This prologue is here right now just to see what you think of the story. I'm busy right now with my other story and really would like to finish it before getting in too deeply with any other large writings. Enjoy this small taste of my next assignment, but don't expect any progress on it until I am more deeply into the story of Pumpkin Town.
The Law of your Anarchic Demise
The Banishment Of Murdock Manifesto.
"Murdock Manisfesto you have overstepped your boundaries in the mortal world. You have been charged with illegal soul knapping, and a failure to report important information to your better. These charges are pressed against you by the Board of The Beyond, and Mr. Charles Bones." At this point the judge, who was a rather short victim of mummification was interrupted by the mentioned party, who was standing to his right.
"Uh, That's The Grim Reaper, please sir. I have not gone by the mortal name Charles Bones in a century and a half." The reaper said. The judge peered down at his papers.
"Ah…yes…it says that here. Very sorry sir." He turned again to the one on trial, of whom he had been speaking to before.
"These charges have been pressed against you by the Board of The Beyond and your better, The Grim Reaper." After saying his name he turned to the reaper and gave him a thumbs up. If the Grim Reaper would have had eyes…he would have rolled them.
"Do you have anything to say for yourself, Mr. Manifesto?" The judge said, once against turning towards the man who was on trial.
In the shadows, Murdock Manifesto's visage was hidden from the eyes of those who were present. All anyone could see was a small portion of his face. The portion that held his lips, which were pulled back in a wretched grin, revealing a large set of blindingly white teeth. His smile seamed to stretch to his ears, an illusion mostly emphasized by the stitches that ran up his bony cheeks.
"Do you know how many cards there are in a deck?" The man said, his voice was low and musical.
The judge looked off to his left, fixing the head of the Board Of Beyond with a questioning glance. The head of the board, who was a zombie like apparition wearing a rather nice white suit, shrugged in response.
"Um, is this related to your trial Mr. Manifesto?" He asked. Murdock raised his head, revealing to the crowd the rest of his face, which was terribly stitched up and covered in wiry black hair that went of in insane angles and jagged lines, all topped off with a gentleman's hat which would have been lovely if not for the webs that were woven all over it's surface.
"Of course. I wouldn't think of wasting your time…your greatness." He said, his smile momentarily fading and replaced by a rather pathetic look of sincerity.
"Well…" Started the judge. "Alright…no…I guess the answer would have to be….I'm not quite sure how many cards there are in a deck."
"52. There are 52 cards in a deck. Four suits…thirteen cards to a suit." Murdock answered. His grin was back, and wider then ever.
"Alright…and…what precisely does this have to do with your case Mr. Manifesto?"
"Do you play cards, your excellency?" Murdock asked.
"Well…not for a while…but…I suppose I was rather fond of the game in life." The judge said, with a raised brow.
"So then you've played Euchre?"
"Uh…no…I don't think I ever have." He looked off to his right and met the Grim Reapers gaze. The Reaper shook his head. At the time, the judge just assumed the Reaper had never played euchre either, and that was the reason for the bit of contact he gave him. He didn't think that he was trying to motion for him to stop conversing with the wily maniac who sat in front of him.
"Well, then you wouldn't know that under British rules there was a card called the Imperial Bower, a card that trumps all of the other cards in the deck."
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Well, in the 1860's this card manifested in the card we now call the joker. It hides in the decks, completely useless in most games, and entirely looked over. Sometimes it isn't even there, the decks are just absent of it."
The judge now seamed to get impatient.
"What is your point, sir?"
"Most games of cards don't include the Joker. People just leave them in the box. But most people don't play cards like I do. In my game the Joker is always played, and always trumps all of the rest of the cards." The judge waited for him to continue. Murdock just grinned.
"Well…" The judge said. Murdock sat back in his seat, his face once again overcome by shadows.
"Is that all?" The judge questioned. He looked to his right and left. The Grim Reaper was fixing Murdock with a dangerous look. To the judges left, the head of the board was examining his long and broken nails.
"That's all." Murdock said. "I just thought you ought to know." The judge sat back in his own chair. For a moment he looked very confused, this was replaced by a look of irritation.
"That was a complete and utter waste of my time! It had nothing to do with your case!" Murdock touched his long fingers together and grinned. He said nothing.
"Jury, how much time do you think you need to conclude this trial?" The judge asked, turning an angered look from Murdock and fixing a very ghoulish group of people with a wondering gaze.
A tall female vampire stood, brushing her long black hair behind her.
"Sir, ve feel as thou ve need no time." She answered in a heavy Transylvanian accent.
"Ve are ready to make our conviction."
"Very well, bring it forward."
A severed hand jumped from one of the benches, dragging a letter along with it as it progressed along the dusty dungeon like floor. The judge watched as it made its progress (Tripping quite a few times under the weight of the parchment.) He bent over and took the letter from the hand, which made a strange involuntary bow.
"Thank you." The judge stood up straight and pulled the skull shaped seal from the paper. He unfolded the letter and read it aloud.
