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Visions of Fire

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The room’s temperature was enough to raise goosebumps along Sebastian’s covered arms. Ruvik wasn’t bothered, obviously having no feeling to external forces, so he paced the room in his aristocratic manner. Sebastian pulled his jacket’s opening tight so he could zip it up; this room was practically a meat locker.

It smelt of stale cologne and must. The carpets were well weathered and the curtains had tears along the bottom where they touched the floor. The seat Sebastian was sitting uncomfortably in made him itch and squirm. The green material had started to rip down the middle exposing a sliver of the yellow foam inside.

Sebastian found his eyes landing on Ruvik though, watching him inspect all the little trinkets that littered the desk to the side of the room. His hair caught rays of sunlight and mimicked the sun itself, giving the effect of a halo. The irony of Ruvik having a halo made Sebastian inwardly chuckle. Ruvik must have sensed Sebastian’s gaze as he turned his head and locked eyes with him. They stared for a time before Ruvik averted his gaze and blinked rapidly. Sebastian wished he could read that diluted mind.

The doorknob jiggled and clicked open. A woman with a brunette bun poked her head in just enough to whisper to Sebastian, “Dr. Vause will be with you shortly, make yourself comfortable.” She smiled and closed the door gently.

Ruvik was still and seemed to be pondering while looking out the window closest to Sebastian. He never noticed how glum the young man always looked.

Sebastian shifted in his seat and couldn’t decide where to look at. “Hey— Uh.. are you okay?” he muttered awkwardly.

Ruvik turned to face him with his usual deadpan face then resumed to stare out the window. “I thought you didn’t care what happened to me?” he snapped.

“That’s true but you always look so goddamn sad,” he stated. “Must be my stupid fatherly instincts,” he trailed off while he picked at the frayed fabric of the seat.

Ruvik seemed to ignore him so he gave up and continued to mess with the fabric while he waited for Dennis.

***

It felt like an hour went by and Sebastian began to wonder if he should have come here at all. Just as he was about to stand up and make for the door, it swung open and an older man walked in.

“Well I see you came back Mr. Castellanos. We’re not going to get handsy today are we?” he jested.

Sebastian crossed his arms and leaned back. “Yeah, sorry about that. I just haven’t heard anything about Joseph since well... never. He’s been missing for years now and you know things. Of course I would be excited, I thought you were a professional doc?” he quipped.

Sebastian watched as the man sat down stiffly. His hair was practically gray with only a few black strands trying to fight their way through. The jowls of his face sagged along with the corners of his eyes, his eyebrows drooped down almost obscuring his eyes entirely. From what Sebastian could see, they were a deep blue. He wore a tan jacket with a maroon button up shirt along with a worn pair of khakis. The guy could have been selling him car insurance if he didn’t know he used to work for Mobius.

The man slightly raised an eyebrow and his friendly demeanor seemed to fade. “I am a professional,” he began with a dark and aged voice. “Now what do you want from me? You clearly have no interest in therapy so what is your aim Mr. Castellanos?”

“Please, it’s Sebastian,” he started, “Dennis, right?” Sebastian watched as the man clenched his fists at the mention of his real name. “I’ve been told that you used to work with a certain company. You even told me yourself that you treated Joseph— brainwashed him actually, from what I’ve been told. Now, could you help me out maybe by telling me where you did this?”

Dennis’ arm had a slight tremble to it as he clenched the arm of the chair. “How did you get this information? Are you with Mobius?” His voice came out shaky and breathy. He stood in a cautious manner and backed away from them to slink away to his desk.

Ruvik watched intently, observing the older man’s actions then glanced over to see Sebastian looking back at him as if searching for an idea of what to do. Ruvik shrugged his shoulders and continued his daydreaming. Well he was no help.

“Sir, I didn’t mean to scare you but no I’m not with Mobius. I fucking hate them. They ruin everything they touch, including my daughter. She still has nightmares about that psychotic artist,” his voice began to wander. “I need to know where Joseph is, I intend to save him from them. I just need an address or I’m fucked. Please?”

Dennis was visibly shaken. His eyes were wide and his breathing was erratic. Sebastian pitied the poor man.

He calmed himself and straightened the black tie that looped around his neck. “Yes, I— I know where the facility is. It’s a newer branch. I wasn’t there for very long but from what I could tell, your friend was very intelligent. His work ethic was incredible. In all my years in this horrid business I never saw someone so determined and precise. Unfortunately, he was also easy to manipulate.” He carefully made his way back to his seat.

“Joseph was easy to manipulate? That’s bullshit! He never let anything get to him.”

“I’m sorry to tell you but he suffered from severe depression. He must have hid it from you pretty well. It was the factor I used against him. He has a whole new mindset now.” His head lowered and he linked his fingers together.

