Mark scrunched his eyes tightly as his consciousness fully returned to him. He balled his fists lightly as an ache spread across his limp form. A quiet groan escaped him as his body finally adjusted to the strange feeling. Mark's eyes gently fluttered open to be greeted with a few weird blurry blue shades. He lazily closed his eyes again to wait for the odd feeling to pass. His thoughts wandered to what had happened before he fell asleep. Empty space where memories once lay came forward which greatly confused the American.
But his body finally awoke properly and he felt the hard surface below him. Its sharp cold temperature surrounded him but didn't manage to get underneath his skin. Mark began to wonder how long he was laying here. But unease didn't quite run wild yet as Mark knew that Dark enjoyed messing with his senses sometimes. Still, he opened his eyes and looked around slowly. The floor he lay on was dark blue like a gym mat and beyond that looked to be a sterile shade of light blue covering all the surfaces. Light gently shone down from three rectangular windows near the top of the wall as though they were in a basement.
Mark squinted a little as he tried to make out what else was in the room. He could just see some desks line up against the wall ahead of him which were littered with various papers and scientific equipment. The walls were plastered with little coloured notes and other papers pinned up. There was a good seven metre distance between Mark and those desks. But he couldn't focus on those any further as he noticed a strange sheen flicker against the light.
He squinted slightly and gently pushed himself up. His hand went to his head for support as multi-coloured dots danced before his eyes and a light sensation caused him to falter. But Mark quickly settled and examined the object closer and saw it was a tall piece of thick glass. His hand lowered back to his lap as earlier unease became larger in his mind.
But he still wouldn't allow himself to panic just yet. Until then, Mark decided to examine where he was further. Turning his head to look behind, Mark saw a black painted wall a few inches beyond another other tall glass wall. At his sides were another two clear walls and beyond them both stood two great machines that hummed rhythmically with multiple wires feeding into them. They ran like snakes across the floor to then climb up the corners of this glass prison toward the top. Mark looked up and saw a thick grey slab loom over him.
His anxiety began to grow as he realised how perfect this cage was. It was four metres long, two wide and at least four tall. Upon further inspection, Mark saw no door or any perceivable groove to suggest a seal in the glass. It was though he was under a glass cuboid akin to domes that protected cakes from flies. He stood up and stepped forward to place his hand on the solid glass. The surface was tough like a gorilla's cage. Mark leaned forward and peered into the lifeless room beyond. He noticed a regular door on the left wall which seemed firmly closed as well as a spotless floor despite the messiness of the desks.
This was certainly elaborate for Dark. Before now it was only little games in the dark with some props. Mark likened it to being on stage as Dark did have a flair for the theatrics. But this was different. This place was incredibly detailed and seemed so dead compared to what he had seen before. Mark wondered if Dark was getting bored with his own lazy 'productions' and decided to make things more lifelike.
But before Mark could call the entity forward to ask him, he felt a strange pressure blossom in his chest. It grew bigger until Mark felt as though his heart would stop at any moment. He scrunched up his eyes and leaned forward slightly, waiting until it passed. That pressure was quickly released which made Mark slump forward as tired breaths escaped him. He rubbed his chest and recognised the familiar feeling.
Mark straightened as the dull pain faded away completely. He turned his head and saw Dark lean against the corner of the glass cage with a smug smirk curling his lips. Mark looked on at the entity who still wore that grey suit with a scarlet silk tie. He seemed happy about something so Mark assumed this was his doing. But he wondered why Dark was here. Normally it would be straight to the scares with little fuss and he wouldn't appear till the very end if at all.
Despite this, Mark asked calmly,
"Tonnes" The doppelganger replied with a smile.
Mark asked with a chuckle as he felt the familiarity of this song and dance,
"So what is it this time? A mad scientist cutting me up or are you going to be bold and have a huge multi-character conflict that spans over several locations?"
Dark smiled with an amused expression at his host's lack of fear. He didn't mind of course as it meant he had to conceive new ideas to test himself. He replied with a hidden glee,
"It's a surprise..."
Mark's expression stiffened as Dark dragged out his words. Some fear grew in his mind but Mark recognised that smugness in Dark's face that had always lingered there when he had a sinister plan in place. Mark's vision turned back to the glass, he reached out his hand and knocked on the tough surface with his knuckles. It made a satisfying thud which wasn't surprising to Mark. Whilst gazing over the cluttered desks, Mark said,
"Trying something new?" He turned to face Dark "This is very detailed for you"
Dark shrugged and stood away from the wall. He sauntered forward a few steps and replied nonchalantly,
"Who said it was mine?"
Mark raised an eyebrow at Dark's response. His tone was suspicious but Mark couldn't distinguish if Dark was misleading him in some fashion or not. But he couldn't think about it further as Dark added with some light happiness,
"Well it would be fun to hang around with you Mark, but I'd like to go walkabout for a little bit. I'll be back later before things get too crazy"
Mark's mouth opened a little as Dark prepared to leave. But before he could question what Dark meant by 'too crazy' he saw the entity flare with ethereal red and blue shapes with some scattered glitches dancing around his form. Mark sighed briefly as this was nothing new to him but his slight annoyance died away when he realised that Dark hadn't left.
