Corrupted and Content

Man's Inhumanity to... Man?

March 29th

Time Unknown.

It really was strange. Well, the world was a strange place, and getting stranger by the day. Which he supposed was really only today and yesterday, so kind of early to declare a trend. But that wasn’t what was on his mind. He thought the pain would ground him here, that it would make the world real, that it would help him feel like what he really was. But when the knives were in him is when his mind wandered the most, like he had someone’s memories of it doing in class, focusing on random trivial things and going off on long tangents that had little to do with his original subject or train of thought, which, when he paused to consider that subject was torture and the falsehood of his identity, maybe wasn’t so bad.

The knife came out, and he was back. The razor’s edge left his body, and returned to the world.

“Please… you kill monsters, right? So do I. It doesn’t matter who I am or why I do it, I do, so I’m on your side. Enemy of my enemy, right? Please, if you let me out of here, that’s what I’m going to do, kill more monsters. Is that what you want? Just tell me what you want, I’ll do anything…”

Of course the man didn’t respond. He hadn’t responded for the last 6 hours, why start now? Under all the hazmat gear, he wasn’t even sure it had been the same man the whole time. He’d prefer if it was. He’d rather not have to accept there was a team of people willing to do things like this. After every exploration, the knife would come out and wounds would be cleaned and instruments would be washed and he would leave, and he or someone would be back. Now he was back.

“This doesn’t make sense. You guys are corporate, right? This is a waste of resources. I’m a resource, a dead man with someone else living the only life I had left, with a burning desire for revenge. Why can’t you see that? Who do you work for? Does your boss know what you’re doing? He’s going to tear you a new asshole so big that you fall in when he finds out what you’re doing you bastard this is your head not m---AAAAAAWWWW!!!!”

Dylan wondered if this was a defensive mechanism he had always had, or something created for this new body. He wondered if he should keep referring to himself in the 3rd person as Dylan, both as its tackiness as a storytelling convention, as if he was cohabitating this existence with an omniscient 3rd person narrator, and because that wasn’t really his name. I mean sure, a life, experiences could be shared. Those could be both of theirs. But a name was something special, and that really was his at this point. Should he come up with a new one? Maybe an anagram of Dylan Kent, or would that be obnoxious? He also wondered where they had left to dissect. No, that was when he was dead. Vivisect, that was the word. He believed they were in his kidneys right now. It probably hurt. What did kidneys do again?

And that’s when she showed up.

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Post 004

March 28th

The following are the case studies and patient logs for patients 84092-84356 at Friends Hospital a.k.a. The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason as of 2010-3-22

by Toshinobu M. Nakamura

Patient D.K. has taken up almost all of my time this past week. His multiple personalities were gaining dominance and his normal self was disappearing. I had to take him into my care. It seems that in addition to thinking he is Glen A. Larson, executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, a new personality has appeared. This personality is nothing but ill intent, voicing all of D.K.’s innermost feelings of hate. Perhaps the most troubling thing about this new personality is I cannot tell when D.K. is in control or this doppelganger. In light of this new development I entered D.K. into a new experimental drug trial that seems to have worked in some capacity. There seems to only be one personality now, but D.K. is very upset with me for getting rid of his other self and I am unsure which personality remains and which one was removed.

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The Gnostic Dialogues

March 27th

It is good to see the sun again, Peter thought. He had been cooped up in hospitals and pawnshops for far too long, of late, and the beautiful clear sky reminded him of why he persisted in his sometimes crushing Vigil. He looked about him, in the Cathedral of the Holy Name, as the saints cast their glowing images on the empty pews. Kind faces of pure souls, icons of what the Blessed John Paul II had called “the universal call to holiness”, that beautiful sacred spark that lived in all peoples. Not long before (not long at all), these rows were filled with devout believers, ordinary men and women who turned to the Holy Trinity in these dark times, and were comforted. Here, a community was built, hope was rekindled. It reminded Pete of his time in Chicago, working in soup kitchens and lay missions, and it warmed his heart. The last few weeks, he had been under a doubtful pall in the wake of the events of the pawnshop.

