Aftermath Part 10

The day went by without Jareth having to use force at all. He came to the last house and knocked on the door. He waited out in the snow for what seemed like an eternity until it opened and he was greeted by the face of an old man walking with a cane. Looking at him it was obvious that this man did not have the physical ability to grow enough food to support anyone but himself, and the small garden beside his home left little to the imagination of the life this man lead during from spring to autumn. 

“I’m here to collect the tribute you owe the Blood Skulls for keeping you safe.” Jareth said trying to sound as authoritative as possible even though his upbringing had taught him to be respectful of everyone older than him.

“I know son,” The old man started. “Saw you coming a ways back and knew your purpose, but I gotta say you don’t look like the last one they sent ‘round here to get my tribute.” The old man studied him and placed the can in front of him to brace against the weight of standing.

“What do you mean I don’t look like the last one they sent here?” Jareth was confused and felt uncomfortable in the old man’s gaze.

“Well the last one they sent over was a giant of a man and had these big hammer like hands that I not sure I ever saw him open the entire time he spoke to me. “But, enough about the last time. Come inside you’ll catch your death out there.” The old man turned around and ushered him inside with a wave of his hand.

Jareth followed and was greeted with a strange sight as when his eyes adjusted to the odd darkness of the home. It was full of pre-conflict artifacts. Some were hung on the walls while some were laying on shelves that were overcrowded. Everything he had in the house would be worth a fortune if the world revolved around money and not power and survival.

As Jareth looked around at them a singular number kept popping up over and over. 45, he didn’t know what it meant but in every framed piece of paper 45 appeared on it over and over again.

“Where did you get all of these artifacts?” Jareth asked still looking around trying to see them all.

“They were given to me. You see before the conflict my grand-father kept all the records of the things that led up to it. All of the things that the leader of the country was doing to provoke it and he also kept things he thought would make a difference later. Things that if the world was destroyed or reset would help people remember what the world was like before any of the happened. My father taught me all about them.” He smiled as he watched Jareth look around and study the framed pieces of paper. “Those were called newspapers, back before the conflict they had almost died out of the paper form but my grand-father was more old school and wanted to hold it in his hand. That one talks about Old 45 and what he was doing to provoke the other countries into starting the conflict. He was sure that the united States would win.”

Jareth was confused. His family hadn’t taught him much about the world before the conflict, only how to survive in the aftermath of it. He didn’t understand the concepts of countries or what the United States was, but putting the pieces together he assumed it had something to do with the area they were in. He moved closer and started to skim the articles. He saw the number 45 a lot and saw posturing and chest pounding. It was no wonder that having a man like that in charge would cause something like the conflict to happen.

“I see you are reading about a year before the conflict. 45 did a lot to instigate other countries and make them want to attack the US. I will tell you though I have nothing to give you other than knowledge as far as tribute.” The old man looked down at the ground and sighed, “I do assume that will not be enough for your leader.”

“I was told to kill anyone that refused to give tribute to the Blood Skulls.” As he said this his left arm instinctively fell to his knife and he had to catch himself. The state was not all the way gone from that side of his body for whatever reason.

“I figured as much. Well, do what you will. I’d like for you to stay and learn about what happened, but I know you have your orders.” The old man walked to Jareth and looked at him.

It was the first good look at the man that Jareth had since he’d arrived. The man was short but that was because of the hump in his back. He was dressed warm in a gray coat and black pants with boots still on. His eyes were ice blue, a lighter version of Jareth’s own. His hair, or what he had left of it, was white and gathered around the side of his head. The old man seemed thin and frail, but the look in his eyes seemed to teem with knowledge that the part of Jareth that was not in the state desperately wanted.

Jareth stuck out his open hand and said, “My name is, Jareth. Unfortunately in the excitement I never got yours.”

The old man took his hand shook it and smiled, “My name is Paul. It was my father’s name and his father’s before him. It was supposed to be my son’s name, but I never got around to having any children.” Paul went into another room and beckoned Jareth, “Come further in and have a seat we have much to discuss.”

Jareth sat there in Paul’s living room listening to him talk just like he Logan, his own son’s age. The time came and went that he was supposed to get back to Red and hurriedly Jareth stood and collected his long brown leather coat to put over his navy blue t-shirt and bid Paul a farewell.

