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Let the Games Begin III: Gamble Your Life


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Another intro piece for some of my crew. Hop you enjoy it and as always please leave me some comments.

Fredrick Folly shivers. He has every right to. It’s a cold night in the Iron Twist district. But he’s dealt with cold nights in Malifaux before. It’s dark and the wind screams through the twists and turns of Nox Coil Street all the way to the factory ruins along Rake Way. But Folly’s familiar with the sounds of Malifaux by night. The moon rarely shines through the choking obscura of the sky but it does tonight and it curses the city with bone glow. But Mr. Folly pays the moon no mind. He’s seen it before and he’s bad bad business whether the moon came out to see it or not.

Fredrick Folly shivers because he’s slicked in the blood of Bessie Meacham and that blood has long since gone from a comforting warmth to dead chill.

But he’s not responsible for the blood. Not really. Bessie worked for him as a fence, sure, but she was far from an unwitting or unwilling member of his little criminal cadre. Just like Oliver Lyle, Christian Redding and Jeffery Mulligan, Bessie was a black heart. Just like Bessie they’re all dead.

And he’s got a little bit of all their blood on him right now and not at all in the figurative sense.

He pounds on the door of the merchant vendor hoping for sanctuary. His mind races with the thoughts of Bessie. Hooks from a namesless dark slithered out and snared her while one of the creatures dealt her cards. They made her play. She screamed and fought but when one hook reeled her ear into the mist she knew there was no choice. They made her play and they played so well. They were masterful cheats just like Folly’s people. She played and she lost.

The hooks all yanked away and storm of agony and blood fell.

A light flickers inside the merchant shop and Folly pounds harder. “Please! Let me in! Please!”

“Coming, coming!” The voice calls. Folly scans the night making sure he wasn’t followed. The sound of the locks turning and the door opening is welcome.

“Thank you. There’s things out there and…” Folly turns to thank his savior only to find something else entirely staring there. Illuminated by an old rusted lantern is nightmare that walks the waking world. Its body is like a burlap sack. Moist red spots leak through and pile up forming features like heavy guts and fat limbs. The face, the face is the worst part. The lantern light crawls over a dark moist brown face. Its mouth and eyes are rips in the cloth; hollow and depthless.

“Things out there you say…” It laughs, its voice jolly and deep like some drunken mirthful union worker full of cheap ale and freshly signed guild script. One hook holds the lantern while the other hoists up the severed head of the shop owner. From its mouth spills maggots while cloth lips slurp up coils of intestines. “There’s plenty of things in here too? But feel free, take your chances” It boldly gestures for him to enter.

Folly backs away; his hand scrambles to his hip where it finds his revolver. He fires a panicked salvo that rips through the sack skin of the thing. Worms wriggle free of the creature while it laughs hysterically. “Oh… oh you got me. Oh the inhumanity of it all!” It slumps up against the door leaving a bloody smear as it slides down to the ground still laughing.

Folly’s eyes catch the glitter of metal as it flies through the air. He ducks around several tiny hooks and their trails of sewing thread, all of them meant for his skin.

The other stitched beast stands beneath a street lamp, its hook hands recoiling back into its pudgy wrists.

This one is identical to the other except for a smeared handprint of white paint across the middle of its face. It draws back its head and spits on the ground. The wad of insects and putrid flesh steams in the cold night.

“How man bullets you have left Mr. Folly?” The thing asks, snickering as it watches him back away. “How many have you fired tonight hmm? That gun have any rounds left to even shoot? You could stand there and fire or you can run? Either way the bet is yours sir.”

Folly pulls the trigger and manages two more rounds before the gun is empty. Both fly true and both break through the creature loosing its graveyard ichor on the street. It too delights in the wounds dealt. “Oh, damn you Mr. Folly. Bullets… my only weakness. How did you know!”

Fredrick bolts, gun in hand, north on Nox Coil. His hope was to put distance between him and the wounded things. Maybe, he prayed, morning hours would force them to rest. He managed to take only a step or so. His cheek catches and tears like a trout on the line. A hook yanks him off his feet and to the ground. He lands hard, his head spinning and more warm blood trickling down his skin.

