WHO Tim Stoker, "Danny Stoker", and the assorted horrors buried in Tim's subconscious. WHERE The Overlook Hotel. WHEN 05/10, evening.
Will the audience please take their positions? The show has begun! WARNINGS mental and emotional manipulation, unresolved trauma, body horror aka hotel shenanigans.
Tim didn't know how he'd ended up here. He'd just been taking a walk, trying to clear his head and get wound down to actually be able to sleep and function the next day. And he'd found himself standing in front of the hotel of doom, looking up at the external façade and trying to ignore the burning rage building in his gut. Intruder. Leech. Spineless. Words hissed in the back of his mind and coming seemingly from nowhere as he clenched his fists at his side. No. He knew exactly where they were coming from. The Desolation had indulged him before, allowed the burning of the church to fuel the seed that it had placed in him, to push him over the edge and towards its bidding, and now... Now it was demanding repayment. Whatever this place was, it didn't belong to the Desolation. And everything in him was calling to claim this space back.
At least, that was, until he stepped foot inside and could feel his stomach drop out and all of the ire that had fueled him flee the second that he was confined in another's space. Tim could feel the pull, the burn, still running through him, but it was muted, dulled, the further inside that he went, the more that he dared to travel.
The voice was soft, delicate, and whispered on a breeze, placing his head on a swivel as he edged into the building. He was an idiot. He should have turned around, left. He should have been able to control the Desolation's pull, to tell it to calm the fuck down until he had some sort of back-up. And yet, had he? No. He'd just run in blind. He'd run in fucking blind and unarmed and unable to do shit just like...
"Oh, come on. Don't be like that. I was the dumbass that threw myself into things head first to begin with."
Tim jumped, back slamming into the wall on his right as he spun, backing away from the new and much more present voice as his gaze feel on a sight that he hadn't seen for years and knew that he wasn't supposed to ever be seeing again: his brother, whole, intact, and smiling.
"Damn, you'd think I'd stabbed you or something."
"You're not... You're not..." Tim stammered, trying to calm the panic that surfaced right in front of that that dreaded hope. He knew better than to give the second one any room, any way in. He didn't know what this was. Or why. But it certainly wasn't Danny. "You died. You died, Danny. You're not really here."
"I'm as real here as you are," This 'Danny' practically trilled, the painfully familiar taunting causing Tim's heart to jump into his throat even as he tried to back further into the wall as the copy, doppelganger, duplicate... Stranger mannequin simulacrum of his brother stepped fully into his space and raised a hand... to flick him on the forehead. "Stop being a dumbo and breathe."
Tim's laughter was pained and broken as the tension slacked in him as he raised a hand to press against 'Danny's' chest and shove him backwards. He was solid, real, or at least, as real as he could be in a horror hotel that Tim didn't know the limitations of. "What in the world?"
"Can't resist a good find, Timmy. You know that. And just look at this fucking place. It's got to have some killer stuff hidden inside," 'Danny' said, smirking and throwing an arm around his brother's shoulders and ruffling his hair.
"Yeah. That's... exactly what I'm afraid of," Tim said, his voice dull even as the weight around his shoulders was somewhat reassuring. He could almost pretend like it didn't matter that he knew this wasn't real. Honestly, he didn't understand. He didn't get it. The implications of what he'd been told made this situation he was faced with right now make no sense whatsoever. Why would this place do something like this if all it wanted was...
Oh, Timothy. Don't leave me waiting. I've got such a lovely show for you.
Tim turned, looking around frantically for that voice, the one that he'd heard before and now struck him as horrifically familiar. Grimaldi. Orsinov. Whatever her fucking name was. Of course she'd be here. That was more along the lines of what he'd been promised. And so was Danny being gone, that reassuring weight having vanish the second he'd turned his head away from his search, as he turned back around.
Come find him, pet. I know you know where to look.
It was a sickeningly familiar drop as Tim turned to run, to try and find the theatre, the stage, Covent Gardens manifested in this fucking nightmare, but the further he went, the more lost he seemed to go, twisting and turning like in the Spiral's halls, the Stranger's laughter beckoning him on, the Desolation burning the desire for revenge in him, and the Ceaseless Watcher taking it all in.
Tim watching to rip all of them to pieces, tear them down and apart, for forcing him through this again even as he desperately gripped at the doors of the elevator that had manifested at the end of one of the long corridors and pried them open. The rolling lights in front of him blared to life, illuminating the long aisle down to the Covent Garden Theatre stage, the seats as filled yet lifeless as they had been before, and the only clear difference in this picture and the images that haunted his dreams was this time, this time Danny was not stock still, poised at a horrific angle, and already flayed and wrong. This time, he was bowed, frightened, desperate, pinned under Grimaldi/Orsinov's hands as their split reflections shifted, leaving Tim drunk on their alternating image, and smiled identical far too wide smiles at him.
Still too late.
The voices overlapped, twisted, assaulted his ears as their hands moved together, razor sharp and unnatural, flaying the skin off of his brother as a strangled scream caused Tim to double over in pain, the scene shifting, rewinding, pulling and tugging at what little was left of his mind. Standing, Tim was stunned to find even as his mind was screaming too late, too late, you failed again at him, what his mind saw on the stage was not Danny, flayed flesh and horrific wrongness, but Sasha (their Sasha) standing there crying and Grimaldi/Orsinov ready to do it all over again.
You took our eternity, The voice sang as Sasha was skinned and screamed, the scene rewinding again and again and again, another person falling at each turn. Martin. And Jon. Basira. Daisy. Melanie. You took our eternity from us. So we take your reason for being from you. Watch, Timothy. WATCH. For that's all you Beholders are ever good for. Georgie. ...Kate.
"I think you've forgotten something," Tim said, laughing hysterically as the facsimile of Kate looked at him with pleading eyes and reassurances on her lips. He might not be able to save this her, this false vision that they were making him watch, but he wasn't as helpless as he once was. "I don't just watch anymore." He said, arms outstretched as his body was suddenly wreathed in flames. "Round Two, Bitch."
The explosion rippled out of him in an instant, spiraling in blinding arches and cascading down around him to wipe out the scene, the settings and figures exploding in a spray of ash and leaving Tim standing alone in the empty elevator, the flames licking across the walls and dying the instant they came in contact with the actual hotel.
Trembling, Tim collapsed in on himself, a raw sob ripped out of his throat as he took a deep breath to try and draw the fire back in, push it down and back into him, ignoring the feeling of his insides starting to boil as he stood and turned to run for the now visible front door.
He'd been a fucking idiot and looked without leaping again, and it seemed... It seemed that the world was determined to make him pay the price for it.