Sunday, January 6, 2013

9/23/12 - How Bad It Gets, You Can't Imagine - Pt. 2 - Amporn

"Amporn did exactly as you told her," Dr. Krwi begins, grimacing at the whiskey's bite as he downs his shot: "She came to Chiang Mai, hid her body, and infiltrated the white box outside of town."

"How did she get from Bangkok to the north without being caught?" SPYGOD asks, wondering when the vampire hunter is going to pour him that double, or if he's just going to withhold the bottle.

"She did not specify that. However, coming here, I heard tell of a mysteriously abandoned vehicle from the city, previously belonging to a young dancing girl who cannot now be located."

"That sounds about right-"

"A young. Pregnant. Dancing girl." The old man interrupts, his eyes filled with contempt.

"Yeah," SPYGOD sighs, looking askance and drumming his fingers: "She warned me. I guess it was too much to hope she'd slip into a !@#$ing smuggler's trunk and take her chances."

"Oh no. Of course not. She becomes free for the first time in years, so of course she is going to behave herself."

"So she kidnapped some pregnant hooker, stole her !@#$ car, and drove up to a former tourist mecca at night, sleeping and feeding during the day. She gets there, and... what?"

"It was as you told her," Krwi says, having another slug and trying to ignore his ally's complete lack of sympathy: "Her ability to become intangible allowed her to slip past the energy field that surrounds the place, and would kill a normal man. It also allowed her to enter unseen, at night, when the very interesting things are going on."

"Well, that's !@#$ing spiffy," SPYGOD says, pointing at his unfilled glass: "So she fulfilled her mission?"

"She did, yes," the old man says, pointedly pouring only a few measly fingers of the high mark stuff: "Admirably, I should say, considering you left quite a few details out when you explained it to her."

"Such as?"

Dr. Krwi scowls, puts down the bottle, and takes a deep breath to steady himself.

"You neglected to tell her what she was most likely to find."

* * *

Unseen and untouchable, the Krasue flaps over the structure within the white, plastic walls of the box, her gut-tail curling behind her. 

Below, rising from the blasted floor of the jungle, is a strange, temple-like affair, made of the same, white material as the walls she just came through. The structures are eerily reminiscent of ancient ruins all over the world -- temples and pyramids, theaters and tombs -- and make her somewhat nostalgic for times gone by, long long ago. 

The temple isn't what's got her immediate attention, though; She's more intrigued by the small, pulsing lights floating around the tallest spires of the structures, and the large, looming ziggurat that dominates the complex. 

Perhaps the size of a football, the lights cycle between colors, and move in large groups like schools of fish. They cast weird, throbbing shadows on the walls as they slowly cycle around one another in overlapping arcs -- sometimes overtaking, sometimes veering away.

She hovers above the color fields for some time, making certain they are not some kind of guardian or barrier. She also casts her bloated, starting eyes about to look for any trace of the Imago, who should be here, somewhere, but do not appear to be.

And then, satisfied that no one has seen her, and they will not attack her, she plunges into the smallest part of the symmetrical complex, hoping that it's also the most deserted.

* * *

"Of course, there was no one there, where she landed," the old man continues, finishing the bottle and opening another: "There should be no one here, either, come to think of it. How is it there is a bar in a town that the Imago have emptied out?"

"Smugglers," SPYGOD explains: "It's just like any other !@#$ing occupation, doc. There's a black market running, and someone's getting !@#$ing rich."

"I thought the Imago gave their slaves everything they wanted?"

"I guess those metal-plated !@#$holes aren't big on letting their workers get drunk or !@#$ed up. Who'd have thought?"

The old man shrugs, pouring SPYGOD another double: "Who indeed.

"So she lands, and enters this strange, white temple. Its walls are lit from within with a strange light that casts no shadows, and she hears strange noises echoing from ahead. So she slowly and carefully flaps her way forward, careful not to let her tail drag upon the floor, nor her wings touch the ceiling or walls..."

* * *

 The light flickers between pale green and pale pink, and makes her feel nauseous, somehow. She ignores the sensation and keeps going, intent on completing her mission.

