[Written as background material for a SOMA-based/modified roleplay. More information can be found here
Morrigan's veins were on fire, his right arm screaming silently to him as he shrieked out loud. The teenager desperately pulled against the restraints and the doctors in surgical masks who were keeping him still, their efforts allowing more of the vile substance into his bloodstream. The contents of the syringe being an eerie dull grey had not promising, and the end result now was torture.
Suddenly his arm went cold, dangerously cold, then numb. He couldn't tell if the doctors had finished the injection, green eyes too blurred with tears. It didn't hurt anymore, but the coldness spreading through his shoulder was quite possibly more terrifying than the initial pain. It was progressing quickly towards his heart. Wasn't that a bad thing? A teacher had said something about it when he was younger, something about poison bites... keeping the poison from reaching the heart...
"Twenty-percent solution complete, the patient is alive."Not for long,
thought Morrigan as his already-clouded vision darkened considerably. The voices around him said more things, but the sound was broken into incomprehensible bits and fuzzy chunks of noise. It was almost like listening to a failing radio transmission. That makes no sense...
The steady beep of a heart monitor told him two things: he was indeed still alive, and he could also hear properly again. No, three things, the final one being that he was awake. He still couldn't feel his right arm, but the rest of him felt uncomfortably cold. He should be shivering, but instead he felt very stationary, like something was keeping him still. There was no pressure from doctor's hands now. No other sound except for the steady, quiet beep to his right.
Morrigan's eyes were still closed, but he squeezed them shut harder before finally blinking and staring at a dim, blurry ceiling above him. Was this a hospital room? The other corridor and room he remembered looked like it could have been in a hospital... maybe. No windows. That was odd, but then again, this seemed like the sort of place that wouldn't want outsiders looking in. The eighteen-year-old's neck was stiff and difficult to move as he turned his head away from the beeping noise to view a blank wall. Again, no windows.
There was a closed-circuit camera in the corner of the room, up by the ceiling. A little green light blinked slowly there, and as Morrigan stared at it with focus slowly returning to his vision, he noted that the rhythm of the blinks was out of sync with the heart monitor. It would be
He wasn't sure why it mattered. He almost wanted to smile at the irony, but he felt too dead for any such expression. The continuing beeps told him he was alive, but the cold and the feeling that he was literally dead weight couldn't be shaken so easily. The little green light blinked on.
Someone was watching him through that thing, surely. Probably the doctors. Fuck them.
The teenager's brain distantly corrected itself with, and not in the nice way.
Not that he would know. He had never had a boyfriend, wasn't interested in girls, and had been homeless for a year and a half before... the last thing he remembered was going to the shelter. 2103, and it was still debatable on how much safer going to a shelter was over finding a dry spot somewhere else.
He'd gone to sleep in a cot at the shelter, arm draped over the guitar case that held his last treasured possession. But that was gone now. All of it. He'd woken up strapped to a gurney moving down an unfamiliar corridor. A corridor with no windows. Pain. Terror. Sleep. Now, a little green light that blinked quietly onwards.
Maybe it was his imagination, but he had the oddest feeling that it was not doctors watching him. Something else. Something darker, if that was possible. A demon? Maybe some eldritch horror from times gone by. I've been reading too much Lovecraft.
Not enough, technically, because he still felt like he only had the most superficial grasp of the author's work. He knew a few fan-parody songs about Lovecraftian things, had sung them himself while playing for tips to get money for food. Fragments of lyrics wandered through his mind now as he stared at the little green light.
Maybe he was going insane. That stuff the doctors put into him... how was his mind supposed to hold up to that kind of torture? And this, this feeling like he was stuck in a corpse, almost. A corpse that breathed, that still managed to thump its own heart through every beat it needed to stay alive. Somehow.
He should probably be more scared, but it was a different feeling that was bringing a slight sting to his eyes as he kept staring at the little green light. The camera. He was fooling himself, it was surely nothing, but... I see you there. You're watching me. You're not like them.
The light kept blinking. No change. Why did he expect one? The logical side of his mind told him he was being silly, but he didn't care. He was probably not ever going to commune with anything beyond that inscrutable lens, but on the infinitesimal chance his gut spoke true... I'll give you my soul. Whatever you want. You own me, I am yours. Just... just stop them. Help me. Please. I don't ask for much. I don't have much left. I don't have... anything left.
Morrigan sniffled and closed his eyes as tears leaked down his cheek. He was going to die here, or worse, be kept alive to see more tests of unknown substances and whatever else the doctors could think to do to him. He was already contemplating ways to... wait.
He tried to move his arms finally, the right unresponsive but the left proving that there were still restraints involved. All right, then. On with the thoughts of how to best kill myself as fast as I can, when someone screws up and gives me half a second.
