Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advocate's "Party".

I never really liked parties. If you've been around this blog long enough you'll know I can't dance. The only kind of dancing I know usually involves my life to be on the line, and knives... Guns occasionally, bare hands usually. Anyways, I've never been a party go-er. Not much of a drinker, though Advocate's post would make you think otherwise. If you were around him for the same length of time, day in and day out, you'd want a night to get drunk too. No offense, Advocate, dear. But, you know, awakening to find yourself cuddled up to a man twirling a needle idly really makes you rethink drinking. Sigh...

Advocate: To answer your question: Yes, you do fascinate me. Don't take that for being something else, though. Last I checked it took a lot longer for Stockholm syndrome to take effect, heh. I do appreciate your help and care. You've given me insight into yourself; however I'm not all that easy, precious. It was very interesting to watch you, talk with you, the likes. Impressive your ways to observe and get to know those you're watching with your actions. Yes, you are indeed very fascinating.
You're right, though. About us being alike, about us differing, about what goes on in this head of mine. But unlike you I can't just allow what is up there to let loose. For mostly obvious reasons. If you suspect it is because of fear you're looking in the wrong direction, that's only partial, a minor setback. Fear is a waste of my time; there are more important reasons for me to deny myself anything.

Right. The party, if you could really call it that. It was really... Something else. You want to know who was all there that I actually saw?
Advocate, since he was hosting it. However, he enjoyed watching us from a catwalk up above.
Dia, who I was glad was there. It was pleasant meeting her in person.
Josie Crumin, who is with me now after being shoved around by Gallows.
Speaking of which... Gallows and Graves were there. He's a real dick; Graves was her usual self.
Fawkes, who is one interesting fellow.
And Ferus, who creeped. It was only awkward the first few moments until I remembered it wasn't a murder party without permission. Ha!

It was chaos.
A very, very amusing sort of chaos. Josie doesn't think so, she sat with a look of rage most of the car ride. Poor girl.

Anyways, one moment I was sitting across from the Advocate, he was excited over his little party; the next moment I was waking up in an all-white room. Familiar, much? Well, probably because it reflected an asylum room to a T. It was bright as hell which hurt my eyes, the red in the room the only color. Blood was splattered against the walls, smears as if someone was dragged covered the floor. Realizing something that wasn't mine was covering me I sat up, shoving it off; it was a straight jacket. It too containing stains, handprints across the buckles. I scowled looking around, a lifeless wheelchair left to rust was in the opposite corner of me. The room lived up to its appearance, containing every eerie vibe a regular asylum had, which didn't surprise given who orchestrated this all. So, first room was an asylum, I found myself bitterly laughing at how funny Advocate's sense of humor was.

"Hello kiddies," Speaking of the devil himself. "can I just say I'm delighted to see that you've all decided to attend my night of special fears and fun? Now, if you wouldn't mind smiling for the camera so I can see all of your pretty faces before someone bludgeons them later... Hehe I bet you'll enjoy the special rooms I've designed. Any phobias in the house? Hehe I think yes."

I could feel the Caged One whispering sweet, violent, little nothings. A faint noise catching my attention, the room seeming to take on another vibe. As if it was coming to life. The once quiet noise began to spike, as if it was coming in from a distance and being brought right to my ear. Looking around the room I saw black speakers against the ceiling, off in every corner. The sound of wailing. Screaming, not from a horror movie either. Real screaming, it grew louder and louder and the room seemed to intensify in brightness. The sound of various screaming and brightness was just becoming too much on my head. I did NOT need the Caged One throwing a fit when we've only just begun.

I left that room fast, walked straight into this room that was nothing but papers. Newspapers, the walls, the floor, the ceiling. It was just covered. It wasn't difficult to notice the blood smears. I kneeled down to look over the papers and each one I came to see only contained missing people, bodies found, obituaries. Torn maps were poorly pinned, a few out of place portraits pinned to the wall. Bloody finger prints could be found scattered across the papers, smudged as if someone was just flipping through them at one point in time. I shuddered at the thought of Advocate sitting casually in a house of silence and death reading a family's newspaper. I wouldn't put it past him, honestly.
The walls, the ceiling, the floor, it was all about one thing: Death.

Was all of this his kill count? Or was this just for show? The question still remains open. It's alarming.

I spent a short bit of time there just going over as much as I could, until the ceiling opened up. A few newspapers fell from the opening, I pulled myself to a stand and that's when more began to flood in. A pile forming quickly and spreading through the room, like the flood of water after the dam gates open. I swore and grabbed the nearest door, leaving that room immediately.
New room, it was filled with shouting and other noise. Caged people screaming, shouting, shaking the bars to their cages. Lunatics. My hair was sharply tugged as I stepped further into the room, I broke three of the man's fingers with minor satisfaction. Really, not in the mood. I briefly thought about just how these people came to be here before I pushed that thought from my mind. I really didn't want to know. I walked through the room only to notice someone who wasn't bound to a cage. Female, my height; which for once was nice to see. She was wearing jeans and combat boots, the white tank top giving pervert Shady a pleasant view, heh. From a distance she was already familiar to me, it was strange. Difficult to describe, despite the roaring within the room she seemed to be encased with silence. I was immediately pulled into her direction by an unknown force, something about the vibe she gave off just felt familiar. "Dia?" I called out to the woman, winging the guess. After weighing the other options of who else could be apart of this (that I knew of) this guess seemed the most reasonable.

