nine rabbits

This is the product of staring at a screen for seven hours and trying digital art for the first time. It started as a tattoo design, and veered off course. Until I figure out what’s going to go in the blank space that is currently occupied by “ZENITH,” here’s a snapshot of the work in progress. 

Staring at a reference for hours really teaches you things– I hadn’t known that the album cover features a dragonfly and a lotus flower in its printed embroidery. 

10

panic! at the disco + music videos

today 9 years ago this amazing album was released. thank you mainly Ryan Ross for existing.

Down the Rabbit Hole (pt. 9)

Previous and Next

Google sees it as it happens, the moment Dark’s sword pierces Oliver’s chest, his entire body glitches, and he ends up on his hands and knees watching the light flicker out of the Yellow Google’s eyes. He’s up in an instant, though, running for him, and Green and Red are there before he is. Red pulls Oliver to his chest and cradles his head, but he’s already gone.

Green glares up at Dark, his eyes glowing brighter than ever before with anger and sorrow, and Oliver’s not here to help him manage it. “You! Y-y-you kill-illed h-him!”

Dark pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and cleans the oil off of his sword without the slightest regard for the other three Googles. “He helped the prisoners to escape. What else would you expect me to do?”

Red swallows down the acid rising in his throat and shakes his head. It can’t be true, not little Ollie, not the sweetest and softest of them. Blue puts a hand on Red’s shoulder, and he passes Oliver to Blue before turning and throwing all his weight at Dark. But the King is ready, and when Google Red rises, the tip of Dark’s blade does as well, piercing the android’s synthetic skin but no farther. Red stops as fear flickers through him, and he grits his teeth at Dark.

The King smiles and tilts his head to the side. “Down, boy. Don’t forget your place just because your idiot brother forgot his.” He glances down at Google and wrinkles his nose. “Dispose of the body and get back to the wood. I want all of my men searching for the escaped prisoners. No one rests until I have their heads on stakes outside the palace.” With that, he lowers his sword and stalks off, leaving the Googles huddled around their lost brother.

 

Amy and the Host escape into the woods where at least there’s cover from Dark’s men, but soon the shadows set in. “I can’t see anything!” Amy growls in frustration.

“Neither can the Host,” he says with a dry laugh, and Amy wants to reach back and punch him in the shoulder. But she’s not even sure where his shoulder is at this point. “If the Host is right, the White Castle isn’t much farther north from here.”

They press on with their hands out in front of them to guide them through the giant tree-like flowers. Until up ahead, Amy sees something white and glowing, the crescent of a smile shining in the darkness. “Bim!” she shouts.

The young man appears before her, and there’s just enough light for her to see his eyes. “Hello, again, milady!” He loops his arm through hers and then reaches for the Host. “Let’s get you two out of here!”

They disappear and emerge from the wood to a little clearing of overgrown, dead grass and scraggly trees that look stunted and sick. Host hugs Bim quick and tight before pulling back again, a wide smile on his face. “You made it!”

Bim winks at Amy and pats Host on the shoulder. “Yeah, it takes a lot more than head-chopping to kill little ole’ me. They never even touched me!”

Host tugs on Bim’s coat. “But what about Wilford?”

“What about me?” Wilford and Choco appear from the wood a few feet away and run over to them. Warfstache scoops Host into a hug. “I’m alright, ya old bat! You ought to know better than to worry about me!”

Host shouts in protest when Wilford hugs him, but Amy can tell he’s overjoyed to have his friends back at his side. She watches their little reunion with a pang of sadness stabbing at her heart. She misses her own friends and family, somewhere far away where she can’t get to them, and for a moment, Amy wonders if she’ll ever get back to them.

Bim sees the look in her eyes and gives her a smile. “Don’t worry, Amy. We’ll get you back soon.” He gestures to their right. “Your destiny awaits you.”

There, across the dying valley, sitting atop a gentle knoll is a castle, tainted by time and in obvious disrepair but still shining in the sunlight. “The White Castle,” Wilford announces, walking up to stand beside her. “If there’s a way to stop the Red King and get you home. It’s in there.”

