OMFG I FINALLY GOT THIS DAMN CHAPTER TYPED UP!… after like a year lol. But yes, finally an update! Hopefully it won't take me so long to update it again… after all, I do have part of the next chapter written.
Anyway, people have been asking me to update this since… well, since I last updated it xD. Understandably so, because this chapter starts a couple of anticipated subplots – Val trying to kill the Warden, and Val getting the hell out of Superjail. And now you finally get to read all about it lol.
Oh, and the chapter title is taken from Franz Ferdinand's "Ulysses" – that song works surprisingly well with this chapter xDD.
Chapter Ten: Come On, Let's Get High
When Jared and the Warden joined the two in the garden, Jacknife was looking at Val with a rather bemused expression while she stabbed a fork into the table repeatedly and muttered 'serenity now' through clenched teeth.
"We've prepared some music to set the mood," the Warden announced, and Val jammed the fork into the table so hard that everything on it moved a few centimeters from it's original position.
"Jacknife," she said, "You'd be doing me the biggest favor in the world if you took this butter knife, slid it into my eye socket, broke the back of my orbital cavity and diced my frontal lobe."
He gave her a look like she'd just been speaking Latin and she downed her glass of white wine in one shot.
"SERENITY NOW!" she shouted, starting to laugh for no apparent reason afterwards, "I hate my life."
"Come now, Val, you're scaring your date," the Warden said, leaning close to her. Jacknife seemed more bored than disturbed. "Why don't you smile for him?"
"I'd rather die."
"Okay then, sour grapes. Jacknife, why don't you give Val a nice smile?"
He just sat there, until the Warden prodded him with his walking stick, and Jacknife barely made an attempt.
"Stop it, you look like Skeletor," Val said, and they exchanged glares.
"Maybe some music will improve your moods," the Warden said, cueing Jared to start playing the keyboard.
"Hm, for an accountant he's pretty good," Val said, trying to distract herself from the idea of stabbing herself in the head.
"Come on, Val, move a little closer," the Warden started singing, motioning to Jacknife.
"Uh, no," Val replied flatly.
"'Cause you're too shy, shy. Hush, hush, eye-to-eye," the Warden continued singing and Val slammed her head into the table.
"I am never listening to that song again… Oh well, at least he's not singing 'Sex Bomb'," Val murmured.
"Did I just get a request?" the Warden asked, and Val quickly picked up her head and shook her hands wildly.
"Okay then, how about this little number/"
Jared started playing another song, and the Warden started doing what could loosely be described as a dance.
"Looooove comes down upon us until you flow like water, frooooozen with the hope of insight. Feeeeeathered - " he made a hand sign of flapping wings.
Jacknife raised an eyebrow, while Val looked seriously unimpressed. "Your choreography is as bad as your version of this song."
" – with a bright elation, stooooolen in the sight of love - "
Val rolled her eyes. "Someone shoot me."
" – Fighting our way around indecision. We are, we are ever helpless. Take us forever, a whisper to a scream."
"Can you stop singing this song? I'm about to go deaf," Val grumbled.
The Warden didn't seem to notice the remark. He had taken out a rather odd-looking pocket watch that seemed to be carved from bone, with a fob of strung human teeth, and was observing the two very twisted hands pointing to strange symbols.
Val and Jacknife glanced at it, and then looked at each other in a rather disturbed manner.
"I have to go see to something for a moment, but I'll be back in a jiff," he said happily, closing the watch with a click and re-pocketing it. "Jailbot will stay here and keep an eye on you while Jared keeps playing. Ta-ta!"
When he had left, Val sighed. "Well, at least that's over for a second. What a fucking psycho."
Then she caught a glimpse of the displeasured look Jailbot was giving her. "Uh… I was referring to Jacknife here."
They sat in silence for a while, Val twiddling her fingers while Jared started playing Gary Newman's "Cars". Finally, Val got a bit too bored.
"Jailbot, do you have a pen?"
He happily handed her one, and she started doodling on her napkin. After having penned a couple of random designs, she wrote a note and passed it to Jacknife to avoid getting on Jailbot's bad side by saying aloud what was on her mind.
'This place is seriously fucked up.'
He looked at it rather blankly, then took the pen in hand and sloppily scrawled a reply.
She looked at it, raising her eyebrows and reading it out loud. "'Yu an't sine nuttin yeet'? God, man, did you ever get past first grade? I assume this is retard-speak for 'you ain't seen nothing yet'?"
He nodded with a grunt.
"Okay, Bachman Turner Overdrive, what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
He scrawled some more.
