Disclaimer: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and its characters are copyright Jhonen Vasquez. The Original Characters in this story are mine, not yours. Enjoi.
The carnage and gore spread like a plague. Bodies lay half eaten and bloodless, unable to melt into the inedible lumps of plastic clay they had been forcibly born from. The demons of the walls were forced out and made prey for the hungry mindless horde of zombies that roamed the endless, degrading Purgatory halls. And, like the prey they knew they had become, the innocent demons all scrambled together away from the shuffling monsters that sought to eat them and herded themselves to apparent safety. All too often they failed and only managed to speed up their extinction as the zombies forced them into blind corners blocked off by impassible rubble. One group of child-demons huddled together and hissed violently at the encroaching death that silently stalked ever closer. Then, suddenly, one pudgy youth shot to the fore of the demon huddle and caught their attention.
"Come on, gang!" he began shouting. "We can't let this horde of zombies be the end! We have to fight back! Stand our ground! Never say never, or die, or 'I cheesed in my pants cause of ZOMBIES!' We can't let them win just because we're too scared to fight back! We have to stand up for ourselves! We're DEMONS! We can kill ANYTHING!" For a moment the loud and eccentrically brave child was surrounded by a glow of charisma. He held his arm up high and rallied a shrill cry of bravery from those around him. Then, silently, he was grabbed from behind and lifted up to the gnarl-toothed mouths of the zombies. They bit deep into his flesh and cracked his bones. They tore him apart as he screamed bloody murder, starting with his head. One zombie mouth came from around the arm that held the boy in the air and snapped off his foot.
"AAAAAHHHH! OHGODWHYYYYYYY! IT HURTS! IT HURTS! IT HURTS! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMYYYY!" His cries ceased as he was turned over. His eyes continued to stream tears until they popped out of his deformed and crushed skull, along with a thickness of blood and soggy gray matter. His spine was crunched out of his back by a blood-mouthed zombie and his innards all spilled out onto the floor from the rip in his gut where the zombies had gripped his fragile flesh too hard. The other children demons shook and cowered in their defenseless corner as the other zombies came up with mouths agape and eyes soulless, their faces soon lost in the darkness that their reaching arms occupied.
Boys and girls, or the bodies of those that had once been such, were swiftly torn apart and devoured viciously. Organs were chewed into slushy pieces, bones were broken and crunched into dust. Whole bodies were quickly reduced to unliving, leaking parts as kids were torn limb from limb and head from shoulder. The zombies passed the bloody masses of flesh and blood and squishy guts throughout the whole horde, as if they had the inborn knowledge to share what they had found to increase their own power. Soon the feast was ended as the last bit of demon flesh was consumed and the mindless congregation turned and silently started stalking the halls. The only sound to accompany their presence was the muted dripping of blood from their messy jaws to the floor.
One zombie, out of the entire massive horde there present, stayed behind. She, a tall and elegant woman, stood staring at the floor with her eyes shining a despicable yellow. Then they went black and dim. Her body seemed to shut down. Her skin became baggy and hollow and all of her skin fell down, clothes included, onto the floor as a diseased, rubber suit. Floating above the floor, just within reach of the ceiling, was an angel. The spirit of that zombie had been released and floated just above the gore and vileness that it had just earlier enacted. The woman, with a swooping bobcut of hair and wide, bright-looking eyes, floated like a ghost in the ghostly realm, stunned in a state of unbelievable shock and joy. She touched her face and ran her hands all across her body, feeling nothing but a warm and universal presence of light.
"I'm free" she said. She burst up through the rood, expanding a wide set of shining, angelic wings and started a flighted ascent to the clouds. "I'M FREEEE!" she called once more. "Finally! FINALLY! After so long, trapped in this hell, I'm free! My sins have all been redeemed, my spiritual body reclaimed and purified! I hold no sorrow! I have no regret! I feel weightless and supreme! This is magnificent, I'm totally free!" She looked down at the hole in the roof she had made and then out to the rest of the roof's infinite expanse. In one direction the clouds all converged on a distorted focal point in the air preceded by a towering, wriggling darkness. To the other side, much closer to her, she saw another giant whose wide back and broad head blocked the light of the veiled sun.
