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|“||I think we got somethin' in common. We know what love is, we know what it is to love a woman. You'd do anything for her, am I right? And somethin' else we got. We know what it is to lose it, lose it all. To not be in control...||„|
|~ Horace to Torque, during the boss battle.|
Horace P. Gauge is a main character and intermittent villain in the 2004 horror video game, The Suffering. One of Abbott State Penitentiary's most infamous inmates, Horace gained his place in Carnate Island's morbid history through a breakdown impressive even by the prison's lofty standards - one that ended with him murdering his wife on a conjugal visit. Sentenced to death for his crime, he was executed in the electric chair - condemning his spirit to remain on the island for all eternity.
In the wake of the Cataclysm that prompts the events of the game, Horace returns as one of the three ghosts advising Torque. However, his soul is still bound to the electric chair and still in agony from the torment inflicted on him: as such, he spends much of his time screaming for help and lashing out in pain, often ends up killing anyone in range of his electrical powers; however, in his more lucid moments, he tries to encourage Torque to resist the Island's influence and hang on to what remains of his sanity despite Carnate's best attempts at driving him mad.
He was voiced by John Armstrong, who also played Dr. Killjoy in the same game.
|“||Many inmates break once inside Abbott. But none have snapped more than Horace Gauge who, the tale goes, became convinced his wife wasn't safe without his protection and sliced her to ribbons during a conjugal visit. He ended up in the mercy chair, electrocuted by Abbott's then executioner, Hermes Haight. For years inmates have said he haunts Abbott, and I believe I saw him ten minutes ago. I surely wish I had not.||„|
|~ Clem's archive.|
The most tangible of all of the ghosts, Horace actually appears to possess a body of his own, unlike the projected avatars of Dr Killjoy and the gaseous specter of Hermes; indeed, investigating Horace's grave at the cemetery reveals that his coffin is actually empty and shrouded with a crackling aura of electricity, implying that his spirit was literally forced back into his corpse and made to flit across the island as a semi-corporeal being.
A stocky, heavily-built man with a paunch and several days worth of stubble, he shows all of the signs of the despair that had consumed him during his final months at the prison, having clearly stopped caring for matters of personal grooming prior to his execution. Fittingly enough, he's still dressed in the faded inmate's uniform he wore in life, complete with an identification number just under his left shoulder - another nod to the fact that he's still a prisoner even in death.
Though he shows no signs of decomposition and at first seems more human than either Hermes or Killjoy, Horace is quite clearly dead, and his body still bears the wounds inflicted on him over the course of his botched execution: the top of his head has been badly burned by the voltage that killed him, and most of his hair has been almost scorched off; his arms are seared bloody, his fingers little more than charred stubs; his eyes are empty, blackened sockets. For good measure, his body is often surrounded by crackling bolts of electricity.
When he speaks, Horace's voice is low and hoarse, as if worn out from constant screaming; when not being tortured in the electric chair, he never raises his voice above a murmur, further emphasizing the exhaustion he feels after so many decades trapped on Carnate.
|“||You had a wife, right? Didja love her? How far would you go to make sure she stayed yours? When you get mad, you feel you could kill a man, rip him apart with your bare hands. You ever feel that way? Maybe you're not like me, it's hard ta say. Ya gotta fight it. Don't let this place do to you what it did to me.||„|
|~ Horace to Torque, during their first meeting.|
Unlike many of the formerly human entities residing on the Island, Horace hasn't merely been changed by his time on Carnate, but broken by it. Already driven to dangerous extremes of obsession in life, his death and the decades of torment that followed left him a shell of a human being, barely able to muster any strong emotion other than anguish - and then only while being electrocuted in the chair; at all other times, Horace maintains a wearily passive outlook on the world, bereft of hope and numb to the futility of resisting the island's supernatural power.
