So, this is mainly aimed at anyone who took part in the first Fallout: New Vegas Dead End game. Hopefully most of you remember my character, Michael Sykes, the drunken scottish ghoul.

But how did he ever come to reach the Mojave Wasteland? how in God's name did this drunken fool ever make it to the arranged meeting place to join David Sinacre's team of mercenaries? And what hardships did his journey hold for him?

Well, while digging through my old word documents, I found this and decided I would share it. It is the story of Mike's entry into the Mojave, via the NCR's Mojave outpost. I wrote this some time ago and all I've done since then is add a rather rushed ending to it but I figured it would be good just to post up here.

I bring you the shit you never knew went down prior to The Sinacre Family, all completely unrelated to the actual events of the game of course, but amusing nonetheless (I say hopefully). Anyway, read, or don't. Laugh, or don't. Make of this what you will, I was bored at the time.
I even gave it a title.



There's Nary an Animal Alive.



A ghoul slowly made his way across the open desert wasteland, with a grenade launcher on his shoulder and a long duster hiding his shape. Every third step ended in a stagger, and every third stagger resulted in the ghoul nearly toppling to the ground amidst a cry of, ‘Wha the *bleep* did that rock come fae?!’ in a broad Scots accent, made further incoherent by the rasping voice that came with being a ghoul. Nonetheless, he did not seem pleased every time he near collapsed into a heap. Ironically enough…It was only every third topple that was actually caused by a rock. He felt like he’d been walking for days, his mouth was dry and begging him for booze, while his feet had lost the will to walk anymore. His head felt to him as though-in his own words-“somewan smashed me one o’er the heed wi a bottle ae Bru” which translates in more formal English to: ‘Somebody seems to have struck me over the head with a large glass bottle and, quite frankly, it hurts like *bleep*.’

In reality, Mike had only set off an hour ago now despite everything his body told him suggesting otherwise. But he was beginning to get pissed off. Not because he hadn’t the slightest clue, as to how the hell this David Sinacre had found him. Rather, the Old Scotsman, was slowly suffering from a disease commonly found in the poorest areas of his home country where the people had little money to pay for their own drink. It was caused by a severe lack of alcohol in bodies where it was often found in greater volume than blood. More precisely, it was caused by the rapid decline of alcohol in the system. Back home, they called it ‘Sobering up’ or ‘The Hangover’. No matter the name, it was hell for Mike. He’d come up against it may a time before, while he’d been human: He would go out and wake the next day in the same state he was in now, rough as *bleep*. But as a ghoul, his system had slowly taken on enough excess alcohol to keep him cured of the dreaded ‘Hangover’ for long periods of time, so long as he continued to top his body up with booze every so often. But he had gone too far this time, twenty-four hours without a drop of whiskey was just too much for his apparent ‘immunity’ to hold off. Holding ungodly volumes of alcohol was one thing for a Scotsman, but the Hangover was a different ball game, or ice hockey was a more fitting metaphor, both ended with what felt like repeated blows to the head.

Mike froze mid step as he looked at the small encampment in front of him...it seemed that he’d found himself standing on the wrong side of the NCR’s Mojave Outpost. His eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at it, once again, he was not impressed,

“What in the name o’ Christ dae theses daft bastards hink their daein’?!” he exclaimed, loudly enough to prompt a rather inhospitable stare from a nearby soldier on patrol, “Why the *bleep* would ye build a bloody outpost here?!We’re in the middle of *bleep*in’ nae man’s land and the NCR just decide, ‘Oooh this place looks just dandy, awa’ from half the world; let’s just plonk a *bleep*in’ army camp all the way oot here!’ Bunch o’ jacked up bastards.” And he would have continued, were he not interrupted by the passing soldier who seemed to forget a very important rule of the old world: ‘Hell hath no fury like a hungover Scotsman.’

“You got a problem with our soldiers being out here?” barked the soldier, standing as close as he could to mike’s face. Perhaps he wasn’t able to see that Mike was hungover; or perhaps he just didn’t understand that to someone suffering from a hangover, even a remotely loud noise sounds like the drone of a thousand bagpipes blaring in your ears. Mike didn’t care which it was though, he was in no mood to make any distinction. His fist shot from his side and into the soldier’s face, causing him to stagger back from the blow.

“Dinnae you be *bleep*ing with me lad. I’ll blow yer arms aff and ram a grenade doon yer throat.” Mike said, his voice seething with a regrettably sober anger. The NCR grunt drew his arm across his face, wiping the blood from his now broken nose before taking a few steps back and lifting his rifle to the ghoul.

