Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Should... be Friday.

Last night, I...

Not... not last night. Apparently it has nearly been a week...


Thursday, The Beak came for me.

The night before that - the night I posted last - He had come to my door and no further. I heard His steps. I heard the creak of wood as if whimpering in agony in His presence alone. His shadow pausing at the entrance to my pathetic little sanctuary. My motel room. The scraping sound of something against the door clawed at my ears. He was playing, almost. Toying with His prey. Torturing my nerves. Letting me know. And then... He was gone. Leaving me to my solitude. My planning. My... growing Sickness...

But Thursday... Thursday... I knew the Game was being brought to a new level.

I graduated, I suppose you could say.

I... I can't... I couldn't take the pounding in my head. I couldn't ignore it. Every step just splitting and echoing like thunder... like a gunshot set off next to my ear... 


and over

and over again

I practically had to pry my aching skull from the grip of my own hands. Elbows propped on my legs from sitting on the edge of my bed. My eyes nearly feeling too sore, too tired, to keep open as I held my gaze upon the closed door across the room. My chest feeling far too heavy. Pressured. Working for each breath I took in. Working to stay awake. Stay aware.

I could hear His steps echoing up the stairwell not far on the other side of my door. I listened as He moved up. One step at a time. Letting me know.

Letting me know I was in His Game. Not mine. Not Father's. His. 







The room around me had begun to creak and groan. As if it itself was being twisted by His coming presence. It seemed so... loud. So obvious. As if reality itself was screaming. Tearing at my hearing. At my... reasoning. The world vibrating in my eyes, crumbling the distance between myself and that sound. Those steps. Him.


The stench of sulfur and decay filled the air like a miasma settling around me. Stinging my eyes. Choking me. Gagging me. My already-tortured throat coughing brutally against the irritation. Lungs burning with each breath as I tore myself to my feet...

...and went out the window. Out into the cold night air. My throat and lungs stinging with the very first breath I took as I quickly made my way down the fire escape - skipping the last section entirely with a jump. Landing hard. Hands and knees. Cringing from the jolt through weakened muscles before pushing up. Looking back over my shoulder just briefly. Up to the open window.

A beaked mask stared down.


I did. Out of the alley and onto the street. Stride carrying stride. Forcing muscles to work as they have for me all my Service. Teeth gritted through the weakness that had sunk through my entire being. I pushed hollow legs to land quicker. To push off harder. Pushing. Pushing. Pushing.

It's always... been the same game, hasn't it...?

My steps staggered - arms snapping up to catch hold of a telephone pole. Finding balance again briefly before shoving my body into the mouth of an alleyway. Back pressed against the damp brick. Entirety trembling for a rest after such a short sprint. Muscles burning even hotter than my lungs were as I tried to regain a breathing pattern. A sliver of concentration. Anything that I could cling to... focus on...







The street now. He was coming faster...

I felt sick. Nausea sweeping over me. Stomach twisting. The back of my throat feeling tight. A lump rising, threatening a gag reflex as I pushed on. The street obviously scratched off as an option - I hoped to cut through the alley. To come out the other side and keep going. One arm curled around myself from the pain spreading out from my insides, I could only keep moving forward with one hand braced on the wall of the building. Cramping making running impossible.

But I could still keep moving.

Through any symptoms, I could just keep moving...

A dead-end told me otherwise.

My vision swam as I glanced around me. Headache pounding. Still hearing His steps follow. So close. Too close.

I saw a door.

Everything told me not to. Every instinct I had screamed 'NO'... but I didn't listen. I couldn't listen. I couldn't stay, so there was only one other option. I slammed the door behind me just as I began to see a shadow drawing in closer out of the night. Locking the useless barrier in place if only for the sake of my own mortal mind scrambling for a way. Any way to delay His advance. Wanting it to work. Wanting it to be so simple...

It is never simple.

I didn't wait. I turned into the building and forced myself to keep moving.

It... didn't take long for me to realize... that I had rushed onto His center stage.

White cinder-block scarred black by the flames of an inferno long-since extinguished, the building was left to vermin, dust, and decay over the years. My steps echoed down the long-neglected corridors ahead of me as I pushed myself onward. Leaning heavily on the wall for balance and direction as my pounding headache tipped into overdrive. Spinning my vision and blurring it into black as I walked...

and then... I felt it...

a... scalding hot wetness sinking into the fabric of my glove.

