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Winchesters's Blog

An Apology for the Devil


"̲A̲n̲ ̲a̲p̲o̲l̲o̲g̲y̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲D̲e̲v̲i̲l̲:̲ ̲I̲t̲ ̲m̲u̲s̲t̲ ̲b̲e̲ ̲r̲e̲m̲e̲m̲b̲e̲r̲e̲d̲ ̲t̲h̲a̲t̲ ̲w̲e̲ ̲h̲a̲v̲e̲ ̲h̲e̲a̲r̲d̲ ̲o̲n̲l̲y̲ ̲o̲n̲e̲ ̲s̲i̲d̲e̲ ̲o̲f̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲c̲a̲s̲e̲.̲ ̲G̲o̲d̲ ̲h̲a̲s̲ ̲w̲r̲i̲t̲t̲e̲n̲ ̲a̲l̲l̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲b̲o̲o̲k̲s̲.̲"̲
̲-̲ ̲S̲a̲m̲u̲e̲l̲ ̲B̲u̲t̲l̲e̲r̲,̲ ̲N̲o̲t̲e̲ ̲B̲o̲o̲k̲s̲

~Los Angeles, California~

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing everyone he wasn't real. The only problem was that it wasn't his trick in the first place, and he was desperately trying to prove that he was real.

Any demonologist - hell, anyone with a brain and a high school theology class - could scent him out a mile away. Lux was sin incarnate, where all of your seven deadlies thrived. Just how Lucifer wanted it.

The Devil wore Prada, for sure. He was draped head to toe in fine fabrics in a sensible black, a suit sans tie. The button of his shirt was open just a little bit more than any professional would have worn it, showing tan skin and a peek of a broad chest. His eyes were brown, but not an ordinary brown at all. Some could swear that they were red in the light, black in the dark. This duality could not be also said of the color of his hair, which was certainly a rich dark brown, nearly black. It was styled back immaculately, but two curls seemed to rebel and stick out as if they were small horns on the top of his head.

Lucifer tended to find people through social networks, certainly never through approach. He was the one to slither up and whisper temptation in someone powerful's ear. The price of temptation was favors. Half of the city owed him a favor, and that kept him comfortable in his bed at night. Well, that, and the two or three girls he typically shared it with.

Such is why Lucifer reached out to take an appreciative swallow of whiskey, his eyes reflecting a red light from the dance floor and making them appear like smoldering embers in the dark. He was searching for a girl, a girl who would be searching too. She was important enough, sure, if John Constantine actually picked up a telephone and vouched for her. "A friend," he had said. Lucifer was doubtful of that. Constantine couldn't hold down too many friends.

However, the Devil took his favors seriously. Lucifer agreed to talk, and he would.
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1 | 8 Comments | Dec 30th 2019 22:08

Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones


Aspen held her right side tightly, a cut set firmly above her left eyebrow pouring out enough blood to blind her and spill into her mouth when she gasped for air. This wasn’t the absolute best situation. Her left hand was definitely broken; when she wiggled her fingers after the crash, she had thrown up and blacked out.

“Oh sh*t,” whispered Aspen, finding it difficult to keep one foot in front of the other and wobbled along the road at a slow, aimless pace. She had realised the most important issue at hand. Not her increasingly blackening vision, or the way her hands and feet were starting to feel cold. It was the fact that Judas was going to be absolutely pissed when he heard that she had crashed the bike.

She had hit a feral dog that had darted out in front of her suddenly, sending both her and the bike tumbling off a sharp decline and through several trees. Aspen was sure she had fell on her quiver on one of the impacts, sending an arrow solidly into her side. She held it with her broken hand, not daring to look. If she looked, she’d pass out. If she passed out, she’d certainly die.

Judas would be a hell of a lot more mad if Aspen died.

