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#1 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

"It's a quiet rural town, you'll love it,"

"I don't want to go, it sounds boring,"

"I promise you'll have fun. You'll make plenty of friends, maybe even meet a girl you'll like,"

"Mom!"

"It can happen!"

1998. An ecological disaster of untold proportions reached a climactic breaking point in southern Pennsylvania, in rural Old Ackerby.

The history of the town was based on the coal mines underneath the streets, which were thought to have been depleted long ago. Its economy flourished in the mid-to-late 1800s, and it slowly became an afterthought in the minds of avid industrialists by the early 1920s. Ever since then, it remained small and forgotten at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, relying on local business and tourism for economic survival.

Yet something happened that no one could predict.

On the morning of September 23rd, 1998, the town suddenly began to shake violently. The streets broke apart and windows shattered. Immediately, an evacuation was called for. About 1,000 of the town's estimated population of 6,000 refused to heed the evacuation. The events of that morning could only be described as unforgettable. Within hours, visibility dwindled down to absolute zero. Smoke clogged the highways, making rescue attempts impossible. Even when vehicles could penetrate the thick smog, all they found were blazing remnants of streets. The cement and asphalt had begun to melt away, and further voyages into the town were abandoned. It and the surrounding area were quarantined indefinitely.

Somehow, the old assumedly depleted coal mines were ignited and triggered an acute volcanic reaction underneath the town like a fuse leading down to hundreds of megatons of dynamite buried a mile underground. But while the underbelly of Old Ackerby burned with a raging inferno, helicopters scanning the area could visibly make out the structure of the town. It had not fallen or disappeared at all, merely became isolated from the rest of the world by thick columns of smoke and ash. Still, anything that went into Old Ackerby never came out.

The residents who stayed there were never heard from again.

"See Dustin? Old Ackerby, only a few more miles ahead! Geez, this fog is really thick, my brights aren't working at all. Can barely see the road..."

"Mom, are you sure this is the right direction? We've been driving for hours,"

"We'll be okay honey, it's only a little fur - what's he doing? Dustin GET DOWN!"

While those who lived in Old Ackerby know of its current condition, it seems like a dark and forbidden secret to the rest of society. Former residents don't talk about it. Detectives investigating missing persons can't find any evidence. Tourists still think it's a perfect little rural town to visit on their way to other cities in the state. Rescue officials who were part of the operations surrounding the town make it a point to keep their mouths shut about what they saw. Even visual and recorded evidence of the event are exceedingly difficult to come by, with fleeting video clips of people shouting and poorly-taped shots of the fire only accessible on the deep parts of the Internet. By that point, it's only usually dismissed by the common public as a snuff film.

There are even recordings of people running out of the smoke screaming and completely doused in flames, with onlookers trying to put them out with blankets.

Again, it's only usually ignored for the wider evidence and popular opinion that Old Ackerby is still intact and untouched.

The number of traffic accidents on Route 523 going to Old Ackerby has increased by 24% ever since 1999.

"Dustin? Not in the car... Where's the other car? I know I saw someone. Dustin! Where are you? Dustin! I-Is... is anyone here?"

No Caption Provided

It creates a soft atmosphere. The streets are empty, choked with a thick mist. Clouds of it block anything from being seen unless it's close enough to have already made out the details. Pallid, these colors of brick and mortar - a blank slate with no human touch. Almost void of anything distinctly alive, like it was built and forgotten within minutes. Nobody lived in these buildings. Nobody bought and sold what they loved. Nobody ate, slept, or spoke between these walls. The echoes of conversations are still there. Remnants of happenings so distantly mortal are just lying there on the floors and on the long cobbled streets.

This town is a corpse.

But its eyes are darting back and forth.

Maps exist of the town. Guidelines for tourists hang next to them, pointing to the local museums and aquariums. There is only one hospital in the entire area, one nursing home, and one mental ward. One prison as well. For some reason these are all left on the wall, but the place where they should be on the map is torn off. Walking into the town along the 523 doesn't take much time. Getting out is an entirely different story. Little does anyone know, 523 ends with a tunnel going through a small mountain. It collapsed years ago, when the town burned. There is no way inside from that highway, yet those unfortunates who are trapped within the spell of Old Ackerby always seem to find a way.

Old Ackerby is a place where the guilty end up finding themselves. Their fears, their anxieties, their melancholies...

To the town, nothing is kept secret. It all comes to the surface eventually, either in bursts or all at once.

Inherent malevolence does not exist. It is not meant as a trial where people die and only the strong survive. Mental stability by the end is a measure of success, if there should be any victory in leaving the town. Mostly it is a journey of self. A voyage of discovery meant for the individual, not for society. What happens on the inside changes according to the person traveling along that lonely road.

They're either looking for Old Ackerby, or Old Ackerby is looking for them.

No Caption Provided

"An account that is brief, yet substantial. The only evidence of what goes on in that town. The only guaranteed piece of spoken or written word that is not already vanished or somehow otherwise gone. As requested by the person or persons responsible, all names and identities have been withheld."

I take it back. I take it all back.

I was driving down Highway 523, with my son, thinking we could start a new life somewhere. Somewhere away for a while, far away. Home didn't seem like home anymore, so we packed up and left in the middle of the night. It must have been early in the morning when this all happened. I slept for a couple of hours beforehand. The road didn't seem straight sometimes. Traffic didn't exist on this road, and yet we... we had a wreck. Only, we didn't.

It felt like a head-on collision. The other car must have been going at least eighty miles per hour and they were driving in our lane. They wanted to crash into us, and it would have been fatal... if... if it had really happened. I know this sounds strange. I know this makes me appear like a lunatic. When I woke up I checked my watch, and it was around noontime. The first thing I noticed was that the car was intact. I had somehow pulled over to the side of the road. There was no other car, or even signs of a wreck. Nothing... happened. I looked to see if my son was okay, but he wasn't there with me. His door was left ajar, and the lights inside weren't on. The battery was dead. I took what I could carry, like my keys, wallet, things I could imagine needing on the open road - like a knife and a flashlight with extra Duracells.