I jerked my hand away in an instant, steps fumbling to a stop as I prayed to Father for it to be in my head. For the love of God, even as I... was staring at the fresh blood on my hand... I still prayed it to all just be in my head. Watching pus slide amongst the crimson - stringing itself between my fingers sickeningly. Clinging.



please, God, let it only be...

I grew conscious of a heartbeat. A steady rhythm drumming from within the very walls themselves as I hesitantly glanced to my side. Where my hand had been a few seconds prior.

The white and black surface of the wall was cracked apart and split of an about an inch width in places. The pattern running like veins over the surface... and, within those gaps... I could see pulsing flesh. Angry red mixed with purple and black. Infection. Rot. The temperature seemed to increase drastically even as I watched blood drain from the cracks. Pooling on the floor. Spreading.


I glanced back the way I had come - the door? Gone.

I couldn't run.


"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 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."

"S-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--"


No turning back.

I gritted my teeth as the blood pooled nearly to my boots. Glaring at the walls. The building.

His stage.

I had to run the gauntlet.

"Give me your worst, you son of a bitch."

I sprinted. Hard and fast down the hallway. Running as fast as I could in my condition - trying to ignore every symptom, every distraction, every pain. The walls around me peeling away from cinder-block into stones. Shadows curling in. Flesh pulsing from between the rocks. Bleeding rivers onto the floor. Blood and pus dripping from the ceiling itself. The stench of decay infused into the air. Intermixed with traces of sulfur. Bile. Sweat.

I don't remember if I ran for minutes or hours.

I don't remember if I was... running away from Him, or if I just... wanted to get His Game over with. I don't remember if I was trying to... amuse Him or show Him I wasn't afraid. I only... remember running...

...and I remember... a numbing agony clawing through every inch of me... a drowning weakness swallowing me whole... pulsing red amongst wisps of shadow...

I remember hitting my knees to the floor. Throwing up. Hands braced in far-too-hot blood.

I remember...

Step. Step.


Step. Step.


My mind yelled at me to get up. To run. To fight. To do anything but remain on the floor trying to breathe past all the filth clogging up the air. I could taste it, I...

I couldn't move.

Step. Step.


Step. Step.




...I am a Servant of the Slender Man...

I could feel Him behind me. Looming over my pathetic sight with a gaze that I had only been able to imagine thus far pinning me in place. Pits of endless black burned in my mind. Soulless. It tore a shiver through me... and yet... I didn't want to See. I clutched Requiem's medallion tight in one hand as I heard another Tap, and it was all that I could do... but keep myself from shrinking under that sound. Followed by another Tap.

His walking cane. Snapping against the stone floor.

Each time being just another gunshot within my mind. I could feel each tap split through me, down to my very core. So deep I thought that only Father could reach...

...I am... a Soldier of the Slender Man...

A mere nudge at my side was all it took for agony to explode through my ribcage. I bit back the scream that surged into my throat. Choking on blood at that simple guide from the end of His cane - barely a touch - and I was down on the floor. Flipped onto my back amongst blood and bile.

I stared up to Him.

Like a worm pinned down for dissection.

...I am a Child of the Slender Man...

Like a mirage from the fumes and sickness of the Castle around us, The Plague Doctor's dark robes seemed endless - a flood of shadow cloaking His entire being and spreading out along the ground. Shifting. Stirring with every movement. A tattered, wide-brimmed hat shadowing over His head and shoulders. A mask of bone as a face. Beak a sickly mix of yellow, black and green. If it was a mask at all. The eyes...

There... was only one thing to be seen in that gaze: Inevitability.

He would be my Death.

With His cane hovering over me, He wanted me to understand... that I was claimed. By Him. He wanted me aware as He took me apart. Aware that I was alone. Aware that there was no escape. Aware that Father would never come. Aware that... I was weak. Useless. Worthless.

Unlike our Father, who destroys the mind... the Plague Doctor would turn my body on itself. Part by part. Piece by piece. Breaking it.

And my mind... would stay intact through it all. Trapped awake inside a shell that would never respond to my demands... my... pleas...

What is that... if not true helplessness?


And it started.

I could only... lay there.

Writhing at His Feet in the blood and filth of His own Realm. Convulsing.

Listening as my own... agonized screams echo back to me through the empty halls...



Father, forgive me...

