Description: When Daniel Jack, the masculine private dick, goes deep undercovers, he finds himself with more than he can chew when the star of Just My Twilight Life crashes in. When a meddling succubus starts interfering, however, Daniel finds himself with more dames than he can handle. Will be able to accept a little tag team help from his greatest enemy, the Ladykiller? Find out in this unlicensed doujinshi as Daniel Jack experiences... Demon Dreaming Delights. (The cover shows our ace detective topless, his rippled muscled abs exposed, as he stands in a red-roomed boudoir, pinned to a red leather couch. Clinging on to each of his arms, nearly climbed on top of his legs, is not only the hit star of Just My Twilight Life, Honoka, but also world championship fighter Ayame Ichijo. Both are dressed in strapless red gowns, though Ayame looks -badly- off model and seems to have the exact same body type as Honoka. Hanging over him, chest pressed against his back, is Morrigan, the bat-winged succubus with the green hair, garbed in a strapless red gown. The demoness is toying and pinching his cheek, as everyone looks far too sweaty and off perspective.) (75 cents) (R-18)
I hate this city.
It never stops raining any more. The black oozes hammers in the twisted narrow streets of the dark city. It never used to rain this long. The clouds, the rain, it all was slowly killing this place. There is no color, greys against greys, mired in the monochrome city streets. The only lights are from the neon flares of intense red, blue, and green, luring the wayward night wanderings to fill their appetites within. Nobody even walks out on the streets at night, not even those fine young ladies looking to provide some company. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The name's Daniel Jack.
I'm a police detective. Right now, I'm on the trail of a killer, a thief, a crime lord. The asshole that's bringing down this city, turning into the den of vice that defiles this city. My job is to clean it up. Brighten this place out. And this city would be just fine, if it wasn't for this criminal bastard that was rotting it within. I could fix it. I could just fix it up. I just had to find him, and give him the justice he deserves.
"We got the joint cased, Daniel."
Jerry sits next to me in the old Ford Model 18. I'm sipping black coffee, and staring at the red and black neon sign through the window. The Spider's Web. That's where I first found her. She was a bookish, academic type; built like a brick house, but had a kind of zeal for life that was only outdone by her love of . It wasn't her kind of place. But then again, it turned out, I wasn't her kind of man. It was a better joint then; sure it had a little gambling on the side, and maybe watered down its drinks, but it was fundamentally human. It wasn't like it was now; corrupt, and a place where the local riffraff can kick the gong around. That wasn't her crowd either, but she still came. I told her to stop, but, well, we had our differences. She knew what was good for her.
Didn't do much good for her in the long run.
"You sure the intel's good, scuzzy?" I ask him. Jerry's good. But not great, like my last partner, Brandon. Now that kid had a good head on his shoulders. Jerry? I couldn't even tell what Jerry looked like. He was just part of the shadows, the grey, the darkness. He was a man of the city, for better or for worse. "Course it's good, Daniel." He says, raising an eyebrow. "Your guy's been hanging around that joint looking for his next mark. He practically owns the place." That's all I needed to hear. I pull out my snub-nose revolver from my coat pocket. "Alright, scuzzy. Lets do it."
And we all get out of the car.
Seven other officers of the law come pouring out of the walls and the cars, the mass of grey surging through the relentless rain. Jerry kicks in the door, and we all start pouring in for the raid. The interior is what you'd expect. Ritzy lights, low jazz music, girls in grey making whoopie with boys in grey. I let the others take care of the romantic couples. Right now, Jerry and I were heading to the back. The tender, a scruffy man, goes for the doorknocker under the counter. I make my move, giving him two slugs into his chest.
I have to shoot him.
With the tender down, a scream rips through the building. I bust through the locked door, and I find the heart of the sin. The gambling, the vice, and the opium pipes. Five junkies sit around in a daze, while a chinese woman cowers, dressed in a grey qipao and babbling in her language. I scan the den, and I see dice, I see a card table, and I see four men sitting around it, making a move to their hips. "Keep it away, boys." I tell them, showing the gun my hand. They raise their hands in the air. I move towards the table, and scan it. I see what's wrong. "Got a nice game going boys." I say, as I look at the lone hand that lacked a partner. "But this is a match for five?"
"Where is he?"
I grip one of the scraggly men, staring into his eyes. He babbles, speechless, like some kind of moron. I decided to help him loosen up a bit. Slamming him into the card table, I thrust my pocket pistol into his throat. "Where is he, scuzzy?" The idiot babbles out. "Wh-who?" I draw back the hammer on my revolver.
"The Ladykiller? Where is he?"
Across the bar, amidst the sea of gray dresses and gray people of the city is a splash of red in the muck. There's a dame in a dress as red as the stoplights on the streets outside and with a cut so deep you could take a dive down it. With curves more dangerous than a mountain road, she watches the events unfold passively; curiously. A gradual sip from a whisky glass punctuates each jump in intensity in Daniel's voice.
She crosses a set of legs that go on for days and rests her elbow on the table. The woman in red leans over, her eyes following the click of the hammer and the barrel being driven in like a knife.
She brushes her long, green hair back and takes another drink.
That was it. As the scumbag sputters out, that was it. He's gone. Missed him by a minute. Just like last time. And the time before that. And the time before that. Every time, he was just out of my grips. I release the bum, and turn to Jerry. "Book 'em, and cook 'em." I leave the back room, and side up behind the counter, stepping over the dead tender. I grab a bottle of their best whiskey, and I take a swig. It was all his fault. All his doing.
The Lady Killer.
The bastard was the source of all the corruption in my city. The root of every vice, every sin, every flaw was all from the Ladykiller. The bastard lived up to his name. He murdered women in his good moods. In his worst moods... I remembered what he did to her. To Fio. It was his fault what happened. Right at this place. I take another swig, and turn around.
