An army was rising in the streets of the city. A mass of colour and sound and raised arms and passion. It spread throughout the alleyways and bridges like a great flood of human debris, until the tarmac below them was submerged. Looking down from on high, there was not a lot else that could be seen except the people. This was a troubling development. It had all began some time ago, for some reason or other. It always did. Someone had probably done something, and there was some sort of fuss. The detail didn't matter, not to him anyway. It was enough. The eyes would be fixed elsewhere. Jacob turned away from the window, and fixed his eye on the television screen. and smiled at the faced he saw. Linda was there, reporting on the events building throughout the metropolis. It was a pleasant way to occupy his time, while he waited.
Meanwhile, On the streets below, a man burst his way into the lobby of the hotel. He was surprised to find it relatively absent of people. 'Hello sir' said a man on reception 'Welcome to The Pandora. How may I help you?' Zortegus didn't hesitate. He shot the man right between the eyes, and headed for the elevator. He knew where he was going.
On the third floor, a cleaner was neglecting her usual duties to stare down at the streets below. The protests had begun for a nucleus of reasons, and the sight of the cities denizens showcasing their freedom filled her with mixed emotions. Her daughter was down there. She was proud and scared. She kept checking her phone nervously, hoping to hear something, soon. The Windows of The Pandora were thick beasts of glass, but she could her the chanting as if she were deep within the throes of the crowd itself. Suddenly, her phone vibrated, making her jump. It was text, but it wasn't from her daughter. It was from him. After all this time...
'Rioting has broken out in the centre of the city today, the latest of several such incidents to occur over the last few days.' Linda stared deep into the camera lens 'The Mayor is yet to comment on the latest outbreak, but his office has released a statement condemning this as an act of terrorism. The army has been out in force, and has warned people to stay in their homes until further notice. Security advisor Terry Craig is expected to issue a statement on the situation later today. We can now go over to our correspondent, comet, who is reporting to us live from Dark Avenue' 'And Cut' Linda breathed a deep sigh as the camera cut away from her. She could feel sweat trickling down her sides. How could this have happened again? She had chosen the wrong career, truth be told. She couldn't take the pressure of so much attention on the news feeds. She'd wanted to become a presenter to talk about feel good stories like charity runs and book fairs and cake sales. Not serious stories like this. It kept her awake at night, all these people were looking at her all the time, staring at her, desperate to hear good come from within her when all she could bring forth was misery and despair. Why couldn't people just learn to live normally? 'Coming back to you in 5, 4' said the voice in her ear. Deep Breath. Here we go 'Thanks for that update Comet, Now, in the last few minutes....'
Zortegus burst into Room 312 of The Pandora and opened fire. '.. the mayor bandit has released a statement.' Jacob turned over the coffee table, causing a momentary distraction, moment enough to pull a gun from his pocket. 'The Mayor has said that all those who have taken to the street..' Jacob and Zortegus fired at each other, as Jacob ducked behind the couch he had been sitting on '...are the enemies of democracy. He urges everyone to return to their homes immediately...' Jacob tried to crawl towards the balcony, but Zortegus saw him and vaulted over the couch and landed on top of Jacob. '...or risk their own lives. He has ordered a curfew to be implemented.' The two struggled on the floor, and Jacob pulled a knife out of his pocket, and plunged into Zortegus' leg. 'Anyone outside after 6.00pm without official paper will be shot.' Jacob manged to pull himself from Zortegus' grasp and run toward the balcony. 'Mayor Bandit has said he will issue a further statement tomorrow, and wishes everyone to pray for peace'
On the streets, comet struggled to wait for his cue 'Yes, thank's very much Linda. I'm still here on the streets of the city, I'm just outside The Pandora, and the crowds are growing more volatile by the moment. News of Mayor Bandit's statement is yet to spread here, of course, but i'm doubtful it will go down well. I've been making my way through the crowds all day, and I can safely say that -' A Large crash right next to Comet's ear caused to leave the sentence hanging. He looked to his right, and saw people moving backwards. 'Something seems to have happened' he said, and he moved forward, beckoning the cameraman to follow him.
Zortegus limped back into the apartment, and sat down on the couch. He was surprised to see Jacob's body staring back at him from the TV Screen. So much for subtlety.
Last Edit: Oct 21, 2017 5:10:45 GMT -5 by Mister M
This is less than ideal
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
She was tall, dressed all in blue with shoulder length black hair and a smile on her face and flowers in her hair. A glimmer of brightness amongst the bleakness of armoured officers, a light among the darkness. While M was riding the train on his way to work that morning, he saw her face staring back at him from a thousand different newspapers. She was hope, reassurance. A tiny glimpse of normality staring chaos in the face. But it wasn't any comfort to him. M had too much else on his mind. When his boss had spoken to him that morning it had hardly been a surprise. He'd been late with his report, he'd been expecting a scolding. But the thing that surprised was that she wasn't angry about that. In fact she hadn't even mentioned it. She wanted him for something, she'd said. She needed him. Why could she need him? His last case had been a failure. Several months ago, Peppermince had disappeared of the face of the globe. Pepper was a renowned criminal, perhaps one of the most dangerous in the city. Little over a year ago he had been nothing more than a lowlife, a common thug, But that all changed when Bandit began to grow in popularity. The two had been friends at school, and bandit had several links to criminal organisations. That didn't stop bandit rising in the opinion polls to become one of the main candidates for mayor. As bandit grew in popularity, so did peppers power on the criminal underworld. And then Bandit became mayor. And then pepper disappeared. M had been assigned to investigate what had happened. He had thought he was getting somewhere when the case was shut down by the mayors office itself. The mayors spokesman claimed that Peppermince was murdered several months before Bandit even began his campaign. Lemona was satisfied, but M wasn't. In his opinion, the information didn't add up, and he continued the investigation on his own. He'd managed to come into contact with some other's who had known bandit and Peppermince when they were at school, but then Lemona found out what he was doing, and she'd stripped him of all his powers. He was now an agent in name alone. And now she needed him for something. This was going to be interesting.
