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View Full Version : Penny Dreadful (Shock.WAV) Vs. The Handyman (WafflesMgee)



Shock.WAV
10-13-2015, 05:00 AM
I've absolutely no idea what to say for an introduction. Profiles and battles below.

WafflesMgee - The Handyman (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?78734-The-Handyman)
Shock.WAV - Penny Dreadful (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?92596-Penny-Dreadful)

A soft glow came from the window in the room’s door. It illuminated the simplistic furnishings, the
ingle chair, the single table, the single bed, the single set of drawers and wardrobe. It even had a single window, giving a view of blackened buildings with cloudy night skies above.

One of the few guards of the block made his last round, peeking in through each window to check up on the inmates. When he came upon Penny’s room, he merely glanced at the lump scrunched up under the bed’s sheet, a mess of light brown hair stuck out the top, barely on the single pillow. He aimed his torch at the window and scanned the room a bit, but after a few seconds he decided it was enough. He was tired and just wanted to go home.

By the time the hallway lights had went out, Penelope was already out there. In a grimey and seldom-travelled alleyway, her machete lodged neatly between the fifth and sixth vertebrae of some poor man’s spine. It was really stuck in there. She had to firmly grab the handle and shove the man’s body away with her foot, the blade breaking free with a gristle-filled squelch.

This moment was peace for her, it was pleasure. Eventually, like she knew it would, rain started to spittle down in miniscule drops. It wouldn’t get any harder than that, it was just enough to chill her heated skin down, flushed with adrenaline-fuelled blood that pumped through her veins. At this time of night it was all but silent, save for the white noise of the rain, the peeling of rubber car tyres on tarmac, the clicking of insects and bugs and last, but not least, the distant sounds of sirens.

Penny looked down at the fear-stricken corpse with disgust. How dare he call for the bobbies and cut her joy short? He knew he wasn’t going to live, so what was the point? He could have let her have her fun.

A sigh left her lips and hit the white porcelain mask obscuring her face. She adjusted it a bit, letting some cool air breeze in before she made her way back.

-----

The base of the HQ building was lined with bushes and the occasional flower bed. It gave some life to the boring brick walls and constantly shuttered windows. One of the bushes down the left side was unique, though. If you managed to sneak in behind it you’d notice that a good portion of it was gone, revealing a grate in the wall.

Of course, the grate was too small for anyone to fit through, so guards didn’t care for it, but it held a secret. If you pressed against it, it would open up like a cat flap, and you could reach for a lever. The secret was that this patch of wall acted like a secret door.You pushed in, and section big enough to fit through hinged open, like a jigsaw piece sliding free, revealing secret tunnels inside.

Penny adored these tunnels, they let her sneak in and out without detection. There was a similar door mechanism in her room too. It seemed like whoever lived in the room before her made these tunnels; though with how long she has lived in there, the previous inhabitant was certainly long gone. She liked that. Dead comrades couldn’t sell you out.

The tunnels were lined with mementos of the previous cellmate. A few empty brown bottles, some words and tally marks carved into walls, etcetera. Penny didn’t care for them. She just went straight to her room’s hatch.

It was certainly midnight at this point. She met a square hatch in the wall, locked in place by a curious mechanism designed for stealthy opening. There was a bolt lock, except it moved up and down freely. Gravity always kept it in the ground’s hole so that the door was always locked when shut, though the top of the bolt had a pretty strong magnet on it.

Penny cleaned up her weapons and tidied them away in her stash, where she kept various back-up masks and wigs made up from hair stolen from the haircutters. She then opened the hatch, pushed her room’s drawers away, tidied away the decoy from under the bed’s sheets into the tunnels and then shut the hatch, using a lump of metal against the wall as a makeshift handle. When closed, she pulled the handle away and the bolt on the other slide slid down, locking the door. She moved the drawers back, snuggled into bed and slept soundly.

-----

The following day contained the routine of visiting the good Dr. Hartley. There were only two people in the world Penny could talk to, and he was half of them.

“Hello again, Penelope.” The Doctor relaxed in his chair, clipboard and pencil in hand. He peered over the coffee table to see Penelope sitting straight up in her chair, as if she was trying to be taller than him.

“H-hello.” Her voice stuttered. Nobody could blame her, she hardly used it.

“Right, so…” Dr. Hartley lifted a page up, peered underneath, and let the page fall. “Last time, we were making progress on some past recollections.” His voice was calm and kind, the kind of voice that lured information out from whatever dark places the listeners tried to hide it. “A time at your primary school, I believe.

“Y-yes. The f-fight. I was in year- year eight. S-secondary school.”

“I remember. You had a fight against a boy. What was his name?”

“T-Timothy.” She scratched at her arms slightly. She tried to hide it, but the sound of nails over scars was loud. She was a horrible liar.

“What was his name, Penelope?”

“I told you. It’s- It’s not import-important.” She knew who Timothy was, and it wasn’t the boy she was talking about. Timmy was the name of an imaginary friend she used to have, something the doctor didn’t know about.

“Right. Now. Why did you fight him?”

She looked down at the table and sighed. “He look-looked down o-on me. C-c-called me a freak.”

He scribbled something down. “How did the fight go?”

“I-I punched h-him several ti-times. I knock-knocked him o-out.” She couldn’t stifle the scratching.

It was Dr. Hartley’s time to sigh. The best weapon he had at his disposal was time. it took enough to get Penny to talk about her past, he figured it was enough of a success to get this far. He’d pry more out, eventually.

The rest of the talk was uneventful, full of lies from her side and sighs from his. Eventually she was let back into her room where she proceeded to sit on her bed and await silence before she started to softly hum to herself.

-----

“So, what did you do to Timothy?”

“I-I punched him. Un-until he f-fell.” She scratched at her arms again.

Penny couldn’t help it. She knew the Doctor wanted to wrangle the past out of her, but she was adamant about her position. She wasn’t going to feed him.

That night she stared out of her window and hummed once again. The itch was starting to return.

-----

“At this point I know you aren’t going to talk about Timothy, but I am rendered curious. After you, “he lifted a page, “punched him until he fell, he ceased to show up after.” He made direct eye contact with Penny. “Did you kill him?”

“No,” she said, hands completely still. The Doctor looked to his upper right and nodded slightly.

“Alright, then. For that, I am relieved. I’ll let you leave early today.”

Penny was disturbed at this change of schedule.

“Wh-why?”

“New person in. Far east wing.”

“I th-thought the east wi-wing was f-full?”

“Uh, a previous occupant departed. He started to see things at night.”

“What th-things?”

“Just stuff out his window. Anyway-” someone rapped at the door.

“Right, yes. The guard will escort you back to your room.”

Reluctantly, Penny got up and returned to her room. She felt a bit of temper bubbling up inside of her, but she didn’t let it out.

That afternoon, Penny sat with her back against the drawer, humming a simple melody to herself. If it weren’t for the rain on her window, she would have heard some gentle taps from within the hidden passages behind her, perfectly mimicking her solitary tunes.

By the time she crawled into her bed, she decided that she would kill again tomorrow night.

-----

The ground was darkened by an earlier rainfall. The air was cold once again, inspiring apathy and drowsiness in all to take it in, yet Penny could not feel the chill through her coat, scarf, and the hot exhaling air that cycled within her porcelain mask. Her appearance made her stand out, so she kept to patrolling alleyways for drunken lone-goers fumbling for a way home. Suddenly, she heard a young voice up ahead, and darted behind a few bins and boxes.

“Daddy!” yelled a young kid, tugging at the sleeve of his father’s coat. The child seemed oddly cheerful, especially since his father seemed utterly drunk.

“Yeah, son?” His words slurred and his feet staggered.

“Home’s this way!” The kid pointed with his free hand. It was down the alley that Penny was withdrawn in.

“An’ howd’ya know that?” replied the father, being tugged along by the kid. He was too drunk to do anything else.

“Because fingers said so!”

The father looked around, head flailing in whatever directions. “Fingers? What fingers? I don’t see no fingers,” he chuckled.

“No, my friend!” The kid didn’t seem to notice how his voice echoed and bounced off the wet brick walls around him. But he did notice when he walked past Penny, crouched right next to him, white face staring. He stopped.

“W-who are you?”

The father turned around and laughed.

