” Rogue snorted. Turning away, she strolled further down the hall, forcing Seraph to walk faster to keep up with her.
“Not everyone has had the fortune of being so hardened, Azrael,” Seraph lectured. Rogue bit the inside of her cheek at his almost fatherly tone.
“Lucky me. Next?” She replied resentfully. Seraph hummed a gentle tune in the back of his throat until they arrived at another white door with an access pad beside it.
“How are you feeling? Better I presume?” Seraph inquired, his eyes passing down the length of Rogue’s body that seemed to have nearly regenerated to its normal state.
“I’m not being tortured, and I’ve eaten. Its probably safe to assume I’m fine,” Rogue spat. Seraph smirked and led them through the door. To Rogue’s right were a series of lockers lining multiple rows. Rogue moved curiously to the left where a long window allowed her to see into a massive training facility. Several stories down, at the center of the almost solid white room, a man shrouded in a light green was walking through self-defense techniques with a large group of initiates. The unfortunate individual that was tossed onto his back sparked with yellow fear and Rogue couldn’t hide the sneer that broke out across her features.
“Locker two-eleven is yours. You’ll find your uniform inside as well as your pistol and knife. You will be issued a rifle when you’ve passed your field exam,” Seraph explained. Rogue raised a mocking eyebrow at the man by her side.
“Field exam? Please, there isn’t a person in this facility that could stand a chance against me,” Rogue scoffed.
“Oh no? And what of a team? Do you honestly believe yourself capable of dispatching a trained team of Mercenaries single handedly?” Seraph challenged calmly. The corner of Rogue’s upper lip twitched upward. Turning to face Seraph, she stepped in close and glared up into his almost black eyes.
“Try me,” She snarled. Seraph smiled dangerously and strode over to a grey box attached to the wall nearest the window and pressed his finger against its surface.
“Specialty Unit Alpha and Specialty Unit Lima report to the training facility immediately.” Rotating on his heel, Seraph beckoned toward Rogue’s locker. “You may want to change.”
“Time to rip, time to tear.”