And I'll remain anonymous in this whole thing?' 'You will,' said Linda. 'You've been our source for a while now. We can promise you, nobody will know.' 'You have to understand this is very sensitive material.' 'I do understand.' 'I mean, this isn't any old person we're talking about, this is Willis.' 'I understand.' 'If he found out it was me... it would break his heart.' 'Listen, Betsy. I understand.'
Betsy was out buying groceries when when it happened. Willis texted her. - You haven't spoken to me in ages. - - I've been busy - she replied - How are you? How's Charlie? - - He's just fine. How's Bee? - - She's still upset. - - At who? - - The usual. - - Who is the usual? - - Sophie - - So she still thinks it was her? - - Yes.. why shouldn't she? - - No reason, I was just interested - - Do you know something about who stole the diamonds? - - ... I really shouldn't say anything - - Do you know who stole the diamonds? - - .. maybe - - Is that a yes? - - You should really keep secret information secret - - What does that mean? - - Hermes -
Betsy paid for her groceries, and went home. Charlie was there. Clearly the snakes and ladders game had finished early. But Charlie looked concerned. 'Betsy. Something's happened.' 'What? What is it?' 'It's Luke. He knows.' 'He knows what?' 'He knows that I... that we stole the diamonds.' 'What? How did he find that out?' 'Um... I told him.' 'What?' 'I didn't mean to, it's just, he forced it out of me.' 'How could you be so stupid?' 'I'm sorry. Look,' he pointed to the table, 'I brought you flowers.' 'Oh, yeah, that's really helpful, thanks,' she said sarcastically. 'I'm so sorry. I know I made a mistake, but we need to work out what we're going to do.' 'It's okay.' She walked over to him and gave him a hug. 'Willis knows as well.' 'Oh. How?' 'Same as you. I just kind of... told him.' 'Okay. So now what do we do?' Betsy closed her eyes, and sighed. 'I know what to do.' 'What?' 'Willis won't tell anyone, but Luke will tell BSam. BSam will tell Pandora. Pandora will tell Linda, and Linda will tell Sherry Ann. So we have to get rid of them.' 'Get rid of them? Get rid of them how?' 'We have to kill them all.'
Betsy woke in the penthouse. Anka was sat next to her. 'Anka?' she asked her. Anka looked incredibly upset. She stood up without a word and ran downstairs. 'Rude,' she said. She stood up and walked outside. The penthouse door shut and locked behind her. She walked up the stairs and found herself on the rooftop. BSam was there, he was laying unconcious. This was her chance. She pulled out the knife, grabbed his arm, and began to hack it away. But the time she removed his arm he had woken up. 'Shh, shhhhhhh,' she said, 'it's okay." 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S OKAY!!! I ONLY HAVE ONE ARM!' 'Shh now,' said Betsy, as BSam closed his eyes. 'Time to die.'
And then someone else came walking onto the rooftop. She pulled the gun out of her pocket, turned around, and fired. She shot Willis. He collapsed to the ground, the snow around him turned red. 'You shot me?' he said. 'Yes. Sorry.' 'Is it because I know you stole the diamonds?' 'Yes.' 'Okay. Why did you steal them?' He was turning paler and paler, and the snow was turning redder and redder. 'You might as well tell me, it's not like it'll matter in a few minutes anyway. 'I needed the money, and there was someone who was willing to pay the full amount for them if I gave them the diamonds.' 'Who?' 'Tragedy.' 'Why would Tragedy need the diamonds?' 'He said something about counterpoint and the Wolf or something.' 'I have no idea what that means.' 'Neither do I.' 'Okay,' Willis gasped, 'very helpful.' 'I'm sorry,' said Betsy. 'No, you aren't.' And the was the last thing that Willis said. For now, anyway...