“Y’sure that ain’t fingers-” A knife flung into his arm, slicing tendons. His grip loosened on his son’s hand and fell limp. The kid screamed, and Penny reacted by a solid hit to the kid’s head, knocking him cold instantly.

Shock flooded the father’s face. He whipped his uninjured arm around to strike Penny, his drunken mood letting him ignore the pain of the knife in the other. She delivered a strike to his inner elbow and dislocated it, before her hand darted to a handle within her coat. Then, with a slash, the father’s guts started to spill onto the floor and over the child.

Suddenly, something felt wrong. Fear sunk down Penny’s neck. The father fell to the floor in a thud, half-choked grunts trying to gurgle out of his filling throat.

She turned to look down the alley. It looked darker than before. And something was terribly off.

There was a wall in the distance, so dark that the mortar between bricks vanished, rendering a patch of tall and smooth shadow.

She swore it stared at her.

-----

The bricks ground against each other as the passageway opened. Penelope hurried her way inside and quickly attempted to close the hatch behind her. Something had seen her. She had managed her fix, but now she needed to hold out until she felt safe.

She scurried along her tunnels until she came to her home hatch. Exhausted, she allowed herself to relax there for a few moments and rest. She let her eyes wander about the few tunnels around her.

They were tall enough to crawl in, easily. There were a few areas here and there that lead into larger chambers, though she never had any need to head into them. The walls were made of brick, though some of them had copper pipes running down their lengths of varying sizes and numbers. Some of the pipes dripped slowly, repetitively, their drops hitting smooth craters in the ground. They were almost hypnotising to watch.

After a long, slow blink, Penny snapped back to reality. She had to put her weapons away before she reentered her room. She moved to the room to the left and started to unload the throwing knives and her machete, and then she- something caught her eye.

She had a few materials around this room. One or two spare wigs and spare pillows for her escape mannequin. Some first-aid kits for when her regeneration wasn’t strong enough, some porcelain masks for whenever one breaks. She also had a surplus of small throwing knives, some of metal, some carved from chips of stone from the tunnel walls. She had other bits and bobs here too, usually laid about in neat and assorted piles. They weren’t now.

A few pillows were messily thrown in a pile, atop them a porcelain mask set to stare right down the hallway, a wig of light brown hair resting atop it. Locks of hair covered one of the mask’s eye-holes, as if whoever did this was in a hurry. All Penny knew that her tunnels were now compromised.

She held still. The place was silent, save for the quiet drips of water and her breathing. The occasional grunt and snore of someone in a room close by. Then the clink of a glass bottle down the hallways, falling over and rolling into the wall. Tingles flooded her body, warm fear trickling down her spine. Her hands fumbled for the hatch bolt and she fumbled into her bedroom. Penny managed to close the hatch and shove the drawers to the wall without looking down into that long, solitary, dead passageway.

She changed her clothes, hurried to the bed and stuffed the decoy pillows and wig under it, crawling into the sheets herself. The quiet seemed loud that night. Muffled rustle of leaves out the window. Slow creaking of springs in her mattress. The clicking from the hallway repeating that simple melody she hums each day. The air flying in and out of her lungs. When Penelope fell asleep that night, she could only think of one thing, and that was the long passage behind the wall.

-----

Come morning, Penny awoke to a room lit only by the cloudy white skies outside one window, and the flickering hall lights outside another. She slept in another hour before dragging herself out. The place was silent. It had reached the guards’ lunch break and any of the more rowdy people living here were too busy stuffing their faces to make any noise, Penny assumed.

She glanced at a digital clock atop her drawers, sitting neatly next to a digital radio, and blinked her green eyes a few times to get rid of the blur. She needed food.

The smooth floor was cold against her bare feet. She felt a bit drowsy, but was awake enough to press on. As she left the door, she caught Dr. Hartley walking past.

“I-it’s quiet.”

“Ah- yes,” he stopped walking and turned to penny, his left hand half-raising to display hesitation, “there’s been a bit of a, uh, problem.”

“Prob-problem?” Penny stuttered, her arms now crossed.

“Yes. You recall the new person in the east wing? Turns out he’s seeing the same thing the previous occupant did. We’re quietly evacuating the whole wing.”

“What d-did he see?”

“A, uh, a large smiling face outside the window.”

“Isn-isn’t this the s-second floor?”

“Yes. Anyway, I’m on my way to meet with the evacuees, have to keep them calm and what not. Uh, where are you going?” His face turned to a slightly quizzical look. Penny was wearing a plain white pajama shirt with matching trousers.

“C-coffee and f-f-food.”

“Right you are, then. See you later.” Dr. Hartley made his way off.

This wasn’t so bad. The east wing was usually noisy during the day. The people in there weren’t crazy- mostly, anyhow. They were just unique. She contemplated the calm quietness and carried on to the kitchen.

The loudest sound in the hallways right now was her steps, where her soles peeled off the floor just to slap back down. Her arms were still crossed, hands now rubbing up and down her upper arms. Penny didn’t realise why she was doing this, until she felt the curiosity kick in. The sound of her steps slowed to a halt and made a slight screech as she twirled around on the spot, just to stare down the hallway to the east wing. Then the slap, slap, slap of her walking started again gradually speeding up until she was outside the rumour-filled room.

Her mouth opened slightly, her tongue clicked, her brow furrowed and her hand reached for the door handle, fingers draping over its smooth surface. She gave it a twist and peeked inside.

A quiet whistle of wind filled the room. The window was broken from the inside. It was obvious the previous inhabitant threw something. She mulled over the idea of contagious craziness, then left.

-----

“Hey, Penny,” greeted Joe the guard. Penny didn’t actually know his name, she just called him Joe because of his fondness for coffee. She could always count on him to have a fresh pot brewed.

Penny returned a greeting nod, followed by pointing at the pot.

“Sure thing.” Joe filled a cup and handed it over.

“You hear about all the commotion?” Joe enquired. Penny nodded. “Yeah,” he continued, “some sort of monster sighting. Same room both times, but different witnesses. Scary.” His face showed concentration, then took a sip of hot black liquid.

Penny only just noticed that Joe’s hand was trembling slightly. She lazily pointed at it and cocked her head.

“Oh, hah, yeah. That….” his voice trailed off. He was disturbed about something. “I guess you could, uh, make that three witnesses.” He looked at her, face showing worry. “I- I- I’m sorry, I just…”

Joe wasn’t a strong man, but he worked from his friendly face and voice. He was one of the guards she was used to. She didn’t like this change in him. He wasn’t exactly a friend to her, but she moved closer to him anyways, as if it would console him.

He looked at her straight into her eyes. She couldn’t keep eye contact with him. She wanted to, but she just couldn’t. Her hand rubbed the back of her neck. Joe placed a hand on her shoulder and she jumped with a whimper.

“I- I saw it. The smile. But… Oh god, Penny.” He withdrew his hand and used it to stabilise the cup, which the other hand was shaking about. “I looked in your room. You know, because I… I do the rounds. It was in your window. It… We need to get you to another room, Pen. It’s just I can’t get that thing out of my head, I can’t. I can’t.”

His voice trembled more than his hands did now. How could a face affect him so much? How could- “It’s smile was alive, Penny. Its face was frozen and its eyes were... but its smile was alive. It was just so wrong. And that isn’t even all of it. It was like I could feel it before I even got to your door. Like some deep nagging sense in the back of my head that made everything just feel… wrong. Like the whole world was put at an angle yet everything still stood up straight.”

Penelope’s mind started to piece a few things together. The shadow in the alleyway, the bottle in the tunnels, she had thought these were just random paranoia until she found her mask and wig stacked. And then this. There was a monster here. And, by what she did in that alley, she fears she might have pissed it off.

-----

Penny used this time alone to fix her room. She stuffed the pillows and wig from under her bed down in the secret passage, and equipped herself. She didn’t bother with the heavy coat or scarf, but she put the mask on. The tunnels were her biggest escape asset here, she needed to make sure they were safe.

Branch by branch, path by path, Penny covered most of the facility’s ground. These passageways were below floors, in walls and connected to elevator shafts and air ducts. Not originally, but the previous owner of her room managed to spread throughout all the systems they could.

