Sunday, March 20, 2011

New hotel, New game

"Which means there's a reason a bunch of super-powered freaks are running around and it's not because He needs them."

That reason is He is smarter than we are. We're supposed to be the ones weaving the stories, melting the facts of reality into something more palatable over time, and instead He's the one really pulling the strings, keeping us occupied elsewhere while He works whatever game He's working uninterrupted. Is Redlight's supposed rebellion just another part of His plan? Did Zero sacrifice himself because He wished it so, before the Sage of Nothing became a real threat? How far does the deception go, and are we living a lie right now, just one layer higher in a ring of false worlds?

Dear god I sound pretentious. I think I'm going to go hit my brother in the back of his head with a pillow, just so I can stop taking myself so seriously for a moment. Oh, and this one has free internet!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And now we're on the run

I have no clue where we're going, and neither does Drew, but the both of us have agreed we can't hang around any longer without his new girl finding some way around the security or a rather tall certain someone popping in for a visit. I'd like to post something interesting, but lengthy descriptions of us sitting around in the hotel all day trying to figure out what the hell to do for the foreseeable future when we have absolutely no plans doesn't exactly make for interesting reading.

Drew's trying to figure out how to find ourselves some sort of semi-regular income before ours runs out and we have to resort to theft. I put my foot down at stealing from innocent people to survive when he suggested it, which lead to another fight. The only viable idea either of us has had would be to steal from the people he used to work with, but that sort of thing's probably going to get us killed, so that's out for now.

This running gig is really boring.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Backroom Deals and Secret Plans

I meet him behind the hotel at ten in the morning. Ben is fast asleep in the room and won't be up until sometime after twelve, so we're sure we won't be interrupted. It is difficult to look at his face, or it is difficult to remember looking at his face, but he's wearing that red hoodie and that smirk so it must be him. I ask him how Robert's doing just for kicks, and he sneers at me like I've insulting him. The New Girl is with him, ten steps back leaning against an obviously stolen car (it's missing the front right hand side window) and smoking a cigarette.

It's funny how nothing but a bit of tobacco and about six thousand poisonous additives can make someone so much less attractive. She refuses to acknowledge me when I say hi, but that's kind of what I expected.

"Information and skills." He says, like there's a whole list of places he needs to be today and I'm a very small but necessary interruption to his plans. It's obvious what he's doing, trying to dominate the meeting and make out like he's in charge to extract more information from me, so I just ignore him and start talking at the New Girl.

"How've you been?" She ignores me, so I decide to poke. "Writing in agony each time He visits?" She laughs quietly and takes another drag, before throwing the spare keys to Ben's car over her shoulder where he catches them, then sneering haughtily at me and leaving.

He's smiling now, like there's a huge secret I'm not privy to, as he plays with the keys in his hands.

"Information and skills, Andrew. You get your keys back for free as a show of good will, but I have everything the police have taken from you waiting in the boot of your young friend's newly acquired car." He gestures to the slowly retreating back of the New Girl in the distance as he mentions the car, just as she turns to cast one last look at me before disappearing around a corner. I wonder idly if they rehearsed that, so tiny a detail. "All you have to do is convince me you've got something worth it."

I show him all the notes he's quite helpfully stolen back from the police, once I root them out of all the other stuff. We spend about twenty minutes discussing several ideas I've had, and various things I've recorded or written down. I can tell he's impressed with some of the content, so I start probing him for answer of my own.

"So," I ask "are you in charge of Australia, or what?"

After a short pause, he glances up from a map of recorded occurrences of theopany in Australia, clearly annoyed.

"I may or may not simply be visiting Australia at this very moment. For all you know Andrew, there's only one of me, and I'm not going to be telling you otherwise since the first thing you're going to do after this is go running back to your laptop to write it all up and show everybody in a attempt to get the recognition you so desperately deserve."

"Well..." I start, about to ask him about what he (and possibly his comrades) is/are planning.

"Do you think I'm a fool? I'm only here because I have something to gain being here. You've clearly learnt a lot about our mutual employer - to borrow a term - in your time, and have countless recorded encounters with Him which provide a deep insight into how He reflects off of your psyche. Now it might all be useless drivel written by a deluded fool who only think he's sane, or it might actually contain some insight I'm not privy to..."