“I think you’d better come with me. Now!” He shouted, trying to grin slightly, in the hopes of intimidating Mike,

“A wouldnae shoot me if I were you lad. Yer naewhere near clear o’ the blast radius.” He laughed; well rather, he tried to laugh before he began coughing brutally. His voice was not doing well today. The soldier stared at him, puzzled, for a few seconds before shouting again,

“Explain yourself! Or I’ll blow your brains out here and now.” He snapped in response, although he couldn’t quite shake the puzzled look from his face. Mike stuck his hands into his duster, the soldier’s grip on his weapon slowly tightened. Then with his left arm the old ghoul pulled out the left side of his coat to reveal its inside was lined with explosives. Nearly every kind of bomb the soldier had ever seen, C4, frag grenades, mines, gas bombs and dynamite all held in various homemade pockets or tied to others with pieces of string. The soldier’s jaw dropped.

“The other sides the same laddie. You shoot me, and all this shit gaes aff at once. Ye’ll be scattered aboot the wastes in more pieces than auld Willy Wallace.” Mike grinned as he slowly drew his right hand out of the duster, as quickly as he could, and let off a series of shots from his 9mm pistol, the majority of which struck the grunt in the chest and neck, although one managed to find its way into the heart of a mole rat who had the misfortune to be in its path. The poor creature reared up, giving a weak yelp of pain, possibly crying out its regrets to the world, hoping the wife and children and his secret lover were out of earshot. But nobody would ever know for sure now, because he had been silenced before mole rats were able to develop the ability to convey their thoughts in an understandable language for humans. The soldier fell dead too, albeit much less loudly than the beast. Mike carried on walking to the Outpost.

This wasn’t going to be the easiest of tasks for him to get through to the Mojave without some degree of chaos, after all he was a known terrorist to the NCR and here he was, waltzing right into one of their small bases, loaded with explosives. Somebody was bound to figure it out and try to kill him, or be a big hero and take him alive. But then, he remembered why he carried all these explosives in the first place: for blowing shit up. Shit in Mike’s vocabulary included a wide variety of things: from people he didn’t like, such as the NCR; to things that he just thought would be fun to see explode, and in some cases he used the literal meaning of the word for a cheap laugh.

It seemed odd to him that nobody had noticed the shooting, or even picked up on the gunshots since he had killed the soldier in plain view of the Outpost, but he opted not to question his luck. That was what old Sam had taught him before the bombs fell, and chances are, Sam was still alive somewhere too. Mike had never found the body near where they passed out, and after all that bastard had the luck of the Irish on him. But Mike had his own lucky charm, well actually it had been Sam’s too but he’d been looking after it at the time. It was called Sheldon, and was always kept wrapped in a thick layer of tin foil. Sheldon wasn’t like most lucky charms people carried, he wasn’t a four-leafed clover or a special coin or anything of the sort. Instead, he was a lump of cheese. That’s right, Mike’s lucky charm, and the only thing left to him by a friend he lost after the Great War, was a lump of cheese that was nearly as old as he was. He dared not take it out of his pocket often, let alone its tin foil casing, for fear of the stench it would unleash. Back before the War, Sam had always said that it was capable of knocking a man out cold with a single whiff, so Mike dreaded to imagine what an extra two hundred years would have done to it. Nonetheless, he carried it with him, and in his more drunken moments would cradle it and call it his best friend and ramble incoherently at its expense.

Mike kept on walking, pausing at the gate and staring at the soldier on duty. He didn’t even question Mike; just gave a glance at the grenade launcher and a quick nod before letting him through. The ghoul actually had to make an effort to hide the disbelief from his face as he walked past. Normally, that would have been the matter dealt with, and Mike would have walked off into the Mojave as quickly as possible but this time he’d had an epiphany. He adjusted himself and began walking towards the outpost’s bar, one hand in his jacket. He needed booze, and by God, he was going to get it even if the whole Mojave Outpost had to be blown to bits.

Kicking the door open and marching to the counter, Mike promptly took a seat in front of the bartender, and held out a rather large glass to the short man on the other side.

