Feel Like A Monster


claire_icon.gif ling_icon.gif melissa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Feel Like A Monster
Synopsis There once was a young woman that took a trip across the pond, most of what she experienced was thought destroyed. Melissa and Ling witness what happens, when she remembers it all. (Warning: Some what graphic.)
Lyrics from Skillet's 'Monster'
Date September 03, 2010

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

The secret side of me, I never let you see

I keep it caged but I can't control it

So stay away from me, the beast is ugly

I feel the rage and I just can't hold it

Since she stalked away from the memorial, Claire Bennet has not been seen or heard from within the ranks of Messiah. The regenerator was missing. After several days, Peter started to worry about what has happened to her, since the raid on the Statan Island Hospital, Claire had retreated into herself more then before. Fearing that maybe she was scooped up by the Institute, he had Rebel track her down.

He found her.

Now Melissa Pierce and Ling Chao were being tasked with checking on the young woman and possibly bringing her back. The technopath didn't tell them anything more then that she was located at the New York Public Library and that her cellphone was inside.

That's all he told them.

It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls

It comes awake and I can't control it

Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head

Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

The library has housed many after the bomb, from Pheonix to Edward Ray, though much more recently it's been home to the small faction EndGame.

As they step into the darkened doorway of the dilapidated old building, they will probably wish that he had told them more. The first thing they noticed is the earthy scent of mold and decay.

The dirt and dust that covers the floor shows the signs of having been recently disturbed, the small footprints leading off deeper into the building between rows and rows of toppled book cases, their contents left to rot and thanks to the harsh weather, the books have been severely damaged.

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin

I must confess that I feel like a monster

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun

I must confess that I feel like a monster

The deeper in they go, they notice a distinct shift in the aged scent of the place. It's one of those smells you never really forget. It sticks in your nostrils and nothing you do will ever get the memory to fade. The sharp metallic scent of blood starts to mingle with the mustier ones.

The further they move into the library, the thicker the smell of blood gives, choking their senses. Soon it's all they can smell, a sickening scent that brings up memories of the Statan Hosptial raid when a portion of their group stepped into the gruesome world of Doctor Dmiteri Gregor.

And then they step through a door partially open, into another room of the library and the picture comes into terrifying focus.

I, I feel like a monster


It's everywhere the two woman look. From the stark white walls to the dingy tiled flooring. Smeared around in a grotesque display.

In the middle of it all, sits a huddled figure as gruesome of the scene around her, her body rocks side to side in a slow motion. Brunette hair is a tangled mess, crusted with blood, covering her face like some wild woman. Her clothing is sliced through in several places, soaked black with blood. He feet are bare, the bottom of them look like they have had dark red paint slapped on the underside. Knees drawn up, her body is hunched over so that her face rests against her knees, only blue orbs look over the tops, from the curtain of tangled brown hair. Her arms are held where she can see them over her knees.

My secret side I keep hid under lock and key

I keep it caged but I can't control it

'Cause if I let him out he'll tear me up, break me down

Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

But that's not the worst of it, that isn't what is the most horrifying. In one hand, is the knife Bones gave her, retrieved at some point. The memory is a blur, but it's held in the tight grip of her fist, pointed down. The two women have arrived just as she drives the point of it into her forearm, sinking the tip of it deep. Ever so slowly, as if savoring it, she draws the knife through flesh and tendons, feeling how each thread of muscle tissue parts before the deadly blade. A deep gaping wound opens… Blood flows to the surface and down her arm to join the growing mass of congealed blood on the floor. Another finger sits like a tiny grotesque boat in the middle of that large pool. She's been at it for some time.

It's hiding in the dark, it's teeth are razor sharp

There's no escape for me, it wants my soul, it wants my heart

No one can hear me scream, maybe it's just a dream

Maybe it's inside of me, stop this monster

Legs slide out slowly and then tuck under herself as she moves to rest on hands and knees. Two fingers dip into the dark, thick puddle of her life, rest of her fingers still clutched around that knife. Melissa and Ling watch in horror as she starts to draw lines across the floor in front of her. The movements of her arm is jerky and full of anger. At first they don't see it, but when they really look, words start to form out of the swirls of blood. Then they start to really look at the rest of it. It isn't just blood smeared around, they are words. Many repeating over and over again.

