The Destruction of Beautiful Things

"They give our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?" - Martin Luther

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19. Chapter Sixteen

Millicent dropped her knife and didn’t fight back when the two men that had grabbed Nathaniel now took her by the arms and led her through the corridor. She tried to avert her eyes from the women in the cages, but couldn’t help looking at some of them and their pregnant bellies.

She was led onto the table and strapped down. All the while she didn’t protest. Silas was still in the manor house, which meant that he would find her. She just hoped that he would hurry.

“Cut her shirt off,” Doctor Ellsworth ordered the nurse.

“Don’t you dare,” Nathaniel snarled, but the nurse ignored him. She removed Millicent’s jacket and cut her shirt down the middle, throwing the scraps in the bin. She removed Millicent’s bra with care and placed it on the side. She raised her head to look at Nathaniel, and he was fuming.

Millicent was frantically thinking of a way out of this. She had been trained by her brother since she was young to deal with this kind of situation, if ever one of them was captured or tortured. Millicent had survived when they tortured her after sending her brother away, and had survived in that cell on her own. Surely, she could survive this.

But this was different. There was no time to think in this situation. Millicent had no weapons, neither did Nathaniel. Her only hope was Silas and his Bodybringers.

“Millicent,” Doctor Ellsworth started, “how have your headaches been?”

“Is that really what you want to ask right now?” She snapped, “There are women in fucking cages over there, and you want to ask me about my headaches?”

He took a scalpel from a tray beside the table she lay on and cut a deep line in her cheek. Millicent didn’t react, and was thankful for her brother and the training he put her through. Doctor Ellsworth asked the same question again, “How have your headaches been?”

“Painful.”

“Have you ever wondered,” he said, whilst fumbling with a machine just above her head, “why you get them?”

“Isn’t that why I came to see you?”

He removed the machine from above her head and held a photo above her face.

“Do you know what this is, Millicent?” He asked.

She shrugged.

“This,” he pointed to the top of the picture, “is your brain.”

“Cool.”

He took the scalpel and cut another deep line into her cheek. Again, she didn’t react, but she could tell that the way she was speaking to him was starting to aggravate him. So she would continue.

“And this here,” he said once he’d put the scalpel down, “is a virus.”

Millicent’s heart skipped a beat as she took in the picture he was showing her. Yes, she could identify her brain and her spinal chord, but the darkness that wrapped itself around her brain was unlike anything she’d ever seen.

“This is the reason you’ve been having headaches.”

The nurse took the photo over to Nathaniel to show him. Millicent hadn’t ever told him about the headaches she suffered, and from all that he’d learnt whilst working here he knew that there was something seriously wrong with her central nervous system.

“You see, Millicent,” Doctor Ellsworth began, “the body is a funny thing. When the body is struck with a virus, the body’s immune system will either destroy it, or succumb to it. It seems that yours has done neither, which makes you quite the medical mystery.”

“Why do I have a virus in the first place?” She asked through gritted teeth.

“Well I put it there,” said Doctor Ellsworth. She looked over at Nathaniel, and his knuckles were pure white from gripping the chair.

“What do you mean you put it there?” Nathaniel questioned.

Some of the women in the cages whimpered, and Nathaniel looked at them with guilt on his face. They should have left when they had the chance.

“How do you think the Cracks came to be?” Doctor Ellsworth asked them. Millicent could no longer see him, but she could hear the cluttering of various medical instruments behind her.

When neither of them replied, Doctor Ellsworth sighed and came around the side of the table so that he was facing both of them.

“When I came to the city, I was poverty stricken. But upon arriving here, I met a man named Doctor Emmanuel Carter. He was the first owner of this manor house, and the first person to start working in the labs here. He too was a scientist, and he recruited me as his apprentice for many years. I worked beside him doing simple things. He mostly studies viruses, the effects they had on the human body, the immune system, etcetera. After working beside him for a few years, he trusted me enough to bring me down here and show me his creations.

It was much like something you would read about in a book. He’d created these awful beings, and he’d named them the Cracks. His work was truly extraordinary, as he’d manipulated the virus in such a way that the body would have to succumb to it and let it control the central nervous system. However, what I hated the most about his creation was not the monster that came at the end, but the humans that he used to create the Cracks. They were poor people, like I had been when he’d found me. I was truly ashamed of him, and so I killed him in this very room and dumped his body in the ocean.”

“What has this got to do with anything?” Millicent spat.

“However, as I now owned the manor house I decided to continue with his work. I let the poor people go, and started to experiment using others. Rich people, or women from the pleasure houses on the continent. As long as they weren’t poverty stricken, it was fine. These women,” he gestured to the women in the cages, “are all pregnant. They have been artificially inseminated with the semen of the Cracks.”

Nathaniel couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“What has this got to do with Millicent?” Nathaniel asked quietly, rage building up inside him.

“Because, Nathaniel, Millicent’s mother was one of the first women I artificially inseminated.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” said Millicent, “I’m nothing like the Cracks.”

“That’s what makes it so interesting, dear. When I took your mother, she had already birthed your brother. I don’t know what he did whilst she was gone, but when she got here I artificially inseminated her. She was about seven months pregnant when she managed to escape, and find her son back in Shalom. I could never find her there, although I tried. All I heard of her is that she had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was like she disappeared after that. But then after your brother had been sent away Beyond Shalom, I heard of you, Kane’s brother, and of course I knew that you were her child. I already knew of Kane, and now I knew of the child that was not meant to be human. So when you started having the headaches, I urged Mayor Holland to let me treat you. And here you are.”

“What do you want from me?” Millicent whispered, her voice shaking. Nathaniel stared at her, and realised just how helpless he was.

“What we’re going to try and do is stimulate the virus that has wrapped itself around your brain and your spinal chord. Although it is dormant at the moment, sparks of controlled electrical current may awaken it and let it seize your central nervous system. After that, it will be a slow process, but you will eventually become one of them, and we’ll simply send you on your way with a horde.”

Doctor Ellsworth moved then, and began to place sticky tabs on her head and the nape of her neck.

“Stop it,” Nathaniel said, “don’t hurt her.”

“This is for science, Nathaniel,” said Doctor Ellsworth, “We need to find out why the virus didn’t work, so that we can make it better.”

“Why are you still making them?” Millicent asked, trying to distract him. Hurry up, Silas, she thought.

“Because I am continuing Doctor Carter’s work. I do not know his reasons behind creating such a monster, but when our King of Kings has grown to its potential power, he shall raise Doctor Carter from the dead so that I can find out.” Explained Doctor Ellsworth.

“Why are you helping Eidolon?” Nathaniel questioned.

“Because it is our God, boy! It is Eidolon’s legacy to rule over this city, this world, and it’s about time this world had a ruler.”

“He’ll kill you,” Millicent rasped, “Eidolon will kill all of us. You saw how strong it is already, imagine it at its full power. We’ll all be dead.”

“Yes, except me,” said Doctor Ellsworth, “I made a bargain with Eidolon. He must keep me alive, and he must bring back Doctor Carter. After that, I don’t care what he does.”

“That’s why you’re bringing Eidolon back?” Nathaniel exclaimed, “So you can have a chat with an old friend?”

“This world is a shithole anyway boy! I’ll be glad when Eidolon rips it to shreds.”

That was when Doctor Ellsworth sent an electrical current through the wires that were attached to Millicent’s head, and she screamed. It was pain like she’d never felt it before. Somewhere through the pain, she could hear Nathaniel screaming and shouting and begging his Uncle to stop.

I’ll become one of them, thought Millicent.

She let the pain take her, and thought of only one word, the one thing that could save her:

Silas. 

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