Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An Aside: The End of March, When Nick Met Redlight

It happened April 7th. I want you to imagine with me:

The midday light filters through the windows of the diner, which was a hole in the wall if you've ever seen one. There's something about the worn wood tables and the 70's tile-work that seems one part comforting, two parts charmingly tacky. It's quiet, with the hum of the coffee machine and the sounds of plates being washed making noise in lieu of actual conversation. Perhaps there are two or three other diners, reading a paper or sipping at acrid coffee, staring into space.

The door chimes, and a new patron enters.

It's almost inperceptible, but the air in the place... constricts. It becomes stagnant, like a tomb or an old library. It's slightly uncomfortable, but most wouldn't notice. The man himself walks slowly, hands in his pockets, whistling a note or two of... something or other. It could be classical. Could be Sinatra.

"It seems that you, Mr. Dwyer, can be quite a hard man to find." He politely offers, sliding into the adjacent seat of the booth. Eerie, inhuman amber eyes glitter from behind a fringe of spiky, salt and pepper hair. His voice is smooth, calm, every word measured. A familiar face, with unfamiliar confidence.

Not Spencer Fitzgerald. Not anymore.

Nick smiles a little, and leans back in his chair. He's been reading a book with the title of "Literacy with an Attitude". He puts the book down and rest his hands behind his head.

"You know? I think about you, and I think more about the Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Down he goes...Dum de dah dah, dum dah dah dum, Der dah something Edmund Fitzgerald..."

"Spencer Fitzgerald is dead." The grin is still shockingly pleasant and polite. "Not a scrap left of him. Some would think it's a shame; I'm assuming you're not among them."

Nick considers this briefly.

"Oh, I think you're both bottom feeding scum suckers, catfish potentially. But he was a bottom feeding scumsucker with panache. You? You're Edmund Fitzgerald, the ballad of a ship lost at sea...Would you like me to get you something while you're here?"

"I think I'm fine. Though the offer is much appreciated." Redlight’s eyes narrow, if only slightly. "I don't know why I expected you to treat this meeting with some sort of respect - hm, shame on me... and regardless, here we stand. It's truly a pleasure to meet you." His head tilts to the side slightly, as if he's picked up the habit from a certain tall and slender man...

"Oh Edmund, do be fair! I'm giving all the respect in the world! After all, nobody's bleeding yet. So what do I owe this glorious meeting to?"

Redlight’s voice goes soft. "So what do you owe indeed... I came here, Mr. Dwyer, because I wanted to see the man that was the downfall of my rather pathetic predecessor. To see who tried to outplay, but was outplayed in return. And I do have to admit, I don't think I'll be making the same mistake that he did." His voice never rises above anything but comforting playfulness. If one didn't know better, they'd see the young man as a polite, normal person...

"Trying to gain the measure of a man? I've always been fond of a tape measurer for that. I find it interesting. You don't have a network yet. You were willing to come here unarmed and running on nothing but fumes and triumph...you're awfully confident aren't you?"

Nick sips some coffee.

Then Nick says, "They do really, really good coffee here. Are you sure you don't want some?"

Redlight thrums his fingers on the table, once, twice, before leaning back. "Do you take me for an idiot, Dwyer? A fool? Some sort of self-sacrificing mongrel?" A slight quirk of a grin on the last part. "I do have my failsafes. Though I'm quite confident I won't need them. This is a chance, Nick. A chance for us to... meet on equal ground before the game truly begins. To meet the man that's going to outplay you." Redlight said it as a statement of fact. Like 2 + 2 = 4, or 'the sky is blue'. "I figured that I'd give you that privilege."

"Indeed. It's good to know you know how outclassed you are. I wouldn't have said anything about how I'd outplay you though... You see, I'm a gentleman. I try to maintain a bit of decorum."

Nick lets his chair touch the ground, and he smiles at Redlight.

Redlight laughs, the sound almost muted, as if they were both underwater, returning a similar grin. "I should've expected that. It's a shame, Nick Dwyer. Games are never any fun when the other side seems intent on losing." He stares up at the ceiling, thoughtful. "People will die. Oh yes, many, many people will die. Such is the nature of this game, after all! Is this all still very funny, then?"

"None of you ever really understood me. It's always rather funny to me, Edmund. Everyone always makes the same old mistakes. I at least try to make those mistakes for the right reasons. This would have been over a long, long time ago if I'd given up on a few of my rules...I think about that sometimes. But then, I need those rules."

Redlight still doesn't look at the other man. "Everyone needs rules, Mr. Dwyer. Everyone needs guidelines of how far you're willing to go into the abyss, lest it starts to stare into you." He sighs, the sound melodous. Quiet. "There's a very fine line between a man and a monster, after all. Imagine how powerful you'd be if you played both sides?"

Redlight's unblinking amber gaze is back now. And the grin spreads wider.

Nick says "Hmmmm. I saw this coming you know. I was afraid to tell you, after all, you already knew. Ah well. What's done is done I suppose. You do realize that you're not actually "redlight", don't you?"

 Redlight responds: "It's really a… Moniker. Name. Title. Label. It makes no difference to me. It's what I've been given, and so I intend to use it." Bandaged fingers come together, tips just barely touching, hovering in front of his face. "I-mor-tality.” Redlight intones, “Interesting, what others throw away as a last bid for survival. Perhaps it was unwise to aspire to such a thing in the first place." He closes his eyes. “Perhaps he didn't aim high enough."

