“Can we help you?” Vic asks the tall, black man as she trails through the house, following the trail of water Scarlett left behind whilst creating one of her own. “I’m not sure yet” the man bluntly responds, hands hung by his side as he looks Scarlett in the eyes, almost studying the young woman’s response. “Is this weird look you’re giving me supposed to help?” Scarlett inquires, her caustic remark earning a chuckle from the visitor.
“In my own way- yes” Lincoln replies, a bright, perfect smile on his face as he looks up, peering across the living room where Vic resides. “I see you survived” Lincoln proclaims, both Vic and Scarlett’s faces beginning to drop, their shift in expression quickly touched upon by their guest. “You see, it’s that- That face I was looking for” Lincoln clarifies, his index finger raised to Vic.
Defying the unspoken understanding of private property, Lincoln pushes past Scarlett, allowing himself entry as he approaches Vic. “Don’t come any closer” Vic warns, matching each forward step Lincoln takes with one backwards. “Why not?” Lincoln asks, the heavy shoes he wears tapping against the hardwood floors loudly, Vic’s eyes wandering toward Scarlett’s direction, the bolder half of the duo standing back, patiently awaiting her cue.
“Because it’s not the safest idea for you” Vic responds, taking the man’s persistence for what it is- a display of intimidation. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before” Lincoln responds, his progression suddenly stopping once he reaches the centre of the room, Vic and Scarlett an equal distance away from him, though across the room from each other.
“I think you should leave” Vic apprises the man, her retreat ceasing as Lincoln’s does, the man’s unearned, gleeful visage making it difficult to decipher his intentions. “What if I want to stay?” the man replies, his voice lowering, a soft and almost seductive tone taken, a charm and pep to his speech that would appear welcoming under different circumstances.
“You might force us to do something we’d rather not” Scarlett replies, Lincoln’s face turning slightly sideways, his eyes glancing in the brunette’s direction. “Oh yeah?” Lincoln inquires, his body turning a few inches further toward Scarlett, his eyes pressing upon her person rather than the vicinity which she occupies. Half of the floor raised slightly higher than the rest, Lincoln stands at the point in which each half meets, Vic standing nearest the villa’s patio.
His smile intact, Lincoln takes a single step forward whilst keeping his face toward Scarlett, his right boot pressing into the lower platform, the right soon to join it. No longer retreating, Vic looks to her peer, a single eyebrow raised in Scarlett’s direction, a subdued nod given. A second step taken forward, Lincoln’s eyes remain plastered in Scarlett’s direction, the quick-tempered realm-leaper acting at Vic’s behest.
Putting her abilities to the test, Scarlett’s hand lifts from beneath the counter she’d stood behind, her open palm thrown toward Lincoln from her side. Not unfamiliar with the environment he’s entered- or with whom he shares it with- Lincoln responds in kind, the powerful force thrown in his direction answered in kind. Throwing his arms against his chest, Franklin surrounds himself with a bright blue, semi-transparent orb at the perfect time, Scarlett’s offence missing its mark.
Waiting for a moment, Lincoln allows his reaction to their efforts to settle, his arms uncrossing once he determines the moment is right. Her eyes widened, Scarlett stares at Lincoln with disbelief whilst Vic steps back, her shoulders pressing into the large glass walls that separate their living space from the patio. “Cool trick, huh?” Lincoln quips, his pleased grin having returned, “got any of your own?”
As the girls looking to each other in silent disbelief, Lincoln relaxes his defence, giving the teenagers a shrug. The parlour void of any furniture, Lincoln begins to pace around the large floor, his eyes inevitably falling upon the remarkably clear waters of the Arabian sea. “Of course you wouldn’t” Lincoln remarks, Scarlett departing the kitchen in favour of staying close to the only other friendly face.
“I wasn’t talking about the plane crash earlier, by the way” Lincoln clarifies, his hand held toward the girls’ faces, “it’s been so long since someone survived those tragedies that, if I’m being honest, it’s nice to just see people get a win.” His awareness made more apparent, Lincoln pushes his cloak aside, taking a seat on the higher portion of the platform, the two girls now close enough for him to see at once.
“How do you know about the realm?” Vic interrupts, eager to depart from the silent inspection she and Scarlett had tried to leverage. Pressing his hands together, Lincoln rubs his palms with increasing force, only stopping when the laugh he holds back finally pushes itself aside. “How do you think?” Lincoln answers, his eyes squinting in the girls’ direction, neither of their faces implying the first of any clue.
