Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense, the hero Edward Blake had said. I don’t know how long ago it’s been since those words were spoken. Such an off-handed remark that made so much sense, I don’t recall where or why the Comedian said it but the man was right. The human race is sick and the Comedian reflected it; he was a parody. There was no denying what he was. He was a murderer, a rapist, and a nihilist. If I was to be the so called psychopath, Edward Blake would be the Sociopath. I respected him but I never liked him. He reminded me of what was sick in this world, an embodiment of the cruelty Man possessed.
I wonder. Did he ever live with regret? And at the end of it all did he feel guilt for the things he’d done? Only his murderer, Veidt, would know the answer. Only he heard the uttering of the Comedian’s last words, the last thing a cruel man had to say to a dying world….
Trixie jumped when she heard a crashing of the forest outside, it seemed early morning reading was not such a good idea. Hurriedly, she closed the journal and with her magic placed it back to its rightful spot, adjusting it carefully to make it seem that it had been untouched. She wasn’t sure yet if it was him that had made the crashing sound, but it was better to be safe than sorry.
Satisfied that the book was back in its original spot without one page out of place, she peaked around the cave’s edge. Sure enough, she spotted the clear visage of a very disheveled looking Rorschach. Darting back into the cave, the unicorn looked around to try and find something to occupy herself with, to show that she wasn’t somepony to be suspicious of.
She sat stalk still as Rorschach entered, expecting to be questioned right on the spot for what she was doing. She had to look suspicious, standing in a cave doing nothing but act nervous, but her posture slackened when she took the time to actually look at the creature as it half stumbled into its home again. He looked tired in his gait and the way he carried his slumped shoulders, yet he showed no signs of collapsing any time soon. She half suspected he’d yell at her as he usually did whenever he was in such an awful mood but instead he was quiet, deathly silent.
Going to the rock, he put the journal to the side and didn’t even bother to question if she had dared to read it or not. That was especially odd considering he guarded his belongings fervently. Trixie began to worry; there was no telling what was going on in the man’s head right now. He looked exhausted; but knowing him, he could be ready to explode at any second. Silently, she watched him sway, barely able to sit upright on his own until something seemed to shock him awake again. He didn’t even appear to have noticed her presence, which slightly offended Trixie. To think the unicorn had worried if he was alright, and now he returns completely ignoring her, stumbling from lack of sleep due to some hunt he’d taken upon himself.
Before she could stop herself, she found herself huff audibly. She cringed, expecting him to lash out from the offending sound. Nothing happened and slowly she opened her eyes again expecting to see him leering at her disapprovingly, as he always did when she did something that annoyed him. He only swayed slightly to his left, catching himself with his elbow to keep himself from fully falling over, still unaware of her presence and not even hearing the sound she made.
Something definitely wasn’t right.
Trixie knew he was odd but he was also a creature of habit. She knew that both from her experience with him and also what she gathered from his journal. All yesterday she wasn’t able to put the book down, refusing to stop on the first page as she had planned, she was able to delve deeper into whom Rorschach was. What Trixie read though left more questions than answers. From what the journal told her, Rorschach was lost and yet he kept referring to himself as dead, unable to return to the last place he’d been. The human especially blamed another being named Dr. Manhattan for this, his supposed murderer. Yet it didn’t make sense to the unicorn, Rorschach was still alive and breathing. The book went on into even more confused rambling with moments of clarity, but overall it was a terrifying and unsettling collection of thoughts from a harsh person.
“A-are you alright?” Trixie found herself asking the monster that she had more reason to fear now than ever.
Heard her, knew she was there, yet I was too tired to address her antics. Nearly four days without sleep has taken its toll on my strength. I could barely focus or even sit properly, let alone answer her questions. No doubt she had many. It seems I can no longer disappear as I please, I thought irritably.
Just a dog on a leash, something whispered to me as the sharp hum droned on.
“I’m fine,” I muttered quietly, rubbing at my eyes in the futile attempt keep them open.
“Are you sure?” she asked with a hint of worry and apprehension.
“Yes.” I flatly told her, hoping she’d stop pestering me. Her persistence was annoying as I knew her worry was not genuine. She just needed me to get her food and keep the monsters of the forest at bay.
“You don’t sound sure.” she brazenly told me… or did I imagine such a tone?
“I said I am,” I snapped back at her. The unicorn shrinks back beneath my glare. My patience was thin as it was. How I wanted to sleep, to lay my head down to rest, but I knew that wouldn’t work. I move to get up but I never got far, instead the droning noise showed its disapproval. The sound screeches at me, my vision shakes and I feel some wet droplets fall from my ears again. I tumble off the rock and onto the rocky ground, clutching at my head. Through my blurred vision I can see something blue rush to my side.
“Rorschach what’s wrong?” she asked, frightened and worried at my thrashing form on the ground. The unicorn reaches her hoof out to me but shudders away when I lash out at her.
Kill her, she doesn’t deserve to live. Useless meat.
“No!” I screamed both at her and the voice. I would not allow this voice to make demands of me. The screech screamed back at me for my defiance and I can hear the voice repeat itself. I shake my head, hoping to loosen the grip of the sound’s nagging claws. Instead, they dug their talons deeper into my mind. “Get away from me,” I scowled at her, she simply looked on in terror at me. “Get away before I kill you!” I growled with rage, even though my vision is blurred, I can hear her momentarily hesitate. Barely, I can see her panicked expression. Finally, she gathered her senses enough to rush out of the cave, the sound of her leaving gave me some relief. All I could think about was hurting her and anything else that could bleed. Wasn’t about to let this screeching and whispering voice get the better of me.
Give in, a voice whispered into my ear, you know they are all guilty.
“Innocent,” I said through painfully gritted teeth.
Only the dead are innocent, it answered.
The melancholy cloud that surrounded Daisy’s funeral still trailed around Sweet Apple Acres. The Apple family, the cow herd, and every other animal that made their home on the farm moved slower and less lively because of the invisible fog that gripped at their spirits. Daisy had been like family to everyone, in some way to each animal, cow, and pony grieved in their own way. For Applejack, that meant trying to comfort her young sister who refused to eat much of dinner the night before and today wouldn’t leave her room. Big Mac had already gone down to the schoolhouse to tell Cheerilee about what had happened. The schoolteacher was kind enough to let Applebloom spend as much time as she needed out of school, despite her kind offer to excuse her from class work Big Mac insisted on at least getting her homework for the young filly to do when she was ready.
