Teleram must be late,' said Charlie. 'He'll be disappointed. He loves snakes and ladders.' 'Well,' said Luke, 'we should probably just start without him.' Charlie rolled the dice, and moved six places. 'How are you, anyway?' he asked Luke. 'It's been ages since either of us have been able to talk.' Luke also rolled a six. 'How long has it been?' 'At least three months.' He rolled a 2. 'I'm not too sad he isn't here though, Teleram.' 'Why? I like him.' Luke also rolled a 2. 'I know, I know. But it's nice for it to just be the both of us again. The good old days.' Charlie rolled a 5. 'Yeah, I suppose.' Lucas rolled a 4, and a ladder took him up to 26. 'Maybe we should stop inviting him. It's more fun like this.' Charlie rolled a 3. Back to square one. 'So what's up with you?' asked Luke. 'Oh, Nothing much', said Charlie. 'How's Bee?' Luke rolled a six. 'She's... um... upset.' 'Because of Sophie?' 'Well, more because of the diamonds.' Charlie also rolled a six. 'Well that's what I meant. She's upset with Sophie because she stole the diamonds.' He rolled a two. 'Oh...' Charlie moved his piece two places. 'Of course.' 'What did you think I meant? Why else would Bee be upset with Sophie?' 'I didn't think anything. I just meant she was upset because of the diamonds.' 'Well, Sophie stole the diamonds.' 'Yeah,' said Charlie, 'of course.... can you roll please?' Lucas moved 5 places. Charlie rolled a 3. 'Do you think she didn't steal the diamonds then?' said Luke, as he rolled a 4. 'I don't know what I think.' Charlie rolled a 5, and took the snake back to square one once more. 'I just feel sorry for her, that's all. None of this was even her fault, I feel so bad about that.' 'Why do you feel bad about it?' 'I just mean generally.' 'Why isn't it her fault?' 'Because... um...' Chalrie was lost for words.
'Charlie what?' 'He stole the diamonds' 'Okay... wow,' said BSam, 'I didn't expect that.' 'Neither did I.' 'But it seems so obvious in retrospect.' 'Really?' 'Yeah,' said BSam 'Anyway, thanks for telling me.' 'Well, you paid me to spy on him.' 'But still, thanks.' BSam pulled some money out of his pocket and gave it to Luke. 'Now, Luke, promise me. Promise me you won't tell anyone else about this.' 'I promise.'
Lemona opened the door. What's wrong?' she asked Luke. 'I've done something really bad.' 'What?' 'I can't say, but I don't know what to do or what to-' 'Hey, you should come in' Lucas looked around, scared, as if he was being followed. 'Okay.' He stepped inside. 'Where are Anka and Mister M?' he asked. 'I... um... don't know,' said Lemona. 'Are they in the house?' 'No. Luke, what's happened?' 'Its the Wolf... it... I saw it.' 'Oh Luke.' She gave him a friendly hug. 'You didn't see the Wolf, it's just a myth.' 'It wasn't. It spoke to me.' 'What did it say?' 'It said I'd done something really bad.' 'What?? What did you do?' 'I... I've been spying on Charlie for BSam.' 'Oh.... why?' 'Because he wants to find out who stole the diamonds.' 'Why?' 'I don't know.' 'Luke, listen... everything will be fine. I'll look after you.' She smiled at him. Luke smiled back weakly. 'Okay.' 'Do you want a cookie?' 'Obviously.'
Luke woke up on the fire escape. It was dark. It was cold. There was snow on his face. He and Lemona had been at the party, and Luke had tried to keep his mind off of... that. And then something had happened. There had been a flash of bright light and he'd woken up here. Luke stared up at the falling flakes of snow, and was taken by surprise when two people came out of the window next to him. 'Oh,' said Luke, 'hey.' It was Pandora ad Bandit 'Oh hey Luke,' said Pandora. 'What happened?' Luke asked. 'Um.... I don't really know how to answer that question.' Luke stood up. 'What are you doing on the fire escape?' 'What are you doing on the fire escape?' 'I woke up here. You?' 'Me and Bandit need to go somewhere.' 'Oh. Can I come with you?' 'Um... no,' said Bandit, 'no.' 'Oh.' 'But I have got a job for you!' 'Oh?' 'I need you to keep guard. Climb down the fire escape with us. I want you to keep a note of everyone who comes in and out of 667, and when I come back you can tell me.' 'What's in it for me?' 'All the cookies you could ever eat.' 'I'll do it.'
After they had climbed down the fire escape, Bandit and Pandora had headed off to... wherever, and Lucas stood guard outside 667. He sat down with his back against the wall, and watched the snow fall. A few seconds later, however, Mister M appeared. He walked past Luke without noticing him and walked inside. Luke pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and wrote 'Mister M inside'. Luke turned his attention into starting to build a small snowman out of the snow, but then a few seconds later there was a gigantic crash coming from inside 667. Then, a few seconds later, everything suddenly flashed white. Somehow, suddenly, it was day. Something really weird had just happened.
