Hellgirl: Aww Crap
Author's Note: A Retroactive Continuity, or Retcon if you will, is the altering of previously known facts in order for the universe to conform to new story lines. This is mine. This is a retcon of Hellboy in the Dark Horse Comics Universe. Mike Mignola and Dark Horse owns the character and all rights associated with him/her/it. Elements of the Witchblade series will be mentioned in later chapters. Witchblade is published by Top Cow Comics. Picture Credit: JPRart
I remembered a few things before I woke up, first of which was that it was very cold. Sounds of things rolling around on a tiled floor, footsteps, a really odd smell. It was somewhat like a hospital, but not really. During all of this, I couldn't really move. Perhaps a flick of a finger, but that was all. Then someone spoke.
"Friday, April 5, 2010, 0953. Subject: female. Name: Gemma Saunders. Age: seventeen. Weight: one-oh-three. Height: sixty-four inches. Reported cause of death: drug overdose. Now let's see what we have to see, Ms. Saunders."
That's about the time that my eyelids decided to cooperate with me. The guy standing above me was wearing a blue surgical gown and rubber gloves. What concerned me most was the very sharp scalpel in his right hand descending toward my chest. His eyes flicked to mine and I saw him jerk just a little.
"God, I hate it when they do that."
His empty hand covered my eyes and closed them only for me to open them again when he pulled back. But this time I tracked his movement, and my muscles finally decided to give up their stubbornness. Air rushed into my lungs like I had been diving and broke to the surface. A squeak sounded and then something metal crashed to the floor, but I was too busy enjoying the taste of semi-fresh air to really care.
Have you ever had to submit for an MRI, much less two of them, pretty much back to back? While I didn't remember much in the way of… well, pretty much anything, I did know that I was really claustrophobic. I screwed up the first test by squirming too much, then they got the bright idea to use one of the open MRI machines. Supposedly they were a little more expensive, but I wasn't paying for it, so I really didn't care.
It was afterward that a couple, man and wife at first guess, arrived with mouths agape and amazement covering their faces.
I was sitting in a small room, tapping my heel in a even staccato, while a vampire -- see definition: blood technician -- was pulling her fourth vial full from my arm. While I found out that I hated needles as well, I didn't scream or anything. Worse things than being poked had happen to me over the years. Now if I could just figure out how I knew that, I'd be one step closer to solving my little memory problem.
Recognizing the name that the coroner provided, right before he was about to start his Y-incision on me earlier, I tilted my head and made an educated guess as to the identity of the two late thirty-something couple standing at the doorway grasping each other for support.
The vampire pulled her needle and applied a bandage and cotton ball, before almost being trampled by the lady who I was assuming was my mother. She screamed quite a bit, accompanied intermittently with statements of disbelief and thanks to God.
I was dead for thirty-seven hours. Rigor had set in after three, which explained why I couldn't move very well. The impossible part of all of this is, that unless I was the new daughter of God, then I was a one of a kind medical miracle. One doesn't just wake up in the autopsy room after going through rigor mortis. Sure, there have been cases where people have been buried alive, but that was before modern medicine could verify death six ways from Sunday. When your muscles harden up and your blood pools along your back, inside your body, that's pretty much a sure sign that you won't be making anymore plans for the distant future, or the near future for that matter.
The doctors wanted to perform about fourteen thousand procedures to find out how I did it. My parents just wanted to get me home. They compromised, hence the awkward drive home.
I stared out of the window at the city as we drove along. It was familiar. The layout was like a picture in my head, a map for lack of a better word. I knew each street name before we came upon them. All the businesses were familiar, and strangely enough I even knew a few names of the staff inside, or at least I think I did. The only way I'd be able to actually prove that would be to go into one of them. The trouble was that several of them were strip clubs. I could see how well that conversation would go over with my parents, so I left the subject alone for the time being.
"How much do you remember about what happened, Gemma?" Mom was turned around in her seat, staring at me inquisitively.
I shook my head. "Nothing."
