Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3 Days Remaining: Shootout.

2 Ibuprofen, and I was back in business today. Snore grabbed coffee, and I grabbed coca-cola. As we drove to the Portuguese Shaman's place, we got into a discussion about the merits of Hip-Hop. The thing is that it's not that I don't like Hip-Hop. I've heard stuff I liked plenty well enough. What I don't like twenty minutes of "Bitches and Ho's" blaring on the speakers. So really, when you get down to it, the only two things I really can't stand are Bad Country Music (there is a LOT of it) and Bad Hip-hop (in my opinion, there's a lot of that too).

So Snore and I arrived at Old Man Donato's. I didn't like what I saw. Everything about the place felt wrong. It was like looking at guy in his fifties wearing a schoolgirl outfit. You know what he's TRYING to be, but everything about it is grotesque and unreal.

I straightened out my jacket. The Man In Blue had arrived. Yeah, there was no way I could prepare myself mentally for this. I tried though. Snore of course, forged ahead, opening the door, calling on Old Man Donato.

The house was nicely furnished. The cheap carpeting was brown and faded, and covered the entrance and the living room. Stairs lead up to the second floor to my left, and there was a window to my right. I kept that in mind. Always, always keep the possibility of a window escape in mind. There was dim light from candles all around the room. There was a television, a couch, some photos on a coffee table by the couch. It didn't look like this guy had kids. I saw someone who must have been his wife in one of the photos by the couch, but Old Man Donato was Young Man Donato in those pictures. She must have been gone for a long time now.

I don't know what exactly was said between them after we went in. It must have been pretty funny, because they were both laughing after they hugged. I already know why Snore didn't just go to this guy when he realized he had an ancient entity of evil problem. He knew instinctively that there was something up with this guy. Most people do when someone is this far gone. I could see the very depths of madness in this soul. Take a man and twist him, wrap him like a rope around a solid core of something that looked like a white-washed Washington Monument, get the knot good and tight...that's what I was looking at. It stared back at me. Donato and Snore continued to talk, but I wasn't listening.

My hands went down to my hips, as though they were reaching for invisible guns. I made no attempt to hide what I was feeling. Donato watched those hands.

Donato said to me, "You look like you're getting ready for a fight."

Snore gave me this look, but my eyes weren't leaving the core of this tortured soul. I had known about people in my line of work who had forgotten their duty, I had seen people succumb to outside forces, and I had watched a woman I adored get turned into a psychotic monster that could never be made whole again. The difference between this man, and her, was that I could bring myself to put him down now that he was rabid.

I said to Donato, "So. What have you done for your community lately? Sent any evil spirits packing? Helped tend to the sick and wounded? How about helping to ease the divide between man and nature? Had any luck with that?"

Donato gave me that smirk that only a true madman can manage.
He said to me, "Well, everyone has a price, and it made me an offer. I can do so much more now."

I said, "Yeah, serving a giant phallus has to be good for the soul."

I know he's been doing this for a long time. I know he can see my insides just as well as I can see his. I always wonder what other people see when they look at me. No two people see the same thing, and they almost never get it right. In this arena, I've got an advantage: I sense much more than most people ever will.

By this point, Snore's pulled out one of his guns, and it disappeared in his hand. I felt the threads through the world pull and twist, I sensed the Obelisk acting as an amplifier, giving him that extra push needed to bypass the Veil and trade one object there for one object here. In this case, the trade was a pile of goop for a gun. Somewhere on the astral plane, there is a gun laying around looking very lonely. Snore stumbled backward, flicking light blue goop from the astral off of his hand, and it evaporated when it touched the ground. He had this look of confusion and terror on his face, and I started to grin. As insane as it may sound, I've been in this position before. I know how to operate from this angle. This guy had infinitely greater firepower he could deploy in the physical world than I ever would. I haven't ever intentionally caused anything to happen on our physical world with my talents. I deal with spirits and upheaval on the astral plane, the physical world is not my turf. But I'm used to being outgunned.

Donato said to me, "I wish you had never been here. I could have kept this game going so much longer."

I tried to sound as intimidating as I could, "Well here we are. Can we get this over with?"