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
Teleram had managed to sneak past security, break into the private elevator, and then sneak past private security, and then distract the far too cautious janitor, and he managed to retrieve the file, and place the false documents in their place, sneak his way back past security, break once more into the private elevator, and sneak our past security once more time. It was all too easy. Terry had sat and watched his every move via camera feeds. How did Teleram not realise they knew what he was doing? Sherry Ann arrived on time as usual, looking beautiful as always. 'Teleram has managed to sneak in again,' he said. 'All this time he doesn't realise we know what he's doing?' Sherry Ann smiled. 'Have you asked Linda about Bandit yet?' 'No,' he said, 'I thought we should wait and see what Dante has to say on the matter. Speaking of which, have you heard from him lately?' 'No.' Liar, thought Terry. 'I wonder if he'll come to the party.' 'He will.' 'Yeah' he said 'especially if she's there.' 'She won't be there.' How do you know what Antenora will and won't do, he thought to himself. 'Umm.. right,' he said. 'Well, the boss wants to talk to you.' She turned and knocked. 'Come in,' said Linda from inside, and Sherry Ann walked in. Terry stood up from his desk, walked over to Sherry Ann's, opened her desk drawer, and picked up the file labelled 'Counterpoint'. Terry left LITMUS and went home as quickly as possible.
As soon as he arrived back at the hotel, Terry sat down and placed the file in front of him. He was nervous. Sherry Ann had swapped the file for a decoy only a few days ago. Why, Terry didn't know, but he was pretty sure it had something to do with Dante. He had never taken that much of an interest in his duties at LITMUS for years, and all of a sudden he was interested again. And Terry had to know why. Anything, any information, any leads, he needed to find out what it was. But now that he had the information in his hands (or on his table, at any rate) .... he was to scared to confront it. But he had to. He had no choice. Terry turned over the first page of the file. The doorbell rang. Terry quickly picked up the file, and shoved it into his briefcase, before running over to answer the door. 'Hey,' said Mister M. 'Oh, damn, sorry,' said Terry, 'I forgot you were coming over.' 'It's okay, I can just go home if you like.' 'No, it's fine, I wanted to talk to you anyway.' Terry made them both drinks, and they sat down to talk. 'So,' said Mister M, 'let's cut to the chase... do you have any more information?' 'Well... not really. I asked BSam to try and find out what Pandora thinks, but I don't think he will.' 'Did you ask Sherry Ann anything?' 'No, no. Getting information out of her is as difficult as getting blood from a stone.' Terry's phone started to ring. 'Why do you ask? I thought we agreed we'd leave her out of this?' He answered the phone and said 'Hey.' 'Hey, I have some news for you,' said Bee. Terry mouthed 'It's Bee' to Mister M, before saying 'oh, okay' to Bee. It was Mister M.' Terry paused for a moment. 'Are you sure?' 'Yes, I'm definitely sure. 100% absolutely positive. It was definitely him... maybe.' 'It isn't him,' said Terry. 'Hmm.' 'It isn't. I know it isn't.' 'How?' said Bee. 'Because,' said Terry, 'He was with me on the night the diamonds were stolen.' 'Oh,' said Bee. 'Damn. Then who was it?' 'I don't know.' 'It was Sophie, wasn't it?' 'No,' said Terry, 'I don't think it was her.' 'Hmm. Well we have to work out who it was, and fast. We have to beat Sherry Ann to this.' And Bee hung up. 'Why did she think it was you?' Terry asked Mister M. 'She thought I stole the diamonds to give them to Anka. I didn't, by the way, in case you're wondering.' 'It's okay, I know you didn't. Look, we better head to 667. We have a lot of work to do.'
They spent the next few hours at 667, and after deciding they were still no further with investigation, they parted ways. Terry decided to head back to home. He lived on the other side of town, and after a long train ride home, he finally thought he would have time to look at the Counterpoint file. But his phone rang once more. It was BSam. 'Hello?' Terry said. 'I have what you want,' said BSam. 'Oh wow, okay. I'll be at my apartment.' Well that changed everything. BSam had found out who had stolen the diamonds. Eventually Terry arrived home. He paced his flat nervously as he waited for BSam's call. Finally his phone rang, and Terry walked down the stairs as quickly as he could without making attention. 'Do you have it?' he said, eagerly. 'Of course,' said BSam, slipping the information in his pocket. 'Good,' said Terry, slipping the money into BSam's pocket. Terry ran back to his apartment as quickly as possible, and once he was inside he read the name on the paper. Sherry Ann Of all the people, Terry had not expected that. He turned to the Conterpoint file and opened it. The file was incredibly in depth and detailed, and highly confusing. It was almsot as if nobody at all was really sure what Counterpoint was, or that Terry would have to read several more files of information to come close to fully understanding it... but it seemed that Counterpoint changed things. Somehow. Whether for better or for worse, Terry didn't know. But it was a machine, and somehow it would 'destroy the entirety of 667'. But that wasn't important. What was important was how Counterpoint was activated. It required diamonds, and a lot of them. If Sherry Ann had stolen the diamonds, and if she was interested in Couterpoint, then it could only mean one thing. She was plnning on activating it. And Terry had to stop her.