And then I see her.
If there was a piece of heaven that was wrapped, tied, and shipped wholesale, it was right across the bar. They say that good things come in pairs; and this dame had them. Her gams were we a work of the greek masters; her waist was made to wrap your arms around. Her hair was like the rolling green hills outside the city, perfect and trimmed. Her ass looked great too. I felt like two big balloons were holding me up as I floated across; course, it looked like she was having the same sitting there. That dress had to have been melted, and poured on her slowly to get around her curves like that. I tuck away my gun back into my pocket; a gentleman doesn't leave his gun out hanging out around perfection, you see. I tip my fedora to the dame, and introduce myself. "Well hello there, miss."
"The name's Daniel, Daniel Jack."
""You don't look like you're from around here, miss." I tell her, giving her my best smile. I'm interrupted as Jerry clears his throat, giving me -that- look as he escorts the chinese madam out. I know what that look meant. Cuff her, don't charm her. Unfortunately for him, I just checked my watch, I'm clocked out now. No mixing work with pleasure, after all. I jab my thumb to the line of riff-raff getting escorted out. "This is a dangerous place to be in, and it would sure be a shame to have to arrest a fine lady with the rest of the rabble here."
"How'd you like I take you to a classier joint, you dig?"
The woman in red flutters her eyelashes like a pair of butterflies in those same rolling green hills. She raises her glass, finishes her drink, then sets it down on the table. Polished red nails ring across the side of the glass with a gentle tune before raising up and through her hair.
"Just Morgan is fine," she says with a pleasant smile. "It's a pleasure, Daniel Jack. What brings such a handsome, charming officer like you to a scary place like this?"
Morgan flips back her hair."Oh, I'd like that. What did you have in mind?"
"Oh, well, I am taking care of the local color."
I tell her, as I thumb at the way out. The last of the officers escort out, as the rain begins to pour into the bar. Looks like this place was dead for her anyways. I place the bottle of whiskey on the table. It wasn't my brand anyways; I'm not a Jim Bean man, you see. She flutters those gorgeous eyelashes, and I'm already taken away. Besides, the nightlife here wasn't going to be her style. I had to take care of her; it's for her own good.
"Follow me, I'll treat you good."
I take her arm in the crook of my own, and I takes her outside. With the rain pouring down, though, I couldn't let this dame get damp. Snatching an umbrella left by one of the guests, I escorts Morgan out on the streets. I planned on taking my ride, but it looked like Jerry already took off. He was probably sore about that 'off the clock' crack. "Eh, it's within walking distance." I say with a smile. "And you don't have to worry about any trouble on the streets, while I'm around." I escort her down the street, keeping out of the too narrow alleyways. Unlike everything else, she stood out, her color pouring out, almost giving life to this city. Maybe if there were more girls like her, the Ladykiller could hang up his gloves, and retire, leaving the city for good folks like us.
A man can only pray, though.
"There is this place, you see. A nice place now; it used to be a real hot spot though, and I mean that in the bad way." I explain to her. "It used to be run by a crime boss by the name of Dragon Lady. She was a real tiger, I mean real cunning. I never could catch her, or figure her out. And then, right after the Ladykiller came around? She vanished. Completely gone. Now it's under new management, and the crowd is just nice now." I stop, as I look up at the place I wanted to take her. In big neon lights, it was the ritziest joint in the whole city.
"The Scarlet Dahlia" I tell her, reading the name of the big Neon sign over the columns of the nightclub.
Morgan smiles and laughs, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. She watches the bottle be set on the table then rises with a clack of her heels against the floor of the bar.
Obligingly, Morgan loops her arm through Daniel Jack's and clings to him like a child to the string of a balloon. Each step echoes through the streets and alleys of the city; the clack of her heels resonating with that color and vibrancy. Her hips swing with each step, her charm as widespread as her lively steps.
"Oh, how dreadful," Morgan purses her lips. "She must have been one scary woman." Morgan smiles widely. "But I'm sure it's safe now."
"After all, you're here."
"Of course it's safe with me."
I move my hand around her waist, just to make sure she's safe of course. Of course, it makes it a little warmer in the chill of the rain. Just the upside of being such a gentleman, such a good guy. Reaching the entryway of the Scarlet Dahlia, I'm is greeted by the doorman, a blonde-haired dressed in a lavish, ruffled suit, with a masquerade mask on his upper half. "Your umbrella, sir?" He says to me, and well, I give him the umbrella. "Thank you, Zach." I tell him. He's a good guy. Sometimes falls in the wrong crowd, but a good guy.
He just needed a stable income away from the criminal life.
The entire interior is a lavish display, just as I remember it. There is no roof, only the entirety of velvet-lined tables wrapping around the horizon, twisting into pretzel shapes as is it extends to the spherical shape. The bars are warped, and the people... the people didn't seem to be in place, until you looked right at them. People kept to themselves here, you understand. Jazz plays with heavy tones, as an inexplicable pressure fills around me. I feel hot. I'm greeted by the hostess and owner of the Scarlet Dahlia. Dressed in a strapless red dress, she gives a cheerful smile, perhaps the young woman's most striking feature. I meet her coffee-brown eyes... and I linger too long, as does she. "Ossu, Daniel Jack~" She stated, submissively, as the masked man takes passes by her, giving her a kiss on the cheek. That should have been my warning, but, I don't know, with Morgan with me, I just couldn't think straight.
"Lets get a table, sweetheart."
