Monday, August 29, 2011

He didn't miss my birthday.

I really wish I could say I'd been doing something more interesting that picking up groceries from the store at the time... but that's all it was. Just an "essentials run." I'd been on my way back to the hotel when a crawl crept up my spine and that familiar urge to laugh backed up in my throat. Instinct alone snapped my head around... and then I saw Him standing at the mouth of an alley across the road.

I froze there amongst the flow of people, my entire body bristling in nerves after so long of... relaxing. Of Him not being there. I'd grown too lax in His Game. But I had no sooner looked at Him, when He simply turned and walked down the alley. He had almost disappeared from sight when a voice spoke in my head. Not His. It was never His. It was always just me giving a voice to the thoughts He'd bring to the surface. Me in a mental battle with myself. Certain to end well, hm? But this wasn't even THAT. This was an all too familiar voice. One that made me feel like I'd been stabbed, and the blade twisted sideways: Hailey's.

"Mishowwl. Come play with Us, Mishowwl."

I bolted.

I ran as fast I damn well could back to the hotel. Back to Valerie. I kept thinking about all those goddamn comments on her blog. A thousand and one images flashes through my head of the different scenarios I could walk in on. I hadn't been gone for TWENTY MINUTES, but everything in my head painted the room we were in with a lake of blood. Showing me her innards as decoration. Showing me her corpse. The hollow, dead eyes...

Then I burst through the front door... and scared the living crap out of Valerie. Who had been reading.

I... feel like a total moron now.

When she stopped looking like she was going to drop dead of a heart attack, she demanded an explanation. Which I gave and she immediately began to pack up. I'm not sure how much good it'll do, but we moved locations overnight. Certainly can't hurt. During this, she got a phone call from someone we've been trying to contact who was known to hang out with Corey. Things seem to check out. It's not much, but it is a lead. I've spent all of today researching as far as I can go. I had to stay distracted, which is why I'm only posting this tonight. Hopefully we've caught onto something here.

If one digs deep enough... you're bound to hit a rock eventually... right?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I didn't even have to pay for the door.

I hate cities.  I really, REALLY do. Too many people. Too close together. Too bright. Too noisy. Too much to keep an eye on. Too easy to get followed without noticing and too easy to stumble into a bad area...

....Yeah, that doesn't sound paranoid at all, does it?

Fuck it.

The crowds alone are enough to drive me crazy. Personal space is non-existent. My own personal hell.

Okay, a bit over-dramatic, but shoot me. Okay? I did not have a good day. I won't bore you with details, but let's just say Corey isn't going to be as easy to track down as I thought. Fuck, I should have known this was going to happen. It was just going too smoothly. It was all falling into place too well. Nothing ever is that simple...

We went to the apartment three times today, trying to catch him when he was in. We tried morning, but he wasn't home. We tried afternoon, but he wasn't home. Then we tried in the evening... and that's when we heard a call from down the hall. One of the neighbours - some woman who wore WAY too much make-up in order to pretend she wasn't aging - kindly asked us if we were looking for Corey. I wanted to tell her that, no, we just like the sound of knocking on wood, but Valerie knows me too well and elbowed me in the side before I could say anything. They had a good ol' chat, and we were informed that Corey's been gone for a week or so.

That would be when I proceeded to kick the door open. Partly frustration. Partly cause I wanted in anyway. Partly cause I've always wanted to do that.

Scratch one from the bucket list~

The woman was horrified (hilarious). Valerie was facepalming (hilarious). The apartment was completely empty (mother fucker). The door hit the wall with a near deafening BAM and that sound echoed... and echoed... and echoed. The entire place was cleared out. I searched everywhere as Valerie talked the woman out of calling security (such a good partner in crime I have~) but I couldn't find anything besides a few receipts in the trash.

So that's where we are. Corey is fuck only knows where and my pepsi has officially gone flat. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

They're called "Quebec Stops"

I'm really not that bad of a driver. Really. Valerie is a horrible passenger though. Holy CRAP, she's bad... and now she's telling me I better not be muttering about her backseat/passenger-seat bickering/monitoring. And now I'm grinning. So she knows I am. And... there's the pillow. 'Cause that's real mature.

