2010-03-04: Thou Shalt Not Kill

Starring:

Jo2_V4icon.png Erin_V4icon.png

Date: March 4, 2010

Summary:

You can't save your life, but maybe you can save your soul.


"Thou Shalt Not Kill"

Jo's Apartment

After managing to sleep some (albeit very little) Jo, wearily opens her eyes. Her lawn furniture living room causes her to shake her head as she raises a hand to her forehead dizzily. Finally, she stands to her feet. Her pyjama pants (which really, were designed for Christmas) are plastered with the words "Ho Ho Ho" in white and green and her NYU hoodie serves its purpose. She rolls off the cot and pads over to one of the lawn chairs where she sits down. "What kind of person lives like this?" she murmurs as she looks at the decor that only indicates her obsession: finding and killing her own brother. "He can't be allowed to keep doing that… he can't… but I can't live this way…"

—-

"At least you're still alive."

When Jo next looks at her chair, there's something in it. At first, it's hard to tell what the charred lump is, though within a couple seconds, the form resolves into something human-like… Much clearer than Jo's previous encounters. It's burned beyond recognition, with clothing seared right into the skin - which only just covers the thing's skeleton. Bony, blackened hands are wrapped around a glass of ice water.

Whoever this is, she's been through a hell of a fire.

Her face is expressionless. One eye is missing, and the other burns bright blue, the glow highlighting each and every single wrinkle and pit dug into the corpse's skin by the blaze. Her lips are mostly gone, exposing teeth that are almost black themselves.

—-

"AHHHH!" Jo literally screams a the figure appears, backing up several paces and reaching for a gun she keeps underneath her caught. She cocks the weapon at the figure. "Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?!" she literally screams, causing her neighbour to bang on the wall and yell something virtually indiscernible.

—-

"Just one of your many victims," she says, setting the glass of ice water on the table.

Her eye focuses on the firearm for a long time, but the blackened creature doesn't seem disturbed by it. "You can't hurt me anymore, Jo," she says. "You already did that. If it wasn't for you, I'd still be alive."

The thing gets to its feet; it's not tall… Just over five feet, really. "I'll humour you, though. I'm Erin McCarty. You know, you really had me fooled when you bagged me. Never saw it coming. Wanna know how I died, Jo? They'll tell you it was an overdose, but I think you need to know the truth."

—-

"Wh-what happened to you?! I saw Law… he just had a bullet to the face," Jo cringes. It was the bullet she'd put there. The one she'd got him with. "What the hell do you people want from me?! I told Law I'd stop the weaponization of you freaks — I did what I could! I'll do what I can! But there's nothing more I can do — you are a weapon, Ms. McCarty…."

Jo moves to the kitchen and takes her bottle of Jack's before she returns to the living room. She unscrews the cap and brings it to her lips. Taking a big swig she swallows and sighs. "Fine. Tell me what you want from me! It's like I'm f'ing Scrooge or something! But there was no ghost of Christmas Past… Just ghosts of March-present!" Her eyes widen. Yup, she's becoming unhinged.

—-

Erin doesn't seem affected by Jo's proclamation that Erin is a freak. "It's pretty awsome that I can talk all I want and you can't do a damn thing to stop me, except put a bullet through your own brain. Go ahead. At least I get a little bit of peace before I go back."

To where?

"I wasn't a weapon. And now that I'm dead, I can see everything. Past, present, future. If you'd just left me alone, I wouldn't have ever hurt anyone ever again. I would have retired when I was in my seventies. I would have lived to be almost a hundred, before dying of a heart attack in my sleep. Peaceful."

She's quiet as Jo turns to the kitchen for alcohol. "That'll make it worse, you know," Erin says.

"Your buddies in Building 27 theorised that when I died, whatever illness I had could very well become unchecked. Become a plague." This is where emotion starts to seep into her voice. "They drugged me stupid, Jo. I couldn't even lift my own head, but I could see and hear. They took me to the morgue. To the crematorium. Stuffed me inside an oven."

In the blink of an eye, she's in Jo's face, screaming. "I. WAS. STILL. CONSCIOUS. WHEN THEY SET ME ON FIRE!!"

