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Author Topic: Deformed  (Read 654 times)

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Offline Aozora

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Deformed
« on: May 30, 2015, 02:22:31 AM »
Hello everyone, this is my submission for MR Writers Anthology. It's a bit long (over 9,000 words) so you may want to pace yourself if you decide to read my work, for which I am always grateful of course. I've broken it into 3 parts to make it an easier read. Lastly, please respect my intellectual property and do not use or reproduce any part of my story without my consent. Thanks, hope you all enjoy.


Deformed
a western based story of fate and misfortune

Genre: Suspense, Psychological
Rating: PG-13 for language and violence



Synopsis
Spoiler
Damon Zovolsky is a 30-year-old, up and coming plastic surgeon, who has already made a name for himself as one of the best. However, he is quite morally dubious, often taking bribes and neglecting to follow certain healthcare insurance regulations, as well as other questionable activities. On a spring day like any other, he is approached by a shady customer, requesting a complete facial transformation. This man has no paperwork, ID, or any medical history whatsoever but offers to pay a large sum of cash. Damon accepts the deal and operates on this man. A few days later, while watching the news, Damon realizes that the man he operated on is the serial killer everyone has been worrying and talking about. It isn't long before the man returns to Damon, seeking another facial transformation as he was so impressed with the first one. How will Damon escape this situation? Who is this serial killer and why is he so fixated with Damon?

Part 1: Fraud
Spoiler
During the late hours of the morning on this pleasant spring day in Los Angeles, the magnificent California Mountains stand tall in the background, and the sun peeks its golden head over the mountaintops. In an upper class suburban neighborhood, Damon Zovolsky exits his luxurious, one-story house in his pajamas and silk night robe and pauses for a moment at the doorstep. He closes his eyes and runs his hands through his long brown hair, feeling the moist, warm air tickle his face.

“Finally, it’s over!” he thinks to himself while exhaling deeply. Damon lumbers onto his driveway to pick up the newspaper.

Meanwhile, his neighbor, dressed in a spotless gray suit, walks out of his home ready to go to work in his BMW convertible. He turns his head, revealing his clean-shaven face and blonde-hair oozing with gel, and peers at Damon through his aviator sunglasses. “Well, look who it is! Do all quack doctors wake up this late and look like *censored*?” he asks with a smug smile on his face. Damon notices the overly polished man and gazes at him with his deep blue eyes.

“You can blame your wife for how I look, Rob. She kept me up all night,” he replies, his tone exuding feigned arrogance.

Rob chuckles, displaying his sparkling white teeth. “Ah, your comebacks are still better than ever…But still, do you really think you should be poking fun at the guy who saved your sorry ass?” Even though Rob posed his question in a joking manner, Damon could sense the probing, even slightly threatening, undertones in his voice and smug countenance.

Maintaining the light-hearted mood, Damon chuckles, “Saved my ass? More like pulled all the money out of it that you could get your hands on!”

Rob rolls his eyes. “Oh come on, that was like pennies for you. And plus, you know what I hate more than anything? Hypocrites.”

Again, he could sense Rob pricking him with his words while using the joking mood to conceal his true intention. Wanting to no longer prolong the subtle abuse from this arrogant schmuck, Damon decides to give him what he wants.

“I’m just kidding man. The last three months were brutal, and you really pulled through for me man. Thanks.”

Although that was exactly what he wanted to hear, Rob simply shrugs Damon’s gratitude away with feigned humility. “Oh, it’s no problem bud. That’s my job after all, right?” he chuckles. Damon forces a smile in response. Satisfied that he had heard what he wanted, Rob opens the door and slips into his convertible. Turning to Damon one last time he says, “Anyways, it was nice chatting with you, but I gotta run to the law firm bud. Boss hates it when I’m late. See you later, alligator!”

Damon watches with a scowl as Rob fires the ignition and zooms out of the neighborhood at speeds way too high for a residential area, and mutters under his breath, “What a piece of *censored*.” As Damon strolls back inside his house, he studies the clutter of stories on the front page of the newspaper. In the center of the front page in large, bold letters reads the headline: “SERIAL KILLER MURDERS TWO, STEALS MONEY AND JEWELRY.” However, Damon completely ignores the conspicuous headline, instead focusing on one off to the side: “PLASTIC SURGEON FOUND INNOCENT ON CHARGES OF FRAUD.” His eyes wander to the sub-heading on the next line: “Dr. Damon Zovolsky, accused of fraudulent billing to healthcare insurance companies, was found innocent after standing on trial for three months.” Beneath the headings is a photo of him smiling and shaking hands with his lawyer, a blonde-haired man, who is none other than the neighbor with whom he just had a lovely chat.

He enters the living room and uncaringly hurls the newspaper onto the center table before collapsing onto the welcoming sofa. He then turns the TV on and sifts through the channels at blazing speed with the remote, finally arriving at SportsCenter. Although his eyes stare blankly at the screen, his mind pays no heed to the fact that Stephen Curry scored 25 points last game. Instead, his thoughts wander around the events that had transpired over the last three months.

“I got lucky…really lucky. If I had been found guilty…damn, it would’ve been bad – would’ve been locked up in prison for a few years and then no license to practice or any money when I got out…” He stretches his legs, placing them on top of the center table and continues pondering his past actions.

“I can’t do stuff like that anymore…I gotta stop, start following the rules. But dammit, why should I? Those insurance companies control everything with their *censored*ed up policies. That’s all the medical field is now…full of bureaucracy.”

He releases a loud sigh and says aloud, “I should do something or I’ll go crazy.” He whips his slick smartphone out of his pant pocket and dials a number. Putting the phone against his ear, he waits as it rings a few times and then hears a gentle, feminine voice answer, “Hello?”

“Hey, what’s up? You busy right now?” he asks.

“No, the kids just went out for recess. Um, are you calling from work?”