“Whiskey. Now.” The bartender nodded and set off to find a bottle below the counter, muttering loudly enough to be heard,

“Well you could be a little less cold about it…” Mike caught his words and apologised,

“Sorry lad, but I’m hungover tae high hell. Tis a *bleep*in’ miracle I didnae march in and try tae blow yer heed aff” The bartender looked at him and nodded, as if understanding his situation. He opened the bottle a poured a small amount into the glass before handing it back to the ghoul. Mike looked down, disappointed

“Ye call that a drink lad? Even auld Crombie could take mair than that! I gie ye the glass so ye could fill it to the top lad!” The bartender groaned and emptied the bottle into the glass, bringing it to just below halfway full. After finishing with the bottle he stopped and looked at Mike, who’d placed his hand on his grenade launcher,

“Keep goin laddy. That’s nae full. Nae by a long shot.” The bartender almost dropped his jaw and stared at the ghoul for a few seconds. Then he very quickly scrambled to where he had taken the first bottle from and opened another. Adding it to the glass and bringing it just shy of the top, he added a comment,

“You’d better be able to pay for this, boy.” He uttered shrewdly as he returned the glass to its owner

“Aye lad, I’ll pay ye when I’m done drinkin’” laughed Mike as he lifted the glass and started to drink rapidly, as though he was immune from the throat burning effects of whiskey. The bartender watched as the whiskey in the glass drained itself into Mike’s mouth. Then, expecting the ghoul to stop very soon, he asked,

“And when exactly will you be done drinking?” he’d anticipated Mike to stop for a moment, and pay for his drink. But he kept drinking, until the last of the whiskey had disappeared from the glass before slamming it down on the counter and exhaling in relief, his face returned to its natural drunken grin, almost sadistic in nature. He replied cockily after waiting a few seconds for his body to adjust to the alcohol,

“Well laddy, I cannae promise you I’m ever gonnae stop drinking. Hangovers are pure *bleep*ing hell. Now get me another will ye?” He pushed the glass back to the bartender expectantly, who just stared down in disbelief: this ghoul had just downed the equivalent to two bottles of whiskey like it were nothing more than a shot…and he was demanding another two. It took him a few seconds to recollect himself and dart down behind the counter and begin preparing another drink for his customer. Again, the ghoul downed it, and after slamming his glass back onto the table stopped and stared vacantly ahead, as though his mind were concentrated on something else. The bartender grinned, thinking that maybe his customer had come to accept how strong whiskey actually was and would hopefully just settle for buying large volumes of lesser alcohol for more caps next time. Then the ghoul let out a deafening belch that echoed through the bar for several seconds. All activity in the bar stopped, like a car hitting a brick wall. Every other drinker in the bar had frozen where they were to stare at Mike in disgust. The silence was broken by a slightly hoarse, “Gie us another een mate.” as the ghoul slid his glass back to the bartender and looked down at his coat, pulling something small and shiny from its pocket. It caught the bartender’s eye,

“Is that you finally offering to pay? Pass it here then, quickly.” Mike looked up in horror,

“Aw Hell nae lad. I amnae done yet. And like hell are ye taking auld Sheldon away fae me. I’ve had him since afore the bombs came doon.” He said in defiance, The bartender’s face contorted into something vaguely resembling a scowl as he stared intently at the shining object. He couldn’t make out much of its finer details, but it was shining and the only thing of value he’d seen on the ghoul’s person that wasn’t the grenade launcher on his back.

“Well you aren’t getting this drink until I see that in my hand. So hand it over. And for Christ’s sake, speak some proper mother *bleep*ing English man.” He barked. This seemed to trigger a switch somewhere in Mike’s head as his facial expression twisted, from a drunken blankness, to a deep fury. His eyes settled firmly on the bartender, the most focussed they’d been since he walked into the bar. Hands shaking, he slowly delved one back into his pocket, taking the shiny object with it. When it emerged it was clutching something dull and round. Then he cried out in anger as he shot to his feet,

“First ye try tae take me precious cheese awa’ fae me! And then ye gae and say an Englishman *bleep*ed me ma’. I’m gannae make ye eat a *bleep*in’ grenade for that!” At that, Mike promptly hurled himself over the counter and slammed his fist into the bartenders face, tackling him to the ground in the process. There was a series of startled gasps from the others, who instead of helping the poor man, opted to flee the bar in panic. One actually stayed to see if the ghoul would actually fulfil his promise and force the man to eat a grenade, although he very quickly opted to leave as the bartender was thrown in his direction from behind the counter. The battered salesman struggled to his feet and stumbled slightly as he came to his senses before reaching for a small pistol at his side. Mike was standing behind the counter, now running his eyes along all the drink on offer.

