"Micah, no!" screams Narrator.
No heed is paid. Meridian Micah touches the boomstick and it comes to life in her hand, coughing sparks, oozing out some fire. She makes as if to throw it at you, then winks and drops it down her skirt.
"[[Cumquat the peach]]," laughs the Micah, burpingly. "So mickle it more and yours?"
"Jesus fuck," groans the narrator.
[["Better slip the grip of that, Micah."->Make Micah Meek??]]
[["Oh Micah, Oh Micah, what have I done? I should have played along, we could have had fun!"->Moan for Micah]]
[["Yeah, you can just go ahead and die. Bitch."->Micah's Mired]]*Ahem*.
Aware she's scared and feeling that slick touch of panic in her pants, Micah jiggles until the fire-squirting boomstick wriggles free and plops right out.
Squealing some sobs, manic Micah kicks it with a footy kinda flourish, and it soars. The boomstick goes through a blue window. Broken glass is tinkling, with water dripping in.
"Thank the crank," gleams her voice amidst her very wet tears. "//And wonder at it all!//"
Micah offers you a thing, her hand nuzzled round it. It's mewling infitesimally; it's slick and small and dark.
[[The thing's a newt, and it's sleeping.]]
[[The thing's a phone, that much is known, nothing else.]] *Ahem*.
Fizzling, stinking of her clothes' heat, Micah moves at you. Rage is on her face like a fine hat, and she comes at you crackling: irate, your kicked cat.
"Stark the scene? //Too right//, coiled like a //car//, slithering like **STEEL!**" spits the bitch in her quite bitchy bitch voice.
Micah dies. She splurts on the stage like a wet kid. Fuck, is it ever a lot of blood, and now the fish are mopping, their bodies splashing in the bits.
Narrator sobs inarticulately.
My, that liquor was strong. You didn't notice very fast that you were part of the blast. Ouch.
And look - that's it! A thing - and another! What wonderful things you have discovered!
[[A piece of her chest, with a bit of breast.]]
[[A cut of your shin, white bone within.]]
[[Her spine.]]You can almost remember how to use one of these, and use them fast as a fat man down a hill.
"Why cry, Micah?" sobs the Narrator. "//Why?//"
[[Shoot yourself.]][["Gosh, better not wake it up."]]It's working and has a battery and everything.
Weirdly enough, you can hear Micah and Narrator arguing right now. Can't make out any words, though.
[[Call the police.]]
[[Call the first contact you see.]]
[["Uh, I have social anxiety... can I just stare at the newt?"->"Gosh, better not wake it up."]]*Ahem*.
Seeing the remorse course out of you, like a broad brook flowing, she's knowing the feeling some call regret, and she's met by the feel of a silenced boomstick slipped in her hand - how grand.
"Come now, and //see the sow//," she sobs. "I know you need it, and need of this too."
Micah hands you a thing; it's cool, small and dark, pretty like a lark, quiet in your palm. It makes you real calm.
[[The thing's a gun. What fun!]]
[[It's the head of a cat. Fancy that!]]"By the way, good buddy," coughs the narrator. "You're a soft $Hotness. Don't push it."
You plod round the corner. She's sitting on an oily loveseat. Her hair's like diamonds, her eyes are alabaster and the crumpled black purse by her foot is like a bat sleeping. She does seem very attractive, almost... almost... **[[LIKE A PIN-UP GIRL]].** Her smile flits all over the room. Almost at you.
Your brain purrs.
[["Check out this charm, Narrator ol' pal."]]
[["Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuuuuck..."]]Do you think it's a good idea to start thinking about pin-up girls right now?
[["Better not."->Start]][["Yeah."]][["Yeah!"]][["YEAH."]]**[["THAT'S IT. THAT'S IT."]]****[["THAT'S WHAT I, CHIEF INSPECTOR CAIN SLADE, LIKE. YES! YES, ME, THE CHIEF INSPECTOR, A TITLE WHICH I EARNED THROUGH MY YEARS AS A HARD-BOILED POLICE DETECTIVE, A CAREER THAT CONTINUED UNTIL MY FAMILY WAS KILLED AND - WILDLY DEPRESSED - I ENDED UP ON THE STREETS, DRINKING A LOT. VERY MUCH DO I LIKE PORNOGRAPHIC IMAGES OF WOMEN WHO ARE, BY NOW, DEAD OR GRANDMOTHERS. VERY MUCH. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! NOW I NEED TO GO BACK TO FOCUSING ON MY MISSION, WHICH IS A VERY IMPORTANT ONE."]]**Having creamed yourself at the mere thought of pin-up girls, you can now return to your desperate task.
