Sunday, December 23, 2012


I'm Running.

I'm Running and I don't even know from what.


Something is Watching me. Tracking. CHASING. It's not Father. It's not... I have to Run. I have to... find somewhere. Somewhere safe. Somewhere I can... think. Think this all through. None of it is adding up. It doesn't make sense. None of it... is making any sense. 

My head won't stop... pounding. It's only getting worse. Only getting... 

I had taken over their hotel room that night. Found a key with a red hotel tag on the corpse of the "Leader" of the group amongst some other odds and ends. Decided it was a good place as any to clean up before pressing on. I couldn't risk stayed more than just the night. Someone would eventually find the bodies, and it's difficult to cover your tracks when you have a hole in you.

Had to make due with things. Wasn't in any shape to get first aid supplies, so I scavenged what the others had had in their bags and what the hotel offered. Luckily, they did have bits and pieces of a medical kit put together. Couldn't find any kind of tweezers or that such to take out the bullet, so I had to sterilize my gauntlet and hand the best I could and just... grit through it. Clench my teeth and deal...

I suppose Valtiel assumed... that I could use some company during it.

I was settled... on the floor of the bathroom when I heard him. I had my fingers on the bullet when a simple cluster of words drifted across my hearing. Barely registering a meaning... but was more than enough to jar me. Accidentally pushing the bullet in deeper. Spurring a sharp stab of pain up my side. Had to grit my teeth to bear it. Sucking in a deep breath as I rested my head back against the wall behind me. Waiting for the pain to subside. Waiting for my breathing to steady.

Praying it to be an hallucination.

Wanting it to be just in my head...

But Amber Eyes gazing up from the pool of crimson on the bathroom floor beside me spoke oppositely. A smile as plain as day painted into each inhuman depth of golden-yellow even as the voice came again. Speaking without form. Tisk-tasking me for getting sloppy before those Eyes faded... and appeared again within the body of his Arabic meat-suit of a puppet. Red scarf draped across his shoulders as always. Tossing that snake smile in challenge of the hateful glare I rose to him... when he so casually offered assistance. Offering a DEAL...

I told him to get out.

Or, even better, to drop dead.

He got a laugh at that. Amused. Saying that he wouldn't know how. Assuring me how he couldn't possibly leave, no matter how sharply I carved my tongue. Calling himself my friend. Patting himself on the back for "being there for [me] in [my] time of need. Like a good friend should be." Questioning where all my other "good friends" were. Placing words of abandonment and betrayal on the shelf for me to take or leave even as I dug out the bullet fired by my own Kin. Tossing it away to rattle across the bloodied tiles. Pressing a towel to the wound. Hard. Hard enough to spike a bolt of pain through my nervous system when my head began to sway. Sharping my awareness up again...

He spoke toxic nothings. Tried to... convince me that I was wrong to be upset about how things turned out. About how he manipulated everything so as to own Leo. He... mentioned how it was every parents' dream to know that their child's future was... secure. Trying to talk me into... thinking that, deep down, I wanted Leo to follow in my footsteps. That it... pleased me. To think I'd be passing my "Legacy" on. That I wouldn't just... fade...

I called it Bullshit.

All of it.

We argued back and forth. Talking in circles. We argued even as I gave up on stitching the shredded flesh of my wound back together. Figuring it would never hold anyway. Arguing even as I used the sink to pull myself onto my feet. Arguing as I had to use the wall to steady myself, going into the small kitchen area. Arguing even as I took hold of the knife I had laid over a red-hot element before I'd even set myself up in the bathroom to begin with. We argued... even as I pressed the metal to my wound. Pulling it against me even as my muscles fought to yank away. My back braced against the counter to pin myself. The sizzle of flesh acting as the soundtrack behind every accusation and declaration. Behind every mockery and sarcastic flip. Burnt flesh once again tainting the air as I bit my lip until it bled...

We argued.

Until he accused me of trying to puppeteer my son. Of controlling him. Forcing him to live in a life where he was miserable. Safe. Normal. And miserable. Telling me how he was STILL crying himself to sleep each night. That he was still awake at that very moment in his own room a few states over. His room in a stranger's house. Strangers who pretend to be his family. Pretend to care for him. He told me... that HE had done more for Leo than I had ever done. That all I ever did was abandon him. Time and time again... leaving him to cry and cry and cry...

I threw the blade at him.

I didn't have any delusions of it hitting, and it didn't. He caught it. Began toying with it between his fingers. But it was just... for the sake of doing SOMETHING. Anything. It didn't matter what...

Until I was ready.

Until I offered myself to him. My very life in its entirety. My Service in whole until the very End of the Game itself. To Be whatever he wished me to Be... for as long as he wanted me. As close to Eternity as it's possible for a Human to Serve. I'd be his. No fine print. No way out.

No passing Go.

No collecting $200.

So long as he swore Leo would Stay Out. That he'd be protected...

Valtiel simply smiled at me, at first. A nearly-soft, Knowing smile. As if he had already known I'd play the self-sacrifice card. For he knew that's exactly how I saw it. How I'd always seen it. While others saw chances to gain power, I merely saw a more... complicated life. No, not even a life. For a life has to have an Ending. It would be only... an existence. And barely one at that. A forfeit of any true meaning to each day. A forfeit... of perhaps one of the last things Good and Untainted in my mind.