Her attention turned onto me, long, dark brown hair falling around her face and over her shoulders. She seemed just as surprised as me, a smile plastered to her face. "Shady, thank god it's you. Where's the Advocate?" Definitely Dia, I recognized her voice from our conversations. That put me at some ease, though why she felt familiar to me as a whole was still an open question. I watched her a moment, she flinched as an arm outstretched towards her, brushing her hair just barely.

"Advocate?" I asked, backhanding an outstretched arm from my path and I advanced. "Probably getting off to his guests wandering his maze." I scanned over Dia's body once we were in proximity of one another. Her condition seemed fine which put me at ease, but the physical condition alone didn't satisfy me. "Are you alright?"

Dia laughed and motioned to the room we were in. "As alright as I can be in the situation. I have an idea. Let's get out of here. The last room I stayed in for too long 'punished' me. I don't want to see what this room's punishment would be."

Punishment? I thought, looking back on the first two rooms, made sense. I looked around at the roaring lunatics, curious about what this room's punishment would be; and a second later I realized I didn't want to find out. "I second that motion." I said looking at the other door options before limping forward towards one of them. "Let's just go see what awaits us next, yes?"

I held the door open for her as we went through and entered the pitch black. Dia was shuffling around for a light switch, by my guess. I groaned, not really wanting to do the same. I could only guess what the Advocate had put in there.

A faint glow ignited, it wasn't a light of any kind. The scent of smoke was immediately recognized, the faint glow the cigarette emitted revealed just who the third person in the room was. Ferus. His mask was tilted up just a bit; it didn't falter his stare, though. "Ladies. Nice to see you. Especially you, Dia. It's always fun to meet someone on the List for the first time." Dia and I made eye contact, he interrupted it. "Don't look at her, look at me. The fun thing is, you're the first person to have truly brought this upon yourself. Everyone else is just an innocent bystander, but you, you pushed until something snapped. Which is quite hard for somebody as thoroughly snapped as I. I would go on about a variety of things: The relative nature of self-appraisal, the chaotic forces beyond what we can see that drive us in ways no one can understand, the little things that bring us to the places we go... But that would be silly, because I'm not a philosopher." The conversation, it was heading South as he went on. I went to move closer to where Dia ended up when Ferus raised a machete out of nowhere. My heart stopped, where the fuck did that come from? "I'm a killer." Were his final words, then darkness as he sliced his cigarette.

Silence. I wasn't going to enable Ferus in the pitch black, especially with Dia here. I didn't give any acknowledgment once the cigarette went out. Dia and I were in the dark, across the room from one another last I saw. "Dia, get out through the first door you find." I called to her; her footsteps put me at ease as I went for the closest wall. The door open, letting in some light. She got out and I was able to see my own exit. Ferus hadn't moved from what I saw from the corner of my eye, I wasn't about to engage. I left.

I walked into a familiar setting in the next room. It was a school setting, kindergarten. The bright, sunny room filled with children's toys and the likes. It sparked something, enough to make the Caged One jolt before glowering. I became alert at the sound of my name being called. I looked over to see a blue haired girl bouncing my way. She brushed a few short, blue strands from her face and smiled brightly, the double piercing eyebrow only concluded just who this was. "Josie Crumin." I looked her over; the bridge of her nose was pierced as well as a lip ring pierced into the center of her lower lip. She had a plain black shirt on and jeans, sneakers, a gun on her hip. Her round face, button nose, doe eyes, blue hair cut into a bob style; oh yes, this was Josie. She was as adorable in person as she sounded over our calls. We've been acquainted before, the power of emails and voice chat. A mutual acquaintance suggested we get in touch due to her problems. We've been attempting to resolve her situation in regards to Mister Creevey but it barely has gone anywhere for certain reasons. I looked to see who was accompanying her; it wasn't hard to guess given their attire. Skeleton themed, enablers of death. Gallows and Graves. I considered myself lucky this wasn't a murder party.

"Ho ho ho~ we've got a Shady Lady here?" Gallows sang, I rolled my eyes at the line, it was used way too much. He made his way over and stopped across from me, Josie to my right already, Graves directly behind him. "You're the one that told us about Mister Creevey, ain't ya?"

"Yes." I glanced to Josie who was biting her lip nervously. Looking over her condition I saw she was a bit damaged, torn clothing and some fresh wounds. Yea, fresh, I was definitely suspicious.

