Episode 01: Abigale The Awakened
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“Hey there Abigale! Hello? Abi-chan? Abi-senpai? Gale-senpai? Abi-Q? Oh my, Miss Abigale Quinlan, won’t you please wake up?”

That high pitched and almost synthetic sounding voice rambling off a string of nicknames was the first thing I recalled. The thing that awoke me from a slumber I couldn’t remember entering. Instantly, I had a feeling that I was out for a long time, so much that my body felt heavy and numb. Which should have been impossible.

Instinctively, I opened my eyes in order to determine where I was, but I was greeted by a blindingly bright white light. Sealing them, I began assessing my surroundings in other ways. The tittering of machinery buzzed through the background. My limbs were placed on something cold and metallic. My back laid against a thin pad of some sort. I was wearing nothing but a flimsy hospital gown. And I felt cold.

A slew of queries quickly began to wrack my mind. Where was I, what time was it, what happened since the last thing I could remember, these were just a few. My brain continued to develop these questions as I began moving off of whatever I was laying on and I brought my bare feet to the frigid tiled floor, practically jumping as my skin made contact with this surface

I have been exposed to the frigid tundra with naught but a light garment, and I felt little more than a slight chill as the dry freezing winds assaulted my person. But now, something as mundane and harmless as a cold floor was sending a shiver through my being.

As I stood up and moved my body around, I felt weak, exhausted, not wounded, but as if I had been sapped of my strength. As I grit my teeth in frustration, I opened my eyes once more, where I was met with a simple tile floor that led to a concrete wall, only broken up the pair of metal cabinets that laid against it, all rendered in a darkness that stretched out from my current position. Turning around, I saw an operating table aggressively illuminated by lights hanging from the ceiling. The padded base of the table bore a deep indentation of a human form, one that went through the foam coating and seeped down to the metal below. A groove had been established by someone who was laying on this operating table for a very long time, and it matched my physique exactly.

I looked down at myself. The ground looked as far away as it always had, meaning I still stood at two meters tall. My lean and muscular body was no worse for wear, my brown skin was the same as it had always been, and while my hair was longer than I recalled, it was still the same jet black it always was. I didn’t suffer any visible physical changes that contributed to my current weakness, although I needed a mirror to confirm that my face was unaltered and my crimson eyes were just as they had been before.

“Oh, goody-good! It’s nice to see you up and at ‘em, Quinny-Q,” the synthetic voice chipperly chimed.

“Who are you?” I asked the voice, or at least I attempted to. As the words passed through my mouth, I was shocked by how dry my throat was. Once again, the question of what was going on rested at the forefront of my brain.

“After all,” I thought, “I’m Abigale Quinlan. I am immortal. I heal myself of all wounds within seconds. I can transmute any substance into any other simply by touching it and envisioning the details pertaining to its new form. I have strength, dexterity, agility, and intelligence beyond that of any human in the world, so I should under no circumstances feel like I do now.”

But this knowledge, this statement, did not reflect what I currently felt. My body was staggered, my reflexes were numbed, and my mental capabilities were marred. A distinctively vicious breed of terror began to flood my body as I realized this. That everything I thought I once had was gone. That I was now weak. I asked myself how and why I came to be in this sorry state, but I could do little more than speculate wildly.

“Oh Abigale, dear, sweet, destructive, sexy, and vile Abigale,” the synthetic voice said. “Who I am is unimportant. What is important is that you are astonishingly weak after such a lengthy slumber, and we need to do something about this. Yes, we certainly do.”

The speaker then emerged from the darkness coating much of this room, and their appearance was just as… unique as the voice they spoke in. They wore an outfit inspired by those traditionally worn by plague doctors. One with a metallic beak-like mask and elegant navy robes. Their body was tall and given further volume by the outfit, but what they wore was insignificant compared to what they held. A revolver. A firearm whose trimmings and design fit in with the antiquated theme of this person’s ensemble.

As I saw this weapon, I did not so much as flinch. I had been subjected to thousands of bullet wounds throughout my life, and I had long since stopped so much as feigning fear or concern at the sight of such weapons. Instead, I looked at this person’s mask in confusion, wondering just what they thought they were doing.

