Afterward: Dancing With Devils

Location Unknown

They were gone, both of them.

Gently running his fingertips over the photograph's glass surface, it almost felt to him like he was feeling the warmth of his beloved family all over again.

"Annelise…Emilie…"

There in the photo they stood smiling back at him, his beautiful wife and daughter, standing in their backyard on a nice sunny day. They both looked as if there were no cares in the world at all, arms wrapped tightly around each other like they never wanted to let one another go.

"I never wanted to let you go either…either of you."

He didn't want to let them go, he was forced to let them go. They had been taken from him too soon and he wanted them back.

"Annelise, my beautiful wife…Emilie, my darling sunshine, my little princess…I'm so sorry, so sorry."

Setting the picture down onto his desk, he buried his face into his hands and felt the emotion overcoming him. Feeling the impulses racing throughout his mind he wanted to cry, to sob uncontrollably, but for some reason he couldn't. Invisible, unfeeling tears escaped his eyes and the tremors he should have felt never came. Perhaps the iron will that had kept him so cool and collected for so many years had prevented him from doing so.

At least he thought he had an iron will until he looked up and saw the unmistakable symbol plastered on the otherwise utilitarian white wall before him.

It was a red and white logo known all over the world, the symbol representing the very company that had enslaved him for twenty long years. It called out to him, mocking him, reminding him of the cruel fate that had befallen both him and his family.

And then the wave of rage overcame him.

With an animalistic roar, he grabbed an empty bottle of whiskey on his desk and hurled it across the room. The shatter of glass permeated the silence of the desolate laboratory and his desperate cry traveled beyond the wall of safety glass.

"They took them away from me. This is their entire fault," the voice in his head reminded as he collapsed to his knees, breathing heavily and coughing harshly as his lungs began to ache.

"I gave those bastards twenty years of my life. Everything I ever did for them, all my sacrifices and effort I put in for them and this is how they repay me!"

Rage consumed him so intensely he was rooted to where he knelt, quivering uncontrollably. Sadness or traces of any other human emotions had slowly drained from his system. Now he was overcome by the urge to kill and with it, he looked back to the symbol on the wall before him.

"They killed them. They are responsible for everything that has happened to me. Because of their greed my wife and child are dead!"

Bracing himself against his desk he managed to pull himself back into his leather swivel chair and relax a little. Slowing his breathing to a steadier pace he looked over to a small vanity mirror sitting next to his computer monitor.

Upon viewing his reflection for the first time in what seemed like forever, he almost wished he hadn't. He hadn't had the chance to maintain his appearance, creating the image of a crazy person. To put it bluntly, he looked like hell. Normally well-combed short black hair hung in a frizzled mess and with it his once clean-shaven face had disappeared beneath five day stubble that was nearly a full beard now. What had once been crystal blue eyes were now bloodshot and the bags underneath made him look like he had just been beaten up.

"Oh God when was the last time I slept? Last night? Two nights ago, or even an entire week? Damn it! I don't even remember the last time I even got a decent night's rest! Hell, I don't even know what the date is!"

Staring at himself in the mirror for a little while longer, he finally broke away and looked closely around the dimly-lit room for anything out of the ordinary, wanting to be ready in case they sent any of their boys after him.

"Get a hold of yourself," he told himself, "You're still alive. Within due time, you will have your revenge."

The thought of being able to exact revenge was the only thing keeping him from putting a gun to his head and ending it all. The murderers of his wife and child had to be brought to justice, his own dark brand.

Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a key ring and shifted through several of the brass keys until he found a small key with a circular end. Looking down to his desk he inserted the key into the slot of his middle drawer and turned it sideways to be rewarded with an audible click. Brushing some papers and notebooks aside, he dug deeper and deeper until his hand grasped something metallic and he pulled into the open a Browning Hi-Power nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun.

Grasping the newly cleaned handgun tightly, he lifted it into the air and admired it before going into the classic shooter's stance. Right now he could just picture Old Man Spencer standing right before him, a look of horror etched across his face before he fired the lethal round right between his eyes.

"Damn you Spencer and damn anybody else who has been associated with this wretched company!" he told himself, forever cursing the jackals who had stolen everything from him.

