Longer Tales

Employee of the Century

Izzy (gatorhug.tumblr.com) and I collaborated on this one. We are both very proud of it. She’s a writer as well, go give her stuff a read!

Your hands wander aimlessly down the front of your dusty workclothes, fiddling with the cold black buttons that run down the entire length of your torso. Your eyes aren’t fixed so much on what they were doing, rather, across the shop to the wall-mounted security television. There wasn’t much to do in Bobo’s shop. You were used to it by now. Many a day had been lost to sitting at the counter and watching the security feed of yourself, sitting at the counter.

There hadn’t been many anklebiters lately, here to pick up new cases of salve. Come to think of it, there hadn’t been much of anyone. There was an air of unease and dread that you couldn’t quite put a finger on.

Before you could slump down in your seat behind the counter, the bell that hung above the door to the shop jingled and a lanky, pale man walked through the doorframe, adorned with cloth over both of his eyes. Two small black buttons have been sewn over the cloth, on the places where his eyes would normally be.

He pants as he stands infront of you. A small, thin trickle of black liquid seeps out from under the blindfold. Wordlessly, he extends his arm and opens his shaking, wrinkled hand. He was clutching a scrap of yellowed paper. He stands there, like that, for several minutes. Eventually, you reach out and grab the paper. You fold it open, and read it.

“Retrieve the final prize. One child has sold 37 cases of peanut salve. He deserves the final prize. Give him the final prize. Retrieve it from the ‘vault’. Uncle Bobo is counting on you. Uncle Bobo loves you.”

You shudder. You realize you really do have to do this. After all, you signed a contract. The courier gasps softly after you fold the scrap back up and shove it in your pocket. He slumps to his knees and falls over on the ground, unmoving. You grumble to yourself as you grab your coat, and walk into the storeroom.

The door slams shut behind you with a violent wooden clap, and you’re left alone in the dark. You fumble for a light switch on the wall behind you, only to find that it no longer exists. In fact, upon backing up, the door through which you entered is no longer there.

“Hey! quit messin’ with me!” A single bead of sweat runs down your neck and into a shirt collar that felt much looser than before. The words garner no response of any kind.

You scoff. “Psh. I ain’t no candy ass.” You sure as shit aren’t going to freak out in the middle of the place you WORK at. You’re as straight as a die, and uncle Bobo knows this. You’re the most loyal worker a boss could ask for.

Carefully placing one foot in front of the other, you maneuver your way through the caliginous room, kicking and cursing at the cardboard boxes you stub your toes on, loaded with all the shitty artifacts Uncle Bobo made you sell. Surely, a switch existed somewhere in the godforsaken storeroom. You feel foolish, reaching out and grabbing the air before you, in desperate search of a chain to pull.

You stop for a moment to think, picking your brain for a logical location to put a lightbulb. the floorboards beneath you creak as you lower yourself onto a nameless box of useless trinkets. The cold draft in the room blows one side of your uniform, causing it’s thin fabric to flap idly against your chest. Annoyed, you reach down to fix it, only to find that two of the uppermost black buttons are completely missing. A deep sigh echoes into the poorly insulated room, and you begin doing the mental math on what a tailor would cost you in this town. In fact, there’s a lot on your mind.

A sort of metallic jingling is heard far off, and you sit up straight, feeling the cardboard underneath you crack and crinkle with the weight.

You hear the click of the lock as another presence enters the room. You shiver a little. Did it just get colder? The hairs on your arms are standing up. You’re sweating. It’s not cold. It’s hot in this room. So very, very hot.

You fall back on the cardboard box, shivering. You catch a faint whiff of peanut sauce as your elbow knocks over a small bottle of the stuff, which shatters on the ground. Your stomach turns. You lick your lips. Everything tastes like peanut sauce.

You hate the stuff.

You stand back up, nervously pacing around. Peanut sauce. The air smells overwhelmingly like peanut sauce. You stop breathing through your nose. You can taste the oily flavour in the air you breathe.

