Monday, December 31, 2012
Man is not a hunting creature. We have simply never been. Hunters can sniff out their pray and respond to the faintest of sounds.
Where this is the norm for many other animals, this serves as an expected limitation for mankind. Something we can spire to and hope to one day imitate. Unlike most hunters, humanities greatest sense is sight.
It's funny when you first cut off your sense of sound because you can still hear with the ear plugs in. Just nothing on the outside. It's a ringing in your ear. A constant drumming from the heart. A pleasant little reminder in your panic when you first give up that sense of sound... that it's still there. It quietly reminds you that it will never leave you. That it's simply waiting for you to let it return to you.
I find listening to this quiet promise is a good way of reorienting yourself once you've put the ear plugs in.
I've been running. I have to. I have to keep moving. Facture is probably still hot on my trail.
I stopped for a short bit to rest. You can only go so far in one go after all. I am only human.
I was getting ready to resume my running when the impossible happened. Someone found me. A stranger.
A stranger to me at least. He ran out and headed right for me like he had been looking for me specifically. He was exhausted and completely out of breath. He's lucky I didn't just tackle him to the ground and leave.
"Hey," he gasped out. "Hey, you're...Moth, right?"
The stranger stood at roughly average height with a lean body in a long brown leathery coat. His hair was dark brown and landed at about shoulder's length in a ponytail. He had very... fair features.
I gripped my half-staff and nodded. He was subtle about it but I could see he took a readied stance as he shifted his weight and pretended to still be tired and catching his breath. One hand slid further up his own thigh and pretended to rest there for comfort. He was preparing to grab a weapon of his own, if he needed it.
"Now, I know that your partner is in a bit of trouble and you're trying to get to her as quickly as possible, but I need your help. See...some of Fracture's men have captured Kenny. Now, he's got an obsessive little guard dog who's probably hot on his trail already, but I need some muscle, and I need it fast. Would you be willing to help? I'd pay you."
I studied him. I was pretty sure this was one of Fractures tricks at first and I watched for tells. No uncomfortable fidgeting, his breathing maintained a visibly steady rate, his eyes stayed on target and focused, and his fingers kept in place.
I let go of the breath I had been holding and let go of my half staff. And then I nodded.
The man let out a grateful sigh and pulled out an envelope.
"Thank you so much. I'd help, but I've got some really important business I need to take care of first. Here's the location and some information, as well as the money. Will that be enough?"
I didn't even look inside the envelope. It already felt heavy. Besides, Fracture was involved. If I can't simply go deal with Fracture, ruining his one of his little schemes is the next best thing. So once more, I nodded.
"Thank you, Moth. I owe you a favor."
Guess Picasso isn't the only who can make friends, eh? Didn't even have to try.
I gave the stranger a hug and took off in the direction the map in the envelope indicated.
Realizing how far it was, I was a little concerned I wouldn't make it in time.
You have to be very mindful when you operate without sound.
An obvious note on why is because you can't hear. If something tries to sneak up on you, you'll never notice it without facing in that direction. So that's what you have to do. You have to keep changing your facing as you move and that can be very disorienting. To have any hope of pulling it off, you have to always remember exactly where everything was when you last looked because you have to keep moving. There is no point in focusing your sense of sight if you can't more forward with it.
But the less obvious issue you run into when you can't hear, is that you can't hear the noises you are making. You have to be very aware of the sound your steps make in any terrain you are going to be moving though, the noises you'll make when you operate anything you'll have to use, and that, in general, there is an entire element that others will be responding to that you have completely blinded yourself to.
I could see the location in the distance as I began to get close. It was time to start my approach proper. I pulled out ear plugs, a blanket, and the sharper half of my spear from my backpack and then I hid my backpack away.
Sneaking with ear plugs in is... difficult but not impossible. I might have just waited til I was at the building itself to pop them in but I didn't want to risk that this still could be an elaborate ambush. If Whisper was here, I was going to need to have my ear plugs in as soon as I encountered him. His words can bring you to your knees. And even if whisper wasn't there and I ended up just dealing with Fracture, the ear plugs would help keep all his drivel out.
Eventually I made it to the building and proceeded to creep around the perimeter. The place was mostly empty with the exception of one room. Inside that room were several masked figures, a boy in his late teens strapped down to a table with an X scar on his cheek, and Whisper seated beside him with a little girl on his lap.
I could see Whisper was using the little girl as a medium to speak without hurting Kenny. I could see the little girl was crying. She was painfully sobbing and trying as hard as she could to force out the words whisper was feeding to her.
And then Whisper stopped using the little girl and moved right to whispering into Kenny's ear.
