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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/998329-Chapter-Two
Rated: XGC · Book · Action/Adventure · #2237710
Following the events of The Tower, the lives of our heroes take a turn for the dark...
#998329 added November 14, 2020 at 3:24am
Restrictions: None
Chapter Two
Beth stared at the hood before her and took a deep breath before picking it up. She set it upon her bed and set about searching for some more fitting attire. She opened her closet and stared at her former costume for a minute before ripping it from its hanger; she was through with being Catgirl, that persona had brought nothing but pain for her. She dug about her closet and came across an old and heavy jacket she'd bought last year. The coat was black and held a good deal of weight; the color matched the feelings of numbness and bitterness that resided inside of her. She set it next to the hood and pulled out a pair of combat boots she had stored away.

She found a pair of black loose fitting pants that complimented her new look. She dawned her new garments with the sole intention of going out tonight and showing the world the pain she felt. After pulling the pants up and tucking them into her boots she realized she was missing a shirt. She dug out a simple white tank top that she threw on before putting the heavy coat on over it. Now she needed weapons, something to inflict the pain and fear she'd felt while watching that bitch murder her friend. The thought caused a surge of anger to shoot through her and she rammed her fist into the drywall of her room. It shattered through the wall and she pulled her fist back with a shaky breath.

She dug through her closet searching for an old box of evidence she and Jake had held on to. She found the box and blew the dust off of it, and regarded the bird symbol resting atop it. A single tear fell down her cheek as she ran a hand across the symbol of her former friend. She closed her eyes and reminded herself that she had pulled this out for a reason; she opened the box and pulled out two large caliber handguns. The guns were missing serial numbers, and were formerly the possessions of the Fifth Street Filth Gang; they were one of their few items that didn't revolve around stench and filth. A set of matching holsters rested beside them, which she snatched up and set about fastening. One rested on her right thigh while the other came to rest under her left arm.

She removed the utility belt from her old costume and fastened it to her waist. Catgirl may be dead, but some of the gadgets would still prove useful. She had managed to grab a few other toys from Jake's lair and set about placing them in some vacant pouches on her belt. Lastly, she went and retrieved a few knives from her personal collection. Before becoming a hero, Beth had a strange fascination with the sharp objects. She had kept several different types from throwing knives to a few bowie knives all of which were sharpened regularly. The habit served as a meditative act for her, but never in a million years did she think she would be using these weapons on people.

Her new look complete she picked up the hood and slid it over her head. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and stopped to look at the person she had become, no the person that she had been forced to be. Before her stood a rather intimidating stranger with no distinguishing features say for the strange hood. Her own features were hidden well, and when she threw the hood of her coat up it became something of a spectre staring back at her. She nodded once at herself before making for her bedroom window.

She climbed out into the darkness and onto the fire scape that rested outside. She hurried up the stairs and up to the roof. She came to a stop once there and looked about her city. She once viewed it as a place of hope, but now all she could see was filth and darkness that needed to be cleansed. She would make sure that by the end of the night people would think twice before committing crimes. She took off in a sprint and began to work up a quick sweat in her heavy attire before bounding from the rooftop and onto the neighboring one.

She ran about the rooftops for a short time before coming to a stop when a scream caught her attention. She walked to the edge and peered down into the darkness of an alleyway. The hood switched to night vision of its own accord and she watched as a woman backed away from a group of men. It looked like they had cut her off in a black sedan and she was trapped. Her blood began to boil as she prepared for her next move.

One of the men inched closer to the terrified woman and she tripped out of fear. His menacing words rang out in her ears as he crept closer, "Already down on all fours, just the way I like it. Keep still and be a good girl, and maybe we'll go easy on you."

One of the men stopped his approach and called out to the one in front, "Hey! You hear something?"

