Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shadow Puppets II

She did not speak. She did not move. The Wooden Girl simply stood there in silence, surveying the firefight before her.

Behind her, the air began to shimmer. This was followed by a great tearing in the world, and a portal to some other horrible realm opened up in the forest. Even above the gunfire, even from across the clearing, I could hear the screams. Within the Screaming Tower, the puppet tortures her dolls. They hang suspended in the tower's halls. Their bodies respond only to the commands of the tower's mistress. Their bodies decay, even as the dolls themselves are forced to remain alive. Some are allowed to scream in terror. Some cannot scream, for their throats have rotted away. Some only scream when the vultures come for them, to eat at their flesh. Some are taken to secret rooms and forced to endure more conventional methods of torture. Their screams echo throughout the tower. This is the symphony to which she conducts her plays.

As the screams washed over us, one by one, everyone stopped and turned to see the Wooden Girl and the portal to her hellish realm.

"Experiment 154," I heard Scribe Sigma say. "Using materials collected from Experiment 153, they attempted to find a way to use her strings for themselves."

Neomaria faced the Wooden Girl. The shadows coalesced around her, almost cocooning the poor girl. "Who are you?" she asked the Wooden Girl. "Why are you here?"

The Wooden Girl was silent, but she lifted one arm, and pointed on finger at Martyr Alpha. The man seemed to turn white as a sheet.

"It's not my--" he protested. "I wasn't the first to use your strings! I just used what was available to me! I--"

I don't know what else he was going to say. I suppose I'll never know. His voice was cut off by a sudden choking sound, and suddenly he was being lifted into the air, struggling feebly against invisible strings. I saw the other Martyrs being pulled across the clearing toward the Wooden Girl. Unlike their Alpha, they did not resist.

That's when I realized: there was nothing left inside the Martyrs. They were puppets of the Alpha. Anything that remained of the people they once were was long gone.

The Wooden Girl turned around and stepped into the tear in space. The Martyrs were pulled in behind her. Just before the portal closed, I saw Martyr Alpha casting one last panicked look back at the clearing, back at the world that he would never see again. He opened his mouth, and though the Wooden Girl did not allow any sound to come out, I knew that he was screaming.

The world went silent. The Screaming Tower was gone. Neomaria fell to the ground, and lay there.

"Maria!" Ghost shouted, rushing to her. The shadows swirled around her, and seemed almost like they were going to lash out at him, but then they receded. Ghost knelt next to her and held her in his arms.

I wasn't close enough to hear what was said, but I saw her wrapping her arms around him, and the two of them holding each other close. Scribe Sigma began to walk away.

"You're not going to say anything to her?" I asked.

"No, she's safe now."

"But she's your sister. Shouldn't you talk to her?"

Scribe Sigma just gave me a sad smile. She didn't say anything, and I heard a sound like stone grinding against stone, and the the entrance to a tunnel opened up in the world, and Scribe Sigma walked through it.

The grinding again, and the tunnel closed itself.

In the clearing, Ghost stood, helping Neomaria to her feet. "We're leaving," Ghost announced. "I've set aside some resources. I've got a home for us squared away. You won't be hearing from us again."

"Like hell!" Stone said. "That girl is still wanted for murder."

"And if I recall your orders were to leave her be," Ghost snapped. "Don't try to stop us."

"Need some help getting to wherever you're going?" Jorma asked, a sly smile on her lips.

"Absolutely not. I don't want you telling your 'mother' where we are."

"She'll find out anyway. Every mirror, every reflection you cast, she can see." Jorma laughed. "I promise not to harm you. My Mother just wants to be sure that Neomaria can't be used to interfere with her plans. If she retires to some farm with her sweetheart, then it all works out."

Ghost glared at Jorma, and Neomaria whispered something in his ear. "Alright," he said finally. "Fine. But we're watching you."

Jorma laughed and approached the pair. "Don't worry," she said. "We'll just take a quick detour through the Garden." It was like a sudden sandstorm came out of nowhere, and then vanished, and Ghost, Jorma, and Neomaria were gone.

Ophilim had apparently decided to leave at some point during all this as well, so it was only us SMSC employees that made the trek through the woods back to New Rossfield.

Matthias, why don't you tell them what else you saw?


Very well.

On every tree in the forest as we walked back, there was an eye. And the gaze of each eye followed Matthias as he passed. He said not a word, and stared straight ahead. But he could feel every eye on his back.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shadow Puppets I

Agents are returning from holidays. I guess things will start getting lively here soon.

Anyway, I see that Judas decided to add his two cents. I guess I'll just pick up where he left off.

There was a clearing, and in the center of the clearing was Neomaria. She was on her knees, crying, and shadows were swirling around her like an angry storm. Four Martyrs stood on the edge of the clearing, each one with a weapon trained on her. Between her sobs, Neomaria begged them to leave her alone. To just go.

"Neomaria!" Ghost shouted. The Martyrs looked at us. Neomaria looked up, and saw Ghost, and I swear, her face lit up like a lightbulb. It was amazing to watch. Like all the fear and sorrow and panic just washed away from her face in an instance, replaced only by sheer joy.

"Nu!" she said, and jumped up. A shot rang out, and the shadows swirled angrily. The fear returned to Neomaria's face.

"Martyr Alpha!" Sigma growled. She had her own weapon aimed at one particular Martyr, who had a big "A" emblazoned on his combat armor. It was a great day for people shouting each other's names.

"You should leave!" Martyr Alpha shouted. "This girl is the property of the Archive, and anybody who attempts to obstruct her capture will be eliminated!"

"No," Agent Stone said. "This girl is a wanted murderer, and I am going to bring her in."

"Please... everyone, please just go," Neomaria pleaded. "I don't want to hurt anyone else."

"I'm not going to leave you," Scribe Sigma told her sister. "Tell me, Martyr Alpha, how do you instill such loyalty in your soldiers? I was looking through some old records, and I found the most interesting thing. A certain experiment that was never officially closed."

By this point, we basically had a Mexican standoff going on. Everyone had a gun aimed at someone. The only exceptions were me and Neomaria, since she had her shadows, and nobody trusted me with a firearm.

But Martyr Alpha didn't seem to care. "This is your last chance!" he shouted. "We don't care if you're Gifted, we don't care if a PRE has marked you as a servant! We will kill you!"

"Why would they obey this insanity?" Ghost asked softly. "Harming a Gifted is heresy!"

"Gee," Stone said dryly, "it's almost like crazy people join your little cult."

I heard Ophilim sigh through his gas mask. "Children, please."

Even though weeks have passed, I'm still not sure who fired the first shot. Whether it was one of our guys or one of theirs. But somebody tried to kill somebody else, and that's when all hell broke loose.

Jorma tackled me almost immediately, and I found myself staring very intently at a blade of grass right in front of my eye while gunshots and shouts echoed around me. "Stay," Jorma ordered above me, and I felt her weight leave me. I heard her feet against the ground as she rushed past my head.

I looked up.

Mostly, everyone was hiding behind trees, occasionally popping out to fire a quick shot before returning to cover. Neomaria remained in the center of the clearing, crying, her shadows protecting her from the hail of bullets.

"Don't worry!" Ghost shouted above the pandemonium. "I'll get you out of this, babe! I promise!"

And then I saw her.

She appeared on the opposite side of the clearing, just beyond the trees, behind where Martyr Alpha had taken cover. She was taller than I'd expected, like a tree herself. Her body appeared to completely made of wood, and even from this distance, I could see her painted face, and that horrible, painted sneer.

The Wooden Girl had come.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scribe Sigma

Matthias had just reached the part when that bitch had joined us, didn't he?

I'm always wary of the ones that the Old Oaf chose to receive new memories. I think the Archivists call them "Gifted." Those lucky fuckers who are selected by the "Blind Man" or "Grandfather" or whatever to get access to other people's memories and also access to his fancy interdimensional Catacombs. None of Us-- and by "Us," I mean the ones Matthias keeps referring to as "Them"-- really know what to think of the Old Oaf. It's like he pokes and prods just to see what will happen. In that sense, I suppose, the Archive and him deserve each other.

So anyway, here I am, sitting in the body of the Matthias the Oh-So-Pious, as he wanders the woods with his idiot government friends, a snake lady, a former Archivist, and Ophilim, looking for a science project gone wrong. I wouldn't mind so much, except that they all were keeping me from getting near Ophilim. I swear, you try to possess a guy one time...

Next thing we know some idiots are attacking us, and then one of the idiots starts flying around and talking about strings like the puppet bitch is here, only I can't sense her presence at all, so who knows what the fuck that's all about. And then who should swoop in at the last moment and save the day but Scribe Sigma? The Old Oaf's chosen idiot.

Words were exchanged, especially between Sigma and Ghost, but I frankly didn't give a shit. You guys already know what's up, you've read Matthias' public diary.

We hear gunshots. We hear screams. I start to perk up. Next thing I know, we're all running through the woods, after the people making that huge racket.

We get there and there she is: Neomaria. The little lost lamb with the Nightlander babies. And who's surrounding her? Just a bunch of heavily armed Martyrs, that's who.

There. Matthias should be grateful. I've moved his narrative along, so now he can get to the good stuff.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas and the Martyrs

Things have been dull. Many agents have left to be with their families. Hopefully, they'll be back soon.

Jorma's visited me a few times. We've taken to playing chess. I'm not good at it, though occasionally Judas takes over and plays in my stead.

He never loses.

So it's basically just been me, a handful of agents, Jorma, and the occasional inexplicable sound or item seemingly moving by itself. Before she left for the Holidays, Stone said she suspects the old apartment has a Poltergeist. Those are apparently things. Who knew?

Anyway, where was I with my story last time I posted? The alliance with Ophilim, right?