For the fourth time that morning, Applejack tried to talk to her sister. Gently, she knocked against the door to her room. “Applebloom?” she asked loud enough to be heard through the door. With a quick pause she could hear the tell-tale sounds of stifled sobbing. She sighed and tried again, “Applebloom, please, can’t ya let me in ta talk? Ya haven’t even had breakfast yet.” She waited again, hoping to hear the sounds of hoofsteps against the wooden floor or at least an answer from the young filly. The only answer though, was the sound of shuffling covers and muffled crying. Applejack felt her heart drop at the sound. The helplessness of being unable to comfort her sister was painful to endure, but she wanted to respect her sister’s wishes to be alone for a while. It’d be lunch soon and Applejack planned on making it herself to bring up to the door. She couldn’t keep skipping meals and hopefully by that time, she’d be ready to talk.
Climbing down the stairs, she found Big Mac sitting by the table reading the morning paper. He glanced up expectantly at Applejack as she entered the kitchen. A slow shake of the mare’s head confirmed that Applebloom hadn’t come out of her room yet. The deep sound of the stallion sighing was heard as he folded the paper up and left it on the table. A brief silence passed between them before Applejack opened her mouth to ask what they should do to coax their sister into talking.
She was cut off at the sound of frantic knocking at the front door.
Both ponies turned to the abrasive sound, the two then turned to each other briefly before Applejack trotted out of the kitchen towards the door. Part of her expected it to be one of her friends. Fluttershy had informed their other friends about what had happened and at one time or another each of them had come to the farm to give their condolences. Even Rarity, who didn’t often make the trip to Sweet Apple Acres, came to check up on them to add her own sincere apology. Perhaps it was Fluttershy once again asking if everything was alright?
She opened the door and to her surprise it was the last pony she ever expected to find at her door. An azure unicorn stood before her, breathing heavy like she had been sprinting for quite some time. Her light blue mane was disheveled with leaves and branches poking out from where they had snagged upon her during her run. Dirt, mud, and dust blotted her once brilliant blue coat.
“T-Trixie?” Applejack managed to hesitantly stammer out to the unicorn, obviously taken aback by the magician’s sudden visit and her rugged appearance.
“Apple… jack,” Trixie replied through great gulps of air.
“What’re y’all doin’ back here again?” the orange mare asked suspiciously and with a hard frown. She hadn’t forgotten the last time Trixie had come to town or the embarrassment of getting tangled in her own rope thanks to the arrogant unicorn. Her appearance spelled trouble but a strange look in her eye worried Applejack. Trixie looked worried, almost frantic, and her arrogant stance was gone.
“Rorschach’s in trouble.” Trixie said quickly, finally catching her breathe enough to answer the cowpony.
“Rorschach?” Applejack echoed, a hint of worry crossed her features before her hard frown returned again, “What in the hay are ya talkin’ about? How d’ya know Rorschach?”
“Look, it’d take too long to explain right now but something’s wrong. I don’t know what happened, but this morning he collapsed and won’t stop screaming!” Trixie said back.
“Why should ah believe you?” Applejack asked.
“You’re just going to need to trust me. Please, you’re his friend…” By now, Trixie was almost begging. It scared Applejack as it told her something was most definitely wrong for Trixie to be pleading for any kind of help.
The few brief seconds Applejack had to think, made Trixie terrified that she wouldn’t believe her, but finally, the orange mare turned around and called out, “Big Mac! Somethin’s wrong with Rorschach. Ah’m goin’ out ta see what’s wrong.” Trixie could see the large stallion over Applejack’s shoulder solemnly nod his head in acknowledgment. She breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that Applejack would at least hear her out.
Trixie stepped out of the way to let Applejack outside. The orange mare took a moment to grab a coil of rope that hung from a handle next to the door. Settling the rope comfortably around her neck, she gave Trixie a curt nod.
“Alright, let’s go.”
Trixie led the way as best she could. She wasn’t particularly fast and, at times, Applejack could easily pass her, but she pushed herself forward. Both of them knew the way to go, but Applejack paced herself to keep with Trixie instead of speeding ahead. Applejack wasn’t sure what she’d find at the cave that Rorschach made his home in and, despite her growing worry, she didn’t want to leave Trixie behind.
The unicorn’s chest ached from the exertion of running. She wasn’t used to such exercise but the thought of leaving Rorschach by himself kept her from slowing down. Memories of the journal she read kept surfacing to mind though, making her question helping this hostile thing. Did she really consider him a friend? After all the things he’s said and the way he’s acted? If anything that journal confirmed what she thought, he was a lost monster that thought only of bloodshed and hatred, and yet he had opened his home to her and even took the time to (begrudgingly) listen to her, as well as offer his abrasive insight into helping her reacquaint herself with ponies. But did that make up for him being a monster?
Her own question was left unanswered as the two jumped into the grove. Trixie stopped to try and halt the cramp that had grown in her side but a sudden pained cry from the cave prompted Applejack to shoot forward with the unicorn struggling to catch up.
The orange mare stopped at the cave’s entrance, shocked at what she saw. Since the first time Applejack had met Rorschach, the image that was burned into her mind was him standing between her and a pack of timber wolves, a stoic and steadfast wall that seemed unbreakable by anything. In her mind, he had been a being of unfaltering strength and resolve, but before her was a completely different creature. What she saw now was a man in pain. He was on the ground upon his knees, clutching at his ears as trickles of blood fell in beads from beneath his pristine white mask.
He was holding back another scream of pain; it hurt her to see him like this, in such anguish. Without a second thought, she rushed to his side, “Rorschach?” the worry that had gripped her made her voice crack, “I-it’s me, Applejack, come on answer me! What’s wrong? What’s going on?” In an attempt to comfort him she placed a hoof on his shoulder.
He lashed out at her, sending her onto her back. Quickly, she moved out of his way as tears started to well up in her eyes. Her friend, her savior, had just attacked her and she didn’t know why. She watched him struggle and thrash upon the ground, desperately clutching at his ears to block out some unheard sound; she didn’t know what to do or how to fix this. She nearly jumped when she felt a hoof on her shoulder. Trixie was by her side, helping her up but, all the while, Applejack kept her eyes on her enraged friend.
“W-what’s wrong with him? Why doesn’t he recognize me?” Applejack worriedly asked.
“I don’t know. He’s been gone all yesterday and came back this morning. I know for sure he hasn’t slept in at least two days.” Trixie answered, watching the struggling man. Both jumped back when a sudden scream of pain escaped his grasp and resounded against the narrow walls.