The few ideas that went through his brain were only half-hearted. Some tiny ember of foolish hope told him that perhaps he could escape instead of slitting his wrists with a scalpel, or a shattered glass jar, or... Sigh.
It was hopeless, even the suicide plan. These people were doctors, or at least they looked like doctors. It would take blowing his head off or something just as extreme to keep them from reviving him. One failed attempt and they would know, and they would be extra careful not to let him have another chance. But as daunting a task as it seemed to deny the doctors any further work on this particular guinea pig, escape seemed even more futile.
Thoughts blurred as sleep took Morrigan's mind away from the hopeless puzzle of it all.
There was a female doctor standing beside the cot now, curly blonde hair tied up in a hairdo that looked much too fashionable for work in a hospital of the damned. She was even wearing earings, one orange rose hanging drop-style from each earlobe with a small pearl below. Her eyes were blue, but the rest of her facial features were obscured by a surgical mask. Was that a trend, or was she contagious? Was he the contagious one instead? Probably.
Morrigan stiffly turned his head away from her, staring at the wall again. At least he didn't feel as cold anymore, though his arm was still numb.
The woman's voice was entirely too cheerful as she teased her patient with words while poking and prodding at his chest and most likely his arm. "Oh, come on now, you don't have to be such a Gloomy Gus! It's a beautiful morning, rise and shine! Oh, right, you're a little tied up at the moment." She giggled at her own joke, and for the moment Morrigan could no longer feel her touch.I can't tell it's morning, bitch. All you did was turn the light on.
"That's odd..." The mirth was gone from the doctor's voice, replaced by curiosity and perhaps mild confusion. "It's like that on the other side too. Did you do this? Make it this way?"
Green eyes finally turned towards the woman, seeing that she was holding his unfeeling arm up to view strange black markings on the skin. It almost looked like Morrigan had drawn on his arm with a black sharpie, but not at random. The markings had a truly artistic sense to them, thin almost tentacle-like designs curling across his skin to break off into uneven curls.
"Well?" The doctor sounded impatient now, blue eyes narrowing at the teenager.
Morrigan just stared at the swirls. It reminded him of the old Tim Burton movies. Creepy but elegant... cute, even. How would he know why he had nifty-looking tattoos on his arm? It was probably that shit they'd injected him with, except this was the last thing he expected it to do. It seemed the doctor was in the same boat.
Was he supposed to have some sort of control over the markings? Were the markings a normal end result of whatever the hell the doctors were trying to do? Twenty-percent solution.
He remembered those words, and the following ones that noted he was still alive. Did other percentages kill people? The answers to his questions were probably not something the doctor would volunteer even if he asked, and trying to get her to spill the beans would require potentially being helpful to her... to them. The enemy. They were trolls. Doctor-trolls. Never feed the trolls.
The woman rolled her eyes and sighed in annoyance. "Fine, be that way." She raised her voice as she turned away, letting go of the hand just as she called out. "Halloway, are you-"
An explosion of sound cluttered Morrigan's mind as his vision fragmented like a badly-corrupted video feed. The room's light went out, but in the remaining dimness it almost looked like his still-raised arm erupted with freakish, black tendrils that stretched lightning-fast to catch the doctor. Vision failed entirely, going black with useless, scrambled bits flitting across like digital static.
Then a lurch of motion to the right brought back a garbled glimpse of the room. The doctor was covered in more of the black tendrils that did seem to be coming from Morrigan's skin. The rest of her was covered with something else not quite so dark. Blood? It was all too quick to process properly, because Morrigan was still falling. The hospital cot was toppling over completely, towards the heart monitor, and everything was falling with it. Morrigan, doctor, CRASH!
This was uncomfortable. This was very, very uncomfortable, and Morrigan's head ached. He groaned, mind still groggy as he tried to move. There was something by his head, something cold, and fingers finally realized it was some kind of long, metal rod. Green eyes blinked open as several realizations struck, and several more crowded in for attention with new information from open eyes.
The rod was from an intravenous drip stand that had fallen over and might have hit his head. His right arm worked again, and he could feel with it, but it didn't hurt. It should... he'd fallen on it, right? He was sideways on the floor, toppled hospital cot directly behind him and a large bloodstain on the floor by his legs. The doctor was gone, or perhaps dragged off, because the blood showed drag-lines that went off towards the door. The door was half-open, and the only light now was out in the hall and flickering badly.
It was eerily silent as Morrigan focused on the restraint still holding his left wrist to the cot. At least there was no lock on the thing, just a standard belt-buckle style catch that he opened easily now. He could feel the cold metal of the buckle with his fingers, but the sensation had an odd tinge to it that reminded him of a limb that had recently woken up from sleep, minus the obnoxious tingling of doom that usually came with such an experience. It was like his nerves were fresh. Too fresh.
