The Book of New Mutants #7 : Death

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The Book of New Mutants #7
Post by Almond "Current" Quimby on Feb 11, 2007, 4:21pm

Note: This story seems to be very… uh, erratic. Kind of weird. I don't know what's up with it.
Also, um… Extreme violence warning?

The Book of New Mutants #7

Cover description: Charge standing around in the night. He looks old. His cloak flows into the darkness, but the ball of lightning he's holding illuminates his features. He's looking sharp as ever, smiling very pleasantly.

Setting: A few weeks before the AoA Mission.

Killing… is never easy. Don't let anybody tell you any differently.

I know there are people who disagree. They think people can be killed without any consideration, just like that. I'm shocked and disheartened by such a careless attitude. I know for sure that I could never live like that. If you disagree with me yourself, I have only one thing to say to you: “Shut up.” I'm an expert on the matter, I would know. You're a nobody, and I seriously doubt you have personal experience. Frankly, disagreeing with me makes you an idiot. Suck it up.

So… What is it that makes killing so hard? Well, the most important part – the flat-out MOST important part – is how you do it. You have to put a lot of thought in it if you want to be a “successful” killer. The method matters.

This is especially true for large groups. A large group means a lot of people to kill, and thus you're faced with three important decisions… First of all, if you want to kill the people. There might be reasons not to, I can't think of any at the moment, but I'm sure there are. Second, if you DO want to kill them, you have to be sure on which ones to kill and which ones to spare. This is actually more important than you would think, though it's hard to explain why. Suffice to say, some are better off alive and some are better off dead. Third is – you guessed it – how you're going to do it. Most basically…

Do you want to kill the whole group in the same way, or think up new ways for everyone?

This is why killing is so difficult. You must have a measure of style, don't you? You can't just half-ass your everyday mass murder, the means of deaths must be carefully balanced. Imagine a news report… There aren't any here, but I'm sure you can imagine one. “75 Dead from Mystery Heart Attacks” and “Spontaneous Combustion – A Problem?” just sound so much BETTER than the alternative – an uneven listing of deaths. I personally prefer the first option more. The thing about mass murder is that you can have a real hard time thinking up new ways to kill someone. Adaptability is a must though… Of course, I sometimes indulge with small villages. A little repetition isn't the end of the world, as long as things are in balance. This does not necessarily mean an equal distribution of methods, just… balance.

I'm sorry, am I ranting?

I think I am, at least. People usually have a hard time following my thoughts. Sometimes, I even do myself. Do you even understand what I'm talking about? Well, you are certainly in luck, as I'm in just the position where I can provide a perfect example…

I am, right at this very moment (in a relative sense, of course) entering a small village. It lies in a forest in Ohio, very far off from… well, anything. Like most places like this, it is basically a refugee camp. The population isn't very big and they've successfully managed to stay off the radar for any cullings and such. It's composed of a dozen or so little huts, mostly. It's by far not a pleasant place to live in, but it's better than most. It's not comfortable, but there's actually wildlife in the forest, as well as an unspoiled river – providing a steady supply of survival for the people here. It warms the heart.
It is, in fact, midday. The population naturally comes to greet the visitor – me. An very, very old man coming from nowhere makes everyone curious, but it's really standard procedure. Travelers equate a chance to trade, after all…

So, the folk get closer. Wary words of greeting are spoken. I smile. What happens next comes as as a surprise for everyone. One by one, the people closest to me start disappearing. One, two, three, four, five, six… To a casual observer, they just seem to blink out of existence. In fact, they fly apart in a flurry of atoms. Absolutely no trace remains that they were ever there. I think I can… actually see their souls flying off. I see something, at least. I think…

Contrary to popular belief, people are smart. They can understand what the problem here is: me. Ten seconds into my arrival, they are in a panic. They try to run, bless them, but things aren't that easy. I think ahead – there are invisible shields around the settlement. It's actually somewhat funny seeing the inhabitants bump into them. Funny, and a little eerie.

Very slowly, I raise my cane. Then I whirl around neatly, and swish it in mid-air horizontally. Very cool-looking. There happens to be a group of people before the path of the arc. Their heads fly off in string of soft 'pops', and they become fountains of blood, dancing around for a few moments before falling to the ground. One or two of them twitch a little, but my attention is elsewhere.
I lower my cane and raise my free hand. I snap my fingers, and the environment itself becomes a deadly weapon.

A dozen or so invisible blades beckon in the air, and I add a few traps to spice things up. The first one to go is a teenage boy who runs into an obstacle before him, resulting in his legs being ripped off at the knees. He smashes into the ground face-first and starts squirming and yelling in discomfort. I raise my cane again, to help me with control. I like to compare myself to a conductor, really… The way I direct my blades with the cane like a fine orchestra. It's really quite cool-looking. They slash around the air, impaling and maiming people. It seems random, but I know what I'm doing. Everything happens according to my design. There's a lot of blood…

After a few minutes, I make the constructs disappear and release something I like to call chain lightning. A bolt of electricity hits one of the stragglers, then jumps on to another one… and then another and another, leaving behind a series of charred corpses. Meanwhile, most people holed up in the huts have simultaneous fatal heart attacks. Now, by far most of the villagers are dead. All that remains is handiwork. The interesting elements are always revealed in the end.

