Monday, October 17, 2011

The Notebook: The apartment

The apartment that the address led them to was on the first floor of a building in a forgotten part of town.It was worn down, old, and supposed to be vacant. Minori talked to the landlord about it, and while he suspected squatters he couldn't prove anything. Just strange noises at strange hours. Residents claiming that they saw people going in but not out. He had thought about calling it haunted and bringing in the tourists. The Mad Ventriloquist thought this was a good idea. Minori was not amused.

They were allowed inside, and it seemed vacant. The landlord seemed a bit creeped out by the whole thing and left downstairs but let them look around for a while. That's exactly what they did. Minori took one side of the room, The Mad Ventriloquist took the other. They didn't really talk much. He assumed that Minori was still mad at him. And he wasn't really sure what to say to her at this point.

"Did you know there was a hallway over here?" Minori asked, breaking the silence. The Mad Ventriloquist looked over to her. She was in a corner of the room that was a little hard to see, but he was pretty sure was just a wall. It wasn't. "Wait here." She said, beginning to walk through the hallway.

The Mad Ventriloquist followed.

She turned around and he thought she was going to aim her gun at him again, but she didn't. "It's a strange hallway. You'll need backup. It's why I'm here." he said, and she didn't look very happy but she agreed.

The hallway led into another room, which was empty except for a hole in the ground. The walls were lined with various graffiti marks that The Mad Ventriloquist didn't recognize at the time. "We should go." he said, and Minori backed up a few inches. Then she stopped. "It's just you and me Ronan." she said, "If we leave now, we have no way to come back to this lead. I'll never know what happened."

She walked forward, gun at the ready, and looked into the hole. Before The Mad Ventriloquist could get to where she was, she was already climbing down a ladder attached to it. "I need you up here, in case someone comes in. Only come down if you hear something." With that, she dropped down, and all The Mad Ventriloquist saw of her was the glow of her flashlight slowly fade away.

She had been gone for ten minutes when he heard a scream and two gunshots. The Mad Ventriloquist climbed down there as quickly as he could and tried his best to follow the noise. The place didn't have many tunnels, but it still took a while. By the time he found her, another shot had been fired.

The Mad Ventriloquist finally caught up to her, and saw she was pinning down a man. It was too dark to properly see his face. There was a dampness next to the ground that was obviously blood though.  He saw Minori draw her arm back, and there was a dull thud as it came back and made contact with the man's face. He noticed her gun was still in her hand. She reached back and did it again. And again.

The man just laughed. He talked about her sister, about the tall man, about how the whole city was doomed. She didn't really seem to be listening. She just kept on hitting him over and over until the laughter became shrieks of pain, and even past then. After The Mad Ventriloquist recovered from the shock he pulled her off the man and wrestled the gun out of her hand.

The man laughed and coughed a bit. The Mad Ventriloquist focused on Minori. "What are you doing? You don't even know who this guy is. And I know you're smart enough to not fire a gun in a space like this." She didn't seem to register what he was saying for a brief second. She was shaking in rage, and trying to escape from The Mad Ventriloquist's grip. It didn't last long though, and the anger slowly turned into shock and horror. She took a deep breath and looked at The Mad Ventriloquist. "I overreacted. The shots were... I saw him. The tall man. He was here."

The Mad Ventriloquist looked around. The gun shots didn't seem to have hit anyone despite being in a tunnel. He didn't see the bullets. He didn't see any exit aside from the one he came through either. "Where did he go?" He asked and Minori just shook her head.

"You two are fools." the man said, laughing again. Minori looked like she was going to lunge at him again, but controlled herself this time. "Who is he. Tell me." she said. The man didn't. "You look so much like your sister, you know. Have I told you what her face looked like as he ripped her piece by piece? Did I say what she sounded like when he found her heart? We've heard of you, Minori Ryan. We know all about you. And the way you're going, you'll end up just like her. I hope I'm there to watch."

This time, The Mad Ventriloquist almost didn't hold her back.

Minori calmed herself down again and looked at him. "Get me out of here. Now." He thought it was a strange request until he looked down and realized that the blood wasn't from the man. The bullet had ricocheted into her leg. The Mad Ventriloquist picked her up and backed out of the room. He didn't want to turn his back to the man. "You can't beat him." he said. The Mad Ventriloquist ignored him.

They went to Minori's apartment and The Mad Ventriloquist called a doctor who was good with bullet wounds and didn't ask questions. He waited with her and did what he could to stop the bleeding. She had been pretty lucky. It wasn't going to kill her. "What the hell did I do?" she asked softly as The Mad Ventriloquist sat by her. "You shot before thinking." he answered. "Not that." she said. He didn't know how to answer.

The room was quiet for a while, before The Mad Ventriloquist spoke. "He deserved it." he said. Minori shook her head. "No one deserves that. I lost control of myself. I forgot who I was." she answered. This didn't make too much sense to The Mad Ventriloquist. "What if that is actually who you are? There's no shame in it." he asked. Minori just shook her head again, but didn't say anything other than that.