Yesterday, I woke up vomiting blood. My side blazing in an agony I knew all too well from past history: Broken ribs. Quite a few of them. My side is... nothing but blacks and blues and purples... just... one little tap and they... cracked apart like cheap glass...

It took what felt like hours before I found the strength to sit up - once again surrounded by white cinder-block scarred black. I think... I passed out again briefly before I managed to get back to my feet to go back to my motel room. Just that movement alone exhausted me. I still haven't moved on. I'm still in this same room. Stupid, I know, but I just...

I can... finally stand the glare of the screen, at least... though my hands are shaking, but not quite as badly as they were yesterday...

thank God for spell check


it's... hilarious, isn't it?

it's alright, my friends.


I deserve it, don't I?

I am... just another Proxy. Getting their due.

"Will you marry me?"


Just... another Human... getting their due.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simple Truth

Last night, I watched my friends take flight for the last time.

For now, at least.

With trees providing sanctuary on all sides in the courtyard behind Requiem's church, I hadn't needed to worry about the curious eyes of neighbors as I placed my birdcage upon the seat of a wooden bench. Once I'd opened the small, metal door, it took only a few scarce seconds for the strong beats of two pairs of wings to lift my black angels from their confinement. Talons gripping onto my shoulders. The thin leather beneath the fabric of my hoodie protecting me from their hold as they balanced themselves upon me. Talking excessively in my ears. Staring at me with black pearls for eyes. Excited to be out.

It had been... a long trip.

Kali flared her wings - her desire for flight obvious - but still she remained with me. Waiting.

Loki, as per usual, chose a different manner to inform me of his eagerness: Attacking my gauntlet. I raised my arm a touch as his talons gripped onto steel plates. Hanging him upside down with wings flapping against gravity itself as he pecked at the blades of my fingers.

My arm barely had the strength to support him.

Nevertheless... I couldn't help but smile.

A small whistle - one that practically murdered my throat at this point - was all it took for ebony feathers to skim past my ears on both sides - their silhouettes quickly ascending into the night. The two of them playing amongst the stars as I watched from below. That bench then providing my body the rest it so desperate needed from the trip. From everything I have put it through thus far...

I was half-tempted to close my eyes and let myself sleep right then and there, but before too long, Requiem came out to join me. Both of us remaining in silence for a stretch of time before he commented about having found my "Virtual Testament to the Enlightened Path." He questioned the values of such a "Propaganda Pitch to the Masses" and then went on to say how I write with a length to each update as though I am preparing to "bind and publish a Holy Text in His Name." Cautioning me of "Eden's Snake" and being "lured from [my] Sacred Duty by the whispers of False Prophets."

I couldn't help but laugh a bit at the Priest's monologue, in all honesty. All I had to do for the first five to ten minutes of the conversation was listen as he answered his own questions and questioned his own answers. But that in itself is not anything new. Requiem has always been rather... intense. A truly dominating force in any conversation. The type of person that you don't really need to listen to - just pay enough attention to know when to nod. However, if you CAN keep up... he is ever so much fun to challenge.

This time, however... bantering simply wasn't an option.

I... barely have a voice anymore.

I had to repeat my responses to Requiem at least three times before he could understand me. When I tried to force my voice stronger, I only choked. Coughing hard. My body folding over as I gasped for the chance to breathe amongst the attack. Coughing up blood again... gagging... not able to stop myself from shaking from the agony that tore up the inside of my chest...

I only tried that once.

Requiem patiently waited for me to regain myself before asking how long I planned to stay at his church.

I told him no more than a couple of hours.

He suggested an hour was more appropriate. Half an hour even better. Considering the circumstances.
I couldn't blame him or argue. I simply nodded once and watched Loki and Kali play overhead.

It was clear we had nothing further to discuss.

Requiem stood at that point in time, but didn't turn to leave just yet. After a moment's hesitation, I caught sight of his fist held out to me. His expression hard. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, but offered the open palm of my hand. His fist came over mine, placing something heavy in my possession as both his hands closed around my one. That in itself surprised me. Requiem, after all, was not one to touch anyone unless he was murdering or torturing them.

I heard him whispering a prayer, and then his eyes rose back to my concealed ones. "Have faith in God, my friend. The answer you seek will find you." His eyes narrowed just slightly. "Understand, this is not a gift. I do expect this back upon your return to reclaim your soul partners."

