On the Run
Only sad, pale remnants were left of the once advanced, conquering nation of America.
Sure it was already broken and ridiculous. Adults ran it all after all.
But it had still been theirs.
A kid could play ball, play a few pranks, and nick a candy bar or two.
The real stuff worth anything in this world. Not bread or gross fish with marble staring eyes, not gems and women’s jewelry glittering and posh, or freaking water. Plastic too. What had happened to all the plastic?
As it stood three battered, battle worn orphans limped across broken pavement that was melting to more and more soil. Tree cover from towering conifers and deciduous jutting from the remains of what used to be cement, metal, and other materials he couldn’t and did not care to think about.
Others had converted to shacks and lean-to of leather and skin.
Bones as window panes and bars.
Parchment of sale prices and auction in the same tone as even Talia’s skin making them all shiver.
Not a word had been said. Not after a night spent on the precarious hill housing a family of warthogs and hedgehogs. Not when they’d pilfered food off a cart by jumping on and off as it went about its trail.
Not when grotesque vultures and flying taut skinned corpses of fish, lizards, snakes, and humans tried to sweep down for a bite.
Gregory was in the lead. Scouring and crouching, beneath branch work, up pistons of drooping blossoms at least eleven feet tall and double-wide working as this fancy seasonal restaurant.
Come to think… it was, it was spring right now.
Last he’d remembered any grassy terrain, any modern windows or stained glass, the fields of the Keep, had all been buried in furious red and orange leaves.
He pointed toward a completely green pavilion with holey trees. Each indentation of a door made of dewy leaves or curtain moss likely a store.
“No,” he said sharply to the new pair.
He didn’t need to be reminded what a moron he’d been. What a dumb sacrificial lamb he’d let himself turn into. Even if– even if there could have still been time. If Talia–
If Mario had–
If Greg had fought her off. Showed her who was actually in charge and who needed who.
Because right now it was almost like the only people he had left; his ally and this turncoat wanted to baby him.
Well tough because he was the only one they had either.
Upon the pavilion was tranquil, lazy energy. No one at alert. Everyone dumbly happy and trading gossip and rumors.
Talk of the next shipment of grains.
The new press gems.
The fire stones or pearls. Soldiers going en masse to Salem. The witch town and holding state for zealots and dissenters.
All invaluable information.
Sunstones equaled some new staffs ripe to steal or sell on some underground markets. Enough for a militia. That would be entertaining. Hopefully, some up his ass teenager had some balls.
If they could maybe get jobs checking or packing the grain.
They took anyone.
Girls were always in demand to cook the bread.
It looked like vines tied to crude baskets was how anyone got into the upper rungs of shops.
“Hey!” he called to a random passerby. A man with a bald spot and wearing a combination of jopula, modern LGBT buttons, and bleach jeans with an unnatural pink that was not on the market as a natural dye.
Jopula. Ugh, just the word made him gag.
“Ye– yes, what can I–”
He gave them the once over.
“Yes we look a fright,” Talia said. “Positively wretched and demented.” A dark inflection came to her tone.
“No, no,” Mario cut in, turning on the ten-year-old puppy eyes. “Umm I’m sorry but, where’s a clothing shop?”
“Ah ha– hah,” the man laughed nervously. “Right, right on the second story. Can’t miss it. I uh, I recommend Wilhelm Date. When you,” he lowered to a whisper, “don’t need to look like yourself.”
Greg’s eyes widened. All the same, he retained his contemptuous glare. “We can manage. I’d be more worried if I were as jaunty and so obviously suspect my good man.” A stretched, ingenuine smile soured his next words. “Just, food for thought from a rough gem.”
His eyes instantly settled upon the bulging pocket of gold or some other tradeable item.
The man began to sweat.
He looked to Talia whose stare was blank and piercing.
Fanning his face he decided they weren’t worth another thought. A sardonic smile remained on his face.
The basket was an awful experience. And both his friends had insisted upon looking down, even as Mario grew sick from the height, needing to sit at the very end to regain his bearing.
“So small, so small,” he groaned dazedly, dark eyes practically floating and swimming out of focus.
Greg simply picked at the worn fabric of his mandated shirt and pants. The strangling belt on his waist had been taken. As if they didn’t want him to make a noose out of it while in solitary.
“Hey now,” Talia lifted a finger, “I just realized,” a few lookovers as if they needed to be more suspicious, “we have no way to pay for anything.”
Mario and Greg looked at each other. Even he was starting to pity Talia just a little.
Smiling, the boys assured her, “leave that part to us. We have our ways.”
She frowned, clearly not liking the looks of them but letting it settle anyway.
“I am going to die with these two,” mumbled her very grateful self, black hair piling around her face. “May not be too bad. I wonder–”
Fairies hung about, flying languidly around the customers shopping. Feeders were strung on the ceiling, shimmering with geodes and full of fat golden nectar or sap. Some with leaf shavings giving the shop an air of allergy.
Greg directed them to split off. Don’t give too much hint that they were together. With a nod, Talia complied.
“Keep an eye anyway and be ready to spring that alarm over there,” Greg said pointing out some kind of bell near the counter.
“Got it,” he confirmed. “And besides the usual fare, what should we stock up on?”
“Whatever you can get,” he said. He was seeing a lot of unguarded wallets and seed rations. Not to mention the hanging jewelry.
Not only did Wilhelm Date offer clothing of all sizes and medieval styles but also bubble bottles of potions to string on belts like garland, sword sheaths, daggers, bayonets, masks, charms, and spell texts.
Greg looked about from all the vests, cloaks, and capes. Nothing he would be caught dead wearing except at a Ren fair or a fantasy film premiere. Callously letting each piece drop to the floor he continued on.
Spider silk and caterpillar material the tags read. Some, still in fresh ink and coming off his hands.
“Ahh excuse me,” said the meek voice of a spindly Asian-looking girl. Greg aimed a powerful glare making him yelp like a poodle. “Ahhh! Um, the mess–”
“And? What of it? I didn’t do it.”
There were so many crowds and no cameras to prove he did anything. He’d checked.
“No, no of course not but uhh you seem to be struggling to find something, and well,” he gave him the usual once over, taking in his shredded, stained Keep-wear. “Are you sure you’re in the right place?”
“I came here for a new set of clothes.”
“Yes but, some if not all are more in the Middle range,” she explained. “Hunters and soldiers. People with gold and jewels.”
“Okay, then what else?”
“What else do you have? You have a bargain or clearance bin don’t you?” Greg griped. “Rags and stuff you can’t wait to get rid of.”
“O–over there,” she said pointing to lo and behold a beaten down cart with a load of mixed up, overflowing shirts, pants, and undergarments.
“Now was that so hard?” he asked sweetly.
She moved along with bitter eyes glowering at him, keeping a suspicious glance. Surely she was rearing to call security.