Applejack didn’t know what to say, she’d never dealt with anything like this before. She had no idea what could be causing him to break down like this. Unless… Applejack’s eyes widened and her pupils became pinpricks of worry, “You don’t think… from fightin’ the timberwolves he could ‘ave gotten rabies?”
The unicorn shook her head, still watching the struggling man on the ground, “N-no I don’t think so. From what I know, this has been steadily growing from the past few days without him being actually sick, I don’t know what it is but I’m sure it isn’t rabies, at least I don't think rabies causes somep... someone to bleed from the ears. He’s made sure in the past to go to Zecora to be sure he never contracts any disease.” Despite herself, the unicorn couldn’t shake a sudden image that passed through her mind; a distraught Rorschach foaming at the mouth beneath that mask of his, eyes bloodshot and crazed.
“He’s gonna hurt himself at this rate,” Applejack said, cringing slightly as the man’s skull just barely grazed a piece of jagged rock. Spotting one of Rorschach’s ropes on the floor, an idea came to her. She picked it up, checking the knotted circle to be sure it was firm and strong. Expertly, she gave the rope a few twirls, a difficult matter in the small confines of the cave, but she was given enough room to just barely swing the rope around in a steady momentum. Sensing what the orange mare was doing, Trixie used her magic to lift the struggling Rorschach back into an awkward sitting position. Taking the opportunity, the rope was flung and captured the man’s arms to his sides where they struggled against the rope around him. In his right mind, Applejack knew he could have gotten out but something was keeping him from thinking straight. Neither she nor Trixie knew what to do, but there very well could be another unicorn that could shed light onto what was wrong with the human.
Letting go of the rope, Applejack looked to Trixie, “Stay ‘ere and watch ‘im, ah’m gonna go get my brother and the cart. Ah know someone who can help.”
“Well hurry! He isn’t going to stay put for very long!” Trixie replied as she hurriedly used her magic to tighten the slackening rope. Applejack didn’t answer as she sped out of the cave and darted out of the grove. Without having to worry about any other pony keeping up, Applejack ran as fast as she could through the forest to the willow tree.
Pain, that’s all that I could feel. Muffled sounds and voices prodded my awareness, but I could make nothing of it, like hearing voices beneath layers of white noise on a radio. The one thing that dominated my mind was the pain. The ringing in my ears that demanded I listen to it, yet I didn’t know what it said.
They don’t trust you, they’ve come to take you away, whispered the voice that spoke over the ringing.
Something touched my shoulder and I was filled with panic. Dark shadows everywhere, blue and red flashing lights behind them as they reached down to take me away. I lashed out with my arm, swinging and hitting something that easily gave away, but the shadows didn’t go away. They leered over me as the whispering in my ears spoke of unintelligible things.
I cried out and tightly shut my eyes. My head quaked with the agony that invaded my mind and tore away at my senses like hungry carrion feeders to a warm carcass. I opened my eyes again and my sight was blurred and unfocused. I could see nothing but blurs of color and the sounds of distant talking that just barely breached my awareness beyond the pain.
Suddenly I felt myself lifted. I turned and faced an orange and blue blur.
Manhattan the voice whispered, dripping with a malice that matched my own. The voices took delight in this.
I growled in frustration and anger, in an attempt to fight the sound and my own blurred perception I tried to move forward towards the blue blur. I was stopped. I felt something coil around my arms and brought them to my sides. The surge of panic grew again and I fought against this sudden attack against me. The rope was strong and held fast against my struggling. For a moment it loosened, but I was too slow to take advantage of the lax in strength. The rope tightened again and held back my struggling. All the time the voice seemed to shout from a distance, get free, break free!
I could only take a sharp, pained intake of air as I suddenly felt the ringing intensify in my ears, grating against my very perception with claws made of jagged glass.
They’ll lock you in a little cage, the whispers told me, and they’ll make sure you’ll never see the light of day.
I tried to respond, to say it wasn’t true, but all I could do was give an exclamation at the agony that seemed to radiate from within my very being. A worried voice next to me tries to shout to me, trying to tell me everything was going to be alright. I wanted to strangle that voice, and a chorus of approval sounded from beneath the ringing torment. Weakly, I tugged at the bonds and the voice mocked me for my lack of strength; which voice it was I didn’t know anymore.
I don’t know how long I was there, lost in my own head trying to count out the seconds to concentrate my thoughts upon. I was barely aware of something strong lifting me and tossing me onto a different surface, a wooden one. My struggle began anew and I tried to shout out in protest but what came out was an anguished groan as I felt something rip at the back of my eyes, sending tremors of pain to my chest. I couldn’t control my panic but something kept the rope in place to hold back my struggling.
Pathetic, the voice echoed.
Slowly I became aware that I was moving. Voices spoke from beyond my understanding and the rolling sun burned. I rolled about, trying to get free from the rope, and found a wooden wall keeping me from going any further. Rolling in the other direction I was met with the same resistance. Something spoke to me but the voices drowned the voice out. Something touching my shoulder again caused me to shudder. I was reminded of the voice and what it said. Taken away to a prison, alone with nothing but darkness.
Not even to wallow in the scum you have grown fond of, the voice taunted.
Hooves stomped upon the ground in haste, the clattering cart following close behind. Now clear of the forest, the cart’s motions became less chaotic and its occupant lay quieter. Even so, the human seemed always unaware of what was happening around him. Applejack ran close next to the cart, casting worried glances at the silently muttering Rorschach that struggled weakly against the rope in the cart’s bed. Blood dripped from the sides of his head, quickening her breath from the fear of the possible injury he might have. There was little time to check now.
They reached the edge of Ponyville where Big Mac slowed down. Trixie trailed behind, quickly losing her breath but still managing to keep up with the two Apple family ponies. Seeing them slow down she did so as well, glad for the respite but also worried about the town’s reaction of carting a strange thing through town. A strange thing that could start screaming again at any time, Trixie anxiously thought. There also lay the quiet anxiety of returning to town, the azure unicorn wondered if she was remembered here still.
The three entered the town at a quick trot and thankfully Rorschach had gone quiet, but it was a silence that scared Trixie and Applejack. Applejack knew Rorschach’s mask well, she could tell the different, almost subtle, shifts in the black ink that signaled the slightest changes to the man’s expression. It was always changing into different shapes but now looking into it, it unsettled her how still it was. Rorschach was in a daze, a thousand yard stare beneath that mask that left his face like a skull. Quietly, he muttered under his breath. Applejack couldn’t make out what he was whispering but could tell his voice was weak and pained.