And, without another word, he turned and left. Leaving me holding his Operator Symbol medallion. I said not a word - simply slipping the piece around my neck. Spending the next hour in solitude as I watched my friends dance with each other on the night breeze. They would later be making such a racket as I handed the cage to Sister Fuchsia. I suppose they knew something was changing for them...

I had never expected to need to relinquish them in this manner. It almost feels as though I am abandoning my little shadows by leaving them in the care of Requiem's Squad, but... I know they stand not a single chance with me. I've become... a walking plague. They would only die.

For the first time since my time with Dimme... I feel... worn. I feel weak. My muscles don't hold the strength they once did. They... haven't for a while now. I feel as though my entire body has been slowly getting sucked dry of all energy... of all coordination and strength. Of speed. Of concentration. All of it has just been slipping through my fingers... and I haven't found a way to stop it yet.

The closest I've come to finding a sliver of solace was when... when Father had His hold over me. Which brought it's our problems, of course... but the symptoms had seemed to be less severe.

I think He simply kept the distraction from my awareness. So I could preform.

They hit twice as hard after He had released me from His side.

Of course, there was a delay of a few hours. So I had actually thought I had been fairing better at the time... until I could barely walk in a straight-line. Until my fever hit 105.1. Until my system rejected everything I had eaten over the past twenty-four hours and I was fighting to keep focus against the worst migraine I'd had in my life - spurring a nose bleed that refused to stop. Chills setting in next. Delirium...

I managed... to inject myself with one of the two syringes "Joseph" had given me.

And as I laid there on the floor of a house I'd broken into... I heard Him coming for me.

Steps pounding in my head.

A constant rhythm.

One step.


One step.


One step.


Each one splitting in my mind like a clap of thunder.

I don't even remember how I pried myself up.

I just remember running from that house as fast as my legs would take me...

I just... remember feeling the floorboards... shifting under my back...

I can run for days, but it... doesn't matter. When I hear Him coming again, His steps are only louder. Only closer. I ca



...I can't... get it out of my head.

Through all this... it is simple luck that I haven't been called into a physical confrontation yet. If I had the misfortune of it... I would doubt that I'd fare well. I know this. It is simple truth.

Simple truth that stings far too sharply for comfort.

As it usually tends to.

I am... hesitant to admit this. I am hesitant to let myself write these words of weakness and place them up for any to read. Any to use against me. Any to decide that now is their chance to end me. I am hesitant...

But willing.

Because it has always been a Game. Always. From the very first time I heard the name 'Slender Man', my game-piece was placed on the board and the die knocked from my hand. My turn was rolled. Paces moved. Cards turned.

I then could only watch... as my fortune was painted in blood upon the walls of my life.

There was no turning back.

My choices... have brought me to where I am this very day.

I will not hide from that. I will not... pretend my situation to be any less than what it is. I've still no intention of dying anytime soon, but if this continues as it is... then I will sign off with an end that I would deem fit for one of my own targets.

I am not a hypocrite.

All of us - Proxies and Runners alike - are actors. His actors. As I said before, it is our place to give performances worthy of our Father.

My life - and eventual death - is no different.

I... can hear Him coming again...

Each step... echoing down the halls...

I could stay.

I could run.

In the end, I doubt it will make much difference.

He has been only playing with me so far. The worst... is yet to come.


can be dodged.


can be deflected.


can be avoided.

But one cannot run

or hide

from Disease.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not But His Humble Servant.

This... has most certainly not been my week.

Or perhaps I should say 'month'?

...Two months.

And to think I haven't even stepped beneath any ladders... or opened an umbrella indoors, for that matter.

Although... I suppose I could have unintentionally spilled some salt somewhere along the line. It's sometimes difficult to tell what gets upturned during a scuffle, hm? The devil on my shoulder must be laughing itself into a coma by now. Oh, yes, I see the humor. Absolutely divine. Truly.

I suppose it is stating the obvious to say that I am not faring as well as I had hoped. I knew my condition was to get worse, but I hadn't expected it to progress this quickly. It has left me... with a lot on my mind. A lot to consider. Study. Ponder. Even my last mission has left me a touch troubled. Though not in relation to what our dearest Hope Bearer did to me, actually. Nor for how both actresses got away.

They were meant to get away.

It was not how Shooter had wanted it, but I hadn't a choice in the matter. It... had not been my stage.

It was Father's.