She frowned. I hadn't revealed to anyone, as of yet, my memory loss. It was stupid, I know. Obviously, the best people to help me recover my lost past were the doctors, but something inside was telling me to shut up and give it time. Bringing the parents into my confidence was unavoidable. Sooner or later they would wonder why I didn't actually know their names, or our phone number, or some other equally innocuous bit of information that everyone takes for granted.
"There's a lot I don't remember."
The car noticeably slowed and I saw Dad looking at me through the rear view mirror. "What do you mean by a lot?"
While I wasn't exactly embarrassed or intimidated, I did feel bad about keeping something as important as partial memory loss to myself. Looking to the side, to avoid his eyes, I went ahead and revealed my secret.
"I'm not exactly sure. I can tell you the quickest route to take to the Arena downtown during rush hour, but I don't remember where we live."
The seatbelt pinched my left breast when he hit the brakes. Oww! That was surely something I didn't remember. Who would have thought that my tit being squished would actually hurt! Luckily, there was nobody behind us. It was the middle of the afternoon, and the schools would be letting out soon, but until then traffic was still somewhat light.
He swerved the car while my mom squeaked in surprise at the abrupt turn off into the Chili's parking lot. Once he had found a suitable parking space he killed the motor and turned around in his seat. Doubt hung heavy on his face. Resignation found its way to every premature wrinkle.
"Are you saying you don't remember anything?"
My head shake was smaller this time. "No, I know lots of things, but almost nothing about me."
"What's that supposed to mean?" His voice was harsher this time.
"Dan." Mom interrupted. Her voice was warning. "This isn't the time for arguments. We've just got our daughter back."
His lips thinned and frustration melted. "You're right. Sweetheart," he said when he found my eyes again. "When we found you…" The gambit of emotions played between my mom and dad. "I swore that I'd make amends, that I'd be a better dad if only you weren't dead."
I kind of wished that I knew what he was talking about, but I could only look at him passively.
"It looks like we've been given that chance." He looked over at the restaurant. "How about we get something to eat and go over what you know and don't know, okay."
That sounded great. "Okay."
We waited until drinks and appetizers were served. Apparently being dead meant that I hadn't eaten anything in almost two days, because I was virtually wolfing down the queso and chips. Mom was looking at me like I had suddenly sprouted pointy ears.
"I thought you hated cheese, not to mention chili," which was the dip mix at that particular chain of restaurants.
I shook my head like I didn't have the answer to whatever changed my tastebuds. That's when I saw a waitress that I thought I knew. She was older, maybe early to mid thirties, but she was put together very well. I blinked at exactly how well I knew she was put together.
A picture of her hovering over me without a stitch of clothing on, came to the forefront of my head. Sweat running across her body, her mouth open in an involuntary response to the pleasure she was receiving, her pendulous breasts swinging in front of my face…
I shook the image from my head and almost swallowed an unbitten chip.
Holding up a finger for her to hang on, I caught the attention of the waitress in question as she was passing by. "Excuse me."
She stopped and smiled at me with an expectant look.
"I'm sorry." I apologized. "Is your name Maggie?"
She looked down at her name tag, which confirmed my assumption. "Yeah, sweetie. Do I know you?"
I needed to add something else since I may have subconsciously read her tag, which would explain how I knew her name. "Maggie Forrester?"
The waitress's eyes darted to my parents and then back at me. "Up until three months ago." She waggled her fingers on her left hand where a wedding ring showed. "I'm a Gibbons now."
Without waiting for anymore preamble, I asked, "Do you know me? Have we met before?"
Mom took hold of my hand. "My daughter just got out of the hospital today. She's having trouble remembering things."
A quirk of a smile played at the edges of Maggie's lips. "Amnesia? Really?"
I shrugged. "Sorta."
Another customer must have gotten her attention, because she smiled and nodded in their direction. "Sorry, I've got another table. But if it makes you feel any better, sweetie, I never forget a face. I'm a waitress; that's my bread and butter. We've never met, and I'm really curious as to how you knew my maiden name. Good luck."
Both my parents were staring at me now.
