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    Young Sage
  • Author
  • 2,113 Words

Chicago Wildlife - 10. The First Issue

This is where the story suddenly swerves into dark territory. Violence, implied child harm, and a weird worldview within.

Act 10: The First Issue

You pick the lock to the home with ease. Your prey would not be smart enough to invest in a superior form of security. And why would they? Only a real, thinking, flesh and blood human being would think to do so. Someone not cursed to lead such a meaningless “existence.” It was all pointless anyway. They were destined to die an uneventful death. Such is the sick will of the Readers.

You enter the home without making a sound. No alarms blare. You knew such would be the case. After all, this was all preordained. You are merely pushing along a straight line others would call “life.” Your prey are upstairs, two in one room, and one in another. You find the stairs and start ascending. At the top, you find a hallway connecting four rooms- a bathroom and three bedrooms. Two rooms are unimportant. They contain nothing relevant to your story and are, for all intents and purposes, blank voids not worth scribbling in background details. Two bedrooms contain prey. The biggest room is the one you creep towards first. The door is closed, though not locked. They would never know. Not until it is too late. You grip the doorknob and twist slowly. You push the door open slightly to see if there is a creek. None. You push further and peer inside.

There, on the queen size bed, lays one man and one woman. Both middle aged, both white, both in perfectly average health, both fast asleep. Their past is irrelevant. Their future was never there. Their final dream, pointless. Their reaction…vital. It is imperative that they overreact to what is about to happen, for the sake of this universe. You hope that they will not disappoint.

You step to the side of the bed, brandishing a butcher knife. It is your preferred weapon, as it helps establish your image to the Readers. Too many people nowadays use guns. It no longer strikes fear in the hearts of the innocent. The ignorant masses have dulled and ruined the image of a firearm. But a knife, a blade, that still holds a primal grip over their hearts. Their insipid media helps promote this picture.

The man wakes up, as he is made to do. He sees you and yells. You spend no time plunging the knife right through his heart. The motion is so fluid, so flawless, you would think a robot had performed it. Your eyes do not even flutter when the man’s blood comes dangerously close to splashing upon them. The man’s character arc is just about finished. His final act, the yelling, wakes the woman. Even in her sleepy haze, she realizes what has just happened and starts screaming too. You would feel empathy for her if it were all real. Alas, it is tough to feel for someone such as her, who has no feelings.

She attempts to bolt to the door, but you intercept her easily. You tackle her to the floor and quickly start choking her. She flails about, desperately trying to get you to release her, but you do not give her an inch. Her nails digging into your arms and drawing blood illicit no response from you. You don’t even feel the pain. After all, you, too, are incapable of feeling any emotions, for they are not necessary. After a short period of time, she stops moving. You release her and stand. The bodies will disappear later. You turn around towards the door. There is still one more target. The child.

You slink out the door and into the hallway. Your work is exemplary. The child will not have heard you working, despite the screams. He, or she, at the Author’s discretion, will still be sound asleep, safe in their overly childish-looking bedroom, with a light smattering of toys scattered across the floor, just sparse enough for a villain to tiptoe through, like a minefield. A panel will draw attention to a cheery poster on the wall, perhaps with some significant double meaning. It will be ceremoniously splattered with the child’s blood moments later. A nightlight will be lit, only to go out at a thematic time, the child unawares. All this, you know, for it is the only way the scene can progress as the Author intends. You slowly open the door to the child’s room, resolved in what you must do to further the story along. It will all be okay, though. You are sure that the Author will transition to a less controversial scene before anything truly grisly happens.

Later, you find yourself at the old, abandoned toy factory. How you ended up there is unimportant. All that matters is that you are there now, which means you are needed once again. You recognize the surroundings and determine that you are in your “lair.” You surmise that this means that the action is coming to you this time. You figure that the police found out about your recent activities, and that drew the attention of the hero. As the laws of this universe dictate, he will track you down and fight you. This location has become iconic in the eyes of the Readers, so it is only natural that it be used to house a dramatic confrontation between you and the hero.

You shuffle about, wondering which hero it would be this time. You consider yourself a fairly popular character, able to cross paths with multiple different superheroes over the years. You even managed to belong to a supervillain gang at one point, despite not having any powers, so the Readers belonging to multiple different heroes would recognize you. Your battle plan will have to change according to which hero you are pitted against.

Suddenly, a flashy bright light. You are momentarily stunned, blinded by it. Then, you regain your senses. Standing before you, seemingly having materialized out of nowhere, is the Light Devil himself. If this were a live-action movie, you would hear the dramatic leitmotif start to swell here. This is a fortunate turn of events. You have fought Light Devil many times by now. He is perhaps your most personable enemy, and maybe, the only one you could call a friend.

“Right on cue,” you say. “You play your part perfectly.”

“Your sick games end tonight,” he responds.

Not the most original lines, but to be fair, no one reads comic books for the sophisticated language and engaging repertoire.

