Cthulhu !!x1BTSzLJDm 2011/05/30 (Mon) 04:23 No. 141603 ▼
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In which relaxing time is over
[ ] These words ring true. Keep it a secret from Skeleton.
Anonymous says though I’m a little too confused to hear them properly. I stare a little longer at the strange scrawl, hoping to find something about them that would show they were written by someone else.
...No, it’s definitely my handwriting.
How did this happen? Did I somehow write these two words and forget? Or was someone responsible?
Anonymous said nothing about their source, and being rather fixed in my head, I don’t they could be responsible.... unless they beg to differ.
So, as far as I can tell, I don’t know who is responsible at all. Moreover, Anonymous says to keep it a secret, offering no questions, hints, or otherwise, not even over what Skeleton said. Could have they understood him completely? Or are do they have faith in my ability to question?
Well the questions are swarming my brain like angry ants over holed cheese. I scratch my head. It hurts.
I hear something splatter deep in the burrow, and I shake my head. Honestly, the last thing I need is for some bizarre force telling me its version of the truth-- Anonymous and Skeleton do a fine job of that already.
... So I think I'll be fair and let my other partner know about what I saw. Anonymous is probably not going to like it but if I'm wrong, I'll be sure to think twice when questioning their orders next time. I nod. If there is a next time, of course.
A branch breaks behind me, presumably just outside the burrow.
I turn around. "Skeleton, I...” I pause, seeing his back coated in reddish liquid, a fresh, almost-pulsing gut lying on the top of his head, and a few entrails wrapped around his stubby little foot.
He turns to me and with the motion, pulls an eviscerated corpse out from the burrow. Multiple puncture wounds, severed skin, the vague remnants of a warm, fuzzy ear... the recently alive rabbit.
As I searching for a word to describe the miniature-carnage, I walk over to him and bend down.
"It moved." he says, simply, reading my face rather easily it seems.
Not resisted, but only moved? Poor rabbit .I do hope he finds his afterlife toad-free.
"Flesh bag." he says. "There’s something I found down there, I want you to identify."
"Related... to the disturbances?" I say.
"Possibly. Take a look?" Hey, I’m getting better at picking up on all this craziness.
He turns around and pulls from the burrow a metallic, green, rectangular thingamajig with something on top. A long black rod... an antenna? What is an antenna?
He lets it fall onto the dirt and I touch it carefully, noticing that though it’s covered in dirt, it’s very smooth, and highly unnatural; artificial almost. I grab the object and lift it upward, in the process flipping it over. I see some buttons, some gauges, a bunch of little holes punched uniformly on the bottom part of its surface, and a phrase emblazoned in black capital letters on its side.
"Property of USRMM" I say out loud. Skeleton replied? USRMM? Related to US? "...No idea, Sorry." I say.
Skeleton rasps what sounds like a sigh. "”Keep it on you, as it may prove useful." Wielding his stick, he pokes hole in the rabbit’s fur and cuts a line through it.
Ah yes. Before I get anymore distracted-- "Skeleton, wait, there's something wr-" I look over the paper again quickly. Wait."...r-right?"
Somehow, Ry’leh’ is right smack in the middle- and 'Skeleton lies' is gone. I scratch the side of my head slowly. Skeleton says nothing and pulls some of the skin off, revealing a gushy, pink layer of flesh.
"Skeleton, uhm, I saw 'Skeleton Lies' appear on this very paper, and... now it’s gone." I say.
Skeleton holds his stick.
"Flesh bag, are your hallucinations telling you to kill me? Are they impairing your performance in our partnership?" he says.
Hallucinations? "..I thought had demons in my soul?" I say.
"Soul-bound demons tend to communicate to their victims through hallucinations” he says. “Are they hurting you?"
"No... Not yet" His stick severs a few more tendons and more skin of the rabbit just falls off.
“Ignore them then" he says. “...unless they strengthen their grip on your mind”
"...Really?" He’s talking as if I only have the common cold. Perhaps, in Jupiter-is-hell-terms, I do, perhaps there's very little to fear, since it seems he has seen and dealt with my condition before. “Still...”
