Monday, May 26, 2014

Pray With Me

Redlight went down the same way he lived his life.

The same way we ALL live our lives:


Fracture and I took the bastard in bounds - sword still driven through - right into the heart of that Cult Town. Once again, I got to see the dimensions bleeding into each other. Once again, I watched the shadows move as Nightlanders followed our route. Once again... I had to remind myself to just get it done. Forget the details of it and just focus on the END of it all. The final play. The Plan. God fucking forgive if we steered away from the goddamn PLAN...

I wasn't exactly feeling up to my best, what with having that sword first driven through ME. Fracture patched me up, but it wasn't exactly a papercut, you know? I was practically DRAGGING myself through the motions. Just to get it done. It didn't matter what happened after that, just so long as I got it DONE...

And Redlight just kept talking.

And talking.

And talking.

And really the only thing I wanted to do... was slit his damn throat.

It would have been so much easier if I could have just... kept shit simple. None of this crap of "trying to fix crap before the world got turned to ash" just... vengeance. Redlight destroyed Sam. So I get to destroy him. That is as complicated as things SHOULD have got.

But no.

I had to try for the fucking impossible. Like the moron I am.

We had a Plan.

But Fracture... quite the soft tart, once you get to know him... he tried to spare me the worst of it. The one part that I never spent long EXPLAINING to him or you or anyone because I didn't even want to THINK of what I would have to do... and had done... in the past.  The things that I'd willingly... taken on. To punish myself. For letting Morningstar and his group to continue as they were, unchallenged. As an Agent of the FBI, even an ex-one, I took an oath to stop the kind of people that did the things they were doing on a daily basis. The murders. The tortures. They always seemed to have... SOMEONE they were trying to get information from. And how the screams would ECHO down the halls...

At the beginning, I ran from it like a coward. Held up in my room. Tried to ignore it.

Eventually, I grew sick of my own spinelessness.

When they had someone, I started standing out in the hall. Listening. To every single... reaction.... they got. Every scream. Plea. Curse. Insistence of ignorance or whatever. I heard it all. And it made me SICK to listen. The others barely looked at me, or bothered to question my presence... though, sometimes, Mumbles came and stood with me. Looking concerned. Scribbling notes on his dry erase board, to which I usually gave one or two word responses. And then would cringe, pressing my eyes shut, as another scream tore out. Clawing right down to my core. I could FEEL it, I could...

But even that became not enough to torture myself with. Moving from out in the hall... to inside the same room. That change earned me some glares from the others. I guess they were expecting me to start... intervening at some point. Breaking up their little Sharp Object Party. Preaching good will and rightousness and all that crap.

But the truth is that... I'd grown up around these same kinds of people. I knew the mindset, and I wasn't there to save any one of them. I knew I was the third wheel, the tag-along, so I had no right to stick my nose in where it didn't belong.... but... at the same time... the tortures got to me most of all. I'd hear them echoing in my head for DAYS after...

Until there came the day that Cipher called for a volunteer to go "entertain" their latest "guest".

I said I'd do it before anyone else even got a chance.

To say the lot of them were stunned would be beyond an understatement. The only ones who didn't look confused... was Luke and Mumbles. Neither one had to think hard to figure out what my thought pattern was. I heard a few snide comments before Cipher took me aside. Telling me that I didn't have to go through with this. That I was punishing myself for no reason. That I was being a moron and should let everyone just... keep to their roles.

I just said again... that I'd do it.

Luke... asked if I had ever tortured anyone before.

I just shrugged. Apart from beating the shit out of some assholes that deserved it, I couldn't say I had much experience.

And that's how I ended up in a room prepared for splatter, with all manner of instruments at my disposal... standing over a young man strapped to a table. Bare down to his underwear. Blindfolded, and gagged. Breathing short and trembling. Shivering.

Opposite of me, stood Morningstar.


Even taking my hands and pushing my fingers into certain points. Letting me FEEL what he was talking about. Saying that, if I was going to do it, I might as well learn to do it like the Best. Like him. Like Nightscream. Like David.

So.... when it came time that Redlight needed some "convincing".... I knew exactly what to do. How. When. It was all there. Safely stashed in my memory...

But I really didn't WANT to go through with it. I didn't WANT blood on my hands like that again. Working on the flesh.

Star said my hands had "natural talent" for it.

My father... would be proud of that.

But I didn't even have to TELL Fracture how much I didn't want to DO that again. He just... knew. Or could see it. Somewhere on my expression. Or in my tone. He knew, one way or another. And he purposed a theory. Something we could try FIRST, before going to the torture aspect....

He had noticed how... disjointed Redlight's thinking could be. How mixed his moods were. All set on a whim, as quickly changed as the wind. Sometimes... though very very rarely... he almost sounded like... a little kid. Scared of the dark. Muttering about broken birds. He almost... ALMOST... sounded like... Spencer. That deep down beneath that insanity of Red, there still existed the boy who was toyed with until he broke. Still afraid of the dark. While painting the world Red. The change was... barely a blip in the psyche. Seemed to last all of a second or two. Just long enough to notice. Not really long enough to react.

Fracture theorized that if there was ENOUGH of "Spencer" left in Redlight's mind, that we just might be able to PULL that the surface, if we encourage it the right way. That maybe we could get that side, that blip, to take over just long enough... to convince him to handle his own fate. To atone for his own sins. All the crimes he has committed... and for the part he played in leading the world to the brink of an apocalypse. If we could just... talk to him...

and we tried.

We really did try.

We called him only by the name "Spencer". We talked about events in the blog he'd written. Focusing on what we knew. Asking questions OF Redlight from that point. Mentioning all the right names. Even the names of people that he'd been associated with for a long time, like Elaine, or even just for a quick pit-stop, like Mitch. We brought up Writer. The games he used to play. All the ways Spencer had TRIED so hard to be GOOD, despite everything weighing him down.

We honestly tried to make it work.

We worked on it all the days it took to GET Redlight to the Cult Town. And even that last morning. We just kept calling him Spencer. Kept trying to stir up the memories. The faces. The FEELINGS, if there were any there at all...

But it didn't. Redlight was only Redlight. And we'd run out of options. Or, rather, I had. It was my job anyway. My "Quest" to finish. Even if I could have rightfully passed the duty on to someone else... who else would have done what I had to do? Fracture didn't handle that sort of thing. From the looks of him at the time, he was barely handling being in the same vicinity of it all...

I bet no one would have thought someone like me could make Redfuck so much as FLINCH.

But I was trained by The Best. Who had been trained by The Best. And I got pointers from another Best through emails, to top it all off.

So yeah. He flinched.

He nearly bit through his tongue. Snarling. Cursing. Promising me Hell, and beyond. Grinning through blood. Laughing. Yet hissing. Sealing up the pain. His psyches swapping all across and inside out. Mixing around. Twisting from Mastermind to Rabid Dog and back again. It wasn't... just my hands that would covered in blood though. It was my arms. My front. Splattered across my face and beading down my neck...

I kept telling him the same thing. Over and over and over again.

Sacrifice himself.

Push his power into The Veil.

Then all the pain would stop. EVERYTHING that is happening WOULD STOP if he just cooperated. If he just...

And that's when... something changed.

Redlight... changed.

Fracture warned me.

He WARNED me to be careful. To keep back. That it might be a trick. That he had a BAD feeling...

and so did I.

Even as I crouched down in front his slunched, bloodied form with my own hands covered in his own colour.... I felt it in my gut. That feeling. That old feeling I ALWAYS listened to because it ALWAYS had kept my fucking ass alive....

But I didn't listen to it. Or Fracture.

Because I wanted to be able... to tell the lot of you that he found himself at the end. That Spencer came back. That he wasn't DEAD, wasn't LOST, wasn't COMPLETELY overcome by rage and lust for power. I wanted to be able to have PROOF.... that even the WORST of people can change. Can do the RIGHT FUCKING THING if they only damn well CHOOSE to...

But I can't say that.

Because...  all I saw was a blur. A hand. Free from bonds. Whipping out. Snapping. Lashing. CRUSHING my throat in an iron grasp as that bloodied grin tore WIDE and deranged and MAD and I couldn't breath before... I hit... a wall of Red. A WAVE of Red. Consuming. Suffocating. DROWNING...

And I twisted. And gagged. As water filled my lungs. Thrashing for the surface... and breaking it. Gasping for air under a hot summer sun. My limbs instinctively treading me in place as I whipped around. And around. And around. Oh, I recognized it. I knew it. So well that it hurt. The lake that stretched off into the distance, fed from a river to the North. An oasis of fresh, clean water, encased in a forest on all sides. And, near the shore... a small log cottage sat nestled as the centerpiece of a cozy campsite. A dock nearby, tied up with a single red boat... and a beat-up old car in the driveway.