He tilted his head in confusion as the doppelganger seemed perplexed. Mark stepped forward and noticed the colourful flares die away with the glitches. He saw Dark gaze along the glass as though he was stuck in deep thought. But Mark wasn't given the chance to question what was wrong as Dark closed his eyes and balled his fists before trying again. He strained sharply as though he was forcing his body to obey his commands. The glitches and flares seemed more animated than before yet Dark still didn't vanish.
Mark watched as his copy gasped as his need for air outweighed his desperation to teleport. His eyes snapped open and his vision fell to his hands. Dark stared at them as his aura faded away once again. Mark paused as he saw a strange mix of light fear and confusion cross Dark's face. He stepped forward cautiously, just in case Dark was playing with him. With trepidation, he asked,
"Dark? You okay?"
The entity glitched, revealing another ghostly form of himself for a brief second. Mark recognised those symptoms and stepped back a little. Something was wrong with Dark and he didn't want to be on the receiving end of whatever cacophony of emotions thundered through his head. Though Mark recalled where he was and gulped at the prospect of being trapped in a glass box with an angry spectre.
He watched quietly as Dark looked up from his hands. He straightened his tie even though it hadn't moved and placed his hands on the glass. Mark heard him breathe deeply and saw his eyes close gently. A nervous tension filled the room as Mark debated whether it was a good idea to ask Dark what was wrong. He looked up to Dark's face as some more strained looks crossed it as though he was trying to break the glass with his mind.
Mark elected to ask him what was wrong. He stepped forward and asked softly,
The entity shushed him in response without opening his eyes. Mark took the hint and stepped back. Part of him was fascinated in watching Dark perform. He knew little of what he actually was, so to get these few moments to study him was a privilege in itself. But as time went on, Mark saw Dark's near calm expression harden into something frightful. More flared auras spiked from Dark as his teeth were revealed to grit against each other. His head bowed and his shoulders rose as his breathing sharpened.
Mark opened his mouth to try and calm Dark down but suddenly more ghostly versions of Dark exploded into reality before being sharply ripped away. Mark backed up and cowered a little as those transparent copies roared in anger whilst the original seemed to try to retain composure. A cold feeling fell down Mark's spine as he saw one of those copies grip Dark's throat for a split second. Questions flooded his mind as to what could exist within Dark that could summon those things.
But Mark was snapped out of these dreaded thoughts by Dark as he screamed angrily with more violent colours flashing across his form with more copies cracking around him. Mark felt a little sick at the sight but still couldn't take his eyes off his doppelganger. Dark quickly pushed himself from the glass wall. He balled a fist and punched the solid wall with tremendous force.
The entity stood hunched forward slightly with his head hung low and his shoulders rising and falling with his heavy breathing. Some discoloured glitches danced around Dark that seemed to bend reality in Mark's eyes. But that anger seethed within Dark as his fist fell from the untouched glass back to his side. Mark breathed fearfully as he watched Dark still. He didn't dare try to ask of his welfare again as old fear spread through his mind. Dark's eyes flashed midnight black for a few lingering seconds.
But Mark was confused by this display of rage. He couldn't understand why Dark was so easily defeated by four-inch glass. He decided that it wouldn't do any good just to leave him to fester in his own anger. Attempting to diffuse the situation, Mark said slowly,
"Dark...what's happening to you?"
The entity was quiet as his vision was locked on the glass. Such anger bombarded his system but he didn't want to lose control to it. Dark glanced to Mark and saw his concern. He didn't want to hurt him so he adjusted his suit with a twitch. Dark turned to face Mark and tried to keep his anger under control. Feeling as though it could be sparked so easily like a lit match by a pile of gunpowder. A deep sigh escaped Dark as he replied with an exasperated tone,
"Nothing Mark. I'm fine"
"You don't look fine!" Mark countered with a little more force than intended.
But he stuck by it as Dark seemed to take in his words without immediately snapping at him. He stepped forward cautiously and said warily,
"Of all the things I've seen piss you off, I didn't think some glass was one of them"
Dark scowled angrily as he didn't want to have to explain himself to Mark. It would take out so much of the mystery he had so elegantly cultivated. Still, he faced his counterpart and replied bluntly,
"Something is preventing me from using my power"
"What? How?!" Mark blurted out.
He had always assumed that Dark was this all-powerful entity that could do whatever, whenever. Now he seemed to be unable to use them in a simple glass box. Though before Mark could ask another question Dark stepped forward and shouted,
"I DON'T FUCKING KNOW MARK!!"
Mark gasped lightly as the doppelganger flickered violently causing a black, smoke like aura to surround his form. But a thought crossed Mark's mind as he considered his earlier theory on why he was here. He spoke with some slow fear,
"Wait...surely this is my dream. Why wouldn't you be able to use your abilities here? Don't you have full control?"
