Dolor – 1 – The Hunters


“Do you know why you’re here?”

The patient sat with his head between his knees, his fingers interlaced over the back of his head. At the question, he raised his head out of his hands, and aimed a weary, bloodshot stare at the therapist. His whole body trembled and convulsed with dull agony. Strangely, the therapist noted, the patient’s facial expression was not one of pain, but of superiority. Something in his eyes spoke of power, fearlessness. Despite his evident suffering, his visage showed clearly that he had endured far worse. The patient peered intently at the therapist, his gaze piercing into every corner of him, sizing him up.

“You don’t know… do you? You’re just blissfully ignorant, like all the rest…”

“Ignorant of what?” returned the therapist tolerantly.

The patient shook his head tiredly and grabbed it with his hands again, as though trying to squeeze out the pain.

“What am I ignorant of?”

After the patient failed to respond for a long moment, the psychotherapist repeated himself a third time, his voice always calm, his tone placid.

“WHERE ARE MY DRUGS?” demanded the patient suddenly, screaming at the floor through his knees.

“You will receive your medication before going to bed. I know this is difficult for you—”

“YOU THINK YOU KNOW?” screamed the patient leaping to his feet, knocking his chair noisily to the floor.

“Please. Calm down,” returned the psychotherapist with perfect composure. “Take your seat.”

Glowering, the patient pulled his chair up, and sat down, wincing with every motion.

“Now, can you tell me your name?”

“Martin Venatio,” replied the patient after a long pause. “Who’re you?”

“I introduced myself as I came in. My name is Dr. Hugo Lumen. Now, do you know why you’re here?”

“Because of that stupid junkie. He just wouldn’t shut up.”

“Is that why you shot him?”

“Believe me, he’s better off this way.”

“What do you mean?”

Venatio made no response, but merely shook his head again.

“Mr. Venatio. Martin. I’m here to help you. I can’t do that if you won’t talk to me.”

“Where are my drugs?” Venatio asked again, through clenched teeth.

“You’re just suffering the effects of withdrawal. With time, it will pass, and as I said, you’ll be receiving your medication when you’re put to bed, when I’m satisfied that we’re done here.”

“Withdrawal,” snorted Venatio. “You haven’t the faintest idea of what you’re talking about. I need those drugs to function. I need them! There’s too much pain to deal with otherwise.”

“Let’s go back to the junkie in the alley, Mr. Venatio. What happened?”

“I’ve already told this story a hundred times. The police took very detailed notes, doc, why don’t you ask them?”

“I want to hear it from you.”

Venatio sat up in his chair, leaning back and crossing his arms tightly across his stomach. He began rocking back and forth slightly.

“I found the junkie lying in the alley. He was screaming in pain… a lot of pain…”

“Why was he in so much pain?”


Lumen raised an eyebrow.


“That’s right. Dolor had gotten him, and left him there to die.”

The psychotherapist examined his notes and flipped a page.

“Is Dolor the creature you told the police about?”

“That’s right.”

“So this creature attacked the junkie, injured him, and left him. How did you come to be there?”

“I was following the creature. I nearly had it in my sights, but I lost track of it. When I heard the screaming, I ran into the alley toward the sound, but when I found the junkie, it had already gotten away.”

“So why did you kill the junkie?”

Venatio hesitated a moment. Finally, he shook his head and answered.


“You committed murder. Do you understand?”

“It wasn’t murder. This guy was already dead. He was going into shock, and he wasn’t going to come out of it. Believe me, I’ve seen it enough times. All I did was make the process less painful.”

“The body was autopsied, Martin. There was no sign that he had been attacked in any way before you found him. Other than a few bruises and scratches, his health was as good as can be expected for a street junkie.”

“And you found that his endorphin levels were extremely low, but that isn’t unusual because he was clearly a heroin addict, who had probably not been able to get a hit for a while. Surely, his screaming, his pain was due to early withdrawal symptoms. Right?”

“Yes, that’s right. It may have appeared to you that he was dying, but the symptoms would have passed.”

“No, they wouldn’t have. I’ve heard all these arguments before, doc. The junkie’s endorphins were drained, to the point where his body would no longer have been capable of producing any, ever again.”

“Because of what the creature did to him?”


Lumen nodded thoughtfully and scribbled a note.

“A moment ago, you said that you had seen it enough times,” continued the therapist. “I take it you meant that you have previously seen other victims?”


“How did you react in those situations?”

Venatio snorted derisively.

“I didn’t shoot them all, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“So then how did you react?”

The patient’s expression darkened. He looked over to one side and his eyes glazed over.

“Martin?” prompted Lumen.

His head turned, his eyes still unfocused, Venatio answered slowly, his voice thick with regret.

“At first…” he hesitated. “At first, I tried to help. I tried to help the victims with the shock. You know, I turned them on to their sides, elevated their legs, tried to keep them warm and reassured them. Some of them lasted longer than others. But ultimately, none of them made it. Best case was a permanent vegetative state.”

Lumen waited a moment for Venatio to continue. After several moments, Lumen broke the silence.

“What happened after that?”

The therapist’s voice seemed to snap Venatio back to the present. He turned back toward Lumen.

“I eventually realized that there was nothing I could do to help. So I stopped trying.”

“Did you also stop caring?”

Venatio thought for several moments, absently nodding his head.

“No. I understand pain too well to be unsympathetic. Which is why, with the junkie…”

Venatio shook his head sadly.

“He was in so much pain,” he finished emphatically.

Lumen regarded his patient thoughtfully. He added to his notes, then changed the subject.

“Where are you from? How did you come to be here in Montreal?”

Continue to Dolor – The Arrest

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