—-

"Th-they set you on fire?" Jo repeats as she drinks the bottle of Jacks. "Of course they did! Why wouldn't they?!" She eyes the gun and wants nothing more than to shoot herself in the head. Especially if she is becoming one of them, that would be a fate worse than death itself. Changing colour for the rest of her life.

"You were a weapon. You created diseases. I know it. You gave me that damned cold. And now you're dead. At least I can take solace in the fact they didn't get to use you to hurt more Americans." She lifts her bottle into the air, "Cheers to me! And you, Ms. McCarty! Wooooooh!" She takes a long swig from the bottle. "At least you're not going to hurt anyone… even if they did kill you in the worst way possible…"

—-

"Why did I give you a cold, Jo?" she asks. "I was protecting myself. I was scared." Erin backs off, the glowing blue eye never leaving the other woman. "You can think whatever you want of me.

"You know what damned me, though? My last thought was about you. Don't feel too flattered, though. I asked God if he'd kill you like I was dying. I wanted justice. I wanted you to suffer." There's a hitch in her voice. "Apparently asking for someone's murder is just as bad as murdering them, though. I never got the chance to ask for forgiveness, to redeem myself. I went straight to hell for that one. I'm only here because you're a gateway back into this reality. And being in your company's a whole lot better than being down there."

She paces a few steps, eye narrowing. "You asked me why I'm here. I'm here to save you. Because even if I hate you like I've never hated anyone, no one deserves what I got. Not even you."

—-

"Save me?! Save me from what?! I see f'ing dead people! How much more is there to save me from?! I'm haunted, I'm cursed, and now I'm losing my grip on anything real! I don't know if you're here. I don't know if I'm here! What if none of this is real?! What if I'm in some f'ed up version of someone's reality! Maybe I'm in prison in my own brain! Apparently I'm being hunted! What if I'm one of you!!"

"NO! No! You don't get to tell me you're here to save me," Jo shakes her head as she downs some more whiskey and then wipes her mouth with her hoodie sleeve. "You're warning me to stay away from hell or something?! Geez! I promised Law I'd try to fix things! What more do you want?!"

—-

"You are," Erin says. "Abilities are genetic. They run in families." Her expressionless face stares at Jo for a long time before she goes on. "That doesn't make you a weapon or a freak. It just makes you different. You can help people with your ability. Just like I did with mine."

Erin reaches for the bottle. The smell of burned flesh is overpowering at this point. If allowed, she'll take it and drop it directly to the floor.

"Right now, your afterlife is oblivion. No heaven, no hell. What you've done is so horrible, you'll cease to exist. At least I have a chance to pull myself out of this pit one day. You… When you die, no one will remember your name. No one will care that you're gone. It will be like you never were.

"At best, you achieve hell. You pay for what you've done, and maybe… Maybe you'll get to reunite with your parents in heaven one day. That's where they are, Jo. I can hear them cry for you every day, because each step you take brings you closer to nothing."

—-

"I'd rather cease to exist than be one of you," Jo says as the bottle crashes to the ground. She closes her eyes as she holds her gun to the side of her head. "You don't understand the people Teddy hurt. You don't know. They died. He claimed it was an accident, but Teddy is a weapon. You were a weapon. And I… I will never accidentally kill someone. No, if someone is going to die, it'll be from a bullet lodged in their brain. And it will be on purpose."

She lowers the gun for a moment as she clicks the safety and then holds it to her head before asking, "Do you think it's prettier through the mouth?"

—-

Erin's one eye grows wide, and for the moment, she actually manages to look scared.

"No…" she says quietly, her hand starting to reach out, then drawing back. Her voice echos ever so quietly, almost sounding like Jo's own for just a moment.

Backing off, Erin stands next to the chair she was in before. "What scares you about us, Jo? That we have the potential to hurt? Are you afraid you'll hurt someone you care about?"

Her hand reaches out, toward the gun. She doesn't grab at it, but offers to take it. "You're more a weapon than I ever was, Jo. What you do is cold, methodical, emotionless. You're only an extension of the firearm you hold in your hand.

"Let me help you."

