A Loner Mentalist Pt. 09

bysycksycko©

Prompted by a nod from the thin man, one of the men holding Jack down punched him in the kidneys. Jack's breath exploded from his lungs as his whole body locked up and pure fire shot up his spine. Mia screamed into her gag.

The thin man fussed with his loose collar. "I did not spend so much time fasting and praying to prove myself worthy of receiving your name to be abused with such foul language." He sneered at Jack again and pulled his loose collar down low enough to reveal welts on the front of his chest. "Look at what I had to do to get your name! Do you know how I endured so many strokes of the lash? With every swing, I reminded myself that I'd know your name. The Lord had granted me the names of so many other abominations, yours was bound to be given, too. It was the reward for my devotion."

As Jack began to recover his breath, Mia's screams petered out and the thin man adjusted his clothing. Jack blinked to focus his vision. He looked at the men holding Mia and him down. Neither they, nor the rest of the SWAT team standing in the hallway, were showing any reaction to what the thin man was saying.

The thin man leaned forward in his seat. He put a bony hand on Jack's mother's shoulder. "Sister Janice told me that you used to be a sweet, pious boy. In honor of the innocent child you once were, I'll give you a chance to repent. Confess your sins! Admit your wrongdoings and you'll be purged of the devil's taint."

Jack stared into the thin man's eyes and realized he was doomed. The only way he was leaving his mother's house was in a box, feet first. He shot his mother and Mia long, sorrowful looks. Janice kept fingering the large crucifix and looked disappointed with Jack. Mia was sobbing almost hysterically. This fucking asshole killed my dogs. He raped my mother's mind. If Jack was to die at the hands of a mind-controlling lunatic, he was definitely not going to do it while quietly whimpering for mercy.

"I'll confess one thing to you," Jack said, nodding. "You don't need to whip yourself, or starve yourself, or pray to get names. All you have to do, to find out anything you want to know, is smoke some pot." Jack grinned. "Or eat some 'shrooms. Any fucking hallucinogen will give you what you want. That's what you're doing when you're praying and fasting and beating yourself. You're making yourself delirious. You're making yourself hallucinate. God isn't sending you any names. Do you know how I know He isn't?" Jack bellowed his next words, "BECAUSE GOD DOESN'T TALK TO FUCKING LUNATICS LIKE YOU, THAT'S HOW!!"

Jack heaved great big angry breaths as his words reverberated through the very walls of his mother's house. It felt good to talk back at the crazy monster.

"Lies," the thin man hissed as his cheeks turned red. "The devil sends you gifts. Gifts of knowledge, of falsehoods and truths and lies. Everyone knows this."

Jack chuckled. He was getting on the thin man's nerves. "Nope. Just plain, ol' pot. The good stuff. Herb. Weed. Ganja. I don't blame you for never trying it. We both know you don't have the balls for something like that. If you did, you'd be hunting these imaginary abominations yourself, not siccing Jacobs and Patrick on them." The thin man looked shocked. "Oh, you didn't know that I know her name?" Jack cocked his head and smiled with fake sweetness. "Didn't she tell you I sent cops after her? My, my, my, is there trouble in paradise?"

The thin man rubbed his hands over his knees as he seethed. "She is doing The Lord's work."

"Nope, she's doing what you've programmed her to do, which has nothing to do with God. Hint: you're a disciple of Satan. Jacobs knew this. Deep down, he knew, despite all the mindfuckery you did to him after you had those four boys rape and murder his entire family right in front of his eyes. He knew. He killed himself because he didn't want to go on being your bitch and serving Satan."

The thin man was grinding his teeth as he glared at Jack. Jack was shocked. If the thin man didn't read the memories of Jacobs' goons as they lay dying, without necklaces around their necks, then how did he find him? Jack nearly rolled his eyes as he remembered he was the only remaining mentalist in the state. Who else could have killed Jacobs? Just one glimpse into the aether record of Jack using his power from before he had managed to copy Jacobs' cloak and that was that. And this bony shithead apparently managed to get that fucking glimpse.

Jack glared right back at the thin man. The thin man looked at one of the men holding Mia and nodded. Jack was struck by a pang of dread, but the SWAT member simply ripped the choker off her neck, making her cough into her gag and gasp for air. The thin man focused on Mia and she calmed down.