Up until a few weeks ago he had been a loyal, unquestioning employee, plucked straight out of the university and immediately put to work on several top projects related to the study of both natural and manmade diseases, dedicated to both creating vaccines and creating the viruses themselves. Their purposes he never inquired about, playing the role of the obedient worker to a hilt.

"All of that hard work those twenty long years and I never once asked what those viruses were for…God, who knows how many other lives this company has ruined."

Thinking of his younger years with the company brought his focus back to the picture of his beloved wife and daughter. A brief smile crept over his face as he thought of when he first met his future wife, then a fresh college graduate looking to make her mark in the world of virology.

"Annelise…"

As much as he had hated to admit it, it was because of the company that he met his future wife, and indirectly through them he was also given his daughter. Sure, they had also given him many other small superficial things as well, like the fancy two-story house he had in one of the nicer parts of town, the fancy new car in his driveway, a yearly salary that topped one-hundred grand, stuff that had seemed like enough to shut any good worker up and not make them think of what went on around them. Now when he looked back upon it though, the latter items were nothing but mere childish toys, the kind of rewards a parent would promise to make their rambunctious child mind themselves.

"What a god awful waste! I buried my head in the sand for all of that worthless crap and allowed my family to be exposed to this danger, and I was too stupid to recognize it."

As a senior researcher in the branch's virology department, he had succeeded in developing a new kind of virus after a decade's worth of hard work. He had not yet had the opportunity to test it on any live subjects, but whenever he stared into its orange glow he got the feeling as if it would make its 'brothers' look miniscule.

He had labored in secret to craft it to perfection, sacrificing the free time he could have spent with his family or pursuing other leisurely activities just so he could iron out all the kinks that could have spoiled its progress. Due to its sensitive nature, he had been forced to act with added caution around his co-workers, knowing they would have spilled the beans at the drop of a hat to the board of directors.

"I couldn't let them know what I was doing. Those two-faced bastards would have wanted all the credit for themselves."

The researcher's mind trailed off as he thought of former co-workers who he would see one day, only to have them mysteriously vanish the next. Being in a position of seniority, he had known how the company's pecking order worked. They were as ruthless as could be; viewing their underlings as expendable tools whom they would discard once their use had run out. Not only that, they did not take kindly to 'mavericks' in their conformity-driven structure, adding to the necessity of his secrecy.

"Yet somehow they found out about it, my life's work…my masterpiece…somebody had found out and betrayed me!"

Around the beginning of last month he had found a note at his workstation delivered by an anonymous sender, informing him they knew of the existence of his new project and that he had better be prepared to hand it over or face 'serious ramifications.'

Initially he had dismissed it as some random prank, but then he began receiving threatening e-mails from unknown senders and had even found a stray dog beaten to death on his front doorstep with a note nailed to its side telling him that this would be his fate if he didn't cooperate.

That was the straw that had broken the camel's back, prompting him to go out and buy the very gun that now rested on the desk in front of him.

"It was like being trapped in some bad spy movie. I had to be looking over my shoulder all waking hours. I couldn't trust anybody, not even the mailman. I had to spend all of my time either locked away in my house or in my lab or else somebody was going to kill me or worse, my family."

Then that fateful day came, a day that played through his tortured mind like some very demented highlight reel.

It was two weeks ago Annelise brought Emilie to one of the company's more public laboratories (one where the less dangerous experiments were performed) so she could get an up close view of the kind of work her parents had done. Naturally the two of them had no idea the kind of danger they were in because he had gone to great lengths to conceal the threats being directed at him, not wanting them to live in fear as he had.

In the end it had proven to be the greatest mistake he had ever made.

"Annelise brought Emilie to work, wanting to help stimulate the interest she was beginning to develop in science. God why couldn't she have just been into the things other girls her age were into?"

An experiment was being conducted involving some kind of new surgical laser when one of the generators began to overheat and then exploded, causing a chain reaction that killed everybody in the lab where it was conducted. It had been a major black eye to the company and already they were in the process of dealing with several wrongful death lawsuits from the deceased employees' loved ones. Coupled with the fallout from the recent incident involving Raccoon City, the higher ups were tense and quicker to lash out at anybody voicing reservations against their agenda, thus he knew his efforts would be fruitless.