Calling out his name would have been stupid, especially in the thick fog. I had no idea if anyone else was around. I don't remember ever seeing so little in the middle of the day. I also noticed that there were no skid marks anywhere on the road. No signs of a sudden stop, almost as if I had just glided the car to a perfect stop on the side of the road and parked it there for no reason.

The flashlight wouldn't have worked at all with the sun hanging overhead, so I just kept walking forward, following the road in the direction I was driving in. The last thing I remember before passing out besides the oncoming car was a sign: Old Ackerby, 3 Miles ahead.

I started walking.

No Caption Provided

There are things in this town that should not be disturbed.

Old Ackerby is decrepit, and angry.

A phenomenon has occurred within the borders of the isolated neighborhoods and commercial street corners. Underneath the veil of secrecy and immortal sin, there lies a beating heart of depravity. It is a soulless escapade, a broken dream come true in the final curtain calls of a forgotten stage play. The works of a distant poet are rewritten and repurposed while he silently screams his heart into those dreary and grim stories. His typewriter burns with effort, each letter a fragment of dissonance in a surmounting epic saga of lost pride.

It is the rising presence of something that has been buried within the town - for how much time no one now recollects. It is a philosophy of pain, the adventure of scions and psychopaths living for the moment when they can emerge in full broad array. For now they must remain quiet as the rolling mists. Their Dead God is still so far away, so eerily distant and yet his whispers are so irrefutably close. Drawing in their attentions, their waking nightmares, ever living breathing second dedicated to listening for that next shred of cosmic awareness. This is their hope. This is their ambition, to live for this eldritch thing they know not the shape or quality of.

This is their Cult, and they bring their empty promises to Old Ackerby with a stalwart vengeance, for that town is an epicenter of strife and mayhem ever since its founding. On another world, in another time, the footprint of an angry god came here and vanished. His rage shattered and splintered down into the dimensional wall, growing thinner and thinner as a root of a conifer tree, down until it barely became noticeable. Through the ebbing streams of time and thought and reality, that apocalypse became centered here and stayed alive. It kept the fires stoking and the hatred of the town burning even as the blood of settlers and pioneers stopped draining into the gutters. Old Ackerby is filled with hate.

It is a dreadful place, full of dour tidings and unsettling folk.

No Caption Provided

Some of whom, have returned to their grim beginnings...

There is a fine line between the Devil and God.

I tried. I honestly did. But seeing Dustin look at me and run down that alleyway did something to me. He was avoiding me. Or, maybe he didn't want to come near me anymore. I didn't understand at first. I thought I wanted to. He's been so distant to me, like I don't even exist sometimes. It all started with his father leaving.

I couldn't let him go. I followed him down that corridor. He kept leading me down, further and further until I couldn't even breathe anymore. After a while I didn't even catch a glimpse of him. I had no idea where I ended up. My life spiraled out of control, there in the deep parts of that town. Grinding all around me, my brain about to catch on fire. My skin burned and I couldn't see.

I wanted to die. But something kept me going. I wanted to be with my son again. I wanted to know that he was safe.

"This is where she trailed off. She and her son have returned to their hometown and never spoke openly of Old Ackerby again. What they witnessed in that town will forever remain theirs. I couldn't bear myself to let this leak into the public. That family and anyone who experienced something like that didn't need to be hounded any further. This is the first and last openly-discussed case concerning Old Ackerby, from my side of the story. I'm just a detective. Hopefully whoever's reading this will do the same and not pursue the matter into unsavory places."

No Caption Provided

We are a fragment of His Will.

We are a shard of His Power.

We are a spark of His Anger.

We are a whisper of His Voice.

We are nothing. We are His Hand.

The Dead God speaks to us.

The Dead God crawls towards us.

Those who hold sermon here are those whose lives are forgotten and discarded. Their purpose is nothing now, save for the unknown and malevolent guidance of a pale-handed wanderer dressed in black. These are the footsteps of a secret order, a priestly sect of both elitist and commonwealth who have abandoned everything for the barest promises of substance. Delirious, they march into the mists, never to be seen again, having long ago gone unseen in the cavities of society. Building up in the dark, a rising tide of influence and deception upon which the winds of torment howl a languid song.

They have all seen that town in the hills, Old Ackerby. They've watched it burn a thousand times in a sordid affair of lucid palpitations, their hearts swelling and popping in their chests. Minds wracked with decay and moral ambiguity strain to comprehend the message, though there is none. None save for the purpose of their Many-Angled King - go and kill. Kill and bathe in the carnage you wreak. It is no longer the time to wallow in self-deprecation. No longer will you stand idle and observe as the world tears itself apart. Butcher your neighbors. Burn their homes. Come to Old Ackerby, and become part of the Dead God.

His living corpse descends upon us all.

"He made a sound like a deflating balloon

He choked and fell down, a grave filled too soon"

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#2 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

I neglected to mention that this is a town that anyone can visit.

It's a place where a character can experience immense personal change through facing their own guilts, fears, anxieties, and melancholies brought to life in horrific fashion. Yet it is not an inherently dangerous place.

... At least if you're able to stand up to everything that you refuse to believe about yourself.

No Caption Provided

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#3 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

I love writing this place.

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#4 Posted by Great_Samson (890 posts) - - Show Bio

Holy shit Mr. Lovecraft.

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#5 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#6 Edited by Great_Samson (890 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#8 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
Basically
Basically

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#9 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#10 Posted by Ali_Sani_Bashir (2509 posts) - - Show Bio

Three more souls to the call.

What are you guilty of...?

you are not worthy to hear my penance
you are not worthy to hear my penance

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#11 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

@ali_sani_bashir:

Bloody are the hands of the defiler.

I wonder how far you will fall before you confess.