'I need you to do this for me,' said Tragedy. 'Why?' 'Because I need those diamonds.' 'That's not what I mean. I mean why me?' said Charlie. 'Because you are the only one who I can trust. I can trust you to keep this secret, I can trust you to do it properly, and I can trust you to give me every last diamond.' Charlie was silent for a moment, then bowed. 'Of course, Sir.' Slowly, the room turned purple, and began to bubble away and turn into nothing. A few seconds later, the water reformed and a new image came to the light. Tragedy and Hermes were standing in a room somewhere deep in the bowels of 667. There was scientific equipment everywhere, and huge cylindrical tubes counting what looked like small children. 'What is this place?' said Hermes, disgusted. 'This is the heart and soul of this world, my dear Hermes. This is where we all begin, and where we will come when we die.' 'What? How does -' 'Oh Hermes,' Tragedy laughed, 'I thought you, of all people would understand.' 'You're mad.' Hermes took a step back. 'You're completely insane.' Tragedy just laughed louder and louder. The scene faded away once more, and a third image came to the fore. It was the same room, but this time everything was different. Nearly all of the test tubes were empty, and everything was red. Tragedy entered the room, and Sophie followed him. 'I wanted to show you something.' Sophie gasped. She couldn't believe what she was seeing 'Is that... Sam?' 'Yes.' Tragedy smiled. 'And no.' The picture dissolved, and everything turned clear. Pandora turned and pulled herself out from under the water. She sat up, and looked at the clock on the wall. It was time. She pulled herself out of the bath, dried herself, and went into the next room. The last thing she had seen was the most important. That hadn't happened yet, of course, but it would. She lit some candles, and sat down, cross legged. 'What does this mean?' she asked. Think. Think. Think. Ah, of course. BSam was the answer. She stood up, and dressed into her suit. She picked up the wolf mask, placed it over her head and said 'Xiànzài women jiang yi.' The room flashed a bright pink light, and a few seconds later, the Wolf left the building.
When she was the Wolf, she could move incredibly fast, leading over rooftops, sailing high above the rest of the city. The morning was only just beginning, but when she was the Wolf the cold didn't matter to her. Nothing mattered except her aim. Find BSam. Of course, finding BSam was easy, as Pandora spent much of her time there. The Wolf knew the way by heart. Standing on the roof, the Wolf said 'Wo bù zài shì láng,' and Pandora took off the mask. She placed it in the pocket of her clothes which had completely altered their appearance. She walked down the fire escape, and in a few seconds she walked into BSam's apartment. 'Pandora,' he said, standing up eagerly, 'thank god you're here.' 'What is it?' 'It's about the diamonds. I know who stole them.' Oh, this was unexpected 'What? how?' 'Luke told me.' 'Luke stole the diamonds?' she tried her best to act confused. 'No. It was Charlie. But Charlie told Luke.' 'Oh. Why would Charlie steal the diamonds?' 'I don't know. But I didn't know who to tell, so I thought I should talk to you. I know I can trust you.' 'BSam, you can always trust me.'
A few hours later, Pandora left BSam's apartment and went for a very important lunch. Linda was sat at a table in Miserable Meals, and she said hey as Pandora walked inside. 'Hey,' said Pandora, 'I have something to tell you. It's really important.' 'What is it?' 'I know who stole the diamonds. BSam told me.' 'What? Okay.. er, who?' 'It was Charlie.' 'Charlie?' Linda looked surprised 'Is it because he and Bee split up?' 'I don't know.' Pandora smiled 'I'm just passing on the information.' 'How did BSam find out?' 'Betsy,' lied Pandora, 'she helped Charlie steal the diamonds' Linda had a confused look on her face, as if her brain were making serious connections. 'Anyway,' Pandora said, 'I have to run.' 'What? Why?' 'I have things to do, places to be.'u 'Pandora,' said Linda, 'you can't keep doing this. I know you've always been busy but lately it's jsut beern ridiculous. We haven't had a chance to catch up in weeks and now you're going away just because of your work. What happened to you? The old Pandora would never have done that.' 'I'm sorry. I really am. You know I don't mean to do this on purpose. I've known you for so long, Linda, and I'm sorry. But I really have to go.' 'Promise me you'll come visit me after Christmas.' Pandora sighed. 'I promise.'
Pandora took a bus ride to the other side of the town, and walked trough the narrow pathways until she reached the small quaint house for which she had been heading 'Onko siellä?' she said to the man sat outside. 'Joo,' he said. 'Kiitos,' she said back to him, heading inside. The room was filled with scented candles, and in the center sat the oldest man who had ever lived. He was dressed of robes purple silk, and his head was tilted back in thought. Despite his eyes being closed, he knew Pandora was there. He opend his moth and spoke. 'A, weet háizi. Jíshǐ nǐ shuō nǐ yǒngyuǎn bù huì huí dào zhège dìfāng wǒ yīzhí zhīdào nǐ huì de. Wǒ xiǎng nǐ zhīdào wèi hǎo, bùshì ma?' 'Shū ěr qǐlái' she said back to him 'Sorry,' said the man, 'but it's true.' 'Look, let's cut to the chase. I don't want to do this anymore.' He sighed. 'I know. I, er, saw it coming.' 'I can't do this, I just...' He raised his hand to silence her. 'It's okay. You should only do this job if you want it. You don't have to. But, Pandora, I have to ask if you are sure?' 'Yes, I'm sure.' 'You need to find yourself a suitable replacement first, however.' That will be difficult, Pandora thought. 'Okay. I'll try.' 'You have one day.' 'What? But that's not fair!' 'If you can't find a replacement by the end of the day, then you will have no choice but to keep doing this job.'