Nick says, "What you are is the creation of a tired beast that wanted to grow beyond it's station. It managed a few thousand children a year, and decided it wanted more. You, that Valtiel thing, Writer, you're all just the thoughtless aspirations of a Fear that wanted more. You are the desire for power made real, at the cost of a man and his soul, Edmund. An experiment in the ways of power, with a limited purpose and limited potential. This is as strong as you will ever become, and unlike the rest of humanity, though your set strength is quite impressive, you will never evolve beyond this point. The original Redlight knew this, and tried to find a way to get beyond his creator and evolve as a normal human might. The truth is, you were dead the moment you stopped being Spencer Fitzgerald, and became the doomed Edmund Fitzgerald."

Redlight grunts.  His expression falls to one of unamused deadpan. He says, "You are not going to be hard to impress."
Nick says, "I've seen heaven and hell and everything inbetween. It'll be harder than you think. And are you sure you don't want something? I've got a Reuben coming, and they make a damn good one here."

Redlight shakes his head, standing, suddenly looking very... uninterested. As if Nick wasn't even worth his time. "I do hope that your nonchalance isn't something you grow to regret, Mr. Dwyer. I do suggest you watch the first few moves of this game. Because despite your experience..."

And then, THEN, Everyone in the diner, they... change. All their various eye colours going to amber. All of them turning to stare at the two. Previously normal, now hallowed out, all within a second. 


A red bracelet on the waitress.
The man in the next booth is wearing a red tie.
The woman sitting at the counter has on a deep crimson blouse.

Redlight turns his back, shoving one hand in his pocket, the other left to wave lazily over his shoulder.

"You obviously have a lot to learn. Goodnight, Nick."

"Oh. There's one thing." Nick says as he stands up, following after "Edmund", still holding his coffee. "I keep asking myself the same question. WWMD."

Redlight just barely glances over his shoulder.

Nick continued,"Never heard the term? It means 'What would Mitch do?'"

Nick tries to throw his cup’s worth of hot coffee into Redlight’s eyes. But only black leaves are left where Redlight was half a second ago. Two of them, in fact, floating towards the tiled floor.

"You're going to have to better than that." Redlight says as he brushes past him from behind. 

"Goodbye, Nick. And for your sake, I hope the odds of this game are somewhat in your favour."

Nick grits his teeth a little, "Damn. You’re that good at that now? Oh well. Let's play."

Redlight's laughing as he pushes open the door, leaving only the sea of amber eyes in his wake. "Soon. You'll know when the game is on."

 "Edmund Fitzgerald, I will fucking destroy you."

 Nick sits back down at his table. His reuben sandwich arrives.

After a moment’s thought, Nick then says, "Hey! Sorry, can I get more coffee?"

Redlight is gone. As Nick calls for coffee, the sea of amber eyes reverts to normal, and everyone goes back to what they were doing before the confrontation began.

(Tell me, is my writing getting better? I sought to depict that moment from a month ago that none of you saw. How did I do? -"Maiden")


  1. Mitch? Seriously?


    I mean, you're still incredibly pretentious, but... that's interesting.

    1. Nick has a long list of grudges. This one is for Spencer leaving Mitch to die, it seems. -Maiden

    2. It wasn't Spencer who could have done something.

  2. Maiden, you misspelled immortality. Good show on the rest, though.

    Nick, are you obsessed with secrets, or is there some particular reason you don't share things like MEETINGS WITH REDLIGHT until your scary girlfriend person decides to do it for you?

  3. Girlfriend? I have no idea what she is, but I sure as hell wouldn't date that abomination.

    Honestly, I penned the post a dozen odd times and erased it each time. He's not Spencer Fitzgerald anymore. He's Edmund Fitzgerald, the wreck of ages. When I realized the enormity of it, everything I meant to say just faded away.

    Whatever else he is, whatever aspects of Spencer Fitzgerald were used to make him have no say in the matter. His personality was entirely reconstructed in the time between "Return to Slender" and now. Whatever he is now, in a lot of ways it was better NOT letting people know he used to be Spencer.

    After all. Anyone who tries to manipulate him as though he is Spencer Fitzgerald will find a nasty shock, that this thing is nothing like Spencer Fitzgerald anymore.

    No. No that's a terrible justification. The real truth is Amy, that I've been putting it off because I just don't know what to think at the moment. I just don't know.

    1. We should write what happens, and let the conclusions be drawn afterwards. If all we do is wait for the "right" time, nothing would ever be written.

    2. And that would be boring.

  4. I get the red text, but why the blue? It doesn't really look good on a cool gray background like that, and I don't see any special importance in those blue lines.

    1. Red text? Blue text? Ben, it all the normal color to me. What lines are different colors to you?

    2. Perception filters have you over a filter, Sagey.

    3. I hate my life. Where is it colored?

    4. "It's always rather funny to me, Edmund"

      "This would have been over a long, long time ago if I'd given up on a few of my rules"

      "thoughtless aspirations of a Fear that wanted more"

      "The truth is, you were dead the moment you stopped being Spencer Fitzgerald"

      Oh, and every time Redlight spoke, it was in red text. Almost forgot that one.

    5. I have no idea what those four sentences could mean, and I have no idea why Redlight always shows up in red colored text. I know for a fact that it can't be some big damn puzzle.

      I've got nothing.

  5. Geebus Nick, didn't you change your password after Ryu hacked you?? How easy is it to hack your account?? Hold on a second, I'm gonna try it...

    1. I've changed it to a 16 character password with mixed capitalizations, numbers, and legal punctuation marks.

      Bring it on.

      I don't know how she keeps getting in. I have no idea how she knows what she does and does what she does. And I have no idea what her stake in all of this is. I just don't get it Gargy.

    2. She could just watch you put the password in, derp. I mean, she watches the REST of your life.

    3. Whoopsie-daisy, we have a voyeur on our hands! Hahaha!