I'll spare you the details on our planning and such, but a few days later we were all in the woods outside of town. We'd located the remains of campsite that Neomaria had likely used, and were hot on her trail. Ghost seemed the most driven, of course. I'd grown to like the guy. There was a sincerity to him that you wouldn't expect from a member of secret cult. He really cared about the girl, and only wanted her well-being. He argued with both Stone and Ophilim about it quite a bit.

I'd been kind of banned from moving within a few yards of Ophilim. There'd been an incident earlier when Judas had tried to jump bodies. The Archangel's lapdog is a fast one.

I'm... not really sure what the hell happened next. But suddenly, there was the sound of gunfire, I was covered in blood, two agents were dead (one at my feet), and Jorma and Ophilim had pinned down someone in body armor, who struggling, vainly, to escape their grasp.

We all ran over to him. "It's a Martyr," Ghost said. "Tried to get the drop on us."

"And he succeeded," Ophilim said. "I have shamed my Lord Archangel by allowing such a thing."

Stone rolled her eyes, and I tried to ignore the hysterical laughter echoing through my brain.

"Inquisitor Nu," the Martyr said, oddly calmly for someone trying to break free from two superhuman Fear-Servants. "I am Martyr Nu. Isn't that neat?"

"Name's Ghost."

"You cannot escape what you are," Martyr Nu said. "Our destinies are woven with unbreakable strings."

And then he shot up. Like, straight up. His whole body. Ophilim and Jorma were knocked back onto the ground. Martyr Nu hovered there a moment, limp, as if he were being held by something invisible. Then his body turned upright, and his fell alighted to the ground. "For the Alpha," he said, still with that tone of eerie calm. He drew a knife and rushed at Ghost, in a blur I could barely see.

One more gunshot, and Martyr Nu was spread on the ground with blood gushing from the hole in the side of his head.

As one, we all turned to see where the shot had come from.

It was like the world itself had been painted on a brick wall, and a part of that wall had crumbled away, revealing a long, torchlit tunnel. A woman stood there, with dirty blond hair drawn back in a ponytail, he skin pale, her clothing black. She held a rifle in her hands, and a pair of gray eyes regarded us all from behind her glasses.

And then, Scribe Sigma spoke:

"Where is my sister?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strange Bedfellows

Stone, Ghost, and I all decided to head back to base to plan out our next move. How we would find Neomaria, neutralize her without harming her, and keep the Martyrs from capturing her first. The thing is, when we got back, there were people waiting for us.

Not Martyrs. Worse.

The first sign of trouble was that none of the agents who were supposed to be guarding the apartment building were there. Stone and I had our guns out in an instant as we entered the building, Ghost following behind us, my bodyguard/captors just behind him.

We headed upstairs, to the room we'd decided as base. An old, empty apartment that always gave me the creeps. As soon as we opened the door, a young, attractive dark-haired woman in a white t-shirt and tight blue jeans turned away from the window and smiled at us.

"Woah," I said, pushing Stone's gun down as she took aim. She gave me an irritated look. I tried to ignore her and addressed the intruder. "Jorma."

Jorma smiled at me. "Matthias, you remember my name! Mother will be so pleased." Her eyes flickered and focused behind me, and for a brief instant they turned gold. "And you must be the famous Ghost, of the Old Guy's cult. It's a pleasure."

"What are you doing here, Lilim?" Stone asked.

"My name is Jorma, and I'm here because the one you're hunting is a nuisance that Mother has, until this point, ignored. But since a valuable piece has decided to get involved with her, we might as well remove the nuisance, yes?"

Ghost pushed past me, and I swear that man is insane. He actually walked right up to the snake lady with clenched fists like he was gonna strike her. "If you try to harm her in any way--"

The thing about standing in the doorway is that you don't see what's behind the corner. In this case, there was suddenly a gun pointed at Ghost's head at point blank rage. A man in a black cloak and gas mask stepped out from behind the corner.

"One should not fear death," he said. "It is merely a transition. Ending the girl would be a gift."

I was dumbfounded. "Ophilim?"

Jorma threw her head back and laughed. "I told you, Matty, the Archangel's gotten interested in you. It's something it and Mother agree on."

"Regrettably, we must work together," Ophilim said. "That threat of the-- of Neomaria is too great."

Ghost took a step away from Jorma, and frowned at Ophilim. "What do you want?"

"I want to kill that possessed failure of a cop over there and get out of this apartment," he turned his masked head and looked around. "My kind isn't welcome here. But what I want even more is to serve the will of the Archangel, and the Archangel desires me to aid you in capturing the girl."

With that, Jorma clapped her hands and smiled. "Come in, everyone!" she said. "We have much to discuss! And don't worry, your friends who were guarding the place are safe and sleeping. Oh, and Matty? Be a doll and don't go blabbing about this on your blog, OK? We wouldn't want the Martyrs to know what we're up to."

As I stepped inside, I heard Judas mumble in the back of my mind Wheels within wheels. That's the phrase, right? This is going to be fun...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Meeting Ghost

I met Ghost on a busy street on a sidewalk downtown. Like he said on the phone, he was easy to spot. While there is a small number of black men in khaki suits and trilbies in Tennessee, I don't think many of them are known speaking in British accents and happily chatting up random people.

"So," I said, trying to ignore the various agents I recognized around me, each trying to blend in (on reflection, I think Ghost was doing the same thing). "I understand that the person we've been tracking is your girlfriend."

He grinned. I think I actually embarrassed the former cultist-slash-spy. "Not exactly," he said. "Just someone special to me."

"Any idea how to track her down?"

He shook his head. "I've been looking for her for some time. This is the closest I've gotten to actually finding her."

"Why do the Nightlanders protect her? What do they get out of it?"

Ghost, to his credit, didn't show any overt signs of discomfort at being addressed by my, um, roommate. "I don't know. To be honest, I'm not sure if the shadows guarding her are technically Nightlanders. Once they were, but they've been part of a freaky mad-science fetal experiment for a decade. All I know is that they don't like it when Neomaria gets agitated."

"What do you mean?"

"At first, I thought they attacked anyone who got close. But during my search, I met a few people who got close to her. Each of them didn't approach until they'd talked her into calming down. I think it's only when she's scared or upset that the shadows lash out."

I nodded. "Hence why all the dead servants and our agents. Of course, they'd frighten her."

"Yeah, about that--"

We were interrupted by Agent Stone, who was suddenly walking beside Ghost. "I want to know what the Archive wants with our operation."

Ghost blinked at her. "Ma'am, I cut ties with the Archive when I started searching for--"

"Bullshit. No one leaves the Archive. You're a Blind Man Cult--"

"Grandfather," he corrected her, presumably by reflex.

"--And cults don't let their members just walk away." Stone regarded him with a stare that could have made a lion swear off meat. "If you want to keep us from that bringing a murderer to justice--"

"Murderer!?" Ghost raised his voice there, drawing a few looks. He quickly quieted down. "Neomaria is a victim. She has no control over the shadows. I know you've lost people but--"

"But nothing. People died. It's her fault."

I decided to step in there. "Look, we can discuss who's evil later. Ghost, you were about to ask me something?"

"Right," he sighed. "I read your blog, Matthias. There was a victim you couldn't identify. One in commando gear. I want to see the body."

"Too late," Stone said. "It's been shipped away to headquarters. What the hell did you want to do with it anyway?"

"It's just... troubling," Ghost said. "Over the past few months, I've noticed things. People following me. Signs that others are looking for Neomaria as well. Of course, the PREs probably want her, as a curiosity if nothing else, but I think someone else is trying to find her."

"Who?" I asked.

"How much do you know about the Archive? Are you familiar with the Seven Callings."

Stone snorted. "Pretty much everyone is, ever since your girlfriend's sister decided to become the Cult's public face. You got Scribes, Inquisitors, Keepers, Brokers, Collectors, Martyrs, and Analysts, right?"

"And which would you say is the most dangerous?"

I shrugged. "The combat ones, I guess. Those are the Martyrs, right?"

Ghost nodded. "There is a very good chance that the Martyrs are hunting Neomaria as well. I think your John Doe was one."

That got us quiet. Eventually, Stone decided to break said silence: "Shit."

Once again, Ghost nodded. "Couldn't have said it better myself."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Things Have Been Hectic

Well, it's been a while since I last posted, and my last post was of me going off to do something, and if you've been paying attention, you know what that means: a bunch of posts recapping what happened are coming soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The following can probably be best summed up by a question I found myself asking: "How did you get my phone number?"

Maybe I should back up a bit.

I was at base, discussing our next course of action with Stone. She wasn't pleased. Apparently, the guys up top sent out an order not to approach our young shadowy killer directly, but to monitor her whereabouts from a safe distance.

Well, actually, there's another order. Don't intervene in any of her activities, unless it looks like she's about to do something very public, which could blow the lid off this whole "Fear" thing and cause mass panics. But aside from that, observation only. Even if she starts killing people again.

Yeah. I'm not too happy either.

Anyway, Stone thinks we should follow the orders. Of course she does. It's her job. Me? Well, I guess technically it's mine too, but they didn't exactly put me through training. I think I'm more of a very closely guarded consultant than anything else. I think we should contain the girl. Judging by her actions, she seemed just as freaked as we were. She's a danger to herself and others, and we need to find some way to keep her from hurting anyone.

Anyway, it was in the middle of this argument that my phone rang, thus giving me an excellent excuse to walk away.


The voice on the other end sounded British. Don't ask me the exact place. I live in Tennessee, remember? "Is this Matthias Stanford?"

"Yeah. And you are...?"

"I am called Ghost. I've had other names, but they are part of my past now."

I paused. "O....K...?"

"I have information regarding that girl. Her name is Neomaria. I have been searching for her for some time."

"How did you get this number?"


"With what?"

"Ever heard of the Archive?"

