|Running Down a Dream|
You find yourself standing before an odd abandoned looking house. The walls are cracked and the paint is pealing. The windows are boarded up. There isn't even any grass growing here. Only one thing shows a sign that the place is lived in: A sign has been recently made which reads, "KEEP OFF THE LOOSE SOIL! It's impolite to walk on the dead..."
The maniac, Johnny C. stands before the door of his house. This is a place even he fears to tread. Johnny pushes his hair out of his face with one hand and draws a dagger with another. Twirling it lightly at his side he leans against the door. Johnny bows his head and guestures towards the doorway. Looking up, he flashes a manic grin. "You up to the challenge?"
Flea says, "I feel really really scared. but... sure, lets go and do this..."
Domain of the Lost: Reception Area(#2150R)
You see around you what at first appears to be an abandoned house. The windows are boarded up, and the floor is covered with bits of trash and other more unidentifiable objects. Except for an old chair, a desk, and art table with a mirror on the wall behind it, the room has no real furniture aside for some empty crates that the owner of the house has fashoned into stools, shelves, and other odd things. The room's celing is the most dominant feature as dozens of baby dolls have been hung from it by their necks. A dozen or so more have been nailed to the walls. What kinda loonatic would live here?
Johnny steps inside his house and sighs. His twirling dagger doesn't stop, although it does seem to increase in speed. He's nervous. This is the only way people realise this. "How much do you know about me? Ever read JtHM?" He doesn't give much of a pause before continuing. "This place is so full of negative energy that it's soaked into the walls. Nothing will ever redeem this house. I've done some horrible things here. I could tell you stories about salad tongs that would give you nightmares..."
Flea says, "Not much, I am afraid. I cant say I regularly read things of that nature.... salad tongs? x.x"
Johnny pauses infront of his art desk. "Yeah... salad tongs. I used to kill people because they pissed me off. They deserved it! Running around treating people like shit. I showed them! I treated them the way they treated everyone else." He stalks slowly and silently into the hallway, "People raping women... I raped them with steel. The only problem was I got too good at it. I lost myself." He pauses and turns back with a grin, "I couldn't tell what was a voice in my head and what was someone else's voice in my head."
Flea blinks... "I.. uh... see." has no feelings about that, as yet. There is some Utilitarian justice there, so no complaints. "Perhaps for some people, you cant treat them worse enough."
Domain of the Lost: Hallway(#2153R)
You enter the hallway. Down it's length are a series of doors. All of them appear to be coated heavily with handprints made from dried blood. More of the reddish fluid decorates the floor. From here you can see the main room of the house, the kitchen, and the tv room...
Johnny says, "Perhaps... perhaps not. Then it got to the point where I lost track. Things where speaking to me, from me, and I couldn't tell. If there's one thing I can't STAND is someone else telling ME what to do! FUCK THEM! I don't have to listen to those self righteous bastards!!!" Johnny draws his other dagger and his body tenses up like he's about to attack... luckily he doesn't. He sighs, collecting himself. "I started collecting blood. I started painting the wall with blood I'd collected from people. ...but I HATE blood. I can't stand touching people, or bodily fluids." He puts away the extra dagger and waves his fingers. "That's why I wear gloves!" He smiles happily and then opens the door to the basement below. Immediately a stench of decay drifts up from the levels below. It's like a million graves where suddenly opened at once. "...what I didn't notice was the more I painted the wall, the bigger my house became. It was rewarding me. I just thought I'd lost my mind, like maybe this stuff was always there. Hell, I don't even remember my childhood anymore. They stole them from me, you see... my memories..."
Flea ewws slightly from the stench and the blood all over the place. "Well, I would wear gloves too in your situation... still, if you feng-shuy, or whatever its called, the white and red blood cells, I imagine you'd have better luck." Peers at the door.
Johnny takes a single step in the doorframe and pauses to turn. His expression actually looks hurt. "I used to be an artist, y'know. All the paintings in the house? I did those..." Suddenly anger seems to fill his features. "...they took that from me too. Left me drawing nothing but fucking stick figures..."
Flea shrugs slightly. "Well, in some ways maybe you're still an artist in... a very different sense." Looking around, she isnt really moving to the door unless he goes first. "Still, talented in either field."
