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Most users ever online was 18 on Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:58 pm
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 Murder World

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Ink

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Posts : 228
Join date : 2014-02-02
Age : 22

PostSubject: Murder World   Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:22 am

Murder World
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” –Phillip K. Dick



Meredith, an adolescent girl in a long, bright red coat and black strap boots wanders through the ruins of a city-sized amusement park establishment. She steps over scores of corpses, some old, and some fresh, among the scorch marks and bullet holes on the ground. She can nearly see the stench of death. The intense heat of raging fires warms her as she holds her sleeve over her face to keep from inhaling the smoke. Yet, in spite of all of this, the girl strolls through, unflinching.

She passes by a colossal robot, fallen over on a Ferris wheel. The arm is resting on the ground not far away and there is a gaping hole in the torso. She continues walking, staring dead ahead with a blank expression.

Soon she comes to a fork in the path, marked by a sign. Sitting up against the sign is a teddy bear. In place of its mouth is a zipper, the teeth of which are razor sharp metal, twisted into a fiendish little grin. As Meredith comes to a stop, its head turns to her and the grin widens. “What kept ya, kiddo?” The bear seems to say, all without unzipping its mouth.

***

“Welcome! Welcome, one and all, to Purgatory!” A voice says over loudspeakers as a space cruiser pulls into a loading bay. Lines of people in cuffs and orange prison uniforms spill out from the doors. Jack, a man whose face is hidden behind a mask, watches from the monitors in his office. “You folks have all been sent here because ya did something stupid that made you…societally undesirable. Here you’ll be able to restart your miserable little lives from scratch. And try to be model citizens! Hey, I didn’t come up with this noise. They wanted me to say something happy and inviting. Take it up with my scriptwriter. The bottom line is that you’re going to be here for a very long time, so you might as well get acclimated, wouldn’t you say? Good. That’s what I thought.”

Security officers approach the prisoners from all sides, each with a branding iron. Accompanying them is an aging doctor with rubber gloves and a hovering cart, lined with dozens of large syringes. “Now hold still and try not to scream too much. We do have our procedures, after all.”

Soon after, the prisoners stop in a room with multiple large screens adorning the walls. Security officers stand off at either side of the room, leaving considerable space between them and the convicts. “Commence the educational programming!” Jack says. “You’ll love it, guys. It’s in 3D.” He laughs as the screens all come alive and his announcement ends.

Suddenly an enormous mechanical fist bursts through the screen, grabbing the nearest con and raising him into the air. The convict screams as the rest of the massive machine erupts through the wall, staring him down with glowing red eyes. “Prisoner 31-74. Crime: Multiple Counts Homicide, Premeditated. Evading Arrest. Assault of a Police Officer. Vehicular Manslaughter. Sentenced to Purgatory on-”

“All right, big fella, that’s about enough. You’re embarrassing him in front of his playmates,” Jack says over the loudspeaker. “Gents and Ladies, meet the Hunter-Killer! We have thousands of these thirty-foot bad boys flying around outside of these walls. I’m sure you’ll all be the best of friends. That big needle you got shoved in only God knows where was a liquid full of itty-bitty robots that get into your bloodstream and emit a tracking signal, unique to you.” The automaton sets down the convict and steps back. “Now, if you’ll happily turn your attention to one of the monitors that didn’t just get blown to smithereens, you’ll be getting a nice little run-down of the rules around here. Oh, and, once again, Welcome to Murder Wor-I mean Purgatory.”

Jack turns away from the monitors and rolls to his desk, where a security officer stands, looking down at him with a folder in hand. “To what do I owe this visit from my favorite head of security, Brandt? Do you come baring gifts?”

“Boss,” Brandt says with a nod, leaving the file on Jack’s desk. “That settlement you ordered the hit on was totally wiped out. Any survivors are now underground. The Hunter-Killers estimated that no more than a hundred or so survived.”

“No doubt about that, my boy. But perhaps I should rephrase the question,” Jack says. “Do you have what I want?” he asks, his tone now darker.

Brandt hesitates and Jack leaps up from his seat, placing and arm over his shoulder, casually, and walking from the office with him. “We go way back, right, Brandt? Chum? Amigo? Bestest buddy in the whole wide world?”