"Atarnat deemenshun? I have no idea what – oh wait, is that 'alternate dimension'?"
"What is this? The Twilight Zone?"
He growled irritably, and proceeded to try explaining.
After spending a highly unpleasant stint of time with Alice, John was relieved to be away from her – although he had no clue where he even was at this point.
She had thrown him in a large room after she got 'bored' with their "playtime" that was like some sort of indoor jungle. He looked around at his surroundings with a sense of caution.
There was suddenly some microphone feedback nearby, and he looked up to his left to see the Warden and Alice looking down at him through an observation window some twenty feet above ground level.
"Hello, John," the Warden addressed him sinisterly through the microphone, "Welcome to Solitary Confinement, a world in of itself of unspeakable horrors."
He laughed, and John has a strong, sick feeling start to well up in his chest.
"I set this up just for you," he said, opening a pneumatic steel door about eighteen yards from John. Men in fur coats and scantily clad women in fishnet tights started to pour out slowly, dragging their feet listlessly like zombies.
"These pimps and prostitutes will be your companions for a few hours. They're either diabetics with low blood sugar or nymphomaniacs who haven't had sex in a long time. Or possibly a combination of both – I really don't remember anymore. You can piece it together. And while you do, I'm going to serenade you."
John ran a hand down his face in sheer disbelief of what was happening. "Why did I have to go and commit murder?"
"Also, I should mention, you and your companions are not exactly alone. This jungle is inhabited by the one beast that has always hunted man, even after he ascended to the top of the food chain. Have fun with that!"
John really wished he could shoot himself right now.
The Warden cleared his throat and popped in a cassette labeled 'Mix Tape: Funny Torture Mix'.
The pimps and hoes were making their way towards John, looking both sickly and seriously randy. They were still sauntering along at an incredibly slow pace, though, and he had to question whether they were really any threat to him at all.
An easily recognizable guitar riff began to play over the PA system, and the Warden began singing his rendition of Franz Ferdinand's "Ulysses".
"While I sit I hear sentimental footsteps, then a voice says 'hi, so, whatcha got, whatcha got this time? C'mon, let's get high. C'mon, Lexx, oh, whatcha got next? Oh, you walk twenty-five miles, oh. Well, I'm bored; yes, I'm bored. C'mon let's get high! Well, I found a new way, well, I found a new way. C'mon, don't amuse me, don't need your sympathy. La la-la-la-la Ulysses. I found a new way, well, I found a new way, baby."
John was a little busy remembering at the moment that hypoglycemia causes extremely violent behavior in people with it, as the hoes and pimps decided they wanted to try to claw him to death, when the Warden decided to ask him, "How are you doing in there, John?"
John didn't answer, obviously, since he was engaged in shoving slutty women away from him to run into the jungle before him, in an attempt to lose the group of psychos. What he wasn't counting on was running straight into a tiger…
"Fuck!" he shouted, getting pretty annoyed with the situation.
"What's wrong, man?" the tiger asked in a mellow voice.
John stared at it. Granted, this shouldn't have bothered him, considering the other bizarre stuff that happened here, but he was rather bewildered. "Um… did you just talk to me?"
"No duh, idiot. Who else is here?"
"Oooookay," he replied, barely comprehending what the hell was going on. "
"So, you gonna tell me what's wrong?"
"Uh, yeah, I'm about to be killed by a bunch of people, for no apparent reason."
"Hm, that sucks," the tiger replied, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "I got some friends nearby who might be able to help."
He led the man through the jungle to a gathering of tigers, sitting around in a circle laughing hysterically at nothing.
"Hey," he said to them, and they almost didn't notice his arrival. "I have something for you to do."
"Whaddya mean?" one asked, "We're already doing something… Dropping some X."
They collectively bust out laughing again, and it was pretty obvious to John they'd recently been hitting from the bongs that were scattered all around the clearing.
"Nah, c'mon, we gotta go. There's some people hanging around, we gotta eat 'em."
"What about him?" another asked, motioning to John with a paw. "He's people. Why don't we just eat him?"
"That wouldn't be cool, man. He needs our help."
"Yeah, yeah, okay. I got the munchies, anyway. Then maybe he can pass the bong with us!"
The tigers collectively agreed, and John just wondered what the fuck was up with this place.