"Mission." She sneers at the thought. She owes this SPYGOD a debt, and will repay it if only to be free of any obligations, now that she is once again free. But more of an errand, surely. 

That and a test of temptation.

'Go inside, find the children, and tell me how they are and what they're doing,' he said: 'And whatever you do, do not eat any of them. Not even a !@#$ing lick. I'll know if you do.'

She chuckles at that. Would he really? That strange eye he wore -- the one that made her cower in fear for a few seconds, before she realized what it actually was -- did it really allow him to watch her from afar, or is the notion that he sees all merely self-serving lies?

Either way, she would keep her promise. She will find these children that are living and working here, see what they are doing, and be gone in the same night before anyone can find her. Surely it could be no simpler a task?

* * *

"Of course, it didn't go according to plan," SPYGOD says, regarding the whiskey in his glass.
"Of course not. And that is why she is dead."

"That and I bet she got stupid."


"I bet she did what I told her not to do," he says, looking at Dr. Krwi: "Didn't she?"

The old man bites her tongue, and then continues her tale.

* * *

The first doubt she has is waiting around the first corner, when she sees a slow-moving procession of robed and hooded priests, pushing long, white boxes along the floor.

It's a large group of them, maybe thirty or so, all heading in the direction of the main part of the complex. They wear filthy, black robes that stretch from their heads to their feet, and are all bent over, as though they had become too infirm to stand up. The only visible flesh she can see are their hands, which are bent and gnarled, and seem barely capable of pushing those boxes along.

She flaps past, and indeed through them, taking in their particulars as she goes. At first she thinks they may be some alien life form, but they're all too human -- just quite old. Indeed, she thinks they're maybe a few bad knocks away from falling into piles of dust and bone. 

Are the Imago employing the elderly here, then? She has no idea what has been done with people too weak to work in the tent cities; perhaps they wind up here, alongside the children, working towards their strange goals together. 

She could move on, she supposes, but she decides to stay with the group, and see where they go. If anything, their presence should mask hers -- especially given how much noise they make as they push the boxes along the floor.

* * *

"She follows them down that hallway, and into a large chamber, tall and wide. In that room are more groups of these hooded, robed priests, all pushing more long, white boxes along the floor. Some are pushing them in the direction of that her group are going, some are pushing them back the way they came. 

"She flies along after them, invisible and untouchable, as they go down one hallway, and then another. One of the priests falls to his knees, collapses, and dies of what is probably a heart attack. His last words are something akin to 'thank the Buddha,' she thinks.

"One of the stronger ones in the group takes the dead priest's box, puts it atop his own, and continues pushing it. The others do not slow down for him, so he must speed up to meet them. 

"No one sees to the body. She flies on, and then she thinks she hears a strange noise behind her. When she turns and looks back, the body is gone, and the floor seems to be rippling, somehow."

"!@#$," SPYGOD says, indicating he'd like another double, please: "And all this time she hasn't seen a single !@#$ing kid?"

"Not that she knows," the old man says, sighing: "But-"

"How about the mother!@#$ing Imago? None of them yet, either?"

"Not as yet, no," Krwi replies, clearly unhappy to have been interrupted: "But as the group continues on, she realizes that she can feel they are near, somehow. It is as though they are everywhere, and yet nowhere..."

* * *

The hallway leads to another large chamber, with many hallways going in and out of it. The procession halts for a time, and they sit down on the boxes, too winded to speak. Some of them seem to be praying, others meditating. One cries, weakly and alone.

After a time she grows bored of watching them sit, and goes ahead a little, following another procession as it goes down the hallway she thinks the others might have been heading towards. As they go further in, she becomes aware of the air being slightly charged, and a weird, crackling noise echoing down the hallway. 

Intrigued, she barrels forward, thinking that perhaps she will find the children there. Maybe they are toiling at some strange, highly-dangerous factory, and the priests are bringing them tools and materials in their boxes? Or maybe they are all learning, as promised, and the old beings are simply bringing white pieces of material to build their school around them?