'The girl, whose name is currently unknown, has become a media sensation.' 'Excuse me' 'The photograph, which had been shared on facebook nearly 2 million times just half an hour after posting' 'Excuse me' ' - shows a young woman confronting riot officers shortly after they began -' 'Hey!' shouted the man, growing ever more impatient 'I'm talking to you.' Elizabeth sighed and turned her attention away from the TV screen. 'Sorry' she said, 'how can I help?' 'I'd like two chocolate muffins please. And make it quick' Business had been slow for most of the day. But it was starting to pick up. But Betsy already had a headache. Serving baked goods to fat, grubby men was hardly an appealing prospect, but it tumbled to the bottom of her mind with what was going on at the moment. She was constantly watching the news, desperately hoping to hear something more about Jacob, but so far there hadn't been a single mention. His body fell into the crowd, and everybody knew. Half the population of the city had been watching TV, the other half out there on the streets. And so far there had been no mention of anything. She'd expected that of course, Bandit would try to cover everything up, But she thought she would have been contacted in some way. She was his sister, surely that meant something. She had phoned Linda late last evening, but got no reply. She was most likely to know something. But she'd ignored her, just as she'd expected. 'That'll be £4.20' she told the man 'For two muffins? Are you joking?' the man sighed irritably, and reached into his pocket to dig around for some change, as if it was a surprise he would actually have to use money to buy his food. The coins she was handed were filthy, covered in dirt. All except one. The 50 pence piece wasn't prestene, but it stood out from the others. She turned it over in her hand, and looked up at the man. He was staring out her, and for a brief moment his expression changed to one that was slightly friendlier. Suddenly, Elizabeth felt the tension inside her uncoil slightly, and she smiled back at the customer. 'Keep the change' he said back to her, and he turned and made his way to the shops exit. 'Beth, I'm going for my break,' said Betsy, as she walked as quickly as possible toward the fire exit, her pounding with anticipation, She climbed out into the alleyway, and once she was sure she was alone she inspected the coin more closely. It wasn't a coin. Or at least it wasn't made of metal. She pulled at with her fingernails, and she realised it was made of foil, like a chocolate coin that you get a Christmas. She prised the two pieced of foil apart, and found a piece of paper folded up inside it. Tentatively she unfolded the paper, and saw the words written there in green ink
Meet me in the park after midnight
She wasn't sure whether to feel more or less nervous now. She didn't know who the note was from, or who she was supposed to me, and she couldn't even be sure why. But at least someone had tried to get in contact with her. At least someone had thought of her. . She reach into her pocket and took out a lighter, and set fire to the note, dropping it on the floor of the alleyway, and turned and headed back into the cafe. As soon as she stepped back inside, she was supposed to see two men standing at the counter, looking directly at her. One man was tall and thin, wearing tiny spectacles to go with the tiny amount of hair on his head. He was wearing a long beige coat and had a serious look on his face. The other man was short and chubby, dressed in a police officers uniform, and with a much less serious look on his face. 'How can I help?' Elizabeth asked the men. 'Ma'am' said the tall thin man 'are you Miss Elizabeth Willis?' Her breath caught in her throat, and it took her far longer to reply then she would have liked 'Yes, yes I am' 'My name is Terry Craig, and I am the chief inspector with the city police. This is my associate, police constable Teleram.' Terry indicated to Teleram on his left. Teleram gave an awkward wave back. 'We'd very much like to ask you a few questions concerning your brother. 'My brother?' 'Yes' said terry, a small smile emerging on his lips 'He recently died, as I believe you are aware. It, ah, made the news.' an awkward silence began to fill the air, and Elizabeth noticed Teleram began to hungrily eye the chocolate muffins. 'I don't have anything I can tell you.' Elizabeth said, knowing that it wouldn't be enough to satisfy them. 'I'm sure you don't. We just want to go over a few things that all. It's only a short ride to the police station.'. Terry began to fix on her with an intense stare, and Elizabeth began to get the disconcerting feeling like she was a mouse being hunted. 'You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide' terry said, and gestured towards the shops entrance. Elizabeth nodded her head glumly, and turned to Beth, who was hardly taking any notice of the situation as she was busily reading a magazine. 'I guess a have to go with them then,' Elizabeth said 'Whatever,' Beth replied. Elizabeth took of her apron, hung it up, and silently walked from the shop as terry escorted her to the police car. Teleram toyed with the idea of buying a muffin, but he soon followed. It was only when Elizabeth was sat in the passenger seat that she realised she had let the pieces of silver foil fall to the ground in the alleyway instead of keeping them. That was a big mistake.
