Holes/Session 34

A fragment of the Garden of Remembering

EXT. Horrible nightmare realm - space
Rhu has tumbled out into space and is just sort of drifting now. Largely catatonic, not really dead or alive. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Sometimes he'd pray. He'd meditate. He'd sing songs. He'd tell stories. He'd start talking a LOT to himself, except mostly in his head, because of the whole no-air thing. (rolled 21 religion)
He hears laughter from time to time. It sounds a bit like Hazz.
Suddenly Amadi is sitting on Rhu. He doesn't necessarily notice right away.
Amadi does some stuff to make the spinning go faster.
Wait. Am I shouting in my head? Ow.
You up there. Stop shouting "Whee". I'm trying to sleep.
(very quietly)
(turning around to look)
You. Of course it had to be you. Where's Dave?
Hmm. I guess that makes about as much sense as anything.
At this point, Rhu is just sort of talking in his head. Trying to talk. Knowing what he means to say, but no words coming out. Whereas Amadi is actually making words, but it's not quite clear how. Regardless, both can 'hear' each other.
(still whispering)
Whyyyy are you trying to sleeep? They say you don't need to sleep when you're dead.
There wasn't anything else to do until you came along. I don't know how long it's been.
(he points in a random direction)
There was a giant blob monster, but it's gone away now.
Amadi bonks Rhu on the head. The bonk causes Rhu to start spinning the other way, breaking several really very important laws of physics in the process.
Why're you here in the first place? Silly place to be, really.
Rhu thinks for a bit. Given Amadi and Rhu's current state of weirdness, this might be minutes or hours or days.
I guess I could say that it started when you handed me the mask, but it didn't really, did it? In some way I've been heading here my whole life.
He waves at the darkness and the void.
Amadi clambers over Rhu's head to dangle her own in front of his face, peering at him through narrowed eyes.
This about Hazz, is it?
Rhu nods.

INT. Guardhouse - morning
The rest of the party (Greibel, Radek, and the Gravedigger) are all in the guardhouse. Gravy was sleeping, Radek was doing worky stuff, and Greibel was... also doing something resembling sleep. But now it's morning.
Wasn't me! It was totally someone else that stole your hair.
Stole my-
Radek does a quick, desperate beard-check, but his beard seems to be fine.
...Never mind! I'm not accusing anyone this morning. Not unless George sees fit to keep us waiting any longer.

EXT. Horrible nightmare realm
I think I've worked it out. I think this is a dead end. My dead end. Maybe The dead end. I don't know. I don't think I want to know.
What I want to know is .. what happened to Azariphale?
And that cat. The talking one. And the other one in the capsule. So many loose ends. The story can't end with loose ends. And yet, here I am.
Well what are you sitting around here for, then?! That's just stupid.
Well, here we are. Unless I'm imagining you.
Hm? Oh, I'm here because you're here.
Rhu tries to poke Amadi, except he seems to have forgotten how arms and fingers work.
...Though I'm not here because you're here in the same way as I would if Greibel was here.
Amadi nods sagely to herself.
Rhu squints at Amadi, then stops and sighs.
Where is Greibel? And the others? Are they okay? Have they figured out how to cure the Holes yet?
Amadi gives a long snrrrk, trying not to sound too judgemental.

INT. Guardhouse
Where's Greibel? I would ask about Rhu as well, but he has a tendency to show up.
In answer to the question, Greibel gets up and starts smoking more stinky hallucinogenic plant. The place begins to really smell awful.
Radek takes a moment to blaspheme Hazz in Rhu's absence. Firstly, he starts with an utter lack of reverence for the guy. Talking him down like he's Radek's old college roommate - and like the only way in which he exceeds mortal limits is in his capacity to be a wretched nuisance. Possibly throwing around a few assertions about how "being inconvenient and frustrating" is the "worst domain" and it's not even respectable like a lot of the actually evil gods out there. And so on.
Greibel starts singing Push It To The Limit and makes trucker horn cord-pulling motions. (rolled 23 to sing)
Radek gives Greibel weird looks.
Come on, we have someone useful to meet. And keep singing that, Greibel. It's quite inspirational.
(still singing)
Ganelon (Radek): I'll try to incite a Wizard of Oz style musical march to the tavern (in the morning no less - aren't WE hardcore).
Bear Soup Guy (Greibel): We march on!
All in all, they head out the door.