Greg quickly found a black short sleeve top tied at the collar with drawstring but made of linen. Human fabric.
He picked out pants that had to have been recycled from potato sacks and abnormally long stockings.
Making for the back dressing rooms he carved out a path from the thinning shoppers. If he stayed to the walls, leaped from the table of scarves and a display of spinning jewels. Not bad.
Talia was closer to the front door.
And with that cacophony broke loose when the chaotic jangle of the clock bell out of place rang.
The crystals now pulsed a darkly threatening purple.
Crap. Why purple.
For a frightening, petrifying moment his heart had seized remembering his orb. The orb in the solitary room. A companion and burrowing worm of insanity.
Greg growled, pushing down the urge to fling a rock at the offending crystal.
The initial path he had planned was forfeit.
“Go! Go! GO!” Mario bellowed to Talia but still trapped in the panic of fleeing customers, the bell clanging eternally.
Until a wave of a hand and the grunt of a man too wide and tall to be allowed silenced the noise.
If Greg had to describe Wilhelm Date it would be… golem.
Thickly muscled limbs stuffed into a skirt, brambles of blond hair in tasteful braids beaded with small cartilage dipped in liquid amber. A sharply defined face with hints of mossy stubble.
“Do calm yourselves, a false alarm is all,” said his faint, girlish tone whispered to Greg’s side.
Mr. Date or whatever, Greg had no idea as he was completely uninterested in asking, laughing boisterously with each heave that he separated customers off of each other.
“Midnight blue and pale as the moon, Willie approves M’Lady,” he said to Talia whose eyes were frozen.
“Though and correct me if I’m wrong,” he hummed a finger to his chin.
“Powders!” Greg yelled, acting fast with some of the healing grounds. Date shrieked to the powder digging into his eyeballs, sizzling mist coming from his cheeks.
His leg rose to deliver a practiced and deadly spear kick only for the flesh to become clay, encasing his foot in between his stomach, and oh Lord he felt everything! Ugh, there was gooey stuff.
Women screamed, some retched.
Date’s bloodshot eyes peered into Greg with malice.
“Now, now sir there’s no reason to be so dissatisfied.”
He struggled against the entrapment, nearly unbalancing himself while the golem man-woman kept upright.
Then a whoosh of air grazed his ear, making his hair blow.
A searing flash of white burst in his eyelids when Talia swept her new scepter, the quartz a milky white now as a drill spun and drove itself into the sidewall.
She tried again in a wider arc creating a whip of white magic.
And people disintegrated into rainbows of sand.
She gaped. Greg had gone chalk white.
Only her eyes still hardened, resolve turned to complete, unyielding and apathetic steel, biting her lip as she branded the scepter to its side in one hand.
Making use of the glass, after slicing his own hand, Greg slashed at Date’s stomach, embedding the jagged shard in his thigh through the skirt.
The storekeeper grimaced in pain even as his flesh churned and morphed around the uneven shape.
An entire mob had broken out to apprehend them.
Only it wasn’t so easy.
Gregory had absolutely no care for almost anyone, barely did for Talia Perlick and Mario Huarez had known what he’d signed up for when they’d been thirteen and fourteen.
The strikes of magic and weaponry gave Mario plenty of broken wood and metal to work with to do what he absolutely had to. Shunting the throngs aside or giving warning swats to heads and rib cages.
The regular civilian was much easier to overpower with twists of his spine and squirrely street fighting. Easier still with the set of tipped arrows he had picked up that sent them reeling or eyes roiling over their heads.
There was no hope for the door anymore.
Not only had local militia and hunters become aware of the commotion but the bell had been rung again and the now purple store would probably be overrun with royal authorities.
Talia solved that problem courtesy of a liquid fire brew blasting a hole into the floor and another crater into one of the tree walls.
Without hesitation, she grazed her fingers to make a path of crouched backs to act as their stepping stones.
Eyes utterly cold and her silence deeper the two followed her.
Gregory tried to engage her. That was not only some quick, savage thinking but way ballsy and much more ruthless than he’d ever expected out of inexperienced, naive Perlick.
“You could have told me the plan,” she said and she didn’t sound angry.
Instead, Gregory realized she was trembling. Whipping around he could see she was teary-eyed. “I– I had to do something terrible today and– and I don’t know if it can be undone!”
Gregory scratched the back of his neck. “They’re hardly the first. Tens of thousands died just eight years ago and these freaks weren’t even trying. Now at least a third of ’em are galavanting about,” he smiled somewhat cruelly, “I say at least half in there got some of what they deserved.”
“And that’s supposed to make it better that I–”
She stared into her hands.
“So much red. All that red sand, was it their blood? I mean I like a good dissection or torture fest of human blood but that– that was something else. Something demonic.”
“Hey look,” said Mario’s tender voice trying to touch her shoulder and bring Talia out of her weird dark trance. Only for her to flinch as if he were some swamp thing.
“We should get some more distance between us and the crime scene,” she said. “I bet they boil Keep escapees and feed them to the undead to keep them in the underground bowels while trying to gas them deader.”
One could say whatever they wanted but even Gregory couldn’t deny it was moments like that that made him still his hand on betraying her, even if she was likely to do it first.
Seriously… girls that pretty could almost only be snobs.
“Where should we stay for the night now?” Mario asked, turning to Gregory.
Somehow he’d ended up on their flank and something in their sharp, cautious strides made him suspect they very much considered themselves his bodyguards somehow.
As if Mario’s body were still prepubescent or Talia hadn’t just had a mini mental break about— well okay he supposed she’d had the right.
He’d never killed anyone and sometimes he’d marinated in self-loathing so strong it ripped him apart at the seams in such a brutal yet slow way. No way did someone so terrible, so disturbed deserve a quick end.
“The crags where the San Francisco bridge used to be. It’s an entire grotto of displaced, mostly adults but they’re pretty cool.”
It’s actually where Gregory would have actually liked to go in what was left of California. He’d heard vague whispers of the grotto, but only that it was a decline of craggy rock with new caves, plenty of predators, but some floating strongholds Earth forces had abandoned and plenty of scrap metal from military tech that had been being developed on the human end of things.
“Great, then Golden Bridge Grotto it is,” Mario chirped. Until his stomach gave a mighty rumble. “Except could we–?”
Greg sighed. “Yeah, we could all use a bite.”
He glanced at Talia again. She’d remained mute, looking away without even seeing if she was being stared at.
“Thanks,” Gregory said.
“Huh?” she asked, blinking like a cat. Why did girls do that cute stuff? He seriously didn’t get it. Even the fun boyish ones.
“You saved me,” he said. “I know it’s only because you need me, which is so obvious now.” He scoffed but still softened, “I’ll make sure you don’t have to do that again, but don’t go thinking you’re some hero snapping, you aren’t. You’re just as human and screwed as the rest of us.”
