Hunger For Vengeance
By: Todd Huff


All that Todd could feel was pain.

It throbbed through his entire body.

Between the pain and waking up in an unfamiliar room, he was very confused and disoriented.

The nurse on duty quickly hit the call button and tried to calm her panicked patient down. “Sir, it’s going to be ok. You were seriously injured, but you are in a hospital now. It’s going to be ok.”

Hospital, but I was supposed to be… Man, I can’t focus, this pain is making it so hard to think.

“The doctor will be right here. Do you need anything?”

It was difficult to speak and not just because of the pain. It was as if he couldn’t make his voice work. Before he was able to answer, the doctor entered, clearly please.

“Well, Mr. Allen, you’re finally awake. This is good, very good.”

Todd wanted to sit up in the hospital bed, but his legs and arms seemed to have the same ailment as his voice.

“It’s OK, don’t try to move quite yet. You’ve been through a lot of trauma, and your body is still healing. It’ll be a little while before you are yourself again, but so far, I am pleased with your progress.”

After a quick exam, the doctor ordered the nurse to give his patient a dose of something that Todd didn’t really hear the name of, and then left.

It’s amazing how much his body ached. And everything took so much effort, breathing – even blinking took so much energy. Soon out of shear exhaustion Todd was asleep again.

The next morning, the pain wasn’t quite so intense, but it was still difficult to remember why he was in the hospital.

“Where am I? How did I end up here?”

“You and your family were caught up in an accident.”

Family? Yes, family! They were on their way to their much-anticipated vacation, when something went wrong. What had happened? It’s so hard to concentrate. A group of kids. Wait, there were 2 groups, wearing gang colors. I remember stopping for gas, then a fight broke out between the kids. Then an explosion and, and…

Todd’s mind couldn’t really make sense out of the rest of the images in his head, but from what the nurse said, he was pretty sure he didn’t want to.

“My wife and daughter, where are they?”

A sad look crossed the nurse’s face, confirming the growing fear in Todd’s mind.

“Sir, I am sorry to tell you this. You were the only one who survived the explosion. Your family, their injuries were too severe. We did all we could for them, but they didn’t make it. We were barely able to save you. I’m, I’m sorry.”

Pain again. Except, this time it wasn’t physical. Todd wished that it had been, though. He could have dealt with that better. This was much worse, at least physical pain can be treated. This pain, this emptiness, it would never get better.

Through the tears and anger, the only words he could choke out was, “Please, go…”

That night, his dreams were filled with difficult images. His wife and daughters faces, fire, fighting. He awoke to feelings of intense guilt and anger.

Around lunch, the doctor returned. He sat down with Todd, and carefully and gently explained everything that had happened. The kids were part of 2 opposing gangs. The explosion was from a stray bullet. His family had been caught in the most intense part of the explosion. If Todd hadn’t gone inside to pay, he too would have died. As it was the measures taken to save his life were extreme.

“It’s a medical procedure that has had limited tests. In fact, you are the first patient that we have used it on. You have to understand, your injuries were so extensive, that this was the only way we could save you. It’s a techno-virus – an engineered robotic virus. It was created here at this hospital. The virus “infects” damaged tissue and then begins to repair it from the inside out. Your injuries were so severe, that in order to repair the tissue and to keep you alive, the virus has begun to redesign every cell in your body. The new tissue is a blend of biological and technological material. For the last 8 months you have been in a medically induced coma while your body has healed. The virus saved your life. The pain you feel is only temporary. Once the virus has finished repairing the remaining damage, we expect the pain to completely subside.”

There was so much for his mind to process.

Todd had already become numb to the physical pain. Now, all he felt was the relentless emptiness that his loss had left behind. And there was something else. Something that grew like fire. Something that was beginning to consume his thoughts and emotions. It was the images he had dreamed the night before. It was his wife and daughter’s blood calling out from their graves. It was guilt. It was his anger. Yes, he recognized it now – it was his hunger for vengeance.

“Well, Mr. Allen, you are cleared to go home.”

It had only taken a few weeks after he first woke up in the hospital bed. His recovery had been remarkable. It had become obvious to the whole hospital staff, that not only had the virus saved his life, but it made him better, at lest physically. Todd had exceeded all of the expectations. Not only was he walking again, but his reflexes were faster then they had ever been. His strength had increased as well. Not to mention his body’s new found ability to repair itself. Apparently, the virus had gone above and beyond. The more Todd focused and trained, the stronger his body had grown. The doctor’s final conclusion was that as long as Todd continued training, the new Biotech tissue would grow and adapt.

And that is exactly what Todd did; fueled by the emotional weight he was bearing.

“Go home and rest, take it slow. One day at a time.” These were the doctor’s last instructions and after scheduling reoccurring appointments to monitor Todd’s new health, he climbed into the taxi that would take him home.

But rest was far from Todd. Every night, the nightmares returned, or were they memories, Todd really wasn’t sure. He could see his wife and daughter dying, over and over again. The grizzly scene burned into his mind. He needed peace.

“You just made the worse mistake of your lives.”

The eerily calm, yet menacing voice brought a chill to his spine. He had just mugged and then shot a woman square in the chest. As him and his partner went through the stolen purse, they didn’t notice that they were no longer alone in the dark alley.

“What the hell!” the thug jumped and spun around, when he heard the voice.

There, stood a man dressed in what appeared to be some kind of customized martial arts uniform and a mask. “What are you going to do about it? I’ll shoot you too!” That was all he was able to say, before the foot landed against the side of his head. His unconscious body crumpled to the ground.

His partner took off running.

“Vengeance is coming for you!”

An uppercut to the stomach, elbow to the face, and then a leg sweep to finish it up.

The figure stood alone in the shadows now. He walked over to the women lying on the ground, dead. With a remorseful, shaky voice, he said, “ I’m sorry I wasn’t here fast enough.”

As the sound of police sirens grew, the figure found a safe, hidden spot to watch from. He wasn’t going to leave until he was sure that they found the poor victim’s body. Once he was satisfied that she had indeed been discovered and the attackers taken into custody, he quickly and stealthily left the scene.

“It is still unclear as to what happened to the 2 attackers found at the crime scene. Police say that they will continue to investigate, but it appears to be the work of the vigilante that has come to be known as ‘Vengeance’.”

Todd clicked the button on the remote control turning off the morning news show.

He was tired. It had been a long night and he needed to get some sleep.

Before settling down in bed he kissed the picture of his wife and daughter he kept on his bedside stand.

His last thoughts before falling off to sleep were, “Tonight, I have to be faster.”
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