Part The Seas


asi_icon.gif vf_kain3_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

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Scene Title Part the Seas
Synopsis On Halloween Night, Silas McKenzie meets the Grim Reaper and knows his face.
Date October 31, 2019

Normally abandoned this time of night save for the odd security patrol, drunk, or resident— the pier that houses the Novelle Vue is downright lively tonight. The queue in front of the eerily-lit vessel runs all the way back to the boardwalk, filled with curious revelers young and old, some dressed openly in costume while others with better sense arrive more bundled up against the cutting air that wisps along the waterfront.

Bootfalls cut short at realizing the line is what it is, a darkly-dressed figure pausing a few yards away to check their watch. The place had just opened, and already this kind of crowd. Maybe with the exorbitant prices of candy this day and age, people sought to satisfy their Halloween needs with places like these. The figure shifts from one foot to the other, considering the wait… and then the ship ahead, all its eerie gloom and the tatters that hang from the odd surface to make it look even more ghostly.

After a moment, the figure checks the mask drawn over her face is secure, then moves to take a place at the back of the line.

On a night like tonight, the grotesque demon's mask hardly stands out at all.

The Novelle Vue

Ferrymen's Bay

8:15 pm

"Ahoy there," the greeter stationed at the bottom of the entry gangplank enthuses. Behind her mask, Asi blinks once. Is she supposed to have some kind of response for that? The young— person in front of her is incorrigible, thankfully, pressing on anyway. They're covered in makeup to look like a grungy, ethereal deckhand, a splash of red spritzed across their short-shorn hair and down to their brow. "How many in your group? Will that be two, or—?" And they look past Asi, brow furrowed.

"Oh," Seren realizes, voice dropping. They quickly perk back up. "Well, that's all right! Just you. You can tag onto the back of the group I just sent through, all right?"

"Sure," Asi agrees, turning over the requisite bill for her ticket. "Thanks."

"Oh, you're welcome!" Seren chirps, gesturing with an open palm up the gangplank. They turn as they provide direction, voice never erring from cheer.

But as they turn, their shadow doesn't. It remains, fixed in place, wisping … energy pulling away from the overall form as the constant breeze carries on. Asi never makes it as far as looking or hearing the direction provided, because the shadow has piercing yellow eyes, and they bore through her. The moment drags, the unblinking shadow form that had been lurking in the ticket-seller's body silent and unmoving up until the moment Seren resumes their place, adjusting the roll of tickets. Their beaming smile is in stark contrast with whatever look that apparition had been giving her. "Beware, but enjoy."

Asi moves on quickly up the gangplank, hands in her pockets, rather than try to contemplate whatever that was. Part of the show? The seller, after all, didn't seem to have a harmful bone in their body.

Oh, well.

She's able to see the group she's meant to join once she ascends to the deck, and quickly jogs to join them, freeing a hand to wave and show she means no harm, particularly to the frightful girl clinging to a tall teenager by her side. Asi lifts her head once she joins the group, properly looking at the scenery and what else awaits them ahead.

Lanterns light the way across the deck, burning with flickering blue flames. Off the beaten path, various… things… lay slumped in the moonshadows across the deck. Some are recognizable, with a moment's study — here, a glimpse of a pallid waxen hand sticking out into the moonlight, clad in the tattered remnants of a salt-logged shirt. Others… are not so easy to discern. Most of them are not, in fact; the things that people come up with in their own imaginations are scarier, more personal, than any number of cheap cackling theatre skeletons could hope to be — that's something Silas knows all too well.

Silas himself waits in the shadows, dressed in his Hallow's Eve finery — a red silken shirt and a heavy red brocaded coat, along with a black tricorne, pants and boots, with a cutlass at his side, and enough makeup to render his face and hands an ashen grey, emphasizing his bone structure and giving him an almost skeletal appearance. Someone might catch a glimpse of him, were they to know where to look… but they wouldn't see him even if they did.

He watches as the latest group mills along the path, waiting for them to reach the black-painted wall at the end… he's just about to step out and make his entrance when he sees a straggler hurrying along to join them, prompting him to wait a moment longer. He wants everyone to get a good look at that wall, to look over it and completely miss the door there — because even if they look directly at it, they won't see it. Just the same way as they don't see him, even though he's striding out behind them right now.

He waits a moment longer, making sure he's out of range of anyone trying to throw hands — he'd learned that lesson a long time ago — then lets out an ominous, booming chuckle… and now he drops the glamour he's been hiding himself with, letting them see him, letting them realize he's there for the first time. "Ahoy, lubbers. Come aboard the ship of Long John Dantes, have ye?" he asks, leering and letting out another of those dark, unpleasant chuckles. "Ye think ye be fit to claim my treasure?"

