Shinigami-cat: So here's something a little different. I hope you all like it… I OWN NOTHING!
It was just a simple case from the agency. Find the girl and bring her back alive. What started off as a simple search and rescue mission has turned into Arthur's personal hell. Set in Steam Punk London.
Mild horror and all manner of other things.
Symphony of the Psychotic
The walls gently brushed against his arms as he stayed lying in that one spot. He was awake. He couldn't sleep. With his eyes open all the could see was black. He attempted to flex his feet, only to find they were pressed against a wooden surface. He was trapped in some kind of box. Yet he wasn't afraid or scared in the slightest. It was like some kind of out of body experience. All he could hear through the darkness was the sound of an old grandfather clock, ticking away over and over again.
"Come now Arthur." Cut in a voice. "It's only a dream."
"It's not a dream…" Whispered Arthur. "It's… It's a memory… It's giving me a headache… I'm trapped."
"Disregard that memory." Said the voice. "Leave that place and go somewhere else. You're floating now… You're in a different place. Where are you now?"
Almost immediately the box in which he was trapped changed into a sea, a sea of cards, chess pieces and checker boards. The grandfather clock was gone and replaced by the sounds of men screaming, metal striking metal, the stench of smoke, fire. Through the midst of it all, there were three demons sitting on thrones as a fire surrounded them.
Arthur started to tremble uncontrollably. "No… I-I'm in hell!"
"Forget it." Said the vice calmly. "That place is unproductive. Go somewhere better somewhere safe… Go to your home." The reddening and glowing amber of the fire encircled Arthur's body. The sound and the smell of burning flesh and wood filled his ears and nostrils.
"I can't." Whispered Arthur. "My home… that place… everyone there is dead. It is dead to me… I'm trapped… Trapped in the past…" More sounds filled his ears, they sounded like people calling for help. Saying he was badly burnt. That he needed to go to a hospital. It made his heart race. He could see shadows for people, but they had the faces of animals. They were like wolves in sheep's clothing.
"No Arthur." Said the voice a little more sternly than before. "Forget those thoughts. Forget those memories. They prevent you from moving forward. Go someplace safe. Go to a familiar place that you know and trust."
"I'd rather not…"
"Your preference doesn't matter." Said the voice. "Go to your safe place. Go to your Wonderland." As the person spoke, rain fell from the sky and doused the fire. Trees, shrubs and giant mushrooms sprouted up in their place. Before Arthur knew it, he was sitting on a giant lily pad, floating down the river. "Now… Where are you?"
Arthur smiled a little. "I'm… I'm sailing…" He looked over only to see something that resembled a giant white rabbit drinking from a tea cup over the other side of the lily pad. "With a friend? Strange… things seem different…"
"Different is good." Said the voice calmly. "It's the first thing that signifies that we are able to forget."
Arthur nodded in agreement. He looked over at the rabbit. Something was wrong though. One of its eyes was twitching and bludging slightly, like it was going to explode. "W-what's happening? R-rabbit?"
"Rabbit?" Asked the voice. "That's not right… Why is the rabbit there?"
The rabbits mouth opened slightly and blood started to ooze out along with teeth. It's head turned and twitched, cracking every time. It was like someone was twisting it's neck off. Before Arthur could utter a single word the rabbits head got torn from its body and a fountain of blood showered down on Arthur. After the blood had sprayed out, thick black gunge squirted from its neck too.
"No!" Cried Arthur. "Not that! Anything but that!"
"Don't struggled, Arthur." Said the voice in a calming manner, although the voice was now quite distant. "Let this new land consume you."
"NO!" Screamed Arthur. He was starting to panic now. "THIS CORRUPTION! THIS PLACE! It's KILLING ME! MY MIND IS IN RUINS!"
"Forget that place." Said the voice calmly. "Lock it away and awaken in three, two, one."
XoXoXo page brake oXoXoX
Arthur's emerald eyes snapped open and he jolted upright in his seat. His head was pounding uncontrollably and he could still smell the stench of fire and blood on his clothes.
