Bloodrunners

INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

Lament is hovering in front of the monitors, his back to a beaten and bloodied Merrick, thoughtfully tapping his palm with a switch as he observes the progress of the other tenants with predatory glee.

LAMENT

Well, well, looks like the little mice
have all found each other. Go on,
then, little mice. You know it's not
going to get any easier. Call him.

It takes everything Merrick has just to lift his head, fighting to keep his eyes focused enough to be able to see Lament, who's turned to briefly regard him over his shoulder with a cold grin. He then returns his attention to the monitors.

LAMENT

Mortals really are laughably pitiful
and predictable little creatures. All
you have to do is apply the right
amount of pressure, and they all go
screaming back to Daddy.

It takes Merrick a moment longer to realize that this was Lament's intention all along, to stress and terrify the tenants just enough to encourage them to attempt to reach out to Merrick's father, the Red King, to prompt him to come to their rescue. Of course, Merrick knows precisely how foolish it is to toy with the Red King, and especially to threaten his wards.

MERRICK

(in a slurred, rasping voice)
Hate ta break it t'you, asshole, but
you seriously fucked the big one. You
want Rori? Rori couldn't give less of
a shit about me. But those three...?
Oh yeah... You really fucked up,
dragging them into this. He'll rip
your sorry ass into a million kibble-sized pieces
to get to those three.

LAMENT

(softly, as he watches the screens)
Oh I'm counting on it, little brother.

MERRICK

I don't have a-

LAMENT

(pivots around to face him)
Oh, but you do.
(holds out his arms)
In fact, here I am. Do I not remind
you of our father? The red hair, the
sinfully green eyes, this fine,
aristocratic nose...

Merrick freezes, absorbing the implications as he takes a longer, closer look at Lament in the uneven light of the control room - and the resemblances to Rori are undeniable, despite Lament's gaunt face and rangy figure. Everything starts to make a disturbing amount of sense, especially from Merrick's own experiences as an abandoned son of the libidinous Red King, subject to the whims of a cruel world with no mercy in its heart for half-vampires. But instead of sympathy, Merrick attacks.

MERRICK

(eyes rolling under fluttering
lids as he coughs a weak, bitter laugh)
Jesus Christ... Is that what this is
all about? Lemme guess, Daddy
abandoned you an' now you want
revenge. Well, lemme tell you
something, you sick fuck - you're not
gonna get it. He gets here an' your
ass is as good as dead.

LAMENT

No, I don't think so. I have the Red
King's little lambs. I have his only
known son. And you, all of you, make
him weak, and I have intention every
of exploiting that weakness to get
what I deserve.

INT. ASYLUM CORRIDOR - NIGHT

The teens continue wandering the asylum, skirting around the monsters set loose, trying to avoid the natural threats posed by a decrepit building and lingering horrors, as well as getting lost and having to retrace their steps. They're no closer to finding Merrick and escaping than they were when they started, but despite their acquired injuries and mounting fatigue, Jason refuses to give up.

JASON

Christ, does this place ever end? We've been through this
exact hall ten different times already!

They stop at an intersection, and Jason scans the off-shooting corridors with obvious frustration.

JASON

Iunno, maybe we should split up. We'd
cover more-

ARTEMIS

(in disbelief)
Have you seen any horror movie ever?
We split up, we die. Plain and simple.
I'm not doing it.

YAMI
She's not wrong, Jason.

JASON

Yamz, for all we know he could already
be trapped somewhere bleeding out, or-

YAMI

I know you're concerned, but we simply
cannot afford to be brash. I promise
you, one way or another, we will find him.

Jason spends a long moment looking helplessly around at their options, pacing, a hand perched on his hip, the other rubbing at his mouth. He only stops when Yami gently touches his upper arm, and when Jason finally looks at him, there's a sheen of moisture in Jason's eyes. His voice is small and choked, and ashamed of his fear.

JASON

I'm scared, Yamz. I'm scared for us.
I'm scared for fucking Merrick of all
people, but... This is all I have.
This is the only thing I know. If even
one of us doesn't make it out of here...

YAMI

(softly)
I know. But we've been in bad
situations before. Monster-infested
asylum or no, we've always made it out
the other side. All of us.

Artemis tentatively speaks up.

ARTEMIS

Maybe Merrick already found the way
out. I mean, he is technically the
best-equipped to deal with this kind
of thing… Y'know, hoodoo
Jedi mind magic and all…

Jason roughly sniffles back a breath, wiping brusquely at his eyes as he forces himself to focus once more on the task at hand.

JASON

What, you think he left us here?

ARTEMIS

(visibly uncomfortable)
I meeean… I'm not saying he did, but
it wouldn't be entirely out of-

JASON

No. Merrick might be the King of all
assholes, but he wouldn't just abandon
us here. I mean, yeah, he's selfish
and an abrasive prick on even his best
days, but... He wouldn't just leave us.

