#here we go
A Life of Wandering
Apologies are worthless to the dead.
Death was no different than sleep to Able. One minute he was awake, the next he would be surrounded by darkness, his consciousness unaware, until his eyes next opened some innumerable amount of time later. While dead, he did not dream, but he couldn't remember the last time he was ever really asleep, couldn't remember what dreaming felt like. From the beginning, he never feared death, and, still, had not found a reason to fear it. Death was temporary; just an irritating inconvenience.
Once, after one of his many cycles of rebirth, he awoke with the memory of a certain agent on his mind. That agent's face had been the last thing he'd seen; too foolishly close for either of them, though the distance had shown Able his own death that time. He wanted to see him again. It may have been a fluke that he'd been subdued by one simple man, but that upset had been like a breath of fresh air. He wanted to see him again, to fight him again, to look into the eyes of the human who'd killed him to see if he could find the source of his strength.
As he feared, though, it had been a fluke. While he'd been wasting time regenerating, someone else had killed him. It was a shame, too. It wasn't even one-on-one. That agent died for nothing, and for the first time in years he could not count, Able felt disappointed. The SCP Foundation personnel seemed surprised. They expected him to rampage, but he felt uninspired.
Perhaps that agent had been the one to have the last laugh after all, he thought. Able forgot how awful disappointment felt. While death held no lasting impression on his existence, disappointment was something he realized he would carry for an eternity.
He would find another honorable adversary eventually. He hoped he would, at least. There had to be someone else who would make him feel as though death had meaning. Potential adversaries were born every second – sometimes thousands and millions while he was locked inside to reform, so there had to be. Eventually.
The cycle continued as usual. Each time he awoke, he was once again in the “care” of those Foundation people. He would try to escape, they would find a new way to destroy him, and he would be surrounded again in the blackness of death until he revived again. It was tiresome, but he knew that the SCP Foundation couldn't hold him for eternity. No human could live that long, and no human construct like the Foundation could exist for that long either.
A voice came to him in the darkness. It tickled his awareness, and he opened his eyes slowly in that dark and freezing chamber. As it was a part of him, he could feel the light touch of someone's fingertips against the surface of his chamber, delicately tracing the locks, brushing over the symbols engraved upon it. It was a familiar touch; someone he knew.
His pulse surged, pumping rage through his veins.
This was not a member of the SCP Foundation. This was not the agent he longed to see again.
“I went through such trouble to get here.” Metal fingers ran down the front of his door, squealing. “Haven't you rested for long enough? Won't you come out to see me?”
Able couldn't understand why Cain was there, but the sound of his voice filled him with anger. He wanted to kill him, but he knew what Cain had become and knew that there was nothing he could do that would satisfy his rage. He had become such a loathsome and pitiful existence, cursed by God and the Earth to live and see all and never die.
Able closed his eyes again, willing his emotions to subside, and prayed that God grant him the ability to kill him.
He waited. He knew that Cain was waiting for his own response, but time was of no significance to Able, so he waited, hoping that God would answer.
As expected, he heard nothing but silence and the sharp caress of metal against metal. Simply, he wished that Cain would eventually understand that he was a part of Cain's curse, fated to exist for as long as he, living solely to die the way that he had in the beginning, falling at the hands of another.
Cain knocked on the chamber, the metal sound rattling around Able's head.
“You can hear me in there, yes? As I said, it was quite an effort to get here. I'd really like to see you.”
The years and continuous cycle of life and death must have finally done something to him. Suddenly, Able found it hard to care. Cain could probably open the chamber if he really tried, but Able felt no overwhelming urge to open it on his own. He knew what to expect now. If he opened it, Cain was just going to kill him – not that he feared death. He could just see where this encounter was going, and it was already boringly predictable.
“Leave me,” he muttered, unconcerned whether he could hear him or not.
Cain was quiet then, but Able knew better than to think that he left.
“What if I say 'please'...?”
“Don't be ridiculous. I know your games.”
“It must be awfully uncomfortable in there,” Cain said, placing his hands back on the door. “It's very cold in here – far, far below freezing, from what I can tell. It must be like hell in that coffin of yours.”
He scoffed. “I won't be provoked this time. Go back to your facility. I'm sure you're causing trouble for the personnel.”
“You care?” Cain asked, sounding genuinely, infuriatingly surprised.
“More than you. Do you even possess the capacity to care about anything anymore?”