He eyes them appraisingly. "I'm not so sure. No, I'm not so sure at all. But if ye be daring enough to try yer hands…" here, he gives a truly unpleasant smile, "… then I'll not stop ye." He steps forward, striding to the hidden door, and as he twists the handle he lets that glamour, too, fall away, revealing the open door into a space darker still, illumined by the deep violet glow of blacklights. "Try yer hands, lubbers…" he says, stepping backward into the space… and as he slips into the shadow, some of Seren's less easily visible artwork begins to glow, making his face look even more skeletal. "…but be prepared to risk yer heads! HAHAHAHAHA!" he laughs maniacally, whirling to the side… and immediately shrouding himself again. Long enough to slip behind the black backdrop draping the walls of the room, and slip through a well-concealed door in the bulkhead.

“Ah’m not talkin’ like a pirate,” is muttered over Silas’ shoulder as he emerges through the concealed door. Kain Zarek LeBlanc certainly looks the part, what with his billowy white shirt and poofy sleeves, v-neck unlaced and leather vest worn over it all. His unruly mat of straw-blonde hair looks about the same as it did when he woke up this morning and his 5 o’clock shadow is more about a 7:45 at this point. Scratching at the gray stubble on his chin, Kain lifts up his eyepatch and steps around Silas. “S’bad enough y’all talked me inta’ this but Ah’m not makin’ one single yarr, y’hear me?”

The plastic water jug in Kain’s other hand, labeled in black sharpie as Pirate Rum most certainly does not contain water but, surprising no one, actual rum. He doesn’t smell overly of it yet, but the way the night is going so far that won’t last long. Eyes half-lidded with disappointment in his life choices, Kain pulls out his plastic cutlass and points toward the false door. “When’re we actually gonna scare somebody?”

A piercing scream erupts from the other side of the wall, the terrified teenage girl at the back of the pack scared by a timed scare pop— intended exactly for people just like her.

Hell yes, they planned for back-of-the-pack-ers.

Though really, it’s Asi who leads up the back of the pack. She’s stuck behind, lingering in the doorway, thinking of the last time she entered into a steel trap she didn’t fully understand the exit routes for. Before her gaze can slide unfocused, she shakes her head to try and clear it of its lightness, steps forward to reassume her place among the huddle of strangers.

This is fine, everything’s fine.

The pale demon’s mask turns one way and then the next, stepping around the shrouded armlike things on the floor that are slowly receding back to its reset position. Asi perks her ears, listening for the sounds of other machines waiting to fire just as much as she tries to suss out the whisper of footsteps not belonging to the group.

Silas grins to Kain, raising a hand, canting his head a bit as he listens — and sure enough, there's the scream. Good old Legless Pete strikes again. Silas's grin widens. He isn't usually the sort who usually enjoys screams, but tonight… tonight, that's what the guests are here for, and any good performer is gratified to know that their audience is getting what they want.

He turns his attention back to Kain, chortling. "You just do you, good buddy; they say old Long John Silver himself retired to Louisiana, you know! As for the scares… you'll get your chance soon enough," Silas says, giving Kain a conspiratorial grin. "The Storm Hall's next; once they get through that, that's your cue. Sneak in behind em at that narrow switchback; when the lights flicker on and they get a glimpse of you back there, that's your cue to see how high you can make em jump," Silas says, eyes gleaming with good humor. "Once you get a few good screams and get em moving, chase em to the Dead Room, just like we planned," he chortles, giving Kain a hearty clap on the shoulder.

Kain exhales a sigh through his nose, flipping down his eye patch with considerable resignation. “Aye-aye, Captain,” is said with the most deadpan of deliveries and a disbelieving shake of his head. He can’t imagine how he got into this mess. Pausing by the door, Kain looks over his shoulder into the dark of the room, brows furrowed. He scans the wall for a moment, then looks away and shakes his head. “Not enough rum,” he mumbles to himself, stepping out to get into position.

As Kain emerges back out into the floor of the haunted house, his skin fluoresces under the black lights. A skull has been painted across his face, glowing pale green in the dark blue light. He sloshes his plastic jug of rum around, listening for the sound of approaching footsteps, one hand gripped on the hilt of his plastic saber.

The first group’s already gone through, but Kain hears footsteps coming up from behind where he is. “Fuckin’ stragglers,” he mutters, ducking into a corner of the hallway behind a hot water pipe masquerading as a cobweb covered tree, lying in wait for—

Asi, whose every instinct would like to compel her to not continue toward where she heard the shuffling ahead of her. Asi, who has decided maybe haunted houses are better as a group adventure.

Asi, who unfortunately needs to continue trundling forward if she's going to make it to the end of this experience.

"Should have realized it was him earlier," she chastises herself aloud as she waffles in place, scowling beneath her mask. "The voice alone should have been enough." It had taken her until she was already indoors to suspect it was Silas she'd seen. "And now… going to have to…" she mutters to herself, fingers itching for a cigarette. Asi shakes her head with a sigh and plunges ahead, steps determined.