“No, no, I’m at home. I thought I’d just go back next week. I need a break after all this *censored*, you know,” Damon says while rubbing his eyes and forehead.

“Oh…okay.”

“Why do you ask?”

“It’s nothing…you never call when you’re at work so I was just wondering. Anyways, why’d you call?”

“I wanted to know if you’re free tonight. I thought we could do something tonight – you know, go out for dinner or something.”

“On a weekday? What’s the occasion?”

“Nothing, really. We’ve barely talked since this whole thing started and I wanna see you.”

“Yeah…you’re right. I wanna see you too. What time were you thinking?”

Damon smiles faintly. It was a hook, line, and sinker – the way she took the bait. Of course, he could not tell his girlfriend that the reason he was proposing a date was because he was bored out of his mind and needed something to do, so he phrased it a bit differently. He has always had a knack for words. “How about 7:30?”

“Sounds good. I’ll see you then…The kids are coming back. I got to go.”

“Alright, see you then. Bye.” After ending his conversation with his girlfriend, he adds his phone to the growing pile of clutter on the center table and stretches his arms while yawning.

“Alright, just gotta keep myself occupied till 7:30…I can do that,” he thinks.

***
It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and Damon lays sprawled decorated with food crumbs in the living room sofa fast asleep. The mountain of clutter on his center table now includes bags of chips, cookie packets, PlayStation controllers, and a multitude of other items. The TV continues to play in the background. Suddenly, Damon’s phone rings loudly. He jerks awake, sending food crumbs flying everywhere. Scouring through the mess half-asleep, he soon starts furiously swiping objects off the table in search of his phone like a miner digging for gold. Finally, he arrives at the bottom of the heap and quickly picks it up. “Hello.”

An extremely enthusiastic voice greets him from the other side, causing Damon to wince slightly. “Hi, Dr. Zovolsky! It’s so good to hear your voice again! How have you been?” Recognizing the familiar voice, he sits back, relaxing in the sofa.

“Oh hey, Sarah. I’ve been good. Uh, is there something I can help you with?”

“Well sir, one of your repeat patients, Mrs. Pennyworth, just came into the clinic asking for you. We told her you’re not here and that Dr. Goodman could help her, but she’s pretty adamant about only you operating on her.”

Now feeling more urgent and alert, Damon says, “Okay, okay. Let her into my office and tell her I’ll be right there.”

***
The Goodman and Zovolsky Clinic for Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery is a small brown and white building with a few windows lining its sides. Damon bursts through the automatic sliding doors of the front entrance in his gray scrubs and white coat, ignoring the surprised stares of the patients in the waiting area. He then proceeds past another door, and finds the medical staff working busily – typing rapidly at their computers, or helping patients in their rooms, or filling out paperwork. They all greet him casually except one.

“Dr. Zovolsky!” cries a voice. Confused Damon looks around and then down to find the blonde-haired, petite head of medical staff gazing up at him with her large, unblinking hazel eyes.

“Oh hey Sarah, I ha-”

“How have you been, sir?” she says with a concerned expression and placing her hand on his arm. Feeling awkward and trapped, Damon tries to escape from his overly dramatic co-worker but to no avail.

“I was so worried about you over these last three months. They must have been really hard on you.”

“Sarah!” Damon snaps, causing her to jump a little but also finally securing her attention. “I’m glad to see you too, but we can catch up later. Mrs. Pennyworth, is she in my office?”

“Oh yes, sir! I can take you to-”

“No, no that’s alright. You attend to other matters. I can handle this,” he replies and marches down the corridor to his office. As he enters, he’s greeted by the two shelves filled with books on either side of his desk, which is adorned with various decorations. On one side of the desk sits Mrs. Pennyworth, an elderly lady who has a passion for cats and is one of Damon’s most loyal patients.

“Mrs. Pennyworth, it’s so good to see you!” he exclaims.

“Oh Damon, my dear, it’s nice to see you too. I was wondering when you’d arrive,” she crows while turning to face him, revealing her pale, wrinkled skin and small, brown eyes.

Damon smiles and says, “Sorry, it took so long. LA traffic is simply terrible.” He then bends down to touch her cheek with his own, and then takes a seat at his desk, facing Mrs. Pennyworth.

Upon taking his seat, he cursorily observes her appearance.
The large black hat atop her head seems too big for her, the white frills on its edges making it appear even more conspicuous. She dons several rings on each hand in addition to a beautiful pearl necklace and diamond earrings. Her white dress complements her hat. And to top it all off, a white, plump cat sits comfortably in her lap. She’s, quite simply put, the epitome of opulence.

“How have you been, Mrs. Pennyworth?”

She folds one leg over the other and tilts her head to the side as though she’s the Queen of England. “Oh you know, my dear, the usual business. Jack still works at the investment firm. I tell him to retire but he just won’t listen. And so, I’m all alone having to keep myself occupied,” she sighs, exaggerating her problems to seem more important than they actually are. “But I’ve got Smithers here to keep me company!” she says, referring to the cat in her lap cheerfully. She leans forward slightly and assumes a more solemn tone. “But that’s enough about me, my dear. How are you faring? These last months must have been quite the…ordeal.”

Damon feigns a chuckle in response. “Being on trial was quite the scare indeed. But I’m back and better than ever,” he says with a toothy grin and spreading his arms out for emphasis.

“And we couldn’t be happier,” Mrs. Pennyworth replies delightedly.

“Thank you. So! What can I do for you today, Mrs. Pennyworth?”

“Well dear, it’s a few things actually. First, I want some work done on my nose…”

Meanwhile, in the waiting room of the clinic, a rather disheveled middle-aged woman rushes to the front-desk receptionist and sputters, “Excuse me. The man who just walked in now – was that Dr. Zovolsky?”

Slightly taken aback by how aggressively the woman approached her, the receptionist replies, “Y-yes, that was him. Can I help you?”