No Caption Provided

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#12 Edited by Ali_Sani_Bashir (2509 posts) - - Show Bio
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#13 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#14 Posted by Ali_Sani_Bashir (2509 posts) - - Show Bio

@thisisgonnahurt: You can find me in the land of free men

the land that never gives up its dead
the land that never gives up its dead

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#15 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#16 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

"We're sending a squad there now, find somewhere to hide and lock the door."

It's the fifteenth home invasion within a month.

Something is happening in rural Pennsylvania.

No Caption Provided

.

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#17 Posted by _Dirge_ (3631 posts) - - Show Bio
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#18 Posted by Hound_of_War (3944 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I would want to forget all about this town too. In fact, let me call my nukes.

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#19 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

@hound_of_war:

You can't ignore the weight of your sins.

They follow you regardless...
They follow you regardless...

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#20 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

And was I high when I dropped this, like tf?

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#21 Edited by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio
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#22 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

@sonny_barbaro:

Yeah totally man. Reworking the whole Cult of Warsman thing.

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#23 Posted by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio

@thisisgonnahurt: Sweet. I'll post something to Horrorville, PENISylvania tommorow.

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#24 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
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#25 Edited by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio
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#26 Edited by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio

╔════╗
║▒▒▒▒ Old Ackerby; USA
║▒▒▒▒ City Outskirts
╚════╝

♪Weigh—hay and up she rises,
Weigh—hay and up she rises,
Weigh—hay and up she rises,
Earlay in the mornin'!♪

Wayward like a vagabond after the Golden Twenties, Donatello hitched on trains going anywhere where he could find those who could teach him. Hone him into a viable vigilante. But unlike those he wished to be like, he lacked a crucial component: finances. And so, here he was. Solemnly sitting in an open train car under ill-lit moon skies singing shanties from his time working on the waters to pass the time. This would be a long bothersome road.

♪Put him in the brig until he's sober,
Put him in the brig until he’s sober,
Put him in the brig until he's sober,
Earlay in the mornin'!♪

The sailor's sonet from the back car stopped then. Perhaps the vocalist realized that shanties only work in a chorus or perhaps he was checking his father's watch, it didn't matter because the dim moonlight had vanish'd from the heavens. And soon so did the train's momentum, the mechanic land snake came to an abrupt stop forcing Donatello into a sporadic tumble inside the train car accompanied by the rusty screeching of breaks.

“Ow., Donatello's buzzcut popped out of the side of his car still feeling the aftermath of a sudden stop. However, he didn't see much. The eerie fog became too dense for the average man to make out anything but rough shapes of a train station in the distance. He then glanced behind himself and saw an old sign: 'You're now leaving Old Ackerby!'

That's too shady.

The once moving colossus now laid dormant with uncanny silence. Even it's engine slept as if never used. So Donatello hoisted his duffle bag over his shoulder, adding to his accidental urban military looks and set off to try his chances in the city. He passed by the train engine, but heard no sound. He passed it completely and climbed up to the platform and after cutting the corner into the city, what he didn't notice then, the train was gone. Sonny had yet to grasp the situation he got himself into as he would soon encounter the fog-ridden ghost town that was Old Ackerby.

“...Well, shit.

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#27 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@sonny_barbaro:

The first step towards acceptance... is loss...

---

Over twenty years ago, Old Ackerby seemed to vanish from memory. Any shred of investigation shown towards it only sank into unreliability and drowned.

A bitter resentment hung over the rooftops. Thick fog suffocated light, painting a dreary and inescapable prison. Of thought. Of substance. The oppressive atmosphere locked the mind. Dark windows, boarded up long ago, stared into the blank streets with blind eyes. A growing scale of paranoia haunted those cobblestone pathways, no matter how empty they seemed to be. With the mist enveloping all consciousness, it would be easy to forget that one would be solitary in this ward of lost dreams.

A map would be the only way someone could navigate the ebbing ways and spidery domains of the town. Landmarks such as the church, hospital, hardware store, prison, and asylum were conveniently marked - but for what reason none could say. These inky blotches were only as old as the map itself, as if it had been made recently. Very recently. Pieces were torn off. A number was scratched into the cork: 9941.

Something lingered around whoever entered this town, but never showed itself. Like a faint heartbeat, always on the cusp of residual hearing, yet distant enough to keep the listener guessing if it was their own or if someone stood right next to them.

The secrets of Old Ackerby did not tell. Loneliness and isolation, these were the hallmarks of the greatest limitations of human endurance. When all other lights go out, and their minds are the only spark left in an invisible world.

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#28 Posted by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio
@warsman said:

A map would be the only way someone could navigate the ebbing ways and spidery domains of the town. Landmarks such as the church, hospital, hardware store, prison, and asylum were conveniently marked - but for what reason none could say. These inky blotches were only as old as the map itself, as if it had been made recently. Very recently. Pieces were torn off. A number was scratched into the cork: 9941.

This refers to one of those large public maps right? Those that stand up vertically?

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#29 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio
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#30 Edited by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman:

“This is...trippy., said the DIY Vengeance as he strode through the labyrinthine streets of Old Ackerby. The only thing breaking the absolute silence of the All-American Ghost Town were the shallow and uncertain steps of his Timberlands. One wouldn't believe how lightly such a heavy boot can step under the sway of base uncertainity. “H-Hello? Anyone here?, he arrived at the layout mapping out the city for the public.

9941..., he made a mental note all the while passively employing the mnemonic miracles of his hyperthymesia. His mind absorbed the image before himself with utter biological perfection, memorizing every detail about it to the tiniest signs of wear on it's facade. But it wasn't a seamless process. No. Not with this dreadful feeling in the air, this lasting impression o imminent doom as if he was being watched. Sweat beaded down on the side of this forehead. It felt as if the first day of high school being sized up by the senior students. He kept an eye over his shoulder, knowing there was nothing there.

He inhaled as deep as he ever did, the volume of air being felt even in his abdominal cavity and then made a fleeting pause before exhaling. A breathing exercise. The obvious sign of someone with a history with anxiety. And why wouldn't he? The Son of Gothic City, the divine cemetery.