Before the man could answer Beth dropped onto the roof of the car in a crouch. One of the men stared at her and began to ask, "What the fuck are you supp-"

That was all he could get out as Beth quickly unholstered her gun and fired a shot into his chest. The man's body fell back as he groaned. The others looked to each other before pulling their own guns and taking shots at Beth. She wasted no time and before the first shot was fired she was in the air in a front flip. On her descent she fired two shots into another man, and as she landed she grabbed hold of him and used him as a shield. The man found himself full of bullets before he knew what was happening, and Beth threw his bloody and lifeless body into his comrades.

There was one man behind her and he charged her, but she heard him coming. She ducked under his attack and side stepped as she rose. She threw a powerful punch into his back and then took hold of the back of his head. She quickly hurled him into the window of the car with enough force to shatter it. Shards of glass littered his face and blood ran down the door to the car.

She looked to the terrified faces of the other two men who looked ready to run, but she wasn't in the mood for survivors. She fired a shot into one man's head and another into the knee of the other. She turned back to the now horrified woman and gave a single command, "Run."

Her voice came out distorted and it gave her new look an even more intimidating feel. The woman blinked for a moment, but quickly took off in a blind sprint. Beth slowly approached the wounded man who tried desperately to crawl away. He looked up at her with terror in his eyes. Behind her hood a sadistic smile crept across her face as she bent down near him. The man panicked and tried to frantically crawl away, but Beth produced a small knife and jammed it into his wounded knee. The man screamed in pain and looked up at her as he said, "If you're gonna kill me, just fucking kill me!"

Beth cocked her head and twisted the knife in his leg eliciting another howl of pain from him. "You think you'll get off as lucky as your friends?" she asked as she continued to slowly twist the knife, "No, you die when I say you die, and not a second sooner."

The man began to cry as he looked up at her and pleaded, "Please, just...just show some mercy."

Beth winced as his words caused the memory of Jake to echo through her mind. She ripped the knife from his leg and placed the edge under his chin to force him to look up at her. She spoke without remorse and with nothing but hate as she said, "Tell me, if our positions were reversed, would you show me mercy? How many women begged you for mercy, begged you to stop?! How many lives have you ruined?! No, there will be no mercy here only suffering, and when I finally decide to end your worthless life...you can tell the devil there's more to come. I'll send you and all of your kind to hell, and when I die I'll find you all over again. There is no salvation for the likes of you, only suffering. Now, let's begin."

Beth removed her knife from the man's leg who let loose another scream in response. She slowly trailed the knife along his jaw as she contemplated how best to make this man suffer. The image of Jake laying on the floor with countless cuts welled up in her mind, and she violently slashed with her knife. The blade sliced at his cheek and he winced in response. That settled it then, how many cuts could this man withstand? She began slowly cutting him again and again as he began to cry and sob beneath her.

Beth was so caught up in her work that she failed to notice an onlooker not far off. A short and slender young woman sat perched on a nearby fire-escape watching her work. A smirk crept across her face as she watched this new girl wield her knife with such sadism that even she had to admire. This night had just taken an interesting turn.

Jake woke up in a cold sweat panting. Panic and fear filled his mind as he looked around. The first thing he noticed was that he wasn't on the cold stone floor of the dungeon, but rather a familiar soft surface. The stench that hit him confirmed where he was, he was in Goth’s personal chambers. He looked around and scrambled when his eyes landed on his Goddess. Terror didn't even begin to describe the sight of the merciless woman before him, and he wasn't sure if she was through with him or not.

Goth felt the terror that radiated off of her lover, and had to suppress the smile she felt as she savored the taste. She did so love it when he felt fear; intoxicating wasn't an adequate way to describe it. She centered herself and focused on the task at hand; ensuring her Raven's loyalty. She raised a hand and offered a concerned look as she said, "Relax, my love, it is only me and you have nothing to fear."

Jake wasn't completely sold on that sentiment, but tried to do as he was told. He opened his mouth to speak, but found it not only difficult but painful, "Goth?" he asked hoarsely.

