So I know it's been an awfully long time since I last updated this and I'm sorry. If you can't remember what happened then it shouldn't take to long to re-read but to summarise, Nyx was killed by the Banished for failing to assassinate Octaboona before he found Pyro, Skyril had been kidnapped by the Banished after returning from the Pit of Souls and is believed to be dead by everyone except Octa who was told so by Quinn. Israel still hates Octa believing him to be one of the Banished whilst Mar, Necros and Pyro have discovered some of Octa's history and Israel, Kallista and Clarabelle are still at their bunny parade.
Rosella Embers stared blankly at the fallen newspaper, her electric blue eyes an empty void as the same thought echoed again and again, reverberating through her suddenly empty mind. “Nyx Dawn is dead”.
She sat down heavily on the worn park bench and threw up her arms to prevent the wind blowing the sheets of newspaper into her face. A large sepia image of Nyx was spread across the page; her slightly crooked smile and the cocky gleam in her eyes were unmistakable. The headline screamed ‘ASSASSAIN ASSASSINATED?’ in large black letters. Rosella bit her lip as her last glimpse of Nyx spiralled away on the autumnal gusts and tried to hold back tears. Yet picturing the way her golden tipped hair swept back in the wind and the expression of horror on her face when Rosella’s guinea pig Austin had tried to use that very same hair as bedding was too much and Rosella started weeping silently, little orbs of salt and sorrow dripping steadily from the end of her nose as she mourned the loss of her first and closest friend.
Kenny Lakinson bent over the figure slumped over the ground, silhouetted in the lime green light that pulsed from the rows of cylindrical canisters or “pods” lining the wall. Each pod was extremely tall, stretching from floor to ceiling and made out of a transparent glass like substance. The pods were ovoid in shape, curving inwards as they reached towards the ceiling to form an elegant dome at the top and likewise at the floor. Inside the pods contained various humans with their hands and feet manacled to the walls. These people were in a pitiful state, naked, grimy and in terrible pain. Although the sound was muffled by the thick walls of the pods, the dead look in their eyes and expressions of agony were hard to forget.
Kenny closed his eyes to shut out the sight and listened as the figure groaned and spoke.
“Where am I? Who are you?”
Deciding to delay the first question Kenny cleared his throat and replied “My name is Kenny. Kenny Lakinson.”
“Skyril Oblivion” mumbled the figure.
She climbed to her feet and looked into a nearby pod before recoiling suddenly, aghast. She repeated her question. “Where am I? What is this place?”
Kenny frowned. “This place is known as Nightmares’ Passage.” The pods are used to induce nightmares of the most damaging kind, leaving the victim psychologically broken. It makes use of your darkest fears and deepest despair, your rage and loneliness and hopelessness to create haunting dreams and thoughts that will prey upon your mind until you are an empty husk or a raving lunatic. The process is also highly painful to endure. The Banished use this as a torture chamber- mainly for fun and partly to eliminate their enemies. People are quickly forgotten down here, they vanish from the gaze of the world, hidden, lost, maybe even banished.
Skyril peeped out at the inhabitant of a nearby pod before quickly averting her eyes once more, swallowing several times to keep down the bile that had risen in her throat.
“So how did you get here?”
“Precisely the same way that you did, Skyril. The Banished wanted me gone, they waited until I was in a weakened state, then struck. I woke up like you did, but not here, in this comfy little corridor. I woke up in there” he chanted in a sing song voice, elongating the last word. “Inside the dream machine” he giggled. “I listened to the tinkling of the chains as I shook them. Such a lovely sound.” Suddenly Kenny’s voice turned sharp. “But then they poked me.” He pointed to his head. “They poked me in here.” he muttered again elongating the final syllable. “It hurt” he whimpered. “Like a thousand red hot needles being shoved through your ears.” “I was so scared,” Kenny jumped up at Skyril, sending her tumbling back to the floor. “Boo!” “Yes, like that” he mumbled. “But much worse. Much scarier. Woooooooo!” he wailed raucously. “Wooooooo!”
Kenny fell to the floor and suddenly his eyes rolled up into his head and then returned down, focusing on Skyril.
“I’m sorry, so sorry”. Kenny offered Skyril a hand up, which she took warily. “Like I said, the pods they, um... break you psychologically. I was only in there for a short amount of time but it was still enough for me to undergo these... ah... episodes every once in a while.”
“So how did you escape from the pod?”
“I didn’t, I was rescued?”
Kenny hurried off down the corridor. “Follow me” he yelled over his shoulder. “Come meet her”.
Octaboona Ambrosius had a sick feeling in his stomach. He stopped and looked down at the road where the tyre tracks he had been following suddenly stopped. He was determined to return safely to Elysium Asylum with Skyril Oblivion and at least try and reason with Israel that he was not this depravity that Israel was so firmly convinced of. He sighed and looked around yet the tyre tracks he had been following for the last hour had finally petered out. He thought about the words that Quinn had shouted after him, before she had returned to the warmth of her room. “Which is way to the land of honey? Failing that just ask the bunny! For a rabbits head will point the way, to the prison in which Skyril doth lay.”