EXT. Horrible nightmare realm
They're um, getting there. Probably.
Rhu nods.
So, do you intend to just stay here, or...?
Rhu sighs.
That's what Dave asked me back in... that place. Arah. She was very upset that I wanted to wait for the others.
Well, it IS pretty disappointing, I must say.
Rhu stops trying to poke Amadi and tries to shrug instead.
I don't want to try. I don't want to fail. It's peaceful out here. Peaceful and quiet.
Amadi raises her eyebrows, giving Rhu the "Really? That's your excuse?" look.
There's so much time to think. It's all I've been doing, thinking. And sleeping. And dreaming.
Dreaming? Here? Don't make me laugh.
Amadi outlines the mask with a finger against Rhu's skin, grinning slightly.
Would you like to dream again? Properly?
(squinting at Amadi)
No. Yes. Maybe. I don't know.
Amadi gives an exasperated harumph.
Rhu closes his eyes.
Is there really a way back?
Do you actually want one?
Rhu shuts his eyes tightly, and is silent for a while.
I would like that. I would like that very, very much.
Rhu opens his eyes.
Amadi grins again, widely and devilishly. Rhu grins along with her, although he's clearly not sure why.
So... this dead end is a complete waste of time? Right? And dreams are much better. Well, of course they are.
But what we want riiiight now...
Out. Outoutoutout.
Amadi suddenly tears off Rhu's mask and puts it on herself. Somehow this makes a copy, but despite the original mask remaining on Rhu, the copy pulls off like the tearing of flesh. His face feels raw with out it, exposed.
Rhu screams in surprise, then gasps at the rawness of his faces. He reaches up to touch it, and though his arms still aren't working properly, he gets there in the end. (rolled 14 heal to see what's going on with his face)
He feels the shape of the mask still there. It just also feels missing. His face, that is, or perhaps the mask? Rhu looks at Amadi in confusion and fright.
Amadi slowly disappears, leaving her grin, Cheshire style.
Um. Okay.
Rhu waits for... minutes? Hours? Days? And then he sighs again.
Amadi's grin edges slightly to the side.
(whispering enticingly)
Are you coming?
Oh. Er. Yes?
Rhu reaches out towards the smile.
It pulls him in. To something. Something different, twisty, and full of hair.
Gaurav (Rhu): I gotta ask: am I literally being pulled into the smile, in between the lips, or is the point of the smile, at one end, tearing a hole in space and yanking me through it?
Ellemerr (Amadi): I think it might be both. The smile tears a hole, and keeps it open with... itself.
Through leads into weirdness. He catches a glimpse of Amadi, then suddenly he's somewhere else.
Somewhere else entirely, Amadi makes childish "I won" sort of noises at Hazz.

EXT. Town street - day
The party is heading toward the inn. Greibel is still singing. It's kind of a musical march thing, but too disorganised.
Greibel suddenly falls over from an unexpected and invisible weight. (rolled 14 strength) This doesn't interrupt his singing.
Radek sighs.
Could you at least stick to the narcotics that don't leave your motor functions impaired, Greibel?
Well, I prefer to keep an open mind.
Frezak (Gravy): If he has no motor control he can't get into trouble.
Greibel tries to get up and fails and winds up just sitting there, still singing. (rolled 4 strength to get up) Gravy winds up picking him up instead, making exertion noises. (rolled 15 strength) Greibel seems heavier than usual.
Then Gravy goes to prop Greibel against a wall and suddenly finds himself holding not just Greibel, but Amadi and a rather sticky Rhu as well. This finally interrupts the singing.
Rhu looks forward, then over this shoulder, then down at the floor. Then he slides off the heap like a felled ox.
Rhu gasps for air, then just lies there.
Amadi clings to Gravy, hoping for more fun riding around times.
I should have taken bets.
Rhu starts flopping around like a dying fish.
The Gravedigger drags Rhu and Amadi toward the nearest water source - it turns out to be a well in the middle of town with a bit of a pool behind it, for whatever reason.
(while being dragged)
I'm okay... I'm fine... I can walk...
It's clear he's only barely able to move, however.
Radek practices his spiteful grumbling, but then follows and takes samples of the crap on Rhu, as well as some blood samples.
Oh, suck it up. These aren't even my big needles.
So where were you this time? Not the barkeep's cellar, I imagine.
He was dead and gone! I got him back! I'm really clever. MUCH better than Hazz.
Not DEAD dead, mind. But dead-and-gone.
Gaurav (Rhu): I think Rhu is going to give up worshipping Hazz' and start worshipping Amadi instead. This is the second time she's saved his life, not counting the time she saved us all from out of Midnight.
Ellemerr (Amadi): I'm not sure she'll appreciate that.
Gaurav (Rhu): Eh. I'm not sure Hazz' appreciates Rhu much right now, either.
Gravy leaves Rhu and Amadi by the well and starts bringing up some buckets using manly strength.
Rhu goes back to floppin around, looking strangely happy to see everybody and everything.
(she gives Rhu a stern look)
We're not fishes, you know. Not for the time being.
So what's the difference between "dead" and "dead and gone"?
Rhu splutters politely.
(turning back to Radek)
(she nods to herself)
Mostly emptiness.
Rhu is still flopping about, but his flopping seems more coordinated. He tries to take a sip of water, but winces. He reaches up to feel his face.
I see.
Radek plainly does not see.
Amadi has long since given up on explaining anything to Radek and thus doesn't even try.
Greibel, however, does see. He knows what Amadi is talking about. (rolled 20 reality)
Apheori (GM): What was Amadi talking about?
Ellemerr (Amadi): The... difference between... being dead and being dead-and-gone. Gravy has been dead. Rhu was dead-and-gone. And those are different. Clearly.
Frezak (Gravy): I... don't think I've been dead?
Ellemerr (Amadi): You got holed, buddy.
Frezak (Gravy): B..b... BUT
Gaurav (Rhu): I was wondering how we'd all survived for so long. Evidently, the answer is... that we didn't.
Ellemerr (Amadi): *cackles*
Thus Greibel is aware of all of this, and the insight also includes a bunch of nature of the universe/multiverse stuff tacked on. The deadity, it's another reality. Lots of realities, really, all layered on top of each other. That one had emptiness where Rhu was, and this one has emptiness elsewhere, but everything, really, is mostly emptiness. But some of them, you're dead. Some of them are death. Something something. CHALK.
Rhu has sort of got fine motor control back now, and is feeling his own face to see if he's still got a mask on. He does.
Then Gravy dumps a bucket of water over him. Rinse and repeat.