Nightmare Dor Chapter 2: Hot Potato

Prophecy has been spoken. The gods saw an event coming and hoped they knew a way to deal with it. But they did not foresee people.

People have a little thing called free will.

A great evil was unleashed. A cult did dark terrible things to produce a child who walked both in the living world and the world beyond. This child has been a trophy among occultists for thirty years, but it is a cursed folly. No one who held the child lasted long as from one side of the door evil looked for a way into the world of flesh and from the other side zealots seek the door for their own imagined uses. The child Dor/Dorit is a supernatural hot potato that destroys whoever holds onto it too long.

Until Conner stepped in. The gods had assigned Conner the task, a fact if he knew he'd not find amusing. Dark forces used one of the cult's other experiments, a school group called Playtime, to lure him there. Now that he's met the child, his inner compulsion draws him to the right ethical choice.

The gods have set Belinda to clean the door, though she has a long journey and a lot of difficult trials to face before she can. If she is successful, the very fate of the world hangs on her choices.

These were propagandized by the ordered gods of light and dark a thousand years ago.

The gods of chaos, however, quickly threw a monkey wrench into the mix by ensuring that Conner's sister Eliza would follow. Her presence throws everything off, and now the Prophecy is no longer valid. In addition, they've crossed paths with a small research group looking for the lost city of Atlantis whose presence further shifts the path of the future.

The pieces of the board have been set. Free will has shattered expectation. Not it is up to the various choices of those involved to decide the inevitable outcome.

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Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

"Uh, mmm I'll have a water, some water, a glass of water." [Eliza stutters and murmurs for a few seconds upon meeting Synthia in person. She is a predator, and whether this is intentional or not, Eliza feels like her prey.]

{I don't know what it is about this woman, but every instinct I have is telling me to run. Is that you Swarm? The fight or flight instinct kept small, weak, species alive, allowed them to flourish. How can I go against millions of years of evolution?}

[Conner says his bit]

{No, I have to stand up to her. If Conner's doing it, I can too!}

"What I believe my brother is trying to say is: we're trying to end this without bloodshed. We only want what's best for the twins. I've gone over dozens of possible scenarios, there are many variables, but the one things that remains constant is the conflict. This right now, the diplomatic method is the only way no one gets killed. It might be me, Conner, you, him [She gestures to one of the guards.], it might be all of us.

[Eliza looks into Synthia's eyes and pleads with her.]

"Just give me something I can work with. Anything. Don't let this turn into a bloodbath."

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DarkMoonINC's picture

Synthia calmly hears each of them out. There's little to no reaction from her, she's difficult to read. "Mister Klein is very wealthy. He is, as well, very determined. To him, the child is the key to immortality. His... very unique tastes are tangential. He believes the child will allow him into some... other place, some place beyond this world. He thinks he will find power there."

She stands up and moves to the kitchen, returning quickly with water for both of them and a small glass of wine for herself.

The Swarm is nervous, chittering in huddle around Eliza. Inside her head they whisper. {This thing wears a woman's flesh, but we know a wolf when we see one. Born a human, no spirits to speak of, but she is more dangerous than anyone else in this place.} A twitch and squeak. {On this side of the doorway, that is.}

"The problem before you? I am loyal to by employer above all things. And my employer will barricade himself here and employ his security team in any case of assault. On my phone is a speed dial for a private military contractor who will send us ex Marines and Seals, mercenaries, well armed and trained men, a ten minute ETA." she shrugs softly, as if uninterested in the danger of either side of the conflict. "If he knew you were here, he would likely have you shot or sent away without a word."

She nods to the hallway where two guards stand quietly with hands at their stomachs.

"I brought you in for my own interests. I have this... suspicion the kid will be the end of Mister Klein. He's too set to avoid this collision, and I serve him faithfully even if he's on a self destructive path. But the moment he is gone I will be free of my oath, and I have no interest in keeping the child." she finishes the last of her wine, musing over the taste. "My counter offer is to hire you to stay and help guard the child yourselves. There is nothing that will make Mister Klein submit to anything less than his possession of the kid. But if you worked for him, you could be at the perfect place to enact your own plans if... things go sideways."

