Seeking the Keys

Pt. X: Discord


Cowboy Ghostie

A methodical clicking that never ended, every second of every moment was counted by the pendulum that swung back and forth, back and forth in the basement laboratory. The white noise of the city hardly penetrated the thick stone walls and Will was left to sit and wait while his ears were assaulted by the mindless sound of pen on paper.

He looked towards the professor, hoping his impatience did not show, or at least passed for youthful exuberance. Sam had taken his leave without a word about Will's less than kind behavior, all the better upon reflection. He would be hard pressed to make up a cover story as to why he acted that way. Perhaps Casper had simply been right, he shouldn't have been so aggressive...

No.... you shouldn't have. A whisper that was half pout.

Will bit his proverbial tongue on a response and just waited for the professor to continue his analysis of the new equipment. He still stung vaguely for the blow that had ended it's skinlands existence, and he just hoped that it had worked properly and that they now had functional equipment.

"hmm...." Professor sat back and flipped his ponytail over his shoulder from where he'd been fiddling with it. Will looked to him silently, and sat up a little straighter. "I think this will do. Perhaps we can find a way to make one... "

He tried not to show his disgust of such a thought, but he wasn't sure if he'd kept it off his face. The professor wasn't looking, at least, so he thought he was safe. A glanced meeting of eyes and the professor looked down at his new instrument, then carefully setting it down on the desk.

"Come to a decision yet?" Seemingly an offhand question. But Will was starting to wonder if anything the man did wasn't deliberate.

Will almost startled at the question, but after an appropriate pause he appeared to hesitate, and then slowly nodded to the man. "I think so..." He gulped for effect and kept his voice low. "She's not going to mind so much, always too busy for me anyways."

True enough, he thought. Razor didn't want him around all the time, and he'd given tactic permission for him to defect from his fictional "Lady" cover story.

"Is that all it is, or are you just curious what the mad scientist is up to?"

There was an amused gleam to the Professor's eyes and he gestured vaguely with his pen that never seemed to leave his person. "You're a bright one, Ray. But the work I'm doing is important to me. So I'm going to give you a choice."

Will looked appropriately curious without half trying, because he was curious, he couldn't help it. "A choice?"

"Yes... One. I let you know what's going on and what I'm doing and you help me on this Venture. ...or Two; You walk away now."

A moment of silence as the man stared at him. "And that's your choice. I don't tell people who aren't interested in helping me, not anymore. That sort of thing has gotten me places i really didn't want to be."

Will looked at him calmly and appeared to debate the matter for a moment. I either help him or stay on the outside of his little theory. After last night i don't think Razor would be too pleased to find out that the Professor wasn't going to tell him Jack Squat.

So he tried to look calm, then after a moment that didn't seem too quick, he nodded: "I'd rather know than not. I wanted to do something interesting for the rest of eternity rather than remaining bored with it all."

He plucked absently at his shirt, feigning a slight nervousness that was perfect for the part he was playing. He'd slipped once, he didn't know why... but he had.

The Professor gave him a measuring look, then slowly nodded. "Then tell me something. Have you noticed anything different about the storm recently?"

Will frowned and shook his head.

"What if i told you it seems to get stronger when the Skins get excited."

Will blinked at him and stared. "Excited?....but--"

"No no, don't say anything yet." Jesse interrupted him and smiled faintly. "We all know they've got energy, we feel if if they're happy or sad, or angry, as long as it resonates to us we can pick it up and use it. But what about all the energy that doesn't, where is that going?"

"But..." Will started again, and was cut off a second time.

"But nothing, there's a direct correlation between what's happening there and what's happening here. Their angst is capable of bleeding over and intensifying the chaotic energies of the storm. If they're even chaotic."

Will stopped trying to object sensibly and let the man rant, he probably wouldn't get a word in edgewise if this kept going like this. He fidgeted absently with his shirt and waited for him to run out of steam.

"I don't understand why no-one believes me. I've got to pinpoint the connection, i know it's there, I've just got to find it. Is it one, or is it groups. Is there any difference with specific emotions... I... " A frustrated sigh. "There's too many factors to properly speculate on. I need cold hard numbers to prove anything. Hopefully this bit of equipment you so graciously provided for me will do the trick and give me something to measure it by."

The professor paused for a long moment, but will didn't even try to say anything. Eventually the man added something useful to him.

"I'm going taking measurements of the city tomorrow and i want you to meet me at Trinity Church. 5 o'clock sharp. Think you can manage that?"

Will just nodded.

* * *

The next day Will found himself walking down the street on the way to the church. He could see the church's grisly steeple silhouetted against the swirling yellow clouds above. It gave him a shiver, those unfortunates easily could have been him. The thought caused him to glance around paranoidly, watching out for the scattered restless of the city.

He noticed nothing besides a stay Skin that really shouldn't be out late, she looked angry. Will glanced up, expecting to see some sort of correlation between this, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He frowned faintly, and looked back at the woman who started beating on the window of a parked car, yelling at the person inside...

Will narrowed his eyes at them confusedly. It wasn't that he really cared, but he was mildly curious as to what atrocities the man had committed to make her so angry... Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe he was leaving because she'd done something. He supposed it didn't really matter.

His musings had distracted him just enough for a tall figure in black robes to approach him, glaring from beneath the brim of his hat. The man was almost upon him before he noticed and began to react, shying to the side, as the man reached for him.

"Whoa, hey... i don't want any trouble now..." He kept shying away. He didn't want anybody with a proper chance to get ahold of him. It just wasn't prudent.

He started raving at him, "You! Heretic... You bring chaos to us all, that gate, that doorway will be an end to all things! You bring destruction upon us, you are nothing, you are lower than nothing..."

"Uh... " He remained wide-eyed and confused looking and after a moment he recognized the man as 'Shane' the Pardoner he'd left sleeping in the alley that night. The man kept approaching, and Will kept retreating, trying to find a away around him to get to the church as the man rambled and raved on about the end of all things.

"The Nine are loose upon these lands, the nine will bring an end! The gates of Hell will open and swallow us all. There is only one way to stop it from coming. You must repent, and surrender yourself to the church." He was crazed, wild eyed.

Get him away from us... Get away from him... A whimper from Casper that sounded on the verge of tears.

I'm Trying! He snarled back...

The man threw up an accusing finger at him. "Repent child! ...repent before it's too late for us all!"

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