Apr 3, 2012


Clothed, but shaking, terrified, and fighting tears, Lena walked out of the office with Dr. Wu following closely. She was led into what looked like a normal office building hallway. At no point would she ever have suspected that this was where people were brought to suffer. Even though the hall was spotless in a corporate way, she could only see blood and horror. Lena just wanted to leave, to be gone. But Wu told her to move and so she did.

“See the elevator at the end of the hall?” Wu asked, none of his doctorly charm remaining. “Go to it.”

Lena said nothing, but obeyed. From out of a door just a few feet in front her on the left came Hank whose face was bruised, cut, and bleeding. His right eye was swollen and black, his lip split, and blood ran from his nose. He looked tired, but somehow resolute. Upon seeing him, Lena exclaimed, “Hank! Oh, Hank!” She tried running to him, but Wu grabbed her arm and yanked her back.

“You will stay with me,” Wu ordered.

“Lena!” Hank said firmly, as if to tell her everything was going to be alright. Lena knew Hank did not believe it, but him saying it, even indirectly, comforted her just a little. “Are you okay, what did-”

A blond man stepped out of the door from which Hank came and snapped with a slight German accent, “Silence!” He poked Hank in the back with a cattle prod, but did not fire it.

“Are you alright?” Hank finished, only to be electrocuted. He resisted screaming.

“Shut up!” The German cried. “Go to the elevator!”

“I'm- I'm fine, Hank,” Lena lied.

“Quiet,” Wu said as they made it to the elevator door. He pressed the call button to go up. They stood there in silence as they waited. When Hank tried to look at his wife, the German threatened him with the cattle prod.

In defiance, Hank stealthily reached for Lena's hand. She took it and had never appreciated her husband's touch as she did in that moment. It was all she needed to be assured that they would go on and that it would be all right. With her husband's firm grip, she could not only think it, but she believed it.

Suddenly, Hank's hand entered a vicegrip as electricity shot through his body. He grunted in pain as Lena screamed more from fright than hurt. Hank let go as soon as the shock stopped. The German had zapped him with the cattle prod. “You cannot talk, you cannot touch!”

The elevator opened and the Mitchells were shoved inside. Wu and the German soon followed. Lena failed to notice which of them pressed the button or which floor they were going to. She looked only at the floor. She couldn't bear to look anywhere else. She wanted to look to Hank, but even that scared her. Lena could not bear the thought of him being electrocuted again. Seeing her husband's pain was far worse than anything Dr. Wu could throw at her.

In almost any other circumstance, Lena would have expected Hank to try fighting. He could probably take on both the German and Dr. Wu, and come out victorious. Many times over Hank had proved himself capable in all sorts of combat. With the best of brutality and finesse, he would turn on their captors and then Lena could flee with him. But not this time. Hank looked tired and close to broken. To those who did not know him, Hank still looked tough. But Lena knew him too well and knew that he used everything in his being to preserve his tough-guy image. She saw that he could not take much more though.

Finally the elevator stopped and the doors opened. “Move,” Wu ordered. Hank and Lena obeyed without argument. They went through another set of hallways until they arrived at a door with Goodwin's name on it. Wu opened the door and pushed the Mitchells inside. “Here are the prisoners,” he said.

Lena looked up to see Goodwin standing behind his desk with Isadora standing at the other side of the room. Goodwin looked them over and then said, “Leave us.”

The torturers nodded and left.

“Put them in cuffs,” Goodwin ordered to the soldiers in the room. They immediately obeyed. Lena held no notion of resistance as the cold steel wrapped around her wrists. She still looked to the ground and still shook. “Her too!” Goodwin pointed to Isadora.

“You must be joking,” Isadora shot back.

“I'm not,” Goodwin snarled. She did not resist. “Stand here in a row in front of me.”

“What?” Isadora asked.

“Do as I say!” Goodwin reached into his jacket and drew his pistol. Lena followed Hank to the center of the office and stood beside him at his left. Isadora stood at Hank's right. “Now, get on your knees!”

They obeyed, but not without Hank finally growling, “You won't get away with this!”

“Please!” Goodwin spat. “Now, your Network needs a password before I can activate it. You are going to tell me that password.”

“Go to hell!”

“Tell me the password now!”

“I'm not giving you the password.”

“Yes, you will,” Goodwin cocked his pistol and pointed it straight at Lena. She looked up and into the barrel of death. In horror, she gasped and could not help it as a tear shot down her cheek. “Tell me or I will kill her!”