You are slick, sweaty, and more of a (set: $Hotness to $Hotness - 1) $Hotness now.
"What was [[going on->Start]]?""Hi!" cries the [[narrator]], having just now seen you. "Wanna catch the [[Sock Puppet Killer]]?"(set: $Hotness to 7)
[["Absolutely!"->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]
[["No."]]Narrator moans in your ear, lusciously:
"The dude kills sock puppets, it's //[[fucked->Start of the Start]].//""But **THINK OF THE CHILDREN!**" squawks the narrator.
[["Anything for the sweet little children!"]]
[["Uh, okay, whatever."]]
[["Nah, that don't do it for me."]]It's coiled in a pool of oil, black-nippled and empty. Minnows from the bar nibble at it already.
You stop to marvel at the wonderous circle of life.
But still, that long, lovely spine might be [[more interesting->Her spine.]].That's actually a piece of sock. A shock?
Maybe that deliciously curvacious spine will [[clear things up->Her spine.]].Amidst all the bills, there are two things:
Micah's business card, which reads: "Sock Puppet Killer, at your service!"
A family photo of Micah with two half-invisible children.
[["Gosh, mixed-race kids are cute!"->End]]
[["Hey wait..."->End]][["Oh baby."]]Meridian Micah ending takes place if you and Mica get drunk.
At the end, you can realize that Micah is a sock puppet and that you're the sock puppet killer.
Different truths based on different choices
You know how there's that narrative voice which isn't actually the narrator? It NEEDS to creepily start talking like a character, not an inner monologue and then get into a fight with Narrator
Gotta have a "drinking life a fish" joke in there
The real narrator is sober Cain Slade? Nope. He's non-hand puppet Cain Slade. The player is Cain Slade's handpuppet.A disembodied voice or some shit, it's [[super weird->Start of the Start]]."You won't regret this, friend," says the narrator, grinning invisibly.
[["Yeah... sure."->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]"*You're an angel!*" squeals that floating little Narrator voice.
[["Uh, thanks?"->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]"Look around, okay," asks Narrator. "You see this place? It's a place."
It is indeed, but like a stanky-panky sort of place, [[a deep dive bar]] at the bottom of the big, dirty blue, crammed full with [[angler fish]] and [[eels in cocktail dresses]].
"This is just the sorta place to hunt down the Sock Puppet Killer, amirite?" says Narrator. "And you're just the person to do it."
[["Why?"]]Dude, It's just a typical shitty bar.
"Are you not paying attention to me?" whines Narrator. "That's [[not fair->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]!"Or, like, octopuses sticking out grabby tentacles all over the place.
"*[[Pay attention->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]!*" cries Narrator.So sinuous.
"I swear by god's bones, you meanie," grumbles Narrator. "I'll just leave if you don't **PAY ATTENTION TO ME.**"
[["My bad."->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]
[["So leave."]]"You think you can do this *on your own?*" asks Narrator, coldly.
[["I guess I can't."]]
[["Probs, bitch."]]"**DAMN STRAIGHT,**" roars Narrator, stentorianously, as the world quivers like jello on a plate. "**DAMN STRAIGHT.**"
[["Woah there, hey, okay, I'm with you. Let's get back to it."->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]There's a big fat ol' pause. And then, in an instant, the dive bar goes kaput and you're staring out across a nameless stygian expanse. Nothing to be seen in any direction.
"How about now, fucker?" asks the Narrator, clearly a litte vexed. "Still don't need me?"
A choir of assholes shriek like a gale from the caverns of hell.
A great borborygmus rumbles up from the deep.
Your feet are wet. The fluid is rising.
[["Please don't do this! Please! I take it all back!"->"I guess I can't."]]
[["I'm fine with this."]]The liquid fills your mouth, nose, ears and eyes, smelling and tasting like a soiled litterbox. It chokes you out.
In all the shit-fluid and the shrieking and the rumbling, you die, you idiot.
[["Um... can I start again?"->Start of the Start]]"Why, because //you're Cain Slade!//"
[["Who...?"]]"The grizzled, left-handed yet lovable, former [[Chief Inspector]]! You earned your title through years as a hard-boiled police detective, of course!" fawns Narrator, shrilly.
[["Former?"]]"You resigned after [[your family was killed]]! And then - wildly depressed - you ended up [[on the streets]], drinking a lot!"