“Paul, it was a pleasure to sit and listen to you, but I have to get back the the headquarters. Red will already be furious that I am late and I haven’t even begun to think of what to tell her about leaving you empty handed.” He rushed to the door fearing that Red would take his tardiness out on his family. As he was halfway out the door he called behind him, “Thank you again! I’ll see you soon!” Then he was out the door with it closing behind him and running towards the rundown hotel.

Aftermath Part 8

Jareth awoke to bright light coming in through the windows. Looking outside he saw that it had snowed and the sun was bouncing off and doubling the brightness outside. He squinted and turned to the inside of his room, his left shoulder throbbed with every movement and he tried to remember what happened. 

It was foggy but the last thing he remembered was feeling a bolt hit him in the shoulder and then everything got dark. As he walked around his bedroom something felt off. Jareth reached to his face and felt the left side, fearing the worst. Everything was intact, he had not lost his eye. Closing the right eye and focusing on the left everything was sharper and more in focus.

The way to the bathroom made his shoulder pulse in agony. Grabbing the doorway he braced himself and grit his teeth through the pain. The only solace was the promise of something to relieve pain.

The light was in the bathroom as well, illuminating the entire room it an eerie white light. He needed to see what his shoulder looked like and if it had been infected. Before he could turn he caught sight of his eye.

It was white, there was no iris or pupil, just pure white and seemingly glowing. He inspected it further looking closer, trying to find veins, his pupil, or his iris, but he found nothing. Just an abyss of glowing white.

He left the bathroom and got dressed in his normal attire but now with the hole in it to leave him vulnerable to the elements. He added and eye patch to cover up his left eye in hopes that Maria wouldn’t be worried about what was wrong with him.

Maria was busy in the kitchen and his children, Gregory and Stephanie were at the table eagerly eating their breakfast in heavy clothes ready to go out and be in the snow.

“Don’t eat too fast now our you’ll upset your stomach. I know you want to get out there and play, but savor your food.” Jareth said patting each of their backs. Gregory was 14 and Stephanie 12, but they never lost their excitement for snow on the ground.

Their response was each a muffled grunt of agreement as they chewed and hurriedly tried to swallow. Jareth turned to Maria and hugged her from behind.

“I’m sorry that I have been out so late recently. Making sure you guys stay safe is keeping me out late.” Jareth whispered in her ear.

“I know I tried to stay up for you, but I was so tired form keeping the house running I must have just nodded off.” Maria responded giving hima  quick peck on the cheek.

The children got up and ran out the door turning back before the door shut behind them and shouting a quick “We’ll be outside!”

The house was quiet, it was just Jareth and Maria standing there embraced. She removed her self from his hug and turned around. She saw the eyepatch and gasped.

“What happened?!”

“It’s nothing, just trying to make sure that when I head out today the I can still see in buildings.” He gave her a smile. He didn’t like lying to her, but how could he explain that the version of him that she hated was halfway out this morning.

“Well then try and be careful, you know that can mess with your vision.” She said and patted his shoulder and found the hole in his coat and shirt. “Who did this to you? Was it those Blood Skulls? What happened?” She was firing off questions left and right and Jareth barely had enough time to catch them all.

“It wasn’t the Blood Skulls. I had a meeting with another group and things got heated. I caught a bolt in my shoulder before I could get out.” Not exactly as he remembered it, but he didn’t remember leaving the church either.

“Has the wound been treated?” She asked.

“No, I looked at it this morning but I didn’t get to treat it.” He said looking down at the ground.

“Sit.” It was a command from her and he did what he was told.

Jareth took off his coat and shirt so that Maria could get a better look at the wound on his shoulder.

She clanged around and eventually came out with a liquid and salve. Poking and prodding the wound to find the worst part she poured the liquid in and Jareth winced. She then placed the salve over top to seal the liquid inside and placed a bandage around his shoulder.

“There, now you won’t have to worry about any infection and it won’t be as cold on you.” She said and Jareth could feel her smile. She kissed his cheek again then moved away to let him don his clothes.

He stood up and his shoulder no longer hurt. Whatever Maria had done was close to a miracle.

“I’d better get going. Can’t keep Red waiting too long or her gang will be on our doorstep.” He said sullenly.

“I know, I wish you could stay a bit longer the kids miss having you around.” She said then hugged him and kissed him deeply.

They stood there a while Jareth not wanting to leave and Maria not wanting to let him go. When they broke Jareth turned to the door and headed to the ruined hotel that served as the headquarters for the Blood Skulls.