His Will made me His pawn. His piece. A mere puppet who was trying only to do as they were told so as to keep their mind intact. So as to not annoy Him. So as to not lose themselves under His hold and be ripped apart into a Hallowed. He had a role for me to play, and I did my best to accept without question. To yield any other distraction and focus solely on what His Will wanted of me.

There is a reason, after all, that He tends to only be seen with Hallowed. It becomes... exceedingly difficult to not panic when His hold comes over you. When you can feel His influence in your mind and core. It is difficult to not... resist. To not fall to the most basic instant for survival and fight His guide. Because if you do... He will not think twice to tear out that side of you. He will not think twice to remove your own will, so that He can influence His own without hindrance. Without interferance.

To survive as a Proxy standing by His side... one must willingly step aside from full control of their actions. Submitting themselves mind, body, and soul. Without question. Without panic. Just a simple, calm, respectful acceptance of His Will - His Ownership - over you. As you are His property. Nothing more.

Mantras can be helpful. To repeat phrases to yourself. Over and over again. But through all this... you must still be effective in your role. Efficient. To work as if nothing is wrong. As if who you are isn't on the line in even the slightest way. As if... His mere presence doesn't effect your senses.

It is like... opening your eyes under water. Your vision is still there, but everything bears a slight distortion. Odd flares of light and sound. It is almost as if you are seeing partly how humans are meant to... and partly from His own view. Nothing coming in focus as it should... and yet you must make do. No matter how hard it is to stay relaxed. No matter how hard it is to even think. You must make do.

There is no other choice.

To say it is "a difficult balance" to maintain would be the same as commenting that a hurricane is "some wind and rain." It is... a terrifying position to find yourself in. One that has left me... very much drained in both mind and body.

Initially, I had intended... to pay Requiem a visit next after I had left the Cafe. With how my current situation with The Beak has been confirmed, I had planned to trust the care of Kali and Loki to the Priest for the time being so they wouldn't continue to be exposed to His presence. I hoped that, in so doing, I would be able to protect them from His Sickness. After all, they have been my loyal partners for so long now... it would truly be a shame to lose their contribution to the Purpose.

Especially since they tend to show more talent than many of my kin do.

However... Father changed my mind.

It was an incident I declined to mention in my post after I had visited "Joseph". One thing that I left undisclosed when I spoke of the phone call from the Highers earlier.

I told you how their call had woken me up.

What I withheld, however, was what I'd been woken up from.

The "dream" which was all too vivid... and that I can still recall every detail of. In which I was walking amongst a dense fog. Each step I took accompanied by a puff of a gray cloud curling up to my knees - as if the ground I walked on was nothing but soot. I could smell and taste the smoke in the air as I pushed through snagging twigs of bushes. Their hooks tearing at my clothing - a simple shirt and pants - as I shoved my way through. Earning a few cuts as I went. Blood beginning to flow.

As I went further, I noticed the soot at my feet had become intermixed with bones and black leaves. Various items that were broken or charred laying scattered about... and I passed each one by until something much bigger in size appeared from the fog.

My old home. In the very same condition it was in when I had left it.


Just a blackened, hollow shell of what it once was.

And yet I still walked right in - pushing the door wide.

Inside, the layout was exactly as it had been... but it was all made of glass. I could hear whispering caught adrift in the air. Echos of faint laughter. Of sweet nothings and plans once laid which came to be worth not but ash. I left a dotted trail of crimson from my gained cuts as I made my way through the halls. Scaling the stairs. Walking past room after room with doors left closed. Undisturbed. Until, that is, I reached the door at the end of the hall. Another creak of an opening door. Only this time the room I stepped into was not glass, but back to how it was before the fire. The old master bedroom. The floor had returned to ash and bone, but everything else was in its place. Every piece of furniture. Every trinket. The only difference being the muted tones - as if everything had soaked in the darkness that surrounded the structure and true color was no longer possible here. Only the red was still left ablaze. Only the red.

A human skull sat on the pillow of the bed. Hollow eyes watching me as I approached the wardrobe across the room. My stare held on the large, fractured mirror it supported... and the image it reflected. My own image. As Nightscream. Standing amongst the same thick fog I had left outside. An adder curled around the left arm where my gauntlet should have been.