I grinned like a madman, my bladder remaining steady by force of will. I feel the threads twist again as something came through the astral plane, and then he and I are doing an ancient dance of the mind. There are three points to remember when you find yourself dealing with one of the one-in-a-hundred-million people who can actually bring cosmic force to bear in the physical world.  Point one: where is the power coming from? The Law of Conservation of Energy isn't a joke, he had to get power from somewhere other than our world to throw mean and nasty craziness if he wanted to do it with a flick of the wrist. Point two: How is he bringing it here? You need to make a hole through the Veil or barrier, whatever you want to call it, or find a way to finesse around it. He was just boring through like a drill, which is such a waste of power. After you do all that, it can move from it's point of origin to Point three: his target, me. Of course, connecting cosmic death from Point Two to Point Three isn't a point and click process. You need to use your mind to bridge the gap between Point Two and Point Three in order to make it work. I wasn't going to let him get that far.

I blocked him at point one, pressing hard with everything I knew on that point of the astral plane. It instantly turned into a wrestling match: his will against mine, to see if he could actually bring this fiery death to our world to destroy me.

It was no contest. The obelisk had given Donato all the power in the world, but he had none of the skill needed to really use it. Raw skill had saved my ass so very, very many times. Donato would not give up, constantly pushing and pushing against the veil and my will. It was useless. I was about to say something cocky, when everything changed.

The Obelisk stepped in, creating Point 0: the point at which another entity beyond our world hijacked a point of energy that someone at Point 1 was pulling from and tried to brute force it through into the someone's Point 2 so they could complete the chain at point 3, also known as my scrawny ass. I was five seconds from being broken by whatever it was that the Obelisk and Donato were trying to brute force into our world. I just couldn't hold that much back. My mind starting going through all these pointless things, and it just wouldn't stop:

The woman I loved was dead.
There were no angels on the way.
Time Lord was messing with my head.
I'd spent eight years getting my ass kicked left, right, and center.
Green Man was in the hospital because I was an idiot.
Good people were dying.
I was sane.

I suddenly pulled my will away from the point he was pulling his energy from, and used it to give this energy a nice top-spin. He'd get the power he was asking for alright, but he wouldn't be throwing it at anyone. I could sense him try to control the sudden influx of force with his weak will, and watched him break under the sudden and brutal impact. It turned out he had been calling on the fires of hell. His body became a whirling inferno, and I saw nothing for a while. I'm thankful that the fire was so bright, I never want to see something like that. I can still hear him scream. Snore grabbed me and pulled me away. After a minute or so, I could see again and we were looking at a building that was on fire.

He had lost an old friend, who might never have been his friend. He must have so many questions running through his head right now. I just killed a man. No vagaries, I had knowingly brought about someone's death. Fuck.

I'll be okay. Really, ignore the demotivational poster. We're going to drink ourselves silly, and tomorrow I'm going home. And tomorrow, I'm going to tell as many stupid jokes as I can to try and feel better. I killed someone. It was more like putting down a rabid dog. how many people did he warp and twist and destroy? How many people like Snore weren't as lucky, and became this guy's victims? How many people had he turned into puppets or food?

Fuck. I can't believe I just did that. Fuck.


  1. -hugs tight-

    You are getting onto AIM, and we are going to have a nice, long talk. I don't care how drunk you are, you need to talk to someone right now.

  2. ...Honestly, Mr. Sage, thanks for all the shit you've done in our brief stint here.

    You'll understand in a couple of days, but today I've moved further in unraveling these issues than at any time in the past. It's all starting to make sense.

  3. Is that your first kill Sagey?
    If so, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. It must have been a glorious feeling, oh yes. Knowing that your enemy has been crushed beneath your heel (Or in this case, into a building)... The moment you decided to kill him, you came as close as possible to true Godhood. Killing is so intoxicating is it not? Soon enough, you shall enjoy the art of tearing a person to pieces, the beautiful sound of their screams for mercy... And then the aroma of a corpse that an angry God has created. Then you move on to the next one.
    Who will be your next victim Sagey? A Horde of Proxies so foolishly trying to attack one who is nearly a GOD? Or maybe even me, in retribution for my attack on your friends... and You.

  4. Careful kiddo, I might just take your words to heart and hunt you down like the dog you are. ~_^

    Eh. Probably not. Either way, I'm secure enough in my humanity to know I didn't have much choice in the matter. I'll see that face in my nightmares every few weeks, and that's all there is to it.

    How are the scars, by the way? How many stitches did you need?