Terry woke up. He had been at the Christmas party, but now he wasn't sure where he was. The room was dark, and it seemed to be full of books. Terry used his amazing detective skills to deduce that he was in the library. Someone was talking on the phone. Terry turned around to see Sherry Ann. 'Who are you talking to?' he asked her. 'Umm,' said Sherry Ann, 'A friend.' 'Oh,' said Terry. 'Nobody,' Sherry Ann said into her phone. 'I'll talk to you later,' she said and hung up. 'What friend? Was it Bee?' asked Terry. Maybe she was i on the whole thing. Maybe the diamonds were never really stolen. 'No.' She stood up. 'It wasn't.' 'Are you okay?' he asked. 'Yeah, I'm fine' 'How did you know?' She froze. 'How did I know what?' she said coolly. 'Counterpoint. Where did you find it.' Sherry Ann walked towards Terry. 'I didn't know what you're talking about.' 'You're lying,' said Terry, smirking. And he shot her, before she could finish it. But then, Terry could hear someone walking towards him. Terry turned and hid behind a bookshelf. 'Sherry?' It was Sixteen's voice. 'What happened?' Terry couldn't hear what Sherry Ann was saying to Sixteen. What? Oh my god! Where's Betsy, maybe she can help fix you up and -' She must have passed out. Terry turned around, and a book fell off the shelf, crashing to the floor. Sixteen turned and ran, Terry pulled out the gun and fired at his direction. He didn't know what she had told Sixteen, Terry couldn't let him get away. But Sixteen was too far away. Ah well, whatever Sherry Ann had told him, it didn't matter anyway. He had stopped her. Terry had saved everyone.
Terry headed up to one of the bathrooms, and after an encounter with Pandora whom he discovered to be the Wolf, he quickly left her with Bandit as soon as possible. She had asked him to be the Wolf. He couldn't do that. It was just too... weird. Terry was just going to get out of 667 and go home, job well done. But as he entered the corridor leading to the grand staircase, he noticed BSam was standing there. 'Oh, hey BSam.' 'My name isn't BSam,' said BSam, 'it's Aang.' 'Um... okay. But anyway, thought you should know, I stopped Sherry Ann. 'Stopped her?' said Aang. 'How?' 'I killed her.' 'What? Why did you kill her?' said Aang. 'Because she was going to use Counterpoint. That's why she stole the diamonds.' 'No,' said Aang, 'Sherry Ann didn't steal the diamonds.' 'What? But you told me she did.' 'No. That must have been BSam. I guess he lied.' 'By you are BSam!' 'No' said Aang, walking past Terry, 'my name is Aang.' Terry tried his best to ignore the strange encounter, and walked out into the corridor. Even though it was dark, he could see Dante was standing there, looking down as if he just pushed someone over the side. And a few seconds later the great glass chandelier fell from its hanging and crashed down on the floor. Everything flashed in a brilliant white light, and then turned dark once more.