Maria caught him daydreaming. With a sharp ‘whap!’ she brought the padded staff into Pete’s shoulder, and he exhaled sharply in pain. She smiled at him, sweat pouring down her face. They’d been sparring for close on an hour now, but neither of them were quite ready to call it quits yet. Pete grinned through the sting, lifted his mace (wrapped in padded toweling), and counterattacked.

CRACK! THUD! WHAP! The two members of the Congregation pushed bruised muscles and ragged lungs to their limits in the sanctuary of Holy Name. But even good exercise can’t shut off the imagination of a thinker like Father Peter Radcliffe. It just doesn’t work that way, and his mind began to reflect on events once again…

What now, I wonder? Dylan is… upset, of course. Although this wouldn’t have happened without his rash decision, born of panic. He was frightened; he will be forgiven this.

The deacon was starting to wander again, Maria could see it in his eyes. She couldn’t keep the smirk off of her face. The priest from Chicago was a righteous man, and there was no better exorcist in Philadelphia, but he did have this tendency to get lost in his own head. She lined up another temple blow…

Was that creature, that counterfeit, a reflection of Dylan’s darkest urges? For if so, I have reason to fear. Car bombs? Arson? Murdering? We are Hunters as befits the will of The Lord, yes, but violence is not the only path we follow. And to kill without being sure of the righteousness of the act is a grievous sin indeed.

The mace wandered into a lazy defensive position. Here comes the staff.

And Toshi? What next for him? I fear he is slipping, beginning to bow beneath the weight of this vigil. Whence these new allies? And at what price do they hold him ransom to such horrific quotas? He called them with but little hesitation, though that creature was nearly as human as either of us. Had I only been in the room with them, had I only had the chance to show them the Way. Perhaps it would have been impossible. Can you save something that has no soul…?

WHACK! Pete was knocked clean on his ass, and the mace fell beside him, the price for his absentmindedness. Maria pointed the staff at him, the sun glinting off the little gold crucifix around her neck. Her teeth were almost as white as her athletic clothes as she smiled at him, and raised an eyebrow. “Pacis?”

Peter grinned back, sheepishly. “Pax Pacis, Maria”. She helped him up, and the two retired to the basement. They changed and went to lunch at one of the carts, Maria as focused and Peter as distracted as usual. She rolled her eyes. To get Father Peter’s mind to stop humming would be a miracle indeed.

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Therefore Put on the Full Armor of God...

March 25th

Hospitals are paradoxes. On the one hand, they are a culmination of centuries of secular science and logical thought; nowhere else does one find so many men and women concerned solely with the practice of medicine, a discipline that is necessarily divorced from superstition or magical thinking. But on the other, they are houses of hope and prayer, places where thousands of desperate supplications are uttered every day. Where science ends, faith begins. Who said that?

Peter couldn’t remember, as he lay in thought amongst the beeps and whines of the U Penn general hospital. The Asian nurse (such a kind young lady) had brought his cane earlier that day. They said he’d never run again. The damage that the creature had done to his stomach had been too much; they harvested leg tissue to replace what had spilled on the floor of the tomb. This, Peter remembered.

The Padre had come and gone, and they had discussed many things. They had spoken of violence, of Christ who came “not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” (Matthew 10:34). They spoke of faith, how belief in the infinite mercy of the Lord should not be confused with the sin of pride, of which so many were guilty. And they had spoken of courage, the fortitude to do what was necessary in a fight against foes as old as the War in Heaven. And then the padre left, and Peter was left to think.

To an outsider, Pete would seem to be praying. He held his rosary, the dove medallion a little scarred by the wayward sword of the thing in the tomb. His head was bowed and his lips moved. But Peter wasn’t praying. He was just thinking.

How do I get to the Kingdom?, Pete thought. I know and have believed that violence has no place in the will of God, but perhaps I have been too proud. Perhaps I am not only the Shield of God, but his Righteous Sword as well. Perhaps not everything can be healed, but only purged.

