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It happened again tonight.
It fucking happened again.
Just like last night, and the night before, I had this feeling, this sense that someone was there.
You know how sometimes you read about people feeling that they got eyes on 'em, or the hairs on the back of their neck got all tingly, or some kind of sixth sense bullshit tells them they're being watched, or something? It wasn't like that, not at all. I think they're mostly making that shit up.
This was real.
There's that feeling that someone's next to you. It's a weight on your mind you feel, but only just. It's probably from movement you barely even know you're seeing out of the corner of your eye, breathing you feel faintly, or a tiny little noise you think maybe you heard.
You look around.
And there ain't nobody there.
You continue looking behind you for a few seconds more, as if after a moment the person will come out of hiding from behind the air molecules or something. Nowhere else they could be hiding, because you can plain as day see there's nobody there. But you keep looking for a few more seconds, trying to figure out, now, why you felt that.
Is the fan on? No, you'd have heard it.
Is it the people in the apartment above? No, they're not home yet.
Is there somebody behind you? No, no, that's stupid, you think. That's silly. There ain't nobody there. You can see that.
And if you can't see it, then they're not there. What're they gonna do, hide behind the couch halfway across the room? Hell no, that'd make noise.
And then you turn around, shrug, shake your head, and get back to work.
That's what people normally do.
But not after feeling that for the fifth time in three nights.
I am a goddamn wreck. Looking at the papers and notes scattered in front of me, I know there is no way in hell I can make any headway on this shit. Sighing, I get up, and grab my keys.
Might as well grab something to eat. Fear does different things to a lot of people, but for whatever reason, it really just makes me hungry.
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Sometime between getting in my car and now it started to rain gently, and I didn't even notice. It's soft, which isn't the usual kind of rain we get around here. California rain is a little harder and faster when it comes.
My fingers tap the steering wheel as I wait at the light, drumming out an idle beat. One of my friends commented that this is probably the whitest car ever owned by a black man. Cheapass late 80s import, no fucking subwoofer that turns mortar into sand and shakes your damn fillings loose, no rap blasting from inside, no ridiculous rims.
Maybe I'm not part of the solution, but I'll be goddamned if my car's going to be part of the problem.
The light turns red, and I drive on. The streets are pretty quiet tonight, like it was two in the morning instead of... uh.
I flick the radio on, turning on the clock. 11:07, it says.
...Instead of eleven at night. Weird.
For some reason, I'm not as jumpy. Whether it's the prospect of food or not being in my apartment that does it, it seems to help take away the fright.
That strikes me as damn strange. I feel safer on the streets than in my own home? Granted, I don't live in exactly the best part of Los Ojos, and it's damn for sure not as nice as a neighborhood as the suburbs of San Pedro, but it's not that bad.
Although, there's nothing saying that that fucking being-watched feeling can't fol—
—No. I nip that thought in the bud. No sense in bringing bad shit with me. Just might come true.
...But no matter how hard you try not to think it, you're still thinking about it, just not intentionally. Dammit.
I slowly become aware that there's actual news on the radio, and that the ads are over. Whoops. Reaching out to the volume knob, I nudge it up a notch or two.
"—sonian Storage Facility said that nothing appeared to have been stolen, and that authorities were investigating all leads.
Montana's Senator Haglund goes to trial tomorrow, where he will face multiple charges of gross sexual misconduct, embezzlement—"
The familiar red and yellow sign comes up on my left, and I turn the radio down again. Signaling, I get over into the turn lane (like it fucking matters, there's nobody else around to signal to), and turn into the driveway, straight into the drive-through lane.
Delicious, unhealthy artery-clogging eats, you shall soon be mine. Allllll mine.
The window sticks suddenly as I roll it down, jolting my elbow weirdly.
"Fuck," I say, shaking my arm.
"Ehsscyooz meh?" asks the attendant with a thick Spanish accent that's not helped by the shitball speakers on the menu board. Oh goddammit, did I just say that into the microphone? I did.
"Oh, uh, sorry, buddy. Not you, my bad. Can I get one of everything on the dollar menu?"
I like to order in bulk. Less planning I have to for the next few days.
The guy is silent. "Kehyou rehppeat tha?" he asks. I do so. Can't really blame him; these people get more than a few drunks and stoners at night. It's the only reason they stay open this night, to make money off drunks and stoners. And probably off the other poor sumbitches who have to work this late.
It's not a good life.
He gives me the total, and I pull forward, waiting while they get everything ready. The radio gets turned up again.
"—cal news, a third person has gone missing from the East Las Platinas area. People are urged to stay indoors, and travel in groups whenever possible. Police say they have leads, and are following up on them even now. Marianne Harper, one of the victim's mothers, appeared on television this afternoon, pleading with the abductor to return h—"
Aaaand down you go.
I thought I went out to avoid creepy shit, not get back with it. Damn.
Motion by the window lets me know they're about ready. Thank god. I pay the man, get my food, and go.
Warm, delicious smells of cheap, terrible fast food waft out of the large bag. But I gotta exercise self-control. Tear into it now, and it'll be half gone before I get back. That's no good at all.
I eye the radio again. Okay, asshole. Good news only, this time. Please?
"—firm Murasaki Metaphysics announced a merger with Schecter Hyperdynamics, a series of propulsion research labs in Northern California. The announcement came at noon today after a press conference held by CEO Murasaki herself.
'I'm looking forward to working with the finest minds of the area. I sincerely hope this business venture will be a fruitful one for us both.'
Two years ago, Murasaki Metaphysics was a minor Japanese engineering firm operating out of a small lab in Yokohama, Japan. They made national news during their sudden and unexpected acquisition of North Central Posi—"
Aaaaand off. Business news ain't bad, but it's damn boring.
I turn off into a light commercial district, and find a store with a relatively empty parking lot. City Maintenance seems to be at work nearby, or at least would be if it was daytime. There's a bunch of orange cones and a large area is cordoned off with netting. Looks like there's some digging going on, or something.
Parking my car under a streetlight illuminating the lot, I get out, bringing the bag with me.
Cool night air blows around me, an I realize only belatedly that it stopped raining. I must be out of it, or something. Or maybe not. Maybe I still thought it was a good idea to get out and sit on the hood here because I noticed the rain quit, and I wouldn't have done this otherwise.
And it's not that I'm shaken up, right?
Fuck, I hope so.
I unwrap a double cheeseburger, and take a bite.
Mmmm. That's some good shit, right there. Unhealthy, but it makes some happy idiot part of you want more and more. Eat up, happy idiot.
