Adjustments

The Outpost

March 30th, 2012
Midnight

“Are you Finished?” The giant of a man stood above her. In one hand was an AK-74, the other was twisted into talons. The flesh had peeled off in hanks, leaving mineralised bone that tapered into vicious points at each digit that were painted red. His face was splattered by that same red paint, making him look like some demented psycho killer from a movie.This wasn’t a movie.Megs could tell it was no movie from what she felt: her hand was braced on concrete so cold it may as well have been ice. her other arm draped uselessly by her side, flayed to the bone. You couldn’t feel cold or pain in movies. But you could in dreams.

“Are you Weak?” He asked, flicking the rifle up to rest against his shoulder.

Megs’s body was screaming in pain. Besides her ruin of an arm, she had multiple broken ribs, and a bullet through her left knee. The hand on the concrete pushed to lever herself upwards onto her good leg.

Nyet,” she said, almost choking on the agony that flared up from her battered body.

“I think you are,” Ilya said. She felt a sharp crack against her head, followed by the searing agony that claws left behind. Her arms slipped in half congealed blood, and she fell, crying out as ripped flesh met concrete.

“I think you are done. Three days you have to heal, then we continue.” His voice held no passion, no enjoyment. What really bothered her, Megs realised as she lay in silent agony on the floor, was that he seemed bored.

Her vision burst with stars. He’d kicked her off to the side of the room, leaving her to curl up around her injuries. Ribs that were cracked had now snapped, and she could feel that one had punctured a lung. Bad news if she tried to breathe, but that could wait. It could all wait.

“Send in the other one,” Ilya was saying at the door.

The room’s floor held a depression in the centre to draw away blood. There was a small drain there, and it swam back and forth in her vision. The more it moved, the more Megs hated it.

“Da,” Aleksander said, looking into the room at her. Megs wasn’t able to do anything but look back at him. She kind of liked Alek, he was on the later end of middle aged and he’d been teaching her how to clean and care for weapons. He would tell her stories as they worked, and while Mitya didn’t seem to be too interested, she had soaked them up.
Right now though, Megs didn’t like Alek so much.Ilya righted a pair of old wooden chairs that had been knocked aside earlier. He sat down on the cleaner of the two, and waited for Mitya to arrive.The other student made his way in, wearing only an old pair of slacks and a wife beater that was grimy from earlier lessons with Alek. He looked over at Megs, and frowned slightly.

“Sit,” Ilya said, motioning to the bloodstained, but empty chair. “I am Ilya Bazin. I am Gangrel, and I am Axe. You are student Mitya yes?” he asked, still wearing the bored expression. Mitya nodded and sat, resting his hands on his knees, his back perfectly straight. From her vantage point, Megs couldnt’ see his expression, but she noticed how the muscles in his back tightened as Ilya brought the gun across his lap and rested his claw upon it.

“Yes sir. I am here to learn,” Mitya said with a curt nod.

“Good. Will be easier on you. You are Lord, da? Will be easier on you.” He paused for a moment, wiping a fleck of blood from his gun.

“In Spetsnaz, you were beaten over and over. To learn how to fight and think when hurt. Vampires can resist injury. Harden your skin, we will see how you fare.”

He’d taken her weapons, he’d told her not to dodge. And when she inevitably had tried to duck under a strike, he’d used those damn claws.

Now it was Mitya’s turn. Ilya stood and squeezed off a burst of fire into Mitya’s legs. The student shouted out in pain, but Megs could see that the rounds hadn’t penetrated his flesh like they had hers. Mitya unleashed a stream of curses, and tried to push the gun’s muzzle away. Skin sizzled on the hot barrel, and the student yelped, pulling his hand back and to cradle it.

Years ago, Megs might have winced in sympathy for what was coming, but that night she watched impassively as Ilya’s claws tore out Mitya’s throat. The damage was horrifying, and left Megs confused. Why had Ilya gone for such a vital area on him when he’d reached for her arm first?

“Lift your hand if you are done,” Ilya said, looking down at where Mitya had collapsed and was now writhing in pain. A trembling hand lifted up.

“We continue. A week.” Ilya said, grasping Mitya’s hand, and in a swift motion, degloved it with his claw. There was no scream this time, only frenzied burbling.

Ilya made his way over to where Megs lay, and she looked up, wondering if there was more pain to come.

“You did not do so badly as other Americans,” Ilya said with a nod. “Two days we go for walk outside. No coat. You meet me here, da?” Without waiting for an answer, he walked through the door, and left them both in the concrete room.

Confused, Megs looked over at Mitya, and noticed him staring at her, his uninjured hand to his throat. As bad as she was with reading emotions, Megs recognised the look in his eyes. She’d seen it many times before.

Hate.

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