Opt Out

Look, I know what happens to the kiddos that keep playing with fate. The kids that keep having the bad guys storm the gate. Well, in this case, my gate's all broken. Everyone has a key, and damn it if my "castle" isn't on a fucking proxy mapquest by now. I'm just.. I'm tired of all of it. Being bitten for extending my hand (in the case of my houseguests in December), people passing out my address (everyone that's shown up at my doorstep, most notably David and Advy), and my interviewing people seemingly making no difference in all this.

I wanted to help people, so I opened up my home. I wound up being slashed, burnt, dragged through glass and fire. My town's been set on fire, my friends and family killed, and ya know.. just when I thought I had a chance at things returning to normal, some fucker with a fascination with needles wound up showing up in my bedroom. I can't win for losing.

I've been friends with the best and the worst of 'em. I've interviewed some strange people, that's for sure.. but somehow, in all of it, I managed to lose sight of the why. I let myself get caught up in the effort of it all. My work stopped helping people, and ya know, it just wound up falling flat. My pain wound up superceeding the effort I put into this thing, and apathy set in. I started looking for the next reason to care, and in a way, for the next reason to write. Hell, I remember when I thought love, hope and rainbows were possible for all of us.
Thing is, I've been through this song and dance before. Blah blah, dreams in darkness, blah blah I wound up being put through the gambit. I did it for the people I loved. Now, well, they're either dead or spitting in my face. I'm left wondering what the point is. Every proxy worth his (or her?) salt knows where I live, and for all I know they tell stories about the girl dumb enough to trust them. Same for the Runners.

....I just can't find a reason to care any more. Advy's visit took the last bit of goodwill and concern I have for all of you. Sure, I want everyone to hold hands and sing songs. Stay alive and hold their loved ones. Sad thing is, it just ain't gonna happen. When even the ones I'm helping start stabbing me in the back.. I realize it's time to be genre-savvy here, folks. Nothing's ever going to change, the way I'm doing things. I'll keep sticking my neck out for the same people that wanna chop it off. Extend a hand to have it bitten. I'm sure all of you know the feeling, but trying to help, to record has been my job since I first found out about Her. The Lady of the Strings, the one with her Jester and pretty little Noh mask. In a way, I suppose you could say it's been her strings making me dance this entire time.

I'm tired of being a joke, of being the girl everyone fucks with and decides to drop by for "a spot of tea and a side of torture." Can't you tell I've been trying to help this whole time? Of course not. Dia's the lady with the interviews and the nearly nonexistent sense of self preservation. I'm sorry, but that's over with. This.. this whole thing is over with, if I have anything to say about it. The night of the Advocate's visit, I did a lot of thinking, but mainly.. I did it while I was packing. The last straw, if you will. I want to be able to come home from work, and have someone waiting. A kiss and a warm bed, no bad dreams and maybe, just maybe not having to be afraid someone's going to be waiting with a knife or a gun.

So, I'm leaving. I've already gotten my main sentimental shit and clothes together, and I'll come back eventually to take care of the rest. Coerce my boss into giving me a glowing recommendation. In return, I'll stay the fuck away from this town and all the terrible memories that are associated with it. You may have guessed it, but I'm pulling a childish stunt. I'm running away, classic as can be. And ya know? I don't think I'll regret it.

As for this blog? Well, I'll leave it up until I can figure out what I want to do. I can't even trust coming home any more. Kinda wish I'd figured that out a while ago, really. I'll be traveling around for a while, getting some space from all this stupid shit. Wherever I settle, I plan on it being somewhere... crowded. Urban, maybe an apartment? Definitely a roommate or a two, someplace where people can hear me scream if something happens to me in the future. God, how morbid is that..? Anyway. I wish y'all good luck with it all. Really.


A Fascination with Needles

I opened the door to my house, dropped my keys on the table and kicked off my shoes as I in. I'd just had another long, thankless day at work with barely anything to show for it. The sun's rays filtering through the windows had started to weaken. I hadn't really noticed how late it was until the sun's setting reminded me. I rolled my neck, listening to its cracking with some satisfaction. Sleep had become less of a nightmare lately, and my life had finally started to settle down. I felt.. almost happy for once.

I padded softly through the hallway to my room, unbuttoning my blouse and pulling my socks off as I went. I pulled the door open to my bedroom with a relieved sigh as I unbuttoned the last of the buttons, more than ready to lay down. I froze in the doorway as I caught sight of my bed. My shotgun was laying in pieces atop my bedspread. As I looked closer, I noticed a few of them were missing. A thought came to me, and I raised my head in horror to look around the room in. A certain "friend" had threatened to come by, and sure enough.. leaning against the wall by my closet was a man waiting for my return from work.

The Advocate laughed at my obvious surprise, idly tossing a scalpel back and forth from one hand to the other. "Hey there Dia, I remembered what you said about the shotgun.. hehe. How was your day? You seem surprised to see me." He put the scalpel down and casually approached my bed, picking up a piece of the shotgun and playing with it as he did so. "I want my interview." He sighed, eying my open blouse. "Sorry, darling, I'm already taken."