Gallows giggled, "Don't worry about her. She just has bad luck, kept walking into Advocate's traps, ya see."

I watched Josie for a reaction to his words, she winced slightly at the reminder. "You sure it was bad luck?" I asked while my gaze turned onto him. "Not just a bad man?"

"What if it was?" He leaned against the farming scythe casually, "Would ya play psychologist with me, Lady? Gotta say, I prefer doctor. I ain't got much time to care about your little strive for world peace."

I felt myself smiling, faint at it was. World peace? Please. That's going a little far, even I won't deny chaos makes the world go round. "I guess that makes two of us that don't give a shit for it." I said carelessly, "I didn't send you that information to try and redeem you, Gallows. I knew a fellow like you once; he couldn't be swayed because he was honestly happy with where he was in life. He was happy with who he was, what he was, and what he did. What do you give someone who is already happy, who has everything they want? There is nothing." I shrugged, "Except death, which he received. Was eaten by a bigger shark, so to speak."

"Your point?" Gallows drawled, his Southern accent weighing in heavily for a moment.

"My point is: I'm not going to waste my time on someone who is happy as is. I don't encourage the fact you murder people, but you're happy doing it. If I interfered with that, well, I can only assume more people would die while you were upset. Yes? No?" I looked at Josie and beckoned her over, "You want to walk with me?"


"Hold up, girlie." He held up a hand, head cocking to the side. "Ya know, ya do what ya can to give options or redeem em proxies. But you ain't happy doing it. Don't that tell ya a little something, something?"

My attention snapped back onto Gallows, eyes narrowed instantly. "Don't. Go. There."

He cackled, "I can read, ya know. I know a killer when I see one."

"And I know a lie when I see one." I hissed, the lighting caught his eyes. Onyx, glaring daggers of death directly upon me. I didn't budge and he stood stiff for a moment before the sound of air whooshing by caught my attention, the hair on the back of my neck being brushed away. I held his gaze as the curve of his scythe faintly pressed to the back of my neck.

"Gallows..." Josie uneasily called.

"It's fine, Josie." I calmly said, attempting to reassure her. The scythe twitch against my skin, I felt it slice into the flesh but blocked out stinging. It was very difficult to not enable Gallows to act on instinct and kill everything. Reassuring her seemed to frustrate him; his type never does like it when a 'victim' is standing strong against their actions. "He just doesn't like hearing the truth."

He scoffed loudly, "You said I was happy."

"And you are, but happiness is only one piece to the puzzle. Pieces that will conflict make you rethink where a piece goes and if it fits right, maybe it's from a different puzzle and just looks the same, etc." I waved it off and let my arm fall. My fingers flexed at my side, the itch for my knife rising. I really did not have any care in talking to him right now, and it no doubt showed. "We're similar there. We're happy doing something, keeping busy, but the moment we've got our own time... Well, we just have a lot to think about by then, no?"

Gallows shoulders shook briefly, small sounds escaping his unseen lips until laughter just echoed through the room. "You're not even trying to hide it but you're gonna deny yourself it. Why do you even try?"

I scowled. "Because trying is all we can do."

"But it doesn't get you anywhere." He chimed as he leaned forward.

"It gets me far enough."


My fingers twitched, "Shut up."

"You should probably just give up."

"I said, shut up." Fists formed, I could feel my skin stretching from Ferus's still healing signature. A reminder that only enabled the rising aggression.

"It would be better for everyone if-"

"I said, shut up!" My hand launched out to Josie's side, grasping the firearm and drawing aim onto Gallows face and leveling it between his eyes. Graves swung the double barrel shotgun around and took aim at my stomach from behind Gallows. I paid her only a glance, her onyx eyes staring at me, full of silent intentions.

“Hey, if you’re gonna shoot, shoot.” He provoked, holding an arm invitingly.

“You’re a piece of shit.” I glowered, trying to bite back the rising aggression. The Caged One recoiled, seething against his words within the blackness of my mind, under the only light that shined.

"Shady..." Josie whimpered to my right, the sound of her stepping back put me at ease. The last thing I'd want is someone caught in the crossfire. Especially when I could feel Gallows digging the scythe further into the back of my neck and making a second slice, small trickles running down my spine.

The door opened, a man unfamiliar to me entered the room. He was a fairly tall man, but then again with my height most people are taller than me to begin with. Sigh. He wore robes of white and gold; they seemed to flow around him as he walked. His hair matched his robes, gold and white only it did not flow, was spiky. Against the tanned skin it really seemed to stand out. I looked him over, his body language was composed, calculated.

"Who are you?" I asked interest quirked. Be damned if Gallows would interfere in learning about someone new.

"Fawkes." He said. "Servant of God." I wanted to hit myself, mainly because the last person to claim such broke one too many of my bones. Fucking Thuggee.

"God?" Gallows inquired, his head cocking into Fawkes direction, eyes as well. "God like, thin, tall, faceless God?"

"One of them..." I inwardly sighed.