"Those ignorant bastards, they kept saying it was an accident, but I know better. White Umbrella itself was behind that accident! They sabotaged that experiment to get back at me for refusing to turn over my work! It's because of those greedy bastards I lost what meant the world to me!"

Indeed his closest friends and co-workers had tried to convince the broken man that it had been an accident and that it was no use for him to go around defaming the entire company, but his mind refused to tell him otherwise.

"Of course they're not going to believe me; Umbrella practically owns this entire fucking city, just like wherever else they set up shop. Christ, I can't think of a single family here that doesn't have at least one of its members employed by this accursed establishment. They control everything, including the police and the government!"

The sudden whoosh of hydraulics brought the researcher out of his frenzied reverie. He didn't need to turn around to know who would be visiting him at this time of night.

"You're back earlier than I expected," the researcher called out to his guest.

"Heh, whatever Metzger," the nameless fellow snapped, "I got what you wanted. Now why don't you live up to your end of the deal and fucking pay me already?"

Johannes Metzger turned to face his associate, narrowing his eyes in annoyance.

"You remember the terms of our arrangement dear friend," the researcher started, his tone turning haughty, "You're not going to be paid in full until you give me everything that I want."

"Cut the bullshit already. You told me specifically what you wanted and I went and got it for you! Do you have any idea what kind of shit I had to go through to acquire your precious 'cargo?'" his guest snapped, shaking his head angrily and swatting a large stack of books to the floor.

"My, you never struck me as being much of a whiner –" the researcher started, only to be cut off by a high caliber revolver being pointed at his face.

"Now are we gonna have to do this the hard way, Doc? I ran your little errand for you, now are you going to live up to your end, or do I have to paint the fucking walls with your brains?"

Dr. Metzger took a few deep breaths and composed himself before replying, "Very well, but first I need to see the specimen for myself."

"Fine, lead the way," the brutish man said holstering his gun.

Dr. Metzger nodded and walked past his associate, making his way into the hall and over to a nearby elevator. Pulling out his ID badge he swiped it through a card reader and typed in the five digit entry code before the doors opened. Making their way inside he pushed a few buttons and the elevator made its descent.

It took only a few seconds before a loud ding resounded and the doors opened to the sub-basement level where the holding cells were kept. The two rifle-toting guards nodded to the researcher and his associate and allowed them to pass.

"Right this way," he said passing the Umbrella researcher and leading him down a corridor lined with reinforced steel doors.

They came to a halt in front of a door near the end and as his associate stepped aside, allowing Dr. Metzger to pull the slide aside and peer in through the observation porthole.

A figure huddled in a corner of the tiny cell hugging her knees against her chest, clad in a soiled white hospital gown with her long black hair obscuring her face.

"All that extra cash you had to pony up for that flight paid off, Doc. She's all yours," his hired hand smirked.

Dr. Metzger however was not impressed, noting the woman's catatonic state.

"This is the woman you spoke of?" he asked, his disbelief evident, "Just what does she have that could interest me? Look at her!" he said motioning towards her.

He got only a furrowed brow in response.

"She's important to someone I hate. That good enough for you?" his colleague asked rolling his eyes in annoyance.

Dr. Metzger narrowed his own eyes in reply.

"When I agreed to work with you, you promised you would assist me in endeavors aimed at furthering my research. I didn't intend as you using this as an excuse to grind your axe with the fellow who wronged you," the researcher snapped.

Again he got a harsh laugh in response.

"Are you even listening to yourself talk, Doc? You wanted my help because you have your own axe to grind!" the other man shot back, "I agreed to help you out because I thought you could relate to my own ordeal, but instead you've turned out to be nothing but a bitch. I've busted my back trying to help you out. Fuck, do you have any idea what I had to go through to get this woman? I had to fucking black out an entire fucking mental hospital just to get at her! Fucking hell, do you have any idea what I had to go through to get those other people you wanted me to get?"

