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Empty Skies

a topic in The Writer's Lounge, a part of the RPG forum.

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A place for original short stories, fanfiction, essays, and the like.

Empty Skies

Tips: 0.25 INK Postby chlorine on Sun Oct 30, 2022 8:28 pm

Another needle is inserted into his arm, the serum bringing a feeling that shoots pain through every inch of his body. He thrashes out with his claws, screaming through gritted teeth, begging for everything to stop. The Doctor doesn’t care. The Doctor carries on with his work, his disgusting smile growing bigger with every pained cry Venti makes. Thrashing out every time Doctor cuts, cuts another symbol, another pattern, another equation. Venti’s claws find skin and draw blood and then he’s being held down, trapped by Doctor’s assistants. They chain him to the table so tightly it hurts even more.

He truly is a monster.

Everything hurts so much.

The Doctor keeps him in a cage with barely enough room for Venti to sit up. Every modification made to his body stays sore no matter how many days pass. At this point, time isn’t even measurable.

His emerald green eyes have turned a sickening bright pink, blue feathered ears have replaced his normal ones, and darker blue horns have sprouted on top of his head. His white feathered wings, a symbol of his godhood, have been replaced by the blue wings of a dragon. Three pairs, ranging in size and shade and going down his back, and they’re so heavy. His hands have been replaced with pale blue claws, scales and little navy feathers going down his wrists, and a long teal-scaled tail wraps around him in fear. He sits in that cage for hours, days, weeks, unless The Doctor is performing an experiment.

At least once a week, Doctor brings in an opponent for him to fight. The same one. Every week. A bloodthirsty man set out to gain every ounce of power in the world; a man by the name of Ajax. He has brilliant ginger hair, blue eyes, and a sadistic smile that rivals The Doctor’s. He wields a bow and carries swords made of water but sharp enough to cut through stone, weapons gifted to him by his God. Weapons that have fought every monster and creature found in this world, that have carried Ajax through all his battles. Battles that keep him going, that make him stronger every time he returns. The only reason Venti isn’t dead yet is because it’s against Doctor’s orders. But Archons, does he wish he was.

“Good morning, my dearest little doll!” Doctor cries happily, strolling into the room with glinting red eyes, his perfectly styled sky-blue hair lit up in the artificial light. Hands in his pockets, Doctor holding something Venti can’t see yet. “We’re trying something new for today’s experiment, hmm~”

Venti tries to back away, though there isn’t enough space for him to move. Whining like a trapped little dog, whispering so quietly he won’t be heard. “Please..”

The lock clicks and Venti is pulled forward by his chained collar, held down by Doctor’s assistants as the shackles are placed on his ankles. Doctor pulls on his gloves and sterilizes a needle full of a bright orange liquid. “This won’t hurt a bit,” he hisses, the lie so blatant on his tongue.

The tip of the needle pierces the skin and white-hot pain spreads like a web, freezing his trembling body in place.

He crouches down on all fours, the high-pitched scraping of his claws on the floor grating against his ears. Ajax is here. The serum numbs his body and he squeezes his eyes shut, wanting nothing more than to leave. To die. To close his eyes and lie still until they left him to rot. Miserable was his existence.

“Reluctant as ever, little pup?” Ajax smirked. He licked his lips, water blades held in an iron-tight grip, staring straight into Venti’s soul. Taking in the sight of him like a predator that already cornered its prey, ready to pounce and devour with no hesitation.

“I don’t see what you get out of this,” Venti mumbles under his breath. Scared of what would happen if he was heard. Doctor didn’t like his experiments talking back to him, evidence of it displayed all over Venti’s body. Reasons he was kept in a cage. Punishments for every tiny mistake kept him more obedient than any threat to his life. “I'm not skilled at all.. Might as well just kill me.”

He looks up and Ajax is in front of him, their foreheads touching, the disgusting smell of game meat on Ajax’s warm breath. “And why should I give up the thrill of the hunt?”

His eyes grow wide with fear, realizing Ajax’s blade is digging into his neck, already beginning to draw blood. “Preying on creatures smaller and weaker than you.. There’s no honor in it..” Even in his state, there’s some spirit left in him.

“Sounds like you’re afraid.” Ajax’s sadistic smirk grows wider as the knife cuts quickly. Of course it wasn’t deep enough to be fatal. No, no, Doctor would be upset. The strangest thing is that Venti feels nothing at all. Not even the warm blood trickling would’ve made itself known to him had he not looked down.

He grits his teeth, not from pain, but in waiting for Ajax’s next move. Doctor’s singsong voice can be heard from elsewhere in the room.. “Don’t be afraid to go all out, Ajax~. He can’t feel a single thing you do.”

The assistants line the edges of the room to keep Venti trapped inside. He’s released from his chains and before he takes even one step, the blade cuts into his side. Ajax spins around, ready to strike. Venti turns to meet him. Getting to his feet. Claws out and trembling. Eyes still full of fear. Never prepared. The God of Freedom was not made to fight like a dog.

The blade comes again and he lashes out, finding skin and scraping as hard as he can. The moment of victory doesn’t last and he’s thrown to the ground. As his head hits the ground, Venti begins to realize he still can’t feel a thing.