Aspen heard the low, gurgling groan of a monster. Monsters, dead, walkers, whatever they were called in this region, were just about the last thing she wanted to see. She turned, slow and labored, and met the eyes of a decayed corpse about twenty feet away. She may have been a pretty woman before the rot set in. Her hair- what was left of it and wasn’t matted together with dirt- was once a pretty blonde.

Aspen used to think of them as humans. No longer.

Aspen slowly reached into her back pocket, grabbing a well worn knife. Another one of Judas’ things. He gave it to her to make sure someone would look after her. He always had a strange little way of saying he cared. He had shown her, that day, how to gut a deer and carry it out of the woods. She could have sworn that Judas looked at her with pride when he thought she couldn’t see, but who could have known, really. The man was enigmas wrapped in dark torn clothing, but she managed to worm her little fingers in to his freyed armor and hold on for dear life.

The knife slid into the decayed skin easily, like it was made of pudding. The skull, as was expected, needed more force and rattled Aspen’s arm as she shoved it through bone. The squelch of a rotting body hitting asphalt no longer made Aspen gag. She simply knelt down, and aimed the knife just right.

“Don’t wanna catch the guts, see?” Judas had said to her, stringing up the buck on a makeshift hang. “Makes messy work, makes the meat bad. Can’t eat it.”

Aspen swore she could hear him just as clearly as that day. Blood loss was delirium, plus a concussion… She needed to get home fast. Her knife easily gutted the corpse and her free hand dropped the knife, quickly smearing foul smelling entrails all along her body. If it was going to be fast, she needed to get through a few patches of dead.

~

Dean stood on the fence, his eyes sharp and scanning. Sure, it was his turn to watch, but he was also worried as a leader. He had a team out scrounging for supplies with Judas at the helm (the man was a pro at finding scraps) and Aspen had gone out to the nearby hunting grounds to check on tracks. Neither group had been back at the time they should have been, which was not a good sign.

He paced back and forth, his hair freshly cut and his sleeves rolled up. A rifle on his back gleamed in the sun. Dean was the leader, it showed, and no one wanted to tell him he wasn’t. He was good with his people, good at protecting them and listening to their fears.

There was extra movement out there. Dean kept watch of the stragglers that banged up against their walls and the few who wandered around the street, so new movement was a worry. He pulled the banged up binoculars out of a leather pouch and adjusted them, zooming in. He was filled with extreme dispair.

That was Aspen, shambling along. She looked like rot, like she had became one of the many groaning monsters. Judas would wreck the damn town.

Then, slowly, she raised one arm and waved, lolling her head to the side. Blood dripped onto the pavement and splattered a trail. She smiled, lowered her arm, and promptly fell to the ground with a thump loud enough to reach Dean’s ears.

~

Sam was waiting outside the gates, his face grim. His hair was pulled back in a tight bun, his beard in need of a trim. He was waiting to deliver news, and stood up the second he heard the truck. They had gotten a good haul. Good. The food stocks were low, and now the medical supplies would be needed to stocked back up. That didn’t really matter though. What mattered was that he told Judas before he found out through gossip. Dean had specifically put him on damage control, and they had all of their orders planned out. Get out of the way.

Sam jumped on the side of the truck as it passed by, easily sitting amongst some other survivors as they pulled into the storage area. He had to jog a little to catch Judas before he sulked off to wherever he usually sulks at.

“Judas,” Sam called, waiting until he was looking at Judas’ face. Mean looking. That’s what his dad would have said. But those days were gone. “Judas, it’s Aspen.” He set his jaw tightly. “She’s hurt. Bad.”

~

Cas kept a clean workspace, Gabriel kept a record. No one had died on his table in his entire career and he was sure to keep it that way. The blonde haired doctor calmly pushed drugs into an IV bag, his golden eyes watching as he counted to himself. The home was friendly for a makeshift hospital, looking less clinical than it could look. That was Celeste’s work, for sure.

