The Question Mark: Chapter 11


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Ok, so last week’s plea didn’t exactly get very far. But at least I’ve secured that fourth place. Voting ends in a few days guys, so if you’re lovely and want to know what this fool is blabbing on about, check the intro at the top of the last chapter. So what’s Snake up to this week? Have a read and see. If you get queasy over reading about detailed violence or gore, you’d best skip this chapter.

Disclaimer: This story contains violent scenes that some younger readers may find disturbing. Many chapters contain detailed scenes of gore and peril. If you haven’t played the Metal Gear series, there will be spoilers in this story. If you haven’t read the previous chapters, just select the chapter number you want to read below.

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The Empty Hallway

Meryl shot her pistol towards the sniper’s vantage point and threw her back against the indent in the wall, covering from Wolf’s line of sight. Looking to her right, she saw a scared scientist pin himself against the wall, shifting his body weight about from foot to foot, hoping to see Snake from where they had come from. He fiddled about with a concealed device in his coat, the codec, trying to contact the man in the bandana.

Looking in front of her, the wall featured a small red dot, not moving, not even trembling. If she wasn’t aware of the presence of a hidden sniper, she would have thought it just red paint, or blood.

She stared at the dot temporarily, stunned by the precision of the gunner.

How does he do it? Drugs? Must be.

Wolf’s long golden hair draped over the eyesight, providing shade between her eye and the ominous green glow from the surrounding lights. Her vision was through a circle, obscured by four lines to help align her shots. This was the fourth hour into her wait for her prey, earlier than she had expected.

The red-headed woman was naive, innocent most likely, but still a threat. The plan was to shoot her, but not kill her. Snake would have to come out somehow. But with the advance of the woman and her friend, Wolf had to assure the next bullet landed in the woman’s right-hand shoulder. This was the most tactful. She would be less accurate when firing her pistol. Hitting her kneecap would be an additional bonus. Immobility would be a brilliant incentive for Snake to make a move. It’s the same technique as always. And it always worked.

Something bit hard at her left ear. A searing pain found its way from the side of her head to rumble her ear drum. Violent throbbing at the back of her neck caused her head to tilt to one side, shaking. She let go of the weapon, which fell on the grating, and grabbed her bleeding ear, half of which was missing. A second impact mark behind her. She grabbed the gun with her right hand and dragged herself behind a metal strut.

Snake appeared from the dissipating dust cloud at the far end of the hall, running towards Wolf.

She leant round to shoot without aiming, and Snake greeted her with another bullet, which imprinted itself into the metal column which she hid behind. She returned to cover, gripping her ear and grunting in pain, mopping up the blood with a handkerchief.

Snake continued to run. Wolf tucked her gun round the side of the pillar, firing once. The bullet passed Snake by a few foot, losing itself in the fog behind him.

The dust was replaced by an explosion. One mine took two others with it, throwing gushes of flame and water towards David. The fire was extinguished by the overpowering water, which now splashed and covered the majority of the ground floor. The entrance doors blew off their hinges and fell towards the crater in the ground, concealing the gaping hole, trapping any more water, but allowing a gust of cold air to blast down the wide hall.

Meryl and Otacon grimaced in reaction to the mix of fire, water and wind.

Wolf spoke coded words into a radio.

She rolled out from cover. Her hair flew wildly into the air, and her eye was immediately connected to the sight. Align… target… She fired.

Snake stumbled. His face changed from a determined anger to a confused distress. He didn’t make a sound, but tripped over himself, sliding a small distance on the concrete and grit beneath him. His elbow leaked blood, staining the confidence of Meryl, who stood looking on at the fallen hero.

He didn’t get up.

Otacon and Meryl looked at each other.

Snake wasn’t moving.

Wolf took a test shot at Snake’s left hand to see if he reacted.

His hand mangled under the force of the bullet, which pierced the skin and left a part of it sticking out from his glove. The large bullet encouraged crimson life to seep from the hand. The fingers took the weight, and fell flat.

Snake didn’t move.

Silence.

The wind howled down the large hall quietly. Everything stood still.

A small scream could be heard coming from Snake. His ear was talking to him.

Otacon signaled to Meryl. Sniper Wolf was still waiting at one end of the hall. She had the advantage.

He held up his index finger. Then four fingers. Then two. Meryl caught onto what he was doing, and typed the numbers into a concealed device clipped to her inside jacket. They whispered over codec, exchanging thoughts, worries, emotional responses and plans.

Otacon nodded to Meryl.

He felt around in his trouser pockets. Found you.

He threw the stealth camouflage pack in the air towards Meryl. It travelled in slow-motion towards her, spinning slightly over Snake’s body.

Wolf had it in her sights. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going to belong to the red-headed woman. A red dot appeared on the side of the device. Meryl leant round the corner and shot her pistol three times towards the sniper, gritting her teeth with pure desperation.

The sniper ducked once again in fear of losing another ear. Meryl didn’t see her hair spray into the air as she rolled off to one side.

The wind carried the stealth camo up the hall a little, hitting the wall Meryl was hiding behind and scratching along the ground a meter away. In plain sight of Wolf.