Satisfied with the scene unfolding before him, the Warden continued his song. "Am I Ulysses? Am I Ulysses? No, but you are now, boy. You're so sinister, you're so sinister, but last night was wild. Well, what's the matter there? Feeling kinda anxious? Feeling that hot blood grow cold? Yeah, everyone and everybody knows it. Yeah, everyone and everybody knows it, everybody knows I – la la-la-la-la Ulysses. Well, I found a new way, well, I found a new way, baby. Oh, then suddenly you know you're never going home…"
After having disappeared for a while, the Warden returned to the garden to sing for Val and Jacknife for yet another two hours, while Val resisted the temptation to drown herself in her bowl of soup. When he finally excused them from the table, Val exited the garden in quite a hurry, heaving a sigh of relief as she got into the corridor, heading back to her quarters. "That was the longest night of my life," she said, shaking her head.
Weary from the overkill at dinner and Jacknife's LSD-induced-sounding explanation of the strange things that tended to occur at Superjail, she couldn't have been gladder to step into her office and let the door close heavily behind her. That is, until she saw John, who was sitting on the edge of the chaise lounge, with Gary stitching a gash on his forehead.
"Jesus H. Christ, what the fuck happened to you, man?" Val said, her tone sounding like a cross between horror and surprise.
Gary tied the tread and held it tight while Bird snipped it with her beak.
"Not much," John replied casually, getting up and shuffling over to her. "I was attacked by hypoglycemic pimps and hoes, and then got into a ill-fated game of 'bong football' with a group of drug-using tigers."
She raised an eyebrow, obviously not following him at all. "Um, okay." After a moment of looking him over, she gathered her thoughts. "God, what on Earth happened down there? You're all bloody!"
"Well, never get locked up with hypoglycemic nymphos."
"Oh, John," she sighed, not impressed with his cool attitude towards the situation. She wanted to give him a hug, but she was afraid to, considering he appeared to be in pretty bad shape. "I can't believe they did this to you."
He smiled. "You're such a caring gal. You don't belong here."
"No, no one belongs here. We have to get out of this place."
"We will. Someday."
"I won't stand for this anymore," she said decidedly. "Come on, we're having a meeting."
Without answering, Val took John by the hand and pulled him out the door. They walked down to the Warden's office, meeting Jared just outside.
He didn't need to know what was on her mind to have an idea where this was going. "Valerie, I don't think it's wise to - "
She drug John inside, summoning her most authorative tone. "Warden," she said, "This man is my bitch."
"What do you mean, 'bitch'?" John said, offended to some extent.
"Shut up, John," she answered, and he let it go. "He's my friend and my right-hand man. I won't have you, or anyone else, treat him like dirt anymore."
"Valerie," both the Warden and Jared said in unison.
"No, I've heard enough of your reverse-logic; I don't care what you think of him, he's sticking with me."
The Warden seemed unmoved, but passive. "Fine, but I maintain the right to do what I see fit."
"Yeah, you'll see fit to leave him alone," she said nastily, leading John back out of the room.
When they'd gone back down the corridor, Jared spoke. "You took that quite well, sir."
"I'll have to think of something, Jared," he said, and though Jared had no idea what he was thinking, he agreed.
Val led John back to her quarters, where she had him lay down on the chaise lounge and covered him with a blanket. "You get some rest, John. I'll be back in a bit."
"Where are you going?"
"To find something to drink. I'll be back, you just rest. Gary will look after you, right, Gary?"
He nodded a yes.
"Sleep well, John. I'm going to make sure no one so much as touches you again."
He didn't reply, just closed his eyes and got comfortable. She gave Gary a fatigued look. "Take good care of him while I'm out."
He smiled and patted her on the shoulder reassuringly.
She turned to the door, exiting without another word, and walking off down the corridor.
Val recalled hearing something about a bar the Warden had built that got washed out and they abandoned it. There was probably some liquor there somewhere that she could salvage.
She entered Superbar, not surprised by the bar stools littering the floor, along with rotting sea creature corpses.
Picking up the cleanest bar stool she could find, she set it upright, grabbing whatever bottles hadn't been destroyed by the tidal wave of water that nearly drowned everyone, and sat down.
"Ooh, absinthe, hoorah," she said unenthusiastically, deciding to down what was left in the bottle.
"Hey, hey, drink me next," one of the bottles said, and she barely reacted.
"A talking bottle of liquor, how quaint," she muttered, drinking it like it had asked. "It's too quiet in here."
Suddenly the liquor bottles she had lined up on the bar began to sing together. "Wine is fine, but whiskey's quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor. Take a bottle, drown your sorrows, then it floods away tomorrows."
She downed another bottle, starting to feel pretty good.
About half an hour later, Val was swaying back and forth on the bar stool, singing an Alice in Chains song.
"I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile of them bones."
"Why are you moping about?" came a familiar voice, and she turned with a start.
The Warden's father gave her a discerning look. "Well?"