Yami and Artemis share a brief look, hints of doubt plain on their faces, but they refrain from voicing them, given the obvious evidence that Jason needs to convince himself of this.

JASON

Look, just... Arty, you keep working
on your little mental beacon thing for
Rori, okay? He wouldn't leave us
behind, so there's no way in hell I'm
gonna do that to him. We gotta keep looking.

The ragtag tenants of the Manor are the only family he has - and it is his fear of losing them that gives him the strength to continue the search.

INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

MERRICK

(sneering)
What you deserve? My, you're an
entitled li'l prick, arencha?

Lament slides him a dangerous look from his place at the consoles.

LAMENT

Watch your tone, boy.

MERRICK

Christ, it really is revenge you're
after, innit? (weak laughter as his
head rolls back) Holy fuckin' hell,
and here I was, thinkin' I should
actually be afraid of you. But you're
just a sad little excuse of a man out
lookin' for payback like every
terrible movie villain that's ever
existed... because Daddy didn't love
you enough.

LAMENT

(faces Merrick fully, snarling)
You have no idea what I've had to
suffer through because of him.

MERRICK

Oh boo hoo, people were mean t' you
an' life's not fair. Get over it,
cupcake. You're nothin' fuckin' special.

LAMENT

(yelling)

My own people called me a devil-child
since birth! For something I had no
control over! They tried to beat the
evil out of me. Whipped me, burned me,
tried to drown me! A child! All
because I was born of vampire and
human blood! (fury building) And even
after I escaped the colony, nothing
changed. It wasn't just the Puritans.
Everywhere I went, I was a fucking
outcast, an... abomination! A stain to
wiped from the face of the earth
simply because I was different! He
deserves to suffer for what he's done
to me and countless others like me!

MERRICK

(considers Lament with a bleary scowl)
Lemme ask you somethin', princess.
Because you keep goin' on like Rori
was at th' head o' this entire mess,
so I just wanna be clear. What did he
ever actually do t' you? I mean,
you've obviously done your homework.
You know who I am. You know that
smarmy bastard's my father. You
probably know I hate his fuckin' guts
half th' time, an' that he left me t'
be raised alone by my psychotic
abusive bitch of a mother 'til I got
fed up an' went lookin' for answers on
my own. But what did he ever do to you?

LAMENT

(regards him contemptuously as his voice drops to an arctic chill)
Methinks I overestimated you. Perhaps
you are daft after all.

MERRICK

(snarls)
I'm not th' fuckin' daft one here, you
miserable, self-righteous sack of
shit. C'mon, tell me. (frail, mocking
smile) Brother t' brother. He ever hit
you? Molest you? Rape you nightly?
Starve you? Lock you in a closet to
stew in your own filth? Did he ever,
even once, show up long enough t' even
acknowledge your sad, sorry little existence?

LAMENT

(quietly, coldly)
Shut up.

MERRICK

He didn't, did he?

LAMENT

(louder)
I told you to shut your mouth.

MERRICK

I mean, sure, he ain't gonna be
winnin' any Father o' th' Year awards
anytime soon, but it sounds t' me like
he's just a scapegoat t' you. An' if
that's the case... Well. You're even
more pathetic than I thought.

LAMENT

(heatedly)

I've spent my life planning this-

MERRICK

Then you wasted your life of your own
volition. And for what? To give Daddy
the finger an' kill some random
strangers who have less than nothing
to do with it all in the process?
(stops to catch his breath) Let me
tell you somethin', big brother. The
world's full o' people worse than
Rori. People who stick around an' make
sure their kids know every second of
every day that they were a mistake.
They abuse 'em an' rape 'em an' do to
them things beyond even twisted your
little imagination. You wanna know why
he abandoned you? You want answers?
Then why don't you try fucking talking
to him instead of griping like a whiny
little bitch in the middle of throwing
the world's biggest temper tantrum-

Lament abruptly appears before Merrick in a fit of rage and backhands him hard enough set him to swinging on his hook.

LAMENT

I said shut up!

He seizes Merrick's jaw in a clawed hand and leans in close, livid as he continues uttering through sharp, gritted teeth.

LAMENT

I don't his excuses. I need him
to suffer!

Merrick feebly attempts to spit out a globule of blood, which dribbles down his chin, and manages a small, snide, antagonistic red smile. Now that he's hit on Lament's sore spots, he has every intention of trying to make him angry enough to make a mistake.

MERRICK

So then what'd he do to you. Really.

Lament's face contorts in an enraged snarl before he shoves Merrick away and stalks back to the monitors to furiously pace.

