Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Deepest Apologies About Your Head, Derek...

...I did try to be gentle with you.

My friends...

Would you believe me if I told you I did not want for this life?

That I had, in fact, never sought to become what I am? A solider in His Never-Ending Hunt?

You hear such divine stories told by His Children through this Community. The epic tales of how they began their journey into His embrace. The hints of their true psychotic natures throughout their growing years which they look back upon with such fondness. Ever proud. Ever challenging. Ever taunting.

So, what manner of history do you expect me to lay before you?

Humor me. Just take one moment. Think about it.

How do you see me becoming as I am now?

Do you see me running through the back alleys of a small town as a devilish youth? Knife in hand? Searching for a new cat to take home to torture and dissect? Do you perhaps see me using that knife for other means as I experimented on my siblings? Naturally manipulative and naturally cruel? A born sadist, as it were?

Do you see me hiding in a closet? Hands over my ears as I try to block out the yelling and crying as my father is thrown into yet another fit of rage against my mother? Do you see me as the battered wife, finally having had enough of taking every bruise and fractured bone in stride? Or perhaps I am the husband of an untrue partner, the need for revenge bringing Him to me and me to Him?

Do you see a Haunted childhood? One where He was early involved? My "imaginary friend"? Having already picked me from the crop of youngsters as a future soldier? Or perhaps you peg me as a Cult Town native? One who simply... grew up influenced into the job?

Do you see me in a mental hospital, perhaps? Restrained to a bed for my own safety? Heavily sedated and on twenty-four hour watch? Or perhaps you just see me as once having to been tested - sanity questioned somewhere along the line?

Do you see a rebellious teen? In and out of prison as though it was a second home? Do you see me involved in drugs? Someone who slipped into a life of crime either accidentally or on purpose and found no way of climbing back out of the infamous Rabbit Hole? Do you see a Higher approaching me with an offer at my lowest point? Offering a chance to be so much more than what I was?

Do you see me receiving military training at some point? Battle-hardened with the sights and chaos of war? Apathetic to the pain and suffering of the world and just looking for a laugh?

Do you think I took magic lessons at some point? Practiced meditation exercises?

Or perhaps... do you just see a lonely soul... having slowly lost its footing in a broken, heartless world one shred of sanity at a time? One wrong choice at a time?

Thirty-one questions later, and your time is officially up. If you had answered "yes" to any one of them, I'm afraid I am set to disappoint you.

None of these situations apply to me.

My childhood was about as "normal" as any other childhood. Decent start. Caring parents. Growing up, I wanted to be the Littlest Hobo at earliest I can remember. That particular career choice swapping to several other typical ideas children get before an incident in my early teens made my decision for me. I suppose that could be categorized under "traumatizing," though I was far from traumatized.

There was a shooting at the school I attended.

And you may find it interesting to know... that I was neither the victim, nor the harasser.

I was merely a peer who did nothing. And got what I was due for it.

A boy by the name of Nigel Pickup had been the charlie bird of the school system for years. Nickname was "Half-Ton," as I recall it. Obviously, weight was an issue he struggled with. He was quiet. Overly polite. An amazing artist, as I remember. Never caused a problem for anyone any more than using oxygen to breathe and space to exist. But I suppose, for many, that was too much for him to ask for.

I cannot remember a time when he hadn't been the source of someone's amusement. That boy had it all done to him at one point or another. All of it. He spent his life as a punching bag. When he wasn't fulfilling that role, he was harassed to the point of exhaustion through destruction of property, name-calling or cutting remarks. It all wore on him. Year by year. Then, one day, it all became too much for Nigel. It happened during an event hosted by the school. Nigel  made the "mistake" of stepping into a portable toilet.

It was then pushed over with him inside.

When he got out covered in human waste... the majority of the students were laughing. Some making pig jokes amongst each other. The loudest being the trio that did the deed:

Brent Baker.

Edmond McIntyre.

Nathan Wakefield.

They would each be staring down the barrel of a gun by that afternoon. One bullet each. Middle of the hallway. Nigel still covered in filth. He would then take aim at the rest of the student body as they all screamed and scattered in the halls.

I was one of the first to take a bullet.