"We the jury, find defendant; Mr. Murdock M. Manifesto entirely guilty of all charges and convictions made against him by this court. Very well." The judge set the letter down. He rose a bone gavel from the surface of his podium.
"Mr. Murdock Manifesto, I sentence you to exile from the world of the undead. Your exile shall be served in the world of Limbo where you will stay for a period no earlier or later then an eternity. If you attempt to leave your designated boundaries, you will not face trial again, but will be sent straight to the Nether World, where you will spend the rest of your days." The judge brought the gavel down onto the wooden surface, sending out a hollow but loud ruckus throughout the court room.
Two large monstrous guards came forward and grabbed Murdock by the shoulders. His head was bent low, presumed to be that of a sorrowful action by the court.
No one saw that he was grinning.
The Reaper stood up, as he did the Board of The Beyond followed suit. They followed him as he left the court room, following the departure of the two guards and Murdock Manifesto.
Moments later the banished man was being stuffed in the back of a horrible apparition of a prison truck. His smile was gone, but he looked far from worried. The Reaper approached the truck from the front door of the court house. As he came near he folded his hands behind his back and fixed Murdock with a dark look. Murdock's countenance changed to that of pleasantries.
"Why, if it isn't my better, come to gloat no doubt." He said, he leaned back on a long thin hand.
"I'm not yet entirely sure what that was you did back there, but I know your planning something. I've just come to tell you that you will not escape my gaze, not now, not ever. I will watch you for the rest of your days, Murdock. If you do one thing that raises my suspicion I will have you thrown into the Nether World so quickly that your beloved deck will get burned to ashes in the speed of your decent. Do I make myself clear?"
"Oooh," Murdock started, his voice sounding rather high and to the Reaper quite hateful. "Someone sure does see themselves as high and mighty. You ought to watch that ego of yours Charles."
"You will show me respect Murdock. You know how things work around here. One word from me and you will be permanently banished into a world where your little games will be just that, and your grin will be wiped right off your face." The reaper looked in the truck. It was full of large ghoulish prisoners. All of them fixed him with a look of utter hatred, masked with that of quiet respect. The reaper's look returned to Murdock. His smile had faded, and he too wore a look of extreme dislike, his was not veiled well.
"Anything else…Charles?" He asked vehemently.
"Yes." The Grim Reaper answered. A terrible grin spread across his skull.
"Have nice trip." He whispered with a cruel touch of amusement. He backed out, and watched as the doors to the truck were shut. Murdock's hateful face disappeared behind them.
The head of the Board came up behind the Reaper, and watched as the truck pulled away and headed for a tall and awful looking gate.
"Can't say I'm sorry to see him go." The Reaper shook his head in response.
"Indeed not, he's been a plague to this company for far too long." The Reaper answered softly.
"Care to join me for a bit of Burning Brandy, quite effective for warming the stomach." The Head of the board asked. The Reaper shook his head again.
"I cant. I'm terribly busy, as you very well know. That trial set me behind schedule." The board nodded.
The pimple faced ghost of a young man came up behind the two, he carried a clip board of papers in his hands.
"The papers for Mr. Murdock Manifesto sir." He handed them to the head of the board who took them gratefully.
"Thank you Brutus." He looked down to examine the papers, as the young ghost boy made a quick bow and was off. The reaper gave the documents a sideways glance.
"I assume my suggestion was carried out?" The Reaper asked.
"What was that sir?" The head of the board asked, as he turned a page of the parchment. The reaper looked at the man a little warily.
"That…he be stripped of his charms and amulet. It is in there isn't it?" The head of the board nodded.
"Yes of course! It's taken care of." The Reaper sighed to himself in relief.
"Good." The man was still nodding, a satisfied smile playing on his face.
"A prisoner is always stripped of such things. His trinkets will be taken from him upon entry into Limbo." The Reapers look of relief froze. He turned his head towards the Board.
"I requested they be taken away before then. Before he was even put in the truck. That was my suggestion." The head of the board looked up at him a little startled.
"Well, sir, does it really matter when they are taken from him? I mean he…" He was interrupted by a cry of outrage by The Grim reaper. The board stared at him in thunderstruck silence.
"Does it matter? He is Murdock MANIFESTO You idiot! He is an apparition, a phantom, hence the name he calls himself by!" The board was quiet for a moment. Finally, when he shook himself from his surprise he spoke.
"Yes…we know. But… that doesn't mean anything…it…does it?" The Reaper got very close to the head of the board. When he was towering above him he leaned over and looked directly into his face.
"He has his amulet of fatality still, he is a phantom, and he follows the Rules of the anarchic demise. That means that if he hasn't already escaped from the truck…then he will have by the time he reaches Limbos gates. In case you didn't already know it…Phantom means your capable of VANISHING." The reaper stood up straight again and turned away from the head of the board…who was looking quite ill.
"Oh dear." The head of the board said quietly.