His therapist smiled kindly from behind his desk, with the kind eyes of a grandfather. The small plaque on his desk started he was Doctor Vargas. He was widely known for being one of the best doctors in London, if not the whole UK when it came to matters of the mind. "There you go Arthur." He said. "Much better."
"It feels like a train has crashed into my skull and one of those awful steam hammers are beating in my chest." Grumbled Arthur miserably.
His therapist sighed a little. "The price of forgetting such painful memories is high. In your case it might be too high."
"I want to forget!" Snapped Arthur. "Who the bloody hell would want to be trapped by their broken memories? They make me sick!"
"I want to help you." Said doctor Vargas calmly. "I want to set you free. I want to help you forget all about you past and help you move forward with your life. Memory is often a curse, more damaging than a blessing."
Arthur snorted. "So you've said."
"And I'll tell you again." He said. "The past is a dangerous thing when the circumstances are right." He scribbled something down on a piece of paper and held it up for Arthur to take. "Before our next session I want you to try and do some breathing exercises, try your best to avoid stressful situations, almost impossible in your life of work, but do try your best and get this medicine. It should help with your night terrors."
Arthur sighed and took the paper from the doctor. "Very well. Until next time I suppose." He pocketed the paper and left the doctor's workplace, exiting onto the streets of London.
He honestly didn't like going to those sessions with the therapist. He didn't like talking to strangers about his problems, but he had no choice in the matter. The people he worked for insisted that he get his head in the right place or risk getting fired.
He sighed a little as he walked down the street, steam powered carriages plodded along in their awkward manner, steered by their drivers the steam droids. Women happily talked along the streets about the latest fashions. Men spoke of all kinds of dramas involving matters of government and laws. Children spoke to one another about the latest whimsical gadget that had become widely available to the masses. Today it seemed to be some strange kind of steam powered dog.
Arthur sighed a little as he readjusted the black goggles on his head. He didn't appreciate all the thick steam that hung about his head, but it was unavoidable. That's just how things were these days. Everything was powered by steam in some form or another. To think the world was different in some way was foolish.
As he walked down the street he ducked a couple of times to dodge flying mechanical beetles. A children's toy powered by cogs and springs. They were always a popular toy amongst school children. He himself had a small collection of beetles when he was younger.
He shook his head, attempting to rid himself of those thoughts. 'No… This is neither the time nor the place to think about such things. I just need to get my medication and go home.'
Collecting his medication was easy. He just popped down to the chemist and got a few bottles of mismatched pills and different herbs, mostly for tea purposes.
Once he had gathered his things, he went home. When he entered his rather lavished London apartment he started with his routine as he always did; coat on coat rack, goggles and gloves on table next to the door along with keys, kettle on and get scones from the cupboard. Once his water was boiled and his tea was brewed he walks into the lounge room and sat down on an armchair, gazing into the empty fire place.
For the most part his life was quiet. He worked in many places for many people. Mostly rich families and businessmen. All of whom never asked for his help directly. The agency where he worked assigned him to places according to his natural ability. Arthur specialized in finding missing people of all ages.
That was part of the reason that Arthur's bosses forced him to see the good doctor, that and after a particularly stressful case he was left in an almost catatonic state.
Arthur frowned a little as he drank his tea in silence. 'I wonder… I wonder what it would be like to just fall asleep and never wake up.' He liked that thought. 'That would be a wonderful escape from my broken memories… about the fire… Mum, dad, Allistor, Dylan, Mary… I just… I want to forget everything…'
He looked over at his bottles of medication and sighed sadly. No one would miss him of he left now. He had nothing anyway. Nothing but broken memories wrapped in torment, crushed under foot, scattered to the wind and joined back together as scattered fragments of his subconscious.
He opened one of the bottles and drank all the brown liquid in the bottle before swallowing all the red pills in the other. He sighed contently and closed his eyes.
'I guess this is finally the end…' He thought happily. 'It'll all end and my mind will be back in order. I'll be free of everything.'
Shinigami-cat: Well, he obviously doesn't die in the prologue, but you get the idea. I hope you all like this chapter. Please review.