A chill crept down my spine as hand was placed to hand against the cold surface. My palm laying over a spider web that was supported around the frame. Its small, black builder biting my hand in retaliation as the mirror fractured more. The image bleeding out onto me until I became myself again behind my mask. The reflection of tattered clothing in the broken mirror melting away into a suit without end and arms bent at an awkward angle. A tall figure with a featureless face replacing my hood and mask. His form and the fog becoming one. Becoming impossible to define one from the other as the heavy blanket rolled out of the fractured mirror. Enveloping the room. Enveloping me even as the mirror shattered and shards rained down.

Then the room was no longer a room. The fog no longer a fog. Instead, He stood before me... with web spread all around us. Encircling us in a thick blanket. I felt the strings clinging to me. I felt the fear thudding in my chest... the panic rising as He stepped forward... looming over me...

And I felt as though the very air rushed at me. Piercing straight through my mind as good as any blade as I snapped awake in my hotel room. Head pounding. Phone ringing beside me.

I barely paid attention to the words of the Highers, my mind already turning. Shifting paces. Beginning to plan.

I had received my True Orders.

I knew where my rebellious sister and her master were.

I simply needed to set the stage. To spur our actresses into performing.

I know not why He chose me, but it is not my place to question.

I am not but His Humble Servant.

I did as He wanted of me.

I cracked the shell of she who eludes His vision.

I gave her attack dog a reason to show her true self.

All under Him. All under His stare. I merely had to keep the darling Sage under my own 'care' as Father pulled the strings on His puppet. A young boy. Perhaps sixteen. A Runner unaware of his own role in the game... until he was dying, that is. Until agony scorched through him in the form of a blade and Father no longer required his physical form to carry the costume He had fitted him with for Mitch's eyes only. One that bore Morningstar's very image. I saw it during the struggle. Father's hold over me granting mere flashes of His work. A flicker of an image long-since dead laid over the figure of one unaware of his own actions...

Sister played her part perfectly.

And the Hope Bearer... the Hope Bearer was most magnificent of all. Certainly not my sharpest student, but not my dullest either. She proved herself to be rather interesting... and proved me completely correct in my judgement of her. Her angelic mask no longer fits so flawlessly over her true nature. Her true self. I gave her the knife to carve away the lies... and she did an excellent job with it. I am quite proud of her.

She knows the truth now.

She understands.

I saw it in her eyes when I felt the clawing agony in my lungs and the metallic taste of blood greeted my tongue. When my body refused to function as I was overcome by a fit of coughs which nearly stole me from my feet. Crimson staining the ground. Crippling me.

I dared the Sage to surprise me. And she did. But at the cost of losing our game.

The lesson had been taught... even if I did pay a touch of a price for it.

There was no need to follow them at that point.

I was still struggling to regain my breath - still struggling against the blood in my throat - when I felt Father standing directly in front of me. Staring down at me as I fought to recompose my fragile, mortal body. I shivered under Him - not daring to look up. Instead folding down onto my knees. Head bowed down. Struggling against the will to keep coughing. His influence running through my mind like water through a sponge. Filling everything as I struggled... to clam my fear. To accept His Judgement of my performance as His servant. For better or for worse.

Just an instant later, He was gone.

I had passed.

It was at that point... that I started laughing.

I had passed.

Eventually, I noticed Kali and Loki staring at me from a nearby tree. I knew then that Father truly had moved on. Otherwise they wouldn't have been anywhere near me. Smart-asses. The both of them. But at that point... there was not any other living being on the planet I would have rather seen.

Once I regained enough focus, I called them down to me and gathered up the rest of my things. Hitting the road in the exact opposite direction as the Sage and her pet... and I haven't glanced back once. Having used the last few days to realign my thinking again. To recover.

I've said before that every mission... has its own level of risk.

The key, however... is knowing precisely how much of a gamble you're taking before you even pick up the die to begin with. To know your opponent before they even have chance to realize you're paying attention. To know what circumstances you're walking into before you take the first step in that direction. You analyze. Study. Inquire. Ponder and analyze again. And only when you feel you can begin to predict them do you step forward... and then wait to be surprised.

After all, the one thing that never seems to change... is how quickly something or someone can do just that. One single action that could take no longer than the time it takes to inhale a sharp breath... and who you are abruptly becomes who you were. Decisions that were once straight-forward and common sense becoming convoluted. Twisted by emotion. Pain. Loyalty.

Another breath.

Better or Worse?

This is a taste... of what it takes to survive as a Proxy.

I am His Servant.

I am His Soldier.

To be used in any way He sees fit.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dying for the Chance to Live Again...

...Or Living for the Chance to Die?

