“This is where my memory starts to go, I’m afraid.” Colten looked down sadly. “I see bits and pieces. I do remember feeling nothing like myself. It was like a current running through my body that couldn’t be stopped.” He spoke quietly. “I must have hurt a lot of people. For that, I am truly sorry.”
“You did, Mr. Adder. Thousands in fact. Not just hurt, but killed. The city will be paying for your damages for years to come. I’m afraid, even if you hadn’t meant any of it,” here Gideon sounded doubtful, “you will have to deal with the consequences as we see fit.”
Colten sat quite still, head down. “I didn’t mean for it to end this way.” His voice trembled. I saw him wipe his eyes. “Please, sir, I’d very much like to speak to Bridget now.”
Gideon was not relenting. “Do you realise how many people lost their lives because of you?”
“Please, sir, just let me talk to Bridget.”
“Children have been orphaned. Parents must bury their young. Everybody lost someone. Why should I pity you, Mr. Adder? You did not pity them. You treated them all as scum, but it is you who are the real scum.”
“Please, I need Bridget. She helps make me better.”
“She was a fool to try to bring you back.”
Colten slammed his fists into the table. Papers flew up into the air. A large dent remained in the table when Colten took his hands away. He breathed heavily, glaring at Gideon.
“Alright, Mr. Adder, how about I fill in the gaps for you now? Seeing as how you seem so incapable of doing it yourself.”
♣ ♣ ♣
The wind was howling and rain was tumbling down from the dark skies. Troops were moving in on the Green Tower, the city’s tallest building. Scarlet ran quickly, pushing against the wind. She had to get to Colten before they did.
She had reached the construction site beside the tower, where another skyscraper was in the process of being built. Not much had been done on it yet; it was still in its earliest stages, with only a lower skeleton to show for it. She found Colten in the midst of the rubble.
“Colten,” she screamed, her voice barely audible over the wind. “You have to get away from here! They’re coming!”
He turned, looking nothing like his old self, but a flickering monster of a man, black eye sockets bulging, skin straining to hold against the growing muscles. “Ms. Milson,” his hissing voice floated all around her, diving and piercing into her like the wind itself. “Is this what you meant? Is this what you warned about?” His body shook with laughter, and she saw several tendons tighten and bones protrude.
Colten took two thundering steps towards her, and she felt a great rush flow through her body. Colten let out a loud roar and sprang upon her, lifting her up by her forearms and bringing her close to his face. “Well, guess what?” He grinned madly. “I like it!” Colten started cackling, and switched his grip to Scarlet’s neck. She felt her pulse quicken as he squeezed, and she closed her eyes, quivering. They were so close together now – she would be the one to save him! She would never be pushed aside again.
“Hey!” Something small hit Colten, bouncing off his back. He turned, snarling. Bridget was standing a few feet away. She tossed another rock, this one bouncing off Colten’s shoulder.
“Put her down, Colten! Come on, this isn’t you!”
Colten roared again and dropped Scarlet. She landed hard on the ground, just missing one of the metal spikes that poked up from the ground, forming the building-in-process’s base. She rolled to her knees and watched in despair as Colten turned away from her and began moving after Bridget.
“No!” she screamed, but no one paid any attention to her. Scarlet wiped her eyes.
Bridget, seeing Colten coming after her, turned and began to run. “Can’t we just talk?” she cried behind her. Colten roared, and wind pushed her to the ground. “I’ll take that as a no,” she grumbled.
Colten grabbed her, and Bridget shrieked, struggling in his grasps. “Colten, no! Stop, put me down!” Colten swung her over his shoulder and leapt up the side of the Green Tower, his hands smashing through the glass as he pulled himself up. Bridget screamed, clinging to his shoulder as she saw herself rise higher and higher from the ground.
The troops had reached the tower, but Colten was already too far up. They flooded into the building, racing to the top.
Colten threw Bridget off him once he had climbed over the edge of the roof. She scrambled away from the side of the building, feeling it sway beneath her, and clung to a steam pipe that sat in the middle of the roof.