“I only do-”

But he interrupts you by charging forward, fully intent on mowing you down with his bulk alone. Even this reckless behavior is anticipated by you, planned and accounted for, as Light Devil is known to be a player who does not adhere to antiquated rules. A rogue class is still a class though, and thus is bound by rogue rules. You dart into the shadows, sprinting here and there amongst the columns, until even you are not sure where you are in the toy factory’s labyrinth. Light Devil chases after you, his defenses up and your scent fresh against his nose. He tells you to give yourself up, that you aren’t making this any easier, and a bunch of other Writing For Dummies 101 lines, in due fear that the Readers won’t like wordless panels that exist solely for atmospheric enhancement. You push a crate full of toys on top of his head in response. He ducks out of the way, but by the time he grapples up to where you were, you had already disappeared into the darkness.

The next several minutes are a game of cat and mouse. Light Devil scours the factory, and you occasionally manipulate something in the environment to try to kill him. You operate machinery, you press buttons, you push objects, everything a good villain should do to pad out the page count. And Light Devil, naturally, escapes just barely in the nick of time. After almost hitting you with a rubber bullet, you slink back into safety, and he is left wandering once more.

You are every corner, you are every nook and cranny, you are every pitch black shadow that swallows everything in its path.

But light always pierces the darkness.

Just as you are about to sneak up behind him and sink your knife into the back of his skull, he whips around and blinds you with some brilliant weapon. You flinch, and then you are hit. Before you realize that you have lost, you feel, for the briefest of moments, the pain of a fist smacking the back of your head. And then you black out.

The time that span afterwards is a blur to you. Your consciousness recalls a ride in a car with red and blue lights swirling, a dank jail cell with no roommate nor sanitary standards, and finally, a courtroom. It is here where you regain clarity, which must mean that the narrative has begun again. You look forward and see the “honorable” judge presiding before you.

“…the senseless slaughter of the entire Smith family, both John and Jane Smith and their child, Jessie. Oh, it seems you’ve decided to ‘grace’ us, Mr. Tamari,” says the judge.

“May the records show that Mr. Yu Tamari awoken to the words of his heinous misdeeds, as a sign of his admission and guilt to committing the act,” says the Smiths’ representative.

“Objection, Your Honor. That is conjecture, putting words in Mr. Tamari’s mouth,” says yours, Mr. Doe.

“Sustained,” says the judge.

“As we have previously discussed,” continues Mr. Doe, “my client has already been clinically diagnosed as mentally incompetent-”

“He’s insane!” shouts someone from the stands.

“…mentally incompetent to stand trial. The paperwork has already been presented, and obviously none of it has ‘expired.’ There’s no reason for this trial to have happened.”

The judge looks at Mr. Doe quizzically.

“Mr. Doe, am I to take it that you are unaware of the fact that your client had personally requested this trial?”

“What?!” he asks, suddenly turning to you.

Had you really done that? You don’t particularly remember, but figure that if you had, it must be important to the narrative.

“Mr. Tamari,” continues the judge, “what is the reason you have brought us here today? Why did you murder the Smiths, a pillar of the local community, and besmirch their outstanding reputation that we all will remember them by?”

The absurdity of his words forces you to give out a slight chuckle.

“No, you won’t,” you say, barely above a whisper. “The names of some throwaway characters won’t be remembered by the Readers. Nor will the names, actions, and legacy be remembered of anyone in this court, like Mr. Doe here.”

“Mr. Tamari, that is not my name-”

“But MY name will be remembered!” you say, your voice louder now. “I was created to be a recurring character. My existence will have meaning, not in this universe, but to the Readers’. I will provide them with sick entertainment, enthrall them with macabre machinations, convince them that there is no way out for the heroes, trap them in a never-ending cycle of shilling out their finances to continue watching a made-up story unfold!”

The judge bangs his gavel.

“That is enough, Mr. Tamari!”

“None of this is real!” you shout. You are tired of having to explain this seemingly every week. “You bang a gavel to silence me, an illegal move you should be well aware of, and yet you are not disbarred. Does no one find that odd? A man dressed in a devil costume assaulted a mentally unwell man without witnesses or police backing! And the mentally unwell man is on trial! This whole reality is poorly written! Nothing but a cheap, cookie-cutter comic. This whole scene only exists to set up a future plot point in a sequel. None of you will ever understand the truth of our reality, because none of you are significant characters. The only one here who is truly important…is me.”

The judge bangs his gavel again and goes on to sentence you. Mr. Doe stays silent. The state finds you insane, and thus, you are never killed off for committing so many murders. You get to live to kill again, escaping every kind of prison you’re thrown in, no matter how secure it is, because the Readers demand it. You are too entertaining to get rid of. You make too much money for the publishers. The Author hasn’t exhausted their ideas with you in mind. You will never change, for you are iconic. Immortal. That is how you were written, and you have no choice but to comply.

Thanks for reading! I really wanted to do 2nd person POV at some point, and this is the result. According to my helper, Yu's last name in kanji audibly sounds very similar to the Japanese word for puppet, which ties into Yu's belief about his purpose in life.

Copyright © 2019 Young Sage; All Rights Reserved.

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