Tell me, my friends.

Which describes you best?

What forbidden thoughts creep forward when you brace your hands on the bathroom sink and stare back into the reflection of someone that you thought was incapable of so many deeds? Deeds now done and repeated? What do you see when you lean in closer because you can't even recognize your own eyes anymore? What are you trying to hide from when you quickly straighten and walk away? Turning your back to go lie down in your makeshift bed? What boils inside of you as you stay wide awake at even in the darkest hours of night? Staring at the ceiling of whatever little hole you've nestled yourself in when there's no one there for company to encourage the lies?

When you give yourself that silent admission, only to turn to the side, pull your legs into your chest and try to bury yourself in your blankets...

Are you wishing for a fresh start? A new beginning where you would do so many things differently?

Or do you pray for the chance to just put an end to everything? For the curtain to just fall, burying you beneath it at long last?

Not that long ago, I asked this very question to one of the Sages.

The first Runner Handler: Hakurei Ryuu.

I never received an answer.

Thankfully, I just recently gave myself a more... personal chance to ask it again.

Her pet isn't here, of course. I wanted some personal time with the darling Sage before I went ahead to the main event. I must say, the Hope Bearer was in such a huff when I spotted her wandering the lamp-lit streets all on her own. Her entire form just bristling. So consumed in her own raging thought patterns from the argument she'd so obviously left behind her in the hotel room. Failing to notice she was not completely alone on her little walk.

I fretted for her. I truly did.

After all, you can never quite be certain... who is waiting around the next corner, can you?

In any case, I decided it far too dangerous for someone such as her to be wandering around on her own.

So I took her under my wing.

Brought her somewhere nice to... cool off. 

"...Under a lavender moon - so many thoughts consume me. Who dimmed that glowing light that once burned so bright in me? Is this a radical phase? A problematical age? That keeps me running from all that I used to be..."

There is such a wide array of topics I'd like to discuss with her. Truly, there is. I've read her writing quite carefully, you see. After all, not only does she hold the title of all-amazing Sage in the eyes of the Runners, but she also holds the leash of my true target. Her mind has left me so very curious. So very... amused. Even as I type this, she's giving me an even clearer view into it... but, sadly, she seems to be finding it difficult to continue conversation.

Coughing. Choking on the very water that begs to be her salvation... at the same time as it promises to give her the blessed silence she desires so much. Forever more.

It's been beautiful to watch. Absolutely fascinating. To have the chance to bear witness to a body and mind in such violent conflict with one another. A conflict in which the survival of one promises the destruction of the other. A struggle between the sharp, burning need of the body for air... against the will of the mind to block out the very music that broke it not all that long ago. That crippled it. Haunted it.

She's been treading water for quite some time now, you see. Her limbs must feel like jelly. Strength all but gone...

I wonder which will give in first? It is her choice, after all. She is not bound. She isn't held captive in her predicament in any way... pardoning the shackles she places upon her own self. I merely have to stand back and watch. Turning the music on and off - her personal torment that brings her to hold her OWN self under the water's surface. Allowing the chilling water to blur away the rhythm. All to stop the screaming in her head. The "panic mouse" of her mind.

Of course, music isn't the only thing that water has a tendency to drown out.

Such simplicity.

I barely have to lift a finger.

People so tend to underestimate the little things, honestly.

These lyrics. These songs. Melodies. Tunes. They cut her deeper than any blade.

I can read it right across her face.

If the blade of these words worked over her body like they do to her mind... the entire pool would already be dyed crimson.

"...A little piece of paper with a picture drawn; Floats on down the street till the wind is gone. And the memory now is like the picture was then. When the paper's crumpled up, it can't be perfect again..."

The simple beauty of this game... rests solely in the fact that the choice is hers to make.

Either she takes her last lungful of water and sinks to the pool floor. Like we both know she wants to. Or she faces the lyrics which Father played for her over and over and over again.

That is not to say that I'm so rude so as to force my company to have discussion overtop of my little distraction. I turn the music on and off at my leisure. Just a minute or so at a time to allow her to rid some of the gained water from her burning lungs. Choked coughs amongst gasps for air. And, amusingly, the Hope Bearer still finds voice to speak to me in those moments. Responding to my inquiries, my comments, even when wearing fearful eyes and chattering teeth.

This time of year is not fit for swimming, after all. Poor dear.

Not even once has she tried to deny her place as a Handler. She almost tends to defend it. Justify it.

