A/N: Greetings! It's been a while since I updated. It's always a while, but this was ridiculous. I couldn't get this up when I wanted to because I was suddenly flooded with things to do. Also, I'm caring for an orphaned kitten (named Vincent) whom is taking up much of my time. He's so cute though.
The narrow hallways of the infested labyrinth almost seemed to be getting narrower to James. He strolled casually down them, taking unexpected turns and climbing up and down ladders. At one point, he stopped and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. Since he did not have a map of the place, James had been attempting to make one of his own using a scrap paper and his trusted pens. However, judging by his map, James would make a horrible cartographer. He glared and turned the map upside-down, completely unable to decipher his own mass of childish scribbles and completely random sketches. Eventually, he gave up and stuffed the map back into his unending pocket.
"If I just keep wandering, I'm bound to run into something…" he reasoned with himself.
"No!" someone shrieked from behind a wall as if on queue.
James leaped back from the wall faster then President Bush from a pretzel. He pressed himself against the far wall, his heart racing from the sudden noise. "Hello?" Only a cricket chirped in reply. James glared, mentally daring that cricket to chirp again.
"UGH! WHY?" the feminine voice shrieked again.
"What do you want from me?" James questioned the grungy wall. The cricket chirped enthusiastically. If there was one thing James hated more then Maria and teletubbies, it was silence being broken by an obnoxious cricket. So many nights he had lain awake in his bed after being awoken by a cricket that he could never find.
"Come on, cricket!" he threatened, "chirp one more time and it shall be your last!"
"Stay away from me!" the wall whined. James suddenly came to a realization when he recognized the voice.
"Angelica?" he questioned, "How did you get in there?"
James pointed his flashlight down the hall and noticed that the walls and floor were covered in newspaper pages. He shuffled down the hall a little way and discovered a door concealed by newspaper. Straining with effort, he managed to force the door open and peered inside.
Angelica was curled up in the corner, rocking back in forth and mumbling to herself. The walls of the small room were disturbingly fleshy. James cringed as he stepped inside and instinctively closed the door behind him.
"Angelica…? What's goin' on?"
She stopped rocking and peered up at him from behind a veil of black hair. Her eyes suddenly widened with fear and she screamed. "Get AWAY! Get away from me!"
James stared. "What did I do?" It was then when a blast of hot, moist breath collided with the back of James' neck along with the scent of honey and baby powder. He wheeled around to face the eternally smiling purple teletubbie. "You!" James screamed as he pulled the shotgun from his pocket. The teletubbie giggled and backhanded James across the face before he could respond.
James felt his back collide with the disturbingly fleshy wall. "Ugh…" He held a hand to his stinging face and glared up at the teletubbie. The horrific creature giggled happily and clapped its hands together. Then, it began to prance about in circles as if performing some sort of sickening ceremonial dance. James continued to stare in confusion.
"James!" Angelica called out, "Look out! It's summoning a demon from hell!" She pulled herself into a tighter ball and cried into her hands.
James stared at the dancing teletubbie, completely transfixed. "…What?" The teletubbie abruptly stopped and threw its hand into the air. A pillar of fire burst from the floor before James who immediately screamed like a six-year-old girl and pressed himself against the wall. The teletubbie cackled and teleported away while Angelica screamed her head off. James, still screaming, watched as a creature began to pull itself from the floor. It reared its massive head in the flames and growled an unsettling sound. James heard the distinct sound of ice cream truck music plinking somewhere in the distance. Soon, the plinking music reached a crescendo with the sound of a chorus of children chanting the lines: "I love you! You love me! We're a happy family!"