There was one branch Penny liked the least, she was saving it for last. It lead to an old room, long bricked off from the main hallways, and repurposed into a metal cage for some reason. Dark and rusted iron bars covered all of its surfaces, and its prison cell-like door was held shut by a heavy padlock. Where light managed to leak into the rest of the tunnels from the various hallways and rooms, this area was unlit. She could remember seeing stains of wax on the floor where candles were once lit, their light bouncing off the hundreds of tally marks etched into the walls. There was nothing to show what they were for, that room was by far the biggest mystery of this place.

Luckily, the passage to that room was straight as an arrow. She didn’t need to travel down it at all to check it out, which was a relief. All she had to do was shine her torch down its length.

Eventually she did manage to find that branch. And then the feeling hit her.

A tremble that echoed inside of her bones, like from the alleyway. Unnerve fluttered through her muscles and made them shiver. She stared down the pitch black passageway and dreaded to see what was down there.

She heard her breathing become faster. She heard her heart pumping harder. She heard her clothes shift across the floor. She heard the incessant tapping from the cage’s direction. Was it tapping? Clicking? Dripping? She had hoped it could be rain or leaky pipes. It must be. I mean, what else could be down here? Penny used her newfound conviction (or possibly delusion) to fuel her trembling muscles, to build enough strength in her anxiety-racked arms to grab that damn torch and shine her worries away. Her fear turned to anger, and that anger into motivation, strong enough to pick up the light and face that fear.

She shone it down the tunnel and saw a smile. Right in front of her.

And it was alive.

------------------------------------

Penelope laid awake in her bed. She didn’t really know how long she’d been there. All she knew is that the constant dripping of those pipes kept her up. She cast an eye over to her room’s wall; the drawers were out at an angle, she could just about peek around them to see the pitch black passageway from where the drops echoed.

She had to go shut them up. Penny slid her feet from under the covers and onto the floor, but she was not met with the slap of skin on polished surface, she was met with a cold splash. The floor had about an inch of water over it, and the whole floor seemed to ripple. She edged her way over to her drawer, though her journey was cut short from a thud in the distance. A large ripple of water flooded out of the passageway. Then another thud came, but to her left. The room window.

Penny shuffled over to the window, her feet now used to the cold of the floor. The world seemed normal outside, yet something was off. Everything was a dark tint of blue, and seemed foggy. Then a massive shape rose up in front of the window, and an eye opened up to stare at her. It was the size of her head.

She tried to yelp, but remained mute. With a jump she turned and fled towards the door, but slipped. Scared, Penny turned her gaze to her room window to see the eye was staring right at her, with such powerful intent that it made her mind warp. It felt like a headache was rising up behind her eyes, and then the window started to crack.

With a scared squeak, Penny scurried out of the bedroom on all fours, managing to slam the door behind her and rise back up.

The hallway seemed incredibly long, extending into the distance until it was cut off by mist. The place was devoid of life, save for whatever was clicking far behind her, sending ripples of cold water to splash against her heels. Penny had almost dared to turn around, but she was paralyzed. The floor went soft underfoot and started to warp around her feet as she sunk under. The clicking got closer and closer as she sunk further and further. Right before she disappeared, the snaps and cracks was inside of her skull.

-----

“Hey, freak!”

Penny peered over her books. She decided to get out of the library during today’s lunch break and withdraw to a lonely part of the play area, away from the view of adults and other kids. The sun was nice, yet the day wasn’t hot enough to yield discomfort. In fact, it seemed perfectly room-temperature. She sighed and resumed reading, until the annoying boy talked again.

“I’m talkin’ to you, freak!”

Ten minutes into the break, and she already remembered why she usually spent them in the library, rather than outside. She couldn’t be bothered entertaining the stupid boy, the book on biology was far more enticing. She loved to learn. Nothing could tear her from the book, but the boy managed to tear the book from her. Then throw it on the ground, ruining a few pages as it hit dirt.

“You can’t fuckin’ ignore me, freak.”

Penelope, at the ripe age of twelve, looked at the eleven year old boy with his shit-eating grin. She stared back with powerful intent, but something was a little off in her mind. Then she threw the first punch. Or at least, her body did. As it turns out, she was just reliving this moment of her life.

Blood spat out of the boy’s nose, his body recoiling back in shock, but not far enough to avoid Penny’s other fist which caught the other side of his face. His voice choked in his throat, stopping any cries for the grown ups or teachers. He tried to turn and high-tail away, but was promptly met with a book to the back of his head, knocking him out cold.

Penny loomed over the boy’s unconscious body. Something clicked in her head. She remembered this part, she remembered her wooden pencil in one hand, her scissors in the other. She remembered putting that biology knowledge to good use, and she remembered the satisfaction, the thrill, the body-tingling pleasure of her first kill.

She paid caution to keep all traces of her off the boy, orchestrating his death to match that of a simple accident, though at her hand. When all was done, she threw a scream to the air and put on an act of being terrified, hands shaking and uncontrollable sobbing as teachers came with other kids hiding behind their backs, screaming and making fuss. Penny was ushered away to an office where she awaited her parents to pick her up.

By the time they arrived, Penny had neatly cleaned up her hands and was as well-behaved as a little angel.

On her way out, she half-noticed a teacher who faced her from down the hallway, ceaselessly tutting. There was something off about it, but Penny just shrugged it off.

-----

She was wading through the hallway now, the water up to her knees, though the warm sickening tingles seemed to reach higher and higher. Cold waves sloshed against her back like the ocean itself was feeding into this place. There was a door at the end of the hallway, water crashing against it and coming back to be interrupted by yet more waves. Each thud of water on wood caused the door to shake in its frame, though as Penny waded closer it seemed more and more like something else was shaking the door from the other side.
She had to get to it. Moving faster was impossible against the resistance of the freezing water, slowing her down like boots made of lead. Clicking behind her grew in volume, louder and louder, like a forest of staring things called after her like prey, alerting the world to this fear-ridden and vulnerable girl. An easy meal.

Small, slimy things started to lick about her submerged legs, dancing about in the water like golden specks with beady black eyes that stood out in her mind like splinters. Penny tried to whimper and squeal, but nothing came out but hushed whispers drowned out by water sloshing and crashing about, the waves ever growing in size.

By the time she had reached the door, it seemed like the water had reached waist height. She tried the door handle, but it wouldn’t budge. Then the world seemed to go still. The waves died down to an eventual stillness, the clicking succumbed to silence, the only sound in the whole place being the hard breaths of the frightened girl and her hand fruitlessly twisting the doorknob. Even the fish stopped swarming her legs. The place was eerie and silent.

Then the door opened and she collapsed through.

-----

Penny’s outside a house. Her house, the one where she spent her childhood. She’s stuck outside a window, staring in. She can turn her head, move her arms, but she cannot speak nor can she move from the spot.

Through the window lies a spacious room. What she notices mostly is a fish tank, large and full of fish of many different exotic types and colours. The lid was off, which made her slightly anxious, though what really made her feel uneasy was how familiar this all was. She swear she’d seen the paintings on the walls, the old-fashioned patterned furniture, the… baby on the chair. It was her.

Penny recalled the baby clothes she used to wear. Pink, white and plenty of frills. She’d seen herself as a babe in pictures that used to be on the walls in her family home, before she left. The baby seemed to be chewing on something, something yellow, red and white. It seemed to be a toy wooden plane. She had managed to ruin the colour of one of the red wings, red flakes on her teeth for evidence.

A few minutes had passed until a young boy had come into the room. She had recognised him. One of her earliest memories was of an cartoon-like imaginary friend she had called Timmy, and he had striking resemblance to this boy. As soon as the young lad saw baby Penny gnawing on the toy, he let out a light gasp and ran over to her before tearing it out of her grasp. She started to cry, but he only looked at the plane with sad eyes.

The crying must have eventually gotten on his nerves as he started to tell little Penny to be quiet. “Shut up!”, he yelled, “I told you not to play with my toys! That’s it!” He grabbed baby Penny from under her armpits, the child still wailing, and tipped her into the fishtank.

Bubbles spewed out of the baby’s mouth, the fish darting about, trying to avoid the child’s flailing arms and legs. The boy had turned away to assess the damage of his plane before sighing and leaving the room, just as the father walked in.

“Timmy, where’s Pen- oh my GOD” the father darted for the fishtank, plunged his arms in and frantically pulled Penny out. He checked to make sure if she was breathing, then started to push on her chest. Eventually she started to splutter and cry again and the father cradled her in his arms.