"Deal with your own demons, fleshy." Skeleton says and rasps a little.
I sigh. And that’s the end of that. I imagine we can’t do anything about my ‘condition’ until we find an exorcist or something.
Anonymous, tentacles, now an evil piece of paper. Surely there must be some limit to the craziness in my head.
Skeleton gestures with his leg at the freshly skinned rabbit. "...Help me get this over the fire, flesh bag."
Anonymous, as it turns out, I do like rabbits.
To my complete surprise, I find the creature has a most unusual and flavorful texture, and being so freshly slaughtered; the blood marinates the softer, chewy bits quite well. Makes each part oh so very juicy and moist and....
In sum, tastes a lot like chicken, though I'm not too sure what ‘chicken’ is.
To my left just off from our smoldering, now-dead, fire, Skeleton quietly watches me finish my meal. I had offered the still-covered-in-blood toad his half of the meal, yet he claimed to be full. What do Toads eat anyway? He ate his papers and the tools but I'm not sure if that counts. Could it be humans? Could he be fattening me in preparation for his dinner?
Had I not been enjoying a scrumptious meal, perhaps I would have had the mind to ask him. But I don’t think he would have; we’re partners, and if anything it’ll take more than one rabbit to make a full-course meal out of scrawny old me.
"Thank you, Skeleton." I finally, dropping the last bone, picked clean on the ground. "It was delicious and... filling."
True, an altogether fine and monologue-free meal--perhaps Skeleton though I deserved a break? Well, I yawn with a smile, after all that heavy-duty thinking, I look forward to just closing my eyes and just...
"You're. Welcome. Fleshy." he says, sounding a little disgusted. Hm? Did I make a mess? I look at my hands, which are dirtier, and bloodier— but not that bad.
“Fleshies eating fleshies” he then murmurs, almost too quietly for me to hear. Fleshies eating fleshies? "Do you see that tarantula crawling over there” Skeleton says right after, beckoning with his head. Tarantula? Oh, does he mean that furry bug that's about the size of my hand, lackadaisically moving across the dirt? That has many black shiny eyes, eight legs, and furry pincers?
"I want you to remove its legs. All of its legs." he says.
I should have known he would have ruined my meal with something weird at the end. "...Why?" I ask.
"We're planning." he says. Ah yes, he said we would plan, but if I remember correctly, which I may not, planning does not entail mutilating a little bug. "How-"
"Just do it." he says. An exercise, or maybe a demonstration, or maybe he’s screwing with me.
"W-Will it feel pain? Will it uhm-" Whatever is, the result is probably going to bedevil me to no end.
"Lower life forms don't feel, fleshy." Skeleton says with a rasp. "They are not people."
Not people. Alright. "..Can it hurt me?" I say, turning around one last time.
"Stay away from the pincers, and you should be fine. That type does not carry disease."
“Okay.” I reach over to the tarantula, swiping it right off the ground, and into the air, daintily holding its topmost leg with my index finger and thumb. The unpleasant being spasms as if jolted by lightning, and all of its legs begin wriggling around. With the two hairy things I guess are its pincers snapping. More fuzzy than furry, I notice, and though gross, definitely nowhere near as gross as the faces of the youkai.
"Begin." he said.
I wonder, one more time, if I will feel bad if I harm it... Only one way to find out...
I pull on one leg with one hand, while holding the midsection of its little body gingerly with the other. Like the fabric of a rope slowly ripping in two, the leg tears off and the thing tries to bit my hand, though it fails. I gauge my inner peace... No disturbance detected. I must not care for bugs.
I tear its next leg off, Rip Two. The tarantula violently but futilely continues its struggle. Hush, Tarantula, I’m only going to cripple you. Rip three. This leg pops off a little more easily. Rip four. Ah, now it’s starting to calm down. Rip Five. Or is it just dying? Rip Six, Rip Seven...
Rip Eight. The final leg comes off and from the mutilated joints of the legless thing leaks some pus like substance. Strange. I drop it on the ground, and I wonder if there’s a stream or something where I can wash my hands.