"I swear, I have no idea…" Thoughts of flipping this woman over in bed ran through my mind. The odd part was, that in the memory or whatever the movie in my head was, I was taking the part of the guy. There was definitely thrusting going on and it was most assuredly coming from my point of view. Unless there were attachments involved, in the form of sexual aides, then that was impossible.
"Let's put that aside for now," Dad suggested. "Tell us what you remember about your everyday life. Us," he thumbed between himself and my mom. "Home, friends, your job, school. Let's stick with the basics."
Good idea. "Uh…" I looked at Dad and my mind went totally blank. Switching over to Mom, the same. So, I closed my eyes and tried to pull up our house, my room, friends, the job that he mentioned, school. Opening my eyes again, I cringed just a little. "I got nothing."
They looked at each other, and Mom took the lead this time. "How about something simple? What's my name?"
Her eyes narrowed like I wasn't taking her seriously.
"That's all I remember, and not even that. I only made the connection because you picked me up at the hospital."
Lupper -- see definition: Lunch/Supper hybrid -- didn't go very well after that announcement. Dad was all for bringing me back to the hospital, but Mom would have nothing of it. Apparently watching soaps all of her life made her an expert on amnesia. Her insistence in bringing me home and surrounding me with familiar places, people, and things would eventually jog my memory. In truth, I couldn't fault her reasoning. From what I could remember, doctors hadn't come up with a magical pill or therapy that could return a person's memory. Maybe she was right.
The rest of the drive home was filled with on-the-spot testing. A series of names, schools, and supposed high points of my life were peppered at me, all drawing shakes of my head to the point I was stating to get a neck cramp. When we pulled up into the driveway, the one story house with the garage in the back didn't look the least bit familiar.
The utility room, kitchen, living room, and bathroom was all new to me.
"The next one is your room, honey." Mom was leading me around by the hand while I acclimated myself to the new surroundings. The door was closed and when she opened it I almost yakked at the overwhelming color of black and purple.
"This is my room?" I said with incredulous curiosity.
Mom looked at me in surprise, but then toned it down. "I think you were going through a rebellious phase."
I stuck my head in and looked from right to left, taking in the Manson posters and the creepy white eyes the singer was sporting. "If I do that again, you have my permission to smack me upside the head."
"Oh, thank god."
A giggle found its way up from my insides as I took her in. She reached up and cupped my face, looking at me like she hadn't seen me in months. Her eyes were shining and I could see that she was on the verge of tears, so I tried to cut that off in the bud.
"I'm gonna grab a shower and change into something other than hospital green."
"A shower? You never take anything but baths."
Shrugging, I explained. "I have a feeling that's not the only thing about me that's changed."
She left me alone to explore my room, which I did to excess. After finding some shorts, underwear, and a tee shirt, I headed to the bathroom and ran the water so it would warm while I stripped off the scrubs that the hospital provided. With that out of the way, I stared at my image in the mirror. That was one of the more disturbing things that I didn't remember. Me.
Everything around me was bigger, or at least I remember things being smaller. From what the coroner said, I was five-four. In other words, I was short. The body in the mirror spoke of a lithe figure. I could see my ribcage and neatly tucked waist before my wider hips rounded out the package. My breasts were a mystery. I couldn't shake the feeling that they weren't supposed to be the way they were. Don't get me wrong. They looked fine with my body type, small, B-cup at best, small areolas and average sized nipples. They were cute. Everything about me was cute.
The rapidly fogging mirror told me that staring time was over and I adjusted the water to a more acceptable temperature before stepping in the tub and drawing the curtain.
Everything was wrong. I let my hands do their thing without thinking too much about how I cleaned myself, just like most people in the world do every day. Unless there was some reason to concentrate on a particular area, a person doesn't give much thought to the action. What was so wrong about this particular task was that I kept getting distracted because things weren't right. It felt like I was missing something or that there were extra steps to take that I was omitting.
When I got to my legs, I had to actually think about shaving them. And when I was about to turn the water off I remembered that there were other places that I needed to shave as well. It was exhausting. Never in my life do I remember actually spending more than ten minutes in the shower. But since I didn't remember my own parents names, I chalked it up to another amnesia event.