“Now, I know this will hurt you ever so much, but I’m afraid that it is necessary to get things rolling. Grit those teeth and endure the pain, because Project Psycho Bullet Festival is a-go-go!”

“What the blazes are you talking about?” I shouted at the person before me as they raised their gun’s barrel.

“Goodbye, my—” The masked person said before they pulled the trigger, their words were cut off by the sound of gunfire.

The loud concussive nature of the noise left me stunned for a moment. Immobile as a hot piece of lead penetrated my abdomen, tore past my skin, and ripped through my organs in order to embed itself within my innards. It hurt. It hurt more than it should have.

The masked person then fired another bullet, one that ripped through the gown and to my stomach, and then another, one that created a hole within my navel. The sensation of my internal organs being severed, my muscles being gashed, and my body’s blood gushing onto my hands left my mind roaring in anguish. But I was unable to so much as shout. Instead, all I could do was clench my wounds and fall onto the cold hard floor.

I had felt excruciating pain throughout my life. I had been burnt by flames, injected with gluttonous amounts of lethal toxins, impaled by dozens of spikes at once, and severed into hundreds of pieces. I had undergone torture that would have killed a human hundreds of times over, growing accustomed to the feelings that came with it. But this was different. Why was I feeling this way? Why wasn’t I healing myself after a few seconds? What happened to me to put me in such a miserable situation? I could not fathom the answer. My mind was too clouded and distracted by the lingering agony this masked person imposed on me. A person who left me by the time I developed the strength needed to raise my head and look forward.

I was abandoned, wounded, and utterly helpless. Up until this point in my life, I had never feared my own demise. I believed it to be an impossibility. But as the blood gushed from my innards, it seemed like an inevitability.

“How pathetic,” I thought. “I’m not going out like this. I will survive. I cannot die. I have too many questions I need to be answered! I have lived too long to die like this!”

Using what little strength I had, I crawled my way towards the nearby concrete wall and began propping myself up against it. The experience was tiring, arduous, and resulted in a thick bloodstain that followed whenever my body went.

Unable to do anything but keep breathing, I began to fixate on the darkness that existed at the end of this room, the same end the masked individual resided in before stepping forward. It reminded me of what would come if I were to die here. Darkness. Nothing more, nothing less, just the emptiness of death as my consciousness dissolves, and I am reduced into nothingness. No longer a person, but a thing.

I groaned as I realized that such an asinine observation would be amongst my final thoughts, but I was interrupted as the dark end of the room illuminated, bringing forward a dim yet pleasant light as the door unveiled another person. Well, technically two.

One was a woman. She was dressed in a black tank top and light jeans that clung tightly to her lean and slender figure, standing at no more than 160 centimeters tall, and possessing short black hair, giving her a boyish look. As she grew closer, I looked at her face, taking note of her age and ethnicity. She looked to be college-aged, and based on her light tan skin tone and facial features, I determined that she was of Malaysian descent.

As for the other, they were a baby, a crying infant wrapped in white cloth. Their face obscured by the way this woman held them. It was a traditionally pleasant image, a young woman holding onto a child who I assumed to be her own. But she only carried the child in one hand. In the other, she held a crude-looking piece of metal. A crowbar. One originally painted a vibrant blue, but its color had been ravaged greatly by wear and time.

With a look of horror on her face, the woman dashed towards me, baby and crowbar in tow. Upon seeing the severity of my wounds, she placed the child and crowbar on the floor before scampering off to one of the metal cabinets, which she feverishly dug through.

I tried to speak to her, but all that came out of my mouth was a series of grunts and a squirt of blood. Too weak to communicate, I simply looked on at her, hoping she would either help me or at least explain what is going on, which she only did after thoroughly searching every cabinet in this room. She returned to me with a roll of gauze but was otherwise empty-handed. If she intended to treat my wounds, she would have no such luck in doing anything but limit my blood loss. Clearly distraught by the situation she was witnessing, the woman began muttering to me.

“I’m sorry Miss Quinlan, I— I don’t know how this happened… there is still a way you could— but if we do that I— Oh, goldarn it all!”

