"No problem. Do your eyes still hurt?"
(more) "Not as much as before. It's better. It's better now."
"All right. I don't think you've seen this before."
"Yeah. I've never been to the beach my entire life."
"No, not the beach. Of course, you've never been to the beach, you were locked up in that dungeon. I'm talking about the sunset."
"Yes, I've never seen a sunset. Barely ever saw a, a sun."
"You're not going to be disappointed."
"Just needs some time. I brought you a little earlier because I didn't want to miss it."
"It's fine, Sir. I have all the time in the world."
"Yeah? So what have you been up to ever since you got free?"
"I've been watching TV at the hospital. It is so good. I've also been learning how to read from one of the nurses. It's so difficult for me and I feel so stupid for not being able to do it. Kids read, right? So, why, why can't I?"
"Don't be hard on yourself, it's a complex process. You were locked away in a room with low light, minimum oxygen and nothing to keep you company. These things have affected your brain. But the doctors say that you can recover some functions, you just have to work hard for them."
"I understand. The last three months have been so strange. I didn't even know that people lived like this. I literally didn't know about the word freedom. A nurse taught it to me last month."
"Well, now you know. This is what freedom means. To be able to do the things you like doing."
This sunset came early, because the days started getting shorter without my noticing. This is the season of darkness, when night stretches on passed waking and creeps in before the working day is over. Now is the time when there really are so few hours in the day, when(more) you begin to wonder if humans shouldn't take a more intelligent design and start hibernating instead of suffering through. Soon autumn will end and winter will reign. Soon the cold winds will blow across the fields and through the trees. Soon the snow will fall to coat the land in it's own winter bundle. It is then that the darkness will be full, but the sun will shine brighter than ever for the few hours it gets, reminding the moon it is not the sole powerhouse of the sky. (less)
Ingrown toe nails. Ingrown bacteria. Ingrown infections.
Don't leave them unattended. Cut it out. To say he once had a manifestation of ingrown problems, fostered into an illness. Nurtured into a disease which left him emotionally incapacitated. The figurative decapitation of his soul, the center of reason and(more) logic. Word vomit spewing from the carotid artery severed by the brutality of American capitalism. His inability to explain and distinguish passion between practicality led to his handicap. Dismembered legs and hands left him motionless, stagnant. With nothing but a torso, his heart is the last pillar. A flicker of a flame which it once was.
So go forth young man. Go forth unto the pursuit of a practicality which extinguishes passion, onto the murderous path in which you will suffer injury, you will break bones and come out the other end a shadow of the man you once were. It is what everyone does. It is what everyone sacrifices. But it also is what everyone regrets. (less)
I have been on this ship my whole life. Never once have I stepped foot on dry land. The old timers that still remember say it doesn't sway or rock. The land doesn't get angry and try to drown you. This just seems foolish to me but I can(more) not help but imagine.
I like being on the ocean. I can swim and fish as much as I please but to see land that is the dream. They say it can be as green as the mold on the rails. Or as brown and dry as the cooks bread. They even say there was a place where you could find every color you could imagine.
It can stretch as far as the eye can see and even rise up to touch the heavens. It can be covered with grass and trees or be as barren as fathers head. Some places were covered with homes and people, cities they used to call them, other places not a single person could be found.
What happened to the land we always ask but no one remembers the truth. Out of necessity we moved to the water on giant vessels. We sail from one horizon to the next, always sailing, always looking, always hoping. (less)
"Give it," Gotou said, mock-patiently, the hint of an edge to his voice. Masayoshi was stretched as far away as he could get, knee braced on the center of Gotou's chest and arm out above his head, dangling over the edge of the bed. "Masayoshi, give it /back/-"
"You promised!" Masayoshi said. It was harder than he thought to keep Gotou away even braced with his knee, Masayoshi may be the slightest bit /taller/ but Gotou had weight on him in muscle. He pushed Gotou's face with his other hand and tried to stretch further, keeping the phone out of range.
He'd walked out of the bathroom naked, having forgotten once again to take his change of clothes with him - not as big a deal as it once would have been, but Gotou raised his phone and took a /picture/ of Masayoshi, naked and surprised. He wouldn't honestly care that much about it except Ishihara had threatened him if any nudes got out and frankly he was more scared of her than any threat he'd faced in costume, so he'd plucked Gotou's phone out of his hand and meant to delete the photo.
He'd forgotten, in the heat of the moment, exactly how sensitive Gotou was to having his phone taken without warning.
"You promised you wouldn't take pictures of me like that-!" he was losing, Gotou always won when they wrestled, so he changed tactics and slid his knee across Gotou's chest and away, and Gotou fell on top of him, his support gone. That drove the breath from Masayoshi's lungs, but he wrapped his legs around Gotou's chest and clung on for dear life.