There is movement below. Some terrible thing. Eliza can smell blood, sense some great mutilation enacted in the dungeon below. The rats flee, terrified. For Conner, his camera feeds see some terrible blur, some great thing collapse a security guard like a folding chair, before the phone in his pocket is shattered to bits. Both of them are aware that things from beyond the Shadowside have entered the building, pulling security guards into some hellish place.

"My oath of loyalty is uncompromising. And yet." Synthia looks to Eliza and for the first moment there's a flash of emotion in her eyes, the smallest quiver of her lips. "I have an empathetic bond with the child. I know what he plans to do, but all I can allow myself is to lessen the effects. This puts me in a bind."

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Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Conner feels that 'falling' sensation in his stomach once again. What he sees through the eyes of the setHeads is enough -it is in fact more warning than it's usually given in most horror movies, of which Conner is convinced he is in one.

"Somehow the cage has broken. Hell is coming to the basement [he looks at Synthia] your guards are dying right now -can you feel it too? [His hand hovers above the Glock the priests gave him, in his pocket, but he doesn't make the mistake of touching it.]. You don't have a spirit, do you? [One look at his sister's face confirms she's seen it too] Believe us; it's happening."

He looks to his sister again, wondering if it's for the last time.

"Eliza, see if you can inform all parties outside that... that they arrived just in time. That all hell is breaking loose right now. And Synthia; for all our sakes, if it really takes ten minutes for your soldiers to show up, I hope to God you called them in nine minutes ago. Now, which way to the basement?"

Conner hopes Dor can somehow be pleaded with, persuaded to close the gate, and buy the world some time. In the oddest of moments, his mind wonders what would have happened if he had chosen Hellraiser for one of his SetHeads.

{Well guys, this is it. If I die, you're set free. Fly the fuck away, save yourselves. As a spirit, if I die, I'll try to join you. And don't lose hope yet. What are the odds that all these heavily armed people would arrive to the manor just when they are needed the most? Precise timing. Brother Davis would call that 'Providence' wouldn't he? And he'd be right, and I'd take it as a sign that God really exists and wants the world to last a little bit more. So... boys and girls... we've been through a lot... and here we go again. What was the poem... Once more, unto the breach.}

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Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

[Eliza Freezes. It's not something she's proud of, but now that she's on the spot she has no idea what to do. There's no time to devise a proper course of action, no plan, no nothing. Just terrible things happening a few floors below her and the knowledge that if she doesn't act now, things will get even worse.]

"I-I think we need to retreat. Whatever's happening in the basement, we're too late to stop it. We can only hope to contain, maybe form a defensive perimeter. I know there's a lot of different sides out there, but nothing brings people together like the need to survive."

[With that Eliza bolts for the door. It might be the influence of the Swarm, but her fight or flight response is going crazy, and she knows she can't fight this.]

{No, I'm can't run. Conner's not going to. He needs me. I can't just abandon him, not now. Even if it means going up against this predator, Synthia or worse. I know you want to run, Swarm, but there's strength in numbers. With the right approach we can still succeed. We can't let fear or instinct control us.}

[Eliza stops in her tracks and turns around.]

"Securing the twins is the first priority. They're the ingress, a chokepoint we can hold. Having lost the element of surprise we need to attack with overwhelming force. Synthia! I need you to marshal all the forces you can. If it helps change your mind, your employer is down there with him. You might be planning for him to die, but he's still alive now and he's paying you to protect him. First we need Intel, Conner, we need any information we can get. What do your friends see? After that we need to attack quickly and with overwhelming force." {This had better be the right course of action. I'm piecing together battle strategies from the documentary I watched once, common sense, and my experience as a diamond league Starcraft player. It might not be correct, but every second we lose puts us at a disadvantage.}

"What are you waiting for? Move. Now!"

[Eliza's presence is suddenly tall and commanding. She has the same poise as Synthia.]

{We're not just a Swarm, we're a pack, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. With sheer numbers and coordination we can do anything. We don't have to hide in the shadows anymore.}

"What are you waiting for? GO!"

