Covered in Darkness
Chapter 13: Pain
by Quatre's Girl

::looks at clock:: It's now 2:13 AM. I am exhausted, emotionally drained, in a terrible mood, and feel a bit sick. I hope you all are happy that I took this time (in my moments of insomnia) to write in CID instead of getting some sleep. The chapter isn't that long, but how many of mine are, really? Eh, this one is sort of weird, and I'm not really all that proud of it. It's also representing why I gave this fic a PG-13 rating. Whee! Senseless and gratuitous violence, though there's not as much as I would have wanted. And yes, I know the idea of frozen salt is a bizarre one, but I thought of it at quarter to two in the morning, so live with it.

I hope you all enjoy reading this chapter (even though I'm not particularly proud of it). Only one more to write (and then a surprise at the end), and then we're done!!!


I choked, the gloved hand around my neck tightening, my own hands weakly reaching up to pry it off. The Kaiser's grip was like iron and it felt as though he were going to break my neck in half. A sadistic, twisted smile tugged at his lips, his eyes thirsting for blood. The hand tightened, cutting off my air completely. I couldn't breathe! Frantically flailing for some way to give my body oxygen, I kicked out, my foot impacting with his chest. He grunted, more surprised than hurt, but it was enough to make him lose his hold. I fell to my knees, coughing and gasping for air.

He was too strong. I shouldn't have allowed him to grow as strong as he was, but my own thoughts and insecurities had turned against me and given him power while weakening my own. It was only a matter of time before he'd...No! I couldn't let that happen! I had to fight back against him no matter what! 'But,' I asked myself, 'how?'

I should never have taken my eyes off him, I lamented, as a metal-toed boot slammed into my ribs. An audible crack resounded in the dark void, and I tried to cry out, but blood forced its way up my throat and out of my mouth. I was thrown backwards, landing on my sliced-up back with a thud. I moaned helplessly in pain; at least one, maybe two ribs were broken.

"How _dare_ you defy me..." the Kaiser spoke, his voice full of loathing. "I've waited too long for this moment. I'm stronger than you by far. There's not point to your fruitless struggles. Make this easy on yourself and go quietly, or I'm going to kill you so slowly, you'll be begging for the end."

I dazedly rolled over onto my stomach, pushing myself into a kneeling position, while keeping one hand over my injured ribs.

"Do what you want. I swear I won't go without a fight," I spoke, the blood in my throat and mouth making my voice hoarse. I couldn't afford to fall at that point. My only hope was that he had been lying to me before I was brought to the void, that the onslaughts of horrible visions were merely ideas created by the Kaiser's whims, rather than out of the depths of my own mind. He smirked.

"I know what you're thinking, Ken. I did fabricate some of those visions you had, the more intense ones, but the bare threads of everything you experienced were present and available for my use. You have all those doubts about your friends, yourself, everything. I did magnify those thoughts, of course, but the fact of the matter is you still had them. This part of you disgusts me. You're so hypocritical, saying that you've won back the kindness and the goodness of your soul! You only think you have, leaving room for doubt and insecurities. You'll never be able to be true to yourself unless you abandon all those thoughts, as I have. If you cast off insignificant human traits like love and kindness, you'll find that so much more can be accomplished. The freedom of you mind and soul can truly be attained once you have nothing tying you down. There is no limit to what one can attain. But, unfortunately for you, you'll never get to experience this freedom. You're never going to see the light again."

I flinched as my broken ribs sent a shock of pain through my aching body.

"Then why did you tell me all this? Why explain everything to me if you're just going to kill me right now?" I asked.

"Just a whim. I like keeping my prey well informed. It makes the situation so much more interesting, wouldn't you agree? I was worried at first that you may gain strength with a couple of these revelations, but then I saw your pathetic attempts to distract my attention, as you are doing now, and deny yourself the inevitable. I figured I'd play along, since you seemed so frightened of what I was going to do to you. I do so love the feeling of raw fear in a victim. I can see it in your eyes. Every motion I make succeeds in making you even more terrified of me." The Kaiser strode swiftly over to me and held up his hand, as if motioning to strike. I flinched, preparing for the blow. He snickered.