Dark tensed up and stepped back a little. His frightful anger faded and he looked away with an unreadable look. Mark's suspicion was immediately peaked as he studied the entities expression. It turned angry as he searched for memories leading up to this point. Mark balled his fists and asked firmly,
"Dark. Don't lie to me. Where the hell are we?"
The doppelganger kept avoiding Mark's eye contact as he folded his arms. He seemed to be lost in thought. Mark allowed him time to come up with a response. Though the longer Dark took, the less Mark was inclined to believe him. After many lingering moments of silence, Dark sighed and replied listlessly,
"I honestly don't know where we are Mark. But I do know that this is reality"
Mark snorted rudely and replied angrily,
"I said don't lie to me Dark!"
"I'm not lying Mark!" Dark shouted as he finally looked at his host.
The strained nature of Dark's tone did take Mark aback for a moment. But that hesitation was brief as he allowed his anger to build and his tone to become close to mocking mimicry.
"Bullshit, you don't know! You're the great Darkiplier who is always right with your 'expertly crafted' nightmares that I must suffer through! Give me a break will you and just answer my fucking question!"
Dark saw this spite within Mark and resented it. His expression darkened into a fearsome display of rage. He allowed those flickers and glitches to become uncontrollable around him as he stared daggers at Mark. Seething breaths barely escaped through his teeth as anger took over. Dark slowly advanced as he spoke with a low and grim tone,
"I don't care if you believe me or NOT Mark. I could easily make this reality into your own PERSONAL waking nightmare. All it would take is one trip down to your subconscious to see that little part of you that has buried everything you hate about yourself. I would MINE that place and use them as the backdrop for your pathetic nightmares. You think I have made you feel fear yet? Wait till I get down there and you will KNOW what real fear is Mark"
A tense and dead silence filled the air as the entity finished. Those multi-coloured auras lingered around Dark like ethereal hellish flames as his eyes blackened into tiny orb shaped voids. Mark felt his confident anger wilt in the face of this unnatural fury before him, though he didn't fully cower. Dark seemed enraged beyond belief but there was another emotion within that anger. Mark saw something flash within Dark which caused his mouth to fall open a little. Was Dark...scared?
Mark closed his mouth and steeled himself for another round of yelling. He began softly,
"Dark...are you sc-!"
Suddenly Dark interrupted with his hand extended as though he was disciplining a dog,
Mark scowled and added quickly,
"Dark let me sp-!"
"Someone's coming" Dark interrupted sharply.
Mark's eyes widened as he listened intently to the world around him. Although faint, he could just hear a few sets of footsteps come closer. A small gasp escaped him as he turned towards the door and stared at it intently. He strained his hearing to try and identify at least how many were coming. But the glass was too thick so the task proved difficult.
Though Mark didn't have to wait long as the door suddenly opened by a person wearing scruffy trousers and an old shirt. He stood aside and two generals strode in with another person wearing a lab coat in tow. Once they entered, the door was closed and they stood in silence, facing Mark. The latter simply looked at the figures with a bemused expression.
One general was a short man with soft hair and a large build. His face gave off a facade of toughness with some well-hidden pain behind his eyes. Whilst the other was a taller woman with ginger hair and sharp features. She stood rather lazily for a hardened general but had a powerful air surround her. The one in a lab coat stood tall and exuded confidence. Below his lab coat was an old band t-shirt and some expensive black trousers. He was smiling and seemed to be examining Mark who in turn felt uncomfortable under his gaze.
But his attention was taken from studying the strangers by the male general asking with no sense of care in his tone,
"How are you Mark?"
Mark tensed up and felt his heartbeat quicken. He began to turn his head to face Dark but the entity stood still and spoke firmly,
"Don't look at me Mark. Just focus on him and answer his question"
Mark paused and flicked his vision back to the general. He understood Dark's advice despite his anger towards him. A soft sigh left Mark as he replied,
"I'm fine. Pretty confused as to where I am and why I'm here"
"Don't worry it will be explained to you all in good time" The female general replied.
"Who were you talking to?" The lab assistant asked with a cruel smirk in his voice.
Mark froze. He opened his mouth but closed it as no words came forward. But Dark quickly spoke to him,
"They have cameras. Two specifically. No doubt they just watched you talk to thin air. Just tell them you were talking to yourself to alleviate boredom"
Even though Mark's earlier anger made him want to disobey Dark's commands, he didn't feel that trusting these people who seemed fine with keeping him contained against his will, was a better solution. Mark gently melted into a confident pose to provoke as little suspicion as possible. He looked up and replied nonchalantly,
"Just to myself. Gets pretty boring in here when I've got nothing else to do"
Dark smiled and added with some low happiness to his voice,
Mark felt a strange mix of emotions rush through him at that moment. He felt pride in that he was able to do something right but also a bit of disgust at the same time in pleasing Dark. But he couldn't dwell for long as the lab assistant added with a cocky bewilderment,
"Do you always have such lively conversations with yourself?"