“I- don’t know” Vic replies, stumbling over her words at first, caught up in the implications raised. “The two of you aren’t the first team the realm decided to give a home, but if I have my way- you will be the last” Lincoln responds. His elbows pressing into his knees, Lincoln hunches forward, his eyes kept solely upon the girls, “I was the realm’s chosen son, and then I was betrayed” the man confesses, still wearing the smile, “now I’ve come back to be king.”
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
\ Realm of Reality /
“How long until we have to go public with this?” West inquires, laid in a hospital bed with a plethora of injuries to nurse. “Technically, we don’t have-” a nearby officer begins to reply, West’s expectations already having tracked the answer to its intended destination. “I know we don’t technically have to go public at all” West interrupts, watching the officer hand his head, hands clasped together by his waist, “how long until we should go public with this?”
Disheartened, the officer pauses for a moment, lifting his eyes toward West, the sheriff’s right arm in a cast, his face and abdomen bruised and cut. “In theory, it’d be favourable to go public within the next twelve hours” the common, found-everywhere deputy responds, “and it’d be ideal if you were the one that made the announcement.”
“How the hell do you figure that?” West quickly inquires, struggling to push himself a few centimetres further up the bed, “their sheriff’s crippled- how does that help public morale?”
“It doesn’t- but it may make people feel empathetic to you” the deputy responds, his explanation scoffed at by West, whose wife holds his undamaged hand within her own. “I know you don’t care about that, but for the unit-” the officer begins, only angering the sheriff further, his temperament skewed. “Get the fuck out, deputy” West interjects, his head jerking forward, ushering the officer to his room’s exit.
Left with little other choice, the officer bows his head and turns away, stepping through the exit as Montes begins to follow. “Not you, Montes- you stay” West exclaims, watching the young officer turn back with a confused look on his face, “you’re just about the only uniform I can tolerate right now.”
Though honoured, Montes remains anxious, his hand running through his hair as he readjusts his cap, reclaiming a seat to the room’s side. “The cruiser- what’d you find on it?” West queries, again struggling to push himself into a seat, ignoring his wife’s request for him not to. “Nothing, sheriff” Montes replies, his superior’s pain-ridden expression turning to one of astonishment.
“Wh-!? How the fuck is that possible!?” West shouts, wincing in pain as the words leave his lips, the aches in his chest forcing him to settle down. “I don’t- I have no clue, sir” Montes replies, though sharing in the sheriff’s displeasure, his fixation resides upon the indescribable details. “The car was completely unharmed, you look like you were in a train crash, and we’ve heard nothing from the kids- not a peep” Montes remarks, “this- it just- it doesn’t add up.”
Breathing deeply as he finally sets into a seated position, West turns his head toward Montes, a reluctant look held in his face. Refusing to speak, West looks toward the door, thinking quietly to himself before looking his wife in the eyes. “Honey, get yourselves something to eat at the cafeteria, alright?” West asks, his partner’s lips pressing against his cheek as she takes their son's hand into her own, aware of what her husband was really requesting.
Though not asked to, West’s spouse shuts the door behind her, leaving only her husband and his inexperienced confidant left to secrecy. “You need to promise that you won’t say this to anyone” West urges, Montes’ eyes widening with this notice, his chest tightening under the possibilities of what ‘this’ is. “It’s going to make me sound crazy, but it won’t be the strangest part of this investigation” West clarifies, “and, of all the people in the station, you- somehow- might believe me.”
Beginning to perceive this admission as less of a personal matter and more of an olive branch, one extended in hopes of finding trustful hands to claim it. “What if it helps the case?” Montes challenges, wanting to square away any questions prior to the expected revelation, “if- whatever it is- fits into a hole we don’t have an answer to?”
“Then make it clear that I’m not on drugs or delusional before you say it” West quickly replies, his patience stretched toward its limits. “Then yeah- I promise” Montes responds, though slightly eager to prove his worth to the sheriff, understands the gravity such a confession is made with. His aversion still present, though it wavers, West leans closer to his subordinate, his voice kept to a minimum.
“I don’t think the guy that did this is human” West remarks, watching Montes face immediately scrunch, his eyes narrowing. “Um- okay?” the officer replies, unsure of what to think, how to respond, or if West is playing a joke on him. “I know, you think I’m making this up, and I’m sure I sound insane- I get it” the sheriff clarifies, saying whatever he can to dissuade Montes from mistaking the declaration for humour.
“Are you implying he was a monster?” Montes asks, speaking through the head shake West answers with, “what do you mean?” His left hand grasping as his broken ribs, West’s right hand pushes gently into the end of the mattress, grimacing through the pain as he pauses. “He- listen- he threw me into the air with his hand” West proclaims, continuing to speak for as long as Montes sits silently.