“Rum…naw that’s tae good. Whiskey… hell naw. Beer, nope. Vodka… that shit’s pure dog mankey like, it’s perfect.” He lifted a bottle of vodka before turning to face the bartender and saying quietly to himself, “Ah shit, he’s a gun on him the whole time.” Carefully calculating the various possible outcomes of his situation, he decided on a simple option, “*bleep* it, bail!” he said as he jumped to the side overdramatically and launched the bottle of vodka at the bartender. There was a burst of gunfire, shattering bottles against the wall. One round struck mike in the chest and dislodged something shiny and metallic from the pocket of his coat. The bottle of vodka however, landed slightly further from its originally intended target and smashed into pieces right between the bartender’s legs, prompting a shriek of agony as he doubled over and fell to the ground crying like a little girl. Mike stood up and looked over to see what had happened and once it had pieced itself together in his mind, he burst out in a slightly maniacal cackle. Somehow after over 200 years, maturity had never caught up with him, people getting cracked in the nads was still absolutely hilarious as far as he was concerned. In truth, he felt like a ninja, except he was a Scottish ninja, which would excuse him from any blame for his faceplant after the dive and the fact that he hadn’t used a fancy throwing star to decapitate the bartender. The Japanese ninjas had always been somewhat less clumsy and drunk than their Scottish counterparts. Mike however, unwilling to digress into all these thoughts at such a time, decided on his next course of action, and began filling his pockets with booze, mainly whiskey and beer.

He ran at the bartender, who was trying to find his feet again, and delivered a running kick, rugby style, into the man’s already damaged genitals. Needless to say, Mike was giggling like a schoolgirl as he did so. He then jumped onto the bartender’s chest and pulled out another grenade,

“Sheldon, I think ye’ll want tae see this. He tried tae tak you away fae me. He’s gannae eat a grenade fer that. Come on me little cheesey pal, come watch this.” He stuck his hands into his pocket and cried out in horror. It had vanished “Where are ye little friend!? Mikey’s comin fer ye!” He sprinted back to the counter and inelegantly vaulted over it, scouring the ground for his beloved cheese. He took a step forward and proceeded to jump into the air, as if he’d stepped on something sharp and painful. The actual situation was so much worse for the ghoul: as he looked down to his foot, there was a small, shiny blotch on the bottom of his boots…he had stepped on the cheese. A shriek of horror escaped Mike’s mouth as a tear flowed down through the various valleys of his face. He quickly suppressed his grief, now was not the time. He would make it up to Sheldon later. For now, he would have to make do with his anger and taking it out on the poor bartender, who was still writhing in pain on the floor, his hands clutching at his stricken manhood in the hopes that somehow they would numb the pain. Suddenly there was a call from outside, it was more NCR troopers,

“Michael Sykes, you’re under arrest for arson, assault, murder and more! Come out with your hands in the air or we will have to take you by force!” Mike cursed, several times…Then he answered the call,

“Gie us a minute lad, I’m takin a *bleep*in’ leak back here!” Then quietly he spoke to himself, “ah *bleep*…looks like we need a plan Sheldon, any ideas?” The bartender answered him,

“You could just turn yourself in and let me go peacefully. That would be nice.”

“*bleep* YOU YOUR NAMES NAE SHELDON!!” Mike yelled,

“Actually…it is.” …Mike just scowled at him,

“Gonnae no dae that?”

“How?”

“Just gonnae no…” The bartender was confused, but very quickly accepted that it was better not to question the drunk with the bombs.

“What’s that lad?” Mike said, looking at the cheese.

Sheldon the bartender opened his mouth to answer, but after half a second’s worth of consideration, sighed instead. This ghoul was a *bleep*ing idiot. Sadly, this idiot was a walking bomb. Mike carried on talking to his cheese,

“That’s genius lad! They’ll ne’er see it comin!” he called out triumphantly before pulling a small grenade from one of his pockets.

“Open wide laddie.” He said, smiling stupidy at the bartender as he pulled out the pin. The bsting of an NCR squads boots could be heard from the entrance as Mike prepared to execute his, or rather Sheldon’s, genius escape plan.

______ ______ ______

A few hundred metres away, in the middle of the wasteland, a mole rat emptied its bowels in fear. There had been a small explosion, followed by about seven more, each bigger than the last. That wasn’t what scared him though. What made the poor creature soil itself was the figure charging towards it from out of the smoke amidst a clamour of bottles rattling and frantic drunken cries of

“There’s nary an animal alive that can outrun a greased up Scotsman! An’ I went one better than grease; I got whiskey!” and other bullshit that made no sense whatsoever.

As he ran past the mole rat, he called to it,

“Dinnae worry wee haggis! I’ll come back tae hunt ye another time! I need yer meat fae my Burns Supper soon!” before running off into the desert like a little bitch.