It went into my shoulder. I remember screaming and falling. Before that point, I'd never felt that level of pain before. Sharp. Burning. I should have been able to flee, but I didn't. I simply laid on the floor where I had fallen. Bleeding. Crying. My young mind thought for certain I was going to die... especially when I saw Nigel walking up the hall towards me. My panic, however, turned out to be unneeded. He didn't turn to finish me off. He didn't even look down to me. He walked straight past. Kept going down the hall. Found some more students. I can remember the echo of the gunshots through the halls.

Nigel proceeded to shoot down thirteen more students and two teachers (reloading when needed, of course) before he swallowed a bullet himself.

I can still picture him in my head when he walked by me. He seemed so... calm. There wasn't a shred of anger to be seen. Perhaps it was because, at long last, he had things under control.

Nine died in that shooting. Seven students (Nigel included) and both teachers who had tried to intervene.

In the hospital, I knew then what I wanted to be when I grew up.

A teacher.

But more than just any teacher.

More than the cookie-cutter versions you see so often.

I wanted to connect to my students. To be aware. To be able to help students like Nigel before they snapped. I wanted to use my survived experience to have a chance of maybe stopping another tragedy from ripping a school and community apart. To speak of how actions have consequences. How we each own what we do in this world, good or bad. I focused on History for that exact reason. As those who are unaware of the past are doomed to repeat the mistakes therein...

I still have my scar. Since my career change, many more have joined it... but it'll always stand out more than the rest. Least to my mind.

I have no bitterness to Nigel for what he did. Nor do I despise the bullies of this little story. They each paid for their behavior with their lives. I don't see myself as a victim. Not even close. I did nothing to stop a situation I literally watched play out for years. Every day when I went to school, it was always the same thing. I could have done many things that would have perhaps changed the end result... but I chose to ignore it. I thought it didn't concern me. Thought a few of the jokes were sort of funny. I wasn't one of the bullies. But I might as well have been.

I earned that bullet.

Through inaction.

Through not sparing a glance to another.

Through being too much of a coward to speak up.

I earned it.

When I last came to you with a question... I asked for torture suggestions. Many of you came through beautifully with your own twisted ideas... and only ONE of you nonchalantly mentioned that perhaps death wasn't entirely necessary. Not exactly what I'd call a convincing argument. Where were all the "Goodies"? I know some of you read this, so where were your two cents? Where were the hypocrites and hippies? Do I intimidate you all, perhaps? Or did you want to see Jerome tortured, but didn't wish to tie your name to such an "evil" thought?

Even you, Spencer.

My brother, you so passionately stood against my actions after they'd be carried out... yet, where were you when your protest could have meant something? Where were you when I laid the man's life in the hands of the Community? When you could have convinced me to end his life quicker? You had twenty-nine days, Spencer... and I heard not a peep from you. I know you were Following, so don't try to deny. You've commented before. You knew what game I was playing... and you know I wouldn't have ignored you. That I would have replied. Questioned. Perhaps even considered a point or two, if you could have made them...

But you still chose to do nothing. To stay quiet. To hide.

You might as well have been torturing him right there with me, Spencer.

Now... to all of you... I'm going to ask an old question:

How shall I kill him?

His name is Ronan.

Though, I would think... many of you would know him better as another name:

TMV. My dear friend: Venny. I must admit, it was rather fun tailing him for the last little while. Even as a functional alcoholic, he still caught onto my presence before I had intended for him to. Made the job that much more interesting. Of which you won't hear me complaining about. Of course, given his background, I had been expecting a challenge from the start. More or less looked forward to it. But most of you don't know about his history, now, do you? It's a shame that's the case really. Personally, I never like becoming involved with someone unless I know at least the basics of their background... and, I must say, Venny's is quite... colorful.

Watching without getting noticed proved to be more of a chore than actually picking him up. I simply waited for his beer to lull him to sleep. Then the only thing between me and him... was Derek. I actually made sure NOT to rough him up too much. I simply put him down for a nap so he'd stay out of my way. He cooperated like a saint. Came out to investigate a little noise outside the house with shotgun in hand. Gave me an opening to come up behind him. Gave him a little knock on the head as I did. He entertained me with a little bit more of a scuffle. Both of us earning a few bruises in the struggle as he flailed like a fish out of water... before I got the right pressure on the nerve in his neck. He dropped picture-perfectly. Barely a mark on him. I brought him back inside and put him in a chair. Leaving him to a nice, peaceful slumber... and then I gave Venny a bit of sedative to make certain he wouldn't be waking up before I was ready for him to. It all went very smoothly, if I do say so myself. Not a thing out of place in the entire house.

