Fresh Start – Prelude to “The Illusionist – Friends…”

New beginning, out with the old and in with the new, they say, eh? I think it’s bollocks, but here I am, giving it a try.

No more jumping through parallel worlds finding alternate Weston Styles-s, me-s, or is it I-s, whatever. I’m not doing that anymore, and no more killing those parallel versions either, at least not for free anyway, not anymore. For the record, I didn’t jump where I jumped with that intention, but most alternate me-s were such wankers they deserved a killing or two, though I must admit I went a bit overboard a few times, such as destroying Empire City (the parallel and tyrannical theocratic London, one of them anyway) to kill one of my alternates, one of my Westernates.

The experiences weren’t wasted. I did meet most of my current employees on jumps, even Maggie, my current girl and future wife, or murderess if I don’t pop the question soon.

But after the last jump, after that disaster, after painfully and quite violently realizing I’d spent the better part of ten years collecting enemies across actual bloody worlds, I decided it was time for a change, maybe make some friends and do some good, if only to have at least one person on my side if the army of rightfully angry people come back again. I used to run with the Illusionist back in the day and with him I knew I was safe, ‘cause people might be brave enough to come after me, but no one’s bodmin enough to go after the both of us together. Come to think of it, it was after our last meeting, when we parted ways, violently and with plenty of collateral damage, that I started my jumps. But ever since, I’ve been on my own, no one to have my back, and I want that. Knowing you’ve got people at your back gives you a great deal of comfort when you know people are after your ass.

That’s why I, well we, formed UII, Unnatural Investigations Incorporated. It’s a place where each of us, survivors and refugees of my trips into other worlds can be together, have each other’s backs and maybe do some good in the process. In each of their worlds, they were ostracized, exiled and plain villains, but don’t think badly of them. If the entire world is evil and corrupt, then what kind of people are its villains? The answer’s simple, they’re heroes. They might be the monsters of their world, the freaks, the misfits, but each and every one is better than I am, even if most are completely insane, but I’m not one to throw stones. The panes in my glass house are already chipped and cracked as it is.

I’ve changed since we set up the business here, I’ve even changed the way I speak, and it’s been hammered into me so much I’m even thinking in this damn posh accent. I sometimes feel I’m forgetting myself, who I am and where I’m from.

Sadly I’m not a good man, not yet anyway, and I very much doubt I’ll ever be. I’m still a bully, but now I only force others to my point of view if it’s absolutely necessary and for the greater good, though I have my slip-up moments, like that Planarist we’re leasing the offices from. The original deal was for a couple of floors only, but I managed to convince him to make it unlimited…and for half the price. I’m not proud of it, but it felt necessary. I sent him a fruit and cheese basket afterwards, he returned it intact…well, not really if you consider every single piece of food in there was poisoned or infested with body-melting or brain-scraping parasites from ten different nightmarish reaches of the cosmos. Maggie says I should hire him, but I’m not that insane.

We set up shop in Bristol, not my home town, but it’s one I’m fond of. We purchased a small two floor office building, all brick and mortar, really “old school”, another way of saying rundown. The good Doc managed to spruce it up and set up the Planelevator, that connects the two floors in the material world with the upper ones, the offices proper, in the pocket plane we’re leasing. I lost the floor count after one thousand, five hundred and thirty-two. Not sure if we need that many, but it’s like my mum said, “Better to have too much than too little”…even though I’ve always been uncomfortably sure she meant that about men in her bed.

I love that woman, but she gives me nightmares.

So far we’ve had a good run, helped some folks and recruited more employees. Can you believe our world has weirder people and stranger power sets than folks in parallel universes? Sometimes I believe our earth is the universal loony bin, or the trash bin.

It’s been good so far, even though we’ve come close to heinous acts of depraved violence in most cases. Mostly on my part. Still, I’ve stopped mesel…myself from doing worse, and I hope it counts for something, if only one less cursed toy, poisoned apple and possessed housemaid in my life.

But here I am, giving it a go, a fresh and brave new start. No longer The Bone Mage, no more dirty work for cheap change. I’m the Unnatural Investigator now, finding clues, people and artifacts for ridiculous amounts of money and with little to no effort, like finding the grave of some long-dead minor Swedish sorcerer. That should be done in a few days and so far it’s been uneventful. Here’s to hoping it remains so.

Let’s see how far I can keep it all going without it falling on my head.

Author’s Notes:To find out what come from that business with the swedish sorcerer, Click here

I wrote this short 1st person piece as my entry in this week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge, the topic is Fresh Start. Hope you like it. For more information on the Daily Post Writing Challenge, Click Here

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