We move past the crowds, the tables of familiar faces. I pass my old partner, Daisy, the pale straw-blonde dame nearly falling from her table and strapless red gown as I pass by her. A Japanese girl with long straight brown hair and bright blue eyes, enjoying a rich Brazilian style steak at a corner table, waves at me brightly, before motioning me to go on with my guest of the evening. She didn't want to be a bother, with her strapless red dress. Even my old martial arts instructor, Kasumi Todoh, gives me a lingering gaze, her strapless red dress barely keeping on. If I didn't have Morgan around, I might have to brush up on my Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu, but a man has to keep his business in pleasure when pleasure was due. I get to my reserved table... and I realize the mistake I made.
A familiar face was there.
Lt. Lita Luwanda, back from the war, glares furiously at me. "wots this tart then?" She states bitterly, adjusting her strapless red dress with contempt. "I'm sorry, Lita. I didn't mean to stiff you." I had some history with Lita. And I couldn't remember what it was. I just remember... I just remember letting her down. Failing her, and my friends. I just couldn't remember what it was. But she did. Oh yes, she did. She turns up her nose, and practically spits at me. "Well, it's not the first time you've let me down."
And she leaves from the table with a huff.
Embarrassed, I have to turn to Morgan. I hope she couldn't tell how hot my cheeks were. "Sorry about that, Morgan. I got a reputation in this city, some of it good, some of it... well." I give a shrug, as I pull out a seat for her. "Forgive me, please. I'll get us an order of drinks, and maybe a bite for us both."
"Is there anything you'd like, sweetheart?"
Morgan holds her head high as she and Daniel make their way through the Scarlet Dahlia. Uncertain shapes and ambiguous geometries frame the club, but Morgan carries herself like she owns the place. The dame acts like she's right at home. Her eyes follow the masked figure as it moves by. Every other new face gets a warm smile. A wide smile. Perhaps a little too wide.
"Oh, of course. I'm sure someone like makes all sorts of friends...and a couple of enemies. That's all in a day's work for a gangbuster, isn't it?"
Sliding her hands along her bottom, Morgan smooths out her strapless red dress and sits down. She smiles to Daniel Jack.
"Both would be lovely, handsome."
Hitomi +ooc nope, I misread and am a dumbass. I think it was Honoka talking like Zach and I do.
Hitomi +ooc just.. fml
I didn't see anything wrong with Morgan.
Maybe I should have been more alert earlier. But as she runs her hands on her bottom, and takes her seat, I have to do everything but swoon. I take my own seat, a grin on my lips, the flash of teeth almost glistening. "I do more than just bust gangs; but I just do what I can do to the right thing; I gotta keep this city safe, and I gotta keep it clean." Now, I have in my mind service. Sometimes, service was a pain here.
nd who do I see but my favorite waitress, Ayame Ichijo, the young strawberry blonde lady, dressed in a strapless red gown. She strides past our table, eyes distant, dead focused on her work, holding a platter. I give her a whistle, and catch her attention. "Hey, Ayame!" She smiles at me, that spark coming in her eyes again. "Daniel! What can I do for you." I give her a wink of my yellow eye. "Just get me and Morgan here two Tom Collins, would you? And a nice pair of those real good hamburgers." She gives me a wink back, and heads out. I just turn to Morgan, a smile at the corner of my lips.
"Isn't she a peach?"
"When I first met her, she was a killer, you know? A regular reaper, killing all kinds of people, just because she thought they were monsters. I talk to her, and she drops the life for good. Now she has a stable job here in the city, she's dating a nice guy out of town, and she's actually happy. I mean, she never really was a killer, not in her heart. She just felt like she had to. A lot of people get their second chances in this city, you dig?" I reach out, to hold Morgan by her hand.
"So what brings you to the city, Morgan? You seem too good of a girl for a place as rotten to the core as this."
"Oh, of course," Morgan says. "Whatever it takes to keep the city safe and clean." She smiles knowingly, as if all makes sense to her. Nothing is wrong here. Not the yellow eyes, and certainly not Morgan.
"Oh, just a peach. Such a sweetheart, I can tell. I could just eat her up."
Morgan puts a hand to her mouth when Daniel tells Akame's story. "Oh, dreadful! She's so lucky you were there. To save her." Morgan smiles."Wouldn't it be awful to be a killer like that?"
When asked about herself, Morgan flutters those eyelashes again. "Oh, I wander. I go from place to place, looking for new and interesting people. Finding new experiences. Chasing dreams." Morgan stares into Daniel's eyes with her deep green ones. "Do you mind if I smoke, or is that unbecoming of a lady?"
"There is nothing I hate more than a killer, Morgan."
My response was grave, but the disgust that was coming over me was consuming. Her flirtation towards Ayame... maybe I could handle sharing, under certain circumstances. Peace must be made, people must consent, but no. I could feel my blood boiling. "That's the one enemy this city has, the one blight left. That damnable Ladykiller. He killed my girlfriend, you know." I pause. This was heavy stuff, but... my heart was too heavy. "Fio Tessitore. She was a nice girl, who saved my life. And when the time came for me to save her... I couldn't. That damned bastard the Ladykiller stopped me. If he never showed up, then she would be safe, and... I don't know." I sigh. "I just wish there was a way to bring her back. I know there are people, I have talked to Lord Domha about it. If I get her soul back to him, then he'll bring her back. But he is the one who brought her into this whole situation. Him and..." And I just shake my head. "I'm sorry, Morgan, I didn't mean to get heavy on you before the drinks! Yes, of course you can smoke! This is a smoke-friendly establishment. There isn't many of those these days..."
There is a burst of fire amongst the tables.
I hear the screams rip over the Scarlet Dahlia, as I rise into a stand. Already, waves of energy were ripping through the crowd, the full force of the assault bearing into the crowded nightclub. Tables, glasses, chairs were flying. I could see the first victim: the blue eyed girl, Hitomi, shrieking as he dismantles a reclining couch, smashing the pieces into her. It had to be the hostess who screams out next, but I knew who it was already.