Now, it's been more than a few hours since their love note to me went up. I think I've left dear Derek and David long enough to panic, don't you? I'm sure David's been frustrated to no end not being able to pick up on my trail. After all... he's not the only one with a few tricks up his sleeve. I know what the man is capable of, but... he still won't find us until I want him to. As for you, Derek... my apologies you got caught in the middle. It was nothing personal. If it had been, David would have had to contact the Community. Not you. You should show a bit more gratitude.

For now, I thought I might as well let you know who had dropped in on their way by... and the state of your missing party member. If you've read some of my other tales, I would bet you could imagine all kinds of scenarios...

But, in reality, Venny is fine. For now. That much, I assure you. He panicked a little when he didn't recognize where he was. Grabbed the lamp to defend himself. I thought it was cute, really. He actually guessed who I was on the first try and, once I explained the situation at hand, he settled down just fine. He's a very understanding man. Very intelligent. Would be a shame if this was forced to get messier than it needed to be...

So, my friends... that is where we are. Dearest Venny is my guest of honor. Any ideas of how I should bid him farewell when the time comes? How I should present him to death's chilling embrace? Should I do it quickly since I like him so? Or draw it out to pain the heart of his dearest fiance? Though, I feel I should warn you... that your suggestions this time around will only be taken into consideration... if David doesn't answer his cell phone when I call him at exactly 7:05 AM. February 1st. We could speak earlier, but... Derek would have had to wake up to post earlier. It is only fair for the poor boy to be the one to choose the time since he feels so wronged for being taken from behind, right? My own little way of saying "sorry."

In other words, David...

7:05. Tomorrow morning. If you don't pick up. I'll be taking the pleasure of putting your fiance down.

Talk to you soon, sweetheart.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Where Was I...?

Seeing as how I have nothing better to do this evening since I am... recuperating, as it were, I've decided I might as well explain what became of my old friend, Jerome.

First though, I would just like to say that I would love to personally thank whoever invented the taser. I think... using a rat would only be appropriate to fully convey my feelings in the matter. To strap a small cage which would contain the rodent around the little genius' stomach. Intense heat could then be placed above both specimens. Allowing the skin of one to burn and blister... as well as kicking in the survival instant for the little rat. Causing it to burrow into the abdomen in attempt to escape the heat...

I wonder how long I could draw that out for...? Would be interesting to see.

Ah, well, at least the officer Requiem had been worried about has been dealt with accordingly. Got a little rough around the edges this time, but... that would be part of what keeps things interesting, wouldn't it? It's not as though I haven't had worse. Or that I truly care for what level our targets stoop to... but I was delivered not one, but two jolts of the irritating bastard of a device today. I think I'm allowed to complain a touch, yes?

Quite honestly, I only think of the assault as an inconvenience I could have done without. To make me this tired, that is. I'd rather be on the road again. I've been in company for too long... and I do prefer my solitude oh so very much...

But here I am yet again - getting off topic. You'll have to excuse me for that for now. In any case, I'm sure you're not interested in hearing of that little incident. The most important thing to know at the moment is that I will be back on the move soon. Just taking an evening to regain some stolen energy.

Now, to get back to the point of this post...

December 9th, 2011... to January 6th, 2012.

Twenty-nine days.

That would be how long Jerome White, also known as Tripwire, remained in my loving care for.

Twenty-one of those days he spent compressed into that little torture device I mentioned earlier. Unable to move. Not even so much to scratch an itch. The pain throughout his body would have been constant. Upon entering week three, he'd already begun to mumble to himself. Got a little bit on the twitchy side. Moved his head around a little oddly as though he couldn't quite focus... or perhaps he was focusing on things that were not there. That is a possibility. Being in solitude with no way to tell the passing of time for weeks on end does not bold well for one's mind. However, it is not as though I left him alone the entire time. Of course not. That would be far from hospitable. And, yes, I did provide him with plenty of water and basic nutrition. I would think that would go without saying for this length of time... but I suppose the obvious is better stated to begin with than having to answer later.

