Thursday, November 21, 2013

Just Business

When I first met Cypher... I'd already been spending every waking minute I had digging into what is so cutely called the "Slenderverse" or "Fearverse" or whatever the hell term you want to use. I was never much of a reader, but this... new ambition of mine turned me into one. Every blog that I could get my cursor on. Every sighting or possible sighting or even just... strangeness. I knew all about strangeness. Hacked into much of the strangeness to see if I could see if the "Organization" or whatever was the rotten core. My hacking skills were more than a little rusty. Hadn't used them in years. And shit changes fast these days. Like the world is jacked up on speed. Everything warped and blurry... makes you wonder why we HAVE insane asylums, really. EVERYONE is goddamn nuts.

Anyway... guess I left something to find during one of my stays tapping away at the local library. The place was deserted, except for the librarian. I mean who even GOES to libraries anymore? I'll tell you. BROKE PEOPLE. Like I was. Hell, I was saving every cent my old friend had generously given me just so I could "eat" each day. And I use the term loosely. But there was one evening... where someone DID end up joining me. Walked right through the front doors like he'd been coming there all his life. He was dressed well. Was humming to himself as he strode over to where I was amongst my nest of papers and folders and notes. Came right on over and parked himself in front of a computer near me. Adjusting the screen a bit before looking back over his shoulder at me. Giving me this... really wide grin under that fedora hat. Blue eyes and a wild mess of blonde hair.

Everything about him was just... pale. Skin. Hair. Eyes.

I got a feeling about him... that I hadn't felt in a VERY long time.

One that kicked me right back to Detroit. My hometown. Oldest kid of the boss' best hitmen. Just a mafia war. One side of the city against the other. Fire and bullets and walking by a body sporting a good twenty bullet holes in him while his blood drained into the gutter... well, that was just a good time to be a pick-pocket. Might have been a drive-by, after all. Could still have some cash on him. Interesting way to grow up. My old man wanted to pass his gun down to me. Said I had a real killer shot.

Just wish it would help me to kill Red-Fuck. But whatever.

The guy sat down and grinned at me. I was trying my best to not look like I'd watched him come in.

 "Getting a bit late to be studying up in the library, isn't it friend? 
What is the matter? College Exams? Or something else?"

It took me a moment to remember that I should probably act friendly enough, despite the old itch burning down the back of my neck that this giddy little snowflake was about as pure intentioned as a goddamn Nazi.

 "Just getting ready for a career change. 
Gotta stay one step ahead in this day and age, right?"

He pulled up a window on the computer and I saw orange on his browser. Blogger, of all sites. A random blog about cooking.

  "Yeah, don't I know it... 
Must be hard though. Change. 
Most people have a hard time adapting to the reality of the world. You know?"

I didn't like it. I didn't like it ONE GODDAMN BIT. So I started to gather my things. 

 "...You learn.

 Anyway. Thanks for mentioning the time. 
Didn't notice it was that late. I should get going."

After all the shit I'd been through and all the shit I'd read, I knew I was probably paranoid to hell, but that didn't matter. My instinct was what kept me ALIVE in Detroit and it sure as hell kept me alive on the Force. I wasn't about to start ignoring it when it was WARNING me about this kid. And that's all he was really. A kid. Didn't look any older than eighteen. Twenty tops. But I wasn't about to underestimate anyone or anything. Not about to make THAT mistake when I had so much left to do.  I was trying to get OUT as soon as I could, packing away all my shit into my backpack... while still trying to not LOOK like I was rushing too much.

"Lost in your studies eh? I can respect that."

He clicked once, and opened a NEW blog up.

One I recognized immediately.
"Morning Hunter".

I felt like I'd taken a punch to the gut.

"....It's you. Isn't it?"

He scrolled to one post in particular. I caught the title, remembering it.

The post that bragged about Flaming Baby Baseball.  

"So let me ask you something, friend. 
This is a very nasty business we have going here. 
Why would you be so obsessed with sticking your nose where it does not belong?" 