  5. My my my. That was disappointing. No "You. YOU BASTARD. Leave me the Hell Alone." Oh... Killer was so much more fun.
    At least give us some angst Sagey. Fangirls love angst, so I am sure Haku-Chan will begin to swoon over you if you start now.
    But seriously Sagey, We always have a choice. You chose to end his miserable life. You chose Godhood. Don't you dare deny that. You. Had. A. Choice. As much as I did when I tried to kill your friend Green Man. As much as I did as I maimed Gabriel and killed Michael. You chose to kill him. Plain and Simple.

  6. *hug* It gets easier to bear. And guilt is good. The day the guilt goes away, we're no better then the Quisling you love bantering with.

  7. Oops. You had your warning, douchebag. Now kindly fuck off. Your sad attempts at mind games have no place here.

  8. Thanks Kay. Thanks Ryuu. I'm actually pretty happy that I feel like a guilty fucker. It means I'm human. I'm doing better now. Fortunately, today gets to be a Martial Arts training day. God knows I need it. It's good to be home.

    @Morningstar: You are correct. I did have a choice. In fact, I had three: Pretend I was stupid and ignore what Donato was. This would have failed, as he could see me for what I was just as well as I could see what he was. I could have let myself and Snore die horrible, horrible deaths. For better or for worse, I'm not dying until I know the truth. It wasn't a choice at all. The final choice was to survive him, prevent him from harming anyone else, and to use his own power and patron to destroy him. I play the scenario over and over again in my mind, and I know that the only option worth considering was what I did.

    In short: Shut up Hannibal =P

  9. HAHAHAHAHA. You never cease to amuse me Sagey. So Dr. Strange, did you consider trying to incapacitate him? Sparing his life so that he may see the error of his ways? That would have been the heroic thing to do. Simply offing the bastard is something I would do. The difference is, I do not come up with excuses to justify myself. Simply pathetic.
    By the way, what do you mean Shut up Hannibal? That is the second time someone has said that to me.

  10. Hello, Mr. Morningstar.

    The following will occur to you, any of your friends, and all of your associates who attempt to enter the city of Newark, New Jersey following 12:00 midnight after the date of April 7, 2011.

    1. Any and all possible escape routes you have planned in case of retaliation against your movement into Newark will be cut off in a variety of fashions, whether through the usage of spike traps, other motor vehicles or extensively large physical constructs.

    2. Whatever convoy you are using to transport your cronies will be disabled permanently.

    3. You and your cohorts will be taken into the custody of one Joseph "Juggs" Johnson, along with a collection of five other fellows with the capacity to bench 200+ pounds and ten years minimum boxing experience. If you attempt to flee or resist capture, he and the men under his command will shoot to incapacitate. I sincerely doubt they will be missing with M41s from a distance of less than 50m.

    4. Your apprehension will conclude with detention at the Newards Docks, in one of a multitude of cargo boxes we reserve specially for these quirky occasions.

    5. A patented method of...coercion will be utilized upon you and your associates. It will be applied once, taking only five seconds to execute, and involving absolutely no exterior tools and devices besides one of my comrade's right hands.

    6. You will break. You will beg, you will plead, you will grovel, you will snivel, you will cringe and weep and do everything as far as losing control of all bowel functions and defecating in your shorts in order to prevent another use of this coercion technique. There is a 100% success rate with this technique in convincing our subject to exchange vital information for absolutely nothing.

    7. You will then be escorted outside the border of Newark, New Jersey, given a beat-down '96 Camaro with enough gas to get you to New York City, New York, and told to begin driving. You are not to stop until you reach New York, New York, in which case you are then to do as you please.

    8. If you return again to Newark, New Jersey after the first meeting, the same process will repeat, excluding step 7. You will not be provided food, water or sleep and will be consistently exposed to the technique described in step 5.

    This will be the only public service announcement I have the courtesy to transmit to you, Mr. Morningstar.

    Once again, Sage, thanks for the interesting time.

  11. I do love a challenge.
    Apologies for continuing to clutter up your busy blog Sagey.

  12. I don't want to cross you guys. I know it was tough, Sage, but you did the right thing...especially the drinking bit.

  13. They weren't pointless. They were what got you through. They were things you needed to realize about your life in order to keep living it.

    At least.. that's how I took it.

    Best of luck in all your endeavors, love.