Terry and Anka had found Bee laying in the front entrance, which was difficult in the dark. The whole time Anka had done nothing but cried. Eventually, Bee woke up. 'Are you okay?' he asked her. Bee sat up and looked to be in pain. 'Um... I think so. Where am I?' 'Same place we found you, in the entrance.' 'Why is she crying?'' said Bee, indicating to Anka. 'Mister M was... um... in the way of the chandelier' 'Oh.' She frowned. 'is he..?' 'Yeah' said Terry gently. 'How long was I out?' 'About 10 minutes.' 'Oh. Well how come it's light?' 'What do you mean?' said Terry, confused. 'Well it was dark before, how come it's light now?' 'Um... Bee, it's still dark.' Bee looked puzzled 'Um.. no, it isn't. It's light. It's definitely light.' 'No, it isn't,' said Terry. Bee looked around . 'It's light.' she said. 'No' said a voice from the other side of the room. 'It's dark.' The voice was Mister M's, and he was pulling himself out from under the remains of the chandelier. He was covered in bruises and blood, and he looked to be in incredible pain. He was most certainly alive. Anka suddenly stopped crying, smiled, stood up, and ran over to Mister M and hugged him. Terry couldn't believe that anyone could survive that accident, but sure enough it had happened. 'Are you okay?' he asked him. 'I think so?' 'How do you feel?' he asked. 'Worse than I look... well I suppose that depends if I look as bad as I feel.' He tried to walk over to a nearby chair but he collapsed. 'But Terry is right, Bee,' said Mister M, 'it's dark.' 'No,' said Anka, finally speaking, 'it's light.' 'Okay, this is weird,' said Terry. 'Are you okay?' Anka asked Mister M. 'Yeah, I'll be fine as long as people stop asking me that,' he said. 'Are you okay?' said Bee. 'Why are you so concerned?' 'It was her,' said Anka. 'She dropped the chandelier on you. She tried to kill you.' 'What?' said Bee 'No, I swear I didn't.' 'We shouldn't really jump to conclusions,' said Terry. 'Is it because you think I stole the diamonds?' said Mister M. 'I swear I didn't.' 'He's right,' said Terry, 'it was Sherry Ann.' 'What?' said Bee 'Look, no, I didn't even try and kill you.' 'Yes you did,' screamed Anka. Bee turned and tried to turn out of the hall, but Terry grabbed hold of her. Bee grabbed hold of a nearby table and saw a gun. She reached over, picked it up, turned around, and fired at Terry. Terry fell down. As his vision slowly faded, he could hear further shouts and screams, and the distinctive noise of breaking glass. And for one last second everything was light.
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
it was the 24th December Christmas eve one of the most anticipated days of the year this year, however, there was an extra feeling of anticipation this year, because tonight was the night of tragedy's Christmas party. it was the talk of the town, it was going to be a night to remember, so they said And Anka couldn't be more excited if she tried When she woke up, she got dressed, and decided she would make muffins to bring to the party. But before she could even start to bake there was a ring at the doorbell, and it was Lemona. Anka explained to her she was going to bake, but Lemona said that was cool and she stayed anyway. As she baked, she watched as her 6 kittens played around on the kitchen floor. they had only been born a few weeks ago, the cute little things 'What are you doing?' lemona asked her 'Making muffins,' said Anka. 'Ooh,' said Lemona, smiling, 'what kind?' 'Apple.' ' Apple Muffins ?'' 'Yes.' 'Okay.' 'Is it thou9h?' asked Anka. 'Um..no. I would just have preferred chocolate, that's all.' 'So would I. But I'm trying to be healthy.' One of the kittens climbed up onto the worktop and tired to jump into the bowl Lmeona asked if she could bring some muffins to dante, which anka wasnt to happy about but she reluctantly agreed Anka finished baking, and lemona left, and she was soon her own again.
She made herself a quick light lunch, and decided she would go and choose what to wear to the party when the doorbell rang She answered it and was surprised to find Bandit there. 'Oh,' she said, 'hi Bandit.' 'Hello Anka. Having a nice day?' 'Umm, yeah, it's okay,' she said. 'I'm sorry to hear that. Because I'm afraid this day isn't real. None of the days in this world are real. It's all a lie.' 'Oh,' said Anka. One of the kittens came outside and started meowing at Bandit's feet. 'Okay... um... what do you want?' 'I want you to come with me.' 'Where?' 'Just somewhere. It won't take long.' 'Im okay, thanks. I'm kind of a bit busy.' 'That doesn't matter.' Bandit smiled. 'Whatever you're busy with isn't real anyway. Just come with me.' 'I don't really want that.' Bandit picked up the kitten and held it in his hands. 'Come with me or I will strangle this kitten right here, right now.' Anka had no choice. 'Okay, I'll come with you, but please don't hurt her.' Bandit smiled. 'If you come with me I promise I won't.' 'Where are we going?' she asked him. 'To the only bridge out of town. It the only place I can prove it.'