As Mister M made his way through the street on his way to 667, he noted how there seemed to more people heading to work today than in the last few weeks. The protests had stopped, momentarily, and if it wasn't for the boarded up shop windows and occasional cordoned off street, things seemed mostly back to normal. Of course, they were anything but. When he arrived on Dark Avenue and made his way up the large marble steps to 667, it took him a while to realise that the large statue that had previously adorned Squalor Square was now gone. That was a mystery, it really was. Why would anyone want to damage a statue of Emma? As he entered the building, there was a noticeable bustle of activity inside the reception area. Everyone was hard at work, trying to sort things out as best they could. People who were far more suited to help than he was. Why was he here? What did Lemona what with him? A short elevator ride later and he found himself on the floor above the penthouse, and a familiar voice greeted him 'I was wondering when you'd turn up again.' 'I'm surprised I managed to stay away this long.' he smiled back at her. 'Did you miss me?' 'Miss you?' said Anka, who was busily typing away, refusing to look up at the screen 'I hadn't even noticed you were gone.' 'Don't lie to yourself,' M leaned over her desk 'Haven't your days seemed long and endless, full of boredom and misery?' 'They were.' she looked up at him, crossly, 'and then you left. I've been much more efficient ever since.' 'Anka!' Said a demanding voice, and they both turned and looked to see Lemona standing in the doorway with her arms crossed, 'leave him alone' 'Don't blame her! It's not my fault that I'm irresistible.' 'Come in, Mister M. I'll try and contain myself. We have important business to attend too.
Bee had been sat outside the police station for several minutes, with several things more on her mind. A figure emerged from the police station, and stared intently through her binoculars, but it was only a police officer. She leaned back and sighed, frustrated. She was taking too long. She pulled out her phone, and look at the message she had gotten the previous day. She had kept on looking at it, over and over again, as if deep analysis would reveal some hidden meaning to it. But it wouldn't. The words themselves were simple, the ramifications astronomical. She wasn't sure whether she was angry, surprised, upset, or pleased about it. She was definitely angry with Sophie, though. Or was she? In fact, the more she thought about it, it wasn't just anger, more despair. It had been difficult enough to deal with her as it was, but now she was exposed in such a public way that it was going to be hard to come back from. Did he know? Was that why he'd sent the message? She was suddenly yanked from her thoughts back to the real world when she noticed someone else coming out of the station. This time she didn't need binoculars, there were was no mistaking it. It was Elizabeth Willis. She was walking down the steps, and Terry Craig was escorting her to his car. She looked nervous, but mostly okay. What information were the police hoping to get from her? From what Bee has read it hardly seemed like Miss Willis would be able to give any enlightening information. Bee watched as Terry's car began to move away and waited until it turned round the corner before she opened the door and got out of her own car. As she did so, she left her job behind her, and her mind filled once more with anger. As she walked into the police station she was mildly amused to find a cliché sat in a chair next to a small reception like area. It was a tubby police officer eating doughnuts. 'Excuse me' she said, rather loudly than she normally would. The officer jumped and suddenly looked up at her whilst simultaneously trying to hide the doughnuts. 'Oh!' he said 'I thought you were -, never mind' he let out a little sigh and visibly relaxed once more. 'How can I help you ma'am?' 'I'm here to pick someone up.' She looked at the man with a slight hint of anger 'Sophie.' 'Oh, right, I see.' The man stood up clumsily, and placed the food down on the chair. 'I'll just go and, ah, I'll go and... yes. Wait right here.' He waddled towards a door and was about to open it when suddenly he turned and looked directly at Bee. He looked her up and down, and then thought for a moment before saying 'Are you who I think you are?' 'That depends how clever you are,' she replied 'Oh. You probably aren't then'. He shook his head, and bustled through the doorway, shouting back 'Help yourself to a doughnut.' Bee looked at the doughnuts for a moment, and thought better of them. They didn't look particularly appetising. She picked up the packet and looked it over, but it wasn't from Elizabeth's cafe. That didn't necessarily mean anything, but it could. It was always worth looking. There wasn't much to look at here, though. A few posters adorned the walls, the usual things about reporting crime and whatnot. She didn't have long to wait. She could hear noises coming from the other side of the door, echoing down the corridor. Sophie was clearly not happy with the situation she had found herself in. A few second later the police officer burst through the door with Sophie following. 'Hey,' she said, waving meekly at Bee. Her clothes where torn and ripped, and she was wearing an old leather jacket that Bee had never seen before. Her long hair was caked with dirt and mud and blood, and Sophie has several cuts on her face and a large bruise under her eye. 'Is that all you have to say for yourself? Hey?' Bee glared at Sophie 'Well what do you want me to say? 'Oh not you again' ?' 'An apology would have been nice.' 'It probably would have been, yeah.' 'You are unbelievable, d'you know that?' She walked over to her and grabbed her by the hand and pulled her in the direction of the exit. 'You don't need to drag me around' 'Maybe I should.' Bee shoved her through the doors, and turned back to the police officer. 'What's your name, by the way?' 'Teleram' said Teleram. 'Thank you Officer Teleram.' Bee escorted Sophie to her car and pushed her down into the passenger seat, and reached into the back for a copy of today's newspaper. 'Here' she said, handing it Sophie, 'I thought you might like to see this.' Sophie looked down and was surprised to see a picture of herself on the front page, accompanied by the headline 'MYSTERY WOMAN CONFRONTS ARMED MEN'. 'What do you think of that,' Bee asked, now sat in the drivers seat 'I think it's terrible headline.' 'Don't be smart with me. Did you think I wasn't going to find out what you were doing.' 'Not really know' 'Why were you there? What were you doing?' 'What do you think I was doing, learning to tap dance? It's a protest rally, I was protesting' 'But why did you need to be there?' 'Because I wanted to be. Because I should be' 'You could have at least told me where you were' 'Well you wouldn't have let me go.' 'Why? ….Was she there?' Sophie looked back down at the newspaper for a moment, thinking, and then stared back at Bee 'Yes' 'Would have you gone there is she wasn't there?' 'I don't know.... Maybe. Maybe not.' 'Right, well there we go.' Bee turned on the ignition and started to drive, and for a moment the two of them avoided each others gaze for as long as possible. Sophie looked out the window, and Bee looked at Sophie's face, and she finally 'Are you hurt?' Sophie mumbled back 'Why would you care?' 'Because I'm you mum, Sophie. It's my job to care.'