Aftermath Pt. 6

The bolt stung as it went into Jareth and his vision was dark. His eyes went white as he heard bolts thud into the old wood pews of the abandoned church. The shouting was deafening but through it all Jareth could tell where the main threats were.

Jareth pictured it in his head. He knew there were 10 men firing at them at different positions up past the Father. It would be hard to get the shots off that he needed but he shrugged the bow off and notched the first arrow.

The pulleys made the draw easier and he readied, spun around, and let the arrow fly once he got the shot. The first one went down with a shriek and a thud. Jareth fell back and readied another waiting for the lull in between the volleys. It was almost rhythmic, thud, lull, thud, lull.

On the third he turned again and loosed another arrow and as he spun for cover heard another shriek followed by another thud. He was making headway in the assignment he was given by Red and more importantly he was enjoying it. Enjoying the feel being a combatant.

Another lull and another one down. This went on until the bolts stopped. He stood and looked down to see that the pew looked like a porcupine. He moved from his cover and went for hand to hand against the other members of the Fallen Priests now rushing him with blades of their own drawn.

He was still outnumbered but instinct took over and he blocked, parried, countered, and waited for an opening to make his own offensive.

Bodies hit the floor one by one as he lashed out finding openings. He cut his way through each of the priests as they charged and swung at him wildly. He kept walking forward until he was face to face with the father and caught the axe at the last second. This man was not what he let on, he was way too fast.

“You thought you could waltz into my church and demand I stop my work?! And then try to kill me?!” The anger was obvious in the Father’s eyes and as he spoke Jareth saw two teeth poking out from under his lips.

The teeth were sharp and thin. They looked like needles and they dripped venom that flung out as he spoke and spat out the words.

Jareth swung and hit him in the stomach and jumped back. He readied himself for the next onslaught and yelled at the Father.

“You think what you are doing is helpful? You are poisoning these people and using them for your own praise!” Jareth narrowed his eys the white shining through and they shone brighter than they did the last time.

The Father lunged again this time with bare hands and fangs at the ready to plunge into Jareth and kill him there. Jareth had little time to react, the Father was powered and more than most people.

He looked more like a snake than he had when Jareth had seen him the first time. His stance and the way he walked in a circle now with Jareth all seemed more reptilian than human. Jareth studied him and watched his movements looking for an opening to strike.

It was a long while back and forth blocking the Father and pushing him back waiting for him to slip up. Jareth could see that despite the powers he was starting to tire. His posture was starting to get slumped and his attacks were slower and sloppy. A few more onslaughts and Jareth would be able to find the opening he had been searching for.

One, two, three more attacks and Jareth saw it. His arms that had been defending him slipped and Jareth lunged knife first and sank it between the the Father’s ribs and into his lung.

Jareth saw the gasp but didn’t hear it. He pulled the knife the Father fell to the floor gasping silently and wriggling. Jareth spate the blood on the floor and went to retrieve the axe from the floor.

He looked around at the people who were in huddled masses trying to shield themselves from the combat around them.

“If you want to leave then you should. Without the Priests this place will be dangerous. Seek shelter elsewhere and try and build your lives anew.”

With that Jareth grabbed the father form the ground and headed to the Blood Skulls HQ to deliver Red the news of what he had done.

Aftermath Pt. 5

Out of the run down buildings, the church that Jareth walked towards had the least of the ruin. It still stood with all of its walls intact and a small bit of rot on the door. Jareth let out a heavy sigh and walked up the few stairs with the wrought iron handrail in the middle up to the door and knocked three times.

He stood there a while in the cold and the quiet. Just long enough to think he had come to the wrong church when he heard the click of the door handle turning and unlatching. The door swung open and revealed something that Jareth did not expect to see in the headquarters of a new gang, or any gang.

A man dressed in a black robe with white markings that Jareth couldn’t make out at the moment. His smile was warm if not unsettling.

“Hello there, brother!” His tone had the same unsettling feel as his smile, “Have you come to see the way of the light?”

Jareth shifted uneasily in his boots, “I am hear to speak with your leader. Would it be possible to arrange an audience?”

“The Father is always open to talking to future members.” He turned and gestured to Jareth,

“Come in and follow me. I am Brother James and I will take you to the Father.”

The walk down the pews was interesting, there were people huddled around the walls eating scraps of food that they had either found or been provided. It was odd, most gangs demand tribute from the townsfolk in the form of food to provide protection, but this one seemed to provide both food and protection. Jareth wasn’t sure how they did it because he saw no garden and there was no farm close to hear for them to maintain.

