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?
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.