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15248 No. 15248

I don't want to die. I don't want to die. Dying is frightening. I shouldn't have to do this, to be here, to be subjected—but why won't he listen to me? My pleas go unanswered. My tears are ignored. The fear in my mind gives way to the crushing, all-encompassing pain. It floods my mind, driving out every thought. Every time my heart tries to beat again, the agony returns, renews, and redoubles, as if the knife was stabbing into my chest again and again. No hope remains to me, as no compassion remained to my killer. My killer.

I am dead.

It's unfortunate, saddening, and pitiful. I could have had a long life. I should have lived a long and fruitful life. Just finding a place in the world, a use for my talents, just finding love... Love, joy, compassion, happiness, gentle warmths and hot fires and it's so cold, so cold here with only the pain and the bleeding and my insides falling to outside and all of it stripped away from me. That life that will never be mine, can never now be mine, because—I don't know, I have no idea why, only that he did this to me and that they let it happen and no one has saved me and now I am dead.

My life is stripped away.

Every purpose of mine has been robbed from me by this opponent, this enemy, this hateful thing. Every motivation, every intention, every goal and all meaning—destroyed in an instant, by this piece of metal stuck into my chest. Nothing remains of the me from yesterday, nor an hour ago, nor even a minute. In that instantaneous destruction of my self, my body transformed into a corpse. Now it is an unliving container, not fit for habitation, yet I am trapped in its confines. I stand trapped, my killer the only thing I can see before me. Is that a sneer on his face? A smile? A grimace? A grin? I can't tell. My vision is full of deepening red and black, yet I still stand. Could it end, just like this? My knees would buckle, but I cannot control them. They remain rigid, ignoring me. I can't even relax in death. My body won't fall, even though it's only a corpse, now. Why can't I end it, and leave this all behind?

You need not end it.

It's not my voice, not my thoughts, even though there's nothing I can hear and I cannot think. My ears don't work anymore. I can't even hear my own screams. If I screamed. I'm sure I screamed, before I died. He said something, but I don't know what it was. He might still be saying something, but I can't tell. I only know I'm standing and he's standing and we're close and I cannot fall and he is right there, and if only I were not dead I could take this pain, the only thing that remains to me, not taken from me but given to me, and I would give it to him. These eyes have not dimmed completely yet, and so I see him start to turn away, then turn to me, and I know he is sneering now because I have yet to fall. He wants me to hurry and leave this corpse as much as I wish to (wished to). His hand reaches to push me down (since my legs won't bend). His fingers touch the knife, to push it or twist it or tear it, I don't know. I refuse it, to the depths of my soul (have I a soul?). I refuse this.

I refuse to let this be.

A new feeling appears. It is impossible, as my body and all its nerves and nerve endings and spine and brain are all quite dead (being part of a corpse), and all that should be left to me is the pain of being destroyed. And yet, this new feeling spreads through me, as if my veins are filled with liquid fire. It hurts—it is painful, but it is distinct from the pain of death. I see, but not as I saw. The world is gray through my eyes now, these eyes that never quite dimmed, but he glows with faint light, and I glow, incandescent. And he sees—something, as his eyes widen, looking into mine. I feel his fingers under mine, as I feel the warmth shed by that light, and I think that this light...

This is life.

His mouth opens, but no words come out, and I wonder if I spoke that thought aloud. My breath has not worked for some time now, but perhaps it does now. My fingers feel... his flesh, blood, bone, sharpness of fragments of bone, falling away as he pulls back his arm, a hand no longer attached to it. His face is filled with fear, a mask that hides him. My killer screams, but I can barely hear him. My ears don't seem to work. In any case, there's no one in this world I can see but him and me and his life and mine. I move, and for a moment I think,

I will not die again.

And for that to come true, to have this not be my end, it must be his. There is a logic to this I don't understand, but the life that fills me now understands it. All my purpose was taken from me, leaving me only the thought that I could not leave without sharing my destruction with him. Maybe I do understand it now. Whether I do or not, I tear the knife from my chest. And as he turns to run, to flee (I tried to flee, too), I leap upon him, and the motion with which I strike the knife—a pitiful piece of sharpened metal, it seems to me now, no life nor thought of its own, a mediocre tool—striking the knife into his chest is the most natural motion in the world, or in my life (I think, I remember little). The knife rises and falls and rises and falls and his blood flows (I begged and I bled, too), and he stops moving, his body now also a corpse. But though that light still shines in it (the only thing I can see clearly), it does not burn him like a fire, as I still feel mine. But that light... it seems...


[ ] FEAST.


>> No. 15249
>> No. 15250

>> No. 15251
>[ ] FEAST.
Hungry Ghost Path

Vengeful Spirit Path


>> No. 15252

Finally got around to starting it, Cruen?
>> No. 15253

Joining this vote.
>> No. 15254

I would make a Repo Man joke, but I just can't do it this time.
>> No. 15255
>> No. 15262
File 123942708281.jpg- (103.11KB , 560x750 , November11.jpg ) [iqdb]
>> No. 15264
I was dead.
Then I got better.
Then I done knifed the sumbitch what done for me.

>> No. 15265
>Vengeful Spirit
That's a revenant, but yes.
>> No. 15268

>> No. 15271
I think it's suppertime...

>> No. 15277
File 123944508697.jpg- (644.21KB , 1000x1412 , onryou2.jpg ) [iqdb]

I was thinking more along the lines of an onryou.
>> No. 15299
>> No. 15303
[ ] FEAST.

Enjoy the afterlife
>> No. 15304
>> No. 15314
With such a smell right before me, how can I resist? I raise my hand, that which crushed his, up to my lips and


And it flows into me and I savor it, feeling strong and healthy for the briefest moment, and I reach toward the glow of life, thinking and saying, “With this—” With this, I will have life, and not at all feel like someone who was stabbed and killed and—Wait, no, NO! Remember, REMEMBER. This strange thing isn't important. I died. It is inescapable that this has happened. This thing before me, this compulsion, it is not the important thing. I died. I must remember who I am, and not become another thing—only a thing that behaves as it feels, because I am—

Who am I?