Clearly frustrated that I've made him explain something we both already know, he waves a rather worn exercise book filled with transcripts of 'conversations' I've had with Him and various half-sane rantings I've indulged in during the aftermath of such visitations.

"... but the more you know."

We talk and talk in circles, dance around the truths we don't want to reveal and dress up the lies we'd rather the other believe. In the end the entire thing takes less than an hour, but it feels like an eternity, with how much we've discussed and how many notes I need to re-write. I return to the hotel room to find a small piece of cardboard slid under the door.

So the threats have apparently started. I should have seen this coming, really, since this is the only time I plan for us to be apart in the foreseeable future.

And the other side. For anyone why can't read that, it says and I quote: 

Time is running out.
You will both come to Him.
One to save the other.
One to kill.
One soon.
One too late.
One to protect.
One to destroy.
One alone.

And no. I'm not particularly worried about what it says. Just an fyi for little miss newbie seeing as I know you're reading this. I figure this is your first chance at fieldwork and you obviously need the help so I'll make an exception this once and give you some pointers. This kind of shit doesn't scare me. Especially if this is the theme you're going to stick with. I'm looking foward to carrying out this whole thing out just by describing what we would've done if we could actually be bothered getting involved, so fire away. I'm a veteran of the art, baby, and you're going to have to do more than that to scare me.

And that's all I can manage, seeing as I'm falling asleep on my feet here. Whenever it is you find this Ben, please don't wake me up until I come to myself. It's hard enough getting sleep as it is.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I can't sleep anymore

I feel like I'm being hit in the head with a shovel every time my heart beats, but I just can't do it. He's there, waiting for me to close my eyes and He's there making sure I never do and I just want to sleep. I bought some pills from the pharmacy, but they're not working and I'm afraid if I take even a fraction more than the recommended dosage I'll suddenly find myself overdosing for no reason whatsoever on non-prescription drugs, if that's even possible.

I had so many plans. God I did. Whispered secrets and ancient artifacts and sacred temples. One of them had to be real. The Heel's not the only mystical object of ancient power they rave about, you know. There are other Trees and other creatures that stalk the night, not just His, and not just Him. The only problem is all of the Gods we could turn to are dead - all the real ones, anyway. 

We've still got the Abrahamic faiths, but there's too many splintered cells of revolution and division to create anything of substance there. There might be a chance in Asia, but He's everywhere there. I don't know why, but He's a lot more subtle and a lot less predatory in the East, like we wronged Him somehow, so long ago. If the Noppera-bō and the Mujina are faces of His, with all the irony that statement contains, then there's no chance we'd survive with Him already waiting and so ingrained into the history and culture.

God the monitor is hurting my eyes. I think I have to stop. I'm going to try again, but it's not going to work. It feels like I might never sleep again. Such a small luxury and a grand irony that He'll never find me there again, at this rate at least. Oh how I wish we'd never dreamed like this, sometimes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We got the car back

By virtue of having parked outside the hotel, rather than in front of our room, but that and the laptop is it. Almost everything in the hotel room was gone, which more than likely means the cops have taken it. They've got all our clothes, my bag and everything in it, but they had no idea we owned a car so we at least get to keep it and the laptop. That and all our money we had stashed in the boot is everything we need to survive, so it's not all bad.

We've changed hotels yet again since we don't have enough stuff to stop us from doing so, and while this one's a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot smaller, it's at least away from that damned town and has internet access. Insanely expensive internet access that almost brings the cost right back up to where we were staying last, but internet access nonetheless.

There are a couple of problems, though, the least of which is that we've lost the spare keys to the car. Or rather, Ben's lost them, but I'm not going to start accusing him because either he left them in the hotel and the cops took them, or the New Girl snuck them away somewhere in all of this mess and neither really makes it his fault. We bought a steering lock from Autopro, which should keep whoever has the keys from making off with the car, and we're keeping all our valuables with us for the moment in the room rather than in the boot like usual.

