Howard Link is exhausted after too many hard days and late nights. Hectic days lead to hectic nights, and his dreamland must suffer.
At first, I didn't like Link very much, but he grew on me and I wanted to write about him. This story is dedicated to Smiling Mask, who writes a great Link. Her story needs more love! Go check it out!
Howard Link was getting tired of it all. He was tired of the banter and immaturity of the people who surrounded him. He was tired of being forced to accompany Walker on missions, when the young boy made rash moves. He was especially tired of missions like a more recent one on which he ended up getting possessed and punched in the face. He was also tired of being shut out of his own quarters by Walker's friends, when he had work to do. But, most of all, he was just tired.
Aside from keeping an eye on Walker, he had other jobs to do. Levellier had him completing mounds of paperwork and running classified errands in moments of chaos. Though, he held a great deal of respect for Levellier and would gladly do anything the man asked of him without question. Luckily, tonight he had been ordered to rest, so that he would be more productive and well rested the next day.
He dragged his tired body to the room that he shared with Walker. The white-haired boy was fast asleep, when he entered. He quickly changed and lay down on his bed. The standard issue bed felt exponentially more comfortable, depending on how tired he was. Today, it was like the mattress was massaging his drained body. He soon fell asleep and began to dream.
"Where am I?" Link wondered aloud. This place didn't look like Headquarters, and it certainly wasn't his bedroom. The floor was wooden. He couldn't tell exactly what the walls were made of, but there were dents and holes in a few places, and other patched areas where holes had probably been created and repaired.
"You're in the dojo." Kanda replied as he entered the room wearing a basic white martial arts gi with a black belt. "This is where we will train."
"Train?" Link narrowed his eyes and began to search Kanda's face for answers. "For what?"
"Don't question me! Have you no respect? Your only reply is to be, 'Osu!'' Kanda walked over to one of the walls and went to pick up something on the floor. He bowed to it, picked it up, and brought it to Link. "Here is your weapon."
Link stared at the broom in Kanda's hands. "Well, accept it. Bow and reach out both hands." Kanda was getting impatient with his pupil. "You have to move quickly, if you want to live!" Link quickly bowed and took the broom from his angry instructor's hands. Kanda swiftly moved to pick up the second broom that was lying against the wall. He returned carrying it. "Face Sensei."
Link's eyes followed Kanda, as the Asian man turned to face a photograph hanging on the wall. Link decided it was best to imitate what Kanda was doing. "Bow," Kanda instructed. They both bowed in unison.
Kanda began teaching him some strange form of martial art using the brooms as weapons. They worked for what seemed like hours. Suddenly, Kanda stopped. "I think you are ready," he said. "Take your weapon outside with you to defend yourself. You must always be ready."
"Osu." Link had quickly picked up on how he was supposed to act. He bowed to Kanda and to the photograph before moving toward the door. He stopped to put on a pair of shoes that he did not remember taking off. Link opened the door and exited the dojo.
Upon shutting the door, the broom in his left hand began to wiggle. It suddenly sprouted arms and legs and began shouting. "Woohoo! I'm free!" It exclaimed in a squeaky voice. "Thank God! It smells like dirty hamster cage and feet in that place…" It wiggled out of his grasp and ran off shouting jovially about its emancipation.
Link blinked. The world around him appeared to have more vibrant hues than he was used to seeing. He was blankly staring at a park. Suddenly, a figure emerged from a large, solid tree trunk. 'Is that even possible?' He wondered as he eyed her.
She was short with pink hair and a puffy, purple hat with lace around the edges. She was wearing a white button-up shirt with a purple, ruffled skirt and a purple bow around her neck. "Hey, kid, who are you?"
"My name is Inspector Howard Link." He replied plainly. It was the introduction he always used. It was short and curt; it let him get directly to the job at hand.
"I was not asking for your name. I asked you WHO you ARE." She saw that he did not comprehend, so she elaborated, "Who you are should be more than a name, or a position, such as inspector. There should be much more to your being."
"Well, I-who is that?" Link motioned to a blonde man who had appeared at the edge of the forest panting. The man was also in a purple puffy hat, though it lacked frills. He was wearing a purple tie around the neck of his white button-up shirt and a pair of purple shorts.
"That is Bak Chan. He is quite excitable and easily flustered, but he is a kind person. I am For Tan destroyer of all things puny and coach to those who need me!" She placed her hands on her hips and gave a triumphant laugh.
The man reached them. "Did you just do the whole introduction by yourself?" He asked exasperatedly.
"Don't you have ears?" She replied sarcastically.
"Aren't you aware of the values of teamwork?" He retorted. He was getting more flustered with each question. "Anyway, I am Bak Chan."
"I already said that," Fo said with narrowed eyes.
"Well, if you had waited for me, I would have known that," he retorted. He turned to face Link, "And who are you?"
"I am Inspector Howard Link." He replied once more.
"It's a shame," said Fo.
"That you don't know who you are," finished Bak.
"I know very well who I am, thank you. I have spent my whole life as myself - every last minute." Link explained with mild annoyance. 'What are these people talking about anyway?'
"Are you really you all the time?" Asked Fo.
"Or are you what other people see in you?" Asked Bak.
"Like a warped mirror," the two said in unison.
"Look, I'm sorry, but I am really not sure what you are talking about, and I must be on my way."
"Your way?" Asked Fo with a mocking tone in her voice.
"Which way? To where?" Asked Bak curiously. "There are many ways to go to get many places. How do you know which one is yours, when you don't even know who you are?"
"Or probably even where you are," said Fo in a condescending tone. "Poor kid, you're lost in so many ways."
"Well, then, where am I?" Link asked. He wasn't sure what information to expect, but some might be a little better then none, if it made sense at all, which he doubted it would.
"This is the Land of Asunder. So close is everything, yet so far apart. Yet, it is only as far as you are from yourself. And it is only as unusual as you deem it to be," explained Bak.
"Which, from the look on your face, must be quite unusual." Fo chuckled at the man in front of her who was trying to conceal his puzzlement.
"Go ahead, wander, but don't forget our question! It might help you more than you think," said the two in unison once again. Fo began to slide back through the solid trees. Bak chased after her, moving around the solid objects.
Link still wondered how she did it, as he made his way through the woods. He stared at the trees, some of which were unusually colored with pink, blue, or purple leaves. Ahead of him, there was something enormous and pitch black. As he approached, he saw that it was a tree with giant, dark red apples.
As he approached, the apples began to move and wiggle. As he got closer, he realized that the fruits quite resembled skulls, human skulls.
Wow, this took a while to write. I wrote most of it a while ago, but I just picked it up today to finish the first chapter. I hope to make this kind of trippy, like Alice in Wonderland, but without the math… Please let me know what you think so far. I plan to have it alternate between funny and dark.