Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fallout Chapter 11

The fog of the drugs that had been injected into his system gradually faded. He was lying against the wall of the shed. No one was in sight. For the moment, there was no pain.

He tried to sit up, and managed to prop himself up against the wall, but by this time, pain had smoldered back into existence, snapping into his back, clamping down on his chest. But the worst was his arm. Beneath the fire that ringed his shoulder, his arm hung listlessly at his side. It must've been dislocated, he realized, but he didn't remember it happening.

He dragged himself to the door, looked out. Could it be possible that they'd just left him here, unrestrained?

But then, around the corner, he glimpsed Gray looking out over the valley. He darted back inside, gasping as his shoulder twisted sideways.

Before he could recover, Gray stepped back in, his nondescript Germanic face studying him.

"Are you ready to continue?" he asked. He pulled something from his pocket. A syringe. "During the last session, you were very forthcoming. I want you to tell me more. Maybe you will without my having to use this."

Did I really give in so easily? Jason wondered. I can't remember--but I trained in resisting interrogation drugs of all types. With some, you can't remember what happened under their influence.... He must be trying to manipulate me into thinking I've given something away.

"That trick's not going to work on me," said Jason.

"Well, then, we'll have to give you some more." He crouched down, grabbed Jason's dislocated arm. Plunged the needle into it. He couldn't pull away, because he knew how much it would hurt if he did.

Everything Gray did was calculated, Jason knew by now. Causing him pain was just part of the equation. This cold indifference to suffering was harder to deal with than the heat of Nadira's anger. Jason had killed in the name of his country before; mostly, it had been people like this, with their callous disregard for human life, who, in his opinion, had no souls left to save.

Now he was the victim of one of them. Anger burned inside him—he would not, could not, give this man what he knew. I can't have given in so soon, he told himself, though a part of him wasn't sure.

And now, the drug was taking effect, soothing his nerves, taking the edge off his pain. He carefully set up blocks in his mind, severing contact with his vital secret in order to keep it protected.

The hypnotic pull of the drug was not unlike pentothal sodium, one of the drugs he'd been trained to resist. There was no truth drug invented that could break through the mental barriers of a trained agent if he was strong enough.

I will not give this man the satisfaction, he thought.

He sat back, his good shoulder leaning against the wall, knowing at the moment he had no chance of escape. An artificial sense of calm swept through him.

The side effect of the drug was the dulling of his senses, for which he was grateful, dousing the fire that raged over his skin.

Gray scraped the chair across the floor and sat down in front of him. "I must say, I'm disappointed."

"What do you mean?"

"During the first session, you broke. You spilled everything willingly."

"I know…what you're doing…."

"You didn't even try to resist. Did you neglect that part of your training, or are you really that weak? All this is is sodium amytal. Basic." He held up the empty syringe.

"I didn't break after—all this." He looked down at his arm, his lacerated skin.

"This? This is nothing. It helped soften you up; I just had to give you a little encouragement—and you toppled."

"What is the weapon then? If I told you…. you must know."

"I do know. I also have more insight into your character now. You only got accepted into the Agency on the influence of your father, didn't you? It wouldn't surprise me if he had doctored the reports of your accomplishments."

"He…wouldn't do that."

"But without him, you never would have gotten as far as you did. What would your brother think of you?"

"Don't you dare speak of him!" Jason lunged forward, but was unable to hold himself up. Gray grasped his shoulder, pushed him gently back.

"You are nothing compared to what he was. Look at you. Can't even sit up straight. Where is your strength now?"

An image of himself, this pathetic half-naked creature with shredded skin, kneeling on the floor, contrasted with the shining image of his brother, in his dress uniform, tall, heroic, marching to the end with his head held high.

Who am I, compared to him? What have I done? I have lied, cheated, lived in the shadows. I have killed innocents.

What do I truly have left?

What would my father think of me? How could I ever tell him what I have done? He would never have sacrificed his values like I have.

But—if this secret is really all I have left, then that's what I have to hold onto.

"No," he said. "I'll never give it to you."

"You already have. There's just a little more I need to know—and you just need a little more motivation. It shouldn't take much. Good thing, because I need to get this assignment over with; it was barely worth my time in the first place."