Gabriel turned when he heard the boots, simply pointing into a side hallway. “Third on the right. Be careful, please. She’s holding it together with sticks and string.” He looked back to his patient. It was common knowledge to get out of the way when loved ones were involved.

~

Her room was yellow. A soft, pastel yellow that made her hair look more red than it actually was. She was in awful shape. Her head was bandaged and her arm set in a splint. Her skin tone was pale and it showed the large blossoming bruises all along her collarbone and neck.

Aspen smiled when she saw him.

“Judy,” she whispered, reaching out with her good arm. Road rash and scrapes all along her arm made her wince, but she needed to feel someone’s hands again. His hands. “Shoulda seen the other guy…” Aspen mumbled, laughing weakly. “I single handedly took out like… six trees. Pretty impressive. Think it’s a world record or something.” Her eyes were slightly out of focus, it was all of the drugs, it was hard to focus through the morphine. “Did you get enough supplies this run? I didn’t get any bucks.”
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1 | 3 Comments | Nov 14th 2019 16:29

Starbound


USS Artemis, Gustav P. Remington Class, NCV-89938. She was a small vessel with only a handful of crew members in comparison to larger counterparts with thousands of crew memebers, but she could punch hard and take blows herself. She was an exploration vessel with an experimental crew. Every crew member was young, making it the youngest in the fleet.

But that didn’t mean that her crew was incompetent. It was the best and brightest minds her Captain could get.

~

“Captain on the bridge.”

Charlie pulled down his shirt in a smart, yet fluid movement. His face was recently shaven, his hair cut. He looked like his father, the same smile dancing on his lips. “At ease.” He calmly walked along, past the chair that was higher than the rest, and gently rested his hand on a young ensign’s shoulder. “How’s the sky looking today, Ensign?”

The young man looked up at Charlie, a vague nervousness sparking in his eyes. “It’s uh… It’s clear, sir.” He looked back at his navigations panels to make absolute sure that it was actually clear. That made Charlie laugh.

“That’ll do, Ensign. I trust you’ll be able to hold down the fort a little longer?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good man.” Charlie walked up and checked on the rest of his bridge, then started to make his rounds. He extremely disliked starting his day without knowing what his people needed. He walked calmly and carefully, smiling as he caught Jay. “Hey. Walk with me.” He stuck out his hand to urge him along. “Anything to report?”

Jay had his hair as long as he possibly could, his jaw sporting a healthy growth. It was still all within regulation, something very important to him. “Nothing. Everything’s still good. We’ll be ready to transport down in two hours, who are you planning on taking?”

Charlie hummed in the same tone as his ship. It was a low, constant rumble that Charlie always felt at home with. “Zad, for sure. I’m hoping he’ll find some sort of miracle at the marketplace. Would you be comfortable staying up here, or should I let Amoreel know that he’ll be watching over the bridge?” He looked over to his cousin with eyes that wanted nothing else other than advice. That’s why he was his first mate.

“I can watch the bridge if you believe you’ll need the security. In my opinion, I’d like to go with you. It’s not like trade agreements are violent.” Jay chuckled as they turned down the Medical hall.
Charlie nodded in thought, walking into the medical bay. Luckily, it was empty. Charlie didn’t like injured crew. “How’s it looking around here, Doctors?” He referred to them both because he knew there was some sort of contention between them. Doctors. They always got that way. “Anything that we should be looking for when we’re down on dry land?” He paced around, looking at random things. While he was not a doctor, Charlie knew as much as he can about everything under his ship, so he could handle himself.

Jay caught a glance at Blithe, his face not revealing what he would like to say. It was that he appreciated her… Company last night. They were amazing at hiding what was a highly unprofessional romance. They found an equal need for each other, and they often indulged in it. His back still hurt from her nails scratching it up, his skin uncomfortably rubbing against his uniform.
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1 | 8 Comments | Oct 9th 2019 01:40

That Damn Devil


The grass easily gave way underneath silent footsteps. Each step was careful, balanced perfectly to allow the hunter’s low position stay upright and gently dancing along a pathway. A buck- fairly large in size- had passed by recently. Bushes were shredded at their tops, revealing just how large the herd was that had walked past. They’d have a dinner every day for the next two weeks if they cut and dried the meat right.