“But nobody has been there in years,” the Host whispers. “We don’t know what’s left of it.”

They all turn to Amy, awaiting her move. Amy takes a deep breath and feels Choco bump her from behind. She laughs a little and shakes her head. “Alright, boys. Let’s see what’s in that castle.”

White Rabbit - Nine

Reid had taken part in a similar conversation the previous night after Agent Hotchner had left. Alice had taken herself off for a bath, but not before making Spencer promise that he would retrieve his gun from his bag and wear it.

Ellen Manchester had looked horrified at the thought having a gun in the house, she obviously hadn’t clocked Aaron’s. Alice had laughed at her sister’s expression.

“All these years I wanted one and you wouldn’t let me. Now, you don’t got a choice but to have one in the house.”

“I just didn’t think that anything could be that bad that you’d need one. You wouldn’t tell me why you wanted one so badly.”

Alice sighed and shook her head, tired of this conversation already. She’d had the argument a gazillion times. She wanted a gun for protection but she couldn’t tell them why she needed protection. But the FBI Agent had one, so now her sister had no choice. She could tell that Ellen was still disbelieving that she could be involved in something so bad that the FBI had now taken an interest. Alice could barely believe it herself. Those four and a half years seemed like a dream, a nightmare. A nightmare she’d woken up from but could feel it creeping into her day to day life. She’d left the other three adults to it and had gone for a bath, staying in the main house rather than going back to her own apartment.

Part of her knew her worries about THEM finding her were for nothing. If they’d really wanted to, she was sure they could have done it by now. But…. But maybe they were waiting for the right moment. He had told her over and over again that she was the chosen one , the special one. She was going to lead when he could no longer. He’d seen something in her, a spark that he recognised, he wanted to nurture her and show her the way.

She shuddered in the tub, shaking the images from her head and sinking down under the water.

“So what you’re saying is that my sister in law was part of some kind of doomsday cult?” Robert said to Spencer.

Spencer sipped his coffee which he’d finally been given. “We’re not sure. And I’m not sure we’d use the term Doomsday either.”

He’d been unsure how much to reveal to Robert and Ellen, as soon as Alice had left the room they’d started to ask questions. When it came down to it, he didn’t want to press his own speculations onto them. Whatever story it was, it was Alice’s to tell. He’d simply given them the same information about Lewis and Marnie Goldstein that would be available online in the public domain. Enough newspaper articles had been written about their disappearance, Marnie’s parents had made sure of that. Even though she was the elder of the pair and both were no longer minors, her parents had insisted that there was something suspicious about their disappearance, rueing the day that they ever let Lewis into their home and blaming him for leading their daughter astray.

“What term would you use then? From what I’m piecing together here, Alice seems to have been part of a cult, led by a leader that claims to be from the future and is predicting an apocalypse of sorts. Oh, and they appear to be been killing off their members. My baby sister, part of a cult!” Ellen had summed everything up quite aptly and was pacing the kitchen.

“Stop talking about me please,“ Alice appeared at the kitchen door, wrapped only in a towel, her hair dripping wet.

“Ally, we’re talking about the situation,” Robert said soothingly.

“And the situation involves me. So stop, please. I’ll tell the Agents everything tomorrow so I’m sure you’ll both have your curiosity sated then. I’m going back to my apartment. Dr Reid, I have a pull out couch in my room. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if the man with gun was sleeping in there.”

“Alright. There’s a car picking us up at eight am.” Spencer stood and followed Alice through a door to the side of the back entrance. It led to a ulitility area with a staircase leading up from it and another exit. He averted his eyes as he followed her up the stairs, wishing she was wearing something other than a towel.

When she got to another door at the top of the stairs, she pushed it open. Reid could see that it had an outer lock on it which hadn’t been shut. She led him into a open plan apartment, a kitchenette across one side with what he assumed was a bathroom leading off from it. There was a living area, with a large couch and TV as well as a desktop computer, scanner and printer, and a laptop bag. Two huge strategically placed bookcases separated a large bed from the rest of the room and Spencer watched as his companion walked between the cases and dropped her towel as if he wasn’t even there. Spencer spun around, facing the other way and waited until he heard her voice again before turning.