MERRICK

(grimly chuckles as he swings on
his hook, toes scraping the floor)
That's what I thought. He's never done shit
t' you. He jus' knocked up mommy
an' ran off, an' now he's just a
scapegoat for you t' take your temper
tantrum out on. You really are fucking
pathetic, y'know that? You want
revenge? Go fuckin' burn down a church
with all th' assholes who hurt you
still inside. Hurt th' people who
actually deserve hurting. An' if
they're already gone...? Too bad. Suck
it the fuck up and move on, buttercup,
because th' world don't owe you shit.

Lament slows to a stop as his attention is captured by something on the monitors, and Merrick tries to follow his gaze. He can't see much, given the distance between himself and the console and the ever-present influence of the drugs still pouring into his veins, but he can see the movement of three familiar bodies as they traverse the halls of the asylum, and a glimmer of relief flickers inside of him. When Lament turns back to face Merrick, however, the agitation is gone, and nothing remains on his ashen countenance now but cold malice and a cruel smile.

LAMENT

(lightly)
You know, now that I think about it,
the lot of you do seem to have grown
rather remarkably close. And he seems
surprisingly fond of you all in turn,
regardless of the fact that only you,
Merrick, are tied to him by blood. I
must admit that, at first, I was
thinking only that I might scare you
all. Enough to lure him out of hiding,
anyways. But now... Ah, now I see a
better way. Perhaps the blade will
bite deeper if I simply butcher your
housemates and leave their broken
carcasses for him to find. Just like
he left my mother after I ate my way
out of her womb. As for you... Yes...
You... I think I have just the thing
in mind for you. Until then, I'm sure
my pets will appreciate the snack.

Lament disengages, and flips a switch that remotely unleashes monsters that had been gathered in the operating theater, which is the room Jason, Artemis, and Yami are trying to get into on the monitor. Merrick can only watch on in despair before he begins thrashing on his hook, snarling threats and swears.

INT. ASYLUM CORRIDOR, OUTSIDE THE OPERATING THEATER - NIGHT

When a red light blinks on above the doors they were trying to pry open, and a low, droning beep sounds, the teens freeze and warily back up to see what's happened.

JASON

The fuck...?

ARTEMIS

That can't be good.

The doors begin to screech open, slowly and just enough for them to see the swarm of slavering, snarling monsters beyond, eagerly trying to get out.

ARTEMIS

Okay, definitely not good.

The flood is unleashed. Jason, Yami, and Artemis must run for their lives, dodging rotten floors and overturned furniture while the monsters grow ever closer. Yami pivots as one snaps at their backs, slamming his fist with a wild blow into the side of its head with enough force, despite his slender frame, to send it careening into the corridor wall. The others simply clamber over it and continue the chase.

YAMI

(calling ahead)
Jason! We need to-

JASON

(running furiously)
I know! Keep thinking, Artemis! Don't
stop, not even for a second!

ARTEMIS

Given that there's a bloodthirsty horde
of Chernobyl grade mutants trying to
dismember us, I'm thinking as hard as I can!

They continue to zig and zag through the halls before Jason, leading the way, darts aside into a room, followed promptly by his housemates, before he slams the door. They try to barricade themselves in with whatever furniture they can move, but they're fighting a losing battle. The snarling, roaring, seething horde of monsters are going to get in. It's only a matter of time. Every time they ram the door, the teens lose a little ground, even with Yami's inhuman strength.

JASON

(shoulder shoving against the door)
Don't-

ARTEMIS

(bare, bandaged feet slipping on the floor)
I'm trying!

YAMI

(back crushed against the door
with eyes clenched, teeth gritted)
Try harder!

Chaos erupts beyond the door, and the teens stagger as the door abruptly slams shut. Even so, the teens use all of their strength to keep it shut. Monsters are roaring, screeching, snarling. The teens are deafened by the sounds of what seems like combat, bodies being flung through walls, glass shattering... Sounds of remorseless violence. Then a hush falls, heavy and deathly quiet, and after a long moment, there's a polite knock on the door.

The teens are all terrified, sweating, panting, glancing at one another in askance without relenting in the pressure they're putting on the door. A sonorous, familiar voice, tinted ever so slightly with an English accent, permeates the door.

RORI

I see you lot have managed to get
yourselves into yet another fine mess.

They rip open the door to find RORI "THE RED KING" O'CONNOR waiting on the other side, covered in gore, but seemingly none of it is his. He is a figure truly befitting of the name granted to him, a man of authority and certainty; tall, regal, muscular and refined, with hair as red as the blood spattering his white skin, and frosty celadon eyes. Behind him, there's nothing but death and carnage. Artemis and Jason immediately rush in to cling to him with a hug, which Rori gently returns, flashing a wan smile at Yami, whose shoulders sag with a breath of relief. Rori pulls back from Artemis and Jason, giving them a brief visual once-over.

RORI

Are you all right?

They have nothing for him but nods.

RORI

Then come, let's get you somewhere
safe, shall we?

-x- To Be Continued… -x-

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