Bandit drove them to the edge of town. The ride took about an hour, and the whole time the kitten sat in Bandit's lap. Anka was worried about the kitten, and the kitten was worried about everything. It kept trying to escape from Bandit's lap, but he kept stroking it and keeping it in place. When they arrived there, Bandit left the kitten inside. Anka left her muffins there too. 'Why are we here?' she asked. 'Because I need to prove to you that none of this is real. And this is the best place to do so.' The bridge was a gigantic structure that stretched as far as the eye can see. There were no cars on the bridge. Below, there was a massive crevasse, with a trickling stream at the bottom. 'I could get in my car and drive over that bridge,' said Bandit. 'You do that then,' said Anka. 'But if I did so, the car would break down halfway across. We could walk across but before we reached the other side we woudl suddenly remember we both had urgent appointments at the doctors and turn back. We can run, jump, or fly, but something would happen that woudl stop us getting across. I've been trying to cross that bridge for the past 15 months every single day, and I've never succeeded.' 'That doesn't prove anything. Maybe you have a faulty car and you forget a lot of appointments,' said Anka. 'I thought you'd say that. So I decided to prove it.' Bandit pulled out a harpoon gun from the car, and fired it across the ravine. It stopped halfway across ad hung in mid air as if it had reached an invisible barrier. 'It's liek it's reached an invisible barrier,' said Anka. 'It's not like it's reached and invisible barrier.' Bandit smiled. 'It has reached an invisible barrier. And it's reached that barrier becuase that's it. That's where this world ends. This entire town is the only thing that exists in the whole world.' Anka couldn't believe she was seeing this. All this time Bandit had been right, and now Anka finally realised it. 'Why haven't you shown more people this?' 'I have,' Bandit admitted, 'but the deception normally runs deeper. People find some way to excuse it, so way to brush it under the carpet and keep pretending this world is real. But I knew it wouldn't for you, Anka, your mind is too susceptiable, not fragile. It can't be broken. But now you know. This world isn't real. And now you can help me.' 'Help you what?' asked Anka 'Take down Tragedy. Stop this lie from continuing' 'Why would I want to that?' Anka asked again. 'Um, because this world is a lie?' 'But I'm happy. I'm happy with my life. I don't want it to change.' 'But... but... but... I need you to help me!' 'I'm sorry but it doesn't matter. Even if this world is a lie, then I want to keep living it.' Anka walked back to the car, picked up the kitten who had been hiding in the box with the muffins 'Please can I just go home. You don't have to drive me.' 'I'll drive you if you want,' said a new voice. Anka and Bandit turned to look, and Tragedy was standing next to the car. 'You,' said Bandit. 'Me?' said Tragedy, 'Yeah, I suppose I am. Anka, I think you should come to 667 with me. I think you should do that right now.' 'Why?' said Anka. 'So I can show you that this man' - Tragedy pointed at Bandit - 'is a liar. And everything he just said to you is wrong. I don't want you to do anything rash because of a madman's fibs.' 'I'm fine, actually' said Anka 'I just want to go home.' 'No, no. You're coming with me, Anka.' 'I just want to go home.' 'I'll kill Mister M if you don't come with me,' said Tragedy. 'I will go and kill him right now.' Anka looked scared. 'Okay, I'll come with you.' 'Good. Let's go, the taxi won't wait long.'
When they arrived back at 667, Tragedy brought Anka through the dining room and into Tragedy's personal office. He offered her a drink, which she refused. She was to nervous for a drink. 'So,' said Tragedy, 'I expect Bandit told you that this entire world is a lie and it's all part of a computer program blah blah blah. Well, I can tell you he's wrong.' 'He showed me otherwise,' said Anka. 'If he's wrong then tell me why.' 'I am telling you. But it's a long story. I suppose I better begin at the start.' He took a deep breath. 'Hundreds and thousands of years ago, a group of link minded individuals gathered together to form the society known as 667 Dark Avenue. They began this organisation with the aims to educate, entertain, and amuse all those who they deemed worthy. They met in this very building, and slowly their number grew, and the tradition passed down the generations etc etc etc. This you already know. But there are some things that you will not know. Some things that are hidden from all but the sole descendant of the original 667. Some secrets I have had to excise form the oldest books on the oldest shelves in the oldest libraries in this old building. And one of those secrets was me.' 'The residents of 667 Dark Avenue foresaw a time where they would be attacked, destroyed, murdered, because of their knowledge. And so, using their combined intellect they designed a computer system unlike any other. It was called Tragedy, and it would only be activated in the event of such an attack. Eighteen years ago an attack happened. The current head of 667 was murdered and Tragedy was activated. The line had finished. Edmund Hawthorne had left no descendants, so it became my job to rule and govern 667. I may appear to be an ordinary human, but I am, in fact, a computer. However, a computer needs to be checked maintained, kept safe. Every year, on the 24th december, I shut down for a few hours, and I undergo a virus check, to make sure everything with the system is in place, and that I am still operating at full capacity. However, seven years ago to this very day, my shutdown was... interrupted. The machine was attacked. And the entire system went into shutdown. I am sure bandit showed you how nobody can leave town?' Anka nodded. 