Disclaimer: Resident Evil belongs to Capcom.
Zoe was very still as Lucas wheeled her around the barn, doing her best to shut him out. She was securely taped to the chair, and thrashing would only waste her energy. Thrashing would also only amuse Lucas and Eveline, and some spiteful part of her held that was worse. Her leg didn't hurt much anymore, hopefully that meant she could put weight on it when she needed to. She tried not to think about what else that could mean.
"…now, I tried to wrangle four of Evie's little pets, ya know? Four of them in a maze, geddit?" Lucas then paused and glanced aside, with a faraway look. "'Course, they're pretty ornery, and I only got three… nah, I did get fou—five."
He then burst out laughing. "I guess you'll have to count 'em for me."
She did her best to ignore him and the wet, gurgling shrieks she could occasionally hear echoing down the hallways. She needed to keep a level head to try and figure a way out. There was a reason Lucas always gotten second place in his engineering competitions. He was obsessive and smart, but got sloppy.
Lucas had been busy with remodeling. He pushed her through a hall she couldn't remember existing, before unbolting a door in front of a large open space. Bales of hay, random garbage that Lucas had amassed, and barbed wire made up a maze. Lucas wheeled her around to face him and leaned in close as he backed the chair up to the to of the ramp.
"Now, there's a door at the other end of the barn, understand? You find that door and…"
"Get to the door and get out. I know how a maze works, Lucas." She shot at him. His sadistic grin briefly inverted itself, into a deep scowl. It was petty, but it wasn't like not insulting him would've prevented anything. She wanted him mad, told herself. It would make him sloppy. Or at least he'd be pissed at her. His grin had returned as he wheeled her around, to face him. Whipping out a pocket knife, he cut her left arm free. Then he planted his foot on her chest and shoved her down the ramp. The wheelchair crashed into something and she lurched forward.
Lucas waved from the doorway. "Good luck, Sis!"
She used her free hand to flip him the bird.
The door slammed shut, and she didn't even wait to hear the bolt lock before she frantically began tearing at the tape binding her right arm with her teeth and left hand.
He flopped down in a chair, breathing hard. Soon as Zoe was locked in, he raced his way to a computer. It was an agonizing wait for it to come on from sleep, and he pursed his lips and exhaled sharply, tapping the spacebar for emphasis. Signed in and after a bit of loading, he cued up the cameras he'd placed in the barn. Scrolling through until he found the ones best-placed for his game.
On one camera Zoe already had both arms free and was working on her legs.
On another, a mold monster was lurching forward. Maybe towards Zoe, if he recalled the setup correctly.
On a third, yeah, that mold was heading in Zoe's direction. Hopefully he'd get there before she got out. He almost regretted freeing one of her arms, but what was the point of the maze if the rat wasn't going to run it?
He cycled back to the camera on her wheelchair. Zoe was on her feet now. Walked to the end of the corridor and turned a corner, only to step back and race back to where she had started as Evie's stupid pet had finally showed up. It wobbled after her, but Zoe was moving faster. That was fine. A grin started to spread across his face.
Enjoyed the show.
The maze wasn't much of one, she could actually see the other door, with "EXIT" in day glow paint over it. There were bales of hay and various junk forming walls, although huge empty spaces were just a tangle of barbed wire. There was almost a straight line of sight to the exit.
She wasn't keen on taking that straight line, though. Too much barbed wire in the way. Getting hooked with one of those things following her...
She forced herself to slow down. The thing was still on her heels, but it wasn't just the one thing she had to deal with. There had to be more in here, right? She had to keep her head on a swivel, making sure not to run headlong into any other monster.
She hit the corner and turned, noticing a pile of straw in the middle of the path. The floor was littered with strands of straw, but this was conspicuous in how much there was, neat little pile in the middle of the path. The thing was nipping at her heels. Lucas wouldn't be that obvious, would he?
He did whine about short notice.
Inhaling, she backed away, bouncing on her feet. Out the corner of her eye, she saw the thing reaching for her. She dashed forward and jumped, landing free and clear of the pile, then scrambled forward. The mold slowly wobbled as it turned around. That was something about them, they could move fast, but also bumbled about drunkenly while hunting.