Drying my hair was another matter. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out the turban thing. That's what I was supposed to do with long hair, put it in a towel turban until it was ready to be blow-dried.
Tension kept increasing in my chest for every inexplicable problem I ran into. The black cotton bikini type panties, while not unusual, were… off. The bra threw me. I knew the mechanics of the device; that was easy enough, but slipping it over my arms and reaching back to attach the eye and hook was… new. An experience that, at seventeen years of age, I should have been having for years, was new to me.
The shorts were snug, where I thought they were supposed to be loose, the tee shirt barely reached the top of the shorts and refused to be tucked.
My hair took forever to blow dry and I considered having it cut so I didn't have to deal with the twenty minutes of extra time it took. However, I was fairly pleased with how I looked in the end. Comfortable.
Mom and Dad were sitting at the breakfast table drinking tea. They watched me as I headed over to the coffee maker I had spotted on the way in. It took me a few moments to find everything I needed, mainly the coffee grounds. They were in one of the decretive canisters beside the flour, sugar, and tea bags. Yeah, I had to open all of them before finding the proper one.
"Need any help?" Mom offered.
"I got it. Thanks." Once it was started I turned around and leaned against the counter with my arms crossed. The looks on their faces told me something else was wrong. Dad was looking at the coffee maker and Mom at me. "Let me guess. I hate coffee."
Mom sipped at her tea and tried to look like she missed my observation. Dad just pursed his lips in confusion. It was becoming annoying. At Chili's I'd ordered a medium-rare cheese burger, when apparently I was previously a vegetarian. I never, ever drank soda. I ordered a Coke, not diet, no less. Now I was drinking coffee. I suppose being dead alters your tastebuds.
"You normally drink mint tea," Dad said.
Mint? Ugh. I hated the taste of mint. I can barely stand the taste of toothpaste. "Well, that's definitely changing."
I'm a first cup of coffee type of person -- see definition: Holding mug under the drip until full -- it's the only way to find coffee that's strong enough. A mug of straight espresso is actually more my style, but that shit is expensive, so I usually cheat and do it the frugal way. Dad actually smirked behind his mug with the tag and string hanging out of his mug. Someone else likes their beverages strong.
Hey, cool! I finally have something in common with one of my parents! Maybe I wasn't a total clone, born out of test tube.
Once I was seated and sipping at my own black coffee, I set it down. "The doctor said I O.D.'d."
Mom flinched. Dad paled.
Heroin? The hardest drugs I'd ever voluntarily taken was Tylenol. I even hated taking cold medicines… and how in the hell could I know that and not remember my parents names?
That's when Dad noticed my arms. "What?" I asked at his mystified look.
"The tracks are gone."
"I had tracks?"
He took hold of my right wrist and spun my arm around to take a closer look. "You've been wearing long-sleeve shirts for the last year. I wondered why until I saw your arms. They were covered in red welts. Now there's only one."
"That's where they took my blood."
He nodded and kept looking for evidence of my addiction. "Gemma, I found you on your bed with a needle sticking out of your arm. You were cold."
Revelation after revelation. Hanging out with the wrong crowd, rarely eating, grades failing, constantly in trouble in school, you name it. I was a terrible daughter. They blamed themselves for not pushing hard enough, for not taking me to therapy, for not searching my room or my computer.
In the end we agreed on starting anew. I told them to take my computer and toss it if they wanted. There was one off to the side of the living room if I needed to use it for school. Mom and I would go through my room the following day and get rid of anything suspicious that might question my resolve to acquire their trust, not to mention I had to rid my walls of my questionable music tastes.
They were more than happy with my choice and new attitude, if unhappy with what caused it in the first place.
Mom and I spent the rest of the evening ridding my room of paraphernalia. I found a seriously used bong and a sandwich bag half full of pot underneath my bed. That and a small wooden case of jewelry the likes of which I was unfamiliar with.
"Those are for piercings."
Oh, duh. I guessed that's why I had a hole above my navel. Lifting my tee up a little, my mom saw and frowned with disapproval. "Gemma, why didn't you ever…" She paused for a second. "Well, what's done is done. That'll never heal up properly. You might as well pick one out."