"It looks like I was freed just in time" the woman said with a cocky pump of her fist. "Things seem to be taking a turn for the worse!" The woman suddenly accelerated in her flight upwards and sped to the heavens. Whether she would reach them or not in truth was inconsequential right then. Even if it was to escape the reach of those sudden titans, she would hide in the clouds until heaven found her. "Worry not, all you still-damned souls. I shall go to heaven and rally an army to wipe this godless place from all of existence! An Armageddon will descend and lift the cleansed and repented forever to the holy kingdom! Wait and rejoice, mass of souls! I will return...!" And so she left the hellish scene to its own undoing.
In the halls, blood still spilled. Children were killed and cannibalized outright by soulless, mindless automatons of flesh and desire. The uncontrollable wave of zombified husks sought out their individual selves within each of the fleeing demons. Their memories reunite and their sins are repented instantaneously as both halves merge. More and more ascended sinners, repented angels from all epochs of time and space left trapped there in endless Purgatory since time immemorial continued to ascend. A rain of light in reverse filled Purgatory! Souls were lifted up in great throngs to the skies, all with the same intent to see the divine march of angels wipe out the land that had too-long claimed their souls. The beams of light shot up with increasing speed and out of random origin, making flight for anything other than the angles difficult if not impossible.
So Four-Eyes, who continued to fly through the endless sky, forced himself to land to keep himself and Yvonne safe. He roosted upon a broken rooftop and punched away a falling air-conditioner unit which seemed to scream as if fell the incalculable height to the ground far below.
"What the fuck is going on now?" Four-Eyes lowed. He felt something odd at his side. Yvonne felt uncommonly warm. She pushed his hand away and stood up on the uneven ground, looking out to the field of lights before her.
"Do you hear that?" she asked. Four-Eyes grunted in denial. "It's so wonderful, like a dream, like a God-sent symphony. Now I think I can understand what a 'miracle' is..."
"What are you talking about?" Four-Eyes demanded. Yvonne slowly turned to him, her hair as silky and bright and blonde as it ever was, like any day after she'd gone for a fresh styling and setting at the highest end salon in sight.
"The sound of the choir" she said "is lovely." To a demon, the sight of an angel is little more than redundant repulsion. The duality between the good and evil of the cosmos forced the ears and eyes of the wicked away from the pure and good of heaven's creation. However, to those of neither world, to the humans who would experience any divine stroke of thought and witness the grace of such benevolence in God's name, they could hear the most serene music imaginable. The Ode to Joy was indeed heavenly music, as it played in an endless echo through Yvonne's mind, calming her fears and cooling her racing blood, removing all the toxic remains of vehemence and evil from her body for just that one brief glimpse that she took, giving her a true experience of heaven in hell...
Meanwhile, real men were fighting, and they were fighting a giant made of tentacles. One varicose-veined tree-thick appendage smashed into the floor, forcing out a mighty gust from either side of the impact, separating the fighting force of four. JJ and Lammy held themselves fast on the beast's left side while Nny and Mort stood firm on its right.
"You know this thing" Mort said to his maniac ally, "so you should know its weakness. Where's its weak spot?"
"It's a monster made of insanity" Nny said. "It has no weak spot." Mort became grim for a moment, but recovered and became cross and battle-stern once more. "Just chop things off until it bleeds to death!" Nny jumped away, a long and almost gliding leap right into the beast's broad front. He picked a random vein and stabbed into it, then guided his body down as his blade sliced through the skin and let out a shower of blood onto the floor. Nny kicked himself off of the Beast just before he slid past the edge of the platform's edge and landed with a long slide into the puddle of blood. The droplets curved past him and the liquid all parted from his feet as he slid across it. The beast made no motion to acknowledge its newest, bleeding wound and instead turned the leaking vein around so that it bled into its own thick body. As the last of the blood fell, Mort raced forward with his shovels equipped in defense.