"What do you mean? You're a ghost, you know everything," she laughed drunkenly.
"I'm not omniscient," he replied in an aggravated tone. "What are you doing getting inebriated? You should be doing something about that moronic son of mine."
"Like what?" she asked stupidly, "And why?"
"You want to leave, don't you? Why don't you get him out of the picture, huh?"
"Hmm," she said, "I dunno."
"Come now, you know you want to. It will be easy, just take this axe."
"Uh… Okay?" Val said, taking the axe and going to stand… but falling face-first into the floor.
"You may want to take this pot of coffee and drink it first."
A little while later…
It was amazing how much a pot of black coffee and the thought of killing someone can sober you up. Val, now nearly back to normal, walked through the hallway with the axe over her shoulder and a candle in her hand. The Warden's father had given her directions to his living quarters, and she was slowly making her way there now.
Although she didn't believe in killing anyone for any reason, the Warden's father had made a valid point. Maybe killing him was the only way out.
When she found the door, she carefully opened it and crept inside, the candle illuminating the walls eerily as she passed. She came to the end of his bed, pausing to make sure he was asleep, then walking up alongside. She set the candle down, watching for any reaction, then slowly wrapped her hands around the handle of the axe.
The Warden was dead asleep, a smile on his face as he lay there peacefully.
Val looked at him for a long time, then began to raise the axe. The blade glimmered in the candlelight, and she could feel the sudden heaviness in the air, her adrenaline beginning to pump… She was really about to kill someone…
Val was about to let the blade drop, taking a deep breath and becoming increasingly aware of the forces of gravity at work, as the axe began to feel heavier.
This was it…
"I can't do it," Val said aloud, lowering the axe, "I can't kill someone."
"Val? What are you doing here?" the Warden asked, sleepily rolling over to face her.
Startled beyond belief, Val dropped the axe, nearly falling backwards she was so startled.
"Uh, uh – I was, uh – after a, um, rat! A big, old, ugly rat! It ran into your room and I came in to kill it," she hoped that excuse actually made sense.
"Val, you didn't have to do that – Jailbot will take care of it," he chuckled, too asleep to be disturbed by the idea of a rat in his room. "Silly Val."
"Oh, okay. Guess I'll be going then." She grabbed the candle and axe, and quickly started for the door nervously.
Val nearly dropped the candle she was so nervous. "Yes?"
"Good night," she replied, darting out the door and leaning against it heavily when it closed. "God, what was I thinking?"
The next day…
Even though John had quite the ordeal the night before, he insisted the three of them – and Bird – go somewhere they could truly be alone and relax. Gary and Val had reluctantly agreed, wondering whether he was really up to it. They'd walked around a bit, trying to decide where to go, when John suggested they head to the meadow Val had described to him once, with the carnivorous sheep, suggesting the rowboat would be a nice place to hang out. They'd agreed, against their better judgement, and headed to the meadow. The sheepzilla showed little interest today in the prey passing through their meadow, seeing as they were chowing down on what appeared to have been a cow and John was jumping around, acting like a giddy psycho despite his injuries. They boarded the rowboat, pushing off from the shore, lounging lazily in the sunshine, talking about the night before.
"I don't know what I was doing. I must have been out of my mind," Val said, shaking her head. "I mean, I hate the guy, but I still don't want to kill him. Now I'm worried about running into that ghost again; he talked me into it."
"Well, I know one thing: I never want to hear 'Ulysses' again," John said, apparently very comfortable in the boat, stretched out with his arms behind his head and his eyes closed.
"I can't believe they did that to you. I'm so sorry, John," Val said miserably and John shook his head.
"I'm fine now. Let's just focus on this nice, sunny afternoon."
"If you say so," Val said. "But I can't help but think he was right… what if that's the only way out, having to kill them?"
"Alice would be the biggest problem," John said casually. "Don't worry about it, Val. Try to relax. We came out here to get away from our troubles, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," she answered.
"We'll find a way out," he said.
Then a massive Orca whale came up out of the water and swallowed the boat whole.
SERENITY NOW! – LOL that is definitely one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes ever xDD.
Don't even ask me what the hell was up with solitary confinement; I really have nooo idea what the hell I was originally going for with that, although it was inspired by the Gimp code from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas… how I got that out of hordes of hookers propositioning one man for sex is beyond me lolol. I also don't remember what inspired me to use "Ulysses", either… I wrote this so long ago, I don't know anymore xD.
And, now all of you who wondered what was up with the illustration of Val with the axe, now you know lol.
Well, that's it for now. Let me know whatcha think!