_______ ______ ______

That night, NCR soldier and mole rat alike went to sleep wondering what the *bleep* had happened that day. Then, once the bar had been repaired and a new bartender found, they forgot all about it, deciding that it was better never to raise the subject again.Ever.

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What the title says, here's the closest thing to the version I submitted that I have access to on my laptop right now. It includes the pretty much all of the changes my teacher asked me to make.



Connor jolted slightly as he heard footsteps from down the hallway, a loud, uncushioned banging of thick boots against the wooden floor. It had to be a guard: trusting the inmates with anything sturdier than soft slippers was dangerous. He pulled up the grey sleeve of his drill officer’s uniform and stared down at the white face of the watch on his wrist. He smiled, just a little. Kirsty. The watch had been an anniversary present from his wife to celebrate their five years of married life. He remembered the day she had given it to him; to his embarrassment, it had greatly outvalued the slim silver ring he had bought for her. He admired it for a moment, and then checked the silver hands and roman numerals adorning it.

It was time for the guards to change posts. Connor was going to be sent to another area of the asylum for the remaining three hours of his shift. He prayed to God that whichever guard was walking down that hallway would not be coming from The Cells. The footsteps sounded hesitant and weary as they approached. Cell Duty was horrible. Patients in need of constant surveillance were always kept there when they weren’t eating or being made to exercise. He knew all too well that Leon and Phillip would be there. The very thought of being around them for three hours banished his previous good humour.

He wasn’t going to give up hope so easily though. Perhaps the approaching guard was simply tired, having worked for ten hours already. Perhaps Connor would find himself given an easy job: Mess Hall Duty, or monitoring the Exercise Hall. Both were simple tasks: the former because the last scheduled meal was at half past seven; the latter because the few patients who did exercise at nine in the evening were too tired to be dangerous. In both cases though, there would be little or no contact with the lunatics. The only one who ate his meals and used the exercise hall at this time was Marvin, because he was too afraid of the other patients.

Marvin was unlike the other inmates: he was never aggressive and always appeared intimidated by the others rather than agitated. To Connor, and most of the other guards, he seemed to suffer from some unimaginable melancholy which made him malleable: Marvin was not difficult to keep in line. All guards had been alerted when he was admitted: under no circumstances was Marvin Johnston to be left alone, lest he try to harm himself, or as he had already attempted several times, take his own life. He had a cell of his own, specially designed for such patients: the walls padded and the bars replaced with plexiglass to prevent any possible injuries.

Connor, to be completely honest with himself, felt sorry for Marvin: not because of his disconsolate mind, but because his cell was located on the upper level of the Cells Area: Cell Thirty-One, right between those of Leon and Phillip. Alone, either of this pair was bad enough. Together they were calamitous. Phillip had already threatened to strangle Connor on several occasions. Leon, a more creative character, made notes of every grisly detail of the plans he had for Connor’s death each day. Luckily, on the majority of occasions where Connor had encountered him, Leon was being hurried onward by a carer or was partially sedated, his psychotic threats fading before Connor felt their full impact. When Connor had no choice but to be around Leon, for example on Exercise Hall Duty, the maniac could ramble violently for entire shifts about what he would do when he was loose. Yes, putting Leon and Phillip together was a mistake. They cackled almost incoherently and reminisced about the fun they had had.

A short, stocky figure dressed all in dull grey, with waistcoat and matching shirt, marched into the room and faced Connor. It had been his thick black boots that he had heard beating tiredly against the floor. Short orange hair decorated the top of his head and his chin. His eyes were brown, but so many fine, red veins ran across their white that they looked ready to shatter like glass. It was Derek. Connor could smell him, the sharp aroma of cheap aftershave still vaguely detectable under the stink of a dozen perspiring lunatics which clung to Derek. This alone gave informed Connor of where Derek had come from, and where his next post would be. By the time the other guard spoke, Connor was convinced of the worst.

“Thank God I’m out of there. Much longer and I’d likely’ve ended up in one of those cells myself. I hate to say it lad, but you’re on Cell Duty now.”

Connor’s heart sank, until it was somewhere between his gut and his groin. That gruff, Irish accent which distorted much of what Derek said hadn’t been able to muffle the impact of his words. It really was the last thing Connor wanted to hear today, after what had been an easy six hours work so far.