I chew thoughtfully, looking over at the park across the street. There are lots of trees here and there, and I think a stream runs through it. Never really been there, though. Maybe I ought to, some time.
Taking another bite, I lean back, staring up at the streetlight.
Fingers touch me.
There are no fingers and nothing is touching me.
I still feel it because it is there, even when it isn't. The body knows what the mind does not.
"Ssss." A whisper of a voice coils around my head, twisting and shimmying. It falters, then tries again.
"Ssssomethingggg come. come. is come go? Is coming for you. Is, is. Ha."
I would take another bite, but honestly, I'm about to fucking panic. Can't really be that cool when shit like this is going on.
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Okay, okay. Calm. Gotta stay calm.
Yeah, that ain't happening. But I can at least try and look it. Sitting up, I make an attempt at not sounding like a total puss.
"'Kay... If I had to guess by the voice, I'd say this is Ray or Steve-o," I say, all speculative-like.
It's still bullshit; it sounds like neither of them, although they are the kinds of jackasses that would try this. But half of remaining calm is convincing others that you're calm. Or maybe that's just lying?
There's a bit of hesitation from the voice before it speaks.
"Ahhh. Aha, no. Is. Int. Isn't, Isn't, not at all," come the words again, somehow seeming to flit around and over me. It's goddamn unsettling, to say the least. "Ssssomething ing-ing comes for you this is is issss night, child of darkest Affffffrica."
"The hell is that bullshit supposed to mean?" I say, turning to look behind me. I'll child your darkest Africa, asshole.
Nobody is there.
My first thought, my very first thought before starting to seriously freak out, is: My life has turned into an urban legend. That's just fucking super.
My second thought is: And "darkest Africa"? What the fuck, I thought people stopped saying that in the sixties or something.
Then I freak out.
My eyes dart around, scanning the parking lot. Nobody there either. How shocking.
"Okay, who is this?" I ask. Dammit, bit of quaver in my voice. It's natural, but I don't want to give the asshole doing this the satisfaction of seeing me panic.
"Someonnnnne wa. Ah. Atch-ing."
"Fucking generous of you," I say, stuffing the half-eaten burger back into the bag, and picking it up. Maybe I shouldn't be mean to the spooky fucking voice. It's warning me, right? "Why you doing this, then?"
It says nothing, and merely giggles. It's a broken, jerking, uneven laugh. Humor shouldn't be terrifying, but this sure as fuck is.
I open up my car door, and climb in.
Just as I'm about to buckle up, there's a thump from the back of the car.
My hand freezes two inches away from the buckle, belt in hand.
Harder, now. And there's movement, and what sounds like scraping, but fast, far too fast to just be a scrape. Like something scratching at a wall with something sharp.
It sounds like it's coming from the trunk.
I swallow. The car seems like a very bad idea, all of a sudden.
Propelling my ass out of the vehicle, I get out, backing about ten feet away from it.
It shakes slightly, and I see the trunk lid tremble as something punches it.
Okay, okay. I need to get the fuck out of here.
I turn around, looking for somewhere to go. Anywhere but here is better.
The park across the street? ...No. Too dark, and I don't know the place. Plus, I'll bet this thing would have the advantage.
...I'm already accepting that this is a monster, I realize. Fucking wonderful.
There's a precinct house about three or four blocks down from here on Magnolia, but I'd have to take the long way there, and a lot of that looks unlit. I'd never know if this thing was coming.
The boogeyman in my trunk begins clawing in earnest, now. Jesus, this is bad.
I think the worst part is that I can't see it. The mind just runs wild.
Okay, if I haul ass, I think I could make it to the police station. I'm really not so sure it's the best idea, what with the running in the fucking dark for four blocks, but I'm a bit more certain I'd be safe there. ...Not looking forward to explaining why I haven't paid my last 5 parking tickets, though. Worthless damned meter maids.
How about the parking garage back a block? ...No, that's a short trip with no way out. Could also get ambushed.
My eyes flick over to the quiet construction site. That's a definite possibility, and the lighting's better, for sure. No idea what they're doing aside from what seems to be some kind of road work and digging, but I might be able to lose this thing in there. Too bad I don't know how to hotwire a bulldozer. Should've listened to more of Paco's stories about the weird things his brother stole, then maybe I'd be able to squash the car and whatever was in it.
The outline of a fist appears in the trunk, like I'd had it embossed in the metal.
There were originally 5 options here, with one of them only being unlockable via a write-in. However, I didn't think I'd be able to write two of them very well at all, and the more I thought about the secret fifth option, the more it seemed like an idea that would work better for its own story. I'll go over the details when Resentment is finished.
>>117289 While true, this barely applies for a vast number of reasons. They will be covered later, so be patient.
It should say green. Dammit.
And thank you.
>>117306 ...Goddammit. Again.
This isn't an alley, though; it's a parking lot.
Also, you totally should have said "⑨mm."
>Lonely as I am / Together we cry
You know what the hilarious thing is? Like with so many songs, I heard the Weird Al version first (loved Weird Al, growing up), so every time I hear that song, I keep having this feeling that it's supposed to suddenly pick up and get awesome, and it never does.
I'm always so disappointed by the real songs Al parodied, because they're almost always boring and serious, and not amusing.
>"Ahhh. Aha, no. Is. Int. Isn't, Isn't, not at all," come the words again, somehow seeming to flit around and over me. It's goddamn unsettling, to say the least. "Ssssomething ing-ing comes for you this is is issss night, child of darkest Affffffrica."
Sounds like Yukari doing a poor impression of an African juju-woman.
>The outline of a fist appears in the trunk, like I'd had it embossed in the metal.
If movies have taught me anything, it's that terminators fare far more poorly in construction sites than in police stations.
[x] Orange and Black
♩~I met a strange lady, she made me nervous.
She took me in & gave me breakfast.~♩
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[õ] Orange and Black
Damn. As much as I'd prefer the security of Los Ojos' finest (and usually best-armed), I don't want to have to drag my ass through four pitch-black streets while Freddy Kreug-in-the-box can come ambush me at his leisure.
...Plus, those goddamn parking tickets. So I didn't turn my wheels to the curb; so fucking what? You'd have to get a team of surveyors to prove that was on anything like a dangerously steep hill.
Fucking, fucking meter maids.
Okay, right. Imminent death and all that jazz. Time to get the hell gone.
I turn around and book it, moving as fast as muscle and finely-crafted Chuck Taylors will allow. Knew I should have signed up at the gym, but nooo, there was always gonna be next week. Well, fuck you too, procrastination.