I quickly turned to the side to cover myself, torn between my curiosity and the urge to button my shirt again. I settled for watching him while I tried to calm down. When I finished getting dressed, I turned back to him and crossed my arms in front of me. "I thought you were making idle conversation. I didn't know you'd take me so seriously." I paused, eying his hands in relief as he put the scalpel back in his bag. "I thought I was alone here, I sure as hell wasn't angling to give you a peep show. Um... no offense, but what are you doing here?"

He rolled off the bed and onto his feet, "What do you think I'm doing here? Sheesh, I thought you were a little quicker than that, me," he approached me, attention locked on me.

"Don't be such a stranger, come on in and shut the door. This is a private interview, remember? Hehe, wouldn't what the others to hear," he stated in hushed tones, insinuating that we weren't the only people in the house. "Now, what should we discuss first? I'm sure you have more questions with blatantly obvious answers in store for me, don't you?" he snickered, beckoning me to take a seat on the edge of the bed.

I nodded slowly, shutting the door behind me without turning to see what was there. It was obvious I didn't want to take my eyes off of him, though whether it was from fear or something else, I wasn't sure. I walked over to sit on the edge of my bed, moving a few over the shotgun parts over to make room. I thought for a moment, then cheered up slightly. I smiled to myself, looking my visitor over from head to toe. "Inviting yourself in, playing with my toys and crashing my party, not even asking for permission. How rude of you! You could try being nice to me for a bit, instead of insulting my wit."

The Advocate cocked his head to one side, obviously amused. His attention was pulled from me as he sauntered across the room and began examining the contents of his bag.  "Me? Rude? That hurts, Dia, it really does. You should get to know me." He turned to face me as he reached into his satchel and removed a syringe filled with a blue chemical substance. "I'm quite the gentleman. Hehehe. As far as party crashing goes, though, I see no balloons. Is there a party going on?" He was now approaching me again, getting very close to my face. "Maybe a surprise party for me? Hehehehe."

 I leaned back in mock disgust as he moved closer and closer to me. "...I don't suppose taking off your mask would be possible. You know, akin to taking off your hat when you're in someone else's house, ya know?"

His hand twitched spastically, and he giggled before continuing. His mask was about eight inches from my face as he spoke, "If I wasn't being nice, Ms. Renalda, you wouldn't be breathing." He wiggled the syringe near my face, "As for my mask, I would take it off but... then I'd have to use this on you," he pointed at the syringe. "I don't think you'd enjoy that, would you?" He stood up straight suddenly, and his tone became less threatening, "Next question."

I stared up at the syringe as I debated over what I should do. I could play along with him, and possibly get him out of there without any real confrontation. Or, I could try fighting him. Problem was, I didn't know what was in that syringe, nor did I know what he'd do if he were provoked. Clearly making a decision, I started talking again. "You told me something happened to my blood when you held that little Halloween shindig. Why exactly did you fuck with me? Actually, better question, what the hell did you do to me?"

"Do to you?" He cocked his head to the side and in a spinning flourish, he moved across the room and sat behind me. "I've done lots. Are you talking about the blood samples I took during Fright Night?" He squirted some of the chemicals out of his syringe absentmindedly. I began to worry a little as the liquid ate away at my bed's covers. That at least narrowed down my choices to an acid of some sort. "Oh, I haven't done anything to you yet, just took some little vials of your blood that I have in my basement. It was fascinating. I've been playing around with some chemicals, and wanted to see what would happen... your blood didn't disappoint. As for why I'm messing around with your blood, well why not? Actually, the reaction I got from your sample was quite exciting!" He giggled, touching my shoulder. "Would you like me to show you?"

I cringed from his touch, my eyes flicking between the syringe and his mask. His presence itself was bothering me to begin with, but to have him so close was just plain fucking creepy. The last time he had been so close to someone he knew by name, well.. it was his girlfriend. Somehow I doubted it would end so well. I gulped and scooted over a few inches in a not so subtle attempt to get away from him. "I think.. I think that would probably be a very bad idea, Advy. You don't know if my body would react the same as my blood alone would. I would also really, really prefer it if you didn't do it. I have no clue what's in it, but it's probably bad."

He gave a low chuckle, dripping more of the chemical compound on the floor, "True. Aw, sorry about the floor. Hehe, it seems the syringe is hungry... it's drooling!" He laughed again, then continued. "Smart choice. You probably would have ended up a puddle of half melted intestines on the floor if you had said yes. Hehehe," he kept the syringe in one hand and motioned with his other hand, "next question".

"U-um... what are your plans for Shady?"

"Wedding bells, of course!" The Advocate replied with a laugh, humming a tune and becoming distracted for a moment before continuing. "Shady holds a very special place in my heart. Hehe, she's my star pupil and she will be my masterpiece once I've had my way with her lovely little mind," he tapped his head for emphasis.
"She and I are quite alike, actually. Hehehe, it's obvious we're destined to be partners in crime. I just have to show her how to really let loose, and I can see already that she's dropping her resolve." He paused, thinking.