Connor let out a grunt of annoyance, but managed to subdue the series of expletives that were stuck on the tip of his tongue. Reluctantly, he headed towards the door as Derek began speaking again,

“Good luck pal. Try not to let that two get to you, alright?” He paused for a second to make sure Connor had heard him properly, then he carried on, “Remember, they can’t touch you.” His voice attempted to carry a comforting tone, although its naturally rough Derry inflection detracted from his intent. Connor was grateful for this sign of good will nonetheless. Derek was also the only guard in the asylum who knew how much Leon and Phillip frightened Connor. As he reached the door, Connor turned his head to Derek and gave a muttered,
“Thanks mate. I’ll try.”
With that, Connor turned out into the corridor and began to make his way, slowly, towards the Cells. His boots beat out the same weary rhythm that Derek’s had before him.

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Here's the piece as I first submitted it to my teacher, exoect several grammatical slips since this was written before the editting process began.




Connor jolted slightly as he heard footsteps from down the hallway, a loud, uncushioned banging of thick boots against the wooden floor. It had to be a guard: it would be dangerous to entrust the insane with anything bar soft, padded slippers. He pulled up the grey sleeve of his drill officer’s uniform and stared down at the white face of the watch on his wrist. He smiled, just a little. The watch had been an anniversary present from his wife, Kirsty, to celebrate their five years of married life. He remembered the day she had given it to him; it had greatly outvalued the thin silver ring he had bought for her. He admired it for a moment, before finally paying attention to the silver hands and roman numerals adorning it.

He grunted distastefully. The little hand was pointed at IX and the larger hand was perpendicular to it, at XII. It was time for the guards to change posts. He was going to be sent to another area of the asylum for the remaining three hours of his shift. He prayed to god that whoever was coming down that hallway would not be coming from the cells, but the footsteps sounded hesitant and weary as they got louder. The cells were a horrible place to be stationed: the patients in need of constant surveillance were nearly always kept there when they weren’t eating or being made to exercise. He knew all to well that Leon and Phillip would be there. The very thought of being around them for three hours made him cringe in fear, banishing his previous smile.

However, he wasn’t going to give up hope so easily. Perhaps the guard was just tired in general, possibly having worked for nine or ten hours already. Maybe Connor would find himself given an easy job, like Mess Hall duty, or monitoring the exercise hall. Both were fairly simple tasks: the former because the last scheduled serving time was at half past seven; the latter because the few patients who did exercise at nine in the evening were too tired to be dangerous. In both cases though, there would be little to no contact with the lunatics. The only one who ate his meals at this time and used the exercise hall was Marvin, because he was too afraid of the other patients.

Marvin wasn’t like many of the others in the asylum: he was never outwardly aggressive and always appeared intimidated by the others, rather than agitated. To Connor, and most of the other guards, he seemed to suffer from some unimaginable melancholy which made him malleable: Marvin was not difficult to keep in line and showed no care for anything. All guards had been alerted when he was admitted: under no circumstances was Marvin Johnston to be left alone, lest he try to inflict harm upon himself, or has he had already attempted several times, to take his own life. He had a cell of his own, specially designed for patients with his condition: the wall padded and the bars been replaced with plexiglass to prevent any possible injuries.

Being completely honest with himself, Connor felt sorry for Marvin: not because of his disconsolate mind, but because his cell was located on the upper level of the cells area, cell thirty-one. It was like the people in charge had played a cruel joke on him: Cell thirty-one was right between Leon and Phillip, the former inhabiting cell thirty; and the latter in thirty-two. Alone, either of the pair was bad enough, Phillip had already threatened to wring Connor’s neck on several occasions. Leon was a tad more creative and always made a note of describing every grisly detail of how he’d planned Connor’s death for each day. Luckily, on the majority of occasions where the two met, Leon was being hurried onward by a carer or else was partially sedated. In both cases his voice slowly faded out before he could finish. But when Connor had no choice but to be around him, for example exercise hall duty, the maniac could talk for almost entire shifts about what he was going to do once he was loose. Putting the two together was a mistake. There was no good reason that anyone, anywhere could possibly give that would justify it. They would cackle and shriek to one another almost incoherently and reminisce about the fun they used to have before they were caught and sent here.

Every evening the cells area would echo with the same story, with each taking turns to tell a part. They enjoyed that story the most, the one about the time they killed a mother and her child.


It was enough to make Connor feel sick every time. They’d bound and gagged the mother before dashing the baby’s head against the wall countless times each. The number changed with each recital of the tale. Only once, in Leon’s words, ‘the little sods head was nothin’ but a lovely red stain’ did they turn their sadistic urges on the distraught mother. Again, the number was never consistent but the two had stabbed her far more than necessary, trying to see how long she could stay conscious for. They’d told her they’d slit her throat if she passed out. The two of them had turned a young woman’s life into a sick little game, made her watch her own son murdered before torturing her body until it gave up on living. The worst part though, was the joy they derived from remembering it all: it was like two small schoolchildren talking about how they’d spent their holidays to the rest of the class. That never ceased to scare Connor.