“Yes, I need to speak with him! It’s an urgent matter!”

“I apologize, ma’am. He’s currently busy with another patient and he’s completely booked for today. You’ll have to make an appointment in advance.” To the side, a hooded man sitting in the waiting area watches the verbal exchange between the woman and the receptionist quietly, his piercing, blue eyes fixed on them.

“Please, it will just take a second,” the woman cries. “My son, he-”

The woman abruptly stops speaking, struggling to suppress her emotions. She regroups herself and continues with tears in her eyes, “He suffered third-degree burns. The doctors overseeing his care said that they can give him skin grafts but they may not be enough. Please, only Dr. Zovolsky can help him. Everybody says he’s one of the best reconstructive surgeons.”

Before the receptionist can respond, the woman starts shoving paperwork her way. “These are all my past medical bills and my son’s diagnoses.”

The receptionist skims over a few papers and looks up to face the woman with a sympathetic expression. “I’m very sorry ma’am. Your insurance simply can’t cover the cost of Dr. Zovolsky’s operations. There are lots of great surgeons specializing in reconstructive surgery in town. We’d be happy to refer you to them.”

“No, you don’t understand. Only he can help with this. Please!” she cries desperately, on the verge of tears.

In Damon’s office, Mrs. Pennyworth continues explaining what she would like to him to do for her. As she rambles on, he jots down her litany of requests on a notepad with an exhausted expression. Before he loses his patience, however, a woman frantically bursts into his office. Unsure of what to say, she pauses momentarily while Damon and Mrs. Pennyworth stare at her shocked.

Just as the woman is about to speak, Sarah, the head of medical staff, appears in the office and exclaims, “Dr. Zovolsky, I’m very sorry. We told her you were busy but she forced her way past us.”

Still a bit dazed and confused, Damon expresses understanding but fails to articulate a response.

Sarah then turns to the woman and places her hand on her arm. “Ma’am, you need to come with us right now. Otherwise, we’ll have to ca-“

The woman interrupts her, flinging her elbow violently backwards to push the petite head of staff off of her. Her aggressive actions evoke a strong response from Mrs. Pennyworth, who glares at her with utter disgust and outrage. The woman turns to the alarmed Damon and presents her emotional pitch. “Doctor, my three-year-old son means the world to me and I want nothing more than to give him a happy life. But he suffered third-degree burns on his face recently after playing near the stove. He’s going to be given skin grafts but the doctors said that they may not be enough…Please, I may not have much money now, but I can pay the expenses for the operation after some time.”

Damon slowly stands up from his chair with a solemn expression, and he begins to walk towards the woman but stops when Mrs. Pennyworth turns her face, her eyes meeting with his. Her expression was screaming the words: “Are you actually going to cater to the wishes of this poor, uneducated nut!?”

And there he freezes. He looks at the appalled face of his most loyal customer and then glances at the frantic woman desperate to save her son. Finally, he makes his choice. The words quietly and softly escape his lips: “Sarah…please call security.”

At that moment, Sarah jolts out of his office while the woman absorbs Damon’s response, sadness and humiliation slowly overwhelming her. As Damon takes his seat again, she shakes her head and whispers, “No…no, please! Please, you have to help my son!” She inches closer to Damon to beg for his help, but before she can close the gap between herself and the stone-faced doctor, two security guards enter the office and forcefully remove her from the premises.

“Let go of me!” the woman screams as the guards escort her into the front lobby. The hooded man still sitting in the waiting area watches the commotion intently as the guards finally force the woman out the front doors of the clinic.

Meanwhile, in Damon’s office, Mrs. Pennyworth turns to him aghast and says, “My goodness! Does your clinic always bring in such riff raff?”

Irritated by her ignorant question, Damon replies stoically, “Our clinic attracts all sorts of folks, Mrs. Pennyworth. Do you think that only the wealthy need doctors?”

Taken aback by Damon’s bluntness, Mrs. Pennyworth cocks her head and stumbles on her words. “Well, I know that…I was just shocked by how ill-mannered some can be.”

She pauses and then adds with a forced chuckle, “Even Smithers here is more refined than that crazy woman.”

Damon refuses to make light of the situation and maintains his stoic attitude, his mind still distraught by his decision not to operate on the woman’s son.

Part 2: Invincible
Spoiler
***
Around six o’ clock, as the last remnants of sunshine fade into the darkness, the medical staff start leaving for home, but Damon remains in his office, furiously typing away at his computer.

Sarah strolls in enthusiastically as ever. “Dr. Zovolsky, is there anything I can help you with?”

Without looking up from his screen, Damon replies, “No, I’m alright. You’re free to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay, sir. Don’t stay out too late,” she says and leaves. Utter silence ensues. Not a soul or sound, except for the tapping of fingers against the keyboard. Damon feels at peace, unbothered by complaining patients or annoying medical staff. It’s just him by himself, alone with his thoughts. He smashes the “Enter” key one last time and says, “Finally done!”

After packing his bag, he heads out of the clinic towards his black sedan in the parking lot. While putting his bag in the trunk, his thoughts drift towards his encounter with the frantic woman earlier today. “I should have helped her,” he thinks solemnly. “I was so worried about losing Pennyworth’s business that I couldn’t even…dammit,” he mutters, banging his car lightly with his fist.

“Dr. Zovolsky…” Alarmed by the coarse voice, Damon whips around to find the mysterious hooded man from earlier peering at him with his piercing, blue eyes. He discerns the man’s sharp nose and sculpted jawline, but fails to identify anything more due to his hood partially covering his face.

“Uh…yes. Can I help you?”

“I need a facial reconstruction,” rumbles his deep voice.

“Wh-what?”

“I need a facial reconstruction…now,” he repeats, his expression intensifying.