You stumble in the dark, and knock over another box. Ceramic shatters and you hear a faint hiss of musty old air, decades under pressure, escape the now-broken Mickey Mouse statue you just destroyed. It smells like peanuts.

You vomit on the ground. Peanut sauce. You claw at your arms, hoping to draw blood. Peanut sauce. Your head hurts so bad. You grind your teeth. Your head feels like it’s trying to split open. They’re not goddamn nuts. They’re fucking legumes. Peanuts are not nuts. Peanuts are not nuts.

You repeat the phrase to yourself in your head. It soothes the headache a little, but at this point you are doubling over in nausea. You wipe your mouth, clench your teeth, and try to remember the depot worker manual.

You reach into your pocket, and pull out the small vial in it, along with the Uncle Bobo Funsyringe. You blindly inject the liquid into your right arm, hoping to god you found a vein and aren’t squirting the stuff straight into your muscles.

You sigh deeply. Deep breaths. After sixty seconds, you dare to inhale through your nose again.

Air. Fresh, clean air. Well, as fresh as it gets, what with Uncle Bobo’s gift depot being located underground.

You stand back up and grasp around in the dark, hoping to find that familiar rusty chain. After some more stumbling and barely-concealed swearing, you finally find it, and pull it. The lights go on, and you cast your eyes on the full glory of Uncle Bobo’s Prize Depot.

Marble Ocarinas. Forbidden Baseball Cards. Cases of dextroamphetamine. There is a certain air of greatness to the depot, despite all the prizes being rather useless baubles. Sometimes you wonder why those kids even attempt selling cases of salve for all this dross, but when you look at the depot itself, you realize just how cool this all would look if you were a kid.

You cough a little from the dust as you move some boxes around. You just realized you have no idea where to look for this “final prize”. You walk past a crate full of live monkeys as you ponder what to do.

There was very little to no indication of what half the shit in the room even was if you couldn’t see it straight away. An endless gallery of boxes, stacked sloppily in row upon row extended forever. You’d all but stopped looking around, eyes plastered to your feet as you wandered. You thought about the time you may spend in here. Alone. Enough “food” and “water” to keep you alive for months, but not a single reason to do so.

No point in sitting down either. Any of the unstable boxes could contain a lethal dose of peanut salve, and you’d already had a close run-in with death. You ran your fingers over the red bump on your arm where the Funsyringe went in, and slowed to a leisurely pace. If you were going to be here for months, you would be here comfortably. Another cool breeze blew in from above, rustling the rough fabric of your workclothes.

You smoothed it all out and muttered unkind words to Bobo and the hideous elves that built his shitty gift shop. Couldn’t be bothered to patch the holes in the storeroom ceiling. Couldn’t be bothered to fix much of anything. Always profit before his workers. That was Bobo as you knew him best.

The breeze arrived once more, and along with it came a realization.

There was no “cold breeze” beyond the roof. The storeroom was almost entirely underground. In fact, looking through the cracks in the roof, a brilliant blue sky made itself quite pronounced.

Complete and total astonishment washed over your acne ridden face. Compared to the hell you’d been put through, it all seemed quite wonderful. But to the sky, you were just an animal, trapped beneath a few planks of wood, 6 feet away from freeing yourself. It seemed to feel bad for you. It muttered, in a baby-ish and degrading tone, about how long it had taken you to realize what was above.

You, of course, couldn’t hear it speak.

You huff and puff as you push a few boxes together, hefting them up onto one another to make a ramshackle staircase to the ceiling above you. They clink and crash as you manhandle them, feeling a smug satisfaction as you listen to the delicate trinkets inside shatter. Only for a moment were you concerned about keeping your job. But, upon thinking about the likelihood of living through this labor, this concern completely evaporated.

It seemed as though the wood above your head would give way with some force, the planks flimsy, riddled with holes. You scramble up the boxes of shattered gadgets, trying to reach the top of the perilous tower before it topples under your weight. It sways uneasily as you approach the top, slowing to a crawl, breathing in the fresh air that filtered through the many mouths of the rotten wood.

