Monday, September 24, 2007

The Morning After

[As a note, this story takes place directly after "Perchance to Dream", found in the Tower fiction blog. If you have access to that area, please go there and read it first. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the tale...]

Ravyn stared at the ceiling. His body ached. His mind was a whirl of emotion. And his sheets were a tattered mass of shredded confetti.

"What a night..."

Beside him, the only working light on the old radio started glowing and its barely functioning speakers chattered in static. A second later, "Afternoon Delight" began to echo forth. The song wasn't a great one to start with but it really suffered by playing in tinny, semi-stereo sound.

Still, it did remind Ravyn to turn his head and look at the clock. 1:32 PM

Fine. "What a night... morning... noon... whatever."

"And a fine good whatever to all you out in the Land o' milk and villainy! It's your friends here at radio. Radio! RADIO! Freeeeee Opportunity! We're coming at you like a school bus full of nuns with no brakes and a plushie Garfeld strapped to the grill!"

Ravyn groaned and sat up. After the dream he'd just reluctantly woken up from, the last thing he needed was this possessed thing talking to him again. He stood out of bed, hunting for a pair of pants and a clean shirt. Clean. Dirty. Right now, any shirt would do. Actually, scratch that.

Shower first. He NEEDED a shower.

"Now let's not hop under a shower jet just yet, boys and ghouls. There's always something to be had by getting up and staying tuned. Today, hot off the presses, is a news flash that might interest some of you! Just be the thirteenth caller to 1-666-101-7771 and you'll win a sneak peak at what your fellow mischief-makers will read in tonight's edition of the Rogue Isle Report!"

Ravyn stared at the radio, shaking his head and wandering into the small bathroom attached to his quarters. This room had everything he wanted right now. Water. Soap. Razor. Towels. They were simple needs but they were his.

"Yep! Just be the thirteenth caller and the info is all yours! Trust Radio; you'll like what you hear!"

Standing in the stall and turning on the stream to let it spray across his body was like a small shard of bliss. Sore muscles instantly loosened, stress pooling to his feet and draining away like the water coursing down his muscular frame into the silver grate below. He let several minutes pass without doing anything else. No scrubbing. No washing. Just baptising himself in steaming rain until nothing else mattered in this world or any other...

Once the shower, the long indulgent soak, was done he turned off the water and stepped out. Before he could reach for the handle of his black, military issue razor, the sound of squalling static broke his self-inflicted peaceful trance.

"Still time to get in on that exclusive offer, folks! Thirteenth caller, give us a holler!"

Ravyn shut the door to his bathroom, shaving in quiet harmony. He stared at his face in the mirror, even managing to forget to be angry at the sight of his scarred left eye and the permanent dark shadow surrounding it. He was blind on that side and had been since the night his old life ended but at this moment, he was able to let all that go.

Today, in this room, in this life, there was just him and his razor. Stroke up. Stroke down. Wash the blade off. Rinse. Repeat. Simple pleasures. Simple moments.

And a simple matter to interrupt it all just by opening the door again.

"Some of you out there aren't real bright, are you?"

Ravyn sighed, staring first at the ground and then at the old radio on his nightstand. "What the Hell do you want from me?"

"Sorry, loyal listeners. Can't name that tune unless you play the game."


"Some songs don't get sung unless the artists are willing to read the sheet music and keep up with the backbeat, street meat."

Bloodravyn pulled off his towel and started hunting for some shorts, shaking his wet head in confusion. "I have no idea what you are talking about but I need to get back to work around here."

"Oh for the love of evil, just pick up the bloody phone, Chode-sen One!"

The radio's only light was turning red and the announcer was starting to sound annoyed. Also, it might have been his imagination but the shadows in the room were beginning to look deeper. Darker. And... sharper.

Ravyn decided to play along, mostly because most of the growing darkness was between him and the bedroom door. Picking up his communicator, a cellular phone that was so small it looked like a toy to him, he was both surprised and resigned to find a programmed hot key labeled Radio on its touchable screen. He pushed it, trying to complete the call before all the light went out in his quarters.

It only rang once.

"Well what do you know?! The old Clue-by-Four still works after all these years! Hello; you're our thirteenth caller! What are the odds? Now listen up, dark lord of the waterfowl, because you're now in on the ground floor of a major opportunity. There's been.... Gasp! Horror!... a killing on Sharkhead Isle. Poor doomed soul was named Remorah and trust me, he won't be missed."

Raven started to ask something but his words were drowned out by the loud voice continuing to dominate his cell phone.

"Well, the obits are gonna plaster the final resting place of Ol' Remmie the Ravager and as soon as that ish hits the stands, every villain and his diabolical dog is going to be running, not walking, to the graveyard for a shot at what's been buried with him. Seems Remorah got all his powers from an artifact grafted to his sternum. Some kind of Greek god amulet... thing..."

Ravyn blinked at the radio. He knew Remorah; it was hard to believe the vicious bastard was dead. But if he was... and the power that made the man such a homicidal terror fell into anyone else's hands... It was a horrific thought. Some things needed to stay dead and buried. Remorah's embedded silver kraken was one of them.

"The bloated old barnacle is pushing up daisies now and if a certain someone wanted to get the drop on the competition, now would be a damn good time for a walk, don'tcha think? And Radio Free Opportunity highly recommends the Last Word Cemetary in Port Oakes. Lovely scenery and the drive-bys are allllllways free!"

The stereo went silent, its light dimming to nothing as the shadows pulled back to their usual corners. As unnerving as that was, Ravyn hardly noticed. He was lost in thought again, pulling on his armor and attaching power leads almost by reflex. The suit was different than what he was used to but many of the connections and systems were the same.


The waters around these parts were a lot safer with him gone. If someone else got a hold of that kraken artifact, they would either sell it to Mako or use it themselves to replace the bloodthirsty killer of the seas. He couldn't let that happen.

This facility had a quantum fusion reactor and Remorah's vile ornament had a date with the plasma fires at its core. A date Ravyn intended to chaperon no matter who got in the way. He strode out, obsidian and brimstone glimmering around the edges of his dark armor's plates.

A few minutes later, after Bloodravyn was out of the base and the hallways outside were completely silent, the radio crackled to quiet life.

"Worst.... villain... ever..."

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