The rosary clicked, force of habit taking over. His leg throbbed beneath layers of bandage and antibiotics.

If I had been braver, if I had been less concerned with my purity, with the whiteness of my soul, those poor guards wouldn’t be dead. I would have stained my soul with murder, but is that not better than the death of innocents? I am the shepherd of the souls of men; my own conscience must come second.

Peter’s face hardened. His knuckles turned white around the rosary.

So be it. Redemption is still an option for those that would forsake the path of darkness. And I must offer it. Holy Mary, let some of them choose the way of the Redeemer, for the alternative is dispatch by my hand, as His instrument. And I do believe there is still hope for them: they can still find a path to kindness and hope, through Jesus Christ! But there will be woe and suffering to those who would stand before the will of the Lord, and it is my task on this fallen world to mete it out. I will be the righteous mace of God. He demands it.

Peter began to drift away on a cushion of morphine. Before he fell asleep, he muttered a single heartfelt prayer to God that the creatures in darkness would not force him to kill them, and he resolved to have a word with Arkady about finding the right tools for the task the Lord had set before him…

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Post 003

March 24th

The following are the case studies and patient logs for patients 84092-84356 at Friends Hospital a.k.a. The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason as of 2010-3-22

by Toshinobu M. Nakamura

patient 84092 has had no change in her condition.

D.K. is still suffering from last weeks’ ordeal. He tried to pull the fire alarm the other day. No doubt he got the idea from watching all of that television. He also has started calling me a cylon… I will have to look into what he means exactly from that.

Patient 84481, P.R. is due back from Johns Hopkins today, I look forward to him joining us once more

A new patient has been transferred to my care B.M.. I took him to the museum today and he had a panic attack which resulted in him jumping into the Dinosaur display. I tried talking him down, but before I could convince him to leave the display he was Tazered by a police officer. Whatever progress that had been made before he was put into my care has been undone. I will have to start all over again

I will be brought in for a consult for a severe burn victim. He is still in intensive care but the powers-that-be have decided that we should start trying to treat his mental trauma at the same time as his physical trauma.

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Post 002

March 22nd

The following are the case studies and patient logs for patients 84092-84356 at Friends Hospital a.k.a. The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason as of 2010-3-22

by Toshinobu M. Nakamura

My fears about patient 84092,N.Q. have come to be. She has gone and gotten herself hurt. Her injuries are being seen to; soon I will have implement a new course of treatment

D.K. has had a bad week. On 3-16 A.S. tried to cheer him up by decorating his bed. This did not go well. D.K. and A.S. have been temporarily separated until D.K. has settled down.

Patient 84481, P.R.’s temporal lobe seizures have grown more intense, I have sent him away for a consult from a friend at Johns Hopkins hospital.

The case of patient 84356, A.S. is still incoherent, although her attempted act of kindness is promising, even if it was destructive.

Patient 84287, A.C. and I had a short period where we disconnected from each other, but he has given me a second chance. He has allowed me to take him to the Pharmacy to try a new treatment.

The high-risk patient I was giving a consult for proved to be quite a handful. Two of the orderlies were injured, One was nearly beaten to death but the other two orderlies successfully sedated the patient. However the dosage administered was too high. We defibrilated the patient but to no avail. Although the death of the patient is regrettable, I stand by the actions taken by the orderlies in an attempt to save the life.

Finally there was a new patient, M.P., who has undergone some severe mental trauma. He has symptoms of PTSD and I will pursue treatment for this little boy to the best of my abilities.

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Blood and Broken Glass

March 16th

Peter Radcliffe didn’t suffer his wounds with the stoic reserve of a man of the cloth. He moaned in Maria’s backseat, clutching his shoulders where the beast had raked through the deacon’s chasuble. Blood leaked from his martyred muscles, and he gasped for breath in ragged sobs as the young woman chewed her lip and pushed down faster on the accelerator. Traffic, even at this hour, only caused her frustration to climb higher. And there is no siren for the Lord’s work; no flashing light that cries “Make way! For this way pass the bearers of the light of the Redeemer!”