It continued to lope forward, paying no heed to the pile of straw in its path.
There was a bright flash and a bang. The explosion rippled the thing's body briefly, before it's legs turned into a fine mist and it fell onto its back. The smell of acrid smoke and rotting vegetables hit her, almost making her gag. The thing flailed its arms angrily trying to claw its way onto its belly.
The bomb probably wouldn't have killed her, just fucked her legs up again. With the thing chasing her.
"Sonuva bitch!" Lucas growled.
"What's wrong?" Evie asked, and he sighed. Then couldn't help himself but let out an inarticulate growl when she added "You shouldn't use that language, by the way."
"One of your friends got hurt in the maze". He knew she didn't care about them. She gave them stupid names like "Mr. Smiles" or referred to them by the names of the people the mold grew out of, but she didn't care. She didn't even really get amused by their deaths. She'd just mutter about Mr. Smiles being gone and make a new Mr. Smiles out of the muck when it crossed her twisted little mind.
"That's too bad." She said, utterly lacking in sincerity. Damn right it was bad. It was a goddamn fucking tragedy. She hadn't given him any help in getting the stupid thing to the maze. He had to prod it and coax it to follow him. Then the stupid fucking thing had just walked onto a pressure plate. Eveline knew there were bombs, why didn't she tell it to watch out?
Goddamn it. His face flushed. The damn thing had tipped Zoe off about the traps. Fuck it. Fuck the stupid molded idiots. Fuck Zoe's stupid smug face when she figured out the trap. She did not get to fucking think he was an idiot. She had always been around when he made mistakes, with that goddamn face. Always ready to point out his flaws. And god damnit, she was still doing after being duct-taped to a chair and tossed in a monster-filled maze. But this wasn't his fucking fault. Evie could've had the stupid thing avoid it.
"Are you angry she saw the…"
"The pressure plate. Yes." He growled, before forcing himself to say an apology for his curtness. He took a deep breath. This was fine. This was okay. Zoe was going to go down swinging, that was fine. Her putting up a little bit of a fight before dying was fine. In the future, he'd have to be careful about traps and Eveline's pets.
Stupid fucking things.
Zoe was outpacing the remaining half of the molded. Turned another corner, and he switched to another camera. It was a bad angle. Two more molded, lurching forward, presumably towards Zoe? He couldn't quite see.
He couldn't quite make out what was going on, when suddenly things began to fall from the ceiling. God damnit, they set off another fucking trap.
She briefly allowed herself to get distracted looking up at the ceiling. How the fuck had Lucas managed to get all that junk up there? She had barely managed to spot the wire. Then two monsters rounded the corner and the nearest on took care of the wire for her.
Sawblades and knives littered the floor, alongside the twitching remnants of one of the monsters, head crushed by a cinderblock. A pitchfork lay, tines buried downwards. The molded in the distance lumbered forward.
She eyed the pitchfork.
She wrapped her hands around the handle and tugged. And the stupid thing didn't budge as the monster got closer. She tugged again, and again, letting out a swear. She frantically pushed and pulled the thing like a lever, trying to get it unstuck. The thing rasped, and she thought of Lucas, watching on and laughing as she pulled.
She almost fell on her ass when the pitchfork came loose.
The monster didn't seem to care that she was pointing the pitchfork at it. They didn't seem to care about much; she'd seen them lumber about, armless, with the same shambling gait, not noticing they were missing a limb. Whatever. The pitchfork was the only thing she had that let her stay out of its reach.
The thing raised its arms as lurched into striking distance. And the aimed the pitchfork underneath the arms and shoved.
The tines of the pitchfork sank all the way into thing's torso. She braced the handle against her hip, trying to keep the thing from getting any closer. It swung its arms wildly and she pulled her face back, the thing's claws coming within an inch of her face. They spun and swayed; her skidding backward as the thing pushed forward. Zoe struggled to not lose her footing. Banana-sized teeth clicked together as its jaws opened and closed.
