the blue suited man awoke feeling like he'd been sleeping on a pile of rusty car parts. he sat up, twisting and trying to locate the source of the throbbing pain in his leg, that…
memories started to flood back, hitting like a freight train.
running across the compound.
slamming through a crowd.
seeing one of His victims suddenly fall silent on the ground.
guards running to protect their comrades.
that horrible masked face sliding from the ground, eyes locked on his.
someone firing, more screams.
an impossibly misshapen hand reaching, gripping, pulling…
"Oh, God no!"
he looked around in welling horror, pleading with his own brain to lie to him. the room was dark, dirty, and low-ceilinged, tufts of dirt and debris in the corners, the grayish paint peeling in ragged streamers, the stained ceiling and floor warped and lumpy. a doorway opened in to darkness, a vague, insistent noise sounding from far off. the light was dim, but didn't seem to come from anywhere, seeming just a weak, omnipresent glow with a slightly green cast? like deep ocean water?
oh, he knew this room, even though he'd never been here. at least, ones very much like it. Gascot liked to dump his new catches here before he…found them.
the suited man rose quickly, hunching down to avoid a sagging bulge of ceiling, he barely wanted his shoes touching this place, let alone anything else.
he winced, feeling a dull, empty ache in his leg, high in the calf...probably where it grabbed him…and damned if he was going to check it. he limped a few steps, making sure it could bear weight, eyes sweeping over every surface...
Sunshine gleamed in to the bedroom of Apartment 51. Saul wakes up quickly and begins dressing. It was Friday, which meant he had to get to services. He threw on a button down and jeans and begin walking to synagogue.
The morning service begins, and something strange happens during the Sh'ma. The little yahrzeit lights commemorating the plaques of the dead began flickering. The piano became out of tune, strung out. Strange.
Saul leaves the temple, a bit uneasy. Something about this whole thing just sort of made him uneasy. On his way home something catches his eye across the street. A man seems to be observing him from an alley. The mask seems oddly familiar, actually kind of interesting.
the hall was long, and broken, like a hospital hallway after an earthquake.
no big holes, just twisted and tilted oddly. he creeped down, as close to a wall as he could get without touching it, feeling gritty plaster crunch under his feet. the noise was louder, the sound of high-pitched, monotonous crying.
it set the teeth on edge, but they'd said it would be like this. the key was to keep moving, keep looking.
yes, it was endless, but if you kept on the move, it seemed like He got confused, or lost track of things, and maybe you could accidentally wander back in to the world.
he kept repeating the steps, the briefing in his head like a prayer, ignoring the part where the Demon hadn't released one of his victims (or perhaps let them escape) from his domain in a number of months.
he took a right at the end of the hall, passing down another, then a left, starting to move faster, ignoring the odd, corroded twists of pipe and wire in some of the rooms he'd passed, or the suggestive, soggy mounds of…something.
the crying kept getting louder, the high-pitched, gurgling wail of a baby. Ignore it, keep moving. It called the shots, It could make the whole place sound like a power drill if it wanted.
he bolted down a hall, nearly at a dead run, trying not to see the growing dampness of the walls, the changing texture of things.
broken plaster over old, greenish bricks, floor going from broken vinyl, to concrete, to dirt.
as he shot a look into a dim, mossy room, filled with...odd stone boxes, the sound of helpless, angry crying very, very loud now
he froze, staring, half-crouched and clutching the wall. It was standing in the middle of the room, a thick, ankle deep puddle of black jelly and...was that vomit at its feet? The Beast was turning, slowly, rocking in slow, side-to side motions. the crying was coming from the thing in his arms.
a torso, wrapped in masses of what looked like barbed wire, threaded in and out of flesh, some places looking like the bleeding skin had flowed like warm taffy over it. the ragged remains of the limbs twisted and stretched, every movement making the wires dig and tear more. it was hairless, the skin of its bare head and neck looking peeled and rotten, the face a mask of pain, throat…opened, carefully, twisted and held with wires. the "baby" crying was in fact this grown, mute torso, mutilated to make that pitiful, helpless wail.