He swallowed down the lump forming in his throat and set out again. Hardware store it is then.

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#31 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@sonny_barbaro:

Do you even remember...

---

The streets leading to Murphy's Workshop were straightforward, cognisant of actual design. Rigid. Formed. They were winding deliberately to a specific point. Drawing whoever walked them into their center. The first thing any patron would notice glared at them right in the face.

An old-fashioned OPEN sign, turned off, with heavy bars on the windows and front door. Yet the murky glass peered flawlessly outward, unobstructed by temporary barriers unlike all of the buildings surrounding it. The street broke off into a wide T once Murphy's came into view, the hardware store making the crown of the pavement formation. Without a second glance, onlookers would see that the door hadn't been locked in a while - or even closed. A thin layer of dust settled on the knobs leading in and out. The contents of the shop were strewn off the shelves. Broken glass dominated the floor. It seemed as if looters had made their claim to this part of the town, but nothing seemed to actually be missing. The register still had money in it - old money. Flashlights behind the counter still had fresh batteries.

Everything just seemed to be... scattered.

The door leading to the back room stood ajar slightly. A heavy safe peeked out of a corner of that distant room, a small padlock barring entry.

Here, it seemed the eyes darting around outside were paying slightly less attention to the affairs of those moving throughout their environment. But someone - or something - had already been here. It would be likely to return.

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#32 Posted by Panther_genus (124 posts) - - Show Bio

@sonny_barbaro:

Terrance felt...something. He'd decided to take off a little time every once in a while since he took on position as lord of Panther Island. And today was one of those times.

There was something disturbing him, he let his mind wander, carefully, feeling for its location. Sometimes this would happen and it would be something small, othertimes it became a bit more interesting. He stood up from his crosslegged position on the floor, gliding to his feet. With a mere snap he was outside the mist, just outside of the reach of insanity of Ackerby. He wanted to enter, despite a warning in his heart to turn back.

Waving his hands as he walked he created slight breezes just strong enough to keep the mist out of the way of him, in case it was poisoned or something. He had no idea what he'd set himself up for.

He just walked and walked, his mind drifting and not paying much attention until he realized he was right in the middle of a road. Everything was so silent, even as he walked off to the sidewalk where at least people should have been. Then there was a voice, "Terrance," It was his father, "You left us, you left me, and your mother, even your own sister. Why, terrance? You abandoned her in her time or need! Like she and an entire island were mere stepping stones for you to tread on. Have you no heart?"

Terrance stepped against a wall, worry stricken on his face. He knew what it was. An illusion. But that didn't mean it didn't hurt his heart, bringing his sadness for leaving back up to the world. He tried to calm himself, "You could have saved her Terrance! It was your job to save her! Your job to protect our island! And you left, forgot all about us and went out to enjoy your life. And then you even killed people! You may say it was right, but they died Terrance! Never to say goodbye to their families!"

The words came with images, visions of his sisters mind deteriorating, of the island falling to ruins overnight. Visions of the people he'd had to kill, yes he could justify it, but even then it hurt. Killing anyone can do thing to you, it hurts you. Makes you wonder if it was truly worth it. Would dying have been better than the torment of knowing you'd ripped a mans soul from his body and sent him possibly even to an everlasting pain. Those were his fears. The memories of when he killed, and when he forgot to help. The knowledge it was an illusion did not help him. Because he knew what the voices spoke of were real, he really had killed people, he really did leave his sister with her mind falling to pieces at the powers of a primordial being. Perhaps he could have stopped the monster, but he would never know now. Now he would never ever know.

"Enough!" He yelled using magic to silence the visions. He slammed a fist against a wall concentrating, "It'll be fine. Everything will be fine eventually." He said knowing it was another lie. He just sat, watching, any movement would have made him a little happy, even if it was from some terrible monster coming to eat him.

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#33 Edited by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@panther_genus:

You stepped on their lives... how do you feel?

---

The roads are barren. Ghosts amongst the fog disappear as soon as one would come close or whisper towards them. They do not trust anyone, least of all themselves. Vapors in the mist, illusions in the mind. Nothing is sacred. Eyes follow whoever enter this town, glaring faces from behind closed doors and locked windows. They're hunting you.

A vertical-standing town map is illuminated in the distance, near what seems to be a small park area. The plants are all greyed with dull sunlight. Dead trees linger in the corners, reaching up with spidery fingers. Are they crying for help? Or do they want vengeance? These are the hands of an unseen spectre. It is uncomfortable standing next to them. The map has several locations conveniently scattered around the area, including the nearby hospital, a prison and asylum complex, a hardware store seemingly too far out of reach to find, and a church just down the street. But broken pieces of architecture already betray the fact that the street is blocked, leaving whoever finds this map with only a handful of viable options.

There is a note pinned to the cork. It's written in shaky script, as if a child scribbled it on paper.

"I'm sorry."

That's all it says.

Though the fog does not get any thicker, it begins to snow. These flakes do not melt on contact with the skin and stain it an ashy grey.

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#34 Posted by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman:

On the way towards the hardware store the mist began distorting Donatello's perceptions, creating rough apparitions out of it's unnatural substance and even meek sounds emanating from the wind. Quickly it became clear that wherever he was it was barely on the mortal plane of existence. And those were the thoughts of a rational man, a scientist who started skipping church right after the tragedy that struck him early in his life. Paranoia unlike that of which he ever felt before.

Murphy's, huh?, the Salvage Savant barged in and quickly surveyed the shop's interior for signs of life. A wasted effort for the store was as silent as the streets. Immediatelly, Donatello exercised his innate tactical acumen and shut the doors behind him, blocking entry with a slanted chair.

During this previous survey he had noticed a safe in the back. His first instinct was to try the code etched into the map: 9941. But nothing happened, whatever this number refered to was not tied to the container before him. Hmm..., this would've been a problem for the common man but Donatello simply used the Repulsor gauntlet prototype he put together in Gothic City and tore safe's locking mechanism off it's hinges.