The arrangement of wires and mechanics that had given her pause before light up with movement ahead of her— physical movement, even. The loud clash of thunder plays from the hall the group had just finished rounding into, the floor beneath them roiling like tossed seawaves. She supposes that's the point.

A tiny signal fires on the ceiling, and she sees a rigging let loose tatters of cloth. A moaning sound sweeps the hall with it, accompanied by spooked shrieks. Asi snorts under her breath at it.

Okay, it was slightly funny from a distance. When it's not you in it.

It does nothing to diminish the hair prickling on the back of her neck, senses telling her she's not alone when she's near enough to it.

Even in the face of Kain's deadpan delivery, Silas grins; he, at least, is having a blast. Kain maybe notsomuch at the moment, but the night is young, and even if Kain's not really feeling the whole Dread Pirate thing yet, Silas trusts him to do his part… which means that he needs to focus on doing his own.

Rubbing his hands together briskly, Silas takes off, heading for one of the handful of monitoring stations set up in the backstage corridors — 'monitoring station' being a glorified term for an ancient, fourth-hand monitor hooked up to a feed from a grainy, low-res camera. The feed isn't enough to make out much in the way of details, but it's enough to give him a way to check on the group's progress. They're still in the Hall of Storms, it seems, making their way slowly through the pitching hallway, besieged by sporadic flashes of light along the ceiling and walls, the tinny roar of thunder blaring through speakers, and the occasional prop-induced jumpscare. The monitor doesn't have any sound, but Silas can hear the bass rumble of the thunder through the bulkhead.

And, as the frontrunners of the group near the end of the Hall of Storms, he can hear the distorted roar of his own pre-recorded voice.

"Listen well, lubbers! 'Tis said a wise man fears a storm at sea, but any sailor worth his salt knows what it is to brave the wild swells of storm-tossed waves. If ye'd prove yerselves worthy of my treasure, there are three keys ye must grasp firmly, and bring with ye to the end of yer trial! The first, near to ye here and now: 'midst lightning and thunder and storming sky, keep yer heads held high and yer eyes open; if ye see a constant star, set your course by it when ye may!"

The words are reduced to a tinny, incomprehensible warble by the intervening bulkhead, but Silas knows the message by heart at this point; he watches the monitor intently, trying to pick out whether anyone caught the meaning of the message, whether anyone's looking for the star amidst the corridor's mock firmament.

He waffles for a moment longer… but the image is too grainy to show much anyway, and soon enough Kain's going to come creeping up behind and chase their guests into the next big attraction — the Dead Room — and he needs to be ready to play his part, and that requires him to be at the next monitoring station… which means he can't linger here. Giving one last glance back, he sets off again.

Straight into the darkened hall and the snub-nosed barrel of a handgun. He doesn’t notice it, not until it’s pressed against his abdomen, but Silas feels the three gunshots go off in rapid succession at first like an electrical jolt, then like a cold and vibrating chill through his spine. His legs give out, more that they throw him backwards from the jolt of being shot three times. Reflexively he’s trying to pull himself up, blood pooling through the fabric of his shirt. In the hallway his attacker stands in silence, gun held out at belly-level with a crooked elbow.


“Is this murder?” The man in the shadows asks as he steps into the light of the monitoring room, brows raised and lips pulled back into the rictus of a corpse-like grin, “or suicide?


The phantom of death lingering over Silas is himself, looking down at Silas’ prone form like a confused dog, head tilted to the side and one brow raised. As Redd steps forward, heels scuffing through droplets of blood, he considers the three remaining bullets in his gun and trains the sights down on Silas. “What do you think?”

Half a ship away, the three pops of gunfire are muffled by automated sounds and faux thunder and Silas’ prerecorded voice. But it’s still an audible pap-pap-pap that sounds out of place and distinctly like gunfire. It’s enough to cause the jump scare to step out from behind the curtain of ragged black cloth he was occupying. Kain, dressed like a fucking pirate, pops out at Asi without the intent of startling her, not after hearing what he did. But the sudden, “D’you hear that?” Drawled over her shoulder is none the less startling after gunfire.

Tepid steps forward come to a halt at the muffled but unmistakable sound, Asi's eyes searching the flashing environment ahead. It could be bangs and pops were a part of this attraction.

It could be. Possibly.

The voice behind her brings a flinch from her, fists clenched. The former Mugai-Ryu was, as they say, ready to throw hands at anything that so much as looked at her wrong at this point. But the look worn by the ghostlike pirate behind her, along with his question…

No. No, this was not part of anyone's plan. "Where is Silas?" she asks in return briskly, a bad feeling beginning to gnaw at her. Adrenaline takes hold where before she'd been fighting it down. Instinct developed from a decade of living a certain life surges without even thinking about it.