The man nodded. "Now, you are in conflict."

I could feel Gallows brush the scythe closer to the back of my neck, the blade pressing further in the cut he made. "No." I said, should Gallows wish to play this game of chicken, so be it. "We were just finishing up." The safety clicked. Gallows was back to staring at me, and I him.

Fawkes reached out for the gun. "We don't need to be fighting now. There is one problem tonight, and he isn't in this room." Josie slipped to my side and tugged my sleeve; I looked at her from the corner of my eye before at Graves. Her dead set look wouldn't budge; she would not act until Gallows did. "Come," He said. "Let's move on, no? We should go to the... Dance floor." He left after that.

"Shady, the sooner we get to the dance floor the sooner we can leave..." Josie piped up.

"So you're gonna up and leave us then, girlie?" Gallows looked down at Josie, she slipped closer to my side. "Fine. But ya know what this means?" He asked with a chuckle, "Next time I see you... You're dead. I don't got no reason to let ya live anymore." The scythe pulled away from my neck. Josie hurried to the door while Gallows walked the opposite way.

The moment the safety clicked on Graves was on me. Shotgun slung over her back again. Her hands grabbed both my wrists, pulling me forward to meet face to face. "Shooting you is business, previous assistance to our problem means nothing if you get in the way of my job." Graves scanned to the handgun between us, her eyes trailing back up to my own. "It wouldn't be what you consider fair, and what I'd consider right a long time ago, should you die ahead of your time."

"Ahead of my time?"

"Executor may be the current holder on your life, excluding Ferus's bloodlust; but you should be more worried about his pets." She lowered her head, voice emotionless. "I've heard them speak. Sometimes people cannot do the job, the itch is too much. You should be wary next time your path is crossed."

"He has various pets, who are you speaking about?" I asked.

Graves lifted her head, "All of us. They do not wish to wait any longer." She let me go with a slight push, swinging the shovel she let it lean on her shoulder as she backed away. "Let that make us even now, no longer do we have personal business between us. Therefore shooting you is once more business as usual, should you threaten the life of Gallows." With a tip of her hat she walked over to where he was and I left out the door Josie went through.

I didn't think Graves was informed as much as it seems now. Executor may be their employer, as said previously, but I didn't think he'd be so careless to speak out information like that. Or was she listening another way? Considering things, she said "Us" and not "Them", so perhaps Gallows and Graves are involved in something to come? Or the potential is there that they could be. I've only met a handful of Executor's pets and temporary charges. Was one or all of them going to come with a shitstorm, then? I only have a few guesses at the moment. Didn't care to think on it then, even now. Hands are full elsewhere, but back to the storytelling.

I looked at the door for a moment, it read, "No Bugs Allowed". Sighing, I didn't think much good could come from this. Entering the room and shutting the door behind me I found it crawling with various (harmless, minus biting and what not as I found out later) insects. And Josie in the middle, frozen with a few crawling over her. I flicked off the few that landed on me before trudging over to her and patting them off her, she flailed for a moment before calming down. I stared at her, the look I must have given probably said enough.

"I like bugs. A lot."

"Really." I stated, disbelieving that statement.

"There are SO MANY here. I don't know how he found the time to get them all!" So she was frozen with... Amazement? I like insects but this horde was beginning to bug me (no pun intended). Especially since they were infiltrating my shirt. "This is so awesome! You know, at the library they have so many books about insects. All the venoms and poisons, it's so fun to read! The variations in spiders, cockroaches are so cool."

"Right." I grabbed her arm and began leading her to the door. I didn't want to find out if any of them were venomous or poisonous. "And if we stay in here too long it will probably spray pesticides or something. Then what will happen?"

"We'll die?"

"Slowly but surely." I laughed, we patted down one another before entering the next room. Which... Was unpleasant and made me dizzy. All mirrors, through-out the whole thing. I was walking with Josie one moment and she was gone the next. Bloody handprints were on the mirrors, smudges; a reflection caught my attention and I looked over my shoulder to find a body tied against the ceiling. I moved on, calling to Josie but she sounded far off already. Another reflection caught my attention, another body, I kept walking. A third reflection luring my eyes, but it wasn't a body this time.

"I never tried to steer you wrong. My intentions have always been for the better, after our past." The Caged One spoke, she was younger now. Her hair beginning to turn blonde, like mine used to be in my times of youth. Her steel colored eyes stared up at me, the white gown upon her still. "My actions until now have been questionable-"

"Really?" I leveled with her, glaring at the childhood me. "You egg me on to kill Mystery when we first met, scream no at me when Billy lays dying and I have the chance to kill Prosper, you constantly are going back and forth between trying to make me murder and trying to keep me from it. Make up your fucking mind." I growled, "What do you want me to do?"

"The necessary things at first, the right things second."

I scowled, "And now? What do you want now?"

