by Emily M. Peters
Karla screamed, banishing the thoughts to the remote corner they had crawled out of, flinging herself back into the present. The doctors didn’t know anything. All those people who called themselves smart and educated and normal, they didn’t know one thing about what she was doing, about the purpose she served. If Karla wasn’t going to figure out how far the “normal” person would go before acting in self-defense, who would? Who would stop the killers?
Suddenly, the alarm cut through the silence. Karla grinned coldly and then turned around and started into the maze, all earlier thoughts forgotten. Quietly, she listened for breathing, footsteps or any other sign of the girls. She could only hear her own footsteps echoing off the concrete walls as she turned and twisted through the familiar parts of the maze until she came to her counter.
The counter was Karla’s desk. It was only a slab of concrete that stuck out of a wall, but it held her important documents and her specially selected weapons. She gripped the handle of one of them and held the blade up in the dim light. The handle felt cool in her grip and the blade was light-weight. Just holding the deadly, beautiful weapon made her forget her memories.
Karla turned back into the maze, the side of the blade gently patting her thigh as she walked. She went to all the “hot spots” first. Dead ends, little crooks and other small spaces the quarry could fit into throughout the dim tunnels. But the girls were in none of them. She also checked where she had put all the weapons and snickered when she saw that the only one missing was a kitchen knife.
“Do you honestly plan to take me out with that small knife? With all these weapons at your fingertips, you choose the knife? So predictable.” Karla’s voice echoed around the room.
She brushed her brown, curly hair from her eyes with her free hand and continued onward through the dark tunnels lit only by the dim lights placed every ten feet or so away from each other. The pipes that ran along the ceiling dripped cold water, making the underground room damp and even colder than the mid-spring Minnesota weather.
Karla remembered when she had found the abandoned fortress. She remembered exploring the tunnels for the first time. She remembered thinking she was never going to find her way around. But since then she had spent the better part of her days reminiscing about each kill and the purpose it served; it wasn’t hard to find her way around in each concrete tunnel.
Finally, Karla stopped dead and slowly raised the machete. She could hear soft, muffled sobs and heavy breathing. Her lips curled into a smile. Breathing gave them away every time, no matter how long they could hold it. Karla could always hear the final sob and always catch the one heavy breath that would slip from sealed lips. She silently followed the sound until she came to a dead end.
“Oh, you got me,” Karla snorted after the few short seconds it took her to figure out what had happened. She turned around and saw Allayne cowering behind Shelly. Allayne’s blonde hair was hanging down over her terror-filled, dull blue eyes.
Shelly pushed her darker hair behind her ear before pointing the quivering knife at Karla’s shoulder. “What do you want from me?” Shelly said, her voice quivering even more than the knife.
Karla laughed at the stupidity of the question. “Don’t you see, Shelly? Anything to avoid killing a fellow human being like me, right?”
“I just want to know why you do this,” Shelly said, ignoring the tears that were beginning to drop steadily from her blue eyes.
Mm... Stronger than the usual. Karla observed closely how Shelly was handling herself and gave her some credit. Usually people would have already gone into a mental breakdown by now.
“Oh, Shelly.” Karla smiled. “So many questions. I need to do this. You see, Shelly, you and your sister are serving a greater cause. I need to observe how you ‘normal’ folk work. I need to see how far you’ll bend until you actually break. Although I get a sense of personal enjoyment, it also serves a purpose. I mean, doesn’t everything? I need to see how far I have to push you to the breaking point. Then other scientists can use my notes, and the world will be better than ever before.”
“How?! How is torturing us going to make the world any better?!” Shelly screamed through the tears that were now falling steadily from her eyes. They rolled down her face and stained her already dirty white t-shirt.
Crying, the idea had always sickened Karla. The very idea of feeling that much emotion sickened her to the point of nausea. “Don’t you see? If I can understand how far a person will go until their natural self-defense kicks in, then the whole world will know and everybody can save themselves from people like me. Murders will drop drastically. So, can you do it?” Karla’s face was hard and unreadable as she stared intensely at Shelly.
Shelly stared back at Karla for few long moments while they both listened to Allayne’s muffled sobbing. “Just don’t hurt her.” Shelly’s voice dropped to a whisper, but the knife stayed pointed straight at Karla.
“Well, I can see that you don’t want to fight me. Sad, I took you because I thought you would present at least a small challenge. But you’re just like the others: pathetic and unoriginal. You do realize if I kill you, I will have no problem killing your younger sister. Age is but a number, after all.” She smiled and could practically see the rage bubbling on Shelly’s face. Karla knew she had pushed Shelly over the edge. This was what she needed.
Bringing the knife up quickly, Shelly swung it down and buried it deep into Karla’s shoulder.
Shock washed over Karla. Shelly took a step back, shocked, herself.
Karla chuckled nervously, watching thick, crimson liquid ooze out around the knife. She wrapped her finger around the brown handle and ripped it out with a soft grunt, adrenalin masking most of the pain.
“Oh, good try.” Karla chuckled again and raised the machete. She swiped it down diagonally as hard as she could. She heard the squirting blood and felt the warm liquid splash onto her face. And then she heard the deathly thud of Shelly’s head hit the floor.
“Would you like to try?” She handed the knife to Allayne, who just let it clatter to the floor next to Shelly’s beheaded body.
“Just kill me.” Allayne’s voice was stronger than Karla thought it would be.
“So be it.” Karla shrugged and killed Allayne with one long sweep of the blade.
Leaving the mess, Karla turned around quickly and began to walk back to her counter. The maze was eerily quiet as Karla pulled the cloth from her pocket and tried to contain the blood from her wound on the way back. The warm blood seeped through the cloth quickly and started to smear on Karla’s hands, but she didn’t mind.
As soon as the counter was in sight, Karla let her machete fall to the ground with a clatter that echoed off the walls. When Karla reached the counter, she let the heavy cloth fall to the ground and picked up a pen with a bloody hand.
Shelly stabbed me. I’m beginning to accept the fact that emotion, particularly love, plays a strong role in how they react. As soon as I mentioned killing Allayne, Shelly reacted. However, it still wasn’t enough, and Shelly didn’t kill me. When Shelly was dead, Allayne didn’t see the point and abandoned the experiment. Again, feelings may play a role, but so far nothing has been enough.
Karla sighed and tucked the note sheet in an old shoe box under the counter. She glanced up at a picture of her mom and then down at the other papers on the desk. Next to the names Allayne Boarders and Shelly Boarders she wrote, Experiment Failed.
Letting her body calm from the excitement, Karla thought forebodingly, One day my mother will fight back. I’m sure of it.
Copyright © 2013 by Emily M. Peters