My place... has always been without question. I was a mere Servant – fit to Fall when my Time came. But… it never did. It almost did. Several times, it approached… then passed me by. Sometimes close enough to bash shoulders and send me down to my knees. A pathetic wreck of a human… but, again, I’d find my feet. Again, I’d go forth with His Will in mind and soul. Again, the blood would begin to flow… again, I'd smile as others screamed...
Part of me has always feared… that Death would forever pass me by. That I would be caught and held in this web for all eternity. For as long as Father had use of petty humans upon strings. That this was to be… my Forever. A strange manner of… accidental Immortality. I never wanted such a thing. Never. Could never understand those who did…
Where... do we draw the line in our lives...?
How far is "too far"...?
Nothing makes... sense anymore... it hasn't for a long time. but i can't... i cant figure out... where...
But I could tell a Story.
I know how it started. I remember. After I left that little hole in the wall in the early morning of October 6th, I know... there was a period of darkness. I blinked, and suddenly the world had shifted. I wasn't... where I should have been. Everything was aching even before I pried my eyes open. Finding myself collapsed against a wall in an alley. Sitting on the trash-littered ground with the rain pouring down around me. Expanding the puddle one of my legs was in. Pounding on the roofs and pavement and trash cans all around me. Singing its dreadful notes across the city. Torturing my head. I could see the mouth of the alley filled with blurs and flashes of light and movement as traffic sped past. Burning my eyes even before the scream of a siren approached. Ambulance. Firetrucks. Rushing straight past and continuing on.
Big enough city, they must have always been on one call or another. No reason to draw too much attention to it...
It was October 17th.
There was... a rat hunched over my leg. He was trying to eat through the fabric to have himself a nice meal out of my calf. Pudgy little fella probably thought I was dead. Probably drawn in by the blood that covered me. Though I wasn't sure at the time if it was mine or not. Later realized it was the latter.
The rodent was quick to scurry away when I shifted. He rattled the empty shell of a red coke can as he fled for whatever means he understood as his own sanctuary.
The small noise made my head pound worse.
I felt as though... I was in a vacuum. A feeling of being completely and wholly separate from everyone. Everything. Seeing but not seeing. Hearing but not hearing. Being but not being. Everything twisted and warped. So much, I wanted to just... let go of the reins. To return to that blackness that had stolen time from me. But then... slowly... I remembered Amber Eyes. I remembered Leo. I knew I couldn't let go just yet. I knew I had work to do. Yet it still took me... ages to drag myself to my feet. I felt like I hadn't eaten in near forever. I felt weak. Scattered. Like even the rain beating down on my shoulders was too much to burden...
I simply assumed that... it had been Father. That my strings had been yanked back and I'd been forced to His side again. It wouldn't have been the first time He did so and broke my memory of it. He knows not of the fragility of humans... or, perhaps, he does Know. And simply expects us to break when the strain becomes too much.
It has been two and a half years since I fell to my knees before Him. Clinging to the limp body of my little girl in a pretty pink blanket. Two and a half years of Service. Of killing. Of finding reasons to smile in a life that only exists to steal those reasons from you. From me. From everyone. Wearing us down. Wearing us out. Watching the edges tatter and tear. The colors fading out, bit by bit...
Proxies begin their Stories at the Ending...
We don't tend to last too long...
Why am I still here...?
I saw Father that night.
My steps were staggered as I tried to make my way to somewhere safe. Somewhere dry. Somewhere where I could be alone and sit down and think. Try to sort out what was happening to me. What had happened to me. I just... needed some time to collect myself. To sleep and eat and clean up a little...
I hadn't gotten far before I realized... that the city was on fire.
the traffic was only headed in one direction, save for the emergency vehicles...
And The City Was On Fire.
The orange glow filled the air. The flames rising up above the buildings themselves even as firefighters attempted to contain it. Isolate it. Prevent it from growing anymore than it already had. The thick smoke billowing into the skies above. Challenging the rain, and winning. The sirens were everywhere. Police evacuating the city. Telling the citizens where to go. People were scared. Crying. Yelling.
I didn't even know what city I was in.
I felt something tug on my sleeve and turned to find a small child staring up at me. A boy. No more than eight years old. A jacket with a hood up covering blonde hair.
"Do You See?"
A shadow in the distance behind the boy stole my attention.
Father stood beneath the glow of a yellow lamp light in the rain across the road. Unseen by those crowding the streets.
Staring Right At Me.
Then a red truck passed between us, and He was Gone.
I Keep Seeing Him.
It was always so... rare for Him to show Himself to a Servant. Rare... and so very dangerous. But something has changed. Something... had to have changed. I Keep Seeing Him. Again and again, ever since the Cult Town. Ever since Strangers fought Sickness in a battle that tore into reality and left a wound infected and seeping pus...