A few of you gave such wonderful suggestions on how to end his miserable existence. Some of your ideas,  I used. Others, I did not. For instance... )*SERVE*(, if I wanted to "give him a taste of his own medicine" I would drop him off at Morgan's headquarters wrapped in a bow. Or Ferus, for that matter. However, since I happen to be a Proxy that holds itself to some degree of standards... well, we played different games. But I'm certain you will approve all the same.

Rest assured, everyone, I took all your thoughts into consideration.

When I last posted, I told you how I took Requiem down to where we had Jerome stashed away for a rainy day. Let me see... if I can put into words what sight he had upon opening that door.

As I said, the man was cowering in the corner of his room. Trembling from head to toe. Curled into himself in some vain attempt at comfort and warmth. He wore no clothes to hide the measure of work I'd already put into him. The first of many wounds being a pound of flesh which I took from the muscles in his legs.


Conveniently made escape for him near impossible.

And gave Kali and Loki enough to peck on for a few days. Of course I gave them the chance to dine right from the source as well, but that would never be for too long.

I had then begun removing pieces of him. Starting with his nails and, joint by joint, taking his fingers away. Letting him keep one and two-thirds of a finger on his left hand to make the loss of his other arm up to his elbow that much more reflective. Literally SEEING how much was taken is so much worse than trying to remember what was once there.

I then used that arm by tossing it into the backyard of a Spook assignment.

Crystal would find her Jack Russel chewing on it later that evening.

It had taken me three hours of driving to get there and another three to get back. At least, the expression on her face made it worth the time. Did a few other things to mess with her mind while I was there, but nothing of extreme interest.

She wasn't the only Runner I insisted on involving either. There was a boy named Ivan Knox. Had just turned eighteen a week prior, if I recall correctly. I was assigned to him as a Spook as well, but I allowed myself to be a bit more... drastic. I picked the sweetheart up and brought him to my little home away from home. Tossing him to the cold, concrete floor upon our entry into the basement without a trace of ceremony. With wrists bound his back, he scrambled only to sit up. To put his back against the wall as I went to attend to Jerome in the same manner I always did. Ivan watched. Never uttering a word as the other male alternated between whimpering and screaming. I kept an eye on our audience as I worked. Impressed, to say the least, at the strong front he put out. Ivan was only small. Not weedy, exactly, but small for his age. And yet his expression barely betrayed him. The only part that screamed of his own fear... was his eyes. Greenest of green. Like a forest canopy in the summer. Eventually, I couldn't help but shift my attention completely onto the Spook. Ivan stared back. Obviously scared, but strong. Unfaltering. He had a spine. Unlike Jerome.

As a crouched in front of Ivan with blood-coated gloves, I asked if he had preferences which piece of him I removed first. I expected him to shrink... but instead his lips only pressed tighter together. Not giving me the pleasure of conversation. It would have been rude if I wasn't so amused. He was so young. I used to teach kids his age. And yet... unflinching. Brave beyond his years. Or, perhaps, merely stupid.

That would be when a thought occurred to me. One which you helped with, Brooklyn. My dearest Gargoyle. You're invading my thoughts during working hours. Shame on you. But I really need to thank you, seeing as how it worked in my favor so well.

You see... I remembered your comment. The end part, anyway. I truly did want to use your suggestion from the start and, in that moment... I couldn't possibly think of anyone better for the job than Ivan himself.

I gently caressed the boy's face as I gave him the proposition. Feeling his jaw tighten as I left smears of hot blood where I touched. I told him I would bring him home without a scratch... but, first, he had to gain some 'get out of jail free' tokens. Jerome's teeth. Not all of them. Just a few. And then Ivan could leave. Simple. But the little statue that was Ivan refused. The single word coming out strongly... but his eyes told a different story entirely. A desperate story. One that was looking for an excuse. So I started talking. Like I tend to do. I spoke of Jerome. Who he was. What he had done as Tripwire. I questioned the fairness that a morally correct person like Ivan... condemn himself to torture and death for the sake of someone like that. I mentioned Ivan's own family. Questioning leaving his little brother on his own to face our Father... when Ivan could so easily be there for him...

Within twenty minutes, I had Ivan untied. Positioned in front of a whimpering Jerome. Pliers in hand. I kept one arm around Ivan's shoulders for support. My other hand holding Jerome by the hair - cranking his neck back. He begged the boy not to. Begged for mercy. Pleaded and cried...

I could see the boy hesitating, so I simply leaned in to whisper in Ivan's ear. Asking if he thought Tammara... had begged Jerome to stop as well.