Without caution, you throw your fist into the wood and it gives way, splinters arcing out in every direction. Cool air rushes in from above, blowing your hair back from your face and swaying the tower of boxes. The void left by your hand is massive, giving you a much larger clearance than you ever would have needed. But there appears a problem. The surface is still a ways away, and it appeared as though the hole you’d put through the ceiling was in the middle of some sort of steep crater.

Just as you go to climb back down, a frayed rope falls from over the lip of the crater and dangles just a few feet above your head. Just out of reach. It jiggles, whipping back and forth excitedly as though the thing holding it above you couldn’t wait a moment.

You take a deep breath, the last smell of the god-awful mildew of the storage room already a fading memory. You feel the cardboard crunch beneath your sneakers as you crouch, and with a pounce, you soar a good height up to the ceiling and catch the rope with your hands. You can’t help but smile devilishly as the boxes crash and crumble down beneath you, the sound of shattering glass and zero OSHA compliance music to your ears. The entity that holds the rope doesn’t seem to give, barely phased by the sudden change in weight.

You return your gaze to the surface, still intrigued by what could possibly be out there. The dirt walls that surround you as you ascend slowly recede from your vision, giving way to a perfect, cloudless sky.

You are finally hefted up and into a patch of thick grass, your eyes still glued to the beautiful atmosphere of the place. Breathing normally once more, no more peanuts, no more mold, no more dust. You sit up.

“Gee, I thought I was fucked! Thanks buddy.” You turn to smile at the entity that pulled you out, only to find the end of the rope already receding into the treeline.

You stand on solid ground for the first time in minutes, appreciating for a moment how good the grass feels as it brushes against your ankles. Birds hum a tune off in the brush. The sun shines down warmly, but not hot enough to singe the skin. It all seems quite perfect. Too perfect, in fact.

The deep breathing and mood of relaxation drew back like a tide, revealing a deep, unnatural-ness about the grassy meadow you found yourself in. A perfect ring of trees surrounded you on every side, tight and oppressive foliage staring you down from a distance. They cast no shadows. Beyond that, a single skyscraper, painted in greys and blues, seemed to punch through the atmosphere and ascend beyond view.

And in the ground behind you, was a rectangular hole, an odd reminder of the world you’d come from. Kneeling down and looking into it, you could still see the aftermath. All the broken boxes, viscous liquids spilled out and running in between the floorboards. What concerned you more, however, was the view of the ceiling you’d punched through from above.

A pristine wooden coffin, a name belonging to that of your father etched in a gold panel on the front. And a hole, blasted through carelessly, looking down at the mistakes you’d made.

The air was no longer loose and free, instead settling like fine metal powder in your throat. The birds rhythm repeated redundantly. The trees did not sway with the wind, every leaf standing perfectly still, just as you were.

You nervously stand up. You feel lost, so very lost. The trees stretch out for miles and miles, and you have no idea where to even begin.

So, you walk to the north. At least, you think it’s the north. You loudly curse uncle Bobo for leading you into this mess. What was that guy’s DEAL?

You’re startled out of your thoughts when you notice the markings on the trees. Odd sigils are carved into the bark, with tree sap still dripping in perfect, straight lines from the deep wounds. You listen closely to the howling wind. You can hear the faint sound of animals running away, little legs skittering on the ground in a desperate attempt to escape SOMETHING.

You turn around, and decide that it’d be best to walk the other way. Just a gut feeling.

You walk for twenty minutes or so, trying to calm yourself with breathing exercises half-remembered from the depot worker manual. You close your eyes, as if it’d help. In the darkness behind your eyelids, you see swimming shapes from beyond the stars, visions of a dark and troubled past within this universe.

It’s not very soothing.

You snap your eyes open, and see in front you a small, featureless food truck. You cautiously wander over to it, and a familiar and tantalizing smell hits your nose.

Hollandaise sauce. You skipped your lunch break today, and it’s dawning on you that the amount of hollandaise sauce in your body has been dropping fast ever since. The familiar eggy smell hits you like a train. You need some of it. Fast.

