Smoke On The Water Chapter 8
Rating: NSFW 18+
Word count: there are many words
Warnings: major spoilers for Resident Evil 8: Village, amnesia, desecration of dead bodies, fainting, flashbacks, guns, human experimentation, kidnapping?, mental pain, swearing
Smoke On The Water - Chapter 8 - Gears
"So, all combined, I have this dog tag with a local address, the two year old drawing of myself in Donna Beneviento's book, the fact that there is metal in my skull and I don't bleed and the familiar smell of local cigars. Everything so far points to the fact that I'm probably local.", I say to myself. "Cool, but what now? Even if I am local, that doesn't really help me because everyone here is dead or mutated or trying to kill me!"
On the far side of the Ceremony Site I can make out the chimneys of a factory through a rusty fence. The mountains in the distance seem to glow in the afternoon sunlight. Still a long way left to go. I head over to the door between two of the giant stone statues and walk down the seemingly never ending stone stairs towards the river. At the river I see that the massive bridge supported by enormous pillars is the only way across. The moment I arrive on the other side I hear a low grumbling and every hair on my body stands up immediately. The bridge is sinking down and now I can't get back, how ironic. Standing between the locked iron gate to the factory and the trench I look around, again, to see if anyone is watching. I make up my mind and enter the factory grounds through a hole in the chain-link fence.
Up close the building looks dingy and the grounds are untended, just like everything else in this damn village, and the smell of grease and rust is overwhelming. Piles of old metal junk are scattered around the premises; I even spot a tank among the rubble.
Just like everywhere else I've been to today, breaking and entering is my go-to. The gate to the barn I'm standing in front of is sturdier than it looks. I clamber onto a broken tractor and find good places to hold onto as I pull myself up the barn's wall, up until I reach the small triangular window and let myself in. I almost immediately fall through the floor because I can't see where the fuck I'm going with all this hay laying around. I let myself drop down into a stack of hay bales and contemplate my next move. There's a big door on the opposite side of the gate and a small door over to the left.
The big one won't budge, so I try the smaller door and it is unlocked. I wrinkle my nose as I'm greeted with the sight of a stairway leading to the basement of this place.
If I've learned anything from today, it is that basements are almost always haunted and suck. Anyways, I still go down and follow a narrow, sparsely lit hallway until I come across yet another door. The room behind it looks a little bit like an office, it's also rather organized in comparison to what I've seen of the factory so far. Sure, there's tools and crumpled papers laying around on a workbench, the shelves are overflowing with materials and the air is dusty, but that's about it. My gut is telling me there's something important here that I should look for. But what? I walk around the room and find absolutely nothing of value. The rags covering up the wall across from the door do arouse suspicion, though. What is worth hiding in a place that's already hidden?
I carefully duck under the cloth rags and stand before a desk with a cork board above it. What is on the cork board makes my heart race. Pictures of the Lords with their faces crossed out and, whom I assume is, Mother Miranda. The word Mother is scrawled underneath her picture in red ink, after all. And to the right of those pictures is a collection of smaller Polaroid photographs. A lot of them show a brunette woman with a baby and there's Ethan! These must be pictures of his family. I remember he told me that Miranda kidnapped his baby daughter. Is the factory owner trying to help or is he the perpetrator?
My heart is beating so hard I swear you could probably hear it in the next room.
The sound of my heartbeat almost drowns out the heavy footsteps coming down the hallway and I jerk my head up as I notice them. There is only one door to this room and nowhere to hide. A spark of intuition tells me to open up the grated panel in the floor and go that way and, with little other choices, I follow my intuition. I manage to land on my feet and hurry down the corridor I dropped into. Above me I can hear someone shut the hatch with a bang.
Vents and grates in the walls and floor quickly become my main way to get around the factory. Like this I can avoid being seen by the walking corpses that roam the place and still get around pretty easily. I wonder where my gut feeling is leading me, because that's what I'm following here... I force open a hatch above my head and climb out. And what I see takes my breath away. I'm standing on a walkway overlooking a gigantic hall, maybe the factory's main hall, and the machines are working tirelessly. Steam and smoke rise from different parts and little neon lights flash here and there. The hall is so huge and so dark I can't see the other side of it. My mind must be playing tricks on me again, because whatever is hanging from those hooks and conveyor belts looks like people. A people factory. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me, but I'd rather not think about it.
I hear someone cough behind me and almost jump out of my own skin. I turn around and there, sitting in an industrial elevator, is the Duke.
He greets me with a wave of his hand and says his usual line: "Care to make a purchase?"
I check the magazine of my Lemi, then sigh reluctantly as I realize how little ammo there is left and nod.