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DarkMoonINC's picture

(Desktop stopped working a month ago. Father in law passed away last weekend. Sick all week. laptop died. And dealing with funerary stuff. Sorry for the delay.)

"Spirits?" Sythia smiles. "We've heard of people with spirits. My employer thought if he could use the door he could get one. So... you're saying you two have them? Fascinating. I thought it was all naive bullshit, Mister Klein was eccentric. But it appears I have misjudged."

As she leads the way to the basement, a click on her phone brings guards in behind all of them from outside, ready for whatever waits down there.

Outside the Agents of Love are ready to spring in to action. The rats seem to be safe but keep very close to Eliza.

When they descend the stairs, the same stairs Eliza descended last time, they discover a scene from some movie. Blood across walls. Handprints and sliding marks. Something horrible went on down here but didn't get much farther. than the hallway of the stairs. No bodies, either. A hand stuck in a light fixture. The few victims Klein kept here seem to claw at their doors as if possessed.

Synthia makes movements, pointing to the hall, and the guards move forward behind Conner and Eliza.

In reflections, Conner can see distorted reflection of SetHeads, as if the Shadowside laps over in this place. Eliza can see physical rats, not in her head, but peaking from cracks. Towards the back the glass doors into the child's room are fogged over, as if a great temperature change, and behind something MASSIVE moves.

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Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

{It's too late. Run.}

Somehow Conner manages to overcome the primal instinct to get the fuck away right fucking now. The second wave hits him -nausea and revulsion. Seeing the blood, the gore. What is he going to do?

{Oh God, I'm going to be sick...}

Indeed, he feels this close to vomiting on the spot. But miraculously for the second time, he holds it in. That's two heroic acts already, in the first 10 seconds, and he wonders whether he really has much left in him to give.

{Probably not. What am I going to do? Negotiate? Have a chat with a catatonic child? Or better, with a lovecraftian demigod who has just painted the walls red with the entrails of other people?}

Other people, who, perhaps, had a plan? Who got up in the morning, took a shower, put on their clothes and packed their guns to go one more day to their dull guard job in some rich fuck's basement -except this day of all days, was the day they got their flesh turned inside out.

"There must be a failsafe [he says to Synthia, marveled that he can still talk at all, rather than being paralyzed by fear]. Your employer knew what Dor can do -it's the whole point. He built a cage, which worked. He must have built a kill-switch too. Please tell me there was an emergency plan? Or rather... don't tell me. Because God knows I'm barely ignorant enough to be this brave."

"Sis, if I don't come back in 2 minutes, nuke this place. Find the way. Before it starts to grow. Everyone is expendable. I know... [he says, looking into her eyes] that you will do the right thing."

And compelling his body to move, fighting every single primal urge that yanks him at the spine to flee, FLEE... Conner takes a step forward. The glances of the SetHeads give him a measure of comfort and strength, as he approaches what could possibly be a fate worse than death.

{Guys, remember what I said. If I bite the big one, you just run, you hear? Just run. No shame in running. I'll join you as a spirit, if I survive that far. It'll all be over in two minutes.}

"Dor... it's me.. [he forces himself to say outloud -no point in surprises now]. I tried to rescue you once. Remember? I tried to carry you out. [he approaches the glass, and intends to enter it, and hold poor Dor in his arms once again] I've come to help. I'll probably die trying. But I think that's the meaning of life anyway."

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Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

"No, I'm not going to leave you behind. I spent three months of my life searching for you. Everyone else had left you for dead. Mom, day, your friends. I'm not going to leave you now."

[Eliza follows her brother into the depths of hell. She's gone this far, she won't abandon him now.]

"Dor, it's alright. Trust me. You're connected because you never want to be without her. I know how you feel. Without Conner I feel empty, like I can't keep going, like a part of me is missing, but that's alright. You have to be your own person. You can't define yourself by your family, you have to be independent."

[Eliza says, even as she follows her brother into certain death.]

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DarkMoonINC's picture

"My employer believed he was dealing with something like a ouija board. He was clearly mistaken."

