|Percy I. Chapman | Ἑρμης (polytropus) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-07-28 23:40:00
|Entry tags:||apollo, hermes|
Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Who: Lucas and Percy
What: There's a Giant Head Monster(™) living in Percy's closet. Lucas heads over to save the day!
Where: Percy’s Apartment (301)
When: July 11, 2017, 10ish in the morning (following this exchange)
Fortunately for Percy, today was Lucas’ day off, and he’d been lounging on the couch reading emails when Percy texted him. About giant heads in his closet. He wasn’t exactly feeling up to a psych consult on his day off, but thought of chatting with a friend was enough to get him up off the couch and down the hall to the elevators.
Lucas was still chuckling and rereading the texts as he and Percy had exchanged when the elevator let him off on the third floor. He cheerfully waltzed down the hall to bang on Percy’s door, sliding his phone back into his pocket.
Percy Ira Chapman had specifically not been hallucinating when he’d opened his closet door in the latter portion of the morning. All he wanted was a different pair of loafers to wear for the day, instead of being stuck with a lone pair of running shoes that had conveniently not been placed back inside the closet where they belonged.
However, instead of immediately seeing the contents of his closet upon opening the doors, he saw it. The creature, the thing, the monstrously huge head. And worse, it had feet--at least, he was pretty sure there were legs and thus feet attached to the being. It was admittedly a little hard to tell under the piles and piles of hair that covered the creature.
The Head(™) wasn’t given time to respond to Percy’s embarrassingly loud shriek of horror. He’d slammed the doors in its face and scrambled out of the room, heart racing.
He wasn’t crazy. The dreams, the apartment complex morphing into separate biodomes, all of that truly had happened--but he wasn’t losing his mind. Right? Right. But only a doctor would know that for sure...specifically, a doctor who just so also happened to be his old friend. And friends didn’t lie to friends.
Therefore, Percy came to the prominent conclusion that Lucas would have the answer to whatever was happening. The knock at the door sent a wave of relief through the unusually jittery man, and he answered it within two seconds flat (another interesting aspect of the continual slew of oddities at Pax Letale--Percy was back to moving exceptionally fast, sans any caffeine. He’d skipped timing himself going up and down the stairs this go around, however.).
“Great, you’re here. Come in, you need to see this thing in my closet. And did you bring a blood pressure cuff with you?” Ushering his friend inside, Percy took a quick glance at him in the process, noting with some disappointment that Lucas had arrived empty handed. “You can still check my pulse, right? I don’t feel light-headed, I slept a full 8 hours, and I haven’t imbibed one drink in nearly three days. But Lucas, there is a giant head in my closet. Right now.” He counted off his list of please-say-I’m-not-losing-it items on his fingers, finishing with a weary sigh that only had a hint of exaggeration to it.
Lucas gave his friend an indulgent look, brows raised and arms crossed. “Okay young man, let’s see this giant head of yours,” he teased, speaking as he would to a child. He even reached forward and took one of Percy’s hand gently in his noticeably more tan ones. “Doctor Lucas is here now to chase away the scary monsters,” he said in the same tone. He had yet to even notice any change to his skin colour, though he of course hadn’t been looking for it either.
“Hey, come on,” Percy responded with a frown that normally wouldn’t last for longer than a few seconds. “I know how ridiculous it sounds. But after everything else that's happened here, I think you should cut me a little bit of slack.” He glanced down at Lucas’ hand, disentangling his so that he could lead his friend to the now ominous pair of closet doors in his bedroom.
He halted, however, at the stark contrast between their skin tones.
“Besides, Doctor, don’t you know that spending too much time in a tanning booth increases your rate of being easy prey for rogue T-cells?” Percy took a closer look at Lucas, now that he was somewhat calmer. He’d been too worked up a moment ago to notice that his friend was far more tan than usual. Strikingly so, in fact. Not that it was a bad look for him, all things considered--it was better than being a giant head.
Lucas screwed up his face in incredulity, looking down at his hands and assuming Percy was just joking with him. “What are you talking about, I’m not out in the sun long enough to get even a…” he stopped when he looked a little closer at his skin, its golden hue that was not at all aligned with what he knew about his own body. “That...shouldn’t be like that,” he said carefully. He looked up at Percy with a frown. “Seriously, I spend 90% of the day inside...this is weird.” Suddenly all thoughts of giant heads were lost as he inspected his skin, lifting it up to a beam of sunlight coming in the window and watching it all but glow. His eyes widened and caught Percy’s.
“Someone snuck me into a tanning bed while I was sleeping?” he guessed, though his voice relayed how incredibly far-fetched the theory was.
“You’re practically glowing, so I’d wager they did more than just sneak you into the closest tanning bed,” Percy retorted with a growing sense of amusement. He stepped back to fully appreciate the extent of Lucas’ tan, noting that it wasn’t just his hands or arms, but every revealed patch of skin.
Okay, appreciate wasn’t the right word, but focusing on Lucas’ current predicament helped Percy to not think about the giant head, so it couldn’t possibly be a terrible switch of focus.