The fire stopped spewing forth form the floor, revealing the creature in all its glory. It appeared to be a massive, purple, scientifically incorrect tyrannosaurus with a maniac grin. James stared in terror. "…Barney?" The creature lunged forward and opened its mouth in an unearthly screech of rage, revealing a double row of large, sharp and pointy teeth. James screamed in horror and almost wet himself. He scrambled from the wall and pressed himself in the corner opposite from the screaming Angelica. Barney ambled towards James, pawing the air in front of it with its useless, tiny arms. James quickly cocked the shotgun and fired a few rounds into it before it got to close for comfort. He freaked out and slipped past Barney to flee into a different corner, not unlike a scared wombat. He continued blasting away at Barney. The creature's dark blood sprayed in clouds and peppered the walls, but it did not seem to be affected. With Barney closing in, James clenched his eyes shut and pulled the trigger again, only to be met with an empty click.
Barney growled happily and swung its bulky tail at James, who fell roughly to the floor and wheezed. He sat upright and dropped the shotgun in favor of a loaded handgun. He held a shaky hand upward and aimed the gun at Barney. The wannabe dinosaur giggled coldly, "Foolish mortal. Playtime is over!" It quickly snapped forward, engulfing James' arm, gun and all, into its mouth nearly to his shoulder. James cried out in pain and shock as he felt Barney's teeth dig into his flesh and ruin his favorite jacket. Bloody dinosaur saliva slid from Barney's jowls and soiled James' pant leg. Summoning every once of strength, James pulled the trigger within the beast's mouth. The bullet exploded out the back of Barney's skull, sending brain matter and other random bits of dinosaur debris flying. It released James' arm, stepped backward, and roared in shock. It continued its sickly cry as it collapsed to the ground and convulsed.
Angelica suddenly tore from her designated corner and brought a T.V. down upon the writhing Barney's skull. The dinosaur twitched its last and lie still.
James pulled himself to his feet. "Where did that T.V. come from?" Angelica made her way over to him.
"Don't dare talk to me," she said while heaving, "Don't even touch me!" James stared at her in confusion. "Or you could just force me, like HE always did!" She suddenly violently kicked the corpse of Barney.
"Angelica, what are you rambling about?"
She turned and glared at him. "I know what you're after; the same thing all men are after. You make me SICK. I never want to see you again." With that, she slunk from the room and disappeared into the hallway. James stared at the Barney corpse, completely confused.
"What did I do?" he dejectedly asked the air. A pulse of pain reminded him of the arm injury he sustained. He slipped off his bloodied jacket and examined the rapidly bleeding wound. He fished through his jacket pocket and found the conveniently placed first aid kit he had found earlier on his journey. He wrapped the wound tightly in medical tape before he slid his prized jacket back on. He stared sadly at the blood soaked sleeve of his beloved jacket. "Damn you purple teletubbie… A man can only take so much loss." He suddenly became teary-eyed with the memories of his plank. He forced himself to think of other things as he left the disturbingly fleshy room and continued his search.
He entered another scary door and wandered down a long, empty hallway. Upon reaching the end of said hallway, he found his way blocked by an iron gate. James glared at the obstacle and investigated it. A pair of handcuffs kept the gate firmly in place.
"Handcuffs... Kinky," James muttered to no one. He thought about keeping them once he unlocked them, but then came to the conclusion that being cornered by Maria with a pair of handcuffs in that jail cell may cause him to commit suicide. He shrugged it off and wandered back up the corridor to examine the other rooms he passed without a thought. One room contained six empty nooses; the other was considerably more disturbing. Instead of six empty nooses, six decaying corpses hung from the ceiling. James let out a startled cry at the putrid smell then investigated the bodies.
One he recognized immediately as Michael Jackson. The other five turned out to be Big Bird, Michael Bolton, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Hilary Duff. James frowned at the confusing ensemble then aimed his flashlight at a sticky note stuck to the far wall. He approached it and struggled to read the childish hand writing: "Only 1 is teh nawt guiwty 1. Pull teh wr0ng wrope + U is ded." James scratched his head and checked another nearby, considerably larger sticky note. "We all know the molester is guilty. One just deserves to die. One is the antichrist. One is too popular, cutesy, and has an annoying voice. One is extremely overrated. And the Bird… well, I don't know." James was considerably confused by this.