"It's the Ladykiller!"
And it was.
I know the Ladykiller. He's an African American, skin tone leaning more towards brown than black. The bastard's build leans towards the masculine, with broad shoulders and sinewy arms and legs. Damn bastard took his training with Todoh to the bank. The creep's hairstyle is of moderate length, combed over on itself to reduce its dangle on the neck and ears. Under his nose is a sinister, thick, black mustache, carefully groomed to not extend too far outside the lips. The crime boss is dressed in greys: a dark grey business suit, with a jacket, slacks, and modest blue tie. On his head is a broad-brimmed grey fedora. In spite the uniform, A long brass watch chain from the depths of his right pocket rounds out the outfit, leaving him dressed like a professional killer. He's not smiling yet, but I know what's he's after. I bare my fangs, as a move myself between him and Morgan.
"What the hell are you doing here, you murderous bastard?"
"A lost love...how tragic," Morgan murmurs, her hand resting on her chin as she sits in rapt attention. She leans forward dangerously.
"Lord...Dohma?" Morgan repeats. "Is he some sort of nobleman? Bringing back the dead though..."
But Morgan cannot press further. Suddenly danger appears as The Ladykiller enters the stage. Morgan looks to Daniel, then to The Ladykiller.
"Can you stop him?"
"I have to stop him!"
What else could I say? I never stopped him before in the past. But every fight was a battlefield, a test of resolves. Eventually, I had to win. Eventually. She needed to know what he was. What that smarmy bastard represented. I could feel my yellow eyes burning, as I take a step forward. "He's a womanizer! He takes advantage of woman to feed his hedonistic hunger! He lives for sensation, for pleasure, for LUSTS!" I scream at the bastard. "You can't even disclipine yourself, you can't even control yourself. Alcoholic, smoker, you have every vice in the book! You are nothing but a wild hedonist, who care only for yourself! You can't even straighten out enough to help those closest to you. You abandoned Fio Tessitore! And you let her die!"
So says The Ladykiller. He stares at me now with that arrogant smirk, that smug, plying look that. He pulls out his watch, and spins it, letting the chain whirr. "What are you then? You don't even want pleasure, you just want to survive. Todoh-Ryuu, Fio Tessitore, all your friends, your so called allies? Just another way for you to live. You never really loved Fio. You just wanted to use her so you could escape Majigen. Just like how you want her now, to save you from me. You don't care what you do, who you need to sleep with, what lies you need to say; you'll do anything to get what you want. Oh, Lord Dohma knows this too." The Ladykiller gives a wink. "Just ask the man yourself."
And Jedah steps out.
I don't know where he came from. The blue-skinned aristocrat was dressed in a full fur-trimmed coat, bright blue with zebra stripes on it. With his zazzy pants and a great big hat, with a massive feather out of it, Fio Tessitore's pimp strides out, one hand palming a great cane as he swags. The other arm? A clinging hostess, the owner of the nightclub holding on to his arm hungrily. It was impossible. Why would Jedah be behind the Scarlet Dahlia? Why would he be involved with The Ladykiller? "Jedah..." I say, sputtering, stepping backwards. "That's Lord Dohma." The Ladykiller corrects, with just the same smug pride of the dealer of debts of the city. "And you best be figuring out right now, scuzzy."
"This is a set up."
And I take the blow from behind, as I take a tray into the back of my head. The world spins, as I look up at who ambushed me. I see Ayame, looking grim, staring down at me, holding the tray. "W-why?" I mutters, the whole room spinning, enveloping me. "Because I kill monsters, Daniel." She says coldly, tossing the tray to the ground.
"And you're a monster now."
Morgan leans forward, fully embracing her role as the woman in red. The latest broad to be brought into the world of intrigue and betrayal surrounding Daniel Jack.
Verbal blows are exchanged. The corner of her mouth creeps up into a smile when the accusations are made against The Ladykiller. When Daniel Jack becomes the defendant, her eyes follow the shift in conversation. She seems to drink up the drama, the struggle. It's a bit like watching a cat gaze into the fishbowl.
And Jedah appears in uncommonly garish dress. For a moment, Morgan covers her mouth in shock. Shock is certainly the emotion she is surpressing as she covers her mouth with both hands. And then: betrayal! Ayame strikes Daniel Jack from behind and he falls to the ground. As the world spins, everything starts to go dark. Shadows stretch and envelope, his vision getting darker.
Daniel Jack can likely hear a faint clack-clack of Morgan's heels as she rises. As she steps she becomes shadow: the hole in the world. Her shadow stretches and spreads across the Scarlet Dahlia like ink spilled on clean parchment. The tables and chairs fall into it as if they suddenly fell out of sync with world--as if the laws telling them to that the floor was solid and they should sit there were suddenly dismissed by a fickle judge. Each step is like a ripple in the pool that sends waves further and further. Jedah and The Ladykiller seem to disappear into the darkness as Daniel loses consciousness.
Before he fades out, Morgan steps up next to Ayame, putting an arm around her. "Mmm. A slayer of monsters. Perhaps I'll meet--you--elsewhere, sometime," she coos softly, leaning in toward the other woman.
"But here, Daniel Jack says that you're a peach..." Morgan leans in closer. Dangerously close. She opens her mouth as the last traces of light fade from view.
There's a sickening crunch, and then nothing. The curtain falls, and the scene changes.
For a moment, there is a shadow. And then, a crunch. Everything frozen, everything frozen in place. That clack-clack. Something forcing itself into me, something wrong, something alien, something transformative. I feel it, that incredible pressure suddenly building on my chest. I couldn't breath. I see- I see Ayame, before the curtains fall. What's happening to her? Why do I feel that squirming, that hollow numbness in my legs, in my- what is this pressure? The curtains fall around me, enveloping me, consuming me.