[["I don't remember any of this."]][["Oh boy, //were they ever!//"->"Former?"]]"Yeah, you're disgusting!"
[["Thanks?"->"Former?"]]You can almost feel Narrator's invisible eyes rolling.
"Yeah, the //Chief// Inspector! What did you forget or something? Why do you think I want your help with this, you big silly?"
[["If you say so..."->"Who...?"]]"Remember what I said about you drinking a lot? You've got //scads// of brain damage, ya big goof! And I'm pretty sure you're blackout drunk right now too."
[["Nahhhh, I'm 100% fine."]]"Oh shit, I see her," mutters Narrator's voice from just around the corner.
You stumble along in pursuit and call out:
[["Who's it?"]]"Only time will tell, my dude. Like, hey, maybe you'll actually remember something about your dead wife and dead kids tomorrow morning."
[[Force yourself to try to remember them.]]
[["I guess they're not really relevant, anyways..."->"Uh... cool."]]Oh, you can remember them alright.
Little rosy cheeks like stubbed toes. Big rosy breasts like clowns' wigs. Beautiful faces more beautiful, even, than the poetry of your agony.
You cry. Like, //[[a lot]]//."Dude," says the narrator. "You look like shit now."
He's right. Your face is all rubbery and red.
(set: $Hotness to $Hotness - 1)
Better hope you won't have to seduce someone or something in the immediate future.
"Can I continue?" asks Narrator.
[["Nah, Imma keep crying."]]You blubber right in the middle of the bar, like a tickle-me elmo of grief. Oh, the kids. //The kids!// And poor Colleen. **COLLEEEEEENNNNNNN!!!!!! THE THINGS YOUR FEET COULD DO TO ME, COOOOOOLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNN!!!!!**
"Dude..." mutters Narrator, his voice a feathery caress for your skin. "What are you talking about?"
(set: $Hotness to $Hotness - 1)
[["I'm okay... I can do this... keep going."->"Uh... cool."]]Narrator seems excited:
"I //BOW// to your years of experience! You're the fella to catch that sock puppet killing sonuvabitch, I just know it."
[["Damn straight I am."]]
[["Why'd you just say I have years of experience...?"->"Why?"]]"What's your take, then?" asks Narrator.
[["My take?"]]"Yeah, your take! Like, what exactly are we seeing here?"
[["Isn't coming up with that stuff your job? Why ask me?"->"Why?"]]"We're gonna have a fun time with this, man," says Narrator.
You [[burp->"Uh... cool."]].Narrator's voice sounds harsh in your ear:
You come to a little stop, hugging the peeling, moist wallpaper tight, breathing heavily against the wall. The fishies stare, their eyes very big and their scales wet.
"You ready to catch the Sock Puppet Killer?" asks Narrator, right in your personal space again.
[["You can bet your lil bitch whisper-lips I am!"]]
[["I dunno. Am I currently... crunk?"]]The narrator's voice is gone for a long sec.
Fishies stare. Something in the bar is moaning, soft and low.
"Hey friendo," asks Narrator. "On a scale of kinda not alright to most definitely alright, how alright are you?"
[["Uh..."]]You don't feel super alright.
And you almost feel like it's going to get worse from here. But where's that premonition coming from? Is it a memory?
You feel, just for a second, like something else is going on [[inside you]].
Then Narrator's imperceptible tongue clucks, loud and wet:
"Tsk tsk, //Slaaade,// what have you become? Think of that dead wife and the kids and press on."
[["I can do this."]]
Or vomit a little in your mouth, then say [["I can do this."]]"I know you can, you dog," says Narrator. "Now, there's a beautiful //woman// around the corner, a //dime,// a //real sweet biddy.// You know how to talk to those, right? You gotta get her to say she's the Sock Puppet Killer."
[["Uh-huh."]]"As always, when we're in places like this," the narrator baldly exposits. "Deception is the game we're playing. You follow?"
You feel like you might want to ask more questions, but it's hard now that the room is swimming more than a little. Or are you swimming in it? Shit, you gotta answer:
[["I gotcha."->Start]]"You should go along with this," says the narrator.
You feel like maybe you should go along with this.
[["No, I don't."]]
[["If you say so."->Mid-Start Starty Thing]]"Then I guess this sort of thing just isn't for you," sighs the narrator.
You hear the sound of **ripping.**
Then you're dead.
Do you maybe want to try this all over [[again->Start of the Start]]?"Alright, buddy," chuckles the narrator.