What's worse is the loss of my backpack. There's not a whole lot in it from a physical/financial standpoint, but there are a couple of burn phones from the old job and more information than I care to have the police knowing. I'm not sure whether all the crazy stuff I've inherited from James will have them conclude it's all nonsense, or if they'll realise it's basically all the details they'd need to investigate and sting what appears to be an Australian-wide gang intent on killing a sub-set of people chosen according to some delusional criteria. I'm hoping all the dressings unique to the Touched and all the references to Him will at least make them disregard it all, but the worse case scenario is probably just some agent of His noticing it for what it really is and making it all disappear.

But I need it back, and I have no idea how to get to it. Well, I have one that it's insane and won't work, and I have another but I'm on the wrong side of the fight for it. I wouldn't mind all our clothes back, too, actually. It's probably a lost cause, I fear, and I have no idea where we're headed now that Mum's place has backfired on us so impressively.

Except that we need new clothes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Plans and Apologies

First off, I'd like to apologise on behalf of my brother for posting that mind-destroying wall of text. He's a writer and tends to forget everything isn't supposed to be novel sized on occassion.

Secondly, we're staying in another hotel in another slightly larger town, about one hour by train away from all our stuff and Mum's old house. If I can do the maths in my head converting from Blogger's time-zone to ours, I'll configure this post to go up two hours after we leave and we'll use it to hopefully distract Drew's 'new chick'. He thinks her boss is using his spider senses to tell her when we post, so she can be up to date on our plans. If that is the case, she'll probably head to the hotel's lobby to use the computers there to check on it, and that'll be all the time we need to get in and out, since everything in our room is packed anyway.

That is, of course, if the cops haven't taken everything, in which case we're royally screwed. Drew reckon's they'll leave it all there and try to use it like a trap, but I'm not so sure and I have no idea how we'd get it out of the police storage.

Wish us luck, I guess.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I've got some bad news and some bad news

He was there, in the closet. What's worse was that I was expecting a Labyrinth and He already knew that. The very moment I opened the door, everything just collapsed around me. I was falling, falling in the dark while all was He. God, I'm such a fool. All those people on the Tree gives Him so much room to think, so much space to work with. I've been on that Tree, oh yes I have hung for days and days and days and He saw me there and He looked into me and he knew what I do before I'd even decided to do it.

Trash, that's what it is. Theories and plans and ideas and the corpses of a thousand dead Gods. I should've known I'd never be able to protect Ben, never be able to find the right plans or ideas or leverage. After all of that, I thought I could outsmart Him. Yeah fucking right. Of course I'm not special, of course I'm just being screwed over. I don't get special Conduit powers or fucking Revenant buddies looking out for me. Just mindraped by a faceless alien abomination from a place beyond the comprehension of man. That's why I went. I knew He was going to be there, and even though I couldn't think it, didn't know it, I was operating for reasons I didn't understand because He's still in my head and I was going to make a deal, after all my clever plans fell apart and all my leverage evaporated into nothing. Me for him, keep Ben safe and make a swap.

I wonder, sometimes, if He's playing a long game and I'm not even the target. He made it clear enough falling there that I'm not important in all of this. I'm only here because I'm essential, however insignificant a requirements He has of me.

God. I was going to be so much more coherent than this. I'm trying to hold it together for Ben, but he wasn't there. He didn't Fall forever with nothing but a pathetic little rope to save him. Oh, thank God we brought that rope. I was going to get all meta on the game and take a ball of string into the maze, before it all went to hell. The symbol is, of course, the thing so it's not like I was going to use it properly. It gets you out because it's rope not because it shows the way, and it would've worked. I could tell. The abyss stares into you long enough and you get to do some staring back of your own before you decide you want to bash your head against the wall until your brain bleeds out your ears and your eyes stop working.

That's all noise, you have to understand. That's my brain screaming in agony as I try to comprehend what happened to me there. I've gotten it all out now and I think I can attain something close to coherency from here. So please, don't worry. I'm close enough to okay that nobody needs to panic.