I don't know. I can't remember. The memory is gone as I reach for it. I know I was someone. I remember thinking, “I could have been,” and thinking of all the things I would not be, but I cannot remember what I was. I cannot remember who I was. I reach and strive and chase that memory in my mind and nothing returns to me, only shadows and butterflies and will-o'-the-wisp and fog and clouds and gossamer strands heavy with dew. I reach past and my hands close over empty space, foolishly clawing at empty air when what I want is trapped inside my head or gone forever. If only I could reach it, I would know me and know I am not something else. I and my killer were two beings, and now he is gone (I destroyed him) and I am gone (he destroyed me), so I do not know who I am or where I am.

But I am not destroyed.

“Oh,” says a voice that is not mine, and I look toward it and see a being neither surprising nor expected (as I wonder if any being could surprise me). A girl—a little girl, far smaller than I, even though in death I find my shoulders stooping—with light hair and light and dark clothing, and I think it no stranger for the girl to be gray than for the whole world to be gray, which it is. But there is color in the girl's light, many colors of red and blue and green and yellow, but I only see in flashes like single flame-flickers, beneath the color that seems to be this girl's—purple. No, violet (violet is a better word, regardless). Violet-black, black-violet, fading like blue between the one and the other, an aurora (or rather, an aura) flickering around her, far stronger than I see in myself or saw in my killer. Because of that, I think this girl-aura-thing is something strong.

“Is that yours?” she asks.

I shake my head. I had decided not to consider my killer's remains as mine to eat, and so I gave them up.

“Still warm, so then I can eat,” she coos, happily, her aura flickering and flaming and fanning outward. But she continues, “But if it's not yours, then whose? And what are you?”

I... I know, that I do not know, who I am. Except that I am not the eating animal-thing. But I hear a voice, and the voice says... It says I am

[ ] Regret

Is it? Or not regretful longing for things lost, but...

[ ] Vengeance

Or else if that cannot be, it is that I am merely...

[ ] Lost
>> No. 15315
[ ] Vengeance
>> No. 15316
[X] Lost

To wander in search of a purpose. A sad fate.
>> No. 15317
[x] Lost
>> No. 15318
[ ] Lost
>> No. 15319
[X] Vengeance
[] The Night
[] Batman
>> No. 15320
{X} Lost
>> No. 15326
File 123963506630.jpg- (137.01KB , 474x720 , Ghost-Rider-coverC.jpg ) [iqdb]
[x] Vengeance
>> No. 15329
[x] Vengeance

I've yet to see something of this for a "protagonist" around these boards...
>> No. 15330
[ ] Vengeance
>> No. 15331
>Who am I?
Maybe he's Johnny the Tackling Alzheimer's Patient?
>> No. 15332
[x] Vengeance
>> No. 15334

It's not my voice, but I hear it and understand it. This is perfectly sensible. When I died I lost everything but the pain that I returned to my killer. Others die but can do nothing, which means I have something they do not have. They also have regrets, I am sure—it is impossible not to regret, when everything is lost. One must regret everything that was and everything that will never be—perhaps even my killer regretted (but that is only right). So if I have something they do not have, it must not be regret for the past and the lost but my desire for revenge. My revenge. But if my killer is dead, my revenge complete, do I still have this desire? I still move, so I must.


I tell the girl, who looks at me with gray eyes in her gray face, and I see that she doesn't understand. But she thinks, and then perhaps she does understand, because she nods to herself goes to my killer and reaches down to him. She reaches a hand down and pulls up his arm, and her grip tightens and there is a sound of tearing and ripping and squishy squelching noises and blood and protruding bone and the arm comes off and she holds it to her mouth and smiles. Her teeth are white. And I think, this girl is a hungering-animal-thing, like I am not. The sight does not bother me, because my killer deserved this. To have him fed to animals is only a fitting, crowning end to this revenge. But then the girl says to me, as she bites into my killer's body's flesh,

“Maybe you would taste better...?”

The black-violet flares around the dangerous animal-girl, and then I feel fear, because I had resolved not to die again. And I scream inside my mind, telling me, to



[ ] RUN.
>> No. 15335
>> No. 15338
File 123965868295.png- (15.96KB , 600x400 , crimsonles9.png ) [iqdb]
>> No. 15339
>> No. 15341
[x] ROUND 1
>> No. 15342
>> No. 15343
[x] Is that so?
[x] Just stay put and stare at her.
[x] No, I think he would taste better.
>> No. 15345
>> No. 15374
>> No. 15384
I could run. I think, perhaps, I could. If there were an escape, I could run, and it/she is only on one side of me and so there are many open place, but if she moves faster than I then I cannot escape, and I do not know where I may go and I feel a hunger that gives me as much weakness as strength. So I cannot run. And she is looking at me and I feel her eyes and teeth and hunger as she slurps at blood and muscle and vein and cracked bones like so much rice broth. Not like stew, as then it would be softer, though the gristle in the beef is the same.


And I obey the voice because I see there is only the chance and it will not grow by waiting for it, not so long as the animal-girl watches me, but rather shrink should I wave. So I do not waver but strike immediately. My feet leave the ground and I fly and I dive and plunge and my hand shoots out like I mean to stab her with my fingers, because I have this thought that this is all I need to do, if I can do it. But it isn't enough. My speed, which to me seemed like it was so fast I moved faster than I thought, then seemed like it was as slow as the lowering of the tide or the shifting of the seasons or the drift of the stars, though surely it was nothing like that. It was simply that I was not fast enough.

Too slow.

She laughs like she's having fun, as maybe she is, as she flies over my strike with her arms outstretched and she comes back down with her hands together to strike me into the ground like my head is a melon meant to be broken. And though I imagine my head to be full of pulp I must still reject this, and I do so, twisting to the side and lunging first with one hand and then with the other, my hands seeming like daggers. They aren't, of course, but it seems like that to me, so I pretend they are and hope nothing notices they are only hands. If they are. I'm slow.