Her head lowered, tilting to look away, "She's no longer willing to wait for you to come around. Lenore is seeking destruction. Of us, of those you love, of those you do not even know. The world, it shudders from her hate, her madness. She will never stop, none can bind her." The Caged One slid her eyes to look over at me, locking our gaze. "So we must kill her. A means to end her own suffering."

My hands balled into fists, remembering the little message she wrote at the end of my last post. "Who the hell is Lenore?!" I demanded to know.

"The first human to survive us. My mistake." She straightened, regret seeming to cross her face. "I should have killed her, the chance was there. They left her hooked to the machine, she was vulnerable. We should have killed her then."

I shook my head, hand propping on my hip. "We had no idea what would happen back then, we can fix it now. You just have to give me more to go on. What does she want?"

"To silence the world. Every living thing, vanquish it from existance. All you love, have ever known, will ever come to learn she wishes to take away. From you and from the mass. Blind or not, she wants all dead and absolute silence."

"Lenore has the same ideals as..." I narrowed my eyes, "Road Runner was in the asylum while I was there. She's said as much, as has Prosper."

The Caged One's gaze hardened, once more she seethed. Fury building, her image flickering within the mirror. "Kill her."

I heard her crash and whimper somewhere, followed by, "Shady, are you talking to yourself?" She called, I looked into the direction the voice was coming from before back at the mirror. The Caged One was gone. I guess Josie couldn't hear the reflection, only me, predictable enough. Makes me all the more crazy sounding, heh. I sighed, about ready to respond to Josie before I walked into a mirror. "You too?" She asked, another crash followed by a whimper. I rubbed my forehead grumbling.

"That's my girl!" Advocate called from where the hell ever, his usual perfect timing. I raised both my middle fingers into the air and kept walking. We couldn't find one another, and rather than spend too long in the room we agreed, after yelling back and forth to one another, to go out the nearest door.

And I guess I found the winner, it dumped me into the central room. Looking back I could only imagine how many doors were really in that mirrored maze. Josie was no doubt already out of it, there wasn't any sense in trying to call her my way. Swearing beneath my breathe I walked to a vacant spot and sat down against the wall. Relaxing my body, cracking my sore neck, I sat and waited for what was to come next. Like hell I'd participate in any of Advocate's games.

Dia came not too long later, unfortunately accompanied by Gallows and Graves. He was practically skipping and upon seeing me gave an overly friendly wave, as if we weren't about to kill one another before. I sighed, waving back lazily. I was about to call over to Dia, give her some relief from the dangerous duo, but Gallows had other plans. Poor girl. I watched him be kind enough to get her a drink before forcing her to dance with him. It was rather... Amusing. She was not a happy camper but no harm was being done, so I sat around like a lazy fuck and laughed. Graves was standing by the refreshments idly, her head moving only to keep Gallows in her line of sight.

Ferus came soon too. And oddly enough so did Josie, not even a minute afterwards. Her condition was the same so I didn't think much of it. She bum rushed my side, talking too fast for me to understand. Nothing serious from the few words I caught so I just nodded along. She crawled around; fidgeting a moment before saying she was going to get a drink and hurrying off.

I looked to Graves who was standing still, Ferus talking to her, I could tell by the body language. She didn't look very responsive to whatever he was saying. I pulled myself up and stretched, watching as she turned to the table and looked it over. Her head turned back up to Ferus a moment, in a quick moment then she stabbed what looked to be a fork into his hand. She looked him in the face, no idea if anything was said from where I was and because her face is mostly covered. But she casually left to a different part of the room. Gallows I could see was holding Dia, who was slumping against him, gave Ferus a little wave. And Ferus, I guess wasn't really stabbed. His hand lifted, she stabbed in the opening between his fingers instead. For whatever reason he pocketed the fork and left that spot.

Josie poked her head out from under the table a moment later, I tilted my head as she looked around before crawling out and standing up. Grabbing two drinks she scurried back over to my side, a smile plastered on her face. I've come to the conclusion Josie is one strange girl.

I noticed Fawkes enter the room last; he went into his own spot away from everyone. Antisocial much? He had glanced to Gallows I had noticed, eyes barely passing over Dia before he looked away. As if avoiding her entirely. It was curious but I mentally shrugged it off.

"Who were you talking to before?" Josie inquired, both hands wrapped around the plastic cup as she sipped. Those doe eyes watching me from over the rim.

I wanted to hit something. Someone. Instead I leaned further against the wall and folded my arms, tightly, to prevent such. "Caged One."

"She always around?" The girl continued to ask.

I mumbled beneath my breath bringing up the cup, "Yes."

"Huh. Must be awkward getting laid." I choked on my drink, staring at her deadpanned as she innocently continued drinking from the cup. Like fucking hell I didn't see that gleam in her eyes.

Advocate descended while I was making Josie squirm beneath my glare, his voice drawing my attention.