It was Sam's parents' cottage. A modest place, but nice.

It felt... so wonderful... to see it again. To see something so familiar...

And then I got to see something very familiar. Some...ONE... very familiar. Waving from the shoreline. A call. Asking if I was alright. Even from the distance I was, I could see it. The mess of auburn hair nearly looking RED in the flare of the sunlight. That body, in that swimsuit just right. Just perfect. Too perfect for someone like me. But Jesus CHRIST you were deluding yourself if you thought for one SECOND I would give it up without a fight. And it would be one HELL of a fight.

My Sam.

I swam in. And those near-silver eyes met me there. Concern. Worry. Love. All reflected back to me. Open. Honest. Kind. Compassionate. Sam's hand touching the side of my face, my forehead, and pulling back with a hand traced with blood RED. Asking what I hit my head on out there. Asking if there are jagged rocks. Expressing worry about the need of stitches. And, like Sam always did, flipping ahead. Announcing that, when our baby was born (we'd just found out, at that time), that we'd have to move away any sharp rocks under the water. Which, of course, is rather ridiculous. But cute. Very, very cute.

A kiss was placed to my "battle wound" from my watery adventure before I earned That Smile.

Keep Smiling!

And something COLD gripped me inside. Sam only asking what was wrong.... even as the Red boat on the shore rocked in the waves. Even as  the sunlight FLARED against Sam's hair. Even as I felt the blood flowing down my face, from my EYE, in my EYE... but I'd.... lost that I? Didn't I? But it stung now, like a blade driven down deep inside. Those eyes of silver TWISTING a BURNING amber as that GRIN tore out and wide....

And the water came rushing back in. Cast in. THROWN into its depths and driven straight to the bottom of the COLD and BLACK as RED blood filled the water, filled my lungs, filled EVERYTHING as I choked and gagged.

and Sam's hands wrapped around my throat. Over me. ON me. Pinned me down, all the weight CRUSHING DOWN. My back pressed against the rocks, sharp and jagged and cutting as they sliced my skin. Staining the water with even more RED as those silver eyes were overtaken by burning, scorching, BLAZING amber. Wild. Enraged. That snarl tearing back, showing far too many teeth as auburn hair was replaced with a Red Hood that fed down to cargo pants and bandages around long fingers of bone and scraps of flesh. That vicious glare nearly seeming to glow(?) in the dark waters around me as I struggled and fought and flailed to free myself.

Only for the reeds to catch my arms. Snaring me. DROWNING me.

And then it was the Hospital. The Asylum. The reeds morphing into straps. Pinning down to a cold bed even... even as I fought against them. Against IT. Against this nest, this HIVE, of things already far gone past and I KNEW they were past more and more with every passing second. Even as more straps tightened to the point of agony around my thrashing - convulsing - body, even as white-coated doctors filled the room with needles and cold, cold hands... Redlight couldn't hide himself. He was desperate. He was weakened. He was STRUGGLING just as much as I was.... and he kept bleeding through each picture. The doctors all staring with burning amber eyes. Red blood COATING the white, white walls and reflections that all mirrored wrong, distorted images of... not me. Not my history. But his.

If I watched... the reflections... I saw flashes of HIS past. HIS struggles. HIS pain. HIS misery.

I saw the Camp that Spencer grew up in.

I saw Spencer save a baby bird, keeping it a secret in a shoebox under his bed.

I saw that "Writer" asshole. Crushing a young Spencer's hands around that same bird.

I saw faces. Hundreds and hundreds of faces. Oceans of blood. And death. So much fucking death...

Then the straps were reeds again. Then back to straps. Then the iron hands of my father. Then back to straps...

Everytthing twisting. contorting. pulling and drawing back on itself. SNAPPING tight, then spiraling... every second... feeling like a knife was being driven into my skull. White hot and BURNING. blazing my vision WHITE against the bleeding Red...

but at the edge of it all... I heard it. A whisper. An echo of a voice. An impression of something... just out of earshot. So damn faint I could barely....

but it... gave me a way. a direction. a reason. I FOUGHT for it. TOWARDS it. Closer and closer through the agony that justt SPLIT into my skull WORSE and WORSE. Pushing, thrashing, SCREAMING...

until I woke up choking on blood.

gagging on it

coughing it up until it stained the ground under me and ran thick down my chin. Fracture's grip steadying me. Firm. Keeping me from collapsing completely over myself as I coughed and hacked and shook. Sweat pouring off me in torrents. Everything in me... through me... that WAS me... screaming out. Even as I myself found I had no voice left at all. Held in my throat by my own pain. And I... could feel... him. Tugging. Clawing. WRENCHING me back out of the driver's seat. Fighting so hard...

We have all fought... so very hard...

The relief in Fracture's tone was pressed aside by the urgency of what followed. Telling me it was time. That I had to do it now. Before I lost it again. Before he dragged me back. While I still had the strength to, I had to GET IT OVER WITH... and told me what to do. What to feel. What to try to REACH within myself, now that he and I were one.... I could make the choice for Redlight. I could force it. Force him. As long as I dug my footing in. As long as I kept forward... it was up to me.

It took... what felt like eternity for me to fight past the clawing... and find what Fracture was talking about. That feeling. Like finding the switch in my head. A switch that didn't belong to me... and... I screamed. I SCREAMED so fucking loud I thought I'd rip my vocal cords to shreds... when I tried to take it. Switch it. SHIFT it. The agony EXPLODING through every muscle, every nerve, every BONE, every CELL of me. I can't even... begin to fully explain what it felt like. I'd never felt anything even close. But, somehow... through the agony... and screaming... and burning ENRAGED amber...

I found it.


And I felt it.

I felt the pull begin.

Like taking the plug from a drain. Starting slow, but quickly speeding up. I felt... Redlight's clawing turn into clinging. Holding. Scrambling...

The pain... was beyond screaming at that point.

I had no voice.

No movement.

No thought.

No.... existence.

I just... Wasn't.

For the longest while... I just... Wasn't.

But... somewhere... between Knowing and Not...  Eternity and Nowhere... things... slowly... came clear.

Somewhere in there.... I started to think again.

And I thought... that I was dying.

I knew I was alone.

Fracture had left.

For fear of being stuck in a Realm not his own.

And he had taken Konaa's sword with him.

I could feel the blood... from my eyes, my nose, my mouth, my ears... I could feel the stab wound Red had given me... bleed freely again.

I knew I wouldn't last. I knew it. But I was... at peace with that. I was ready. Least, I thought I was....

it burned

worse than anything

but eventually... I was taken away from it. Eventually... everything that was white, and red, and hot, and blinding, burning, blistering.... was lost...

in an endless black.

that didn't end

until the sharp pain of a too-tight bandage snapped me awake. And mother FUCK did it have me cursing. Wincing. TWISTING on the bed...

And finding myself staring right at non other than David Banks.

The fuck gets around, it would seem. I guess he didn't like the tone I'd left with, and wasn't ready to let me just... exit stage right. He literally dropped what he'd been doing.... all to haul my unconscious ass from that Cult Town. I'd apparently been passed out for a good week before a changing of bandages brought me around again. I was... in such a wreck. The guilt of sealing Sam and Luke into that forsaken realm of the Fears... it crippled me. I really didn't want to talk about it, and I didn't even fucking NOTICE for the longest time... how seeing that guilt eating me tore into David. I didn't even THINK of that. Making him relive that nightmare again. Nearly giving him a fucking heartattack... when I wandered out of my room to get something to eat, and ran into Em. Landing up talking to her, since David was off on errands. Fixing her a snack, while I did mine. Telling her how I knew her "Grandpa" from a LONG time ago. That it used to be my job to catch him.

"You must have been really bad at your job."

"...Heh. Yeah. Yeah, I guess I was."

I was trying to show her some chords on David's guitar when I heard the crash. Something heavy hitting the floor down the hall. And running. Panicked. Sprinting through the house. Of course, I went to go see what the hell was going on... only to come face to face with the ex-assassin. In a panic. Looking for me. Having been... expecting to find a corpse somewhere, since I hadn't been in my room. 

The poor bastard... looked like a complete wreck. 

I really... RECOGNIZED... what kind of hell my own actions had been putting him through.

What level of thinking I had adapted.


He had considered what I'd done at the Cult Town... to be a suicide attempt.

And, I guess when he saw the guilt I was holding... he expected history to repeat. 

We had a long talk then.