"Flesh bag." Skeleton says, right after. “Squish the fattest part with your foot”
Is he displeased with my performance? Did I not do it quickly enough? Shrugging, I follow his order and... The skin tears and a bunch of mini-tarantulas flow outward. Or Babies? Yes, I think killed a pregnant tarantula and the white things flopping around my feet are its aborted children.
Curious. I step away and I wipe my shoe against the dirt, scraping off, and probably killing the buggers that latched onto my shoe.
“Uhm, Skeleton, what was the point of that?"
Skeleton does not reply quickly and instead, gives me a look.
"Did you notice how quickly, easily, and ruthlessly, you killed that which you thought beneath you?” Skeleton says, seeming a little surprise by my lack of surprise.
"They were just bugs” I reply. Is he implying I’m a sociopath? Or is there something else in there? Surely anyone could do what I did as easily and as efficiently? “I don’t understand the point of this exercise”
"Never mind, fleshy; what matters is that we can use this skill you to our advantage.” Before I can stop him, he moves right ahead. "Is your acting skill as impressive as your story telling skill?"
I look up from cleaning my shoe. "I-If I can pretend I'm all by myself. “
“Good. From this point forward, flesh bag, unless I say otherwise, I want you to act as our leader."
Gosh this one little baby tarantula won’t get of-wait a second. "E-Excuse me?" I say.
"Not to be our leader; obviously that role is mine to hold in our partnership. But to any person or youkai we encounter or confront, I want you to seem fearless, intelligent, and calculating; as if you were in control. So much so, that when I talk, I want you to take responsibility for my words."
I take a second to process what he just said. "You want me to pretend I'm in charge? B-But why?"
"Flesh bag. Isn't it obvious?"
My eyes droop and I resist the urge to just lie back and ignore the small white bundle of insanity. "No. Not at all."
“Potential foes will overestimate your abilities; and accordingly concentrate their mental resources on 'defeating' you- instead of concentrating those same resources that person that is actually keeping us alive.” he points at himself with his leg. “me."
Okay."... What is the point of such trickery though?" It occurs to me just a second too late this toad likely wishes me to be his human shield.
"We have no other meaningful weapons than our words. Thus, our survival depends on our skillful use of communication, especially when regarding Ms. Yuuka."
… I guess that makes sense. “You mean manipulation?”
“Whatever it takes to survive.”
I rub my head. Okay. I can’t just accuse him of being a totally self-serving monster since it does make sense to me.
Regardless, he’s asking for me, a simple-minded, middle-aged, socially incapable, man, to act like a dynamic, socially able, man. Not possible, definitely not possible.
Skeleton speaks up again, as if reading my face. "Flesh bag, I know you're incapable of lying. I'm merely ordering you to reinforce the impression you've already been giving to people."
Impression I’ve been giving? ".. What?"
"Flesh bag. You seem like a calculating genius. Don’t you remember the events of Toad Pond?"
Yes, Abigail and her collective did believe in some rumor for about a few hours, but surely they were a minority?
"A hair more consciousness in your behavior, and you will perfect your illusion of control. Moving on."
No, no. This is too crazy. "Just a second, d-don't I get a say in how I behave?”
"No. It’s an order, fleshy. Moving on... according to the list, Toad Lord gave us, there is something in this field we have to procure from Yuu--.."
Skeleton trails off, looking somewhere behind me, and rasps, a loud short rasp, as if suddenly cursing.
"You'll have to talk behind my back a little bit later” a certain, soft, womanly, firm voice says.
I slowly look behind myself. Oh no.
It’s Ms. Yuuka.
Back from where ever she was, and whatever she was doing, floating in thin air, some ways behind me. Or at least that's what her forehead, green hair, and plaid dress evinces, as I can’t really afford to look at her face now that I’ve just eaten.
Did she forgive us for trespassing? Or is she here to finish the job? And is that a potted plant she's holding?
"Hello, Ms. Yuuka." I say, bowing my head a little. When in doubt, be polite. “How do you do?”
Ah yes, it is a potted sunflower.