She rises from the ground with claws swinging upward, and she catches my arms and ow ow OW it hurts, and I must not be dead because the dead cannot be hurt again, or so I hope. Gashes explode upon my left arm (though not my right, as it was held back at the time), and it looks as if the arm is ruined, yet it still moves as I tell it to. But I tell it to do nothing, instead lashing out with my right foot, catching the girl as she rises to her own feet, but she keeps to hers even with my impact against the side of her head, so I think my feet are not that effective if I cannot treat them as blades, and as I lower my legs with this thought, she flies up and crashes down on me.

“Bon appétit~”

Being killed by someone who would suddenly speak in foreign languages while eating is simply too absurd (even if it is the right phrase). Her claw plunges down into my chest and makes as if to church my insides, but this already happened to me when my first killer killed me, so I'm not surprised, and instead hold onto the side of her face with one hand while lifting my knee up and rolling over to get on top of her. Her hand is still inside me, so I grab at her arm, but she withdraws it with a surprised look, and so I have enough time to reach the conclusion that she can still stab her hand through me like this, or bite or claw. I jump back, and only then realize how much it hurts. Terribly. It hurts terribly, both in my chest and my arm. Fresh wounds hurt more than old wounds, or at least this hurts more than the last. It is so dark I can see nothing but her, but perhaps—no, truly I smell a strange and exotic and wonderful and terrible scent from somewhere. It's something more tangible than the gray world wrapped in shadows, where only she and I and my killer are.

A scent to follow.

I would like to think I am strong enough, perhaps strong enough (even though I don't deserve it any more than I deserved to be killed as I was), to say that I have no need to flee. If I do not have strength, how can I support my revenge? But here I see clearly, I will be destroyed if I fight longer. So it is for that reason and not only that it is a wonderful and terrible scent that I turn and run and fly and I hear the girl laughing behind me and I wonder if the sight of me is a funny thing.

“Wait, don't go there!”

But I am already past the point of listening, or rather I just moving too quickly, because I already run into the indescribable thing that I was warned not to go to. Like passing through a doorway between the inside and outside of a great building, the demarcation strikes me. Disparate things, this side and that side. I was in the sterile halls of a hospital and now wander the broken, dirty landscape of the alley twenty yards behind it. Shapes and colors and clouds float and coalesce and and disperse and the land rises and falls and ceases to be. Things like eyes let me feel their gazes, and I wonder if the animal-girl-thing is still chasing me, but I do not hear her. I am hurt and I must regain myself before anything else, I look at my arm and see the edges of the wounds working toward each other. But this does not last, and now I only feel hungrier.

And I go...

[ ] ...through. Through and through and through, run to the castle and the gold on the other side.


[ ] ...to the side. Slipping and sliding and running and searching, finding the hidden thoughts.
>> No. 15387
[x] ...through. Through and through and through, run to the castle and the gold on the other side.

Truly a Batman route.
>> No. 15388
{X} ...through. Through and through and through, run to the castle and the gold on the other side.
>> No. 15390
[x] ...to the side. Slipping and sliding and running and searching, finding the hidden thoughts.

Our protagonist doesn't afraid of anything. Yet, the exertion of energy will make us famished all the more quickly. We seem to be something undead; we should be shuffling through areas, finding things that, like us, have been left behind, not bounding toward some strange and unknown goal.
>> No. 15392
[x] ...to the side. Slipping and sliding and running and searching, finding the hidden thoughts.
>> No. 15393

[x] ...to the side. Slipping and sliding and running and searching, finding the hidden thoughts.
>> No. 15403
This is like Lighthouse EX.
>> No. 15404
As a person who writes Lighthouse, I can tell you that there are two stories, and one is clearly better.

Mine isn't it.
>> No. 15460
Fuck your negative attitude.

I love Lighthouse.
>> No. 15479
Update this.
>> No. 15732
>> No. 16349
I run and I run and I run and the ground and the air move first in tandem, then one after another, but ever behind me as I leave them behind. But always, always, more earth and sky show before me, always giving me a place to put first one foot, then the other, in the ever-repeating pattern I have held to since first I lived. It is only where I find myself that is different, where I am and where I was and where I am going. Or no, I laugh, it is not the same at all. Nothing of me is the same as I was, I think, but I don't recall. I laugh, and the scent is gone and I do not know where I am.

To the side, to the side!

To my side is to a hillside, and I fly down it, rolling and tumbling and hurtling and catching my feet and hands on trees and rocks and brush that disappears above me once I push away from it. I can not see or hear or smell but I can know, I can know that I will find something, like a sixth sense, or as if I feel it and taste it (which are two of the five). At the bottom of the hill, as I was certain, the hillside ends (it must), and a stream is here. There were no streams where I was, but only stone and road and humans, yet here are streams and plants (and animals, perhaps), since I passed through... some place.

Follow the stream.

Streams come from somewhere and flow to somewhere, I think, though of this I cannot be certain. Perhaps it flows from nowhere to nowhere. I read a story about that once, but it was a story in a dream in a story. And though I think this is water, how can I be sure? I reach down to it, but though I touch it, I cannot feel... anything. It flows around me, uncaring. So I continue on, following the stream, breathing in, but only because the air carries to me the taste of life, unlike the air outside. My arm works a little.


And now I see a thing similar to what I've seen before, except that it is not a thing at all and therefore different, but a living creature-person, but similar in that I sense that delicious scent that my killer had when weakened and broken and ready to be devoured (though I did not devour then, no). And though I am not like the hungering-animal-thing, I hunger, and this gray form laying in mess and blood by the stream, cloak spread over it, perhaps...

[ ] ...I may taste it.

But no—

[ ] —may not can not must not. No.
>> No. 16357
[x] —may not can not must not. No.

You may eat it, but it will not sate ye not.

For your hunger is of a different nature.
>> No. 16358
[x] —may not can not must not. No.

glad to see an update!
>> No. 16365
[ze] —may not can not must not. No.

I wanted a clever follow up, but I've got nothing. Good to see this back in action, though!
>> No. 16367
[x] —may not can not must not. No.

