(a quick story on what happened after Dark walked away from the mirror…)
“Damien! Damien, it’s time to come out now! This game isn’t going on anymore!”
The Colonel had been wandering aimlessly through the whole manor twice now, this time peeking underneath chairs and around doors. The excitement of this little game of hide and seek was still buzzing inside him, even after three hours, and he was looking forward to finding his friends, seeing their faces of mocked disappointment and then laughter. Just like their school days. He was starting to appreciate Mark’s little get together. Strange how quiet the house seemed now though. Oh so quiet. Except for a light ringing in his ears that seemed to follow him. “Come on! Where are you hiding?”
“I’m here, William.” said a familiar voice.
The Colonel spun around fast to the voice and saw Damien standing in the doorway, loosely holding his cane in his hand. A smile instantly rose under William’s moustache, but it faded slightly as he observed Damien more carefully. Something was off. He looked untidy, which was unnatural for Damien; his usual flatly press shirt was now unbuttoned and open at the collar, and his pristine white bowtie was missing. His hair was no longer slipped back but dangling loosely over the side of his face, nearly covering his eye. And… was that eyeliner? A bruised black eye? Either way it brought out that rather intimidating stare he was giving him.
William laughed and clapped his hands as he slowly approached him. “Damien! Very well done. You really got me! For a while there I actually thought you were dead!” As he got to Damien, he reached out and held his arm, just to confirm he was really there. “My goodness, you look awful! Did a dog attack you or something?”
Damien glanced down at William’s hand. He knew by the straining ligaments in the his hand and the sharp creases of his blazer sleeve between William’s fingers that it was a tight and desperate grip… but he couldn’t feel it. One side of his mind reasoned that, well, obviously we wouldn’t be able to feel anything, being a corpse now. The other side of his mind just wanted to cry. Damien rested his cold hand on William’s and sighed. “… I had a small accident, yes.” He told him, stiffly tilting his neck to one side for a second.
The Colonel chuckled, “Well, it doesn’t matter now. I found you!” Scanning Damien’s body, he saw the cane and was reminded. “-Oh, also, you left these behind.” He pulled out of his pockets Damien’s black Mayor badge and his white bowtie, and passed them to Damien. “Wouldn’t want to go back to the office without them, would ya?” he chuckled again, his voice breaking, almost making his laughing seem like sobbing. “Now, where is Celine?” He let go of his friend and began to wander out of the room again, stumbling over his feet like a toddler. “Celine! Darling, where are you hiding?”
As William turned a corner, Damien stepped out of the doorway ahead of him. For a moment, the Colonel wondered how he got there so quick. “Celine is gone, Colonel.” Damien assured him. This was a lie. She was, in some ways, standing right in front of him.
William frowned a little in confusion. “…Gone? She left already? I didn’t see her go.” There was pause for thought. Damien’s mind was racing. Tell him the truth. No, that will make him madder than he already is. But it’s cruel, he’s our friend. He still thinks I’m Damien, I think that’s enough to keep him satisfied for now. But what about me? …
Just as Damien was about to answer, William started to laugh. “She probably ran away! Yes. Couldn’t stand the failure of me finding her. She was never that good at hide and seek, even when we were young. You remember, our old games of hide and seek?”
Damien nodded. His mind gave a sigh, one of relief, one of frustration.
“Ah. Good times.” The Colonel began to pass Damien until he was stopped by Damien’s cane. In the distance was the sound of approaching police sirens.
Damien looked at him sternly. “Listen, Colonel. We have to go now.”
“Why? Go where?”
“Away from this house.” He began to head to a nearby door. “The police will be coming soon.”
William followed him, still perplexed. “Why? What’s happened?”
“Mark is dead.”
William stopped instantly. Damien hung back and cautiously watched as fear casted over William’s face. He stuttered, “… But he isn’t. I… I didn’t kill him. It was a joke, right?”
“Yes, it was a joke.” Damien insisted as he returned to William’s side and hooked his arm through his. He tugged William with him as he strode towards the door and said, “More sinister than a joke. It was a set up. Mark was angry at you and Celine so he set you up so you would get arrested.”
Letting Damien pull him towards the door, William pressed, “But he’s not dead. They can’t arrest me, I didn’t kill him. I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Yes, you didn’t. But that doesn’t matter to the police. They don’t care if the suspect is the real criminal or falsely accused; they just want to capture a bad guy, put him away, and get a promotion for it.” They reached the door, where Damien swung the Colonel in front of him so he could look him in the eye and tell him firmly, “Never trust the police, Colonel. Never.”
William nodded lightly, a little scared at how cold his friend’s gaze has gotten. “…Ok, I won’t in future.”
“Come on, then.” Damien open the door and walked outside.
William paused as he remembered. “Wait… what about Bully? They’re still in there.”
“They don’t matter now.” Damien called back as he continued to walk away and up the path that lead up to the mountain side. “Nothing does.”
William spotted that Damien left his cane leaning against the wall next to the door. Why would he leave it? He picked it up and ran after Damien, just as the police sirens stopped and car doors started to open and close.
