How often has man told stories of seeing figures out of the corners of their eyes? Fleeting gossamer of people who aren’t really there.
Or are they?
Tonight, in this Hospital in his home state, Matthew Knox was one such apparition as he moved through the halls mostly undetected, the surgical mask and black scrubs doing enough to not warrant the second glance of a dejected night shift.
His limbs were as cold and ghostly as his pallid, damp skin. Arctic sweat caused a few stray bangs to cling to his forehead. His destination wasn’t very well hidden, between the whispers and the lackadaisical leaving of charts at the nurse’s station.
Well, that and the 6’6 enraged giant standing guard.
He walked past first, before stopping and standing much too close to arm’s length. After a beat to be sure no other scrubs were near, he began to speak.
“I had no idea what she was planning. I thought it was going to be mind game bullshit….hell, I was almost assured as such.
At first there was no reply from the other side of the door. Then the sound of a man's deep baritone voice that has a light tremble can be heard. "You stood there and let it happen, what am I supposed to say to that?"
“Nothin’ with your mouth and not enough with your fists…” he couldn’t help the chuckle, briefly putting himself in the shoes of an outside. Looking at it from the surface level “But, the fact that this door isn’t off the hinges and i’m not flying out a window tells me that you know something got fucked up..” a pause, a shake of the head.
“You were right, Macentyre. Everything you said about me, about me sticking my nose where it didn’t belong…I tried putting out this fire but i grabbed the gas can instead of the water jug.” a deep sigh comes from Mac, a sharp intake of breath. "You were someone that I considered family. I asked you to stay out of this because I was already working on amber to try to wake her up to what masque was trying to do. I finally got thru to her 3 days ago. "
There was a momentary pause, "Please tell me you didn't try to seduce that monster." Then a chuckle comes from him, "of course you did, and now she's got her hooks do deep in you that there is no escape. " The door swings open as a very haggard looking Mac Bane stands before him.
“Seemed like a solid play…awful as it is. Flawed, lonely, somewhere i’ve been…” he narrowed his eyes at the wall, keeping his guilt-laden gaze off what once was one of his best friends before everything went tits up “She is…impressive though, in her ability to go undetected. But i guess a life of people not wanting to look at you, and see those deformities allows some sort of benefit..”
Finally, he turned his gaze to Mac and shook his head.
“You should go get some rest. I know you don’t trust me, but i’m telling you: She’s done here. She thinks this is enough and is content to lord her accomplishments..” Mac's gaze hardens as he looks directly into msg Matt's eyes. "It's a smoke screen Matt. You can't even see the level of corruption and the control she's got on you."
Mac shakes his head in dismay. Matt exhales through his nostrils, shaking his own head as he chuckles once.
“I know exactly what she has on me…and it’s something that I can’t make go away any better than I did before, and the second I step out of line, i am powerless to stop it and..” he trails off, shaking his head “I can’t be ruined, not when so many are suddenly dependent on me.” he breaks their gaze, shame causing his body to twitch as he lets out a scoffing chuckle.
“God…I don’t even have words. I probably shouldn’t have even came but, on some fucked up level? You still matter to me, Mac. Your word carries an annoying weight. And I couldn’t just have you thinking that this was..” he shrugged “I don’t know, sour grapes over not bagging the redhead…my hands are tied now. I gave her the rope, and I will own my share of this guilt and play my part..”
He shakes his head, another scoff.
“Fuck do we do now?”
Mac's posture straightens, and his fists clench so tight they are a scary shade of white. Through a tightly clenched jaw, "You're forgetting one thing, there's a price to pay for this Matthew." He let's his fists relax, "not today and not in the hospital." He reaches back and snatched the rubber band that held his hair back. "Know this, I would not treat any of my brothers any different. I'm going to hurt you. I could say that it will hurt me more but that would be a lie. You and Masque couldn't have hurt me more. You two ripped the heart out of my chest."
“I won’t berate you, Mac. But I will say, that perhaps the best route for you right now? Is to be where you should have been this whole time..” he let out an exhale, daring to find the gaze again. He set his feet, posture shifting and ready to disappear as quickly as he had appeared “This whole thing…nothing but fools pride and ego. I won’t berate you, like I said..”
“But I also said, that this was coming. That Masque was dangerous and not to be ignored. Yeah, I fucked up but I did my best. I did something. While all anyone else did was get angry at my presumptuous nature…
Sure, you had right. Plenty of it. But you let it blind you and…that in there?”
He motioned to Amber.
“Is Caesar. And sure, Masque may be Brutus but we’re all Senators here, Mac. We’re all guilty of this murder…and now we are all under her thumb..”
He turned his back then, starting to walk away while adding “Bring your receipts when you come to collect, brother.”
Mac snorts a laugh as he starts to shut the door. "Same old Matt, only listening to respond instead of comprehending what's been said. I've always been where I was supposed to be. I was working on this before you set foot in this company. Don't worry about receipts. I accept the fact that I'm at least partially to blame for her. This one will be impossible for you to walk away from. You don't even know if she'll keep your secret dumbass, ever considered that?" Mac allows the door to close quietly.
Pausing, Matthew considered it, before speaking to the empty hall, but knowing it would reach him.
“Has she lied yet?”