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Author's Chapter Notes:
Between this and "Shari'a," I'm wondering if something's up with me. Enjoy--I guess.
A Confession of Painp{ margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1px}body{ font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; font-size: 12pt; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal}

A Confession of Pain

by D.X. Machina

September 16, 2006

"And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that."

--William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

They awoke in darkness.

"What the fuck? Where are we?" asked Ted, shaking his head and trying to figure outwhy his head felt like it had been bashed in with a brick.

"Dark," murmured Caden, shaking his head blearily.

"What happened? What's going on?" Adam said, suddenly getting a very bad feelingabout this.

"Dude, shut up, I'm trying to sleep," said Sean. Then, "Ouch! Knock it off!"

"Sean, seriously dude, something's up. We've been kidnapped or something."

"What the fuck? What the fuck! Oh, shit, man, you don't think—"

"Shut up, Ted. You're not helping."

Adam had always been the leader of the group, ever since their freshman year. He hadnatural charisma—it ran in the family.

It had been he who had kept them together through the worst of it, kept their headsstraight, kept their stories straight, kept them from selling each other out. If he said shutup, people shut up.

He knew what Ted was saying, though, and he knew that Ted was right. "We have to getout of here," he said, finally, after staring into the inky blackness of the chamber theyfound themselves in for some time. "If we don't, we're in trouble."

"That bitch," said Caden. "You think she's behind this? Slipped us some roofies orsomething?"

"She wouldn't dare," said Sean. "After all the publicity, she couldn't come after us. Noway."

"We can't have much time," said Adam. "We need to find the door to this place. Quick,start feeling around the walls, see if you can feel a break or something."

They investigated as best they could in the darkness, searching for some sort of exit—orat least, the way an attacker might come in. But there was nothing to be found.

"There has to be something, right? I mean, you think she sealed the room shut?"

"It felt like plywood," said Sean. "Maybe she lined the walls with it."

"I don't know," said Adam.

Further discussion was tabled by the earthquake.

They were thrown into each other as the room was pitched wildly like a bottle cast uponthe ocean. The quake ended with a sudden slam.

Adam was laying on top of Caden when the lights went on. "Son of a bitch. What—wha—ahhh!"

Adam rolled to his right to see what it was Caden was screaming about. It took his eyes asecond to adjust enough to make out the backlit figure that peered down at them fromabove, mouth in a wide, evil smile. The others were screaming and backpedaling, butAdam stood his ground.

It was Alyssa.

Of course it was.

◘ ◘ ◘

They hadn't set out to hurt her.

Indeed, they had just been drinking a bit too much. Alyssa had been hanging out with theboys, as was her wont—she was flirting with them all, a bit, and drinking heavily, andshe passed out midway through the evening, and they were drinking heavily, and Cadenhad copped a feel, and that had led to trying to sneek a peak at the goods, and then Adamhad copped a bit more intimate feel, and—

They weren't bad guys. Not really. She'd been flirting with them. All of them. And shehadn't said no. At least not at first. The fact that she was unconscious through Sean andCaden and had only started screaming when Adam took over, only started screaming,"No! No, no, God, please, no, stop! Please. Please—"

They didn't mean it. Oh, sure, they'd held her down so Adam could finish, but what werethey supposed to do, leave him with blue balls?

Well, maybe they should've. Heck, they all felt bad—even Ted, who'd declined theopportunity, felt bad for not telling everyone to knock it off. They tried to apologize, butAlyssa wouldn't be reasonable. She kept throwing the word "rape" around, like shehadn't been flirting. She'd been flirting! With all of them! It wasn't like she didn't wantit. At least, that's what it had seemed like at the time to them. She'd wanted it.

Adam's dad wasted no time. It would've hurt his ambition for higher office had he doneso. He knew a Senator's son being charged with rape would be disastrous for his hopes tosomeday win the Presidency—unless his son beat the rap. And so his dad had called infavor after favor, fixer after fixer. He got a great defense attorney, a private investigator,a publicist. His attorneys told Rita Cosby how "the victim" had thrown herself at all ofthem, how she'd only regretted it afterward, how she'd said she'd blackmail them all. Alyssa's name just happened to be leaked to a tabloid, along with the fact that when shewas sixteen, she'd had an abortion.

The day after Adam testified, the New York Post ran the headline "SEN'S SON: SHE'SSLUT." The day after the acquittal, he went on Larry King to tell how hard the ordealhad been on him, on his family, how grateful he was for all the support, how he really feltbad for Alyssa, because she wasn't a bad girl, really. Just misguided.