Dr. Metzger remained defiant. Was it his iron will? Was it the rage? Whatever it was, he stood unyielding and a smile crossed his own features.

"And after what I did for you the only one sounding like a 'bitch' is yourself," the researcher half-laughed, "I saw firsthand what happened to you. I did what I did out of the goodness of my heart. You sometimes seem to forget that I could easily undo everything in the snap of my fingers."

There was only silence this time.

"God I fucking hate you sometimes…" the other man hissed, balling his fists so tight his wrists trembled.

"The feelings are mutual," the researcher replied.

"Heh, just remember once I get my revenge, we are through! You hear me, we are through!"

"I would expect no less from you, Mr. –"

Before the doctor could continue he was cut off by a muffled voice from within the cell.

"He killed them," the woman muttered.

Dr. Metzger peered through the porthole to see the woman beginning to slowly rock herself back and forth.

"He killed them," she repeated, "He…killed them," her tone rising this time.

The woman repeated the same phrase over and over again, her tone rising with each utterance and with it her rocking becoming more and more violent until she was striking her head against the wall behind her.

"He killed them…he killed them…he killed them…he killed them! He killed them! HE KILLED THEM!"

The woman's screams were silenced as Dr. Metzger pulled the slide backwards, the screams now becoming unintelligible.

"Like I said Metzger, once we both get what we want, we're through!" his colleague said before storming off towards the cell block's entrance and disappearing from sight.

Dr. Metzger looked on in cool indifference.

Following his ordeals it had been easy to convince that fellow to help him out and so far he had performed his assigned duties to fruition. Deep down he knew the man was nothing more than a pawn, no different from the way Umbrella had used him all these years, and judging by the way he carried himself he knew it too, yet for some unknown reason he continued to associate himself with the researcher.

It was a trivial matter to ponder, as the doctor had bigger fish to fry.

He had his own vengeance to carry out and he was determined to do so by any means necessary. The angry spirits of his family demanded it.

"Far too long everybody has turned a blind eye to the real doings of Umbrella. They ignored what they did to me, me, after everything I did for them!"

His personal crusade would have its struggles along the way that much he knew, as history had dictated. However, he was getting a good feeling in the beginning, having already come into contact with some sympathizers outside the company and having acquired himself a powerful ally, one who had already helped him capture some targets wanted by the company, something he knew he could hold over Spencer's head and taunt him with.

This was something he needed to do.

The lone researcher made his way out of the cell block and back to the elevator, taking it to a level below the sub-basement, one only he had known about.

An electronic ding resounded and the researcher stepped out into an ancient cavern lit by modern emergency lights, which had also served well in keeping the bats at bay, their screeching heard in the distance. Aside from the flying rodents the only other sounds were the trickling of a nearby stream and the soft hum of the lights, a quiet that would have left most people unnerved, but the researcher liked it knowing it would deter the others from venturing down here.

Knowing he was alone he made his way down a winding earthen path that eventually took him across a rope bridge and to a locked gate for which he possessed the only known key, sliding it into the padlock and making his way through.

What awaited him was a small clearing where two caskets lay; each of them bearing a coat of arms that had gone back to medieval German times.

At last he was alone with his family.

Walking over to the casket carrying his beloved Annelise he lifted the lid and peered inside. He stared quietly towards her peaceful form before speaking.

"Soon my beloved…soon you we will be together again, you and our precious little Emilie. We will be together again if it is the last thing I do," and it was then he reached into the casket and took her charred hand into his own, "I promise you my love," he whispered before kneeling down to kiss its withering surface.

Author's Note: Did you really think this story ended with the Epilogue? Ha ha! Well I've got news for you all, I LIED!

This is intended to be my extra scene that would follow a movie's credits, much like Marvel does with its "Avengers" movies, a segue of more things to come.

This scene was recycled from an RE fic I had planned out a few years back, but never came to fruition. I thought it was too cool of an idea to just let go to waste, so here I managed to work it into the current continuity.

What will become of this? Tune in to find out!

This is Metal Harbinger saying for the final time in this fic (and yes I promise you this is truly the FINAL time) SPREAD THE SICKNESS, ONE MIND AT A TIME! \m/