Asi tears the demon's mask off, the hood of her jacket falling back to reveal her hair. The mask clatters on the floor, the thin plastic shape rocking back and forth while she reaches back, hand dipping under her shirt right at her waistline. She withholds on drawing it back out, looking ahead to the huddle that's almost made it down the pitching hallway.

"This is the police," shouts the woman who is no longer police of anything. The words carry over the sound of the storm slightly better since the pirate riddles have ceased, at least. She doesn't have an explanation for why she chooses those words, whether it's convenient for clearing the area, or if it's a habit. In either case: "We've identified a safety concern. All of you need to come back this way and return to the entrance immediately. Keep single file and move quickly." Only then does she step aside and draw her arm back to a relaxed position, gun held low and pointed at the ground though she flicks the safety off. She glances to Kain, taking in his form more clearly now that the mask is out of the way. Her stance shows her training, and her eyes glimmer neon under the blacklight as she reaches out with her senses, trying to identify any moving technology that doesn't belong to the group of young people.

"Can you shut all of this down? Is there a kill switch?" Asi fires off quickly. That's just as important as: "I need you to tell me where Silas is."

"Jesus," Silas manages, staring at his own doppelganger with a look of surprise that would almost mirror the look of puzzlement on his assailant's face… were it not for the awful rictus grin the other is wearing. The face, of course, is familiar — his own face, he would have said once, but now, staring his other version dead in the eye, he can see that it's not. There's something different there — a hollowness in the eyes, something missing. Something that hasn't been there for ten years, maybe more.

There is a part of his mind that is appreciating the irony — it's Halloween, after all, the night when the dead and the living meet, and who is this apparition standing before him if not the Silas of the Dead? Luckily that part of his mind is outnumbered and outweighed by the many other parts of his mind expressing serious concern over the fact that he a.) has been gutshot more than once, which is pretty bad, and b.) he's pretty sure that he's leaking his blood all over right now, which puts a damper on things.

The pain hasn't come yet, at least, but his chest is heaving, even as his mind races to try and figure out a way out. He's up against himself… but despite being absolutely excessive with the gutshots, his evil twin hasn't actually put a bullet in his head yet… which means he's got a chance. He's pretty sure he's gonna die here… but maybe, just maybe, he won't die alone. He's got nothing at the moment — the shock of it all has taken the wind out of his sails — but if he can buy some time, maybe he can wind up for that big mental sucker punch he'd been planning to deck the lightning monster with, back at Sunspot. And then? Well. That cutlass at his side is a prop, but it's a viciously sharp prop; ordinarily he'd stand no chance against a man with a gun, but if he can fry his doppelganger's brain hard enough, he might be able to impale the intruder before he dies. From the heart of Hell, I stab at thee…

The only question is how to buy that time… luckily, it's not a particularly hard question to answer. Get him started talking. You've never been able to resist running your mouth. Harsh, but true… and the fact that he doesn't have a bullet in his skull means he has at least a chance of doing that. He's a curious guy who ain’t much keen on unanswered questions… Time to give him a string to pull on, then, and hope he takes the bait instead of just shooting some more.

Letting out a pained grunt, Silas drags himself a little more of the way upright, sprawling against the wall behind him. "Neither, yet," is his response, forced out on panting gasps of breath. "Leanin' towards attempted suicide, though. Going rapidly towards actual suicide," he says, focusing his gaze on his other self. "You look rough, Mackenzie," he gasps, trying to gather his focus. He swallows, grimacing at the dry coppery taste of blood. "Don't suppose you'd happen to have a cigarette?"

Redd stares down at Silas — at himself — with abject fascination. He lowers the gun, just a little, and takes a few more steps forward. “You even sound like me, who did your face… Bianco? Back before he got perforated? Suppose it doesn't matter.” Redd’s eyes narrow as he studies the creases on Silas’ face, the twitch of a pained brow, the way he cradled his injury. “God, you really are good,” is muttered with begrudging respect to a man he presumes is an actor.

Rather than continue to fire, Redd slowly crouches down and drapes his gun arm over his knee, fishing around in his leather jacket for something with his other hand. “So, while you've got the time left,” Redd says in a slow drawl, producing a crumpled pack of cigarettes to shake one out, offered over to his doppelgänger, “what poor fuck put you up to it? Was it Linderman? He always had a chubby for doing me in, just could never pull the trigger.” As he hands over the cigarette, Redd retrieves a cheap plastic lighter next and offers it out with a flickering flame.

A corridor down, Kain’s eyes dip down in the dark to Asi’s gun and his brows shoot up to his hairline. “Shit, are you really a cop?” He asks as he back, following her with his plastic saber tightly clutched as if it were a real weapon. “Uh,” he lets that question fall to the wayside. “Smiles was up ahead, in the tempest… hurricane… whatever— the room with the lightning. There's a shortcut this way, we papered up over some’f the doors.”

