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CHAPTER 11 - PAGE 11

(Transcript and visual captions below)

          The door at the top of the stairs was always locked. Jack just remembered as he pushed against bar. He padded through someone else's hallway until he found a window. He pulled it open, and shimmied out, clinging to the brick and crawling to the roof. Cars drew streaks through the damp roads many stories below, but he'd long lost any fear of heights. It wasn't such a big deal when you could double-jump back onto any surface, or float your way down. Life had become some kind of platformer game. A really morbid one.

 

      Demetri waited for him, the light wind jostled the lapels of his jacket, and he watched impassively as Jack crawled to him, and sat on the edge of the roof. It was tempting to come up with a dig or a sarcastic joke, but nothing floated to the front of his mind, so he just waited.
Demetri spoke, "I hope in coming years we can speak without this uncomfortable air between us."
Jack shrugged and played with a bit of moss stuck to a nearby brick.
      "-Anyhow, was that who I thought that was down there?"
      "Huh? Uh..."
      "Yes, I believe it was a snowy night. I remember snowflakes in your eyelashes. Then someone hopped out to accuse me of something. Do you recall?" 
      "Uhh... it's a little fuzzy."          
      "Right. I asked you to erase his memory. How did that go?"
      "...Great."
      "Mm-hmm. Well, do let me know if he brings up any of that 'Grey Menace' nonsense. My methods can be more effective."
       "You really got that mob boss thing down pat," Jack watched his bare toes dangling over the evening traffic.
      "Well, that's not why I came here."
      "Yeah, I figured. So what couldn't be said in a text?"
      "So much, darling. I suppose your generation will never understand. I have come upon some information that you must know."
      "Yeah, that's typically why anyone says anything."
      "Quite right. So, what theories do you have regarding your clown assailant? Why did it happen?"
      "Well, I fucked up the urban legend I guess. Why?"
      "Could you imagine that it had something to do with Theodore?"
      "What? I mean, he helped me afterward but you're trying to say...?"
      "I've been told that they have an association, 'friends' even."       "Who told you that?"
      "Thierry was doing a bit of investigation. Honestly, I was supposed to... well, anyhow, the clown said as much himself."
      "No way. Thierry? I can't imagine it..." Jack shook his head "Even if that's true, what am I supposed to do with that information? Not like I'm BFFs with Theo anyway."
      " 'BFFs' or no, it's important to know who you're dealing with. Consider this, what events led to your little pact with him? How were you feeling at the time? Did something persuade you emotionally?"
      "I--"
      "Just think about it."
Jack let a moment pass before he nodded, eyes fixed on his toes.
      "Well then," Demetri said, gauging the wind with an outstretched hand, "if I see that tattooed lad around my businesses, I'm going to be very put out."

 

 

He smiled a tight smile, and leapt into the night.

 

***

      Karl waited on the patio, listening to the traffic rolling by below. It was a lot quieter here than in the college district. If he strained his ears, he could make out jolly, drunken conversations from club goers moving from one location to the other. Back home, he had to strain to not hear it. He glanced back to see if Jack was really getting some kind of fumigation kit, and made eye contact with Darren. Wow. It was him. He sat on the couch in socked feet, plinking out an inaudible tune on an unplugged guitar. Darren shook his head at him, and went back to gazing blankly at the wall, fingers in a jerky rhythm.

      Okay, this was too awkward, he couldn't just sit there. Plus, it was freezing cold without his coat. He pretended to stretch, and pulled himself up to lean on the railing. He waited what felt like a reasonable pause, and sauntered inside. He shut the glass behind him, and nodded to Darren, who didn't do so much as blink.

 
 

      "So uhh, hey," he said.
Darren grunted, fingers moving over silent strings.
      "Yeah I was telling Jack I might bring some records," Karl said, glancing around the room, looking for the next conversation topic.
      "I noticed you guys don't have a stereo. That's cool, I'm sure you go to a lot of live shows or whatever. But yeah, I have some good stuff, I'm sure it's not as cool as whatever-well it's pretty cool, not like the trash they play these days, you know."
      "Man." Darren said, eyes unblinking, unfocused.
      "Yeah, my collection is kinda obscure but I have some classics too. I could bring a sampler next time, it'd be fun. Umm..."
He watched Darren's fingers. "That's so great, I mean, people were talking like maybe you wouldn't ever-- well, it's just nice to see you playing again. It'd be so cool if-- uh, no pressure, but the Belfries were so seminal to the--"
      "Dude." Darren let the strings clang against the fretboard. "Just. No."