'Did you enjoy your break, Mister M? 'Break?' asked M, confused. 'Oh yes, that's right. You weren't on a break were you. You've just been taking so long to write this damned report that I thought you were.' Mister M was now seated in Lemona's office. Lemona wasn't, and she was stood leaning against the edge of the desk and looking at M with a stern look on her face, like an irked headteacher scolding a misbehaving pupil. 'Well can you blame me? After I complete that report that's it, this job is done. I'm trying to make it last as long possible.' 'I understand,' Lemona sighed. 'That doesn't mean I'm happy about it.' 'Look, I'll try and finish it by tomorrow. Will you be happy then?' Lemona moved from the edge of the desk and went to sit down on her chair. 'No, I'm never happy. Especially with you lately. I still don't understand what you were thinking, continuing the investigation on your own.' 'It wasn't right to stop, not when we were so close to the truth.' 'It doesn't matter if we were or not, when I tell you to stop, you stop. We lead dangerous lives Mister M, and I can't afford to let you play with fire.' 'That's why I'm so surprised you called me here. You said you need me for something... well what is it? Is it do with the Peppermince case?' Lemona looked curiously at Mister M. In fact, she was almost surprised. 'Did you see the news yesterday, M?' 'No, not really. I was busy, ah,... well doing nothing really' 'Willis is dead.' Jacob Willis was one of the most notorious criminals in history. For years the company had been trying to track him down and put him away, but they had never managed it He'd always found some way to escape or get the better of them. For the last few years it had seemed as though he had taken a step back from things, so for him to be dead was even more surprising. 'How did it happen?' M asked Lemona. 'He fell fell the balcony of room 312 of the Pandora. 32 storeys high. He fell into the middle of a demonstration happening all across the streets of the city. It was captured by news outlets from around the world.' 'Ah. I see what I've missed now.' Lemona Continued: 'It was an assassination. It was supposed to be done quietly, nobody was supposed to know. Why else chose to assassinate someone like that than on a day like yesterday. The whole city – well, the whole city except you at least – was focused on the protests and the mayor and all the crap that's going down there. Nobody would be looking at Willis, so that was the best time to take it out. But it went wrong, and now we know about it. It isn't a secret anymore. We have the upper hand.' 'Do you have any idea who did do it?' Lemona sighed, and reached for a file on her desk an opened it. 'We had an operative on the scene moments after the attack happened. She was hiding in a broom closet but she managed to identify the man as a Mr. Zortegus Pen.' She opened the file and indicated towards a picture of a man in late 20s with short curly hair, a slight beard, and – most notably – only one eye. 'Did you say Pen?' M asked, studying the man's file. 'Yes, I did. He's the son of noted mobster Fredrick Pen. He's been of the radar for a while but he's got previous. He's taken down several notables over the years, including a few of our own. We have strong reason to believe he was involved in the Squalor incident.' 'That was before my time' 'Yes, it was, but many who work here knew the squalors and their loss still affects them to this day. Zortegus is a dirty name around here, especially now. His employer won't be happy that the murder took place so publicly, so we need to be on the look out.' 'Are you saying he might have gone rouge?' 'Not necessarily, he's as good a marksman as any but his father has powerful connections. But Zortegus isn't who you should be asking questions about.' Lemona leaned over and snatched the file from Mister M's hands, even though he was halfway through a sentence. 'Who should I be asking questions about?' 'Who's behind this. Who ordered Jacob Willis' execution.' 'Well then who is?' 'The last time I heard anything about Zortegus was 16 months ago. A woman was found dead in her home, bullet through the head. The woman was Sherry Ann, an associate of Willis, but not a criminal. Just...morally grey. At the time, I believed that this was a tactical attack by Peppermince. Sherry was a private detective, someone who you'd like out of the picture if you had an enemy tracking you. Now, I'm not sure.... 'You remember how I said an agent of ours managed to reach the location shortly after the assassination? Well, she managed to extract some information for us. The room was paid for in the name of Mayor Bandit. Bandit knew when and were Willis was, Willis was assassinated by someone who we believe to be working for Peppermince, and we have credible evidence that bandit and Peppermince have strong connections to each other. This leads me to the conclusion that either Bandit or Peppermince decided to take Willis out of the picture, and they did so. But that's not the part that's got me so worried M. The thing that bothers me is that Willis isn't stupid. He knew Bandit was paying for him to be there, and he still went there. They were working on something. Together. And that can't be good.' Lemona reached into a drawer of her desk and pulled out a photo, and handed it to M, saying 'Take a look at this.' The picture was of a small plastic bag and inside were two circular tablets. They were both a deep red colour, and looked slightly powdery. 