"Aw, screw this," he said to no one in particular. He left the room and skipped down the hallway to the other conveniently unlocked door. He paused first to make sure that no one had seen him frolicking; it might hurt his reputation. After making sure that the coast was clear, he eased open the door and entered. Hanging about the room where the six empty nooses. James stared as he recalled the hanging corpses in the previous room.
"Hmm… This is more than coincidence, I just know it!" He brainlessly reached out tugged down the first noose that caught his attention. The noose gave way and lowered about a foot before coming to a stop. "…What?" questioned James, "I can't have one? It might come in handy should I feel the need to kill myself again." His train of thought suddenly derailed when someone forcefully poked his shoulder from behind. James squeaked and spun around.
He found himself face to face with a pale, cloaked man. The most interesting thing about the man was the oh-so-shiny white mask concealing half of his face. "Hey!" James bleated before he could stop himself, "How do you keep that mask on?" He reached out to touch it but the man jerked away.
"Why," started the man, "are you touching my punjabs?"
"These are yours?" Before the man could respond, James fled squealing from the room, leaving the phantom behind in confusion.
James reentered the room of corpses, out of breath from having sprinted the whole ten feet. He quickly forgot why he was frightened in the first place when a shiny object caught his eye. His inner ferret tingled with excitement as he strode to the object and claimed it. Printed clearly on the object was, 'KEY OF THE PERSECUTED'. "Hey…," spoke the mighty James, "wasn't Michael Jackson just hanging here?" He stared at the empty noose while he recalled what the sticky note had said. "He was innocent huh? Well that just helps to prove that my life is a lie." He scampered to the exit then lingered in the doorway as he gave big bird a good long stare of suspicion.
A badly mangled nurse demon wobbled up a street, leaving behind a trail of dark blood. She came to a stop before an elaborate-looking hotel and gazed up at it in thought. A light breeze picked up and stirred the healthy branches of the seemingly out-of-place trees. The nurse sighed and began limping towards the entrance.
"Hey!" a voice called out from behind her. She recognized it instantly as the voice of Traffic Cone Head. She paused and turned around. "Betty!" T-Head called out, waving a gloved hand, "I thought you were dead."
Betty sighed, "Mostly… I managed to crawl away with my life still intact." She turned to stare at the hotel. "Are you sure he's gonna show up at this place? It seems a bit too…expensive for a guy like James."
T-Head moved up beside her. "Yeah, he'll eventually end up here after he runs out of places to explore. I'm surprised that moron didn't identify the hotel as the 'special place' first off…idiot." He turned his metal cone-encased head towards Betty. "I'm surprised that you lesser demons are showing up as well. I thought I would be stuck with those brainless doormen and Stewart."
T-Head started for the door, "Stewart: my twin brother. We don't talk about him."
Betty examined the freshly blood-stained spear clutched in T-Head's hand. "Hey," she began, "That blonde, spiky-haired guy contacted me. He said he wants his sword back."
"…Cloud?" T-Head turned his head up in defiance. "Well, tell him that it is not his sword anymore: it's my butter knife of doom. And besides," he narrowed his eyes from beneath the cone, "James stole it."
"But," Betty protested, "why don't you tell him! He keeps calling my cell phone and it's annoying!"
"You have a cell phone?" T-Head shook his head and stalked towards the hotel. "Screw Cloud; if he wants that sword back he has me to deal with. Why don't you carry out your duties?" He waved his hand dismissively, "You know the routine, stalk around and assault James when he arrives."
"But…!" Betty called out. T-Head had already entered the hotel and slammed the door behind him. She sighed, "T-Head really is charming when he takes command like that…" She limped to the door and wondered if she would ever see the dollar that was owed to her.