“Not well.” she says. “I've spared and saved the lives of two annoyances, dealt with one larger annoyance, and when I came back, I discover those original annoyances are off gossiping about me." she says, her tone suggesting she's smiling in her placid, psychotic manner.
Were we gossiping? Nothing of the sort, but I gather correcting her will just make her angry.
"I’m sorry to hear that, Ms. Yuuka. Thank you for sparing and saving our lives though." I say, smiling and bowing my head just a little.
Skeleton rasps something unpleasant and Ms. Yuuka-- judging by her aura-- seems less than thrilled with my apology. She floats down to earth, with, I notice, one arm wrapped firmly around the potted sunflower.
Why is she getting annoyed? I wasn’t lying; I am thankful she didn’t just go ahead and kill us. Moreover, wouldn't she enjoy my subservience? She just considers me an idiot, right?
"Take" she grabs my hand and jerks me toward her. Ouch-. “Hold.” She twists my arm, so that I can hold the sunflower in the same manner she did. Ouch. “Treasure my flower.” she says as she looks up at me.
I look up from my hurting arm to her and pick up on two things; one that I'm at least a head taller than her . And, two- not the face- not the face-
And... Two her clothing seems to have little tears on it. Did she fall down or something?
I blink and try to focus. Could it be a...""A present?" I blurt out with a hopeful tone. To answer my question, she grabs me by the front of my vest and gives me a good, violent, shake back and forth.
Youch. Why would she hate me?
"Treat any of my friends like things, and I will strike you down." she says as she steps back, allowing me a moment to recover, which I use to reflect.
Does she think I'm being sarcastic like Skeleton? Surely not, she called me a through and through idiot, didn’t she?
Unless she changed her mind for no reason, which I doubt since if anything Skeleton was the one who verbally sparred with her and..
Wait a second. Although Skeleton was the talker last time, he pointed the finger at me. Her flowers also told her I was a ‘great’ storyteller which would contradict my appeared image of incompetence and... I yawned at her.
Oh yes. I yawned at her.
… I think there's a misconception afoot.
"The master does not appreciate an informant." I hear a demonic voice say. Oh the sunflower is a spy for Yuuka. Wait? Master? Did he just call me master?
Before I can disagree or even turn to Skeleton with an incredulous look, Yuuka continues, ignoring Skeleton. "Speak anything I dislike, from now till the end of your days, and I will hear it. and you will pay.”
This is not good. I am not a master. I should say that, say something, anything. And yet I don’t know what to say.
So I merely look at Yuuka’s informant, trying to decide what to do about it. I start with its simple brownish, pot, all the way up its stem to its head. Do I mind having this gorgeous, green and yellow, sunflower accompany me for the rest of my days?
"Alright." I smile. Maybe I'm not grasping the gravity of my situation, but gosh, something about it just softens my mind. “I don’t mind.”
She lifts off into the air. "So-called bards, I have decided to let you both live, so as long as you entertain my garden. Once you’ve becoming boring I’ll kill you both." Her tone stays level, though I swear there's some annoyance mixed in there. “Rather simple isn’t it?”
Yes, so far she’s speaking pretty unambiguously, do this, do that, or else this. I nod my head quietly, trying not to smile reassuringly, since she seems to not like my smiles.
"Speaking of my friends, they are expecting another performance, Mr. Gray" Mr. Gray? “Be in my inner garden ten minutes." s
"Ms. Yu-" I say.
Before I can say anything more, a burst of wind hits me like a whip and I shield my eyes. A moment later, I open them, and I catch a glimpse of the green haired youkai flying, or perhaps at her speed, rocketing, back to the field.
I wonder how I should be feeling.
.. I look to Skeleton who looks up in the air watching her go.
"Who or what could have occupied an Elder Youkai for so long...” He rasps, and turns to me. “Whatever the case, she flew in behind you, master." he says, that last word rife with a deep, but blatant sarcasm.
Though I feel the urge to object to his use of ‘master’, I instead I find myself transfixed by the sunflower again. Bright, yellow petals. A healthy brown center. A firm reliable stalk that goes up- just above my head. Yes, yes I’m sure of it now, this sunflower relaxes me.
