Poison is but medicine in the wrong dosage

While the Culling was still going on, I had a surprise visitor.


Another of my ex-husbands, The Advocate.


Mask on, he appeared close enough to reach out and touch me, but had his arms crossed.


A sidearm on his hip, he seemed to be breathing heavily under the Mask, probably in anticipation.


Sick fuck.


"HEY there, Jack Off!" He giggled.


I eyed him with disdain.


"Well, howdy. That's a name I didn't expect to see again."


"Jack right? Or Dia? Hehe... Or Lillith."


".....shit.


Jack.


How'd you know about that?"


"What? No what?" He shrugged, ignoring me.


"Nice kill."


Stepping past me, he squatted to dip his finger in some of the blood dripping on the street.


"Hehehe. You've been a naughty girl, I see."


I squinted at him, mildly annoyed. "You know, technically that was Lilith's doing."


He giggled at me. "Naughty. Naughty. Naughty."


"All bodies in a line to me."


"Doesn't mean we're the same person, now does it?" I glanced at him as I said so.


"You would be surprised."


"How'd this happen? You fucked yourself, or something?" He gestures to the chaos but is clearly implying more as to when he says "this".


I sighed and began to rub my temples, a migraine already forming.


"Ya know, I've had to explain this so many times, I'm tempted just to record it and press play when people ask."


"But since you asked.. When major shit in my life started happening, my timelines started fracturing. I started to fall through the cracks.


In a free fall at first. It was awful.


Then.. It slowed down to just Traveling when I slept."


"So basically, I've met 20 others of me. Most of them have died."


"Awww, but it's not fun just playing a recording." He chuckles. "So impersonal."


Standing to his feet, he wiped the blood from his finger off on the shirt of a corpse and moved up to me, inches from my face.


"I could help with that. I mean, getting rid of the rest of them."


"That's my speciality."


"Call it a favor for old times sake."


"Old times sake? Sweetheart, I hate to disappoint you, but you aren't my Advy. Your voice and your mask are all wrong."


I laughed and swiped a finger across his bloody one, deliberately looking him in the eyes as I do so. I grinned for a moment, shrugged, and put the finger in my mouth.


"Shit like this doesn't intimidate me anymore, hon."


"And no. You may not kill my other selves. They are useful."


"Useful pin cushions." He laughed. "Aw but Jackie, don't say things like that. I'm 'everyone's advocate'."


He grabbed my hands and pulled me into a slow waltz, "You did promise me a dance, remember?"


I smiled bemusedly and began to dance with him, deliberately keeping the dance slow and intricate, re-enacting some far off and distant memory.


I twirled the Advocate, taking the lead on our dance, and told him as he stops spinning,


"If you're everyone's Advocate, you'd know I hate that name."


"You know, I think Lilith is the better dancer." He snickered, dipping me, "Did you like my song, heh. How's your singing voice?"


"Not as nice as your screaming voice, right? I always preferred your screams." He laughed, pulling me up out of the dip, "Like a goat,"


"Screams like a fucking goat."


I pulled away, stomping my foot pettily as I did so.


"I DO NOT, AND I BET YOU KNOW THAT TOO!"


With that, I covered my mouth and winced. I had gotten upset, and I had a terrible habit of saying stupid shit that could get me in trouble at the time.


Like now.


The Advocate was not a stupid man. He likely knew exactly what he was doing when he told me that, to gauge my reaction.


I stilled, a thought occurring to me.


'Oh god.'


'He just pulled a me on me! And I don't like that shit!'


The Advocate dipped at the waist, offering a mocking bow, "Hehehe, welcome to the fold, darling. Now, I think I was promised carnage." Sliding an arm along his wrist, a small syringe appeared from his sleeve and fell into his hand, filled by an eerie green liquid.


Circling me slowly, he playfully flicked the end of the needle, fluid dripping from the tip and him saying in a sing song voice, "You weren't teasing me were you, pumpkin, right? I do hate teasing."


Behind me now, he wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me against him with surprising gentleness. "Carnage is my very favorite foreplay."


The needle still held like a cigarette between his fingers in his free hand.


I did my best to relax back against him, and put on a small, rueful smile.


"Yes, my dear. You can participate in the Culling, but you have to follow my Code. Or I will kill you myself."


"You've always threatened me with needles, love. Sometimes for a good time, sometimes for a bad time. What is it this time? The acid? The antibiotics that make my blood feel like it's burning? The sedative that keeps me still while you play? Or, gosh, I might even warrant that special cocktail of yours. You know the one."


He chuckled, whispering in my ear, "This one makes your orifices as loose as rubber."