“He looked at me, he waved his hand at me, and I just-” West pauses, both collecting his thoughts and his breath, “-I just remember flying. It was like every breath I had was just gone.” With ironic timing, Montes takes in a deep breath, holding it as West continues, still uncertain if the encounter is one long, well-acted gag.
“I hit my head, and I rolled, and I stopped, and I was in pain” West details, the rest of the skirmish growing fuzzy. “I remember getting to the car, and passing out. That’s it, but I know-” West continues, another pause taken to refill his lungs, “-I know what I saw.” The air still, Montes keeps his eyes on West, conflicted on whether to believe what he’s been told, or even if he wants to understand.
Finally exhaling, Montes leans back in his seat, both arms falling upon the sides of his chair, processing West’s avowal. “You don’t have to believe me, I’m not asking you to- I just want you to keep that in mind” West adds, the obvious look of scepticism in Montes’ reaction building an upward battle closer toward the sky, “if something doesn’t make sense, or if there’s gap in reasoning- use it to fill in the blanks, then you’ll know for sure.”
Speechless, Montes takes with him West’s story, the need to separate himself from the sheriff becoming apparent. Without a word, the deputy removes himself from the chair, slowly stepping out of the room, and returning to his duties as normal. Lips puckered in a frown, West shakes his head, slowly laying back into his seat, “I may have to give those alien nutjobs more benefit of the doubt” he murmurs beneath his breath, left with his thoughts.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“Girls, I’m not sure what to tell you” Esotera replies, walking beside Scarlett and Vic as they patrol the eternal office’s bountiful depths, “the realm has secrets just as any other being does.” Her service weapon glowing a bright, vibrant blue, Vic tags a ghoul as it rounds the corner, her aim worthy of the description ‘impeccable’.
“Well, when are we gonna get the chance to find them?” Vic inquires, the trio descending upon a staircase built in brutalist fashion. “Whenever the realm stops trying to kill us” Scarlett responds, her changed hair colour having travelled with her to the realm beyond, “-which, I guess, is right now.”
“I’ll leave the two of you to it” Esotera proclaims, vanishing with a snap, the territory’s mortal inhabitants left to fend for themselves. After a few metres walked and a few charges fired, the girls enter a directory, its floors chiselled from granite, a staircase wrapping around each drastically spaced-apart wall. “This place is a damn fine place to start” Scarlett murmurs, the open drop that sits between each wall housing a bonsai tree, its branches reaching infinitely high.
“Why haven’t we seen this place before?” Vic wonders aloud, peering over the staircase’s edge and toward an infinite drop, the floor’s existence impossible in their common world. “Because this place is a tower and a maze put together that never ends” Scarlett replies, peering through the open windows of unmarked offices, each room as empty as the last.
Fascinated by the capacious anomaly, Vic forces herself toward the task at hand, returning to Scarlett’s side as the woman navigates the floor. No legible signs to read, nor people to ask directions from, Scarlett allows fate to make the decision on her behalf, choosing a workroom at random and beginning from there. “Let me know if you find anything” Scarlett urges, the girls splitting apart with sights set on covering whatever ground manageable.
The commodious foyer now more empty than before, Vic stands alone, surrounded by architecture crafted by the force of reality’s need to bend rules at nauseum. Each office appearing, on the outside, just as unimportant as those they accompany, Vic settles on sharing Scarlett’s approach, her eyes setting upon one space in particular with little reason behind the decision.
The room she enters dark and uninspired, Vic’s service weapon reemerges from the air’s thin vail, the variegated light that fades out and returns stronger dying the room a wondrous blue. Though the room is now lit, Vic’s destination endures her efforts, remaining concealed beneath the guise of uncertainty. “How the fuck do I even do this?” Vic mutters beneath her breath, as unsure of where to begin her journey as she is unsure of where it’s meant to end.
Waving her firearm at anything not built into the office itself, Vic finds little more than notes with illegible scribbles and picture frames stocked with blurry, colourless photos. The drawers of each desk empty, the furniture in each room a drab grey and untouched, and each accessory of personal feature indistinguishable from anything else she’d come across, Vic remains unsuccessful in her search.
Soon, rows of small, efficient and private offices are cleared with little more than slightly-adjusted couch cushions and scattered pieces of loose leaf paper to show for it. Her spirits quickly faltering, Vic finds herself eight floors above where she’d began her travels, as empty handed as when she’d began walking. Her disappointment having turned to frustration, Vic exits a final office before throwing herself- back first- to the floor.