“I suppose I am,” she murmured. “Sorry. I know that kind of stuff is ridiculous, don’t worry.” Talia sighed. “This isn’t some Eragon or Inkheart novel.”
The Prince and His Servant
"Why, because I find it funny. Wouldn't you? I mean in some way, we're practically twins. Heck, we even sorta have the same blood."
"Just what am I Dei, hmm?" Danny rounded, as they sat at the edge of a skyscraper. Dei taking deep gulps of air, steadying the glow in his chest.
"Danny," he said, pity in his voice.
"No, no I'm genuinely curious. Am I the first and foremost servant to the grand Prince of the Infinite Realms? I do serve and eager to please you my King."
"Nooooo stooooop," he complained, shrill in his laughter.
"Consider me your sword to own!"
Dei continued to shriek, half coughing as he inflamed the wounds across his sides, still leaking green.
"You know what..."
One day we could just switch our clothes. You the Hunter and me the Ghost...
"Do you think anyone would notice?"
"I think they'd hardly care in the first place."
Dei didn't laugh with him.
"Danny," his friend murmured, weak and in pain from not only the sting of ecto-weapons and slurs, but of the destruction around him. His haunt and kingdom, the flower of his cohabitation philosophy who welcomed and adored him when none of his home did, swallowed by flame.
"I'm right here, I swear. I'm here and I'm alive, I won't go anywhere."
"I-- I never thought... I would be so scared of your parents," he admitted blubbering. "They want to kill me."
He simply frowned.
So long had it taken Dei to figure that out. That feasibly, there would never be any change. Unlike ghosts, humans were static and set in their ways.
So sure they knew everything.
Then again, was he any different?
"I cannot accept anyone else to die for me! I want to keep you safe so let's--"
"Huh? What! Danny how is that--?" Dei's eyes were blown wide. "That won't help anything! What we need--"
Danny clasped his shoulders.
"What we need is time. For you to take the throne and command the powers of the Zone, send away the armies, show them a new way, a better way. That humans don't have to suffer or be lesser in life and death. So, switch. Clothes."
"We have the same blood. Amity needs someone to blame and... well I opened the damn thing in the first place."
Dei simply shook his head, silence and horror capturing his voice.
As his lips moved, a grim spark ignited in Danny.
Tackling Dei to the floor, with some effort and some dirty tricks(namely a knee right at what he'd once told him was a human version of a dog's tail) the black and white jumper was flung into a fire.
With his only option being orange spandex and streaks of black in snowy hair.
Danny knew, it was all the same.
A ghost not knowing his place.
A human daring to side with him, green blood running in his veins.
Noxious green eyes, a streak of ethereal white.
No one would know the difference.
His parents certainly wouldn't care. And so why would they stop?
Once they realized the costume was pleather and his chest bled red.
It was obvious to Danny.
Shoving Dei aside so he would fall, just another scrawny, hapless teenager in the way, whilst he ran into the jaws of cruel, callous hatred.
Sunk to his knees with hands to his head.
"NOOO! NO! NO!! LET ME--! DANN--mmph-- DAPHY! DAMPHY!"
He continued to struggle against Sam and Jazz.
He paid them all a sad smile, ultimately closing his eyes as he was hauled away.
Strapped to a table, Dei and his friends in awe as yet another portal tore through the air with concussive fanfare.
Though this one, different as the hiss of snakes and bulbous red slit pupils lined the way.
He the Hunter and Danny the ghost.
In the chambers of a long forgotten castle Dei went to his knees. Bent his head down, and a crown was placed, doing away with the human costume.
Authority and gravitas resounded from his voice. Suddenly generations of Living Born, Manifestations, all-- clanging and borrowing his body to form a single will.
"UPON MY HEAD SHALL IT BE WRITTEN
THAT THE KING WORE THE CROWN OF AMNESTY AND THE RING OF EQUALITY."
Simple. As switching clothes.
Those Screams... Distant and Long Abandoned
Moving about a room of dark blue furniture and a fuzzy navy blue rug is besieged by morning sun.
Following along is a rocking chair, piles upon piles of textbooks, trophies, a varsity jersey, the mess of clothes of all dark colors, some charms here and there, a TV and console, with the controllers tangled in each other.
All leading within the bathroom of white cut alabaster tiling and furniture.
On the dresser is framed photos of a grinning boy in a dapper school uniform.
With a silver leaf at his breast.
Continuing on is a telescope on a veranda, the image of that boy rushing along in boxers and a toothbrush in his mouth.
Spitting in the bathroom before barreling for his pants hung on a bedpost.
He takes a pill, downing a glass of water and finally looks in the mirror. Smiling proudly of the put together prissy private school heir he sees. The only thing missing, the piece that sent a shot of melancholy beneath that roguishly dumb smile...
Was a purple armband.
A question quickly answered when Father peeked in.
Arm in a cast he held it up and with a gentle smile Vlad Masters put it on his left arm.
Breakfast, despite the stupor of fun conversation and light banter, was eaten quickly. He was about ready to get back to school since last Monday.
See his friends.
Viciously mock his basketball teammates, grind down for finals week.
How an emo in too big, dumpster found clothes would snort.
Plan the kicking class parties just shy of the old fogies' tolerance.
Following the... Incident, all their parents had put their foot down.
"Light some fires, no big whoop."
"Though you are something extraordinary in oral prowess."
It wasn't like they were struggling when it came to grades after all. So, happily would the schools let some of their best students reorient and put themselves back together.
The least one could do.
For letting students come to witness a death.
Bag slung over his good shoulder Danny lolled his tongue and in a sardonic salute raced out the door, into the limo seat.
He relaxed into Vlad doing work and taking in the usual sights of trees, one stop shops, turning into a rickety, quaint little village.
"Yellow," breathed a shy, pale violation of nature.
Writing samples handed off.
The solemn turn knocking on the door, to have them received by the teenager who had once been 'Dad.'
A bus stop into the city imminent one of the houses had another student with the shine of purple geode hangers on his bookbag and a matching tie.
Logan's mouth was in a vitriolic snarl, frustrated, hair messing acid spewing out like a radioactive bomb, hurled from his lips at his Mother.
Danny opened the window, Logan taking notice as he tried to soothe his nerves with a hand through his hair.
"Need a ride?" he said, the two facing each other with a vague sense of distrust in an otherwise cold, calculating stare.
Logan threw his bag in at the end.
Sighing, cowing under the weight of it all.
Neither ready nor able to deal with the pain of their own lives and much less the horrors of fire and love, and all the gooey, sticky tastes in a changeling's mouth.
And yet, being the most stable, it was their duty.
To be there. For their friends clueless and at wits end.
Sleepy and broken, lines dug grooves dragging down and grimly elongating his face.
Both talked, keeping eyes on their phones for texts of their friends.