Empty. I can't feel. I am numb. I want to feel again. I want to care.

I have killed so many. Over and over. So much blood. I don't feel anything. No regret.

I die again and again. Always getting up again, too die again.

I'm not human anymore.

It's finally happened. Claire Bennet's young mind has finally snapped.

No one could have anticipated it being this bad.

I, I feel like a monster

The smell of mold makes a clean freak's nose wrinkle in disgust, and Melissa presses the back of her hand against her nose to fight against the smell. "Jesus. If she is in here, I'm gonna kick her ass for making us come here," she mutters as she ventures deeper into the building. That muttering ceases though when they find Claire, and for a moment she's able to simply stare at the regenerator.

Eyes move over the blood, all the blood, the knife, the lines drawn in crimson, then she seems to snap, though not as fully or as horribly as Claire. She forgets, for now anyway, that Claire will regenerate. That's she's died before. Instead she stalks over towards the woman, snarling at her. "What in the fuck do you think you're doing, you unappreciative bitch? Other people are dying and you lived, and you wanna sit here and cut yourself up?"

The moment she gets close enough, one foot is lashing out, aiming towards the hand holding the knife, blue eyes filled with something almost beyond anger. Very nearly blind rage. Kendall's been dead a week, didn't want to die, and here Claire is slicing herself up? Oh no, it's not what Mel wanted to deal with tonight.

Something had seemed off to Ling Chao from the moment they'd entered the Library. She'd never really ventured into the ruins of Midtown at all, much less the Library. There was a very good reason for that, and that unmistakable smell and the overwhelming sense of dread that seemed to come over her as she and Melissa traversed together very quickly reinforced it. But who was she to refuse a perfectly reasonable request from Rebel?

She had remained silent most of the time, only ever giving nods or chuckles of various tones and lengths in response to what Melissa had to say along the way. But the growing right of blood finally somewhat breaks her silence, causing sounds of surprise and an unusual squimishness to wash over her. But actually finding Claire? That has Ling, a woman who's murdered people, blown up buildings, infiltrated business meetings, and fought a boss monster reeling a bit, a hand held over her mouth as she squeamishly gasps aloud.

She also far from the most empathic person on the face of the earth, and yet this scene brings to her a different feeling compared to Melissa's rage - pity, if possibly misplaced. She takes several cautious steps forward, eyeing Melissa as she snarls at Claire, kicking at the knife. «Be careful,» Ling chastises in Mandarin. "In case we have to carry her back. It would do us little good to make her cuts any worse." Ling never did quite understand exactly how Claire's regeneration works.

There is the sound of a sickening crack and the knife goes flying, clattering across the floor. A couple of Claire's fingers are bent at odd angles from the force of the kick. Her head slowly turns towards it, as if she didn't even hear Melissa and is surprised at what happened. Sitting back on her heels, the regenerator grasps each finger and gives a yank, a sickening pop follows. It's repeated until she's able to flex her fingers again. All better.

"Everyone dies." The words are whispered softly, they can barely see the blue eyes through the blood mated lengths of brown hair. "They all die. I died. Over and over. So many coming at me… so many." Her voice catches in her throat, blood covered hand move to start writing again. "Shooting and shooting, til the rifle was empty, then I pushed away the corpses to find another." Fingers trace the word Numb over and over, hand shaking with each movement.

"I couldn't save him… I tried. He burned, I burned. In my arms, flesh broiling. His screams and the roar of fire in my ear." Her voice keeps rising in pitch with each word, as if a mournful keen is forming. Something wet hits the floor, mingling with the blood, her vision is blurred.

It seems that Ling's warning has fallen on deaf ears. Melissa reaches down, grabbing handfuls of Claire's shirt, trying to pull her upright. But even with the violence of the kick, her anger is far from sated. "So someone died and you decide to repay them by killing yourself? What fucked up crazy land are you living in?" she demands. "Kendall died, a seventeen year old kid died, trying to save my fucking life, but you don't see me slicing myself up!"