'What is it?' M asked. 'I don't know, but we've got our best people on it. Our agent found this in Willis' room after the skirmish. We don't have any evidence, but I'd place a pretty good bet that this has something to do with why Willis was killed.' 'Okay. Look, I understand what you've said and everything, but why are you telling me? What do you want me to do.' 'Early this morning, a few sleepers reported to me that a couple of people we're following have been seen.' 'Who were they?' 'That doesn't matter, just a couple of lowlifes, but they all have connections to Peppermince. That's not a coincidence. Peppermince is still alive, I know he is, and he's planning something. I don't know what it is, and that scares me. And do you know what I do when things scare me? I fix them. So that's why you're here, Mister M. I need you to undercover. I need a man inside Peppers operation, to try and find out what the ickle is going on.' M thought for a moment. Of all the things he'd expected Lemona to say to him, he hadn't expected this. He wasn't even an agent anymore... but then, he supposed, that made sense.'You want me because you can't send anybody else.' Lemona rose from her desk, and walked over to the window overlooking the city. 'How many years do you think I've done this job?' 'Longer than I can remember' 'Too long, M, too long. I've seen it all. I've seen them come and go, the bad guys and the good ones, the agents and gangsters, and I know how to keep this city safe, and how to get the best out of my agents. But its hard. Sometimes I feel like I'm all that's stopping these streets from flowing with rivers of blood. But I've never seen something like this before. It's our job – all our jobs, not just mine – to help the government protect the people of this city. But what am I supposed to when the government is hurting these people more than the criminals? How do I protect everyone when my boss is the one I need to protect them from. This city is in the grip of Bandit, and he's monitoring everything I do. So yes, I need it to be you because he thinks you've left the company. Yes, I need it to be you because I can't let Bandit know I've put one of my own agents to work against him. But mostly I need it to be you because I trust you. I trust you enough that I know I don't even have to ask you if you're okay with this. 'When do I start?' 'Soon. Willis had a sister, she lives in the city. Here name is Elizabeth. She's.... unstable, but weak. They'll be watching her. She's your way in.' Lemona's intercom buzzed, and a few moments later Anka's voice could be heard coming through 'Ma'am I've got Bee outside waiting to see you.' 'Well send her in then, she was supposed to be here at 9!' A few moments later, Bee walked in, and a small smile of surprise crossed her face when she was M. 'Well I certainly didn't expect to see you here.' 'Yes yes, I'm sure it's surprising, but we really must get on.' Lemona ushered Bee over to the seat where M was sitting, and pulled him up and pushed him in the direction of the door 'You have a meeting with Dante at 11, I'll catch up with you later.' When he was gone, Bee turned to Lemona and asked her 'What is he doing here?' 'That's exactly why I wanted to meet with you. Where were you?' 'I was, ah, busy.' 'Well don't be busy again. We can't afford to be late, not in this climate anyway.' 'Why does he have a meeting with Dante?' 'He's going undercover, to investigate the Willis case.' Bee looked shocked 'Don't you remember what I told you last night? It's no accident that Bandit made so clear to us that he paid for the room. He's trying to send us a message.' 'I know he is.' Lemona sighed deeply. 'And this is my reply.'
Last Edit: May 27, 2017 11:17:31 GMT -5 by Mister M
This is less than ideal
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
can't find it in me to read all of this but i'm very much here for noted mobster fredrick pen
"Believing in something makes it happen. If you can achieve anything, then you can achieve your dreams and they can happen." - Connor Ratliff
"Some days, you feel like the world is against you. And everyone around you seems so mean and ugly. There are times I just burn with hate. In those times... I am ugly, too. I don't want to hate. I want to be kind, and waken the kindness in others." - Amy Jellicoe
There is a cemetery on the west side of the city, next to a grand cathedral. It sits of the side of a large hill, the tombstones looking down over the rest of the city. At the top of the hill there is a large statue of the angel Gabriel, striking an impressive height into the sky. At the bottom of the statue is an inscription, reading
' Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. '
Below the statue, if you pull away at the grass and brambles that had to begun to grow, you will find a metal grating, leading to a secret stairwell. In this cemetery, down the stairs, and along the secret passageway that follows, Linda Rhaldeen was standing before a large metal door. The door was old, older than the cemetery itself, or so she was told. But it wasn't the door that mattered, it was the locks. There were seven, and three of two had keys in them, the other five were empty. Linda reached into her pocket and pulled an extremely large and extremely old key, and placed in into the lock, and turned it slightly to the left. She was halfway there.