I remember taking a slow step back, one of my hands subtly shifting around behind me. My Glock, of course. Safety was already off, which had been a good start. Even though, if any of the posts were to be believed, I knew it would do little to NOTHING to help me. We were the only ones in the entire library - even the damn librarian seemed to have buggered off somewhere - which was good. No crossfire victims. But also very bad.

I didn't really think that getting EATEN sounded like a good way to go, to be honest.

"...Personal business.

You've had your fair share of that. I'm sure you can relate."

 The screwed up fuck actually licked his lips. As if he KNEW what I was thinking.

"Ah, I see. You poor thing. 
Lose someone to the business? Someone close? Spouse? Child? Sibling?"

He was trying to find my buttons, I knew that. But I also know how to buy time.

Give them what they want.

Honestly, it's as simple as that. When you want to buy time: Cooperate. Talk. Tell them whatever you need to in order to give yourself a few more minutes - even a few more SECONDS - to figure out your plan of action.


One exit was too far away. The other... HE was closer to it. 

"...And both my kids. My son and... daughter."

My first stumble.

I'd read about what had happened to Laura, after all.

Sam picked a good name for her. Probably the only good thing that baby got in her short life. Being named after Sam's mother. Sweet woman. Sam probably thought the name might give some kind of comfort...

What a sick fucking JOKE that had been.

But that wasn't the time to dwell.

My eye caught the window. It was a possibility.

"Awww. Well I am so sorry to hear that friend. 
Now, I am usually something of a vicious bastard, but I am feeling... 
Hmmm... Generous today. 
Forget everything that happened, accept the loss of your loved ones and move on. 
Live the rest of your life in peace. 
Otherwise, we are going to have a problem.
 I hate problems, you understand."

If he ever got that speel to work on ANYONE... they're a damn IDIOT.

So I decided... to try something else.

After all, I had read about Morningstar. All of the blogs.

And his connection with Nightscream.

"...You're after him too, aren't you?"

 "... Him? Him Who?"

"...The Red-Fuck. You're after him too, right?"

"...You mean Redlight, yeah?"

"...Yes, that bastard.
 I've already twiddled my thumbs for three years, I can't walk away NOW.
The son of a bitch has shit to pay for."

 "...Right. So. Um... we noticed you poking your nose into things,
but we never actually found out your name.
Who are you again?"

 "Alex Prescott."

For a long moment... I just got a completely blank stare. Then he opened his mouth to speak, only to close it as his entire expression changed to bewilderment and utter confusion. Staring at me as if I'd just grown a second head. Thinking back, it was actually a pretty damn priceless expression. Especially since I know him better now.

"Heh. I was wondering if you'd recognize 'Prescott' or not. 
After all, you'd know Sam better by 'Freeman', right?
And it never even ONCE mentioned its real name in the blog, so...
I guess Sam must have told you personally. 
You were a friend of Sam's, weren't you? 'Shooter'?"

"You... Aren't you... You are supposed to... HOW ARE YOU ALIVE?"

"...In short? Stupidity."

I gave him a briefing of what had happened from the accident onward. Finishing only by mentioning the post... about Sam killing me. How it had to be the Red-Fuck's influence. That it made SENSE, after all. Just another way to wear Sam down. BREAK Sam down. What did it matter if it wasn't real? Sam would think it was. And it DID think it was. Just another Nightmare to haunt it. Another slab of guilt.

I told him how I hadn't seen Sam in over three years. And how that number was only going to grow at this point... cause, really, saying it like that. It really dawned on me for the first time that... I was never going to see Sam again. Never. It hit hard. To actually SAY it.

He took a while to process it... but the more it sunk in, the more it seemed to weigh him. His mood changing (or the mask lifting?) from sadistically chipper... to glum. Depressed. Almost pained. Slowly confirming for me that... Sam was really gone. Dead. And worse. Then he said something which surprised me... because it sounded like the first sincere thing I'd heard come out of his mouth. 