The police wouldn’t have been able to stop them if they had saw them. Within the blink of an eye, Damien and William would have jumped an extra mile ahead of where they would have previously been seen. But still the hike was slow for them. Damien’s mind rushed with regrets of picking a body with a broken leg as well as a broken neck. Best to just teleport to places in future.
Suddenly William jumped to his side and put the cane back in Damien’s hand. “You seem to be hobbling there, old boy. Use your cane, for goodness sakes. You need it now more than ever before!” William chuckled.
Damien didn’t smile. He let the cane fall from his fingers. “It’s not mine anymore.” He walked on.
William picked the cane back up and tried to catch up to him. “But you’re the Mayor. This is yours. It was given to you by-”
“Not anymore!” Damien yelled, staring at William with the look of a snarling wolf. On seeing William retreat with a startled gaze, Damien looked away and sighed, trying to calm down. Rolling his shoulders, he growled, “Mark is the Mayor now.”
“Because he got away and… is pretending to be me.” He took my body. He took my life with it, actually. He felt his fists clenching up and his shell cracking. “I bet it was him who called the police on you. They believe him now, not me…” He sighed and looked to the ground. “I can’t be Damien anymore.” He looked back at William, who was shuffling his way closer, still holding tight to the cane. “And you can’t be Colonel William Warford anymore.”
William blinked in shock. “What? Why?”
“Because the police are looking for a Colonel William Warford! They’re probably on a man hunt for you. You’ll have to change your name so they don’t find you.”
His face fell to a pout fit for a guilty puppy’s face. “But…. I like ‘William’.”
Damien sighed and thought for a second. Let him have it. His nickname, at least. “… Will… You can have Will.”
His smile miraculously grew back as he cheered, “Yay! Will Warford.”
Something that hadn’t appeared on Damien’s face for a small while showed up; a smile. It didn’t seem to suit him anymore. But he still smiled, because Wilford was smiling right back at him. “Wilford sounds better don’t you think?”
Wilford beamed. “… Yes. It sounds cleaner, authoritarian, powerful.”
“Suits you more than William, if I might say.” Damien said and they continued their trek down the mountain. They were coming close to a town. They would stay there for a while, just until they had thought out how they would get their lives back.
“What about you?” Wilford asked just to break the silence. “What’s your name gonna be now?”
Damien shrugged, “I don’t know.” After a small pause he admitted, “I wish I was still Damien.” His hands were in his pockets for the majority of the journey, the left hand was busy running the black silk of the Mayor badge he once wore through his fingers, the right hand was gripping the bowtie. His skin seemed to turn grey as anger built up inside him. “I wish this never happened. I wish it never had to be this way. I wish I had power enough to turn back time and stop all this happening to us… Or at least, I wish I had the power to go back and kill Mark myself when I had the chance.”
“Wow!” Wilford yelled suddenly, breaking Damien’s concentrated rage. He giggled nervously and said, “You got a little dark there, all of a sudden. Are you alright, Damien?”
Damien stopped walking. … That would be ironic wouldn’t it. It rhymes with the back-stabbing son of a bitch’s name anyway. Wouldn’t it make our justice a little sweeter?
He looked up with his new abnormally creepy smile. “… Dark.”
Dark looked back to Wilford and told him, “Call me Dark from now on. Dark and Wilford. A nice fresh start for all of us.” He swung his arm around Wilford’s shoulders and rested it there as they both walked together.
“Yeah. Dark and Wilford!… Wilford… War… Wilford War.” Wilford shook his head. “Doesn’t sound nice with just War on the end.”
“We’ll find something for you.” Dark assured.
Wilford looked around him, then at the cane he held. He gasped and held out the cane as he declared, “Wilford War-stick!”
Dark scowled at him. “…No.”
Wilford sighed disappointedly and looked around again. “Wilford War… branch!”
“No. That’s even worse.” Dark took his arm off Wilford’s shoulders and walked on ahead.
“Wilford Warburton?… War-butt-on! Haha!”
“Wilford Wardrobe!” Wilford announced, his voice muffled from the inside of the hotel cupboard.
Dark opened the cupboard door and scowled at Wilford who looked at him with an expression that was trying hard to contain a laugh. “It’s not funny anymore.” Dark groaned, hanging his blazer up on a wire hanger.
Wilford observed Dark’s sullen face and frowned. “You found it funny before? Even since we found each other after the chaos back at the manor, I haven’t heard you laugh, not even mockingly. It’s like you’ve suddenly changed, Damien.”
Dark’s lip twitched and he growled, “… I have changed. For a start, I’m not Damien anymore!!”
Wilford flinched. He had not seen Damien- sorry, Dark, in this way. It was usually him who would snap at Dark, and Dark would retreat or just give up having the argument with him. Now… Wilford felt scared to anger him. Not because he was scared of getting hurt. But because he was scared Dark was going to get sick of him and leave him.
Dark saw the fear in Wilford’s eyes through his rose-tinted glasses. That was uncalled for. Let him say it. He’s known ‘Damien’ for years, it’ll take a while to adjust. “… Sorry.” Dark mumbled. “I’m sorry Will. I… I don’t mean to hurt you.”
