On the eighteenth of November Henri hadn’t gone there to take that mechaniloid through the rift originally, but it just felt as if it was meant to happen, and something in the way the voice said revealed things to Henri that he wasn’t expecting. The two of them must go in, and after he fell through he saw his entire life flash before his eyes in random succession it seemed.
A sharp stab of pain in Henri’s back caused his four year old self to sit bolt upright, while his father stared down at him with the wooden knife in his hand disappointed.
“You must learn how to sleep softly! They’ll send assassins in the night for you, they don’t have any problem sending someone else to do the deed for them!” He told him in french while staring at him in disappointment at first, but as he did it changed to growing concern as Henri let out a laugh, even as his younger self rubbed his back in pain.
On Saturday the twelfth of November Henri had just finished speaking with the unicorn and set the cat on his own trial, and now he finally had a chance to speak to someone he’d been meaning to speak to for some time.
“Hello there, Mr. Lighthouse!”Henri said as he stuck his head through the door of the man’s home. The man himself gave his head a shake, and looked like he was trying to grasp what he was seeing. “It’s good to finally meet the man who helped me with my goal in life!”
“Oh?… and what goal would that be?” Emerson asked, and then shivered as he heard Metier respond with a laugh.
“Oh don’t worry Mr. Lighthouse, I mean you no harm!”
“Well what a relief… and for the record, I mean you no harm either,”
“Then again I didn’t mean any harm to that cat just now but he’s just ripped himself beyond the realms of existence. Or to Miss Bookwork, but she didn’t fare much better.
“Oh, yes, you would know him.”Henri chuckled as he recalled the cat had been working here for a time.
“Did you rip through all nine of his lives?”
Metier chuckles, “Oh, he’s gone from this realm of existence. ‘Extra lives’ would mean nothing.”
“He is… or I guess was, an employee of mine…hmm, so there is no chance of getting in touch?”
“You could try prayer”! Metier lost control of himself in his own laughter once again, “It did wonders for me!!!”
“Well, prayer has never done much for me…” Emerson Lighthouse looked as if he might reconsider that stand point after hearing the laugh again. “Still I should thank you.”
“Your thanks is appreciated, you are very welcome! So few have appreciated my endeavors recently!” Henri replied.
“I meant thanks for getting rid of Arnold, I think he had plans on scratching my eyes out in my sleep,” Emerson said.
“It was a pleasure! But it was more likely he’d have done it in his sleep!” Henri chuckled knowingly, having spoken with the cat in his sleep for several weeks now, comparing knowledge each had gained from the other side without having to worry about rules to restrict them.
“Ha, still I am going to miss that cat.” Emerson replied, apparently thinking he’d made a joke. Henri corrected him and Emerson looked slightly flabbergasted.
“Arnold has killed… go on not Arnold…he wrinkles his nose everytime he smells one of the bodies I keep in the basement.”
Henri chuckled, “So many things you learn after you’re dead. Don’t worry about it, I didn’t think much of him while I was alive either!”
“I find with Arnold, he grows on you over time….but then again so does fungus.” Emerson replied.
Henri chuckled as he headed for the back wall to go back to the graveyard and the canisters, “Too true! I’ll be right in your backyard if you want me!
“Er, I look forward to it Mr. Metier…” On the other side he could still hear him exclaim “Yikes, how did he do that?!”
The scene shifted to a memory of his family gathered in their dinning room with the entire family as they discussed Henri who was standing not two feet away, laughing uncontrollably, “Something is wrong with the boy, we need to call in an exorcist, or the asylum.”
The conversation continued but everyone was in agreement…an exorcist had to be summoned.
Monday the seventh of November was an interesting night for Henri, he had found someone suffering from the madness caused by the monsters and a large group including that Hermit woman he’d heard spoken about.
“Might I ask why you have selected Miss Hienrichs for your torment?”
Metier chuckled, and then broke into outright laughter, “Torment her? Well if I had chosen to torment her I would think her shooting me would be reason enough!”
“I concede your point,” Hermit allowed him.
“I don’t mind, in fact I’ve been trying to thank her! The last night of my life was also the best!”
“I understand why you would be grateful. Look how much more powerful you have become.”
“Powerful?” Henri quirked his head to the side and laughed again, when he was finished he corrected her. “I care nothing for that Miss Hermit.”
“Have you not tapped into the elder power of the city? Something which would be impossible to do while alive?”
“I never desired such things alive, and I care nothing for them now!” Metier chuckled again before adding, “None of you will ever understand me I’m afraid.”
The exorcist left Henri’s side in a hurry, and turned to his father, “There is a spirit, full of malevolence, which has become tied to your son.”
“I knew it!” His father raged as he paced back and forth, and while his mother looked down almost sorrowfully at Henri who was still laughing at them. It was really funny how worked up they were getting over nothing. “There has always been something wrong with him. He’s never cried, never…never…all he can do is laugh like a lunatic, the Sinclaire’s must have summoned one when they heard he was born!”
“No Mr. Metier…I’m afraid that this is something different…the spirit doesn’t have hold of your son…your son has hold of the spirit.”