"She also gave us that which we needed for our quest.. Excellent” Skeleton say as he begins hopping away. “We’ll try and finish planning along the way”
"Y-You know, you look really good.." I blurt out.
“Excuse me?” Skeleton says, stopping in a place.
The sunflower sways slightly in the breeze. Is that a yes? A no? Looks like a no. "No, I mean it. I mean it. I like looking at you!"
"What are you doing." he asks, sounding none too happy. Uhm. Gosh, what am I doing? Well, if I think about it, they’re people, people who are keeping us alive so..
“Uhm, uh, I-I'm introducing myself to our new partner.”
"Why." he says. Good question.
Fortunately, I have a simple answer “This guy is going to be with us for, uhm, forever, so I think we should be nice and you know.. Get along" A person who I can get along with...
A new friend maybe, just maybe, that I can relax with. The prospect sends a jolt of motive through my body.
"It can't respond." Skeleton points out, sounding a little confused by my behavior.
"True but... it can hear me. That's what counts." I smile widely, wondering if I’m as nuts as Ms. Yuuka. Then again, Quiet, good looking, always there for you-- talking to sunflowers seems pretty rewarding.
The head of the sunflower shakes a little again, and I feel—somehow—it doesn’t believe me. "No, No, I-I’m not just saying things." Ah pretty words won’t show this flower my feelings.
I ball my free hand into fist. "Alright. I promise you, if I say anything bad about Ms. Yuuka, you can just go ahead and tell her. I won’t get in the way of your duty. I won’t stop you” I give it a moment to reflect on it and then I say “See? Now there’s no other reason for me to compliment other than I-I want to.”
I grin, my new companion doesn't respond of course but I'd like to think I’ve persuaded it a little.
Skeleton rasps what seems like a snort. "Stop playing- fl-Master. Our lives are the line again" he says as he hops in the direction Yuuka had flown..
The sunflower still says nothing, expectantly I guess, and I frown a little. “... Alright.” I say to Skeleton.
But before I go and follow my partner, I look back to the sunflower and ask. "My name is Abe... sort of. Abe Glenn Gray.. Sort of. W-What is yours?" I smile a little nervously.
"Names don't matter. Hurry up." Skeleton shouts.
"Do you not have one?" I whisper, while trotting along in the direction Skeleton went off in.
It shakes a little, like a head nodding motion and I don’t think I felt the wind on that one. ".. Can I call you...” What would be a good name befitting such a strapping, healthy, grand sunflower such as this one? “..Alfred?" I say.
For just a second, I swear it nods its head.
"Then Alfred..” I grin broadly. “Let’s be friends." The sunflower does not respond-,well if it had ever responded to begin with. But I don’t really mind; I’m just happy to have a person near me who won’t drive me bonkers.
Alright so before I go, I’ll check myself. I got my demonic-paper, my newfound flower-friend, my rectangle-box...
"Move!" Skeleton hollers.
I shake my head and begin jogging after the sound of his voice.
The future is uncertain as ever, but perhaps I’ll manage.
“Welcome back. " I hear Yuuka say as Skeleton and I arrive in another larger, circular patch of dirt, surrounded by a horde of story-deprived sunflowers.
“Your audience has been waiting patiently for the both of you, the so called bards, Gray, and Cornelius? She says, standing on the opposite side of the circle, with her parasol back on her shoulder, shielding her from the sun.
“..Or Skeleton?" Ms. Yuuka said, standing on the other side.
Skeleton says nothing as he hops over to my side.
"I won't ask again." she says, in her trademark, softly dangerous way.
"Skeleton is my real name." he replies. “Cornelius is my stage. Master prefers Skeleton." Concise and to the point as if he were a prisoner, though I guess we both are.
As for his master shtick, I have no choice. Trying to tell Yuuka otherwise is just going to make her angry, and probably make Skeleton want to kill me too...
"Cornelius." she chooses, and then looks at me. "Are you both ready to perform?" she looks at me.
Skeleton had asked, well, ordered me to go first, since ‘he’s ‘poor at making a fool out of himself.’ There’s an insult in that statement, I’m sure, but I’d like to think I’m contributing something to our partnership.
