XI: Lust.Desire.

Chapter XI

“Somehow, I think you know me better than I know myself.”

“Dominic… That is your name, right?”


“It’s difficult to see the world you live in from the center. Standing on the outside gives me perspective; it helps me to see you clearly.”

“I suppose…” He wondered how well she really ‘saw’ him.

“So, what did she do?”

“That’s complicated… Used to be she was just an entity—some faceless, probably egomaniacal researcher… Someone who abused her position for personal gain… That made things simple. When my… When my daughter died, I decided that someone needed to be held accountable. And that maybe they even deserved the same fate… For a while, it was the only thing that made sense to me…”

“What happened?”

“I met the doctor who was responsible. Face to face… After the shift.”

“You knew her before and after?”

“No. I knew of her. I knew her work.”

She eyed him curiously. “The chances of you meeting her like that are… astronomical. How can you be sure it’s the same person?”

“She isn’t. Whatever monster possessed that woman in her work is gone now…” He hoped his own words were true. “And it wasn’t chance that brought us together, I don’t think. It was fate, or Karma.”

“How do you figure that?”

“It’s like you say, the probability of me meeting her was incomprehensibly small. And the way it happened… I had been travelling with her for nearly a year before I realized the truth. There was no way I could hurt her then.”

“So… fate.”


“Then what is the data you brought me? Really?”

“I don’t know what I’m looking for on that cube. She left it in the facility and I… I thought I’d take it to her. But things began to fall apart and…”

“You’re talking about your friend. The one Detroit is treating, right?”

He nodded, surprised that she knew about it. “I believe she is connected to his injury.”

“But what could she possibly have had to do with it?”

“That’s what I am trying to find out.”

. . .

Following sedately, lost in a trance…

“Maria, I know it’s been hard—”

“You put me here!” she shouted, “I know I made the decision to follow through with it, but I trusted you!” She leaned towards him, whispering seethingly, “Fuck you, Frank. Maybe next time you decide to play God, you’ll do it with your own life. Then, when you fail you’ll be doing us all a favor.”

The dark surrounded her. All she had left of that world was this man, his legs draped over her shoulders and her memories of him playing through her mind. If only the memories made for better company.

He shouldn’t have followed my advice… Tears welled in her eyes. “How far?” she asked aloud.

Images of space and land washed over her, crossed with the notion of “compact.” She had lost sight of the being, but that wasn’t necessary for it to lead; the feeling of where to go was so strong she might as well have had a rope pulling her down the path.

Soft hills of dirt rolled in earthen waves beneath her feet, dark growths snagging at her as she went. Though the darkness pressed all around, her feet knew the path her eyes could not see, guided by Hecen’s intimate knowledge of the landscape.

Her eardrums throbbed in the soundlessness. “It’s so quiet,” she said, unsure of whether that was a good thing or not. A forest without animals was a disturbing thing, but… Frank’s mangled body was a grim testament to the fact that there was something in these woods. “What happened here? Has it always been like this?”

“It is because of them. The…”

She saw the dark creatures in her mind and felt her mouth open, her throat trembling, “Ah-rum.”

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