Truthfully Tranced Trowa

By Jason Langlois

Catherine Bloom smiled as the struggles beneath her slowed. The young girl's mouth moved, though no voice came out, blocked by Catherine's hands. Blue eyes bulged under a red fringe, begging, pleading, Why, why, why are you doing this? Catherine only had one answer, which she whispered in the girl's ear as her struggles ceased.

"Because it feels so good."

She walked around the cooling body, taking in all angles. From this position, the girl could be sleeping. Catherine knelt and slid the eyelids closed, completing the illusion. She did not bother to move the body into a position that looked more like sleeping. It would ruin the final image in her mind.

She liked to preserve that final moment, to lock it into her mind and savor it. She picked up the lone object in the corner of the room; A Polaroid camera. She snapped photos from different angles. One, from above, would be sent to the girl's family with a ransom letter. That would give her time to get away.

Another, taken from above at the girl's feet, would go into her treasury.

She hummed as she waited for the photos to develop, grinning as her favored one came out clear and vibrant. She could almost see the spirit leaving the body, it was so crisp. She picked one, focused more on the girl's face, and slipped it into the envelope with the note. The rest she dropped around the girl. By the time the police actually found the little one, they wouldn't recognize her. This would help them.

It was the least Catherine could do.

She would have to move again, but she'd planned for that. She had planned for every possible contingency, from the gloves on her hands to cover her fingerprints to the wig made from the hair of her first victim to confuse the evidence.

That one had been blessed with such fine, long hair. A pity this one's was so short. The wig was starting to dry out.

"Goodbye, Mariemaia," Catherine whispered. "I'll see you tonight, my little love... in my dreams."

Yes, she had planned everything. Except that she hadn't planned that someone would be waiting for her at the door of her cabin. And she hadn't planned that he would use a taser to knock her senseless.

She certainly hadn't planned to fall into the blackness of oblivion. Not this soon, at any rate.

When she woke, it was to a blurred halo of light. She tried to move, but her arms and legs would not heed her instructions. There was a tingling sensation at her wrists and ankles. She wanted to test that, but found only her head would move, and only side to side. To her left was a form in the shadow, barely visible.

"Who are you?" she rasped. Her strength was coming back, albeit slowly.

"If you struggle, you'll only hurt yourself," said a rich tenor voice. The figure did not move into the light, but continued arranging items on a tray. The sound of each item being moved was the clack of metal on metal.

"Who are you," she repeated, patiently. She could see the silhouette look at her, but not any features. It was almost enough to frustrate her.

"I've bound your legs and arms with piano wire. It's very thin. If you pull at it, it will take a hand or foot. I've been told the pain is excruciating. I'd like to talk to you before anything... untoward happens."

"Start," she said, calmly, "by telling me who you are."

"Catherine," the man said, stepping toward the light. "You know."

And just before he stepped into the pool of light, she did know. She smiled, suddenly excited. "Trowa!"

He stepped forward then, his face impassive, the one lock of hair obscuring a single eye, as always. It was beautiful to see him.

"I have to much to tell you, Trowa! So much to share!"

"I already know, Catherine." His voice, unlike hers, was emotionless, even a little bit cold. She did not understand.

"But I understand now! I get it!" She moved her head, just enough to look into his eyes. She wanted to move her body, but his warning stopped her just in time. "I know how it feels now!"

"You know nothing." He said it in the same tone as before, but now it was a slap to her face, causing her to blink. "You're sloppy, Catherine. Undisciplined. Evil."

Catherine's eyes widened, and a crack appeared in her usual calm. "Evil? Evil! That's... amazing coming from you! How many have you killed?" She continued as he stepped back into the shadows, bringing the tray with him. "How many gave you that rush, the one thing you can actually feel? How many?!"

Trowa said nothing, but stared at her. She fought for calm and looked back into his eyes, pleading. "It feels so good, brother. I know you feel it. And I'm not sloppy! I'm learning! I'm careful!" When he did not answer, she blurted out with a gasp. "I'm just like you, Trowa!"

"You're nothing like me," he said, his voice now full of an unmistakable chill. She shuddered, involuntarily, and for a moment the tingling in her wrists and ankles became a sharp pain. She could not tear her eyes away from him, not even if she wanted to.

There was nothing in them. They were as flat as Mariemaia's were, just as lifeless. She closed her eyes, but his voice prompted her to open them again.

"You target children. I would never, ever target children for what I do."

"Why not?" Catherine asked after swallowing on her fear.

Trowa leaned down, putting his lips next to her ear, his hand tickling the fabric at her stomach, raising it, baring the flesh beneath.

"Because I have standards."

That is when the hook he was holding went in. A scream tore from Catherine's throat, and she arched, her arms and legs pulling against the wire, cutting them until they were severed. It did not take her long to bleed to death, and her dying sound rattled for some time.

As he packed his instruments, turning up the light to let the investigators that would follow see the pictures and news clippings of Catherine's crimes, he pondered. Was Catherine's final scream one of pain, or one of pleasure?

He wished she could tell him.