Seriously, who'd you rather behind the wheel? Someone with a few loose screws or someone who looks like the walking dead? And yes, hun, you are that bad. Statistics show, you might as well be drunk or stoned~

Yeah, I just got the other pillow to the head. You're so ABUSIVE, Hakurei Ryuu...


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the ways I can get a sulking Sage to smile. Heh. Small victories are good victories~ It is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore my mockery. It's one of the many things that make me a pain in the ass. Even got a laugh out of her when I started "panicking" about the earthquake earlier today. In all seriousness, I found it... fascinating. Apparently, it originated in Virginia as a 5.9. Lasted for ten seconds where we were. We never got many earthquakes back home. Sometimes the cabinets would rattle during one, but this I actually felt through the ground. It was... strangely reassuring actually. A reminder that, despite everything, this is still Nature's world. Not His. He's just a part of HER system. Maybe as a original piece. Maybe as a corrupted one. But He is still a part, not a whole. It's nice to remember that nature is, in the end, the be all and end all. Not Him.

Or maybe I'm just being weird again. I do that too, apparently. Could be it's just the farmer coming out, eh?

Now... we're set in a hotel along the border, waiting for a decent hour to roll around in which it is actually realistic to knock on someone's door. This "someone" we're going to refer to as Corey. Why? Cause we are going to attempt to not get him killed.

Stick to the basics, neh?

When Valerie went to help Kay, I spent the majority of my time doing research. One of things I did research on was tracing a name fourteen years buried. Steven's best friend. The same guy who was in the canoe with him in the picture Redlight had. I had little hope at first that he was still alive, but... sometimes we have to get lucky. It took digging, but I found him. He had stayed in Canada a few more years after the death/murder of my brother, then he moved Southernly into New York.

I want need to find out what really happened to my brother. I... I need to find out how he got involved with the Black King. Corey may be my best shot.


The... majority of you know what happened back at the farm. The thought of... pulling at loose strings makes my stomach churn. I almost don't want to know what he went through, now that I know he was Haunted, but... he's my brother. I need to know the truth. He deserves that much. He deserves someone to know the truth. To believe. To care. Even if it's just me. Even if that truth just dies when I do... maybe I can give him a bit of immortality by putting it on this damn blog. Maybe...

I'm glad to have Valerie here with me to go through with this. I feel... bad for dragging her in, but... we have each others' backs. We always have. I know she's worried about Kay and Sage, but there's nothing we can do for either of them right now. If something comes up, make no mistake: I'll throw the car in reverse and we'll head back.

The present, after all, always outweighs the past.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Done and Done.

Holy mother of crap, I'm tired. I've been... sleeping. Believe it or not. If you don't, I don't blame you. I'm having a hard enough time believing it myself. But after I finished with that damn tree... I did intend to post right away. Came online. Commented here and there... but then I laid down and that was it. I slept through the day. The entire freaking day. No nightmares. Just sleep. That tree was... beyond strange. It's taken care of though. I even dug up the goddamn roots. It's probably mostly physical exhaustion since it felt like I was trying to hack into a block of goddamn cement...

Yeah, I wore gloves. Yeah, I wore a jacket. And my jeans and boots and I really was not planning to get the crap actually ON me... but I was using an axe. And there was splatter. It was actually hot to the touch. Like from an actual body. A bit of a uneasy thought, I suppose, considering what (who?) I was trying to cut apart... but whatever. It didn't matter.

What matters... is that it is gone. Back to Hell from which it came.

I went out after posting, axe on my shoulder. The sun had been down for a few hours, but the streetlamps gave me that fake, yellow glow to work by. I honestly don't like that light to begin with. My mind turns the yellow to flaming orange too quick, but I just focused on that damn tree. It seemed bigger at night. The branches twisting high over my head. Casting shadows across the yard that seemed to crawl around when I wasn't looking. It felt like... I had to stay where they didn't reach. It felt like the shadows would wrap around my ankles if I got too close. More than once I jumped back. Jumped to one side. I could swear I felt a tug at my jean leg. Just a light snag of a shadow gnarled branch fishing for its grip. I just...  I kept imagining that pull suddenly snapping up - lashing painfully tight around my leg. Binding me. Holding me. Cutting right through to my skin. Pulling tighter. Blood..

My mind... and I don't get along at times.