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#35 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@sonny_barbaro:

You left them to die...

---

The padlock crumpled with an unnaturally loud hemorrhage of sound. Something that should not have been reverberating like a ringing bell bled into the streets, echoing slightly before completely disappearing. It compelled all things to be still, that sudden vacuum of noise and thought. Did someone actually hear him? There was a staircase leading to the upper deck. Dark whispers plagued the corners of the room. The light above him flickered on, then off again. There were no mechanisms to prevent it from happening again, no cords no switches. But then it stopped.

Silence overcame the area.

Three objects sat undisturbed within the safe, coated with a thin layer of dust. Yet, their age did not betray their purpose here. Markings on the surface of the journal indicated a fresher sign than that. They were fingerprints, as if someone had been reading the journal only moments ago.

The other two objects were a solid silver necklace, hidden beneath cobwebs, and a small figurine of a nurse made out of wood.

Almost compellingly, the journal was left ajar with a bookmark stabbed through its pages, locking the reader's eyes onto the passages within should be open it.

"April 24th, 1996.

We came to this town looking to start up something new. We've found some success at my store, and my wife is loving the mountains around us. Our son is only two, but he's already making plenty of friends. With any luck, we can keep what we've built here for the rest of our lives. I didn't expect this out of a town called Old Ackerby, but - life's full of surprises.

We were originally here to visit a friend in the hospital, an old college roommate named Buck Madison. He's not doing too well. Room 317 has a nice view of the forest, but it's still depressing. I left a few things there to cheer him up. Doesn't seem to be working. He likes this one nurse, so I made a little figurine of her so he can at least be happy on her days off."

The other pages were blank.

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#36 Posted by Panther_genus (124 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman:

Terrance looked at the eerie scene as it unfolded, releasing the strange snow that acted almost like ash. It was possibly better than the pain he felt, and yet, the strange powers of this place left the guilt just under the surface pushing to get out.

He looked at the map, this was a terrible place. Not necessarily one of only evil. But one that was nevertheless not a good place to visit. There was a bad lingering feeling inside him as he walked. In reaction to the stress his eyes begin to flicker with electricity zapping the ground beneath him and illuminating the ghostly area somewhat. Then they stopped as he looked up using his ability to see heat to search for any possible humans who may be so unfortunate to linger in this horrid place.

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#37 Posted by Sonny_Barbaro (573 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman:

What was that?

Donatello kind of answered back as odd thoughts invaded his mind from the coasting mists. He stopped and looked around instinctively as taugh by the cursed town. There was nothing ther but it felt like someone was constantly on his shoulder whispering ideas most corrupting. He shook the abrasive notion off and took a look inside the safe. “Hmm...what do we have here?, asked he out into the air in a low tone. The inflection of his voice not terribly emotive but rather focused and detective. Deliberately attempting to piece together a solution to the local mystery.

He looted it's contents and then read through the journal, pinned on key words and repeating patterns. “...visit a friend in the hospital, an old college roommate named Buck Madison... Room 317 has a nice view of the forest... He likes this one nurse, so I made a little figurine of her so he can at least be happy on her days off., and for a moment his eyes wandered off from the pages of the journal and to the carved toy.“Looks like we're heading to the hospital next.

And moments after he unblocked the doors and went into the streets, but not before restocking on some of the materials left over in the abandoned hardware store.

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#38 Edited by Technomage (35 posts) - - Show Bio

~Timeslide-Then~

You meddled with something beyond your control, magus. And I failed to stop you. My failure is on my head, but your success seems to have backfired. You can feel it, no? The cancer you created worming it's way through your body? The feeling of your life ebbing away? Magic and technology were never meant to mix. But you insisted, and the council believed you... so this is what happened.

He's right, for the most part. The virus is eating away at me, my lifespan is numbered in minutes, not days, now. And the Source is almost gone... but his power is weaker too. And I have something he doesn't... ingenuity.

No Caption Provided

You know nothing, Supremor! I have left you all but powerless, while I can still win this day. You think this a victory, even at the cost of your precious Source? You haven't seen anything yet.

I bare my teeth, and wince internally. I'm dying, and there's very little i can do about it. One final gambit...

Protocol Black Alpha. Now.

The armor, wire into my brain, now not only a conduit for my innate power, but also a life-support system, clicks and whirrs. Changes. And I slam a fist into the ground as it seals me inside, keeping me alive until I can cure this otherworldly cancer, as the time bubble whirls around me, taking me away from the battlefield, from the aging Supremor. And to a time where there's enough ambient magic for me to brute-force myself back to life.

~Timeslide-Now~

Next on my list is not as easy as simple burglary. The armor is powered, sure, but without a magical reactant, all it can do is zap me. Hopefully, the ambient magic emanating from Old Ackerby (wherever the hell that is) will be enough, but judging from how that last one went, I'm going to have to kill a lot of somethings.

No Caption Provided

The silence is enjoyable, as it seems all people in this century do is talk. The armor readout displays no life-forms, but I haven't enchanted it to detect any magical... creatures yet. As I stroll down the street, light from the reactor on my chest and from the eye-sockets in this infernal helmet illuminate the way, also more than likely acting as a beacon of my location. No matter. Even with technology taken from this century, good-old future know-how and my... more interesting spells should wipe them out easily enough.

Just collecting some monster guts and getting out, yup.

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#39 Edited by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@panther_genus:

Does your heart even...

---

Stories do not end happily. They continue, on and on, until one day they simply stop. What were the stories of the people you killed without a second thought? Of the children you abandoned?

Of the souls you damned?

Movement, distant in the mist and yet so undeniably close. A shape casts a long shadow on the face of a nearby building. It knows that it is captured, and starts to run.

Even it can smell the blood on your hands.

@sonny_barbaro:

Is it the truth you're looking for...?

---

Long roads, leading anywhere, somewhere far away from here. The town is aware of you now. Each glittering eye locked in the corners of the barricades are gone now. A ghost of light shimmers in the upper deck of the hardware store, vanishing as soon as one would catch it in peripheral vision.