I wasn't going to be following Sam's footsteps. Not like that. I wasn't about to INSULT the love of my life like that. I hadn't... considered... the Cult Town to be anything like that. I just... didn't expect to get out alive. And I'd been okay with that. I'd been ready. I was tired, and I was ready...

But, since I'd survived... I was going to live.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do...

But I was going to live to do it.

I stayed with David for a little while... but quickly decided I had to take my own route. After all, when someone starts finding random body parts lying on the front doorstep, that tends to be a good indicator that you are involved in some form of shit or another and do not NEED a tag-along. David insisted I could stay, but I insisted otherwise. And made him promise to find me... when things calmed down for him. That I owed him a drink or ten.

He hugged me.

Which was, quite honestly, one of THE most awkward moments of my life.

And we parted ways.

Since then... I've been traveling. Thinking. Trying to put that day into words. Trying to finish this post. To let all of you know what really happened. Why we are still here. How.

It's been... a long process to go through.

after all... I'm not a writer. But I tried.

So many people died since this all began. so many more will keep on dying... but I will help out where I can. In some small way, maybe we can... retake some ground. I never considered myself to be a good person, even when I was an Agent... but now... that's what I WANT to be. So that's what I'm going to try to be. Every day. Even if I feel miserable, I want... to try to take Sam's place in the word, a bit. Sam used to be such a bright, shining light. Everything just seems so dull, ever since we split ways...

No matter... how far lost you are in The Castle, Sam. I will always love you.

I think about you. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. You're with me. The Plague tried to hurt you even more when He pulled your strings and made you take my eye... but an eye is nothing compared to the heart. And you took that YEARS ago. Back on that bus. When you first asked if that seat beside me was taken. Smiling at my scowl. A smile that lit up those eyes of silver as you kinda tilted her head sideways at me. The red in your hair catching the light. From that day on, you were always so determined to give me reasons to smile. To give me reasons to keep hoping. Keep believing. In myself. In people. In life. In  everything.

My Eternal Optimist.

My Best Friend and Lover.

My Light, when everything else went Black.

I will Find You, one day.

Until then... I'll keep smiling. 

I'll keep smiling.

Friday, April 18, 2014

You lot probably weren't expecting to hear from me again.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting to be typing up anything again. I was... well, I didn't really see any ending scenario of what I was doing that would.... lead to me walking away. I figured either Redlight was going to obliterate me in a "take you down with me" type gambit or.... I'd have a second - just one lousy second - where I could walk across the rift just before it sealed up. That I could... choose... to take the same fate that i was condemning others to. That I could finally.... be there.... for Sam. So it didn't have to be alone. It had been ALONE for so fucking long, but I thought...

It doesn't matter what I thought.

I had accepted death. You probably noticed.

David Banks, however, was not so willing to accept that.

He pulled me from the wreckage of that CUlt Town when it was still twisting and screaming out agains t itself as realities were SLICED away from each other and... and I don't remember all that much. I remember a ringing in my head so loud that my ears felt ready to burst and bleed. I remember clutching my skull in a haze of red - blood in my eyes, blood from my nose, blood on my tongue.... I could barely BREATHE without gagging...

but what hurt more than my mind or body then... what made the shuddering worlds around me all that unimportant... was knowing I'd missed my chance. That I'd condemned Sam, along with Luke, and I couldn't even TAKE IT WITH THEM because I was STUCK here...

I think I was dying.

But it really... didn't seem all that important.

I must have been already passed out when David turned up. Fracture was gone. Probably jumped back to his reality so as to not get stuck when everything started... shifting. I just remember... laying face down in the mud. Chilled and burning hot at the same time. Blackness edging in around me as I made my final choice to not... fight for it. To just let death happen, if that's what was scratching at the door. I'd given Max to a friend, so there was no real point in hanging around anymore. It was fine. Everyone else was gone and I knew I was a little off mentally anyway so... what the hell, right?

I woke up here.... last week sometime. The days kinda blur. I've been sleeping a lot. Guess I'm catching up on missed time... a hell of a lot of missed time...

I honestly didn't... consider it to be a "suicide" attempt.

It never CLICKED in my head as that.

I was just... going to be with Sam.

That was it.

But David... saw it, I guess. Felt where my mind was. Recognizable tones or something. And when I woke up cursing as he re-wrapped a bandage a bit too tight... I STILL hadn't clued in to where my mind was. David was saying all kinds of shit, and I just wasn't cluing in. I was upset. I was HURTING for condemning my love and my friend(s?) to ROT on the other side of that fucking veil. I felt GUILT for it...

Thinking back, I think I did recognize the FEAR that sparked in David's eyes when I said that.

He'd seen what Guilt had done to Sam.

I should have been using my fucking head better before laying that kinda thinking on Banks.

But I didn't. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to give a damn. And I nearly gave David a fucking heartattack when I got up while he was out and landed up meeting Em. Who I landed up making a snack for, along with my own, before I started into Story Mode. Explaining that, yes, her "Grandpa" and I knew each other from a WHILE back. How it was my job to catch him. To which she responded by saying I must not have been very good at my job. Which is... accurate. I guess. Considering. But anyway. I started talking about the (lighter side) of the "Good old days" and all the ACTUALLY funny scenarios that came up. Told her how Banks had dropped a fucking CRANE on my car at one point...

And that was when David practically burst into the room. Actually panicked.

He'd come home and found my room empty. Had assumed the worst.

THAT was when I finally got on the same page as him. When I really.... realized... what kind of a slap in the face I had been planning to give Sam and David and Luke and everyone ELSE who had worked to keep me alive. To get me THROUGH this shit without turning Sam's sacrifice useless.

I realize now... that I have to keep living. Fighting. No matter what the road. No matter what the pain or loss or possibilities of insanities.  I gotta keep it up. Cause I'm the last, aren't I? Last of the Prescott clan. I gotta live FOR them. The best I can. Push myself to be.... even better than what I think I'm capable of. For our son, our little girl.... and for Sam too. The love of my life. The one person who always saw the best of me, even when I was showing my worst.

Today was the first day I didn't have a headache or a nosebleed or both. So I thought I'd update here.

I'll fill you in on what happened at that Cult Town a bit latter on.

just, for now... I'm alive.

and I plan on staying that way.

Friday, April 4, 2014

We Made It

We're just gonna... sit for the night. On the outskirts. Take our shot in the morning, once I stop having such a massive goddamn headache and all. Redfuck has proven to be a royal PRICK to keep the company of. I had been stupid enough to think some simple Duck Tape would be an easy solution to his wagging tongue... but I guess nothing that's simple with a Crafter. Shishkabobed or not.

It's those eyes.

Those fucking... BURNING... amber eyes.

The very same gaze... that burned holes into the soul of the person I love most. The one that Sam broke under. Again. And again. And again.

The Redfuck has been letting me see snippets of it.

I don't know how, but it's almost like he... tosses a memory of his own into my head. And then, with it now in my own, I'll turn my glare back and....that stare would be pinned on me from under his hood. That grin spreading... way too wide. Fucking delighted. The sick fuck was ENJOYING having so much to use on me. Lifetimes worth of torture. Or sometimes... he'd talk about it. Go over different things he did. Or that Sam had said. Or things he'd found while... digging around in Sam's mind. Secret things. Painful things.

Like the night our relationship nearly ended before it began.

The night that still hurt so bad, deep down, to the point of... its hackles standing up. Of true ANGER. When faced with the same kind of thing...

I cheated on Sam, back when we were dating.

And Redlight knew.

He knew about the fight. Only a few weeks into the relationship. It was new, and I wasn't used to.... commitments...

I went to a bar to cool off. Started talking to a red head there. Who turned out to be married. But that, oddly, seemed to be the point. Because their 'partner' was there too. Looking for a... "third wheel". Wanting to get wild. After a few rounds, I landed up leaving with them. Blew off some steam. I honestly didn't think anything of it. Just a night out. Wasn't planning on telling Sam though, of course. It would just overreact. It was just sex, after all. Didn't mean anything. After all, what it didn't know wouldn't hurt it, right?

Then I went home...

...And it wasn't until Sam looked at me that I realized just how badly I'd fucked up. Because... Sam knew. I don't know how, but Sam KNEW I'd been.... with someone else. Didn't know who or what or why of it, but... Sam knew. And the sheer PAIN and MISERY I saw in those eyes that were nearly silver...

It killed me.

And Redfuck knew all about it. Wouldn't fucking SHUT UP about it.