Mark tensed up as he recalled all those times he yelled at Dark. But he couldn't counter that as the male general added,
"Do you always refer to yourself as 'Dark'?"
Mark's breath hitched and his eyes widened a little. He swore internally as he remembered how he talked to Dark directly. Mark scorned himself as he felt he should have checked this place more thoroughly. Some of Dark's anger emanated from behind which put Mark even more on edge. But he waited for advice on what to say as his own mind frantically searched for something as the longer he waited the worse it would look. Suddenly Mark blurted out,
"He's my imaginary friend!"
The whole room changed in the moments after Mark spoke. Outside the glass, a sense of light surprise surrounded them as they fully took in their subject's response. Whilst inside the glass, there was a very mixed mood. Mark was rather relieved that they didn't immediately laugh at his response. But he was still on edge as he waited for the ramification of his reply whilst he felt Dark's earlier light anger become much more overbearing. The entity said with a warning,
Mark almost replied to Dark but quickly closed his mouth and tried to relax his tense form. He wanted to make them believe what he said more than he did. But as he looked up the group seemed to believe him. The male general actually smiled and said, musing,
"An imaginary friend? I thought only children had those"
"Well some do carry them into adulthood. They're not all heartless like you" The female general said with an amused tone to her colleague.
The three chuckled between themselves which aided in Mark's attempts to relax. But he was still a little on edge due to the entity behind him glaring at him. Mark turned his head gently whilst the others were distracted and saw Dark's still anger. He saw that frustration in his expression but Mark turned away for fearing of giving away the lie. He felt as though he was under the angered gaze of a disappointed parent who had caught him cheating.
But the chuckling stopped and the female general said with a little leftover glee in her voice,
"Why don't we three play a game? Let's guess what Mark's imaginary friend looks like!"
"Sounds fun, I'm game" Replied the lab assistant with some teenage sounding tones.
The male general simply nodded in agreement. Mark tensed up further as he felt icy dread fall down his spine. Fear grew within his mind as the lie began to spiral. He felt Dark's anger dissipate a little and turn into something else. But Mark couldn't figure out what it was as he saw all their eyes land on him. He felt trapped in their cold gaze, unable to escape it in this translucent prison. For now, Mark just focused on breathing as he tried to remain relaxed and hopefully gain back that uncaring confidence.
His attention was taken by the woman who said somewhat to herself,
"Now if I know my child psychology...then it's likely that 'Dark' will have similar features to you"
She looked directly at Mark and gave a thin smile and dragged out her words,
"Soooo...does he have black hair?"
Mark gulped and froze in place. Part of him tried to brush that off as just plain luck as she just assumed that fact. But the other allowed more dread to build as he wondered what the others might 'guess'. Before Mark could even think of a reply, Dark spoke firmly,
"Don't answer her. Don't answer any more of their questions. We are not playing their game"
Mark kept his eyes on the group and stilled as Dark instructed. The woman pouted childishly and said with an exaggerated moan,
"Aww, it's no fun when you don't play the game!"
Mark steeled himself against her childish pleas. He then crossed his arms defiantly for added effect. The woman dropped the childish look and returned that thin smile to her face. Mark kept his nerve in its presence and waited for the opportunity for them to leave so he and Dark could try and make their escape. But the others didn't give up as the other general said with some overly dramatic tones,
"Well if he won't play then we can't hope to get it right!"
"Not true-" The lab assistant interjected "-we can always just say it and watch his face give all the answers we need. It's worked so far"
Mark did his best to hold his expression as the assistant spoke. His thoughts quickly scanned though previous events to see if he really was being that obvious. Nothing notable came to mind so Mark abandoned that endeavour and decided to chalk that up as another attempt to make him falter. He stared blankly at the group as the male general asked,
"Let me try that tactic! Mark, does Dark wear a red tie?"
Mark's jaw slackened allowing his mouth to fall open a little. He couldn't help but let his eyes widen and his still posture change. Disbelief flooded his mind as he tried to rationalise how they could have possibly guessed that. His thoughts were frantic as they searched his memories for any instance that he mentioned Dark's clothes. But none came up. Mark gulped as his steeled facade began to crumble. The general added,
"Specifically scarlet. Though that might be a light burgundy, I'm not fully sure"
The hairs on Mark's neck stood up. How the hell could they know this?! Panicked thoughts raced through his head that mainly featured him being stuck in this lab forever as a freakish experiment. Perspiration formed on Mark's forehead at those thoughts. But from behind Dark said with some amusement later in his voice,
"Don't panic Mark. You remember those videos I was in? Anyone could watch them. They're just messing with you"
Mark felt such relief wash through him. In his panic, he had completely forgotten those videos. They were just assuming that this 'Dark' was the same one. His dread melted away and he returned to his confident pose. Dark smiled a little at Mark's confidence, he looked over to the group and smirked. They weren't going to fool Mark that easily.
