“That’s great! I’m only in this for the fun,” Mevin said.
“Shut up, you roat.”
“Do you need me?”
“Stay where you are. It’d suck trite if they got organized. We’ll rendezvous where we entered.”
“Alrighty, Hime. Will do.” Lex rolled his eyes and waved his men forward.
“Lead on, Hime!” Sven, a man in his group said. “I need some gezic after this is all over.”
“You and your jecking liquor, Sven. You’re already drunk as it is. You don’t need anymore,” Josem said as he smacked Sven’s arm.
“Am not! I haven’t drunk a drop since we crossed the border.” They rounded another corner as the two men bantered in quite voices.
“Don’t think I didn’t see you sneak a drink of that flask of yours when you were on watch two days ago.”
“Tch. You saw that? Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m a better fighter drunk anyway, and better than you any day,” Sven said.
“Hey, I take offense. You may be better in hand-to-hand, but I’m a dead shot. Never miss. Not like some roat here.”
“You calling me a roat?”
“Jeck right I am.” Their ribbing lightened the pressure on the group, and made it so they could concentrate with more ease. Even with the horsing around, the group moved quickly and with extreme vigilance, their steps smooth and flowing. Lex smiled as he listened. His men, who had been strained because of inaction these last couple of days, were livening up quite nicely.
“You, I’ma beat you rancid when we get back.”
“Not, likely. You can’t even get close. I’d whip a gun on your piscine face so fast you wouldn’t even-” Lex raised his, cutting Josem off as they came before a door. He signaled them to get into position, then swung open the door.
The room was dark. The only was a faint glow emanating from somewhere within. They waited for a few seconds for their eyes to adjust before moving forward cautiously. The group noticed the puddles of water on the floor first. It squelched with each step. They paused and looked at each other briefly, confused that there would be water.
Lex had an uncomfortable feeling. There was something wrong. He realized he could smell blood, and gunpowder as well. He hoped nothing happened to his contact.
“Lex,” Josem whispered. Lex turned to him. “These glowing tubes. There’s babies inside. I think they’re dead.” Lex moved to them and saw the pale little bodies floating peacefully in the liquid. He slowly moved down the row, reading the labels. Number 6, Number 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. He paused at the last. Subject 55783. Given name, Alicia Whitehill. He looked at Josem, his eyebrows crinkled, then turned back to the broken glass case.
“The water came from here. Heva, Gen, take pictures of these, especially this name tag. Looks like Pandora really did kidnap Alicia Whitehill. Caleb, see if you can find her body. The rest of you, look for the contact. The location ping came from this room. Something happened here. Whatever it was, I have a feeling it wasn’t pretty.” He studied the case once more as his men spread out.
“Hime, over here,” Caleb called.
There were three bodies on the ground deeper into the room. The light from the glowing cases was dim enough that they missed the corpses at first glance. The closest was near the shattered case. Lex came closer.
“Holy roat,” he said softly. It was a man in a USCU military combat uniform. He had multiple stab wounds to the chest, and his face had been mutilated by too many bullet holes to count. It left his face an unrecognizable mess. He reached over an pulled out the man’s dog tags.
“This kanted gamin.”
“Who is it,” Caleb said.
“The sadistic roat?” Josem said.
“Yeah. Met him once in a skirmish a few years back before he posted that creepy video. Was just as mephitic back then. I never wanted to meet him again, but I never thought I’d see him dead, especially like this.”
“Why’s he in Pandora?” Heva asked.
“Punishment? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s ’cause of that video,” Lex said
“Serves him right, this kind of death,” Caleb said. Lex grunted in reply.
“He was a talented killer. Not many people would be able to get the better of him. Just who could of…” Josem trailed off. “Look, he’s got glass shards in him, as well.” Lex looked around the room.
“There’s bullet holes all over in the wall. I’d say they’re from him just looking at the angles. Must have shot the case. Pressure would have made it explode.”
“Lex, look at this corpse. It’s even nastier,” Blick, the dark humored Cakeman, said. Sven was standing next to him looking faintly pale.
Lex walked over. This one was a female corpse. Limbs were twisted and broken until it looked like they no longer housed bones. A couple of ripped off fingers lay scattered about. A massive knife gash streaked across her neck, and a flow of drying blood ran down from it to the floor. She lay in a thick puddle of blood, her face frozen in despair. Lex stepped forward and closed her eyes, in the process kicking a vent cover. He looked up and frowned.
“She’s not Alicia, is she?” Sven said.
“Alicia’s albino, you moron. Does this look albino to you?” Blick smacked him.
“She’s over here. Alicia. And it looks like our client, too,” Gen said.
Alicia was leaning against a wall, her wet hair just beginning to dry. Her face was in a similar condition as Andan’s, with bullet holes completely disfiguring it. Other than that, her body was pristine.
A boy that looked about eleven or twelve sat on the ground next to her, her hand cupped in his. From the water trails on the floor, it looked as if he had, with difficulty, dragged her body from near the shattered tube and propped her up against the wall.
He looked a lot like her, fair skin and white hair. Lex turned an looked at the bodies in the tubes once more. They had white hair as well. He frowned again.
The boy stared with unblinking eyes at the floor. His smock had tears and bullet holes, as well as blood splatters, but his skin looked strangely unmarred. He didn’t seem to notice the men in the room.
“Shock?” Heva asked.
“Probably,” Gen replied.
“Hey, kid? You still alive?” Lex asked. Light slowly bled into the boys eyes. He looked up at Lex. A spark of recognition registered.
“Cakeman?” he said. Then he slumped over, unconscious.
“Looks like we found our boy. Let’s get out of here.”
“Do we take Alicia with us?” Gen asked
“No, we don’t have the time. I feel bad saying this, but her body would be too much of a burden. Heva, did you finish taking pictures?” Heva nodded.
“Alright, Mevin, we’re headed out.”
End of Chapter 3
AN- Changed the name of chapter two from Blood Demon to Blood Wode. Always felt that Blood demon as a nickname felt too chuni for my tastes. I like the definition for wode better, and well, just how it sounds