Beady eyes stitched to your target, you make as if to stride right across the leaking, roiling room.
But there is a dog poop in the middle of the floor.
[["I'll just step around that..."->Meet Woman]]
[["Oops."]]The poo-poo engulfs your foot, thick and creamy.
"You did that on purpose!" hisses Narrator, but it sounds like he doesn't really know that for certain.
(set: $Hotness to $Hotness - 1)
It smells, noticeably.
[["Guess I just gotta press on."->Meet Woman]]You saunter, practically [[swashbuckling]], the rest of the way to the suspicious woman.
She gazes on you. This close, you can see how the last droplets of her drink gleam on scarlet lips. Her tight body waits elegantly, almost poised. It's a hell of a lot to take in.
"This is your moment, cheeky little $Hotness," urges Narrator, hoarsely. "This is it."
She's waiting, silent.
[["Can I... buy you a drink?"->Drinks]]
[["Ma'am, respectfully: I'd like to plow into you like a boot into dogshit."->Perv]]
[["So I hear you're the Sock Puppet Killer."->Interrogate]]You stand in the open, still, staring. Afraid. Every hair erect.
"You've got me feeling," says Narrator. "Feeling it's a shame your family died once."
His voice is right to your right, breathy.
"I'd make it //twice// if I could. Anything to see this completed."
[["That's pretty psycho, but whatever."->"Check out this charm, Narrator ol' pal."]]
[["How DARE you."]]"Excuse me?" asks the narrator, without any levity at all.
**[["HOW DARE YOU THREATEN MY DEAD FAMILY."]]**"Ah," says Narrator.
The world throbs. It drips. Your body feels heavy and wet.
"I'll apologize for it. //I will,//" offers Narrator. "But you've gotta //play along// from here on out."
[["Fine. We can play."]]
[["NO! I'm not your puppet!"]]"Then... I'm sorry," sighs Narrator.
[["Guess I'll go get that killer now."->"Check out this charm, Narrator ol' pal."]]"Not mine, no," agrees the narrator.
The bar is torn in two, its stink roiling away from you almost perceptibly. Maybe you hear someone crying, someone who got way too into this? Maybe you hear nothing?
Either way: you've died painfully.
Sorry, lil guy.
Want to try this [[all over again->Start of the Start]]?(if: $Hotness > 4)[She looks you up and down, most sexfully.
"Absolutely. And it's Micah, by the way," says the living and breathing pin-up.
[["What's your poison, Micah?"]]]\
\(else:)[Her gaze is laden thick with disgust, practically dripping with contempt for you.
"Ew..." she mutters, probably having noticed at least one of the various substances you're strewn with. "Is this really what we're-"
"Are you going to get that drink or not, man?" cuts in Narrator, leaping invisibly to your aid, but certainly with practiced agility.
[["I guess so..."->Pissed Drink]]
[["No. To hell with this! I'll not let some PUPPET MURDERING BITCH malign me."]]](if: $Hotness > 5)["Is that so?" laughs the living and breathing miracle of intelligent design or maybe just really good genes. "You did just compare me to dogshit, cutie. Not sure I fancy your chances."
[["Don't be silly, I stick my dick in dogshit all the time."]]
[["Sorry about that. I'll getcha something to make up for it?"]]]\
\(else:)["Have you never done this before...?" groans Narrator, not nearly amused enough by what you said.
The woman isn't laughing either.
"Fucking excuse me?" she spits, recoiling in disgust, vainly striving to cover herself with her skimpy outfit. "You're a PERV!"
[["Perv? Murderer? I'm the lesser of two evils, bitch."->Interrogate]]
Mutter [["Sorry"]] and walk away.](if: $Hotness > 6)["I'm Micah!" she says, grinning. "You're funny."
[["Not really. It'd only be funny if I were joking."->A Little Pissed]]
[["Shit yeah I am, baby girl!"]]]\
\(else:)["Y'know... I thought you were at least a little smarter than that," growls the narrator.
The beautiful woman doesn't reply. She seems real angry, but there's real happy laughter coming from somewhere.
[["You heard me, you murderering freak."->Pissed Her Off]]]"So what now, Mr. Comedian?" she says, biting her lip very sexfully.
[["We get outta here?"->Leave Together]]
[["I get us some drinks."->"What's your poison, Micah?"]]
[["We do a sexy, sexy interrogation."]]"What a funny joke," the woman says, dryly.
Someone's definitely laughing at it, though, but you can't see who.