Covering her face with the palms of her empty hands, Vic reconsiders her approach, feeling drawn to the belief that a better, more-suitable option is possible. “Oh honey” a soft, compassionate voice remarks, Vic’s hands pulling away from her blush-filled face. Her eyes widened, Vic sits up, turning back to the voice that beckons her attention.
“You can’t lose focus now, not after all you’ve done to get here” the voice urges, its face as blurry as the homogeneous photographs aligning every office wall. “Who- what-?” Vic replies, treating the seemingly-empathetic spirit to a warmth-deprived reaction. “You’re looking for answers, but you’re not asking for them” the fuzzy voice explains, its words becoming slightly distorted, muffled as if spoken through a cheap radio.
“What are you talking about?” Vic shouts, slowly stepping closer to the figure, its phantom-like appearance unable to discourage her advancement. “You have its ear” the voice whispers, the realm that surrounds Vic quickly growing as obscure as the voice that calls to her. “Victoria” the voice sighs, the distance between herself and the wandering inhabitant vanishing within a moment, her blurry lips sitting just beside Vic’s ear.
“You shall guide this realm” the voice sighs, its lips grazing Vic’s ear in a final moment before vanishing, the world’s hazy picture clearing in an instant. Pulling her head back, Vic awakens from her profound daze in the middle of yet another generic, uninhabited office, the blue light of her weapon held steadily over a portrait as featureless as the rest. The hairs on her arm raised, Vic refuses to move, a curious, yet unavoidable, desire telling her to freeze.
Giving into her bewildered mind’s impulse, Vic turns herself into a statue, each muscle, ligament, tendon and bone in her body temporarily immobilised. Turning her head as far as possible, Vic’s guard begins to lower, her body beginning to accept movement once more, the hand her weapon resides within, however, remaining suspended above the portrait.
Left with nothing else to make sense of, Vic stares into the obscure picture, her free hand resting at the bottom of its frame. “You have its ear” Vic whispers to herself, gazing back to the empty room, nothing peaking her interest anymore than the snapshot she stands before. “Is this picture of importance to you?” Vic asks aloud, undecided on what sort of answer she anticipates.
Waiting for a voice, sight, or altercation to greet her, Vic nearly misses the glow of her weapon increase, its blue light doubling its radiance, the answer seemingly offered. Waving the unconventional lantern over the picture, Vic notices no difference in appearance, its faded and unremarkable illustration unchanged. Her patience dwindling, Vic begins to press into the canvas as if it were the screen of a phone, the presses becoming pokes, which become smacks, which become punches.
“What the fuck am I supposed to do!?” Vic exclaims, her spaced-apart punches growing more rapid, increasing in intensity as her screams heighten, “what the fuck do I do!?” Her dissimilarity from Scarlett lessening with each unprovoked strike, Vic gives into her aggravation, wrapping her free hand around the portraits frame and ripping it from the wall.
Pulling her arm back, Vic strips the picture from the wall, her existence halted the moment the its wooden frame disconnects from the nail that had held it in place. Faster than the blink of an eye, Vic vanishes into thin air, the portrait she’d captured left to fall, frame shattering as the floor interrupts its descent.
\ Realm Beyond - Eternal Office /
“It has your ear” the voice whispers, the realm that surrounds Scarlett quickly growing as obscure as the voice that calls to her. “Scarlett” the voice sighs, the distance between herself and the wandering inhabitant vanishing within a moment, her blurry lips sitting just beside the traveller’s ear.
“This realm shall guide you” the voice sighs, its lips grazing Scarlett’s ear in a final moment before vanishing, the world’s hazy picture clearing in an instant. Pulling her head back, Scarlett awakens from her profound daze in the middle of yet another generic, uninhabited office, the red light of her weapon held steadily over the door to a closet that, unlike any room she’d entered prior, sits beside the plain wooden desk.
“-The fuck?” Scarlett grumbles, stepping away from the unmarked entrance, the endless hallway just beyond the room’s entrance she’d navigated prior welcoming her back. “Hey!” Scarlett exclaims, calling out to the spectre that set out to lead her off track. “Where the fuck are you!? get back here!”
Her challenge unanswered, Scarlett is left in the open, her words echoing upward, propelled into oblivion. “Whatever the fuck that was, it was not-fucking-cool!” Scarlett shouts, more angered at the apparition for toying with her mind than leading her astray. With a grunt, Scarlett shakes her head, the eyes she wields inevitably steered toward the untagged closet.