The orange construction fence-netting draws closer, and I can begin to see that it wasn't just road work going on. There was some serious digging going on here. An excavator sits nearby, parked next to a steam shovel.
I vault over the netting, and land on the dirt, looking around.
All right, anything here I can use? ...Come on, there's got to be somethi— oh, sweet.
Moving over to one of the trucks parked nearby, I reach out for a shovel, then pause. That's not exactly the most easily-handled weapon, is it?
My eyes flick over the other tools occupying spaces on he rack in the pickup bed. A pick would be nastier, but too heavy. An axe would be perfect, but there ain't no such thing here. A sledgehammer would be way, way too heavy. And a big solid-steel pry bar—
"Aw, for fuck's sake," I say, lamenting over the fate of my poor Datsun. That'll be fun to show the mechanic.
—will have to fucking do. I snatch it out of the bracket heft it a few times, and begin looking for a good spot to go.
I cast a gaze towards my car, where something has thrown back the mangled hood, shattering it.
...Wait, shattering it?
Man, what the fuck is going on?
Whatever, fine. If I stay here, I'm going to get... Well, I don't know what I'm going to get, but I'm not going to like it, I'm pretty sure of that.
Hustling off further down the road, I then slip on some gravel and fall down an open manhole.
It's like a fucking Looney Tunes cartoon or something. Aren't they supposed to put the covers back on?! Or... maybe that's the reason for the netting.
It dawn on me that while my back and my arms hurt a whole damned lot, I'm not a pretty red smear on the concrete below. Seems the pry bar got wedged in the metal rungs built into the wall of the shaft leading down, and I managed to hang on like a fishing line.
Way the hell too close for comfort.
As quickly and quietly as I can, which isn't much of the second but enough of the first, I get the bar out, and ponder my options for about a second before continuing down.
The bottom of the shaft enters a maintenance corridor of some kind, lit by dim electric bulbs. There's a path going back, and a path going up ahead that splits off.
Okay, which way to g—
tak! tak tak-tatakkk
A piece of gravel, just one, falls down the shaft behind me.
My blood turns ice fucking cold in a second, and my palms start getting sweaty.
Something's coming down the shaft, and it ain't using the fucking ladder.
>You really don't want to know the number of times I've given serious consideration to asking if anyone wants to trade faster updates in return for answers.
Yeah, Discrete Math can be fun, but only if it's taught as what it really is: a menagerie of logical odds and ends that doesn't really fit into the curriculum anywhere else. If you get a teacher that uses the typical "Do the odd-numbered problems between 1 and 40" approach, it becomes downright excruciating.
You are doing a great job Fell, but don't burn yourself out.
I know that you want to want to write so that you can help the site but you need some time to recharge your energy and creativity.
Just look at HY, started with love for everyone and the will to write until he drops and in the end he hated everything.
I hate to bring up the issue of communication, as it's been posted everywhere, but if you want to take a break, or stop writing, or want to experiment with a new direction in your writing, just tell us. Most of the original writefags never did anything other than update and then disappear without so much as a word to how they wanted their story to have a general direction, or if they were burnt out decided to stop writing and it drove me fucking nuts. Still drives me nuts, actually, as a few of the current writers also keep an unnerving silence.
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As much as I hate to say this, I will update when I can, and that is not going to be regular at all; certainly nothing like I did with The Game. I had a day or so of sudden, terrible uncertainty, and was seriously considering putting this on indefinite hold and starting up a different story, brought on by mixed despair, panic, and procrastination (I wasn't kidding about that goddamn math class. It is seriously disrupting my groove). Luckily, I was talked out of it (Thank Lion for that), so yeah.
It seems that was mostly a product of not enough sleep and/or panicking about the incoming deadline for classwork and hating myself for not doing a damn thing for it during the entire weekend.
tl;dr, bad times, man. But they're a little better now.
>Just look at HY, started with love for everyone and the will to write until he drops and in the end he hated everything.
I hope that will never, ever fucking happen to me. I love each and every last one of your sorry asses (well, most of you.) and this site too much to ever ragequit. Energy and creativity aren't really a problem (I've got ideas for at least 2 more stories) either, but the ability to write may feel like it's being called into question when the rest of my life feels rather "FFFFFFFFFF."
>>117488 Seeing as how I've been with this site regularly since the exodus from /jp/, I completely and fully sympathize.
I remember what it's like for a reader, and try to plan accordingly. I hope I'm succeeding in this, though probably not so much, lately.
>>117490 I'm not going to burn out. Hide out, perhaps, if worse comes to worse; wait until I'm done with this bastard of a class before writing once more, and then I should be comparatively good again. But I'll definitely give you all a heads-up if something that drastic comes to pass.
Anyway, update hopefully tomorrow or the next day.
And a little advice that you didn't ask for, but I'm giving it anyway because I'm a smug bastard: if, as seems to be the case, mathematics isn't your cup of tea, you might want to check out your local math tutoring center or equivalent. Most universities/colleges have a free one, staffed by math majors who would be delighted to find and help someone who has a brain and doesn't just want their homework done for them.
>>117509 >panicking about the incoming deadline for classwork and hating myself for not doing a damn thing for it during the entire weekend.
Dear god, I feel your pain.
Do whatever you feel is necessary, man. We can wait.
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I swallow, and brace myself against the wall, trying to stay out of sight of whatever's coming down while at the same time getting some solid footing. Whatever Spooky McFuckvoice was talking about coming for me is coming down the only way in, or at least the only way I know. And when it sticks its mug out the bottom of the hole, it's gonna get a faceful of iron.
...There are a whole lotta funny-ass little jokes and clever shit that could be gotten out of that last thing, but I'm not in any frame of mind to be a comedian right now. I'm just trying to stay alive and keep myself together long enough so I can freak out later, when my life's not on the line.
I breathe out slowly, and then exhale into my arm as a puff of breath curls out in the cold air. It's pretty damn cold down here. I thought it was kind of warm when I went out, though. Eh, whatever. Got bigger fish to fry.
Though it's more like a goddamn shark.
Every passing second makes less and less sure of what exactly the fuck is going on. All I know is I've got to poke this thing.
The lighting in here sucks, but it's enough to let me see the tunnel's general shape and outline, and give a general idea of what's going on. I probably wouldn't be able to read the year on a quarter, but I'd be able to see it against the concrete floor. I hope it'll be enough to let me see where I need to aim this.
...Hold on. Something's not right about that. It's not like a smaller higher-sounding tic-tac-click kind of clicking, made by something fine-pointed, like whatever the fuck it seems to be packing for claws. No, this sounds more like... shoes? Like a girl's Sunday shoes for church, or some white-collar office lady going down the sidewalk.