[["I'll, uh, just go get us some drinks..."->Pissed Drink]]
[["I'm just going to leave..."->"Sorry"]]"What the hell do you think you're doing?" asks the narrator, furiously.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" asks the woman, furiously.
You wrench a chair from a nearby table, and slam your body into it.
[["I know who you are and I'm going to fucking kill you for what you've done."->"I'm going to fucking kill you for what you've done."]]"Oh, darling," say her beautiful lips, almost playfully. "That's not how we do this."
You pull up a chair across from her, and rustle right into it.
The world is holding its breath.
[["I'm not a sock puppet. I'm not exactly afraid of you."]]
[["I'm going to fucking kill you for what you've done."]]"Then maybe you'd like to step outside, you big, brave man?" whispers the woman, right into you.
[["Not a bad idea, actually."->Leave Together]]
[["So you're the Sock Puppet Killer?"]]"Oh are you?" whispers Narrator.
His voice is soft and low and inside you:
"Were the Chief Inspector's family all //sock puppets// too, then? Real choked up, are we? About socks full of holes?"
[[Leap across the table at the woman, your fists swinging.]]Confused, embarrassed and vaguely aroused, you whip about and race to the bar, squishing right in between fishy bodies to get up against it. Fucking [[sardines]].
[[Order some drinks.]]
[[Bribe the bartender into mixing in some bleach.]]"Didn't realize you were the arrogant type. Really didn't," growls the narrator.
The beautiful woman seems to have heard what you said. She's glaring at you like you recieve preteen orgasms for a living. Yeah, she seems real angry.
[["You heard me, you murderering freak."->Pissed Her Off]]"From you? I'll take anything," smiles lovely Micah.
Resolute despite your swelter of emotions, you twist about and head for the bar, squishing right in between fishy bodies to get up against it. Fucking [[sardines]].
[[Order some drinks.]]
[[Bribe the bartender into mixing in some bleach.]]"You've got a real dirty mouth," giggles the woman, though it seems her mirth might just be skin-deep. "Someone should put you through the wash."
[["Got laundry machines at your place?"]]
[["Maybe a nice alcohol cleanse'll do the trick?"->"What's your poison, Micah?"]]
[["I'm the dirty one? This place reeks like fish and you know what? I'm pretty sure the culprit's under that dress."->Fish Stink]]"What do you have in mind?" laughs the woman.
[["Let's get outta this place and you'll find out."->Leave Together]]
[["A prison sentence, maybe?"->Interrogate]]You squelch your way to the bar.
"So that's it?" seethes Narrator. "We just give up?"
You order yourself a drink, perhaps to blind yourself to your very probable fate.
"I thought you were gonna catch the Sock Puppet Killer?" continues Narrator.
[["I'm better at drinking."->Drink Alone]]
[["Why am I listening to you, anyway?"]]Micah bends down to pick up her purse.
Narrator whispers into your ear, almost inside you:
"That was quick..."
He sounds almost disappointed.
[["You've got my back, right?"]]
[["This chick just wants to bone, that's all. Trust, bro."]]You order some real, real strong stuff. The two stained glasses scrape across the bar like bullion.
"Oh, Micah's going to like this..." grumbles the Narrator.
When you return, she immediately downs hers. Even sipping it slowly, you're feeling its sting; now it's starting to feel like you're swimming in bees. But sort of in a good way...?
Whatever she thought of you before, Micah's all over you now.
"I'm pining, puppy dog!" slurs her.
[["Are you alright?"]]
[["You don't even know me! And I don't even know you..."]]The bartender glares at you, like Narrator if he had a face. Specifically, the face of a deep-sea diver who ran out of oxygen weeks ago.
"You're a terrible cop," says Narrator. "Don't do this."
[["Fine. Just a regular drink, then."->Order some drinks.]]
[["I'm not a cop. Not anymore."]]You order the strongest thing you can find and, like a moray, go hide in the darkest, quietest corner you can find.
The drink really seems to be doing its work. The bar giggles and churns and whistles all around you, like a stewpot's fantasy, noisier even than children's theatre.
Stuck in the midst of it all, you can't even remember ever having a family.
"What's going on?" hisses the narrator.
[[Nothing]] is going on.With one swift motion, she pulls you close, breathing hotly in your ear as she whispers:
"No, but I know just the place for a dirty thing like you..."
[["Take me."->Leave Together]]
[["Woah, uh, on second thought... I think I'll go drink alone."->"Sorry"]]"Because we're doing this //together.// I always work with a partner, and so do you, Slade," replies Narrator.