Soon enough the mother came in, a worried look on her face that swiftly turned to shock. The father turned to face her, “It was Timmy. He’s- he’s a bloody psychopath!”

The mother’s eyes opened wide, her words caught in her mouth. She rushed over to the two to hold Penny safe, before managing to struggle out a few words to the husband “I knew I had my suspicions, I- It’s- Timmy, he’s… He’s got the Ripper gene.”

“I… I feared so, too.” He gave Penny over to the mother, the drenched baby still crying though starting to calm down. “I’ll go phone the place to… to take him away.”

“What? I… you’re right,” the mother gave in, cradling the babe in her arms. Even as the father left the room, she still whispered to the child, “Shhh, Penny, shhh, it’s going to be alright, you’re safe, you’re not the one… You’re not the one.” The mother started to cry too, but placed Penny’s head on her shoulder so that the child would not see. “You’re safe.”

The real Penny outside the window had her hands over her mouth, realisation setting in. She tried to say “I’m… not the ripper?” but only hushed squeaks came out.

She wasn’t the ripper. Each generation of the family has at least one person carry the Ripper gene, and she was certain she was the one as she was an only child, or so she had thought. Her mind raced. She wasn’t the ripper? But she had thought for sure that she was. She had murdered people, too many to count, and had taken pleasure in it for she thought it was her heritage to do so, but it wasn’t? It wasn’t- it wasn’t HER role? She’s just a delusioned imposter?

The still air started to breeze, rustling through plants and around walls, leaving sounds of rustling, clicking and gentle blowing all around the girl. All she could do now was stare at the room in front of her, worried mother still cradling the now-silent child, though her eyes caught something. The reflection of the fish tank revealed Penny herself standing outside the window, though with something tall looming behind her, slowly reaching towards her with colossal hands. It grabbed her.

-----

She was inside the room now, sitting in the same chair where she was as the baby. The fish tank was open, fish still inside mindlessly swarming about, just like before. There even was the toy plane resting atop her hands, wing ruined from teething. The pitter-patter of feet approached the doorway, making her head dart up to see who was approaching. It was Timmy.

“T-Timmy?” she could speak now. “Wh-”

The boy gasped and ran over to snatch the plane out of Penny’s hands. She was confused right now, but she knew what she had to do. After all she’s done in her life, even despite the unspoken lies of her parents, she’s worked too hard to not be the ripper.

Penny slapped the plane out of Timothy’s hands, picked him up, dunked him in the fishtank and held him down.

“I’m- I’m the ripper,” she said, worriedly, “I have t-to be.”

“No,” gargled the boy, bubbles reaching the surface, “You’re not. You’re nobody.” He seemed to grow heavy, falling through the gravel of the tank’s floor, taking Penny down with him.

She was trapped underwater and behind glass, disgusting fish swimming past and sliding over her skin with their slimy, moss-covered scales, wiping green and brown marks off her wherever they passed. On the other side was Timmy, but older now, restrained to a bed in a white padded chamber. He was being tended to by a female nurse with a small cup of pills.

“Come on Timothy, eat your pills.”

“Fuck OFF, BITCH”

Her vision was turning red and starting to pulse from holding her breath in.

“Tim- Timothy!” yelled the nurse.

“GOTCHA!” Timothy tore his hand out from one of the restrains, thumb visible dislocated. He used the hand to grab the back of the nurse’s head and yank it towards his own, before tearing off a large part of her lower lip with his teeth. He laughed through the blood-filled mouth, spluttering blood at the recoiling nurse’s face as she screamed for help.

The world started to go blacker and blacker as a current pulled Penny away from the screen.

Timothy had already thrown himself off the bed and onto the nurse, violently beating her. The last Penny saw before passing out was her brother snapping the nurse’s neck.

She was no ripper, and she was too far gone to go back. What could she do now? Tell Dr. Hartley everything? Drink her sorrows away with Bridget? Seek out her brother? No, she isn’t anyone. She was the good child, the one her parents had hope for, the one that was meant to have a normal life but threw it away on lies. She disappointed them, turning into what they feared most, even when she wasn’t supposed to.

Flashbacks of murders flooded her mind. The old lady she stabbed in the gut, too in pain and too elderly to wail for help. The man buying a present for his wife to save their marriage, a golden watch that Penny still has tucked away somewhere. A young girl out with her friends, just because she was normal and Penny was envious. A middle-aged woman who took her dogs out for a walk, and the memory of them whimpering and resting their heads on their owners body until it stopped twitching, and the woman’s ten year old son who saw it and was about to escape.

This time it wasn’t just her brother who let her drown, but everyone she had ever killed, and this time the hands of her father didn’t come down to rescue her, instead the hands of a monster rose up to pull her down deeper.

------------------------------------

The creature dragged the girl’s comatose body into the cage, accidentally shattering the mask under its grip. A few shards cut her skin and made her bleed softly, but those cuts healed up quickly.

It quietly made its escape through the tunnels, its head barely squeezing through the passageways, until it slunk out the secret hatch in the brick wall, easing it shut as it left.

“Did- did you get her?” asked the boy, hugging the creature’s leg, “Did you, Fingers?”

It didn’t know what the kid was saying, but it ruffled his hair and slowly strode off into the night with the boy holding his hand. The creature was at peace now, all it wanted to do was play with and comfort its friend.

The beast was happy and contented, having its fill of a worthy meal and a friend to play with. All it could do was smile.

WafflesMgee's entry (Google Docs version) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BLs8oPglsFO28PemiudzsZnl1_RyUDj7O4ZAy6w1HiA/edit)

Despite being the middle of summer, the night was oddly cold. Wind rustled through the trees of Sydenham Hill Wood, moonlight glistening off the greenery, still damp from the afternoon’s rainfall. On the outskirts of the eastern side, the namesake road was barren, save the odd vehicle passing by. Across the road was a character of a rarely seen breed, the breeze gently whirling through her hair and fur, sending a slight shiver down her spine.

She was Bridget Dempsey. The Firefox. It was most definitely the cold that caused that shiver just now. Not at all the task at hand.

There had been reports from the local school and care centre of strange things happening lately, all involving people in hysterics, swearing on their lives that they’d seen something ‘monstrous’ hiding round here. People had disappeared. More ended up in mental wards throughout London. The RHG had seen enough of the supernatural to know when something was worth inspecting. And of the entire roster, minus the criminals, psychopaths, and other otherwise-untrustworthy candidates, Bridget was decided the best for said inspection. After all, her teleporting abilities helped her cover a lot of ground in a short time, and her heightened senses could help her track sounds and scents from considerable distance.

Speaking of which…

“Penny,” she sighed, addressing the girl who wasn’t as well-hidden as she thought she was behind her, “How’d ye get out yer cell?” From her hiding spot behind the care centre fence, Penny Dreadful emerged. After a moment of finding her voice, she replied. “…I-I have my ways.”
“We’ll be havin’ a chat about that later.” Bridget kept her gaze ahead, to the pitch-black depths of the woodland. “Ye shouldn’t be here, lass.”
“Why? Wh-What are you doing a-… o-out here?”
“Never ye mind. Go home.”
Something was very different about Bridget. Even Penny, normally oblivious to other people’s mood, could tell. The usually upbeat tomboyish pain-in-the-neck had a very serious air about her. Her voice was practically monotonous, though the continuation of this conversation was proving to give it the giveaway inflection of irritation. Regardless, Penny continued to pester, to see if she could get to the root of the problem. “I-I-… But M-Ms. Dempsey-“
Bridget whipped round to glare the troublesome girl in the eyes, her own flaring with unreadable emotion as she hissed the command again as viciously as she could without raising her voice.

“I fuckin’ said go home, Penelope.”

The very moment Bridget gave Penny’s full name, the trick Dr. Hartley used to make her behave, her building frustration on the matter seemed to wash away, replaced with inundating guilt as she looked at the young woman before her. She’d left her typical Penny Dreadful attire for today, instead donning an ash grey hoodie and knee-length navy blue skirt. Just looking at her, slightly tearing up in confusion, nobody would ever think her to be a sociopathic murderer. She looked normal. Helpless. Everything that didn’t help Bridget feel any better for trying to act like an authority figure.
Bridget sighed again, audibly flustered. “I’m sorry, pet. L-Look, jus’… jus’ wait here. Fer, like, ten minutes. Okay?”
Penny went silent, held slung low, gaze fixed to the floor. Bridget could only hope that she’d just imagined those two or three tears fall as she continued. “Listen, I dunno how ye got outta yer cell, or why ye’re followin’ me. But I got shit t’ do. Dangerous shit. I cannae let ye follow me round, y’understand?”