Henri let out his laughter as the voice raged that his humiliation was discovered and continued to curse Henri’s soul in his mind, it was the first voice in his head, the first friend who would later give him such good advice, Aessesser.
Hermit persisted in pressing the issue apparently, “You attempted to make contracts with seven deities within the city. I was told you were successful.”
“Seven deities? No Miss Hermit.” Henri said with a shake of his head. “I tried to make contact with ALL deities. All spirits, all demons, everything in the realms beyond this one. Potent and minute, corporeal and ephemeral. I said the prayer at these alters, to all who would listen.” They talked about his life for a short time more, before he said, “Now, I can tell you all about my life, but you were here about the dark aether. Now that has more rules about it!” Henri chuckled to himself.
“I would like to hear those rules so I can play your game fairly Meiter.”
“Simply put that I can’t tell you what you don’t already know.” That explination would work for the short term. “I can only guide and show you, if you wish to trust me!” Henri chuckled once again before he added, “Dare you trust me? I prayed to all spirits. All dieties. All demons. Bookworm did, and she’s now quite indisposed.”
Miss Hermit was silent a short time and then she said, “If I elect to give you my trust, will you equally agree to trust me and not harm me?”
“Oh Miss Hermit, I have no intention to harm anybody! It just sort of happens!” Metier pulled back and laughed for a long time, amused by his own words.
Henri was at school, his father had refused to allow the Sinclaire’s to be the only one’s who had sent their children to universities. It was there that Henri had discovered his love of Shakespeare and he was practicing the lines of his favorite play Macbeth and reciting his favorite quotes, quotes that he had taken to heart.
More voices had come, and had gone in that time, but Aessesser was still with him, the only creature in existence he had ever raised his voice to.
“Why does the city fear you?” Hermit asked.
“The city doesn’t fear me. The city clings to me as a woman about to be forced upon by an unseen monster in the dark, desperate and terrified.”
“I meant the citizens, my apologies,” the woman said and then they talked for a short time and she identified herself as a ‘Shini Megami’ before she had another question that caught his attention, “So Metier, which puppet master pulls your strings? Certainly not these creatures.”
“No one pulls my strings Miss Hermit, I thought we established that.”
“Really? You consider yourself a free agent then? A loose cannon as you will?”
“Everything I do, I do out of choice. I gave them my hat, out of choice. I have gone after this out of choice! I never had to do any of this! The reason Miss Hermit that I choose to do it, should be obvious!”
“To harm the woman who clings to you?”
Henri laughed and began to walk away on that note, but he did turn back to her and added one last thing, “Before I died, know that I did declare war on Babbage, and killed over 75 of her people through my efforts and through the help of some gas in the hospital.” Henri Metier chuckled as he left. “But that’s completely irrelevant!”
Henri stared down at his dead mother and father, he had not been present when the second to last Sinclaire had managed to hire an assassin to poison them, and both he and his last brother were the last bound by the feud. His brother was vengeful, and that night he would go and kill those who had done this deed now that there were only so many Sinclaire’s left it would be easy he said. He’d even track down the last one who’d been away and thought herself safe.
Henri on the other hand felt no need for vengeance. He felt no sorrow, nor pity or loss. As he stared at their dead frames he found that even now all he could do was laugh.
The whole feud was ridiculous really, not that the fact that it was ridiculous or pointless would stop him if his brother failed.
Monday the fourteenth of November was mostly uneventful, Henri was still going to his usual haunts, and had added stopping in front of the Tesla Coil and on the other side of the power station to his duties. It was there that he ran into that doctor again. “Hello there!”
Dr. Sonnerstein frowns, “What are you doing here, Metier..?”
Henri chuckles, “I’m visiting, is that a crime too now?” This wasn’t the full truth, but he doubted anyone would believe what he was really doing.
“There aren’t even human laws that apply to you, you know that.”
Metier responded with his usual laughter, “True, but it seems I can’t help anyone these days without being considered the worst human being that has ever lived, or died!”
“Help? Like you helped Arnold?”
“Yes, that has gone quite under appreciated!”
The doctor narrowed his unseeing eyes at him, “That might have something to do with the fact he left behind nothing but a continued scream and has vanished without any other trace. Just HOW was that helping him, Metier?”
“All must undergo their trials. Do you think I just woke up after dying as I am? No no Doctor, I had to go and perform another ritual.”
Sonnerstein’s ears tipped back at his revelation, but he focused instead on the cat again, “Is he dead, Metier?”
“He won’t die where he is, he’ll either cease to exist as well as any memory of him, or he’ll be back soon enough. In any occasion, there is no one who can help him now but himself.” He left the doctor to his impotence, and departed.
As he relived his life he laughed as a truth that had not been revealed to him became evident to him. It was so clear to him now…he finally understood who he was, why he was, and what he was. He followed his ties to Babbage back outside of the crack and walked out laughing. He had a lot to do, as the voice told him again and again in his mind, you don’t matter, nothing matters, no one matters.
Henri agreed. He always had.