Zoe shoved, trying to force the thing backwards. It grabbed onto the pitchfork and pulled. With a sickening squelching sound, the pitchfork drove even deeper, the tines going all the way through its back. The black sludge in its torso was damaged past the point of offering any resistance, and the handle of the pitchfork sank through even more. It took a step forward, skewered, but not apparently noticing it.
She let the thing have the pitchfork, ducking under its arms and scrambling off to the side. It roared. She ran.
Lucas sat up in his chair. Goddamn cameras weren't positioned that great. Zoe and the thing were half in a blindspot. For a moment there, he thought it had gotten her and let out a whoop. Then she ran away. Had she just folded and died like she was supposed to, it would've been unsatisfying. On the other, between Evie's incessant commentary and Zoe he wanted the game to end. This should've been hilarious, but instead it had become annoying.
He kinda wished he had rigged up an intercom or something. Just to distract her. Throw out some misinformation. Make it so she didn't get the final word in.
"She's gonna get out." Evie whined.
"She's not gonna get out." Lucas assured her, drumming his fingers against the wooden table.
Evie was not helping. "I think she's found the way to the door."
No shit. He had a couple hours to move shit and set some traps, wasn't exactly going to be like the one in the myth. Still, the fact Zoe had made it this far annoyed him. Part of him was annoyed she'd made it this far. Each time she dodged a trap was an insult, especially when one of Evie's toothy little motherfuckers set it off instead. She was supposed to be panicking and getting carved up by Evie's pets, and every time she got rid of one of them, or dodged a trap, or anything, that meant he hadn't outsmarted her.
Still, he cooled his anger. So what if she got to the end, reached the door? It wasn't like that really was a way out of here.
She reached for the door and froze. She pulled her hand back. Lucas was... when you got down to it, predictable. If he could screw you over for laughs he would. He didn't want her to win. He didn't want her to have a chance to win. He wanted her to suffer.
Between the blood pounding in her ears and the sounds of the thing behind her, she could hear an almost imperceptible hum coming from the door.
The thing behind her banged the handle of the pitchfork against the walls in its awkward shambling. She turned to face it. This was going to get dicey.
She yelped as claws raked her side as she pushed by.
The thing was turning to face her, and she shoved. It stumbled to the side, closer to the door, but not close enough.
She dove at the thing, avoiding the pitchfork handle and slamming into what accounted for its midsection. New wounds were opened up in her back as it brought it's claws down but she managed to stagger it. It was inches from the door. She wrapped her arms around a leg and pulled, and it stumbled backwards, off balance.
The thing shrieked as the metal tines of the pitchfork made contact with the door and sparks flew. The already dim lights went out. The thing bubbled and hissed and flailed and sticky black gunk hit her as it writhed. She choked back vomit and backed away.
The thing thrashed and screamed and sparked, eventually igniting. It staggered forward, shedding burning flecks of itself in its weakening effort to pursue her.
In a barn full of hay.
Lucas swore. He could've done a better job wiring the door up. Could've cleared out the hay. Zoe got fucking lucky. She wasn't supposed to fucking do that. She was supposed to get torn the fuck apart. God damn it. She was still locked in there, so now he had to go in and get her out. He got up and reached for the gun. He'd picked it up when Zoe had lost it.
She thought she'd won?
Fuck it, they'd have to play again. Nothing fancy to amuse Eveline. Something complicated took way more planning. He and Zoe wold go back to basics. Something that didn't have so many moving parts, so many variables. Something she couldn't just luck her way out of or run away from. She wasn't going to do to much running after she got a bullet in each kneecap.
"Where are you going?" Evie asked.
"To get Zoe."
"Think she won, right?"
"We're goin' best two outta three."
"What if she wins next time?
He didn't dignify that. He just stomped his way back to the maze until he stopped dead in his tracks. He could smell it, burning wood and hay. He could hear the crackling of flames.
Zoe was burning the place down? He needed to get a handle on this, now. He had too much in the barn, to many projects, to let her torch the place. God fucking damn it. He wheeled around; had a fire extinguisher somewhere. Had to get at it, fast.
"Where are you going?" Evie asked, curious.