"We are. May I begin?" I say, managing to keep the uncertainty off my face.
"No. Take your clothes off first." Wait. I raise my eyebrow, trying to not to give her a look as if she suddenly turned into an ostrich. What?
"They reek of the swamp and are an eyesore.” I stare at her blankly. Really now? “Take them off.” she says, danger oozing out of her voice.
… Well, I guess the reason given does sound plausible...
"Master, would prefer them on for his performance" Skeleton says, taking a hop forward. Is he trying to defend I me? Alas- a glimpse tells me her smile grew by an inch with Skeleton’s defiance— Yuuka gets what she wants.
“Dearie me, I wasn’t asking--”
"Skeleton, Ms. Yuuka, I can tell a story.. Even when stripped bare." I say with only a little bit of pretending.
Truth to be told, I feel no aversion to nudity- merely the randomness of her order was what bothered me. Skeleton looks at me and then bows his head stepping backward. "Yes, master" he rasps quietly.
Well, time to get naked. I set Alfred down next to me and unbutton my vest. I slink my arms out of each hole and then I try taking off my shirt. It has no buttons so I try pulling it over my head, though the fabric, tightened and rendered useless by my experience thus far, gets stuck over my chest, I try tugging a little, but to no avail. Bollocks. I pull it back down. Well, the shirt is ruined, and it’s rather warm so . I grab each side of my shirt with my hands and pull. After so much stress, the shirt practically shreds itself- revealing chest hair in abundance.
Well, now my black pants. These come off much more easily—- though I'm careful to make sure my items don't just fall out. Hairy, meaty, but toned legs—- the kind that's good for running for my life I'm sure.
My boxers come off next, and another patch of hair greets me. Yep, everything flesh wise seems to be in order; surprisingly I don't seem to be as unhealthy or as scrawny as first as that my skin is white, but not pale, nor noticeably deficient.
I hear her "ahem". Ah yes. I give my busted, black shoes a shake, and they fall right off. I then pull of my now foul-smelling socks, imbued with an unpleasant mixture of sweat and swamp odors. Perhaps Yuuka had good reason after all?
Anyway, I’m naked now. Question is; how do I feel? The sun rays touch every portion of my body, almost as if the good day itself were embracing me. Feels kind of good . Yet, I must ask, should it? Shouldn’t I be mortified? I look to Ms. Yuuka, as I feel being the most human in shape, she may be best aware of etiquette.
She greets my naked form with cruel eyes, and a sneer are plastered upon her face. I think she thinks I should be feeling bad.
Honestly though, Ms. Yuuka, ordering helpless people around to get your jollies off says more about you than it does about me. Instead of saying that, I merely roll my eyes, and yet another flicker of anger streaks across her face, only to be masked an instant later by cold indifference.
Yep, she would like nothing better than to smash my face in. I wonder if this is first time she's ever had to restrain herself when it came to people she didn't like.
"Long." I hear Skeleton say, looking at me.
I say. "What?"
He says nothing. Long?
"Mr. Gray, my friends want a grand story lasting for at least thirty minutes." Yuuka says, leaving me presumably with the freedom to tell whatever story I want.
In the end, for three or four hours of intense conversation, none of it will help now. It’s just good old fashioned storytelling, which shouldn't be that bad as long as I pretend I'm all by myself- and that the story is a way for me to relax before bed.
.. I hope at least.
Question is what kind of story should I tell?
[ ] Hilarious, send her to the floor, giggling like a school girl.
[ ] Heartwarming, shatter her heart's coldness.
[ ] Depressing, jerk some tears from her dry eyes.
[ ] Awesome, astound the thousand-year-old monster!
[ ] Horrifying, reveal to her that there things far worse than herself.
[strike][ ] Something arousing, make her feel like a woma[/strike]
[ ] Combination of the above?
[ ] Write in a story/story name.
The slowness comes from a lot of self-imposed work; but also because this piece of writing has taken a back seat to a rewriting of a work I did a year ago.
Surprise coming within the next day.