For starters, there's only one person in this whole village who's actually resisting. He's woefully late, but it's the spirit that matters. He seems to be about thirty, but looks a bit older. A troublesome life has given him gray hair already, poor fellow… He's dressed in rags and fur like the others, and he's carrying a mean-looking shotgun. I suppose it's possible he's the leader here, or something… He actually gets off a shot. The pellets stop in mid-air and drop to the ground. Thereafter, his shotgun immediately falls apart. He does look deathly afraid, but doesn't give up. He releases a loud, almost feral battle cry and comes running at me. A flick of my wrist and the switchblade in my cane is released.

I'm not exactly the fastest anymore, but he's too mindless with rage to be a threat. I sidestep neatly and cut open his chest with a quick slash. He falls to his knees with a grunt. I approach gently and put the small blade through his chest. He falls and goes limp. I retract my blade. Heh, my joints actually ache from this display…

There's only one more visible villager left. He's a shrumpled old man with a bald head. He looks almost as ancient as I do. He looks at me wisely – with acceptance. I give him a friendly look and he collapses, cradling his chest and wheezing liberally… for a moment, anyway. I write him off my mental list of left-overs. Three survivors remain…

A family of three, more precisely, hiding in one of the huts. Craftily, I step towards it. The door of the hut rips itself away and is thrown clear, revealing the insides.
The first thing I see is a rather big man. He's probably seven feet tall, and looks extremely focused. He's got a blond, hilarious-looking mullet. Once I get into view, he jumps at me, with aggressive intentions. I apply a little force, pushing him to the ground and perhaps breaking a few bones. I hold him down. He twists his head to look me in the eyes. Oooh, intense.
“Have mercy,” he growls. I don't think he's talking about himself.
“Sorry, no,” I say with a pleasant voice. He just gurgles in reply, as some vital part of his brain collapses. I turn my attention to what he was protecting. They're huddling in the corner.

The woman is quite good-looking, I suppose, though a bit old for my tastes. And, hey, it's not like I have much interest in things like that anyway, hmm? She has red hair. Heh, what's up with me noticing peoples' hair today? I raise my hand and hold it up in a gun-shape.
“Hold still for a moment,” I say gently and point it at her, “This won't hurt nearly as much as you'd think, I promise.” I pause for a moment, and smile. “I think so, at least. It's not like I know, right?”
She breaks in half, literally. It seems to a happen in slow motion… A clear, vertical line appears on her face and chest – directly in the middle, I'm proud to say. Her expression goes blank and she breaks apart. The little girl she's cradling is covered in a flood of blood. It's gross.

She screams shrilly. She's old enough to understand, at least six years old. At first, she only looked afraid, but it's something different now. I wait patiently until she quiets down - it takes quite a while. She's breathing heavily and staring at me with bulging eyes. Her blond hair, probably inherited from her father, is colored dark red now, as mostly everything else from her… She's too paralyzed from shock to wipe herself off.

I kneel before her calmly, making sure I don't step in the blood.
“You get to live,” I explain quietly, “Do you understand?”
I really, really doubt she does. Oh, well…
“I know who's better of live rather than dead. You're such a good match… Can't you imagine how interesting it would be? My visage, etched into your memory forever, driving you on to survive in this wretched world… to track me down and kill me? Wouldn't it be glorious?” I sigh sadly “It's a pity I won't last that long. But good luck.”
I stand up again.
“There are two other survivors… Hunters, in the forest. They should find you…”
I don't think she's heard a single word I've said, she just keeps staring at me with an empty gaze. I sigh again. “Well… cheerio.” I walk out of the hut, and set out.

This… was a perfect example, wasn't it?

I hope it gave you a lesson. Killing is never easy. It takes a lot to do it right.

Re: The Book of New Mutants #7
Post by Risk on Feb 11, 2007, 5:17pm

Hm. The warning of violence was reasonably apt. Nice, well written, pleasant story.

Re: The Book of New Mutants #7
Post by Protoman on Feb 12, 2007, 11:31am

Loved it.

Re: The Book of New Mutants #7
Post by Alexander "Cadmus" Baptiste on Feb 12, 2007, 5:11pm

Quote:Nice, well written, pleasant story.

Nice and well written at least. >_> I enjoyed it. Definitely earned the violence warning… underscores the pleasantness that Almond has been presenting to the mansion inhabitants. A nice reminder that he's supposed to be a threat, I suppose.

Re: The Book of New Mutants #7
Post by Orchestra the Mighty on Feb 14, 2007, 12:03pm

Really enjoyed the story. Added a little more depth to Almond and defintely made him see, like said above, like a real threat.

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