"The rest is a surprise. Hehe, I can't wait." He pointed the syringe in my direction, "Why'd you do the nasty nasty with Gallows? What's up with you two? Hehe, hormonal teenagers... Explain, I'm curious."

I scooted back on the bed, stopping to move the pillows aside and lean against the headboard. I took a deep breath, trying to figure out how to call for help without alerting Advy. I'd have to put some space between us to even think of it succeeding. "I like him because he's honest. He's a psychotic, blood-crazy bastard who wants to kill me.. but he was the only one to really get close to me, and show me any real affection. I hadn't gone out of my way to keep anyone from touching me, but he wanted to be close to me. No one else put the effort in. Emotionally, sure, but these scars of mine change how I view the way people deal with me."

"I know he wants to gut me and play with my organs, but after everything.. he's just on par with the rest of the shit I deal with. Anyone actually frightening me at all is a nice change. I guess, when you get right down to it.. he was there in a way no one else wanted to be. So the threat of death was almost worth it." I grinned and eyed the poster on the wall over my bed, hiding a certain memento from Gallows. "Plus, the sex was really fucking good. I need to get laid more often."

Advy groaned. "Horny woman, it's a good thing I stopped you with your little strip show earlier," He snickered, shaking his head in an exaggerated 'shame on you' kind of way. He had noticed me scooting away from him, and had risen to his feet again. He started examining some of the more personal decorative items in my room, sifting through whatever was in reach. "Note to self, Dia likes kinky sadistic men," he giggled.

"What's your story? Everyones gotta have a sob story, ya know? Hehe," He set the syringe back in his satchel, crossing his arms and cocking his head. He seemed genuinely interested.

I rested my head against the headboard again, amused by the fact that the Advocate had taken my undressing after work for a strip show. "Everybody fucks, Advy. Don't worry, I'll keep my hands to myself and resist your overwhelming charm." I snickered then at the thought of having sex with Advy, then shuddered when I thought of his needle fetish. I was secretly terrified of them, and it immediately brought my mind off of sex.

"My sob story's rather boring. Dead family, ex Gatherer, lover killed in front of me. Between you lot and the Fossils, I've had my hands full for a while. It was just starting to settle down again when you decided to show up. Which, by the way.. while I appreciate the gesture, I would prefer a little advance warning before anyone visits me. I would also prefer it if people stayed the fuck out of my bedroom."

The Advocate reached into his satchel, and pulled out a pistol, clicking the safety on and off. "Hmmm... funny... Its... funny," His eyes were fixed on me. "Shady almost got shot. Hehehe, I saved her of course. Now I've got myself a gun. And you don't. Who's going to save YOU?" He snickered, and aimed the gun in my general direction. "Bang. Bang. Bang. Just kidding." He dropped the weapon back into the satchel lazily. "What was I saying? Hehe." He walked back over to the bed. He whispered in my ear, "Do you feel safe?"

My bravado began to vanish. The more time went by, the closer he got to me, the more I realized how much trouble I was in. The simple fact was, I was alone with a man that could easily kill me. No help, no weapons, no back-up coming to save me. My mask started to drop, and Advy was left with... well, me. I was scared, worried, and I didn't know what to do. I dropped my head, and whispered back to him, "No, I do not feel safe. Please.. don't hurt me."

A low chuckle began in the Advocate's chest and grew to a roaring cackle, and as his laughter grew louder he stumbled backwards and pressed his hand against his diaphragm. He fell back into a sitting position with his back against the bedroom's door. He sighed, "Ha... that's cute, do you practice that often?" He giggled. "I'm just playing with you, dear. You're not one of those useless piggies that I gut on a daily basis, no, you're special. You've got personality. I like it. I can't say I won't hurt you," He started to rise again, dusting his legs off, "but... I may leave tonight without scratching you once... Hehehe..."

He started rummaging through his bag again, "I'm getting bored, next question." His mumbled flatly, tone changing completely.

I pouted before flopping down on my stomach, giggling as I rested my head on my arms to watch him rummage through his bag. "Aw, phooey. Most people fall for that right off."

I gave an overdramatic sigh before asking another question. "Fiiiine. Tell me about your pretty little experiments. I wanna know what you've been doing with your spare time."

He paused for a moment, glancing at me and tilting his head. "Are you mocking me? Is Dia mocking me?" He repeated the question to himself and added, "Do I need to get the gun out again?"

"....no. I'm not mocking you, just trying to give you the "Dia" you're looking for. Everyone has a different version, and it's easier to just give them what they want."

"Oh really? Hehe, and how do you know what I want?" He dropped to his knees and leaned forward, his face inches away from mine. "Are you calling me predictable?" His hands twitched towards his satchel.

I coolly looked him in the face, unruffled by his sudden change in demeanor. "Everyone has something they want, Advy. You're predictable in your madness, love."

I shook my head, smiling to myself. "Tell me what you want, then. You're dodging my questions, and I don't want to bore you. What's the show you're looking for?"

The Advocate stood up straight. "You're a riot." He said flatly.