Damon turns around, trying to escape from this shady character. He opens the door to the driver seat of his car but before he can get in, the hooded man appears in front of him and shuts the door. Damon stares in fear at the man for a moment, wondering whether he should call the police. Before he has the chance to react, however, the man reaches into his coat pocket and smacks a wad of cash against the hood of his car.

“What is this?” Damon asks dumbfounded.

“One hundred thousand dollars in cash,” he replies bluntly.

Damon gapes at him for a moment, finally finding his voice. “And…how about medical history, insurance, ID?”

“Nothing,” the man replies bluntly, his gaze now fiercer than before. “So…are you gonna do it?”

***   
The man sits opposite Damon at his desk gently touching the bandages covering his face. “My face feels numb…how long do I need to keep these on?”

“A few days or so. After a face transplant like the one you just had, the tissues need some time to merge and settle,” he replies while typing at his computer.

The man eyes him for a moment and then asks, “What are you doing? I thought this was supposed to be off-record…”

“It won’t be in the official records, but I keep a personal record of all my operations. Don’t worry…no one will know that this ever happened.”

While Damon continues typing on his computer, the man sits there quiet and bored. Feeling restless, he reaches for a picture on Damon’s desk and studies it. It is a portrait of a family – a mother and father, and two sons. Damon eyes him from the corner of his eyes without stopping his typing, still skeptical of this mysterious stranger. Slowly, he turns the portrait towards Damon and points towards one of the boys in the photo.

“Who’s this…the one with the red marks on his face?”

Damon stays silent for a moment and then answers bluntly, “My brother.”

“What does he do?”

“Don’t know. Haven’t seen him in twenty years.” Damon continues to stare at his computer screen, expressing no interest in the questions about his brother, or at least trying to act as though he has none.

The man places the portrait back on the desk and leans back in his chair. “Ah, touchy subject, eh? I hope you’re not offended. I didn’t mean to pry,” he says with a feigned apologetic tone. He taps his fingers gently against the desk and then says musingly, “I think I get it now. You wanted to become a plastic surgeon because of your brother…you know, help people with deformations like his.”

Damon remains silent, feeling it unnecessary to respond to the man’s commentary on his personal life.

He continues, “But if that’s the case…why didn’t you help the poor lady and her son today?”

Immediately, Damon stops typing and shoots him a glare. The man smiles faintly in response as Damon had reacted exactly the way he expected.

“It’s none of your concern,” growls Damon.

“Okay, okay. I’m not looking to start a fight, big guy,” the man responds mockingly.

Damon grabs a paper from the printer behind him and slams it in front of the man. “Sign it and we’re done here.”

“What is it?”

“Like I said earlier…it’s for my personal records.”

The man and Damon exchange stares for a moment. Finally, the man yields. “Fine, I’ll do it,” he says groans and quickly scribbles his signature.

He kicks the chair back and strolls out of the office, stopping at the door to leave Damon with a few last words. “I wonder what your brother would think if he saw the type of man you are now.” And with that, he vanishes into the darkness.

The man’s final comment leaves Damon in a trance. He stares aimlessly at the doorway where the man stood before he left. Somehow, his words stung him in a way he had not expected. Finally returning to reality, he thinks, “Damn, what a creepy guy…that must have been one of the shadiest deals I’ve ever done.”

He checks his phone; it’s already 11:30. He also has several missed calls and a text message from his girlfriend. He opens the message and reads it: “We talk after three months and the first thing you do is stand me up. We’re done, Damon.”

He sighs in exasperation. “I’ll just call her tomorrow. I need to get the hell outta here,” he thinks and sprints to his car, ready to race home after a tiring day full of strange, unexpected events.
   
As he cruises along the highway, passing streetlights and cars, which appear like streaks of colors in his peripheral vision, Damon muses over his encounter with the mysterious man. Who was he? And why did he approach him out of all the plastic surgeons in L.A.?

But what intrigues Damon most of all about the man are his final words before he left: “I wonder what your brother would think if he saw the type of man you are now.” The words play in his mind over and over again, gently pricking him every time. A sense of nostalgia begins to overwhelm him as he thinks about his brother and their days together when they were young.
“Nathan…where the hell are you?” he wonders.

***
A ten-year-old Damon slumps in the couch of a spacious living room, watching TV at an unreasonably high volume to drown out the sound of his mother shouting at him to do his homework.

Suddenly, the front door bursts open and a teenage, brown-haired boy with a facial disfiguration enters with his head titled downwards as though he’s hiding something. Before he can dash up the stairs to his room, a middle-aged woman with hair the color of a perfect mixture between brown and blonde intercepts him.

“Nathan, what’s wrong? Why are you trying to hide your face?” she asks trying to get a better look at him.

“It’s nothing, Mom. Just leave it alright!” he says trying to avoid her.

But she overpowers him with that inexplicable motherly ability and forces him to show him his face. She gasps after noticing a purplish-black tint underneath his left eye. “What happened? Who did this?” she asks overflowing with concern.

However, Nathan brushes her questions aside and climbs the stairs to his room. “Nathan!” she shouts after him but to no avail.

***
At the dinner table, Damon and the rest of his family eat in silence, as is usually the case when his father is present. Every aspect of his appearance - from his crisp white collared shirt, to his neatly combed brown hair, to his perfectly trimmed moustache – serves as an indication of the tremendous value he places in discipline and order.

While chewing on a piece of chicken, Damon’s father turns towards Damon’s brother, Nathan, and says, “So, you wanna tell me what happened today? Your mother told me you got a little bruise under your eye.”

Nathan looks down at his plate, avoiding eye contact. “It’s nothing…Just some kids at my school. They were making fun of me…” he mumbles.

“Making fun of you about what? Your skin problem?”

Nathan nods obediently with his gaze fixed on his plate.

“And you wanted to be a tough guy so you got in a fight. Is that right?” he inquires trying to look directly into his eyes. Unable to evoke a response from Nathan, his father barks, “Look at me!!”