Not to far away from the cathedral, Mister M stepped out of a car which had just pulled up. The streets here were a stark contrast to area of the city he had just come from. Rubens Place was one of the oldest parts of town. The buildings sagged with age, the cobbled streets worn away from years of relentless activity. But the streets were empty. Nobody came here anymore. Several years ago a great fire had broken out, and although nobody had been injured and the damage had been minimal, it had had a lasting affect on the residents of the city, and the old town was now mostly abandoned. All except Dante of course. M waited until the car disappeared around the corner of the street before turning and walking a few yards in the opposite direction. Dante's location was top secret, he had to be sure that not even those inside his own company could find out. After walking past a few houses her turned and walked up a long crooked alleyway between two houses, before coming to an old wooden gate. He stopped outside, and knocked the door four times in quick succession, and waited. A few moments later, Dante opened the door. 'You're late,' he said, rudely, and then he grabbed M by the arm and yanked him inside. It took his eyes a few minutes to adjust to the darkness, but he was prepared for that. Dante's office as an extremely darkened room, so dark he couldn't barely see the outline of the chair that Dante shoved him into, let alone make out any of other features of the room. 'Now, Mister M, Tell me... what are your immediate thoughts about the situation in which you have found yourself?' Through the darkness, is was very difficult for M to be able to discern from which direction Dante's voice was coming from. 'Dark, mostly?' 'You know what I mean.' Dante's voice was suddenly right in front of Mister M's face 'I'm talking about you going undercover.' 'I feel fine.' 'Good.' M could hear the sounds of Dante standing up and moving around. 'You need to be on board with this, Mister M, one hundred percent. You will have to do things that normally you would not, witness things that not even your worst nightmares could comprehend. And you need to be ready for all of that. Are you ready for that?' 'Im always ready.' 'Better agents than you have failed. But there's something that you need to understand, Mister M, something that nobody ever tells you. It's not the going undercover that's the hard part, that's easy. That's what people like you and me are trained to do. The hard part is the disappearing. The separation from everyone you know and love. You will be completely on your own, no contact. Nobody to support you. No-one to pick you up when you fail – and you cannot fail, because failing at this means its over for you.' 'Well you seem to be dealing with it okay. Disappearing, I mean:' Dante stopped moving, and he sighed. 'I'm not okay, Mister M. I'm never okay.' 'You should come by the office sometime. Antenora misses you.' 'I can't. You know what would happen if i so much as took a step outside these four walls. And M, i haven't disappeared. People know where I am. Nobody will know where you are.' 'Dante, I spent my whole life training to be an agent. I'm prepared for this. I know what it means to disappear. I don't have anyone to leave behind.' Dante let out a small laugh. 'Oh. Mister M, we all have someone. We can lie to ourselves as much as we like, it won't make a difference. I know all about you, Mister M. I know that you have someone.' 'I don't care. I'm prepared.' 'Good.' Dante open the door something, and rummaged around for a moment, before finding what he was looking for. 'So how does it work? The disappearing, I mean.' 'Oh, Mister M, it's already started. Early this morning a body was discovered in a part of town with as low a reputation as it's employment rate. The body has been identified as a Mister M. Mayor Bandit will be most pleased. I'm sure he doesn't have enough brain cells to think of this slight victory for him as being anything more than what it appears, but if he does start investigating, well, lets just say that we have certain evidence to back things up.' 'What about -' 'Your father is hardly in any fit state to be concerned about your whereabouts, but we will inform if he becomes aware of the situation. His sister will speak with him.' 'Okay, fine. I wouldn't worry about that if I were you.' 'So.' Dante walked over to M and handed him what felt like a large paper file. 'This is everything we have on Elizabeth Willis. She is your entry point.' The file felt large, larger than M would have liked. 'I'll allow you to devour the details in their full glory, but I will give you a brief summary of the important details. Several years ago, when Jacob Willis, her brother, was at his height of dominance of the criminal underworld, she learned of what he was doing. She was distraught with anger, not just at the fact that he had become a ruthless criminal, that he had also dragged her husband into events. Several months later, bother her husband and her friend were killed in a terrible fire. She held Willis responsible, and the two, to the best of my knowledge, neve spoke again. And she went mad. She has recovered slightly, but she is extremely unstable. Huge parts of her past have floated away, although sometimes then come back to her, or so i am led to believe. But this is good. She is weak. She is being watched. Whatever reason it was that Willis was killed, they will be turning their attentions onto Elizabeth next, to see if she knows more than we believe. So, Mister M, what is it that you need to do?' 'Get close to her. Find out what she knows, if she knows anything. And find out who else is trying to do the same.' 'And do what needs to be done.' 'Who do you think is watching her?' 'Think?' Dante sighed. 'Never think Mister M, only know. And I know only one thing. Bandit is watching everywhere, and Pepper is double checking everywhere Bandit cannot see.You need to become someone else' 'Who?' 'A new man. I have been in contact with lorelai, and she has already begun seeding the information: You are, as of this afternoon, a man called Lucas Denouement. You have several crimes to your name, the usual stuff. Murder, Kidnapping, Arson and the like. In the last few yours you have been in England working for Groge, and you have recently returned to the city with the intention of doing business with a sadly deceased Jacob Willis. Your employer is very unhappy with the death of Mr Willis and has asked you to get the bottom of it, but you, it turns out, are much more unhappy with him. Perhaps, when the opportunity presents itself, you would much rather work for Pepper. But none of this matters, of course, without proof.' 'Proof?' 'Proof of who you are, Luke. Bandit might not be clever, but Pepper is. He won't take anyone's word for who they are. You need to prove yourself. You need to do what needs to be done.'