And now I'm in an open grave, in the darkness of the woods outside of the city.
How do I know this? I feel dirt slam into my face, and I rise up. I see a dim lantern, as a shovel lies unused beside the open grave. I see the trees around me, haunting me. It smells damp. And there, I see the Ladykiller, the Hostess, and Zach Glenn, still wearing the mask. He shakes his head, as the Hostess clings on to him now, her tongue slithering in one ear, and out the other, a piece of brain matter dancing at the tip of it. And the Ladykiller scoffs. "Keep up the good work, Ayame, he's not gonna move as long as your seal's on him." I look around, as another burst of dirt hits me. Ayame's... Ayame's not here. The shovel lays beside the grave. I pull myself out of the grave, as the Ladykiller continues. "You like that, Daniel? Buried alive. I know it won't kill you. But you and I, we can't kill each other, can we? We just have to learn to live with each other. And what I learned, with my new friends, that I can best live with you buried six feet under." He doesn't... he doesn't react to me standing up, pulling out of the grave with the mother of all headaches. I ease myself, ease myself into a stand. The pressure is still there, I can't breath, why is there so much pressure on my chest?
I run into the woods, as they continue through their monologue, their roles. I can't speak, I still can't speak. Am I dead? The branches whirl past me, formless shapes of clawing limbs, whispering and cracking as I run faster and faster. The Ladykiller's voice continues to slither around, falling quieter and quieter as I go in. "You see, Daniel? You're nothing but a shadow now. Nothing worth more than to bury deep underneath. We're all in charge now, we're deciding what you're gonna do. Lord Dohma, and Honoka, and whatever monster hunter that turns up? And of course, me. And you are just gonna play your parts, like we are."
I stop running.
Every path looks the same, every shape. I can't decide, I can't understand, this pressure. I can't even speak, I can barely breath. The shadows around me ebb, and flow. And I feel it, a new sensation into my back. A figure clad in black, Ryu Hayabusa holds a knife into my back. "Choose wisely," the masked ninja tells me, as the blade goes deeper. "I can tell which way to go, but you can't trust me, can you? Maybe it will be better to end you right now. At least we'll know whether we are dealing with man or a monster then." And I finally can say something, sputtering, trembling, weak words. "H-h-help me." I whisper, as I shift away from the knife. My voice is a whisper, the pressure still heavy on my chest.
Morgan asks, suddenly standing where Hayabusa was. Her words are like honey. Her breath is hot. She's incredibly close, arm wrapped around Daniel's waist as she presses those long fingernails against his back like a knife, two fingers and the thumb extended like a gun.
She's gone again and Hayabusa is where he was as if she was never there to begin. There's a light ahead, down one of the many paths through the woods. Light. Faint. It flickers briefly. A signal in the storm. It's gone.
But then it's there again, briefly illuminating the silhouette of Morgan. She extends a hand, lifting it palm up in a wide, sweeping gesture. Her fingers curl at the end.
She beckons Daniel to come. Trees bend and shift. Vines curl, as if to answer her call. She vanishes again, leaving the empty path in her wake.
This had to be a nightmare.
When the dame, Morgan, reveals herself, the pressure feels heavier than ever before. I feel so warm, as I can almost feel the dame inside me. Her fingers running along the inside my chest, grazing my heart, my lungs, my organs, my flesh. I do not feel any safer now than before; terror was drowning me with the crushing pressure. But I couldn't say no. I couldn't reject her. The warmth was filling me everywhere she touched.
What was that smell.
I stare down the lone path before me, the shape of the mysterious woman pulling at me. I struggle a breath out. Fatigue was taking me, I was suffucating, my energy seeping away. But I couldn't give up. I had to get to the bottom of this, the bottom of her. I walk along the path, the only thing I could sense. Sense. Something was wrong. Something is wrong. I had to break out of this. My feet stop, and I stand fast. I had to get control again.
"Something wrong, Danny?"
The voice is so familiar. I feel someone holding on to my arm. A young, teenager girl, taller than me, was holding on. Dark-skin, cornrows, just the hint of puberty, and a big smile. Jenika Smiths. I remember Jenika. She was my first crush, my very first crush, from junior high. I try to say something, but I can't. I can't speak. And she seems to sense my dilemma, and brings a finger to my lips. "Ssssh. It's okay. We've been expecting you. Come on." She says, whispering in my ear as she pulls me along. I remember that smell.
Long, red velvet curtains pass through the trees, as Jenika takes me closer to the woman. Red lights haunt the path dimly, as shapes and figures pass along. The fingers were moving around in me, the pressure growing. And yet, in my weakness, this Jenika, this girl was taking me along. I begin to feel something on my wrists, as the red lights begin to brighten around me. I feel like I am moving through the water, slow and dim and swimming, as I bring my wrist up to see.
There is cobwebs clinging to them.
This is definitely a nightmare.
With each breath Morgan takes, the air briefly becomes thin. It's as if she draws air from the world itself to breathe. Her fingers slide across Daniel's chest. Inside it.
The woman fades into shadow and mist. An illusory spectre. When the voice speaks she vanishes, her lips pursed.
"What's wrong, Danny?" comes the echo, whispering through the woods.
Jenika takes Daniel's hand and pulls against the cobwebs. She turns to look at him with a smile. A bright smile. An innocent smile. She's from an earlier time. An easier time? As Jenika's face falls she becomes Jenika and Morgan all at once, the two laid over each other like a transparency. She steps back into light and she is fully Jenika once more.