Her honesty is admirable. Truly. It is. Though there is a small problem in this case...

"...Daylight dies. Blackout the skies. Does anyone care? Is anybody there? Take this life. Empty inside. I'm already dead. I'll rise to fall again..."

Dimme, my late Handler, had left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, you see.

She... had been an unique woman, I suppose. Totalitarianistic mentality. Intense. Brutal. Spiteful. Infectious. She taught me quite a bit about the human psyche. Using me as her guinea pig. Her lab rat. I was not so much of anything to her other than a dog. No, actually, I was considerably less than that. For a dog still feels pain. Still has a voice. A will. I was a gun at her hip. Something she took out, pointed in her desired direction and ordered "kill" with the expectation of no hesitation nor negotiation. I was not meant for anything other than that command. I did not DO anything but wait for that command. Including speak. Then I was to return to stand by her heel. Without question. Without sparing a second to take a breath.

That was my role. My place.

And I filled it for the first few months of my service.

Dimme told me right from day one that my conversion into a Proxy had to be a mistake. A joke. A stain on her own reputation. Her career. For a teacher such as myself would be far more suited as a Hallowed. A mindless puppet. For certainly I held no true qualities that would benefit the Cause. No training. No suppressed urges to slaughter or spread pain. Nothing. I had nothing to offer. And so I was nothing. And was treated. As. Nothing.

She placed herself as Alpha. Her foot on my throat. Her word absolute. That was all there was.

She taught me levels of pain that I hadn't even known to exist.

She taught me how to fight as both ghost and demon.

She taught me about the Game.

Each one done for a specific reason: to prove how little I was worth. How little my involvement mattered. How I was just a Toy. Just a Tool.

And to make certain I never forgot who owned me.

Not Father.

But Them.

The Highers.

"...It's still the same, pursuing pain, isn't worth the lie I've gained. We both know how this will end. But I do it again..."

I had tried to resist her will a few times.

The ensuing fights had left me next to death each time. Barely able to crawl, leave alone get back to my feet. And she'd make certain I regretted them for weeks afterwards.

Even during that, I was learning.

I don't think she realized how closely I'd been paying attention.

Then came the final time. The last time. When I finally caught the right opportunity at the right time.

And I still came out of it mostly dead.

The price paid for landing her unconscious.

I then dosed her with the same drug she had given me time and time again. A paralyzing agent that didn't numb. That, if anything, only amplified the pain. I then hung her from the ceiling by her arms until she woke up, which she did within twenty minutes. She seems so amused on the surface. Yet the undertone was complete rage. I could tell. I'd been studying her for so very long. I knew my master well. Like every good dog should. I listened to her as she spoke to me. As she slithered her way into my mind. As she told me things I hadn't wanted to hear. About myself. About my experiences. Where I came from. What I'd done. How I needed her.

I listened as I always did.

 "Careful, Hope Bearer. Wouldn't want to take one lungful too many, now, would you?"

Eventually, Dimme fell short of words. Simply stared at me as if I was the lowest form of life possible. Inquiring as to what I intended to do. I moved behind her at that point Limping as I went. My body trembling with the effort to move. Barely able to remain standing. Then... I slowly carved my blades down either side of her spine. Not saying a word as I did. The knots in my stomach only grew tighter as the blood flowed. Part of me wanted to tear her to pieces there and then... but another part took over. One that had a point to make. I can remember feeling the sensation that rang through the blade as her body stiffened. Bristled. Shuddering, ever so slightly. Yet she didn't make a single noise. At least, not until I begun prying at each rib. Cracking them away from her spine.

During that, she screamed.

Once I'd cleared away the ribs that had been in my way, I then removed my gloves... and took hold of her lungs in my bare hands. I remember smiling as I felt her heart pound even faster. Panic. Fear. It was about time she received a good dose of both.

I was done being her puppet.

I was sick and tired of the leash.

And it was with that in mind that I ripped her lungs out of her body. Watching with a satisfaction that I hadn't known in months as she struggled for another breath that would never be granted.

She would never use them again to bend me to her will.

I then burnt her corpse. Daring the bitch to come back from that.

After all, she did have something of a healing ability.

Much like a certain Hope Bearer.

Mitchy. Your Master now has me wondering...

How well she will be able to use her lungs to order you... when I choose to allow the music to play on without interruption?

You must know where we are now.

Come, girl.