The walk was nearing its end when Jareth turned his attention away from the people on the walls to the man standing at the pulpit with the same inviting but disturbing smile on his face that Brother James had. His robes were a different color than any one else’s in the church. They were white and across the front as he opened his arms to greet Jareth was a black cross upside down. Jareth hadn’t studied the religion of his ancestors, but he knew that wasn’t a good sign.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!” The Father exclaimed, “I see another downtrodden has come to join my flock!” His tone seemed inviting and jovial but something was there on the edge of his voice that made Jareth’s skin crawl all and want to leave him behind. “Tell me child what brings you here? How did you hear of my flock and the wondrous things I do for them?”

He was an egomaniac for sure and here Jareth was in his lair surrounded by supporters who would most likely die for him. The Fallen Priests weren’t a gang, no they were a cult and this leader would take over all the gangs territories to hear more people praise him. The reservations Jareth had about these being good people were gone, but he was unsure about how to proceed with his task.

“My name is, Jareth.” He started with no real plan of where to go from here, “I have heard things about your flock. Mostly that you are invading another gangs territory. They go by the name the Blood Skulls.” Jareth was not sure what he was doing or how things were going to go down when he told the Father about his mission.

“Ah, yes the heathens in their palace. I have heard of them and knew that we were in their territory but we are not a gang my child, we are merely a religious group here for the well being of the people and my flock.” His tone was still uneasy, but it was easier for Jareth to see the snake in this man.

“Father, if you don’t mind me asking how do you feed you flock? There are no farms nearby that are not owned by others and I did not see a garden or farm behind the church and you have plenty of mouths here. How do you manage it?” It was a question that Jareth knew the answer to but he needed to hear the man say it. He wanted the death to be justified. He played with the hand axe handle as he waited for the answer.

“That is a good observation, my child. We liberate the excess food from the farms surrounding us, not so much that they can’t feed their families but enough to feed the mouths we have accumulated here.” The Father’s smile was still there, but there was a fire in his eyes that Jareth hadn’t seen before.

“You take the food that people use to pay the Blood Skulls for protection.” This was an accusation. Jareth was angry because he knew what would happen to them if they couldn’t pay, “You steal so that you can feed yourself and those here, but say that you are here for the well being of the people. You’re vultures that want worship but don’t want anything to do with gaining the sentiment of the people.” Jareth ended his statement and as the smile fell from the Father’s face Jareth whipped the axe at his head.

Either the throw was too slow or the Father was faster than he anticipated but he caught the axe and roared.

“KILL THIS HEATHEN WHO WOULD QUESTION AND ATTACK US!” As the Father’s mouth closed Jareth swore he saw fangs dripping venom.

He had no time to think about that as he turned and ran towards the door his knife drawn and cutting down those in front of him to get cover from the crossbows that were being leveled at him.

He ducked behind one of the pews but a touch too late as he felt a bolt land into his shoulder from the back. His vision went dark, he never dealt with pain well.

Aftermath Pt. 4

Raymond’s place wasn’t too far of a walk from the Blood Skulls HQ. Truth be told, Raymond wasn’t a mechanic like the ones before the conflict. He was a mechanic in the sense that he lived in an old mechanic shop and worked on gear and the odd generator that was brought to him. Most people used solar power to have light in their homes but some swore by their bio-diesel.

To signify that he was open he raised the old garage door by hand and left it that way. He had a large fire going outside and a wood burning stove on the inside so that his guests wouldn’t feel as much of the cold.

Jareth made his way into the building and looked around, but did not find a trace of Raymond.

“Odd, Raymond is usually front and center when his door is open.” Jareth said to himself as the fires crackled. “RAYMOND, THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”He called out at the top of his lungs.

After he called out he heard a loud clang and several curse before a response.

“Keep ya shirt on!” The shout came back, “I’m working on something.”

There were more clangs followed by more curses from Raymond dropping tools and putting them in precarious positions on his work table. The door burst open as Raymond was obviously hurrying to see what Jareth wanted and why he was screaming.

Raymond walked out of the room that Jareth assumed to be his bedroom, he’d never been much further into the building than he was now. Raymond was covered in dirt and grease.

“Sorry to keep ya waiting,” Raymond started,  “Working on a bit of a passion project.” He dusted his hands off by smacking them together and leaned against the workbench near the door looking Jareth up and down. “Now, what were ya screaming about?”