Sebastian clenched his fists and bit his top lip. “Listen, I need to find that facility. Fast. Can you just give me directions or something? Give me a hint or a riddle, I don’t fucking care at this point! I need to find my friend. I don’t care if he’s brainwashed, I’ll figure that out when I find him but I can’t do that without your help,” he snapped.

The doctor suddenly peered up and squinted at Sebastian. “Who told you that I used to work for Mobius?” he asked suspiciously.

“Juli Kidman.”

A toothy grin broke out onto the man’s face. He let out a small chuckle. “Oh Juli,” he began. “She was the only light for me in that hellhole. If I had a daughter, I would’ve wanted her to be like her. So you know her?”

“Yeah, we used to work together at KCPD.”

“I remember that. It was her first big case. She was so scared that she would screw up. Poor kid shouldn’t have ever been in there. Someone as smart as her should’ve done something with her life,” he said softly, a sad smile on his face.

“Well, if it makes you feel better, she’s no longer working for them,” Sebastian stated.

The old man’s face lit up. “Really? Do you know how I could get a hold of her? I’d love to check up on her.”

Sebastian scratched the back of his neck and sighed. “Actually,” he drawled. “I haven’t been able to get into contact with her for two days. I have no idea what happened.”

Dennis nodded his head solemnly and pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket. The little end table next to him had a small notepad. He grabbed it and started jotting down something. Ruvik finally turned around curiously watching the man. He handed Sebastian the small piece of paper and leaned back in his chair.

“That should be the correct address. I can’t tell you whether you’ll get your friend back but I wish you all the luck in the world. It’s been nice meeting you Sebastian but I have an afternoon appointment. I’ll show you to the door,” he said as he stood out of his chair.

Sebastian stared at the scribbled writing, wondering where this place was. It was quite a ways out though, judging by the area code. “Thank you doc. I don’t know how to repay you. Other than paying my fee of course,” he laughed. He stood and stretched his legs then sauntered to the door. Dennis smiled at him.

“If you get a hold of Juli, tell her to call me. Will you?” he asked quietly.

Sebastian grinned. “Oh course sir.” They shook hands then Sebastian made his way down the hallway.

“Wait!” He could hear Dennis yell from his office. “Mr. Castellanos!”

Sebastian froze in the lobby as he received his card back from the receptionist and turned around towards the hallway. Dennis had his head peeking out from his office.

“Remember the name ‘Jennifer’!”

Sebastian gave him a curt nod and exited the building confused. “Jennifer. Who the fuck is Jennifer?” he thought to himself.

Nonetheless, he kept the name in the back of his head.

***

Ruvik was already waiting for him in the truck’s passenger seat. Sebastian rolled his eyes and made for the door.

When he sat down and started up the vehicle, Ruvik was still ignoring him. “Hey didn’t I say I was sorry? Goddamn, you can’t blame me for saying those things can ya? Maybe I shouldn’t have—“

“You were right,” Ruvik interrupted.

“What?”

“Everything you said was right. I... really don’t deserve to live. I don’t even know how to be normal. I wasted my life for achievements that went to someone else anyway.” His voice was so small. Sebastian’s heart ached a little for the psycho.

“What you did during your life was fucked up. You killed people; experimented on them like animals,” he stated, “... but you also showed me your life before that. Your family, your sister, your intelligence. You could have had a bright future if it weren’t for that old creep that encouraged your bad habits. You just need to, I dont know, retrain yourself? You are no different than anyone; you’re not above or below them. You are human.”

Ruvik pursed his lips and lowered his eyelids. “I suppose I am. Do you truly think me redeemable though?”

“Ruvik, you are smart. You can use your talents somewhere else. Save lives instead! This is your chance to start over, you don’t have to be the monster that you were. That’s up to you.”

The albino finally glanced up to look at Sebastian. He observed his face and blinked. “The only other person to encourage me was my dear sister. The only light I had in my dark life.” His lip quivered.

Sebastian cringed at the bringing up of Laura so he quickly changed the subject. “Well, lets just look forward alright? I’ll try being nice to you, but you’re going to have to be patient with me. Lucky for you, you look more like Leslie than that burnt potato chip,” he smirked. Ruvik glared at him. “Hey! You sent a weird safe head man after me, I get to call you names.”

“Fine,” Ruvik breathed, a slight smile on his lips.

“Now, lets see where this place is.” He entered the coordinates into his gps and eyed it curiously as the location appeared on the screen. “Hmm, doesn’t look familiar,” he showed it to Ruvik, “what about you? Look familiar?”

Ruvik’s eyes went wide and his mouth went slightly agape. Sebastian drew his eyebrows together in confusion. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Sebastian. You have been there before.” He glanced up at Sebastian. “That’s my old estate.”