Every so often, he'd stop twisting my knife... in favor of twisting Fracture's. Apparently, he... got a bit of a flash-glance at Fracture's life while he was attempting to absorb his energy or soul or whatever the fuck he did. Because when he turns that fucking burning gaze onto Fracture... he's talking about some kid who came inside from playing in his sandbox one day to find his parents brutally murdered. A crime that led a ten year old Fracture to meeting Jack of All. To kneeling before the Slender Man, carving out a deal in blood to save him from the other monsters in the dark. He spoke of his cowardice. His "manipulation" of others to do the work he himself doesn't have the spine to. How Fracture gives the order 'Kill it.' Not kill him, or her, or them. Kill /IT/. As if referring them as an it makes them less human and some how makes giving the order easier. How all of his companions tend to wind up wanting to kill him... but, of course, that's only after they've used him for whatever desired purpose they had for him.

Kinda like how I was using him, in a way.

Redfuck just kept going. On and on and on. Pushing the same sore spots that I think ride on everyone from "That" side of the fight. Proxies. Cultists. Oathbreakers. Whatever. "Proxy Scum". "Monsters". "Inhuman". It's always the same words thrown around, but  they seem to carry just as much weight as they have for decades. It took a bit for the words to build but... Red dick was starting to get to Fracture. I noticed it. He just... got quiet. Jaw set and eyes averted. And quiet. Very very quiet.

And you know what?

I used to use those same words. Hunting all those fucks on the job. As an FBI Agent, we tracked and took down all kinds of "rabid dogs". Hell, David Banks was someone I chased for YEARS. Closest I goddamn got to him was a handful of minutes at a hotel. The hot water from the shower hadn't even fogged up the mirror yet. He must have jumped out the window just when I was driving in. SO close. But close isn't good enough. And it did piss me off. I did see it as a failure on my part. Cause I did see him as a "monster". Just knowing what he had done. And would continue doing. Having to STUDY it. Trying to find the pattern. Predict the next move. Somewhere along the line... you forget that he was a kid once...

I'm not making that mistake anymore.

It took Sam to become that "rabid dog" for me to really... GET it. And I do get it now. I do. These people. Those "at the end of their stories"... they're hurting just as much as everyone else. And I don't give a shit how "soft" that sounds. You see what I've seen and say otherwise. You see how they protect each other on the field. You hear how they speak to each other when they don't think anyone else is listening. You FEEL the misery in haunted eyes in a brief second peek behind their walls...

They're loyal.

It's a different kind of loyalty in a different kind of life with a different kind of rules... but they are loyal. And they do care. They're not monsters.

Not even... Redfuck.... is a monster. Spencer Fitzerald was born, just like everyone else. The who, what, when, where, why, are a mystery to me but... he was born. He was a kid. He believed in something Better once. But the world broke him. PEOPLE with their own stories tore him apart. Those people... the people that manipulated him and ultimately FAILED him... this mess is just... their legacy. This entire fucking BAG OF CRAP... is proof of the impact that we can have on each other's lives. Redlight is proof of how being a DICK is a contagious disease. Passed down from one generation to the next....

Links in a chain.

I... won't deny Spencer his humanity. Sam deserves to be avenged. And I will do what I have to do in order to stop this Hell before it gets any worse. But... what I do now. I'm not "doing" to a monster. I'm doing to a man. Just a man. With a story of his own. One I have no right to judge. Cause I wasn't there. I wasn't wearing his skin. I wasn't feeling his pain.

"Nightscream" was a Dove in this world before this Hell twisted it into a Raven with bloodied talons.

"Fracture" was so intelligent as a kid that they actually held him back in his education to keep him "normal".

"Morningstar" could play a violin with such passion you could FEEL it right down to your core.

"Joseph" proudly wore the flag on his uniform as a soldier. Fighting for his country and all of us.

David Banks... I've honestly never seen anyone fight so hard against the inevitable. To protect.

One has to wonder... what Spencer might have been. If he'd been given the chance.

I just... want it to be over already. I'm tired. Very tired.

The sooner we get this over with, the better it is for everyone.

Why the FUCK this had to fall on us, I haven't a damn clue.

But, at dawn, we make our move.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The RedFuck Bastard

Well, we're still goddamn ALIVE, how's THAT for starters?

No, you didn't get a "I'm scheduling this email to go up hours after I've left" shit message. Know why? Cause timelimits to get shit DONE fucking SUCK. Cause wouldn't THAT just be perfect? Trying to sneak in all stealthy like, and your "prey" READS about what you're doing online. You gotta let yours gut tell you when it's time to "Storm the Castle" you know. Can't keep checking your watch and FORCE what feels right.

i really am NOT in the mood for this little update. EVERYTHING is goddamn sore and the STUPID FUCK hasn't SHUT UP since we...

might as well get this over with.

I had figured a while back that everyone's FAVORITE egotistical bastard would either go one of two places:

Either to the Last Place anyone would Expect him to go.

Or for FIRST Place anyone would Expect him to go.

I had bets on the First. And, as it turns out, I was fucking RIGHT. The Bastard DIDN'T go running off to some spit of nowhere to hide while he recovered and thought of a new way of convincing everyone that everything was going "According To Plan". He DIDN'T drop off the face of the planet to go curl in a ball in Nowhere-ville. He buried himself RIGHT under our noses, and therefore the one place no one would check.

The House.

Poetic, right? Going back to the exact place that The Devil began and Spencer Fitzgerald ended. Dramatic. What is WITH you bunch with always being so damn DRAMATIC? seriously.oh, well. Guess it does keep shit interesting, if nothing else. And if there was one thing that that damn House knew how to do... it was keep shit interesting. The entire fucking place was set up like a Fun House from Hell.

I didn't like the air from the second I walked in - my hand instinctively shifting to rest on my glock, no matter how useless a weapon it was. Just standing there. Barely three feet inside The House that appeared so very much normal from the outside, never getting spared a glance from anyone or anything... even as we stood there, the air contracted and cooled. A draft blowing through where there COULDN'T have been one, carrying with it voices. Broken voices. Some laughing. Some encouraging. Some frightened. Some angered. Drifting in whispers of times gone by. Times long forgotten. Times when things were... simpler. Even though it hadn't seemed that way at the time, I'm sure. These were the halls where The End began, after all. The halls, The House, that Spencer and the couriers ran for their lives and met fate. One. By one. By one.

And, like the drifting whispers... The House itself shifted and altered itself by the minute. Flipping and churning and switching around on itself. Cracking and breaking, then re-merging into one, two, eight, then three. Half of a bathroom bleeding into a kitchen, with half a couch sticking out from the wall and a rug on the ceiling soaked in blood that was pooling onto the tiles next to the ceiling fan. And, amongst it all... black branches. Everywhere. Gnarled and twisted branches reaching out from the very walls, entangling everything it its reach as the walls BLED and the whispers started RUSHING turned to screams and cries and pleads and gunshots firing RICOCHETING AND then we LURCHED and I grabbed hold of Fracture and yanked him out of the way of a wall closing CRASHING into another and merging as the bathroom bled into a living room and a doorway grew where there wasn't one...

I heard someone shouting.

Rationality still trying to find some USE in that damn maze, I rushed to see who was there... only to collide with someone.

Or, most accurately, their phantom.

I can only assume it was Steele, but it might not have been. His image taken from some event. Rushing across the room with a shout, swinging open that door, and slamming it shut behind him as he kept running. Then he'd shout and be running across the room again...

Fracture gave me a look. I returned it. Then he reached for that door, pulling it wide.

We were greeted by our mirror images. An illusion of me and Fracture opening the door from the OTHER side, with that Phantom of Steele rushing through them and towards us, while our phantom rushed through us and towards them. The phantoms meeting in the middle and there was.... an explosion, kinda. No fire. Just a deafening CRACK that nearly deafened me and it was like I was hit by a wall. A punch that ripped the air straight from my lungs as I slammed back into a wall behind and INTO one of those fucking branches. Finger-like branches coiling around, as if sensing Life... and wanting to claim it. Seize it.

I heard the walls around us groan.

And I knew they were getting ready to shift again. But, snagged as I was, I was bound to get torn away with it and THAT would probably be my death.... until that groan became almost a wail. Sick and pained and distorted as all the room began to violently shift and turn... except where we were standing. I could FEEL the branches wrapped around me straining to shift with the rest of the house... but not able to. Held. Caught. LEASHED.

Fracture... had leashed it. The immediate area. Holding it in place so as to not get swept away by the current... but it was clear that he was FEELING it. Maintaining that bubble around us as I fought to free myself of those fucking branches, the immediate area OUTSIDE us was far more turbulent and violent than it was before. Like we were the rock in the rapids. And when I finally DID free myself - when we actually started MOVING again - it was clear that The House... was PISSED. The burden of it becoming heavier and heavier on Fracture as we tried to negotiate the halls. Trying to make our way along... even as we entered the same room we were exiting. Even as we opened doors to black abysses that radiated a damn chill that made my skin crawl. Even as those whispers from behind started... playing familiar voices...

