Chapter 55: The Eyes of Frankenstein

Mach felt herself lifted off her feet, carried by the fist of the metal giant and thrown into the building. Her armor was holding up, but it wouldn’t for much longer. Her normal visor had been all but destroyed long ago, and she was making do with the duraglass visor she’d kept beneath it. She heard people screaming in the building behind her; hopefully they were running for an exit on the other side of the building.

She forced herself to her feet, trying and failing to hold back a groan as her joints screamed at her to stay down.

“Pathetic. I expected more from you.”

The 9ft monster walked slowly towards her. Steam slowly escaped from the holes in its neck. It’s arms hung low, easily reaching its knees. When it spoke, the metal joints that had replaced his bones shifted unnaturally beneath tis skin, pulled along by a combination of muscle and wire.

“You have taken the armor of your betters and made it your own. You have stolen the designs of those I respect. You’re sad attempts at heroism are a mockery to their names.” He stopped moving. “I will give you one more chance to remove your armor and leave this life. If you refuse, I will be far less gentle in doing so.”

Mach tried to catch her breath while he spoke. Most of her weapons were useless against him. He had filled the space beneath his skin with a mesh stronger than any body armor, and what flowed through his veins could hardly be called blood. She didn’t even know what parts of him were still human enough for her to attack.

“You insist on refusing. Regrettable but expected. Please struggle, if you wish. If you refrain from fighting, I fear the lesson of your weakness will be lost on you.”

The massive monster moved with remarkable speed. It was as if the weight of the metals buried under his skin meant nothing to him.

Mach tried to move out of the way, but she knew she would be too slow. Her feet had barely left the ground when the fist slammed into her shoulder and sent her spiraling in a crude mockery of her intended path.

The various rockets throughout her suit switched on, trying valiantly to stabilize her erratic flight. She felt herself slowing, and finally she managed to hover above the ruined street. There were holes littering the building and street below for blocks, marking the crude path her fight had taken through the city.

“Flight. A silly dream yearned for by the young and foolish. But, alas, it would appear that to finish our fight I must take to the skies as well.”

There were no rockets in the monster’s skin. There were no jets, or propellers, or anything of the sort. But nonetheless, he began to rise. It was as his willpower had forced even gravity to surrender its grasp on his form.

Mach wanted to scream at the sight. Mechers were, inherently, capable of creating devices that science couldn’t yet explain. But every device invented should still rest firmly in the realm of science. This monster had been breaking every natural law she knew.

“What are you?” The monster’s ascent didn’t slow, but he locked eyes with the mecher above him. “Why are you so wrong?”

The monster smiled and vanished.

A loud warning blared in her ears, but Mach couldn’t react before the explosion hit her back and she was launched towards the ground.

The street wasn’t enough to stop her. She crashed through the asphalt and steel and into the maintenance tunnel below.

The few lights in the tunnel had been broken by the monster’s rampage above, so the only light came from the hole she had entered through. Only her right hand remained illuminated. She stared at the remains of her gatling gun; he had crushed it in the first minutes of their fight.

Her suit was all but useless now. What power remained could have moved the suit for hours in good condition, but it was nowhere near enough to force the crumpled joints back into alignment. She looked at her other arm, hidden in the darkness.

She had to swallow the bile rising in her throat.

The armored limb was twisted, bent into a shape that belonged in a child’s doodle. She absently wondered why she felt no pain. Then she screamed; a thousand knives and a thousand more bullets lodged themselves into her arm like millions of termites burying beneath her skin and gnawing on anything they could reach. She felt the blood pooling in her armor, slowing rising up the arm and slithering beneath her back.

The emergency escape tantalized her, but she knew that leaving her armor wouldn’t satiate the monster. Every other mecher he’d attacked had been killed, whether they’d surrendered or not. She didn’t have any illusions about her own hopes. She stared through the hole in the ceiling.

The monster took his time, sinking towards her from his vantage point high above the buildings. He knew she couldn’t run. Maybe he even planned it that way; the cruel molten gold eyes betrayed no thoughts or emotions.

“How did this happen?” She didn’t know if she said it out loud. A part of her thought she was still screaming. “Why are you after me?”

She thought she heard someone calling her name. But nobody could help her here. The monster above her was not any normal villain. It was a hunter, a predator that fed on the pain of those it thought lesser.

She was resigned to stare into those eyes. Waiting for the last breath she would ever take.

The eyes that promised her death, the same death he had given to the dozens of mechers he’d killed in the last few months.

The eyes that glowed that unnatural shade of molten gold.

The eyes that only knew hate and pain.

The Eyes of Frankentstein.

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