Up on Strawberry Hill: Only Human

“Hascal…Hascal what have you done?” Simeon rasped. He sat quivering clutching his throat. A red hand print encircling his neck where 6 had just choked the air out of him. Their lifeless body lay in the chair red dripping down their nose streaking their cheeks like their eyes were weeping blood and not the hole that sat between them.

Their eyes were frozen wide in fear, the soul drained from them dulling the color of their irises. They stared at the two scientists as the blood spilled from the bullet wound between their eyebrows gliding down the vinyl covering and pooling on the floor beneath them in drips. Simeon was in shock, nerves shaking him so violently it made him ill. As he wretched the contents of his stomach onto the floor Hascal silently strode over to stand next to 6.

“I did what needed to be done.” He said coolly, finally breaking the silence. “I did what you have proven time and time again to be too soft to do.”

Simeon wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his coat not believing what he was hearing come out of his colleague’s mouth. “You monster.” He spat. “We could have fixed this. I could have helped them.”

“No you couldn’t.” Hascal stood with the revolver in hand. He had opened the chamber counting the bullets that resided there. “There was no hope for them and you know it.”

“You heartless son of a bitch.”

“They almost killed you, as you recall, and I almost let them to be honest.”

“You what?”

“Oh relax. I didn’t did I?”

“You just killed someone! IN COLD BLOOD!”

“I believe it was in defense of you, but whatever you want to think.”

Simeon was boiling. Hascal was hands down the most evil human being he had ever met and he knew what he had to do.

You’re going to have to kill him.

His mind sneered at him with a hint of delight that made Simeon feel like he was going to be sick again. “No I can’t.” he whispered to himself.

“What was that?” Hascal asked smirking?

You have to do it.

His inner monologue was sounding less and less like him. Something about it sounded more like something Hascal would say and yet it sounded like neither man. Instead the voice was soft and concise and…feminine. Feminine? That couldn’t be right.

Hascal smirked again as Simeon sat face contorted in confusion. Things were playing out sort of how he had intended, but he hadn’t quite elicited the desired response yet. The bee that had been in the office buzzed into the room landing on 6’s forehead staring at Hascal. The image of this out of place insect and the dead patient both staring at him one judging him and one fearing him unnerved him.

Do what you must, Hascal. We don’t have much time. The voice in his head said. He had only had her do this once before. It was not something he ever believed he would grow used to. It wasn’t exactly enjoyable to have another person in his head.

“Come on, Chief.” Hascal said using Simeon’s despised nickname hoping it would get a rise out of him. “You’ve got work to do.”

“No.” Simeon said gritting his teeth. The unfamiliar voice making him dizzy and the use of his nickname causing anger to bubble up in him. Hascal was pushing his buttons.

He is a monster, Charles. You must do something to stop him, or else he will kill you.

The voice was soft and reassuring. He didn’t think he could kill Hascal, necessarily. He shivered realizing that he was capable of causing harm to this person. That was unlike him. The thought went against his nature.

“What are you going to do, Chief?” Hascal growled impatiently. This was taking too long. He needed to provoke him. He closed the chamber of the revolver looking at it in his hands realizing what he would have to do. Pulling back the hammer he points the gun at Simeon. “Your move.”

“You’re going to kill me?” He didn’t sound shocked or scared. The emotion had drained from his body leaving Simeon feeling like a shell. Like he wasn’t in his body any more as he stared down the barrel of the gun. He stepped forward, walking until the gun was flush against his chest. “Why?”

“Because you are weak.” Hascal put his finger onto the trigger. “Because you won’t be able to finish this work if you can’t control your test subjects. Look at what happened to number six.”


“Someone will die again, whether you want them to or not.” Hascal pushed the barrel into Simeon’s chest backing him toward the wall. “Whether it’s one of them, or you. It won’t matter. It will have been your fault. You will fail.”

“No. Six did not die because of me.” Simeon’s voice wavered as he pushed back against the gun. “They died because you killed them. Not me. You did this.”

“Shifting the blame doesn’t change what you did.” Hascal knew Simeon hadn’t done anything, but this was what he needed to get him to snap. “Even if it had been my fault, what are you going to do about it? You’re too weak to do anything about it. You’re just going to sit here and let me get away with this because you aren’t man enough to do anything about it.”