Conversation dominated by sleep and eating habit; meticulously searching for those silent cries of help. The hints belaying self-loathing and torture of a wound malicious and yet unknowingly inflicted.
Logan got off twenty minutes from Daniel's own school. Right at the bus stop.
Danny later met up with Janus and Remus. Two boys with sly looks to them. He was no different, making a show out of a simple bow whilst Roman's twin curtsied.
He found looks always greeted the three.
"Cheerleaders are thirsty for you," Remus squealed, grossly sucking on the idea, earning a no-fuck elbow. "Save some for me will ya!"
He simply rolled his eyes.
"Got the Lit assignment? I can lend you my book."
"Dad had one... huge library."
The Prom was coming soon. Technically Danny was too young to go.
'Less some princess asked him.
"No way, and come on I'm practically--"
"Auuuughhhh. I meant the most awkward, white ass date one could imagine."
Somewhere between, looking into the sky from his seat as the teacher droned on the chapter a ringing overtook Danny.
And it was in that moment that his head found reprieve. From the din of classes that had become grey and listless.
An agitation baring down unto his skin and burrowing, burrowing, demanding release.
Danny turned baleful, regret seeping at the concept of red ink.
Splashed across his papers and disappointment so sharp and gutting in his parents' voices.
His friends refusing to catch his eye.
Arguments turning sour and poisonous as they burned. Bubbling and searing into his bones already weighed by delirious fever.
When every night; in the cold where there was nowhere safe and no warmth of light nor promise of relief in the beacon of an electric bulb.
Battered and bruised. Skinned and stabbed, slashed and shot. Jeered and screamed. As the adults just kept hunting and stripping him down to so coldly criticize.
Because why was he here? Why was someone like him worthwhile?
Back then, before these friends, before bemused slaps on his back and plans made to go to the shops, back then was a very hard time.
One that didn't go away.
Where once on an empty bench, much like the one for the Eastward courtyard he'd pulled up his legs, hiding his face where crowds passed him by without a care.
He wasn't-- he couldn't have-- not him. Not as he was.
High strung and a heartbeat from fight or flail wild until he either escaped or died.
Until a boy with a very pretty, very cocky face took pity on him and masterfully guided him out of his own dark wood.
Slowly, carefully he was led like some waddling baby bird on too weak legs through highschool.
In the same way did he sit now.
Not interested in playing any game or making any bets or stupid shipping drama.\\
It was way too loud.
...Roman, Patton, Logan. They and he had been friends for a good while at that point.
He, himself, now hardly able to put a feeling to the complete certainty of falling. How his stomach was still flying, how laughter bubbled so easily from his mouth.
The moments where he could almost break down crying and still smile; wide and stupidly sincere because... because it was so beautiful having friends and watching Roman stuff croquette sandwiches in his face.
So, he could perhaps, tell them.
Because they were asking questions.
"You change in the showers?"
"Bad cramp? Man you and that shoulder..."
Yeah, him and that shoulder. How the gun discharged and the flambe he had almost become as the night was storming.
"Crap I'm sorry. The staff mentioned--" Danny froze.
"You, don't like guns."
There were some weekends where, after the night of movies and gossip and ice cream, gorging on snacks and whispering into the dark, where all one could see were the pupils, where they'd take out a blanket, brew up some chocolate or whatever was hot, and take breakfast to go to some park nearby. Wherever gave that slow morning atmosphere of a retreat and relaxation picnic.
That was where he told the truth.
"--for a ghost--"
"Phantom-- didn't like him... unfair--"
Danny shivered, hugging himself.
Just as Patton had the same idea, putting gentle hands, soothing a coming influx of unpleasant memories and sensory assault.
Roman traced fingers over that sore spot, careful and reverent.
"How can we help?"
A sentiment so unilaterally shared he may as well have integrated the tones of all three.
"Just let me be who I am," he said in a choked whisper, such a look on his face as if in on a joke.
The four ate to a blue sky.
Remus held a cutlet of chicken at his mouth from his lunchbox.
Staring gloomily to him he finally surrendered to the manic grin on his friend's face.
Danny came out of basketball practice sore and limbs stony from the strain.
Sunset blazed in yellow and pink, the sun a darkly burning fireball.
Vlad within the car, and waving him on.
"Feeling a bit more like yourself? Little Badger."
He nodded. "Much better, just... so, tired."
And he closed his eyes, a serene smile while he slept.
Earth Pony Magic
Bah. Bah bahbahbah.
All the games of business
Clothes and streets and grass all that and more.
Fair we play and hard earned is our reward.
Uniiiited weee areeee,
Our hooves toil in the fields.
The hammer clangs, knocks our mouths.
Sweat down our brow.
To the tall sky-scrapers.
To linen. Vests.
We are strong.
We are swift.
Is our Earth Pony Magic.
Watch us rise.
Watch us bloom.
Watch us take our dreams by our hooves and our heaaarts.
And by strength.
Working as one, gentlecooolt, fine mare, and filly.
In Earth Pony...
This Fucking Feeling
Within my center, stabbing at my abdomen deceptively dull knives fileting my flesh no more than fish cutlets.
The metaphor makes me drool.
My thoughts no longer my own.
If I could I would ravage you. Kill you, tear you to pieces.
You who submits are my beloved, so silky and smooth and sweet in my mouth.
You who resists me, who impedes me earns my primal, virile hate.
So then, let us begin.
You sit there so smug and sublime.
My suffering reaching a fever pitch.
Near to my knees.
"Just bend! HOW DO I OPEN YOU!"
The package of donuts tore spilling two upon the floor.
An Alliance of Blood and Sci-Fi
What-- what had happened?
Where was he?
What was he?
He just wanted to sleep.
He. Just. Wanted. To sleep.
Danny hated being woken early.
With her voice, her visage, the faint, flashing image of teal. Her teal eye...
A razor of agony shoots down his throat and straight to his sternum, ripping his organs apart.
A needle, beating, beating hard as if it were a hammer to stitch him back.
He was all wrong! All wrong! His parts were all wrong!
It all hurt.
Remembering that day.
The green and the pain.
What he had thought for a brief moment was an angel.
Until the screaming started.
He hadn't liked screaming.
It happened a lot. Mom... Mom...
That thought carved all his... human things... out. And left only a hollow.
So much yelling. It was so unfair.
She hurt less.
She'd been there.
Oh right. She'd urged him inside, insisted he go inside. Camera in hand. And he had listened.
The green button. A trip.
And then pain beyond understanding.
The angel. No angel at all. Not a devil either. The protector had saved his life. From the portal, from those ghosts.
Rage set aflame to blue slammed into his self, circulating through his blood and swelling the thought of his brain.
He didn't know whether it was bad human form to meander through human boy's-- Danny Fenton's-- house unchecked and unchallanged. No more than another visitor who had bore witness to a horrific accident.
