Only those who are pure of heart can touch a unicorn, right?
Forgot to post these, too: silly additional sketches from yesterday’s stream! It was so much fun streaming with @shinyzango and @spudinacup – thank you to both of them and to everyone who hung out wth us for that time! :D
cyber-flow’s dream piece made me really want to explore Henry and Bendy’s states of mind a bit. I thought since you’re already inundated with stuff, I might as well add to the pile.
“WAIT!” Henry held up his hand, stopping and bending over, hands on his knees, heaving gasps of air. He hurt all over, even being a toon didn’t stop an old injury or two from flaring up a little.
Bendy skidded to a stop, face locked in an unfriendly glare. He lowered his axe a little. “What?!”
“Five… minutes,” Henry got out between gulps of air, “just give me five minutes for Pete’s sake.”
Bendy was about to deny him on reflex, but when he actually looked at the old man, the “old” really showed. Henry was old. So he put the axe head down and leaned against the handle, rolling up a sleeve that he only sometimes had and checking a watch that would only exist until time was up. “Fine. Five minutes.”
Henry didn’t thank him. He just leaned back slowly against a wall, and breathed.
They stayed there like that for a moment, awkwardly silent, each trying to acknowledge the other’s presence without directly stating it. One would cast a glance to the other for a moment, accidentally catch their eye, and then quickly look away. In the end, it was Henry that broke the silence.
“So what was it like?”
He didn’t have to say what “it” was.
In response, Bendy] sat down against the opposite wall. He leaned the axe next to him and brought his knees in. “You ever have nothin’ happen to you for twenty-odd years?” He asked. “You ever sit in one place and collect dust while the world forgets about you?” The toon dropped his gaze to the floor. “First you start feeling like you don’t matter anymore. Then, after a while, you start wonderin’ if you ever really did. If any of the people who made you, the guys who got you famous, who you owe everything, ever actually cared.” He kicked the floor, “At first you think, ‘they gotta, right? Why do it at all if they don’t?’ and sure that works for the first few years, but ya keep markin’ tallies on days, it doesn’t any more. Then you start wondering what they did see in you. Maybe you were always just a meal ticket.”
Henry opened his mouth to speak, but Bendy silenced him with a look. The devil clearly wasn’t finished.
“And ya fight it. Ya fight it every step of the way. You tell yourself over and over again that there’s a good reason. That they didn’t just drop you because they got bored. That they really loved ya. But no one who knows is around to say that. Not you, not Joey, not Sammy…” his head dropped again. “Nobody.”
He stood up again. “So you start getting angry. You start asking yourself what you did. Why did you deserve to get thrown away like this? And that’s a road with one ending. Sure you’ll branch off for a while, maybe make up a mistake here or there to make it all fit. But once you start you got one destination: right back where you freakin’ started. It wasn’t you. You didn’t make a mistake. So why? Why did everyone decide to just leave?”
He grabbed the axe. “And then, one day, you get an answer. Someone comes back. The man who started it all, Joey Drew himself. And he tells you the one thing that you never wanted to hear.”
“That we didn’t care,” Henry wasn’t surprised. Joey was always passionate about the job, sometimes to an unhealthy degree.
“BINGO!” Bendy roared, making Henry jump. “And now that you finally faced the truth, that your creators, your parents, are nothing but a bunch of dead beat scumbags, you start burning up. You start getting madder than you ever thought possible. Those has-beens decided to up and leave after they got theirs and all still got to come out the winner. And you’re left in a run-down studio with nothing!” He buried the axe blade in the wall to punctuate the sentence. With that done, he turned back to Henry, looking him dead in the eye as he sat back down.
“That’s what it was like.”
Once more, they sat in silence for a while.
Bendy was the one to break it this time. “Your turn.”
“Huh?” Henry raised an eyebrow at the toon.
“I just spilled my guts about the worst thing that ever happened to me. Now it’s your turn.”
