Chapter 12 – Burned Flesh

This is chapter 12 of “Redemption” a fictional tale set in the EVE Universe.  Please see this page for more background on this story.

Preamble:  Years ago, my friend and fellow blogger, Mme Thalys inspired me to write fan fiction.  She tells her stories from the perspective of a hard-hitting wormhole mercenary corporation.  Among that crew is a rather colorful Amarr privateer who perked my interest and Mme Thalys granted me permission to embed him into my storyline.  I hope she likes what I am doing to him….

Dr. Themas watched Lydie serve dinner hoping that she would remind him of his daughter.  She didn’t,  His daughter had been a bookworm who despised all exercise.  Lydie on the other hand, moved with the elegance of a dancer and the precision of a cat before a pounce.  On the surface, she was the perfect domestic servant, not just obedient – that can be achieved with a whip – she anticipated the needs of her new masters even before they were aware of them.  But beneath her perfection lay a menace, her eyes were cold, detached, her smile seemed painted on her face and her aura almost physically repelled the other slaves.  Dr. Themas sighed.  His daughter won’t be coming back and this Gallente girl would never replace her.  Fully healed now she would fetch a good price.  But even though she did not resemble his daughter, she reminded him of her and he could not bring himself to sell her.

Tonight, Lydie served the bread to his children, normally the task of their nanny who was sick with a stomach bug.  Dr. Themas noticed that Lydie used the wrong knife, not the serrated breadknife but a longer blade, razor-sharp on both edges, made for cutting meat.  It never left the kitchen and he had not seen it in a long time.
A memory washed over Dr. Themas like a wave over rock.His mind was transported to their old kitchen on Sarum Prime, years ago.  It was dark, he feared to open the lights.  The blood stains on the floor. In his memory, he looked down on his hands, saw them hold this knife under running water, rinsing dark blood off the steel.

The smell of burned flesh, doors locked, his son Keram sitting on the chair, gasping for air, in pain but too proud to admit it.  Dr. Themas had served in the Navy, he knew how much pain a CAR-9 at close range can inflict but his son didn’t even wince when he cut away the charred shirt.   Keram just stared at him with his black eyes full of anger while he cleaned and dressed the wound.  Dr Themas, renowned surgeon with access to all modern medical technology in his hospital had to treat his wounded son in the dark using a kitchen knife.

His relationship with Keram had always been rocky.  His son rebelled against the religious authority and more than once, had to be bailed out of some holding cell. Those infractions were not serious by themselves, all young men go through a phase of doubt before they find faith.  But eyebrows were raised.  Dr. Themas was on the path to be the personal surgeon to the Throne, no higher honor could be achieved.  This position would vindicate all those years of putting his career first, his family second.  His voluntary service during the Minmatar rebellions, his harrowing escape on a Sigil hauler loaded with hundreds of wounded soldiers racing against death from Hek to Sarum Prime; someone even made a holoreel out of it.  The medal that the Empress personally pinned to his chest.   All would be for naught, his son, a rebel, an abolitionist or worse, an atheist.  Dr. Themas had received a visit from the head of the religious police.  A high honor, normally. Not when the words “your son” and “apostate” were used in the same sentence.  Apostasy still carried the death sentence.

Death for the son, death for his father’s career.  Death for the family name.
He had talked to Keram.  Pleaded, begged him to lay low, work the system, join the military, earn honor, create a life for himself.  For a while this worked.  Keram calmed down, his grades improved, he laughed again with his baby sister.

And now this.  Keram had tangled with armed police and seemingly won.  A dead lieutenant somewhere, no more was said.  He didn’t have to.  Lieutenants of the religious police are technically ordained priests and killing one carried a death sentence without parole.  His son would be publicly humiliated, possibly tortured and then hanged. His family name would be wiped off the map, Dr. Themas would face certain exile, his daughter would never see a university or marry into a good family.
There was only one way out.

He could sink the blade into his son’s heart.

Dr. Themas was an expert surgeon. He could cut easily through the intercostal space into the left ventricle, angle his hand down a little and let the long blade sever the atria, aorta and pulmonary artery in one motion.  His son was in so much pain already, he would not even notice the incision.  He would peacefully fade in his father’s arms.  Dr. Themas would then call the police, tell the whole story without omissions or lies, secure his family name forever.  And the name of his son.  A fallen sinner, slain by the hand of his father was surely redeemed.  It was the right thing to do.  The kind thing, the thing a loving father, a loyal subject would do.

Dr. Themas moved the knife.  His son’s eyes locked with his own.  The blade moved with surgeon’s precision and sliced away burned flesh. No word was spoken.  No sound, other than the blade, the rustling of Dr. Themas gown and the slow drip of blood on the cold stone floor.  His son, pale from the blood loss.  His black eyes fixed, close.  He knew his options, he read his father’s mind.  “Do it”, the eyes said, “put us all out of this misery”.

Dr. Themas dressed the wound, turned, washed the knife and put it down, faced his son in the darkness.  “Coward”, Keram’s eyes said.  “You were always a coward”.  Slowly, he stood, holding on to the door frame.  They had not spoken a word for an hour, weighing their options in silence.  Dr. Themas reached into his coat for money. It was not much but it would allow his son to bribe a capsuleer and smuggle him out of Amarr space.  Keram took the money silently, a mocking grin forcing itself through the pale mask of pain.  Dr. Themas opened the door for his son, dim street light illuminated the kitchen, glistened in the blood puddles.  With three, four unsteady steps, Keram approached the door.  “I love you, Keram”, Dr. Themas whispered.  His son turned around, a silhouette in the door.  “I hate you”, he whispered before vanishing into the darkness.

“Would there be anything else, Sir?”  The voice ripped Dr. Themas out of his memory. Lydie stood behind his two youngest children holding the tray with the bread, the knife. Her piercing eyes seemed to probe into his mind.  He stirred.  Sweat dripped of his forehead.  “No, Lydie, this is all, you may go”.

“Very well, Sir.  Good night, Sir”.

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2 responses to “Chapter 12 – Burned Flesh

  1. Great to see that you are writing again.

    I really like how personal you make those stories. I can really feel the pain of that poor father. What a horrible boy I have created there for him to raise.

    I am sorry that I missed your request for feedback on the piece. What you did there story-wise is perfect, I have no complaints. I find your interpunctuation (is that a word?) a bit weird sometimes. It does not make it unreadable (Like I said, I really feel the story) but it looks strange to me. No matter whether that’s the correct way to write, they way you chose works well for me.

    I am flattered by your choice to include one of my protagonists into your stories and thank you very much for mentioning my blog. Now I know why I got so many hits on Keram’s character page.

    Please keep writing whenever you find the time and keep carrying part of my virtual self to the virtual stars.

    • thank you for your comment. I apologize for publishing this without you getting a look at it first and I agree, my syntax was bad. Firstly, I am out of practice, secondly, I wanted a certain tone of harshness, thirdly I can’t write and lastly, I wrote this on a plane to somewhere and was paranoid that I get arrested as a terrorist if my seat neighbor reads it

      In my head, I have Keram and Orv as unlikely brothers building up. Keram obviously is the dark soul, Orv the bright one but both have complex relationships with their fathers. The idea is that they “flip” state and thereby find “redemption”. I know this is a spoiler but I have real doubts if I can ever pull it off and from my clicks nobody reads the story anyway :)

      As for the compliments, I really appreciate feedback especially if it comes from you – I really love your writing style. You got me into this after all… (all your fault).

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