Trixie bit at her lower lip, her eyes scanning the few ponies they passed. Many didn’t notice what was in the cart but the ones that did stopped to gawk. Only a few ponies stopped because they recognized her. On each occasion, she made sure to pick up the pace and move on before they could say anything. Trixie liked attention, but not now, toting around a wounded human and looking rugged from the long run she’s been forced to endure. So focused on other ponies, it came as a surprise to her to find that Applejack was leading them to the center of town and not towards the hospital on the edge of Ponyville. Frowning, she followed closer behind, using the cart as cover for any knowing ponies around.
She abruptly stopped and narrowed her eyes when she saw the familiar tree library. She knew who lived there. Grabbing onto the back of the cart she pulled back enough to get Big Mac to stop to see what it was holding the cart back. Applejack turned around to find Trixie glaring back at her.
“What in the hay are you doing, Trixie?” Applejack asked.
“What’s the meaning of bringing him to her?” Trixie asked, sneering to punctuate her last word.
Applejack returned the sneer with a glare, “If anypony will know what’s causin’ Rory to act like this it’d be Twilight!”
“Hah! I find that hard to believe. She’d probably do more harm than good.” Trixie condescended.
“What’s your problem with Twilight, Trixie? Last I recall she’d saved the town from that Ursa Minor that yer braggin’ caused!”
“Well I could have handled that-“
“Look Trixie, we don’t have time for this. Yer just gonna need to stop being so hard headed and let Twilight help. Come on Big Mac.” Applejack snapped back at Trixie, who simply huffed. The unicorn suddenly stumbled as the cart moved forward again and begrudgingly she moved along with it to the library.
Taking the lead again, Applejack moved up to the tree library’s door and knocked several times. She waited anxiously as she heard the sound of soft footsteps approach the door. The handle was turned and a familiar purple and green dragon appeared in the doorway. The perplexed dragon looked around at the assembled ponies, “Uhhh, what’s all this about, Applejack?” he asked after some hesitation.
“Spike, is Twilight around? We need her help.” Applejack solemnly said.
“Uhh, yeah let me go get her,” Spike said, opening the door wider to let her in. He lingered a bit longer upon seeing Trixie. His eyes narrowed in suspicion as the mare did the same, though a quick nudge by Applejack spurred Spike to get going. Rorschach began his thrashing anew as he was picked up by Big Mac and brought inside the tree home, the sound of his renewed and fevered shouting was the first thing Twilight heard that caused her to rush into the room.
“Applejack? Rorschach?” Twilight asked, looking at each of them in turn until her eyes fell on a scowling Trixie. “T-Trixie? What’s going on?”
“We don’t know, Twi. That’s why we’re here.” Applejack responded and brought the lavender unicorn up to speed on recent events, from Trixie running to get her, Rorschach’s symptoms, to finally getting him here. Still, dozens of questions went through Twilight’s mind but before she could even begin to question Trixie’s part in all of this or more details on what’s been happening, Rorschach renewed his screams of torment like something had jabbed daggers into him. The three turned to see him on the ground, attempting to smash himself against the tree’s wall, trying to get free from his bonds.
“Umm, I think I have some business… over with Owloysius... another…” Spike didn’t bother finishing his excuse as he left the room for the kitchen. The sight of the crazed human was a bit too much for the baby dragon and he had no interest in getting close to the possibly crazed monster’s thrashing.
Applejack was the first to react by rushing over to him. Placing her hooves up on his shoulder she tried to steady his thrashing. Looking over her shoulder Applejack called out, “Can’t you do something Twilight?”
Seeing that the orange mare was having trouble keeping the human steady, Trixie dashed over to hold the human’s other shoulder in an attempt to keep him from bashing himself against the wall, leaving a hesitant lavender unicorn to watch the human’s pained state of mind.
Shaking her head, Twilight trotted over, “I don’t know what to do though, there’s no telling what’s wrong with him!”
“Well try anything, Trixie very much doubts he’ll hold still for much longer!” the azure unicorn said sardonically, pushing the human back down before he could lash out again.
“I can try a mind clearing spell, but I don’t know if it will work!” Twilight said as she moved closer to Rorschach, making sure she kept away from his thrashing legs. Her horn aglow, she got close enough to touch her horn to his forehead. They met, and the effects weren’t what the unicorn was expecting.
A white light erupted the moment Twilight’s horn touched the human’s forehead. Before Twilight could pull back, a burst of energy pushed her and the other two ponies across the room. Hitting the floor, the three dazed ponies looked around, trying to get their bearings. To their surprise they found the library filled with a violet fog, a haze that blocked their view. Rorschach had slumped over, appearing unconscious but still muttering incoherently to himself.
Applejack shakily got back on her legs, picking up her fallen Stetson and placing it back onto her head. Glancing to the others she saw Trixie sitting in a daze, her head lolling and her eyes out of focus. Across from the azure unicorn lay a weakened Twilight, slowly picking herself up. “What the hay is this?” Applejack asked as she tried to gaze into the thickening violet haze that wisped about like a barely contained nebula within the library.
“I don’t know,” Twilight said as she managed to stand back up. Looking around the fog, she spoke wearily, “That was supposed to be a simple spell to clear headaches and stress, but something went wrong. I have no idea what this is.”
“Trixie... does not feel good,” stammered the confused unicorn nearby as she slowly regained her senses.
Before either mare could answer the dazed unicorn, the sound of a closing door caught their attention. All three looked about the room, but the front door was closed still and Spike was still out of the room, making little to no sound himself. The source of the sound slowly dawned on them all as an orange glow appeared within the violet haze. The dusty violet cloud swirled amidst the orange glow that slowly took shape. Slowly and carefully it formed into a bipedal figure. Glowing lines defined themselves and took the shape of the clothes the figure wore. A jacket with the texture of cotton, pants, dress shoes, gloves. Finally dust formed along the figure’s head, defining his features down to the freckles that dominated the figure’s cheeks. The face was younger, less haggard, but the freckles and hair reminded Applejack of exactly who it was. “Rorschach?” the cowpony said quietly to the spectral figure. It did not hear her.
Nearby, another glow of orange appeared and with faster clarity formed into an overstuffed armchair with grimy dark stains. In the chair sat an elderly and large woman, she stared intently at something unseen, turned away from the standing figure behind her. She twisted slightly to the side as the figure stepped forward; the scowl on her face was that of a monster disturbed from its rest.
“Money,” the spectral man said, tossing the woman in the chair an envelope. The figure’s voice was younger and less harsh or raspy but it was familiar. It was Rorschach’s voice. Applejack leaned in, afraid to step closer for worry that it would disrupt the scene playing before her. She didn’t understand what she was seeing but the feeling that she was seeing something very private festered in the back of her mind.