I had to fight off the What Ifs more than anything else. My thoughts kept spewing the worst at me. Paranoia twisting in my head... but the tree itself just stood there the whole time. Watching. Waiting. I almost felt studied.

I swung.

The blade sunk in about half an inch.

The bleeding began.

I swung again. And again. And again. The blade sunk deeper. The blood splattered my clothes and face. The tree groaned and creaked in protest.

I felt the shadows reach for my legs again.

I was a mess of sweat and tree blood by the time the wood crackled angrily as it tore from itself and the tree fell. But I still had one last thing to add to my attire before the night could be wrapped up: Soot. I hauled the pieces of bleeding wood and bark to the pit at the back of the property, added gas, a match... et voila. Instant demonic bonfire. Once I had that going, I got the shovel (that Valerie's family DID own) and got to work on the roots. By the time the sun came up, the last roots were burning on my pile. I had some of THE most fitting songs blasting off the laptop.

Then I promptly passed out for a while.

So, in short...




Monday, August 15, 2011

Alone Time.

Valerie's gone to Kay's place with Sage. I opted out of the entire affair in favor of guarding the home fortress, so to speak. I trust Sage to protect Valerie should shit hit the fan, yada, yada, yada, so that's no problem there. Plus, not only did I rather not care enough to partake in the emotional drama, but I'm sure my presence would only start an argument of some sort even IF I kept my trap shut. So... in other words... me staying back = Win : Win.

It was just before noon when Sage showed up. As per the norm back when we HAD a norm, Valerie wasn't exactly ready at that point so... I met Sage. I had been planning to be scarce when he showed up, to be honest, but after letting him in he really didn't give me a chance to slink away. He asked me questions. Standard things. Nothing too specific. Then... he asked how I worked myself out of insanity. How I got my grip again. That sort of... stumped me for a while. I'd never really questioned how I did it. So I said the only thing that came to mind: I believed in the ground. The advice I got back when things started getting bad. His advice. I thanked him for it. Said it helped.

He goddamn hugged me.

I completely froze. I don't think I even blinked. I'm not GOOD with close things and I honestly thought that he would plow me one across the jaw if we ever met and...


What is it with the Sages and hugging people? Honestly? And, of course, that's exactly when Valerie decided to make her entrance. Sage stepped back, told me to keep my head up, and asked Val if she was ready to go.

...I still think it's easier to believe he punched me in the face. But whatever.

So, for the first time in weeks... I'm alone. Between Valerie following me like a hawk when I first showed up and then me following her after Redlight's visit... yes. Alone time is good. Very good. Much needed and much deserved. Only accountable for myself and the walls of a silent building that's as much of a stranger to me as I am to it.

And the Tree.

No offence, hun, cause I know you'll eventually read this... eventually... but what the hell kind of family doesn't own an axe? I always considered that a sort of basic thing. Like a hammer. Or a toothbrush. But to each their own, I suppose.

I am, however, pleased to report we own one now. Or, at least, I do. Nice addition to my pathetic little arsenal of "pointy/sharp things", I think. Bulky, of course, so sadly I can't exactly travel with it when The Time comes... but, hey, small details. I must say, I'm feeling good. I have my axe that I've sharpened to a divine edge that cuts my thumb just at a touch... and now I'm going outside to take care of the headache that's been driving both myself and Val nuts over the past week. Seriously. The woman gets more tics than I do. I always considered myself a bit of a music addict, but when she wants to drown something out....

I mean, sure, I hate the thing out there. Hate it. It's invaded my sleep which is... interesting. Combined with the Black King it gets very... nevermind. I'll explain that nightmare one day. Might as well, but not now. It bothers Valerie a lot more though. She's constantly plugged into her ipod. And the odd time she isn't, she's humming to herself. Constant noise. Constant distractions. Not that I blame her. I completely understand.

Which is why... I've decided cremation is in order for the remaining essence of Redlight's old meat-suit. I'm not going to sit back and watch my best friend get driven up the wall because of some demonic weed. No, I don't think I'm going to be allowing that. Especially since it's One on One at the present time. Had to wait for it to get dark though since I wasn't sure how the neighbours would react to me hacking at Nothing with an axe. The expressions may have been something worth seeing though... heh, I suppose I could have always told them I was practising to be a mime.

Heh. When the Sage is away, the Others shall play~

This should prove amusing.