The Wolf dashed across the rooftops as fast as possible. When Pandora was home she quickly ran another bath, and submerged herself below the waters. The first thing she saw was Bee and Charlie. They were holding hands at a romantic restaurant, and they looked happy. The picture quickly dissolved and another appeared in its place. The picture reformed to show Lucas. He was sat in an alleyway somewhere crying. The picture disappeared at once, and a final image came to the fore. It was the library, at 667, and Terry and Sherry Ann were there. 'How did you know?' said Terry. 'How did I know what?' she said coolly. 'Counterpoint.' Sherry Ann walked towards Terry. 'I didn't know.' 'You're lying,' said Terry, smirking. And Terry stabbed her. The picture faded away, and Pandora pulled herself out from under the water. So... The first thing was obvious. Charlie stole the diamonds as a way to get vengeance on Bee for breaking up with him, but also because Tragedy needed them. Luke knows this, and now Terry was going to kill Sherry Ann. And Pandora had to stop that. Somehow. So she had to start with Luke.
And then it happened. Pandora woke up in the 332nd floor of 667. It was another dining room. The party had been fun, albeit tinged with worry. Pandora knew what was coming. And now she had to find Sherry Ann and make sure Terry didn't find them. But then she was summoned. Deep inside her brain the Wolf knew it was wanted. 'Xiànzài women jiang yi.' It was Dante. With the torch. The Wolf could tell. It began to walk down 299 floors, and walked into the room where Dante was. 'I saw your signal,' it said. 'Nice suit,' Dante said back to it. 'Don't play nice, Dante.' 'Are you a real wolf? Or is that just a very good mask?' he asked, grinning. 'What do you want?' Dante suddenly turned serious. 'I need your assistance.' 'By assistance I assume you mean you need me to kill someone?' 'Yes,' he said. 'Who is it?' 'Linda,' said Dante 'I want her dead.' 'No... I can't, I refuse.' Dante raised an eyebrow. 'Do you really?' 'I won't kill her.' 'What hold does she over you? Is it the same as mine?' 'No. It's more..... personal?'' 'Really?' said Dante, extremely surprised. 'Well I'm afraid the business in which we deal goes far beyond personal enjoyment. You will kill her, and nobody can know that you killed her. I can't have this traced even remotely back to me.' I have no choice 'Fine. But I want the lot. The entire database.' 'It's yours.' The Wolf turned to leave. 'And I want it done tonight,' Dante said. I'll have to be quick then, she thought, and she left the room. The Wolf had the ability to find where anyone was incredibly quickly. In a matter of only a few seconds she knew that Linda was in the swimming pool. Arriving at the correct corridor, she walked to the swimming pool. Even though it was pitch black the Wolf had perfect vision. Linda was walking out of the pool room. Hello?' she called out. 'Hello?' the wolf replied. 'Who's there?' The Wolf reached into her pocket and pulled out a small device. Pandora begged herself not to do this. 'Hello?' said Linda again. Acting on instinct it ran towards Linda, picked her up like she was a rag doll and slammed her up against the wall. 'The Wolf will rise,' it said. What does that even mean?, thought Pandora. The Wolf moved the device and pressed it over Linda's chest. She screamed as she died.
'Wo bù zài shì láng.' Pandora removed the device, and began to clean up the blood that came from Linda's body. But then she heard someone. She saw a door to the changing rooms and quickly dashed inside. Through a crack in the door she saw it was Lemona. She saw Lidna's body and phoned someone. Patiently, Pandora tried to listen, but she wasn't the Wolf, she couldn't hear what was being said. 'Wait, what should I do?' she shouted. Pandora put on the mask. Lemona had already attracted enough attention. Lemona screamed even louder.
