I thrust my hand quickly into my captive’s chest, found her heart, and ripped it out with a squelching sound. Blood splashed everywhere as her ribs were bent violently back to allow my fist to exit, and I was showered in gristle and bone.
It made me feel better, but it didn’t solve my problem.
“What do you mean this was planned? No one told me!”
“It didn’t concern you,” the voice in my head admonished. No, not a split personality, I don’t have those. Just telepathy. “There was no need for you to know.”
“No need? You threw an escape pod at my city, of course there was need!”
“What would you have done differently? The USP cannot be allowed to reacquire Shaohao Station. If they do, they control the main supply line to the rest of the colonies vying for independence from Earth. They will be able to simply starve them into submission.”
“Who the hell cares about that?” I cried, ripping another organ from my technically-still-alive prisoner. I think it was the liver. “I wanted to see the corpses!”
“Of course,” the voice said in a dry tone. “And here I thought you were motivated by something silly, like common decency.”
“The crash killed a bunch of people in that building it hit,” I insisted. “Giants, too. They’re fun to watch die, cuz they never see it coming. They think they’re invincible.”
“I cannot express just how much I do not care.”
I smashed the captive’s skull in. I shouldn’t have done that. They’re always more fun when they’re still moving. “I’m doing my job, you’re doing yours. But when they intersect, I should know!”
“Fine. Here’s how they intersect: Stay in Domina, don’t kill the astronaut.”
“What?” I tossed the corpse away and grabbed another girl, a tall, thin thing with a gold eyes cosmo. “Why not? I thought you wanted to keep this under wraps.”
“No,” the voice said with exaggerated patience. “That’s what the USP wants. We want to spread awareness of this as far as possible. Sabotaging the pod to land in Domina was the perfect way to do that.”
I broke one of the girl’s hands. “Wait, you said something earlier about…something.”
“Shut it. No, that’s right…you said Domina needed to remain separate, independent. Isn’t this going to bring heat down on the city? The USP will be able to trace the leak back here.”
“My, are you actually concerned? I’m honestly impressed.”
“I don’t see why,” I muttered, as I shattered the girl’s other hand. She had already broken down, crying for her mother. Seriously. It was like she had never been tortured before. “If they send armies, I won’t be able to play around any more.”
“Ah. Yes, I should have expected that. That’s more like it.”
“You didn’t answer the question.”
“It’s simple. Butler is good at keeping America away from the city, and Mary Christina is good at preventing information leaks. Between the two of them, they’ll get the word out without actually implicating themselves.”
I grinned and started peeling the skin off the girl’s fingers with my nails. Blood welled up quickly, and she sobbed. “So I get to keep my playground?”
The voice sighed. “Yes, you get to keep your playground. But do remember that you have duties as well. You can’t just run around killing people.”
“I’m restraining myself,” I pointed out. “I’m only killing orphans.”
“About half the city consists of orphans,” the voice said drily. “Just…keep the body count below triple digits, all right?”
I paused in my torture. “Not including chorus and related casualties, right?”
The voice sighed again. “Correct.”
“Well,” I said slowly. “I think I can work with that.” I cut the link.
The gold-eyed girl was weeping, her lips silently mouthing the words ‘no no no’ over and over again.
I like the ones with weird eye colors. They’re like a spice sprinkled over a meal. Just a little bit, here and there, makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable.
I reached forward to tear the skin off her chest, but stopped, frowning, as something occurred to me.
Had they meant a triple-digit body count per day or total? Because one of those might be a problem.
Behind the Scenes (57)
So the Composer’s allies aren’t as crazy as he/she/it/they is/are. Of course, no one is as crazy as the Composer.
Extra update Wednesday.