The group seemed to notice this quick change of states in Mark's body language. The woman picked up on it first and stepped closer to the glass and then said,
"Something you wish to say Mark?"
The latter remained still and didn't say a word. He simply stared blankly back at her. She gazed back at his expression and smiled in return. With a small shrug, she started to pace before the glass. Out of the corner of Mark's eye, he could see Dark step forward and pace alongside her though he didn't dare look his way. Mark could just see the entity stare at her with an amused grin on his face as he seemed to study her as much as she and the others were studying Mark.
The woman spoke as she paced with a sense of superiority,
"Well if you won't speak then we can at least finish our game. Along with that red tie Dark is wearing a fine grey suit-"
She paused as she paced in front of Mark. She looked into the glass prison and stared directly at the latter,
"-which he is prone to adjusting frequently-"
The woman stopped a little to Mark's left and added with a devious smile,
"-Isn't that right Dark?"
Her eyes then slowly shifted to the left and settled on Dark who stood adjacent. Mark gasped lightly as she listed his fidgety mannerism and his eyes widened. The groups eyes all motioned from Mark over to where Dark stood. Mark was stunned by this as he watched their attention creepily shift simultaneously from himself to the entity.
Mark wanted to look at Dark but he wondered if this was just another ploy. But from the corner of his eye, Mark could see they were looking straight at him, there was no way to think otherwise. His mind rushed to find an excuse for what they said but none came forward. He decided to continue with the lie as best he could. Mark put on a bemused expression and looked from the woman to the spot where Dark stood. In that moment, he saw that Dark's smug confidence had vanished to be replaced by a stunned look.
But Mark continued with his plan. He emphasised his movements as he looked back and forth between the woman and the spot. Then he moved forward and stood behind Dark, pretending he could see right through him. Mark said with a quizzical tone,
"Um, what are you looking at?"
He then stepped back to his original spot and said lightly with a comical wave,
"I'm over here!"
The woman scowled and turned her head towards Mark and said with exasperation,
"Yes Mark I see you. Please shut up while I talk to Dark"
"Talk to Dark?" Mark said with some more fake bemusement "But he's not real remember. They don't call them 'imaginary' friends for nothing!"
The male general scowled and said angrily,
"You can drop the act Fischbach, we can see Dark!"
Mark stilled and quickly allowed the fake confusion to drop. He glanced to Dark who now looked angrier than before. His fists were clenched and his eyes were narrow. Mark wanted to try and calm him down as the memories of the earlier and past outbursts came to mind. But part of him believed that he should just let Dark speak for himself. The questions that flooded his head would be answered soon enough he hoped.
Dark knew this had to be some sort of trick. No-one but Mark could see him unless it was for an important occasion like those silly videos. Up until a few minutes ago, he was just going to leave Mark be for a bit and then whisk him away before anything serious happened. But the strange glass had complicated things. Now he needed to get Mark out of this prison so he could tag along and then get them both out of here. But Dark could clearly guess that that wouldn't happen soon. He decided to bide his time and get as much information as possible.
He released his balled fists and put them in his pockets. One hand quickly exited to brush his hair back to then return to the pocket. Dark then decided to pace along the glass as the general had done before. His angered tone dropped to be replaced by a suave tone as he walked,
"Well then. You can see me. It's hardly a big deal as a few million have done so already-!"
"Problem with that is they think you're not real" The lab assistant interrupted.
Dark paused and turned his head slowly towards the assistant. He let his annoyance shine through for a moment as he glared at the nuisance. But he quickly dropped it and added,
"Indeed. But there is one thing you lot haven't thought of. Whatever dumb plan you have with him won't fly as I'm here. He's Mine"
Dark's words glitched and contorted on that last word which caused Mark to shudder slightly as he glanced at Dark. Cold thoughts danced through his head as he remembered what he was to Dark. An empty playground for all his demented ideas to be made manifest. He watched as Dark approached the glass and glared at the group, adding,
“Now…if you all wish for the next thirty seconds of your life to not be the most excruciating you’ll never hope to know, let us out. NOW”
Dark’s auras and glitches spiked scarily as he drove home his point, allowing his eyes to darken for added effect. They lingered for a few moments as Dark awaited them to cower and release him. But the lab assistant was covering his mouth as a hearty laugh was trying to escape and the woman simply shook her head whilst the other general just smirked.
Despite his efforts having the opposite effect, Dark pushed himself further and summoned a black aura around his slightly shuddering form. Power surged through him which was close to overloading. But he continued and shifted reality before their eyes to inject fear directly.
But the woman covered her eyes as though embarrassed and the assistant was unable to keep hold of his loud laughter which in turn allowed the general to giggle as well. Mark gazed at the less than fearful group and felt his own panic rise a little. Dark wasn’t used to being mocked in this way, certainly not when he’s giving his all like this. Mark slowly let his vision cross over to Dark who seemed angered and stunned that his performance was doing nothing.