Who'd done nothing to explain it, clarify it.
Done nothing but simply stand and watch.
It made his throat constrain as if a noose were digging at his ghostly skin. Turned whiter than that Raf something fellow from the Grimm timeline.
Right now he did feel very much Evil.
Vaguely aware that in no way did he have the right to be doing this.
Gliding into his room, watch his breath heave in and out of his body through a mask.
Consider messing with the array of wires in his chest and arm.
A machine steadily recorded his heartbeat. A uniform, static beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
He positioned his butt and upper body into some kind of sitting pose.
He was a bit over the boy but that was fine he figured.
Just spool out his arm a little.
Limbs always liked to stretch and fly free for a moment. Though with a smile he did reign it in into an acceptable apposable thumbed arm.
One that let him take the human hand of breathing flesh.
Danny was warm.
And before he quite knew, or could even rationalize the why, Dei was close enough to touch his nose. Staring into closed lids that he knew to be an iridescent sweet blue.
"Hi," he breathed, breathing life to this boy.
His hair cascaded now a chalky ochre. Nooo. Don't bother him while he slept or whatever it was humans did when like this.
The intrinsic part of him raised and fed on death knew it wasn't sleep.
But that was scary. So, Dei wouldn't think about it.
Hair shorter he silently introduced himself.
Quite quick he found his insides crawling with sliming ants, his body demanding he move.
So he did a bit of fiddling.
First with the lights glaring gold before he put the glass bowl back.
The wrong way.
Of which it shattered to dangerous, shimmering fractals.
And then knocked over the heart machine.
"Oh my, oh my... Dark! Dark! Dark!"
Dei scrambled and panicked and screamed some more.
Only breathing when a woman all clad in white burst in.
The machine was righted.
She checked his eyes, scrutinized his hands, put a hand to his hair, and then gave his chest a listen for good measure with a silver string snake thing.
All in just fifteen counts.
So, he could smile, knowing that at least Danny was getting only the best care.
In many ways seeing Danny broke Dei's heart. And besides it was scary.
It also made him feel ugly and worthless to not.
See him that is.
For one, ghosts were cunning and heeded his warning. But there was a reason the Infinite Realms was an expanse of nothing and temporal anomaly.
When ghosts were ghosts, and he couldn't condemn that he had tried, things caught fire. They grew legs.
They made soup! Very bad soup.
People were getting hurt.
They ate up attention from Danny.
They came in droves.
And maybe for himself too, he didn't want Danny to see it.
He got used to the fact that Danny was 'in a coma.' Scary words.
Not so scary to see. Once one built up the nerve.
And Dei was if nothing worthy or tolerable, audacious.
He did all the things coma families did.
Talked to him about everything and nothing. Mentioned how nice he looked, and only once cut off a lock of black human hair, because why did it grow to only his neck? Why was it so-- so flat? And why was it also warm if it didn't have blood through it?
He'd seen from some of the grainy, awful quality TV shows that people in hospital got candy and flowers.
So he'd done that. Also learned, don't shove the whole bouquet to his nose. Otherwise they couldn't breathe.
He would make sure to remember. Humans. Had. To breathe.
And the nurses weren't doing everything. After all, people woke up all the time by sounds. And, and he had heard a local school girl, smart looking too, how she was thinking of sending her also hospitalized brother music to "stimulate his brain, let him know someone is waiting."
So he turned on the TV for him.
But there wasn't all that much good stuff.
Just the other sappy hospital shows. Sappy love shows and sappy bondage shows.
These hot, tuxedoed guys really had a thing for tying people up. What was that?
Hm, better watch out for them in the future.
Weellll, silence wasn't a no.
"Boys like action stuff though right?"
He soon found a loud, exploding flick.
And the fancy shiny car! WHY!
And in all the noise he almost didn't hear it.
But there, clear as day-- the growl of a dog! From the-- from Danny.
"Not action, okay."
He turned to a much more muted show with jewelry.
Could one call some ad a show? He decided no.
At first it had been scary.
Floating in some weird in between.
Some moments afraid his parents would rip him apart themselves for what he had surely done. Because how else could he explain the marshmallow mush his head had become except with drugs.
How time just simply, didn't compute. Ran fluid as water past him, inside him.
Never there for more than a moment.
Now he got more used to it.
His hands still went adios from his body; Oregon or Canada maybe, from how cold they came back. Other times he was too hot at his center and other times he could almost hear voices.
Men and a woman. Women and a man. Mid-aged or old people.
One very cold and the other soothing.
Was said in his presence a lot.
Yeah, way to make a guy feel confident about himself.
For whatever idiot, holier-than-thou pain he had the absolute joy of Danny was human.
Danny knew people couldn't just say that about him.
The whisper of warm breath touched Danny somewhere.
His heart ached. He wanted to shoot up from this stupid invisible restraint or straitjacket whatever! Mom!
"When you wake up let's talk about who we have crushes on."
It was safe.
Danny did his damnedest to drown back in the dark sleep and timelessness of his color music mind.
For all he liked the idea of someone being here just for him and almost happy to be something deep, deep in his soul told him he had a lot of explaining to do.
So, Danny was quite annoyed at all the other chatter if he wasn't going to fess up or answer.
"I'll put on Classical for you this time."
Ha! Suck it freaky vulture things that had called him "v'one annov'ing idiot." Transylvania.
Pick a theme feather dusters!
All the stuff on that rinky hospital thing was trash.
As he was finding a lot of this stuff to be.
Finicky, creaky wood, weird smelling bedsheets, and peeing in a pan!
Barbaric! Though okay maybe that was more a-- can't get up to use the potty thing.
But still, couldn't at least use something other than the burning chemical scent.
It seriously smelled like a dead rat tank in that school place. Not that he was stalking the human's friends.
Just, making sure they were safe and not in enough peril to not see him.
And, while not in peril, they were very sad.
He couldn't do much about that as he had resolved not to touch a thing possibly keeping human alive.
Buuut, what he could do was leap in that TV box and find something decent.
And lo and behold sci-fi!
And better yet, he was seeing signs of life.
Dare he say, sometimes he almost woke up.
But this he only knew from the nurses checking in.
The ferocious burrow of a fiery purple dagger near made his vision go black.
He couldn't see his friend this way.
The hospital play center had become something of a den for him. Somewhere to rest and heal whenever hunters or the ghost visitors got a bit too overeager.
Why had he ever thought talking would work?
If there was one thing those Fentons got right--
On the floor he got down to one knee.
'Don't bleed, don't bleed' he willed.
Ice exited from his mouth.
A blast of purple lit up the windows nearby.
It didn't help that ghosts were beginning to circle too. Newly dead suddenly finding fonts of explosive power.