He grabbed Jason's hair, pulled his head back. "You could spare yourself, if you just told me where the weapon is."

"I …don't know where it ishhh…." His speech slurred. Darkness pulled at the edge of his vision.

Just then, Nadira stepped through the door, Akim towering next to her.

"Has he said anything yet?" she asked, her voice indistinct amid the narcotic haze.

"Not with this dose. If we want to get out of here anytime soon, we're going to have to go to extreme measures."

"I thought the drugs were working."

"There is no such thing as a miracle drug when it comes to a trained agent. My employer is getting impatient. And you want to go home, don't you?"

"Very much so," she said.

"Well then. Akim, help me with him."

They pulled Jason up against the wall. He was unable to stand on his own. Akim held him there, while Gray walked across the room to the tool shelf.

"Nadira," he said, fiddling with the tools, "take out the camera. If anything, we want to have footage of him when he breaks."

She stood in front of Jason, holding the camera at her side, not attempting to film. Eyes brimming with conflict, she looked away.

Gray strode back over. In his hand, he held–Jason's breath caught in his throat.

A hammer and nails.

"Hold his left arm out please."

Akim pulled his arm away from his body. He knew he should feel pain, but he didn't. Not yet.

"The drug should be fading by now. It's no good if he can't feel it. Lay his hand against the wood, like this." He raised his hand in demonstration, palm facing backwards.

As awareness returned to him, Jason tried to struggle away. Akim grasped his shoulder, pressing him back against the wall.

"Akim," said Nadira, "I don't think you should do this."

"This is what you wanted, isn't it?" said Akim.

"Not this, no. I want you to stop."

"Is that an order?" he said.


Akim stepped back, letting Jason go. He nearly collapsed to his knees, but managed to stay on his feet by grasping the wall post next to him with his right arm.

"Akim," said Gray warningly

"I don't follow your orders."

"But you work for my employer. While I am here, I am his voice."

Akim looked at Gray, then back at Nadira. "I am working for him, too," he said. "I'm sorry, Nadira."

She looked at him, eyes narrowed. Akim stepped back and grabbed Jason's arm.

This time, it hurt. He bit his tongue in order not to scream.

Gray pressed the nail against his hand. In one swift blow, the hammer came down.

Agony burst like a supernova in his hand as the nail ripped through his skin on the way to the wood beneath.

Someone grabbed his chin. Forced him to look up. His hand was pierced to the wall, blood streaming off onto the floor.

"Now," said Gray, "you will tell me what the weapon is, or I will use another nail, and another, until your hand is mangled beyond repair."

What am I holding out for? he thought vaguely. As long as they don't know where the weapon is, what does it matter if they know what it does?

For a moment, he couldn't speak. Then, he said, as if reciting from a scientific manual, "It's an aerosol drug…developed for…certain mental disorders…. Mind control is its accidental but potent application…."

Shame seized him as soon as the words left his mouth. I have given in, he thought, the full impact of what he'd done slamming into him, along with hatred at Gray for torturing him to the point it stripped all his training from him.

But how much longer could he hold out, not giving its location?

Would he end up giving in to this man who had all but torn his humanity from him?

As Gray pressed the second nail against his hand, he prayed, Lord, please help me get through this. Don't let me tell him anything. Before that happens, if at all possible, strike this man down. Kill him in agony.

The second nail, Gray took his time with.

Jason longed for unconsciousness, but all he was granted was a horrible lucidity. He felt every nuance of pain as the rusty nail burrowed through his flesh.

My God, kill him! Kill all of them!

It hit him like an electric bolt.

Another man had once been beaten, nailed to wood, like he was.

Only he had asked forgiveness for the ones who had done it to him. Not immediate torturous death.

Perhaps I am more like Gray in that way…I have that darkness inside me. I could never love my enemy.

I have, said a clear beautiful voice. I have done it for you. I have carried your sin. I can do this for you, too.

Dear Jesus, forgive me!
he replied. Help me to love when I can't. Help me to forgive Gray—and Nadira, and Akim. My enemies—but ones that you love.

