Blasphemy Prologue By: Dante Abbey *So...this is what it's like to die...* *Shouldn't this be more painful?* Around him, the universe diminishes to the splash of hot, burning red that now adorns the tips of his index and middle fingers. Slowly, he twists them around so that it can catch what little light sifts through the dark corridor. A thin, gleaming trickle slithers down his fingers to his palm, running along the natural lines engraved there. He harbors an almost morbid fascination as he watches his own lifeblood dancing on the surface of his hand. He turns his hand over, forcing the blood to trickle in a different direction, but always towards the ground. When it stops flowing, he frowns, then dips his fingers in the pool again, probing for more. The wound, large and weeping, was pushed apart. The pulverized, raw flesh screams pain in protest. He winces, his eyes squeezing shut hard enough to draw tears. Reflexively, his fingers pull away, but they are coated anew with blood. The trickle now runs around from his palm to his wrist, curving around to the other side of his arm, and continuing slowly towards his elbow. His breathing hardly registers any more, filtered out by whatever triage his tired brain had enacted. It wasn't going to be too much longer, now...although he cannot be certain. Even his hold on the passage of time is becoming increasingly tenuous as the blood slowly trickles from the almost miniscule hole in his lower chest. He isn't sure what would have been worse; being struck where he had been, or a few centimeters higher, where his lungs sit. Right now, he is almost sure that most of the bleeding is coming from his intestines. There is another wound, half-way down his calf, but it's too far away for him to care. For the moment, he is more than content with staring at the purple-red of his own blood playing happily on his fingertips and crusting spitefully under his fingernails. Groaning, he brings his left hand into the light, holding it up. In opposition to its partner, its entire palm is marked with the same dark liquid. He lets it fall back to where it came, resting across his stomach. He settles deeper into the comfortable shadows around him with a contented sigh. He feels as though he could simply merge with it and disappear; become one with the darkness and leave only an irregular smear of what once coursed through his veins on the floor. Closing his eyes, he drops his right hand to the floor, painting two parallel streaks across the metal next to him. His strength is definitely leaving him now...he doesn't feel as though he’ll be able to open his eyes again. Funny, how something so horribly fatal just feels like a hard punch to the stomach. He can't really feel anything. It isn't really painful. It doesn't sting, doesn't burn. Bleeding doesn't hurt. *Maybe I'm already dead...* He opens his eyes again. No...he isn't dead. Not yet. The corridor stretches out in front of him again, travelling on without him into the darkness, disappearing finally in shadow. *This really should hurt more...a lot more...* His heart still pulses weakly in his chest, pumping tirelessly, almost futilely against the certainty of his demise. He nearly hopes it would just give up, resign itself as he has...even if that was raising the white flag, throwing in the towel. He doesn't really feel like dying, just yet. After all, he's still only twenty-nine years of age. Barely ten years over the age of majority. And, should he survive this, he might even have up to sixty or more years left in him. But they were ten long, long years. *Oh, well. It's not like anyone's going to find me here, anyway. Definitely not a doctor, or a surgeon.* The metal walls behind him are cold, unyielding, but he feels as though he's melting into them. Becoming one with the shadow... There's still the possibility that he'll be recuperated, of course...taken in and healed. Then, most likely, would come the interrogation. Of course, they'll probably euphemize it as an 'interview' or some other such politically correct garbage. He smirks to himself, glad his face has been spared injury. Not out of vanity...just because it would have stung very badly if he'd been grazed there...that last smirk would have torn it all wide open. That much he knew from experience. Lolling his head lazily, he glances down at his sidearm. It's lying on its side, next to him. He can still use it, terminate his life here, and avoid that kind of indignity. Besides which, if he did use it, and if there was a just god, he'd only get to see her again all the sooner. Knowing his luck, there wasn't one. His right hand curls around the grip...it's still warm. Warm from his hand, warm from the fire that had erupted from within it thirty-odd times within the last hour. The breech isn't locked into the back position...indicating that there is still one round chambered. An audible click resounds in the silence, followed by the rasp of metal against metal, and the magazine falls into his lap. His eye passes over it indolently, and he has to count twice to find that there are still five bullets left in it. Without using his left hand -- still nursing his injury -- he guides the magazine back into its place, making sure it's properly nested within the gun's handgrip. He thinks a little longer about pushing the business end against his skull, letting his blood-stained index twitch once, and departing. The idea doesn't hold much sway over him...for some reason, following the rulebook isn't appealing to him in the slightest any longer. Instead he smiles through heavily lidded eyes, and lifts the muzzle of the weapon so that it points at the deck plating a few feet beyond him. He feels like laughing as he pulls on the trigger four, five times, each time listening for the explosive report and the high-pitched ricochet. It's funny how good it feels to be shooting at something inanimate again. The last round he fires into the ceiling. Instead of the usual ricochet, there is the distinct tinkle of breaking glass, and the dim fluorescent light overhead shatters and rains down to the floor, scattering. Sparks arc spasmodically from the broken fixture, breaking the new darkness in bursts, but otherwise, he now sits in a pitch black tomb of his own creation. Every once in a while, when the sparks light off, he can see the breech, open...the last cartridges sitting on the floor next to him. When he breathes, he can smell the acrid stench of cordite biting into his nostrils...and for some reason, it just feels so damn good to be alive.