[WWC] Spirit
#1


A bitter wind lashed at Henry's ears as he pulled the heavy diner door shut behind him. A pork pie hat stood proudly upon his pink skull, but did nothing to protect his pointed lobes. His beady eyes were almost framed by a crescent shaped scar on his right temple. The place was empty, as would be expected at 2am on a Thursday, which made it the perfect place for some late night work. He caught the eye of the curvaceous Indeedee behind the counter and shuffled over to a corner booth.


Henry pulled off his overcoat, setting it upon the worn crimson leather love seat, whilst he manoeuvred his slender pink body onto the opposite bench, his back against the window. The Impidimp sighed and pulled a stack of papers from his crumpled coat. Phone records from The Syndicate. He'd been on their trail for weeks now, but was no closer to actually finding them. Every call came from a different payphone, always to another payphone and always with the same name given to the operator.


Edward.


The Indeedee sauntered over to the corner with a pot of coffee, brushing against Henry's arm with the back of her hand, she held the pot above a dingy off-white mug on the table.


“Usual hon?” she asked, knowing his weary sigh of acceptance was a foregone conclusion. She didn't need to be psychic to know that the same mon taking the same seat every night would have the same order. His body craved the caffeine, as though he hadn't slept in months.


Henry waited for the pouring to cease and took a long slurp from his drink, his eyes never leaving the creased papers lying before him. Indeedee glanced for herself at the records Henry was reading, she could just have easily read his mind to get the same outcome, but the graveyard shift needed something to perk it up on occasion.


“Who's Edward?” she enquired, reading the flickers of despair and resignation crossing his face as he turned towards her. Henry pondered for a moment, then decided to throw all caution to the wind and unload on the welcoming waitress.


“Edward is a codename given by a group of lowlifes who have been causing all kinds of mayhem here in the Big Appletun. Never the same place, never the same voice, just that darn name over and over. Edward.”


Henry paused briefly, surveying Indeedee's reaction. She looked to have actually been listening, poised in quiet, deep thought, so he continued.


“Can't find any registered citizens under the name Edward, Edwards, Eduardo or even Oswald. It's like the guy is a ghost, a spectre, a spirit...”


“A spirit?” Indeedee interrupted. “Some fellas were in here this morning talking about their friend's spirit being broken. Come to think of it, they called the guy Fast Eddie. Eddie could be Edward?”


Henry sat bolt upright in his seat, this could be his lead, his chance, his moment. He grabbed a fresh piece of paper and started scribbling furiously.


“I need details doll! Names. Species. Times. Descriptions. Give me anything!”


By the time the sky turned from jet black to a swirl of pale pinks & blues, Indeedee had given him everything he had wanted and more.




It was Saturday now, around 1 in the morning. Indeedee's leads were very promising indeed, he had already apprehended the group of Scraggy she had spoken about and extracted the necessary information to lead him to Fast Eddie, to Edward. He was outside a dingy apartment block on the lower east side, the name on the buzzer was that of Eddie Gabriel, a curious name for one so deviant.


Henry held his finger down firm on the buzzer for a few seconds. No answer.


He buzzed again.
No answer.


Henry buzzed a third time.
Silence.


Henry took a cursory glance at the number by the name, 86, and made a hopeful grab for the front door, it swung open surprisingly easily allowing him to enter and ascend to the 8th floor where Edward's apartment lay waiting for him. The spiral staircase clearly hadn't been taken care of, fingerprints on the dilapidated handrail were embedded like the physical memories of the building itself.




Henry knocked firmly on the flimsy plywood door, more out of habit than anticipation of a response. Naturally there was no answer, so he gripped the doorknob and twisted, hoping it was unlocked. The door refused to budge as he turned the handle, so Henry lowered his shoulder and gave a solid thump against the timber. Henry practically fell onto the floor as the wood cracked and splintered, giving way to his slender frame with surprising ease.


The apartment was a mess. Laundry and rubbish lay across the floor like the dots of paint on a pointillist's canvas. Discarded cigarette packets scented the room with a burnt tobacco and ash aroma that clung to his nostrils. Henry gingerly tiptoed his way around the main room, looking for anything that could direct him to The Syndicate. A post it note, a letter, a crudely drawn map, anything would do.


After two hours of searching, Henry was at a loss. He had practically turned the living area upside down, gutted the kitchen and rearranged the bedroom in a manner that would not appease any Feng Shui disciple. The one remaining glimmer of hope lay in the bathroom. He frantically pulled the medicine cabinet open, trying to find a scrap of paper, a bottle of pills, anything that could lead him to...