Upon meeting Torque, Horace is immediately struck by the similarity between them and goes to the trouble of trying to advise him throughout the game, encouraging him to resist the island's influence and not end up like him. During negative karma playthroughs, he becomes despondent upon realizing how Torque is beginning to deteriorate, sadly musing that "a crime of passion ain't no crime at all". Conversely, if Torque retains good karma, he responds approvingly, but nonetheless remains constant in his warnings that "this place can eat your soul.". Towards the end of the game, he has begun to regard Torque as his last hope, ultimately betting on the convicted killer as his only chance of being freed from his torment; in turn, when Torque manages to shut down the chair and free Horace's soul, the ghost feels the need to reward this kindness by breaking down one of the final barriers between him and the exit.
In fact, the only reason why Horace always qualifies as a villain is due to the crime he originally committed and moments when he has been drawn back to the electric chair: here, driven mad with pain and desperation, he will often lash out wildly at anything in range - killing anyone unlucky enough to wander into his line of fire, as the Torque's unfortunate first companion finds out the hard way. More disturbingly, years of unmitigated suffering and immersion in Carnate Island's dark history have left him too emotionally deadened to care or even notice those who die as a result of these eruptions of pain. Even after recognizing the fact that Torque might be able to save him from the chair, Horace still can't stop himself from unleashing his powers at random while under torture, spending most of the boss battle either trying to explain himself or simply venting his insanity on the surrounding area.
Perhaps most tragically of all, nobody can be quite sure exactly what Horace's personality was like before he arrived on Carnate: other than the fact that he loved his wife and feared for her safety (perhaps a little too well), none of the concrete facts remain - another disturbing indication that the man Horace Gauge was has been lost forever.
|“||Yeah baby, I got it! They agreed to the conjugal visit. I called in some markers with some of the C.Os, they put in the good word. Yeah, they ain't all bad. Oh baby, it just drives me nuts thinking about ya out there in the world without me to keep ya safe. I love you so fucking much. I'll show you that, when you come. I can't fuckin' wait.||„|
|~ Horace, in an overhead phone call to his wife.|
Horace's past remains something of a mystery, even to himself: after so many decades of life and death spent trapped on Carnate Island, he can barely remember how he came to be there in the first place; it's known that he was married at the time of his sentencing, and he recalls that he might have been there as a result of an assault charge, though he claims that he was "screwed by the system," but other than that, only conjecture remains. Furthermore, the details of Horace's time in prison are also largely unknown, though by all accounts it was very hard on his sanity; given that his breakdown apparently only became public knowledge towards the end of his life, it can be assumed that up until then, Horace was a relatively unassuming member of the inmate populace - hiding his ongoing descent into madness until it was too late to be stopped.
Already pushed to his very limits by the soul-crushing conditions at Abbott and the things he did in order to survive them, Horace ultimately fell victim to the supernatural influence of Carnate Island itself; apparently needing people like him to commit atrocities on its behalf, the island began to slowly eat away at him. Eventually, Horace began to believe that his wife was in danger outside the prison without him around to protect her; as time went on, his paranoia escalated to dangerous proportions, until eventually he couldn't even sleep for the thought of what might happen to her. Bit by bit, the island slowly perverted his love for his wife into possessive fixation, spurring him on with the fear of what would happen if his wife was no longer his.
In the end, he arranged for a conjugal visit, calling upon a few friendly C.O.s to put in a good word for him: at first, the visit went well, with the couple being given all due privacy and allowed to have sex for the first time in years; then, no sooner had they finished, Horace finally gave into his madness and slashed his wife to death, apparently believing that this was the only way he could keep her safe. Furthermore, he also gruesomely mutilated her body in a wildly irrational attempt to keep her from being molested in death by "people with no sense of human dignity," ensuring that this way, she'd be his forever. Even in the present, he still believes that it was the only thing he could have done to save her, stating that "any guy that really loved his old lady would have done the same thing."