We found the house easily enough, being that we'd lived there and nothing at all had changed in the town since we'd left so long ago. It's literally gone absolutely nowhere and changed not at all, but that's alright. It was empty, and that really should've been the first warning sign. One house in the entire street for sale, and it's ours, as if this whole thing has been laid out just to make everything easy. It was obviously a trap, but we went in anyway. We (or rather Ben) broke a window to get in, and of course I made a bee-line for the closet in our old room. I don't know what either of us were thinking at the time, but it all seemed so much like the right thing to do.

He was there the moment I opened the closet, and the weirdest thing was that there was no warning. The house went from that stark weirdness of a building completely void of furniture to downright fucking horrifying in a blink of an eye without so much as a by-your-leave. He was rooted into the walls of the closet and three or four meters taller than the closet should've allowed but at the same time kind of just tall enough to fit. He was part of the closet and formed like a mangrove tree, all twisted and knobbly, but with roots burrowed into the walls where the branches of His arms should've been. He strained to move towards me with this horrifying tearing sound, and the mass of twisted limbs just kind of shifted and stretched, like it was made out of plastic, or some sick approximation of flesh.

He had the teeth again, and the madman glare without the eyes. I don't know how He does it, but I can feel them watching me, boring into my soul and tearing every pretense I've built up over so long to nothing. He was looking at me, looking into me, and he was doing it all without a face - just a thousand rows of teeth. It's been so long since I've seen those teeth in my dreams, but I can still remember what it felt like to be eaten by them. Have you ever stabbed yourself with a pin or something like a sewing needle? I'm not sure if I was the only child who had a morbid interest in what pain was like right up until I started feeling it, but I can't've been the only person to be stabbed by a needle. It's not the pain that gets you though, it's the pressure. The way each point just kind of crushed the skin and flesh a little before it splits through and tears you apart.

Ben tells me that's about when I full on lost it - right when I opened the door and saw Him. It's the last thing I remember, losing control as He just kind of shifted towards us, grinning that maniac's grin. From there I can't recount what happened physically, because I wasn't all there any more. I'm told I collapsed as He sunk His teeth into my foot and dragged me into the closet. Ben had one end of the rope for our oh-so-clever Labyrinth plan and I had the other, so even though all he could see in the closet now was black, he just held on and kept pulling until eventually he managed to drag my unconscious body back out.

While all of that was happening, I was in the darkness, listening to His song, having my soul weighed and a thousand other unpleasant things. I think for part of it I was remembering the twisted memories he uses to talk to me. I can catch snatches here and there of me killing Mom, and Ben, and Dad and every pet I've ever owned, and of Him, sitting where Dad sits, or standing behind my mother as she comforts me, or playing catch with Ben or holding onto his bike as he tries to learn to ride it, but it's all impossible to hold onto and I don't really want to try. But that was all secondary to whatever it is that passes for conversation between us. I've never been good with dialogue, I'm half insane right now and He doesn't actually speak, but it's all burned in my brain so I might as well write it down.


I remember the car crash. He is standing on the side of the road watching, as Sidekick dies and James is killed (possibly, I don't really know). Or I remember it again, and instead of driving into a tree, it is Him I crash into. I'm not quite sure.

Clever. He says, in that way that he doesn't. He almost sounds like He is proud of me.

I think I ask Him something like "What do you want?", which was very much not what I'd planned. In response I get about a thousand flashes of people with their organs so carefully bagged, and forests totally devoid of human life. I see fire tearing apart cities, and fog creeping into cracks in houses where the last few people shelter in fear. I see His branches lifted to the sky, tearing apart the stars and the moon, rending all that is and will be apart into nothing.

He doesn't understand deals. You can't write up a contract and have Him sign it, but He understands that I understand deals, and that I know I have betrayed Him, and it's enough.

Payment. He says. I want payment. Or, You have wronged me, and I will make you suffer for it. Something akin to that. It's not really important seeing as he doesn't say it at all.

"I can work with payment. We can make another deal."

He chuckles when I suggest bargaining. I know He does, because I can still here all the children laughing with Him, shouting and mocking.

No. You had your chance. Now I will take everything.