Everyone at the table jumps at the sound of his bellow, including Damon’s mother. Nathan immediately lifts his head, quivering at the same time. 

He brings his face uncomfortably close to Nathan’s and stares into his eyes. “I’m tired of you getting in trouble, you understand me? I ain’t sending you to school so you can come home with this,” he says pointing to Nathan’s bruise. “From now on, I better not see you getting in any more trouble.”

He slowly backs his face away from Nathan’s and resumes eating. And once again, the Zovolsky household falls completely silent.

***
“Happy Birthday, Natie!” Damon’s mother cheerfully exclaims as she hands Nathan a small, gift-wrapped package while he eats his breakfast along with Damon at the dining table.

“Mom, I’m too old for this,” he groans in feigned disapproval and embarrassment.

“Oh, just open it,” she prompts.

He tears off the wrapping and opens the package. “A dog tag…with my initials on it. Nice. This is not the Nintendo 64 but this is still pretty cool. Thanks, Mom,” he says with a pleasant smile.

“Don’t thank me. Someone else picked it out for you,” she replies, gesturing to the boy beside him.

Nathan turns to find his younger brother gazing at him with a wide grin.

“Thanks buddy,” he says and gives Damon a half-hearted hug.

Damon giggles innocently. “No problem brother!
***
As the sun sets in the horizon and the evening breeze grows stronger, Nathan and his friend shoot the ball around in the neighborhood’s basketball courts.

“Damn, nice dude! Your shot’s gotten pretty good,” Nathan’s friend exclaims as he passes the ball to him so he can take another shot. “At this rate, you might make it on the varsity team next year.”

Nathan catches the ball and assumes his stance behind the three-point line. “I don’t know about that man. We’ll see.”

He focuses and then launches the ball with a beautiful arc.
“Fwish,” the ball falls cleanly into the hoop.

About to take another shot, Nathan abruptly stops as he and his friend notice a chubby, six-foot behemoth striding towards them. “*censored*, it’s Bobby. Should we bounce?” whispers Nathan’s friend.

“Hey, what do you know? If it isn’t the two fugly ducklings!” he yells with feigned cheerfulness, causing both Nathan and his friend to grimace. “What’s wrong, ladies? Not happy to see me?”

“Leave us alone, Bobby. We don’t want any trouble,” his friend remarks.

“Shut up and gimme the ball,” Bobby snarls.

Nathan’s friend tries to resist but is no match for Bobby’s overwhelming power, falling to the floor after Bobby yanks the ball from his arms.

Angered by how he treated his friend, Nathan yells, “What the hell asshole?”

Bobby looks at him with the utmost condescension while resting the ball between his arm and waist. “What now, Scarface? You got something to say to me?” he mocks, bringing his face closer to Nathan’s.

Nathan looks away unable to meet Bobby’s gaze.

“Know your place, you ugly piece of *censored*,” he continues. “Your face is like a permanent Halloween mask, you know that right? I could wear it anywhere and people’d get scared.”

Bobby shoots the ball, missing the hoop by miles, while Nathan burns silently with rage. He looks at Nathan again. “Aw, is lil’ Scarface mad? It’s okay. I’d be mad too if my face was so ugly.” He pauses for a moment, and then adds, “Gosh, it must suck. Cause not a single girl would want to date you or even look at you for that matter.”

That was it. He could not take it anymore. He wants to rip Bobby to shreds and pound his face into the dirt, but instead he leaps onto his bike and races home.

Nathan storms into his room panting from the combination of physical exertion and anger, his eyes bulging and expression menacing. He stares at the metal baseball bat leaning against the wall in the corner of his room. “This has gone too long…No more! I’m putting an end to this!” he decides angrily in his mind. He snatches the baseball bat and heads once more to the park. There he finds Bobby still shooting the basketball around on the court.

Bobby notices Nathan walking towards him and extends the ball out to him as a sign of reconciliation. “Came back for your ball? Here take it.”

As he hands the ball to Nathan, however, he fails to notice the silver blur aiming for his head. The bat hits its mark, causing Bobby to stagger backwards. Nathan then issues another quick strike with the bat to Bobby’s calf bringing him to his knees. However, Nathan immediately realizes that his plan of whacking Bobby a couple of times was a foolish one, for Bobby glares at him in a mountain of range, like a lion wanting to tear its prey to pieces.

With fear now also motivating his physical retaliation, he swings the bat again, nailing Bobby in the head and causing him to cry out in pain. He does not stop there. Falling deep within the pit of his boiling emotions, he loses self-control, the chains of moral constraint shattering altogether.

The blows come flying one after another until finally Nathan’s friend sprints towards him, crying his name. He breaks Nathan free from his rampage. “Holy *censored*! What the hell did you do?” he says referring to the incapacitated and bloodied Bobby.

Nathan sheds tears as he gazes in disbelief upon his gruesome handiwork.

“We gotta call the cops man,” his friend says but the sound of law enforcement sends Nathan fleeing for his life.

“Nathan!” his friend calls after him.

Once Nathan reaches home, sweat pouring from his face, his parents immediately ambush him in the living room. His mother wears an apprehensive expression while his father appears strict and angry. His father speaks with a menacing tone. “I just got a call saying that the Portermans’ boy was found beaten half to death…did you have something to do with this?”

He inches closer with a stern expression, while Nathan steps backwards to maintain a safe distance. Suddenly, his father lunges at him, closing the distance Nathan had created in the blink of an eye, and grabs his arm, staring into his face. “Tell me, boy! Did you have something to do with this?” his father roars.

Terrified of the strict dictator looming over him, Nathan stumbles on his words, “I-I-”

But his stuttering was enough to evoke his father’s wrath. “What did you do?” he growls and strikes him across the face with his hand.

Unable to articulate a response, Nathan simply stares at his father in fear while taking another slap to the face, this time to his other cheek.

“Jonathan, stop!” his mother screams trying to cease her husband’s abuse of their son.