Aspen crouched within some underbrush, her complicated eyes seemed to adopt the green that the leaves around her sported. In all honesty, her eyes were the only thing that seemed to belong in this wild tangle of nature. Her strawberry blonde hair was tied up in some tangled knot behind her head, so it wouldn’t get in the way of her quiver of homemade arrows. Her face was covered in an even, but light, layer of dirt and dust, hiding just how pale and fair her complexion was. Her clothes were far dirtier than her skin, torn and ripped in places where she had fallen or gotten into scuffles. The tattered cloth, which could barely even really be called clothes, hung loosely from her malnourished frame. Around her neck glinted a golden cross, one of two surviving symbols of her faith. Not too many people had faith these days.

There was a time when plenty of people had faith. Aspen lived there. She grew up in a gated community, a church smack dab in the middle. The catholic school she went to was just a five minute walk away. Folks used to be friendly back then, baking pies and sharing pot lucks after Sunday service. Folks used to be happy.

Then it happened.

Aspen was old enough to remember. The panic, the fear, the fighting. God fearing people became devils, turning on one another. It took her father to join the community once more, and oh how beautiful it was. Harmony for years as they all evolved from church goers to warriors. Her brother had taught her archery, made her bow with his own hands. Their initials were still carved into the handle. What was once a symbol of siblinghood now gave Aspen sharp pains of sorrow in her heart, for her brother Aiden had died with the rest of them in the siege. Aspen was only spared because that damn devil said she had “spunk”.

Her dirty hand gripped tighter on her bow, the pads of her fingers pressing into the indents of her brother’s initials. That damn devil.

Aspen pushed through the underbrush and continued to track. She wasn’t the best tracker in the world, as was apparent by the continuous backtracking and double checking. No, she knew who the best tracker was. She had asked Judas once to show her how to track like he did, but all he did was grunt and keep going. That was usually the most she got out of him. Aspen didn’t mind his lack of conversation, she made up for it. She had told him her entire life story through late nights of unrest. Judas never really responded, or even /looked/ at her for most of the time, yet something told her he was listening.

Aspen had taken to seeing Judas as a bit of an angel. An angel full of salt, piss, vinegar, and alcohol, but an angel. It didn’t help that she stared at his back whenever they were traveling, which was adorned with dirty angel wings sewn into leather. She had never seen him with a clean face, or a clean anything. He swore, bit, brawled, and ate damn near anything, yet there was a kindness she knew was in there somewhere. Aspen had once watched Judas save a horse in peril just because it was in distress. She figured mean people didn’t do that.

It wasn’t just Judas in their merry band. Dean was a mechanic, his jaw almost always set and he was always the last to eat. He was also the last say. Most everyone just accepted him as the one who made the choices, an impromptu leader in times of need. He kept his hair short and face shaven, green eyes piercing. His clothes were always torn up with something, but his leather jacket (which certainly didn’t fit him despite Aspen hearing that he had it prior to what had happened) was always taken care of.

His wife (or Aspen assumed they were married) was a curt woman named Elvira. She made damn sure everyone ate, and seemed to be the only person who could really keep Judas in this group. He listened to her, or at least he generally accepted her guidings. Sometimes. She was the closest thing they had to a motherly figure in the group. When Aspen had commented on that one night, Dean had scoffed. “What a crazy world we live in if Elvira is the gentlest, most motherly figure,” he snarked. That just earned him a sharp punch in the side. They had made up later, as they always did.