'Well, when the shutdown ended, the virus protection software - Wolf - was activated. The entire town in which 667 operates was cut off by an invisible force field. The minds of the residents of this town have been altered, and continue to be altered every day to keep the illusion that nothing is wrong alive. The Wolf helps to keep and maintain things that are beyond the computer's control. It is, after all, damaged. Every year things get worse and worse. And so I had to find a way to put things right again.' Tragedy stood up and walked over to his desk, opened a drawer and began to rummage around. 'Why is the entire town locked off? Why does it need to be protected?' Anka asked. 'There are... things. Things that would want to attack 667 while it's vulnerable. Things that would want to do us harm.' 'What things?' asked Anka. Tragedy sighed. 'That's another story for another time.' He pulled something out the drawer. It looked quite simply like an ordinary metal box, about 40 centimeters wide. He placed it on the table in front of Anka. 'This,' he pointed to the box, 'is counterpoint. If a computer system is damaged, there needs to be a way to fix it, and this is what can fix me. It should. Of course, it could have been activated the moment after I was damaged, but unfortunately I had already gone into sleep mode at the time i was damaged. A mere hologram like me could do nothing. It was taken while I was asleep, and when I woke up I could find no trace of who had stolen it.' 'After many years, and after much help form LITMUS - particularly Dante - I managed to recover a few months ago. But then I encountered another problem. The way it was activated.' 'When 667 started all those years ago, each of the founders was given a diamond. All 700 of them. But after the great plague of 600 BC, the diamonds were hidden away together by one family - Bee's ancestors. The diamonds, of course, activate Counterpoint. I'm not the powerful system I once was, not now I'm damaged. I couldn't take the diamonds on my own. So I had to enlist the help fo Charlie and Rellim. They stole the information of the diamonds' location one night from Willis' bedroom, and they broke into Bee's mansion when she and Sherry Ann were out on one of their 'detective' missions.' Tragedy pulled a small packet out of his pocket, and opened it, revealing some diamonds. 'However I then encountered another problem. When to activate it. When Counterpoint is activated, all the things that I have done since my last shut down are momentarily undone. It will cause total confusion. It will cut power in most of the city, people will wake in places they weren't before, there memories and minds confused at normal last for about an hour and a half, and then everything shuts down. The entire city freezes for several hours and then unfreezes to them it will seem like merely a flash of light. I couldn't just activate it randomly. I have to make sure everyone was here. So I had to wait till the Christmas party. So it will happen tonight.' 'I do understand,' said Anka. 'Bandit... you said people's memories can be altered. Why not his?' 'I don't know,' said Tragedy. 'Sometimes there are things even I don't know.' 'But there is something else,' Tragedy continued. 'I'm just a backup in place of the ultimate controller of 667. When I activate Counterpoint a new permanent leader will be selected. And this is where things get complicated.' He stood up and indicated to a door leading into another room. Anka followed him.
The room was tiny, and mostly consisted of a massive wall. On the wall were the names of various people form 667, one name on one column, another on the other. The first column read Dante, Terry, Bee, Betsy, Bandit, Charlie, Anka, Lucas, Lemona, BSam. The second column read Hermes, Sherry Ann, Mister M, Willis, Teleram, Sophie, Sixteen, Linda, Pandora, BSam 'These are the top 20. Out of the 7.000+ members of 667 these are the 20 people I see most fit to take over 667. But I can only have one. So I've pitted them against each other. To the death.' 'What?' said Anka. 'You want these people to kill each other? That's sick! Nobody will do that.' 'Oh, bu they will. I've set up a few scenarios, dropped a few suggestions... Let me talk you through it. Let's start with Dante and Hermes. It's not secret that they've hated each other for years, but Hermes has been dead set on stopping me getting hold of Counterpoint for years. A lot of people have the belief that Counterpoint will mean the end of everything. It's not their fault, in fact sometimes I encourage it, but anyway. Dante helped me get a hold of Counterpoint again, so Hermes has a motive. Dante is planning to finally kill Hermes and steal his wife, so he had a motive. Sherry Ann helped Dante return Counterpoint, but Terry tried his very best to stop Dante at every turn, even go so far as threatening him. Sherry Ann knows the true nature of Counterpoint. If Terry went a step too far I think she would kill him if it meant Counterpoint could activate successfully. Terry has been investigating Sherry Ann's return of Counterpoint, and now believes that she is going to destroy the entire town with it. Go figure.' Bee thinks Mister M stole the diamonds. Well, she suspects it but she isn't sure. But there has been a rivalry between the two of them for a while. Mister M would do anything to protect you if she threatened you, and that's something I have planned for later. Betsy stole the diamonds because Willis let his guard down. She let the information slip to Willis. She may want to silence him. Willis let his guard down, and now he disappointed everyone. If Bee were to find out who was responsible for the theft... well, she would blame him. Maybe Willis would want to take revenge on his sister? Bandit and Teleram. Bandit is unhinged, uncontrollable, unpredictable. And so is Teleram. But they are the opposite sides of the same coin. Charlie stole the diamonds, and now Bee had a reason to suspect someone other than Sophie. If the truth leaks out, Charlie already has planned to fake Sophie's suicide. By stealing the diamonds, Charlie has ruined Sophie's life. If she found out he was behind it... Lucas and Linda never came off. I'll get to that later. Pandora is the Wolf. The Wolf works for Dante in exchange for information. Lemona has been stalking Dante for the last four years, and he is tired of her. When Dante activates his plan to win back Antenora I expect he will ask 'the Wolf' to kill Lemona first. But if Lemona finds out who the Wolf is.... The Wolf has also caused Dante a lot of trouble as well as working for him. I could easily see her trying to take Pandora down. BSam is classified. I can't even tell you about Aang.' 