Part 658 – Confrontation And A Forgotten Memory

Antioch watched Robin’s progress.

Monitor after monitor flipped to the same black, white, and gray snowstorm.

He sat back in his chair.

Robin isn’t being random.

There is a reason behind his madness.

A pattern.

A trail of sorts.

And where does that trail lead?

Where does it end?

He contemplated that question as Robin destroyed yet another camera.

Antioch smiled.

I recognize that hall.

I know where he is.

His smile grew.

I know exactly where he’s going.

***

Robin yanked the camera out of the wall and crumbled it into electronic bits. “And boom! Another one dead. Yes! It’s a great night to be alive.”

He walked past the control room.

***

Antioch’s smile fell as Robin betrayed his expectations.

Where is he going?

The next camera fuzzed out.

And the next one.

And the next one.

And the next one.

Antioch watched the monitor for the next hallway.

He’ll be coming down that one soon.

I wonder what he’s up to.

He waited and waited.

Robin didn’t make his appearance in the next hall.

The image held steady and unmolested.

Where is he?

His gaze ran along the line of staticky monitors and back up to the next available camera.

He smiled.

I guess I could go look outside the door.

He stood.

Just as the door was kicked open.

***

Robin entered the control room and froze.

The room wasn’t as empty as he’d been expecting.

A white-haired man stood by the monitors.

I.

Dressed in a furry light gray suit.

I know.

With polished black shoes.

I know him.

And mirrored sunglasses.

“You.”

The man smiled. “Hello, Robin.”

“I know you. I know your voice. I know your face. I know… I know.”

“Of course, you do. My boy.” He walked over to the vampire and beamed benevolence. “My son.”

“Shut up. Just shut your mouth shut up! You ain’t my dad. My dad’s dead. You’re nothing but a slimy fake. So, shut the heck up, you lying fake!”

“They had warned me. They told me not to interact with you. It would create…problems. You would never accept me, which is ironic.”

“Why you still talking? I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear your stupid fake voice talking like my dad. So, why don’t you find yourself a nice ravine somewhere and jump?”

“After all, I was created to replace your dearly departed father.”

“What?”

“Your mother—”

“Shut up! Don’t you talk about my mother.”

“—couldn’t live without him. So, she had him cloned.”

“Stupid! My mom would never do something so stupid. This ain’t a soap opera, bucky.”

Antioch continued to ignore his protests. “She loved him, but thought his intelligence needed a bit of a boost. They made me so much smarter than he ever was. Too much so. I couldn’t go back to his life. It was beneath my capabilities. So, I joined The Institute and moved up in its ranks.”

Robin was all ready to tell the other man just how much he could shut up.

A memory surfaced.

Robin hugged his favorite teddy bear. His father had bought it on a business trip to New York a couple of years ago. He had carried it into the house, hidden inside his thick overcoat.

He sniffed the bear’s head.

It still smelled a little like that coat.

The sound of his mother’s voice pulled him out of his misery.

Who’s she talking to?

He climbed out of bed and carried the fluffy gray bear with him. He left his room and followed her voice.

All the way to her bedroom.

The door wasn’t closed all the way. So, he had no problems eavesdropping. “Why? You’re supposed to stay with us. You’re supposed to stay with me. That’s why I…Peter.”

Robin opened the door a little wider.

His mother was sitting on the bed.

A man stood before her.

A white-haired man in a furry gray suit.

“Robin needs you. I need you.” She raised her hands in supplication. “Please. Stay with us. Let us be a family again.”

“I can’t. I am not Peter Hastings, your husband. I am Antioch. And I don’t need any of you.”

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