She then turned to both the crowbar and wailing baby and moved both of them directly in front of me. I shot her a quizzical look, unable to fathom why she would do such a thing, but this question soon unraveled into more as I began to look at the infant before me. A female baby who looked to only be a few weeks old based on their face, hair, and general size. The energy she exerted as she fidgeted around in a blanket signified her as a spry and healthy child, but something about her struck me as peculiar.

She had a brown skin tone, one that I couldn’t help but find to be very similar, only slightly lighter, to my own skin. Her face, while underdeveloped, had features reminiscent of my own. While her eyes… they had a subtle crimson color, ones that resembled something slightly brighter than blood when examined closely. The exact same description I’d give my own eyes. With this evidence piled before me, I fought against my wounds in order to satiate my curiosity.

“Is she my daughter?” I asked in a pained huff.

“Y-Yes, Miss Quinlan, she is, but… It would be easier if I were to just show you.”

The young woman then unfurled the sobbing infant’s blanket and grabbed the crowbar before her. She fidgeted around with the child, grabbing their hand and unclenching it from a fist, only to grab her crowbar, and bringing the claw down onto one of the baby’s fingers. Blood burst from her small supple hand, and her cries intensified. I looked at this woman in shock for a moment, only for my attention to drift back to the infant, whose shattered finger was coming back together, with the sprayed flesh rekindling itself and the skin sealing everything away. Within no more than 20 seconds, the infant’s hand was fully healed.

“This baby has the ability to regenerate from wounds, and… if you… if you kill them, then you’ll get their power.”

At this point, I was about ready to buy anything, even if this display only caused the questions in my head to multiply to an excessive volume. I knew this could be a trick, a lie, or some form of manipulation, but a person at the precipice of death will do just about anything to live, and that is especially true for a person in excruciating pain beyond anything they had previously ever experienced. I could not think complex thoughts, my wounds were too extreme, and… I did it.

I grabbed the crowbar within arm’s reach and struck my child with it. One ordinarily lethal strike left the child’s innards splattered across the floor. Yet she still lived. Her disconnected body parts continued to move, to squirm across the floor as if they were trying to rejoin with the rest of her body.

In response to her resilience, I struck her again… and again… and several more times after that. My crowbar-based onslaught continued until both the child and their scattered remains ceased their squirming and became static. Her blood mingled with mine across the floor, the cloth she laid upon was painted a deep red, and her scattered remains, the chunks of her person that remained, all blended into a morose sight that I stared at intently, waiting for the woman’s words to ring true, for the pain that continued to assault my senses to disappear.

As the seconds passed at a glacial pace, the remains before me began to dissipate, to dissolve into what looked to be ash. Ash that floated through the air, as if drawn by an unseen wind, and gravitated towards me. What remained of my child began sifting around my body, growing closer and closer before the ash reached my blood-soaked skin and was absorbed by my body.

As the ash became one with me, I began to feel… better. I felt my innards shifting, my wounds repairing themselves, and both my muscles and organs pushing away the bullets that were embedded within me. It was a slow process, one still fraught with agony, but it diminished in intensity with each passing second, and after a minute had passed, after the three bullets left my person and rolled out onto the floor below, all pain had left my body. All the blood that I had lost returned to my body, and nearly all signs of conflict here were erased.

Once I felt the last of my skin mend itself shut, I slowly stood up and found myself towering over the young Malay woman. Her head was facing away from me, but I could still sense that she was disturbed by my actions. How I brutally murdered a newborn child that was, somehow, my daughter. Still, as the sound of my footsteps echoed throughout the room, she turned her head towards me, looking up at my face and offering me a smile.

“You just saved my life,” I said to the young woman, whose eyes widened in response.

“I… I guess I did. Well, I didn’t really do it. I just brought your baby to you, panicked, told you what to do, and, um… Yeah, I did that. I just did all of that.”

“Yes, you did do all of that… Tell me, what’s your name?”

“Oh, yes, my name is Jack, or at least that’s what everybody calls me, not that I really mind. You can call me Jack too, of course, but, um… you probably have a lot of questions. Don’t you, Miss Quinlan?”

