A Reader! Irene fanfic for Missiongenocide's cursed project.
Your father told you about this, but you never really listened. You dismissed them as the ramblings of a man whose brain was addled by stress, homesickness and losing his best friend in the war. But you now understand what he went through, far too late. Decades have passed, and you've been fighting a war against yourself and losing. Losing every time. But you have to try so more innocent people will not be hurt. Hurt by YOU, or at least the thing you've become.
The reality of a situation on a chill early spring day is slowly, carefully entering your mind, sharp and clear. The smell of fresh blood and gunpowder is everywhere, and the sun has managed to send some of its light through a hole in the clouds, showing you a terrible scene. You already saw every minute of it, watching though your eyes as the people run, feeling yourself rush forward, the hot pain in your hands from the guns your firing, the people being shot into so much bloody mush by your shots, the people surviving the shots and later coming back as untitled cursed who look on you with HATRED. Yet it seems unreal somehow until its all done, and you are standing in a pile of mutilated, bleeding people, with gore on the long serrated edge of the bayonets your body creates for the guns you carry. Looking up, you see a few remaining people run into the brush, risking getting lost in the forest just to get away from you. You want to yell apologies, but they are already too far away to hear you clearly, so you slowly walk back to Dermot Mansion, exhausted and with hot tears running down your face.
You are not a bad person, you don't want to hurt anyone, why are you compelled to do this? What has been done to you? You look down at the guns that are still part of your hands, examining the scorched skin around them. Even in your sorry state you can notice them throbbing faintly. You really have to do something about his overheating, but your not sure how to fix it, especially as your father's gloves where lost a long time ago. Looking up from your pondering, you see the mansion's open door and walk in. How long where you standing there thinking? This...thing that calls himself Shun is not happy when thralls of his like you just stand there doing nothing. You remember seeing his long branchlike arm shoot out of the barrel of that pistol and grabbing your arm, and what comes next is even clearer in your mind. The first time you went on a rampage. Who could possibly forget having the people who you know, you love, look at you with confusion and horror as you shoot and slash at them, people you know and love bleeding. You want nothing more than to end this existence of violence and lack of control, but how is that even possible? Shun told you to your face you where going to be like this forever. He said he was your commander, and you had no choice but to obey him, and so far his words have held out. You cannot even open your mouth to tell him he's no commander of yours, and that you want to shoot HIM for what he made you do to your father. Sargent Lionel Burt Day does not deserve to have his memory stained and insulted by having his daughter run around massacring people like a crazed gunman in his very uniform.
Your chest fills with icy rage,you don't know how but you manage to stop yourself from going fully into a fury at the last minute and instead rush down the hall towards where you instinctively sense your room is.You have never gone berserk inside of the mansion, and you DON'T want to find out what would happen if you did. You could shoot an innocent untitled, one of the those who suffer even more deeply, and worst of all one of your fellow thralls. You've seen them now and again, and know that they are not well off either. Especially that red fellow, he is clearly in need of some serious help, the poor wretch. But you've not talked to them and you know they will be very angry if you harmed them, even by accident.Though that Vicky girl seems...less bad than the rest, you know that even she is formidable. Not firsthand, but you've heard of her doing very nasty things with those slimy tentacles. You really don't want to risk that, despite your own terrible ability to do damage to others, most of them are more experienced than you and it would surely be you, the reluctant monster as you are, who would get the more hurt of the two. After all, unlike most of them, you really don't want to do this.
The room you enter is silent, strangely clean and the walls are covered in weapons hanging on the old, rusty racks. Once, this armoury used to belong to the Baron Dermot himself, now it is yours. It at least means you get a bit more space to yourself, though all this room has besides weapons is the one intact seat you are able to find, the mean old Baron's piano stool, with its worn deep red cushion. What else can you do now that you are alone but let yourself collapse onto it and break out in full tears at the suffering and horror you keep feeling the need to inflict, at the way you don't understand yourself at all? You would have to be more than human to not to have guilt and stress. The same guilt and stress your father had had for years and you did not know that to do about. If only you could have felt this much understanding back then, maybe you could have helped him. Preventing all of this shooting and sorrow and pain you cause in others. Right now, you just deserve whatever you get. You look down at your clothes again, the torn remains of the uniform that once, your naive father wore in pride, and once your broken father didn't want to look at. A symbol of what you've been turned into, a mockery of all he stood for. That is all you are now, a weapon for this...creature to use in his schemes. But for who-knows-how long afterwards, you are a broken and confused weapon, sobbing quietly alone on that piano stool.