'You left out me,' said Anka. 'We'll get to you in time, Anka.' Tragedy sighed. 'But its important that you understand. I may have altered people's personalities slightly, made them capable of things they weren't previously, but they are still in control. The decisions they make are entirely their own. Whoever is left after tonight can take over 667. When Counterpoint activates I will disappear and it will eb left up to the survisors to decide. After time freezes and restarts, for some people it will be light, the others dark. The light are those who tried to be good, to be honest, the dark those who weren't. Only the light can take over as leader of 667, the dark will have no place in 667 anymore. But like I said, so much of this is dependent on free will, not the suppression of it. If you take away people's choices, you take away their humanity. I have no humanity, and look what's happened to this place. If I altered someone's will entirely, there would be no point who I choose. But some things have been altered from my plan. The biggest problem is Bandit. He interfered at LITMUS and set the whole Lucas/Linda thing off course. He interfered in other places too, He's just too unpredictable. And now he's interfered with you. You were supposed to be with Sixteen now, and you were supposed to find out the truth about why he really works for me, and he was going to notice the diamond on your engagement ring, and then one of you would have killed the other. But it doesn't matter now, Bandit interfered and it's too late. The whole plan needs to be dropped. You know too much. But there's another problem. Sixteen is not nice. He would be salsa as a leader. So, Anka, you need to kill him. The party will start in about an hour, and after I activate Counterpoint you're going to kill Sixteen for me.' 'No,' said Anka, 'I can't. I can't kill someone.' 'Oh, but you will. You see, Bandit is talking with Mister M right now. He's going to show him what he showed you, but he won't believe it. But it doesn't matter if he believes it, Bandit has sent Mister M off his path. So now I could just kill him. Or I coudl make Bee kill him. Or we could kill him together. But... if you kill Sixteen for me, then Mister M can live, and Bee will die instead. You have to decide, Anka. you can kill or your fiance will be killed. Your choice.' Anka still had the kitten in her lap its paws at her stomach, and its tail brushed against her arm. Anka realised she'd left the muffins in Bandit's car, and that she'd missed her dancing lesson, and that she hadn't even shut the front door when she'd left home. But none of that mattered now. Only a few hours ago she'd been happily baking muffins. Even when Bandit had proved to her, wrongly, that this world wasn't real she still could have gone home. It was funny to look back in that moment now. Tragedy was lying, he wouldn't have killed Mister M, because Bandit would never have set him off course. If she hadn't believed his lies she could be at home now, and Mister M would come ad they'd make lasagna together, and haad to the party and be blissful. Or maybe they wouldn't. Maybe she would have learned sixteens secret, and Sixteen would have killed her, or Bee would have killed Mister M. Or maybe they would have not gone to the party an gone to visit Mister M's annoying aunt. Or maybe the car would have broken down as they would go across the last bridge out of of town. Or maybe it would have rained and they would have stayed indoors, or maybe it would have been so cold they would have stopped for hot chocolate at Miserable Meals and been so late for the party everyone else had already killed each other. Maybe they would have gone ice skating, or built a snowman, or maybe they would have gone swimming in the lake or picked flowers in the park. Maybe they would have seen a play, watched a film, or performed a duet together at the local bar. Or maybe it didn't matter either way. Because now none of that could happen. Now she had to choose between being a widow or a murderer. She had made the wrong choice when she'd followed tragedy, and now she had to be sure that she didn't make another. 'How do I kill Sixteen?' Tragedy pulled a knife out of his desk. Anka picked it up and held i in her hands. The blade was thin and long. It was a good knife to stab someone with. She didn't know whether Mister M would kill Bee or not. She hoped he would, she couldn't bear it if he died. Anka grabbed the knife and rammed it into her chest. Tragedy shouted in shock. The blood fell out of her like water rushing from spring. Te kitten jumped out of her lap as Anka fell off her chair to the ground, and the kitten disappeared around the corner of the door. Tragedy pulled Anka upright by her hair. Not my hair, she thought, he always liked my hair. She could feel the knife being pulled out of her chest, but it was too late already. Her hands were warm with blood and she felt them becoming slowly drier as if someone was washing her. She felt like she was swimming, but she hated swimming. The pain in her chest seemed to be less now. Maybe that's what happens when you die. She didn't know of course, noone knew. A few seconds later the pain was gone completely. This wasn't right, Anka thought. She opened her eyes, and the blood was gone, but there was only a small cut where she had stabbed herself. 'That was a stupid thing to do,' Tragedy said. 'It takes a lot of energy to bring someone back from the edge of death like that.' Anka laid there on the floor. It hadn't worked. 'You can't kill yourself, you have to choose, Anka.' She laid there, looking up at the ceiling, motionless, silent. 'Anka,' said Tragedy, 'choose.' The kitten had come back. She could hear it purring as it laid down next to her. She lightly stroked its soft fur. 'I'll do it,' she said, 'I'll kill Sixteen.'