Oh, yes, I should apologize for not updating, hm? Sorry about that. Still getting the hang of turning to this instead of my sketchpad (need to get a new one. Maybe they make them with waterproof covers?). I am doing much better though. Good mood, good food, horrible sleep but... can't have it all, hn? Must say, a little worried as I haven't seen the Black King since I got into New Jersey but... again, can't complain. Not complaining. Not complaining at all. As for the pictures, I've come to a decision regarding Steven and He That Is. More on that later. For now... time to take advantage of the bonfire pit around back.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A nightmare I couldn't wake from. That's what kept me out of the real life nightmare that walked in the front door last night. That chatted up my best friend. That could have killed her while I just... while I just stayed asleep. Until the screaming. The screaming. The goddamn screaming woke me up. It could have been too late. I don't even want to think about what he could have done to her had he wanted. That could have been Valerie's last breath - how the hell could I have just let that happen? Why couldn't I wake up? I was in a different nightmare this time around, but I couldn't wake up. I knew I was dreaming and yet... fucking hell, it doesn't even matter. I'm failing again. Goddammit, I can't keep failing. This is my job - this is my purpose to still be here wasting oxygen, I can't just...


Now there's a new decoration in the front yard. That, apparently, no one else can goddamn see. That's not unsettling at all. Even from inside the house... I can feel it out there. Valerie's been avoiding it like the plague... because it could very well be just that. She didn't want me near it either. At first, that wasn't going to be a problem because honestly every fibre of my being was telling me to stay the fuck away from it and kill any who try to force me even an inch closer... but.... well, it's fairly obvious, isn't it?

The envelope.

It was still in the pocket of that damn hoodie. I wanted it. So... I waited. I waited until Valerie was finally catching some sleep, then I slipped outside. I intended to be quick. No point in ceremony... but mother of Hell it was difficult to force each step forward. I slowly made my way up to it like I was approaching wired explosives... and I swear the air temperature dropped the closer I got to the damn thing. The tree was twisted around itself like some sort of plant from a Dr. Suiss nightmare. Not a single leaf... just that hoodie. Still hanging in tatters on the arms or branches or whatever the hell you want to call them. The breeze... sort of moved it... like some cheesey effect in some Hollywood film, but in real life I assure you it is a LOT more startling. Its presence was... god I don't even have a word for it.... crushing, maybe? Smothering. It felt like... like it was... clinging to me. Like it was in the air itself. I've never... felt that kind of fear before. Not even from Him. THAT is what twisted itself inside me as I came to stand in front of the once-human. It... has a face still. For a split second... I swear I saw what should have been a head twist around... its... its mouth agap in a voiceless scream that pierced through my ears and... and I swear I heard the bark creaked and groaned with the movement... but it was just for that second. I nearly had a heartattack. I scrambled/jumped back... and then it was just a tree trunk again. When my heart stopped threatening to break my ribs, I made my way forward againa and stared at the agonized face molded in the wood.

'Fire' was the first thing that popped into my head. I want to try to burn the damn thing.

But... I had another task at hand at that point. I really don't want to admit how much my hand was shaking as I reached in - passed the gnarled branches in the shape of arms and hands into that pocket - but goddammit I'm trying honesty here so... fuck it. Every goddamn second I was expecting those arms to come alive and tear into me... but nothing happened. I grabbed the envelope and immediately shot backwards. I watched the thing up and down for a minute or two... before slowly backing away towards the house. Then... I turned and bolted. Tried my best not to slam the goddamn door and wake Valerie. I locked it behind me like some kind of pathetic barrier and immediately checked the house over in a way that would make a paranoid schizophrenic proud. I checked on Valerie - still asleep on the couch - and that's when I took my first even breath again. My hands were still shaking... but nothing had happened. Nothing.

I... opened the envelope in the seat across from the one Redlight himself had sat in - a spot I could still see my friend from but was far enough away not to wake her. Glad I had that thought really... cause I didn't move from that spot until hours later, nearing noon today when Valerie woke up.

The envelope contained several photographs.

This one... was at the very bottom of the stack.

Redlight said he remembered me.... and he was carrying a picture of Steven in his pocket. He must have been sixteen in this picture. He... always went in the local canoe race...

He would be dead a month later.

Severe brain lesions.

goddammit it all to hell... it was supposed to have been severe brain lesions...