“Honey? Bunny?” whatever did she mean? Octaboona reached up to scratch his head only to find he was scratching a large fluffy ear. “That stupid bunny costume” he grumbled, pulling off the head and throwing it away. “I can’t believe I walked all this way wearing such a ridiculous outfit.” He started to wriggle out of the body but to no avail. “Damn and blast.” “How on earth have I managed to get stuck in this monstrosity?” The bunny’s head had come to rest at a crossroads, its ears pointing down a narrow winding path, whilst its button eyes gleamed cheekily in the moonlight. Octaboona stared at it before hurrying down the path muttering “For a rabbits head will point the way, to the prison in which Skyril doth lay.”
Kenny came to a halt outside one of the pods and pressed several keys on a small silver pad built into the wall. With a swoosh of compressed noise the front of the pod retracted into the floor. Kenny walked into the green light and disappeared, Skyril following hesitantly. Suddenly she screamed as she came face to face to the prisoner within, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth and his eyes rolling crazily around his head.
“Kenny?” she cried out.
“Just walk right through him,” Kenny shouted back. Skyril stared at the man, hair caked with filth and large pussy buboes covering his arms and chest.
“Through him?” Skyril questioned hysterically.
“He’s a hologram.” Kenny answered, and then wiggled a few fingers through the hologram’s head. “See?”
Skyril closed her eyes tight and walked hesitantly forward, arms outstretched. Her fingers brushed against flesh and she screamed and jumped back. She opened her eyes to find herself standing inside the holo-man and she ran forward again.
“Hush, it was just me” said Kenny soothingly. “You brushed against my nose, that’s all.” He turned to the far wall of the pod and starting tapping away at a second keypad before looking directly up at a camera that swivelled round to face him. There was a pause of a few seconds before a small door in the back wall, easily camouflaged to blend in with the surrounding wall swung open and Kenny and Skyril walked through. A small girl with messy black bangs and warm silver eyes looked up, smiled and then ran forwards and enveloped Skyril in a hug.
“Skyril!” the teenage girl exclaimed. “So you’re the latest victim of Nightmare’s Passage. I’m only glad I sent Kenny to find you in time.”
“Thalia?” Skyril mumbled. “You rescued Kenny from his pod? But how?” Skyril frowned. “How did you escape from your own pod?”
““Well…you see, I was just standing here, and then it exploded” she grinned, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Okay, okay so I listened in to the thoughts of my guard and I knew they would try and induce nightmares in me. And then I simply immobilised him so he couldn’t call for help, then used a spot of telekinesis to unlock my manacles with his key. And then I blew up my pod for the fun of it you know?
“And no I’m not going to go all crazy on you all of a sudden” Thalia responded to Skyril’s unspoken thought. “I can just as easily shield my mind from foreign influences as I can read the thoughts of others.”
“So where are we exactly?”
“Some long abandoned control room” Thalia shrugged. “Probably a tertiary one potentially a secondary” she continued. “Pod life support systems and the like”. “The grand control room is still functional though and contains most of the torture devices and of course the Nightmare Inductor.”
“I’ve been fixing this place up a little, making some modifications here and there. But they confiscated my sword and my bag when I got here.” Thalia spun dramatically on her heel and tried to flounce, flicking an imaginary scarf around her neck. “I love that bag and they just take it off me whilst unconscious. How very unsporting.”
“Anyway I deduced where they’re keeping it. Along with the weapons and belongings of all the other prisoners. That’s why I rescued Kenny and yourself. I need someone to go and retrieve them for me. I’d go myself but the guard’s mess room is right next door and the place stinks of onions.” Thalia shuddered. “Ugghh onions. I despise the things.”
“Once you return with my bag I’ll have all the equipment I need to make our escape from here. So it’s definitely worth the risk wouldn’t you say?”
She started shooing Skyril and Kenny towards the door, and called after them “The room is on Level Mongoose, Sector Twenty Six, third door on the right!”
Skyril and Kenny trudged along the corridor, looking up at the large painted numbers, gleaming red upon the wall. “Sector Twenty Two, Sector Twenty Three, Sector Twenty Four” Skyril listed off. “I found a staircase!”
Kenny was fiddling with the keypad for a nearby pod.
“I found a staircase!” Skyril repeated. “It should take us up to Level Mongoose. Kenny?”
The front of the pod retracted with a whoosh. Kenny did not respond instead hiding in the shadowy gap between the pods.
“Kenny? Are you OK?” Skyril called. “Where are you?” she looked over her shoulder and began to make her way back down the corridor. “Kenny?”
As she passed the open pod, a savage gleam entered his eyes and he crept up on Skyril shoving her hard in the back. Skyril went sprawling into the pod and she reached for a throwing knife yet found none. The pod door slammed shut and Skyril beat upon the door, before holding out her palms in Kenny’s direction, shining brightly as two orbs began to form around Kenny’s eyes. He cursed and started pressing keys frantically, the manacles suddenly locked around Skyril’s wrists and ankles. His sight left him and the two orbs zoomed towards Skyril’s palms. Blindly he hit out at the keypad, and suddenly Skyril slumped unconscious the two orbs dissipating into nothingness. Slowly and carefully, Kenny began to make his way towards the staircase, his sight partially recovered into a smeary blur. He grumbled and muttered under his breath as he made his way up the stairs and into Level Mongoose. He turned and looked back at the blob of colour he knew to be Skyril Oblivion. He smiled at her and uttered “Sweet dreams” before stumbling towards the large painted number 26 in the distance.