"Welcome to the Dance Floor. And now, Saturday night fever. Actually, it's Friday. Hehehe, TGIF, anybody? I wonder what I'll do with all these matches now that I've quit smoking... Hehehe, guess we'll have to wait and see!" Josie cringed beside me as he went on. "So, now that you're all here, let's party! I sure hope you've enjoyed everything so far. Now something that will really get your heart pumping. Fright Night isn't over yet, kids."

Music turned on. A second later an explosion. Josie screamed, I grabbed her instinctively and bolted towards Dia. Gallows was looking at Graves as she approached him as well. A knowing look crossed her gaze and Gallows let Dia slump to the floor.

"Well, it's been fun." Gallows said, swinging his scythe and slicing open Josie's upper arm. She grabbed the wound with a hiss. "But ya know how it is," His scythe swung again catching her in the leg this time. "got places to go," He turned to leave, swinging the scythe once more. I grabbed Josie's arm, pulling her out of the way as his scythe clipped her waist and cut open her side. Had I not moved her she would have been cleaved in half. "people to slice." His eyes narrowed meeting mine as I shoved Josie behind me protectively. With a perk to his step he turned and started walking, holding out an arm that Graves took willingly. The two disappeared from the warehouse.

I looked at Josie who was bleeding, holding back the tears that were wanting to let loose. She didn't know which wound to hold, all three gashes deep. I wrapped her waist with both hands and applied pressure. I looked at the floor expecting to find Dia but didn't. "Dia?" I called, now I was worried. Especially as smoke began to fill the room. "Do you have a knife?"

Josie nodded. "Switchblade. Front right pocket." She whispered, her knees growing weak as her clothes reddened.

The girl was coughing, I needed to apply pressure to the wounds, tying them off would work fine. I unzipped and tugged off her jacket, covering her head with it as I pull the collar of my shirt over my nose. Scoping the room there wasn't many options to go on that I could see. Except one door, which probably by my guess led to a utility closet. And oddly enough the bottom of it was cleared of smoke, as if none was seeping in. Good e-fucking-nough. I carried Josie as best I could until she collapsed and went unconscious. I dragged her the rest of the way into the closet, a blood trail following us.

The door shut as I laid down Josie, grabbing the jacket and switchblade, shearing off the zipper on either side. "You just can't keep away from me, can you babe?" A voice spoke from behind me, looking over my shoulder I could see a figure in the corner, through the darkness. The lightning reflected off the syringe he caressed, I felt alarmed briefly until Josie coughed. Priorities came first.

"Don't flatter yourself." I muttered, slicing into the jacket and dividing it accordingly. "Only suitable place for this." My eyes skimmed the room, mentally I chuckled; should have figured he'd be monitoring the place from here of all places.

"Really? I didn't notice." Advocate replied nonchalantly, a burning smell spreading through the room. I lifted my head once more and looked his way, a small puddle on the floor of unknown chemicals sizzled. "Hehe, so good with your hands, darling. Such potential wasted..." There was disappointment to his voice, a tinge of disgust too perhaps?

I wrinkled my nose at the smell, eyes turning up to his mask. "Not everyone can be as free as you, Advocate. Some people have responsibilities." I turned back to Josie and knotted off the bandage around her arm.

"Responsibilities? Sounds like someone tool fed you that response along with a side of cake... Speaking of which, how was the cake? Hehehe nevermind, that's not important. As for responsibilities, think about your responsibilities to mankind! We have too many tools and puppets already... Hehehe time to prioritize. If you can't free yourself, maybe it's time someone else did for you..." I didn't even hear him approach, before I knew it the tip of the needle was running through my hair, just barely touching me. I froze, frowning as the needle was too close for comfort. Still silent as ever as he circled me before swooping down and grabbing my hand, squatting down next to me and preventing me from continuing. "Would you like to be my Mona Lisa?"

I shifted my gaze to where our hands connected, head tilting by a fraction as I listened to him. "It sounds nice. Really." I looked back at his mask, "But I won't abandon them." I turned my attention down to Josie, my hand tugging loose from the Advocate's grasp. "My responsibility to mankind is to help teach them the meaning of the damn word." I slid the fabric under Josie and began wrapping, head shaking lightly. "I can't change the world, just influence a few people who will pass it on. Heh, we're a virus race, after-all. Every action as a consequence, Advocate."

His mask invaded my personal space, I could hear his breathing against my ear from within the mask. "I think you're just making excuses. You and I  both know the direction this planet is going. The forward momentum is too much for anyone to stop. So why fight it? You can hop along and try to "help", but in the end gravity will always pull you back down to Earth. Shady, you're on a losing team and you know it. You just choose to ignore it, don't you? You think that bonds of love and friendship will preserve you after the big man takes you? No, in the end, your friends will eagerly run to abandon you. In fact, you are the bait, my darling. They will use you, they will bleed you dry, and then they will leave you." He leaned back from me and punched the wall in frustration, I flinched barely at the switch in moods. "Stupid little girl..." He moved away, grabbing a dismembered arm from the corner of the room and began playing with it like a puppet. Talking to it in a cartoon-ish voice. "Shady doesn't understand, Shady needs to be taught. Maybe Shady needs to be broken before she can be remade. Maybe you should do the breaking. Isn't that why you learned to sow, Black? So that you could learn to make dolls... Hehehe." Advocate rolled giggling, coming back over to me and unexpectedly sitting up, barking. "What do you think, love?"