The first sewn sack stands over him now. “You’re a cheat Mr. Folly. A big old cheat who steals what he wants and hurts lots of innocent lives. How do you sleep with yourself hmm?”

The other sack wanders up now. “Probably the same way we do. With a fat smile on our faces and with bellies full of tender flesh.”

“Maybe not with a belly full of tender flesh, but he certainly has a belly made of tender flesh.” The Stitched Sack licks its lips with a tongue made of rotted hook ripped skin.

“Malifaux’ not big enough for all us deplorable souls sir.” The one with paint on its face reaches into the tears of his body and pulls out a deck of cards. “Care to play Mr. Folly?”

“I’ll give you anything! Anything you want!” Fredrick begs. He tries to crawl they move along with him.

“Oh… anything we want hmm? Anything at all?” The painted one ponders.

“Supposes all we want is to tug at that skin with these little hooks and gobble up your soul over biscuits and tea? So, if we let you live… you’ll let us kill you?” The other analyzes. “Humans… such bad hagglers.”

“No… I mean… I can give you money. All the Guild Script you want?”

The painted one shakes his head “Nah, we don’t believe in supporting the capitalist machine.”

“Soul stones? I can get you stone!”

The other stitched monster rubs his chin. Blood drips when he squeezes hard. “Well, I do like stone. But I do like killing too. I may have a problem, friend. You are certainly not worth as much as Soul Stone and yet here I am choosing to kill anyway.”

“I can get you others. I can get you so many others to kill. That’s gotta be worth more than just me?” Folly is weeping now; weeping and bleeding out the ruin of his cheek. His words are barely intelligible.

“We have very specific tastes when it comes to killing Mr. Folly. We don’t just kill anybody. We like to kill sinners like yourself.” One says. The other with the painted face laughs harshly. “What?”

The painted one crosses its arms “What about the merchant you killed? Was he a sinner?”

“Well no; but he was selling cheaply made tools at outrageous prices.”

“Not a sin.”

“Sin like? Sin esq? Sin ish?”

Folly manages to crawl past them while they discuss the nature of sin as it relates to fair market value.

He climbs to his feet and begins down Nox Coil again only to have his heart sink as another store front door opens and the duo emerge. Both of them covered in blood. The painted one raises its hook “Oh Mr. Folly hold on. It’s time to play. Five card, aces wild.” He bounds down the steps and deals out the cards onto the lid of a trashcan that separates human from nightmare.

The other creature rubs its hooks together. “Hoping you taste good Mr. Folly. Hoping you taste real good.”

“He probably tastes like Butter Chicken.” The painted one says as it looks over its own hand of cards.

“I love Butter Chicken!”

Folly looks at his own hand. It’s a good draw, a very good draw. Three Jacks stand out. The Stitched sack scrutinizes him for any sign of what his hand holds but Franklin Folly is an expert card shark, even with face torn to shreds he holds his composure.

The two draw cards, Franklin takes two and the Stitched Thing takes three.

“Ready to gamble your life Mr. Folly?” It asks and then throws down its hand; two pair. Folly lays his hand down. Full House.

“Damn it.” The painted sack groans. Its gut bloats even further; sparks of light and color radiate inside its body and both culminate with a deafening burst of illumination. The Stitched topples backward, laughing insanely as its content spills.

Folly runs at breakneck speed and lets the darkness of the night swallow him. The other Stitched looks down at his losing companion and frowns. “Now we’ll never know if he tastes like Butter Chicken.”

“Wanna bet?”


Edited by Thechosenone
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Take a few minutes to read up on Pigapult/pere lists and boom, first comment already. Thanks Edonil.

Yeah, i like the Stitched and they did me well in their debut game so i gave them a nice treatment.

And as far as present tense/past tense i think you and talked about it earlier. I know its not your cup of tea but i've got like twelve plus years down that road so for me its second nature. I like the immediate feeling it gives rather than the retelling that past tense presents but you know, different tastes and all that.

Glad you enjoyed and there is more to come. Daydreams, another teddy(Scarecrow) and Coppelius are in the works.

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