>> No. 16368
[x] —may not can not must not. No.
>> No. 20989
I hunger, thirst, bleed, drip, drip-drop-drip, walk, step-stop-step, stepping and stopping and walking closer and closer to the cloak on the form on the ground and I notice—red. Red and black and gray and not-white and green, the aura-light is green, not like the man nor like the hungering-girl-thing. I stop and think about this, but nothing comes of thinking of it, so I move closer. I am to the stream now, and I kneel by the form and I wonder what I am doing.

What am I doing?

I must not, can not, no no no wrong. But I am so very hungry. I will look, only look, I must be allowed this curiosity, a feast for eyes alone, hands-off, paws-off, down, bad dog. I know not what I am but that I am no animal yet—and yet—it is so tempting to be. So much easier to let go, holding onto the rope-cliff-face is so difficult, and for what? Can I climb up the cliff from which I fell? No, no, it looms above a thousand miles. But only the abyss awaits below. I fear that waiting chasm with the part of me that is still me.

You are right to fear.

The form stirs as I approach, groaning and moaning and paining and struggling and, I think, not so unlike me, but the light is green and I am sure this is significant. But it mewls, it wails, it cries like a child and—am I moved? I cannot be, the dead-living have no love nor use for children, I am sure, but there is something else. I hear—fear. I see it, feel it, taste it, as the green-headed girl (it is a girl-child, but unlike the hungering-thing) turns her head (her skin is white, the only white), and she sees me and I know she fears me. I am unhappy, but pleased.

Why? To which question? Both.

She tries, now, I watch her try, to draw away, to flee, to escape, to run, but all is useless. She cannot run, and so she fears. She cannot stand, and so she fears. I reach to her, and so she fears me greatly. These wounds of mine, which would not close, cease to pain to me. Curiouser and curiouser, the rabbit hole beckons, but the girl finally looks away, and she crawls, pulling herself by her hands where her feet will not go—they drag, only drag, the cloak dragging over them. A black cloak, stained with red. The color of red is the greatest color; nothing is more vivid than life. I watch her, and I think,

[ ] She may understand.

But no, wishful butterfly thoughts, floating away on the wind by the cliff. Such is not for me.

[ ] I must trouble her no more.
>> No. 20990
[x] She may understand.
>> No. 20991
[ ] I must trouble her no more.

Who am I to scare people
>> No. 20992
[x] She may understand.

Intriguing. I hope the writer finds the inspiration to continue writing this.
>> No. 20993
[x] She may understand.

She might.

What's that from?
>> No. 21001
To understand empathize sympathize feel touch—I reach forward, groping, clawing, only claws remain, my hands are no longer hands. To understand is to be understood is to understand, the communication of understanding is a dangerous all-way intersection of colliding thought. I must, therefore, I think, understand to make understanding. My thoughts churn, shaping into things like words, molding and malleable. I reach the girl who is as pitiable as I, as I was, and as, in ways, I am.

“Wait.” I tell her. My voice is foreign, monster-monster-monster. “You'll be hurt.” You are hurt, you are hurting yourself, why drag yourself so? Oh, yes, I see. I am hurting her now. This is my fault, for reason of my appearance, but I can do nothing for this but leave, and the chance is too great, so I cannot even do that.

“Stop!” she stutters, tripping over the word like the roots in her path. The trees are tall here (were they always?) and dark and strong. “Don't!” she continues.

She doesn't know, doesn't understand, that I already stopped, myself. I feel a little stronger than I did then. My wounds will still not close, dripping with each word and motion. Let go, says the little voice, but I am stronger now, I think, I hope—I dread the otherwise.

“Don't eat me!” she says again (still not yet understanding, manic and panic hand-in-hand-in-hand), “I'm very bitter!” Liar, liar, liar, I see how succulent you are, delicious green morsel—no, that decision was made already, finally, I am certain. I must instead impress upon her...

[ ] ...my helpful intentions...

...or else...

[ ] ...my harmless intentions.
>> No. 21002
[x] ...my harmless intentions.
It's not our goal to cause her harm.
>> No. 21003
>> No. 21006
[x] ...my harmless intentions.
>> No. 21021
[x] ...my helpful intentions...

Don't go places with strange men who carry knives. Corpses too, you should keep clear of those.
>> No. 21029
[x] ...my harmless intentions.
>> No. 21038
“No harm,” I say, and my speech is slow, slurred, stupid and difficult. Struck half-dumb-animal, a donkey brays as well, as a horse well-neighs. It is not enough, nowhere near, myself and understanding are in different castles. I see it on her face, this I am here and you are there and never the twain shall meet and it disheartens, as if I had a heart (I might). Though I know I am half-dumb, I try again. How could she know (no one could know) what it means that there is “no harm” if she knows not where or why-for or to whom?

“Mean none,” I continue, and it is a good start. I forgot I but that has been happening so much lately, my self slipping away and I don't even know who I was. In no way can one find oneself without a self, as no one can find no one—paradox. It is only that hopelessness that keeps me from clawing my own mind to plumb its secrets, as I'm sure these secrets have escaped from my eyes and left me to my own. The eyes are the window to the soul, I once (twice) heard.

She is retreating, so I cannot see if her soul is there, but more remarkable than any eye I've seen is that light, that faint and flickering green, that fire struggling for life. Fires burn, fuel turning to ash—so must lives, perhaps, should this be firelight. I leave her now. No good, no good, she cannot understand. No reasonable person would, I am sure. Following, shadowing, stalking, these are crimes, no excuse is available for me. Why should she accept my presence if I cannot explain it? Get out of here, stalker. I laugh.

She flinches, wide-eyed. I go.

Over land and through land and under land, over grass and through brush and under tree, I run and I run without tiring. My arm—no, still strained to uselessness. Still no good. But the pain is gone, replaced with this vague buzzing of health. It will not last, I think. It will not last. My gut, such that it is, tells me this clearly. But it never does, does it? Did it? Last, that is. Did my health ever last? It's so hard to recall before—before today.

Today. Today, this afternoon, this evening, this night. Tonight. It is night. It has been all along, but now it is different. The night feels different. I cannot see light in the sky—there is no color, anymore, not anymore—but the it feels different. Wrong, foreboding, ill is promised to those that remain behind. It is wrong. I shouldn't be here, on the open ground. I must get away. I am drawn...