Ling lets out a long sigh, shaking her head as she very, very carefully moves closer to Melissa and Claire, eyes half lidded and a hand still over her mouth. "If I've heard correctly, that's rather hard for this one to accomplish," she remarks, stopping several feet behind the pair. "See if you can help her up, so we can at least get out of here. Perhaps then we can speak some sense into her." Ling waves a hand dismissively at them, before her gaze settles, somewhat reluctantly, down on Claire. "From the sound of her prattling, Melissa, she's seen much worse."

Fingers leave bloody prints as she is pulled up, she in turn clawing herself up the front of the unsympathetic woman. Up close blood and tears, slide down Claire's cheeks, there is a look of confusion on her face. "I can't die." She says softly at the question. As if the answer is so simple, why did Melissa even have to ask. "Babies to tiny… they… were killed for being like us. Incinerated to ash." Fingers let go of Melissa to clench into her hair, head ducking down as if looking for cove. "Farms of woman, pregnant, asleep… They didn't even get to know their children."

There is a sob and Claire's hands suddenly shoot out to shove the other woman away from her, screaming. "I remember it now… the wiggling behind my eye." Eyes squinting shut hands ball into fists and pressed against her eyes. Her voice reduced to almost a whimper. "The wiggling, no control.. The tire iron smashing into her head. I killed her, the puppet master made me… then they used me to bring her back… so we could do it again."

A hand reaching for Ling, as she cries, "I remember now… I don't want to remember anymore."

Ling's observations, however accurate they may be, don't seem to matter to Melissa. At least not at first. It's not until babies, terrifying but innocent, are mentioned that Mel's eyes narrow and she seems to calm, stumbling back a pace as she's shoved, letting Claire go to Ling. A moment later, a decision is made and she looks to Ling. "We're taking her home. Shower, food. I'd say sleeping pills, but no idea if they'd help her or not."

A pause, then, "She trusts you. You didn't yell at her," is offered as Mel pulls out her phone and starts tapping at the keys. Sending a text message. Letting Peter know the status of his niece, most likely.

"Good. Home is a better place than here." Ling wrinkles her nose as Claire reaches out to her. A quandary: The faster they could get out of here, the better. But it seems she's been selected to help Claire up and accomplish this goal, something she would rather have liked toa voided. Compromise is a bitch, sometimes. With Claire reaching out to her, Ling reluctantly steps forward and takes the younger woman's hand, first trying to just pull her up, and then kneeling down a bit to more properly help her to her feet.

"And just what is it that you've remembered?" Ling asks with both a little bit of feigned interest, and genuine curiosity. "If it's different from what you've been babbling about since we arrived."

"Madagascar." Surprisingly the question was answer, if softly, at barely a whisper. The hand drops, pulled away, and Claire just slowly sinks to her knees, with a sob. "Sliced up and cut apart. Pieces of me in jars. He replaced her spine with mine, infected her with my blood." Say what?! "He made me watch… made me watch as each part of me grew back. Watched with the glee of a child. "

Her hands grab at her own blood soaked shirt, fingers curling into her shirt as if trying to claw through it. "Slicing me open, making me watch as he cut out what was in me and watched it grow back." The crying is starting to get worse and Claire rocks back and forth on her heels again, face burying in her hands. "I just laid there and let it happen, I watched him… cut me up, cut her… replace parts of her with me.

"I don't want to forget, but I don't want to remember. If I forget… their forgotten, the ones that don't deserve it." Her head jerks to the side and she scrambles on hands and knees to something gleaming in the blood. A pair of heat warped dog tags, hand with blood clinging to the dull metallic surface. She clutches them with one hand and touches the raised writing with the fingers of the other. "He needs to be remembered for his sacrifice… his ashes lay with all those babies. Only I remember." Fingers brush along the tags as she laps into silence.

A nod of agreement is given to Ling before Melissa sighs softly and moves over to Claire, crouching down to wrap an arm around the brunette, again pulling her to her feet, and this time trying to get her moving towards the exit. Exits are good. Exits don't leave the metallic scent of blood in the nose.

"C'mon Claire. It's time to go. He wouldn't want to be remembered in a room full of blood. He'd prefer for you to live, to enjoy life as best you can. Not to cut yourself open. We'll take you to my place, get you cleaned up."

