Atonement

The sequel to the short story "Coming Home," some time has passed since the incident between Simon and the doctor which resulted in their deaths. If you haven't read the first story "Coming Home" I suggest reading it first to clear up any confusion about the beginning. The aim was to answer questions left in the short story; please comment, and enjoy.

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7. An Encounter With the Damned

 

   Edward was awake when Dr. Duquesne got home but he chose not to reveal himself, instead Edward waited until the doctor was asleep in his room after which he wandered down the hall to the study. Closing the door behind him he sat in the large chair behind the desk at the opposite end of the room.

            “Now if I was Dr. Duquesne where would I hide my patient’s personal files?” he questioned himself out loud quietly. He had discovered Dr. Duquesne’s personal journal earlier and upon his better judgment he opened it. Some papers fell out among them included adoption forms with Edward’s name on them. ‘My name on adoption papers? Why, does he really want to keep me or is this some sick game he’s playing?’ Edward had questioned to himself. Thinking about this Edward continued to go through the papers until he found an old article clipping that mentioned a kid escaping from the institute a while ago; looking at the kid’s name and thinking about the doctor’s extreme hatred of the institute the pieces began to come together. Working off his suspicion he went looking for the personal files that Dr. Duquesne had inherited from Dr. Murdoch. As he searched he became ever more aware of what became of the other children that he knew when he was in the institute. Including him and Simon Dr. Murdoch had eight children patients. According to the files Two were dead; Simon and William. Brian was still there along with Marcy. He himself was in Dr. Duquesne’s custody. Amanda, Lyra, and Percy were in different statuses. Suddenly Edward was stopped in his tracks by a severe pain in his chest; he immediately stopped searching and grabbed his chest where his heart was. All those years of being electrocuted had taken its toll; there were two permanent scars on his sides that stretched up to his chest, the patterns resembled inverted spread wings and on occasion a random shock of electricity would inflict paralyzing bouts of pain on his heart, mind and body.

            “God help me, it hurts so much,” Edward cringed quietly so he wouldn’t wake anybody. “Please return to me salvation.” Edward was suddenly terrified as he became aware of the dark and quite familiar laughter that grew out of the shadows.

            “Didn’t I tell you there was no god Edward?” came the voice of Dr. Murdoch seemingly from the shadows themselves. “Look, he’s left you to rot in your darkest hour. What kind of god is that? A nonexistent one.” The largest shadow separated from the wall and took the form of an older man with a bloodied salt crusted lab coat, black gloves and dark slightly torn pants, and a deep blue buttoned down shirt.

            “No it can’t be you’re dead, you… you can’t be here,” Edward stammered now completely struck with fear. Laughing the doctor raised his glove covered hand and aimed at Edward’s heart and began to close his hand into a fist. As Dr. Murdoch did this the pressure in Edward’s heart increased to the point of feeling like it would explode. Edward’s whimpers of pain filled Dr. Murdoch with a joy he hadn’t felt since he was living.

            “How’s it feel Ed? Does this prove I’m real now? Does it you little brat?” Murdoch snarled with hatred obvious in his voice. “You should’ve died that night when we found you in the woods; I should’ve taken my scalpel and slowly slit open the wounds in your body. I should’ve dragged you back and hooked you up to the generator and flipped the switch and watch you fry and if you were still alive I would’ve slit your throat ever so slowly. But no I listened to Miss Tenmore and got you to confess where you two were going to meet. You know what that got me? Pushed off a cliff and into hell by that little prick Simon and the only good that came out of it is that Simon is dead too.”

Edward began to pray for mercy from this pain that now tore at every inch of his being. He folded his hands and despite the pain managed to gag out the Lord’s Prayer. This of course only infuriated the doctor even more; he gripped Edward’s heart harder.

            “Prayers won’t help you now… Not as long as YOU’RE MINE!” Dr. Murdoch raged his voice beginning to resemble that of a demon. “Tonight I’ve come to collect, and you are the collection, you and the other six pests that are still breathing.” As Dr. Murdoch was about to clench his fist closed thus crushing Edward’s heart a shot rang out piercing the specter of the doctor with a bullet of light.

Holding an all white .38 revolver, the same type of gun that had killed him in life stood Simon. “No Dr. Murdoch it is you who shall be forever banished into the deepest pit of hell to which there is no escape,” Simon spoke calmly. “No that one death I gave you was by all means that of the highest charity. You deserve to have died a thousand deaths, one for each person you killed in life.” Holding the gun firmly aimed at the shadowy specter that was Dr. Murdoch Simon calmly walked over to his friend who was now curled up on the floor still recovering from the death grip that had a few seconds before been crushing his heart.

            “Thank you Simon, I really thought I was going to die right then,” Edward managed to whisper hoarsely still in pain and trying to catch his breath. Dr. Murdoch gagged a bit from the surprise of one; being shot and two; having the gunshot actually hurt. As he examined the hole in his gut that was emanating a white light he looked back at Simon and smiled in a manner that would have terrified even the most steadfast person.

            “Oh so you’re here too, that’s even better considering that means that I can kill you again and take you to hell where I can torture you for eternity,” the doctor chuckled menacingly as he withdrew a scalpel with blood stains running all down the blade. With a quiet laughter Dr. Murdoch lunged towards the two boys. Simon leveled the gun at Murdoch’s chest and fired two shots. The first one made contact and injected into Murdoch a sting of pure pain causing him to veer out of the way of the second shot. Stopping to examine his shoulder he became infuriated that this kid was getting the best of him again in death. ‘No, that little prick will not get the best of me here too,’ he thought to himself. Correcting his posture he had a stroke of what he regarded as genius; Simon can’t hit him if he doesn’t know where he’s coming from. With that Murdoch sank into the shadows of the room and waited for the opportune moment.

            “Damn, where’d he go now!?” Simon cursed having lost track of the mad doctor. He scanned the moving shadows ever so slowly hoping one of the shadows was moving slightly different enough from the others so that he could relocate the doctor. It was too late though for Murdoch had already gotten behind the boys and blade in hand launched at them. Simon heard the whooshing noise as the coat moved on the doctor just in time enough to push Edward out of the way but not himself. Turning around he took the scalpel right in his lower right side with a sickening ripping and squishy noise the scalpel dug into Simon; the pain caused him to drop the gun letting it come to rest by Edward.

            “This time I’ve got you and there is no escape for you Simon,” Murdoch chuckled as he twisted the scalpel in Simon’s side causing him greater pain. Seeing this Edward reached for the revolver hoping that though it was a spirit’s gun he might be able to hold it long enough to do something for he wasn’t about to watch as his already dead friend died again. Murdoch looked Simon in the eyes as he spoke to the child, “This time you are going to die and stay dead while I live on to torture the living for eternity.”

            “Rot in hell you bastard!” Edward yelled as he fired the gun. The silvery white bullet flew through the air almost as slowly as if time were stopping until it plunged into Murdoch’s head and out the other side dissipating just before it would hit the wall of the study. The doctor let go of Simon as he stumbled a few fight before collapsing onto the floor.

            “Damn you kids… All of you continue to haunt me even in death,” Murdoch muttered as he began to sink into the floor as he descended into hell. “You kids torturing me, is my punishment for my sins in life… how cruel, don’t you think?” With those final words the spirit of Dr. Murdoch passed on into the netherworld that is Hell. The shadows faded away as too did both Simon and Edward’s consciousness. 

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