Jack realized the thin man was reading his girlfriend's mind. Incensed at this violation, Jack tried to disrupt him. "Yo, Dracula! I've-" One of the men holding Jack down clamped a gloved, meaty hand over his mouth, silencing him.

The thin man looked more and more disgusted as he looked at Mia. "Sinners. Both of you. Disgusting. Your taint spreads easily. As easily as the drugs you use. That's why I won't deal with abominations myself. Too much filth."

Unable to speak, Jack shot the thin man a sardonic look.

"I see in her mind that you felt sad and angry at the good work Jacobs had done. Why? He had been born an abomination and he had begun to revel in his baser nature. I sacrificed his family so he could be given a chance to repent. I made him into an instrument of the will of our Lord, so he could purge the earth of abominations such as yourself. I did him a great favor. Truly. If his soul has been judged worthy of entry into Heaven, it was solely because of what I had done."

The thin man sat back and relaxed. "As to why I had Jacobs deal with abominations the way he did?" He shrugged and smiled warmly. "I wanted to have spares lying around at all times. You can't imagine what it had been like for me when Jacobs' predecessor had died and I had to search for another to convert." He shook his head and sighed. "So much time lost. There must always be one. Those are the words of my order, the tenet of our service to the Almighty. I simply followed them to the letter."

Jack was horrified to learn that all the suffering that had been inflicted on all those mentalists and their families had such a banal cause. People had been driven insane and their wills to live had been taken, just so this asshole could turn them into Jacobs' replacement at a moment's notice. He tried to ask the thin man if he could remember when his own mind had been raped into service, but his mouth was still muffled.

The thin man nodded, as if he understood Jack's muffled question. "Yes, I had Jacobs send me the details of exactly what he had done to the abominations. I've kept them all, though very few of them can still be acted upon. They don't last very long after Jamie's put them through the paces, do they?" He smiled wickedly as he looked into Jack's glaring eyes. Slowly, the thin man's smile faded. "Well, here we are. I'm a good man. Kind, when it comes down to it. I only hurt people when it is absolutely necessary. I can tell," he nodded towards Janice, "from her mind, that you appreciate honesty." He drew a deep breath and sat up straight. "So, in the interest of honesty, I'll tell you the truth. You're going to die here, tonight."

Mia shrieked in horror through her gag. Janice looked only mildly perturbed by the news. Jack's fists tightened. Despite already knowing he was doomed, hearing it declared so casually sent icicles stabbing into his gut.

"These men will be highly decorated for stopping you from committing an act of terror on American soil and that will be that. With your time on this mortal coil at an end, you must consider all of eternity." The thin man turned to the SWAT team standing in the hallway. "Give me his laptop!" One of the SWAT men brought forth Jack's laptop and set it down on the coffee table before retreating. The tablet guy opened up the laptop and turned it towards Jack. "Give me the code to this device! Give me the list of abominations you've uncovered in your travels and I'll take care of them all!"

The beefy hand came off Jack's mouth and he said, "You can't be serious!"

"Of course I am! Don't you understand? This is your one chance at redemption. If you give me this list of yours, I can do so much good that it just might be enough to redeem your immortal soul. Do you want to spend an eternity in the lake of fire? Eternity can be a very long time. I don't know what prizes the prince of lies has offered you, but he is called the prince of lies for a reason, you know. Give me the password. Repent."

Jack licked his lips nervously. He had never even considered that his lists might be used to hurt people. His laptop was secure, but every code could be cracked, given enough time. The thin man could bring it to the FBI lab. They might be able to bypass George's measures with ease. He had to do something to stop that. "Listen to me! I've taken care of the abominations, ok? I've ended them. They're gone! I took their powers from them and made them undo their wicked deeds. The only people left are good people. Pious people. People who don't need to be purged."

The thin man sighed. "You are all abominations. Not a one of you can be allowed to continue to exist."

"What the fuck!? What about you, you fucking hypocrite?! You're an abomination, too! Why don't you go take a long walk off a short pier, asshole?"

"I am a servant of God," the thin man said, as if that was a logical and satisfactory answer.

"What the fuck?!"

The thin man lifted a hand. "Please! The password?" He gestured at the laptop.

Jack shook his head in disbelief. "No. Not ever. Not in a million years. I can't believe that you've looked inside her mind," he nodded at Mia, "and hers," he nodded at Janice, "and you still don't have a freaking clue as to who I am. If you think, even for one second, that I'd fold and let you have the information that leads to the torture and death of over two hundred innocent people...then you're exactly as insane as you sound."