Ivan ripped out his tokens for freedom one at a time.

Screams and choked wails tearing from Jerome.

Tears streaming down Ivan's pale face.

I could tell he was drawing near to breaking down, and since we had a nice little pile going... I didn't ask for him to take them all. I let him stop. The poor dear was shaking so badly he could barely stand so I could take him home. I literally had to help him walk as he rung his blood-splattered hands together again and again. The screams forever echoing in his head. The sensations forever crawling up his arms. I could tell then I'd... no... that WE - Gargoyle and I - had just given him a nightmare that would haunt him until the day he dies at Father's will.

Multipurpose is always best.

As for Jerome himself, well... I always made certain to burn his wounds of the bits and pieces I removed to stop the blood from flowing and claiming his life that way. He'd scream, beg, whimper... and I would talk to him so sweetly during every session. Brushing my fingers through his hair. Across his cheek. Making certain I had his attention. He would shiver so much that, at times, it made it difficult to be accurate with what I wanted done.

At one point, he had begged me for a blanket. That he was so cold.

So... I happily warmed things up for him.

I stuck a match. Kissed his temple. Then lit his clothing on fire. His pleads and screams fell on deaf ears as I stood back to watch the flame build in strength as it consumed his clothing and hair. The scorching heat ever-rising. Caressing the flesh beneath until it was charred black and his screams began to choke in his throat. Only then did I put him out. Fire extinguisher. Followed by a bucket of ice water over his sizzling flesh.

He didn't complain about being cold again.

He also couldn't recognize himself in a mirror again if he tried.

That would be the sight that Requiem opened the door to. A man who had become as mutated on the outside as he was within. And yet he still begged for his life. I'd only ever heard him ask for death ONCE. All the other times... it was for mercy. For life. To be spared. If only to be taken into the embrace of His Family again. If only to Serve.


A fear of what awaits after death is terrifying to some people. Jerome just happens to be one of them.

Requiem found the begging to be too much to listen to, however, and decided to remove Jerome's tongue before we did anything else. I was rather grateful for that. And so when we took him from that little room and brought him into the lower chamber in the basement of the church's basement... the sounds he was making only slurred together more when he saw what fate would claim him.

My new toy.

To bring a new meaning to His Embrace.

It stands nine feet tall. Positioned against the far wall of a room that is only lit by the presence of a thin trench of flames which burns along the border of the chamber itself, leaving the room a bit darker than others. The light of the fire shimmers off the black surface that IS the majority of the instrument. Unlike the conventional style that this particular item has held itself in throughout history, the body is curved in. Having a more 'slender' figure, if you will. In fact... it is crafted in nearly His exact image. A pale head nearly at the ceiling itself. Carved so the light reflects where the features should be, but is left faceless to stare down those who approach it. But it is more than just His image, you see...

Because, with one half of the body swung open as it was as when Jerome first saw it... the light of the flames also glimmered among the long, thin spikes which decorated the inside of the device.

It was perfect. Exactly as I had imagined. And Requiem had outdone himself with the atmosphere of the room itself. Faint carvings decorated the walls and ceiling in the images of trees and a canopy overhead... and across the floor stretched the same operator symbol that Requiem had hanging around his neck. I felt the need to remind him later on that he would NOT be claiming credit for this idea.

Jerome's final struggles to free himself of our holds were lost as we took him across the floor. His time with me had left him weak, and even when he refused to stand or walk to his demise... well, we simply dragged him. Forced him inside the device and strapped him in. Once his wrists, ankles, and neck were bound in place, I took a last moment to reassure him... that all of the needles were strategically placed to miss major organs. And the spikes themselves would slow blood loss by remaining inside him after penetration. So his death would be exactly as he deserved it: Slow and painful. His hysterical shrieks and jerks to free himself were only silenced as Requiem and I each took one of the two doors and pushed them closed. Heavy bloody things. But as the doors shut, Jerome would be forced further back into even more needles behind him. Gasps of the pain and choked breath were soon all that came from the inside as the doors were latched together and he was in the full embrace of our Father's image. Pinned into place from all sides. Alone with his agony in the dark as he would slowly bleed out.