The woman’s fingers greedily grabbed the envelope and ripped open the top of it. Tipping it over, she pulled out strange pieces of rectangular paper that she swiftly counted. The scowl on her face deepened, “What the hell kind of joke is this?! There’s only two hundred dollars here!” The woman’s head whipped around and glared at the spectral Rorschach that stood over her, “Are trying to starve your own mother you little retard?!”
Applejack winced at the harsh word. Shock, disgust, and horror all crossed her mind as she reeled back. Rorschach’s own mother, the woman who was supposed to love him and care for him, had just demeaned him so viciously. The thought was so foreign to her, knowing only love from her own family this was something that she could barely fathom. Unconsciously, she found herself shaking from the shock of the scene, but the figures before her didn’t react. They didn’t seem to notice that they were being watched, like actors in a play.
“Two hundred dollars is far more than you deserve.” The specter scowled back with an equal amount of venom.
The woman looked flustered and glared back, “Watch your mouth, brat! Talking to your mother like that, don’t you forget those years I spent raising you and giving you a roof over your head!”
“Don’t make me laugh.” The specter scoffed back with a malice that caused the three ponies to shudder, “Be glad I spend the time to come back. If we didn’t share blood… probably wouldn’t be bothered with whether you lived or died.” The glowing figure spat back. Snapping around, he moved back to the unseen door he had entered from.
The woman quickly tried to get out of her seat, “I spared the rod too much for you, you mongoloid! Talking to your own mother like that, get back here!”
“If you want more money, how about you go talk to your pimp, mother?” Rorschach harshly spat back, hissing that last vile word like the most disgusting of curses. A door slammed and the orange glow turned to the dust again, the loud sound caused the three observers to jump.
“What is all this? That was Rorschach, but what are we seein’?” Applejack asked shakily, still trying to recover from the emotional scene that had passed by.
Still unsure of herself, Twilight slowly shook her head, “I don’t know… but it’s like we’re seeing his memories play out in front of us.” The lavender unicorn’s legs were shaking as well from the rather traumatic drama she saw. The only one that didn’t seem as badly fazed was Trixie. Knocked from her stupor she sat on the floor still. She had watched the memory play before her in silent and calm demeanor. Only her eyes showed the turmoil going through her mind, not once did she look away from the growing orange glow in the cloud. Absently, she nodded in agreement to the other two, but her attention remained focused on what was happening next.
“It was two years before I saw her again.”
Applejack and Twilight fell silent from the voice, it was Rorschach’s but the man was still slumped over where he lay, unaware of what was happening around him. The echo of the voice was shallow, barely there behind the harsh voice that spoke from the fog. A whirlpool formed from the wisps of violet particles. In the whirlpool’s center the orange glow appeared again, as the vortex expanded the center became a clearer scene of a man standing over a workshop table. On the table lay an assortment of threads, scissors, and needles that looked close to the tools Rarity used in her own work. Next to the carefully arranged tools lay the trademark mask that all three were familiar with. The figure in front of the table quickly took the shape of Rorschach, his features became sharp thanks to the orange particles that took his shape. He held something in his hands that he stared at with a strong intensity. It was a newspaper with a blurred headline and unfocused picture.
The voice spoke again, though the spectral Rorschach’s lips did not move, “Woman who’d ordered special dress. Kitty Genovese. I’m sure that was the woman’s name. Headline read, ‘Woman killed while neighbors look on.’ Raped. Tortured. Killed. Here in New York. Outside her own apartment building. Almost forty neighbors heard screams. Nobody did anything. Nobody called cops. Some of them even watched. Do you understand?” The paper was crumpled into a harsh sphere in the spectral man’s hands, “Some of them even watched.” Applejack and Twilight sat again, both listening to this horrible story in shock. This is probably where it all began for him, Twilight found herself thinking.
The paper was dropped on the table and left there as the figure leaned against the table. “I knew what people were then, behind all the evasions, all the self-deception. Ashamed for humanity, I went home. I took the remains of her unwanted dress.” The figure turned to the mask that lay precariously close to his hand. The shifting blackness never ceased as he picked it up and looked at it.
“I made a face that I could bear to look at in the mirror.” The voice said.
The scene faded to dust again, leaving three silent and shocked watchers, and then the memories moved faster. No sooner had the scene finished did the orange glow reformed into a moving orb of light. It danced and swayed within the mist like a ghostly apparition and quite suddenly it was joined by several other orange orbs that danced along with it. They moved towards the first centered orb but each time one of the orbs got close they were knocked away by the swaying center dancer. In a wind of dust, the orbs took the shape of bipedal things and figures. The sounds of a battle played forth.
The center orb took the shape of a familiar Rorschach, each sway was a strike or a hit delivered upon the other orbs that took the shape of foreign and masked figures. Each one would viciously rush Rorschach, sometimes in pairs and other times all together, but every time they tried they were knocked away with ease by a practiced and patient hand. One of the figures though managed to get behind the masked vigilante, a viciously sharp blade in hand. While Rorschach was distracted by one of the other thugs he lunged out with the blade to stab. Applejack started to call out a warning to the spectral Rorschach, but her warning wasn’t needed.
Before the thug could get to Rorschach, he was knocked back by a powerful force as a strange metal hook struck his torso. The other thugs turned to see what had happened to their fellow fighter and Rorschach took this chance to knock one of the thugs out. Two thugs rushed forward to continue the attack when another orange orb appeared from above and rapidly fell upon one of them. The orb atomized to a figure never seen before by the girls, it was far more grandiosely dressed than Rorschach or the thugs. He landed gracefully like a bird landing upon the ground; he stood tall, back to back with Rorschach. He was taller than Rorschach by a full foot, with broad shoulders, and a flowing cape that billowed behind him as he poised himself for another attack, his owl-like helmet and goggles scanned the remaining glowing thugs. Where Rorschach lashed out with strong punches and strikes, this new figure used kicks so that the thugs never truly reached him. Together they dispatched the thugs with such ease that the three observers could only watch in silent awe and excitement.
The final thug fell and the orbs disappeared into dust again, leaving the two heroes to stand side by side. The tall owl-ish hero spoke first in a confident and friendly voice, “You know you could have waited for me before you went rushing off to face these guys alone.”
“Don’t need your help, Nite Owl,” Rorschach grunted, “Can handle it on my own.”
