Chronicled By: Ren
It had been three days. Petra had watched Ren through the security cameras for three days. The entire time he had sat in the chair she left him in. In the beginning he had been watching a video. Then about halfway through the first day he switched over to a single image and just stared at it. He stared at that image all day, everyday. Petra finally resigned that she needed to go talk to him.
Ren heard the lock slide into the door and open, but he didn’t move. He sat there, not knowing what to do. He had snapped, he had lost it for the first time in a very long time. The first time since the day she died. Ren remembered that day like it was yesterday. Alex walked in and told him, and he lost it. He took his blade and impaled the wall up to the hilt. He punched a table which split in half. He screamed at the top of his lungs and blasted metal music for days until he could do no more. Alex came in a week later and found him hunched over in a corner, tears sliding silently down his face, sword still in the wall.
“How’s it holding?” Petra asked gently
“I don’t know.” Ren whispered
“Are you ready to talk?” Petra asked
“Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore, except that I’m a very, very, bad person.” Petra looked in his eyes. They were still the same dark brown eyes, but they looked fractured, almost as if they were reflecting the brokenness inside.
“What happened?” Petra asked “After everything you’ve been through, everything I’ve seen you do, why was that the thing that made you snap?”
“I’ve seen too many people hurt at the Authority’s hands. Many of them were because of me. My entire life has been nothing but death. My mom died when I was little. Some sickness that couldn’t be cured. A few short years later I watched as my father was dragged off by the Authority for practicing organized religion. That left me and Alex. We were the only thing each other had, and for a while we lived on the streets. Our uncle found us and put me through Basic Infantry Training, from which I graduated at the top of my class. I was eleven and I was in a camp with grown men learning how to kill, and I was the best. I had to be the best, I had to make sure that no one could hurt Alex and I again. After that I was taken to my uncle’s household where my brother had been living while I was training. From the second I arrived, we were separated. I did nothing but train for two years, during which I only left the house once. When my training was complete I emerged from the house the most highly trained military operative in existence. I was trained to kill anything that moved too suddenly. The Authority decided that I needed to be reintroduced to society to slightly lessen the effect of the training after I nearly killed a guard after I convinced myself he was going to try to kill me. I was so paranoid. I was part of Operation Soulless, an experiment in which children were exposed to traumatic conditions then turned all of our fear, sadness, anger, and memories into a barely controllable rage that made us disregard self-preservation for the purpose of hurting people and making them pay for the pain of our pasts. We have no sense of fear, not then, and not now. I eventually made some friends, I had a girlfriend, I almost felt normal. I began coming out of my self-imposed mental and emotional exile. That was my mistake, my emotions were a dangerous thing. The Authority began to worry if it would affect my success rate on missions so they had my girlfriend arrested. A couple of months later we received news that she had died in prison. I lost it. I began to acknowledge that her God, my Father’s God, was very real. And he hated me. The feeling was mutual. He had taken everything from me. But I still had Alex, at least until he fell down the stairs mysteriously and died. That was it. I was a man with a cause and nothing to lose. I almost died several times but I refused to allow myself to die. Do you know what the difference is between me and you Haven Fighters?” Ren asked
“What?” Petra asked
“You have a group of men who are willing to die, because even if they die their cause continues. If I die, mine ends, no one is going to come and pick up where I left off. Making the Authority regret what they’ve done to me and my family. If I die, my cause is lost, all my work was for nothing. I kept up my training, my physique, my mental status, because I never had any intention of stopping my work. I was going to be the thorn in their side, their undoing. They had created their own enemy, and I would be their downfall. I would tear them down brick by brick until the only thing left was a pile of dust and a flag. The dust I’ll put in a phial, and the flag on my wall. The Nikitari call me Algorab. It means Raven in their language, in their belief, the raven is the herald of death, when the shadow of a raven passes over something, it is an omen of destruction to come. Because that’s what they see. They see death itself, they see someone who died a long time ago, and yet continued to live. That’s why I snapped, because I will let nothing hurt anyone I care about any longer. I failed to protect the people I loved a long time ago, but I refuse to fail again.” Ren’s voice was ragged “let me show you something”
Ren opened his laptop and clicked a file. A single photo appeared on the screen. Five people stood, arms around each other, smiling like they were the happiest people in the world. She immediately noticed Ren, his face was less scarred, his skin was more of a bronze color than a mud brown, and his hair was neither the standard military buzz cut or the long tangled mess it had been when he arrived. He stood in the center of the photograph, one arm around a girl in a brown dress, the other around a boy who could only be his brother. Alex was shorter with blonde hair, fair skin, green eyes, a single scar on his left cheek. The only similarity between he and his brother was their face. Their face was so similar they could have been twins. Next to Alex was a boy with mousy brown hair, blue eyes, lightly tanned skin, and khaki shorts. The fifth person was a girl Petra couldn’t place, she seemed strangely familiar, but Petra just couldn’t place her face. But Ren’s appearance was quite shocking. He wore running shoes instead of combat boots, his hair was shoulder length but combed neatly, his pants and shirt were white, the only black in his wardrobe was a black trench coat. Not a black trench coat, Petra realized, but the black trench coat. The one he had worn to the duel. The only mark that made him similar to the modern Ren was his knife, which was resting on his belt in its sheath.