It's walking down the shaft? Shit, that means I'm in the wrong position. I got on the side opposite from the ladder so I could get 'em from the back. This means it'll be looking at me when it comes out. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
...No, I can deal with this. Just need to attack a little sooner. Gotta keep it together.
The clicking stops.
I tense up, fingers gripping the pry bar tightly. Thrust, stab. I just pray the thing isn't like something out of Alien. Jesus, I'd be so boned.
Please, God? No big black acid-dripping meanies.
Something very lightly colored and scraggly slowly moves past the bottom edge of the access shaft. They're not dreadlocks, so it's not the thing from Predator either.
A ribbon tied up in a bow inches out, followed by a face.
You know that moment in movies where the harmless little toy or little girl or little boy or whatever walks around the corner in the haunted house, and the stupid bastard about to die just assumes they're totally normal, and drops his guard? Then the thing just completely fucks his shit up.
Me, I didn't wait, I didn't drop. I stabbed.
Look at it this way: Worst possible thing is that the burger flipper slipped some acid into the food; this is a bad trip, and I end up killing a kid, I'll probably get life in prison. On the other hand, I can wait, and it will fucking kill me, eat me alive, or steal my liver or my heart or whatever the fuck it eats. Better I'm in orange than in a pine box.
There's a shriek, and despite how hardcore I'm trying to be, I panic. Fuck, that's it; I'm off to the pokey Or the chair. Oh shit, I forgot about the chair.
Then the shriek echoes all weird, as something begins screaming and babbling in a girl's voice, echoing and moving and chopping around just like the racist ghost from earlier.
It tumbles out of the shaft, landing with a thud. Whatever the hell it is is wearing a pale dress, with slightly darker hair. Spitting something I can't understand, it lifts what I think is its head and growls at me as it climbs back to its feet, still a little dazed.
[ ] Led Zeppelin
[ ] Flock of Seagulls
[ ] Luis Bacalov
>>117555 Flock of Seaguls >I ran -so far away- (A Flock of Seagulls, 1982) [Escape]
Luis Bacalov >The grand duel (Kill Bill, 2003) [Fight]
Led Zeppelin >Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin IV, 1971) [Surrender?]
>>117598 >Details or GTFO!
Never do that again. Be not part of cancer.
>But seriously do you live in a shady neighborhood or something?
Nope, it was stolen right out of the train station's garage.
>Was it a Happy Meal?
Medium fries, 10-piece McNuggets, and 2 chicken wraps. I gave away the wraps because they had mayonnaise on it, and mayonnaise as an individual topping is so fucking terrible an idea that it makes me bleed.
that is of course until you meet the Fiats and Renaults and Dodges and every other car from that era, the only defenses for those cars are: steering wheel locks, current switches (no power to coils = no spark) and alarms (even a blinking led does the job)
Ha ha oh wow! You're lucky you don't live around my area! Almost everyone 20 min (downtown Phoenix/South Phoenix) away can strip a Civic down to the bare metal in less then 30 minutes. Hell cops say don't bother hoping it'll come back in one piece.
>>117645 Seriously. After months of writing nearly daily you delivered a long story.
We all did expect you to take a break, which everyone should do after finishing something which you did.
So there is no one out there that would mind if you take it slowly. Or take a break for a month or two.
I am not telling you to stop writing or something, just saying you don't need to get angry at yourself.
The most writer who quit either lose interest or power themself out. Or they just lack time. But probably a combination of the three.
If God wills it, we will still be around until next year, so there should be enough time.
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[ℨ] Luis Bacalov
I have no idea what it is, but it sure as hell ain't no ordinary girl, and it's trying to kill me. I feel zero guilt about stabbing it again, which I proceed to do.
Or try to.
Thrusting forward, I shove the iron bar at the little bitch. It jerks to the side, and takes the pole in the side of the chest, pushing it back a bit, and sending it stumbling a little. It/she/whatever recovers fast, grabs the pry bar, and yanks it towards itself, sending me right into JESUS CHRIST THOSE CLAWS FUCK
I drop into the ground, narrowly missing a swipe from those things. Instead, there's a screech of metal as she/it slashes at a pipe overhead. There are deep cuts in the metal, and a tiny, high pressure spray coming out of where it nicked the pipe hardest.
Okay, that might work.
Scrambling to my feet, I tug the pry bar from its hand, then whip around, and smash it down at the pipe as hard as I can. It clangs, and the bare metal pole in my hand thrums along with it, and does that weird shaky metal thing. It falls out of my hands, clanging on the floor.
...Well, I'm fucked.
The girl-monster behind me lunges, screaming at me. The noise bounces around the small tunnel walls, making it louder and more echoing on top of being loud and echo-y already. It kind of fucking hurts, to say the least. My ears are left ringing as I drop to the floor, clutching them.
It turns out to save my life.
Her hand— easier to say her and be done with it, until I see it in better light —thrusts forward, intending to stab me in the face or rip out my throat or whatever, and slashes down. Instead of opening me up, she cuts open the pipe right beyond where my head was.
A high-pressure blast of water shoots out, blowing her hand back, and catching her square in the face. Now it's her turn to recoil and falter, clutching at her soon-to-be-bruised and soaking face.
There's a reason they used fire hoses for crowd control.
My ears still hurt like three kinds of hell (ringing, thudding, and more fucking ringing), but I know an opportunity when I see one. I grab the pry bar once more, and swing it at the girl's head. It connects with a solid crack, and the bar shakes again in my hands, though not as badly.
She falls to the floor, crying out in pain, but already trying to push herself back to her feet. Not today, bitch.
Again, I swing. Again, she falls.
I smash the bar into her head, again. And again. And again.
She doesn't get up.
I stand there, shaking, trembling, covered with sweat, dust, and water from the edge of the spray. The girl lies in a heap, and isn't going anywhere any time soon. Or maybe ever again. I don't know.
I just killed someone.
A monster of some kind, yeah. And one who was trying to kill me, too. I feel almost horrible, but I know that if I hadn't, it'd be me lying there, and probably not in one piece.
Still, it feels... weird. Not weird-good, and not necessarily weird-bad. Just... really trippy-weird. Shouldn't I be agonizing over the morality of my actions?
...Man, fuck that; she was trying to kill me.
I'd always avoided ever going down the path that lead to becoming another black gangbanger sort of punk kid, and right up there on the list of things to steer clear of on that path is killing someone. I don't think I'm any further down that path than before, though. This wasn't some clerk at a liquor store, or a rival gang member, or a cop.