"To fucking put the fire out!" He yelled. How could she be so goddamn calm?
"Didn't you want to see someone burn?"
She kept her head below the level of the smoke, crawling away from the heat. Lucas would try to salvage the barn. A fire would attract attention, and it would destroy his projects. He's have to come put out the fire. Probably. He had to.
She turned the corner and saw a flash of teeth. She managed to raise her left arm just in time to block the big teeth that had been aiming for her throat. They instead cut right down to the bone. She screamed as the thing wrenched itself back. Her elbow and shoulder protested, she could feel the ligaments being stretched far more than they should have. Finally, the flesh it clamped down on tore loose and its weight shifted. She scrambled to a standing position and kicked it in the face hard enough to upend it.
She forced herself to her feet, left arm hanging limp. Smoke stung her eyes, and filled her lungs as she attempted to catch her breath. She kept her eyes locked on the creature, which swallowed its prize and growled at her. Still hungry.
It was the crawling one, the one she tricked into getting its legs blown off. It dropped down on its forearms, and leapt. She sidestepped, crying out when razor sharp claws raked her right arm.
Ma had old photos she had taken back on a vacation with Dad. Europe.
The Eiffel Tower.
The Plaza de Toros in Pamplona.
It leapt, she dodged. Not nearly with the flourish and style of a matador, but the spirit remained the same. She was light-headed and stumbling thanks to blood loss and smoke inhalation. Luckily for her, the monster was not in much better shape. Its leaps were clumsy, it was slow to turn around. She felt the heat of the fire at her back, and forced herself to step back towards it. The creature dropped down low on its arms and growled. She looks a deep breath, sweat pouring down her brow. She was so close to the fire.
It leapt, and she more fell off to the side than dodged. But it was enough; the thing sailed past her and into the fire. She dragged herself away as it shrieked and thrashed and burned, only forcing herself to her feet when she was sure it wouldn't come out of the fire to get her.
Her head was beginning swim; the fire was eating up the oxygen in the room, and between that, the pain from the dozen open wounds she'd gotten, and the heat, she was tired. She heard a metallic clang far behind her. She heard the hiss of a fire extinguisher and her brother's swearing. Half-lucid, she thought it was good he was mad. Asshole deserved it.
He yelled her name. Followed by more hissing. Then something red and metal sailed overhead. Fire extinguisher.
It had grown darker since he showed up.
He called her name again. He was mad. That was good.
She shook her head. She wasn't out of the woods yet. She needed to get out of here.
There was a gunshot. And he yelled her name again.
That jolted her back.
She took a deep breath as silently as she could. She lifted her left arm, biting her tongue to suppress a cry. She needed to know if she could use both hands. It was an effort, but she managed to force her hand into a fist. She didn't think about the fact that the bleeding had already stopped. Or that her arm had been useless only a few minutes earlier. That didn't matter.
Lucas was swearing and calling her name. That mattered.
She crawled again, doing her best to support as much of her weight on her right arm as she could. She heard him yelling again. She kept quiet. Lucas was shouting his head off, and stomping in her direction. She placed her back against a wall and crept silently to the corner, taking slow, deep breaths.
Lucas was raving again. Something about best two out of three. His voice was getting closer. He was mad. He didn't like to be outsmarted, especially by his sister. She took a deep breath. Just waited for when the voice was right next to the corner.
Something slammed into him in the dark. He hit the wall and dropped the gun, swearing. This was stupid. He got pissed, and didn't think this through. He kicked out a leg, feeling it catch something. Zoe let out an "oomph" as she hit the floor.
He didn't get a chance to savor that as something hit his knee and he buckled.
The two of them struggled in the darkness. He wasn't sure what he was hitting, except when it was soft and whiny he was pretty sure it was Zoey. When something hit him in the nose and there was a crunch, he was pretty sure that was Zoe, too. They both attempted to get the gun, only for it to go clattering away in the darkness.
Her hand reached for his face, fingernails digging into his forehead and brow, trying to find his eyeballs. He pulled back and twisted his head away, blindly trying to grapple her. He grabbed what he thought was an arm and his fingers sank into something wet and pulpy and Zoe screamed loud enough to make him wince.