Johnny grins, "That was a looooong time ago. Ever been to a place called Chronos? There's a fairground on North Zenan with this beautiful cliff looking down on it. Well, there's a cave there that goes reaaaaly deep into the mountain. All the statues and paintings in there are mine. Took me centuries..." As if to change the subject he decends into the darkness below. After what seems like an eternity he reaches the bottom and clicks on a single light bulb hanging from the celing. "...I don't like this room anymore..."
Domain of the Lost: Basement - 1st floor(#2171R)
You decend the stairs down into the darkness below the house. You turn on the light ro reveal a make shift work room. Bloody tools cover the walls and bits of rotten meat lay strewn about the floor. In the center of the room is a large wooden table - like a butcher's block. Covered with blood and clearly used to cut meat, several blades are stuck into the top of the table. The gore on the floor seems to lead to a ladder leading further down. This area seems to be diffrent from the rest of the house, almost like someone had built the house atop some long forgotten industrial complex. Wires and tubes come out of the walls and follow the path down, assumingly giving water and power to this lower area. A large sign is mounted just above this entryway that reads: DOWN. TORTURE ROOM VACANCY --15--.
Flea doesnt look terribly pleased by all this, but... at the very least there isnt anything terribly unlike a butcher shop... one simply has to ignore just what is being butchered. "... cute."
Johnny forces a grin which quickly becomes a grimace. "You see this? It's not supposed to be fresh. Not long ago we had someone come in here and recharge the place. They woke up some demons I'd spend an assload of lifetimes trying to burry." He leans on the corner of the butchers block. "Do you know why I've brought you here, Flea? Do you know where you are?"
Flea looks around. "No... and no" < _ <
The blood on the butcher's block seems to move suddenly as if given a life of it's own. It moves onto his gloved hand and begins to coat his body. In a matter of seconds this maniac suddenly seems to be a body made entirely of blood, blood which begins to darken into a solid black. A pair of white eyes, resonating with some unnatural light, begin to glow and rows of teeth open on it's face as it begins to smile. "I'm doing this as a favor. You helped someone and that son of a bitch killed her. He was practicly her son!" He shakes his head, the smile becoming a frown. "The nerve of some people... that bastard was given EVERYTHING. One of my daggers! A seat of power!! I BROUGHT HIS FUCKING SISTER BACK FROM THE DEAD and this is what he does..." Johnny forces himself to calm down, running a hand habitualy through what should have been his hair. "I... I'm not myself anymore. I can't roam about as freely as I used to... but we still have dreams, now don't we? Did you know the old Kingdom was built on dreams?"
Flea mews slightly placing a hand behind her head. "Well.. err.. perhaps favors aside, I just do what I have to do." There is an awful lot of blood here, but... so far its nothing too bad... not yet anyway.
Johnny grins, "I'm dead, Flea. I've lost my mind and my mind's lost my body. I'm just a lost soul to begin with, but if you meet me I'll call you a lier if you say that." Johnny steps towards the ladder leading to the 'torture rooms'. "She's dead too. Like it or not I was forced to obey her for a good amount of time. Beneath all that crap the La Vos put into her, she was a good person. She was just corrupted. She felt like you knew this somehow. I've spent most of my existance corrupted. When you avenged her death, her wish brought my conciousness back. She wants to repay you." He frowns, "She wanted to teach you things you can't learn on your own. Magics... skills... Where she's at she can't leave. I'm supposed to take you there." He pauses long enough to take a deep breath, then he turns back around and approches Flea face to face. "The good and bad of it all is this, I'm your guide. That means everything's gonna manefest itself based on MY experiences... If you can make it to the end, you'll get to have a last word with her, and come out of this more powerful than you can imagine. You back out, and you'll loose this chance forever..."
Flea looks off to the side, then looking back. Yeah, she wanted power... but this was gonna frickin hurt, she imagined. Suffering was never something she liked to do too much of, of course unless someone deserved it, but something told her this was going to tap into some pretty deep fears. "...Alright..."
Johnny grins, "Well.. first things first. A momento of things so when you wake up you'll know this wasn't really a dream." Suddenly a red character flashes up on his forehead. Although Flea might not know it, it's the Zealion symbol for slave. With the dagger he'd been twirling he stabs himself in the forehead beside the mark. "You... might wanna look away at this point." Grinning maddly he physicaly pries the symbol off of the substance that now makes up his form. A horrible sound accompanies the guesture, similar to that of drain being forced open. Luickly, of course, he doesn't really have a body (or so he claimed) and instantly the damage seems to fade back to the way it was. However, a small red-brown stone falls upon the table and rolls to a stop. Johnny rubs his head and moans. "...GOD that hurt..."