The trees part into a clearing. At its center sits Morgan atop a marble, moss-covered throne. She is both beautiful and terrible; she is dressed in the whites and golds of a royal with a leafy crown atop her head. Her alabaster skin glistens in the pale moonlight, shining separate despite the glow of red all around. White cloth clings tightly to an unearthly silhouette. Her chest rises and falls as the pressure around Daniel's tightens. Even her breathing is tempting. Alluring.
Morgan rests her elbow on the great arm of the throne. She places her cheek on her hand, but her eyes never break contact with Daniel. She beckons again with her free hand, fingers dancing in the air in unspoken call.
It is only a glimmer, a glamour, but what was I doing?
Everything was getting dimmer, even with the red lights hanging. I was feeling violated, with those squirming, hungry fingers writhing inside my, seizing me, stroking me. Morgan, or Jenika, or Morgan, or what. This wasn't my city. But why wasn't I running? I want this? Do I really want this? I step into the clearing with my escort, looking upon the yearning goddess that was everything I had so desired.
I feel the grips loosening.
I couldn't breath, but I no longer felt I needed to. I only had to give this goddess what she needed, what she yearned from me. I felt numb, a spreading tingling that made my limbs otherworldly. I step forward, as I feel my clothing melting away. The zoot suit falls away in pieces, the jacket, the shirt, the pants. I am not yet naked, but the air was so unbearably hot. I couldn't breath still, as I approach her, approach her feet. I only had to kneel. And it would be safe. It wouldn't be safe, it couldn't be safe. And suddenly, with the grip so soft inside me, I struggle, I fight, I lash out.
"This is... wrong."
That's all I can muster. This is his domain, the Ladykiller's. It must be. I feel the grip loosening, as a burst of cold, fresh air fills me a moment. I catch my breath, as suddenly, the pressure comes back, more painful than uncomfortable now. The probing fingers were gripping me with impossible strength now. I stumble backwards, I need my clothing, I can't be naked, I can't be exposed. I was prey to something, I had to flee, I had to escape.
They come from the woods.
Scratch, holding those strange crowns, dressed in the skimpiest of torn jeans and shirt, walks past me, with hungry eyes and exposed belly button. "We can wear these again, Daniel. I know all about your thoughts, but didn't you really want to know what my real thoughts to you were?" Just a flicker, just a face. I stagger back, into a tightly-garbed Ibuki, the teenager wearing more of a body sock than a ninja outfit. She pulls at her mask, as she beckons me. I stagger, the whole clearing spinning. Hitomi is on her knees, eyes big, mouth agape. "You are like a big brother." she cooes. Kasumi Todoh was bound in the geisha outfit, the futon on the floor, a blanket lifted. "Don't tell my father' She says softly. It was a blur, as the scent overwhelms me.
And then I fall into the web.
Long, spider legs pull from spinnerets as I feel Fio Tessitore's warm breasts against my skin. "It can be just like before again, Daniel." She's dead. I know she's dead. I struggle in the web, as she steadily begins to prepare me for the goddess. I surge with energy, my energy suddenly flooding back, as I feel the pressure release again. I pull away in horror, as I stagger forward, trying to find a way out, anywhere out. This was the victims of the Ladykiller, innocent women forced into service, forced into his lusts and hungers. Forced and forced. I cast my eyes around, as more and more come from the forest.
There is a blood stain on the ground, where Ayame would be.
The images intensify, as I feel unbearably hot, sweat forming in every crevice and corner. I felt myself growing drunk, as the grip on me begins to tighten harder. I feel myself contorting, as the air from my lungs are wrenched out. I fall to my knees, as the athelic, barely 20 young woman in the cowboy outfit stands her long legs in front of me, grinning down at me. "Howdy Daniel! I'm Lightning Spangles, the All-American Hero! Do you want to help me count to ten as I jump rope?" I struggle to stand, as the women envelop me, surrounding me. I see a diabolos pass infront of me, binding me... just as the bound and gagged form Zach Gleen is dumped in the woods before me. "You hate me, don't you Daniel?" Honoka tells me, in my ear, as I feel the pressure of her body against my back. "You hate me, and want to punish me in any way you can, to teach me a lesson." Was the venomous whisper. I feel her tongue in my ear. "You can take me, and all he can do is watch!"
"You can take us all."
I force myself into a stand, a choking gasp from my throat, pushing the women off, pushing the sea of flesh and memories.
"Don't you want us, Daniel?"
And I feel my inevitable march to the throne, as my eyes are locked in Morgan's again. The sea of flesh parted, as endless hands push me along. Everything and everyone, at their knees, and their queen. This wasn't me. This couldn't be me. This wouldn't be me.
This would be hers.
Morgan sits on her throne. Her chest rises and falls. With each more strained breath from Daniel, her breathing grow deeper and fuller. She leans back on her mossy throne, folding one leg over the other.
"How desperately you struggle," she coos, her voice melodic yet smoky, tinged with a faint Scottish accent. "Even with what you desire spread around you, you still struggle.
Her eyes move lazily around the clearing as figures come and go. Figures of Daniel's past rise and fall again. The goddess watches with muted interest. As he climbs out of the sea of flesh, she smiles. She rises, stepping forward on bare feet. Her toes are painted as green as her hair.
"Don't you want to take them? To take...me?" She undoes her robes, unfurling them from around her body as she exposes one shoulder, then the other. The fall dangerously from her breasts, but then...
"It's time for the sacrifice." There's a cacophony of glass breaking, as if red lightbulbs burst on an unseen ceiling. Red rushes in--wine or blood, impossible to distinguish. It floods the forest, washing over the grass, the moss, the people gathered. The water level rises as it creeps up over--
Morgan is gone.