[ ] Down. Under earth and rock and root the sleeper lays dreaming.

[ ] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.
>> No. 21039
[x] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.

I guess?
>> No. 21041
>[ ] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.
That's an odd choice of phrasing there. The fruit is usually of the tree, not the other way around. I'm wondering if this is intentional or not.
>> No. 21042

I suspect so. I'm a sucker for wordplay.
>> No. 21049
[x] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.

I like where this story is going. Vote, people.
>> No. 21052
[x] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.
>> No. 21067
This story is a fucking headtrip. I LIKE IT!

[x] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom
>> No. 21069
[x] Up. Above the peak stands the final tree of the fruit of wisdom.

Less gloom
>> No. 21070
Up. Up and up and up and away, I must go and—how? I hold the vision of the mountain in my hand and push against it, but it offers no purchase for hand or foot or even claw. I reach and place my hand against the softly yielding surface of the wooden, living construction before me, one of many surrounding and encircling and filling the sky and skyline with—not green, no, or is it? Such a faint light, I almost cannot see it, but the living things glow and crawl, and even through this soft armor I feel the pulse. Soft... yes.

This way calls me.

I put away my hands for now—no need for feeling, here, not now, enough of that—and place my claws into the bark. I pull, and I ascend, and I place my other claw higher. I test it, thinking and remembering that black-violet, but my rest was enough, and my arm supports my weight. Perhaps I am lighter than I was. Up and up and on and on and soon, perhaps soon, I will see the fruit, I am sure, I think. I climb, not as angels ascend, but as the demon flies, reaching and grasping and pulling and clawing. Sorry, sorry, tree, I cannot—stab—climb without—stab—hurting you. The only way to the top is to climb a pile of corpses, I heard that once. Were I to put my eye to the wounds I make, I wonder what I would see inside. I shudder, and climb, rising from hell, knowing there can be no escape, yet hoping. If hope were sane it would be knowledge. I hear—

A song.

The sky has not yet opened itself to me. The ground is lost below, but the sky is still occluded, blocked, and hidden. How much farther? How far until I reach the mountains, the fruit, the clouds, the stars, the song? Half-familiar shadows beckon below, promises of light above.

Danger. The shadow, or the light? Both.


[ ] ...climb. A little farther, now.

[ ] ...fall. Into the cool embrace of elsewhere.
>> No. 21071
[x] ...climb. A little farther, now.
>> No. 21073
[x] ...climb. A little farther, now.
>> No. 21093
[x] ...climb. A little farther, now.

Let's get high(er).
>> No. 21097
File 126705134031.jpg- (331.62KB , 1500x1100 , 05e3a5efee1ef943108f72e2947fdb7d.jpg ) [iqdb]
A little farther. Another step, another foot, another—stab—hold pull myself up by. Branches are easier, thick enough to put my feet on, good for pushing up by. Push and pull and pull and song-singing where? No matter whether I look right or left, I cannot see, the light rises and the darkness closes in and the singer hides. Wordless song, ah-kah, moves along, pel-lah, vibrant-strong, tree to tree to tree to me. It leaves a trail for me to follow, I see-hear-feel.

Come, go. I must.

Not this tree. The trail goes off, now, heading to the horizon, horizontally. Scampering, scrambling, crawling, tightrope-walking, the branch supports me. Leaves brush past me, leaving little smears of green light that quickly fade. When the branch becomes too thin, I must leap, so I do, landing lightly on a branch beyond. I have become so light. Finally, I see, light and darkness giving way before that blaze. All I can see is that aura, like the black-violet but different, here with a burst of blue or silver. A violet halo, not black, surrounding a girl (another girl, a different girl), clad in wings and dress and hat and hair and light and eyes that see—me. The soul is in the eyes (is it?). Trees fade to obscurity.


A thousand thoughts and instincts clamor for my attention and action.

[ ] To fight.

[ ] To play.

[ ] To speak.

[ ] To flee.
>> No. 21098
[x] To speak.
>> No. 21099
[X] To speak.
>> No. 21100
[x] To speak.
>> No. 21113
[x] To play.

Let us commence to fuck about.
>> No. 21203
[x] To speak.

We have zombie infravision. I don't think we have to worry about night-blindness.
>> No. 21271
I don't think we're a zombie, but more like a wraith.
>> No. 21307
>I don't think we're a zombie, but more like a wraith.

Wraiths are incorporeal. I don't think we're incorporeal.

We're ravenous, so maybe more of a ghoul.
>> No. 21322
Normally incorporeal. Gensokyo has things different. It's clear that we hunger for something other than flesh.
>> No. 21445
To speak, to give words and take words and listen and hear and understand, if I may, I hope, but hope is so fragile and quickly dashed to the ground so far below that to follow it down would take an age. Still, still, to say, pony-mayu; I hope she wishes the same within that violent silver and violet burst. If not, I will see, and I will understand, quickly.

But she speaks first.

“Have you lost your way, this high in the trees? You'll soon see day, but here we've only leaves.” —eaves, eaves, eaves.

“Not lost.” I say, correcting, timidly, not yet understanding, “Found.” Found the path, followed, traveled up and across and over the air to here.

“You don't look like a human after all... just when I thought I'd found one. My song isn't making you fall... but perhaps you'd like some fun?” —un, un.

“Then?” What, then? To have fun—I do not understand, no, not at all. Her song—what does it mean? Her singing-sing-song voice, stopped only just now, the energy dying away but in her voice, still holding that promise of—what?


But, it's okay, isn't it?

She thinks it is.

“If you're not a human, you must be a youkai,” now she says, quietly, coming closer and closer and closer, wings gliding like the flying bird-girl-thing she is—large wings, feathered but curious, what is it that holds them together—“So you know, right? While the night's still here, we have to play, right?”

She thinks it is.

“Well, what shall we play?”

Her claws nails are quite long.

[ ] “Tag?”

[ ] “Or we could go and play with the humans near the village.”

[ ] She smiles. Violence. “Or shall we play right here, the oldest game for unknown youkai?”