"...I am truly very sorry we had to meet like this. Really."

"...You understand then why I can't walk away."

"I can understand that. But what do you hope to accomplish?"

"I'm going to KILL the son of a bitch. Or die trying.
And yeah, you have permission to laugh. I really don't give a shit anymore."

And I still don't give a shit. You can laugh. Go right ahead, it is laughable right? But I don't care what I have to do. I don't care what it TAKES. I want... the last thing that bastard to see... is my face. I want him to REGRET it. I want... Justice. Capital Punishment, as the good old boys would say. Strap him to Sparky and flip the switch without using a sponge. COOK HIM. After all... it's too late for me to do anything for Sam. Maybe it was even too late three years ago. But I can figure out a way to FRY that supernatural bastard!!!

  "You can't. Especially so limited as you are. 
What do you intend to do... shoot him with that gun you're fingering?"

I wasn't surprised he'd noticed. It was his job to notice.

"It's my Service Weapon.
You don't even want to know what I had to go through to get it back after 
I'd convinced enough people I was sane.
Fair enough - it's useless against things like you and him.
But it reminds me of who I am.

I'll figure out something. I'll find a way to do it.
Sam... had a golden soul, do you know that?
One of them kindest, most caring, sensative people I'd ever met.
Sam was a good inflience on me.
Good influence on everyone.
Always helping. Volunteering. SMILING.

If SAM figured out how to become a monster...

Then I can sure as HELL figure out how to KILL ONE!"

He gave me a look. Annoyance.

"Becoming one and killing one are very different. 
One is possible, the other is not.
 This is not a fairy tale and you are not the Noble Knight slaying the evil dragon." 

And I glared right back.

"And what would you have me do? Run? Hide? 
Pretend the one person who never gave up on me 
- who sacrificed everything FOR me and is in eternal suffering for it - 
wasn't played with like a toy and broken apart, piece by piece?
The love of my life was OBLITERATED. 
Sam gave EVERYTH----"

"I can have you NOT sacrificing yourself for Sam. 
You think Sam would want that? 
You can stand aside, not get in the way, and let US kill Redlight. 

Do you know what he would do to you if he knew you were alive? 
Do you have any idea?" 

 "Then let me fucking HELP YOU!
I get that I'm over my head, okay? I'm still trying to sort through shit that happened YEARS ago.
But I'm going to keep SWIMMING UP until I figure this shit out.
I can help. I can. Give me a chance to prove it."

"Help? You can't help. You can get KILLED. 
But it would be a miracle if you ever even SAW Redlight 
without him butchering you. Don't be a moron. 
Besides, I have to wonder if my Organization will even let you live knowing who you are. 
That is going to be one of my more pressing concerns, thank you very much... 

Could have been avoided if you had kept your goddamn head down but NOOOO..."

"Why would they care? I'm a nobody. 
I don't even understand why YOU were sent. 
Kinda expected someone to be sent eventually, but not someone as seemingly preoccupied as you. 
You'd think there are newbies who'd need some field training, eh?
Almost like they already knew. Sending you."

"If they knew, they wouldn't have sent me... 
Then again. It might have been Dad. 
Situations like this always seem to amuse him... 
And I care ONLY because it would be a disrespect to Sam NOT to care."

 "I figured that. I'm not as stupid as I look, you know." 

"That remains to be seen." 

Cypher glanced around the library for a moment. Mulling everything over... before telling me that he "strongly, STRONGLY" suggested that I'd go with him. Of course, I was leery. I even followed his gaze subconsciously. Paranoia taking over. Expecting to find all of the others - His Team - lurking around the library. Surrounding it and me. But of course, there was no one else. I was a nobody, after all.

I just asked where we would go. If I went with him.

He only said somewhere safe. Then got up and made for the exit.

I made no move to follow him... at first.