You peer into the truck. No one sitting at the wheel. You walk around, to the counter. A plain-looking, if a little chubby, middle-aged man looks at you expectantly with a warm, friendly smile.

You smile back quickly, nervously, and hold up a ten dollar bill.

You order a large drinking cup full of hollandaise, and a small packet of fries to chase it down with. The man nods.

“I know how you feel, buddy.”

You look around, over your shoulder, trying to figure out what he’s talking about. No answers in sight.

“You know. About hollandaise.”

You are still completely baffled, but he seems to have already moved on. You break eye contact, feigning a cough into the crook of the arm that wasn’t holding the paper. He stares at your ten dollar bill, and gingerly folds it up and puts it in his pocket.

He turns around and starts whisking molten butter into the egg yolk and vinegar mixture. Oh my god, it smells so amazing. You nervously stammer out, just in case, that your body doesn’t tolerate peanuts.

“I know.” He winks.

You notice that the birds are not singing anymore. You don’t care. You are practically vibrating with excitement. You are so, so very hungry. The man turns back around, and pushes a soda cup full of thick, creamy, pale-yellow sauce to you. The liquid inside remains perfectly still as he slides it over to you.

Without waiting for your fries, you take off the top and start scooping out handfuls of the mildly acidic tasting goop, shoving it in your mouth. You are at peace with reality right now. You can feel your blood sauce level soaring up. The terrifying visions swimming in front of you everytime you close your eyes start to lessen in intensity. The trees lean in close to the grove you stand in. You can feel a warmth radiating from them, one of acceptance, happiness.

Frankly, it’s all making you feel a little uneasy. Things are not supposed to go this well. Not in YOUR life. You’re not here to feel happy, you’re here so a bunch of snot-nosed anklebiters get their shipments of deadly weaponry every time they sell some congealed fat to their neighbours, claiming it promotes hair growth and that it can make you fly.

Screw those kids. Screw uncle Bobo. You are right where you want to be.

A few words came from a distance, falling over you like flakes of snow. they trailed off in an instant. “So, stay safe.” Were the only ones that registered.

You open your eyes, and you are lying in the softly rustling grass. The food truck is gone.

No incentive to sit up existed in this moment. You are perfectly comfortable, lying in the grass, listening to the breeze whispering through the leaves of the trees. It is all quite clear. The shapes were all but gone when you closed your eyes now. Every muscle in your body seems to fold over into itself, melting down into a puddle of flesh and bone, feeling the soil sucking at your skin. Relaxed. At one with the earth. So much so, in fact, that the whispers of the trees became audible.

“The Prophet accepts their fate.”

You find you can’t move your head.

“Make way!”
“Make way!”

“Make way for the heir to the throne of the BoBoVerse.”

“The Prophet arives.”

Their whispers were accented heavily, every syllable a punch, even in their quiet cadence. There was a deep urgency, even excitement hidden. More trees joined in, commanding the human that laid heavy on the earth.

“Make way!”
“Make way!”

“Make way for the heir to the throne of the BoBoVerse.”

“The Prophet arrives.”

You did not heed their warnings, and without so much as a second of notice, the trees split and create a line that seemed to extend for miles. The noise of the foliage moving all at once was uproarious, if only for a short period. The grass blew over this new strip of land as though it had always been there. And beyond this new lane of flat land was a skyscraper, its bottom now clearly visible to you.

A feeble attempt to sit up is made once more, only to find that the thick grass has wrapped itself around you tightly. There doesn’t seem to be hostility in the air. Just a sense of delirious excitement emanating from the sap of the trees. They’re cheering now, their voices low and hoarse, scraping along the forest floor to you.

You stop struggling, if only for the moment, and watch the long, stretch of land in front of you.

Far off in the distance, a creature emerges from the 5th floor. It is human in appearance, if only barely. It does not break the glass as it passes through it, and it does not fall when it finds there is no ground beneath it. It seems to be above these ideas.

It floats to the bottom of the tower, tenderly, as though set down by an elderly puppetmaster. His arms are outstretched, legs held together, pointing straight towards the ground. Swollen, deathly feet drag on the earth beneath him as he approaches you, slowly passing every row of trees, who growl with approval.