"Run? Run where? He's everywhere! What the Hell do you want us to do, Sam? 
Take flight and never look back?! WE HAVE A LIFE HERE! What about Leo? Have you thought of him? At all? 
Or are you too focused on your own fucking plans to remember this isn't just about--"

"Alex... please, don't. I know you're scared.  
We're ALL scared, but we can't just sit on our hands here. 
This thing knows our routines, our lives... maybe... maybe if we get on the road, we can stay one step ahead. 
Leo will come with us too, he--"

"He's only a kid, Sam! He can't grow up on the road! 
Living like some goddamn bum drifting from one place to another!"

"Leo. Would come too. 
I already spoke to Owen, and he thinks it might give us some time to sort this out. 
His daughter will come too, of course. All of us. Together. 
We'll keep each other safe..."

"No. No, this is insane
I am NOT getting driven out of my home! "

"...You can still call this a home
Face it, Alex, it's just a house now. 
It stopped being a 'home' when you became too scared to sleep in it."

"...Still, I--"

"We have to run the gauntlet, Alex. 
I'm sorry, but this is our option. Our one option. 
I know it's hard but--"

"Get out."

"Alex, I--"


Get out.
Get out.


Even as those whispers brought me years back in time, it was like I could... feel... that same tone from The House. From the walls and doors and hallways and rooms. Every one vibrating. PULSING. with that single demand.

Fracture's left eye started bleeding down his cheek. Blisters and rashes spreading up his neck and across his clenched jaw as he tried so hard to FORCE stability on this realm. Trying so hard to keep it in place just long enough to find that Red son of a bitch and get the hell out... but The House was having none of that. The House didn't WANT a leash, it wanted us all fucking OUT...

and that's when it hit me.

The House... WANTED... us out.

The damn fucking thing was alive. I didn't know how or why, but I did remember reading something that Spencer had wrote ages ago that might just have suggested this House was no ordinary House... and, right then, I went with my gut. cause when logic and shit is being flung out the window, your gut is all you have left to  fly with.

I told Fracture to release it.

He looked at me like I had lost my mind, but, slowly, he retracted his will off the area...

and we were rewarded by a violent shift that put us right back where we started: at the front door. So violent, in fact, that we were slammed into it and both of us found ourselves sprawled on the floor. hands and knees.




I could FEEL it. No doubt that Fracture did too. So I did something incredibly stupid... and started talking to the House. Started talking over the Whispers and the creaks and groans in the shifting wall. I mentioned about how we too wanted to leave, but that we were looking for someone. Someone that The House probably wanted to get rid of too. A GLITCH in reality. A creature that should never have BEEN, with a presence of his own clawing at The House's workings...

I drove a bargain.

Let us find him. And we will DRAG him out with us.

Slowly, the shifting rooms came to a stop. Deafening the House in complete silence... before, carefully, it shifted again. And a hallway came to exist in front of us. I took that as a 'yes', and started walking before Fracture did. Making him jog a few steps to catch up, but I was already thinking of how strange life was. After all... compromise? Negotiation? Where the HELL did that come from? When did I start striking deals and stop bulldozing my way through everything? Since when am /I/ the one to think outside the box and find a solution, rather than just getting mad and going on rants?

the sign is nigh

The hall didn't give any other option but straight forward, so all that we had to do was follow it. The air kinda... felt thicker. The further we went.... no, that's wrong. Not 'thick', just HEAVY. Like it was getting harder and harder to breathe. My skin feeling just on FIRE with every step closer, like there was even a CHARGE to it that sensed us coming.... and wanted us gone. Just like The House had. But this was Wrong. Way wrong. I always... did wonder what Sam had always meant by that. I had always assumed that it was the same 'wrong' I used to feel when heading into a Sting, back in my hayday. When things just... felt like we were going into something fifty times worse than what we had initially thought. But, walking up to that wooden door at the end of the hall.... that was something else entirely. That was what Nightscream had meant by 'Wrong'. That was every cell, every fiber in your entire body and being screaming out all at once that this was more than just 'deep shit'.... this "was impossible". This "shouldn't be". this "COULDN'T BE". It's... the scream of reality. When you walk into a Wound.

Fracture tried to keep that 'Bleeding' off of us best he could. Though that did mean he was breaking out in a rash again. Fingernails turning black. I didn't much ask him about it, but he seemed to be doing better against the "Wrong" than he did against The House. Though, it was when I was just standing outside that office door... I did wonder. I was just a human. Just a human with a glock in one hand and a katana behind my back. Fracture was... one of the "Special Crowd" as it were.... but just how special was he? Compared to Red? I mean, Red had been hiding for months. It had taken WAY too long to track down Konaa and Red had had ALL that goddamn time to recover...

In that instant... the hallway without a single exit felt more like a ramp feeding cattle to slaughter than anything else.

But still. Passed the cold chill that went down my spine... passed the air that seem to PULSE against my skin... I reached for the doorhandle. Only to hiss and curse as I ripped my hand back. The fucker was HOT. Fracture made a move as though to fix that... but wouldn't you know it - MY ANGER CAME BACK. And I booted that fucking door in. Made for a good entrance, if nothing else. Think it amused Fracture. Kinda like a kid who stubbed their toe on a box. So smash the box.

What? I never claimed to be mature. That was Sam's deal, not mine. Ages be damned.

The room was pitch black, but... not. At the same time. Almost like the shadows were enveloping the room, but that still left for some... light reflection. Shifting. Stirring. Flashes here and there. Not enough to really SEE, but to... find outlines. Very very faintly. As if just... hints of shape. Everything in me told me he was there. I could FEEL the sick fuck, but I couldn't see....

But then I heard it.

A slow, deep, disjointed laugh. Sick and distorted and mad and gut-wrenching. Born from a twisted grin that I heard in that laugh long before I actually saw it. Long before twin pits of hellish amber rose up - head shifting up - from beneath the shadow of a blood red hoodie. The blaze of yellow fire actually BURNING from the rest of the darkness. The rest of his figure pulling from it. Out of it. As if BORN from it. Part of him. Part of it. Those eyes locking deep into mine as the rest of him almost seemed to BLEED into Being from that red hoodie seated behind that large desk. Sharp edges of high cheek bones nearly cutting through skin that was so pale it almost seemed transparent - blue veins bulging and tight skin twitching and spasming as pools of liquid insanity and oppression sunk right through us. Not blinking. Never blinding. Clawing deep our minds. Our thoughts. Knowing us. Knowing everything as that grin only pulled wider. Far too wide from under the shadows of his red hoodie. The BURN in the air doubling. Tripling. Vibrating and TWISTING as my ears began to ring louder and louder until I thought my skull was going to split in two...

And when he spoke... the entire room CRAWLED over itself. As if reality - AND THE HOUSE - were pained by his presence there.


"...I told you.

I told you ALL what was coming, but you were too BLIND to see it...

too DEAF and STUPID to hear the Drums beat...

can't you hear them? Even now? On the DOORSTEP of HELL can you HEAR IT NOW?!?

The Drums Are Coming... WAR... IS... COMING...

All... will... burn...

Fire and Ash.


I rushed him.

There wasn't a word between Fracture and I - there was barely a PLAN - but, as I rushed, I could FEEL a power punch through in front of me and WARP. Like when you combine two drinks, and there's that split second where one drinking is pushing the other out of the way other than merging with it. That's what I felt. A split second where the burn left my skin, and I drew Konaa's sword. Zero's sword. The sword that had already clashed with the Bleeding Tree once... the very essence that had killed the first Redlight. And I knew in my gut that this fuck would FEAR fate repeating. And from the look that splashed across that sharp edged face... I was FUCKING RIGHT.

Until it didn't matter.

Until a second punch came.

Until.... there was a blast of red. An explosion. Spider webs. Strings.

Millions and millions... of strings...

And then pain.




and the floor rose up to hit my knees.


It took... so long for me to piece together what had happened. How Red hadn't bothered to fight back, he... only turned me against myself. As he so likes to do. As that influence rushed through my head, I... turned the katana in my hold. And drove it the blade through my own abdomen. 

Clean through to the hilt.