She crossed over to him and sat down beside him. He shook out of fear as he looked up into her vibrant eyes, but was surprised compassion in her gaze. She gave her lap a pat and issued an unspoken command for him to lay his head down. He did just so, and was thankful for the time he'd had to get used to her rank B.O. He felt her strong hand begin to caress his head and slowly relaxed as she spoke, "It does pain me so to have to inflict such torments on you, my love, but you must learn your place. Such is the cost of being a Goddess among men that at times I have to dole out punishments even to those that I cherish, but I am not without mercy. You'll notice that your wounds have been mostly healed, and you'll notice I say mostly. As much as I hate to, I cannot leave you without a reminder of the cost of disobedience."

She continued to stroke his hair and he shifted a bit. Sure enough, his movements sent a wave of fresh pain shooting down his back. Painful as it was, the pain was far less than it had previously been. He tried once again to speak, "Forgive…" was all his sore throat could choke out.

She shushed him and continued, "Shhh don't try to speak, my love, for all of my magic I couldn't restore that sweet voice. Do not worry, I am a benevolent Goddess ripe with forgiveness and compassion for those that I care for, and I do not harbor any malice towards you. It isn't your fault that, that little welch still tries to fill your head with nonsense. Have no fear, my beloved, I will always be here for you, and always remember I am the way, the truth, and your hope for salvation in this twisted world. Rest now, my Raven, regain your strength and I will return for you after I attend to some matters of my court. Never forget that no matter the punishment I inflict, I do it out of love and to guide your wayward spirit."

She stayed there for a moment longer before gently rising and setting his head down upon a pillow. Jake watched her carefully and let her words sink in. He felt his terror begin to subside, and become replaced by a feeling of safety. The back of his mind continued to scream at him that this was wrong, but he pushed the thoughts aside as he drifted off into a dreamers slumber. His last thoughts were of himself resting at his Goddess's feet.

Goth watched her lover drift off before exiting her room. Aurora stood outside with Dilatrix close by. Dilatrix stood leaned against a wall with an open tome seemingly uninterested. Aurora spoke first as Goth gently closed the door, "Is it done?"

Goth nodded to her friend as she replied, "Yes, I made sure to remind him of his place and that there is no where safer than at my feet."

Aurora scoffed and said, "I still say you should have let me have a turn with him. I would have really reminded him how good he has it with you. The pathetic little worm needs to understand how lucky he is."

Goth cast a stern glare at her friend and her eyes began to glow as she said, "Hold your tongue. You may be my friend, but I will not have you harming my beloved. It is true that he had a lapse in judgement, but that shouldn't be a problem anymore. Even if he still holds onto his little friendship, Elizabeth shouldn't be a problem anymore."

Dilatrix closed her book and regarded Goth carefully as she spoke up, "You shouldn't have sent her that recording."

Goth looked to her curiously, "You would question your Goddess?"

Dilatrix shook her head as she replied, "I merely seek to offer council, my Goddess. By sending her that, you may have unleashed something dark within the girl. There is a fine line between hatred and sanity, and you may have pushed her over the edge."

Goth considered her words for a moment before saying, "What's done cannot be undone, and if she makes the mistake of approaching my Raven again I will handle her myself if necessary."

Dilatrix nodded and began to walk off, "Your will be done, my Goddess."

Goth and Aurora watched the witch exit their company. Aurora couldn't stand her, but her powers were almost more terrifying that her friend's. If it weren't for her usefulness, she would have tried to convince Goth to remove her from her court. She decided to ignore the witch and instead address her friend, "I believe Pamela and Nastia had an update on Metropolis for you."

Goth nodded and began to make her way down the stairs to her chapel, "Let's not keep them waiting," she said.

Beth had finished off the filth that with a final slash to the throat. The man had long given up on begging and sobbed instead until the final blow. She panted as she looked down at her handiwork. Before her lay a man who was near unrecognizable due to the copious cuts that lined his bloody form. She hadn't counted her slashes, but from looking at him she guessed around a thousand or so. Some part of her took satisfaction in the work before her, but she reminded herself that this was only the beginning.