He squeezed harder and the fight left her.
A few kicks where he assumed her ribs were, and he began dragging her towards the door. Towards light. "You're a really stubborn bitch, Zoe Baker."
Dear God, was she going to regret tonight.
As he neared the exit, he realized the spot on the arm he had grabbed was a giant bite mark. Evie's little pets weren't totally fucking useless, after all. Speaking of, if Evie wanted to see Zoe hurt, he was going to give her so much that she'd get sick of it. Where was the brat, by the way. "Evie! C'mon, don't you have any suggestions?"
Zoe mumbled something. It was some pathetic mewling.
"Wh-what was that?" He couldn't help but smirk. "C'mon Zoe, speak up!"
He squeezed the bite mark again, and she yelled. Not as loud as before, but they had the rest of the night ahead of them. Her right arm was cradled underneath her.
"I said, what was that?" He dropped to a crouch, letting her arm go. "C'mon 'No, Lucas, please'? 'I'm sorry, Lucas'? 'Evie ain't our sister'? Quit mumbling and talk to me, sis."
She propped herself up in a sitting position against the wall and looked at him, gritting her teeth in pain. She was shaking. Pain or fear, either one was acceptable. He leaned in close, and put a hand against her throat. "I said, what were you saying"
It was still a tiny, pitiful whine, but this time he managed to make out "You're predictable."
Then she hit him in the face with something metallic.
"You stupid fucking bitch!" Lucas said; he had landed on something hard, face first, and clutched his eye; something told him it was going to swell. Goddamn Zoe. She was gonna fucking regret this. She was gonna…
"Lucas!" She shouted. He looked at her, wincing, trembling, right arm raised at him. Holding the gun. Her eyes were wide, jaw was set. She looked like she could kill someone.
God damn it. He'd gotten careless. Should've just let the fire do the job.
She forced herself to her feet, grimacing as she slowly rose. Her right arm fell to the side. She was in rough shape, clothes stained with blood and black tar, several barely-closed wounds on her torso and shoulders to go with the bite mark in her arm. This could be an opportunity. He stood up, freezing halfway when she glared at him and raised the pistol again.
"Now Zoe. Evie and I just wanted to have a little fun with you is all" He said, only half-affecting the stammer. Staring down a gun barrel was not in the plan for today. Blaming Evie might work. He was just her poor brother, mind-controlled by the monster. She couldn't blame him for anything he did. It was all Evie. "Like when we were kids."
She shook. Good ol' Zoe, she didn't have the stomach to actually pull the trigger on her big brother. She was falling for it. Tentatively, he reached out a hand. "Ya see here—"
He didn't see the blow coming, as the butt of the pistol met his jaw.
He wound up sprawled on the ground, room spinning. He blinked, trying to clear his vision. He tried to prop himself up, only for Zoe straddle him and hold him down by the throat with a shaking left arm. He broke eye contact immediately on seeing the hateful glare she was giving him, looked around the room. A few pieces of debris were around. Talking her down wasn't working, he just had to distract her and he was pretty sure he could…
He managed to get out "guh…" before Zoe brought the gun down. His hands covered his mouth and he tasted blood when she brought it down again.
Zoe kept hitting Lucas long after his muscles went slack. She swore and clawed and hit. Fatigue got the better of her and the fury she rained down on him became less bone-crunching and more pathetic, but she kept hitting him. She just wanted to keep hitting him. Lucas was a monster, a twisted little sadist who deserved every bit of pain he got. She'd be doing the world a fucking favor ending him.
It took a long time for it to dawn on her that Evie was watching. She had her hands behind her back and was stooped forward, examining Lucas. She looked rather pleased.
She raised the gun at the monster in the shape of a little girl and pulled the trigger.
Her eyes widened and she checked the gun over. It was heavy, it had to be loaded. Had she broken something?
Her gaze shifted from the gun back to Evie, scowling. Evie smiled.