“Ah look, Lindsay.” A tree outstretched her branch, the wood cracking like an old joint. It points towards you. “The prophet is sprouting.” She giggles excitedly.

Your eyes dart around, frightened now more than ever at the supernatural happenings. And then you saw them. The godforsaken legumes hang just in front of you. The waffle pattern on the shell dangles only an inch from your acne ridden face, and you scream. The trees stop speaking. The creature stops approaching.

You wriggle, and the blades of grass tear, screaming like grown men as they are ripped away down the middle of your torso. They don’t bleed, but you can still feel an invisible wetness coat your chest. The trees gasp as you reach into the space above your head and tear the peanuts from their sprouts, feeling the stems they hung off of give resistance and let go before you toss them against the ground. The shells shatter as though the dirt is concrete.

You can hear them, sneering, jeering at you for rejecting your new form.

“NOT ONE OF US!” One screamed.

“A FALSE PROPHET!” Screamed another.

“UNFIT TO EXIST!”

A thunderous chorus of trees stomping. And soon, you find yourself enveloped in leaves, poking and prodding. They jab at every exposed piece of skin, seeking to destroy the false prophet of a tale that the prophet themself did not even know.

Just as a branch reached for your face, a shaking, shimmering, perfectly flat leaf dangling an inch from your eye, a sound broke through the clouds. It was piercing, deeply heavy, and rumbled and echoed through the plane as though it wasn’t completely flat.

The trees stepped away, and you saw him. The creature still stood floating, a mass of skin barely resembling a human held up by sheer force of will. He held a white conch shell that seemed dull in contrast to the gloss and shine of the nature around him. His jaw hung loosely from the rest of his face, and he spoke in a series of clicks and whistles.

“-.. — / -. — – / ..-. . .- .-. / — . / -.-. …. .. .-.. -..”

It was not english. It was hardly a language at all. But you seemed to understand it perfectly.

“.. / …. .- …- . / .– …. .- – / -.– — ..- / … . . -.- .-.-.- / … – .- -. -.. .-.-.-”

You felt compelled to stand. What must have been his jaw closed, and the flaps of skin at each corner of his face lifted a little. You came closer, finding that your feet dragged slightly as well. They left scuffs in the dirt, but the trees were too subdued by the striking appearance of the BoboMartyr to comment on this act of nature disturbance.

From a fold in his upper thigh, he produced a single orange bag. The lettering on the outside was raised like braille, but held no information for human consumption. The dots were arranged in any old fashion, every letter melded together to create a field of raised bumps with no meaning to the average creature.

“- — ..- -.-. …. / .. – .-.-.-”

You ran your hands over it, and the information rushed into you like wind into a paper bag. The letters formed in your mind.

“Bobo’s X-Treme Cheese Puffs” You moved your hands down the bag. “Produced in a facility that also handles nuts.” You shivered.

“-.-. — -. … ..- — . .-.-.-”

You close your eyes and attempt to pull the bag open. It pulses with energy in your palms. Everyone is watching. The sweat runs in rivers down your palms and seems to absorb into the bags plastic.

There is a loud crinkling as you tear open the bag at the top. A cheesy, salty smell hits you like a train, and you feel your brain whirling, trying to make sense of what is happening. You can’t seem to identify what kind of cheese these puffs have in them. It can’t be cheddar, it can’t be parmesan, it can’t be anything. It’s the ultimate snack.

You eye the crowd gathered around you. Trees, all staring at you expectantly, despite not having eyes. And, of course, the BoboMartyr. Looking on towards the scene, despite its rudimentary facial features being hidden deep within its flesh. You reach your hand into the bag, and take a single puff. You stretch your arm out infront of you, as a soft breeze makes your loose uniform sway and tussles your hair.

You stand like that, for a while. Slowly moving from left to right, showing the crowd the delectable puffed corn snack you hold in your hand. It’s dead quiet. You bring the chip to your mouth. It is coloured in a very bright orange. When you look closely, you can see shapes flit across it, as if reality itself has a small, corn snack shaped hole in it.