When her looked at her again she was dressed in an oversized t-shirt.

“Sorry. I’m not used to having company,” was all she said to him before walking over to a closet and pulling out some blankets and a pillow.

“The couch pulls out into a bed. Can I see your gun please?”

Spencer took it out and held it out to her. She eyed it carefully.

“Smith and Wesson Model 65?” she asked him and he nodded in surprise.

“That’s not an FBI approved gun.”

“I have a waiver for it. I find it easier to operate than others.”

“But you CAN operate others right?”

He nodded and allowed her to take his gun out of his hands, watching her handle it.

“I prefer Desert Eagles or Glocks.”

“Alice, you know guns?”

She checked the chambers making sure it was loaded and handed it back to him.

“I know guns. I know how to fire them, how to assemble them and how to clean them. We were taught how to defend ourselves at the compound.”

“Defend yourselves from what?”

“Everything and anything else.”

“Alice, what hap…..”

“I’m going to sleep now Dr Reid. I’m tired. Feel free to use my shower or to watch TV. Make yourself at home. I have a feeling you’ll be assigned to me until you’ve got the information that you need.”

So did he.

When he awoke the next day Alice was fully dressed and sitting on the floor by her bed, sorting items out from a box. There were Polaroids, which she had piled up along with a small box. When she felt his eyes on her, she glanced up.

“Sleep well Dr Reid?” she asked, much calmer than he’d heard her so far. It was then that he realised that his gun as no longer its holster and was by her bed.

“Please, call me Spencer. I keep telling you that. How did you sleep?” his eyes flickered to the weapon, wondering at what point she’d taken it.

“Better than I have in a while. Knowing that there’s an armed federal agent in my room definitely helped.”

“I’m not sure what good I’d have been though if anything did happen, considering my weapon is all the way over there.”

She gave him a very childish grin. “Sorry. You can have it back.” She slid it across the wooden floor to him.

Spencer tossed the blankets back and pulled on his courdroys which he’d discarded last night to sleep before padding across to her, picking up his gun as he went.

“What are you looking at, Alice?” He settled onto the floor across from her, crossing his long legs under him.

“You can call me Ally, you know. Ellen and Rob always do.” She handed him some Polaroids and he leafed through them.

“Which do you prefer?”

She shrugged and slid the small box over to him as well.

“Alright, I’ll call you Ally if you start calling me Spencer rather than Dr Reid.”

He opened up the small box, seeing that it contained leather bracelets. The same ones he’d seen in the photo she’d given him before.

“You all wore these?”

She nodded. “The tattoos are too low down our necks to be easily seen. We wore these on our wrists so we could easily spot our family…. I mean, the other members.”

“Children wore only one though.” Spencer remember the original photo and continued to sort through the other photos, seeing pictures of happy looking people going about their day to day life. From what he could tell in the images, the compound looked self sufficient. There. were shots of people tending to chickens, grooming horses, photos of what appeared to be a school lesson in progress.

“Yes. The children wore only one until they came of age and were matched.”

“Matched?”

She looked at him, focusing her eyes on his.

“Yes. Matched. See Meg here?” she tapped a face on a photo. “Meg was nineteen before they decided on a suitable match for her, one she was happy with. A band on your right arm signified you were underage and therefore off limits. When you turned 16, it was moved to the left arm to show that you had come of age. When you were matched, you wore a band on both arms.”

Spencer assumed that being ‘matched’ was their version of being wed.

“Was everyone matched then?”

“Not everyone. There were a few people who chose to remain loners, and a lot of the younger people didn’t want to be matched straight away. They wanted to have fun. They didn’t force you into a match if you didn’t want to be. That was the good thing.”

Spencer recalled the photo of Alice, bands on both arms.

“Ally, how old were you when you were matched?”

“The ceremony took place on my 17th birthday.” She locked eyes with him again.

“Who were you matched to?” He knew the answer to the question before he’d even asked it.

“Lewis.”

6

panic! at the disco + pretty. odd.