I couldn't help but smile when I glanced upon the look in Requiem's eyes. They were beautiful. Nearly shimmering. All the pent up anger that had been in his system seemingly washed away as he took steps back. Taking in the full glory of the scene as the first drops of blood trickled from the small holes in the bottom of the device to be gathered in decorative jars placed around its base. Fit to be used in an assortment of many rituals I know my kin practice... or as a prop for missions, for that matter.

It was just as I had specified.

Requiem knelt on the floor and prayed. I stood and listened.

Listened to my friend.

Listened to the muffled whimper of a true "monster."

This had been on the third of the month.

Jerome died on the sixth.

Requiem has been doing much better since then. Still obsessed to get his hands on the Runner that dared to attack his subordinate and church... but better. Even enough so to return to his old obsession which involves the hundreds upon hundreds of photos of religious figures from all over the world stuck up on the walls of his office. News articles. Statistics. It's so good to see him go back to his old mindset.

Sister Fuchsia is still recovering, but is now back at the church. I made certain to visit her each day in her quarters. She never once placed blame on my head for her injuries. A true sweetheart. I hope all my kin pray for a quick recovery for her.

Come dawn, I will only be in the company of my closest friends of Chaos and Destruction.

It'll be a good day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How I Wish I Could Tell You The Name...

...Of the church I am currently residing in. For what it is to the public eye and what it is to us... well, the irony is simply beautiful. Of course, I would expect no less from Requiem. The man is nothing short of obsessive of his own role in the "Divine Plan." So, it is only natural his church would reflect his true loyalty in the most elegant, yet blatant, way possible. It is simply how he is.

Honestly, I wouldn't even doubt that the man considers himself something of a Messiah. Many would probably consider his ego irritating if one was to actually take him seriously. However, like I mentioned to my newest friend, I don't tend to take anyone seriously. Myself included. So I happen to find Requiem as excellent a company as any of my kin. As for how he views me... well, I believe I am "tolerated." Which actually says a great deal. Considering I'd be quite hesitant to say that there is another level that exists above that to ascend to. At least, in being tolerated, I not only received the invite to visit with my friend Jerome... but Requiem also went so far as to do me a "favor."

You see, I had a party to go to. Hosted by our dearest friends from Baker Street. You have probably already heard of it from other Proxies. Most accurately detailed by our dearest Ridley, I would say. However, I had a touch of a problem in getting there.

You see, I happen to have a rather strong dislike of using The Path for even the most dire of circumstances. Leave alone for such casual means as this. While the invitation was certainly designed so as to make it clear it was not to be ignored... I had been planning to do just that. After all, the other option had been to put off my plans yet again and travel across several states in order to reach the Looped area. Not a way I planned to spend my New Years. Thank you very much.

However... that would be where Requiem would come into the matter. After realizing I wasn't going to go, he gave me a rather long speech about how it isn't wise to always be testing the tolerance of the Highers, such as Valtiel and Writer. I begged to differ, but my lecture was far from through. I was reminded through the overuse of many religious-esq terms that I do not spend enough time with my kin. Requiem chose to warn me in his particularly drawn-out fashion that, since I continue to drift on my own with only my "soul partners" as company, I need to take all opportunities I can to "bond with our brethren." That I must speak to the "New Bloods" to offer advice and encouragement as they walk the "Enlightened Path." Then he went on about something regarding not being "recognized within the flock"...

Sometimes it is easier to quit listening.

In any case, Requiem decided to open The Path for me himself. Not giving me a choice in the matter.

He is nothing if not persistent, that is for certain. Sort of like a flea in that way. I couldn't even use the fact I didn't have anything that would do as "black tie" since Requiem had insisted I took a "purer appearance" during some of the rituals I had attended at his church in the past. So I actually did have clothes available to me that weren't in tatters. A true pity. Otherwise that would have been an excellent excuse.

I must admit, it was a rather amusing little gathering. The tension was high from the start, so I spent a good while at the beginning simply circulating the crowd. Seeing who had shown themselves. I particularly enjoyed getting under the skin of a few particular members of my family (rest assured, Nat. I'll give you the chance to show me your "skillz" one day) before getting around to discuss some business matters with Morgan. Who, from hence forth, I will not refer to as "Morningstar" until he has earned it and finishes what we spoke of months ago. He has claimed he will focus himself after his current mission, but my hopes on that are rather low. We shall see. Worst comes to worst, I will carry out what we discussed myself. And he will forever be Morgan. Just. Morgan.