Something on Penny’s arm caught Bridget’s attention. She’d had no recollection of putting it there, but there it was; her hand on the shoulder. Almost like how Pa would hold her anytime she was upset…

Hesitantly, Bridget took her hand back to her side, burying it in her jacket pocket. “…Ten minutes,” she repeated taking step by step backward, closer to the wood entrance, “…a-and I’ll be right back. And if I ain’t, jus’… go back. Without me. Dunnae come lookin’ fer me.” And with that, the Firefox disappeared into the pitch-black. Penny was left alone, none the wiser to what this mission was. Or even if it was a mission at all. Nevertheless, she’d been told to wait ten minutes. And not being in a serial killer mood, she didn’t have much better to do.

The following assumedly-ten minutes were some of the longest Penny could remember. It felt like an eternity as she stood where instructed, the eerie silence giving odd feelings of unease. How ironic. Environments like this were usually her ally.

Penny’s mind began to wander in a bid to distract herself. There were other things on her mind that she could contemplate. Her session with Dr. Hartley the other day, for example. He’d tried revisiting some of his questions from earlier weeks, only to be apparently frustrated when she answered. Were they the wrong answers? Penny had told the truth, like he wanted…

---

A single light illuminated the square room, unwelcoming concrete walls all to behold. At the table in the middle sat Penny, eyes fixed to her hands. To her left stood the only other presence in the room, looking out the window at the streets far below.

Dr. Francis Hartley was aware of the fact that today’s session was coming to a close. Another ten minutes, and Bridget would come to take Penny back to her cell. He needed her to give him something. Any answer that made sense, that didn’t contradict an earlier statement. Director Ackerman was growing impatient with his wasting her time and funds to interrogate the serial killer who purposely turned herself in to the mercy of the RHG, only to get nothing of value from it. She had a reputation of making empty threats to motivate the workforce, but somehow, Hartley doubted his job now being ‘on the line’ was one of them.

“Okay, Penny,” Hartley said, the stress of his situation showing slightly in his gravelly tone, “I’m going to ask some questions I know we’ve talked about before.”
“Mm-hmm.”
“The body we found, before you came to us. You knew who that was?”
“Simon Davies. Age nineteen. Came to the Organisation from Manchester, adopting the alias of Class Clown-“
“No. No, no nono.” The Doctor removed his glasses to rub his eyes, fatigue from sleep deprivation setting in. “You told me before, you got that from the ID you swiped.”
“Yes.”
“Did you know who Simon was before you killed him?”
“Oh. No.”
“So, this was an attack on a young man, unprovoked. One of who knows how many. Without motive, without reason.”
“No.” for the first time in a while, Penny raised her head from its fixed gaze directly in front of her. She was looking Dr. Hartley in the eye. “Th-There was a reason. There’s always a r-reason…”

Normally, her speech seemed flawless to him. Only when eye contact was being maintained did stutters and verbal tics set in, likely from nerves. Given her condition, it was understandable. Normally the Doctor would avoid putting his patients in situations they weren’t comfortable with, but since the tried-and-tested method of lie-detecting required the eyes to be seen, it couldn’t be helped.

“I’m all ears, Penelope.” Hartley took his seat back at the table, now sitting adjacent to his subject. “What reason do you have to kill?”
Silence. Twitches in Penny’s eyes showed her discomfort, possibly even pain, in being eye-to-eye with another being. Hartley tried again. “Penelope. I asked you a question.”

“…B-Because it’s wh-“
“PENNY!”

---

A chill bolted down Penny’s spine as a horrific scream snapped her focus back to reality. She knew exactly what a noise like that meant. She knew all too well. Frozen where she stood, Penny didn’t know what to do. Her orders were to leave if anything happened. That was what had to happen. But there was a nagging in the back of her head. What other people would call a conscience.

Since joining the Organisation, Penny didn’t know what to make of her world. No two days were the same. Schedule was a word with little meaning anymore. There was no structure anymore, and it was frustrating. Even upsetting at times. But in this chaotic new life, Bridget Dempsey was the one consistency. At the end of every work day, six o’clock or thereabouts, she’d actively make time to see her before going home, even if it was just for five minutes. She evidently knew enough about Penny’s condition to know how important something like this was.

It was this precise moment that Penny realised that the Firefox was the closest thing she had to a friend these days.

And as she noticed the hint of burning in the air, any hesitation she had about disobeying Bridget’s command vanished with her as she broke into a sprint into the forest.

The air whistled in Penny’s ears as she tore past trees left and right, running faster than she could handle, stumbling to keep her footing. Scattered patches of orange flickered and glowed in the dark, Penny couldn’t tell if they were small and close-by or further away and massive. There was a feeling in her gut, a horrible gaping chasm of anxiety. What if she couldn’t find her? What if she couldn’t find her way out of the woods? Each new scenario pushed her capability of rational thought further and further away, as Penny’s mentality flicked like a switch from prophetic genius to frightened child. Finding her voice in this time of panic, Penny shrieked out to the nothingness around. Calling for Bridget. She was lost and scared and she needed to find her friend before the forest burned down with the two of them in it. Penny wasn’t sure if her healing factor would save her from something like this, or if Firefox was immune to the element, but she wasn’t willing to find out. The world whirled before Penny's eyes as a tree root hooked Penny's foot, and with a yelp of alarm she threw her arms out before her in a fruitless bid to prevent herself from practically eating mud and rotten foliage.

By now, tears were beginning to flow as she ultimately lost herself to panic. For a moment, the Ripper did not pick herself back up. She simply remained in the compost, breaking into childlike sobbing. She wanted to find her friend. She wanted to go home. Not the Headquarters. Home. She wanted to see Mummy again. She wanted everything to be fucking normal...

The scent of burning grew stronger. Penny lifted her head from the mud as she felt the warmth of a new nearby flame. A small distance to her left, there were two or three tree barks marked with simmering embers. And there, in a heap on the floor. Human. Female. Half-breed.

“BRIDGET!”

Penny frantically picked herself back up and took two steps before dropping back to her knees. There was a noticable throbbing sensation in her ankle- blood rushing to a damaged area. She couldn't support her own weight. It was likely she'd just twisted it, though with how jerkily she'd lost her footing, it was even possible she'd broken something.

Ignoring the pain, knowing that it would be gone within the hour, Penny crawled on her hands and knees until she was within a good enough distance from her friend that she could examine her condition. It was immediately obvious she had been injured; there was a laceration on her head above her left eyebrow, the eye below it was heavily bruised, and upon checking to see if she was breathing Penny deduced that some of her ribs were broken. She was breathing, luckily, but it was laboured and wheezy. The concern was that in breaking her ribs, she had also punctured a lung. Penny was thankful she’d found her, but she couldn’t move her in this condition. And that was ignoring her own inability to walk at present. She needed medical attention, fast. Good thing the RHG could track their personnel’s whereabouts. It’s likely someone was on their way now. Penny decided to ignore the fact that she’d forgotten about the tracking thing in her panic.

Nevertheless, the situation was still serious. It was apparent that the injuries were from an attack of some sort. And there was next to nothing that could have done so much damage, except for several large animals not found in the British Isles. Which meant, either a zoo was missing an exotic dangerous animal, or-

A sensation danced its way down Penny's spine. A horrible, unexplainable sensation, like it was... everything all at once. Fear, fatigue, sorrow, cold, all swirling around in a discordant cocktail in the very back of her brain, spilling down through the brain stem. There wasn't any need to worry about finding that creature.

Something told Penny it had already found them.

Above her, in the periphery of her vision, a tree branch shook, an eerie creaking sound rattling through the black. Following it was a disgusting series of clicks and almost crunches, like someone forcing the shape of a corpse with rigor mortis. And as she looked up she saw a sight that caused her hair to stand on end. A horrifying, grotesque creature, humanoid in form, flesh as black as the night. Easily larger than any man, its limbs meandered out to what appeared to be hands, each easily the size of Penny's torso and then some. The head of the creature was perfectly spherical, two eyes of inexplicable horror seemed to be glaring down on the humans below it. But what terrified Penny the most about this creature, what kept her cemented to the spot, frozen in unbridled fear, was the smile. The wide, deranged crescent on the creature's face, almost as if it were happy to see her. Or the more likely, less desireable alternative; happy to see a meal.