Needless to say, the Maryland Board of Corrections were horrified by the incident, and quickly commuted Horace's sentence to execution in the electric chair. As with all death sentences carried out on the island, the task went to Captain Hermes T. Haight, a sociopath driven almost as insane as the condemned. From what few accounts remain about the prison, Horace's execution went badly wrong, and the unfortunate inmate was electrocuted so brutally that the smell of burnt flesh supposedly still lingers around the chair. With no family left to claim his body, Horace was buried at Abbott's cemetery under the skeletal remains of a dead tree; ironically, Hermes joined him there not longer after, having committed suicide in the gas chamber in pursuit of his own grisly obsession.
As a result of his horrific crime and ghastly execution, Horace became a permanent fixture in the legends of Carnate Island. Unknown to all, however, Horace's spirit was also condemned to remain trapped on the island, reliving his execution in the electric chair years after the machine was supposedly decommissioned.
Events Of The Game
|“||This place wants you, Torque. It needs people like you. Once it gets a hold of you, it won't let you go, like it hasn't let me go. I've been here a damn long time, and it's sucked me dry. I pray it's almost done with me...||„|
|~ Horace to Torque during their meeting in the sewers.|
Horace's spirit remains imprisoned in the electric chair until Torque arrives at Abbott several years following his death, triggering the Cataclysm and unleashing the Malefactors upon Carnate Island; soon after, the long-dead inmate is resurrected, his neglected grave at the cemetery later being found unearthed, empty and wreathed with flickering tendrils of electricity.
Of the three ghosts to appear in the game, Horace is the first met by the players, encountered not long after Torque finds his first companion: having briefly teamed up with one of the few surviving Corrections Officers left in D-Block, the two of them progress through the ruins of the Death House until they reach the ground floor landing, just outside the decommissioned electric chair - now reduced to an informal museum exhibit. There, after fighting their way through a number of Slayers, the Corrections Officer hears the sound of Horace screaming in agony from behind the chamber doors, and rushes to investigate. Moments later, Horace lashes out, killing the Officer instantly.
Soon after, Torque can investigate the chair's control room, where it's soon discovered that the machinery is somehow active and fully functional. At first sight, the chair appears to be empty; however, viewing the chamber through the security monitors reveals that Horace's spirit is seated in the chair, writhing in agony. Furthermore, viewing the control room shows Horace freed from the chair and advancing on Torque from behind, his body crackling with electricity. If Torque looks away from the monitor, he is shown to be still alone in the room, though if he allows Horace to reach him, the ghost simply vanishes in a burst of static. Also in this scene, Torque has the opportunity to activate the chair, inflicting further pain on the tormented ghost for additional negative karma.
Not long afterwards, all three ghosts introduce themselves in the level "Descending", where they gather in the D-Block Basement's boiler room in order to encourage Torque to embrace his Rage Form. By now, Horace has seemingly gotten his powers under some semblance of control, and is able to transmit himself through the prison's electrical network - bursting out of a large fusebox in the basement. During this scene, he serves as an apathetic contrast to Killjoy's urbane overtures and Hermes' sneering mockery, providing neither support nor pressure to transform, simply remarking that the ghosts won't leave him alone until he does so; similarly, while he tries to encourage Torque to resist the Island, he acknowledges the futility of doing so, claiming "you can't put it off forever, this place is stronger than you.".
As Torque continues through the basement and out into the prison yard, Horace gradually grows more enthusiastic in his support of the lone inmate, making quick appearances to spur him on and explain the dangers of the island. After Torque from the prison in search of Dr Killjoy's asylum, Horace vanishes for a time, appearing much later on when the path gradually leads players off the shores of Carnate Island and into Abbott's sewers. Appearing behind a locked door, he explains that the Island is slowly leading Torque back into the prison where it can trap him for good, as it needs people like him to commit the unforgivable atrocities it seems to thrive on. Having been drained almost dry by the Island's demands of him and hoping to be at rest at last, Horace wearily instructs his younger counterpart to find him "in the dance hall," before using his powers to blast the door open.