They were waiting for you, now shunned by your presence. Do you hate them?

St. Judith Memorial Hospital. Its dark walls stare down at you, judging what you are. What you have done. What you have become. Do you deserve to come here? This is a place of suffering. Why do you bring your problems here? Do you want to be healed?

The air has been dead for decades.

No one can help you here.

But it's your only hope.

@technomage:

You prolong your own suffering...

---

The spectres fall silent. Something else approaches, a rabid dog lumbering through the streets. A beast without mind or reason. A gaping serrated maw looking to devour what draws near. It is starving. It is angry.

But its pain is familiar to the town. It is a kindred spirit, locked here.

They whisper to each other now, invisible mouths knitting together pale fingers behind locked doors and barricaded windows. They reach out in small ways, touching the nape of his neck before disappearing. Asking who he is. Singing songs.

Stay here with us.

Stay here.

You're safe with us.

Release yourself.

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#40 Posted by Panther_genus (124 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman:

"Leave me be! I did what I had to!" He yelled to the voices, feeling all the while the opposite was true. "Wait!" He called after the figure chasing after it and trying to track it's electromagnetic field so he could run to the location hoping somehow it might clear his mind.

The voices, they just wouldn't leave him alone. He was losing his mind. His mystical powers inaccessible due to a lack of focus and a lack of logic, because of the sheer reason he couldn't think of using them anymore.

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#41 Edited by _tophat_ (169 posts) - - Show Bio

@powergirl_:

It was some twelve years ago when a young Alice enters a town a school uniform of ordinary sort upon her figure. Most wouldn't think much of her if not for the fact the ten year old was alone and upon her head a weathered tophat. The town was an old thing tales of lack of care was written on the walls in rust and mold. Despite its run down architecture however one building stood still enchanting and unphased by the ages. Although pristine however it looked the most haunting of all, the dark magic within tainting the very air. A cough escapes the girl as she enters the estate.

In here she meets a man, shadow cloaks his entire figure. He smells awful and his beard is a knotted mess. For such an unclean image before her Alice wanted to curse the man, but her abilities were novice and she wasn't here to punish unclean slave owners. Mutants were good test subjects of magic and valuable cover ups for ones own arcane activity. "Toss a mutant under a buss and magic won't hear any fuss" as dad would say. For these reasons and more it was clear daddy wanted one of his own. And not knowing any better the child so no reason not to oblige, so down the steps she went with knotted beard fellow not far behind. A rotting wooden door creaks open and cold azure eyes fall on a dirty mutant in the corner.

"Clean your self up, your mine and daddy's as of now." A wave of the hand with a small stick casting a faint glow and the buckets used for waste and drinking become clean and soapy in one of them. Turning back and twirling a loose strand of hair Alice waited for the slave to make herself presentable. These memories come to mind as Alice steps into a present city that looks just as bad if not worse.

@warsman:

Ackerby was such a place of unclean image worn down and obviously haunted the magician could tell. It was to soon for her to know if it was presence of witch covens, curses or whatever else might stain the aether. Harder still to deduce anything with the amount of fog choking the air in an over abundance. All the magician knew was that rumors were around of magic users being a target of late from something here. As someone all about herself she couldn't have something robbing her of power and at the same time this might be a ticket to more.

With the risk involved a text was sent to slave and father inviting a tag along if wanted. He probably wouldn't but the other didn't have much of a choice usually. The failed Vegas star had tried to distance herself from her past to mature out of those old ways. With ones ability to tap into magic however at stake though the small time thief was willing to go any distance for once. And so there she was walking the streets like she owned the place. Her crown the black tophat forever stylish, her royal subjects the cards that flowed between her hands enchantingly ordinary.

(Would of liked to add some art and to have read everything before posting to tie it in better but only had so much time before work)

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#42 Posted by powergirl_ (49 posts) - - Show Bio

@_tophat_:

No choice certainly...but Power Girl hadn't been given a choice since the age of six, it was nothing new and nothing she struggled against anymore. She'd had no choice when her masters wanted a bed time companion, no choice when they just needed someone to beat...and no choice when she was told to show up here and help her master's daughter in whatever quest it was she was on. Soon enough she landed quietly beside her owner's daughter, a woman she called Mistress.She arrived within moments and hovered down to land neatly beside her. She wore her typical uniform, complete with the 'boob window' she'd become somewhat famous for. That too, had not been a choice.

Her eyes rested for a moment on her mistress and then shifted out to the town at large. Her own memory of the moment she had been purchased came to mind, but it was a different perspective entirely. That disgusting man had been one of her worst masters...not the first to take advantage of her, but definitely the first to be quite as disgusting as he was. She'd learned a lot from him...none of it good. When the door had opened and she had learned of her new owner...she couldn't have been happier. By that time her desire for freedom had been long broken, all she hoped for by then was a master that would give her more than some buckets and a dirty floor.

Or at least one that would bathe BEFORE he visited her. That would have been nice.

She dropped to one knee before her mistress and lowered her head in obedience. "Your father sends his regards." She said quietly without raising her head.

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#43 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

@panther_genus:

They know who you are...

---

The figure, a more distinct shape now, betrays a woman in the mist. Her short blonde hair bounces as she runs, barely hiding back terrified eyes.

"Leave me alone!" she screams, looking towards you.

She is surprisingly fast, and ducks around a corner.

It's a desperate thing. She's the only physical, the only real thing you've felt in this entire town so far. You want answers. You want something.

Do you even know what you want?

There's nothing as you turn the corner, except a page that seems to have belonged to a book at one time. As you move closer, it's from a journal.

"April 26th, 1996.

I'm here with Buck at the hospital. He's not doing too well. The doctor keeps coming every morning with bad news. I wish I could cry, but there's nothing left. My stomach is twisting. I want to say something to him but I know there's not a single word in any language that can make up for this.

