Monday, January 19, 2015

I Would Find a Way

I woke up coughing. The ash was so thick in the air I could barely breath and I only kicked more of it up as I staggered quickly to my feet. It was Dark. The moon was high. A bright eerie red. An ominous harvest moon if I'd ever saw one casting a dim red light on everything.

It looked like I was in a city or a town of some kind. Burned, soot covered buildings surrounded me in a mixed state of disrepair. Many of them had trees growing through the wall. If there was any grass, or moss, or life around me, I would have thought the wilderness reclaiming this place and Nature, and the lack of any kind of maintenance, was tearing it down.

But everything looked so dead. Between the persistent coat of ash and dead leaves. Even the the leaves that still firmly stood on the tree looked  black, yet not withered. Every minute or so I stood staring at them another leaf would fall. How long had they been like that? Couldn't have been long. It had to run out of leaves eventually.

'What have I become?'

On building in particular caught my eye. Maybe it was because of how much shorter than the other ones it was. Maybe it was because it wasn't quite as trashed as the other ones. Or the fact that the ash stopped just at the door like someone had been sweeping it out. Could have been the flicker of light I saw dance across the doorway ever so faintly. The sign that said 'The Hall' across the font of it. Maybe it was the mutilated bodies impaled on various things that only seemed to be decorating this particular building. Or the other sign with an arrow pointing in.

'My sweetest Friend.'

No... I think it was the singing.

Everything was suspicious. Too loud... too obvious... practically screaming 'this is a trap'. But that tired voice... It called to me. That... and the sensation of skin tearing away as the wind violently picked up and blew ash, leaves, and dust at me in turbulent speeds.

I through hand over my mouth and nose to keep myself from inhaling it and ran as fast as I could for 'the Hall' to escape the sudden ash storm.

 'Everyone I Know'

I was surprised how clean it was inside the Hall. No ash. No dust... only occasional leaves. Storm was trying it's damnedest to blow ash into the building but it seems to part ways just before the door's threshold. I could hear laughing and talking. Cheers of joy and the sound of something breaking. The area five feet from the door was well lit and warm. I turned the corning to find the hallway opened up to a massive hall... bigger than it should have been by twice as much at least. And it was filled with people. Some masked... some not.

 'Goes away, In the End'

Some I even recognized. Loveless, the highest I helped Fracture kill. Duckie. Navi's father Draydel. Spencer. Doc. Morningstar. Not just proxies though. Runners too. Zero, Robert, and Zeke. They all sat at different tables scattered across the entire hall with many others. They were fighting, eating, drinking, laughing, and some even Napping along side each other under the gentle glow of the many torches that rested far overhead.. Each of them looking exhausted and bettered. Each with new bruises, cuts, and scars that I did not recognize as having been there before they died.... new wounds?

I knew to avoid my old acquaintances... most people I've met tend to hold a grudge... really couldn't be helped in most cases. So I snuck over to Zero's table. His was the closest and I always wanted to meet him. I came up behind him and gently reached a hand over to him so I could get his attention but he turned to ash under my palm... and then the torch over head went out and everyone else at the table disappeared too...

I panicked a little and run over for Draydel. Sure he knew me but we had left things on good terms... he might even dare to call himself my friend. I stopped hurriedly behind him, almost slamming into him, and brought a hand down sharply on his shoulder and grasped as he puffed into ash. I opened my hand to find it full of ash... and then once more the torch overhead went out and everyone at the table disappeared with it.

'And you could have It All!'

I looked up to find everyone else in the Hall was starting at me know. Most of then turned to ash as the torches over their heads went out one by one as everyone shouted at me in pain, anger, and outrage. I stared as the last torched went out and everything went pitch black at me... for a moment there was only that silence. That loud, high pitched silence that echoes against the nothing all around you. The quiet screams of darkness ringing in my ear to tell me nothing was there and I was truly along. I wished I wasn't.

That was a mistake. I heard the sound of a match striking against a table and a small dim little light appeared a few feet from him and slowly rose, revealing a the masked figure in front of me.

"Ducke?" I asked just as the light ignited into a full flame, revealing the torch in Duckie's hand... and the dozens of people behind and beside him... and the slowly march on me.

I recognized most of them. Some I had shot. Some I had stabbed. Some I had intentionally fed bad intel to or sent on suicide missions without briefing the stakes to really telling them what they were supposed to be doing... most I had left for head at one point or another... and they slowly came within 10 feet of me.