I tied the wrapping to Josie's waist, she winced and I reached up, petting back Josie's bangs as she began mumbling incoherently. Her head lulled to one side as she settled back down, the pain smoothing out of her face. My eyes were in slits at the mere mentioning of being broken in, mostly influenced by the Caged One seething at the reminder of a past I barely remembered. I glanced to my blood soaked hands, mentally sighing before I relaxed as best I could, returning the indifferent expression. "The bonds of love and friendship are the exact things that will kill me. But I'd rather die for something or someone I care about than be without purpose, mindlessly murdering." I felt my fingers twitch, flexing. "Or to believe I have a purpose by murdering mass numbers, or burning the world, like that fucking bitch." I growled, Road Runner coming to mind. I sighed, rubbing the back of my neck, sharply cracking it as the stress began to build. I didn't notice the blood smearing across my throat at the time, freaked the doctors out later. My attention turned to look Advocate dead in the mask. "And what makes you think you're on the winning team? What is your purpose for what you do, dear? Why don't you go ahead and help me understand."

The Advocate giggled, leaning forward in front of my face. "Purpose? Hehe. Purpose. I am my own purpose. Or am I? To be honest, I can't tell you. That would be spoiling all of the surprises and you know how I feel about spoiling things..." His hand lifted and brushed through my hair, I remained staring at him. "You're sweaty. It's a good look for you. Like I said, darling, I am gravity. Gravity always wins. Try as you may, you are all just kids jumping off of mountains and praying that you'll sprout wings to fly. Even if by some miracle you and the rest of the tools learn to fly, say by building a plane, even a plane requires fuel to stay in the air... And every plane must come to a landing eventually." He hopped up, cracking his neck as he straightened.
Walking away from me I watched at he kicked the dismembered ligament across the room and began looking through a nearby cabinet. "Mass murder, slaughtering innocents, burning the world, what does it achieve? Sure, it's fun at first. Sure, you get the assorted pleasures and such... You get an adrenaline high for sure, but afterwards what do you get? Nothing. No, that's much too dissatisfying for my taste. Waht I do is an art, and everyone else is just drawing doodles and sketching with crayons."
He visibly twitched, throwing something off the shelf from the cabinet. "You've got me talking like I'm sane; hehehe, you work wonders on me, girl." Advocate said with a smirk to his voice, turning back to face me. "Babe, it's not about ending lives. It's about changing them." He sniffed the air. "Hehe, something burning? Can't talk much longer, deary, I've got all of my projects waiting for me and I can't complete them if I go down with this party. As for you, your "bonds" and assorted touchy feely emotional concepts will be the first thing to collapse... Even if I have to do the demolition myself..." Advocate pulled out a key and slid it beneath his momentarily before pulling it out, "Things aren't always as they appear, beautiful. Ask Dia. You're living proof of that, honey."
Turning he ripped a shelf off of the wall and discarded it, dusting his hands off and pulling a bottle of an unknown liquid out of the satchel hanging at his waist. I turned back to Josie, wrapping her leg as he began pouring the substance around the room before the sound of the bottle being thrown was heard. "Help you understand? Hehehe..." He crouched, leaning towards me as his shadow enveloped Josie. Winking behind the mask he said, "Ask me nicely." before the cold, inhumane lips of his mask pressed against mine.

I was prepared to bite out a retort until that happened. My gaze narrowed, not breaking eye contact with his mask. The options weighed in my mind: Punch him in the face and risk losing information or play along and be a champ for future information purposes. Get information or don't. Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no... Fuck it! I pressed my lips back against his mask, glaring as I tied off Josie's leg with a sharp tug. I pulled away, ignoring him taking in a deep breath and savoring whatever he got out of it. "It's not like I'm ignorant on the fact everything will collapse, eventually. Least when it does I can say I tried, and that gets me far enough in all this shit." I said, idly examining Josie's temporarily fixed wounds with a soft sigh. It's a really good thing that I don't have much pride to act on. "Will you..." I tilted my head a fraction, oh no, there was a tiny bit of pride stubbornly beating at my insides. "Help me understand, Advocate?" I slowly finished, biting the inside of my cheek briefly before I looked his way. Pride was a petty thing, it could not stand in the way of knowledge.the

He didn't move for a few moments, and when he did he said, "You're good." Before winking again and pulling away, dropping the key from before into my lap. Picking it up I felt it was a little damp, realizing then the reason he stuck it under his mouth was to lick it. I glowered, wiping it off with my shirt as he went on to speak. "Since you asked nicely, I will oblige." He approached the door which led to a security room with a spring to his step, which made me glower further. His hand dug into his satchel as he pulled something out, "You want to say you tried? Look at it this way: Instead of trying to save a lost cause, why not help give birth to a new cause? Imagine the things we could do together."
The Advocate attached a small cylinder to the wall with a rough swatting motion and pressed a button. A timer popped up on the tiny LED screen. 30 seconds. 29. 28. 27...
"I locked the door when you came in. Use the key. This room will explode in 26 seconds. I suggest you leave quickly." He opened the door to the security room. 25 seconds left. "I'll be seeing you soon, my darling Shady. We're far from done. Oh, and next time we kiss, you'll enjoy it as much as I do." Advocate shut the door behind him, leaving me alone with an unconscious Josie and the small bomb.

