Title: Violent Schizophrenia
Fandom: Alan Wake/Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Genre: Torture (is that a genre?)
Characters: Mr. Scratch, Alan Wake
Word Count: 2,327
Summary: In Mr. Scratch's stories, there aren't heroes and villains. There's just him, and everyone else gets to play the victim.
Warnings and notes: Profanity, violence, blood, torture, dismemberment, discussion of women used&abused as pawns rather than people. Mr. Scratch bein' Mr. Scratch, basically. This originated as a tumblr RP between me (as toushindai, but acting as an anon) and ask-alan-wake on Tumblr!
Mr. Scratch tightens the last rope that ties Alan Wake's ankle to the leg of the chair and stands back to admire his handiwork. "Ahh… perfect," he says, a bit of a smirk coming to his face. He'd like to see his doppelganger—well, his original, but doppelganger will do—get out of this. It would take a miracle, and he knows how dangerous it is to rely on miracles here.
Alan's head rolls on his neck and he makes a sort of groan as he struggles to regain consciousness. Shouldn't be too difficult. Scratch didn't hit him that hard. Just enough to dizzy him up a little. He looks up at Scratch, squinting in an effort to focus his gaze. Scratch puts on a dazzling smile. "G'morning, sleepyhead. Good to see you. I mean that. I like seeing you like this. Now instead of just being a pathetic loser who doesn't take what's in front of him, you're literally powerless."
His grin widening, Scratch pats Alan's cheek lightly. "I know you don't know what's going on yet, but don't worry. I'm gonna take my time. We're gonna have some real fun together, you 'n' me."
Alan tries to straighten and then winces from the pain in his head. Scratch sees his eyes focus on the ropes on his wrists. But rather than struggling, he just looks back up at Scratch. The smirk he tries to form doesn't come as readily to his face as it does to Scratch's, especially since his head must be pounding. But the intention is clear. "This won't work," he says, his voice a bit slurred. "Huh. All you do is talk. If you had the guts to go through with something like this, you'd've done it a long time ago."
"Hah!" Darkness roils behind Scratch's eyes and he grabs Alan's hair near where he hit him. He gives it a good yank, pulling his head back, and Alan grits his teeth with a grunt. "You think I'm all talk? What, are those snuff films I'm making not getting to you? D'you need me to knock off a few more people before you get the picture? Do you think that—" He almost chokes on the next words, but he forces them out through a grim smile and twists his hand in Alan's hair to hide the stumble. "D'you think that because you're the hero of this story and I'm the villain, you're gonna get out of this somehow?"
At those words, Alan opens his eyes. But he's looking at something over Scratch's shoulder. Scratch turns—his eyes are on an old photograph of some kind of weird astronaut. It's creepy. Scratch doesn't like it, and he doesn't like the way Alan's looking at it. He lets go of Alan for a moment, strolls over to the bookshelf, and slams the frame down so hard that the glass cracks. With a scoff, Scratch turns back to his captive, tracing his hand over his own hair. If he'd had a heart, it would be pounding, and not with anticipation right now. He'd lost his cool. He takes a deep breath, and lets it out with a sigh that pulls his smile back into place. Nothing's wrong.
"Well, I've got news for you, buddy. Your typewriter's got a knife stuck in it. You don't have your precious flashlight. You don't have one single weapon, and where I come from, there's no such thing as heroes and villains."
A single long look at Alan's face and the way his eyes dart all over the study confirms that he hasn't written this. Scratch's smile grows more comfortable, and he turns his attention to the weapons he spread out on the bookshelf. How can he not smile, looking at his tools? Darkness glints reassuringly off the blades. He's itching to start. But everything has to be perfect, and he wants to go slowly. He's never wanted something so much in his entire existence.