“I have no doubt you can,” the one referred to as Nite Owl said with a smirk, “But if we want to save that hostage we’re going to need to move faster. Two of us working together, we’ll get there much faster.”
There was a pause as Rorschach considered his options, finally he answered, “Hurm, just don’t slow me down.”
As the two figures disappeared, the sound of Nite Owl’s chuckling could be heard, “I could say the same to you, old man.”
The three watched in silent fascination until the sudden voice of a whispering azure unicorn was heard, “His only true friend.” Applejack and Twilight turned to Trixie to question what she meant by that but the sound of groaning stopped them. The haze shifted slightly and the three could see Rorschach on the other side of the room slowly start to come to his senses, yet the reel continued unabated from its waking director.
Echoes from the violet haze called out, voices that seemed to startle Rorschach into better wakefulness. His head darted around to see his surroundings, his eyes quickly fell upon the ethereal nebula before his eyes.
“What the fuck?! Who the fuck are you?!” a frantic voice called out in terror. The scene began to appear with the igniting of two bright orbs. One orb took the shape of Rorschach, the other took the form a seated man handcuffed to furnace. The portly man himself looked dirty, a disheveled set of hair that covered his face and head. The shirt he wore was tainted in grime and filth. Twilight didn’t know why, but something about this scene seemed terribly ominous, something dark that made her shudder. The feeling wasn’t lost on the others either, dread crept into their minds, an unnatural shiver of fear passed down Applejack’s back.
The spectral Rorschach didn’t respond to the panicked man, instead he answered by harshly throwing something at him. It looked like a piece of cloth, burnt and tarnish, but the way the captive man held it, it was like holding his death warrant. Nervously, he clutched the piece of cloth and tore it away. Angrily and nervously he went on, “Y-you think I had something to do with that girl?!”
The ethereal vigilante merely growled as he turned away from the man as his exclamation went on, “I found that! Wh-what evidence have you got, that means nothing!” By now the real Rorschach had begun to shudder and seemed to be focusing hard, looking away from the scene playing before his stuporous mind. The violet hazes dimmed and the orange particles grew hazy as the spectral Rorschach gave the captive man his answer by shining a light down upon some sprawled orange thing, a hazy bulk of something that couldn’t be identified. The thing did not last long as the light was switched off; meanwhile the strain of tuning out the scene was too much for the real Rorschach to take. He slumped over again and tried again to get free of his bindings while lazily watching the dreaded scene before his eyes.
The captive watcher, forced to see his own memories play before him, could only weakly mutter, “What… is this?” None of the three girls heard him as the scene played on.
The scene returned to normal to show the portly man become apprehensive, his eyes contorted in anxious fear as he still gazed down upon the unseen thing that was sprawled out before. Slowly, the spectral Rorschach turned to look at the frightened man again, a low growl of malice coming from his being.
The man’s answer came, sick and twisted as some dark spark had snapped within his soul. Where there was once fear and barely contained panic, there was now a sinister and vile smile. “Okay,” the man said, lazily and almost flauntingly.
“I confess, I kidnapped her, I killed her. Arrest me.”
In that moment of silence, Rorschach's body twitched violently as a cord in his mind was struck with merciless force. His stoic form began to tremble, his breath became haggard. The mask he wore stared down upon the being before him; the inkblot quaked into a violent miasmic cloud, like God’s wrath preparing to strike down from the heavens. His hands trembled with a slowly awakening rage brought on by a horror, this disgusting revelation that no human mind could take and remain sane. Then a virtuous thought crossed his mind, an image of the murderous device that still lay just within his reach, and something in him snapped. Behind the mask, a horrible smile crept upon his haggard and dry lips and a sadistic twitch struck him, allowing the sounds of devious delight escape his broken mind as muted and breathy laughter. What was once a human being, broken by the realization of the nature of the demon that lay helpless before him, knew now what had to be done. The captive man took notice of this sudden change and the dark spark that had fueled him before was shattered, voice trembling he spoke again, “What? Arrest me.”
The ethereal Rorschach didn’t answer. He turned away from the evil man and stepped away. Something unseen caused the captive’s voice to grow desperate as he continued to cry out, “I did it. I said I did it!”
With a dissonance as startling as lightning, the sound of a blade being pulled from its sheathe was heard, and the look of pure panic that first held the murderer’s heart thundered once again. “Christ.” He said, his voice hollow from terror as sweat began to bead from his portly forehead. Slowly, Rorschach turned around; a wicked cleaver gripped in his hand as the murderer frantically began to beg, “L-look, I got a problem! Fucking take me in, I need help!”
Twilight gasped at the sight of the vile and stained cleaver. She grew pale and covered her mouth with her hooves, she wanted to turn away, but fear kept her focus locked onto what was going to happen. Applejack was shaking badly, watching with tearful eyes as her savior became a demented wreck. The shiver down her spine was back, she felt physically sick yet compelled to watch.
Only Trixie wasn’t watching what was going to happen. She already knew what this was, Rorschach had written in his journal about this as a repeated dream. This was Grice, the monster. She was watching the real Rorschach instead. Aware now of what was about to happen, the real Rorschach cried out, “No!” as he began to thrash within his bindings with renewed vigor. Startled by its owner’s convulsions the memories burst and the orange glow became hazed and confused, yet the voices did not go away. “Mustn’t see this!” he said, trying to speak over the scene. Applejack managed to snap from her fear induced state and jumped up. She started to rush to Rorschach’s side but the ethereal one stood in her way.She was stopped from moving any further into the cloud by a rusty and evil looking cleaver in the the vigilante’s hands. She watched as it rose up above his head, but before it could be brought down the scene disappeared, yet the voices went on.
“NO! DON’T, DON’T DO THAT, TAKE ME IN! NO! NO!”
A sickening strike was heard, a sound that could only be compared to the first cut into an overripe and decayed melon. A hollow and shaky voice, Rorschach’s voice as they knew it, spoke between gasps from within the violet haze.
“Men… Get arrested… Dogs… Get put down.”
Applejack shrunk away from the violet cloud, she shied away from the real Rorschach that lay just across the violet cloud. Tears stained her cheeks and it took all her focus not be physically sick. Seeing what had happened pushed Rorschach to get free of the binding but his mind was still hazy, his motion clumsy and dazed. He still didn’t understand what was going on but there wasn’t time to ask how, merely how to stop it. The hazy cloud sensed his stirring and it seemed to grow more frantic.
The next scene played forth in urgency. A man cried out, the sound of breaking glass was heard. The orange orbs quickly shaped into the kneeling form of Nite Owl, with Rorschach standing over him. It was raining.