Well. That made me freeze. The Archive. A collection of borderline Blind Man cultists dedicated to gathering information. One of them, calling herself Scribe Sigma, runs a blog here.

Everything suddenly made sense. Neomaria. She was the result of an experiment they ran. She was supposed to birth a new Fear. Instead, she ended up with a bunch of Nightlanders all over her. And if what I saw in that cave was any indication, they seem rather protective of her.

"Alright, Ghost," I said. "What do you want?"

"I'd like to meet you; face to face; so we can discuss Neomaria."

And then he gave me a time and place for a meeting. For obvious reasons, I'm not about to write it here.

"How will I recognize you?" I asked.

"Should be easy. Look for the dashingly handsome black man in a khaki suit and trilby." And then he hung up.

Afterward, we tried to figure out where he'd called from. No luck.

Looks like I've got a meeting tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Killer


That could have gone better.

Agent Stone got a message from Agent Lebowski earlier today-- he'd found the killer, and was following her at a distance.

So, we went. Stone drove. I sat in the middle row of seats, alone, with two armed agents sitting in the back. I'm quickly getting used to this whole "armed escort" thing.

We ended up just outside of town, in the mountains. Lebowski was waiting for us in front of  cave in the rocks.

"This is it," he called out. "She went in here. Hasn't come out yet."

Stone nodded. "Let's move," she said.

The cave was, all things considered, large compared to some of the other ones I've seen. Two people could walk side by side through it, if they didn't mind being squished together, so it was easy to walk through one at a time. Didn't even have to crouch.

The deeper we went, our flashlights illuminating the rocks around us, the smoother the walls became. It was like the cavern was making a gradual transition from naturally formed to carved.

And then, suddenly, we found ourselves standing in a tall, wide chamber, made from stone that, there was no question, had indeed been artificially shaped like this.

And our flashlights found a young woman. If I had to guess, I'd say twenty years old at the very most. Dark blonde hair hanging in clumps, clothes old and dirty and ragged. Skinny. Almost looked malnourished. And a look of terror in her eyes.

I admit, not really what I was expecting our killer to look like.

"What are you doing here?" she shrieked. "Get back! You're going to die! Get away!" The echoes of the chamber made her voice drown out pretty much everything, and with each word, her voice rose in panic.

By now we'd all had guns trained on her. Lebowski began to step forward. "Calm down, miss," he said. "We don't want to hurt you. Just tell us what--"

Fucking shadows leaped out of the ground and wrapped themselves around him. He couldn't even scream-- though the girl did enough of that for him. I saw shadowed hands tightening their grips on his limbs, on his neck, and then....


Lebowski crumpled as the shadows retreated, his body unnaturally twisted. The girl kept screaming.

"What the fuck!?" Stone shouted. She opened fire. I had to cover my ears. Damn, that hurt.

The shadows, and I swear this happened, then broke through the wall. In seconds, they built a tunnel out of that chamber. The bullets Stone fired stopped abruptly on the girl's skin, and I saw more shadowed hands on  her, with their palms outstretched.

Jesus, the fucking the shadows were catching the bullets.

The girl ran through the tunnel. Stone moved to pursue, but I grabbed her collar and pulled her back.

"Let me go!"

"Look on the ground!" I shouted back.

She did, training her flashlight on the floor, where images of men seemed to lay. The shadows almost seemed to be watching us, making sure we didn't follow.

I let go of Stone. We stood in the chamber for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, the shadows retreated.

Together, the four of us dragged Lebowski's body out of the cave and returned to town. And all the while, I heard laughter in the back of my mind.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mother's Maid

I've decided that I need to stop going to coffee shops. I keep meeting people who already know me there. First was Lebowski, come to let me know that the government was watching me and may want to recruit me, and now this.

Though watching the guards try to maintain the balance between being inconspicuous and being ready for action in a second's notice is rather amusing. I will admit that. Also I'm pretty sure there's a sniper following me around, ready to strike if Judas goes crazy. I've seen a dude with a gun running around nearby rooftops. I won't say the SMSC doesn't take the threat of Judas seriously.

Anyway, I was sitting at a coffee shop when some girl, looked to be college age, so a few years younger than me, sat down opposite myself.

"Matthias Stanford?" she asked.

I was very quiet, not knowing where this was going, and I just nodded.

"Mother sent me to check up on you. You can call me Jorma."

I frowned. And then... well, she blinked. Twice. And between blinks, her eyes were golden and her pupils were slits. "Oh," I said. "You're a... a whatchamacallit."

"'Lilim' is the term I believe you're looking for." Jorma leaned back in her chair. "I'm here to keep an eye on you. Make sure nothing happens to you."

"You mean nothing happens to me before the Mother of Snakes is ready to use me?"

She shrugged. "They all want to use you. And trust me when I say that Mother is the nicest."

I snorted.

"The Intrusion is out for your blood. Did you know that. Mother has found common ground with the Archangel in keeping the Intrusion from eating you inside out."

That gave me pause. "The Archangel? Really?"

"Yep. Who knows what that one's thinking. But don't worry about that now. I'm also here to protect you from the Eye. It doesn't have a grand plan. It just sees another victim when it looks at you."

I glanced down at the table, where an eyeball happened to be staring back at me. "And what about the Newborn?"


"The Newborn. I don't know how or why I ended up in its realm before, and neither does Judas." That part was really what worried me the most. Either Judas was keeping information from me or, worse, he genuinely didn't know why I ended up taking a trip to the Towering Realm.

"That I don't know." Jorma smiled. "You think Mother tells me everything?" She laughed. "I'll be in touch, and don't you fret-- I won't be far. Rest assured: Mother wants me to keep an eye on you, and I never disappoint her."

And then she stood up, and walked out of the shop.

I really need to stop drinking coffee in public.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Seventh Body

One of the agents radioed us earlier. Said that he'd found the killer. That was trailing her.

Description: Caucasian, most likely 18-25, dirty blonde hair, female. Ragged appearance-- most likely living on the streets.

He gave us an address of where he was and then... nothing.

By the time we arrived, it was too late. It was a sight to behold. Me, with about three guys watching my every move, keeping their hands on their firearms at all times, standing over the twisted and mangled corpse of Agent Flynn. Christ, I'd just seen him this morning. We made small talk. He told me about his high-school sweetheart, how he'd seen her torn apart by the Slender Man... Fuck, he didn't deserve it.

Stone, I think, had the hardest time. I'd... sort of gotten the impression that she and him had a thing. She didn't say much. Just looked kind of sick. Said only what was absolutely necessary.

I'm going to catch this fucker.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The New Rossfield Slasher

So there've been a string of deaths recently-- most of which happen to belong to the criminal element of the town. Contacts in the police force tell me that they suspect it's some kind of vigilante.

Well.... they may be right, I guess.

A couple agents have made a connection. Quite a few of the victims are Servants. There's the usual group of Timberwolves I've come to expect in this town, but it doesn't end there. Of the twelve deaths so far, only half have been Timberwolves. The others? Two confirmed as Dolls, one was a Drone (SMSC agents removed that one before the coroner could get to it), two were suspected Proxies, and as for the last... we don't know. He was identified as a man who had gone missing nearly fifteen years ago. He was also the most heavily armed and in the best shape of the bunch.

Every victim was found in an area where an ambush would be easy. Alleyway, parking lot in the middle of the night, the woods just outside town... They were also twisted. Broken bones, heads backwards, joints bending the wrong way. Each one was tortured to death.

Agent Stone made a crack earlier, when we examined the Drone's corpse, about how we should recruit this guy. I don't think so.

These people were just as much victims of Them. It's one thing to kill them in self defense. It's quite another to torture them to death. That's not someone who wants to make the world safer. That's just someone who gets off on it, and wants to assuage their own conscience by targeting Servants exclusively. You'd know all about assuaging guilt, wouldn't you?

There isn't a doubt in my mind. Whoever's doing this needs to be stopped.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Settling In

Back in New Rossfield. We've been setting up a base of operations here in an old apartment building that the SMSC apparently bought for us.

For some reason, this town is full of activity from Them, hence the government's interest in the area. My room is constantly guarded by armed guards, and I can't leave without an escort of armed agents.

Not much else to report yet. Well, not much else that I can report anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


It amuses me, sometimes, when people call me and my kind "monsters." I would like to remind you all that we are not bound by your petty and short-sided moral codes... and neither, it should be said, are you.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a young woman, around 14 years of age. Her mother had come down with a strange disease, and died, slowly and painfully, before her daughter's eyes. The grief-stricken girl was sent to live with her father, a man she had not seen for 5 years. A man who had walked out on her mother, though they had never actually been divorced.

Far from offering the estranged child comfort, the father pushed her away. He barely spoke to her, and they barely saw each other. Every night, she heard him on the phone, speaking with social services, trying to give her away.

And she cried. Her mother was dead, her father didn't want her. What could she do?

Oh, but she was wrong. You see, there is another person in the story. Someone I think you may recognize. He saw the look in the father's eyes when he looked at her. He knew. Her father did want her, very, very badly. And that was precisely why he pushed her away-- he was afraid that he might lose control. That he might hurt her.

So one night, the girl found her feet moving on their own. She found that, dressed in hardly anything, she was walking to her father's room, unable to stop herself. Unable to do anything but watch, panic and confusion bubbling just under the surface, as she entered his room, climbed into his bed, and spoke words that were not hers.

Mid-coitus, she died, leaving a man in terror and guilt, his own daughter's naked and defiled corpse in his bed. He didn't understand what had happened, but he knew that he was responsible, and so he turned himself in.

Nobody treated him with kindness and pity. They called him names. Rapist. Murderer. Child molester. And he allowed them. As he saw it, it was no less than he deserved.

Oddly enough, he died in interrogation. Strange thing. There was no torture involved after all.