She was soaking wet, burned, bloodied, and bruised. And she had hit Lucas hard enough, or enough times, or both, to break the gun she was pistol whipping him with. Fucking Christ. She looked down, at the pathetic, still mess underneath her. She was trying to kill her brother. Evie had gotten into her head like she had gotten into everyone else's and…
"Was it me?" Evie said, cocking her head curiously. "Maybe it was just you."
Zoe gaped. And Eveline giggled. "You…"
"You're such a bullhead Zoe." Evie said, less annoyed and more amused than when she usually berated her for being stubborn. For whatever reason, Evie had a hard time making Zoe do anything… that Zoe hadn't wanted to do.
Lucas was… he did terrible things. To other people, and tonight, to her. He had every intention of having her die in this stupid maze, or if she lived, thinking up worse things to do to her. That was Evie's fault, she twisted her family to be her puppets. But Zoe? Wanting to hurt Lucas? Wanting to kill him?
"Are you going to keep hitting him?" She wasn't sure if Eveline wanted her to or not. She looked down at the mess that was her brother's face again.
She wasn't sure if she wanted to or not. Lucas would get better. You either died here, or you got better. And when you got better, you usually got worse. He'd come after her again; his ego was bruised, so he'd want payback. Maybe he'd waste time planning something elaborate. Maybe he'd decide his stupid torture fantasies got him dinged up this time, so he'd just try to kill her. He'd keep at it.
Zoe took a deep breath.
And so would she. As many times as it took to convince him to stop playing around, that was the trick since she was a kid; once Lucas realized he had a chance of losing, the game would be stupid and he'd find something else to do. She'd been dodging her folks for years now. She was stuck here, doing that. And if Lucas wanted to play his stupid games with her now?
She'd keep going.
After an eternity, Zoe rose to her feet, wincing painfully. Eveline frowned. "I know, I'm no fun."
Evie smirked. No argument, no annoying pleas, no threats, no bringing up Ma and Dad. She just looked happy. What did she get out of this? Probably the same thing as Lucas; she was just twisted and liked seeing things get hurt.
But Zoe didn't.
It wasn't over, not by a long shot. Evie was creeping in, always trying to creep in. Ma, Pa, and Lucas were monsters. Zoe herself was… getting there. But she wasn't there yet. They'd keep trying to kill her or bring her too heel. And she'd keep trying to get a cure and get away.
Even if it was only to prove she wasn't a monster yet.
She limped her way past the monster in the skin of a little girl, wincing when she heard a "Good night, sister."
Lucas couldn't breathe. That was the first thing he thought of when he came to. He rolled over onto her side and spat out blood and teeth. In drew in a deep breath, and mostly blood came down his nostrils into his windpipe, and he coughed up blood again.
"Oh, your awake." Little girl Eveline was standing over him, looking down curiously.
"Whuh…" Okay, he was alive, that was… the pain wasn't… he'd get better, that's all. He'd be fine in a few days. Then he would find Zoe and make her pay. There wasn't going to be any mistakes next time. He'd be sure of that. When he figured things out. Later. Right now, he was find just laying here.
"Zoe won." Evie nodded, and smiled broadly.
"Whuh…" She did not need to remind him of that.
"Thank you." Evie said, leaning in way too close.
"Whuh…" was about the most articulate he could be. Why was she thanking him?
"Thank you for Zoe." As if that explained anything.
"Whuh…" Evie had explained nothing.
"She's finally getting to be fun!" she said with a giggle. "I really think you two should play more often."
He fucking hated his sisters.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank Sapphire Basil, Pipn123, and The Rookie Author for their reviews. And I'd especially like to thank Ferric for being an excellent sounding board for ideas for this happy little fic.
I was really disappointed in REVII that choosing Zoe really changed nothing, and honestly I thought she was a more interesting character than Ethan or Mia. And because I'm a complete asshole, I express liking a character through kicking them. Thoroughly and repeatedly.
Lucas was fun to write. He's such an evil douchebag, the perfect blend of smug older brother, murderous hillbilly, and sadistic death trap guy. Trying to get into his head was fun, and then having him repeatedly get hit in the face was also fun. Here's to hoping he gets boulder-punched into next week in Not a Hero.