Carmen Stevens: Heart of Darkness

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'Finally? We will know who the monster is?'

'Yes,' Vanessa hissed, pushing the monstrous Carmen to the door. 'Step inside, and you will know what to do. The human name is something nobody but the Marked Ones can obtain.'

Carmen growled. She didn't like being told what to do, even more so from a witch. 'And I'll know what to do?'

'Yes, the secret you wish to know shall be unveiled to you and only you. Once you leave the room, tell me the name. After all, we are all on the same side, right? We are all trapped in this town because of the Mortavie. We need to all join together and defeat it.'

'I don't trust you,' Carmen told her, consuming every inch of her with her vision. Her eyesight had improved drastically since becoming the Ripper.

Vanessa smiled. 'Wise decision, truly. But it doesn't change the fact – you are just a door away from learning the truth. Get it. Then you can make a decision. I have time. You might not.'

Carmen turned to the door. The sun on the small square window was buried under a layer of dirt and dust, but still, its hopeful little eyes were visible. The colour had faded slightly and it was impossible to see through the glass. Using one of her talons, Carmen scraped off some of the dust to reveal more of the sun.

'Having second thoughts?' Vanessa asked.

Carmen shook her head. She suppressed dormant feelings and memories and pushed down on the handle. It was stiff, and an awful screech scratched down the hallway. She flinched as the handle, after placing more pressure on, reached the bottom, and the door started to open.

A rush of cold air. Carmen entered the room and slowly closed the door behind her. She felt different. As she took her hand off the handle, she could see that it was a hand again. Her hand. Not a talon, but her human hand. She felt her face, her hair, her chest, her stomach – she was back to normal.

The murderous thoughts she had as the Ripper were recollected in an agonising moment. She looked at her hands, the hands that killed a family, and felt a powerful remorse overcome her.

She slowly turned to face the classroom – and wished she hadn't. There were small body bags littered throughout the room. They were too small.

'Oh, God,' Carmen cried, her voice had also returned to normal. She fell to her knees. She could feel the pain of everyone in that room at once. Vanessa had taken her back to day zero – the day of the Lakefield Nursery Massacre, mere hours after the event. Everything was still fresh. She could smell the blood in the air. She could see the blood everywhere.

Carmen tried to stand. She used a toppled desk to help her stand, and was smacked back down to the floor by her feelings. Feelings. Carmen knew now why they were no good, why she had to get rid of them. They made her feel so powerless and useless. They were killing her.

She wiped her face and stumbled through the labyrinth of body bags. Her mind returned to that day, and she remembered when the screaming stopped, and she looked up from where she had been hiding. It was so deathly silent, and it was that silence that she could remember. Nobody moved.

Nobody was moving now, but her. She continued to stumble to the back of the room. A growing pressure was punching through her stomach and up her throat. She tried to hold it in, but the vomit poured from her mouth. She managed to move in time and it splashed all over the wall, narrowly missing an unmarked body.

She panted as she wiped her mouth. The pain was too much for her. Whether or not she would learn the name of the Mortavie, she didn't care. She just wanted the pain to stop.

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