[["I probably don't need a partner to drink alone, and that's definitely the plan."->Drink Alone]]"Do you want to GO ME, **BRAH?**" roars the woman, pounding her chest with surprisingly meaty (yet very sexy) hands.
**[["LET'S DO THIS, BITCH!"->Leap across the table at the woman, your fists swinging.]]**
[["Calm down, woman, I only jest."]]"Alright, but I don't tend to bare it all while I'm sober..." purrs this kitty amidst fish.
[["Yeah, sorry, I don't drink with fucking degenerate puppet-murdering bitches."->A Little Pissed]]
[["You want a drink? You got it."->"What's your poison, Micah?"]]You're alone in all the noise. And yet... you can hear Narrator's whisper, quietly getting louder.
The woman approaches. It isn't with elegance. She's flopping on the deck with the rest - purposefully, though.
She slops herself into the chair across from you.
"I'm Meridian Micah," grins she, sousedly. "Everything comes back to me."
She dumps something from her purse onto the table, it clattering out. Some kinda tube.
"This is a boomstick," states the Meridian.
[["Uh..."->Meet Micah]]"Absolutely," whispers Narrator. "I'm here for you."
[["Okay."->"This chick just wants to bone, that's all. Trust, bro."]]Micah stands up, smiles and runs a hand along your chest.
"Sweet threads," she purrs. "Now...?"
Your mouth is dry.
[["On second thought, how about I get us some drinks first?"->Pissed Drink]]Micah hauls you across the bar, the oil stuck to her streaming in your wake. It's hard to focus on walking, very hard, given the lurching world, the waking nightmare of fish-faces and the fine figure before you.
The street outside is full of water. You're drowning - maybe just drowning in fear. She shoves you into an alley, **ripping** off her clothes. Her body is drenched.
"It's time," she says.
[["Oh fuck yeah, it is."->Betrayal]]
**[["HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! MY NAME IS POLICE INSPECTOR CAIN SLADE! YOU'RE UNDER ARREST VERY MUCH!"->Betrayal]]**
[[Punch the fuck out of her.->Betrayal]]"Hi!" cries the [[narrator->narrator2]]. "Wanna catch the [[Sock Puppet Killer->Sock Puppet Killer2]]?"
[["WHAT?"]]That son of a [[//bitch//->Betrayal]].Narrator moans in your ear, lusciously:
"The dude kills sock puppets, it's //[[fucked->Betrayal]].//"You've been robbed of any chance to defend yourself.
Micah **rips** you open with one swift motion. She grins from ear to ear at the stench of you.
"Bye bye, good buddy," says Narrator.
[["You BETRAYED ME."]]
[["What... am I?"]]"You haven't realized yet?" whispers Narrator. "I have. Took a while."
"There's //someone else// here... //someone// hunting... //someone who made you//..."
[["Huh?"]]A //[[forlorn hope]],// little guy.
"A what?" asks Narrator, confusedly.
Yeah, anyway, we're probably both dead now. Now or soon. You, though, definitely now.
Still... you could try [[again->Start of the Start]]?The world careens into blackness as you lurch towards your opponent; you are suspended in the gloom, floating amidst the wreck of it all.
Everything that's inside you escapes, simply drifting away.
The narrator sighs and says:
"You can't make a fist inside a sock puppet, //ya big goof.// Guess we gotcha, huh?"
[[Start again?->Start of the Start]]"What's a story without a narrator?" asks narrator. "Just one big mess."
"This is one big mess, even with you involved," mutters the woman.
"Sorry, //dear,//" mutters the narrator.
Then you hear **ripping.** And you can only see the void.
Because you're dead.
What a great conclusion the narrator got you to. Really, so much closure.
[[Try again?->Start of the Start]]"I'm whatever you want me to be," says she. "Surely you can understand that."
You can. Is this your little bit of agency?
"Maybe," says the narrator, his disembodied voice burbling confusedly.
[["I want you to be... arrested! Stay here while I call the police."->Call Police]]
[["I want you to be... my drinking buddy!"->Pissed Drink]]
[["I want you to be... my little bit of fun!"->Leave Together]]She nods slightly.
You rush to the bar, slap scaly bodies from your path, call to the barman and get your hands on the phone. It's heavy like a trout, but you can lift it to your ear. You dial for 9-1-1.
