Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wither The Vain: Wicker Man Part 1

The Bastille

Nothing draws attention like an old man wandering through a rave.

Unless, of course, no one in attendance is remotely coherent. Then things get fun.

The lights flashed and burst and darted past me, smeared across my eyes. No sign of Miss Geri. Apparently the Warden wanted to be fashionably late to her own party.

But I wasn't here for the hostess, as much of a delightfully depraved piece of ass as she was. I had a job to do.

Business before pleasure, I always say.


They swung open the gates for Miss Geri and me, fighting to hold back the crowd of uninvited guests. The crowd parted for us as I made my way to the bar with Miss Geri on my shoulder. I thumped the bar twice and held up two fingers.

A glass of rum and a fifth of whiskey slid down the bar.

There were perks to being rehabilitated.

I scooped up our drinks and lifted Miss Geri's up to her.

"Thank you Christoph."


I spun the cap off of my whiskey and pounded it back, before slamming the empty bottle back down onto the bar.



"Time to get this thing moving."

We cut through the crowd once more, the sea of bodies parting around us. I made it to the wall and lifted Miss Geri up to the gibbet hanging from the ceiling. She slipped inside, adjusted her wide-brimmed cap, and straightened her pleated skirt, before beginning her speech.

"Ladies and gentleman."

Several voices answered in cheer. She rapped her riding crop on the cage bars.

"Get the hell out of here. This party's for the low-lifes, the deviants, and the subverts."

Everyone cheered this time. But no one was moving for the doors.

I assisted them.

Vines exploded from my fingertips and snaked through the crowd, seeking the ladies and gentlemen Miss Geri held such disdain for. They split as they raced along the floor, each strand seeking another body. They were caught around the ankles or captured around the waist as my viney fingers constricted around them.

I hefted them into the air, dangling them before me.

"Miss Geri said you should get the hell out. Now go."

I flung them at the gates. The regular bouncers opened the gates and threw them through.

"Much better. You know, people think that because this is the entertainment district, everyone's invited everywhere. But this is still my home. This is where the bad folks used to live."

A symphony, a chorus, a thousand birds chirping at once. Always surprising to see so many admit it.

"We may be the entertainers, but we're still the prison. I'm still Warden. And we're still where the bad folks live. Am I right?"

The room echoed with stuttering music and the screams of Miss Geri's guests.

"This is the Bastille, my fiendish ones! This is my private club. No one controls what happens here. No one cares. Now are we going to enjoy ourselves?"


"Are we going to enjoy each other?"


"Are we ever going to stop?"

"I sure to hell hope so."

No one would dare.

An old man with spiderwebs for hair and a moss mat of black stubble stood in the middle of the crowd. He grinned and winked at Miss Geri, hands buried in the pockets of his black denim jacket.

"Wither. What a surprise. I thought we were a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah."

"Don't flatter yourself. They were a lot more fun than your prison themed freakshows."

Miss Geri sniffed at that, hands on her hips, sneering down at the old man.

"I've had enough of you Wither. I am quite tired of your mouth."

"That's a first."

Enough. Too much.

Swept aside Miss Geri's guests and kicked the old man. A broken doll. He slammed against the wall and several bones snapped.

"Nice. Who's the giant?"

"That's Christoph. He's your replacement."

"My condolences. I can only imagine how badly the splinters must hurt."

His skin slackened, falling to wrinkles and the meat vanished off of his bones. The old man, Wither, pulled himself to his feet, bones mended.

I drove my fist into his stomach and chest, putting him through the wall. This time I know I crushed his ribs and his sternum. His eyes sunk in and darkened. He flopped on the ground.

"Not so big now are you Wither? Gents, get him out of here."

I crossed my arms and lumbered back to Miss Geri's perch as the bouncers moved in around the old man. He was nearly a mummy now, coughing up dust, arms flailing.

"Hey, boy. You won't be the biggest tree I've ever cut down."

I turned, snarling, skin turning fully bark, every chunk of flesh fading. The bouncers were reaching for him. His hands shot out of his pockets. They were red. I could feel their heat. Forest fire.

He grabbed a bouncer with each hand and they dissolved into ash, feeding him. He struggled to his feet, stubble gone, and hair beginning to shine.


"My name is Eli."

"Christoph, wipe him and I'll call your rehab complete."

"Complete Miss Geri?"

"Yes Christoph. You'll be free."



I raised my hand, a rose growing from the tip of my finger. I plucked it and handed it to Miss Geri.

"Anything for you my love."


Anything for you? My love?

Miss Geri winked at me from behind Christoph's turned back.

That conniving whore. I knew I loved her for a reason.

I shrugged off my jacket and tossed it to a teenager wrapped in violet pvc wearing goggles as Christoph charged.

"If my jacket gets so much as a stain, it'll be your ass."

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