An ID Card.


Henry grasped the card tightly and sprinted out of the apartment, not even closing the door behind him. Descending two or three stairs at a time, he almost pushed an elderly Jynx over as he rushed downstairs. She launched a snowball at him as a form of protest, but he didn't care. He had his lead. The card gave the address of a Meat Packing plant, one of the most cliché fronts they could have possibly chosen. Eddie Gabriel's name printed proudly at the top, just above his photo.


Not Eddie's. Henry's.




Sunday morning, the sun was making its first cursory glance above the horizon and Henry lay wide awake on top of his bed. The ID card glistening in his fingers as he tried to piece together how they'd created a fake ID using his own photo. He felt like he hadn't even slept, the rings around his eyes were darkening, his brain was running at 1000 miles per hour and his limbs felt heavy and sluggish. He just couldn't fathom how this was happening. He had to find out for himself.


746 Monroe Street, deep in the beating heart of the industrial district, home to the Ilex Meat Processing factory, the IMP. Henry stood outside the great rusting iron gates, looking for any signs of life. Funnily enough, being a Sunday morning, there were none, so Henry was able to slip into the building without being noticed,


Henry crept as quietly as possible past the dozens of hanging carcasses within the abattoir. The stench of rotting meat was a clear indication that this front was definitely not a legitimate business, as any patrons would be violently ill. He knew there must be an office towards the back of the building, to get the head honcho, to get answers. Henry stopped and pressed himself against a shadowy area of the wall as heard two sets of approaching footsteps.


“Boss isn't happy about Eddie lately, hasn't been the same since, well, you know...”


The voices trailed off into the distance as Henry continued his path towards the main office. The door was almost crimson in colour, as though it were stained with the blood from the factory floor itself. Henry tried his best to silently open the door, but alas, the creaky hinges gave him away.


“You've caused me an awful lot of trouble you know” boomed a deep voice from the far end of the room. Henry looked up and saw a towering Grimmsnarl begin to rise from an olive green wing-back chair. The nameplate at the front of his desk declared him to be one Richard Danvers. The larger creature leaned back against the wall and began to speak in a menacing tone.


“You have fifteen minutes before the heavies get here. You better make this worthwhile seeing as you won't be getting out of here in the same piece you came in as.”

“I need answers,” Henry began, trying to mask his fear with an air of bravery. He pulled the ID Card out and threw it towards the hulking creature, “How in Arceus' name did you manage to make this forgery?!”

The Grimmsnarl laughed in Henry's face, picking up the card, “It's no forgery boy. Every detail is accurate.” Henry remained still, lost for words, “Of course, I knew things would come to this Eddie.”

“My name is Hen-”

“Eddie. I knew you were badly affected by my punishment. I just didn't realise it would go this far.” Henry slumped down, barely able to believe what he was hearing. Things were starting to piece themselves together.




A couple of months earlier, Eddie's faction of The Syndicate had the opportunity for a big payday. The Bank of Lugia were expecting a large shipment of nuggets and thanks to some connections, they had a mon on the inside and were lining up the big con. In and out before the bank's security staff would notice, a few million to be made. Things went off without a hitch for the first three quarters of the job. Eddie's team had commandeered the delivery truck and were well on their way to freedom without being noticed. Then Eddie screwed up.


They had a limited time window to get everything out of the truck and into the safehouse they were storing the nuggets in before a buyer could take them off their hands, and Eddie decided that as the wheelman, he could afford to get fancy and cut a few corners. Literally. Only half a mile from their destination, he flipped the truck trying to corner too fast. The rest of the crew were killed on impact with the lamppost. Eddie flew through the windshield and rolled along the ground out of sight. The cops had no idea anyone else was involved and were able to return the full haul to the bank.


But his boss knew. His boss was furious and unleashed an almighty Spirit Break, straight in the back of Eddie's skull.


All that guilt manifested itself as an alter ego that wanted to end everything his normal self worked towards. His broken spirit created Henry to try and right his wrongs, to try and bring a balance, he was still Eddie by day, but Henry by night. Dipping in and out of sleep caused his Spirit to switch between the two pieces.


Henry lay whimpering on the floor of the office. It was all over. His crusade was futile. Richard looked him up and down and cleared his throat.

“I need my Lieutenant back. I've got a job coming up. Looks like it's time for some DIY.”


Henry shut his eyes fast tight as the monstrosity launched a Spirit Break straight into his skull. Everything went white, then black. Eddie was complete. His Spirit was whole.
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