“Weak!” Rorschach shouted suddenly and violently to the kneeling figure before him, causing the three to jump in shock and terror, “You always have been! Never able to do what was necessary for justice! Naïve and weak!”
Hearing the hero say this, the trembling Twilight could only remember what Trixie had quietly said before, Nite Owl was his only friend.
A silence fell as the words sunk in and the rain continued to fall. Nite Owl didn’t turn to look at his accuser; he could only stare at his trembling hands as he finally spoke, “This isn’t justice. You won’t make the world a better place… not like this.”
The spectral Rorschach turned and walked away but his voice carried through the dull roar of falling tears, “Watch me.”
The orange aura turned to a chaotic storm of confused scenes and tumultuous emotions, all playing at once through a crowd of distant voices. One voice stood out, speaking out from the visage of a vigilante standing upon a rooftop staring down with distaste.
“On Friday night, a comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Out there, somebody knows.”
Confusing scenes of motion and blurred light began as every memory spoke at once but again a voice sprang out amongst them all. A harsh, commanding, and grating voice that made the three ponies shudder.
“You people are a joke. You hear Moloch's back in town, you think ‘Oh, boy! Let's gang up and bust him!’ You think that matters? You think that solves anything?” It said as a tall human appeared from the chaos, one that wore armor and held a smoking rod between his teeth. In his hands was a strange thing made of metal, to Applejack it looked like a metal pipe with a pump underneath it. With joy the armored man pointed at something that lay outside the cloud and from the device’s muzzle a spray of fire gushed forth.
“It don't matter squat because inside thirty years the nukes are gonna be flyin' like maybugs... and then Ozzy here is gonna be the smartest man on the cinder. Now, pardon me, but I got an appointment.” The man disappeared, to be replaced with a figure in a trench coat looking down upon a rose covered grave as rain fell heavy from the sky. The spectral Rorschach knelt down and took one of the red roses into his hands.
“See you in the funny papers.” The voice echoed, yet it did not sound so amused.
Scenes of fire, a man slumped over a table, and a panicked Rorschach that hurriedly searched through cupboards. A fight, more fire as masked men charged forth from a stairwell. The crash of a window. A fall, a struggle, shouts and sirens, and in it all another voice arose vastly different than the harsh tone of the former. It was calm, frighteningly calm and even.
“They claim their labours are to build a heaven.”
A place of chains and cages, screaming apes that glared down upon the lone walker guided by ten guards.
“Yet their heaven is populated with horrors.”
The place of cages was on fire, shouts of terror and rage cried out from echoing hallways as the faceless Rorschach sat patiently awaiting destiny.
“Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made.”
A flying machine like the head of an owl. Nite Owl and a woman come to take Rorschach away.
“A clock without a craftsman.”
Rorschach drops a book into a mail slot. The flying machine takes off into the sky.
“It's too late.”
A place of ice, cold and unforgiving. Nite Owl and Rorschach desperately fighting another man. A massive hand reaching down from the sky and barely the man escaped its grasp.
“Always has been.”
Scenes of destruction, craters in the earth, skeletons in streets.
“Always will be...too late.”
The storm calmed and the scenes fell to a shining white star in the middle of the violet cloud. Slowly the overbearing brightness dulled as white specks of light fell from above like snow. The specks of light fell steadily, silently, down onto the floor where the white light had sunk down to. The light grew to the very edges of the cloud until no purple haze remained; there was only whiteness, quiet like the snow. The peace was disturbed though by the sounds of a footsteps crunching into the freshly fallen snow.
Rorschach, a very solid and detailed one, appeared with hands shoved into his pockets and urgency in his steps. His eyes were focused ahead, determined to be away from where ever he was. A white mist blew forth from his mask with every breath, a testament to the cold he braved and failed to keep out. A bright azure glow caused him to stop.
Standing in his way was a man, glowing blue, a being that could only be compared to a god. The mortal silently noted how the indestructible man did not even disturb the snow beneath his bare feet.
The azure unicorn felt her heart catch in her chest. Rorschach’s journal, he blamed his death on a being called Dr. Manhattan, a human god. It wasn’t some dream he had, nor was it a loathing like she had for Twilight Sparkle. This is where it all happened.
“Out of my way. People have to be told.” Rorschach angrily told the god.
Dr. Manhattan did not react. His face remained the perfect mask of emotionless neutrality. The two stared at each other, both already knowing how this would all end. Neither even acknowledge the bystander, of the three, only Nite Owl didn’t know with certainty how this would end, he couldn’t realize that he bore witness to destiny, an ending that had no other alternative.
“You know I can’t let you do that,” he stated, his voice so lacking in emotion that it was not even a threat but rather he said it as a fact.
“Suddenly you discover humanity? How convenient.” Rorschach sneered.
The hydrogen man blinked, a simple act that ever broke his composure, the single genuine sign that some emotion lay in his calculating and all seeing mind. Silently the two stared at each other for a moment until Rorschach lifted his hands to his face. Swiftly he tore off his hat and ripped off his mask.
What they saw caused the girls to collectively gasp of shock. Rorschach’s eye were red and the faint glistening lines of half frozen tears were on his cheeks. He looked broken and yet he refused to stand down, unwilling to compromise himself through his emotions.
For a moment he tore his gaze away from Dr. Manhattan to watch the snow fall, he breathed in the chilling and liberating air without constraint. Despite himself he exhaled shakily, no man could stay unafraid of his destiny or the inevitable fate that all men must face.
Turning back to Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach spoke, “If you’d just cared from the start, none of this would have ever happened.”
Again the azure man’s eyes flickered, a brief and weak sign of emotion, “I can change almost anything.” He paused, “But I can’t change human nature.”
“W-what’s he talkin’ about?” Applejack’s voice cracked and she asked, scared of the answer she might get. The two unicorns at her side didn’t answer. Twilight had already deduced the answer but she’d lost her voice and couldn’t say anything to her honest friend.
Tears fell from the old vigilante’s eyes, his nose watered as he tried his best to keep his composure even in the face of destiny, “Of course. You must protect Veidt’s new utopia. What’s one more body amongst foundations?”
The neutral mask, the parody of a human face, briefly flickered. For a man who remained so abashed by human life, the slightest flickers of hesitation in his eyes were clear to see.
Rorschach did not falter, his lower lip trembled as he forced the words of his own demise out, his voice a plea to the indestructible man, “Well? What are you waiting for? Do it.”
“Do what, what’s he talkin’ about?!” the orange mare all but yelled.