Flea ewws slightly but doesn't try to look away too hard... thought that was pretty gross. Looking down at the table, Flea eyes the stone, then looks up at him. "... I dont suppose you have any hand sanitizers I can use on that, do you?" Picking up the stone, she opens it, making it available for him to take back if he needed it. "Is... this it?"
Johnny continues to rub his forehead, "Does this place look sanitary to you?" He laughs and winces at the same time. "THAT is a piece of the shell of La Vos. Munin got the bright idea to start implanting shards into people's heads to enslave them in the other Kingdom." He suddenly pauses and blinks, "...oh shit. It WAS Munin. I KNEW there was a reason she looked familar!" He glares at the stone, sighs and shakes his head. Under his breath he mumbles, "...guess it doesn't matter anymore anyways..."
Flea sneers slightly. "The more I learn about Lavos, the more I learned that he is responsible for ruining my life." Growling, she pockets the piece, looking at Johnny with a great deal more respect than she did before. "Well, I suppose I owe you for giving me a name to be wary of... Munin will not fall too far out of my radar."
Johnny suddenly laughs and grins, "Your world is broken!" The humor falls from his voice, "That's kinda my fault, actually..." He hums slightly, pondering what to do, then decides not to bring it up. "Eh, so anyways! Let's get on with this! Eh-heh-heh..." Ooooh, he's nervous again? Johnny bolts to the ladder and begins to slide down it's rails to the levels below. When Flea follows she'll notice a sound, faint at first, but one that quickly begins to grow. The sound of people. Some crying. Some screaming. Some sounding muffled... and...there's something else.... a faint sound. Everything gets louder as they decend. This place -is- dead, right?
Domain of the Lost: Basement - 2nd floor(#2173R)
As you climb down the ladder your greeted by two framed painting hanging from the same wall on your left and right. The one on your left is a GIANT stick figure head with a frown on his face and 'GRRR!' written above it. To your right is an abstract painting with Z? drawn in the center. Climbing down and looking around you see a massive wall of wrighting accross from you ranting about how "sleep comes to the dead's eyes." Opposite that is another staircase leading down further into the depths of the house. Above it is a simple hand written sign that reads: TO THE PETTING ZOO
Flea looks at the walls, following cautiously. She was friends right now with what was easily one of the most insane characters here... no safety, to be sure, but at the very least, she would be in good company if she lost herself here. "Strange.. " she comments
Here you see a massive spiraling staircase with several doors along it's path. Like the seldom used stairwell of a huge office building, the stairs are built close to the walls as it decends down into the unimaginable depths of the complex. Looking over the edge gives the impression of a bottomless pit, but the silence and the stench of old blood are a reminder that everything has an end...
Flea peeks at the pit. o_oo
Reaching the bottom of the ladder Johnny surveys the area around him. Even with his nightmarish form, he seems nervous. The white orbs which make up his eyes are clearly troubled. He glances as Flea as she peers down and shakes his head. "We're going all the way down. I don't recomend the shortcut." The screams and cries are louder here. Each of the rooms along the walls of the stairs seems to have it's own unique voice crying out in pain, a few even seem to have people beating on those solid doors at the sound of the footsteps outside. Johnny holds his hands over his ears and screams at them, "JUST SHUT UP!! YOUR DEAD!! GO BACK TO BEING DEAD!!" Blood trickles from out of the doorframes and collects over the edges of the stairs. Was he really responsible for all this?
Flea waits until Johnny is ALL the way down from the ladder... before taking the ladder herself. After all, when one wears a skirt, one must be careful about climbing ladders. However, Flea doesnt have any business getting her clothes dirty with blood so she is careful not to rub against it
Johnny slowly makes his way downstairs, randomly he lashes out and beats some of the doors. "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!! I killed you once! DON'T MAKE ME DO IT AGAIN!" He's not really trying to keep his ears covered anymore. After awhile he steps more towards the center of the room, distancing himself from the screaming walls. "I don't want to do this... I don't want to do this..." He's chanting under his breath? Maybe he's trying to destract himself from the noise. Probably a good idea...
Flea keeps closer to Johnny, but she is becoming rather... weirded out by his behavior. "You.. okay?" she says with some concern, but... at the same time, she doesnt hesitate in her footsteps.