This scene was enough to make Ling's stomach turn (she isn't a fan of slasher movies for a reason). Frankly it was a bit surprising, at least to her, that she hasn't had to excuse herself yet. The thigns one does to retain a sense of dignity. But what Claire describes is much worse, and Ling actually feels herself swallowing down a lump in her throat as she listens.

"What in the world…" she says quietly, her cold and detached demeanour seemingly broken by Claire vaguely told tale. An askance glance is given over to Melissa. "Do you know anything about this?" Even as she speaks, she's trying again to get Claire back up to her feet, the sleeve pressed over Claire's eyes to soak up tears, as if in some vain attempt to get her looking presentable again. "Come, Claire. Let us take you from here, and we'll get Peter. Then, you can talk to your heart's content." And, for once not wanting to be callous despite the thought, she won't have to listen to something she's not sure she can stomach.

There isn't a protest this time, when fingers curl into Melissa's clothing allowing herself to be pulled up, getting blood sticky feet under her. Her head jerks away from Ling's attempt to dry her tears. "They sent us there… the government, used us to get what they wanted. Autumn sent us there." Her cheeks are wet, but the tears have stopped. "They took what they wanted, the gas and the Gregor." A shudder runs through Claire's body.

There is a hitched sound of a sob that doesn't quite make it. "I got shot in the head, but I remember now. Barrel pointed at me… Sanderson holding my head together." She reduced to tears again, but at least she's up and mobile, bloody dog tags swinging in slack fingers.

Out of nowhere she mumbles almost incoherently. "I don't want to kill an innocent man, like I did all those people. I don't want to feel numb."

Melissa shakes her head slightly at Ling. Not now, is the clear message. "Already called Peter. He knows where you're gonna be. And you don't have to kill any innocent people. Just the bad guys. The people like Gregor. And we killed him, remember? You killed him." A partial truth at best, but if it helps, a little white sort of lie isn't a bad thing, right?

"Got this nice little attic room. Bed's comfy enough, or so I've been told. Probably get my dog, Jerry, curling up on your feet too. He makes an excellent foot warmer," she says, trying to keep up a fairly steady stream of conversation as she and Ling lead Claire out and to the car waiting nearby. And from there, to a shower. Which is probably the only bright spot for Ling. Blood is so not presentable.

Ling makes a glance over at Melissa, again wrinkling her nose. "Perhaps she needs a break," Ling retorts to Melissa. "If you'll believe it, even I've needed a break from work before. Everyone overextends themselves, sometimes." More an excuse than genuine rationalization. "I believe Peter will agree," she asserts, grimacing as she moves to help get Claire the hell out of here. And it goes unsaid that forced vacationer because people become useless in such states.5r

"Melissa's home will be a fine place to rest and say what you need to." That much is genuine, Ling's learned that much herself. She makes one more motion to wipe Claire eyes, but pulls back when she remembers the reaction that got last time. "For now, say what you need and clear your mind so we can speak with clarity to Peter."

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin

I must confess that I feel like a monster

"I'm going to kill him. The man." Claire insists as the babbling continues, while the two woman help her out of the library. "Going to take my knife and cut into his throat. I feel nothing and enjoy it." Hands are held out, bloodied fingers flexing. "I can feel it… I'm numb, I wanted it. To watch him die. His innocence gone." Her arms wrap around her as the slowly leave the scene behind them.

"I'm going to be a monster." Claire whispers from blood speckled lips, blue eyes seem hollow as she stares at the floor in front of her. Not even seeing it. "I've felt it. Feel it there every time I kill, I'm closer to becoming just another monster."

I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun

I must confess that I feel like a monster

There is another sob, "We're all just monsters."

It's hard to know exactly who the we are, she won't answer when asked. Claire is silent now, lost in her head, in memories that were thought lost, but coming face to face with her demon in the medical wing of Staten Island Hospital brought it all back. Like connecting that last circuit.

The blood covered blonde's eyes never lift as she allows herself to be guided, by the hands of her team mate. The tough little terrorist reduced to this. Claire is unresponsive. She's numb inside.

She doesn't want to remember anymore, but she wants to remember the fallen.

I, I feel like a monster

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