“-.– . … .-.-.-”

You look up at the sky. It’s not night, nor day. A swirling vortex of clouds prevents you from seeing the TRUE colour of the sky. Perhaps you should be thankful for that.

“..-. . . -.. .-.-.-”

You pop the chip into your mouth, and start to chew. Your vision starts to blur, and you stumble backwards a little. You blink, and wave your hand infront of your face. It leaves a trail of afterimages behind it. The forest seems to breathe now, in perfect sync with your own breathing. The texture painted on all objects around you seems to flow away, and get replaced with a clearer, less hazy version of itself.

You start to chuckle. Maybe you’re still in the Gift Depot. Maybe you were made for the Gift Depot. Maybe, just maybe, you deserved something more. Far more. You sink on your knees, and vomit up black sludge onto the bright green grass.

You close your eyes. You can feel a thin, watery liquid running out of your eyes. You are not crying. You are not sobbing. You are just allowing it to flow out, along with your doubts and fears.

You stare hard at your eyelids. The shapes flitting past seem to slow down, for the first time in your life. You recognize some shapes already. They’re letters. Not latin alphabet, though. You have not seen this kind of script before, but it feels intensely familiar to you. You start laughing hard, orange liquid seeping out of your mouth and your eyes. You feel an intense burning sensation, as if reality itself is pushing a branding iron on your frail mind.

Eldritch voices speak inside your mind. They are trying to comfort you, trying to tell you it’s all going to be okay. Have a peanut, one says. That’ll perk you right up. You feel something squamous grab and take hold of your right shoulder.

Your eyes snap back open. You are wearing a dark blue robe, and your hair is obscured by a cowl. You see your co-workers lined up on each side of a glowing white path, frozen in time. Your head swims as you attempt to stand, wobbling and watching the faces of people you used to know sway left and right along with you. You shuffle forwards, and look at their faces. Most of them seemed complacent at worst, happy at best. You walk down the path, slowly, as it stretches out into the empty darkness.

It seems reality has ran out of co-workers. You are all alone now, walking down the path, the only visible thing in this caliginous void. The red carpet shines beautifully, even without a light source. Shadowy tendrils are grasping across the path. You gingerly step over their twirling tails, so as not to disturb them. You slow to a walk, and then to a crawl, and then to a complete stop as the power you hold drags your body down to the floor like cinderblocks.

You feel so calm. So very calm inside. Peaceful, infact. You look on towards a throne. Dark liquid seeps into your robes.

You lay down on the floor, and close your eyes. You can feel yourself speeding towards a great warmth.

Your eyes snap open. You are in the Gift Depot. In your right hand is a resealed bag of cheese puffs.

It was just as quiet as when you’d left. The security footage was different now, though. No longer were you watching yourself behind the counter, rather, you saw yourself kneeled at an empty throne in the blackest of black voids.

The door to the gift shop creaked open, and a portly man wandered in, yellowish cream dried at the corners of his lips. He was so easily recognizable.

“Hey, you.” Your voice reached across the shop and caught his attention. he turned to look at you with expectant eyes, as though he’d come looking for you. “Yeah. You. What went on back there? What was all that?”

He turned on his heels and strolled to the counter. “Look, I’m just the hollandaise boy. I shouldn’t be telling you any of this. But seeing as he isn’t listening here…”

He pulled you close. His breath reeked of egg-y vinegar and dehydration. “They want to keep you there. I don’t mean temporarily. It’s all in the prophecy.”

You shove him away from the counter. “Oh cut the bullshit! What’s with this prophecy? I just want to work minimum wage ‘til I’m 50.”

“Are you sure that’s all you want? Alright, alright, I’ll tell you. But let’s make it quick. I feel his presence.” He breathes in. He breathes out. “For centuries, the residents of the Boboverse have lived without a priest, the previous one…”

He coughed without covering his mouth.

