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File 131173004159.png - (495.17KB, 1525x898, this will do.png) [iqdb]
23919No. 23919
So. New thread. I was gonna write a lot hating the new image, but what-the-fuck-ever, let's move on.

To more waiting around, I guess.
------

[x] Look for real food, no way that abomination the "good doctor" gave was actually food everyone within ate; never mind the stereotypes on "hospital food".

…That was some real bullshit, what she just pulled; I can’t believe any self-respecting doctor would have an ass like that. Be an ass like that. Sure, it was all in good fun except for that part where I was coerced into obligatory contractual labor, and the part where a man’s hunger is no joke, but I can understand that; I can be sympathetic. A private hospital like this, ritzy and generous all at once, it probably needs to take advantage of any fiscally-sound opportunities it can get. I get that!

There’s just one little thing I can’t quite wrap my mind around: why am I still sitting here in this sort of situation? Like hell I’ll just politely wait around and starve.

With the faint groaning of – couldn’t be springs could it, I mean the bed’s a bit too thin for springs – something and the soft clap of bare feet onto cold tile, I’m standing confidently on my own two legs again for the first time in… too long. Deep breaths now, in and out – breathe in, good; breathe out – no nausea, no vertigo, and no loss of balance. The world doesn’t feel as though it’s been tilted on its side.

One step… Two steps, three steps…

The only discomfort is the steady throb in my hand, dull pain echoing across the empty space where my finger used to be; but it’s fine, that doesn’t even throw me off-balance. There’s no jagged electric feeling crawling across my spine, a sweet and smoky scent in the air, and no crooked trees for monsters to hide behind – I could get used to this, I think.

Hold on, what was that second thing?

I take a good, long whiff – that hearty sort of sniff where you close your eyes and tilt your head back as if trying to absorb the essence of the scent. I immediately feel somewhat like a tool, but the self-loathing is pushed back by a sudden desire to find the source of the smell.

I need to do this.





Okay. The transition from tile to hardwood floors, that was a little odd. But that’s fine, I guess I can see why they’d pick tile over hardwood for the patient rooms – I mean, tile is definitely a lot easier to clean than the latter. Blood just stains the, where am I going with this? That’s not where I was going with this at all. Transition, floors, hallway… Right, doors.

Why in God’s name are there so many fucking doors? I can’t count them all- I literally can’t count them all, after spending what must have been ten or twenty minutes racking my brain. After I hit 30 or 40 (or was it 50? 60?) my eyes start sliding from door to door aimlessly until I arrive back where I started, more confused than before. Something about the sheer space feels off, somehow.

Whatever. That’s not what matters.

I start my search with gusto, stomach coiling in knots. How hard can it be to find some food…?



Behind door number one is a short stairway illuminated by a single hanging bulb- some distance below lies what I’m forced to assume is the Hospital’s main filing room. Cabinets line the walls and seemingly rise up into some shadowed ether, crowding ominously around a lone table littered with folders and dust.

There’s something ominous about this room, something terrible and nameless that I can’t pin down – it makes my hair stand on end. I exhale and it comes out as a heavy mist (nonsense, must have disturbed some dust or something in the odd light) and a jagged electric feeling works its way into my gut.

Oh hell no.

I slam the door shut and make tracks. Fuck that. I know a bad idea when I see one.



An empty lounge, the sort you’d see at a typical doctor’s office; the decor is just sophisticated enough to feel cultured and personal, but not so over-cluttered that it comes across as tacky or gauche. A few cushioned chairs scattered about, health magazines in two racks on either side of the room. Tasteful modern art sequestered away in small alcoves.

There’s an excessively streamlined clock (just a bunch of thin metal bars around ticking hands; how the hell does it function?) mounted on a wall, stating the time. 9:03.That can’t be right. It was almost noon half an hour ago.

Close the door and check another one off the list.



Some sort of operating room? All gleaming, polished metal and the cutting smell of antiseptic, sweeping lines and unobtrusive curves; the aesthetic is unabashedly futuristic and clean. The lights drench the room in that perfectly unsettling fluorescence you only find in hospitals and at the dentist’s.

There’s a low, steady hum. It sets my teeth on edge.

This definitely isn’t what I’m looking for.



“Sorry pal, try another one.”

Oh, my bad.



Ah.

This is my room. Was?

That’s really kind of embarrassing.



A dimly lit room greets me after I throw open the door, with a solitary table surrounded by high-backed chairs situated beneath a low-hanging light fixture – it feels very atmospheric, almost tense. It also feels very odd; like I shouldn’t be here.

I gently ease the door shut, since it’s only polite. Wouldn’t want to disturb the occupants, would I? I mean, shit, that would just be obnoxious on my part. Poker is real serious business, and I can sympathize with that sort of situation.

Hold on, what?


There’s- there’s nothing. Storage, I guess?



“Don’t you have something better to do? Are you just gonna open doors all day?”

Geez, sorry to be a nuisance buddy.



“FUCK FUCK FUCK-” fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

I dive to the side of the door – no, that’s not a strong enough word; I hurl myself bodily away from the portal, tumbling end over end in a hopeless attempt at maintaining some form of momentum AWAY FROM THE FUCKING TRAIN that was APPARENTLY hiding behind a closed fucking door! Who the hell just leaves a god damn train sitting around behind a door like that?!

Fuck, fuck, fuck… nothing. No roaring din as a fucking train tears through a building, no shrieking mayhem as debris rip through the walls and shred my sorry ass, no anything. If I wasn’t so busy sagging against the floor in relief, I might feel a bit cheated.

Actually? No. No I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t feel cheated at all.

I blow on my arm as the pain from the friction burn kicks in, skin flushed an angry red and missing a few thin patches of skin; fuck but these floors have a good grip to them. Luckily, I only got the one! And it’s all thanks to these neat little bandages courtesy miss Eirin.

I sidle back up to the door and close it with a panicked jerk.

That’s, that’s some bullshit.



This – this is my room again. I KNOW I never turned around (probably never turned around) so how in the hell did I wind up…? Even the door is slightly different, slightly off, obviously of the same make but not the original article. None of this, none of this makes any sense at all.

Two doors can’t go to the same space, can they? Occupy the same space? It’s just not possible, physics shouldn’t support enormous mathematical logic puzzles outside of theory. Hypotheticals. Hypothetically, something in this madhouse should make some god damn sense-

I scan the room again, just to be sure. A flicker of color in the corner of my eye and I whirl around, face to face with – nothing. There’s nothing there. Ha, ha ha. This really isn’t funny, you know? I never asked to deal with crap like this.

What was that? I could’ve sworn I just saw-

No, it was, it was probably nothing.



Stacks of crates? What the hell purpose does that serve? What’s in them?

Actually, I don’t need to know. Don’t want to, either.



“Can I help you, buddy? Because you obviously don’t have a damn clue.”

Okay, that’s it. There’s only so much a guy can take, and me, I can’t take anymore of this horseshit. Shady rooms that stink of danger, fucked up clocks, a roomful of train and now some asshole spitting lines at me while I’m looking for food in whatever-the-hell screwed up hospital this is? However the fuck far from home I am now, contracted by some doctor into giving up months of my life doing manual labor?

Fuck. That. Maybe it’s just all this pent up frustration, but… No. No way. I’m not going to just stand around and take that crap.

“Problem? Maybe you should loosen up.”

I am calm. I am the perfect picture of stoic acceptance. Like ice. I am like a statue carved from ice, and, and, this isn’t working.

One step, two steps, three. Four. I calmly, quietly, make my way through the doorway into the small, oriental-style sitting room; it’s got the whole shebang, short table, cushions, tatami mats – and that smell. That sharp, sweet smell. I know the source now.

I stroll up to what appears to be a young girl (shoulder-length black hair, cute little pink dress) with rabbit ears growing out the top of her skull, lounging about on the floor. I don’t care about that. Or the fact that she’s got a voice like film noir actress, smoking a clove cigarette with a grin that ought to split her face clean in half. What I care about are those laughing eyes, big and glittery and… thin, somehow.

I see her eyes, and, I can’t– b r e a t h e, anymore.

What

are you? Am I – doing?

Every sensation, every perception, is revved up a thousand time higher than I’ve ever felt. I could hear a shadow move. There are spectrums of light I don’t have names for, nuances I can’t fathom, a euphoria of colors slamming against my mind with a physical force – an ice pick digging around in my brain. It tastes like I’ve just been struck by lightning, ozone and restless energy. I still can’t, I still can’t breathe-!

And then.

That jagged electric feeling, that roiling ball of panic and doubt in the center of my gut… vanishes. Just up and vanishes Into thin fucking air. Vertigo, weightlessness, and confusion settle in to take their place as if they’d been there all along.

My entire body feels… cold. Distant? Numb, that’s, I suppose that’s the most accurate word. When did I fall on the ground…? Does it matter? I can breathe again, which is… I guess that’s good. That’s great, even.

…So.

So why is it that it feels like the most depressing turn of events possible?

That girl is… she’s gone now (when did she leave?) and the scent of smoke and cloves lingers on the air. I – I don’t feel all that hungry any more.

------

[ ] I need some fresh air. There’s got to be a way out of here.
[ ] Where did she go?
[ ] I should head back.
[ ]…
Expand all images
>>No. 23921
[x]…

Exploring got us fucking nowhere. Let's just stay here.
>>No. 23923
[x]…
>>No. 23924
[X]…

Just lay there and chill.
>>No. 23925
[x] I should head back.
>>No. 23926
[x]Where did she go?
TEWI
it's fate
>>No. 23931
[X] Where did she go?

THERE WAS A VOICE HERE...

IT'S GONE NOW.
>>No. 23932
[x] I need some fresh air. There’s got to be a way out of here.

Nothing if not stubborn. We aren't going to be beat by a fucking house.
>>No. 23933
[x]Where did she go?

Scooby-Doo chase scene?

Scooby-Doo chase scene.
>>No. 23934
[x]Where did she go?
>>No. 23935
[x] Where did she go?
>>No. 23946
[x] Where did she go?

Follow the white rabbit.
>>No. 23948
>>23919
Dam, we would make a sexy-ass, serial killer .

Also when will we be rolling the dice?
>>No. 23949
>>23948
The next option that involves sleep and Eirin's shady drug.
>>No. 23957
[x] I need some fresh air. There’s got to be a way out of here.

>voice like a film-noir actress
...Damn.

>>23949
Sleeping with Eirin in the shade after doing some drugs.

Okay.
>>No. 23959
File 131275912888.jpg - (637.27KB, 1327x1481, Contemplate2.jpg) [iqdb]
23959
OKAY SO, I DON'T HAVE THE UPDATE IMAGE DONE. THUS I'M NOT GOING TO POST IT JUST YET.

Instead, I spent 5 hours drawing this, and then realized it has nothing to do with the update, and that's just lazy.
>>No. 23960
File 131277093072.jpg - (394.50KB, 1080x2025, welcome back.jpg) [iqdb]
23960
Okay so, this update is pretty goddamn short, and it kinda starts going in a weird direction! Let's try and roll with it, though. Maybe.

COLORING LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER.

------

[x] Where did she go?

…Damn it.

Some part of me wants to give chase, pin her down and beg for answers to questions I can’t formulate, drown myself in that vivid clarity of existence, an echo of lucid thunder in my chest. Electricity boiling my insides away in some awful fit of vanity, an endless affirmation of my own finite existence.

But.

I can’t move.

I can barely find the willpower to breathe, to keep my eyes open, staring blankly at some empty space without any intent or purpose. It’s too much effort to even crawl into a corner and die. Every rasp of air through my teeth tastes of ash.

That weight in my pocket is still there, heavy and cold. That, that key, given to me by some strange woman, some blonde witch who waltzed into my life and tore it apart for the umpteenth fucking time. I hate her. I hate this.

But the sensation is still so far away, lingering outside my body. A lackadaisical, toneless hatred, foreign and without gravity.

I take the key, holding it up to the light. The chain dangles down, useless, pointless – this key has too many teeth. That symbol doesn’t (can’t, could never) mean anything at all, so why does it even exist, so blatantly?

That girl. Where is she? Where is she?

Where did –

– she go?

...It doesn't matter. I don't... I don't care right now.

About anything.

Everything is... dull.

Slowly, painfully, teeth grinding in my mouth as my aching bones do the same, I manage to stand. On my own two feet again.

What a shitty thing to be proud of.

…Too many teeth. This key looks vicious. Senseless aggression and an overwrought façade. There’s nothing on the planet that would accept this sort of key, I’m sure.

But there’s the door. It was there all along, wasn’t it? I slide the key into the lock and it turns so easily – no, that’s not quite accurate. Turning this key, opening this lock – it feels like breaking my own arm. Terrible and self-destructive and… easy; I’ve done it a thousand times before. The click of the deadbolt rings out, striking my ears like a gunshot.

Yeah. What does it matter where she went?

I’m not in any mood for games any more.

The door swings open on well-oiled hinges, quiet and achingly familiar, and I trudge wearily back into my apartment before slamming it shut behind me.

Welcome home. What a crock of shit; the only thing waiting for me is a pile of unpaid bills.

The silence is devastatingly real.

------

[ ] …
[ ] I…
[ ] This can’t…
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 23963
[x] …

Seems like we blacked out. That's my best guess, anyways.
>>No. 23964
I don't even know what happened.
>>No. 23966
>>23964
Sorry about that!
>>No. 23967
[X] This can’t…

!
>>No. 23968
[X] This can’t…
>>No. 23971
[x] Maybe going through the mail will help you gather your thoughts?

Like, is the word 'Silent Hill' anywhere in the recipient block?
>>No. 23972
[X] This can’t…

works for me~!
>>No. 23973
[x] Maybe going for a walk will help you gather your thoughts?

Because walking around alone in complete silence would be mind shattering.
>>No. 23975
[x] I…

...think someone slipped me something. What the hell was all that?
>>No. 23976
[x] Write-in
-[x] Note to self: Drinking with the guys is a horrible idea.

But in all seriousness:

[x] …
>>No. 24053
>>23960
Interesting story you've got going here, I can see why Demetrious recommends it.

Your style kind of reminds me of Tsukihime in some places, though the prose is, on the overall, a great deal more impressive.

This latest twist is reminiscent of Revolver... or, perhaps, Silent Hill, as someone else has pointed out. Always fun to look through the eyes of insanity.

[x]Write-in.
-[x] Check myself. Am I still missing a digit? Is that key still in the keyhole?

(Maybe this seems a bit too brisk considering what Clint's just been through, but the other choices were nondescript ellipse-fests. But hey, maybe that was the point.)
>>No. 24054
>>24053
Speaking of Demetrious, Expect a lot more votes for this story Stove.
>>No. 24063
File 13145818511.jpg - (298.03KB, 1116x1145, jacket.jpg) [iqdb]
24063
>>24054
Ffff-

Well, expect an update at some point soonish. I can't spend FOREVER acclimating to the dorms again.

here's some mostly shitty Clint I did a while back! what have i become this is pathetic
>>No. 24065
>>24063
>drawfag thinking a good picture is shitty

Stove. You are awesome. Your drawings are awesome. The sheer fact you can make a good story, and use your drawfag skills at the same time is awesome.
>>No. 24066
>>24063
>Well, expect an update at some point soonish.

Hooray!
>>No. 24112
File 131517299639.jpg - (699.77KB, 1586x996, Can't.jpg) [iqdb]
24112
I am the worst at sticking to deadlines! the worst. This update will not write. Or rather, it's started and went some places, but petered out.

here have a depressing picture
>>No. 24116
>>24112

That is depressing. Poor Clint.
>>No. 24117
File 131525649638.jpg - (1.21MB, 1968x1283, still prog.jpg) [iqdb]
24117
FUCK IT this picture isn't entirely done and the I'm more dissatisfied than usual with the writing but fuck it let's at least try to make a little progress.

aaaaaagh

------

[x] This can’t…

This can’t… really be happening, can it?

Breathe. Breathe. Come on. My feet may as well be made of lead for all the good they do me – taking a single step forward is torturously hard. Distant warnings blare in my skull, a miserable cacophony of shrieking klaxons, telling me that I don’t belong.

Something odious, thick – greasy almost, a sensation of disgust clinging to my skin and seeping into my bones; I’m a foreigner in my own home. Ha. Ha ha. The quiet has a cutting sort of gravity to it, simultaneously familiar and alien.

No.

Breathe.

How? When did it come to this?

Was – is any of it…? Real? To begin with, wasn’t it all like some sort of – miserable dream? A miserable dream full of frantic motion, and fear, and change

I…

I can’t handle this. Not right now. I scrub at my face, rough and clammy and scarless, and hate the feel of bandages with every fiber of my soul.

Ten fingers, but. It feels like eleven. Knotted up, strained and bent. Twisted phantom awareness, waves of cold shivering through the nerves. But that’s… just some kind of lingering effect, right? Some kind of lingering aftereffect of a dream…

A dream full of pain. Impossible, unreasonable pain. Dreams are supposed to be painless, thoughtless; escapes into twisted visualizations of stress. So why?

My chest aches. Like I reached a hand inside and snapped off a rib, but somehow less – concrete. A metaphysical sort of feeling, an abstract sensation of loss; to describe it, it’s almost… I was reading a fairy tale and someone started tearing out the pages. Bitter, spiteful, desperate.

(…Me. I did. I ripped them up and tossed them in the fire. Nothing gained, nothing lost, and what I have left – I can’t lose it. Throwing away everything else, for here and now… that’s fine. That’s fine, that’s fine, that’s fi)

A wave of nausea crashes into the back of my throat, stomach clenching, hands curling tight into fists- but no. I let out a breath, steady and slow.

Really. It’s – nothing new, right? This sickening self-loathing.

It’s always been this way.

I hunch over the table that barely fits in my little kitchenette, old wood creaking softly as it supports my weight – I half expect to see a fancy tea cup, a saucer, sitting idly near the far end… but no. There’s nothing. At least half of me feels vindicated, taking solace in the monotonous emptiness of my, my home.

But… vindication doesn’t make the ache go away.

Even so. Even so, aches and pains are standard fare. When was the last time I didn’t have to deal with them?

So it doesn’t matter. Bills won’t pay themselves; this isn’t that kind of world.



Money is, scarce. Checking’s completely empty now. If I run out of cash (which is looking likely if I want to buy anything more expensive than a few gallons of gas and a pack of gum) I’ll have to dip into savings… which is more of a puddle than a pool now.

Fat lot of good that degree is doing for me in this job market.

But then I notice it.



A ringing, scything through the silence. Too harsh, much too harsh compared to the scratching of pen on paper. The uncomfortable, slimy feeling comes back, creeping along my skin like a steady humid rot.



This shouldn’t even take a moment of thought. Just answer the phone and be done with it. Just, just- answer the phone. And be done with it.

But…



My hand just doesn’t want to-



Time’s running out.

------

[ ] Answer the phone.
[ ] Don’t answer the phone.
>>No. 24118
[ ] Don’t answer the phone.
>>No. 24119
[X] Answer the phone.

Argh! Will answering the phone shatter this illusion(?) or solidify it?
>>No. 24122
[x] Answer the phone.

We have to know who phone was.

also dont try to force a picture an update, just go with the flow
>>No. 24128
>>24122
The picture took a hell of a lot less time than writing the update.
>>No. 24131
[x] Answer the phone.

Ignoring it won't tell us anything.
>>No. 24132
[x] Answer the phone.
>>No. 24133
[X] Answer the phone.
>>No. 24137
[X] Answer the phone.

Works for me~!
>>No. 24141
[ ] Answer the phone.
>>No. 24143
[x] Don’t answer the phone.

Damn bill collectors.
>>No. 24145
[x] Don’t answer the phone.

Fuck phones. Hate them so much.
>>No. 24153
[x] Don’t answer the phone.

Accurse electronic messenger! Thine ringing is a great irritation to mine ears!
>>No. 24170
[X] Answer the phone.

Not like we have a choice anyway.
>>No. 24172
[x] Answer the phone.
- [x] Ask them what kind of pizza they would like to order.
>>No. 24173
>>24172
alright this one convinced me to change my vote
>>24170
to this
[x] Answer the phone.
- [x] "Hello and welcome to da Indian speciality restaurant Taj Mahal. My name is Rajid Mahar, how can I help you?"
WITH ACCENT AND EVERYTHING
>>No. 24194
[x] Answer the phone.

Oh oh telephone line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight~♪
>>No. 24195
[x] Answer the phone.

I can't help but get the feeling it would be bad if the phone doesn't get answered.
>>No. 24261
[x] Answer the phone.
- [x] Ask them what kind of pizza they would like to order.
>>No. 24265
>>24117
[x] Don’t answer the phone.

Either we hear "SEVEN DAYS" or, we get told to duck, avoiding death narrowly.

