|“||I thought about having you drink it, but... I just couldn't go through with it. That would be too selfish of me. We still have no idea if you'll come to love this world or not. That's why... that's why you must be strong, Mark. And one day, when you learn everything, remember this place. What you do with the bottle will be your decision.||”|
Paula is a warm, kind woman – and incredibly brave and quick-thinking, with every action taken to better her son's life. Not only is she financially shrewd—careful to save enough money to ensure Mark will have funds should something happen to her—she encourages him to think and act independently and immediately moves to hide him as soon as she is wary that her life might be in danger. When she is tortured, she does her best to keep a strong front.
Paula is born and raised in New York, rumored to be the child of Barnes and his mistress. Whether or not the rumors are true, she at some point becomes Barnes' subordinate and looks after the failed versions of Szilard Quates' Cure-All Elixir for him—with prostitution serving as a cover job for said real work. As part of her duties, 'looking after' often means that she stows away failed versions of the elixir for contingency purposes.
Whether she starts working for Barnes before or after she gives birth to Mark Wilmens in (est) late 1917 is unknown, nor is it clear when Mark's father died, but her income as Barnes' subordinate allows her to afford a respectable apartment and keep a fair amount in the way of financial savings. She often leaves Mark in her friend Lisha Darken's care when he is a child, presumably when she is off working.
One day, Paula brings home one of the bottles of the failed elixir with the intention of having Mark drink it. However, when she decides that to have him drink it would be selfish of her, she takes Mark to his father's grave and buries the bottle there with Mark as witness. Once the deed is done, she tells Mark to confess the bottle's whereabouts should anyone ask him for it. As she pulls him into a tight embrace, she explains why she could not go through with having him drink the bottle's contents: she still has no way of knowing whether or not he will come to love or hate the world. With a warm smile, she advises Mark to be strong—and that whatever he does with the bottle someday must be his decision alone.
At some point after this event – or perhaps in the weeks before it—her colleague Lester asks her to hand over the incomplete formula she has stowed away, but she refuses.
Several days later, Paula and Mark are both present when the doorbell to their apartment rings. Mark heads over with the intention of answering it, but Paula hurriedly wraps her arms around him to block his mouth and arms; anxious but still gentle, she hides him inside their closet and instructs him to remain silent no matter what. He nods, and she smiles at him before shutting the door.
Lester and four other men enter the apartment and promptly kidnap her, spiriting her away to an unknown location. They forcibly sit her down and torture her; Lester heats an ice-pick via a heap of red-hot stones before stabbing it into Paula's body. She forces back a scream, and he stabs her again, and again, and again.
She never confesses the bottle's whereabouts. When her corpse is discovered on the banks of the Hudson River, two days after she was kidnapped, her body is riddled in scorched holes—clear evidence of a most torturous execution.
In the wake of Paula's death, her reputation is besmirched by a newspaper article which suggests that her financial savings were owed to the drug trade. Two years after the fact, her son pursues revenge against those who wronged her.
- Paula's son is said to be her spitting image.