Keeping it simple, I chose one with a flower on the end which would settle nicely in my navel. It took me a second or two to figure out that the little ball thing unscrewed. That's an odd feeling.
Mom stared on then looked back in the box. "What are these little ones for?"
She held up one that looked like a tiny silver barbell. My brows bunched up in confusion. Where else did kids get holes punched in themselves nowadays?
"Oh god." I ran over to the hand mirror on my dresser and picked it up, looking around for some light. Mom flicked on the bedside lamp and was scouring my nose, eyebrows, lips, tongue, all for naught. My face was, thankfully, intact. I almost thought I was in the clear until I saw Mom staring at my breasts.
"You don't think…" she whispered. Her eyes met mine and she saw that I had the same thought she did. "Close your door, Gemma, and take off your top."
I blanked for a second, almost embarrassed, but she was my mom, she'd obviously seen me naked countless times. It was still a little weird. I did as she said and unfastened my bra as well.
We found two more holes punched through my body at horizontal angles. What would possess people to shove needles through their nipples and hang jewelry there, I have no idea. Weren't earlobes enough?
"I'm sorry, Mom. If its any consolation, I'm throwing these away." The holes in my nipples weren't as noticeable, and hopefully would heal over time. The navel piercing was just too big. That would be there forever.
She kept quiet for a while after I got dressed and we attacked my closet. The vast amount of clothing that could have only been acquired at Hot Topic was overwhelming. I did set aside a couple pair of leather pants and a vest looking thing, but most of it went into a pile on the bed.
"Are you going to donate these to Goodwill?"
I almost snickered at that. "Uh no. There's a place over on Sheppard and Eleventh that buys clothes if they are in good shape and in style. It should supplement a normal wardrobe, or most of one anyway."
Seeing the look on her face I shrugged. "This is the kind of information I have in my head."
When we got to the back of the closet I found more normal clothing, but it was mostly stuff that was in style five years ago. But jeans were jeans, and if I didn't mind showing off my midriff then I would have plenty of shirts. There were a few shirts that were pretty much timeless. They would do for now.
At an intake of breath, I heard the top close on a box. Turning around I saw Mom handing me a shoebox, or actually a bootbox if you wanted to be specific, and her face was very red. I almost didn't want to open it. "Is it bad?"
This time she shrugged her shoulders. Leaning my head back, I lifted the top up a little, like whatever was in there was going to bite me. Well, apparently I was sexually self-satisfied.
"I'm almost afraid of finding anything else in here."
An explosion of giggles shot out of my mom's mouth. "Gemma, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone masturbates."
I dropped the top off the box and reached inside to withdraw the black ten inch, very realistic, jelly dildo and watched as it flopped to one side. "Yeah, but do I really need King Dong here to get the job done?"
Of course Dad chose that moment to come into the room. "How are my girls doing?" He came up short there, staring at the huge thing in my hand.
"Well, apparently I'm difficult to satisfy." He stared, open-mouthed at the thing until I dropped it into the green garbage bag at my feet. "I don't think I can re-sale that."
I didn't think that I'd be exploring my sexuality with the extra from a porn flick. I guess there was something to be said for having amnesia. Everything is new again. Though I was kind of put off at how I knew the dildo was realistic looking. That pretty much meant that I had seen actual male equipment at some point. That made me somewhat nervous as to the results of the blood tests. But if I survived death, then perhaps a STD wouldn't pose much of a problem.
"Should I ask?"
Mom looked over to Dad. "I'm treating this like a guest was living here and we evicted her for our daughter to come live with us. It's less stressful when we find something like that."
"Or this," I said as I pulled out a red PVC catsuit.
One look at the fetish outfit and dad turned to leave more revelations to us. "I'm going to watch Sportcenter."
A pang of need followed my father. For some reason, I wanted to watch Sportscenter as well. Maybe I was a onion-layered; I was obviously into just about everything else at some point, why not sports as well?
The catsuit went into the trash too. It was crotchless, so probably not resalable.