This was a goddamn monster.
A thought wanders through my mind, then screams at the top of its lungs: Why in fuck is a monster trying to kill me?!
On its heels comes one of those stray thoughts you have in the middle of huge amounts of stress, which is: And why does it look like a little girl?
I don't know. I don't ...I have no idea what's going on, here.
I realize I'm still standing over her, holding the bar. This... would look bad if I was seen like this. Really, really bad.
Damn, my fingerprints are all over this, aren't they?
I drop it like a hot potato, and it splashes into the growing pool of water. It's time to get out of here. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I need to get the hell out of here.
Splashing through the water, I go back down the tunnel about ten or fifteen feet until I'm back at the ladder. I hurriedly climb up, making sure to dry my hands off before ascending. Wouldn't do to have my hands slip off and send me sailing.
I make my way back up, back towards the surface. It's not safer, since that's where all this shit started, but at least I've got more places to run to. I really don't know how well that's going to help, but... it's not underground, and that's got to be better.
I look around as I reach street level. Nobody around..."No? Good. Hauling myself out, I immediately make for my car. I'm halfway there when I stop and look back towards the construction site.
I don't want Frilly Fancypants coming after me any time soon. Sure, I smashed her head in, but... I dunno. Monsters, man. Is this the "put enough bullets into it and it dies" kind that you can kill with enough force, or is this the "only a true hero armed with the magic sword of his ancestors can slay the beast" kind? There's no standard of any kind, and it's not like I have any mythology to go off of, here. What kind of monsters look like little girls? Nothing I know of, for sure.
Best not to take chances.
Hustling back towards the site, I find the manhole cover, and drag it back over the top of the opening, only to find that there are bolts that go over it to keep it in place. I think I saw something like that over... where. Somewhere. The bolts are here, attached by a light chain to keep them with the manhole. But where's the wrench? It'd be an awfully big wrench, so it should stand out.
Maybe it's at the truck? That sounds familiar.
I look around for the truck, and see about three similar-looking vehicles, all with "City of Los Ojos -- Municipal Utilities" on the doors. Well, hell. I don't remember which one had it, which would I guess be the one I got the prybar from. Panic sort of blurred that.
Going around to each of them in turn, I finally find it in the third truck. I'm only able to tell because of the missing pry bar. It's nowhere in the bed of the truck, though, so where did I see it?
...Oh. Lying against the side of the rear bumper. Dedicated workmen, these.
Shaking my head, I grab the wrench, and jog over to the manhOh Jesus fuck, the cover is gone.
There's a clink, clink from behind me, and it sounds an awful lot like those bolts might, if gently banging against a large metal plate.
I have no words to express how grossly overfucked I am.
Without even looking, I throw myself to the side, and go into a roll, coming up with the wrench held in front of me, as if it were going to help.
It doesn't help, because she's much, much too fast.
There's a flash of what looks like blue hair before I'm smacked in the face with the manhole cover, swung by a hand with a strength no goddamn little girl on Earth has EVER had. The wrench goes flying, and I'm knocked over and back, spun a little by the force of the impact. I land on my face, and merciful God, it hurts like nothing else. Not the belt, not the hand, not the cane, nothing. Freddy Kreugirl's packing some serious muscle somewhere.
My head, not just my ears, are ringing with the force of impact, and I can't even stand up straight. Arms are all fucked; legs, nothing. My vision is blurred, but I can see her toss aside the manhole cover, knocking over several cones.
Then she comes for me, and there's nothing I can do.
Up close, I can make out red parts among the blue of her hair. Well, at least she bleeds. That's good to know, but not very useful right now, as I think I'm fucked harder than... somebody that gets fucked hard. I can't even curse right, I'm so messed up.
Yanking me up by the collar of my tan t-shirt, she drags me along, growling and swearing under her breath. Ticked you off, did I? Too bad I didn't pick you off; only five letters short. I blame Vanna. It's funny; her words don't echo anymore or do that twisty float-around-me thing like before.
When I realize where she's taking me, my arms fumble and claw at hers and at the ground, but her grip is far too strong, and I'm far too screwed up to even make a decent try. We arrive in front of the manhole, and she hauls me up, one-handed. I think about begging for my life, but I already know she won't do it, so I say nothing. It's not out of any desire to surrender and accept my fate, but just logical thought.
Instead, I look at her, focusing as best I can, and clear my mouth, which feels thick and heavy.
"I'll find you, asshole," I tell her her with as much defiant venom as I can muster, and weakly flip the monster the bird.
She looks perplexed, then sneers and says once again in that broken, shifting not-echo, "N. ot bloo-dddd-y llllike. ly. y."
The girl-thing pitches me foward, and down the open shaft. I try making a grab for the rungs, but my fingers only find smooth concrete sides. Clever girl.
The ground rushes closer, and I find myself irritated with... myself. Never should have come back to lock her in. Honestly though, I don't think it'd have mattered. Even if I hauled ass, the closest exit from the store's parking lot passes right by the construction site. About the time I pulled out, she'd probably have come barrelling through the windshield, or slung something through it and skewered me.
Probably should have kept smashing her head in.
Because God enjoys irony, it's about a the moment I think that last though that my head hits the concrete floor. There's a sickening crack, and a lot of pain.
Lots of a lot.
It hurts to move.
Nothing seems to be moving, but I can feel the pain everywhere.
My head feels warm.
Nice and warm.
Just a little rest is fine, right?
I shouldn't, but it hurts, and I can't do anything else. Too much black, closing in, and I can see less and less.
If you held out and placed your bets on today despite my warning, I guess you're in luck.
In other news, oh god so many people updating. It is a great and wonderful thing, and I am clapping my hands gleefully like a child.
When 20 out of 40 of the first two pages of Google Image results for "maintenance tunnel" are composed of game screenshots, it really says something bad about either game design, game cliches, or that we (and game designers) believe these things exist everywhere and that they are perfectly valid avenues of travel, much like movies have done with air ducts. I get the impression we largely don't know shit about architecture other than what we see in what we watch or play. Feels bad, man.
>>117609 Summertime Killer is indeed it. Sharp as always~
>>117565 Your guesses for the meanings were exactly correct.
...Yeah. It's got a few twists.
>>117607 I believe he may have actually said that Civics and Accords are the most commonly stolen ones because they're so easy to break into/steal. That sounds more like it, so I probably misquoted him the first time. I'm really just happy to have it back, though.
>>117617 So everyone in South and downtown Phoenix is most likely a felon? I will keep this in mind.