I want to leave, but I can't let Buck know I hate being here. He hates it more, I bet. I can't be selfish.

I can't be selfish."

@powergirl_: @_tophat_:

I wonder... if you will set me free too?

---

Usually, the wandering eyes of Old Ackerby did not attach to physical presences so quickly. But they seemed drawn to the fair-haired woman who called the magician "master". Her bonds to another person were familiar to them. They whispered quietly in hushed voices behind closed doors.

The same vertical-standing map in the middle of town made itself known in the distance, illuminated slightly louder than the outlying mists and fog. But something different from the other encounters appeared along with it.

A woman, brown hair and eyes, wearing nothing but an oversized shirt and some shorts, sat curled at the corner of the map. She looked up at the two as they approached. The most astounding thing about her was that she was covered in blood, hands, face, and feet.

As soon as the two would come too close, however, she would run.

A bloody handprint, presumably hers, was splattered on the map - covering where the asylum would be.

No Caption Provided

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#44 Posted by Panther_genus (124 posts) - - Show Bio

@thisisgonnahurt:

"Stop..." Terrance says just sitting on the ground and looking down, "This place is of nightmares, just illusions and tricks...that's all it is. This has got to just be a nightmare of nightmares."

He gripped the ground beneath him with his hands, "It wasn't my fault. It wan't my fault." He began repeating. But he felt it was. His eyes teared up and he strained to keep himself from releasing all the built up stress. He failed. Letting lose a hidious roar from his mouth his eyes blazed sending bolts of plasma all against anything nearby and his entire form bursting with energy to demolish things around him. It lasted but a moment before he curled up on the ground hardly feeling any change. His mind was tired, his heart was in pain. This trip was a complete disaster. But he knew he had to keep some sanity, enough at least to keep Panther Island going. That, however, would be an exceedingly difficult task.

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#45 Posted by Lady_Liberty (10767 posts) - - Show Bio

Locked by request.

Moderator
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#46 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio
Welcome home
Welcome home

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#47 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (42356 posts) - - Show Bio

@mister_surreal:

Jason Crawford loved to read. He taught himself how to at a very early age, defining his school experience by the spines of his favorite authors rather than establishing lasting friendships. He hardly ever interacted with the other kids. He wasn't demoralized by fractured bones or bruises when he was bullied, and he learned very quickly to keep his books hidden away so that they wouldn't be destroyed or stolen. He never grew to trust anyone. His only "friendship" ended in a bitter deception and most of the pages from one of his treasured short stories collections being scribbled over with permanent marker.

Jason would always lock himself inside his room when he was home. If school was an obstacle course for his own uncertainties and phobias, home would be the closest he could describe to Hell.

His father worked long hours at a steel mill and took out his aggressions on the infrastructure, if Jason was lucky. He hardly ate because going into the kitchen proved too great a risk for interaction with his angry single parent. Jason never had a mother. There were no family pictures that weren't already broken in his father's enraged thrashings. Sleep wasn't easy. Twice now, his father broke down his bedroom door in the middle of the night to beat him senseless. Throw him against the wall. But he never touched Jason's books. Jason took up a job in the library to pay for repairs, citing only that he wanted "a new book" or something.

One day, he found that his choice in literature was rather boring. He was sitting on the steps before school, waiting for the front door to unlock. Looking out towards the woods he saw something he didn't expect to find there. It was a flash of purple at first, and then he rubbed his eyes. Just dense trees again. For a brief second, it looked like a shape with long arms and a long face. He didn't have the chance to define expressions or posture, more a blob of humanoid residue in the distance.

Probably just lack of sleep, he scoffed. His father had been missing for a few days now. Nothing special, probably got lost again while drunk.

Only, he was gone longer than usual. Those few days turned into a couple of weeks. A missing person's report was issued for the small community, but no one came forward with information. Jason knew that even if they did have anything they didn't want to, probably for his sake. Their apartment would be vacated, more than likely, in the coming days. Jason would either be out on the streets or put into foster care. He waited for the landlord flanked by child's services to come and give him those options. They couldn't have a child without support or parents living in an apartment he couldn't pay for.

No one came, however. Jason stopped going to school. No truant officer. His collections of books started to grow, including ones he never knew he had before. His father's door was locked from the inside, he couldn't get in. He therefore kept it shut out of some measure of respect for the dead, perhaps. Certainly not out of any for the living. As he opened the front door to inspect his surroundings again, to try and see if anyone was coming to kick him out that day, he was stopped by a man in a purple suit. Long-limbed, and pale-faced. He kneeled to get to eye-level with Jason.

"Well?" he asked. Jason couldn't keep his eyes off the uncompromising smile his strange visitor wore. "What do you think?"

Jason didn't say anything. No one was around. He had the option to scream for help, but something told him this stranger didn't mean any harm.

"This is all just a weird dream huh? Come on," he held out his hand. Jason froze.

He knew that sound anywhere. The dull thud of thick flesh against drywall. Heavy footsteps on old carpet. Muffled ramblings, too angry to discern as words. His father's door rattled, but didn't open. Out of some base instinct his hand shot for the stranger's. He stood, and gently walked Jason out of the doorway. He could hear the door shaking all the way down the stairs to the front of the complex. For some reason it didn't shatter or break. For some reason his father stayed quiet in that room for all this time, until just now. He wasn't sure why, but he knew his father's rage when he heard it.

No one was around. The streets were empty. No cars, no bicycles. A thick fog hung on the outskirts of his vision.

"Strangely peaceful, isn't it? I know someone like you. Scared, abused. She's a superhero now, wouldn't you believe?"

Jason didn't say anything.

"What I'm trying to tell you is, it's alright to be scared. You just have to remember that once you're out here... everything you were scared of," he pointed back at the apartment complex, now so far away it didn't matter anymore.

"It's all going to be behind you,"

"Why are you... smiling?" Jason finally choked out.

"It's because I'm happy,"

"Why?"

"You should see the look on your face."

Heathen tapped the man's head.