Elvira was most kind to her “baby brother”. Sam was neither a baby- the man was an absolute giant- nor her brother. He was Dean’s kid brother, younger by four years. He had shoulder length hair and a beard, darker than his already tan skin. He was built like an absolute ox, Aspen guessed that’s why they all called him moose. He was kind and intelligent. She had heard he was a really good lawyer. He was always carrying some sort of book with him, trading them around whenever they came to a library. He had shared some good books with Aspen over their travels, assuring her that Matilda was an American classic that must be read to everyone at least once in their lives. He read to Evie when she couldn’t sleep.

Evie was a small woman, even smaller than Aspen, but she was a fighter. Sam told Aspen once that Evie used to be incredibly wealthy (and also incredibly snobby) before it all happened. Aspen couldn’t really see it, she was so nice and so smart. She was always the cleanest out of the six, always the most put together. Sometimes, Aspen was jealous of her. She had it all going on, all put together.

Aspen took a deep breath as she spotted the tawny coat of the buck with its beautiful horns jutting upward from its head, piercing the sky with its sharp ends. She hunkered down, notching an arrow in the sinew. Her breath slowed and her arm pulled back so her hand was next to her ear. In between heartbeats, Aspen let go of the arrow. She watched as the head solidly fell into the heart of the buck with a thick /twump/. The buck screamed as it fell, and Aspen rushed to come silence it with a humane stab. Noise brought them. Noise was the enemy.

Her dirty hands took a strong stick and whittled an end into a sharp point. She had a mile to walk back to camp, and she couldn’t haul this deer up and over her shoulder. Judas had shown her how to do a one person drag once. He had looked her up and down and gruffly announced that she “couldn’t lift a deer without her skinny lil’ arms snappin’ like twigs”. When she protested, he made her prove it by making her drag it all the way back. Dean had laughed when she came in sweating like a dog, arms heavy with use. That was back when everything was all so new.

She took strong steps, her arms behind her as she used her own weight to pull the deer. She’d have to skin, gut, and cut the deer outside of the camp, lest they came to the camp looking for a meal. They always came out for a snack at the worst time.

~

Aspen wasn’t that far away from her clearing that she had marked for gutting when she heard it. The choked noises- the /inhuman/ noises- and the slow, ambling shuffling through undergrowth. She took a deep breath and the unmistakable smell of rot came out as a sickly sweet undertone to the fresh smell of the trees and grass. Slowly and carefully, Aspen let go of her buck and lifted her knife in the same movement. It wasn’t all that far off, maybe ten feet, wandering away from her. With the same careful steps previously used for hunting for food, she stalked closer to the lifeless creature that was the enemy. One of her personal demons. In one fluid movement, she reached out with her left hand and touched the rotting flesh (trying to control her natural revulsion at the way it wanted to slough off of the bone it limply laid on) and arced the knife into the brain. Blood didn’t splash out like one would think. For that to happen, the damned creature needed a beating heart. The horrible groaning silenced itself as the corpse slumped down to the forest floor. Putting her knife back in its protective sheath, Aspen went back to dragging her buck along.

~

The strawberry blonde hair that some would call unique to Aspen was being called far more profane things by herself. It kept getting in the way of her face as she gutted and butchered her kill, making her smear blood on her face as she pushed it away. She would kill for a hot shower right about now. With real soap and water pressure, with one of those fancy shower heads that massage your muscles… Aspen almost made a dreamy noise just thinking about it. She blinked and went back to cutting and packaging her meat, setting it inside her pack once it was wrapped in plastic wrap. They’d make some good jerky out of that.

She finished up by taking what was left of the hide and rolling it up in a tight bundle, tying it to the top of her pack. Slinging on the now heavy bag, she readjusted herself, her quiver, and her bow. Aspen glanced upwards at the sky. She had more than enough time to get to camp, drop off the meat, and go collect water to be purified from the stream she had spotted a while back. Aspen always made sure she pulled her weight for the group.