“You don’t remember how any of this happened?” he asked carefully, tempering his own amusement to try and better assess the situation with the critical mind of a writer chomping at the bit for a better story, for better details. Lucas shook his head, still bemused by this new development. “You ‘woke up like this’, I believe, is what they’re calling it lately.” Percy waited a beat, chewing on his own realizations about himself. “You know, not that it’s related to the giant head living in my closet, but I’m faster again--like when the complex transformed.”
There it was again, the giant head, the currently unseen elephant in the room.
Lucas had been looking closer at his skin, as if it would give him a clue as to how it had changed colour, seemingly overnight, but then he paused and looked up at Percy. “How fast?” he asked, brows raised. Suddenly thoughts of Max’s strange teeth, Alice’s seed problem and Nish’s memory loss came to mind. This couldn’t be a coincidence...all of them were having strange experiences? It didn’t matter that they were all different...in fact, that pointed to individual reactions to the same event.
The fact that Percy thought he saw giant heads in his closet may be a hallucination? If that was so, then the fact that his apartment was neater at night than he left it in the morning every day might also be...what, a hallucination? The dishes were done, you can’t hallucinate that. Memory loss? Selective amnesia about cleaning his apartment? Even he couldn’t convince himself of that.
“Fast enough,” Percy said, punctuated by a careless half shrug. In that instant, he knew how to ‘prove’ to Lucas the change that had occurred for the second time--and it didn’t have to involve racing out of the apartment and down three flights of stairs in a minutes’ worth of time.
No, it was something far simpler, something which spoke to an innate need to test his own abilities, to push and tease and see how long he could get away with causing harmless strife. It hearkened back to his high school days of troublemaking, but also further than that, to a time which he could not yet fully comprehend. Something rather like in the esoteric dreams he’d been having, perhaps…
He moved, then, almost a blur in the main walkway of his apartment. Nimble fingers plucked Lucas’ cellphone from his pocket, avoiding direct contact with the man’s form. The deed was complete in the length of a heart’s sigh and a robin’s beak opening to sing forth the morning dawn. Pure exhilaration flooded Percy’s senses, temporarily overwhelming his earlier feelings of coarse astonishment. He grinned widely at his friend, chin tilted upwards slightly in a cocksure measure of delight.
“You ought to be careful, Lucas. Don’t let your new tan distract you, or your phone might go missing.” He held up the stolen device, waving it at Lucas in a teasing manner.
Lucas’s hands immediately went to his pockets, finding that yes, his phone had indeed been lifted off him in the blink of an eye. His own eyes widened with shock and no small amount of awe. “Dude, that’s some serious skill,” he said, reaching to take his phone back. “That seems faster than before...when did that start happening?” he asked, slipping the device back into his pocket. Part of him wanted to keep it out, in case those giant heads his friend was talking about made an appearance. Photographic evidence of something like that would be useful.
“Around the beginning of the month,” Percy answered easily enough; he couldn’t help but preen a little at Lucas’ compliment. “It’s ridiculously easy to do what I just did--possibly too easy. But you know what they say, with great power comes great responsibility. And I’m likely the most responsible guy you know.”
Sure, he was certainly no Peter Parker, but he liked to think there was a smidgen of truth in his jest. “Are you ready to see the monster in my closet now? Brace yourself, Lucas, because this is going to blow your mind.” He nodded down the hallway, towards his bedroom. The door was left wide open from his quick escape, and the closet loomed within it.
“Ohh, I’m bracing,” Lucas chided him, “for disappointment,” he added under his breath, though purposefully loud enough for his friend to hear. He led the way into Percy’s room, putting on false bravado, as if he was defending a child from the monsters under the bed, and rapped sharply on the closet door. “Giant Head,” he commanded, “you leave my friend alone and don’t come back!” He yanked the door open sharply to reveal -
...nothing. Just a closet full of overly stylish clothes.
Lucas looked over his shoulder at Percy with a smirk. “I think the only giant head in here is yours,” he laughed.
He’d scoffed at Lucas’ remark in the hallway, of course, but remained otherwise unbothered--up until they were both standing in front of the now menacing closet door. There was nothing about this situation which didn’t lend itself to utter ridiculousness, yet neither of them could turn back as the events proceeded. Percy found himself bracing for the sight of the hairy beast when Lucas swung the closet doors wide open.
A small part of him was relieved at the lack of a giant monster head. The rest of him, however, felt slightly irritated; it was as if the creature was determined to make him look like a rambling fool in front of his closest friend. Percy certainly wasn’t going to stand for this.
“I know what I saw,” he said in response to Lucas’ dismissive and nigh snide remark. “And I’m not stoned; I haven’t touched anything slightly illegal since college. Something is happening to this place,” Percy added, a frown curling down the edges of his lips.
“Well, you’re certainly right about that,” Lucas agreed, watching as his friend turned away from the closet towards one of the bedside tables in his room. Rummaging through the top drawer, Percy looked seemingly in vain through its contents.
“Let’s check the corners of the closet, just in case--humor me this one time, Lucas. Do you mind looking in the other table for a flashlight? I have one around here somewhere.” He pointed to the other side of the bed, where a matching bedside table sat. The top of it held a small lamp, with a worn copy of Dorothy Parker’s poems at its base. Percy continued to rummage through the next drawer of his table, content to assume that Lucas wouldn’t mind helping him complete this last step to finding proof of the giant head.