The being slowly lowered itself from the trees to ground level, surveying the scene. The clicking noise persisted though each of its every movements, and Penny was able to guess why - what she had mistaken for eyes appeared to be markings. Evidently, it was using echolocation, like a bat. She took a step backward at it 'looked' to her, her eyes wide in panic as she shook uncontrollably.

And as the fearless serial killer screamed as loud as her lungs could allow her, that was the last thing she could remember before the incomprehensible monster bared its grotesque fangs and lunged for its new prey, and all of existence shattered like glass.

---

An amount of time Penny could not possibly guess later, she awoke with a start, launching herself into an upright sitting position. She could still feel her heart beating fiercely in her chest, hear the blood pumping through her ears. Controlling her hyperventilation was all she could think about for the next twenty seconds before rational thought finally emerged. Okay, she thought to herself, it's okay. I'm alive, whatever that thing was is gone. Everything's alright... Wait, no, no it's not! Where's Bridget?!

...Where... Where am I?

Everything was dark. Penny could see about three or four feet around her before everything vanished into shadowed obscurity. But in this radius, she could tell that she was no longer in the forest. There was next to nothing but two walls, one brick, the other presumably concrete. She appeared to be on cobblestone flooring, facing… well, she couldn’t be really sure which direction. But despite the lack of noteworthy visual clues, Penelope had a feeling this was somewhere she’d been before. The night was cold, silence loomed over the alleyways behind the city streets. An entirely desolate scene. Finding strength to move, Penny slowly picked herself up, leaning on the presumedly-concrete wall for support as she brought herself to her feet and put her weight on her good leg. Something wasn't right. Her ankle was visibly bruised and swollen, and she could still feel pain pulsating from it. It should have healed considerably by now, even presuming she'd been out for no less than a half-hour, surely? And yet it was as if she'd had the injury not five minutes ago...

You don't have time to worry about this, Penny told herself, you need to find Bridget. But which way did she need to go to do that? Penny looked to her left. The alleyway disappeared into pitch-black about ten feet away. She looked right. An iron gate blocked her way, but past that was a London road illuminated by streetlight Visible were a few buildings on the opposite side of the road, a public house with a sign that bared a name Penny couldn't quite see, and a street sign; Walham Grove. Well, since she couldn't go out onto the street, deeper into the alley it would have to be. Slowly, still using the wall for support, Penny limped her way through the dark.

She wasn't sure how much ground she was covering in her current state, but in ten minutes of hobbling, nothing seemed to indicate any sign of progress. It was almost like the alleyway went on forever. Or even... looped. But that was... impossible. Either scenario. This was still London, she knew for a fact that Walham Grove had a postcode of SW6, something-something, but the first part definitely put her somewhere in the Fulham district. How she got here was a complete myetery, but the bigger questions on her mind mostly began with 'why'. Why was she brought here? Why was it presumedly important she was back on this street? Why... was there something familiar about all this?

Finally, something new came into view. Something that stopped the Ripper dead in her tracks. The walls were stained with blood. Aged, by the looks of it. Perhaps a few months at the least.

And Penny knew exactly who's it was. She remembered now. The last time she'd been in Fulham was when...

“Wha-OI!” An impossible voice barked through the black, sending an ice cold chill jolting violently down Penny’s spine, “Wot, wozz… wozgonnon… ‘Oo’s there?!” Penny whirled to face behind her, down the path she'd just come from. She could only utter one word at the truly impossible sight she saw. "...N-No..."
The bloodied, mangled corpse of Simon Davies stood before her, wounds and all, just the way she'd left him that night.

"Oh, look 'oo it is," Simon jeered, strutting slowly closer to his killer. "Litt'l ol' Penny Dreadful. 'Ow's it goin', luv?"
"...Th-...Nnn-..." So many questions Penny had to ask, but she just couldn't find her voice. She simply kept her back to the wall, and her eyes on the walking corpse. She noticed something in his bloodied hand; a metallic bat, presumedly one built for the sport of Rounders. Easily usable as a blunt instrument, however.
"Hmm, not feelin' too chatty today, are we?" A sinister grin grew on the Clown's face. " Well, let's try this again. Tell me wot's on ya mind, Penelope."
"Y-You're... supposed to be d-dead..."
"You 'aven't put two an' two together yet? Thought you was a proper genius or sumfin'." With no warning, the bat came into contact with Penny's skull, knocking her back to the floor.

Penny awoke with a start again. The surroundings were even darker now, but she could tell she had once again moved. The cobblestone floor beneath her was now laminate flooring. This doesn't make sense, she thought, eyes darting around, desparately hoping to glimpse something nearby, Zombies don't exist. Forest monsters don't exist. None of this makes any sense, this... this is a dream, it has to be...

"Penelope. Look at me."

Blinding light flooded the scene, Penny was forced to shield her eyes for a moment. That voice wasn't Simon's. It was deeper, older, and it actually spoke properly. More importantly, it was familiar. From a long time ago...

The young Penelope Whitechapel lowered her arms from her teary eyes to see two figures before her; former primary school teacher Mr. Harrison, and another student she remembered to be her old friend Trixie Blackburn, clutching her right arm and likewise teary-eyed, looking to Penny with the typical child 'we had a fight over a toy so we're not friends anymore' look. The scene was now Room 13A of Hillside Primary, Penny's old school. Walls of light blue were decorated with various student's works from Art, English, Science and so on. In fact, Penny could see her own drawing from their first week back at school quite clearly. Titled 'My Birthday', it depicted her with her mother and her Auntie Sam sat next to an unrealistically large cake that took the majority of the paper. The corner held her at-the-time signature of 'by Penny age 5', with the two Ns so close they almost looked like an M, and the Y accidently drawn backward.

Mr. Harrison spoke again, now he knew he had Penelope's attention. "I'm going to ask you again, and this time I want the truth. Why did you hit Beatrix?"
It took a moment for Penelope to answer, but eventually, she replied truthfully, as she always did.
"Because she, she hit me first, a-and she called me stupid, and I'm not. I'm smarter than she is."
"Well, hitting someone isn't a very clever thing to do."
"But she called me-"
"That's enough, Penelope. I don't want to hear any more." Mr. Harrison looked to Trixie, "Beatrix, I'll deal with you in a minute. Wait outside." With a huff, Trixie obeyed, but not before taking the opportunity to blow a rather vicious and uncalled-for raspberry and storming off into the hallway.
"Penelope," Mr. Harrison's voice continued as he stood up and walked out the room, "I'm very disappointed in you.

"Your parents are going to hear about this." The door closed behind him, and the lights went out.

Oh no. No, don't tell them, please! I'm sorry! Young Penny tried with all her might to cry out after Mr. Harrison, but no words came from her mouth. Tears continued to stream down her face. She tried to run to the door, but was tripped, and fell into knee-high water that seemed to come from nowhere. The classroom was gone, now there was nothing. Once again, everything was dark, but Penny knew that the water was all there was. All that remained was the door Trixie Blackburn and Mr. Harrison had left. They had to still be out there, they had to hear her somehow. I won't do it again, I promise! I'll leave her alone, I'll leave everyone alone, forever! Then I won't get myself in trouble again! PLEASE!

Wait, there was someone else here, after all. Once more, the reanimated body of Simon Davies stood behind her, the smug grin still on his face. "Little too late for tha', innit P?"
The frightened young girl's voice returned, shrill and panicked as she whirled round to scream at him. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
"Oh, y'mean like 'ow you should've left me alone, like?" The Clown took step after menacing step closer, right hand reaching into the water as it rose. By now it was to his knees, young Penny's waist. "No-go there, luv. Me, I'm more of the sorta, 'eye for an eye' fella, know wot I mean?"

His hand emerged from the water, grasped tightly against the absolutely most horrible, disgusting creature known to man. A vile, disgusting, slimy abomination of a creature, jet black in colour, with those same disturbing not-eyes and razor-sharp teeth as the creature from the forest. The only animal Penny was ever scared of.

