Playing Amnesia all morning in my dining room with a towel over my head (to make it dark, of course) gave me a few ideas:
1 - Daniel is such a child. Why this and Why that.
2 - Alexander is just a poor little muffin who just wants to go home :'( Cut him some slack, Danny. You're the one who stabs little girls to death.
3 - Amnesia doesn't have enough funny parts! So I shall make some! (NOTE: The fic started out with humor, but about at the ~oO0Oo~ mark, I left my computer for the day and came back feeling as funny as a tumor.)
4 - Amnesia doesn't have enough 'awwww'. Nuff said.
Anyway, enjoy my ramblings.
"Alexander?" The rough voice of a man echoed down the main stone hall. With it came snatches of terror, like tiny flies on the wind. "Alexander?"
In his private corridors, the old Baron sighed and snapped his poetry book shut. Slipping into his dark robe, he padded past servants with sympathetic smiles, and approached the wooden door to the guest room.
The young man was huddled under green blankets, his knees drawn up tight to his chest. "Alexander," he whimpered. "I'm frightened."
"Take a deep breath," the Baron said. "Calm yourself." The younger man swallowed air until he started to choke. "Daniel… calm…"
Alexander sat on the bed next to Daniel and stared at him. Sometimes it was hard to believe Daniel was an adult, not a toddler. Some of the questions he asked… "Why is it so dark, Alexander? Why must I not stray from the path, Alexander? What is that, Alexander?" The Baron wanted to shout, "Because I like creepy dark places! Because you'll die! It's a spoon, you moron! Are you five years old?" But he pressed his lips together and growled out monosyllable responses instead.
Daniel squeezed his bear, and stared into the candle flame as if the light could hold his sanity together.
"Alexander, can I stay up late?"
"You're my guest; you don't have a bedtime," Alexander reminded. He shifted to stand and leave (his poem book was waiting on the dresser), but a shriek of protest from Daniel made him pause.
"No! Don't go! Can you stay with me? I'm scared."
Alexander sighed. "Just hide in the closet like you usually do." He chuckled under his breath. "Or how about writing in your diary? You don't need me when you have your papery friends."
"It's a journal," said Daniel. "And it's not the same." His face swept down into a puppy-dog face, and Alexander clenched his teeth and swore under his breath.
"Fine. One story."
"Yay!" Daniel settled back in the pillows. "Tell the one about the angry penguin."
"I don't remember telling one about…"
Daniel's puppy face returned.
"Once upon a time," Alexander started hastily. "Once upon a time, there was a an angry penguin. He was very… angry. And he was a penguin."
"He liked to eat fish," prompted Daniel.
"No, tofu fish. Angry Penguin is a vegetarian."
Alexander rubbed his nose. "The vegetarian penguin walked-"
"-Swam to the iceberg one day and met a beautiful penguin princess. They fell in love and eloped, had sex, had spawned little filthy penguin babies. They lived happily ever after. The end."
Daniel breathed in softly, his eyes fluttering closed. Relief rushed through the Baron, and he stood without waking the other man. The candle flickered prettily, but he knew he couldn't let it live. Brennenburg meant "burning castle" in Prussian, after all.
He blew out the candle, and suddenly the room was rocked with the sound of screaming. Alexander turned calmly, (he never felt fear), and saw Daniel thrashing around with his blankets knotted, screaming like he was stuck inside an Iron Maiden.
The Baron opened the cabinet, took one of the eighty tinderboxes stacked inside, and lit the candle again. Immediately, Daniel quieted. Alexander turned to him and grimaced.
"You're not a child anymore. A fear of the dark is irrational and restrictive."
There was a silence, and Alexander watched Daniel's face shine in the candlelight. "How old do you think I am?" whispered the young man finally.
Compared to Alexander, Daniel was a boy. His mind was naïve as a child's, his soul clean as a coin. Soon things would change.
"You're twenty-two," said Alexander.
"Yes." The boy drew a deep breath, and the spider webs under the cabinet fluttered. "Are you magic?"
Alexander chuckled low. "Magic isn't real, Daniel."
"Are you almost asleep?"
There was a pause. "Can you get me some water?"
"Water?" Alexander asked, as if he had heard wrong. It wasn't as if they had a fridge full of milk, though. It was water, or beer. And of course, the laudanum. The Baron had hid his store after the first few days of Daniel's stay for reasons not to be discussed.