So either way, its fucked with tension or fucked with sudden death.
>>No. 24266
File 131707622071.jpg - (1.22MB, 1708x1460, phoned2.jpg) [iqdb]
24266
MAN I AM REALLY SORRY ABOUT THIS SLOW UPDATE SPEED. I'd give some kind of excuse about schoolwork but, well, nope. Doesn't even begin to cover it.

ALSO THIS POST'S IMAGE IS PRIMARILY UNRELATED. going into strange waters here with the writing. Strange, retarded waters.
------

[x] Answer the phone.

God damn it. Who the hell is calling me at this hour? A ripple of pointless frustration works its way through my jaw, clenching and unclenching as I stare at the phone – the number doesn’t mean anything to me, but most numbers don’t mean anything to me. I don’t exactly receive a lot of calls. Comes with the territory – that is, comes with getting your phone number changed fifteen goddamned times.

Yeah, just keep on ringing. I get it. I shift around in my seat in some lethargic bid to get at the bothersome thing, jostling the table with a clatter of pens and a rustling of paper (half-written checks and bills with neglected envelopes.)

Let’s narrow this down real quick – why would I go into a potential conversation unprepared? Can’t be the landlord (rotten old bitch,) shouldn’t be the bank (although my balance is getting low enough that… well, maybe soon,) might be a telemarketer even though I’m on the national ‘do no call’ list, but that wouldn’t quite fit; it looks like a personal number. Mike? No, he just doesn’t have the time anymore; we haven’t even gone out for drinks since he settled down… God, how long’s it been?

Hold on.

Hold on, if that’s – it shouldn’t be, couldn’t possibly be…

Who am I kidding? It must be her. Nobody, nobody else would even bother.

My hands aren’t shaking, but nothing is steadier than my tone. Cold, flat, distant – I hear myself talking, and it doesn’t sound anything like me at all. (That’s a lie.) Or rather, it’s the other way around. I hear myself talking, and for once, it feels frighteningly honest. The arbitrary niceties, the mores and moral obligations, all those bold-faced lies are stripped away. All that’s left is…

My tongue feels heavy.

My mouth is full of cotton.

“Stop calling me.”

The earpiece shrieks silently at me, a withering hiss of white noise and static. There’s no reply, and my hands begin to shake. Everything is far too light. There’s no sensation of reality, no cessation of the anxiety pressing down on my shoulders. This frantic tension, this strained anticipation coiling tight around my throat (and strangling me, every breath choked and ugly)… for what? Why? I guess it doesn’t really matter.

My hands aren’t shaking.

My voice is steady.

And –

– I’ve never felt less.

“I know it’s you.”

The dying glow of the afternoon sun flutters across my skin, hard lines of illumination peering in through the blinds, a red cast washing over everything. The casing of the phone buckles slightly, plastic creaking and popping beneath my fingers, and I frown. (The railing, burns my hand.)

Silence.

But I finally found you again.

I couldn’t just leave you be.


------

[ ] Hang up.
[ ] Give in. (What do you want?)
[ ] Say nothing.
[ ] [write-in]
>>No. 24267
[X] Say nothing.

Let's not even dignify this with a response.
>>No. 24268
[x] Give in. (What do you want?)
creepy stalker route gogogo
>>No. 24270
[x] Give in. (What do you want?)
>>No. 24271
[x] "Hey bitch."
-[x] Hang up
>>No. 24272
[X] Say nothing.
-[X] Hang up.
--[X] If she calls again, unplug the damn phone.

[X]Hope like hell that it doesn't ring while it's unplugged.
>>No. 24273
[x] Give in. (What do you want?)
>>No. 24274
[X] Give in. (What do you want?)

Maybe a new purpose to pursue will come.

Beats feeling forever being hunteed and haunted within your own damn home. Could it even be called home any more?
>>No. 24275
[x] Give in. (What do you want?)

Holy shit, this is getting creepy.

Hate towards Yukari rising.
>>No. 24276
[X] Say nothing.
-[X] Hang up.
--[X] If she calls again, unplug the damn phone.
>>No. 24277
[X] Say nothing.
-[X] Hang up.
--[X] If she calls again, unplug the damn phone.
>>No. 24279
>>24275
What makes you think it's Yukari?
>>No. 24280
[X] Say nothing.
-[X] Hang up.
--[X] If she calls again, unplug the damn phone.

Damn phone.
>>No. 24281
>>24279
Gee, I fucking wonder why. It's not like you know its already heavily implied or anything if you would just read the story!
>>No. 24283
File 131731668058.jpg - (542.61KB, 1800x1629, fallingsmaller.jpg) [iqdb]
24283
>>24281
Don't get smarmy. Also, you're wrong. You're adjacent to the real answer though.

was working on this image a few weeks ago, might as well try posting something less shitty to make up for that update image
>>No. 24288
[x] Rip the cord out the wall.
>>No. 24381
[x]Give in. (What do you want?)

Couldn’t leave me be? Of course she couldn’t leave me be. Couldn’t stand leaving me with a whole half of the things I owned. Couldn’t stand leaving me alone to find my own life again. Couldn’t stand a single goddamn thing.

There’s no hatred boiling in my gut, howling and shrieking and burning cold. There’s no sorrow ripping at my heartstrings. There’s no regret weighing me down.

The only thing I feel is nothing at all.

I see my reflection in the glass and the expression looking back is laughably blank – it would seem less inhuman if I were carved out of stone.

Oh, don’t be so dull. I know you’re there!

I can hear you breathing.


I know.

I know I know I know

But there’s one thing I don’t know. I can’t fathom, can’t guess, can’t even begin to try wrapping my mind around it. I heave a sigh and let it pour into the receiver, futility making me sag over onto the table. My free hand clenches and unclenches, bare but swathed with an inescapable sensation of medical bandages and phantom pain. It feels like every motion should be smearing blood across the wood.

There’s just, one thing.

“…What do you want?”

Why are you calling me again, Madison? Why are you invading my life again, Madison? Why are you doing this to me again, Madison? Why can’t you just leave well enough alone? A glass tumbles off the countertop and shatters, shards glittering in the light as they scatter across the tile and vanish (from sight, anyway – I’d never be so lucky.)

Of course. Of course this happens when I’m not wearing any shoes.

God damn it.

What was that? Don’t go breaking things!

It’s really immature.


Warmth trickling down my chin, pearling on my neck. Beads of heat dripping onto the table in a patternless rhythm. A flick of my tongue and I know it’s that old familiar taste – why the hell is my nose bleeding?

…Ah.

Really. Does it matter?

I wipe my face, smearing it a slapdash rouge and staining my bandages- I don’t have any bandages- leaving a streak of red cooling on my arm.

“Don’t dodge the question.”

Laughter, high-pitched and soft and achingly grating (a rusty knife ripping at a chalkboard.) The blood keeps pouring down my face, and it frightens me that – why is it so bad? I haven’t had a proper nosebleed since …

…falling, selfish lights, glowing eyes, vertigo and weightlessness…

Since the last time I talked to an awful blonde-haired witch. The wonders of pattern recognition, I suppose.

Well, if you want to be rude…

I’m in town again. And I’ll definitely be stopping by.


I, at this point, I already knew. Has it really been two years? Since the last time we- But that’s not important, is it.

------

[ ] No, you won’t.
[ ] I– yeah. Fine.
[ ] (Say nothing.)
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 24382
File 13187193831.jpg - (348.43KB, 1426x1138, in the rain2.jpg) [iqdb]
24382
here, have some shitty 2 month old irrelevant art since I don't feel up to drawing something new. God, dark souls ate my life.
>>No. 24384
File 131871962028.jpg - (310.31KB, 701x1608, now.jpg) [iqdb]
24384
I guess it was a shitty then-and-now sort of deal, except the "now" is sometime in the future or sometihng. I don't know why clint has that rope. for stranglin' maybe?
>>No. 24385
[x] No, you won’t.
>>No. 24386
[x] No, you won’t.
>>No. 24387
[x] No, you won’t.
>>No. 24388
[x] No, you won’t.

You know, I dont understand any of this, but if I did, that guy over there would still have his legs. And at least one of his balls.
>>No. 24389
[X] No, you won’t.

Away with ye, vile harlot.
>>No. 24390
[X] No, you won’t.
>>No. 24391
[X] No, you won’t.

Works for me~?
>>No. 24392
[x] No, you won’t.

Ruin his life, then come knocking on his door. I don't think so, sister.
>>No. 24423
File 131934303459.jpg - (243.51KB, 1114x609, ruffle.jpg) [iqdb]
24423
Sorry for being a worthless fuck! Here, have a potential preview of where this could all be going!

Someday.
>>No. 24425
>>24423
...
That was kinda touching.
>>No. 24434
>>24423
Daaaaw.
>>No. 24441
>>24423
Despite the things you yourself are saying about your art skills, you're actually pretty good at drawing cuddly wuddly cute things.
>>No. 24547
File 132070411675.jpg - (367.53KB, 1138x803, over with.jpg) [iqdb]
24547
No excuses, just be careful with your thoughts here. If this is too vague and shitty, let me know and I'll provide some reasonable choices instead.

please excuse shitty art
------

[x] No, you won’t.

Like hell. Like hell I’ll just let you waltz back into my life. Waltz back in and yank at the leash I tore out of your hands, wheedle and urge and wrap me around your perfectly-manicured finger. Like hell I’ll just let you drag me down to your level for hollow, pointless sex.

The blood trickling down my face feels like molten lead, a splinter of fire buried in my sinuses screaming white-hot with painless agony. But… I don’t feel anything at all – except. No.

No, that’s a lie. Against all reason, there’s one thing I do feel.

Hm? Did you hang up on me? Because that’s just-

“No.”

Certainty. I’ve never felt so god damn certain of anything in my entire life.

There’s a pause, almost incredulous. Words driven with a self-assured momentum jumble up in knots, script torn up and scattered to the winds. Hesitation creeping in.

What did you say?

“No. You won’t.” You won’t set a single fucking foot in my apartment. You won’t move a single step closer to ruining my fucking life again. I can’t stand you. I won’t stand you. Every empty, parasitic interaction we’ve had, this twisted relationship with crooked teeth hooked deep inside my skin, all of it. It ends now.

And this time, I’m going to follow through.

“Stay the hell out of my sight. Stay the hell out of my life.”

Follow through, like I should have the first time. Like I should have a long time ago.

You- You can’t just- Clint, please-

Her voice has that fever-pitch, that pointed fear, that self-centered desperation longing for some way to assert control. Control over anything, everything. A pretty painting of shattered glass, mindlessly sharp and deliberately false.

Some tiny, shriveled part of me dies when I hear that voice. Good. Good riddance. There’s nothing more satisfying.

“Don’t call me again, Madison.”

I nearly break the button when I end the call, carelessly tossing the phone somewhere behind me and sagging back into my chair. The only sound is my steady heartbeat, the rhythmless pitter patter of my blood on the table, the whisper of air as I take a deep, invigorating breath.

For some reason, the blood doesn’t drain back into my throat. There’s no more burning, just a comfortable heat settling into my bones, and I take the time to wipe at my face again. Clean. The nosebleed mysteriously clearing up just serves as icing on the cake.

I…

I haven’t felt this good in years. It’s an alien sensation, foreign in my mind (and welcome, all the same.) But with it comes… All I have left are questions. No answers, no clues, just doubts and confusion. Hell, I can deal with that.

It’s just.

I stare at the ceiling. Mind drawing blanks, yards of empty canvas piled in the corners. No frantic search for answers, no giggling monster to drive me forward.

Just two words.

…Now what?

------

[ ] Write-in

------
>>No. 24548
[X] "Now...now we are free. Just rest, sit back. Enjoy the feeling of the weight lifted off your shoulders."

Free, free forever. Now we can finally sit, and just THINK, and untangle this mess.
>>No. 24549
[x] Think about what you'd want out of life and where to go.
>>No. 24550
[X] "Now...now we are free. Just rest, sit back. Enjoy the feeling of the weight lifted off your shoulders."
>>No. 24551
[X] "Now...now we are free. Just rest, sit back. Enjoy the feeling of the weight lifted off your shoulders."
-[x] Think about what you'd want out of life and where to go.

Things tend to be much more tangible and approachable after being free from things that had haunted as well as blinded some one from their personal goals and interests.
>>No. 24552
I'd have voted for drinking and masturbation myself, but hey. Whatever's cool.
>>No. 24594
Now we get drunk and go to a doctor to see about stopping those nosebleeds.
>>No. 24642
>I stare at the ceiling. Mind drawing blanks, yards of empty canvas piled in the corners.

So I'm guess he a painter?

[x] Think about what you'd want out of life and where to go.

This is basically a write-in to give us voting options.
>>No. 24646
>>24642
>Painter
>writer is prominent drawfag
hmmm
>>No. 24648
File 132215925145.png - (515.12KB, 1000x1000, 01350d71a7b28c56bc991f6147bd1d8e.png) [iqdb]
24648
>>24646

>stove
>prominent
>>No. 24653
>>24642
the corners are in his mind, not literal corners. It was shitty prose.

>>24648
>>full agreement
>>No. 24876
File 132544873689.jpg - (433.61KB, 1253x1233, update.jpg) [iqdb]
24876
Guess who isn't dead? Whose whose art got WORSE? This guy.

i took some liberties with this update at the last minute by making it retarded. please try and deal with it calmly and let me know if you feel i should change it.

YOU MAY OPEN THE SHITTY PICTURE AT THE END, PLEASE.

------

[x] Take a deep breath and reflect warmly on life.
-[x] Drink.
--[x] These nosebleeds aren’t normal. There IS that walk-in clinic not far from here…

I take a deep, deep breath, and it feels like I’m coming up for air – the massive weight behind my eyes simply melting away, liquid heat trickling down my spine … it’s amazing. A blind pressure, so constant I couldn’t even recognize it, just fading away.

Ha. Ha ha. I could… laugh. Laugh at how easy it was. At how much I’m relieved by one stupid, sickening thing.

I take another breath, long and deliberate. Breathe in the sharp, wearied scent of my apartment – old papers and ink, a muted caress of smoke and cloves. Smells like home.

God, I could just- just- do something, someone, run outside and yell at the top of my lungs and damn what anybody thinks, all this manic gleeful energy working its way through my body and leaving me shaking like a giddy child; I’ve earned it.

“My my, aren’t you proud of yourself!” That voice drives me out of my mild euphoria, those sultry, dulcet tones irritatingly familiar.

But you know what?

This, it really – doesn’t matter. So… what the hell, right?

I move like a man possessed, like I just made it back from the war, like I didn’t have a single care in the world – I spin this dangerous, inhuman woman around in my arms and sweep her up off her feet, planting a ridiculous, overdramatic kiss right on her smug mouth. I feel her arch slightly with my hand at the small of her back; feel the warmth of her neck through that silky blonde hair.

For one long moment, those too-sharp eyes are wide open.

Then the moment ends. I put her back on her feet, actually laughing; there’s no pause, no segue, just a flurry of motion as I snatch the old coat draped over my chair and grab my keys off the counter, no words to spare for the visibly dazed woman as I damn near swagger out of my apartment and lock the door behind me.

I feel ready to take on the fucking world – god, nothing would go better with this feeling than a drink. Or two, or three. Hell, the numbers aren’t important, but a good buzz and some good times feel like the least I could do to justify this excitement.

…Probably not too many, though- I tamp down the fevered desire to just rush forward and live today like I haven’t lived in years. These nosebleeds sure as hell aren’t normal- neither are these… fuck, I can’t call them hallucinations can I?

Delusions, maybe? They feel a bit too real, a bit too terrible.

I shrug on my ragged jacket and make a mental note to stop by the walk-in clinic not far from here, at least get myself checked out to make sure it’s nothing too serious... Fuck, what a way to rain on my own parade.

As I hustle down the steps to the parking lot two at a time, metal railing almost cold enough to numb my hand, the nagging voice of indecision leaves me frowning up at the sky.

First things first, I definitely need to-

------

[ ] Get those drinks. There’s a cheap liquor store not far from here. Within walking distance, actually.
---[ ] Alternative: get in the car! We’re going to the nice one. One last hurrah before I go broke.
[ ] At least pretend to be a responsible adult. That clinic isn’t even irritatingly far away.
[ ] Panic. What the hell did I just do?
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 24877
[ ] At least pretend to be a responsible adult. That clinic isn’t even irritatingly far away.

We just flabbergastified Yukari. HELL YEAH US.
>>No. 24878
I saw that.

[x] Get those drinks. There’s a cheap liquor store not far from here. Within walking distance, actually.
>>No. 24880
File 132545035241.jpg - (1.28MB, 3704x2160, season.jpg) [iqdb]
24880
also here have a shitty unfinished greeting card
>>No. 24881
[x] At least pretend to be a responsible adult. That clinic isn’t even irritatingly far away.

Not dead? Are you sure you're not just some monstrosity given a vague, unholy semblance of life? Eh, either one's fine.
>>No. 24883
[x] At least pretend to be a responsible adult. That clinic isn’t even irritatingly far away.
>>No. 24885
[X] Get those drinks. There’s a cheap liquor store not far from here. Within walking distance, actually.
Afterwards
[X] At least pretend to be a responsible adult. That clinic isn’t even irritatingly far away.
This way we can get drunk quickly if we find out we have some serious illness.
>>No. 24892
>>24885
Won't work. Blood tests and the like generally need you to be completely sober in order to work properly. At least in most cases. Better just enjoy this now and worry tomorrow.
Also: getting drinks and drinking alone? Oh come on, there has to be someone we can call up to go on a pub crawl.
[x] Get those drinks. Ring up a handful of friends, then meet up at the local bar / pub / beer garden equivalent.
>>No. 24924
[x] Get those drinks. Ring up a handful of friends, then meet up at the local bar / pub / beer garden equivalent.
This. Alternatively, go to a pub without friends but make some there.
>>No. 24987
File 132934032063.jpg - (551.37KB, 1728x972, CLINT VS full2.jpg) [iqdb]
24987
Yeah I haven't really been writing at all, but I'm sure you folks who actually read this (for some reason) already knew that. It's just hard to muster up the drive.

SO TO MAYBE HELP TIDE YOU OVER, HAVE A PICTURE I MADE INSTEAD OF WRITING.

FULL SIZE IF YOU WANT I GUESS: http://filesmelt.com/dl/CLINT_VS_full.jpg

sorry
>>No. 25011
>>24987

hooray!
>>No. 25027
>>24987
Is this still the case?
Please let it not be so.
We really do enjoy this story.
>>No. 25030
File 13313305157.jpg - (596.87KB, 1920x1080, REBEL 1.jpg) [iqdb]
25030
>>25027
Actually, I was working on the next post, off and on, but just didn't really know where to go with it. I feel like this whole endeavor has lost a lot of steam and doesn't seem to have much cohesion.

Oddly, I still really like the character(s) and have no wish to... STOP writing them? I'm not sure. It's like I'm waiting for something to kick me in the ass with inspiration.

also have a quick sketch of arcade mode level 1
>>No. 25032
File 133133074681.jpg - (673.17KB, 1920x1080, REBEL 2.jpg) [iqdb]
25032
and arcade mode level 2
>>No. 25034
>>25030
You can restart the story, or you can decide to "jump" to an interesting part. I think it's called a time ellipse, or something like that.
>>No. 25035
File 133140569875.jpg - (233.04KB, 1724x917, NO.jpg) [iqdb]
25035
>>25034
That almost feels like missing the point - a time lapse, or whatever you want to call it, throws any notion of interactivity out the window. Er, almost as much as my glacial update speed throws it out the window.

Also, restarting would be completely bizarre.I don't know why I would want to do that. Aside from the fact that my initial concepts for Clint were totally different from how he wound up panning out.

here, have a thing I wrote as dumb a little extra some time ago

---

"You know…"

The moon princess began speaking with a sly look in her eyes. I immediately knew what was coming. "No." And then the face. Mythology be damned, she was violently beautiful and seeing her make that face caused me physical pain. This whole affair was going to give me ulcers, I swear.

“But, but, we have so many amazing swords, from the moon you know-!”

I give her a flat look, managing through sheer force of will to keep my eyes from watering at the mystical NEET’s pouty expression. This sort of charisma is disastrous.

“I’d have to be on the moon to pick them up. They’re uselessly heavy.”

“You don’t get to say that! You have the white hair and the red coat and the tragic past- you just need a huge sword!”

This girl is- she’s crazy. She’s definitely crazy.