It could be minutes or hours. To an ageless, deathless thing like you time is nearly meaningless. You are a weapon who needs no food or sleep and you've drowned the streets in blood and infected hundreds during both dark and light hours. Yet, the sound of churning and clanking interrupted your miserable pity party, and you raise your head to an odd sight. To anyone else in the mansion, the sight of this twisted thing would send them running, and for anyone else it would be a reasonable reaction. You've heard stories of their brilliant but twisted experiments, if even half of them are true than people have the right to be afraid. But for you, this sight is the only thing that could stop your sobbing a moment. You would not call The Endgineer, this group of people merged into a single creature with six eyes and five mouths and all those tentacles using that robotic suit to walk around a friend, but you could probably call them a joint partner. They genuinely love working on you and your weaponry, probably because it doesn't involve cutting a screaming live person open.
You are genuinely surprised when one of them, the lower left one who sounds like a woman, tells you, "You look terrible..."
You look at them and say, after a pause, "This experimental automatic gun you gave me overheats." You look at your hands,the burns are staring to heal, though in a way that seems to leave some scarring. Your body is amazingly resilient, and for once you are thankful for it, "Please find some way to damage my hands less...I can't shoot like this."
One of Endgineer's other components said, "Though maximizing the curse's torments is one of our goals, we don't want you off your game, Wartorn. We will try to do something about that." Another chipped in, "We actually came over to ask if you wanted to try that chain gun again." Ugh. Not that exasperating too-heavy thing, and you where just starting to feel better. But you know what your 'commander' is like when he's angry, so you get up and follow them out into the orchard, where Endgineer has set up a target practice range. Unlike your other shooting, this is voluntary action...well as voluntary as anything one of Shun's lackeys can do, anyway. Do the other so-called-Vassals not realize how trapped and controlled they are? How much this Shun thing is abusing them? You HATE your so-called commander, he is the one person who ever lived you completely absolutely WANT to shoot in the face. Though you doubt he'd be affected by it much, he's as deathless as you. You look around the orchard briefly, this once lush stand of pear trees is now dead with blackened bark, the curse is not good for plants. Along the far end of the cobblestone pathway that went through the middle of the orchard where bales of old,moldy hay,paper targets attached to them. Your partners stand nearby, offering you the massive weapon by holding it out in their rusty claws. You take it and prepare to fire. Unlike your anger-driven shooting, this is controlled and truthfully a bit of good stress relief after what happened today. You know, somehow, that you go on the attack at least once a week, with the memories of your father's despair and the war he was forced to fight him obsessing you for several days before you are overwhelmed and another involuntary rampage starts. You look at the targets, the chain gun annihilated them all right and you admit you now can aim the danged thing, but its still too heavy and you tell them, "I'm sorry, sirs and miss, but this thing is still too heavy to use comfortably."
But they way they looked at you...that was not them, their personal eyes where relaxed, and the central one was staring at you hungrily, "Good..." One of them rasped. That was not Endgineer, that was not your partners, that was Shun's influence talking, and before you can run they are on you, trying to use a blowtorch to attach the chaingun to your hand. You have no choice but to smash them over their collective body-head with the overweight weapon and flee back into the house. A muffled scream of agony signified another shift, finally, things are going your way. The whole mansion buckles and twists like it was alive, forming into a new configuration. You can only grab the wall and keep your footing until it is done, its impossible to walk around during these shifts that happen like clockwork to this building, or do much at all except hope you don't fall or end up literally running into a fellow sufferer.
After a few seconds, you look around. You have no idea where you are, but you have at least lost the temporarily crazed Endgineer. You are alone, but that is a relief for now. They will get better and regain their sanity, while you cannot help but feel like you are certainly going to lose yours if this situation keeps up, if this being forced to watch while you mutilate and maul and blaze guns into people who can't fight back really is eternal like you've been told. As it was, you sit on the dirty floor and consider that you are not the only one with no free will. None of the victims of this situation have any control over their lives, your just the one who knows it the most.