Biting into her lip, Scarlett marches back into the office, refusing to consider what may reside beyond the blank entrance as she extends her hand, pushing the boundary open and stepping inside. With a gust of air, Scarlett enters an unimposing sanctum drenched in the sightless guise of darkness, the door she’d stepped to no longer existing. “Hello!?” Scarlett exclaims, the sound of her voice triggering a massive spotlight, its illumination aimed directly at her eyes.
Covering her face, Scarlett shields herself from the blinding luminosity, a few seconds passing before her arms begin to lower. Surrounding her in each direction, a tent adorned with red and white pinstripes covers the sky, the carpet she once stepped upon traded in for sand. The office left behind, Scarlett stands in the centre of a carnival ground, the rows of seats circled around the venue empty, unoccupied by even the most empty of faces.
Opening her mouth, Scarlett attempts to speak, though the words to bring explanation to such an outlandish scene appear nonexistent. “We’re all just pawns” a disembodied voice sings, its tune purposefully haunting, mellow and relaxed in an uneasy manner. Before long, the voice receives its personality, a woman with no facial features aside from a mouth commanding her attention.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the woman sings, repeating the line louder, each time more vicious than the last. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghost remarks for a fourth time, her somewhat innocent cheer becoming increasingly deceiving the longer it persists. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghost sings for a fifth time, her lack of eyesight making her unaware of the service weapon Scarlett unleashes.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board” the ghoul chants for a sixth time, switching her tune to a soft, hauntingly beautiful hum just as Scarlett’s finger grazes the trigger. “But you- will never- be seated- upon- the throne” the creature of unexplainable origins interrupts, Scarlett’s intentions thwarted, the declaration catching her by surprise.
“Wh- what did you just s-?” Scarlett interrupts, the barrel of her weapon lowering from the figment’s head, her question disregarded as the chant is rekindled. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the heathen restarts, her voice drowned beneath the weight of a crowd, their voices one million damned souls strong, all repeating the line in unison, not one being out of tune from another.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the crowd roars, forcing Scarlett to her knees, hands pressed against each side of her head. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the chants intensify, the collective voices wielding the power of one thousand thunderstorms, all rumbling at once around Scarlett’s head, squeezing her skull with incredible might.
“You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the lines are repeated, the crowd composed only of the same lost souls Suzie had spoken of, trapped in their dimensional hell all the same. “You- control- the dead- that run- the board!” the crowd repeats, Scarlett’s wails of pain, the likes of which able to find measurement upon the Richter scale, submerged beneath the mob.
“You-” the crowd shouts, Scarlett’s heartbeat aligning with each roar.
“Control-” the horde roars, Scarlett’s every grunt emitting a sound wave.
“The dead-” the throng screams, Scarlett’s teeth clenching with inseparable force.
“That run-” the flock bellows, Scarlett’s hands pressing against the sides of her head with pressure mightier than the mythical strength of Zeus.
“The board!” the legion howls, Scarlett’s once-pressed eyelids suddenly parting, her brown irises having turned a bright, bloody, rich shade of red.
“SSSIIILLLEEENNNCCCEEE!” Scarlett screams, the impact of her voice turning the carnival tent to dust, its contact liquidating the sand, and its collision grounding each unoccupied chair into a rubbery paste. Huffing and puffing as if she were the big, bad wolf itself, Scarlett gazes back to the gathered swarm, the once raucous fiends obeying her command.
Standing upright, Scarlett remains the legion’s centre of attention, her presence the display’s main attraction. The pinstriped curtains gone just as the seats, sand, spotlight and vibrancy are, all that surrounds the red-eyed realm-leaper is an empty, black void.
Confused, Scarlett spins around, the faceless woman the command was once held within remains exactly where last stood, not a sight beyond those that accompany her to be found. With a collective thud, the legion reclaims Scarlett’s attention, the young woman turning back to find those that had tormented, badgered and provoked her into retaliation now kneel to her.
“All hail the king!” the crowd shouts.
“All hail the king!” the horde roars.
“All hail the king!” the throng screams.
“All hail the king!” the flock bellows.
“All hail the king!” the legion howls.
“All hail the king!” they praise.
Pressing her hand upon Scarlett’s shoulder, the army’s faceless director pauses, allowing the chant to ensue. “We will guide you to the throne” the empty-faced ghoul promises, her devotion only further enraging their chosen king. Nostrils flaring, Scarlett looks the woman in the face, her rage setting in once more as she spins around, her open hand reaching for the woman’s throat as she lunges forward.
== Dream Sequence ==