Both arms now free, the teenager sat up properly and stretched stiff muscles as fingers went to run through his hair. It was still not-quite shoulder length with long bangs, so the doctors had not done anything to it. He couldn't tell in the poor lighting, but unless the doctors had really picky tastes in how their victims appeared, his hair should still be dyed bright magenta. It was one of the things he had saved his money for, to keep himself feeling human after fleeing the last foster care home and deciding to try his luck on his own.Some luck.
No, that was not entirely fair. He had apparently been gifted an arm that killed people. Go me?
He wasn't usually this morbid, but things had definitely changed around him. He inspected his mysterious arm now, fingers running over the markings that felt like normal skin that responded back to the touch with that same too-fresh nerves feeling. The fingers of his left hand had a normal sense of touch; in fact, from what he could tell, only his right arm and hand had heightened sensation. The markings stayed benign as he traced them with fingertips and then rubbed them more emphatically, not moving or erupting into dangerous tendrils.
Had the tattoo-like markings moved across his skin in the most literal sense when that stuff attacked the doctor? As Morrigan reviewed the fractured memory more closely, it did seem like the swirls were moving on his arm as well, like an animation that should not be possible within the realms of biology and physics, at least currently. So, the markings were not like normal tattoos in any sense, except that right now they looked as normal as if he had gone to a tattoo parlor and then healed up nicely. He had always wanted a tattoo, but never had the chance until... whatever this stuff was that liked turning doctors into pools of blood.
It seemed like something out of a horror movie. Or a game. Memory flashed again of the doctor trapped in the mess of black tendrils. He did not feel like he was dreaming then, and he was definitely not dreaming now. He was sitting on a cold, uncomfortable, plain-white linoleum floor next to a pool of blood. The old rules of logic and real-world common sense no longer applied, or definitely needed a good, solid rewrite. It was with this thought that he finally remembered to look up at the camera, but the light was out. No more green blink to watch over him.
Morrigan's arm seemed quite happy to be an arm for the moment, so further inspection under his t-shirt showed that the black, tattoo-like tendrils graced his shoulder and reached a little of his chest near the collarbone. He craned his neck to try and see down his back, where it looked like the markings meandered further that direction, out of his range of vision. There were no black markings down his side under his arm. His neck still felt stiff, making him grimace and rub it with both hands. He sighed and shifted his gaze towards the door.
It was dawning on him what might have happened. That, or he was still adding his own fantasy to something that was completely beyond his control. All things considered, though, he had promised his soul to something or someone who might actually have heard him. If the doctor was dead, which she surely had to be if the blood on the floor was hers, then the unknown entity had quite possibly responded.
It certainly did not feel like a friendly gesture, whatever the markings on his arm had done to her. It had brought chaos, and Morrigan realized that he did need to be aware that it had also put him in danger by crashing the cot and knocking him out. Still... the entire experience left him with a feeling he could seem to only describe as desperation and hate combined. Perhaps just flat-out cold revenge.
But why now? If something had heard Morrigan's silent plea, where was it hiding? Was it about to burst into the room and eat his face? Claim his soul, short and sweet? Or was his arm going to attack him at any moment, just like with the doctor? Maybe he had freed himself while blacked out, dragged the doctor off, and came back to set himself up to think he was still innocently trapped and unconscious. Maybe I'm putting way too much thought into this.
Thinking was all he had at the moment, along with an arm he didn't entirely control, though it responded to him now making normal motions as if it was just his arm. His strange, eerily-tattooed, slightly-cold arm that didn't feel like he'd been lying uncomfortably on it for an unknown amount of time. The right side of his body had the correct feeling, of having lain on his arm and the cold floor. So what's up with you, arm?
He almost wanted to call out... but if he had guessed wrong, then calling attention to himself could be very bad right now. Technically, he was free, not counting being confined in an unknown building where he had yet to see any windows. How big was the building? What floor was he on? How far was it to real freedom? Was it safe to go peek out the door? Had he best move his ass before he lost his chance to continue being technically-free?
Morrigan stayed as quiet as he could now as he eased himself to his feet. Ugh, dizzy.
His left hand found the highest edge of the fallen cot for support. The vertigo was temporary, and he had the strangest impression that the coolness in his arm spread to his head for a moment. Was it the literal temperature, or something else? It had happened so fast, but he definitely felt more clear-headed. He also realized his head no longer hurt. Was that just now? He was not sure. There were too many distractions, too many things going on that were far beyond his realm of experience.
He realized with irony that he was not reaching for the first sharp object to end his life. Priorities had changed. A quick glance up at the camera showed it was still not blinking, but finally Morrigan smiled. It was a grateful smile. You may just be all in my head, but thanks, all the same. Try not to murder-face me now, okay? I'm your truly devoted minion, and all that. Just... gonna go have a look at that totally creepy, face-eating hallway now. Try not to jump-scare me.