It was only a few quick swipes and the photo was deleted. Masayoshi breathed a sigh of relief, relaxed - and fell off.(less)
The worst two weeks were over. She had battered and screamed and broken that picture of her god and wept as though there would be no end. Tears on tap, without provocation. For those fourteen days, the world as she knew it had ended and there seemed to be(more) no coming back.
But she had survived, and maybe just by that fact there was hope still. Maybe the gods hadn't forgotten her. Maybe something was coming. Who knew. The crying had turned her into damp soil, waiting to receive a plant.
For the moment though, she was all scholastic qualification with nothing to say for it. Not really. Not yet.
Even in damp soil, trees take their time to grow.(less)
She stayed out too late. She's stayed out too late every night this month, but there is not cure for it. Things have to get done and there simply are not enough hours in the day.
On the drive back she doesn't think about all of the thing(more)s she's accomplished, because that train of thought is dangerously close to everything she didn't accomplish. She doesn't count the day as a success, but she doesn't call herself a failure either. She keeps her mind active by playing with the darkness, and the way that the shadows are morphed by the headlights of oncoming traffic. She wonders about the magic in neon lights and the wonder of star beams and moonlight. She keeps an eye out for the glimmer of eyes along the side of the road, ready to avoid any crossing animals.
And she listens to music. She rolls the windows down to feel the air rush past her in bursts of ice and listens to the wind play with the songs on the stereo. She works her jaw to keep it moving, tapping her teeth together with the beat of the radio, like her exhaustion manifested as something edible and she's chewing it over, rolling it around in her mouth and over her tongue in the hopes that each chop will take her another few miles closer to home.
And the moment she's home a sense of relief washes over her. The muscles in her body relax as she climbs the stairs to her home and closes the day's door behind her. (less)
when she was younger, verbena had posed all of her questions alongside tea and cookies.
it started out as the simple ones: "aiden, do you like cats or dogs?" "aiden, do you like sunny days or rainy ones?" that was before she started prying, looking at him with(more) her eyes big and the color of the delphinium along her driveway. "do you wanna grow up, aiden?" "do you like your parents?"
he had answered every one, stupidly. about how he had a dog before it was hit by an eighteen wheeler carrying strawberries back in california and his shithead father who still called collect at two in the morning, drunk on soco and rage.
she never answered, just smiled at him with her mouth around a cookie. "i'll chew it over," she'd say, pushing the tupperware full of that day's creation his way and topping off his cup of tea.
it wasn't until spring had come around again, just before she disappeared, that she first answered. she was sick then, and a cough had settled deep in her lungs that no herb could seem to move. she shook like the dogwood branches they sat under, and sometimes aiden had to carry her back inside.
"aiden?" she asked, her voice low and coarse. some days she couldn't talk. sometimes, it was worse when she could.
"yeah? everything okay?"
he felt her eyes burning into his face with determination, need. "aiden, are you afraid of death?"
he couldn't look at her, but heard the desperation in her voice. he smiled, and hoped it was a reassuring lie. "let me chew that one over, kid."
"i think i am," she whispered, laying her head on his knee and and pushing the tupperware of cookies his way. "so please, hurry."(less)
The signs illuminate the entire room. There are three. They all point in the right direction. And there it is, there it is. But you are so preoccupied by the window, by watching the sun set out the window, that you forget to exit the building.
(more) And what pretty cloud. What pretty moon. You could stay there all day. You could tidy the room, too, while you're at it. And what pretty sun.(less)
Masayoshi pointed past Gotou in the doorway, to where Beyond Flamenco sat at the low table watching them. "You're supposed to be DEAD!" It was the first thing he could think of, and ... well, to be truthful, the /only/ thing, especially given the last he saw of Beyond(more) Flamenco he was lying on the ground with a gaping hole in his chest.
"Yeah, /that's/ a comforting thing to hear," Gotou said, only half to Masayoshi. He grabbed Masayoshi by the arm and yanked him through the door into the apartment. "Can we not yell about that in the hallway? I have neighbors."
Masayoshi staggered past him, kicking his shoes off in a smooth motion and then walked straight over to where Beyond Flamenco sat cross-legged at the table. He circled him, and Beyond Flamenco watched him with mild interest. "Where's your tail? How are you not DEAD?"
"Tail?" Gotou repeated from the doorway. "/Tail/?"
Masayoshi rounded on Gotou since Beyond Flamenco was simply watching him with amusement. "Where did he COME from??"
"I found him in an alley," Gotou said with a shrug. "Kinda amusingly poetic, now. I thought he was you..." Masayoshi stared at him, and Gotou held up his hands. "Hey, how do I even know you're YOU, and not some imposter? I'm looking at two Hazama Masayoshis in my apartment, right now."
"Gotou-san!" Masayoshi said, hands at his sides and eyes wide.
"Masayoshi, relax - I know he's not you, he doesn't even sound like you when he talks, I'm kidding."
"It would be nice to not be talked about like I'm an object," Beyond Flamenco said mildly, spoon still dangling from his mouth. "I'm right here, you know."