“Stay out of this, Michelle! This boy needs to learn his lesson!” He continues to bombard him with blows while Nathan defends himself in vain with his arms raised.

“Wait, why? Why am I just standing here doing nothing?” Nathan contemplates. “I’m done! I’m done dealing with bullies, with my father, with everything!” And with that final thought, he rips his arm from his father’s grip, clenches his fist, and aims right for his father’s face. His fist, fueled by an eruption of negative emotions, meets his father’s jaw and sends him to the ground. His mother rushes to his father’s side and they both stare at Nathan in horror.

Taking a few steps backwards, Nathan looks down at his hands with regret, wondering what possibly could have driven him to commit such a dreadful action.

He notices his parents looking at him aghast as though he’s a stranger in his own home. Ashamed and panicking, he whips around and runs out the door of his house. “I can’t stay here,” he thinks to himself. “I’ve got to go somewhere no one can find me.” As he mounts his bicycle frantically and prepares to take off, he hears a voice behind him.

“Nathan?” Damon questions sitting on his bike with one foot planted against the ground.

Nathan turns around to find the two blue pearls of his brother’s eye gazing innocently at him.

Damon notices the beads of sweat and tears racing down Nathan’s face. “It’s almost dinner time. Where’re you going?” he asks confused. As Nathan looks at him, Damon notices his brother’s face contort with sadness and deciphers the implicit message hidden within his expression: “I’m sorry.”

Before he can say another word, his brother whips around and pedals furiously, racing off into the distance beneath the setting sun. This was the last time Damon had seen his brother.
   
***
On a lazy Saturday, two days after his encounter with the mysterious man in need of a facial reconstruction, Damon sits in his living room watching the news while munching on some scrambled eggs. He stuffs his face with large bites as the well-groomed news anchor chatters away on the screen.

“An eye-witness at the murder scene was able to provide a sketch of the serial killer. The police have matched the sketch to this man here.”

An image of the man presumed to be the serial killer pops onto the TV screen. Upon recognizing the man, Damon drops his fork and a lump forms in his throat, making it difficult to swallow the bite of scrambled eggs he just put in his mouth. Those piercing blue eyes, the sharp nose, the pronounced jawline – it was him. It was the hooded man. “The guy I operated on…is the serial killer,” he wonders in disbelief. What hits him next is the terrifying realization that he’s now an accomplice to murder after changing the appearance of the serial killer, for the man no longer looks like the image shown on the screen thanks to his handiwork. No wonder the man was in such a rush to have his operation. And on top of that, the bribe he accepted was blood money – money that was most likely stolen from the victims he murdered in cold blood.

“*censored*, what should I do!?” he says, standing up suddenly with his hand in his hair. “I can’t call the police,” he contemplates. “That bastard would rat me out in a second…”

He looks around wildly and then lunges for his phone and rapidly dials in a number. It rings several times, and just when he’s about to lose all hope, he hears his girlfriend’s gentle voice. “Damon, if you’re calling to apologize, don’t bother. I really don’t care-”

“No, no, it’s not about that! I mean, I’m sorry about standing you up, but there’s something else. I messed up. I’m scared, Emily,” he sputters.

“Whoa, slow down. What’s wrong?”

“That night – the night I stood you up…I didn’t tell you but I was late because I was operating on somebody. But I didn’t know who this guy was…He came up to me with a lot of money and wanted a facial reconstruction. He was really creepy too so I said okay and I did it…And today, I found out that the guy I operated on is the *censored*ing serial killer.”

A moment of silence ensues his tirade. “A-are you gonna say anything?” he asks loudly with a tinge of desperation in his voice.

“What do you want me to say, Damon?” she calmly answers.

Damon tries to respond but stumbles, not knowing how to answer her question.

Noticing that he’s struggling to formulate a proper response, she fires, “You keep doing these stupid things, Damon. I thought you learned your lesson after going to court and almost going to jail! I mean did you really think you were going to get away doing all this shady stuff for the rest of your life? You’ve finally managed to get yourself in a pile of *censored* that no one can get you out of – not me or you or anyone else. Goodbye, Damon.”

“No wait, Emily!” he cries to stop her from hanging up the phone.

At the sound of his voice, Emily decides to leave him with a few final words: “Also, I was serious when I texted you. We’re done. Don’t call me again.”

“Emily!” he yells but he’s too late. She had hung up and left him feeling even worse than he did before after he realized that he had operated on a ruthless, cold-blooded killer.

He gazes down at the phone in his lap remorsefully. However, at that moment, his myriad of emotions – apprehension, sadness, loneliness – convert to rage and contempt almost instantaneously as though undergoing a chemical reaction.

Standing up swiftly, Damon grabs his phone and chucks it at the mirror in his living room with all his might, debris of glass and cellphone components erupting from the point of contact.

“*censored* you, then!” he screams thinking of his girlfriend. “I don’t need you.”

He starts towards the mirror and peers at his reflection. The crack in the glass of the mirror runs through the menacing face of his reflection, a representation of his deformed soul.

His eyes still fixed on his reflection, he thinks, “In a pile of *censored*, huh? Yeah right. They haven’t caught me yet and this time won’t be any different…because I’m invincible. I’m the best *censored*ing plastic surgeon in the whole damn world. No one can touch me, not the insurance companies, not the courts…nobody.”
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Check out my stories here: http://forums.mangaraiders.com/index.php?topic=12492.msg213349#msg213349

Offline Aozora

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Re: Deformed
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 02:23:15 AM »
Part 3: Karma
Spoiler
***
Six months later, Los Angeles and its inhabitants now swelter under the unforgiving dryness and heat of summer weather. 

Damon Zovolsky swaggers out of the front door of his home. No longer does he don the dull gray scrubs he used to wear to work. Rather, he boasts a spotless lavender collared shirt to go along with his magnificent silk tie and his crisp navy pants all underneath his white coat – the unequivocal symbol of his medical expertise.