“Get up, you pathetic creature!” Doctor shouts, arms crossed over his chest. Ajax is coming closer again, blade ready to pierce straight through the skin. Venti spreads his wings. Moving backwards as fast as he can. Ajax swings the knife, barely missing Venti’s stomach. Whatever little fighting spirit he had, it left him far too soon.

And in the moment he takes to try and get back up, he watches the end of that knife go straight through his torso. Ajax pulls it back out and watches the blood spill. Watching the blade go back in, Venti could taste the blood in his mouth.

“Alright, enough. I’m tired of this. Carve your name and leave him.” Doctor’s smile is gone, he’s disappointed. Venti waits until Ajax’s name is carved with the knife, over the old scars, into Venti’s arm.

“You are becoming a pathetic, worthless mess of a creature,” Doctor hisses, taking a fistful of Venti’s hair and forcing him to look up. “I’m going to make you regret this more than anything.”

Doctor leaves, ushering Ajax out of the room with him and leaving Venti still trembling on the floor. Something about the way his shoes thud against the ground, the air of disappointment that still fills the room. The knowledge that when Doctor returns, he’ll feel more pain than Ajax ever caused him. Burning fear turns to anger, sending hot tears down his face. His thoughts form a chorus, screaming this cycle will not repeat again.

Within minutes Venti watches Doctor return, eyes focused on his every move. The anger builds and he realizes the Doctor doesn’t understand what he’s done. Doctor has never felt as powerless as Venti does every waking moment. The second Doctor is close enough, Venti moves. Tears his claws into the fabric of Doctor’s clothes. Into his skin. Staining his body with blood. He is not going back in that cage.

“Doctor!” one of the assistants screams.

Pandemonium breaks out in the lab. Two assistants rush to Doctor’s body, one tries to grab Venti, one is sick on his shoes. Their screaming is so loud Venti can barely think. Not another minute spent in this place. He runs through the chaos with all the strength he can muster. He still can’t feel his wounds, he can only see blood staining what little clothing he wears. He leaves the room and runs as fast as he can, panting, the tears stinging as he cries. He can’t tell if the footsteps behind him are the assistants’ or just his own, rushing down the hallway with every ounce of strength in his body.

Trying is too much for him. Trying to escape won’t do anything against Doctor’s international influence. He will always be found and brought back, kept in that cage and made to suffer ten times as much. Trying to escape is a risk that will only make everything worse. Trying is something impossible with the number of scars on his body and mind. His heart is set on the one way out: death. The one way he can truly be free.

He reaches the entrance to the lab and throws his weight against the heavy door, somehow finding enough power in him to get it to open. The second his feet touch the grass outside he forces his wings to move, forces himself up in the sky, the numbing agent wearing off now. And Archons, it hurts so much. He coughs up blood, trying to get higher, higher. Flying over the cliff the lab is built into and towards the city. To the harbor, the ocean, where he can give up and let the waves sink him. Where the blue of the water is just as deep as the sky and the currents will carry him any way the tide goes. Free as a fish, the birds of the sea.

The wind picks up the higher he gets, pushing him along on his path. He can already see the harbor ahead of him, closer, closer, over the tall buildings, feeling like he’s being tracked the whole way. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts so bad he can’t think, sobbing and squeezing his eyes shut and nearly falling out of the sky. He can see the docks now, past them a huge ship with bright red sails and the bowsprit in the shape of a dragon. He’s high up enough that even falling into the water would kill on impact.

He can hear the shouts of the people below him, his claws shaking as he digs into the wound with cries of agony escaping him. Death is the only way out, the only way that they won’t drag his body back to play with it some more. The more he cries, the more his body seems to weigh him down. He is trying to rip off his horns, tearing the feathers from his wings, somehow staying afloat in the sky. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, his thoughts scream at him. Faster, faster, not enough, not enough blood, you won’t die this way, your neck- He finds the thin cut that Ajax made and tears at it, claws stained with blood, tearing at the skin and trying to get underneath. To get under it and sever everything inside him. To rip it apart until he’s nothing but a mangled mess.

Finally, he loses control and falls, no energy left to spare and plummeting towards the red-sailed ship. He coughs up blood, tears staining his face. The world shifting in slow motion. So many things he never did, every piece of his life lost when he was captured. The taste of apple cider, the sound of drunken singing, the wind in his hair when he could still fly. His body shudders in another sob. It could have ended in so many different ways.

The wood splinters around him, crashing through the deck and into the hold below. His ears ring and he can’t see, can’t hear, heart racing, can’t breathe. He wishes for the sky to take him back, to let him join a flock of birds one more time.

“It’s over,” he croaks, a light-headed feeling beginning to erase the pain. The voice in his head repeats it, it’s over, it’s over, it’s over. You’re free now, it’s over. And if only he hadn’t lost so much along the way.

He feels as though he’s still falling, the world around him fading away. Like an eternal pit of cold darkness swallowing him whole. Never to fly again.

DISCLAIMER: technically, this is fanfiction.

- Bloodhound, Apex Legends

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 0.25 INK in return for their work.

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