And the detective who was in the room with him? He died two months later, having just gotten into a confrontation with members of some new gang. A gang with a heavy religious bent.

And one of those thugs who supposedly killed him died a month afterward, in a shootout with... well, you know the rest of this story don't you?

Strange thing, guilt. I don't understand it, but it seems to infect mortals something fierce. If you are going to regret something later, why do you go through with it? It makes no sense.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Deal

The day after my conversation with the Mother of Snakes, they came for me.

They held assault rifles pointed at me, and stayed at least three paces from me at all times. They led me out, down a hall that seemed out of place compared to the room I had been kept. Or perhaps the room was what was out of place. It was a long, white, bare hallway, with lightbulbs hanging on wires from the ceiling, cracks all along the walls. Stains...

They brought me to an interrogation room, and stood there with their weapons aimed at me, their fingers actually resting on the triggers. Either they had never been taught basic gun safety, or they didn't particularly care if they slipped, or they didn't want to waste even the fraction of a second it would take to reposition their fingers if Judas made a move.

A woman in a black pantsuit sat at the table. Blonde hair-- short, coming just below her ears. Blue eyes locked on me. I tried to focus on those eyes instead of the ones on the wall behind her.

Papers were spread out on the table before her. I recognized some of them. A copy of my birth certificate. Copies of police reports I had filled out. There were photos, too. A burning building-- it took me a moment to recognize it as the concert hall. Stills from RossCorp's security tapes, showing my meeting with Reed. Surveillance photos of Ophilim and Mad Ricky.

The woman didn't speak until I had sat down.

"Matthias Stanford," she said. She was reading a paper in her hand. "Went to North-Lake High, from there you went to major in Psychology at Rossfield State. Involved in a car accident when you were twenty that took the life of one Amanda Tarsen; your girlfriend. Following the wreck you switched majors to Criminal Justice. Become a police officer shortly after college. Discharged from the force just a few months ago, after contracting a Dying Man shard during a shootout with the Timberwolves." She placed the paper on the table. "An interesting life," she continued. "Tell me, why did you decide to pursue a career in law enforcement?"

I was silent for a moment. "Who are you?" I asked finally.

"Agent Stone. SMSC. Answer my question, please."

It took me a moment to answer. "I killed Amanda," I said finally.

"I was under the impression that it was the--" she checked the paper "--impact of the shattering windshield and her head against the phone pole that killed her."

"We were intoxicated," I said. "I should never have gotten into that car. I should never have let her ride with me. I--"

"Drunk people aren't exactly known for making informed decisions," she interrupted. I frowned. Another eye had appeared in the table.

"I was underage--"

"Most people are the first time they get plastered."

"She died because of me."

"That still doesn't answer my question."

I stared at her.

Agent Stone smiled at me. "Catholics," she said. "You people and your guilt. Dedicating your life to enforcing the law is not going to right any wrongs you believe you committed. It's not going to bring back your old girlfriend. We've done a thorough background check on you, Matthias. It's been 6 years, and you still have never had another girlfriend-- haven't even had a one night stand. You haven't had even a drop of alcohol since that night neither. You blame yourself for what happened. I get that. But can you do me a favor? Stop.

"I've read your blog-- even your most recent posts. The reason we let you have access to the internet was so we could read it and learn any extra encounters you may have. You have tangled with the servants of the Archangel, a being that can take the form of the dead. You have a Dying Man shard inside you who wants to use you for his own gain, and will use any psychological weakness he can find to manipulate you. Yesterday you met the Mother of Snakes, a being who shows reflections, sometimes true, sometimes distorted. We also know that you've been seeing the Eye as well-- a creature who preys on guilty consciences. Your guilt is a weapon that they will use against you. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that it wasn't your fault. You know that it was your fault. What I am going to tell you is that it was a mistake, and you need to get over it. Oh, and for what it's worth? The incident with the hostel, I can honestly say was not your fault. That was all Judas."

My eyes were wide, and felt stuck open. I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. I could feel them running down my face. When I spoke, my voice was choked. "People have died because of me."

"They have," she agreed. "And ever since your girlfriend died, you've tried desperately to make it right. I'm offering you that chance. The government is offering you that chance." She nearly laughed at that. "Given the political and economic climate lately, I don't think I need to tell you how lucky you are about that. So will take it Matthias? Will you take this opportunity to redeem yourself?"

I nodded. "Deal."

"Good. And Judas? If you try anything, we'll trap you in a box and drop you in the Marianas Trench. Capiche?"

"Duly noted."

She stood. "Then I look forward to working with you. Welcome to the SMSC."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Thing in the Mirror

Still not sure where I am.

Occasionally, I'll see an eye where there really shouldn't be one. It watches silently. It knows what I've done.

Sometimes I'll wake up with holes in my memory. Usually things will have been rearranged. Sometimes there'll be scratches on the walls and door. The window is barred, so Judas hasn't yet bothered trying to get out through there. Once I woke up with a tingling sensation in my finger tips, and a dull ache in my arm, like I'd been shocked. I still don't know what that was about.

There's a dumbwaiter in the room that delivers food. Too small to crawl through.

Waiting. Waiting for judgment.

There's a big mirror on the wall. Sometimes when I look at it, I see a corpse staring back at me, a corpse with my eyes, and rotting flesh hanging from its bones. The first time I saw it, I nearly screamed.

"Like what you see?" the reflection asked. It spoke with a woman's voice.

I stared numbly. Part of me felt like I was in a dream. Part of me wondered if I'd gone mad.

"Possessed by the Dying Man," the reflection went on. "Is it not your fate to become like this? Is this not your future?" A woman stepped out from behind the reflection. Startled, I swung my head around. No one there.

Her laugh drew my attention back to the mirror. Pale, naked, and hairless, she regarded me with an amused smile. I slowly found my gaze drawn to her eyes. Golden, with pitch-black slits for the pupils.

"Or perhaps," she said, "your future holds something different."

The corpse-me shimmered like a reflection on the water and it became something else. I looked at... me. But a better me. A smiling, confident me who radiated splendor and power. Clean-shaven, no wounds or scars, muscles so perfectly, flawlessly defined. I moved my hand, and that immaculate version of me did as well.

"Do you think, perhaps, one of us can give you this form?" the woman asked.

My gaze snapped back to her. Her skin was so pale... like looking at printer paper. But there was a change. Her stance had become looser, her legs spread slightly apart. Pink nipples stood rigid, and she smiled at me invitingly. Her facial structure had changed as well. Changed to...

"Who are you?" I demanded, panic nearly rising in my voice.

In an instant, she was back to how she had originally appeared, and the corpse-reflection had returned to the mirror. The woman laughed. "Who indeed?" She asked. "I'm a reflection. Nothing more and nothing less. Mirrors reflect the truth of the world, do they not? But tilt the mirror slightly, position it just so, and it can create an illusion. So what is real and what is fake? Perhaps I am merely a product of your feeble mind? Or maybe I'm something greater. Something far greater than you could ever understand."

My mouth moved. "The Mother of Snakes." It was not me who spoke.

The reflection shimmered again, and the corpse was replaced by... by a shadow. An image of darkness in the shape of a man, and I could just make out a skeleton deep within it, shrouded in that gloom.

"Aw," the woman-- the Mother of Snakes-- said. "Good job... Judas is what you call yourself, correct? What a very... human sense of humor."

"What do you want?" I asked. I could Judas bubbling under the surface. He wasn't happy.

"Me?" the Mother asked. "I merely wish to guide you. Why, Matthias, I can save you."

Now that was a load of bullshit if I ever heard one. "Why?"

She laughed. "The game has been set, the pieces are in place, and you have proven that you will be a valuable piece indeed." Her lips peeled back as she smiled, revealing a fanged mouth. "Keeping you alive is within my best interests. You are far more useful than you know. Matthias Stanford... do you have any idea the paths your lives may take?"

My reflection once again changed, and I saw myself as I am now, but covered in blood, and grinning from ear to ear, eyes wild and mad and rejoicing.

"Everyone has it in them to become a monster, my friend," the Mother of Snakes went on. "Reflections do not lie. Oh, they may bend and stretch and distort the truth, but they do not lie. So which will you be? The victim,"--the reflection became the corpse again--"the hero,"--the reflection became that perfect me--"or the villain?" Once again my blood-splattered self stood in the mirror. His hand moved, independent of my own, and seemed to rest against the glass, like I was looking through a window. He faded away, and my reflection went back to normal, but a bloody handprint remained.

"The game is afoot," the Mother of Snakes said. "The players have assembled."

"But why help me?" I asked. "I don't understand how my well-being is so important to you."

She shrugged. "I cannot lie," she said, "but I can withhold the truth. Suffice to say that the Grand Game is not analogous to chess or checkers or any such human game. It is more akin to politics. And what do you mortals say? Politics makes strange bedfellows."

"I'm flattered," I said flatly.

She laughed. "I'm sure you are. When was the last time you tasted woman?" Her form flickered to someone else, someone long dead, before vanishing.

I stood for a moment. Judas had gone quiet, and I could actually sense a feeling of uneasiness from him. I walked over to the mirror, and reached out against the handprint, and wiped the blood away.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Last night, I went to sleep.

When I awoke, I was standing in Sal's office. I was holding him. Restraining him. There was a gun on the ground, and Sal's arm hung at an angle that it really shouldn't have been.

I held him tight so that he couldn't move. Couldn't break away. I had a hand over his mouth so he couldn't cry out. "The way I see it, you have two choices," a voice that wasn't mine told him. "Let me into that safe, or Let. Me. In." From behind my hand, Sal grunted and his head moved. A nod.

Judas let one of his arms go, and Sal reached out, and opened the safe. Then Judas threw him against the wall. Sal banged his head, then went silent. It was at this point that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized that my arm was no longer in a cast.