As Jack continued to speak, I fixated her voice. Her nervous demeanor combined with a high-pitched voice made her sound far younger than she actually was. It was a minute detail, but one I couldn’t help but take note of as I interacted with her.

“Please, call me Abigale,” I responded. “There’s no need for such formalities And yes, I do have a wide array of questions. I would appreciate it if you could answer them.”

“I will, but, um, we really should leave first. It’s a long story, but since you woke up, nearly died, and I gave you one of your children— What I’m getting at is that we are both in trouble, and we should go. Like, right now.”

I raised an eyebrow at this woman as she claimed that. Where were we, what was going on, and how I even had a child, these were all very prominent questions in my mind. Ones that I wasn’t going to simply let pass by. However, the desperate expression adorning her face and tone she adopted showed that she was serious. I could have pushed her into answering more, but she did save my life and as such, I felt indebted to her.

“Very well, Jack, let us depart. But I will want answers shortly after we escape from… here.”

“Thank you! Also, we’re at the Flare Foundation headquarters… I’ll explain later. Come on.”

After grabbing her crowbar, which lacked any trace of my child’s blood, Jack opened the metal door she entered from to reveal a long hallway with tile flooring, concrete walls, and dim lighting. She began walking through the halls at a brisk pace while I followed behind her. She made frequent turns, moving through the identical halls with ease as she led me past dozens of metal doors only distinguishable by the number and name they were labeled with. We, thankfully, did not come across anyone else, not even the sound of distant footsteps, before reaching our destination. A clearly labeled storage room.

It was not a small room, but it was a cluttered one. The walls were covered in metal shelves, lined with nondescript and vaguely labeled boxes, and the center of the room was been taken up by a cluster of shelving units with similar contents. Amidst this scattered setup, Jack darted over to the other end of the room, where she sifted through an unlabeled box, pulling out a large backpack from it. As she slung this backpack over her shoulders, she moved to another end of the room and began using her crowbar to pry out one of the shelving units. However, due to the weight resting on the shelves, and the positioning of it, she was having difficulties moving much of anything.

I went over to assist her, grabbing onto one end of the shelf and pulling hard, only to be reminded of my lack of strength. What should have been a simple task now required me to exert myself to get this shelf to so much as budge, and by the time it was pulled away from the wall, I felt sweat coating my forehead. With a huff, I followed Jack through the small crevice we opened between the shelves and what I saw was seemingly well worth the effort.

It was a door. A door that was awkwardly placed within the wall, and it lacked any kind of knob or handle. Once again, Jack took her crowbar to the problem, and she was able to pry the door open with relative ease. Well, at least compared to the shelving unit. She pushed the door open as far as she could considering the placement of the shelving unit, allowing us to peer in and see that this door led to a dark pathway made of stone.

Upon seeing this, Jack dug her hands into her backpack, blindly searching through its numerous compartments before pulling out a flashlight, allowing her to illuminate the cavernous tunnel that stood before us. If there was an end to this tunnel, I could not see it. Regardless, Jack continued through the door with her light in tow, not saying anything to me as I squeezed my body through this small crevice and followed her. After I let the door behind me slam shut, she shined her flashlight at me and looked over my person, which was dressed in nothing more than a deteriorating hospital gown.

Without asking me anything, Jack dug into her backpack once more, where she began pulling out some clothes. A light blue long-sleeved shirt, a pair of bike shorts, some socks, a pair of worn boots, a sports bra, and a panty. All of which she tossed in my general direction. I looked at her in mild confusion as I examined the small Jack-sized clothing before she spoke to me for the first time in the past five minutes.

“I know this is kinda awkward,” Jack commented, her voice echoing through the cave, “but I figured you’d want to wear something other than a torn hospital gown. They’re spare clothes of mine, so they probably won’t fit very well, but you can wear them… if you want to.”

Not wanting to waste an opportunity like this, I did as she suggested and quickly changed into Jack’s clothes, which all fit me in the sense that I could, physically, fit into them without the fabrics splitting at the seams. I had no doubt that these clothes were unbecoming on somebody with my proportions, with the shorts digging into my thighs and the shirt leaving my navel exposed, but I had other, far more pressing things to worry about at the moment. Such as the low ceiling I nearly slammed my head against before I started crouching.