Adam's dad was happy—the publicity had hurt him with women initially, but theacquittal and his son's masterful performance had propelled him to a double-digit lead inhis reelection bid. Adam's friends were happy—they weren't going to jail.

Adam wasn't happy, but he told himself he had to do it, that it was her or him, and that hehad no choice.

He wasn't, after all, a bad guy.

◘ ◘ ◘

As Adam stared up into her beautiful brown eyes, he knew they'd be the last thing he eversaw.

"So, fellas," her voice boomed, as she looked down at the shoebox that contained thepitiful remnants of her attackers, "how's it going?"

"Alyssa, please! If you hurt us, you'll pay for it!"

"Really, Caden? You see, that's what I used to think. I used to think that when I wasyounger. But you see, you guys proved to me that you could get away with hurtingsomeone."

"Alyssa," Adam said quietly, "if we all disappear, you'll be the only suspect."

"You think, dear Adam, that I haven't considered that? No, I know damn well thatthey're going to find me out. That's why the tape's rolling."

At this, she pointed to a camcorder, that was aimed down at the men.

"What do you want?"

"To hurt you like you hurt me," said Alyssa. "But first, I want you to tell the truth aboutwhat happened."

"Look," said Ted, "you were flirting with…."

Alyssa moved with lightning speed. She picked him up, and casually flipped him intothe air, her hand open, following him all the way to the table where her palm slammedinto him, quickly extinguishing the life from him. She brought her blood-spattered handup for the other three to see.

"Anyone else want to cling to the party line?"

"Goddamn it, Alyssa! You—you killed him!"

"You are sharp, Caden. Can't get anything past you. You want to be next?"

"Look, we raped you. What are you going to do about it now? Just kill us, then showpeople the tape and make everyone feel sorry for you?"

Alyssa glowered at Caden, and he shut up.

"You know, there are worse things than death. I was nice to your boy Ted there—his lifewas over in an instant. He didn't have every mistake he ever made broadcast on nationaltelevision. He didn't have minicams set up outside his mother's school, he didn't have hislittle sister ask him if he really might have been asking for it.

"You sons of bitches have no idea how nice I was to Ted. It's because he didn't rape me. He just let you guys do it. I owed him niceness."

Alyssa smiled—a smile that had once been beautiful. "I don't owe you anything butpain."

◘ ◘ ◘

Caden had been the next to die.

She'd closed up the lid to the box, and all Adam and Sean knew was what they couldhear. He'd begged for mercy, pleaded in fact. But all Alyssa had said was, "You're theone who pegged me in the ass, right?"

She'd sat on him, smothered him to death with that ass. She had pitched his lifelesscorpse back into the box, before retrieving Sean, and closing the lid once more, leavingAdam with the body of his friend.

"You bitch," Sean had screamed. "You fucking bitch. You fucking deserved it, you littlecunt! I'm glad I did it! Fuck you!"

Adam listened as she dismembered Sean, pulling each limb away—and somethingmore—before she counted six by plucking his head from his body.

He listened and he cried.

By the time she picked him up, he offered no resistance. Instead, he looked into herbeautiful brown eyes, eyes he'd once fixed on with an admixture of love and lust, eyesthat looked at him with nothing but hatred, and he said, "Before you kill me, let meconfess."

◘ ◘ ◘

The tape got out, somehow.

There was endless recrimination, of course. The Society had blamed the police who'dinitially responded to the 911 call from the hotel; the officers had been so shocked thatthey'd failed to adequately secure things for some time. Then again, the Society had toadmit that perhaps someone in their group—maybe someone with a soft spot for the oldLeague—had copied and leaked it.

Whatever the conduit, the tape had been an immediate sensation. Nancy Grace had gonewall to wall with the "Shrinking Vigilante" story, tut-tutting over the killings whilerunning pixilated footage ad nauseum and muttering darkly about what she'd have done ifsomeone accused her of faking a story.

But it was really Adam Stevens' confession that held people. It was so simple. "Ideserve to die," he'd said. "I lied about Alyssa. She was a good person, before we hurther. My friends are dead because of me, and Alyssa's a killer because of me, and I'msorry."

Alyssa had paused—it was clear on the tape that there was a moment of debate in hermind—before discarding whatever fate she'd planned for Adam, she simply tossed himon the floor and crushed him underfoot.

A quick death. There were worse things.

As for Alyssa, the hotel had not noticed the absence of its guest for some time. Therewere rumors of course—she'd been seen at a truck stop in Abilene, or with an olderredheaded woman in Miami, or wandering through the streets of Edinburgh—but nothingconcrete.

The story would move on; it always does. But no matter her ultimate fate, Alyssa hadwon. Because in the end, they'd paid for it. That's what's supposed to happen when youhurt someone.

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