The whole world turns, tilted like a saucer. A goblet. As it turns Morgan's face appears over the horizon. As the horizon. She tilts the world and it rushes like a flood, the red fluid washing the whole world away in the tide. It rushes forward like the rapids, swiftly, irresistibly. Morgan smiles, then her opens her mouth expectantly.
The world darkens as it slips into Morgan's hungry maw, yawning like the abyss and taking in her followers casually. Irreverently. Boredly. She swallows, and everything goes dark.
The debrillator hums as it powers down. The world is filled with blinding and cold fluroscent. Why is it so bright? What happened?
"Welcome back, Mr. Little," the doctor says in a fuzzy baritone.
"We were afraid we'd lost you." He stands over the operating table, his face half-covered in a surgical mask.
I'm not dead.
I'm not dead yet.
I'm not dead.
The thought surges in my head as I blink my eyes. I blink my eyes, the pressure on my chest... gone. Everything hurts to live. But I am alive? How. What happened. I just remember being mixed, and that girl... why do I feel wet, soggy, sore? Consumed? It couldn't be real. It couldn't be real.
It had to have been a nightmare.
It had to be.
I find the strength to speak, as the dream unfolds before me... as I recall Ayame, the crunch, the swimming. IT was all a dream. It had to all be a dream. I look at the doctor in the eyes, as I raise me arm up. I had to know. I had to know.
"Is Morgan safe?"
The surgeon looks grim. Wordlessly he looks over at a second operating table slightly below an observation window. Upon the table rests a person-like shape covered with a sheet. He takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose. Two nurses step away, excusing themselves.
The surgeon remains silent.
Not another one.
Not another woman in my life, struck down for the mere affect of associating with me. The silence was deafening, drowning. I feel the tears building in my eyes, as I glance to the sheet. The pressure, where was the pressure? Where was the signs? I knew I was a fool to ask the questions I already knew the answers to. But I needed sound, people, anything. Anything to stop letting this rot inside me. "Did they catch him this time, Doctor?" I plead, fighting back the tears as I feel the blood on my hands?
"Did they get the Ladykiller this time?"
"...see for yourself," the surgeon says, pointing toward the sheet. "Please don't stress yourself too much, Mr. Little. We've done all that we can."
He steps away, turning his back to Daniel.
Across the room, the sheet sits coldly. Lifelessly. Ominously.
I sit up very slowly.
My legs felt like jelly, like I haven't moved them in days. Maybe I was in a coma? What did Ayame do to me? Every step comes with lead weights dragging me down. It wasn't just my feet; it was my heart. I sometimes have the ability, the urge to pretend away my problems. I'm not aware of it all the time, and it's dangerous. Very dangerous. I wanted to pretend nothing was under the sheet.
I wanted to pretend.
But I can't pretend, now.
I find myself over the sheet, over the table, staring. My hands are trembling, as slowly, slowly, I grip the sheet. I can't move it. I can't move the sheet. I swallow hard, and with what force I could muster, I rip the sheet back, to stare underneath.
The sheet is withdrawn in a flutter, whipping through the cold, stale air of the room. The fluroscent lights seem to flicker like a cold shiver.
Beneath the sheet is Daniel Little, cold as the grave.
"Is that what you were expecting?" comes the voice of Morgan. There's a tap on the observation glass, which ripples unnaturally like a pebble in a pool. A heeled purple boot steps through the rippling window, followed by a long leg clad in purple, bat-print tights. Morgan, no, Morrigan Aensland, steps through the pane and steps down to floor level as though walking on an unseen staircase.
"I'll be honest, it caught me by surprise."
It couldn't be.
This had to be a dream. A dream within a dream. Pinch me, and wake me up. And yet, there it was. That familiar face, cold stone dead. A corpse. How did this happen, how could this actually happen. I stagger back, as I stare up. Morgan, or, whatever she is, was coming down. I didn't know what else to say. "He's dead..." I sputter, as I stare moon-eyed at the woman.
"The Ladykiller's dead."
I glance in awe from the corpse of the monster ruining this city, and the strange woman. Morgan. "He's dead. He- he didn't make it out from the Scarlet Dahlia. How- How did this-" I point to the corpse, stepping accusingly at Morgan. "Did you do this? Did you kill him? What about the pimp? What about the hostess Honoka? Ayame?" I was becoming excited, manic. Was this the end of their reign of terror? Was the dark clouds finally lifted from my city? But another, more pressing question comes upon me. I look up and down the woman.
"... Who are you, really?"
"Is he, really?"
Morrigan asks, folding her arms across her waist and putting her index finger to her bottom lip. She seems pensive, yet playful. The worst sort of playful.
Morrigan looks down at the sheet, then to Daniel. "I see now. Hmmmm." The last part is almost singsong.
Morrigan's wings spread behind her, then unravel like unwinding yarn in fast forward, bats circle around where the wings vanish, then double around and congregate. Morrigan sits back, seating herself atop the cloud of bats as though it is the most natural of places for a lady to sit.
"Who, me?" she asks, pointing to herself as if she's shocked by the accusation. Her batcloud seat moves across the room, carrying her weightlessly.
"Well he certainly /looks/ dead, but I assure you that I didn't kill him, or any of them and their little red dresses." Morrigan smiles pleasantly.
"I consider myself a professional meddler. It's the unfortunate result of a few too many decades of boredom." Morrigan brushes her hair back. "And I am known by many names by many men." Morrigan seems thoughtful, tapping her cheek. "And occasionally many names by some women, I'm sure. Do you like that name, Morgan, or is there another you'd prefer?"
Morrigan's eyes narrow to slits. "Who are you, really?"
This wasn't natural.
I stare at the woman, a spirit, a demon, a curse? What was this curse on me? I raise my eyebrows, rolling my eyes a bit at the spreading wings and the... bats. Whatever it was, it looked like it was going to be going out of her way to annoy the hell out of me. As she mentions about not killing them and their little red dresses... well, were they did or not. And as she continues on... I realize this is a Great Gazoo kind of situation?