They were animals.

Dogs that bite humans are put down. Humans that *bleep*, kill and brutalise other humans are sent to be rehabilitated in prison. Connor was never able understand that. Leon and Phillip were like dogs, kicked and beaten by their masters from the very start, until violence was a part of their nature. In later life, once their masters have moved on and abandoned them, the nature forged in youth remains, and they are set free. It takes one act of savagery, for the dogs to lash out just once, and their ‘evil’ is exposed to the world. Then they are put down. Unlike dogs, however the euthanasia of Leon and Phillip was, somehow, completely impossible to justify to the world. Many would gladly see a dog that had playfully bitten the neighbour’s daughter put to death than two murderous psychopaths to whom repent was a foreign concept. They were more brutal than any creature could ever be made to be but, because their physical shells were human, they were made sacred. Connor despised the government’s stance on these matters: he would rather see them trying to retrain dogs than attempt to restore the minds of the likes of Leon and Phillip. To him, the dogs were a much better use of time.

A short, stocky figure dressed all in dull grey, with waistcoat and matching shirt, marched into the room and turned to face Connor. It had been his thick black boots that had been heard beating tiredly against the floor. Short orange hair decorated the top of his head and his chin. His eyes were brown, but so many red cracks ran along them that they looked ready to shatter like glass. It was Derek. Connor could smell him, the sharp aroma of aftershave was almost completely unnoticeable under the body odour of over a dozen perspiring lunatics. He already had an idea of where Derek had come from, and where his next post would be. He tried to tell himself that he was imagining the stench that seemed to emanate from Derek’s clothing, and when that failed, that Derek had just been on exercise hall duty. By the time the other guard spoke, Connor was still unconvinced.

“Thank God I’m out of there. Much longer and I’d likely’ve ended up in one of those cells myself. I hate to say it lad, but you’re on cell duty now.” Connor’s heart sank, until it was somewhere between his gut and his groin. That gruff, Irish accent which distorted a good portion of everything Derek said hadn’t been able to soften the effects of his words. It really was the last thing he wanted to hear today, after what had been an easy six hours work so far. Connor let out a grunt of annoyance, but managed to hold down the series of expletives that were stuck on the tip of his tongue. Reluctantly, he lurched towards the door as Derek began speaking again,

“Good luck pal. Try not to let that two get to you, alright?” pausing for a second to make sure Connor had heard properly, he carried on, “Remember, they can’t touch you.”

His voice carried a somewhat comforting tone, although its naturally rough inflection seemed to detract from his intent. Connor took the sign of good will nonetheless: Derek’s accent was hardly something he could be blamed for. He was also the only guard in the asylum who knew how frightened Connor was of Leon and Phillip. As he reached the door, Connor turned his head to Derek, who had taken up his old post in the corner, propped against the wall and gave a muttered,

“Thanks mate. I’ll try.”

With that, the large hulking figure turned out into the corridor and began to make his way towards the cells area. His boots beat out the same weary rhythm that Derek’s had before him.

Connor cursed under his breath as he trudged down the drab hallways, his own grey uniform merging the dullness. Even his hair was a faded, dirty blonde that did nothing to differentiate between him and the walls on either side of him. Once it had been vibrant blonde but time had drained the life from it. He used to wear it in distinct spikes before coming to the asylum, now it was just neatly shaven at each side and trimmed on the top. He wasn’t allowed to stand out from any of the other guards here. He was just like a shadow (although he knew several patients who found their own shadows far more exciting than his bulky, monotonous figure).

Connor hated the colour scheme in the asylum. He found it depressing, as did the other guards. But they’d been given no choice but to accept it. It was safer this way. If the guards were made weary and had their spirits dampened by it, then it would have the same effect on the patients. The doctors always said, when the matter was brought up: if you keep them tired and mentally unstimulated, their insanity will be suppressed, and it will make them somewhat better. The doctor’s seemed to know everything, yet their methods always proved ineffective. It was beyond Connor, he had no idea why, if they held so much knowledge, that they could not use it properly. It appeared to him as though knowing how to use knowledge required more knowledge. He wondered if it had ever occurred to them, that many of these patients may well have been impossible to cure. If it had, then why did they keep trying to fix the unfixable? What was the point?