The thin man looked sad. "I had hoped we could resolve this like civilized men, but you insist on doing things the hard way." He shook his head. "How juvenile of you." He held his hand out and a SWAT member pulled out a very large tactical knife and set it in his hand. The thin man didn't even look at it. He just handed it to Janice. "Sister Janice, take this knife. If your son doesn't give me the password for his laptop in ten seconds, stab yourself in the forearm."

Jack's heart beat a rapid rhythm in his ears as Janice took the big knife in her hand. She began to softly count. "Stop! Stop this! Mom! Mom, put that down! Please, mom, put it down! Stop her from doing that! She's innocent! She's an innocent child of God!"

"The password," the thin man insisted.

"Never," Jack roared. "Mom, look at me! Put the knife down! Just open your hand and-"

Janice reached ten and screamed as she plunged the blade into her left forearm. The tip of it went clear through and broke her skin on the other side. Mia screamed anew into her gag. Janice looked to be in terrible pain, but she was fighting it. Jack frantically looked up at the assembled masked men and begged them to stop this. He begged them to save his mother, but they looked at him with disdain, if they even bothered to meet his eye.

"Watts! Watts! Watts!" The thin man insistently called out to get Jack's attention back. "Pay attention, young man! Now that you know I'm for real, you have to give me your password."

"Are you deaf as well as crazy, you sick fuck?! I'm not giving you the fucking password! Not ever! You want to make those people go crazy and kill themselves, you go find them yourself! My last act in this world won't be to set innocents up to be slaughtered!"

"I'm very sorry to hear that," the thin man said. He turned to Jack's mother. "Sister Janice, take the knife out and stand in front of your son!"

"No! Mom! Mom, leave it in, it's plugging up your wound!" Janice let out another small scream as she yanked the blade out of her forearm. Blood was running out of the gash profusely. "Get my mother a goddamned bandage, you fucking flatfoots!"

"Sister Janice, put the knife to your throat. If your son doesn't give me the password to his computer in ten seconds, slit your throat wide open."

"NO," Jack roared. He struggled against his captors so hard he was jostling them.

"One," Janice said.

"You better give it to me, Watts," the thin man said.

"Two," Janice counted.

"Don't do this, Mom!"

"Three."

"Mom! Angle the blade down and cut-"

"Four."

"-through the necklace around your neck!"

"Five."

"Time's running out," the thin man yelled out.

"Mom! Fight this! You can fight this!" Jack's wrists were bleeding profusely from chafing against the ziptie as he struggled.

"Six."

"No! Mom! Stop! Don't do this!"

"Seven."

"Mommy, please stop! I love you! Please-"

"Eight."

"-stop! Don't let him-"

"Nine."

"Last chance," the thin man interjected.

"I love you, mommy!"

"Ten," Janice Watts said. She stabbed the blade deep into the side of her neck.

"NOOOOOOOOO!!"

Janice pulled the knife across her throat and let it drop from her nerveless fingers. Her eyes went wide and her face turned as white as chalk as she adopted an expression of agony, but nothing else happened in that first instant. Jack thought it might just be an elaborate hoax, after all. Then the blood started gushing out. It sprayed Jack right in the face and mouth as he screamed.

Janice collapsed and Jack struggled with all his might to try and help her. The ziptie held his wrists together, even though they were now slick with his own blood. The big men holding him down were struggling to keep him in place and heaving deep breaths right into his ears. Jack's vision went blurry. All he could see clearly was his mother, twitching in her death throes, inches away from him. Her blood was pooling around his knees as it spurted out of her neck. Each spurt was visibly weaker until they ended in a sad, little dribble.

Mia threw up. Since her mouth was gagged, vomit started spewing out of her nose. The thin man gestured at the men holding her and they ripped her gag out. She spewed vomit all over herself as she struggled to clear her airway and get some oxygen. When she finally managed to draw a deep breath, it smelled of blood. Her eyes drifted to Janice's corpse and she resumed heaving. Jack was howling in wordless agony.

"Well, this is disappointing," the thin man complained, good-naturedly. He nodded and a beefy hand was put over Jack's blood-covered mouth again.