Lucas nodded and turned towards the bedside table, flicking the light on and opening the door.
And falling backwards onto the carpet with a cry that was perhaps a little too high-pitched to be considered manly. “THE FUCK?” he cried, slamming the door shut with his foot. “Holy hell, Perce…” he said, looking up at his friend, his newly tanned face almost white as a sheet. He looked back at the cupboard that was mercifully staying shut for now, but the image of what he’d seen inside that small space lingered on his eyes. Gingerly, he picked himself up to a crouch and crept forward, slowly reaching for the handle on the door and tugging it open a crack. An eye met his in the dark inside, and he pushed it shut again.
“Percy,” he said calmly, staring into the middle distance, “what is that thing?”
“That,” he responded, both in awe of Lucas discovering the monster within such a small drawer and filled with vindicated relief, “was The Giant Head that’s now living in my bedroom.” He crossed the room, stepping lightly not out of habit, as per usual, but out of what seemed to be necessity. After all, the creature might be able to hear everything from within its hiding places, and suppose it had enough of a mind to broker an argument about its unofficial title?
That wasn’t a reality that Percy felt ready to handle. Not yet, anyway.
He leaned down, offering a supportive, quick squeeze to his friend’s shoulder. “Now that you’ve seen it, can we both agree that I’m not losing my mind?” Was there a note of smugness in his voice? Perhaps. But it was overwhelmingly buried by apprehension. Percy backed away from the bedside table, eyeing the doorway from over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry I doubted you,” Lucas said quietly, eyes still wide from what he’d seen just behind the cupboard door. The thing had completely filled up the tiny space with its horrible hairy face, and while it had done nothing so far but stare, it had stared at him. Lucas lifted a hand up for Percy to take, using the other man to leverage him to standing.
“The next step, I think, is to figure out what it is. More importantly, why it’s in my apartment.” Percy managed to crack a nervous smile. “Know any good monsterologists?”
Lucas allowed a shaky smile and even a soft chuckle at the idea. “Yeah, I always keep them in my contacts,” he said lightly. “I suppose you’ve already tried googling ‘why is there a giant hairy head in my closet’?” he quipped.
“Done and done,” Percy said dismissively. “There’s a terrible shortage of good monster head stories, even online. And trust me, you don’t want to know what else was on the list during my searches.” He briefly held both hands up in a universal signal for please god no, and shut his eyes tight for comedic effect. “Google is a nightmare unto itself sometimes. But maybe with your doctor brain, you could help me narrow it down. How many hairy heads could possibly exist in this world?”
Or maybe not in this world, but in another. Percy held his tongue at that thought, however; the whole concept of a monster head was difficult enough to accept, so it certainly couldn’t bode well to add in a healthy dose of science fiction, multiple universes mumbo jumbo.
Or could it? He truly was beginning to wonder where the world itself ended, and whatever was inside of Pax Letale began.
Lucas chuckled and shook his head, “different skill set, Perce,” he said, “the ability to diagnose and treat a patient doesn’t translate over to monster knowledge.” He glanced again into Percy’s room and back at his friend. “So...if you don’t want to sleep in the same room as a giant head...I do have a pullout couch. And...well, invisible somethings that seem to love cleaning up after me…” he added, thinking that if he was offering his friend houseroom, he should at least warn him that he seemed to have his own critter problem. Or not problem. Gift? Having something invisibly clean up after you definitely seemed like a gift.
“It’s a shame,” he began, feeling decidedly less nervous at Lucas’ suggestion, “because I hear the ladies are crazy about a guy that can both diagnose their disease and tell them a good bedtime story.” The joke fell flat given the monster head issue at hand, but Percy couldn’t resist.
“Well, if you don’t feel like you’re enjoying your invisible cleaning fairies enough, I suppose that I wouldn’t mind stepping in for a couple of days to appreciate them for you. I’ll be honest, I’m a little jealous you ended up with the nice monsters.” Although Percy finished his acceptance of Lucas’ offer with a cheeky grin, there was nonetheless a definite sense of relief in it. “I’ll give the Giant Head some time to gather its things and get out of my home.”
Lucas grinned at him, “I wouldn’t want to keep my good fortune all to myself,” he said with mock seriousness. “Do you need big bad Lucas to help you pack, or are you able to brave the closet yourself? It’s gotta still be in the endtable, right?” he said, peering into the other room over Percy’s shoulder.
“I’m sure I’ll find a way to manage somehow with my temporary roommate currently occupied.” He preferred not to think about what might happen should the Giant Head somehow teleport itself while he was in the process of packing an overnight bag. Percy made a mental note to contact Vinnie about the creature, should it decide to show its face when the younger man stopped by to feed Stella; in the meantime, he reassured Lucas that he’d be perfectly fine, waving a hand dismissively. “It has to be. I’ll see you later today--and I’m getting us takeout for dinner. After all of this, I can’t be bothered to worry about a little MSG.”