Strength was born anew in his heart. Not the burning, dark strength from hatred that burnt itself out, but a strong, clear light.

He would not give in. For there was one standing with him, one who would never fail him, even to the end.

"Where is this drug?" said Gray.

"It's –in a place I will never tell you. No one should have such a weapon. It should've been destroyed instead of hidden—but it will be as if it has been destroyed. I have a powerful ally."

"Ally? What ally?"

"My God is on my side," said Jason, smiling through tears of pain.

"God," said Gray. "I am the only god in this room." He pulled another nail from his pocket. This time, he touched the cold tip of the nail against the base of Jason's ring finger.

"Wait," said Nadira. She dropped the video camera, and it clattered to the floor.

"What is it now?"

"I don't think that I want a weapon like this. It is the devil who takes away free will, takes people's souls for his own. This should not end up in anyone's hands. Especially someone like you."

She raised her gun, aiming it at Gray's head. "Let him go."

"He still has information I need."

"I said, let him go! Akim?"

Akim nodded. He withdrew the large pistol from his belt, and pressed it against the base of Gray's skull. "Do as she says," he said.

As each nail was pulled from his hand, it hurt at least as much as it had going in. He nearly passed out from the pain. And he had a suspicion that Gray was making it even more painful than it had to be.

Both nails on the ground in a pool of blood, Akim wrapped Jason's hand in a piece of soft, patterned blue cloth.

With his good hand, he applied direct pressure to the wounds, but was careful not to press too hard, for he was pretty sure at least one bone was broken.

"Now what?" said Akim. He gestured toward Gray. "Do we kill him?"

"I've had enough of death," replied Nadira. "Let's go home."

"It's your home, not mine."

"Akim, I'm sure my father will have a place for a good security guard in his business."

"Even an Israeli security guard?"

"We'll deal with that when we come to it. He's probably not very happy with me, either…"

She waved her gun at Gray, and she and Akim herded him out the door.

Jason followed shakily, not sure what else to do. Now that no one was demanding information from him, he seemed to be a disposable commodity.

Outside, the sun was setting in the west, the orange and gold in the sky reflecting in Trickle Lake in the distance like a mirror of bronze.

Jason reached Nadira's side, emerging between the two of them, though she had yet to acknowledge he still existed.

Then, Gray stopped in his tracks, turning slowly, hands raised. "You two are making a mistake."

"I don't think so," said Nadira. "Move."

"Your mistake is thinking you could ever get the upper hand."

He flicked his wrist, and something silver flew through the air. Akim gasped, grasping his throat. As he fell to his knees, Gray ripped the pistol from his hand.

Akim choked, blood gurgling from his mouth. Nadira stepped toward him, horror on her face as the tiny blade drained her bodyguard of life. He collapsed among the flowers.

Gray stepped toward her. "Now, for you, my trembling little dear. If there's one mistake that my employer has made, it's involving civilians like you in the first place. Your unpredictable emotions would have been his undoing if he hadn't sent me in to troubleshoot this venture."

He cocked the gun.

Please, God, prayed Jason. Give me the strength. My last gift to you—a life for you to rescue.

Just before Gray pulled the trigger, Jason summoned all the energy within him, much more than he'd have had on his own. All the pain shed from him as he sprang in front of Nadira—

And the bullet meant for her exploded into his chest.


  1. Um......... Don't you think this is a little more grotesque than intended? Otherwise, the story is rising into substantial amenities! I'm assured that:

    1. This is a subconscious endeavor to display God's representation to Jason through a dream.
    2. Jason dies, foreshadowing a possible death to Jason within Adventures in Odyssey. Do you know something we don't?
    3. Jason survives the pandemonium.

  2. Sorry if it was a little did go quite to the extreme in this last part. It was approved by Trenton for this site after I asked if the violence needed to be toned down.
    I will post the next chapter ASAP so you are not left hanging as to what happens.

  3. Quite alright. Relished Chapter 12, by the way. Is this the foregoing introduction to a saga? Will is a presumably tenacious character, and reminds me of Blackgaard and Charles. That is what catylised the inquiry.

  4. Thank you! and yes, Will isn't going to give up so easily. I do love sagas, so yes, there will be a sequel.


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