As he stops to open a door behind Asi, Kain pauses and looks back at her. “I mean is that even a real gun?” He asks her, pointing his plastic saber in that direction. He doesn't seem entirely convinced it was gunshots. He's also gone through a lot of that rum.

Asi waits impatiently for the group to file past them, still searching for moving electronics that didn't feel like props for the attraction. She finds nothing that stands out, looking back to Kain when he announces there's a shortcut. Only that stops her from taking off down the cleared hall herself, even if his aspersions make her doubt.

It's the wobbling of the prop in her direction, though, that takes the last of her patience. "Move, or you're going to find out," she snaps at him, pushing past him to head through the doorway. The undecorated back halls are their own hell, different from the ghastly haunt but no less anxiety-inducing at the moment.

"Which way?" she asks Kain impatiently, willing to rely on the drunk employee enough to at least point her in the right direction. She knows which way she heard the shots from, but not enough about her surroundings to be sure which way down this passage gets her there fastest.

And she wants to get there as fast as she can. Unlike Kain, she knows what she heard.

As his evil twin talks, Silas realizes something. Something that gives him, for the first time, a shred of actual honest to God hope.

He doesn't realize.

He doesn't fucking realize.

Isn't that an absolute hoot? His evil twin doesn't realize exactly who he's come to kill. He thinks he's just here to kill some actor, a rogue body double; he doesn't realize how deep the connection goes. Doesn't realize that the guy he's shooting the shit with (after literally shooting) is someone who's got the exact same trick he does. The irony of it nearly makes Silas laugh. Probably would make him laugh if he hadn't been gutshot, and if the pain wasn't starting to eat at him, starting to burn in his guts like embers stirring to life. He could probably shroud the cutlass, get in a good sneak attack right here and now… the problem, though, is that his evil twin is actually too close. Silas wouldn't be able to put his full weight behind the strike, wouldn't be able to get enough leverage to really make it count… and he's going to need to make it count, because he's got to get the job done in one. He won't get a chance at a second.

He takes the offered cigarette, lights it on the offered flame, nods and takes a drag. It helps. It's a habit he left behind a long time ago, but here and now it's… familiar. Seems to help dull the pain. It's been forfuckingever and a day since he's smoked actual cigarettes (cigars with Kain don't count). How long now? Since…

Since his sister died. Shit. Good thing he's busy dying right now; it occupies the majority of his attention and it's a whole lot less painful than facing that one.

The mention of Linderman draws Silas back, though; he ends up sucking some smoke down wrong, chokes, coughs, and damn that hurts; he tastes more blood at the back of his throat, has to fight to keep the coughing under control. He doesn't lose the cigarette, though. "Linderman?" Silas chokes, regarding his evil twin with surprise. "Thought he was dead…"

He lets out a plume of smoke, takes in another slow, deep breath — as deep as he can, anyway. "Nah. Wasn't Linderman. Don't think it was Linderman, anyway. Some mad science fucks grabbed me, held me for awhile, did… science fiction shit… and here I am. Resemblance is… uncanny, ain't it? They got busted before they finished with whatever it was they were doing, though… SESA sprang me, gave me some resettlement money. I used it to buy the boat. Friend of mine dreamed of a dinner theatre… and… here we are," Silas says, raising a hand and gesturing weakly.

He trails off for a moment, focusing on breathing. Focusing on keeping on top of the pain. Focusing on keeping his shit together. Harder than it sounds. Harder than it should be, probably… but he's not fading hard. Not yet.

"They had a whole… history on you, though. You and some others…"

Redd’s eyes narrow, the corners of his mouth downturning into a pointed frown. Exhaling sharply through his nose, Redd starts to advance on Silas’ prone form. “You expect me to believe— ”

Smiles!” Kain’s voice echoes down the corridor, and Redd’s expression changes like a clown after an application of grease paint. Gone are all the sharp lines of anger and resentment, replaced by soft and genial quirks of his brow and an easy-going smile that feels as though it would be more at home on Silas’ face. As the doppelganger changes his visage, he puts one finger up to his mouth as if to shush Silas, then leans back out into the hall, tucking his gun behind his back.

“Oh, hey,” Redd says with a tone neither his nor Silas’. “Look at you two, having fun? Spooky, huh?” He eyes Asi over Kain’s shoulder, then flicks his attention back to the cajun.

“Y’alright?” Kain asks over the din of distant synthesized thunder. “Thought Ah’ heard gunshots.” It’s only then that Redd recognizes the man he’s looking at. His face sags, confusion paints itself clearly across what was once a smile, but he can’t voice that confusion for fear of breaking the masquerade.

“I’m fine, buddy.” Silas has never once called Kain buddy. “Some punk-ass kids had fireworks. I threw ‘em overboard.” It’s only now that Kain realizes Silas isn’t in costume.

