Blood Soaked: Black Arm #1

Blood Soaked: Black Arm

© James Crawford, 2014



This story takes place between Blood Soaked and Invaded and Blood Soaked and Gone.

A few days before this story begins, Buttons set off an EMP that virtually destroyed the nanotech in the impromptu Arlington base of operations. Just before that, he gutted Charlie Cooper, and took her womb with him when the Progeny spirited him away.

Several people died in the explosion, Shoei Omura among them. Frank lost his right eye and right arm, which were subsequently replaced by alien nanomachines.

Charlie Cooper, while recovering physically, is drifting in and out of insanity.

No one is the same…


Day 5, post bomb

They sent us a shrink, mostly because of Charlie, but he interviewed many of us just the same. His advice to me, “Frank, I think you’ll come to grips with all these emotions if you externalize them.”

“How do I go about doing that?” I asked him. “I’m becoming a rage monster.”

“Write it all down.”

That’s what I’m going to try to do, because I figured it couldn’t hurt worse than everything else does. It did take me a while to find a notebook and a pen in the goodies I’d hoarded in my room, but I tracked them down.

I don’t know who is going to read this, except for me, but if it helps the rage… That can’t be bad, right?

As I write this, it is seven pm. I went over to Bajali and Jayashri’s place earlier, to sit with Charlie and make sure she ate something. It was…Fuck. It was awful. You always hear about someone going off their rocker, but I’ve never seen it this up close and personal.

My God, this is personal. Writing is supposed to settle my spirit, or diffuse my rage? Forgive me if I don’t believe it.

I’d hoped cleaning up Bravo Euro’s mess would settle me, at least a little bit. It didn’t. My head and heart kept returning to Charlie nearly dying, the loss of our unborn child, friends of mine dying, and the evil fucker who caused it all getting away.

Blind anger hits me like random seizures, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing at the time. It’s both horrible and incredibly strange. My new arm, black as night, changes shape based on my mood. Worse than that, it vandalizes things.

Last night, I was eating dinner outside the rubble of our cafeteria, and my feelings erupted like a volcano. The new right arm reached out, grabbed the nearest lightpost, and crushed the pole. It wasn’t my idea. It just did it.

Shawn, who was sitting with me at the time, sprouted little feet on his ass and scooted ten-feet away without standing up. You could say he was shaken up, but that would be a drastic understatement.

“Jesus, man,” he said to me, “are you gonna put a leash on that thing, or what?”

“Shawn, God as my witness, I don’t think it would like that very much.” That is what I said by way of a reply.

“You sure that thing is you? It doesn’t act like y’all are on the same team.” I noticed he didn’t ass-walk back to me. My non-violent feelings were bruised.

“I guess I’m going to have to figure that out. It has a certain amount of,” I fumbled for a word, “personality.”

He tossed me one of his trademark “you’re shitting me,” facial expressions. “If it keeps up bein’ so personable, it’ll drop off and start visiting the neighbors.”

I gave him a look back, and spoke my piece about that mental image. “Dude, don’t give it any ideas. If it decides to go out for coffee and donuts, I’ll make sure it visits you first.”

My friend did not look the least bit happy about that idea, but the image of donuts sat in my frontal lobes for a couple of hours after that. That’s pretty astounding when you think about it, since I was looking at the wreckage of Shoei Omura’s house across the street.

Were fried inner tubes of dough the answer to my problems? Probably not.

Finding and killing Bernard “Buttons” Grachevsky, according to my black arm, was the answer.

Peace in murder and mayhem, the story of my life.

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