(The rocking chair I sit in brings me little comfort. I've also found no solace in the painkillers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories that I now have to take. My name is Mark Adams and I am in hell. My life was great before we took this Eclipse job. Before Ember. Now it's marred by her touch. It all seemed like it'd be so easy when we first took the job. All we had to do was corner a stupid professional wrestler and get her to tell us where her wrestling mentor is. Get rid of her and kidnap the mentor. No biggy. That's how it was presented to us and I had no reason to believe anything different would happen.

The plan was easy enough. Bradly would blindside her with the zapper, Mindy and I would flank Ember, and the boss man would interrogate her. We'd put her in shackles and haul her off in the van even if she cooperated. The beginning of the plan went off great. She got zapped. She and boss man bantered. She ruined another one of his shirts he's so proud of. Boom, she's shocked. Yeah, Bradly zapped her a little too long and she went unconscious. Hell she had tears in her eyes while knocked out. How much easier could this be?

Boss man had Mindy get the van and the shackles. It's at this point things went sideways and I found myself in a nightmare I couldn't wake up. It was the last few seconds of bliss. The last few seconds of me thinking about how I was going to propose to Mindy after this job was finished. As soon those shackles touched that Ember bitch she woke up. My mindy was on her knees choking in pain. I yelled out for her and ran to save her, but Ember was too fast. She sent me staggering sideways into a wall. In the chaos of everything Bradly accidentally shocked Mindy. I still can't her screams of pain out of my head. They haunt me. I got back to my feet, but not in time. Mindy was face down and the back of her head was stomped on by that bitch. My guts churn just thinking about it. My beautiful Mindy's face being smashed into concrete by a boot. It's all I can do not to puke.

It's at this point that the details are fuzzy to me. It all happened so fast. Boss man pulled a gun. Ember pulled me close. Crazed red eyes glaring at me. The sound of a growl. Hot breath on my face and then her teeth tearing into my face. The pain was intense. I'm sure I screamed, but truthfully I can't remember. I just recall a fuckton of pain as she tore the cheek out of my face and spit it out at my feet. After that it's all the sound of my own whimpering and watching the boss man abandon us to save himself. I awoke to being prepped for emergency surgery. No one would answer my questions. They just asked me my name and made me sign a form. They put me under after that. I've had two surgeries in a week. I'm due for another in a month.

My time in the hospital has been excrutiatingly long. I found out what happened to the others the next day. Bradly was released the same night as he only had broken ribs. Mindy's wounds were more extensive. Broken nose, fractured cheek bone, several missing teeth, and torn muscles in her right arm. They let her visit me briefly my second day here. At first she was hesitant to let me see her. She didn't want me to see how she looked. Her face was a mixture of dark colors, swelling, and bandages. I could barely recognize her under it all. I managed to keep my composure while she was in the room, but after she left I broke down and wept like a little girl. I should never have gotten her into this business. She was so beautiful and it's my fault she now suffers. I'll never forgive myself for that.She was released the other day. She decided to go to her mother's in Vermont. I miss her, but right now I could use the distance to clear my head.

The chair I'm rocking in now arrived on the third day. My soon-to-be former boss man didn't even have the balls to bring it in person. Jack, the fucking coward. This is entirely his fault. He took this job. He did shitty intel. He abandoned us. He's the reason Mindy and I are permanently damaged. The reason our lives are now broken. As I rock back and forth in his chair, in this darkened, hospital room, I plot his death. There's a bullet with his name on it once I'm.....wait, what was that? My thoughts are derailed by a tiny sound I can't place. I look around and listen only to find there to be nothing. Not even a sound from the hallway. I'll be glad when they release me tomorrow. I return to rocking.)


(What was that?! The hair on my arms stands on end immediately. I stop rocking again, stand up, and call out to the hallway.)

Hello? Is someone there?

(Apparently it's not a nurse. I look around the barely illuminated room for a machine, an air conditioner, anything that could have made that sound. Nothing. I think all the medications are finally starting to get to me. I wipe cold sweat from my forehead.)

I'm starting to lose it.

(I chuckle to myself uncomfortably at the absurbity of it all. The cold sweat moves to my now clammy hands. My chest tightens. My breathing becomes heavier. I can't shake the feeling that I'm not alone. I think my eyes are now playing tricks on me too. I swear the shadows in the corner moved. My whole body goes rigid. Suddenly a figure rips itself from the darkness as if it had been a part of it. I move to scream, but am enveloped by it and slammed against the wall back first. Then a twisted whisper comes out of the dark form in front of me.)

I thought I told you to be quiet Markus Adams...

(It's now I realize that fingers covers mouth. The nails lightly scraping against the surgical wounds of my face. The fingers clamp down tighter. Even with all the pain meds in me the pain is excruciating. I grunt and moan in pain against the hand. The figure's free hand pulls back the black hood that was covering her face. Her pale flesh is covered in scars across half her face. It looks like a hastily put together jigsaw puzzles the way the lines jut in all directions. There is no expression. Not on her face anyway. No, it's all in her maniacal eyes. The intense, dark blue orbs swirl with insanity as they stare at me coldly. This is Eclipse.

This is who we took the job to capture for Jack's current employer. She tilts her head to the side as if studying me in some animalistic manner. It's only now that I realize how little we truly knew. This isn't really a woman at all. It's a monster wrapped in human skin. A creature made up to look like a person. A mockery of humanity. Suddenly she breaks the silence as her head returns to a normal angle.)

If you scream I'll rip the tongue from your mouth. Now tell me...who do you work for?

(Her hand moves from my mouth, but not before trailing across my wounds. My eye twitches from the pain. I want to scream for help. I want to attack her and make a run for it. I do neither of these things. Instead I try to stall for time.)

Why would I tell you that?

(I just need to stall so that maybe someone will make rounds and this thing will disappear. I put on a brave face for a guy in agony. It's not out of any loyalty to Jack or some romantic personal code that I stall. I just want to make sure I survive. The emotionless flesh of her face contorts into a strange smile that makes me far less comfortable than I was a moment before. There is some form of twisted joy to the tone of her whisper as she responds. It makes me skin crawl.)

If you don't tell me everything I want to know I will go to Vermont next to visit Melinda Patrick...

(The color drains from my face against my will. I want to scream at her not to go near her, that I'd kill her, blah blah blah. I don't. I can't risk her going after Mindy. My poor decisions for us have put her through enough. No more. I spill my guts with everything about Jack that I know. I don't know who hired us. It was all through him. I make sure she knows every detail about him that I do. Fuck him. Let him deal with this. It's his problem now. Mindy and I just need out. After I'm done talking I pause before adding the most important part of the whole conversation.)

That's everything. I don't know anymore than that. Just promise me you'll stay away from Mindy. None of this is her fault. Please, just leave her alone.

(There is no verbal response to my pleas. Instead unnerving quiet laughter eeks from her scarred lips. Hopelessness fills me as I imagine her confronting Mindy. Just as I feel as if I'll be sick, the monster's cloak thrusts forward and envelops me in darkness.)