I remember... the end of Fracture's lab-coat at the edge of my vision. So white amongst the wood and shadow and blood and pain that didn't make any goddamn SENSE at the time. Nothing adding up. I just... I just couldn't make sense of the pain. Of seeing that handle sticking out from me, my own shaking hand wrapped around it. I just... couldn't... even when, a second later, that spiderweb of Red was yanked away, it still left the pain and I couldn't understand WHY...

Fracture said he forced his Will out. Made us a 'pocket' amongst the twisting, crawling realm of the room around us. He said that.... Red seemed to consider me 'dealt with' at that point. Turning his attention to Fracture. Really focusing on him for the first time. The fear I'd stirred sinking back... before, so very slowly, he GRINNED. Stretching wider and wider like a creepy ass Cheshire Cat. And then twisting. Morphing. STRETCHING over themselves for such a brief second. Like reality itself had BENT before reasserting itself. And he laughed. He LAUGHED. His words muttered and mumbled and tripping over themselves as he snickered to himself. Everything rippling and vibration in pained distortion as liquid lava BURNED and his presence folded all around Fracture's little bubble. Enveloping it.

"You can't keep me out~

You think you're so special compared to the common sheep,

But you are NOTHING compared to me!

You're no more than a CHILD fogging up a window with a single, cheap breath!

My Strings will become Your Will, Little One~ Little Wolf~

And, once this trick of yours BURSTS...

I'll have you clamp your jaws around your Pet of a Black Sheep.

Before I'll STRIP your Power bare to your BONES!"

And then, despite Fracture using every ounce of Will he had to keep our 'Pocket' up... despite his tendons and muscles strained into bulging beneath his skin before bursting out, splitting him open like a pipe with too much water being driven through.... despite his left eye creating a STREAM of blood down the side of his face under the pressure of Redlight's power... he smiled back. He smiled... as burning amber boiled like lava and that wide grin tore back into a snarl. Because the Strings Redfuck relied on wouldn't work. Couldn't work. Burning up before they got anywhere NEAR taking control.

"...That's not possible...

You insignificant, little SPECK!


You'd have to be A Va----


Well then."

Fracture said that he only blinked... and then there was a grip closing on his throat. He knocked it, twisting, getting it released. Barely keeping ahead. Redlight, even weakened as he was, was faster. Stronger. Fracture was nowhere NEAR any kind of advantage in any way, yet he still tried. Tried to keep Red distracted. Keep him occupied with illusions and voices and visions of the past. Of Spencer and the events in the House that we had seen so many of. Of the fight in Eden, now all-too-realistically in Fracture's skull since he ripped it from my own. He used everything he had to stall... until it wasn't enough. Until a force came in like a hammer dropping, slamming him to the floor. Where he DID get his throat caught in an iron grip. Where he was PULLED up, pressed back into the wall. Where he was RISEN clear off his feet. Where he... convulsed. As Redfuck's snarl... became a smile. Such a wrong smile. Voice amounting to a soft coo. As he... began to drain out whatever Power Fracture had.

"Such a pathetic excuse for an 'Angel', now, aren't you?

My, oh, my. Haven't the Chosen Children of The Gods fallen FAR!"

But Fracture... only smiled through the blood. Through his body's convulsions and spasms. He just smiled... the gesture... spreading out wide. Inhuman.

Because he could see the glistening blade slowly pulling out of my flesh, despite my OWN convulsions against it.

Because he could see me stagger onto my feet. Turning back around. Coming up behind...

And driving that goddamn sword RIGHT FUCKING THROUGH HIS BACK.

I had thought... it might be instant. That it might work like a taser. Bringing the fuck to his knees from the BURN of residue on that blade. I had hoped it would immobilize him. Simple and clean and easy.

I was in shock from being stabbed, I think.

Because I really didn't expect to have to defend myself. To need to block a WILD swing with Red's arm that crushed my skull against the wall hard enough to crack the plaster. My vision splintering to pieces, edged in a thick black that only wanted to close in on me more. Pain didn't register from it. I only felt... dizzy. Confused. Everything coming to me so slow as that grip found my hair and cracked my skull a second time... and I saw the blood. A splatter of red from my mouth across the wall surface. I could TASTE it then. The first sensation that came back... before I realized he was killing me.

He was killing me.

And though I knew it... I couldn't really... wrap my head around it. I tried to fight him off a bit, but it was all too... lost behind the haze. Too blurred between the blood and pain and those burning eyes.  My legs threatening to slip out from under me completely... before I heard a gunshot go off right near my ear. Everything that had been holding me up... just fell away in one collapsing motion. And I would have fallen away with it, if Fracture hadn't grabbed me. Easing me to the floor. So INSISTENT that I stay awake. Which was really the LAST thing I wanted to do....

Fracture had shot Redlight point-blank in the back of the skull. Odds were fifty/fifty of whether it would kill him, or his own survival instinct would kick in and all his remaining power - the power he was using to fend of the DRAW of the sword driven through him - would be FED into protecting his life. Which is exactly what happened. The back of his hood was a mess of blood and tissue and bone... which started piecing itself back together the second that the impact stopped. Replacing brain and bone and skin and hair... and spitting out the bullet before it was totally done. He'd warped reality with his remaining strength to unwind the injury... but at the cost of losing his OTHER battle. The traces of the Bleeding Tree on the blade more than enough now to paralyze him. Leaving him sprawled out where he lay.

Thank God I brought someone with medical training. Otherwise I'd have never been able to fumble my way out of that House.

We're nearly at the Cult Town now. Redlight's regained power, but not enough to cause too much of a hassle for Fracture. Though we BOTH wish he would learn how to SHUT THE FUCK UP with the mindfuckery. Not to mention that goddamn tapping he does. It gets really REALLY irritating really REALLY fast. Him and his goddamn drums. His fucking War. And he still thinks he can still manipulate it all. Still thinks he's near achieving his goal....

He just keeps tapping away...

tap, tap, tap, tap...

tap, tap, tap, tap...

tap, tap, tap, tap...

tap, tap, tap, tap...


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Weary Knight

There is nothing that makes someone feel old (and forty-two is not THAT old. I mean come on.) than chasing after some spritly (is that even a word?) young thing. Seriously. It took me HOW DAMN LONG to track him down??? I guess there's something to be said for the trades learned in this little circus of ours. Not to mention the loyalty of close comrades. Trying to get ANYONE to say BOO about this certain "Knight's" whereabouts - even when I KNEW they knew something - was like trying to get water from a rock.

Actually, I think the water/rock thing would have been easier.

But in any case.... I did manage to find him.

The one we all know as "Konaa".

Of course, that left me with the problem of APPROACHING said Runner in a way that put us off on a good foot. Not exactly an easy thing to do when you've basically become someone's personal stalker ("I know what you did last summer"?). I tailed him for a bit down the street (who suspects a one-eyed hobo with a dog to have any kind of malice intent?) before he turned into a small Cafe. I don't know if he ducked in there and ordered a coffee BECAUSE he thought he was being followed, or if that's where he had meant to go all the way, or both.... but, if I had to guess, I'd say he knew. This life of ours tends to turn Paranoia into a kickass survival instinct.

I left Max outside (I never did tell you guys how I got Max, did I? Weird how none of you even asked. Oh well, I'll get back to it.) and went inside. Konaa was at a booth on the far side - no way I could just casually walk by and strike up a conversation. To get to his table, I'd need to MEAN to go over that way... and then our stares matched for a split second, and I knew it was either dive in or walk out. So I went direct. Walked straight over. I had honestly been meaning to at least say "hello" to start or something else that might be conceived as more "friendly" in nature... but what I kinda found myself saying was:

"You are one hard son of a bitch to track down, kid."

The way he looked at me - giving me this small little grin as I walked up - I knew he was already taking me a bit on the bumpy side of sane. Probably noticed my glock, not that I do much to try to hide it. Or maybe it was my age. I mean, hell, Konaa is what? 25? 23? Not even? I guess that's considered 'old' for this particular game of 'asshole' but holy CRAP; how does someone that young have eyes that old? Nevertheless, he seemed to like the fact I was being direct about the whole stalking thing. Which probably means he DID know I was following him. Go me. The Academy would be SO proud. 

He invited me to take a seat. Asked if I wanted anything, and my stomach kinda answered for me. So I got a burger with fries. Couldn't really remember the last time I ate something that didn't come straight out of a package of some sort, so I'd have killed for a burger. Which... I actually think I said. Which probably was a poor choice of words. Especially since I wasn't sure if it was even past noon or not cause my watch had broken when I'd broken the nose of some twat who thought I looked like a nice punching bag. "Don't start something if you aren't comfortable with roles getting reversed." That's what I say about THAT. But anyway, he didn't seem offended or concerned by it. Even took my hand when I offered it, introducing myself. Trying my best to clarify the fact that I wasn't there to start anything, even though I was sure that he'd heard that kinda bullshit before. I started telling him a little about myself. Vague things at first, which he'd respond in vague with his own life. Then getting into more detail. Telling him about how shit started with me. About Sam. About the Asylum and all my JOYOUS adventures since I ran from THERE... and about... theories that I've had. Since I've seen the shit I've seen. Since I got out of Eden. Since I really started putting shit together and ORGANIZING the puzzle pieces to start seeing a bit more of the hidden message behind it...