The sound of soft footfalls caught her attention, and even through her respirator she caught a familiar stench. Without looking she unholstered her pistol and aimed it at the approaching female. "If you have any sense left in that thick skull of yours, you'll walk away," she said, "Tonight is not a night to test me."

A short and lithe woman with shoulder length brown locks slowly walked up. She wore a sadistic smile and gave an approving whistle before speaking, "You can relax, I'm simply here to admire your work and ask a few questions. Tell me, what drives a hero down such a merciless path, Beth?"

Beth turned to face her old adversary and glared behind her hood. Footgirl stood still and with her hands up, but sported an impressed smile. She didn't lower her gun, and instead turned herself towards her enemy. "How did you know?" she asked while keeping her gun trained on her head.

Footgirl grinned and said, "You can change your look, you can change your tactics, but I'd know those moves anywhere. Are you going to answer me or shoot me?"

"I haven't made up my mind yet," Beth said, "If you take another step, you'll make it up for me."

Footgirl laughed loud and hard at her words. She slowly inched forward while saying, "What makes you think I'm afraid of death? I'm hunted in my own city by a woman deeming herself a God. If they find me then I suffer a fate worse than death, so if you're going to kill me go ahead. You'd only be showing me mercy, and if what you said is true that's no longer your angle."

Footgirl stopped in front of the barrel of Beth's pistol. The cold metal pressed to her forehead, and her smile never faltered. Beth debated on simply pulling the trigger, but something about this wasn't right. The girl was never stable, but something about her demeanor was somehow unnerving. She'd faced her countless times with Jake, but she'd never appeared this calm and grounded.

She finally relented and lowered her pistol before asking, "What do you want Alex?"

Alexis Hamilton, or Footgirl as she was commonly known, walked past Beth and knelt beside the bloody corpse. She ran a finger along one of his many cuts and said, "As I said, I simply came to admire your work. This is a level of sadism that even impresses me, but why the sudden change of heart?"

Beth sighed as she debated on telling her. She wasn't sure if it was wise to open up to a psycho like her, but in truth she didn't have anyone anymore. She decided to open up, after all worst case she could put a bullet in her and be done with it. "Jake's dead," she finally said, "Killed by the so called Goddess who he pledged his life to."

Beth expected Alex to lash out or cry, but what she got instead put her more on edge. Alex looked up at the night sky for a moment before turning her attention back to the mangled body and simply saying, "Oh."

Beth cocked her head and asked, "That's all you have to say?! The boy you spent years chasing and obsessing over is dead, and all you can say is 'oh'?!"

Alex shrugged and began rooting around the man's coat. She produced a battered pack of cigarettes and pulled one out along with a lighter. She put it to her lips, lit it, and took a drag before saying, "I'd heard that he gave in to her, and that he had given up his mantle. I can't say I'm surprised that she killed him once she got bored, but that doesn't explain why you're out here on a killing spree."

Beth shut her eyes and against her better judgement removed her hood. The familiar stench of unwashed feet hit her, but she pushed the nausea aside. She swallowed and fought back tears as she spoke, "He's dead because of me. All because I wanted to make sure he was okay, and because he chose to let me go. Goth killed him and sent me the recording to send me a message."

She half expected Alex to launch herself at her, but was surprised to find her offering her a cigarette. She took it and the offered light before taking a drag. The smoke settled in her lungs and she bit back a cough as Alex spoke, "That's cold even for someone like me. So, you're out here taking the lives of criminals as a way to atone for his death? Seems like a shit plan if you ask me."

Beth exhaled as she replied, "Then it's a good thing I didn't ask you, and that's not what I'm doing. I'm giving back the pain that people like you and people like her have given to countless innocents, and before I'm done I'll see that bitch dead."