His threatening theatrics died away and he demanded like a carnival monster who hadn’t gotten a scare,
“What is this? YOU SHOULD ALL BE COWERING IN FEAR!!”
The female general finally looked at Dark with a sigh of pity,
“Oh Dark…do you really think you’re the first entity we’ve come across?”
“Yeah!” The assistant began “We’ve seen the glitchy versions of yourself before dude. They’ve been done”
Dark let his anger burn brighter upon hearing such insolence from these idiots. He clenched his fists and readied himself to try again. Dark closed his eyes and summoned all his power forward so he could show them what he REALLY could do.
But before he could unleash his own brand of fear, Dark felt a hand on his shoulder. He stilled and opened his eyes. The group had finally stopped mocking him at least but Dark turned his attention from them and looked down at his shoulder. Then his eyes travelled up to see Mark’s worried expression.
The entity paused. His anger was still demanding he annihilate the cackling fools but a small part of him knew that Mark was just saving him from further humiliation. Dark stared at his counterpart who shook his head quietly. The latter turned away and sighed. He felt his anger dissipate along with his powerful auras.
He felt Mark squeeze his shoulder slightly which was a comfort but Dark let his annoyed defeat show on his face. He looked down, hoping they couldn’t see his disappointment. The group noticed this and the assistant said with a degrading tone,
“That’s the exact face greeny made when he gave up! Look, you can see the powerlessness in his eyes”
Dark’s head snapped up and he quickly stepped forward to then smash his fist against the glass as his rage flared. He stared daggers at the cocky assistant whilst barely registering Mark’s hand taking his arm. But the assistant didn’t bat an eye at Dark’s display of fury. If anything, this was more amusing than before.
Before letting either side provoke each other again, Mark called out,
“What do you want with us?!”
The male general was the only one to look at Mark. He replied whilst moving to stand before them both,
“What we want is simple. We want y-!”
“You’re not getting ANYTHING!” Dark yelled.
The general simply looked at Dark with a tired expression. He sighed and said with an exasperated tone,
“Can I finish?”
Dark opened his mouth to shout again but he was beaten by Mark who quickly said,
The entity turned his head and glared at Mark. He wanted to shove him away and put him asleep so he wouldn’t continue to be a nuisance. But instead he just shrugged off Mark’s arm and stood away to then face the wall. Dark felt his thoughts cloud as that tangible fury took over in his mind. He breathed deeply and waited for the general to explain.
“I was going to say that we want you to give up Dark”
“What?” Both human and entity said in simultaneous shock.
Dark turned around and quickly moved to Mark’s side. He held his anger at bay for now but part of him could guess what was coming. The woman clarified,
“We may as well be blunt with you Mark. We specialise in the unknown and Dark certainly falls within that category. Our purpose is knowledge and we seek to garner it in any way we can, about all things. We know of Dark and his kind. They thrive on fear and sorrow, primarily they gain this through manipulation. Am I correct in assuming Dark can control you in some fashion?”
Mark was stunned at what she was telling him. They knew all about what Dark was and if there was more of him. Mark had to wonder if anyone else was afflicted by an entity like Dark. Do these people send them back to where they came from? If so then…could he actually be rid of Dark completely?
A wave of realisation washed through Mark as he tried to imagine his life before Dark. To return to normal nightmares and not have this second life force dwell within his body. To never have to fear what lurked within that entities mind nor play his sadistic games. He could be free. A tear fell from Mark’s eye at the beautiful thought.
But Mark was snapped from his blissful thoughts by Dark turning to him and angrily saying,
“They’re lying Mark. They know nothing of what I am!”
Mark looked up at his doppelganger and saw the desperation in his expression for his statement to be believed. But Mark’s initial willingness to oblige faded as he remembered all those times Dark had overstepped the line by taking full control suddenly or trapping him within his nightmares for what felt like days.
He wiped away that small tear and replied quietly,
“Yes…he can. Dark can manipulate my dreams”
The assistant immediately turned to the desks and shuffled through the papers until he found a clean sheet of paper to write on. After grabbing a pen, he began to frantically scribble down all Mark had said. The woman hummed,
“Interesting. Has he graduated to controlling more than that?”
“He has taken full con-!”
“Mark stop. You don’t know what you’re doing!” Dark interrupted sharply.
Shuddering breaths escaped Mark as his earlier fear of Dark returned as he looked at his doppelganger. Part of him understood Dark’s worry but he needed to know what these people wanted. Meanwhile, the male general motioned over to the machine on the right and began to fiddle with the various switches and buttons. The other general commented firmly,
“We’ll get to you later Dark. Until then, be good and let Mark speak”
Dark glared at her and spoke through clenched teeth,
“You have NO IDEA who you’re toying with lady”
The woman smirked and replied with a shit eating tone,
“See that’s the thing Dark. We all know exactly what we’re dealing with”
The general finished fiddling with the various buttons. The moment he did, a loud opening was heard like that of a lens. Both prisoners looked up and saw the black opening. Mark peered closer as curiosity overtook his mind's urge to keep away.