 

 

      "Oh I'm sure you've heard enough about that, all musicians are less interested in their own work, but you know how important it was to--"
      "Yeah, it was important to a bunch of goth nerdwads."
      "Ah-- oh, yeah I know what you mean." Karl chuckled, and shifted, "Yeah like, ugh. I can't stand people who are like, oh my god, this is so cool it's the best thing since... yeah. I know, right? But real music lovers-"
      "Okay," Darren let his head droop, "I wasn't even into janglecore dude! Why couldn't we just play sludge or somethin' I could relate to? But noooooo just because I like finger picking. Fuck!"
      "Well of course a label like 'janglecore' shouldn't have to limit you as an artist--"
      "No shit! Eughhh." He stood, and stalked to the patio, guitar dragging on the ground behind him.
      "Let me get the door for you! Yeah, just get some air?"
Karl opened the sliding door, and followed him. Darren walked to the edge of the railing, and peered over, until he was more over the edge than not.
      "Wow, um," Karl hovered around him, "careful there!"
      "Yep, long way down." Darren said. "Definitely couldn't live through that drop alright."
      "So um, sorry if I offended you," Karl said, wiping his sweating palms on his pant legs, "I don't wanna be an obnoxious fan boy but--"
      "Yeah, too late!" Darren said, words muffled by his drooped head.
      "Oh man," Karl let out a fake laugh, "Uh, you didn't read that article, right? I was just, uh, ghost writing. I, uh..."
      "You know, shit like this, seeing how something I did gets a bunch of dweebs all hopped up, it's like... no wonder we broke up."
      "What? No..." Karl folded his arms, "That's not-I mean. No...? I don't..."
Darren glanced up from the railing, still hanging half over the edge.
      "Yeah, look at you, man. If you're gonna be a fuckin' nerdwad, at least put on some triple thick glasses like the guy before you. But no, you goths all gotta fake like you're cool."
      Karl let his mouth hang open, but couldn't find his words.
Darren shook his head and went back to dangling. "Everyone's gonna wonder what happened, and you'll be like, the only one to know. Just think about that, man. It's your fault. This conversation, it's put me on the edge. I'm at the end of my tether. I'm checking out, man. I'm checking out forever."
      Karl stepped forward, "No! Don't joke like that!"
      "It ain't a damn joke, man. This is your fault, for real. I'm looking forward to the sweet release of death and shit."
He flopped forward, and slid over the railing.

 
  "FUCK THE BELFRIESSSSS!"
 

      "Hey. Uh... 'Sup." Jack stepped on to the patio. No Darren, plus Karl's heart beating at triple time and staring over the patio railing. Hm.
      "I-- ah! No, just-- Darren!" Karl wobbled over to him, eyes wide and mouth stumbling over his words. "He's! He's...!"
      Jack held him by the shoulders, "What'd he say to you?"
      "No no, he's-- he said it was my f-fault!" he gulped air, holding back tears, "he just like, th-threw his life away! Oh-oh god, liter-*glk*-ally!"
He shuddered, and Jack pulled him closer.
"That fuckin' guy. Ughhhh." He caught Karl's gaze, and held it.

      "Now, listen to me... we need to talk. I'm going to take you in here, and we're going to talk. Okay? You're calm? Good. I hope this doesn't give you brain damage."
      "Huh?!"
      "Eh, don't worry about it..." Jack shuffled him inside, and closed the door.

 

 

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     April 21st, 2015
     By:  Kelly

UGH I try to do something to make an update faster and it makes it take twice as long. -_- Well, I hope you enjoyed the little story, I thought some conversation was in order, and a comic page of talking heads would be super boring. Sorry stuff's been so slow lately, I'm still plugging away at everything, and we are friends 2 tha end, never 4get. <3

COMMENTS

 
 

       TRANSCRIPT: This is the text of the comic, for purposes such as translation and internet searches.

1.)

(Demetri and Jack chat calmly on the edge of a roof. Jack has his legs crossed all casual like.)

2.)

(Jack looks impassively upon the Demetri as he plummets from the edge with arms turned to bat wings.)

3.)

(Karl stands awkwardly near Darren, trying unsuccessfully to be cool. Darren looks mad grump.)

4.)

(Darren has gone over the rail of the balcony, his stocking feet up in the air. Karl is appropriately terrified.)

5.)

(Terrified Karl is startled by Jack's casual return to the scene.)

6.)

(Jack shushes Karl with a finger on the human's lips, and gives him the hypno eye.)

 

 
 
 
 
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