"I would like to try and see you kill me, you can't even kill yourself." He ran his hand against my stomach, a single finger climbing up my side, "I don't know if you could stomach losing me. Another dead lover... how's Gallows by the way?"


"You need me as much as you need all of the less tasteful... what do you call them, Rabbits? Hehehe. Hop hop. You've lost a lot of people, little Jack, I think you put on a big smile and pretend it doesn't bother you."


"Advy, baby, it does seem as though you're going easy on me."


"People are sentimental, and emotional, to the point of irrationality. Myself included."


I calmly watched the hand trailing over my skin, mildly began to become aware of a physical reaction to his touch, batted his hand away as a result and stepped away to face him again.


"If my emotions were on right now, I'd probably tell you I was terrified. I know what so many Advocates are capable of. And of those, your aura screams for me the loudest."


"So twisted, so confused, so angry and bitter. It's like looking in a mirror, sweetheart. I know what I'm looking at. So no, dollface, you don't bother me. I've died to you before. I won't scream or cry or beg for you like I have in the past."


"I'm too tired and rundown to react the way you want me to, all the way around. I lack a basic reason to care right now. About anything."


"So if you want to play and get to kill people in a sanctioned way, then come inside with me. I'll pour you a drink, since I know better than to take one from you. We can talk if you like."


My voice strengthened marginally, growing in volume.


"But what I will NOT do is stand here in this street and pretend to cower for you. I'm not in the mood."


With that, I blew a kiss at him and flipped him the bird with both hands, nails with chipped black polish shining in the light, and walked into my home in No Man's Land, leaving the door ajar.


A giggle slipped from the Advocate's lips, like a breath, barely audible, as I slipped away from him. Sliding a lid over the needle he had brandished, he dropped it in his coat pocket before wiping his shoes off on the welcome mat and stepping inside.


"Don't mind if I do."


Once inside, he scrutinized the interior briefly before he set his coat aside and unbuttoned his sleeves. With a smooth gesture, he rolled them up to his elbows, revealing countless tattoos of varying shapes and size, like a sort of twisted collage of colors that made him appear... surprisingly, more human.


Where I went, he followed, finding a place to comfortably lean on his elbows.


"Screaming and begging aside, that doesn't leave moaning off the books. Heh, you look like you haven't had a good shag since I last saw you. I'll have to loan  out that green juice of mine to the next fuck you decide to drop your pants for."


He looked around the apartment. "This place is more of a shit hole then I would have guessed from my view from bushes."


I myself rolled my eyes at Advy's comments, walking to my personal bedroom at the back right corner of the house to retrieve an item. All the while refusing to react to him.


When his sleeves rolled up, I had had a flashback to a private moment in Juneau and needed the precious time it took to walk to the back to knock myself out of it.


Watching me as I switched rooms, the Advocate yawned. "HEY, where in hell is my Shady. With all these damn doppelgangers wandering around I'm having a hard time finding anyone I wouldn't kill for entertainment."


"Fuck if I know. I haven't seen her in person in four years."


The Advocate sighed, "Could you be more useless. What are you getting, old Jack-O?"


I wandered my room for a few moments, in search of something, before finally finding what I was looking for: a black garbage bag, overflowing with papers and picture albums. I dug through it, carelessly tossing items to the side, before brandishing the item I was looking for:


A black photo album with names scribbled across it, most notably a few of mine.


Doodles of proxy masks adorned the front under each name, no one mask the same as another.


If you squinted, you could see a pattern in the masks.. and notice the resemblance between the doodles and the mask the Advocate was currently wearing.


I glared in the direction of the door as I heard him call out from the other room. The man had the patience of a three year old.


"Coming, Advy! One sec."


With a final glance at the giant trash bag, I returned to the living room.


I tossed the album onto the coffee table near to where Advy was, sat down, and put my feet up on the coffee table next to the album. "See for yourself."


Picking the album up by the corner, Advocate turned over it's pages, looking at it from odd angles, scrutinizing it. He dropped it back on the coffee table, lowering himself to a squat and taking a serious posture. Putting his hand on my knee he said, "Don't quit your day job, dearly departed. Art might not be in your bag of tricks." he shrugged, clearly being mocking.


I rolled my eyes again, taking a swig from a bottle of J.D. I kept on hand.


"You're supposed to look through it, asshole. Tell me what you see."


"Poorly drawn doodles," he giggles, "and???"


Knocking the album off of the coffee table, the Advocate pulled a chair up and put a green bottle on the table, having drawn it from within his jacket. "You mind getting me that red bottle I put in your freezer last night? Terrible to drink one without the other."


My face paled.


"I thought you were out in the bushes. What bottle? When 'the fuck were you in here?"