Murdock was shuffling a deck of cards and occasionally looking up at his fellow prisoners. Some of them returned his look with one of wary discomfort. He looked to his right and met eyes with a large ghoul, who was the only guard in the back, and who was shuffling through a load of papers.
"Are those the assignment sheets?' Murdock asked. The guard looked up at him and grunted.
"Yeah." He said in a deep voice.
"Mind if I take a look?" Murdock asked, his voice sounding pleasantly curious. He pulled out an ace from his deck before quickly replacing it.
"Yeah right." The guard said.
"Please, I just want to see if any of my new friends are going to be joining me in Limbo." Murdock said. Some of the prisoners around him looked at each other uncomfortably. The guard looked up at him, giving him a tired look.
"Why would I show you these documents?" Murdock shrugged.
"I'm just curious as to where I am going and who is coming with me. Please, what harm could I do with a stack of paper." He said. For a moment his deck stopped shuffling in his hands. The guard appeared to be thinking.
"I guess…but hurry up with them." He handed the papers over to Murdock and watched him carefully.
"Thank you. Are these all prison assignments?" He asked. His deck momentarily set aside.
"No, some of them are the regular kind." The guard said, watching him with suspicion.
"This here, this is a map, is it not?" He showed the parchment to the guard who nodded.
"Yup, that's where we're going." Murdock pulled it back and looked at it thoughtfully.
"This road here, that branches off of the main road…where does it lead to?"
The guard leaned forward to have a look. The rest of the prisoners watched him curiously.
"A forest. The holiday forest I believe. That is a place for the regular assignments." The guard said. Murdock's grin widened.
"Ah yes…yes I have such memories from that place." He said, seaming to be reliving them as he stared at the small line that was meant to represent the long dirt road.
"You used to have an assignment there?" The guard asked, curiously. He seamed to have decided that Murdock posed no threat.
"Oh yes. Although I've only been to that of Halloween Town. I was there for a long time. I had a very important job." He began to shuffle though the papers.
"Ah yes, here it is. Halloween Town." He pulled out an assignment sheet with the name scrawled in large ominous black letters.
"Has it changed much in the last three hundred years?"
The guard shrugged.
"Don't know, never been there. Heard the towns Pumpkin King is a real terror though. They say hell probably have the job forever…that he's unshakable."
Murdock's smile faded a bit.
"Do they indeed?" he asked. He opened the folder and searched the page quietly.
"What are you looking for?"
his name of course, you have struck my interest." Murdock said. He
stopped somewhere on the page suddenly, and his smile vanished
completely. The guard watched him curiously as it did.
"Well?" The man asked.
"Well." Murdock answered quietly.
"Well well well…what do we have here?" Murdock said. His face was becoming dangerous. The guard shifted uncomfortably.
"Uh…perhaps I could have my papers back." He said. His distrust had returned. Murdock looked up at him for a moment. The guard readied himself for an act of rebellion. Then, Murdock smiled.
"Of course you may." He handed the documents back to the relieved guard.
"Thank you. If you'll excuse me, I have to check our progress really quick. I expect you all to behave back here." He cast another suspicious look towards Murdock before heading to the front of the truck.
The other prisoners looked around warily, not meeting Murdock's gaze. He had resumed shuffling his cards.
"I think I will make a side trip before my little vacation in limbo." Murdock said. Some of the prisoners looked at him with curiosity.
"How are you going to do that?" One of the larger and more stupid looking ghouls asked, getting heated look from everyone else.
"Oh, I could escape from this truck any time I want…but I'll wait till we get to the road to the holiday forest. There's a place I must visit…and an old friend I would really like to sit down with to enjoy a nice game of cards." He said. He shuffle his deck again and pulled from it with a liquid motion a single card. On it was the image of The Joker.
"Who's that…one of the prisoners asked curiously. "Your old friend I mean…because he probably isn't worth an eternity in the Nether World…I mean…You're an awful stupid person if your going to try to escape now…Limbo's not that bad and…" He stammered off, staring at Murdock as he ran the joker card through his long fingers.
"This friend has something I want." He said smiling. "Something he has taken from me. I wonder if he'll be surprised to see me?" Murdock's face broke out in a horrible look, that sent a chill down the spine of many of the prisoners. The Joker card stopped moving in his hand and he looked at it for a moment.
"Do any of you know what the Joker card was called before it became the joker card?" Murdock asked softly. The prisoners looked about each other and shook their heads uncomfortably.
Murdock answered through large white sparkling teeth, with his lips pulled back in an almost face splitting grin. His voice was awful and inhuman.
"It was called a JACK."
Alright, now, the only reason I wrote this prologue was to ensure that I would remember this beginning and continue writing the story. I will probably not update for this particular story in a while, only because I have to continue and finish with my other long story I am writing right now, which is that of Pumpkin Town. I intend to finish that before I get too deeply into this one. But this prologue is here right now for feedback. Please tell me what you thought about it! Thank you.