"RAAAGGHH!" Mort roared. He ran past Nny and swung his shovels to intercept a swinging tentacle from above. The massive length of flesh and coursing veins pushed down on Mort's human frame and forced his strong feet to crack the floor beneath. Mort's strength was soon to give, but the tentacle was beat away by JJ's quick assistance. It swung then toward Nny, who stood callously in place and let it sweep right past him. The half still attached to the immense body coiled around with a broad shower of blood while the other half slithered and writhed around until it wriggled its way off of the elevated battleground. Mort recovered and sheathed his shovels.
"This seems impossible" Mort said.
"Why don't you fly up and kill its head?" JJ asked.
"Flight isn't a normal human ability" Mort said.
"You ain't a normal human, man!" JJ proclaimed. "Look at you! You may be human, but you damn sure ain't a normal one! What human can see the 'winds of destiny' or whatever you called them? What human wouldn't break down and faint the second they saw something like this bearing down at them?" Mort looked up at the living catastrophe, with a head so high that the beams of light only blurred the humid air that led to it. Mort steeled his resolve and equipped his chainsaw. As he revved it and the engine compartment shook with wicked power the roar of Gore seemed to lessen. The deafening screech of bloodshed was lost to the sheer insanity all around.
"You okay?" JJ shouted.
"I'm quite fine" Mort said. "Keep yourself well!" Mort dashed off, roaring above the mute hum of Gore, and taunted the Beast before him by kicking a stray chunk of rock in its direction. The rock hit and seemed to summon up its wormy flesh to unfold and let extend several long, fleshy tentacles. As they unrolled from under the thing's great barrier of skin they turned their ends toward Mort and let burst open their puckered ends. With a shrill, demonic screeching, three demon worms with mouths of sharp, spinning teeth opened their moist maws and dove at Mort. The man jumped away with a retreating swing of his weapon and scratched the surface of one worm's skin. A shallow burst of blood shot out and gathered itself into a broader and broader pool that started to slowly surround Nny.
"Still not enough" Nny said as he slowly sheathed his knives. "This thing needs to bleed more, so much more, before all this blood dries! It's weakness is the same as ever, but only I can exploit it!" Nny, suddenly, unsheathed a great and deranged looking scythe from his billowing black coat and grinned with the same crooked metallic angle that the blade had to it. A tentacle covered in spines raced his way, only to be cut along its entire length by Nny's powerful scythe. Nny was pushed back across the floor as the tentacle continued to push him while spraying blood enough to cover and flood the floor behind Nny. He swung his scythe down, deepening a great bloody crevice in the creature's tentacle, then cut to both sides, slicing off the split parts of the Beast's bisected appendage. What was left retreated into the demon's flesh and was covered by yet more sinuous tentacle growths.
"It must be covered" Nny said. "There can't be a single spot on this canvas to impede my work..." Nny turned to see how those others with him were faring. Lammy and JJ kept up a constant barrage of energy projectiles aimed high up at the Beast's head. Mort, meanwhile, fought giant worms with his chainsaw and precise athleticism. Despite the soaked floor and the constant flooding of demonic blood, Mort managed to keep his feet solidly grounded and steady as he slashed and hacked through the worm's flesh. Once their bodies were cut open their innards opened into yet more salivating, toothy tunnels that reached and darted Mort's way. Their length seemed infinite as well, though three was the most Mort was fighting at the time. Nny rushed over with his scythe in hand, dashing across the bloody floor to assist his temporary ally.
Just as Mort saw himself in potential danger, in rushed Nny to slice the three worms into mangled, stringy, bleeding chunks of flesh and teeth. Mort stood in a respectful awe as Nny casually paced in his line of sight.
"I can fight this thing" Nny said "on my terms."