Even now, as he hid from the noise and cacophony of undead hell-raising, bare feet stomped the floors in perfect rhythm and unity. A children's parade through the hospital halls for more inductions.
He went back to sleep.
They barely fed him.
What was this?
Danny may have been, well not a genius? Expendable? But he knew that had to be illegal!
Where was his cafeteria menu with slightly overdone pancakes and weird watery syrup.
(Still much better than the actual plastic at Casper High)
Heh. Maybe he'd missed the year.
A guy could dream.
Shivers and shingles gripped him one night.
Uber, uber late.
Dark and grim in his room so he'd feel like an absolute burden pushing that button.
He was sure the nurses had better to do anyway.
Treat some poor aching schmuck who hadn't brought all this on themselves.
His vision turned green again and his chest thrummed with cold fire.
"...Look I get it I do, and whoever's fault it was--"
"Yours!" grumbled a bespectacled ghost, pulsating in his anger, teeth grit, scarf floating in the air as his fingers scritched and scratched at the threadbare coat.
"What will it get you to go back to the Zone?"
"Hmmm how about," the Ghost Writer pretended to hum, all the while a nasty grin grew, "my library!"
He pointed to the grandiose building of Greek design and infinite books.
Of which was either on fire or littered an intersection with near collisions and wrecked cars.
"Not sure I can-- hey!"
A blast caught his rank buttocks making him recoil several feet in the air.
The Writing Ghost was ever so helpful in making the Prince careen to the hunters' feet in a deluge of books.
The partly disassembled press only just missed his head.
Exploding in wood, parchment, and thick ink Dei found himself drenched as he hobbled off across the sky.
He didn't need to fly far to find another microcosm of ghost flora. Much more docile than the fauna.
A plant's corrosive fugue settled over his face melting off the shroud of thin human skin he wore on his day trips.
He grunted, quickly reforming his slimy, misshapen head into something a bit more robust, cheeks now puffered up with fat and a bile sac.
Of which released a sticky high power decomposing parasite.
Besides that the cooing plant resembled a blue and yellow spotted probiscus. Slightly folded four point petals and spidery thin feelers.
Danny would go gaga over it he was sure.
With great care he unburied it from the patch of moist Soil manufactured from a radio tower and it's standing station intent on finding a botanist.
This room felt... different.
Danny wasn't sure how or really in what way did his mind feel out of sorts with itself.
He knew very well he was in hospital. Remembered even through the staggering fugues of pain brief moments where he came to to several machines, a small mounted TV on one wall, and a loose garment that felt strong as paper even in his frail grip.
Could be in the quietness or aloneness. He could feel it. Feel it so intimately. There'd been two or three people here at any given time. That wasn't the case anymore.
"Jazz," he rasped, voice strained from unuse and some sickly acid scratching at the walls.
It hurts. It hurts so bad.
Hot tears began to squeeze out of his eyes.
Where was his family! Where were they!
"Danny! Oh Thank Ancients!" yelped a voice he had never heard and yet knew.
Even so he shrieked hoarsely to the face that now craned above his head.
"Ah ah, oh shit. Don't-- you can't talk," the ghost warned, putting a sizeable and clawed hand over Danny's mouth.
He writhed for a bit before a pulse of something stopped him short.
"The Hell-- the Hell are... you?" he inquired venomously for he knew. He knew the answer already. This creature could only be a ghost.
For the moment he decided to ignore the possibility that he was here because he was dead.
His parents-- his parents would want nothing less than for their son to fight. To not be wrenched away from them so easily.
"Please-- i truly mean no-- here everyday. I have t-- doctor! Nurse, who di get?"
And in ashes the hospital faded, turning into a whirring ghost portal raring to go. The huge engine or whatever power cell roaring to calibration and...
The electrifying punch. The cold mercilessness of it all as each nerve burned.
High, inhuman anguished screams.
Filling his ears, tearing his sensitive throat.
Hands. Gloved hands.
Danny had been screaming.
He hurt so bad.
Slowly, cruelly the kind voices of understanding nurses disappeared. Disappeared in his labored, guided breathing. In and out. In and... out. Faster than falling asleep as they unknotted his tense muscles out of tearing themselves apart. Laid him down like a beloved, fragile baby.
Fluffed his pillows, asked his request for lunch-- he couldn't speak-- and with a small nod fluttered away no less taken than if handling droopy flowers.
Of which he had many. And chocolates too.
Much too far, he decided.
And of course...
He snarled low and baleful to the menace that appeared from nothing at his bedside. "Get out!" he hissed. "Get-- Let that go."
"Okay, okay," he agreed, "I'll go."
He tossed the remote onto his chest, allowing him to reach and watch TV at his leisure.
"My name is Dei," he finished as he sat at the window's sill.
A panoramic window view and yet still with fine, expensive looking curtains.
Danny strained for the nurse's button at his pillow.
"Yah don't do that!"
And with that plunged into the ground, flying off like some kind of green comet.
Danny glared to skies a dimmer blue than he remembered, or maybe it was one of the drugs from the IV. He could almost swear green twirled along like trails of pollen outside.
Yet another nurse, this one male, brought in a paper plate of strawberry oatmeal and a cheese croissant.
"Call if you need anything else at all sir."
And With a Parting... Begins the Chronicle
To the winds and to the skies.
Upon the waters and the crevasses of whittled old knot holes.
Within metallurgy and fires from home and boiler.
Of wild blazes and coming storms soothed back to sleep.
The ones who were lucky to escape.
From steel pure enough to be titanium with not even the slightest pore of humanity. No minute, miniscule flaw to indicate living/feeling creatures.
Well, clearly present company excluded.
Death had come upon the Fenton door.
Whether by sickness or...
But-- but that wouldn't happen.
That couldn't happen. Danny was fine, he would be fine.
Danny was breathing, there was no foaming spittle or blood or anything else. Just a drip of spittle but he wasn't choking.
He wasn't choking and he was breathing.
And Tucker-- Tucker had fled upstairs away from the grisly sight. To call an ambulance.
He was calling an ambulance despite-- despite his own apprehensions.
Because this was Danny. And since it was Danny, whom they had compelled to go in in the first place...
A figure fluttered into sight. A Lovecraftian vaguely human shape with a grizzled old face, flaming white hair, mismatched ram's horns, and baring tusks.
"OMG is he--"
"Stay away!" Sam snapped. "Whatever you are or whatever you want!"
For all his ugliness he hadn't done anything. But when it came to Danny, all bets were off.
"I'm sorry but look I think I can--"
A BOOM resounded shaking the small lab.
Beakers shattered and shelves skidded across the floor into several center points of ripping air.
And from them came yet more beasts and horrors straight out of her Occult texts.
Only for the imbalanced ram to ram into battle with a vengeance.
Green blood, green skin.
Flaming hair of all shades. A musician ghost, a hunter he knew well.