Once the bedding was changed I almost felt somewhat normal. Another shower rid me of the accumulated dust and the creepiness I felt at voiding myself of a teenaged life of debauchery. From the looks of my life, pre-death, I was well on my way to living on the streets pimping myself out for anything to keep the drugs coming in. As sad as it was, I was glad I died and lost my memory.
Well, that was until I woke up minutes past midnight. While there was a drawer full of lingerie at my disposal, I felt better in a simple over-sized sleep-shirt. Actually, I felt more normal if I were just sleeping in panties, that I couldn't stop thinking of in terms of simply underwear, but I was trying to tone down the porno portion of my previous life. I was leaving my door open so my parents would be more at ease with my nocturnal activities. So, not wearing something to cover up my breasts wouldn't really look good if my dad checked on me.
Once I saw the red glowing digital display on my clock, I knew I had many more hours of no sleep ahead of me. Turning over didn't do any good. Fluffing my pillow did nothing, nor did staring at the ceiling. I was wide awake and antsy for some action.
Throwing the covers off I stood up and looked at the moonlight streaming through the window. There was more than enough illumination to navigate the unfamiliar room without fear of stubbing a toe, so I made my way to the window and moved aside the shear fabric that someone thought would be good for filtering light, because it didn't do jack for blocking it.
There was a decent sized pool in the back yard, glowing blue. I wanted to do something to rid myself of the energy running rampant through my body, but swimming unattended didn't seem like a good idea at that point.
I could probably get away with closing the door and going through a calisthenic routine. That idea was nixed right away. It would only be a decent warm up for me. I needed exhaustion to put me to sleep. Finally giving up the ghost, I slipped on a pair of bunny slippers that were hidden deep in the recesses of the closet earlier and snuck past my parents closed door to the other side of the house, into the living room.
Unable to satisfy the need for physical exertion, I made some cocoa and sat down in front of the television, flipping through the channels.
Another half hour had passed before I'd settled on some reality ghost hunter show on the Sci-Fi channel. It was comical, the way everything was in night-camera mode with the actor's eyes glowing to add the extra creepiness factor. Added to the fact that I knew everything they were doing was wrong and staged for maximum audience believability.
I looked to the hallway entrance and Mom was standing there in her housecoat squinting at me.
"I'm sorry, Mom. Was the TV too loud?"
She shook her head and shuffled the walk of the newly awakened toward me. "I had a nightmare and went to check on you."
"I couldn't sleep. Nervous energy, I guess."
Mom sat down beside me and gestured for me to snuggle up, which as a dutiful daughter, I thought I performed admirably. She pulled me in until I was tucked under her arm. With a contented sigh she looked at the TV.
"What on Earth are you watching?"
"Ghost Hunters Gone Wild or something equally stupid. I was waiting for someone to run at them in a white sheet with holes poked out for the eyes."
Feeling a light kiss on top of my head, I smiled at the intimacy of a shared mother-daughter moment.
"Those shows give me bad dreams. I always think I hear the same things at night if your father goes to bed early."
I patted her hand on my shoulder. "You don't have to worry, Mom. This house is one hundred percent ghost free."
"And you know this how?"
Without thinking about what I was saying I just told her. "Evil spirits can't enter homes like ours. We care for each other too much. They can only squeeze in when there is discontent. Since my return we are completely discontent-less. That, and no ectoplasm in the kitchen."
Mom laughed quietly. One of the guys on the show was dipping his fingers in some sticky-gooey substance and staring at it in awe. That's when I broke into laughter.
"What's so funny?"
I pointed. "That is so not ectoplasm. It's not sticky like that. It's more of a WD-40 and Tapioca pudding mix. More oily and lumpy."
"Been ghost hunting have we?"
That took me back for a moment. "Uh…" A picture of darkness flashed before my eyes. A marble bust flying through the air at me, and then me ducking to the side and throwing something that looked like sugar or… salt. Salt definitely. Tears of the angels in solid, Earthly form, was a sure way to keep evil spirits or demons away.
"Sorry, I thought I was remembering something."
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