"Then do it" Mort said. "Please."
"Not that simple" Nny said. "Firstly, this is the representation of humanities generalized malaise and despair as made real through my eyes. It is my artistic vision of suffering and despair, inspired roughly by Lovecraft and Geiger."
"I'd venture to say that there may be some Kafka in there somewhere" Mort said. "That or you're simply a deeply disturbed man."
"It could be anything" Nny said with a shrug. "I can use its blood as a 'base', like a canvas, and enter a surreal state of exsistence known as the 'Sea of Sartre' where I can control reality." Mort's eyes grew wide with shock as the spray of blood reached and somehow completely missed his body.
"I've heard that before" Mort said in shock. "I believe I know...or perhaps I don't."
"In any case" Nny said "I need blood everywhere. Wet blood, too. If it's not wet, I can't use it."
"You're going to paint it to death?" Mort said. Nny started walking toward the center of the floor with a grin that stretched uncomfortably far across his face. Mort turned his attention back to the spraying blood and flesh of the worms as a whole new horror began to descend. Mort jumped out of the way, guided by the winds of fate, to narrowly avoid being smashed by a giant, bony, green-skinned hand and arm.
"Now it's growing arms?" Mort shouted. He skid to a stop in the blood and rushed up before the hand could move. He jumped up, sure to land on it, with his chainsaw poised to be stabbed through its horrid flesh. The hand, with incredible and impossible swiftness, moved to wipe away much of the blood that had been already gathered. Mort landed on mostly dry floor and was hit as the hand came back his way. He tumbled end over end clear to the other side of the floor, saved by Gore as he stabbed it into the ground to drag himself to the side. The hand swept yet more blood off of the platform and then balled itself into a tight, bony fist. Nny, from his stance in the middle of the floor, gave his scythe a good hard throw and sliced clean through the thin bone of the giant's arm. The scythe, however, was lost as the skin opened up to accept it and then closed to keep it.
"Damn!" Nny exclaimed. "It's hard to buy good tools like that anymore!" He equipped a knife instead. His other hand was kept free but stayed near his pocket, ready to withdrawal whatever weapon he had waiting just in case. When Mort recovered and saw the hand had died and slowly slipped off the edge of the floor, he saw an equal chance to act. He stabbed his chainsaw into the floor and mounted it. Riding it like an automatic, ground-raping unicycle, Mort dashed toward the behemoth's skin and made a flying leap from the edge of the floor. As he drifted through the air he made sure his goggles were tightly fastened over his eyes and tossed his chainsaw from his feet into his hands.
"FUCKING DIIIIIIIIIIIE!" he howled. He stabbed the chainsaw into the Beast's tough, black skin and drifted quickly downward as his mass forced him to fall. Then, through his farseer goggles, he saw a path of wind open before him. All across the hurricane of confusion and blasphemy that the creature seemed to be composed of, Mort could see a single path open up through it and lead straight up seemingly infinitely. He revved the chainsaw, forcing it to increase its already substantial destructive RPMs, and began a slow climb up the creature's meshed black flesh. As he went, blood started to spray out just behind him. He left a deep bleeding wound with each inch he managed to crawl, and the stupid behemoth couldn't bother to notice him, it seemed. He felt the shaking impact of small explosions near him as Lammy and JJ fended off the tentacles that reached for him at their distance. The blood that the hand hadn't wiped away had already started to spill back into the blank space of the floor while Nny stood and waited.
Two more long, bladed tentacles erupted suddenly from the Beast's skin, forcing Mort out of position for a second. He stabbed back into the monster's hide and continued his slow climb upwards. Blood rained down, soaking the otherwise off-white floor with a deep, flowing red. Nny grinned as his canvas was slowly spread out. A knife in one hand, a paintbrush in the other.
