Hero, Part 3

title

No warnings.

ripp2“What the fuck?”

Ripp has summed up our entire adventure thus far so succinctly that it is almost breathtaking.

foggyroom2

From the outside, The Center is a hulking, menacing beast of a building. Outside, it is easy to imagine the interior: a sterile labyrinth where one ill-fated turn can send you down an endless path of identical doors.

Inside, though, it is unfathomable.

lyla2

Approaching the concrete stairs, Lyla pauses and looks back at us. Her face, which may have been lovely in another lifetime, was a mask of near debilitating exhaustion.

“Going up,” she says, and smiles grimly.


lypaswalk

We follow Lyla to the next floor. Our shoes are soft; they make no noise as we climb the frozen stairs.

Nobody speaks. Nobody asks any questions. Nobody wants any answers.

followlyla

Lyla stays ahead of us. There is something about her movements that fills me with apprehension.

lylalooking

She is looking for something.

But what?


wait

“Listen,” she says suddenly.

We oblige her, but there is nothing to hear.

Lyla: “Exactly. They know we’re here.”

whothefuck

“They?” My mouth forms and ejects the word before I even realize that I meant to do so.

offended

Her face contorts into a sour grimace, as if though my inquiry offends her. “Him. Him, and his miserable pets.”

dontstart

These unhelpful introductions rouse us from our semi-catatonic daze, but she holds up her hand to stymie any further questioning.

“Not now. We have to keep moving. But stay alert.”

walkway

She turns away from our hysteria, takes two steps forward, then stops again.

run

“Listen,” she says, again. “If you hear anything – anything at all – run.”


MEATROOM

We follow her, our mysterious leader, through the belly of The Center.

I am not being quaint; it is as if though the building has swallowed us whole.

The walls pulse and stink and weep.

meatfloor

The floor sticks to the bottom of our soft shoes. It is spongy and warm, disgustingly so.

The air grows thicker until we can hardly breathe.

overyet

We trudge along at Lyla’s heels, and hope it will be over soon.


jenny1

There is something familiar about the little girl that wanders into our path.

Something terrible and sad.

rememberme

Her: “Do you remember me, Pascal?”

No. Almost.

jennysmile

She smiles at me, a hideous, knowing rictus. “Vidcund does.”

vidcundjenny

Vidcund pushes stiffly past me without sparing me a glance. His legs wobble threateningly as he takes tiny, shaking steps toward her, this girl I almost remember. “Jenny?”

“Yes.” She rewards him with a smile.

vidcund1

“Jenny, my God, Jenny… what did they do to you?”

jenny3

Jenny’s smile goes soft, like her mouth is melting. “They broke something in me the last time I was here. I went to a bright place, far away.” The memory seems to pain her. “He had to Reset me. I wish he hadn’t, though.”

vidcundjenny2

Vidcund: “Who is He, Jenny?”

Jenny does something odd then – she looks at Lyla, but Lyla looks away.

jenny5

Jenny: “We call him Father. But he is my age.”

It didn’t make any sense.

A long moment passes and nobody knows what to say. There are so many questions to ask, nobody knows where to begin.

Jenny grows impatient.

jenny2

Jenny: “You should get going. Father is in the Playroom. The longer you keep him waiting, the angrier he’s going to get.”

leaving1

Lyla begins walking again, and we follow her.

Everyone except for Vidcund, who falls to his knees before Jenny.

vidcundjenny3

“What’s happening, Jenny?” He is crying. “My head – there’s so much I can’t make sense of. What have they done to us?”

She allows him to bury his face in her dress, but doesn’t answer.

Her hand is trembling as she strokes his hair. It is an oddly maternal gesture.

leaving2

We continue on without him.


walking

We wander through The Center for what feels like days.

It is increasing uncomfortable. My legs, unaccustomed to such strenuous activity, ache. My stomach grumbles, but I have nothing for it. Its pleas go unanswered.

There are scratching noises all around us, and heavy footsteps. Occasionally, we hear the tell-tale click of toenails across the tile.

walking2

“Keep moving,” Lyla says, as if though we need to be reminded.

rippargue1

Where are you taking us?” Ripp again. He has stopped walking. Ophelia and Lola pause as well. I am so grateful for an opportunity to rest that it is somewhat pitiful.

lyla5

Lyla: “To Father.”

Ripp: “And just who the fuck is Father?”

Lyla: “He is the cause of all this.”

Something in Ripp snaps.

rippargue2

“Stop being so fucking cryptic. We’ve been blindly following you for I don’t know how long. You haven’t told us anything. The least you can do is answer a couple of questions.”

Lyla addresses him calmly.

lyla3

“I told you I don’t have any answers, Ripp. I have been very clear about that from the beginning. I don’t have any answers, because I barely have any memories. I can’t even swear to you that I have given you my real name. I think my name is Lyla, but I’m not entirely sure. The only things I know for certain are that we have to keep moving, and we have to find Father.”

Ripp sputters angrily, but can’t seem to formulate any kind of coherent response.

lyla4

Lyla: “You don’t have to follow me, or trust me. But please don’t interfere with me anymore.”

walking3

Ripp looks furious, but when we start moving forward again, he is with us.


theend

Lyla ushers us through an unmarked door that looks exactly like all the others.

Nobody knows what to expect on the other side.

Whatever our expectations, there was no preparing us for what we encountered.

To be continued…


Credits:

Thenk you to epo for The Ministry, and strangetomato for Lyla Grunt.

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3 comments on “Hero, Part 3

  1. just want you know i love yoru writing/stories and hero is probably my all time favorite. thank you for continuing it.

  2. KK says:

    I’ve been binge-reading some of your sims stories lately since I saw a teaser for one on tumblr and thought it looked amazing (I believe it was one with Nervous Subject). May I just say, you have a very unique and interesting writing style. I definitely love the mystery in this one and the whole story with ‘the centre’. I also love your pictures for each story, I can never get that quality in mine. I look forward to seeing what happens next, I really want to see who ‘father is’ but I have a few guesses, plus I kind of want Ripp or rather Pascal to figure out or remember who Lyla is, ‘he has his mother’s eyes’, love it. I also enjoyed your other stories like emperor of the dark, very eerie and with a creepy atmosphere, however sadly Rule of Rain’s pictures won’t load for me. Please keep up the great writing!

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