Judas reached into the safe with my arms, and with my hands he pulled the box out. The box containing the Dying Man fragment. The box that kept this hostel safe.

I screamed against him. I tried to pry my hands away from it. I tried to escape. And for one brief, glorious instant, Judas wavered.

And then I felt as if I had been pinned to the ground, and I could only watch as my hands placed the box on Sal's desk. Judas examined it carefully.

"Matthias?" a voice asked.

My head turned, and my eyes beheld Maggie. One of the few guests left. One of the only ones willing to put her faith in Sal. She stared at me with a look of terror on her face, and I felt my lips curl into a smile.

"No!" I screamed. But my cry never left my throat. It went unheeded, and unheard.

Judas bounded at her, grabbed her, pulled her to the desk. She screamed, she struggled, and I heard the sound of my own laughter. I shouted and I tried to break free. Tried to stop my own hands from pushing her against the desk, from slamming the box into her. Again and again and again. Until her screams died, and both she and the lock lay broken and bloodied on the wooden surface. Two beauties dead

I dimly heard another voice behind me. It sounded like James, that other tenant. Judas ignored them. He reached into the now open box and pulled out a second, smaller box.

"Thin enough."

And then the deluge started.

I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. All I could feel was the drowning as that other shard filled my body. I felt the thrashing torrent of stormwater as Judas and the shard struggled for supremacy, and when it finally subsided, I felt... numb. I still feel numb. Like I'm distant. Away from my body somehow.

Judas turned and left. James tried to stop him. I saw my fist lash out, right against his face, heard a cracking, saw him slump against the wall.

Someone else was there too. I think he was one of the hostel's employees. He didn't try to stop me, he just stared, in terrified, wide-eyed silence.

I barely felt the cold sting of the night air as I stepped outside. It wasn't even morning yet. I don't how long we walked down the road, I suddenly felt something against my back. Something small. Sharp.

Dizziness filled us, and I saw shapes moving around us, heard voices shouting. Lights. A whirring thunder.

I awoke in what appears to be an elegantly furbished hotel room.

I'm sorry, Sal, Ivory... everyone else. I couldn't stop him. Now Maggie is dead, your protection is gone... and... it's all my fault.

Blood on my hands.

It never washes off.

I await my judgment. I await my punishment. Retribution for all those I have harmed. Bless me Father for I have sinned.

I accept my sentence. Whether it comes from God, or the eyes in my walls, or the people who now hold me.

Any punishment given, I deserve.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Can't get out. Can't even warn anyone. Judas clamps my my mouth shut whenever I try.

Ran into Maggie while I was getting dinner. I tried to warn her. To tell her to get out of the hostel. The stay away from me. She didn't understand. She thought I was being cruel.

Let her think that. As long as she stays away, let her think that.

That strategy doesn't work with Ivory, unfortunately. She keeps checking up on me. Checking my wounds. Won't stop no matter what I do.

I think Sal knows. I've seen him looking at me, and more than once he's tried to gently get me out the door. Judas never lets me leave, though.

I'm trapped.

And so is everyone else.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pandora's Box

I was talking with some of the other guests in the hostel. None of us shared our stories. I guess they didn't want to open up, and me... well, how would they have reacted if they knew about Judas?

James and Maggie. Those were their names. They told me that most of the guests left a while ago. They never bother the hostel, which made it popular for a while, but then everyone learned why.

It would appear that there's a Dying Man fragment here.

Apparently it's powerful. So powerful, it projects an aura that keeps Them away. When that blog post went up, and people found out, most of them left. Sal, the guy who runs the place, has practically become a pariah.

I don't care what Ivory says about my condition (she's the one who patched me up, by the way. Read about it on that other blog). I have to get out of here.

Tried to leave after I found out. I couldn't. I just... I couldn't. I opened the door to go, and my legs just stopped. He didn't say anything, but I could feel Judas in my mind. Now matter how hard I tried, I couldn't step out of that door.

So I locked myself in my room.

I can't leave. There's a box with a Dying Man fragment here and Judas won't let me leave.

God forgive me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've spent most of the last few days in bed.

My memory after writing the last post is hazy, at best. I vaguely recall walking around, feeling like something far off was calling to me and... next thing I know, I'm waking up in a bed. Someone did their best to patch me up.

Apparently, this place is a hostel. The guy who runs it calls himself Sal and says that it's a safe place, where Runners don't have to worry about Them. He never asked me what my story was, though I could see the faint curiosity in his eyes, and for that I'm grateful.

Runner, though... Not sure if I'd use that term to describe myself. A Fighter? No, too militaristic.

Well, whatever I am, I'm at least glad for the temporary reprieve. Even Judas isn't bothering me. He's been quiet ever since we got here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Cauldron II

Getting into the concert hall proved difficult.

Aside from the security guards, Timberwolves were also all over the place, keeping a close eye. And considering Who else was involved with this business, I had pretty good reason to be suspicious of any bugs I happened across.

And lastly, my arm was still in a cast. Climbing was right out.

But luck was on my side. I managed to sneak in one night, dodging guards and moving through a window that had been accidentally broken by one of the technicians. This happened maybe 6 days after my meeting with Reed. Four days after Lebowski offered me a job.

I got into the building, and I found a fire alarm. It was around midnight, so everyone getting ready for the opening had long since left the building and I wasn't worried about being seen. Security cameras might've been a problem, but...

Well, anyway, I pulled the fire alarm right after I planted my home-made bomb.

Let me tell you, it was hard building a time bomb with only one hand, having to rely on instructions on the internet. I don't even know if it worked yet. I hope it worked. If it didn't, then thousands of people are dead now. Anyway, the bomb was set for five minutes-- long enough for the guards to evacuate the building, but not long enough for the firemen to get there.

With the alarms blaring through the building, I ran. I needed to get out before the explosion.

And beneath the shrill cries of the alarms, I heard something else. A strange chittering sound.

Bugs were following me. Lots of bugs. I saw them behind me, forming a huge mass that covered the floor and walls. Roaches and spiders and centipedes and crickets... flies and wasps and bees and mosquitoes moved through the air. I picked up the pace, and felt a sharp stinging in the back of my neck. With my free hand, I slapped whatever had got me away.

I ran and ran and ran... I was so intent on escaping the Intrusion that it took me a while to realize that the hallway was longer than it had any right to be, that the alarms had faded into the distance, and this was not the same building I had started out in.

The tiles that lined the floor had vanished, and in their place was a layer of wooden planks and metal sheets. The plaster walls had given way to barriers seemingly made from a mish-mash of random objects and parts. The mass of bugs following me had vanished, but I could still see the occasional roach or spider scurrying around, weaving its way through the nooks and crannies of this bizzare building.

I remembered reading about things called Domains and Realms or... well, a whole bunch of other things. Like miniature worlds that They dwell in. The Path of Black Leaves, the Bleak Shore, the Screaming Tower... Could this, I wondered, be the Intrusion's Domain?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, Judas scoffed. Parasites, he said. Like they would have a domain of their own. No, they live in all the other domains, just out of sight. Pests.

I noticed an opening in the strange wall, like a window, and looked outside. Dark, bleak infinity. Nothing as far as the eye could see. I leaned my head out a bit. I was in a tower, one so tall that I couldn't even see the bottom. A tower assembled from random parts and materials. Stone and metal. Rope and wood. Plastic and flesh.

When I pulled my head back in, I saw that a plastic face was watching me. It was the head of a baby doll, hanging from the ceiling on what appeared to be a bit of rebar, extending out from the back of the dead like a long, thin neck. The doll's eyes had been removed, and replaced with golden, organic eyes. Like wolves' eyes.

It regarded me silently, and a tarantula made its way down the rebar and perched itself on the doll's head. I got the distinct sense that the tarantula, too, was watching me.

The Towering Realm, Judas said. It looks like we've been transported to inside the Manufactured Newborn.

I shivered. That was one of Them that I had hoped to never meet. A creature that builds itself out of whatever is nearby, searching for new materials to build itself bigger and bigger, eventually becoming huge and leaving to the Towering Realm, where it joins with its true form.

A true form that I now stood inside. A true form that the Intrusion was hiding in. A true form that probably didn't approve of me wandering through its halls.

I walked-- quickly-- away from the doll head. It turned to watch me go, the ceiling reforming itself to allow the rebar to maneuver.

As I walked, I tried to ignore the bugs following me, moving about in the walls of the Newborn. I tried, but I was not successful. My heart hammered in my chest, and I felt beads of sweat rolling down my skin. A buzzing noise suddenly spread through the tower, and I spun around to see a circular saw spinning toward me.

I threw myself aside to avoid its path, and was surprised when the wall opened up to let me through. I landed in a circular room, floors and walls made of countless layers of glass. Light flowed through the glass, and the ceiling was so high that when I looked up, I saw only darkness.

Darkness, and a skeleton rapidly descending toward me.

It was a large skeleton, and headless. Definitely not human-- maybe a cow or a horse. Bits of meat still hung off the bones, green and rotting. Long, sharp blades had replaced hooves, tied to the bones by wires. Speaking of wires, a whole bunch of them were wrapped around the spine, and they all extended up and above, ascending into the blackness, wrapped around each other in a thick cord.

The skeleton thing moved as if it lived, swinging the four blades at me. I moved and dodged, and the blades scratched against the glass. I was too slow. I felt a sharp pain slashing across my back, and warm blood flowing out. I gasped, and stumbled, and the glass below me began to crack.

I saw Mad Ricky, climbing down the skeleton's wire-cord. His cast was off, and his arm was covered in hard chitin. His limbs moved in a way that no human's limbs should be able to. His skin had been charred black, and his clothes hung off him as ashened rags.

"You will pay!" he called. "You will pay!"