The other giant of the battlefield, shining gold and radiating with primal horror, stood amidst a cloud of ruin and at the beginning of a hard-carved path. Underneath its massive stature the slaughter continued. Demons were being eaten by their hollow former selves. A whole group of anorexic dust-girls were being painfully consumed by a group the flesh-eaters, and every odd often an angel would rise up out of the crowd and ascend as fast as it could to the clouds. The ascended many ignored the very obvious signs of immortal danger that towered over the battlefield, the two colossal giants of pure destruction and despair. They had risen above the need for concern and rightly ignored the battle at hand.
However, they were far from immortal yet. Hastur, the giant of gold, began moving forward. His flesh started to peel from his broad, powerful humanoid form as he powered his way through the air and wind. An angel leisurely flying upwards hit against Hastur's skin and scraped along his stomach, opening a long and billowing flap of skin like a layer of latex paint. The giant continued forward, its knees losing skin in great amounts to the friction of the walls and floors it marched through, while the sturdy, flat mask of its face held fast as a menacing mirror of its target.
The towering Negative, grotesque and huge in the reachable distance, held its own without a clue as to what forces approached it. The arrogant mass seemed sufficed to play with the toys currently nearer to its main body while it kept wriggling two tower-length tentacles at its side, constantly intertwining with thinner lengths of itself to create disgusting helices of fleshy muscles. The giant marched, a Deus ex Mania, driven only by the command of destruction from within.
On the other side of the mask, Tom pressed his forehead against the flat pane and watched. He stood with total darkness behind him and a smoky haze still circling near him. Behind him in that smoke stood the King in Yellow, All Fear Itself, Hastur. They were the tandem pilots of the golem, though only Tom was unaware of it.
"It is the horizon of despair" Hastur said from his veil of the darkness. "What lies beyond it reaches far outside of human knowledge."
"So beyond despair" Tom said "is something so horrible that fear must take its place...right?"
"Don't try to trivialize the importance of summoning the enormous avatar of all terror and primal fear with such a human analogy" Hastur said. "What you see is the despair of the mind. Self-inflicted insanity, a pitiable disease. What we are within is the cure: Where the insane lake all normal fear, we shall force it upon them. Only the dead do not fear death."
"Wise" Tom said. "You ever gonna stop the monologues?" Hastur pulled Tom away from the window and held him with an invisible hand in the darkness.
"We are united now, Thomas" Hastur said. "Consider this a peak of your own power." He let Tom go and cleared the smoky darkness from around them. They stood within sight of each other, Tom the boy still struck with a demented reflex of good humor and Hastur the King in Yellow. "This golden golem represents the force of fear. What we march against is our enemy, something which forces men to see past fear and its benefits to an unholy and insane ground of mind."
"You sure are uppity about fear" Tom said. "I know you are fear, and you made it somehow, but shouldn't a human who conquers his living fears be praised for overcoming the system? Shouldn't abandoning fear to live life be rewarded somehow? That's what I'd do if I stunted to knowledge of an entire planet's dominant species."
"Firstly" Hastur began, "the infinitely outnumbering bacterium are the superior species of Earth." Tom blinked. He couldn't easily refute that, but he didn't want it to stand. "Secondly, fear is a limiter. Do you understand every processing and constantly working part of your brain perfectly enough to use it every single day? Fear blocks many of the thoughts and harmful neurological processes born into humanity to keep them alive. If curiosity weren't subdued by fear, one would jump into a pit of fire for curiosity if he could survive. And would he?"
"If he were some kind of kooky monk or something" Tom said. Hastur sighed and shook his head. His veil flapped to and fro, covering whatever face he had behind it.
"We have a lifetime for me to explain this to you" Hastur said. "However, if this monster is allowed to exist without any control, that life will end far too early. You must take control of this golem and destroy the inhuman menace." Hastur took from within his regal robe an object hidden by a bundle of silken, weightless cloth. Just from the general shape and weight distribution of the thing, Tom had inherently known what it was. A flood of nostalgic feelings came over him. Upon knowing, he seemed to smile, and as he unwrapped the godly gift his grin grew and grew until his smile resembled that of a bright-faced child.