“I have…been given a task,” Jareth began, “Somehow I became a lieutenant of the Blood Skulls and Red has told me to take out the new rival gang popping up in this territory or my family will die.”

Jareth finished and saw the look of confusion, concern, and fear on Raymond’s face.

“Well, that is a development from the last time I saw you. Didn’t quite peg you as an enforcer or a gang member for that matter,” Raymond said, “You going in alone or do you have any backup for this mission?” Raymond asked keeping a safe distance from Jareth just in case he had been ordered to hurt him.

Jareth shook his head and began, “Going in alone. She said with how easily I killed the Hammer Fist it would be child’s play to take out this gang.” Jareth looked down and his eyes were glued to the floor of the old shop.

“You killed that big fuck? I don’t know how, but if you’re going in alone and after the Fallen Priests you’re gonna need more than your daddy’s knife to bring you back out alive.” He turned towards the door he had just come through and motioned to Jareth, “Come on through here and we’ll get oyu set up to take them on.”

The room was impressive. Full to the brim of weapons for both close up and range. A couple of things caught Jareth’s eye as soon as he entered: a compound bow, old style with the pulleys that made drawing easier, with enough arrows that he would not have to worry about running out any time soon and a small hand axe that looked like it had been made with him in mind. Set down the beard of the axe would make it look like a “J”.

Jareth grabbed the axe off the table and tested the weight. It felt like it could be thrown easily which made the value to him go even higher. He knew it would work well with the knife he carried on his leg.

“Where’d you get this?” Jareth asked turning his head towards Raymond.

“Oh, that? I made it here in this shop. Forged er out of some scrap I found. Seemed like a good project for the forge that I designed.” Raymond said and pointed over to the half metal half stone forge that was filling the room with heat. “But, this here is what I was working on when you came in.” Raymond moved over to the table and grabbed a large gun that had a small tank of compressed air in the back.

He set it back down and opened a panel. “See I was thinking what to do with the spikes left over from the railways because ain’t none of us using them. I ripped a few out of the ground and figured they’d make great ammo and I designed this. A spike shooter.” He grinned and continued, “You load the rail spikes into here and then the compressed air will fire them out with enough force to kill, but not as fast as a bullet.” He was obviously very impressed with himself and Jareth came over to take a look.

“I think it would suit someone a bit bigger than me. Don’t know if I’d make it over to the place I need to get lugging this thing around.” He slapped his friend on the back and started again, “I am gonna take that bow and the arrows though, need something to fight from range if I’m taking on the entire gang.

“Yea I do need to consolidate it to a smaller a chassis, but this is just the prototype. If that is all you’re taking then next harvest I will need you to supply me for the winter and for your family to provide some hot meals here and there.” Raymond said switching to business.

“I can agree to that. I’m off to that run down church right? That’s where the Fallen Priests have held up?” Jareth asked making sure the vague info he was given was not to lead him astray.

“Yep, they settled in there. Best of luck old friend.” Raymond said and after Jareth had strapped the bow to his back with the quiver on the outside of his right leg gave him what felt like the last hug he was ever going to get from his friend.

Jareth left and headed in the direction of the churh where the Fallen Preists had taken up refuge.