---

There's one other little thing like that, a kinda-spoileriffic-kinda-potentially-not-true longer piece that's actually serious, and what was initially going to be the first post of the story, if anyone wants to see those.
>>No. 25036
Looks like Kaguya has been playing DMC recently
>>No. 25037
File 133141543030.jpg - (115.98KB, 640x480, Kanshou and Bakuya.jpg) [iqdb]
25037
If his main objection is the size and weight of the thing, maybe Kaguya should find a pair of black and white swords for him to dual-wield. White hair, red coat, tragic past etc.

In any case, if you have any more random snippets of this story then I at least would be interested.
>>No. 25038
>>25035
Clint the Blood-edge?
>>No. 25039
>“But, but, we have so many amazing swords, from the moon you know-!”

>I give her a flat look, managing through sheer force of will to keep my eyes from watering at the mystical NEET’s pouty expression. This sort of charisma is disastrous.

>“I’d have to be on the moon to pick them up. They’re uselessly heavy.”

Oh, that is too funny.
>>No. 25041
File 133143948749.jpg - (133.46KB, 810x1440, balcon2.jpg) [iqdb]
25041
well, in case people were interested, this is the kinder-spoilery-but-maybe-not-actually thing I wrote a while ago to just try and be depressing. er, more depressing than usual.

picture unrelated. remember, it's probable that none of this means anything

----
Really, it all just makes sense doesn’t it? Perfect sense. Logical and feasible and perfectly satisfying every loose thread I could try to name.

I knew, all along. Didn’t I?

That I – ████.

From the very beginning, I suspected.

That–I–


Pondered.

–██e█.

But my mind just slid around it, groping blindly in the dark, hands fumbling and uncertain. Too alien, too foreign, too damn hopeless.

But then. Then, this bitch in a purple dress, this blond-haired witch with her too-sharp smile and too-bright eyes. She leans in, lips so red, breath hot and sensual, and she whispers in my ear.

You’re welcome.

For what? For this? All this suffering and strife and pain and change and, and, all these (fond) new memories of strange new people. These halcyon days of self-discovery, of drinking tea in quiet rooms, of manual labor under the sun and a clear blue sky.

I –

–██ed.


– Never asked for this.

This… happiness–foreign and cloying, sickly sweet–clinging to the ragged edges of my soul. Disgusting and unnecessary. Everything I ever wanted I threw away, and everything I needed slipped between my fingers like smoke. I didn’t ask for this – I didn’t deserve this. This third chance, this getaway in a land of myth and fantasy.

What the hell gave me the right? Who the hell gave me the right to abandon all responsibility and live in this carefree world?

And who the hell gave her the right to make it happen? What the fuck kind of twisted fate is that?

The one thing I manage to get right, the one time I succeed in life.

It’s when I

Die.

----
>>No. 25047
>>25041

what

No really, that's all I can think of.
>>No. 25048
For some reason that made some vague sense to me.
>>No. 25051
File 133148698291.jpg - (251.79KB, 1125x1125, forest walk2.jpg) [iqdb]
25051
>>25047
like i said, it was sort of nonsensically depressing.

I could think of a couple possible justifications in-story for it, but it boils down to something like... I dunno.

Maybe it could be that these headaches, bloody noses, they're gonna ultimately culminate
in an aneurysm that drops him stone cold dead- and he wakes up in Gensokyo, of course, perfectly fine, perfectly fine-

what do you mean, I can't leave-

oh.

...oh.


but yeah it's probably nothing that'll actually happen
>>No. 25090
>>25041
>I never asked for this
Everything's coming together now, MC is actually Adam Jensen. Shitty jokes aside, please find aforementioned something to kick you in the ass with inspiration as soon as you can.
>>No. 25096
File 133348170615.jpg - (423.86KB, 1028x1375, totallydeepcolorschemes.jpg) [iqdb]
25096
>>25090
I hate to say anything preemptive, buuuuut- I HAVE actually started writing the next update.

lord knows if that will actually have any impact on a theoretical update ETA. here, have a really old picture i probably already posted.

also, just for a shock of how different it would have been... This was the beginning of a theoretical first post.

------

I work through the snarl of steel cable, some ridiculous gauge nearly as thick as my finger– there it goes– and coil it up, slinging it over my shoulder. It’s heavy and wet and chafes my skin something fierce but…

...It's necessary. Disgustingly, it’s necessary. Instinct dictates an absence of morality. So, it doesn't matter; surviving without useless beliefs is just too easy. Honor is a mountain to carry on your back.

A sigh rattles out of my throat, and I shake my head.

The blood trickling down my back is only lukewarm. Time’s running out.

I step over the cooling body, footsteps smearing crimson into the grass and gumming up my toes.

Grimacing, I work my way deeper into the woods - I can't risk being discovered, not now. Well, that’s not true. I just don't WANT to be discovered; don't want to deal with the rigmarole and the rules and the consequences.

Moonlight spills down through the treetops, but doesn’t say a word.

Good.

That's fine.

…The shadows dance between the branches as I quicken my pace, trudging through the undergrowth with the quivering jangle of metal and wires. The blood’s gotten cold.

This isn’t happening. Not now.

“What are you doing, I wonder?”

------


Yeah. It was, uh, a completely different sort of story. To put it lightly.
>>No. 25101
>>25096
>I hate to say anything preemptive, buuuuut- I HAVE actually started writing the next update.

Hooray!
>>No. 25113
Maybe this isn't what you're hoping for at the moment, but...

>>>/i/524

It could be a fun detour?
>>No. 25114
>>25113
If you don't want to write this story, that's cool, but please say it clearly.
>>No. 25115
>>25114
Oh, I do want to write this story. Or rather, I want it to continue progressing. I still very much enjoy the characters. It's just at a dull moment, working through drudgery to get back to writing interesting things.

Master Asia is simply for fun and drawing practice.
>>No. 25122
>I do want to write this story.

Hooray!
>>No. 25133
File 133427546279.jpg - (23.26KB, 300x267, ww-1-sailor-300x267.jpg) [iqdb]
25133
>>24876

I applaud your sense of taste sir. Don't let this thread die on us. Too good for that.
>>No. 25209
>>25115
>It's just at a dull moment, working through drudgery to get back to writing interesting things.

That's always a tough spot to be in. But remember, if it's not fun to write it probably won't be fun to read - if you're dragging, re-evaluate how obligated to write that scene you are. Perhaps you can time-skip it/summarize it, ect. If it's more expository, go ahead and exposit to your hearts content, with all the wordy-ness you want, then go over it with an axe and trim it as best you can, rather then trying to craft the perfect update that's both informative yet concise and well-paced in one go.

It really is tough to update when the story is stuck in a rut between interesting parts, like that. And that's how you end up with long-delayed wall-of-text updates with caster-geeks in libraries blathering about made-up magical forces that nobody cares about.

cough cough
>>No. 25281
File 133840768834.jpg - (199.72KB, 900x600, fear.jpg) [iqdb]
25281
Run.

Run.

Run.

As fast as you can. As I can. I run. I’m- I’m running away. I twist through the shivering wood, cold bamboo and slick earth, wet with rain and ███ and lukewarm blood. Heart is pounding throbbing screaming in my ears, beating out a crooked tattoo of pitch black fear against the inside of my ribs. Every breath is- jagged knives in my throat. That burn of molten ice. Liquid nitrogen searing at my lungs and ripping out my sides.

Where the hell am I, where the hell am I, I can’t fucking see, everything is a twisted maze of soft lights and sharp reliefs, the bamboo is liquid soft and spilling all around me in an endless emerald sea-

Hot blood running cool down my face. Rain-slick earth churning between my toes.

The fear is- the fear is- deafening me. I can’t hear anything and I just want to cry, big wracking sobs, because if I can’t hear then when death comes back for me how the hell am I supposed to get away?

I pause for a moment, a second, a split-instant between one heartbeat and the next, the needle lifting from a canvas scarred with twisting hateful ink – screaming, screaming in my ears even louder than the fear, and I hurl myself bodily into the dirt, fear muting my cries.

Bullets rip through the treeline, enormous things searing bright red, a hazy lightshow of casual annihilation, but I don’t see it. Red-eyed lunacy searing in my mind, my mind my- I, I don’t see it. Can’t see anything.

I haul myself to- my feet.

(Where am I, where the hell amI)

And…

------

[ ] Run.
[ ] Hide.
[ ] Give out.
[ ] Give in.
[ ] Something else.

------

I'm not gonna try to justify my absence, but here. Have something a little different- this won't necessarily related to the main plot or what have you. This is an excursion where you will have control over Clint's continued survival.

You are well outmatched. Outgunned and overpowered. Time to have a bit of fun again. Depending on how it goes, there might be a couple of these.
>>No. 25282
[x] Something else.

It's a mystery option! It could be anything! Even an option!
>>No. 25284
[x] Hide.
[x] Ambush.
>>No. 25313
[X] Run.
Time to play the most dangerous game.
>>No. 25322
[x]Hide
[x]Ambush

Fighting back is the only way to survive usually.
>>No. 25324
File 133918885511.jpg - (287.82KB, 1125x1125, Braided2.jpg) [iqdb]
25324
This is not the response you were hoping for, but I should be getting to that update shortly- I feel in the mood for it now. [x]Hide and ambush takes it. For better or for worse.

But instead of that path, here is something completely different., since I just played braid and I feel corrupted by it in a good way.

------

And so he went back.

Back to the park where they first met, to fix the mistake he made back then, so long ago it isn't even a distant dream.

Because if causality weren't the same, if our perception weren't so limited, we could fix mistakes. We could fix them, and they will have never happened, but we can still live on, all the wiser.

He could fix a mistake he made.

Long ago.

Because, you see-

-She never loved him the way he loved her.

She had conviction, she had drive. He was too small to fill her heart, greedy thing it was.

When he left, he left without a word- and the fact that she went on just as easily without him was the biggest wound of all.

And so, that day. They'd met in the park under starlight, a lone bench cast in the glow of a solitary lamp. Taking shelter from the rain, they huddled close and broke the dreary silence.

No one can go back in time.

But he can fix his mistake, all the same.

------
>>No. 25325
File 133919218742.jpg - (557.35KB, 1169x1319, Hide.jpg) [iqdb]
25325
[x]Hide and Ambush

Pounding, pounding. The storm roars so loud I feel it in my bones, rain seeping cold across my skin. Everything, everything is drenched and sodden and miserable, icy cold, clammy fingers brushing delicately across my every inch.

Slick earth churning between my toes.

Without a single moment’s thought everything narrows, my focus a single pinprick of clarity. I hurl myself down into the muck, out of sight, crawling through the mire into a particularly thick spill of green.

Bamboo. Bamboo.

I squirrel away in the emerald thicket as my breath clots heavy in my lungs, scraping in and out of my throat. Can I- can they- it, she, the one chasing me, can they see me? I don’t know, can’t know, but I have to trust in the instincts rattling in my brain.

Have to. Only-

They’re, all that I have left. Where am I?

Desperate tension leaves me frozen, a muddied ivory statue, cold marble muscle coiled in preparation for a final, hopeless offensive. A quavering flicker of hope burns hideously dim at the forefront of my shattering mind.

Hide. Hiding… For what?

Why?

I… I must be…

[ ]Mad.
[ ] Suicidal.
[ ] Ready.

------

Choose.
>>No. 25327
[x] Ready
>>No. 25331
I'm on a vote strike until you post a proper update.
>>No. 25333
File 133959200690.jpg - (622.23KB, 1500x1128, imitate 3-5.jpg) [iqdb]
25333
>>25331
fine be that way. whore.

I'll get you your real update. It'll be today. [n]Don't blame me if it's terrible[/b] well okay yeah i guess i'm the only one who can be blamed.
>>No. 25334
File 133959644090.jpg - (188.14KB, 1076x1139, barred.jpg) [iqdb]
25334
Art was quick and shittily done but I don't care right now. What matters is I wrote a real update and then made a picture so VOTE. or not i guess.

------

[x] Drinks!

I laugh into my drink, a heavy hand of whiskey that I don’t remember paying for, throaty murmurs lost in the dim lights and cool brick, in the din of smoke and clinking glass. Distantly, the dismal, crooning strains of a blues singer drift in over the twang of acoustic guitar. I laugh again and drain my glass, savor the burn as it twists around in my skull, heat settling across my eyes and pooling in my gut.

“Finally told her. Finally told her to leave me the hell alone-” Why am I laughing? It’s- it isn’t really funny, you know, just… shit, I guess- Maybe it is a bit funny in a way- not funny “ha-ha” but funny in the sense that. That I actually did something good for myself.

They picked a damn good radio station, at least. Has a good feel to it. Christ, everything about this place is great. Only fucking bar in town that’ll let you smoke inside. Not that I smoke anymore, I guess. I dropped that habit like Christina dropped me-

No, no, happy thoughts. A bit tipsy so, how many drinks have I had? Shit. Does it matter? I should be able to cover it. And I’m not so drunk that walking home is impossible, so transport isn’t an issue either. I uh, probably ain’t gonna make it to that clinic visit. Damn shame and all that.

“Shit, Clint, about time you told her off. You start circling the drain every time she gets her claws in you.” Like I didn’t fuckin’ know that, I always knew that, I always knew it was happening but damn it I couldn’t fucking help myself-

Happy. Thoughts.

“Well Jess, if you’ve got time to criticize my choices, you’ve got time to pour me another round, don’t you?” I lean in close, real smooth, all fiery eyes and honeyed words, voice pitched at my most seductive gravel.

“That so?”

The redheaded bartender gives me a solid flick in the forehead that sends me reeling back theatrically, head pounding and inner ear swimming just a bit at the sudden motion. Little woozy, little off-balance. I, uh, shit, how many of those did I have again?

…I didn’t almost fall off my stool. Definitely not. But just in case, I chuckle like it was all part of the plan- still frowning, because she’s on to my bullshit immediately. God damn it.

“Pretty sure that’s your limit for today, big guy. You can have the bottle if you want, though.”

How nice. An empty bottle of liquor. You always know just what to get me, Jess. I try to express these thoughts in the most eloquent way possible - and thanks to the booze, the gears are spinning nice and easy.

“Bitch.”

“Asshole.”

She scrubs my hair (eyes tight, just short of laughing) and before I can even ineffectually bat her hand away she’s talking to another regular a few seats down. Fuck but I missed this place. Even if I won’t be getting any more drinks.

…Now what?

------

[ ] Stick around and Socialize!
[ ] Stick around, but avoid socializing if at all possible. Bask!
[ ] Make like a tree and… Fuckin’ go home, or something. What do you want?
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 25335
also here have some extra art i did yesterday


clint redfield with tewi: http://filesmelt.com/dl/ha_ha_what1.jpg
clint redfield, attempted yoji shinkawa style: http://filesmelt.com/dl/imitate_21.jpg
clint and adorable little girl anya: http://filesmelt.com/dl/early_on1.jpg
self-explanatory: http://filesmelt.com/dl/pair1.jpg
>>No. 25337
[x] Make like a tree and… Fuckin’ go home, or something. What do you want?

Judging from how drunk he is, sticking around may be a bad idea.
>>No. 25338
[x] Make like a tree and… Fuckin’ go home, or something. What do you want?
>>No. 25341
[X] Stick around and Socialize!
We're riding the booze wave, man, gotta enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe get into a friendly bar fight or two~
>>No. 25350
For side story:

[X] Ready.

Man may have a beautiful mind, but we're also animals like any other - pain, fear, terror, desperation are all instincts used for survival under the most brutal circumstances. When you're terrified, with your back to the wall - you're never more dangerous. By nature's intent, you are ready.

People tend to judge themselves weak and useless until they realize that. It's one of those hard lessons of life we all have to learn in our own turn.

For the main story:

[X] Stick around, but avoid socializing if at all possible. Bask!

Watch the people. Recognize what sorrows they're trying to drown, the miserable looks on their faces. Recognition comes of having waded through that shit yourself; it's your medal of victory. You learned something, for a goddamn change, you learned something.

As for the "other" updates, I like them - mention was made of Clint's eyes filled with "red lunacy" and given the barrier-fuckery Yukari is engaged in as she toys with this interesting human she's found, you've got plenty of explanations for the scrambling of causality. They could be real events, or illusions, or whatever - but undoubtedly they'll have some importance for Clint, one way or another.

And having a side project of sorts helps keep writers out of ruts.
>>No. 25351
[X] Walk home in a manner known to all happy drunks. Swaying on your feet and hassling pedestrians about how great life is.
>>No. 25352
File 134039930517.jpg - (447.67KB, 1097x1800, clint concept.jpg) [iqdb]
25352
>>25350
I like you.
calling it for [x]make like a tree and go home
>>No. 25353
>>25352

Hooray!
>>No. 25381
Updates where?

Also, draw someone or something naked, because I need to know if I would stare at it as an art form or fapping material
>>No. 25409
File 134369483138.jpg - (345.84KB, 947x992, too licentious.jpg) [iqdb]
25409
>>25381
It isn't written because I'm a lazy waste of life, but here's what would've been the update image.

...is what I would have said, if I wasn't suddenly hit with a fit of inspiration. You beautiful motherfucker you.
------

[x ] Make like a tree and… Fuckin’ go home, or something. What do you want?





Birds. I hate birds. Tweet tweet tweet. Chirping as the sunlight filters in, dappled blotches of knife-sharp illumination stabbing deep behind my eyes to a random, manic chorus. All it sings is pain pain pain.

Nnngh. I’m a grown-ass man. No reason to be a baby about having a grown-ass hangover.

…Doesn’t stop my skull from wanting to explode, though.



Tweet tweet. Tweet tweet.

Yeah, yeah. I’m up.



With a groan, I peel my face off of the floor (polished hardwood, real nice stuff, scuffed with age and use) and immediately conclude that movement was a fucking terrible idea. Everything’s swimming around, like my inner ear tried to drown itself out of spite.

Focus. Focus! Deep breaths to calm the stomach, blink a few times to clear all the gunk out of my eyes. Get a grip and assess the situation.

…Blink a few more times, just to be sure.

Even in this sorry state, I can recognize what I’m looking at here. Somehow, some way, I’ve managed to wake up with my head in someone’s overly-elaborate skirts. Blues and whites, smelling of rice wine and sweet poppyseed. Opium smoke really has that distinctive sort of smell, flowery enough that you could call it incense if you didn’t know better.

Why do I know better…?

Anyway.

This… Isn’t normal.

My first attempts to disentangle myself only cause a pair of strong legs (smooth and bronzed, lithe- wrapped around my shoulders, too, how’d I miss that) to casually send me back down to the floor. Effortlessly, completely and utterly.

That is- it’s super unhelpful. Sending all sorts of mixed signals.

“Finally awake down there, are ya?” The voice is like bourbon-soaked laughter; I couldn’t place an age or a face to it, but without a doubt it’s female.

In lieu of responding, I try to wriggle free once more- the hangover has sapped me of any sort of honest dignity. I just want out. Up. Somewhere other than this silky trap full of body heat and uncomfortable questions.

My mysterious, leggy assailant chastises me, tutting from some indiscernible vantage point while subduing me once more. I see. So that’s how it is, then. A game.

If I want to get out, it seems I’ll have to take the offensive.



-unexpected, that little twist of the legs, but she’s exposing weakness now-



-single misstep now and she’s got me right where she wants me-



I sit upright in triumph, hangover mostly forgotten, wiping my bandaged arm across my face. I had to pull out all the stops, but I managed to escape the oni’s wily clutches - she’d mentioned the term at some point. In, um, reference to herself. I think. Or maybe me?

“Ha! I guess you had a few more tricks after all.” Well of course I did, you gotta keep a few aces up your sleeve-

She rakes a mess of fiery orange hair to the side, out of her face, revealing the other half of her shit-eating grin and flushed cheeks. And, and- shit, any thoughts I was having stopped dead in the water. I’ll be damned if I don’t find this woman seriously attractive- dangerously attractive. She’s frantically sexy like it’s going out of style- but that isn’t the point.

The point is…

The point is that…

What the hell is the point? Why am I here in this strange room with fancy hardwood floors, smirking triumphantly down (however slightly- I don’t have too much height on her) at this- this, licentious woman with a whiskey-colored voice.

In a blink she’s leaning into me, one arm up (fingers running through my hair, soft and warm and stop) while her free hand cradles a thin pipe- one of those long Asian ones, beautiful and delicate-looking.

Her horns are conspicuously comfortable on my chest, and she’s still grinning up at me with those glittering eyes. Sharp and old and playful, she’s having far too much fun to consider breaking me in half for being such a stranger.

…well, not so much a stranger any more.
I can feel the sweat beading on her skin as it settles against mine, uncomfortably hot and infinitely closer than I’ve been to anyone in the longest time. Longer– longer than I care to remember, at the very least.



For a single senseless moment we lay there, perfectly quiet, as brushstrokes of that pungent opium smoke swirl up and away from her lips. Poppy seeds and rice wine.