“Dammit!” Hank cried. “Don't do this!”

“Peter!” Isadora shouted. “Come to your-”


“Okay, fine!” Hank surrendered. “It isn't worth this. Nothing is worth this.”

Goodwin walked over to his desk and put his hands on the keyboard, “Tell me.”

“It starts with numbers,” Hank said. “The numbers are twelve, sixteen, twenty, and eleven.” Lena wanted to smile then, for that was their anniversary. But she could not. “Then it's seventeen characters and they spell out, 'I love Lena Mitchell.'” Lena wished she could kiss him.

“Cute,” Goodwin said dryly as he typed in the password. “Looks like it's working.”

Hank sighed in relief. He looked to his wife and muttered, “I'm sorry.”

Lena could say nothing. She leaned on his shoulder and sobbed.

“I'll be okay now,” Hank told her. “It will.”

“What the hell?” Goodwin slammed his fist into the desk. “It's asking for a second password.”


“It needs another password!” Goodwin shouted. “Tell me the second password.”

“What? I don't-” Hank shook his head. “What second password?”

“You know what I'm talking about!” Goodwin exclaimed as he came out from behind his desk, pistol flaunting. “Give me the second password!”

“I don't have a second password!”

“You're lying!”

“No, I'm not-”

“Dammit, yes, you are!” Goodwin threw his arms up in frustration. “Why the hell wouldn't you know? Tell me or I will kill her!” He trained his pistol on Lena.

“No!” Lena finally spoke up. “There's no- there's no other password! He doesn't know! Please!”

“He doesn't know? So you do!”

“That's not what she said!” Hank argued.

Goodwin moved his aim to Hank's head and growled at Lena, “Tell me the password or he dies!”

“No!” Lena cried. “I don't- I don't have it, nobody-”

“Tell me now!”

“I- I- don't know! I don't-”


Please! I don't-”

Lena's ears rang from the reverberating gunshot. Her husband's warm blood splattered onto her face. She could only sit there with her jaw dropped in total shock as Hank's lifeless body hit the floor limp. Tears shot down her face, but she froze. She wanted to scream, but no part of her body would move. She couldn't even close her eyes to try and shut the terror away.

“You bastard, you'll pay!” Isadora shouted launching herself straight into Goodwin, knocking them both to the ground. She had somehow managed to break free from the handcuffs and scrambled for his pistol.

Lena watched as the pair of soldiers readied themselves to open fire and end it right there. But they did not.

The door at the far side of the room burst open and in came Liam, Emma, and Sergei dashing in, guns roaring. They took down the pair of soldiers with little trouble. Goodwin kicked Isadora in the face, knocking her back. He grabbed the pistol as he came to his feet and then broke into a run, leaving the room in a frenzy.

“I'm after him!” Sergei exclaimed as he gave chase. Before leaving the room, he said, “Don't worry about me! Get out of here! I'll catch up with you!” He disappeared.

Seeing the threats neutralized, Emma and Liam lowered their rifles and ran to their parents. “Mom!” Emma exclaimed as she dropped to her knees. “What happened?”

She looked at her son and daughter and could say nothing.

“Oh, my God,” Liam saw his father's dead and bleeding corpse. “Oh, God.”

“No, dad!” Emma dropped her rifle and put her hands on the body. “He's just- dad! We need to get out of here, dad!”

Isadora stood by them and said remorsefully, “He's dead. I'm sorry.”

Liam shook his head and collected himself, “We need to get out of here.”

“No!” Tears shot down Emma's cheeks. “He can't just- He can't be dead! That doesn't- that doesn't happen!”

“Hank!” Lena finally cried.

Liam put his arm around his mother's shoulders and firmly told her, “Mom, we can't do this right now. We have to get out of here!”

“But we can't just leave him here!” Emma argued.

“We have to!” Liam shouted. “This place will be swarmed if we don't hurry the hell up! Get it together and let's go!”

Isadora said, “He's right! Come on!”

“No, Hank,” Lena muttered as Liam forced her to her feet.

“I'm sorry, mom,” Liam told her as he dragged her out the way they came in.

Lena took one last glance into the room. Hank's body looked up at her. She expected to see his face again and to be reassured. Instead, she saw only lifeless eyes and a collapsed and blood-covered skull. She found no comfort, only emptiness and pain deep as an abyss. Hank no longer looked anything like the husband she loved. William Henry Mitchell was gone and dead forever.

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