"Sloth~" one of them sang in a fanciful rhythm as as I started to back up from the approaching mob.

'My Empire of Dirt'

I backed up to until I felt something against me, as the mob fanned out around me keeping a five foot spread from me in all directions. Some of them throwing shoes, and stones, and balled up pieces of cloth, and food.

Why had they stopped?

And then I heard the song continue you behind me just overhead.

'I will let You down'

I turned and looked up to realized I had backed up into the tree that sat at the fall end of the great hall. It was tall and it branched off at the base of it's trunk into five separate curved trunks that went out and then back in ending at points like five big fingers to one set of claws. This tree in particular was still coated in leaves, though all of them were black just the same. And the middle curved trunk had steps curved into it. At the end of those steps sat a bed of leaves and branches in roughly the shape of chair. Upon this magnificent throne sat Johnny Cash, dressed in all black wearing a black cowboy hat, boots, and a white labcoat strumming on a warped, bent, guitar made of rotting wood with long locks of hair for strings. His hands were oozing a red goo... blood? The air tasted like blood.

'I will make You Hurt' 

He sang as he stood up and tossed me this gross blood soaked guitar... and I reached out and caught it. It felt like mush in my hands... like it might snap in two or fall apart at any moment. And Johnny Cash tipped his hat down and gave a little bow before throwing his coat tail out and catching it in his hand as he turned, disappearing at the end of the motion. And as he turned to disappear his hat and labcoat shed to ash. Alone I looked down at myself and realized I was in a labcoat. I looked up and realized I was in a cowboy hat.

I turned to face the endless crowd of my enemies and gently strummed the guitar's cord and sang.

'If I could Start again.' 

With every cord I strummed and under the echo of my voice, one by one my old enemies, the poor souls I had hurt and abandoned, souls that had depended on and trusted me, slowly turned away and began to walk away. And one by one as they got far enough away from the torch, the returned to ash and disappeared into the air until only Duckie remained. 

I watched the bullet hole Fracture had put in Duckie's head slowly formed and began to rain blood and pus... and he started to dance in a circle, swinging the light around him self to show off it's beautiful glow before he finally stopped and blew out the torch, puffing out into ash... at long last he had his beautiful death...

And I was all alone in this great big hall that had once been filled with such light and life... now as cold, empty, and barren as the rest of the world around me... as the world I had come from.

'A million miles away'

Minutes passed in slow eternity and I slowly become comfortable with the dark and got use to the gentle chill of this lonely empty place. I mindlessly and gently strummed on through it letting out my beautiful melody... for no one in particular as the roof over my head slowly shook and crumbled overhead, raining debris around me until ceiling was gone and the bright red light of the moon shone down on me.

And in that light new figures appeared around me. All masked and all glaring. Standing out in front of them was a women in all red with a pointy red hat. She snapped her finger and pointed and the old guitar in hand snapped into twenty different pieces and crumbled to the ground. She laughed and pointed down at the ground. One word to carry all she meant to say.


I shook my head and plugged at my hair, and defiantly continued my song.

'I would Keep Myself'

She laughed and rolled her eyes and waved her men to take care of me for her, all of them rushing past her to tackle me to the ground. And with each strum, one of two of them fell away into dust but before long then were upon me. They grabbed me by my wrists and hair and wrestled me to the ground, holding me still as I cussed and screamed for help. Over stepped the red women, leaning over me with a bright knowing grind.

I cried out for anyone I could think of and pleaded, no, begged for help. And as if answering that call many of the old faces I had run off appeared around me. All of them leaned overhead like the women and stared down at me. I reached out for them. Begged for them to help me stop her. But they shoot their heads as wide Cheshire smiles spread across their faces.

They lunged out at me, placing hands across my body and holding me perfectly still as the Women produced at knife. And slowly, for what felt like an eternity, she brought the knife closer and closer and closer down to my neck and gently nipped at my throat... standing up and walking away as I coughed and squeezed desperately for air struggling like a fish out of water to get free to save myself but powerless under the weight of a thousand onlooking old grudges and they slowly pressed harder and harder into me, squeezing the life out as the world went black to the sound of my whimpered, hushed gasps for a salvation that would never find me...

As my mind fell into the cold, ashy, empty, blackness, the only world I had ever truly known, I couldn't help but smirk. Seems no matter where you go or what you do... you always end up home.

Like this was the only way it could have been.

"Could there really have been no other end?"

I asked as I sat up in bed and was quickly booted out by a punch to the kidney... seems I dream to loud...

Sloth out.

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