And Mad Ricky leaped off the cord at me, hatred burning in his eyes, and the skeleton moved at him, his blades cutting into his sides, and the glass shattered, and I fell.

I awoke face-down in a field somewhere. The cut on my back wasn't deep, and had already begun to heal. I found a nearby library, and I used the computers there to update this blog.

I don't know where I am, but I need to get to New Rossfield. I need to find out if I destroyed the concert hall.

I need to find out if I saved the town.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Cauldron I

It's done.

Weeks ago, around the time of my last post... in fact, just a few days before I made that post, I paid a visit to a very rich man.

Alexander Reed founded RossCorp. He made massive profits, crushing his competition and expanding his company to practically all walks of life, thanks to a deal he made with Jack of All. RossCorp owns this town, and the only reason it does is because whenever of Them comes calling, Reed has no choice but to obey.

We knew that the Ophilim and Mad Ricky were involved with Reed somehow. Likely, it was the influence of their respective masters; the Archangel and the Intrusion.

And with all these facts laid before me, I saw the obvious opening. The obvious solution. Exactly how I could learn what they planned.

I went to RossCorp tower, and I headed up to Reed's office, and he let me in.

After, it wasn't like he had a choice. There's a Dying Man piece inside me, isn't there?

It was... a surreal experience. Reed, the most powerful man in New Rossfield, cowering before me. He tried to hide it, but his hands never stopped shaking. His face was pale and sweaty. His eyes never met mine. The man was terrified. Terrified of what I might ask of him. Or rather, what Judas would ask.

I like this guy. Of course Judas would.

"Don't worry," I told him. "I just want to know what the Timberwolves want."

He shook his head. His eyes remained glued to his desk. "I don't know," he mumbled.

"Did they make you do anything?"

He nodded. "A concert hall," he said. "They wanted me to build a concert hall."

There was a concert hall, in fact. It was nearing completion. In fact, the grand opening was scheduled in just two weeks. Promotion had been all over the place for it. Free tickets were even being given away like candy. Hell, I had a ticket for the grand opening.

Now that I thought about it, everyone in town probably had a free ticket.

Everyone in one place, Judas noted. In an entire town, cramped into one building, commissioned by a death cult and their carnivorous insect friends. Sounds like fun.

As I stepped out the door, I heard Reed breathe a sigh of relief. Glad I was gone, and that I had taken Judas with me. I wished I could do the same. But far from relief, I felt only fear, trepidation, and sickness.

If they were planning what Judas suggested... well, suffice to say it would not be good.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Here Come the Men in Black

Hey. Haven't updated in some time, right? Well, I promised myself not to post any updates to this blog until after I'd finished my job. Didn't want any Drones or Timberwolves reading this and knowing where I am or what I'm doing, but I figured I'd make an exception here, just so long as I leave out any specifics about my situation.

I met someone today. Someone who may or may not be an ally to me in the near future. Haven't decided yet. Like I said, I can't say where the meeting took place, only that it was a public area.

It was some random cafe.

...Apparently I am physically incapable of getting rid of that sentence. You know, prior to meeting Judas, I never would have considered any of Them to be internet trolls. But the more time I spend possessed, the more I become certain that that's what They are. Big, cosmic internet trolls.

Anyway, like I was saying, I was just... well, no use hiding it (thanks Judas)... I was sitting in a cafe, eating breakfast. It was taking some time, but I was slowly mastering the art of using my non-dominant hand for everything. I was having some eggs, some bacon, some coffee. Nothing fancy. Suddenly, this guy in a black suit sits down across from me.

I think the most surprising thing was how completely unsurprised I was. After all the shit I've gone through in the past few months, I doubt anything could have phased me. From the looks of it, the guy in front of me was a genuine Man in Black, and you know what? I just took it in stride.

"Matthias Stanford?" he asked.

I nodded. I didn't speak because my mouth was full of eggs.

"I am Agent Lebowsky. I work with the SMSC. Do you know what that is?"

I nodded again, and swallowed. "I thought you guys used codenames from David Bowie songs?"

"If that were true, there would not be nearly enough codenames for everyone in our organization."

Well that made sense. For those of you who haven't scoured the internet for information on Them, the SMSC are some weird division of the FBI devoted to Their activity. Well, maybe not the FBI. That might be a front. I don't know, it's confusing. The point is that they apparently handle cases involving Them, though I've never heard of them actually being effective.

"So, what do you want?"

"Your situation recently came to our attention," Lebowsky told me. "We want to sponsor you."

"Come again?"

"Do you have any idea the kind of opportunity you present? You possess a Dying Man fragment, but it has barely affected your body at all. This provides ample opportunity for us to observe the long term effects of Dying Man exposure."

"I have a name you know," my mouth said. My voice didn't.

Poor bastard nearly jumped out of his skin. Apparently, he hadn't been expecting to actually speak with Judas. "I apologize... Judas... It's just, surely you understand our position?"

"I doubt he cares," I muttered. "So, you want me to be a guinea pig?"

Lebowsky shook his head. "Far from it. We want to recruit you."

I just sort of sat there staring at him. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I could hear laughter. "Come again?"

"You are unique," Lebowsky explained. "You are a trained officer of the law, you've managed to keep your head even in the face of... well, you know, and you while you have yet to achieve a major victory, you have made admirable efforts against the Fears' servants."

"Don't call Them that," I said.

"What? Fears?"

I nodded. "That implies that they somehow represent a part of ourselves, that we created them. That they represent what scares us. And I don't think that's the case."

Lebowsky didn't reply to that. After a moment of silence he simply said "We will be keeping a close eye on your coming operation." And then he stood and left.

Don't worry. We'll give you a show you'll never forget.

Friday, July 27, 2012


What drives a man to fight, even when there is no hope of victory?

What drives a man to follow a path that he knows will lead to his destruction?

Why, when faced with the inevitable truth of his own demise, does he still continue to press on?

Hello. It's me again. Judas. Today, we are going to talk about humanity.

Now, there are many degrees of humanity, even among my own kind. Surely you've noticed? The "Slender Man", he whom most of you are familiar with, is inhuman. And yet, there is just enough similarities that something approaching a comprehension can be made between it... and the mad.

Then you have beings like the "Archangel". It is utterly inhuman. Utterly beyond even the low threshold of humanity supplied by the "Slender Man". And yet, the "Archangel" has a mind that runs parallel to humanity, and so humans can interact with it fairly well, even if any true understanding is impossible, there are just enough coincidental similarities that mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships can be forged with it.

Next, we will discuss the "Intrusion". It is not, in any way, shape, or form, human. It is not slightly human. It is not almost human. It is not even human-like. It is alien. Understanding of any kind cannot be forged between humans and the "Intrusion", and so its servants, the Drones, must relinquish their humanity. They do not give into madness, but remain fundamentally human like the "Slender Man"'s proxies. Nor do they attach some imaginary, divine concept to their lord like the "Archangel"'s cultists. No, the Drones, over time, lose the very essence of humanity. Their bodies become slowly more and more twisted, and as their physiology resembles humans less and less, so too do their minds. 

Sure, early stage Drones, such as the so-called Mad Ricky, maintain their humanity to an extent. And yes, it takes years of change for them to finally lose that human quality. But in the end, Drones become as the bees and the ants. They are individuals who none the less work together as a hive, with a singular purpose. Each has a task to fulfill, and nothing matters but the preservation of the colony. As the years pass, and they become more and more attached to the "Intrusion", the two intertwine, and the Drones become truly alien.

Finally, we have me. I am a fragment of the "Dying Man". Once, long ago, we were one being. It has been altogether too long since there was only one "Dying Man", instead of thousands of different pieces. One may wonder how such a shattering is possible.

I will tell you. As you have no doubt gleaned from my kind's use of speech and text, we are, out of all the beings you label as "Fears" or "Fossils" or "Gods" or what-have-you, the most human. It was our mind that humanity was most able to comprehend.

That was our weakness. That was our vulnerability. If we are ever to become one again, then we must shed those qualities. We must become as the "Intrusion". We must become alien, and only then may we remain strong. Only then may we remain One.

Matthias is a human. He is, simultaneously, weak and strong. He is weak because his mind is fragile. It can be shattered so easily. To cope with the world, he needs to create laws. He needs to look at the chaos of reality and find order in it. Long ago, this was the purpose of religion. Nowadays, religion still serves this purpose, but science is gaining way. As humans find evidence to support their illusion of a rational world, many are caught in the transition. Matthias believes in order and reason, and yet he also clings to his faith. This is the weakness of humanity. And this is also its strength. For these delusions are precisely what allow humans to keep fighting, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. Even when hope simply does not exist.

And make no mistake. No matter what you believe-- If you put your face in some deity, or believe only in cold, hard facts-- you are merely following an illusion. There is no grand set of rules and laws that the universe must follow. There is no such thing as order. There is only chaos.

The universe is chaos.

The universe is what we will it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jack of All

My right arm is in a sling. My shoulder is bound. That drone with the claw managed to break it.

Did you know that it takes 12 weeks for a broken shoulder to heal? I don't have that time. I have two months left before whatever it is that Ophilim and Mad Ricky are planning comes to pass, and I can't even move my dominant arm.

Can't afford the hospital. Instead, I ended up bedridden in a cheap-ass motel. As if that wasn't enough, a couple days ago, I started noticing that the skin around my shoulder was turning purple. And green. And there was a lot of yellow pus leaking out.

Judas, doing what the Dying Man does best-- chemically wrecking my body, twisting it, malforming it.

But there are silver linings (aren't there always).

Firstly, my shoulder doesn't hurt. I think it may have something to do with the whole deformity thing. Maybe it's Judas' idea of helping?

Secondly, I finally met him.

In the end, Jack of All found me. I just woke up one morning, and there he was, standing at the foot of the bed, watching me.

