He thought the sewer smelled bad. The stench of burning flesh though- that was a real kicker. It wasn’t quite like a barbecue, no it was very distinct. The strong aroma was a genuine amalgam of ingredients. Anything from that metallic copper smell that pennies and blood have in common, to charcoal and even sulfurous rotten eggs that have mixed in with pungent, briny water. It was fatty with a biting, acrid tinge to it. But unlike human flesh, this had a fishy undertone to it. Rancid, algae like with scum on top. Basically, like any one of his brothers after they had been shot with a some alien photon phaser what do you call it, and then didn’t shower after a week of workouts. It was disgusting.
What terrified Leonardo the most though was the source of the smell. The sealed door could not keep it at bay. Whatever was inside was foul, twisted, and broken. His assumption was that it was an unclean, but frequently used, burden of torment. A torture device that he did not want to see.
Gesturing for Raphael and Michelangelo, they prepared themselves. The sounds coming from within were grotesque, like an animalistic moan and a garbled cry. A broken sob within a mutilated growl. A sharp, piercing sound followed, as if someone was crashing boulders together. The blubbering howl was too much for him to bear. Apparently, his brothers agreed with him without saying a word.
Raphael proceeded to wedge the razor sharp tips of his sais into the airtight crevice. Another shaking and desperate plea erupted from behind the locked doors as they struggled to open the portal to the disturbed soul. Whatever was being done to it, they had to do something. Anything to help bring them a step closer to their brother. Even an inch forward to where Donatello might be.
With an almost satisfying pop and expulsion of compressed air, the forbidden entry opened. The room was so dark shapes could hardly be seen with the naked eye.
And then the figure in the corner moved. Quickly, in a determined succession, hurling itself into the chipped, sharp wall. Like so many others, it was in a trance of sorts, as if possessed. Its one mindset, zombie in nature, was to propel itself once again.
The final crack was nauseating. It crumpled to the ground, unable to move as he rushed over to its gaunt form. Liquid, blood he knew, covered the floor. Bones of the sewer rats it had consumed to survive littered the floor, turning his stomach.
Finally reaching into the abyss, Leonardo and Raphael grabbed him before turning to Mikey, who was standing guard at the door. He could feel the tremors of the poor creature, its feet dragging the ground.
It was Michelangelo who noticed first. Of course he did, he had the advantage of the light. His shaky tone was filled with fear, apprehension, and a shocked exasperation. Leo’s eyes finally fell to what now Raph was looking at as well, and his mind could not hardly process it.
Contorted, disfigured, lacerated and maimed. That was only the beginning of the description, the first words that filled his searching and failing intellect. Not one of the three of them could breathe his name, nor utter the now pure and unblinded outrage that coursed through their systems.
It was paralyzing for them to see him this way. It was a strangling sensation, a burning freeze to their steps. They had found so many others like him before, some in worse conditions and some in better, but they had always been looking for him. They had been looking for Donatello. The Donnie they knew, he was six foot tall, lanky but muscular. Strong but inventive, the purple bandana almost always around his face. His eyes, even when troubled, sparkled with an untamed genius. But this...this gargoyle was not Donatello. It was thin, starved. Its eyes were sunken, rolled back into its head and bloodshot. Its skin was scarred, and as he held it, he knew that the suffocating odor was coming from its body. Fresh burns laced its face and arms, the carapace cracked and fractured. One of the legs had been broken before and poorly set definitely a long time ago, no doubt a poor attempt by his brother’s fragmented efforts. It was crooked, crippling.
At first they merely glanced at one another, and then the shockingly quiet hallway. In one step, they exited the dungeon, and in less than a millisecond, alarms started blaring. The dim haze of white light turned to flashing colors, predominantly red. His brother had a tracker in him, and they had to figure out where it was and how to get it out.
It was then that Raphael showed the side of himself that was underneath the constant brooding shell. Grabbing Donatello’s arm, he pressed it through the door. The alarms stayed, and the unholy music of droids marching drew closer. Raph cursed under his breath, but tried the other arm. It was then that Leo realized what their famed hothead of a brother was doing. It was now or never.
Pressing Donnie’s back into the sensor, he noticed no change until the back of his neck snapped backwards. A slight light change, a different warning. He knew where the device was that they could use to follow, tail, and find them.
Right now, their first course of action was to escape. They could outrun the pink, brainy aliens long enough to give them the time they needed to remove whatever they needed to.
Leonardo could only hope that they did not have any other surprises that would try to climb up their shells. They just needed to get their brother home. To be more specific, whatever was left of their brother.
Racing down the corridor, Mikey took the lead, the side, and behind. His unending energy had made them become confident in his defensive skills. He could be everywhere he needed to be, as he so used to remind them when they wound up with a water balloon or cream pie in their face. Raphael had the endurance and strength it would take to get Donnie home safely.
But Leonardo, he had the precision. The decision. And with so much at stake, neither of his once trouble making brothers questioned his commands.
They soared through the air, gliding across the floors with the accuracy of only those of their kind. Ninjas, trained in only the best martial arts.
Somehow Mikey kept the bots away. As Leo exited through the hole they had made to break in, Raphael pushed Donatello out. Picking him up, Leo barely turned back to make sure his younger brothers would make it out. He couldn’t sacrifice one of them, not a single one. He couldn’t do this again.
And then there they were, at his side. Driving their mishap of a vehicle was Casey Jones, an ally he knew they could trust to be there. He was reckless, a rule breaker, and speedster, but right now that was exactly what they needed. It felt like an eternity passed in seconds as their trip down busy New York roads turned into dark, dank sewer tunnels. Pulling out his smooth, katana , he could do nothing but apologize to the pain he was about to inflict on his brother. Slicing ever so gently as to not damage any more nerves, he flicked the edge of his blade to the underside of the chip. It was not connected to his brother, but merely implanted.
Donatello screamed, the pain reaction very delayed. His wild eyes flickered as Leo quickly removed the bit, crushing it and throwing it out the window. His brother’s body flailed violently, and at first they just sat there, unsure of whether to hold him down, or to let him do what he needed to. It didn’t matter though, as just as quickly his response was, so was his decline. His poor, naked body collapsed, fresh blood trickling down the back of his neck. If Leo had been any less careful, Donatello’s spine would have been severed.
Staring blankly, Leo could not stop the tears from overwhelmingly caress his cheeks. His heart was shattered as he gazed at the still form that lay at his feet. His brother, the genius. His brother, the animal. His brother...fighting a seemingly unending fight.