"Advocate, you jackass." I snarled, grabbing Josie under her arms and dragging her to the door, unlocking and kicking it open. I continued dragging her, the explosion in the room knocking both of us down. Coughing, I pulled my shirt over my face to try and block out some of the spoke, which doubled now after the explosion. Fire burned everywhere, I began pulling Josie towards the exit but it was a slow process. Barely got anywhere. Until Fawkes came out of nowhere, through the smoke and looked down at the current situation. Nothing needed to be said, I laid down Josie and he picked her up with ease. He offered his arm and I took it, we left the warehouse together. Once outside he put down Josie and left back into the warehouse, he never came back out.

I didn't think on it, I focused on waking Josie back up. She was breathing, which was good. So... I slapped her across the face and woke her ass up. She coughed like crazy and pulled herself together after a minute of panic.

Ferus came walking out and he was dragging Dia without grace, I got up ready to go check on Dia. He promptly dropped her and turned his gaze towards me. It's not something you can see, it's something you can feel. I stared right on back at him, once more indifferent. Any awkwardness felt before was gone, I don't allow people to intimidate me easily. But when he lifted his hand, blade in his grasp, and stabbed himself in the left. The same leg I stabbed not too long ago either, that sent a jolt. My mind reeled at the message sent, he didn't break the eye contact once and neither did I. If he wanted to play chicken too, like Gallows, he would have to try harder than that. I held his stare, I held my indifferent expression. Even as the blade in his leg moved inside the wound, purposely making it worse. "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." Josie was at my side, tugging my sleeve and whispering about Dia. I lifted my hand, the one that he carved his signature into, and waved casually at Ferus. Sending the same message right on back. "Happy trails, Shady." He said, his head moving by a fraction in Josie's direction. It alarmed me, I grabbed her wrist protectively. He was gone a moment later.

I looked to Josie, "What about Dia?"

She pointed towards the parking lot. "She's crawling to, what I'm guessing, is her car."

I stared at Josie a moment before looking in the direction she was pointing in. I could see Dia next to a car, on the ground not moving. Swearing I ran to the woman and kneeled down, checking her pulse I was glad to know she was alive. Her condition wasn't good, burned from the fire and her breathing was telling me there was more to be concerned with than just that. Josie limped over, looking concerned, "Help me get her in the car." The girl looked at me uneasily. "She's not dead. In our shit conditions, together, we can make at least one semi-normal person. So grab her legs al-fucking-ready." I snapped, she complied as I grabbed the keys from Dia's hand. We put her in the backseat, Josie got in the front and I drove to the hospital.

We spent the weekend there. Josie and I slept on a couch in the room. Well, she slept mostly. I let her stay with it. The windowsill was pretty big, nice and cold too. So I was happy enough once I had a pillow behind my sore back. It was entertaining watching Dia hitting on the doctors then rant about her situation, eventually pass out. It's cute, really. Just like when Josie wakes up and fumes over what happened. She gets so huffy, it's adorable. Really, I can't express enough how adorable it is. I mean, sure, I get that she is angry and I take that seriously... But, she just, that face! Ahahahahahaha! Oh, I can't take it seriously. Her face, it's like a little girl is getting all angry. It's so cute. It's too much; every time she starts to get all huffy I just break and can't stop laughing. And it hurts so badly, because Ferus bruised me to the bone, but it's also so good. Priceless, just priceless.

Anyways, they are all wrapped, stitched, and are healing up. Good news there. We left the hospital and had a pleasant, mostly quiet drive. Except until we got to Dia's house... And found a surprise waiting for us. UGHS. Gallows and Graves were waiting on the porch and just, sigh. He keeps chasing Josie with sharp objects. I can hear them starting up again, I'm going to punch the fuck out of him before Dia begins screaming. It's bad enough he stole her laptop before, which is why all these replies are delayed. I've been typing mine from the cellphone in between Gallows antics. Goddamnit.

Look, I'll post more about what's been going on here at Dia's house. As I'm sure she will post too.
Oh. And from the crazies:
Dia is ranting again in the background.
Josie says hi.
Gallows says he's going to kill you all.
And Graves is just staring and making me feel awkward.
Ok... Right. Where is that frying pan?

Stay safe,