A FISH.

Penny's eyes glared to Simon's. He could tell she was begging, pleading with him, not to do this. And she could tell that he simply didn't care. "Payback's a right bitch." The monster was released, and made a bloodthirsty lunge for the girl. The struggle lasted mere moments, as Penny screamed bloody murder and the fish retorted with an unholy screeching sound as the two thrashed in the water before submerging and vanishing. Slowly, she struggled less and less, as she succumbed to drowning.

---

One last time, Penelope jumped awake. Yet again, the scene had changed. She sat on a single bed in a small-ish room. The walls, papered pistachio green, had striped floral patterns. The ceiling was a cream colour, a light from the middle adorned a shade decorated with a farm-animals theme. In the corner, atop a drawer, lay a picture of a very young Penny and her grandmother stood in the garden. Beside that was a cuddly toy rabbit, on its leg was a label stating its name, 'Abby'. Penny couldn't pronounce 'rabbit' when she was a toddler. That was her Abby. This was...

This was home.

The infant Penny climbed down from her bed, and waddled over to the drawer. Abby was her bestest friend in the whole wide world, and after that really scary dream about the fish and the monster in the trees, she needed her friend to keep the monsters away. Ugh, she was just out of reach. Penny wasn't tall enough. Oh wait, she could pull the cloth on top and that'd bring Abby down. Penny giggled at her brilliance. She was so smart. Mummy always told her that. Penny grasped the cloth and gave a mighty heave.

CRASH. Oh. Oh no. The picture broke on the floor. Penny could hear footsteps thundering up the stairs. Hurriedly, she picked up Abby and backed into the corner, hugging her tightly.

Daddy was going to be angry.

The door burst open, a hulking figure of a man filled the doorway. Edward Whitechapel glared to the broken picture on the floor, then to his daughter cowering in the corner. His nostrils flared, a vein on his forehead popped. His fist tightened. "Penelope. What did you do..."
"...Ah'm sowwy, Daddy... Ah wunted to play wiv Abby..."
"Come here."
Penny clutched Abby closer, and edged her way across the room. She picked up the pace as Edward barked again, "Come. HERE."
Tears began to blot Penny's vision as she tried desparately not to let them start falling. She stood by Daddy's feet, eyes fixed to her own.
"Give me the rabbit, Penelope."
Penny did not. She found enough strength to only whisper defiance. "...No..."
"What was that?"
"..."

White-hot pain seared the young girl's face as she was knocked to the floor. Her ears were ringing, but she could still hear her father's muffled voice disciplining her. "Don't you DARE say no to me, Penelope. I SAID GIVE ME THE FUCKING RABBIT." This time, he did not wait for her to do so, but simply wrenched Abby from her hands. More footsteps were heard outside, followed by a female voice yelling. "Edward, stop it!"
"You stay out of this, Susan."
"How can I, you just struck your own child!"
"You need to stop protecting her!"
"And YOU need to stop lashing out at her! God's sake, Ed! She's only two, she doesn't-" A loud slapping sound was heard.
"YOU SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH! YOU DON'T EVER TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!"
"Shit, you've been drinking again, I know it! I can smell the fucking alcohol on your breath!"
Glass shattered, followed by Edward yelling more profanity. Penny knew he had just punched through the window as Susan dodged out of the way. Finally, she managed to climb back to her feet and run to the door, out to the hallway. Mummy stood halfway down the stairs, Edward at the top, clutching his bloodied left hand. Abby lay on the floor, an ear and leg two feet away, head half ripped off.

The feud raged on as Mr. and Mrs. Whitechapel shrieked at each other, Susan threatening to call the police, Edward threatening that she 'wouldn't get back up after the next punch'. This was one of Penny's most vivid memories playing out before her eyes. This was the last straw. Edward was arrested after this, and Susan promptly filed for divorce.

And that was it. Penny's very deepest fear. The idea that she was the one her father blamed for breaking the family apart. The thought that he would find her and give her another beating, and that like the threat he gave his mother, she wouldn't walk away from it...

And at the same time as she was scared of her father, she was also just as angry. Just looking at him now, in what Penny knew now to be a dream, she still felt the chill in her heart he left, but it was slowly being washed down with seething rage. This man was the reason for everything wrong with Penny. Sure, they didn't know about her autism at that age, but it likely wouldn't have changed his ways to 'support' her. This was the man who's method of teaching his daughter the time was to shout at her every time she got it wrong. The man who didn't like his wife socialising with his sister. The man who Penny was supposed to look up to, but instead just wanted to dish back all the abuse he ever gave to her and her mother and ESPECIALLY ABBY. Penny's blood reached boiling point. Edward looked back to his daughter, now back to her fully-grown state, and she could tell he was screaming at her again, but she couldn't hear him. She wouldn't listen to what he had to say. With her own roar of the purest, unbridled rage, she charged at the image of her father, and the two tumbled through the window onto the driveway below.

The struggle seemed to last an eternity. The two scrapped and brawled and tussled in the toughest, most brutal battle of Penelope's life. Blows were traded, blood sprayed and spattered the asphault, and for the longest time, neither of the two showed any signs of tiring. Edward knocked Penny's tooth out. Penny broke Edward's nose with a sharp elbowing. The fighters rarely got up from the floor, constantly rolling around in attempts to manoeuvre themselves into a position where they could do more damage. Penny pinned her father down and delivered some fists to his jaw, he headbutted her and pushed her away with his feet. The times when either one was on their feet were short, one would often tackle the other painfully back to the concrete. And in all this time, neither the Fourth or Fifth Ripper said a word to each other. Both spent the entire bloody brawl incoherently screaming and shouting, Edward in anger, Penny in anguish.

Finally, the fistfight reached its climax. Edward had his hands tightly around her throat, pinning her to the floor, squeezing the very life out of her. Penny thrashed and kicked and wheezed, panic slowly setting back in. With one last-bid effort, she swung her fist wide, hitting him square in the temple. She swung again. And again. The vicegrip on her neck slowly but surely loosened, as her father visibly began to faulter. With all her might, she then rolled to the left, pinning herself atop him once more, grasped his skull, and proceeded to viciously slam it into the concrete until the bastard went limp.

And with the deed done, she wearily pulled herself back to her feet, gazing upon her work, and slowly broke into sobbing once more.

The scene began to slowly dissolve. The blood, the body, the house, everything melded into one cloudlike reality around her. As she looked up, she saw a figure in the distance, walking ever closer. As it came to a halt about four feet away, the vision cleared. Bridget stood before her, a smile on her face, a tear of pride in her eye.

When she spoke, it was not the Irish accent of the Firefox, however.

"Penny, I am so proud of you."

"...Mummy...?"

For the very last time, all slowly drifted to black.

---

When Penny finally woke up, and came back into reality, she did not do so with alarm. She simply didn't have the strength to do so. It felt like she had just awoken from being heavily sedated. She couldn't concentrate. Vision was at a minimum, everything was just shapes.
In hopes there was somebody nearby, she tried her very hardest to communicate, and ask where she was. "...whhhh... whhhhmaa..."

A deep male voice replied. "You're in hospital." It was not one Penny recognised.
"...uuuhhhhhhhh..."
"Wouldn't waste that breath, kid." The voice spoke in hushed tones, oddly calming. With Penny's agonising headache, it was understanable he didn't want to worsen it. Though it seemed more like he didn't want to alert anyone else to his presence...

"Just don't worry about anything. We're back at HQ. You're fine, Fox is fine. I've been told you two had a run into the, uhh..." a slight rustling of paper, apparently he'd taken notes from someone, "...'Handyman'. ...Handyman? the fuck kinda... Ah, whatever. Look, just... I wanted to come by, say thanks. For keeping her safe. Fox is, uhh... an old friend of mine. I'd hate for something to happen to her."
"...huuuu..."
"I'm guessing that's meant to be 'who are you'. I was just passing through, found you guys in the forest. ...You buy that? You-... you don't, do you. Who would?

"Hey, don't worry about who I am." The voice seemed to be rambling to itself at this point, as a scraping chair and footsteps indicated this man to be leaving. "Just someone who owed Hartley a favour. He knew you were missing, and finding people's... kind of my job." The door opened, and there was silence for a moment, before he spoke again. "...She takes good care of you, y'know? You take care of her. She's a brave one, putting that smile on all the time..."