Alex laughed out loud at that, and Beth scowled at her. "And people say I'm crazy," she said, "You're going to kill the Goth Goddess, the immortal sorceress with an army of mindless drones? You're not going to get far with those little toys, they might work on someone like me but not her."

Beth glared at her and asked, "Then what do you propose?"

Alexis grinned as she replied, "I may have something that can help, but first you need to prove to me that you're capable of doing this. Killing random thugs and drunks is one thing, but handling more organized groups is another entirely. Head to West End and pay a visit to the clock tower; make sure to get some information before killing everyone. When you finish, come to this address. I'll be waiting."

She handed her a slip of crinkled paper before finishing her cigarette and squashing the butt. Beth looked at the crudely written note; it was sloppy for someone that was supposed to be a genius. She looked up Alexis and asked, "What's happening at the clock tower?"

Her grin widened as she turned and began walking off and called back, "Think of it as a gift. Try not to get killed."

Beth scowled as her former enemy disappeared from the alleyway. She debated on trusting her, but eventually decided it couldn't hurt. If it was a trap then anyone involved including Alexis would regret it. Her mind made up, she pulled her old grappling gun out and fired it before ascending into the night sky.

It took her some time to reach West End, but she could see the clock tower in the distance. It was one of the oldest structures in the city, and a former favorite spot for her and Jake to observe their home. She shut her eyes as the fond memory rolled through her mind before the image of her broken friend laying lifeless returned. She clenched her fists and swallowed the pain that threatened to well up and spill out. She needed to focus and stay busy to avoid the thoughts, she still had a job to do. She could relive the memories another time.

She made her way to the tower, and silently entered it. She could hear voices from within, and she furrowed her brow. This place was usually abandoned, so why were there people here? Figuring it best to find out why and assuming they weren't friendly, she pulled one of her pistols and began her ascent. She cleared a flight of stairs and a pair of men in suits stopped her. "Private party freak," one of the men said, "Get lost or you'll regret it."

Beth rolled her eyes beneath the hood and aimed her pistol at the man's stomach before pulling the trigger. The gunshot echoed throughout the decrypt tower along with the man's cries of pain. The second man, who looked to be fairly young, paled and backed up with his hands raised. She turned her attention to him and aimed at his head before saying, "Turn and run or stay and die, the choice is yours."

The man didn't hesitate and took off down the steps. He was gone before she knew it, and she resumed her walk. Something was going on here, and she was going to get to bottom of it. She let her boots fall hard on the wooden steps as she neared the top. A man peered over an upper railing and called out in an attempt to warn others. She kept her pistol handy, but pulled out her grappling gun. She aimed for the banister and fired it; she soared through the air, and when she pulled herself up bashed the man's skull with the butt of her gun. He hit the floor with a thud. She decided to save her bullets for the rest of the party.

A set of double doors barred her way in, but she was through waiting and through sneaking. She slammed her foot into the doors and they burst open. Several eyes turned to her and men and women alike drew weapons. She looked around and saw piles of cash along with multitudes of drugs spread about the large room. She snarled as she drew her second pistol and opened fire. Her aim was true and her fingers were fast as bullets broke the silence and cut down several individuals. The survivors opened fire, and she sprang into evasive action.

Her movements were fast and fluid as she darted about the room. Bullets whizzed past her as she snaked her way about the room. She was outnumbered and outgunned, but she didn't care. She dove beneath a large table and crawled a short distance before flipping the table and spilling money and drugs. The motion caught several off guard as she rose and emptied what remained of her clips into another group of criminals. Hearing the dull click she holstered one and produced a handful of knives. She clutched them between her fingers as she resumed her wild motions. One of the men called out, "I can't get a beat on 'em! Fucker is moving like a god damn wild animal!"

That was the last sound he made as a knife found its way into his throat. Blood pooled up in his mouth and a sickening gargle could be heard before he fell back. That did it, what remained of the criminals began to panic and make for an escape. She spotted one man, finely dressed and clearly a ring leader, and she launched her remaining knives into his leg. He fell to the ground and cried out in pain. She didn't bother with the others, figuring they could spread the message that this city wasn't to be fucked with.