'I didn't really know what I was doing. It was the day that Tragedy 'sleeps' for an hour, and I interfered. I started all this. By interfering I caused the whole confusion of the last seven years. You just assumed that none of this world was real because your mind doesn't work, Bandit. But it is real. It's just my fault.' 'Don't blame yourself,' said Bandit, 'it was an accident.' 'But an accident that I caused,' said Pandora. 'Who stole Counterpoint then? I mean, clearly that wasn't you as well.' 'It was Dante,' said Pandora. 'He stole it. I let him steal it. I could have stopped but I didn't, I didn't realise what it was he was stealing, of course but... another thing that was my fault.' Bandit and Pandora were walking through the city. It was light now, it was Christmas day. Counterpoint had finished its... activation... mere moments ago, and Pandora was talking Bandit to see 'someone'. 'But how did you even become the Wolf?' asked Bandit. 'What even.. is it? How does it work?' 'The Wolf is... it's like an antivirus. It deals with anything. It protects 667 from.. the things it needs to protect it from. It will all make a lot more sense when you become the Wolf.' 'But...' Bandit admitted, 'I don't really want to be the Wolf.' 'What??' 'Well, it seems just a bit... weird... and dangerous,' said Bandit. 'What makes you think that?' said Pandora. 'Well you killed a lot of people.' 'I know but... I think now that Counterpoint has been acitvated 667 won't be such a bad place anymore. There won't be that many people to even kill.' Bandit frowned. 'So why do you want me to be the Wolf? Why don't you keep being it?' Pandora sighed. 'Because I never wanted to be it in the first place. And because I'm no good. And I know that you will be.' She stopped. 'We've arrived.' They were stood outside an old quaint house at the far end of town. A sign on the outside read 'Team Wolf'. Pandora knocked on the door, and a bald man in a robe opened it. 'Mitä sinä haluat?' the man said. 'Onko siellä?' Pandora asked. The man sighed. 'Jaa-ääni.' And he opened the door to let them pass. They walked down a corridor and Bandit asked Pandora. 'What was that?' 'You'll find out,' replied Pandora, 'when you become the Wolf.' 'Okay,' said Bandit, 'but I don't know if I want to be.' They walked into a room filled with scented candles. The man was still sat there like before, and he opened his eyes when Pandora arrived. 'Suoyi, zhè shì ni genghuàn?' he said laughing. 'Yes,' said Pandora. 'Wo bù huì qí wàng ni zuò chu zhèyàng yigè bùcuò de xuanzé,' he said. 'Hello Bandit.' 'Er, hi.' Bandit waved meekly. 'So, you wish to become to the Wolf?' 'Well.. not really.' 'You must want it,' the old man rose up and walked over to Pandora. 'She does not want it, but... I think you are lying.' 'About what?' said Bandit. The man reached into Pandora's pocket and pulled out the mask. 'I think,' he said, 'you pretend you don't want it when really...Ni xiang chéngwéi láng.' The man pulled a piece of chalk out of his pockets, returned to the circle, and few several lines. 'Stand there,' he indicated to one particular line in the middle, and Bandit went and stood there. The man threw the mask into the air and it hovered there. Slowly the man began to chant. 'Shíji yijing dàolái qin'ài de zhurén lái gaibiàn ni de pú rén zàicì. Wo beg de ni foive women, xiàng women zhanshìle liánmin women kenqiú Zài yigè shuí zhenzhèng huì shifàng kongjù shanyào ni de liht Ràng yè háo lin throht jie shàng suoyou de shìjiè ting.' The man stopped chanting, and Pandora fell down to the ground as if she had been kicked. 'Ni shìfou jieshòu?' the man aksed Bandit. 'Shi,' Bandit replied, almost automatically. The mask flew into Bandit's hands and he placed it on his head. He was the Wolf.
one chapter left
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
baudelaiire: how do i tag people in quick replies
Jul 2, 2020 20:06:25 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: You must use @ before the person's username.
Jul 2, 2020 23:50:14 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: Note that my username is jeanlucio10. you can check their username by clicking on their names when they are links. You can also go to the members page and search for someone (it is useful to check those who have been online lately).
Jul 2, 2020 23:53:11 GMT -5
klausfan1: what is the meaning of the "10"
Jul 4, 2020 16:24:21 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: Mental Age
Jul 5, 2020 6:24:57 GMT -5