I blame it on the heat.
>>117806 Start of Little Soldier Lost
Early part of Gensokyo Land Saga
And those parts focusing on revenge were meh if not futile. In the first case, all that Yuri got is a kick in the kidney (after he attacked Yukari without provocation). With Sigurd, he came pretty close to undoing Gensokyo, which would possibly screw over the blonde magicians he befriended beforehand.
Revenge seeking takes skill to get right, otherwise you end up with an emo idiot who's easily manipulated by this trait. And in the end, the character in question realizes there's better things than revenge.
I personally can't wait until the MC gets over the revenge kick and starts enjoying himself in Gensokyo.
>>117810 I've heard the concept from the author himself and it doesn't suggest "horror movie". And the whole "scared of everything" isn't a new thing. Most CYOA leads back in the day generally needed a touhou for protection.
All you can bring to back up your statement is two fucking stories.
Well good gosh, mister! You sure proved me wrong!
...Except for the part where you didn't do that at all. "Rarely works out" implies that you have a large number of cases, and of those, only a small fraction of those went well. You named two stories.
And let's not forget that both of those examples you provided were people seeking revenge against Yukari, which is is a task of an entirely different order than if it were against anyone else.
Way to go, man.
Next time think before pretending to have a valid point or sounding like you even know what you're talking about.
>Revenge seeking takes skill to get right, otherwise you end up with an emo idiot who's easily manipulated by this trait. And in the end, the character in question realizes there's better things than revenge.
>I personally can't wait until the MC gets over the revenge kick and starts enjoying himself in Gensokyo.
Ha ha oh wow.
Do you even know who's writing this story, and what he wrote before this? I really don't think you do.
And lastly, who said there's any kind of revenge kick going on? Don't blow things out of proportion.
tl;dr You have no idea what you're talking about, so shut up until you do.
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Even my brain hurts, and that doesn't even have the nerves you can feel with.
My fucking every-part hurts so much I can barely stay conscious.
...No, that's not right. It's not that everything hurts, it's like every nerve in my body, every part that can, could, did, or will ever feel anything is feeling. And they're all doing it at once.
I ain't never done acid, but I briefly wonder if this might be what it's like. Maybe not. Those pussies wouldn't keep doing it if it felt like this, I'm pretty sure. It feels like I'm feeling everything for the first time ever, but really fast.
I close my eyes tight, and blink, then almost pass out from the overload.
It's dark, wherever I am. I'm ....underground, I think, or in a deep basement.
Wait, the creepy killer demon girl monster thing. Fuck, is she still around?!
Before I can stop myself, I turn my head a little, trying to look around. This time, I only stop breathing for a few seconds as the flood of pure sensation overwhelms me again.
...Yeeeeah, I'll just... wait this out. Yeah. Seems like it's going down, anyway.
* * * *
I started counting the seconds away, but that shit got real old, real quick. I started singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, because I found that burns away about thirteen minutes if you keep a steady pace.
Really. I had a lot of time to myself as a kid. Sometimes, you'll do anything to pass the time, because it's better than being with your thoughts..
Once the last bottle is down, I try moving my head again.
I get a weird, tingly rush, but it passes. Okay, good. How about moving the rest of me?
Moving an arm back, I prop myself up a little, and look around. It makes me dizzy, but only for a moment.
I'm definitely in a cave. That, or some kind of area off the maintenance tunnels, but... I don't know. This seems way too big, and way too.... Old. I'm maybe imagining that, but this doesn't feel like it's seen much newness lately.
Or at least, until my ass showed up.
I don't recall too much of Intro to Geology, but I think think this sort of cave formation isn't local to Los Ojos.
"I think I'm going nuts," I comment (another tingling, this time in my vocal cords, which feels really damn weird.)
And right about then, I start hearing a voice in my head.
"Hello, and for the first time, welcome to the sealed world of Gensokyo. Through no fault of your own, you have arrived here in this land."
The voice is strange, but sounds pleasant, and there's a tiny bit of almost playful teasing on the edge of it. There's also this feel of energy and enthusiasm in it, though, which seems not right, and yet... right.
...I know I should be flipping the fuck out, but I can't bring myself to be surprised anymore. I've been haunted by voices, chased and attacked by a little girl who could scale smooth concrete without equipment and swing a manhole cover like a trash can lid (not to mention pick me up and haul me around easy as you like), and woke up in a cave without any obvious way of getting in. At some point, you just gotta accept that this shit is happening and move on. I got a voice talking in my head on top of all that other crap, bam. That's it. If I see fairies and unicorns walking by, I'll smile and say hello.
The voice keeps chatting pleasantly. She sounds kinda cute. Foreign, definitely; some kind of Asian something.
"The probability of danger during your stay in Gensokyo is quite high, and survival is not guaranteed. Chances of reaching safety will increase if you follow directions given to the letter."
Well, that.... sounds bad. Really bad. What the hell happened? Was that some kind of bullshit magical manhole? Am I going to start seeing goats and lamps and rich bitches offering me candy?
That little part of my mind that keeps trying to distract me from my problems says it finally realized how I know the voice is in my head: No echo. Maybe it's a duck, then. Maybe ducks are magical here. I don't know what's going on. ...I guess that's the whole point of the voice, though, isn't it? Good thinking.
"This construct has detected that you speak English. If that sounds right, say so now."
I don't know what to do. Do I say it aloud, or think it, or... what?
"...It's okay~" says the voice, after a pause. It sounds a little more... it sounds like they're smiling. "Go ahead and say it aloud, you won't look silly. Or, if the situation you find yourself in is just a biiiit too dangerous to be speaking aloud in, then click your teeth together twice. If I don't hear anything like an answer, I'll cycle through the lang—"
"Uh, yeah, yeah. English is good."
"English it is, then! Alllll righty, it's time to get started, and get you to safety! By the way, you may ask questions of this construct at almost any time. If it helps, you may call this construct 'Koko.'"
The voice chuckles a bit, as if laughing at a private joke. Then her voice goes back to being professional, but I can still hear that smiling lilt.
"It's time to get started on the important task of not dying. Are you ready to begin?"
...sealed magical world of pixies and centaurs it might be, but somebody definitely knows what tour guides are. Or tutorials.
I'm about to give 'Koko' the affirmative, but I pause, and get up. All right, feet are working, if... woooo. A little rocky, but that passes in a sew seconds. Okay. Standing is fine.