Henry’s vision unfocused as he thought about what to say. A few faces came to mind. “I know people who are collecting dust right now.” His eyes cleared, seeing Bendy’s quizzical expression.
“They called it ‘battle fatigue’. It’s what happens to you after you get back. The smallest things can set it off. Someone drops something, it makes a loud bang, and suddenly I’m taking heavy fire, trying to stop another guy from bleeding to death while bombshells are going off all around us.” He stretched out one leg and massaged it a little, “I’ll see someone walking around on crutches because they’re missing a leg, and I’ll think of all the times that was almost me.” He stopped. “Then there’s the nightmares. Those aren’t ever going away. Even if they cure me completely while I’m awake, I’ll always dream of tanks, gunpowder, and blood. I’ll see faces staring at me, nothing in their eyes, mouths slightly agape. Then I’ll wake up in a cold sweat and never get back to sleep.”
Henry stood up now, pacing slowly. “I don’t have the worst. I only go back every once in a while. Most of the time I’m alright. But I know a few guys…” he stopped, feeling the lump in his throat. In a vain attempt to keep Bendy from seeing, he lowered his head. “They’re in padded cells, collecting dust while the world forgets about them. The ones that only have a few moments of clarity before they’re back in the fight, praying to whoever’s listening that they’ll live. They barely come out because if they lose it when there’s people around, they might kill someone.” Tears blurred his sight, turning Bendy into an amorphous black shape. “And you want to know the rub?”
Bendy was almost afraid to ask. “What’s the rub?”
“Those guys are the lucky ones.” A humorless laugh forced its way through Henry’s lips. “They came back,” his voice finally cracked, and Henry was left astonished at his own voice. Vivid images of friends screaming behind steel doors, struggling in a straight jacket, or lying motionless on the battlefield flooded his mind. He could hear the echoes of far off explosions, still too close to feel safe. Desperate orders were shouted from all sides, telling them to pull back, to push forward, to find cover. His feet were cold and wet, his back and shoulders ached from the heavy gear. His front was covered in dirt from lying down to avoid fire. Soil kicked up all around him as bullets hailed down. Someone shouted ‘grenade’, the sound of it was cut off by ringing in his ears. It took him a second to feel the throbbing in his leg. It wouldn’t move. Every moment, evert bullet, every bomb, it all came back so easily. Someone called his name. He couldn’t answer. He didn’t have the energy to move. They called it again. And again. Henry. Henry…
“HENRY!” Bendy slapped the man as hard as he could, bringing him back to the present.
For a second Henry could only stare, wide-eyed, mouth open, at the little imp. Henry noticed his pupils had gone off model again, and he had tears at the corners of his eyes.
“You had me scared half to death, ya crazy jerk!” The toon yelled at him. “You were just sittin’ there, starin’ through me like I was a sketch! You wouldn’t answer me, you wouldn’t blink, you just started cryin’! I thought you’d lost it!” Seeing Henry comprehending his words again, Bendy’s legs turned to jelly with relief and he slumped down next to his former animator.
“Sorry.” Henry didn’t know what else to say.
“Is uh, is it always like that?”
The man shook his head slowly, eyes half-closed. “Depends on what triggers it.”
The toon had nothing. No witty commentary, no pranks, gags, jokes, nothing. There was nothing funny about what he’d just seen on Henry’s face. For the third time, they sat silently. It was Henry’s turn to break it, he did so with a snore.
Without much ceremony, Bendy stood up. He checked his watch: ten minutes. "The mood’s gone anyway.“
The axe came out of the wall with one tug. Henry cast one last glance to the disheveled man and walked away.
“We both came out the loser, didn’t we, Henry?”
AW JEEZ. If only this would happen, if only they’d just sit down and talk to each other! I could see things ending a lot better and sooner for the whole studio if only something like this would happen!!
// Happy summer everyone!! Make sure to stay hydrated, use lots of sunscreen and to have fun!! Enjoy your time to relax and make lots of wonderful memories~. Have individual pics of them to choose your waifu/husbando, lmao.