"If I get you water, will you go to sleep and let me go back to my room?"
Sighing, Alexander got up, exited into the hall, and used his alien telepathy (a power unknown to Daniel) to call one of his disfigured servants.
"Get a cup of water for the guest."
Thedues, the head servant, responded after a moment. "I'm taking a shit right now. Can't you ask Wilmarth?"
Wilmarth said that he was busy making cookies for his dog. "Ask Peter."
Peter was clipping his toenails.
Alexander growled under his breath. "Where's my water?" Daniel cried from inside his room, and the Baron started down the staircase. He pulled a flask from his pocket and headed towards the back hall's freaky fountain. A baby's face barfed water onto a pair of stone legs dangling from the basin, and shuddering, Alexander filled the flask under the fresh stream.
"Thank you," said Daniel with a smile after Alexander came back into the room. He guzzled it, water dripping down his neck and streaking the thin fabric of his nightshirt. "I'll fall asleep soon, I promise. You can just wait."
Alexander pulled up a chair on the other side of the bedside table and propped open his book of Prussian poetry, authored by Theodor Storm, a man younger than Alexander by more than three centuries. The candle burned steadily, and after a few minutes the Baron was aware of someone watching him. He peeked out of the corner of his eye, and saw Daniel lying on his side on the edge of the bed, staring at him over the candle. Alexander looked back at the book, but Daniel's eyes stayed fixed. He hardly blinked.
"What?" Alexander growled.
"You have pretty hair," said Daniel.
"What are you reading?"
"Are they love poems?"
"No," Alexander said gruffly, fingering the pages. "No, I don't read love poems."
"I bet they are love poems," Daniel smirked. "Look, you're blushing."
A growl rose in Alexander's throat, and Daniel stopped speaking. For a bit.
"Can you read me one?"
"A poem?" He frowned. "Why don't you just go to sleep? We have a busy day tomorrow. The servants brought in a rapist, he's in the eastmost cell…"
"Just read one poem?"
The Baron's eye caught on one title, and he smiled. „Aus Träumen in Ängsten bin ich erwacht," Alexander began, the language roughly rolling out of his mouth, calming him.
"What does that mean?"
"For dreams in fear, I am awake." Alexander chuckled. "This poem is called, 'Schlaflos', or 'Sleepless.' You should be able to understand. Go to sleep."
Daniel yawned. "I'm not tired."
"Aus Träumen in Ängsten bin ich erwacht… Was singt doch die Lerche so tief in der Nacht! Der Tag ist gegangen, der Morgen ist fern, Aufs Kissen hernieder scheinen die Stern." Alexander took a breath and glanced at Daniel meaningfully, but the boy only shrugged. "Und immer hör ich den Lerchengesang; O Stimme des Tages, mein Herz ist bang."
"So what does mean?"
"From dreams in fear I am awake; As yet, the lark sings so deep into the night… The day is gone, the morning is far away, Down on the pillow there seem to be stars… And I always listen to the lark's song; O voice of the day, my heart is anxious." He looked up and smiled, pride swelling at the quick translation. He was fluent in every European language, but especially Prussian, seeing that he had lived near Konigsberg for more than four hundred years.
"That makes no sense," Daniel said. "Prussian is such a weird language." He stirred under his covers. "Alexander, I've got to go to the bathroom."
The Baron was still going over the poem in his mind, and was startled out of his resereive. "So, go."
"I need someone to come with me. The loo scares me."
"Why the hell does the loo scare you?"
"I always think that something might jump out of the drain. There might be monsters in the sewer."
"There aren't any monsters in the sewer," Alexander reassured the young man.
"Still…" The candle light gave away that Daniel's cheeks were pink, and he began to play with his hands.
"Light your lantern," Alexander sighed. "Let's go to the lavatory."
Daniel sang softly as his urine splashed down into the sewer. Alexander stood to the side, leaning against the tiled column and averting his eyes. "You almost done?"
"Not yet," Daniel said. "I need to wash my hands before I go back to bed."
He dried his hands on a rough towel and sang to himself, and when he caught Alexander's open stare, he flashed an innocent smile.
"Come on," the Baron said, suddenly feeling a little woozy. "Let's go back."
"You'll stay with me?"
The Baron took a second to respond. "I might as well just read my book in your room."
They padded back up the stairs to the guest room, where the unattended candle was burning low. The dim light reflected off the pool of hot wax and cast dancing liquid shadows on the walls. Daniel crawled into his bed, his body dragging with sleepiness.