Now she had to find Terry. The Wolf found him quickly enough, he was in a bathroom on the 509th floor. When the Wolf arrived there, it opened the door. Terry was sat on the floor, a bottle of vodka in hand. As soon as he saw the Wolf a look of terror filled his eyes. 'You! You've come for me haven't you?' He stood and tried desperately to make himself disappear into thin air 'Is it because I know who stole the diamonds? It was BSam, he told me, okay? It was BSam!' 'Sherry Ann' was all the Wolf said. 'Oh,' Terry said, 'I had to kill her. She's evil. She knew about Counterpoint like me, but she did nothing to stop it. And... okay. Let's be honest. I need that promotion and...' 'What? She's already dead?' 'Umm... yeah.' She was too late. Pandora had failed. 'Wo bù zài shì láng' The Wolf took off her mask. 'Pandora???' said Terry. 'Yeah,' she said, crying. 'You're the Wolf?' 'Yes,' she said, crying even more. 'You're the Wolf?' 'YES,' she said, tears streaming down her face, 'I'm the Wolf. Or I was. I won't be anymore. I need a replacement.' 'Who?' 'Well' she said, wiping her tears. 'I was hoping it could be you.'
Nothing was real. The bed in which he slept wasn't real. The pillows on which he rested his head weren't real. The clothes that he wore weren't real, the food he ate, the water he drank... none of it was real. But he was the only one who could see it. It was lunchtime, and Bandit was sat in a chair outside a restaurant that didn't exist, eating non-existent pasta wit a non-existent fork. It was the party today. The best party there ever would be, they were saying. But Bandit wasn't invited. He would only ruin it by pointig out how the party wasn't real. Ah well. He wouldn't have gone anyway. But then she walked past. Linda. Just the person Bandit had been wanting to see. He stood, leaving his non-existent pasta, and ran up to her. 'Excuse me,' he said. Linda looked bewildered. 'I have to tell you something,' he said. 'Oh,' said Linda, 'and what's that?' 'None of this is real.' Bandit started to laugh 'Don't you see that? Can't you see that this is all just a game? He wants this to happen. He lives and breathes and feeds off of this tragedy. And none of it is even real!' He walked away. He wanted to get some food. The not real pasta was awful.
As Bandit walked into the grocery store he saw Sixteen paying for what he had bought.00 'What? 789 pounds?' he was saying. 'That's an awful lot of money!' Bandit laughed, and Sixteen looked around. 'Oh, you.' 'Yes,' said Bandit. 'Why are you laughing?' '789 pounds.' 'Yeah, so?' 'Pounds? Not dollars?' Bandit laughed again. 'I keep telling you. This isn't real.' Bandit bought some not-real food, and went home and cooked himself a hearty meal. And then he just sat there, staring down at his plate of food. Silly me, he thought, there is point in eating. I'm not real anyway. He pushed the plate off the table and the food went clattering to the ground. He stood up and left his apartment. It was time to talk to Anka.
Bandit had had a busy day. He had visited Anka at her home, and talked to her, and convinced her to come with him to the edge of town. When they had got there, he showed her the truth, and she had believed him. He explained to her the truth, and it broke her. But then 'he' had arrived. And Tragedy convinced Anka to come with him. And there was nothing Bandit could do. So Bandit had turned his attention to the next person. He had found Mister M as he was heading back to his house. It took nearly an hour to convince him to come to the edge of town. Once they had finally got there, he had shown Mister M exactly the same thing as Anka. But he didn't believe Bandit. He had expected this of course, and there was nothing he could do. But at least he had made Mister M late for the party. Bandit waited next to the only bridge out of town. He knew who was coming. As the sun started to set, Teleram arrived in a taxi. 'You're missing one hell of a party,' Teleram told him. 'Doesn't matter,' he said. 'It isn't even a real party' 'Oh, of course, forgive me.' 'You do realise you're also missing it?' 'That's okay. You know what work is like.' Bandit laughed. 'So you're here on work then?' 'Yep.' 'Here to kill me?' 'Yep' 'Okay. What did I do this time? What gives me the privilege?' 'I don't know. I've been rather busy today, I honestly have no idea.' 'I think it was Anka that pushed him over the edge. She's the thread that holds this reality together. I proved it to her, y'know? I made her realise that all of this... thing, none of it is real. It's all just a game.' 'If it's a game, why don't you just play along?' 'If it's a game, why should I? You can... you can slide along, be Tragedy's pawn, you can do whatever you like. But me? I've seen the light.' 'I'm not Tragedy's pawn.' 'You are. Otherwise you wouldn't have come all this way to kill me.' 'I have no choice. You don't know what it's like. You don't know what he's like.' Bandit laughed again. 'No, that's true. Funny, isn't it. Why does nobody know what Tragedy is like?' A silence fell between the two of them. Teleram had raised an interesting point, and one Bandit had never thought of before. Why didn't he just play along? This world made no sense, really. At its very core it was flawed. The entire place was all just part of an insane computer server, that he knew. It was a simple game, being controlled by someone. But who? Why, of all the players, could Bandit realise this? Was he the player? If so, what did he have to do to end this game? 'So,' said Bandit, interested in how Teleram would respond, 'you're going to kill me now I assume?' 'No. I have one question. If none of this is real, and you know why, then tell me this. What is Counterpoint?' Sherry Ann had told Bandit about Counterpoint. She had told him it was going to happen soon. She said it meant that everything would end. 'I'm not a genius. I have absolutely no idea.' 'Okay' 'But I know one thing,' said Bandit. 'It means one thing, and one thing only. It means that this is the end.' 'Of what?' 'Of this world.' 'But how?... but wait!' Teleram began to pace. 'The wolf said that the diamonds mean Counterpoint, and... wait' Teleram stopped dead in his tracks. 'I know what's happening. This all makes sense now. I have to get back to the party, and I have to get back before he can -' 'You're not going anywhere,' Bandit pulled the gun form Teleram's pocket and fired it at him. He hopped into his car and began to drive to 667. He needed to talk to Sherry Ann.
