The Duality of Mannibal #4 Part 1
A scream was heard in a forest of a woman in danger.
Woman: (yelling) Somebody help! Ahh!
The woman tripped on a branch and as she was viciously attacked by the murderer. The police arrived after receiving a call from somebody that heard the screams.
Chief Cole: He struck again.
Chief Cole covered his mouth from the gruesome scene. Another cop turned away and threw up. The sight they beheld was the sight of a woman decapitated and several parts of her body looked like a bite had been taken out of them by a human being.
Chief Cole talked with the reporters.
Chief Cole: Weíll have more answers after the autopsy but this murder appears to have been committed by the same person that has been on a recent killing spree.
After hearing word of the recent murder Katie called Robert.
Katie: Have you heard of the recent killing.
Robert: No I havenít. I just got off work. Another murder, huh. I presume it was by the same murderer.
Katie: He left his calling card.
Robert: and what was that?
Katie: Teeth marks.
Katie: I know but at least thereís a pattern to narrow the suspects down. The murderer seems to attack women. He always decapitates them and then takes bites out of their body parts. Can you imagine the type of rage a person must have to take bites out of their flesh? Peopleís teeth compared to carnivorous animals in the wild are like a dull butter knife compared to a sharp blade.
Robert: Listen Katie, I think itís be best if you and I keep a distance from each other until this maniac is brought to justice.
Katie: Ugh, youíre such a worry wart. Wouldnít it make more sense for you to be closer to me so that you could keep an eye on me and protect me?
Robert: I donít want to take any chances. You being seen or in association with me puts you at more risk. You being murdered while youíre away from me is a risk Iím going to have to take.
Katie: (sarcastically) Gee, thanks.
Robert: Just be sure to keep a low profile.
That night Robert returned to the scene of the crime as the Black Baron when he heard the rustling of leaves off in the distance. Robert tries to follow the sound of the rustling but the sound gets more and more fainter as if whatever it was that was moving was getting farther away. Robert heard the pace of the thingís feet get quicker and began running after what it was. Robert wasnít sure what exactly he was running after but he wanted to make sure it wasnít an animal. Robert was still chasing after it and was now out of the forest in the clear. Robert saw what looked like a person head into a dimly lit cave. Robert approached the cave slowly and was hit with a stench that made his stomach uneasy. Cautiously Robert went into the cave. The entrance of the cave had skulls on sticks lined up on the left side and the heads of countless women on the other. Robert saw the guy that he was chasing after.
Robert: (yelling) Hey!
The guy turned around.
Mannibal: (yelling) Get out! Get out now!
Robert: Iím not going anywhere so you better confess to your crimes and get ready for the cold hand of justice.
Mannibal: ha ha ha ha Justice. How pathetic. You dare walk into this cave as if you have a right to be here and have the audacity to pass judgment on me? You see the heads on sticks and suddenly that makes me a bad guy.
Robert: Mass murder and cannibalism; pretty sure that doesnít make you a saint.
Mannibal: The depth of your argument tickles me. Just because I donít lead a life of normalcy that makes me a bad guy? When I was a kid, I was always an outcast; a freak. I used to play at recess like the other kids and whenever I would fall down and scrape a knee or an elbow, I would lick up the blood. All the kids would gasp as they turned green in disgust but I didnít care because for some reason I had the ability to make people sick and you know what? I loved it. I remember walking up to the prettiest girl in school and having her knock down my books and run away as the other kids childishly chanted ďLance, Lance, he has no chanceĒ and that was just it; they never gave me a chance. Then came my high school days where I tried to establish myself as a new man but my socially awkward reputation followed me and it wasnít until I went off to college that I could start anew and try to be normal. Do you know how that feels? To go through those years in my life without date number 1? To go through those years without a kiss from a girl? I resented the fact that I never got the chance like every other normal teenager to show that I had an affectionate side and that I too could love. Then I met my former girlfriend Laura Schott; the most significant woman in my life who didnít care for the man I was but only for the man that I am. We dated for two years and then she left me for another man.