The shower had done little to alleviate the damage to her hair. The last few days had taken their toll, and her hair had become an unmanageable mass of mud and sweat and dirt and blood. As Sophie dressed she decided that to attempt to take a comb near her head would be an ineffectual and painful decision. Thankfully her mother had left for work as soon as they reached home. She'd been in a rush to get back to work, but she still had time for the usual lecture about how reckless her behaviour was, and how she was damaging her future, and so on. She cared, apparently, and was worried. So worried that she had to go to work immediately. Because being a waitress is so important. Sophie's phone vibrated, and she she wasn't surprised by who the message was from.
No, she thought, but that wasn't what she sent back. Of course I am. I'm famous. A few seconds later and she had a reply.
I'm coming round
Good god no. She couldn't come round. Her mother had unpredictable working times, and she could be back at any moment. If her mother and her girlfriend met each other she would probably die, instantaneously. She tried to reply as quickly as possible but a few seconds later there was a knock from downstairs. 'Hey Soph! It's me!' Furious, Sophie ran down the stairs and opened the front door. Trip was standing on the front porch, dressed in the same clothes she always wore, and beaming at the sight of Sophie. 'Woah, what happened to your hair?' 'What the hell are you doing here?' 'I'm coming to check up on you. It's supposed to be nice! What happened to your hair?' 'You can't be here. What if... someone... sees you?' 'Hopefully they'll be awed by my beauty and compliment me on my outgoing personality.' 'You came here before I even told you I was home. How did you do that?' 'I was in the area. Now, hair, please – explain.' 'What do you think? It got really dirty and I'm having trouble with washing it. We need to leave, now.' Sophie turned back into the house, but trip reached out a hand and grabbed her by the arm 'Are you okay?' 'Yes its just.. I'd rather nobody saw you with me, really' 'Oh, thanks. I'll try not to feel too insulted here.' 'I don't mean it like that. It's just... my mum has a lot of... issues. I've told you before, we don't get on and if she met you then... It's not that she'd have any problem with you, its more that she'd have a problem with me being with you, but I don't mean she has a problem with me going out with you, not in that way, just that she wouldn't want me going out with anyone because -' 'Soph. It's cool, I don't mind. I'd much rather get the hell away from here and actually do something interesting than listen to this conversation any longer' 'Sorry'. Sophie smiled at Trip. 'Let me just grab my things and then we can go.' Sophie ran back upstairs and into her room and grabbed her bag. She went to pick up her phone, but then she noticed that it was gone. She was sure she had put it down on the bed when she had heard trips knocking. She glanced around room, but could see no sign of it. She quickly checked through her bag, but it was definitely not in there. 'I can't find my phone' she shouted downstairs 'Who cares, i'm the only one you talk to anyway!' Bee would be so angry at her if she didn't reply to her messages. But, actually, what difference would that make? She was always angry. Sophie dashed back downstairs and a few moments later she slid into the passenger seat of trips car. 'What were you doing in the area anyway?' Trip smiled 'Something interesting.' 'What something?' 'Something fun.' '...What something?' Trip reached into her pocket and tossed something at Sophie. It was a small plastic bag, and inside were two red tablets. 'What is this?' Sophie asked. 'It's something new. It's called Pepper.'
A few moments later, a mysterious figure emerged from inside Sophie's wardrobe, clutching a phone close to her chest. She made sure to lock the front door as she left.
'Hello, and good evening. This is Linda Rhaldeen with the latest news updates. All eyes have been on Mayor Bandit today, but he has failed to make any public appearance since he gave his rousing speech yesterday evening. Government officials have refused to speak to reporters, and no official statement has been given over whether the mayor will continue with his already controversial plans. Reports have been coming in of police officers making several arrests around the city today. The city's chief of police, Sixteen, has told people to remain calm but vigilant, and that the police will be working hard over the next few days to try and maintain peace. And finally, the death of Jacob Willis, a renowned gangster, has been confirmed. The unfortunate incident was captured on camera by news crews from around the world. Police believe Mister Willis fell from the 32nd floor of the hotel at which he was staying, and they are not investigating the case any further.'