He walked over to the wall across from me and leaned against it. "Experiments, lots of 'em. It's a shame none of the recipes have worked as desired... All of my Venus trials have resulted in dead volunteers. The majority of which exploded... Messy, but oh so fun to watch." He tapped the wall, taking a moment to pause before continuing. "I just can't wait to test out the final product... Oh, the eternal hunt for the right test subject. You... well," He giggled, "Your blood showed potential, but without the rest of you it just ended... strangely. I wonder what would happen if I all of you, not just a vial of your blood, to test with..." He was reaching into his satchel, but then apparently changed his mind. "Anyways, I'm rambling now, aren't I? What was your other question?"

I raised a brow at his antics, his wording causing some slight worry. "What exactly are you trying to do with your "final product?"

"Let's just say, it will change the world." He giggled. "I can't spoil the surprise though, you should know that!"

I pouted again, staring up at his mask in mild curiosity. "I love spoilers, but I'll take your word for it. So, tell me, Advocate my dear. Why'd you come here in person? We could have just as easily done this in a different way."

"Maybe I missed you, missed you so bad," He sang in a jazzy tone. "Hehe what can I say? Face to face is always so fun. Plus, I wanted to play with your little toy over there," He pointed to the disassembled shotgun. "But wait, there's more," he continued.

I slipped a hand down to my pants pocket, pushing a a lady's speed dial as I did so. I covered the action by sitting up and acting like I was pushing myself up off the bed. I prayed to myself as I stood that my phone was still on airplane mode. I hit the green call button, turned to Advy and continued to act enthralled by his ramblings. "Go on, tell me how you missed me, Advy baby. Tell me why you're here, if you feel like being serious."

He laughed, but continued, "Not only did I want to visit you for the heck of it," He climbed to his feet and shuffled over to me, and put his arm around me. "I need a little something from you, dearest Dia." A needle for drawing blood appeared in his hand, its point aimed towards my face. "Would you mind if I borrow some of your beautiful blood? Hehehe..."

He gave me a light push. I tumbled back on the bed, looking up at him in fear. My eyes crossed to keep the needle in focus as I did so. A tiny sound could be heard as the phone connected, which I hastily started speaking to cover up. "It isn't borrowing if you don't give any back, Advy. Please don't touch me with that, I'm afraid I may start screaming. You wouldn't want anyone to hear what's going on, would you?"

"Oooh maybe I would... hehehe." He leaned down, lowering his syringe as he did so. "I was only asking to be polite. I don't have to be nice. It's not like you really have much of a choice. It's for science, for me. I need what I need. If I don't get it now, I'll have to come back and get it later... And I may not be in as pleasant a mood then..." I swung  at him, and he rolled off of me with a laugh. "Feisty. But seriously, shut up and come here." He stood up, brushing himself off as I scrambled off the bed and swung the door open. "Dia..."

He sighed and grabbed my arm as I tried to sprint from the room. I screamed and tried  again to hit him with my free hand. He ducked, stepped around me and twisted my arm at an angle behind me. There for a moment, it seemed like he would break my arm, but instead he kicked me behind the knee and let me go. I stumbled forward and hit my head on the wall. I shook myself and ducked into the kitchen to try to grab a knife, yelling back at him, "What's so damn important about my blood?"

"What's so important?" He mused, caressing the needle delicately. "That's what I'm wondering as well... but I know that your blood is the first sample to give me positive results. So, please, donate to my cause." He casually strolled into the kitchen, "You seriously think I left your knives untouched?" He gave a low sigh, "Do you think I'm an idiot?"

I glanced at the rack in horror, then back at him. "Fuck! How long were you in my house, Advy?" I realized how close he had gotten to me, and abandoned my search for a weapon in favor of looking for an escape route.  As I ran past him, he extended his arm and slammed into me with his elbow. As I lost balance, he grabbed the front of my shirt and threw me out of the kitchen into the hallway leading to my room. I tumbled across the floor and slammed against a wall.

He walked up to me slowly, paused and kicked me in the hip, shoving it out of socket. That was when he suddenly paused and eerily turned his attention towards the bedroom. He saw the phone laying on the floor, and it clicked in his head that it was connected. To who, he didn't know. But when he turned his focus back to me, his body was unnaturally tense. "Oh no me, big mistake calling for help... Now I have to entertain an audience, don't I?" Laughter roared from his mouth as he grabbed me by the neck, lifting me. "Would you please scream? I would appreciate it." I graciously obliged, screaming like a banshee from hell. If the fucker wanted me to put on a show, I could at the very least hurt his ears while I was at it.

"Good girl," He stroked my cheek with the tip of the needle, leaving a scratch. He loosened his grip and released my neck as he drove his knee into my stomach. I was stunned from the blow, and it was the opportune moment for my assailant to reach in his satchel and...


The loud sound of Joshua's gun firing hung in the air for a moment.

"Sorry about your phone, it had to be done." Came the mock apology. He had shot my phone from across the hall, destroying it. He started humming, and as he returned the weapon to his satchel, he withdrew a wet cloth.