Dark stilled himself as he allowed his suspicion to command his mind. His vision flicked from Mark to the woman as she smiled with no good in it. But their attention was drawn back up to the opening as it widened and a strange black object lowered through.
It was cylindrical in shape and had thin mesh covering one end like a mini speaker. It seemed to scan the room as it turned on a set axis until it settled on Dark. The latter tensed up as the object pointed at him, he prepared himself to move.
Mark turned his head cautiously from the strange object and said warily,
“What is tha-!”
But he was suddenly interrupted by a shrill cry of pain exploding from Dark. Mark immediately looked to the entity as he covered his ears tightly and bent his knees. He watched as the doppelganger tried to fully cry out repeatedly but was cut off by the pain that seemed to bombard his system. Mark felt his stomach turn as he watched a version of himself in such agony. But a small voice in his mind was pleased with the sight as it was just recompense for all that Dark had done to him.
Mark shook his head and banished that terrible thought from his mind and looked up at the source of the entities anguish and saw the black tubular object. It didn’t seem to be doing anything but Mark could easily assume it was causing Dark such pain. He saw Dark fall to his knees with a wobbling thud. The entity reached out a hand to steady himself but immediately forced it back over his ear as another pained cry escaped him. He arched his back forward and curled up to try and block out the noise.
To Mark there was no sound at all. But to Dark, it was as though someone had combined the sound of a knife dragging across a glass bottle with a fire alarm and turned it up past eleven. It was truly painful beyond words and Dark couldn’t stand hearing it. But he couldn’t bear the damage to his pride by asking these degenerate scientists for mercy. Dark closed his eyes and tried to fight through it, hoping they would give up soon. Though even he couldn’t help but let his yelps of pain escape.
But the sound burrowed into his mind and weakened his form which caused Dark to fall to his knees. He regretted trying to catch himself as it felt as though more of the sound could invade his mind like rats to gnaw on his mind. This was becoming too much. Dark felt those rats turn into wasps to buzz and sting his mind as that splitting sound continued to grow worse.
He shakily looked up and saw Mark stare down at him. Dark gasped lightly as he saw Mark do nothing. But the sound pierced his ears more violently which forced Dark to close his eyes and look down. Pain scorched through his head terribly. Dark froze as he felt something warm touch his hands from within his ears. It slowly escaped through his finger-tips. Dark started to feel lightheaded. He opened his eyes and watched as his vision fell in and out of focus. Dark swallowed the rising bile and looked up at Mark. He hated himself but he knew that being forced unconscious would leave Mark open to their manipulation. Dark struggled to make his words audible, but he managed to beg,
Mark froze as he heard Dark beg painfully. That small part of him that enjoyed Dark’s agony died away as his humanity shone through. Mark didn’t hate Dark enough for him to be tortured like this. He knelt by the entities side and tried to rub his back to offer any comfort before looking up to the woman and pleading,
“Please stop this!”
The woman looked down on the pathetic display before her. Despite seeing it many times, it never gets old. She crouched down and gazed at Dark as he writhed. An evil smile crossed her face as he looked up at her. She leaned forward a little and said cruelly,
“It’s always fun to see the reactions of the puppet master when his own strings are pulled”
She lingered and let her words sink in. Dark bowed his head and grit his teeth harder than before. After a few moments, she stood and nodded to the other general who flicked a few switches and deactivated the device. It promptly retracted back into the ceiling.
After the device finally ceased, Dark fell back as he felt completely drained. A loud ringing echoed through his head as it tried to adjust to the shrill noises' absence. Dark’s slow and tired breaths gently left him as he stared weakly up at the ceiling. He felt his consciousness be dragged from his grasp as his vision struggled to stay in focus. Dark fought to stay awake as he heard Mark call to him.
Mark couldn’t stop Dark from falling to the floor in a tired heap. He gasped and gently shuffled to his side and looked into the entities eyes. Mark’s worry peaked as they looked glassy. Then he saw the bit of blood slowly dribble from Dark’s ear. He knew this was bad and tried to get Dark’s attention,
“Dark. Dark! Can you hear me?”
Mark stared nervously as Dark seemed to lose consciousness. He shook him gently and spoke softly,
“Come on Dark…stay awake”
A small sigh of relief fell from Mark as he saw Dark stabilize. His vision rolled up to the group who watched on with a mixture of cold analysis and glee. Mark’s expression hardened as he saw the sadistic joy they gleaned from watching Dark’s agony. He shouted,
“Do you guys think torturing him is funny?!”