Otacon looked on in a mild panic. He blamed himself and feared for their only chance of survival. He also knew what Meryl would want to do, and as she turned her head to look at him once more, his fears were turned to reality.

Meryl’s hair still lay in a mess in front of her sweating face and she blew the strands blocking her vision away. She threw her gun at the ground and its holster, in a way that suggested she had given up with any sense of safety. She pinned herself against the wall, nodded her head in a short countdown and ran out into the line of fire.

Wolf aimed the gun. Meryl leaped through the air, throwing herself at the ground.

The hard impact of her body against concrete winded her and grit blew into the air, carried downwind towards Sniper Wolf.

The red laser blinded Meryl as it shone on her head.

Wolf pulled the trigger.

Meryl stretched out with both arms to grab the stealth camouflage pack. Otacon looked on in semi-consciousness.

The bullet rang as the wind passed by it, singing a peaceful one-note melody. It followed the laser-sight with precision, traveling down the hall towards the floored woman. Its graciousness was only appreciated by Wolf, who kept her eye through the weapon’s sights. She had won. Her prey was caught.

Meryl’s fingers frantically pushed every extruding button on the device, breathing uncontrollably, choking on the dust she was blowing into her own face. She vanished. The sniper’s bullet bounced off the ground and rolled back down the hall towards Snake’s body.

A shot of fear forced its way down Wolf’s spine. This woman had simply disappeared from her sights. She heard a quiet grunting as the invisible woman pulled herself to her feet and hobbled towards her. Wolf shot at the empty space. A swear echoed back to her.

The sound of pacing steps quickened, and Sniper Wolf’s adrenaline rushed through her body. The thrill of the hunt.

Quiet screams continued to echo around the hall from Snake’s ear. Wolf was listening carefully to tell the footsteps and the screaming apart. She aimed and shot. The woman’s invisibility failed her temporarily, flickering off and back on as the bullet nicked at her clothing. Wolf reloaded in an instant and fired at the same spot. There was no impact.

The footsteps grew louder, echoing less as they came closer. Wolf hid herself behind a strut. She knew the woman would seek revenge.

The grated floor beneath her shook slightly as the sound of boots against thin metal led their way to Wolf’s remaining ear. She held her position, squatting behind the pillar, balancing the rifle on her knee, pointing upwards. She wasn’t trained on close combat, she didn’t know how to punch someone effectively.

The next floor.

There was another metal-grated floor above her. It may be her only chance at re-grouping her thoughts. She stood up and ran to her left. The rifle was heavy, and strained on her shoulder with the speed that she moved. Her foot hit the step, and she counted each one as she made her way to the top, helping her to concentrate on her immediate situation.

Someone pulled at her hair from behind. The red-headed woman was once again visible, and Sniper Wolf fell backwards, Her head hit against the sharp metal of the stairs, her feet stumbling over her face, jabbing the rifle into her gut. Her head was pulled further down by her own body-weight and slammed against the grating of the previous floor. She looked up to see a distorted image of an angry woman. The weapon fell off the side of the level, firing a bullet at a nearby wall.

Wolf was thrown against the railings, her head facing the empty hall. Wolf’s hair lost its beauty, just as Meryl’s had. Otacon walked out into the empty space further down the hall, looking on with every expression he could think of.

“You’re a woman?!” Meryl exclaimed as Wolf’s body collapsed over the railing. The sniper didn’t reply, but moaned in pain.

Something tweaked in Meryl’s mind, just as it had as she stared at the entrance to the hall. She stood motionless on the platform, staring at the woman, defenseless. Evil.

She grabbed her back and threw her over the railings. Wolf fell down through the air. Otacon watched in the distance in disbelief. Wolf hit the ground with a hard crunch as her back broke. The sound echoed its way back to Otacon, who turned away.

Meryl walked down the steps to the ground floor. Sniper Wolf moved slightly with her last moment of energy. She picked up Wolf’s rifle, rummaged around the fallen woman’s pockets for more bullets and reloaded the weapon slowly.

The finely crafted shard of metal dug a neat hole into the back of the sniper’s neck. Her body shook and spasmed before lying limp and lifeless on the cold, hard concrete.

The door to her left slid open, and a large group of masked men filtered in aiming their guns at Meryl. Some eyes’ widened on noticing Sniper Wolf’s corpse. Two ran across the width of the hall, scanning the area with their weapons raised. Otacon hid in the gap in the wall again, but was soon to be found. Another two dragged Snake’s body through the door from whence they came. Meryl made no struggle. No sound.

She slid the rifle towards them. There were no bullets left. Besides, it would need reloading again. She slowly turned around to face the guards and flicked her head backwards to move her wet hair. Sweat dripped down her neck, her eyelid trembled, and her knee shook nervously out of sight from the guards.

One approached her. His black boots rippling the blood that explored the space around Wolf. He raised his machine gun to head level, turned to the firing end faced behind him, and slammed the end into Meryl’s forehead. She fell backwards, unconscious on the floor.

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