“Well, a deal’s a deal! I’ll answer one question to the best of my ability.” And the moment shatters apart into so many hazy shards, razor sharp and never quite the same again. I can’t recall any such deal being made, no accord struck over merriment and alcohol. Although actually that last bit sounds a little familiar.

Hang on. Where the hell did my shirt go? I’m getting flashbacks-

-But that isn’t important. What’s important is…

------

[ ] Your question.

------
>>No. 25410
>>25409

[X] Why has the ribbon-bedecked boundaries-broad taken an interest in me?

In me. Used up, burned out, falling towards my unremarkable end with parabolic predictability like a spent rocket booster.

Why me? A mystery's worth asking after. It's the certainties that drain you, like Madison's razor-lipped leech psyche. Mundane muddy little worlds, boring and foul as a crock of shit - even the miseries are dull. Even a caveman being chased by a saber-tooth felt alive for his seconds of sprinting. Christ.

But this?

This is new.
>>No. 25411
[X] Why has the ribbon-bedecked boundaries-broad taken an interest in me?

Is Clint getting it on with Suika in a drug-fueled haze?
>>No. 25412
>>25409
[X]Am I human?
This is something that I've been wondering for a while.
>>No. 25414
File 134377610363.jpg - (225.28KB, 800x800, pcool.jpg) [iqdb]
25414
>>25411
>is clint getting it on with Suika in a drug-fueled haze?

N-nooooo? I thought it would be kind of obvious, but it wasn't really gettin' it on. Notice how he wiped his mouth?

Also:
>>25410
this vote is awesome and you should feel awesome.

>>25412
http://filesmelt.com/dl/eye_on_you.jpg
>>No. 25415
File 134378931568.jpg - (25.32KB, 459x245, recognition!.jpg) [iqdb]
25415
>>25414

YAAAAAY

I enjoy Clint, ever so much~
>>No. 25416
[x] Why has the ribbon-bedecked boundaries-broad taken an interest in me?

This is a very good question, although I worry about how useful an answer we'll receive.
>>No. 25418
File 134381641537.jpg - (487.24KB, 1200x863, repose color2.jpg) [iqdb]
25418
But then, at 3 AM...
>>No. 25528
File 13497332831.jpg - (306.14KB, 943x702, quickly edited image.jpg) [iqdb]
25528
Writing this was hard. I put too much into it, I think. So it's probably bad. But I can't bring myself to care. But I know one thing- one way or another, I WILL finish this story, some day down the line.

I've gotta have something to believe in, right?

(picture tangentially related)

------

[x] Why me?

…Just one thing.

One simple question, even if it seems to be anything but.

One simple, complicated question that’s been lingering in my head. Twisting and churning inside my skull, murky and distant and unbearably persistent. Like a festering sore, weeping doubt and confusion into my crowded thoughts.

Why.

Why?

Why this?

Why now?

Why not someone- anyone else?

Why why why why why

Over and over and over, an inescapable cycle of repetition grinding all my rationality to dust, a frenzied Gordian knot tangled in every conscious action. But I can’t. I can’t- I can’t leave it there, aching dismally behind my eyes. Like everything else.

I have to think, for once in my goddamn life.

So I cut the knot. The record skips forward.

“Why me?”

Exposing it so abruptly, leaving it out in the sunlight- it’s almost indescribable. It’s tearing off a scab, cracking open a cast, pulling out the crooked stitches. A sort of palpable relief, so thick you could hold it in your hands.

Slowly, I let it go.

That pungent smell of opium, curling out and up amidst the crooked shards of sunlight, reminds me absolutely of nothing at all. A pleasant absence, as serene as an empty reflection – thrown into sharp relief.

“So that’s how it is…?” Her voice is softer, subtler- deep golden red with a wisp of heather honey.

For a slow, solitary moment, I feel calm. At ease. Accepting.

My fingertips glide across the floor, tracing lazy patterns in the fabric of her dress, feeling her hair spill down my chest in a fountain of molten copper. The ache settles in my ribs (in my heart) with a familiar, lonely pang as I- can’t recall.

But.

Even though I definitely don’t remember–

–when she responds, I’m not ready for it at all.

"Because you're you.”

Too sharp; too pointed; her words are so razor-thin I can’t even feel it when they carve right through me. I blink, but, I still can’t see anything. Red and smoke and things I can’t name, halcyon days of timid happiness that surely never happened.

Surely. Surely?

…Tracing lazy patterns in the fabric of her–

I- if this is what you want, you know I’ll support you. Right? You know that. I’ll doanything.

…Anything?

Anything.

…Hm. You did stop smoking, didn’t you? I’d almost forgotten.

Forgo- do you know how hard that was? No respect, Christina.

She laughs, short and musical. The cool grass stretches away, a field of green beneath an overcast sky. From where I’m sitting, though, the view is absolutely beautiful.


–dress.

Why is it so hard to breathe…?

I can feel her staring at me, and the force of it pins my muscles in place, rusty iron bands snapping shut underneath my skin.

“If you understood who you were, I wouldn't have to say anythin' at all. But you're too damn scared of what you are- what you could be. You're so damn scared you're killing yourself, digging for answers in all the wrong places."

Smoke. Smoke and copper.

So what did the doctor have to say?

Oh, you know. This and that. Come in next week so he can batter me with more prescriptions.

Nothing out of the ordinary?

Yeah. No? I- that kind of phrasing always gets me.

…Has lying to me really gotten that easy?

I cringe desperately behind my collar, freezing in place. Caught. Caught red-fucking-handed ditching medical attention to go barhopping. But it’s the way she says it that hurts the most. The resignation in her tone, like she didn’t expect anything else. Like she’d given up. It- it made me want to just kill myself.


Stop. Stop it.

I don’t want to hear this- !

“You have to stop. Have to. Because if you keep running away, the only thing you’re gonna find is a good spot to lay down and die.”

███ ████ ███ ████… ██?

–█████████?

████ ███████ ███?

Nothing makes sense.

Everything’s just-

falling

apart.

------

[ ] Stand.
[ ] Run.
[ ] Break.
>>No. 25529
[x] Stand
>>No. 25530
[x] Stand.
>>No. 25531
[X] Stand
>>No. 25532
[X] Break.
>>No. 25536
[X] Stand.

No better place.
>>No. 25538
File 135032650539.jpg - (21.71KB, 441x340, standoff.jpg) [iqdb]
25538
[X] Stand.

Face your demons.
>>No. 25550
[X] Write
>>No. 25579
File 135337598619.jpg - (101.52KB, 517x546, half-assed.jpg) [iqdb]
25579
here have a half-assed image that i can barely draw, but also an update.
------
[x] Stand.

–apart.

Falling apart.

Everything is toppling down around me. A tidal wave of senseless recollections goes roaring through my mind’s eye, inescapable- it’s like drowning. I can’t get any air.

…But isn’t it fine, in its own way? This bitter, icy sensation. It feels so right. I earned it years ago. How could I possibly feel whole without this dull serpentine agony coiling in my guts? It’s almost addictive.

Because at least it’s something real, right? Something of my very own that no one can take away.

Something of my very own…





…No.

No.

No. No. This isn’t █████. It can’t be right.

When did I turn into this? When did I become so- ?

I refuse.

I refuse to just lie down and die.

…But.

I…

I don’t know what the hell I should do. I’m off track, off script, jumping the curb and careening headlong into a crowded supermarket and what the hell am I supposed to-

What the hell am I supposed to do?

Are you askin’ me that, Clint, or are you askin’ your bourbon?

Fuck it, whoever answers first. I don’t fucking care.

I think you need to chill the fuck out. It ain’t the end of the world, just like Maddie wasn’t the end of the damn world, just like Alicia wasn’t the end of the damn world, Christina ain’t it either. You’re killin’ yourself like this, Clint. Over the same old shit.

She doesn’t want me anywhere near her, Jess. I’ll never get to see my- my son, Christ. My own fucking son. What the hell’s the point of it all?

…This ain’t gonna change that, Clint.

I know. God, I know. But it’s all I’m fucking good at, any more.


Breathe.

Breathe- !

…Why is it so hard to breathe?

The iron bands are rusting in my skin. Copper spilling down my chest, molten silk and sensuous pressure mingling with the crisp (spring/autumn/winter) air- she’s enjoying this, I think. This onerous woman, smelling of rice wine and poppyseed, nestled up to me like a warm lead weight.

Weight. The word rattles around inside my head. Significant, more significant than I feel comfortable guessing at. My hands- don’t move. That’s, it isn’t… possible, right? I strain and they resist, perfectly, not a single twitch to show for my attempt.

–iron bands, rusting in my skin. The weight is–

Another frantic, choked sob. Caught in my throat with the rest, cutting off air, suffocating me with this- this- this- pitch black despair. Failed, failed again, always failing. Fired, dumped, pushed away. Money’s running out. Drinking it all away.

Even now, I’m running away. Because I can’t face it.

I rip the frame off the wall, the one we picked out, the one with the– she loved watercolors, and I had fancied myself an artist so many years ago, so I’d painted that scene, painted us, together on that hill beneath a tree in the light of the setting sun–

–there’s a noise, maybe. It doesn’t sound like me. It sounds more like a wounded animal.

I smash it on the coffee table, splinters and glittering shards of glass. Shred it, these feelings, the hours I spent working on it– so out of practice, but so determined– and cram them all in the bag by my feet. Already full to bursting with tattered memories.

The last of it. I sag, collapse really, onto the sofa. Tired. So tired. My whole body is–


My whole body is heavy. Unthinkably, unbearably heavy.

But…

…Not impossibly so. And if it isn’t impossible, then I definitely–

–I can definitely do something about it.

The effort is ruinous. Corded muscle stretches violently taut, neck straining, tendons dancing snakelike across my arms as I push with everything I have. It isn’t enough- of course it isn’t enough. Just this much couldn’t move anything.

So I–

–give more.

It feels like my back is going to █████.



bre–ak?


Searing heat. A shard of metal lodged right behind my eyes, glowing cherry red.

Blood is…



I’ll– break?



No.

No no no no no no no no.

I refuse. Backing down this time is completely unacceptable. Bending even slightly is out of the question. If everything I have isn’t enough, then I’ll give more. More, more, more– everything I don’t, can’t have to give.

I have to–

Glacially slow, I begin to rise.

–stand.

Her name. What was her name? She’d said it, at some point. During- well, before. S. Something with an S. Suika.

Suika, copper-haired, heavier than a falling star, curled up as lazily as you please, manages a startled noise when I move beneath her. I can’t see her face, can’t see anything, too focused on standing to bother with anything so trivial as sight; I can feel her nails bite into my neck, involuntary.

I guess she didn’t predict this.

Ha. Ha ha.

It feels like it took a lifetime, and I’m so drained I might collapse and render this whole exercise pointless, but… I’m standing again.

On my own two feet.

The oni releases her deathgrip on my neck and drops an inch or three to the ground, looking remarkably composed for someone with my blood crusting up their fingernails. Blood, blood, always gets everywhere. Coursing down my face, hot and red, as if I’d taken a brick to the nose.

…Shit.

I wipe it away, but there’s nothing there. Of course not, why would I be bleeding? That wouldn’t make any sense, would it? Sharp chocolate eyes- and what a mundane color, so suspiciously plain- examine me. Appraising, amused, surprised. I can’t tell.

God, I’m tired.

“That’s pretty shocking, you know. You shouldn’t have been able to stand.”

Shouldn’t have…?

“Did you- do something to me?” I try my best to keep any outrage in check- whatever this place is, it sure as hell isn’t anything normal, so no need to go pissing off… Anybody, really. Despite my efforts, it seems the outrage was still quite obvious.

She just manages to look more amused, pipe twirling between her fingers. That yearning fragrance, smoke and poppyseed, subtle and yet not. I definitely don’t recognize it by now.

“Maybe, maybe not. So, big guy, what’s your plan?”

You sure know how to say a lot without saying anything at all. Am I the only one who can’t, at this point? Did I miss the memo about this fad? It’s damn annoying. Still, a question is a question. She answered mine, so it’s only courteous to respond, right?



Hm.

------

[ ] “I don’t know.”
[ ] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”(Head to the village and search for anyone who might know about the good doctor.)
--[ ] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?” (Ask directly)
[ ] “I’ll think of something.”
[ ] Something else

------
>>No. 25580
YOU ALWAYS EAT MY METICULOUS SPACING, THP.
>>No. 25582
[v] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”
--[v] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?”
>>No. 25583
[x] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”
--[x] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?”
>>No. 25584
[X] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”
--[X] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?”

...Aaand it's been so long that I've forgotten why we're looking for her. I'll need to reread this some day.
>>No. 25586
>>25584
It's not like this story is very long, but the answer is near the top of the very first post in this thread!
>>No. 25587
File 135344343768.png - (98.90KB, 890x642, clint mag.png) [iqdb]
25587
here, have a slightly better image of clint at a bar
>>No. 25593
[x] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”
--[x] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?”

Excellent to see you update, Stove!
>>No. 25622
File 135978834555.jpg - (317.05KB, 911x903, scrublord.jpg) [iqdb]
25622
HEY FUCKERS GUESS WHAT TIME IT IS?

i'm not very good at writing this sort of thing

------

[x] “I’ve got a debt to repay.”
--[x] “You wouldn’t happen to know of a doctor by the name of Eirin, would you?”

Right. A favor done means a favor owed, and I’ve got too many debts dragging me down already without having to worry about one that might have actual, literal weight attached to it. Which is a fucking absurd thought, even at first blush; absurd for me, even.

A physical effect enacted by an abstract concept, what the hell kind of nonsense is that?

Speaking of debts–

“I’ve got a-” I pause to lick my lips; chapped? No, bruised, sort of. Sensitive. Things really got a bit hectic, didn’t they? “-a contractual obligation, we’ll say.”

She keeps smiling that thin, crooked smile, sporting canine teeth that you could call fangs if they were in an animal’s mouth. What the hell’s so entertaining…? All these women with their mysterious smiles and cryptic word games, are they just a dime a dozen now?

“That’s an awful nice way to phrase ‘indentured servant.’ Real pretty.”

Yeah, well, every little lie helps soften the blow. I don’t even bother to look surprised that she knows, face falling slack and eyes stretching taut, a heavy shrug rolling across my shoulders as I head for the door. No sense asking for help- I’ll make do.

Always have, barely.

A dainty arm of whipcord steel curls around my neck, the rainstorm clatter of chain ringing in my ears as I duck down to accommodate out of reflex; I’ve got a few inches on her, after all. …That’s not it. I’ve got no reason to be polite. It’s more like-

-she’s too heavy. I can’t even stand straight. Like her bones are full of lead.

As her casual swagger drags me through the door and out of (wherever the hell this is) altogether, I manage to strangle any unfortunate compulsions. Such as-

“Lose some goddamn weight. Are you a terminator?” Shit.

“Only if you want to be Sarah Connor.” I don’t- she shouldn’t- you don’t have any goddamn business quipping back at me! That’s- that’s just- I can’t even think of a response for that, the dichotomy of this batshit dream-world blowing up in my face. She taps the underside of my chin with a finger and I snap my mouth closed.

…Honest-to-goodness fucking gobsmacked.

Her arm gets heavier by the second, almost out of spite. Try as a might to hold my ground, I still buckle, dipping another inch or so. It’s- really irritating.

“…How do you even- no. More importantly, how the hell did you know about my- ?” contract with Eirin, I don’t say. It’d be too much, babbling it out loud. Too easy to just give the game away completely.

“Don’t get your panties in a twist about it, huh? Anyway, it’s not all bad.” She shakes her head from side to side, molten copper breezing through the mountain air.

The pipe twirls between her fingers, slender and delicate, before she brings it up to eye level and offers it to me- that’s, it isn’t really a good idea, but- that grin again. Fangs, aren’t they? A man’s an animal like anything else, but I’m not too sure what she is. ‘Oni’ doesn’t really explain anything, and I wouldn’t believe her if she didn’t have those horns jumping out of her skull.

Are we even chemically similar…? You know what, fuck it.

I snatch the pipe out of her grip and her smile straightens out, a bit more crooked, a bit more honest, a bit less razor sharp. When did it go out…? I fumble in my pockets for a lighter; I may have quit smoking, but… memories like to fester in the little things we drag around. A memento might as well be a hand grenade without a pin.

Flick, click, snap. A cheery tongue of orange and blue dances at my fingertips without a moment’s hesitation. Just like that. After all these years it’s still the best lighter I’ve ever had.

“Yagokoro’s easy on the eyes for a hag.” She offers a pearl of wisdom in that obnoxious consoling tone used by people who aren’t consoling at all, whiskey-flavored mockery and a condescending pat on the back-

I piece together who she just called a hag and nearly spit out the pipe, hacking up a mouthful of poppyseed fragrance.

Jesus, the mouth on this broad. She’s as bad as Jess. Worse, maybe, Jess never drew blood- well, there was that one fuzzy weekend a few years back where we- but that doesn’t count. She never wore her nails long, I never explained why I had those new (old) scars on my back, and we never spoke of it again: bygones are bygones.

I take a long, steady pull, smearing fire across the wad of boiling tar- an inky marble of opium. A beautiful old pipe like this is- it’s a bit different, but it’s still a vaporizer-

The creamy incense flavor swelters on my tongue, a tangled skein of smoke unwinding in my gut, painting it with dreamy heat. Slowly, slowly. The tension snapping at every limb shatters in a placid ripple, stripped away by a single exhalation.

Calmer, now. She grins, even though she never stopped. She seems to have nicked the pipe back from me, at some point, taking a draw of her own before steering me somewhere, somewhere forward, somewhere down.

…Ah.

The view here- isn’t bad.

Stairs pour down the mountainside in a river of weary stone, terminating within spitting distance of a forest that feels damnably familiar. Recognition jitters at the back of my mind, a hazy arc of lightning that doesn’t fall.

-trees are knotted together in a wall of murk and earthy greens-
-boughs and branches jumbled into lush wooden puzzles-
-canopy’s so thick you can’t even see the sky-
-loam and leaves of scattered jade-
-where the hell am I?

“I could take ya straight to her, I s’pose, but that’s no fun. They’ve got this pretty little clinic down in the village, though, so I can drop ya off there without a speck of guilt.” She murmurs this into my ear like she’s telling a secret, as if I’m some trusted confidante, completely and totally shameless. Treating me like a burning bag of dog shit she’s going to put on their doorstep.

It doesn’t bother me at all. She’s so close I can taste her breath, but I meet her eyes without a care.

“What’s the damage?” The price, the fee, the upfront down payment. I take a distant lucid second to wonder at Eirin’s work. Even clipped idiomatic phrases filter properly. That sort of technology’s more advanced than magic; it’s just silly.

…Steady pace, now. Tackle the steps one at a time. Even if there’s a hundred. Even if there’s a hundred thousand.

The glittering chatter of chains again as she tugs at my cheek, quiet laughter dancing from her lips like a tequila gutpunch. “Just keep being interesting, big guy.” She lets go, still simmering with chuckles, hand dropping onto my chest. She’s got some nails, this woman; dark and rigid, almost like talons. It doesn’t hurt at all, though, so it should be fine.

“So what’s the deal, patchwork? You’ve got more stitches in you than Reimu’s only blanket.” She says this while tracing the pair of gashes snaking up my chest and across my collar- ah, that- it kind of tickles a bit.

“It’s a long story. A bunch of long stories, actually.” A beat. Two beats- “And who the hell is Reimu?”

“Whose house did you think you were in?” She waves it off while saying something absurd. That’s. Is that how you treat someone who lets you use their house? “Don’t worry about her; I wanna hear these stories of yours.” A crinkling of crow’s feet as the grin tightens. “Besides, we’ve got time.”

As we trudge down the steps, I can’t help but concede the point.





“…So I hit her right in her crazy-bitch face.” I mime a frantic right hook, hand whistling through the air as I juke down the next three steps. I can almost feel white-hot panic boiling in my veins, the frenzied confusion suffocating my thoughts- I hadn’t been looking at a person. It was like staring down a wolf, or a fire; something inhuman that required an immediate response.

“How’d she take that?” She’s got quite the expression, there.

“On the chin, mostly.” I laugh and tap at the puckered scar on my abdomen, a wicked gash hatched with thick lines. Stomach wounds are no joke, but they make for pretty good stories. Mostly.

“She really was obsessively attached; ending it then was for the best. Maybe not the ideal place, though.” The thing with the dolls bothered me too, but with bugfuck whackjobs slobbering at my heels for most of my life it wasn’t really a deal-breaker. It was almost cute, even.

For the life of me I don’t remember where she lived, even though she damn-near eviscerated me in her kitchen.



“-then she shoves me through a sliding glass door and off the second-floor balcony! If her car hadn’t broken my fall, I probably would’ve died!”