Sound became a secondary factor.
Dei pulled the trigger on the weapon, the shot piercing what would be a heart.
And within that came the fear.
The cessation of existence, Dei stained with the entrails and smear of rotted, burning flesh.
The coalescence of spirits shrieked, all united in their abject terror of their glowering monarch.
Dei took no time to let them nor himself recover before he shot again once, twice, three times.
Ghosts began to attack, with much more caution and cunning, but before raw, screaming power it made no difference.
Simple ghosts turned to splatters on now live electrical confines, the more complex left reeling or spectral bodies battered worse than the worst of abuses, and those who were out for blood... those he spared.
So that they could listen. From within his palm seared a sigil of a crimson snake entwined of twin heads under an eye like a chalice.
"Hear what I say," reverberated his seething, cruel voice, "I claim this homestead, this village under my domain. This is my haunt and I never want to see another ghost besiege it. Not for my sin today. Disobey... AND YOU'RE LIVES ARE FORFEIT!!! NOW RETURN! BY COMMAND OF YOUR KING!!!"
Growing and swelling in size the mark grew thorned metal mesh ensnaring all who were present, lashing venomously to the two young humans when he spared a glance.
But in protection he wanted to express.
The portal now shut, mechanical locks sparking red before resealing with a resounding click.
Form unstable Dei shuddered now feet firmly on the ground.
"That won't hold forever," he warned the glaring girl and the boy barely responsive.
He waited for some reply.
Something beside the silent encroachment of unlife but received none.
Simply for his girl to hold him.
"Eeengh. Sam," he moaned.
"I expect a week, before they decide I am not their King but a traitor. That means this doorway must come down."
He set down the gun.
Right in the human's encroaching hand.
"Did-- did we win?"
The boy looked at him now, straining but no less obstinate to make sense of, whatever he saw.
What did the dying see?
The boy retched and heaved. Turned to his side, shaking all over as the pulsing of green veins began to crack around his face and nape.
Before throwing up a putrid soup of boiling, bubbling green.
"NO! DANNY! DANNY!" the girl howled shaking a now unconscious teenager.
Dei could only watch. His bag dropped somewhere, somewhen.
From the window above came the cry of sirens. Of hope for this boy.
And soon, with the glare of red and blue on the walls, the sobering silence of the adults doing their work, and interplay of paramedic, fire person, police, and any and all authorities, the inconsequential ghost was left forgotten.
Who he had learned was named Danny Fenton went wheeled out from his basement. Sam ushered out as well, and a flash of fiery hair demanding to be by his side.
Infiltrating the Human Isles
Once the morning actually came, an uneasy haze had settled over his chest.
For a long, long while he had woken up to green skies. Whether within the spiring plinths of the castle or from an upper floor parcel of the Time Master's domain. Floating within it's orbit from a long rod.
Dei could enjoy a panoramic view of shifting land forms, floating tribes of newly formed ghosts. Sometimes savage monsters hunting close by.
Dei packed from a simple rucksack. A souvenir of a now dim, dusted orb. Collected and pieced into the shape to portray the original owner. An inconsequential human soldier with an MK at his back.
Dei stripped the bed of it's sheets. Smooth silk stitched with golden ivy. Also packed was a gun.
It was some kind of ectoplasmic fuel weapon. The lifeblood turned to fuel and a fatal charge. Enough to kill a ghost with pink energy. Mid-level.
He waited along for Clockwork, fiddling with one of the many toys he may never get to see again.
From what he could gather, before the insides had become flooded with ectoplasm and ghost energy, the square was supposed to digitize some code in a disc and relay it as pictures.
And it also made a whiz and click noise at each push of one of the top buttons!
"Having fun Dei?" Clockwork asked softly.
He jolted, quickly grabbing his bag.
"Yes child," he confessed. "However remember afterward there is good chance you will never come back."
He found that idea didn't wholly bother him. Never taking the throne, never... seeing the green sky.
Dei, was ultimately content with that fact.
Then again he had never been allowed to be loved.
Not when his Father was alive nor after when he was the only ghost left to punish for centuries of evil and vice.
Except for this elusive, suspect Master of Time.
Clockwork had defended him. Unconditionally. He spoke softly to him when he didn't have to, putting pain staking hours in each bulbous bloom of human knowledge... And willingly spit in the face of some unknown, begitten future with shit grin on his face.
Dei consumed Clockwork in a hug. "Thank you so much Father," he breathed into the purple robes.
All so he, a spoilt ghost Prince, could find it in himself what to do. Who to be.
With gentle, careful hands he returned the gesture of affection. Such a gift was... Solace Occasum.*
"You're welcome. My child."
"I'll make you proud!"
"I know you will."
Dei roared in vexation, heavy temptation cutting into his insides to just shred the map!
Not only was he no more than wisp in his exhaustion of flying and weaving about under and over several lesions and regions, the destination, fabled ghost portal was a thirty miles off at least!!
Paranoid old ghost choosing a torturously circuitous route.
Studying close, all the while hitched in between spiked thorns of Orphelius Vera and some gelatinous strain of Woodrook sap, he found that a straight shot across, skirting all the most savage of lairs in that quadrant mind you, would afford him a much larger window.
Ha! Take that!
No one would get revenge for his Wanted posters on his watch.
Dei blasted ahead, ripping apart slabs of hideaways, homes, and foliage on his path creating a trail of gnarled destruction.
All of it gaining fast with an impressive snap of the wind.
Time to bounce.
He made a low dive, shielding his face with a grotesque, oversized sickle blade arm.
The slashing weapon was able to make swiss cheese of the worst.
The disgruntled howls and curses shouted at him were a whole other matter.
With a rush of air and condensed vapor the Zone split. A tear in the very fabric of it's existence requiring a moment of reverent awe.
Some stood stiff, paler than if the Final Death itself had come for them. The moment their cores would stop humming or rendered obsolete.
Sometimes, sometimes it even happened in the Living Born. Whenever they went to the place only allowed them; having Obsessions based on tangible matter and people, much less than any concept or idea no matter how much raw desire clouds that.
Once finished, they do not dissolve.
Only this one, Dei couldn't say so.
Oh he had the body of a Human. Legs and hands, upright on those two legs. Lanky and from what he could discern youthful.
All that ectoplasm.
His map pulsed with green light in his pocket.
Time restarted itself, speeding past as he did so with the urgency and cutting precision of a bullet.
Core flaring with magnetic power, converting the energy from his usual fluid metamorphosis. Now a snapping, rigid conduit.
A boom of epic proportions went off in his skull.
Hands grasped onto warm, living flesh sending a shock through his system.
Cold, unliving flesh.
Beating and bleeding.
Unfeeling in his chest. Numb and cold.
Dei held on for all he was worth. This human, so young and so fragile, his own home left behind, so cruel and unfair. It's energy flowing into his core and expended just as quickly to undiluted substance.