“It’s fine.” Wilford said as he began to climb out of the cupboard. “Mark has obviously made you angry. He’s made me a little peeved too. Trying to play dead on me so that blasted bastard detective would put me away. Ha!” He walked into the bathroom and continued calling to Dark, “To be honest, the detective is the only person I wish this whole ‘playing dead’ thing wasn’t a joke! Haha!”
Dark didn’t answer. Both sides of him saddened.
“I think I should change my appearance.” Wilford abruptly called out from the bathroom.
Dark blinked. “Sorry?”
Wilford took off his glasses and looked into the mirror. He brushed his moustache with the tips of his fingers. “Well, if I change my name, I should change how I look too! Like you did! You’ve changed from Damien to Dark, and also changed from a well-suited Mayor to a bummed-out businessman! Haha!”
“…Yes.” Dark said. He had moved to the waste bin and turned out his pockets. He took out his bowtie and stared at it. He wondered… He walked to the bathroom. “Here.” he said, placing his bowtie on the side of the sink. “I don’t need this anymore.”
Wilford stared at the bowtie for a while. He smiled. It reminded him of Damien. He held it up to his collar. Nice, but it need to be a bit more colourful. The sound of wood snapping came from the other room and Wilford peeked out to see Dark had snapped his cane in half. He put the broken pieces in the waste bin along with the Mayor badge. Wilford huffed and laughed, “You really are taking this disguise thing seriously!”
Wilford had been gone for a while; he said he had an idea and needed to go to the launderette. Dark sat in the room alone. Well, as alone as a body with two souls could be. There was a deep conversation going on inside his mind.
He’s not going to continue acting like ‘Mayor Damien’. Yeah, he’s got a new identity he can use, so he’s probably going to find another life to live. He could be anywhere. Not so, there’s still a chance we can find him. He’s in your body anyway, I’m sure you’d be able to sense him whenever he’s near. …Maybe. It’s still going to be difficult, like finding a needle in a hay stack. But remember, this is a very shiny needle. If he’s still as pompous and arrogant, and still pursuing show business, he’ll be shouting where he is to the sky and back. …Possibly. You need to be more positive about this. …How can I be positive while a head-up-his-own-ass fucker is walking around in my body while we’re both stuck in this broken, numb carcass and have to be tied to the trigger-happy madman our friend has become?! Damien! … I’m sorry, Celine. It’s just… it’s not fair. Hey, think about the soul this body belongs to, trapped in that horrible mansion. Do you think they’re having a fairer time than us? …No. I can’t believe you made me do that, to throw them out, our friend that you helped get a job, the friend that trusted us. If you’re so mad about it, then why did you come along for this ride? …
“Ha ha ha HA!” The door to the room was kicked open. Wilford tip-toed into the room holding his coat over his body to hide from Dark like a curtain.
“What did you do?”
Wilford dropped the coat and stood tall with his arms out wide. “Ta-da!” He didn’t look much different; only four things had changed. One, he wasn’t wearing his glasses, two, his suspender had faded from red to pink, and three, on his collar of his mustard shirt he wore a bowtie as equally pink as the suspenders. But the fourth change really caught Dark’s eye. His once thick brown moustache was now trimmed to a curly perfection and coloured a beautiful rosy pink. With a proud smile and a flourishing bow, he announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, Wilford Warfstache!”
As soon as the coat dropped Dark had been staring at Wilford with wide eyes and mouth agape. Wilford held his pose waiting for a response eagerly; he spent a good few hours trying to wash out his suspenders with his new bowtie, while also trying to find the right Kool Aid drink-mix power that would give a similar rosy shade to his moustache. After a moment of utter silence, Dark smiled a genuine smile and said, “… It’s incredible!”
Wilford released himself from his pose and picked up his coat to hang it up. “Do you think the pink will stand out a bit too much?”
Dark nodded, “Absolutely. It’s pompous and wild and unorthodox. Suits you down to the ground.”
Wilford smiled at Dark as he headed into the bathroom. “Thank you!” He went to mirror to admire his handy work, never losing his wide and childish smile. He sighed, “Goodness, if only Celine was here to see this. What will she think?”
“… She’d be proud of you, Will.”
Wilford peeked around the door to Dark, who was walking over to him. “You think so?”
Dark was still smiling, but there was something in his expression. Uncertainty? Or was it pride? Either way he looked at Wilford in the same way a parent looks at their child accomplishing their dreams. “I know so.” Dark answered.
For some reason that sentence hit him hard in the chest. Almost as if Celine was right in front of him, which made him feel ecstatic. He walked up to Dark and surprised him with a tight hug. “Thanks, Dark.” Dark patted his back carefully, he didn’t want his shell to shatter just yet. Wilford finally pulled away from Dark and made his way to his room for bed; it had been a heavy past few days, but he didn’t really mind. All his friends were alive, Dark was going to stick with him for a while, and he got to express himself, finally, after so many years of intense mental and physical battles.
Damien? Yeah? Moments like that are why I came along for the ride.