“Boss, the men are still down there, looking for-”

“Brandt, dear, they have power enough to destroy a thirty-foot, ten ton, metal behemoth. Does that sound particularly difficult to find?” Jack says, stopping with Brandt by the window of the fifty story building, modeled after a tower drop ride.

Brandt looks down through the window then Jack knocks on the top of his skull. “Brandt, I’m beginning to think you aren’t taking this seriously. I would hate to have to find a replacement for you. The rebound guy is never as good as the original, you know,” he jests. “Fun fact: Did you know that the gravity here is apparently stronger than it is on Earth? Not by much, mind you. But I’ve yet to actually get a chance to compare them side by side.” He laughs and pats Brandt on the back, walking him back away from the window.

“Now, listen. Let’s all put on our big kid thinking caps for a minute. The Hunter-Killers are designed to what?”

“Hunt and Kill?” Brandt says.

“Oh me, oh my, there really is a brain under that police helmet! And are they or are they not equipped to find these special little individuals?”

“They are.”

“Good. Now, let’s rally every cell in that brain of yours. If one of the walking search towers isn’t enough to deal with these freaks, then what is the only logical course of action?”
“S-send in a fleet?”

“Now you’re getting it! Now go forth and complete thy mission!” Jack says, turning Brandt loose and heading to his desk. “Oh, and Brandt. Don’t come back here empty handed again, ‘kay? Good. I’m glad we had this talk.”

Brandt leaves the office, adjusting his collar and clearing his throat. He removes his helmet, revealing a face glistening with sweat. Then he steps into the elevator. Jack watches the elevator doors shut then sits back in his chair, overlooking his masterpiece from the window and laughing to himself.

***

Meredith continues through this amusement park modeled town with the bear hugged close. They pass by a game area, in which small groups of people huddle together in the darkness, warily trembling and chattering. “I still say we put these mooks out of their misery and take what we can. Do what you can to survive, princess,” the bear says.

“Buttons, you’re a stuffed animal,” Meredith says, without the slightest inflection. “You don’t need anything to survive.”

“Hey, I’m only lookin’ out for you. That’s gratitude for ya,” Buttons says.

“I think I’ll be fine without murdering anyone.”

“Kid, everyone on this rock is either homicidal or just plain crazy. They’re not gonna fork over anything just because you have a cute face. They’ll probably even try and kill ya.”

“What do you think those robot things were?”

The sound of rockets against the daytime sky barrels over the horizon as six of the colossal machines approach from the air. “I dunno. You wanna try askin’ them?”

“Not really. No,” Meredith says as she turns and runs, only to be cut off as one of them lands in front of her, throwing her off her feet. Before it can grab her, she dashes off to the side, and into one of the roller coaster subway tunnels.

“Really, kid? A subway tunnel? Why don’t you just dive into a dark alley next time with a button that says ‘easy victim’ plastered on your skull?” Buttons says.

As if right on cue, a cluster of the disturbed people begins to emerge from every imaginable crevice of the tunnel. “Where did she come from?” one of them asks.

“Her clothes aren’t shredded. She doesn’t have a drop of blood on her.”

“Do you think he sent her?”

“We need food. All we’ve had is cotton candy. She can give us food.”

As the refugees chatter among themselves, Meredith begins to slowly back away. “Cuckoo, cuckoo,” Buttons says. Suddenly, the hand of the automaton plows down into the subway staircase and blocks the exit. The tremor shakes the entire tunnel and Meredith falls over. The crowd begins to panic.

“You, girl, you must help us! She can help us! She can distract the robot! Noble sacrifice!”

“No! She can help us eat well! No more cotton candy! We need meat!”

“Back off, bums! I will bite your heads off!” Buttons protests.

They begin to close in around her, spouting all manner of insane ramblings and ravings. As a few of them lunge toward her, time slows. One of them grabs her arm and starts to pull, only to find that it stretches feet away from her body, far beyond what should be humanly possible. Then she hears the sound of a metallic clang, accompanied by the crackle of shattering bone. Her arm snaps like rubber, back into its natural form as everything unfolds before her eyes. It’s a blur as she witnesses it, but now a man with blue tinted skin stands over the refugees, the bloodied end of a sledgehammer resting on top of one of their heads. Strapped to his back is a crowbar and strapped to his waist is a machete. “Come on,” he says, grabbing her by the wrist and rushing off, further into the tunnels.