It's the first thing that Asi had noticed, even before his words came out… wrong. Not himself. His charade is in jeopardy with that alone and what happens next seals it. That look to her without recognition and then back to Kain, who he does recognize, but not in the way one would treat a fellow coworker—

She steps out from behind Kain, weapon raised. The words don't come automatically in English, taking a beat to follow the action. "Arms up." comes from her coldly, in a tone not meant for Silas, because she's certain this man isn't him.

At least, not the one she knows.

Without waiting for her request to be ignored, the nose of her gun tilts down ever so slightly. If this isn't Silas, and gunshots had been the sound that had drawn them here, a doppelganger's presence cannot be good. Quicker than she'd taken to speak, Asi fires the weapon twice for his hip and leg. The deafening report in the enclosed space proves to Kain that the weapon isn't a fake after all.

Well shit. Looks like Silas was right to lie; his evil twin didn't even buy the SESA story, which is a hell of a lot saner than the actual story.

Unfortunately, that leaves him in a bad position, because now he's pretty sure his evil twin's gonna try and do things the hard way. And considering his doppelganger had led with a triple gutshot… This is gonna suck.

Luckily, he's saved by the sound of Kain's voice, and he feels a surge of hope so powerful that it's almost painful — hell, it actually is painful, because that sudden tensing aggravates the three bleeding holes in his guts; it feels like there's something chewing on his own living guts, like that story about Loki… or, no, that had been Prometheus, hadn't it? Eagles eating his liver…

The shushing motion made by his evil twin draws his attention back to reality, and… goddamn. The way that scowl had just vanished right off of his evil twin's face; is that what it looks like when he gets into character? It's his first time seeing that from the outside, and be damned if he's not impressed despite himself. Minus points for the voice, though. That is definitely not how he sounds; it's a little too… light. A little too… carefree? Like he'd wiped away all of his own pain, but forgotten Silas's.

But who else is with Kain? Seren? A guest? Shit. Shitshitshit. His evil twin's gonna talk them off, and then shoot them right in the back of the head as they walk away, and that'll leave him with one bullet left to finish their little conversation…

…unless Silas acts now.

His evil twin's got his back turned. He's distracted, and if he'd managed to suckerpunch Silas, then it'll probably work just as well the other way. He turns his attention inward, casting a shroud over the pain that seems to be eating his guts, forcing it back; it seems to transmute into a distant cold, a sense of horrid wrongness, but even if it's not exactly pleasant it no longer feels like starving weasels are chewing on his guts. Then, a second shroud, to keep his doppelganger from noticing the sounds he's going to make as he starts levering himself to his feet —

Then he hears the other voice, and his expression is one that Asi would recognize.

But he doesn't have time for shock, not even for an honest-to-maybe-actually-existent-God miracle, because his evil twin still has that gun, and there is no chance in hell that Silas is going to let either of them come to harm… or waste the chance they've given him. Still shrouded from his evil twin, he tries to drag himself up to his feet; it's appalling how weak he feels, but maybe, maybe he can still land a blow on his evil twin, can slow him down enough that Asi and Kain can manage to subdue him… and maybe then they can both get their answers.

Or at the very least, maybe his friends will survive this night. He'll take that as a win, too.

It all comes together so fast.

Asi apparently hails from a school of ask questions first then shoot anyway as Kain and the doppelganger of Silas soon discover. Braced for betrayal, the moment Asi lowers her aim is the moment he takes advantage and tries to move, dragging Kain by the shirt into the line of fire. Their movement causes the widest shot to Redd’s hip to miss entirely and strike the floor, followed by the second shot originally intended for Redd’s leg to strike Kain

square in the ass.

Kain exhales a howl as he’s shot, and Redd begins to move to use Kain as a more tightly grasped human shield. He never gets his gun all the way up, never fully gets his arm around Kain’s neck, because he’s punched square in the side of the mouth so hard to knocks out two of his teeth. Asi can hear that click-rattle against the floor along with his gun.

The man that isn’t Silas jerks to the side and stumbles from the unexpected attack, immediately becoming aware of his double’s presence after the strike to the jaw. Kain, wounded, hobbles to the side blindly, unaware of what’s going on because now he’s seeing double. It takes him too long to process what he’s seeing, blocking Asi’s line of sight for continued gunfire for a moment. Just a moment.

When Kain slouches up against the wall and out of Asi’s way in the narrow hall, one Silas is gone. The other, bleeding from the stomach, remains. Then wobbles, and drops to his knees.

Son of a bitch.

Asi has a hand out in front of her like to steady Kain if he fell in her direction, but thankfully that’s not needed. She keeps her gun raised, looking down the hall hard to wait for a sound, wait for a flicker of movement. None comes, at least not from the Silas she was aiming for. The one who was crumpling to the floor earns a glance, then another, and then a third in which she abandons searching for the doppelganger entirely, murmuring a swear in French.