I felt so very unwelcome by "Joseph." He didn't seem to appreciate my contribution to the night's activities at all. Hurriedly excusing himself when I complimented the party and commented on the promise of calamities worthy of the records book. Quite rude, really.

In spite of my own efforts... the main conflict of the night wasn't even initiated by myself.. Valtiel took care of that. A Higher in their truest form, to be sure.

"Do as I say, not as I do."

Then, just as things were beginning to become a bit more interesting... a familiar figure caught my attention outside of the cafe. A strong sense of foreboding hit me. And so, in a few scarce seconds, I had easily slipped away from the growing conflict without the notice of a single soul. Requiem greeted me with an apology before falling in step at my side. Walking down the stretch of pavement looking for a sliver of privacy should the brawl in the cafe erupt onto the road.

Requiem informed me that he was out for blood.

Apparently, one of his subordinates had been attacked by a Runner on the outside of town. Sister Fuchsia was jumped from behind and given a rather nasty beating. Requiem is assuming at this point that the fractured skull she suffered was the first blow. Hence explaining the attacker's ability to get away without leaving a blood trail while Fuchsia was turned black and blue. Nothing short of impossible had it been anything other  than the work of a coward. Fuchsia had been badly bleeding and barely conscious. And yet her attacker still demanded a task of her. She was told to deliver a message. The man could have killed her, but instead he simply put an envelope in her hand and left her there.

She was found by a citizen of the town. A norm. She was then taken to the hospital and Requiem was later contacted. He went to see her there with promise of getting her home soon. And that would be when she told him about the envelope.

However, it was not addressed to Requiem.

It was addressed to me.

Inside was a single scrap of paper.

It read as:
"How long can you stand the pain?
How long will you hide your face?
How long will you be afraid?
Are you afraid?
How long will you play this game?
Will you fight or will you walk away?
How long will you let it burn?

How long will you stay buried inside your new name,


The coding is just too cute, don't you think? 

Requiem's first comment was that Sister Orchid would be likely to "squee" if she were to read this. Apparently she listens to this particular band enough in her private room for the Priest to recognize the lyrics of the song. Thank God for that, otherwise I would have just assumed it to be a mere scattering of pointless questions. Now that I am aware they are a scattering of pointless questions in SONG FORM, I am truly, truly devastated by such a searing quip. I may never recover.

I apologized to my brother for not having much of a clue of who it could be from. I would say it was someone to do with my history, but since I announced my real name on here... well, it could be any Runner at all. Hn, perhaps Dia has become my personal stalker? Anything to say for yourself, sweetheart? It's not nice to mock people in other fields of work, you know.

In any case, I felt more need to see my beaten sister than I did to return to a party that - from the sounds of things - had already begun to settle down for one reason or another. So, Requiem used The Path and brought us back again. To find an unholy mess waiting.

Someone... had attempted to set fire to the church.

Firefighters. Police. Nosy-neighbors. The mess was near impossible to contain without someone wandering off where they were not welcome. Requiem's team worked hand and hand with passer-by Proxies to get matters under control again. Anyone who tried to make all that much of a fuss at being restricted had the pleasure of answering to Mother Vex. The woman is nothing short of brutal. Not to mention she is rather brilliant minded. She gives medical care onto Proxies who require it and, whether he is aware of it or not, holds the figurative leash on Requiem. For how he can ramble on and on until he loses touch of what his original topic was... Vex is sharp and to the point. Quick as a switchblade to put any fool in their place. She is a woman... of very few words and even fewer strands of tolerance. 

I actually had the pleasure of hearing one of her tirades that day. Without having to be the one to receive it. I nearly felt pity for those officers. I truly did.

During the activity, I wasn't able to offer much in the way of assistance as my attire made it impossible for me to help in any way, shape, or form. For some reason that is truly beyond my understanding... the norms tend to come to the rather bizarre conclusion that I appear a tad suspicious. Could never figure it out, myself. That being said, I didn't dare leave either. The police were already making their own patrols of the streets for suspicious activity, and I also wished to keep myself available in the case that I was needed. I wasn't, but at least the opinion was there.

After things had begun to die down, Requiem was looking much like a volcano ready to erupt. Though he approached me with assurances that the damage hadn't been too bad and the crowds had been decently contained, he was in an absolute rage at the desecration of his church and the abuse of his subordinates. He also expressed concerns that one of the officers had been acting rather hostile. Someone who had already been asking some more... unusual questions as of late. 