Simeon scowled. He was still boiling, furious with what Hascal had done. His ears were ringing, heart beat envying that of a hummingbird. He hadn’t even realized that he had grabbed onto the barrel of the gun that was sticking into his sternum and making it sore. He didn’t care if he lived or died anymore; the monster in front of him needed to die.

He pulled the gun up away from him with both hands, fighting against Hascal’s strength. They struggled, slowly Hascal’s arm moved upward arcing the gun up to rest beneath his chin his own finger still on the trigger. Simeon stepped forward to look the man straight in the eye.

“You. Are. A monster.” He said pointedly as he slid his fingers up on either side of Hascal’s trigger finger. “You don’t deserve to live.”

“Do it.” Hascal provoked struggling against Simeon’s grip. “No. You won’t do it. You don’t have the gu-”

Simeon pressed down. The shot ringing out so loudly it caused a ringing in his ears at it cut the other man’s words short and he crumpled in Simeon’s hands. Hascal fell to the floor with a thud, a smirk still plastered across his face. The bee that had been watching the ordeal buzzed around Simeon’s head demanding his attention. He watched it fly around him and float lazily down to come to rest on Hascal’s chest. Simeon looked to the bee and then at the face of the man he hated so much.

The look of content on Hascal’s face was the last thing Simeon saw before he blacked out.


Hascal woke with a start in a white room. The woman in black was sitting across from him as he rubbed at his face making sure it was unscathed.

“Shit!” He exclaimed annoyed, looking to his left to see an empty chair similar to the one that he sat in.

“Relax.” the woman said softly. “He wasn’t even in this room.”

“Where is he?”

She pointed to a black window on the wall off to their right. He walked over to the glass seeing Simeon lying strapped to the same chair they had just left 6 in. He was thrashing violently against the restraints screaming silently through the glass.

“We have the speakers turned off.” The woman said from right next to him. He hadn’t heard her get up or her heels across the tiled floor for that matter. “We didn’t want all of the noise if you were successful, which fortunately you were.”

“You were in my head again.” Hascal said flatly, ignoring her. “You know I hate when you do that.”

“I wouldn’t need to use it if you were faster.”

“Oh bite me, Fisher” He rolled his eyes. “I don’t see you doing your own work. If you want it done faster, then you do it next time.”

“There won’t need to be a next time thanks to you.” Fisher strode over to a control panel embedded into the wall and pressing a button. The room filled with Simeon’s screams of rage.


Hascal cringed at the volume. Fisher pressed the button again and the room fell into silence once again. He sighed with a trace of regret in his mind about what he had done to this man.

“Oh come now. Don’t go soft on me.” Fisher crossed her arms over her chest shifting her weight to one side. Everything about her posture said she was annoyed, as if he wouldn’t be able to pick it up in her tone.

“I’m not soft.” Hascal grumbled. “I’m human.”

“There is no difference really.”

“So you think.”

“Look if you were truly one of them you wouldn’t have suggested this would you?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh please like a human would have suggested brainwashing a man to hate someone so much they want nothing more than to kill them, let alone test it on the scientist who created the process in the first place?”

He could feel Fisher’s eyes rolling at him as he said nothing. He watched as Simeon thrashed about screaming silently wondering if he had made the right decision. Wondering if by doing this for the reasons he had, made him any less of a human. Were monsters even capable of showing remorse? He focused his vision to stare at his reflection in the glass pondering this when he noticed the empty chairs behind him once again.

“Sixsmith?” The name was a question on his tongue. He had almost forgotten about him.

“What about Sixsmith?” The annoyance was still prominent in her voice.

“Where are they?”

“Taken care of.” she replied bruskly.

“What do you mean?” Hascal’s heart shot into his throat hoping that she was not about to confirm his worst fears.

“What do you think I mean?” She chuckled dryly. “They were a loose end. They needed to be taken care of.”

“You killed them.” He hadn’t asked it but she nodded in response anyway. “You. Fucking. Monster.”

“Of course I’m a monster. We all are and you knew that when you signed up.” Fisher dropped her arms to her side and moved to stand next to him. She leaned in and whispered in his ear. “And if you knew any better you filthy…human, you would become one too.”

With that she turned on her heels and calmly walked over to the panel, turned the speakers back on and left leaving Hascal alone with the sounds of the man that made him a monster.


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