Connor recalled something Derek had said to him at the start of his very first shift at the asylum: ‘Better them dead than us.’ It had been said during an introduction to his duties. He hadn’t quite understood what Derek meant by it at first, but as the months went by it began to sink in: when it came down to it, it was better to keep the sane alive over the insane, but only in desperation. The first face that came to his mind was Derek’s, since the words had come from it. Leon’s soon followed though, albeit bruised and bleeding beyond recognition: his already crooked nose completely broken; those thin lips from which accounts of the atrocities he’d committed seemed to flow, burst open; and those eyes, cold and calculating, yet frantic at the same time, in his mind they were nought but lifeless depths of blue and black. He smiled faintly to himself. Surely it could be justified, he told himself. It was his job to protect the world from the lunatics imprisoned in the asylum. But as long as Leon was alive, he was a danger to everyone. Surely, the world would understand. He hoped it would.

Connor froze where he stood. His feet rooted themselves to the ground and began shaking to try and break free. His smile vanished in an instant and the image of Leon’s battered face faded from his mind. The real thing had just appeared at the end of the corridor.

other

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Alright, I've submitted my creative writing folio, which some may remember me asking for help with in the New Vegas and MHFU forums earlier this year.

Basically, the piece I submitted has been altered drastically and I don't feel certain about the changes my teacher pretty much forced on me, apart from the odd grammar error and misplaced word. So what I'm going to do is post both of them here, one unaltered and one that has been reworked, in separate blog posts and ask for an honest opinion from all who take the time to read them on which is better.

The piece is an extract from a much larger piece I've been working on that I was told to take and edit, and the larger work may yet find it's way up here if I have the time for it.

Anyway, I don't know how many people are going to read it, but I'd appreciate any help that anybody is willing to give me here. It's not hugely serious, but I'd like to know if I should have had the balls to challenge her editting demands.

-TKK-/-SW-/-2011

other
I'm searching for your hand in the rough, you're caught in the wire. Well I'll lift you up.

First of all, to any and all who even begin to read this, I'm The Kushala Kid. You really don't need tp have my real name to be honest, but if you absolutely must know everything about me(intensive research on an individual amounts to stalking, just throwing that out there) then you can find some pieces of information on my actual profile. This, on the other hand is a blog, where I will endeavour to offer you all an insight into my mind. I can't guarantee that you'll enjoy what you read here, nor that you will agree with it or find it any way purposeful(because I assure you it is not). That qualifies as my own personal disclaimer to cover me against any and all who will find my viewpoint or choice of expression distasteful and/or pointless.

In my blogs, if I ever actually do post anymore after this, I will probably stick to the most traditional expression of my own thoughts: the rant. Why? Why would I do something so cliched in my blog? Why wouldn't I try to think outside the box and make an attempt to be original, unique and funny? The answer is: I am a lazy bastard who shares the common fear of originality that many other men suffer from. I have a feeling that it actually runs in the family, my own father suffers from an incomprehensible fear of technology and its advancement. I like to say that I'm an open-minded individual, and that I can accept new things but I really don't know if that holds true. My father cannot accept computers as useful machines, instead they are 'horrible' and 'impersonal' and 'everybody is too dependent on them' and I will confess that he has a point: we do rely very heavily on them for everything nowadays and if ever we lose them(2013 solar flare anybody?) the vast majority of us are going to be absolutely *bleep*ed. However, I can't share the traditionalist viewpoint of my father, and not just due to the fact that I am sitting typing this little rant on my brand new laptop, but because I am a firm believer in progress. Technology fascinates me, and I'm not scared of it at all. If it advances, then I think that humanity will most likely benefit from it, and we're in an age where we need another leap in technology to save us from everything: global warming, nuclear holocaust, meteorites, solar flares and the inevetiability that the Sun will eventually devour us. But yeah, I believe my point with this rant(if I actually had one to begin with) is that old people are far too afraid of the future and the technology it will bring; when they should in fact be afraid of the various things that will kill us all and pray that technology advances enough to save us all from them. Then again, maybe they don't care, since they're nearing the end of their lives anyway and don't give a shit about the rest of us anymore. But I think the modern age needs to carry on giving the two fingered salute to such old people: only the ones who would sooner see us burn in the centre of the sun than create a machine that lets us send virtual letters.

Shit, got myself intentionally sidetracked there, and yes it was to create an ironic effect. But I think that stands as an example of some of the utter shite I'm going to post here. Other shit may include short stories and poems(call me gay and I'll stab you) that I write myself, but we'll see how far this goes before anything like that shows up.

I'm going to hell, who's coming with me?
-TKK-SW-

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Sam Wallace

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