Robert realized that this man was Lance Arnold; the guy that murdered his wife. He instantly felt enraged but tried to restrain himself.
Mannibal: That guy was Robert Connors, present mayor of Lore.
Robert: But what set you on this path of destruction that youíre currently on?
Mannibal: My break up with Laura was the thing that set me on this path. Laura was more than the world to me and when I lost her I lost everything. I lost my ability to be sociable, I lost my desire to live, and I lost myself. I reverted back to the one thing I was good at; grossing people out. I remember the grizzly crimes committed by Albert Wright; the serial killer infamous for his countless murders, dismemberment, and acts of cannibalism. People took notice. People to this day still remember his name to this day almost as a sign of respect. So I took a page out of his book and I maimed a woman and I took her back to this cave and I ate her. When I finished, in my mind I said ďgood god, Iím finally complete!Ē Iíve found my niche because for every woman that I kill and every bite that I take is me metaphorically saying (yelling) why didnít you give me a chance to love? Why didnít you give me a chance to change? Why didnít you accept me for who I was?
Robert: You killed this girl Laura Schott but you didnít eat her. Why?
Mannibal: At the time, that wasnít who I was. I loved her with all of my heart but she betrayed me and that hurt me on multiple levels. I very well could have eaten her but when I look back on it, given the chance to do so, I still wouldnít do it. To a certain extent I still loved her very much.
Robert: The way you eat these women doesnít seem possible based on my knowledge of the human anatomy. How are you able to bite into them like that?
Mannibal: Feeling vulnerable to the outside worldís forces I searched for a way to become inhumanly stronger than what I was. Thatís when I ran into this guy Dr. Brooks. I explained to him what I needed and he gave me an injection that would make me indescribably stronger which would make it possible for me to bite into these women like one would to a piece of bread. Really Baron, at the heart of things thereís not much that separates you from me. I wasnít born this way. I was born like you were. When I was a young boy I never imagined myself being this way. As a matter of fact I imagined myself being just like you in a way.
Robert: The Black Baron?
Mannibal: A superhero. The respect; the fame; rescuing the damsel in distress; the love. ďIf you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.Ē
Robert: Shakespeare. Youíre surprisingly well read.
Mannibal: Iím a human being just like you with real human emotions. Why is it that for most of my life I was treated like less than that? I was burdened with a reputation that wasnít really me and deemed unfit to deserve the loss of that bad reputation while others had a better reputation but did absolutely nothing to earn it.
Robert: Donít you think that maybe all of this is a manifestation in your head. Maybe itís time to finally look yourself in the mirror and admit that you did all of this to yourself. You can still salvage whatís left of your life.
Mannibal: You know what I would like? I would sincerely like to see every woman and every rich, smug guy on this earth enclosed in a deep pit with no food. Then we would see the true spirit of man come out of these people. Then maybe they would have something in common with me in that they eat other people. These same people that caused me torment and scarred me for life as a kid, I wish them nothing but pain and trauma in their personal and professional lives. You stand there and say itís unfair? I donít think itís unfair at all. I think itís very just. (yelling) Justice as you put it will be served and Iím starting with you.
Mannibal lunged forward knocking Robert back.
Robert: Donít make me do this.
Robert, with Mannibal getting closer and closer, moved up his shades and flashed him. Mannibal feeling the effects of the flash began to flail his arms. Robert took advantage of the bewildered and blinded Mannibal and began to send hard right hook punches to Mannibalís abdomen but to no avail. Mannibalís flailing arms connected with Robert, knocking him straight down. Mannibalís eye sight came back and he picked Robert off the ground effortlessly.
Mannibal: This will be the end of the Black Baron.
Mannibal threw him against the caveís wall fracturing Robertís rib bones.
Mannibal: I spoke too soon. Youíre no superhero. Youíre a sorry excuse for one.