The thin man pulled a cellphone out of his pocket and dialed a number. "It's me. ... Fine. ... It's not over yet. There's been a new development. Listen, I need you to get the jet prepped. ... Uh-huh. I'm going to Chicago. There's a vital asset there that we need to acquire, right away. I'm going there myself. ... No, it's a hacker named George Henderson. He has a list of all the abominations east of the Rockies. Even the Canadian ones! ... I know, right? ... Yes. ... Yeah. ... You gotta get the local boys up on him, though. He's hacking away to find out about us. ... No, no, no, that would be great. Just make sure they wait for me. ... Listen, I also need you to send me an interrogator. ... No, no, to the safehouse. ... Yes, he's still alive. His girlfriend, too. ... Because I think the interrogator can work on her to get him to talk. His mother wasn't enough. ... He has more names. He was in Arizona, remember? His girlfriend saw him posting two dozen more letters since they left the hacker. ... I want all the names. ... Don't you understand how great an opportunity this is for our cause? ... I hear you, but this has to be done. Get your best man on it. ... No, it's still on. There's no change there. ... Just get the jet prepped and send an interrogator to the safehouse. ... Yes. Yes. ... I'll have the boys take them there and clean up here. ... Ok, thank you. Bye!"

The thin man hung up and stood up. "I have to go," he said to the leader of the SWAT team. "Take these two to the safehouse and guard them until the interrogator arrives. Then help him with his work. It's very important."

"Yes, sir," the SWAT commander said. "The evacuees?"

The thin man looked at the commander and grunted in confusion.

"Can we let the evacuees return, sir?"

"Oh! Uh...no, not yet. Wait until after the clean up boys do their thing and be sure to retrieve everyone's 'identity' necklace before you let them out."

"Yes, sir. We'll guard the scene in the meanwhile, sir."

"That won't be necessary," the thin man said. "I'd prefer all your men guarding the prisoners. Just leave one man here to wait for the cleanup crew."

"Yes, sir."

"Now, get me a car to take me to the airport."

The SWAT commander held his hand out and the SWAT members out in the hallway stood aside. "Right this way, sir."

Black hoods were fitted over Jack's and Mia's heads, blinding them. Jack tried to shake his off to be able to see his mother one more time, but the hoods were cinched snugly under the chin. He was picked up by four pairs of hands again and he screamed profanities and abuse at them. He tried to kick himself loose from their grasp, but couldn't. He was carried outside and tossed into the back of a van like he was a sack of potatoes. A second sack landed right next to him and the doors were shut.

The van drove away, taking many turns as it navigated the streets of Springfield. Jack couldn't keep track of their route. Under the darkness of the hood, his mother's pale, lifeless face kept cropping up in front of his eyes. He cried for the woman that raised him. His tears tasted of her blood that had curdled on his cheeks. He felt sick and threw up into his hood. As he lay there in the dark, bound and helpless, he thought of drowning himself in his own vomit. A big part of him just wanted the horror to be over. One way, or another.

In the depths of his despair, his mind ran back to the happy times he had with his mother, back when he was only a school kid. He thought of how she had tried to teach him to ride a bike, cause he had wanted to impress his father with his skill when he came home on shore leave again. She hadn't wanted to do it, but he had nagged her into it. They had both wound up with skinned knees after two minutes of his first lesson. Instead of being angry at him for dragging her down to be injured with him, she had hugged him before cleaning both their wounds. She had fretted over his injury more than her own.

He realized that day had been the only time he had seen his mother bleed before tonight.

Fresh tears brought the taste of her blood onto his lips again.

She was dead now, just a corpse to be buried. A small voice in the back of his mind nagged at him and some words he had heard long ago popped up.

Jack's body might be lying dead in this grave, but he is still alive. He lives on in the nine of us and everything we do counts as if he had done it, because if he hadn't done what he had done, then none of us would be around to do it. Everything that you'll ever do, you'll do because of his sacrifice.

For a moment, he was confused, since he was still alive and his body wasn't lying dead in any grave. But then he remembered where and when he had heard those words. When he was little, his father had taken him to the grave of Jack White, L.J.G., USN, after whom he was named. Bert had told him of how the young lieutenant had sacrificed himself to save nine others, Jack's dad included. Jack had grown up with White's ideals in mind. Duty. Honor.

He had a duty to try and save all the mentalists he had warned and whose names were now in jeopardy. Their anti-mentalism necklaces, if they chose to wear them, wouldn't stop the full might of the FBI from taking them down as easily as they took him down, if they got their hands on his list.

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