[ ] The forest chasm yawns, remaining below.
>> No. 21455
[x] “Or we could go and play with the humans near the village.”
>> No. 21457
[x] “Tag?”
>> No. 21476
[x] She smiles. Violence. “Or shall we play right here, the oldest game for unknown youkai?”
>> No. 21531
[x] She smiles. Violence. “Or shall we play right here, the oldest game for unknown youkai?”

A little of the old UV.
>> No. 21630
Zombie, ghoul, wraith, revenant, whatever.

This is a good story and deserves more attention & updates.
>> No. 21632
[x] She smiles. Violence. “Or shall we play right here, the oldest game for unknown youkai?”
>> No. 21903
I ask, “The oldest game?”

She says, “The one and same.”

I know. I know it. “For unknown youkai.”

She agrees, sing-song, “Under darkened sky.”

The light around her is all I can see, so I focus—no, unfocus! The forest returns, trees appearing, but the sky is too far away. I can't see anything there. Will light appear? I think so—it always has before, hasn't it? But how can I know that the sun will rise again? Ah, but she said—I'm sure the girl-bird-thing said—that the night would not last, and what could come next but day? Maybe. I can't be sure. Trusting the thing, I can't be sure of that.

But the game...

I know the game, I'm sure, and there's no deception here. It's the most straightforward of games. Run and fly and catch and pounce and tear and claw and bite and jump and roll and laugh and snarl—I know these things, and I'd know them only by seeing her if I did not know them otherwise. I'd know them from the other girl, the dark-black-violet—the similarities are there. Plainly, I can see them in her light, even dim as it is when I unfocus on the trees. Am I reading her, or is she sending to me? I don't know, but...

It doesn't matter.

She's waiting for an answer. She knows she can wait, because of her position—is that it? Is this a guest courtesy? An arrogance born of standing. If you're born a few years earlier, you're given the right to beat others over the wood chips, and stand at the top of the barred dome, or the fort walls, spinning noughts and crosses with your feet. That's how the world works. And if you don't like it—I don't like it, and who would?—at the bottom of the heap—then—

No rule says I have to play fair.

Climb up. Climb up. Grasp those bars, and scamper—stealthily, sneakily is best, but I can't do that here with her watching. But the first strike, that's the one that matters, and the more aggressive ones—the crazy one wins, the one with the bloodshot eyes—that's why they didn't touch that one. I can see the bars, coming out of the wood, right where I need them to be. I rush up, foot over hand over foot, slapping against old, green-and-rust metal, pushing and launching into the air without pause for balance, seeing her dainty hands and wicked claws and vulnerable neck coming closer and closer with each step I take and each time my hand swings behind me. She didn't expect this, I think—I can see the surprise, but not in her eyes. They're a dull gray, as everything. It's the wash of color outside, becoming clear yet like mist as I approach it, that tells me. But it's not something I need to know. Stopping to think isn't possible. There's no room for thought at all, only—

. . .

—the rush of motion, strike and counter-motion and counter-counter-strike. It's only when it's over that I can understand—understanding is impossible in the midst of a storm. It can only be felt. So, afterward, I realize she dropped below my swinging arm, taking that tantalizing neck out of reach and, afterward, I realize that I let myself fall directly into her with a foot aimed to her head, and that she struck it away with the back of one hand, fouling my aim. And now, I'm flailing through the air and—no, not flailing, grabbing the sheer side of a tree, my fingers sinking into it to give me the purchase I needed. Only now, after I realize what happened, can I think about what to do—but not for a moment, as a moment is far too long. I will have to take my half-moments and quarter-moments and savor them.

I feel...

It's so much easier, now that I can stop thinking. Without thought, I feel. The colors bend about as she moves, flying on those wings (or without them) to rip me apart where I stand (or cling). I twist and flip, feet tapping the trunk above where my hand still holds, above where she strikes and shatters bark that flies away and into the void below. She's singing, I think, but it's only birdsong, meaningless songbird chirping, trilling—but she moves with it, and that's important. It's part of the feeling. I flip back again to aim a feinting double kick at her head—feinting, because I know she's seen me kick from such an angle, and she isn't slow, so it won't catch her now if it didn't then. My feet continue without pause when she dodges away, landing and jumping sideways-wise from the tree. I feel...


It's true. My eyes are wide; I must look as mad as she looks. My teeth must be bared as hers are—as sharp, I don't know. When my hand scores and rips tears in her dress, I know I'm grinning. My lips are pulled back with absolute tension while the rest of me operates on a fountain of fluid grace. Not ever before could I move like this—but I don't think about it. There just isn't time for memories, not in quarter-moments. I feel, and that's enough, because feelings are all in the present, and that's important. And when she bounds back, and charges forth, and I come to meet her and duck away and twist and come again, and she follows and twirls and slashes and I meet her hand to hand, and I'm knocked back and come again and we dance again and again and again...

And her laughter pours into her song.

My thoughts still can't catch up, but what I see is always what's in front of me. I see her come too close to a too-dense grove, and I push and push harder and draw her another wing-flutter in, claws flashing by my eyes so I can see them that much more clearly, and I bound away and up to a second tree, flash to a third to put myself behind her as she turns... and... drop. Her blind spot, at last. I knew it had to exist. For me, she was a beacon in the darkness. For her, I don't know. But now she's only able to turn to see me as my body hits her—not fast enough to turn and get away, not knowing the way to dodge. The angle is fouled, again. My hands miss her neck, but my arm catches it, and we tangle, tumble, fumble, and fall, and—

And my laughter joins hers.

It isn't a shared joke—or is it? It's a shared feeling, I know that much. We're still playing. It isn't over yet. She's lost the advantage, now—there's no height for her to stand on, as I won't let her go. I strike, and she strikes, and we both twist away, put I grab on again—no way to strike as I grab, no leverage, too much risk she'll get away. So I pull and strike and she grabs and blocks and strikes and I turn the blow, and she kicks and I block and lock and it would blur together if it weren't so sharply in focus, just as the forest blurs as it rushes up away from us. There's ground down there somewhere, but I don't know where or—this is the important bit!—when. There's no future, and precious little past, but the present is the youkai's game.