Jack and I continued down the cavern from there, walking at a brisk pace, heading onwards with no clear direction, and in silence… at least until I decided to make use of this quiet time by asking her some of my many questions.

“So Jack, do you know how long I’ve been here? It must have been about a year if I was able to conceive and give birth to a child.”

“Um… Do you promise me that you’ll stay calm as I tell you everything?”

“Why, of course.”

“All right, in that case… You, Abigale Quinlan… you were in a coma for… for 7 years.”

I paused for a second after hearing that, only to resume walking through the cavern the next. The very idea of falling into a coma, let alone for 7 years, struck me as an impossibility. Or at least an improbability I would not buy without proper evidence. I did not wish to disrespect or disregard Jack’s words, but I do not believe in anomalies simply based on conjecture. So I simply remained silent

“In that time,” Jack continued, her voice calm and sorrowful, “you were captured by the Flare Foundation. They did a lot of things to your sleeping body, including forcing you to give birth to children. Each one of them took one, or some, of your abilities. I knew that if they died, you would regain the powers that they inherited. It’s why I had you kill your youngest child… your seventh child. Because I knew it would save your life.”

“I see,” I replied, my disbelief apparent in my tone.

We silently continued down this cavernous path for a short while longer before we reached another door. Jack swiftly grabbed its handle, paused, and then turned to me.

“Abigale, things… things have changed since you were last awake. I’m guessing you don’t remember what, so… just please try to stay calm, okay? …Please… Promise me.”

“I promise you, Jack. I will remain calm,” I earnestly declared.

Jack then began to slowly open the heavy metal door, one that illuminated this dark cavern with aggressive sunlight. I shield my eyes as I slowly made my way out outside, allowing my body to adjust to the light. I took a deep breath upon exiting, feeling the sun pounding against my body, while cool and crisp air brushed against my face.

As I fully opened my eyes, I was greeted by a temperate region. A landscape populated with young trees, scattered shrubbery, cacti, and fauna that looked to belong to a far warmer and drier climate. It was a strange sight that only became truly bizarre as I craned my neck upwards and saw stone pillars. Structures that looked to have erupted from the Earth and rose high into the sky, reaching anywhere from 30 to 50 meters in height, all bearing a discernable cylindrical shape that looked to have a diameter of 5 meters at a minimum. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, something that more closely resembled a tree than any natural rock formation, but even from a distance, I could tell that these structures were made of stone.

I shook my head at this sight before directing my head to the ground before me, only to notice how uneven it was, with small yet noticeable mounds and ditches littering the environment before me. Their positioning, height, and general shape all seemed unnatural though. As if something had altered or damaged the earth itself, breaking away at it for an indiscernible purpose. I shook my head as I made note of this detail before taking a step back and looking at the world from a broad perspective, observing this somewhat pleasant yet uncanny environment as the morning sun peered over the mountainous horizon.

I could not pinpoint where in the world I could possibly be based on these geographical features, but as I continued to dart my eyes about, past the stone pillars and trees, I discovered the remnants of a road, reduced to nothing but slabs of torn asphalt. I began walking towards it in order to get a closer look, but as I did so, I noticed something that was previously obstructed by a particularly tall hill. It was merely a speck over the horizon but looked to be an establishment. One with a suspicious silhouette

Just as I readied to walk away from the sun and towards the western horizon to investigate this, Jack grabbed my shoulder. She held a pair of binoculars in her hand, likely from her backpack, and shoved them against my person. She held a sour expression as I plucked the binoculars from her hands, as if she anticipated that I wouldn’t like what I was about to see. Well, she was right. Once I placed the binoculars over my eyes, what I saw was a ruin. A modern city, a western city of a first world country that had fallen into ruin. Buildings had crumbled to the ground and vegetation that had taken hold of what remained.

“What happened?” I murmured as I took in this sight.

Jack was quick to reply.

“You. You happened, Abigale. You did all of this.”