Home > BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(6)

BZRK: Reloaded (BZRK #2)(6)
Michael Grant

“I disagree,” Burnofsky said as blandly as he could.

Oh, Bug Man would owe him. He wished he had video of Charles planning Bug Man’s humiliation and Jessica’s murder. Anthony Elder, that snotty little black British prodigy who called himself Bug Man, would kiss Burnofsky’s ass for this.

Burnofsky would own Bug Man.

“I don’t care about Bug Man,” Benjamin snarled. “It wasn’t Bug Man. It was her. Her!”

Burnofsky at first assumed he was talking about Bug Man’s girl, Jessica. But no …of course not.

“I want her hurt.” Benjamin touched his damaged mouth. Then he clenched his fist. “Damaged in some permanent way, something she can never overcome, something that will make her remaining life a horror. Not death, no, we still need her to get at her father’s secrets, but pain, such pain and despair, yes.”

Not poor, dumb, absurdly beautiful Jessica. Oh, no. Benjamin was thinking of Sadie McLure.

Burnofsky suppressed a sneer. Benjamin was losing his mind. The experience with Sadie McLure had unhinged him. He’d always been the more volatile of the twins, but now? He was still “wired”— that was part of the problem. Burnofsky had volunteered to go in and pull those pins and wires, remove them before they became a settled feature of Benjamin’s brain, undo, insofar as anyone could, the damage done by Sadie McLure’s biots. But Benjamin couldn’t tolerate the idea of someone else inside his brain.

Irony, that.

And Charles? Well, just what the hell did you do if you were a conjoined twin and the other half of you went mad?

“She was inside my brain, sticking pins in my brain, making me an animal!” Benjamin bellowed.

“Brother . . .” But Charles’s voice wheezed out. Benjamin had taken control of their lungs.

“Something with acid,” Benjamin said, his voice suddenly silky. “Acid. Or something taken off. Cut something off her. Cut off her nose or her hands.” He chopped at the air with his hand. It was more than just a gesture of emphasis, he was using his hand as an imaginary meat cleaver.

Charles waited for an opening to speak. They each had a mouth of their own and a throat, but the lungs were shared property, and it could be difficult for one to make himself heard if the other was bellowing.

“Brother,” Charles began. “Let’s focus on this crisis. The next thing we need to consider is—”

“Next? Next? Next she suffers and I see it happen. I revel in it. I see it happen and I laugh at her. I stand over her and look down at her as she cries and begs and as the hope dies in her eyes.That’s next.”

He was shaking his fist now, a comic-book villain. But crying from his eye at the same time, a furious, frustrated, hurt child.

The “her” in question was a sixteen-year-old girl, Sadie McLure, although now it seemed she used the nom de guerre Plath. So melodramatic, the BZRKers—such romantics.

Sixteen. The same age as Burnofsky’s own daughter, Carla.

Former daughter? No, death didn’t make you former, it just made you dead.

Charles and Benjamin had been much more calm when they’d ordered Carla’s death. They had been regretful. Charles had actually touched Burnofsky, put a ham-size hand on Burnofsky’s back as he ordered the death of his only child.

Solicitous.

Considerate.

She has betrayed us, Karl. She’s sold us out. You know how she would end up if we left her alone to leave us and join BZRK. Madness. Would you want that for your little girl?

Burnofsky drew a shaky breath. They might at least offer him a drink; of course, the Twins were a bit distracted. Benjamin was still ranting, and Charles was growing increasingly impatient with it.

“I was raped by her!” Benjamin bellowed. “Violated!”

Plath had managed to infiltrate Benjamin’s brain with her biots. Burnofsky knew she was new at the business of nano warfare, but she had improvised, the clever, clever girl. Given the time frame she could have had only minimal training in the sophisticated business of subtly rewiring a human brain. And she’d been in a hurry and under pressure, so she had simply stabbed pins and run wire almost randomly.

She had made scrambled eggs of Benjamin’s brain.

That was some of her father’s intelligence in evidence. She was smarter than the brother who had died. He wondered if they had killed the wrong McLure child. Stone was a stolid, dutiful type, his sister on the other hand . . .

The result of Sadie’s wiring had been severe mental disruption. Benjamin had screeched and babbled and generally made a fool of himself, straining the physical barrier that connected his own head to Charles’s—very painful—and caused the unfortunate incident of the glass bottle, the results of which were still so obvious on Benjamin’s face.

The membrane, the flesh, whatever the word was for the living intersection between Charles and Benjamin, had been strained and torn. The central eye, that eerie, third eyeball that sometimes joined with Charles and other times with Benjamin, and at still other times seemed to decide its own focus, was red-rimmed, the lower lid crusted with blood that still seeped from a deep bruise.

At the end Plath had let Benjamin live when she might well have killed him. Burnofsky wondered whether at this moment Charles thought that was a good thing or not. How many times must one or the other of the Twins have pondered the question of what happened if one of them died?

Their heads were melded. Some areas of their brains were directly connected. They shared a neck, albeit a neck with two sets of vocal cords. They had two hearts—one apiece—and had a sort of two-lobed stomach that fed out through a single alimentary tract.

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