"Oh god dammit."
I move to put my hands in my pocket, but get nothing but hospital gown. I was sore, still weak. But staring across, I simply let my contempt boil out. "Alright, Morgan, so as far as I know, the bad guys are still at large-" And she interrupts me with a question that cuts much, much deeper than it should.
Who am I?
I'm Daniel Jack.
I have to be Daniel Jack. I'm the real deal. I'm a detective, I'm... I'm not a private detective anymore, I am, police detective, in the city, the city's name is... I am a police detective in a city, I can feel the sweat on my brow. I... I remember fighting a ninja? I remember, I remember an island, I remember...
Did the body move?
No, that's all a dream. This is reality. This has to be reality. Just like the dream with the women, with the grave, with the seduction. They were all dreams, and this was real. I stare at the body of the Ladykiller, staring down at him. "I'm Daniel Jack, Ace Detective. I'm from Kansas. I came from Metro City, before coming here. And I'm here to fix this city. I'm here to do the right thing, and protect women, and innocents. And the only thing stopping me from fixing everything was this guy right here." And with a heave, with a surge of force, I kick over the operating table, to send him over to the floor. Let the surgeon clear it up. Let them all clear it up. I stare back at Morgan, with a fury building.
"I'm still not getting a clear answer, sweetheart, are the others still alive?"
Morrigan watches Daniel carefully. She stands up off her bat cloud. The bats circle around close again, dispersing for the moment as they scatter into the shadows. Morrigan crosses her arms under her bust. She steps forward toward Daniel, moving closer and closer still.
She presses up against him if he doesn't move. She looks up at his face with intense scrutiny. She tilts her head, looking this way and that. She looks him deeply in the eyes for several moments.
"Well, you aren't in Kansas anymore, to say the least," Morrigan smiles. "Fixing everything is quite a task. Are you sure he was all that's stopping you?"
The table wheels and crashes to the floor, dropping the corpse. Morrigan does not as much as flinch.
"The others from you dream? I wouldn't know. Haven't met them myself, save for how you see them." Morrigan flips her hair. "You'll have to find that out for yourself. Pay them a visit. Aren't you the detective here?"
I feel my face get hot. What did she know about my dreams? Maybe... maybe it wasn't the Ladykiller that forced those disgusting, lustful instincts in me. Maybe it was this two-bat bimbo. I had to play it cool, however. Push too hard on a crazy dame like this, and I might end up on the wrong end of bad magic. I've already had enough bad magic. I couldn't do that voodoo. As I give the corpse of the Ladykiller a swift kick, I turn back to the batlady, turning my nose up.
"I hope you don't have the wrong idea about me, sweetheart."
%"They aren't anything like that in real life, you dig?" I try to say with confidence. Unfortunately, when you have a dream like that, a nightmare that intense, you can't just shake those thoughts out. Those feelings, those sensations. They were almost real. That warmth of Fio holding me, that sense of power over Honoka, that coy invitation from Kasumi Todoh... it wasn't my darkness. These were all the Ladykiller's and Morgan's doing. It had to be. That soft touch, that longing touch.
I rub my forehead with my index finger and thumb.
"And the Ladykiller was the only thing stopping me from fixing this city. I got my work ahead of me, believe me. And if that so called Lord Dohma is at large? With the Hostess, and that backstabbing Ayame? I guess I got my work ahead of me." Once I got my clothing on, I would pick up my investigation. I had to find the Scarlet Dahlia, and pick up my trail there. If the nightclub would even accept me. Maybe I could pull a favor from one of those girls; I don't know what the Hostess had done to wrap them in her web of lies, but that's what the old Daniel Jack charm was for. Speaking of which. "Oh, by the way." I add, at the doorway, turning to -glare- at the dame. "If you want to give me any more dreams like that again?"
"Ask permission first, so I can prepare." I give her a wink, before turning towards the door. I had a feeling this wasn't the last time I would encounter Morgan. Women like that, they never leave. They never quit you. Besides... maybe I felt, deep inside, I liked that dream. I liked that nightmare. Maybe I wanted it. But I couldn't dwell on that now. I couldn't think about that, I couldn't -see- that. The city waits.
Hopefully there was sunshine over the city now.
Morrigan continues to watch Daniel. To appraise him. She leans in a little closer, then relaxes once more.
"Oh, of course," Morrigan says. "Others are seldom themselves in our dreams, trust me. I've been with many people with many dreams." Morrigan winks.
She narrows her eyes a little. "I will give you piece of wisdom for free, here. Afterwards, you have to make it worth my while." Morrigan smiles widely. "Be careful around Lord Dohma. Having known him for some time, I can assure he's not the sort to be taken lightly. One does not live long in his positioning without shrewdness /and/ power."
Morrigan laughs sharply. "Oh, that's no fun. Part of the joy comes in the surprise." She offers Daniel a little wave as he leaves, turning away until he is well and gone.
As Daniel leaves, Morrigan turns toward the surgeon from before. "He's still has no idea, does he?" she says with a pout, leaning on the shoulder of the surgeon. He does not react. "Of course he doesn't. They never do."
The surgeon dissolves into mist, the illusion vanishing as the world comes back into focus. The sign above, "Surgery" replaced by the reality: "Morgue."
"The best lies are the ones we tell ourselves, I suppose." Morrigan says, stepping into her shadow on the wall and disappearing into it.
Yue Nakata was the victim of a car accident the night before. His lifeless body watches the events unfold with cold, lifeless eyes.
Log created on 14:19:55 10/20/2017 by Daniel, and last modified on 00:14:47 10/25/2017.