As he unlocks his car, his neighbor, Rob, looking as polished as ever walks out of his home to go to work, immediately noticing Damon’s sparkling, new luxury car. “I-Is that a Tesla?” he stammers.

Leaning against his Tesla as though he’s Nikola Tesla himself, Damon exclaims, “Yeah, it is! Do you like it?”

“Uh yeah, but what happened to your Audi? Didn’t you buy that thing a couple months ago?”

“Oh yeah, I kind of got bored of it so I sold it and got this instead,” Damon responds with feigned nonchalance. “It’s a beauty, ain’t it?” he says bragging even further. 

Stumbling on his words, Rob fails to articulate a coherent response and before he’s able to do so, Damon hops into his Tesla and calls out through the window, “I’ve got to get to work buddy. Patients hate it when I’m late. See ya later, alligator!” He then zooms off to work while Rob watches in disbelief. 

***
As he walks through the lobby of the clinic, Damon greets his patients and staff like a cheerful celebrity. “Mrs. Jackson, looking beautiful as ever!” He compliments an elderly woman wearing so much jewelry that she could even make Mrs. Pennyworth seem frugal.

“How about that game, last night, eh Tom?” he then says turning towards a balding, chubby man, who decided to put on his best suit for a medical appointment.

“That was a *censored* call by the referees,” he yells.

Damon chuckles while passing through the door to the work area and heads for his office. Sarah, his head of medical staff, cuts off his path and presents him with some paperwork. “Hi, Dr. Zovolsky! Here’s the schedule for your appointments today.”

“Thanks Sarah…” he says, taking the paperwork and pausing to look at her. “Did you do something with your hair?” he asks. 

She blushes a deep shade of pink and giggles like a teenage girl. “Yeah kinda…I used a new shampoo,” she says while averting her gaze and fiddling with her ponytail.

“Oh…I like it,” Damon answers, causing his odd head of staff to scurry away, still giggling uncontrollably.

Once in his office, he unpacks his belongings and starts working on his laptop immediately. Suddenly, a tall, poised man donning a white coat similar to Damon’s appears at the entrance of his office. He taps his knuckles on the door to get Damon’s attention. “Hey Damon, you have a second? I want to talk to you about something?”

“Oh yes, yes, come in John. Always a pleasure,” he responds gesturing to a seat at his desk.

Proudly wearing his nametag, Dr. John Goodman, the lean giant who also shares the name of the clinic with Damon, strides into the office. “No need. This will just take a sec…So, I was scheduled to have an appointment with one Beth Rivers today, but I don’t see her on the schedule at all. I talked to my staff and they don’t know what happened, so I thought you might have an idea.”

Damon taps his finger on his desk in contemplation and repeats the patient’s name, “Beth Rivers”, under his breath to try and remember. “Ah yes, this is the lady with facial scars, right? Yeah, I had Sarah move her appointment to make some room for other patients. I think it was moved to next Tuesday but-”

“Wait,” John interrupts. “This is one of my recurring patients; I’ve treated her for the last five years. How could you do something like that and not even tell me about it?”

“Look, I know you’re upset. I would be too if someone did that to one of my patients without telling me about it. But you’ve gotta understand that this Beth lady could barely cover her medical bills. We’ve got a reputation to keep, John. We can’t be…wishy-washy.”

Damon’s inadequate justification for his action only further angers John. “And what reputation is that? A fraudulent clinic that only cares about making money and not helping its patients?”

Taking his turn to fume with anger, Damon shoots out of his seat, walks up to John, and looks him straight in the eye. He points his finger in John’s face and says menacingly, “You listen to me. I don’t know what you think you know about me but let me help you understand one thing. This clinic used to be nothing and now it has a name because of me. You got that? Because of me, not you. So get out of my way and let me do my business.” And with that, Damon storms out of his office to attend to his first patient of the day.

***
As usual, Damon remains at the clinic after everyone has left, typing rapidly on his computer in the darkness and silence. He takes a deep breath and runs his hand through his long brown hair, thinking he needs a break. He switches on the small TV in his office, immediately greeted by the flawless voice of a news anchor reporting the local news.

“Today, three-year-old Kane Davis succumbed to his burn wounds which he suffered six months ago. Kane underwent a series of skin graft operations but could not make it in the end. This little hero fought valiantly and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

The screen then switches over to a woman, her face red and wet from tears, being interviewed by a reporter. Through her tears, the woman speaks highly of her son, emphasizing how much she loved him.

Damon turns the TV off, cringing slightly, for the woman on the screen is also the same woman, who had frantically begged for his help in treating her son six months ago. His guilt and remorse paramount, he runs his hands over his face and hair.

Suddenly, a deep voice rumbles from the entrance of his office. “Truly a tragedy…”

Damon whips around in the direction of the voice to identify the source, but the shadows obscure his vision. Slowly, the figure begins to reveal himself inching closer to Damon. Damon’s eyes grow wider as more of the figure’s features become visible until finally his face is agape with horror. “You…” he mutters.

“That’s right,” the man says chuckling while taking a seat opposite Damon at his desk.

Upon seeing the man’s new facial appearance, Damon is shocked and even slightly amazed in a twisted sort of way at how effectively he was able to transform the man’s face. His well-defined nose and jaw have been completely replaced by smooth and round features. His work on the part of the man’s face surrounding his eyes, such as the forehead and cheekbone areas, has given him a more menacing, almost hysterical appearance as opposed to his previous serious and solemn countenance. And finally, his hair was dyed so blonde that Damon could barely remember that he once had brown hair.

“I need another surgery. I’m not gonna lie - you’re pretty good at what you do.”   

Finally returning to reality, Damon exclaims angrily, “Get the hell out of here right now! Or I’m calling the cops!”