“Oh,” she said, and nothing else when her eyes widened in surprise. She was looking down at that point, so I can guess what she sees. Just another moment to struggle, a half-moment, quarter—


. . .

The pain... is bearable. My arms, my legs, my back—they'll knit. It could have been worse, I think. Sit up, sit up, get up—where is she? Aha, not far, not far. It could have hurt worse. Maybe she's to thank. But if so, she did nothing for my sake—we were still playing, after all. Wasn't it me who dragged her down? But now, I think, I feel—that we are done. The goal was reached. And it was me—I who stood first. I... won? But...

Now what?

She lays there, still stunned—maybe not really unconscious. But stunned. What does the victor do, now? If she were standing, I'm sure I could read this in her—and if she were standing and I were laying, defeated, I'm sure I'd know, then. But neither of these are true, here-now. Think, think, remember, the game—the loser is...

[ ] ...taunted? No, that is...

[ ] …helped? Or, no, wait, shouldn't it be...

[ ] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...

[ ] ...wait, and ask her...

[ ] ...or, in final thought, leave before I must act.
>> No. 21904
[X] …helped?

Defeat means friendship.
>> No. 21905
[x] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...

Eat her first.
>> No. 21906
[X] ...or, in final thought, leave before I must act
>> No. 21907
[x] ...seduced! That was it.

>> No. 21908
[x] …helped? Or, no, wait, shouldn't it be...
>> No. 21912
[x] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...
>> No. 21914
[X] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...

...assimilate her into our mass, and gain her powers. We are legion. Not Legion, not yet, but legion.

We shall be one.

We shall become Gensokyo.
>> No. 21915
[X] ...helped? Or, no, wait, shouldn't it be...
>> No. 21916
[x] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...
>> No. 21917
[x] …helped?

For kicks.
>> No. 21918
[x] >>21917
>> No. 21920
[X] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...
>> No. 21921
[X] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...
>> No. 21925
[X] ...devoured? I don't know, I don't know, so I'll...

You can't just keep ignoring the hunger. (Maybe.)

If you let her be, she might eat that injured human girl you discovered recently. You're not human, but you were moved to pity by one, and this thing is definitely not human, and definitely also on the prowl.
>> No. 21927
supposedly human, that might have been Wriggle we passed up.
>> No. 21956
The hunger is in the back of mind, never straying, reminding me that I will never be full. Unimaginable, unthinkable, never again. This hunger defies reason—surely, I think, there can be no hunger that is insatiable? But my gut tells me otherwise, an endless pit replacing my stomach. Unlock the grate, it crashes open, the garbage is thrown in, and gone forever—not even the puff of the incinerator is seen. Cold, not heat—only endless cold radiates from the depths. Hell has always burned with cold. I look down at the still-glazed eyes of my prey, focus returning to them. No time for that.


One hand I slam into her face, and then hold her down with her eyes covered. Now her focus returns quickly, as she struggles—oh, of course she struggles—against me. But, unable to see, she can only panic. I understand. One should always struggle against death. But only the winner has the right to escape it.

Blame your lack of will, songbird. Mine was greater.

In her moment of panic, my right hand plunges into her chest, a trowel scooping thick-skinned, bloody earth. Her body jumps, spasms, almost surprising me, but the strength goes out of her limbs, so it's alright. The thing I'm looking for is somewhere, here... so hard to tell by feel, and the smells are mixing together. The light is glowing everywhere, escaping, dimming. Maybe if I—yes, I just have to lean into it, and I can keep the scents apart, so long as my nose is within a few inches of her.

Rummage, rummage, rummage. Now, where is...

Aha, yes, here it is, here it is. Cut it carefully, carefully, it's the most important part. Soft, hard, gooey muscles, drenched and bound and wrapped up in themselves, the source of blood is the source of life is the heart. It's her heart. I'd heard somewhere, I'm sure I heard, some man claim it wasn't. The brain or the spine or something like that, the doctors say, the teachers said. But now, it's just too funny. They were wrong. I found the source of her life, and it's here in my hand—the light is proof of it. They were wrong after all. The heart is the heart.

And it beats.

Strange. (Compared to...?) Strange. I hold it aloft—up in one hand, standing up from her, letting her go. And yet the heart beats. I feel the pulse, and the warmth, and the light continues to shine from it—her light, that color particular to her, that proof of who she is. But—maybe that's right. If it didn't still keep its life, how could I eat its life? I can't take life from what has none. That's just meat. There's nothing tasty there. This delicious morsel is what it is because of life—beautiful, sweet life. And yet, there's more to this, there must be... think, think... And she looks up at me in tears.

“Don't” look at me “like that.” But she still does.

She's not fighting to take her life back from me. Maybe she can't. Is it impossible? I don't know, I don't—can't think with her staring at me, was just on the edge of something—beating heart, bloody songbird's eyes still moving, following me—what is it? Iron bars, locks, chains, dirty jungle gyms, grates, sewers, prisons, abandoned buildings, scattered plaster, crumbled drywall, wooden drawers with fancy boxes with tiny locks with pretty stones and hooks and rings and... yes, that's it, that must be it, something-something with the keys and jewels.

No, I don't know what I mean.

Her eyes beg me.

[ ] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.

[ ] Just kidding, and I raise it to my dry lips, teeth already gnashing in anticipation of tearing apart every juicy fiber...

[ ] ...but instead, I'll keep it in a box, and I'll lock it and oh, how precious it will be.
>> No. 21959
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.
>> No. 21961
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.

It's like Lighthouse, but now with tsundere.
That concept terrifies and intrigues me.
>> No. 21963
[x] Just kidding, and I raise it to my dry lips, teeth already gnashing in anticipation of tearing apart every juicy fiber...
>> No. 21964
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.

I think we made our point pretty well.
>> No. 21966
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.
>> No. 21967
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.

Feasting seems to be but a mere pleasurable past time than necessity for now on...
>> No. 21968
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.
>> No. 21972
I get the feeling that it's energy more than flesh.
>> No. 21974
[X] ...but instead, I'll keep it in a box, and I'll lock it and oh, how precious it will be.