It so happens that the "dance hall" is the electric chair chamber, where he is once again being forced back into the electric chair. As the chair activates, Horace tries to explain himself in a desperate attempt to reveal who he once was, but the pain soon interrupts him and he almost immediately begins unleashing his powers on the surrounding area in an explosion of rage and anguish. With Horace's body effectively indestructible, Torque must survive the onslaught long enough to finally switch off the chair directly from the breaker switches, a task that requires him to avoid the random blasts of electricity, dodge the writhing cables, and wait until the shields protecting the breakers fail. Eventually, Torque is able to shut down the electric chair for good; freed from his torment and exorcised of the influence the Island had over him, Horace lives just long enough to whisper his thanks before expiring. For good measure, his smoldering corpse remains in the chair, another indication of the direct role his mortal body is implied to have played in the haunting.
Horace appears one final time in the preamble to the finale: now freed from the Island and apparently able to seek his eternal rest elsewhere, he delays leaving for the sake of repaying his debt to Torque. Owing his newfound freedom to his counterpart, he is able to use his powers to destroy one of the last gates barring Torque's escape; with the way cleared, he encourages him to carry on and "find out what kind of a man you are," before finally vanishing.
Horace does not appear in the sequel, Ties That Bind, so it can be assumed that he eventually moved on from Carnate once and for all.
|“||Certain things, a man's gotta do. It can't be helped.||„|
|~ Horace advising to Torque|
|“||You ever see red? You ever just wanna let go? It's so easy.||„|
|~ Horace urging Torque to 'transform'|
|“||You're doin' well Torque. But watch yourself. This place can eat your soul.||„|
|~ Horace to Torque during good playthrough|
|“||Seems you are like me. You know just as good as I do, a crime of passion ain't no crime at all.||„|
|~ Horace to Torque during evil playthrough|
|“||To survive this place, you gotta become it. I tried to fight it... but it's no use...||„|
|~ Horace encountering Torque at recreation yards|
|“||I can't even remember what I was in here for, beatin' up some guy, whatever. I got screwed by the system. Fuck 'em, they fucked my life, they're as responsible for my old lady's dyin' as I am. Nobody wants the whole story, just lock 'em up, throw away the key, see ya next life. I just wanted to keep her safe. I couldn't protect her while I was on the inside. It ate me up, I lay awake at night thinkin' of what would happen to her. Any guy like me, any guy really loved his old lady woulda done the same thing. It got so I couldn't take it any more. So on that day, she came over for a conjugal, and we fucked. I screwed her like I never had before. It was smooth, and warm, and rough, and sweet, the best lay of our lives. And then, as she was layin' there after, she looked so beautiful with that sheen of sweat on her, then I did it. I cut her. Every last inch of her. All over. I cut her. When I was done, no one would see her again, no one would see her beauty, she was mine forever. 'Cause there are sick people out there, people with no sense of human dignity, people who will have sex with a dead person. I had to keep her safe from that.||„|
|~ Horace telling his story to Torque|
|“||Oh no... It's back... It's starting again. It never stops, it just keeps burning... It won't let me go...||„|
|~ Horace about to be tortured by haunted electrical device|
|“||You can't put it off forever. This place is stronger than you.||„|
|~ Horace to Torque as he continues to resists transformation|
|“||Help me! It won't stop! It never stops! I want it to end! Make it stop! No more!||„|
|~ Horace screaming in agony futilely as he is being tortured|
|“||Scalding! Hot! Hot! Hot! I can't fuckin' take it! I just wanna die! Ahhhh! It burns! Why? Won't? It? stop?!||„|
|~ Horace forced to fight Torque|
|“||Stop it! Stop me!||„|
|~ Horace begging Torque to stop him from further rampage|
|“||It's not just Abbott. It's this whole island. It's a cesspool of human atrocity. People come here, they do things maybe they wouldn't normally do, evil fucking shit. But you, you're different, you're the wild card in the deck. But you set me free. I never forget a debt. I owed ya. Now go on, find out what kinda man you are.||„|
|~ Horace opening gate to Torque|