Not sure I'm ready to rush off somewhere just yet. I still have no idea where the hell I am. What was this place called again? Kentuckyo? Kentokyo? No, there was an S in there. Sennokyo? Gensokyo? Yeah, there we go. Well, besides there, I barely know where here is.
>>117817 >>117818 >>117819 I actually agree with the point they make (although not with how nasty they get), since I didn't much care for >>117757 's tone, either: If you can't back up such a comment, it's better to just not shoot your mouth off in the first place. As for >>117815 , I think >>117818 said it best: I can't decide if you should take more or less of whatever you're on.
Regardless, ಠ_ಠ to all parties involved. Be quiet and stop fighting or I'm selling you to the gypsies.
>I know it's wrong, but I can't stop hearing Koko as GLaDOS.
Suddenly, I had this idea of Portal being nothing more than the story of a mad, aging, Yukari trying to train her successor before she loses what few scraps of rational thought she has left.
All the science/modern bits would have to be replaced with Touhou-y things, obviously, but... I dunno. It seems vaguely, weirdly feasible. Replace the portal gun with her fan, the Weighted Companion Cube with a ...something shikigami-related, turrets with kedama, and so on.
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[⍎] Predator drone
"No, not yet. Give me a bit; I still gotta get my bearings and... yeah. Still feeling weird."
Koko pauses before answering. "All right, then," she says, adding: "If you are injured or feeling in any way unwell, please say so now, click your teeth twice, or blink three times slowly, depending on your situation and the current limit of your physical ability. A number of the beings living in Gensokyo view an injury as an invitation."
"To what, dinner?"
"Yep, more or less."
...Jesus, this place sounds less and less friendly.
"No, I'm fine. What exactly is this place, anyway?" I begin walking around, looking around the room I'm in. Stalagmites and ...the other kind, I forget what, hang down. And point up. Maybe the other way around?
Should've paid more attention in class, then I'd know this shit.
"I assume you mean Gensokyo itself, and not your current location?"
Looks like there's a another room or two beyond this cavern. Kinda wish I knew where the light was coming from. It doesn't seem to have a source, so much as it simply... is. It's like a movie, almost. But they usually don't half-ass the cave lighting thing anymore. Do they?
"Hmm... Well, the best explanation is that it's a place where things that aren't believed in very much come to live."
"Not believed in..."So, are we talking about like disco, or like jackalopes?"
"Umm... I'm not familiar with either of those, sorry."
I smile for the first time as I round a corner, and peer around into the next section of cave. There's something grey down about twenty feet beneath me. The small corner of it that I can see peeking out from under an outcropping looks familiar.
I start looking about for a way down, talking to Koko as I do. I'm taking to schizophrenia like a duck to water.
"Nah, I mean, like... ideas? Or monsters and shit, or what? Are your politicians honest, or do you have Nessie in a lake somewhere?"
Ah, found a ledge off to the left. It looks like it goes down there, so I start creeping along it carefully.
"Ohhh, okay!" Koko says, getting it. "Right, I gotcha. Um... well, there's probably monsters in at least some of the lakes, but our politicians are probably as crooked as yours. We don't have too many of 'em, though."
"Politicians at all. Well, I guess the tengu have some, and there's a few in the City Above, and there's a whole big fun mess in the City Below, and... well, we just don't have as many. But monsters, yeah. We have pleeeeenty of those." She giggles at this, for some reason.
She'd faded into the background after the fifth or sixth word. I was too busy staring at a strange, impossible sight.
My Datsun sits neatly parked on an uneven but kinda flat patch of floor.
"I don't fucking believe it."
"Of course, silly. That's why these things are here," says Koko, snickering.
I put a hand to my forehead, trying to take this in. "What? No, I mean, my car. It's here. How the hell did it get here?!"
"...You had a car, and it's here, now" asks Koko, hesitantly.
"Yeah. I don't know how, either; this the bottom of a pit, and there's no path down here big enough... Not one I saw, anyway." I look it over, wincing as I see the tangled scrap that used to be the lid of the trunk. "Damn..."
Koko's voice starts to sound suspicious. "Is it in any way unexpectedly damaged?"
"Not unexpectedly, no."
"No people-shaped dents, strange deformed parts, bloodstains, anything?"
This makes me look up. "...What? No. Should there be?"
"No... or, well. No, but it's happened before." says Koko, sounding a little odd.
"Seriously? Jesus, don't tell me this is where people take their hit-and-run cars and leave 'em."
"Of course not," replies the voice, sounding a little offended. "Sometimes [i]certain people like using vehicles as a weapon."[/i]
I'm real, real quiet for a moment.
"...You got people here who ...what, whip a Buick out from inside their coat and hit the other guy with it?"
"Oh no, nothing like that."
"Okay, good," I say, a little relieved. "I was seriously ab—"
"She generally prefers trains."
I'm quiet for a lot longer.
"You're not making that up, are you?"
"Man, what the fuck kind of place is this?" I ask, exasperated. Are my chances of living through even in the double digits?
"It's Gensokyo, baby! There's nothing else like it!" She laughs for a long moment before getting under control, still giggling now and then.
I shudder. "Thank God for that."
* * * * * *
I take my coat, the bag full of food, the first aid kit from under the seat, and a flashlight out of the car, and stuff everything into satchel, which I sling over my shoulder. Everything except my coat, at least, which I tie around my waist. It's a little warmer down here, and I don't need it right yet. Not until I get back to the surface, or home, or wherever.
Finishing off the last of the cheeseburger, I crumple the wrapper up and toss it into a pocket of the bag before looking at my car one last time.
Somehow, I'm going to get this damn thing out of here. It deserves better.
Locking the doors, I make my way back up to the chamber where I woke up.
"All right, I'm ready," I tell Koko.
"Well, I've already got part of what I needed while you were poking around. It appears," she announces, "that you are underground—"
"Man, is that what all that rock is doing up there? It had me wondering."
"Pfffft. Anyway, you are in the Gensokyo underground. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely certain where, since extensive public mapping only began a few years ago, and, being Gensokyo, things are not always what they seem, and are often more dangerous than what they seem. Buuuuut, based on the geology of the area, I would say you're about a day or two from the City Below, if you can keep a steady pace. This is only a rough estimate, as this construct has not gathered enough data on your physical performance. This will change as time goes on. Shall we begin?"
I give the area a once-over, and nod. "Lead the way."
"Off we go~" she says, cheerfully.
[ ] Circle of confusion
[ ] Rhombus of terror
[ ] Parabola of mystery
>>117977 A little fear might not be a bad idea.
Fear is an important part of the survival instinct, and our goal apparently is little more than "survive" right now.