"Darling.." He pressed himself against me, trapping me between his body and the wall. "One more question." His mask was inches from my face.

"Does this smell like chloroform to you?" He pressed the wet cloth against my face, and I blacked out.  


Speaking with Sigma

A lady contacted me a while back, one that needed help, specifically an interview.  (Of course, isn't that why everyone contacts me these days?) Scribe Sigma of the Archive wanted someone to talk to, and wanted it recorded. I was confused as to why someone would want to talk about the things she did, until I met her. Now it's painfully obvious. Without ado, the Scribe Sigma interview:

Sigma left me a note to meet me at a park nearby my house. I'd like to pause here to swear a little bit. How do people keep finding out where I live? The timezone on my blog isn't even right! Anyway. I arrived to find her sitting on a park bench with a bottle of beer in her hands. If I had to guess, I'd say she was about thirty years old, with dishwater blonde hair falling just past her shoulders. She raised her head at my approach, the leaves crunching beneath my feet signaling that I was directly in front of her before she really even acknowledged me.

Me: "Have you been waiting long, Sigma?"

Sigma: "About two minutes. Do you define that as long or short? I can never tell with some people."

I looked down at the alcohol in the Scribe's hands, frowning to myself. Her skin was pale, and her overall appearance rumpled. Her clothes were wrinkled and her hair tangled. The bags under her eyes were dark, from what little could be seen under the dark sunglasses she wore. The fact that she was wearing them at night irked me. Like abuse victims do to hide their black eyes, and everyone knows what they're doing? It felt exactly like that.

Me: "Not long at all. I'm here, and I gotta say, I'm worried. Can you.. can you put the beer down while we talk? It makes me nervous."

Sigma hesitated, but slowly set her beer down on the ground. Then she looked at me. "How old are you, kid?"

I relaxed slightly and sat down next to her on the bench. "I prefer it when people aren't holding possible weapons when I talk to them, sorry. I'm twenty four. Why do you ask?"

Sigma sighed before responding. "It's like all you bloggers are in the same age range. Mid-teens to mid-twenties. Makes me feel old." She laughed. "I have two sets of childhood memories swimming in my head and I feel old."

Me: "We're vulnerable. Afraid. Easily mislead and manipulated, before we find our places in the world. It really isn't surprising to me." I paused for a moment, then continued. "Will you tell me about your new memories? It might help you tell me your story."

Sigma leaned back against the bench and was silent for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. "I assume you know what the prerequisite for joining the Archive is, right?"

Me: "Pretend I don't."

Sigma: "We've all been touched by the Grandfather-- or I guess you'd call him the Blind Man. The old guy with no eyes who wanders around libraries? Yeah, every member of our organization has met him at least once. Every one of us has had our childhood memories taken by him. I can't remember anything about my life from before my first period when I was thirteen."

Me: "And survived? Isn't that.. rare?"

Sigma: "What the Grandfather? No, kid. It's rare for people to die from encounters with him. You just lose little bits and pieces of your life. He collects memories. He's not like that tall suited guy or that dick in the gas mask; you know, the one that impersonates dead people. The Grandfather is more... subtle than that."

Me: "I'm aware. He wants childhoods especially, but I'll go ahead and assume he likes the 'strong' memories as well. Has anyone figured out yet why he wants them?"

Sigma: "The official Archive doctrine is that he's a collector of knowledge, but no one really believes that. We don't know why he does what he does. You really think humans can ever truly understand Them? But look kid, we've strayed a bit from the subject. You asked me to tell you my story, remember?"

Me: "Just setting the story straight, for the people that'll read this that don't know what he does. But go on. Tell me your story."

Sigma: "Well, like I said, we've all met him once. But me, I'm special." She pronounced the word with an odd mixture of pride and disgust. "I've met him twice more. The first time was a few years back, after I joined up with the Archive as a Martyr-- like a black-ops agent, but not as badass. He gave me a set of new childhood memories. They belonged to a kid named John Kramer. Well, it's one thing for the Grandfather to take memories. But it's another thing entirely for him to give them. As someone who's received memories, I'm considered a Gifted, like the chosen of the Grandfather. I guess it's roughly analogous to a proxy, but without the need to obey a super-powerful, god-like being attached."

Me: "Gifted? I'd say cursed, but this is your life we're talking about. Has he ever.. directed you to do anything? Or wanted you to do something specific for the Archive, or him?"

Sigma: "Nope. Never. He just showed up and gave me some new memories. Then a few months ago, he showed up again, gave me another set. A more... disturbing set. Tell me, kid, do you know what it's like to be raped while someone you trusted just stands there and watches with absolutely no concern for your well-being?"

Me: "Something akin to that. I know what it's like to be raped for days on end, and to be abandoned by those you loved because you were "tainted." Because it was too hard to stand by me. So, I suppose it's a technical no. "Did this rape happen to you, or to the person whose memories you inherited?"