Elizabeth sat down on the bench, and looked out over the city. It was dark, it was late, and it was cold. The bench was in a park, and the park was on the side of a hill in the west side of the city. She hadn't been there in years, not since her and Jacob had been children. They had used to play in the huge sandpit, and scramble up the huge, oddly structured climbing frame. But not now. Now he was dead and she was here... waiting. She didn't know who she was waiting for, but she knew she had to find out. The note had been given to her the old way. She didn't remember a lot these days. But she remembered the old way. She could hear footsteps heading towards her, and she stood up and walked towards them. She could see a figure walking out of the darkness. She was short, and her hair matched her height. She wore small round spectacles, and she was wearing clothes like she had just been doing something important. Elizabeth knew that she should recognise her, but try as she might, she couldn't. 'Hello Elizabeth,' said the woman. 'I know you,' said Elizabeth. 'I just...' The woman smiled softly. 'I know, Betsy, it's fine. It's me. It's Linda.' Elizabeth blushed with embarrassment, as the memory of Linda came back to her. 'Of course, yes, Linda. I was expecting, well... I wasn't sure who to expect, but I thought it might have been...' 'Sherry Ann?' Linda smiled again. 'No, she's in hiding, remember? She just delivers my messages for me, sometimes. If I ask nicely.' 'Why?' 'Because she owes me a favour.' 'No, I mean why was she giving me a message from you in the first place? What do you want?' Linda walked over to the bench and sat down, and Elizabeth noticed how sad and tired she looked. Her eyes were large and black, and her face looked like it had almost forgotten how to smile. She leant back and took a long, deep breath. 'The air's good up here, isn't it? It makes you feel alive. I wanted to meet you here because I thought it might help you remember. This is where we first met, me, you, and Willis. This is where it all began.' 'Where what began?' 'Badness. Willis is dead now, and do you know why?' Elizabeth shook her head. 'I haven't heard from him in years.' 'He's dead because he was a bad man. A bad man who did bad things. I tried to help him, I tried to stop him from doing bad things but it didnt work. And people died, like Pandora, and like Charlie, and now he's dead himself.' Linda looked at Elizabeth, and she was crying. 'And then there are people like us. He's hurt us two, both of us. We lost people because of him. And I will never forgive him like that.' 'I know that. I know that my brother was a bad person, everyone's always telling me.' 'But it's my fault, Elizabeth, don't you see? I should have stopped him when I had the chance, and I didn't, and now he's dead. And now I'm worried about losing you too.' 'Losing me?' Elizabeth was confused. 'Why would you lose me?' 'The people who wanted Willis dead will be looking for you next. And maybe they will want to kill you, too. And there will be people looking for those people, too, and they'll be trying to find you first. You need to be safe, Linda. You need to come with me. I can look after you. I can protect you.' Elizabeth thought for a moment, and then put her hand on Linda's shoulder. 'I'll be fine. I doubt anyone will come looking for me anyway, and if they do then I'll just tell them that i don't know anything. Because that's the truth.' Linda knocked Elizabeth's arm out of the way and stood up, looking desperate 'You aren't safe! You need to come with me, otherwise you'll end up dead too.' 'I don't want to go with you. I want to stay at home and bake cakes, just like I've always done.' 'But you haven't always done that.' 'But it's what I want to do now.' Elizabeth smiled at Linda 'It's nice that you're thinking of me, but I'm fine.' Linda bit her lip, and then reached into her pocket. 'At least let me give you my phone number, so then you can contact me if you change your mind'. She handed Elizabeth a small piece of paper. 'That's nice.' said Elizabeth. 'I promise, if I need you, I'll call you.' Linda sighed. 'It's good to see you again.' 'You too.' Linda turned and began to walk back in the direction she had come from. She had almost disappeared into the darkness when Elizabeth suddenly remembered something else. 'Linda, wait,' she shouted, and Linda turned around to look at her. 'How's your daughter?' 'She's, um, she's doing well.' 'What's her name?' Linda suddenly looked sadder than she had all evening. 'Pandora.', she sighed, before she turned and left. Elizabeth waited for a few minutes, looking at the city once more, and trying to remember.
'I'm sorry, but she didn't want to come with me.' 'Didn't want?' The voice that came back from the other end of the phone was surprisingly calm. 'You mean you asked her?' 'Well I wasn't going to just kidnap her.' 'You should have.' 'She doesn't know anything, I'm sure of it.' 'Shes lying, Linda.' 'She isn't!' Linda protested. 'This isn't a negotiation. Your daughter's fine, Linda. If anything I imagine she's probably happier than she ever was in your, ah, care. But that could all change any minute, if you start to disobey my orders.' 'Y-yes. I'm sorry Pepper. What do you want me to do now?'
Last Edit: Aug 5, 2017 13:24:42 GMT -5 by Mister M
This is less than ideal
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
Germes: I think inviting new people to join us is a good idea.
May 14, 2020 16:28:26 GMT -5
Germes: I think Bee did something similar at some point in the past.
May 14, 2020 16:29:01 GMT -5
Germes: And even earlier, there was a plan to stick 667 flyers in copies of ASOUE in bookshops. At least one person did join us because of that.
May 14, 2020 16:29:51 GMT -5
Sherry Ann: Didn't someone get kicked out of / asked to leave a bookstore for putting 667 bookmarks in ASOUE books?
May 14, 2020 19:25:42 GMT -5
tk: hey i actually did leave 667 bookmarks in ASOUE books in bookshops! man i forgot about that. good times.
May 14, 2020 19:38:03 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: If there was a flow capacitor, I would sign up here long before ... That must have been incredible.
May 14, 2020 21:06:05 GMT -5
Terry Craig: holy salsa, tk, you legend. I've never heard of the flyers thing as part of 667 history.
May 15, 2020 15:33:18 GMT -5
tk: lol i myself forgot about it, it's been so long -- must've done that when i first joined around 2009/2010
May 16, 2020 11:34:49 GMT -5
Stay-at-homet: Just updated my profile to express my hopes that everyone stays home and safe. I tried to give my avatar a mask, but it ended up looking more like Patrick from Spongebob in overalls.
May 17, 2020 8:08:16 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: It was great for me. I also put a mask on my Avatar.
May 17, 2020 13:16:31 GMT -5