They soon come to a stop and he pauses to inspect her for injuries. “Are you all right?” he asks.

“You killed all of them,” Meredith says, staring up at him. “Even the ones that weren’t trying to hurt me.”

“Are. You. All. Right?”

“I’m fine. Who are you?”

The man takes his sledgehammer to a tunnel wall. “You can call me Grimm. Do you have any idea how hard you are to keep track of?”

“You were looking for me?”

Grimm manages to tear open a sizeable hole in the wall, revealing a sealed off door behind it. “There. How much do you know about this place?”

Meredith offers no response. After a beat of silence, Grimm relents and sighs. “Great,” he mutters. Suddenly the tunnels tremble again, but this time far more violently. Debris begins to fall and the two of them look up. “Come on.” Grim opens the door and guides Meredith through as concrete topples down from above.

***

Brandt stands atop his floating platform, overseeing the destruction of this establishment at the hands of several Hunter-Killers. The enormous walking weapons lay waste to all in their path, sending towers of smoke into the air as burning buildings, too weak to remain standing, fall victim to gravity. Roller coasters are knocked over and prize booths are stepped on as anyone left in the street is gunned down or crushed beneath the ten-ton masses of metal. “Progress?”

“No Meta Threats Detected,” the nearest Hunter-Killer responds.

Brandt sighs and sees the one Hunter-Killer with its arm in the entrance to the subway. Soon after the machine has removed itself, Brandt enters. Upon finding the fresh litter of bodies, he returns to the surface. “Review surveillance footage,” he tells the robot.

In time, Brandt stands on his platform, waiting on a holo-phone transmission. The light projection suddenly shows up, revealing Jack to be sitting here, resting his head casually against his hand. “I hope you’re calling me about something important, Brandt. I was in the middle of a delightful game of laser tag…with real lasers!”

“I think I know why the Hunter Killers haven’t been able to find the meta in this sector, boss,” Brandt says, forwarding the footage of Meredith ducking underground as the Hunter-Killer lands near her.

Jack sits forward in his seat as he observes the footage. “Well, slap my head and call me silly. Is that a child I spy with my little eye?”

“Yeah, boss,” Brandt says. “I’m not sure how it’s possible, what with the regulations and all, but—”

“Don’t be daft, Brandt. It’s just like they say back home. Life finds a way,” Jack says with an ominous laugh that churns Brandt’s stomach. “Well, it’s a good thing we know, now, right? Right.”

“There’s, uh…there’s something else, boss. The one over in sector 18 got away. They saw him come here, to 17.”

Jack frowns beneath his mask and holds the bridge of his nose. “Oh, Grimm, you annoying little show off. You really are becoming more trouble than you’re worth. And that platoon of idiots isn’t helping. Brandt, do me a favor and kill a couple of them for me the next time you see them, would you? Thanks. Anywho, much work to be done! Happy Hunting!” Jack cuts the transmission, leaving Brandt there to oversee the chaos beneath him.

***

Meredith lies in a sleeping bag; staring at a wall past Buttons as the little bear sits there. Grimm works on resealing the wall concealing the door, having left her to her thoughts. “I dunno, kid. The guy makes sense to me. He sure knows how to stay alive,” Buttons says.

“He killed all of those people.”

“Ah, c’mon! Did you miss the part where he said this was some kind of prison planet? They probably all had it coming, anyway.”

“Wouldn’t that also mean he has it coming? He wasn’t born here. He’s too old.”

“Then you can snuff him out if he becomes a problem! Easy fix.”

“I’m not killing anyone, Buttons.”

“Wake up and smell the roses, kid. You’re on a planet of psychotics and murderers! Screw decency! It’s all about survival. And what do you care? You see dead chumps all’a time. He said he’d show you how to get a better handle of your little ‘gift’. I say he’s a sucker. It’ll make getting rid of him a snap if you ever need to.”

Meredith turns and stares up at the ceiling. “He said with the help of a few more people like us, we could stop this ‘Jack’ person from destroying everything. How many more do you think there are?”

“Who cares? Get some sleep, kid. I’ll wake ya up if there’s trouble.”

Meredith glances to the side where Grimm works on resealing the door. Then she turns over and closes her eyes.
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