We lean into each other as I stretch a hand to the skies; a grand, sweeping gesture of ‘who fucking knows what could have happened?’ as we bellow out a laugh at my crushing misfortune in love. As it turned out, she really WAS juicing up, the psycho.



We ran out of stairs before I ran out of scars. Isn’t that just hilarious?

Yeah, I thought so too. Ha. Ha ha.

She drags me off the steps and onto an overgrown dirt path threading through the trees, giving the towering foliage a cursory wave. Humans tend to get eaten here if they’re particularly unlucky, she says. Not too common, but not uncommon either. Take the long way if you want to stay safe.

Obviously, she doesn’t give a fuck about playing it safe.

“Good thing you’re here, then.” She laughs and punches me in the shoulder, and I still can’t feel it- it doesn’t even leave a welt. I slug her right back and she keeps laughing, and for a minute we descend into some screwy game of lick-for-lick in the middle of an empty forest trail.

Crack, snap, smack. I pop my knuckles on her shoulder and leave another rapidly-darkening bruise, so she responds with a good-natured haymaker that leaves my hand feeling mildly unresponsive. I’ve probably got a hematoma the size of Texas on my arm at this point, and we’re getting nowhere fast.

So I close in for the kill.

For a frantic stretch of heartbeats the world is out of focus, a high-speed slideshow blur of smearing images, grass and dirt and green green sky.

-tight grip and a twist and-

I’m sprawled dizzily on the ground next to the oni I just suplexed, stunned by my own audacity just as much as by my success. What the hell was I thinking, trying something like that? Idiot. I’m a complete fucking idiot.

Suika can’t seem to stop giggling. I’ll take that as a good sign.



Now’s as good a time as any to pose a question that’s been bothering me this whole trek. I guess. Potentially.

“What the hell is in that gourd?”

Now, I was prepared for a lot of things. A lot of possible answers to my blunt little question. What I didn’t expect was for her to pop the cork out and splash me in the face with chilled liquor and a hearty laugh.

“It’s booze, you knucklehead. You’re ass at mythology.”

“Well your ass is mythical!” What? Did I just say that?

“Yours ain’t half-bad either, but we need to get a move on. Any more questions?”

“No questions, but I do have any idea. To make the trip a bit more interesting.”





Oh yeah, doing shots through the woods, walking through the woods, was a great. Great idea. Fantastic. Hm. How long have we been walking…? That long?! It’s way too far, you know. The woods.

The woods are terrible.

The woods drive me to drink, you know.

To get me out of the woods. Metaphorically speaking. Because drinking in the woods will probably never get you anywhere but deeper in the woods. Unless you’re drinking with someone who knows the way. Probably.

More shots.





And how many does that make I lost count. Was it a prime number? I don’t remember, 17? Big. Biggish. A pretty good number, I think. Attractive.

Sexy numbers. Of drinks, that is.

How far is it now? Hey, hey. Hey. Where are you looking? You can’t see it from there. Here, let me just…

She makes a startled sort of noise as I scoop her up and settle her on my shoulders, hands clamped tight around her thighs. There. That’s much better- you should definitely be able to see where we have to go from up there.

Just point the way!





A village full of people and bad ideas. Bad ideas…

Bad…

I could see the headline now, if this kept up. Woman stabbed to death sexually.

A curtain of molten copper melting sensuously across honey skin. My hand rides down an endless curve, tracing a pattern in hot silk, glaringly self-aware. She’s bleeding so much heat I can almost see it, taste it, pressing against me in a vivid wave.

She’s too close, now, stripped bare and burdenless. Sweat pearling diamond-bright in the noon-high sunshine. Public? Who the fuck is that? Why should I care?

“So, are you gonna show me or not?” Whiskey-flavored anticipation rolling thick on her tongue, but the words aren’t nearly as loud as her eyes. Knife-thin chocolate gaze, a smoking leer, screaming at me, craving- no, demanding.

Killer confesses, but courts refuse to convict.

I rip her in close, seizing her in greedy handfuls, lips locked together until I can count her teeth- she breathes a frantic, hitching pace. She tugs on my lips with too-sharp fangs and I trade her a gasp of rice wine and vertigo.

“Have it your way.”

I dip her down, flat to the ground, grass or pavement or gravel or dirt, it doesn’t matter at all. Tangled up in copper and rouge, I trace an arc of tender, biting kisses down her neck. I breathe a soothing sigh against her collar as my fingers dance up her stomach, between her breasts, drawing a single languid line of goosebumps.

All the booze you could ever want, and you’d never even thought to try this…?

The sake burns crystal cold; pooling in the hollow of her throat, spilling in timid streamers down her chest- I can count her pores.

“Ya shouldn’t- waste booze, you know-” The heather-honeyed whiskey notes in her voice are strained, higher, knotting up in her mouth. The protest is anything but.

As I track a glittering wake back up across her breast, she clams up completely. Sweat and wine and poppyseed mingling on my tongue, I clamp down softly on her neck and drink. Probing, patient, feeling her shiver underneath.

I meet her eyes, smiling a jagged smile of my own. For once, this cryptic woman with all the answers is staring like she’s never seen me before. Shallow breathing, heart beating a staccato tattoo on her ribs, face flushed with rose.

“I wouldn’t call it a waste.”

Apparently, she agreed.






Birds. I hate birds. Tweet tweet tweet. Chirping as the sunlight filters in, dappled blotches of knife-sharp illumination stabbing deep behind my eyes to a random, manic chorus. All it sings is pain pain pain.

Birdsong hammers regret into my skull with a noisome aftertaste of déjà vu; a whisper of memory rattles in the back of my head, teasing me with half-remembered debasement I’m not even cognizant enough to give a shit about.



Tweet tweet. Scritch-scratch. Rustling paper and groaning springs.

Yeah, yeah. I’m up.

Somewhere in a bleary corner of my vision is a splotch of lavender and white.



Why the hell do I keep doing shit like this?



Damn.

------

[ ] Assess the situation.
[ ] Complain loudly about the situation.
[ ] Go the fuck back to sleep.
[ ] A surprise attack! Go for broke!
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 25623
[X] Complain loudly about the situation.
-[X] If this fails to attract a wild Suika, go hunting for her.

I don't even care anymore. Your Suika is love.
>>No. 25624
[X] Go the fuck back to sleep.

Fuck this situation. I don't even remember what the situation is, it's been so long.
>>No. 25625
[x] Assess the situation.

Might as well gather it before assuming anything. But one could do much worse than a romp with Suika.
>>No. 25626
File 135984293488.jpg - (94.65KB, 640x960, N42r2L0.jpg) [iqdb]
25626
[X] Go the fuck back to sleep.

If it's the same shit, different day, why rush to meet it?
>>No. 25627
[x] Complain loudly about the situation.

I suddenly had a revelation about why crazy women dig Clint: He looks like the worst possible guy to bring home or choose for a partner; the epitome of rugged bad boy that only the most screwed-up women would dig.
>>No. 25628
File 135990629415.jpg - (175.57KB, 900x900, body.jpg) [iqdb]
25628
>>25627
>looks like the worst possible guy to bring home or choose for a partner

hey man. come on.
you're a bit closer than you'd think
>>No. 25629
[X] Go the fuck back to sleep.
>>No. 25630
[x] Assess the situation.

We now have a three way tie
>>No. 25631
File 136002544418.png - (566.90KB, 768x1024, 1355718973041.png) [iqdb]
25631
>>25630

you

motherfucker
>>No. 25632
File 136002578671.jpg - (155.97KB, 1042x690, well_what_is_it.jpg) [iqdb]
25632
Gonna go ahead and call it for

[x]Grumble about what little of the situation you understand
[x]Go the fuck back to sleep

Enjoy this picture of clint as a lady.
>>No. 25633
>>25632
Even as a lady Clint looks like a badass. Now if only this story didn't confuse me so much...
>>No. 25634
Alicia wouldn't happen to be the name of the crazy attached lady with 'a doll thing' that stabbed him in the stomach would it?
>>No. 25641
File 136194751034.png - (429.61KB, 896x598, DREAM.png) [iqdb]
25641
>>25634
WHO ARE YOU?!

ALSO UPDATE it sucks but whatever

------

[x]Grumble about what little of the situation you understand
[x]Go the fuck back to sleep

This is…



Shirtless, scratchy cotton raking at my back, damp sheets like tissue paper shackles. Molten weight coiled around my waist, sinking into my chest. A tender, cloying softness, dizzyingly familiar. An aching pang of loneliness.

Stymied, staunched, mitigated. Buried, buried, buried, buried, buried.

…Fuck it.

Wisteria smeared in some dim corner of my eyes, lavishly vague; the wicked pigment chisels pain into my retinas. Pointless. Too pointless. There’s no point in seeing at all.

I clutch my leaden firefly, my uranium torch, fingers tangled in a river of silken copper wire. My heart beats out a steady, reluctant rhythm as I ease out a breathy hum. So close. So close I can feel the vibrations.

Mumble, whisper, searching sounds. Petite guillotine squeezing tight.

Who?

Who is it?

Who, who, who? It’s meaningless. It doesn’t matter.

“I’d… hold up the sky for you, y’know…”

It’s silly and romantic and neck-deep in hope, hollow words that bring clammy comfort. Relics from a time spent clutching at one last chance, then watching it slip away.

Senseless, aimless. But, somehow- nice. Washes something nameless away; just for a while. Just for now. Always just for now.





The noxious stench of smoke. Rancid, rotten; completely and totally – o v e r w h e l m i n g.

I can’t

breathe.

Of course I’m – choking.

[welcome, sinner]

Judgment; a helter-skelter claustrophobic holocaust, blast-furnace walls pressing in on every side.

Judgment; falling on my head like a dying star, falling from the half-there sky, from the night-cloud feverdream painted on some endless apogee.

Judgment, chased by the sallow, haunted eyes of a thoughtless arbiter.

[meaningless penance in this crucible you built; you are always welcome to indulge]

Wide-brimmed hat and skull-thin face. White, white, white, the burned-out clarity of purest ash, dripping down to the █████. The floor. Out out out out out, stretching sprawling u n r a v e l i n g in a never-ending manifold, edgeless plane that doesn’t couldn’t ever end.

A bland, toneless purgatory.

And yet.

And yet there’s a–

– stark division. In white the man in white stands out; much too heavy, much too real. The world is out of focus, and he waits in jarring clarity.

In his his his hands- gnarled, clear as bone- he’s holding a mirror.

[tell me]

Quicksilver phantasmagoria. The sideways mirror in his hands is cracked apart, inside and out. It bleeds opalescent starlight, a dying fantasy, a living trophy. Of what? For who? More and more, questions without any answers.

There’s no control. No hands on the reins. An inexorable forward crawl, frame by choppy frame, as my awareness lurches out.

I can.

I can see it.

[what do you see]

Ha.

Ha!

Through a crooked looking glass I see–

(…gone gone gone gone gone.

inky darkness all around, spindle fingers winding vacuum tight, but the ceiling fan keeps spinning. Around and around. Alone in this godforsaken room again, sheets wadded up in the corner, pillows drenched in sweat, AC humming just slightly too loud.

No one else. Just me. Everyone else is ████.

But.

The only thing I can hear is my heartbeat. Every time it beats. Contract, expand–

This is where it always ends.

can’t move, can’t breathe. a shrieking horror squirming up into my throat, wrapped around my spine. i have to scream but there’s no one around to hear me anymore. Have to, have to scream, yell, whisper, anything; a single sound to save myself and I

can’t.

y o u r f a u l t

it

y o u r fault

always

YOUR FAULT

ends this way.)

–myself. That’s all there ever was.





A jerking, soundless gasp as I find myself – gratingly aware. I itch, I ache; I’m covered in cold sweat and I’m still too hot. I can’t feel my legs; pins and needles are going to be a real bitch when the circulation comes back.

The lump of oni pinning me down grumps and nuzzles my side.

…what a shitty waste of sleep.

------

[ ] Okay, seriously, what’s up? Assess this shit.
[ ] Continue to not give a fuck. Answers should come to you.
[ ] Attempt a daring escape.
[ ] Touch oni get busy
>>No. 25642
[x] Touch oni get busy

Yep.
>>No. 25643
[X] Continue to not give a fuck. Answers should come to you.

Besides, there's

[x] Touch oni get busy

to get started on.

Seriously, bodyshots Suika was such a tease, you can't not deliver something. Purple prose Suika is love.
>>No. 25644
>>25643
this.
>>No. 25665
[X] Continue to not give a fuck. Answers should come to you.

One of the choices is crossed out! This obviously means that choosing it nonetheless can have nothing but positive outcomes!
>>No. 25688
[X] Okay, seriously, what’s up? Assess this shit.

There seems to be more things going on here than apparent, including some metahappenings. Passively is not nearly the best of ways to approach this: see all of his previous relationships. I really would rather he avoid slipping back into old habits, as he already is doing, what with his
>“I’d… hold up the sky for you, y’know…”


Yeah, yeah, tide & times, but do take note of reasoning. Stove seems to be writing personally, and this character especially slipping into that can go bad, fast.
>>No. 25693
File 13633201726.jpg - (755.43KB, 1278x1454, eirind1.jpg) [iqdb]
25693
SO I HAVEN'T BEEN WRITING MY UPDATE LIKE I THOUGHT I WOULD TODAY. INSTEAD, I JUST DREW PICTURES.

PICTURES OF EIRIN


here they are:
http://imgur.com/a/e3sKO#0
>>No. 25702
>>25693
LOOKS LIKE SOMEONES GOING TO DRAW 'KOS
>>No. 25704
File 136418176693.jpg - (755.80KB, 2700x2400, lets get serious.jpg) [iqdb]
25704
I CAN'T STOP
>>No. 25705
>>25704
THIS FEELING
>>No. 25709
>>25705
AND YET I'M STILL AFRAID TO LET IF FLOW
>>No. 25711
>>25704
How the fuck is that star bra staying on?
>>No. 25712
Glue..
>>No. 25713
>>25711
Lunarian nipple tape is an amazing thing.

This prose is full Nasu. Never go full Nasu.
>>No. 25715
File 136466331524.jpg - (462.32KB, 1574x938, ohsup.jpg) [iqdb]
25715
>>25711

Do you really doubt the power of lunarian anti-gravity breast supports? Smart cups require no hooks or catches, fastening and providing firm retention with no fuss. Unlock like any smartphone by tracing the right constellation! Order now!

...SO FOR THIS UPDATE I DECIDED TO TRY AND LET YOU GUYS HAVE MORE INTERACTION. I MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO THE NEXT SEVERAL? UPDATES REALLY QUICKLY, ACTUALLY.

THE CHOICES ARE !DIALOGUE SYSTEM!.

------

[x] Continue to not give a fuck. Answers should come to you.
--[x] Touch oni get busy HOW CAN YOU NOT GIVE A FUCK WHILE GIVING A FUCK? maybe later

I’m up and aware but I’ll be damned if I go out searching for clues after all this bullshit that life keeps piling on. Besides, the last time I tried that, I- it didn’t end well, it could never end well, so this time I’m gonna stay right in my cushy bed.

Cushy mattress damp with sweat, pillows missing, sheets tangled. A recipe for restless irritation, begging me to leave. A lazy knot of body heat and perspiration, compelling me to stay (and nothing makes me want to leave more.)

…But, you know? I’m sick and fucking tired of always scrambling around for answers in this backwoods oriental carnival. It never ends well, even when I get what I want. So…

Fuck that.

I prop my head up and lean back, eyes never opening a crack, taking in that crisp hospital air. It doesn’t have the antiseptic bite that makes it taste like home; it’s too clean, too fresh- too pure to be anything but manmade perfection.

The silence stretches on… for about two minutes.

I- I can’t really describe the sound that disrupts my short-lived peace. A glass bell ringing as it shatters on porcelain. A church choir humming the tone of a fluorescent light. Raindrops smashing through half of a double-pane window.

…Regardless of how it sounds, regardless of how I can’t describe it, what I can describe: the spontaneous absence, the sudden noticeable lack. The grumpy pile of woman by my side vanishes like a waking dream.

(I still don’t open my eyes, though. The less I see, the less I have to deal with, after all. I’m sick of always dealing with everything at once.)

“Up and at ‘em, tiger. You’ve got a busy day.” Razor sharp velvet, terribly clear, not an ounce of honey or smoke. Little miss Eirin doesn’t seem particularly pleased.

Still.

Even though I might have pissed off the beautiful doctor… I can’t keep the smile off my face.

Looks like the answers came to me after all.

------

[ ] Inquisitive
[ ] Rueful
[ ] Snide
[ ] Direct
>>No. 25716
[x] Inquisitive

'Sup, doc?
>>No. 25717
[X] Inquisitive

Because anything else would be going against the spirit of the pic.

Besides, I am interested as to what the doctor has in store...
>>No. 25718
[x] Inquisitive

The answers are here so let's probe 'em.
>>No. 25719
File 136475727944.png - (156.86KB, 690x642, instant_wizard1.png) [iqdb]
25719
>…But, you know? I’m sick and fucking tired of always scrambling around for answers in this backwoods oriental carnival. It never ends well, even when I get what I want. So…

ARE YOU A WIZARD?

[X] Inquisitive

But not just any sort of inquisitive. THIS sort of inquisitive: http://hijiribe.donmai.us/posts/1092987

Trolling softly.
>>No. 25721
File 136478561855.jpg - (592.44KB, 1436x1239, supoh.jpg) [iqdb]
25721
------

[x]Inquisitve

Busy day? What the hell does that mean, busy day. I woke up in the hospital after getting blackout- fucking-drunk. I shouldn’t be in any condition to be doing a single goddamned thing, because at this point…

Well, I don’t have a pounding migraine. There’s none of the churning nausea, the queasy self-loathing. But it’s the principle of the matter.

I crack one eye open, taking in the good doctor’s– face. Delphinium stare locks in on me immediately, narrow. Measuring. She doesn’t look particularly happy. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say she was looking downright pissed.

Both eyes open, now. The smile slips off my face just a bit.

“What’s the deal, doc? You don’t look happy to see me.” Understatement of the fucking year award goes to - probably some smarmy news anchor in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, but I like to think I earned a spirit award.

Just to mess with her, I tuck my hands behind my head, flex a bit- feels good. She gives this displeased sort of huff, blowing a strand of ivory hair out of her eyes.

“Maybe you’d be nicer to look at if I wasn’t treating you for acute alcohol poisoning.”

Acute…?

“Doc, I blacked out, but I couldn’t have been that bad off. I know my way around liquor.” Said the alcoholic. Like I’m trying to sell a pile of shit by calling it fertilizer; sure, it’s technically true.

“Well hot stuff, what would you say your BAC was when you came in?”

Blackout, treatment, no headache or nausea after… I tally the numbers in my head, try to paint a picture of my state.

“About 0.3, maybe?”

She laughs. There’s no real humor in it, but the sound is still jarringly beautiful. That delphinium stare thins further, rosy lips curling in distaste.

“Try 0.8. Forget treatment; you should have been dead.”

------

[ ] Truth.
[ ] Doubt.
[ ] Lie.
>>No. 25722
File 136478717549.png - (240.18KB, 401x568, 1355177001156.png) [iqdb]
25722
[X] Doubt.

I am constantly torn by the desire to see Clint move away from the self-destructive habits that are slowly killing him and the compulsion to stay true to the rather compelling character Stove is writing.

Sometimes I can justify, from Clints point of view, the good choices, but this time "Doubt" seems like the realistic and probable middle ground.

And this is the first truly strange thing he's facing in the bright light of sober daytime - this time he can't just let the wierdness of his present location

wait, wasn't I at home? bender at the nice bar, tender shot me down again... that was last night? wasn't that last night? Would I even remember if I'd gone drinking...?

slide like he's been doing.

Well, he hasn't always, I suppose.

>Yes. Yes there is.
>"Why the hell do you have bunny ears?"
>>No. 25724
[X] Doubt.
>>No. 25725
[x] Truth.

Drinking with an Oni never leads to anything good.
>>No. 25726
File 136500071980.jpg - (4.61KB, 279x165, 36uA8.jpg) [iqdb]
25726
[x]
>>No. 25735
File 136509726722.jpg - (50.96KB, 282x239, 1363809581331.jpg) [iqdb]
25735
>rosy lips curling in distaste.

Prissy bitch. Clint should be deader then a pickled egg, but he's not, because he's awesome.

Fucking Lunarians.
>>No. 25737
[x] Truth
>>No. 25760
[X] Truth.
>>No. 25780
File 137005941581.jpg - (558.62KB, 1000x1000, alcohol.jpg) [iqdb]
25780
BACK LIKE A TWO-MONTH LATE HEART ATTACK

------

[X] Doubt.