He shrugs, "I mean did you expect me to show up without checking your duds out first? Pshhh it's like you don't know me. Has it been so long? I'm smart enough to figure out where you keep your weapons at and move them before I just waltz in here."


"Plus I wanted to leave you a house warming gift. Hehehe."


"And the bottle is not the gift."


I looked woefully first at the bottle of alcohol in my hands, then around the room at the various hiding places I kept my knives and handguns.


"I suppose it's too much to expect you to not have fucked with my food and liquor. Gonna have to throw everything out and get a runner to replace what we have."


"No no no, that would be so wasteful. Think of the children starving! Hahaha. Come now Sabine, none of it's lethal."


"Just a good time."


I froze, my hands beginning to shake badly enough to cause the ice in my glass to clatter audibly.


"...that's not my name."


Under my breath I add,


"Not anymore."


"Hm? Jack?" He said, ignoring my trembling hands, "You just told me you were Jack. What do you mean it's not your name?" He giggled.


"You just called me Sabine, you fucking asshole. I may be partially deaf, but even i heard that."


"Hmm, can't say I remember that." He shrugs, "I think you might be going batty, darling. Too much time alone in your head. A drink?" He offers the green bottle towards me like a peace offering.


"Do you seriously expect me to drink anything you hand me?"


"Yes," he laughs, "or else I wouldn't offer it. Takes the edge off.. hehehehe."


I shook my head. "That kind of thing might've worked when I had purple hair, but in my world that was an incredibly long time ago. It feels like it's been centuries ago, honestly."


Advy gave me a long, searching look before replying.


"You'd appreciate me more if you accepted the gifts I offered you."


I glared at him over the top of my glasses and snatched the bottle out of his hands. I unscrewed the top, sniffed it before shrugging, and took a couple of long swigs. "Fuck it. What's the worst thing it can do? It's not like you can kill me any more."


"I mean, I can kill anyone I please, but the question is why would I kill you when I could watch you exist and suffer twice as much," he laughed, watching me as I drank from the bottle, before getting up to retrieve the other bottle from the freezer. Chilled overnight, he took a moment to pour some of it into a glass. He placed it in front of me and smiled. "Now the other one, to prevent headaches."


I blinked at him in disbelief. "Ya know, at this rate I wouldn't be surprised if the bottle said 'drink me' on its label. But whatever. I'll play along."


I dutifully picked up the glass, drinking until it was completely drained.


"Are you going to tell me now why i'm drinking Christmas themed drinks?"


"Nope," he responded, getting up and starting for the door. Grabbing his coat, he shrugged it on and dipped at the waist, offering me a kind bow, "Have a good night, deary. I have killing to do. Hehe."


And disappeared out the door.


I started feeling strangely discombobulated, as if all my muscles unscrewed themselves from their joints. I lost most control over my body, barely able to fall off the couch to try to make a loud sound and draw attention. The world started spinning, and things slowly faded into bright neon colors, like I was in a Nightmare Before Christmas themed funhouse.


Skeletons hung from the wall, and blood flooded the floor.


Small little pulses of miasma began to creep from the floor and overtake everything, creating veins of darkness and pockets of filth and disease that began to weep pus.


Small vermin and crawling creatures started swarming from beneath the floor, pushing against the floorboards and popping them upwards, creating crawlspaces for the vermin to escape and rush outwards in a flood. Consciously, I knew it wasn't real. Emotionally.. it was all I could do to think at all.


The creatures turned as one and began to giggle as a mass unit, swarming towards my feet, and murmurs similar to the voice of the Advocate began to flood my hearing until the sound became my entire world.


I crawled for the hallway, barely able to lift my arms and drag myself forward. A normally small distance, fifteen feet to the door where Gallows lay suddenly felt like a mile. My arms began to cramp, and I temporarily lost control and fell back to the floor, crying.


It was all I could do to roll over and begin to scream.


"GALLOWS! DAVID! GRAVES! ANYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYONE!!! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, HELP ME!"

I heard movement from the other side of the house, but it suddenly seemed less important to me to move towards my friends. Everything flooded into a cascade of rainbows and miasma, like the darkest rainbow came to life and infected my home. I felt nauseated, and sad, and lost.


Strange figures I have never met before danced before me and began to sing the strangest shit.


I swear I heard some Dr. Horrible songs. At the time it made sense, but looking back..


What the fuck, man?


The Advocate tried to tell me that the poisoning would only last for a day, at max three.


.....it lasted over a week.


Nonstop pain and memories and fucking to stay sane became my reward for trusting him.


I don't know how to explain all the myraid shit I went through. Not yet.


Not really.


So much has happened since the Culling that, honestly, trying to remember what happened when and in what order is a bit more than I can do. I'll try my best to recount what I can, but..



Well. Y'all will understand later.

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