Completely unfazed by Damon’s threat, the man makes himself even more comfortable leaning back in the chair. “I’m a bit disappointed, Damon. You were so nice to me when you didn’t know what I did for a living. And now that you do know, you’re being quite…impolite.”

Trying his hardest to sound intimidating, Damon responds, “Alright first of all, don’t call me by my name. Second of all, I don’t give a *censored* if I’m being impolite. You *censored*ing kill people…What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Well…so do you right?”

“Wh-what do you mean?” Damon asks completely bewildered.

“That boy…they were just talking about him in the news. You see - you killed him for money just like me. We’re the same Damon.” The man then grins smugly after sensing Damon struggling with the enormous guilt and pain of realizing that perhaps he truly is responsible for the boy’s death.

Finding his voice again, Damon says quietly, “Yeah well…I don’t think we’re the same. Actually, I think we’re quite different. I’ll tell you why.” He brings his face close to the man’s wearing the most menacing expression he’s ever worn. “While you’re rotting in a jail cell, I’ll be sitting here in my cozy office thanking my stars that I don’t have to see you ever again!”

At that moment, he pulls his phone from underneath his desk, where he was hiding it, and slams it on the desk. Slightly alarmed, the man peers at it. On the screen of the phone, he can see the number “911” written in large font and the speakerphone icon glowing brightly.

Realizing the sticky situation Damon has just dragged him into, the man glares at him. Damon freezes in fear, feeling as though the man’s crippling glare would pierce right through him. Before the man could react, however, a voice rings behind him, causing both Damon and the man to look in that direction.

“Sir, put your hands behind your head and walk forward slowly!” a police officer commands from the entrance of the office his gun raised and pointed directly at the man. A second officer stands at his side assuming a similar stance. 

The man slowly rises from the chair and does as he was told. Once he reaches the entrance, the first officer puts his gun away and reaches for his handcuffs. It was at this moment that the man reaches into his paint waist, pulls out a dagger, and thrusts it right in the jugular of the first officer – all in the blink of an eye.

Shocked, the second officer is slow to react. He steadies his gun for the shot and fires, missing his target completely. He prepares to fire another but realizes he’s too late as the man lunges towards him with the knife in hand. The second officer grabs the man’s arms to avoid being stabbed, dropping his gun on the ground in the process. His hands interlocked with the officer’s, the man pushes him out of the office into the hallway, where the two men wrestle for their lives.

During their altercation, Damon dashes to pick up the gun the officer had dropped and then returns to stand behind the desk. He waits in suffocating tension for a few moments, hearing the noises of the two men’s struggle slowly fading.

Suddenly, a figure begins to appear through the doorway. Damon hopes with all his strength that the officer is the one to have escaped the death match alive, but alas, he had hoped in vain. There the man stands – panting hard, dripping with crimson blood, staring stoically at the barrel of the gun pointed directly at him. “You’re not gonna shoot me, Damon,” he wheezes.

Even with both hands on the handle of the gun, Damon could not cease his quivering. He tightens his grip and shouts, “Don’t think I wont! Like you said earlier, I’m a killer just like you.”

The man leans back against the wall for support, wincing slightly in pain. “I was *censored*ing with your head…you’re not a killer. There’s no comparison between you and me.”

“Why me!? Why did you choose me out of all the people you could’ve gone to? You ruined my life!” he roars, teeth clenched, eyes filled with tears, and face flushed red.

“I read about your court case in the paper, and I wanted to see…” he starts but then clutches the side of his abdomen in pain.

“See what?” Damon prompts desperately wanting answers.

“See if you’re the same…the same Damon.”

“The same? How do you know me? How do you know me?!” he screams even louder.

The man smiles – the first genuine smile Damon had seen since he had met him. He then reaches into his coat pocket. The man’s sudden movement, however, triggers some inherent survival instinct within Damon, causing him to spray the man with a flurry of bullets.

As Damon looks in horror, the man slides to the ground leaving crimson streaks on the wall, a faint smile still gracing his lips.

Damon rushes to the man’s side, his face still red and in tears. “*censored*, I panicked! I can’t believe I killed him,” he thinks frantically. Curious as to what the man was really reaching for, he forcefully opens his fist to find a silver dog tag resting on his palm. A sudden realization hits Damon after he sees the dog tag and looks at the man’s aimless blue eyes – a realization so dreadful he thought he could die at that instant.

“No,” he mutters in disbelief. He quickly takes the dog tag from the man’s hands and slowly turns it to see the backside. And there, engraved in the cold steel of the dog tag were the initials “N.Z.” He then rushes to his desk and rummages through the drawers, finally pulling out a document, the same one he had the man sign after his first operation. He scrutinizes the signature on the paper, and then collapses to the ground wailing with his hands over his face. The signature belongs to none other than his brother, Nathan Zovolsky.

***
The bangs of the gavel reverberate throughout the courtroom, signaling the end of the break session. The elderly judge turns towards the jury. “Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict?”

A young woman stands from her seat and hands the judge a piece of paper that would seal a man’s fate for the rest of his life. “Yes, your honor.”

The judge announces, “We, the jury, find the defendant guilty on multiple charges of fraud and bribery and on acting as an accessory to murder. We therefore unanimously recommend that Damon Zovolsky serve a term of 30 years in prison.”

The audience, which had been quiet until this point, breaks into murmurs, while the lawyer sitting next to Damon appears disappointed and defeated. Damon, however, has no reaction whatsoever. He sits there, emotionless, still, silent.

***       
In his jail cell, Damon sits on his cot, staring solemnly at the dog tag in his hand, alone with his thoughts.

“I had this coming. I just didn’t know it would come like this, so unexpectedly…so unforgivingly. For all the wrong things I did in the past…all the people I mistreated – I’ve faced the ultimate punishment…I am forever deformed.”
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Check out my stories here: http://forums.mangaraiders.com/index.php?topic=12492.msg213349#msg213349