Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Whiskey-Fueled Melodrama

I wrote this to illuminate something a character I play in a MUD is going through, but I think it can stand on its own too, so I decided to post it here. It is, as the title suggests, rather melodramatic -- which here can be taken as a kinder way of saying "emo." There are some world-specific location references, but everything you need to know about those locations is provided in the story, so you really aren't missing anything by not knowing the setting. You probably don't need to know why he has blood on his clothes, either, which is good because that's a very very long story.

Even though it was written as part of roleplay, it was also deliberately intended to work as a standalone story. Which makes this the first short story I've ever written! So, hooray! I'll find a cake and balloons or something.


Fuck it, I'm staying up.

Demens pulls himself away from the man in his bed, trying not to look at him. He moves toward the wardrobe and gets as far as throwing it open before remembering that all of his things are at the Crossroads. The clothes on the floor will have to suffice. He's been through hell and back, he may as well look it. Most of the blood got on his armor, but even without it there are stains.

Down in the smoking room, he ignores the stares. He's not here for fellowship, he's here for liquor. That's the opposite of fellowship, isn't it? Blacked out memories and ornery mumbling aren't great for making friends. He orders a glass of whiskey and takes a long drink. It's the same brand served at the Crossroads, which lends it some familiarity. The reminder isn't entirely welcome, though -- that place is a shithole.

Despite the unpleasant associations, the drink is gone in minutes. As he sets it down and settles a gaze upon it, the empty glass proves to be a puzzle for Demens. He can go back up to bed, but he'll just lie there -- he won't rest easy. But where else can he go? A frustrated grimace settles on his features, remaining there for an eternity of a moment before it melts with a resigned sigh and he orders another drink. It can wait. Well, actually, it really can't wait, but the whiskey can help him forget that for a little while longer.

He's a little annoyed when he hears the deep tolling of bells. Even at this distance and through the walls, he's keenly aware of that reminder offered by the clock tower overlooking the Crossroads. He'd rather not acknowledge the hours, and just let them pass by without ceremony. Isn't that easier? Time could just as well be measured by counting glasses of whiskey. For instance, it is now two glasses, on the dot, but the hour has already begun ticking into number three. Actually, there might be something to this new system -- it seems to be much better at indicating the state of his world than any clock.

But despite his silent, addled protests, the bells ring. Most people, he muses, would hear the five chimes and tell him that the sun must be rising soon, because it's nearly time for daybreak. And he would shake his head, brandishing his half-empty glass at them for emphasis as he explains that the past is no model for the present, and the sun may just as likely turn around and fall back the way it came, even if it shined without fail every day before that. He's seen things which are just as certain fail just as spectacularly, and he would not be surprised to see it again.

He's proven wrong, though. As he eventually stumbles through the foyer toward the staircase up, the blithe sun mocks him. Ignoring it, he trudges up to the room to rejoin his lover in bed. Out of habit, he slips his arms around Tamas' form as he glances around the relatively sparse room. He's been sleeping there regularly, but he still hasn't moved in any of his things. He suspects that he'll never really get around to moving out of the Crossroads.

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