The door slides open with a slow ominous creak, as if by itself, sliding on it's mechanical tracks. Sci-fi metal and glass pull back to reveal a smoke that wafts up, repugnant with brimstone. Inside the children's bedroom the blood has mostly been cleaned up. There's little evidence of anything in here aside the trail pulling through the room, light now after being scrubbed away, as if the terror has pulled the screaming body guards into places deeper, maybe to eat or perhaps they are still alive somewhere in there.

Dor curled on the bed contemplating his toes. As if two images laid over one another, it is also Dorit there, a double vision overlaid. Most of the group feel a compulsion to wipe their eyes. Crouched up over the bed, filling up most of the room, above like a canopy, some demonic form works furiously. A cross between some Geiger drawing and Mickey Mouse. The iconic red pants with yellow buttons, the big sideways ears. White gloves on every hand, and here the dozens of arms curl in black ichor coated carapace to each surface of the room. The gloves held sponges and wash clothes and the creature scrubbed furiously to pull up the blood violence had wrought. It's boots tap dance in some cartoonish fashion, but it's body is caked with dread and slime.

It's head was long, very long, now they could see it turned sideways and the ears were bulbous ridges across the brain of the beast. From one elongated ear it it opened it's razor teeth filled mouth which split like a flower, and from inside a small steel rod extended out with the head of a deformed, bootleg impression of what Mickey Mouse should look like in toy form. It's rubbery muppet mouth jerked words with a mocking falseness, as if a terrible lie covering up the truth.

"Sorry there little Dor It. It'll be nice as new. We just had to make them bad men disappear. Pay no mind now." the mouth jerks and wobbles words out.

As the group approaches, the beast turns to them with the fake puppet head, ingesting the head and closing it's mouth with a growling ripple. At the far end a man raises his hand and the beast continues cleaning, ignoring them. He's a good old boy who dresses like big money. Filthy wife beater and Wing Tip Shoes, shiny Elvis pants, greasy mullet, moist upper lip, he's stoic here. An eyepatch sits flush against his face. Through the doorway over his shoulder there are darker things beyond, the Shadowside wide open there, Shadows over flames reflecting on walls. He lowers his hand to click a Zippo back and forth.

"I'm sorry." his lips curl into some psychopathic grin. "I can't control my Door to Paradise brothers and sisters. Sometimes they get ancy. We didn't like that man so much. We think the kid's a lot better in your hands. It's time we talk."

Behind them they can hear agents trembling, guns rattle in clenched hands. Synthia is cold as stone. The Setheads are TV Sets lining Dor's dresser, the rats now crawl up under Eliza's clothing.

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Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

{All this time... I thought something would save me. Something would come along, and change things so that it wouldn't have to be this way... [Conner is talking to himself, mostly, but the setHeads can hear him] I guess, hoping for a DeusEx only works in the movies, eh guys?}

He enters the room. The nightmare creature is not as fear-inducing as he thought: it's much much worse. He nearly pissed his pants, and fights the last wave of his flight instinct. It's too late now.

"Yes, of course, let's talk... [He says to the man, though he has no idea who he is... he seems in charge, as per the law of grins] Talk is good. After all, the only Eldritch horror more dreadful than any Demon from the Summerland are Disney's copyright lawyers, am I right. You thought about that?"

And just like that, With a little chat and a little joke, he has now reached Dor. The weight of the world is on his shoulders.

"Hey champ. [He says to the catatonic boy, as he sits on the bed next to him] I met your sister while I was on the other side.. [he gently caresses the boy's hair between his fingers] she's a sweet girl. She saved my sister. Have you met my sister? [He smiles in Elizabeth's direction, and looking into Conner's eyes, now Elizabeth knows exactly what Conner is about to do.] And you saved me of course. I want to thank you. [But it's too late to stop him]. Thank you [he says, the words almost choking in his throat]."

"Time for you to be with your sister."

Conner pulls out the Glock from his back, and in a single motion, without any hesitation, presses the barrel against the boy's temple and pulls the trigger. Blam.

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