He appeared as a man getting on in years, dressed in an old, tattered suit, with a long black coat. A strap hung over his shoulder, with a flask attached to it, hanging against his side.

When he saw I was awake, he waved at me. His hand was red. Literally. His skin was red, and his finger nails were overgrown, yellow, crusty.

"I hear you were looking for me."

I was quiet for a moment. "Yeah."


I would have shrugged if I could move my shoulder. "I gotta a Dying Man fragment that says I should, and an Apostle and Drone that are planning something big. Seemed like a good idea."

He smiled and took a drink of whatever was in his flask. "I see. Tell me, how much do you know about me?"

"You grant wishes. You make deals. And the people you do so with always regret it."

His smile got even wider. "If they live."

Jack walked over to the motel room's chair and at down on it. "I open up avenues of opportunity for people," he said. "Like say, if someone were to claim that he would sell his soul to make it in business, I'd offer him the chance. And then he would take it. He'd become so successful, so powerful, that an entire town would belong to his company. But every time an emissary of a god, no, a devil, came by, he'd have no choice but to accomadate him."

I stared at him as my mind slowly processed the information. "You mean... RossCorp?" I asked. "It's success... it depends on him making Them happy?" I didn't need to specify who I meant by "Them". We both understood. Call Them what you want. Gods, demons, Fears, PREs, Fossils, whatever. It's all the same in the end.

Jack just grinned at me in response. "You know, that shoulder of yours looks pretty bad."

I almost agreed with him, but then I realized the trap. "I don't need your help with it," I said, choosing my wording carefully.

His grin widened. And then... he was simply gone. No puff of smoke. No flash. Just... gone. Like he was never there at all.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Yesterday, I learned what a Drone is.

Not the president's personal kill-machines. I'm not talking about those kinds of drones. I mean like bees. Well... not really. I mean those who, for reasons I cannot quite fathom, have decided to throw their lot in with the Intrusion. I'm talking about the kind of thing that Mad Ricky is.

I was looking for this Jack character. I'm still looking for that Jack character. But my search took me into a tunnel. It was a passage through the mountains, for cars, but the road was old and disused. I don't think anyone used it. I from asking around the nearby town that there was a sort of homeless community in the tunnels, and that a well dressed old man with glove on one hand had been sighted there a number of times over the past month.

Sounded like our guy. So, naturally, I want to investigate.

It was... really, it was what you'd expect. It was a long, dark, wet, muddy tunnel. Trash and junk and broken things were scattered all about the place. As I walked, I didn't see any signs of actual people though... well, until I noticed the light in the distance. Orange glow. Flickering. It was a fire.

As I approached, I found it was one of those trash can fires. A woman was standing near it. She was dressed in rags and dirt, and her hair was clumped together and so full of filth I couldn't even tell what color it was. She had her hands stretched out toward the fire, warming.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

She gasped and jumped back, and looked at me with big, frightened eyes.

"I'm sorry," I told her. "I'm just looking for someone you see. His name's Jack. He usually has a glove over his right hand. Carries a flask of alcohol. Have you seen him?"

She didn't say anything. She just shook her head.

"Well, thank you anyway," I said. I began walking past her.

As enticing as the thought of possessing some mud for a few years is, you really should turn around, Judas' voice suddenly rang out in my head.

I turned around, back toward the woman. She was standing right behind me. I hadn't even heard her move. Her mouth opened, and these two... things came out. They were vaguely golden and fleshy... their shape, like limbs. They came from her mouth and moved apart from one another, stretching out her cheeks and lips. It took me a moment before I realized what they were.

Mandibles. Like on a bug.

The woman hissed and rushed at me. I threw her aside and began to run back to the entrance.

It was at that point that I heard a buzzing noise above me. I looked up. There were three more people clinging to the ceiling. One wasn't wearing a shirt, and a pair of translucent wings had grown from his back. They were vibrating, quickly. Buzzing.

I rolled away just as they jumped from the ceiling.

The winged one fell closest to me, and some weird spear thing suddenly lunged out of his mouth at me. I jumped back, avoided its reach, and it receded back into his body. Another one, a woman, suddenly leaped from behind him. How could she jump so high? I didn't even get a chance to move before I felt something like a fucking boulder slam into my shoulder.

I fell down. Heard a crack. The woman was standing above me, holding her left arm out. It had... a claw. Like one a lobster or a scorpion or a crab or something. She reached down and tried to grab me with it.

I rolled away, and screamed as I felt pressure on my shoulder. OK. No more rolling then. I scrambled to my feet, trying to ignore the pain in my right shoulder.

I pulled out my gun and fired.

Five shots rang out in that tunnel. Two hit one of my assailants. The woman with the claw fell to the ground, blood and pus pouring from the wound in her throat. And then the winged man and the third ceiling drone-- a man with two extra arms-- rushed at me.

I fired again and again and again. Taking a step back with each pull of the trigger, screaming in pain and defiance and terror. I fired as the winged man fell. I fired as the woman with the mandibles rushed at me. I fired until I was empty, and the drones all lay dead in the tunnel.

I headed back to town. It was a hard journey on foot. My right arm could barely move without sending a jolt of pain through me. I eventually got back, hid my gun in my hotel and checked into the hospital. Told them I was hiking and a rock fell on me. I think they bought it. Not sure.

So those are what drones are. What they really are.

I hope, even if I realize it's a vain hope, that I never have to face things like that again.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Lost

First of all, I think I may have found Mad Ricky's old blog. Given his current state, I don't think I'm spoiling anything when I say that it doesn't have a happy ending. Basically, a bunch of terrible things happened, and at the peak of all these horrible things his roommate Jess got devoured by the Intrusion, and now he's crazy and thinks that she lives on through the bugs. Poor kid.

Secondly... I hate seeing homeless people.

The looks on their faces... they just... ugh. What's worse are the couples. The families. When you see a husband and wife, faces dirty, clothes ragged, just standing on the edge of the street, holding each other. That defeated look in their eyes. I can't stand it.

But worst of all is the knowledge that I can't help them. I'm currently funding my trip with my life savings. I can't spare a single cent. And even if I could... how much of a difference would it make? At least, that's the question I ask myself every time I refuse to give them a small donation. That's the justification I use to ease the guilt.

Look at me. I'm trying desperately to save lives. To stop madmen who worship monsters. And yet, I can't do something so simple as make a single person's life better. That's the grand irony of the universe, isn't it? The cruel joke God played when he imparted us with morality.

And yet I still keep going.

What else can I do?

Friday, July 6, 2012

How I Got Here

Now, clearly I haven't covered everything that's happened in the last month, but there's really only one more important event to explain.

You see, at the moment, I'm traveling. I have a very clear end goal in mind. Well, to be honest, it's more that Judas has a clear end goal and I have a kind of foggy one. Basically, we're going to see a guy named Jack.

Remember what I said about two posts ago? That I was fired due to pressure from someone influential? And do remember what I said even further back than that? That this town is basically controlled by RossCorp?

Alexander Reed, RossCorp's founder and CEO. That's the name that came up during my investigations. And by "investigations", I mean tailing Ophilim. I knew that he had to have had something to do with my being fired, so I hunted him down and kept watch. He's a hard man to keep track of. I lost him a few times. But I always found him again.

One night, about five days after I'd started stalking him, I got brave. I followed him into a warehouse. It was one of RossCorp's. And old, big warehouse. It was filled to the brim with those metal boxes, you know? The big metal boxes, like you see on freight trains? Connex or something? It was like a damn maze in there, though luckily that made it easier for me to stay out of sight.

I followed Ophilim through the warehouse. He was alone. No Timberwolf guards for once. He was dressed in the same outfit he was always dressed in-- gas mask and long black hooded coat.

In the center of the warehouse, Ophilim stopped walking. I hid behind one of the crates and listened. Footsteps. Someone walking closer.

"She's impatient," I heard a voice say. "My sweet Jess is hungry!"

"Reed won't be finished for another three months," a deeper voice replied. Ophilim, I believe. "And even then, there may still be delays."

"You promised her a feast!"

"And your... patron... will get a feast. But it must wait just a little while longer."

The guy Ophilim was speaking to giggled. I think it was around that time I concluded it was Mad Ricky.

Gee, what tipped you off?

I felt something tickling my arm, and absentmindedly brushed at it. Another tickled. I looked down. In the dim light, I made out a centipede crawling up my arm. I took my other hand and flicked it off of me. Can't stand those things.

The weird thing was, as soon as I threw it off, I felt something shift inside me. Like Judas was holding his breath.

"Will there be more fun things?" Mad Ricky was asking. "I liked the hospital. It was fun. And that nurse? Oh, she loved the nurse. Filled her right up!" I barely stopped myself from gasping. So Mad Ricky was the one at the hospital. But who was this "her" he kept mentioning?

"If Mr. Stanford, or anyone else, for that matter, continues to pester us, then you may indeed get to indulge yourself again."

"Oh? Can I? Please, please, please?"

"Yes, I just said--"

"Not you! Jess! She saw him. She felt him. He hurt her!" And then I heard him running. Toward me.



I scrambled to my feet and tried to run, but I was only able to take a few steps before I felt something heavy slam into my head. I fell face down on the concrete floor. The impact sent a wave of pain rippling through my body-- particularly my nose.

"You hurt her! You hurt my Jess!"

I rolled over just in time to avoid Mad Ricky stomping on me. His cast was out of his sling, and I guess that's what he used to hit me with. I jumped to my feet, moving backwards away from the maniac as I did.

It wasn't until I was standing that I saw his eyes.

They were so... wrong. Pupils. So many pupils. At least six in each eye. And each one was focused on me. How was that possible? How could he see?

He's a drone, Judas said in my head. He belongs to those fucking bugs. And you just had to go and hurt one.