He can hear Alan's labored breathing behind him as he contemplates the possibilities. More than ever, his knives are tingling under his fingers, blood calling for blood. It's all an echo of the chaos he was born from, back where things made sense. These humans don't seem to understand how fucking stupid it is that they're walking sacks of meat. He was birthed from something much more powerful, much more limitless. He lets his fingers settle around the handle of a santoku knife—good weight, imposing size, just sharpened. It'll do quite nicely. With a soft chuckle to himself, he hoists it into the air. "None of you get it, y'know? You people just don't have any idea what's out there. You should," he says, swinging back around to face his double, "and you think you do, but you don't. Because if you really knew what was out there, you'd piss your pants and then wish you could get a cushy job like mine."
Alan's eyes settle on the knife as Scratch waves it through the air. Then Scratch watches him look to his left, out the window, as if he expects some kind of light to come flooding in and save the day. That isn't going to happen. It can't happen. Scratch is sure of it.
Scratch laughs. It's a natural sound, just like any other man laughing at a joke. "There you go. Now you're starting to get it. You know what's coming, don't you, buddy? 'Cause we're both sadists, and you know it. There's no such thing as a writer who's not a sadist. How many people did you kill just to get our dear, sweet wife out of the darkness?" He takes a swaggering step towards Alan and leans over him. For all its other advantages, the santoku's not really a knife made for caressing, so he just rests the blade on Alan's shoulder, the edge tickling his neck. "I'm just a little more honest about it. And I have a lot more fun."
Ahh, there it is. Alan's face contorts with rage—of course it does, because Scratch mentioned Alice—and he struggles against the ropes around his wrists. "She's not your wife!" he snarls. But Scratch's shoulders merely quiver with laughter.
"She will be, though. In just a few days—once I've got you out of the picture. Ohh, man, that'll be great. I'm looking forward to seeing her lovely, lovely face." He taps the knife on Alan's shoulder, lost in the thought of Alice's shock and joy. The tears in her eyes and the feel of her body against his. The knife bounces harmlessly on Alan's dorky tweed jacket. A grin spreads across Scratch's face slowly as he returns his thoughts to the present. To his current task.
"First things first, though. I dunno about you, but I'm pretty eager to get started. See, I've been wondering… how well do you think you'll be able to write if I chop off all your fingers, huh? What do you think about that?"
Alan stiffens. His eyes go to the windows again, but whatever he thinks he'll find there, he doesn't. So he looks back at Scratch. Not at the knife. The bastard looks unamused.
"Honestly?" he says. "It sounds pretty damn predictable to me. Not to mention tedious."
Scratch stops tapping the knife on Alan's shoulder. He manages to hold onto his smirk, but just barely. His grip on the knife is tighter now. "Tedious?" he says, almost snarling. "You think so? Funny, 'cause you still look like you're about to shit yourself. But all right. Tedious."
He leans in, dangerously close to Alan's face—a face so similar to his own. But at least he's not this pathetic. He can see sweat running down Alan's temples in streams, not drops, and he can hear desperation in his breath. "Let's see if you still feel that way once I chop 'em off one by one."
Alan grimaces at his closeness. Seems he's no fonder of the resemblance than Scratch is. With a scoff, Scratch drops his attention to Alan's right hand and begins grappling with his fingers, trying to spread them out against the wide arm of the chair. Alan fights him, of course, trying to clench his hand into a fist, but a quick rap on the knuckles with the butt of the knife is all that it takes to make him cry out and loosen his grip. Clawing at his hand, Scratch gets the pinky separated out.
"Stop!" escapes from Alan's lips, not quite begging, not anything deliberate. Oh, yes, he's scared now. Scratch's grin pulls all the way up to his ears.
"Not a chance." He digs the tip of the santoku into the space between Alan's ring and pinky fingers and lets the edge rest next to his third knuckle. He's doing it. He's doing it. There's nothing to save this goddamn writer now. This is Scratch's story, and there are no heroes or villains. There's just him, and everyone else gets to play the victim.