Then I was shouldering my backpack and slipping my Glock back into its holster. Moving quickly to catch up even as I started questioning if maybe the nice men in the clean white coats at the Asylum had jumped the gun a bit when they called me sane. But it was my best shot... at getting what I wanted. I just took a chance that Nightscream and Morningstar were really that close of friends... that I'd be accepted, by extension. Though some things did make me... dig in my heels at first...

"Normally a Labyrinth is a big torture area. 
Ironic Hell type thing. 
I am going to set a fairly pleasant one up to keep you safe.
 Can't have you wandering around alone, and I can't drag you with me everywhere."

 "So... a fancy cage? 
A supernatural version of the same rubber room I BARELY managed to get out of?"

 "Much more comfortable than a Rubber Room, I promise. 
Think of it more as a Bunker."

And that's where I stayed. 

The plan to use me as bait for Red-Fuck... was actually mine. Sam had always said that TELLER was ruled by his emotions. That he had one hell of a temper, and he only proved it again and again every time he showed his face. I figured we could use that. That if we could just get his blood boiling... he would throw caution to the wind and just ACT. Then all we had to do was snap a trap closed around him.

At first I was thinking maybe Steele. Or maybe Writer. Someone from his history. I was flipping through all my papers, trying to come up with someone who might work. Cursing myself. Because Sam would have known who to use, wouldn't it? Sam would have known...

And that's when it hit me.

 "...What about Sam? 'Nightscream'?"

"...Might tick him off a bit. Might also make him laugh.
Also... Poor Taste."

"Not the real Sam, Cypher."

"...What. Are you saying... you?"

"Sam and I are... we're very similiar builds. 
Not far off in height. 
And the clothing 'Nightscream' used to wear left everything else to guess work. 
If we can... make Redlight think that he FAILED to destroy Sam..."

 "Redlight knows Sam's mind. 
It wouldn't take him long to notice the differences swimming around in there. 
Furthermore, just because you can look the part, doesn't mean you can act the part. 
Move like the part. Talk like the part."

"You know Nightscream better than anyone else alive, don't you?"

"...Not as much as Redlight. Not as intimately as Redlight."

"...What about Banks? He was... with Sam. At the end." 

"...I am NOT contacting DAVID FUCKING BANKS for help.
We'll sort it out without him."

But it wasn't good enough, was it? Not quite. I was getting the hang of it with each post, but I still wasn't... hitting all the right notes. Not enough to press the buttons I needed to.

Until Banks decided to involve himself.

Then things came together just that little bit more, didn't they?

But that's long enough for one update. I'm tired to staring at the screen and Mumbles wants to play cards.

Three guesses which I prefer.


  1. I'll be honest, I like you, you're determined, you have a goal, you know what it is and you WILL do anything to achieve it. Now the goal itself is questionable, but everybody have their own goals, not many however have the balls to go for them.

    Now, I became more interested in this blog. Now I have something to read in order to pass the time, thank you.

    1. Well, least you're amused. Guess that's something.

  2. Alex, what's your preferred third-person pronoun?

    1. Uh... I really don't care. Whatever you want to use, go right ahead.

  3. You must spend a lot of time around Proxy 'Bob'. How's his shell holding up.

    Dr. Fluffallumpigous mentioned that it's mental state had broken to the point of trying to kill itself whenever he tried to unhollow it.

    1. ....For obvious reasons, I try not to... get involved too much with Proxy 'Bob'. And the others kinda seem to do their part to try to not shove it down my throat, which I appreciate. He's here still. Hollowed, as always. He does what he's told to. The "Shell" is fine. Mentally though...

      I understand what's been done to him... and I hate it. It's too similiar to what... but the 'why' has also been explained. I don't like it, I don't agree with it... but I'm not about to start telling the bunch of them what to do and how to do it. If I was better with people, I might ask to talk to him while unhollowed and see if we can't... figure out a way for it to work for everyone. But I'm a "Norm". They're Proxies. This is their job and I'm not getting in the way of it.

      And yes, I'm rambling. It bugs me. Sorry, I guess.