"I'm not tired, Alexander," he said softly. "Will you sit next to me?"
Alexander pulled himself into the open spot on the left of Daniel, furthest from the light. The green blanket was warm, and he edged it up over his legs, knowing that the young man wouldn't care.
"Will you tell me another story?"
"I will, Daniel."
"Tell a longer one."
"Very well," Alexander said. He placed his book closed on the bedspread. Daniel turned towards the candle, faced away from his friend.
He settled back, fixed his eyes on the canopy's upholstery and began.
"Once there was a lost man, who found himself far from the woman he loved, stuck in a place of limited technology and ancient tradition. There was only one way home – to build a machine. But a machine of such power takes years to assemble, so he creates a way to live forever. He steals life from others, through means of torture." He glanced at Daniel, but could only see the slim line of the boy's jaw in the dull light. "Do you understand?"
The boy gave an almost imperceptible nod, and Alexander continued. "But he can't collect the life on his own. So when he receives a letter requesting help from a boy, he gives sanctuary: in exchange for the boy's aid. Both are benefitted, you see?"
Daniel didn't speak, and Alexander tensed. He had seen the boy's clean penny soul grow grimy and dark. He had seen the boy do unimaginable things, and he knew Daniel was not a frightened but crazed man before he had came to Brennenburg. He had seen the boy's memories and his greatest desires, but mostly he had seen the fear flames licking at Daniel's sanity.
"I'm sorry," Alexander whispered. "I just need to get home." He tried to see into Daniel's mind, but it was shuttered. He touched Daniel's shoulder, trying to get him to face away from candle.
The boy stirred gently. "What?" he murmured. "Did you finish your story?"
"Yes, I did. Do you know what it was about?"
"There was a lost man, and… and the woman he loved… What was she like?"
"Her laughter, her wisdom…" The bottom of his heart dropped out with his words, and he let the flow start. "She was so beautiful, more than red sand dunes or the broken moon, and she was safe, so that when the man went home every day and saw her, he never wanted to leave. She made the man so happy. More happy then he'd ever felt."
Daniel, with his eyes closed, smiled.
"She was forgiving," Alexander said, even though he couldn't quite recall… A white light blocked, her thin hands reaching, and he had to keep going, or he would fall and shatter. "And most of all she was faithful. She would wait for him, even if she had to wait hundreds of years-" He closed his eyes for a long moment, and when he opened them again, the room had stopped spinning. The candle was almost dead.
"She sounds lovely," Daniel whispered, his voice laced with sleep.
"She was," Alexander said. Silver gathered in the corner of his eye as he stared upwards.
"I'll probably forget about her in the morning," the boy mumbled, sounding apologetic.
"That's alright. I know you will." And he did know.
Daniel twitched and murmured one last time, then his breathing started to slow. He was finally asleep, but Alexander no longer felt like rejoicing as he would have a few hours earlier. The night was passed on; it was almost four in the morning. A lark in the rafters of the back hall was singing slowly, and Alexander felt his eyelids drooping.
Daniel shivered, obviously lost in another nightmare. Alexander brought the blanket back around the boy's shoulders, and as if sensing the Baron's gentle presence, Daniel curled against to his body. A strange, warm feeling of contentment spread through Alexander at the contact. As Daniel rolled closer, he knocked the book of poems to the floor, where one title glittered in the dying light. A love poem. "Schliesse mir die Augen beide, mit den lieben Händen zu," the old Baron whispered. He didn't know if he was speaking to Daniel by his side, to his wife, worlds away, to anyone or no one at all. "Close both my eyes with your beloved hands…"
The candle went out, and the darkness put him at peace, a final time he didn't have to remember.
Derp :3 Wrote this quickly, so I apologize if grammatical errors appeared. Also, please don't correct me on my German poet history. I know Theodor Storm was not even twenty-two at this time, so he couldn't have already written all his poems. Maybe Alexander can travel in time, along with all his other nifty powers, huh?
I love German. I love how this game is centered in Prussia. I love how Alexander has lived in Konigsberg for four hundred years and has an American accent. I love this game, except when it makes me want to crawl into my coat closet and eat canned beans in there for the rest of my life. I'd never have to face Mr. Face again. (And YES, Mangaminx's Let's Play Amnesia is AMAZING. Go watch it right now.)
Reviews are welcome. Share Amnesia love, my loves.