Countepoint. The end.... But he'd done what Sherry Ann had asked him to do. Teleram had been spying on LITMUS. As 667's top assassin, Sherry Ann had had to go to its second best- Bandit. And now he had completed his job. Bandit's phone started to ring. It was Sherry Ann, of course. It wasn't a coincidence. It was another side effect of this un-real world. Hey Sherry,' he said, 'so it happened.' 'Yes. Of course it happened. Did you deal with Teleram?' 'Yep. Just like you asked.' 'Good. Then we can go ahead as planned. Meet me at the check-in desk at' Bandit never heard when to meet Sherry Ann, because someone else seemed to have started talking to Sherry Ann. 'Umm,' said Sherry Ann, 'A friend.' 'Who is that?' said Bandit. 'Nobody. I'll talk to you later,' said Sherry Ann, hanging up. Bandit pulled up. He had arrived at 667. He locked his car doors, walked up to the front doors, showed his car to the scanner, and walked inside. Inside 667, everywhere was dark. There was no power. Something bad had happened here. He could see someone standing in the foyer. He was about to say hello, but then there was a scream. Whoever was standing in front of him hadn't noticed him, and they walked off quickly in the direction of the screaming. Bandit pulled the gun out of his pocket and laid it on the front desk, and also set off to investigate what had happened to 667 Dark Avenue.
After several minutes of searching, Bandit came upon a strange light. Terry was in one of the bathrooms, sat on a chair, looking very worried, and next to him was a bathtub full of water. 'Hey,' Bandit said. Terry jumped. 'Jesus Christ, you made me jump!' 'Sorry.. I didn't mean to.' He looked over at the bath. It looked like someone was in there 'What are you doing?' 'I'm waiting for Pandora,' said Terry. 'Where is she?' At that second, Pandora sat bolt upright and pulled herself out of the water. 'Oh,' said Pandora, 'Bandit, what are you doing here?' 'What the hell is going on here?' Pandora climbed out of the bath and dressed herself. 'I was taking a dream bath to see what I should do next. Turns out maybe I was wrong. I don't think it's you, Terry. I think I just needed you to help me find my replacement, and I know who it is.' 'That doesn't really explain anything,' said Bandit. 'Oh, im the Wolf, by the way,' Pandora said matter-of-factly. 'Oh...' 'What do you mean it isn't me?' said Terry. 'You aren't supposed to be the Wolf, Terry. But your fate is intrinsically linked to Bandit's. And that has already been set in motion. But I don't need you anymore.' She turned to face Bandit. 'I need you.' 'Need me to do what?' 'I need you to be the Wolf. I need you to take over from me.' 'How does that even work?' 'Im juts going to leave,' said Terry, and he stood up and left. 'But how does that even work?'' Bandit asked again. 'You would be me, the Wolf. But only when I am the Wolf. Whatever. That doesn't matter. What matters is who you are.' 'Well... who am I?' 'You are someone very different, Bandit. You're clever. You're logical. But you're also wrong. You think nothing in this world is real or important, but it is. You believe this world is run by a computer. It isn't. But it would have been if it weren't for my mistakes. But this world will be safe now. But it will need someone like you to protect it. Somehow - and I dont know how - you can... detect things. Things that are different, or incorrect. You misinterpret them sometimes, you just pretend this world isn't real. But I think with the help of the Wolf.. maybe you could use that gift for good. At least that's what I hope. But most importantly, you need to want this job, Bandit. Do you want it?' '... Yes,' said Bandit, 'but on one condition. You explain to me what Counterpoint is. What the Wolf is. What this world really is. Then I'll do it.' 'You have a deal, Bandit. It's time to tell you everything.'