He Watches Me.
Growing more and more frequent. Closer. Then farther. Across the road. Across the field. In the same ROOM.
As if I was a Runner again.
I don't know what to do, it doesn't make sense, He just...
I was stupid.
I was too wrapped up in my own thoughts. It had been a few days since I woke up and I had moved on to another town, but I still wasn't any clearer minded. My eye was sore most of all. A headache in the back of it. Distracting me. Too many things distracting me to realize I was being followed. Recognized by my own kin. Proxies.
But they didn’t see me as “Kin” anymore.
I was a “Redlight Loyalist”.
Despite Redlight having disappeared for months...
Despite Amber Eyes assuring me that the Crimson Prince was dead...
Despite The Valtiels taking full responsibility for the Organization’s Fall...
The paranoia remains. No one - myself included - could quite shake off the feeling... that Redlight was more involved in matters than anyone realized. Or, perhaps, chose to realize.
They had me backed into an alleyway.
Two pit bulls yanked at their choke collars in front of them. Eyes on me. Barking. Growling. Teeth bared and saliva dripping. Their holders seemed to struggle a bit to hold them back. Bracing themselves against the leash even as the four Proxies took turns speaking of the hardship that they'd come upon now that The Organization wasn’t flipping the bill or... brushing off police attention. Apparently, their group had been thirteen not so long ago... but a certain group... “affair” had called the attention of the local authorities. When things got heated, Proxies that had become accustomed to being untouchable drew their guns. Bullets flew.
Six Proxies died.
Three were wounded and arrested.
And it was those same four who wanted to... repay me for where I chose to lay my Service.
The... dogs came first.
One earned a bullet between the eyes before it even neared me. Body falling hard against a wood pallet even as its partner with the red collar went on without it. Eyes looked on my throat even as the second bullet grazed across its jaw. Sparing it. And, when it lunged, it took me straight off my feet. Knocking over a trashcan on our way down and hitting the ground hard. The arm of my gauntlet shoved in its mouth as it bite down as hard as it could. Clawing at my torso. Ripping fabric and flesh. Pushing its weight against me. The stupid animal too focused on my throat to even think to withdraw that little bit just to get my gauntlet from its jaws. Instead, it tried snapping against the steel. As though expecting to be able to bite through it.
The pressure from its jaws was still painful.
A third shot fired took out its ribcage.
My Kin were on me even as I was throwing the dead weight off – an army boot planting down on my right arm to pin my gun... so I tore the blades of my gauntlet across the back of his knee with my left. He screamed and fell down to one knee even as I rolled away – twisting to my feet just in time to meet the other three advancing. More specifically, just in time to "meet" the hunting knife in the hand of a fiery, red-haired woman. I managed to twist so it only skimmed my side instead of being buried in it, but she seemed to anticipate that and quickly corrected her motion in a way I hadn’t expected. Pulling her arm back and up to crack the butt of the knife to my skull. Aiming for my temple, but catching just beside my eye. I staggered a step back even as another Proxy dropped behind me and spun – his leg sweeping my feet out from under me.
I hit back against the dumpster. It "caught" me from my fall partly as I twisted down its side to meet the ground on my hands and knees...
But it was a good position to do some batting practice.
My hand found a plank of wood.
When I cracked it around... it hit and dragged with a resistance I hadn’t expected. Blood spraying... and tearing out an eyeball - skewered by nails - even as another nail in the board sunk into the woman’s temple and tore out the side of her face. Her twitching body collapsing back amongst the dogs as the other two rushed me. I used both wood and steel to block as I found myself forced to back up more and more...
I heard a shout of rage and glanced behind the two in my face... just in time to see that the first member with one useless leg (which he’d tied his shirt around to attempt to prevent blood-loss) had crawled over to the woman. Had found her dead. And now had a semi-automatic pointed down at me.
Or, rather, us.
He shot, but I accepted a blade passing across my chest in exchange for a human shield. Pulling the young man in close to me even as the bullets rattled his body. Most the bullets stopped within it, but one traveled through him and stopped in me instead. I dropped with the body – grabbing the smaller handgun strapped beneath my pant leg – and fired back at the “mourning” Proxy. Hitting his shoulder, then his neck, even as a last bullet from his own gun splattered bone and brain into one bloody mess that was once the head of the corpse leaned against me. My human shield nearly spent.
I turned in my crouch at rushing steps, but found them to be running away down the alley. The figure obviously having had enough and wished to preserve their own life...
I fired my remaining bullets at their retreat. I heard one ricochet... and that was all. I was alone again. Surrounded by the dead. There was so much blood... theirs and mine... I felt sick.
What purpose came of this? We were kin.
So much death.