Sigma: "Not me. But it feels like it did. It feels like they're my memories. Hell, for a while I even thought they were my memories. But no. They belonged to my half-sister. Fuck, I didn't even know I had a half-sister until it happened. Her own mother-- the former Analyst Alpha-- had her impregnated using fucking shadows as the semen. They were trying to see if they could create a new one of Them. Didn't work. The girl stayed pregnant for years. So that Alpha bitch decided that, since me and her daughter shared a father, she should try and fucking transplant the fetus into me. What kind of fucked up mad scientist shit is that?"

I repressed a shudder. "I couldn't imagine how that poor girl felt. Why would they even WANT to create another one of Them?"

Sigma gave a really bitter laugh then. "The same reason we do anything in the Archive: to pursue knowledge. I hate it when people call us a cult, but I guess, in a way, we are. But not for the Grandfather like everyone thinks. It's Knowledge we worship, and we don't have an ethics board to regulate our experiments. ...But I have to wonder why the Grandfather gave me her memories. It seems almost too hopeful to think he was trying to warn me of the dangers. That's... too nice. No, he's probably playing a long game with me. One I'll probably never figure out." She paused here to reach down and grab the beer bottle, then she took a drink before setting it down again. "Sorry, but I needed that."

Me: "Don't apologize for the drinking. I could care less about that. It's the glass itself that bothers me. Now, you say there's no ethics board at all to this organization of yours?"

Sigma: "None at all. It would get in the way of progress, you see."

Me: "Evil in the name of progress is still evil. I'm sure those memories of yours would agree."

Sigma: "Hmph. At least one of them is so sheltered she doesn't even understand 'evil.' Besides, the Council of Seven-- the Alphas-- is theoretically supposed to act as a check against itself."

Me: "Obviously it doesn't, if rape and scientific experiments of that magnitude are going on without even an investigation. Is there no way for reform, or someone else to bring it to?"

Sigma: "Well, seeing as the old Analyst Alpha was recently torn apart by Nightlanders...." she briefly pauses here and suppresses a shudder at the memory. "Hopefully the new one will be less of psychopath."

Me: "Forgive me if I don't feel sympathetic to someone as cruel and fucked up as the old Analyst Alpha. Do you vote in the new members, or is it decided by seniority, or something I haven't thought of?"

Sigma: "The other Alphas choose from the Beta, Gamma, and Delta. After Analyst Alpha died, the rest of the council voted and chose Analyst Gamma as her successor." She gave me a level look. "How many people have you seen die?"

Me: "I've seen enough breathless bodies to last a lifetime, if not more. Why?"

Sigma: "Have you ever seen someone literally torn to pieces and splattered all over a room? Because let me tell you, no matter how horrible the victim was, that's not an image that leaves your mind."

Me: "I can't imagine that it would. Besides an unfortunate few victims I've found, I can't say that I've actually seen the process being performed. Just the aftermath."

Sigma: "Then I'd appreciate it if you kept any comments concerning the old Analyst Alpha's death to yourself, since you clearly have no idea what the fuck you're talking about."

I stared at her in disbelief. "Just because I haven't seen someone be sliced and diced in front of me, doesn't mean I don't know what the hell you're talking about. That isn't their only method, so kindly keep your swearing to a minimum. I'm not some ignorant chit you picked up off the street to tell your tales to."

Sigma laughed. "Oh, yes. Because admitting you've never had the experience and then claiming you know what it's like isn't contradictory at all." She keeps laughing. "I'm sorry. I haven't laughed in a while." At this point she stood up and looked down at me. "Actually, you strike me as the naive one. Look at you, so belligerent. Do you think that makes you intimidating? I was wondering why all your interviews tend to feature arguments. Now I see. You use words like 'evil' as if they have a meaning, and then you turn right around and say you're content with someone being torn apart. That's a child's understanding of morality."

Me: "Evil exists. I'm sorry if that bothers you. I'm sorry that he died in a terrible way. He inflicted pain on innocent people, good people that didn't deserve what happened to them. He would have continued inflicting said pain if he were still alive."

Sigma sighed. "She. Not he."

Me: "Like the gender really matters here, but fine. She. She was the one behind those experiments. How can you condemn me for being happy she's dead when you harbor the memories you do?" I shook my head angrily. "Who knows what the hell else has transpired behind closed doors because people let it happen. How many people have to be hurt before someone does something about it?"

Sigma looked straight at me, and then took off her sunglasses. Her eyes were gray and bloodshot. I don't mean she had gray irises and a bunch of red. Her blood veins were grey as well. Like someone drained all the color from her eyes. "You recall what I said earlier. That the Grandfather chose me?"

Sigma's eyes were obviously a point of importance, and I tried to be very careful about the conversation that followed. "Yes. The Blind Man chose you, and gave you The Gift."

Sigma: "Exactly. I was chosen and given a 'gift' by one of Them. Now, think about all of the people out there you know have been chosen in such a way. What are the overwhelming majority like? People like Thoth, the Faceless Bastard, Jester. What trait do they share?"