“…I’d have to dialyze myself with alcohol.” I manage what I think is a very effective dismissal- I’m a bit of a clever boozer, but jury-rigging a dialysis machine to pump me full of liquor is outside my usual drunken skillset.

Very effective. For all of the time it takes to get out of my fucking mouth.

Instantly, she looks both impressed and amused, as if reducing my (logical!) deduction to something childish and adorable. The chips of ice burning in her eyes dim, dull, as if immediately excusing me with precise rationality.

what are you some kind of thought/emotion computer shut up explain yourself

I twist around suddenly, vaguely uncomfortable in my own skin. Bugs shivering in my tendons, leaving me half-curled into a loosely defensive slump. They can’t all be winners, and sometimes you just wish things would start making sense already but that’s neither here nor there.

“You drank rice wine with Shuten-Douji; you poured it from an ancient magical artifact, and you thought it would play by your rules?”

She really could have tried to sound a little less tickled at the thought. Witch. I keep score, you know. A long running tally. That one’s going to you, but lately… it seems like I’ve got all the time in the world.

Let it simmer.

“…just my rules?” The grin is back, but it vanishes behind gloved fingers, there and gone quicker than inspiration. Two heartbeats later, she lets out another of those displeased huffs, stubborn tuft of ivory melting across her faintly glistening brow–

–frames her face kind of nice, actually–

Focus.

…Must’ve been a long day for little miss Eirin if she’s letting that much slip- her type won’t abide personal imperfection. Keep that in mind, keep it in mind.

“It’s magical, not impossible. Of course there are rules.”

That’s… That kind of puts a real damper on things. Kills the wonder like a repossessed child. Magic’s real, but it’s just like physics! There’s rules and everything. Real hard-line shit, I’m sure. Complex math and geometric symbology, the works.

…Or, you know, maybe not. It’s still fucking magic. And it looks like the good doctor’s right on the verge of explaining herself.

“It must obey the constraints defined in its creation. It was created inside an ancient magical artifact, designed by Oni to produce a substance capable of getting them drunk.”

Okay, following along so far. It makes rice wine, that’s pretty magical.

“Not quite. It creates ‘a substance which makes the user drunk’ and not ‘rice wine’. The distinction is important.”

She pauses to clear her throat and pops open the top button of her coat while she’s at it; her face relaxes a bit, less tension, less heat. For an instant, it looked like she might have been taking it easy, but no. A blink and the change is gone, almost fast enough to make me think I imagined it. Almost.

I’m on to her little charade.

“What that distinction means is… every cup makes you ‘more drunk’, which your human physiology translates as a direct replacement of a certain percentage of your blood with unmetabolized alcohol. It could feasibly do this until long after your body ceased being able to cope.”





There’s no clearcut way to describe the sensation that washes over me, a cold breeze of realization that curls in my bones. It feels like… It feels like I just got away with bending over a specter of death and fucking her in the town square.

There’s a brief (and terrifying) rush at the thought, a tantalizing thrill of electricity up my spine, before I derail THAT train and cram it in some dank, unused corner of my mind. I can’t afford to go flirting with death right now.

In any sense of the word.

“…” I open my mouth, but only manage an awkward pause, words caught up somewhere in the tangled mess knocking around inside my braincase.

And Miss Exposition 20XX goes to… No, no, shit, that’s retarded. Come on.

…Come on.

Goosebumps sweep across my skin, pins and needles echoing distantly against my nerves. I’ve got a handful of expensive pseudo-silk sheet and a hell of an ache in my jaw- when did I start gritting my teeth…?

Shit.

More proof of my alcoholism, coupled with a nearly-successful suicide attempt; doesn’t lend itself well to making jokes.





“Who the hell is that Shuten-Douji you mentioned?” I finally let out something to keep the conversation alive; the longer I keep her here, the more answers I can get. Can’t let myself get caught up in all that introspection I desperately crave.

…She actually slips up a bit when I ask, funniest damn thing. Slams her knee right into the bedframe, not that you could tell it from her face. Her eyes look about as interested as I am in the morning forecast, just bland and incredibly subdued.

But she doesn’t break eye contact. And she doesn’t breathe a goddamn word.



“That… shouldn’t be happening. Your leaving so suddenly must have complicated your recovery…”

When did- when did she get this close? She’s peering right into one of my pupils, eyes blazing delphinium light, and I’m realizing that’s the overlay for some sort of incredibly futuristic medical device and-

I can count her eyelashes. White as her hair. So close that I can see pinpricks of data skittering across her optic nerve- too much. It’s dizzying. Has she been talking this whole time? What’s she saying?

“…personal note, possibility of…”

She goes on, muttering things so far above my head they might as well be the moon. I can’t bring myself to care too much, though- I can feel her breath with every word, feel the air every time her lips move. It’s incredibly distracting.

…An odd thought rattles at the back of my head. Little miss Eirin here doesn’t- somehow, she doesn’t smell like anything at all. Not a whiff. Must come with working in a hyper-advanced hospital.

Speaking of, she seems to be back on earth, eyes dimmer than before- also, actually looking at me. From a polite distance away.

“You should have heard what I said as Suika Ibuki. Something didn’t settle quite right, but fixing it should be simple enough.”

I guess leaving like I did had consequences. I always did love dealing with those.

------

[ ] “That’s nice and all, but how am I still alive?”
[ ] “What do you need to do to fix it?”
[ ] Stop changing the topic and ask what she wanted you for. Busy day and all.
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 25781
[X] “What do you need to do to fix it?”

What women say and what they want you to hear are always two very different things, but even so, this seems... odd.
>>No. 25782
[ ] “What do you need to do to fix it?”

Not much too it. Clint just got a new lease on mental health, let's make sure the payments are paid.
>>No. 25786
[X] “What do you need to do to fix it?”
>>No. 25795
[x] “What do you need to do to fix it?”
[x] "It's not rare and on the top of a mountain somewhere, is it?"

Eirin has never (simultaneously) been so interesting, arousing, and alien.

Congratulations.
>>No. 25797
>>25795
[x] “What do you need to do to fix it?”
[x] "It's not rare and on the top of a mountain somewhere, is it?"

In before the answer to that question being "Yes."
>>No. 25806
File 137244134596.jpg - (68.95KB, 470x600, clints reaction when.jpg) [iqdb]
25806
BOARD DELETED MY IMAGE AS A DUPLICATE, HAVE THIS JPEG AS COMPENSATION. fuck it, i'll draw an image for this later maybe.

here have update

------

[x] “What do you need to do to fix it?”

Lay it on me straight, doc. I’m a big boy now; I can handle a little bad news in the morning. Hell, I’m hangover-free, this is a fantastic morning! No muddled, fuck-tinted slurry of hate and self-loathing, no tearing myself free from the hollowed-out guts of whatever monster I buried myself in the night before. Metaphorical or literal.

Things are so peachy I want to leap out of bed and high-five the sun, boom, just physically assault the day with the swagger of a repeat felon. Ha ha ha.

Ha.

No, but seriously.

“What’s it gonna take to set me straight, doc?”

Almost reflexively I brace for bad news, gracing the floor with a paper-thin smirk as I roll my shoulders; left one’s still a real son of a bitch, echoes of sensation stretching taut along the scar tissue. Brace for it. Brace…?

I stop counting tiles after a few more seconds of nothing and-

And-

The good doctor seems to be busy flipping through an achingly familiar blue folder full of actual physical paper, pen tapping absently on her chin. What the hell is she–

“Hm? Oh, practically nothing.”

–doing. Well! Glad to see I’m at the forefront of your thoughts there, Eirin. I’m weak at the knees from all this flagrant respect.

Cool as can be, the magic voodoo space doctor sets my medical records down and kicks my screeching brain right in its awful, chattering teeth are you fucking kidding me.



No, that’s- no.

I try to fit my head around it, but that proves about as productive as trying to skullfuck the statue of liberty.

Here’s the play by play: she just flicks her wrist, in an eccentric sort of way, with purposeful direction. It’s all in the wrist, right? How many things do they say that about? Nothing special, right? WRONG! She flicks her wrist like she’s trying to tell the second violins to stop being worthless and summons a fucking skein of heatless cobalt fire.

Not even one second.

It blurs, humming into shape, a complex lattice of hard light geometries. There, over her gloved hand, suspended midair- a hooked protrusion, some kind of diode, a puzzle of luminous thread segueing into an ultrafine blade.

…As far as I can guess, it’s some space-age hoodoo Swiss Army Knife. Maybe she had it the whole time and it’s just- extant, now. Exactly where it wasn’t before.

Ha. Ha ha.

She worries her lower lip for a moment, clearly thinking. My reaction was- probably pretty goddamned obvious, in retrospect. At least she’s bothering to–

"I can't really explain to you what this is."

–assuage my jittery nerves. Thanks a bunch, doc. The hell does that mean? Is this thing Secret? Dangerous? Retarded?

"Complicated. You literally don't have several key concepts, as far as your current understanding of physics allows."

Oh, well, when you put it like that. Glad it’s not completely terrifying or anything.

"I can tell you that it IS everything I need – all in one elegant package."

Right. Yeah. Of course. I tend to be a fan of elegant packages myself. Also a big fan of unwrapping them, but hey. We all have our hobbies. It doesn’t even bother me anymore, really!

Once again the silver-haired physician is in my personal space. She’s not tall enough to loom, but- it’s a close thing, really. The light burning in her eyes definitely enhances the effect, but I still have one more relevant question.

“You going to lobotomize me if I sneeze, doc?"

That smile flashes across her face again, ice sharp, a frigid arc of amusement.

"Cute."

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that word sound so poisonous.

"You couldn't make me fail this measly operation if you were seizing a foot off the table."

That's too specific an example to be anything but the horrifically reassuring truth. I take comfort in that as she brings the holographic brain-strainer up to around eye-level and-

And-



…?

“Right, you’re set.”

She resumes paging sedately through my medical records, the technobabble nightmare gone just as quickly as it appeared. I don’t- ? What are you even writing in there? Why are you using a pen? What the hell is that about?

Impotent frustration is… no fun at all.

She’s giving me a look now, pen tucked away somewhere and folder miraculously shut. You don’t have to look so god damned impatient.

“Like I said, you’ve got a busy day today. So unless there was anything else…?”

------

[ ] Yeah, great, listen, let’s back up a bit. HOW AM I STILL ALIVE?
[ ] …No. No, that’s everything.
[ ] write-in
>>No. 25807
File 137244458995.gif - (5.66KB, 176x377, dracula_wut.gif) [iqdb]
25807
[X] Yeah, great, listen, let’s back up a bit. HOW AM I STILL ALIVE?

If there had been consequences involving big words like catheter and kidney function and possible liver damage and overnight observation then I believe Clint could've easily swept this question under his mental rug (and compared to the bodies it wouldn't even make that big of a lump.) The specter of actual brain damage was in the air, there.

But then Eirin just... fixed it. In that uniquely casual Eirin fashion. And then she just went back to scribbling in the patient file like nothing fucking happened.

I know Clint's a past-master at self-deception and suppression, but that fucker is going to slide about as well as a tireless semi-trailer wrapped in friction tape.
>>No. 25808
[x] "...I think we need a a safe word, doc. You know, so we can tell each other when it's time to stop fucking with the other person?"
[x] "No, no, 'with the other person'."
>>No. 25809
File 137246540439.jpg - (398.56KB, 1205x1237, eirinst2.jpg) [iqdb]
25809
>>25806

'M WORKIN' ON THAT IMAGE, HERE'S A ROUGH
>>No. 25810
[x] "...I think we need a a safe word, doc. You know, so we can tell each other when it's time to stop fucking with the other person?"
[x] "No, no, 'with the other person'
>>No. 25811
Writing update now.
>>No. 25812
>>25810

HAW!
>>No. 25814
File 137314512775.jpg - (1.28MB, 2187x1289, THIS IS WHAT CLINTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE.jpg) [iqdb]
25814
SAVE THE PICTURE FOR THE END. I THINK YOU'LL LIKE THAT. unless you don't or something, loser.

PERFECTION

------

[x] Yeah, great, listen, let’s back up a bit. How am I STILL ALIVE?
– [x] Be Sassy

"Yeah. Sure. Busy.” There that word is again. Again and again with the busy fuckin’ day. What is the deal- no. No, focus. This is actually important for once.

“Glad to hear fixing it was nothing big. How am I alive?"

Against all expectations, the two-tone witchdoctor’s response is just… the most lackadaisical fucking shrug I’ve ever seen. It feels like a shrug that could topple regimes and end stagnant empires, baffle harried tyrants scrambling for last-minute answers.

In short, it's a spinning heel kick to the dick.

"I haven't the foggiest.” I can’t help but sputter disbelievingly. That’s your answer? She helpfully explains that ‘the oni’ carried me in yesterday evening and claimed this bed. Apparently, none of the aides who saw her had the guts to say no.

A real scary dame, that one. A shiver of relief settles cloyingly in my palms, a sheen of clammy sweat that I bury in fine silk sheets.

“My assistant informed me that you'd woken up, but it's been... a busy day."

There's that term again. A busy fucking day. She grins slightly, but there's not an ounce of the almost flirty satisfaction from before. Her lips peel back to expose a wan arc of teeth, and for a moment, I don't feel human any more.

I feel like prey before a shark. And there's- so much blood.

“Oh, here’s some food for thought!” Sweet christ don’t phrase it like that.

“I checked in on you this morning; had my lovely subordinate run some tests. That’s when you clocked your lovely zero-point-eight.” She leaves it at that, refusing to elaborate any further. (Nonsense, all of it; I always did hate word problems.) Damn it, woman, don’t just leave me in-

Suspense-





Oh.

Oh.

Which means… From the time I stopped drinking until very recently, my BAC was disgustingly high; how long was my heart pumping that vile cocktail through my veins? (Can you call it blood if that only applies to 99% or less?) What was the peak? What was the high point of my lovely night? I– don’t remember. I don’t remember anything.

I should be dead.

I should be dead.

Why am I not that?

I’ve got my hunches again, ragged pieces of epiphany snarled up inside my ribcage. That the good doctor seems just as hungry for answers as I am… It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.

I’ll be damned if I let anyone put them together before me.



And there’s– something else. Something I’ve been meaning to say, a secret stapled to my tongue that I can finally fucking share. Anything to distract myself from that encroaching miasma of self-loathing, roiling up out of my bones.

There’s an agonizing stretch of no time at all, and I spend it staring at the beautiful woman hovering near my bed. Right into those wonderful eyes of hers (blue blue blue, always with the blue eyes.) The tension reaches its highest point–

“Coelacanth.”

–and her expression just implodes. Every feature sinks down into one great big flummoxed pile above her chin, enigmatic wiles melting away like hot wax.

“Excuse me?” Her inflection is two-dimensional, but it just doesn’t compare to her face. Oh my god. Just drink it all in.

“Coelacanth. It’ll be our ‘safe word’.”

She seems to have lost the ability to move, but her breathing is doing fine. Deep, deep breaths- I’ll be damned if she didn’t just pop another button on that coat, healthy lady that she is. There’s the faintest dusting of rose on her cheeks, but the rest of her is inscrutable.

“And why would ‘we’ need one of those?”

My sunglasses are in a coat pocket worlds away, and I’ve never regretted their absence more.

“Just in case you make a habit of fucking with my head.”

God damn I’m funny. Eirin definitely agrees in her own special way, judging by how quickly she fled the scene. Ha! Ha ha ha.

Ha.

Now what?

------

[ ] Follow her.
[ ]Repent Reflect on your actions.
[ ] Write-in
>>No. 25815
>[ ] Repent Reflect on Regale Tewi with your actions.
Okay, not really.

As much as I'd like to keep hassling the good doctor, Clint shouldn't look too spry just yet. That's a good way to get discharged early.

[x] Find some food and/or drink. You might not be dead, but you're probably pretty low on nutrients.
>>No. 25816
File 137324313464.jpg - (1.05MB, 1218x1200, 1370482000527.jpg) [iqdb]
25816
>>25815

I will second this.

[x] FRIDGE RAID

The good doctor has been run off; no need to press our luck. Exploit the moment and acquire some goddamn eats. First, we must be starving. Second, food is good. And third?

That delphinium-eyed dickmaster still owes us for that psychedelic multiversal "sandwich" bullshit. A man's hunger is no joke.
>>No. 25817
[x] Find some food and/or drink. You might not be dead, but you're probably pretty low on nutrients.
>>No. 25822
[x] Find some food and/or drink. You might not be dead, but you're probably pretty low on nutrients.

Sweet, sweet glory. That was perfect.
>>No. 25842
[x] FRIDGE RAID

Just because I somehow think that eating everything in a fridge will either bad end us because it's where all those concentrated diseases are kept because we mistook it for a food fridge when it was a medical fridge, or we end up doing some crazy-ass shit because we become hulking rapist.

Hopefully we accidentally ingest a small youkai
>>No. 25844
Clint is youkai of regrets, call it now
also
>>25842
fuck you
>>No. 25845
>>25816
that reminds me, of the mental picture of that night.
>>No. 25868
File 138440748647.jpg - (822.40KB, 2326x1398, five letters.jpg) [iqdb]
25868
I WAS GOING TO TRY AND UPDATE TODAY BUT THIS POST IS DRAGGING ON. IT MIGHT TURN INTO MY LONGEST UPDATE THUS FAR.

Look forward to seeing it tomorrow (barring unforeseen circumstances.)

PICTURE 80% RELATED
>>No. 25869
>>25868
I may or may not have squealed like a bitch.
>>No. 25870
File 138446861218.png - (196.80KB, 600x512, wearecurrentlyexperiencingtechnicaldifficulties.png) [iqdb]
25870
Alright, so. This is maybe a THIRD of the update I have planned and outlined, but I can't get around a few gaps that feel like they need reader interaction to progress. SO HERE WE ARE. Please excuse my inability to build proper walls.

(PICTURE UNRELATED i'll draw a proper one later probably)

------

[x] Fuck bitches get lunch

A steady, toneless silence sweeps in to take the doctor’s place. A miasma of polarized tension that I handily ignore, more out of habit than intent. I don’t remember it being this dark, but-

It’s fine. Never did like fluorescent lights. Besides, nothing to do now but loaf around- like hell I’m going to wander around in this high-class shithole without a tour guide. Again. Somebody should be around soon anyway, right?

There’s a distant click-whir-hum, a rumbling basso thrum that immediately fades into white noise. A whisper of cold air on my skin and-

And-

Hm. Am I really…? Testing, testing, one two three. I lift up the sheets and hey there bud, it’s been a while since we talked. How’s the wife and kid? You don’t know, huh? That’s rough, but hey, life goes on. It always does. Gotta roll with the punches-

I drop the sheets and pinch the bridge of my nose in exasperation. I am not spending the next ten minutes talking to my dick.

Maybe I’m finally losing it?

…Whatever the hell my brain’s doing, indecent exposure is still a class-two felony; one more strike against the notion of puttering around in this nuthouse by myself. No way in hell can I bullshit my way out of that.

So just… lean back and soak it all in.





236. There are 236 tiles on the ceiling. Lovely little alabaster squares, worlds away from the floor’s imposing black marble. I’m absolutely certain of this. I counted them four times, after all.

Ha ha ha.

I should really think about redecorating my apartment, maybe reupholster that shitty old couch-

-and then, while I’m at it, I can book a magical cruise to the moon with all that money I don’t fucking have! I’m some kind of god-damned genius, for sure. No hardwood floors, just debt up to my eyeballs and leaking out my ears- aaand now I’m pissed at myself. Great.

I’m going back to sleep.



WHO AM I? WHAT YEAR IS IT?

HAVE I BEEN SEALED AWAY FOR A THOUSAND YEARS?

I thrash around in the bed, cocooned in a layer of sensual silk sheets- shit, wait, now I really CAN’T move. Twist, shiver, flail. The mattress continues to impress, accommodating my bullshit without a single creak or groan.

A diabolical prison of my own design. Fuck, I can’t feel my legs- oh. There they are. Pins and needles and fffffffuckatruck I’m tying myself in knots here.

“Release me, witch! Nnnnnnn- fuck!”

I start spouting nonsense to my rapt audience of fucking nobody, but after a few seconds it devolves into a stream of cursing as I writhe around like a maggot.



“VICTORY IS MINE!”

The clarion call of my ultimate triumph rings out like a gunshot- almost as loud as the sound I make when my face hits the goddamn floor. It’s like a fucking Threnody for a Naked Toolbox.

There’s a murky snap as my nose gets a new lease on life, popping open the stitches on my face; the meaty clap of bare flesh on stone (Jesus CHRIST the floor is cold); the crisp tinkling of shattered glass scattering across tile.

…Fuck.