The beaten old Chevy Cavalier screeched into the alley behind Holy Name, and Peter coughed. There was blood in it. Maria threw the parking brake on, and helped the young priest hobble into the sacristy. Fresh rain struck cold and sharp on his ravaged back, eliciting fresh cries. “Madre de Dios, sálvanos,” she muttered, and heaved the bleeding man into the waiting arms of Brother Remus. They bundled him into the back of the church, and closed the door.

The next two hours were a jumble of bandages, stitches, and the harsh smell of antiseptic. Rushed whispers in High Latin, and fervent prayers for the assistance of St. Luke, the healer who walked with Christ. Peter wondered, fuzzy from pain and exhaustion, whether Luke could hear them over the rain. The rain that God had sent…

After a while, the swelling had gone down and Peter was wrapped in a swathe of white cotton bandages stained with hydrogen peroxide. But he would live. His body now accounted for, he gestured to Maria for his bag. She retrieved it, and the wounded man retrieved his rosary, fitting it between his fingers with an ease that spoke of old habit.

His was a little unorthodox (many things about the father were), in that it held two medallions, not the traditional one. There was the crucifix, of course, the symbol of the sacrifice that He made for us. But there was also a small silver medal embossed with a golden dove, the mark of the Holy Spirit, the aspect of the all-redeeming God that was present in every facet of this imperfect world. Peter slid the beads over and between his hands with a rhythmic clicking, whispering his prayers with head bowed.

“Lord, forgive me, for I have failed you. Though I released one soul to your loving embrace, I could not save the other to be redeemed on Earth. I was not strong enough.”

Click. His hands were steady.

“Lord, forgive that man, for he knew not what he did. I saw a beast in his eyes that I had never known before. There was some horrible curse on him that robbed him of Adam’s gift and made him as an animal. I can hate him no more than I can hate a cat that kills in hunger, Lord, and I know You will accept him into Your Kingdom.”

Click. Peter’s hands trembled. His voice began to shake.

“Lord, forgive Arkady for her hate. She is so scared, I can feel it rise from her soul like a cold tide in the dark. She is drowning in frightened voices, Lord. Rescue her.”

Click. His hands shook more violently, threatening to drop the beads. A crack crept into Peter’s usually measured tone.

“Lord, forgive Dylan, for he has killed someone, and I don’t know if he will grow used to it. I won’t let him kill again, Lord, please. Forgive him this once. Don’t let him…”

Click click ka-click. The rosary hit the floor. Peter Radcliffe’s head dropped into his hands. He sobbed the last prayer.

“Don’t let him lose his soul too, Lord. Please don’t let him be like the little girl.”

Pete broke down completely, his tortured body wracked by pain and grief for the stain on a man’s soul. Blood and tears dripped on the floor of the Cathedral of the Holy Name, and his two comrades embraced him. They thought him naive, untempered. A new candle-bearer in a Vigil as old as sin. But they knew his pain. They held him in silence as dawn broke over Philadelphia, a city watched over by hundreds of monsters, witches and demons. But watched over too by a peaceful carpenter and His bloodied, weeping, brave disciples. The candle burned lower, but it did not go out.

Amen.

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Four Rounds and a Sedan

March 16th

Slam. Steps. 3rd Floor. 2nd Apartment on the right. Shit, 3rd. Not LA. Sorry. Door Closed. Shotgun Loaded.

After that, it was a while before Dylan had another real thought. He couldn’t tell how long, the one room apartment didn’t have a clock. It was still dark, at least. Not that he thought he would sleep that night anyway. The realization of what he had done that night really didn’t hit him until he was alone, riding home in the back of someone else’s cab. Not the spirit being banished, not the werewolf that had showed up to protect it, not even the 4 rounds he had pumped into that wolf to put it down. No, that didn’t bother him. It followed the rules of the new world he found himself in perfectly. What had crushed him in the back of the cab was that he was now a murderer. Even in retrospect, 3 rounds to the howling beast attacking the Father still seemed like a good idea. It was the 4th, to its back, that bothered him. He didn’t even know if it was still its back when he pulled the trigger. There was the shot, then the hole, then the cab, then a dead man lying where the monster had been. He couldn’t put those in order if his life depended n it, and really, he didn’t think it mattered. He took an action. He squeezed the trigger of a gun. There was a consequence. A man with a large hole in his torso and a bloody mess where his face used to be. A freshman business student could block that action, oldest one in the book.