“Colten? Please,” she cried, closing her eyes against the wind and pleading desperately. “I know you’re in there somewhere. Please, come back to me. This isn’t you. Don’t let it win. I love you.” A tear slid down her cheek.
Colten grunted, stirring the storm more.
Bridget raised herself to her feet, pressing her back against the pipe, legs shaking. “Show me the man I love is still there. Please come back to me. Please. It doesn’t have to be like this. We still need each other, Colten! Come back to me, and we’ll make it through this together.”
His eyes showed a moment’s recognition. The storm slowly started dying down. Bridget took a deep breath and released the pipe. She took several steps closer to him and reached a tentative hand out, her fingers stretching out to him hopefully. He stiffened but made no other movement. Her hand paused, inches from his chest, and she looked up at him with big steady eyes. “Colten, please,” she begged, “Please try. Fight! Fight back, I know you can do it. You’re better than this.”
They stared at one another, and Bridget smiled as she saw him relax towards her. Colten groaned and his body began to sag. All wind had stopped. Bridget stepped forward and held her arms out to him. Movement rustled behind them as the troops burst through the door onto the roof. Colten’s eyes flashed, emptying back to black. Everything happened suddenly and slowly at the same time, as though the entire rooftop had been displaced in water. Bridget’s smile disappeared as she saw Colten turn once more. Her far-off voice cried out as she stumbled backwards. “Colten, stop – no!”
She screamed as Colten swung his arm out fiercely, throwing her away from him with hatred. She tumbled slowly, falling from the tower, hands still outstretched, ever hoping that he might still reach out and catch her. She fell to the ground, her body landing with a quivering snap as it went straight through one of the metal spikes far below. In the commotion of it all, Project Sionis was finally captured and taken down.
♣ ♣ ♣
Colten sat stiffly in the metal chair. His face had turned ashen and soon began to contort, twitching and jerking. His hands were entwined together, twisting and pulling at the sinews that still bulged out dangerously from his withered joints. He squeezed his eyes shut and started rocking back and forth. “No, no, no, that can’t be, you’re lying.” His moans repeated themselves in frenzied disbelief as the rocking grew more frantic. “No, no, no, not dead, she can’t be dead, no, no, no.”
“You killed her,” Gideon stated coldly. “You did this.”
“No!” Colten once more slammed his fists against the table. He shoved it away from him and stood, reeling backwards, the chain tying him to the table snapping in two. He clawed his face, pulling at his hair, spittle flying from his mouth. “Bridget!” he screamed, slamming himself against the walls. “Bridget! Bridget! Bridget! Arghhh!” The room began to shake and a howling wind took up his cry. The antidote was wearing off.
I gripped my clipboard and leaned forward, pressing close to the glass. I held my breath and my body tingled. That grin in the glass, my grin, leered on mischievously. Watch him kill them all. He could easily do it if he only wanted to. He was more powerful than any of them. My eyes widened and I took a deep breath, my lips twitching and twisting.
Gideon stood, closing his notebook calmly, as Colten continued to hurdle himself against the walls. “Restrain him.”
Men slipped out of the shadows from every direction, and moved in around Colten. They bound his arms and one placed a mask to his face, which emitted a gas and soon had him subdued. Colten was crumpled on the floor, tightly wound around himself. His body shook with sobs. They took him away. My eyes followed him out the door and lingered on him long after he was gone. The grin did not depart from my face.
My fingers returned to my pocket and caressed the tube I had stolen from the lab. Sionis swished up against its sides, begging to be released. Together, we would be unstoppable. He had nothing to lose now.
I knew where they were keeping him. I went there in the dead of night. It was easy for me to slip past the guards. No one ever noticed me. That wouldn’t be for long though.
Colten’s eyes looked up at me. They were empty, but I knew what would fill them. I held up the Sionis to him. He took my hand and followed me. Nothing to lose, nothing to lose.
Together, we will turn and win.