The man scrambled as the sound of her heavy boots drew closer and closer to him. He thrashed about as her hand clasped onto his arm and she began dragging him. He fought back, so she dropped him and reloaded her gun. She aimed it at his head and he shut his eyes waiting for the inevitable, but it never came. Instead a deafening shot rang out in his ear as she fired beside his ear. "Stop struggling or you'll be begging me for death," she threatened, "We're going to take a little walk, and you're going to give me some answers."

The man's face was coated in terror, but he did as he was told. She roughly grabbed him and began dragging him again. She drug him up another flight of stairs that led to the roof making sure to take her time. She'd been stabbed before and knew the pain that was shooting through his legs, and part of her relished it. She told herself that it was because he was a criminal, but deep down she wasn't sure that was it.

They reached the roof and she threw him down, hard. He rolled and cried out as his leg injury was exasperated. He looked up at her and began backing away saying, "Stay back!"

She paid him no heed as she closed the gap and lifted him up by his collar. She pulled a knife out and held it to his throat, "Who do you work for?" she demanded.

"I work for myself you fucking psycho!" he cried out.

"Bullshit," she said and pressed the knife to his throat, "There was too much money and contraband for this to be some small time operation, but please keep lying to me."

She threw him back down and launched the knife into his shoulder earning another cry from him. She walked forward and took hold of the handle before yanking it upwards and cutting his flesh. He howled in pain and looked up at her. "Who, what are you?"

She knelt down and slowly drove the blade into his hand as she said, "I am what this city made me. I am the screams of the innocents that your kind has murdered, I am the answer to a million prayers of hate and vengeance, I am the end of the road for all your sins. Above all else, I am your death. Whether it is quick or painful is up to you. Answer me!"

The man began to cry out of fear and pain as reality began to hit him. This psycho would be his end, but he couldn't give him his Goddess. If she found out he talked then she would make him suffer. Rumor was that she had someone who could bring back the dead, and he didn't want to test that with her in a mood. He sobbed and looked down as he said, "I can't."

Beth stood up and decided on a new tactic. She pulled out a long spare cord for her grappling gun and tied it around him. She stood him up and forced him to the edge. She held him over and asked, "Is that your final answer?"

He looked down and asked, "W-what are you doing?!"

"Getting answers," she said before pushing him over the edge.

He screamed as he fell, and nearly pissed himself as he watched the ground grow closer and closer. A sudden snap and sharp pain caused him to cease his cries. He dangled there for a moment before feeling himself getting dragged back up. He came face with the hooded terror and sobbed in front of it. "Want to go for another ride?" it asked, "I can do this all night, I've got nothing but time."

"Alright, alright!" he screamed, "I serve the Goddess!'

Beth felt her eye twitch at his words. This was why Alexis sent her here. She knew Goth was working her slimy fingers around her city. Beth felt a new surge of anger rush through her as she pulled her pistol and trained it on his head. Goth had not only killed her friend, but she had never kept her word. An operation like this couldn't have sprung up over night. She'd been working on this for some time, and even though Jake had given himself to her and served her she still went back on her word. She was going to kill that bitch, but now she was going to make her suffer.

The man spoke up, "Go ahead and kill me, I'm already dead once she finds out I cracked."

Beth debated on it, but a cruel smile spread across her lips as she holstered her pistol. She walked off and tied the cable around a nearby post before turning back and speaking, "No, death is a mercy you don't deserve. You serve a false God and you should be punished by your Goddess."

The man looked at her in terror in outrage as he pleaded, "No please! I didn't have a choice, she enslaved half of my people! Please you don't know what she's capable of, what she does to people who disobey."