"Knock knock, anyone home?"

Jason's dream lasted eighteen years, longer than some who couldn't control themselves. He was afraid of becoming like his father, and abusing his kids. He just wanted the ability to move on with his life. Yet, in less than five seconds, the entire life he lived in that nightmare flashed and faded away. He wasn't afraid anymore. Or, maybe he was - just somewhere else now.

"Well, I guess that's that. What do you think?"

He turned towards the sorcerer, his unbroken smile reaching from ear to ear.

"What to hear a joke like that?"

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#48 Posted by Mister_Surreal (10203 posts) - - Show Bio

The old town of Ackerby was nothing if not deserted, left in a bleak and barron landscape that could only be the product of great tragedy laying waste to all those who dared to stay and suffer the consequences of the event. It was, eerily quite, only the sound of small creaks and cracks of different structures and shifting elements in the environment could be herd from anyone brave enough to listen to the unnerving orchestra that played in the back of the minds of the faithful audience. Many tales of this location had been spun over the years by people who have lived there and those who lived close enough to know it, very few of which had many good things to say about the town. It had often been said by those who lived there that the town itself was cursed and those who lingered would be doomed to befall the same tragedy of the past citizens who were unfortunate enough to take up residence in the place. Whether or not this was true did not have a genuine answer, not a clear one at least. For that reason, investigation would need to be done.

A portal opened up with the Sorcerer Supreme stepping out in all manner of wonder and flare that a person wearing a set of blue robes and a cloak could possibly muster from their own will to do so. He looked around the area beyond the pale fog, not being able to see much beyond the trees of the environment as result the unnatural fog obscuring his vision. In fact, the fog had made it so difficult to see properly that the magic users extra abilities powers were of more use to him than the very pupils that sat on his eyes for the purpose of giving him sight. Though, his senses did not pick up any better information as they could feel the sickening nature that the old town had held, the very same one that would often drive away those who did not want to fond out the cause of why the old town was the way that it had been for so long. His cloak felt this as well and wanted nothing to do with it.

Attempting to leave, it tugged on its master shoulders in hopes that he would change his mind and leave like the piece of clothing thought he should have done the moment that they had. arrived. "I know that you are scared, but I will protect you." The sorcerer's words were somewhat calming to the cloak as shown by how it restless behaviour was beginning to simmer down, though, it would not keep its guard down in any case regardless of what the mage said. As he went along, Mister Surreal accounted the mission that was formulated back in his sanctum not to long after he began to take notice of the events that would unfold in the town. He knew the stories of the place and things that had occurred over time, but as the days went on reports of the place in general had become more much eventful with matters such as pekoe going missing or sightings of people who were not able to be identified by people familiar with the location. The events taking place and that rumours about the place had made it so that it had gained the attention of the sorcerer. It was not every day that he would be journeying down into a town like this in order to gain information as to what was happening.

With all of the tales about what had transpired about the events prior to and after the number town becoming the empty shell that it was now, it would be hard to ignore the place and still refer to himself as a protector of the planet. He did not know what he would find in this place beyond its still, dead atmosphere, but there was the possibility that this place held supernatural properties that attributed to the town becoming what it is now. That alone would make it necessary for him to venture past the fog. Not too long after he had begun walking, he heard a cry that was high enough to shatter reinforced maxi glass. It sounded like a person in great distress, but this city was not natural, it was a telepathic one. Even though Mister Surreal was a telepath, he was not a particularly powerful, which would mean that whoever gained his attention must had been in an extraordinary amount of stress. Making haste, the sorcerer followed the screams and flew off into the direction of that person who was emitting them.

As the screams grew louder and more desperate, the spell caster knew that he was getting closer to the location of the person in distress, hopefully before they lost the ability to scream. As the screams grew unbearably loud, the sorcerer finally came across the person he had been searching for as well as the cause of their pain. He saw a man dressed in black leather who wore a spiked dog colour. He was tall, lanky and had an almost inhuman frame. Looking at his face, Mister Surreal could see a pale white skin that made it look as if he had just risen from the grave on account of his unfinished business. The defining piece of all of this was an abnormally large grin of red lips placed in front of a patch of yellow teeth gone completely sour. But when the man had asked the mage if he wanted to here a joke, that was when the sorcerer went to knock him back a few meters with a mystical blast of red energy. If the blast hit the stranger he would look over his body and say "Does it look I want to hear a joke?"

Online
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#49 Posted by Killer_Instinct (1687 posts) - - Show Bio

@mister_surreal:

Many things happened once the Sorcerer stepped into the web. Many things could have happened, as well.

It was all a matter of perception. Standing there, flaunting his power like some heroic god, Mister Surreal had Heathen on the back foot. He had been knocked down, his hands caught in a paralytic state of non-movement. He could weave no spells, and conduct no incantations. He was pinned there, metaphorically and physically, by the promise of more violence.

A rat, in a cage with no bars.

He looked up at Surreal, his eyes behind that accursed mask of lies and teeth. He smiled. Never once did he break that invisible thread of contact between him and his conqueror. The fragility of everything around them depended on what Surreal could see, touch, feel, taste, smell, hear, believe... but Heathen already had his nets in place. The web was deeper than it appeared on the surface.

He wrapped his arms around Surreal's neck, hanging his head over his shoulder. He was different now, though not any less terrifying. Heathen seemed a more human sort this time, having 'learned' how to piece his illusions together in order to achieve something like this.

At least, that was the vague hope of any sane man - that illusions were all Heathen pieced together.

His long black curls were slicked back with a scent of iron.

"Interesting find you have there, my friend," he muttered quietly, too quiet for human speech. A telepathic intrusion?

The 'Heathen' in front of them shuddered and disappeared with a flesh-colored spiral into nothing. Only specks of red remained, and the taste of fresh copper. Even the man he had played with before was gone. It was just Surreal and Heathen now.

"I've been waiting for this."

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#50 Posted by Mister_Surreal (10203 posts) - - Show Bio
Online