Unable to resist, he looks boyishly into his doppelganger's eyes. God, the anticipation is almost as good as the action itself. It's never this good with anyone else.
"I heard a rumor once—you know how I love rumors. They're just such a personal thing for me. But anyway. I heard this rumor that cutting through pinky bone is every bit as easy as cutting through a carrot. There's just supposed to be some kind of mental block that keeps you from doing it."
Still holding Alan's gaze, he brings the knife down with a crunch.
"Guess I don't have that block."
Alan screams in agony—music to Scratch's ears—and jerks his whole body against the ropes. His chest heaves as he pants, his face contorted and his eyes wide with pain. Scratch drops his gaze back to the chair, to the miraculous, blood-soaked space between hand and finger. It's amazing, all the more so because it's Alan's hand and Alan's finger. "One down," he says, and he knows his grin is madder than ever. "Nine to go."
Scratch wants to dance. There's nothing that feels as good as this, as knowing that this bastard isn't as invincible as he thinks. He looks down at his doppelganger. "Not so powerful now, are you, Mr. Big-shot Writer?"
Alan wheezes, his hand shaking uncontrollably.
"Ready for the next one?"
But Alan doesn't respond. He doesn't even look up. It's like he's trying to hide in plain sight, as if that will keep the pain from reaching him. Scratch watches him and feels his face slowly falling. Doesn't he get it? Doesn't he realize that he's screwed beyond words? He kicks Alan's ankle, hard.
"Say something!" he demands, shaking the knife in Alan's face. "Aren't you going to beg for mercy?! You're a writer! Use your goddamn words!"
Instead, Alan spits at him. "I'm not begging you for anything. I'm not going to play into your story."
Scratch straightens and wipes Alan's spittle off his cheek with a bloodied hand. He's shaking—Scratch is. He's thinking of phone calls he's tried to make, of all the stupidly improbable interruptions and inconveniences that form Alan's protective barrier around those he cares about. He's remembering the way he crushed that cell phone as if it was to blame for his impotence and to remind himself that at least he had power enough to destroy. And he's reminding himself that he has a knife in his hand and darkness at his back and Alan doesn't have one goddamn thing to protect himself.
The smile that pulls across his face is more angry than pleased. But that's okay.
"You'll play into my story," he tells the writer, "or after I finish with your fingers, I go see our darling wife, and maybe I'll take a few of her fingers off too, before I fuc—"
Alan snarls. "If you go anywhere near Alice—"
He tries to erupt out of the chair, but he's tied too tightly for that. Instead it overbalances, and Alan's head slams into the floor as it falls over. The whole cabin—rickety piece of shit—seems to shake with the impact. The bookshelf teeters. Scratch's knives fall off the shelves, and the photograph with them, and as that hits the floor—Scratch freezes.
A light flashes from the frame, spreading to the far edges of the room, and it tears at Scratch's skin.
The question turns into a choked sound of pain and he recoils into the corner, where there should have been shadows to protect him. Through the white-hot glare, he can see Alan looking just as confused as he is. But the chair's hissing as the light strikes it, and it dissolves in a shower of sparks. Scratch cries out in rage. He tries to step forward, but the light pulses and rage turns to pain that drives him back into the corner. He calls for darkness to protect himself. To fight back. This isn't fucking fair.
Alan pushes himself to his feet. There's still pain on his face, but now he sends a shallow smirk in Scratch's direction. He picks up the frame, which is still screaming out light (how the hell, how the hell, photographs shouldn't do that) and points it at Scratch, eliciting another cry of agony. It's impulse, now, all self-defense and pain, that makes Scratch raise the knife he's still holding and throw it. His aim is good. It hits Alan, and he grunts and stumbles. Scratch forces a laugh through the burning—long and rude. And petty. He knows it and he hates it, hates the light, hates Alan Wake with all the vast infinity of the darkness above. But he can't stay here. With one last sneer, he lets go, and the shadows rush in to embrace him and take him to somewhere safe.