It was a PS3 motion-sensitive controller made of GOLD! And rimmed with Platinum! The face buttons were patterned with Diamonds! The pomp and flair of the illustrious device gave off a glaring light that reflected off of Tom's own glistening eyes. He turned around and the smoke all around him cleared. He saw plainly out of the giant's frontal view and held his controller facing forward. He started up the connection and started excitedly testing out all the buttons. His smile dropped almost immediately upon his finger clicking on a hardened shoulder button.
"The R1 sticks" Tom said. He tested out the button again and again, and then the synch signal failed. "What am I supposed to connect this to, exactly?"
"I don't know" Hastur said. Tom kept clicking the R1 button, which was hard to push down and stuck once every few times.
"See that?" Tom said. "This this sticks. That sucks. Do I need that button that much for a mech-sim?" Hastur shook his head in grief. "Can you get me a flat toothpick and some lubricant? Or maybe some dish soap, something could be lodged in there..." Hastur stole the controller back, worked it around behind his back and then held it out, testing the button again. It worked fine, and the controller synched up.
"Here" Hastur said. "Take note, that object is one born obtusely from your own subconscious. It is the ideal vision of your own making for the power of control over an absolute being. It's shape, in general, is arbitrary. The sad fact that you struck it with so many inconveniences only shows how little faith you have in yourself."
"Pshh" Tom scoffed. He materialized a chair out of black smoke, a nice sturdy chair with speakers in the back hooked up to seemingly nothing, that glided about without any wheels. He scooted himself up as close to the observing window as he could so that the entire thing was in view. Too far and he would lose detail. Too close and his focus would diminish. "So I take it it's up to me to designate a button mapping, too?"
"Correct" Hastur said. "It is controlled only how you would see to control it."
"Cool" Tom said. He pressed select, instantly designating it as a 'Fighting-Mode' button, and assumed total command of the giant. With a flash of light the flat mask lit up and as the reflection rippled away the vision of a stern skull-face shone out on the perfectly flat surface, something of an internal projection. The glare of light caught the Beast's attention as it slowly turned its enormous alligator maw up from the floor it watched and hissed at so diligently.
Along the roofs and through the halls a grim shadow crept. It fled toward the flying debris of ruin the left under Tom's command. The shadow leaped into the thick of the flying dust and brick, then vanished. It reappeared as a tangled mess of pitch-blackness climbing up the enormous back of the giant avatar, then it vanished after crawling behind a loose drag of skin hanging from the back of the giant's neck. Tom suddenly winced in pain and pushed back against the headrest of his comfy-ass lounging chair.
"Gah!" he exclaimed. "Feels like I took a needle to the base of my spine!"
"That can only mean one thing right now" Hastur said. He turned around and faced a total, swirling darkness. The inky black substances cashed and rumbled like dark clouds of rain, then dissipated and spread out as a shadow emerged in human form. Tall, dark, shrouded in an aura of impressionable mystery. A pharaoh, dark-skinned and regal looking, like a God born human, stood in a trashy ensemble more befitting a New England professor on a visit to the cold shore. A fog-gray trench coat, sweater-vest and formal shirt with pitch-black tie, plain beige corduroy pants and white alligator shoes.
"The messenger is arrived" spoke the man with a voice that could charm a thousand men and women. Hastur nodded to him.
"Welcome, Nyarlathotep" spoke Hastur. "You see, behind me, my new vessel, Thomas Quindale."
"Uhhh" Tom grunted. He was in his gaming mode. The Elder Deities turned to look at him mouth agape and eyes void of humanity. He had set his controls on a strangely present digital screen and entered his username as 'teh_runny_sh|t'. Said usurname was displayed in plain Latin characters on the face of the golden golem in outstanding black text. He was lost to them both. Lost to the world. Reunited at last with his passion, Tom had reentered into the shallow world of GAMING...