Shit. He had almost forgotten about the cab. Goddammit Arkady, what the fuck were you thinking? The fucking thing was dead by the time she even got there, and there was a reason they hadn’t used the car in the first place. Pretty generous to be with other people’s shit in chasing your prey. Now they weren’t only without transportation, Dylan would have to come up with something to tell his bosses at the depot, and Vidal wasn’t exactly the best liar in the world. Plus, he doubted they would go for the Superbad excuse, and that was about all he had up his sleeve.

Dylan chuckled to himself at what a bastard he could be. He had just taken his first life, and he was worried about his car and coming up with excuses for work. The more things change, eh? If everything he ever read was true, if he was really a hero, he should be inconsolable right now, sobbing in his secret hideout at the violation of his code and the blood on his hands. But he didn’t feel that. Mostly, he just felt charged. He could try to weep for awhile, but without knowing anyone else in the world to perform for, there was no point in lying to himself. For some reason, what he did hadn’t really bothered him at all, and not even because it was a werewolf on the receiving end. He’d seen enough to know that, wolf or not, people were people. Turning into a wolf, sucking blood, magic; that was just power, no different from any other kind, and they used it in just as evil of ways as any human with power. He knew Hollywood agents that he knew for a fact weren’t vampires who would break their clients bones and suck out the marrow while they screamed if they saw an angle in it. Hell, this one time…

That was it. He knew killing that wolf didn’t bother him. Sure, he had never gone for The Punisher, or any of the Dark Age gore that Image churned out when he was a kid. All of the posters in his room were Superheroes with a strict code against killing; Supes, Batman, Green Lantern, Doctor Strange, Spiderman. But there was one poster that had hung above every bed he’d slept in since he was 12, one man who killed a lot of people, and lived to regret none of it: Che. Dylan wasn’t overly political, his Dad had enough commitment for the whole family. It wasn’t his philosophy or economic policy that drew him to Che Guevara, it was his image. If you didn’t look too hard at the facts, che was a perfect dashing rogue, stealing back to his home in the night to lead a revolution against its corrupt government from the jungle, thinking only of his people. But even more than aping Robin Hood, he had something unique. He was a judge, a man possessed of so strong of morals and so sharp of mind that he knew who needed to die to win the people’s rights, who had committed crimes worthy of death. Che had little power, but he used every scrap of what he could scrounge to serve the people. The people he killed had all of the power, and had chosen to use it to kill, steal, dominate. You get a black and white moral conflict paired with a David vs. Goliath battle, and who doesn’t like an underdog?

After pausing to reflect on the irony of calling oneself an underdog against a literal dog, Dylan smiled. That wolf, whatever his human name and identity, had power. Lots of it. And he had failed to wield it responsibly and chosen to menace children and attack a harmless priest. And Dylan had killed him. Kal-El might disapprove, but this was where Che lived and breathed, and he’s a hero the world over.

So he was a hero after all, Dylan mused as his eyes slowly closed and his grip on his shotgun loosened, he just had the wrong genre. Good to know…

Dylan slept like a baby.

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Post 001
March 15th

The following are the case studies and patient logs for patients 84092-84356 at Friends Hospital a.k.a. The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason as of 2010-3-15

by Toshinobu M. Nakamura

Patient 84092, N.Q. is proving troublesome. She is showing more self-destructive tendencies, a drug regiment may need to be implemented along with psychotherapy.

D.K. is a troubling case. He is a habitual liar, but is very bad at it. He keeps on claiming to be Glen A. Larson, the executive producer of Battlestar Galactica. perhaps a second personality manifesting. More time with the patient is needed.