As she walked along the trail she had made back to camp, she came across a fresh trap. Aspen knelt down, noting that it’s particular making was definitely Judas’ handiwork. He rigged everything with things nearby, and if you were really looking, you could see where his materials came from. She smiled at that. Ecofriendly and an angel. A laugh wormed its way out of her throat, and she went along to the camp, making sure that she didn’t set off his small game traps. Did she take a roundabout way, hoping that maybe she’d run into him? Sure. But it was just to see if she could get him to teach her anymore survival skills.

Or so she told herself, that was.
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1 | 18 Comments | Sep 6th 2019 15:13

Here Comes the Sun


“I know you don’t like it, but-”

“Just.” Mal took a long deep sigh. His blue eyes- eyes his momma once said were the color of the sky when you look straight up on a clear day- screwed shut in a brief moment of hesitation. “Just get it over with.”

Simon pursed his lips for a heartbeat before turning around. He calmly moved deft fingers through sharp medical equipment and gentle vials locked in their foam cases. His voice passed through his lips softly, like a gentle mumble of a child who was too shy to ask about wanting a toy. “I… I’m saying this as a doctor. I don’t allow my emotions to make my decisions.” He carefully picked his needle and his injection, purposefully avoiding the gaze of the captain sitting on his patient table.

“Simon. Just say it.” His voice wasn’t annoyed, but it was definitely more terse than usual. Mal carefully unbuttoned his worn shirt, shrugging off one side to bare his arm for the good doctor. “I’ve already got a short temper, and you waving around a needle is cutting it in half.”

“Well…” Simon turned, taking an alcohol swab in one hand and Mal’s arm in the other. “I think River would really benefit a few hours outside of the ship. And since we’re landing for a few days, I thought I could walk her around for a few hours a day. She’ll be supervised, of course. Very closely.” He wiped at the skin where he was going to make his injection, thin lips always in their pursed state.

Mal flexed his jaw, making quick playthroughs of what could happen, what couldn’t. He had been so preoccupied with the thought of letting loose a mentally unstable girl with some weird things to say that he didn’t even notice the quick vaccination. He’d give it to Simon, he’d try to keep things as quick and simple as he could. “You watch her. She gets lost, some problem happens, we’re not waiting for you.”

The good doctor swallowed for a moment, but nodded in understanding as he taped a small swab of cotton to the fresh puncture wound he had created. “Understood.” He turned his back to attend to his things, grinning carefully to himself. “She’ll be safe.”

“She better.” Shrugging his shirt back on, Mal pushed himself off the sterile table and confidently paced out of the small room as he rebuttoned his shirt. A hand sentimentally reached out to touch a wall as he passed it. This was his girl. Sure, Kaylee fixed her and Wash drove her, but at the end of the day? Serenity was his. His little beacon of hope, his little firefly that couldn’t be caught in any jar. As long as Serenity was going, Mal was going right there with her.

A soft crack of static announced the usage of the intercom, and although the slight rumbling that had begun partially obscured the words, you could hear the voice fairly clearly. “Ladies and not-so-gentle folk, we will be landing in five minutes.”

Mal knew his crew was antsy for some time off ship, and a grumpy crew didn’t do much other than complain. A few days shore leave, plus a search for a new job, should put them all at ease. It’s how it worked in his platoon. Just wave some food and rest around some tired soldiers and suddenly you’ve got a fighting force of a century.

Even then, it wasn’t enough.

~

Mal didn’t knock. Of course he didn’t, he never did. He just walked right into the silk draped room like he owned the place. He’d argue that he /did/ own the place, but they had the same argument so many times that it barely even needed to be said. “Hey. Figure since you haven’t gone off the second we landed, you’re not busy. C’mon. I got some things I need ‘ya for.” His hands were in his pockets, resting his shoulder on the wall. “How well do you know how to shoot?” Mal calmly looked her in the eyes, but his face was his no-arguments-face.
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1 | 2 Comments | Jul 30th 2019 16:35
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