She reaches for him more directly, grabs ahold of his bicep with the arm that had swing initially for Kain. “Hey, Punchy,” she says to get his attention. She’s not nearly as slick as the Asi he knew, but she makes an effort in the moment. Levity makes things better, after all. Right? “That was a good hit. How are we doing?” In the light, she sees what she thinks she’s seeing, but takes a moment to look it over and confirm, thoughts racing. Kain, she was downright angry at for essentially getting in the way, but Silas had life-threatening injuries. More questions wait just on the tip of her tongue, but they’re going to be useless if he’s not a good answerer of them at the moment.

Fuck! You slimy bastard, Silas thinks, but he can't deny there's some admiration mixed with the frustration he feels at his doppelganger's getaway; that had been slick. He landed a good punch, at least; he'd like to think it's the kind of punch Aces would've been proud of. But his evil twin's gotta be wondering how he got cold-cocked… and somehow Silas doubts he's gonna leave himself open like that the next time around. Fuck, he thinks again.

It occurs to him, though, that he should probably worry more about this time around; his evil twin's not standing over him with a gun anymore, but the holes in his guts haven't magically gone away. He's definitely not out of the woods yet.

At that familiar voice, the touch on his arm, Silas drags his drifting gaze back into focus… and as he lays eyes on Asi, his mouth curves up into a broad smile of delight — an expression surely out of place given his condition, but honest all the same. "Asi," he says. There's a moment's hesitation as he tries to find words for what he's feeling… and fails. "Glad to see you," is what he settles on, and boy is that ever an understatement. He laughs at the absurdity of it… then coughs, the cigarette in his mouth finally slipping from his lips. "Ah, fuck," he groans.

At her question, the smile takes on a more sardonic note. "Shot. Three bullets in the gut. My evil twin's almost as much of a fan of shooting first and asking questions later as you are," he says, and for a moment there's humor there again… then it fades, leaving behind a pain-wracked rictus made all the more ghoulish by his makeup. "Hurts…" he admits… then, his eyes opening wide with a sudden surge of manic energy, he starts forward, as if he's going to try to pull himself to his feet… but he doesn't even come close to making it this time, slouching back against the wall. "Don't… don't let your guard down. He ain't far. I wouldn't be far."

He sucks down as deep a breath as he can, grimacing at the effort. "If you want answers, ask!" he calls, trying to force enough air out of his lungs to make his voice carry to wherever his evil twin might be. "Without anymore action-horror scenes, next time." A pause. "Thanks for the cigarette, though," comes out more raggedly.

His arm flops around a bit, feeling for his dropped cigarette; he finds it after a moment and unsteadily pops it back in his mouth, his gaze settling back to Asi for a moment. "Heh… you know, Asi. I've got… so many questions," he laughs. "But I don't think we've got a whole lotta time for talking. I'm getting a little bleary."

Then he glances to the side, trying to see around Asi; as glad as he is to see her, there's someone else he's worried about, too. "Hey. Kain? What about you? You alright?"

She fuckin’ shot me!” Is really the only sensible thing for Kain to shout as he stands slouched against one wall with a bullet in his right asscheek. He hisses, a sharp breath drawn through his teeth, eyes wrenched shut. He’d been shot before, more times than he’d like, but this was simultaneously the most humiliating and least heroic of them all. “Supercop over here jus’ shot— me in the— what th’ fuck’s goin’ on!?”

Kain hasn’t pieced together the ins and outs of everything. He, admittedly, has other issues more pressing in his immediate vicinity. Much as Silas does. Reaching down to feel how bad the wound is, especially since his leg has gone numb and he can’t tell how much he’s bleeding, Kain is surprised to find his hand comes back entirely bare of blood. Pawing around at his backside for a few moments, Kain pulls out his brand new — and now completely destroyed — Praxis Heavy Industries Link.

PHI Link, Built Tough for a Tough World.

The sales pitch he’d received at the World’s Fair rattles around in his head, much like the flattened bullet rattles around in the shattered case. Kain’s expression goes from agonized to confused, to then just astonishment. It’s right about then he recalls seeing Silas bleeding out of several—

Kain’s breath hitches in the back of his throat.

Crashing through a steel door, Silas lands flat on his back, then quickly flips onto his hands and knees and scrambles through a shallow puddle down the uneven asphalt of the alley. Before he can get to his feet he hears the gunshot and feels his legs give out. The pain doesn’t come right away, just a slam of pressure into his back. Shock delays the inevitable. But his mind knows what happened. As he exhales hyperventilating and panicked breaths, Silas rolls onto his side and with bleary eyes looks as the dark silhouette holding a gun advance out of the back of the Chinese restaurant.

“Fuck,” Kain breathlessly exhales.

“Ya’ll gone and made a fool of yerself, Smiles.” Kain Zarek’s blue eyes look hollow and lifeless under the jaundiced light of the alleyway. Silas is beginning to feel warmth before pain, his white undershirt darkening with red. The bullet went clear through him. “Ah’d given you time after fuckin’ time t’make things right with Danny, an’ ya’ll just pissed it away.” Kain clicks the hammer back on the gun as Silas raises one hand in silent pleading.

Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Kain continues to sputter as he drops his now murdered phone and limps over to Silas’ side.

“Like Ah’ said,” Kain’s expression tightens, “it’ll all come back around.”

“No, no, no, no,” Kain repeats in a growl, starting to reach out for Silas’ wounds but then not even knowing what to do with himself if he did. “We need a fuckin’ ambulance!” He shouts at Asi, as if she weren’t already trying to help.

And he fires one last time.

Guilt overcomes Kain. “C’mon, Smiles. Stick with us.”

That the evil twin ninja is potentially still lurking isn't a reality Asi feels she can do anything about, but it's one they're going to have to risk facing. "Have to get you down to the street. Or at least outside. He'd not be stupid enough to try to finish it in front of a crowd, would he?" she asks rhetorically. She assumes not. She hopes not.

"Need you to stay awake so you can keep asking me all the questions you want to," Asi explains, looping his arm around her shoulder. She doesn't dare deprive him of that cigarette. Were the situation reversed, she'd cling to one, too. "This will be painful. Try to let us carry you as much as possible." Then she's coming to her feet, trying to hoist Silas with or without Kain's help all while she continues to hold the gun in her other hand. Though speaking of Kain, since he luckily is uninjured after all: "Help then," she directs him with a hiss. "get him to—"

From down the hall they can hear a scuttling of feet, along with a worriedly-called out "Hello? You guys back here?"

Asi furrows her brow. It sounds like the ticket taker. "Go back out," she yells. "Call an ambulance. Tell them gunshot wounds to the stomach."


It's the only thing the three of them hear before feet peel in the direction of the exit with purpose. Asi sighs and looks down at herself and Silas as she straightens them both out into a stand. "C'mon," she mutters darkly, the sentiment of a swear hidden in its undercurrent

Silas lets out a strained chuckle at Kain; it's not hard to guess what's going through his head right now. Doin' my best, Silas starts to say, but you know what? No. Yoda had it right; do or fucking do not, and I'm trying to stay alive sounds lame as hell. Silas hadn't crossed the universe divide to die whining like a bitch after his own evil twin shot him; to hell with that.

Instead, he musters his best, brightest, most devil-may-care smile. "I ain't plannin' on goin' anywhere, Kain; I got a bottle of good bourbon in the bourbon drawer, and I'm only half finished with it!" It's entirely bravado, and he can't quite make his voice come out as strong as he'd like it, but he's doing his best to sell it as hard as he can.

At Asi's question, though, his smile flickers for a moment. Would his evil twin pull something in a crowd? Would he?


No, his doppelganger had come here with a six-shooter tonight, and he'd spent three bullets in the space of the first three seconds. The other three he'd held in reserve — one to finish the job, the other two just in case — but he hadn't made a mess on the way in at all. More, his evil twin's been running silent for ten years; if he's actually been doing this shit the whole while, keeping things quiet's probably a point of pride for him.

So probably not. Good. Also good: Asi looping his arm around her shoulders. He lets out a chuckle despite himself at Asi's comment about staying awake. "Damn straight. Goin' to bed before 9? On Halloween? I ain't that old yet," he says, giving Asi his best roguish grin. He manages not to make any embarrassing noises as Asi levers him to his feet, though his grin twists into a pained rictus; he sucks down a long drag on the cigarette, the end glowing cherry red, then lets out a long, shaky stream of smoke. "Yeah. I think… I'll let you two do the heavy lifting…" he murmurs.

His eyes fall briefly on the gun, still lying on the deck, alongside one of his evil twin's teeth. Reaching down and picking it up himself seems to be about the same order of difficulty as, say, grabbing the moon out of the sky at the moment, so he glances over to the friend who isn't currently holding him up. "Hey. Kain. Do me a favor. Grab that gun, then… let's get outta here. I owe you both dinner or some booze or somethin', if — er, when — the doctors ever let me outta their clutches again," he says, mustering another grin.

“Yeah well maybe y’all should have some salads with that bourbon,” Kain grouses as he tries to lift Silas, ignoring his request about the gun, grunting with effort and the struggle to move Silas’ near dead weight. Finally, Kain waves Asi off and realizes that this may only be a one-person job. “You get the doors, an’ whatever, fuckin’… just stay ahead of me an’ shoot anybody who looks crooked that ain’t us.” Kain hiss-mutters, standing face-to-face with Silas, hooking one of his friend’s arms around his neck and then hoisting him up over his shoulder. It’s an agonizing maneuver for Silas, as all of his weight presses down on his stomach wound as Kain’s shoulder bares into it. But it’s pressure, and it allows Kain to carry him as fast as he can.

“C’mon Smiles,” Kain grumbles as he hustles forward, “hang on…”

Don’t die on me.

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