Oh she knew all to well what fate awaited him, but she didn't care. She hauled him to his feet and walked him to the edge as she said, "Men like you always have a choice. You chose a life of crime and instead of giving up, you chose to serve that sadistic cunt. You deserve whatever fate she sees fit to give you. You tell her that I'm coming for her, but not before you meet your fate."

She shoved him off the roof and he screamed as he fell. She looked over the edge to his dangling form and smirked. It faded quickly as she realized just how deep her influence went. Goth had began to take her city, and had probably tried to recruit Alexis. That would explain why she said she was being hunted in her own city. She would have to ask her about it when she saw her again. Satisfied with her work, she began her descent from the rooftop and the tower. As she exited the building she began to think of a way to really hurt Goth. She remembered overhearing that Megabutt was her sister. An idea formed in her head as she made for the address on the note; Goth had taken her friend, so she would take her sister. It was long overdue anyway considering the amount of trouble the gassy terror had wreaked on her city. She would send a message with it, and one that Goth would remember.

For the time being she needed to get somewhere safe and disappear. She decided that since her apartment was trashed and probably being watched that she would head to the address Alexis had given her. She could always go back by her place in the day if she needed to retrieve anything, but her gut told her that it would be best to stay away tonight. With thoughts of vengeance and self preservation in mind, she headed for Footgirl's current lair. She fired her grappling gun once more and left the clocktower behind.

The address she was given was quite a ways away, and it took her more time than she thought to find it. It was due in part to the fact that she was looking for something more extravagant than where she ended up. Footgirl had occupied several locations from labs to penthouses in their time as enemies, but to Beth's knowledge she'd never inhabited such a squalor. The address she was given was what appeared to be an abandoned one story home on the outskirts of Metropolis. The place looked run down on the outside, and its shutters were boarded up tight. The door seemed to be more of a decoration than anything functional as it sat propped up against the frame.

Any thoughts of this place being some kind of cover was shattered upon entering. The first thing that hit was the smell. Even through her respirator a smelly of musty and moldy cheese drifted through; if it were this bad with it on she shuddered to think what it would be like with it off. She looked around and saw piles of discolored socks and shoes, discarded clothes of various sorts, and what looked to be a makeshift chemistry station. It was almost sad to see how far the poor girl had fallen as she looked around.

What really caught her eye and sent a literal shiver down her spine was a small area in a corner. A massive picture of Jake rested on the wall and underneath it were some candles illuminating the portrait. She saw the silhouette of Alexis huddled around the area and slowly crept over to her. The closer she got the more she could hear her talking to someone; was she that far gone that she was talking to herself? As she approached she saw the girl sitting on the floor holding what had to be the tattered remains of Jake's Birdboy costume. Alexis wasn't talking to herself, she was talking to the suit! "I miss you Jake," she said to the suit, "If you'd have only chosen me all those years ago, none of this would be happening. You hurt your friend and your true love by choosing that bitch. I'd have kept you safe and happy, I always knew you had a thing for feet after all."

Beth closed her eyes as a mixture of disgust and pity formed in the pit of her stomach. She couldn't continue to watch this and spoke up, "Alexis."

She looked up from her conversation before she rose to her feet. She planted a kiss on the remains of the suit before gingerly setting it down on the mantle. Beth took note of what looked to be a yearbook from Jake's school with scrawled writing covering the pages surrounding his picture. Alexis turned to her and gave her an unnerving smile as she said, "Still alive I see, that's good. Did you have fun out there?"

Beth narrowed her eyes behind her hood as she spoke, "You knew that it was a meeting for Goth's followers. How much do you really know?"

Alexis circled her as she let out a soft chuckle. "More than most," she said, "I take it you managed to pry some useful information from those fools. I'm curious, did you enjoy killing them?"

Beth looked away as she replied, "I did what needed to be done. The only way to stop an infection is to cut it out, I know that now."

Alexis laughed at her logic, "How right you are, but you enjoyed it didn't you? We're more alike than either of us realized."