The door closed. Bridget's voice murmured on the other side of the room.

"...wwwhh... Mmyerrrs...?"

Kamiroo Wolf
10-13-2015, 09:04 AM
Everyone please vote fairly. So glad I have something to read during homeroom now

Urako
10-13-2015, 09:42 AM
Sorry Waffles. You're story is amazing, but it is just too slow. The first half of it is exposition. So i'm voting for Shock.WAV. Honestly though, you both did fantastic jobs.

RichardLongflop
10-13-2015, 09:49 AM
I write stories, not blurbs~

I think you've won shock. Darn. Better quality than I with details I couldn't spare.

Urako
10-13-2015, 10:21 AM
I write stories, not blurbs~

Of course, and fantastic ones at that. But half the entire battle just for the exposition is a bit of an overkill. That said, I'm not sure if I should talk considering I'm trying to add more detail to describing the environments and setting up the plot. Also, given the newly popular trend of talking through most of it, you're not far off from the others. Just 10X better.

RichardLongflop
10-13-2015, 03:11 PM
Of course, and fantastic ones at that. But half the entire battle just for the exposition is a bit of an overkill. That said, I'm not sure if I should talk considering I'm trying to add more detail to describing the environments and setting up the plot. Also, given the newly popular trend of talking through most of it, you're not far off from the others. Just 10X better.

I personally believe that, in writing a story, you should write as if the reader is, well, stupid. Don't talk about characters as if the reader already knows them. You gotta introduce them, introduce the important parts.

If you need to research a character half-way through reading a story, the writer has done a bad job.

I tried to build up important stuff, touch on the character's life, have all the vital stuff there but in a way so that you don't need to leave the story to understand.

RichardLongflop
10-15-2015, 06:37 PM
Double post, but wow, sucks that i might lose purely to two votes. C'mon guys.

Kamiroo Wolf
10-15-2015, 07:31 PM
Double post, but wow, sucks that i might lose purely to two votes. C'mon guys.

Three votes. Just because.

Jk jk, I still have yet to read Shock's story.

Urako
10-15-2015, 07:49 PM
Double post, but wow, sucks that i might lose purely to two votes. C'mon guys.

Buckethead could have at least explained why he voted the way he did. I guess there weren't too many people with the time to read the stories.

Kamiroo Wolf
10-15-2015, 07:51 PM
Finished. Sorry, Waffles ;-;

devi
10-15-2015, 08:22 PM
Despite that I do feel that Waffles story was a bit slow, I just really enjoy how you write your stories of Handylongflop. I legitimately thought that I was Shock's piece when reading yours since handyman was full front and center introduced at the beginning.

Sadly, I don't have much time for a critique to give you guys, but I can give you guys something to snack on for now.

While I was able to get through your story and still enjoy it, I doubt many others will. I see that you were trying set a mood and get some suspense, but there's a limit to just how long you can do it before people start scrolling to the end just to see if something actually happens. *coughIswearIdidn'tcough*
God its hard to say what it is what I don't like, since there's not too much wrong. One thing I feel like you could have had in the real life parts and dream parts is more of a sense of terror, I mean, this is handyman we're talking about, a being mean't to be the embodiment of fear.(If embodiment is the best word for it that is.) While penny might not be scared of it, it should be getting the reader/s on the edge of their seat/s.

Overall, good god dang job you two, loved how both of you approached this unique battle.

RichardLongflop
10-16-2015, 05:26 AM
I guess I oughta stick to the silly physical fights then. Sigh.

Hewitt
10-16-2015, 05:30 AM
I guess you gotta write better.

OH SNAP

RichardLongflop
10-16-2015, 05:31 AM
I guess you gotta write better.

OH SNAP

...no shit?

GuardianTempest
10-16-2015, 06:10 AM
I guess I oughta stick to the silly physical fights then. Sigh.Pls no. The casuals might be dismaying, I hope you don't actually abandon your atmospheric trump card in favor of just "I PUNCH AND KILL."

Kamiroo Wolf
10-16-2015, 07:24 AM
I guess I oughta stick to the silly physical fights then. Sigh.

I honestly don't think you should. I'm in no position to give you, of all people, criticism, but one thing I must say is that your character is absolutely brilliant and it'd be a shame to see him go. My only problem with your story was that it was focused too much around Penny(even though that's kinda what your character is all about) and took way too long to get to the point. I can appreciate you wanting to fully represent the character, but please keep in mind that us "commonfolk" typically have the attention span of hyperactive squirrels. Humans have a natural desire for bloodshed, and we crave for our bloodlust to be sated. When Penny dispatched that guard you had me hooked(easy to please, aren't I?) and I read through the whole story eagerly awaiting my meal. The father's child, her brother's nurse, the fish tank...all appetizers that set the bar too high for a feast that was, in all honesty...average.

But what do I know? I'm just a mediocre writer who needs to hide behind edgy metaphors.

Urako
10-16-2015, 07:42 AM
I guess I oughta stick to the silly physical fights then. Sigh.

Almost everybody likes your character, the atmosphere he creates, and his fights in general. Just because people think it is a little slow, doesn't mean it was bad. I still only voted for Shock.wav's because his was very good as well. Please don't go overboard over a few votes.

RichardLongflop
10-16-2015, 07:43 AM
Handy's just a medium in which the other character is developed. Handy has no real character to himself. Of course it bloody revolves around Penny, it's about who she is, what she is, her fears and how they affect her. If she'll overcome them or succumb to them.

I'm always wanting to be more concise but I look back at my stories and I'm unable to shorten them any more. It's bollocks.

Kamiroo Wolf
10-16-2015, 10:37 AM
Handy's just a medium in which the other character is developed. Handy has no real character to himself. Of course it bloody revolves around Penny, it's about who she is, what she is, her fears and how they affect her. If she'll overcome them or succumb to them.

I'm always wanting to be more concise but I look back at my stories and I'm unable to shorten them any more. It's bollocks.

Then fuck it. If you're not getting the results you want from The Handyman then by all means change your wRHG. We're telling you it would be a mistake, because this just a loss(which hasn't even been finalized yet, for Christ's sake). If this is how you're going to take it, then screw it. Kick and scream and cry all you want, but in the end it's all meaningless.

RichardLongflop
10-16-2015, 11:07 AM
What? I'm not gonna change him. Where did I ever mention that?

Battles like Malacal and Veir were more physical-based which is what I meant by "I guess I oughta stick to the silly physical fights then"
This battle was an attempt at something far closer to what I wanted out of Handy, but since it seems to have failed I'm gonna try some other stuff to see what works, until I can figure out something that meets my desires and is enjoyable to read by others.

You think I'm gonna change wRHG since because I might lose ONE battle? What sort of bitch do you take me for? I'm disappointed in myself, yeah, but that's just more motivation to improve and evolve.

ErrorBlender
10-17-2015, 02:35 PM
It is difficult to decide whom to vote. Both Richard and Shock's works used Handy's presence well, a battle within themselves as Richard initially wanted. I agree that Richard's was slower in pace compared to Shock's but in the case of this kind of battle, slow isn't bad. You're trying to expose a past of a character and have them 'get over it', live through them again, face their fears or reveal some history hidden even from the profile page that you could add later on. There are minor errors on both parties and they're most likely just a bit of parts that were missed during the proofread. Nothing that breaks the plot.

I'll think on it a bit more.

Hewitt
10-18-2015, 07:50 PM
Pls no. The casuals might be dismaying, I hope you don't actually abandon your atmospheric trump card in favor of just "I PUNCH AND KILL."

The irony is that no one literally ever does I PUNCH AND KILL anyway, as they forego it with always-flashy-shit.

Punching to kill would be a breath of fresh air.




Anyways, it's so rare that a battle gets more than 10 posts so I might actually read this one. But I won't be judging the merits of the stories on the battles so, I'll be skipping those and purely be basing it on how its written minus that.

RichardLongflop
10-19-2015, 12:37 AM
The majority of battles seem to get more than 10 posts?
Excluding the newest RexVsDevi battle, each Battles thread has this number of posts:

22,12,24,1,12,8,15,32,1,15,0,10,13,12,5,18,48,21,6

Add it up and divide it by itself to get the mean, average post count of a battle thread is 13.316. Not rare.
But ay, post. By all means, do your thang.