Patient 84481, P.R. is experiencing temporal lobe seizures. This has manifested as a feeling of divinity in everything. Combined with the fact that he is paranoid schizophrenic is a cause of concern. His temporal lobe seizures cause him to find significance in everything he sees, a sort of divinity to the entire world. But now with his paranoid schizophrenia he sees omens of an impending apocalypse everywhere. I will attempt to use standard treatment, but as of yet treatment has yielded few results. Electroconvulsive therapy may be implemented if treatments attempts prove unfruitful.

The case of patient 84356, A.S.. She is very attractive, but this beauty is the root of many of her psychoses. She experienced some trauma, when she was admitted there was no record of what happened. her facial expression is disengaged, similar to the “thousand-yard stare” that manifested in many veterans of the Vietnam conflict. When she speaks it is not coherent. Perhaps there is something to be gleaned from the brief moments of when she speaks, but I have yet to find anything revealing. More observation is required.

Patient 84287, A.C. is high functioning autistic. extended time with him has proven fruitful. I have gained his trust and I hope to use this relationship to gain the trust of the other autistic children.

There is one more patient that I am going to be meeting with shortly with some of the most dangerous patients at Friends Hospital. He is very violent, but the reasons for his violence are unknown. There is little in his patient history and he is a puzzlement. The patient is so dangerous that I will be bringing 4 orderlies with me.

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Give Us This Day...
March 15th

Maria’s steps echoed across the floorboards of the church. Her shadow crossed over the image of the blessed Virgin, glowing on the floor as the sun set over the stained glass in the western end of the Holy Name of Mary Cathedral. She left the church, letting the reverberating sound of the door slamming fade as the sanctuary, and beyond it, Philadelphia, grew still. And in the chapel of St. Mark, before the winged lion of the Evangelist, Peter Radcliffe knelt and prayed.

Lord, forgive me for what I must do today. I know that I am your tool on this Earth; your instrument to bring your holy Light and Word to those who suffer in the darkness. To ease those tormented, to remind them that this too shall pass, and that the end is not yet. And for these years I have rejoiced in bringing the hope of faith in Jesus Christ to men and women who bend beneath the burdens of despair. But tonight I am afraid…

Tonight, I fear that I must kill someone.

The Weeping Man in the park. He seems tied to those… creatures, somehow. I cannot know why You, in Your wisdom, have chosen to tie these tortured souls to the earth even yet, O Lord, but I know it is my task to release them. I cannot know what you meant by the dream that you sent me, but I will find the answer. I must. If I can, I will send him to Your Kingdom, to sit redeemed. I know, with conviction, that You will forgive him. He has suffered so, Lord, but he shall be comforted. But I cannot do this while wolves would tear me asunder, while beasts would rip and cut my friends that have nothing but righteousness in their hearts. And so tonight we may kill another person, O Lord, and I am afraid.

Holy Mary, Blessed Mark, who stood resolute against the forces of evil, pray for this poor sinner, who would do the work of the Lord. Protect me and my brothers, and my sisters, and if we must fall, take us swiftly into thine loving embrace. Toshi, who wants only the good in men to triumph. And Dylan, who had the bravery to show the truth when the shadows threatened him with torments such that I cannot imagine. And Natashia, who would help these stricken spirits out of kindness alone. And Arkady, for she has suffered and suffers still. Protect them, O Lord, for they too are bearers of the Breastplate of Righteousness.

The intense young woman, who seems tormented so, tells me that this wolf killed a child. Or that it would. I don’t know, Lord, for she speaks in tongues of angels or demons. Such a heinous crime. But I know You would forgive him, Lord, and so I must as well. As St. Francis said, ‘You have done much evil, brother wolf, such that all folk are thy enemy, yet I would be your friend.’

Forgive him, Lord.

Peter Radcliffe crossed himself and rose from the kneeler. He picked up the folio of the Witch’s Hammer, and strode out into the blood-red sunlight, burdened no longer. His mind, body, and soul were prepared for the Hunt. He fought, and the Lord fought with him.

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