Beth looked up and met her gaze as she coldly replied, "I'm nothing like you and your kind."

"Says the girl who's body count is climbing at an alarming rate," she taunted, "It feels good doesn't it? Holding someone's life in your hands, it's addicting isn't it?"

Beth felt herself begin to shake as she once again said, "I did what needed to be done. How long has Goth been in Metropolis and how long has she been after you?"

Alexis gave a hmm before saying, "I'm not done with our current conversation, don't try to change the subject. Tell me how it felt to take lives into your own hands."

Beth couldn't take this anymore, so she pulled her gun and aimed it for Alexis. "Answer my question," she threatened.

Alexis took slow steps forward as she spoke, "I asked first. Admit it, you love that feeling don't you? The feeling of complete control over who lives and who dies. Even now you're standing there thinking how easy it would be to pull that trigger, how good it would feel to snuff out another threat to your precious city. You may not want to admit it, but it doesn't make it any less true. You and I are more alike than you think. Go ahead, shoot me."

By the time she finished her head was pressed against the barrel of the gun and her arms were spread wide. Beth felt her arm begin to tremble as her words sank in. She had to be wrong, she was just paying back the evil in this world with the terror it had put into it. She released a breath she hadn't realized she was holding as she lowered her gun. She closed her eyes and let her breathing regulate just like she was taught years ago.

Alexis smiled as she said, "That's what I thought. Now, on to your questions. Goth has been here since shortly after Jake disappeared. She began by seizing his company and assets, and from there began taking over all crime. She sent one of her lackies to offer me a position, but I told her to fuck off. Footgirl doesn't serve anyone but herself; as you can imagine that didn't sit well with her. It started small, a few goons here and there would come after me and fall easily, but then she sent one of her more adept followers. Pamela, I think her name was. That little bitch packed a punch, and did a number on me. I barely managed to escape, and I've been hiding out here since then. Go ahead and have a laugh at how far the mighty Footgirl has fallen."

Beth looked at her for a moment before removing her hood. She crinkled her nose as the full weight of the stench hit her. It was far worse without the hood, and the sour smell of sweat mingled with the rotten cheese scent. She pushed her nausea aside as she placed a hand on Alexis' shoulder, "I didn't come here to laugh or mock you," she said, "I came here because you're going to help me, and from the sounds of it you had a score to settle before she...killed Jake."

It was painful to say that out loud, and she noted a look of sorrow cross Alexis' face. It quickly disappeared as she said, "What do you have in mind?"

"When I was being held in the tower I heard Goth say that Megabutt is her sister," she said, "I'm going to put an end to her to send a message to Goth that my city and my friends are off limits."

Alexis shot her a quizzical look before it turned to a grin. "An eye for an eye, eh?" she asked, "I suppose great minds do think alike, but you'll need something more than those little toys to deal with Megabutt."

Beth shook her head at her comment before saying, "I take it you have something in mind."

Alexis' grin widened as she said, "I do, I do indeed. I've fought with and against Megabutt on several occasions, and you need an edge. I've got a list of things I'll need you to retrieve, but fair warning it won't be easy. Get me these items and I can give you the edge you need to actually stand a chance against Megabutt."

Beth nodded seeing no other option and said, "Alright I'll see what I can find in the morning."

Alexis smiled and gestured to a decrypt hallway saying, "There's a bed down the hall and to the right. I'm going to stay out here for a bit and maybe crash on the couch."

Beth nodded and took off down the hall. As she entered the hallway she could hear Alexis begin to once again talk to her friend's suit. Despite everything the crazy girl had put her through, she felt a wave of pity and rage inside her. Footgirl was far from good, but she didn't deserve this kind of torment. The girl was never sane, but Beth had no idea how unhinged she'd become until tonight. She'd make sure Goth paid a heavy price, not just for Jake but for Alexis and everyone else hurt in her wake. She found the bed and climbed in without bothering to remove her clothes, and in a few moments she was fast asleep.
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