Mercy Lies Bleeding
“I take it that the first wave is taken care of.” Evan said as he glanced around, “Where’s Maryja?”
John shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. She ran out early on, and now I can’t find her. I can't see more than five metres in this soup."
Evan set his jaw nervously, “I will look for her, get to the plane and be ready to leave. The others could be here any moment.”
John nodded and returned to the gray boathouse.
Scanning the murk, Evan began a cautious sprint up the dock.
Pain pulsed through her body. Mashka’s mind became foggy, everything that had just happened seemed unreal and foreign. Sensations spun around in her head in no semblance of order; the sound of snapping bones, the feeling of her claws tearing through fabric, and sticky, wet warmth covering her hands. She looked down to her palms. In the dim light she saw a dark fluid covering them, and a single trickle of the substance ran down her wrist, soaking into her black jacket. A sick, metallic scent reached her nostrils, which made her stomach lurch, blood.
'What am I?' she asked, 'I did this!' Tears welled up in her eyes. She never wanted to hurt anyone, and her brutality terrified her.
“Now what do we have here?” a cold female voice cooed. “Our little runaway made a mess.”
Mashka looked up into Anya’s sable eyes and stood. “I- I- I didn’t mean to do this, I’m sorry! Please, help me!” she sobbed.
Anya examined Mashka’s face. The woman before her was now a mere frightened girl, who had just done something to hurt a friend. The expression on her face pleaded for comfort and safety. Anya had never seen this side of subject one, and for some reason deep inside her, she wanted to smile and reassure her.
She caught herself, as contempt filled her heart. This girl was weak. How could The Administrator possibly see any potential in her?
Seeing vile intent in the woman's eyes, Mashka turned to run, though she could not go anywhere but to the edge of one the branching docks. Anya blocked her from returning the way she came.
Anya hurried forward and grabbed Mashka viciously by her hair, then shoved her to the ground. “Get up!” she scream, anger rising within her, “You think you can take my position away, don’t you? Well, we will see what really matters!” Seeing that the woman made little attempt to move, Anya kicked her in the side, earning a short cry of pain. “Get up now!” she ordered again.
Mashka pushed herself up. Her muscles twitched from their previous rampage. It took all her strength to rise. She looked up to Anya, gritting her teeth, but unable to hide the terror in her eyes.
“Well,” Anya began, a haunting smile spreading across her face, “Aren’t you going to show me your power? It’s the only thing you have going for you.”
“Nyet,” Mashka replied weakly.
“Really? The mouse speaks?” Anya delivered a punch to Mashka’s gut, then she stopped her from bowing forward in pain by grabbing her dark locks, pulling her face up, to be smacked with the back of her hand. The force of the blow caused Mashka to loose balance, and fall to the damp wood of the dock. “I suggest you release the beast, otherwise I’m going to beat it out of you. I need to see for myself how superior I am to you.”
“Nyet!” Mashka responded with more force.
“Why not? You didn’t hesitate to destroy the arms, ribs, and jaws. Not to mention, the two others you threw into the lake. After you did all that, why hesitate now? I’m actually a threat to you. I know the orders are to bring you back alive, but I’m sure they will believe me if I had to kill you out of self-defence. You have nothing to lose but your life.”
“You have no idea what you’re asking,” Mashka pleaded. “It’s not me you would be fighting, but something inside me. It’s eating away at me and I can feel it, devouring my conscience and identity, every time it takes over. It wishes to kill,” as she spoke, tears rolled down her cheeks, “and it’s all I can do to stop it. I just want to live a normal life, away from those I might hurt. Please, let me go.”
“That’s just the thing,” Anya replied, “If I let you go, the Administrator will only hunt after you. He covets you, and no matter what you say, he will make you his new pet.” Anya sounded hurt, as she spoke, “I couldn’t live that way, being second place.” She looked up at Mashka, “That’s why I’m going to end this here!” A knife seemed to materialise in her hand as she stepped forward.
Mashka backed away, but could not dodge the knife completely; a cut appeared on her forearm, followed by another on her cheek. Her heart jumped when she missed a step and fell backward, hitting the side of a large boat. She found herself pinned. Anya began to furiously lash out, grunting in exertion with every strike. Cut after cut appeared on Mashka’s face and arms, until Anya began assaulting her abdomen and chest with the blade.
Mashka was wailing in pain, which gave way to heavy bawling, gasping for air as she fell to the ground, trying to protect her bleeding body, but each time she guarded a spot Anya attacked another one.
Slice after slice, beckoned her to oblivion.
“Dad!” the young girl squealed, as she dashed out of the school doors, twirling. “I got a main part in Swan Lake!”
The man turned to face his daughter. He smiled warmly and knelt down to meet her eye-to-eye. She leapt forward and embraced his neck.
He held his daughter tighter, “Mashka, that’s wonderful. When’s the performance.”
Mashka sighed and replied disappointedly, “It’s going to be two months from now.” She ran her hands through her dad’s dark, curly hair, just like hers.
“That’s not a bad thing, I’ll have enough time to set aside leave.” he replied, “It’s not something I would miss.”
Mashka pressed her face into his shoulder inhaling the scents of his workplace, “Ya tibya l’ublyu.” I love you, she muttered.
“Ya tibya l’ublyu Ma-”
Her father’s words were cut short, as a knife found its way between her ribs. A gurgle uttered from her throat, and the taste of blood filled her mouth, as her body went limp, and collapsed.
Mashka danced, her dress swirling, as she leapt and gracefully swooned, with a face blank as stone. Her mother was in the audience with her brother, but the seat next to her, was empty.
“That’s right,” Mashka remind herself, for the tenth time since the beginning of the performance. “Dad’s not here.”
She noticed Aleksei’s expression. A smile, but tainted with sad eyes. His twin, likewise, was missing from the seat beside him.
She twirled again, but something caught her eye. There at the back of the audience, stood a familiar figure. She stopped, staring at him, mouth open, ignoring the irritated glares of her fellow dancers.
He nodded to her, like he had fulfilled a contract then walked to the door.
“Ya tibya l’ub-” she began to say. She wanted to scream those words at him, but her voice failed her. Ya tibya l’ublyu, Ya tibya l’ublyu, Ya tibya l’ublyu. Her thoughts repeated the same phrase, as if hoping he would hear the whispers of her heart, if she said it enough times.
He vanished around the corner, his absence this time, she knew was permanent. He had kept his last promise. That was the last farewell, and this was her last dance. She caught up with the routine quickly, swearing she would never dance again, as she blinked back hot tears.
Her body made a stiff thumping sound on the dock.
Anya’s shaking hand pulled the knife out of Mashka’s chest, and stumbled back. She sat down hard on the other side of the dock. “It’s all your own fault,” she screamed half-heartedly, “refusing to fight me, treating me as inferior! You deserved your fate.”
The silence of no response did not seem to satisfy Anya, and when she saw Mashka’s frozen expression, she curled into a foetal position, shaking and sick at her stomach, not knowing why.
Mashka’s blank, unseeing stare was directly at Anya, no look of pain or fear was in them. Instead a look of pity for someone who had made a rash choice, and given up so much because of it.