Johnny barely hears her, turning his head towards the sound of her voice, "..I.. I'm..." He turns to the doors again, "BE QUIET!!!!" The maniac wobbles as if his legs are becoming weak. His body starts to revert back to looking human again, although he seems almost younger for lack of a better word. His fear is very apparent. "This... is what I get... I've hurt a lot of people... I've done a lot of bad things..." He pauses infront of one door which is silent and walks towards it, placing a hand upon it. "THIS man... I shouldn't have brought him down here. He didn't do anything wrong. I wanted to hear him suffer.... hear him scream... but he didn't. He sat there and took it... Said he'd get his reward when he was dead..." The maniac kicks the door hard with his boot and screams at it, "DID YOU GET YOUR REWARD? DID YOU GET YOUR STUPID FLOATING BUNNIES?!?" He shakes his head and steps back from the door. "...of course he did. -I'm- the one who got kicked out of Heaven..."
Flea blinks... this was really nuts... there is absolutely no reason for this at all, but... still, she had to do this, at least if she wanted to make peace with Queen Zeal. Looking at the door, she looks back at him. "Floating... bunnies?" she says quizzically... she cant help but be entertained by the very idea, at least.
Johnny has a brief moment of what can only be described as sanity. At least if you compare his actions now to his actions at the start of this voyage. "They're creepy..." Yes, well. That explained everything. He moves on down the stairs, only he seems a bit more himself now. Perhaps he only needed a break from the voices in his head. Wait... the screams seem to have quieted down too. Something doesn't seem right about all this.
Flea follows quietly, being very much on her toes about all this... the silence was perhaps more deafening than all the screams and Johnny's ramblings from before. Now, this doesnt look good at all
The room looks like a warzone. On the same wall the main stairs connect through hang several hooks and chains with decayed meaty chunks hanging from them. The floor is covered in gore and claw marks. Accross from these horrors is a large damaged wall. Despite the fact that the other side of the wall is nothing but concrete, something big seemingly came out from the wall itself. The remaining bits of plaster are stained from years of being painted with human blood. Looking away from the nightmarish details of the room you see a modified electric paddle machine like the ones that hospitals use to revive patients stuck in a corner near a doorway that leads to a dark lightless hallway. The claw marks on the floor seem to lead that way....
The final doorway. The room is very dark and the smell of blood and decay is strongest here. There's a dim light, almost like a forgotten emergency light, glowing from some unseen part of the room. From this point the world above seems like a distant memory. Johnny wobbles as he takes it all in. His dagger has been put away finally, simply because he's shaking so baddly. Something awful must have happened here. "This is it... save for the crawlspace, we're at the bottom. I think if I'd kept feeding it, the place would probably be deeper. No mater what, though, the wall was always at the bottom. I thought I'd lost my mind at first, and maybe I had, but maybe I've found most of it since then." Johnny rubs the back of his neck and guestures his head towards the focal point of all the blood and gore. The broken wall at the far side of the room. "...I can feel it, y'know. It wants out. It's mad." He laughs nervously, "I guess I am too." Taking a step back from the wall and back towards the stairs, the maniac shakes his head. "I-I don't wanna do this. Not anymore. She's in the wall. She's in that wall... it goes further down. Probably all the way to Hell. You wanna go back now?"
Flea keeps her hand over her mouth to prevent any smells or particles from making contact with her delicate lips. After all, her lipstick was precious! Of course this isnt the first time she has seen pools of blood... some of her more potent magics require her to slit the palms of her hands (hence the fingerless gloves). "Something tells me... for what i've done... I deserve to go all the way to hell for this." she says before looking down at Johnny. "It is often said that madmen rush in where wise men fear to tread... so what does it make me that I am going where madmen fear to tread?"
As Flea turns towards Johnny once again, she'll likely be rather suprised to find instead a small cat-girl standing there instead. The fear seems to be the same, so does the, now black, daggers tucked into her belt. Her tail seems to be wrapped around her legs, nervously. "I-I don't know, really. S'ppose it means yer mad too." Taking a deep breath, the girl seems to regain control of herself. She glances back and forth as if for the first time and sighs, "Sure, sure.. bring me inta this too, huh?" The girl pushes her bangs out of her face. "Nice ta meetcha, Flea. I'm Tabitha..."
Flea raises an eyebrow at the girl. "Maybe I really have gone mad..." that would explain everything thats been happening lately. "My parents warned me that my games would eventually drive me insane... I suppose they might be right." As if it were the most appropriate thing in the world, she greeted the girl. "Pleasure to meet you Tabitha... I know your time is precious... lead on, spirit." echoing a similar story of wintertime ghosts and madness.