Seems I was out of time. I quickly spun the pieces of my spear into one solid piece and threw the blanket over myself.
Then I threw myself through the window.
What the hell are you doing?!
Are you even listening to me?
You look at me when I talk you! You got that you little shit?
Now this is the real important part. When you can't hear, there is nothing to distract you from all the things you never notice when you normally see the world. When all you have to rely on is your sight, you can learn to take in so many more details and train your body to respond to specific visual cues in a heated situation. And that is something you're going to need if you are going to survive in this disgusting world we inhabit.
I was careful to land ready to strike and I threw the blanket off of myself as soon as I did. I could see Whispers expression turn sour as he turned and started talking at me. Words I could not hear thanks to the ear plugs. Meanwhile Whisper's goons made a desperate rush to try to overpower me.
Between their shit coordination and whispers words causing them to constantly stop and cringe during the fight, they were a quick and easily dealt with challenge. I am proud to say I did not deal a lethal blow to any of Father's Eternal Children that day.
Once it was just down to me, Whisper, Kenny and the little girl, Whispered opened up a Path portal and dragged the little girl in after him by the hair.
I knew it wouldn't take Whisper too long to coordinate a backup team to storm the place so we had to act fast. I went over to Kenny and quickly cut him free of his straps.
He climbed off of the table and tried to coordinate himself. He was a little dizzy from Whisper's words. The whole time that he spent trying to get his bearings, he kept saying things. I had to stop him so I could pull out the ear plugs and actually hear what the hell he was saying.
"O-oh. Um...thank you."
I gave a quick bow and moved to find his effects. I quickly found his shit in a little tub tucked under the table and handed it over to him.
"T-thanks," he said again weakly. He struggled a little to get his footing as he went through his tub of stuff. "Um...who are you?"
I pinched my thumb and index fingers together and ran them along where my lips were under the mask. I've known this action to express an inability to talk.
I chuckled to myself and nodded before heading over to the window to check on the progress of those reinforcements.
'Must not be any other mutes,' I thought as I waved Kenny over and pointed out the reinforcements for him.
"Who are they? Backup?"
I nodded and opened up the window.
"We should probably get out of here then, huh? You have any ideas?"
I climbed out the window and pointed into the woods in the direction of my backpack.
"Right. Let's go."
And then we ran for our lives into the woods.
We didn't stop until we made it to my backpack.
He seemed confused as to why I was in the area so I brought up my last post from Picasso's blog.
"...So you're on the move, then. Want me to come with you?"
I shook my head no and wrote 'Don't you have an appointment with the Rogue Shadow?' on my little note pad.
"I should probably visit him, shouldn't I? But...maybe later we can try to meet up again? Under better circumstances? It'd be nice to meet Picasso too."
And nodded and then reached into my pack and pulled out a spear head for him and indicated that it was a gift intended to be used with Lily.
"Oh. I, um...I don't know. I don't know if I want to turn it into something more lethal. I mean...maybe, but...I don't know. I've still never actually killed anyone yet, you know."
I shook my head in disapproval and we had a quick little spar. In which, I showed Kenny how a spear can be used to non-lethally and more effectively take out an opponent by distracting him with the pointy part and then whacking him in the face with the butt of my spear.
"...Okay. That...makes some sense." He said holding his face and biting back words he might regret. "I'll think about it. Does that sound fair?"
I just shrugged. Quiet honestly, I could careless whether or not he actually used the spear head. If he wanted to be an ineffective combatant, that was really his own problem.
"Hey, Moth...how'd you find me?"
I showed him the paper with the instructions.
"Who gave you this?"
'A stranger gave me that paper,' I wrote on my note pad.
"Do you know who it was?" he ask pleadingly. He seemed... desperate.
I gave him the only answer I could. 'A stranger' I wrote. He seemed less than satisfied.
"Huh. Well...thanks. I'll maybe see you later? Let Picasso know I said hi, okay?"
I nodded and pulled Kenny into a hug. He gave a better hug than the stranger did. Kenny could actually be bothered to huge back.
I threw my shit into my backpack and took off once again. I have a lot of lost time to make up for.
Do you understand what I'm trying to explain to you Moth?
I won't always be here. On day you're going to have to hunt on your own. You're going to have to learn to serve Him on your own. I'm doing this because I love you. Because I worry. Because your still young...
...and it doesn't take much for your Fire to go out on you at your age okay?
Now lets see what you learned from my words. That way I can figure out which parts I'm going have to beat into you.
~A Dead Man
Labels: It was fun Kenny. I don't know how they caught you but be more careful, okay?, Picasso Archive