Dr. Manhattan still hesitated, a puppet playing his part yet knowing the ending to the play.
“DO IT!” Rorschach screamed.
Quietly, like a whisper, Dr. Manhattan spoke, “Find peace, Rorschach.” Slowly, almost lazily Dr. Manhattan lifted his hand, he had only to wave his hand in the air to bring an end to a life. Time slowed down as the spectral Rorschach looked down upon himself to see his feet burn away. His hands rose up to his face, he watched as the flesh was blasted away so that he could see his own bones. A light exploded in his chest, a light so bright it blinded the scene like a miniature blue star.
“NOOOO!” Nite Owl screamed out as the cloud fell apart and the real Rorschach was free from his own tormenting nightmares.
Rorschach stopped his struggling; he could only stare at the spot where his own death had been played out before him for a second time in his life.
Of the three horrified ponies, it was Trixie again who broke herself away. Slowly, she stood up and blinked back the tears that were threatening to spill out from her eyes. Without a word, she approached Rorschach and coated the rope in a violet aura. The rope fell apart and lay upon the floor as Rorschach stood up.
Slowly, the azure unicorn backed away, unsure of what Rorschach would do. His hands clenched into fists, but he didn’t seem to have the energy anymore to be angry. He could only stare, dumbfounded just as they were, at the spot where his spectral self died.
“Invaded my mind. Shouldn’t have seen that. Shouldn’t have seen any of that,” he said harshly, his accusations pointed at Twilight Sparkle. Hastily, he turned to the door and swung it open. Even Big Macintosh was quick to get out of the man’s way upon seeing what mood he was in. Without pause he stepped out of the tree library. With hands shoved in his pocket, refusing to look back, just as he did in the cold artic wasteland that he so vividly remembered.
“Rorschach wait!” Applejack cried out as she prepared to rush through the door.
She was forced to stop as Trixie stood in her way. The orange mare angrily glared at the magician, but the sad look in the azure unicorn’s eyes stopped her from speaking. “Let him go, Applejack. It is best that he’s alone right now.
“I’m sorry that happened, it was my fault,” Twilight said as she trotted over to the other two, “But was that what was bothering him? Those… memories?”
Trixie shook her head, “I don’t know. Lately his past has been bothering him… especially his…”
“His death,” Twilight finished, “We just watched him die.”
“But that don’t make sense! He’s alive and healthy, he ain’t… well he ain’t that!” Applejack said.
Again, Trixie could only shake her head, “Apparently he thinks he is dead, and from what he learned, the only way to be in our world is for him to be dead in his own.”
“So that’s how he got here.” Twilight said as she began to understand what Trixie was saying, the familiar words from her well-read textbooks coming to her mind. Suddenly, Twilight frowned, “Trixie, how do you know all of this?”
In response the showpony bit at her lower lip, her eyes darted to the two expecting ponies until slowly she spoke, “Well… he keeps a journal of all his thoughts and events. Trixie… might have read it.”
Twilight shook her head as she looked out the window. She saw no sign of the man, he’d disappeared from town already. Turning back around she looked to the azure unicorn, “Trixie, tell us what you know. Whether Rorschach likes it or not we should help him, but to do that we need to understand what is going on with him.”
The azure unicorn inched her way towards the tree library’s door, hoping to get away from Twilight’s scrutinizing gaze. The sound of the door closing again and an orange mare blocking her way caused her to stop. She laughed nervously as Applejack spoke, “Rorschach is my friend, now ah know all too well the dangers of being too stubborn to ask fer help. Please Trixie, tell us what you know.”
Defeated, Trixie gave a sigh, “You’ll want to sit down then. Trixie has quite a horrible story to tell.”
Night has fallen. I found myself back in that place at the edge of town where I first learned where I first had been betrayed by Dr. Manhattan. Sitting on a rock, I was turned towards the forest. The ugly stain I left on the tree was still there. The blood was gone but the bare and battered wood still remained. In the shadows, I could almost still see the fresh and grisly splattering of blood.
The tree had paid no heed to the damage I had done it. Its leaves were healthy and green, a great plume of life that rivaled and outgrew its neighbors. I was sure it had grown since last I saw it, my rage against it could only be compared to a single termite’s attempts to blindly attack it.
To think, long after I’m gone this tree will still live on. The scar on its trunk will disappear, the bark will grow back. It will be like my transgression never happened. Even after it died, its body would remain, it won’t decay so easily to the elements like flesh and bone. After death, it would continue on, with or without its memories.
What point was there now to dwell upon my memories? Was this what the afterlife was like, to forever dwell on the mistakes and events of life? How annoying. Perhaps it would be best to just let go and leave such memories in the dirt. Yet now it was in the open. My most private memories played right before me. It’s still all in a haze to me, even now my mind feels distorted yet the buzzing sound that has been plaguing me was finally gone.
I wonder now if they see me as the monster they first thought I was. The things I’ve done, what I’ve seen. My very presence I feared would kill the innocence that surrounded me, now I was certain it was tarnished by my hand.
I stand up and walk up to the tree. Gently, I place my hand against the rough grooves my fists made so long ago. I can’t go back now, but in some strange way I feel calmer now that those memories no longer bothered me. For some reason, I felt liberated and that made me happy.
Perhaps it was because I let my guard down in my happiness I failed to react quick enough.
From behind the tree, I barely registered the shadowed figure that stepped out. I could barely move before it swung a branch at me. The branch struck hard but before I could feel pain, darkness came for me.
I awoke slowly, dazed and confused, staring up at the starry sky that lay beyond the shallow canopy of the forest. The dots of lights were formless and my vision felt obscured, like looking through distorted glasses. I made a move to get up but my body wouldn’t respond, my limbs twitched and barely I could lift my head up from the ground. Like a weight was pushed onto my chest I could only struggle to try and get up. I stopped my struggling when I saw the abnormal shadow at the periphery of my blurred vision. It was staring down upon me curiously. Slowly, the dark bipedal figure knelt down to be closer to my level, balancing itself on the balls of its feet. It spoke to me in a voice that sounded too horribly familiar to me, yet I couldn’t put a name to it.
It smirked and in a masculine voice spoke down to me, “Hello Mr. Kovacs.”
[I envy those people who can keep track of a 10k word document. Again sorry for the huge wait but I think the next update will be much faster than a month. I hope the chapter itself makes up for the wait and if not then I'll remove my own pinky finger for you. So yeah this chapter was a long time workin' and overall I'm pretty happy with it. Might make minor changes but really I didn't want to keep you all waiting for tiny stuff.