Beyond The Holders
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[Make sure you read Vingt-et-un before you read this.]
A growl emerged from the portal, as if to announce Rockwell's presence.
“Evening.” Rockwell made his way down towards one of the tables, and started to rummage through a pile of documents. Derrick kept his gun pointed at him. “Where is Tene? Or Meissner?” he asked. “Dead. Both of them, Sarah died in a conflict with the creatures when we attacked them.” “Attacked them? Why did they attack them? Their orders were recon only!” Rockwell paused to turn back to Derrick. “Is that what you thought? No Derrick, they were ordered to harvest any and all Objects. Just like all of the other squads around the world.” Rockwell returned to his paperwork, lifting one that appeared to be a map. Derrick took a step towards him, “What?! That wasn't the plan! The plan was to reset everything back to the way it was, not to take control of the Objects!” No reaction from Rockwell, but the man then lifted his head. Rockwell had apparently found what he needed, and put the paper into his jacket pocket before turning back to Derrick. “You're an idiot. More Seekers would simply find the Objects all over again. You know that as well as I do. That's the world we live in. No, I had to make sure they were safe, and what's more safe than in our hands?” "Our hands? You meant yours!" Derrick pointed the gun straight at Rockwell, “You monster, how can you do this? You lied to us in order to further your own sick plans! You killed innocent people just to get what you want. Why do you do it? How can you do it?” “I do it, Mr. Todd, because I can.” Derrick fired twice. Two bullets. Right into Rockwell.
“You seriously didn't think that would work did you?” Rockwell didn't even flinch. The shock in Derrick's eyes revealed that he did think he could kill him. I didn't know what to think, was he a Holder? Or perhaps something worse? Rockwell laughed. “Derrick, I have been here a lot longer than you could ever imagine. A few bullets aren't going to change that.” Rockwell closed in on Derrick with deadly intentions, but he stopped when he heard me. “What are you?” I spoke for the first time since Rockwell entered the room. He grinned at my question. “My dear child. I am immortal. No superpowers, or super-strength. I just can't die. You could say I'm almost human.” “You're a monster.” Derrick spat out, gun no longer pointing at anything but the ground. “What you've done to everyone makes you a monster.” Rockwell didn't even look at him. “Oh, don't act so innocent. This was all your idea. You wanted change, you wanted safety. So you planned this. I just funded it. You are the one who found the other contacts, you are the one who took the risks, made the sacrifice. You are the one who betrayed the good doctor.” Derricks eyes closed at the last one. I didn't understand at first, then Rockwell turned back to me. “He's the reason your Father went into hiding. Did you know that? He's the reason your Father became what he is today.” Derrick turned to me, “No, you don't understand, I had to do it. In order to keep the plan, I had to do it. But it doesn't matter any more, he's wrecked it all.” Rockwell simply smiled, and walked back into the middle of the room. He turned towards the portal and said out loud “Finish it. You know it's time.” I wasn't sure who he was talking to, I don't think Derrick did either. “You'll burn for this.” Derrick looked at Rockwell right in the eyes, gun aimlessly pointed at the man in the suit. Rockwell smiled, and his grin pierced through both of us, so much that Derrick almost dropped his gun. “I'm just Keeping us Better.” Then he walked back into the portal.
We stood in silence for awhile. Both of us thinking the same thing. One of us was going to die. It was inevitable. I had to do what I could in order to make sure that person wasn't me. I thought of everything I had learned. There had to be a way to figure out a plan. I began to go through everywhere I had been, everyone that I had met, the answer had to be there somewhere I reasoned. I thought of Thomas Reel, who died because of the very creatures Derrick summoned. Clarence Betham, who died by my hand after spending his life running from both the creatures and A.G. Sarah Meissner, the only one who would face me, only to take her own life. I thought of Derrick, and everything he had told me before I learned the truth. All the lies. Rockwell, who had played everyone like pawns in order to get what he wanted. My mother, who spent her life without knowing the true life of my Father, I thought of my Father, and everything he had said before. . . then I knew. I knew what I had to do. But first I needed the gun.
“Well, I'm sorry to say it's over,” but he stopped talking after seeing me get up. I held the book he had given me, “what now?” I told him that if he was going to kill me, that I would take the book with me. He laughed and told me that he had no use for the book any more. It was my turn to laugh. I told him that if the book told him how to do all of what happened that night, the book could also help him undo it. So if he wanted to do that he had to do what I told him. “Or what?” I opened the book, past the first page where the A.G. symbol had been obnoxiously written, to the first page of text. I held the page alone with one hand. “Go ahead, it won't do anything.” I assumed he was bluffing, but I wasn't. I ripped the first page off and looked at Derrick in the eyes. There was no response, he told me to look back at the book. The first page was back. I held in my hands a copy of the original. “It can't be destroyed, we've done that a million times. But the copies can be burned. They don't have the power of the book. I cursed under my breath. He told me that he wouldn't give me the chance to do anything else. That it was time for me to die. I looked around the room quickly, for anything I could use. Then I found it. In one quick motion I threw the book into the portal. That got a reaction. He walked up to the portal where the book hung in mid-air, just at the breach of the portal. “Now that was stupid. You're going to have to-” his words were cut off by a loud snapping noise. Then several others as the book sunk into the portal. Derrick swore loudly as he reached into the portal. Then the chain began to tighten, as the portal started to close. He dropped his gun to try to hold it open. That was what I wanted. I ran and grabbed it, and pointing it at him I told him to move away from the portal. He didn't listen and tried to keep it open with his hands. I shoved him aside. I told him he was going to die soon, but not yet. He didn't even listen, only watched the portal close as the chain was the last thing to be pulled into it. The wall remained unmarked. I told him it was time.
I used nearby ripped labcoats to bind and gag Derrick. He didn't resist. He didn't say a word. I put him in the elevator and rode it to the top. After that we got into the second elevator. I put the gun my pocket as we re-entered the hospital. The receptionist looked at him and then at me, and ran over, about to tell me something. I told her I was there to visit "The Holder of the End”, and a look of child like fear rushed across her face.
[ Story concludes with Feeding Father]
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