"...See, that's the problem isn't it?

He, and others like Him, are the center of it all. They are the 'Gods'. Fear itself. And you can't... eliminate fear from the world. They exist down to our core as a species. Fear of the dark. Fear of strangers. Fear of disease. Fear of a puppeteer's strings... They Exist because We Exist. They get Their strengths, and maybe even Their weakness, from us. A couple years ago, things were bad. Very bad. The Fears were everywhere, and only getting more and more active. Some people called it all part of some big cycle or some shit, but it had NEVER been that bad. Not in any of the records I hacked into. And then... it was like we dropped off a cliff. Fear sightings have become an uncommon, even a RARE occurrence. 

I'm not an expert in any of this crap, but, to me, it stinks. Creatures like that don't just suddenly VANISH for no rhyme or reason. I mean, sure, there were people like you fighting back for a while. But even that has kinda stopped with less and less people actually giving a damn about... well, giving a damn about each other. About keeping 'humanity', as Sam used to call it. These days, the Runners are just as bad as the damn Servants, and the Fears... are nowhere to be damn seen. I don't REMEMBER the last person who said they'd seen The Slender Man. He's just... gone. And, in His place, we have that Cult Town that Nightscream created when it got Slender to fight Plague. We have the self-proclaimed "Angels" or Attendants or whatever the hell they call themselves. We have our second Redlight in the works, and at LEAST one other Crafter running around, possibly two. We have that Harbinger thing that came from The Quiet, and is currently being held off in Eden. We have people claiming superpowers and special abilities and special 'understandings'... though not as bad as the Revenants, they're still THERE. And if you think of  each of these little... 'special folk' as a needle. And the Veil that divides our worlds as a bag of water... what you get is leaking. Dimensional Bleeding. And a hell of a lot of it. It's gotten so bad, that we don't even NOTICE it. Doorways that we don't remember being there are suddenly THERE. Or the complete opposite. Even that damn Cult Town is SPREADING out into the surrounding area. You should SEE some of the mindfuckery that's beginning in neighboring towns. But you don't have to go there. Just look around. Anywhere. If you actually WATCH the world moving around... there are glitches. It's all around us, but we don't see it because no one is LOOKING for it. They're too busy looking for the Monsters who have already goddamn VACATED. Because THEY sense what's going on. THEY can feel the firestorm coming when that bag breaks and THEIR worlds slam into and crash into ours. THEY are backing off... because They don't want to burn with our world. 

You want to know why I tracked you down, Konaa? Because there's next to no one who gives a shit anymore.

And, if this keeps up, there isn't a single damn one of us who's going to get out of it.

....So. Wishing you hadn't asked me to sit down, yet?"

Konaa said nothing for a long while and that's when the waitress came with my plate, though I didn't touch it at first. I hadn't discussed my theory with anyone else other than Fracture, but he agreed that it made sense. Agreed to help. Hell, I don't even honestly think that Fracture is FROM my version of reality. Some events in our histories don't seem to line up, and he's mentioned a couple of people being alive who I'm pretty damn sure are as dead as a damn doornail over here. Like Mitch, for instance. Morningstar's old Canadian playmate turned whatever-the-hell. On Fracture's side, she's not only alive, but actually is one of those hell-bent Runners who never seem to die, no matter how hard of a shit kicking they take. Never even hinted at turning Proxy, either. So, yeah. I think Fracture's a little bit out of his jurisdiction. But ain't that just MORE proof of how screwed to hell this all is? The only real reason Fracture is on board at all is because we're his experiment. He has worries that HIS side of things are headed in the same direction that WE are at, and he wants to have a sandbox to see what can be done to stop it, or even just delay. 

Fracture and I have spent a LOT of time just talking shit over. Apparently, good ol' Robert turned proxy before kicking the bucket on his side. As a Highest of all things, under the codename "Loveless". Fracture and "Duckie" (as Fracture calls him) did him in. There was all kinds of crap like that right across the map...

At last though, Konaa nodded. Making a comment about how he was never one to wait for something to go wrong.

"So how do we stop idiots from running with scissors?"

So... I told him the rest of my theory. I told him about how I'd always planned on killing Redlight. And why. But then... I went into how I was now thinking that the Red Bastard could actually serve a purpose. After all, if the issue is that the Veil is getting too damaged, too thin... then, really, a good place to start... should be to give it an energy boost. And if there is one thing a Crafter hosts, it's energy. Energy to manipulate reality itself. To create loops and alter perceptions. 

I planned on finding Redlight... and dragging him to the open wound that Nightscream had created.

Then... I'd do something that Morningstar himself insisted on TEACHING ME how do to.

I'd convince him to cooperate.

But, first, I needed to get him there. I needed something to subdue him. To pin Redlight down and stop him from playing any of his usual tricks... even if it was a long shot, a weapon of faith... I was ready to have a bit of faith in that kinda crap...

He gave a slow nod. Seeming more... invested... with what was coming to be our little alliance. "I knew Redlight, when he was Spencer... He and I worked together many times, tried to build a safe community for those like us, until... It was too much for him, and he snapped under the pressure." He sighed heavily. "Maybe it's time to settle that score.." He indicated a large duffel bag by the table, then paused a bit, seeming to debate something in his mind. "...There's something in there that might just do the trick.  It's not a special weapon, really.  But if you want belief empowered, there's little better tool than what I have."

"We got little else other than faith, to be honest. And I'm not the believing sort..."  I scoffed a laugh. "Well. I wasn't." My eye drifted to that bag. "...Timothy Holiday, or 'Zero' if you'd like... he fought that Bleeding Tree with it, if I remember right. At least, that's if Zero was actually coherent enough to differ reality from dream at that point. And the first redlight... he was killed by that tree. It's a long shot, but it just might work. I know you don't have a single damn reason to trust me, but there's no sense in BOTH of us risking our damn necks. If I could just... borrow it. For a bit. If I actually survive, I swear on the graves of my family that I'll bring it back."

I thought for sure that Konaa was going to shoot me down. Or laugh. Or both. I mean, it's no secret that the guy protects that piece of his like the Holy Grail and it's not like he knew me from Adam, you know? But, by the time I'd finished, Konaa... no... June Reynolds was just beaming. Grinning from ear to ear. A strange kind of relieved expression settled over him. And then he reached over, unzipped the bag, and pulled out a cardboard package about a foot wide and five feet long. Offering it to me freely across the table.

"Your story, pal.  I'd be glad to give you the means to continue it. But...yes, I would like it back. It's got considerable sentimental value.  Just...There's no point in not letting it do what it's meant to. Save the day."

"...Heh. You're alright, kid."

"I've been called worse. Honestly, I'm tired. Burnt out. I dealt with my own personal demon... Rhodes is dead. How, well, I think I'd rather not go into it. But he was as bad as they get.  Worse than Morningstar, worse than Nightscream - he never needed corruption, he was already that bad. Now that he's gone, I feel like I've...done my part.  

So.  Go do yours. 

 Just remember that a lot of people died so that we could make it this far.."

"...You think you'll try to settle? Your eyes are older, but you're still a young thing. You shouldn't waste your years without a home. Or people to share a home with. It's rare thing to find. Even rarer to keep. But it's worth the pain. Least, it was for me."

"...I've got a girl."  He beamed a little. "One that was waiting patiently for my stupid ass... One I think I can finally get back to now."

"...Heh. The ones that wait are usually the ones that make it all worth it. Trust me on that."

"She was in this too, but... well.  She retired some time ago.  Good on her.  Now that things are settled, I think I'm going to...go to school again.  God, what a weird thought."  He rubbed a hand through his hair, chuckling. "Go to school.  What am I gonna do without random monster attacks?"

"You'll just have to make do without the Nightmare." A bit of a laugh. "School. Career. Family. Sounds like you're goin' for the royal flush. Good for you, June. Just like you said: A lot of people have died so we could make it this far. No sense just 'surviving right? You gotta live. And live for those who didn't make it. If that means taking risks... then all you can do is roll the dice. 

I'll handle Redlight.

You go get your girl."

We're up.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Fractured Guardian

This guy is seriously cracked.