I have to- take a minute here. A breather. Got to- got to compose myself, stand back up, assess. Just. Ah. Just as soon as the galaxy stops exploding behind my eyelids, a kaleidoscope of mind-numbing pain rendered in vivid blacks and reds.

A sheet of crimson warmth creeping down, spreading out- there’s a line of fire throbbing on my cheek. For a few nightmarish seconds, I’m absolutely convinced that if I move my face will fall apart, tearing open at the seams like a burlap mask. I can’t see, but it’s far too bright.

I can still breathe. I suck air through my teeth, ignore the muted tang of copper, and the fear passes. A wave of rust and exhaustion settles in to replace it, a fatigue that aches down in my bones. It’s a familiar feeling.

Almost comforting, really. Hah.

I peel myself off of the floor; shit, it got in my hair. Locks tinged a muddy scarlet clinging to my face, a slapdash spiderweb of bloody ice I can barely feel through the white-hot heartbeat of pain. Shit. I blink my eyes open soon as I’m upright- vision’s hazy, but at least I can see.

I can feel the blood draining down my throat like lukewarm sludge. Gross.



Deep breaths; I have to get my breathing under control. In… and out… and in. The arc of molten lead boiling across my cheek cools, devolving into a steady pulse of agony I can actually focus through. Calm enough to let the background noise through.

My nose is now west – it’s almost parallel to the plane of my face. I don’t think I’ve ever broken it so hard before. It looks like somebody took a fucking hammer to it.

Deep breaths.

…My deepest condolences to all the mouthbreathers in this world. What a miserable existence that has to be. Every second serving as just another grim reminder- alright, no. Focus. I could gargle with my own blood right now.

Now comes the hard part.

In, in, in–

A wet, muffled crunch; like snapping a stalk of celery wrapped in cloth. Everything goes blindingly white, immediate and overwhelming, and all I can hear is that faint tinnitus wailing.

F U C K.





I’m up! I’m- I’m awake. The world went unfocused for a, uh, a little while there. A fuzzy vaseline filter put on backwards, flavored like pain, leaving me cross-eyed and bleary. It’s fine now. I’m fine. I can see again. My nose is back to its beautifully perpendicular self, painted in vibrant hematoma hues – like ugly little splotches of sunshine.

Luckily, it shouldn’t be too noticeable thanks to the massive leaking gash on my cheek. My graceful little swan dive earlier was too much for the stitches to handle; it didn’t reopen completely, but… I can feel every single exposed centimeter, clear as day.

Fantastic.

…What the hell am I supposed to do with this? I’ve stitched myself up before, but… there’s no fucking way. No mirrors, no tools, hands slick with blood from- my nose, maybe. It’s all smeared together now, indistinctive, indecipherable.

I should… probably try and find someone. So I can complain. Or- get help, I guess. Assuming there’s anyone to find. How long have I been sitting around in this fucking room? Counting tiles and wasting time, bleeding all over everything.

Streaks of red on cold black tile. Expensive silk sheets flung into some dark corner. I’ve got goosebumps and a surfeit of –aches and it occurs to me now that I haven’t had a proper meal in days. Naked, bleeding, and hungry.

I just have to keep it together, right? (All I want to do is fall apart and let someone else deal with the consequences.)

Just– just have to keep it together.

Just have to–

------

[ ] Search the room (There has to be something I can use)
[ ] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)
[ ] Wait it out (I give up. Let someone else deal with this shit.)
>>No. 25871
[x] Search the room (There has to be something I can use. Or at least wear)
>>No. 25872
[x] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)

Go on! Git!
>>No. 25873
[X] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)

Clint wandering the halls in this state can only end well.
>>No. 25874
[X] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)
>>No. 25875
[x] Wait it out (I give up. Let someone else deal with this shit.)

"seeing" how well his earlier attempts, I wouldn't try it again.
>>No. 25876
File 138449255246.png - (394.20KB, 564x818, faceside.png) [iqdb]
25876
Also, unrelated, but I don't think I ever bothered posting this picture up in the thread.

(IMAGE TOO LARGE, HAVE A LINK: http://i.imgur.com/rnjV1YG.jpg )
>>No. 25878
[x] Search the room (There has to be something I can use)

Trying to eat while choking on blood in the nude sounds a bit to barbaric and indecent for him. Or maybe not.
>>No. 25879
[X] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)


In the finest hospital tradition, when a patient has an accident that has the potential of causing a mess it is required that they spread that mess as widely as possible.
Preferably traumatizing at least two interns in the process.

But let's at least bring a sheet for some modesty.
>>No. 25880
[ ] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)

He needs a bit of a break from his inner critic, methinks. Let's give someone else a chance to insult him.
>>No. 25881
File 138567760551.jpg - (713.76KB, 1803x911, thanksgiving2.jpg) [iqdb]
25881
MERRY FOODMAS THP

i am fat and lazy so have a picture
>>No. 25882
[X] Get Out and Find Somebody (A hospital has to have staff, right? …Right?)

I'm assuming he knows where everything in the room is already, given how closely he examined it in his boredom. Counting the tiles a fifth time won't give us a different number, probably.

Also, Merry Foodmas to you too!
>>No. 25892
>>25881
Why does every Eirin you draw end up looking like a Sister of Battle?
>>No. 26046
File 141710615631.jpg - (428.99KB, 1803x911, anniversary.jpg) [iqdb]
26046
erutcip a evah os yzal dna taf ma i

PHT SAMDOOF YRREM
>>No. 26093
File 142438656826.jpg - (1.06MB, 1604x1558, clint nouveau.jpg) [iqdb]
26093
[x] Get out there and find somebody

A sudden overwhelming wave of regret, self-disgust, and nausea crashes through me like a pityfuck cocktail. Deal with it, somehow. Don’t fall over. Where’s the door?

Déjà vu don’t mean anything at all. Empty echoes in my brain, tall tales from a hollow memory; I throw them away without hesitation. The doorknob is cold, and heavy, and silent. Don’t hesitate.

I open the door and-

-there’s nothing. Nothing at all to see- nothing to smell, either. Cool air and inscrutable lights. Exactly the same as last time. Exactly the same as it’s ever been, exactly the same as it’ll ever be. What a crock of shit.



I savor the secondhand/hand-me-down air, the recycled/reused oxygen breeze that sweeps across my skin. She left me here alone, that witchdoctor (bitchdoctor) Eirin- only right that I try to find something to keep myself… What was it?

BUSY?

The luscious silk sheets caress my body like a cloud of pitch black butterflies – it’s kind of liberating. Dumb as hell, but liberating. Soak it all in, motherfuckers. I flex for the riveted audience of fuckin’ nobody watching me in the halls, relish the phantom freedoms to the very fullest.

The horizon is a fluorescent thundercloud, a fogbank of number plates and slick tiled floors (I KNOW they were hardwood before,) lost in a dizzying haze of lights and emptiness. The hallway hasn’t changed. The rooms stretch out forever, endless identical doors that stretch on for longer than my eyes can follow.

So I set out with swaggering steps, drowning in all the gumption of a Roman emperor. All I need to complete the ensemble? Cyberpunk laurels! I can’t contain the snide expression the goes slashing across my face, but it fades soon enough.

There’s a buzz of hustle and bustle trembling beneath my feet and dripping down the walls. Creepy.

How the hell does an empty hallway feel so crowded?

I let the feeling pass, let it slip away, but I can’t ignore that dismal electric thrill, the ozone-colored razor blade dancing across my nerves – my left hand curls (4 fingers/5 fingers, the numbers keep blurring together) into a fist, and I’m seized by a breakneck anxious tension.

I… let it go. Let the wave break clean, release it all in a single ceaseless exhale that clears my lungs (and clears my mind.)

It’s… gonna be fine. Has to be fine. What could I get up to that I couldn’t take back here? Here, inside what’s probably the best hospital in the – world?

…Fuck it.

The rooms aren't going to search themselves, after all.

...

It’s a dark, heavy sound- a roiling thundercloud of bass that rattles deep inside my bones before fading into a pitch-black background of noise. And for all the swiftness of its disappearance (filtered away, shut out, denied denied DENIED) I can’t keep myself from shaking.

My legs – won’t listen. Maybe it’s too loud. Maybe they just – can’t hear me. Deaf to electrical impulse- a distributed aural denial of service.

…It won’t stop me. Three steps, massive, long as my stride allows. I should have expected it, but somehow that impenetrable wall of sound worsens. A clangorous 3-D din, blaring with all the physicality of granite.

Rather than pushing through air, or water, or molasses- every advance is like cutting through stone. Every footstep is a sculpture of echoes. I can’t hear myself think, or feel, or be – but by some miracle I can see. Through the haze, my eyes are crystal clear.

(What… Is this…?)

Moonlight slashes across the room in seamless quicksilver beams, beautifully clean – beautifully cold, a stainless elegance at the very edge of absolute zero; scattered through glass, poured into veins of chromed mercury. Molten diamond circuitry angling endlessly away.

(what is this)

The sound – it’s. The pieces are coming together in active spite of all my mustered will. The overwhelming thrum ceases for just twenty frames of thought, long enough for a single breath, a single– H E A R T B E A T.

(WHAT IS THIS)

The weight of this sound, crushing me down out of existence; the weight of this power. I’ve heard it before. Songs from the sun, recorded- audible to humans through the benefits of compression, sped up tens of thousands of times. This noise isn’t nearly so kind.

I can only hear it because

(this is)

They’ve plucked the stars from the night sky and crammed them inside jars. This is…

“Unbelievable.”

Her voice scythes through the audible cosmos, an incredulous whisper that cinches my throat shut. The crystalline clarity of assured violence rings bright in her voice, tempered only by a quiet, mystified awe. I’ve never felt so utterly naked – that soft, honeyed velvet flensing clean to the bone.

If I could make my arms respond, I’d probably be attempting to cover myself. The blood just dribbles out between my fingers in humming lukewarm trails, pearling dark and disappearing into the silk of my impromptu toga.

How?

I can’t begin to imagine it- the effort of speaking. To overcome this was – unthinkable. Impossible. Suika felt positively light in comparison; as trivial as a shrug. The agony arcing crookedly across my face was long gone, an abstruse nothing smothered by the strain to remain standing. Unbowed, unbroken.

I obviously can’t hear the click of her heels on the floor. The roar of raw starblood pumping through iced glass channels, pressed into layers of laminate thunder, cannot be denied. An incarnadine certainty. A point-blank typhoon.

So how is her voice so clear?

She runs a single black-gloved finger up, navel to chest to collarbone, a deafening chill lingering behind and seeping down to the bone. My heartbeat slows to a crawl as we lock eyes. Blinding delphinium blue, burning with that same ephemeral intensity as before- searching with a completely alien desperation written plain across her beautiful face.

Did she always look so… tired?

It doesn’t suit her at all.

I brush a lock of alabaster hair aside; let my thumb smear a loving streak of red on her forehead with my blood. “Simba,” I whisper tenderly, shattering this moment into a hundred million disparate pieces that could never come together again.

Her expression implodes again, vicious exhaustion melting away into absolute, comical disbelief, incredulity morphing into barely restrained laughter. She sags forward slightly, forehead fever-hot against my chest as the giggles start spilling out of her mouth.

Slowly, at first. And then uncontrolled, a dam bursting, a tidal wave of breathless hilarity that she’d never once shown any sign of feeling. “Y-you stupid bastard. Shut up. Just-” her mirth is infectious; I can’t help myself at all. The chuckles are slow, but incredibly real.

“Just let me- I can’t BELIEVE you’d-” She seems to be having trouble supporting her own weight, now.

“Your own blood! What a stupid- stupid..!”

Mission accomplished.

...

Shirt, pants, and brand new shoes. The gloves aren't nitrile; they feel more like supple black leather, even though I know they aren't. How many fingers on my gloves...?

...Fresh bandages, too. She's prepping a bag for me - like a field supply kit. So I won't have to come crawling back for help like a little lost lamb. "It'll be ready when you're ready," she says. I'll be damned if it wasn't equal parts relieving and infuriating.

Damned. Hah.

Still so fucking cryptic. The closer I get, the less I understand.

“I don’t think I’m qualified to be the hired help in a normal hospital. Why the hell would she want me for hers?” There’s a fresh set of stitches worming around in my skin, scar just a bit more ragged, sawtooth tissue near as crooked as my nose; feels almost as good as it looks.

Fujiwara seems to give it some earnest consideration, mulling it over as she chews the butt of her cigarette (Lucky Strikes. I still can’t believe it.) A reply is on the tip of her tongue when I rip out the first spear, as big around as my humerus. Her teeth click together and send her smoke tumbling down onto the table, more out of surprise than any genuine pain response.

I dump the bamboo skewer into a bin labeled ‘sharps’ and share a thin, barely-there smile at the nonexistent humor. Ignore the slick sucking noise as the meat inside drops; the encore is harsher, a greasepan sizzle-pop. It doesn't matter.

“Chewing your cigarette? What a nasty habit.” She slugs me in the gut, but I was more than ready- it cracks all the knuckles on that hand. Never underestimate the value of good core strength.

“Probably because you’re both cunts.” She’s got the deathstick back in her mouth – and a whole lot of sass besides. Flecks of red and bitter vitriol; it almost reminds me of someone! But who? Who would ever act like that? Must be my imagination.

With a chortle I turn my head, finger pressing one nostril closed, and clear out all the blood at once in a fountain of clotted crimson. Little Miss Eirin decided to reset it (again) herself, on account of my ‘gross mishandling of my own body.’ It was fine.

“THAT’S a gross habit.” Not that she’d bothered looking away – just grimaced around her cig with a lopsided sneer. You ash-haired - don't think you can throw my own lines back at me and get away with it.

“Breaking my nose isn’t a habit.” I float the correction out there – but damn if her lips don’t just peel back, all too-white teeth and too-red tongue, hissing out smog like a shitty festival dragon. She doesn’t add anything else because she doesn’t have to; we both know the score.

…So I jab her in the tit, right through the tattered hole in that anachronistic shirt. Her skin’s as hot as sun-soaked asphalt, soft as velour, and inexplicably (predictably) whole.

She grunts. “So’s this your idea of a first date?”

“Dunno. That your idea of first base?” If life were just a little bit more whimsical, just a little bit more dramatic – there’d be sparks igniting in the air between us, sheer heat breaking into open flame as our disgruntled stares locked together. Like two stags racking antlers.

So this is what it feels like? An impasse. (She laughs twice and slugs me again. Bitch.)

…There’s this vague realization that I didn’t actually see her heal. She was just whole again. Less mended and more undone, an audacious outright rejection of injury. All evidence stricken from the record. How much information was Eirin holding back when she briefed me?

Well. At least I don’t have to worry about fucking this up.

That jabbing finger traces down to the next spear – deflected off her spine and managed to thread between her ribs; at the very least, it shish kebab’d her left lung something fierce. Whispery strands of smoke curling up out of the edges of the wound, dragging dark effluvia up with every gasping exodus. Smoking with a perforated lung; now here was a woman after my own heart.

Not that I smoke, anymore. What was it, again? The reason I stopped? The reason I haven’t picked it up again yet?

It isn’t coming to me now. Give it time, though; I’m sure I’ll think of something to justify it.

“There’s a saying, you know. Maybe you’ve heard of it.” She sits up a bit; the expression she’s wearing isn’t the most credulous, but I press on – in more than one way, bandaged (bandageless) hand set flush against her sternum as stealthy as can be. It’s time. Now or never!

“A spotted tiger boils twice.” The questions explode through her mind in a blinding, flash-fire cavalcade, so naked I can see them in her eyes – the cigarette’s on the floor again. An opening…! Seizing the momentum, that subtle palm presses down, and the spear comes out; up, up, up, an inverse waterfall of ash-white haze (and blood, more blood, black as night. So bitterly dark.)

Just call me the king of fucking England.

“You…! You…!” She’s spluttering, caught out, a loss for words sending her scrambling for something that can encapsulate her ire; no pithy one-liners to dance around saying ‘fuck you.’ So she settles for spitting her cigarette out in my face.

First of all, when the hell did she pick it back up? Second of all: f u c k. There’s hot ash in my wounds, my eyes closed reflexively, and so of course I miss whatever bullshit healing process sustains her. Again. Are you doing this on purpose you albino bint?

“I am trying to help you!” There’s tobacco in my stubble and a landmark of scorched red skin blossoming across my cheek. I heal like a normal human, thank you very much- a fact I don’t even need to voice, considering all the evidence on display. She has the decency to look contrite before I rip the last skewer out of her kidney.

No need to try and make a game of it this time.

The wound burns gold – no. Not the injury itself, but the space in-between. Empty air lights up with a blistering cadmium intensity, searing through the nothingness, giving way to unmarred flesh. Written whole in script of lambent mandala is a statement of casual fact, constellation letters wheeling away into the ether:

Her body is the absolute natural order of the volume it occupies. Disruptions of that body, of that order, are only that; brief and (ultimately) meaningless. Is this what it means? Being “immortal;” a self-contained set of operational constraints imposed over the universe at large. Elegant and terrifying.

I drop the spear into the bin with the rest and send it skittering into the far wall with a boot. The rattling scrape of metal across tile, ringing wet and hollow with its cargo.

“Right, you’re done. Want a lollipop?”

“Bite me.”



An ache of melancholy lingers heavily in the air, a quiet nostalgia full of incense and regret.

At the center of the room, basking in a shaft of quicksilver moonlight, is a bonsai in full bloom. Ash-white, paper-thin; I’ve never seen anything like it in the world.

It’s beautiful, in a tragic sort of way; transient and subdued – barely there at all.

The moon princess slumped casually beside it (listing at an oblique angle, drowning in elaborate ruffles and perfect ink-silk hair) is blinding. A strobing floodlight forever sustained; a piecewise thunderbolt unconstrained; staring directly at her causes me actual physical pain, paroxysms of longing that rattle in my brain.

I blink, and realize my eyes were actually watering. I don’t have any words to accurately describe her, describe this sensation – even if I throw it away, abandon it when I close my eyes, every exposure brings it screaming back. It’s kind of infuriating.

If I can’t throw this feeling away, then I can sure as hell bury it.

My countenance might as well be carved from stone for all the humanity in it. Marble expression and granite heart, I say the words wailing in my brain like vicious klaxons.

“I don’t know shit about gardening.”

She giggles from behind an overlong sleeve (angels, a chorus of perfect tinkling bells) and leans forward, lids heavy, eyes a pair of hooded (amber? Violet? Cerulean?) gemstones. She's less like a woman and more like a piece of art; surreal beauty completely divorced from reality. Aching tremors beneath my ribs, reminding me of nothing at all.

The bonsai reaches out towards her in anticipation when she lowers her arm and t a l k s? I can’t hear anything. But the night sky is distressingly gorgeous, clad in silk-drenched stars, close enough I could clutch it in my hands. I blink, and remember that I'm looking at a person.

“…Sorry. Didn’t catch that.”

She laughs again, face revealed, and her joy is an orchestra painting impressionist miracles. Perfection written in porcelain. I blink again. A person. She’s a person. There’s an ember searing cherry red behind my eyes – a molten tenpenny nail driven straight into my sinus cavity – and suddenly, the revulsion bubbles up. A jagged, electric misery that simmers in the back of my throat.

A – person. My engineered disgust is so potent I can almost look at her directly.

“Tending to the bonsai is hardly gardening, Clint.”

Every word is a battering ram to my resolve, every church bell crescendo dragging her further away from being real. The ember becomes a bonfire; the nail becomes a stake; the heat is unbearable, but I endure. Even as my perception melts away. Pain.
Pain.
Pain.
Pain.

The urge to give in, give up, indulge the primal desire seething (roiling, frothing) at my core, is overpowering; deadens every sense and boils out through my veins in quiet, dolorous waves. My self-imposed nausea is... sickeningly false. The things I would do to her- I barely keep from retching.

My self-loathing is never disingenuous. Always plenty to go around.

Always, always, ALWAYS-

The tidal forces crushing me apart vanish without warning; leave me breathless and repulsive and- bleeding from the nose. Of course. The bonsai is also terribly close, terribly real; suddenly alive with a million mercuric hues. But it’s just background noise. Just a hiss of static on the airwaves.

The princess of the moon is an arm’s length away, and somehow I’ve managed to keep from losing my mind. Her eyes are half-open with lackadaisical exuberance, and her face is much too close. She smells of lily and moonflower and – something subtle and earthy, a barely-there whisper I recognize from experience.

Bamboo.

“I wonder. What are you looking at?” She tilts her head in an affected expression of confusion. I never expected a princess to make fun of me. Or maybe it's some twisted form of praise?

…That hair of hers could blot out the sun.