He stroked the surface of the door, and his fingers closed around one of the locks. “I care about myself,” he said, flipping the lock open with ease unseen by any other. “I care about you.”
One after another, he flicked open the locks that surrounded the door of his chamber. When Able would will one to close, Cain would simply reopen it until he had all of the locks undone. There was no point in trying to stop him unless he wanted to go back and forth with him forever, locking and unlocking them endlessly. Once he had the final lock undone, the door slid open with a stale hiss and a gust of frigid air.
Cain stepped inside and looked up at him where he hung suspended by chains.
“I missed you.”
Able knew that he wasn't lying, but he also knew that Cain didn't perceive things the same way he did. He didn't miss Cain, and he didn't understand the way Cain missed him, even if he were telling the truth.
He could have released himself from the chains, but he chose to stay in place as Cain approached. Hands outstretched, he ran his black fingers over his cheeks, curiously touching his skin. He pushed his hands through his hair and stroked the back of his head.
“Your hair got so long. You were in here for about twenty years this time. It looks really nice on you.”
So the Foundation was still standing, even after that much time. Part of him felt disappointed. More importantly, there was something he wanted to know. “How did you get here? From what I remember, all contact with me was supposed to have ceased. Unless there was an upset, I don't think the Foundation would have approved of this.”
“Again... You care?” Cain asked, grinning smugly.
Able sighed. “What do you want?”
“I couldn't help myself.”
Able knew better than to feel threatened. “I'm surprised. You must've known I wouldn't be pleased to see you. Do you have a death wish?”
Cain snorted humorlessly. “As if I could...”
“Were you looking to apologize? Repenting might be the only thing left for us.”
“You want to change your ways now?” Cain asked, surprised once more.
He shrugged the best he could while suspended. “Nah. It was a suggestion. You may have considered it, but I thought I'd mention it again just in case. After all, you must be thinking differently right now if you're here with me.”
They were miles below sea level. For Cain to have reached him, he must have had to kill and deceive numerous Foundation personnel. That must have dispelled his illusion of harmlessness. He was the real one in charge. It just surprised Able that he would be willing to sacrifice his image for a whim.
“I may not be able to kill you, but that won't stop me from trying,” Able reminded him. It seemed pointless for him to have come.
Cain released him, and he lifted one mental hand to gently brush aside the hair covering his forehead to show him the mark that branded him.
Snarling, Able strained against his chains, his resistance slipping the moment his eyes saw that familiar word scrawled into his skin. “Why did you come?” he demanded, tightening his hands into fists. “You remember everything. Are memories not enough for you?”
He let his hair cover the mark again and lifted his hands to stroke Able's hair. It was a deceptively gentle touch that made the blood in Able's veins boil. “I told you, didn't I? I just wanted to see you. You're very different from the person in my memories.”
“You killed that person,” Able growled, spitting at Cain's face.
For a tense and silent moment, Cain looked at him, and Able held back his rage with all of his might so that he could hold his gaze. Cain was nearly impossible to read, but there was something else there, beneath his cold, hardened expression. For all of the things that Cain could remember, Able wondered if he could remember the person he used to be, whether he could remember the warm smiles they used to exchange with each other as they walked by each other's sides in the verdant fields.
Now, the Earth became dry beneath Cain's feet. The only place where he could humbly exist was in the sterile environment of the Foundation.
The look behind his eyes said that he indeed remembered the sun and green land. In their cursed eternity, however, he was beginning to lose himself.
He felt wronged, he felt jealous, and he felt guilty.
There was nothing to apologize for, and Able would have only felt more enraged if he had tried.
“Pathetic,” Able muttered, hanging his head, dropping his shoulders. “You're lonely.”
Slowly, Cain lowered his hands back to his sides and his eyes met the frozen ground. “I thought... I wanted to kill you,” he admitted.
He turned and began heading for the door. As he neared it, his feet slowed. Without turning around, he said quietly, “I just realized – you weren't the one I wanted to kill.”
The door closed behind him. As he heard Cain's footsteps retreating, Able relocked each of the locks surrounding the chamber door. He hoped that he could get a little more rest, but he knew that he couldn't expect to stay asleep when Cain had left him with so much to think about.
The thing that angered him the most was Cain's ignorance. He was glad that he had finally realized who his anger should have been directed at.
Maybe now, he could expect to find a meaning in life and death.