“Who are they?” Petra asked
Ren indicated himself “Me, the blonde is my brother, The girl next to me is my girlfriend Sadi, the guy next to Alex is our best friend Pierce, and the girl is Ankaa.”
“Ankaa?” Petra inquired
“Yeah, you’d know her better as Fanghur. But her name is Ankaa, it means Phoenix. We were friends before she went soulless. Here english isn’t much better now than it was back then.” Ren chuckled
“Here” petra passed him a piece of paper
It was a hand written piece of paper with names and numbers on it.
“What’s this?” Ren asked quietly
“Verses from the bible that I copied out for you. I thought they might be helpful in your current situation. Give them a read.” Petra said helpfully
“Sure” Ren didn’t sound too sure, but Petra moved on.
“I’ve got to get back to work, but I’ll come by later, okay?” Petra asked
“I’ll be here” Ren said
Later that night after dinner Petra stopped by Ren’s quarters. She unlocked the door and received quite a shock:The lights were off. In the three days since Ren had been confined to his room he had left the lights on. Petra flipped the switch and what she saw was nearly unbearable. The bed had been pulled into the center of the room, away from the wall. The racks of swords, knives, phials, weapons, and various other items had been removed and tossed around the room carelessly. The wall that had been previously covered was now exposed. It was decorated with several drawings, obviously drawn by a skilled and practiced artist. A six foot tall crucifix dominated the wall. It was drawn using ashes and soot from the fireplace. Another drawing of waves crashing against a cliffside rose to the side. A third drawing of Sadi’s face about four feet tall was splashed across another section of the wall. It was hastily drawn, but absolutely beautiful. These three were drawn in ash, giving the pieces a slightly blurred quality. What concerned Petra the most was the last one. It was the image of the head of a cloaked figure, the face itself was invisible, two red eyes glowed beneath the hood, and beneath it, a smiling grin of fangs was visible. The drawing was sharp in detail, drawn in a red liquid that seemed to give off a sickly sweet smell. It was captioned, like the others, but instead of John 3:16 (the cross), or you’re mine (Sadi’s face), it was captioned Monster, The Darkness within. Ren was nowhere to be found. Petra pulled her radio from her belt.
“Petra to Mech, Marius, and ValJean, I’m in what’s left of Ren’s room, you guys are gonna want to see this in person.” her voice was shaky, she was extremely concerned about what the red liquid was. She turned to the table and gasped, sitting in front of the chair Ren had sat in mere hours ago was his laptop, open to reveal yet another image of Ren, this time with people Petra didn’t recognize. Next to the laptop sat a once beautiful karambit knife, its tip stained red.
“Woah” Petra heard a voice behind her
Daphne stood in the doorway, gaping at the sheer state of the room.
“What happened in here?” She asked
“I can only assume Ren happened.” Petra’s voice was higher than usual
“Where is he?” Daphne sounded close to tears
“I don’t know yet.” Petra responded
“Let me know when you find him, please” Daphne pleaded
Petra wasn’t sure what to say. She was spared trying to determine a response due to the timely arrival of Mech, Marius, and ValJean.
“Please” Daphne said as she backed out of the room “Find him”
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