Placebo

September 14, 2011

 

 Prompt of the Day

 

A electronic beeping, followed by the whir of mechanics preceded the sliver of fluorescent light that fell into his tiny cell. He had no intention of moving to meet the light, or whoever admitted it to the room. Instead, he curled in on himself in the corner, clutching the blue and silver rags of his iconic suit about him, and once again wished he had one of his capsules.  A brisk clacking sound grew from the corridor, quickly drawing closer until it was in the room with him. As it turned and came towards him, it was accompanied by the whisper of cloth – a train sliding along the floor, behind  the clacking stilettos. Her.

A slender hand with frighteningly long nails grasped his arm and firmly turned him outwards. Though she wore the same red-black outfit he had always fought her in, she hadn’t bothered with the cowl. Her face was terrible and beautiful, and he wanted to sink his nails into it and tear it to shreds. If only he had his capsules, the serum! This would be a much different encounter. She stared at him, pity written in the lines of her forehead and the pout of her mouth. It was unbearable.

“Come to gloat again, Femme?” he rasped. “You can only do it so many times before it’s pathetic.”

“Gloating never gets old for me,” she coyly replied. “But I didn’t come here for that. I’ve just heard something terrible, and I came to tell you. Before I do, can I get you anything? After you hear what I have to say, I think you’ll need some comforting. Something to eat, new clothes maybe?”

“My medication,” he responded. “I get sick without it.”

“Very funny.” She almost smiled. “Actually, that’s what I thought you’d say. It just so happens, I have a bottle of it here,” she continued, drawing a small bottle from her cloak. His eyes snapped to the object in her hand, but he knew she couldn’t be telling the truth, not all of it. She had figured out that those capsules were the source of his power, it was how she had managed to capture him. She wouldn’t simply hand them over, she would lose the advantage. And yet, here she was, slipping it in to his trembling hands. Almost mindlessly, he popped the cap off and poured a few of the capsules out onto his dirty palm.

“You did something to them,” he accused, but she was shaking her head.

“No, they’re exactly the same pills you’ve been taking since you became a masked avenger,” she assured him. Quick as a snake striking, her hand darted into his grasp and plucked a pill, popping it into her mouth. “No poison. It would be beneath you and me.”

“Nothing’s beneath you,” he muttered. Still, it seemed she was telling him the truth, and he wanted so badly to take a pill.

“Aren’t you going to take one?” she prompted. “The shivering, the crying and screaming, you haven’t been holding up very well without them.”

“I’ve been suffering from withdrawal,” he growled defensively. “It’s a consequence I’ve accepted, to make sure people like you are punished for your crimes.” She nodded thoughtfully.

“That’s what I thought too. It would have to be pretty potent stuff to make you into Mr.Magnifico, protector of the city,” she said. “So I had it tested, to find out the components, see if I couldn’t manufacture my own.” He was barely listening, he was staring down at the pills, struggling with his indecision, and his burning need, like needles under his skin. If she had taken one, and they worked, she might be simply stalling, waiting for the pill to go into effect – he had to take one too if he was going to go up against her.

“I don’t know how you kept going for as long as you did. My guess would be adrenaline, blind stupidity, and obviously a lot of luck,” she continued. “But I suppose that luck has run out.” He made his decision, and picked up one of the large, variegated capsules, taking a deep breath before he committed. Suddenly, she wrapped her hand around his wrist. “Your pills – they do nothing. The compounds in them cancel each other out. They might give you a boost of energy, but only so much as a cup of coffee.” His eyes flashed up to meet hers.

“You’re a liar!” he snarled. He coughed, and drew a few quick breathes and tried to regain his composure. “Trying something new now that it’s no fun to beat me?”

“I still think it’s pretty fun. Although, after finding this out, it seems fairly unfair,” she mused. “Unfortunately, I wish I were lying. Otherwise I wouldn’t have to be so embarrassed that I was so often bested by you. A normal, ordinary man.” She stared at him a moment longer before standing and stepping away. As she walked out the door, she stopped at the door, her train swirling about as she turned to look at him. She looked as if she were about to say something, and he could only stare up at her waiting. Instead, she dropped her gaze and swept from the room.

He was left alone again, cradling the pills in his hand. He wanted one so badly, but he couldn’t bring himself to put one in his mouth. He told himself it was because he couldn’t trust his arch nemesis, regardless of what she did or said, and the pills were probably poisoned. But in the back of his mind, lurking quietly, he dreaded that, for once, everything she said was entirely true.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: