I'm hurting. Joshua left the laptop in here. I slipped a restraint, got other arm unlocked. Wrist was in a flimsy cast, sprained. Can't type with it, took it off. I can't feel half my body and the rest just hurts. It can still move, not paralyzed, good. Maybe it's not so useless after-all. Typed as quickly as I could. Going to post Sunday's stuff before they come back and sedate the shit out of me.
Straight to the point.
After parking the car I walked through the graveyard to where Billy was buried. Joshua was waiting for me, his coat held firmly in place by his hands that were stuffed into the pockets. His feet were firmly planted, dark eyes following me as I walked into conversational distance.
"Shady." He bitterly responded, staring down at me.
"Shut up, idiot!"
The memory flashed, a grinning Joshua with his hand resting against my head as I tried to strangle him as a child. He was one of the tallest people I knew, even when we were young from what I saw in pictures. But now his height only served to tower me, allowing hateful eyes to peer down between the locks of black. He turned halfway from me, glancing back at Billy's grave before turning back my way. "So... No sense beating around the bush."
I shoved my hand into my pocket and pulled out some photographs and handed them to him. "I got some of them from the house before I left for good to stay at the mansion. Then the newer ones are from the mansion, I wanted to see if you can identify the guy we've dubbed Mr. Sunshine. He seems tied to me as a kid, so maybe you knew him too?" I said, watching as he flipped through them slowly.
Joshua held up a picture of an unmasked Mr. Sunshine between two fingers, his eyes meeting mine silently. I nodded. He pulled out another picture of us as kids, the four of us. His finger tapped a kid in the background looking slightly shy, "The guy in your most recent picture looks like this kid. His name was Ethan, knew you the longest out of all of us. Shy kid around us, but nice. If one of us was being picked on he was first to come to our rescue." Joshua stared hard at the photo. "He went missing at a young age. Right before you snapped, actually. You were with him, police filed it as an abducted child. They concluded he was most likely dead. You wouldn't let it go, you know."
"What do you mean?"
His face turned grim. "You would take things and make people feel like they lost something. Leave reminders around that he was missing, you even tried to find him a few times on your own. Police picked you up, though. They took you to the doctors; put you on some medication to help cope with the loss. We'd come to visit and sometimes you'd just be screaming about something missing from you." He handed the photos back to me, once more stuffing his hands into his pockets. "The worst thing you did was set that fire in town. Burned down that store, did damage to the three buildings around it too. Don't worry, though. No one knows that was you still."
"And how do you know it was me?" I asked skeptically, previous memories of a burning building surfacing as a reminder.
"You showed up at my window looking like you crawled out of a burning building. Guess what I found out the next day?" Joshua shifted his weight, his head shaking. "That's when you lost it. People around here still are wary, caught a lot of whispering on the day you were released."
"You hurt a lot of people after that, Smiles was one of them." He pointed at a grave next to Billy's. "She got the worst of it."
I walked next to him and read the gravestone, my eyes shifting between Joshua and it before they rested on Billy's. "She's not dead, though."
"I went to her funeral, Shady. I can guarantee you she is 100% dead." He sneered.
"Billy said she was in Europe before he died."
"I know. I read that. It's impossible; I saw her in the coffin and watched as they buried her."
I stared at him, "Then what did Billy see?"
"You know Billy." He shrugged it off.
"He wasn't an idiot. If he says he saw her he did, he wouldn't lie about it."
Joshua sighed, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it. I never remembered him smoking. Billy smoked; Joshua used to roll his eyes at it and used to lack interest in such things. "I don't know what to tell you. Maybe he believed it was her. Losing someone can make you believe a lot of things." His eyes glared at me, "I should know, considering I lost all of you."
I wanted to say I was still there but it would hardly be worth it. I looked away, examining our surroundings idly instead. There was a man standing a few rows over, staring down at a grave. No doubt mourning someone as we were, it was a graveyard after-all. He had his hands in his pockets, standing straight in a casual manner. Saw his head lift into our direction briefly before looking back down. I shrugged it off before glancing around at the woods that surrounded the graveyard, kept me alert considering the past experiences with such locations. "I believe Billy."
"You would." Joshua chuckled cruelly. I looked back at him with a hard stare. "Considering you killed her and all. I'd think you'd want to believe anything but the truth."
"I can't really comment when I don't even remember such, Joshua."
He turned to me, I could feel the aggression rising. "That's fine, Shady. I'll remember for both of us, like I have been for years now." His hand snatched at the front of my shirt, dragging me forward a few inches and lifting me until only my toes touched the ground. "You MURDERED her. HER. She trusted you, she loved you, she gave you everything and we were just kids. She chased you down and tried to stop you and you murdered her! SHE TRUSTED YOU WITH HER LIFE AND YOU BETRAYED HER!" He screamed at me and I could clearly see Joshua for what he was. Broken and miserable.
"I don't remember." I told him as calmly as I could, my hands on his as I tried to calm him down. "I'm sorry, Joshua. Honestly, all I feel is sorrow and anger day in and day out, for things I don't remember or know about. But I just feel it, and know it's there for a reason. You know the reasons, and I trust you well enough to not lie to me about them. I'm sorry."
Joshua shoved me away, a frustrated look on his face. "What was that thing in the suit? You used to describe it as a monster pretending to be a man, yet not quite."
"Tall Man? Slender Man? Plenty of names." I replied, my turn to be bitter. "It's suspected the reason I snapped as a kid was because I was under His influence."
He snorted, "Or maybe you're just crazy."
"Maybe. But the things happening now a days are pretty much proof enough that I'm not crazy on this." I folded my arms, uncomfortable by his skepticism. It was understandable, of course, but the fact he'd believe I murdered Smiles over being influenced to do so hurt. But I broke our vows in order to protect him from afar, two of our friends are dead because of me. He has every right to be angry.
"Maybe." He mimicked. "So, how does it feel to be a murderer? I know you always had an interest in them. Any difference being one?"
Ouch. That hit a nerve as he found out with a very blunt, "Fuck you." His head snapped into my direction, I caught him glancing at my shaking fists. "You can't keep blaming me for things I don't remember, it isn't fair. I'm here trying to understand what the hell happened."
"Understand this, you're murderer. You're always going to be a murderer." He pointed at me, striding closer. "That Caged thing knows, doesn't try to hide it, and worst of all she is you. You're a killer, Shady, and you're the only one denying it."
He reached inside his coat, "I saw it when we were kids. I didn't do anything about it, never said a word and didn't take any action against it. What did it get me? Two dead friends and a third that killed them." Joshua pulled out a handgun and leveled it at my head, not a single fraction of remorse evident on his face. "I should have done this long ago."
"This isn't going to make it go away." I said, movement from behind him catching my attention. A figure leaving its position from behind a tree, it was the same man from a few rows over. Dressed the same, only now wearing Advocate's mask. He hovered over a gravestone behind Joshua, a syringe in hand as he casually dripped the liquid down onto it. Instantly acid ate away at the stone, he made no sound and Joshua remained blind to the dangerous man behind him. The sound of the safety popping off dragged my eyes back to him, "You'll just have three dead friends."
"Friends don't kill friends, Shady. They deserve to be avenged."
"You're a fucking idiot sometimes, Joshua." His face contorted into anger at that comment. Anything to delay him from pulling that trigger. "You're going to make it worse for yourself by pulling that trigger, and I know damn well you won't be able to carry the weight when the aftermath comes into play. Put the gun down, dumbass." He did the opposite, his finger pulled on the trigger by the slightest. He was fully prepared to fire. Usual methods weren't going to work on him anymore. "I broke some of our vows in order to keep you from doing stupid shit like this; I've spent the last couple years protecting your ass from afar. So you and the others wouldn't have to deal with this. Smiles left or is dead, Billy was murdered by that bitch, and you're going to kill me which will in turn kill you on the inside. Think, dumbass, THINK."
Advocate began silently walking towards Joshua, the syringe lifted. He pointed at it, as if to inform me of his plans. I stared at the mask, silently trying to tell him no, to fuck off, to go away, to not stab Joshua with that needle. Advocate gave a thumbs up, a silent "I got this." despite my attempts to tell him to shove off without alerting Joshua. No doubt the gun would fire and I would receive the shit end of it. Short story even shorter: Didn't matter, he stabbed him anyways. Joshua's face contorted in pain and confusion as the syringe was stabbed into the crook of his neck, the gun dropped promptly. Advocate kicked his knee out from behind before shoving him roughly to the ground, pulling the needle out in one swift motion as Joshua fell over. I rushed forward towards his body, "Just a sedative, babe. Call it Anger Management for idiots." Advocate's voice reached my ears, my heart nearly stopped in its pounding. I looked at him as he cleaned off the needle with Joshua's shirt. Relief flooded through my veins, and then anger.
I swung a punch at him, "You asshole!" leaving my lips. He caught it, giggling like the madman he was. I yanked my arm back to my side, glaring at him before turning back to Joshua's crumpled form. I fished out his car keys and stuffed them in my pocket, snatched his arm and pulled it around my shoulders before hoisting him up. Which was pretty pathetic, the side difference kept making me stumble. "Appreciate the help, even if your stupid stunt nearly gave me a heart attack." I muttered, trying not to glare at him. I started carrying Joshua to the car, dragging both our asses.
Advocate followed with a sigh. "Darling, just drag him along. No need to take care of the body. Speaking of which, can I have him? I'm running out of test subjects. Human test subjects anyways..."
"No." I firmly said to all of the above. "What are you doing here? I could have sworn I said don't interrupt." I adjusted Joshua, continuing to half carry/half drag him down the path to the car.
"I've never been one to follow order." He replied nonchalantly, I caught him probing Joshua's earlobe randomly and side stepped to gain some distance so he'd stop. Didn't work much, I stumbled. "Sheesh, you're so moody sometimes. Did you seriously expect me to stay away? Hehehe, you're magnetic baby." Advocate said as he reached across me, trying to take hold of Joshua and carry him instead. "This an ex-boyfriend I should know about?"
I was hesitant to let Advocate take over in carrying for various (most likely obvious) reasons. But I moved aside and let him by the end of it, seeing how much I was progressing in the carrying. "Thanks. And no, he's more like a brother." I licked my thumb and rubbed away the small amount of blood from Joshua's injection mask. "Consider him your brother-in-law." I dryly joked.
Advocate paused before saying, "You know, if you want him to make it to the car alive I would suggest you don't compare him to my family." He joked in what I noticed was an equally dry manner. I was tempted to ask but refrained, curiosity be damned when the last of my past was in Advocate's hands. "Are you sure I can't keep him? I mean, you seriously owe me one for that last save back there, babe."
"His car." I corrected with a simple point to our target. "I'm more than positive you can't keep him. I'll just return the debt myself." I shrugged it off, again I'd rather not involve others with debts that were my own. So rather than dancing around the subject I bluntly asked, "Whatcha want in return?"
"Oooh, I'll get back to you on that later. Let me see what I can think up." He giggled to himself as we approached the car. I rolled my eyes but didn't say anything. "What do you intend to do with this little toy of yours?"
I shot him a glance before striding ahead of them both and unlocked the vehicle. I opened the back door so we could lay him in the backseat. "Let him cool off after our... Discussion." I sighed and opened the driver's door, turning it on briefly to crack open a window. Let some air flow in so he didn't suffocate because I didn't know how powerful that sedative was. "For now, leave him here till he wakes up. I don't trust him enough at the moment to take him to the mansion. He can wake up and drive his own ass home. Wait and see game after that, I guess." Again I shrugged as I moved to help Advocate put Joshua into the backseat.
Successfully stowed I shut the door, immediately the Advocate grabbed my hand and pulled me against him. "You should kill him." Was what I first heard whispered, his hands resting on my face. "It would be a step in a good direction. You're stuck in your past, beautiful." I could hear the annoyance, not something desirable while an unconscious Joshua was right there. And my head was in his hands.
I placed my hands against his chest, ready to push off at any moment. "If he provides the answers I won't have to be stuck there for much longer." I said calmly, trying to reason that annoyance away. "And I'd appreciate it if you didn't kill him either." I went on, referring to his comments during Fright Night.
Advocate sighed, "There's no helping you, sometimes." He said in a tone that wasn't anywhere near its usual one. The way he spoke it was borderline romantic, and someone as oblivious to me with that sort of thing even caught it. Hell, it caught him off guard. He let go of me and paced away briefly, I could see him twitching before he turned back around and returned to me, giggling. "What do you think you're doing? You think knowing about your past will help you at all? Heh. It'll just hinder you, if you ask me. Unless..." The Advocate was incredibly close to me once again, his mask hovering just before me. "I hope your interrogation goes well... Hehehe, if you need any more help, I keep some truth serum around for those days when I get bored." His hands lifted up to my face once more, squeezing my cheeks. "I hope you find out ALL about your past, darling. Hehehe, in fact, I think I'll do some research myself."
My fingers curled around his wrists, stopping him from continuing to squeeze my cheeks. His behavior was confusing now and then but at the same time understandable. Just one big jumble of mismatched patterns wrapped up into one man, making it seem like you could be familiar with things despite him being unpredictable as all hell. I sighed softly, "Right. You do that, dear, just as I will. Who knows, maybe we can compare notes." I dryly joked once more, scanning his mask before looking at the covered eye holes. "I'll keep in mind that you have that on hand, might come down to it. So thank you again, Advocate."
He quickly pulled away, spun on his heel, and began walking away briefly. "Babe," He stopped and turned with a tilt of his head. "After you're done with your questions, you better kill him." Advocate said as he reached into his satchel and pulled out the gun Joshua had brought with him. Sneaky fuck must have snatched it while I was grabbing Joshua before. "Or I might have to do it for you." He flicked the safety on and off like a goddamn child playing with a toy. He sauntered away to do who the hell knows what.
I muttered beneath my breath but didn't bother responding. My mind worked over doing such to Joshua, I decided I'd have to wait and see what would come to pass.
I didn't return to the mansion, I ran around like a dog without a bone trying to find answers. My mind going a million miles an hour just trying to wrap around what he told me. I had very few options on how to determine whether he was telling the truth or not. By the evening I stopped back at the mansion to grab two things, a shovel and a crowbar. And then I drove back to the graveyard, I've never seen the sky so dark... Not a single star out to guide me. The choice I made isn't what I'm proud of, but for what's left of my sanity I had to do it. They'd understand... She'd understand.
At least, wherever she is, I hope she does.