“Uh… overthrown. It is said that a child would sell 37 cases of Salve…”

Your head drooped into your shoulders, already dreading the rest of the prophecy, awash with confusion.

“And when the day of their 3rd year of Bobo Service came,” he continued, “they would finally bridge the gap between the Humanverse and the Boboverse. They would restore order. They would become the High Priest of Peanut Sales.”

Your body slumped, and your head hit the counter, overcome completely with the long strings of time and prophecy that had come together before your eyes. Of course. All this time, all those unmarked boxes you’d sold, to friends, family, strangers. You’d seen them all in the store room. You were so blind. You didn’t even like the shit.

“No one ever sold more than one of those boxes. They’ve been watching you. The Button-Eyed Funcouncil.”

There was nothing to say. You felt as though your body were being sucked into his pupils.

“Look, I can’t say anything else. Just, try to leave before you get caught up in this mess, you don’t want anything to do with what’s up there. You’ve seen them, the way they jeer. It’s too much power, You need t-”

And the man’s entire body was sucked through the floor without so much as a trace of his body left behind. It was quick, the entire action happening with a snap of the fingers. Completely seamless too, as you watched him fall as though the plywood beneath him was without collision. It was as if he slipped through the cracks in the plywooden floor of reality.

The security footage flickered as you reached for your heart. It beat heavily, and the shapes in your mind danced and spun menacingly.

A single, time withered face appeared in the footage. it’s features were indistinguishable, but you knew exactly what it was.

“-.– — ..- / – …. .. -. -.- / -.– — ..- .—-. -.. / … ..- .-. …- .. …- . / — ..- – / – …. . .-. . –..– / .– .. – …. / .- .-.. .-.. / -.– — ..- / -. — .– / -.- -. — .– ..–..”

You look down at your hands. It was right. You’d be shunned. you were too powerful to ever go back, you’d seen too much. Surely, a human with knowledge of the Boboverse was a liability. One that was to be removed. You shiver.

“-.-. — — . / -… .- -.-. -.- / .– .. – …. / — . .-.-.- / -.-. .-.. — … . / -.– — ..- .-. / . -.– . … .-.-.-”

One half of you believed it wrong. The human world, no matter how cruel, how unfair, how filled with trickery, was where you belonged. But the other half recognized this cruelty. This trickery, this unfairness. It didn’t exist in the Boboverse. You could be a high priest. Imagine the knowledge. Imagine the power, the trees who had once scorned you now kneeling before you.

Your eyelids flickered shut, and stayed that way.

Your body disintegrated. An orange, cheesy powder was left in your wake. It lay dormant on the floor as you reappeared on the grainy monitor of the CRT television screen, adorned in a tattered robe and cape.

The hall was brilliant now, not the black you’d seen before. Reaching up to touch your face revealed a comforting truth, that your humanity was still mostly intact. Every acne spot exactly where you’d left it.

There was no one but the Martyr, floating, hung from his back like a mishandled marionette just beside the great seat. You turned to look over your shoulder at the wondrous robe and cape you wore so proudly. An “S” trapped within a diamond, coloured over with blue marker. A children’s plaything, infused with so much holy energy that it made you feel like God. A bag of cheese puffs, containing the languages of a hundred thousand dead tongues. And a single, unattended throne.

You stepped forward and climbed the stairs. The Bobomartyr’s face seemed to split, revealling a row of needle-teeth. It was a smile. You felt like you’d known him for ages.

You sat upon the throne, and looked on at all the people, lined up so quietly, so respectfully along the red carpet that led down an impossibly long corridor to where you now sat. They smiled. You smiled. And beyond them, beyond the pristine glass windows of the skyscraper, a forest full of peanut trees stood looking up at the priest, full of hate, full of malice at what they’d deemed a false prophet. Full of a lust for revenge, not a single scrap of respect for their new priest. All of it as it had been fortold. Complete power over those who had prodded, and poked, and yelled at you before. It felt nice.

It felt right.

~~~

Somewhere, within the human universe, a single human sweeps up a pile of cheese dust and sighs. Their shift begins again. A man with button eyes watches from the window.

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