The Beast was watching him, quickly placing the mangled soul into a stone box, face turned, eyes locked to the man as he slowly tried to stand upright, ignoring the hissing of his boots, trying not to think of what would have to be done to a throat, to make it sound like a baby in agony…or where that pitiful torso's limbs had gone. It watched him, cracked teeth slightly parted, and slowly stopped its rocking. It released the stone coffin from his grips, arms going limp at its sides as the mass of flesh and pain squeaked, making a sound as if it was face-down in the mossy grime, sending up a new wave of protest between bubbly, sucking breaths.
The Beast began calmly walking towards the blue suited man. he ran as fast as he could.
As Saul came home, someone slipped a note under his door.
"I KNOW WHAT YOU DID ;)"
Confused, Saul M. did what any man would do and just went to bed instead of say, open the door?
As he slept, he was awoken by a strange noise. He looked to see the strange masked man perched atop his dresser.
the suited ran, bolting like a scared deer, throwing training and conditioning to the wind in the mad, blind, animal panic of escape. he screamed, panted, talked, laughed, anything to drown out the sound of the slow, stuttering steps lurking behind him. he ran, and ran, and ran, falling and hitting the ground like he'd been hit by a car, gasping and waiting for the end, muscles throbbing…then they would start again, those soft, rustling footsteps, driving him on, and on, and on
eventually, after four days, he just...gave up. he let it happen.
but He didn't kill him. No, he took the suited man in his arms, and carried him to the exit. as He reached out, the twelve locks on the gate shuddered, and released simultaneously, and the panels flew open, revealing a heavenly glow. It released his captive, who stumbled instinctively towards the warm light.
and he was home.
Saul screamed, but the masked man didn't move.
After a few minutes, it spoke.
"I...", it sighed, "I just can't. It's...it's not fun anymore."
Saul was totally confused. The masked man moved off the dresser and towards Saul, who recoiled.
And just like that, he was gone.
Overlooking a small lake surrounded by plains, a young man sat watching the sun go down. His blue suit glistened in the dimming light, his gun ready by the handle. His troop car was parked not to far beyond on a yellowish beige dirt (or maybe just rock or sand?) road. His battalion was resting up for the long road ahead. Some respected this young man, some resented him. How had he been giving such, what seemed like, special treatment? How was he so gifted and knowledgable? Some had their suspicions. Corruption amongst the higher-ups, some yet-to-be proven anomaly, hell, some thought he could be the Gascot.
As he sat, an all-to-familiar man suddenly appeared next to him.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked.
The boy shrugged and the Gasman sat down beside him.
"You know if they see you we'll both be in serious shit."
"I know, I'm God, I'll make what needs to happen happen."
"Heh, I guess."
There's a silence for a moment.
"How's life treating you?", the masked man asked.
"Fine, I suppose. I'm feeling...odd. Like, not normal."
"Our people call that, "בַּגרוּת", it doesn't quite apply to our situation exactly, but it fits well enough. I choose to interpret this as your, 'maturation', your 'matriculation' into a higher power"
"I feel wrong, this shouldn't be."
"You understand," the masked man continued, "this is just because of your...lineage. You know..."
"I'm aware, yes", the young man replied, "but I can't use my power like him or...whoever, I'll end up like you, hurting people. Even if I do good, it'll go bad, I know it."
"Did I ever tell you the story of 'Operation: Parabellum'? It was the first op I commanded."
"See, the plan was to terminate a group of cells that were planning on launching an attack on local villages, because at the time the GS/CN wasn't really a formed organization, it was more of an A-Team deal, we were in Uganda at the time."
"Anyway, we uh, we get to the site, and I just start unloading shells. I killed fifty men, what we had thought was the entire populous of traitors, I was hailed as a hero. It was only later we learned that my actions hadn't even killed the majority of the cell, updated information was en route when I jumped the gun and started shooting people. So, the survivors went into the civilian territory and killed 600 people. While we were celebrating and getting drunk, children were being set on fire and thrown through their houses."
"Jesus..." the young man replied.
"I wasn't even there, and their screams haunted my dreams for years."
Someone was coming.
"Oh, that's my cue to leave, can't have them seeing me."
But before the masked man departed as instantaneously as he had appeared, the young man asked him something,
"Did the nightmares ever stop?"
"Yeah, they did. If I remember correctly they stopped when I met your mother..."