"So you saw him" The Mad Ventriloquist asked. "Yeah. And don't you dare call me crazy," she said, "but I don't think he's human." He just stared at her for a minute. She glared, and he nodded eventually.

The doctor came and they didn't have to talk anymore.

Friday, October 7, 2011


David's come back.

I woke up last night to a smell that I thought I had forgotten. Turns out I haven't. Gasoline is gasoline is gasoline and smelling it anywhere other than a gas station is usually a really bad sign. So I woke up and turned on a light. Gasoline was everywhere. On the floor, on my couch cushions, it was even near my bed. I'm not sure how I slept through that. I must have been very drunk. Now that I think about it, I had a bit of a hangover.

Which was probably why the music was so loud. It started a few minutes after I turned on the light. Some kind of rock bad. Female vocalist. I followed the music to a window in the living room. David was standing about fifteen feet from my house. With him was a lighter, a boombox, a fire extinguisher, and a megaphone. A trail of gasoline was right in front of him.

He saw me, and picked up the megaphone. "I thought I'd help you get out of the house." he said, then looked at what seemed to be a case of some sort, "You have about fifteen minutes to pack. Or stop me. Either way."

"What if I don't get out?" I yelled back at him. He gestured towards the fire extinguisher. "I'll get you out. I'm not going to hurt you Ronan."

I believed him. I really did. But at the same time, the threat of fire isn't pleasant. And his rescue plan didn't seem well thought out. So I tried to get out of the building. I really did. I stood at the doorway for five minutes. The boombox changed songs a couple times. I couldn't do it. Of course things hadn't started burning yet. I had a good sense of preservation. I might get out once there was fire. So I went to pack.

This probably sounds really silly, reading this. That I just talked to David as he threatened to burn my house down. But I was scared and helpless and I couldn't do anything but hope I could get my more precious things out before I was dealing with a lot of hot fire.

I went to my room and started putting things in the bag least soaked with gasoline. My laptop, some clothes, a pack of beer, some music I particularly liked. My baseball bat.

I stopped when I got to my baseball bat.

I had done a lot of damage with that, back when I was a bad guy. Back when I wasn't afraid of anything. Sometimes I thought that the me from the past might look at me now and laugh. He'd laugh a lot. I was a failure who couldn't do anything. Who drowned himself in beer and tried to help people he never met but ultimately made them hurt. I was now in a soon to be burning building, just waiting for it to blow up.

What had happened to me?

I held my baseball bat and remembered all the painful things. Minori's empty eyes when I had last saw her, The dead bodies I had found, David with Minori, the family I had betrayed. I didn't want to lose anyone. Didn't want to hurt them anymore. I was so afraid of the pain, that I just kept on hurting. At that moment, I decided all this pain had to stop. And only I could do that.

I took hold of my baseball bat and went to the door. I didn't even stop at the doorway, just went outside and towards David. He smiled for a minute before I caught up to him and swung. He stumbled back and I swung again. I swung until he was on the ground. I probably broke a few bones. Not that it would stop David if he was motivated, but it would slow him down. He started laughing and I stopped for a moment.

"Hello Ronan." he said, and the hand with the lighter in it moved. I raised my baseball bat, but he signaled me to wait and put the lighter in his pocket. "You're out of the house." I looked back and noticed that I was. There was no panic. No fear. I realized it was what I had to do, and I did it. Everyone always says that's where true courage is. Perhaps they're right.

"What do you think you're doing?" I asked. I had meant to yell at him, but it came out as a low whisper. Cold and threatening. I remembered that voice, that conviction. It was almost like coming home. David recognized it too, and he smiled more. "I'm helping you." he said.

"Well stop helping. I don't need you to fight my battles for me." I answered.

"I don't want to fight your battles. I want to stand by your side."

I hesitated at that.

I know many of you don't like David. You have good reasons. He's a monster. I don't have any delusions about that. I've known him for around twenty years. I've seen him laugh in the middle of a murder. I've seen him do far worse than that. I know him more than anyone else. And because of that, I see what many others don't. I can't really explain it. Even if I did, it's possible you wouldn't believe me. But part of me will always like David, no matter what he does.

That part of me is what convinced me to lean down towards David and kiss him.

It was long and sweet and gentle and don't rub this in Elaine it's complicated enough already.

A song started. I sort of liked it. sort of slow, sort of sad, sort of hopeful. "This is it." David said, pulling away from me, "What are you going to do now?"

I looked over at my house. The only place I had felt safe for six years. My prison. "I'm going to fight him, David." I said, "I can't let him do this any more."

David looked sad and happy at the same time. I don't know how that works. "You know if you go after the slender man, my deal can't protect you anymore." he told me. I nodded. Then he put something into my hand. It was the lighter. I looked at my house one more time. Then I lit the trail of gasoline.

let the flames begin

When The Mad Ventriloquist first started using third person, he hadn't meant to use it to run away. He just thought that if the slender man used thought to find people, typing without first person would make it confusing. It was protection. When he decided to stop hiding he dropped it. But he's going to start again. Because now he really is in danger from the man in the business suit. But it's what he has to do. So he will.

The Mad Ventriloquist is reborn.