Maiden's been writing the history I've been neglecting. Whose side is that thing on?
I don't know what's going on out there anymore. Ellen and I are holed up in Philadelphia. I don't know what to feel right now. We're in an abandoned building, and I've been here before. It was as an astral projection.
In my line of work, there are a lot of things that you see and sense where you wonder to yourself: was any of that actually real? Is that the world, and was that the truth? Often it isn't. You question yourself, and everything you do, every impulse, every thought, and eventually you do it in the background. You stop consciously asking questions, because you live and breathe the question in everything you do. The minute you stop questioning things, you go insane, or you die.
I had my moment. I decided to believe in myself after a run-in with an insane Portuguese shaman. I'm not going to link the mess, because if you've come this far you know about it. I had an answer, so I kept asking the questions, kept moving, and finally decided to do SOMETHING.
I gained something back after that. My battered will, my desire for victory, it had been restored. When did I lose it though? Here's the question for the hour: Who is Mastermind?
After Ellen escaped from her "family", I ended up having to spend a lot of time covering for The Presence. We had one advantage: the demon infused sons of bitches burned like candles if you had the eyes to see them. So I acted as her well armed and armored protector. Of course, an astral entity interacting with the physical world is a crapshoot at best: I was shooting at the demonic energy around her, and hoping to all that was holy that it put them down.
For the most part, it did. The war continued as normal, except now I wasn't just getting woken up at 4 AM or attacked when I was getting in the shower. I had to be aware of The Presence's situation 24/7.
The Demons weren't the only ones who'd organized. During all this, I'd gathered that The Presence and her close family were actively organizing with anyone they could find involved in this mess.
The Presence's father was Rogue Wizard.
I haven't written about him much, the son of a bitch.
Anyone who has been paying attention is probably wondering why I didn't use the "army" I had at the time to protect her. I didn't because they head-fucked me, and made the idea of using the army in her defense never occur in my damn brain. As much as I go on about how they were all traitorous bastards, some of them weren't. If anyone determined the connection between The Presence, Rogue Wizard, and myself, with the suspicions surrounding me already... well, we'd all be dead.
The Presence, Rogue Wizard, and their small cabal, trapped in conflict with Ellen's old Hell-bunch and the forces up the "Good Guys", and me in the middle. There was of course, one member of the Cabal that no one noticed. This was because he had every intention of hiding himself until just the right moment.
It's not his real name, but I've already code named everything else. So who was he really? I'll get there eventually.
The Presence was a high school student in our world. One day when The Presence was in class, one of the demon-infused puppets attacked her when she left the room. I could feel all of her pain as she felt it. The attack was brutal, fast, and vicious.
I remember her injuries, I felt them on my body as she felt them, and I remember her being pulled off balance by the neck and her head slammed into the wall. I remember her being elbowed in the face, the head was important to this thing. It didn't want her thinking or fighting. It slammed her through a door, and discarded her on the floor.
I could feel her panic. I remember being in class at the time and feeling my heart pounding in time with hers, adrenaline flowing through my veins like liquid dynamite. All it needed was a match. I excused myself from the room.
I could feel her mind, weak, frazzled, unable to focus. I could see him drawing the knife. I knew he wasn't just going to kill her, he wanted her to feel this well into the afterlife. I don't know why, but I always find the psychos that really hate women. Why can't I find a normal, run-of-the-mill murdering bastard? Why is it always some sick fuck with mommy issues?
I remember being inside her skull, screaming at her, "Get up. Fight. Kill him!"
She screamed back, "Help me!"
And then I was her. I felt her shocked, injured mind recoil in surprise as her arms gripped his hand and slammed it against the wall, breaking it and forcing the psycho to drop the knife. I felt the shape of the psycho's pelvis as I inserted her boot into his groin. I felt the underside of his jaw as I brought her skull up into it, breaking his jaw. Then I gripped around his body, and drew him close to us. To someone who didn't know better, it would look like a loving hug. The mind of the Presence was active again, and she helped me get the proper grip for our next move.
We German suplexed that motherfucker. Our combined strength lifted his ass, brought his head back behind ours, and slammed it hard into the ground.
And then she was The Presence again, and I was Nick Dwyer. She sat down, nearly in shock, barely alive after a confrontation with what turned out to be the last of Ellen's demonic brethren. The police came to interview the Presence and figure out the situation. I fell asleep on my bus ride home, exhausted. It's hard work, taking over someone else's body and giving them all the energy in yours. But you know what they say: Sons of bitches need suplexing.
Okay. Nobody says that.
One of the people there was a "Special Agent". He was Mastermind. The Presence knew him as a friend of her father's, and thought she'd be okay.
When you're dead tired and your body is a broken mess, you wake up after a full day of sleeping and think sunset is sunrise. God help you when you hit that point. Before then, I thought I'd known pain. The show was just getting started.