After leaving the Duke's makeshift shop I make my way down to the lower levels of the underground. In one room I find a bunch of X-Rays on the wall. They all belong to humans and show a lot of metal in someone's spine, skull and throat from various angles. On the far left of said wall is an X-Ray that looks different from the others. It's different because everything that looks like bone on the other X-Rays is made of metal in this one. The ribs and spine are made of, or at least heavily reinforced by, metal and protect a mechanical heart and lung. The wiring shows up clearly on the picture. I take it off of the wall and take another look at it before putting it into my pocket. Someone wrote an eleven in the top corner with marker. A few steps away from the place where I'm standing is a machine labeled Metal Casting. Another look around the room before I leave.
I venture on, deeper into this hell factory. Stairs, illuminated by red lamps, lead to an area above the room where I found the smelting machine and the X-Ray. Upstairs I duck behind an oil barrel to avoid the rag-and-bone creatures that stagger along the walkway and down the stairs. When they're gone I sneak further along and find myself in front of yet another door.
Before I can press any button to open the door, it slides open by itself and I just barely dodge the massive drill coming towards me. I scream and jump backwards. "What the fuck are you?", I shout, more to myself than to anyone else because there is nobody else around. And that's about to be a huge fucking problem.
The drill is mounted to the arm of a person, mutilated beyond recognition. The undead-looking person glares at me and roars, revving the motor of the drill. I aim my gun at it and fire five shots at point blank range. The monster barely even flinches.
That's it, I turn around and make a run for it, but that drill monster has already locked onto me. It follows me down the stairs and seems hellbent on ending my life. At full speed this thing comes running after me, the sound of the drill arm and the clanking of metal on metal following close behind.
I dash through an open sliding door and hide behind a broad shelf. Even though the air in here is thick and humid I shiver. I realize I'm in a stock room of some kind. Covering my mouth and nose, I try not to make a sound when I hear the sound of the door opening and closing again. It's here and actively looking for me.
Maybe the factory owner can turn this thing off or something. Maybe it's gonna be intimidated by him and go away. I figure it is worth a try before I get skewered by that thing.
What did the Duke say this guy's name was? Goddamn, what was it?
"Heisenberg!", I scream as loud as I can, my panic filled voice echoing through the factory. The monster with the drill arm turns around and stares at me with its dead eyes for a second before it charges again.
"Heisenberg!", I continue to scream the fourth Lord's name again and again while I run from the creature. It's way faster than I thought it would be with all that metal on its body and-
"You can't be serious!", I gasp as I reach a dead end. The sound of the motorized drill is still behind me. I look up and notice a ledge above me; a possible escape route? I scan the walls in search of a ladder or anything similar, but all I find is a stack of junk filled boxes. The monster appears on the far end of the corridor I am stuck in. Oh no!
So I start climbing the boxes - anything to get away from this abomination. I'm about two meters above the ground when the drill monster reaches the boxes. There's still more to go. I make the mistake of looking down while trying to climb and in the same moment the monster's drill arm connects with the bottom box. The whole tower starts to vibrate, then wobble and finally begins to fall apart. A high-pitched scream leaves my throat as I lose my balance and tumble backwards.
A hand wraps around my wrist and holds tight as the boxes collapse under me, burying the monster beneath them.
When I tilt my head up I almost expect to see Ethan Winters. But this man has long hair that's falling in his face and he's wearing sunglasses and a hat. Without a word he hauls me up onto the ledge and I lay on the cold concrete floor, breathing heavily and my heart racing from the adrenaline rush. I roll over to look at the man and find his expression to be indecipherable in the shitty lighting and with those glasses on.
"There you fuckin' are", he states.
"You... You're Heisenberg", I choke out and maneuver myself into a sitting position. Something about his expression changes. He is silent for a minute or so, then he finally says something.
"Who else did you think I would be?", he asks in return and his voice sounds like he's mocking me.
For some reason I feel like I shouldn't say Ethan Winters.
"Come on, let's get going.", he says then and holds out his hand to help me up. I don't take it and don't move otherwise. Heisenberg sighs and dramatically rolls his eyes, moving his entire head in the process. "Fine, I'll check on that cockroach that is Ethan Winters by myself!", he groans and stomps off.
"What about Ethan?", I shout after him, "What did you do to him?"
"I didn't do anything. Ethan chose his own fate.", Heisenberg replies and makes a vague gesture. "Sturm will keep him busy. Besides, why do you care?"
"What's a Sturm?", I ask out loud.
The fourth Lord jerks his head around and furrows his eyebrows. "You don't remember?"
"Remember what?", I reply and the sarcasm in my voice makes me sound braver than I actually am. "Sir... I have no idea what's going on."
Heisenberg looks taken aback and comes one step closer. I get up slowly and everything just pours out of me.
"Sir, I don't know who I am or what's happening in this village. All I have left is this necklace and a drawing. The Duke sent me here! He said this is my final place to look for answers. Please-", I beg and tug at the dog tag around my neck, "Please help me."
Lord Heisenberg reaches out into the air and from somewhere across the room a giant hammer flies into his hand. He swings it over his shoulder like it's nothing, then nods at me. "Alright.", he declares and I feel his eyes bore into mine from behind the sunglasses. I feel weird, dizzy, and then I pass out.
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