"But you're supposed to be DEAD," Masayoshi said stubbornly.
"I got better," Beyond Flamenco said, and shrugged.(less)
Gotou opened the door after two knocks and gave Masayoshi the weirdest look he had ever gotten. “Um, hi-,” Masayoshi began; but Gotou looked behind himself and then stepped outside, pulling the door behind him and Masayoshi got the strangest sinking feeling in his gut. “Am I interrupting something?” (more)
It hadn’t been exactly a whim to visit Gotou … he’d thought about it for days, ever since From Beyond was defeated. He’d just been so busy, though, with the Flamengers and everything, this had been the first day he’d had absolutely nothing planned. Maybe he should have given him some warning, based on the expression that Gotou was giving him right now. Gotou exhaled a long sigh and rubbed a hand through his hair, then glanced up and down the open path that connected the second-floor apartments. “I need you to tell me something,” he said, and Masayoshi felt the terror squeeze in his heart. What had happened?
“What is it?”
“Do you have any other family you neglected to tell me about?”
“Do I…?” Masayoshi frowned, furrowed his brow and said slowly, “I don’t have any living family, Gotou-san.” He knew that. He knew about Masayoshi’s parents, about his grandfather… so what was this about? “Why did you ask that?”
Gotou studied him for a long moment, then nodded his head, seemingly satisfied with that answer. “Okay, then,” he said, and opened the door to his apartment. “Please explain this.”
When he opened the door, the person sitting at the low table in his apartment looked over. Masayoshi felt his mouth drop open in astonishment as Beyond Flamenco blinked at him, a spoon dangling from his mouth - and then waved cheerfully. “’Niisan!”
"I," Masayoshi said, because he had forgotten how words work. (less)
"By 2014, I had won 13 Academy Awards. 8 for best actor in a lead role and 5 for best supporting actor. It was getting a little boring."
"You used your time traveling powers to win a bunch of Oscars."
"Man, 13 Oscars. Tha(more)t's ridiculous. Have they ever given that many Oscars to anyone?"
"In my original timeline Walt Disney had 22 Oscars to his name. But no actor had ever won more than 4."
"And you say that you had 13 of them."
"I did. I know it sounds fantastical. And it was. I had to travel back and forth repeatedly to account for the slightest of mistakes. This process has a lot of trial and error. It took me 5 years to make The Master win at the Oscars. There were too many factors affecting the outcome that I wanted, and I had to remove them one by one. Personally."
"You are one of those classic stupid super villains. You could have literally done anything with your powers, and you went to Hollywood."
"I'm not a super villain. I just like acting. I always have."
"But I wasn't very good at it back then. The audience in my theater actually booed me off stage once. It was hard. I was just about to give up, when-"
"When you became ClockMaster the Time Wizard."
"More or less. But it was always about being good enough for that audience. It still is. Even after all that success, I never went back. I had to impress them, without having to cheat."
"Do you think you'd need to?"
"I really don't know. I just want to go back to that day at the theater. They never let me finish my scene. All I dream of, is a clean exit."(less)
The ship had been destroyed two weeks prior. Well, as far as he remembered it was two weeks. Kilo had run out of MREs a few days after the crash, and the delirium was setting in. The trek back to the ship had taken its toll, he didn't think(more) he would survive another trip back... Not without food and a few days rest.
Kilo peered through his binoculars, gazing at the wreckage in the jungle below. The bodies of the crew were gone and all that remained were the burned out Transmitter carriers. He needed those carriers to broadcast the Ships coordinates. The batteries on the on-board transmitter depleted after the first 10 days of power loss. Kilo wanted to steer clear of whatever shot them down so he left, expecting a rescue team to show. When none did, Kilo had no choice but to come back to manually activate the transponder. Its likely that base didn't receive the initial broadcast or were too busy defending assets in orbit to respond... Kilo did recall seeing lights flashing high above a week before. To Be Continued!
You wanna talk about reckless? Well bring it the fuck on, hombre! Check the bad ass chainsaws I hooked up to my Playstation!
...the fuck you mean "Why?"
(more) Because I'm livin' life brah. Top Gun status. Grand slam. Chronicles of Riddick bitch! Now are you gonna strap into that go-kart and race me mah fucker?! Hell yeah I built those bad boys and no, OBAMA, they ain't safe for street use! Now strap in before I get you in a head lock Stone Cold-style! I'm hella hungry and wanna get these dogs on the grill so let's get our race on. The wife? Hell yeah she's still dead you dumb shit. Left her hanging by that guitar string in the foyer so I can remind myself why I shower for 45 minutes every night! Hell no I ain't reading her note! Probably just a grocery list or something! Blame me will she? Ha! I got a pack of all beef franks that say otherwise!
And yes, little Jacob, is still locked in the basement. BOY NEEDS TO LEARN HOW TO ACT!(less)