“Why do you defend him is the better question Mark!” The woman began firmly “You need to see Dark for what he is. A parasite. Feeding off your misery until it grows fat and bored to then leave you a shrivelled scared shell of a man. That is what he and his kind do to humanity Mark. Dark has done that to many others before you, and will continue to do so, long after you’re dead. Tell me now if you will defend the wretched creature that delights in torturing you for fun whilst we simply offer it a taste of the source of its delight”
Mark gulped as he processed her words. He couldn’t help but let his thoughts wander back to when Dark first appeared to him. It was just another night after making videos and then without a word of explanation Dark just began messing with his already frequent nightmares. Mark was just beginning to think it was due to lack of sleep.
But it got worse when Dark spoke to him. Just little whispers at first but soon enough it turned into a full manifestation. Mark just brushed if off as too many horror games syndrome and the influx of fan art. But then he saw Dark standing before him one morning. He was close to jumping out of his skin and calling the police all at once. But he heard Amy come in and panicked at the thought of her seeing this demonic weirdo that looked just like him.
Though she couldn’t see him. Nobody but Mark could. This made the poor American believe he was losing his mind. Despair was close to settling in as Dark continued his sadistic manipulation of his mind. But one day, Dark finally spoke directly to him and explained that he could offer his services in return for a free ticket to play with his nightmares.
Of course, Mark refused out right initially as he still wasn’t completely sure the entity was real. But Dark was able to make a deal. He wouldn’t touch certain memories within Mark’s head nor try to possess him fully under any circumstances. Mark couldn’t believe he was considering this but it was made clear that Dark’s deal was the best option as the alternative meant he could use anything to haunt him. Mark couldn’t bear to go through those terrible moments again. He took the deal with great reluctance.
Things were better after that, Mark had to admit. Dark was still present but would at least leave him alone on occasions to hunt for new and terrifying ideas. Though as Mark looked down at the struggling entity, his mind only focused on those vile moments of doubt in his own sanity and when Dark’s fear mongering brought him to tears the morning after.
Mark wasn’t sure if he could tolerate Dark dancing through his mind like this any longer. The part of him that hated to see another being suffer was quieter in his mind as those memories were replayed in such detail. Different parts of his mind fought for control and Mark was sick of listening to them. He looked up and asked with a quivering firm tone,
“What the-the hell-l do you want with us-s?”
The female general saw Mark’s distress and spoke informatively with no hint of humour or sarcasm laced within her voice,
“All we want is Dark. Allow us to take him out of you to further our research. After that you are free to go”
Mark looked down at Dark who was weakly trying to sit up. He stood up and moved away. Although he did feel a slight twang of pity, Mark ignored it. He looked back at the group and said,
“That’s it?” Mark asked.
The general nodded. Mark felt a strange mix of feelings tear through him. Elation at the prospect of being rid of Dark but an odd sense of responsibility dwelled within him as well. He looked down at Dark as he just managed to lazily sit up and then lean forward heavily.
Dark struggled to sit up since Mark had begun talking to them. He would not allow them to take Mark from him. But that vile sound had made him so weak that he could barely summon the energy to speak.
But through the intense ringing tumbling around his head, Dark heard Mark’s voice and that devious woman’s. He forced himself up but flopped forward without the energy to stop himself. Dark brought jelly limbs to his lap and stared at the droplets of blood staining his hands. He heard his breathing echo through his head as he tried to speak breathlessly,
Mark felt that pang of pity change into a smug superiority as he saw the one being he feared most laid bare in the most pathetic way he could have imagined. Though a small part of him still couldn’t say yes to the group as pity still shone through which prompted him to ask,
“What will you do with him?”
He looked up at the woman. She smiled and put on a pleasing tone like that of an estate agent trying to sell a bad home,
“I assure you we won’t punish him like that unless absolutely necessary. Dark will be given all he needs to flex his powers but in a controlled environment. He will be well looked after during our studies. It’s better that he be with us rather than hurting you again”
Mark opened his mouth to reply but he was interrupted by a choked gasp tumbling from Dark who quivered as he raised his head. He looked up at Mark and forced himself to speak,
But the entity couldn’t finish as he winced sharply and raised a hand to his head for support. Dark looked up at Mark and hoped he could convey his pleas without words. Mark saw this vibrant emotion across Dark’s features. But he couldn’t tell if it was real or not. After all Dark was an excellent actor.
Mark sighed gently and looked away from Dark. His mind was racing with questions and furious words on how and why this had to happen. He had wanted rid of Dark for as long as he had shown himself. But Mark didn’t know if he could commit Dark to a life of a freakish experiment in a dolled-up cage.
Suddenly the woman’s voice pierced through the cacophony of thoughts,
“We need a decision now Mark. What do you want to do?”
Mark rubbed his arms and backed up as his already frantic mind went overboard desperately trying to weigh the pros and cons of each choice. His vision flicked down to Dark who was barely getting to his feet and leaning heavily against the glass to then rush back to the awaiting group of strangers.
He closed his eyes and forced himself to make a decision.
What should Mark choose?
A) Give Dark up
B) Refuse their offer
Comment your choice and I'll write that ending! It's a choose your own adventure, oh boy! ;D