I laugh here. I don't remember why. For some reason the things He was forcing into my brain were amusing me. I don't know why, but I remember what He was trying to say. They were pictures. Thousands and thousands of pictures of my brother killing me, or me killing him. The one I remember the most clearly, the one that stands out in my mind and the one that amused me so much is of Ben setting fire to our hotel room as I hang myself with the bedsheets. I don't know why it was supposed to be funny.

I said something here in response, but I've forgotten what. Everything else has a cutting kind of clarity to it, but I don't remember what I said. I do remember that it made Him furious, though, because after that He just rages for what feels like forever. The closest analogy I can think of for it is a dog going absolutely apeshit on somebody, tearing and ripping and just sinking his teeth into them and shaking, but that's not even really how it felt.

You are wrong. All you plans are for nothing. I will destroy all that you love before I take you. He says. Or something. No! There is no place to hide from which I will not find you both. almost fits too. I'm not so sure. It's hard to transcribe when I don't know what I said.

"Fine." I say, suddenly feeling the pull of a rope I didn't know I was holding. "If there's no deal I can make, then come and fucking get me, if you can ever catch me again."

Again? He asks, amused and confused by my words. Why would I need to find you again? I have you now. 

I was talking absolute shit, of course, and He knew it, but it kind of helped or I just have excellent timing and I said that right before Ben managed to pull me out, because I don't remember anything else but black until I wake up on the side of the road, with Ben shaking me, begging me to wake up and crying like the little girl he is.


And so here we are. In an undisclosed location chosen solely for it's internet access (I have several webcomics to keep up-to-date on people, that sort of thing is very important), trying to figure out a way to get back into the hotel and get all our stuff without alerting the cops. Because while I was having a chat with Him, it seems the New Girl was making a police report about a beating and an attempted rape at the local police station, sporting several impressive bruises to back her story up. I don't know how she found us, but I bet He was involved, and I don't know how she explained not being a local to the cops, but they apparently bought the story. The cops have had a car parked outside the hotel pretty much constantly since we got back from the house, and when they're not there watching the place, she is, with a phone in hand.

So yeah. We're basically fucked. But there is one small sliver of good news. The road I woke up on the side of was the one that marks the boundary to the Crown Lands near my house, and Ben says I came to the moment he dragged me across it, so I'm not so sure it doesn't provide some sort of protection against Him like it used to when I was a kid. There are a lot of stories about Sacred Woods or other Sanctified Places, even if James usually called them less complimentary names, but I didn't actually believe they existed until now. I'm not such a fan of ever going back, though, because spending enough time in them dilutes whatever keeps them pure, seeing as we bring thoughts of Him with us. But I guess it's good to know it's there, for emergencies or something, seeing as Servants can't get in.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Rope Worked a Treat

But the car and the hotel are being watched. I can't stay long enough for a proper post, but we learned quite a lot breaking into our old place. For one thing, it turns out the closet's a lot bigger than I thought, but on the other hand the Crown Lands really are Sacred Woods, so you win some you lose some.

I don't know exactly where Ben is, because he's out buying bus tickets with his credit card just in case that'll be all it takes to draw her away. I think James is dead. I have to go. I can hear the song and if I don't leave now it's all going to end incredibly poorly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Going Home

I tell you, I am so sick of driving.

Tomorrow's the day we'll get to Mum's old place, and we'd be there tonight if I had it in me to flagellate myself for anther couple of hours. I'm not sure if he plans to find anything or is just using it as a convenient place to head towards while we run, but Drew seems kinda happy we're headed there. I'll be honest in saying I guess I am too, a little bit. Home with Mum was home, way back when. I never really got used to living with Dad, and it all kind of fell apart without all three of us there. Which worked out well in the end, I guess, since I don't have to explain where I've disappeared to.

I'm still finding it hard to sleep, though, and it doesn't help that we've basically swapped shifts at the moment. I should be sleeping early and staying up late, but I just never feel tired anymore and Drew always drifts off before me. The worst part is of course that if we stay here he'll end up falling asleep right in the middle of a LAN cafe on one of the couches and I'll have to sit right next to him all night or risk losing my plug in the router.

Grumble grumble.