Aftermath Part 3

Jareth made his way back to the old hotel that served as the headquarters for the Blood Skulls. It looked different in the light, less intimidating and more inviting than a gang headquarters should look. As he neared the doors the man and woman who had looked at him disdainfully yesterday snapped to attention and gave their best version of a salute to him. He shook his head and went through the door, laughing on the inside that this menacing gang didn’t have a single salute.
He climbed the stairs to where he remembered his vision going out last night and saw her still in her throne, wearing the same dress that made him actively avert his eyes from her form, and the fiery red hair that hung at her shoulders.
“Red, ma’am…” He started fishing for words. He had not planned what he was going to say or what he was going to do. He was mostly just focused on getting there alive. “I don’t know what happened last night and if I hurt anyone I apologize. If you have to kill someone kill me and spare my family.” His eyes were glued to the floor in disappointment as the last sentence left his lips. His father would be ashamed that he wasn’t going to fight this woman to save his family. Then the strangest thing happened.
Red cackled. She threw her head back in laughter and lifted herself from her throne.
“What you did last night was slaughter my lieutenant like he was a lost lamb.” She said her voice sing-songy in the way that let the crazy slip from the edges of her mouth. “You killed him without a second thought and so you took his place.” She smiled, too wide for it to be comforting to Jareth. “But that was last night and now I have a mission for you!”
Jareth was on edge. He did not remember killing the man, but the blood on his clothes and the floor and walls here proved that he did open someone. He recoiled from Red out of instinct at what eh had done and she grabbed his arms and brought him closer to her than he ever wanted to be.
“Don’t be shy. I need to tell you what I expect of you!” Her breath smelled sweet and minty and her teeth were sparkling white. She brushed her teeth regularly, a luxury that not many people had these days. “I need you to go to a new gangs headquarters and kill their leader. They are encroaching into our territory and I will not have it. I’d do it on my own but you will have such an easier time with it than I will.”
Jareth looked into her eyes trying to see if she was joking. Enter a gang’s HQ and leave after killing their leader. This was a suicide mission and this was how she was going to get him back for killing her lieutenant.
“Ma’am, I don’t think that I can go in alone and leave alive.” Jareth said still in her grasp.
“Nonsense with as easily as you dispatched my last lieutenant you’ll have no problems dealing with these hooligans.” Her smile came back, but her grip tightened in one arm as she dropped the other. “Besides you wouldn’t want to disappoint me would you?” She asked her tone turning to more of a seductive one flashing him begging eyes and toying with the front of her dress.
Jareth blushed when he looked to her hand out of instinct and averted his eyes when he saw more of her than he wanted. Red cackled again and gave him a light peck on the cheek and let go of him.
“If you don’t come back I’ll assume you failed and got killed. Your family will be left alone and to their devices, you have my word. But, if you don’t come back with the head of the leader,” Her face became darker and the song left her voice, “I’ll kill your family in front of you and leave you on death’s doorstep forever away from your precious loved ones.”
Jareth understood the threat and could make no words as his throat went dry when her face darkened. He nodded in agreement and turned to leave. He heard Red’s laughing until he was a ways away from the old hotel. He hurried his pace and changed his direction.
If he was going to do this he was going to need help and he was going to need more than just his knife, He would need to go see Raymond the Mechanic. For support and equipment.

Aftermath Pt. 2

He was faster than Jareth had anticipated. He drew the knife and dodged in just enough time to dodge the hammer like fist. He took a defensive stance and prepared for the next charge from the giant brute.

He came at Jareth again and this time Jareth tried to block the attack with his knife but misjudged the hit and it struck him in the stomach. Jareth was wrapped around the giant fist and his vision went dark, his eyes went white and he grabbed the arm with his free hand and sank the knife into the giant arm and drug it towards him leaving a long deep gash in the arm as he pushed himself away and landed on the ground bringing the knife back in front of him ready for the next attack.

The large man screamed in pain and lowered his head and began charging at him again. He was at Jareth in and instant, bringing both fists down in a crushing blow. Jareth moved out of the way at the last moment letting the hammer fists crash into the ground and sink into the floor. Jareth spun and brought the knife into the side of the Lieutenant and gave it a twist. The Lieutenant fell to his knees and screamed in pain.

Jareth backed away and came in with a leap driving the knife into the back of the Lieutenant’s skull. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell forward blood streaming from the knife as he fell.

Jareth’s breath was even and he did not seem shaken. Red gazed at him perplexed that the timid man who had come to her to make a deal had killed her best man so quickly. She sat up from her reclined position making sure to move so that her dress continued to cover her.

She began to laugh and spoke, “You definitely earned your deal. But, I am going to change it now. You will work for me when I need you and your family will live in peace. Does that sound agreeable?”

Jareth stood there and sheathed the knife. What he had wanted had been accomplished and his family got to keep all of what they could coax the ground to give them. He nodded in agreement with the deal and strode out of the building more confidence in his stride and his eyes stayed white until he got home and laid next to his wife.

Jareth woke the next morning sore and confused. He had passed out after the first hit had connected to him. He did not know what was going to happen with his family and he did not know how he got home unscathed except for the muscle pain and the bruise on his stomach.

He got up and looked at his clothes. They were covered in blood and from the looks of it the blood was not his but belonged to someone else. he stared at them for a long time trying to piece together what had happened the night before.

It had been a long time since he had an episode where he could not remember what happened to him. He had done something then ht at he was not proud of. Every time it happened someone got hurt, either someone close to him or someone who had threatened him. The anxiety that he killed the hammer fisted man over took him and he hurriedly got dressed and ran out the door to rectify what he had done that he could not remember.