May as well get used to the feeling now rather than later.
Going through the caves is surprisingly warm. Really glad I'm not wearing my coat; it'd get damn unbearable in a few minutes.
The way through is nicely uneventful. Just making my way through caverns and passages. For the first two hours or so, I'm amazed by all this stuff, all the formations. Big drape-y stuff that looks like melting taffy, tall pointy stalagmites and stalactites (Koko tells me the difference between them: stalactites hang tight, so stalagmites are the other kind. I think there was more, but that's all she gave me), and a few weird rocks shaped like things; one looks like a leaping dog, another like an upside-down cow.
After the first couple hours, though, I find myself just wanting to get wherever we're going. She says we won't be there for a while, though, which just makes me want to see it all the more. She asks me not to push myself too hard, but I'm doing surprisingly well. Not feeling very tired at all, which makes for a nice change from the usual.
The usual was worse, right? I think it was. I'm almost sure it was. I mean, I never went strolling through a cave before, but still.
As I'm about to leave one cavern with a lake whose surface perfectly mirrors the ceiling, I come up short.
"What is it?"
"Thought I saw letters."
"Yeah, in the rock."
I peer closer, and sure enough, there's letters here, scratched into the rock. Maybe it's Russian or something, though, since they aren't normal letters. It looks like a dot, then the number four, but if you didn't cross it through the middle, another dot, a backwards capital N, and another dot.
"You get many Russians through here?" I ask.
"No, not really... Most are Japanese."
"Virtually all of the places where Gensokyo's Borders intersect with the outside world are in Japan. On the rare occasion someone happens to be stumbling through an area at the same time that same part of the Hakurei Border happens to have a hole, and at the same time that that hole is big enough for someone or something to come through..."
"Oh," I say. "Got it."
"So why the comment about Russians?"
"Don't look too much like English."
"Well, bring it up with Hakurei when you meet her," Koko advises. "She'll ask Lady Yakumo."
"Who and who?" I ask as I leave the chamber.
"Reimu Hakurei is the law 'round these here parts," Koko says, drawling... or at least trying to. It sounds funny in a Chinese or Japanese or whatever accent, and I try not to laugh.
"...Are you all right?"
"Yeah, sorry. Bad cough."
"Well, anyway, she handles more or less anything weird, strange, unusual, or just plain bad that happens. She's strong and competent, but if your jurisdiction is Gensokyo, you kinda have to be."
If what little I've heard is accurate, I can't agree hard enough. "How about the other one?"
"Lady Yukari Yakumo is an amazing, brilliant, youthful, and stunningly beautiful woman!" Koko exclaims cheerfully. "Men want her, and women want to be her!"
"How much did you get paid to read that?" I ask.
"Ohohoho~" says Koko, and I can practically hear the grin. "Goodness, sir, whyever would you say that?"
"Keen intuition, babe." And a radar for bullshit.
The next passage opens onto the biggest goddamn chasm I've ever seen. Probably smaller than the Grand Canyon, but it'd come a good second or third. Fucker is wide, though.
I take a step back, grabbing at the tunnel wall.
"Jesus H!" I yelp in a rather unmanly way. I wasn't expecting this; the path of the tunnel sort of crept up on this exit.
"Ah, there's the bridge," comments Koko, happily. "Now I know where are! Hey, go ask the lady to cross."
...There's no lady in sight.
[ ] Hello ...o ....o .....o...
[ ] Going down looking up
[ ] Comin' through
>It looks like a dot, then the number four, but if you didn't cross it through the middle, another dot, a backwards capital N, and another dot.
Tyr and Sigel? (Google U+16D0 and U+16CB if you want to look; oddly enough, none of the fonts on my computer support the Runic block of Unicode.)
[x] Hello ...o ....o .....o..
>>118106 Yeah well, the whole 'Let that Shrine Maiden torture two innocent living beings' kinda undermines your point.
Don't get me wrong, her intentions are good, but she could use so many other ways to fulfill them. Well, she could, if she weren't a lazy hag young charming and beatiful paresseux.
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[⇕] Hello ...o ....o .....o...
"I don't see anyone," I tell the voice in my head.
"That's odd. This is where she's supposed to be. Well, when she's not doing a show."
"...A show?" I ask, pausing.
"She's in the business, Outside."
"Whoa, really?" I ask. I don't know if I'm really that interested, but anything to take my mind off the huge damned canyon. "What's her name?"
"Miz— Oh right, you foreigners say it backwards. Parsee Mizuhashi."
I shake my head, and walk towards the bridge. Carefully. Slowly. "Nope, never heard of her."
"Maybe just in Japan, then."
It's quiet for a moment, and a faint breeze blows by.
"Why am I looking for a pop singer at a bridge?"
"...Do you have a term in English that means 'An occupation that's more boring and plain than the one people know you from?'"
I smirk. "So it's her day job?"
"Ah. That works. Yes, her day job, of sorts." There's a pause. "Try calling for her, if you would?"
Feeling a little silly, I raise my voice. "Hey, um. Anyone here?"
My voice bounces around a little. Nobody responds, nobody shows up.
I try again, louder. "YO! ANYBODY HOME?"
"That's very strange."
"So, now what?"
"Cross, I guess," says Koko. I can hear the shrug.
Taking a deep breath, and grasping the rails very, very tightly, I set out across the bridge.
It's sturdy, I tell myself. They don't make crappy bridges for shits and giggles. You're completely safe.
...It's all nice to try and be logical with yourself, but try telling that to your asshole, which is going "OH MY FUCKING GOD I'M A BILLION FEET UP AND I COULD FALL OFF AND DIE ANY SECOND NOW!" and clenching itself into a knot along with your stomach.
You can talk to your brain, but you can't talk to your asshole. Stupid body.
At least it's not a rope bridge.
Or is it?
I should know the difference. It's obvious.
No, fuck it. Focus. Crossing. Worry later.
I keep my eyes fixed on end of the bridge ahead. One step brings me closer. Another brings me closer still.
Just got... to keep... taking a step. And keep on walking.
One or two years (possibly even a decade) later, I reach the other side, and heave huge sigh of relief. I get very firmly over on solid ground before pausing there for a moment.
"Not big on heights?" Koko asks.
"Not that. I'm just afraid of falling."
"Well, that's normal. You're only human, after all."
"That an insult?" I ask.
"No. But it might be an injury."
"What's that sup—"
Hold on. That wasn't Koko.
I start to turn, but something cracks across the back of my skull. Lights and little stars burst across my vision, and I drop to the ground.
There's time for me to think: For fuck's sake, not again.