Bugs? I dodged Ricky's cast as he swung at me again, and then comprehension dawned. It was one of them. Another like the Archangel or the Slender Man or the Dying Man-- The Intrusion.

"You are too persistent," Ophilim said. I hadn't even seen him follow Ricky. "Alexander had insisted that the matter could be closed without bloodshed. Against my better judgment, I allowed him to try his way. I won't make that mistake again. He answers to our gods. We don't answer to his. That was the deal."

And then Ophilim shot me.

Well, he only grazed my arm. I managed to dodge the shot and break into a run out of the warehouse. Mad Ricky followed me.

My turn! Judas suddenly said.

I felt myself spin around and hold my palm out to Ricky, still running backward even as I did. "Let me in," I said in a voice that wasn't mine.

Mad Ricky stopped dead in his tracks. Whatever his insanity, he clearly wasn't crazy enough to risk a Dying Man infestation.

I ran. I'd had the foresight to leave my car unlocked, so getting in it wasn't problem. As I drove away, I breathed out a sigh of relief.

"Fuck!" I said. Mostly to help relieve the tension. "Were they talking about... Alexander Reed? RossCorp?"

Likely, Judas said. And he serves their gods, due to a deal that was made. Interesting...

"So, what, he became a successful business man because he made a deal with the Archangel."

No. His contract seems to be with both the Angel and the Bugs. And besides, neither of them are in the business of cutting deals with people not their followers. Especially the Bugs. Someone else made the deal. And I think I know who. Tell me, Matthias, in all your research, you ever hear of a man called Jack?

"Um. No?"

Jack of the Lantern. Jack the Red Handed. Spring Heeled Jack. Jack in Irons. Jack of All.

"OK. Some of those names are familiar."

Well they're all the same person. And I think we should pay him a visit.

And that was that. I left town just a few hours later, to search for this Jack guy. Hopefully he'll be able to provide me with answers, since I'm not suicidal enough to risk RossCorp's security.

And Judas says we're closing in on him. I need to hurry. Whatever it was that Ophilim, Mad Ricky, and Reed are planning, there's only two months left.

Hopefully, that's enough time to stop it.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Today I met a man whose skin was covered in blisters and warts. His eyes were crusted over and useless. His entire body shook. His clothes were stained with his own blood and pus.

My footsteps brought me to him of their own volition. He was sitting in an alley, resting against the wall, his life nearly gone. I saw my hand reach out and clasp his, and then the man died.

I felt someone else then. Somebody aside from myself and Judas, laying within my body. I felt chaotic and sick, and I realized that Judas was struggling with this new being. And then the chaos subsided, and the third was gone. Judas and I were all that were left, and Judas had grown stronger.

Long ago, the Dying Man was one.

Soon, I think, Judas wishes to be one again.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Caught in an explosion with a child dead. Nobody envied us. We were questioned. We were ordered to see the department shrink.

The first day when I was scheduled for an appointment, I called in sick. I just... I couldn't do it. What could I have told him? That I was possessed an ancient spirit? That the local gang worshipped the afterlife? That they did this because they knew about me?

I became a police officer because I wanted to protect people, and now, simply because I was near him, a kid was killed. It was sickening. It was a betrayal of everything I had silently believed about the world. You want to believe in justice. You want to believe in fairness.

You want to believe in good.

Growing up, I heard stories about crises of faith. Priests liked to tell those stories to me, as if it was something special and world-shattering that even men of God sometimes have doubts. I'd never actually had such a crisis before, but that changed after the bombing.

I wanted to know how such a thing could be allowed to happen. How such cruelty could exist in the world. And what of God? Could a caring and just God exist in the same universe where such wretched things existed? Where gangers worship a being who possesses the bodies of the dead. Where a man can walk the streets with an ancient monster lurking inside him, slowly pushing his body into decay. If a loving and all-powerful God truly existed, how then, could He allow these beings to exist and spread such misery?

I wrestled with these questions. And when I was laid off a few days later, apparently under pressure from someone very influential, my world came crashing down. There is no reward, it seemed, or trying to do good. There only existed profit in evil.

I drank that night. It was the first time I'd even touched a bottle since college. Since that accident...

Can't remember much else. It was all a drunken haze. It's my mind recalls me picking up the first bottle, and then...

And then I'm walking down the sidewalk. It's night, and there people walking past me, going on with their lives, cheerfully oblivious to the evils lurking just around the corner, in every shadow, in every heart. I reach out to touch one of them, and I stop myself.

My side itched. I ran home, and checked my rash. It had grown. In the center of it a blister had formed. I cursed my weakness then. I had fallen to despair, and Judas had taken over.

I became a police officer because I wanted to protect people. Even without my badge, there was so much I could do. Whatever it was that Ophilim and the Timberwolves were planning, I resolved to stop it.

If there is no good in the world, then we must make that good. Even in the face of overwhelming evil, we must not succumb.

I don't believe in good, I don't believe in God, because I want to. I don't believe in such things because I am weak, or because it is simply how I was raised. No.

I believe in such things because I have to. Because without them there is only darkness, and there must be light.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome Back

I know. It's been over a month since I last checked in with you guys.

There's just... there's so much to tell. The things that have happened. The things I've seen... but I'll do my best.

After the events of my last post, when I saw Ophilim and Mad Ricky for the first time... ugh. Those two. I've never truly believed that such a thing as Evil actually existed. I thought I did. I thought that Evil was negligence, that it was mistakes that caused pain. No. I was wrong. I didn't truly believe, until I met them for the first time. Ophilim's complete lack of any empathy, any sympathy... any truly human emotion. And Mad Ricky just... how can such a creature possibly exist? How can it be called human?

But... I'm getting ahead of myself. For the next week after that post, things continued as normal. I went to work, I did I needed to do. Judas was quiet. The rash hasn't gotten any worse. Well, unless you count the itching. Still, it hasn't spread at all. I tried to keep track of the Timberwolves and this Mad Ricky character but they seemed to go into hiding.

And then, one night, I had guard duty at the hospital again.

The kid was almost healed up until he tried to bash his own head in. For all his apparent hatred of hospitals and distrust of doctors, he apparently was doing his best to keep himself inside.

Anyway, while I was on guard duty, his room exploded.

Me and the other guard were knocked forward, the blast sending us away from the room. It gets fuzzy then. I remember my face slamming against the opposite wall. I remember the dizzying pain... There was a blurred figure who danced across my vision. He said something about how "she" doesn't like barbecue, so it was a good thing I wasn't burnt. Then he skipped away, singing something about blogs.

That kid... he was scared. He didn't understand what he was facing. He was backed into a corner and driven over the edge, lashed out at anyone who might've helped him. He didn't need punishment, he needed help. He was an innocent, corrupted through no fault of his own.

And they killed him. They killed him just so they could scare me away.

I'd known, intellectually, that the Timberwolves needed to be stopped. I'd known that they were ruthless, that they were killers.

But this was the first time they'd ever made me angry.

I can still recall the sensation of Judas' laughter.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Worst Morning Ever

Yeah, I haven't been making very many updates. Nothing much has been happening. Even Judas has been quiet... well, until last night apparently.

You see, this morning, I woke up sitting in an alley, my back against the wall, my head positioned so that I was looking out the mouth of the alley and at an expensive black sports car.

Since I'd fallen asleep in my bed, I was obviously pretty alarmed.


I heard it like a voice in the back of my head. "Judas?" I whispered.

Be quiet and watch

The door to the car opened, and a man in a long black hooded coat stepped out. I couldn't see his face-- he was wearing a gas mask.

I nearly jumped in terror. I remembered everything I'd read about the Archangel.

That's not the Archangel, Judas said. That's just the alpha for this wolf pack. Calls himself Ophilim. He's an Apostle.

"He's a what?"

An Apostle. Chosen specifically by his master to be a servant. Stronger and better than your average wolf.

"Ophilim" stood by his car for a moment, apparently waiting, and then I saw a man approach him. He looked to be somewhere in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Caucasian. Brown hair. Couldn't see his eyes. He wore a brown duster, and his left arm was in a cast and a sling. He said something to Ophilim, and the Timberwolf nodded. The two of them walked into a nearby building.

"And who was that?"

Not a clue. If I had to guess, I'd say that's probably Mad Ricky.


Some guy I overheard the Timberwolves talking about. They knew I was tagging along in that guy's body, and kept me out of the loop as much as they could, but I picked up on a few things. Apparently Ophilim's been negotiating with a guy named Mad Ricky. And apparently the Timberwolves are afraid of Mad Ricky.

Now that was bad news. You have any idea what it might take to scare members of a death cult?

I couldn't see any sense in following them without backup or a weapon, so I went home. Judas has given me a pretty good lead. The only question, of course, is why?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guard Duty

The kid ended up having to be transferred to a different hospital. He attacked a nurse, and then someone broke in and tried to kill him. He's now in restraints with cops watching his room.

I had a shift last night.

I tell ya, hospitals give me the creeps. They're so sterile. It unnerves me. This one was no different. Especially with the kind of patients in the nearby rooms.

Yeah, it gets boring standing watch all night. I talked with a couple of the staff. There are so many people in this town who we've just completely failed to protect.

Across the hall: a woman who was nearly beaten to death by her own husband. There had been reports of abuse, but they were never seriously investigated. Not until he threw her out a fucking window anyway.

Two doors to the left: a guy who had his foot cut off by some Timberwolves. Apparently, he owed them drug money.

Down the hall: That poor college girl from that case a while back. You see, a couple months ago, there was a string of murders at a local college. This girl was the last victim. Shot in the stomach. She's in a coma, still hasn't woken up. Her boyfriend skipped town shortly afterward and dropped off the grid. Guess who's the prime suspect?

I swear, this town just gets crazier and crazier.