"9-1-1 emergency response," says a familiarly narratorial voice. "//How's your day going?//"
[[Slam the phone down immediately, order a drink, and hide.->Drink Alone]]//"Me,"// responds the Narrator, as the phone's cable wraps around you tighter and tighter. "Yeah it's //me,// old buddy."
You can see stars. They shine so bright.
You die about a second later. //Why// would you call the cops //during a very cool and badass rogue operation??//
"A what?" asks the narrator into your corpsey ears.
[[Try again?->Start of the Start]]She becomes soft and demure in, like, an instant.
"Buy me a drink?"
[["Yeah... no. Drinking alone sounds like a safer, thefore more fun, time."->Drink Alone]]"Altogether alright!" grins she. "I'm Meridian Micah, I'm at the center of it all! And it do feel..."
"//Ach!//" then bellows the babe. "I have a thing!"
She dumps it from her purse onto the table, the thing clattering out. Some kinda tube.
"This is a boomstick," states the Meridian.
[["Uh..."->Meet Micah]]"Wuzz there to know, bro?" gurgles the gurl.
[["I dunno, whether you're the Sock Puppet Killer?"]]
//[["Do you even want me or do you want your man or do you want my man or or or or..."]]//
[[Nothing I guess... is that...?->"Are you alright?"]]She reclines in her chair drunkenly, collapsing into herself.
"What, you a cop or something?"
[["Yes. I'm Cain Slade."]]
[["Nah, forget I brought it up. We alright?"->"Are you alright?"]]"I want them all! I want them all! And I want them..." burps Micah. "Sleeved in meat, with hearts of... of lint... or //fingernail clippings//!"
"You two are so, //so// gone..." moans the narrator.
[["I guess I think that's alright."->"Are you alright?"]]Still purring, it vibrates in your palm in a way that feels familiar. In fact, the little black kitten head is staring right at you. Its eyes are golden. //Entrancing.//
Micah is staring at you too.
[[The cat's head tells you to get her out of here.]]
[[Remember that you came to kill. That there's a gun before you.->The thing's a gun. What fun!]]Her booze-filled body pops like a zit.
Mangled bits are all about, slick like trout. The narrator shrieks.
Fuck this is a good life to be living, but fuck, does it ever end quick.
At least she left you some things:
[[A piece of her chest, with a bit of breast.]]
[[Her spine.]]**OW FUCK.**
"Gotcha!" screams the Narrator.
"//Heheheh yes yes!// Got yourself good, you sneaky fuck! You hear me, //you sneaky fucks//? You can't **rip** us apart! You [[BOTH FUCKING LOSE->Start of the Start]]!""This is the police," answers a bassy voice. "What police stuff do you need?"
[["An arrest please."]]The phone rings dully, like a metronome lodged in a cellist's colon.
"Howdillydoodily?" answers Narrator's familiar voice. "Wait, //SHIT//, it's you!"
He kills the fuck out of you, pretty much instantly. It's almost like you're something small and powerless and that's the whole point of this.
And who actually calls people anymore? What are you, thirty?
Feel like [[trying this all again->Start of the Start]]?"Cool, we gotcha."
[["Hurry, by God!"]]The police arrive about half an hour later.
But Micah doesn't sit still for that long.
[["She... doesn't?"->"After you."]]You and Micah gaze into each other's big, wet, plasticky eyes. There's a connection there.
"Hey," she says, seemingly to nothing.
"Yeah?" replies Narrator.
"We're donezo," says Micah.
Narrator rants and raves, but Micah doesn't seem to care and you're certainly too drunk to too.
You two [[bone]].Congratulations!
The one ending where you and the hot female character end up having terrific, disgusting sex! And man, is it ever gross - your bodies slapping together in a big wet high five!
You should be proud. I know I'm proud of you.
[["Who are you?"]]I'm the hand inside you.
[["No, that's definitely hers."]]The other one, you freak.
You feel like someone is winking at you. And smiling somewhere else. Smiling smugly.
Anyways, do you feel like going back and trying one of the [[less sexy methods->Start of the Start]]?Jittery like a bug with a leg missing, Micah can't just sit there and watch you watch a newt sleep. It's too much. She hands you everything else from her purse, angrily saying:
"Slake my ache, I'm for some good craich //fer shur!//"
"What is this, Atlantis?" grumbles the narrator, a voice winding around the pillars of this world.
[[One is a gun.->The thing's a gun. What fun!]]
[[One could very well be a cat's head.->It's the head of a cat. Fancy that!]]