A solitary stripper demon scuttled along the sidewalk, gurgling in happiness. Stuck to its slimy chest was a stained dollar bill. It continued to gurgle, relishing its victory as it scuttled as quickly as it could. Behind the stripper demon, a pack of angry fellow strippers gave chase in hopes of stealing the dollar. As the victorious stripper scuttled, the dollar bill suddenly peeled off of it and floated to the ground. The demon squealed in surprise then proceeded to smash itself repeatedly into the sidewalk in hopes of getting the bill stuck again. The bill eventually stuck to the mucous-covered skin and the demon stripper took off again, at its top speed of four miles per hour. The pursuing stripper demons gurgled in anger and continued the high-speed chase.
James squatted down on the floor as he desperately attempted to open the handcuffs barring his path the KEY OF THE PERSECUTED. "Yes!" he called out in triumph when the handcuffs gave way and crumpled to the floor. He was slightly worried when the key randomly disappeared, but soon got over it and raised the gate. He followed a short hallway then pushed open a white door.
Lying on the uncomfortable bed was an unmoving Maria. James about to say something snarky upon his discovery of her but paused when he realized that her face was covered with blood. He cringed and stepped forward to examine her. It appeared that she had been smothered to the point of death with something. James emitted a creepy giggle and backed away from her corpse.
"…Yay! She's good n' dead again! I guess I didn't have to worry about having a useless whore trail after me." He paused, "Hey… This means that I went through the trouble of this hell-hole labyrinth for no reason!" He growled in annoyance and gave her bed a good kick before leaving the room. "Stupid wannabe…" he muttered as he walked through a previously blocked path. He wandered down the path until he reached a ladder. He ascended said ladder and followed an empty corridor until he found himself in a catacomb. James took the time to gather up all of the free, convenient ammunition and health items lying around for him before he examined the graves.
"Walter Sullivan…Neddy Iksworbmod…Angelica Ocsoro…Bob Ross…and," he gasped, "James Scanderlund!" The graves of Neddy, Angelica, and James were open while Bob and Walter's were filled in. Upon further investigation, the grave of Bob Ross had the words 'Happy Trees!' scrawled out on it. James stood before his own grave and stared into the inviting depths of the hole before him. He was about to leap blindly in when a voice startled him.
James turned around to face a spiky-haired blonde man. He raised an eyebrow at the physics-defying hair, "What do you want?"
The man extended a hand. "I want my sword back."
"You can't have it!" James shrieked defensively, causing the man to flinch. "Wait a second…what sword? Who are you?"
"I'm Cloud." He narrowed his eyes in suspicion, "And you are?"
"James Scanderlund." He announced proudly.
Cloud blinked. "…Scanderlund? Is that a STD?"
"NO, damnit!" James screeched before he leapt into the hole and abandoned the strange man.
James landed awkwardly on hard pavement. He winced and pulled himself to his feet before he merrily descended the stairs before him. He followed a very long pathway before he opened a door to a gruesome scene. A man was laid face-down on the floor, soaked in a pool of his own blood. Next to the man was a plushie of a pink horse that appeared to have been shot. It's stuffing innards oozed from its wound and mixed with the man's fresh blood.
James felt his eyes tear up, "How? How could somebody so that to an innocent pony?" A disturbing chuckle from across the room caught his attention.
Neddy leaned against the wall; he clutched a shiny handgun and grinned at James. "Hello James." He seemed to read James's expression. "Yup, it was me all right. I did it. I pulled the trigger, and ya know what?" He smiled sardonically, "It felt good."
"But," James protested, "You can't just kill things on a whim like that!"
Neddy pointed the gun accusingly at James, "You didn't see the way he was lookin' at me! With those soulless, beady eyes! Mocking me like that, he had it commin'!"
James growled in anger, "It was a pony! A pony you sick bastard! I love ponies!"