Just something else to keep an eye on, I suppose.

After all, this is not a Cult Town. Instead, it is merely a Host. We don't control it. Not yet.

You see, I wasn't exaggerating when I called my kin a growing inflection festering beneath the skin. That is exactly how we are at the moment. Your cultures host ours. Community Centers. Places of Worship, mostly, such as churches, mosques, temples, and so on... they exist right across the country. Serving a double-purpose. Serving us. Providing shelter. Medical care. Supplies. And, of course, a wealth of contacts and information. The local residence kept completely unaware that anything is even remotely amiss.

We even have a name for them. Unfortunately, like the name of this particular church and, in connection, its location... it is what could be described as "classified." I cannot simply GIVE information away. Not only would it ruin a good portion of the fun, but also many of my kin are going to be annoyed enough that I've even said this much. After all, there are those who would love an opportunity to strike us in such a location. A fall of one would be a shame. Not detrimental, of course. But a shame.

They are also, for the most part, the only sectors in which Proxies will either bite their tongues or suggest to take a disagreement outside. Brawls are rather... looked down upon.

After all... these are Houses of our God. Shrines. One must show respect.

Proxies who have failed to realize this simple fact have been known to earn a few weeks stay in the infirmaries within those very Houses.

I do know that Requiem himself has gone so far as to remove skin from an offender in his church. If you were to ask his nuns or any others that respect him, the story would go that the individual hadn't been much for honoring He as our God, so attempted to set Requiem on fire for being overly "preachy." Some mockery about "becoming the Holy Light" or of that likeness. In retaliation, Requiem is said to have beaten and bound the Proxy before systematically removing every shred of skin over the Proxy's entire body. Stopping the process if the offender passed out and continuing once he woke up. Taking it all... excluding a small scrap of skin in the shape of an operator symbol on the offender's forehead.

I have, however, been informed by a rather amused Requiem that it was just an arm and the operator symbol was on the palm of the hand. And it wasn't for attacking him. It was for cropping a feel of one of his subordinates. Sister Dahlia.

Apparently, the Proxy usually drops in every other month or so. Still at work. Requiem would never tell me his name. He only tells me to "look for [his] mark."

But I digress.

Leads for the arsonist dried up quickly with thanks to the "investigations" of the local authorities.

Requiem, however, has only been expanding his search. He wants the Runner. And, from the look in his eye when he speaks of it, I'd say he wants him alive.

As for myself, I have been assisting in the search as well as clean-up. I have also made it my place to stay on top of the investigation in case it swings its blade in the direction of the church, as well as assigning myself to find out what, if anything, that one specific police officer knows of us. In addition, I've been sparing with Requiem to make certain he doesn't blow a fuse in one of his sermons to the norms. As that would be the very last thing we need at the moment.

In short... I haven't been sleeping much. I believe my last bit of shut eye was over forty-eight hours ago.

At least Jerome has served a double-purpose. It was... absolutely glorious. Requiem had been particularly hostile that day. Put his gun to my forehead in response to a comment of mine which was, I'll admit, more than a little mocking. Which lead me to the shining conclusion that he required a bit of stress-relief which wouldn't have ME as the intended target. I quite literally took Requiem's hand while he was in mid-rant and lead him to where we had stashed Jerome for safe-keeping.

The parasite was cowered into the farthest corner of the room. Muttering to himself. Twitching. And it only got worse when he laid eyes on us in the doorway. He must have recognized the difference in my smile, because his pleas for mercy immediately started bubbling up his throat instead of the squeaks he would normally give. He begged for a quick death. Begged to be taken back into service.

He was to receive neither.

You see, I'd already had such fun with him by that point. Our time together was tattooed on his flesh with wounds of several shapes and sizes. Cuts and burns and bites from some rats who had happened to find him while he'd been restrained in that little torture device of mine. Kali and Loki had also had their chance to make their opinion of him known. Leaving such a wonderful mess of his back. Quite beautiful artwork, in my opinion. Nearly want to frame it.

There was also this one Runner who I was asssigned to as a Spook. I had...




Well. The fun times just never end.

I'm afraid I must leave this as a "To Be Continued," my friends. So sorry.

Keep smiling!