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"Mmm. But this all looks so very interesting."

The words didn't come naturally, though they were easy enough to come up with. It wasn't easy to make them good, mind. Alan was a work in progress on that front. But, well. Saying stuff that terrified the shit out of them regardless of how lame it was? That was easy enough.

Yeah, he was totally terrifying to a bunch of unarmed teenage girls. Ooh, scary. Such a boogeyman, that Alan.

He was tempted to just cut the chit-chat and go straight for it. He'd never done something like this before, obviously. Was kind of impatient to try it out. But he needed to practice doing the witty banter thing for next time. So.

Alan rolled his eyes. Planted the end of the pipe in the ground. "Okay, fine. I'll admit it, I'm just a psychopomp in training. So, uh. Tell you what. Help me out with playing the role right, striking the right image, and I'll give you a..."

He shrugged.

"20 second head start. Do it really well, I might just let you go, if that gives you an incentive to not fuck up. Or should I give you a stick too? I guess it goes without saying that the crazy guy with a pipe attacks the second you start pissing him off."

Not exactly the greatest intimidation speech. But I guess that's just how it goes.

Restore/Restart/Quit
((Alan Banks continued from Elapsam Semel Occasionem Non Ipse Potest Iuppiter Reprehendere))

Alan's shadow looked ominous on the wall, the silhouette of a metal pipe swinging back and forth in his hands.

Oh my well would you just look at the time.

For those not in on the joke, it was lunchtime. Geddit? And the big, bad wolf was hungry as fuck and ready to lock you up in your little tower and there wasn't no fucking fairy godmother to save you. Yeah, Alan was conflating his villains together. That was the point. He was an amalgamation, a mash-up, every fairy-tale villain combined until he had become some platonic ideal of villainy.

Cuz guess what? He was really fucking good at playing this role. And it was hella fun.

You keep telling yourself that, Alan. Maybe someday you'd actually live up to your bark and do something.

So he ends up going to the asylum, because of course he does. That's where you go if you're psycho, and that's where the psychos go to do their psycho stuff. It's like, y'know. Just how the scene's supposed to look. And he'd be damned if the scene doesn't look right.

Platonic ideal. Yeah.

So when he hears a couple voices from inside one of the therapy rooms, he doesn't just go in and attack them. He needs to get a good monologue in. A motive rant. A-- something.

"My, would you look at all these spare souls just sitting around. And here I thought I'd just been sent to collect the one."

It would've been nice to have a scythe or something. Even if he didn't care about the effect it would have, he was still...less than well-armed. But if this turned out bad, he always had the option of pretending it was macabre humor or something. Just a coping mechanism. Which come to think of it, this was.

What was it they said? Villains always lose in the end? So what if the narrative was against him? Alan didn't fucking care. If he was gonna die, he was gonna have the time of his life before he bit it.

Judas
Okay. Sure. Less believable things had happened in the past couple of days than a guy freaking out because he lost track of his friends. Besides, she didn't know the whole story. Maybe he heard their names on the announcements. That'll fuck you up, hearing that your friends were dead or murderers.

Still, that made Asuka the stronger one here, for once. Right. What do strong people do, again?

"Mmm."

She really wasn't any good at this whole schtick of comforting the dead and the dying.

"Sucks."

Really fucking brilliant.

And, see, this is the part where she becomes really fucking aware of all the little details about the environment around her. The sweat causing her clothes to stick together, the dust on the boxes strewn all over the floor. Her own nervous breaths. Get a hold of yourself. Focus on the stuff in front of you. What stuff in front of you? Come on, focus. Yes. Focus.

You don't want to fuck this up. Fuck what up? Yes, it is very important to you that you not fuck up when you

Why was she repeating her thoughts to herself until they were inane, until the words had lost their meaning? She knew why.

To give the guy the fail-safe answer: "Well. If you wanna tell me a little more, later, I can... um. Listen. In the meantime, I guess..."

Was it insensitive to derail this conversation like that? But she really wanted to talk about this. Let's hope she doesn't fuck it up too.

"My turn? Or something. I ran into Jerry Fury. He...um. Was a bit of a silver age comics villain. Practically had a sign over his head saying he eats kittens for breakfast, you know?"

She paused. The way the light reflected off of the dust in the air was really distracting.

"But the thing about silver age villains, they never kill. He'll laugh at me, tell me he doesn't give a shit if everyone but him dies on the island, but he can't fucking own up to it. The fucker still can't...still can't..."

She laughed. Fuck, what was she even trying to say?

"The thing about silver age comics is, they're fucking terrible, y'know? Most of 'em, anyways. Cuz the guy's, like, a fucking caricature, and I can't believe that he actually exists in real life. So I give him a gun and ask him to shoot me, try to get him to chicken out and prove that he doesn't actually exist, and he does. But he only chickens out cuz he's a villain in a medium where you're not allowed to say 'die'. So just as bad."

She paused.

"Fuck me, I don't know why I talked about that stuff. Didn't wanna focus on it, wanted to move past it, cuz it's not really important."