"Who's gonna stop me!" Neddy snarled, "Who's gonna stop me from killin' more! They're always lookin' at me, makin' fun of me with their eyes! Callin' me fat and stupid…an' ugly too! They deserve it! The little bunnies, teddy bears, even the ponies! They all deserve it! I'm strong now an' I can give them what's commin' to them! I can bring justice to this corrupted world!"
"Neddy, you're freaking insane! The ponies-" James was suddenly cut off by the crack of a firing gun. He felt spreading warmth in his foot and glanced down to find a fresh, bleeding wound on the edge of his shin. He glared at Neddy while drawing the metal pipe from his pocket. "You bastard! I'll kill you, you bastard!" He lunged and bashed the pipe smartly against Neddy's head. Neddy stumbled and grasped his bleeding head.
"Oh, James! You're just like them! You've always been like em'! I should have killed you way back in the apartments!" He raised his gun again but James stopped him by bringing the pipe down harshly on his shoulder. Neddy roared in rage and threw a punch at James who was too slow to dodge it.
"Ugh!" James rubbed his aching face. He heard another crack from the pistol but was relieved to find that Neddy had somehow missed. He quickly struck the pipe against the side of Neddy's face who howled out in agony. Neddy moaned while he clutched at the doorknob and retreated into the next room.
"You're not getting away!" James cried out as he gave chase into the next room. He appeared to be in some sort of huge meat locker. Decaying cow carcasses hung from the ceiling and a think stench choked the air. James winced at the smell and put his pipe away in favor of his shotgun. "I know you're in here!"
"James…" the voice of Neddy echoed eerily, "Why can't you see that I'm right? Why not just let yourself die, you know that you deserve it…"
James snarled and advanced into the forest of meat. "Where are you hiding, you sadistic bastard…" Another gun shot almost deafened James. The bullet embedded itself in the meat of a dead cow dangerously close to James's head. James turned to the source and thrusted the tip of the shotgun around the meat. He felt it collide with something squishy and heard Neddy 'Oof!' in surprise. James clenched his teeth and cried out, "For the ponies!" He quickly pulled the trigger. A spray of blood erupted, peppering James in crimson. Neddy was propelled backwards and landed on the cold, tiled floor.
James stepped out from the meat and aimed his shotgun at Neddy. Neddy twitched slightly and groaned while blood poured from a large wound in his chest. He soon laid still and groaned no more. James stared at the spreading blood puddle from beneath the fat man. "…I can't believe I just killed a guy… Was it really necessary?" He stuffed the shotgun into his pocket then looted pistol ammunition from Neddy's body. "Oh well, that wasn't so bad. He deserved it…that poor innocent pony." James stood and reentered the previous room.
He meandered over to the corpse of the pony plushie. James kneeled down and gathered the pony into his arms, "I'll give you a proper burial." He left the random dead man and Neddy behind as he exited out through the meat locker and back into the open air. James found himself standing on the entrance to a dock standing over an eerily quite lake. He breathed in deeply the tainted, outside air of Quiet Hill, happy to leave the building behind. First, he found a nice patch of ground then proceeded to bury the pony. He left a shotgun shell standing upright in the freshly turned earth as a crude grave marker.
James sighed and advanced on to the dock. He listened to the strangely empty sound his footfalls made on the wooden dock as he traveled and eventually came to a stop at the end. He noticed a convenient boat tethered to the dock beside him. He took a moment to examine the damage done to himself and his clothing: his dearly beloved jacket was peppered with Neddy blood, and his right sleeve was torn and blood-soaked. Exposed beneath the tear were blood-stained bandages wrapped tightly about his arm. His left pant leg was blood soaked from the shin downwards. He grinned; even though he didn't look all too well, he didn't feel much pain from his injuries. Or maybe that was just the effect of the ampoules.
James smiled out over the misty lake as his mind settled on what to do. He was heading for the hotel, Lake View Hotel: his final destination. He thought for sure that everything would be solved there, that his quest for justice would finally reach its end. He still grinned as he crouched down and began to untie the boat.
"Mary…I'm coming for you."