Thursday, September 15, 2011
Desunt Cetera, Peccavi
It was only supposed to be a "recon mission." We'd joked about that, pretending to be spies, mostly to allay our tensions about what we might find. We were just supposed to check out the house, and then leave and formulate a plan. We were going to have a plan. We were going to be smart and genre savvy and we were going to take charge. This time, neither of us would be a damsel in distress. We'd be the heroes, saving Sam from monstrous villains. That attitude seems hilarious to me now. It was a nice, sunny day. Kim drove us. She was acting fine-- more than fine, she was acting on top of her own instincts, defined. I had a camera, since I wanted to be able to see if the creature was watching. I wanted to be able to go over the footage and schematics that could be picked up by the camera before formulating the plan.
We arrived, parked the car, I tried to make jokes to alleviate the tension that suddenly filled the air. Kim had a weird feeling, based off of a weird dream and a half-memory. I tried to reassure her, I really did, telling her that we'd leave the area pretty quickly. She seemed fine-ish-- had been dealing better than me up until that point. The house was utterly normal, though in a shitty neighbourhood. The garden was well kept, and though the shutters were drawn, we weren't given any reason to fear what could be inside. We moved around the house, and Kim's behaviour got more erratic. I didn't want her to relapse and leave me alone again, and in any case we'd checked the place out, we knew what it looked like and where it was. I decided it was time to go.
The last few weeks had been softening. I was used to having my Kim back. I let my guard down. It was my fault-- I was being stupid once again. Kim was staring at the house, and maybe she saw something I didn't, but it was terrifying. I told her we were going and turned to leave. Barely took half a step before I heard the gate to the house open behind me. Kim had gone in. I ran after her-- stupid, I know, but there are monsters, and I knew I couldn't handle losing her again. I knew I couldn't handle losing anyone else. And I could save her, and it was a sunny day, and the house looked normal, and if I could just grab her and stop her from going inside, and surely the doors would be locked--
I approached the wide open back door and readied myself to walk down the stairs. I didn't want to, every instinct in my body was telling me not to go into the dark, to give up on Kim, to flee, but I couldn't leave her. I love her. So I slowly crept down the dark dank stairs like a damsel in a horror film, like a child, like an idiot. The stairs were scattered with papers, and I could hear rustling coming from what must have been a basement. There were other noises too, but I don't want to think about them. I got to the bottom of the stairs, and saw-- well, in shock, I stopped moving. Kim took that opportunity to knock me out.
She tied me up whilst I was unconscious, and tacked more papers up to the walls. As I came to I was surrounded by madness- brown sheets of paper scrawled with symbols and sigils and spells, the writings of someone so gripped by fear they had lost hold of all reason. It wasn't all Kim's writing. I remember some of it-- poems about lambs, pleas to be forgiven, prayers, rhymes about a mother's love. Kim was busying herself with my camera as I came to. My body was bruised and aching, my head thudded, and I felt nauseous. My arm hurt, and I guessed that it was broken. I was terrified.
Kim was cheerful. She thought that basement room was safe from the Gentleman. I could tell that she was gone again, but I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe my surroundings. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't-- she grabbed my shoulder. The thing is, the thing is-- she really believed that we could be safe. She tied me up because she wanted me to be safe. She wanted us to be safe and okay. And she thought that we could be safe and okay. And she wanted other people to be safe and okay, so she was recording it, so that the whole world would know that the fucking spell would keep you safe. I knew she was wrong, but she wanted to prove that she was right to the world. So she stuck the camera with me and kept adding sigils. I begged her, I don't even remember how I begged her, but I begged her to let me go. I just wanted us to be away, I just wanted to be home, with my mum and my dad and Elsie and Benny, but that was never going to happen.
And I remember that she said "Sam's upstairs." And I knew he was dead.
The lights went out. I couldn't scream, I couldn't breathe, I felt like I was drowning again. He was there, behind the screen of paper and pen-strokes, and Kim taunted him. She laughed. She thought she was finally free, we were finally free, that she'd made the world free from that damned plague. She thought we would be safe. It's my fault. I shouldn't have researched getting away from him, I shouldn't have thought it was even possible, I should have focused on running and living, not some impossible cure. She laughed, and she taunted him, and then the papers enveloped her and dragged her away.
Then darkness. I wrestled myself free of my bonds, and turned off the camera.
I remember corpses and blood and a phone in my hand, and the flashing of the lights of a police car, but it was all a blur, and didn't matter. I guess at that point they were blaming me for the murders and disappearances, but I couldn't process it enough to care. I was in shock. I still am. The only reason I'm not still in police custody is due to D'Arcis, who paid my bail, and got the police off my back. Earlier today actually. Serendipitous? Not really. He came to talk to me after I left the police station. We talked a while.
D'Arcis is a member of the Church, and his job is to plant the idea of the Gentleman in the minds of children. Then, as they grow older, they either become infected themselves, or create fictional works involving him. Regardless of quality, or truthfulness, or grammatical quality, the works spread the idea of the man who isn't there. And that's all they need. D'arcis himself lives between glee and self-hatred. The Church is an amalgamation of individuals with agendas, and his own agenda is a distraction. He plays games with people because it's funny, and he doesn't think humanity is going to last long enough to be helped. And we weren't a special game to him, but he wanted to see the results. A test. An experiment. Whatever. He wanted to know if one could be saved. That's why he did what he did to Sam. If I could rescue Sam, or Kim, then maybe there'd be hope.
I laughed at that. "Well, I am pretty sure that there's no hope, so I guess you've confirmed my hypothesis." Or something in that vain.
He told me there was one damsel left.