Robert struggled to make it back to his feet. Robert tried to throw a punch but Mannibal blocked it and kicked Robert into his abdomen causing him more pain. Robert writhed in pain.
Mannibal: Pathetic. This was hardly a fight.
Robert: How are you able to see me? Your time of recovery is far quicker than normal.
Mannibal: My strength not only surpasses that of a normal man but my healing surpasses them as well. Your weak attempt to incapacitate my eye sight is nothing more than a cheap parlor trick with me. I am almost impervious to manís attempts to destroy me.
Mannibal hoisted Robert above his head and dropped him on his knee abdomen first. Robert shrieked in agonizing pain. Mannibal picked Robert up and threw him like a ragdoll. Robert conveniently landed near the entrance of the cave. Out of desperation, Robert flipped up his shades and flashed Mannibal again. Robert then able to stumble out of the cave in one piece before getting mutilated to death by Mannibal once his vision came back. Robert clearly knowing he was in danger made his escape. Robert stumbled his way through the forest but he could hear footsteps behind him. He tried to be inconspicuous about his footsteps as he walked being sure not to make any noise because he assumed he was being followed by Mannibal. Once Robert got in his car, he tried to catch his breath. Robert turned the car on and put it in drive but the car wasnít going forward. Robert looked in the rearview mirror and saw Mannibal behind the car holding the back bumper. Robert shifted into reverse plowing Mannibal off his feet and hitting him into a tree. In that brief moment Robert was able to drive off before Mannibal could retaliate. Later that night, Robert checked himself into the hospital. Robert stayed in bed rest for a week until Katie took notice and paid him a visit. The doorbell rang and Robert answered it.
Katie: What happened to you?
Robert: I thought I told you to keep a distance.
Katie: I was worried. Why are you in crutches.
Robert: Iím leaving for Asia.
Katie: Can we please talk about what Iím talking about for once. Wait, what do you mean leaving for Asia?
Robert: I got into an altercation with Lance Arnold, the guy that killed my wife and has been on the recent women killing spree.
Katie: And thatís why youíre going to Asia?
Robert: No, thatís what happened to me.
Katie: You are so frustrating to try and talk too I donít even know what to say.
Robert begins to walk into his kitchen and proceeds to make himself coffee as Katie follows him directly behind.
Robert: Well, what?
Katie: Why are you going to Asia?
Robert: It was something that Lance said to me about how he was treated when he was younger. It would almost seem as though heís the victim. What he is now is a product of the world around him. We made him this way. I made him this way. Who am I to judge whatís wrong and right or whoís good or bad?
Katie: Itís not your fault Rob. Who would have known that he would turn out this way?
Robert: Something else he said resonated with me also.
Robert: He said that Iím not a real superhero and I think heís right. Why run around trying to be something that Iím not?
Katie: So youíre going to Asia and abandoning the Black Baron?
Robert: Iím going on a strength journey.
Katie: You canít just leave now. Lance is still out killing people and creating chaos. If you think this city is bad now, itíll only get worse once youíre gone.
Robert: Kate, I went toe to toe with him and got my destroyed. I nearly died. Look at me. What good am I to this city in my current condition and state of mind? So much has happened to me in these past few months and I need time away to regroup myself. The Black Baron is not a superhero. He doesnít have any super strength or any fighting background. He was an accident thrown into a complicated situation where he didnít have a choice but to fight. I question everyday whether the Black Baron should even exist. Though I may resent him, I understand the city needs him but it needs a stronger version of him.
Katie: Fine, have it your way.
Katie begins to leave but stops to say one last thing.
Katie: I just want you to know one thing. You say the Black Baron was an accident. Then was confronting the Bard so he wouldnít kill thousands of people an accident? Was putting Mime behind bars an accident? Was saving my life an accident? The Black Baron serves a purpose and that purpose is the greater good. If thatís not what a superhero does then I donít know what one is.
Katie leaves Robertís mansion. Robert leaves for the Himalayan mountains the next day