But in that really great way that makes someone like me feel normal, so... not complaining, I guess. I've met worse. Though my head did have some complaining to do after he was done jackhammering his way into my skull. Only tells me AFTERWARDS that he'd never done anything like that before.

I could have shot him.

But, anyway, rewinding a bit. He is kind of a liar. Kinda. If I wanted to jab at him I could call him that. Because the first time he dropped by, he did not announce himself at all. He just turned up at the very same Cafe where I was attempting to enjoy a coffee. Walked right through the front doors wearing a sheer white lab coat and a black cowboy hat. Those, along with his near pale-grey skin made him look like he'd taken a tumble out of some weird, black and white movie on a really cheap budget. Like, really cheap. Seriously. Who the hell wears a labcoat with a cowboy hat. Who. Besides this idiot, I mean?

At the very least, he didn't try to pretend it was some big coincidence.

 "While I often do show up in random cafes 
and single out stragglers by pretending to know them, 
this is definitely not that."

In fact, he had a theory.

One that inspired him to track me down and have a nice little one-on-one, but not in that Cafe. Voicing concerns about the entire place turning into a "blood hall" if he was right. Which sounded bad enough to catch my attention and not just dismiss him (you get paranoid about ambushes and traps in this business) when he suggested we should take our conversation somewhere private. Max didn't really seem to like him all that much - growled at him from where he was curled up at my feet - but Fracture seemed far from offended. Simply commenting that he didn't think they allowed for dogs in here.

"They don't. But Max is a regular here so they put up with a stray like me.
Look, Fracture, the only thing close to 'private' I have is a park bench
or whatever one-star motel I decide to to break into."

"Let's break into a motel room."

"...You definitely need better pick-up lines, mate."

 "Pick ups where never really my strong suit... how's this:
'Hey hot stuff, how about we break it a cheap room for some private investigating?'"

 . "...Still not the worse line I've ever heard.
...Or used. 
...Or have work, actually.
In any case, this may be another thing to add to the
long list of stupid things I've done, but...
You did say 'murder hall'.
Call me a bleeding heart, but I can't ignore that."

The motel wasn't far. Just around the block, really. There were others mulling about, so I opted for picking the lock. I went in first, Max at my heel, and Fracture closed up after us. And that... would be when things got uncomfortably personal very VERY fast. Got backed into the wall, but not before I'd drawn my glock and had it kissed under his jaw. I actually think that surprised him a bit - I'm fast. I was always a fast draw. Being trained under Cypher just made me faster. And I'd had my head screwed with enough to know when I wanted someone to back off and back off NOW. Mind control. Mind alteration. Memory block. Memory implant. Preception filter. Loop. I didn't know what the hell was pinging around that brain of his, so was sure as hell going to protect myself until I DID know.

And what his theory came to be... was that he was concerned that the Redfuck was taking refuge in the last place anyone would expect him to. And where his prime pursuer would never find him.

In my head.

I wanted to debate it... but stopped myself. Slowly lowering my weapon and holstering it. After all, Redlight had been in "Nightscream's" head for months, and Sam hadn't known. Why would I be any different? Besides... if Redlight WAS in my head... then it made killing him pretty damn simple, right? Just a round-a-bout with my favorite weapon and a bit too much pressure on the trigger. End of story. I could see that Fracture knew what I was thinking, from the simple gravity in his stare on me. We all get that, eventually. When we've seen enough death. A brace you put on yourself when you feel it coming again to take someone else. He had that look.

I just ripped the bandages off my head. Threw them on the floor. He didn't even react when I turned my stare back onto his. One blue eye, one gaping socket surrounded by gashed skin, slowly healing. He just... placed a thumb just below each side, below my eye and where my eye should have been, and then placed his index fingers on my temples. Instructing me to keep my eye open. To relax. Warning of possible discomfort as he leaned in awkwardly close. The blue in his own eyes taking on a strange light...

It started mild. Like a pinch. Just uncomfortable. That was it.

But then... it started to heat up. And BURN as something flipped in my head and I... I began to remember. Images flashing out. Ripping out. Morphed and distorted but REAL and... and Redlight was there. Not in my head, not as an infestation but as a memory. A smoking and charred figure struggling from Eden and running into the Empty City with me following right behind at a mad sprint. Determined to catch up. Determined to finish it, no matter what. The bastard shifted though. Coming back here. On this side. Leaving me there, struggling for breath as I was left behind once again. Screaming out in frustration and sleep deprivation and everything... and then I... I saw... something I had actually managed to forget. Suppress. Just... ignore.

I finally saw for myself... what Cypher refused to talk about. What he saw in The Castle that time.


My Sam.

I will always... love Sam. No matter what this world turns it into.

It doesn't matter that Sam didn't even recognize me, or maybe it did. But it didn't understand why. Couldn't make the connection. It... the love of my life... stood before me in that City... as a puppet under The Plague Doctor. A human essence infested with disease upon disease. Boils and blisters and festering, oozing pus and fever so hot it blistered my skin just being near it...

and rats

Sam was... infested... with red-eyed rats.

I saw them staring out at me from under the tattered remains of that hoodie. Their hair... wet... from where they had been... nestled into...

Sam attacked me. Grabbed me - felt like acid on my skin - and threw me. Sam... literally threw me with a strength it didn't even look like it could manage and I went flying. Until I wasn't. Until the middle of my back hit something hard, but the rest of me didn't. The sheer pain that split through me in that instant was... unbelievable. A 'snap' that jolted me from head to toe, right into my core. White hot agony. And I screamed out... before flopping down. Hitting the pavement below the post that had just...

I couldn't feel my legs.

I guess that's what they call irony, isn't it?

But "Nightscream" hadn't finished yet. In fact, that had just been to immobilize me so I couldn't... fight back as much as it kicked me over and kneeled down on me. One leg pinning an arm, the other on my chest, while its glove wrapped around my throat... and the rusted, filthy blades of its gauntlet came to my face. Cutting down one side even as I struggled. Even as I pleaded for Sam to just... remember. Calling back to old times. Trying to spark some recognition, any recognition, throwing out any name I could remember from our lives together... or even from Sam's own life as a Proxy. Anything. Anyone. I tried... as its gauntlet positioned the bladed thumb over my eye. And then pushed in. Sliced in before there was a pop and a gush of hot blood as I couldn't... bite back the scream in my throat anymore. That blade still pushing back... until it stopped. Just stopped. And I saw... Eden flashing before my eyes.

That's what Plague wanted from me. Why He pulled Sam out of the Castle on rotten strings to do this. 

He must not have been able to See into the chaos of Eden.

He wanted to know what happened.

He could have picked anyone to strip that from. He picked me. Probably to torture Sam. Probably because, somewhere lost deep inside, Sam is still awake, in some sense...

Someone else showed up then. I'm still... trying to remember who.

But up until that point... that was what Fracture saw and felt when he cracked into my skull. And it was what I re-experienced and re-felt. 

So, yes, the neighbours probably heard the screaming. Fracture falling flat on his back with hands clawing into his skull and hair as his body violently convulsed and seized and curled. I, myself, collapsed to my knees the second his hands came off of me. Everything pitching and swirling in my head as the wall came down and I was Awake to so much more than before. I felt... hot. And sick to my stomach. But I managed to avoid passing out... only to then realize that Fracture had done just that. Max forced himself into my face. Whining and licking until my hands numbly dove into soft fur. Stroking him. Burying my face partly until I wasn't hearing my heart pounding in my ears anymore. Until I could breathe deep again...

When I was ready for moving again, I got to my feet (with a new wonder of how I possibly could) and managed to get Fracture into the bed. Leaving him to rest there as I went into the bathroom to change my bandages. Seeing my wounds... especially my missing eye... in a whole new way...

I felt so sick.

When Fracture woke up, we talked. And we talked for a WHILE. After he answered a few things in a way that I felt were positive for me, I told him about a... theory of my own that I've had for a little while now. An insane little idea that's been rattling around in my attic. I was honestly expecting to be shot down...

But, not only did he think it was possible... he was actually on board to help me.

From the way he talks about things, I don't even think he is FROM this dimension, but he's going to help anyway. And we need it. More than any of you realize we do. And time is just getting shorter and shorter, but we've... progressed. Even now, we're closer than we were.

The 'Book' he mentioned here is a part of that. It was an idea he had, and I think it'll help. We've since met up and done the exchange.

I've since thought of another detail that could help us.

A detail I've been trying to get a hold of for over a month now.

I know you are still alive, kid. I've been confirmed of that much. JUST ANSWER MY DAMN MESSAGES ALREADY.