"Do you see what I mean? I can't believe I let you take control and imprison me. You're pathetic." With that, he backhanded me across the face, knocking me to the ground again. I whimpered softly. My body couldn't handle much more abuse. However, there was something I was sure of at that moment. I had, in all my time of searching blindly, finally found the smallest ray of hope in the eternal darkness. Since the Kaiser had fabricated the vision I had of the others turning against me, that meant that they might have been out there, searching for me while I was imprisoned. He could only tell me this, of course, after he had me trapped in the void. We wouldn't leave it until one of us became the victor and either imprisoned or killed the other in order to gain control over my body. The Kaiser intended to kill me instead of trapping me, for fear of another retaliation. Or rather, he wanted to kill the part of me represented by the form I was in at the moment. But which part of me was I? Was I the true Ken, or was I just another personality, like him, created out of sorrow? It made no sense whatsoever, but all I could tell from instinct alone was that the Kaiser before me was what caused the hurt, the darkness, and I would fight with every ounce of strength in me to keep him away.

With only my feeble hope of my friends coming to my assistance to empower me, it wasn't nearly enough to ward off the attacks coming from the Kaiser. He lashed out with his knife, slicing any part of my body he could touch. Soon my arms, legs, face, and chest were covered in cuts, crimson blood coating my skin. My shirt and bandages were tattered, my pants riddled with slices. The Kaiser lunged, pinning me onto my back with a foot on my chest, disregarding any and all injuries he was augmenting. The knife went to my throat; I could feel the cool blade pressed to my neck, the blood coating it slowly dripping down my skin. He had a glimmer of insanity in his eyes as he leaned in close to whisper to me.

"I could end it all for you now. All the pain and suffering would be gone. The only thing I have to do is slice, and it'll be over," he spoke in a hushed voice, as though he were in awe of the simplicity of the task. I didn't quite acknowledge it then, but I realized subconsciously how much humans take their own lives for granted, that they could be over in an instant. Another thought that graced my mind saddened me as I realized the connection with it and human weakness. There was a part of me that wanted him to kill me, to end it all and not have to cope with anything anymore.

"Why don't you then?" I responded with poorly concealed anger. I was angry to be at his mercy, but even more so, I was angry with myself for allowing my weakness to cloud my thoughts. I didn't want to die, but there was a part of me that told me to give in.

The Kaiser smiled, a devilish, mirth-less smile, then grabbed a handful of my hair. Yanking my face painfully closer to his, his smile broadened.

"You haven't suffered enough," he told me simply. Taking the knife from my throat, he flipped it around and struck me with the hilt of it. I cried out, painfully taking the blow. The Kaiser then embedded the blade deeply in my arm, a feral look coming over his features as I reacted to the ferocious pain. It seemed like an almost animal desire for him to see me bleed, to hear my cries of pain. Pulling back sharply, he yanked the knife from my arm, leaving a bleeding wound in it. My hand immediately flew to cover it and keep too much blood from seeping out. He stood, his foot leaving my chest, and licked the dark blood from the blade of his knife.

"You're...insane..." I croaked out, my voice cut by the blood in my throat and my own gasps of pain. He smirked.

"And you're dead."

Suddenly, the darkness oozed up, long tendrils of black matter, much like those from my nightmare, surrounding my body. They wrapped hand-like appendages around me, taking hold of each of my arms and legs, around my stomach and neck. More still wavered about, ready to subjugate any retaliation I might have shown. Their touch was like ice on my lacerated skin, like frozen salt being rubbed viciously into each wound. Each clawed hand of darkness squeezed me tightly, as though they were trying to break through my body. It was so harsh, so painful, that I didn't even notice I had begun to scream. My hearing was completely drowned out; my entire being was focused on the agony I felt.

The Kaiser came up to me, a gloved hand stroking my cheek as the hands stopped their attack for a moment. I opened my pain-dulled eyes, staring at him, as he spoke. His mouth moved, but I could only pick up the faintest whisper of words. He smiled, a satisfied, psychotic grin, and snapped his fingers. Instantly, black energy, like electricity, surged across my skin. The hands began to crush my body as the energy seemed to burn off my skin. I knew, as I screamed in pure anguish, that I was going to die.

Moments before my bones were shattered, a remarkable thing happened. The hands were driven off by some invisible force, the electricity dying down to leave only the tiniest sparks still flickering. I fell on my back onto the black ground and lay there, staring blankly ahead, struggling to breathe. What was...I was alive? But how did...? I was filled with confusion. Then I heard a voice. Loud and clear, and so wonderfully familiar that it hurt to hear it.

"Kaiser, I'm going to give you three seconds to get away from Ken."

It was Daisuke.


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