Tabitha grins fangedly, "Spirit? I'm not a spirit." She pauses and seriousness washes over her. "I don't really know what I'm doin' 'ere though..." She scans the room again and her tail begins to swish back and forth behind her. "I... guess I've been seein' through his eyes some'ow, or somethin'. It feels like I was dreamin', but I guess if I'm 'ere..." The girl seems to be getting nervous. "Wait, why would I dream I was Nny?" She looks around again, as if for the first time. "It's all kinda goin' away. W-what are we doin' 'ere again?" Perhaps this is more than a dream afterall. As if in response to it, a growling, tearing noise seems to be coming from the broken wall. Isn't that where Johnny said Flea had to go?
Flea looks into the gloom and points onward. "I am here to meet someone... someone important to me. Zeal... who is quite dead, I have been told." Looking into the growling wall, Flea approaches it. "Johnny told me to go down in there... perhaps there is a reason you are here is... well, either to lead or be led. Either way..." Flea decides to conjure a small flame, hopefully to light the gloom.
Tabitha follows behind, looking at the broken wall with obvious dread. "Down, eh?" She draws one of her black-bladed daggers and stabs the center of the wall with it. The wall ripples and begins to bleed. "Y'know... I'm just gonna assume I'm dreamin'. I've seen some weird stuff in Johnny's head before. Maybe this was a dream o' his before he left Chronos fer Twisted, or somethin' and fer some reason I'm not rememberin' it all at tha same time." The cracks in the wall seem to bend and reshape as this horrible sight reassembles itself to how it looked before it had broken. She pulls the dagger away from the center as it becomes whole once again, then draws the other one. "This is how Johnny made me..." She stabs the wall with both daggers and drags the blades down to the ground. They cut the wall as they go with ease, but obviously it would as the wall seems to be made of some kind of flesh. The girl sticks her hands into the bleeding mess and begins to peal it back. This sick mockery of an autopsie only seems to get worse as pulsating vains emphasis the hole dropping down into the depths below. It's not really a hole inside the fleshy wall, more of a massive esophagus... or worse. Tabitha frowns and backs up at the sight of it all. "Ok, well maybe not exactly like this..."
Flea smirks. "Well, I suppose mortality brings with it something of a price on how we are all created." Flea looks a little worried. "This is going to mess up my clothes, isnt it?" Flea walks up to the fleshy and pulsing hole... "Eww... just... eww... " Flea poofs into a bat and flutters into the hole, speaking all the while. "eww, yuck yuck yuck!!"
Tabitha's ears fold back as she boggles at Flea's transformation, her head tilting to the side comicaly. "Yer... yer.... a bat? Cool!" Tucking the daggers back into her belt she walks to the side of the 'wound' and looks down it. "Well, I guess I'm gonna beat ya to tha bottom, then..." Taking a deep breath she draws herself into a ball and prepares to push herself in. Not without making a comment under her breath that is, "...if this turns out ta jus' be Johnny playin' a trick. ...I'll kill 'em." Closing her eyes she jumps and vanishes down into the murkey depths below. The webwork of vains wrap around the fleshy walls more and more chaoticly as they decend, even taking on complex patterns and symbols at some of the greater depths. It's not a straight drop either and it takes no time at all before Tabitha is bouncing off the sides and grunting in pain. The soft walls become harder and more metallic after awhile until they abruptly vanish all together, opening up into a massive cassim. The height of the cassim is massive, infact its large enough that a cityscape seems to come up quickly as the ground and pavement come rushing up to greet them from below. Tabitha hits with a horrible thud and crunch. Screaming, she forces herself back up and pushes her damaged and broken bones back into place and blinks realising the pain is completly gone. Standing, the girl checks herself out and raises an eyebrow. "...that's weird." Looking around at the vacant city around them, her eyes widen and her ears droop. "This is... this is... Hell?" Only a massive eye looking down from the reddish sky seems to acknowledge the two visitors. Things can only get stranger from here.
Flea flutters down before turning back into her usual form, just about to ask if Tabitha is alright before hearing the sickening crack of her bones. "O... ohh... that has to smart..." she doesnt realize that Tabitha is no longer in pain. "Are you sure you want to be down here... with... me?" she looks up at the giant eye, facefaulting. "... I knew I was being watched, but this is ridiculous..." turning to Tabitha, she tries to assess her wording. "If it is... its certainly similar to how I imagined it."