Me: "Jaded. Bitter. Confused, and generally in quite a bit of pain. It's more a curse than anything. Oh lord, when you think of them. They are grateful for the ones they serve, and follow them to the grave if need be. See Them as a kind of family. Is THAT what you're referring to?"

Sigma: "Not the answer I was looking for, but I suppose it leads to my point just as well. Would you be happy if, say, the Jester died?"

Me: "...No. Then again, I make no attempt to hide that I'm biased."

A smile of amusement spread over Sigma's face. "Really? So you're happy if someone who did horrible things in the name of furthering knowledge dies, but not if someone who does horrible things because it amuses him dies?"

Me: "Like I said. I'm fucked in the head, I'm a hypocrite, and my moral compass is more than a little skewed. Trust me, I'm aware. The obvious difference between your examples and my point is this: Your Analysts? They choose their path, of their own free will and enjoyment. You know as well as I do they enjoy their job, their lifestyle. The things they do. Not so different. But people like Thoth, Faceless Bastard, and Jester? They were Chosen. Like you."

Sigma: "Are you familiar with the Eye?"

Me: "Very. Judgmental Fear that likes to torment, am I hot or cold here?"

Sigma: "Exactly. And it's view of the world is very black and white. And it operates by very stringent definitions of good and evil. The other day I was typing a file on a little child who stood up to a school bully. The Eye killed him for being no better than the bully. So who the hell do you think you are to say whose death is a tragedy and whose death is a triumph? The moment you start treating death like it's a good thing, you become just like Analyst Alpha. She thought her crimes served a purpose. She thought she was justified, just as you think her death is justified. If I were to accept her death as a good thing, I'd be just like all those all those other maniacs They chose. Look at me. Look at my eyes. Do you see his mark upon me? I was nearsighted before he gave me these memories. Now? Now I can see every pore, every minor imperfection on your skin as clear as day. I can see the fucking spider climbing up that tree twenty feet behind you. I will not lose my humanity out of some childish sense of good and evil. The world is not. That. Simple!"

I nodded, lost in thought. Her words hit a nerve, several of them to be. I'd had come here in an attempt to help Sigma, but it seemed as though Sigma had become my own version of the Eye. The effect was.. unsettling.

I cleared my throat. "Would you.. would you like to have an honest interview for the rest of this? Without dealing with the Gatherer mask? It's.. I can't keep it up, not under these circumstances with you."

Without warning, Sigma suddenly threw her head back and laughed. "Damn that felt good. I myself had been trying to piece together what was bothering me so much. It looks like arguing with you let me put it into words." She smiled. "Yeah, I guess an honest interview would be alright. Thank you."

Me: "I can't in good conscience sit here and fight with you over petty bullshit, when neither of us want to. When the things I'm saying make even me sick." I couldn't help but smile. "Thank YOU. Getting to stop with the bullshit will be nice. Provoking people gets old after awhile."

Sigma put her glasses back on, then reached down to her beer bottle and took a drink. She paused. "Huh. Empty already." She put the bottle down again. "Alright. Interview. So what did you wanna ask me? And I'm sorry, but remember that there is a LOT about the Archive that remains classified, but I'll do the best I can to answer your questions."

Me: "How do you come to get your jobs, when you aren't Chosen? Is it by blood, or is there an ad they run in the paper? I mean, I know that sounds silly, but it's something I've never been clear on."

Sigma: "You mean how does the Archive recruit? Collectors. Their job is to gather field data and search for potential members. They keep an ear out for rumors of people having weird memory problems or suffering from amnesia, and investigate to see if the Grandfather was connected. Then we join and are assigned to a calling."

Me: "So how was the Archive founded?"

Sigma: "That, sadly is something only members get to know. I can, however, tell you that the group was founded in 1886."

Me: "Okay.. I suppose it's been around for a long time. It also proves that the Blind Man's been terrorizing for a long time. It throws out a certain theory or two people like to lean on."

Sigma: "Oh, you would not believe how many theories we've thrown out. You know that Core Theory thing that was popular a few years ago? We called it 'Transmythical Theory' and it was discredited in . Granted, it wasn't exactly the same as Core Theory, but the idea of Them being storybook monsters that follow archetypal rules remains the same."

Me: "There's a theory going around that they're the Old Gods. That our fear is the new form of their being worshipped, and their cultists spread fear in their name to make Them go stronger. What's the organization's view on that one?"

Sigma: "That actually matches up pretty well with our most prevalent theory. We call it the Iceberg Theory. They are multi-universal beings, but their existence is so large that only a small piece is actual present in each reality. They change their forms to reflect the prevalent psychology of each universe, which is why a lot people see them as being connected to specific fears. But because a small piece exists in multiple realities, how they actually behave depends on which universe you live in."

Me: "That ties into the belief that each person is like a separate world, a separate universe from each other."

Sigma: "That is one explanation, yes. Though Dimensional Bleeding is also considered a likely explanation. There's really no consensus on which of those is the more likely one, though."

Me: "We can't have all the answers, can we? It'd make it too easy. Besides, I think it'd put organizations like yours out of a job if we did."

Sigma: "That's true. The Brokers would hate it if everyone had answers."