We'll collect the hearts of the ladies, and keep them. Our own personal harem.


We may have to consume life eventually though.
>> No. 22115
[X] ...but instead, I'll keep it in a box, and I'll lock it and oh, how precious it will be.
>> No. 22118
[X] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your heart anyway.
>> No. 22140
[x] Fine, fine, have it back. I didn't really want your updates anyway.
>> No. 22167
[X] Just kidding, and I raise it to my dry lips, teeth already gnashing in anticipation of tearing apart every juicy fiber...
>> No. 22190
Fine. Fine! Alright, quit it—cut it out, enough. I just wanted to see if I could—self-proof, that's it. It's not as if I need this—this hunger is nothing. Empty nothing, filled with void—I resist. I deny. Denial is also a kind of proof.

Have it back, “...alright?”I didn't need this. Dry your “...tears... and blood.”

Did I say what I meant? It's so hard to tell—all the words, sounds, thoughts inside me are me are impossible, inconceivable, untranslatable, no escape from my mind through lips or tongue or otherwise. Regardless, my hands obey—eyes may stray, mouth may bray nonsense and obscenity, but the truth of the self is shown in what's done. Perhaps someone said that—perhaps not. I push her heart back into her opened chest. It's difficult—fixing is more challenge than breaking, and breaking is hard enough. Getting it out just so—but worthwhile, as I prove now. Carefully I snipped here, slashed there, and just as carefully can I pull closed what was torn open, and push together and disentangle and reentangle. And there.


I said it again, as if I've nothing else to say—and I don't, I haven't. What more can I? She's not alright. I can see that clearly enough. But—she'll mend. I think. I feel. I know, by the light's glow, that her life remains and her heart beats and the blood flows and her wounds mend. It's not alright, but it's enough.

Play again, songbird.

She doesn't answer. Maybe she can't. It doesn't matter—for now. For now, there's nothing more. I deny this path, so another opens. To stay is to backtrack—denial of denial, endless circles leading where I dare not think. I must go. And so, I do, leaving behind the small sounds of life and death. Everywhere, struggles are cyclic, every hurdle, peak, challenge....

Now where am I? I smell... something. Good. Delicious. My hunger stirs, yearning, calling, reminding—but I'm alright, I'm alright. For now, I'm alright. But that's here, and that's now, and I can't stay in the here-and-now for longer than a moment—a single, solitary moment, destroyed utterly by each pass forward, future devouring past. Will I be alright then? I can't know—yet. Perhaps, to avoid—no shame to flee, for whatever thing I am now. Perhaps. Another scent comes... a stale trickle saying I-know-not-what.

[ ] The strong smell of life pulls me forward...

[ ] ...but the weak smell, its meaning eludes me, and the unknown calls me...

[ ] No, I can't. I can't! Back into the deep, deep woods, away from this temptation. There I go, like to like.
>> No. 22193
[x] ...but the weak smell, its meaning eludes me, and the unknown calls me...
>> No. 22194
[x] ...but the weak smell, its meaning eludes me, and the unknown calls me...


>> No. 22196
[x] The strong smell of life pulls me forward...

The hell with weak smells.
>> No. 22198
[x] The strong smell of life pulls me forward...
>> No. 22282
As odd as it is to think this, I'm still alive. Hardware troubles are considerable, but I can get online on occasion. Lost part of an update to SIN with a failed adapter (if anyone remembers that).

2-2, though? Shall I simply choose one? The motivation to write is so much easier to find in... other circumstances.
>> No. 22292
[x] The strong smell of life pulls me forward.
>> No. 22293
>> No. 22294
Forward, always and unceasingly, time carries me forward. The wise man knows his direction, but I know only the smell that leads me, pulling, not like tied strings but still--the lines unseen above the puppet, too thin and too light to feel. I could resist, if I knew why. Knowledge is the scarcest of all. Thoughts come quickly but knowing is fleeting, clarity out of reach. If I but had the power to know, what then?

Could I rest?

Not now, not yet. There's no way I can stop with this smell before me. I'll lose it if I stop, the wind taking it and carrying it far away, no more to tell me my path. Over the ground and around the trees and through the fields and the grass breaks before me, the trees disappearing behind. The moonlight--where is the moonlight? False dawn is soon to break. Too slow, I was too slow. The darkness is giving way, lifting, soon to turn the fields to gold--but no, there is nothing but a gray expanse, no color anywhere. Behind the fields, the forest beckons. Across the fields, I see half-familiar shapes. Containers of wood and stone--and steel and concrete and people, I know that much. "City" is the word, but the wrong one.

What is different?

Too small, too wide-spaced, and too few. "Village." That's the right word. The field lightens, dawn on its way. People--there must be people. That part will be the same. The scent--yes, the scent of many lives, stewing together in their wood-stone-grass containers. Swirling and being and living and that life is something that pangs me, now. Whether this longing is of envy or hunger, I can't tell, but both are feelings of want. Perhaps they were always the same, different sides of the coin.

I hunger. I go.

[ ] ...to where scent and instinct takes me. It's been too long, and there's been too little.

[ ] ...to where I can stay hidden from the rising light. This warmth fills me with dread.
>> No. 22295
>False dawn

[x] ...to where scent and instinct takes me. It's been too long, and there's been too little.
>> No. 22296

The correct term is "astronomical dawn," if you were curious--unless this is really about space dust clouds.
>> No. 22297
[x] ...to where I can stay hidden from the rising light. This warmth fills me with dread.

Sneaking around the human village during the day probably not the best idea.
>> No. 22298
[x] ...to where I can stay hidden from the rising light. This warmth fills me with dread.
>> No. 22300
No, no not at all. It just that "false dawn" is used in another story, which i was curious if this one has connection to. But gave up on it.
>> No. 22301
[ ] ...to where scent and instinct takes me. It's been too long, and there's been too little.
>> No. 22330
[x] ...to where scent and instinct takes me. It's been too long, and there's been too little.

False dawn is an actual, pre-existing term. IT was used in Palingenesia to refer to the artificial sun because it has two meanings, that way: a metaphorical one, and a more literal-ish one.

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