[[And there's a second phone. What is she, a drug dealer?->The thing's a phone, that much is known, nothing else.]]"Oh. So former cop," slurs she. "//Ackshully// already knew that about you."
"//Shut up, Micah//," hisses the Narrator.
"Nah, [[ack-shucks-lly]], there's something I wanna show him," she replies.
"You're drunk!" says Narrator.
"**FONDLE MY BUNIONS WILL YA,**" curses Micah, her skirt slipping open for a sec. The Narrator gasps, and she fixes that right up.
"How now?" she asks you.
[["I think... alright."->"Are you alright?"]]
[["Yeah. I'm ack-shucks-lly gonna arrest you."]]"Oh," she scowls. "Guess **DIS BEBE COMIN!**"
She upends her purse over the table, and the bebe clatters out. It's some kind of tube.
But also it's some kind of bomb.
[["Easssyy ma'am..."->Meet Micah]]And yet you hesitate. What is it about bleach that's makes you feel... what? Worried?
"What?" interjects Narrator. "You feel what?"
[["Uh, better just get drinks."->Order some drinks.]]
[["I feel nothing."]]You pay the bartender exorbitantly for the little spritz of bleach.
You can't help but feel a twinge of guilt as you foist it across the establishment.
[["Whatever."]]Her woman's hand coils around the glass the moment it's in reach.
The narrator goes to speak, but in that instant, she chugs it all back.
And promptly ejects it from her mouth with terrible force, *all over you.*
[["It... burns?"]][["Like... a LOT."]]The bleach scorches into you, fucking you like real fire; it's all over.
You become an unrecognizable mass. The world goes black.
"I tried to stop you, //you silly thing...//" mutters the narrator. "But gosh, are you ever full of character."
Micah is burning too, but it's hardly healthy to watch.
"Want to [[go again->Start of the Start]]?[["Shush up!"->"Yes. I'm Cain Slade."]] squeaks Micah"They're drinking like //FISHES//," giggles the narrator.
[["I hate this."->Pissed Drink]]And it's beautiful and magical and [[wonderful->"Uh..."]].It feels beautiful. You feel beautiful - arbitrary rating be //damned!//
You're a pirate! You're Captain [[Slade->Meet Woman]]!"Gloriously, good friendo. Most gloriously crunk," mutters Narrator. "But you're ok, yeah?"
[["Uh..."]]A Hail Mary? They're served more than the Bloody ones here.
[["What...?"->"What... am I?"]]CUMQUAT THE PEACH! CUMQUAT THE PEACH! Blind absurdity, our victory!
"Whose??" asks Narrator.
"Who dis?" asks Micah.
[[CUMQUAT THE PEACH!->Meet Micah]]Coiled on the floor, cracked open in places, her spine shines in the foglight from the bar. It shines like metal.
[[Things]] are etched into it.
Narrator's crying has stopped. It is quiet now. And still.
Maybe that isn't her spine?
[["Then what is it?"]]
You know what it is.
[["I do?"]]Things. Symbols. Words you can't read. Your eyes were cheap.
[[Her spine->Her spine.]] is heavy in your hand. Heavy, but dry. Perfectly dry.You don't.
[["Oh."]]"I... I know what it is," wheezes the narrator. "I remember. //You put it in her, telling me - "REMEMBER".//"
[["Who did that, Narrator???"->Who Did It]]
[["What is it, Narrator???"->What Is It]]
[["To catch you? To catch the Sock Puppet Killer?"]]You've been a good Cain Slade.
Now let's slip you into somewhere dark, sexy. Until I need you. Until [[next time->Start of the Start]]."You can't hear him? Feel him?" squeals Narrator, vanishingly (if invisible things can vanish). "His rattling words like chains?"
You can't [[feel->"Oh."]] anything."A chain - see it gleam? I am bound, writhing! And she..." worries Narrator. "She is the circle... always there..."
"Soft on our skin, //always// there as //always// we come back to her..."
The deepsea dive bar sways and [[rolls->"Oh."]].[[Narrator]] nods a final "No."
Weird? Maybe. But don't stretch yourself out over it. You feel you've beaten the Sock Puppet Killer.
[["So it's over?"]]The bar is empty. The fish are gone. You feel you've beaten the Sock Puppet Killer.
The story is [[over->True Ending]].The voice of glee, so faraway, so forced and fake, once so noisily, so comfortingly assured.
He'll scuttle [[back->"To catch you? To catch the Sock Puppet Killer?"]] soon enough, to cast his words into black waters.