The boy made an awful crack when he was thrown forward.
Slumping on a metal wall Dei had no sense of himself to discern any other detail.
In fact, he was much more focused on a body that could only be unravelling.
An electric charge ripping out nerves like faulty wiring, brain melting, and scream raised in such a pitch his eyeballs throbbed.
He was a monster.
He was a bull head.
The green conduit, languid but fierce then dispersed, bursting into photovoltaic spores.
Finally allowing a spasming Dei Dark to collapse in exhaustion.
"An-- an ambulance-- Jazz--"
The tone grated into his already pained skull.
"Oh god! Oh my God Sam he's spasming! What-- what do we--!"
Distressed and garbled. Utterly wild in it's urgency.
Until a female cut sharp into the disarray.
"Let-- just let. Me. Think."
"And what about the ghost!"
The frayed thread of a life fading made Dei watch the now named Danny's eyes open.
As they leaked a toxic green sap, the color of his eyes slowly burning away to visceral, gauzy white.
Only to cough ferociously, spewing bubbling and burning ectoplasm on already raw, rough skin.
*Original phrase is Solis Occasum and means, in Latin, "the setting of the sun."
The Princely Domain: Realms Infinite
Deep in the depths of Time, in a Zone green and undead lay a rotary. Several separate orbs spinning in steady orbit from shining gold rod ways. To it's center was an imposing central command of Greek pillars and a dome roof, the bottom edge a line of glassless windows.
Turning slow and sleepy with no one to guide and tend to their rotation. The grind of harsh iron or copper rusted and worn orange with age. Groaning like the dead.
Some making ticks within models of old grandfather clocks, egg timers, stately analogs.
A procession of soldiers made their rounds on the ceiling from an ovalesque track.
Glass screens glimmering dull.
Until one caught a flash of snow white.
He moved with caution and yet steps so assured and targeted that he could have only lived there.
A sharp gasp escaped his mouth at finding his prize.
Reclined was the Scepter of Time.
Taking the instrument he gave it a test wave, feeling it's weight and power shudder in his fingers.
And like that Clockwork's lair flared to life. Gears of all sizes and orientations from the ceiling and walls, to the floor, to the doors' frames, from pulleys to pull screens closer, began to turn fast and urgent.
Lights of gentle, eerie blue stabbed at his slit eyelids. Of which he responded by reshaping the pupil, largening the shape into rounded, fat pearls.
Overbalancing he arced into a tumble...
Which shattered the screen directly behind him with a stupendous CRASH.
"Now Dei, what are you doing up so late?" mused the subtle creep of a scolding.
Swiftly he put the staff to his back.
He shuffled his foot, eyes to the floor.
Looking to the glass Dei spoke up in a harried, shrill rush. "I-- I have no idea how, wow who would do something like that. I blame one-eye Morbeus."
With a wave of his hand the Time Master staff flew into his grip sending Dei reeling.
"Now, you weren't trying to sneak into the human realm through a time gate. Were you?"
Coming past Dei he fixed the viewing screen.
Out toward the Infinite Zone Dei sulked. "Sorry, but I mean what doesn't it matter? Morning or now, you promised me I could go and that you trusted me. But a human portal, all across the Zone! How is that not more dangerous?"
Clockwork simply sighed, indicating he join him.
He did so reluctantly.
"What have I always told you?"
Dei remained silent.
Was it spiteful? Absolutely. Not-- not that he meant to be.
He respected the old man, really. For all his stupidly cryptic advice and anecdotes he liked to call lessons in life. Training.
"All happens in its due time," he provided. "As I have informed you--" from the glass rippled an image of a destroyed city.
A boy, losing it all. So terrible. An explosion that flung him back-- "This is awful. Why...?
"You are present in only so many timelines. In yet millions more the boy to be your guide has borne the burden of a completely unique existence. A revolutionary, miraculous thing."
Was it really so much to ask for someone to just answer his questions?
Did his mentor get some thrill or something at playing with him and making his brain twist to pretzels?
The power fought off a figure of crimson, sneering scowl upon a skull face.
Only the emperor of the Ghost Zone. Pariah Dark.
"Father," Dei finally murmured.
Only for that image to disappear before he could even touch it.
Clockwork wasn't a Living Born. Had never had to even humor something like a human's linear course of thoughts and conception.
"That's a-- it's a lonely existence," Dei concluded. "Then, I--"
Does he take that from him? Is that what he was? Simply, simply someone to relieve another's burden? Is that why...
Why he exists? Long before his Father had thought to conceive an heir?
"Dei, please do not misunderstand," Clockwork intoned, unyielding crimson eyes softened unto the uncertainty written across his face. "Hours can and do make all the difference. For what we plan, the tiniest misstep could result in the complete annihilation of not just your future but of two worlds."
He nodded solemnly. It was something he'd understood since crying and clawing at the ancient ghosts who'd condemned his Father to sleep.
Condemned him to an eternal loneliness. To never be allowed to grieve his Father.
"Fine then if it's such a big deal I can go through a gate at morning," he huffed, "as promised."
"That is not my point and you know so."
He simply shrugged.
"You have a role to play in the fate of this world and another, but not as King nor as Master of Time," Clockwork said, "where the stream of time flows from now on, is solely on who Dei chooses to be." His mentor smiled.
The Time Master had no reason to be so nice nor to indulge him as he did. The Observants themselves had put bounties on his head so as not to leave their 'safety.'
He could still sometimes feel the rock they'd gagged in his mouth.
"I mean, I get I'm awesome and everything but change the future," he laughed. "Be serious."
Clockwork laughed as well, deep and booming from his chest. Indulgent to the child as he mussed his hair.
The old man could have all his riddles and what have you. It was whatever, wonderful. But he did not, did. Not. Get to mess with hair. That was his domain darn it and would take a whole process to get right again.
"Well, since I'm apparently so vital am I permitted to go back to my room and sleep?"
"Go child," he allowed in fond annoyance. To which he bent his knees to a sardonic bow of his head.
"With your leave," drawled the teenage Prince.
From his retreating steps static blasted and quivered from the fixed mirror.
Though the image was muted, the shapes distorting around the pair two boys were visible. The Prince in red and black, a smile on his face. Facing his own grinning reflection.
Long Legs in Early Morning
Straining from the bind of a blissful, everlasting sleep, trying to lull me back onto the stiff low couch of Sylvia Monterra's dorm living room. With bleary, ruminating rot I fired up the wave for some ramen, stripped off the soggy paper lid, "You can afford an apartment but still choose to eat crap like that?"
Her hair was a mess as if she'd had a wild night rather than whipping me straight on waltz steps and posture, still, paled legs from months in loose jeans never to see light of day met my eye as she'd slept in nothing but a teal anime shirt.