—-

Jo's eyes flicker with suspicion at the voice. She shakes as she continues to hold the gun to her head. "What scares me?! I know what happened. I know what you people do. An accident is deadly. And you are a weapon. I'm never killed by accident. I'm a trained gun. And I refuse to be out of control." And that's what it boils down to: control.

"Teddy lost it when he became one of you. He lost it again and again and again. I refuse to become that person. I am in control."

"Help me with what. I thought I was beyond redemption."

—-

Control. Of course. "Like the control the Protocols would have over us if they manage to turn us into weapons."

She takes a step closer, still holding out her hand for the weapon. "Teddy was one person. People like us have existed for centuries, and we learn how to deal with it on our own. If what the Protocol wants to do is successful, we won't be able to hide anymore. We'll be used, like your gun, to kill again and again and again. What's worse? Millions killed on purpose, or a handful killed by accident?

"You can take control of this situation, but you have to give me the gun first."

—-

"I have a license for my weapon. I've been trained to use it. And it's never gone off by accident. No one else gets near it. It's mine and mine alone. And it's not a handful. You are all dangerous. And you're just like that. No ifs ands or buts. And you can't convince me otherwise." She begins lowering the gun, however, as she remembers something.

Borderline illegal sex. Cody's voice. Not talking to her, just in her memory.

She peers at the dart of solution Cody had given her just a couple of days before.

Gun still in hand, she reaches for it and sticks it in her arm, waiting…

But nothing. Nothing at all. Her skin is still red and she's still seeing dead people. "I…" Nothing happens. And suddenly life almost seems worth living again. The weapon is handed to Erin.

—-

"Don't you think that if we were trained to use our weapons, too, we'd jump at the chance? Your people know we exist, and they try to turn us into weapons against our will. We have thoughts, feelings, families!"

She watches silently as Jo empties the solution into her arm. Then, she takes the firearm, holding it angled toward the floor.

"I am dangerous. But I am not a weapon." Jo's made a distinction there. As minor as it seems, it's incredibly significant. Erin's ceased to be a thing, and has become something else. Something dangerous, but something alive.

"You are skilled with danger, aren't you? You live it every day. Instead of trying to destroy these people who only want to live, why not help them become safe?" A skeletal hand reached for the weapon's safety, enables it, and then puts then sets the gun on the table, next to the abandoned glass of water. "You're handling them like you have no idea how to handle something potentially dangerous. Would you toss a gun around like a toy?"

—-

"I didn't toss them anywhere. I locked them up like any good parent would their weapon. Not everyone should be privy to what you lot can do." Jo sighs heavily. "No, there was nothing wrong with Alpha Protocol. Gathering people who were a threat is smart. Depowering them? Smart. Repowering them and controlling them? Stupid. Stupid Stupid. I don't even know who thought that was a good idea." She whistles as she makes motion of a fake cannon or missile being fired and then making a little exploding sound as it crashes. And then in a squeaky voice she plays the role of the victims, "'Oh help me help me, help me!' 'Hahaha! We're going to release someone who can explode themselves on you!' 'Pew pew pew.' And EVERYONE dies. Smart, right?"

She smirks skeptically. "And no, I didn't handle them in any which way. And I have no intention of helping them become safe. That would only be more dangerous. Imagine if someone like Teddy learned to use their power. More dangerous than ever."

—-

There's nothing else to really say or do at this moment. Erin's tried. Taking her hand from the weapon, she steps to the side and disappears.

—-

Two green coloured eyes flutter open and squint as Jo attempts to bring anything into focus. She sits up in her cot and rubs her head and then cracks a smile as she looks down at her skin — it's normal coloured!! Leaping to her feet, she spins in a circle! It was a dream! It had all been a dream! "Thank you powers that be!" she says aloud after doing a little happy dance of joy.

She glances over to her lawn furniture and sees her bottle of Jack and gun on the ground. "Sloppy." She says as she picks up the gun. Oddly the safety is clicked off. Shaking her head she sighs heavily and clicks it on. "So sloppy. No more drinking when the gun isn't locked up." It's an important thing to note. She glances at her windows and notices one is opened, "And no opening windows when on a binge." She shakes her head again and shuts it promptly. After doing so her skin turns a bright red hue…

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