Me: "No one would ever get paid. So, out of curiosity: Where are these Catacombs of yours?"

Sigma: "Like all Pathways, they don't exist in this reality. But, being Gifted, I can summon them. Just like proxies can summon the Path of Black Leaves." She seemed to become a bit distant here. "I used to hate it in there. I refused to use the Catacombs, even if my life was in danger. But recently... well, I've needed some alone time, and the bone-spiders don't bother me."

Me:"I'm going to assume from that statement that it was a sanctuary for you after you received that second set of memories."

Sigma: "In a sense, yes."

Sigma looked around the park, apparently to confirm that no one was nearby, which made sense, since everyone was probably asleep. "Would you like to see them?"

Me: "I'd be delighted to."

She nodded and walks over to a nearby tree, placing her hand on it. A few seconds passed, and then the tree started... falling apart. As if it were made of bricks, it came to pieces, revealing a long dark stone corridor. Torches lined the walls of the hallway, which extended into the shadows. Just beyond the light of the torches, the shapes of strange, spider-like creatures could be made out, scurrying to-and-fro. "Here it is," Sigma said. "The Catacombs. Somewhere deep in this network of tunnels, His library sits. I've never seen it myself, but I've seen the spiders heading for it, carrying books of memories on their backs."

Me: "Have you ever thought about going and seeing it for yourself?"

Sigma shook her head. "Oh hell no. The memories I have here are bad enough."

I looked inside the corridor in curiosity before turning to Sigma again. "Well, you just proved you could summon the path to it. Can't doubt you now. So, what will you do next? With all these memories, I mean."

Sigma shrugged. "The job of a Scribe is to record data. Between them there's about twenty-six years worth of memories. And yes, that does include infancy. It'll be a long time before I've finished transcribing them."

Me: "I meant personally, love. You can't drink away your sorrows forever. I'd like to see you happy at some point."

Sigma: "Heh. I'd like that too. But like you said earlier, being chosen in a curse. I have no idea what the Grandfather has planned for me. But... I think I can soldier on. Talking with you has been a huge help. I'm grateful. Maybe next time you can bitch at me until you feel better."

I started laughing, and my hair fell in my face. But it was fun. The first time I actually felt happy to be there. "I think I'll look forward to that. Believe it or not, helping people IS what I try to do. Being 'Dia' gets in the way, so your bitching was more helpful than you know."

Sigma smiled and nodded. "Well, see you next time, Dia." She stepped into the Catacombs, and the tree slowly began to rebuild itself.



The Game of the Gods- So there's this.. spooky little game going on. They're calling it the Game of the Gods, named for two bored, sadistic Gods, Hermes and Mercury. Two men's lives ride on what the commenters on the blog decide. I'm looking for recruits, because there just plain aren't enough people trying to save these people's lives. "Game." Yeah, my ass. Sadistic fucks.

X- X, oh X. I've been meaning to write about this lady for months, and it keeps... slipping my mind. I think somehow, some way we have a peek into an alternate reality. Maybe.. maybe even a pocket dimension. She runs into an insane Sage, a bloodbath orgy, deadbodies, hallways that don't make any sense, and.. well, you'll have to read for yourself. There's even a spider Slendy that scares the hell out of me. I highly recommend it, if you want a mindfuck or want to watch sanity slippage in progress.

Cassandra- Lost girl, goes by the name of Cassandra. Sweetest little thing, with a really.. well, fucked up past. Did I mention she managed to forget it, and I suspect she has Mr. Tall Dark and Slender following her?

Amy-  A jaded writer that has what seems to be constant exposure to the Fears. No explanations yet as to why, though a troubled backstory's been hinted. She refers to the Fears as Gods, ones that haven't been written about correctly.

Adam- A very confused young individual that needs help. Alot of it.

Mephi- ...I honestly don't even know how to explain this one. There's time travelers, Doctor Who references, Fears aplenty, and hell, enough tropes to blow your mind. I-330, well.. I fangirl all over the place for her. ;)

Locomotive Breath- Stuffy old fucking man, fighting the Cold Boy.  Another Scribe, of sorts. I'm a little bit biased, as we might have gotten into a fight.. or several.. but in all honesty, he's trying the best he can to help. Doesn't mean I gotta like him.

Thomas Blake- There's a specific post.. well, it shows one of the Fear's symbols. It's.. worth checking out, I'll leave it at that.

Ryan/Remedial Sketchbook-  Some very beautiful artwork, by a dear friend.

Jcarlson- A friend of mine, Jcarlson, is in danger. Pretty badly. He's in an institution, under the 'care' of a Doctor Beakman. Beakman is a deranged freak that unfortunately has power over the place by the name of Shady Lawn. There are.. people dying, lit up.. like a candle.

The Foul Rag and Bone Shop- There's this.. Serpent Lady. Boyd Walker's found a new.. Fear? Maybe?

Here's another list post for you. There are some friends, some enemies, and some.. I don't even fucking know here. Plenty to "be wary" of, I can assure you. This should be it for a while. Stay safe.