A forfeit of my Humanity...

The Secret.

He placed his hand on my shoulder and, under it, I never felt so heavy. So weighed.

I was afraid.

Then he declined my offer.

Telling me that it was tempting. That he had considered it. That he had... considered the possibilities of what my future could be twisted into for a very long time. How I had... "promise" to succeed... where others who had been Chosen had failed. Like Fitzgerald. Prepared from such a young age to be the most powerful Human Puppet of All. To take redlight's place, as Redlight. But Spencer... betrayed the Cause. Spencer - or, rather, the monster beneath his skin - had schemed and found his due for it, or so Valtiel said. That Redlight lusted for power. Lusted for Godhood. Lusted to dismantle anything that stood in his way... and create a world in his own vision. A foot placed on top of the face of Humanity. A Dictatorship like no other...

He tapped beneath one eye with his own finger. Directing attention to the same burning hue which The Devil carried in his own eyes. A glowing Amber. Smiling as he spoke of Fitzgerald's "creation". One of Valtiel's... most hands-on projects. How Redlight carried his blood. Tainted blood that ran thick and dark. How Valtiel had carved Spencer's life - Teller's life - with the aid of Writer and The Author. Slicing away at his mind and soul and Being so as to grow into the Purpose prepared for him. How, despite everything that transpired, he was still rather proud of that Project. Even if Fitzgerald himself was a failure.

That snake smile grew as he went on. Talking about what pieces of the "Formula" were wrong with Spencer. Expanding on them... and then considering their opposites. And then he twisted the subject to rest back on my head. My shoulders. Commenting on my disinterest in power. In Leadership. In being anything more than Human. More than Mortal. Commenting on my... set-in-stone Loyalty towards Father, no matter the details that try to murk the waters...

The hand on my shoulder touched my cheek. The touch nearly too hot as the temperature of the room itself skyrocketed. The lights flickering momentarily before dimming. Then going out. As though being smothered back by the shadows that pushed out from their hiding places around the room. Choking the light out of my Reality. Merging into a blanket of black that stretched out towards where we stood. Seemingly merging with Valtiel's very form. Becoming part of it. It becoming part of him. Those burning Amber Eyes glowing as bright and hot as the inferno of Hell itself. Blazing a cold shiver down my spine as they stirred. An invite to an Oblivion all their own. A sense of oppression settling down deep. The air in my lungs growing heavy and thick with humidity as he told me just how tempting it was... to force me into the position that had been intended for Spencer. To Be "Redlight". A Human torn from their Meaning... to act as the Figurehead above even the Highers themselves...

So I asked him why.

I told him I'd do it. I told him I'd do whatever he wanted of me for as long as he wanted me to do it... all while doing my best to not pay attention to the cold sweat that had broken over me. Despite the heat of the hotel room during his little... monologue. Telling him I'd be his. Completely and without question. To build or break as he wanted. Asking him why, if he was so tempted, he was turning down my forfeit...

And the second that those final words left my lips... he was suddenly gone. The lights were on again. The shadows back where they should be. The temperature even. Only the cold sweat remained... and then his answer drifted into my hearing. As though invisible lips were leaned in close. A hair's width from my ear.

"Because it's too much fun watching a Hero squirm, Brother."


and worse.

and worse.

what aren't I seeing? every time I feel that shadow of a concept... brushing the tips of my fingers over a real answer... it slips away...


no that's...

it's dragged awway

it's DRAGGED away....

Or am I being dragged from it?

I have to... rest for a while. I have to think this through. Research on Valtiel is... non-conclusive. Not much to go on. Not much to find out. Sometimes feels like I'm chasing a gghost...

God, my head hurts so much. It feels like

A week or so later, I received an email from someone that I had thought was dead. Gleeman.

He had Kali.

As I had feared despite Morningstar's assurance to the contrary... the shot that Loki took proved too much to be healed. He survived a little while, then was found dead one morning. Gleeman said that Morningstar took it rather hard. Felt he... failed me.

Nevertheless. Kali was still alive.

We made plans to meet immediately. 

We decided on the... skirt edge of a rather large city. Not far from where he himself was finishing a job that Fracture had paid him to do. Gleeman wasn't too keen on talking to me much apart from making it clear that he blamed me for the deaths of the others. I did try to pay him for looking after Kali for me. Gave my best attempt to force money into his pockets. Even suggested he could just donate it to a Children's Charity if he didn't want it that much...

But he wouldn't take it.

Simply told me to just "go the hell away" already.

So I did.

I tossed Kali's cage in the next trash can I passed by. Let her up on my shoulder in just the way we used to travel...

It felt... so wrong... to only have weight on one.

But it doesn't matter. None of it matters.

They're all dead.

And I'm alive.

That Should Be Reason Enough To Smile, Right?

Just Smile... even when I'm destroy myself to protect my son.

It's been suicide. Suicide since the beginning. I knew that. But I didn't care. I was already a Servant. My very soul tainted as black as my attire. Damned to Hell or worse. My tongue and glare sharpened better than my blades. How could things... possibly get worse...?


it's just so... hard to think sometimes...

Regardless, it doesn't matter.

There's nothing more they can take from me

And when you have nothing left

suicide is just...



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