Either way, she hopes she can find the answer soon. She would be done with this strange, eerie place with its sickening lights and strange noises, and sense of being watched. She would be back in her own body, and preparing to meet the strange human.

She would be far, far from here.

* * *

"She is now," the doctor sighs, downing another drink.

"You sure?" SPYGOD asks: "These !@#$ things have a way of coming back-"

"I think I know how to kill a !@#$ing vampire, you idiot," he says, pounding the bar with his hand and staring a hole through SPYGOD's forehead: "I blessed her in the name of her peoples. I made her tell me of everything she had ever done, and then forgave her for each and every dead person. Each and every woman, baby, child, and man. The people she had fed upon because she was hungry, and the people she had played with because she was bored, or they had offended her. I listened to every death she had caused and said I forgave her-"

"And then you shot her," SPYGOD says, tapping his own forehead: "Right in the !@#$ing head?"

"Yes. In the head. With bullets made from the special amulets they give to pregnant women up here to fend off the likes of her. And she cried with joy as she died-"

"And then you burned her."

"Every last scrap. And I did not set out for here until I was certain that her ashes were ashes."

SPYGOD nods, takes the bottle from the old man, and pours himself a drink: "I just wanted to be sure, old man. You know me."

"All too well," Dr. Krwi says, continuing to give him a dire look.

* * *
Up ahead, the hallway widens out and grows taller, so that she can get a better view. She is entering the largest chamber that she saw from above the complex, and here, under the central ziggurat, lies an interior temple -- its contours exactly matching the roof, and its surface crawling with the same kind of light swarms that she saw outside. 

The temple has a gentle slope, leading from the room's floor to its apex. The priests are pushing the white boxes up to it, and then laying them on the top. As she watches, a box is absorbed by the floor atop the temple, and then another box is placed in the same location. Over and over again this happens, like some strange production line.

She flies over the temple and looks at the other side. There, the priests walk down another, mirroring slope to reach the bottom of the chamber. On that side of the temple, long boxes are endlessly and slowly ejected from holes along the sides of the slope. The priests take one apiece, and start pushing them to other hallways on the other side of the temple.

Amporn watches this for a while, fascinated. She also notices that the boxes seem as heavy going in as they do coming out. 

A weird noise sounds, and all the priests stop what they are doing and fall to the ground, as though they were afraid. A moment later, the lights that crawl around the edges of the temple leave them, and fly up to the roof, seeking its very apex. 

There, they seemingly exit -- doubtless to join the others, outside. And once they're gone, and the priests pick themselves up off the floor and get back to pushing or collecting long boxes, more lights begin to come out of holes in the temple's walls. 

* * *

"So it's a factory of some kind," SPYGOD says, shooting down his booze and setting himself up for another: "Either that or they're having one guy pound in the peg on one side of the !@#$ing wall while the other person bangs it out, over and over."

"Nothing so amusing," Dr. Krwi says, having another swig, and grimacing at the bite: "Surely you can see where this is going? I have been trying very hard to avoid making this obvious, but-"

"It's going straight to !@#$, Doc," the man says, grabbing the bottle from the old man and pouring himself a drink: "I just want to know how !@#$ing deep the hole is, right now."

"Things are that good?"

SPYGOD scowls, and then relaxes his face a little: "Well, I managed to make contact with my people out East, in California. It's a touchy reception, lousy sending kind of deal, but at least we got to talk and compare a few notes. I don't feel like I'm feeling the !@#$ Elephant, anymore."

"And what kind of progress are they making?"


"Enough for what?"

"Enough to be ready to move when we know which way we're !@#$ing going," SPYGOD answers, pouring himself some more and handing the bottle back to the old man: "That's as good as I can say, right now. Don't !@#$ing get yourself killed anytime soon, though. We're gonna need you."

"Always good to feel wanted and appreciated."

"I'd appreciate it if you finished your !@#$ story," SPYGOD says, smiling.

"Then I will," he says, and begins to do just that

(SPYGOD is listening to Feelers (Shriekback) and having some Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit)

No comments:

Post a Comment