The supernal radiance subsides- no. It dims, dials back far enough that I'm not (drowning) struggling to maintain my sense of (self) propriety- and the night-haired moon princess plops down onto her cushion with a yawn. "Boring. I was at least hoping for, I don't know, an embarrassing confession..."

...Run that by me again? She was-

"Or maybe something more risqué. Alas, to be swept off my feet and, ah, devoured-" she's giggling and it's NOTHING like the sound I heard before but that doesn't matter because

"WHOA. Hold up! I'm gonna have to stop you right there. You wanted me to what?!" Eirin, you speckled WHORE, is this why you sent me?! I thought it was going to be- some kind of trial of patience, or a lesson in (fuck, I don't know) HUMILITY, or maybe some obnoxious, lateral-minded cockamamie horseshit. Not - locking me in this cage with a starving lioness...!

(And it IS a cage. Automatic, double-layered rice-paper doors that hissed shut behind me with an unforgiving click. A facade painted gracefully over cold steel and transparent alumina. One more gaudy concession to the local aesthetic.)

She seems to come back down to Earth (IS THAT WHERE WE ARE? I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE) for a moment, and gives me a look. It's- strange. Another thing I can't find words for. It's not cryptic or amused or condescending; all I can call it is mysterious.

"Oh, anything for a change of pace. It gets so dull around here." Her eyes slide off my face and back towards the moon, hanging picture-perfect(/silent/still) in the sky.

"Every day, the same thing. The same thing, every day. Nothing ever really changes." She sinks further into her cushion, propped back on a single hand, and snaps open a fan so elaborate I can barely stand looking at it.

"One of the many benefits of eternity, I suppose." She manages to suffuse a distant sort of amusement into her voice, her expression - ringing so hollow that it sets my teeth on edge.

(You can't fool anyone if you can't even fool yourself.)



Tending to patients: check. (Testing my patience? Double-check. Quadruple-check. I shake the pack of Luckies I confiscated just to be sure- 7 left. No smoking on the premises, miss. Ha.)

Tending the garden with the Bamboo Princess: …check. Just- check.

All that's left is...

...This.

I slip through the door, casual as can be, cigarette dangling from my lips because I KNOW it's likely to get on her nerves. She asked me to come here after I'd taken care of everything else, and I'm sure as hell not up to tackling MORE. In the end, that basically amounts to the same thing, right?

Well, the gardens are thoroughly tended (Kaguya waved me off, carelessly sing-songing something about how I'd 'passed'. Definitely an alien, that one.) The patients are thoroughly mended (I wheeze a silent laugh through my stolen smoke. As if I contributed anything to that.)

There's a murmur of voices (or rather just the one,) a quiet murmuring that pricks my ears and leaves me aimless. It's terribly close, terribly familiar, but I don't understand a word. It's the most human she's ever sounded.

What language is that? Eirin.

I slip closer without a care in the world, cigarette drooping low, eyes searching for the source of the sound. All I need is a hint, a single fucking clue about this enigma of a woman.

So I stutter forward. With halting, silent steps - feet trailing whorls of frigid mist, transparent nitrogen aftermath carpeting the room - I bring the distance down.

Closer.

A dim orange glow roils across the floor, barely illuminating the labyrinth of obsidian monoliths (blinking blue, with a quavering hum- are they servers?) surrounded on all sides by swept glass aquarium walls. Shimmering citrine barricades.

If there’s a ceiling, I can’t see it.

What Ido see is an elaborate throne of wires and winking lights, an electromechanical chrysalis entombing a woman I instantly recognize (how could I miss that bitter lavender hair?) What I do hear is… nothing at all (steady clicks and the weightless, whirring glide of servos, keeping time to a subtle pneumatic whisper.)

There’s a paper-thin cauldron of inscrutable metal bolted to her skull. I’ll be damned if I can suss out what for. Only thing I can tell for sure is that I can’t see her ears.
-her ears.
ears.

The sharp yellow glare dims to lucid amber – no, it was always that way, I just refused to see. Because it’s-

it’s-

wrong? No. Fucked, maybe. I can’t count how many there are, but they’re all exactly the same, scattered reflections of a single mirror image refracted through burnt umber. Floating suspended in luminous fluid are a million naked somethings wearing one face.

They aren't human- even if the only indication is the ears on their heads. Expressions empty, hair undulant cocoons of spun white gold, they make for a somber congregation of alabaster skin and dead red eyes.

Like – albino rabbits.

Strange. It’s definitely strange. It isn’t alien or awesome or indescribable. It doesn’t spit in the face of everything I held true. Of all the shit I’ve seen today (even compared to the woman in the wireframe chandelier) it’s easily the most credible. I can almost make sense of it.

It’s just cloning, after all. Progress demands some kind of sacrifice, right?

…and yet.

…And yet.

For some strange reason-

-I can’t seem to find any words.

“…Fishtank seems like an odd place to keep rabbits, Eirin.”

Ah. There they are.

No nickname. No trill or nuance. I don’t think I’ve ever said it so plainly before, that name of hers.

Eirin with her cold iron hair. Eirin with her delphinium eyes. Eirin with her dark clothes draped in constellations. Eirin, Eirin, Eirin. Every step of the way she’s somehow been at the heart of things. It makes me wonder if-

She lifts her gaze from some display (hard light, cobalt crystalline geometry trapped inside a wire-thin frame) and the look on her face is worth more than gold. A strained reluctance; sheer, violent placidity boiling up behind her tight-lipped smile; it’s exquisite.

She speaks, and this time I can actually understand it.

"No."

I can't exactly inspect my fingernails through these gloves, but I make a decent show of trying. Supple, fitted, and not a hint of blood to be found. Top-notch stuff.

“...That's it? No?"

I'm gnawing the butt off of my first cigarette in years. What a nasty habit.

"No."

What's she even denying? Her hands are shaking, but her expression is still managing to hold up. Deep breaths, huh? Seems I'll need to act quickly.

"No. Don't trivialize this. Not rabbits, not a fishtank, and certainly not a-"

"Coelacanth."

"-joke god damn you-" she clicks her teeth shut.

She just takes a moment to simmer, pinching the bridge of her nose, space tablet warping in her grip (not that it affects the display at all. why would it)

It’s a complex situation, ethically speaking – definitely muddy enough to leave everyone involved filthy if I just dove right in. More than that… I can’t throw stones from my shotglass houses, and I’m sure as hell not on some moralistic crusade. The dismissive act is mostly just that – a joke tempered with the slightest dose of real hesitation (fear in actual).

A joke; as usual. But even I know it’s not the right time. So… I relent. Just this once.

The match ignites with a pop and no warning, lashing cherry-bright behind my cupped fingers. It scythes with cadmium clarity through the fog, lingering hazily as smoke and ash. That nicotine surety settles down over my nerves, a frayed hollow where reason used to be.

Then the match is gone and, not for the first time, I savor the sleight of hand. Lucky strikes, huh? A taste nearly as anachronistic as I feel right now.

Eirin looks almost perplexed by my silence, more collected, less assured. Delphinium suspicion writ plain in the face of my assiduous stoicism. It’s been a long time since I had a – cigarette.

In, and out. Tobacco thunderclouds.

“Fine.” A beat, a breath, deathstick dripping cinders through the mist. “…fine. If it’s that important… No jokes.” With a casual roll of the shoulders I let the tension drain (in,) slumping back and out and down in an uneasy, indifferent slouch.

“I’m all ears.”

Nothing.

Nothing.

Still nothing.

And then a smile blooms across her face, the most genuine I’ve ever seen, pearly white and absolutely terrifying. A sincerity of purpose so complete it feels indecipherable – alien.

“…I suppose I’ll take what I can get.”



“And that’s the gist of it.”

Four left. Relapse attempt #3 smolders in my fingers, held limp at my side. I didn’t even hear half of that, and I understood even less; was that supposed to prove something, Eirin? A point?

“Any questions?”

That’s too much. I’ve held my peace admirably, but- I can’t possibly hold back any more. I breathe deep and a delicate hand brushes over mine. It snatches my cigarette away, but how could I possibly bring myself to care?

Then, a ghost of sensation consumes me from the inside out. A carnivorous malaise spread with ink-splatter spontaneity. Familiar. Different. Too [different] by far. A thunderbolt of crooked razors searing down my spine.

The quip dies in my throat. My eyes swivel down, to the right, and-

Looking at her was worse than looking at the sun. She felt like poison, like other. She was anathema. A deeply personal annihilation.

It pulled something out of me, looking at her. Something vile, bubbling up from the bottom of my soul; a secret sickness rotting in my bones like tar. For all that I thought I knew about loathing, I’ve never felt anything like this- this pitch black hatred.

It feels like- if I don’t do something. something to stop it, to end it-

-I might lose my mind.


-I find myself on the floor, more numbness than sensation. Slats of terra rossa glaring through wild black bangs, giving me a look that's two parts disbelief and one part (???) and all parts way too close to my face.

There's a rabbit that could pass for human sitting on my chest staring daggers. Her ears are incredibly soft.

"What are you?"

------

[ ] write-in





BEEN A WHILE HUH KIDS

I NEED TO DO ACTUAL ART FOR THIS, BUT HERE HAVE SOMETHING OLD INSTEAD
>>No. 26094
File 142438663975.jpg - (954.04KB, 1977x1411, breakin the law.jpg) [iqdb]
26094
totally 100% unrelated picture
>>No. 26095
Why should I or anyone else bother reading or voting on this bullshit when we all know you're gonna take another three months minimum between updates? And that's an optimistic estimate. You're obviously never going to even actually try to finish this story properly, it's just some dumping ground for when you think 'lol, I feel like writing today.'.

You should drop this and stick to writing one-shot shorts, since they require no commitment. Yes I mad and I'd much rather you'd just left this dead story (and it is DEAD) alone so I didn't have to look at it and remember the hopes I had when it began. I'm done with this, fuck you. Also, your writing sucks and you abuse custom brushes way too much.
>>No. 26096
[x] "I am a meat popsicle."

>>26095
ur a fagt
>not even mentioning overuse of 'cadmium' and 'delphinium'
2/10 critique are you even trying
>>No. 26097
>>26093
[x]"I'm a steel donut."
>>No. 26098
[x] Persistently confused and dragging everyone else down with me. What just happened?
>>No. 26099
>>26098
Also, holy shit welcome back stove!
>>No. 26100
...A write-in option? Come on, man. It's not very nice to engage in literary masturbation and then expect us to perform auguries on the splash patterns of the metaphorical jizz.

I liked reading this, and I like that you updated, but >>26095 does bring up a valid point or two. Don't treat this story like a forgotten mistress.

[x] "In no mood for philosophical questions that I didn't ask myself."
>>No. 26101
>>26100
Also, that Clint is pretty cool, but he looks for all the world like a white-haired Captain Haddock.
>>No. 26102
File 142448295491.jpg - (405.13KB, 837x698, clintsloook.jpg) [iqdb]
26102
>>26095


Almost all art in these threads is done with single brushes, often a small round with 60% minimum roundness, a rectangular inking brush, some variant on that for something resembling pencil, or a square dual-brush with texturing set on linear height.




Continuing on: yeah, I haven't updated in over a year. I actually had the majority of this update written out by around July. but a whole lot of fun personal events happened to call into question my motivations for doing much of ANYTHING.

I got a job at the start of the year, my first. I would write this update during breaks, and type it up later. I finally had money, some independence. I got to see some friends in meatspace for the very first time. One of them tried to commit suicide. That was an adventure.

I've got new goals, but leaving this story behind isn't one of them. As much as my desire to pursue art intensifies, I will never give up on writing. Or this story.

It's already the longest single thing I've ever written by an enormous margin, so if I don't at least try to finish this, I'll never finish anything.


Also, as a general notice to the thread, this option originally had a set list of vaguely snide replies, but I wanted to give anyone still reading this a shot at it.

Please believe me when I say I don't intend to ever let it slip this much again. I'll even throw in an incentive: if I cannot get an update out within the next week, I'll draw porn for the thread.

SO SAYS I
>>No. 26103
File 142448376692.jpg - (519.15KB, 973x980, donefornow.jpg) [iqdb]
26103
>>26096

YEAH I READ IT OVER AFTER POSTING AND NOTICED A LOT OF REPEAT WORD USE, but half of that was thematic and the other was that if I let myself keep getting bogged down in trying to edit time I went to write, I'd have continued getting nothing done. I'LL HAVE TO EDIT THIS ONE IN POST


picture unrelated as proof of earlier threat
>>No. 26104
File 142449808016.jpg - (740.56KB, 1943x989, furr omblom.jpg) [iqdb]
26104
in the meantime, have some other art i did while i surreptitiously bump up the post count

i recently came into possession of a 3DS, and played a game on it
>>No. 26105
File 142449872350.png - (395.05KB, 1232x841, nailed it.png) [iqdb]
26105
????
>>No. 26106
File 142449947670.jpg - (454.92KB, 1503x1010, somethingiguess.jpg) [iqdb]
26106
started doing this as an attempted color study while drunk- spent a while on it and ruined it with rendering. I like this initial progress picture more than the end product.
>>No. 26107
[x] "I'm a guy in over his head"
>>No. 26108
File 142491107336.jpg - (660.87KB, 1937x1289, shinkawamore.jpg) [iqdb]
26108
Update is almost entirely done! Have some art I did a few days ago
>>No. 26109
>>26108
Nice pomp.
>>No. 26110
File 142508132475.jpg - (361.96KB, 973x531, SO MAD.jpg) [iqdb]
26110
[x] Surly

What am I?

Persistently confused and dragging everyone else down with me. In no mood for philosophical questions that I didn't ask myself. Frustrated with all the questions I DO need to ask myself. Cold. Answers whizzing by in droves, skittering helter-skelter at (roughly) the speed of thought.

And here I am, stuck fishing for something to say. Hope I catch a winner.

"I am a meat popsicle."

...

...Why does it always have to be the dumb shit that makes it out of my mouth? Those eyes of vivid earth shutter tight with intent, reduced to pinpricks of incredulous scorn which I pointedly ignore. Yeah, yeah. I hear you.

As nice as it feels to have a pint-sized aneurysm lounging on my thorax, puffing on a twice-stolen cigarette and judging me, I'm tired of being on the goddamned floor. Nobody's paying me to clean the fucking grout with my spine.

YET HERE WE ARE.

I buck like a fault line doing the 2D tectonic tango, body jackknifing into a sloppy 'n' shape two feet off the ground.

"Wha-" The talking rabbit manages to eke out a startled noise before going airborne, tumbling ass-over-teakettle into the fog-cloaked server banks. Slap-skid-silence, no visceral impact or comedic cacophony, but I don't much care whether she stuck her landing.

I flop down 80 pounds lighter, hands smearing streaks of condensation across the tile. I can feel the amusement working across my face like a weeping gash; it's an ugly sort of expression.

Maybe I'm dodging the question; maybe I'm an asshole. But I'll dodge whatever the hell I feel like, whenever the hell I feel like it. I'm my own man! A loose cannon, a true maverick, unwilling and unable to play by the rules - not even my own!

Well, you know; aside from the whole "indentured servant" thing.

(I can't really refute the 'asshole' theory.)

...Am I really gonna start stealing the wind out of my own fucking sails, now? There are plenty of people willing to do that for me. No need to waste my precious, precious time.

Speaking of time: I need to get off of this godforsaken floor.

For just a single optimistic moment, I debate going for a kip-up - maybe in some misguided effort to look smooth - but only for a moment. Fuck that; more likely to kill myself than save any time. I could just stand, but as warm citrine light filters through the mist I wonder if maybe I can't just put it off a little bit longer.

...Are those legs?

Velvet-coated vicegrips clamp shut around the back of my neck and solve my dilemma for me in real time. Up, up, up- a single delicate hand hauling me bodily onto my feet. I recognize this careless strength immediately.

"You sure can hop to it, can't yOU!" Nurse Bunny O'Hare gives me a clap on the back that feels more like a donkeypunch. From a dumptruck. Made of biceps. It sends me sliding forward at least a good 10 feet, but hey, small favors.

I didn't fall on my goddamned face again.

...

That's about when I realize Eirin is right there, so close I could count her eyelashes if I wanted to (titanium white, just like mine.) She looks both intrigued and terribly, horribly amused. Well! Fuck you too, then!

"...You can withstand tidal forces but not eye contact?"

"Weird how nature does that."

And the fun begins!

...

She takes off her hat and throws it in my face. It hits dead center, deforming around my nose with a soft, ineffectual 'paf' before succumbing to gravity. The only reaction I can muster is a solemn nod.

"Hats off to me, right? I get that a lot."

There's actually a bit of red in her cheeks- probably from all the yelling- and her hair is slowly slipping out of place. Her fingers flex and then lock into trembling fists, and the tremors begin shaking their way up her arms.

She looks to be five seconds from strangling me, and it's absolutely beautiful.

"YES, ALRIGHT, GOOD FOR YOU! YOU DID YOUR CHORES AS I ASKED! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO NOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INDEPENDENT?!"

"FUCK YOU! I WANT TO GO BACK TO SLEEP!"

"YOU'VE SLEPT ENOUGH YOU PALLID CRO-MAGNON! IT'S ALL YOU SEEM CAPABLE OF DOING UNDER YOUR OWN INITIATIVE! JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION!"

"FINE!"

------

[ ] "I WANT TO GARDEN, ASSHOLE!"
[ ] "FUCK YOU, LET ME DEAL WITH YOUR SHITTY PATIENTS!"
[ ] "SO DID YOU WANT ME TO WEAR A COLLAR, TOO? YOU KNOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INTENT ON MAKING ME YOUR BITCH."
---[ ]"BECAUSE I WON'T PLAY THAT GAME. I ONLY ACCEPT PAYMENTS IN CHEESE!"
-----[ ] DOUBLE FAKEOUT. "REALLY THOUGH, IF I COULD JUST NOT SEE YOUR FACE 99% OF THE TIME, THAT'D BE PERFECT." ( BITCH)
>>No. 26111
[ ] "SO DID YOU WANT ME TO WEAR A COLLAR, TOO? YOU KNOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INTENT ON MAKING ME YOUR BITCH."
---[ ]"BECAUSE I WON'T PLAY THAT GAME. I ONLY ACCEPT PAYMENTS IN CHEESE!"
-----[ ] DOUBLE FAKEOUT. "REALLY THOUGH, IF I COULD JUST NOT SEE YOUR FACE 99% OF THE TIME, THAT'D BE PERFECT." ( BITCH)
>>No. 26112
Sorry, I guess the votes are too stylized to really be clear.

Each of those options is a different outcome! You can only pick one!

If you want to know what they are:

become an assistant/become a labrat/become clerk at human village pharmacy like a punk bitch
>>No. 26113
No 'just fuck already' option? Disappointing.

[x] "FUCK YOU, LET ME DEAL WITH YOUR SHITTY PATIENTS!"
>>No. 26114
[x] shitty patients

This is the assistant option, right? The things you listed don't seem to match to the order the choices are given in.
>>No. 26116
>>26114
Every single [] is a different end result! I only listed the results of the last three!

that one is basically "spend a lot more time around mokou"
>>No. 26117
>>26116
Well which one is the Eirin option?
>>No. 26118
I'm assuming that the collar one is the "more reisen" option, and gardening is the Kaguya option.

[X] "I WANT TO GARDEN, ASSHOLE!"
>>No. 26119
[x] "I WANT TO GARDEN, ASSHOLE!"

Fuck Mokou, assistanting, labrating, and clerking. Process of elimination bitch!
>>No. 26120
File 14265648314.jpg - (33.48KB, 732x665, 128530639443.jpg) [iqdb]
26120
[x] "SO DID YOU WANT ME TO WEAR A COLLAR, TOO? YOU KNOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INTENT ON MAKING ME YOUR BITCH."
Eirin pls
>>No. 26121
[x] "SO DID YOU WANT ME TO WEAR A COLLAR, TOO?
YOU KNOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INTENT ON MAKING ME YOUR BITCH."
Eirin option? Hope so
>>No. 26122
[X] "FUCK YOU, LET ME DEAL WITH YOUR SHITTY PATIENTS!"

Sure, lets go with Mokou. Why not.
>>No. 26123
>>26122
>2 months since last vote
fuck you

also I'm changing my vote from >>26113 to
[X] "SO DID YOU WANT ME TO WEAR A COLLAR, TOO? YOU KNOW, SINCE YOU'RE SO INTENT ON MAKING ME YOUR BITCH."
because I wanted the Eirin option and fag-ass OP never answered my question in >>26117
>>No. 27977
I miss this story.
I still have hope though.
>>No. 28322
>>27977
This ADD buttfuckatron started up a whole new story just to leave it sitting dead for over a year and counting. Hope and Rapestove don't belong in the same sentence.
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