Really, though, fuck her. It was so, so much important for her to do this right than for her to show off how fucking damn clever she was. Time to salvage this mess, make sure he doesn't get the wrong impression. It's not that she gave a fuck how others saw her--okay, maybe she did give a fuck, fucking Holden Caufield imitator--but she didn't want to leave an impression that didn't line up with how she saw herself. She wanted to make sure the audience knew who she was. Sure, her narrative was going to be clever as fuck, cuz she wrote it, but goddammit she was gonna give it a heart too.

"But yeah, I've been...wandering, I guess. Not all who wander are lost, and all that. Though I've also been lost, too, so...uh. So much for that. Trying to have an interesting adventure, die happy, etc."

Her rant earlier was relevant after all. Serendipity, or something. That was worth a stupid, shameful laugh.

"And Jerry really, really fucked that up."

Still, though. Damage was done. Dumbass.

Alan Banks is homeless and alone
Sooo, I seem to be incapable of handling two characters without taking an eternity and a day to post. So I'm giving Alan away. If you want to write a post in his voice, I'd appreciate it, but it's not required. Do tell me what your plans for him are, though. I'll also tell you my broad ideas for where I would've wanted him to go had I retained control of him, etc. Post here if you're interested, pm me or chat on discord for specific detail-y stuff.

--zetsu

Judas
Right when she was done with people, too. That's okay. She can adjust her mindset quickly.

But then she opens her mouth and no she can't, because she has no idea what to say. Because it looks like the guy's not gonna finish his question, and she just wants to be sure, like, really sure, exactly what question she's gonna be answering, and fuck it let's just answer all the likely possibilities. Like a total ass.

She sighed. "No. I don't know you, I'm not playing, I'm not..."

Damn. Were there really only two possibilities? And she thought of herself as creative. Quick, say something clever before your self-esteem takes another dive. Or before it becomes painfully obvious how fucked up you are. Or before the guy flips his shit. Something. She felt an instinctive need to try to say something clever. She can rationalize it out later.

Well, no she can't, but she has to do something now before this gets terribly awkward.

"Anyways. Um. Hi. Asuka. My name. And, um..."

Yeah, asking him how his day went wasn't the kind of joke he was gonna want to hear right now. It was possible. Not really worth the risk in his state. Um. What's the thing you say to show that you're genuinely concerned about someone?

"...are you okay?"

Okay, that was dumb. She laughed, shakily.

"Looks like the island has fucked both of us up pretty thoroughly, huh?"

She walked in his direction. Fuck, how was he smaller than her? That rang a bell. She didn't personally know him, but she'd seen him in the halls a couple times. Not many kids in Cochise who were this short. Lot of good that did her; she didn't know anything about him.

She leaned against the wall. Used a stick to mime lighting up a cigarette. "So. What happened to put you in this state? I was pretty sure I'd be the only one interested in going to someplace called the Lobotomy Lab. Unless you, like. Came here to hide. In which case, whoops."

And then, almost like an afterthought: "I'll tell if you tell."

Elapsam Semel Occasionem Non Ipse Potest Iuppiter Reprehendere
"Fuck off to you too, then."

Man, it'd be deliciously dastardly if he went and punched her lights out right now. Grab her gun, give a one-liner, bam. Headshot. There was the issue that she, y'know. Had the gun on her right now.

Why was he compromising on this again? New life, new code. And you value the new code above all else, because what else are you supposed to do?

Well. There's a lot of stuff he'd be missing out on if he went out right now. Like, how can you be a new man if you're dead, right? Of course. Being absolutely devoted to an ideal means knowing when to make compromises to further that ideal, even if that means betraying your values in the short run. That was a dangerous path to walk, but so be it. Worse things could happen than becoming a misguided do-gooder again.

Um. Question to answer. Well. Since he got denied on that thing, he was gonna answer this question his way. No cost there. Right?

You shouldn't even be asking yourself that question. C'mon. You're not supposed to be so fucking cautious.

"Sunday high noon, chapel. See you there."

Time to be an agent of chaos. Kaos. With a K. Edgy.

Oh, who was he kidding.

((Alan Banks continued elsewhere))

Judas
Well. Here we are.

Time to add another layer of hell, because the previous one just wasn't doing the trick. She's going down the rabbit hole. Lose your mind and never come back. It was gonna be one of those experiences. You go in, hallucinate for a while, and then when you come out everything is all strange and glittery and unbearably light.

Asuka was walking slowly, now. Trying to infuse the scene with some psychological horror. Hopefully nobody ax-crazy comes in to ruin it all. Let's see. Floor plan? Floor plan. Basement? Lobotomy lab? You know where Asuka's going.

It was even better than what she expected.

So you spend some time in this room. Preparation and all, for whatever it is that comes next. Asuka's training. That's what she's doing.

Asuka kicked a chair leg. She yelped. Fuck, how jumpy was she?

Not enough. She hadn't really sold that yelp. And, like, if this place was getting to her, and it definitely should, she should be jumpy as fuck, right?